Why He Told Him [ Short Story ]

In honor of National Kissing Day, read this short story about two boys kissing.

Note: In terms of the canon of FanFact, this story is a fanfiction written by Clara. For more information about FanFact, click HERE.

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Liam had been having a perfectly good night. He’d grabbed dinner with Sylvia at Food & Brews, finished his homework for incantation study and math, and had just sat down in his room with a book to relax for the first time in days when he’d gotten the message.

It was from Blane. It was always from Blane, lately. Liam growled to himself as he read the message, earning himself sideways glances from the other boys in the dorm.

Blane wanted to meet for a late-night training session.

Liam’s fingers dug into the book sitting on his lap. Blane didn’t even want to be mentoring him. He complained about it nearly every time they had to interact. So why was Blane suggesting they spend even more time together than usual?

His eyes dropped to the first paragraph of his novel. How long had it been since he’d read something for fun? Months, he figured. It had taken him all week to convince himself he could take a break for an entire evening and just enjoy himself. He didn’t have to go. He knew he could stay right here and read his book. He didn’t even have to reply.

Or he could get back to training and trying to find his specialty.

Liam slammed the book shut and stood. He’d have plenty of time to relax once school was over and he had a specialty and a career. While he would rather not have to deal with Blane, he couldn’t deny that Blane was talented. If Blane wanted to meet outside of their normal trainings, it meant something. Hopefully something good.

So that was how Liam found himself trudging through the school and outside to the training grounds in the forest at 11:00 PM on a school night. He kept an eye out in the halls for Principal Sanders, just in case she tried to stop him. Strictly speaking they were allowed to train anytime on the training grounds, day or night, but generally students made use of the indoor training rooms, not the forest.

It was a chilly night for September. The grass was damp beneath Liam’s feet as he crossed the school grounds. The trees in the distance were shrouded in shadow. Liam had found it intimidating when he’d first started school -- it was laughable now, really. He spent hours in this forest every week.

He slipped quietly among the trees, splitting from the path to take a more direct route to the training grounds. It wasn’t a long walk, but the trees were thick, the long, winding branches blocking the moonlight from above. Liam frowned. Why wouldn’t Blane have lit the training area? He’d always done so in the past.

He quickened his pace slightly. Criminal behavior on school grounds was uncommon, but not unheard of. And Blane’s family was really well-known, so if someone was going to attack a specific target…

The training grounds were empty when he got there. Liam held his breath and listened; the creak of branches in the wind, the chirps of bugs in the trees, but that was all. It wasn’t an unnatural silence, but it was a silence caused by Blane not being where the message had said he was. Blane wasn’t petty enough to play a trick just to get Liam to leave his warm dorm room, so he should have been there.

That didn’t mean that something had happened, Liam told himself. Blane was popular so no one from the school would have tried to hurt him, and Blane was more than capable of holding his own in a fight. And it really wasn’t likely that someone had come after him in some sort of political move on school grounds. Blane must have sent the message before arriving here.

“Liam!”

Despite himself, Liam jumped. He whipped his head around, eyes sweeping across the entire expanse of training grounds. There was nothing there, but that had definitely been Blane’s voice.

“Are you using a-”

Blane shushed him. “Come here, by the targets.”

Liam grit his teeth and stomped towards the target area. The air in front of him wavered slightly, so minutely that Liam was sure he wouldn’t have noticed it if Blane hadn’t specifically called out for him. He took several steps forward and suddenly Liam was practically stumbling over Blane. The other boy reached out to steady him.

“Why the hell are you standing right at the edge of the concealment zone?” Liam complained. “And why are we even in a concealment zone?”

Blane’s expression was uncharacteristically solemn. “I needed to talk to you.”

“Now?” Liam asked. He’d left his bed and his book and his relaxation time he’d forced on himself because Blane wanted to talk to him? “I see you every day.”

“This is important.”

“Important enough to-”

“Liam.” Blane hadn’t risen his voice, but the deliberateness surrounding that single word was enough to make Liam pause. “I’m serious. This is important, and I don’t want anyone overhearing.” A pause, briefly, then “can you use a muffling spell? You’re better at those than I am.”

This really was serious. Liam cast the spell quickly. The creaking branches and chirping insects were dulled -- not impossible to hear, if you were trying to, but who would be listening for two teenagers in the forest right now? Liam turned to Blane and nodded. “Ok, what’s going on?”

Blane seemed to steel himself. “Alright. So you know how we were just on summer vacation.”

“Believe it or not, I did notice that.”

“I’m trying to talk to you!” Even Blane seemed startled by the rawness in his voice. Liam opened his mouth to reply (though with what, he wasn’t sure), but Blane barreled on. “I overheard a conversation this summer, between my father and a member of the Hierarchy Party.” 

Liam’s mouth slammed shut. It wasn’t a secret that the Nightshade family had voted for the Hierarchy Party. Liam was sure that if Blane had been old enough to vote, he would have too. Whatever it was that had led Blane to call him out here in the middle of the night wasn’t good. Something had happened, but if Blane was telling him then it almost certainly had to do with specialties. “What, are people like me going to be collected or something?”

Blane bit his lip. “Nothing that simple. The party wants to...run experiments,” Blane said finally. Liam was quiet. “To see why some people don’t develop specialties, or why people develop weak ones.”

Liam shook his head before Blane even finished speaking. “The public will never go for that.”

“It doesn’t matter if the public goes for it,” Blane said. “The Hierarchy Party is in control of all branches of the government. They can pass any law they want. The president is power-hungry, he wants to make his mark on America and if he is the one to discover what makes people develop their specialties...think of how much more famous he’d be,” Blane said. He stepped closer. “They can make us have whatever specialty they want. We would have the most powerful army in the world. He would become a legend.”

