by Talya Firedancer

It had been twenty minutes since the butler had delivered Gavin's mail to him shortly after lunch, and it looked as if one of the envelopes had The Letter.

Reed emphasized it thus in his thoughts because there was no other way to handle an item of mail that had such a radical possibility to alter one's destiny. He kept his eyes on it even when Gavin set aside his stack after a cursory glance, then he jittered between keeping their water-glasses full, parsing the third paragraph of loan applications for the millionth time, and trying to look as if he weren't keeping a watchful eye every time Gavin glanced his way.

"What?" Gavin said, with every evidence of mildness, after the agony of those twenty long minutes.

Reed tried for nonchalance. "Aren't you going to open your letter?"

One shoulder dipped in a half-formed shrug. "Why should I?"

"It's one of those letters!" Reed burst out with it, unable to contain himself after all.

"So...?" Gavin prompted, one finger nudging up his glasses along his fine straight nose.

Predictably Reed rose to the bait. "So, aren't you going to see whether you got admitted?"

Gavin's long-fingered hands reached out for the mail, shuffled it, fanned it out like a deck of cards, then he snapped the sheaf of mail shut into a uniform pile again and set it aside. "No."

Reed blew a strand of honey-blond hair out of his eyes, exasperated. "Why NOT?"

The answer, when it came, floored him to silence. "It's Harvard," came the quiet response, Gavin's umber-brown eyes steady on his, "and we're going someplace your loans can float tuition."