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04 August 2011 @ 01:08 pm
How Heavy Do I Journey On The Way (2/2)  
Title: How Heavy Do I Journey On The Way (2/2)
Author(s): brisync
Artist: ritalaura2000
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: Not associated with As The World Turns, CBS or P&G. I don't own these boys.
Characters/Pairings: Luke/Noah
Word Count: 12,451
Warnings: M/m, underage, violence, hate speech.
Summary: Luke and Noah meet as sophomores in high school. They help one another discover themselves, and Luke helps Noah escape a violent father.
Author’s Notes: This is by far the longest thing I have ever written. I am proud of myself for finishing. I had no Beta, so all mistakes are my own. Thank you to all my Twitter friends for being my constant cheerleaders. I love you all. Thanks to ritalaura2000 for making my awesome art :)
Link to Art Master Post: ritalaura2000.livejournal.com/628.html

It was a bright and sunny day when Luke awoke the next morning. It sounded corny, but it was the kind of day when sun streamed through your window and birds were chirping. He couldn’t wait to see Noah. His stomach turned with excitement and nerves. He’d never been able to admit to himself before that he was…was he? Gay. He should at least be able to think it. For God’s sake he was kissing another boy in this very room just yesterday. How would he tell his parents? His girlfriend, Nicole? The guys on the team? They would hate him. He knew how they talked about gay people. “Fag”, “sissy”, and “queer” were often-used insults in the locker room. Luke had used them himself. He was scared. He wondered if Noah was scared too.

Noah’s alarm woke him at 8 AM. He knew he would have to complete all of his chores before his father would let him go anywhere for the day. He smiled to himself to see the sun showing itself through his blinds. Today was going to be a good day. He got up, and made his way to the shower. He kept his shower short, and dressed and brushed his hair quickly. He made his bed, and made sure everything in his room was tidy. His father was sitting at the table with his coffee when Noah reached the kitchen.

“Good morning, sir,” Noah greeted him. “Can I make you breakfast?”

The Colonel did not even look up from his paper. “No thank you, son. I have a meeting in about an hour. I’ve left you a list of chores to attend to today. I assume your room is clean and ready for inspection?”

“Yes sir.” Noah spoke as he poured himself a glass of orange juice. He was far too excited to eat.

“Alright then,” Winston stood, and folded his paper neatly, as Noah looked over his chore list for the day. “I’ll be on my way soon, then. Have a good day, son. Get your chores done, and all of your homework.”

“Yes sir,” Noah spoke as he began to tackle the dishes. He scrubbed at an ugly yellow bowl as he glanced over his list. He could easily finish everything in an hour. As soon as his father left he would get his phone and call Luke. He couldn’t wait. Scrub, scrub, scrub. He imagined seeing Luke in the sunlight by the lake. There would be a light breeze off of the water. Maybe they would hold hands. Maybe they could bring a blanket and have a picnic in the grass. Luke would hold his hand and promise that everything would be okay. They would figure it out together.

“Who’s Luke?” The loud voice of Noah’s father wrenched him from his daydreams, and he dropped the glass he’d been washing to the floor. His heart raced a million miles an hour. He tried to stay casual.

“Oh my God. I’m sorry. I’m sorry, Dad. I’ll clean it up!” He quickly moved for the broom and dustpan nearby, but his father stilled him with a hand on his arm.

“Noah. Who is Luke?” His expression was serious. His eyes were dark. Noah was scared.

“He’s just a friend. From school. We’re working on a project together for Shakespeare Lit.” He attempted to move past his father again, toward the broom. The Colonel’s hand tightened around Noah’s arm.

“A friend? A friend, hm, Noah? Tell me then, about this.” Winston reached into his pocket with his free hand, and extracted Noah’s cell phone. Noah’s eyes went wide, and his mind raced with nonononono.

“Can’t wait to kiss you again?” he hissed. “Can’t wait to see you tomorrow? What the hell is this, Noah?” His voice was getting louder and louder. Noah wanted to be anywhere but here right now. His brain screamed at him to get away. “Noah Mayer! You answer me right now, boy!”

“It was a joke! A joke! Part of the project!” Noah knew his own voice sounded desperate.

“Don’t lie to me, Noah James!” Winston pushed him back hard against the counter. It dug into his back, causing him immense pain.

“Seriously, Dad! I promise! It was just a joke!”

“A joke? It doesn’t sound like a joke, Noah! Can’t wait to kiss you again? Did you kiss this, this, boy?” Anger and disappointment burned in Winston’s eyes as he loomed over his son. Noah could feel tears threatening to stream down his face. He had only seen his father look at him this way a handful of times in his life. It scared him shitless.

“Dad...it’s not what it seems like. I promise. Really. Luke is my friend!”

