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13 November 2011 @ 05:39 pm
Guts [seven]  
Title: Guts
Author: atl340
Pairing: Jalex
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: not real etc etc, title belong to all time low
A/N: 4 months later..

A/N2: OK so yep it's been like four months and i'm sorry and i'm a dick and everything but yeah, i kind've gave up on this because i was too busy but the lovely cass has persuaded me to finish it so yep go thank her. if you keep reading this then thanks :3

---

Winter break was a hard thing for Alex to get his head around, mainly because it took his routine and his structure and ripped it apart and stamped on it. He just.. he just felt kind’ve empty, without college to go to for a few weeks, because really that was the staple of his weekdays. Each day he got up, went to school, came home and went to bed. It was as simple as that and it worked for the older boy, so long as it was an uninterrupted schedule, and suddenly being faced with two whole weeks of nothing was practically suffocating Alex.
 
And it was kind of cruel to someone like him, having a two week break from his reality, because it took time for Alex to adjust to things, so much more time than it took a normal person and sure, the caramel-haired boy could adopt a new kind of schedule for his time off, but it would take most if not all of those two weeks for him to fully adjust to something new, to stop feeling so suffocated and so scared and out of control. And even if he did manage to adjust to something new, he’d have to switch back to his old routine just as fast and Alex couldn’t do that, wasn’t wired up that way.
 
If he could have it his way, the older boy would have his ‘get up, go to college and come home’ routine forever. The thought of that being a permanent fixture made Alex’s stomach slightly relax all the knots it was holding, but the thing was that it couldn’t work that way. Life didn’t cater very much to what the boy needed, what he wanted. Things were always changing and as much as Alex tried and tried again to cling to something constant and unchanged it was hard, it was hard in a world that didn’t really stop for anyone, and it was even harder when the boy was trying so much right now to be different, to be better and not be the nervous mess that he always had been.
 
And so when Sunday came around the older boy almost felt like he was drowning, because he had 14 whole days ahead of him, 14 days to panic and get stressed and to try and somehow deal with that stupid itch, the one that was already working its way under his skin, a barely there but just as uncomfortable heat. And it didn’t help that Alex had another brown-haired boy bouncing around him with what could only be described as joy, contrasting Alex’s inner turmoil massively and only serving to make his mood worse.
 
It didn’t help that Jack was so fucking excited for two weeks away from everything that Alex knew.
 
And the older boy was trying his best to stay neutral, he really was, because it wasn’t fair to be mad at Jack for being happy, excited. It was normal, what any normal teen would be ecstatic about. Freedom, lie-ins, late nights..Alex didn’t know from his own experience, but from observation it seemed other kids-kids that weren’t like him-absolutely loved that kind of stuff, loved not having anywhere to be or anything to do, loved just doing what they wanted when they wanted.
 
Jack was practically glowing about it all, and as hard as he tried to ignore it, that was why the itch under Alex’s skin was incessant now, burning and something that the older boy couldn’t relieve himself from no matter how much he wanted to. He had to bite his tongue to stop from snapping at the younger boys endless ranting about the possibilities of what they could do in these next two weeks, because Alex didn’t want any of it right now. He wanted to go to school and come home and go to bed like always, because that was comfortable and familiar for him. He didn’t want to go bowling, or to the movies or do any of the other stuff that Jack was suggesting.
 
But then, saying that made Alex feel terrible, because the younger boy was trying and he just looked so excited to do stuff with Alex, and the fact that the older boy truly couldn’t push himself to reciprocate those feelings made him feel awful. Because really, what was Alex’s problem? What could possibly be bad about going bowling with Jack, or going to the movies with him? What could possibly be bad about spending time with the most patient, pretty much perfect person Alex had ever met?
 
The older boy wished more than anything that he didn’t always have to complicate things for himself so much, didn’t always have to over-think and panic and freak out but that was him, that was the way he was made, and Alex liked to think that over the past few weeks he’d made some little developments, and he had but he wanted more, he wanted to be as excited about some free time as Jack was but he couldn’t be, not yet, and that was the most frustrating part for the older boy because he just.. he just wanted to be cured, even though that wasn’t even possible.
 
He just wanted to be normal, and the absolute truth of that tore Alex up inside, actually made him groan out loud as he put his head down on the kitchen table, folding his arms around his face so Jack couldn’t see him.
                                             
And there was usually kind of two self-pitying, hating-life moods with Alex. One of those was completely rock bottom, the one that made him sob and dig fingers savagely into his arms and punish himself. That one was the worst. But then the other side, the not so bad one was just the actually very teenage side of Alex, the one that just pouted and felt sorry for himself.
 
