Billy wasn't jealous.
He didn't care that everyone around him was gushing and fawning over glittering cards, soft brown bears and sweet smelling roses.
He didn't ache to receive a token of affection on this hallmark made holiday as the student volunteers called out the names of the people receiving valentines. He didn't care that out of the dozens of names called in the cafeteria his wasn't among them.
It was all so stupid, paying for some trinket before the holiday and them having the receivers name announced and their present given in front of the entire lunch period.
It was supposed to be sweet for the girlfriends, boyfriends and love interests of the high school students to go up and get tokens of adoration piled into their arms, but it was mostly a contest between the teens to see who was the most popular and got the most presents.
So far a girl by the name of Kate had a sizable pile at her feet that she looked both flattered and annoyed to receive. Everyone knew that Kate was with Eli, the school's captain of the debate team, and despite his lacking in social status everyone knew that Kate was head over heels for him.
So each time she got a present from someone else she chucked it into a garbage bag she'd gotten from the school janitor and kissed Eli softly in front of everyone.
Billy found it sweet that Eli blushed every single time she did this and how the only present Kate kept was a bouquet of flowers that had obviously been from him.
Billy would never admit that he wished he had someone like that in his life, someone who would turn down others for him.
Kate was still only second in the competition to having the most presents though. The clear winner of the contest was the heart throb of the high school, the king of the courts, and the most handsome teen to ever grace the walls of their shabby little school, Theodore 'Teddy' Altman.
Everyone was head over heels for the blonde haired Adonis and Billy was no exception.
Teddy was handsome, kind, and smart too. It was like he'd stepped out of a teenage romance novel or found a way to make puberty work for him instead of against him.
Billy had been crushing on Teddy since the first day freshman year when the blonde stopped two seniors from beating him into a pulp for being gay.
The hunky boy barely had to throw a punch before the two bullies were running away with their tails between their legs.
Billy had thought he might have been hit in the head too hard and was hallucinating the whole thing when his blonde haired savior helped him to his feet and complemented his Scarlet Witch T-shirt.
He remembered mumbling something about how she was his favorite Avenger before the halls were flooded with students as the bell signaled the end of the school day. In the blink of an eye the taller teen was gone and Billy was left with only a bruised rib and a crush to show for it.
They hadn't spoken much since, but Billy couldn't forget how warmly Teddy had smiled at him or how gentle his touch was as he helped him to his feet.
Over the years Teddy would wave or offer a passing word, but between their different social circles and Billy's shyness they hadn't spent much time together over the last few years.
Billy knew what he felt was one-sided and hopeless. Only musical loving geeks like Billy were gay. Not sports playing, charming, and all around perfect teens like Teddy Altman.
But he still couldn't help but watch as Teddy was called up again and again to receive gifts from practically the entire female population of the school.
He'd been tempted to send something too. An anonymous little card or bear that Teddy would attribute to one of his many secret admirers. But he'd chickened out every single time. He knew if just one person found out about his crush on Teddy he'd never hear the end of it. Worse yet, Teddy might find out and look at him the same way he'd been looked at all his life by the popular crowd, like a freak.
So he just tried to keep the jealousy off his face and watched the seemingly never ending stream of gifts be showered on others in the name of people who loved them.
The names had been called out at random and the period was almost over when it happened.
"Billy Kaplan." The group leader called.
Billy almost snapped his neck from looking up so fast as he stared at the girl who called his name. Almost every pair of eyes in the lunch room sought him out and stared at his blushing face.
Everyone knew he was gay, so that meant the gift would have to have been sent from another boy. Billy apparently had a male admirer.
The flushed teen stood up on shaky legs and avoided eye contact with anyone as he made his way to the crudely made stage at the front of the cafeteria.
He could barely believe it as another volunteer rushed forward to hand him tiny bear barely bigger than his hand.
Instead of the plain brown or pure white of the bears that the school had provided the one given to him was a brilliant shade of scarlet and held a tiny card between it's paws.
He forgot the rest of the world existed as he grabbed the card carefully and read what it said.
Roses are red
Violets are blue
You said you like the Scarlet Witch
But could you like me too?
Billy could barely breathe as he turned around and looked directly where he knew Teddy was sitting. The blonde was staring right at him with something in his eyes that Billy couldn't name and yet made his pulse his race.
He was seconds away from whispering yes, knowing that the room was deadly silent enough for his voice to carry and be heard, when he noticed something off behind Teddy.
Some of Teddy's teammates were snickering and whispering softly amongst themselves and before Billy could even open his mouth and speak, he heard what one of them was saying.
"Looks like the fag likes his present huh Teddy?" He asked while nudging Teddy with his elbow.
Teddy looked over his shoulder to reply and by the time he turned around again the tiny scarlet bear was on the ground and Billy was running out of the cafeteria as fast he could.
Gossip erupted behind him as everyone pondered who the gift was from and a single pair of disappointed blue eyes watched him leave.
