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Lost Your Balance On A Tightrope

Guest Jen

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Story Title: Lost Your Balance On A Tightrope

Type of story: One-shot

Main Characters: Dex/Casey

BTTB rating: T

Genre: Romance/Angst

Does story include spoilers: No

Any warnings: Slash, Violence, Language

Summary: Companion piece to Lost Your Mind Trying To Get It Back

It didn’t always start like this, and sometimes Casey wonders how they even got to this point.

A/N: Written as an aside to ‘Lost Your Mind Trying To Get It Back’. A series of events told from Casey’s point of view. With some physics metaphors thrown in there for good luck.

An aside to Lost Your Mind Trying To Get It Back -- Casey’s POV.


Lost Your Balance On A Tightrope

The last time Casey saw Dex was in the shadow of an abandoned classroom. His cheeks are flushed and his breathing coming in deep, ragged gasps in between kisses which are becoming more frantic, more charged, more haphazardess, and just -- more.

It didn’t always start like this, and sometimes Casey wonders how they even got to this point. Was it always going to end like this, two meteors set on a collision course? Or was it more like a slow change, two bodies orbiting each other for so long, always passing by and gradually finding themselves in the same orbit, only to drift away again? Regardless of the cause of the force pushing them together, Casey likes this. He likes what is happening between them.

He likes feeling needed, feels like he can put all his effort into this and not come out behind. And Casey feels like it’s his privilege, seeing Dex come apart underneath him by a simple touch, in a way that no one else is privy to. He doesn’t have the right to ask for anything more than that.


An object in motion will stay in motion, and an object at rest will stay at rest, until an opposing force acts on it.


If Casey thinks about it, it started on the beach. Dex, with his video camera in his hand, lens pointed at Casey, and Casey maybe over-reacted. He saw the camera and freaked, because it’s not every day that you have your movements filmed, narrated and analysed, and it’s a bit intimidating. But from that moment Casey was curious. He wanted to know what Dex thought, what occupied his mind, and how his view of the world was just that bit more cynical than everybody else’s.

It’s accidental, the first time.

Dex walks in on Casey working late in a classroom. He’s got an English essay due and Mr Copeland finally gave him the extension he wanted but everything he writes sounds pathetic, and juvenile, and he’s just getting extremely fed up with himself. Casey is thinking he should just quit school altogether.

In a moment of pent up aggression he scrunches up the piece of paper he’s been working on and throws it with all of his might across the room.

Across the room ends up being at the door, which is where Dex walks in.

“Oh,” he says, slightly surprised as the crumpled ball lands at his feet.

“Sorry,” Casey says, rubbing a frustrated hand through his hair.

And that was it. The first moment when Casey looked up and saw a momentary expression of bemused intrigue on Dex’s face.

“Are you okay?” Dex asks, and it takes Casey a few moments to process this because yeah, he doesn’t get asked that a lot.

“Uh, yeah,” he replies, albeit very unsurely.

Dex nods before he bends over and picks up the ball of paper. He wanders into the room, taking the time to assess its emptiness before his eyes come to rest on Casey’s face.

“What’re you doing in here?” Casey finally asks, because Dex was the one who walked in on him after all.

Dex shrugs, answering simply. “I like my space.”

After that Casey can’t help but notice Dex. Like, he’ll walk into a classroom or the Diner and his eyes will instantly settle on Dex, whether he’s head down in a book or dipping his fries into his milkshake. It’s this centrifugal force that seems to tilt them into the same axis, and there is not a lot that Casey can do about it.


An object that has an unbalanced force acting on it will accelerate in the direction of that force.


The shift from barely-acquaintances into something that resembles a relationship was Dex’s fault.

Casey walks into the empty classroom, or seemingly empty classroom, but ends up stopping short just inside the doorway. Dex is already there. He’s got his books spread out in front of him; pen poised above his paper and doesn’t even acknowledge that Casey has arrived.

This time Casey has a science lab report to finish, and he’s not about to just turn and leave, because attempting to write it anywhere else would prove unproductive. He just wasn’t prepared for having to share his space with Dex. But, for whatever reason, Casey just huffs a sort of indignant breath and seats himself at a desk, just across the aisle from Dex and his homework.

