Title: The Horror of Confusion
Rating: K+ maybe, almost T. I don't know, does anyone REALLY pay attention to ratings?
Summary: A conversation after one of Connor's nightly Hell Dreams leads to bigger discussions.
Author's Notes: Don't judge the last half of this; I rushed my editing.
The screaming was the worst, as it was always the first thing to wake Kevin up at three in the morning. During those first few seconds of drowsiness, he would always worry that a scorpion or a deadly creature had somehow snuck into Connor's room, but once he was fully awake, he would realize that it was worse: It was another hell dream.
One would think that Kevin would have gotten used to the screams like all of the other Elders, but it wasn't his fault that he was a light sleeper. He knew Connor had handled hell dreams before, but the thought of him sitting alone in silence for over three hours was too heartbreaking. So instead, he waited for his shining moment in the nightly routine.
Connor's muffled screams were always followed by heavy breathing. Soon afterwards, a door would be heard clicking once, then twice in order to silently let him into the hallway. Once the door was closed, a small groan of defeat was emitted from Elder McKinley's mouth. The dancer's small feet then dragged across the wooden floor as he entered the bathroom at the end of the hall. A flick of the switch accompanied the light that seeped through the doorway of Kevin and Arnold's room. As soon as he heard the sink turn on, the water sloshing around in the small bowl, Price knew it was time to sneak down the hallway and check on him.
Usually, Connor would be able to catch him halfway down the hall, but on this particular night, Kevin was able to creep all the way to the doorway of the small bathroom. He actually thought he hadn't been caught at all until he heard a sigh from the district leader.
"Kevin, go back to bed; I'm fine," he mumbled as he stared though the mirror. Price raised an eyebrow at this; he'd never believe such a thing. "Really," Connor added with a smile, but it was too weak to disguise his tired demeanor and puffy eyes. He shouldn't have been surprised when Kevin suddenly wrapped his arms around him, but he still jumped. "Sorry," Connor apologized. "Side effect…"
"I know," the younger man nodded, still not letting go, his chin resting on the other's shoulder. The first hug was never met with open arms. No matter how bad the hell dream, Connor was always a bit uncomfortable afterwards when it came to affection. That's why the first hug never ended until Kevin felt him relax. About a minute later, he would release his grip and Connor would be able to drain the sink, mopping up the excess water with a light pink facecloth.
Connor sighed as he wiped his hands on his pajama pants. After being excommunicated from the church, the Elders had decided to ignore most of the strict rules. Connor had almost squealed with joy the day he abandoned the Mormon undergarments; they had always made the Ugandan heat even worse in the middle of the day. Besides, they were a bit itchy.
"So," Connor asked, "are you actually going back to bed tonight?"
"Do I ever?"
"Then I think you just answered your question," Kevin smiled; he knew he had won yet again.
"If you complain about being tired in the morning-"
"I never do," he interrupted Connor and took his hand, leading him down the short hallway and into the living room. Only the moonlight shone through the small window, but it was enough in order to see the outline of the shabby furniture and each other. However, this changed drastically once Kevin's other hand found the television switch. The room suddenly exploded with light from the screen's signature salt and pepper snow, and Connor had to shield his eyes so they could adjust.
"You know, you probably would if you hadn't taken up drinking coffee," the redhead mumbled as he let go of Price's hand and went to sit on the couch. He lifted his legs so that he was almost in a fetal position, his chin resting on top of his knees, and left the tougher job to Kevin.
"Alright, so what do you want to watch?" the younger elder managed to ask while digging through a box larger than the television beside him. This was another rule that the boys loved to break. It was hard to remember the days when they had only used the television to watch conferences. Even Elder Davis, the one who still obeyed a majority of the church's rules, loved bending the rule of only being able to watch certain movies. It only took them a few weeks to acquire a large collection of films from the market.
"… Surprise me," Connor decided after a moment. He trusted Kevin; he knew his taste in movies.
"Uhm… Forrest Gump… Titanic…" the movies were suggested as he discovered them in the cinema gold mine.
"That's true. Hmm…What about Ferris Bueller?" Kevin grinned at him. "I know you love John Hughes movies. And Matthew Broderick. That's got to be an added Broadway bonus, right?"
"I guess so," he smiled in response. It was a quick smile, and Kevin almost missed it as he pushed in the VHS tape, but he turned around just in time and Connor was caught in the act.
"I got you to actually smile! And it was a real one too!" Elder Price continued to grin as he practically jumped on the couch and once again wrapped his arms around Connor, pulling him out of his constricted sitting position.
"Ugh, Kevin," he teased as he pretended to pull away, "why are you always so cuddly at night?"
"Because if I wasn't you'd be in a depressing mood for the entire day, now shush up and watch the movie." Connor sighed at his response and laid his head on Kevin's lap. The couch was much too small to be stretching out on, but he was still tired and decided lying down was worth being partially curled up. Besides, he liked it when Kevin brushed his fingers through his hair; it was a sweet reminder that he was back in Uganda and out of his torturous nightmares.
Elder Price noticed that Connor was being a bit more quiet than usual throughout the movie. It was common for the redhead to let out an occasional laugh or two fifteen minutes into the movie, but this time his expression was blank.
"Hey," Kevin said, trying to get the other Elder's attention. Connor turned to look up at him, a silent urge to continue. "Is there something on your mind?"
"Sort of…" he mumbled. He turned back to the screen, and didn't say anything else for a few minutes. "Kevin, why does God hate me so much?"
"Connor!" Kevin exclaimed, looking down at him in shock.
