Slaying Isidore's Dragons Chapter Two

Chapter TWO
Declan leaned back against the lockers and kicked his heel into the one below. His heart hammered, his chest heaved, and tears threatened. Don’t you dare cry, de Quirke. Freakin’ keep it together, man.
“You will retake your seat immediately, Master de Quirke!” Professor Lowe ordered as he strode toward Declan.
“I just need a minute,” Declan breathed as he rubbed the tears from his eyes with thumb and forefinger.
“I will not have this insubordination!” Professor Lowe grasped Declan’s elbow in an attempt to lead him back to class, and he jerked away.
“Please, just a—”
“Professor, if I may explain.” Jean-Isidore’s deep voice resonated from behind Professor Lowe.
This cannot be happening! The last thing Declan needed was for the gorgeous Adonis to see him cry.
“Now, see here, Master de Sauveterre, back to your seat as well!”
“Professor, please allow me to explain,” Jean-Isidore said politely but firmly.
“I will not! Off to Headmaster’s office! Both of you!”

Thank God school started on a Wednesday and the week is only three days long, Declan thought sourly as he sat under Headmaster Brassington’s angry glare.
“Explain,” Headmaster Brassington ordered icily.
Declan remained silent. Though the tears had ebbed, he was still humiliated beyond belief. What could he say? Ah, Headmaster Brassington, sir, I freaked because Prof Lowe is an insensitive ass.
“May I, Headmaster Brassington?” Jean-Isidore asked politely.
Now the gorgeous Adonis was going to defend him. Epic embarrassing.
“Please,” Headmaster Brassington said crisply.
“Professor Lowe asked that we say our name and something of our family. When it came to Master de Quirke, Professor Lowe pressured him for information about his father. The memory of his father’s death beset him, and he left the room sans permission. Professor Lowe demanded that he return to his seat. I left my seat and attempted to explain the circumstance and, well, here we are.”
The overbearing headmaster had defrosted but an inch.
“Master de Quirke, we are all aware how difficult things are for you; however, you must pull yourself together. You have the whole of your life ahead of you, and it isn’t to be spent pining over the death of your father.”
Pining? What the hell? Okay, no pining. How about I find a way to humiliate Professor Lowe? Is that allowed? “Yes, sir,” Declan said through gritted teeth as he looked away.
“Master de Sauveterre, we don’t tolerate interference in matters of discipline. This is your only warning. That having been said, it was courteous of you to come to the aid of Master de Quirke. Dismissed.”

Lunch in the dining room proved to be a raucous event. Declan sat silently amid the noise, no longer in the mood to be social.
“Hey, man, don’t emo on us. We got your back.” Mason punched his shoulder lightly.
“Yeah, sorry, man.”
Mason gave him a considering look. “What did Little Lord Fauntleroy have to say?”
“Little big man.” Mason gestured across the dining room with a hitch of his head.
Declan turned to see Jean-Isidore sitting with a group of frightened-looking nerds. Their eyes met briefly, and Jean-Isidore turned away quickly. Why should he be embarrassed? He wasn’t the one who’d lost it and cried. “I don’t know. I didn’t talk to him. Something about trying to explain about my dad.”

Isidore’s breath caught at the sight of Declan’s blue eyes, and he looked away quickly. Declan hadn’t said a word, not even a mumbled thank you, when they left Headmaster Brassington’s office. He had simply walked away. Yet, now Declan looked at him. Why? Was Declan angry with him for trying to help? He hoped not. He didn’t want any complaints from the school. His father would send him back, and he could not go back. He would not. He would kill himself before he would be sent back.

“Did you tell him about your dad?”
Declan shook his head. “He must have heard like everyone else.”
“You’d think Prof Lowe would have known.”
“He did—does. He just likes to hassle me.”
“Hardcore, man.”
Declan shrugged a shoulder. “Doesn’t matter. I’ve given him enough grief over the years.”
“Aye, lad, ye have. Ye black Irish always were a rotten lot,” Mason teased with the very accent Declan fought hard not to show.
Declan threw a wadded napkin at him.
“Care to wager?” Mason asked.
“I get the redhead before you do.”
“I’ll wager that you’ll be a father or have a disease before we graduate.”
“Oooooh, no way, man. Mason Fairchild Brassington the third is invincible. Besides, my father would cut my balls off. You playing rugby this year?”
Declan shook his head. “Trying to hang with Mum more.”
“I understand that, but you gotta step out too, man.”
“Hey, sexy, prom’s with me this year.” Declan started at the soft whisper in his ear and turned to find Jessica Billings, his longtime suitress, behind him, her posse of worshippers behind her.
“Hey, Jess, good to see you again.” Not. She slid into the seat next to him like the snake from the garden of Eden, her ample breasts brushing his shoulder in the process. Hella-gross.
“So, you’re back from England again.”
Ireland,” he corrected.
“Whatever. Are you here for the whole year?”
“Yeah, then off to university.”
“Oh, which one?”
“Haven’t chosen.”
“Oh, hey, I heard about your dad. I’m really sorry,” she said as she rubbed his thigh with a too-intimate hand. Her sympathy sounded like the shallow afterthought that it was.
“Thanks.” He gently lifted her roaming hand and set it in her lap.

