Title: Soldier Boys
Summary: AU Ian Edgerton is the first person Don meets after being shipped off to military school
Author's Note: This is posted thanks to jestana and cerealkiller0, both of whom asked for a sequel to my numb3rs_newyear fic for cerealkiller0. Hope she still thinks I'm the coolest author, especially after betaing this. Thanks and Enjoy!
Don found his mind returning a lot to that kiss over the coming days.
Ian was keeping his distance, up before Don was awake, sneaking into the dorm after lights out, and completely ignoring him in the time in between, not that much had changed there.
Truth was, he liked Ian. A lot.
Ian was a guy though and that was something he had just never considered. His father had always made it clear that Don was supposed to marry and have children. Therefore he’d never really thought about anything else, he just chased girls as he was supposed to.
Well, he’d already completely disappointed his father.
At the same time, he couldn’t do this if it was some form of rebellion against his father and his expectations. It wasn’t fair to Ian. The guy had put himself out there, expecting rejection, maybe even violence.
The school’s policy was clear that it would not permit bullying or discrimination on grounds of sexual preference, but he knew from comments over heard and talking with some of the older cadets that “fags” were encouraged to transfer and that was just by the teachers. Providing no one was killed, no real action was taken against the perpetrators.
Don sighed, running his fingers through his hair, looking out over the roof tops of the academy that had become his private place since this mess had started.
He liked Ian. He knew what he’d be taking on by getting involved with him and he was okay with it.
Well, maybe not okay with it, but he was still willing to try. He just had to figure out if it was for the right reasons.
Charlie's term had started three weeks ago and Don knew from his mother’s letter that she had a meeting that wouldn’t finish till late. Thus there should be no one but his Dad at home when he phoned.
“I need to see you.” He said, once the phone was answered.
“Thursday, we’ve got a break. Come sign me out.” He bit his lip, swallowing. “We need to talk.”
The cafe was about three miles from the school, but no one ever used it. Rumors around the base said that the owner had been a protestor in the 60s, thrown rocks at the cadets, spat at them and similar. Don didn’t know if that was true or not, but it seemed a good neutral place for this.
Alan Eppes sat opposite of him, starring down at his cup as though he had no idea what to say.
Don wasn’t sure he did either, but he just had to do this. He drew breath, feeling his father’s eyes lock on him, though he kept his own down.
“I think,” he said, slowly, carefully, “I may have feelings for another cadet.”
He watched his father’s eyebrows raise in interest. After all there were some female cadets at the academy.
“But I need to be sure that the feelings are mine and not about what happened. So we need to talk about what happened,” he said, swallowing.
“You guys were always telling me I needed to watch out for Charlie, ‘cause he’s my baby brother. But when I did, you freaked.”
“You beat another kid up.” Alan returned, flatly.
“He’d beaten Charlie up every day for a month!!” Don realised he was yelling and forced himself to be calm.
“You should have told us.”
“We tried,” Don snarled. “You told us to ignore him.” He looked at his fingers. “He was hitting Charlie. I pulled him off and he threw the first punch.”
“You still shouldn’t have hit back. Non violence....”
“Wouldn’t have worked,” Don groaned. “He’d have just beaten me up and then beat up Charlie again cause he didn’t have the brains to run.”
He shook his head at his father's look. “There’s not always another way.”
“I don’t agree.” Alan responded. There was a pause, and a sigh. “But I am proud that you stood up for your brother.”
“So who’s this cadet?” His father asked, effectively changing the subject.
Don shrugged again. “His name’s Ian.” He watched nervously. No matter what he might say, he did want to know he had his family behind him.
“Tall, skinny kid, black hair, Chinese characters tattooed on his shoulder?”
At Don’s amazed expression, Alan smiled. “Charlie noticed a kid hanging around in the distance. He thought he was your boyfriend and you’d had a fight.”
“We kinda did.” Don admitted. No matter how tolerant his father was, it was best not to tell him full details. “There’s a lot of bad stuff in his past, I know how they treat people like us, he can be a total jerk, but...” He fell silent, shaking his head.
Alan smiled. “Donnie, did I ever tell you how I met your mother?”
At Don’s head shake, he continued. “I was working for a housing developer and she was working for the tenants’ rights organisation. The first time I asked her out, she hit me over the head with a protest sign.” He laughed. “Eventually, after I recovered from the concussion she gave me, we went out, got married and had you and Charlie.” He smiled at his son. “Love is knowing all the reasons you shouldn’t be with that person and still wanting to be with them. You understand?”
“Yeah.” Don managed a smile. Now, he just had to convince Ian of that.