And it was that side of the older boy that seemed to be brewing up today, and his bottom lip was very much jutted out as he tossed and turned thoughts over in his head like always. He just wanted to be normal for one day, and was sulking profusely because he couldn’t be. Though Alex didn’t enjoy this side of himself either, it was considerably better than the side that wanted to hurt himself, the side that felt hopeless. This mood was just that of a spoilt child in some ways, not getting his own way and sulking about it. Because, as much as Alex’s life was hard, it wasn’t that hard. He wasn’t in a third world country or anything like that, and in fact there was that ever-present good thing to outweigh all the bad things in the older boys life and in his head, and that thing was Jack, the boy who was trying to peel Alex’s arms away from his face currently.
 
 
‘Sup pouty?’ He questioned, voice light and not really caring all that much as he poked Alex in the side. The older boy groaned away from him, lifting his heavy head up just a little to show Jack he wasn’t in the mood. To give credit, the darker-haired boy did take note and stop being such a pain. Sighing in a huff Alex watched his friend shuffle his chair closer, eyebrows creasing a little.
 
‘Talk to me’
 
Jack cocked his head to one side, supporting it with his hand and the older boy shrugged. There wasn’t much to say really, just the same old crap.
 
‘Why’re you so sad?’ The younger boy pouted, and Alex moved his hand away when Jack tried to reach out for it, rolling his eyes.
 
‘I don’t know, two weeks off, no routine, a good amount of being a nervous wreck for the next fourteen days… what could be better right?’
 
It came off a little more bitter and snappy than Alex had intended it to, but he made no apology regardless, just sighed and folded his arms around himself.
 
‘You must know how much this sucks for me Jack’ He grumbled, eyes flickering over the younger boy long enough to see Jack frown, see all of his features fall collectively.
 
‘I was trying to take your mind off of it’ The younger boy explained, and Alex couldn’t stop the little snort he let out.
 
‘What, by talking non-stop about all the stuff we’re gonna do these next two weeks? Like any of it’s ever actually going to happen?’
 
Again, too snappy and a lot meaner than the older boy had intended. He seemed to have a knack for that, sighing in frustration at himself and his ability to make Jack feel like crap just with a few words. Short fingernails danced across Alex’s forearms just lightly, and it was like a torment, the way the itch under his skin soothed just that tiny bit, egging the older boy on to go deeper, really satisfy the craving to punish himself. Sometimes it felt like there were things in Alex’s head that encouraged him to do bad things, but maybe that was just his own messy, complicated mind.
 
The older boy didn’t get to ponder it, because Jack slapped his hand away from his forearm sharply, snapping ‘Stop that’.
 
Even though Alex hadn’t really hurt himself properly in a while, hadn’t broken any skin or made himself bleed, he’d quite taken to just running nails over his arms because it released the tension just that little bit. But Jack..he hated it just as much as when Alex actually did dig deep and hurt himself, and the older boy had lost count of how many times he’d had his hands slapped the past few weeks. He might’ve been irritated if he didn’t see that genuine, worried look on Jack’s face, the one that was etched with concern and made Alex’s insides tighten up even more.
 
He sighed, and it was as easy as a little sadness from Jack to undo all the older boys pent-up feelings of anger and irritation. He could never be mad with the darker-haired boy for too long, not with the boy who was his whole life.
 
Head fuzzy with guilt Alex leaned forward a little with regret on his face and in the way he chewed at his lip, reaching for Jack’s outstretched hand and just touching his fingertips to the younger boys’. It barely ever made Alex flinch to do so anymore, and he caught Jack’s warm eyes apologetically.
 
‘M’sorry’ He murmured, really meaning it, ‘I’m just.. I’m freaking out so bad now Jack, you don’t understand how much…’
 
He trailed off into nothing, waiting for the inevitable question that was coming next.
 
‘But why?’
 
And really, Alex didn’t have much of an answer for that one. Not one that made sense anyway. He was scared simply because he was, because that was the way he was made. It was like it was programmed into him, and the unknown was scary and something to shy away from in his mind. That wasn’t something that was easy to explain really, nor to understand even for Jack, who knew Alex better than anyone.
 
In the end the older boy didn’t really give much of an in-depth answer, just shrugged and sighed.
 
‘It scares me, losing my routine. For you..two weeks where you don’t have to do anything and don’t have any rules is like heaven. For me? My heaven is having that structure, knowing what I’m gonna be doing and when I’m gonna be doing it, a-and when you take that away from me I just..it’s my idea of hell. It’s why I’m always so crazy when we do different things, when you take me different places and stuff. I-I just feel like I’m drowning without my routine y’know? And I’m trying for you Jack, I honestly am and even though I haven’t been so uptight lately there are still things that scare me, and I wish I could get over those things quicker, for you but..I cant..’
 
