Ten Cent Tour
by HYPERFocused

Seth Cohen was sixteen the first time Wendell blew him in the third floor restroom of The Harbor School. It was Wendell's first day at Harbor, after the testing and paperwork had been finished.

His new principal had cornered Seth in the hall, pulled him away from talking with the boy with dark blond bangs and a leather thong necklace, and said, "Seth, this is Wendell, he's new here from Colorado. He'll be in your Lit class, as well as biology. Why don't you skip homeroom, and give him the ten-cent tour. I'm sure Ryan will be all right without you for an hour. I'll give you a pass for first period. Just be sure you two get to English."

"This is Orange Country, it's at least ten dollars," Seth had quipped, looking over at the other boy as if asking for permission to go. Interesting. Wendell wondered what the story was between them.

"Come on. Wendell, is it? Damn, that's gotta be a tough name to live with. And I thought 'Seth' was bad. No offense. It's a perfectly nice name. I'm just running at the mouth, I tend to do that with new people. And old people. Well, not old people like my grandfather; I never know what to say to him. I mean old as in people I've known a long time. Shutting up now, sorry."

Wendell waited, amused, for the kid to wind down. He was pretty damn cute. Tall and lanky, with dark curls and warm brown eyes. And Wendell was getting vibes. This is why he found himself throwing caution (and common sense) to the wind. He wasn't that worried about getting shot down, or even punched. Nor was he concerned about getting a reputation on his first day. Seth didn't look like his opinion had much pull with the popular kids anyway.

After he'd been shown around the school - which was more like a country club than a place of learning, he thought - he asked Seth, "Could you show me where the restroom is?"

"Yeah, sure. This one is usually pretty empty. You'll want to avoid the one on the main floor, if you have any choice in the matter. Unless you want one of the polo pricks to shove your head in the toilet."

"No, I had enough of that with the football jocks back home. Thanks, though."

"Nice to see how little things change, huh?" Seth laughed bitterly.

It was true. The restroom was quiet, whether it was due to class still being in session, or the room itself being somewhat out of the way, Wendell didn't know. He just knew he had an opportunity not to be wasted.

Seth had seemed shocked to find Wendell on his knees in front of him, and Wendell had a moment's regret that he hadn't actually asked Seth if it was all right. No one had ever refused a blow job from him, though.

It wasn't the first time Wendell had done this, there were a handful of guys back in Everwood who had benefited from Wendell's special brand of extra-curricular help (not that any of them would admit it.) It was a service he often thought of on the same level as procuring concert tickets, or worthwhile blackmail information. It never hurt to be in the know, and it was nice to be owed.

However, it was obviously Seth's first such experience. Wendell could tell, because he was on his knees when the first bell between classes rang, and Seth came at just about the time they heard the second bell. They were hardly even late to class.

True, Seth didn't exactly look put together, racing into English Lit with messy curls, and splashes of water on his vintage Stiff Records T-shirt from where he'd hurriedly washed his hands. Wendell was pretty sure he wouldn't have the worst spazz reputation at his new school. It was a step up from EverRude.

He was also sure he'd never be thought of as cool --apparently an impossibility for anyone with a background in the wrong zip code --, but he no longer had to eat lunch alone. It was a good start. . What hadn't changed was his set in stone role as an outcast. Colorado, or California, Wendell would always be known as "dork extraordinaire."

This time, it was Wendell who was the new kid, having moved to California when his father decided he needed a change of scenery. His actual words had been "get you away from that New York kid, and maybe you'll go back to normal". Wendell didn't have the heart - or balls, maybe - to tell him he'd still be gay, even in California. Anyway, if his dad thought the general state of undress and ripped physique of most of the guys he saw along the beaches, and at the few parties he'd managed to crash helped in the manner, he was an idiot. Well, more of an idiot. He'd already proven his stupidity numerous ways.

The bathrooms at Harbor were much nicer than the one Wendell had blown Ephram Brown in, when Ephram first arrived in Everwood. Well, maybe not first arrived, he'd been oddly resistant to Wendell's charms for a while, but like he always knew he would, Wendell got Ephram to cave.

Unlike the concrete and puce painted steel stalls at his old school, this one was pretty nice. It had real marble, with locking doors, and no graffiti. He considered it quite a step up, even if Seth didn't quite have Ephram's "New York Cool" appeal. Wendell could do worse.

It didn't take long before he considered Seth a friend, more than an opportunity for commerce. Seth had this way of making one feel at ease. It was a skill Wendell wished he had. He'd always bought his friendships, rather than made them.

There didn't seem to be a likelihood that they'd do more than "help each other out," but that was better than nothing. Their situations were remarkably similar. They both were in love with somebody else.

Ryan Atwood reminded Wendell of both Ephram and Bright Abbott. He was brooding and kept to himself like Ephram, but he had Bright's jock build and blonde hair, even if he was several inches shorter. The way Seth followed Ryan around like a puppy made Wendell uncomfortable. It was very familiar. The only difference was, Wendell could help Seth get Ryan. Ephram belonged to Bright now. It was a lost cause.

By the end of his first day at Harbor, Wendell knew more about Seth than he'd ever known about Ephram. It was entertaining, even if every other name Seth had dropped had been "Ryan." Ryan himself had looked on with what could only be fond amusement. Wendell didn't think Seth was so far off from getting what he wanted.

"So, um, why did you do that?" Seth asked him, when they had a moment alone. He'd told the teacher he was taking Wendell to the library so he could get started on the research project everyone else had begun a week ago. "Not that I'm complaining, because - Dude, blow jobs. Always a good thing. At least I assume so. But yeah. Why?"

"You reminded me of someone I used to know."

"Your boyfriend back in Colorado?"

No, we never? I mean, we did, sort of. But he wouldn't have called himself my boyfriend. Anyway, he's got someone of his own now. Bright."

"He was smart?"

"Yeah, but no. His boyfriend's name is Bright."

"Weird. But I know how you feel. I guess it was obvious."

"Ryan, right?"

"Yeah. It's a weird situation. He's living with my family. I'm supposed to think of him like a brother, but I can't. Unless it's like that family in Flowers in the Attic. Which I shouldn't admit to having read. But anyway, he's completely unattainable. And probably straight."

"I wouldn't count on that. He seemed pretty damned interested to me. Besides, I can help. At least one of us ought to be getting the guy."

But no matter how much Wendell might wish it, Seth Cohen was no Ephram Brown. For one thing, he read comic books instead of Manga, rode a skateboard and not a bicycle, and his father had a law practice instead of a medical office. Still, there were similarities. One of his parents was Jewish, the other not. Both of their fathers worked more for love than money, though Andy Brown had enough of his own saved up to last his family a lifetime. Like Ephram, Seth was a bit of an outcast, and most importantly, he didn't exactly object to Wendell's attentions.

Wendell put together a game plan for the whole Seth/Ryan thing. He knew it would work. He wished he had an idea that good for himself. But in the meantime, Seth was his distraction. There were worse things than being second choice.


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