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Rock 'n' Roll High School

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Chapter 1

    “Morrissey!” Johnny Marr just about screamed as he leaped on top of the older student the moment he stepped off of the yellow school bus, effectively knocking him to the ground. “Where have you been??”

    “Let me up, Johnny,” Morrissey laughed in his drawling northern accent, pushing the Sophomore off of him as he struggled to stand, “I’ve only just arrived.”

    “Sorry, Mozzer, but I haven’t seen you in months! Have you gotten any taller, or did your quiff just grow again?” The two had been separated by a school break, communicating only through small letters and postcards, filled with doodles and their own odd brand of humor. Johnny helped Morrissey with his bags as the Senior told him first-hand of his isolated, book-filled vacation back in his own house.

    They walked through the campus towards the dormitory they shared a room in, passing a large wooden sign. “Rock 'n' Roll High School,” the sign declared, had been founded in 1958 by Buddy Holly. It was a boarding school like none other, taking in the outcasts of the world and turning them loose four years later with enough knowledge to take on the world. The school offered a variety of courses: art classes such as AP Sleeve Art and Hair-Styling 101, or English classes where they studied great poets and protest singers and the impacts they had on the world. PE was learning to dance, to move, to captivate. This school took the shunned and made them the worshiped.

    As they made their way to their room to unload Morrissey’s luggage, they were greeted by a number of familiar faces, followed by a few. Morrissey flopped back on one of the bare mattresses in the room when they arrived, Johnny sitting next to him with the others on the floor or the opposite bed.

    “So did you hear about the new boy, Steve?” asked Ian, another of their friends, knowing that Morrissey hated to be called by his first name- especially the shortened version.

    “It’s a new year, McColloch, there’s tons of new boys.” Morrissey rolled his eyes.

    “Yeah, but this one’s already a Punk.” He waited for the revelation to sink in. The Punks didn’t let just anybody join their clique. They had tons of followers, trailing after and trying to get an invite to their wild parties and weekend escapades. They revolved around the Ramone brothers and their best friends John, Sid, and Iggy. The Punks mingled with the rest of the school, but were proud to be their own crowd. They were friendly enough to Morrissey and his friends, the Indies, but some looked on them with disdain. They also rarely invited anyone into their group as quickly as they seemed to have this new boy.

    “What year?”

    “Senior.”

    “Transfer?”

    “Heard he was kicked out of his old school. Some hippy place where they let the students teach the teachers or some shit. Apparently he found a way to break the rules in a place that didn’t have any.” Ian grinned.

    “What’s he look like?” Morrissey asked, sitting up.

    “What, you got the hots for him?” Johnny smirked.

    “No, don’t be ridiculous. I was just curious.”

    “Well, you won’t be for long,” Robert said, pushing his wild black hair aside as he pointed out the second-story window at the path below. Morrissey looked out and saw a boy sauntering across the quad, followed by a group of what looked like fledglings. The boy had bleached blond hair and sported a worn leather jacket and denim pants covered in safety pins. He walked with confidence, a permanent sneer on his face.

    “Well, he certainly looks the part,” Jim commented, breaking the silence as Morrissey realized he had been staring.

    “Yes, definitely one of them,” Morrissey said, clearing his throat and ignoring the looks Johnny was sending his way.

    “Okay, well we’ll let you get set up, right lads?” Ian led the others outside, leaving Johnny and Morrissey alone.

    “So, do you?” Johnny said, started to unpack one of Morrissey’s bags for him, feigning nonchalance.

    “Do I what?” He asked, pulling out a fitted sheet for his bed.

    “You know, have the hots for him...” Johnny continued to fidget with the bag in his hands. Morrissey sighed, grabbing it from him and setting it aside.

    “Help me make the bed, will you?” He continued as he unfolded the bedding, “Why would you ask? I’ve never met him, and I don’t see how we would be very compatible.”

    “Plus, he is a Punk,” Johnny added.

    “I don’t think that really has to play any part,” Morrissey argued, “I don’t understand why there's any sort of division. We’re all here to learn together- they’re outcasts just like us.”

    “Sure, but they don’t have to act how they do. Always spitting and drinking and being so vulgar.”

    “Sure, because none of that describes you,” Morrissey snorted.

    “Hey, I don’t spit!” Johnny declared as Morrissey reached over to ruffle his black hair.

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 2

    It was Friday night, starting off the first weekend of the new year. Everyone was coming together for a huge party in one of the dorms. The Punks, Indies, New Waves, Folks, etc. Nobody wanted to miss the first party of the term. Nobody that is, except for Morrissey.

    “Why won’t you two just leave me in peace?” he complained as Johnny and Ian drug him through the party, socializing as they went. Every time he tried to protest, they simply laughed and yelled for someone else to come over and say hello.

    “C’mon, Steve, you need to relax!” Ian told him, handing him a drink.

    “What he needs is a good humping,” Johnny laughed, already tipsy. Morrissey took a long drink from the strong-smelling cup and coughed. Ian and Johnny slapped him roughly on the back before dancing away to look for the rest of the Indies. He could already feel the drink making it’s way to his head as he continued to take careful sips of it. The pulsing music increased the growing pounding of a headache and he slowly made his way to the back door, past the giggling euphoric students around him.

    As he stepped outside, the cool night air dried the sweat on his forehead from the humid room and he took a deep breath, feeling nauseous. He slip down the wall and sat in a heap on the ground, breathing through his nose.

    “You okay?” a voice asked. Morrissey looked over and saw another boy standing in the shadows, leaning on the wall and smoking. It was the boy he’d seen the other day; the new punk.

    “I’m fine,” he mumbled, staring straight ahead.

    “You sure? You look a little green,” the boy said in a thick Southern California accent, sitting down.

    “I’m fine,” he repeated, sighing. “I don’t like parties.”

    “You wanna cigarette? Might help.”

    “I don’t smoke,” Morrissey told him, but took the offered cigarette anyway, slipping it behind his ear. “I’m Morrissey.”

    He held out his hand to the boy, who shook it.

    “And you?” he asked. The other boy simply laughed. “What?”

    “I’m still figuring that one out. I was Bobby, and before that I was Paul. Now I’m Darby.”

    “Darby what?”

    “Crash.” Morrissey snorted.

    “Darby Crash. Well, I can certainly see how you’d fit in with Rotten and Vicious.”

    “And where’s the rest of your name, Mr. Morrissey?”

    “I wouldn’t know. Lost it somewhere in the moors of Manchester years ago.” Morrissey grinned and Darby laughed, exhaling a cloud of smoke.

    “Moz?” Johnny called from the doorway. “Are you out- oh.”

    Johnny looked down at the other boys, eyes narrowing. “Are you okay, Moz? We couldn’t find you and someone said you looked sick.”

    “I told you I hated parties,” Morrissey told him, frustratedly.

    “C’mon, Mozzer. I’ll bring you back to our dorm,” he held out his hand expectantly.

    Morrissey sighed and took his hand, standing up. He looked back to see Darby already standing, walking back into the shadows. Just before he disappeared, he turned back, saluting with half a grin on his face.

    “What the hell are you doing, Morrissey?” Johnny demanded as soon as they got back to their dorm.

    “What do you mean?” Morrissey asked, frowning.

    “You know what I mean- hanging out with that Punk! You weren't there to hear what everyone’s been saying about him.”

    “I wasn’t doing anything! You were off dancing with Ian and I needed to get outside! We were just talking.”

    “Just remember who your friends are, Morrissey,” Johnny whispered, getting into bed and turning his back to the other boy.

    “Goodnight, Johnny.” Morrissey turned off the light.

Chapter Text

    The Monday after meeting Darby was the first time Morrissey had actually seen him in a class. The class being third period AP Hairstyling.  As he swaggered in, his eyes found Morrissey’s as a gap-toothed grin spread across his face and he took a seat next to Morrissey’s.

    “Do you have this class?” Morrissey asked, his brow furrowing. When Darby nodded, he continued, “I’ve never seen you in here before.”

    Again, Darby nodded. Although the teachers made as though there was a strict truancy policy, cutting class and sneaking out from time to time was encouraged. However, most students didn’t figure that out so quickly. Darby wasn’t like most students, though, Morrissey mused.

    “Figured I’d try it out,” Darby told him as the bell rang.

    “Okay Class, settle down,” said their teacher, Mr. Plant. “Now today you will partner up with the person next to you and practice on each other.”

    Morrissey and Darby looked to each other as Morrissey sized up Darby’s heavily damaged hair. He stood and slowly walked around the other boy, his face a look of deep concentration. He lined up a row of hair sprays and combs and rolled up his sleeves.

    “So I guess you’re going first then?” Darby asked, raising an eyebrow.

    “Yes,” Morrissey told him matter-of-factly, pulling a comb through his hair with great difficulty. “Christ, have you ever brushed your hair?”

    “You’re one to talk. How do you even get it to stick up like that?” Darby sneered.

    “Just wait,” Morrissey told him, turning his chair to get a better angle.

    After the majority of the class period had passed, Morrissey let Darby go to one of the mirrors on the other side of the class.

    “Shit, what did you do to my head?” Darby demanded, turning his head to see his reflection better.

    “It’s called a quiff,” Morrissey muttered.

