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Jackie: Having gotten up early to attend a light conditioning practice with Coach Stax, followed by taking care of Cooper before classes got started, Tim is running on empty by the time he returns to his dorm room, well after dinner. The past few days have been much like this, with twice-a-day workouts that aren't necessary, but accepted (Coach Stax undoubtedly pleased, but cautious), on top of the typical work load of classes and assignments and counselor meetings. He unceremoniously enters his dorm, duffel bag strapped across his chest, and he glances up to see the room empty. He doesn't bother to check the bathroom, and instead goes straight to his desk, where he can deposit his bag on top of his chair and start to work off his hoodie.


Jay: Michael hadn't actually bothered to go to dinner; he'd had a late meeting with his own counselor, for his anger management stuff, and this did not improve his mood to any marked degree. He's veered beyond confused about his relationship with his roommate, all the way into frustrated; after Kellen's party in the theater, Tim had disappeared for a whole day and night, and since then has gone back to his annoyingly distant routine. Though he still shares a bed with Mike, there isn't much else going on between them, not even conversation. He knows that Jesse's advice would be 'talk to him', but Mike isn't even sure how he could start that discussion.

Reaching the room not long after Tim, Michael tosses his backpack onto his bed with more force than is strictly necessary, then starts towards his closet. Spotting his roommate a moment later, a wave of mixed feelings - irritation, affection, uncertainty, lust - comes over him, but he hides it well enough, nodding in greeting. "Hey. No extra work-out tonight?" As he speaks, he drags on his jacket (still sort of perpetually damp) and searches in his closet for the pack of cigarettes he'd hidden.


Jackie: Facing away from the doorway, Tim is working on tugging the sleeves of his hoodie off, damp for having worn it while jogging on the treadmill, with Coach Stax standing nearby. His body feels sore, no doubt from the abundant exercise he's been indulging in these past few days, but he much prefers his coach talking to him - about technique, and health, and what to prepare for this spring - far more than the questions his counselor asks, or the ones he knows his room mate wants to ask. He doesn't startle much when Ness enters the room, but he also doesn't look over until the boy addresses him; then, Tim looks over his shoulder, now working the hoodie off of himself more fully. "Hey-- no, I did. Just finished up." He removes the article of clothing and tosses it near his hamper, it being too dirty to wear again this week, and then faces forward again, to work on his t-shirt. "Didn't see you at dinner." It'd be hard to tell that Tim was even looking - it's not like he asked anyone where Mike was - but he did notice the lack of his attendance, and despite his own acts of disappearance, it upset him.


Jay: Mike nods in understanding, doing a good act of being distracted as he continues rifling through his clothes. He is a bit surprised that Tim noticed him missing, but shrugs slightly, betraying a little tension. "No, I had to meet with the counselor before, and we ran a little over. He keeps proposing these stupid fucking exercizes for anger management that just don't work - like cutting down on my goddamn cursing and blaspheming and using replacement words instead." This is emphasized with a noise of disgust in his throat. Finally finding his cigarettes, he turns back to Tim, arching an eyebrow. "Feel like joining me for a smoke? I could use one after an hour spent saying 'dangit' and 'shoot' and 'Cheese and rice'." He doesn't act too hopeful, since he's pretty sure Tim will blow him off.


Jackie: Tugging off his t-shirt, Tim is left shirtless, but only for a moment; it's far too cold, and he's still damp with sweat, to be comfortable in such undress. So he ambles over to his closet, to tug on a new ribbed t-shirt. He makes a little noise of understanding, but doesn't allow himself to give into the innate urge to smile, since he can only imagine how those anger management meetings go. Typically, Mike returns to the dorm more angry than he left it. He glances back over at Michael for the invitation, and momentarily pauses, considering. But it doesn't take him long to reply, and he's nodding his head before he's certain of his answer, and he reaches into his closet to pull out a fresh hoodie. "...yeah, sure. That sounds good." Not a typical smoker, certainly these past few days have made the boy crave some sort of chemical release, and he works on the zip up hoodie before grabbing his jacket, not bothering with changing from his sweatpants and athletic shoes.


Jay: Though pleasantly surprised, Michael only gives a hint of a smile to show it, more in his eyes than anywhere else. "It's not snowing for once, but it is still too damn cold." Zipping up his mechanic's jacket, he snags a scarf that he swindled from the theater costume supply and wraps it around his neck a couple times, then shoves his hand in his pockets and starts out. Glancing through the bathroom as they pass it, he quirks an eyebrow. "Sounds quiet in there. Are they out ghost hunting again?"


Jackie: Taking that information, Tim exchanges one of his thinly-lined jackets for the leather one Lars gave him, and shrugs it on easily, it being a size or two too big for him. Knowing that Michael doesn't have a proper jacket, he glances back at the boy to look at his attire, knowing that the addition of the scarf won't do much to keep him warm. So he tosses over one of his plain black beanies wordlessly, and then works another one over his own head, already digging his hands into his jacket pockets as he heads towards the door. He hovers near it, looking back at Michael, and shrugs a shoulder. "Not sure. Think I heard Jesse saying something about practicing Shakespeare lines with Justin, down at the theatre."


Jay: Caught off guard, Mike still manages to catch that beanie and tugs it down on his head. "Thanks." Letting Tim precede him out the door, he heads to the staircase nearest. "Oh, that must be what he and Kellen were going on about, last night. I've never heard Shakespeare recited in such a terrible Boston accent, and I'm pretty sure he was mispronouncing some of the words." At the stairway, he holds the door open to once more let his roommate go ahead.


Jackie: Tim nods briefly for that thanks, finding it to be unnecessary; with the recent weather, it's hard to not want to wear winter clothes to classes, since the heating system is a little fucked in such an old building. He waits for Michael to join him near the door before he heads out, and he finally breaks and gives a little chuckle, only being able to imagine how botched that quoted Shakespeare was. "I think Jess and Justin have an assignment for class, where they have to recite it. Pretty sure Kellen's just along for the ride." Which is typical, really. Heading down the stairs, they make it down to the ground floor and Tim holds open the door, allowing Mike to head out to the hallway, and then following him down to where he prefers to exit for his nightly smoke breaks.


Jay: "That's probably for the best. I don't think he'd pass the class." As usual, as soon as he's outside, Mike hunches his shoulders some against the chill and walks a little faster than normal, going around the side of the building where the wind is somewhat blocked before he lights a cigarette. He offers the pack to Tim wordlessly, waiting until he's also lit his before going on. "This place is really starting to feel closed-in. I can't wait until we have a chance to get out of here, even if it is just for some bullshit field trip."


Jackie: Likewise, Tim tuckers down into himself once they're outside, the onslaught of cold immediately forcing its way beneath his skin, rattling his bones. He keeps at Michael's feet as he rounds the corner, and while the wind is much less blustering here, it's still extremely cold. Again, he snorts in amusement, because it's hard to imagine Kellen testing out Shakespeare, in a class no less, but he focuses his attention on the other part of the conversation. Obviously, he can relate - the only way he's been able to deal with the suffocation is by immersing himself in activities that keep his mind and body busy. "I know it. Seems like it gets like this, every winter. Think I've seen a fist fight every day since last Thursday. People are going stir-crazy."


Jay: Rather than staying put, Mike keeps walking, at a slower pace now, because maybe it's warmer than staying still. But it doesn't feel that much warmer. "Yeah. I'm one of them. I swear, I was about a minute away from stabbing that counselor in the face with his own letter-opener. I don't know how you've managed for two and a half years; I really need to get the hell out of here soon." Taking a long drag, he eyes the employee parking lot on the other side of a fence; unlike the ones around the perimeter, this is simple chainlink, no more than seven feet high. "'course, I suppose we could always take an unauthorized break..."


Jackie: Tim follows after Michael, but doesn't trail directly at his feet - he keeps a bit of distance, but not enough to make it very apparent. He takes a drag off of the cigarette he lit, keeping the pack and the lighter in his jacket pocket for safe keeping, and blows the smoke off to the side. "Don't really have a choice, I guess." It's true; even if he were to make an escape, he'd just end up right back here again. The headache wouldn't be worth the few days of freedom he could get - it's not like he has money, and he hasn't had a place to go to until this year, when Lars relocated. Glancing at his roomate's face, he follows the boy's line of vision, but doesn't pay attention to the parking lot - instead, he's focusing on the fence, and he actually sounds amused by the suggestion. "Yeah? And what, get caught in a day? You know the punishments aren't worth it."


Jay: Pausing, he turns to look at Tim with an eyebrow arched. "Punishments for that aren't half as bad as the punishments I'll be bound to get when I inevitably lose my shit and clock that counselor, or someone else." Half-turning again, he looks along the fence speculatively. "Not leave for good, I mean. Just a little excursion...we could take one of the cars that's always here, one of the live-in staff cars. Remember when Kellen had to go to the hospital, and I brought Leech's car around? I memorized the code for the gate. So long as no one spots us going over the fence..." He turns in a circle, glancing around for any obvious security cameras, of which there are none. "Once we're in the car, no one will be able to tell it isn't just a staffmember going out." Alarmingly, he seems to really be considering this.


Jackie: Tim opens his mouth to argue that, but all that comes out is a little amused scoff, because it's not like what Mike said is false; the punishments for attacking staff members is among the top of the list of Things That Will End Badly. His eyes shift from the fence, to the parking lot, then back to Michael, and he eventually makes it so he's standing next to the boy, but doesn't appear to be as inclined to make this excursion happen. He takes another drag from his cigarette, and ashes it off to the side. "And what, Mike? Go where? It's not like we have money, and it's too cold to find a park or something to tuck away in. C'mon, it's...no." Tim nods back towards the building, in hopes of convincing Ness that this is another thing that can be classified as a Bad Idea.


Jay: If Michael notices that motion to the main building, he doesn't give any sign of it, now eying the cars ranked in the parking lot speculatively. He does take Tim's words into consideration; he doesn't have much money, and he has no idea of the surrounding area's geography, but now the idea's taken hold and is gaining in appeal every moment. "Whatever car we take will have heat, that's not a problem...take one of those monster SUVs and it'd even have enough room to sleep in, if we decide to stay out all night." Which would be by no means necessary; despite the dark, it's only just six, and a few hours of freedom would be much better than none. Smoking, he paces down the line of the fence thoughtfully. "God, do you know how long it's been since I've had a chance to drive? It's almost worth it, just for that."


Jackie: If he were a little more lively, and not bogged down by antidepressants and the overall ache from too much exercise, Tim would probably whine, throw his head back and stomp his feet, because he can tell that he's not doing much to convince Michael not to do this. For each of his own points as to why this is a dumb idea, Mike seems to supply an answer - maybe not the best answer, but at least an answer nonetheless. He exhales, exasperated, and steps in closer towards the boy, heading craning back to look and make sure that no one is watching them. "Mike...c'mon, this is dumb. We can get Lars to take us out, next weekend. He can check us out and you can drive his car for a bit. Just--" And then he reaches to grab Mike's hand, to try to convince him to stay on this side of the fence.


Jay: Turning his head as Tim steps closer, Mike gives him a disbelieving look, coupled with a quiet scoff. "This whole place is dumb. And you know as well as I do, even if they let Lars check you out, they wouldn't agree to let him take me, too." He shakes his head, looking away again. His train of thought is again briefly interrupted when Tim takes his hand, and he laces their fingers together, squeezing Tim's between his and glances down at the link for an extended moment. It may appear that he's coming to a decision, but really his mind's been made up since the thought formed. So he looks back up at his roommate without lifting his head, giving him a small but entirely charming grin. "Just don't rat me out, all right? I'll be back before dorm checks...probably."


Jackie: Michael's argument is completely valid; in most cases, students can be checked out on the weekends, for a few hours, but it's typically reserved for family, or otherwise approved guests. It'd be hard to swindle Mike into the picture. Tim steps in a little closer as their fingers are interlocked, and he also glances down at them, perhaps missing the way they looked woven together. But he lifts his head to meet Michael's eyes, and he looks ready to whine again. He tugs on their hands, as if that will convince the boy, and takes another step closer. "Mike...just-- c'mon. Stay." Truth be told, he doesn't trust that Mike would even return, were he to go this alone; and that alone is a thought Tim doesn't like thinking about, at all.


Jay: Mike lifts an eyebrow again as Tim steps closer, and contrary to what the other boy was probably hoping for, he feels a sudden burst of frustration and resentment in his chest; he manages to bite back his first couple of responses, as they're either unfair or downright hurtful, but he can't help a bit of that frustration from leaking into his voice regardless. "Why?" Flicking his eyes away from his roommate, back to the main building, his mouth tugs to the side in something like a sneer. "Not much to stay for, is there?" Then he looks back to the fence, sighting along it to where a snowdrift has piled up in a spot behind a building which rarely ever sees sunlight, making it not much of a challenge to jump the fence.


Jackie: Watching Michael's face carefully, Tim isn't all that surprised when the boy barks back at him; his expressions at least alluded to it, so Tim isn't exactly caught off guard. He opens his mouth to respond, but nothing comes out - he knows he's been distant, and confusing, and has offered absolutely no explanation for ditching Michael in the wee hours on Saturday morning, not even giving the boy a chance to convince him to stay in bed. He can't formulate a response whilst looking at Mike, so he tosses his head to the side, glaring out towards the building, as he gnaws on his cheek and looks generally frustrated. But that second statement makes Tim's eyes snap back to Michael's face, and he tugs on their conjoined hands pointedly, his own gaze narrowing, looking like a mixture between hurt, and angry. "You really think that?"


Jay: Though Mike is still facing away, he does watch Tim from the corners of his eyes, and the fact that it takes him so long to respond - and that the response is so weak - doesn't assuage his irritation (which is probably mostly pain, disguised). He purses his lips for the question, shrugging a shoulder tensely. "Kinda what I've been led to believe." He tries to sound nonchalant, can't quite manage it, and really, having this sort of conversation is enough to make him want to go AWOL, all by itself. Turning his face partially towards Tim, he onceagain raises an eyebrow, still trying for that mild tone. "It's not like I haven't had lovers that sneak out before I wake up, before - done it a few times myself - but I never expected it from you. I thought this meant something more, but maybe it was just me."


Jackie: Again, Tim tries for a response, but nothing initially comes out; he's left with his mouth dropped open, and he looks off to the side, trying to sort it all out. He doesn't really believe what Michael says, since he thinks that, even despite their past few days of tension, it's been a little obvious that Tim's affections for his room mate have grown, but then the boy continues talking, and it totally shatters him. He flicks his eyes up to meet Michael's face again, and they are narrowed into a sort-of glare, disbelieving. But that eventually falls, since Tim's actions were definitely confusing enough to be taken as such, and he shakes his head as he looks back out towards the building, licking his own teeth. He has to take a careful breath before he starts talking again. "Mike...look, that...I didn't mean to do that. I just...freaked out--" He looks back at the boy's face again, and wilts a little bit under it. "I needed to just...sort things out. I didn't--" He cuts himself off again, and then tugs on their hands once more. "Just...stay. Stay here. With me."


Jay: Rather than looking away, this time, Mike keeps his gaze locked on his roommate's face, trying to catch and decipher every nuance of his expression, and his own doesn't change a bit, even when Tim levels that almost-glare at him, because he knows he's fully justified in saying what he did. However, when the other boy starts speaking, both eyebrows fly up to his hairline this time. "Didn't mean to do it? Tim, you were gone for an entire day - over twenty-four hours." He sounds incredulous, but despite himself, a bit of the wounded feeling he has also imbues his voice, particularly as he goes on. "Do you regret it? What things are there to sort out? I want to be with you, but if that's not what you want, then tell me! Don't...run away and hide. I can handle it, I swear, I've done it before." He more or less completely disregards that last plea, too intent on untangling this mess, finally. He doesn't even notice that his cigarette has burned down to the filter until he feels the heat on his knuckles, at which point he flicks it away instinctively, still watching Tim.



Jackie: "I know! Okay, I know--" Again, Tim cuts himself off, feeling more and more guilty as Michael talks. He hadn't realized, not fully, just how long he was away, instead he was tied up in his escapism in Kellen's secret room, and then tucked away down in the basement with the parasite. He takes a careful breath, but it doesn't do much to calm his body, and he doesn't even notice when the cigarette he was holding drops to the snow pile, sizzling as it is extinguished. Immediately, that second question makes Tim's eyes lock on Mike's, incredulous, because he certainly does not regret it - it's just all such a mess. "What? No, I don't regret it...it's just...we were drunk. I was really drunk, and I didn't think...I mean, it wasn't--" He sighs, tries to find his wording, and shifts his weight on his feet, almost impatient. "I didn't think it'd happen like that. 'Cause it mattered to me. It's not...not a big deal, I just...freaked out."


Jay: If possible, Mike's eyebrows lift even more when Tim mentions that he was really drunk, but he manages not to interrupt him, exhaling heavily through his nose and waiting to speak until after the other boy is finished. "Well, sorry, I didn't have Jesse and Kellen around to scatter rose petals and light candles." It's snappy and sarcastic, but he pauses after saying it and presses his lips tight, so as not to laugh. Really, the urge to laugh springs more of relief than anything else; after a few more breaths, he manages to speak more calmly. "It mattered to me, too. A lot. Maybe that wasn't the best...circumstances, but it still..." Sighing, he trails off, and turns to face Tim more directly. His now-free hand comes up to clasp Tim's, and he stares at them for a long moment before redirecting his gaze to the other boy's face. "Come with me. Please?"


Jackie: Although the fact that they were both drunk - Tim moreso than Michael - did have some weight in Tim's mini freak out, it wasn't a huge contributing factor; it just wasn't what he had thought would happen. Just as Mike snaps back, Tim does the same, before he can stop himself. "I didn't ask for that." Immediately after saying it, Tim turns his head to the side and closes his eyes, cursing himself silently - it's no use to be unnecessarily mean, right now. He takes a few calculated breaths, trying to station his thoughts into something relatively reasonable, and something beneath his sternum cracks when Mike speaks again. It hadn't occurred to him, in his time spent away from his room mate, just how much Friday night had meant to him. So he's forced to look back at Michael, mostly because he feels how firmly the boy is gripping at his hands, and he almost immediately nods. He looks scared - definitely not because of the impending punishment he knows is coming, but maybe intimidated by just how important this feels right now -- but doesn't look away.


