Fiddling with the lint in his pocket, Todd wanders down the sidewalk in the direction of Burger Barn, his stomach tightening with every step. Again and again, a small yet persistent part of his mind tells him to turn around and hightail it back to the boarding house, but the possibilty of running into Lance is too great and he really isn't in the mood for arguing at the moment. Besides, the rebellious part of him wants to go on, wants to meet up with Kurt and see what happens--this part thrills at the idea of doing something wrong (though it doesn't feel all that wrong, Todd notes; that's what confuses him the most) and emits a tingle at the base of his spine, fluttering with anticipation.
At the corner, he stops and looks up, heedless of the dirty glances being bestowed on him by the passersby; he's already grown used to them long ago. Across the street, a lone pale figure with indigo hair stands at the foot of the Burger Barn hut, nervously eyeing the people around him and fidgeting with the hem of his shirt. He hasn't noticed Todd yet. /It'd be so easy to turn and walk away,/ that nagging part of his brain declares. /He'd never know you were here and you could just make up some excuse why you didn't show and he'd be none the wiser./ As true as that may be, Todd takes a deep breath and crosses the street anyway, intent on seeing this through.
Getting closer, he notices something different about Kurt, about the way he's dressed, but he can't quite put his finger on it. As he walks up beside the other boy (who's currently turned the other way), Todd takes the opportunity to look him up and down: a dark blue sleeveless shirt with red trim clings to his figure perfectly, while tan cargo pants sag alluringly at his hips. The look is completed with black sandals. Kurt's never worn this outfit before, he notes. Not that Kurt doesn't change his wardrobe regularly, but there's still something odd about it...
Todd suddenly feels awkward in his usual worn out clothes... but what the hell, it's not like he has anything else. Somewhere in the back of his mind, he momentarily wishes he could afford something new, could live some sweet life where a millionaire takes you in for an all-expenses paid stay in a mansion just for being a freak, but he quickly tosses that thought aside and clears his throat to get the other boy's attention.
"Ah!" Kurt's eager, nervous study of the street is interrupted by the voice that suddenly rings out behind him. He whirls around; Todd's standing there, looking adorably (adorably?!) uncertain, and Kurt can't help but smile affectionately, despite the chill that's gripping his stomach. "Glad you made it!"
Todd grins awkwardly, scratching at the back of his neck. "Yeah.. um, so am I, yo. Glad, I mean. That you, uh, made it." He looks down and cringes as blood gathers in his cheeks. Wonderful way to start a conversation: get tongue-tied. With a much longer than average tongue, no less, which means it'll take much longer than average to untangle. Screw the small-talk then. He glances up slightly, trying to hide his embarrassment. "Hungry?"
Several less-than-appropriate responses cross Kurt's mind, all of which would probably prove dangerous at the moment, so he instead settles for, "Yeah, let's eat, shall we?" He swings open the restaurant's door, stopping just inside the entrance to hold it open for Todd.
Todd quickly glances around before he enters, making sure nobody's watching. Wouldn't want people thinking this is something more than a casual meeting between two enemies who supposedly hate each other. "Thanks," he mutters. Once the door closes, the cool air from outside dissipates only to be replaced by the somewhat stuffy, meat and fry-scented interior of Burger Barn. He pulls his hands out of his pockets, idly noting how sweaty they are, and wipes them on the back of his jeans, eyeing the vicinity as he does so. The place is relatively empty, thankfully. He turns and looks at Kurt expectantly.
Apparently Todd's uncertainty's catching. Kurt's relief that he actually showed up is now falling prey to a bad case of what-the-fuck-am-I-doings. He's glad to be here, probably more than he should be, but he has no clue what to do now, or how to act. Worst-case scenarios of social catastrophe flash through his mind, and his face feels flush all of a sudden. "I-uh...guess we should order, ja?"
"Yeah.." Todd clears his throat. Okay, so this is more than a little awkward and all the short responses aren't making things any better. Maybe giving another go at the whole small-talk thing isn't such a bad idea. "Yeah," he tries again, reaching for his back pocket to check his funds. "That'd be good, yo. I haven't eaten all--oh shit." He rummages through his back pocket and finds nothing there, then feels around the rest of his pockets, but still comes out empty. And then he remembers: he used his last five bucks to buy lunch at school earlier, only to have it stepped on by some punk who wasn't watching where the hell he was going. Quickly looking around for any easy targets, Todd finds himself at a loss--there are hardly any people around and he'd surely get caught if he tried pickpocketing in the open like this. "Fuck.." Worrying his lip, he glances at the exit, wondering if he can come up with a suitable excuse to go back outside..
"Something wrong?" Kurt asks, but from his behavior it's already obvious. Kurt's played that part before; more than once he's left his wallet back at the institute, or spent more than he realized and ended up short when he needed it again. With what he hopes is a reassuring smile, he walks to the counter at the back of the restaurant, beckoning Todd over with a wave. "Hang on, you can tell me about it after we order. Do you mind if I treat? I'm the one who got you out here, after all." He pulls a bill out of his wallet, and glances up for approval.
Normally, Todd wouldn't hesitate to take money offered to him, but this is different somehow. Weird, even. But not bad. He follows Kurt to the back of the restaurant, stopping a few inches away. Their proximity is both terrifying and exhilirating. "You sure, man?" he asks, searching the other boy's face for signs of hesitation.
Kurt's smile widens. "Of course! I wouldn't feel right otherwise, since I invited you and all."
Todd can't help but smile in return. "Well if you're really sure, fool, thanks.." His gaze lingers for a bit longer than necessary before he catches himself and tears his eyes away, vacantly staring at the menu above him. This is.. weird. Yes, that seems to be the only word capable of describing this situation. Bringing his hand up to scratch his head again (a nervous gesture, if there ever was one), his arm makes brief contact with Kurt's, sending a spark of.. something.. through his skin that causes his hairs to stand on end. Weird. Weird weird weird. Quickly putting his arm back down, he clears his throat and continues staring at the menu. He hasn't read a single item.
Kurt jumps slightly when Todd's arm brushes his own. He wants to believe it's his own natural paranoia getting the better of him; he never wears clothing that exposes much of his fur in public, as a rule, afraid of an accidental touch leading to a panic. He can't even say for certain why he changed this policy, just for tonight. Something about the forbidden nature of what they were doing seemed to call for it, the breaking of more rules. So he would believe it's just fear...if it weren't for the tingling in his skin, the tightening in his stomach, the heat in his face. Swallowing nervously, he turns to the burger-slave at the counter and places his order.