“Noah. Mayer. You answer me honestly right this moment, or you will not like the consequences.” Winston was no longer yelling. His voice was quiet, and level. Somehow, it was scarier this way. Noah felt helpless, and looked down, his voice coming out barely above a whisper.

“It was a mistake, sir.”

“So you’re meaning to tell me that my son is a faggot?”

“No! No! It was a mistake! Like I said! It was part of a proj-“ Winston cut his son off mid-sentence.”

“I will not have a queer in my house, Noah James. I’m giving you an hour to pack your things and leave this house. I’m disgusted with you.” He said it in a clean, even voice that shot right through Noah’s heart. Winston turned his back and began to walk away.

“Dad! I- Dad, please!” Noah reached out and grabbed for his father’s arm. Winston jerked his arm away, throwing his son off of him, and walking out the front door.

Noah’s head hit the edge of the oven, and then he hit the floor hard. The pieces from the dropped glass dug into his arms, causing him to bleed. He didn’t even move for a while. He couldn’t. He lay on the floor and cried. He cried like he hadn’t cried since he could remember. He felt blood running down his temple, and felt the sting of the glass in his arm. He didn’t even care. He cried for his father. He cried for himself. He cried for Luke.

After several long minutes he lifted himself from the floor. His head was pounding. He grabbed a paper towel and pressed it to his head, but it soaked through immediately. Fuck. He went upstairs to his room and calmly packed several pairs of clothes. He took his framed photo of his mother, a few notebooks and pens, his school things, and some toiletries. There were not many material things that Noah Mayer cared about. He could leave them behind.

He wished he had his cell phone. He wished he could call Luke. His father had taken his phone, and Noah didn’t have any phone numbers memorized. He slung his bag over his shoulder and grabbed a hand towel out of the linen closet on his way downstairs. He pressed it to his head. The blood was sticky, and starting to dry. That was a good sign at least. Noah felt a little woozy, but didn’t think that he had a concussion. Anyone in such a situation had a right to not feel at their best, right?

As he walked out his front door he thought about looking back, but didn’t. He decided it was better this way. The decision to walk to Luke’s house was not even a conscious one. It was like a fact. That was where he was going. Set in stone. No question. His feet carried him along. He barely noticed the intense burning in his arm, or how his head throbbed. He was numb. He didn’t want to think about what had happened. If he did, he would have to process the fact that he no longer had a home. He no longer had a home or a father.

As he approached the farm, he felt his heart soar in his chest at the thought of seeing Luke. He should feel bad about putting this kind of burden on Luke. He should feel awkward about looking so bad when coming to see him. He didn’t. Not right now. All he thought about was seeing Luke. That was all that was on his mind.

Luke spotted him first. He called out Noah’s name. Noah was still at the end of the long driveway. Noah could see him smile as he began to jog toward him. God he loved Luke’s smile. It made him feel warm inside. It made his heart beat just a little bit faster. As Luke got closer, his smile fell. He ran more quickly towards Noah.

“Noah! God! What happened to you?” Luke finally reached Noah, his face full of concern. “You’re bleeding!” Luke took Noah’s hand and began to lead him toward the house. Noah felt a weight lift off his shoulders. He somehow knew that Luke would take care of everything.

The house was quiet. It was a rare moment when the Snyder farm was quiet, but Luke was thankful for it now. He wanted to give Noah all the solitude and solace that he could right now. If his parents or siblings had been there he knew they would be all over Noah and that is not what Noah needed right now. Noah still hadn’t spoken a word. Luke wasn’t one for silences, but he figured that now might be a time where it was okay. He led Noah into the downstairs bathroom, and had him sit on the counter. Luke found a washcloth and wet it with warm water. He didn’t know much in the way of first aid, but he knew Noah’s injuries should be cleaned. Faith had just taken a first aid class last term. He could use her help. He shot her a quick text. He knew she was only down the street at a friend’s house.

From: Luke

Message: Noah’s hurt. Need your help. Come home now.


He ran the washcloth gently over Noah’s temple. The gash in his head didn’t appear to be very deep. He winced slightly as Luke cleaned his wounds. He still didn’t speak.

“Noah? Can you tell me what happened? Where do you hurt?” Luke looked deep into Noah’s eyes. They were huge. Luke knew how to deal with scared. He knew how to deal with hurt, or angry. This was much more difficult. Noah’s eyes were empty. “Can you talk to me, Noah?”

“My head hurts,” Noah finally spoke. “I have a headache.” His eyes were still blank. He didn’t move. He just stared straight ahead as Luke cleaned his wounds.

“What happened, Noah?” Luke pressed on, re-wetting the washcloth. “Who did this to you?” There was only silence for several moments before Noah finally spoke again.

