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especially after the break he head (which wasn't as relaxing as it maybe could have been). His schedule is fairly similar to what he had last semester - happily, he shares his science class with Michael - and the advanced guitar class remains at the end of the day. He's a few minutes early when he swings into the room, which is entirely empty, but he takes the time to take a seat in his normal chair, and slide his guitar, in its hard case, down onto the floor carefully. Just as he's clipping it open, Tony slinks into the room, looking like he's way too pleased with what he sees. Trying not to be mean, Tim redirects his attention and only gives a simple 'Hey' when the boy tries for conversation. Luckily, Jesse bounds in half a minute later, with that typical bright smile on his face. "Hi, Lint! Guess what?" And before the older boy can answer, Jesse continues, stating the obvious. "Leech put me in the advanced class again!"


Jay: Michael comes in not far behind Jesse, a study in contrasts: he's scowling and his lips are pressed tightly together, like he's barely keeping himself from lashing out at someone. The expression eases somewhat when he sees Tim, of course, but he's still smoldering some as he comes to occupy the chair next to Tim, doing a superb job of ignoring Tony's existence. He smirks faintly at Jesse's words, however; doing his best to mend his bad mood. "Of course he did. Like he's gonna fail you after you kicked ass all over the stage at that recital?"


Jackie: Looking up at Jesse, Tim's eyes go soft, because this is the Jesse he loves the most - overtly excited about life and not afraid to show it. "Hey, Jess." Working his case open, Tim peers down at the instrument - he didn't play it much over break, and kind of feels like he neglected it - but doesn't grab at it quite yet. As the boy talks, he refocuses on his form, and then slides them over to the other boy entering the room. Meeting Mike's eyes, his own brighten the slightest bit, and he nods for his words and then adds on to them. "Yeah, like it was even going to be a question, Jess." Jesse only ruffles a bit for those compliments and takes his seat next to his best friend, and works to get his acoustic out of its soft case. "He could've! Leech is scary." And then, from the opposite side of that half circle, Tony sits in his chair and crosses his arms smugly. "I got into advanced class without even needing to do the recital. Kind of a big deal."


Jay: Michael gives a derisive noise for Jesse's words, but doesn't actually contradict them - because yeah, maybe their teacher is a little scary. Seeing Tim, and Jesse's general exuberance, is improving his mood somewhat, but just the sound of Tony's voice sets his teeth on edge again. He briefly closes his eyes, then turns to Tim and Jesse again without acknowledging the bastard's words. "You guys have any new classes this semester?" He leans down to unzip his guitar case and draws the instrument - which surely saw lots and lots of use over break - out. Meanwhile, Justin skulks in, inwardly absorbed and not really looking where he's going, finding his way to his chair on automatic.


Jackie: If Michael weren't next to him, Tim would probably refute Jesse's claim by reminding him of New Years Eve, or even their night in the hotel. But instead, he just mutters out a "not that scary", which easily gets drowned out by Tony. Tim's drawn to look over at the bleached blonde as he talks, and he snorts and shakes his head disbelievingly for the boy's words. Likewise, Jesse does the same thing - except instead of shaking his head, he rolls his eyes, and says in a very womp-womp type of voice. "Buuuuuzz kill." Sitting up a little straighter, he beams over at Michael and nods his head. "Yeah, I have a philosophy class! And...um, a Shakespeare course. To beeeee, or not to beeeee, that is the question!" Because that's obviously the only Shakespeare the boy knows.

Tim, sitting back in his seat, again looks amused, and kicks at his friend's chair leg. "Should've taken a theatre class, instead." Then, turning towards Michael, his eyes show a little more warmth, mostly in part to their recent affections. "What'd you have in between chemistry and this class?"


Jay: "Oh, nice. I can hear you and Kellen declaiming at each other already. Where is he, by the way?" He looks around the room, which is totally unnecessary, because if Kellen were here he surely would have announced himself. Tim's words draw his attention back, and his expression darkens again for the reminder. "Still anger management. Guess I wasn't happy enough last semester to get switched to a new class." Not really surprising, after his altercations with various other students, and sucker-punching Leech at the end of the semester.


Jackie: Jesse laughs fully for that, shifting in his seat and then craning his head up to look over at the door. "I'm not sure. I think he had...um, biology or something before this one? But I know he's in it, for sure." And then, going back to his Shakespeare class. "But my class is gonna be sweet. Gonna learn so much about love poetry. But don't worry, Mike-- I'll share my secrets so you can woo Tim and win his favors." The way he nods so seriously is a bit comical, and Tim lifts his head to glare at the boy and kick at him, instead of just his chair leg. Focus back on his pretty room mate, Tim tries to give him a bit of a sympathetic look, but knows it won't be welcomed all that much. So instead, he switches to humor. "Guess we'll need to work on upping your endorphins."


Jay: Mike lifts an eyebrow at Jesse, managing to look exasperated for the not-so-sly comment. "Sure. First we'll have to translate Shakespeare into a language I can speak." He shakes his head a bit, but leaves the reprimanding to Tim, probably internally amused since he's done pretty well winning Tim's favors without poetry. With that in mind, the following comment brings a smirk and he's about to respond, but the bell rings, and simultaneously an unfamiliar kid with a mop of brown hair that makes him look sort of like a Shetland pony enters the room. Michael eyes him curiously, but since the guy quietly finds an empty seat, he doesn't address either the kid himself, or his appearance, flicking his gaze back to the empty doorway. "Guess Kellen's not the only one late...what a coincidence, him and Leech both." Said in a flat tone that says he clearly thinks it no coincidence.


Jackie: When the other, unknown boy enters the room, Jesse snaps his mouth shut to stop his immediate response, instead looking over at the taller, lankier boy in question. By the way the kid doesn't even acknowledge them, it's clear he isn't looking for a conversation, and even with Jesse's exuberance, he knows when not to extend his enthusiasm out to strangers. So he just eyes the boy curiously, only drawn back when Michael speaks. "Oh, they're probably just--" But then a reminder kicks in, that Mike doesn't know their relation, and Jesse isn't sure how to correct himself. Thankfully, Tim interjects. "Probably reprimanding Kellen in the hallway or something." For as stupid as it sounds, Tim harbors a bit of jealousy in his gut, if only because someone else is insinuating his Master is off with another, but he's able to disguise it fairly well. Recovered, Jesse switches topics. "And we're missing Justin. Maybe he got recruited to some satanic cult?"


Jay: Michael scoffs for Tim's suggestion, openly doubtful. "Yeah. Reprimanding. Nice excuse." He finally pulls his guitar into his lap, leaning close to check the tuning. And Justin - who apparently snuck in without notice, probably through some occult trick - overhears Jesse's words and gives a secretive, vaguely creepy grin as he speaks up. "Not recruited, but I am recruiting, if you're interested." Mike lifts his head to quickly glance back at the spooky bastard, wondering how he got there.

About then, Kellen finally enters, barely a step ahead of Leech and looking like they just cut off their conversation (which naturally makes Mike give Jesse and Tim a pointed look, because he's so right). He makes his way towards the small group of suitemates, grinning in greeting and reaching up with his left arm - the right still in a brace - to rub Jesse's head before he takes his own seat next to him. Leech tosses his beat-up backpack in the general vicinity of the mostly-ignored desk he keeps at once side of the room before approaching the students and looking them over to take roll.


Jackie: When Justin's voice creeps into the conversation, Jesse is actually spooked: the boy yelps and sits up a little straighter, scanning the room before settling on the one boy that is creepier than his age should allow. He looks at him, wide eyed, and then shakes his head emphatically. "Nope, not interested, Satan and I are not amigos. Are we having class or...?" Because definitely, Jesse wants nothing more than to stop this conversation, because Justin is way too weird for him to handle without the buffer of Kellen.

