The Sun to your Moon #11
Updated: Nov 22, 2022
Part two of my selfish story called The Sun to your Moon.
Set a few years after part one.
There's sexual content in later chapters.
John's obsession/lust/love grows.
I'll give trigger warnings for appropriate chapters! <3
The Hardest Goodbye
Scott perched on the kitchen counter, frowning at his mum as she washed a clean plate for the third time.
They had a dishwasher, but she still preferred using the sink. The bubbles had sloshed over the side and dribbled down the front of the door beneath, but she hadn’t noticed.
She didn’t even look at the plate. Scott saw what she was staring at out of the window.
John and Flick were by the pool, enjoying the summer sun.
Scott smirked silently.
Flick was enjoying the sunshine, but John preferred to lounge beneath the sunshade with his sunglasses on, trying to read a book.
At first, Scott had found spying on his mum while she repeatedly cleaned a spotless plate amusing, but ten minutes later, he found it concerning.
A further two minutes passed, and he knew he had to intervene.
Scott slipped off the edge of the counter. His bare feet slapped on the tiles, and he sighed to make his presence obvious. “Mum…. the plate is clean.”
She jumped, dropping the plate. The bubbles in the sink cushioned it from smashing.
“Scott! Don’t sneak up on me.”
He rolled his eyes. “I didn’t sneak. You were staring into space again.”
“I was thinking.”
“John does a similar thing, there, but not there if you know what I mean.”
Accept with John, it could last for days. Long. Worrying. Days.
“It was John I was thinking about.”
She fished the plate out of the sink and slotted it into the drying rack.
“What about him?”
“I’m worried about how he’ll cope.”
Scott’s stomach tightened a notch. He worried about that too, but rather than sit and think in-depth, he flung the thought to the back of his mind. John didn’t want to talk about it, and Scott didn’t want to think about it so collectively they ignored the approaching problem.
Ignorance was bliss for a goddamn reason
“He’ll be, okay?”
The words were supposed to leave his lips strong and confident, but his pitch lifted, turning his statement into a question.
His mum sighed and faced him. “You know I’ve tried. For almost three years I’ve tried but he’s never let me in like you.”
John and Alex had been members of their family for almost three years. Alex’s transition had been effortless. He thrived in the busy household, found a place in their routine, and fit in with the family.
John had been more challenging. He stalked around the house like a shadow and only came alive when Scott was around.
His father didn’t have the patience to bring down his walls and only acknowledged John when the family had to pose for the newsletters and leaflets.
He hated being told to look at his dad and smile for the perfect family snap.
Fostering John and Alex had been a crowd pleaser.
His dad had broken down the door, saved John from death, Alex from squalor and brought them into his loving home.
What a hero.
The town soaked up the story, his popularity soared, and he couldn’t go anywhere without being called an absolute gentleman, a top bloke or an inspiration.
“What if he….”
The rest of Scott’s mums sentence went unspoken, but they both knew what she meant.
What if he tries to kill himself again?
Doctors had attached a lot of words to John since he'd been living there. Depression. PTSD. Touch aversion. Social anxiety. Scott squeezed his eyes shut. It was the last set of words that cut deepest.
Suicidal intentions. Not thoughts. Intentions.
“He told me he won’t.” Scott whispered, “Katie said he’s been doing okay, right?”
His mum nodded. “Yes. Three years of therapy and he’s still not better. I just wish he’d open up to me, tell me what he’s thinking. I…I see it in his eyes.”
“He’s wary of me and I don’t know why. I’ve never even raised my voice at him.”
“John hasn’t done anything that warranted one of your dragon shouts.”
She flung a handful of bubbles Scott’s way. He snorted, but his words were true. John had been perfectly behaved. He ate his meals, did his schoolwork, visited his therapist, and tidied up around the house. He even washed his own dirty clothes and hung them out to dry.
His manner around the house put Scott to shame. John never complained. Ever.
But he didn’t express joy either.
He didn’t express any hopes or dreams for the future.
Most of the time John existed with a stoic expression and a lack of enthusiasm that kept alarm bells ringing in the back of Scott’s head.
