Title: Bend and not Break
Author: Lute
Email: snitchslashgoil87@yahoo.com
Rating: PG
Pairing: Snitch/Skittery
Status: Complete
Feedback: Sure
Archive: STN
Summary: "Try to understand there's an old mistake that fools will make and I'm the king of them pushing everything that's good away" - Dashboard Confessional
Disclaimer: Do not own newsies, nor do I own the song "Bend and not Break" by Dashboard Confessional

Bend and not Break

It is pathetic that I'm a senior now, and this is my first high school kegger?

Is it absolutely pathetic that I'm also a senior who's participated in drama all four years, and it's my first high school kegger?

Yes. Yes it is.

What's even more pathetic is that I have absolutely no plans to get shitfaced. I've seen it happen to too many of my friends, and I don't want to spend my night flirting with the hairy guy who always plays the dad in every single play we've ever produced, or leaning against the stereo with a bottle in my hand and singing off-key to any Celine Dion song that happens to come on.

I shudder to think I could sing off-key. Me? Never.

Hence why I refuse to get shitfaced.

Unfortunately, everyone else doesn't seem to agree with me. All over poor Bumlets's house are girls and boys splattered on the floor, too drunk to move. Amongst them are those who haven't yet passed out with the high alcohol intake and are attempting to dance or make out or have sex in the middle of the room. I can't help but roll my eyes. No wonder I've never been to a kegger before; it's ridiculous.

And yet, I don't want to leave.

Number one reason? Daniel 'Snitch' Riccio.

I've had a crush on him since eighth grade. Crazy, I know, but he's totally cute. Especially since, I think it was tenth grade, when he discovered Chris Carrabba, decided emo was the way to go, and didn't just take the emo road, but the queer road too. He died his hair black, bought all the clothes, patches, CDs... then come to school the next day and announced he was gay. I still haven't decided if it's a phase he's going through or something he's doing to get attention, but I can promise you he's never had a boyfriend, and he was perfectly straight before this whole emo deal.

In short, I don't think he's really gay. I wish he was, but what can you do?

Someone hollers in disgust about some guy's dick being sucked in the upstairs bathroom, and I'm forced to skip to the side to avoid being brought down with the latest casualty of excessive alcohol.

Why can't I see why everyone likes going to these things?

Carefully, I step out of the living room, positioning my feet in a precise pattern to avoid all the unconscious bodies. The sticky-sweet smell of pot is starting to waft down from the upstairs rooms. Where is Bumlets? Why is he letting this happen in his house? Is he stupid? His parents are gonna-

"Oh! Sorry!"

A sober voice? No. Way. I glance up at the boy who almost knocked me into the vomit-encrusted carpet. "It's okay... Snitch?"

He blushes and runs a hand through his unnaturally dark hair. "I'm not holding up very well."

Holding up? I notice the half-full cup in his hand. "How many of those have you had?"

"Uh... ten?"

I raised my eyebrows. "You sound sober to me."

"It's the walking, not the talking." He attempts to step forward to prove this, and trips over his own feet. I catch him and laugh slightly. "See?"

"Is this your first kegger too?" I stand him up and he slowly shakes his head.

"Second. I got smashed at the first one. I'm trying to go slow this time." He blinks at me and cocks his head, studying me in a birdlike stance. "You look familiar, but I don't remember your name. Do I even know you?"

Well, not exactly. We had a couple classes together over the years, exchanged hellos in the hallway, made mutual friends and went to the same parties... oh and I have a hugeass crush on you. Your very presence makes me shiver.

"I don't think so." I shake his hand. "Call me Skittery. And you're Snitch, right?"

"Yeah." He exhales loudly, blowing his bangs up and out of his pale blue eyes. "I need to sit down."

I can't help but leap at the chance. "Here," I say, putting his arm over my shoulder and my arm around his waist. He's heavy, but I can feel his warmth against my shoulder as our steps align to take him downstairs to the den, where I know things will be clean. All the drinkers are in the living room and the smokers upstairs; the basement den will be empty.

I practically have to carry him as we move down the stairs towards the couch, but when he complains of being dizzy and rests his head on my shoulder, I don't mind so much anymore. Our steps are perfectly aligned in order to help keep our balance.

I set him down on the cushions, and he remains leaning against me, groaning slightly. His breath is stale with alcohol, but his hair smells nice. Some kind of fruit... strawberries? Strawberries and coconut. I inhale deeply and try to refrain from kissing the top of his head.