As the two boys approach, Tim lifts his head, nods in greeting on Kellen and then lets his attention stay on Leech for a little longer than necessary. Thankfully, it's after Mike gives him that look (which Tim responded with with a roll of the eyes), and he sits up a little straighter. Being in the same room as the parasite and his room mate is just as uncomfortable as he remembers, and even now, it seems to weigh down on him even more - mostly due to the hidden collar under his shirt. Next to him, Jesse ducks from that affection but pushes an arm out to shove at Kellen, immediately laughing. "You're really good at being on time."


Jay: Justin only laughs quietly for the way he obviously unnerves Jesse. Kellen drops into his seat and stretches his legs out, crossing them at the ankle. "You're never late so long as you're earlier than the teacher." Mike gives Kellen a pointed look and lifted eyebrow, suspicious as all hell. But Kellen stays silent, because Leech is giving him a Look - the rest of the class already having sat up and shut up with the parasite's appearance.

Leech gives Kellen a patronizing nod of appreciation, maybe avoiding looking at Tim on purpose. Rather than take a seat on the piano bench as he usually does, Leech just leans back against the instrument, crossing his arms. "Well...you all passed. Those of you that actually performed - and didn't play a song that led to the headmaster bitchin' at me -" pointed looks at Tony and Justin in turn, there. " - passed with a perfect grade, which mebbe will help make up for the rest'a the classes you prolly failed. This semester'll be pretty much the same. Before I get into that, the group has been extended by one. Mr. Puget, you feel like introducing yerself? Is that right, Puget, like the Sound?" Leech lifts his head some to look at the new kid, seated behind some of the others.


Jackie: "I don't think it counts when you're only a food ahead of the teacher..." Semantics, Jesse. The boy immediately shuts up when he notices Kellen do the same, and he turns to look over at his teacher like a deer in headlights; even if he has spent time with Leech outside of the classroom, and maybe feels a bit of a security blanket in being so close to Kellen, he's still pretty terrified of him. As it's all explained, Jesse grins brightly - the only one to do so - because yaaaaaay he passed! and then he turns to look over at the quiet boy seated at the end of their semi circle of chairs. The kid doesn't look at all impressed, nor intimidated by the teacher. Really, he just looks absolutely bored and unimpressed, even when the parasite pronounces his last name correctly, which he nods curtly for . Arms crossed over his chest and body slumped in the chair, he looks at Leech for a long moment before sighing and rolling his head to the side to look at the rest of the class, voice flat. "My name is Jade. I'm sixteen. From California. I hate sports and I play the guitar." And when he lulls his head forward again to look at the supposed teacher, it's pretty clear that he's done introducing himself.

From his spot in the middle of the semi circle, Tim breaks his focus on his Master when it's clear he won't be addressed silently and instead looks at the new kid. If he's amused by the kid's introduction, he doesn't show it.


Jay: Michael and Kellen also turn partially around to hear this introduction, such as it is. When it's done, Mike nods a sorta-greeting, but Kellen can't help speaking up. "California again! What the hell is up with this infiltration? I swear--" But then he catches the look being leveled his way by Leech (and probably by the majority of the class, since they all seem to be from California) and throws his hands up in surrender, slumping back into his chair.

Once that's over with, Leech turns his blank gaze from Kellen, looking over each member of the class as he talks and managing not to show any expression even when he looks at Tim. "So, this semester, you're gonna be paired up. You and yer partner will pick two or three songs to do, no more than ten minutes per pair total. Start thinking about what you might wanna play, try to challenge yerselves a little; you'll find out who your partner is tomorrow. Fer now, you're gonna watch this really insightful and entertaining DVD and learn tons of shit you never knew you wanted to know." As he speaks, he picks up a remote and turns on the television bolted to the wall, starting said DVD - some highly processed thing that calls itself 'Advanced Guitar Techniques and Styles', then nods towards his desk. "And I'll call each of you over to discuss your performances." Ambling back to his desk, he flips the light off along the way.


Jackie: It's possible that Jesse is the only one not giving Kellen a dangerous look for that exclamation, probably because it'd be very hard for the boy to be angry at his room mate. Instead, he takes that as a compliment, and reaches over to gently pinch at the other boy's nose. "Oh, don't act like you don't love it! The best parts of the east coast come from the west coast." Clearly. But Jesse doesn't elaborate too much, not when Leech is looking all stern and teacherly, so he sits back and looks over at Michael and Tim, nodding because obviously they agree with him.

As that explanation is given out, Tim's eyes scan over the small gaggle of boys; his only hope is to not be paired with Tony, but with the small class, the odds aren't exactly in his favor. His eyes follow the parasite's movements as he heads back to his desk, and then he has to actively force himself to look at the TV screen. Jesse maybe looks a little more engaged with the screen, probably wishing he had his notebook so he can take notes, meanwhile Jade is looking like the DVD is torture, and he's slowly being drained of all life.


Jay: Kellen surely gives a loud snort, and takes the soonest opportunity - Leech walking away - to argue that, though he does do it in a whisper. "Truth is, the west coast just sucks so much you all are dyin' to escape." He looks up at the DVD, not all that interested but at least pretending to watch it until his attention span inevitably gives out. Meanwhile, Leech calls Justin over to his desk, and Michael leans down to replace his guitar into the case and leans back in his chair, crossing his arms and stares up at the screen attentively - but scoots his foot over to nudge Tim's. Kellen gets through maybe two minutes of watching before sighing heavily and leaning into Jesse's shoulder.


Jackie: Keeping his voice hushed as well, Jesse still looks pretty indignant to those words as he speaks. "No way. Go drown in a tidal wave of molasses." Of course, referring to the actual, historical event. But his words, especially coming from Jesse, don't sound at all serious. When the boy leans into his form, Jesse returns the pressure, eventually dropping his head to Kellen's shoulder and looking bored out of his mind - the old guy on the television screen couldn't have a more lackluster voice, and his enthusiasm is nearly non existent.

Tim, sitting back in his seat, glances behind him to Leech's desk, watching as Justin sits down and starts listening to the critique in hushed voices. To keep suspicions away, he turns back to the television after only a few seconds, but he doesn't look like he's paying much attention to it. The nudge to his foot brings a little smile to his face, since he knows who it came from without needing to look away from the TV, and he returns it by sliding his foot over and gently kicking at Mike's ankle. From a few seats down, Tony watches this display and snorts, unhappy.


Jay: Kellen narrows an eye, probably trying to figure that out - even for Jesse, it's an odd thing to say - but he eventually gives up and slings an arm around Jesse's shoulders, resting his head atop the other boy's. "That sounds tasty. Think we could make a surfboard out of pancakes?" He does make some pretense of keeping his voice down, but doesn't even act like he's watching the video on screen. "So, how was Shakespeare class, sirrah?"

Mike glances sideways at Tim, smiling a bit, then looks in the other direction to see whether Kellen and Jesse are paying attention. They plainly aren't, too intent on each other, so Michael leans towards Tim to whisper. "Maybe we should spread rose petals in their dorm." He doesn't have a chance to expound on the idea, though; Leech has finished with Justin, and as the tall kid winds through the chairs to get back to his own, Leech calls (in a not-very-good-natured tone): "Ness, yer next." So Mike gets up, murmuring as he leaves: "If I don't make it back, you can have my stash of whiskey, but give Kellen the porn."