Retracting his hand Alex sighed, ‘I know how patient you’re being with me, a-and I know I’m not giving you much back in return but..I’m doing my best, and I’m gonna keep trying for you, I promise you that..’
 
The older boy trailed off purely because he didn’t know what else to say that he hadn’t already said a million times before, chewing on his lip as Jack rolled his eyes.
 
‘How many times a day do you need me to tell you how good you’re doing Lex? Like really, you think I don’t see it?
 
Alex shrugged, pulled his knees up to his chest before speaking softly, ‘I know you do Jack, I know. But every time I do something good you just get so excited, and then the next time you try to get me to do something new and I freak out you just..I know how disappointed you are in me, and I’m disappointed in me too. Like the other week, w-when I took the bus for the first time..you were so happy Jack, so fucking happy and then we got home and you wanted to stay the night with me and I freaked out- and I know you’re gonna say that you pushed me too hard then Jack but you didn’t, because what’s so hard and so scary about you staying at my house? I don’t know the answer to that question Jay and that’s what gets me.
 
Because how can I want something so badly and yet not be able to go through with it? How is it that I pretty much never want you to leave my side but yet when it gets to six pm every night I have to make you leave? It.. none of it makes sense Jack and that’s what gets me in such a mess all the time, because you talking about taking me to all these places next week sounds amazing. I want to go to the movies with you, I want to go to dinner with you and I want to do everything else you suggested. But you and I both know for a fact that if it actually came down to it, I couldn’t do any one of those things. We both know it’d end in tears Jack, it always does..’
 
Alex trailed off, frowning at the truth of it all and biting his lip as he looked at his best friend, flinch of irritation passing through him when he saw the blank expression on the younger boys face, almost bored. Alex narrowed his eyes.
 
‘Jack?’
 
And Jack’s attention snapped back then, eyebrows raised. ‘You done?’
 
‘Huh?’
 
‘Listen moody Judy’ The younger boy clapped his hands together, ‘Not to offend you but, I’ve had more interesting conversation with my dishwasher’
 
Alex almost spluttered out loud because really? Was Jack for real?
 
‘Excuse me?!’
 
‘You heard’ The younger boy nodded, clasping Alex’s hands with his own and holding on tight when the lighter-haired boy tried to pull them away, ‘Don’t even look at me like that okay?’
 
‘But you’re not listening to me!’ Alex grumbled, still struggling with his hands whilst Jack over-powered him easily.
 
‘I am listening’ Jack rolled his eyes, ‘That’s the point. How many times have we had this same conversation Lex? About what you can’t do and how much it sucks?’
 
The older of the two stopped struggling, but still didn’t say anything.
 
‘I’m sick to death of it Lex, I know you are too’ Jack said softly, ‘I’m putting my cards out on the table okay? You’re a total, complete pain in my ass. You’re moody and you think too much and you don’t let me touch you nearly as much as I would like to.’
 
‘Hey! I-‘
 
‘Shut up’ The younger boy rolled his eyes, ‘The bigger picture is that you’ve driven me crazy from the day we met. But I’m still here, even now, and despite what your head tells you that isn’t gonna change alright? So you need to stop thinking that you need to change for me because honestly Lex? You don’t. I’ve stuck around this whole time because I.. because you’re everything, and you know what? It’s amazing that we’ve kind’ve improved things lately, that we’re a little looser with your schedule and all that stuff but at the end of the day, you could completely go back to how you were before Alex, you could go back to being a time keeping Nazi and as emotional as a thirteen year old girl and all that crap and I would still be here, like I always have been.’
 
‘I-‘
 
‘Shut Up!’ Jack scolded, squeezing Alex’s hands and the older boy scowled but kept his mouth shut.
 
‘I’m not goin’ anywhere alright?’ The darker-haired boy questioned, and it was in a tone that was soft and sweet and made Alex’s scowl fall away completely. ‘We can take this as slow or as fast as you want to Lex, just.. just don’t shut me out. ‘Cause all that stuff I said about the movies and going out for dinner… I meant that, a-and I want that but, only when you want it too. And I’ll wait as long as you want for that but I just want you to quit it with the I Can’t Do It attitude because you can Alex.
 
