Genre: Hurt/Comfort, Friendship, Romance.
Word Count: 3165
Pairings/Characters: Jimmy Hopkins/Pete Kowalski, Damon, Juri.
Synopsis: Jimmy's day is going badly enough when he happens upon two jocks beating up his best friend.
Comments: First try at Bully fic, probably a little bit OOC. Characters are not mine, please enjoy! Comments are awesome.
Life at Bullworth Academy has markedly improved since Gary Smith was removed from power, but school is still school, and no matter how many bullies Jimmy takes out, his biology grade remains abysmally low. He frowns down at the failing grade he received on last week's assignment and wonders how many errands he's going to have to run for Dr. Slawter to make up for it - he can't afford to fail any classes if he wants to stay for next year.
He's angry enough about the test score, angrier about having to stay after just to get told off about it, but the familiar sound of flesh meeting flesh meeting locker draws his attention - a fight will surely put it out of his mind.
Jimmy shoves the stupid paper into his backpack and rounds the corner expecting to see a typical sort of scuffle. No matter how respected Jimmy is, some feuds still remain: Lola's still bouncing from guy to guy, leaving a trail of spurned lovers in her wake, Algie's good at pissing off the jocks, and sometimes Derby is just asking for a punch to the face - hey, he's not a miracle worker.
He's betting Johnny's to blame for this - last he heard Lola was taking up with one of the jocks, Luis, maybe?
And while Johnny is nowhere to be found, there are jocks present, two of them - Damon and Juri. They're both looking particularly violent today, too.
"You think you're done doing our homework, you little loser? Think again," Damon snaps, shoving whoever has fallen victim to his assault back against the row of lockers with enough force to make an impressively loud noise in the relative silence of a mostly empty school. Juri seems to be playing back-up, keeping the incident shielded from view and making sure they don't get caught at this. A nerd, then, Jimmy considers, moving in closer, but then he catches a flash of pink shirt. "I don't care if you are head boy, you're still nothing."
Jimmy charges forward now, can feel the rage bubble up over the usual calm he settles into when a fight is coming. He lands a solid blow to Damon's ribs, and the jock staggers back, away from his target.
Sure enough, it's Petey, who promptly doubles over, sliding down to the floor with a groan of pain.
"What the hell do you imbeciles think you're doing?"
Damon squares up to him, and Juri is circling around behind him. "Stay out of this, Hopkins."
Jimmy actually laughs at the absurdity of that, that he'd walk away from this, "Not a chance."
Damon swings at him, but it's easy enough to dodge out of the way of the shot. He gets in a punch or two for good measure and backs off, puts himself between the two steroid-cases and Pete.
"We had a deal and he broke it. He's getting what's coming to him."
"I don't care," Jimmy answers, arms spread wide, daring them to try to make a move. "He's not your pet, he's not here to do your work for you."
"Like he's not doing yours," Juri counters, and Jimmy's forced to swing at him to keep him back.
"He's not," Jimmy counters. Pete's helped him before, but he's never done the work for Jimmy. It's always lengthy study sessions, where Pete proves to be insanely patient with Jimmy's failure to understand why math has to have letters in it (not even going to get into that whole imaginary number bullshit, thank you very much). "And you goons should know better than this. If rule number one around this place is don't fuck with me, then you damn well better know that rule number two is don't fuck with Pete."
"Why not? You're probably doing that, too," Juri sniggers.
But he's gone too far. He realizes it, too, just a little too late. Jimmy goes off, peppering him with hits and kicks and tackling Juri down to the ground. He throws in a little humiliation and finishes the bastard off with a swift kick to the balls, so he'll be feeling it for a while. He's lost track of Damon in taking down Juri, though, and he spins around just in time for a fist to connect with his face. He feels the blood flow freely from a busted lip, but he'll worry about that once Damon's dealt with. Using some of the tricks the homeless old man taught him, he has Damon pinned on the gross tile floor of the school in no time, an arm twisted behind the jock's back.
