Title: The Ladder
Word Count: 7,033
Characters/Pairings: Owen/Axel, Piper/Trickster, Meloni/Digger, Bart Allen, Thad Thawne, Billy Hong, Jerrie Rathaway, The Kents, Evan/Mark
Laziness may appear attractive
He’s at a party.
He’s at a party and the room is full of so much smoke, it’s turned into claws of smog that pick and scratch and burn at his eyes. When he blinks he can feel each eyelash against his cheek and thinks that maybe this is what it is to be high as a kite.
And there’s a girl beside him. She’s cute and her hair is too red to have come from anywhere other than a bottle, but it’s still soft and it tickles when she crawls into his lap and kisses him.
He doesn’t even know her and they’re in a room full of people, some watching them and some too busy with their own conquests to care.
She giggles and flutters her eyelashes and sighs softly when he puts his hand up her skirt and when he kisses her collarbone, she tastes like perfume and sweat and smoke and she’s not looking at him, but over his shoulder and he watches her wink and a pair of hands – a guy’s hands - appear from over his shoulders and pluck at his shirt and Owen’s not sure if he’s even alright with this, but the girl – her name is something like Alexis or Alana — is kissing him again and it pushes him back against the couch and he feels another set of lips press a smirk against his ear.
His phone buzzes against his thigh and he’s grateful that he has an excuse to push this girl to the side and jump up and leave.
He pushes his way out into the backyard and picks his way through the drunken couples until he finds a dark corner in the yard where he can sit against a wall and quietly freak out. He puts his head between his knees and sucks in a deep breath and holds it in. After a few seconds his lungs start to burn and he lets it out in a whoosh of air. He takes another deep breath and his phone buzzes in his pocket again.
He feels a little more sober. He feels a little more ready to face the world.
He checks his phone. It’s Axel.
‘harts makin us play monopoly help.’ The photo attached shows Axel pretending to cry over a pile of Monopoly money. He still has on his graduation cap. The second message reads ‘srsly come save me. Hes ranting’
Another buzz: ‘heeelllllllppppp’
Owen rolls his eyes and uses the wall to force himself off the ground. He has absolutely no idea where his keys are. He’s not sure he should even be driving.
He doesn’t ‘save’ Axel. He goes straight home and manages to drag himself up the stairs and into his bed without seeing either of his parents, or his brothers who are in town for his graduation.
He knows that he probably smells like weed and beer and cheap perfume. He should take a shower. But at this point he doesn’t care and as soon as his head hits the pillow, he’s out like a light.
He wakes up, breathless and soaked in cold sweat, at 3 a.m. and stares at the ceiling, at the pattern of glow-in-the-dark stars he and Bart had put up there when he was seven (they’d had sneak to his dad’s ladder into the house and lock Thad in the closet to keep him from telling), until his heart stops trying to pound out of his chest.
He sleeps late into the next morning. His mom pops her head in around 10:30 and tells him to get up. His thoughts are still fuzzy and his eyelids heavy and crusty and when he yawns, his mouth feels cottony and his jaw cracks. He rolls over and tugs the blankets over his pounding head.
He manages to get in another 45 minutes before she sends in Bart and he starts jumping on the bed like the overgrown five year old he really is. And singing.
Owen shouts and kicks his feet, but his sheets are knotted and double-knotted around his legs and he doesn’t do too much damage. Bart wrestles him out of bed and to the ground and uses one hand to twist his right arm behind his back and the other to tickle Owen mercilessly. Owen yelps and shouts ‘Uncle’ and continues to wiggle and kick until he rolls off.
“You’re such a baby,” Bart says and sticks his tongue out at him.
Owen glares back and Bart smacks his head and then they’re back to wrestling and Owen’s able to fight back a lot better now that he’s legs aren’t all tied up.
Bart, he finds out, is still very fond of Wet Willys.
His mom makes him French toast and eggs even though everybody else already ate breakfast and she sits with him at the kitchen table and runs her fingers through his hair while he eats.
On a normal day, he’d be embarrassed because she’s petting him, but he’d had to spend most of yesterday listening to her cry proud Mom tears and her eyes were getting misty right now, so he didn’t say anything.
After a few minutes she sniffles and stands and kisses the top of his head, before wandering out of the kitchen.
Owen grins cheekily at Thad, who’s reading a book that looks big and old and depressing, and through a mouthful of eggs says, “See, I’m her favorite.”
Thad throws an apple at his head without even looking up.
