Author's notes: This is one of my favorite fics to write (and to read!!). It contains homosexuality, lots of fluffy pretty boys and a plot. Oh, and an orange guy. ALWAYS an orange guy. It's unfinished, but the writing bug has bitten me again, so hopefully it won't be that way forever. I'm putting all of this into chapters as we speak.

KIT

"Can anyone tell me where the Amazon River is?" A silence, composed equally of annoyance and trepidation descended over the small classroom. A question had been asked, and all the students waited breathlessly as the teacher's eyes swept the room for a victim. People sank into their desks, large jocks suddenly shrinking in size and statute as they pressed themselves against the hard plastic of their chairs. Only the few who knew with certainty that their answer was right sat tall, but the eyes of the teacher swept over them all, once, twice, a pendulum with no pit.

"Jeremy." The boy's head snapped up with enough speed that whiplash suddenly seemed a viable problem. Wisps of uncontrollable red hair fell into sea green eyes and a handsome grin. His grin turned sheepish now, though blood rushed to his face as the class tittered. "Umm…The Amazon River." The boy's mind raced. "Ain't that somewhere in Africa?" A burst of laughter greeted the teacher's amused shake of her head, and the boy sunk into his seat, face burning. He had been tried, found wanting and sacrificed to the god's of adolescent insecurity.

Now the atmosphere in the room was drained of its tension, and people turned to one another, chattering on as the teacher looked for another target. If they messed up, at least someone had failed before them. Even the teacher seemed more relaxed now, her attitude less predatory as she scanned the class. Her eyes lit on a boy in the back of the class. Curly black hair was completely out of control, framing a face with high cheekbones, a pert mouth and shining, mischievous green eyes. "Kit? Do you know?" The class quieted somewhat as attention shifted to the boy in the back. "…South America, right?" The young man asked slowly, a grin on his face. The teacher nodded, and turned her attention back to the class, starting to point to a map of South America.

*RRRRRINGGGGG* The sound cut through the class, as people grabbed backpacks and books, fighting their way past each other as they stampeded out the door. Laughter, and insults, tears and cheers, rang through the halls as Kit pushed his way through the mass of people, mostly by sheer effort, as his slender form was shoved willy-nilly by the masses. He finally reached his intended destination; a door marked LIBRARY and pushed his way inside.

The cool, slightly dust-ridden air of the library hit his face as he entered, and he inhaled lightly. Kit's slender features relaxed as he yawned, prancing over to 'his' seat, waving to a few of the people he knew well. The library was quiet, calm, unusual in the high school that thrived with the energy of so many kids. To Kit, it was a safe haven, one of the few places he could really be alone. He sank against the couch, his eyes sweeping over everyone. The boy with the broken glasses. The two girls bent over a calculus formula. The boy who was busy writing lyrics, tapping beats on the table. The young man in the leather jacket, staring out into space. A cold thrill shot up Kit's spine, but he quickly dismissed it. The boy in leather looked like a punk, and he had more trouble with that kind than he wanted to admit. Still, the boy wasn't even looking at him, so he grabbed his backpack, reluctantly pulling out his homework, and flipped open to the page titled "Reasons for the cessation of the feudal system'. He let out a mental sigh and set to work.

ALAN

He doesn't realize I'm watching him. I don't think he ever does. Not that I want him too. His eyes drift past me, a touch of uneasiness in their depths. Do I scare him? Me? The sharp irony of that thought hurts. My fingers jerk at the leather of my jacket, taking out inner frustrations on the tough material. But I keep watching him. If I had my sketchpad, I would sketch him like this, his head bent over his textbooks, green eyes still sparkling with life. He is so alive, filled with such vitality. Curls of black hair top a head that would have made Puck proud, high cheekbones and delicate features combining to form an image of delicate sensuality. If I had the writer's gift of words, I might have described the slender frame under his jacket or the grace with which he carries himself, a dancer's indescribable catlike poise. I love to watch him move, light as fairy, graceful and delicate.

I've watched him. He doesn't know me, never notices me. But I know about him. Maybe that's where this stupid infatuation comes from. His laugh is so easy, so carefree. He laughs at jokes, movies, books, even himself. Where I come from, mostly you laugh at other people.

Where I come from. No, maybe who I come from. I grew up with my friends, getting into trouble, throwing water balloons at gangsters. I grew up to be a punk. I never expected much else from myself. No one ever expected much from me. And if my friends could see my thoughts… a fierce shiver passes through me, names echoing in my minds. The dirty words they use for people like me. People who stare at people like Kit and dream. A surge of anger and self-hatred seems to pulse against my skin. Why me? Why did God make me like this? And even as I sink lower into the chair, and sink lower into my depression, my eyes turn to Kit.

KIT/Jinx

Kit was aware when the door opened, but his foot had gone numb and he was more intent on getting the pins and needles out of it than in looking at what he supposed was yet another student. Only when the unknown individual softly clear his throat, a rather pointed gesture, did Kit look up. His face broke into a gigantic grin as the man waiting for him raised an eyebrow, a look of subtle bemusement lurking on his face.

