Author: Me, rancid_born
Pairing: Matthew and Jeremiah
Disclaimer: This is real, but I'm a habitual liar.
Rating: PG-13. Sorry it never got to NC-17 like I had planned.
Summary: AU. 3rd Person, Matt Centric. Gang fic. I don't feel like typing the summary up.
I dedicate this to anyone who actually read this and enjoyed it. :]
Not even the scent of breakfast filtered throughout the house when Matt woke up the next morning; not even the sound of dishes echoed from the kitchen; not even his father’s voice carried through the vents as he talked to someone that no one was supposed to know about in his study. The house was dead silent.
Matt stretched his arms above his head as he sat up, which caused a distressed look to cross his features from the pain that shot from his shoulder. He cradled the wound as he stood up from his bed and headed downstairs. Not only did his shoulder hurt, but his entire body ached and groaned with fatigue.
He stumbled down the stairs warily—the silence gave him an unpleasant feeling in the pit of his stomach. Once he reached the bottom, he looked around the foyer, wandered into the living room, and did a 180 into the kitchen across the hall. Still, there was no one there. It was unusual for their home to be this quiet in the early morning; their family had always been awake and vibrant (almost obnoxiously so, in Tony’s case) during the breakfast hours.
Following the hallway, Matt checked every room on both sides until he reached his father’s office. He thought he heard hushed voices from behind the thick, mahogany door, but that could have been a TV coming from anywhere in the house.
So, cautiously, he knocked and pushed the door open just a smidge to see everyone and their neighbor (okay, so it was just his mother and Jeremiah, but that was more than was usually allowed) in his father’s office. “Ahhh, Matthew!” his father’s voice rang, “we were wondering when you were going to join us.”
By then, Matt was a little more than confused. He scratched at his head as he slowly stumbled further into the room. “Um…” he swallowed. “What’s going on here?”
The smirk that curved the corners of his father’s lips was a little too smug for his liking. He crossed his arms in a way that Matt had seen when he was being disciplined as a child. “Jeremiah here tells us you’ve had quite the week. What, with getting into a gunfight and all. Is being a big-shot “mobster” everything you thought it would be?” his father asked, finger-quotes included.
Matt squinted his eyes accusingly. “Is this a setup?” he growled through clenched teeth, his main attention set to Jeremiah.
“In fact, sweetheart,” Matt’s mother interjected, “it is.”
The three of them were smiling like he’d just stepped into a surprise party, but all he could feel was the anger boiling his blood. “What are you talking about?!” he spat. Their knowing smiles were irritating.
Matt’s father stepped out from behind his desk. “You should probably take a seat,” he said, and motioned to the bronze leather chair next to the desk. Matt stared up to him with defiant eyes, but his father’s strong gaze was no match, and he quickly succumbed. He slouched into the seat with a huff.
“This, all of this—,” his father started; he made hand motions and paced back and forth as if he were giving a lecture. “Was something I set up so that you would see exactly why I didn’t want you to follow in my footsteps. Take Jeremiah, here,” he paused to look at Jeremiah, who smiled up at him triumphantly. “I created a bogus profile for him, and paid him to pretend to be completely clueless. And those boys who jumped Anthony—he knew what he was in for. He actually made a profit out of his broken nose. The one thing I didn’t expect you to do, however, was get into a gunfight. Luckily, they had been prepared for just the thing, and knew that if you were to show up, that they were to aim as terribly as possible until you ran out of bullets.”
Matt’s mouth was on the floor by the time his father finished; everyone had lied. The whole thing had just one of his father’s attempts to get him to do what he wanted. He understood, now, that that was what his father did. He wasn’t everything that Matt had seen in the movies or watched on the Soprano’s; he was just a master of webbing lies together to make people think that.
When Matt didn’t say anything, his mother placed a comforting hand on his back. “We only did this to protect you, sweetheart. We wanted you to see what your father saw, but without the danger of it all. You wanted this so badly—“
Matt jerked away from her soft touch and stood in a flash. “This is all your fault,” he growled through clenched teeth as he pointed an accusatory finger in Jeremiah’s direction. “None of this would have happened if I wouldn’t have met you.” Matt knew the truth, but he felt like he had to blame Jeremiah. He was the one being paid to be the villain, after all.
Before anyone else had a chance to speak, Matt stormed out of the office without another word. He stomped to his room much like a child who’d been disciplined, and pulled a bag out of his closet to fill it with clothes. He knew that he was probably overreacting, but he felt like everything he’d worked up to had been a complete lie; he didn’t like that feeling.
“You’re overreacting,” he heard someone confirm his thoughts. He turned quickly to see Jeremiah standing against the doorway with his arms folded over his chest.
Matt rolled his eyes. “How would you feel if you found out that everything you’ve done for the past week has been a complete lie? Even my cousin tricked me.”
“I’d feel relieved, actually,” Jeremiah replied with a shrug. It made Matt want to throw a few punches. “And anyway, when you met me, you were doing the exact same thing,” the taller man pointed out. “We went out and you pretended to be into me just so you could do whatever it was your father wrote in that manila envelope of his.”
“What if I wasn’t pretending to be into you at all?” Matt asked after a few minutes of mulling it over.
“Then you should look at this as a good thing—it means that I’m not the bad guy anymore. Maybe something could actually come out of all of this,” Jeremiah replied, his voice dripping with sincerity. He pushed himself away from the wall to take a step towards the younger boy.
Matt sighed and threw the shirt that he’d been holding to the floor. “But everything I know about you is a lie. It’s like…” he sighed as he tried to search for the right words. “It’s like I’ve fallen for a fictional character or something.”
“Nothing I told you about myself was a lie, though, Matt! Your dad never told me how to act or what to say!”
Matt’s heart and head were having a battle between what he felt and everything that he’d been told. It was so hard to process that amount information in such a short amount of time.
“So…when we danced, the looks, everything you said…it was all genuine?” Matt asked softly as he collapsed onto his bed. Something told him that it was right to give up this fight.
Jeremiah moved to sit on the bed next to Matt. “All of it. Even the part about the gang…although that’s all it was—a gang.” When Matt sat up to look him in the eye, Jeremiah took the chance to place a soft kiss on his forehead. “I know this has been a lot for you. Especially hearing everything you’ve heard, but I promise you’ll understand why your parents did it eventually.”
“I think I already do…” the younger boy sighed. “It’s just…I guess I feel betrayed.”
Jeremiah nodded his understanding, his eyes flittering back and forth as they stared deep into Matt’s. “But now you see what you’d have to do if you were to take your father’s place, right?” he pointed out after a long pause.
Their eyes were still connected when Matt nodded. After minutes of just staring into each other’s eyes, the two leaned forward so that they could meet in a soft, closed-mouth kiss. Matt’s heart tickled in the back of his throat when he felt Jeremiah’s hand on the back of his neck.
Soft sighs filled the air as they pulled apart.
Jeremiah gave a smile and stood, offering his hand to Matt. “You wanna go finish this conversation with your parents?”
Taking the hand before him, Matt stood with a smile, a nod, and a newfound hope. His future was now a blank canvas; he could live his own dreams instead of living in a fantasy created by too much television and his father’s late night conversations.
Something in the way his hand fit into Jeremiah’s told him that this was the way the rest of his life was meant to begin.
Note: So, this is the end. As sad as I am to see this be my last post for a while, I'm quite happy that I actually finished it. I just wish I could have gotten more into it than I did, because I love this story a lot. I do have a sequel in mind. Just to let anyone who still reads know what the future holds...but I'm not making any promises. Thanks to anyone and everyone who commented. Or just read. I hope you guys enjoy!