summary: Matt is a piano protégé. Dom is a painter who excels passed many his age. They meet at a young age and strike up an instant friendship. From friends to lovers, this is their story, spanning over a course of over two decades.
feedback: I wants it, my precious.
disclaimer: I think if I owned Muse, you would know about it. They're a bit famous so I doubt it'd be something easily hidden.
Warning: A couple f-bombs. That's about it.
Note: Finally. God I am so behind. I will catch up on those drabbles. Anyway, this is unbeta'd because I'm lazy. Tada!
7 December, 1995
“So how does it feel to be a whole year older?” Tom’s voice was the first thing Dominic heard as he stepped out of his house that Thursday, the weather surprisingly warm despite the piles of snow covering the ground. It was the first time the sun had been out for more than a few seconds since the snow storm a few days previous. It was also the first time Dominic had been allowed outside of his house, as his cold had made him bedridden. Since it was his birthday, though, his mother made the exception to let him go out and spend time with his friends before leaving for a celebratory dinner.
“Not much different than I felt yesterday, when it was a whole eleven months and something days since my last birthday. Honestly, I don’t see the big deal, I’m only fifteen. When I’m Chris’ age will I let you ask that question.” Dominic grinned at the look on Tom’s face and glanced at Matthew who was standing quietly to the side in Chris’ shadow. The dark haired boy had a barely-there smile on his face when he met Dominic’s eyes and nodded his head in greeting. Dominic quirked an eyebrow and nodded back, his youngest friend not usually so silent.
“Okay, well, it’s not like you’re gonna ‘let’ me say anything. I say you look like an old geezer and should already start checking for gray hairs.”
“Alright, Captain, retract the claws.” Chris snorted, flicking his friend on the shoulder as he walked by him to hop down the steps leading from the front porch of Dominic’s house. “If I remember correctly, you’re older than Dom by what, three months? So he should be calling you the elderly git, not the other way around. Unless you’re going through a mid-life crisis.”
“Why is everyone such an arse to me today?” Tom muttered to himself, exasperated, as he turned to follow Chris. Dominic and Matthew remained on the porch staring amusedly at the duo as they bickered.
“Last I checked, dear, you bring this all on yourself.” Chris grinned and avoided Tom’s fist when he aimed at his arm.
“Do not! I’m here, being my purely innocent and funny self, and then I get singled out.” The brunette’s voice was petulant but he was smiling knowingly, his eyes twinkling as he tried to tackle Chris from behind.
Dominic and Matthew walked down the handful of steps to follow the other two who continued to play-fight, Chris not having to worry about defending himself as much since he was nearly a full foot taller than Tom. It was amusing to Dominic nonetheless, and he smiled as glanced sideways at Matthew. The boy was smiling to himself with his eyes fixed on the ground as he walked, and the blonde took a step to the side and nudged Matthew with his shoulder, the impact causing him to lose his balance slightly despite being gentle and with no muscle behind it.
Matthew looked at him with a snort of confused laughter and tilted his head to the side, his blue eyes bright but distant. “What was that for?”
Dominic shrugged and shoved his hands in his pocket, staring at the ground for a beat before peeking at his friend from the corner of his eye. “I dunno. You’re quiet.” The blonde raised his head and smiled widely at the sight of Chris holding his hand against Tom’s forehead as he tried to attack him. And by attack, swing his arms around in the air while trying to not fall to his knees in laughter.
“I’m quiet a lot of the time, Dom.” Matthew mirrored Dominic, slipping his hands in his own jacket pockets and watching the other two mess with each other.
“Well, yeah. I know. But like, you’re quieter. I dunno, man, you just seem off. Did anything happen? Do I have to hurt someone like I did on Halloween?” Dominic grinned when he saw the corner of Matthew’s mouth curl up into a half smile.
“Blimey, Dom, I still can’t believe you did that. And no, I’m fine, nothing happened.”
“Why do I not believe you?”
“Because you’re paranoid, I don’t know.”
Dominic quickened his pace slightly till he was standing before Matthew, causing him to stop in front of him. “I know you well enough to know when you’re lying. I’m gonna make you go home or somethin’ if you don’t tell me why you’re brain is in another universe.” Dominic cocked his head to side and put all his weight on one hip.
