Ninth grade is when a rumor started; circling around the high school and causing everyone to look at him differently.

Have you heard? Hamish is gay.

He could hear them, whisper, point; the girls would giggle, the boys would look down on him, shove him when he passed by.

I heard he's in love with that friend of his-

You mean his only friend?

The pretty boy, Alex something or other.

Hamish had endured the entire school day. Alex didn't show up, it was a good thing, because that rumor, well, it was what he had told Alex in confidence. The boy betrayed his trust and told the whole school a lie. He never said he was in love with him, no, never. He scoffed at himself; even if it might be true, he had only admitted that he thought he might be gay. That he might be having feelings towards someone of the same gender. That was it.

Alex was a dick about it, as Hamish thought he would be. No, he didn't care he was gay(both their parents were gay), but he made a point to exploit it, even tried to kiss him before busting up and prodding him about his 'crush'.

Gone were the years of their youth; Alex became popular, he had an easy time getting friends, an even easier time getting girls to fall for him. He was older, but he was hardly more mature. Whatever the reason, he had decided to tell everyone Hamish's secret, and even twist the truth by telling them all he was hopelessly in love with him.

Arrogant sod.

Love, really, no, never. Not in love, crush maybe, yes, definitely a crush. But hardly love. Maybe he was romanticizing their relationship too much; thinking of the years when they were kids, when cuddling and little kisses were just innocent affectionate gestures. They didn't mean anything, they had been children after all. He really needed to just move on, get him out of his head, he wasn't worth his time. Definitely not.

He should never have told him. Alex wasn't mature enough to handle it, obviously. Now he had to deal with all the flack from school on top of it.

He stomped up the steps to 221B, slammed open the door and threw his book bag on the couch.

"Hey there." Johns calm voice sounded from the kitchen and Hamish forced himself to be more composed. It wasn't like him to lose his temper. "What's wrong?"

"'Sorry," Hamish huffed, hanging up his coat, "Where's father?"

"At the morgue, Molly saved a severed foot for him." John took down a second mug from the cabinet and began to prepare tea for his son, "Come sit, tell me about it."

Hamish bit his lip, "I'd rather not."

"You're upset, talking would help. Or is it one of those teenager things?" John said jokingly.

Hamish rolled his eyes and took a seat at the table. The table was clean mostly, which was unusual. Sherlock must be off on another venture, lord knows what the kitchen will endure once he returned with that foot. He gingerly sipped the tea John placed in front of him, looking at his dad that now sat in the seat across. "It's just, a rumor, and, I don't like that everyone knows. It wasn't supposed to happen like that and, I'm just," Hamish frowned into his mug, "I hate Alex."


Well, that explained enough already.

John's expression pinched, it was no secret he wasn't fond of the boy(or the family), but he had tried to be accepting over the years. It was Hamish's only lasting friendship. "What did he say?"

Hamish flushed, "That's, that's not so much important. It's just that he said it, and he told me he wouldn't tell."

John couldn't help his smile, "Do you have a crush on someone?"


John chuckled, "I'm sorry, go on."

"Is it," Hamish looked back at the table, "Is it really that obvious?"

"So, he told everyone you had a crush on someone?" He said gently, "Is that it? That's not the worst thing, it might even help you along with this person. You know, hearing it around school. Maybe he did you a favor?" Though, he didn't want to defend Alex, not at all, but it could have helped. Hamish was shy when it came to his emotions, and he had never had a crush before.

"No, it's not," Hamish's brow pinched, "The whole school knows I'm gay now, and I mean, I didn't say who I liked but Alex was being a dic-"


"A, uh, jerk, and he told the school I was in love with him."

"But you do have a crush on a boy?"

"Well, yeah."

"But not Alex?" John asked, sounding a little too hopeful.

"Well, no, it uh, it is Alex, but I'm hardly in love! And I didn't want everyone knowing! I didn't even want him knowing." He ended in a grumble.

Well, that was an unfortunate turn up. John shifted the mug back and forth between his hands. "So, what are you going to do about it? Now that everyone knows?"

"I don't know. I don't want to talk to Alex anymore."