Jay: Not fully expecting Tim to agree, at least not without further cajolement, Michael can't help a little grin from breaking out for that nod, a grin that does not much to reveal the immediate sensations of glee and excitement. Both of his hands tighten on Tim's, and he leans forward, pressing their mouths together for a long moment. Drawing back, he murmurs a 'thank you' against Tim's mouth - but before his roommate can respond, he's releasing one hand and heading along the fenceline to the spot he found, with the snowdrift making it easier to climb over. Looking back at Tim, he arches an eyebrow. "You wanna go up first?"


Jackie: If Tim wasn't feeling as nervous and scared as he currently is, he'd maybe appreciate that grin for all that its worth. But instead, he just stands there, eyes a little wider than normal, looking like he needs some sort of direction since he has no idea what the fuck it is they are getting themselves into. Therefore, his response to that kiss is a little delayed, and he leans his head forward to keep their mouths connected for a second longer, eventually leaning back and reopening his eyes. He glances back at the building as he tugged over to the snow bank, slightly neurotic, before looking back to his roommate. He shakes his head, and hovers closer to the fence, to offer Mike a boost up, should he need it. "No...go ahead. I'll be right behind you." Climbing the fence will be no big deal for him - although his body may be a little like jell-o, from his time spent in the weight room.


Jay: Clearly, Michael doesn't think about consequences as much as Tim does, because he's all full of manic energy now. For Tim's words, he nods, immediately jumping up to grasp the chainlink as high as he can. Finding spots for his toes, he glances back at Tim, winking. "Catch me, if I don't make it." This consideration isn't really necessary; there's only about a foot of fence to climb before he can haul himself over, then drop to the ground, crouching to absorb the impact. While he waits for Tim to join him, he looks thoughtfully at the cars nearby, dismissing immediately the school cars, because driving around with the school's name on their vehicle would be a dead giveaway.


Jackie: As Michael climbs over the fence, Tim watches him carefully, but his mind is elsewhere - what if they don't make it back? Is Jesse going to freak out? They could get arrested. What's the punishment for this? Is the risk worth the reward? Before he can even get to the idea of Leech, Mike is back on the ground, the sound of his feet hitting the snow mound pulling Tim out of his limitless questions. He climbs the fence easily and hoists himself over it, landing in a similar crouch before again glancing back, making sure no priest is chasing after them. He sees nothing, so instead turns to Michael, keeping his shoulders hunched because he's so sure they're going to be detected. He, too, looks over the cars - eyes quickly shifting past Leech's - and he talks lowly. "Which one?"


Jay: Looking back at Tim, and appearing completely unconcerned about all the things Tim is asking himself, Mike smiles slightly and points, answering immediately. "That one." The vehicle he points out certainly looks capable of getting through the snow, and could probably be lived in. A monstrous old style Suburban, its merits aren't limited to size and power; it's also very easy to break into and hot-wire. As it turns out, the former isn't actually a necessity. Whoever drives it feels confident enough in the security that the door is unlocked, so Michael crawls under the dashboard and within a few minutes, with the help of the knife in his pocket, has the machine roaring to life. He climbs (literally) into the drivers' seat and adjusts everything, glancing at Tim with a raised eyebrow. "Ready?"


Jackie: Following that line of trajectory, Tim's eyes land on the Suburban and he nods absently. He doesn't know much about cars, but this one looks like it can handle the nasty road conditions, and isn't as susceptible to erratic driving. Trailing behind Mike, Tim climbs up into the passenger seat and glances into the back seat, seeing that it's incredibly tidy, and then looks down to watch Mike bring the vehicle to life. This is all so incredibly foreign to him, that he actually looks a bit amazed that Mike was able to start the SUV without having any keys, and he nods dumbly for that question. He waits until they are hovering near the exit, and Mike is punching in the code, before speaking. "...we gotta come back tonight."


Jay: Finishing with the code, Mike waits, holding his breath until the gate starts rolling open and confirming that he got all the numbers right. Looking back over at Tim curiously, he gives an agreeable nod. "Of course." He reaches over, gripping Tim's thigh reassuringly, before being forced to move his hand so he can shift. Away from the school compound the road quickly becomes dark, not even streetlights breaking up the night. Once settled into a comfortable speed, Mike starts messing with the stereo - instantly turning off the cassette player when it turns out to be some terrible evangelical music - and speaks absently. "I wonder who actually drives this thing..."


Jackie: Tim's eyes drop from Michael's form as they wait for the gate to open, and he looks over at the dashboard, reading the digital clock. It's relatively early, but being that it's winter, it's fairly dark out - making it hard to tell the time without the assistance of the dash. He nods a little bit, mostly to himself, for Mike's confirmation, and then works his seat belt on, trying to settle down into the seat comfortably. Even if he was resistant to this rendezvous, there's no doubt that once they're off the school ground, Tim can breathe a little easier, and he peers out of the window, watching the dark evergreen trees pass by quickly. He's drawn away from any thoughts by Mike's voice, and he shrugs a shoulder and reaches up, tugging down the visor to see if there's anything there. A small picture drops from the mirror, and Tim snags it from his lap, peering down at it and having difficulty making it out in the darkness. He holds it up a bit higher, using the light from the moon, and is kind of taken aback - it's a photo of Snider, but it's one of those posed glamor shots, complete with a horrible holiday sweater. In his arms is a very fluffy, pure white cat - also with a festive holiday collar on. "...think it may be Snider's." And for this, he holds up the picture for Mike to look at briefly.


Jay: "I thought he was on some conference?" Mike sounds a little bewildered, but when Tim holds that picture out to him, he looks more than moderately bewildered, actually kind of horrified. His mouth opens and closes once or twice, and then he just laughs helplessly, actually having trouble keeping his focus on the road. Luckily, the roads have been treated for ice recently, so seem mostly dry. "Holy shit, that's - no joke - the worst thing I've ever seen." He throws another glance at the photo, fizzling with mirth. "Fucking God. I wonder what picture the headmaster keeps in his car." Because if there's anyone more kooky for Jesus than Snider in the whole place, it's got to be Mangum.


Jackie: "Could've taken a school-issued vehicle, I guess..." Tim glances back down at the photo and is almost as equally as bewildered as Michael is. Every time he looks at it, he notices something different - this time, it's the soft Christmas greeting photoshopped into the background. He actually sneers, and replaces the photo back to its resting place, in hopes that he doesn't ever have to see it again. Sitting back in his seat, Tim curls his legs up to his chest, since the large vehicle gives him more than enough space to do so, and he sucks his lower lip into his mouth, gnawing on it gently as he thinks over what the hell they are doing - and how it's a pretty idiotic idea. He's shifted away from that train of thought by that question, and even if Mike doesn't expect a response, Tim offers one. "I...don't want to think about Jefe having a driver's license." The thought alone is terrifying, and Tim briefly shakes his head before questioning innocently: "Do you know where we're going?"


Jay: "You're right, that is a horrifying thought." Giving up on the radio - the only stations it seems able to pick up at all are terrible - he flicks it off. Tim's question gets the expected shrug in response, and Mike glances briefly at the other boy before focusing back on the road. "Not really. Have any suggestions? I haven't been anywhere in this area since I was about seven, barring that ski trip we were forced into." He actually has no idea whether he's pointed towards Boston or away from it, but it doesn't seem to matter, particularly. Slouching into the seat more comfortably, he stretches a hand out to wind his fingers between Tim's, probably picking up on his uncertainty.


Jackie: Back to looking out the window, Tim shakes his head, because he isn't at all familiar with the area, despite being here for a few years. Easily, he could chalk it up to not having a license, and having no idea how to drive; any time he's in a vehicle, he doesn't pay attention much to the direction they're heading, since he's never held accountable to know these things. "No...not really. I don't really know the area all that well, other than we're kind of near the water, and the woods." Case in point, the heavily covered tree-lined road they are currently cruising down. Glancing down at the hand Mike grasps, Tim blinks a few times and then tightens his grip there, perhaps becoming a little more okay with this adventure, if only because Michael is here. For that, he squirms a bit in his seat, working to get himself in closer to the center console, and therefore a closer to the boy behind the steering wheel.


Jay: Mike nods, not seeming bothered by the lack of destination at all. "Then I guess we'll just see where we end up." He glances sideways at Tim when he curls closer, smiling a little bit to himself. Belatedly, it occurs to him that maybe he was a little hard on the guy, considering the bullshit he's had to deal with - bullshit Tim has yet to share with him, still - but as this is the end result, he can't feel too bad about it. Even if they do get punished, it's much preferable to another night spent in the same room, lacking conversation. "I was checking out the school calendar, yesterday. Turns out spring break starts just a couple days after my birthday, so I might be able to go home for a little while."


Jackie: Shifting in his seat, Tim works to better face Michael, still with his seat belt on, and stretched over the calves of his legs. He tightens his grip on the hand he's holding, signaling that he's okay with them just ambling around; perhaps, with no destination in mind, Mike will just circle around the school grounds and return them to St U's in a few hours, giving them enough time to even make lights out. He nods whilst mid-yawn, and then turns his head until he can rest his temple against the seat back, looking over at his room mate with soft, sleepy - but definitely pleased - eyes. The idea of Mike returning to California initially pleases him, since the boy so obviously wants to be there so badly, but it also sprouts some initial fears - he really doesn't think Michael would return, should he go in the first place. "Oh? And since you'll be eighteen, you can make the trip?"


Jay: Mike nods at the question, momentarily releasing the wheel (using one knee to steer) to fish out another cigarette and light it. "Yeah, my record should be...forgotten, or sealed or whatever, once I'm eighteen. It'd be stupid not to finish the year, anyway, when it's that close, but that doesn't mean I should stay at the school when I can take a break." After a couple quick drags, he offers the cigarette to Tim. Absolutely noticing the sleepy expression, he grins fondly, squeezing Tim's hand. "Maybe you oughta come with me. I'm sure Dennis wouldn't mind the extra company."


Jackie: There's definitely some relief in Tim's features as Michael offers up those details, and he might subconsciously grip the boy's hand a little tighter in silent gratitude. "Makes sense. You should go - I'm sure your friends would want to see you. And Adriana Michelle." No doubt, Michael as missed the little girl since her last visit; occasionally, he spots his room mate just peering down at his little photo of her, when he thinks no one is looking. Using his free hand, Tim reaches out for that cigarette, putting it in his mouth for a moment so he can use that hand to reach somewhat behind himself, and crack open the window. He takes a shallow drag and then blows it out through his nose, handing it back after another inhale. Looking up at Mike's face, Tim's own looks briefly hopeful - he hasn't been back to California in years, although there isn't much there left for him, these days. "What...go back to California? With you?"


Jay: Mostly unconciously, Michael's smile spread some at the thought of seeing his daughter, and he gives a faint nod of agreement. He takes the cigarette back, replacing it in his own mouth and looking back at Tim for a moment before he's obliged to refocus on the road. "Sure. I mean, if you want." He refrains from saying anything about Tim's family, or even his friends, since he doesn't know what state Tim's friendships are in after two plus years of absence; instead, he focuses on another appealing point. "Man. It'll be great to finally feel warm again. I bet some of this snow will still be here in April."


Jackie: Grateful that Michael doesn't start questioning Tim's home base in California, since that's just another path he doesn't feel like going down right now, Tim instead looks back down at their hands, thinking it over briefly. He comes to a conclusion almost immediately - really, his insides are screaming to yes, yes, join him! Go! so quickly that it's a little alarming - and doesn't even need the extra incentive of warm weather to entice him to go. He looks adorably hopeful, perhaps even younger than his true age, and there's a small smile tugging on his lips as he begins to talk. "Yeah. Yeah, I'll go with you." The thought of being with Michael, under the warm sun, maybe even on the beach, draws all sorts of unfamiliar emotions to his chest, and before he can even stop himself, he's leaning forward to connect his mouth with the boy's smooth cheek, kissing it firmly.


Jay: Looking exorbitantly pleased for that eventual answer, Mike again squeezes Tim's hand. He'd like to turn and return that adorable little kiss, but as he still has a cigarette in his mouth, and only one hand for the steering wheel, it's somewhat impossible at the moment; instead, he resorts to grinning and babbling like crazy again. "Great! Something to look forward to, then. I'm sure you and Dennis will get along - he really liked you, when he met you before. Well, actually, he said he felt sorry for you, but that's a pretty high commendation from Dennis." The road ahead abruptly ends at a three-way crossroads, and he brakes, reluctantly detaching his hand from Tim's to shift down. Looking down first one way, then the other, each of them apparently as uneventful as the road from the school has been, he purses his lips then looks curiously at Tim. "Got a suggestion? I don't think this leads to the highway."


Jackie: Once he pulls his head back from Michael's cheek, Tim lets a little grin take over, eyes warming up a bit because it's so nice to see his room mate like this: a little more carefree, lighthearted. He uses one hand to undo his seat belt, fully intending on staying curled up close to Michael, even if it isn't very comfortable, and lets out a little short laugh. "The first thing he said to me was that he pitied me." This is accompanied with a careful arch of an eyebrow, clearly showing that Tim doesn't all disagree with what Dennis said. He only looks away when the vehicle comes to a stop, and Tim sits up a little straighter, peering around their surroundings. Nothing looks at all familiar, from what he can see, and each road is lined with pine trees - signaling they are in the middle of a heavily wooded area. He shrugs a shoulder once, and glances from side to side again. "Maybe...try right? Doesn't look like it matters much. We can just continue to take right hand turns, so we don't get lost."


Jay: Michael's certainly been lacking in a light heart or carefree nature, lately. He smirks for that, raising his eyebrows pointedly. "Yeah, well, he's known me a long time. Here, sit up." Waiting for Tim to do so, he then unfolds the center console to make it into a seat, allowing the other boy to get closer. He looks both ways again, then does something between a shrug and a nod, turning right. "We won't get lost, anyways. I got a real good sense of direction - and this is the first turn we've taken, anyways." Once Tim is settled, Michael offers that cigarette back to him, rapidly shifting gears and going, maybe, a little faster than the speed limit - whatever that is out here - but the road is mostly straight, and free of snow or ice, so it's comfortable enough.


Jackie: Tim snorts, thoroughly amused for the reminder of Dennis, and how honest the boy seemed when he told Tim he pitied him. It's enough that he actually smiles, but it goes a bit unnoticed, since he's shuffling back in favor of Mike toying with the center console. Once he understands what Michael was doing, and the front seat is turned into a bench, Tim slinks back in, this time much pressed right up against Mike, one hand dropping to rest comfortably atop the boy's thigh. He doesn't exactly doubt that Michael has a good sense of direction - the boy is pretty well perceptive, in most cases - but he knows how easy it is to get mixed up on these roads, since Leech was a bit frustrated, when they headed up to the mountains around Thanksgiving time. "Doesn't seem like there's much to get lost in, anyways." Aside from the woods, of course.


Jay: Finished shifting for the time being, Michael settles his arm around Tim's shoulders, peering out at the woods thoughtfully. "No...not if you stay on the roads, at least. We should bring Jesse and Kellen out here sometime, set them loose in the woods. They'd scare themselves to death." The woods do look fairly spooky, bound in snow and traces of fog, without any human habitation to be seen. Like the last road they were on, this one only occasionally has any others branching off of it, most of them unpaved. Just being free of the school, being able to drive, and having things somewhat settled with Tim is having a great relaxing effect on Mike, and he hums some under his breath, the fingers on Tim's arm tapping unconsciously.


Jackie: With that arm looping around his upper back, Tim is more inclined to sink down against Michael's form, and he eventually rests his head on the boy's shoulder, face tucked in towards his neck. Now that they're further away from the school, there's even less light pollution, which makes the woods on either side of them even more spooky - and Tim decisively doesn't lift his head up to peer at them. He does let out a little laugh (mostly, it's just an amused sounding sigh), and tightens his grip on the boy's thigh for a second. "Maybe they could do a remake of the Blaire Witch Project..." Of course, the thought of leaving Jesse out in the middle of the woods, alone save for his equally-goofy room mate, isn't at all something Tim would consider. Still, he humors the idea. "Bet they could find some interesting stuff. Indian burial ground, or something."


Jay: Mike hums thoughtfully at that, also amused by the idea. "And if they didn't find something, they'd be sure to make something up. On the downside, they'd probably insist on us going with them." Noticing the way Tim is sinking against him, and the yawns he keeps biting back, he switches the drumming of his fingertips to a more soothing stroking, looking down at Tim where he's tucked away on his shoulder. "Tired? Maybe all those extra work-outs are catching up with you." Although, he hasn't been entirely settled in bed, either.


Jackie: Tim follows that same train of thought, and knows deep down that if Jesse were to come to him, camping supplies strapped to his back and one hand reaching out, Tim would go in a heart beat, if only to make sure the poor kid wouldn't freeze to death. And if Tim went, then it would officially be A Thing, and inevitably include Michael and Justin. He talks around a yawn, and squirms his head in closer to that neck, nose brushing up against the spot just above where Mike's neck meets shoulder. "If it warmed up a bit, I wouldn't be completely opposed to a camping trip." But as it is now, with plenty of snow on the ground, Tim doesn't even want to think about it - there's no amount of blankets that could keep them warm. Tim's hand on Michael's thigh takes up the same sort of soothing stroking, fingers curling back and forth in place, and he shrugs his body for that question, not about to negate the provided answer. "Yeah, a bit. It's always rough, getting back into training after the holidays."


Jay: "Yeah, me either, I haven't been camping in years. It should warm up...in, what, another four months?" That thought is a little depressing, but Michael's in too good a mood to focus on it, gladly going along with the other subject. "You seem to be in good condition, though. I'm sure it won't take long." He eyes the hand on his thigh, a little speculative, humming - but in the end decides, empty and straight as the road is, he should probably focus on driving for now. So tilting his head to the side, he returns the previous kiss Tim gave him on the cheek, only his lands closer to Tim's temple due to relative positioning. "If you wanna take a nap, I'll try not to feel underappreciated. I can wake you up if I actually see anything."