“What’s with the sassy stance, ya fairy?” Tom shouted out, Dominic waving his hand at him dismissively from behind his back.
Matthew furrowed his eyebrows for a few seconds before sighing. “It’s nothing, Dom. Bad dream.”
“Listen, arsehole, we’re supposed to be partying hard right now and you’re too busy sharing secrets with your boyfriend to enjoy the fun. Let’s go.” Tom interrupted, dragging out the last syllable as he suddenly appeared beside Matthew.
Matthew jerked his head back in slight surprise before eyeing Tom with a smirk. “The fact your thoughts always circle around anything that relates to the term ‘gay’ continues to worry me, Tom.”
Dominic coughed out a laugh at the implication behind Matthew’s quip and glanced at Chris who too was looking at the dark haired boy in shock, his moments of wit few and far between.
“Well played, sir. Well played.” Tom said after a moment, his brown eyes laughing but his face refusing to show any sort of emotion that might lower his dignity.
“Damn, Tom, I can’t decide if Matt is smarter than you or if you’re just really slow, cos every time that kid speaks, he makes you look like an idiot.” Chris shook his head in faux amazement as he moved to grab Matthew by his shoulders and pull him into an embrace, his large figure completely enveloping Matthew’s small frame. “You brought the loud-mouth to a standstill, my friend. I owe you my life.” Chris sniffled dramatically and Matthew giggled, Tom flipping him the bird.
Dominic grinned at Matthew from over Chris’ shoulder. “As beautiful as this moment is, I’m starving. C’mon, I got birthday money and I really want food.”
“Aren’t you leaving for dinner in like three hours?” Chris asked as he let go of Matthew and turned began to walk alongside Dominic, Tom poking Matthew in the side repeatedly as they followed.
“Yeah…point?” Dominic raised his eyebrows at him. “Oh, and where is Morgan?”
“Grounded.” Tom answered before Chris could speak.
“Yep, I guess he really pissed off his parents.” Chris said. The four of them fell into a line as they walked down the sidewalk.
“What’d he do?” Matthew asked, glancing up at Chris.
“I’m not really sure, he didn’t say.” Tom again answered for Chris, which got him a slap on the shoulder.
“Thanks for answering, Chris.” Matthew said with a pointed look at Tom who smirked in response.
“Whatever, mate, he’s too slow at replying. Anyway, where are we going again?”
“Is there a reason those birds keep looking over at us?” Chris whispered, the four friends standing outside of an arcade hall a couple of hours later. The sun was setting, the sky once again becoming dark and cloudy. The wind had picked up slightly and it was chillier than when they’d first arrived, and Dominic cursed himself for having not brought his heavier coat or at least his scarf.
The blonde eyed the trio of girls standing at the entrance of the building, recognizing two of them as friends of a kid in his third period English class. One girl in particular, he thought her name was Lauren but wasn’t sure, kept looking over her shoulder and smiling and him. She was pretty, her hair long and auburn and her eyes a dark shade of green, her frame petite.
He glanced at Matthew who had started coughing. “You okay, Matt?” He nodded and waved him off, clearing his throat a couple of times.
“I guess I’m getting a cold again.” He shrugged nonchalantly. “It happens.”
“Frequently, it seems.” Chris commented, glancing at him with a small hint of worry behind his dark eyes.
“Why do they keep staring at us, it’s creepy.” Tom said loudly, Dominic smacking his arm and shushing him.
“I dunno. I think the reddish hair is Lauren or something like that. Isn’t she Gabe’s sister? And I think the blonde is like, her best friend. I don’t know, but I see them hanging around sometimes after school.”
“I might be wrong but I think they’re looking at you, Dom.” Matthew cocked his head to the side, his eyes flickering between Dominic and the three girls.
“Christ, you guys really have no idea what subtlety is.” Chris sighed, rubbing a large hand over his equally large face.
Tom snorted. “That was a big word for you, Chrissy. And last I checked, neither do they.” He let out a huff and leaned against the side of the building. “It’s not like we’re the coolest guys at our school so how would they even know us?”
