Silence Says

Toby didn’t like to talk to people or look them in the eye. He didn’t need friends. Or did he? Shipped off to summer camp, Toby had more new things to get used to than he could deal with. Could his cabinmate, Noah, offer the support he so desperately needed?

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13. Chapter 13

Warning: Diiiiicks.

Toby had always known his laptop had a webcam, but he'd never thought of it as anything more than that thing he covered up with a band-aid whenever his anxiety was playing up. Now that he had inadvertently fallen into a long distance relationship, though, it would come in handy.

"Hey there," Noah said as soon as the video chat connected. "Can you see and hear me okay?"

Yes, Toby typed into the chat window. He didn't mind listening to Noah talk, but the idea of talking himself gave him the same feeling phones did. Even knowing he was being watched made him fidget nervously where he sat at his desk.

Toby clicked the button to enlarge the video of Noah's smiling face. Noah was propped up against pillows at the head of his bed.

"Sorry all this kind of ruined camp for you," Noah said. "I swear, the day I turn eighteen I'm out of here and if I ever come back it'll be to flip him off on his deathbed."

Toby raised his eyebrows. Dramatic.

Noah grinned. "Okay, maybe I wouldn't. I'd rather just avoid all drama in my life once I'm out of here."

Then you've made a poor choice of boyfriend, Toby typed into the chat window, and then quickly followed it with, Or whatever I am.

"Boyfriend would be my label of choice," Noah said with that little smile that always gave Toby butterflies. "And don't worry, drama with you... it's different. It's defensive, not manipulative or cruel. You're honest and real."

Sometimes I don't feel like a proper person, Toby typed. It was easier to share his deeper feelings when he didn't have to speak. You make me feel like I'm just different instead of wrong.

Noah's lips twisted together like they weren't quite sure what emotion to express. "I want to hug you but I can't. This sucks."

The mood was broken by something gray and fluffy brushing in front of Noah's webcam.

You have a cat? Toby asked as the gray ball of fluff climbed onto Noah's chest and began making itself at home. You didn't tell me you had a cat.

Noah pushed the cat's tail away from where it was tickling his nose. "I didn't realise that was important. I have three. My aunt works at a shelter and my little cousin keeps shilling them off on me. I think I've reached maximum cat capacity, though. They tend to pile on top of one another and that kind of thing could get dangerous once the cats get stacked too high."

We only have fish, Toby typed. My foster mum's allergic. But I haaave... Toby searched his desk for anything interesting and, when he failed to find anything that met that criteria, grabbed the small trophy he kept shoved in the corner instead and held it up to the webcam. A maths trophy.

"That's pretty cool. I only have ones for little league."

Little league is usually considered cooler than maths.

Noah rubbed the cat's ears. "Marginally. Not as much of an achievement, though. I wasn't even good at it and I still ended up with a few of them."

For the rest of the evening they went around their rooms and showed each other every object of interest they could find. Noah had a telescope he never used, which Toby informed him was a waste he should be ashamed of, various pieces of sports equipment, and a super fancy sound system.

Toby tended more towards knick knacks and gadgets. He showed Noah his lava lamp, his plasma ball, his liquid timer, and his figurines. He pulled out his box of lego and built a tower as they talked.

Noah's dad got him an internship with his company. Noah's plan was to screw around and be more trouble than he was worth, but once he got started he realised that kind of behaviour would hurt the other employees more than it would hurt his dad. Good work ethic didn't keep him from texting Toby all day, of course.

As he had originally planned before the whole summer camp fiasco, Toby took at online coding class. It kept him busy while Noah wasn't around and relaxed his mind.

They both had TVs in their room, though Noah's was far nicer than Toby's, so each evening they'd pick something to watch together while they chatted. It wasn't the same as their nightly movie routine at camp had been, but it was nice to share something.

Things remained relatively chaste, barring a few lewd comments from Noah, for a surprisingly long time. That ended one evening when they switched the webcams on and Toby found Noah to be lacking a shirt. Toby covered his mouth with his hand in an attempt to conceal his grin.

Noah noticed, though. Of course he did. "What are you smiling about?"

Toby let his hand drop back down to join the other on his keyboard. Why do you ever wear a shirt? You look better without one.

Noah laughed. "That'd be one way to quit the internship. I'll take it off whenever we cam if you like, though."

There was a certain self conscious part of Toby that wanted to deny desiring any such thing, but who was he kidding? Yes please, Toby typed.

Noah grinned and stroked a line down the centre of his chest with the tips of his fingers. "Anything else you want me to take off?"

Toby couldn't tell if Noah was kidding or making a serious offer. Well, there was one way to find out. Yes. Everything, Toby typed.

"Everything, huh? Is your door locked?"

Toby remembered locking his door, could see the lock in place from where he was sitting at his desk, but he still got up and checked anyway. Yes, he typed once he was sitting back at his desk with his earphones in place..

"Um, okay, give me a moment," Noah said as his hand travelled lower than the webcam was angled to show. Toby couldn't see exactly what Noah was doing, but the rhythmic movement of his arm gave him a pretty good idea. Noah kicked off the rest of his clothes and then adjusted the webcam clipped to the top of his laptop to a more revealing angle.

Thanks to the wonders of the internet Toby had seen plenty of naked men before, but images and videos had never made him feel the way Noah was making him feel now. Noah gripped himself and stroked slowly upwards.

It was probably best they weren't in the same room, because at that moment just about anything that involved naked touching would have sounded like a good idea to Toby.

Noah's face was no longer visible, but his voice came smooth and husky through Toby's earphones. "What would you like me to do?"

Toby licked his lips nervously as one of his hands snuck down the front of his pyjama pants. He needed touch, even if he had to provide it himself. I want to watch, Toby typed, one handed, into the chat box.

"Okay," Noah said as his hand began moving faster.

That was the first time they used the webcam not so innocently but far from the last. Noah had been unsure of himself the first time, but after a little practise he started to get good at putting on a show.

Toby kept his webcam aimed exclusively at his face and kept his shirt on, but Noah never complained about the inequality. He seemed satisfied by what he did get to see. The way Toby bit his lip to keep quiet, the way Toby's face flushed red when he came.

It wasn't the same as touching, as being touched, but for just then it was enough. It would have to be.

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