Maybe not today or next week but, you can do it. And basically what I’m trying to say is that regardless of whether you keep us to a timetable or ease up a little I just wanna have fun with you y’know? Because it’s been so long and I hate to say it but I am so, so sick of these deep and meaningful conversations Lex. Can’t we just go back to me being inappropriate and making you blush all the time?’
 
And his tone turned playful then and the warm, fuzzy feelings that had been bubbling up in Alex’s stomach through what Jack had been saying spilled out into a high-pitched, genuine laugh, smile reaching his eyes and he got it then, what his best friend was saying, and he agreed. Because they were teenagers at the end of the day, regardless of anything else, and this kind of life was far too heavy for either of them to cope with. Because Alex always felt like he was drowning, and maybe sometimes that was self-inflicted because he dwelled on things far too much. And maybe Jack was drowning in all of it too.
 
‘You get what I’m sayin’?’ The younger boy questioned softly, and Alex nodded, gently weaving his fingers through Jack’s.
 
‘I get it’ He murmured, ‘I guess I just take things too seriously huh?’
 
‘We both do’ Jack shrugged, ‘So let’s quit being pussies ok?’
 
Alex’s cheeks burned of their own accord then and he grinned, stomach flipping when the younger boy laughed and leant over to press his lips briefly to the hot skin.
 
---
 
Jack was kind’ve moody when he woke up on Monday morning, mostly because it was his first opportunity in forever to actually sleep in, and he couldn’t because he was doing his best to keep Alex together, and being late for breakfast probably wouldn’t help with that. But it wasn’t all bad the younger boy supposed, at least he didn’t have to suffer through classes that he didn’t care about. Spending time with Alex was a better way to spend his time anyway, rather than sleeping his vacation away. That was true even though he was a little anxious about what kind of Alex he was going to see today.
It could either be the nervous wreck Alex pulling his hair out due to the lack of routine, or it could be…well, Jack didn’t really know what else it could be. He just hoped his best friend wasn’t freaking out too much, for both their sakes because the younger boy really, really just wanted a fairly worry-free, drama-free two weeks with Alex. He didn’t want to see the older boy cry or get upset because Jack’s heart was a little fragile right now. He just wanted to see his friend smile and be happy, the way he deserved to be.
 
And so it was with a few prayers that the darker-haired boy showered and took the brisk walk to Alex’s in the rain, arriving at 7:40 on the dot. It was madness to him, knowing full well that his best friend would have woken up at 6am sharp, even during his vacation. Jack sensed a lot of early mornings coming, and he groaned a little at the thought as he let himself into the Gaskarth residence, his coffee(black, one sugar) and his cereal set out neatly like always.
 
The first thing the younger boy did was to assess his best friend, Alex with his knees pulled to his chest and cereal bowl balanced on top of them as he ate. He gave a little smile and a murmured ‘hi’, and that was a good enough start for Jack. He grinned and closed the door before falling messily into his seat and slurping his coffee, winking when the older boy rolled his eyes.
 
‘You okay?’ He inquired, watching Alex’s shoulders rise and fall in a gentle motion. He wasn’t okay, Jack knew that much, but as much as he was sympathetic he didn’t want his friend dwelling on this strange new way of going about the day, and so he went for the first thing that came to his mind and tried to divert Alex’s attention with the story of how he got attacked by his neighbour’s cat this morning. The older boy cocked an eyebrow in a questioning way but took the bait anyway, thankfully, setting his cereal bowl down with a little smile and then playing with the strings on his hoodie.
 
‘Cats hate you, you should know that by now’
 
And Jack pouted because yeah, cats seemed to hate him for some reason. Alex’s Grandma’s cat wanted him dead. The older boy snorted when Jack voiced that opinion, shaking his head.
 
‘Snuffles doesn’t want you dead. Maybe if you weren’t so rough when you pet him he’d be nicer to you’
 
‘I like it rough’ Jack smirked, grinning triumphantly when a familiar shade of pink spread across his best friends cheeks. ‘You really need to get that blush under control y’know’
 
‘If I wasn’t such an OCD freak I’d probably throw my cereal at you right now’
 
‘Good thing you’re an OCD freak then’ The younger boy grinned, sticking his tongue out at the younger boy. He was smiling and trying to act light-hearted, but really he was just kind’ve seeing how Alex was reacting to things, trying to work out whether today was going to be a good one or a bad one. Apparantly he wasn’t so subtle about it.
 
‘Stop scoping me out’ The older boy grumbled, folding his arms across his slender waist, ‘I’ll be fine just.. just tell me you have something planned for today. I’ll go nuts if we lounge around and do nothing all day.’
 