They were faint but never stopped.
“He…” she shifted closer to Scott and lowered her voice. “He doesn’t even look at Alex.”
Scott swallowed past the lump in his throat. He’d noticed that too. John avoided his brother. Scott sometimes saw him watching from afar, studying Alex’s interactions with the rest of the family, but if Alex went near him, John excused himself.
The only person John liked to be with was Scott.
He lifted his gaze back to the window.
Except, that wasn’t true, not anymore. Flick had wormed her way past John’s defences. It had started with John listening to her play the violin. Flick loved to show off and had even offered to teach John how to play. He’d declined, but it was progress. John would sit in as she practised, listening intently with his gaze fixed on the floor.
Scott had left them alone by the pool and John hadn’t retreated to his room. The alarm bells softened a decibel inside Scott’s head.
“He’s going to be okay,” He smiled at his mum. “And it’s not like I’m moving country. I’ll be back in the holidays. We’ve got phones. Facetime.”
“You’re going to be meeting a lot of new people, Scott. You’re not going to have much free time.”
He scrunched up his face. “I’ll always have time for John.”
“Have you told him that?”
“Well, no,” he scratched the back of his neck. “But he knows.”
“Just to be sure, I’d tell him, using your mouth and your words instead of assuming he’s a mind reader. You’re the only person he trusts and you’re leaving tomorrow. I know he's eighteen in five months, and he'd feel humiliated at me saying this but… he must be scared.”
“Okay. I’ll…I’ll tell him now.”
Scott strolled outside while stripping off his T-shirt. He flung it at John, knocking the book from his hand.
John's mouth popped open. “You’re childish.”
“You think that was childish?” Scott ran to the edge of the pool, and jumped, “Cannonball!”
Scott splashed into the water and remerged with a huge grin on his face. Flick shoved him and escaped up the ladder. “Idiot! You got water in my eyes!”
“There’s always water in your eyes.”
John smirked and shook his head. “She’s right, you are an idiot.” He lifted his book, content carry on reading.
Flick stamped her way back into the house, and through the open door.
Scott listened as she told their mum his jump in the pool had almost killed her. Apparently, he'd landed on top of her and tried to pin her to the pool floor. His mum wasn’t concerned about the apparent killer-in-the-making and ushered her into another room.
John’s eyebrow appeared above his sunglasses. “She is your sister, after all.”
“Our sister.” Scott corrected, swimming to the edge of the pool. “Come here.”
John kept his eyebrow aloft. “Come there?”
“Yeah. It’s like a zillion degrees right now.”
“Out of interest, do you think ‘a zillion’ is an exact number?”
"Of course, it is.”
“John, you’re turning into one of these mad-gullible science types."
"Gullible science types?”
"You know, you think the earth is a ball and we spin around the sun."
John lifted his book in threat. "If this wasn't good, I would've thrown it at you."
"Get over here."
John sighed and placed his book on the grass. He hauled himself up, trudged over, and sat crossed-legged at the edge of the pool. "Satisfied?"
"Legs in," Scott said. "It's nice and cool."
John shuffled closer, unknotted his legs and dangled them into the water. He swayed his legs back and forth, sighing softly.
"For the hundredth time, no."
"I can't swim. You know I can't swim."
"You'll never learn if you refuse to ever get in the pool."
"Are you a qualified swimming instructor?"
"I think you know full well I am."
John lashed his leg through the pool, kicking water into Scott's face.
Scott chuckled and caught John's foot. "You trust me, don't you?"
"You know I do."
"Get in. I won't let you drown."
Scott wished John wasn't wearing his sunglasses. He could tell John's eyes were on him, but not how they were on him, not what they were subtly trying to tell him or trying to hide.
"Put your hands on my shoulders."
John's hands twitched on his thighs, but he made no move to grab on to Scott.
He resisted the urge to roll his eyes and took hold of one of John's wrists. He led John’s hand to his shoulder and slapped it down on his skin. “And the other…."
John took a deep breath and then reached for Scott. His fingers were cool and slid over Scott’s collarbone before pressing into the muscle.