Thad barges into his room, “Hey, Owen, your girlfriend’s at the door again.” He tosses a Combo at Owen’s head.
Owen doesn’t move from his spot on the floor. “Axel is not my girlfriend. And tell him I’m sick or something.” He turns back to his game and listens to Thad stomp down the stairs and very loudly declare, “The Princess is sleeping. You’ll have to come back later.”
His mom tosses a pair of balled up socks at his head.
It takes him a minute to register the fact that she just threw a pair of balled up socks at his head because he’s so caught up in Rubí.1
“I thought you didn’t mind if I borrowed your soap DVDs?” She could say something, instead of throwing things at him. She didn’t have to be rude about it. She doesn’t even speak Spanish.
She huffs and tosses a shirt back into the laundry basket at her feet. Was he supposed to be helping her with that? “It’s been three days, Owen. Go outside and play. Stop moping around.”
Owen stares at her. What happened to being the Proud Mommy who wanted to pet him and cuddle him and got all misty eyed and stuff? Wait.
“Play?” He’s not five.
“Get out of my house!”
She tosses another sockball at him. It bounces off his nose and into his lap. He stares at it.
She gives him the Look and he pushes himself off the couch and stumbles outside into the sunlight.
He blinks. It’s really bright. He doesn’t like it.
“Can I come back in now?”
She slams the door in his face.
The problem is: Owen’s not even sure why he’s feeling so depressed.
He just… is.
Axel is sitting on the edge of the sidewalk. He’s still wearing his graduation cap (he probably hasn’t taken it off since he first put it on his head, Hartley and James were a lot more proud of Axel than Owen’s parents were of him) and he’s got his feet kicked up on his skateboard, rolling them back and forth in front of him. He’s playing some game that sounds magic-y.
Owen plops down beside him. “I’m depressed.”
Axel looks up and shrugs. “Mr. Mardon had a fight with Evan today.” And it’s funny that they both think of him as Mr. Mardon now. “There were papers everywhere.”2
Owen isn’t sure that has anything to do with his depression, but he’ll take it. “My mom told me to go outside and play.” He’s still kind of offended about that.
Axel sniffs again and shifts just the tiniest fraction of an inch away from Owen.
Owen blinks. “Are you mad at me?” And yeah, okay. Owen realizes that he completely ditched his bro to go to a party thrown by some guy neither of them knew and then left him to play Monopoly with his family all alone like a loser and then disappeared into his house for three days, but… okay so he can’t really come up with anything to redeem that.
Axel glances at him out of the corner of his eye. Owen’s not really good with feelings and he’s terrible at talking about them, just ask his last three girlfriends. So he shrugs at Axel and asks him if he’s hungry.
Buying Axel food is a lot more effective than trying to apologize.
He’ll take a good burger in exchange for talking about feelings any day.
They hit the dollar theatre downtown and they’ve managed to sit through about half of Thelma and Louise before they get kicked out for talking.
Owen guesses that it’s kind of hard to enjoy a movie when two teenage boys are making fun of it and tossing popcorn at the back of your head.
Axel makes some stupid joke about going on their own road trip, but it’s kind of lost in all the giggling they’re doing.
The problem is: Owen takes that stupid joke very literally.
Axel gives him an Eyebrow that is all Hartley. “You’re joking, right?”
“Do you have clean underwear?”
Owen pauses. His mother is smirking at him beneath her hand and he knows now that she’s been fucking with him for at least five minutes. Her shoulders are shaking and she snorts and ducks out of his bedroom.
“I hate you!”
His dad is still lounging on the end of his bed. He looks serious, so Owen stops tossing stuff in his duffle and plops down next to him, so that his can pull him into one of his one-armed bear hugs and give him a noogie.
Then he starts talking about growing up and what it means to be a man and Owen mournfully looks at the open door of his bedroom and silently pleads for his mother to come back and save him.
Hartley is doing that thing where he gets worried and starts grooming people. Axel scowls at him, but it’s kind of hard to take it seriously when he’s got Jerrie wrapped around him and Billy is sitting on the couch making a list of things he’s going to take while Axel’s gone. James is making concerned faces.
Owen’s pretty sure the concerned faces are for show until James actually hugs Axel in this over-the-top move where he gathers Axel into his arms and tries to squeeze the life out of him.
The Knack of Seeing
Axel smacks his dashboard. “Have I mentioned how much I hate your car lately?”