‘Of course I have something planned’ Jack rolled his eyes, lounging back in his chair and ruffling his hair. That was the thing with Alex, he needed something to occupy his time, but that something also needed to include contact with as few people as possible and that, well, that was quite a hard feat. Jack had found something though, he just felt suddenly a little sheepish about telling Alex what it was. He didn’t want the older boy to laugh at him.
 
‘What’re we doing?’ The lighter-haired boy bit his lip, and Jack shrugged and rubbed the back of his neck.
 
‘I thought I could like, take you to the library or somethin’.. i-if you want’
 
It sounded so lame now, but it’d made sense to the younger boy last night. Alex loved to read and write, and a library was quiet and usually pretty scarce of people. It seemed like a good idea at the time but now Jack wasn’t so sure.
 
‘Jay..’ Alex bit his lip, ‘I-  you don’t wanna spend your vacation in a library with me. It’s hardly party central…’
 
‘I’m aware’ The younger boy asked, ‘I just thought it’d be quiet and there wouldn’t be many people and..it’s like, still educational for you y’know? I just wanted to do something that was still sorta like being in college, so you’re comfortable..’
 
‘Jack..’
 
‘Stop thinking about me’ The younger boy instructed, standing up and putting his and Alex’s dishes in the sink, ‘Does the library sound good to you?’
 
‘Yeah but-‘
 
‘Then we’re going’ Jack nodded, feeling pleased with himself. Even more so when after a moment of their gazes locking and the older boy looking slightly guilty, Alex’s lips eventually turned up into a smile, grateful, and he nodded his head. ‘Kay’.
 
‘Good’ Jack grinned back at him, the older boy smiling again before heading for the stairs.
 
‘Just gonna go change my clothes’
 
‘Want some help?’ The younger boy smirked, and he couldn’t see Alex given the older boy had disappeared upstairs, but he heard the mumbled ‘shut up Jack’ and made a safe bet with himself that his best friend was blushing.
 
---
 
Alex had been right to be skeptical about Jack’s enthusiasm for going to the library. It wasn’t his favorite place by any means, in fact on arrival the younger boy had to do his best to hide a groan from his best friend. So many books and too much quiet and empty space. It was barely Jack’s paradise, but then again he knew it was Alex’s and so he just sighed internally and walked up and down the endless aisles of books with the older boy firmly attatched to his side. Kind of ironic how the closest Jack ever got to Alex was when the boy was out of his comfort zone. He supposed he was Alex’s comfort in an unfamiliar place and well, that made him smile, hand sliding around the older boys waist just for a moment, squeezing his hip a little comfortingly before retracting and leaning close to Alex’s ear.
 
‘You think they have dirty books here?’
 
‘Jack’ The lighter-haired boy tutted, elbowing Jack softly in the side and pulling a book from the shelf carefully, browsing the back before nodding and putting it under his arm. ‘Are you actually gonna read anything?’
 
Jack shrugged, ’If you find me a dirty book’
 
Alex rolled his eyes, ‘Where do you wanna sit?’
 
Doing a thoughtful scan of the room the younger boys eyes settled between the hard chairs sat round a desk, or the comfy sofa pushed up against the back wall. The hard chairs would give Alex more personal space, and so that was settled as a resounding no in Jack’s mind. He led his best friend over to one of the sofas, figuring if he was going to have to sit in silence all afternoon he at least deserved to get a little cosy with Alex.
 
The older boy didn’t complain, though hesitated a few seconds before sitting down, judging where Jack was sitting first before he placed himself down. Of course, he sat down as far away from the darker-haired boy as possible. Jack pouted and Alex pretended not to see, opening his book and curling his legs underneath him before starting to read and okay, that was enough to divert the younger boys attention for a little bit, because Alex was kind of fascinating when he read.
 
It was just another one of those things that the older boy was amazing at, he was like a sponge with the amount of information he could take in. It always drove Jack crazy back in high school, when people would taunt Alex, the word ‘dumb’ spilling over their lips carelessly. They didn’t know anything though, the older boy was phenomenal in Jack’s opinion. He could read a book in under an hour, could read two pages in just over a minute and relay all its information almost perfectly.
 
He was amazing, and Jack found himself smiling and watching in a kind of awed state as Alex turned page after page, so fast a stranger would probably think he wasn’t even reading them. The younger boy most liked the little smile sitting on his friends lips, because this was most definitely Alex’s happy place, somewhere quiet, empty and full of stuff to learn. Jack had to congratulate himself on his choice of places to go, even if he personally wanted to hang himself from boredom.
 