As soon as he was out of the cafeteria Billy ran to the nearest bathroom and locked himself into the largest stall designed for the disabled members of the school population.
He sat in the cleanest looking corner and tried not to hyperventilate too loudly. 10 minutes ago he would have killed to receive a gift from Teddy Altman, but now he just felt sick inside.
He knew he never should have gotten his hopes up. Even for the one tiny second he let himself believe that just maybe it was real and the universe didn't have it out for him.
But it had all been some cruel joke to further embarrass him and ruin his life.
He should be used to it. He should damn near expect it at this point.
The Teddy Altmans of the world did not ask out the Billy Kaplans. The universe didn't work that way.
What hurt worse than that was the fact that it wasn't just some random jocks messing with him like usual. This time it was someone he liked, someone he thought was better than the other jocks who made his life Hell.
He'd never told anyone other than his family and Teddy who his favorite Avenger was and he wore shirts with other members of them all the time.
Only Teddy could have thrown in that little detail to make it more painful. Now he'd tell everyone how he tricked the fag into thinking he stood a chance with the amazing Teddy Altman and how disgusted he was at the very thought of being with someone like Billy.
He'd laugh with his basketball buddies and try to think of an even meaner prank for next year.
Because that was how the world worked.
Billy just kept having to learn the hard way.
Before Billy could break down completely and ball his eyes out, he heard the sound of the door opening and someone entering the bathroom.
"Billy?" An achingly familiar voice called.
Billy held his breath and buried his head between his legs as he wished everything would just disappear. He couldn't handle this right now.
He heard his name be called again even softer and when he looked up again Teddy had flipped the flimsy lock from the outside and was entering his small sanctuary.
Even as angry as he was Billy couldn't stop himself from noticing how beautiful Teddy's cheeks look flushed and how shiny his eyes looked even in the poor lighting.
Instead of the smirk he expected or the smile he knew, Teddy's face looked blank, if not a little sad.
Billy couldn't hold his gaze and instead stared down as his feet, but not before he noticed that Teddy held the tiny scarlet bear in his left hand.
"I always wondered what it felt like." Teddy muttered almost distantly.
Billy curled up tighter into himself and continued to stare at his shoes, but couldn't stop himself from responding.
Teddy signed sadly and sat down across from Billy, giving him space.
"What it felt like to be rejected. I've been rejecting girls for years and I never really knew what it felt like. Now I wish I'd been nicer. I didn't know it would feel like this."
Billy looked up just as Teddy put the tiny bear on the floor and placed the card back in between it's paws.
"I'm sorry if I embarrassed you or made you feel uncomfortable. I shouldn't have assumed just because you were gay you'd like me. It was my own fault for being so arrogant as to think you'd say yes. I'm sorry if this makes your life harder. I'll make sure the guys know this was all me and that you had nothing to do with it. I promise they won't try anything. You don't have to worry I-"
The more Teddy talked the harder Billy's heart beat in his chest and the more confused he felt.
"What?" He finally managed to force out around the lump in his throat.
Teddy stopped mid apology and looked at him sheepishly.
"You probably have a boyfriend already don't you? People like you are never single…... Shit, does he go here? Do I need to apologize to him too? I don't want to cause any trouble between you and your valentine."
Billy was pretty sure his mind had stopped functioned the second Teddy started talking.
Which would explain why the second he opened his mouth all that came out was: "I don't have a valentine."
Teddy stopped and flushed lightly.
"You don't?" He asked timidly.
Billy shook his head silently and stared up at Teddy in wonder.
He must have fallen off the stage and knocked himself out. That was the only way to explain why Teddy Altman was talking to him like this. Like he mattered.
Teddy looked back at him with just as much wonder and smiled softly.
"So I guess I only have to apologize to you right?"
"You want to…apologize?"
Teddy flushed darker.
"Yeah, I didn't mean to embarrass you like that. I just didn't have the guts to actually ask you out in person."
Billy was pretty sure he was dead at this point. Even in his dreams things like this didn't happen and it was better than letting the hope rise in his heart again.
"So you really wanted to ask me out?...It wasn't just some joke?"
Teddy looked startled at the question, then hurt.
"You really think I'd do something like that?" He asked in return.
Billy ducked his head to avoid Teddy's sad blue eyes and sniffled lightly.
"When people interact with me it's always for some joke." He whispered softly.
Teddy's eyes widened in understanding before lowering in pity.
"I'm sorry." He apologized again. "I should have just…."
Teddy didn't finish and when Billy looked up again the blonde was kneeling right in front of him.
Teddy was blushing lightly, beautifully, and soon Billy was flushed too.
Teddy reached out and wiped the one tear that had fallen down the shorter boy's cheek with his thumb and Billy didn't complain when his hand lingered on his cheek.
When Billy didn't pull back Teddy leaned forward until he was into a breath away from the raven haired teen's face.
"I really like you Billy. This wasn't all some joke to mess with you. I haven't been able to get you out of my head since that day we met freshman year. I just didn't think someone like you would want someone like me."
