Gene and Finny's friendship could be explained as if it were an elastic band. In the first sprouting of the friendship, the band formed perfectly and quietly, bringing the two strangers to realize that they had found a set of shoulders to stand on in a troubling time. It grew stronger and thicker as they spent more time together in laughter and fun. The band of friendship grew stronger too, as they offered support, asked advice, and shared a secret or two. Gene and Finny valued their priceless band of friendship, but never realized it could possible have a breaking point.
"You look...so ridiculous," Gene started an inevitable fit of laughter at his friend's expense. Finny glowered, and looked down at his suit, wondering what could be wrong with it.
"I do not."
"Here here, let me help you," Gene stood up and walked to Finny. "You just need to fix your tie, and tuck in your shirt more."
He pushed the shirt in Finny's slacks a little more, and petted a few wrinkles out. He then grabbed the tie and adjusted it gently to his friends neck. Finny smiled at his particular friend, and as they stared at each other the aforementioned band stretched the smallest bit. Gene cleared his throat to void the awkwardness.
"There you go, perfect. Get off to your dinner, don't be late."
"No promises, but don't wait up roomy!" Phineas skipped out the door, still thinking about Gene's hands on his tie.
In the next few weeks, the stretching still occurred. The two boys were at a meeting for the Suicide Society. The meeting, however, had lost all forms of formality, and was more of a get-together. Finny had been in the middle of telling a slightly fabricated story.
"...and when there was only one guys left, all I had to do was jump at him and he high-tailed it back to the woods."
"Sure," Brinker rolled his eyes at the end of the story, and he wasn't alone.
"Its all true, every word," Finny put his hand over his heart as a swear. "Now its Gene's turn for a story."
"Actually I need to go," Gene stood up from the grass. "I have a major test tomorrow."
Phineas grumbled," Come on, you don't need to study! Stay!"
"I do Finny, sorry, plus I want to get a somewhat decent sleep tonight," he said, having been kept up last night because Finny wanted to sneak out.
Phineas sighed and decided to adjourn the meeting that wasn't going anywhere anyway. He kindly offered to help Gene study for his Trig test. Unfortunately, he wasn't much help.
"I think... If you take that side first you can...wait that doesn't make sense...oh I know..."
"No Finny, no you don't, you have no idea what you're doing," Gene commented with a smile. "I'll do this on my own."
An offended Phineas mocked him sarcastically but laughed. He decided it would be a good time to catch up on reading Treasure Island for English class. He read and Gene studied in a calm silence, but then just as Jim Hawkins was eavesdropping in the apple barrel, Phineas felt something touch his shoulder. It was Gene's temple. He had fallen asleep in the middle of an equation.
"Gene..." Phineas nudged his friend a little, but it only made the sleeping Gene snuggle up closer. Finny laughed at the absurdity of the situation, and finished his chapter. He wanted to move, but his friend was very peaceful in his unconsciousness, and extremely warm. He felt a little guilty after a while though, utilizing his friend's warmth for his own personal relaxation. Finny gingerly closed his friend's Trig book and moved softly away. He used his fantastic upper body strength to pick up Gene and carry him to his bed. He wrapped his sleeping body up in his sheet, and took off his shoes.
"Good night buddy," Finny said, and felt the strangest pang in his heart. The band stretched more, now noticeably, and Gene watched his friend get ready for bed, having been woken up by Finny's arms, and tried hard to control the new thoughts forming in his head.
This incident was a major spark. The tension rose almost everyday, even though they tried with no avail to stifle it. They would linger slightly, with every touch. Gene would become frustrated and Finny would rub his back and comfort him. They always sat next to each other.
The shoulder incident happened again, but differently, a week after the first one. Phineas fell asleep on the last chapter of his book, sitting shoulder to shoulder with Gene, studying history. His head was slumped away from Gene, and Gene noticed when he snored loudly.
Gene had to stop his laughter from erupting by biting his finger.
"How cute," he quipped sarcastically, patting Finny's leg. He continued studying for a while, gravity causing him to slowly slouch. Gravity also changed his direction, because his head ended up once again on Finny's shoulder. He didn't even notice until twenty minutes later, but told himself it was too late to move away, and decided he should feign sleep.
