so here it is, I just wanted to say again Happy Holidays everyone! i hope Christmas (or whatever you do) has been kind to you and i wish you all a happy New Years as well!
Kyle yanked uncomfortably at the collar of his new Sweeton Honey Badgers hoodie. The material was cheap and thin, the size was one too small and if he wasn't wearing layers due to the lack of warmth it provided he was sure it would have itched. But, he was wearing it, Quinn and him walking down to the game, his friend really the only reason he was able to get it. He had thanked her a hundred times at least and at least half of those with the promise of paying her back.
The game was in an hour, but Quinn insisted they get some real food in their bellies before the game happened because, 'The snack shack is all junk food, not meals.' Quinn wasn't the type to worry about snacks, hell Kyle specifically recalled the night she and he had finished three bags of chips, two dips, and half a container of frosting with a package of sugar cookies. That image in mind he was concerned why she feared the snack shack.
Due to Sweeton's location, and the fact it was such a small town they didn't have any fast-food restaurants that weren't protested and run out of business for attacking everyone's family own businesses. With that in mind they were headed towards 'Sam's.' Sam's was a diner run by Sam's grandson Eric. It still retained its retro look, the waitresses wore roller-skates, the colours were bright and the jukebox still worked. It was an all-around fun time there, and everyone knew that was where the high school pre-game happened. Kyle had been there for pre-game twice, both other times with Quinn, and neither time did he make an honest effort to have fun.
"So why do we have pre-game without alcohol and a twenty minute walk from the game?" Kyle asked, trying to use the hood of the jacket to block the sun which was low in the sky.
"Oh relax, we'll have fun and get a ride over to the game okay? It's not that big a deal. You have to lighten up buddy," she noted, "Besides Alice will be there and you can eat and dance and be merry."
Kyle cast her a concerned look, "You honestly expect me to dance don't you?" He asked fearfully, "Snowballs chance in hell."
Quinn rolled her eyes, "I swear to God you are naturally opposed to any kind of fun or social standing aren't you?"
"Yes." Kyle noted flatly enough to make Quinn smile a bit. Truth was he just wasn't one for crowds of people who didn't like him, to watch him dance like an idiot. But the opposed to fun note made him smile. Duke wouldn't be around if he didn't have a little fun now and then, so she was wrong there. Kyle apparently just liked the near Paganistic, run whooping through the forests, type of fun.
"You're a dork," Quinn elbowed him. The playful banter continued until they actually reached Sam's which really wasn't that far from either of their homes. "Now one last thing," Quinn started before they walked in, the parking lot full of cars already, "Alice won't push you to do anything, so you have to push to do the things she likes okay? Dance at LEAST once, don't just make her sit at the table like she will if you don't do anything okay? If you really want this to work you have to try okay?"
Kyle took a deep breath and nodded, how many times he dreamt up this scenario and it still didn't prepare him for what was to come. He was excited, even if he was damning his recent headaches for continuing.
Duke huffed as he walked through the chill of fall, the leaves had only just begun to float ground wards and he was thankful his feet weren't crunching over them, he just wanted to clear his head. The game was in an hour, plenty of time to do his chore and make it to Sam's to pick up Kyle and Alice like he promised.
The large duffle bag weighed awkwardly on his shoulder, the contents top heavy; it wasn't a problem, but one of those things your mind continues to drift back to with its unusualness. "Stupid Girl," he mumbled to himself, "Damn Anthony and Scott and that freaking Wilson!" All of them were giving him a headache for the wrong reasons; Kyle didn't make the list because Duke couldn't be mad at him.
Duke reached his first scent marker on the path, veering off of it and into the thicket of the woods. It wasn't often his family was moved next too such prime forests and he took every advantage from it.
As he walked he listened to the beautiful sound of the world around him. Not many could appreciate such gifts even amongst the wolves some didn't bother to appreciate EVERY aspect of nature. His footsteps acted as a bass line, the winds passing through the leaves were frequent whistles. He heard the pitter patter of smaller beasts, their calls, and their heartbeats. Duke smiled, closing his eyes having learned this trail like the back of his hand. Birds called above him flapping their wings, bugs chirped and clicked, mammals scurried into their holes and dens. It was all captured excellently in the red sky of a setting sun, "The real Friday night lights..." He spoke to no one, continuing on his way. As much as he hated to admit it, Scott needed food.
Even out here in the woods, his sanctuary from anything of his kind, his mind continued to flow back to what Anthony had said. He silently mourned his old playthings, sorry things had ended as they did, but at the same time he could not bring himself to cry. In truth he had simply been bored when he 'befriended' them. It was cold he knew, it was near heartless, but even though he felt guilty and responsible and on edge he never did care about them as much as they cared for him. Guilt wasn't going to change that.
He sighed, it was a mess, and he was a mess. He hated feeling so disconnected from those he drove to their end, but it was a fact, there was nothing he could do about how he felt. At the same time he thanked Anthony for the information. It made him cautious; he didn't want the same hopeless mind control to happen to Kyle. It was a bad situation, things were happening very soon and Duke didn't have a lot of time to get everything right.