Billy didn't understand.
"Someone like me?"
If possible Teddy blushed harder.
"Handsome, intelligent, and even into comics. Could you be anymore perfect? I never imagined you'd want some jock like me."
Billy couldn't believe it. There was no way someone as amazing as Teddy Altman could be everything that he was and humble too.
Billy couldn't stop himself from uncurling his limbs and leaning into Teddy's hand, all the while holding the blonde's gaze.
"I did want you. I still want you. Since that first day when you saved me."
Teddy smiled at him like he'd just won the lottery.
"In that case Billy Kaplan, would you be my Valentine?"
Billy blushed and beamed and barely held back an astonished giggle as he looked into Teddy's eyes and saw what he'd been wishing for forever.
Acceptance. Want. Love.
It all shone so obviously in his gaze that Billy couldn't believe he'd missed it all these years.
He nodded without hesitation and finally closed the gap between them.
The first few kisses were chaste and soft, but once Billy finally stop repeating in his head 'This is really happening, OMG this is really happening!' he couldn't keep his hands to himself.
He threaded his fingers through short blonde hair with one hand and wrapped the other around his Valentine's neck to pull him closer.
Teddy smiled into their kiss and leaned forward over him until Billy's back was pressed to the wall.
Billy spread his legs apart to let Teddy in closer as the blonde devoured him with his kiss.
Large calloused hands cupped the back of his neck and caressed the side of his face while Billy all but swooned as Teddy pressed close to him and his body heat bled through his shirt.
Billy could taste the after hints of Mountain Dew and chocolate on his lips and the combo of it mixed with Teddy's natural flavor was intoxicating.
After a few minutes of kissing Teddy pulled back and pressed his lips to Billy's neck.
Billy tilted his head back to give him more access and moaned lightly as he felt Teddy's teeth nip at his pulse point.
The thought of Teddy marking him made him flush with pleasure and all he could think of was how proudly he would bear that mark until it healed.
Already he wanted everyone to know that the heart throb of the school was his.
"Teddy." Billy gasped quietly as the other boy covered his neck with lovebites.
Teddy pulled back and caught Billy's lips in a bruising kiss as he stole what little breath he had away.
Billy could feel the other teen's hands cradling his face and it felt so very intimate.
"Has anyone ever told you that you taste delicious Billy Kaplan?" Teddy breathed heatedly into his ear.
Billy shook his head wordlessly and couldn't stop himself from lacing his fingers behind Teddy's neck so he couldn't get away.
"I can't say that anyone has." Billy admitted with a shy grin.
Teddy returned his grin before placing one last gentle kiss to Billy's lips.
"I'll happily be the first and the last."
Billy giggled lightly at his new boyfriend's words and buried his face against Teddy's neck.
"Has anyone ever told you that you're adorable?" Billy asked playfully.
Teddy smiled into Billy's hair and held him close.
"Other than my mom? I can't say anyone else has."
Billy smiled against his neck and placed one more fleeting kiss to his throat.
"Well you're really adorable."
"Not exactly what I wanted my boyfriend to think I was, but I can work with it."
Billy somehow managed to blush even darker.
"Boyfriend?" He whispered hopefully.
Teddy looked down shyly and couldn't hide his own blush.
"I'd like you to be." He muttered self-consciously, as if Billy could say no.
That had about as much chance of happening as a snowball's chance in Hell.
"I'd like that too." Billy admitted.
Teddy grinned at him blissfully and leaned forward to give Billy a much deeper kiss.
Billy relished it immensely and he only pulled back when he felt something cool brush his palm.
He looked down and blinked owlishly at the item in his hand.
It was Teddy's class ring. The one he always wore around his neck on a chain. The very thing every girl in the school wanted hanging around their neck.
The blond in front of him smiled at his stunned look before plucking the item from his hand and placing it around Billy's neck.
"Now it's official."
Billy touched the trinket softly and smiled.
"Thank you. I'll grab you mine tomorrow. If you want."
"I'd be honored." Teddy admitted with a grin.
The taller boy stood up then and offered Billy his hand.
"I'm pretty sure everyone saw me race after you. So if you wanted us to be a secret it might be a little hard to do now."
Billy grabbed his hand and stood on shaky legs.
"I'm not ashamed to be yours." Billy admitted with all the pride he felt inside.
Teddy Altman had picked him and he sure as Hell wasn't about to try and hide that fact.
Teddy's answering smile was worth it as he pulled Billy into a hug.
"I'm not ashamed either Billy. I wouldn't want anyone else to be my Valentine."
Together they walked out into the hall hand in hand as a tiny scarlet bear sat snuggly in Billy's backpack.
The first of many valentines gifts to come.
I got it done just in time for Valentines Day! I'm so proud of myself! Please read and review!
This is dedicated to Doni for being one of my most awesome/dedicated fans who reads and reviews practically everything I write, even the stuff I can't believe I posted!