"Anyone touches Pete again and I'm gonna be way less understanding about it," he warns, wrenching the arm further back until he feels it hit the end of its range of motion, Damon is clearly in pain. "Do we understand each other?"
"You're not always gonna be around to save your loser boyfriend's ass, Hopkins!" Damon argues, and clearly they have not reached an understanding because threats directed at Pete are nearly as bad as actually attacking him and Jimmy is certainly not going to tolerate that.
"If you touch him, I'll make sure you can never even hold a football again," Jimmy challenges, pulling at Damon's arm just a little bit more to make it clear that he's not messing around, another inch or two and he'd dislocate it, but Jimmy lets go and settles for knocking the boy out with a hit to the head.
With that taken care of, his attention turns to Petey, who's still leaned back against the lockers, staring intently at the ground, arms curled around his chest. "You okay there, Petey?"
"Thanks for the help, Jimmy," he mumbles out.
It's then that Jimmy sees the small puddle of blood on the ground and he's quick to tilt Pete's head up in search of the source. He finds a severely blackened eye, nearly swollen shut, and a cut just over that, likely from the ring that Damon wears. A fresh wave of rage washes over Jimmy at the sight of Pete's injuries, and he has to stop himself from going back to Damon and Juri and adding on a few extra hits to for good measure.
"C'mon, let's get you back to the dorm," he says instead, helping Pete to unsteady feet. Pete sways alarmingly, and Jimmy catches him before he ends up on the floor again. He ends up more or less leaning against Jimmy as they leave the school and cross the campus back to the boys' dormitory. Jimmy's room is closer, so he steers Pete that way, and sits him down on the bed.
"I'm fine," Pete insists, though he is clearly not. "Really."
Jimmy ignores him, and rushes off to the longue to grab a cold soda from the machine. Upon his return, he wraps it with a clean t-shirt and presses it to Pete's swelling eye, makes sure that's he's putting pressure on the wound, as well. "You're not, you're bleeding."
"So are you," Pete counters, referring to Jimmy's busted lip, "and you don't seem to care about that."
"I'll get to it," Jimmy promises, though it's mostly stopped bleeding already. "What the hell happened?"
Pete frowns, and takes over the task of holding the make-shift ice-pack in place so that he can stare down at his shoes some more. "They've been threatening me into doing their homework for months now, so they could stay on the team. But now that things are different, I thought that I could stop them. Turns out things aren't so different, after all."
"Why didn't you tell me?" Jimmy asks, with all the strategy Pete threw his way in overthrowing Gary, that seems like it would have been a good bargaining chip to use against the jocks and gotten them off of Pete's back at the same time.
Pete shrugs, but the movement makes him wince and Jimmy's suspicions rise.
"What? Where else are you hurt?"
"I'm fine!" Pete insists, squirming out of Jimmy's reach. He's not fast enough, though, and Jimmy must hit something when his hand brushes over Pete's chest because the other boy groans in pain.
Jimmy pulls back, "Show me."
Pete doesn't look happy about it, but he sets the can of soda aside and pulls his Bullworth vest over his head, unbuttons the pink dress shirt beneath it carefully. "It's really not that bad, Jimmy," he tries, but that's not going to work.
Jimmy's been dealt his own share of injuries courtesy of his penchant for violence, but what he sees makes him feel sick. Pete's shirt comes off to reveal several bruises spread across his chest and back, all of them dark and purpling. "You should go to the infirmary," Jimmy suggests, unsure that a couple of cold soda compresses are going to be enough for what those bastards did to Pete.
"I don't want to," Pete argues, "I just want to lie down and not move for a while."
"Fine," Jimmy agrees, "but here, okay?" He wants to keep an eye on Pete until he's sure those injuries aren't hiding anything worse. "And if you wanna go later, I'll take you."
