Chapter 1: Watcher
Scripps watches Posner watch Dakin. He watches Irwin, too. Posner's yearning is unconcealed, sadly hopeful, and Scripps would like to say, "Hide yourself. Even if you don't mind the teasing; you're too vulnerable like this."
Irwin is more closed off. Maybe he worries about being like Hector, maybe it's his nature. Dakin doesn't recognize the looks, wondering aloud to Scripps if Irwin rates him at all, but Scripps sees them.
No one notices him watching. He hides behind his professed faith, his church-going, his not-quite-ostentatious piety, and writes down what he cannot show the world, but cannot conceal from himself.
Written for emiime.
Chapter 2: Second Thoughts
Irwin's not sure he did the right thing.
"Do you do this often?"
Dakin's question lingers in Irwin's mind for days afterward. He hadn't answered, wasn't sure how to. He certainly doesn't normally pick up strange men in pubs and take them home for sex an hour later. Dakin was hardly a stranger, although after half a lifetime without seeing a boy who'd been his student for just a few months, Irwin could scarcely claim to know him.
He has occasionally made such pickups, he admits. Especially when between more serious relationships, as he happens to be now. Whether that is good or bad remains to be seen; Irwin prefers monogamy on the whole, so if he were in such a relationship he would not have fucked Dakin, an action that might yet prove to have been a mistake. He'd wanted to, god yes, and he'd thought that perhaps taking the upper hand in the matter would serve, settling his feelings once and for all. It hasn't quite worked out that way. Not for him at any rate. He has no idea how Dakin might feel about it.
His mobile rings, and he answers.
"I'm glad you rang," he tells Dakin. "I'd like to see you again, too."
Double drabble for emiime.
Chapter 3: A Young Man's Fancy
People don't always drift apart when they go off to university.
Posner hadn't calculated that being in different colleges would affect their interactions, but rather to his surprise Scripps sought him out in the first fortnight of term and suggested that they could study together. They were, after all, both reading history.
The quiver in Posner's stomach echoed in his voice as he agreed. Perhaps he'd hear of Dakin's doings that way, at any rate.
Little by little over the autumn and winter he came to realise that Scripps listened well because he understood just what it was Posner felt. They kissed for the first time in the spring, after exams.
Written for kyasuriin for holiday 2007.
Chapter 4: Red Plastic
Dakin has left something behind.
Red plastic catches Irwin's eye as he reaches to turn on the tap. It is late on a Sunday afternoon, and normally he would have showered hours ago, but Dakin has only just left after having spent the night. It is the eleventh time he has done so. Always before he took away anything that he might have brought with him, and so now Irwin gazes in quiet surprise at the bright alien plastic on his washbasin. After a moment he puts it next to his own in the rack. As he steps into the hot spray, he is smiling.
For emiime, always.
Chapter 5: Appraisal
It's a perfect summer day.
Irwin's thin shirt moulds to his chest in the breeze. A white streak crosses one cheek where he failed to rub in the sunscreen, and Dakin wipes it away. Irwin raises his eyebrows but says nothing.
The henge is small, not one usually visited by tourists or the neo-pagans about whom Irwin talks with fond condescension. The BBC persuaded him to do another series of history programmes, and Dakin suggested that the midsummer solstice would be a perfect time to evaluate this site. Though it means he needs Dakin's help with the wheelchair, looking around, Irwin thinks Dakin was right.
For westernredcedar who wanted Irwin/Dakin, solstice.
Chapter 6: Hidden
Dakin doesn't feel he really knows Irwin.
For all the years – yes, years now, astonishing though that seems – that Dakin has been together with Irwin, there are moments when he thinks he has seen only the barest glimpse of the real man.
He has seen Irwin naked, seen him sweating when the pain was bad, seen him undone by joy – and yet.
Behind the carefully constructed arguments, the scarf-drape of intellect that hides as much as it ever reveals, Dakin wonders if there is real emotion, passion, something that Irwin has never quite shared with him.
At night he listens to Irwin breathe, and wishes he knew.
For emiime who wanted Dakin/Irwin, glimpse.
Chapter 7: Forward the Unknown
Dakin wonders what will happen next.
It was never a secret, Posner's feelings for Dakin. To Dakin it's like having an itch on his back that he can't quite scratch. Whenever Posner sat behind him, he could practically feel those spaniel eyes.
