Age of False Innocence

Chapter Two

Warning: this chapter contains a shit-load of fluff. Which is what I love, so yeah. P. Remember to review!

Will looked down at the body of the young man sleeping soundly on his bed. There were two bruises covering his cheeks, and his forehead was swollen with blood. Will had managed to clean the majority of it off, but there was still a crimson tint on the boy's pale forehead.

It's a good thing I was walking past him Will thought, still gazing at Jack from the chair nearest to his closet. He might have been there for hours before anyone even looked at him.

There were scrapes covering Jack's body, and Will suspected that his arm might be sprained or broken. He would have to take him to the doctor's as soon as he woke up to get it checked out. He was actually surprised at himself. He should have gotten him to a hospital right away, but something told him he wouldn't appreciate walking up in the middle of the morning in a hospital room.

He glanced awkwardly at Jack once more, unsure of what to do. I mean, what would you do if you had someone you hardly knew in your bed, sleeping and bleeding on your new 400 thread count sheets?

Just then, Jack stirred and let out a groan. "Jesus Peter, Paul, and Mary, where am I?" He asked, putting a hand to his aching head and surveying his surroundings. Will let out a little laugh. That was almost exactly the response he had expected.

Jack turned to face him, and even through the pain coursing through his body, he gave a little smirk. "So, you wanted me in your bed after all, right? You didn't have to kidnap me in order to get me here. I thought you knew that. I mean, when I talked to you on the street today, I had no idea that I was with a psycho!"

Will rolled his eyes and shook his head. "I didn't kidnap you. I found you while walking down the street tonight. You were covered in blood. Did something happen?"

A moment passed, with Jack just staring unbelievably at Will. His eyes opened wide, and his mouth dropped open slightly. His face changed from shocked, to confused, to horrified in a matter of seconds, then swiftly transformed into his usual sarcastic grin.

"Must've fallen or something. I just got these shoes today and they are a little big on me. But aren't they just fabulous? I got them for a steal over in the boutique on 61st street! Great, right?" he asked, tilting his head and smiling. Will hesitated before nodded, wondering just what the heck that was about. There seemed to be a far away look in jack's eyes; he almost looked sad.

"I don't know, it must have been a pretty nasty fall. You look like you got hit by a car or something."

Jack turned away, getting defensive. "Well if I did, then I don't remember. Just drop it, okay?"

"Your arm looks pretty bad. It might be sprained or even broken. We should take you to the hospital and get it checked out."

Jack's eyes grew wide. "I don't think so. I mean, why would you want to waste your time over someone like me? And I don't have any money, you'd have to pay for it. And plus, my arm is fine. There's nothing wrong with it!" He shook his arm to illustrate his point, than brought it close to his chest, wincing in pain.

Will couldn't help but let out a laugh. "Yeah, that looks just fine."

"Shut up", Jack spoke irritably.

"It's fine you know. I'll get you to the hospital, have it checked out, I'll pay for it. And then when I drop you off at your house, your parents can pay me back." Will got up from his chair and grabbed his jacket. "Come on now. We're going."

Jack didn't move, but instead looked down to the ground, not saying a word. After a long pause, he finally whispered, "No way I'm going back there."

Before Will had a chance to think of his response or ask why, the phone rang at the other side of the dorm, shattering the awkward silence. Will walked up to get it. "Are you sure you can shut up enough to let me answer this? You don't have to go out do you? I left the leash outside."

Jack made a face and stuck out his tongue, then flopped back on the bed, grimacing in pain as he did so. Though Will was cracking jokes, he was actually very concerned. Jack wasn't annoying, really. He just seemed to like the attention. He was kind of funny, actually.

Snapping his attention from Jack to the phone, he picked it up and answered in a slightly shaky voice, "hello?"

"Will? Where are you? I've been waiting for you for half an hour! Have you packed yet? Do you need to have me go over there and so it for you? I knew I should have done it before. I'm sorry, I'll just go over there and we'll be—"

"Grace!" Will interrupted, holding a hand to his forehead. Shit. He totally forgot that he was supposed to go up with her to her parents house that week to meet them. He gave an apprehensive look in Jack's direction. The teenager was laying with his head haphazardly arranged on Will's pillow. A few stray hairs were venturing towards his eyes, making him look even younger. He gazed back at Will, giving a little smile, as if he knew who was on the other line.

Fuck you. Will thought irritably. Why do you have to look so cute and innocent like that? It'll be like kicking a puppy out.

"Will?" Grace asked at the other end of the line. She sounded impatient.