“But the public outcry-”

“They’ll do it in secret first, I think,” Blane interrupted. “To test it out.”

Liam’s expression didn’t change, though his stomach churned and his heart rate briefly surged. It wasn’t as if this was a surprise, that they’d come for him. He was a rarity and known for vanishing to go practice. “So you think they’ll come and...what, kidnap people like me?”

“And they won’t just let you go after they’ve experimented on you,” Blane said. “It’s going to be...cruel. Analytical. At the end of everything, they’ll kill you to keep it quiet.”

Liam nodded jerkily. “You heard this?”

“Yes.”

“Why are you telling me this?” Liam asked finally. “You hate me, and if I just...vanish so they can’t find me, they’ll know you were the one to tell me.”

Blane shifted uncomfortably. “We don’t know that.”

“Who else would have told me?” Liam asked. “You’re the one I spend the most time with, and you would be the one most likely to know about this.” Liam lowered his voice, eyes scanning the forest around them. If the government had a plan like this, they could already be listening, especially if Liam was a target. “I still don’t understand why you’re telling me this.”

Blane frowned. “Why wouldn’t I?”

“You hate-”

“I don’t want to see you killed!” Blane’s eyes widened and the next time he spoke, his voice was nearly a whisper. “And I don’t hate you.”

Liam snorted. “That’s not the impression you give.”

Blane’s eyes flashed. “There’s a big difference between me not wanting to be forced to forgo my studies to help you and me wanting you dead, Liam. Besides, this is wrong. This isn’t just policy, this is our government murdering people. Murdering citizens.”

“I still don’t understand why you’re telling me,” Liam said, and he didn't. Even if Blane didn’t want him dead, Liam was the last person he should be talking to. “You should tell the….police, or Principal Sanders, or someone who can do something about this.”

“What are they going to do about it?” Blane demanded. “It’s the president. The entire government.”  

“But why me?” Liam insisted.

“You have got to be the biggest idiot on the face of this planet,” Blane cried. “Because I like you, you moron.”

Liam blinked at him. “Okay…”

“For the love of-” Blane stepped forward, closing the space between him and Liam in just two steps. His hands lifted and for one wild moment Liam thought Blane was going to attack him. Before he could prepare to defend himself, Blane had wrapped one of those hands around the back of his head, the other against his shoulder blade, and pressed their lips together.

Blane was kissing him. Blane Nightshade, the boy that everyone in the school wanted, was kissing him. His lips were smooth, cool from the fall air. And they were gone as quickly as they’d come. Blane pulled away and took a few steps backwards, opening a noticeable chasm of space between them.

“Oh,” was all Liam could think to say.

Blane smiled, a small, sad smile that had no business being on his face. “Yes, oh. You need to get out of here.”

“What, tonight?” Liam’s head was still spinning from kissing Blane Nightshade. That kiss was more shocking than anything Blane had told him that night.

Blane nodded, strictly business now. “Who knows when they’ll go looking for you, or for other people like you? If you’re in the school they know exactly how to get to you.”

“Principal Sanders wouldn’t let anyone be kidnapped,” Liam said.

“If she can help it.” Blane smiled at him again. Liam wasn’t used to Blane smiling at him. “This is safer. I’ll update you about what’s going on back here. But things are bad. You can feel it, can’t you? People are on edge -- you can feel it in the magic.”

That much was true. Liam could always feel the magic drifting through the air, but it had seemed heavier since he’d returned to school. Almost oppressing. “What will you do?”

“I don’t know,” Blane said. “Figure out who to tell, I guess? But in case that doesn’t work out I just wanted to make sure you got away.”

“I...thank you.” The words weren’t nearly enough. Blane was going directly against the Hierarchy Party by giving Liam this information. He was going against his parents. He could end up in a lot of trouble for this, if the government was using shady tactics like he said they were.

“You’re welcome.” The tension in Blane’s shoulders fell away. “I don’t know when or if they’re coming but I just...I think it’s going to be bad.”

It felt like a goodbye, and suddenly, Liam wasn’t ready. He’d had an entire school year to prepare to never see Blane again, and as annoying as he was, the other boy had done a lot to help Liam try to find his specialty. And now he was risking his own future, the thing he valued most, to help Liam.

Liam didn’t think before moving. He crossed to Blane, and now it was the other boy’s turn to be shocked as Liam kissed him. It wasn’t a nice kiss; it was hard, their lips mashing against each other as their teeth clinked together. But it felt good, not just because Blane was a good kisser (and of course he was), but because of something...else. Something Liam couldn’t identify yet.

When they broke apart, Blane looked absolutely shell-shocked. “Do you…?” Blane asked, leaving the question swirling half-asked in the air between them.

“I don’t know,” Liam said, completely honestly. He’d had no idea Blane felt this way and his emotions about that were all twisted up with the fear of what was going to happen next. “I’ll get back to you.”

Blane chuckled. It felt warm, after everything they’d talked about so far that night. “Fair enough. Be careful out there, okay?”

Liam nodded. “Yeah, you too.”

Liam didn’t head back towards the school immediately like Blane did. Instead, he made a beeline for the one place on the school grounds he always went to think. He slid down the rocks along the cliffside as if it were second nature, ducking inside and retreating to the back of the cave. He was soothed almost immediately by the familiar sound of waves lapping against the rocks. He should be thinking about the Hierarchy Party, their plans to experiment on people, about what he needed to do next.

Instead, he thought about the sensation of Blane’s cool lips on his, and how he would like to feel them again.

***
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Excerpt One
Excerpt Two