Nick looked away as his face burned with embarrassment. No matter how many people said things like that to him in the past three days, he couldn't get used to it. It still hurt and scared him. He had never been one to seek attention, and he preferred to be out of the spotlight. Blaine stepped out in front of Nick.

"Hey, why don't you go pick on someone your own size," Blaine snapped back, glancing at the other boy.

"Easy for you to say, Anderson. No one's as small as you."

"Well, you're just a clever little ass, aren't you?" Flint snapped back, jogging up to Nick and sneering at the other guy. He scanned Flint up and down and seemed to think better of it. He slunk back and glared.

"Whatever." He threw one final glance at Nick before he walked away.

"Sorry. Hard to grab my lunch out of my locker." Nick nodded but didn't say anything. His eyes stung, and he swallowed his tears, looking at the floor. "Nick look at me…" Blaine sighed before pulling him into a hug. That sinking feeling in his stomach increased, and he balled his fists up as he fell against Blaine's chest.

"I hate his stupid leather jacket and his stupid boots and his stupid face. I just hate him." He heaved a dry sob.

"Tsk, tsk, Nicky. That isn't very polite. Hasn't anyone ever taught you manners?"

They all turned around as Jeff walked out of a classroom, his hands in his pocket and that same damn smirk on his face.

"Go away. No." Flint's eyes narrowed, and he tensed up, trying to block Nick.

"Is that supposed to be a threat? You may have scared that other guy away, but it takes a bit more to frighten me." He pulled out a cigarette and a lighter.

"You're not supposed to smoke in school." The words slipped out of his mouth before he could stop them. Jeff looked up, raising an eyebrow.

"Really now? Never knew that." Rolling his eyes, he pulled it up to his lips before lighting a flame. He let out a puff of smoke and leaned against a locker.

"Fuck off, Sterling," Blaine growled. "You've been gone these past few days. Might as well make it permanent and do everyone a favor."

"Actually, I had out of school suspension. Have it until Monday, actually, but I figured you'd miss me. I mean, that was quite the fuck," he said, winking at Nick. Blaine broke away from Nick, and ran at Jeff, only stopped by Flint grabbing him and pulling him back. Nick flinched, wishing that Jeff's words didn't manage to twist at him the way they did.

"You fucking asshole. Do you realize – you've put him through hell!" Blaine struggled against Flint as Nick curled back up against the lockers. His eyes shut for a moment, and when they opened, he thought he saw a flicker of worry in Jeff's eyes. It was gone so quickly though that he couldn't be sure. Probably just imagining it

"Look, I don't see how this is my concern." Jeff put the cigarette to his lips and took a deep breath, his eyes closing for a moment.

"Yeah, the name-calling could have absolutely nothing to do with that video you showed in English class," Blaine muttered, and Nick's cheeks turned red again. Jeff blew a steam of smoke and looked at Nick again.

"You know, you might as well enjoy your new reputation."

"What, as senior slut?" Nick bit back, fighting back tears. He squeezed around his books, the binders and folders biting into his skin as he bit on the inside of his cheek.

"Nick, you're no –" Flint began.

"No, of course not. It's not like everyone's saying that or anything. It's not like that video of Jeff fucking me was played in front of a whole class or anything. No, of course not." The tears began to break free and slip down his cheeks. "Shit." He reached up with one arm, wiping them away on his sleeve.

Blaine pulled out of Flint's grip and took a step towards Jeff before turning to Nick. There were more footsteps, and Thad came into view as he turned a corner. "What the hell is…" He saw Nick standing there, puffy-eyed, and Jeff smoking a cigarette a few feet down, and he lunged just like Blaine had. Flint reached out and pulled him back as well, giving him an irritated look.

"Do you guys not understand the concept that we can't really help Nick if we're suspended or something?" Nick zoned out as Blaine awkwardly pulled him into a hug.

"If you need anything…" Blaine sighed. "Look, if you want to hang out today – Kurt was supposed to come over, but I can cancel."

Nick shook his head. "Can't. I'm grounded," he muttered and looked up at Jeff. The blonde's eyes flickered away as he met them, and he started to walk away.

"You know what… I think you're right. I shouldn't be smoking on school grounds. Can't get expelled now. That'd mean I wouldn't be able to come back to you, and we can't have that." His voice was teasing, and all Nick could think about was his lips against his neck, lips, everywhere. Get out. He wished he could get rid of them, but they stayed flickering in his mind.

Nick raised his head again and spoke before he could stop himself. "Just one more question… why?" He wasn't sure he wanted to hear the answer. Sure enough, Jeff didn't miss a beat. Blowing out a final line of smoke he'd been holding, he shrugged his shoulders.

"Why not?" There seemed to be something more that he wanted to say, but instead, he just cocked an eyebrow and walked away. "Catch you later, Nicky." Nick stared until the doors had shut behind him.

"Bastard," Blaine muttered as he, Flint, and Thad all began walking towards the cafeteria. Nick stood for a moment, looking longingly at the still doors and sighed, following them.

"You okay?" Flint asked.

No. Does it look like I'm okay? "Yeah, I'm fine." They made their way over and out – they always sat outside – dropping down in a table by Wes, David, Trent, and a few other people.

"What took you guys so long?" David asked, taking a sip of water from his water bottle.