It was better to see Alex like this, rather than the nervous wreck he would be anywhere else. Jack couldn’t help but to think it’d be a whole lot better if they were a whole lot closer though, and he knew patience was key or whatever, but he was never good at patience anyway and today in particular he sucked at it, tilting his head back on the couch and nudging Alex’s leg with his foot.
 
The older boy raised an eyebrow but didn’t stop reading, mumbling ‘What?’ as his eyes flicked across the pages in front of him.
 
‘M’cold’ Jack pouted, and he wasn’t, he was toasty and warm and comfortable, but that wasn’t going to get him anywhere.
 
‘Put your jacket on’ The older boy grumbled back, and that wasn’t the answer Jack was looking for.
 
‘Can’t, He whined, toeing the lighter-haired boys leg again.
 
‘Then be cold’ Alex shrugged, and Jack could see he was paying less attention to the book now, smile more upturned and pronounced.
 
‘Alexxx’, The younger boy sulked, dragging out the name with a pout on his lips, poking his best friends thigh until Alex eventually gave up and gave Jack his full attention with a sigh.
 
‘What do you want?’ He asked with an amused expression.
 
‘You know what I want’ The younger boy pouted, and Alex sighed, seemed to debate with himself before his smile perked up again just a little, soft and fond.
 
‘C’mere’ He rolled his eyes, and Jack’s heart stood up and took notice as the older boy took his book into his right hand and spread his left arm out so that Jack could hook under it, and there was a little moment where the younger boy hesitated because he didn’t want to make Alex uncomfortable, but then he really did just want to be impossibly close to his best friend and so he ducked under the other boys arm gently, head no option but to rest in the space between Alex’s arm and his chest and okay, that was nice, and the older boy was warm and soft and he smelt good, and Jack was grinning so much it hurt as Alex let out a soft laugh and went back to reading his book.
 
---
 
The week Alex had been so badly dreading honestly wasn’t all that bad. But then, that was probably because the older boy had gotten to spend every day in the library with Jack, and he’d established a new routine he supposed, one that was easier to slip into probably because he didn’t have to interact with anyone new, because it was always quiet and pretty much empty.
 
Alex really did like it, and it’d been a good idea on Jack’s part because it was sort of a substitute for college. He got a few solid hours out of his house and was still home in time to eat his dinner and go to bed the way he would normally. It wasn’t perfect, and a few mornings he’d been more touchy and irritable than others, but Alex honestly thought he was doing okay, as oppose to how bad he’d expected to be.
 
The only time there’d been tears was on Thursday, when Jack had been late and over-slept and not arrived at Alex’s house until 8pm. But then as always, it was hard to be mad at the younger boy for long, and increasingly hard to be stressed or panicked around him, given Jack was back to his playful and cheeky self again. A quick kiss to Alex’s nose had pretty much been enough to stop the tears.
 
The older boy blushed at the thought of that, mind wandering back to all the collective hours this week curled up on a sofa with Jack tucked under his arm. That particular image made Alex’s heart warm. It felt a little different, when he was taking the upper hand. When the older boy had his arms around Jack and not the other way around, he kind’ve felt like he had the control, like he could stop if it got too much for him and that made him so much more comfortable, made him want to be closer to Jack so much more because he didn’t feel pressured or suffocated or any of those things. He felt okay, better than okay actually.
 
He had all his favorite feelings for Jack pushed back up into his stomach, the ones that were usually buried beneath stress and panic and anxiety and it was nice, to have something different fluttering around inside of him, something happy and hopeful and a little shy.
 
But for today, the butterflies were all Alex really had to go on, because Jack wasn’t with him and he wasn’t going to be. He was spending the day with his family and the older boy tried not to be mad at that, tried not to feel hurt because he knew deep down that he monopolized Jack’s time massively, and therefore his families time with their son. He knew not having the younger boy with him for one day wasn’t something to sulk about, but he still found himself wandering aimlessly around his house with a jutting bottom lip, missing Jack too much.
 
And it didn’t help that his new routine wasn’t continuing today. He wasn’t going to go to the library by himself -even though Jack had suggested he should- and so Alex just felt like a little bit of a stranger in his house, not remembering many times when he’d been there alone before.
 
He could have easily driven himself mad with the reality that his routine was out of sync again, but he’d learnt his lesson, knew that wasn’t going to help anything. It was after a few hours of restlessly flitting around the house and trying unsuccessfully to get interested in the TV that Alex curled up on his bed with a book he’d checked out from the library, and that helped, reading something. Words on a page never changed, and he liked that, spent the rest of his day wrapped up in facts and figures that would probably be of no use to him in his life. Still, it was something to keep him sane until 6 o’clock came around and Jack called.
 