"Now get in, and I'll keep hold of you."
"You'll keep hold of me?"
Scott nodded and gripped the side of the pool with one hand. John slipped into the water with a gasp. His fingers clutched at Scott's shoulders. He didn't know whether it was the sudden cold rushing up his spine or fear of drowning that made John hold him tight, but his mouth stayed open, sucking in the air like he might not breathe again.
"I 'm not going to let go of you." Scott snorted. John clung to him like he thought he might. "Relax."
John flinched at Scott's hand against his lower back, keeping him steady.
"It's deep." John blurted.
"It's the deep end, genius."
John tipped his face forward. His fingers spasmed against Scott's shoulders, tensing and relaxing. His eyebrows twitched, and he mauled his bottom lip with his teeth.
Scott hated the sunglasses. John expressed so much in his eyes, Scott had to rely on everything else, and what he saw wasn’t good. The twitches, the rapid breathing, the pulse in his neck, punching against John’s skin.
Faster and faster.
John’s breaths hit his chest, blowing against the water droplets. Scott’s skin tightened in response, blooming goosebumps over his shoulders.
" Everything is okay—"
John smacked Scott in the chest with enough force to push him back. The air left his lips in a oomph and he watched as John slipped under water, only to bob to the surface again.
"Leave me alone, Scott."
John flung his arms onto the concrete, and panted, not trying to climb out, but clinging to the edge.
"I said to leave it," John snapped, and then he softened his voice. "Please."
"Okay." Scott backed off, kicking his way to the opposite side of the pool. He glanced at the window to the kitchen and saw his mum watching, no doubt another spotless plate in her hand.
It wasn’t the first time John had pushed him away. A lot of their physical interactions ended the same way. John would lean into Scott for a hug, but then desperately extract himself, fighting to be free, unable to look at Scott afterwards.
It left Scott feeling like he'd attacked him, and not for the first time, he wondered about the years before Alex was born, when it was John and his mother and the men in their house.
When he’d asked John about it, he’d predictably hadn’t answered.
John heaved himself out of the pool, and not glancing back, retreated into the house.
Scott replayed the moment in his head, trying to work out what he’d done to upset his brother.
He shouldn’t have trapped him against the side of the pool. He shouldn’t have put him in a situation where he was literally out of his depths. He shouldn’t have made John grip his shoulders and put his hand on John's lower back.
“Idiot.” Scott hissed, slamming the heel of his hand into his temple.
They sat down for their last meal as a family. The last supper Scott had called it. Halfway through dessert Scott heard snuffling and looked over to his mum. She stared at him, dabbing her eyes on a napkin.
"Jesus, can't you leave that until tomorrow."
"I'm sorry," she took a deep breath. "I'm just so proud of you going off on your own adventure. University." she reached for his dad’s hand. "We’re both so proud."
He didn’t care what his dad thought of him, not one bit, not at all, not until his dad nodded, and gave Scott a small smile.
"Yes. We are."
Holy hell. Scott had to break eye contact and pinch his leg. His stomach flipped and a blast of heat when through his body.
"Thank you," he whispered.
They resumed eating in silence, and when dinner finally finished, Scott let out a long sigh of relief.
It had been the tensest dinner of his life.
"Did you speak to John?" his mum asked.
She leaned closer and spoke by his ear. "He's outside."
Scott nodded and went to find him.
A fond smirk tugged at his lips at John laying starfish on the ground and staring up at the stars.
“About earlier.” Scott sat down on the grass. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to freak you out.”
He scrunched up his face and rewound the words in his head. He’d somehow managed to imply it had been John’s fault and not his own for forcing a situation on him.
Before John could say anything, Scott twisted toward him. “What I mean to say is, I’m sorry I was an insensitive bastard and made you get in the pool knowing full well you didn’t want to and couldn’t swim.”
John blinked up at him. His gaze slid away and fixed back on the moon.
“I wanted to get in the pool.”
“But it made you feel…unsafe.”
“Don’t tell me what it made me feel because you don’t have a clue.”
