Insanity in individuals is something rare - but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule. -- Friedrich Nietzsche (1844 - 1900)


"Uh. Nero?" I say, attracting the blonde's attention.

"Yes?" he replies, looking up from his book. That's all he's been doing since we've been here: reading. I've never met anyone who reads as much as he does. "Ezra?"

I blink, dismissing my thoughts and focusing once again on Nero. "Can I talk to you?" I ask, moving to sit on the couch beside a sleeping Knight.

"Sure," he replies, closing his book and placing it on the coffee table. "What about?"

I shift in my seat nervously, avoiding his eyes. " I was wondering why I'm here." I say, staring down at Knight.

Nero sighs, leaning forward and placing his elbows on his knees. "I'm guessing that's not a philosophical question," he states, his eyes on me.

"No," I confirm, finally meeting his eyes. "It's just that I barely know you. Before…before Saturday, I'd only spoken to you twice and that was only for a few moments, and now, here I am, deciding whether or not I should stay with you, an almost stranger, or go back home to my family. My grieving family."

He stares at me silently; his face sad, and then stands, walks to the couch and sits beside me. I turn to face him, unnerved by his silence. He continues to stare, studying my face, as if memorizing it. Suddenly, he leans forward, cupping my face and capturing my lips with his.

My body goes motionless, my eyes wide and unseeing, as Nero caresses my lips with his, coaxing my slack mouth open and slipping his warm tongue inside to play over my own. A jolt goes through my body at the contact, and my eyes slide closed as my body relaxes, accepting this extremely pleasing situation. The kiss seems to only last for a moment before Nero pulls back, severing all contact between our bodies.

"There are things you need to know." Nero says softly, gazing into my stunned eyes. "But the most important one is that I love you, and now that I've found you again, I'll go through Hell to keep you." He stares into my eyes silently a few moments more, and then stands and leaves the room, leaving me to gape after him.


After recovering from my shock, I decide to go for a drive. I don't really have anywhere specific to go, having never been in North Carolina, so I drive aimlessly, keeping to the more populated areas just in case I got lost; I don't like driving empty roads when I was lost. Spotting a bar, I park, hoping I still have my fake ID, needing something to help with the confusing emotions Nero's kiss and confession instilled in me. Climbing out of the car, I breathe in the cool, evening air.

Entering the bar, I pause to let my senses adjust the smoky ambience I encounter. Unsurprisingly, the bar is crowded with people. Most probably enjoying their after-work happy hour and others college students enjoying their after-class happy hours. Some are well on their way to being drunk off their asses. Approaching the bar, I attract the bartender's attention.

"I'll have a beer." I order, talking loudly over the noise of the bar.

The bartender nods and tells the price, not asking for my ID before moving to grab a glass. Probably figures half the people in here are underage so why bother. Leaning against the bar counter, I turn to scan the room. All the tables are occupied and several people are playing pool, most placing bets on the outcome.

A sound behind me announces the arrival of my drink. Turning, I nod to the bartender and hand over the money before pick up the brimming mug, taking a long drink from it.

"Hey, buddy!" a voice calls behind me, causing me to turn. Several men gathered around one of the pool tables are staring at me. "You wanna play?" one of them asks, gesturing at the table.

"Me?" I ask, pointing at myself. He nods. "Sure!" I call, making my way towards them. I've always liked playing pool, and can proudly say that I'm quite good at it.

The men greet me with friendly smiles and pats on the back.

"You got any money?" one asks, handing me a cue.

"Yes." I reply, mentally counting the contents of my wallet.

"Great!" he says cheerfully, slapping me on the back.


Sometimes, being me sucks really, really bad. I've been in this bar for five hours, finished three games, and won each one, earning me a couple hundred bucks. And enemies. My opponent and his friends are beginning to stare at me angrily, making me extremely ill at ease. I have a feeling they expected me to be a bad pool player because of my age, but they underestimated me and my abilities. I may not know any fancy English[1], but I know how to make a ball go where I want it. But despite the growing hostility against me, I don't feel like stopping; some new inner-me urging me to show these guys I'm not some wuss who's going to run away at the sight of their anger. They're the ones who challenged me to play; it's their own damn fault if they leave this bar broke.