Pete seems amenable to that arrangement and lies down on Jimmy's bed, carefully balanced on one side to avoid the worst of the bruises. Jimmy ducks out to get another soda, as the first won't stay cold for long. He makes a detour to bum a couple of pain pills off one of the nerds, too, and he pulls the door shut when he returns, doesn't want anyone bursting in asking for his help when he's got Pete to watch out for.
"Here," he says, offering the pills and the warm soda, and Pete must really be in pain because he takes them without question or argument. Jimmy makes up the new soda compress and hands it over before settling into his desk chair, and with nothing else to do aside from staring at Pete, he's forced to do his homework.
"How'd you do on Slawter's lab report?" Pete wonders, when the silence has stretched on for a while.
Jimmy's sure Pete aced the thing, he always does. "Not great," he says, which isn't a lie but isn't entirely the truth, either. He's considering that his first failure of the day, the second being his inability to keep Pete safe.
"I failed, okay?" He admits, spinning around in his chair to face Pete on the bed. "I messed up something stupid and the whole thing went wrong, like always."
"Maybe you can fix it?" Pete suggests, "Dr. Slawter likes you, so it shouldn't be too hard to convince him to let you revise it. I'll help," he offers, without a thought. If only Pete could be so easily fixed.
"Thanks, Pete," he says, prepared to turn back to his English homework.
Pete stops him, though, with a cautious, "Hey, Jimmy," as he plays absently with the old bedspread. Jimmy waits for him to continue, but he's definitely not expecting the question he gets, "Does it bother you when they call me your boyfriend? I mean... It seems like it's Damon's go to insult and even Juri was making comments..."
"No," Jimmy answers, without a thought, "Why should it? They're just a bunch of idiots. And I know you know that I don't care about stuff like that. I know you've seen me kiss Trent before."
"Yeah," Pete agrees, but apparently that isn't the part he thought Jimmy would have a problem with. "But everyone I've ever seen you with has been reasonably popular - and I'm me, just a loser."
"Hey!" Jimmy snaps, crossing the room to sit on the edge of the bed. "Don't talk like that. If I were going to date anyone at this school, it'd be you," the words come out before Jimmy can stop them, but he's certainly not going to take them back.
"Because I'm the girliest boy in school?" Pete says, and Jimmy recognizes the words from that first time he'd met Pete. Sometimes he forgets that Pete had to put up with Gary for a lot longer than he ever did, and sometimes the effects of that seem to come through.
"Because you're my friend, I like you."
"But not like you like Trent?" Pete challenges, clearly unconvinced.
Like a periodic good time? "No, not like that. Trent's fun, but I don't trust him. Same goes for everyone else around this place. Sure, they're all mostly behaving now, but I'm not gonna forget that they all turned on me the second Gary showed up. All of them. Except you."
Pete goes quiet, winces when he shifts on his bruises. "What about Zoe? She didn't," he points out.
"Fair enough," Jimmy concedes the point. Pete winces again, though this time Jimmy suspects it's because Pete thinks he's about to run off to hook up with her now that he's said something about it, but he's not. Sure, Zoe had helped when things had gone crazy, but that doesn't mean he wants to date her. Russell had helped, too, and the townies, but Pete doesn't think he's running off to be with them, does he? "But Zoe's too much like me, it'd never work out. And it's not her I'm interested in." Another thing he didn't mean to admit, because that means there is someone he is interested in.
"Does it bother you?" He blurts out, before Pete can think too much about what he's just said.
"When those Neanderthals say shit like that, does it bother you?"
Pete shrugs, "Not like I haven't heard it before, and it's not like it's the most original of taunts."
"It isn't," Jimmy agrees. "But that's not what I meant."
Pete's quiet, and for a minute Jimmy thinks he's not going to answer at all. "It's not true," he mumbles.
"Do you want it to be?"