Todd can't seem to keep his mind from wandering. He discreetly glances to the side, eyes trailing over Kurt's arm, finally realizing what it was that seemed so off about him: his arms are totally bare, fur completely vulnerable to inadvertent touching. Todd wonders why he'd take such a risk, but his train of thought is derailed when he hears Kurt saying something to the kid behind the counter. That's right, he's supposed to be ordering food. "Uh, I'll have what he's having, yo," he says, hoping the other boy ordered something good. Of course, Todd isn't exactly a picky eater, so it doesn't really matter. The kid at the counter nods and, very slowly, starts hitting some buttons, giving Todd ample time to rake his eyes over Kurt's arm again. Feeling devious, he reaches up to scratch his neck, brushing his arm against his companion's both on the way up and the way down with such nonchalance, he's certain Kurt won't realize it was a deliberate move. Though his own arm is covered by his shirt, he feels the softness of fur through the material, his skin tingling at the touch.
On it's way up, Todd's arm on his fur induces a quick intake of breath. On it's way down, Kurt's eyes slide shut momentarily at the mounting sensation. Composing himself, he glances aside at Todd; the other boy's watching the inexorably slow progress of the burger-slave's skinny fingers on the register keys, totally oblivious, it seems, to the effect the casual contact is having on Kurt. 'Maybe,' he thinks, 'sleeveless was a bad idea.' Finally, the kid finishes ringing up the order and recites the total in that inconceivably bored tone only obtainable by those in the service industries. Kurt hands him the bill, gets his change and receipt, then moves down the counter to the pick-up spot, leaning against the cheap plastic and waiting for Todd to follow.
Todd raises his eyebrow at Kurt's intake of breath. Was that a reaction to the touch..? /Probably just freaked him out,/ he decides, but his mind is doubtful. There's only one way to know for sure really. When Kurt moves down, Todd slides next to him and turns around, elbows resting on the edge of the counter. "So," he sighs, giving the boy yet another sidelong glance. "Isn't this a little risky?" He indicates the exposed fur by running his elbow along Kurt's forearm (too slowly to be casual, too quickly to be sensual) and waits to gauge the reaction, unsure of what he wants it to be.
Kurt's stomach performs a not-altogether-unpleasant flip at the contact, dropping like a stone when the contact's lost. He throws Todd a questioning glance; he still seems unaware of the effect the casual touching is having on Kurt, his relaxed posture displaying no signs of either mischief or interest. Kurt looks down at his bare arms, seemingly pale and smooth, and fleetingly wishes his inducer wasn't on. Somehow it seems vitally important that Todd see him as he is, not as he often pretends to be. He shakes his head, slowly, suddenly reminded that Todd asked him a question. "I, uh...I don't know. Yeah, I guess it is. I've gotten used to being careful, though, avoiding people. It's not so dangerous anymore. I just felt like a change, you know? Seemed...appropriate, somehow."
Todd smirks. "Careful, huh? If I was someone else and I accidentally did this," He pushes away from the counter and intentionally sweeps his hand and arm across Kurt's, moves around him, and settles on the other side, grinning roguishly. "You'd have a lot of explainin' to do, yo." His smile lingers a moment more before he turns away in the wake of realizing what he's doing. He's fucking flirting with the guy.
Blushing furiously, Kurt trains his eyes on the floor, at a loss for something to say. "Um...I don't usually let people get that close." Realizing how that could be interpreted, he quickly amends, "I mean, people who don't already know! I don't let them get too close, really." He stares down at his bare arms again, sighs, and stuffs his hands in his pockets. "Maybe the shirt wasn't such a good idea."
"You, uh.. you look good in it, though," Todd blurts out, subsequently biting his tongue. Luckily, he doesn't have enough time to feel stupid as the sound of a tray sliding on the counter behind him offers a way out of his oncoming embarrassment. "Oh look, food's here," he quickly notes, turning around.
Kurt's blush only deepens at Todd's words, and he snatches up the tray, gives Todd a nervous smile, then hurries over to an empty table in the back of the restaurant.
Todd notes the uneasiness in Kurt's smile and mentally kicks himself for letting the words slip out of his mouth. Shoving his hands into his pockets, he sighs and follows the other boy to the booth, sliding into the seat across from him. "So," he says, slumping into the cushion and wondering where to go from here. He takes a moment to eye the food on the table: burgers with everything and oh GOD, were those chili fries? Todd has to do everything in his power not to start shoveling food into his mouth; he's so fucking hungry. "So, uh, how much did the total come to, man?" He grabs a few fries and debates whether or not he should just stuff him in his mouth like he normally would or eat them one by one...
Oh, what the hell? He's already made a fool of himself, so why start worrying about it now? Free of inhibition, he crams the fries into his mouth, looking at Kurt expectantly.
At least he's careful not to spill the chili on the table.
Kurt can't help but laugh at the picture Todd presents, mouth stuffed full of fries and eager eyes trained on him. He smiles, thankful for a distraction, and grabs a few fries, answering between bites. "It was about ten. *munch* But don' worry about it, man, *munch* my treat!"
"All right, fool, whatever you say." Grateful that the awdwardness is gone for the most part, he grins and pulls his burger in front of him. "So, what's up, man? What'd you do today?" he asks as he removes the bun and starts picking off the onions, tomatoes, and pickles, a habit he's had for as long as he can remember.
Popping another fry in his mouth, Kurt follows suit, grabbing his burger and peeling off the mustard-encrusted onions. He always forgets to ask them to hold the onions. "Just the usual stuff, for the most part. Logan's back, so I spent most of the hours after the phone call trying to avoid him." He sighs, remembering what Kitty had told him of Wolverine's behavior; the man had stalked around the mansion for over an hour, asking everyone in sight where Kurt was. Soon as he'd heard that, Kurt took to the grounds, hiding in the trees and 'porting often. "Apparently he was out picking up a new student. But the Professor doesn't have any other jobs for him to do, so I figure I'd best brush up on my avoidance techniques."
"New student, huh?" /Great,/ Todd inwardly grumbles. /Just what we need, another X-Geek running around./ Despite his sour feelings, though, his face remains neutral, intent on continuing the chit-chat. "What're they like?"