Owen glares at him. His car may be an ugly, out dated station wagon with wood paneling on the sides, but damn it, it was his ugly, out dated station wagon with wood paneling on the sides.3
“Shut up or I’ll make you walk.”
“Let’s drive to Alaska!”
They pull off the freeway around six and barrel into a Mickey D’s that has seen much better days.
They order half the menu and Axel passes over the Card. (Which is really just a normal debit card, except for how it belongs to Hartley who told them to go crazy and, also, has Owen mentioned that Hartley Rathaway is secretly one rich motherfucker? Because yeah.)
And because they ordered way too much but a side effect of their new freedom is apparently starving no one objects when Axel gets the bright idea to revisit the Play Place. Owen finds himself kicking his shoes off and joining him.
But only because he took the food with him. Obviously.
He pushes Axel out of the way and crawls over him. As it turns out, Play Place’s aren’t made for people their size and Owen has to curl his legs under himself at a really awkward angle, while Axel curves his back into a shape that should be impossible for anyone with a spine.
Owen is only halfway through his third burger when the doors to the Play Place enclosure burst open and five blonde, screaming children shoot through and start bouncing off the walls.
Still, everything’s okay until one little girl wants to crawl through their tube.
“Hey! You gotta move.” She probably no more than five. She reminds Owen of Sasha. “I wanna play.”
Axel gives her a dirty look. “Beat it, kid.” He takes a big bite of his Number 7.
She pouts and then all hell breaks loose and she starts punching Axel. “Get out! Get out! You’re too big to play in here anyway!” Axel puts his arms up to block her, “Hey! Stop- stop hitting me!” and manages to smear his sandwich in her hair.
One of her brothers, a mean gonna-grow-up-to-be-a-serial-killer-looking kid, shows up on the other side of the tube and proceeds to fucking wale on Owen with not only his tiny fists but his feet and head. At this point they’re both trying to decide how bad it would be punch a little kid if viciously attacked first.
Axel is shouting filthy words at the little girl and when he calls her a bitch, she stops hitting him.
Owen sighs in relief, as her brother pauses to watch her reaction.
Then she starts crying and screaming.
“We just got kicked out of a McDonalds.”
“…yeah.” Axel has the decency to pretend to look a little sheepish.
“You just got us kicked out of a McDonalds.”
Owen has never laughed so hard in his life.
“How do you even get kicked out of a McDonalds?” Bart asks over the phone.
Owen chuckles. “You cuss out little kids.”
Axel leans over the back of his seat to belch into the phone. Owen throws it at him.
They’ve been sleeping in Owen’s car for three days and his back muscles are solid. When he sits up, his bones crack ominously.
He winces when Axel begins to systematically crack every bone in his body.
They stop in another one of the little Podunk towns off the freeway and drive around until they find a motel with a restaurant damn near attached to its side.
Axel gets blueberry pancakes and Owen asks for two orders of French toast and they get coffee, even though Axel hates coffee and they’re planning on finding a room as soon as possible.
As soon as they get a room in the nearest motel, Axel locks himself in the bathroom for some “Private Time”. He’s loud and Owen is very studiously not listening to him while he lies in his bed with a large pillow over his head and the TV turned up at high as it can go.
He’s been sleeping in a car for three days. He’s going to sleep, damn it, and no one and nothing can stop him.
Axel moans and Owen gasps into his pillow.
He turns down the TV just a little bit and when he slips his hand into his pants, he tries very hard not to think about the implications of what he’s doing.
In the bathroom, Axel whines.
Owen wakes up with toothpaste all over his face and hand. Axel is hanging innocently over the side of his bed.
“I think all the blood’s rushing to my head,” he groans.
Owen kicks him in the head. “Then sit up, asshole.”
Axel sticks his tongue out at him and then lets out a big sigh, “…but I don’t feel like it.” He rolls over onto his stomach and makes a sound that’s a cross between a dying seal and a foghorn. “I’m bored. Let’s go cause property damage.”
Rule Number Three of Road Trips: Do not cause property damage in strange, Podunk towns off the freeway. You will regret it.
Owen slides down further in his seat. “Axel, I swear to god, if you don’t turn this off and stop singing, I’m going to murder you.” He lifts his sunglasses onto his head. “Axel, I’m serious. She’s fucking annoying. Turn it off.”
“I wish, I wish, I wish, I wish, I wish, I wish
a bitch woooooooooooooooooould~”
“Alright! Geez. There. It’s off.”
Owen sighs and reaches into the glove box to rifle through his CD collection. “Here, put this in.”
