Love Like Winter

A/N: This pairing punched me in the face at one in the morning and I came up with a lame headcanon that they both love AFI. (Pete only likes their punk era, though.)

There has been some debate about what Kindergoth's name is, but the Wiki says Firkle so I'm going with that. I named this oneshot after Love Like Winter by (guess who?) AFI, even though 17 Crimes is the song that comes to mind first when I think about this couple.

This obsession of mine over both the band and the couple has convinced me to make a music playlist inspired by these two losers. The link is on the bottom of my profile!

By most Northerners' standards, it was a beautiful day outside. It wasn't the typical freezing Colorado autumn morning, but a decently cool one marked by bright sunshine and not a bit of wind. Most of the kids of South Park found it nice, yet there was one resident, a short boy of sixteen years with red dye at the roots of his messy hair, who regarded the pleasant weather as more of a plague than a miracle. It was less than thrilling to be awoken by those ungodly sunbeams touching his eyelids, he thought. He hadn't even been awake a full five minutes before another annoyance grabbed his attention: an insistent mantra of "death and despair!"

Dark brown eyes highlighted by bags from lack of sleep and smudged remains of coal-colored eyeliner alike pried open, then promptly narrowed again at the stream of sunlight that hit them. "What the—" Pete groaned. "Who the fuck is calling me?"

From his left came Michael's voice, slightly muffled by the pillow and scratchy with sleep. "Shut up, Pete."

"You shut up, conformist bastard."

Michael had the nerve to reach back lazily and smack his companion on the arm. "I'm trying to sleep."

"I was too, then some asshole—" Cutting himself short with a grunt, Pete reached over to his bedside table and swiped his cell phone from it, eyeing his alarm clock in the process of answering the call. "It's ten in the goddamned morning, I hope you know that." He pulled his phone away for a second to check the number, then put it back against his ear. "Who is this?"


"Right, Uh," the dark-haired boy deadpanned. "Fuck off and lose this number."

"Wait! This is Pete, isn't it?"

He couldn't tell exactly who it was who'd called him, but the voice did seem vaguely familiar. He repeated his initial question, this time getting a lengthy pause in response. Just before he decided to hang up, the answer finally came.

"It is I, Vampir."

Before he thought about it—not that he would've stopped it if he had realized it—he groaned. "Seriously? Okay, Mike—"


A scoff on Pete's end. "Whatever. This had better be good. Talk. Fast."

"I just wanted to say hi."


"I told you, my name—"

"Don't ever call me again." Presently, Pete hung up and dropped the phone on Michael's face, eliciting a grunt and a crudely-worded damnation from the latter. He flung the covers especially hard so that they flew off both his and Michael's bare legs, then withdrew the near-empty cigarette carton from beneath his pillow, pointedly ignoring the other's grumbling about being so carelessly exposed to the "freezing cold."

Two cigarettes later, Michael was awake and therefore significantly less crabby, which ended up being Pete's cue for beginning his first rant of the day. "Get this. Mike fucking Makowski called me."

"No way."

"Yes way!"

"Then why'd you ask who it was? He's got that stupid lisp. It gives him away."

"He didn't have his fangs in, I guess."

"He always has his fangs in. Guess you're real fucking special if he hurried so fast to talk to you that he didn't even put them in." Oddly enough, there was no response, so Michael continued. "Give me one of those."

Looking a little shocked at some apparent revelation that Michael had no clue about, Pete willingly handed over the pack of cigarettes, though he didn't break his newly-initiated staring match with his closet door. The curly-haired boy noticed, but he chose not to directly point it out: instead, he simply said, "Well, who cares about Mike Makowski?" Again, no response. He sighed. "…Hand me the lighter, you poser."

"All right, if no one else is going to say it, I will. It has been two motherfuckin' weeks." Henrietta was the one who spoke, drawing out her curses for stylistic effect and aiming a narrow-eyed gaze at the boy with the red in his hair.

Pete regarded her, unfazed. "Since what?" His gaze instantly traveled to Michael for an answer, but the latter only looked away from him wordlessly.

"Since you started complaining about that douchey little turd, Mike." The girl tapped her cigarette filter with a long, black-lacquered fingernail. "Two weeks." She held her friend's stare evenly, hardly even blinking. "It needs to stop."

Pete flipped his hair out of his eyes and scoffed. "Like you know anything. Seriously."

"I know you are obsessed with him or something."

"I am not freaking obsessed with him, Henrietta."

"Then stop talking about him."