"Guess who decided to drop by," Flint muttered, and all eyes fell on Nick. Looks of sympathy and murmurs spread throughout the table.

"Oh, Nick, I'm sorry. We can beat him up for you," David said, his face creasing in concern. Nick shook his head. He didn't know what was worse – the constant slurs and insults or the never-ending stream of pity. He knew it wasn't possible, but he wanted things to go back to normal – to when they'd all sit down and laugh all through lunch, cracking jokes and teasing each other. Now every time he got within a ten foot radius, they'd stop laughing and all look overly worried.

"I'm gonna go get my lunch," Nick said, getting up.

"Do you need us to come with you?" Trent asked.

"I don't need body guards. I'll be fine, guys. I'm just getting my lunch," Nick snapped, heading back in towards the cafeteria. He had to get away from them. Pulling inside, he went and stood in the line. He wasn't even hungry. He ran his fingers through his hair and sighed. Maybe a salad or something would work. When he looked up, he saw the guy in front of him smirking down.

"Hey, whore, where's your boy toy?" Fan-fucking-tastic.

"Hey, why don't you just shut it?" a voice came from behind him. Nick turned around to see a lanky Asian boy glaring at the offender in front of him.

"Look, Duval, you've got yourself a new admirer," the first boy shot back, moving forward with the line before crossing his arms over his chest, looking rather pleased.

"Anything going on here?" Mr. DuPont, the world history teacher, walked up, looking at all three of them and raising his eyebrows.

"Nothing, sir. We were just – uh –" He flushed. "Just talking." Mr. DuPont looked at him skeptically.

"Right. Keep your insults to yourself next time, okay?" Mr. DuPont walked away, and Nick turned to the other boy.

"Thanks. Not many people really want to help a slut out." His voice was low and bitter, and his fingers dug into his pants.

"You're not a slut. So, you had sex with someone? I bet more than half the people here aren't virgins, and I bet some of them have even experimented with guys. They just didn't do it with an asshole." He gave a small, supportive smile. "The name's Josh." Nick nodded and stretched out his hand.

"Nick." Josh shook it, and Nick felt a smile tug up on his lips. Someone finally was treating him as if nothing had happened. At the moment, that was more than he could have asked for. They scooted up, the salad bar coming into sight. Nick grabbed some lettuce and tomatoes before sprinkling cheese and croutons on the top. His appetite was strangely starting to come back.

"Anyway, so how are you?" He barely had paused before he added, "Okay, stupid question. Besides, you've probably been asked that a thousand times over by your friends." Josh grabbed a burger and some fries. "I don't really know what to ask you." He laughed. "Tell me about yourself."

Nick laughed as well. "I – uh – I'm eighteen. I own two dogs and am an only child. Uh –"

"Great back-cover biography you have going on there," Josh teased, and they came up to the cash register. Nick handed over the cash and turned to Josh, crossing one arm over his chest.

"I mean, I dunno how to describe myself. What am I supposed to say?"

"Well, you're part of the Warblers, so you like singing. You always carry a notebook around with you, so I'd guess you like writing. You have your group of friends, but you don't go past them, so I'd guess you're not really the outgoing type." Nick blinked several times, unsure how to respond.

"I don't even know whether I've seen you around. Almost seems like I don't need to tell you anything about me since you already seem to know it all yourself" Josh laughed.

"I probably sound like a bit of a stalker."

"Just a bit," Nick muttered, biting the inside of his cheek. At least Josh seemed nice.

"Sorry about that. I swear I've just seen you around." He paused. "Want to sit with me?" Well, it was either that or sitting with his friends and hearing nothing but pity from them. He'd just have to get his books before he left.


"Let's sit away from my friends. Not that they're not usually nice, but they can be rowdy. Besides, I want to get to know you." They dropped down at an empty table. "Stereotypical question, but what do you want to major in?"


"Ah, see, I'm more of a physics person. I want to be an engineer." Nick scrunched up his nose.

"That sounds horrid."

"Hey, I think French sounds horrid. Different people, different goals." Nick tilted his head to the side, trying to keep from laughing as Josh bit into his sandwich and a glob of ketchup fell into his lap.

"Fair enough. And that's attractive." Josh looked confused for a moment before looking down at his pants.

"Well, fuck." Sighing, he set his burger down and grabbed a napkin, dabbing at himself. "As you can probably tell, I'm really coordinated."

"Definitely." Nick covered his laugh. "Sorry. Can't help it."

"I'll find it in myself to forgive you somehow," Josh teased. He scrubbed at the ketchup for another minute before sighing. "At least the red fits our school colors …"

"That is fortunate, still," Nick said, taking a bite of his salad. Looking at his watch, he sighed. There were only ten more minutes until lunch was over. And that was thanks to Jeff popping in. His eyes rubbed the bridge of his nose. Everything somehow seemed to revolve around Jeff. Jeff with his smirk and his wandering hands and –

No, he couldn't go down that road. Not now. His fingers shook as he pulled them through his hair again. When had that even become a habit of his? He groaned.

"You all right? Nick, are you okay?" Josh's hand on his shoulder made him snap his head up. He carefully scooted his shoulder back out of Josh's reach.

"Yeah, sorry."

