by kbk


Oz looked up from where he sat picking out chords with his legs dangling out the back of his van. The young man before him was dressed all in black, thin, and pale enough that Oz was relieved to notice the sun beating down on his spiky black hair. "Hey," he replied, idly wondering how many applications of dye it had taken to get that colour, or if it was natural. The scraggly goatee lent evidence to the second option, but Oz had a moral objection to taking things at their face value. Which was rather pointy.

"Nice guitar," the guy said, his low monotone becoming more evident. The gravel-washed bass of it seemed to rub at the small of Oz's back like a cat.

"Thanks," Oz replied, suddenly uncomfortably aware of the lightness of his own voice in comparison. "You play?"

"Yeah. Mystik Spiral -- we suck," he said, a slight gleam in the back of his eyes and a twitch of his mouth the only evidence of humour. Oz thought it was a little too late-eighties and pretentious a name for a serious local rock band, but it was a small town, so he nodded a little.

"Dingoes Ate My Babies," he informed. "So do we. Oz." He shifted a little sideways, and the guy took this as the invitation it was.

"Cool," he said as he sat. "Trent."

Oz hadn't noticed how short he felt compared to his new acquaintance until he felt himself relaxing as they approached the same eye-level. Trent seemed a little tense as well, though it could simply be that he was less completely laidback than he appeared. Of course, somebody else who did the laconic guitarist schtick made conversation a little difficult, and Trent was probably as unwilling as Oz to break or extend the pause. The local drew an audible breath, and Oz didn't smile.

"So," Trent said, "Lawndale?"

The range of meaning implied was quite impressive, Oz thought, though the disdain for small-town America in general and this specific town in particular was just a little overdone. "Passing through," he said. "Me and Bessie."

Oz dropped his head to check the precise placement of his fingers -- the chord itself wasn't all that tricky, but the progression didn't sound right unless everything was just so -- and thus missed the slightly appraising look on Trent's face as he asked, "Girlfriend?"

Oz gave a small smile (not that he tended to do any other kind) and jerked his head back. "Van."

"Hey, Bessie," said Trent, running his hand down the inside of the door. "Been far?"

Oz took it upon himself to answer for both of them, being as Bessie had neither vocal cords nor a voice synthesiser. Nor, in actuality, any kind of intelligence. As far as he knew. Though that was something he just knew he would start wondering about next time he lay insomniac in back of her, somewhere in the middle of nowhere.

"Mexico. She stayed in San Fran while I took a slow boat to China. Hitched to Tibet. Meditated. Picked up with her again, went home, girlfriend was lesbian, left again. Thirty-two of the contiguous states." He strummed a quick cadence as punctuation and raised an eyebrow at Trent.

"Lesbian?" Trent asked.

"Girlfriend," Oz confirmed.

"Meditation," Trent stated.

"Control," Oz explained.

Trent looked askance at him, then carefully lay back to stare at Bessie's ceiling. "I can see that," he said contemplatively, inspecting the detail of the mural overhead. He sniffed once; made a small convulsive noise; and completely failed to stifle his giggles. Oz conscientiously set his guitar aside before collapsing back beside the other boy and laughing freely.

Gasping for breath, Oz rolled to his side. "No, really," he said, pushing himself up to lean over Trent, who giggled again. "I had to learn control."

Trent grinned up at him, hooked a hand around the back of his neck and pulled him down into a kiss. It was a long moment before Trent released his grip, and another before Oz sat back up. Trent licked his lips, and smiled slightly.

"Nice control," he said.

Oz agreed.


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