when_i_write: (Be Yourself)
[personal profile] when_i_write
Title: George. An Ordinary Boy.
Author: [livejournal.com profile] elisi
Summary: George Harold Bottomley often wondered why - if he was as ‘Gifted and Talented’ as everyone kept telling him he was - he was also so ordinary. Well, except for the fact that he was gay. And there was no ‘ordinary’ way to come out; no script to follow. But he desperately wanted rules - an established, accepted way of doing it… Like a form to fill out where he could put a cross in the ‘gay’ box and it’d get filed away with all other information about him, and he’d never have to worry about it again. Sadly, the world did not work like that. At all. (Or: George thought that coming out would be a big hurdle. But it was only the beginning.)
Setting: London 2022.
Characters: All OCs, apart from a cameo by Jack.
Pairing: m/m (in case that wasn't obvious)
Rating: PG-13 (some parts veering off into R)
Wordcount: 80k altogether. Finished, not a WIP. Will post at a steady pace
Thank yous: To [livejournal.com profile] enevarim. He knows why.
Warnings: There's no non-con or character death (apart from in the past), but I feel I do need to point out that parts of this story are likely to cause upset. I'm not sure quite how to formulate that without spoiling the story. But please - proceed with caution.
Feedback: Would be lovely, but is by no means obligatory or even expected. (And please, no flames. I am very aware that I am navigating a minefield. All advice and guidance gratefully accepted.)

Chapter 1

Autumn 2022, London
George Harold Bottomley often wondered why - if he was as ‘Gifted and Talented’ as everyone kept telling him he was - he was also so ordinary.

He had been in gifted and talented programmes since pre-school, parents and teachers always exclaiming about his exceeding cleverness. It didn’t really feel like that. The things they praised - his logical mind and analytical abilities, his way of seeing patterns and understanding complex systems, the way he taught himself basic programming when he was five, and then just continued onwards, learning everything he could about computers (and anything else he could lay his hands on) - were… simple. There were rules and systems, and all you had to do was follow them.

At one point, when he was about four, his parents had taken him to some specialist doctor to see if he was maybe autistic, as he didn’t interact much with other children. But that had been a dead-end. He couldn’t claim any mental specialness.

He did want to play with the other children. But they kept changing the rules of their games on the spur of the moment, which was endlessly frustrating - especially as they had no patience - and when they played with LEGO they just made stuff up, instead of following the instructions. The whole point of LEGO was to build the thing on the box. But the incomparable satisfaction of carefully assembling a large LEGO set was apparently lost on them. So he stuck to playing on his own, and mostly focussed on computer games which had comforting order and rules that made sense.

And indeed when he started school proper, he managed to make some friends. As he grew older a lot of the other kids called him ‘geek’ or ‘nerd’, yet he was never really bullied. He just wasn’t odd enough, even though he was recognised as the school’s brainbox, and his classmates would use him as a human calculator and encyclopedia.

High School had initially been promising. He had won a place at a specialist academy, and would be surrounded by people ‘like himself’ - all of them ‘Gifted and Talented’. He’d thought that finally he might fit in. What he hadn’t accounted for was that the one thing that had made him sort-of stand out would suddenly be the common denominator.

Of course it didn’t help that he had been fitted with braces at the same time, but overall the outcome wouldn’t have been any different - he was the most ordinary student in his whole year, probably the school. Everyone was clever. And there was nothing to set him apart.

(Well, except one thing. But it wasn’t one he was willing to talk about, or reveal to anyone.)

The braces had finally come off in the summer prior to starting Year 11, when he was fifteen and a half. His mother had teased him that he’d be trailing home girlfriends in no time at all, and he’d smiled stiffly. Although he was far from physically repulsive, he was not exactly handsome either - in looks, as in everything, he was just ordinary. Nor did he have the social skills to chat up a girl, should he ever have wanted to. Which he didn’t.