    “I look like a gay greaser or something. A really gay greaser.”

    “And what’s wrong with that?” Morrissey asked.

    “I hate greasers.”

    “So it’s just the greaser thing you have a problem with?”

    “Don’t get me wrong, it looks stupid, but yeah. Why? You a queer?”

    Morrissey sputtered, his ears turning pink.

    “Should I take that as a ‘yes,’ then?” Darby smirked.

    “No! I just-” Morrissey said.

    “Just what? Not into guys?”

    “No, I’m not ‘into’ anyone. I hate sex.” Morrissey declared.

    “Oh really?”

    “Yes.”

    “Shame,” Darby said, turning back to the mirror. “But this really does look idiotic and now I’ve got- what? Ten minutes to have my way with you?”

    He turned back, leading Morrissey back to their desks. He sauntered over to the microwave in the corner and returned with a heated mixture of thick clear goo.

    “What the hell is that? You are not putting that on my head.” Morrissey announced, crossing his arms.

    “It’s Knox. You got to do my hair, now I get to do yours. Shut up and just wait until I’m done.” He dipped his fingers in the gel-like substance and pulled Morrissey’s quiff straight up, flattening it down the middle. He continued like this for a few minutes, occasionally using a blow dryer, before sending Morrissey back to the mirror.

    “You gave me a damn mohawk,” Morrissey laughed, running his fingers over the stiff arc of hair. “This had better wash out, you know.”

    “Sure. Might take a few hours and a lot of soap, but it’ll come out...eventually,” Darby said with an evil grin.

The bell rang and they gathered their things, walking out to the hallways. As always, Morrissey met up with Johnny to walk to their next classes together.

“What did you do to your quiff??” Johnny demanded as soon as they started walking.

“Well, I didn’t do it, but my quiff should be back to normal by tomorrow. At least Darby said it would,” Morrissey grumbled.

“Since when did you two become such good friends? Giving each other makeovers and all.”

“We’re not,” Morrissey frowned. “We have Hairstyling together and we had to be partners today. Why do you care so much?”

“I don’t! I just don’t think you should be getting involved with someone like him.”

“And why shouldn’t I?” Morrissey demanded.

“Because I- I don’t want you to get hurt.” Johnny stumbled.

“I can take care of myself.” Morrissey broke off, going into his next classroom. Johnny cursed, roughly shoving his favorite sunglasses onto his nose and collapsing against the wall outside of his own class.

Darby strolled over to him, leaning on the wall next to him and smirked. “So how’s he in bed?”

“Wh-who?” Johnny asked, his cheeks already reddening.

“Mr. Morrissey of course.”

“Oh he doesn’t- we’re not- I...” Johnny trailed off, sputtering.

Darby laughed at his deep blush, sauntering down the hall. Johnny frowned at his back, nose scrunching distastefully.

Chapter Text

    Fifth period, after lunch, Darby discovered he had Arts and Crafts. Johnny Marr, he discovered, also had fifth period Arts and Crafts. Darby waltzed in, sitting directly behind the boy.

    “Psst,” Darby hissed in his ear. Johnny ignored him, looking intently down at the macaroni necklace in his hands. He intended it as a present for Morrissey.

    “Psst! Hey!” Darby continued, not liking being ignored. Finally, Johnny whirled around.

    “What could you possibly want?” he demanded, annoyed.

    “Could I borrow a pencil?” Darby grinned, “I seem to have forgotten all of mine.”

    “It’s Arts and Crafts. You don’t need a pencil. Just take some macaroni and some glitter and stick it on something.”

    “Fine,” Darby said, looking at the supplies on his desk as Johnny went back to work.

    After a few minutes of silence, Darby became overcome with boredom.

    “You know who’s macaroni I’d like to make some art with?” he said under his breath. Johnny continued to ignore him, but Darby saw a muscle in his jaw tense. He grinned, continuing, “I’d like to boil his pasta...”

    Johnny exhaled sharply through his nose, his face pained.

    “You know, this macaroni is as hard as-”

    Why ?” Johnny demanded, turning back to face the other boy. “Did you just wake up this morning and decide ‘hey, let’s annoy Johnny today’?”

    “Essentially, yes.”

    “Ugh, I don’t understand how Morrissey can possibly stand to be around you at all.”

    “Must be my devilishly handsome good looks,” Darby grinned.

    “Well, I don’t think he’d really go for someone as annoying as you,” Johnny said.

    “Word is he doesn’t really go for anyone. Pity. I wouldn’t have minded getting him-”

    “Just stay away from him,” Johnny growled.

    “Don’t get your knickers in a twist,” Darby sneered, “I know you’ve got your whole thing for him-”

    “No I don’t! He’s my best friend, and he would never go for a punk like you,” Johnny frowned.

    “Just wait and see,” Darby said, a dangerous glint in his eyes.

...

    After school, Darby Crash was sitting on a picnic table at the old playground behind the school, enclosed in thick trees and bushes. He blew cigarette smoke up into the leaves, watching the sun sink below the tree tops.

    “Hey,” he called when Morrissey emerged from the shrubbery.

    “Oh- Darby. What are you doing here? I was supposed to meet Johnny a few minutes ago, but I guess he’s late...” Morrissey came to sit on the bench below him.

    “Yeah, so what’s up with you and Sunglasses?”

    “Johnny?” Morrissey frowned.

    “Yeah, you know. The little one that always has chocolate on his face.”

    “Oh, we’re just friends,” Morrissey said, as Darby slid down to sit beside him.

“Good.” Darby looked over Morrissey’s shoulder for just a second before smiling and slipping his hand behind Morrissey’s neck. He leaned in quickly and kissed him.

    “See you around,” he called when he pulled back, standing up and strolling away. Morrissey sat in stunned silence, staring after him, his cheeks a flushed pink.

    Standing just out of sight in the bushes, stood Johnny Marr, his chin trembling. He wiped a hand furiously at the smear of chocolate on his nose and he turned away, half-running back to his dorm, the macaroni necklace still clutched in his hand.

Chapter Text

    “Come hang out with me after school,” Darby instructed Morrissey, matching their strides as he joined him in the hall.

    “I have homework,” Morrissey told him, adjusting the strap on his backpack.

    “You can work on it. We can even meet at the library if you want,” Darby supplied, his eyes pleading.

    “Okay,” Morrissey gave in, “See you at three?”

    “Yeah,” Darby smiled, sauntering off.

    At exactly three o’clock, Morrissey walked into the library building, finding a table at the back of the room. There were a few clusters of students dispersed among the stacks of books, but it was relatively empty. As Morrissey was pulling out his books and pencils, Darby fell into the chair next to him.

    “What are you working on first?” Darby asked, leaning over to look at Morrissey’s work.

    “English,” Morrissey told him, pulling the papers out from under Darby’s gaze, “Mr. Dylan wants our essays on protest singers done by Friday.”

    “Why don’t you just skip it and say you’re exemplifying protest by protesting the assignment? That’s what I’m doing.”

    “That’s what you do with every assignment,” Morrissey snorted, going back to his work.

    “God, this is boring,” Darby complained, tipping his chair back and glaring up at the ceiling.

    “I told you I had homework,” Morrissey told him.

“Yeah, but I didn’t think you were actually going to do any of it!”

Morrissey laughed at his petulant look, “You know, you could always do some of your work to pass the time.”

Darby scowled, pulling his own notebook roughly from his beat-up backpack. He opened it to the middle and started flipping past pages upon pages of messy scrawl.

“Is that school work?” Morrissey asked, surprised.

“No,” Darby told him indignantly. “It’s nothing.”

“Darby, do you write?” Morrissey asked, craning his neck to peek at the boy’s notebook.

“I guess,” Darby allowed, cautiously.

“Can I see any of it?”

“If you want,” Darby shrugged, letting Morrissey take his notebook.

“ ‘I'm the only thing you need

I'm so real you can feel me bleed

I'm the coat you left behind

I'm the one you'll never find

Get a grip, get a grip on me,’ “  Morrissey read under his breath, thumbing through the worn pages.

“ ‘Land of treason - waste no reason

we are breathing fire

We're packs of dogs - we're enemies of men

we are not desired

Our faces show - we've grown cold

but have not conspired

Old hearts gone - the suture's on

mother nations mired

I like a receptacle for the chosen dead

we find our bodies clawed

And with the scent of death, we find that

we are not so very awed.’ “

“These are really good, Darby,” Morrissey told him, meeting his gaze.

“Thanks,” Darby replied, pulling the notebook out of Morrissey’s hands, stuffing it back into his bag. “Don’t you have homework to do?”

Morrissey smirked, turning back to his own notebook. Whenever he would glance up to think over his next sentence, he found Darby’s eyes on him, lost in thought.

...

 

That Sunday there was another party, back at the same dorm. Ian had tried to coax Morrissey into going despite his complaints that it was a school night, but this time Johnny stayed silent. Morrissey had barely gotten a word from the other boy all week, just polite greetings and good nights. After a few tries, Ian gave up and slung an arm around Johnny as they left for the party.

