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 MODERN MEN, tagged → TALIESIN SCHERMITORE
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keegan was going bi.

he had read, earlier this month, in forbes magazine, that in fact gay men were more likely to succeed in business. and keegan moon was definitely going to be in that seventy-three percentage. life was all about finding advantages were you could get them.

besides, he was a modern man. who didn’t love a modern man? he was fresh. cool. hip.

the catch was, though, keegan was going to be honest: he didn’t have a lot of experience with being attracted to guys. but, like, hey – life was what you made of it, right? mind over matter. mind over matter!

so he was going to ease himself into it. maybe guys who looked just a little bit like girls. like, genderfluid. genderfluid guys. yeah. it was a great plan. and then he could move onto just, like, regular guys.

keegan kenjamin moon was going bi, baby!

the nerd strode through the hallway, a newfound spring in his step and twinkle in his eye. he was exceptionally well-dressed today, even more so than usual, because he had a date today. well, he had a date to ask someone on a date. but it was going to go great, so it might as well be their first date.

he brightened up when he saw the familiar face he had been looking for. a rather close… acquaintance… of his, whose movements around the school keegan had been used to by now.

taliesin! keegan called out, striding forward and stopping in front of them, rather smoothly cutting off their path by placing a forearm on the locker to his left. he smiled, charmingly. “how is my favorite genderfluid… person… doing today?”

they're monaco and hamptons bound but we don’t feel like outsiders at all
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Haste borne of unwanted habit had him cutting through this wing of the school, low heels echoing in the absence of other students. Usually the expenses requested by all of Ridgeview High's clubs were filed with school administration, to be reviewed by the student council - by him, really, when it came down to it. With the latest round of exams, though, quite a few clubs had failed to turn in their petitions on time, necessitating a few trips down to the office to retrieve papers over the past week.

It was annoyingly inefficient, which accounted for Taliesin's clipped gait as he headed back to the student council room. He'd much rather have preferred to be at the shop by this point, but duty (and Cadence) called upon him to stay, much to the chagrin of the spare clothes waiting for him in the council room.

There was nothing to do but work quickly, in the end. Eyes lowered to the one packet of paper he'd retrieved, he read as best as he could while he walked, until a familiar voice called out and he slowed an imperceptible amount.

Keegan was tolerable on a good day and irascibly smug on any other. Far be it from Taliesin to treat a fellow student council officer unfairly, but when he looked up from the report the junior was blocking his way.

He flashed him a thin smile for the inconvenience. "Keegan. How... nice to see you." For his own personal space he took a step back, paper folding against his side as he crossed his arms and shifted his weight onto one leg.

Hip thus cocked, he flicked his gaze down and back up, lingering on the cut and material of the other's clothes before settling on his... unsettling expression. "I'm rather busy. I'm sure you understand." Did he? Surely he didn't, if he was smiling so earnestly about stopping Taliesin in the middle of the hall. "Was there something you needed?"

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keegan has to look up slightly to meet taliesin’s eyes – wait. he has to look up? since when was the treasurer taller than him?

he glances downwards and notes tally is wearing slight block heels that are a couple inches tall. oh.

keegan wasn’t sure how to feel about that.

instead, keegan’s grin widens and becomes more fixed, stilted as he looks back up at his face. “yes, well, the pleasure’s mine,” he eases out, words of flattery leaving him almost automatically. “a pleasant surprise! bumping into you here.”

a well-coordinated one, anyway.

“oh, yes, I’m sure we all are,” keegan waves tally’s annoyance away; if he felt the curtness in the other student’s tone, he didn’t let it affect his mission. “but I’m sure the winter ball will go just splendidly. I can personally guarantee it. we have quite a competent team, after all. no doubt cadence – as well as I am – is quite grateful for your capabilities, dear treasurer.”

his arm leaves the locker wall and moves to clasp his hands out in front of him. “but actually, yes! you’re astute as always, tally.” his grin widens. “speaking of the winter ball, do you have a date yet?”

they're monaco and hamptons bound but we don’t feel like outsiders at all
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Keegan's platitudes drew a slight hum from Taliesin, as he shifted his weight further and resisted the urge to tap a foot. "Is it, now." Eyes flickered to the strap of Keegan's watch, narrowing a millimeter as he recognized it as one of his fancier ones.

