Taking it All

BY : Payton_Leeroy
Category: Original - Misc > -Slash - Male/Male
Dragon prints: 3622
Disclaimer: Disclaimer: All of this [including the characters] comes from my head, any resemblance to anything else is something I'd want to read, so send me a link! For those who apparently do

[My NaNoWriMo story. Some of you might recognize some characters from my Whatever it Takes story. The programs now agree that this chapter has about 4000 words! I will still be trying to update my other stories as well, so if I don't get 50,000 on this story I'll count the words I'm adding to the others, even though it's kinda cheating. Also want to give a thanks to Lisa for catching some of the things I missed while working on people's names and such!]

~~~~~~~~~~~

“Come on Neil, we'll only get in trouble if we get caught.”

Neil shot Jerit a frown. “Hey, I like the home I'm in. Just because you went and got yourself emancipated-”

“Hey, you would have done the same. Anyway, they're not going to kick you out. The Ronalds love you.”

“Shit, if this all goes wrong we could end up in jail Jerit. Forget it.”

“You're telling me you're fine just working minimum wage the rest of your life and never accomplishing anything?”

“It's better than spending the rest of my life in jail.”

Jerit rolled his silver eyes, nearly tripping over a crack in the sidewalk in his distraction. “Shit Neil. We're not going to get caught, and even if we do you'll get a little time in juvie and I'll get the brunt of it since I went and got myself emancipated. Hell, I'll even say I pushed you into it.”

“You are pushing me into it!”

“Exactly! So what's the harm.”

Neil frowned at Jerit again before he finally gave a little sigh. “Fine. But I'm only doing it this one time.”

“If you say so Neil. Are you coming to Jack's tonight? He's having a party.”

“No thanks. I think the Ronalds have plans.”

“God, they're making you fucking boring.”

“Hey, don't talk about them like that. They're the best foster family I've ever been with.”

“Yeah, yeah, but you're still fucking boring.” The two walked in silence for a while with that statement, Neil glaring down at the sidewalk. He knew exactly what Jerit meant by boring, he meant that Neil was pulling away from the stealing and drug runs, that he was finally seeing a way out of the neighborhood for himself. He was leaving Jerit and whatever trouble his friend was trying to get into behind.

Finally the pair split apart with a few more jokes, each heading their own way. As soon as Neil reached the foster home he was staying with he made his way to the kitchen, where Helen was getting dinner ready. “Hello Neil. How was school?”

“Fine. What's for dinner?”

“Lasagna. Do you have any homework?”

“A little. I got most of it done in study hall though.”

The older woman gave him a bright smile at that. “You know, you really should try to get into college Neil. With that kind of work ethic and the scholarships you can get for having been in the foster system I bet you'd do well.”

“I'm not that smart Helen.”

“Bullshit. You're a good kid Neil, stop trying to talk yourself out of that.”

Neil's dark blue eyes widened in surprise at the curse, though a little laugh escaped him a moment later. “Fine. I'll think about it.”

“Good. Maybe we can sign you up for some of those SAT classes to help you when you take the test. Then you'll see just how smart you really are.”

Neil was silent for a moment before he moved forward, arms wrapping around the older woman in a tight hug. She hugged him back lightly before gently pulling away with a smile. “Now go get your homework done. I'll call you when dinner's ready.”

The homework was finished well before she had finished cooking, and William had returned home as well, the older man making his way up to Neil's room and knocking lightly on the open door. “Hey. Helen said you're thinking you might be interested in college.”

“Maybe.”

William gave a little nod. “She is rather pushy about that kind of thing. Still, it doesn't hurt to try, does it?”

“I guess it doesn't Sir.”

William nodded again before turning away. “May as well come down. Helen's got the salad put together, so dinner will be soon.”

Neil watched the older man leave before packing away his school things for the next day and making his way down the stairs as well. The Ronalds were one of the best foster families he'd ever even heard about, and even Jerit had spent a few days with them before he'd applied for his emancipated status. His friend hadn't understood them, but Neil had quickly found that they truly were genuinely nice people, who seemed to only want to see him succeed. They'd raised three of their own children among dozens of fosters, and while Neil had only met one of their children so far, he'd been surprised to find that the college student had treated him as if he'd been part of the family his whole life.