Morrissey laid back on his bed after putting on a Patti Smith record, closing his eyes and listening. However, he couldn't seem to relax. He felt antsy and cooped up, finally stopping the record and putting on his shoes and cardigan. He wandered across the campus, lost in thought. It was only when his feet stepped onto wood-chipped ground did he realize he was at the playground again. He strolled over to the creaking metal swing set, sitting down and trailing his toes across the ground. In the moonlight, everything was cast in dull shadows, a light breeze rustling his hair. He didn't look away from the crescent moon when he heard the swing next to him creek. He didn't look away until Darby spoke.

"Not in the party mood tonight?" He asked.

"I never am," Morrisey looked down to see Darby staring intently at him, his blond hair now dyed black. "Why aren't you out there?"

"I thought it would be more likely to find you here," he said, kicking the ground and starting to swing. Morrissey quickly followed, soaring through the air. At the height of his arc, Darby laughed, leaping from his seat and landing on the ground with a stumble. Morrissey again followed, jumping from slightly lower, but still stumbling more than Darby had. Darby reached out and grabbed his arms to steady him, grinning.

Morrissey slipped out of his grip, but kept his hand, smiling as he pulled the other boy to the merry go round on the other side of the playground. They ran around in circles pulling the bars to get it spinning, then pulled themselves onto it. They both collapsed in the center of the whirling circle, fingers intertwined. Morrissey looked up at the stars, while Darby looked at the boy next to him, memorizing his profile.

They lay there in silence for a while. Morrissey turned his head to look at the boy next to him, and was surprised to find their noses almost touching. Lips brushed his, soft at first, then more forcefully. Darby curled his fingers in Morrissey’s hair, pulling him closer. Darby rolled towards him and then they were flush against each other. Morrissey gasped at the sudden lack of space between them and Darby took advantage of his parted lips and slid his tongue between them, into the other boy’s mouth. Darby rolled over again and then he was on top of Morrissey, pressing his back into the hard metal of the merry go round. Morrissey blushed furiously, but only held him tighter, fingers clutching his shirt, practically tearing holes in the fabric. Darby bit the other boys lip, causing a poorly suppressed sound to escape his lips. After a moment of squirming on Morrissey’s part, Darby had better access to his mouth, which he took full advantage of; nipping and licking and exploring the other boy’s mouth eagerly. A while later, they came up for air, panting and gasping against each other. Morrissey lay blushing, hands shaking, Darby crouched above him, and lopsided grin on his face. Darby rolled off him and they were once again lying side by side, their clasped hands the only parts touching. They stayed like that, watching the stars. When Morrissey started to nod off on Darby's shoulder, he stood up, pulling the half-asleep boy with him.

“Come on, Princess, time to get you back to the tower," Darby said when Morrissey protested the sudden movement.  He dragged the sluggish boy out of the playground and down a few halls.

"Where are we going?" Morrissey asked through a yawn.

"My room," was the simple reply. That woke him up some.

"W-wait I... I mean I don't um... You know..." Morrissey spluttered in protest before trailing off uncomfortably. Darby looked back at him and winked.

"Don't worry, you look dead on your feet and I don't know where your room is so I'm taking you to mine." Morrissey blushed but didn't respond. They stopped outside a red door marked with the number 333.

"What about your roommate?" Morrissey asked as Darby fished through his pocket for his room key.

"I don't have one anymore." Morrissey frowned.

"Anymore?"

Darby pulled his key from the depth of his jacket and fit it into the lock. "There was this annoying little freshman boy in here with me, but he pissed the shit out of me with all his whining so I pushed him off the roof of the cafeteria last week. He didn't die or anything," he quickly added after seeing Morrissey’s expression. "Just some broken ribs or something. He went home and now I have this room all to myself."

Darby smiled at him and pushed the door open and stepped into his room, motioning for the other boy to follow, Morrissey shuddered slightly and did so. There was a maze of assorted mess spilling across the floor and Darby cursed colorfully whenever his foot struck something solid. Morrissey followed right behind him, although he picked his way more cautiously in the dark of the room. Then they reached the bed. Darby grinned wickedly at him, grabbing a fistful of Morrissey’s shirt and kissing him enthusiastically.

"Darby," Morrissey warned, stepping back a little.

"Relax, I said I wouldn't and I won't," Darby said, kissing him again and then sitting on his bed, shucking his boots. He shrugged out of his jacket and then tore off his shirt, flinging it to the floor and lay back, eyes focused on Morrissey. "Well, you coming or what?"

Morrissey shook himself from the daze brought on by lack of sleep and the very shirtless Darby spread out before him. He kicked off his worn leather shoes and took off his cardigan and the shirt he wore under it. He hesitated.

Darby raised an eyebrow at him, "Are you blinded by my sheer attractiveness? Come 'ere, I don't bite."

Morrissey chuckled sleepily and crawled into the bed that was not meant for two people. Darby flung an arm over Morrissey, and planted a lingering kiss on the other boy’s lips. Then another, and another. Darby left a trail of kisses down the boy’s neck until he reached a patch of particularly sensitive skin and then licked him, scraping his teeth against the spot. He sucked on the flesh and bit down, making the other boy wince and gasp.

"I thought you sa-said you don't bite?"

Darby sat up and flung a leg over Morrissey’s torso so he sat perched on his lap. He looked evilly down at the boy spread beneath him and whispered "I lied," before bending lower and nipping again at the patch of skin on Morrissey’s neck, already slick with his saliva and sore from his teeth.

Morrissey gasped again and, not knowing what to do with his hands, wrapped them in Darby's hair, who took this as the encouragement that it was and sunk his teeth deeper into Morrissey’s sensitive flesh, who blushed as he failed to keep back the breathy sounds escaping from between his parted lips. Darby dragged his tongue slowly over the other boys tender flesh, and then kissed him once more on the mouth, his tongue snaked lazily between his lips and into Morrissey’s mouth, then fell back into the pillow, smiling contentedly while Morrissey tried to get his breathing and blood flow under control. After a moment Morrissey nuzzled closer to him, also smiling. Though his smile turned to a frown when he realized how hard it was going to be to cover up his hickey in the morning.

“Damn hickies,” he mumbled unintelligibly into the pillow as he faded from consciousness.

Chapter Text

Darby Crash, Morrissey mused when he woke up, is a cuddler. Sometime in the night Darby's arms had creeped their way around Morrissey’s shoulders and waist, the fingers of one hand clutched in his messy hair, their legs in a tangle at the other end of the bed. To top it all off, Darby had rolled and now he was half sprawled across Morrissey’s chest, their bare torsos pressed against each other, effectively pinning Morrissey to the bed. Not that he minded much. He laughed at finding himself enjoying the sensation of Darby Crash pressing his body down into his mattress. Darby shifted and blinked groggily up at him.

"Wha time sit?" he asked, slurring his words.

Morrissey scanned the room for a clock and spotted one partially covered by Darby's shirt.

“About ten,” he read.

Darby groaned, rolling over and detangling himself from Morrissey, "I'm goin back t'sleep,"  and soon the only sound was his soft snores. Morrissey was about to follow suit, but sat up with a start.

"Crap, Johnny is probably worried sick!" Morrissey stumbled out of bed and sat down searching for his shoes. He found them and pulled them on, mumbling to himself, "I didn't come back last night he must think I died in a ditch somewhere. Either that or..... That I'm here."

He took a moment to think of which was worse. He stood up quickly, grabbing his shirt and not bothering to look for his cardigan. He continued muttering and he left the room with one last look at Darby's sleeping form and then jogged down the hall.

"I'm on the west side of the school, if I hurry I can catch him on his way to third period." He turned the corner and then ran smack into the person he was looking for.

"Johnny! Hey!" Morrissey said with a grin, "Fancy meeting you here."

Johnny opened his mouth to say something, looking concerned, but then he paused, looking Morrissey over, taking in his messy hair, his clothes from the day before. His eyes lingered on his neck. He had forgotten about the hickie.

"What the hell." Johnny didn't pose it so much as a question as a statement.

"Johnny I-" but he was cut off.

"Shut up." Morrissey bit his tongue.

"Johnny," he began again, but Johnny was already walking away. Morrissey groaned and chased after him, "Wait up!"

Morrissey reached his friend and stretched out a hand to stop him. Johnny spun around, unshed tears in his eyes.

"Don't fucking touch me!" He pulled his hand back like he'd touched molten lead.

"J-johnny I just.... I just" Johnny glared at him. Somewhere in the distance the bell rang announcing that class had started. It went unnoticed by the two boys.

"You just-you just," he mocked, yelling now. If not for their isolation in the hallway they would have attracted a crowd. "You just got fucked by stupid fucking Darby Crash is what you just! Even though you don't fucking like-UGH!" Tears were flowing freely down Johnny's face and Morrissey didn't know what to do. He stood like a deer in the headlights as his best friend broke down into harsh sobs.

He found his voice. "Johnny, no we just-we didn't have sex really we didn't! Calm down." Johnny's crying decreased in volume but he took one look at Morrissey’s face, then once more at the deep purple mark on his neck, and then ran off. This time Morrissey didn't follow. He was rooted to the spot.

 

 

Chapter Text

Johnny was furious. How could Morrissey have done… that… with Darby Crash of all people? Morrissey had to know how much it would hurt him; how he felt about his best friend. Johnny couldn’t face the prospect of a classroom at that moment, and fled to the P.E. feild. As the students practiced running from cops and scaling fences, Johnny Marr sat curled in on himself within an alcove of trees in the forest used for testing.