Jackie: Tim gives a little tired hum of acknowlegement, since it's probably true - it always seems like it takes forever to defrost here, and he has memories of a few baseball games last year that were played with the ground still partially frozen. "Tell that to my coach." While Tim has put in the effort to get back into shape earlier than usual this year, it's not as though Coach Stax was impressed with it - he still stands next to the treadmill, stopwatch in hand, as he dictates to the boy his new routine, and the need to get more. Feeling the kiss to his temple, Tim squirms his face in a little more, nuzzling further into that neck and taking a deep breath in through his nose; more and more, Mike's scent is becoming familiar to him, and that settles in nicely somewhere beneath his chest. This time, when he talks, he definitely sounds tired, but a little determined to not give in, despite the fact that he's already half way there. "No, it's all right. I'll stay up."


Jay: Mike smiles some to himself, for the way Tim sounds like a little kid, intent on staying up with the grown-ups, but only makes a quiet noise of agreement in his throat and moves the petting hand to the back of his neck, instead. Sneaking his fingers under the chain there, he massages the muscles lightly with callused fingers. "I've met your coach. He's a lunatic." He has had only a few encounters with the man, but remembers vividly the time he got told off for smoking in the dug-out - and that, not anywhere near baseball season.


Jackie: Almost immediately after he completed his brief sentences, Tim's eyes flutter shut, and he nestles in comfortably against Michael's neck. He keeps curling and uncurling his fingers against the boy's thigh, nothing too suggestive, but it's a good indicator that he hasn't fallen asleep yet. He grins against the boy's warm skin, since Coach Stax is a bit mental, and talks lowly. "You should've seen him last season. He threw his clipboard at the home base umpire, when he didn't call a strike. Thought he was gonna decapitate the poor dude." For as nuts as the dude is, he is completely invested in Tim's playing, and in getting him into a college scholarship - so Tim is able to usher that craziness aside, and instead file Stax under the category of 'crazy-ass uncle', the type he appreciates, but maybe still looks at a little oddly.





Jay: Despite his protestations, Tim had been tired enough to fall asleep, and Michael didn't really mind; the silence, the road, and the boy half-collapsed against his shoulder were soothing. On the other hand, it gives him time to think - or plot - and it doesn't take too long for Mike to come to the decision that he is not ready to go back to the school. They're bound to get in trouble, but maybe the punishment won't be too bad; maybe Leech will be entertained enough by them stealing Snider's car to go easy on them. Though the surroundings don't get much more interesting, there are a few houses out here, sometimes visible only by the lights shining through the trees. But Mike had passed a small, unoccupied cottage - perhaps a hunting cabin - and after some thought, turns around as if headed back to the school.

Wagering that Tim, who can't drive, knows next to nothing about cars, he drives past the little cabin again, going perhaps a mile, before purposely grinding the gears until the suburban stalls and comes to a noisy, lurching stop, which is probably enough to wake even the exhausted Tim. Giving a good show of cursing under his breath, Michael pretends to try to start the car back up while purposely flooding the gas line.


Jackie: It didn't take Tim long to fall asleep, nestled up against the side of Mike's chest and tucked under the boy's arm. The exhaustion brought on by tension in his dorm, and unnecessary twice-a-day workouts, and his medications means that Tim is down for the count, and he hardly moves as a result. But the rest is certainly welcomed, especially since it deters Tim from trying to convince Michael to turn back around, and keeps him from wondering about the other things the boy said - namely, Michael wanting to be with him. So he remains pressed up against his roommate, the hand he was curling along the boy's thigh resting there loosely. The jerk of the vehicle causes Tim's body to lurch forward, but he instinctively catches himself, and startles awake; almost immediately, he's sitting up, but since Michael isn't screaming and the SUV isn't careening off into a tree, he doesn't look too panicked. Instead, he looks tiredly confused, like he's trying to figure out what Michael is doing whilst still waking up. "What happened? Are we back at the school?" He peers out of the window briefly, but it's dark enough that he can't see much, especially with the interior lights of the car on.


Jay: Sideglancing at Tim when he's tossed forward, Michael offers a quiet, distracted "Sorry" and goes back to attempting to start the vehicle, which naturally doesn't work - because he isn't bothering to use the clutch. For those question, he shakes his head a bit. "No. I'm not sure what happened." Giving up on starting the car, he instead starts to look around the interior, switching on the dome light first. "I wonder if he's got a flashlight in here..." Pushing his own door open, he goes to one of the back doors to crawl in the car. He does find a flashlight, and a small toolbox, which will be enough to make a pretense of working on the engine, so he takes both and hops back out, circling around to pop the hood and start looking in at it. To do so, he's required to climb up on the front bumper, and he starts searching the engine with the flashlight and making little noises of interest and curiosity.


Jackie: Tim blinks quickly a few times, to rid his eyes of their sleepy haze, and he scoots back a bit to give Michael more room to mess with the car. Since the boy seems to be quite familiar with vehicles, Tim isn't too worried, yet - maybe it just stalled, and needs a restart. But then the boy is getting out of the car, and retrieving something from the backseat, and Tim's heart starts to sink down into his gut. "Did we run over something? Maybe..." He trails off that thought, mostly because he doesn't have anything to add to it, and instead opens up the glove box, perhaps in search of a manual (because certainly this can all be figured out, right?). But when Mike doesn't return to the driver's seat, and instead goes to hover near the engine, Tim crawls his way out of the car to follow him, not minding the coldness because he's more concerned with how they're going to get back. "You see anything out of the ordinary?"


Jay: Mike only shakes his head at that question on the way out of the vehicle. When Tim joins him outside, he straightens up (having been stretched over the engine, like he's just about to crawl inside), and gives a slight shrug, sounding very convincingly frustrated. "I'm not sure. I've never worked on one of these before, and this flashlight sucks. It sounded like it was something to do with the gas pump, but maybe the starter motor - God, I hope it isn't that." Leaning forward once more, he sticks his head in besides the engine block, going onto his toes on the bumper as he tries to get low enough to angle the flashlight at something.


Jackie: Hunching his shoulders into himself, Tim peers down at the engine, but it's not like he knows what any of it is; if he were given labels, and told to place them on each part, there's a good chance Tim would put the engine label on the car's battery. He grows a little more concerned the more that Michael sinks down towards the engine block, and offers out a hand, although it may not be of much help. "Want me to hold the flashlight?" He's trying not to sound too worried, since he doubts Micheal wants to hear it, but he's definitely starting to feel panicked, because they are so screwed if this can't be fixed. He flicks his eyes up to look at the road, but is met with total darkness - not passing cars to flag down and ask for assistance.


Jay: Michael hesitates, hearing that offer, but then straightens somewhat again and nods. "Yeah, come up here." He's got a pretty steady foothold on the bumper, as it's so wide, so he offers his freehand down to Tim, helping him onto the bumper. Once the other boy is steady, he hands the flashlight off. "I need to get a good look at the underside of the block, here." Courteously, he points to the block so that Tim won't be lost, then leans into the mass of mechanics, nudging a few wires out of his way absently.


Jackie: Initially, Tim was planning on standing off to the side, away from Michael's work but close enough to hold the flashlight. But then he's tugged up onto the bumper, and he assumes much the same position as the other boy, peering down at the battery (or maybe that one is the alternator?) He takes the flashlight and shines it down where Mike directs him to, and is able to keep his tone relatively calm, maybe even distracted - so as to not insult Michael by wanting to find another means of fixing this situation. "Maybe Snider keeps a back up cell phone in the under the seat bin or something. Don't think we're gonna get much traffic, out here. How far away are we from the school?"


Jay: Michael mutters to himself as he cranes his head, looking at absolutely nothing important, only really paying attention to the last question. "Oh...twelve, fifteen miles, I'm not really sure." Retreating, he leans the other way, looking at the opposite side of absolutely nothing of importance, using his fingers to test the tightness of a couple of bolts. Without straightening up totally, he fixes his attention on some other thing of no importance, muttering in distraction: "Here, point that light at the head, please."


Jackie: "Miles?" Tim sounds pretty incredulous, because it seems late enough that Michael would have been taking them back towards the school - meaning they'd be a lot closer to the campus than they currently are. Internally, Tim scolds himself; he never, ever should have fallen asleep. "Mike, we gotta...go find some help, call someone. We have to make it back to the school tonight." Doing as he's told, Tim redirects the flashlight to where he thinks Mike needs it, but he's sitting up a bit straighter and looking at the boy with slightly widened eyes.


Jay: "Yes, miles. It's only about a half-hour drive." Michael lets a little impatience creep into his voice, because it's not his fault (as far as Tim knows) that the car broke down. Without moving his head, he reaches back to grasp Tim's wrist and move it so the flashlight is actually pointing at the head. "I'm doing what I can, here, but I didn't see much sign of civilization, and I drove probably another ten miles down the road before turning around. There was a little cabin, not too far back. Looked empty, but it might have a phone, I guess."


Jackie: Tim definitely senses that impatience, and tries to temper his own - surely this isn't Michael's fault, and it looks like the boy is doing whatever he can to make the car work again. Still, they're currently stranded, and Tim's nerves are catching up to him; there's no way they aren't getting caught, now. "I know. Sorry." Leaning further underneath the hood as Michael redirects his hand, and talks a little distractedly. "Want me to go run down there and check? Maybe there's another cabin nearby, with people in it." Doubtful - there's hardly any light pollution around here, and is eerily quiet.


Jay: Michael retracts his head, scowling some at the engine. "No...I don't think there's anything I can do here until I've got better light, and I won't have any light at all if you take off. I'll come with you." He unhooks the rod holding the hood up and closes it firmly, then drops back to the ground, absently wiping his grimy hands on the back of his pants. He goes back around to the drivers' seat to retrieve his jacket and pulls it on, not bothering to lock the vehicle, since there really doesn't seem to be anyone out here. Finally looking straight at Tim, he gives a faint, rueful smile. "I'm sorry, kitten. I guess I should've taken a car whose owner actually keeps it in repair."


Jackie: Pulling himself off of the front end of the car, Tim falls back onto his feet a little less gracefully than he maybe would otherwise, since his body is still sore. He nods a little bit, since that seems logical, and he flicks off the flashlight and slips it into his pocket, maybe in hopes of saving the battery. Since he never took his own coat off, Tim hovers near the drivers side door as Michael retrieves his jacket, and tries to look like he isn't freaking out - he even gives a little smile back, so that Michael doesn't think that he's being blamed for this. "It's all right. Not your fault. We'll just...be a little later than we thought, I guess." Glancing from side to side, Tim tries to see which direction to take, before looking back at the other boy. "Which way was the cabin?"


Jay: Mike gives something between a shrug and a nod, not responding otherwise. For the question, he jerks his head to the right of the parked car and shoves his hands in his pockets to set off. "I think it was only a mile or so back." He hunches into himself in response to the cold, moving to the side of the road. After a moment or two of silence, he speaks up: "If there is a phone, who can we call? Will your friend Lars drive all the way out here, you think?"


Jackie: Following Mike's lead, Tim heads in the direction of the cabin, and stuffs his hands into his jacket's pockets for warmth. He curls into himself a bit, since it's pretty cold out and there's a slight breeze - they must be near the water - and then immediately nods, without question. "Yeah, Lars would come out here. He's living in Boston now, so it's a lot closer. Or, I mean...we could call the school, too." That doesn't sound like a fantastic idea, but he figures, they're gonna be caught anyways.


Jay: Mike nods for the comment about Lars, but looks distinctly uncomfortable at the thought of calling the school. "God, I hope we don't need to do that. Whoever picks us up, that'd be like half an hour of lecturing. I don't care about the punishment, but I really hate getting told off." Noticing that Tim also seems cold, Mike moves closer, extending his left arm to encircle Tim's back while the right retrieves the ever-present flask of liquor from one of his jacket pockets. He offers it to Tim, arching an eyebrow. "Might keep you warmer."


Jackie: "I'm sure Lars will pick up." The way it's said leaves no room for doubt - Lars is pretty good at sticking near his phone, and if he doesn't recognize a number, he'll let it go to voicemail - a left message could be their saving grace. And once the older boy hears Tim's voice, he'll have one foot out of the door, ready to take care of whatever he needs help with. As he's tugged in closer to Mike's form, Tim lifts his head to look up at him appreciatively, and leans a little heavier into him. He lets out a little snort of amusement for the offered flask, but he takes it anyways, unscrewing it distractedly. "Guess it's a good thing you always carry this around." He takes a small drink from it, wrinkling his nose for the taste, and then offers it back.


Jay: Making a noise of acknowledgment for that, Mike can't help wondering - Tim is obviously still close to Lars, and the older guy seemed pretty protective last time Mike saw him; definitely judgmental about whatever Mike and Tim might have going on. Could he possibly be the reason for Tim's reticence? Before he can get too involved in this line of thought, Tim speaks again, and Mike glances towards him with a faint grin. "It's my first-aid kit." Taking the flask back, he takes a large swallow of the liquor himself, before closing it and tucking it back into his pocket. As they come upon a dirt road branching off, Mike narrows his eyes, trying to see down it, but the moon isn't nearly full enough to give good illumination, so he gives it up. "I think the cabin was just a little farther; I remember this turn-off."


Jackie: This time, Tim's snort is followed by a brief chuckle, and he quickly thinks over what else would be included in a Ness-inspired first aid kit. Cigarettes, of course. Maybe an eyeliner pencil. Some black cord, much like the one that is wrapped around the boy's neck. All things that Tim seems to enjoy, more and more - he finds he actually has an opinion on boys in eyeliner, whereas before it wasn't something he'd think about. Raising his arm, Tim slips it around Mike's hips, low but firm, and he begins to curl his fingers against the spot where the boy's pants stop, fighting beneath the material of his shirt to seek out skin. "At least it's not storming." Actually, it's really nice out - a little cold, but it's dark, and the stars are out, and there's no heavy snowfall. The further they get from the car, the more trees start to hover overhead, almost turning the street into a tunnel. "It's kinda nice."


Jay: "Yeah. That would be awful." He glances up, but can't spot any clouds at all, luckily. There's a slight shiver as Tim's chilled fingertips find bared skin, but Michael steps closer to the other boy, enough to say he doesn't mind. He shrugs for that opinion, again glancing around them. "It could be worse. Be a lot nicer with a fire, though." The trees part after a moment, showing the cabin in the distance, and it definitely looks unoccupied - completely dark, with no car in the driveway. However, that driveway, and the area around the building, look well-tended enough to say that it hasn't been long since it was occupied. Nudging Tim with a hip, Mike points to it with his free hand while the other tightens against Tim's hip. "There. See it?"


Jackie: Tim makes a quiet little humming noise for that, completely agreeing - curling up under a blanket with his room mate, next to a fire, sounds like the best possible thing right now. When he talks, it sounds a little like he's day dreaming, or at least reminiscing. "I miss doing bonfires on the beach." It was definitely a staple, back home - whether it was a giant party that Lars took him to, or just a night alone with Jesse. He lifts his head when he's nudged, and has to narrow his eyes to properly spot the cabin, but sure enough it's there, and he relaxes a little bit, enough to where he almost smiles. "Ahh, yeah, good. Although...doesn't look like anyone's around." He doesn't really consider breaking into the place - and is hopeful that maybe someone is asleep inside. Someone who doesn't own a vehicle, and hasn't left the cabin for few days, since the snow around the front looks comp;etely untouched.


Jay: Michael makes an agreeing noise for that first comment. "I miss the beach, period. And the warmth." Because nice as it is out here, it's still cold. He's pleased to feel Tim relax when he spots the cabin, squeezing his hip again reassuringly. "No, it doesn't...but as small as it is, I doubt anyone would live there year-round. More likely it's a hunting cabin, or someone's place to escape from the city for a few days. There might be a phone." He actually doubts that possibility quite a bit, and sort of hopes it doesn't have one - but with how apparently upset Tim is at spending a night away from the school, if there is a phone, he won't try to keep the other boy from calling Lars.


Jackie: Tim makes another little noise, agreeing, because the beach is definitely high on his list of things he misses most about California. Now that he has Jesse and Lars here, that list seems to be shrinking some, but if he is given the option to return, he'd take it in a heart beat. Looking a little more closely at the cabin, what Mike says seems logical - it's not very big at all, and not all that ornate - no bells and whistles that would make it something that someone would frequent all that often. "There might be...but there's no one to answer the door." Clearly, breaking in doesn't seem to cross Tim's mind at all.


Jay: Mike blinks a couple times, because actually knocking on the door never crossed his mind. He glances to the side at Tim, just to gauge how serious he's being, and after a moment answers slowly, as if it's just occurring to him, rather than having been the plan all along. "Well, if there's no one to answer the door, there's no one to mind if we break in either." They're nearly to the building now, and Mike veers off the road more, circling around the back of the cabin to make sure there's nothing he missed - no hidden cars or crazy mountain men with shotguns. Finding nothing in evidence, he leads the way around to the front porch again. Just for form's sake, he knocks on the door, but it's blatant that no one is in.


Jackie: For that, Tim immediately cranes his head to the side, looking over at Michael with a slightly opened mouth, about to instantly argue against it. But that logic is fair enough, and it's not like they have many options - there wasn't any passing traffic to stop, and they don't own a cell phone to call for help - breaking in is their only option, aside from freezing themselves to near-death outside. Approaching the cabin, Tim follows Mike's lead, and once they're on the front porch, he tries to peer through the small window next to the door; there are no lights being flicked on, or voices complaining of unwanted visitors - definitely, this place is empty. Not wanting to get his hands dirty in this, he takes a small step back and peers at Mike - expecting him to make the first move of busting in.


Jay: Mike waits more time than necessary after knocking, as if he's really expecting someone to show up - as if anyone in the tiny house couldn't get to the door within three strides - before looking over at Tim and raising his eyebrows. "Better go around back. It'll be less obvious to anyone passing by." So it's back off the porch, around the cabin, to the smaller back stoop. There's no curtain covering the glass on this door, so he peers in - the place is mostly unfurnished, aside from an obviously second-hand couch, and a tiny dining table with two mismatched chairs. All of the kitchen appliances are way out of date, and a nasty green color. Still, it does have a nice, large fireplace, with a small stock of split logs by it.

"I don't see a phone, from here, but maybe..." He shrugs, then pulls his jacket down over his hand, which he balls in a fist. He lifts it to the lowest pane of window, obviously preparing to smash it, but then something else occurs to him. So with the opposite hand, he tries the knob - which turns easily, and the door opens with just a little squeaking of hinges and resistance of damp-inflated wood. Looking over at Tim again, he gives a crooked grin, then waves the other boy in ahead of himself.