“My father. It was my father, Luke.” It was then that Noah broke down in Luke’s arms, and sobbed as he had done on the floor of the kitchen in his house.

Noah felt like he had cried until he couldn’t possibly shed another tear. He felt worn through by the time Faith showed up and knocked on the bathroom door. “Come in,” Luke answered quietly. Faith’s face immediately crumbled when she saw Noah. After a moment, her lips pulled up into a slight smile. Noah could tell she was trying to put on a brave face for him. She really was quite sweet.

“Hey Noah,” she spoke softly, moving in next to Luke. “How are you feeling? Do you hurt a lot anywhere?” Her voice was calming, and gentle. It made him feel safe. Noah was attracted to women in a certain way; a familial way. He always enjoyed the lilt of their quiet speech.

“My head. It hurts a lot. I hit it.” Noah reached up to point out the wound on his head, as if it wasn’t glaringly obvious. “Also my arm. I cut it on some glass. It doesn’t hurt too terribly bad though. Mostly just stings. I don’t think there’s any glass stuck in it, though. I kind of checked while I was walking.”

Faith smiled at him in a gentle sort of way. She reminded Noah a lot of her mother; beautiful and kind.

“May I look?”

Noah nodded, and offered his arm toward her. She held it gently, and looked at the cuts on his arm, which Luke had already begun to clean. “Yeah, Noah, I don’t think I see any glass in there. Let’s finish getting you fixed up.”

Twenty minutes later, Noah’s cuts were bandaged, and antibiotic cream had been applied. All he wanted to do was take a nap, but Faith wouldn’t let him, fearing he might have a concussion. He, Faith and Luke now sat in Luke’s room deciding what to do next.

“I’m going to call Dad,” Luke said finally, picking up his phone. He and Noah were sitting on his bed. Luke was sitting up, leaning back against his headboard and Noah was leaning against him with his head on his shoulder. They suddenly felt very comfortable with one another. There was nothing like a traumatic situation to bring two people even closer together.

“You can’t, Luke,” Noah spoke desperately. “They’ll give me back to my Dad, or they’ll make me go to foster care or something. God, I don’t know which would be worse. I don’t want to go live with some strange family that I don’t know. God knows who I could get stuck with. You hear all kinds of stories.” He suddenly sat up straight, shaking his head. The tension that had melted from him while he was sitting near Luke was now evident in his features again. “I think I need to leave. I need to just get away somewhere. My Dad might try to come back for me. I can’t see him again, Luke. I can’t, and I won’t.” Noah was up now, and pacing around the room. He felt a sudden need to get as far as humanly possible from Oakdale and Winston Mayer.

“Where do you want to go? I mean, do you have any ideas?”

“Chicago,” Noah blurted out. Faith and Luke stared at him curiously. He’d always wanted to go to Chicago anyway. It was a big city, too. They could lay low there for a while and not be found. He had enough money saved for the bus ride and at least a night or two in a motel. If he stayed in Oakdale, his father would easily find him. If he stayed at Luke’s house, his parents would turn Noah over to the state for sure. Noah was not about to be passed around between foster families who wouldn’t want a fifteen year old anyway.

Luke mulled this around in his head. Chicago was far away. Over five hours by car. It might be good for Noah to have a little time away, though. He didn’t want Noah’s dad to come back. He sure as hell didn’t want Noah to be shipped off to some foster family. Noah was right. He knew some foster families could be good, but he sure had heard the horror stories.

“Okay,“ Luke agreed. “Chicago. We can take the bus. There’s a bus station not far away. My dad has the truck, though. Do you think you can walk to Old Towne, Noah? How are you feeling?”

“I think I’m okay. My head doesn’t hurt as much anymore. I really don’t think it’s a concussion or anything.” He reached his hand up, touching the bandages lightly, wincing a little. “Luke…you don’t have to come with me. You have your family here. They’ll worry about you. I can go by myself. You don’t have to get wrapped up in this.”

The look on Luke’s face immediately told Noah what his response would be.

“Noah. Of course I am going with you.” He moved forward and rested his hand on Noah’s arm. “Faith?” Luke questioned. He didn’t have to finish his question. He knew that she would know what he meant. He meant ‘will you keep quiet?’, ‘will you help us?’

“I’ll pack up Noah a bag of bandages and Neosporin, and stuff. You guys pack up some clothes.”

An hour later, Luke and Noah were all packed. Luke packed a few extra clothes and snacks for Noah, and enough clothes for a few days for himself. He brought along a notebook and a few books to read for the trip.

