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Kayden slides into his seat in science class before the bell rings, which is a minor miracle. Nobody he gives a shit about is in this class except Tanner, who he only kind of gives a shit about. Tanner sits diagonally from him to his right, close enough that Kayden can pass him notes when he's feeling friendly and flick paper footballs at him when he's not.

Naturally, Tanner already has his notebook and textbook out, because he's that kind of science nerd. Between them is a folded up note; Tanner taps his pencil against it, looking like he's considering whether to open it. He looks up and around and not at Kayden, then tucks the note under his textbook.

Kayden doesn't get a chance to needle him about it, because class begins. Kayden spends most of it working on the sketch of a crow that he's adding to the backing of his notebook and ignoring whatever facts he's supposed to be absorbing. The class ends without Kayden having actually learned anything; everybody packs up and files out.

Kayden almost misses it, but as Tanner gets up, he moves his textbook and knocks the note to the floor, seemingly without realizing he's done it. He hefts his bag and walks out, and Kayden takes the opportunity to scoop up the note and put it in his jacket.

Having no real interest in making it to his next class on time, Kayden goes around the corner and examines the note more closely. It's obvious who it's from; Raina folds her notes in a very particular way, into little oblong packets that she initials across the opening. Kayden can't replicate them from scratch, but he's learned how to refold them, carefully enough that the scrawled R and F match up at the end. Usually he draws a big K over them before he sends the note back, just to prove a point, but this note is certainly not for him.

He opens it eagerly. A thing like that has never stopped him before.

The note is weathered; it's been passed back and forth several times, and Raina's correspondent hasn't learned how to refold her notes, leaving extra creases. The text is pretty mundane at the top. Raina's bubbly, wide letters are answered with Tanner's small, careful print, written one after the other to save space. They're talking shit about their math teacher; they are in the advanced section while Kayden is in remedial, not because he doesn't get it but because math homework is boring as fuck.

I talked to K this morning, Tanner's hand says partway down the page, and Kayden's eyebrows go up.

Was he an asshole or was he trying? Raina responds.

He was trying to be an asshole, I think, Tanner writes, and Kayden snorts. I can't stand how he looks in that blue shirt. It brings out his eyes or some shit. Kayden frowns. That was yesterday, which is not the confusing part. What's more confusing is the idea that Tanner even knows he has eyes.

The exchanges turn from sentences to paragraphs, marking places where they weren't in the same class. Kayden absolutely cannot believe what he's reading. Tanner's got opinions about parts of him that are not his eyes, and they're a lot more favorable than Kayden would have ever guessed. Raina doesn't seem to agree, but Kayden's not very offended, given that he's known Raina was gay since before Raina knew it herself. He'd almost think someone other than Tanner wrote the note, that this was all an elaborate sting operation, but it still sounds like Tanner, stressed and pissy and angry at Kayden, even though this time he's angry that Kayden has a nice ass.

He's a problem, but it's not like I don't have plenty of problems, Tanner writes. It'll pass.

Don't be that way, Raina responds, a frowny face drawn next to it, and the exchange ends there.

Kayden delicately refolds the paper, taking extra care this time. He won't see either of the parties in the note until after school; he tosses it up and catches it a few times as he decides what to do about it. He could give it back to Raina and pretend he doesn't know about Tanner's involvement at all. He could give it back to Tanner and do nothing with what he knows of the contents. Either of those things would be the right thing to do, but doing the right thing is boring. He'd rather have some fun instead.

He sees Tanner again after the bell rings; he's standing with Darby, talking as they wait to get on their bus. Kayden sidles up and joins the conversation, which is a largely uninteresting one about the school newspaper. The bus pulls up shortly after Kayden gets there, and Darby waves at Kayden and starts towards it. Kayden slips the note out of his pocket and waits until Tanner gets two, three, four paces away from him.

"Hey, Tanner," Kayden calls.

Tanner turns, looking back at him. "Yeah?"

"This fell out of your bag," he says, holding up the note between two fingers.

"Thanks," Tanner says, and if he has any inkling what note it is, his face doesn't betray it.