This is extremely hard to accomplish.

I've never been this close to him before. Five years of crushing, and I don't think we've ever gotten any closer than a high-five after a class project or something. Five years of crushing, and I never knew how well-built he is, how good his hair smells, how his eyes are the same color as certain types of spring flowers.

This is not making my situation any easier.

A particularly loud groan escapes him, and his hand flies to his mouth. "Oh fuck," he whispers, his voice muffled. "I'm gonna hurl." He gets up, falls, and I have to hurry and pick him up again, realign our steps to get him to the bathroom Bumlets's parents had put in a couple months ago, thank God. He only makes it to the sink before the alcohol comes up, but the sink is better than the floor.

As he relieves himself of the tasteful poison, I put my hand in his hair, brush it out of his face. It's not the biggest turn-on, watching him vomit into the sink, but I still want just to take his hand and touch his hair and comfort him. "You okay?"

He responds with an incoherent moan and rests his forehead against the faucet.

"I'm gonna go get you some ice, okay?"

"What for?"

I touch his face. "Your skin's really hot. We need to cool it down."

"Take me back to the couch?"

I sigh. "Rinse your mouth out."

He does so, and again, we walk in step to the couch. Perhaps I'm squeezing him a little tighter than I should, but... temptation is difficult.

I sit him down and he looks up at me. "Why are you doing this?"

"Doing what?"

"Being so goddamn nice?"

I shrug. "'Cause you need help. Why else?"

He stares at me for a moment more, then collapses on the couch, falling over onto his side, looking ready for a nice nap. I smile slightly. A little sleep would do him good, maybe sober him up a little. I'm still smiling as I climb the stairs to head for the kitchen. The smell of pot is more pungent now, and a couple of the unconscious bodies have started to move. Bumlets is sitting on a chair by the window, rubbing his face.

"You okay?" I ask, moving past him.

"Don't talk to me." Bumlets glances up at me, then instantly starts rubbing his eyes again. "Just don't talk to me."

"Fine, be that way." I pick my way around him, reach the kitchen and pull out an ice pack. As I start my return to Snitch in the basement, Bumlets finally looks up at me.

"What's that for?"


Bumlets has been my best friend for forever, has known about my crush since the first day I started liking Snitch, and he smirks at me. "I don't even want to know."

"He's drunk, Bums."

"I'm sure. Go away. My head hurts."

"That's what you get for throwing a kegger." I grin and Bumlets groans. I ignore him completely and return to my original mission: Snitch's comfort.

Unfortunately, Snitch is already asleep when I return. Wait, did I say unfortunately? I didn't mean that. He's adorable, with curls of hair falling in his face, a hint of rose in his cheeks and his thumb comfortably in his mouth. When I first see him, I just stop and stare in surprise at how fantastic he looks; not everyone can look good while sleeping. Especially that good.

He hears my steps and his eyes flutter open. At first he seems confused, then he smiles around his thumb and slowly lifts his head. I sit down and instantly his head falls back into my lap, where he falls asleep again. Why wake him? I smile and roll my eyes, amused, as I place the ice pack on his forehead, cooling his fevered face. His eyes open sleepily again, and another smile curves on his face before he dozes again.

He's precious. I stroke his hair and shifts for a better position. His thumb crawls back into his mouth and I move my fingers to his cheek, holding the ice pack against his forehead with my other hand. I don't want to wake him; it's nice this way, with just the dull noise of the party above us, the crackling of the ice beneath my hand, and our own breathing; somehow I've managed to align my breathing with his, our chests rising and falling together.

He's sleeping. So why the hell not?

I gently remove his thumb from his mouth and lean over to kiss him. It lasts no longer than four or five seconds, but the sweet, delicate secrecy of it leaves me breathless.

And yet, when I catch my breath again, I'm still breathing in unison with Snitch.


I wake with a start and a cramp in my back. A quick stretch makes me realize that Snitch is gone. Where'd he get off to? "Snitch?"

A groan from the bathroom is my answer. I shake my head and start over. "You okay?"

"No." He stares at himself in the mirror, rubbing his face. "I really don't feel well."

"Are you gonna be sick again?"

"I just was."

"Where's the ice pack?"

He gestures at my feet, where the ice pack lies stranded. "I dropped it when I ran in here."