Jackie: The way Michael is handling this leads Tim to believe that the boy has done it before - which isn't all that surprising, really, but it still somewhat impresses Lint, since he probably would've just smashed the small window open, or barreled into the door to get inside. So he follows the other boy back around the cabin, and peers around them to make sure no person or animal is lurking, waiting to attack. With the heavy snowfall recently, the woods is more quiet than usual, and all of their movements sound very solid - no echoes bouncing around the trees. He gives Mike enough space on the back porch for him to bust inside, but it isn't necessary - Michael is turning to knob and the door is remarkably opening, which instantly makes Tim grin right back. "Must be a nice neighborhood." Stepping inside, Tim immediately starts to peer around the space; just off of the kitchen is a small hallway, which he assumes houses a bathroom, and maybe a bedroom. But the rest of the cabin seems to be what they see in front of them, and Tim steps a little further inside to start looking for a phone. "Do you know what time it is?"


Jay: "Or there's nothing worth stealing." Following Tim inside, Mike shines the flashlight around, looking first for a light switch. There are none, but the place at least has electricity, which is proven when Mike turns on a floor lamp near the couch. He leaves the hunt for the phone to Tim, instead checking out the rest of the place. "Oh...probably no later than eight or so. I think we left about six." Really, Tim didn't sleep much more than half an hour. Finding a small closet, Mike pokes around in it, finding a rifle and a shotgun - though both without ammunition - and some varied tools. Though things are in decent repair, there plainly hasn't been anyone here in some time; everything is coated in a layer of dust.


Jackie: Tim offers out a little 'hmph' for that, not about to debate it - upon first impression, this place isn't exactly the Ritz Carlton. Still, it's well taken care of, if a bit outdated, and paces over to the kitchen to check for a wall mounted phone. Although it's not as cold in here as it is outside, it certainly isn't warm - surely, the furnace isn't kept on unless the place is occupied, but Tim has no idea how to work one of those, nor no clue where it is. "At least it's not too late. It'll give Lars some time to find us." Because they don't know, exactly, where they are, but he's optimistic that Michael could give the boy directions. Not finding a phone, Tim is growing impatient again, and he starts towards that smaller hallway, to check the bedroom for a phone. It doesn't take long to scan through there, since all there really is a bed, two nightstands, and a small closet, and he returns to the main room looking a little more panicked. "I can't find a phone in here. Maybe we should try the neighbors?" Forgetting that they haven't passed any other cabins for a few miles.


Jay: Mike, still involved in his explorations, only makes a noise of agreement for that; the place won't be too hard to find, if someone can get out here. He's moved to the kitchen by now, checking out the items left in the pantry - mostly canned stuff, since it won't spoil. When Tim returns from the other room, he turns to look at him curiously. "...what neighbors? I didn't see another house the whole time; some of those dirt roads might go to houses, I guess, but I have no idea how long they are, or if the places at the end of them will be any more modern than this one." Realizing, of course, that this will be very disenheartening to Tim, Mike paces back towards him, pursing his lips sympathetically. "I'm really sorry, kitten. This isn't at all what I had in mind when we left." Which is true, as far as that goes - since this plot only came to mind after they were out.


Jackie: Hovering in between where the small kitchen table is, Tim looks over at Michael in mild panic, but he thankfully doesn't let it unravel too much, probably because Michael doesn't seem all that concerned. He knows that going and venturing off to the nearest house isn't the best idea, because it mostly likely will yield similar results, but he doesn't seem to think walking down the main road and waiting for a car to pass is too unreasonable. "Mike, we gotta get back to the school tonight." He doesn't offer up a solution as to how they should do it, just simply that they must.


Jay: Briefly, Mike's lips purse more tightly together, a tiny sign of frustration and impatience; it's not all for show, as he can't but take Tim's desire to get back to the school as Tim not wanting to spend time alone with him. But he takes a deep breath, calming himself, and watches Tim with one eyebrow raised just a bit. "Okay. How?" This isn't quite a rhetorical question, but it is plain that he has no suggestions to remedy the disaster.


Jackie: Well, shit. Tim has no idea how to answer that question, and he instantly flicks his eyes back over to Michael's, desperate for an answer. His mind is going a mile a minute as he thinks over options, still looking at the other boy, but he eventually wilts a little bit, and shrugs his shoulders, hopeless. "...walk?" It's not really possible - they are too far, and it's too cold, and Tim resigns a bit as he realizes that, and he lifts a hand to rub over his face as he exhales loudly. He mutters quietly. "We are so fucked."


Jay: That eyebrow lifts a bit more when Tim answers, because of course that isn't an option, and once Tim seems to accept that they're stuck here for now, Mike walks closer, taking one of the other boy's hands and lacing their fingers together. "Well, yeah...it does seem less likely that we'll get back in unnoticed now. But as soon as the sun's up, I can make a better try at getting that thing running - they've got better tools here, and I doubt anyone'll mind if I borrow them. If we go back to the school on our own, instead of making everyone search and hunt us down, it probably won't be as bad."


Jackie: Closing his eyes as he rubs at his face, Tim doesn't catch on to Michael coming in closer to him until the boy reaches for his free hand. He squeezes those fingers without a second thought, and seems to unwind a fraction for how sincere Michael sounds - at least they have a plan, and maybe the other boy is right, and the punishment won't be as severe. Still, he doubts it - there's no way Leech isn't going to hate him for this. So he just nods for those words, otherwise staying quiet, perhaps still trying to think of ways they can covertly get back to St. U's. When nothing more comes up, he drops the hand from his face and looks over at Michael with soft eyes, knowing this isn't his fault, and then starts to peer around the small cabin. "Guess we should...make a fire, or something. Try to stay warm."


Jay: Shoulders relaxing when Tim accepts his words, Mike gives a faint smile, and nods agreeably. "A fire sounds good. There's a little bit of food in the pantry, nothing real appetizing, but we won't starve. I wonder if the water works..." Because, the liquor in Mike's flask aside, there isn't really anything drinkable that he's found. He briefly looks to kitchen, but then back at Tim. "Why don't you get the fire going, and I see what I can scavenge from the pantry."


Jackie: Also glancing back at the kitchen, Tim severely doubts there is any food here that aligns with his normal eating habits, but at this point he isn't too picky - although there's no way he's eating anything the cabin's owners hunted. He gives Michael a little nod and then leans in, kissing the boy's neck softly in quiet thanks. He doesn't linger, and instead side steps to go towards the fireplace, where he then drops to his knees and immediately opens the flue. Then he starts assembling the logs - there are plenty to keep a steady fire going all night, and even some piles of newspaper for kindling, which he sticks into the nooks and crannies at the bottom of log assembly. "Could always...boil some snow, if there's no water, I guess."


Jay: Mike smiles a bit more for that little kiss, watching Tim cross to the fireplace before returning to the kitchen, which is actually the same room. The fridge is unsurprisingly empty, and apparently not even turned on, and when he turns on the tap it merely spits out some rusty-colored liquid, then sputters to a stop. "Look at you, bein' all clever. We might just have to do that...I'll see if I can find some pans." They aren't hard to find, in the cabinet above the stove, and he drags down a large saucepan, then goes out back to fill it with snow.

With that accomplished, he returns and sets the pan down by Tim, to place near the fire when he gets it started. Then it's back to the pantry, and he pokes around the tins and jarred items, apparently preserved by the people who usually occupy the cabin. "Canned peaches...I wonder if they're any good." Taking them out, he looks at them suspiciously. "And I wonder why they call it canned, when the stuff's put in a jar..." Setting these on the counter, he resumes searching.


Jackie: "Looks like that Wilderness Survival class Jefe had Snider teach last year is paying off." Sure, the class was taught by one of his least favored teaches, but it at least was a fairly interactive class, and Tim really did learn a lot. He smiles a little bit for the compliment and tweaks the kindling, and then reaches for Mike's lighter - still in his own jacket pocket - and ignites a few corners of newspaper. It starts to spread fairly quickly, and as the flames work against the dry wood, small crackling noises start to spark from the fireplace - certainly a good sign.

Endlessly amused by Michael's observations, Tim glances over at the other boy - able to just see his upper half, since the counter top and floor cabinets hide the rest - and kind of smiles. "Guess we can always give them the sniff test." Now with the fire slowly growing, Tim puts his hands out near the flames, trying to warm them up, since he's still chilled to the bone. But he doesn't indulge for long, and instead works to get to his feet, and heading back towards the bedroom to retrieve blankets and pillows from the bed, so they can set up a makeshift sleeping area next to the fire.


Jay: "Wow, sorry I missed that, it sounds thrilling." He shakes his head a little, because Snider is just hopeless. Finding a couple cans of tomato soup, he sets those on the counter as well, along with a can of sweet corn - clearly, keeping Tim's restrictive diet in mind. He looks back over his shoulder when he hears that wood cracking, smiling. "Good job. Apparently Snider did teach you something." Taking up his finds, he joins Tim in front of the fire, settling onto the floor near him. "All right, let's see how this is..." Uncapping the jar of peaches, he sniffs at it warily, but the scent isn't offensive - though it is strong - and he holds it out to Tim for inspection.


Jackie: Tim snorts as he heads off into the bedroom, not willing to admit he learned anything from Snider. He returns with an towering armful of blankets and pillows - apparently, the cabin's owners know all to well how cold it gets in here, or how finnicky their heating system is. There are a few flannel blankets, and one large down comforter, and Tim lofts the pile off to the side so he can settle down next to the fire with Mike. Using one of the iron rods tucked up against the wall, he prods a little bit at the fire and then pushes the pan of snow in closer, so it can begin to melt without needing to hover directly over the flame. At the same time, he glances over at Michael, amused that he's actually using that technique, and then leans over to take a sniff. It actually smells pretty good, better than what they get at the school, and he nods. "Smells fine to me. What else did you find?" He isn't all that hungry, but if Mike is, he'd be willing to tend to dinner.


Jay: Michael nods in agreement, setting the peaches aside and showing his other finds. "Got some tomato soup, and sweet corn. There's some other stuff, but most of it has some kind of meat. But at least we're set for breakfast." Though he missed dinner today, he isn't terribly hungry yet. Glancing at the blankets, he lifts an eyebrow in amusement. "You going to make a nest?"


Jackie: There's a little something inside of Tim's chest that warms when Michael reviews the rest of the food, because he took into consideration Tim's eating habits and typically, the boy has to make special requests, or just eat around things. Likewise, his eyes warm when he glances back over at him, and he even smiles, but looks back to the fire as he does, so the smile is a bit concealed. Now that the fire has grown enough to survive on its own, the larger logs now full engulfed, Tim glances back at the blankets and reaches for the top one, a warm flannel one, and starts to unfold it so he can spread it out. He looks like he's trying to fight back his amusement. "Thought it'd be nice to sleep by the fire." Despite there being a bed in the other room, and a couch right behind them.


Jay: Glad to see that smile, Mike doesn't bring it to attention, knowing that it would disappear immediately if he did. He watches Tim's bedding preparations with an interested eyebrow cocked. "Oh? Yeah, that would be nice. You'd think in a place like this, they'd build the bedroom closer to the fireplace - or give it one of its own." He dismisses that with a hand motion, and noting that the snow is melting quickly, he stands up to return to the kitchen and find a couple of cups - luckily stored upside-down, so their insides aren't covered with dust.


Jackie: The more they get settled, the more and more this is starting to feel like a little honeymoon getaway; it may not have all the bells and whistles, but it's definitely romantic, if one were to look at it as such. Tim shakes this thought away and works the blanket out onto the floor as Michael goes to retrieve the cups, and then adds on a second one to help make it a little more comfortable. It's no pillowtop mattress, but it's better than it was before, and Tim then tosses a few pillows towards the floor near the couch, making the nest appear more like a bed. "Yeah, that's true. Maybe the couch is a pull out or something." Not that he wants to test it - those things are always uncomfortable. He reaches up to snag the cups from Mike, and then nods back to the bedroom. "I think there are a few more blankets in the bedroom closet. Wanna go grab them?"


Jay: Setting the cups down on the hearth near Tim, Mike nods for the request, heading back for the bedroom. "Or maybe they just brought enough whiskey along that they didn't get cold either way." Which is, of course, a great idea. Finding the mentioned closet, he opens it and glances around for the blankets - but his attention is immediately caught instead by an old, obviously well-used guitar case. He smiles to himself and picks it up, then finds the blankets on a shelf. Tossing those over a shoulder, he hauls everything back to the main room. The blankets he drops by Tim, but then he lifts up the guitar case. "Look what else I found." Resuming his seat, he unlatches the case to bring the instrument out. It's also worn, but in good shape, so he pulls it into his lap and starts checking the tuning.


Jackie: Tim snorts for that, since that's definitely a possibility, and he carefully reaches for the pain - using the corner of a blanket to hold the hot handle - and pours the hot water into the cups. He let the melted snow simmer enough that he thinks it's uncontaminated enough, but he sets the cups to the side to let the water cool off some. As Michael is away, Tim scampers to retrieve more snow to melt, and is back where Mike left him when the other boy returns. He glances up instinctively and nods approval for the blankets, but is then drawn to the guitar. He stills for a moment, but can't help but smile genuinely - he's doomed, but at least Michael looks pleased. Sitting back, he tends to their nest some more, trying to make it as comfortable as possible, and maybe trying to busy himself so he doesn't immediately press up against Mike and look at the boy with love struck eyes, since he's so tempted to do just that, right now. He doesn't look up as he talks. "You gonna play me something?"


Jay: Head cocked sideways to hear the notes as he plucks at the strings and turns the pegs, Michael smiles slightly, a little distracted. "If you like. Got any requests?" The strings are horrendously out of tune, but they at least seem sound and unlikely to snap as he tightens them. He briefly looks at the sleeping place Tim is putting together, and this gets a more noticeable smile from him. "Looks like you're moving in. I wonder how long we could stay out here, before someone showed up to notice us." This is obviously just speculation; Mike doesn't plan to stay longer than the one night.


Jackie: "Mmm--" Tim ends up shrugging for that question, not really having any requests - typically, he just enjoys listening to Mike tinker on the guitar, something he does quite often in their dorm. But it feels more intimate here, and the light from the fireplace definitely makes it seem so. Once he has a few layers of blankets down, Tim seems pleased with his work, and he smiles a little, maybe warming up to the idea of staying longer than a night. "Depends on how much food is in that pantry. I'm not much of a hunter."


Jay: Michael can't help laughing some at the idea of Tim hunting, because it's very difficult to even imagine, and would never work practically. He shakes his head slightly. "That's all right, I can handle the hunting. I'd have to make my own ammo first, and you'd have to start eating meat, but those things could be managed, I'm sure." Though the grin that remains on his face shows that the whole idea is ludicrous. Finishing with tuning, he straightens up and plucks at the guitar somewhat aimlessly, pausing now and then to adjust the tuning a bit more.


Jackie: Tim's smile grows into actual laughter, because that is all so ridiculous; even if he were to eat meat, he probably couldn't stomach it, and he would definitely pay money to watch Michael try to go hunting in his shop-style jacket and boots. With the bed now settled, Tim sits back to inspect it and, apparently approving, he works to tug his jacket off, tossing it atop the nearby couch - it's warm enough from the fire, and there are enough blankets, to keep him from shivering. Then he starts on his boots, unlacing them while glancing back at Michael. "I wonder how old that thing is."


Jay: Mike actually has no hunting experience - no experience with guns at all; with his anger management issues, he's been cautious enough to never get anywhere near a gun, knowing himself well enough that he knows it'd end badly. With all the strings in tune, the melody he's picking smooths into something more sensible, though nothing recognizable yet. He glances up at Tim for those words, cocking an eyebrow. "Which thing? The guitar?"


Jackie: "Yeah. It looks old." And not just old like it's been here for a few years, collecting dust in the closet - it looks like something handed down, but still kept in relatively good shape. With his boots unlaced, Tim slips them off and puts them off to the side, and then snags another blanket to tuck around himself. He doesn't lower himself down into the nest, but he does put one palm to the floor, and leans on it heavily.


Jay: Michael scoots the guitar's body forward so he can tilt it back flat and look it over thoughtfully. "It does. No idea how old, though." If there were any marks on the neck or body to indicate when the guitar was made, or even what brand it is, they've long since worn off, and there's nothing visible inside, either. Returning it to the proper position, he thinks for a moment before starting to play again, the song instantly recognizable, since it's one that he and Tim have been practicing for guitar class, Dylan's Don't Think Twice.


Jackie: Tucking the blanket around himself, Tim settles into watching Mike's hands work along the guitar, and he quietly hums for the boy's response, not at all displeased with not having a true answer given - the sight alone is endlessly pleasing. His eyes are considerably softer than usual, totally adoring, and a gentle smile spreads across his lips as he recognizes the tune. Rather than interrupt, he just sinks down onto the ground, snagging a pillow to tuck under his head, and then watching his room mate completely unabashedly.


Jay: The song is so familiar that Mike barely needs to pay attention to play it, and when he lifts his head and spots Tim staring at him, he gives a faint, crooked smile, not seeming to mind the appraisal at all. "Too bad they didn't stash two of these in the closet, yeah?" Although, judging how comfortable he looks, it's doubtful Tim wants to join in. Continuing his playing, Mike circles back around to the song intro, and this time starts singing quietly, in keeping with the softer sound of the guitar, but certainly loud enough to be heard.


Jackie: Shifting his weight, Tim works too lie on his side, facing Michael, and curls one arm under his pillow comfortably. The other arm remains curled up but resting on the floor, and he maybe taps his fingers there as if its a fret board. He shakes his head briefly, not at all wishing there was a second guitar. "No...this is good." This time, his voice is much softer, like he doesn't want to interrupt the music, and he settles back into watching his room mate. His eyes flutter closed upon hearing that voice, but he's far from falling asleep - instead, he lets out a barely there moan, appreciative of this.


Jay: Mike's head bows again as he plays, but he still watches Tim from the corners of his eyes, grinning a little to himself between verses; he's quite relieved that Tim gave up being frantic about getting back to the school. Undoubtedly they will be in trouble on their return, but it's much more worth it to be away from the school and to have Tim on his own, where there's no one monitoring them for any reason - not even Jesse's encouraging attention. He continues on with the song until it's finished, and though he doesn't stop playing then, he moves into a different repetitive riff without singing, now, watching Tim somewhat more straight-forward.