The phone rang as they were cleaning up the dishes from their dinner, William passing it to Neil after a few words with the caller. “It's Jerit.”

“Oh, tell him he's invited to dinner tomorrow! That boy needs to gain some weight.”

Helen's words pulled a smile from Neil before he took the phone to the other room. “Hey. Helen's trying to feed you again.”

“It's happening tonight?”

Instantly Neil stiffened, a frown crossing his face. “Tonight?”

“Yeah. I know it's sooner than you were planning, but the party's the perfect cover. It's happening.”

“Shit Jerit, I don't know if I can-”

“You said you would Neil. Don't bail on me now.”

Neil hesitated before releasing a sigh. “Fine. Fine. Tonight.”

“Great. We're meeting at Jack's. Get there as soon as you can.”

“Yeah. I will.”

As soon as he hung up the phone he glanced to his foster parents, trying to push the guilt down. “Hey, Jerit needs some help with his homework.”

“Oh, that's no problem Neil. Just give us a call if you need a ride, and remember to be back by curfew.”

“I will. Thanks Helen.”

William glanced up. “Do you need a ride there?”

“Nah, we're meeting up halfway since he just got off work, then we're riding the bus together the rest the way.” Not that Jerit had kept his job much past getting his emancipated status. He made more money with the illegal activities he took part in, but if he told that to his foster parents they'd never let him spend time with his friend.

“Alright. Keep yourself safe.”

“I will.”

It wasn't long before Neil was on the bus, once more shoving the guilt aside as he waited for his stop. Jerit needed someone he could trust at his side for this, he knew that, but sometimes he wished that Jerit had stayed with the Ronalds long enough to turn his own life around. The way he was going he was going to end up getting himself locked up in jail or something.

The worn down house he made his way to was practically shaking from the loud music, though Neil doubted any of the neighbors would mind. Jack had lived there for years, and the parties occurred nearly every night. All the neighbors who would have complained had either given up or moved away, leaving their homes to be taken over by groups of young adults. Jerit even rented a room in one. Neil didn't bother knocking, instead pushing his way through the crowd until he recognized the familiar blond waving at him.

“Neil, this is Hank. He's helping us out today.”

Neil frowned as he studied the man, deciding he was probably in his twenties at least. “I thought it was just going to be you and me.”

“Hey, extra help never hurt anyone Neil. Anyway, Hank's just some muscle. You and I are the ones running things.”

He wasn't sure how much he believed that, though he wasn't going to argue with his friend in front of the large stranger. “Fine. Lets just get this done with.”

Jerit nodded, leading the other two outside before he passed a gun to Neil, who looked at the thing in shock before shoving it into the pocket of his hoodie before someone else noticed it. “What the hell Jerit! I thought you said no one was going to get hurt.”

“No one is. It's a water pistol made to look like a gun. Perfectly harmless.”

Neil frowned, though Hank spoke up before he could complain. “We need to hurry. Our ride's here.”

“We have a ride now?”

Jerit gave him a little smile, wrapping an arm around Neil's shoulders in a light hug as he led him to the black car. “Hey, it's alright Neil. I promise, it's all going to go perfectly.”

“We don't even know these people Jerit!”

“It's okay. Trust me.”

Neil was sure that the doubt was clear on his face as he slide into the back of the car with Hank, Jerit sitting in the passenger seat. It didn't take long before they were making their way out of their own neighborhoods and toward some of the more expensive ones, Jerit chatting pleasantly with Hank and the driver, though Neil kept quiet, still nervous about the whole situation. Maybe he should cut ties with Jerit, keep himself apart from his friend, who seemed to clearly be on the path to jail.

“This one.”

As they pulled into the driveway of the house Neil stiffened, a frown crossing his face. “I thought you said we were hitting up a store.”

“Stores have too much security. Anyway, I've got a friend in the newspaper. The family's out of town for the week. No one will even know what happened for a few days, and anything we do take their insurance will just replace. It's better than a store.”