It wasn't that the nerd's choice of clothing ever qualified as worrisome, but there was a pervasive sense of performance that suffused everything he did. Social peacocking, one might call it, if Keegan himself wasn't within earshot and ready to rebut.

Tal's smile slipped gently from his face as Keegan spoke, leaving him gazing neutrally down at the junior. Their tasks for the winter ball had been split neatly by group decision, months ago; though the paper in his hand almost grew warm to the touch, insistent, and he sighed, willing to talk shop if that helped the conversation toward its end. "We're on schedule, of course. A few clubs have decided," he paused delicately, managing to curb the irritation from his voice, "to submit funding requests without regard for the time of year, unfortunately." For them, the rest of the phrase went unspoken, though anyone with common sense would have known to wait until the new year to submit any serious requests.

He stopped then, reluctant to sound plaintive. He didn't have much to worry about; Keegan was already changing the subject, his grin turning up more at the corners as he made a more personal query.

It was the inanity rather than the prying nature of the question that made Taliesin huff, a short exasperated exhale through his nose as he glanced away. Augustus hadn't run his mandatory accompaniment raffle yet, though that hadn't stopped Taliesin from arranging the color scheme for the council's wardrobes anyway; but he was markedly disinterested in seeking out a date, nor did he see the point in deliberating over the absence of one when he was busy.

Especially if he was busy, actually.

He started to step around Keegan, making to walk the rest of the way to the student council room. "No, I haven't."

- - -
chronology? who's that?!
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“oh, yes, absolutely!” keegan responded immediately, his words coming ever-faster out of his mouth. a habit, when he was sufficiently blustered up, tended to overwhelm and enrage his friends and debate opponents alike.

“well, one of your great talents as our treasurer has been shutting down those ill-considered requests, so I’m sure things will be handled,” keegan’s tone was airy, and light, smoothly stepping in front of taliesin as he moved to walk around him.

he had to look up a little to meet the other boy’s eyes. keegan smirked. speaking of the winter ball, as I was saying… I don’t quite have a date yet, either.”

keegan continued to move back and forth when tally did, making sure to block the treasurer from removing himself from the conversation.

“now I know that when people look at me, they see a lady-killer. keegan moon the ladies’ man. but lately I’ve been thinking about the way that I see myself, and I think I can see myself doing more. branching out. expanding my horizons.”

the nerd cocked his head to the side and smirked. “so what I mean to say… would you be interesting in allowing me to escort you to the winter’s ball?”

they're monaco and hamptons bound but we don’t feel like outsiders at all
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Very little was rhetorical when Keegan was present, a fact Taliesin found himself forcibly reminded of when the nerd almost visibly snapped up the end of his sentence. "Mm." He limited himself to a nonverbal agreement this time, resisting the urge to step back.

As he moved to walk onward instead, though, Keegan stepped right into his path.

And again, when he took another step to the left. And to the right, until Taliesin was back where he'd started and Keegan was still in front of him.

A muscle in his jaw jumped, once, and when he smiled down at the secretary it didn't reach his eyes. "How someone of your intellect and social sensitivities lacks a date is truly a mystery."

Perhaps by dint of the two extra inches' height he had on the other, his use of irony soared neatly overhead and landed, ineffectual, somewhere on the floor down the hall. There came a minute crinkle of paper, as his grip tightened and he had to resist destroying the form in his hand. Composure was a game he'd learned long ago, at least, though there was very little that would preserve his patience when-

"Expanding my horizons."

Something clicked then, as he watched the smirk curl, catlike, over Keegan's expression.