"He's an annoying little asshole, is all. He keeps calling me even after I told him to fuck off, like, four times. How did he get my number, anyway?"

Firkle, who had kept silent throughout the argument and was currently occupying himself by flicking his pocket knife in and out of its holder, answered the hanging question. "I gave it to him."

Both Henrietta and Pete looked at him incredulously. The former shook her head, tapped more ash onto the carpet of her bedroom, then looked up at the ceiling. "Why on earth would you do that?"

"He asked."

Pete could tell that Henrietta's tongue was poised for some sarcastic quip or another, but he couldn't stop himself from talking because his curiosity had gotten the best of him, which occurred too rarely for him to have practiced any semblance of self-discipline regarding its suppression. "He asked for my number? Why?"

"He said he wanted to say hi."

Pete scowled. "Well, duh. He's been saying hi to me for two weeks. Nothing else. It's always just 'Hi, Pete.' I don't even remember telling him my goddamned name. Then he always asks if we can, like, hang out or some shit. Where the fuck would we go? There's no way in hell I'm going to the mall with him, if that's what he's thinking."

It took him a moment to realize that he'd begun to ramble, and that his friends' eyes were now all on him. The boys looked amused rather than annoyed, but the same couldn't be said for Henrietta. "I swear, if you're going to gay up my atmosphere with your happy, sunshiny love bullshit, then you need to leave, pronto."

"Truth," Firkle put in.

Pete was gaping at the girl for nearly a minute before he turned his accusatory glare on Michael. "I'm not… I don't like him."

The girl blinked once, slowly and deliberately. "Yeah, you do."

"I definitely don't." He denied the very situation, but the way that Michael was almost—almost, in that imperceptible way of his—smiling told Pete all he needed to know: Henrietta was right.

The next twelve hours of Pete's schedule were spent in equal parts at the city's only cemetery and in his living room, both areas of which ended up being fogged with cigarette smoke from his presence and invaded by the subtle dinning of music coming through the headphones of his old-fashioned MP3 player—since iPods were for "conformist Nazi cheerleaders," as Firkle so eloquently put it.

Michael sometimes accompanied him, but by the time three a.m. rolled around he was alone again, sitting stiffly in his father's ratty old rocking chair with despairing rock music blaring in his ears and his phone clutched tightly in one hand.

Four times. Four times he dialed the number of that stupid, obnoxious poser, Mike, only to hang up after the first ring each time, then frown at his phone in an almost contemptuous manner. Feelings were for conformists, he told himself with an internal scoff. He wasn't even sure he actually liked the kid. In fact, he had almost convinced himself that his interest was merely a result of the surprise factor that he knew any sort of friendship between them would cause. Almost. So, of course, instead of feeling confident, he just felt dumb and slightly nauseated.

On his fifth time calling, his plan to hang up after the first ring failed when Mike apparently snatched up the phone in an attempt to catch his elusive serial caller. "Hello!" the answer was quick, and sounded just about as jittery as Pete felt. He imagined that Mike didn't feel halfway as stupid, though. Despite this, he tried his damndest to sound composed.

"What's up, conformist?"

"Is this Pete?"

"No fuckin' shit."

"You don't have to be rude, per se."

Pete didn't know why he thought this was a good idea. "Do you want to hang out or not, faggot?"

"Ah, sure."

"Meet me at Benny's in one hour. Be late, don't show, I really don't care."

"But I can't take the car—"

"Figure it out." With that, he hung up, feeling a lot more pleased with himself than he thought he would.

The two met at Benny's Diner at four in the morning as planned, and Mike arrived looking visibly shaken, prompting Pete to raise an eyebrow. "What's the problem, loser?"

"Vampir," the other corrected almost mechanically, sliding into the booth opposite Pete without making eye contact. "I snuck out… I've never done this, per se. My mom has no idea I'm not there! I'm so dead if she finds out."

"Jesus, calm down, kid."

"How can I calm down when my life sucks so bad?" Mike whined and put his head in his hands while Pete looked on boredly.

"The same way I do. With coffee."

Pete watched as Mike raised his head again to wrinkle his nose. "Coffee? I've never had coffee."

"You're shitting me." Mike shook his head. "You are such a vamp."

"Well, duh."

Ignoring him, the Goth boy waved the nearest waitress over. "Two coffees. Black." The woman nodded slowly, then spared the duo an odd look before heading into the kitchen to prepare their drinks.