"There's no reason to apologize." He looked over and saw Trent walking, his eyes darting around. It looked like he had books in his arms. Probably looking for me… Sure enough, the moment he laid eyes his eyes on Nick, he sprinted over.

"Sorry, I guess you're fine. We were just worried. You left all your books." Trent put them down on the table and bit his lower lip. "Look, I get it that we're not exactly… fun recently. But we care about you, Nick, and we're worried and –"

"Thanks, Trent," Nick cut him off. He felt his cheeks flush, and he was sure by this point Josh must have thought his friends were overly protective.

"I didn't mean to bother you. Whenever you want to be around us again, feel free. Our table's always open to you, and – uh – we just don't want you to be hurt, okay?" He scuffed his foot on the floor and gave him a small smile before walking away. Nick sighed. As much as their constant worrying was getting on his nerves, he felt bad for snapping. They only cared about him, and he was sure if someone else was in his position, he would be acting the same way.

"Well, damn." Josh let out a little chuckle and arched his eyebrows. "Looks like they really care about you."

Nick nodded. "You probably think I'm a bastard for abandoning them like that."

Josh shook his head. "I don't think you're a bastard. You want people to treat you like they normally would… I mean, I think most people would want that." He shrugged his shoulders and smiled at Nick before putting a hand down on top of his. Nick stared down at it but didn't move away. What was he doing? Besides, this felt all wrong. It wasn't Jeff's hand. No. It was good that it wasn't Jeff's hand there.

"Thanks." Nick took a few more bites of his salad in silence. Things would be easier if Jeff didn't keep on popping into his head. And why should Jeff keep on popping up? So what if they'd had sex. Jeff was a dick. He'd played a sex tape of them in front of the class. He was the reason he was miserable. Nick scowled and stabbed at a piece of lettuce.

"Hey, what did that lettuce ever do to you?" Josh said, laying a hand on Nick's shoulder. Nick looked over and gave him a weak smile. "Sorry, bad timing. You looked deep in thought."

"No, just… frustrated, I suppose." Josh looked like he was going to say something, but a person walked by, bumping into Nick and making him spill his water all over his lap.

"Got tired of your bad boy, Duval? Or can you just not stand not having sex for a whole three days?" The guy laughed and walked away.

"Asshole," Josh muttered, grabbing a few napkins and handing them to Nick. Nick accepted them with a mumbled "thank you" and tried to wipe the water off of his pants.

"Great, and now it looks like I've pissed myself. Truly, this is a wonderful week."

"At least tomorrow's Friday," Josh offered. Nick nodded. Of course, that meant that Monday was closer. Monday when Jeff would be back at school. When he'd have to see him in class and in the hallways. He groaned and scrubbed almost violently at his pants.

"I hate him," he mumbled, pressing down and growling.

"Woah, woah, watch it. Here." Josh reached out. "Can I?" Nick nodded, letting his head fall forward on the palm of his hand, his elbows resting on the table. Josh reached out with a napkin, pressing down on Nick's thigh. It soaked through fairly quickly, and he grabbed another, pressing it slightly higher up. Nick hissed, and his hand went down, lying on top of Josh's for a moment before pulling it away.

"Don't want to give people the wrong impression," he muttered, blushing and going back to doing it himself. And yet he couldn't help but wonder if he would have pulled away with Jeff as well. He'd barely dabbed at it for a minute when the bell rang. Grabbing his books, he made it out to his next class, Josh walking with him.

"Hey, can I have your number?"

"Sure, but I don't think I'm going to be able to use my phone for another week or so? I'm not really sure. It got taken away from me." Still, he scribbled out his number, handing it to Josh on a torn-off corner of a sheet of notebook paper. "There you go."

The next day he sat with Josh at lunch again. He'd told the Warblers about it in advance this time so that they didn't worry. A few of them looked sad and concerned – what else was new – but they let him go. After all, Josh had made him happy. It was something that kept him anchored to the idea that everything could go back to normal.

"So, today any better than yesterday?" Josh asked him, biting into a fry.

"Kind of. I mean, I'm more used to it. And then there's you. You've helped."

Josh smiled. "Really?"

Nick nodded and ate a fry of his own. At least today he had an appetite. "Well, I'm glad. Actually, there's something I wanted to talk with you about." Nick nodded, biting into another fry and smiling. Maybe things really were turning up. Only a few people had called him out today. And, well, Mr. Harris had mentioned that Jeff would be moving seats to the other side of the room. That really was the only class he had with Jeff.

Not that he was sure Jeff wouldn't find another way to make his life miserable. He bit on his lip. Well, that wasn't particularly good, but he'd be able to deal with it, right?

"Nick?" Nick looked up.


"Did you hear a word I just said?" Oh, right, Josh was talking.

"No, sorry. Zoned out again."

"It's fine." Josh ran his tongue over his lips, and Nick couldn't help but notice the way his fingers were nervously tapping at the table. At least it looked like a nervous habit. Nick's brow scrunched in confusion.

"So, can you repeat it maybe?"

"Okay, so I was thinking… I know it's a bit of a sensitive subject, but you know how you let Jeff kind of… suck you off? You think you could maybe suck me off? I mean, no one would even have to know, but that sounded really good, and I'm just kind of a virgin and curious, and just…" Nick felt his cheeks flush, and he recoiled.