First off, Kyle sleeping with wolves for an entire weekend could end terribly. The mass amounts of pheromones in the air could crush him, even if he was resilient. But Duke could just drag them camping into the woods away from the hive of chemical activity at the cabin. He also needed to turn Kyle, not for the sake of a brotherly bet, but because Anthony was right; their laws didn't allow people to know and not be changed.
Then of course the biggest problem, Kyle's mother, Duke shuttered, he didn't even want to think about that cacophony of problems for him and Kyle there. The list was long and the points on that list were delicate. With much practice he pushed the thoughts out and zones out, taking in the world.
Duke sighed, jumping back to the current location, realizing he had promised to release Scott today, "Hope he learned his lesson..."
Kyle and Alice sat smiling at the tables as the music played. They were sharing some curly fries, her adorable blonde hair rubbing against his nose as she leaned into him. "We can go and dance you know," he spoke into her ear, unbelievably happy that SHE had leaned into him on her own.
"But you don't want too," she said again, his response about her being more important followed, and her reply of equality echoed after, "I'm dragging you to a football game, you don't have to dance."
The Pre-game was infinitely more fun when Kyle had people to go with. Quinn stopped by every now and then, Alice's friends tried to be civil, the music fell into white noise instead of being the sole focus. Meanwhile Badger spirit flew all around and Finn only entered Kyle's thoughts a handful of times. The jock still wanted his head and his girl, but Kyle refused to let it depress him, he just had to avoid the jock after the game seeing as he was at the field warming up at the moment.
The waitress' rolled around frantically, aware of every order and table, their minds doing nothing else because it was custom to leave a $5 tip per person on Pre-game unless the service really did suck. Five waitresses, fifty plus kids, and all in an hour, you do the math.
Still, Kyle couldn't help but have his mind wander back to Duke and his family and the camping...Kyle just called it the 'Duke situation' seeing as it pertained to a lot more now. Anthony was a weird one who would have to be avoided that weekend; Duke was already probably planning around Anthony, but still, what the hell kind of Kid tried to convince someone he was an actual monster? Instinctually Kyle's mind wrote the dream he barely remembered as a coincidence seeing as he remembered it coincided with whatever Anthony said...Pure coincidence...Wasn't it?
"Then you at least go dance," he told her, it seeming to be the right thing to do. The last thing he wanted out of this relationship was to make her worse off for it.
"I couldn't do that," she informed him in long drawn out words that told Kyle she just needed a little more coaxing.
"I'm not going to make you do anything you don't want to, but I don't want you to not do something you want to either Alice. Besides, I want to see you dance," he informed her, his own heart beating a mile a minute with all this effort in trying to be a confident boyfriend. It just wasn't him, even though it had to be to keep her...
But she gave in and went to the dance floor with her friends who looked over as him with weak smiles giving little nods. They still may not have liked him, but at least they disliked him less.
"Not gunna get out there and shake your booty?" Quinn mocked in a half serious but entirely sarcastic tone, "You seem like such the pimp on the dance floor."
Kyle smiled a little, taking a long drink to wet his ever drying throat, "This is more difficult than I thought." He noted, "I'm not this person normally." Quinn gave him a look asking for explanation. "Alice is looking for a confident person, a strong man, anyone would, and it's more difficult to lie about it than I thought."
That got him a solid smack on the head. "You idiot, did you watch any cartoons as a kid? You have to be yourself, none of this faking shit okay? If she wanted a confident outgoing person to be with and not someone sweet and quiet she wouldn't have asked you okay? No offense at all but really no one ever really looked at you and thought of this over confident outgoing guy." She put a hand on his, "Just relax Romeo, it's all okay?"
Kyle sighed but nodded, actually not sure if he was offended or not. Larger hands clasped his shoulders, "What's Romeo doing?" Duke asked loudly, hoping into the seat beside Kyle with a dopey grin, helping himself to some of the French fries on the table.
"Not dancing," Quinn said flatly, Kyle wasn't sure if she liked Duke, but it was apparent he wasn't her favourite person. It was funny to see girls ogle over him and then Quinn who didn't seem to care. Speak of the devils, a large group of girls flocked to the booths on either side of them now making Kyle smile.
"You don't dance?" Duke asked, looking at is friend with a smile, "Oh come on you have to dance, who doesn't love dancing?"
Kyle raised his hand to prove a point, Duke lowered it, "Come on, it's so much fun, you just do your own thing and let loose!"
The lanky kid made a face, "Do I seem the type to let loose in front of people to you?"
Duke rubbed an invisible beard in contemplation, "Hmmm...nope, you seem the type to have to be forced into such fun," he stated, looking over at the crowd of people in front of the jukebox.
"You see her dancing with her friends?" Quinn asked, getting a nod, "You see them?" she asked pointing to a different group, "Dancing as couples? She wants to be there."