We wiped the back of his hand across his eyes, coming away with black smudges of eyeliner. He heard a rustling in the bushes, and looked up to see his friend Andy.

“There you are,” Andy said, relieved, “Ian and Mike and I were wondering where you ran off to. You okay?” he asked, seeing Johnny’s reddened eyes.

“Not really,” Johnny laughed without humor. Andy came and sat cross-legged beside him, setting his bass in his lap.

“What’s wrong? Boy troubles?” he grinned.

“You could say that,” Johnny frowned.

“Do you want to talk about it?”

“Not particularly.” Johnny shrugged, pulling out a chocolate bar.

“Well, I hope it works out,” Andy told him.  “Hey, so if you don’t want to talk about it, I was wondering what you thought of Lorna?”

“Lorna Doom? That punk chick in band?” Johnny asked incredulously.

“Yeah. Do you think she’d go out with me if I asked?”

“Andy, she’s best friends with Darby Crash,” Johnny stated.

“Yeah. I know. Do you think he’d put it a good word for me?”

“No, Andy- you can’t- he’s- ugh!” Johnny exclaimed, standing up.

“What?” Andy asked, following him.

“Trust me, you don’t want to get involved in Darby Crash’s bullshit,” Johnny said, looking back. He tunned and walked back towards his next class.

He pushed his sunglasses up the bridge of his nose, hiding his red-rimmed eyes as he walked through hoards of students spilling out of the cafeteria to their next classes. He passed his teacher, Mr. Warhol, on his way to his desk. Then, just as the bell rang, in waltzed Darby Crash.

Shit, Johnny thought, remembering that Darby was, indeed, in his Arts and Crafts class, despite only showing up once or twice. Apparently, he had decided to come today.

“Hey,” Darby whispered from behind him when the class began. When Johnny ignored him, he repeated himself, this time punctuated by a poke between Johnny's shoulder blades.

“Hey,” he continued, over and over, a smug smile on his face, until Johnny hissed back a venomous “What?”

“Guess what I did last night?” Johnny remained silent. “Well, if you aren’t going to guess, I’ll just have to tell you who-”

Johnny spun in his seat, his fist colliding with Darby’s jaw.

“Fuck!” he exclaimed, cradling his hand in pain. Darby laughed, his grin unwavering as he shifted his jaw testily.

“Boys! If you’re going to fight, please do so outside,” Mr. Warhol reprimanded them. Johnny stood quickly, stumbling outside as the teacher called after him, “Curl your thumb, Johnny! Curl your thumb! How many times do I have to remind that boy…”

Johnny started towards his dorm to get some ice for his hand, hoping it wasn’t broken- he needed it to play his guitar. He stopped, though, when he heard footsteps behind him. He winced as he turned around, seeing Darby Crash coming towards him, a dangerous look on his face.

Shit,” Johnny breathed, stepping back.

“Oh, don’t run. That’s not fair. One for you, one for me, eh Johnny boy?” Darby descended on the much smaller boy, sending a flying fist into his face, breaking his glasses as well as his nose. Johnny stumbled back, clutching his bleeding nose, eyes shut tight against the pain.

“Aww,” Darby called in mocking sympathy, seeing the redness of Johnny’s eyes, “Has the poor baby been crying?” He grabbed a fistfull of Johnny’s shirt, pulling him towards him and kneeing him in the gut. Johnny gasped and choked, clutching his stomach and falling to his knees.

“How about I give you something to cry about, little Johnny?” Darby gripped the back of Johnny’s jacket, dragging him to his feet only to slam him into the wall. He grinned evilly, digging his elbow into Johnny’s throat.

“Stop!” Morrissey shouted, running out of a near-by classroom, having heard the boys’ shouting. He grabbed Darby’s arm, pulling him back.

“What? I’m almost finished, Moz,” Darby told him, annoyed.

“Don’t you fucking call me that!” Morrissey exploded, shoving the other boy away, “Just go away, Darby.”

“Oh, you leaving me for him? Is that it?” Darby laughed darkly.

“No, but I’m sure as hell not staying with you.” Morrissey turned away, running his eyes over Johnny’s beaten frame, assessing the damage Darby had done. As he stepped closer to his friend, he heard Darby growl in rage and stomp away.

“Are you okay?” he asked softly, carefully touching the fist-sized welt on Johnny’s cheek bone.

“I’ve been better,” Johnny winced. Morrissey gingerly wrapped his arms around the other boy who melted into his embrace, allowing him to support most of his weight. Morrissey lifted his hand to gently stroke his fingers through Johnny’s messy black hair, feeling him shake under his hands.

Morrissey pulled back, keeping one arm around the other boy to keep him up, and slowly led him back to their room. As soon as they were through the door, Johnny collapsed onto his bed, groaning. His face was strained, and Morrissey called Andy across the hall to get someone from the health office. While they waited, Morrissey sat beside him, continuing to stroke his hair and whispering softly.

...

An hour later, both Andy and the nurse he’d brought with him had left. It was decided that Johnny had a few bruised ribs and a broken nose, along with numerous other bruises and a few cuts. She had set his nose and bandaged the worst of the cuts, giving him a bottle of pills for the pain and telling him not to leave his bed for a few days.

“Mozzer?” Johnny asked sleepily after taking his first dose of pills.

“Yes?” Morrissey replied, sitting beside him again.

“Would you mind reading to me?”

“Okay, what would you like me to read?” Morrissey smiled.

“Anything. You pick.”

Morrissey searched his bookshelf and pulled out an Oscar Wilde book, opening it as he sat down, resting against the headboard. Johnny sat up gingerly, laying his head on Morrissey’s shoulder.

“ ‘High above the city, on a tall column, stood the statue of the Happy Prince.  He was gilded all over with thin leaves of fine gold, for eyes he had two bright sapphires, and a large red ruby glowed on his sword-hilt…’ ” Morrissey began to read. Johnny’s eyelids slowly drooped throughout the story. By the time Morrissey’s soft drawling voice finished, his eyes were closed and his breathing even, if a bit raspy from his injuries.

As Morrissey closed the book and carefully tried to get out from under his friend, he was stopped by a faint voice asking, “Mozzer?”

“Yes?” he replied, smiling.

“Would you mind staying?”

“Sure,” Morrissey reached over to turn out the light, and lay back on the bed, his arm wrapping around Johnny, who burrowed into his side. Morrissey lazily dragged his fingers over Johnny’s back, tucking the other boy’s head under his chin and pressing his lips to his hair. Johnny curled up, completely surrounded by the warmth and protection of his best friend.

Chapter Text

In the morning Johnny woke up sore and broken. However, that was only on the surface. Inside, Johnny was happier than he’d been in weeks. The warmth of Morrissey’s chest radiated into his back, both of Morrissey’s arms draped around him, careful of his bruised ribs even in sleep. Johnny nestled further back, nuzzling his head against Morrissey’s neck as the arms around him tightened slightly.

“How are you feeling?” Morrissey asked, fingers ghosting over a purple mark on Johnny’s side.

“Like shit,” Johnny chuckled, turning to face the other boy, “but better I guess.”

“I’m sorry,” Morrissey whispered.

“For what? It’s not your fault.”

“But it is. If I hadn’t…” he trailed off, looking distressed.

“Did you…?” Johnny asked, his eyes slipping down to Morrissey’s still prominent hickey.

“No,” Morrissey told him firmly, shaking his head. “I swear. He kissed me- we kissed, but nothing more.”

“Good. He doesn’t deserve you.” Johnny closed his eyes again, burrowing into Morrissey’s embrace. Morrissey smiled, shifting as he started to roll away. Johnny followed, though, stopping him with an arm around his waist.

“Where are you going?” he whined, tightening his grip.

“It’s time for breakfast. Don’t worry, I’ll bring it back and eat here with you.”

“Can’t you just make Andy get it?”

“No, he’s probably already down at the cafeteria. Let me up and I’ll bring you some tea,” he chuckled. As he stood, he tucked the blankets tighter around the other boy, smoothing a hand over his hair before grabbing a sweater and going out the door.

When he walked into the cafeteria, he was greeted by Ian, Mike and Andy, who walked through the line with him. He made up a tray for himself and one for Johnny, balancing two cups of tea.

Turning towards the exit, Morrissey saw the table of Punks across the room. In their center, Darby Crash sat staring at him. He saw the boy’s eyes flick down to the extra tray in his hands, his brows furrowing in distaste. Morrissey noted the small bruise on Darby’s jaw with a bit of pride.

Morrissey twisted back to his friends, seeing Andy raise his hand in a small wave towards Lorna Doom, seated at Darby’s side with Pat Smear on the other. She gave the slightest hint of a smile and tilted her head before turning back to Johnny Rotten as the red-headed boy poked her in the side, teasing her. Morrissey looked inquisitively to Andy, who shrugged and sat down at their usual table. Morrissey said goodbye to the others and they agreed to bring his and Johnny’s meals up to their room for the next few days.

“I hurt,” Johnny moaned when Morrissey stepped back into their room. Apparently, the pain medication was wearing off.

“Do you want me to get the pills?” Morrissey asked, setting the food on a small table beside the bed.