There was no bite to John’s voice, and no flash of anger on his face.
He sounded soft.
Scott shivered and laid down beside him.
“You could tell me?”
John shook his head. “I can’t.”
“It would change things.”
“The way you look at me. The way you…. think about me. I won’t risk it.”
“No, Scott.” John turned his head away. “Please, leave it?”
Scott readied himself for an argument, then let it go with a sigh. He fished his phone from his pocket and scrolled through his messages. He snorted at the one he’d sent to Janice. It had one tick, like the last ten messages he’d sent her, but she’d not read them.
She’d blocked his number.
John turned his head back. He glanced at Scott’s phone then away again.
“I thought I could leave on good terms, but she hates me.” Scott frowned. “I still don’t know what I did wrong.”
Well, he did know, he’d turned up at the cinema late, according to her at least. He’d mixed up a seven-thirty showing for a nine-fifteen one and left her humiliated at the kiosk. Scott hadn’t thought it had been a big deal, but then she started yelling at him about ignoring her text and never calling her back and she’d thrown cold popcorn at his face.
She'd been his first, but when he thought back to that night, he'd been too terrified he'd be shit that it was a struggle to say he'd enjoyed it. Sex got better with practice. He'd read that on a website and found it to be true.
“It was fun while it lasted.” He sighed
John didn’t comment.
Scott patted his hands against his thighs, wondering how to bring up the problem neither of them had dealt with. He was leaving, and he’d picked the last possible moment to have this conversation, and he still struggled to start it off.
“You know, you remind me of the moon.” He said instead, like an insane person.
John rolled onto his side, giving Scott his full attention. “I’m cold and distant?”
“No. That’s not what I meant. Some people think you’re cold, but I know you’re not, and distant…I hate
when you’re distant.”
He didn’t mean physically but knew John understood.
“Then how am I like the moon?”
“You’re cold and you’re distant.”
John laughed, playing with the grass by his face. He seemed fascinated by the blades, stroking his fingers up to the tips.
Mowing the grass was a Scott chore. One that hadn’t been done.
“You’re mysterious, secretive… You only show the world one side of yourself.”
John’s stared deep into Scott’s eyes. Under the moonlight, his grey eyes shone silver. “You won’t like the other side.”
Scott turned back to the moon. “It’s pale, and grey.”
He smiled at John’s soft laugh.
“And it's hard for anyone to get close. It’s easier to get close to the moon than it is to you.”
“A rare few have been there.”
“Years of planning, billions of dollars, and a rocket and that's easier than getting you to smile.”
John’s lips moved into a blinding one. Scott drank it in, lifting his chin, and puffing out his chest because no matter how many times he saw John smile it always hit him like a victory.
Scott deflated. “Not forever. It’s university. Three years. I’ll be here in the holidays. You’ve got my number, you can text, call, or facetime. I’m not….” Scott stabbed his finger to the sky. “Disappearing up there.”
“I’ll be okay, Scott.”
“That’s what you’re worried about, isn’t it? You think the minute you leave I’ll shove handfuls of pills into my mouth and lock myself in the bathroom.”
Scott sat up and curled away. “Don’t say it like that. It’s not a joke.”
“Do I still scare you?”
“In the hospital, you said I scare you.”
Scott glanced at John over his shoulder. “Yes. You still scare me.”
“In what way?”
“I’m scared that one day…did…will change back to a didn’t and there won’t be anything I can do to stop it.”
“You going to university will not change that did to a didn’t.” He heard John shift behind him, then stiffened at the weight pressing between his shoulder blades.
Scott slumped, letting go of the tension that wrapped around him whenever they discussed did vs didn’t.
“I promise.” John murmured against Scott’s shirt.
Scott sighed, twisted around and wrapped his arm around John’s neck. He lay back down, taking John with him so they could both stare at the moon.
It was full and glowing.
“It’s beautiful, isn’t it?” Scott whispered.
John tilted his head against Scott's arm, looking up at him, but didn’t answer.
Chapter twelve: https://www.louisecollinswrites.com/post/the-sun-to-your-moon-12