"But you shouldn't have to force yourself to be anyone else for a relationship," Duke noted.
Quinn shot him a glare, "BUT if you love someone and want to be with them you CAN make sacrifices. It's alright to give a little ground for your special someone."
Kyle pinched his eyes closed trying to think, "AHH!" he over dramatized for the sake of effect, "My brain!"
They laughed, "Don't be such a dork, get out there for her." Quinn stated.
It was so conflicting hearing from them, but Kyle decided Quinn was probably right. It felt like a cheap shot against Duke, but Quinn was more known to have relationship advice then a capture the flag playing big kid.
With all the confidence he could muster Kyle made his way to the dance floor alone, his friends waving him on. Duke smiled and cheered a little, getting a deadly glare from a very uncomfortable Kyle. It made him smile, he couldn't help himself. It didn't matter that Kyle was here with Alice in that moment, Kyle was outside his comfort zone and that's all that mattered.
"So what was that?" Quinn asked him, drawing his attention away from the mass of people.
"What was what?"
"What's your angle Duke? Everyone has one, and no offence to him, but not many people take an interest in Kyle. I want to know what your deal is." She was very calm, but very dominant at the moment. She absently stirred her drink, looking up at Duke, "Why do you seem to want what's best for him one minute and then want the opposite the next?"
Duke saw the challenge, the verbal duel was on. "I don't know what you're talking about," he played dumb, "Kyle's a good guy, I want to see him succeeding before I leave is all."
"No one comes to town to play councillor. I don't care who you are, but that's not something people do, it wouldn't make sense. So why the interest? I want the truth okay? Nothing you say will leave this table here and nothing you say can affect how I act in the future for Kyle's benefit. I just need to know so you don't undermine the only shot Kyle's gotten in years."
Duke huffed a little, she was smart, or at least she had been giving this thought. "Why do you care so much about him?" Duke knew he couldn't just read her mind, if she over reacted in a crowded place that would mean trouble.
"I'm his friend."
"Well then that's my answer, I'm his friend too Quinn," he said with a bit more aggression then he had planned. She was making him mad, trying to rush his thoughts and plans. "You know what. Fuck it. You want the truth?" Quinn nodded. "Okay Quinn, you aren't going to believe me anyway so here it goes." He wasn't the type to beat around the bush.
"I have contemplated kidnapping him Quinn, stealing him away from his life here. He needs to get out of this town, he needs to get away from his step-father and he won't make the choice on his own because of his mother so I'm going to make it for him. I have contemplated option after option of how this will get done, invite him over and drive away never to return, steal him away in the night, lock the doors in my car and just head out of town instead of to school one morning, slip something in the coffee." He returned her confused stare with a serious one. "I love him Quinn in more ways than you do. Granted you love him as a friend more due to a history I can't claim to have. But I love him more as a lover." She gave a look of total shock, mouth dropping open, Duke almost smiled but he was venting too much to break the moment.
"I mean it Quinn whether you believe me or not I mean it. He gives me hope, hope I can't say I've had in...in a very long time. Hope that I'm not only me and I can change and break the monotony of my life for something better with someone better. You know Quinn, Kyle is one of the greatest people you will ever meet am I right? Well I plan to have him. He doesn't know yet, but he likes me too and I plan to take him. Does that answer your question with enough details Quinn? I care because I love him, I fight THAT!" He stated, pointing at Alice and Kyle awkwardly dancing, "Because it stands in my way. What I am going to do I don't know, but I'm going to try my hardest to make sure I continue to do that with that boy right there."
She looked back at him in shock, not even sure how to start talking. Duke was just happy she stopped meddling. He liked Quinn enough to at least respect her, but she was a bit too nosy for his tastes.
But alas, Quinn was a strong girl and found her voice. "You aren't joking...Kyle wasn't lying, you are crazy." It wasn't a proclamation, just a note. Duke rolled his eyes but looked up shocked when he heard, "HE does need out, you have my blessing."
It was Duke's turn to play quiet, "Excuse me?" he managed.
Quinn rolled her eyes, "Get him the fuck out of this town and I will be forever grateful to you. Protect him and make him feel loved and I will owe you anything and everything." She looked at the dance floor, "He deserves better. I don't care by what means you do it, but get him out."
"You don't care that I'm a dude?"
"This is the twenty first century, others might care, but I don't give two shits as long as it's consensual."
Duke smiled, "Huh, you're not half bad Quinn."
The big kid smiled, watching his boy dance like a fool and having fun, "So why do you care so much about him?"
Quinn took a quiet moment and sighed, "Kyle saved my life." She stated simply, pulling back her sleeves and showing Duke cut scars. "He made me feel needed when I was most abandoned. I wouldn't trade Kyle away for anything, but obviously I'd give him away for his own benefit."
Duke looked at the marks in a bit of shock, looking back at Kyle, "I'll take good care of him if I can get him."
She punched him in the shoulder, "You'd better," she answered, closing the conversation for now.