Phineas woke up after a few minutes, and smiled when he noticed Gene. He rested his head on his, and Gene noticed of course. They would have stayed there, lying on each other in silence, if a group of people hadn't ran past their door chanting loudly, causing them both to jump. Finny made a quick attempt to diminish any remaining tension.
"Oh man, did we fall asleep? I should stop staying up so late."
"Mmm hmm," Gene said nervously. They both had a silent agreement not to mention it.
And after that, Gene was in a horrible mood. He would avoid Finny as much as he could, and snapped rudely for no reason. This was happening to a denying anger residing in his mind. Finny would try to find an excuse to touch him, but Gene would not let it happen. The band was stretching to far for Gene to handle, but Finny had to say something.
"Are you okay?"
Gene looked confused, "What? Of course I am."
"Well you've been in a god awful mood the last few days, and it's starting to get old."
"Sorry," Gene said quietly.
"Yeah, I don't think you are. Is something on your mind?"
You, thought Gene, but he remained quiet.
"Come on Gene," Finny moved over to where he was sitting and leveled his face with Gene's. "What's up."
Finny had beautiful blonde hair, Gene noticed. His eyes were so deep and understanding, causing Gene to squirm with guilt at what he was thinking. He surprised himself by starting to cry.
"Gene! What's wrong?" without thinking, Finny embraced him. "What's wrong?"
He held his crying head to his chest, and rubbed his back until Gene was ready to answer.
"It's just... I've been really stressed... school and all. I'm sorry I've been so irritable," he said, and Finny knew it was a lie, but let it be.
"It's okay, but just...If you ever want to talk about anything, I'm here buddy. I don't like it when you're upset."
Gene smiled and savored the embrace for a little longer before breaking away.
"You're a good friend," he said solemnly, and they exchanged a meaningful glance. Gene ended his short vendetta very quickly.
The tension began to escalate once again. Hugs became more frequent, and for sillier reasons, such as congratulations for good grades. They jumped out of the tree together more often, sans shirts and their childish attempts at drowning each other were just excuses to be closer.
One day Gene stormed in, annoyed at his day. Finny was sitting on the couch, and like always, asked him how he was. Gene then deliberately sat next to him and rested his head on his shoulder. Phineas was pretty surprised, but Gene seem unfazed as he started to rant about his day. When he was finished, he moved off his friend and asked if they had any food, like nothing had happened. Finny was flabbergasted but happy.
Two days later, Finny said, "Let's go to the beach."
Gene didn't hesitate to agree.
It was a cool day, and the waves smashed quietly against the sand, pulling in back and forth. The two friends lay on the sand next to each other, in swim trunks and unnecessary sunscreen.
"This is relaxing, we needed this I think," Phineas offered after a silent spell.
"No kidding," Gene said dreamily, closing his eyes.
The silence was lovely and cut through gently by the ocean. They enjoyed the quiet time, and the presence of the other.
"Look at this shell," Finny finally said, holding a glossy white hermit's shell.
"Whoa!" Gene rolled over closer to Finny and snatched the shell from between his fingers.
"Hey don't take that! Give it back!" Phineas tackled him quickly.
"No, Finny!" Gene protested.
They started an intense struggle for the pretty little relic. Finny had very adroit wrestling skills and flipped Gene onto his back, taking the shell. They were now lying on a beach, right on top of each other, and they started to laugh.
"Would you get off of me?" Gene asked politely, smiling.
"Hmm I don't know, do you promise not to take my shell again?" teased Finny, who's nose was almost touching Gene's.
Gene giggled and promised, and his friend hesitantly got off of him. Gene gave him a good push, because of how extremely unmanly the situation had been. They laughed together and then shared yet another meaningful glance.
" You're my best friend, you know," Finny said quietly. Gene just smiled shyly.
"You're mine too."
The band of friendship was now stretched out so far that both of them could feel it shockingly on their nerves. They both didn't dare break it. Gene cleared his throat, and suggested they go back to avoid trouble.
It started to get cold, and the boys needed to be warm. Finny would make hot chocolate and they would sip it together under one blanket. Occasionally the tension would become extreme and they would leave under any pretext they could. Finny couldn't help but be thankful that Gene was going home for Christmas, so he wouldn't have to fight all his painful urges.
