Title: Cat and Mouse [Tory/Colin]
Rating/Warnings: PG-13 for mild cursing and threats of pie theft.
Summary: Tory hasn't quite figured out what Colin has his fur all ruffled up over. Or girls, either.
AN: I've finally got volume 2! but this isn't spoilery so far as I can tell. YOU SHOULD ALL BE READING OFF*BEAT.
Cat and Mouse
"Colin!" Tory immediately waved off the girl whose question he was answering and dashed across the hall, dodging students and teachers. He finally bounded up beside Colin, bumping into him when he couldn't stop completely in time, nearly plowing Colin into a row of lockers. "Whoops, sorry!"
"Whatever," Colin scowled, straightening himself and brushing off his shoulder. He started walking to his next class, and Tory trotted along at his side.
"How'd your Physics homework go last night?" Tory asked. "I thought problems five and twelve were kind of tricky, but once I drew the diagrams, it was all downhill from there, but I thought maybe you'd want to see them…"
"Tory," Colin said as they reached the corner, "isn't your class in the other direction?"
"Uh, yeah." Tory grinned sheepishly, feeling like his freckles were on fire. "I just wanted to know, do you want to get together during lunch to talk about the homework?"
"I think I worked it out on my own, thanks." Colin shrugged, then headed down the hall.
"What was that about?" Tory frowned, watching Colin's retreating back. He yelped when the bell rang to signal the start of the period and tore down the hallway.
"Pa-aul!" Tory hollered, pounding on Paul's door. "Come on, answer the door already!"
It just figured, Tory grumbled to himself. His mother would send him all the way up here with a whole pie for this loser, and he wasn't even home! The stupid thing was heavy, and hot, and belonged at the end of Tory's dinner rather than in the hands of the mooch.
"Dammit, Paul! If you don't get out here right now, I'm eating your pie!"
"Pie?" Paul's door swung open a crack. "There's pie?"
"Will you let me IN already?" Tory snapped, rolling his eyes.
"Yeah, okay." Paul pulled his head back, fumbled the chain loose, and opened the door just far enough for Tory to slip inside. "Just don't let the cat out."
"You have a cat?" Tory came inside, then hopped a little when Paul slammed the door shut so close behind him that it nearly caught the back of his shirt. He shot Paul a dirty look. "When did you get a cat?"
"It's my girlfriend's," Paul grumbled, taking the pie out of Tory's hands. "I'm just watching it."
Tory glanced around, looking for the cat, and spotted a huddle of sleek grey fur and yellow eyes peering out from under the table.
"Aw, it's cute!" Tory exclaimed, dashing over and dropping heavily beside the table, reaching out to pet the cat. The cat flattened its ears and darted away, under Paul's couch. Tory scowled and got to his feet. "Not too friendly, though."
"You idiot," Paul commented. "You can't just stomp up to cats and grab at them."
"I just wanted to pet it!" Tory protested.
"You don't know anything." Paul reached over and ruffled Tory's hair; Tory slapped his hand away with a scowl. "C'mere."
Paul took Tory by the shoulders and steered him towards the couch, then pushed him down onto it. He picked up the remote and flipped the TV on. "Just sit there quietly. You can do that for more than ten seconds, right?"
"Shut up," Tory grumbled, slouching into the cushions and having no idea what this had to do with cats.
After five minutes or so, which seemed like much longer because Paul was watching some stupid dating game show, a small gray face peeped over the side of the couch. Tory started to turn.
"Don't move," Paul ordered. "Just keep watching TV."
Tory fidgeted but did what Paul said, trying to catch glimpses of the cat out of the corner of his eye. Gradually the cat worked its way closer, easing up over the side of the couch and crouching on the arm of it, eyeing Tory suspiciously. Tory's fingers twitched.
"Don't do it," Paul said. "Wait."
Finally, finally, the damned thing stood and trotted over to Tory, then headbutted his hand.
"Now?" Tory asked, pleadingly.