I lean down to pick it up; it's still a little cold. "Here." I go up behind him and hold the ice pack to his head. Is it my fault that this is an easier position? Or that doing it this way means my chest and pelvis are pressed against his back and ass?

And such a fine back and ass they are.

"Do you want a ride home?"

He exhales shakily. "I... uh... yeah. That'd be good."

"All right. Do you need help upstairs?"


For what seems like the umpteenth time, I put my arm around his waist and drape his arm around my waist. He falls into step with me and as soon as I realize my breath is short, I notice that our chests are in perfect unison again; is he as nervous as I am?

I help him up the stairs, but in the dark, he misses a step and stumbles, falling, pinning me against the wall with his face millimeters from mine.

God is calling me, and it's time to answer.

I lean forward and softly kiss his mouth.

For a moment, it seems he's kissing back... then he pulls away so fast that he cracks his head on the other wall and crashes on the steps.

"Snitch, are you okay?"

"Yeah... yeah..." He stares at me in surprise. "Did you just..."

"Kiss you? Yes." I frown. "You said you were gay, Snitch."

"... I didn't really think I was."

Something about the phrasing of this makes me wonder. "Did you enjoy that?"

He raises his eyebrows and is about to answer when his face clenches in pain, and he brings the ball of his hand to his forehead. "Skittery, please. Take me home."

My head falls into my chin and I sigh, reaching to help him up. "C'mon. Let's get going."

On the drive home, Snitch seems almost to doze, which is probably good for him. I want him to wake up and I want him to tell me what he thought about the not-so-secret kiss I gave him... but it's better for him to just stay asleep. He's more peaceful that way.

When I make the turn out of Bumlets's neighborhood and onto the main road, Snitch's head jerks up. "Snitch? What's wrong?"

"...Nothing." He looked at me. "You okay?"

"Sure." I stare at him for a second. "Why?"

"You look peeved."

"I'm not, I just... I'm fine." I glanced at him, then looked back out at the road. "I'm fine."

"No you're not."

I wait a moment. "No, I'm not, but soon, I'll convince you that I am." I smirk at him, trying to make it look like I don't care what he thinks about my kiss. "I'm good at that."

"Good at what, lying?"

"No. Getting up after a fall."

"What fall? I was the one who fell."

I have to laugh. "Snitch... did you like it when I kissed you?"

He doesn't answer.

"That's where I fell."

He looks at me, and again, doesn't answer.

"But it's okay. I recover quickly. You'll never even know I-"

"Skittery, pull over."

I glance at him in surprise.

"Just do it."

I do so. "What's up?"

He stares out at the road, toying with the clinging child's shirt he wears.

"Snitch? Do you need to be sick again?"

"Oh, no, I'm good. Thanks."

"What's wrong?"

"Nothing's wrong." He looks at me and my mind reels; his morning-glory-blue eyes are confused and emotional, his face taut and his hands shaking. In all of five years, I've never seen him like this before, so frightened and uncertain. I put my steady hand over his shaking one.

"Something's wrong."

"No, nothing is."

"Stop being redundant." He gives me a wounded look. "What. Is. Wrong?"

"That kiss... Skittery, I don't know-"

"Fuck," I mutter under my breath. He glances at me, blowing hair out of his eyes. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have. I just... Snitch, I've had a hugeass crush on you since eighth grade. I couldn't resist the temptation." I shrug lazily. "I'm only human."


"It was a mistake." I start the car and check over my shoulder to see if any cars are coming. "I'm always making mistakes like that. I'm the fucking king of mistakes. I am-"

"Skittery, stop the car and shut up."

I stare at him in surprise for a moment before actually stopping the car. "Snitch-"

"If you would let me finish now..." His look is exasperated and I blush beneath it. "Skittery, I don't know what I'm doing. I've been out since tenth grade and I've never really grasped that... that maybe I am what I say I am." He shrugged. "I thought it was a phase. Chris Carrabba is gorgeous and affects me in ways I haven't been affected before, but... he was the only one."

I cock my head to the side; it doesn't sound like he's done yet.

And he's not. He lifts his head and sighs, watching me.

"Until you."

I shut my eyes and let the words sink in, licking my lips, trying to fully comprehend. What does that mean? Does he like me or not? Is he just confused and looking for a way out? Is he just turning emo on me? He didn't even know my name until tonight. He's just being-

His mouth falls over mine, and all thoughts just stop. My crush of five years is in my car, kissing me, and I cannot think of anything but the stale taste of alcohol on his breath, the scent of his strawberry hair, the odd, flower-like blue of his eyes.