“No, just come here,” Johnny pulled back the corner of the sheets.

“Shouldn’t you take some medicine?” Morrissey asked, hesitating.

“No, this works better.” Morrissey climbed into the small bed, carefully pulling Johnny onto his lap and handing him a steaming cup of tea with extra sugar- the way that Johnny liked it. Johnny cradled the warm cup in his hands, leaning back against the other boy as long arms wrapped around his waist securely. “See? Much better than any medicine.”

 

 

Chapter Text

Johnny lay at the base of his bed, curled up against a large pillow as he listened to Morrissey’s smooth voice reading him another story. He let his eyes slowly droop as the comforting voice of his friend lulled out the words of Oscar Wilde. As he felt himself come close to drifting off to sleep, the soothing words came to a dramatic halt as Morrissey closed the book and proceeded to get off of the bed. Johnny’s eyes snapped open as he reached out a hand to stop the boy from leaving.
“Read it again,” he pleaded, looking up with puppy dog eyes and a chocolate-smudged nose, making it hard for Morrissey to decline his wish. With a sigh, he knelt next to where Johnny lay, setting the book next to him.
“We’ve read the same book at least twenty times this week.” Johnny wrinkled his nose with a scowl across his face.
“But I still hurt, Moz,” he whimpered. He tried to look as degraced as possible until Morrissey gave in, agreeing to read the book one more time.
As the book came to a close for the second time, Morrissey patted the younger boy’s hair, “Are you happy now?”
Johnny only nodded, a small smile on his face.
“Yes, but…” he trailed off, the feeling of butterflies in his stomach replacing his euphoric mood. “I was wondering if perhaps…” he trailed off again, shaking his head, “Well, I know you don’t like these kinds of things, but…” he stumbled over his words nervously, not sure how to ask. “D-do you want to go with me to the school dance?” He looked up before quickly adding with a shake of his hands, “As friends of course!”
“Of course, Johnny,” Morrissey smiled. “As long as you’re feeling better by then.”
“It’s Saturday, but I’m already feeling much better!”
“Oh, so does that mean I can stop reading to you all the time?” Morrissey grinned.
“No!” Johnny’s eyes widened, “I mean, I’m not completely better...”
Morrissey snorted, tucking a blanket around the boy and shaking his head.
“Well then, you’d better get plenty of sleep before Saturday.” Johnny nodded, snuggling down into the blankets with a yawn. Before long, the room was silent but for Johnny’s slow, deep breathing. Morrissey idly picked up the guitar that leaned beside Johnny’s bed, pulling it across his lap. He hesitantly placed his fingers around the neck, trying to fit them where he’d seen Johnny’s. He gently pulled a thumb down the strings over the body, frowning at the sound. It wasn’t anything like when Johnny played.
He continued to fiddle with the instrument, trying to make it sound better as he thought over Johnny’s request. Saturday would be the first official school dance of the year and it seemed that everyone was going. Now, Morrissey would be going with Johnny. He imagined walking in arm-in-arm with his best friend, and smiled. They’d been inseparable since the year before when they’d become roommates. Johnny had waltzed in, flipping uninvited through Morrissey’s record collection, and declaring that they would be best friends.
Lately, though, he’d caught himself thinking about the younger boy more and more. He had begun to miss the feeling of wrapping his arms around the boy when he was pulled away for class. He liked the way that Johnny seemed to fit perfectly in his arms, his head slotted under Morrissey’s chin like a puzzle piece. Johnny was warm and comforting, both protective and something to protect.
As his fingers awkwardly strummed, his brow furrowing further at the ungainly noise, he felt warmth at his back. Lithe arms wrapped around him as graceful fingers aligned with his, pushing them to the correct positions. He felt Johnny’s head resting tiredly on his shoulder, face pressed lightly into his neck with eyes closed.
“Strum,” came the drowsy command, lips murmuring against Morrissey’s neck.
Morrissey drug his fingers across the strings and smiled, content with the melody. He hummed lightly as Johnny slid his fingers to play different chords.
“Do you ever go to sleep?” he asked wryly, turning his face towards the boy.
“It’s not my fault you decided to start playing guitar- quite horribly, I might add,” Johnny mumbled, his arms dropping from Morrissey’s hands to his waist, nuzzling against Morrissey’s throat before wincing at his healing nose and pulling away.
“Are you okay?” Morrissey set down the guitar, cradling Johnny’s face in his hands.
“I’m fine, it’s just my damn nose,” Johnny said, still only half-awake. He leaned into Morrissey’s touch sleepily, eyes drooping again.
“Go back to sleep,” Morrissey commanded, guiding him back to bed. He stroked a finger over the other boy’s cheek, watching him fall asleep almost instantly. Before he stood to turn off the lights, Morrissey leaned in to brush a gentle kiss over Johnny’s bruised nose, guilt rushing over him for the boy’s injuries.
Darby won’t touch him again, Morrissey thought, I won’t let him.

Chapter Text

Music blared out of the school gym, drums pounding and guitar screaming. The Ramone brothers had demanded that they get to play first at the dance, and they had evidently began their set. Morrissey and Johnny Marr stood a few steps from the entrance of the dance, looking nervous.

“We don’t have to go if you don’t want to,” Johnny reminded Morrissey who was looking hesitantly at the hoards of people just inside.

“No, it’s okay. I want to,” he told the other boy, smiling. He saw Johnny absentmindedly run his fingers over his nearly-healed nose, a habit he’d had from years of wearing sunglasses everywhere. Morrissey pulled his hand away, reaching into his back pocket and pulling out a new pair of black sunglasses. He placed them in Johnny’s hand, watching the grin spread across his face.

“Thank you, Mozzer!” he exclaimed, putting on the glasses. Johnny twined his fingers with Morrissey’s, stepping into the dance.  They ducked through the crowd, squeezing between their dancing peers.

“Have I ever told you how good it feels to hold you?” Joey sang, swaying his hips on the stage, “It isn’t easy to explain.”

Morrissey and Johnny grinned, looking around for their friends. Standing off to the side was Ian McCulloch, sporting his favorite blond wig and bright red lipstick. Draped on each arm was a group of admirriors, clinging to his every word and movement. He seemed indifferent to the girls and boys, trying his best to dance in the tightly-packed crowd.

Johnny poked Morrissey in the side, laughing and pointing to the corner, where they could see two bleach-blond heads. Andy Rourke and Lorna Doom stood pressed together, connected by the mouths with a double-necked bass guitar between them. They were simultaneously playing the bass together while enthusiastically kissing, oblivious to the rest of the party-goers. Next to them, Sid and his girlfriend were slumped against the wall kissing, wrapped completely around each other.

Standing a few yards away from the couples stood a disapproving but amused-looking Professor Costello who was chaperoning the dance. Beside him was their friend Mike, who looked adoringly on the teacher. The Indies all knew about his crush, and took every opportunity to tease him for it. Johnny covered his mouth with his hand, giggling as Mike appeared to fail at making small-talk, nearly tripping over his own feet.

Morrissey turned to his friend, placing his hands on each of Johnny’s hips, raising an eyebrow. Johnny wrapped his arms around Morrissey’s neck, swaying to the music.

“Baby I love you, Baby I love- I love only you,” Joey crooned to the crowd. Morrissey and Johnny turned in slow, lazy circles, holding eachother tightly. As the song ended, they broke apart, clapping their hands with the others. The next song started, faster than the last, as Joey asked, “Do you wanna dance and hold my hand?”

Morrissey and Johnny beamed at each other, raising their arms and dancing about like mad. They circled each other, bending their knees and swiveling their hips. Laughter erupted from their lips as joy spread across their faces. They twirled spryly, letting the beat of the music guide them.

They continued as such for the rest of the Ramones’ set, and as John, Sid, and their two friends set up their equipment, Johnny and Morrissey stepped aside, out of breath.

“I’ll be back in a minute,” Morrissey told Johnny, stepping towards the exit.

“What? Can’t go five minutes without admirroring yourself in the mirror?” Johnny asked wryly.

“I’ll meet up with you in a second,” Morrissey winked, leaving him just inside the gym. Johnny smiled, swaying to the music they were playing over the speakers between acts. Someone opened the door for a second, sending a cold breeze over him. Away from the humidity of the crowd, Johnny felt a creeping chill. He dug his hands into his pockets, retracting his hand when he felt a square lump beside the familiar shape of uncooked macaroni.

He pulled out the object, finding a neatly-folded piece of paper. He opened it up carefully, holding it up to the dim lights to read it. In messy, all-capital writing, it read:

JOHNNY,

MEET ME OUT ON TOP OF THE CAFETERIA. THEY DON’T LOCK THE STAIRWELL SO TAKE THAT UP TO THE ROOF. I WANT TO TALK TO YOU AND IT’S MUCH TOO CROWDED HERE.

-MOZ

Johnny stared at the note in his hand. What did Morrissey want to talk to him about? He tried not to let his imagination get the best of him, and shoved the note back in his pocket, walking briskly towards the cafeteria.

 

Morrissey furrowed his brow at his reflection, brushing his fingers through his quiff. The heat of the gym had caused it to start deflating, much to his annoyance. He hated when his hair wouldn’t behave, especially on a night like tonight. He and Johnny were having such a nice time, and he had decided to let Johnny know of his feelings for him.