Axel makes a face. “No way!” He pushes Owen’s hand away from the radio.
“If I can’t listen to Nicki, you can’t listen to your faggy, emo crap!”
“It’s not faggy, emo crap, you little termite! This is real music! It has meaning!”
“Ooh, I’m Owen and I have feeeeelings~! Nobody understand meee~! Wahwahwah~!”
“You’re going to make us crash! Get both hands on the wheel!”
“Take it back!”
“You heard me.”
“…I take it back.”
“Just. Turn on the radio or something.”
‘Yeah, I used to give a damn; I used to try real hard.
But I’ll give in tonight, chances are.’
“What is this?”
Owen frowns. “It’s… country music.”
“Why is he saying ‘chances are’ like that?”
“…will you just turn it- are you dancing?”
“Dance with me, Owen! Look! No hands!”
“What are you doing?! Put your hands back on the wheel!”
It doesn’t surprise Owen when they crash.
Axel kicks the tree currently embedded in Owen’s car. “Um? Heh.”
Owen sighs and puts his head in his hands. “…I told you to keep your hands on the wheel.”
They’ve been sitting in the car waiting for someone to drive by for over three hours now.
Axel peeks up over the seat and peers down at Owen’s head. “Hey. Owen?”
“No.” Owen refuses to open his eyes.
Axel rubs his chin against the seat. “No, I just wanted to say that I’m, um, sorry for, y’know.” He raises his eyebrows and widens his eyes.
“Not listening? Being a prick? Existing?”
Axel gives him a dirty look. Owen tilts his head up and grins at him.
“You have terrible taste in music.”
An hour later, someone finally drives up the road in an old pick-up.
“Hey, you okay down there?”
Owen could cry with joy.
As it turns out, all of the Kents are really nice. It’s like stepping into the Twilight Zone.
Mrs. Kent (“Call me ‘Ma’, boys!”) makes the best apple pie they’ve ever tasted and she insists on seconds and thirds, which fine by them considering they haven’t eaten in twelve hours.
And then there’s Kara.
Kara is… fucking hot. Kara has big blue eyes and soft blonde hair and she smiles up at Owen and flutters her eyelashes and stares at him when she thinks he can’t see her and chews on the end of her pens and Kara. Kara is fucking jailbait and Owen is not prepared for this at all.
Not when she leans against her elbows on the porch railing besides him and tilts her head back and grins and tosses her hair and lets the wind pick it up, so it brushes against his arm and her shirt’s unbuttoned enough that he can see the lace of her bra and, and she fucking knows exactly what she’s doing and he can tell that she thinks it’s funny and maybe that makes him a little angry, just enough to kiss her, because this, he, is not a fucking joke.
And he knows that maybe it’s a little cruel to kiss her like this, to call her on her bluff and lean down and swallow her words and trap her in his arms and bite and when he pushes himself against her, she gasps and pulls back and she looks young (and she’s not that young, but she is) and like she gets it, finally. And when she says, “It was just a joke” like she’s going to cry or possibly punch him in the fucking face (and he deserves that, he really does), Owen doesn’t really know what’s happening anymore, so he tucks her hair behind her ear and kisses her forehead and steps back and away and she crosses one leg over the other and then crosses her arms, too.
“You’re kind of a dick.”
He knows. Fuck.
Axel isn’t talking to him again.
He didn’t notice at first, mainly because he was busy worrying that Kara was still going to be pissed off at him, because he likes her even if he can’t figure out whether or not he wants her. (Which is a lie, he knows, just like he knows he wants to keep his body from being ripped apart by her cousins, Hulk and Hulk Jr.)
But Axel hasn’t said a word to him all day, unless his ‘Mm’ in response to Owen asking him if he wanted anything at the general store could be considered a word. (Owen doesn’t think it can.)
Kara gives him a look over her magazine. “You’re thinking too loudly.”
“Sorry.” Owen knocks the bottom of the coffee table.
“Is it because Axel is mad at you?”
Owen blows a raspberry at the air and rolls his forehead against the table. “Yeah. Is it that obvious?”
She doesn’t answer, but when he looks up she shrugs and turns the page.
“Why do you think he’s pissed?”
She sighs and gives him another look, “How should I know? He’s your friend.”
“That doesn’t mean I understand what’s going on in his head!”
She turns the page again.
Eventually, she gets tired of Owen’s moping and leaves him to brood in peace.
He doesn’t feel particularly peaceful.
And he definitely doesn’t feel better.