Jean-Isidore spied nonchalantly as a chesty girl whispered into Declan’s ear and sat next to him. He cringed when he saw how she pawed him and couldn’t help but look away, unable to bear the sight. Of course, Declan liked girls, imbécile. What did you expect? Isidore shook his head, emptying it of inappropriate thoughts, and turned back to the insipid conversation at the table.

Declan slung a towel around his neck as he headed to the showers after gym. The game had been a good one and had allowed him to blow off some steam. He rounded the end of the last row of lockers to find Archer Williams and his gang snapping wet towels at someone. Probably a freshman. Everyone had to pay their dues.
“Come on, little big man! Get it up! You French are supposed to have the biggest cocks in the world! Prove it!”
The words registered, and Declan rounded on a heel and headed back the way he came. He worked his way through the crowd to find Jean-Isidore standing against the shower wall, his hands held protectively over his groin. Red welts covered him, and a small cut offered a bit of crimson on one cheek. The bronze beauty stood proud despite the abuse, refusing to cower before the bullies.
“Back off, Williams!” Declan shouted.
Archer reached for the towel around Declan’s neck, and he smacked his hand away. “Knock it off.” Archer snapped a wet towel at him, and he ripped it from his hands, twirled it, and snapped his dick.
Archer screeched. “You’re dead, de Quirke!”
“Get out! Everyone get the hell out!” Declan shouted.
“I’ll get you, de Quirke! You’re fucking dead!” Archer shrieked as he limped away, his hand holding his crotch.
Perfectly sculpted and proportioned—Declan hadn’t been wrong when he thought Jean-Isidore resembled Adonis. Holy crap. Declan reached for a clean towel, went to Jean-Isidore, and wrapped it around his waist. Unable to keep his eyes from admiring the guy, his uncontrollable dick got hard. Damn, de Quirke, quit staring at his body. Declan guided Jean-Isidore to the nearest bench between two rows of lockers and sat next to him. “Are you all right?”

Jean-Isidore sat frozen in place. Of all people who could have come along, it had to be Declan de Quirke. This was simply cruel. Why was this happening? What had he done to deserve this? Was God trying to drive the vestiges of his sanity away? He could have lasted through the abuse. God knew he’d suffered much, much worse. He began to tremble. His nervous system was beginning to give way. The day had been too much. He wanted the safety of his dark, the warm dark place in his mind. What should he say? That it was nothing to worry about, that he was all right but oh, by the way, his mind wasn’t? Silence. Silence was usually safe.

The gorgeous young man murmured in French, nearly listless. He looked up, and Declan eagerly fell into the green pools of his eyes, mesmerized once again. Tears welled quickly, and one faithless tear spilled over and hobbled a jagged path down Jean-Isidore’s cheek. Ah, man, the guy was gonna cry. Declan dared to put an arm around Jean-Isidore and was delighted to find that he fit perfectly beneath it. To Declan’s surprise Jean-Isidore melted against his chest, trembling like a newborn leaf. “Sorry. That was a stupid question. I know you’re not all right.”

Declan’s arm around him felt like heaven to Jean-Isidore. Safe. How long had it been since he felt safe? Was he hurt? No, he wasn’t. Well, not badly. He was only falling apart at the seams. Nothing out of the ordinary for him. Now the tears came faster. I am so very pathetic, an absolute disgrace.

Declan drew a deep, calming breath, the sweet, spicy scent of Jean-Isidore’s skin wafting into his lungs. Lemon, cedar, musk, and something he thought to be clove. It was intoxicating and immediately became his new favorite scent. His dick got harder, and he prayed Jean-Isidore didn’t notice the now fully filled towel around his waist. I hate you, dick. “Are you hurt?”
Jean-Isidore’s soft curls shook a trembling no against his chest, brushing over and rousing a nipple to a taut peak. Damn body!
“We are even now.” Jean-Isidore’s words were muffled against his chest.
“We are?”
Oui, yes.” Jean-Isidore seemed to collect himself as he raised his tear-stained face and wiped his cheeks with the back of a vicious hand. “We have seen each other’s tears.”
Declan smiled down at him. “Yeah, I guess we have.”
“De Quirke, what the heck are you doing?” Coach Bingham bellowed.
They broke apart quickly. “Can I borrow the med kit, Coach?” Declan asked quickly.
Declan gently lifted Jean-Isidore’s chin.
Coach Bingham hissed. “Who?” he demanded.
Jean-Isidore put fingers to Declan’s lips before he could speak. They were soft and surprisingly warm, and he wanted to take them into his mouth and caress them with his tongue. What is the matter with you, de Quirke? “Ten guesses, and the first nine don’t count, Coach,” Declan said, sarcasm thick in his voice.
“Dammit! Admin’s going to have my head.”
“Maybe you could transfer him to a different gym class.”
“Yeah. Dammit. De Sauveterre, I’m calling your father.”
Non, non, non!” Jean-Isidore jumped up from the bench.
“Sorry, kid, got to.”
That was a definite no. “Why not?” Declan asked softly.
“He is an important person!”
Ah, well, okay. So was Declan’s mum. No big. Right? “Who’s your father?”
“The French ambassador to the US. We cannot bother him!”
No kidding? “Call my mum, Coach. I’ll take him home.”
“I can’t, Declan, I’m sorry.”
“Then call his dad, but just say that he doesn’t feel well. I’ll take him home.”
Coach issued a long sigh. “Do you know who his assigned buddy is?”
Declan smiled, pleased to be able to say “I am.”

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