t w e n t y - s i x

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If you wait until you're ready,

You'll be waiting for the rest of your life

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The searing pain that burrowed into the boy's flesh blurred his vision and made him gasp, acting on his first impulse to remove the shirt from his skin. Without a second thought nor knowledge of what he was doing, he shot out of the booth, rushing off to the bathroom. Face flushing with colour, his eyes filled with tears as the scorching pain doubled, clawing at the skin once the coffee bored through, scalding the flesh of his abdomen until it flaunted a crimson colour. He quickly swiped away the tears and rubbed his eyes so he could smear his fingertips with water to put on the burn, but the pain only intensified.

Crying, A soiled shirt, burning skin; how could the day get any worse? And why him, of all person? Why did he have to be humiliated right before Xander, the first time they went out? Without a doubt, Xander was then in his car, starting it up and blazing down the street back home. No one would ever stay after Sage put them in such an embarrassing situation.

Using his fingers, he rubbed more water over the affected area, but that only irritated the skin, the red deepening.


Sage quickly pulled down his shirt, rubbing his sleeves to dry his teary eyes. "I-I was just-" a small mewl slipped past his lips at a sharp pain that pulsated through his skin at that moment. "I-I ... fine..." suddenly, he became hyperaware of Xander's presence next to him. Why was he there? He could have easily used the opportunity to escape and ditch him, but yet, he didn't.

"Let me see." the senior close to demanded. Sage flinched at Xander's cold touch and jumped away. His eyes were wide, afraid, lips trembling. Was he really to take off his shirt and show such an unattractive body part? No way! But Xander was persistent. "Sage."


Xander cut him off. "Don't care." he caught hold of the Sage's shirt, ignoring how ditzy he behaved and tugged it up to be graced with the skin of his stomach. Sage gasped, but Xander ignored that, too. "Fuck," he muttered as he perused the area of redness. "Looks like a second-degree burn, yeah?"

A shock shot through Sage's body in response to Xander's fingertips brushing across his skin, and a foreign feeling rocked his body, making him react in more ways than the goosebumps layering his skin. His breathing slurred, uneven. "X-Xander." he whimpered. Xander said nothing. He brought a handkerchief from the pocket of his hoodie, soaking it with some soap from the nearby receptacle and water from the pipe then lathering the red area with soap. Sage jumped at the abrupt coldness, but did nothing to move away. Once Xander had finished washing it, he laid the still wet section of the cloth across his the affected area.

"I-It's - it's ... Xander ..."

"Better now?" Xander asked, looking him directly in the eyes.

Sage nodded, a blush appearing on his cheeks as he immediately looked away. "Y-yes. It's peachy now!" it was a lie, but Sage couldn't handle Xander being like that with him. The Xander that punched him and slammed him into walls was anything but gentle and sweet.

Xander flicked his nose. "Liar."

"Xander!" Sage automatically yelled, hands shooting up to defend his nose. "It still hurts. A little." he admitted. In his vulnerable state, Xander took the chance to push his hips back, against the counter. Despite how skinny and weakened Xander was, he was still able to lift Sage to drop him on a dry space of the surface behind him. Wetting the cloth again, he resumed pressing it to the skin. The pain was slowly alleviating, But Sage's anxiety began sparking at their proximity. For some reason, it felt ... intimate.

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