MARTIN WAS FAST ASLEEP. Dorian gazed at him in disbelief. He could swear that a moment ago his voice was still traveling in annoying vibrations around the dorm. Why is he here, Dorian?! The prefect will have our asses for bringing another student here right now.

Dorian had to admit that it was getting late. Almost midnight. But the prefect had already knocked on their door, seen Haruki sleeping and Martin reading a chapter from Assassin's Creed in sweaty discomfort. All he noticed was the smell. A mixture of sourness, and male cologne coming from Dorian hidden in the closet.

Haruki was perfectly still in his slumber. Almost dead at times. Dorian kept his fingers near the boy's wrist to check for a pulse whenever he grew extremely alarmed. Otherwise, he also remained unmoving.

It was difficult to believe that drugs were responsible for Haruki's state. Dorian was itching to press the matter, but the boy would most probably stay asleep until the first signs of dawn. Then he planned to question him.

As he sat next to the edge of his bed on the cheap carpet he pondered whether he was losing himself, just a week after leaving the place he called home. The gilded cage, so to speak.

People described him as driven, ambitious, formal and a boy with much potential, as if people lose their ability to have any kind of potential when they get older. No one has ever looked at an old man and thought to himself: "Well, that man has a lot of potential." It's always young boys. Boys like Dorian, St. Nicholas boys.

These descriptions pleased his mother. Naturally so. She was the one who sculpted the imagine of a boy made of marble for her guests, her colleagues, the members of her extended family. His father could only nod and order people around. Always barking demands.

You will study at St.Nicholas, and I expect you to become a member of their fencing club no later than your first week.

Supposedly his circle of friends knew about the club. It was a secret, a rumor. Those boys possessed god-like fame and any member could fulfill their desires later on, mostly in their professional life. Was his father growing mad after losing the family fortune? The answer was a resounding yes. But so was his mother. He had no other choice but to comply.

A knock pulled him out of the whirlwind created by his own thoughts. Three soft sounds and then a barely audible "You in there, Haruki, old sport?"

Dorian was surprised. He half expected the one they called Nazari to show up. But anyone would do, whether he was attracted to them or not. He opened the door just a crack.

"Can I help you?"

Cigarette smoke entered the room in slow-travelling swirls of grey. Dorian noticed the boy wearing a coat, no sign of the St. Nicholas crest, and a pitch black beanie made by some hipster instagram brand. Then, an oddly disorganising cane in the boy's hand. He was dark enough to disappear in the dim lighting of the hall past midnight if not for his smile. Not a threatening one. Polite with undertones of concern.

"I believe we haven't met," the boy's voice boomed. Dorian imagined every single student coming out of their dorms to check for the source of this voice. Why was he suddenly so anxious over everything? "I'm Jazz Harrison." His extended hand was almost twice the size of Dorian's. Yet again, Dorian did posses miniature features since early adolesence. "You're Dorian. I asked. Is that Haruki, the old sport, and is he sleeping like that?"

Dorian glanced backwards for what felt like an eternity. From the angle the boys stood, Haruki looked like a bloated corpse swimming in a river towards nothing. If not for the barely noticeable rising and falling of his shoulders, he could have been presumed dead.

"Yeah, he must have taken something," Dorian stated simply, in an effort to appear tolerable, maybe laid-back even, because he knew all kinds of boys. From skaters, to poets, to drug dealers and heirs to business empires. All of them had a few things in common, and Dorian concluded after hours upon hours of thinking that no person wanted to communicate with a nervous mess, an unnaccepting lover of righteousness. When someone is too much to handle and has too many rules and inhibitions, they are rarely liked by their peers and people in general. If Dorian had to be around or take drugs to become a fencing club member, he would do it.

Jazz cocked a single eyebrow for a single second. "Yeah, he sure did." And the words echoed in the hall, drifting further away from Dorian's understanding. "Do me a favor, old sport. Bring him over tomorrow, 'cause I ain't carrying him all the way to our dorm. This," Jazz pointed at his coat," creases quite easily. "

Dorian nodded, expectation filling his chest. This was it. Like Moses, he looked at the sea parting before him in Jazz's foxy smile. Opportunity was combing her golden hair, that reached Dorian's feet, ready to be grasped. "I'll probably take him to breakfast first, he's a mess."

Jazz pressed the cigarette butt to the tapestry on the wall, no doubt leaving a small burning circle. Dorian wondered if the gesture was a fire hazard, but held his tongue. He had many things to think about these boys, given that he knew them from afar and his catalogue of observations included homophobes, drug addicts and plain dangerous, in that order.

"Hey, Dorian," his thundering voice bounced off the walls once more as he was taking steps back, "Good man." His cane hit the floor once with enough force to match Jazz's voice. The boy disappeared into the darkness like a raven in human form. But the dove stood by the door, eyes hollow and body small. Dorian felt like that sometimes. Good man, weak man.

The spark of victory was only hanging onto the wood of a great fire about to consume him. A fire about the consume every single person in Dorian's way.

MERCURYRead this story for FREE!