"He's, uh...interesting." Kurt recalls the pale, black clad teen the Professor had presented to them that afternoon and smirks. "Not exactly the friendly type. He's British, and seems really fond of the color black. He was glaring daggers at Scott the whole time too, I think they might've had some sort of confrontation just before."
Todd smirks. "Heh, hope he kicks Summers' ass later." Totally disregarding the fact that he's badmouthing one of Kurt's closest friends, he coolly replaces the bun on his burger and takes as big a bite as he can manage. Damn, he's hungry. "So, what are his powers?" he asks around a mouth full of meat.
Normally Kurt might've taken offense on Scott's behalf...if he was feeling generous. But after the incident with the phone call earlier, he's entertaining thoughts of doing a little ass-kicking of his own. He finishes off a few more fries, then dips the remaining half of his burger in the puddle of chili left behind. "They didn't say what his powers are yet. Some sort of projectiles, I think. Destructive ones." 'But then how many projectile powers AREN'T destructive?'
Todd nods, logging the information away to share with the Brotherhood later. Hey, it ain't like he forced the info out of the fuzzball; he answered of his own free will... which makes Todd wonder: how much more could he learn just by asking? He quickly shakes the thought away, though, and takes a sip of his drink, averting his eyes from Kurt's. He may be a 'bad guy' in the eyes of the X-Geeks, but he's not about to go betraying people's trust.
..not that he isn't betraying someone's trust by simply being here with Kurt. He sighs and sets the rest of his burger on the table, his appetite suddenly gone. Man, this is so fucked up...
'That's not a sound I want to hear.' Kurt's ears perk at the sigh, and his hands clench slightly as he watches Todd set his burger down. Nervous, his voice wavers almost inaudibly, as he asks, "Something wrong?" then blushes furiously, lowering his eyes to the leftover food scattered about the table.
Todd brings his attention back to Kurt and smiles weakly. "Nah, I'm cool, yo. Just a little full," he lies. "You want the rest of these, man?" He nudges his fries across the table and wraps the rest of his burger in a napkin.
Kurt accepts the fries with a smile that doesn't quite reach his eyes. It's obvious there's more to Todd's sudden sullenness than being 'just a little full', but truthfully Kurt's afraid to find out what the real issue is. So many of the possibilities involve him; most of them, in fact. He's not sure if he could handle it if it turned out that was the case. So he falls back on small talk, avoiding Todd's eyes. "So...what about you? Was your day good?"
"It was eventful, dawg, that's for sure," Todd answers, his smile morphing into somewhat of a worried grin as he recalls his argument with Lance. God damn, is he ever gonna get shit for this when he gets home. "Expect to see me in a wheelchair tomorrow, man." He snickers, but even HE isn't sure if he's joking or not, and the laugh quickly fades into a dull 'heh' as he clears his throat.
Oh god. Kurt's insides are suddenly ice, and he's again struck by just how dangerous this is, on both sides. Guilt starts to claw at his mind, Todd's nervous tone playing back over and over in his thoughts. He starts to reach across the table, but his fingers stop just short of Todd's sleeve, hand instead forming a loosely held fist and dropping to the table. He nearly whispers, "Todd, listen...If this is going to..." Why is his voice so damn unsteady? He forces himself to meet Todd's gaze, eyes hopefully not as fearful as they feel. "...I don't want to cause you trouble."
/You're just now thinking about that?/ Todd wants to ask, but the genuinely concerned look in Kurt's eyes causes him to bite back the comment. Sporting what he hopes is a winning smile, he echoes something the other boy told him not but a few days ago: "Hey, this is ME we're talkin' about, fuzzy. Trouble is my middle name, remember?"
Kurt sighs, averts his gaze, and idly pokes at his fries. "Even if trouble seems to stalk you, doesn't mean you have to invite it over for dinner. I'm just saying...If it's too much, just say so," without raising his head he glances up at Todd, searching his features, then lowers his eyes to the table again. His voice becomes a near whisper. "I'm not worth it."
Todd doesn't like where this is going. Kurt's doing a total one-eighty from what he'd said at school earlier, and it's confusing the hell out of him. Not worth what? Getting beaten up over? Hell, Todd gets beaten up every other day, so it's not something he isn't used to. But Lance, the way he was looking at him before, the raw anger flashing in his eyes and the disdain dripping in his voice--those are things Todd definitely isn't used to. He sighs and lowers his head, trying to will away the headache forming in his temples.
Essentially it comes down to choosing between this..thing..with Kurt and his friendship with Lance, and that just isn't something he can decide. He can't say it's worth it, because that would be betraying every laugh, every joke, every secret he ever shared with Lance, and he can't do that, doesn't even want to consider it. But at the same time... he wants to go through with this. He knows that if he just turns and walks away from it now, he'll never be able to forget about it and damnit, that's the whole reason why they decided not to pretend it never happened, right? But how do you convey all this in words? And how do you offer solace to someone who seems to have no more self-esteem than you do? Todd is at a loss. He looks at Kurt and smiles feebly, nervously playing with the ripped material at the knees of his jeans. "I'm not worth it either, yo, but here you are anyway."
Taken aback, Kurt jerks up in his seat, sitting straight-backed and staring Todd in the face. Despite what he knows of Todd, he truly doesn't expect what he sees; the glaring evidence of wounded pride and weakened self-esteem so closely mimics what he sees in the mirror almost every morning. Kurt suddenly wishes he'd taken the chance to touch him earlier, wants to lay a comforting hand on his arm but he's now out of reach. "From where I'm sitting, you are," he offers feebly.
Todd blinks. Where did that come from? Nobody's ever told him he was worth anything; in fact, he's outright been told just the opposite.. and when you spend your whole life being pushed away and told that you're worthless and unwanted, you can't help but start believing it after a while. He wants to protest, wants to ask Kurt why he thinks he's worth anything, but Todd can't find his voice. Instead, he averts his eyes, pushes himself out of the booth, and picks up his burger. "Um, it's getting late," he finally manages, eyes trained firmly on the table. "Did you wanna do anything else..?"
Unwilling to let the night end yet, despite the change in tone, Kurt searches frantically for an excuse to keep going, being deliberately slow in putting the garbage on their tray and grabbing what's left of his burger. They had decided earlier that the book store would be a good place to hang out, but the last few minutes have left him feeling restless and claustrophobic; all he really wants to do is start moving, as long as Todd's with him. He dumps their trash in the garbage can, leaves the tray on top, and heads for the door. "Um...it looks nice out. Wanna walk for a while?"