The walk into town felt very long, though it really only took about half an hour. Faith walked with them, carrying Noah’s backpack for him. Noah felt very tired. All he wanted to do was sleep. That is one thing the long trip would be good for. He didn’t feel nervous. He felt like he should be, but he wasn’t. His heart felt light to just be able to get away from everything for a while. With Luke. Tonight he would be sharing a room with Luke. You never know how a day will go. He certainly had not expected this when he woke up this morning.

They finally reached the bus station at 4:00 PM. Noah waited on a nearby bench as Faith and Luke purchased the tickets. It was kind of scary sometimes to think that his whole life was in the backpack that sat next to him. He had never really been that concerned with stuff anyway. He could rebuild. He hadn’t taken much time yet to sit and think about what actually happened. His dad knew. Noah couldn’t deny it himself anymore. He was gay. He loved Luke. Maybe it was too early to say love. Maybe it was ridiculous, but that’s how Noah felt. He watched Luke at the ticket counter. His mouth was pressed into a determined line. Noah loved how Luke wanted to protect him. He loved him for wanting to go to Chicago with him.

The bus arrived and they loaded their bags. Luke watched as Noah climbed the stairs of the bus waving goodbye to Faith, and blowing her a kiss. Luke had always loved his sister, but his heart swelled with love right now. Faith was risking a lot to help them. She had helped him take care of Noah, loaned him money, and would now be lying to his parents when they asked where he was.

“How long will you be gone?” she asked quietly. He reached over and took her hand, wanting to comfort her. He hated seeing her upset. They had been close their whole lives. They rarely spent time apart.

“Just a few days. Just for long enough for us to figure out what Noah’s going to do. Thank you so much, Faith. For everything. Just tell Mom and Dad that I’m safe. You can tell them I went camping with Kevin or something. I’ll call you to check in every once in a while.” He wrapped her up in a big hug. “Love you, Faithy. Thank you.”

“Love you, Indy. Be safe. Call me, okay?” She hugged him close, and kissed his cheek. His heart felt heavy as he left her. He hated making her lie for him, but this was about Noah. This was for Noah’s safety, and Noah’s well-being. He would do anything to protect Noah. Noah deserved that.

The bus ride was long. Noah dozed for a little while. The seats were cramped, but not all together uncomfortable, especially since he had Luke to lean against. Luke would only let him sleep for small increments at a time, fearing a concussion. It was frustrating, but Noah knew that Luke was only doing it for his own good.

The bus stopped at a mini-mart along the way for 20 minutes. They walked through the aisles, browsing for snacks for the rest of their trip and later that evening. Noah wanted very much to reach over and hold Luke’s hand. He watched Luke study the selection of candy. He looked like he was making the most important decision of his life. His brow was furrowed and he reached out, running his fingers over the different kinds of sweets, as if this would help him in making a decision.

Noah laughed softly, and then began to laugh harder. It felt so good to just laugh at something small and silly. Luke turned and looked at him strangely at first, and then cracked a small smile as well.

“What? What are you laughing at, dork?” Luke shoved at him playfully.

“Just…” Noah paused, grinning. “You’re really cute.” With that, Noah took in a deep breath, and leaned in to press a quick kiss to Luke’s lips. Both boys smiled and blushed. Noah laughed just a little. He couldn’t hold it in. He was just so happy. He couldn’t remember being this happy in a long time.

The rest of the trip went by fairly quickly. It was dark when they pulled into the bus station in Chicago. They got their bags and began to walk. The plan was to stop at the first decent, but affordable motel that they could find. They walked for several minutes. It was cold and windy. As they walked, Luke took Noah’s hand. Noah smiled, and looked at their joined hands for a moment. Was this all a dream?

They eventually found a hole-in-the-wall motel. They checked in quickly and made their way to their small room. It held only a double bed, an ugly chair, and a small TV.

“Not exactly five star, hm?” Luke joked, as he and Noah flopped down on the bed. He tried to pretend that he wasn’t thinking about sharing this same bed with Noah tonight.

Noah was tired, and curled up, drifting off almost immediately. He did manage to mumble to Luke that his arm was starting to hurt him a lot. Luke gave him some Ibuprofen, and went to the bathroom to wash up himself. He washed his face and brushed his teeth quickly. He felt gross after being on that bus for so long. He changed into a pair of shorts and went back into the bedroom. Noah was passed out asleep on the bed. Luke just stared at him for a short time. He was so kind. Sweet, soft-spoken Noah did not deserve anything that had happened to him. He looked beautiful while he slept. Luke carefully pulled off Noah’s shoes, leaving him in his jeans and sweatshirt. He climbed in next to him gingerly, and placed a gentle hand on Noah’s hip. He wanted to wrap him up in his arms, but he didn’t know if they were there yet, or where all Noah hurt.

