This story is complete. I'll be posting in parts as I put them through the edit wringer (TM), but I think each part should be readable as an ending. *highlight for spoilers: Eventually Duck/Dan, Buddy/Carol, but focus is on Duck and on Duck & Buddy friendship. Rated PG-13 to R. *Warning: mention of domestic abuse
Title: Points In Common, Part 1
Series: Points In Common
Fandom: Wilby Wonderful
Characters: Duck MacDonald, OMC, Buddy French
Category: character study, teenage drama, humor
Summary: Buddy isn't the sort of person Duck pays attention to normally.
Points In Common
Buddy isn't the sort of person Duck pays attention to normally. Oh, he's good-looking and has a friendly reputation, and he asks smart questions in class. But he's just not part of Duck's crowd.
Not that Duck has a crowd, exactly. He's too short and scrawny to hang out with the kids who smoke under the bleachers. He's too dumb and restless to hang out with the geeks. He's too anti-social to hang out with the popular kids even if they would have him.
The majority of Duck's free time is spent with his best friend, Tom Milligan. Like Duck, Tommy's dad fishes on one of the commercial ships when there's work, and does odd jobs when there isn't. Unlike Duck, Tommy's mum has a clerk position in town -- and she's still alive.
"Buddy sure is a dreamboat isn't he?" Tommy says now. "Did you know, he's president of the Poetry Club, too."
Duck snorts and doesn't answer.
"I'd definitely do him." Tommy's not talking very loud, but they're sitting out on the field watching the lacrosse team practice, just like about a million other kids from Wilby High. There's probably nobody close enough to hear. Probably.
Like Duck, Tommy is gay. Unlike Duck, he probably wouldn't know how to be discreet to save his life.
Tommy's just a little taller than he is and has a lot of freckles and curly brown hair. He's about average in the looks department. Gracious grownups call him 'cute'. Duck's no 'dreamboat' himself, he knows. He's still shorter than a lot of girls his age, and his hair can't seem to decide whether it wants to be dirty ash or dishwater blond.
Duck's thought about messing around with Tommy a few times. Tommy's sure given him enough signs that he would be willing. Sometimes Duck lays in bed at night, pulling hard and fast at himself, and he feels that ache to be touched like he's going to die, knowing that all he'd have to do is to invite Tommy over one day and...
But then Tommy would do something stupid like now, and Duck would remember that his best friend has a mouth about the size of the Northwest Territories. So he doesn't let on anything.
It isn't that Duck cares what people say about him. His dad raised him with hard but deep affection. A poor man for most of his life, and having only a grade school education, he'd refused to remarry after his Mina died and had chosen instead to share his home with a live-in 'nurse'. "You live the way you live, son. If somebody don't like it -- fuck 'em."
Duck doesn't remember his mother. She'd died when he was only a year old. Ms. Neil has always been kind to him, though. He'd gotten in a few scrapes with mouthy kids over the years, until everybody knew better than to call Ms. Neil names like 'slut' or 'harlot' while he's around.
For a scrawny guy, Duck knows how to fight.
"You should try out for the team," Tommy says. He runs a hand over Duck's bicep, causing him to take in a sharp breath. "You could play middie, I bet. You're so flexible."
Duck shakes him off, irritated at himself for his reaction. His dick's suddenly tingling. "I'm not going to run around a muddy field with a stupid net on a stick," he answers. And no way is he sharing a locker room with a dozen sweaty Buddy Frenches.
Tommy seems to be thinking about the same thing. "You think they'd make you blow 'em in the locker room?" he muses out loud, half-teasing. "All of them at once. Maybe Buddy would wanna fuck you."
Duck stands abruptly and stalks away. Damn Tommy.
"Hey, Duck! Duck, c'mon!" Tommy scrambles after him. "It was just a joke."
No, Duck doesn't care what people think or say about him. But he does care what people might do. He's not about to risk getting the shit kicked out of him -- not for a dumb joke. Plus, he doesn't know yet what he's going to do after high school. It might matter.
It's different for Tommy. He's been planning to leave Wilby for half his life. He's not going to be a fisherman. His parents want to send him to college.
"Duck! Hey, let's go get some ice cream at the Double Scoop, okay? My treat. I got my allowance today."
Duck doesn't want to fight, and ice cream sounds good. "Okay," he agrees.
Maybe it's what Tommy said. Maybe he's just that dumb. Anyway, he's been curious for ages, and something makes him go down to South Cape that evening.
Everyone knows South Cape. In the daytime, people fish and play in the tide pools and tourists take pictures of the view. At night, though, the rocky, bare caves and scraggly bushes dotted everywhere is make-out central for anyone who doesn't have parents who work late or a car with a back seat.
That's what the east side is, at least.
The west side is where the queers hook up.
Everyone knows that, too.
Duck shows up a little before dark, so if anyone sees him, he can reasonably say that he's just here for the view. He leaves his bike against a tree and walks up the short trail to the beachhead. He's feeling a little nervous, and he's wondering again if he should have come alone. But bringing Tommy would have been a bigger mistake than inviting him home.
Rubbing sweaty palms on his jeans, Duck tells himself that he's just here to look around. He just wants to see how things... happen here. He's not going to do anything stupid. He's still arguing with himself about whether or not he should just head home when he breaks through the last stand of dry thistle on the west side of the cape.
His heart almost stops when he sees someone already there, sitting with his back to Duck, looking out over the water. He's certain his heart does skip a beat when he recognizes who it is.
He starts to back away, but he must have made some noise because Buddy turns toward him. He doesn't look surprised or ashamed or anything -- shit, is he a regular here? -- just kind of curious.