Heavy silence fell between them, continuing for quite a while. Even once they'd received their coffees they didn't speak. Pete hardly waited for his beverage to cool before swallowing a burning mouthful with a concluding hiss. Mike winced in his stead, then took a hesitant sip of his own before yipping and covering his mouth with his hand.

"Too hot?" Pete questioned, almost self-righteously. The borderline smugness instantly faded away when Mike began tearing open packet after packet of sugar and dumping them into his mug. "What are you doing?"

"Putting in sugar. It's too bitter."

"That's the point. Only conformist assholes put sugar in their coffee."

Mike paused with his ninth sugar packet hovering over his drink and furrowed his (plucked, Pete noticed) eyebrows, which only served to draw special attention to the three studs tucked in an ascending line underneath his right brow. "So I'm a conformist asshole?"

"The biggest." Pete chugged the rest of his coffee in a heartbeat, mostly in an effort to distract himself from the other, which didn't quite work, seeing as the second he sat his cup down he was greeted with Mike staring, open-mouthed and conspicuous, right at him. "What? Can't vamp losers handle the truth?"

"Of course we can. Vampir, King of Vampires, can handle anything."

"We've established that you aren't a fucking vampire, Mike."

To the Goth's surprise, his companion didn't correct him. Instead, he scoffed and began sipping at his coffee again, though he still made faces after every attempt. "I was staring at you because you drank that whole cup in one go. That's pretty amazing."

"How?" Pete was staring at the piercings again. They were some pretty damned nice studs, he had to admit. They looked good—but that was beside the point. "It's just coffee," he added after a long pause, which seemed to be awkward only on his part.

"It was hot."

This pause was longer, but the shorter of the two eventually broke it with a flat, "Excuse me?"

"It was…" Mike flushed, which Pete could easily discern even with the other's white-powdered cheeks. "The coffee. It was really hot, and you just—you chugged the whole thing. That has to hurt."

"I'm used to pain."

"Ahh…right." After clearing his throat to change the subject, the self-proclaimed Vampire King wiped idly at his eyelid and frowned at the residue on his fingertip. He must have deemed it too early to care about his marred makeup, because he simply set his hand down again and started to speak. Whatever he'd planned to say was quickly stomped out by Pete's accusatory tone, however.

"Is that liquid eyeliner?"


"That doesn't make you look scary, that just makes you look like a douche."

Another scoff. "It does not. Liquid liner is easier to control—"

"It is not."

"It is if you have a steady hand! Which, by the way, you wouldn't if you smoked."

"Oh, bite me."

"Is that a joke?"

Pete shoved his mug aside and sat himself up on his knees in the booth, then thumped his elbows down on the tabletop and leaned over so that his face was less than two inches from the other's. "No, Makowski. It isn't."

Mike's eyes darted nervously from the other boy to the table on his left, then back again. "Well, okay, but not here."

Pete must've looked particularly surprised, because a small, nervous smile touched Mike's lips. "You were joking, weren't you?"

It took a minute, but the reply came to him in a hushed and still slightly taken-aback tone. "No. Let's get out of here."

"Aren't you going to pay for the coffee, first?"

The normalcy in the Goth's tone was restored in an instant. "Hell fucking no. Paying is for conformists."

Without another word, the two of them slid out of their respective booths, and before Mike could offer to tip the waitress, Pete grabbed him by the wrist and carted him out of the restaurant without looking back.

They didn't make it a considerable distance. In fact, the farthest they got before they were tasting coffee on each other's tongues was Mike's mother's car, which sat in the parking lot, small, unassuming, and now boasting two oddly-dressed boys pressed against its front. Pete had Mike pinned against the silver metal of the hood and was quick to slip his hands under the other's t-shirt, letting his fingers ghost over jutting hipbones before he yanked the hem of the shirt up a couple of inches.

"That's cold," Mike muttered into their kiss, arching his back upward in an effort to avoid the car's uncomfortable temperature.

"And these are annoying," Pete replied upon pulling away. Presently, he huffed and gestured toward the plastic fangs adorning the other's teeth.

"Too bad," Mike replied, tone laced with indignity.

The Goth's response was cut off by an angered yell coming from the restaurant's entry that had both boys scrambling into the car and taking off as quickly as possible. Mike clutched the steering wheel with a white-knuckled grip and tried to get his breathing back under control. "That was close."

"It isn't like they'd be able to do anything."

"Except arrest us."