“Well isn’t Gabe one of your fanboys, Chris?” Dominic threw him a shit-eating grin and took a few steps backwards till he too was leaning against the wall in between Tom and Matthew, the older boy standing in front of the three.
“The fuck is that supposed to mean?” Chris raised his eyebrows and stared down at Dominic as Tom started to laugh hysterically, Matthew letting out a confused giggle.
“Y’know what I mean!” Dominic bit back a laugh as Chris rolled his eyes suddenly, realization dawning.
“Oh for Christ’s sake, just because I said I thought Paul Newman was attractive for a man his age does not make me gay and I don’t know why the hell someone would have started the rumor that I was. Now creepy guys like Gabe and what’s his face, Terry or something, keep trying to hook up with me. It’s not cool, mate.” Chris’ face was flushed by the time he finished, Matthew’s snickers now joining Tom’s and Dominic’s.
“I didn’t mean for anyone to actually believe me!” Tom was doubled over as a new wave of laughter hit him, his eyes tearing up as he practically gasped for air. “But oh my god do you remember your face when Gabe gave you his number?! It was so priceless!”
“I really want to hurt you sometimes, Kirk. More than you’ll ever know.” Chris muttered and folded his arms across his chest
“He probably knows just how much, he just doesn’t care.” Matthew giggled out.
“I bet that’s true.” Dominic nodded, giving a sideways smile at Matthew who sent one back in return.
“Whatever. I’ve practically become a pimp since that started. And people still think I’m a fairy even when I have a different girl on my arm every other week.”
“It’s cos they think you’re in denial.” Matthew teased, a grin splitting across his face. His cheeks and the tip of his nose were pink from the cold but his eyes had lost their earlier detachment and were instead alive and sparkling.
“Oi, shut up.” Chris laughed out, shaking his head, his eyes crinkling at the corners and a dimple appearing on his left cheek.
Tom sighed, a massive smile on his face as he caught his breath from laughing. “Ohh Chrissy, you never cease to entertain me. So how’s your birthday been so far, big boy?” The brunette turned his face towards Dominic, eyebrows raised expectantly.
Dominic chuckled to himself and rolled his eyes at Tom’s expression. “Fantastic, thanks to you.”
“Aww just what I wanted to hear! I was afraid you’d pick Chris’ gift over mine, but naked women always win.” Tom winked at Chris, earning him a smack at the back of his head.
“Tom, you know I’m going to throw it away when I get home. My mum would physically hurt me if she saw me with one of those magazines.” Dominic turned his head to hide his smile as Tom’s smirk slowly disappeared.
“What? Why?! At least give them back to me, geez. You don’t waste stuff like that, mate.”
Chris started laughing again, his eyes on Matthew. “What’s wrong, Bells, is this kinda talk making you uncomfortable?”
The younger boy blushed and glared at him, but before he could retort, a soft, feminine voice cut through their banter, all four heads turning to look at who had spoken. One of the girls from the group who had been looking at them, the one who Dominic thought was Lauren, was standing to the side, a short distance from the friends, her arms crossed and a nervous smile on her face.
“H-Hey.” She gave a small wave, her gaze flickering between their face before it landed on Dominic’s.
Tom and Chris looked at her in shock, Matthew slightly confused as his eyes darted between Dominic and the girl. “Hi…”
“I uh, I heard today was your birthday.” She stuttered slightly, her cheeks flushing as she toed the ground and glanced at her feet before looking back up at Dominic.
“How do you even know him?” Tom blurted out, Dominic looking at him in disbelief.
The girl raised her eyebrows at him and giggled quietly. “I’ve um, I’ve seen you around. My brother is Gabe, and I’ve seen him talking to you,” her eyes flickered to Chris before going back to Dom, “before and…anyway, uhm, I’m Laura?”
Tom chuckled quietly beside him as he nodded slowly. “Okay… I’m Dom.”
She smiled widely at that before blushing and looking back at the ground again. “Yeah, I-I know. I was wondering if we could like, talk…alone, if that’s cool with you?”
Tom whistled lowly, Chris pushing him and making him stumble to the right slightly, as Dominic stared at Laura in mild shock.
