Characters: Max belongs to me. Phillip belongs to megsjedi.
Where you've seen them: The Remains of the Couch. This story takes place a good chunk of time before the couch one.
Acknowledgements: Pat Benatar for the title. I had no choice, it's too good.
“You want me,” Phillip said with a smirk. “Just admit it.”
Max snarled at the other young man’s audacity. How had he gotten stuck with this fruit in his karate school? The college student had gone from advanced student to volunteer teacher in a manner of weeks, and only within a couple of months of the school’s opening. If they weren’t so strapped for cash as it was, Max would have kicked Phillip out long before it came to this. “I’m not a fag.”
Phillip frowned, all traces of mirth gone from his face. Max didn’t like the look of that face, never had. It was too… All-American Jock-boy. He hated the type, they were all cookie cutter oblivious fucks. Except for the fact, of course, that Phillip was a werewolf, same as Max. Max thought of it less as common ground and more as another reason to dislike the guy, just on principle. “A fag?” Phillip echoed. “How many ‘fags’ do you know who can kick your ass?”
Max chuckled, amused. Though taller and more muscular, Max didn’t think of Phillip as any kind of real contender. Max wasn’t called Quick-as-Lightning for nothing. He hadn’t founded this school for nothing. He raised his fists before him and waited in a ready stance, facing Phillip. “You go ahead and try.”
“I might just do that,” Phillip said. The fight began as any other sparring match they’d faced off in before. But soon, the claws began to come out, literally and figuratively. “I’ve seen you watching me, Max,” Phillip said as he dodged another one of Max’s kicks and retaliated with one of his own, which managed to graze Max’s side before the younger man could move out of its way. “You’re an ass man, aren’t you?”
Max let out a feral growl, launching himself at Phillip from a crouch, intending to scratch the young man’s pretty face to shreds. Phillip managed to duck under the attack, and take advantage of Max’s rage to catch him off-guard, grabbing him by the arm and flipping him over his shoulder. Max landed hard on his ass. “Did I hit a nerve?” Phillip asked, all fake innocence as he looked down at Max.
“Fuck you,” Max snarled, bringing his legs together like a pair of scissors around Phillip’s legs, throwing him off balance and onto his side.
But Phillip laughed even as he broke the fall with his hands. “I would love you to, actually.”
“Shut the fuck up!” Max yelled, jumping to his feet. “I’m not a fag!”
Phillip scoffed. “You keep repeating that like you don’t believe it.” He stood and frowned at Max. “I’m not a fag either. I just think you’re hot. And I know I make you hot. I know you liked that kiss the other night.” He took a step towards Max.
“I did not!” Max took a step back. “Don’t you touch me!”
“Why not, Max?” Phillip asked. “Afraid you’ll like it?”
Max snarled again and stepped forward, throwing a punch at Phillip’s face. But Phillip had been ready. He grabbed Max’s fist and pinned both of Max’s hands down by his sides. His body pressed against Max’s, Phillip kissed him squarely on the lips. It was forceful, even aggressive. Not at all faggy, in Max’s estimate.
That didn’t mean he had to like it. He was just angry enough to shapeshift, growing larger, stronger, on his way to the werewolf’s battle-form. With newfound strength he broke free of Phillip’s hold, and got hold of his chest, pushing him back with all his force. Phillip flew out of his grasp, a look of shock on his face as he crossed the gym floor and slammed his back against one of the floor-to-ceiling mirrors, shattering it on impact. A limp Phillip landed face-down on the floor, blood and shards of glass everywhere.
For a second Max stood there stunned, shocked back into his natural shape. He blinked, staring at the sight before him. Phillip wasn’t moving.
There was a large piece of mirror sticking out of Phillip’s back.
“Oh shit,” Max breathed, running to his friend’s side, landing on his knees beside Phillip. “Oh Gaia, Phillip, say something,” he urged, nudging Phillip’s shoulder gently.
Phillip opened his mouth, at least, that’s what it seemed like when his jaw moved slightly, but nothing came out in the way of sound except for a faint gurgling hiss.
“Oh shit, oh shit,” Max repeated, hands feeling all over Phillip’s back and head tentatively, as if to keep him alive by virtue of touch. He saw his reflection in the shard of glass still protruding from the body, and shivered.
“T-t-t-t…. ke… out…”
Max jumped halfway out of his skin when he heard Phillip’s strangled voice. “What?”
“… out!” Then Phillip was silent again.
It took Max a long second to realize that Phillip wasn’t kicking him out and what he meant. Of course! Why hadn’t it clicked before? He put his hands around the bit of mirror and, chewing hard on his lower lip, yanked it out. Phillip gasped, and the wound began to weep blood like a prop from a slasher movie. “Shit,” Max swore once more, putting his hands on the wound, pressing down on it. “Dammit Phillip, don’t you fucking die on me.”
He could feel Phillip’s breath filling his lungs, making his back rise and fall. Phillip coughed, leaving some more blood on the newly polished wooden floor. “Shit,” Phillip muttered.
The swear word was like music to Max’s ears. “You’re gonna be okay!” he exclaimed as he realized Phillip’s wound was nowhere near fatal and he’d already started to heal. He turned Phillip over on his back, holding him up, bloody torso halfway on his lap, cradled in Max’s arms. Phillip looked pale, with specks of blood on his lips, but he smiled.
“You do care,” he said weakly.
“I don’t want you dead if that’s what you mean,” Max replied, some of the old antagonism returning.
Phillip was still smiling. “You love me. I’ll make you believe it one of these days.”
Max frowned at his friend, but the real anger was gone. Not today, bro, he thought. Not today and probably not tomorrow. The day after tomorrow, however, was still up for grabs.