"For a cup and a half of coffee? Whatever." Pete flipped his hair and scoffed, then sunk lower into the passenger seat once Stark's Pond came into view. He didn't question why Mike chose the dirty old park of all the places to escape from home to, though he had to commend him (mentally, of course) on a bleak choice well made.

"No, for that…PDA." Mike parked the car under a busted street lamp and stared evenly at the metal bench a few feet away from them before continuing to speak. "That's gotta be public indecency or something."


"Stop saying that!"

"That was nothing. They've caught me doing worse with Michael." At that, Mike stiffened, then immediately shoved Pete's hand away when it wandered to his thigh.

"Ah—you mean to tell me you…?"

"Are you getting all prissy vamp on me now because I told you I slept with him?" The speaker scoffed yet again, then yanked his cigarette pack from his pocket. "Figures."

"Figures!" Mike spluttered, but the words he couldn't seem to get out easily gave way to a shocked, "Um, this is my mom's car."

"Well aren't you just a little genius," Pete mumbled around the paper stick he now held between his lips. He raised his lighter to the tip, only to have it snatched away by his wide-eyed companion.

"Why don't you smoke in your car, per se?"

"I don't have one."

"Then how did you get to Benny's?"

"I walked, Einstein."

"How did you make it so far? I mean, your lungs must be terrible." Pete regarded him with a look that indicated he was very much done with the conversation, but Mike only kept on with an insistent, "I'm serious, smoking is very bad for you."

"Do I look like I care?" The lighter was snatched back, but Pete at least had the decency to respect the other's wish not to smoke—for the moment.

They sat in the car without talking for a considerable amount of time, with Mike tapping idly on the steering wheel while Pete lit and snuffed out the lighter's flame until he grew bored of it. He was content with the silence despite their lack of activity, though he couldn't say he was surprised to hear Mike finally break it.

"We can't do this." When Pete didn't ask about what, exactly, "this" was, the other glanced at him from the corner of his vision to see that Pete wasn't ignoring him, but simply waiting for him to explain himself. Mike thought he may've seen the boy's eyebrows furrow for an ephemeral moment. "This…thing. I don't know what it is, per se." He started to bite on his thumbnail, then forewent doing so in favor of rubbing soothing circles over his pierced brow. "I don't think…"

Pete could see he was struggling for words, but he put in a snide, "I know you don't," anyway, which garnered an impressively dramatic eyeroll—one that nearly put Henrietta's to shame.

"We can't do what we're doing. We're hardly even friends." At that, Mike deflated a bit, sinking into his seat as the other had done earlier. "I was thinking about how you said you'd—um, slept with that, that Michael kid you hang around with."

"You're upset about it." It wasn't a question.

"Not about that, exactly. We just…" Mike groaned, frustrated. "We have nothing in common."

"I could've told you that."

Suddenly a strand of neon green hair found itself being twiddled between pale fingers as Mike resorted to other nervous habits to try and ease his cloud of doubt, attempting to form a coherent train of thought in the process. Plastic fangs dug into a chapped bottom lip, and Pete realized with a sudden stab of regret that he wanted to kiss him again. He did his best to refrain from doing so.

"I think I subconsciously knew it all along," the taller of them said, at last. "That we have nothing in common, I mean."

"If you knew, then why the hell did you keep calling me?"

"Because, I mean, I like you, I guess." Once again, powdered makeup did little to conceal the dark blush tinting the other's scowling face.

The pause was painful, but eventually the younger said the only thing he could think of as pertinent. "There must be something we have in common."

"Probable not, per se."

"Would you please stop saying that?"

"I like it."

"I don't."

"See what I mean?"

At that, the Goth rolled his eyes and shifted in his seat. "Fuck this. I am going to find three things we have in common. If I can do that, will you kiss me?"

Mike stared at him as though he'd just sprouted horns. "Ah—ah, yes, I— Sure."

In what was perhaps the most confident manner he'd ever spoken in, Pete began easily with, "We both think Xbox One sucks ass."


The next words came some time thereafter, though, despite their rather late timing, they effectively put a smile back on Mike's face. "We both hate those douchebag emo kids."

"Very true. One more."

Pete considered this for so long that any trace of hope left his companion's face, replaced with exasperation and evidence of having given up. Pete, himself, was looking more dour than usual—quite impressively so—and was so distracted over his feckless attempts to relate to this boy that he had forgotten Mike's no-smoking rule and had begun his second attempt to light the cigarette he'd been holding.

"At least get out of the car if you're going to kill yourself with that cancer stick," the faux-vampire mumbled, now idly prodding at one plastic fang with the hand he wasn't using to toy with the radio dial.