/Why not?/ Todd muses. He has to walk home anyway, and having some company might help keep his mind from wandering too much. Though, consider who he's with, it might just wander more, but that's beside the point. "Sure," he says, wan smile returning as he starts wandering back toward the counter. He nods towards the burger in his hand. "Just lemme get a bag for my--aw, crap." He stops suddenly, the palm of his free hand meeting his forehead with a quick smack.
The relief Kurt feels at Todd agreeing is short-lived. Hand already on the door, he turns back at the sound of skin hitting skin. "What? What's wrong?"
"Argh, I forgot about Freddie, man," Todd grumbles. "Told him I'd bring him back some food since he couldn't come with me." He looks up, grinning sheepishly at Kurt, hoping he gets the message.
Glad that that's all that's wrong, Kurt joins Todd at the counter, pulling out his wallet as he goes. "You can owe me," he grins. "What's he want?"
Todd snickers. "What DOESN'T he want, you mean." Turning to the cashier, he starts naming off several food items, from burgers to chili fries to cheese-covered onion rings and ranch dipping sauce. The poor kid at the counter looks as though he's about to have a nervous break down; his fingers can't keep up with the rate Todd's listing food. Finally, Todd looks at Kurt and grins. "I owe you big time, fool. Oh," he catches the frazzled cashier's attention again and quickly adds, "Don't forget the diet coke."
With a exagerrated, melodramatic moan Kurt pulls out another bill, larger than before, and drops it on the counter. "There goes that Weird Al DVD I wanted," he laughs.
Todd waves his hand dismissively. "Hey, don't worry, yo. I'll pay you back. How much did it come to?" He looks at the register, sees the price, and commences nervous eye-twitching. "Eh-heh. That is, I'll pay you back in increments of five bucks a week for the next two months."
With a feigned grab at his heart, Kurt exclaims, "Mein gott! Next time, you're treating. I don't think my meager budget can handle anymore." Fishing another bill out of his wallet he pays the kid at the register, gets his change, and again takes up post on the pick-up side. Leaning against the counter, back to the kitchen, he regards Todd with a grin. "Fancy meeting you here."
Todd smirks and sidles next to the other boy, mimicking his posture. "Deja vu, man," he says, brushing his arm against Kurt for effect. Though, this time, it's much less discreet.
The fluttering in Kurt's stomach is most definitely familiar. He lowers his head shyly, silently curses himself for acting like a 13 year old girl with a crush, and instead peers at Todd through the bangs falling into his eyes. "If we don't watch out some of these things might become habit." 'Not that that would be a bad thing...'
Todd frowns and pulls away. "Sorry," he mutters, frustration mounting. Why the hell does Kurt have to send so many fucking mixed signals? He's about to be daring and ask as much aloud when a sharp 'ahem!' from behind yanks him from his thoughts. He turns to see an irate, pimple-faced kid holding a large bag that holds three smaller bags that presumably (hopefully) holds Freddie's food. Sighing, Todd takes the large bag, boggles over how heavy it is for a moment, and then proceeds to the door. "C'mon," he mumbles without a glance.
Kurt hurries to get the door for Todd, who looks to be struggling a bit. His face flushes at Todd's tone, and guilt sweeps over him for what must be the hundredth time tonight. He hadn't really meant as it had apparently been taken. "I should be sorry," he struggles to explain. "I didn't mean anything by that, honestly. I was...actually kind of hoping we would keep doing this. Often."
Todd hesitates before walking out the door, regarding Kurt curiously. He isn't sure how to respond to that, but he will admit that the idea doesn't sound bad. A smile threatens to tug at his lips, but he instead turns away and, in mock-anger, growls, "Then take one of these fucking bags, fool, and I'll do whatever the hell you want."
"Oh! Oh, right, sorry..." Still flustered, Kurt grabs one of the larger bags, nearly spilling the jumbo drink he's carrying in the process. Once everything's finally settled, he starts walking, glancing back to make sure Todd's following. "So..." giving into impulse, he lets a mischievous grin curl across his lips, "...'whatever the hell you want', huh?"
Todd scurries up beside the other boy, finally giving in to the urge to grin. "S'what I said, yo," he responds, nudging Kurt playfully, his smile converting to an all-out leer. "Why? You got something in mind already?"
'I should probably be disturbed at this change in tone,' Kurt thinks idly, before the sudden, persistant tingling starts in his chest and spreads immediately southwards. With a devilish grin of his own, he nudges back. "Let's just say that of the things I want to repeat, not all of them happened tonight." 'Or with this many clothes on,' his happily rebellious brain adds.
Todd's grin falters for a second. He definitely was not expecting to receive such a straight-forward response. He recovers quickly, though, and raises his eyebrow at Kurt suggestively. "Oh really?" he all but purrs. "You know, it's only about nine o'clock.." He trails off and looks ahead, letting the other boy make of that what he will.
Kurt goggles at Todd for a moment, part of him having not really expected the advance to be responded to. It's not like they haven't done things already, but this is a very different situation. Until about ten minutes ago he was certain that neither of them were ready to take those steps again. But are they? Whatever kind of relationship this is going to develop into, it's just barely begun. They're still no more than one or two steps up from rivals and enemies. Do they really want to start this now? Would that just prove that what they've got is little more than mutual physical want, without need of connection?
Kurt stares at Todd, mind whirling; his inattention proves to be all the crack in the sidewalk needs to trip him up. He falls, just barely managing to catch himself by grabbing Todd's shoulder, luckily with the hand NOT carrying the drink. The bag in his hand hits Todd's shoulder then slips from his grip, landing right-side-up on the sidewalk. "Sorry," Kurt gasps, struggling to his feet. His nerves are suddenly exploding, one by one, stretching out from the point of contact, his palm, ground zero; his doubts are replaced by the one overwhelming question of where can they go to get some privacy.
"Whoa!" Todd stops mid-step as he's pulled down by his shoulder, and immediately whirls around. "Hey, you okay man?" The playfulness in his voice is gone as is the provocative glint in his eye, both replaced by surprise and concern.