Jackie: Keeping his eyes closed, maybe to keep himself under control, Tim hums a little along with Michael's singing, nothing too loud - maybe not even loud enough for Mike to hear - but it harmonizes well with the other boy's singing. Snuggled up in the blankets, he's warming up way more than the fire would suggest, and he slowly blinks back open those eyes when the guitar riff changes. He blinks over at the other bow, eyes still soft and adoring, but maybe a little more focused - he's taking in the way the fire illuminates Mike's features, notably his mouth. Rather than pushing himself up, he stretches out his curled up arm, fingers gripping at the floor like he wants company, but not outwardly requesting it.


Jay: Still focused on his playing, it takes Mike a moment to notice the way that hand is reaching out, but when he does he immediately unfolds his legs so he can plant his feet, scooting over and turning until he's next to Tim, though still on the floor rather than in the nest, with his back resting against the front of the couch - never ceasing playing as he moves. He gives his roommate a little hint of a smile, mostly indicated by the way his eyes turn up at the corners, and now settled, he leans back into the couch and starts a much slower rhythm, mournful but sweet. After a few bars, he begins singing again, his voice a little louder now, but breathier, the rasp in it more noticeable. "Ten years ago on a cold, dark night, there was someone killed 'neath the town hall light...there were few at the scene, but they all agreed, that the slayer who ran looked a lot like me..."


Jackie: Tim's fairly patient in his beckoning, and thankfully doesn't reach out and scrabble for Mike's form when he eventually does move closer. He waits until the other boy is settled against the couch before he reaches a hand out, and it very gently rests on the boy's thigh, possessive even though he doesn't need to be. He keeps his eyes trained up on that gorgeous face as the boy begins to sing, and again his eyes flutter closed - the urge to drift into a blissful sleep not quite winning out on Tim's desire to stay awake and listen. He may feel a little silly, laying here and just adoring his room mate, but he doesn't dare interrupt him; this is finally feeling like a true escape, exactly what Mike was going for when they first set off from the school. Instead, Tim just sighs, pleased, and starts to curl his fingers along the boy's thigh back and forth gently.


Jay: Mike glances down at the hand on his leg, then over at Tim with another small smile, having ample time between verses to do so. This is much easier than actual conversation - there are things he wants to say to Tim, things he needs to say, but he doesn't quite know how to broach any of the topics, particularly the topic of Tim's parents. So for now, he just goes on playing and singing. "The judge said son, what is your alibi...if you were somewhere else, then you won't have to die...I spoke not a word though it meant my life, for I'd been in the arms of my best friend's wife..." He glances back at the guitar neck briefly as he switches chords for the chorus, then leans his shoulder against Tim's lightly. "She walks these hills, in a long black veil...she visits my grave when the cold winds wail...nobody knows, nobody sees, nobody knows but me..."


Jackie: The curling fingers on Mike's leg is the only real indicator that Timothy hasn't fallen asleep - much like in the car, he's nestled up against Mike, albeit not as closely or as nicely aligned as earlier, but looks completely relaxed. Whether that stems from Mike's voice, or the soothing guitar, or the fact that they aren't trapped within the confines of the school, it's hard to tell - and chances are, it's a combination of all three. Forcing his eyes back open, he blinks up at Michael, watching him watching the fretboard, and he has a strong urge to curl his hand around the boy's back and drag him back down to the ground. Instead, he starts to squirm, still wrapped in the blanket, so he is sitting upright - but instead of leaning back to watch the boy, he closes in on him, and rests his head on Mike's shoulder, eyes downcast to watch his strumming.


Jay: "The sky has turned dark and eternity's near, she stands in the crowd and sheds not a tear...late at night when the cold winds moan, in a long black veil she cries over my bones..." Feeling Tim shifting, Michael straightens up, himself, waiting until the other boy has stopped moving to lean into him again, smiling a bit, mostly to himself, for the closeness and comfort. "She walks these hills, in a long black veil...she visits my grave when the cold winds wail...nobody knows, nobody sees, nobody knows but me..." As he repeats the chorus one last time, drawing the ending words out dramatically, he has the fleeting thought that this is probably a song Jesse would appreciate - maybe Kellen, too, if he didn't mock Mike for singing 'country'. But the thought of their suitemates evaporates easily, too pleased with the alone time to think much of anyone else. When the song ends, he again moves his fingers more aimlessly over the fretboard, possibly searching his repertoire of songs, or just giving Tim a chance to speak if he wants to.


Jackie: Undoubtedly, there's a part of Tim's body that relaxes when the song winds down, knowing that it'll soon be released from this trance it gets put in, any time Michael starts to sing. But the closing of the song also brings in an air of relative silence, and it's nerve wracking; Tim can sense that Michael is waiting for him to say something, but he has nothing coming to mind; at least, nothing that he wants to talk about. So he just quietly hums, maybe contemplating his next move, before eventually speaking - low, warm breath pushing into Mike's neck. "This is nice." Not very eloquent, but it's all he can get out - it's the only idea that's swirling around in his mind, right now: that this is nice, and something he could get used to.


Jay: Mike hums as well, agreeing, continuing to play without much thought, fingers moving instinctively over the strings. "It's nice to see you relax some, too. You should do it more often." The words aren't very weighted, but they do make it clear that Mike is aware of Tim's tension lately, even besides his confusing actions, or lack thereof, when it comes to his relationship with Mike. He waits a moment, letting the words settle, before speaking again - still in the same low voice he was singing in. "If there's any way I can help with that, I hope you know all you gotta do is ask."


Jackie: Nuzzling down into the top of Michael's shoulder, Tim makes a little noise - something similar to a hum, but maybe more acknowledging - since it's true; even if it's been difficult for Tim to relax lately, the boy could at least try more, or even give in. Surely, his room mate can provide the comfort he needs, if Tim would just fucking ask for it. And that's confirmed by what Mike says next, and slowly Tim nods hs head, not lifting it up from the boy's shoulder. Instead, he squirms in a little closer, maybe to hide his face some more, and only feeling comfortable enough to talk once he's completely hidden. "I'm working on it." Whether he means relaxing, or having the balls to ask Mike for help, Tim doesn't clarify - but his tone definitely has a bit of a veil over it, like he's instinctively putting that guard back up.


Jay: This time, Mike's own humming noise is more doubtful, though he doesn't outright call bullshit, though from what he can tell Tim isn't working on it at all. He continues playing, almost as sort of a safety net against this conversation, but it's only taking up a very small portion of his attention right now. He leans more heavily into Tim since he can't use his hands to touch him, trying to be reassuring. "Are you? How're you doing that?" Since he can't see Tim's face anyway, Mike bows his head some over the guitar and mostly closes his eyes, focusing on the melody as he waits for a response.


Jackie: Tim can sense Mike's doubt, but doesn't address it - perhaps it will fizzle out, the longer it goes unattended. He thinks maybe that's it, that Mike will delve into a new song and Tim can go back to adoring him, instead of yielding questions and talking about things he'd rather not address. But such is his luck, Mike does vocally question him, and Tim very briefly ducks his head in further, pressing his forehead to the boy's neck. It's a little too late to pretend he's asleep, he thinks. Voice still low, talks against Mike's neck: "I'm here, aren't I?"


Jay: That evasive answer gets a small smile from Mike, because it's so quintessentially Tim, but he isn't entirely appeased. "Yeah, you're here. I'm glad." He switches songs without thought, but doesn't sing along with this one either, mentally debating with himself and then steeling himself, once the debate is won. He purses his lips momentarily, thinking, then speaks in an even quieter voice, although still audible. "Tim...I got a confession to make to you." He hesitates, but not long enough for Tim to run away and hide, feeling that he might as well get it over with. "Last week, I got in trouble." He doesn't bother to explain that, since Tim's surely aware of how often it happens. "My teacher took me to the headmaster's office and left me there, I had to wait almost an hour for him to show up. I got bored, so I went through the filing cabinets...wasn't really looking for anything in particular, not blackmail material or anything. But I read your file." He pauses, pursing his lips and waiting to see how that will be taken.


Jackie: Tim might smile for those words, but it's hidden within the crook of Michael's neck, but Tim doesn't allow for it to grow any more - instead, he's drawn into concern as the other boy continues to talk. He makes a little noise of encouragement, for Michael to keep on going, and he very briefly snorts as that confession comes out, because Mike is always in trouble. He thinks, at first, that the boy is trying to lighten the mood a bit, but then he's talking again, and Tim's body slowly starts to unconsciously tense up. He holds his breath and waits to see if Michael to say what it is he saw in the file, but the boy stops before that, leaving Tim on edge. He doesn't immediately think that Mike read into his parent's abandonment, so he tries for a little bit of humor, although he doesn't sound like he's joking much, at all. "...guess you saw what my middle name is, huh?"


Jay: Mike doesn't much want to say what he supposedly read (in actuality, what he heard from Jesse), but of course, it's too much to hope that Tim would bring it up, since the boy hardly ever discusses anything personal. He exhales a sigh through his nose, sounding faintly amused, but refuses to be diverted onto another topic. Lifting his head, he looks back at Tim from the corner of his eyes, but doesn't cease his aimless playing. "I saw a lot of things." After that pointed comment, he looks away again, but doesn't drop the subject. "It did sorta clear some stuff up. Like the counselor meetings. Trips to doctors in the city. Those other random disappearances..."


Jackie: Briefly, Tim thinks that Michael will take that bait and run with it, but deep down he knows better. So Tim lifts his head away from Mike's neck, and he leans away a little bit, never really looking back up at the boy because this isn't going in a direction he wants to face, right now. He doesn't completely withdraw, but it's a noticeable shift, and he drops his eyes to look down at Michael's strumming of the guitar, his own voice sounding more distant. "...what did you read."


Jay: Absently, Michael thinks he might actually have to read Tim's file now, because he's curious about this middle name. Feeling him draw away, Mike still keeps his own head bowed, focused on the guitar, because it's doubtful Tim would want any close attention just now, pursing his lips for a moment before responding. "About what your parents did. I'm...really sorry for it."


Jackie: Just after Tim speaks, he straightens up some more, completely disengaging from his room mate, but not scooting too far away from him. He's silently hoping that the boy didn't read anything - doesn't know anything - but that's just wishful thinking; eventually, Michael responds, and Tim takes a careful inhale through his nose. His eyes seem to have narrowed as they focus on the hand near the guitar's body, and his rolls his lips together in thought. He can't think of a thing to say, and is very obviously uncomfortable, so he just shakes his head and turns to look the other way, towards the back door that they first entered through, and wills himself to not fall apart.


Jay: After waiting a little while, it becomes apparent that no response is going to be forthcoming, so Mike finally stops plucking at those strings, sitting back. He reaches over, taking one of Tim's hands and winding their fingers together. "You don't...I'm not expecting you to open up to me or anything, Tim. I just wanted to tell you, that I know. It felt weird knowing, with you knowing that I knew. That's all."


Jackie: The expression on Tim's face is certainly concentrated, even if he isn't looking back at Michael. Naturally, his eyes shifted back to look at the fire, and they shift around the dancing flames as he thinks it over; it was nice not having Michael know, because it was Tim's one escape - his one place where the shit with his parents didn't matter, or where he didn't have to think about it, where he could ignore it and pretend it never happened. He doesn't object to the fingers that wrap around his own, but he doesn't add any pressure, and instead shakes his head again. "...well. Now you know." He sounds like he's trying very, very hard to steel himself.


Jay: Michael sighs inwardly, feeling certain he made a mistake by mentioning it, but he obviously can't take it back now. So he squeezes Tim's hand, ignoring the lack of pressure on his side, and nods a little bit. "Now I know." It's difficult to think of anything to say after that, so instead he stays quiet, only lifting Tim's hand to press a kiss to the back of it, then releasing it as he gets up. Setting the guitar aside, he goes back to the kitchen to retrieve a bowl, into which he decants the canned peaches, settling back onto the floor near Tim and watching the fire, eating some of the fruit to avoid saying anything to make this worse.


Jackie: Tim's eyes close when Michael repeats those words, because this is just fucking horrible, and he's feeling specifically defeated. He doesn't have the energy to be mad, although he is frustrated - not exactly at Michael, but there's maybe some disappointment swirling around in his head. He lets his hand rise and fall unceremoniously when Michael kisses it, and when the boy retreats to the kitchen, Tim raises both of his hands to rub at his neck, still focusing on the fire. He's very obviously not relaxed and, after a few minutes of silence, he drops his head to rest his forehead against the top of one of his knees - both legs curled up to his chest - and he lets out a shakey breath.


Jay: Sideglancing at Tim a few times, as he eats, Mike eventually just puts the bowl down, scooting around to face his roommate. He doesn't reach out again, since that was received so poorly last time, but his confusion and concern show plainly on his face. "I guess maybe I shouldn't have said anything. I'm sorry. How can I make you comfortable again?"


Jackie: Curled into himself, Tim takes to rubbing at his neck, not harshly, but it's obviously done anxiously, perhaps as a way to calm himself down. Luckily, he hasn't yet broken down and gotten teary eyed, but he is biting at the inside of his cheek pretty harshly, and his eyes are screwed shut. Of course, this means that he doesn't catch on to the way Mike scoots in closer, nor the concern marked on his face. Tim just takes another careful breath and shakes his head, not at all sounding convincing, but at least not sounding like he's outright lying to the boy, either. "It's fine." Obviously, it isn't - Tim's looking like a balled up mess, but he's at least keeping himself in check.


Jay: Mike quirks an eyebrow for that statement, because it's so blatantly untrue, but certainly pointing that out won't help. "All right..." Dropping his gaze to refrain from staring at Tim, he stares at his own hands instead, frowning to himself, because this certainly was not how he intended things to go.


Jackie: He stays like this for a few more silent minutes, just rubbing at his neck and willing himself to sort things out, before eventually lifting his head. At first, he's back to looking at the fire, like he's completely forgotten about what his plan was, before he flicks his eyes back over to Michael. He looks at him for a few unnerving moments - not sharply, and in fact he looks pretty drained - but he keeps any emotion out of his tone in favor of pretending this is not a big deal. "Did you tell any body?"


Jay: Sensing, more than seeing, Tim's movements, Mike lifts his eyes without lifting his head, watching the other boy half-warily, like he's just not sure what to expect. But he doesn't shy away from Tim's gaze, only arching an eyebrow uncertainly after a moment or two. When that question comes, he blinks, and that eyebrow lifts a little higher in surprise. "No! Of course not."


Jackie: Tim doesn't falter when the other boy meets his gaze, but he maybe does dwindle - he looks a little more sad, or that any remaining energy he had has been drained. He nods once, shoulders obviously relaxing a bit, but speaks out towards the fireplace. "Thanks." He's pretty sure he doesn't need to tell the boy not to say anything for anyone, because by now it should be obvious, and then he rolls himself onto his knees, then makes his way onto his feet, so he can step over towards the kitchen and hunt down some alcohol.


Jay: Mike shakes his head immediately for that appreciation, because it's certainly unnecessary - and given Tim's reaction, he's very glad he came up with a cover story instead of admitting that Jesse accidentally told him about it. He watches Tim get up and move to the other room, feeling a little like the crisis has passed. Given that, he fishes his pack of smokes out of his pocket, then scoots closer to the fire to light two of them, then stands up to follow Tim to the kitchen, offering one to him, and speaking still a bit hesitantly. "What're you looking for?"


Jackie: Tim isn't all that well versed in drinking that he is looking for anything in particular - it's not like he ever has cravings for the stuff. He just figures that old hunters that shack away in here probably keep some sort of booze on hand, and Tim is in need of something to alter his mood, or at least take the edge off. He's got his head stuffed in the freezer as the other boy approaches, and he rifles around for a moment; it doesn't take him long to find a half-full bottle of whiskey, and he tugs it out and holds it up to answer Michael's question. Shutting the door, he places the bottle on the counter top and then heads towards the sink to retrieve two glasses, taking the offered cigarette along the way.


Jay: "Oh. Good idea." Because whiskey is always a good idea, of course. Though he finds it a little odd that anyone would leave a half-full bottle of the stuff somewhere where it won't be consumed. He watches Tim's movements for a second or two before retreating back to the fire, since even going to the kitchen made him realize that the night has gotten a lot colder. He tosses another large log atop the other, half-burnt ones, then settles back on the floor, on the edge of the pallet Tim made. "I would suggest we tell ghost stories, but I think we both probably get enough of that from Jesse and Kellen."


Jackie: Tim balances the cigarette between his lips as he works to get the bottle opened, which thankfully doesn't take him too long. Knowing that there isn't a decent chaser around, and maybe feeling like he doesn't even want it, Tim pours out two heavy-handed glasses of whiskey and heads back to the fireplace. He fluidly hands over Mike's glass without saying anything, expecting the boy to just take it, and then he lowers himself down onto his nest, but doesn't burrow beneath the blankets. He tries to sound amused by what's said, but that doesn't work all too well - instead of a snort, it just sounds like a strangled couch, so he takes a drink from his short glass and sneers for the taste, redirecting to the fire. Again, there's a good minute or so of silence, where Tim debates even trying to talk, but there's this guilt nagging him that convinces him to say something, maybe just so Ness doesn't feel like an asshole. "It was around Thanksgiving."


Jay: And of course, Michael takes the glass without question, lifting it in Tim's direction in a silent toast before taking a drink. He even makes a bit of a face as he swallows, maybe thinking these people had good reason to leave this particular whiskey behind - but he'll still drink it. Mike's lips press together briefly when Tim speaks, and he shakes his head to indicate that Tim doesn't need to tell him anything, if he would rather not. Instead of actually stating that, though, he reciprocates, offering some uncomfortable information of his own. "My father tried to kill me one time."


Jackie: Almost immediately after taking that first sip, Tim takes another, but he still makes a face of disgust, because this stuff is harsh. Of course, the mention of the timing of his abandonment has a double meaning; it was around Thanksgiving time, but more specifically, it was around Tim's birthday. Perhaps having built up a strong enough shield to keep on talking, Timothy is about to continue, but he catches the other boy's shaking head and misinterprets it, thinking that Mike doesn't want to hear about it. So he looks back to the fire and takes up gnawing on his cheek, only glancing back at his room mate with an arched eye brow in question. "...why?"


