Pairing: Implied Dom/Lij & Billy/Orlando
Reviewed by: annavtree
Summary: Elijah is an NYU college student and a drummer for the band.
Notes: This story is part of an AU storyverse eleanor_lavish and I created where Billy, Orlando, Dom, and Elijah are all part of a band in New York City. It's the Elijah introductory POV piece for the Valiant Effort series.
Elijah jogs up the front steps of his dorm, a couple passing girls smiling and waving to him. He’s not quite sure who they are, never spends enough time on campus to know anyone but his roommate anymore, but he swears that one of them was in some class of his.
Up three flights of stairs to his hall, smelling of burnt popcorn and dirty laundry. Elijah suddenly remembers why he hates college so much.
Unlocking the door to his room and stepping in, he sees his roommate’s half of the room neat and impeccable: books stacked, papers neat, bed made. Elijah’s side is the same as always, messy but mostly bare. His visits once a week don’t allow him much time to change the state of things.
The light is flashing on his answering machine, so he pushes play and listens. His old girlfriend from home when he still played the part of the heterosexual son, still under the impression they’re dating. Elijah quickly hits delete, moving on to the next message. His parents, calling to see how he’s doing. He guesses it’s time to check in, so he picks up the phone and dials home.
Elijah has always had it pretty easy. His family was well-off in Iowa, providing him and his siblings a rather comfortable childhood. He never wanted to go to college, but his parents would not have a son who was a bum trying to make it big. So, he packed his bags and it’s off to NYU to major in chemistry or philosophy or history. He can’t ever remember what he told his parents he was doing.
First couple of years, he went to class more often than not, trying to make everything work like the good son he is. Then he met Ian and took a job bartending down at his club, making damn good money for someone his age, and basically quit showing up for class except once a week to borrow notes from the girl beside him. In exchange for his weekly notes, he goes back to her dorm room, shags her, and leaves. The arrangement doesn’t bother Elijah, it’s free sex without any strings, even if she is a girl, and he doesn’t have to show up for class. He knew there was a reason he took every class with her.
Then one night, he overheard a couple of people at the bar talking about this band who was holding auditions for a drummer. After assuring Ian he’d be back in no time, Elijah popped down to the audition. They were reluctant at first – Elijah didn’t blame them since he really didn’t look the part of the hard-core punk rock drummer – but then the blonde one with a British accent convinced them to let him try out. And Elijah immediately fell in love.
Elijah wasn’t the type to fall in love with anyone. Sex was something that was fun and free, and feelings were a completely different thing. He knew he was too young to fall in love, so he just didn’t. But the moment he saw Dom at the audition, he was hooked.
He got the part in the band pretty easily and moved in with them, which suited him perfectly because all he wanted to do was get out of the fucking dorm. The months before he moved in with the band he would stumble into the dorm in the middle of the night, after long hours at the bar, and sleep until midday when he would wake up and leave again, only to return for the next night for another night’s sleep. But this arrangement with the guys worked for him much better – at least it was a place he could call home. And he totally adored them all. They were the best friends he’d never had, so much better than the preppy, rich kids he was friends with back in Iowa.
So, now, on the phone with his parents, he had to lie and pretend he was having the time of his life as a philosophy – or so they told him – major. They seemed to believe him. Parents sometimes turn the blind eye when they don’t want to admit that they fucked up and their child is doing crazy things. But as long as they kept sending him the ample amounts of money they did, Elijah would tell them he was the fucking President of the United States if that’s what they wanted to hear.
Hanging up the phone, he gathers his mail as Jason, his roommate, walks in.
“See you’re back,” Jason says coldly. Elijah just rolls his eyes.
“Just leaving actually.” He walks towards the door, but Jason stops him.
“When are you going to grow up and stop being such a fuck up?”
“Why the fuck do you care?” Elijah leaves the room, slamming the door behind him. He hates it that the little yuppie fuck gets under his skin so well. Shaking his head, he strolls across the NYU campus, watching the groups of friends lounging in Washington Square Park, playing Frisbee and what not. He stops by a tree and leans on it, watching them. For a moment he feels a pang of jealousy, wishing he was out there, catching a Frisbee with his college friends, his boyfriend watching him from his perch under the shade of a tree with the rest of their friends, waiting for him to finish so they can go off to dinner and then study back in the dorm. Elijah shakes his head and continues briskly towards his car, knowing the only boyfriend he wants watching him is Dom, and Dom would never be on anywhere near Washington Park and NYU, playing Frisbee, and studying in the dorm.
On to Ian’s, on the subway and down the crowded streets until he goes inside where he tends bars for the night, flirting with ungodly amounts of people, getting tons of phone numbers that immediately find refuge in the trash can, and taking enough shots to drink the normal person under the table.
Pockets fat and feet weary, Elijah trudges home to the hole-in-the-wall apartment he shares with the band. Approaching the door, he sees a man leave, stuffing something into his pocket. Elijah walks in and finds Dom counting money on the couch.
“Good sale?” he asks, throwing his jacket down beside the massive fish tank of Dom’s filled with tons of exotic fish Elijah has never seen, let alone heard of. Dom looks up and grins.
“Wonderful. How was your day, kid?”
“Fine. And I told you not to call me kid, Dom. I’m fucking twenty years old,” Elijah walks to the refrigerator, pulls out a beer, and returns to the living room, leaning against the thin door frame.
“You’re the kid in the group, love. You’re just going to have to live with it.”
“Where’re Billy and Orlando?”
“Orli’s working, and Billy’s working late as usual.”
“Well, I think I’m headed for bed,” Elijah says, finishing off his beer and putting it in the large can with the rest of the bottles. Dom flips on the television and waves to him.
Elijah walks into the small bedroom, quickly shedding his clothes and crawling onto his mattress on the floor. He tosses and turns in the hot room, sleep avoiding him. He’s still awake when Billy comes to bed, joined soon after by Orlando. He hears them whisper and get situated, then hears the distinct sound of a wet kiss before they fall asleep. And Elijah, as always, falls asleep alone.