"Wh – What?"

"I mean, it could just be between me and you, but I figured you wouldn't mind since you gave it up to Jeff after knowing him for just one day. I can even pay you if you want." He bit his lip and reached out to Nick. Pulling back, Nick shook his head, his eyes prickling with tears. Of course. Why would Josh actually want to be his friend?

"You think that's the issue? Money?" He swallowed thickly, his fingers curling up and his nails painfully digging into his skin.

"Nick?" Josh tilted his head. "You okay?"

"What do you think I am… some kind of whore?" Nick's voice broke, and he barely pushed the tears back at this point.

"Well, no. I just thought that you wouldn't mind. I mean, c'mon, like I said, you gave it up to Jeff without a second thought. I don't see what the big deal is." Nick shook his head, pressing further and further away. His eyes shut. "Well, fuck, Nick, stop overreacting! I mean, if it's weird, we don't even have to talk after that if you don't want to. Or we can take a break at least."

"Don't see what the big deal is? Fuck you." Nick stumbled up out of his chair and tried to walk away, but before he made it any further, he felt Josh's hand around his wrist. He turned around, and though his eyes blurred with tears, he still managed to make out the contorted, ugly snarl on Josh's face.

"Oh, so, you'll be a slut for Mr. Attitude, but if I try to ask you politely, you won't even consider it?"

Nick ripped his hand back as if burned and ran out of the cafeteria, feeling his composure crumble and snap as he sobbed. Every insult seemed to pour into his head, suffocating him, and he stumbled against the wall, clutching it and falling down. He could barely breathe, and his eyes squeezed shut.

His fingers scraped against the bricks, and he felt a flash of pain in his hands. All he wanted was for things to go back to how they had been. Yet even Josh, the one person who seemed to be treating him normally, had only been using him to try to get into his pants. Why would he want anything else?

Slut. Whore. Desperate. The words drilled in deeper, and he cried out, his hands going to his head and squeezing as if he could somehow push them out or bury them deep enough to muffle them. "Stop it. Please stop," he begged, finally settling on the ground. His head pressed against the wall before he turned his back to it. His knees pulled up to his chest, and his forehead fell against them.

Give it up for anyone. A whimper echoed through, and his arms curled around his knees. He rocked back and forth on the balls of his feet, pulled up into a tight ball. All he wanted was someone to come up and curl their arms around him, to hold him and tell him everything would be all right even if it wasn't going to be. And it wasn't just anyone. He wanted Jeff.

Yet Jeff was the reason all of this had happened. He pressed again against his temples and let out a broken whimper. How much did Sterling pay you to make you his bitch? He shuddered, trying to take in big gulps of air unsuccessfully. "I hate you," he choked out as if Jeff could hear him.

But, of course, no one could hear him. No one had even bothered following him into the hall to see if he was all right. No one cared enough to do that. If anything, they probably found it amusing that he had run out, tears streaking down his face. He shook his head and tried to calm himself, but every few breaths, he would break down again.

"Jeff, Jeff, please I need you," he groaned. "No, go away." He couldn't sort through what he wanted. He should want Jeff to disappear, and yet… He gripped at the fabric of his pants and wailed. There were footsteps, and he felt an arm on his shoulder.

"Mr. Duval? Nick? Nick, can you hear me? Are you all right?" He couldn't respond. He felt as if he was finally shutting off, as if everything in him had just given up, crumbled up, and blown away. He couldn't find the willpower to answer it. How many times had he answered that question in the last week, anyway?

If anything was obvious, it was that he was not okay. So, instead, he just sat there, continuing to wail, trying to cut himself off from everyone else. If they wouldn't listen to him, why should he listen to them? His throat hurt and his eyes were sore and puffy. He didn't care. All he wanted at this point was to get out.

"Nick, are you okay?" All he did was cry, and that was answer enough.


The car ride home had been sufficiently awkward. His mother seemed unsure what to say. When they got home, had had run to his room, and it wasn't until his father came home and they had dinner that they confronted him. Though he didn't answer the knock on his door, they still came in.

"Sweetie?" His mother was holding a bowl of soup. "I know you said you weren't hungry…" She had a look of uncertainty on her face, as if she wasn't sure what to say.

"What exactly happened at school?" His father asked. Nick pressed further back against his bed and shook his head.

"Go away. Please." He didn't want to have to face them, tell them what had happened, see the disappointment in their eyes.

"Something happened," his mother said, walking over and sitting down next to him in the bed. What was he supposed to say? That no one saw him the same way? That even his friends treated him different? That, despite all that, all he could think about was fucking Jeff again?

"Nick, please just tell us what's wrong?" His father sat down next to his mother and reached out, but Nick dodged it. He didn't want anyone trying to hug him and tell him everything was going to be okay. Not now.

"Please, sweetie just –"

"Go away," he repeated again, looking up at them. His voice was hoarse. "Please, just leave me alone." He pressed further back against the headboard, and his knees pressed up against his chest again.

"You can't just hide away. You have to tell us something. Is it that Sterling boy again?" His mother reached out again, and he jumped up, pulling off of the bed and running out of the room. He made it to the bathroom and shut the door, turning the lock. His parents footsteps followed him, and their knocks and begging, telling him to "please, please, honey, just open the door and talk to us," were left unanswered.