Jay: That...wasn't exactly the question Mike was expecting, and his eyes widen some, before he gives an uncomfortable shrug. "Because he hates me?" The way he says it, it's plain that he isn't sure why. He takes another large drink of whiskey, giving a slight cough afterward, because the stuff is pretty harsh. "We were hunting - which I'm not any good at - and there was a big buck in a clearing ahead. I stepped forward to try to line up the shot. Just before I squeezed the trigger, there was a gunshot, and the tree next to me exploded. I looked back at him, blood running down my face from the splinters, and he was saying, I'm sorry, it just went off, it was an accident, asking if I was all right...but the whole time, I could see it in his eyes. He hated himself for taking the shot, but he hated me more for being alive." He manages to say all of this without much inflection, staring down at his drink.


Jackie: As soon as Tim says it, he wishes he could retract the question - it suddenly feels way too intrusive and insensitive, and he doubts there is any sort of answer that is even remotely understandable. He's somehow able to keep his eyes on Michael's face as the other boy talks, and his own gaze softens as the details come out; he knew Mike had a horrible relationship with his father, but he never figured it was this bad. Overcome by guilt, he drops his head and shakes it gently, either in forgiveness or disgust, and he takes another, longer drink; it still makes him wince, but he's able to tuck the expression back a little more easily. His voice doesn't falter when he talks, but it quite low. "Fuck him."


Jay: Getting all of that out was surprisingly easy, but waiting for Tim's reaction isn't. Mike drops his eyes back to his own drink, pursing his lips and shrugging slightly when Tim speaks. "Yeah, pretty much." He takes a long drink of his whisky, then turns the glass in his hands, not entirely sure what to say after that revelation.


Jackie: Since Michael seems to be circling the drain just as much as he is, himself, Tim isn't sure what to do; normally, when either one of them is in a rut, the other is attempting to pull them out. First, he buries himself in his glass again, taking another drink - his skin is starting to tingle from the alcohol and lack of food in his belly, but it's a welcomed sensation. But the air is still thick and this all seems so fucked up, so Tim reaches a hand over and rubs it along the back of Mike's neck soothingly, massaging the tense muscles gently.


Jay: Somewhat surprised at that touch, Mike lifts his head to look over at Tim, a small hint of a rueful smile around the corners of his mouth. Though the incident he was speaking of is long past, he hasn't thought about it in some time - tries not to think about it much at all. "It's shitty to realize your parents are just like all other people. Which means, mostly assholes." Lifting his glass once again, the liquid already substantially reduced, he taps it lightly against Tim's in a half-ass sort of toast before drinking the rest of it.


Jackie: Tim isn't looking at Mike as he works the pads of his fingertips into the boy's tense muscles, so he unfortunately misses that kind-of smile. But those words do draw out a quiet snort, and he tips his head to the side, as if to agree. With his other hand still holding onto his glass, he lifts it up in toast-like fashion before also finishing it's contents, and then placing it up on the stone ledge of the fireplace. "It's a good thing we don't pick up all of their traits, then." Because surely there isn't a whole lot about Tim that is like his parents - at least not when it comes to emotions.


Jay: Mike tilts his head, eyebrow cocked in consideration for that, not openly disagreeing but making a doubtful noise, because he recognizes more of his father's traits in himself than he's comfortable with. But he just shrugs it off again, setting his own glass next to Tim's and leaning towards the other boy. "At least we can learn from their mistakes, if nothing else." Taking a final drag from his smoke, he tosses it into the fireplace, then reaches over to take one of Tim's hands with his own, twining his fingers between Tim's.


Jackie: Tim nods a little more agreeably for those words, definitely feeling the truth in them; if anything, Tim has been able to learn from it, even if that learning has been masked by immeasurable hurt. Having rested his cigarette on the fireplace's edge as he finished his drink, Tim takes one last drag before tossing it in the fire, in time to fit his fingers into Michael's reaching hand. He keeps his other hand on the boy's neck, to make sure he's staying close, and then squirms a bit - still sitting - so he's now facing him more directly, instead of the fire. He drops his eyes down to that pretty neck, and just watches his hand massage those muscles carefully.


Jay: Looking up as Tim starts moving around, Mike tries to meet his eyes, but sort of sidelong rather than directly. He tightens his fingers around the others and as before, lifts that hand, kissing the back of it, but this time he doesn't let go. Instead, he reaches out with the other, mimicking Tim's position by curling his fingers around the nape of his neck, massaging the muscles there lightly. It takes a while, but he finally speaks up hesitantly. "Jesse keeps telling me to talk to you, about...well, us, cliche as that sounds. I tell him it doesn't really work when you don't talk back."


Jackie: Tim doesn't meet Mike's eyes initially, probably too distracted and purposefully focusing on the boy's neck to avoid them, but he can feel the weight of his gaze. Much like the last time Michael kissed his hand, Tim's stomach churns, and bits of his chest crack under the pressure - unable to resist the swelling feeling of appreciation. He blinks a few times, studying the dark cord wrapped around Michael's gorgeous neck, and is a little confused by the boy's words - so he flicks his eyes up and looks at Mike squarely, although his eyes are timid, narrowed in confusion. "What about us?" He's definitely ignoring how much the latter part of that statement is true - Tim doesn't have to admit to being cut off or distant to the boy, at least not right now.


Jay: Of course, Tim doesn't have to admit that - it's well known already. Mike arches an eyebrow when the other boy finally looks at him, and even tries for a small smile after he speaks. "Well, that's sorta the thing I wanna know. What about us? Is there an us?" Sensing that Tim would probably be uncomfortable at too much scrutiny right now, Mike's gaze goes back to their linked hands. "I wanna be with you, Tim. I think it's sorta obvious. But I don't want you to feel like you have to agree. We're..." Stopping, he scowls briefly in frustration, muttering in a quieter voice, only partially to Tim. "I'm actually not very good at this sorta thing."


Jackie: Tim does a fairly good job of keeping his eyes focused in on Michael's face, even as he speaks. That smile, however small it is, definitely helps to keep Tim grounded, but there still is a small force of panic that runs through his veins; f their hands weren't linked, he'd maybe already be on his feet, scampering away for more booze or solitude. But he's compelled to stay, and it's his turn to watch Michael's face, even as the other boy looks down at their hands. Almost immediately, he answers: "There's an us." Because no doubt, there's something here, something they both want - even if Tim can't admit to it, all of the time. Eventually, he joins Michael in looking down at their hands, and he rubs a thumb along the curve between Mike's thumb and forefinger. And when he speaks again, the tone is a little lighter, perhaps brought on by Mike's endearing frustration. "We're what?"


Jay: Michael gives one of those half-shrug, half-nod motions for Tim's initial words, because yes, there is an 'us' but it's entirely undefined at this point. Releasing Tim's neck, he waves a hand expressively. "We're...well, we've both got too much complication in our lives as it is, I think. I'd like our relationship to not be adding to that. It could be simple, might even counteract some of the complication, you know? I just, want you to be mine." He briefly glances up at Tim as he says this, but then his gaze drops back down as he adds in the same sort of quiet murmur: "I'm already yours, either way."


Jackie: Just as Mike releases his neck, Tim lets his drop as well; it rests comfortably on the other boy's thigh, fingers curling open and closed against the material of his pants. He's still looking down at their hands as Michael talks, processing, but it's the part about Mike wanting Tim to be his that sticks out to him more than anything previous - unsure if he can commit to that, when someone else has already claimed him. But that's quickly stamped away when Michael adds on that last little bit, and Tim's eyes immediately shoot upwards, directly at Mike's face. Whatever traces of panic he had are overcome with a warm feeling, much like a blanket, because that's all Tim has really wanted to hear for months - for someone to be his just as much as he is theirs. Before he can stop himself, he's leaning forward, pressing his mouth to Michael's, and giving a brief little nod to answer him.


Jay: Though he's initially not sure if that's an answer, Mike doesn't hesitate to tilt his head up to meet that kiss, only then noticing how tightly he's holding Tim's hand and easing the pressure some. When the other boy draws back, Mike starts to follow after him, but that little nod halts his actions and he grins somewhat helplessly, tilting his head down to hide it. But that is only marginally effective, so instead, he leans back in to cover Tim's mouth with his own, waiting until the grin fades before parting his lips and letting his tongue dart out to trace Tim's lower lip lightly.


Jackie: Not trusting himself to use words at the moment, probably because he isn't sure which words to use, Tim presses his mouth a little more firmly to Mike's, his own eyes closing for the feeling. He draws back, short on breath because the conversation is a little nerve wracking, and he tries to give the boy a more verbal answer, now that their lips aren't meshed together. "Just mine?" But just as soon as he says it, Mike is leaning back in, and Tim doesn't hesitate to meet the pressure, opening his mouth to welcome in that tongue and deepen the kiss. The hand at Mike's thigh curls in, and he grips at the boy's leg firmly


Jay: Not having time to answer that question between kisses, Mike instead makes an affirmative sound in the form of a low moan. Releasing Tim's hand completely, he instead reaches out to grasp onto either side of his ribcage, not exactly trying to draw Tim closer but giving the impression that he'd very much like for him to be. His tongue strokes along Tim's, still gentle, nothing too insistent.


Jackie: Hearing that rumbled moan, Tim initially drops his mouth - halting his kissing even though Mike is still kissing him back - because he has the instant need and desire to vocalize his appreciation. But all that comes out is a quiet little mewl, so Tim just tilts his head to the side and leans in further, closing his mouth over Michael's lips before parting his own to slide his tongue out. He squirms a little bit until he's on his knees, both legs tucked under himself, and then moves in closer to Michael, the hand he has resting on his thigh moving up to grip the nape of that neck again and draw him in even more.


Jay: As Tim moves in closer, Mike's hands slide around to his back, fingers spreading wide and tightening their grip in a sort of partial embrace, and he shifts to unfold his own legs and move onto his knees, as well. He gives another soft moan as the kiss is deepened, tilting his head just a bit to the side and twisting his own tongue around Tim's. The contrast between this, and the awkwardness he inspired less than an hour ago by mentioning Tim's parents only serves to make this feel still more sweet, and unusually - for Ness - he doesn't seem in any hurry to increase the intimacy or rush things along.


Jackie: The hand that was holding on to Michael's had fallen to the floor for stability as Tim worked himself onto his knees, but once he's settled, he raises it up to the back of Mike's neck, meeting his other hand, and drags him in even closer - necessary or not. Matching the soft moan with one of his own, although it sounds a little more pleading, Tim tilts his head to the side and continues to deepen the kiss, tongue sliding over lips and teeth and toying along the other muscle languidly. It's easy to forget the tough parts of the conversation - the bits that led them to this - when he has this distraction, and Tim isn't about to let it go, so he works his way to straddling the boy's lap, trying to fit himself in there neatly.


Jay: Feeling Tim inching in more, Mike leans back some to give him room to get settled, breaking the kiss but not moving very far away. One of his hands remains on Tim's back, dropping to the small of it, the thumb moving thoughtlessly in small circles; meanwhile, the opposite hand lifts to cup the back of Tim's head, fingers sifting though his hair. Resisting the urge to immediately return to kissing him, instead Mike watches his face for a moment, one side of his mouth still curled up in a smile. Tilting his head up, he leans in until his forehead comes to rest against the other, speaking quietly but weighted. "Thank you."


Jackie: As Mike gives him a little more room to get settled in his lap, Tim parts his legs a little further and works his way in closer - not suggestive, but just wanting as little space between their bodies as possible. He wants to immediately duck his head into the crook between neck and shoulder when their mouths part, but Mike catches him before he can, and Tim's drawn back into himself. He's a little out of breath, but he drags his eyes back open to look at the boy, seeing his face and that smile and hearing those words. Immediately, he pushes their mouths back together, but instead of a deep kiss, Tim just keeps pressing brief but opened mouth kisses against Mike's lips, each one accompanied by a short mewl of appreciation. Eventually, Tim starts to draw his mouth away from Michael's, but he just trails it along his jawline and just beneath the curve of bone, still keeping up with those kisses.


Jay: Expecting another kiss like the last one, Mike's surprised by the short, quick ones he receives instead and gives up on trying to meet them very much. Instead, he laughs, but it isn't harsh laughter, more an expression of how deeply thrilled and - despite everything - how happy. As Tim's mouth relocates to his jaw, he cranes his head to the side to give him space, and tightens the hold both of his hands have on the other boy before dropping down to lay on his back, dragging Tim with him and taking a moment to unfold his legs. Then he returns the affection, lifting his mouth to Tim's neck and, much like the other boy, feathering quick, light kisses along the skin, from the base of his neck to the hinge of his jaw.


Jackie: Hearing that laugh does something to Tim's insides that he isn't sure he's felt before, and if he wasn't so keen on smothering the boy in kisses, he'd maybe be grinning enough to showcase his dimples. Once he's got his head ducked down into that neck, he also drops his arms to loop them loosely around Mike's back; there, he squeezes the boy tightly, appreciatively. He'd be quite fine staying just like this, curled up and wrapped around his room mate, but then Michael is laying back onto his make-shift nest, and Tim's following along, still curled into his form. He lifts his lower half up to allow Mike to unfold and part his legs, but then Tim goes right back to how he was, with his knees digging into the relatively thick layer of blankets on either side of Mike's hips. His hands circle around, as well, and start to run slowly up the boy's torso, and Tim's kisses start to transition from short, quick ones to more lasting ones - lingering around the steady pulsepoint.


Jay: Mike makes a pleased noise when Tim settles against him once more, his own hands dropping to either side of the boy's hips and working their way upward beneath his shirt. He returns to kissing at his neck, but is understandably distracted as that mouth starts to linger longer on his skin, and he rolls his head completely to the side, giving Tim as much room as he wants. His hands creep around to Tim's back, moving up from the small of it and over his ribs, stroking more heavily than previous, with enough pressure to make sure that Tim stays close.


Jackie: Getting lost in that beautiful neck, Tim's taken to gently sucking at the boy's pulse point, not enough to leave a mark yet, but it's slow and rhythmic, his tongue lapping out to dampen the skin. He gives his own noise of appreciation when Michael gives in and offers up more of himself, but Tim doesn't linger too far from that particular spot; instead, he trails both hands up the boy's neck until he reaches either collar bone - there, he grips onto them gently, thumbs rolling along the curve there. He keeps at it for a solid minute until he forces himself away, and Tim eventually sits back onto Mike's hips, eyes heavy as he allows himself to look more intently at the boy beneath him. Both arms remain stretched down, propped up on Mike's chest, and Tim just studies the curves of skin, trying to collect himself a tiny bit.


Jay: Keeping his hands moving lightly over Tim's back, Mike's mostly motionless otherwise, enjoying the heat of the fire and that close body and the whisky in his stomach, giving small noises of pleasure for Tim's actions. When the other boy draws back some, it takes him a moment to force his eyes open and straighten his head, and he looks over Tim's form appreciatively before his gaze raises enough to meet Tim's eyes, matched with the ever-present arched eyebrow.


Jackie: Now that his head is no longer tucked away, Tim is able to focus his attention a little more; too often, he gets too caught up in the boy's taste and scent that his mind goes blank - which is a welcomed distraction. But things seem heavier now, brought on by their earlier conversation, and Tim watches his hands as they gently massage Mike's chest, silently thinking things over. Eventually, he looks back up at the boy's face and relaxes a bit. "I want you to be mine, too." Although it was kind of obvious, on how things progressed, that Tim wants the same thing Mike does, he still feels the need to say it out loud, let Michael hear it from his mouth.


Jay: Michael continues watching Tim, though the inquiring expression eases the longer it goes on. His hands retreat down Tim's back to his hips, where his thumbs stroke slowly back and forth over the edges of the bones. It's somewhat apparent that the other boy is in thought, so Mike doesn't say anything to interrupt him, but when those words come, he smiles a bit and tightens the grip of his hands. "I told you. I already am."


Jackie: Forcing himself to keep his eyes connected to Michael's, Tim's mouth immediately quirks into a small smile, not held back through the filters he's used in the past to keep his emotions in check. There's an undeniable wave of comfort that courses through his veins for those words, and he nods briefly before leaning back down, reconnecting their mouths by covering Mike's lips with his own. His head is tipped to the side slightly, to allow for a deeper kiss, and his hands start to trail down the boy's chest, gripping at either side of his jacket - now unzipped, but still on him.





Jackie: Despite the small cabin not having a functioning furnace, or at least one that Tim and Mike couldn't figure out, Tim isn't at all cold throughout the night. The abundance of blankets he had snagged from the bedroom, coupled with the decently sized fire Mike had made and the body heat from the other boy, makes it easy for Tim to sleep soundly. The only reason he even stirs is because there's a bright light creeping in through the window - it's day break - but he doesn't want to give into it, quite yet. So he wrinkles his nose and shifts around, turning around so he can nuzzle into Mike's neck and block out the light. He's not awake enough to realize that they had fallen asleep, and stayed out all night, and any thought of St U's is far, far away; instead, he takes a deep breath in through his nose and breathes the older boy in.


Jay: Likewise, Michael shows no intention to get up, although he had said something about going to work on the car as soon as the sun came up. That's plainly not very important right now. They hadn't gotten to sleep until quite late, so when the sun starts to shine through the uncurtained windows, Mike gives a faint, disapproving grunt and turns his back towards it, meaning he turns towards Tim, tightening the arm around the other boy and curling up a little more - despite the blankets, it is a little chilly, and the fire has mostly died down. Still, he refuses to acknowledge the fact that he's waking up.


Jackie: Although he was initially agitated with the car problems, and the fact that they had to stay the night, that agitation has long since dissipated. Somewhere between their brief conversation, and their affections, Tim was able to shove everything else away. Luckily, it's all still tucked away, away from his mind, as he snuggles in closer to his room mate, and when Michael tightens that arm around him, Tim knows that they're both somewhat awake. Keeping under the blankets, since the air outside of them feels cold to his exposed skin, he makes a little noise of acknowlegement, and starts to press soft, lingering kisses to the boy's neck, while his own arm curls to wrap around his ribcage comfortably. His voice is low and gruff. "It's morning."