"Eight ball, side pocket." I announce, lining up the shot and ignoring the angry glare of the other player. Aiming carefully, I tap the cue ball softly, sending it rolling across the table to nudge the eight ball into the chosen pocket.

"Dammit!" one of the men growls, clenching his fists and glaring at me.

"I win again." I say, reaching for the stack of bills resting on the table.

Somehow, I manage not to flinch when someone grabs my wrist.

"I don't think so, punk," someone growls into my ear. "We're not giving up our hard-earned money that easily."

"Well, it's not your money anymore so you don't have much of a choice." I reply, yanking my wrist free. In the back of my mind, a voice is yelling at me for being a moron, telling me to give them their money and leave. But another voice, a louder voice, is telling me that I have right to the money, I won it fairly and these little shitheads have no right to mess with me.

"Oh, so you think you're tough, do you?" my opponent sneers, walking around the table, pool cue gripped tightly in his hands. He eyes shift to something behind me, and I duck just in time to avoid a punch to the back of the head.

Spinning, I tackle the man behind, shoving my shoulder into his stomach and knocking him on his ass. And the brawl begins. I'm immediately attacked on both sides, but a handy beer bottle dispenses with one of them, and I'm able to focus on the other guy. He's bigger than me, but I'm not as drunk as he is, giving me better coordination and speed, which I exploit to the fullest by dodging his first punch, slipping under his guard, and shoving the heel of my hand into his solar plexus hard enough to stun him. I'm just about to deliver the blow to drop him when I'm caught with a punch to the kidneys from behind.

All my senses sharpen at once, my mind goes blank, my body relaxes and I can feel the movements of everybody in the room. Turning quickly, I block my surprise assailant's second punch.

"What the!" I punch him in the face before he can complete his sentence.

The feel of his blood gushing over my hand heats my body and my adrenalin begins to pump faster and I feel a smile form on my face. Picking up a nearby beer mug, I smash it over the man's head and then throw him to the floor. Turning to look at the chaos surrounding me, my smile grows wider and I jump back into the fight.


 I'm in the middle of beating a drunk's face in when the cops bust in. Everyone in the bar attempts to make a run for it. In the ensuing confusion I manage to make my way out of the bar, unscathed, and over to my car, unnoticed. But instead of peeling out of the parking lot like most, I leave at s normal speed, not drawing attention to myself.

The ride home is a blur; my body is humming and my mind is spinning. It's only luck that gets me back to the house safely. Nero is standing on the porch when I pull into the empty driveway. At the sight of him my mind begins roar and my heart begins to pound. He's the most beautiful sight I've ever seen. I climb out of the car slowly, my eyes never leaving his form standing calmly on the porch.

"It's three o'clock in the morning. Where the hell have you been?" he asks, his voice betraying the tension he's feeling.

"Nice to see you again, Nero."

What the fuck! Did I say that? I didn't mean to say anything! But… that was my voice.

'Just sit back, kid. I'm taking over now,' an unfamiliar voice says smugly.

"Ezra, are you all right?" Nero asks, looking concerned now.

"I'm just fine. But what makes you think I'm Ezra?" my voice replies.

I didn't say that!

'No, you didn't. I did," my mind replies.

"Dante?" Nero says breathlessly, his eyes wide. He lifts his hand, as if wanting to reach out and touch, but he pauses, his hand frozen in midair.

Who the hell is Dante?

'I am. And from now on, I'll be in charge.'

"The one and only." Dante replies, grabbing Nero's arm and pulling him against my body. "You're as beautiful as ever." Dante whispers against his lips. "But are you still good in bed?"

What the hell are you talking about? Who are you?

'I'm the guy who's been sharing your body for the last eighteen and a half years.'


Is it just me, or is this starting to suck royally? Sorry for the long wait and the short chapter. I'm doing my best to start updating regularly again, but I just don't have the time or ideas most of the time. I'll still try, though. Review.

                                -- A.H.

[1] English- I really don't know how to explain this so I'm hoping most of you know what it means, but 'English' is used to describe the calculated moves pool players make in a game. (This is what I was taught anyways)