"Hi...?" he says, and it takes a moment for Duck to realize that Buddy is trying to remember who he is. Their school is small. Hell, their island is small. You generally wind up recognizing all the other kids by sight even if you don't know their names.
"I'm Duck," he says. He feels like an idiot standing there, so he walks toward the other boy.
"Hi, Duck. I'm Buddy."
"Yeah, I know." Trying to look casual, he sits down next to Buddy on the same rock. "Nice day," he says, and grits his teeth at the inane comment. He arranges his legs and tries not to fidget. He can't believe he's doing this.
Buddy doesn't answer for a moment. Then he says, softly, "It's beautiful, isn't it? This spot right here must have the best view on all of Wilby Island." He sweeps his arm out, like he's a magician showing off his final act.
That sounds a little like a come-on, but Buddy's not even looking at him. Frowning slightly in confusion, Duck looks out where Buddy is. It is nice, he decides. They're on the lee shore of the island here, and the water crashes up against the rocks in a pounding, trance-like rhythm. The setting sun strikes the tide pools, making them glow. Farther out, Duck can see tiny islands of rock forming natural sculptures in the water. The faintest smudge on the western horizon is New Brunswick, but straight ahead is the endless ocean that Duck's grown up with -- fear, love, and kinship all rolled in one.
"My dad used to take me here all the time when I was little."
Duck cuts a puzzled look at him. That doesn't sound like a come-on of any sort.
Buddy leans forward, his linked hands braced on his knees. "They're building a resort here. Ground breaks the first of next month."
That's news to Duck. "How do you know that?"
"The mayor came over for dinner last night. He and my granddad were talking about it. It's a done deal. They'll announce it tomorrow."
The resort has been talked about for literally years. Most folk don't believe it will ever really happen. Duck doesn't care one way or another, but he knows his dad is for it. His dad thinks it'd be a good source of income for the Island, another attractive draw for tourists, not to mention another place that might need his services as de facto handyman.
From Buddy's tone, though, he doesn't think Buddy feels the same way.
"They're building over everything," Buddy says, sounding disgusted, as if this is a personal offense to him. Maybe he feels like it is. His great-grandfather had founded the town. "Yeah, okay, tourists will come. But only for four, five months out of the year. And what do they come to see? The land, of course. The land that we're covering up with shopping plazas and parking lots. What are we going to do when there's nothing left?"
It sounds like a rhetorical question, but Duck feels uncomfortably as if he should be able to find an answer for the obviously agitated boy.
"There's still Wilby Watch," he says.
Buddy gives a brief laugh. Suddenly, deep blue eyes are looking at him, above a soft smile, a little sad. "Yeah. You're right, Duck. There's still the Watch."
It's a bit of a jolt to hear his name from Buddy's mouth. He'd thought almost that Buddy was just thinking out loud.
"They won't build on the Watch. Mayor Tucker loves that place," he adds reassuringly. He feels compelled somehow to make Buddy feel better if he can.
Buddy nods and returns to staring out over the water.
Duck bounces a fist off his thigh. He's not at all sure anymore what he's doing here, but it doesn't look like Buddy is planning to leave yet. Maybe there's a reason other than environmentalism that Buddy doesn't want to see South Cape developed?
"Uh..." he starts, and Buddy turns to look at him again. "You know... I heard the queers come out here after dark. To make out. And stuff."
Buddy frowns but doesn't say anything. Duck looks away, then back. His stomach feels fluttery and hollow.
"Just wondering if you still want to be here. With me. Since it's starting to get dark now." He forces a little laugh.
Buddy's face starts to get kind of suspicious, and his mouth tightens in a mean way. Duck's heart is pounding, and he's screaming at himself in his head to run.
This is it. This is him outing himself. This is him, however obliquely, accusing Buddy French of being gay.
Tomorrow, the entire lacrosse team is going to beat the crap out of him, maybe with those 'stupid nets on a stick' he'd just been talking about earlier with Tommy.
"That's not very funny," Buddy says. Surprisingly, he hasn't moved, either to leave or to punch Duck in the mouth.
"I-- I wasn't meaning to be."
"Well, then, what did you mean?" he demands quietly.
"Just..." He's backpedaling fiercely. "You wouldn't want people to think you're a fairy, right?"
Buddy starts to say something. Stops. Then starts again: "You mean 'gay'?"
"Uh. Sure. Whatever."
Buddy stares at him for a moment more, then says, pointedly, "I guess you better go. You don't want to be caught out here when 'those people' come out."
What? "That's not what I meant!" Buddy shrugs and seems to dismiss him purposefully. "Hey, I said, that's not what I meant."
Buddy looks at him again. Then he nods, like Duck's some kid apologizing for spilling the juice. "Okay."
Duck is confused as hell, not to mention mad, and relieved, and indignant, and...
But he has more sense than to get in a conversation where anything he says would come out as defensive or fake. Any worthwhile argument of innocence he can come up with seems to end in him outing himself after all. And he just doesn't want to deal with that.
He's used to people thinking whatever they want anyway.
So he leaves Buddy alone with his goddamn view, and he goes home and throws a few things around until Ms. Neil asks him what's wrong. He lies to her that he had a fight with a friend, and she makes commiserate noises which make him feel guilty, so he tells her he has to do homework in order to get her out of his room -- which makes him feel even more guilty -- and he goes to bed early instead.
Later, remembering that holier-than-thou tone makes him want to punch a wall in.
END Part 1.
A/N: Thanks to the following site for information on lacrosse, the sport: http://www.lacrosse-information.com/lacrosse-positions.html
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