It took half an hour before they disappeared, and Nick waited until the lights had turned off and they had gone to bed before moving back into his room quietly. Making sure to lock the door, he turned on a light and went over to his bed. Nick ate the soup cold.


Monday. Nick didn't want the clock to turn. He begged for something to happen just to cancel school, and yet when it came… he almost felt giddy. His fingers continued to compulsively run through his hair, and his fingers tapped on whatever surface they could find. He could barely eat breakfast, his stomach was doing nothing but churn.

"You're going to stay away from that Sterling boy, all right?" Nick looked up to see his mother looking sternly at him. He nodded and opened the car door, walking into the school. The halls were usually empty this time in the morning. Sure enough, only a few people were scattered about, and with his head bowed down, nobody seemed to notice him.

Opening his locker, he began to put all his books in when –

"Eeny, meeny, miny, moe." It was Jeff's voice, barely above a whisper. Nick froze, and suddenly he heard footsteps. There was someone behind him and hot breath on his neck. "Catch a tiger by the toe." A hand trailed around his waist and Nick froze. He should move away. He had to move away. Why wasn't he moving?

"If he hollers…" Jeff trailed off, and his hands dipped down, brushing against his inner thigh and cupping him. Nick's breath hitched, and his mind froze. "Let him go." Nick pulled back, his face flushed, trying to form some sort of a response, but Jeff's tongue traced his lips, the metal of his tongue ring glinting.

"Eeny, meeny, miny, moe," Jeff finished. He looked Nick up and down, and Nick swallowed.

"Fuck off." Nick's voice was rough, and he reached backwards, gripping the lockers and tightening his jaw.

"Didn't hear you holler, Nicky." Nick pressed backwards, his throat tightening.

"Why won't you just leave me alone?"

"Where's the fun in that?" Leaning forward, Jeff grabbed his arms, pinning him to the lockers. Nick weakly struggled against his hold. He felt Jeff's breath against his lips moments before their lips crashed together, and he let his head fall back. Desperate. His arms seemed to be suddenly reduced to nothing, and he quit pushing back as Jeff's tongue traced his lips, mapping and memorizing it.

Jeff brought a knee up, pressing down lightly between Nick's knees. The pressure made him gasp, and a flash of pleasure flooded through him. Slut. He closed his eyes, whimpering, unable to stop that tight heat from pooling as he slowly rocked his knee up and down. Whore. He pressed back weakly, and Jeff groaned, dropping lower, his tongue tracing Nick's neck. The cold edge of the tongue ring ran down, gently grazing his neck as well, and he shivered. Freak.

He let out a small whimper and shoved back. Jeff tilted his head, surprised, and Nick took that moment of surprise to pull out of his grasp completely. Jeff reached out for him, but he ran down the halls. Throwing a final look behind his shoulders, he called out, "Just leave me alone!" He heard the click of Jeff's boots as he chased after him, and Nick shook, feeling tears forming at his eyes. He pushed them back. Why did he feel so dirty? He had tried to get away.

"Nicky, c'mon, don't –"

"I hate you." The words left his mouth before he could stop them, and he pounded against the floor, shuddering and gasping for breath, feeling his eyes prickle. Maybe he wasn't any better than those people thought of him. He hadn't tried hard enough to get away from Jeff. And, worse yet, he had enjoyed it.

He waited until he was in an empty classroom before falling down to the ground, cradling his head between his hands. There were no tears, but his breaths came hard and fast. How could he still want him, after everything Jeff had put him through?

There was the click of boots. "Oh God," Nick muttered to himself. Sure enough, Jeff appeared at the doorway, slipping into the room and closing the door behind him.

"What's your problem?"

"What's my problem? What's my fucking problem? Looked in a mirror lately, you asshole? That's my problem."

"Woah, hey there now," Jeff said, leaning back against the whiteboard and grabbing an Expo marker from behind him and flipping it. "Manners, manners, Nicky." Nick scoffed, shaking his head and pressing back against the wall.

"I'm never going to get rid of you," he groaned, looking away and pressing against a cold leg of the desk.

"You know you love me," Jeff teased. He pulled off of the chalkboard, and Nick whimpered. Jeff crouched down next to him, and his finger traced down Nick's jawbone. Nick pulled back.

"Get away from me."

"I don't see you running away this time." His fingers moved upwards, and he traced Nick's lips slowly. Though Nick shuddered against the touch and felt a wave of revulsion pass through him, he couldn't find it in himself to pull away. Weak. "Remember what it felt like?" Jeff's lips pressed to his ear and he bit down lightly. "How could you forget?"

The door swung open, and Nick jerked back. He looked up to see Josh staring down at the two of them, wide-eyed. He pulled himself up, clenching his jaw. "This isn't what it looks like," he started, though he had no clue why he was trying to explain it to Josh.

"Sure it isn't," Josh hissed, his eyes narrowing. Nick took a step away from Jeff and closer to Josh, though he edged away from him, moving back towards the teacher's desk. "I ask politely for a simple, damn favor, and you throw a fit. Sterling here comes back, and you throw yourself at him instead." Nick shook his head wildly. "Good thing I didn't come a few minutes later because he might have been fucking you over the desk."