Pete looks at him through the eye that isn't swollen shut, and Jimmy can seen the edges of panic there, like he's been caught at something. "I..." He starts, before he tries and fails a few more times to get an answer out. Jimmy reaches out, but Pete flinches back, like Jimmy's going to hit him or something. Like Jimmy would ever hit him when most of his time is spent keeping the school in line so that no one else does, either. Finally, he closes his eyes and mumbles, "yes," so quietly that Jimmy can barely hear it.
It's more than he expected Pete to admit, really. "Okay, then," he says, because it's that easy. Pete's his best friend, and if this is something they both want, then why not? Why waste his time leading on guys and girls when he doesn't want any of them half as much as he wants Pete?
For once, there aren't any cheesy pick-up lines. Pete's quiet, looks like he'd be ready to bolt if it weren't for his injuries, and Jimmy doesn't want to spook him, so he doesn't move even though he really wants to kiss him, even though if it were anyone else, he would have made a move. "You alright, Petey?" He asks, instead, because Pete's expression keeps switching between angry and awestruck.
"Are you... you're making fun of me, aren't you?" He's settled on angry for now, and Pete sits up slowly, the compress falling away with the movement. Jimmy's glad to see that the wound looks better - it's stopped bleeding, at least, and the swelling has gone down a little - even if it probably doesn't feel any better.
"No," Jimmy answers, doesn't know what part of this conversation has sounded like it could be taken that way. "Why would I do that?"
Pete looks surprised, like he'd been prepared for Jimmy to laugh the whole thing off like one big joke. "I just... No one's ever really..."
"They're idiots," Jimmy reminds him. They're all idiots, for not seeing how awesome Petey is just because of how long he'd spent in Gary's shadow, picked-on and tormented until he started believing all of the shit that Gary told him, until even the nerds could make him feel worthless and unwelcome. "They're idiots and I'm not joking. I want to make out with you, not make fun of you. So if you want-"
It's Pete that kisses him, surprise of all surprises, though it's rather uncoordinated at first, the angle is all wrong so their noses smash awkwardly together, and Jimmy had been talking, so there's the sharp clack of teeth, too. Jimmy settles a hand in Pete's short hair, though, and adjusts accordingly, until they fit together right, until it's a proper first kiss - since he's sure that that is what this is. Of course, by that point, it could easily be considered kiss six or seven, since Jimmy turns it into a series of smaller lighter things at first, slowly building up to more.
Pete's hand clutches desperately at Jimmy's shirt, as lips and tongue move smoothly together. Jimmy's hands, meanwhile, are careful, one settled on the back of Pete's head, leading him on and pulling him in while the other sets on a bit of bruise-free skin on Pete's chest, cautious of the surrounding injuries.
He draws a groan from Petey when he finally does move to end the kiss, biting lightly at Pete's lower lip as he pulls back. Pete tries to follow him, to keep it from ending, but Jimmy distracts him, adding in a few quick kisses along Pete's neck and jaw.
"That was incredible," Jimmy says, though the spot where his lip had been busted during the fight burns from the kiss. It's not bleeding, and it's nothing in comparison to Pete's injuries, a small price to pay for stopping Damon and Juri before things had gotten any worse. Kind of hates that he has that fight to thank for this, for finally getting them together. Guess he has Slawter to thank for it, too, and that stupid failed lab report. Damn it, Jimmy thinks, can't stop the laugh that escapes him.
"What?" Pete wonders, looking a little concerned.
And no, not letting that happen. Jimmy moves in closer - not that there'd been much space left between them to start - and claims another kiss to fend off Pete's impending panic, doesn't stop until he's sure that Pete is thoroughly convinced.
"Still think I'm joking about this?" he questions, and indeed, Pete shakes his head, mumbles out a garbled sound that might be, 'no' but might not have been a word at all.
"Good," he says, happy to comply when Pete starts things up again. He's a quick learner, and this kiss starts out much smoother than that first one had, "'Cause I've wanted to do this for a long time."
"Me, too," Pete admits, the words nearly lost against Jimmy's lips.