He could reject him, of course. The words came cold and easy to his tongue, considering the near void of his acquaintance with the other - but he remembered, in a pang of clarity, a certain string of so-called advice Keegan had fed to their vice president over a year ago, and the irritation brewing in his chest bloomed into something decidedly more wicked.

So he gave him a sweeter smile instead, expression warming into something resembling affection but for the amused quirk of an eyebrow. "How bold of you. I suppose I'm - flattered." His lips twitched with a quickly smothered laugh and he re-crossed his arms, head tilting in a falsely bashful motion.

He looked back quickly enough, though, free hand raising to his own chin as he feigned concern. "Oh, but you're not wearing that, are you?" It was his turn to impose upon personal space, as he leaned forward at the waist to give Keegan's outfit an obvious once-over. "I have exacting standards when it comes to being seen with others at events. You know this, of course." He'd only gone and coordinated the entire color scheme, already, but if Lady-Killer Moon wanted a challenge, a challenge he would get.

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keegan’s smile grows ever wider as taliesin looks down, obviously too bashful to look him in the eye. oh, yes. he knows. he knows he has this effect on girls, but clearly he had what it takes to be a real modern man, too.

and the treasurer is finally done trying to get around him, too. keegan claps his hands together in glee. “all right! of course, I just knew you’d see what a splendid idea this would be.”

keegan blinks as tally leans forward, appraising him up and down. oh, yes. of course his date will need to examine the goods as it were. keegan smirks a bit, waiting for the compliments.

then he frowns. what? what was wrong with his outfit?

keegan splutters, “wh – well, no, of course not,” he huffs. it’s to the nerd’s credit that he doesn’t let much throw him off for too long, and he quickly draws himself together again, lifting his chin into the air. “why, something as formal as the winter ball will need a different wardrobe for such special occasions.”

his eyes still move to meet tally’s. “but, er, of course, if you had any suggestions, I would be amenable. I’m great at taking constructive criticism, y’know.”

they're monaco and hamptons bound but we don’t feel like outsiders at all
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In all honesty, Keegan could usually be trusted to be presentable. There was a handful of higher-caliber social events, off the top of Taliesin's memory, to which the nerd had shown up remarkably on trend - if there were ever a time to leverage his knowledge, though, this would be it.

"Oh," he murmured in absent relief, eyes still lingering on Keegan's shirt. "Glad to hear it." It had started in jest, clearly, but their student council was nothing if not a vehicle for micromanagement; and with this sudden pairing within the group, he found himself thinking more seriously about a palette shift.

Remington would complain, inevitably. Best to make only a little change or two.

Flirtation came to him about as easily as it did to any self-aware teenager, but the lift of Keegan's chin was as good a chance as any. Taliesin leaned another centimeter down he reached a hand up, smoothing his thumb over the collar of the nerd's shirt as he met his gaze. "Are you great?" A little too languid in tone for a casual conversation, perhaps, and he pressed the pad of his thumb into the hollow above Keegan's clavicle gently before trailing the flat of his palm down to the side of his waist. "We're in cool tones, by general consensus." (An oblique lie, considering his clear authority on the subject.) "Gold accents, of course, for the new year..."

Pressing firmly, he stepped diagonally forward and spun Keegan to face the other way, guiding him into the center of the hallway with a clack of his heel. "Walk with me." Once they were moving Taliesin removed his hand, tucking it under his other elbow as he considered. "Navy for you. Violet for me." He forwent the actual names of the shades he had in mind, his strides efficient as he led the way to his original destination. "I have a tie you'll need in the student council room."

Luckily or not, he'd brought a selection while making palette confirmations with the other officers. The purple silk tie he'd brought had originally been for - anyone else, really, but suddenly Tal found himself humorously grateful for his own foresight.

A patterned waistcoat for Mister Moon, perhaps, would do him some good. He hummed slightly in thought, opening the door once they reached it and heading for the garment bags hanging on the opposite wall. "You don't mind if I'm taller than you for the night, do you? There's a D and G heel I've been dying to wear, if I'm being frank."