Jackie: "See? You need us Californians. Not like you east-coasters know anything about surfing." This, of course, leads to a hilarious mental picture of Jesse and Kellen sharing a surfboard and very slowly making their way around Boston on a wave of molasses, and the younger boy giggles to himself in amusement. The way these two so easily settle against one another is reminescent, for Jesse, of his relationship with Lint - while it isn't as strong nor as old, it's definitely a comfortable one. "It was good, I guess. I don't know. We have to recite a sonnet at the end of the month, so be prepared for some really amazing practice runs."

Agreeing with his room mate, Tim looks over at Jesse and Kellen and is entirely too amused, because who the hell are they trying to kid? Still with his low voice, Tim leans towards Mike so his voice doesn't carry over to the other boys. "Think we can still recover that Barry White CD?" But before he can get an answer, Ness is being called away, and Tim finally looks over at him and momentarily looks worried - because he knows how Leech is towards the boy. But he masks it by snorting and kicking out at him again, returning to the television. "If you leave me alone, I'm gonna need that porn." Which isn't true, at all, but still funny to think. After Michael heads over to Leech's desk, Tony lifts his head and looks deviant as all hell. He crouches down and sneaks his way over to Mike's abandoned chair, taking a seat and then casually (sort of) crowding in towards Tim. "It's too bad we don't share more classes together, this semester." Which only earns the boy a very disagreeing snort, and Tim shells himself off by folding his arms and refocusing on the screen.


Jay: "Oh, I'll look forward to that with bated breath. I'll help you with your costume." He spots Ness heading off, overhearing something of his parting remarks to Tim, but neglects to point them out to Jesse, not having much interest in encouraging the pair to get together anymore. But it is obvious when Tony comes forward to steal Mike's seat, and he echoes Tim's snort for the kid's opening comment, though his whispered words are more to Jesse than anyone else. "Fuck, doesn't that kid ever give up?"


Jackie: Jesse smiles easily for that offer, mainly because he wasn't planning on putting on any sort of costume, but the idea of Kellen picking out some ridiculous tunic from the theatre prop room is beyond amusing. Also spotting Tony's sneak attack to his poor best friend, Jesse actually turns his head and glares at the kid, but doesn't interject; surely, Tim is a big boy, and doesn't need his younger best friend to come to his attack. Rolling his eyes, he looks back up at Kellen. "He's more resilient than a cock roach."

Trying to ignore the way Tony creeps closer, even bringing the chair along with him, Tim sighs heavily and watches the DVD playing on the glowing screen. This doesn't deter Tony at all, even when he's so blatantly ignored, so he instead tries to strike a nerve. "Have you seen Malachi today? He has such a big hickey on his neck...wonder who did it?" The question doesn't require any actual input from anybody else, because Tony hums sarcastically and rubs at his chin. "He stayed here over break, so that really narrows it down..."


Jay: Kellen keeps his head - still resting against Jesse's - turned to watch Tony. "Yeh. About as appealing as a cockroach, too. Maybe we should get some bug spray." Hearing the mention of Malachi, he narrows his eyes, but doesn't say anything - mostly because if he did, Tony would probably say something back, and he has no interest in getting into a conversation with him. Luckily, Michael returns about then (which will hopefully drive Tony away), walking back to his place and just crossing his arms and staring down at the blond, looking like he'll take any excuse to pop him, even if it does mean another punishment. "Lovato, you're in the way. Again."


Jackie: As Tony starts insinuating things between Micheal and Malachi, Tim's jaw clenches visibly; although he knows things have happened between them in the past, it's harder to think about them now that he's been kissed and has kissed that boy. Tony takes this silence as triumph, and doesn't move away, instead speaking out quietly again. "And it's not like him and Justin are friends, so..." This breaks Tim's resolve enough that he side glances at Tony briefly, checking to see any signs that the boy is lying, and clenches his own fists even harder when he sees none.

Jesse keeps his eyes on Tony as well, narrowing them in distaste because that boy is nothing but a pain in the ass, and an ugly one to boot. "Any recommendations? He doesn't seem to crawl away when swatted at." Case in point, when Lars decked him within fifteen seconds of meeting him. The return of Michael comes as a relief for all involved, but Tim doesn't look up at him - instead, just gnaws on his inner cheek and tries to calm himself down. Tony, glancing up at the boy, smirks, and uses a hand on Tim's thigh to help him get to his feet, leaning over to whisper down to Timothy. "Don't worry, Tim. It's not like it's the first time it's happened." And then he's scurrying over to his seat, like a dirty rat, and Tim's left there looking like he's trying really hard not to lash out.


Jay: Kellen makes a noise of amusement for Jesse's words, but can't reply - he's called away by Leech. Unlike Ness, who went to the desk looking like he was on death row, Kellen hops up and calls: "I'm coming, princess!" when Leech calls his name, then skips towards him, an impressive feat with the heavy boots he's wearing. Leech manages to only look at Kellen blankly and not laugh, though when the kid sits down and scoots the chair around behind the desk with him and leans against him, much the way he was leaning against Jesse, Leech growls and pushes him off and surely makes a comment about how stoned Kellen is.

Michael watches Lovato scamper away with his eyes narrowed dangerously, waiting until he's back in his seat before dropping into his own. Inclining his head toward Tim, but no more than that, since the guy looks like he might explode, he keeps his voice low enough that no one else can hear it. "Whatever he said, he was lying." He might have only heard Tony's parting comment, but he knows how the slimy bastard works.


Jackie: Kellen's quick and comical means of departure make Jesse both laugh and fall over a bit, having to catch himself when his sturdy pillar is flouncing over towards Leech. This leaves him alone and, having simmered a bit thanks to his room mate's humor, is able to at least pretend he's watching the rambling man on the TV. He may side glance at Lint a few times, just to gauge his annoyance, but he doesn't look too worried about it.

As soon as that skeezy little fucker is away from him, Tim's able to take a steady breath, but he doesn't look like he's relaxing much. It takes a few moments, and Michael's quiet voice, to stir him away from that downward spiral of jealousy, and while he's trying really hard to believe those words, it's obvious in his voice that he's not one hundred percent capable of doing so. But that doesn't stop him from nudging a foot back out and talking in a whisper. "I know."
Mike glances at Tim once the boy responds, trying to gauge his mood and judging that it's not completely convinced. He sighs to himself, despite that foot-nudge, and privately starts making plans to jump Tony at the earliest opportunity where he maybe won't get in trouble for it. Plausible deniability is something Mike's finally starting to try to appreciate. The sour mood that he had at the start of class is obviously returning.

Kellen returns quickly, not really having had anything to discuss with Leech that hasn't already been discussed. Returning, he skritches Jesse on the head as he passes, but has no chance to do more than that, since Leech calls from the desk: "Michaels, yer turn." So Kellen just takes his seat again, looking towards Tim and Mike. "Oh, good, you got rid of him."


Jackie: Tim knows, in the back of his mind, that it's not entirely fair for him to hold these things against Mike - real or not. Especially not when he spent three weeks sleeping with their teacher, and growing more and more attached to the older boy. But this isn't much consolation for the younger boy and seething silently isn't going to do anyone any good. So in attempt to not sour Michael's mood more, and maybe to prove a point to Tony (who is looking at the two, pleased that they aren't as comfortable next to each other as they were earlier), Tim uses his outstretched leg to hook his foot around Michael's ankle and tug, not enough force to move their chairs but enough to show Mike that his anger isn't directed at him.

Tilting his head up to look at the culprit to that scratching, even though he immediately knows who it is, Jesse shifts to sit up straighter and welcome him back, but then Leech is summoning him. He looks terrified, but only briefly, and he gets to his feet and reaches over to tug playfully on Kellen's ear before heading over to his teacher's desk. He takes a seat, cautious, and wide eyed like a fawn.