The night was long for Luke. He set his alarm to wake Noah up every few hours to check and make sure he was doing okay. Noah was groggy the third time Luke woke him, but seemed aware enough that Luke was confident he was okay. Luke got up and got Noah some Advil and a glass of water. He rubbed Noah’s back gently as he took the medicine.

“My arm really hurts,” he spoke in a soft, drowsy voice. “We’ll have to put more Neosporin on it in the morning I think” He was already drifting back to sleep as he settled into the bed. Luke smiled at him and lay back down as well.

“Of course, Noah. I’ll take care of you.” The words spilled off of Luke’s lips without him realizing, and his cheeks suddenly burned pink. Noah just mumbled something that sounded like ‘I know you will’, and snuggled in close, pulling Luke’s arm around him. Luke felt his heart expand with warmth as he drifted off to sleep with Noah.

***

They slept in until late the next day, but Luke was still exhausted. His checks on Noah had been going okay. The bruise on Noah’s head was getting darker, and his eye had turned red where the white part was supposed to be. Luke was concerned. He knew Noah wanted to stay away from ‘the system’, but he really felt Noah needed to see a doctor. He remembered that his cousin, Lucy, had moved to Chicago about a year back. Lucy was a nurse. He thought for a moment, and sent her a quick text to ask her for a favor.

Noah woke up slowly, scrunching his eyes shut against the light that was beginning to pour through the ugly, white hotel drapes. His vision was blurry. He blinked hard a few times, and it didn’t return to normal. His heart began to race, but he didn’t show any physical signs of distress. He didn’t want Luke to know. Luke. God. He had to be so tired. He had been taking care of Noah all night. Noah couldn’t believe that Luke had taken care of him so well. He really cared. He turned and looked at Luke, who was propped up in the bed texting. Even blurry he looked beautiful.

Noah reached out a hand, resting it on Luke’s leg, startling him. Luke smiled at him gently and leaned in to press a gentle kiss to his sore forehead. “Good morning, handsome. Get up and get dressed, we’re going on a field trip.”

After a free breakfast in the lobby of muffins, fruit, and juice, Luke hailed a cab, and read an address off from his cell phone. He wouldn’t tell Noah where they were going. He was afraid he wouldn’t come. Poor Noah’s bruises looked painful. He sat quietly with his head on Luke’s shoulder. Lucy had invited he and Noah to her place, and said she would take a look at Noah’s head and arm. Luke felt his anxiety diminish slightly knowing that someone else would be involved in the situation. Lucy would tell him Noah was okay. She would help him figure out what to do. In a few days he would be back at home, and Noah would be safe with him.

Lucy’s apartment building was nice. The cab dropped them off out front and Luke rang the buzzer so she would let him in.

“Where are we going, Luke?” Noah finally asked. “Who do you know that lives here?

Luke took his hand and lead him to the elevator when the doors opened. “This is my cousin Lucy’s place. She’s a nurse. She said she’d take a look at you.” Luke almost winced, afraid that Noah would be mad at him. The response was better than he hoped. Noah scrunched up his nose for a moment, and then just sighed.

“I suppose it can’t hurt to have someone take a look. I just don’t want to go to the hospital.”

To be honest, Noah was starting to get really worried. His vision was still blurry. He had hoped it would clear up when he woke up a little, but it still appeared the same. The idea of seeing a nurse made him feel a little better. He was glad it would be at her apartment, and not in a hospital or clinic. He hated those places. If she was related to Luke, she was sure to be smart, and full of smiles.

Noah was right. A beautiful girl with dark hair, and sparkling eyes answered the door.

“Luke! Hi!” She greeted her cousin with a big hug, pressing a kiss to his cheek. “Is this the friend you told me about?” She looked behind Luke at Noah, and leaned in to hug him as well. She was warm. She reminded Noah of Luke’s mother.

“Lucy, yeah, this is my boyfriend, Noah.” A slight blush crossed Luke’s face when he said it, and he turned to Noah as if to say ‘is this okay?’ It was more than okay. It felt amazing. They shared a loving look, before continuing on into Lucy’s apartment.

It was a modern looking space. Everything was new, and bright. Lucy lived there with her boyfriend, Ian. Ian was a lawyer, and made a good amount of money. Lucy probably wouldn’t even have to work if she didn’t want to, but she had a passion for her career, and her patients. She led them to the kitchen, and motioned for Noah to have a seat on a barstool pulled up by the counter.

“Oh man, that is quite a bump you’ve got there, Noah.” She pushed his hair back from his forehead gingerly. “Tell me if I hurt you, okay?” Noah nodded. “Luke? Can you leave us alone for a few minutes, please? I want to ask Noah some questions.” She said it more as a direction than a question, and after a wary look towards Noah, Luke went into the next room.