“Uh, yeah, sure.” He looked over at Matthew from the corner of his eye and found the boy not even paying attention; his eyes were focused somewhere distant as the fingers on his left hand played an imaginary piano in the air to side of his hip.
She smiled at him, her eyes warm, and turn on her heel, her two friends still standing by the door giving her attempted hidden thumbs ups. Dominic looked back at Tom, Chris, and Matthew and mouthed “what is happening?” before sighing and followed after her. She walked about twenty feet before stopping at the corner of the street and leaned against the end of the arcade building, her hands playing with the end of her scarf as she bit her lip and stared at the ground. Dominic mirrored her position and leaned against the wall, his hands in his jean pockets. They stood there like that for a few seconds before they both started to speak simultaneously.
“So how d-”
Laura laughed nervously and tucked her hair behind her ears.
“Ha…you, um, you can go first.” Dominic offered, feeling completely lost.
“Oh, no! You spoke before me. Go ahead.” Her eyes were small but opened wide and held a small amount of worry behind their green irises.
“Oh. Well. Okay.” Dominic coughed, still utterly confused. “How, uh, do you know me again?”
“Oh!” Dominic noted that she was overly enthusiastic and he wondered if this was how all girls were. “See, my brother, he – Gabe is my brother, he’s in one of your classes – he has a thing for your friend Chris, the big one, and I’d walk to your school after class every day cos my brother and I live closer to yours than mine, and well Gabe would always be trying to talk to Chris about homework or football or somethin’, and I’d always have to sit there and wait, and you’d be there sometimes, and I noticed you and I know we’ve never actually met, I just thought you’re really cute – oh my god I can’t believe I just said that…” She continued to stare at him wide-eyed, her actions flustered. “But you are, and I heard that today was your birthday from one of my friends and I saw you outside of the arcade hall and I just kinda thought that I should, y’know, talk to you or somethin’ cos I’d like to know more about you, and Bethany told me to go over and say hi to you, and well I did. And here we are.”
Dominic stared at her, his surprise apparent, and wondered how she wasn’t red in the face from saying all of that in one go. “Oh. Oh… that’s, that’s very kind of you?” She smiled back at him and Dominic was almost frightened by the amount of smile that was put into it, and the lurking expectation behind her eyes. “You’re uh, pretty.”
Her smile widened so that her teeth were showing and Dominic found himself gulping, feeling much like a rat about to be pounced on.
“Really? Thank you, Dom.” Dominic thought she was inching closer and he too felt nervous. “Well, I just wanted to give you your birthday present before I need to go home.” Her hands were clasped in front of her and she was squeezing her shoulders up in an odd fashion while she bit her lips, her eyes flickering up to glance at him from her eyelashes.
She giggled. “It’s your birthday, silly.”
“You…don’t even kno-” Dominic was shocked silent by the sudden press of another’s lips against his. He stared in surprise at her face, now so close to his, and saw that she had a light spray of freckles across her cheeks and that her eyelashes weren’t actually dark, just caked in a layer or two of mascara. He jumped slightly when he felt a small hand cupping his jaw, but before he could fully react, she was pulling away. Dominic stood, his eyes wide, as she stepped back a bit and glanced shyly up at him, a small smile on her face. She whispered a quiet “goodbye” and Dominic watched as she turned and ran a short distance to a waiting car.
Dominic swung his head around to look at the equally amazed boys behind him, his body falling suit as his eyes automatically and unconsciously landed on Matthew. His friend stared right back at him as Tom immediately started to whistle and cheer, and Dominic flipped him off as he began to walk back to them. His eyes stayed on Matthew and he ignored Tom’s jeers and Chris’ laughter, something about the way Matthew was looking at him catching him off guard. His eyes were dark and shielded, and the closer he got to him the more he didn’t know how to react.
He looked away after another moment had passed and he had finally reached the three, Chris clapping him on the back with a grin
“What the fuck was that?” Chris continued to smile, his face just as confused as Dominic’s.
“I have…no idea. She’s Gabe’s brother. She watches me. She thinks I’m cute. That was one of the most uncomfortable times in my life.” Dominic shook his head and fell back against the wall.