And it was nice, to be able to report to the younger boy that he’d truly been okay today.
 
Good’, Jack said down the phone, smile evident in his voice, ‘Proud of you’
 
‘Mmm’ Alex smiled, lying back on his bed and looking up at the ceiling, ‘Am I gonna see you tomorrow?’
 
I’d like to think so’ The younger boy laughed down the phone, ‘Library again?’
 
And his tone was a little reluctant and Alex had to laugh, sympathetic because Jack had been amazing this week, and the older boy knew just how much of a saint he’d been to sit through endless hours at the library in his free time, particularly when he had the attention span on a puppy. Still, it was hard for Alex to say they could do something else, because he was scared of what the something else might be.
 
The silence made Jack sigh down the line, though not in an aggravated way.
 
‘Tell you what, I’ll take you to the library tomorrow and Sunday, if you agree to what I have planned for us next week’
 
And yeah, that one didn’t make Alex feel much better.
 
He bit his lip softly, ‘What did you have planned?’
 
‘You’re probably not gonna like it’
 
‘Jack..’
 
‘Can I come over? I wanna show you some stuff and explain properly’
 
‘I..it’s after six Jack..’
 
And the night is still young Alexander’ Jack replied, the older boy almost hearing him rolling his eyes. ‘Please? You can touch me inappropriately whenever you want’
 
Alex snorted. ‘No thanks. I.. you can’t stay along okay? For the sake of my sanity..’
 
‘I know I know’ Jack rushed, ‘Just let me plead my case’
 
---
 
‘A…cabin?’
 
‘Yeah!’ Jack gushed, ‘It’s cool right?!
 
Biting his lip Alex shrugged, looking over his friends shoulder and at the laptop screen, a wooden cabin set in amongst endless trees. Yeah, it was nice, but the older boy didn’t want to stay there.
 
‘Why.. why exactly did you think would be a good idea?’ He frowned, chewing on his lip anxiously as Jack lazed on his bed, rolled his eyes.
 
‘If you’d sit down for a second and stop being moody then I’d explain’
 
‘I’m not moody’ Alex grumbled, sitting down regardless anyway and eyeing up the laptop screen again. ‘Explain’
 
‘Okay’, Jack sat up, clapping his hand together. ‘You know you mean a lot to me and all that crap, but I will honestly stab you if I have to spend the last week of our vacation in the library’
 
‘You-‘
 
‘Shush. This is my parent’s friends cabin, it’s an hour away and it’s secluded and quiet and we’ll be the only people there, so you don’t have to freak out about socializing with anybody except yours truly’
 
‘Yeah but-‘
 
And’ Jack persisted, ‘I figure if we’re really gonna try and make some changes and stuff then this would be a perfect opportunity to start, right?’
 
‘Jack-‘
 
‘Please?’ The younger boy pouted, ‘I’ll let you see me naked and everything!’
 
‘Stop assuming that I want to see that!’ Alex exclaimed, blushing with his words and turning away so he didn’t have to see Jack’s smirk.
 
The younger boy persisted though, chin soon planted firmly on Alex’s shoulder.
 
Please Lex? I wanted to do somethin’ nice for us’ He explained, voice suddenly soft and fuck, it was so hard to argue with that. 'I just wanna try and help you really relax for once..'
 
Alex laughed softly to himself, maybe that tiniest bit bitterly.

‘You know that’s not possible’ He mumbled,  and he was fairly certain he'd intended to go on to say something else, but all was lost when Jack's lips were suddenly brushing softly against the back of his neck, feather-light but making Alex shiver.

'Let me try' He whispered.

Alex's heart raced.

'Jack..',

And he wasn't sure what he was saying the name for, whether it was to warn the younger boy that he was too close, or maybe that hint of longing he was surprised to detect in his own voice was because Jack wasn't close enough. Maybe it was the younger boys breath on his neck that was stirring up all the want suddenly sitting in the pit of Alex's stomach, that was making his body absolutely ache to rest against the younger boys.

'Please', Jack whispered, and Alex's throat was dry and his hands were shaking.

'M'scared', He admitted softly, and he was, so scared of the feelings inside of him right now.

And Jack just pulled him close, whispered what Alex knew was true.

'You don't need to be scared with me'.