“That’s as good as it’s going to get,” he smiled self deprecatingly at the mirror, tucking his hands in his pockets. He felt a strange square shape in his back pocket, though, and pulled it out. In a boyish scrawl read:

Mozzer,

Meet me at the playground. I want to talk to you and it’s too loud in the gym to hear a thing.

-Johnny

Morrissey looked bemused at the note. Was it possible that Johnny already knew what he was planning to say? He carefully folded the note back up and replaced it in his pocket, starting towards the playground.

Chapter Text

Johnny Marr rested his chin on the palm of his hand, sitting on the roof of the cafeteria and leaning against the waist-high ledge around the edge. He shivered at the wind as it tugged at his hair and thin leather jacket. He pulled the collar up over his neck, and hoped that Morrissey would get there soon. He turned, peeking out over the side, scanning the ground below. A drop of moisture hit the tip of his nose, making him jump. He turned back to the roof, and heard the door of the stairwell open in the relative darkness of the cloudy moonlight.

“There you are,” Johnny said, relieved. “You know, I think it’s starting to rain?”

“Is it?” a voice asked. It was not the right voice. Johnny stood up quickly, his breath catching as he matched the voice to the person.

“Darby,” he whispered, a ghost of pain in his side from the memory of Darby Crash’s fist.

“Oh, I’m sorry. You were expecting someone else, weren’t you?” Darby laughed darkly, stepping forward.

Johnny tried to step back, but was stopped when his leg lined up with the ledge behind him. He looked around, trying to find a way to escape. Darby stood between him and the stairs, and the only other way down that he could see was a four-story drop to the concrete below.

“How is dear Mr. Morrissey by the way?” Darby asked, feigning interest. Johnny remained silent, looking down at his empty hands. Darby stepped forward again, frowning. He repeated, “How is he?”

“Fine,” Johnny muttered, balling his fists.

“You can’t have him, you know,” Darby stated, low and dangerous.

“What do you mean?” Johnny asked, frowning.

“I mean, he’s mine. You missed your chance before and I got him. He may be tending your wounds for now but before long he’ll tire of you. When that happens, he’ll come back to me.”

“You’re insane,” Johnny almost laughed, “He’s not a prize to be won, Darby. He’s a human being.”

“Shut up,” Darby snapped, slapping Johnny across the face. The sting of his hand mingled with the light rain that was starting to sprinkle around them. Johnny looked up at Darby, his eyes wide as his hand made it’s way up to the stinging flesh of his cheek. Darby towered over the petite boy as a villainous grin stretched across his face before bringing his arm back and slamming his fist against Johnny’s healing ribs. Johnny sucked in a sharp breath, doubling over in pain a small squeak escaping his mouth as he began to lose balance.

Johnny slid against the ledge, trying to move away, but Darby followed. He grabbed Johnny’s shoulder, throwing him down at his feet. Johnny’s head hit the roof with a small crack, his face twisting in pain as the world seemed to spin around him. He pushed himself up on his elbows, kicking his feet as he tried to squirm away but he could barely keep himself up and ended up collapsing again in defeat. Darby smiled in amusement, leaping on the boy. Straddling his hips, Darby threw his fist at Johnny’s face, colliding each time with a wet smack. Blood speckled the grey rooftop, darker than the spots of rain falling around them.

Johnny twisted in his grip, curling away from Darby. He wormed out from under the older boy, starting to crawl away with short gasps of painful breath. Darby grabbed him by the back of his shirt, standing up and dragging him backwards and then up with him, causing the rough texture of the roof to erase the first layer of skin on his cheek. Darby yanked him towards his face bringing them eye to eye. Johnny’s eyes fell half closed and his breathing became shallow as he fought to stay conscious, the sound of his own heartbeat echoed in his ringing ears.

“Please…” He managed to whisper through painfully swollen lips losing all his energy to try and fight back.

Darby shook his head the corners of his lips raising into a bitter smile and his words came out like venom “You little piece of shit…” His sentence broke off with a manic cackle, “You thought for one second that he could love a snot-nosed little brat like you?”

Darby shook Johnny by the collar of his shirt bringing him back to a semi-conscious state. Darby’s face crinkled up as he looked the boy over before leaning back to spit in his face “You make me sick… You’re pathetic and weak, look at you, you can’t even stand your ground against me.”

Johnny made pathetic mewling sounds unable to gather the strength to form words. Darby shook his head with a small laugh “You probably thought your precious Morrissey would always be there to save you didn’t you? Guess the truth is out because he doesn’t give a shit about you!”

Johnny felt his heart shatter beneath his splintered ribs more painful than any blow that Darby had previously given him. Darby noticed the pained look in Johnny’s dull eyes which only propelled him further gaining a sick joy from the boy’s pain.

“He’s pretending to love you… a mere game of affection just to pass the time!” Darby’s eyebrows raised as his smile only continued to grow “And you know what? Play time’s over, Johnny boy,” he growled, one fist wrapped around Johnny’s throat cutting off any air supply that could have reached his broken chest.

Johnny’s hands grasped at Darby’s trying to push him away from his throat. Anger welled inside the smaller boy mixed with pure animal instinct that allowed him to lash out one more time sending his foot into Darby’s knee. Darby cursed, releasing his grip as he shoved the boy away. Johnny gasped as the back of his knees hit the ledge again, this time buckling under him. He tumbled backwards, arms flapping madly as he fell into the darkness below.

Darby could hear only a small thunk over the now-pouring rain, and turned back to the rooftop. He stepped towards the stairwell, but stopped when he stepped on something. He stooped down to find a partially-crushed macaroni necklace. Darby picked it up, tossing it off of the roof after the other boy.

Chapter Text

    Morrissey sat in darkness, hidden by a cloak of leaves. He lay on top of the picnic table beside the playground, closing his eyes as raindrops danced across his face. He smiled lightly, enjoying the crisp night air. He heard footsteps coming towards him, splashing through the shallow puddles. The weight of the table shifted under him as someone sat on the bench attached to it. He could feel eyes on him as fingers ghosted over his cheek, light breath against his lips as a mouth met his softly. He grinned, his eyes fluttering open.

    In the darkness he could just make out a dark silhouette that was too big to belong to Johnny Marr. He sat up with a jolt, shoving Darby away.

    “What are you doing, Darby?” he demanded, his eyes narrowing.

    “C’mon, Morrissey. When are you going to stop messing around with Marr and come back? Everything was fine until you went and overreacted-”

    “Overreacted?” Morrissey bellowed, “You nearly killed my best friend!”

    “Relax, I didn't kill him. Trust me, if I’d wanted to, I would have.”

    “Just leave us alone, Darby. Go back to the dance,” Morrissey commanded.

    “I have as much right to be here as you do, Princess.”

    “Please, Darby? Just leave,” Morrissey asked.

    “Why? Meeting someone?”

    “No, I just-”

    “Are you sure about that?” Darby asked. Morrissey was silent. Darby stepped away, saying softly “I don’t think he’ll be coming.”

    “Why?” Morrissey frowned, “What did you do?”

    “Nothing,” Darby said nonchalantly, starting towards the tree line. He stepped into a small patch of light on the way and Morrissey was able to better make out his appearance. There were small scratches across his cheek, surrounded by flecks of drying dark red that hadn’t come from him.

    “Darby!” Morrissey demanded, “What did you do?”

    “Why do you care?” he asked irritably.

    “Because I love him,” Morrissey whispered.

    Darby had already disappeared. Morrissey looked around, hoping that Johnny would suddenly emerge from the bushes. He looked down at his watch, seeing that more than forty-five minutes had past since he’d last seen Johnny. He cursed, rushing back to the gym.

    “Have you seen Johnny anywhere?” he asked Ian when he broke through the crowd at the dance.

    “Not for a while. He said he was going to go meet you,” Ian told him, looking at him quizzically. “What’s wrong?”

    “Nothing, but did he say where he was going to meet me?”

    “I think he said something about the cafeteria...” Morrissey was running off before Ian could even finish his sentence, rushing towards the cafeteria.

    He ducked through rain-slick halls, trying not to fall in the dark. He stopped and looked  up at the towering building, searching for his friend.

“Johnny?” he called, tugging at the front doors and finding them locked tightly. Sighing in frustration, he began to walk the perimeter.

    His heart beat fast as he looked for any sign of the boy. His eyes caught on something glittering in the moonlight and knelt to pick up a broken macaroni necklace, sprinkled with glitter. He pocketed it, twisting around to see a shape in the shadows at the base of the building. He rushed over to find his best friend lying in a heap among a cluster of flowers and plants.

    Morrissey collapsed next to the boy, attempting to inspect him in the gloomy night. He gently cradled the boy’s head in his hands, his ear close to Johnny’s mouth to hear soft, shallow breathing. He worked one arm under his friend’s knees, the other around his back as he lifted him close to his chest. Johnny’s head lulled against Morrissey’s neck, unconscious.

    Morrissey carried the boy as quickly as he could towards the nurse’s office. As shadows flicked across them, Morrissey got glimpses of his friend in the fractions of light. His face was nearly unrecognisable, dark bruises spreading across the deathly pale skin. Morrissey could feel thick moisture pooling against his collar, under Johnny’s head. The pouring rain mixed with the blood, seeping through their clothes and staining their skin.

