A/N: Hello and welcome again to the Spirals Universe. You are within the second spiral-"Falling Further"-and having completed the "Might as Well" portion of Falling Further, we are now embarking upon the acid trip that is "Combat Boots and Clover." Please keep your hands and arms inside the cart at all times; we are not liable for the replacement of or reimbursement for missing body parts. Please do not feed the animals, humans, or Ducks that you may see along the way, no matter how cute they are. Believe me, they'll follow you home, and I doubt if some of them are completely housebroken.

Please note the lack of listening suggestions at the beginning of each chapter. This is because of a desire to not distract from the content of the chapter, and the authoress's innate laziness. Also note that "Combat Boots and Clover" is a distinct departure from SchizoAuthoress's normal writing style for Spirals, which has been forgone in favor of a first-person narration. Thank you and enjoy yourselves.

As always yours~~Schiz

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"Combat Boots and Clover" (a mighty ducks fanfiction by SchizoAuthoress)

[DEAN AARON PORTMAN]

I was reluctant to let go of Fulton as we passed through the gates of Eden Hall, but other students were out and about, despite the earliness of the hour-it was six o'clock, but I'm used to sleeping in unless I'm dragged unwillingly from bed to a scheduled hockey practice, so six is early to me. While most of the students were aware of our relationship, I would have been really, really displeased if the good mood I was in was ruined by some macho asshole trying to prove his manliness by taking on a pair of 'queers.' So I opted for covertly holding Fulton's hand instead. We made it to our dorm without incident.

I hardly noticed when the resident supervisor handed Fulton the letter. It had arrived earlier that morning with the rest of the mail-it probably made it into town yesterday, but there is a slight delay with Eden Hall's mail because the faculty checks to see that nothing illegal is sent to Eden Hall. Their actions are 'questionably legal themselves', as Fulton says, but the envelopes never show any sign of tampering, so they must just feel for suspicious stuff in the envelope or check addresses.

We went up to the room and I was shutting the door when I heard Fulton gasp behind me.

"What?" I demanded, whirling to face him, "What's wrong?"

"It's a letter from my mom," Fulton choked out, looking up at me, his dark eyes wide and disbelieving. "She's never, never written to me before. She's in Louisiana with my Uncle Bobby."

I remember him telling me about the guy. His mother's brother, Robert Hampton, Bobby to everyone in the family. It makes sense that his mom would be there, if not in Minnesota, since she was originally from Baton Rogue, Louisiana.

"Read it!" I cried, but Fulton was already ripping open the envelope as I did. He scanned the letter quickly, and I waited with bated breath to hear the news. Fulton sat down heavily on his bed as he finished reading.

He looked up at me, and I could see sadness and anger and pain dancing in his dark gaze. His tone was low and unhappy as he told me, "My mom ran away from a treatment center in St. Paul and she's staying at Uncle Bobby's house. They're trying to talk her into going in for detox again...and he wants me to come stay with her."

For the second time in two minutes, I replied to the information he gave me with a very intelligent, "What?"

"Uncle Bobby and Aunt Louise seem to think that Mom will respond to /me/ better; that if I ask her to go into a treatment center, she'll go and she'll stay there. But it would be a long process to convince her to do that, so they say that I should move to Baton Rogue with them and finish out the school year there." Fulton looked stricken as he elaborated the situation. I shook my head angrily.

"No."

"No? What no?" Fulton inquired dully. I leaned down and grabbed his shoulders, saying quickly,

"Don't go to Baton Rogue. Don't go to your aunt and uncle's."

His eyes met mine again, and I could see the conflict waged within those beautiful black orbs. He protested weakly, "My...my mom..."

"Fuck your mom!" I exclaimed with vehemence, releasing him and starting to pace back and forth. At the half-amused expression he regarded me with, I snapped, "Not literally, you perv. I mean, what the hell has she done for you? You said it yourself, she couldn't be bothered to sent you even /one/ letter, not once! Not even on your birthdays or Christmas!"