"Gah, yes, I'm fine." Blushing furiously Kurt manages to straighten up, hand still resting lightly on Todd's shoulder. "Some athelete, huh? If Logan had seen that he'd have my tail in the Danger Room for reconditioning." Slowly he notices a chill on his free hand, and looks down to see that the top of the soda popped off, covering his hand in the liquid. "Aw man..." Instinctively he switches the cup to his other hand and sticks his thumb in his mouth, trying to get most of the drink off before wiping his hand on his pants.
Todd snickers, reaches in to the bag, and produces a few napkins. "Hey, don't worry about it, yo." He offers the napkins to Kurt, a sympathetic smile gracing his features. "At least you didn't fall and grind your face into the concrete. I speak from experience when I say that ain't no picnic, man."
Kurt winces. "Yeah, I can imagine." Cleaning his hand quickly, he stuffs the napkin in one of his pants' many pockets, then reaches down and picks up the bag he'd dropped, checking to make sure the food's okay. "No harm done, thankfully. Shall we?" he gestures to the sidewalk ahead with an apologetic smile.
"Let's shall, elf-boy." Grinning, Todd nestles his free hand into his pockets and continues walking at a leisurely pace, eyes fixed on the cracks in the sidewalk. He wonders where they're going, what they should do next, and his mind briefly muses over his earlier suggestion, then quickly reminds him what Kurt's reaction to THAT had been. Thankfully, he'd only been half-serious, though his little Todd Hormones were protesting with tiny picket signs around his lower abdomen. Clearing his throat, he regards Kurt with a sidelong glance and asks, "Soo.. what now, fool?"
"Er..." What DOES happen now? Kurt's thoughts stray back to that happy little place they'd occupied a few minutes ago, eliciting a desperately stifled shudder. Not yet, it's way, WAY too soon. Isn't it? A chill breeze ruffles his fur, reminding him again of gentle fingers and caressing skin, and he squeezes his eyes shut with a steadying breath. Heat is starting to rise in his abdomen, making him feel flushed and just this side of too warm. But as long as they keep moving nothing can happen...
A park slowly comes into view up ahead, with a small playground inside. Kurt swallows against the nervous lump suddenly forming in his throat. "Hang on...do you want to, uh, sit down, for a minute?"
Eyebrow quirked with curiosity, Todd shrugs, idly wondering at the boy's sudden anxious tone. "Uh, sure. You okay, man?"
"Okay, why wouldn't I be okay?" His voice nearly cracks, and Kurt silently curses himself. 'Nervous much?' Clearing his throat, he responds, and is relieved to hear his voice is more steady this time. "No, I'm fine, really. It's uh...just a little hot out here, that's all." They reach the park and he cuts off towards the playground, feeling the grass give slightly under his feet. He takes a seat on one of the forsaken swings, setting the food on the grass to the side, and begins rocking slowly, forward and back.
Todd stops for a moment when he reaches the grass, eyes narrowed at Kurt in confusion. /Hot?/ he wonders. /Damn, I was just about to wish I had a jacket./ Shrugging again, he joins Kurt at the swings and sits down, starting slightly when the chains let out a shrill squeak in response. "Man, I ain't been on one of these things since I was ten or something.." he notes almost wistfully, gladly setting the bag down at his feet.
Briefly Kurt wonders what Todd was like at that age, before the far more pressing matter of the heat still racing through his body kicks all other thoughts out of his head. He stares at the empty slides and monkeybars, unable to speak, until the silence borders on oppressive. He's suddenly desperate to touch Todd, to grab his hand or brush fingers across his arm, but can't find a reasonable excuse to. Clenching and unclenching his fists in frustration, he focuses his gaze on his knees, drowning in silence.
Uncomfortable silence, at that. Todd sighs, idly drumming his fingers on his knees as he rocks back and forth, enjoying the soft breeze that blows coolly against his face, ruffling his hair. Head tilted to the side, he observes Kurt with interest, noting the boy's downcast eyes, uneasy posture, and the anxious way he keeps opening and closing his hands. "You sure you're all right, dawg? You seem kinda tense."
Kurt jumps at the sound. "Yeah, yeah I'm...No, not really." He smiles at Todd, apologetically. "I just..." 'Oh what the hell...' He gives in to the impulses screaming through his brain, leaning in close and laying his hand gently on Todd's. A small shock passes through his fingers and up his arm at the contact. He stares into amber eyes, trying to convey the silent question for permission.
/This is weird./ Todd gawks at the hand on his, flutters of shock and delight making their rounds throughout his body. /Very weird./ Goosebumps form at the base of his neck and creep down his arms, stopping at the point of contact. He's beginning to feel warm, too warm, and is grateful for the gust of wind that wafts by, cooling the blush he's certain must be present. Brows laced with uncertainty, he seeks out Kurt's eyes and silently asks why.
The response Todd gives him is a questioning look, obviously asking why. Kurt's only problem? He doesn't know why. All he knows is that seeing Todd blush is stoking the heat in his stomach; that feeling his skin, so warm beneath Kurt's fingers, fuels the need for more intimate contact. He closes his eyes slowly, turning his face to the sky for a moment as he struggles to sort through the impulses and desires of both mind and body, running his thumb gently along the spaces between Todd's fingers.
Upon receiving no answer, Todd sighs and watches Kurt's thumb play over his fingers, fur stroking flesh, his skin tingling with every caress. The little jolts of pleasure making their way up his arm are both rousing and terrifying, and he wonders why he hasn't pulled away yet. This affection isn't something he's used to; it's something he'd never even imagined obtaining, but now that he has it...
He shakes his head, recalling the conversation he had with Lance over the weekend in which he vehemently denied being queer. For the most part, he was certain he wasn't, being of the mind that you can pretty much fuck anyone when you're good and randy, but you don't nuzzle another guy's neck or sit on a swing and hold his hand, then go home and proclaim your resolute heterosexuality. So what does that mean, then..?
Regretfully, he pulls his hand away and rests it on the chain, eyes trained on the ground below. "What do you want outta this, man..?" he suddenly asks.
Taken aback, Kurt trains his eyes on Todd's again, blinking in surprise. "I..." What kind of question is that, and how does a guy answer it when he doesn't -know- what he wants? He clutches his rejected hand to his chest; it tingles, nerves firing painfully, and his chest is suddenly aching with tension. He throws a longing glance at Todd's hand, that he'd touched for such a brief moment, and his breath catches in his throat. "What do I want?" Contact, intimacy, acceptance- "I...I wish I knew." Eyes falling to the ground and hands moving to the chains of the swing, his voice lowers. "I just want to touch. To feel. To try to understand what there is between us, what I keep feeling when you're around."
