Title from Janis Ian's At Seventeen.
Title: Call To Say Come Dance With Me
Fandom: Tanya Huff's Smoke books
Pairing: Lee/Tony (mentions of Amy/Jack and past Tony/Zev)
Word count: 3,500
Warnings: very, very brief reference to canonical drug use and underage prostitution.
Spoilers: vague spoilers for the first two books.
A/N: with massive thanks to skieswideopen and tenshinochouwa for all the Canadian info. (I asked a truly embarrassing number of questions for such a short fic.)
Call to Say Come Dance With Me
“I’m going to have to have my cell off most of the day but you call Mike if anything happens, okay?”
Tony hummed his agreement, not really listening. Like what? he wondered. The crazy woodwork teacher turning out to be a wizard from another dimension? Because that had been last term. Or the ghost of the school’s founder waking up in the basement and trying to take over the world? Because that had been last month.
“Tony?” Vicki stopped the car outside of school with more force than necessary and Tony had to take one hand off his iPod so he could slam it against the dashboard rather than sail through the windscreen.
He shook his hair out of his eyes and glared up at her. “Jesus, Victory, are you trying to kill me?”
Vicki looked at him levelly. “Yes,” she said. She reached over and pulled the ear bud out of his ear, completely ignoring his totally justified ow. “Were you listening to me?”
“Yes,” Tony said, wrapping his headphones around his iPod and stuffing it in his backpack. “Call Celluci if anything funky happens. Check.”
Vicki looked at him for a long moment, looking like she wanted to ask him how he was doing or talk about his feelings or something else that it was way too early in the morning for. Thankfully, she eventually just nodded. “Mike’s going to pick you up this afternoon,” she reminded him.
Great, Tony thought, climbing out the car and waving Vicki off. Someone always picked him up in the mornings and then drove him back to Henry’s after school. It was like they thought he was just itching for the chance to run back to the streets. Which, just no. He’d had six months of that; he wasn’t looking for any more, thank you.
Tony was running late – between living with a vampire and getting a ride to school from a PI with retinitis pigmentosa, he was pretty much always late – so he cut through the hallway by the Grade 11 lockers which usually he wouldn’t do because-.
Tony picked himself off the floor and tried not to die of embarrassment. He didn’t usually cut through that particular hallway because, whenever he did, he always managed to do something embarrassing in front of Lee Nicholas. Like, two seconds ago, when he’d just run into Lee and fallen on the ground. He hated his life.
“Woah, Tony, are you okay?” Lee’s hand was warm and strong on Tony’s elbow. Tony tried very hard not to think about that, just like he was trying very hard not to think about Lee backing him up against a wall in the deserted Home Ec kitchen and kissing Tony like he’d lost something behind Tony’s teeth. Which had happened, no matter how much Lee seemed to want to act like it hadn’t.
“I-. Yeah-. I’m-.” Come on, come on, full sentences. “Fine. I’m fine. Thank you. Um, sorry?” He made (dorky) hand movements between himself and Lee’s (very fine) self to indicate the collision that had just occurred.
Lee smiled his big, shiny white smile and shook his head. “That’s no problem, man. You sure you’re okay?” He was still touching Tony’s arm.
Tony swallowed and nodded and decided it would be safer not to attempt any further conversation.
Lee just backed up slowly, still smiling, then finally took his hand away and lifted it in a half-wave instead. “I’ll see you around,” he said and walked backwards through the double swing doors that led out to the gym block.
Tony waited ten seconds, holding his breath so that he could feel the phantom press of Lee’s fingers around his wrist throb in time with his heartbeat. Then he remembered that a) he wasn’t a swooning Disney princess and b) he was really fucking late.
“You’re late,” Amy hissed at him out of the corner of her mouth as soon as he slumped down at the desk beside her.
Tony waved a hand at her, pulled out his notebook and tried to look like he was paying attention to the board. It was math, so he really was not paying attention to the board.
Amy’s chair squeaked as she tipped it up to lean closer. “Where were you? Were you doing something with Henry?” Amy didn’t understand Tony’s relationship with Henry, which was fine because Tony didn’t understand Tony’s relationship with Henry. At least Amy didn’t know the bit about him being a vampire.
Tony copied down the equation on the board then tore the next page out of his notebook and scribbled Lee!!!
Amy took the note and quickly wrote back, You were late because of Lee?! When he looked up at her, her eyebrow was insinuating all sorts of things.
