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Antonin Karganilla wants to become a comic book artist, but other than that, being gay is the most normal thing about him. His uncle is an aquatic plant man, his aunt is a molecular biologist back from the dead, and his mom is an overprotective pain in the butt. Antonin's in boarding school and it's starting to look like he and this Harry kid might have a lot in common... and that means a whole new set of problems.
By running the whole way, Antonin caught up with Harry on the far side of the school grounds, just before the highway. “Harry!” he shouted. “Wait! It worked! He said yes!”
Harry, still a few yards away, stopped his ground-eating stride and turned, staring at him with a puzzled expression, as if it took some time for the words to fall into coherent meaning. “It worked?” The duffel bag slowly slid from his shoulder.
Antonin leaned over, his hands on his knees, trying to catch his breath. He straightened again and nodded. “He said you could stay, as long as I kept you out of trouble.”
Harry smiled, and it was like the first sunrise after the long night of the Siberian winter, making what was cold and dark open and bright and full of life. With a sudden, lost feeling, Antonin knew he would do anything to make it happen again.
Without warning, Harry caught him up in a bone-crushing hug.
His face mashed against Harry’s chest, Antonin breathed in the smells of clean cotton and Dial soap.
Harry’s voice rumbled against Antonin’s cheek. “I can’t believe you did it. Thank you.” Just as suddenly Harry released him and stepped back. “How did you do it?” he asked, as if Antonin had made an elephant materialize out of thin air.
Antonin shrugged. “I just told him the fight wasn’t your fault, that you were doing good here, studying hard and, um… making friends.”
A quarter-sized dot of red appeared on each of Harry's cheeks. “Well, thanks.”
“Uh, I guess we should get back.”
Antonin nodded, and Harry picked up his duffel bag again, and they walked back across the rolling countryside toward the school.
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