He finds Axel in the barn loft, ripping up little pieces of straw.
Axel peers down at him. “Hi.”
“What are you doing in here?”
“Ma’s knitting. I didn’t want to deal with anymore yarn.”
“Oh.” Owen shoves his hands in his pockets. “Um. You’re pissed at me.”
Axel doesn’t say anything; Owen’s not sure he even heard.
“Can I, uh. Come. Up?”
Axel glares and Owen feels prickly and awkward, but he climbs up and sprawls out next to him anyway.
“Why are you pissed at me?”
Axel sighs, “Because you’re an idiot.” He’s not glaring quite as hard anymore, but he looks… sad.
Owen wants to laugh, to grin and make a joke and alleviate all the weird tension and he doesn’t even fucking know why Axel is mad because he didn’t do anything and now he just wants to hit the little jerk who’s just looking at him with these big eyes and Owen wants to know what the fuck gave Axel the right to look so hurt and alone when Owen is right fucking here.
“I’ve always been an idiot, Ax.”
“I wish you’d stop.”
Owen closes his eyes and breathes deeply. It smells like… barn. Not necessarily unpleasant, but very… hay-y. “Could you at least tell me why you’re pissed at me?” He wishes Axel would stop having so many feelings, so that he didn’t have to talk about them.
Owen opens his eyes, “Why the fuck not?”
“’Cause it’s stupid.” Axel isn’t looking at him, he’s looking up and away and Owen is pretty sure Axel’s gone somewhere he can’t follow right now and isn’t that just the truth with everyone.
I can’t read your mind, he wants to say, I wish I could, but I don’t know how, could you teach me?
(Sometimes he feels like Axel’s flying away and he’s stuck to the ground and it really fucking sucks and Owen doesn’t like to think about it too much because that means he has to acknowledge it.)
He pushes up on his elbows and rubs his left eye tiredly, “Look, could you just stop, please? Would it help if I said ‘I’m sorry’?”
Axel shakes his head and he’s got his chin on his knees now and he looks little when he does that and Owen hates that because Axel is anything but little and Owen shouldn’t feel like he needs to hide him away and protect him and he’s pretty sure those aren’t normal best friend feelings, but he wouldn’t know considering he’s only got the one.
Axel blinks at him and he looks tired. “You’re really fucking stupid, Owen.” And then he smiles and even though it doesn’t reach his eyes and it doesn’t look right on his face, Owen lets it go, because somewhere in that hard head of his Axel is dealing with a lot of hurt and Owen doesn’t know how to fix it.
He smiles back and knows it doesn’t look any more real.
Mike down at the auto shop calls early in the morning to inform Owen that his car’s ready to roll again. Well, technically he informs Kon and Kon yells the information loud enough for the whole house to hear, but it’s the same thing really.
The point is: Owen’s baby has risen from her not-so-eternal sleep and they’ll be saying good-bye to Kent farm by noon. Ma is insisting they take food with them and Axel is gladly putting everything she offers in a picnic basket like the little mooch he is.
Owen’s taking their clothes down off the line and folding them into neat little squares for their suitcases. All in all, it’s not a bad way to spend the morning. Especially since he can see Kara and her tiny shorts tossing sticks for the dog perfectly from this spot.
“Did you know that if you stare at woman’s rear end for too long, you can lose your eyes?”
Owen stares up at Clark Kent and the glasses make him want to make some sort of joke to the effect of, “Is that what happened to you?” but he’s not a complete idiot.
Owen’s not sure what to say. “Uh.” Nice one.
Clark smiles at him and damn if it isn’t the biggest, brightest smile Owen’s ever seen. “I’m glad you understand, Owen,” he says and he sounds completely good-natured, even as he’s clapping Owen on the shoulder hard enough to practically dislocate the damn thing. And then he walks away and climbs onto the fucking tractor. Like nothing happened.
What the… what the fuck.
By the time they’ve loaded up the car, Owen is more than ready to go. Clark is practically burning holes into his head with his glares and Kon keeps laughing like he knows why.
Ma hugs them both and ruffles Owen’s hair. He really does like her and he means it when he promises to come back and visit sometime. (Even if her son wants to murder him and is probably secretly a serial killer.) Kon punches them both in the shoulder, presumably because that’s how the cool kids say good-bye. Clark shakes Axel’s hand, but when he’s saying his good-byes to Owen, he just puts a hand on Owen’s aching shoulder and makes vaguely threatening comments.
