Acceptance

by adrian.dakota

First of the Alpha Series. What an original name.

 

Acceptance

March 26, 2011. Present Time.
Leo turned down the final corner to where he knew Austin would be.
A pale, haunted young man, his sharp features darkened as a cloud passed over the sky. There was something in those bright, dark eyes – perhaps it was the daunting look that they produced, or the uncomfortable feeling that this person knew too much about them. His black hair came low over his eyes, hiding the brilliance within.
“Hello, Austin?”
A young boy looked up. His flattened, black hair was billowing about in the wind slightly, but other than that, no part of him was different. Leo eyed him closely. The same brown eyes were looking up at him intelligently, the same round face that peered towards him… yes, nothing was different.
They were alone in the end of the school complex. A garden took up most of the space in this corner, between the two walls of fences. It had the slightly unhealthy look of being undertreated, but Leo knew that a bunch of enthusiastic students that took care of it. The ground here was hard and blue – tiled white and blue, really – and was scrubbed spotlessly clean. Trees dominated most of the sky, and further down, a couple of portable rooms housed the technicians within the school premises.
“Leo?”
Leo didn’t even know what to say. He had expected this, but he wasn’t prepared for it. At all.
“Leo?”
Leo opened his mouth, then closed it again.
“Are you feeling all right?”
“Yes, yes, I’m fine,” said Leo unconvincingly.
Austin wasn’t put off. “Why, what happened?”
Leo sat down next to him and just stared at the other boy’s face.
“Leo, are you okay?”
Leo dipped his head forwards for a brief second. Their lips touched.
“What the hell are you doing?” demanded Austin, scrambling away as fast as he could.
“I don’t know.”
“How could you not know?” asked Austin, still looking down at Leo with a mixture of fear and… was it possible? A bit of apprehension?
Leo’s heart raced as he gave his answer. “Partly because I’m not me all the time.”
“You freak.” Austin was backing away now. “You absolute freak. Get away from me.”
Leo stood up and let him go. He dusted himself down, looked over at the dim garden, then sighed and walked after Austin.
He watched stealthily as Austin raced away, fast at first, but slowed down over time. Eventually, he stopped in the open car park, Leo following him carefully as he took several deep breaths.
It was when Austin stood up straight again did he approach.

*

March 26, 2111. Future Time.
The Port was still running at this hour. Interesting.
Leo turned away from the running Expressway, where most of the Pods were running loudly. Technology was progressing fast, but still nobody bothered to create a silent Pod yet. What was it with people and having to make moving things loud? Leo remembered the history books he had read – one hundred years ago, when the world was on the brink of collapse, people had loud machines too. Well, that wasn’t surprising. After all, the world nearly made it to a war; a little noise was to be expected.
There he was. Austin. Sitting there as though nothing was happening. Leo walked over and sat down next to him, staring at the young boy.
They were wearing the same clothes – a silver, artificial tracksuit that stretched all the way down to the shoes. It was the uniform – ugly, true – but it was embedded with chips and Sensors that permitted access into all of the Edrooms – and Leo hated it. But there wasn’t much that could be done.
Austin’s flattened hair shivered as he looked up. “Yes, Leo?” he asked, putting down his ebook.
“I… I don’t know.”
Austin sighed. His arm lifted as he touched Leo’s face. “You feel all right?”
Leo’s pulse rate suddenly quickened. He knew that the Sensors would soon pick up an anomaly inside his body, but he didn’t care. “Yeah… yeah, I think so.”
“That’s good then.”
In a sudden inspiration, Leo bent his neck and let his head drop. His lips brushed against Austin’s, a warm, enticing pressure.
He withdrew quickly, fearful of Austin’s response.
Those wide, brown eyes searched for his. Leo realised, for the first time, how welcoming those irises were.
“Have you… all this time?” finished Austin uncertainly.
“Yeah.”
Austin closed his eyes and leaned forwards again. Leo took that as a sign of acceptance.

*

March 26, 2011. Present Time.
Leo walked away, looking at the ground. Austin’s last words still rang in his ears.
I’m sorry, Leo. I know that you like me, but I can’t like you back. There’s someone else… there’s someone else I’m after. I don’t know what to think… give me some time, okay? This is all too fast, and I’m scared. But I’m sorry for overreacting. I don’t mind if you’re gay… I don’t mind if you like me.
Yeah, right.
Leo looked up. The originally bright blue sky was darkening with more clouds. Soon, it would begin to rain. He just knew that instinctively.
A car began sounding its alarm when Leo walked into it. Hard.
He knew that Austin didn’t walk away. He knew that Austin was watching him. He knew that Austin wanted to make sure that he wasn’t going to do it again.

*

March 26, 2111. Future Time.
“So tell me, Austin, when did you realise?”
They were walking along the edge of the school complex. Beyond that, Leo knew that laser security systems just waited to pounce on someone and hit him or her. It wouldn’t be fatal, but it would hurt like hell and knock that person out for a while. He looked up. The ever-grey sky, a remnant of the previous wars, might have darkened slightly.
“When you started to look at me like that.”
“Like what?” asked Leo. He gave a dark look.
“Like that.”
Bloodlust

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