"Sweetie, I can't make it. There's something that came up," he said quietly, bracing himself for a surplus of questions that were sure to come his way. Jack smirked at him and turned around.

"what do you mean? Are you hurt? Do I need to go over there? Are you sure everything is okay? Why aren't you talking?"

"Grace," he assured her, ignoring Jack. "Everything is fine. I'm not hurt and nothing's wrong. I just need to stay here for a couple of days. It's a long story, I'll explain everything to you later."

After many more minutes of reassuring, Will hung up the phone exhaustedly. He loved the girl, but sometimes she could drive Will up a wall. When he turned back to the bed, Jack was still smiling at him with his hand over his mouth, as if he was trying to stifle laughter.

"What?" he asked crossly, sitting on the couch on the other side of the room.

Jack cleared his throat. "Your boyfriend sounds like a real bitch."

Taken aback, Will blinked a few times before responding. "What! I don't have a boyfriend! I'm not gay! That was my girlfriend on the phone."

He knew Jack didn't believe it, but it was the truth. "Mmm, sure Will. You're as straight as I am."

"Jack," Will began, somehow knowing that there was probably no use to this. "Just because you have the urge to jump at everything with a penis does not make me automatically gay."

"How do you know I'm gay?" Jack asked playfully. "You just met me today. Why would you assume such things?"

"Stop trying to change the subject. And anyone would know you're gay. Which I am not. I mean, this is the first time someone has even mentioned the word 'gay' in my presence."

Jack snickered. "Yeah, to your face. But what about all of the rumors on campus?"

Will felt his stomach drop, and his face turn red. He knew that people said some nasty things about him before. That he was boring, or overbearing, or a controlling nightmare. But this was the first he had heard of people calling him gay behind his back.

"They say I'm gay?" he asked, feeling confused and hurt. He knew he wasn't the most popular student at Columbia. Hell, most of the student body didn't even know he existed. So why would they say things about him?

Jack noticed the hurt in Will's eyes and seemed to soften a bit. Maybe he knew what it was like, people talking shit behind his back because of how he acted. Jack knew that feeling all too well. He was only grateful for the day before when it let out for Winter break.

"Look, there's no shame in it, Will", he replied, getting off of the bed with a contortion and walking over to him. "It's just who you are. I mean, I know who I am, and look at how happy I am!"

Jack place his hand on Will's shoulder, and gazed down at him. Will felt a tingle move down his arm, and he shuddered at Jack's touch. He was scared to look up at him, partly because he was very close—too close. He closed his eyes and took a breath, shaking his head and standing up quickly. Shit, he was hard.

"No, I'm not gay," he said with a half-hearted laugh, shaking Jack's hand off of him. Looking at Jack's face, he saw how the abrasions on his face took a lot away from his youthful good looks. He had only small scrapes on his forehead and cheeks, but there were certain places where the skin had been completely rubbed off from the road. Will instantly felt sorry again. But he still felt uncomfortable. He was only grateful that Jack didn't see anything.

He cleared his throat and motioned to the bed. "You better go and lie down. You still look pretty banged up. I'll take you home later."

"I told you, I'm not going back there." Jack said strongly. He looked hard into Will's eyes, letting him know he was completely serious.

Will rolled his eyes and gave a heavy sigh. But looking into Jack's eyes, he knew it was for a good reason. He could tell Jack was the type of person who was only serious when it had to do with something important.

"Fine," he gave in, grabbing a blanket for him. "Do you have school or anything? I don't have to do anything do I?"

Jack smiled happily and shook his head. "Nope. You won't even know I'm here!"

Will prepared a bed for himself with blankets and pillows on the couch to sleep for the night. Somehow, he didn't think that was quite true.

"Jack, stop it already. I told you, that's not a salesperson, it's a mannequin!"

"Chill out. Someone desperately needs to give this girl some fashion tips and hair extensions, stat!"

Will would've buried his head in his hands, if they weren't already filled with bags full of clothes and a present for Grace and her family. Will thought it would be a nice gesture, since he couldn't make it up there to meet them. Due to…a certain annoying something that needed his attention.

Jack wasn't that bad, he had deduced. He just acted out in public. When it was just the two of them alone, he was a lot quieter, and more reserved. Until he opened his mouth, that is. Once he got that thing open, it was hard getting it to shut again. Will was getting better at shutting out the criticism, though. They had been a dynamic duo for less than three days now, Will was getting used to the kid. It seemed deadly silent without him there.

A handful of energy, Jack bounded up to him and wrapped his arms around him. "Thank you for the sweater, William. I love it," he said playfully, kissing Will on the cheek. Will made a face and turned away.