Owen almost has a heart attack when Kara hugs him and then kisses his cheek. He’s going to die. He climbs into the car as fast as he can and actually reaches over to yank Axel into the seat when he doesn’t get in fast enough.
He can see Kon cracking up as they pull off.
Axel is leaning on his bad shoulder and saying his name over and over in various pitches. Right now he sounds like a ghost. “Ooooooooooowwwwweeeeeeeeeeen~” When Owen doesn’t answer, he takes a deep breath and does it again.
“What do you want.”
Axel sits up. “Where are we going?” Axel breathes against the window and draws a smiley face in the fog.
“Nowhere,” Owen answers. Just like my life, he thinks, Wow. I need to stop with all those soaps.
Axel looks confused. “Nowhere? We’re going nowhere?”
“Yes. That’s the point.”
Axel scowls at him. “Owen. That is the stupidest thing I have ever heard.” He wipes the window clean with the cuff of the sweater Ma knit him.
Owen frowns, feeling defensive. “Look, you agreed to come on this stupid road trip with me. We are discovering America, okay? Now shut up and look at the wonderful scenic view.” Idiot.
Axel snerks and goes back to drawing smiley faces on the window.
Unfortunately, nowhere does include shitty motel rooms with even shittier cable.
Still, it’s better than sleeping in the car.
Owen puts his head on a pillow at the end of the bed and channel surfs.
Axel is lying over his back, flipping through a book of crossword puzzles he found in the bedside table. “What’s an eleven letter word for fear?” he asks, squinting up at Owen.
“Fuck if I know,” Owen answers.
Axel scribbles on the page. “It fits!”
Owen rolls his eyes. “Get off of me, will you? I can’t breathe.” He manages to hit him in the head with the remote.
Axel huffs and pushes himself up onto his elbows and plops down next to him, holding the book in front of his face and scribbling into the boxes every so often. Owen continues to flick through the channels and eventually stops on a Spanish soap because he can.
It takes exactly point two seconds for Axel to notice. “What is this.”
Owen doesn’t look away from the screen because he knows he’s blushing and if he looks at Axel it’s going to get worse. “It’s a soap opera.” He’s not hiding his face in the pillow. He’s not.
Axel turns over onto his stomach and puts his chin on his arms. “They… aren’t speaking English.”
Owen snorts. “It’s a Spanish soap opera,” he clarifies. As if it wasn’t obvious.
Axel tilts his head to the side. “You don’t speak Spanish, though?”
“I can still follow the story. Like, that lady’s husband is in a coma and she’s sleeping with his brother who’s married to that lady who is the reason the first lady—”
Axel pokes him in the head. “You’re weird, Owen.”
“Whatever. Shut up.”
Axel tugs the pillow over so that they’re sharing it and it’s kind of awkward, but it’s kind of nice to just relax and watch TV.
A few minutes later, Axel speaks up again. “So… why exactly do you want to go nowhere?”
Owen sighs, “Axel…” He doesn’t want to talk about this.
“No, seriously!” Axel gives him a look that Owen assumes means he’s being serious. “I mean, if you’re gonna go somewhere, you might as well go somewhere, y’know?” Serious looks very weird on Axel’s face. “Instead of nowhere. I mean, nowhere. That sounds kinda boring, doesn’t it?” Owen is pretty sure he’s staring too hard. “In fact, let’s not even stop at somewhere! Let’s go Everywhere! I mean, that sounds better, right? Than, y’know. Nowhere.”
Owen grins at him, “Alright. Everywhere it is.”
“Everywhere doesn’t include the World’s Largest Ball of Yarn, okay?”
Owen laughs and he isn’t really thinking when he says, “Does Everywhere include kissing?”
Axel gives him a look. But really it’s more of a Look.
Owen’s trying to decipher whether this particular capital-L-Look means ‘yes’ or ‘you just irreparably damaged our friendship’ when Axel leans over and tries to kiss him.
Tries, because he misses and kisses the side of Owen’s nose due to the fact that they’re still lying down and Owen still has his chin tucked into the pillow.
“Dude,” Owen says, because there’s really not much else you can say when your best friend slobbers all over your nose. He pushes Axel away and sits up “Hold on.” He grabs Axel’s head in both heads and tilts it to the right angle. Axel gives him a lopsided smile and leans in again and this time it’s an actual kiss, even though Axel’s lips are chapped and Owen kisses back a little too hard. Plus, he’s still holding onto Axel’s head, which is kind of weird and awkward, so he drops one and curls the other into Axel’s hair.