He rolled his eyes, carefully didn’t write I wish and then decided to be honest. I bumped into him… literally. He passed the note back blindly but he still knew when she’d read it because of the sudden explosion of laughter from his left.
“Honestly?” Zev asked at lunch. At least he hadn’t laughed quite as long or as loud as Amy had. “Why do you have such terrible luck with boys?”
“Hey!” Tony said, offended. “I don’t. I dated you, didn’t I?”
“True,” Zev agreed. “But then you lost me so, I repeat, terrible luck.” He tipped his head, looking smug, but he was too nice a guy to maintain smug for long and it collapsed into a smile.
Tony threw a fry at him.
Tony managed to avoid Lee for the rest of that day and well into the next. Then he made the mistake of going to the library in his free period (the library alone was a mistake, the fact that his free period happened to coincide with Lee’s was just icing on the fail cake).
Tony had kept his head down when Lee and his faithful giggly blonde shadows had come in and he’d thought they hadn’t noticed him at all until the girls had left and Lee had scooted two tables over until he was sitting at the one beside Tony’s.
“Hi,” he whispered.
Tony glanced across from under his bangs and couldn’t help smiling. Lee was sprawled forward over his table, dark bangs in his eyes and towering stack of text books at his elbow. “Hello,” Tony mouthed back. Oh yes, he was suave.
Lee smiled his rockstar smile then looked down at his textbooks and made a face. “History,” he said with a muffled groan.
Tony knew he shouldn’t do it, but he found himself turning around on his chair. “I like history,” he said quietly.
“Yeah?” Lee pushed a book toward him. “Dude. Do you know anything about the Cold War?”
Tony knew a lot about all kinds of history. Henry might think Tony was too young to sleep with or feed from, but he didn’t think he was too young to sit up half the night with talking to. "Sure," he said, "Let me see."
“Thank you,” Lee said sincerely when they were done. He pushed his hand back through his hair, looking a little bit embarrassed. “It’s not like I can’t do this shit, I just don’t see the point, you know? History’s gone.”
Not always, Tony managed not to say. “It’s cool,” he said, actually sounding something approaching cool, calm and confident. Then he knocked two of Lee’s textbooks off the table onto the floor.
Tony dove down after them and, flustered, forgot the one thing that he wasn’t supposed to do anywhere ever where anyone could see him. He used a come-to-me to get the books back into his hand. When he lifted his head, Lee was leaning down under the table too and staring at him with wide eyes.
“Did you just-?” Lee asked.
Tony shook his head and sat up. Fast. Only just managing not to give himself a concussion on the underside of the table. “No.”
“Right.” Lee had straightened up too and was still looking at Tony like he was a freak or a science experiment. Or a freak science experiment. Fuck. Fucking great. “Because that shit didn’t really happen.” The school had released a statement stating that all the kids and teachers who thought they’d seen a creepy waxy build-up being defeated by a teenaged wizard had, in fact, been hallucinating due to a gas leak. A really mean gas leak that had slit Lee’s girlfriend’s throat.
Tony nodded slowly. “Right.” One thing he’d learned was that when people saw supposedly impossible things, they were very good at convincing themselves that they hadn’t.
Lee nodded too; it was as if Tony was carrying an infectious strain of nodding-dog-itus. They hadn’t broken eye contact. Lee’s eyes were unbelievably green, one of those impossible things that Tony wouldn’t have believed if he hadn’t seen.
Then the lunch bell rang.
“I should go,” Lee said, standing up suddenly. “I need to-. I have-. The play. I have an audition."
Tony watched him go then found himself standing up and following him. He wasn’t sure if Lee was running away from him because he’d witnessed Tony doing magic or because... Well, they hadn’t really been having a moment, not honestly, there was no way. Lee was straight, which reduced his likelihood of having moments with Tony to pretty much zero.
Lee was disappearing through the doors leading down to the auditorium when Tony caught up with him. Tony hadn’t spent much time down there; the drama club weren’t exactly welcoming, but today he found himself following.
Mr Hudson, the world’s most harried drama teacher, was on him the minute he made it down the stairs. “Are you here to audition?” he asked. His bald patch was shining in the footlights.
“What?” Tony asked, “No.” The idea of getting up on stage made him feel nauseous. “I’m just here to-.”
“Good,” Mr Hudson interrupted. He thrust a clipboard in Tony’s direction. “Here. Take this. Mark off people’s names after they’ve auditioned, okay?”