"That's funny," Jeff said, stepping forward. "I don't remember anyone asking your opinion." He scanned Josh up and down. "Though I can see why he'd turn you down. Looks like that, it'd be hard to want to do it if you weren't blindfolded."

"Bite me, Sterling."

Jeff arched an eyebrow. "I only do that if you ask nicely." Nick pushed past both of them, running into the halls. He turned the corner and –

"Sorry." He stared down at the ground, shaking and trying to regain himself. He felt two arms around him quickly, and his head tilted up to see Blaine looking at him, completely worried.

"Nick, are you all right?" He shook his head. "Stupid question. Of course not." He pulled him in tighter and ran his hand down Nick's back. "Where is he? What did he do to you?" Nick shook his head, trying to pull away. He didn't want to be around anyone. Blaine held on for a moment or two longer, but Nick broke free, running out of his grip and to his first period class. He collapsed down on the table and gave the teacher a small smile before putting his head down and sighing.

The entire day seemed to pass the same way. He went to the library during lunch, afraid to sit with anyone or brush into Jeff. Every sliver of blond hair set him into a panic, and he hated it. All he wanted to do was go home and get away. Still, when he'd close his eyes, he could feel phantom fingers on the back of his neck, and he hated it.

Nick pulled into English class tentatively. There was a chuckle or two, and Blaine leapt at him immediately. "Where were you Friday? I didn't see you after lunch. Nick, you can't shut everyone out." His voice was low, and he grabbed Nick's arm. Tugging back, Nick leaned forward in his seat, looking up at Mr. Harris.

When Jeff walked into the room, everyone paused to see what would happen. A low whispered settled across, but as he made his way towards the seat where he had sat before, besides Nick, Mr. Harris called out. "Jeremy sits there now. Your new seat is over here." He motioned to a seat next to the teacher's table and narrowed his eyes.

Jeff looked momentarily irritated, but as he walked by Nick, he turned and winked, running his tongue over his lips. A few snickers echoed through the room. "Did you two miss each other?" a boy named Ryan asked, leaning in closer to Nick. "I mean, I'm sure Jeff missed his boy toy, but…"

"Shove it," Blaine snapped back, reaching out for Nick. Nick shook him off.

"I can handle myself," he muttered, putting his head on his arms and looking up at the front of the class. He narrowed his eyes, trying to pretend like it didn't matter what they said. Throughout all of class, he heard whispers, and he felt Jeff's eyes on him. He tried to ignore it though the voice inside of his head told him to "look, look at him god damn it." Swallowing thickly, Nick wished the voice in his head would shut up.

When the bell rang, he gave no chance for anyone to say anything. He was out the door and to his locker before most people had filed out of the classrooms. His mother was waiting to pick him up, and he was gone before anyone could approach him.

Once home, his mother handed him back the battery to his phone, which they'd taken away while grounding him. "Look, Nick, I don't know why you won't talk with us, but at least talk with a friend then," she muttered, reaching out to stroke his hair and sighing when he pulled back.

Though he wasn't sure why, Nick waited until he got to his room before turning on his phone. A few texts from the Warblers were there, asking him what had happened on Friday, but that wasn't the only thing.

"Sterling's made you his bitch."

"How much did he pay you before you gave it up?"


His hands shook, and he threw his phone across the bed, his eyes blurring. He wasn't even sure how they had gotten his number, but that didn't matter. They did, and even his phone wasn't safe from the insults. He felt like he was going to throw up, like something was caught in his throat. His fingers gripped the sheets, and he curled up, closing his eyes and pretending like he didn't have homework to do or things to worry about. Within minutes, he fell into a rocky sleep.


Nick had been avoiding everyone all day. He'd barely made it away from Flint earlier, and Jeff had tried to find him several times throughout the day. Josh appeared another time, and Nick was almost late to third period. His parents had forced him to go to school that morning; if it was his choice, he'd be at home pretending no one existed. His phone hadn't been touched since he'd turned it on yesterday, and he wasn't planning on replying to anyone.

He was supposed to go to lunch now. He thought of the Warblers, worrying about him, and he felt a drop in his stomach. Grabbing his lunch, he heard a voice. "You're disgusting, you know." He looked up to see someone he didn't even know looking at him with a curled lip. "With another boy." The boy's hands reached out, shoving Nick backwards. "Fag." With another step, Nick took one back. "And now the whole school knows."

Nick ran past the boy, towards the bathroom, wondering how many times it made that he'd cried within the past week. He got inside ran into a stall, falling back down against its wall and to the ground. Looking up, there was a message written in sharpie:

Need to get off? A blowjob? A fuck? Hit me up at: 555-392-4584. PS I never say no!

Underneath that there was a quick drawing of a penis. Nick froze. That was his number. His breath seemed to stick in his throat. But who had his number and would –

Josh. Something broke inside of him, and he ran out of the stall, a shout breaking through his lips as the stall door slammed against the stall's wall. He ran to the sink, gripping the edge and breathing harshly. He'd barely taken a few breaths when he heard the door shut and lock. His head snapped up, and in the mirror he saw Jeff standing behind him. "You know, if this were a horror movie, you'd be dead right now," Jeff said calmly, his head tilting slightly to the side as he looked at Nick.