Jay: Having been staring (or glaring) at the television screen with his arms crossed, Michael's surprised by Tim's action, but when he looks back at the other boy, he manages a bit of a smile and uncrosses his arms to lightly shove his forearm against Tim's bicep. When he returns to his previous position, he tips to the side a little to whisper at his roommate. "Sorry. That little asshole just... really needs to get shot. What the hell is he even doing in this class? How did he manage to pass last semester?"


Jay: And Leech discusses with Jesse whatever he needs to discuss, mainly that his playing is doing very well and he'd like to see him branch out a little in this semester's performance.


Jackie: Tim keeps his foot hooked around Michael's, not bothering to move it since it's a sign of affection that's easily hidden. That playful shove breaks his resolve some more, and he, too, smiles and reaches out to shove back at the boy lightly. He glances over at Tony, who has finally returned his attention to the TV, and then shrugs one shoulder lazily. "Must be sleeping with the teacher or something." Which is pretty ridiculous to say, or even think, but maybe it'll divert Mike's attention away from what's really going on behind closed doors.

Thankful for the constructive criticism, Jesse nods enthusiastically for Leech's suggestions and expectations, and then flounces back to their seated area with that ever alluring air of happiness. He settles back into his seat and reaches over to pinch Kellen's nose again, immediately snuggling up to his side to reclaim their comfortable position. "Even when he's being nice, he's still kinda creepy."


Jay: That suggestion makes Michael freeze, and he actually considers it for a moment or two, then shakes his head. "Nah. Leech hates him even more than me, and you can't fake that kinda hate. Besides, Kellen wouldn't allow it, I'm sure." Leaning forward to look around Tim and Jesse's empty seat, he addresses Kellen (who has been spacing out since Jesse left). "Would you, Kellen?" Kellen stirs and looks over at Mike in confusion, but before he can inquire, Jesse has returned. Kellen wraps his arm back around Jesse's shoulders and laughs some, both for the nose-pinching and the words. "No way. He's sweet as a kitten. Sweeter, even, 'cuz kittens have claws and piss indiscriminately." Which statement pretty much backs up Mike's suggestion, even if it isn't exactly an answer.


Jackie: Tim watches that exchange with an even level of amusement, because it's true - Leech hates the kid more than all of them combined, which is really saying something. So he just snorts and shakes his head, probably inwardly agreeing with Kellen because he's definitely seen other sides to their intimidating teacher. But he doesn't dare voice it, and instead reaches a hand over to curl around Mike's neck and squeeze it consolingly, because the root of the problem really doesn't lie in either one of their laps. Tony's just a troublemaker - and while sometimes his accusations are correct, Tim's gonna have to learn to deal with them.

Happy that he's welcomed so warmly, Jesse lifts his hand up to grab at Kellen's wrist, the one resting on his shoulder, and keeps him in place, while turning back to the TV. "He has a taxidermied rat on his desk. That isn't sweet. That isn't even, like...pleasant."


Jay: Finishing with Jesse, Leech tosses his file aside and picks up the next, raising his voice again: "Armstrong."

Michael scoffs for Kellen's words, shaking his head a little, because he knows well just how sharp the parasite's claws are. But that affectionate touch from Tim makes him smile again, and he covertly reaches over to return it, lightly brushing a hand against Tim's side before he gets up to go to Leech. Kellen settles against Jesse comfortably again, tilting his fuzzy head towards him. He laughs for the response, not even trying to keep it quiet, because clearly no one is paying attention to the DVD anymore. "What, Lothar? He's not taxidermied, he's just really lazy."


Jackie: As soon as Tim hears that voice calling out his last name, he stills, only moving to crane his head back and look over at the parasite - who is busy shuffling some papers. He blinks momentarily to rid himself of the slight panic that comes over his body, perhaps thinking Leech saw those affections, but he's able to hide the look when he glances back at Michael. He's even able to force a little smile, thankful for that small touch. As he stands up and heads towards the back of the room, he trails a hand deftly across Mike's shoulder, and then approaches the desk tucked away in the corner. He stands there, a little cautious, but doesn't take a seat - there's two to choose from, one across the desk, and one next to Leech that Kellen had dragged over for his own one-on-one. He looks at Leech and waits for direction.

Jesse shoots his head back looks over at Kellen in horror, eyes comically wide as his eyebrows raise up on his forehead. "That thing was alive?!" Following that is a face of true confusion, because that thing looked like it was stuffed with newspaper.


Jay: Widening his own eyes, Kellen laughs again. "Yeh, if it's the same one...Leech brought some rat up here from the basement, cuz Cat kept fucking with it. It's like a pet, he said it's been here since he started." Distracted from his amusement by those subtle touches passing between Tim and Mike, Kellen leans forward a bit to address Mike in a lower tone, once Tim has walked off. "What's up with you and Tim gettin' all touchy-feely, Ness? Did you finally propose and I missed it?" Rather than give anything away, Mike rolls his eyes and casually flips Kellen off. "Go to hell. As if I'd have a chance with the two of you keeping surveillance."

Leech has been very carefully not watching Timothy all class period, so it's a good bet he didn't see any affection - especially since seeing Ness even talking to his boy irritates him. Finishing with his pretense of paper-shuffling, he glances up at Timothy, but away just as quickly, nodding his head towards the chair next to him in invitation. He clears his throat quietly, trying to maintain a professional tone of voice - which works for the most part, if it is unusually flat. "Yer performance went really well, I thought. Especially yer singing, but you also played with a lot more power than most'a yer rehearsals. 's good, force is important for songs like that. Ya got any ideas what you might wanna work to improve this semester?" And then, he finally looks fully at Timothy, but as he's had so much practice, his expression doesn't give much away - but it certainly isn't cold


Jackie: Jesse can only blink over at his room mate for that explanation, because...well, it's almost as crazy as having a taxidermied animal in the first place. He doesn't question it further, because he really doesn't need to know anything more, and instead falls head first into the new conversation. And because he's Jesse, he leans forward enough to dig his elbows into his knees, and then rest his chin on his palms, looking over at Michael like he's about to tell a fantastic story. "Yeah, Mike, how was the magical reunion? Spill the beans. You two are being all cutesy."

Away from the glare of the television, Tim's eyes are able to soften under the yellow glow from Leech's desktop lamp, and he immediately moves to the chair next to the parasite when the silent motion is given. Unusually, since they're still in proximity to the others, Tim doesn't crowd himself next to Leech, but he does grip his hands onto his own thighs to keep them still. He nods for the compliments, chest fluttering because the praise is coming from someone who knows what he's doing when it comes to instruments, but then looks a little put on the spot when that question comes. "I'm...not sure. Maybe just overall technique. Sometimes feel like my fingers get tangled up with one another."


Jay: Michael sighs sufferingly for Jesse's intent interest, wishing that Tim was here to answer him, because Mike's not much good at not being blatantly smug about these things. "Don't worry, you didn't miss anything. Everyone kept their pants on. It's you two who are being cutesy. Maybe I oughta be asking what happened over break?" Really, they're not being any more cutesy than usual, but it seems as good a way to divert the conversation as any other.

Watching Timothy in that unnervingly intent fashion of his, Leech nods for the eventual answer. "I'd like to see ya play something a little more intricate this time around, too; mebbe go with something slower, so you can pay attention to what yer doin' with yer fingers." He glances down at the fingers in question for a second, where they're gripping Tim's legs, then looks back to his face. "Far as technique, there isn't much I can teach you; think it's mostly a matter of practice." And then, with no change in expression or tone of voice but perhaps a little less volume: "I'm missing you a lot."