“I-.” Tony blinked at him. “Yes?” He liked Mr Hudson and, anyway, at least this gave him a better excuse to be here than just creepy stalking of Lee. He made his way to an empty row and sat down in the middle, attention fixed on the stage rather than looking around to see if he could spot Lee.
There were a lot of kids auditioning. Tony wasn’t even totally sure what play they were putting on, but if it was one where none of the leads could act, then the majority of people he was watching audition were made for the part. He found himself doodling sad faces next to the really epically shitty ones before he remembered that this wasn’t actually his list to deface.
Then it was Lee’s turn.
Tony maybe forgot to breathe.
Lee was good. Tony had known he was, theoretically; Amy and Zev had told him so, but the last school play had been before Tony had joined the school and he’d never actually seen it for himself before.
He managed not to doodle a heart by Lee’s name, but only just.
Lee smiled at the end of his audition piece. It was different from the soft, lazy smiles he’d given Tony in the library and the hallway and a dozen other places where he’d caught Tony’s eye, and Tony didn’t like it quite so much but it was the kind of smile that said hi, I’m going to be a star and yeah, Tony could believe that.
Mason Reed was the last person to audition. He was the head of the drama club, had a place waiting for him at Julliard next year but Tony, privately, didn’t think he was as good as Lee. Good, sure, way above high school standard but not as good.
Tony was maybe a little biased.
“Hey you.” Mr Hudson was bearing down on Tony a little while after the auditions ended. Tony hadn’t known what to do with himself or his list so he’d just hung around. “New kid. What’s your name?”
“Tony Foster,” Tony said, holding out the clipboard. “I, uh. I kind of wrote on it a little. Sorry.”
Mr Hudson shrugged and took the clipboard back. “That’s no problem,” he said absently, running his eyes down the list. “What do these squiggles mean?”
“Uh.” Tony felt his face heat. “Um, that’s a smiley face? And that’s a sad one.”
Mr Hudson but his bottom lip like he was trying not to laugh out loud. Awesome. “So you liked Mason and Nikki and Laura and Alan. Good, good, yeah, I agree. There’s nothing next to Lee,” he observed. “How come? Didn’t you think he was good?”
“I thought he was awesome,” Tony said then tried to bite his tongue clean off. It didn’t work.
This time, Mr Hudson did laugh. “What grade are you? Ten?”
“It’s never too early to start thinking about university, kid. Theatre looks pretty good on those applications.”
University. Shit. Eight months ago, Tony had been sleeping in doorways and peddling his ass so he could afford to shoot up, and now this guy wanted him to think about university? “I don’t want to act,” he said instead of any of that.
Mr Hudson shook his head. “There’s plenty more roles than that around here. I could use some backstage help. Think about it, okay?”
Tony found himself nodding. He wasn’t having that tough a time trying to fit back into the normality of high school life, not really, but no adult beyond Vicki or Celluci or Henry had taken an interest in him in a really long time.
Mr Hudson bustled on his way and Tony was still thinking when Lee came around from backstage and stopped. “Hi,” he said, looking at Tony, “Again.”
“Yeah, hi.” Tony swung his arms before folding them across his chest. He wasn’t sure if he should mention the moment they definitely hadn’t had.
“Are you joining drama club?” Lee asked. There was nothing about his expression to tell Tony whether he’d think that was a good plan or a bad one.
“No,” Tony said reflexively, even though he was actually thinking about it.
“So you’re just stalking me then?” Lee asked and right, right he was teasing. Teasing not flirting. Definitely not flirting.
“No!” Tony said automatically and too loudly even though he was, he totally was.
“Too bad,” Lee said and Tony gaped at him while Lee’s cheeks went slowly red like he’d just realised what he’d said. Lee rubbed at the back of his neck for a long, awkward moment then walked away without another word.
“Wait,” Amy said on the phone that night. “He said ‘too bad’? He actually said that. You’re sure?”
“Um.” Tony paused to send Zev a :P via IM. Zev was being even less helpful than Amy and that was saying something. “Yes.”
“Tony, Tony, and you didn’t race after him and pin him to the nearest flat surface?” Amy demanded with all the worldliness of a girl who’d been dating Jack the Hot Mountie Cadet for a whole three weeks.
“I really-,” Tony started to say then stopped when he heard Henry’s bedroom door open. “Hey, I’ll call you back,” he said and ended the call.