Nick barely registered what he was doing, but his head buzzed with anger, and he lunged at Jeff. His hands reached out as he yelled, and he shoved his chest, pushing him up against the wall. His hands lashed out again, and his fingers curled up into fists. Nick sobbed, hitting him harder and harder.

"Where's your tough boy act now?" He slapped him across the face, feeling sick. His stomach churned and he gagged, but his fists kept on moving, punching his chest. There was a cracking sound as he shoved him again, and Jeff's head hit the tilted walls.

"Fight back!" he screamed, his voice breaking. Tears streamed down his face, and Jeff blurred in front of him. The energy seemed to drain from his muscles, but he kept on going, his entire body shaking. "Fight back…" It was infinitely worse with Jeff standing there, stock still. Nick sobbed and shook, slowly deflating. His hands moved weakly. "Fight back." His mind buzzed, and he fell forward, into Jeff, his hand reaching out and grabbing his chin, pressing their lips together.

There was the unmistakable taste of blood in the kiss, and Nick whimpered, pulling him closer, nipping at his lips, running his tongue over them. His entire body felt weak and he shook as if cold, but he continued pulling closer. Pulling back to take a breath, he let out a broken whimper. "I hate you." He pressed another light kiss against Jeff's lips. "I hate you." He murmured the words out like a chant before collapsing against Jeff's chest, his head pounding and everything inside of him feeling tired.

Jeff's arms circled him, holding him up. He didn't say anything, simply ran his fingers up and down. There was nothing dirty or wrong with it. It was just like Blaine had tried to hold him. Or how his mother and father had tried to reach out and hug him. He wanted to help, to be there for support. "I'm sorry," he finally whispered, pressing a kiss to the top of Nick's head. "I'm so sorry."

Nick pressed into him and allowed himself to be lowered down. They sat on the ground, Jeff holding him close. For a few minutes they said nothing. Jeff ran his fingers through Nick's hair as Nick's sobs slowly subsided and his breathing went back to normal. They just sat there like that for a few moments before Jeff tilted his head up. Nick's eyes widened.

There was a trail of blood under his nose to his lips, and his lower lip was swollen. "Shit, you look like a mess." Jeff laughed quietly, his sleeve going up and wiping some of it away, wincing.

"It's okay. I can deal. I just need to make sure that you're okay? People are horrible, and I –" It seemed to be taking a lot for him to say this. A scowl flickered on his lips, and he shook his head. "It wasn't right of me to do what I did either. I fucked up."


"What?" Jeff asked, confused.

"Why did you do it? Like, there had to have been a reason, right?" Jeff paused for a minute, his jaw clenching and unclenching.

"Look, I can't tell you everything. Not now. Maybe not ever. I'm not the sort of person who likes to talk about –"

"Did it have to do with your parents?" There was a moment of silence before Jeff nodded, and his eyes flickered away. Nick noticed that his hands minimally tightened on his hair. "What happened?" Jeff pushed back a bit, his voice hardening.

"I told you I didn't want to talk about it. I know that you want explanations, but I can't give those to you." He sighed, and leaned closer, pressing his lips to Nick's. A small whimper of pain escaped his lip – Nick was sure that it hurt – but Jeff pressed closer, his hands falling to Nick's shoulders and tightening on Nick. "But you have to believe me when I say I'm sorry." He pulled back so that his breath whispered against Nick's lips. His fingers pulled more quickly through Nick's hair.

"I believe you." A bit of him wanted to be angry, wanted to hate Jeff for what he had done, for the way everyone looked at him, but he couldn't. Jeff's fingers trailed down, and his thumb rubbed at Nick's cheek before tracing down his neck. Nick's breath hitched.

Jeff's eyes seemed to darken with that sound, and his hands fell under the hem of Nick's shirt, tracing his collar bone. Something told Nick to push Jeff away, but he couldn't find the strength. In fact, instead he leaned forward, his eyes closing. His lips pressed to Jeff's neck, and he flicked his tongue out, tasting the skin. Growling, Jeff pushed him back, staring at him for a moment.

"What is it about you…" Jeff let the sentence trail off before running his tongue over his lip, trying to wipe away the blood. His pupils dilated and his lips twitched upwards into a smirk. "My Nicky." Before Nick could respond, he leaned forward, biting at Nick's neck. His hands dipped under Nick's shirt and explored the flat of his stomach.

Nick arched his back, his head tilting backwards. "Feels amazing," he murmured. His eyes closed and he let Jeff gently run across the skin. He moved upwards, his fingers drawing light circles, and his lips dove down to the hem of his shirt, nibbling there. After a moment, Jeff's other hand lifted up as well, and he pulled Nick's shirt over his head. Nick blinked as it fell on the ground. They really were doing this. Suddenly, he couldn't care.

His own hands went to Jeff's back, and he pulled him closer before running his fingers down Jeff's sides. Nick moved down to Jeff's chest, trying to run them down there, but Jeff jerked, whimpering and hissing in pain.

"Bruised," Jeff muttered, his eyes closed. Nick nodded.

"Right." He paused before adding, "Well, you deserved it." Jeff's lips twisted back into a smirk.