---
 
 
 
stayawakeanyastayawakeanya on November 13th, 2011 06:00 pm (UTC)
omg I was thinking about how much I missed this today and then you updated and ah I shouldn't have fangirled as much as I did.
THIS IS AMAZING AND I LOVE IT AWAWAWAW ALEX AND JACK ARE JUST AH
I love how long your chapters are too.
itnever_ends1itnever_ends1 on November 13th, 2011 06:12 pm (UTC)
oh my god I saw this had been updated and I got really confused because it's been so long and I've missed it so much!

this was perf. Dont leave us hanging again?!
cassiaflorencecassiaflorence on November 13th, 2011 06:24 pm (UTC)
I love you.
So much. More than anything. More than life.
I love this STORY.
I can't get enough I swear to you, I just... it's so perfect and sweet and cute and amazing, and if you worried about being 'rusty' or whatever after the break, I swear you don't need to because it was perfect. I love that Alex is letting Jack in a little bit more and I hope they go to the cabin and have cute Jalex moments and just... I love you so much omg.
LOVE.
AllIwantIsBoyBandgabsgimenez on November 13th, 2011 06:25 pm (UTC)
Shsisihsisysuussya it's back :') OMG hsheueiis <3 you need to continue this for the same of MY sanity love it
Reinanew_againxo on November 13th, 2011 06:39 pm (UTC)
awww amy i missed you and this aw it's perfect
<33
alltime_panicalltime_panic on November 13th, 2011 06:44 pm (UTC)
Oh my god.
Seriously.
This was absolutely amazing.
Everything about this is so perfect.
your writing is flawless.
The plot for this is perfect.
The characters are both strong.
Jesus Christ, I'm obsessed. Good to have you back.
(Anonymous) on November 13th, 2011 06:59 pm (UTC)
Oh my god I SQUEALED when you updated eldbskdbsogodfosf I love it so much
melovesspmelovessp on November 13th, 2011 07:47 pm (UTC)
AMY HI!!!!<3
I've missed this so much and this is perfectt everything is perfect please stay here please<3
missmazzersmissmazzers on November 13th, 2011 07:53 pm (UTC)
IT'S BAKC YOU'RE BAKC I'ASEHNJFLK JFI CKLJI'YENH I YELLED WHYN I SAW THERE WAS A ENW CHANPETD GOD BLESS YOU GOD BLESS CASSIA GOD BLESSS THIS STORY BOGOD BLESWS JALEX GOD FUCKING BLESS EVERTYHGINT WHAT A BEAUTIFUL DAY
on another note I like this chapter a lot more than I loved the other chapters even though I didn't know that was possible but this is beautiful I love it thank you so much oh ymgopd
ext_650660 on November 13th, 2011 08:03 pm (UTC)
I JUST SHIT MYSELF OH MY GOD GHJRKSJGAKGDKMSAKJGSDHAJL;GKDSAMIKGHDSUIA9GJNSDJAKHLGJKSDALLKG DSAJKLGKHJKADSFLGISOADFKJLHJFDAS THIS I S SO [ERFECT AND YOURE BACK FIDSOHBSUKALJKGLUISDAKL<3____________________________________<3 JGKHSJGK;ASLJNKSGJLKHASJH;OGKSFAMIUGKJSLAK PERFECTION ON SO MANY LEVELS GOD
merrikat95merrikat95 on November 13th, 2011 08:28 pm (UTC)
yoUR BACK! THIS IS BACVK! OH GOSH THAANK YOU!!
This is seriosuly one of my favourite fics currently, and you're one of my favourite authors and i thought this was done for, I really wasn't expecting anymroe but I'm so glad you decided to continue it because it's so good and now I'm reallye xcited for them to be alone together. I really want to see the progress alex will make:)

Thanks for such a beautiful chapter <3
alltimelowealltimelowe on November 13th, 2011 08:39 pm (UTC)
Oh my god, you are just perfect for starting this again. A 4 month break and you still write amazing. This is literally one of my favorite fics and I'm just so glad that you're bringing it back.
The end killed me, along with when Alex let them cuddle in the library. It was just all so good. This is amazing and yeah. You're perfect.
(Anonymous) on November 13th, 2011 09:28 pm (UTC)
THIS IS SO PERFECT AHHHH PLEASE UPDATE MORE OMFG
live_by_lyricslive_by_lyrics on November 13th, 2011 09:29 pm (UTC)
OMG OMG
I was wondering about this fic a few weeks ago, I genuinely missed it it's so perfect. You're writing is so considerate and your characters are so well defined. I'm so glad you've come back. You're worth the wait!
ps. The library idea was adorable! And I squealed when Alex felt Jack on the back of his neck.
jalexbarakarthjalexbarakarth on November 13th, 2011 09:36 pm (UTC)
aah the queen is back
haha no but really i missed your writing so much and this is just beautiful i am so happy you're back please never leave again :3