The reality of his gayness was a simple fact, the sort of thing that - if he were a different sort of boy - could effortlessly have set him up as ‘special’. But he wasn’t like the gay people on TV, or even like the other gay kids at school. He wasn’t flamboyant or attention-seeking, had no flair for clothes or style, and whatever campness he might have been blessed (or cursed) with vanished beneath his naturally quiet nature. TV told him that he should be fabulous, and a natural best friend to all the girls… Except he was terrified of the girls, especially en masse, and ‘fabulous’ was a word no one - not even his mother who clearly saw him through rose-tinted glasses - would ever use as a description. And his father… He sometimes tried to imagine being ‘fabulous’ in the way of Justin from Year 10, and thought his father would probably disown him if he ever behaved or spoke like that.

All that said, he reflected, it would probably have been a tiny bit easier to stand out in any way at all if he hadn’t had the Magical Trio in his year.

But there they were at the school gates, the natural focal point of not just the year, but the whole school. At the centre Alex, easily outshining any other student academically, and seemingly floating above even the idea of anyone bullying him, despite his rather pronounced oddness. Instead he carried about him a sort of benign arrogance, which frequently tipped over into outright peculiarity (or eccentricity, as Alex insisted it was called) - like the time in Year 8 when he decided he was only answering to ‘Sherlock’. Or when he decided that surely he could help teach, rather than have to be a student…

The other two would have made an impact on their own, even without Alex. Josh was the popular, pretty one - charming, gorgeous and captivating, with an endless string of girlfriends, yet somehow not a heartbreaker, but a pretty decent guy. Matt was the sensible one, yet not ordinary… By far the most quiet, he was the moral backbone of the little group, the one who would help those who were bullied and call out inequalities, the one who organised charity events and got people involved - he'd been a prefect from the moment he was old enough, and was now a very conscientious Head Boy. Alex of course would have seemed the obvious choice, but the kids figured that the teachers didn’t want to hand him any more power - he seemed to half run the school already, changing the rules as he saw fit. If he’d been made Head Boy, he’d probably have demanded his own office.

Watching as Josh said an exaggerated goodbye to his current girl friend (rich, beautiful, most popular girl in school - they were a power couple to be reckoned with), George sighed.

“Goodbye, Joshuaaaa,” she cooed as she finally left, after a prolonged kiss, and Josh laughed and replied in the same manner:

“Goodbye, Anastasiaaaa.”

Abruptly turning from the spectacle of The Special People George set off down the road to the bus stop. He knew what the problem was. Or at least what it had become…

Because life would be so much simpler if he didn’t have a crush on Josh. It was a weird sort of catch-22; on the one hand it was near-torture to be so near the object of his affection and daydreams on a daily basis, all the while knowing that Josh was as remote and unobtainable as the moon. But on the other hand… On the other hand he could admire Josh’s beauty and charm unobstructed - it wasn’t like Josh would ever notice him.

Shoving his feelings aside, he focussed on the rest of the day - home, and homework, and then he could spend a few hours losing himself in code. Coding was his only stand-out talent - he had endless patience and could spend hours fine-polishing stuff without getting bored. However, it was not a very exciting talent, and one that had only really won him friends amongst other gamers.

Well, sort of friends - they had a good enough camaraderie, played well together on-line or in their regular Friday night evening sessions, and continually exchanged ideas about how to improve any and all aspects of the games. But it wasn't anything like what the Magical Trio had, that much was evident.

'It Gets Better' he thought to himself, and then felt bad. He shouldn't grumble - there were plenty of gay kids who were bullied and marginalised and suicidal... Not that anyone knew about him, of course (he was very comfortable in the closet, thankyouverymuch), but even if he did come out, he couldn't imagine it being worth anything more than extra gossip for about a week. He just wasn't that interesting. (Although for that week there would be an avalanche of Oscar Wilde quips and Shakespearean witticisms… His surname was far too opportune in that regard.)

He was Emmett from the LEGO movie, the guy with no discernible personality, he thought wryly, as he got out his bus pass.

Although if he was honest, he had no desire to become some big action hero, or the centre of attention, or to really stand out for any length of time. He just wanted… He just wanted someone to notice him.

Unbeknownst to him, someone already had.

Chapter 2

(If you would like to read the rest, please leave a comment & I'll friend you, as the rest of the chapters will be flocked due to complicated reasons outlined here.)

Date: 2015-09-02 10:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ever-neutral.livejournal.com
I like this a lot!! Consider me interested to read more of the adventures of interestingly uninteresting George. :~)


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