And now Dakin is packing his trunk to go to Oxford, knows that elsewhere in Sheffield Posner is doing the same, and so are Scripps and Rudge and the other boys Dakin worked so long with. The ones going to Cambridge he may not see again. But he'll see Posner, he is certain, and he wonders what the hug he gave Posner might mean.
For soberloki who asked for Dakin/Posner, secret, back scratch, trunk.
Chapter 8: Emergency
Irwin keeps a cool head.
The tang of iron is strong in Irwin's nose, making him want to sneeze. He dials 999, giving the necessary information as calmly as he can, then presses the button to hang up.
"They'll be here soon," he tells Dakin, who gives him what is clearly intended to be his usual cocky smile, but is in fact closer to a grimace.
Irwin levers himself awkwardly out of his chair and sits next to Dakin on the floor, taking over the task of holding Dakin's hand to stop the blood flow from where the knife slipped and gashed open his palm.
For westernredcedar who wanted Irwin/Dakin, "iron."
Chapter 9: Struggle
Some things are worth struggling for.
Dakin waits to waylay Irwin after classes, determined to discuss his latest essay, on which Irwin has written, "Facile but dull."
From behind the barrier of his desk Irwin says, "You're too impressed with yourself, Mr Dakin. You think this is easy, don't you?"
"Not easy," Dakin protests.
"Not a real challenge, though." Irwin stands, walks around the desk and touches a single finger to Dakin's shoulder. "Excellence comes only with struggle. What is achieved easily is rarely worth having."
Dakin can see tiny beads of sweat at Irwin's hairline. He resolves that what he will struggle for is Irwin.
For swtalmnd who wanted Irwin/Dakin, "impressed with himself."
Chapter 10: Cupiditas
Dakin and Irwin have Scripps over for dinner.
The meal had been delicious: tender roast beef, sweet green peas, roast potatoes with fat-crisped edges, red wine that slid smooth and mellow down Scripps's throat.
The conversation was likewise wonderful. Scripps was accustomed to being around clever people, the sort who thought nothing of tossing off references to Proust and Sartre and Foucault while analysing the latest hit films. For all Irwin's intellectual slipperiness, though, there was more reality to his and Dakin's discussion than Scripps expected.
And that was why the food lay like ashes in his stomach and his sentences limped; his gut-wrenching envy of their intimacy.
Written for swtalmnd, who wanted Scripps, envy.
Chapter 11: Last Caress
It's the day before they leave for university.
The cricket pitch was deserted this windy Saturday afternoon, except for themselves, met seemingly by chance the day before they went up to their respective colleges.
Scripps's hands were jammed into his pockets as he kicked at a tussock, the fabric of his trousers pulled tight. Akhtar knew the signal.
"Behind the shed," he suggested.
Afterward he lent Scripps the handkerchief that his mother always tucked into his pocket. He would wash it out himself, or perhaps keep it for a while, something to remind him.
"I'll write," said Scripps.
"Yeah," said Akhtar, and touched Scripps's face, a last caress.
For koshweasley who wanted Scripps, Akhtar, "last day before Cambridge."
Chapter 12: (Dis)Appointment
Sharing a cigarette is a good first move.
Smoke wreathed Dakin's face as he exhaled, artfully letting it trickle out so as not to blow into Irwin's face.
Irwin recognized the gambit when Dakin offered him a drag, but he accepted it nevertheless. Sharing a cigarette was always a good first move; once your lips had both touched the same place, it wasn't a big step to having them touch directly.
"Pursuant to our conversation of the other day," Dakin said after he'd taken the cigarette back, "what's your interest?"
At the direct question, Irwin choked, and coughed, and woke to the cold white walls of the hospital.
For westernredcedar who wanted Irwin/Dakin, wreathed.
Chapter 13: In the Garden
They enjoy sitting in the garden of their new house.
After they moved in, Dakin hired a gardening service.
"Neither of us has time to do it," he said. "I work easily fifty or sixty hours a week, and your schedule is unpredictable. We can't always grub about in the dirt."
To which Irwin could only agree, although he suspected that Dakin also meant to keep Irwin from feeling he wasn't doing his share. A wheelchair was not ideal for gardening. Since he had no particular fascination with that chore, however, he didn't mind. He quite enjoyed sitting there during long summer evenings, sipping a drink, talking with his lover.
For swtalmnd, who wanted Irwin/Dakin, dirt.