“Don’t you have a blog to film or something?” Casey asks. Dex looks over at Casey and raises an eyebrow. For some reason, Casey can’t seem to make himself look away.

“And miss out on this?” Dex replies. “No way.”

Casey has no idea what to say to that so he just turns to his lab report and doesn’t say another word.

About thirty minutes in to their silent study session Casey leans over and grabs Dex’s red pen from the side of his desk, and he thinks he’s gotten away with it too, without Dex realising that it’s even missing, until, “You could have just asked, you know.”

“I don’t ask,” Casey replies, “I take.”

After a few days it doesn’t even surprise Casey when he walks into the classroom to see Dex in various states of study. So this entire thing is Dex’s fault.

It was definitely Dex’s fault for looking up over the cover of his thick book, which Casey couldn’t even pronounce the title of, with that superior smirk on his face and Casey wanted nothing more than to wipe it off.

How he ended up doing so, was maybe Casey’s fault.

“You think you’re so smart?” Casey asks, his voice level, cool as he crosses the room to where Dex has seated himself.

“Yes, actually,” Dex replies, not bothering to look up.

Casey places his hands on the edge of Dex’s desk, leaning over. The words are upside-down from where Casey is situated, but he’s not really trying to read (-- he’s already dyslexic, so this is not helping --). Dex looks up and he’s just so smug, tilting his head slightly towards Casey and just waiting.

Casey can see the faint freckles on Dex’s cheeks, the flecks of green in his eyes, and his eyes focus on the way Dex’s lips are pink, slightly parted.

It could be argued that it was Casey who closed the miniscule distance between them.

Pressing their lips together, Casey feels Dex shift underneath him, and he knows he should be pulling away, apologising and getting the hell out of there as fast as he can. But he doesn’t, because the earth continues to tilt, and Dex shifts ever so slightly so that he’s kissing at Casey’s bottom lip, such that Casey inhales and grabs at Dex’s cheeks, pushing them together.

Dex’s book falls to the floor with a dull thud.

The next day when Casey sees Dex, Dex’s smug expression has returned and he ducks his head, blushing, but not altogether shying away from him.

They both end up in the same classroom after school, and it is possibly Casey’s fault for grabbing Dex by the shoulders and aligning their mouths and hips. But Dex doesn’t protest, nor does he seem to mind, because when Casey attempts to pull away, Dex lodges his fingers around Casey’s tie and drags him back down to his lips.

And it is only when Casey comes out of school late one night and hears the sounds of shouting does the panic being to set it.


For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.


While they had never spoken about it, Casey knew that people wouldn’t be happy if they found out what he and Dex had been doing. There would be questions, so many questions, and disapproving looks that it was just easier not to talk about it. And they never got the chance, because as soon as Casey sees him, his blood turns cold.

He hears the running of footsteps that are getting fainter as Casey approaches. At first he doesn’t even realise what he is seeing. From the top of the stairs it looks like it could be anything, it’s just a vague outline of some sort of body. But then Casey recognises the shadow of his profile, dully lit by the flickering fluorescent light off the side of the building and Casey is sprinting down the stairs, two at a time and plummeting to his knees at Dex’s side.

His heart is lodged firmly in his chest as he reaches down and rolls Dex onto his side. As he pulls his hand away he feels the wetness, the dark colouring on his fingers, the palm of his hand, and he freezes. Blood.

Casey doesn’t remember calling for help, but he must have because the next thing he knows is there are flashing lights and wailing sirens, and Casey has to stand back and watch as the paramedics crowd around Dex’s body.

As soon as the ambulance pulls out of the car park, Casey upturns his stomach in the nearest rubbish bin.

But nothing could have prepared him for seeing Dex after that. The blank expression as Casey passed him by, the absolute lifelessness of his face. There is no smug expression, no flicker of recognition, and for the first time Casey returns to the empty classroom, and hurriedly locks the door behind him before a sob wracks from his chest.


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