Oakleaf Academy For Boys (BxB)

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twenty

Elias Black spent his week surrounded by forgotten accents and overbearing family members. His own voice seemed to bend and twist into his old tongue without his consent, but he didn’t fight it. Before he knew it, he was almost Scottish again. His family was big and welcoming, asking him about school and friends and his nonexistent workload. He came from a rough neighbourhood, so no one judged him for ending up where he did. They just saw it as an ordinary boarding school and if you could convince yourself that things weren’t quite as they seemed, then why wouldn’t you?

Sebastian Steel had a quiet week, redecorating his bedroom and taking down ancient photos of him and Alex. He piled them all into a shoebox, along with little souvenirs that reminds him of the dead boy, and closed the lid. Alex would always be a part of his life, but for now, he needed to let him go and focus on Lucky. For now, Alex was contained in a shoebox under his bed, and that was okay, because even though he wasn’t marking every surface of Sebastian’s bedroom, he was still there.

Quinn Starr barely strayed from his elaborate bedroom all week, curled into Kit Samuels’ side, sharing hickeys and kisses and whispering ’I love you’s. Kit was still in utter shock at how the other boy lived, surrounded by possessions worth more than his entire life. The house was huge and heavily decorated, finished off with an indoor pool and its very own movie theatre. Quinn had rarely used the word love before this week, and now, he could hardly stop saying it. In no time, the fake boyfriends turned into real boyfriends, while Kit still refused to put a label on it.

Benji had done little but sleep and rest his broken body all week. When he’d wake up from a nightmare, Lucky was there. He’d lost count of how many times he’d stayed up late, crying into his best friend’s shoulder. The family was one of the kindest Benji had ever met, and he was reluctant to leave. Some days, when he was feeling strong enough to leave Lucky’s bed, he’d help Rose with dinner preparations or assist Harriet as she cleaned up muddy paw prints. He’d even accompanied Lucky’s little sister, Penny, on dog walks a few times. And not once did he feel like an outsider, because Lucky’s family made him feel at home.

“You ready?”

Benji fixed his glasses on his face and nodded, sparing one last sweeping look around the room to check he hadn’t left anything behind. “Yeah. I think so.” He responded. His bruises were faded by now, but still prominent, his lip still scabbed as fresh scars healed all over his body. “You think they’ll confiscate these?” He held up a packet of pain meds, ones he’d been taking constantly since he arrived at Lucky’s house.

Lucky shrugged, “Probably. But keep them on you just in case.” He replied as Benji tucked them into his back pocket. He knew the guards would pat him down once he arrived, but he was willing to test his luck.

“Thanks, Felix. Should we go?”

“Fuck sake, Pup. Just ’cause my parents call me that—”

“It doesn’t mean I can call you that.” Benji rolled his eyes, reciting the phrase he’d heard millions of times by now. “Right, whatever. Are you looking forward to seeing Steel?”

Lucky blushed as they left the room together, lugging their bags behind them. “Not looking forward to seeing him, just...y’know, warmly anticipating it.”

Benji smiled sweetly as they started to load the car, deciding to say no more on the matter. The car ride was long and boring, the boys shared headphones and listened to forgotten songs from the 80s, preparing themselves for another term in hell. When they arrived, Benji watched Lucky hug his parents goodbye and taunt his sister one last time. He thanked them for everything they had done for him before Rose pulled him in for a tight hug and told him to come back next half term. The hug was followed by one from Harriet and another one from Penny, and then they left.

They were patted down by guards before walking through the metal detector. Benji had his pills taken away as expected, but didn’t waste his breath complaining about it. “I’m exhausted.” Lucky declared. “I’ll see you later.”

He was gone in a flash, but Benji didn’t mind. He knew Lucky’s excuse was only made up so he could see Steel. He headed to his own room, ignoring the patronising glares from fellow students, eyeing his bruises and scars with sneers and snickers. After dumping his stuff in his empty room, he headed straight for the showers, feeling grotty and tired after the long journey.