Todd's stomach tightens and he nervously shifts on the swing, head swimming with ideas of what those words might mean. His mouth goes dry, but even if it hadn't, he isn't certain he'd know what to say. Talking about one's feelings isn't a conversation he partakes in on a regular basis (if he ever has), and the only person he's ever been marginally open with is Lance, so this type of situation is quite foreign to him. It stands to reason that he should say something or, at the very least, consider what his own feelings are, but he can't seem to focus on anything, and instead closes his eyes and slouches, looking utterly lost.
Kurt's entire body tenses, fear crawling icily up his spine. The confusion is back, stronger than before, tearing at his insides without mercy, and he has to know if this is going to end in another rejection, more pain. Mouth dry, he tries to ask the question that it all centers on, what Todd wants, but nothing seems to come out. So he waits, shamelessly pleading gaze darting to the other boy every few moments and blood pounding in his ears.
The silence is deafening. Frowning, Todd stops the swing from rocking and looks at Kurt, the boy's eyes wordlessly pleading with him, but he doesn't know what to say. He hasn't a clue what he wants, but he wishes things would go back to the way they'd been not but a few minutes ago, the two of them having a fair amount of fun while lightheartedly flirting with one another. He isn't sure when the situation veered off course into this atmosphere of awkward silence, but he hopes he can find a way out. There's just too much to process at the moment and he'll need some time to sort through it. "So," he sighs. "I.. what do you wanna do..? I mean, about.. about right now, man? I mean.. fuck, I don't know what I mean, yo." He scowls at the slide ahead, wishing he could will all his frustration on to it..
Kurt bites his lower lip, a bit too hard. Looks like the answers aren't coming, not tonight anyway. Maybe they just need to slow down, think things through more carefully than they've been able to. They've got the time...right? 'Assuming Logan or Lance doesn't kill one of us...' He sighs, a wavering, pathetic sound that he hates himself for. "Um...maybe we should get going again." He bends over to grab one of the bags and the drink, not quite able to meet Todd's gaze.
Todd doesn't respond. The words don't even register until he sees Kurt stand up and start walking away, drink and bag in hand. He frowns as he rakes his mind violently, searching for something to say, something to do. He may be confused and uncertain about this whole state of affairs, but he's sure about one thing: the night can't end on a somber note like this, not when things were starting to look up earlier. "Hey.. hey, wait!" He leans forward and grabs the other boy's wrist, eyes wide as he watches the hologram around Kurt quickly fizzle out of existence. He glances down at his hand... at the wrist in his hand, noting the inducer and the tiny yellow button cushioned under his thumb. "Eh, sorry.." He knows he should probably let go and allow Kurt to remedy the problem, but all he can do is sit and stare stupidly. And to top it off, he forgot what he was gonna say, damnit.
Kurt looks down at the warm hand on his wrist, only to find his own fur in view. His first reaction is to shoot a panicked gaze over the area, instinctively making sure they're alone. Feeling exposed, he moves to pull away, initially desperate to reset the hologram. But he can't force himself out of Todd's comforting grip, doesn't really want to; it's making his whole arm tingle pleasantly, and he realizes he wants Todd to see him like this. He doesn't want to hide, not from him. So all he can do is stare at his own wrist, and the pale fingers wrapped around it, stammering, "N-no, it's...it's okay. Really."
Todd allows his gaze to linger a moment longer before fixing it on the ground, his grip loosening around Kurt's wrist as he sighs. "I don't know what the hell I want, man," he begins, voice filled with apology and frustration. "But I do know I.. I was havin' a good time with you earlier and.. and I.. and.. fuck!" Growling, he looks up again, seeking out the other boy's eyes, finding them laced with encouragement and curiosity, brows drawn together in slight confusion. Todd is at a loss, however. Can't find his voice, doesn't know what to say, doesn't know what would be considered right or wrong at this point, or what would be welcome or unwelcome. /This would be so much easier if I was high,/ he idly reflects.
"Screw it." He slowly stands up, pulling Kurt closer to him before he lets go, hesitently and gently cupping either side of the boy's face. Closing his eyes, he leans in, pressing their lips together in a soft, chaste kiss, hoping it makes up for the things he doesn't know, the questions he can't answer. The contact is brief, but his lips tingle when he pulls away and takes a step back, watching for a reaction.
The kiss is everything Kurt could have hoped for; gentle, pure, and so very reassuring. The fear of rejection disappates almost immediately, warmth spreading and overpowering the empty chill that had filled his stomach moments ago. The bag and cup drop from his limp hands, unnoticed; he closes his eyes and leans into Todd's smooth lips, and when they part, a soft sigh escapes him. Opening his eyes slowly, he regards Todd, a slow smile creeping across his face. "Thank you," he whispers.
Releasing a breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding, Todd grins sheepishly and scratches at the back of his neck, averting his eyes. "Uh, don't mention it?" He's certain there's a crimson tint to his cheeks, but he honestly doesn't care because the kiss was nice. Very nice. In fact, it was so nice that he considers doing it again.. and would have, if only that wet and sticky feeling in his shoes wasn't distracting him so. "The fuck, yo.." He looks down and frowns, lightly kicking the empty cup away, its contents now watering the grass and being absorbed by Todd's shoes and socks. A little bit of his jeans, too, damnit--he hopes it doesn't stain. "Ah shit.. I hope Freddie ain't thirsty."
"Huh?" Kurt replies intelligently, and follows Todd's gaze to the empty cup and Todd's wet shoes. "Dude, I am so sorry!" He blushes furiously, bending over and grabbing the bag to rummage for a napkin.
Todd chuckles and kneels next to Kurt. "Man, it's fine! Don't worry about it. I just might hafta walk barefoot for a while, but it's cool, yo. Napkins are in the other bag, anyway." He gently pulls the other boy's hand away from its rummaging and taps on the inducer. "You might wanna turn this back on, by the way. No sense taking chances, ya know?"