Henry was standing in the middle of the living room and he was already looking up before Tony made it to the doorway. Tony looked around quickly, checking that he hadn’t left it too untidy. It looked okay to him but he knew how much Henry hated mess.
“Hey,” Tony said, lounging against the doorjam. “Sleep well?”
Henry’s eyes flickered over Tony and Tony knew he was being assessed as dinner then rejected. Being near Henry made his blood itchy but Henry wouldn’t feed from him; apparently sixteen was too young for anything more than a one-feed-stand or whatever the terminology was.
“I did, thank you,” Henry said, inclining his head. “How was your day?”
Tony shrugged. “Eh,” he said, even though it had been a better day than most. It wouldn’t do to be too enthusiastic though; people might learn to expect it.
Henry looked as though he was about to say something else but then a frown swept over his face and he tipped his head toward the door. “Someone is here to see you,” he said in a totally unnecessarily creepy and prescient way. The doorbell chimed.
“How do you know they’re here to see me?” Tony asked, glancing at the door warily.
“It’s a very nervous young man,” Henry told him. “When young men come to visit me, nerves aren’t the strongest feeling they experience.”
Tony stuck his tongue out and went to open the door.
It was Lee.
“Oh,” Tony said (idiotically). “Hi.”
Lee had his hands shoved into the pockets of his leather jacket and he didn’t exactly look nervous but Henry tended to be right about these things.
“Can I come in?” Lee asked abruptly, and right, okay, there was evidence of the nerves.
“Sure.” Tony stepped back and let him in.
“I-,” Lee started to say then stopped. When Tony turned around to see why, he found Henry right in front of Lee, staring him down.
“Henry,” Tony warned.
Lee jerked a little. “I didn’t mean to interrupt,” he said uncertainly and Tony realised that Amy wasn’t the only one who’d heard the rumours about Tony and the romance writer he lived with.
“You’re really not,” Tony told him. He put his hand on Lee’s back (and yes, he was going to relive that moment later) and pushed him past Henry. “Weren’t you going out?” he hissed at Henry.
“Was I?” Henry asked innocently. His eyes were alight with a smile. Because he was a jerk.
Inside Tony’s room, Lee looked around twice then sat down on the bed. Then he stood up. Then he sat down again.
“Are you all right?” Tony asked. He perched on the corner of his desk and enjoyed being the calm one for once.
Lee nodded quickly. “Yeah, I’m good,” he said. “I mean, things have been really fucking weird lately but.” He stopped and breathed for a while before apparently deciding what he was going to say. “My mom and my therapist keep telling me that Brenda died in a gas leak and we all had some kind of mass hallucination, but that’s not what happened, right?”
It was tempting to tell him that it was, but Tony wasn’t that much of an asshole. “No,” he said, not really sure where else to go with that sentence.
Lee drew his feet up onto the edge of the bedframe, careful to keep his shoes off the comforter. Tony hesitated, definitely not objecting to the fact that Lee seemed to be making himself at home but still a little confused by it.
“Did you want to talk?” he asked, unable to think of anything else that Lee might want from him.
“God, no,” Lee said quickly and thank god, Tony thought.
“So what did you-?” Tony started to say.
“I just wanted-,” Lee began at the same time. He stopped, laughed awkwardly and waved Tony on. “You go.”
“No.” Tony shook his head. “You can.”
Lee took a deep breath then stood up, moving closer to where Tony was leaning. “Stand up?” Lee asked. Tony stood. “I was planning on doing this,” he said and put his hand against Tony’s cheek.
Yep, Tony had officially stopped breathing. “You were planning to touch my face?” he asked hoarsely.
“Yeah,” Lee said, gaze dipping down to Tony’s mouth. “Also this.” He pulled Tony in slowly, gently, giving Tony plenty of time to object if he wanted to. Tony really didn’t want to. This kiss was nothing like the frantic one Lee had planted on him when Creighton Caulfield had been terrorising the school. This was soft and lingering, clinging, and Tony exhaled shakily, finding his hands had twisted themselves in Lee’s collar.
“So,” Lee said, laughing shakily, not as smooth as normal. “Yeah. You’re not really dating that guy out there right?” He nodded toward the door, outside which Henry was almost definitely listening. Tony didn’t care.
“I’m really not,” he promised. He felt bold all of a sudden, fearless. “You know, just in case you decided you wanted to ask me out sometime.”
Lee smiled slowly. “I’ll keep that in mind.”
Tony nodded. “I think you should.” Right now though, he moved in for another kiss.