Jay: Mike rolls his head to the side when those kisses start, giving a quiet, pleased hum and tightening his fingers around the farther side of Tim's waist, his thumb stroking gently over the bare skin. He's not quite as pleased when Tim speaks, because it means he has to reply, which means he has to admit to being awake. He opens one eye briefly, then grunts, closing it. "So it is." Obviously not seeing this as any reason to get up, instead he twists his head down, blindly finding Tim's mouth with his own.


Jackie: Immediately after speaking, Tim goes back to his kisses, trailing his mouth along that gorgeous neck and tracing over the faint marks left there from the night prior. He squirms a little bit closer, now fully facing Michael's form, which is totally counter productive to what they should be doing. But Tim is able to toss those impending thoughts aside in favor of enjoying this, and he can't help but smile against Mike's skin for that response - or totally unmotivated response, as it was. Before he can add to it, he tips his head up to meet that kiss and lets out a quiet little noise, kind of like a whimper but not really, and he curls his hand up to the back of the boy's head to make sure he doesn't immediately pull away.


Jay: At the moment, it's a certainty that Mike has no plan to go anywhere, only smiling a little for the unhesitating reaction from Tim before opening his mouth, letting his tongue smooth over Tim's lower lip before slipping past them. It's very languid, unhurried, almost like he's still half asleep, but he does lift his upper body, propped on an elbow, to lean towards and over the other boy.


Jackie: Normally, Tim would be ruffling his way out of these blankets and skulking his way back to the car, not exactly wanting to go back to the school, but feeling obligated and worried enough to get on with it. But after last night, Tim isn't at all inclined to return back to reality - maybe he'd even consider hunkering out here for an entire weekend - so he lefts himself get lost in that kiss. He parts his lips to welcome in Michael's tongue, and meets the muscle half way, moving his own against it just as languidly. As Mike leans in, Tim leans back, pressing his shoulders into the bound of blankets beneath them, and makes another little pleased noise for the familiarity of having Mike hovered over him.


Jay: Giving a quiet moan in response to Tim's noise, Mike lets his free hand circle around to the boy's stomach, fingers spread wide against the skin as they trail up to his collarbones, enjoying the warm, sleepy softness of that skin. However, with this movement, the blankets are upset and slip off Mike's back, so a moment later he's forced to break away from the kiss with a shiver. "Goddamn, it's cold." Reaching back, he reclaims the blanket, drawing it up over his shoulders and then - maybe deciding that's not good enough - pulling it over his head and Tim's, too, before lowering his mouth to the other boy's neck, feathering soft kisses over the side of it.


Jackie: Tim keeps his hand gripped to the back of Mike's neck as they continue the kiss, fingertips tightening briefly when the other boy parts from his mouth. At first, Tim leans his head up, adamant in keeping that kiss going, but then Mike is reaching back and adjusting the blankets, so Tim leans his head back and finally opens his eyes, looking up at the boy with sleepy, soft eyes. A small smile plays on his lips as he watches Michael work the blanket back over their forms, and he tilts up to try to recapture that mouth. Unsuccessful, but not disappointed, Tim immediately tilts his head to the side to give Mike more access to his neck, and he immediately hums for the attention, shifting his own weight so he can encourage Michael to crawl over his form, still beneath their blanket tent.


Jay: Taking that hint, Mike obligingly straddles Tim's form, but he doesn't stay on his knees, instead sort of sprawling over his roommate's form. He does keep himself semi-propped on an elbow to keep from completely crushing the other boy. Another melodic moan filters from his throat at the bare contact, and he nips playfully at the skin beneath his mouth, unable to keep from wriggling a bit in enjoyment. The hand on Tim's chest flattens, the better for Mike to lever himself up enough that he can see Tim's face, though the light through the blanket is muted. His eyes are still half-closed, looking over that expression with sleepy satisfaction and lifting a hand to Tim's chin, tracing his thumb back and forth over the line of his mouth.


Jackie: As Michael stretches out over his form, Tim's body shivers pleasantly, and a more well defined moan rolls out of his throat, head still tipped to the side and eyes softly closed. Now with the boy more completely on top of him, both of their forms still nude from the night before, Tim arches his back to press up into Michael, but his movements are languid and fluid - not at all rushed or demanding. Still, he parts his legs to better welcome in that form, and moves to loop an arm around Mike's shoulders comfortably. When the older boy pulls back, Tim lolls his head forward and lazily blinks open his eyes, catching those heavily lidded ones and appreciating the way Mike looks, right now. He parts his lips as that thumb moves across them, but then puckers them to kiss at the digit, not entirely innocently.


Jay: Focused on Tim's mouth, Mike's faint smile spreads when he kisses at that thumb, looking just a bit more awake. His hand glides away, moving over Tim's jaw and up to his scalp, fingers lightly stroking the unstyled mohawk. "Have I ever mentioned how completely adorable you are in the mornings?" Kind of a rhetorical question, so he doesn't hesitate to lean in, pressing their mouths together in a quicker but more firm kiss, which he then repeats one either of Tim's cheekbones, his chin, his forehead, and the tip of his nose.


Jackie: Looking back up at the other boy, Tim's eyes soften even more when his smile grows, and Tim tilts his head to the side as that hand retreats so he can place another kiss to the tops of his knuckles. Tilting his head back, he rests the crown of it back onto the floor and keeps his sleepy eyes locked to Mike's, eventually closing them when the boy leans back in. Again, Tim tilts his chin up to try to keep the kiss longer, but then Mike is pressing his mouth all over the place, and he can't help the gentle, easy smile that crawls out across his mouth. He hums in response, not about to admit the adorableness or encourage it further, so he leans up a bit so he can place soft kisses to the top of one of those nice, broad shoulders, both hands sliding to the center of Michael's back and gently moving up and down.


Jay: Michael comes close to purring as Tim's hands start to move over his back, lifting his head some and stroking his fingers down from Tim's scalp to the back of his neck. He doesn't seem intent on getting off (oddly, for Mike), more enjoying the easy intimacy, since it had been more rare than he likes in his relationship with Tim to date. "This is nice. We should just stay here...let someone assume the car was ditched, make a little homestead..."


Jackie: Still with his mouth drawing along the top of Mike's shoulder, Tim smiles a little bit for that suggestion; shockingly, it doesn't startle him into movement, to get back to the car and scamper back to the school. And for a brief moment, he lets himself give into that suggested fantasy - enough that he actually sounds amused when he speaks. "Mmm. And what, live off canned peaches and soup?" It could maybe be done for a few days, but nothing more - and Tim isn't sure how they could do much of anything, beyond that. He goes back to his kissing, and silently decides that he could very easily do this every single morning.


Jay: Mike turns his head slightly to watch Tim's mouth moving over his shoulder, giving a thoughtful hum. "I could hunt..." He sounds uncertain, because he really isn't very good with a gun, and because Tim doesn't eat meat, anyway. So he shrugs faintly, fingers moving lightly over the nape of that neck. "Or we could just bribe people to bring us stuff." Well, it's nice in theory, anyway.


Jackie: For both of those suggestions, Tim gives a gentle snort of amusement, not yet pulling back from his mouth's movements. "Bribe them with what?" Chances are, Mike could just...flirt with someone, and probably get what he wants, but that may be a bit doubtful - chances are, the people in these parts of Massachusetts aren't all that inclined towards pretty, west coast boys. Trailing his kisses inwards, Tim starts to mouth once more at the boy's neck, just above the string looped around it, while both hands continues to slide up and down Mike's spine soothingly.


Jay: And of course, Mike thinks just the opposite. "I don't know - my sweet words and your pretty face?" There's a bit of amusement in his tone, but he's a little distracted, too, shivering for the continued touches to his back. Since Tim seems much more inclined to activity than he is himself, Mike partially sits up, winding both arms around the other boy's form before rolling onto his back, bringing Tim with him. This upsets the blankets again, but not so much that they're uncovered. "Or you could plant a garden, and I could make a bee gum. Maybe we could get a cow or a goat, too, and make cheese."


Jackie: Again, Tim snorts for that suggestion, but doesn't exactly doubt it; surely, he's seen the way people give in to Michael's words, much like the way they give in to his looks - and no doubt, the suggestion could be a one man operation. Although all of his movements are languid, Tim keeps at it, seemingly enjoying a lazy, affectionate morning with this boy. He briefly makes a small noise of surprise for the movement, but doesn't put up any resistance; instead, he rolls onto his form and shifts his weight, one leg hooked out across both of Mike's, but not exactly on top of him. Now more propped up, he lifts his head to look down at Mike's face, his own clearly showing his amusement, and he drops down to place soft kisses to the boy's chest. "With all that farm experience we have."


Jay: Keeping his arms around Tim, Mike lets his eyes drop mostly closed, hands stroking smoothly from his shoulderblades to the curve of his ass and back. "Oh, it can't be that hard..." Surely corn will grow in the New England winter, right? "And I do know how to catch bees." He tilts his head back when Tim starts kissing over his chest, giving a quiet moan of appreciation and lightly squeezing that ass before his hands swoop upwards again.


Jackie: Encouraged by those hands, Tim continues to press his soft, open mouthed kisses to Mike's chest, but doesn't expand on them; instead, he just keeps kissing along the same skin over and over again, maybe in hopes of memorizing it. He coughs out brief surprise, since he doesn't really expect Mike to know anything about bees aside from 'the birds and the bees', and he glances up at his face with warm, amused eyes. "...why?" He can't imagine Michael volunteering at a bee farm, much less wearing one of those bee keeper suits.


Jay: "Hmmm...?" A little distracted, Mike cracks his eyes open and lifts an eyebrow, taking a second to remember what Tim was questioning. "Oh. My uncle has a farm." He just has family members all over the place that know things. "When I was ten, Dad sent me there to spend the summer, to 'straighten me up'. Didn't work, but it was kinda fun." Sliding his hands back to the nape of Tim's neck, Mike cranes upwards to catch his mouth. He doesn't move away so quickly this time, sitting up slowly but letting his tongue languidly explore the inside of that mouth.


Jackie: Amusement flashes across Tim's eyes for Mike's obvious distraction, and he sneaks in a few more kisses - this time, along his collar bones - before lifting his head again and waiting for a response. Of course, the mental pictures that come along with it are nothing short of entertaining, and he talks around a smile, mouth still hovering near Michael's skin. "Michael the farm hand." The way it's said clearly shows Tim's delight, and there's something to be said about his room mate putting a little sweat equity into some work. Lifting up, he's pleased to meet the boy's mouth, and opens his own enough to welcome in that tongue once again, his own moving to follow its path.


Jay: Mike's forearms tighten against Tim's back, ignoring for a moment the chill that returns as the blankets drop, in favor of enjoying the kiss. Drawing away after a few moments, he brushes his mouth over Tim's lower lip before leaning back enough to see his face. "Speaking of eating...think we can find anything edible for breakfast?" He wants bacon, probably because of the reminder of his farm-time, but that obviously won't be doable. With another quick kiss to that mouth, he releases Tim. "Why don't you check the pantry, and I'll work on the fire?" Plainly, he's in no hurry to get back to school, punishment or no.


Jackie: Not unusually, Tim gets a little lost in that kiss, so when Mike pulls away and starts talking, he's still got his eyes closed. Eventually he blinks them open, but is only met with another kiss, and he could very easily say to hell with breakfast - let's just mouth at each other and stay under the blankets. But then he's released, and he reluctantly shifts away, bare upper body exposed to the cold air and immediately prickling for the feeling. Sitting upright, he peers over at the kitchen, then down at their blankets, and snags one to wrap around himself as he gets to his feet. "Make it a big fire. It's fucking cold." And maybe, Tim wants the fire to keep them warm until the afternoon - clearly, he's in no rush to return to the school, either.


Jay: Mike nods his agreement, eyebrows lifted emphatically, because it is damn cold. He wraps one of the remaining blankets around himself and inches towards the fire, breaking up the embers and adding some smaller sticks and torn newspaper to start the flames, before adding larger logs carefully, so as not to choke the burgeoning flames. Now, without Tim right next to him, it's a little easier to remember that they do need to go back - and a little depressing, too; he'd much rather just stay here. Once the flames are steady enough, he lights a cigarette from them and leans back, still swathed in his blanket aside from the arm he's freed to hold the cigarette.


Jackie: Padding his way into the kitchen, Tim goes for the cupboard and peers around inside of it; there isn't much to choose from that Michael already didn't take, but he does find another jar of canned peaches, and some canned plums. Finding this to be enough, at least for right now (he's never very hungry in the morning), Tim snags a few forks from the drawer and returns to the main room, placing the cans on the fireplace as he settles back down into their nest. He hovers near the fire, since he's cold enough to be shivering, but he does reach a hand out to silently request that cigarette - wanting that before wanting food.


Jay: Canned fruit is decisively not the same as bacon, but Mike smiles appreciatively at Tim anyway, offering the requested cigarette and wrapping his free arm around Tim once it's taken, drawing him closer. The fire is growing well now, though the flames are still small, the coals are putting off more heat. "See? We could kick ass at this homesteading stuff." He frees up his other arm to retrieve the peaches, opening the jar and picking one out with his fingers, offering it to Tim with a raised eyebrow.


Jackie: Taking the cigarette, Tim puts it to his mouth and draws from it, humming pleasantly for the feeling of it. Just as quickly, he hands it back to Michael and then shifts around to get in closer to him, still wrapped up in own blanket instead of burrowing back into their own cacoon. Still, he leans into Mike's embrace and chuckles a bit for that suggestion; breaking into someone else's cabin, eating their food and burning their firewood isn't what he would consider homesteading. Although, perhaps they could hop around from cabin to cabin, using up other people's goods until they've drained the entire area. Pushing that thought aside, Tim looks back over at Mike in time to catch that offered peach, and he snorts again, amused, before leaning in to take the piece of fruit into his mouth. Pulling back, he licks at those nice fingers and then his own lips, his free hand going to pluck a slice out for Mike to eat, next.


Jay: Mike arches an eyebrow for the laughter, because he was completely serious, but he doesn't dwell on it, instead grinning slightly when Tim licks at his fingers and returns the favor. Leaning forward, he closes his mouth around the offered peach, along with a good portion of Tim's fingers, sucking on them as he draws back and finally releases them. He keeps his eyes on Tim's the entire time, of course, waiting until he's swallowed to speak. "Tim-flavored. Tasty." And rather than return his attention to the food or the smoke, he closes in to draw his tongue across the other boy's lips slowly.


Jackie: Holding the peach out expectantly, Tim watches Michael take it into his mouth very closely, eyes lingering on the boy's lips because how the hell do they always look so pouted? He curls one of his fingers while inside of the boy's mouth, hooking it around a lip as it's drawn away, but doesn't drop his arm entirely; instead, he crooks his elbow around Mike's neck and draws his face in near, just as the boy leans in himself. He lets out a genuine, but quiet (very Tim-esque) laugh for those words, since they're so ridiculous, but the laugh does bring with it a smile, and even a rare glimpse at his dimples. Allowing for his lips to be licked at before he tips his chin up, Tim then moves to close his mouth around Mike's lower lip, purring for the sweet taste, before gliding his own tongue to to lick at the residual sugar left there.


Jay: Given that he just woke up, Mike's lips are only poutier than usual if anything, which just makes things worse undoubtedly. He gives one of his melodic moans for the motion of that tongue, leaning in to rest their foreheads together and waiting for Tim's tongue to retract before speaking in a low, sandpaper-and-velvet tone. "Let's not go back, kitten. Maybe we can't homestead, but we can hitchhike. Go back to California, we could stay with Dennis." He sounds completely sincere, even a little pleading, because the last thing he wants to do is return to that school, where even if Tim doesn't shut him out again, they won't be able to be as close as he'd like, and everything is so regimented.


Jackie: Tim could probably spend the rest of the day licking at that mouth, even when there's no peach or sugar flavor left to take away - so it's probably a good thing that Mike starts talking, or else Tim would never stop. He presses right back against that forehead and closes his eyes, sighing quietly for the suggestion; undoubtedly, it's tempting, and they could do it - and part of Tim even wants to do it. "I wish I could." It's his first admission into wanting to run away with the boy, instead of just laughing at the suggestion, and he truly means it - and without thought he tips back in to give that mouth another kiss, perhaps to make up for not giving into the request. "But I can't. I can't leave Jess...school, baseball..." And the fact that this has been his only home for two years, and maybe he's a little scared of doing anything else.


Jay: Mike doesn't look entirely crushed for Tim's disagreement, but he is a little disappointed, leaning away after that kiss and taking a longer drag off his cigarette. "Well, no, we couldn't leave Jesse." He should have thought of that originally. Shaking his head, he's already pondering another way out, with Jesse included - God, he hopes Kellen doesn't need to come, too - but gives no sign of it, summoning a little smile for Tim's sake. "Guess I can live with the place for a few more months." Picking out another peach slice, he offers it to Tim in the same manner.


Jackie: There are probably a few other things Tim can't leave behind that he doesn't voice, and maybe doesn't want to own up to - namely, Leech, but there's also Lars, and the fact that he belongs to the state of Massachusetts. But he focuses back on that voice and his muscles relax a bit as Michael gives in, and Tim sneaks in another quick kiss before pulling back. "It won't be too bad. Plus...I mean, now..." He shrugs a little, uncertainly, but he does reach a hand out to run his fingertips along the top of Michael's thigh pointedly. He looks up in time to see that offered peach, and he leans in to take it between his teeth, a little less suggestive this time, but...he's still being hand fed.


Jay: No, Mike wouldn't see those as sufficient impediments to escape at all. He arches an eyebrow for that unfinished statement, shivering a bit for the fingers on his thigh, smile becoming more natural. "Yeah? Now, what?" He seems to have lost interest in eating, still smoking.


Jackie: Chewing the slimy peach, Tim drops his eyes back down to his fingers, curling them against the blanket and almost instantly becoming nervous, or maybe just a little bashful. He shrugs a shoulder but refuses to meet Mike's eyes, and swallows down the piece of fruit before talking, voice a tad bit lower. "Now...we've got each other."