“Noah,” Lucy spoke to him softly, “are you having any trouble with your vision?” Noah took a deep breath, and decided to be honest with her. He was afraid now. If there’s one thing he was scared to lose, it was his ability to see.

“It’s blurry,” Noah admitted.

“I thought it might be. I could see you straining to see. Don’t worry, hon, we’re going to fix you up.”

She did several tests. Noah thought he did fairly well on all of them. He remembered 4 words in order. He knew the date and his name. His vision, though. That was all wrong. She looked at his arm. The cuts seemed to be healing, but it was very tender. A few minutes later, she called Luke back into the room.

“Noah needs to go to the hospital. I’m worried about his vision trouble. There could be bleeding, and most certainly a concussion.”

“Vision trouble?” Luke was confused. Noah hadn’t mentioned anything. He turned to Noah in question.

“Everything’s blurry, Luke.” Noah spoke softly. “It’s freaking me out.” A pained look crossed Luke’s face, and he moved in closer to Noah. It felt almost involuntary when he reached out to touch Noah’s face.

“Why didn’t you tell me?”

Noah shrugged, and just leaned into Luke, wrapping his arms around his middle. He breathed in deeply and rested his head against Luke’s chest. He felt safe now.

Lucy smiled at them. Everyone was quiet for a moment, just letting Noah relax. Lucy pulled Luke aside for a moment, and they spoke in hushed tones, before Luke returned to Noah.

“Noah, we’re going to stay here with Lucy, is that okay with you?” He rubbed Noah’s back softly, leaning down to press a kiss to his hair.

Noah nodded. This was far nicer than that nasty hotel room. “Lucy’s going to go get our things, so you can stay here and relax. We can watch a movie maybe?”

This sounded like the best idea Noah could possibly think of. Movies had always been his favorite place, his safe place. A movie felt like the best idea possible right now.

Noah curled up on the couch as Luke searched through the movie selection. Lucy had left a few minutes earlier to pick up their things.

"Peter Pan?"

“Not in the mood for cartoons, really.”

“Donnie Darko?

“Too creepy.”

Hard Candy?”

“Too freaky.” Noah laughed. He had to be in the right mood for a movie to watch it.

The Outsiders?”

“That sounds good. I like that one. Stay gold, Ponyboy.” Noah smiled as Luke put the familiar movie into the DVD player.

Luke sat next to Noah on the couch, and Noah immediately moved to snuggle in against him. It felt so good to be in this quiet place with Luke. He didn’t have to be afraid. He could be with Luke. He would stay in this quiet place forever if he was allowed.

“Luke?” Noah spoke quietly, not lifting his head from Luke’s chest.

“Yeah?” Luke returned in an easy, gentle tone.

“Are you afraid?” He sounded like a child. It made Luke slightly sad, but he was glad Noah was finally opening up.

“Of what?”

“My Dad. Of what to do when we get back. Of if you’re going to get in trouble from your parents.”

“Not scared, really. Just…uncertain maybe? You don’t have to be afraid of your dad, Noah. Not while you’re with me. I’ll keep you safe.” He kissed Noah’s forehead gently. “I’ll keep you safe. We’ll figure out what we’re going to do. I’ll figure it out. Just relax, okay?”

Luke was so tired. He felt himself drifting as Ponyboy and Johnny ran into the fiery church. He ran his fingers slowly in Noah’s hair. Somewhere along the way he fell into dreams.

***


When he woke up, he felt a kiss being pressed to his temple. “Noah,” he mumbled. He couldn’t believe he had fallen asleep. He was supposed to take care of Noah. He could tell by how groggy he felt that he must have been sleeping for hours.

“Luke? Sweetie?” Luke jerked awake. This was not Noah. This was a voice that didn’t belong here. He was surprised to see his mother slowly come into view as he opened his sleepy eyes. He was also suddenly aware of Noah’s absence next to him. He sat up and rubbed at his eyes, turning to his mom. Was this a dream?

“Mom? What are you doing here? Where’s Noah? Is he okay? Where is he?” Luke stood quickly, and began walking, though he didn’t quite know where,

“Luke, sweetie. Come here, honey. Noah is fine. Lucy and your dad took him to the hospital. Lucy was worried about his head injury. Sweetie, why didn’t you tell us?” She walked over to him, and wrapped him in a warm hug. He suddenly felt hot tears streaming down his cheeks. He had no idea where they came from. He didn’t know he had been holding them in, but it felt so good to let them out.

“We were scared, Mom. Noah was so scared. He didn’t deserve that. He didn’t deserve what happened to him. Please don’t make him go back to his dad. Please.”

“Luke. Oh, my sweet Luke. You’re such a good friend to Noah, sweetheart.” She stroked his hair softly, and kissed his forehead. “Noah is never going back to his father. Don’t worry about that. We’re going to take care of him. C’mon, sweetheart, let’s go see Noah.”