“Johnny,” Morrissey whimpered, looking down at the broken boy. He could feel his own heartbeat pounding in his chest, but the dull sluggish beat he felt through the fingers against Johnny’s chest were faint.

“Don’t die,” he pleaded, stumbling through the hall, “Please don’t. I love you, dammit.”

Morrissey staggered through the door to the office, shouting to call an ambulance. Nurse Ivy stamped out her cigarette, grabbing the phone and following his pleas. She gestured for Morrissey to lay Johnny on the cot next to her desk and she looked him over while talking to the 911 operator. Morrissey hovered over them, wringing his hands nervously.

    When the ambulance arrived, Morrissey sat in the back, Johnny’s limp hand held tightly in his grip on the way to the hospital. As they rushed Johnny into surgery, Morrissey paced the waiting room nervously. He pulled the macaroni necklace out of his pocket, trying to distract himself.

    He sat down, turning it in his hands and watching it glisten under the fluorescent lights. Three small, lettered beads were spaced among the pasta, spelling M-O-Z. He smiled sadly, pulling the string over his head.

Chapter Text

    When Johnny woke up he was nearly blinded by too-bright, sterile lighting. He squinted, adjusting his eyes. He looked around, trying to understand where he was. He saw the walls of a hospital room, but couldn’t connect how he had gotten there. Looking down, he saw Morrissey, fast asleep. The boy was slumped in a blue chair, his arms folded under his head on the edge of Johnny’s bed. One hand was half entwined with Johnny’s.

    Johnny tightened his fingers, rousing his friend.

    “You’re awake!” Morrissey exclaimed, sitting up.

    “So it would appear,” Johnny croaked.

    “They said you would be okay but I was still so worried. What happened? I found you at the cafeteria and they had to bring you into surgery and you’ve got a broken leg and a fractured skull and all kinds of other things and you’re just covered in bruises and-”

    “Really? All that?” Johnny asked.

    “How did it happen? What did he do?” Morrissey replied with his own questions.

    “I don’t really remember to be honest. I know I got a note from you-”

    “But I didn’t give you a note. I got a note from you !”

    “I figured. Anyway, I went to meet you on the cafeteria roof- although obviously it wasn't you I was meeting- and Darby showed up. I remember him hitting me, and I must have fallen off. You don’t think he...” Johnny trailed off disbelievingly.

    “He told me once that he pushed his old roommate off of that roof,” Morrissey frowned, “I should have stopped this all right then.”

    “It’s okay, Moz. It’s not your fault.” Johnny smiled, “Where did you find my necklace?”

    “Oh, it was on the ground next to… the cafeteria,” Morrissey told him, his hand going to his neck. “Do you- um- want it back?”

    “No, I made it for you. Is it broken?” he frowned at the missing and cracked pieces.

    “I don’t mind. Broken things can always be mended,” Morrissey rested his chin back on his arms, looking up at his friend.

    One of the doctors walked in, smiling politely at the pair while checking Johnny’s vitals. She told them that everything was looking fine and fiddled with the morphine hooked into his IV. She told them that he would be falling asleep again soon, reminding Morrissey that visiting hours were almost over anyway.

    “I guess I’ll see you in the morning than,” Morrissey told him when the doctor left.

    “You don’t have to come,” Johnny told him, “I don’t want you to miss class.”

    “I already talked to the office and they excused me for as long as you’re in here. The doctors said that that should only be a few more days anyway. I can be here as much as you want, unless you want me to go...”

    “No! Please come as much as you can,” Johnny gripped Morrissey’s hand tightly.

    “Okay, I will,” Morrissey stood to go. He looked sadly at Johnny’s bruised face, stroking his fingers through the boy’s hair. “This feels like deja vu.”

    “My bones are never going to set right now,” Johnny laughed halfheartedly.

    “I just can’t believe he did this,” Morrissey muttered. “I can’t believe I let him. I should have been more careful. I shouldn’t have let you out of my sight.”

    “It’s not your fault, Moz. I don’t think anyone could have stopped him.” Johnny’s voice was beginning to sound slower, sluggish.

    “Either way, Principal Reed is coming in tomorrow to ask you some questions about this all and hopefully Darby won’t be a problem after that.”

    “Have you spoken with him yet?” he mumbled.

    “No, one of the doctors just told me he’d called and wanted to talk to us. Anyway, you need to get back to sleep. You need time to heal.” Morrissey leaned down to kiss Johnny’s forehead softly. Looking more closely at the dark bruises on his cheek, Morrissey added a gentle kiss there, as well.

    Morrissey studied Johnny's face, lingering on his swollen, split lip. He leaned down carefully, kissing the injury gingerly. When he stood up, cheeks a light pink, he saw Johnny’s eyes sliding shut, a small smile on his face.

...

 

    Darby Crash pulled the end of his belt tight against his upper arm, feeling his pulse build against the pressure. He tapped the veins at the crease of his arm, looking at the blue lines cutting through dark bruises. He held a cold metal syringe, poised to break the skin.

 

    “You’re worthless. How could you think he would ever love someone like you?” The words echoed in his head, directed not at Johnny Marr but at himself.

 

    He just wanted to forget, for as much time as he was allowed. He wanted to stop picturing Morrissey at Johnny’s bedside, doting on him and loving him. He wanted to stop feeling the boy’s hand on his chest, shoving him away and rejecting him.

 

    He pushed down on the pump at the end, emptying the contents under his skin. Waves of euphoria surrounded him, never as strong as the first time but closer than he’d gotten before. He laid back, his head hitting the floor sharply. He didn’t feel the pain, though. He didn’t feel anything.

Chapter Text

“Good morning, Johnny,” Morrissey said, sitting next to Johnny’s bed, ruffling the boy’s already messy black hair.

“G’morning, Moz,” Johnny grinned, sitting up.

“Are there any vases in here?” Morrissey asked, holding up a bouquet of gladioli shyly.

“Here,” Johnny handed him a cup of water on the bedside table, thanking him. “So what’s the plan for the day?”

“I brought you some more books to read and then this afternoon Mr. Reed is going to stop by.”

“Will you read the books to me?” Johnny asked.

“Of course. I’ve got Auden, Wilde, Belloc, and-”

“Oh god, can you please keep the flowery poetry to a minimum?” came a voice from behind the screen that separated the room in two.

“What the hell?” Johnny asked, he and Morrissey looking to each other in confusion. They had been told the day before that Johnny was the only one in the room. Morrissey strode over and pulled back the curtain, revealing a disheveled Darby Crash.

“What the hell?” Johnny repeated, frowning.

“Hello,” Darby waved, grinning.

“What are you doing here?” Morrissey demanded. Darby simply held up the arm attached to an IV drip. “You know what I mean. What happened?”

“Well, I acquired some heroin, and I made use of it.” Darby stated matter-of-factly.

“What, did you over-dose?”

“I didn’t get dragged in here just for the hell of it, Princess.”

“How long have you been here?”

“Last night. They moved me in here this morning while Johnny boy was asleep.”

“Can they move you out?” Johnny grumbled under his breath, scowling.

“I’m afraid this was the last empty room,” Darby smirked. “Now, aren’t you going to read to us?”

Morrissey frowned, dropping the curtain back between them. He walked back to Johnny’s bed, and Johnny pushed himself against the railing on the side of the bed, gesturing for Morrissey to join him. Morrissey laid back next to him, as Johnny pulled the blanket over his friend, tucking his head under the other boy’s chin. Morrissey pulled out the first book, beginning to read.

“ ‘As I walked out one evening,
  Walking down Bristol Street,
The crowds upon the pavement
  Were fields of harvest wheat.
And down by the brimming river
  I heard a lover sing
Under an arch of the railway:
  ‘Love has no ending.

‘I’ll love you, dear, I’ll love you
  Till China and Africa meet,
And the river jumps over the mountain
  And the salmon sing in the street,

‘I’ll love you till the ocean-’ “

“Just skip to the dirty ones,” came the command from behind the curtain.

“Would you mind?” Morrissey asked, annoyed. “I’m trying to read.”

“I can hear. I can also hear you two being all over eachother over there and I’d bet I could probably complain to a nurse or something, All I ask is that you at least read something entertaining.”

“I mean, you could just skip to the dirty ones,” Johnny told him.

“What? You too?” Morrissey frowned.

“They're more entertaining...” Johnny reasoned, looking down at his hands.

“Fine,” Morrissey mumbled, flipping through the book.

“Here,” Johnny reached over to the table and handed Morrissey a book of poems.

“EE Cummings?” Morrissey read the cover, looking up to scowl at an already snickering Darby Crash.

“Just read,” Johnny instructed, flipping to a bookmarked page.

“ ‘she being Brand

-new;and you
know consequently a
little stiff i was
careful of her and(having

thoroughly oiled the universal
joint tested my gas felt of
her radiator made sure her springs were O.

K.)i went right to it flooded-the-carburetor cranked her

up,slipped the
clutch(and then somehow got into reverse she
kicked what
the hell)next
minute i was back in neutral tried and

again slo-wly;bare,ly nudg. ing(my

lev-er Right-
oh and her gears being in
A 1 shape passed
from low through
second-in-to-high like
greasedlightning)just as we turned the corner of Divinity

avenue i touched the accelerator and give

her the juice-’ Would you two shut up?” Morrissey glared at the giggling boys. “I swear I’m the only one with an ounce of maturity.”

