Author's Note: My first one-shot for this fandom, and I'm dying. Maggie Stiefvater is genius. Raven Boys are life.
Air, cold and cutting, lashed his face. Drew tears from his eyes, pulling streaks of wetness back across his face and off into itself. Ronan gritted his teeth and twisted his fingers tight around the grips of the motorcycle's handles. It throbbed beneath him, a roaring defiance of steel and dreams.
He didn't care where he was going, as long as it wasn't Aligonby. There was only one reason he went to school anymore, and that reason was on a college tour.
Ronan leaned forward. The motorcycle leapt beneath him, tearing the road in half beneath its grip. His shirt whipped his back, the black fabric protesting the rush of wind. Burning down the university campus wouldn't be that hard with a dream dragon like K's.
If you'd come to classes once in a while, you could go with him, he heard Gansey's voice itching in his ear. No need to burn anything down if you actually have a G.P.A. He shifted his grip on the handlebars, refusing to give the voice the satisfaction of a swat. The road rose beneath his tires, winding up into the mountains.
"Faster," Ronan muttered. The bike growled back and Ronan flew. Higher he climbed, the road twisting as it carved its way up the mountainside. He should slow, should take the curves as they demanded, should wear a helmet should let Parrish do what Parrish wanted but he wanted none of it. He wanted faster. The road turned to gravel, sudden slickness under his tires swiping them sideways as the ground demanded its pound of flesh.
Ronan groaned, slamming his fist down into the gravel. His bike protested by giving him the silent treatment, hanging off into the ditch, motor extinguished. He shoved himself up, feeling his pulse throb through shredded pants and the flesh of his leg. It held his weight, though, so he counted it a win.
The bike was heavy, heavier than he remembered making it. His arms felt the way they did when he woke from a dream, not willing to move. Nothing was doing what he wanted it to and it was all Parrish's fault. The bike stood. Ronan collapsed against it, forehead pressed into the cold metal.
All he wanted was to feel the dirt in his hands, on his skin, under his fingernails that richness of Virginia trying its best to mimic the color of Adam's skin and falling just short. "Not a big dream," he muttered at the bike, kicking it with his boot.
But not big enough for some.
Parrish wanted to be heard. He wanted to have others see him, for him to become the focus of their eyes the same way he'd drawn Cabeswater's. Ronan figured his eyes should be enough for Parrish, but refused to ask him to stay. He could stay if he wanted and could go to hell if he didn't.
Hell was one of Ronan's favorite destinations anyways.
He threw his leg over the bike, hissing at the way his jeans tugged on his cuts. As soon as his hands touched the handlebars the bike roared to life, its black paint still flawlessly reflecting the night sky. Ronan shifted, finding a better angle for his leg. Sometimes he wished he was a dream thing, made untouchable to anything but demons. He ran his hand over his head, feeling the soft prickles of his buzz cut.
"Bastard," he said, to no one in particular. He kicked the bike around and let it drift down the mountain. The air flowed around him now, soft as a whisper. He blinked, the skin tight around his eyes in dried salt streaks. The bike rolled faster, gliding around the curves as he leaned into them. Henrietta's lights glowed in the valley beneath him. Ronan let his eyes wander down the streets, following them to Monmouth on its fringe, light flaring from its upper story. Gansey was home.
Ronan shifted into gear, forcing the bike to push its own mass forward. A tight grin cracked across his face and he turned away from Monmouth toward the vibrant night of The Barns. He brought noise and chaos in his wake, ripping into the peace of the night around from his home. Tiny balls of light flickered around him, fireflies without form refusing to run from him. He tilted his chin up, feeling them brush against his cheeks. Ronan let go, casting his arms wide, welcoming the dream as it wrapped around him.
Ronan jerked upright, the sudden shift at Parrish's voice knocking his bike off-center and for the second time since he dreamed it, he wrecked it. He came to a stop in a heap of torn jeans and wheels and metallic smiles, just in front of a pair of black dress shoes, rubbed polish not quite strong enough to cover the scuffs on the toes.
"You bastard," Ronan sneered. The fireflies danced around Parrish's face, pale lights ghosting over freckled cheekbones and thin lips turned up in a smile. Parrish leaned forward, hands shoved into the pockets of his slacks. Ronan saw Parrish's visit in his mind's eye, hands folded in his lap to hide the oil still staining the one fingernail as some crispy cracker Dean drawled questions are him, Parrish clipping the answers back, the only betrayal of nerves when his tongue slipped out of Aglionby and back into syllables as soft as summer. Ronan loved the way his lips rounded around words when he was nervous.
Tonight Parrish said nothing, just raised one eyebrow as he glanced at the jagged tears crisscrossing Ronan's knees. A thousand questions hurtled through Ronan's mind as he watched Parrish examine him, a thousand ways to ask When are you leaving? And Why won't you stay?
"How bad did it suck?" he asked.
Parrish reached down and grabbed the handlebars of Ronan's bike, shoving it upright with a grunt. Ronan lay sprawled on the ground, shifting to rest his head on his arms and look up at the sky. He watched Parrish out of the corner of his eye, watched his fingers tracing over the strange twisting flame burning along the side of the bike. Watched him settle down on the seat, the bike's shocks responding to his every move.
"Want me to teach you to drive?" Ronan said from the ground.
Parrish scoffed, his only answer a glance at Ronan's bleeding knee. He kicked down on the clutch, twisting the ignition, his forearms tensed already to restrain the engine. The bike stayed silent, waiting. Parrish frowned.
Ronan pushed himself up, cracking his neck side to side.
"You're missing something," he said.
Parrish looked at him suspiciously; Ronan could see him running back over his own actions, weighing them.
"What?" he said.
Ronan's grin was almost feral. "Me."