Noah hated hospitals. Now, he was in a hospital in Chicago, hooked to a bunch of machines. Luke’s father, Holden, had stayed with Noah the whole time. Noah found him to be a gentle, quiet man. They got along quite well. Neither one of them had to say much. It was enough for Noah to just have someone there. Luke was so lucky to have such a kind father. Noah could see how Luke had become the man that he had.

Luke. He wanted more than anything for Luke to be there with him. When Luke’s parents had returned with Lucy to the apartment, Noah had been quite confused. They explained that Lucy had called them, and that they had taken Luke’s grandmother’s jet there right away. Luke’s mother had immediately wrapped Noah in a loving hug. Noah had to stop himself from crying. It felt good to have adults there. To know they would take care of things. He just hoped they wouldn’t try to send him back to his father. All he wanted right now was to be with Luke. With Luke he felt safe.

***

A week later, Luke sat by Noah’s bedside at Snyder farm. Noah had moved in to Aaron’s old room. He was still healing, but feeling ten times better. After a short stay at the hospital to monitor his concussion, and vision, Noah had been released with a clean bill of health. He was still sore, and bore cuts and bruises as evidence of his trauma, but his heart was beginning to heal. His father had been arrested shortly after Noah was taken by the hospital in Chicago. Holden and Lily had welcomed him into their home as one of their own.

Noah curled up against Luke as they watched a movie on Luke’s television. They had been doing a lot of that during Noah’s recovery. Today, it was Luke’s turn to pick the film. “I want to watch ‘As You Like It’ again.” He grinned as he put the disc into the player. Noah rolled his eyes, and tossed a pillow Luke’s way. “Hey!” Luke protested. “We can’t forget Shakespeare, Noah! He brought you to me after all.”

“I don’t think Shakespeare ever wrote a story like ours.” Noah laughed softly, as the movie started and Luke snuggled against him.

“That’s okay,” Luke replied. “We’re writing our own.”
 
 
 
cindyls1969cindyls1969 on August 4th, 2011 09:08 pm (UTC)
Very sweet. So glad to see them taking care of each other.
Bribrisync on August 10th, 2011 09:21 am (UTC)
Thank you so much for reading! Glad you enjoyed!
random_nic: lukeplusnoahrandom_nic on August 5th, 2011 04:50 am (UTC)
Ahh, perfect! Not surprised the Colonel went off on our poor Noah - just glad he was arrested and Noah was freed of him before things got any worse. I like your Luke. Luke has always been loving, but this time his schemes to help a loved one weren't too cray cray (not for him, anyway), and in the end he did get Noah the help he so desperately needed.

I like Noah being taken in by the Snyders at this younger age, so it gives him a chance to have the family life he was so cruelly denied. Overall, a terrific read that I very much enjoyed!
Bribrisync on August 10th, 2011 09:21 am (UTC)
I'm so glad you enjoyed it! I loved writing Luke! Thanks for reading :)
dirklover23dirklover23 on August 5th, 2011 09:47 am (UTC)
Aww my poor Noah. What a horrible
I reallly love how Luke took care of him and isn't Faith the sweetest.

So glad the Snyders took Noah in so he finally has a real loving family. The one he never had.

Great story :)
dirklover23dirklover23 on August 5th, 2011 09:49 am (UTC)
I meant horrible father of course.
Typing on an IPad isn't that easy lol
Bribrisync on August 10th, 2011 09:22 am (UTC)
Thanks for reading! So glad you liked it!