- - -
taliesin "brings test wardrobes
to school" schermitore
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the sudden physical contact has its intended effect – keegan swallows, a movement that’s probably well-visible, and his lips tremble for just a second.

this is.. weird.

is he supposed to like it?

well, he’s bi now, and if it were a girl doing it, he’d probably find it really sexy, so… keegan decides very definitively that he likes it. yeah. he’s totally turned on right now.

okay, maybe not like that.

keegan shoves those thoughts away and follows tally down the hall, towards the student council room. “yes, gold accents, precisely what I was thinking,” he recovers quickly, even though in truth he hadn’t been thinking that at all. keegan was usually a very classy black and white dresser.

the secretary has to raise an eyebrow once they’re inside the room and tally is now going on and on. oh, dear. what had he gotten himself into.

“you’re well prepared, I see,” he notes, then continues to bluff loudly. “that’s quite all right. as a man of the twenty-first era, gender roles and expectations mean, uh, nothing to me. but, uh. you're not going to wear, uh, a dress, are you?”

keegan coughs, uncomfortably. footsteps outside the door cause him to glance out the doorway for a second, noting with relief the rest of their council-mates down the hall. great. not that he doesn’t enjoy this… whatever this is, with tally, but y’know. everyone’s busy. time to get down to business. he’s a busy man!

“oh, looks like madame president is on her way,” he states with relief, “perhaps we can pick this up a… later time.”

they're monaco and hamptons bound but we don’t feel like outsiders at all
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burn like rum on the fire, i walk my days on a wire
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Lucky he was facing away, as bluster crept slowly into Keegan's voice. The sleek sound of the garment bag's zipper as he pulled it down did little to mask it, though the delay was enough for him to regain a neutral tone by the time he spoke. "Preparation is in the job description."

He took it seriously, much as Cadence did (though never with the same zeal, as their president was capable of an infinity in that regard). Sometimes it seemed silly, to place so much importance on the management of a largely self-sufficient student body - but, really, how self-sufficient were they, when they came under scrutiny?

His movements slowed when Keegan asked him quite literally after his choice of dress, his voice hitching slightly on the word. The limits of his comfort shone like neon, pricking holes in his assurance and his speech:

Insincerity, the word came helpfully to Taliesin at last, assembling from the sounds and letters that often floated aimlessly in his memory.

Turning to cross the room, he laid the tie against Keegan's front, eyeing the length and shade of the silk critically. "I will be wearing violet." Repetition, certainly, but with purpose; when he met the nerd's eyes his gaze presented a clear challenge, unspoken but for a flash of intent.

He'd let someone change his wardrobe the day hell froze. The chance to steal the floor from under Keegan's feet was a welcome addition, of course - but foremost, always, was presentation.

He had little intention to change the tie to begin with - it matched his dress too exactly for that. What he had checked was the contrast between the purple silk and Keegan's complexion; the junior having passed, Taliesin flicked a soft canvas case open, folding the tie loosely into it before giving the entire bundle over. "There. Treat it gently, now."

The other officers' approach prompted him to step back, though he offered Keegan his most obvious smile yet as he retreated. "Quite. I'll call you." Blinking twice in a mockery of fluttering lashes, he turned aside, setting the report he'd brought down on the table at last just before the door opened.

- - -
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was it too early to say he was regretting this move?

keegan was reviewing a list of other things that he had read could help one succeed in business. things that had, at the time, seemed less appealing and more work than being bisexual, resurfaced. for example, catholicism.

“ah, of course. violet is a lovely color.” the sharp lack of a confirmation gnawed at him.

but, if there was anything to be said about keegan moon, it was that he was very good at picturing and sticking to his own version of reality. “well, dress or not, I’m sure we will look lovely.”

keegan grinned, just as the door swung open. he winked. “oh, yes. I shall look forward to your contact.”

they're monaco and hamptons bound but we don’t feel like outsiders at all
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