“But she kissed you, man!” Tom cried out, raising his hands in the air, baffled. “She thinks you cool. You are the man right now. The man.”
Dominic couldn’t help but laugh. “If you say so.”
“So what was it like?”
“Jesus, Tom.” Chris sighed, his smile still present.
“What? I’m alone in this! Actually, hey Bells, have you kissed someone yet?”
Matthew shrugged, his narrow shoulders rising and falling shallowly.
“You don’t…know…Okay…Seriously, mate, you’re gonna leave me out on the sensation of a girls pillowy lips?!” Tom moved his gaze from Matthew and stared hard at Dominic, one eyebrow raised. Dominic and Chris both laughed, even Matthew letting out a soft but short giggle, his eyes still distant.
“Kirk, you are by far the oddest thing on this planet.” Dominic patted his friend on the head.
“Yeah, Christ Kirky, I didn’t know you had Shakespeare in you. That was beautiful. I can feel the tears coming.”
Tom rolled his head at the two, turning and throwing his arm around Matthew’s shoulders. “Whatever, Mattie understands me, don’t you Mattie?”
Matthew looked at him from the corner of his eye, his expression bemused. “Sure.”
“See! I’ve always liked this kid.” Tom ruffled his hair, Matthew letting out a high pitched noise and guffawing.
A half an hour had passed before Dominic had to leave and head home to get ready for dinner, Matthew making him promise to stop by his house after he got home so he could give him his present. Another two hours went by before Dominic was walking up the driveway to Matthew’s home, his mother reminding him to call after an hour so she could pick him up. Dominic was mildly frustrated with that as he wanted to stay longer, having been in his house so much the last several days that he was dreading going home.
The door opened before he could knock and Matthew’s face poked out, a grin spreading, and Dominic was relieved to find his eyes back to bright and alive.
“Hey!” His voice was breathless and tinged with a quiet excitement.
“Hi there.” Dominic smiled back at him, his unexpected happiness infectious. He noted the empty driveway. “Where’s your gran?”
“Oh, she just left actually. Went to the store, I think.” Matthew opened the door wider to let Dominic pass him before shutting it. The blonde looked around, taking in the Christmas decorations and the large pine tree already standing in the corner. “She likes to put Christmas stuff up the moment it turns December.”
Dominic smiled. “I can tell. I like it, it’s…comfortable?”
Matthew giggled. “If you say.” He reached up to scratch the back of his head before yawning. “How was your dinner?”
“It was alright. Had a strange flavor to it, whatever it was I ate.”
“That sucks. Oh! Your present.”
“What?” Dominic let out a short, taken aback laugh. “What about my pr- oh, that’s right, you had one to show me.” Dominic raised an eyebrow with an expectant look, tucking his chin in and making Matthew giggle more.
“You’re so weird. Follow me.” Matthew turned, walking a short distance before crossing the threshold of an archway that led to another room at the opposite end of the house. Dominic went after him and after a moment found him sitting in front of a grand piano that took up most of the space. “My gran got her for me. Said I deserved her.”
“Her?” Dominic tilted his head to the side at the supposed gender of the black piano before him
“Seraphiel. I named her after an angel that my gran told me about. I don’t really believe much in angels but I thought the name was cool.” Matthew shrugged and glanced away from the keys to look at Dominic. “You can sit, if you want.” He gestured to a chair against the wall to his left and Dominic walked over to it and sat down.
Without a moment’s notice, the room was suddenly filled with the sound of a low-register melody, Dominic’s eyes going wide as he watched Matthew’s close, his head hung and his face softening. His fingers traveled the keys faster than Dominic thought possible and the song picked up speed, Dominic unable to recognize it. He noticed sheet music propped up on the piano and saw that the notes were handwritten, and it occurred to Dominic that Matthew had more than likely written this as a present for him.
The tune went from low to high, minor keys and major, but Dominic didn’t much understand the technicalities of a musical piece and instead of picking it apart, leaned back in the chair and sat in amazement of his friend’s talent.
It ended after a few minutes but it felt like an hour, Dominic’s ears ringing in the silence of the song’s end.
Matthew opened his eyes and looked at him shyly, a small smile on his face. “Happy birthday, Dom.”