Icon!love :)
ritalaura2000ritalaura2000 on August 5th, 2011 02:13 pm (UTC)
I love the way they are so nervous and shy at the beginning, I love the trust that the built between them, ans since I really love the happy ending this Story is perfect for me, I'm glad to have made the pictures for your FF
Bri: Peter Panbrisync on August 10th, 2011 09:23 am (UTC)
I loved writing them all shy. So glad you loved it! Thanks for my art :) You're great!
seajellybabyseajellybaby on August 5th, 2011 02:23 pm (UTC)
Just too sweet how Luke immediately cames to Noah's rescue. Beautiful story... Thanks! :-)
Bribrisync on August 10th, 2011 09:23 am (UTC)
So glad you like it. Thank you!
carolinablu85carolinablu85 on August 6th, 2011 01:04 am (UTC)
Cute story, Bri! (I'm sad Aaron wasn't in it though, :P) I like stories where the guys discover each other and themselves, just kinda learning everything, you know? And this was so cute, with As You Like It and undeniable attraction brought them together. And you got Lucy to make an appearance :) Great job hon!
Bribrisync on August 10th, 2011 09:24 am (UTC)
Thanks, Ella! Aw, I do love Aaron. I did put Noah in Aaron's old room! Glad you read, and liked! Thanks!
get crazy with the cheese-whiz!jackie_oh on August 7th, 2011 03:24 am (UTC)
Aw! This was adorable! I know that you've been working hard on this but it was wonderful! Thanks for sharing with us!
Bribrisync on August 10th, 2011 09:24 am (UTC)
Aw, thank you so much, Jackie!
newhaven183newhaven183 on August 7th, 2011 06:44 pm (UTC)
Aw...this one definitely rated high on the cute meter.
Bribrisync on August 10th, 2011 09:25 am (UTC)
Those boys bring the cute! Thanks!
wheelie47wheelie47 on August 9th, 2011 11:21 am (UTC)
Great end to a wonderful story!
Loved how Shakespeare bought them together.
You described their feelings at first seeing each other and how the relationship blossomed so well that I could really picture the scenes.
Love how Luke wanted to take care of Noah so much so quickly... like they were meant to be and fit together so perfectly
Loved it! Thanks for sharing <3
Bribrisync on August 10th, 2011 09:25 am (UTC)
Thanks so much for reading! Glad you liked it!
crownroyal_51crownroyal_51 on August 10th, 2011 03:07 am (UTC)
Congratulations! Your longest fic was wonderful. I really enjoyed reading about Luke and Noah meeting in high school. The boys really are adorable at any age! Loved how Luke and his family rallied around Noah and took care of him.
Bribrisync on August 10th, 2011 09:25 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! I really appreciate your feedback. :)
Writeraspirwriter on August 12th, 2011 12:41 pm (UTC)
Very sweet story :) Congrats on writing your longest piece - you should be proud! I loved the innocence here of both Luke and Noah, Luke taking care of him, and Faith's mothering touch! Love that. As well as Lucy. And finally, Lily and Holden come to the rescue. what better parents are there?

nice job!

Tom
forlove/sweetiejelly: noah luke kisssweetiejelly on August 17th, 2011 04:14 pm (UTC)
They are so sweet in this 'verse. That scene in Luke's room made me melt. I was half afraid that Luke would deny deny deny. But I'm so glad he didn't, that he felt safe with Noah. <3
MDFawnmdfawn on August 19th, 2011 02:53 am (UTC)
Well, that was just so sweet. Hurt/comfort fics are always a favorite. Great job.
there would never be anyone for me but you: ship: nuke11jessnic85 on August 22nd, 2011 05:30 am (UTC)
Awww, Bri, this was so adorable! So glad that Luke was able to be there for Noah, and that his family was involved, as well. And love that even with this AU take on them meeting and falling in love, it was just still so THEM. LOVED this!

(And hee, now that you're finished with this one, can you please get back to work on the rentboy fic? ;D <3)
pirl: Nuke- jake nompirl on August 22nd, 2011 06:35 pm (UTC)
So sweet and cute (except for Noah's dad bashing him of course!). Loved it! Thanks for sharing!
123cariad123cariad on August 28th, 2011 08:20 am (UTC)
such a sweet , gentle story loved the whole high school setting loved the teenage romance/ love Luke and Noah had for each other x Thank you x
dazzling_icerdazzling_icer on August 30th, 2011 04:02 am (UTC)
Aww, Bri! CUTE!

Adding the Shakespeare stuff was AWESOME. Cuz I love him like dying. And As You Like It is one of my fave comedies of his! So dude...madd extra kudos to you for putting that in!

Can I just say that I love Faith in this? She usually bugs me to high heaven, but I really like the Faith that you wrote for this! I liked her connection with Noah, and how she was so willing to help him and Luke out. And I loved the little "Indy" nickname that you gave him! SUPER ADORABLE!

And aww...their love was so sweet and innocent! I loved that. I liked Luke finding himself, and being there for Noah when he needed it. And I'm so glad that Noah found love, too! And that he got away from his dad.

Really, cute Bri! I loved it! Thanks for sharing it with us! :D
Katicus: bjhugsfreakykat on September 13th, 2011 10:54 pm (UTC)
Awww. This was really really good.

You need to write more often.

Thanks for sharing!
Moongirl: Luke/Noah Kitchen Moments.moongirl24 on September 24th, 2011 01:49 pm (UTC)
Awww, this story was so sweet! I like this young version of Nuke, of how they met each other and fell in love and how Luke was there for Noah when he really needed him. Wonderful work!
mermaidworkermermaidworker on June 28th, 2012 01:30 am (UTC)
I knew part two was going to be just as good as part one. Even better....Thanks for sharing your caring nature in writing this lovely story....
jifa230 on February 16th, 2013 07:09 pm (UTC)
what are you doing? Let’s chat Go Here dld.bz/chwZP