Jackie: Michael's very obvious suffering makes Jesse smile broadly, because it's amusing to see the extremely confident boy knocked down a few pegs, or at least ruffled enough to look less comfortable. "Kellen and I share a very special, non sexual, brotherly bond, and are completely comfortable in said bond." As he talks, he sounds very matter of factly, but not all that convincing. To avoid any question, he pushes back to the original topic at hand. "Pants on? That...doesn't mean nothing happened!" And then, turning to Kellen but not dropping the volume of his hushed voice, he adds on. "They soooooo hooked up, oh my god."

Sitting quietly, almost looking like he's tortured by having to keep his hands to himself, Tim nods a little stiffly for those recommendations, totally agreeing with them. "Yeah, I was thinking....maybe, more Bob Dylan this semester...or something." His words seem to be failing him, but Tim doesn't try to elaborate any more; any time those neutral looking eyes look at him so intently, he turns into a more self conscious student, unsure of himself. When the parasite switches topics, so fluidly and without much inflection, Tim's eyes snap up to his face, and he looks at him with very evident surprise. He briefly flickers his eyes over towards the other end of the classroom, and sees no prying eyes directed their way, so Tim lowers his head a little bit and looks down at Leech's hands, still working along the papers on top of the desk. When he speaks, his voice is low, respectful, but definitely still laced with the bits of torment he feels from not getting to spend as much time with the older boy. "...me, too, Sir."


Jay: Mike listens to Jesse's elucidation about his relationship with Kellen with an eyebrow cocked, though he doesn't really doubt the kid. "That's too bad. You should try a pro-sexual, less brotherly bond. He's really not bad at it." For this, Kellen snorts loudly and starts to swing for Michael - surely intending a relatively painless hit - but stops with a brief wince when his wrist reminds him that it's not in good shape to be hitting anyone. Instead, he just glares harmlessly at Mike. "Shut the fuck up and stop projecting. Did you kiss him again or not?" But Ness just laughs under his breath, looking away in a pretense of watching the lessons on screen.


Jay: Leech nods for that input, trying to look thoughtful - and failing, just continuing to look blank instead, except for his eyes. Those might glow some for Timothy's response, but he lowers them in case of anyone else looking in their direction. But he also lowers his hands, leaning back in his chair and swiveling it a little to face Timothy more; his left hand reaches out without much thought to take one of Tim's, his thumb wrapping over the back while his fingertips lightly trace over the inside of his wrist. Staying totally silent might look suspicious, but he does keep his voice quiet enough that none of the other students will be able to overhear him. "That cat is a really shitty bed partner. Mebbe I can find some excuse to put you in isolation later this week." Though it's only been three days since they came back from break, Leech has been completely occupied with work matters in those three days, and they've felt longer than they were.


Jackie: Predictably, Jesse deflates for Michael's words, wrinkling his nose at the thought of the two boys hooking up. It's not really a feeling of jealousy, mostly it just makes the younger boy feel uneasy, and it's very easy for him to look away from his dorm mate in favor of that dull DVD once more. The byplay between Kellen and Michael is active enough that Jesse doesn't feel the need to prod into the conversation, and he registers the way Michael avoids the question as an answer within itself. "You so did."

As the parasite's hand sneaks over to his own, Tim immediately releases his thigh in favor of working his fingers along the boney ones that toy across his wrist. Even the small touch is enough to warm him from the inside out, and Timothy doesn't even bother with checking to make sure they're not being watched - instead, he moves his other hand to slide over to Leech's thigh, near his knee. He lets out a little, quiet, airy laugh for the mention of Cat, talking down towards their laps as he addresses the more serious part of the conversation. "I'd really like that. I..." And then he glances up, tries to study those unreadable eyes as his fingers tighten around Leech's. A tad softer, almost to the point that it can't be heard, he adds on: "Hate sleeping without you."


Jay: Kellen stares at Mike a few moments longer, awaiting an answer, but it never comes - Mike just continues pretending to watch the screen. So Kellen sits back some and readjusts the arm around Jesse's shoulders, directing his words to his roommate instead. "I dunno. If he did, I think he'd be bragging about it."

Leech's shoulders twitch a very little when Timothy grips his leg, and his own fingers close tighter around the boy's wrist while he drops his eyes and bites at his lower lip. It's an unusual action, particularly for this setting, if only because it shows that he is feeling something. "Yeh, me too." Loosening his grasp some, he swipes his thumb back and forth across the bones of Timothy's wrist, probably debating telling the boy to come see him after class - but he doesn't, in the end. Instead he releases that hand to dig into a pocket. When he retracts it, he immediately presses the object retrieved (a keyring with two keys) against Timothy's palm, but keeps his own hand covering it, pressed to Tim's, even after uncurling his fingers. "If ya really need me - for whatever reason - you can come down. Anytime."


Jackie: Jesse appears to be deep in thought, trying to figure out what has happened between the two boys in the short time they've been at the school. Which the commotion of classes starting again, it's been hard for the boy to get any alone time with Timothy, but his friend is definitely more at ease around the Ness monster, enough to even show physical playfulness. He eyes Kellen curious for his own assertion and sinks down into that outstretched arm, an action that's become comfortable and casual enough for him to not feel odd for its very apparent connotations. "That's true. But he's also stubborn. Probably wouldn't want to admit to us just how right we were."

Tim's unspeakably grateful that his eyes were directed up to the parasite's face, because he catches that brief lip bite and it makes his chest feel lighter, clearly affected. He keeps his eyes trained to that face even as Leech shifts and grabs something from his pocket, Timothy only recognizing what it is once it's pressed firmly into his palm. The cool metal, coupled with its unique jagged edges, leads the boy to believe that it's a set of keys, and he glances down at their hands, not trying to uncover the small gift but appreciating seeing their skin pressing to one another again. He doesn't dare question the items, mostly because he doesn't want them retracted. He nods, relieved, and then lifts his head, looking every bit like he wants to snag the boy's wrist and head downstairs immediately. "Tonight?" Because obviously, if he's given the opportunity to crawl into bed with Leech, he's going to take the first chance he gets.


Jay: Kellen tilts his head slightly from one side to the other, considering. "Mebbe...but it's not like he's been hiding his attraction. That's mostly Tim." Really, he finds it really unlikely that they hooked up - though Tim's behavior is a little suggestive - just because of how attached Tim obviously became to Leech over the break. But of course he can't tell Jesse that.

Lifting his gaze back to Timothy's face for that quick question, Leech bites back a laugh, but doesn't hide the amusement - and affection - in his gaze. He thinks that over for a moment, fingers stroking along Timothy's wrist again, but eventually gives a very reluctant sort of nod. "Better not. First day back at classes...be kinda obvious. An' I'll prolly be busy tormenting some rule-breaker, everyone's so keyed up about bein' back here." He squeezes Timothy's hand before, seeing the classroom door opening, leaning away and retracting both of his own - but he takes his time doing so. "A little later this week, pet. I promise."

The visitor is Malachi, who moves into the room then pauses uncertainly just inside because of the low lights and relative silence. But when it becomes obvious what's going on, he heads across the room towards Leech's desk, giving a smile of greeting to anyone who so much as looks his way.


Jackie: Jesse makes a quiet little noise of consideration, thinking it all over; definitely, the way that Tim is being affectionate is quite telling, but maybe it's all just leading up to the boy having the courage to do something about his feelings for Michael. This thought process leads to Jesse remaining quiet, focusing back on the tutorial DVD, but still pressing up against Kellen's form just because he's warm and comfortable.

