"This is so twisted, Tommy," Merton says, tugging morosely at the sleeves of Tommy's letterman jacket. The sleeves are a little too long for Merton, and the cuffs brush his knuckles. He feels as if he's playing dress-up, except Merton's previous forays into cosplay had included a lot more velvet, caps, and fangs, and a whole lot less jock gear.
Tommy looks at Merton, wholesome and innocent and such a bad actor that Merton wonders if Tommy has been paying any attention at all. Tommy slings an arm over Merton's slumped shoulders. "Merton, buddy," he says, "there's nothing twisted about helping a friend in need."
Merton snorts, loud enough that their fellow stragglers turn to stare. Tommy waves cheerfully at a cluster of his fellow football players. Merton does his best to die of mortification. He--Merton Dingle, Pleasantville's goth extraordinaire--is being paraded around campus wearing the very symbol of his oppression. Merton is terribly allergic to sports, and if he breaks out in hives after this stunt, Tommy will hear no end to Merton's complaints.
Merton takes ruthless advantage of Tommy's exposed side, and jabs Tommy in the ribs with his elbow. Tommy grunts, and Merton just knows that he's being humoured. "Tommy," Merton says, very patiently, "who is the foremost expert of all things supernatural in the world?"
Because Tommy really isn't as stupid as his obsession with football suggests, he answers promptly: "you are, Merton."
He takes a moment to preen at the compliment before continuing. "And who conducted a thorough psychological evaluation on you, Tommy?"
Tommy frowns, but says: "you did, Merton."
"I think," Merton says, "that if anyone knows what you're doing, it's me."
The sly grin Tommy directs at Merton would surely have made his more fervent admirers self-combust on spot. Merton is feeling more than a little heated under the collar, although he blames the feeling entirely on the inferior material of Tommy's jacket. He squirms under Tommy's arm, belatedly realizing that holding this particular conversation right now isn't his brightest idea.
Tommy dips his head, so close that his breath feathers across the shell of Merton's ear when he speaks. "Okay, I'll bite, Merton. What am I doing?"
Merton slaps his hand to the side of his neck. Tommy didn't bite, but there had been sucking. Maybe even a little nibbling. Merton is a bit fuzzy on the details, but he's something of a connoisseur of bruises, and Tommy has definitely left his mark on Merton. Merton hadn't complained at the time--even though the bruise will begin to clash horribly with his wardrobe soon--but being offered--practically forced!--into Tommy's letterman jacket is Merton's breaking point.
"I am not territory for you to mark," Merton says.
Obviously overwhelmed by Merton's superior intellect, Tommy doesn't bother to argue. Instead, he grins at Merton--absolutely wolfish. Merton does not swoon, only because Tommy's arm tightens around his shoulders. "I don't know, Merton. Aren't you the one who told me I should embrace my inner wolf? Besides," Tommy adds, "I like that everyone knows that you're mine."
Merton makes a ridiculously embarrassing noise somewhere between a squeak and a gasp. He thinks that he should object, draw himself to his full height and say: "I'm not a possession, Tommy. I don't belong to you." Merton's better than Tommy, sure, but he's still not that good of an actor, and the truth is, it's taking everything he has not to kiss Tommy right this instant.
"Fine, I won't complain about wearing your jacket," Merton says, accepting defeat with all the grace for which he is so well known. He can always make modifications to the jacket, after all.
The truth is, Merton has been Tommy's for the taking since day one.
"But don't forget who wears the dog collar in this relationship."
And that's okay, because Tommy is Merton's, too.