"Please. Stop doing that. It was nothing, really. It was in your size, and on sale. Plus, since you refuse for whatever reason, not to go back to your house where you belong, I had no choice but get you something."

It was Jack's turn to make a face this time. "Shut up Will, if you get any more wound up, you'll burst out of those pants of yours."

He tickled Will's sides, making the older man dissolve into giggles and almost drop the bags he was carrying. "Stop doing that or I'll tie you up in the backyard and make you sleep outside tonight! And I'm not fat, so don't start that up again."

They walked down the crowded New York streets, Jack following Will closely, almost skipping down the sidewalks. It amazed Will how much energy this kid had. It was pretty fucking infectious too, because Will felt himself walking a little faster and smiling a little brighter. It took him a minute to realize Jack was smiling at him.

"What?" he asked, still grinning as he walked.

Jack hesitated for a minute, and then opened his mouth. "You are just SO GAY."

Will's face contorted angrily, and Jack backed away slightly, like Will was about to smack him across the face. But he held back and spoke as calmly as he could. "We've already gone through this several times, Jack. No matter how much you wish and dream in that crazy head of yours, I am NOT gay. I'm sorry. I know you're disappointed and all, but it really will be ok. Here, do you need a shoulder to cry on?"

Only the faintest of smirks graced Jack's face before transforming into a genuine smile. He simply walked ahead, softly humming to himself as he moved.

The walk home was pleasant, now that both of them were silently thinking, side by side, both in their own worlds. It was like they had met a long time ago, like they had been friends for years. They passed by a sandwich shop, and Will only had to jerk his head towards it for Jack to get the message and walk inside of it.

They got their food and sat at the table in a secluded corner near the restrooms. The only light came from the faint afternoon sunshine showing from the window next to them. It was a cloudy day, and a lot colder than usual. Jack reached into Will's bag and took out his sweater, wrapping it around himself to illustrate the point.

When they got home, they got into the usual positions; Will on the couch, and Jack on the bed. Jack still hadn't explained to Will why he didn't go home, but they eventually came to an agreement: Jack would stay for the two weeks of Winter Break, and then when school was back in session, he would go back home. Will asked himself constantly why he was bothering to do this; after all, he hardly even remembered the kid's last name. Then he realized if it wasn't for him, Jack probably wouldn't have gotten hurt. He was going to Will's stupid party, after all. Now he was stuck with him.

Will reminded himself that he didn't have to do that. He could just kick Jack out and never see him again. He would feel no remorse or regret, because Jack had a home, even if it wasn't a really good one, and he wouldn't get hurt again. But then Jack would flash him a dazzling smile to himself, at least and that would be the end of that.

Even though Jack was annoying, superficial, flamboyant, and every synonym of bitchy you could find in a thesaurus, Will felt for him. Apparently, his home life wasn't the best, and he had almost gotten killed. Even though the fat jokes and the accusations of being gay were getting really old really fast, it was still his responsibility to make sure he was ok.

i Are you kidding me/i A voice spoke bitterly in the back of his mind, i You OWE it to him? He's your RESPONSIBILITY? You don't even know this kid! And it's not your fault that he got hit by whateverthefuck he got hit by. Your only responsibility is to yourself. Forget about him. And if he makes one more comment about you being gay, hit the shit out of him.

"I'm not gay though/i he replied back, i and it is kind of my fault. If I hadn't of run into him, he wouldn't of gotten hurt. And he is kind of nice. It is pretty cool having someone to chat with while Grace is gone and Rob is over at Ellen's."

Will! Listen to yourself! The whole reason you're not with Grace is because of this kid! And I don't need to remind you of exactly WHY Rob nearly ran out of the dorm like there was a fire/i

Will nearly laughed out loud, but caught himself. It was pretty funny how Jack nearly chased Rob out of there by remarking about just how adorable he looked in his tight sweatpants. All Will could remember was Rob grabbing all the stuff he could out of his bedroom and the bathroom and running out of there as fast as he could while yelling out that he would be staying at Ellen's for the week.

Will had been furious at Jack then, but he could understand the humor in it all. Jack was just being Jack. He hadn't hurt anyone.

"Umm…Will? Are you okay? You look like you're talking to yourself?"

Jack's voice sounded like a horn, breaking though Will's thoughts. He thought it might've looked pretty strange to Jack, Will going back and forth inside his mind like that.

"Yeah, I'm fine. Go back to sleep," he whispered, turning on his side and closing his eyes.

"'Kay. Night, Will."

"Goodnight Jack."