As Timothy sits next to Leech, he feels even worse than he does when he's holed away upstairs; it's harder to be so close to the boy, and not crawl into his lap and paw at him for affections. The way the boy bites back his laughter makes Tim sigh quietly, because he was totally serious - hell, he'd like to scurry down there right now - and he looks up at Leech like he's pathetically exasperated. But that promise does a little bit to reassure him, and he nods, accepting that answer only because he knows the promise won't be broken. His attention is snapped to the classroom door when the hallway light filters in, and he leans back slightly to avoid suspicion. He isn't able to tell who it is until the figure is closer to Leech's desk, and when he figures out it's Malachi, there's a sharp little jab in his side for it; although he doesn't hate the kid, his jealousy over the way Leech obvious enjoys him and the fact that Mike has fooled around with him makes Tim not exactly favor him. It isn't until the boy is delivering a note to Leech that he's able to get a glimpse of the boy's neck, and sure enough, there's a very obvious bruise at the pulse point there. Immediately, Tim's eyes shoot across the room, and meet with Tony's - who is already looking at him, smug with his arms crossed over his chest.


Jay: Kellen remains leaning against Jesse, as well, somewhat missing the mop of hair the kid used to have just because it was fun to run his fingers through. Interpreting that silence as disappointment, he offers in the same whispered voice: "We can always keep watch on them, and if they haven't hooked up, we'll come up with a new way to encourage them." Glancing up when Malachi enters, Kellen grins widely as the quiet boy meets his eyes and gives him a very obvious wink.

Leech's face returns to its typical blankness as Malachi reaches them, lifting his head to look at the kid expectantly. Despite this less-than-warm welcome from the parasite, Malachi smiles at him, passing over the note he's holding. "Hi Leech! The headmaster wanted you to come to his office after class." Leech nods, muttering a 'thanks' at Mal - perfectly aware of how Timothy feels about him - and drops his gaze as he unfolds the note. Taking this as the dismissal it is, Malachi gives Tim a friendly smile, too, before heading back out the door. Leech scans over the content of the message and makes a disgruntled noise of disgust, balling it up and tossing it towards the wastebasket before focusing his attention on Timothy. He reaches over to grip his thigh, a little above the knee, and give it a gentle squeeze. "Go 'head and sit down. Looks like I'll be ending class early."


Jackie: Without looking up at Kellen, Jesse smiles for those words, reassured even though he wasn't all that upset in the first place. He knows that Timothy and Michael hooking up is inevitable, but he's also determined to have it happen sooner rather than later; ever since Thanksgiving, Tim's bit a little more down than usual, and could definitely use something to lift his spirits. "Yeah, that's true. But I think it's already kind of working. They're at least being touchey." Also looking back at Mal as he enters, Jesse perks up and smiles, waving as well, but maybe deflating a bit when he notices that obvious wink from Kellen.

It isn't noticeable, but Tim holds his breath when Malachi is near. He's able to give the boy a relatively warm smile and a brief nod in greeting, but he keeps it at that - not really wanting to bring more attention to the boy so that he lingers around. If he does notice Leech's brief acknowledgment of the boy, Tim doesn't say anything, but his eyes are considerably more warm when he looks back at Leech. He immediately drops his hand down to Leech's hand on his thigh and squeezes it quickly and nods. He refrains from leaning forward and kissing at Leech's jaw, despite how much he really, really wants to, and regretfully gets to his feet and paces back over to his seat. When he settles down on the uncomfortable chair, Tony coughs very blatantly but says nothing, still looking smug as he pretends to be paying attention to the DVD.


Jay: Kellen watches Malachi walk back to Leech's desk, probably enjoying the rear vantage, but then turns back to his roommate. "What could we do to make sure it totally works, then? They are being hella touchy." Which Kellen is mostly trying to ignore.

When Tim finally returns, Michael glances up at him and waits until he sits down to speak. "Any good advice? He mostly just told me to stop making faces when I sing. Do I make faces?" It's likely, having such an expressive visage, but he does sound a little concerned about it. He also completely fails to notice Malachi, or Tony's smugness.

Leech waits for a moment after Timothy leaves, watching the boy until he sits down - but pointedly directing his attention elsewhere when Ness immediately starts talking to him. Pushing his chair back, he gets up and crosses to the room, flipping the lights back on and turning off the video. "I'm sure that was real instructive, but we'll never know, since I doubt any of you could repeat even a single progression that was shown." He spots Justin sitting up, about to interrupt, and lifts a hand to forestall him. "Don't, Freckleton; you don' count." And Hollywood slumps back, more amused than disappointed.


Jackie: With the way that Kellen so obvious is distracted by Mal, Jesse lifts off of him, relieving the boy from bearing most of Jesse's weight that he's been pressing to his side. He also watches Lint return to his seat, and is secretly pleased with how easy he and Ness fall back into conversation, even if the topic isn't of them confessing their undying love. Voice still low, he only looks back up at Kellen when he's done talking. "We could...steal all of their clothing, get Tim drunk, and shove them into their room until we hear the bedposts shaking? Or maybe we try to figure out a way to get Michael on the baseball team. Spending so much time together will certainly help out."

Tim takes a very careful breath as he settles back down into his seat, trying to ease off the way Leech gets under his skin (pleasantly so) so he can look like he isn't at all affected by the one on one meeting. He pays no mind to Tony, and instead looks over at Michael, one corner of his mouth turning up in a smile. "He said I should try something more intricate, instead of just fast strumming. Which...I mean, I should, yeah." And then his eyes are diverted to Mike's mouth, distracted, and he has to shake his head away and back to the TV so that he doesn't gravitate towards that mouth like he knows he could. "Yeah, you do make faces. But they're pretty faces, don't worry." And by pretty, he definitely means sexy.

As the lights are flickered back on, all of the boys blink and squint their eyes, adjusting to the brightness, and they all fall silent as Leech addresses them. Jesse, in his chipper way, squirms in his seat and nods like the good little student that he is.


Jay: No longer distracted, once Malachi's out of the room, Kellen snorts in amusement at Jesse's suggestions. "Stealing all their clothes might be a good start...or mebbe just all their underwear? Not that it would matter to Ness, but still." The baseball team he gives a bit more consideration, tilting his head in thought, but before he can respond to it, Leech is there and talking.

Michael nods lazily in agreement, at Tim's intent of working on something more intricate, wondering how likely it is they might be paired up - probably very unlikely, since it's Leech's class, and the man reacted so violently when Michael kissed Tim. Diverted by the following statement, Mike scoffs quietly, murmuring under his breath as the parasite approaches. "Pretty."

Leech glances at Jesse, amused by his enthusiasm and its sharp contrast to most of the other boys' reactions - noteably Jade, who still looks as if this is a huge waste of time. "Ya only got about five minutes before class is over, so...think about what songs you might wanna perform. I'd prefer it if each'a you played lead on at least one of the songs you do." Without further comments, Leech tosses the remote back atop the piano and heads back to his desk to collect necessary items.


Jackie: Jesse makes a face like that was information he totally didn't need reminding of, and jabs his elbow playfully into the boy's torso. He's trying to suppress his giggling as the parasite talks, because clearly his and Kellen's high level plan has led to mental images of Kellen and himself hoarding all of Tim's underwear, but he's still able to listen to that instruction. And maybe not so secretly, he's hoping to be paired with Kellen - mostly because he wants Tim with Mike, and doesn't want to be paired with the new kid, Tony, or (maybe most importantly) Justin.

Michael's scoff makes Timothy's grin grow a little more, but he tries to hide it when Leech approaches, knowing that the older boy wouldn't appreciate seeing any amusement spurring from Ness. But before the parasite is in front of them, Tim nods and whispers. "Pretty."