It seemed logical enough, and though Neil wasn't happy about the idea he followed his friend around to the back of the house, pulling his hoodie up even as Jerit pulled a cap on, just in case one of the neighbors was watching. Hank went with them, standing at the base of the back porch while Neil pulled out the bits of wire he used as lock picks. It only took a minute to open the door, the three making their way in silently before closing it behind them. “See? That light's on a timer. The place is empty.”

Neil sighed softly. “Fine. You're right. Lets just get this over with.”

Jerit grinned and the group got to work, grabbing anything that they would be able to sell later, though Neil tried not to take anything that looked like it may have sentimental value. That was something insurance couldn't replace.

The sound of the door downstairs swinging open instantly made the three freeze from where they were going through one of the bedrooms, a voice ringing out. “Jackson. Where are you kitty? Time for dinner.”

Neil shot a glare at Jerit as the girl below started moving around, still calling for the cat. Hank moved to the side of the top of the stairs silently, though Neil and Jerit stayed where they were, Neil still glaring at Jerit, who seemed amused by the whole thing. At the sound of footsteps coming up the stairs Neil paled, though Jerit quickly stepped forward to grab his arm. “Jackson? Are you up there?”

Neil had only just caught sight of the girl's face turning to confusion when Hank moved, wrapping a firm arm around her as his other hand covered her mouth. Instantly Neil stepped forward. “What the hell? Let her go!”

Jerit used the grip on Neil's arm to keep him in place, his voice firm. “She'll be fine. We'll just tie her up, then leave the door unlocked so her parents can come find her. Your parents are gunna come looking for you, aren't they?”

The girl who didn't seem much younger than Neil and Jerit quickly nodded, though Neil could tell she was still frightened, even with Jerit's calming words. Hank nuzzled against her cheek with a smirk. “I wouldn't mind keeping her company.”

The girl instantly tried breaking free, terror on her face, though Jerit spoke with a firmness that had everyone's attention on him. “No. We aren't here to hurt anyone, that includes her. If you touch a hair on her head for anything but securing her I'll kill you myself.”

Neil looked at his friend in shock, though Hank's eyes narrowed before he gave a little grunt. “Fine kid. We'll do things your way for now.”

“You're right we will. Now take her to the dining room. You, go with him and make sure he behaves. I'll find something to tie her up and gag her with.”

Neil followed after Hank reluctantly, trying to calm the girl down. “It's alright. We'll leave the tv on.”

“Taking the damn tv.”

“Have you seen their tv? It's not going to fit in the car!”

Hank shot him a glare that nearly made him shiver. “I'm taking the tv.”

“He's got a point. The tv's too big.” Jerit motioned to one of the chairs as he spoke to the girl. “If my friend here lets you go do you promise not to scream and sit down so we can tie you up? I promise no harm will come to you.”

For a moment she hesitated before finally giving a small nod. Reluctantly Hank let her go, and a sob escaped the girl as soon as she was freed. “Please don't hurt me!”

“We're not going to. Now, take a seat and we'll get you all tied up. I'll even do what my friend wants and turn the tv on for you.”

At Jerit's soothing words the girl finally sat in the chair, and soon was taped to it, another strip of tape covering her mouth. “There you go. Now, when the police ask you just tell them that you didn't see anything. Someone grabbed you from behind and you fainted. When you woke up you were tied up in front of the tv, alright?”

A nod escaped the wide eyed girl and Jerit nodded. “Good. Get her to the tv.”

Neil went with Hank again as he dragged the girl in the chair to the livingroom, and soon Hank had returned to raiding while Neil found a channel the girl seemed to like. “I'm really sorry about all this. No one was supposed to be here.”

“Hey! Enough flirting. It's time to get going.”

Neil shot a glare to Jerit, who simply smirked back at him. A final glance was sent to the trapped girl. “Your folks will be here soon. It'll be alright.”

With the last words of comfort Neil made his way back to where the other two had filled a few pillow cases with stolen items, grabbing one himself. It wasn't till they were in the car that Hank spoke, his voice a grumble. “Wish you'd let me play with her at least.”