Kayden pulls the note back when Tanner reaches for it. "We're meeting up tonight. Sevenish."

"Should I tell Darby?" Tanner asks.

"Darby's the one who told me," Kayden says.

"Okay," Tanner says, still apparently unsuspecting, and Kayden opens his fingers and drops the note into Tanner's hand. "See you then."

Kayden doesn't have to tell him where to meet, because it's a given. The five of them have adopted a trailer that sits on Raina's father's land; it's beat up and usually smells like weed or chemicals, depending on whether Tanner has used it for a darkroom or Kayden and Sat have hotboxed it. The important thing is that it's private and Raina's dad doesn't care what they do in it, out of some misguided idea that they're safer doing stupid shit where they can be watched.

Kayden, for once in his entire life, turns up early, but only because he knows Tanner is never late to things he actually wants to do, even when he's given a time with an -ish at the end of it. Kayden picks out a spot and waits; the chair in the corner will do, less approachable than the couch or the floor.

At seven on the dot, Tanner opens the door to the trailer, slamming it behind him to compensate for the warped door frame. Kayden suddenly feels a rush of exhilaration, the way he always does when he's about to do something stupid.

"Hey," Tanner says. He looks around, setting his backpack and camera down on the table. "Where is everybody?"

"Not coming," Kayden says.

"What do you mean?" Tanner says, puzzled. His face turns suspicious. "Why?"

Kayden smirks. "Maybe I wanted you all for myself."

Kayden sees it hit him, the moment Tanner connects all the dots. He puts a hand over his face, rubbing his temples. "Fuck me," he mutters.

"That's what I heard you wanted," Kayden says, unable to resist, though the note was honestly pretty PG, all things considered.

"You've had your fun," Tanner says. "I'm leaving."

"I don't think you should," Kayden says, standing up and sauntering over, and he's not sure what it says that Tanner just lets him do it. "How do you want me? Bent over for you? Spread out?" He gives Tanner his most vicious smile and sinks to his knees. "Or maybe like this."

"That's not funny, Kayden," Tanner says, and Kayden knows he's not imagining the look of longing on his face.

Kayden laughs. "Who said it was supposed to be?"

Tanner looks genuinely angry, and Kayden readies himself for a punch in the face, which Tanner probably deserves to give him. Instead, Tanner grabs him by the hair, dragging Kayden up, and gives him the most savage kiss he has ever received. He honestly didn't think Tanner had it in him; Tanner's kisses should be sweet and hesitant and meaningful, but right now he's biting Kayden's lips, like he can release all his frustration if he can just convey it through Kayden's body. For his part, Kayden just tries to keep up, though he's not even sure how important his participation is.

Tanner finally turns him loose, and Kayden falls heavily back, landing on his knees. "Pinch me, I'm dreaming," Kayden says, mostly to be an asshole but also to get his own back, try to sort it in his head.

"Pinch yourself," Tanner says.

Kayden holds up an arm, pinching a bit of his skin. "That good?"

"No," Tanner says.

Kayden laughs. "Then maybe you should show me."

"You know what?" Tanner says. "I think you've seen just about enough."

"Does that mean you want me to show you something?" Kayden asks. He puts a hand on his stomach, dragging it upwards and letting his t-shirt come with it; he might look sexy or he might look ridiculous, but he feels like either one will get him where he's trying to go.

"That's not what I said," Tanner says, and that longing look is back, his eyes lingering not on Kayden's face but the swath of stomach that's being revealed as Kayden's shirt moves.

"Say it," Kayden says, letting his knees spread further apart. "Admit how much you want this. That's all you have to do. You might even like what happens next."

"And what are you going to do?" Tanner asks, and Kayden knows he's got him on the hook.

"Only one way to find out," Kayden says.

"Take your shirt off," Tanner says, and Kayden grins widely. For a moment he can see Tanner readying to backpedal, maybe literally run from the situation, but before he can do it, Kayden's shirt is already hitting the floor.

"Was that so hard?" Kayden says, mockingly sweet. He leans back, putting his hands on the floor next to his ankles, giving Tanner a good look at his body. "What's next?"