"To be fair, I gave you bruises of your own." Nick's eyes flashed, and he pressed Jeff up against the wall, his arms holding his shoulders. Jeff groaned, flipping positions. "Not gonna win that easily." Nick pushed back, but when Jeff's lips dipped down to his nipple, swirling his tongue around it, he went limp against the wall, gasping.

"Fuck." As much as he hadn't wanted to admit it, he had been craving this. Jeff's fingers moved to the waistband of his pants, running around it, teasing him. Nick's hips jerked up, and Jeff bit lightly on the sensitive nub. "Don't stop. Just don't –"

"I've forgotten how vocal you are." He licked down, biting occasionally and making a small trail down to his waistband. At that point, however, he pulled back. He licked his lips and looked up and down Nick. "Gorgeous and so wanting." Nick pulled him closer, making a small sound at the back of his throat, and Jeff leaned back. "I don't think so."

Growling, Nick grabbed him and flipped them over again, pressing him tightly up against the wall and pushing Jeff up so that he was standing. His fingers fumbled with the zipper of Jeff's pants. If Jeff wasn't going to do anything, he wasn't planning on sitting around and waiting. He tugged his pants down, cupping him over his boxers.

Nick pulled back before placing his mouth over the bulge, sucking over the fabric of his boxers. Jeff keened, letting out a low moan. "I – I'd ask where you learned to do that, but you learned from the be-best," Jeff stuttered, his head falling back. Nick simply laughed, his tongue running over it and his cheeks hallowing. His hands moved to Jeff's hips, and he dipped under the shirt, lying only on his stomach, careful not to go higher and touch the bruises.

"Now who's desperate?" Nick asked, pressing a kiss to Jeff's hipbone.

"Bastard." Jeff groaned and jerked his hips forward, and Nick felt the muscles tighten under his fingers.

"Like you said, I learn from the best." He pulled at the waistband for a moment before dragging his boxers to the ground, his eyes widening slightly as Jeff's cock sprung free. He paused for a moment, trying to process what was going on through his brain, but he was soon jerked out of his thoughts by Jeff scooting his hips forward.

"Stop teasing," Jeff moaned, and that was all it took. Nick's lips wrapped around the head, his tongue dragging slowly along and tasting the slit. He chuckled before letting his mouth slide further, his tongue running along the backside of it. He went further, his cheeks hallowing as he sucked, and Jeff reached down, tangling his fingers into his hair. "God, yes. Fuck." Letting his throat relax, he took Jeff as deeply as he could before pulling back. He set a slow pace, working himself up faster. Occasionally he'd pull away completely, only to trace small patterns on the sides of his cock with his tongue, dancing against it.

He ran over the slit again, his fingers wrapping around the base. Dipping his head down, he nipped at Jeff's thighs and lifted his head up. "Let go."

"Wh –what?" Jeff looked confused and distracted, not that Nick could blame him.

"Let go. Fuck my mouth." Jeff's eyes widened and darkened, and he pushed Nick's head up. Nick let out a small yelp of surprise, opening his mouth and letting Jeff push in. There was a moment where he relaxed and adjusted to the feeling before his hips began moving again, and he thrust into Nick's mouth. His hand guided Nick's head, and his pushed him down, forcing Nick to take him deeper. His breaths hitched, and Nick rolled his hips against the floor, the mere sight of Jeff losing it completely making him hard.

His hand fell down, and he rubbed himself over his pants, groaning and rocking his hips. He let Jeff continue to guide him, and his throat relaxed. Occasionally, he'd press too hard, and he'd gag, the back of his throat brushing up against the tip of Jeff's cock. Still, Jeff would let go before thrusting in again. His jaw was starting to ache, and Jeff's movements were becoming erratic. He shook and whined. Small moans left his lips, and his hand trembled.

"Fuck." Nick looked up, groaning around his cock as he saw Jeff's lips fall open and his eyes flutter somewhere between open and shut. He could feel that he was close, and as Jeff relaxed, he pulled down, tongue swirling over the head. That was all it took. Jeff let out a coarse shout, and Nick tightened his lips as he came. It was bitter and slightly salty, but he continued bobbing up and down, milking him for what he was worth.

Jeff collapsed against the wall, and Nick pulled back, swallowing. He wasted no time before standing up as well, undoing his pants and pulling them to the ground. Jeff growled. "My turn." The blonde's hair stuck to his forehead with sweat and he looked exhausted, but he shoved Nick's hand out of the way, his own hand falling under the waistband of his boxers and tugging at Nick's cock.

Nick let out a choked moan, his hips jerking up. His hand reached to Jeff's shoulder, and he steadied himself, whimpering. His stomach clenched, and he knew he was close already. "Not gonna last long," he mumbled, trying to get his hips to work in rhythm with Jeff's unsteady, harsh jerks.

It took only a minute before he flashed white and felt it course through him. He let out a muffled shout, his head falling forward as he bit on Jeff's shoulder. Nick collapsed, and Jeff's hand reluctantly pulled out. Nick's eyes flickered up, and he let out a moan as Jeff licked the come off of his fingers, his eyes fixed on Nick.

"Well, then," Nick muttered, using the wall for support and laughing. Jeff nodded in agreement.

"Damn that mouth of yours, Duval."

Nick quirked an eyebrow. "I dunno. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seemed to me like you enjoyed it." There was a pause before a wide grin spread across Jeff's face.

"I've taught you well."