After Leech assigns their task and stalks off, Jesse squirms a little more in his seat, no longer feeling the need to be quiet since it's clear they're supposed to be brain storming. A few seats down, Tony stretches his arms out and tries to talk to Jade, who isn't even looking at him, and then looks over at Mike and Tim - who are still kind of smiling at each other. He rolls his eyes, and looks at Tim for a few moments before switching his gaze to Kellen. "You know, I really thought Malachi's hickey was from you, but you were gone all break. Did ya catch it? Pretty impressive, huh?"


Jay: Michael rolls his eyes some for that repitition, but looks a bit pleased regardless. Once Leech stalks off, he shifts in his chair to turn more towards Tim. "I'm not pretty. Girls are pretty, horses are pretty - " and here, he leans a bit closer and lowers his voice "- those noises you make when I kiss your neck, are pretty." He might be about to go on, but then Tony is leaning closer to the group and Mike has to narrow his eyes at the kid on general principle.

At one point in time, Kellen might have tolerated Tony better than the majority of people, but that time is long gone - probably it ended around Thanksgiving, when Tony and Ness fought, and Tony so viciously insulted Leech. So he doesn't even try to keep the exasperation out of his voice when he replies. "Break ended two days ago. If someone gave Mal a hickey over break and it's still that noticeable, it must have been really fucking vibrant to start with. What the fuck does it matter to you, anyway?"


Jackie: After Leech departs, Tim bends over in his seat to reclip his guitar bag closed, although he hadn't taken the instrument out of its case. So when he looks back over at Michael for those initial statements, he looks amused and even rolls his eyes a bit, because Michael is definitely pretty. The last bit, said in that quieter voice, momentarily freezes the boy, and he has to swallow as the blush creeps up his cheeks before being able to look back at Michael. He's maybe about to interject, but then Tony's voice is piercing its way into the conversation, and it's enough for Tim to want to throw the empty chair next to Mike at the stupid blonde.

Tony, watching Kellen for a response, purses his lips and makes a face like what he's saying isn't the point at all. He gets up off his feet and paces over, half way into the semi circle, to stand there and put his weight on one hip. He ignores what Kellen says, since it definitely flaws his own accusations, he instead turns to Tim, voice a little more stern. "All I'm saying, is that hickey obviously came from Michael. And Tim, you know it. I know, deep down, you believe me. So why are you even hanging around the man-whore? Not like he gives a shit about you, beyond trying to get in your pants."


Jay: When Tony stands to approach, Michael also gets to his feet just to be on even ground, nudging his chair back as he does. He hadn't really been paying attention to Tony's words to Kellen, so the further statement comes as a bit of surprise - he wasn't even aware that Malachi had a hickey - but it instantly makes his eyes narrow, the muscles at the hinge of his jaw bulging as he grits his teeth, possibly trying for restraint. He doesn't immediately refute Tony's words, hoping that Tim wouldn't believe them anyway, and keeps his voice low enough that hopefully Leech, on the other side of the room, won't hear. "All I'm saying is, you don't shut the hell up and stay out of my business, and you're gonna get your face punched in. Again." As he speaks, he casually unbuttons the cuffs of his shirt and rolls each up a few times, then pushes them back to his elbows, entirely ready to back up his threat.

When his words aren't enough to deter Tony, Kellen groans and lets his head fall back, rubbing his face then scraping his hands through his hair, mussing it even further, responding at the same time as Michael does. "Tony, you really are a douche on a goddamn Olympic level. Mike hasn't hooked up with Malachi since before our last trip. I did give Mal that hickey, and if you bothered to ask him, he'd tell you that." He doesn't have much hope that his words will convince Tony, if the boy even hears them, and as soon as he notices Mike standing up, Kellen scoots his own chair back and out of the way.


Jackie: Tony's looking down at Tim, who isn't looking at him back, like he actually expects an answer. One would think, based on his brawl with Ness over Thanksgiving break, and the time he got punched by Lars, that he would learn his lesson and stay away from Timothy, but the kid is stupid enough to not think this over. That, and he constantly feels like the victim - the only one deserving of the attention Tim gives towards everyone that isn't him. When Mike starts talking, and then unbuttoning his shirt cuff, Tony shifts his weight and maybe backs up a bit, but doesn't hold back from a verbal assault. "Oh, so it is your business that Mal has a hickey? See, Tim? Mike's nothing but a little skeeze. He only wants to fuck you because you're not begging him to do it. Not that I blame you, of course."

Watching this start to spiral out of a simple vocal argument, Jesse sits back in his seat but has his eyes focused on Timothy, gauging his reaction. Lint is still sitting in his seat, leaning forward so his elbows rest on his knees, and one hand is rubbing at his neck - but other than that, he isn't doing much, not even looking at Tony. When Jesse notices Mike's actions, how he looks like he's ready to punch the blonde, Jesse 'eeps!' a little bit and maybe tries to hide a little bit behind Kellen's shoulder. But he doesn't get too close, not when his room mate takes accountability for the hickey, and he instead speaks up so he doesn't have to think too much about Kellen and Malachi hooking up. "Tony...can you just...not? And Mike, don't...I mean, let's just get back to our assignment. Who wants to start out the new semester with isolation? Am I right?"


Jay: Not surprised that Tony ignored his words, Kellen absently pats Jesse on the head with his good hand when he attempts to hide behind his shoulder, adding in an undertone to Jesse's words: "You're hella right, but I think if Tony could 'just not' he prolly would've stopped by now..." He leans around to address Tim on the other side of Jesse, too. "Mebbe if you hit him again, he'll catch on?"

Mike freezes when Tony actually replies again, giving him a very dangerous sort of look and carefully spacing his own reply. Really, he should be applauded for his restraint. "No. No. Whether I wanna fuck Tim, as you put it, and why I want to, hasn't got shit to do with you - and since you seemed to miss the point, Tim doesn't have shit to do with you, either. He doesn't want to, and he never will, and none of your catty lies are gonna change that. Now, get the fuck out of it."

Leech, meanwhile, is interrupted in his preparations for the meeting with Jefe by Justin who - entirely without design - approaches to discuss a few songs he's thinking of playing, thereby keeping the parasite unaware of the fracas looming over the rest of the class.


Jackie: Tony remains in the center of that circle with no one else around to back him up - not that he normally would, but the positioning makes it even more apparent. As Michael goes to address him, the boy looks totally uninterested and unimpressed, like that answer was nothing short of shit, anyways. "I'm just trying to look out for Tim. He doesn't need to get involved with you, not with the way you just...fuck around with people, so casually. You don't want that, do ya, Tim?" And then, belatedly, since Jesse's words kind of splice themselves in between his and Michael's argument, he adds on: "Shut up, Jesse. Jesus."

And this, of course, cracks Tim; immediately, he snaps his head up and looks up at Tony. He had been listening intently to what Mike was saying, even appreciating the way the older boy tries to reason the entire conversation away, and if the conversation had ended there, he probably would've reached out for Mike's hand and squeezed it appreciatively. But as it is, Tony snapped at his best friend, and that's the biggest no-no in Tim's book. "Don't you dare fucking talk to him like that. Don't." And Tony, being a little bitch because he isn't getting his way, only rolls his eyes at Tim.


Jay: Michael sighs, like he really doesn't want to have to do this, but since Tony kept talking - and especially since he snapped at Jesse, which Mike knows very well from experience is one of the worst things to do in Tim's presence - he accepts the necessity. Leaning onto his right foot, a little behind the left, he lifts his fist and slams it into Tony's jaw with incredible, maybe even excessive, force. Compared to this, their previous brawls were little more than play-fighting, but this time Michael really just wants to shut the kid up. And as Tony showed on the mountain trip, even getting his ass handed to him won't close his mouth - knocking him out seems the best way to accomplish it.