"You're so weird," Tanner says, sounding both conflicted and distracted, which Kayden thinks is fair.

"This is what you wanted," Kayden says, although whatever fantasies Tanner had about him almost certainly didn't look like this. "Why stop now?"

"You should-" Tanner starts, but he stalls out, licking his lips. He shakes his head like he's trying to clear it. "Take your dick out," he says this time, with a note of command in his voice that makes Kayden grin. He slips his hand into the waistband of his pants, sighing when he finally gets his hand around his cock; he's been hard almost since he got on his knees, and a little relief is exactly what he needs.

"No," Tanner says, sharper than Kayden would have expected, which is enough to make him still his hand. "That's not what I said. I said take it out."

"I'm getting there," Kayden says, removing his hand.

"Get there faster," Tanner says.

Just for that, Kayden makes a show of it, undoing the button of his fly slowly before dragging his zipper down; the metal pieces on the straps on his pants clink against the floor as he pushes them down around his thighs, a noise he only hears because Tanner is stone silent. Kayden hooks his thumbs into the waistband of his underwear and lifts it away from his skin, guiding it down over his hard cock, leaving nothing between him and the air.

He doesn't have to look at Tanner's face to feel the weight of his eyes, the way Tanner is staring at him like he means to record every moment. For a moment, Kayden half-wonders if Tanner is going to reach for his camera. He almost says something about it, dares Tanner to, but he's not a hundred percent sure Tanner wouldn't do it. It doesn't stop him, Tanner's scrutiny; if anything, it makes him bolder, makes him want to perform.

Kayden wraps his hand around his cock again, now that it's out, not waiting to be told. He strokes himself slowly, long passes of his hand, and tries not to make it too obvious how much he wants to go faster. Tanner is still staring, and Kayden thinks this must be what it's like to be a plant in the sun, drawn to the heat and unfolding underneath it. Tanner just lets him go for long moments, and Kayden shuts his eyes, letting himself move just a little quicker.

Kayden, though, Kayden is a creature of escalation, and he can't be content with the silent treatment for too long. "You're just standing there," he says, and if he sounds a little petulant, it can't be helped.

"I thought you were showing me," Tanner says.

"Imagine what I could show you if you got closer," Kayden says. Deep indecision crosses Tanner's face, and Kayden laughs. "Don't fucking bail on me now."

"Stop," Tanner says, after a long pause. "Take your hand off your cock."

"That is not what I meant," Kayden says, but he does it.

Tanner steps forward and puts his foot between Kayden's legs, close enough that the fabric of his jeans rubs up against Kayden's dick, and he cannot possibly be suggesting what Kayden thinks he is. Kayden is morbidly curious about what's going to happen if he takes Tanner up on it, and if Tanner doesn't realize what he's done, it's the perfect way to freak him out.

Kayden thrusts his hips forward experimentally; the denim doesn't feel great against his cock and is also somehow exactly what he wants. He does it again, and Tanner doesn't stop him. Tanner, that bastard, doesn't even really look surprised. He has this look of dark satisfaction that hits Kayden down deep; something is powerful about making Tanner look like that, even though Kayden is pretty sure he's supposed to be the one at a disadvantage here. Also, he's hornier than he's ever been in his life, and if relieving that means rubbing off on Tanner's leg, guess he's just going to have to do it.

Kayden keeps his eyes on Tanner's face as he starts rocking against his leg, setting up a steady, lazy rhythm. He could go faster, could just get himself off quick, but it isn't what he wants. Tanner is hard, cock distending the front of his jeans, and Kayden wants that instead, whatever form having it is going to take.

"Keep going," Kayden says; he closes his mouth around the head of Tanner's cock where it's outlined in his pants and sucks until Tanner gasps. Tanner fumbles with his fly until Kayden slaps his hands away and does it himself, pulling his pants and underwear down just far enough to pull out his cock.