"What does /that/ matter, Dean?" Fulton argued, I would bet mostly for the sake of argument than his actual desire to go. He followed me with his eyes as he said, "She needs me now. I'm her son; I should help her."

"/I/ need you now." I retorted, "You're my boyfriend, shouldn't you stay with me...and the rest of your friends...and the foster parents that actually give a damn about you?" I sat down on my bed across from him and leaned forward, asking with desperation, "What am I gonna do without you?"

"I guess..." He paused, shut his eyes, and sighed. "I guess you'll know what I felt like during first term."

I stared at him. Part of me knew that he wasn't trying to be mean or nasty about it, but part of me was outraged that he'd take such a low blow. I replied sharply, "Well, I wasn't too happy about that either, Fulton. What the hell do you think I was doing, cruising Chicago's Upper East Side for chicks while you moped around here?"

"I dunno," he said cuttingly, "were you?"

"No!" I shouted-I didn't mean to shout, but suddenly I was and I couldn't stop, "Dammit, Fulton, what do you want? Do you want to make me just as fucking miserable as you were? What the hell good will that do? I'll tell you right now that it won't. God, I try to tell you that I /care,/ that other people here care about you, and you throw it in my face!"

"So it'll suck for you here. It'll be just as bad for me there!" Fulton cried, rage plainly written on his face.

"It doesn't have to! Stay here!" Even I could hear the edge of pleading in my voice, and that finally seemed to get through. Fulton burst into tears. Not loud sobs or angry wails, though; his defiant expression sort of crumpled and the tears started to run silently down his face. He gasped and his breath hitched, then he looked down and hid his face behind the fall of his hair.

"Don't you see," he whispered harshly, "Don't you see that I /can't/ stay?"

"Oh, Fult," I whispered contritely, "please, please don't cry." I embraced him tightly, one arm around his waist, my free hand pressed gently to the back of his head as I held him, swaying slightly from side to side. He snuffled, a noise that would have been comical under different circumstances, and hid his face against the side of my neck. "I shouldn't've...it was wrong..." I fumbled with the words for a minute, finally coming up with, "That stuff was mean to say."

"It's okay," he mumbled, his lips wet and cool on my skin. "I understand."

"Do you?" I asked softly, stroking his hair as a means to comfort us both. He shifted slightly, pulling away so that his voice was not muffled by how close his mouth was to my neck.

"I want to stay, but I want to go. I have to help my mom. I couldn't before, and I've felt guilty about it ever since."

"God, Fulton," I cried, my vision blurring with tears as I held him even more firmly to me, "you were a little kid! Just a little kid...you couldn't...there was no way..." Fiercely, I told him, "If anyone blames you for what happened to your mom, they're messed up."

"I don't.../blame/ myself. My father was the one who hit her. I just wish...I wish I could have helped her then."

I pulled back and we stared at each other for a long time. Both of us had tears running down our faces, and Fulton's eyes looked distinctly red and puffy. He managed to give me a wan smile. He sighed, "I'm so sorry, Dean."

"Don't, Fulton, just..." I trailed off, and suddenly he had his arms around me, we had our arms around each other, and we were kissing. Kissing each other hard and desperate and fierce, because I knew he'd won the argument, because we both knew that he would have to leave. I felt his tongue probing at my lips and I let him in, sliding my own tongue against his, tasting him and exploring him like the experience of it were new and unknown. And with sudden overwhelming certainty, even though I'd had him so perfectly and completely just last night, I knew that I needed him. Needed him inside me, or to be inside him, to make love to him and know him all over again.

Because, dammit, he was mine and I was his and he had to understand, to really understand, why I wanted to fight to keep him with me. This was so intense. It was so fucking intense, the way I felt about him, the way...the way that /everything/ was with him. Love, fights, our spur-of-the-moment wrestling matches, sex...

"Want you," he gasped then, breaking away to catch his breath, and I was sold.

~~End Part One~~