They were practically deserted, just as he’d suspected. People were more interested in finding their friends or unpacking when they first returned, it was half the reason why he chose to shower at this time.

Well, almost deserted.

Diesel was stood by the large bench in a pair of boxers, his hair wet and shaggy, drops of water glistening off his shining abs and rippling across his olive skin. He paused when he noticed a pair of eyes on him, his towel halting its movements. He straightened up and glanced at Benji, noticing his injuries above everything else, “What happened?”

Benji quickly dragged his eyes up from Diesel’s toned body and fixed his gaze on his face, trying not to let it linger anywhere else for too long. “Oh, n-nothing.” He murmured.

Diesel grew angry immediately, his fists clenching at his sides. Someone had hurt the one boy he’d sworn to protect. He’d failed, and Benji was injured. “Who was it?” He asked, ready to beat them until they couldn’t stand. His fists tightened, his knuckles cracking, craving for a fight.

“It doesn’t matter.” Benji turned around, ready to leave when Diesel grabbed his sleeve and pulled him back. “W-What?” Benji asked, his voice starting to crack. He just wanted to close his eyes and never opened them again; he had to get out of here.

“Pup, just—”

“H-How do you do it, Elias?” He whispered, his eyes falling to the scars lining his wrists, crawling up his forearm.

Diesel’s brows furrowed in confusion, “How did I hurt myself?”

“N-No, how did you stop hurting yourself?”

Diesel’s mind grew foggy with alarm as he yanked Benji’s arm towards him and pulled his sleeve up. “Are you fucking crazy?” He growled angrily, staring down at the white bandage wrapped around his wrist.

A tear slipped from Benji’s eye, his body trembling with nerves. “I-I didn’t—”

“Why the fuck would you do this to yourself, Cooper?” He demanded gruffly. “The worst thing I ever did was start cutting! This is going to fucking destroy you, do you even understand that?”

Benji flinched, casting his eyes down guiltily, “I’m sorry—” He whispered.

“Don’t say sorry. I hate apologies.” Diesel ordered sternly. “You can’t do this, alright? You’re not allowed to do this.”

“E-Elias—”

“No, this is serious, Benji.” He hissed. “What made you do something like this?”

“M-My Dad.” He whimpered, too weak to think of an excuse. Plus, he knew Diesel would see through any lie he told. “A few months ago, he tried t-to rape me and I stabbed him. That’s how I ended up here. H-He beat me when I got home for half term and I-I just wanted to die. I wanted it to stop, okay? Is that so bad?”

“He’s not worth dying over.” Diesel told him without hesitation. He barely seemed fazed by Benji’s revelation, but he was merely trying to stay strong for him. Inside, all he wanted to do was rip his Father’s throat out. “People aren’t worth dying over.”

Benji sniffled and pulled his eyes up to meet Diesel’s, intrigued by his statement, “You tried to kill yourself.” Benji whispered in realisation, his lips parted in shock.

Diesel sighed heavily and sat down on the bench, pulling his bare feet up onto the seat as Benji cautiously sat beside him. “I was fifteen, it was stupid.” He murmured. “I’m over it, okay? Don’t go feeling sorry for me because I was an idiot.”

Benji bit his tongue to restrain another apology slipping out. He wasn’t sure what to say, so decided silence was his best bet. The two sat side by side in perfect quietness for a while, listening to the sound of a dripping shower as steam encircled them. “It was only once.” Benji finally broke the silence. “I was staying with Lucky and saw a razor blade in the bathroom. I won’t do it again, I swear.” He whispered.

“Just...just tell me, okay? Tell me if it happens again, I won’t be mad.”

Benji tensed up in surprise, “W-Why? Why do you care? Are we even friends?”

Diesel rolled his eyes, “No one deserves to go through what I did. If someone had helped me, maybe I wouldn’t have tried to kill myself. It doesn’t matter if we’re friends or not.”

“B-But are we? I can never tell.”

Diesel took a deep breath and got up, pulling on the last of his clothes, “I don’t tell just anyone my real name, Pup.” He ruffled Benji’s hair, grabbed his towel, and left.

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