Jerit's voice was harsh. “I don't want anyone hurt. That's why we picked an empty house.”

“What's the fun in that?”

Neil snapped at that, his words coming out in a snarl as he jerked toward Hank, the seatbelt keeping him from completely lunging at him. “You aren't going to touch anyone, especially that girl. If I find out that you did I'll make sure you suffer for it for the rest of your short life.”

Jerit grinned as he settled back in his chair, Hank and the driver looking at Neil in shock as he tried to get himself back under control. “Ah, that's the Neil I know and love. And here I was worried we'd lost the fighter you used to be.”

“Drop it Jerit.”

“Hey, everyone's fine, and we got enough that we'll each probably get at least a couple hundred dollars. Not bad for a night's work.”

Neil fell silent, his gaze turning to his reflection in the window. He hadn't lost his temper like that since before he'd moved in with the Ronalds. It wasn't the first time Jerit had used his temper to his advantage either, it was how they'd survived through some of the worst homes the pair had ended up in, though lately Neil had been losing his temper less and less.

It didn't seem to be long before they arrived back at Jack's, Neil and Jerit stepping out, though they left the pillowcases behind. “Get it dealt with, bring me our cuts and a receipt. I want to make sure you aren't ripping us off.”

The driver was the one to answer. “Yeah, yeah. We know the drill.”

The car left before Jerit and Neil headed toward the house, Jerit pulling Neil to a halt before they got to the door. “Hey, I'm gunna need the gun.”

Neil blinked before remembering and pulling the weapon out, passing it back to Jerit. “I forgot all about it.”

“Hey, no worries. We didn't need it anyway. You doing alright?”

Neil shrugged slightly, a frown on his face. “I don't think I can do this again Jerit.”

“Hey, no need to think about that now. Lets go relax at the party for a while, then I'll take the bus back home with you. Maybe I can even get a car with my cut. Then we won't have to use a driver.”

Neil shook his head, though Jerit pulled him into the party before he could argue again. It wasn't long before Jerit was the focus of a small group, Neil nearly invisible at his side. That never bothered him though, his friend had always been that way with people, and it kept Neil from having to deal with them. Finally Jerit seemed ready to be done with the party, leading Neil outside and starting for the bus stop.

“Jerit. I mean it, I can't do that again. Helen and William think I could go to college if I wanted. They're going to help me get ready for the SATs.”

Jerit raised a brow. “You're gunna be a college boy?”

“I don't know, maybe.” Jerit laughed, instantly putting him on edge. “What? I'm smart enough.”

“I know you are, but a college kid? Really?”

Neil relaxed slightly, a grin crossing his own face. “Okay, yeah. It is kinda funny.”

“Damn right it is.” Jerit jumped to his feet as the bus pulled into view, practically bouncing with his extra energy. Neil simply shook his head as he stood as well, smiling fondly at his friend. They'd been together since Neil's first day in the foster system, right after his father had gone to prison for killing his mother. Jerit had been the first kid he'd run into, and had instantly commented on it. It had been the first time Neil had lost his temper, though the fact that Jerit had grinned at him through their whole fight had him confused. Later Jerit had confided in him, telling Neil that he'd said that on purpose to make sure the other kids knew not to mess with Neil. It had worked too, for the most part Neil had been left alone, and when someone said something behind his back Jerit had dealt with it quickly, claiming he was the only one who could mess with Neil. After that the pair got used to looking out for each other, spending as much time together as they could, and through it all Neil had slowly formed a crush on his friend. The idea of abandoning Jerit now wasn't an easy one, and the thought soon had a frown on Neil's face.

“Hey, cheer up. We're almost back to your happy family's house. Maybe Helen has one of those pies.”

“Oh, that reminds me, Helen says you should come over tomorrow for dinner. I think she's worried that you're not eating enough.”

Jerit shook his head. “I tell you, they're crazy. I didn't even live with them for a week and she's still worrying about me all the time.”

“They're just nice people Jerit.”

“No such thing.”