"Shh, you'll wake the others! Think about it though, I've been having these hell dreams for years. I try to turn off my feelings and they continue. Then you come along and I end up flirting a little-"
"A little?" chuckled a grinning Price as he used his arm to gesture at their current position.
"Okay, a lot," Connor rolled his eyes. "But no matter what I do, I'm still waking up in the middle of the night from images that are worse than Carol Channing skinny dipping."
"Connor, I am one hundred percent certain that Heavenly Father doesn't hate you," Kevin went back to playing with the older boy's hair, his hand gently easing him back to his original position. "I mean, he's given you so many good things in life to be thankful for; the position as district leader, Pop Tarts, a sort of successful mission, me," he chuckled at his last addition, quickly adding that he was only making a joke.
"No, you're definitely something to be thankful for," Connor debated. "I mean, you're sitting here with me at three thirty in the morning."
"You woke me up; I'm only awake to tell you to quiet down."
"Liar," the district leader giggled. "Seriously, you're the best…" Connor had to pause there. He bit his lip as he thought, his brow furrowed.
"I'm the best what?" Kevin questioned. "I mean, I love being the best at things, I'd just prefer to know what it is before I agree."
"That's the problem, though; I don't know." Connor quickly turned again and looked up at him, his blue eyes sparkling with curiosity. "Kevin, what are we doing?"
"What do you mean?"
"Like, what are we? What is…" he took a moment to copy Price's gesture from earlier, "this?" The younger elder merely shrugged.
"Don't you think this question is a bit sudden? What happened to the whole hell dream thing?"
"Stop changing the subject and answer my question," Connor sat up and crossed his legs underneath him, facing the other elder instead of the television.
"But you're the one who-"
"Well... What do you want it to be?" Kevin asked calmly. He draped one arm over the couch and gave his full attention; he was interested in knowing the answer.
"Are we dating? I mean, is it dating if we technically can't go on a date?"
"I don't know," he shrugged yet again. "Let's put it this way though. Say we weren't in Uganda; say we were somewhere in the United States where something like this would be accepted."
"Like New York," Connor smiled. Kevin chuckled; He hoped that he looked as adorable as Connor did then when he mentioned Orlando.
"Like New York," he nodded. "Say we were there, and not under mission rules or able to be murdered just because we like one another. And there would be plenty of other male fish in the sea looking for the same thing. Would you still want to hold my hand, even if people were watching?"
"Of course I would!" replied Connor, using that moment to take Kevin's hand on the couch with both of his smaller ones. He traced small circles with his thumbs and continued to glance down at them. Connor was still a bit shy about the subject of falling for other guys, but New York was different; New York was a magical place with activist groups and pride parades and same sex marriage. He felt as if he could do anything there.
"And if we were walking through Central Park, would you let me kiss you?" Kevin lowered his head in order to keep eye contact with him; it was hard enough with their height difference.
"I'd let you kiss me now," commented Connor as he smirked. He received his kiss, Kevin's lips soft and still somehow tasting like the mouthwash he had used hours before, but it was brief and was accompanied by a small shake of the head.
"But that doesn't matter. Everyone's asleep and it's the middle of the night. Would you kiss me in New York?" Kevin's voice was gentle as he asked the question, and waited patiently for the other's response. Eventually, he received a nod.
"I'd be extremely nervous at first," he admitted. "But after a while, I'd be able to submit to such things."
"Now, here's the big question. Are you ready?"
"Kevin Price, I am not promising to marry you!"
"That's not what I meant!" Kevin laughed as he shook his head again. "Say I asked you out for pizza, maybe a movie afterwards. Would you say yes?" Connor studied him closely, one of his hands on his chin, the other still holding on to Kevin's. After a moment, he smiled softly.
"Only if you promise to take me to a play instead," Connor's smile turned into a grin as Kevin lightly slapped his shoulder. "What? Did you think I was going to miss out on some of the best theatre in the world?"
"You nearly gave me a heart attack! I thought you were going to say no!"
"I'd never say no to you, Kev. But what does this all mean?" Kevin hummed in response and pulled Connor into his arms.
"It means," he said as he once again rested his chin on the other Elder's shoulder, "that if we weren't in such a cold, homophobic place and we weren't trying to obey insanely strict Mormon laws, we'd be dating. So what do you say we break a rule while no one's looking?" Kevin gave him a peck on the cheek and smiled; he was curious to know the answer.
"Does that mean I have to say you're my boyfriend?" whined Connor as he playfully made a disgusted face, making Price laugh.
"Yes," he teased, "and if anyone asks about our sex life, you have to claim that we don't have sex, we 'make love', and you have to shout it from the rooftops!" Kevin quickly regretted his response when he heard Elder McKinley take a deep breath and pull out of his grip.
"HEY EV-mmph!" He had covered the accuser's mouth just in time and pulled him back on to the couch, and although he tried to pull away, Connor's small stature was no match against Kevin's strength.
"What happened to everyone being asleep?" whispered Kevin before removing his hand, his arms still wrapped tightly around the redhead.
"They have to get up in two hours anyway," Connor chuckled before relaxing in Kevin's arms, his legs yet again scrunched on the other seat of the couch. The two of them just sat there for a while, relishing the silence that filled the room even more than their voices had earlier. "You know," he replied after a moment, his blue eyes locked onto brown once more, "there's just one thing I don't like about this arrangement."
"And what's that?" murmured Kevin as he let one of his hands link with Connor's. He refused to admit it, but he had been dozing off again.
"The idea of having to wait a year and a half for New York is almost scarier than any hell dream I've ever had in my life."