Though he couldn't prevent as annoyed groan from escaping, Pete did acquiesce, if only to avoid the "preppy conformist" stations the radio was offering nowadays. Presently, he decided that sitting on a freezing park bench at two in the morning with a hopeless relationship being dangled in his face didn't exactly make his top-ten list of things he wanted to do in his shit-fuck, one-horse town. Even if it had made the list, he didn't suppose he'd want to do so whilst considering radio stations, of all things. Now that he had put some actual thought into it, however, he reached the conclusion that not one station was ever really any good.

The radio may not have been a source of decent music, he thought, but he did recognize a good CD when he saw one. For a good five minutes, he had watched Mike through the passenger door that he'd left open, vaguely amused by the way the other struggled to bite the plastic covering off a Black Veil Brides disc, only to toss it into the back seat some moments later, apparently not in the proper mood required to listen to such a band. What he slid out of his CD visor next actually gave Pete a decent (perhaps pleasant—he wasn't used to feeling pleasant, so he wasn't sure) surprise.

His cold fingers found purchase on the butt of his cigarette, which he tossed down on the snow at the first sign of what he deemed actual, good music. Purple creepers stomped the light out, grounding it into the gray slush without ceremony or consideration for the grass below before standing and simply leaving it behind.

"Hey, kid," he said, "that'd better not be AFI I'm hearing."

Pete caught a transient glimpse of Mike's bashful face before the latter began fumbling around with the stereo controls. "Yeah, whatever! I'm a 'conformist,' I know."


"I'm a poser, then."

"Shut the ever-loving fuck up, Mike." The speaker actually waited to be corrected for using the name, so when the comment never came, he huffed, then practically threw himself down into the passenger seat. "AFI is a killer band. No one else could possibly be half as good as they are. In fact, in comparison, everyone else sucks balls." He'd never seen a kid cheer up so quickly, much less at his own words.

"They're my favorite band, too!"

"That's three."

"Three?" A pause. "Oh… Oh! Right!"

"God, you're, like, worse than Henrietta with that."

"We have three things in common!"

"Good deduction."

"I can't help it that I'm a Bella and not an Edward, per se. Some people think a little slower, seriously."

"Don't ruin it."

"You're ruining it."

"I am not."

"You are s—" Before Mike could finish his responding accusation, Pete pressed one elbow into the console for leverage so he could lean over and shut him up with a kiss.

The boy on the receiving end of the action stiffened before he pulled back. "Wait, hold on."

Pete sighed and laid his chin in his palm. "Yeah?" he drawled, for once more disappointed than annoyed.

"Guess I'd better—" he started before shoving thumb and forefinger in his mouth, prompting Pete to raise an eyebrow, "—take these things out," he warbled around his fingers, punctuating the declaration by holding up his fake fangs.

"It doesn't really matter. I was getting used to the taste of Hot Topic plastic."

"You should make up your mind."

"It isn't like you're sucking me off, poser."

"Who says?" At the humorously indignant tone, Pete cracked the faintest smile, which disappeared less than five seconds later because Mike caught sight of it and was grinning much too giddily for comfort. "You smiled! I saw it!"

"Shut up."

"Are you going to keep telling me to shut up or are we going to swap spit?"

Pete rolled his eyes for what seemed like the hundredth time that day. "If you ever word it like that again, the former."

"Okay, fine."

"You're such an idiot."

"Then it looks like we have four things in common."

"Don't push your luck, Makowski."

Mike smiled—a disarmingly sweet smile, in fact, and without the fangs in the way it looked more real than Pete was used to. Without thinking it over—not that he really wanted to in the first place—the Goth leaned forward and kissed him, this time receiving equally avid (and plastic-less) reciprocation while the music blared directly into their ears and wiped all other thoughts out of their brains—except one, which Pete mumbled against the other's lips. "Head Like a Hole was better by Nine Inch Nails, though."

"Shut up, Pete," Mike returned breathlessly, threading fingers into dyed, flat-ironed locks and dragging the other male closer with such ardor that their teeth met with a click.

Though the shorter boy's first impetus was to snap back a response, the way Mike suddenly broke away and began panting in his ear gave him a different idea entirely. At the very blossom of this consideration, he hummed. "Mike."