"Uh, yeah. Chances." Kurt blushes slightly at Todd's touch, his grin widening. Seems like all they've done for the past few days has been take chances. Well...what's one more? Pushing the bag out of the way with one hand, he leans over, right hand raising to gently trace the line of Todd's jaw. He pauses, lips centimeters from Todd's, their breath mingling in the chill air between them. "Ich wünsche Sie*," he whispers before closing the distance, capturing Todd's lips fervently.
The first thing Todd does is wonder what the hell the other boy just said--/Ick wench see?/--but his mind doesn't have enough time to go over it before all thoughts other than 'lips good yes gimme' are evaporated. He hums, leaning into the kiss, opening his mouth invitingly while his hand gropes around Kurt's arm, desperate for something to hold on to. Settling on a furry elbow, Todd's other hand scrambles around for something to use as balance, the grass being too wet and sticky for his comfort. He comes into contact with Kurt's thigh and grins inwardly, resting his hand there and giving a mischievous squeeze.
Kurt moans into Todd's mouth at the fingers squeezing his flesh, and he instinctively clutches at Todd's hand, pressing it to his thigh. Winding his other hand in Todd's hair, he deepens the kiss, letting his tongue play across teeth and lips and tongue, immersing himself in the Todd's heat. It's distracting, to say the least; so distracting that the slight rumbling under their feet doesn't register until it strengthens, the ground beginning to shake violently. Surprised, Kurt loses his balance, falling forward onto Todd.
Todd lets out a strangled yelp as he's suddenly on his back with an armful of Kurt.. and as pleasing as that sounds, the intense quaking of the ground below rudely distracts him from enjoying it. "The hell.." he wonders, voice vibrating with the tremors. "An earthquake?" ..or an Avalanche? He immediately feels ill. Pushing Kurt off of him, he turns over and sits up, looking for the source of this disturbance as he waits for the shaking to subside. "Fuck, not now.. not now, man.."
Lance really hadn't expected this. He'd given up on the idea of hunting Todd down, deciding to give the boy the benefit of the doubt. Seeing him and the fuzzball sucking face on the side of the road, however, left little doubt. They were so into each other they hadn't even noticed the jeep screeching to a halt, Lance getting out, or the first rumblings the ground made in response to his surge of emotion. Now they lay on the wet dirt, a pile of limbs, and he towers over them, face contorting in rage. "TOAD..." he growls, dangerously.
Kurt can't help the choked cry that escapes his throat. No one could deny Lance's intimidation factor, and Kurt's never seen him this angry before, his face red, eyes murderous, and fists clenched and white knuckled. Involuntarily he leans back, trying to put distance between them.
Todd wishes Lance would stop the ground from shaking, if only so he could gather his thoughts. He scrambles to his feet, but to no avail as he promptly falls on his rear when the ground brutally jars beneath him. The water on the grass is now soaking through his jeans quite uncomfortably and all he can think about is how this day really HAS gone from all right to bad to fucking awful. "Lance! Lance, calm down, man.." /Yes, really, there's no reason to be upset; I was merely swapping spit with the enemy when I was actually supposed to be back home in my room. Let's talk about it over a cup of tea, shall we?/ Todd notices the murderous glint in Lance's eyes and gulps, clearing all nonsensical thoughts from his head. "I am so dead, yo..."
Eyes rolling back into his head, Lance pours his rage into the ground with a heavy stomp, not caring about the strain it will cause him. The earth cracks and rents, a deep furrow tearing through it, separating Todd and the fuzzball. Only then does he stop, letting the ground still slowly while he forces down the migraine now pounding at his temples. "Toad, get in the car. NOW," his tone brooks no argument, his hateful glare trained on Fuzzy instead of Todd.
Todd obediently pushes himself to his feet, mud-caked denim clinging to his legs. He takes a step, but stops before going further, instead looking back at Kurt with eyes betraying nothing but the complete uncertainty he feels. Biting the inside of his cheek, he sighs and hangs his head. This is exactly the kind of choice he didn't want to make. Loyalty or betrayal, friendship or pleasure.. the choice is simple, one would assume, but the easiest problems are sometimes the hardest to solve.
Glancing at his teammate, he's suddenly overcome with guilt and he has to avert his eyes, a wave of nausea washing over him like a swell of goo. He ignores Lance for the moment, once more looking across the groove separating Kurt and himself, wishing the other boy would look at him so he could convey his apology for the decision he's about to make.
Heart pounding, Kurt's gaze is locked on Lance's, the other boy's hate-filled eyes momentarily driving away all thoughts but that of self-preservation. Then Kurt senses Todd stirring, and looks over to see him standing, staring back at him. The look in his eyes makes Kurt's blood run cold, the heartbreaking uncertainty and apology for what Kurt can't stand for him to do. He wants to stall him, stop him, beg him if he has to, but his mouth seems filled with sand and his mind isn't supplying the words.
Todd slowly shakes his head, a gesture that says exactly what it means to: no. No, I can't stay. No, it's not worth it. No, this is the way it has to be. No... sorry. Tearing his gaze away, he quickly kneels down to retrieve Freddie's food and laggardly shuffles in the direction of the jeep. The sprinklers have chosen this inopportune moment to spring to life, getting the bags, his shirt, his hair, everything wet, but he barely notices. The only thing he is aware of is his shoulder hitting Lance's arm as he forcefully shoves past the older boy, resentment starting to build.
Lance glares at Todd as he goes by. Thankfully, he made the right choice, and later Lance will go easier on him for it. But at the moment there will be no backing down. As Todd slowly moves to the jeep, Lance makes his way over to the X-Geek with a heavy, threatening step. The boy's a pitiful sight; on his ass in the grass and mud, eyes wide with fear, hair now soaking wet and plastered to his face from the sprinklers everyone's disregarding. 'Too easy.' Leaning over him, Lance allows a dangerous smirk to play at his lips, pretending at a mirth that doesn't reach his eyes. Their faces mere inches apart, he raises a fist, shoving a finger at the boy's nose threateningly. Voice low, he growls, "Looks like he's made his decision, huh? Come near him again, and I -will- make you hurt."
Kurt's afraid; anyone in their right mind would be, if on the receiving end of the not-altogether-sane glint in Lance's eyes. But thoughts of what the older teen interrupted flare up in his mind, drawing his frustration and anger to the fore. Fear turns to hate in his eyes; he scowls at Lance, reaches up and slaps the teen's hand away from his face, then jumps to his feet. "Who the FUCK do you think you are?!" he screams, face flushing. "What gives you the right to make his choices for him? It's HIS life, not yours. Why won't you just let him live it?"