"So you don't like him anymore?"

"Well," Hamish sighed, "Not right at this moment."

"You two should probably resolve this."

John was always the voice of reason, but he didn't want to hear reason right now. He opened his mouth to protest when the doorbell rang. Sherlock wouldn't have rang the bell, Mrs. Hudson would have rapped in that gentle way of hers, and Mycroft would have tapped the door with his umbrella. There were rarely strange visitors(when not scheduled via email appointment); Lestrade didn't have a defined way of knocking, but obviously they were both caught up in who it could be, that the bell rang again and John was the first to his feet.

Hamish craned his body back to look around the corner when the door opened. "Hamish doesn't want to see you right now-"

Hamish's heart skipped and he got to his feet, ready to bolt; torn between wanting to confront Alex himself or be a coward and let John do it.

"Oh bloody hell, you know I don't like you coming here; and is that blood? Do you seriously have blood on you right now?"

Jim pushed his way through first, yanking Alex through by his wrist. Moriarty did in fact have blood splatter on his face(though mostly wiped off) and a residual pattern on the collar of his white under shirt. "I'm assuming the detective is out?" He said, though his expression went from impish to bored in a second. He offered a mocking wave to Hamish and turned back on his heel to address John. "Don't get yourself so worked up, I came here to force Alex to apologize."

John was red in the face as he shut the front door, running a hand through his hair as he tried to calm himself. "Why do you care about that?"

"Well," He gestured to himself, "As you've noticed, I've gotten myself all dirty because my boy here couldn't stop whining about Hamish."

"I wasn't whining." Alex grumbled, flushing and avoiding looking at Hamish; he hadn't even tried to break Moriarty's loose hold on him.

"You were," Jim edged, though continued speaking at John, "So, I need to keep his head in the game if you understand? A useless employee is a dead one." He said in that playful lilting tone of his, he dropped Alex's wrist and smiled that toothy predator smile, "So," He clapped, "Kiss and make up or whatever you two need to do, or should I just forego all this and take Alex out back and shoot him?"

Jim was just heartless enough to mean every word he said; and it had been too many years going for John to be appalled by his parenting skills(or lack there of). It was no secret Alex was in the trade, but John didn't like it being brought up because then he had to face the reality that Alex, as young as he was, had murdered people. Worse than that, tortured people too. But, that was hardly the debate at the moment, it was literally Alex's life or death that was held taut in the air around them.

"It was just a rumor, I didn't mean for it to get out of hand."

"Might want to try a bit harder." Jim prodded, glancing back to John, "So, when will Sherlock be back?"

"He's not coming home tonight."

"Don't lie," Jim rolled his eyes, "So protective, are you so worried I'll snatch him away from you?" He cooed.

The sound of their parents conversing became background noise. They had moved off into the living room when Jim began to wander; poking at this and that, grabbing hold of their wedding picture, ignoring the angry notes in John's voice.

Hamish tugged at the hem of his shirt nervously when Alex came over to him. The boy was growing like a weed, he was already nearly a foot taller. "Is that true?"

"Is what true?" He tucked his hands in his jean pockets, looking embarrassed.

"That you were talking about me, that you were so distracted you made your father upset?"

"Yeah, well, I don't like when we fight."

"You always start our fights."

"Actually, it's you, if you weren't such a bitch about everything."

Hamish huffed and made to leave the room-

Alex grabbed his arm, forced him still. Hamish looked up at him with an expression mixed between hurt and anger. Alex just smiled at him, pressed his thumb to the wrinkle in his forehead, "Stop. I didn't mean it. I'm trying to apologize. You know I'm bad at that."

"You're bad at a lot of things. Especially at being a friend." But, the anger was draining, Alex let his arm go and he stayed put.

"I know," He conceded, "But you'll always forgive me."

"Will I?"

"Ah," Alex laughed, "You want to see my father gut me, is that it?"

Hamish frowned, "No, but I'm still upset."

"I know. I'll make it up to you." He said gently, looking off to where Jim was sitting in Sherlock's chair. "Friends?"

Hamish nodded, holding back the words he really wanted to say. "Friends."