"Have fun man, I'll miss you," Phineas admitted as Gene was going out the door. "Don't eat to much, we need you fit for track."
"Calm down, that isn't for a while. I'll eat all I want."
"Hurry back," Finny said, voice quiet. He would actually miss the tension a little.
A lot.
They hugged. A long lingering hug, tender and loving. Finny pulled slowly away and put his hand to his friends face briefly, whispering a last goodbye. Gene shivered at the cold touched but wished it had stayed long enough for him to heat it up.
"Bye."
They both knew then, that keeping the band secure was not going to happen. It was hanging on the smallest of threads, but was weighed down everyday by the presence of love. Yet still, neither broke it.
Dreams of Gene flooded Finny's mind, through both the day and night. Even Christmas cheer wasn't a good distraction. He felt like his other friends still at Devon could help him realize he was being ridiculous, but they just made him want Gene more. He wrote stories to occupy his mind, and drew pictures. His works would get torn up immediately after however. When Gene came back, he knew what had to be done.
"I brought cookies!" Gene sang through the dorm as he came back from his ten day vacation. He set them on his desk and Finny came out of the room.
"Gene! Fantastic, I've been so damn bored without you! I have many more stories!"
"Come on, you can't have had accumulated that many," commented Gene as he shook his head. They came in together for a hug. Gene was cold and snowy and Finny was making him warm.
"I really did miss you," Gene said quietly.
They hugged a very long time without saying anything. They just wanted so badly to hold each other. Finally it was Finny who said something.
"I thought about you a lot..."
Gene moved to face him, but their arms were still around the others waist.
"That's...weird."
"Yeah, sorry. I just..." he looked to ground, face showing an inward battle. Gene thought he looked so beautiful, he had to leave.
"I need to unpack..."
"Wait a second, I..." Finny was unsure of what to say. "I just really... Can't keep this up anymore."
"Finny what...?" Gene started but then Phineas gave him a deep stare that said everything, making Gene panic a bit, "I really need to unpack."
"Damn Gene, just..."
Finny pulled their lips together, he couldn't help himself . His love for Gene had grown so heavy that it snapped the band of friendship in two, and two boys were no longer just friends.
Gene held the soft kiss for a moment, entranced, but then pushed away.
"Finny, you just kissed me."
"Uh huh," he replied, nodding nervously.
"Why did you... why would you do something like that?"
Finny was extremely exasperated by his impulse, "I don't know, I just did. I had to, it was killing me not to. I'm in love with you, I'm sorry but I really really am!" Guilt started to set in.
Gene just stared at him for a while, surprised but understanding. He touched his forehead to Finny's.
"We can't," he whispered, closing his eyes. Finny did the same, and prolonged the loving silence before saying...
"Why not?"
Gene moved his head, he had to think about the answer. He sighed and put his hand to the other boy's cheek.
"You know why."
But then Phineas smiled his sparkling mysterious smile, making Gene's heart skip at least two beats. He pulled his head close again, and Gene thought he was going attempt a kiss but instead his intention was to whisper something in his ear.
"What's life without a little risk?" Finny's breath in Gene's ear made him giggle.
"I made you laugh," Phineas was still smiling.
Gene could resist that look anymore, and since they wouldn't be able to fix the friendship anyway...
"Yeah you did...damn it all," Gene closed the wasteful gap between their lips. He could feel Phineas smiling as they kissed slowly, holding each other tighter, constricted by their coats. They kissed passionately running fingers through hair and arms under coats until Finny broke momentarily, to breath, but still held his lips millimeters away from Gene's.
"I've wanted to kiss you for the longest time," he said, hand on the nape of Gene's neck, holding their faces together.
"Then why'd you just stop?" Gene said and it made Phineas laugh and kiss him once more.
Unfortunately they had to stop sometime. It was when they ended up on their couch, stripped of coats and scarves, that Gene finally pulled away exasperated.
"Finny, we should stop," Gene said, breathing hard.
Finny grumbled in a flirtatious way, "Nooo..."
"Please," Gene stroked his blonde hair lovingly.
Finny just sighed and offered one last peck, which Gene accepted, "I love you Gene."
Gene smiled, "I love you too."
No, they were no longer friends, but both of them couldn't be happier about it. The white shell sat on a shelf next to Treasure Island. Finny agreed it would be both of theirs.