Already in the jeep, fingers gently massaging his temples, Todd hears Kurt's voice and looks up, finding the two boys face to face with one another, staring each other down. /Oh yeah, this is just what I fucking need./ "Yo, Lance!" he calls, finding it hard to keep the bitterness out of his voice. "I'm in the fucking car, man. Get your ass over here or I'm gonna drive it home myself!"
Todd's voice barely registers over Lance's shock. The little punk is actually talking back to him. As if LANCE is the one who should feel guilty in all of this. Oh fuck no, things aren't gonna play that way, not with the mood he's in. Growling deep in his throat, Lance shoves the boy, hard; the fuzzball falls back, ending up on his ass in the mud, again. Straightening to his full height, Lance crosses his arms, standing over him and staring the boy down. "I'll let him live his life when he stops fucking it up so badly. As soon as he sees that a quick piece of tail," he smirks, "comes last in his list of priorities."
Seeing Kurt hit the ground causes Todd to wince, his blood boiling with animosity. The scene almost makes him jump out of the car and give Lance a hard, swift kick in the back, but self-preservation is certainly high on his list of priorities. Besides, Kurt isn't worth it, he tells himself... Kurt isn't worth getting the shit beat out of him the next time he sees Lance, Kurt isn't worth having Lance hate him for all eternity, Kurt isn't worth saving if it means Lance will continue to ride him about this whole mess... right?
Todd wishes he could say for certain, but the fact of the matter is--like every other question he's posed himself tonight--he doesn't know. He's beginning to feel like he's spent his entire existence with this comfortable bubble around himself and now water is starting to seep through, his mind screaming at him to take some breaths before life drowns him. It was always easy playing the part of a loner because he could keep people at arm's length, but now they've started pushing themselves into his personal space, his comfortable bubble, forcing him to acknowledge his emotions, and now he's beggining to realize that the world is a lot more fucked up than he originally thought. Himself included.
With a sigh, he shakes the thoughts away and leans out of the car. "Lance, get in the fucking car!" he shouts. And if that doesn't do any good, he tries to seek out Kurt's eyes (but they're otherwise occupied with staring Lance down) and calls to him, "Just teleport away, man! It ain't worth it!"
Eyes never leaving Lance's, Kurt yells at the car, "You're worth it." He holds Lance's gaze (not too difficult, considering Lance's determination to stare him down), and with an almost feral grin, wraps his tail slowly around Lance's ankle. The teen's pose is just enough off-balance that a quick, skillful jerk drags his foot out from under him, pulling him totally off-balance and landing him on his ass in the mud, a parody of Kurt's position. In a flash Kurt 'ports to the car, leaning over the passenger side and staring earnestly at Todd, ignoring the screams of frustration and cursing coming from Lance's position. Knowing he only has a few seconds before the teen rights himself, he opens his mouth, only to find he doesn't know what to say. Todd -did- make the choice...but why? Out of fear? Loyalty? ...Or is it that Kurt's just not worth the trouble? Suddenly uncertain, he averts his eyes, worrying his lower lip with his teeth, and whispers, "Why?"
Todd frowns, bringing his hand up to touch Kurt's face, but hesitates at the last second and puts it back down, expression hardening. /Make him hate you,/ his mind tells him. /Make him hate you again and he won't get close, and Lance and everyone will leave you alone and it'll be the way it always has been./ "The way it should be," he whispers aloud, clearing his throat when he catches himself. "This is the way it should be, yo," he ammends, voice dripping with hostility. "You fighting with Lance, me fighting with Lance.. it ain't worth it, ain't worth THIS--" He gestures to himself and Kurt. "--US. We ain't nothing, man, nothing but enemies, okay? So just.. go now. Fuck off." Sitting back in his seat, he folds his arms and looks the other way, the beginnings of a migrane pounding at the back of his neck. Fucking people. Fucking people and their attempts to get to know him. Fucking emotions trying to reciprocate the attempt. He was much happier in his comfort bubble.
Happier and lonelier.
If Lance had just stomped over, shoved Kurt down, and performed an extended tap-dance on his person, it couldn't hurt as much as this. The words are like a physical blow to his chest; he could swear his heart stops for several beats. His blood turns to ice in his veins, suffusing him with a chill that transcends the now-cold night air, while his eyes and lungs burn with a sickly fire. All he can do is stare, trying to gain answers from Todd's unresponsive form. He desperately needs to see Todd's eyes...Not really knowing what he's doing, he reaches out and grabs Todd's shoulder, tugging at him gently, but with obvious need.
Scowling at the whole scene, Lance stands to the side, waiting to see how this final move will play out, ready to jump back in at the first sign that Todd's resolve is weakening.
Todd pulls his shoulder away from Kurt's grip. "I said fuck off, man." His voice now lacks the agression it held moments before, but the words aren't any less harsh. "Your head too thick to comprehend or what?" /Just GO,/ his mind wills. He's cold, he's wet, and he's sitting in a seat that absorbs water like a sponge. He's not a very comfortable Toad. He's a very confused and uncertain and emotionally retarded Toad, and he just wishes Lance would get in the fucking car so they could get home and he could bash his fucking head into a wall before he completely loses his tenacity and pulls Kurt into the car with him.
Kurt jerks his hand back as if burned, and clutches it to his chest. There's moisture running down his cheeks now, not all of it from the sprinklers. Choking back a pathetic whimper, he squeezes his eyes shut for a moment, turns to throw a deathly glare at Lance...then 'ports as far away as he can.
Lance doesn't try to hide the triumphant grin that spreads across his face. With a self-assured gait he strides to the car, hopping over the door and settling himself in the driver's seat, turning the key left in the ignition and shifting gears. "About time he got a fucking clue."
Todd doesn't give any indication that he heard Lance; he simply turns his body the other way and looks outside at the trees, the street lights, the sidewalk, unconsciously searching for something. When he sees a shadow emerging from the park, he starts and sits up slightly.. but it's only a couple taking a nighttime stroll, and he idly wonders what would have happened if they appeared any sooner.
Sighing, he rests his head against the damp seat and lets the hum of the jeep lull him into a state that's as close to relaxation as he's going to get for a while.
*Ich wünsche Sie. = German for "I want you." according to Systran's Translator