Axel laughs and licks his lips. So, Owen kisses him again to shut him up and the added incentive makes this kiss a lot better than the first. Axel grabs his shoulders and this time Owen feels comfortable enough to try biting him and Axel’s breath actually hitches and he pushes Owen back far enough that Owen starts to worry that they’re going to fall off the tiny bed.
Axel’s lips slide from Owen’s mouth to his cheek and he laughs against Owen’s neck when Owen says, “Jesus, why is your hair so soft?” So, Owen yanks him back up and kisses him again and Axel hums when Owen slides his tongue into his mouth. Though it’s less of a slide and more of… something not at all graceful, but Axel seems to like it well enough and when he sucks on Owen’s tongue, they do fall off the bed.
“Nice going, asshole.”
“Shut up and take off your pants.”
Owen’s not exactly sure when it was he officially became naked, but he can’t say he minds because it means Axel’s naked, too, and Owen definitely supports any action that leads to Axel being sans clothing right now.
For such a skinny little brat, Axel is the owner of a great body and Owen is just happy he gets to see this and, better yet, touch.
Axel pushes him back into the pillows and he’s back to sucking hickies onto Owen’s neck that feel like they’re going to last for days and Owen is mainly concerned with touching every part of Axel’s body he can reach, which isn’t very much actually considering he won’t stop moving.
“Wait,” Owen says and tries to roll them over.
Axel pushes him back down. “No way, dude,” he says. “I’m not riding bitch.”
Owen scowls at him. “Well, neither am I!”
Axel scowls back.
Owen rolls his eyes and sighs. “Here, then.” He spits into his hand and reaches down to grab Axel’s dick, which makes Axel yelp. Their heads knock together and Axel glares at him.
“Be careful with that! God, it’s like you’ve never had sex before.”
Owen frowns, “Yeah, well, usually it involved less dicks.”
Axel rolls his eyes and says, “Let me show you, idiot.”
And when he palms Owen’s cock there is honestly no complaint Owen can make, especially when he gathers them both into one hand and Owen’s pretty sure he’s going into shock because Axel’s cock is hard and hot and that is way hotter than it should be. Or maybe not, considering the circumstances.
And when Axel twists his wrist like that, Owen knows he’s never going to complain about anything Axel does ever again.
Axel is watching his face a little too intently to be comfortable and he’s not saying anything and it’s driving Owen insane, so he blurts out the first thing that comes to mind, “Have you done this before or something?”
Axel grins at him, “Wouldn’t you like to know?” And yeah, actually, Owen would like to know where the hell Axel learned this shit because he needs to thank whoever it was.
But he shuts up and focuses instead on tracing the muscles on Axel’s back and trying not to moan too loudly.
Above him Axel sighs and leans down to kiss him again.
This is nice, Owen thinks, he could definitely get used to this.
Axel laughs, “Owen, you think too much.” And then he thrusts and swipes his thumb over the head of Owen’s cock just so and Owen is too busy coming harder than he ever has in his life to think.
When he manages to regain thought processes, he is covered in cum and Axel has collapsed on his chest.
“Wow,” he says.
Axel nods in agreement.
Owen really wants a shower, but he’s not sure he can walk right now.
Owen’s been awake for exactly two minutes and he’s freaking out.
Partially because he knows he had sex with his best friend last night (more than once) and partially because that best friend is currently in the shower which means he’s completely naked.
He’s not sure if they’re supposed to never talk about it again or if they’re supposed to be in love now or some shit. He’s not sure why Axel needs another shower considering it’s only been a few hours since they took one together.
What he is sure of is that Axel is currently naked less than ten feet away and Owen would really like to see him naked again.
He stays perfectly still when the bathroom door opens and pretends to be asleep.
Axel drops his towel on Owen’s head. “I know you’re awake. Let’s go. I’m hungry.”
“You’re always hungry,” Owen grumbles, tossing the wet towel back at him.
Axel rolls his eyes and peers through the blinds. “I’m a growing boy. I need sustenance.” He throws himself down on the bed next to Owen who’s turned over and pulled the comforter back over his head. “Come on. I’m starving.” He pulls the blanket away from Owen’s head and plants a sloppy kiss on his cheek.
“Alright, fine, just stop slobbering all over me. It’s gross.”
Axel beams at him.
“I can’t believe you had sex with Axel,” Thad crows.
Owen frowns. “How do you know about that?”
“James told Mom yesterday and she dropped his casserole dish. It was a huge mess. I’m pretty sure everyone on the block knows by now.”