“C’mon, Mozzer. The bloke’s practically shagging his car,” Johnny grinned, looking up at Morrissey’s reddened face.

“Can’t I read something else?” Morrissey begged.

“No,” they both chimed, settling down to hear Morrissey’s smooth voice stutter over ridiculous verse.

Chapter Text

    “Good afternoon, Boys,” Principal Reed greeted Johnny and Morrissey.

    “Hello,” they both replied. Morrissey slid out of the hospital bed, opting instead for the chair beside it.

    “Okay, so what exactly happened the night of the school dance?” the principal asked them sitting down.

    “Well, Darby gave me a note that was supposedly from Morrissey and so I went to the cafeteria roof because that’s what the note said and then Darby came and beat me up and-”

    “I reject these claims,” Darby shot out from behind the curtain.

    “Oh, hello Darby,” Mr. Reed said, pulling back the curtain.

    “Hey, Lou,” Darby grinned.

    “Darby, please don’t interrupt Johnny.”

    “Sure thing, man,” Darby told him.

    “Um, so anyway, he pushed me and I fell off of the roof and then Morrissey found me a little while later and brought me to the nurse,” Johnny finished, frowning.

    “Thank you, Johnny. Now, Darby, why did you push Johnny off of the cafeteria?” Mr. Reed turned back to the other boy.

    “I dunno,” Darby mumbled, “He’s annoying.”

    “Darby, c’mon. Why did you really push him?” Darby’s eyes slid up to meet Morrissey’s unconsciously. “Ah, I see. Darby, you can’t just expect someone to love you because you got someone else out of the way. You need to stop pushing all of your problems off of the cafeteria building and learn to deal with some of them.”

    “Okay,” Darby said, looking down at his hands.

    “Are you going to punish him or anything though?” Johnny asked.

    “Well there’s not much I can do. He’s already been expelled.  Last night was a Monday and you know we have a strict rule at school: No heroine on school nights. I mean, at least not if you get caught like this little scamp did.”

    “So that’s it?” Morrissey asked.

    “I’d daresay it is,” Mr. Reed told them, standing and going to the door, “Learn your limits, Darby, or one day you might do some real damage.”

    “So you’re not coming back to school?” Morrissey asked when the principal left.

    “No,” Darby sneared.

    “What are you going to do?”

    “I have a plan. I had to talk to Vice-Principal Bowie when they kicked me out and I have it figured out.”

    “What’s your plan?”

    “You’ll see,” Darby grinned, “They’re letting me out at three and then that’ll be goodbye.”

    “Darby, it’s almost three now. What are you-” Morrissey began.

    “Don’t worry princess, you’ll hear my name again.” Darby stood, pulling the IV from his arm, and wincing. He shoved his feet roughly into his boots and slung his jacket over his shoulder, clad in a hospital gown with his bundle of clothes under his arm. He paused at the door, turning back and looking at them both.

    “No hard feelings, Johnny boy?”

    “You shoved me off of a roof and tried to sleep with my best friend,” Johnny told him dryly.

    “Yup. I’ll miss you, too. Morrissey?”

    “Darby, don’t do anything stupid,” Morrissey looked at him, worried.

    “Stop worrying. I told you, I’ve got a plan. See you around.” Darby raised one hand, saluting them before he turned and walked down the hall.

Chapter Text

The next morning Johnny was discharged. They took a cab back to school and arrived while their classmates were already in class. The two boys stepped out of the cab, dragging hospital-issued crutches, and were immediately assaulted with loud shouting directed at them. They looked to their right and saw a small group of grinning teenagers holding what appeared to be several pieces of paper which read, “Congrats of not being dead!”

“Welcome back, Johnny!” Ian exclaimed.

“Glad you’re not dead,” Andy grinned.

“Oh thank god, are you two finally fucking?” Mike asked, relieved.

“It’s about time,” Andy agreed.

Johnny grinned, chuckling at Morrissey’s flustered expression. Suddenly, there was something somewhere between a very gentle mosh pit and a very aggressive group hug between the reunited friends.

“Guys, be careful,” Morrissey warned, ending the thrashing prematurely with the reminder that even though Johnny was out of the hospital, he wasn’t completely better yet.

“We’ll let you two go get set back up in your room,” Ian said, guiding the others back to their classes. Andy and Mike exchanged pointed glances before Andy turned back to wink at Johnny.

Ignoring their tactless friends, Morrissey shepherded Johnny up to their room while clucking like a mother hen.

“Mozzer, I’m fine. Honest,” Johnny muttered as the taller boy continued to herd him through the door and into their shared living space.

“I know you are, Johnny,” he said, shutting the door, “but the doctor said lots of bed-rest.”

He gently guided Johnny to the edge of his bed, setting aside the crutches.

“But resting is all I’ve done for days!” Johnny whined, “I’m bored.”

Morrissey grinned, sitting against the headboard and pulling Johnny back to lay beside him. Johnny gave in, curling against his side and shifting so that he could rest his head on his friend’s shoulder.

“Boring or not, you need to get as much rest as possible so that you can get properly better.”

Johnny gave a little “Hmpf,” but said nothing. Morrissey smiled.

“I’m sure we can find a way to make it a more enjoyable process.”

“What, reading more books?” Johnny snorted, frowning.

“Not quite,” Morrissey turned, nosing against the messy black hair pressed against his cheek. Johnny looked up, grinning, as Morrissey gently pressed his lips against his friend’s.

“There is more to life than books, you know.”

“But I thought you didn’t like-?” Johnny began.

“It’s not one-in-the-same,” Morrissey told him, leaning in to kiss him again.

Johnny found it hard to kiss him back as he was smiling so much.

Chapter Text

The rest of the Indies came to see them after class, accompanied by a few of the punks. Andy had brought Lorna, who had in turn brought Johnny Rotten and Olga.

“So, you two are going out now?” Lorna asked, sitting on Andy’s lap, one of their basses draped across her own.

Johnny nodded, wrapping his arms around Morrissey’s waist.

“I thought you hated sex,” Ian said to Morrissey.

“But I like Johnny,” Morrissey replied, grinning as his boyfriend nuzzled against his neck.

“I guess everyone’s coupling up,” Ian said, looking around at their friends. He turned to Mike, “Looks like it’s just you and me left, huh?”

“Actually, I have to go,” Mike told them, standing up.

“What, got a hot date?” Johnny smirked. When Mike didn’t reply, he continued in an accusing tone, “You do, don’t you?”

“I do not!” he replied, reddening, “I have tutoring...”

“Gross, Mike. That’s gross. You can’t date Mr. Costello! He’s a teacher!” Andy told him, scrunching his nose.

“I’m eighteen, it’s legal!” Mike insisted, “Plus, it’s not like he can get fired, he’s not employed by the school.”

“Wait, he’s not?”

“No, didn’t you ever wonder why no one really knows what he teaches? Plus, he’s only, like, twenty.”

“I figured he was hired to just wander around the campus during the day, giving people advice.”

“They gave me credit to follow him around for fourth period last year,” Olga piped in.

“Yeah but he’s not on any official documents. I have to go or I’ll be late,” Mike told them, walking out the door.

“Mike’s weird,” Andy said matter-of-factly.

“I think it’s cute,” Robert told him, “Him and Mr. Costello.”

“Gross,” Andy muttered. “Has anyone heard anything from Darby since he left?”

“I actually got a phone call from him this morning,” Lorna told them, “He’s got this whole plan and he wants me to help him. Pat already went to join him but I’m going to wait until I graduate at the end of the year.”

“What are you guys going to do?” Johnny Rotten asked.

“I don’t know. He didn’t really say, but apparently it’s going to be big.”

While the others were talking, Johnny began to unwrap a bar of chocolate, nibbling at it absentmindedly.

“Johnny, you’ve got chocolate all over your face- again,” Morrissey frowned.

“Sorry,” Johnny mumbled around a full mouth. The others laughed as he shrugged, ignoring the mess.

Morrissey chuckled, pressing a quick kiss to the tip of Johnny’s chocolate-smeared nose before darting out his tongue to lick away the worst of it.

Johnny froze, staring at him wide-eyed as everyone’s laughter filled the room, except for Andy’s loud retching sounds.

“Ew! You’re gross, Morrissey. Gross,” Andy insisted, standing and pulling Lorna with him. “We’ve got to go anyway. We have a test tomorrow with Mr. Entwistle and we need to study.”

“Yeah, we should head out too,” John and Olga agreed, following them.

They all said their goodbyes as Robert and Ian both departed as well.

Johhny and Morrissey were left alone, sitting quietly beside each other, each slowly and unconsciously reaching for the other. They smiled when their eyes met in the small space between them, then the space lessened as their hands met, and they Morrissey wrapped his fingers around those of the smaller boy. Then their lips met and their was no space between them at all, only skin and sighs and smiles.

“I love you,” Morrissey whispered, breaking away. “Sorry it took so long to figure out.”

“Shut up,” Johnny grinned, fitting their mouths together again.