Kellen, too, glares at Tony when he addresses Jesse, but doesn't have a chance to snap back at him; Tim responds so quickly. But he still watches the boy with narrowed eyes and gives a noise of approval when Mike finally hauls back and punches him.


Jackie: The way Tim is glaring at Tony makes the blonde wilt a little bit, and he maybe fumbles for some wording that isn't exactly an apology, but maybe back tracks his words strewn at Jesse. But it isn't of much use, because then Michael is clocking him in the jaw, and he's instantly out cold, falling to the ground on his side and lying motionless.

Even before Mike actually punches him, Jesse can see that it's coming, and he winces before the impact because he can see the sheer force Mike has behind the motion. Before that, Jesse had maybe looked a little bemused for Timothy's sharp scolding, because that level of protectiveness has always been a soft spot for the boy. But now, as Tony briefly squawks for the pain and is then eerily silent, Jesse shoots up a bit straighter and looks concerned - maybe more so for Ness' safety than Tony's well being. "Oh!"

And Tim, not having been watching Michael, doesn't see the approaching punch until it's too late. Immediately, he knows the boy will be reprimanded - especially because they're in Leech's room - and he gets to his feet to tug Mike away from Tony's crumpled body.


Jackie: ...


Jackie: One hand moves to hold on to Mike's wrist, the one used to punch the boy, and it's not so much he's worried about Mike lashing out more, but maybe he just wants his room mate to feel him next to him.


Jay: Mike bounces back from the force of the hit, then takes another step back when he sees Tony crumple, pleased that he won't have to repeat the process - at least, not today. He cocks an eyebrow at Tim but allows himself to be tugged away, pretty passively, giving a slight shrug. "Had to be done." Although he's not entirely sure it was worth it, recalling the last punishment he got for fighting. But he puts that out of his mind and surreptitiously twines his fingers between Tim's on the hand that Tim grabbed.

Leech, surprisingly engaged in this conversation with Justin, only becomes aware of things going awry when Timothy raises his voice to snap at Tony - probably he's very alert to that particular voice at any level. He turns his head and reads the situation in a glance - the way Mike and Tony are both standing with Ness glaring at Tony, and Tony looking at Tim, it's all obvious - and the parasite pushes off the desk to approach them, calling out as he approaches in a louder voice than his normal. "Hey --"

But it's pointless, because Ness is punching Tony even as he yells. Reaching the group a moment later, Leech looks down at Tony. "Nicely done." He doesn't sound like he's praising, but his voice is flat so it's difficult to tell. Flicking his gaze up, he immediately notices the fact that Ness is holding Timothy's hand. So he gives Tim a brief glance from those cold eyes, then looks to Ness instead. "But I thought you woulda learned better, by now. Right in front of me?"


Jackie: "Not arguing that." It's said almost immediately after Ness speaks, and Tim looks down at Tony like he's inspecting a dead deer on the side of the road - not entirely sure if the thing may spring back to life. If he wasn't still worked up from Tony's brief snap at Jesse, he probably would be a little amused, and he quickly cocks his head back to look over at his best friend, to make sure that he's all right. Not that he wouldn't be, still seated and kind of clinging on to Kellen's bicep, but Tim has to see him just to be sure.

Whether he likes it or not, Tony's words do carry a tiny bit of weight, but Timothy does a decent enough job of swallowing them down - will probably think them all over when he's laying in his bed, alone, tonight. When Leech approaches, Tim doesn't immediately drop Mike's hand (maybe as he should), and those cold eyes remind him of the firm grip he has on his room mate. So he squeezes that hand briefly and then drops it, but still stays standing very close to Michael, not entirely sure of how Leech is going to handle this one. And then, from the peanut gallery, Jesse chirps up. "Tony started it! Swear to god."


Jay: Catching the glance Tim throws in their direction, Kellen gives him a reassuring sort of grin, leaning towards Jesse and not minding the clinging at all. But when Leech shows up, Kellen carefully detaches himself and glances away, because it still sort of unnerves him to see Leech in this mode. Michael doesn't try to keep Tim's hand in his, but gives him a quick, warm look as he releases it. Then he looks back to Leech, giving a nonchalant shrug. "You'd find out anyway, and it was worth it. Should I strip down here, maybe the punishment will be more humiliating if there's an audience?"

Leech grits his teeth for the fact that Timothy doesn't immediately step away from Ness, and for the look that passes, drumming his fingertips on his leg restlessly. He doesn't look at Jesse as he replies. "I don't doubt it, but he didn't hit anyone. Kellen, go get the nurse, see what he can do about this." At 'this' he nudges the supine Tony with a foot, distasteful. Glad of a reason to escape, Kellen hops up and goes to do just that, and Leech's mouth tucks back slightly for Ness' words. "No, I don't think I needa turn a jackass with no self-restraint into a martyr, Ness. We'll go downstairs." He lifts his head to look over the rest of the small class, raising his voice enough for them to hear. "The rest'a you can get outta here. I'll see you tomorrow."


Jackie: While he does keep close to Ness, Tim completely disengages himself from the boy, maybe catching the way Leech's jaw clenches so tightly when he looks at them. There's a part of him that wants to say to hell with it, to cling to Michael and drag him away from the impending torture that Leech will certainly put onto him, but there's another part - the part that's very attached to the Leech - that keeps him standing carefully still.

Still in his seat, Jesse has to collect himself when Kellen breaks away from him, and he again squirms in place and tries to sound like what he's saying should mean that Mike isn't the one deserving of punishment. "No...but...he did say nasty things! It isn't entirely possible that the earth shifted, and Mike's hand just...fell into his jaw. I mean, diplomatically speaking, and everything."

The dismissal of class doesn't mean much, since over half the class is somehow tied into the situation at hand, but Jade does snort as he gets to his feet and heads out the door, probably thinking that this class is, at bare minimum, his most entertaining.


Jay: Mike does well at pretending to be unaffected by Leech's words, just shrugging and stepping aside to collect his guitar and jacket. Leech watches him do so before being distracted by Jesse again; this time, he actually looks at him to respond, and there's some sort of amusement in his eyes. "'s a nice try, but I'm not much of a diplomat. Go on, get outta here." He jerks his head towards the door as he's speaking, and extends the command to Timothy with a glance. Kellen returns shortly, followed by the nurse who - having heard the story from Kellen - wisely brought along a folding gurney on wheels. Leech moves to help the man lift Tony onto it, exchanging a few words, then going to collect his backpack.

Hovering as he waits for Leech to lead him to his doom, Michael looks at Tim and gives him a crooked smile, a little wry. "I guess I'll see you tomorrow...or I hope I will, anyway."


Jackie: For Jesse, it's pretty telling that the parasite has warmed up to him - the older boy doesn't immediately glare at Jesse's attempt of getting Michael out of his punishment, and for that, Jesse smiles brightly. "I tried." Reaching for his guitar, Jesse quickly gets it out from under his seat and then moves to his feet, not yet moving because he's waiting for Tim, who is still standing precariously close to Michael.

Timothy nods, short and brief, for the command from Leech, but he doesn't meet the man's eyes. Instead, he just takes a step back so he can bend over and grab his guitar, and then straightens up to turn and look at Michael. After sharing a bed for the past few nights, and having quiet little rendezvous after lights out, he isn't too happy with the idea of the boy not being in their dorm room tonight, and he gives him a look that kind of shows that. "I'm sure I'll see you tomorrow." And then he has to really resist the urge to lean over and give him a kiss, and uses Jesse as an excuse to head out of the room and back upstairs.

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