Neil rolled his eyes as the bus pulled to a stop on the corner of the Ronald's block. “Whatever. Are you coming for dinner tomorrow or not?”

“Sure. Do you know what we're having?”

“No, but I'm sure Helen will tell you when we get there.”

“Great! Sounds wonderful.” With that Jerit started bounding down the street with a laugh. “Race you there!”

Neil laughed as well before bolting after his friend. It wasn't long before they were wrestling to be the first to get into the house, shoving and laughing all the way up to the door. William glanced up from where he was settled in front of the tv, and Helen looked up from her knitting as they stumbled into the house, a smile instantly crossing the woman's face. “Jerit! I wasn't expecting you. Have you had dinner yet?”

“No Mrs. Ronalds.”

“Well, there's plenty of left overs. Why don't you boys help yourselves? Did you get your homework done?”

Jerit shot a glance over to Neil, a grin on his face as he nodded. “Of course Mrs. Ronalds. Neil was a huge help.”

“I keep telling you, call me Helen. Now go eat. Oh! Did Neil tell you that you're invited for dinner tomorrow?”

“Yes he did Mrs. Ronalds. Don't worry, I wouldn't miss one of your home cooked meals.”

“Well good. There's pie in the fridge too.”

“Pie!” With that Jerit practically bolted for the kitchen, Neil rolling his eyes as he followed after.

The pair settled into the dining room with plates of pie while the lasagna reheated in the microwave. “They may be crazy, but at least they've got good food.”

“They're not crazy Jerit. They're just nice.”

“Keep telling you, there's no such thing. People don't do something for nothing.”

“You did.”

Jerit blinked in surprise, his brow wrinkling. “What do you mean?”

“You helped me out when we first met.”

Jerit laughed at that, a grin crossing his face. “I picked a fight with you. That's not exactly a nice thing.”

“You did it for a good cause! And you didn't get anything back from it.”

Jerit's grin turned into a softer smile. “Sure I did. I got a great friend. Plus, between your fighting ability and my charms we've got it made. We could do anything we want Neil, and no one could stop us.”

Neil sighed softly, his gaze on his pie. “I don't want to just fight Jerit.”

“Hey, I'm not saying that's all you're good at. It's just one of the many things I love about you.”

Neil's heart skipped a beat at that, though he tried not to read too much into it. After all, Jerit was always saying he loved things, and Neil knew better to think that his friend could ever return the crush he had on the blond. Before he could stress about it too much the microwave beeped, and Jerit lept to his feet to fetch the food. “Oh good, time to eat!”

Neil laughed at that. “We've been eating.”

“Pie is not real food! It is simply delicious sustenance that fills the void until the real food arrives.”

“Has anyone ever told you that you are the strangest person in the world?”

“Oh, all the time.” Jerit set Neil's plate in front of him with a grin before plopping into his own seat. “But if I'm strange you've got to be at least as strange. Why else would you be friends with me?”

“Maybe I just feel sorry for you.”

“Oh! How harsh! For that you get no more pie!”

Helen spoke from her place at the door. “Why doesn't he get pie?”

“Because he feels sorry for me.”

Helen smiled softly in amusement at the pair's joking around. “Well, I guess that makes sense. You'll just have to take the rest of the pie home with you.”

“You have another pie in the garage fridge, don't you?”

Helen laughed at that. “Of course I do. Now, William and I are heading to bed. When you two are done Jerit has to get going, and make sure the house is locked up, alright? Crime's been on the rise.”

“Oh, I wouldn't worry about that Mrs. Ronalds. Neil here wouldn't let anything happen to you guys.”

Helen smiled softly, giving Neil a light hug. “Oh, I know he wouldn't, but even so, it never hurts to be careful.”

“Sure thing Mrs. Ronalds. I'll make sure he locks up before I go so you don't have to worry.”

“Thank you Jerit. And I'll see you tomorrow for dinner.”

“See you tomorrow.”

Once she'd left the room the pair of teens ate in silence for a while before Jerit spoke, his voice soft. “Okay, so maybe they are nice people. But they're the only ones out there!”

“If you say so Jerit.”



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