EVIDENTLY, HARUKI WAS ANYTHING BUT A MORNING PERSON. In restless slumber Dorian heard the clattering of objects in the bathroom. His back was stiff from sleeping against his bed, on the floor, as not to disturb Haruki. Giving your prey a sense of comfort usually works to your advantage. As annoyed as he was to be violently awoken, Dorian doused his features with relief and minor specks of concern before opening the bathroom door.

Haruki resembled a young buck, not yet fully grown, graceless and in constant need of assistance. Dorian knew him very little to be able to tell if that first impression was false. During their first and second encounter it had not quite registered in his mind that the boy with hair the colour of ink was, in fact, at least a couple of inches taller than him.

"How's our patient?"

The sound startled Haruki enough that Dorian grew worried about the floor being covered in urine. "I'm alright now. Thank you." The tremble in the boy's voice was barely audible. Luckily, body language and speech patterns were Dorian's field of expertise. "I should go now," Haruki added, zipping up his trousers with fidgeting movements.

"Jazz came over last night, told me to get you some breakfast and then join the rest of them," Dorian blatantly stated, like a bitter wife who had been disturbed in her sleep by her husband's friend. Arms crossed, hip propped to the side. A modern day David, facing Goliath in a dark alley like a sly street cat. All the while, Haruki faced him, biting his cheek. The situation was not in his control. The reins were firmly in the blond boy's hands.

Martin snored still when the young rays of sunlight from the newly born sun entered the bedroom. Haruki was frozen in time, thinking, mostly about how the light showering Dorian made him look holy. "Okay, let's do that," he mumbled. The danger of the situation did not escape him. Nor did the lack of options.

"Excellent," Dorian clapped his hands together, unapologetic in his relish of the turn of events.

                                                                                       ---

Breakfast was served in the school cafeteria, a few hours from the point in time when the two boys exited the dorm room. Dorian was pleasantly surprised when the expression of deeply engraved stress forsake Haruki and what all that was left was a stern seriousness as he motioned for him to follow. They moved like ghosts through corridors, until the appearance of a wooden door separating them from the garden. Haruki wasted no time in maneuvering his way through the bushes and towards a second door, heavier and hidden behind layers of vines. Dorian imagined himself to be King Oberon, being lead to meet his council of fairy knights.

He was gravely disappointed when Haruki presented him a Lexus. However new and shiny, cars bored Dorian more than his father's business meetings. Not to mention that he expected all of the St.Nicholas boys to have been informed about the outing when he noticed Haruki typing on his phone.

"Is this yours?" Dorian was not thoroughly interested. Haruki less so, or perhaps too busy wrestling his thoughts into submission, because his reply was barely a nod in no direction in particular. Both boys entered the car without extensive looks at each other.

"Will you get my phone for me from the cabinet?" Haruki's voice sounded dreadfully tired, almost the voice of a man, compared to his usually light and prepubescent tone. Dorian was forced to view him as a peer for once. "You have, two phones?" Another nod, more pronounced.

He did as he was bid, opening the cabinet to fish the device. His fingers felt a paper like item, which he took out to examine, ignoring Haruki's hand hovering above his thigh.

A Polaroid picture. Dorian was suprised to find out that the boys were partly hipsters. All of them were dressed in some kind of suit, apart from Jazz, who sported a coat much like the one Dorian had already seen him wearing. However hard he might have tried at that moment not to appear mesmerised,  Dorian's eyes fixated on Nazari's features.

Apart from his own appearance; his ash - blonde hair, dark blue eyes, straight small nose, plump lips and rosy cheeks, Dorian rarely felt the need to admire another person. Perhaps he had not yet met anyone worthy of admiration. Nazari was bound to change every standard the Byrne boy held for beauty in general, for the man - boy with the tiny, dark curls and skin the colour of sand in the Sahara desert looked like the flow of time pressed into a person. It almost hurt to look at him beyond a certain amount, as if he were the sun.

He put the picture back slowly when Haruki huffed an impatient breath. He placed the phone in the boy's palm, still in a kind of daze. The drive began,  and it might as well had been the longest one in Dorian's life.

"I just have to make sure," Haruki spoke, pausing after each word for half a second. "Your roommate,  he's not going to say anything about last night, is he? Because we would get in a lot-"

"No, he's not. Neither am I, if you do me a favor." The wheels were being set into motion.

"What kind of favor?"

"I need you to answer a question." Haruki glanced once in Dorian's direction.  Dorian was as  serious as a bust of a germanic prince. "You're doing drugs?"

The car came to halt on the asphalt. Fog covered every line of vision. The treetops peeked from over the clouds of density. Haruki put both his hands on the steering wheel and slowly, his head pressed against it as well. Dorian knew this state. He'd seen it before. His father, bankrupt, crying. Disgusting. At least Haruki was only breathing heavily. "You want into the club, right?"

Almost, like a glimpse of lighting, Dorian's mouth allowed a smirk. "I won't tell anyone."

Haruki chuckled, as bitter a sound as citrus fruit. "Thanks."

The engine roared to a start. No more words were exchanged. Dorian watched as the car tore through the fog, thinking, calculating, coming to the conclusion that this victory, however small, would probably lead him to the same victory emperor Nero felt while watching Rome burn.

MERCURYRead this story for FREE!