"Now," Paul agreed, and Tory sighed in relief and lifted his hand to scratch the cat behind its ears. The cat closed its eyes and tilted its head, and a minute later was sprawled across Tory's lap, purring like a jet plane as Tory rubbed fingers through its—his—belly fur.
"That was way too much work to pet a cat, even a cute one," Tory said, voice lacking any conviction of the statement.
"That's because you have the patience of a gnat on speed," Paul replied. "If you had any brains, you'd learn a lesson from this, and not go crashing into things without thinking first. Like, oh, I don't know, secret government projects?"
"Colin has nothing to do with this," Tory sniffed, picking up the cat and depositing it on the couch before standing up. "I'm going home. Enjoy your pie, you parasite."
But as he trekked down the hallway of the apartment building, Tory's brain continued to chew on Paul's connection between the cat and Colin, although not in the way he had meant it.
"Did Paul enjoy the pie?" Tory's mother called from the kitchen when Tory came in. "You were certainly up there for a while!"
"No, he's an ungrateful wretch and you shouldn't waste your baked goods on him," Tory replied, but he was too distracted to work much venom into his voice. "I'm going to my room."
Tory kicked the door shut and flopped down on his bed. He stared at the bottom of the top bunk, picking cat hairs off his shirt, and thinking about the speed of Colin's retreat after Tory had knocked him into the lockers.
Tory really wanted to yell Colin's name across the hallway. But he swallowed it and let Mandy finish what she was saying. Instead, he just watched Colin over Mandy's shoulder, and when Colin finally happened to catch Tory's gaze, Tory gave a slow blink to let Colin know he saw him.
If nothing else, the expression on Colin's face was totally worth it.
"Colin's right behind me, isn't he?" Mandy asked.
"Hunh?" Tory started, face heating up and eyes snapping back to Mandy. "What makes you say that?"
"Tory Blake, you haven't heard a thing I said in the last thirty seconds," Mandy sighed, but a smile was tugging at the corner of her mouth. "Go on, get over there."
"No, no," Tory said quickly, "I'm very interested in, uh…okay, I have no idea what you're talking about, but keep on talking about it until he comes over here."
"Playing hard to get?" Mandy's grin got much too large for Tory's comfort. "Should I pretend you just said something really funny, too?"
"What?" Tory scrunched his brow.
"Ahahahaha!" Mandy's giggles made Tory grit his teeth, and then she put her hand on Tory's chest and exclaimed, "Tory, you're such a trip!"
"Hey," Colin said, suddenly right beside them, and Tory looked up with a slightly dangling jaw and noted that he wasn't the only one who didn't seem amused by Mandy's hilarity.
"H-hey!" Tory's voice squeaked a little, and he cleared his throat. "Hey, Colin."
"Gotta run to class!" Mandy said brightly, beaming at them both.
"What was that about?" Colin asked, raising an eyebrow.
Tory shook his head weakly. "Girls, huh?"
"Girls," Colin said, but Tory wasn't exactly sure whether he was agreeing or not. Colin was still staring at him with an expression that Tory couldn't really read.
"I have," Tory thumbed the hallway behind him, "uh, gym, so I'll just…"
"Wait." Tory looked down and found Colin holding his sleeve between his fingers. Colin was frowning at his fingers like he wasn't sure how they got there. "The homework. I didn't. I'm bad at it."
"Uh-huh." Tory thought maybe that wasn't the statement he should have agreed with, but Colin didn't seem to notice. He was still holding Tory's sleeve. "Do you want to come over after school?"
"Yes." Colin frowned harder. "I mean. Yes. You can, do you want a ride home?"
The bell rang, and Tory said, "Yes," and Colin was still holding his sleeve. The hallway was empty, and Tory let his fingers brush over the inside of Colin's wrist as he pulled his hand free.
"I'll see you after school then," Tory said, starting to back up. Colin was still standing there. "Isn't your class the other way?"
Colin jumped a little, as if suddenly remembering where he was, and fled down the hallway, and Tory found himself snickering the whole way to gym, which didn't really do him any good when he was sent to the principal's office for extreme tardiness and improper attitude.