Jay: For that response, and the adorable nervousness, Mike can't stop the smile from broadening into a grin. "Damn right, we do." Tossing the cigarette into the fireplace, he leans over, kissing just the edge of Tim's jaw affectionately and lingering there for a moment. Though relieved, the conversation has only put more weight on the fact that they have to go back, so he sighs some as he leans away. "I guess I'd better see if I can't get that peice-of-shit suburban running..." Looking about, he retrieves his pants and, exposing as little of his body to the cold air as he can, starts to work them on.


Jackie: Tim flicks his eyes up to Mike's face as the boy talks, and whatever nerves that developed in his brief internal debate ease away with those words, and the accompanied kiss. He closes his eyes and sighs softly, relaxed and relieved, and before Ness can get too far, he scrambles a hand up to yank that face back in, so he can kiss him for firmly. Not keeping him, Tim doesn't fight when Mike moves to retrieve those pants, but he also doesn't put himself into action, and instead watches the other boy pleasantly; although he's seen him get dressed countless times before, it never really gets old. "Want me to go with you? Should probably...clean the place up a bit."


Jay: Belatedly noticing Tim's attention to his dressing, Mike sideglances at him and smirks, sort of smugly, as he buttons and does up his belt. "I think I can handle it; you might find it kinda boring, though. Why don't you tidy up here and I'll do that?" Because Tim doesn't need to see how incredibly simple the 'repair' actually is, of course. Finding his shoes and socks, Mike pulls them on, but has to hunt a little more for his shirt.


Jackie: Tim doesn't even try to hide the fact that he's watching Mike - he even meets the boys eyes shamelessly, and takes a moment to respond to that question. Still, he doesn't bother getting out of the nest quite yet; it's cold, and he's distracted. "Yeah...that sounds good. Just pull up to the driveway, yeah?" And once that's been determined, he nods his head and finally gets to his feet - keeping a blanket secured around his form, because he has no idea where the hell his clothes are. If he were to look more closely around the cabin, he'd see his pants are sprawled out on the recliner next to the fireplace.


Jay: Finally finding his shirt, Michael pulls it on, smirking as his head emerges from it. "Thanks for the vote of confidence. If I can get the damn thing running, I will." Not that he has any doubt about that, but he doesn't want it to seem too easy. Pulling his jacket on, he zips it up, hoping that the sun has warmed the outdoors somewhat. Returning to Tim in his nest, Mike leans down to kiss him lingeringly, oddly feeling like a guy going off to work and leaving his wife in bed.


Jackie: Tim gives Mike a look like he's humoring him - even if he doesn't think the car will spring back to life automatically, he's confident enough that Mike will be able to at least temporarily fix it. There's a small smile on his face when Mike returns to give him that kiss, and Tim makes a quiet noise of pleasure for it, lingering in the affection while he's still able to enjoy it. Finally, he pulls away, and pushes Mike to get him to leave, since undoubtedly Tim would otherwise tug the boy in and keep him within the nest for another three nights. "Go." The way it's said, there's definitely humor in it, and Tim actually shoves at him, and works to distance himself, going to fold up one of their used blankets.


Jay: Mike arches an eyebrow as he's pushed away, but can't hide the way his lips curve upward. "All right, I'm goin'. If I'm not here within an hour, you might wanna start walking." Returning to the back door, he swindles the small toolbox from the closet and heads out.

And it doesn't take an hour, but he does make sure at least half of one has passed before reattaching the battery cable he removed, and replacing the plug he took out. Then he drives back to the cabin, parking in the overgrown dirt driveway and climbing out, but leaving the engine running. Circling around the back, he sticks his head in through the door to look for Tim, a smudge of some car filth on his cheek. "You ready, kitten? I got it running, but I don't trust it for long, kinda had to ghetto-rig it."


Jackie: Tim rolls his eyes for that, but there's a soft smile on his lips, as he works his way around the small living space to locate his clothes and dress himself. While Michael is away, Tim tidies up; he folds the puts back their used blankets (only really blushing mildly for their warmth, and the memories that come with it), clears their used cans, and cleans the utensils. It only takes him about half an hour, which is good timing, because by the time he's straightening up the pillows on the couch, Mike is returning. Tim cranes his neck back to look at him and grins a little bit, nodding his head. "Yeah, almost done. Let me find my jacket." It's sprawled out on the couch's arm, so he works it onto his form and readjusts the collar. "What was wrong with it, anyways?"


Jay: Mike is a little surprised with all the clean-up that Tim managed to do - a little surprised he bothered with it, too - but the place looks more or less like it did when they arrived. Stepping back as Tim comes out, he closes the door securely, shrugging for that question. "Gas pump wasn't getting any power. I had to wire it to one of the tail lights - with stereo wire - to get the thing to start." Sideglancing at Tim, he gives a slight flash of a grin. "Snider's problem now." Pulling the drivers door open, he again climbs into the suburban and waits for Tim to join him.


Jackie: Fixing the jacket collar, Tim only shrugs, mostly to himself, for that reply; he knows close to nothing about vehicles, so that information may as well have been in French. Regardless, he grins at his room mate and scans the cabin once more, making sure it's in good condition. Since they didn't come with much, he isn't too concerned about leaving things behind, and he slips out of the cabin without a second look back, making his way back towards the suburban. Climbing in, he immediately looks back towards Michael. "Fingers crossed it doesn't result in him getting into an accident, hmm"


Jay: "Oh, I do hope not." Mike sounds ridiculously prim and concerned as he says this, but it doesn't last long, since as soon as they're back on the road he lights a cigarette, meanwhile glancing around. The day is pretty nice, if not warm, but the sun is shining, reflecting off the piles of snow. "Place is pretty scenic by daylight, isn't it?" Leaning towards Tim, he offers the cigarette.


Jackie: Tim gives Mike a little pointed glance, since it's so obviously that he isn't at all concerned about the vehicle, or Snider getting into an accident. But it's a sure sign that Tim isn't all that concerned, because he doesn't fix his seat belt into place - instead, he squirms in towards the center, to be closer to Mike. He takes the offered cigarette and drags off of it, glancing around at the forrest-lined street. "Yeah, actually looks pretty nice. Maybe our next field trip won't be so bad, after all."


Jay: Mike hums thoughtfully at that, slipping his arm around Tim's shoulders after the other boy takes the cigarette. "Where are we going, anyway? I know it's something with boats, but I wasn't really paying attention besides that." He releases the wheel briefly to shift gears, rather than retracting the arm around Tim.


Jackie: Once that arm is looped around his shoulders, Tim shifts comfortably, pressing one left shoulder to rest beneath Mike's right arm. He takes another drag off that cigarette and then reaches up to replace it between Mike's lips, then dropping that hand to rest it comfortably on the boy's thigh. "Cape Cod, maybe? I'm really not too sure. I think we're doing like day excursions to the beach, but then staying in cabins?"


Jay: Nodding at that dubious information, Mike takes the cigarette back, but talks around it. "We went there sometimes when I was little, but I don't remember much about it. Be nice to see the sea again, though." Again, he releases the steering wheel to ash the cigarette, the fingers of his opposite hand moving idly over Tim's shoulder and bicep. Reaching the first turn, Mike takes it with a bit of a groan, because it just gets them closer to the school.


Jackie: "Wish it was warmer, though. I'd love to go in the water." He thinks that over for a moment - thinks back to days spent on the beach, under the sun, warm and hazy and happy. This of course makes him groan, and he turns to press his face into one of Mike's collarbones, groaning quietly against. "Fuck, I'd kill to go surfing, right now."


Jay: Mike makes a noise of agreement, momentarily distracted from impending disaster by Tim's enthusiasm, smiling faintly. "I haven't been surfing in years. Dennis and I used to go when we were kids, a lot, but I sorta got out of the habit." And picked up other, worse habits, of course. Finishing the cigarette, he tosses the butt out the window just as they reach the second, and next-to-last turn. This gains another groan, and Mike sideglances at Tim, eyebrow arched. "This is really hard, you know? Going back. Almost be easier if we waited for someone to find us instead." Except, the punishment would be worse, too.


Jackie: Still with his face tucked down into Mike's chest, Tim grins a little bit, and stretches the hand he had resting on the other boy's thigh to instead reach out and hook to the opposite hip, gripping there comfortably. "I'm hoping it's like riding a bike, ya know? Jess and I used to live on the beach, practically. I fucking miss California sun." Among other things, of course. Lifting his head, Tim moves to press his face into that lovely neck, and breathes him in a little bit, groaning in agreement. "If I wasn't so sure it'd suck, I'd suggest we do just that."


Jay: Lifting his hand when Tim's face presses into his neck, Michael shifts his fingers through his hair, humming soothingly. "It's gonna suck anyway, pretty." Undeniably, it will. Mike wonders to himself whether the punishment for escape includes flogging. This isn't a rule he's broken before. "Whatever happens, just remember I love you." This is said fairly lightly, but not precisely joking, and Mike turns his head to press a kiss to Tim's forehead after speaking.


Jackie: Tim makes a quiet little groaning noise, bordering on a whimper, because he knows all too well that it's true; he remembers the punishments he'd get for even attempting to escape, and even those were light - since Leech has always been a bit partial to him. He places a little distracted kiss to Mike's neck, maybe for consolation, but freezes immediately after he speaks again, not entirely sure how to take those words. It takes a moment, but he processes them as a mild joke, but he still can't bring himself to lift his head up, and instead keeps it safe by tucking away. "...maybe we can get a break on the punishment, if you offer to help fix Snider's car."


Jay: Mike can feel the way that Tim tenses up, after he speaks, and thinks maybe that wasn't the ideal thing to say, or at least not the ideal time to say it. But he lets it pass unremarked, giving a quiet, only semi-forced laugh for Tim's words. "Not sure Snider will trust me anywhere near his car, after this. But even if he would, he isn't the one in charge of punishments." The last statement is a little grim, because Leech is not at all partial to Ness. After quite a way down the same somewhat straight road, Mike spots the school in the distance and sighs to himself. He turns in to the employee parking lot, easing up to the gate and punching in the memorized numbers. However, the light on the gate stays red, indicating that they didn't work. He tries, and fails, again, clenching his jaw some. "They must've changed the code, already."


Jackie: Tim sneers for the reminder of who is in charge of punishments, and he presses his face into Mike's neck for it, not at all wanting to think about the parasite at the moment. On top of the impending punishment, he knows the intimate side of things is going to be royally fucked - and he isn't looking forward to owning up about his indiscretions. Of course, the drive back to the school seems much shorter than the drive away from it did, and sensing the vehicle slowing, he picks up his head to look around. Almost immediately, his gut clenches, and he peers at the school with a very desperate, pathetic look; maybe the entire campus will burst into flames, and they won't have to face reality. He's drawn away from that fantasy by the beeping red light, indicating that the gate is still locked, and he takes a careful breath before refocusing his attention on Michael. "...should we ring the buzzer? Or just try to stroll through the front door?"


Jay: Michael slides his gaze to Tim, eyebrows raised, maybe wondering why this is his decision to make. But with another sigh, he accepts the burden, tilting his head down to kiss the other boy firmly. Straightening after a moment, he catches movement in his peripheral vision and turns, to see Snider striding towards them from the front of the school, along with another staffmember - a teacher of some sort, though Ness has no of his classes and doesn't know him. "Looks like we don't have to make a choice. Welcoming committee is already here." Winding his fingers between Tim's, he nudges his door open and hops down, putting on a wide smile as Snider and Mr. Unknown reach them. "Hi! Did you guys miss me as much as I missed you?"


Jackie: Tim watches the other boy's face carefully, expecting an answer, but isn't all that disappointed when he's only given that lingering kiss. He gives into it for a moment, and still has his eyes closed as Mike spots the approaching Snider, before he cranes his head to follow the line of vision and narrowing at older man's frame. From body language alone, it appears that Snider is beyond pissed - he might even be infuriated - and if Tim wasn't so sure they'll be getting in huge trouble for this, he'd maybe be amused. Tightening his fingers around Michael's, he slips out of the driver side door and decisively stays quiet, letting Mike do the talking which is probably a bad, bad idea. Of course, Snider isn't at all amused by that question. He doesn't even bother to look over at Tim, and just gives Michael his more disapproving look. "Terribly so, Mister Ness. Although we are quite surprised to see you return. Especially in one piece."


Jay: "Two pieces, actually." He waves a hand between himself and Tim, exhibiting their separateness, and seeming totally unruffled by Snider's ire. "We did the one piece thing last night. Hey, you know your brakes are going out? You should really get someone to look at that." The other guy, who Mike thinks may be named Dirnt, looks from one to the other, face all sorrowful. But then, his face usually looks that way. "Todd, I don't think lecturing will do much good in this case." His voice, like his face, is sad and disappointed, just sounding tired. "At least they came back on their own. Let's just take them down to the isolation rooms and see what the headmaster wants to be done."


Jackie: "It appears that the 'one piece thing' may have translated into this morning, hmm?" At this, Snider looks pointedly at the room mates' conjoined hands, and then at Timothy, who is most definitely avoiding eye contact. Sighing, mostly out of frustrating, Todd waves a hand away for Mr. Dirnt's words, not bothering to look over at the man since he's more inclined to glare disapprovingly at Michael. "Thank you for taking such fine care of my vehicle, Mister Ness. Although I doubt your diagnosis; I just took it in two weeks ago for a routine check up. Offering false vehicle advice will in no way lessen your punishment. Come along."Turning on his heel, he flicks a wrist to invite the boys along, and talks lowly to his coworker. "Do you know if Mr. Harvey has returned? Last I knew, he was still out, looking for these two delinquents."


Jay: Mike quirks an eyebrow at Todd, because the guy doesn't look like he knows a roter from spark plug. Any self-respecting mechanic would screw him over on principle. "If you say so, sir." He doesn't release Tim's hand, not yet, giving him a glance as they start out and squeezing his fingers slightly. Though he's putting up a brave front, his eyes likely show his reluctance, how bad he wants to just turn and run. But then they're through the doors, and he can't.

Mr. Dirnt shakes his head dolorously for the quiet question, answering in the same manner. "I believe he opted to stay in Boston for the night, as he had to check on Mr. Reed's status today." 'Reed' being the attempted suicide, still hospitalized. "I'll call him, if you like, while you get these two situated."


Jackie: Since his hand is still laced in with Michael's, Tim doesn't have much choice than to follow - not that he'd really consider turning around and booking it, but the thought does cross his mind. He absolutely catches on to what Snider says, and almost immediately his stomach drops; for sure, without a doubt, Leech knew that he was out with Mike last night. But luckily the feeling is somewhat doused by Dirnt's further explanation, and Tim tries to look like he isn't paying too much attention to the staff members by turning his head and placing a distracted, desperate kiss to the top of Mike's shoulder.

Heading off to the main building, Todd occasionally glances back at the two boys, making sure they aren't plotting to escape again. He makes a little noise of consideration, reminders of Leech's whereabouts jogging back into memory. "Ahh, yes, that's right. He's away until Sunday evening. I suppose we can drop these two off into isolation, and consult with Mister Harvey upon his return. Certainly a more heavily weighted punishment is in order."


Jay: The tension in Mike's chest tightens more for the staff members' conversation, especially that last comment from Snider. He doesn't like the idea of having to wait, either, because this tension will just get worse - and then Mike will be tempted to do something stupid, when the punishment finally does come. Like punching the punisher in the kidneys while his back is turned. But he just swallows harshly, following Snider down the stairs to the isolation rooms.

Nodding his agreement to Todd's words, mournful as ever, Mr. Dirnt stops at the top of the stairs to the basement, letting the other three continue on. "In that case, I'll inform the headmaster. Join us as soon as you can."


Jackie: Walking briskly into the main building, Todd holds the door open for both students to pass, but quickly passes them to begin leading the way down the hallway, and to the staircase that leads to the basement. He turns to look over at Mr. Dirnt approvingly. "I certainly will. I'm going to get these two into isolation, and then I'll join you." Nodding, he opens the door to the staircase and tips his chin, ushering Timothy and Michael inside, before following after them.

Heading down the stairs, Todd once again opens the door for the boy once they make it all the way down, and motions them to pass through before speaking. "In all my years here...certainly this is the most idiotic stunt I've seen pulled." He glances back at both boys - Tim is still holding Mike's hand, and standing particularly close to the boy - before adding on: "And that's saying a lot. This way." And with that, he heads towards the isolation hall, by passing Leech's door.


Jay: Trying to avoid it, still Mike's shoulders slump as they reach the dark, chilly underground hallway, but he still manages to sound unconcerned. An eyebrow quirks for Todd's assertion, disbelieving. "Really? Have you met Kellen White, by chance?" Because surely, Kellen gets up to some serious idiocy - on the other hand, he rarely gets caught at it. Waiting for Todd to turn again, Mike releases Tim's hand, but only to wind that arm around his hips instead, pulling him close. When Tim is close enough, his opposite hand moves briefly into Tim's pocket, leaving the thin black cord he removed from his own neck in the said pocket. Having experienced Tim's wavering before, plainly Mike means to leave him with something to remind him. As they reach the first opened isolation door, Mike steps forward without a word, but with a final squeeze to Tim's hip, and a brief, smug smile in Snider's direction.


Jackie: Todd should have known, as soon as he said it, that he could expect a snarky reply from Michael. Still, he can't hold back his overall annoyance, and he opens up that first isolation room with more force than necessary; the door slides loudly back into its hinges, and rattles to a stop. He sighs, exaggeratedly, and looks at the other boy as if he's bored. "Far from it for me to cite Mister White's activities idiotic; as far as I can tell, he at least doesn't do things as obvious as overnight excursions in staff members cars. In." And with that, he gestures Michael into the cell, immediately closing the door after him.

Tim probably expected isolation as soon as they pulled up into the school, and the realization of what they did fully sunk in. So he isn't all that displeased when they're lead down the hallway - or at least doesn't express his displeasure - but he does try to stay near Mike for as long as possible, suddenly wondering how long they're going to have to be apart. he feels something put into his pocket, but not wanting it to be taken away, he pretends nothing has been slipped there, and instead follows Snider to the next isolation cell.


Jay: Mike tilts his head to the side, sort of in agreement for Todd's words, but he doesn't point out that Kellen doesn't need to, since Leech surely takes him anywhere he wants. For once, he stays silent, giving Tim a quick blue-green look of affection, puckering his lips in a kiss as that door is closed on him. At the least, Todd didn't take his jacket, so he has drugs and cigarettes to entertain himself with until punishment comes.
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