Tanner pushes Kayden's hands away then, before grabbing the back of Kayden's head and pulling him forward. Kayden doesn't even get his cock into his mouth properly at first, reduced to licking along it as best he can with Tanner holding him. Something about it seems so much dirtier than if Tanner had just shoved into his mouth, like Tanner is forcing him to do more, give up for him. Kayden lets his teeth show, scraping them- gently, he's not that much of an asshole- across the head of Tanner's cock. Tanner makes a noise like he's shocked that he likes it, so Kayden does it again. Tanner breaks then, pulling Kayden back by his hair and feeding him his cock.

Kayden doesn't actually know whether Tanner has gotten a blow job before; he doesn't go off immediately, so maybe he has. Kayden doesn't care one way or the other, besides it being another thing he can hold over Tanner's head. Either way, Tanner has no finesse; he's using Kayden's mohawk like a handle to move his head back and forth, pushing in deep, and Kayden just takes it, lets Tanner give it to him good.

After all, he's never going to get Tanner the way he wants him; Tanner is never going to see him as more than a problem to be ignored, and if this is the best he can have, he's going to get it.

Kayden is still moving his hips, grinding against Tanner's leg as Tanner fucks his face, and he's getting close to the edge. He moans around Tanner's cock, both because he feels damn good and so that Tanner will feel it, the vibration of his voice. It works; Tanner lets out a surprised gasp and starts moving faster, till Kayden is lightheaded from not breathing. He just tries to breathe through his nose and holds on, even though he's gagging, his chin wet with spit.

He doesn't get a warning when Tanner starts coming. Suddenly his mouth is filling with the acrid taste of come, and he just swallows it down, not wasting time worrying about spitting it out. Tanner doesn't say anything or even make any loud noises; he just pants and gasps, like he's as breathless as Kayden. Kayden doesn't stop sucking, milking out the last of it, until Tanner finally pulls him away.

That's one down, but Kayden's not finished. He's still grinding against Tanner's leg, all but frantic by now. He needs it badly, and he doesn't care what he looks like, even though he can feel his eyeliner running, his forehead beaded with sweat. Tanner is looking down at him, and Kayden can't read the expression on his face; he also doesn't care about that, unless it means he doesn't get to finish.

"I want you to come," Tanner says, voice ragged, and it flips some kind of switch in Kayden's head. Kayden moves his hips a little faster, just a few more thrusts before he's coming all over the leg of Tanner's jeans.

There's a long, silent moment where they're just there, breathing; Kayden slumps backward, putting distance between them. It occurs to him that another person might feel remorseful or dirty or guilty about the whole thing.

He doesn't.

"Ew," Tanner says finally, looking down at his leg, and pulls out a bandanna to wipe the mess off.

"It was your idea," Kayden says, as he puts away his cock and reaches for his shirt, pulling it back on.

"Don't tell anybody about this," Tanner says, which isn't a surprise.

He can feel how Tanner has fucked up his mohawk by grabbing at it, and he tries his best to smoothe it back into place. "You're such a fucking hypocrite," he says, focusing on his hair and not Tanner. "You're gonna tell Raina as soon as you can, and she's gonna tell Darby, and Darby's gonna proclaim it from the fucking mountaintops."

"No," Tanner says adamantly. "Nobody can know. Especially not Sat."

Kayden's hands still. Of course he was planning to tell Sat, even as he was accusing Tanner of the same crime. He frankly doesn't care who knows; he gets called enough epithets already, and people knowing that they actually apply won't make much difference. But what is he expecting, really? Is he expecting to hold Tanner's hand in the hallway? Is he expecting to go on a date? Is he expecting the animosity between them to cool? He shouldn't even be expecting a repeat performance, not when Tanner is too chickenshit to do anything but blame Kayden for his own desires.

"Fine," Kayden says.

"I mean it," Tanner insists.

"I fucking said fine," Kayden says through clenched teeth. "What more do you want?"

A shadow of something passes over Tanner's face, but it's gone as quick as it came. He walks over and retrieves his things, putting his camera back around his neck. "See you tomorrow," he says.

"Yeah," Kayden says, to his retreating back.

When he's gone, Kayden digs out the mirror he has in his backpack and carefully begins wiping away the black streaks of eyeliner that have run down his face. Nobody can know, after all.