Bart’s voice pipes up in the background, “Is that Owen? Lemme talk—“
“No way!” Thad says and Owen listens to them fight for a few minutes before he hangs up.
Axel is still inside the gas station by the time Owen’s finished pumping the gas, so he just climbs back into the driver’s seat and stares at the steering wheel.
Well. That’s embarrassing.
Owen’s never before experienced the beauty of a blow job while driving, but he’s pretty sure it’s not something he should ever experience again if he wants to continue living.
Still, the fear for his life was worth the great orgasm and the little smirk Axel gave him after.
His mom has left exactly twenty seven voicemail messages on his cell, telling him to come home before Owen actually decides to turn the wagon around and head back.
Axel thinks it’s funny. Owen’s pretty sure his mom is going to murder him the minute he sets foot back in town.
His mom doesn’t kill him, but she does slap him and then nearly hug him to death.
“I missed you,” she gushes. “Why didn’t you tell me you boys were going on a romantic trip?”
Owen wants to laugh, because ‘romantic trip’ is the worst moniker he could give the past few weeks, but hugs her back. “Sorry, mom. I’ll warn you next time.”
She hits him again. “You better.”
Owen’s hanging over the fence watching Mr. Mardon and Evan fight for the third time this week when Axel comes up behind him and slaps his ass.
“Hey, hot stuff!”
Owen snorts and smacks him in the head. “Hands to yourself.”
Axel leans against the fence next to him and wiggles his eyebrows, “That’s not what you were sayin’ last night.” Owen laughs and Axel points at the two men who are still arguing in Sam’s lawn. “Do you think we’ll ever be deliriously happy as those two lovebirds?”
Owen grins back, “I hope not.”
We’re Trying to Go to the Moon
Bart is picking through his video games. “I’m taking these,” he says, waving two cases in Owen’s face.
Owen sighs, “Don’t you have better things to do than steal from me?”
Bart pouts. “It’s not stealing if you plan on giving it back!” He pounces on Owen and traps his head under his arm, giving him a noogie. “Are you gonna miss us when you go off to have zany college adventures?”
Owen pushes at his arm, trying to get free. “Not really, bro. Besides, it’s not like I’m actually going anywhere. I’ll only be a few hours away.”
Bart releases him. “I should’ve done that. Then I wouldn’t have to travel cross country for mom’s cooking.” He pats his stomach wistfully. “I’m going to miss her so much.”
Owen elbows him. “She’s glad you guys are so far away. She’s always complaining about how you try to eat us out of house and home.” He snickers at the scowl on Bart’s face.
“Hey, shut up!” Bart elbows him back and before he knows it, they’re wrestling again.
Old habits die hard.
Owen’s kind of glad to be home. Even if he didn’t get to see the World’s Largest Ball of Yarn or discover his true passion in life.
It’s okay. He’s still got time before he has to decide.
Owen takes down the old Flying Jesses’ poster off Axel’s wall and rolls it into a tight cylinder.
“It looks so weird in here,” he says. Axel looks up from where he’s been “taking a break” for the past half hour, which really amounts to lying on his bed and reading comic books and drinking an entire box of CapriSuns.
“Yeah,” he agrees. “It’s really… empty.”
Owen stretches across the bed next to him.
“Are you gonna miss me?” he teased, ruffling Axel’s hair.
Axel slaps his hands away and scowls. “No.”
“Liar.” He reaches over to give Axel a one-armed hug. “It’s weird to think I’m not going to be able to see you every day.”
Axel shrugs. “I guess.” He doesn’t want to talk about it anymore than Owen does.
Knowing they’d be across the country from each other hadn’t been such a big deal before they’d started having feelings for each other.
Owen ruffles his hair again. “Okay,” he says. “No more breaks. Back to packing.”
Axel sighs, but he does get up and start tossing his shit in boxes, which is better than nothing.
“I hate you so much,” he mumbles.
Owen kisses his cheek. “Nah.”
Hannah, Kennedy, and Tyrnie for always being there during the past six months to bounce ideas off of and bully me into writing. Thank you guys so much! (Also, I didn’t get any of you birthday presents. So, happy late birthday!)
1. Actual Spanish soap opera that actually exists.
2. Mark taught Owen and Axel’s AP Lit class, hence the formality.
3. This lovely thing.
I hope you all enjoyed this! I worked very hard on it and it could a lot of work and forcing myself to write, despite my own complaints.