Finally, he pulls away and rests his forehead on mine. "Y'know, Skitts, I was pretty drunk earlier."


"When I said I didn't know your name. I knew it. I've been crushing on you for the past couple months or so."

My head is spinning. "Why?"

He laughs, a cute laugh that makes me smile with its childish gaiety. "You sang that song at the assembly... a Dashboard song, from the new CD." He sighs with mock frustration. "The one I don't have yet."

I'm confused for a moment, then I remember. At the Winter Assembly, I was asked by my choir teacher to sing a popular song for the students; someone does it at every assembly, usually a senior, and I was wondering when my turn was going to come around; I've got a better voice than that girl who sang at the Fall Assembly, and the guy who sang at the Homecoming Assembly. But I ended up choosing 'Bend and not Break' from the latest Dashboard Confessional CD. And according to the compliments I've got and the applause from the assembly-goers, I did a damn good job.

"Did you like it?"

"Like it?" Snitch laughs again. "I loved it."


"Of course. It was Dashboard. And..." He bites his lip, suddenly doubtful.

"And what?"

"Don't think I'm crazy or be offended or anything, but... but when I saw you down there, singing that song, I thought 'Jesus... it's like a freaking young Chris Carrabba down there."

I can't help snorting a little. "You thought I looked like Chris Carrabba?"

"Yes. If he was my age and bare-faced, yes."

"You're kidding."

"No, I am not."

"Chris Carrabba. The Hot Emo Guy that Converts People to Emo-dom Because of His Total Emo Hotness."

"Yes. You looked like him." He takes my hands and brings them to his face, gently brushing my knuckles with tender lips. "And I'm completely infatuated with him. So you know where that led."

"Yeah." I use my other hand to chuck his chin up to look at me. "Snitch?"


"Will you hold me now?"

Snitch stares with uncertainty for a moment before leaning over and taking me in his arms, kissing my forehead, my cheeks, my nose. Curled up against his shoulder, now able to smell his cologne and feel the softness of his skin under his threadbare shirt, I feel like a dream has come true for me. Like God has finally listened to the prayers of a sulky emo choir-boy. I feel safe, impenetrable, resilient, as if nothing could ever hurt me again.

Most of all, I feel happy.

While it's absolutely pathetic that tonight was my first ever kegger, does it make up for the pathetic-ness that I ended the night in the arms of a boy who makes me feel infinite, a boy who is himself sublime?

I think so.

And to be honest, what I think is all that matters.


I catalog these steps now
Decisive and intentioned.
Precise and patterned
Specifically to yours.

I'm talented at breathing
Especially exhaling,
So that my chest will
rise and fall with yours.

I'm careful not to wake you
Fearing conversation.
It's better just to hold you
And keep you pacified.

I'm talented with reason
I cover all the angles.
I can fail before I ever try.

Try to understand there's an old mistake
that fools will make and,
I'm the king of them
pushing everything that's good away so,
Won't you hold me now? (I will not bend, I will not break)
Won't you hold me now? (I will not bend, I will not break)

I am fairly agile
I can bend and not break
Or I can break and take it with a smile.

And I am so resilient
I recover quickly
I'll convince you soon that I am fine

Try to understand there's an old mistake
that fools will make and,
I'm the king of them
pushing everything that's good away so,
Won't you hold me now? (I will not bend, I will not break)
Won't you hold me now? (For you I rise, for you I fall)


Just hold me close to you. (X4)
(Won't you hold me now?) (X2)

Try to understand there's an old mistake
that fools will make and,
I'm the king of them
pushing everything that's good away so,
Won't you hold me now...?
Won't you hold me now... now... now...?



This didn't turn out as good as I'd hoped it would.
But I am totally in love with this song right now, and I felt it was time I joined the Dashboard/Snittery club. XD

Anyway, the next chapter of Pushing Back is going to be long. Wow. I have eleven pages in my notebook right now, and ten of those are just Snitch's POV. I have to go through Mush's POV, Spot's, then Skittery's before it's done. It's gonna be long and it's gonna be good.

I just had to take a break from it before I died. It's really frustrating me at the moment.

Anyway. Back to work on it. Ta.