Stark's Pond was behind them in a matter of minutes. Pete couldn't remember the last time the blur of the town's lights at night had ever looked like anything except depressing, and yet tonight they looked more like promising guides than anything, breaking up the colorful swipes of buildings with glowing beams. Relaxing into the passenger seat was difficult after that epiphany hit him. Presently, he tore his gaze away from the window to glance at a very tense Mike, whose nerves were buzzing so blatantly that Pete could practically feel the excitement radiating off of him. The boy was chewing on his bottom lip to keep a smile at bay and gripping onto the steering wheel as though it were the only thing anchoring him to his seat.

Pete hummed. "Left," he said softly, leaving the lights of the town behind as Mrs. Makowski's car pulled into his dark, bleak neighborhood. It wasn't a particularly threatening transition, since he'd always preferred the dark to the light; he supposed the dark of his room would be particularly comforting, then. And he'd always had quite the praxis for being right.

Pete had been right—for the most part. Sex had been anticipated by both parties, clearly, but by the time the teens were down to their underclothes the older boy had chickened out. It took a full ten minutes for the other to convince him that it was all right. It was true, too; Pete didn't care extensively about sex. In fact, he didn't care about much of anything, except that he'd somehow gotten Mike Makowski into his bed, clad in Batman boxers that had spawned from the dark recesses of Hot Topic and some ridiculous band tank top that had no right going underneath a t-shirt.

Plus, it was much nicer waking up at one p.m. without the hassle of cleaning dirty sheets before his parents got home from work, and he still got to keep memories of pressing that self-righteous vamp's hips into the mattress and kissing him dizzy to two hours' worth of punk rock songs playing from his old CD player. He certainly couldn't say that his early morning had been bad.

Mike woke up looking a tad bit disoriented and rubbed his black eye makeup into a gradient from his eyelids to his temples. Pete would've taken a picture, but then the other could've very well fought back, seeing as his companion's eyeliner was smeared to the extent of looking like he had been punched in each eye. The image was quite comical, actually: Two teenage boys with their faces covered in smeared makeup, one sitting up with an unlit cigarette hanging from between his lips and the other with his black and green hair splayed out in every direction on the sheets beneath him, since he'd knocked his pillow off the bed while he was sleeping.

The older boy bolted up, and Pete blinked slowly upon taking in the site of some very impressive bedhead, which had retained its exact form from when Mike had been lying down. "My parents—!"

"I got Raven to call and tell them you went over to his house this morning to study." Pete leveled a stare at him. "You look disgusting."

"You are disgusting."

"You're more yourself now than you were at five a.m.," was the mumbled response that managed to elicit a smile from the so-called Vampire King. "That's not a compliment."

Mike snorted. "You're more yourself now as well, per se. Except you aren't smoking. You're just going to hold it like that and not light it?" he inquired, gesturing toward the cigarette.

"I didn't want to overstep your conformist boundaries regarding death by lung disease."

"You're doing it for my sake?" Mike's eyes widened along with his grin. "You're a nice kid, Pete."

"And you're wearing out your welcome, Mike."

"It's Vampir."

"Yeah, whatever," were Pete's last words preceding his monotonous "hey" in response to Mike plucking the cigarette from his mouth and flicking it onto the foot of the bed. "What was that for?"

"Kiss me, stupid."

"Go fuck yourself." Despite his words, the Goth assented to the demand before shoving the other's arm. "But do it at your own goddamned house."

"All right! No need to be pushy, per se." As Mike hopped out of bed with more fervor than Pete felt was necessary and began pulling on his previously-discarded clothes and smoothing down his hair, he spared a quick second to look up at the other. "Don't worry, I won't tell anyone about this."

"I don't care what you do."

Mike cocked his head and pursed his lips. "Then I will tell."

"Don't care."

There was a short pause, then the taller boy laughed. "Let's do this again next week."

"Fuck off." Pete hid a faint smile behind his hand, acting as though he were finally going to light the new Marlboro he'd perched between his middle and ring fingers seconds before.

"How about next Friday? Meet me in the woods near the school." With that, the boy snatched his jacket off of the floor and darted out of the house, leaving no room for discussion.

The room fell into a comfortable silence, broken only by the flick of a lighter, the muffled sound of a car door opening and closing, then the start-up and gradual disappearance of said car's engine.

A minute passed in dead silence, during which he finally came to the realization that he was, essentially, dating a vampire kid. Out of all the unlikely things he'd experienced, he had to admit that this was by far the unlikeliest—and yet here it was. He could only imagine how fantastically overdramatic Henrietta's reaction was going to be.

For once, he was going to greatly enjoy his day.