Not many people knew what to make of Jinx. More specifically, most people didn't know what to make of his sexuality. Frankly, Kit didn't blame them, though as far as he could tell, Jinx was interested in neither gender. Still, wherever he went, Jinx attracted whispers and stares, and occasionally insults. None seemed to phase his continual and complete calm. Kit envied him that.

Everything about Jinx was always faultless. A waterfall of blonde-orange hair fell down his back in gentle curls, stopping at just about waist level. Kit was still amazed that Jinx never seemed to get it snagged on anything. His face had a slightly Asian cast to it, with well-defined cheekbones and slender nose. His eyes were a deep orange, courtesy of contacts. He was dressed in an orange silk shirt and dark jeans, which was normal for Jinx. A ghosting of orange eye shadow covered his lids and the slightest trace of orange lipstick made him look like a punk rocker. His nails were also, amazingly enough, orange, and had been sharpened to points to make claws, the first sign of a dangerous oddness about him. Jinx liked the color orange.

Kit grabbed his backpack, pouring papers and books into it, to be sorted out later, and swung it over his pack, running to greet his foster father. Jinx sighed and embraced Kit gently, as people who had never seen Jinx before edged slightly away. As always, Jinx ignored these reactions. "How was your day, my own?" Kit wasn't sure how long Jinx stared calling him my own, but the nickname seemed to fit. Kit grinned up at Jinx, and stared giving him an in-depth look at the life of Kit. He didn't even notice the redheaded boy who pushed past him, glowering at him angrily as he passed; so deep in conversation was he. But Jinx, his eyes narrowing slightly, did

Jeremy

I watched them walk past, my hands balled into fists. I saw the older one look at me. Just LOOK, like he knew what I was thinking. Not that he does. No one does.

"Hey, Alan, my man." He looks up at me with vague surprise, staring out into space. Alan's my friend and all, but sometimes he's a little weird. Just sitting there, staring out into space. I swear he didn't even hear me sit down. "Oh. Hey, Jeremy, man." His tone is still sorta distant, like he was coming down of a high. I wonder if Alan's into that stuff. "You see that faggot and his faggot father walk past?" I smirk, expecting him to laugh, make some nasty comment. Instead his face settles into an expression I can't read and he grabs his backpack. "Yeah, man. Look, I've got to get home or my dad will kick my ass. Later, ok man?" As he turns away, I grab the strap of his pack, whirling him around. He looks surprised and maybe the least bit defensive. "We haven't been seeing you around a lot, you know?" I stare at him. What my girl calls my deadly stare. It normally freaks people out.

"I've been busy." Sure enough, he seems uncomfortably, his eyes darting around. "Well, look, my and some of the guys are going to teach that faggot a lesson about his place. You want to give us a hand?" His face contorts, just for a second. Then it calms down and he shrugs. "Hell, Jerry, I've gotten into enough trouble this year. Anymore, they'll kick me into alternative and then I'll never see you guys and dad will kick my ass to the moon." He's cool, calm. I like Alan. You can trust a guy like that, a guy who takes everything in a stride. "Look, man, just think about it, ok?" He gives me an ok sign. "Will do." He grins at me, pulling his pack to him as he walks out.

I think of Kit and his father. Stupid little homo in my school. I hate them all, all of them. Faggots are ruining the world. I push the sleeve of my BadReligion t-shirt up and trace the swastika on my shoulder. It helps makes me calmer, when I'm all stressed like this. Help me decide what to do. Old Adolf had the right idea. Get rid of everyone who isn't perfect. Yeah, that's what I'm going to do. One by one, get rid of all of them. And I'm going to start here.

ALAN

Me and some of the guys are going to teach that faggot a lesson about his place… teach that faggot a lesson about his place…teach that faggot a lesson… faggot… I slumped against a trashcan, panting as though I had run all the way home from school. Maybe because I had. Physical exertion usually gets my minds off my problems, but today, it only seems to intensify things. I've seen the kind of 'lessons' Jeremy teaches people… though I've never been involved in one. I hate that kind of violence. A fight between two people who've got a problem; that I understand. But ganging up on one person, someone whose weaker and outnumbered… that just makes me want to be sick.

I've always sort of stood up for the weaker person. But in a cowardly way. I could never stand against Jeremy. He's bigger than me, stronger and angrier. Sometimes he's so intensely angry it makes feel physically sick just to be near him. Like he hates the whole world. Like when he talks about faggots. I know he goes to those meetings, with the skinheads and the neo-Nazis. I admit it. He scares the living hell out of me.

But what am I going to do about Kit? A vision haunts me, Kit's pretty face smashed by fists and chains. A shudder passes down my spine, and I feel like I want to cry. But I don't. I haven't cried since I was eight and Daddy broke my nose for it. Sometimes I think my father and Jeremy are out of the same mold. When he's drunk (24-7) he rails against niggers, faggots, Jews and Asians. How they're ruining this white, Christian country (I've never seen him go to Church, of course). When he's like that, I just go outside and sit and stare at the stars or read until I fall asleep in the alley or he passes out. But he doesn't have Jeremy's intensity. Dad doesn't go out and try to hurt people. Why should he? That's what he had kids for.

Sometimes I wonder what I would have ended up like if just Dad raised me. Mom left when I was born. Dad used to tell me it was my fault when I was little. Isn't it wonderful what parental influence will do to you? But she had left me one good thing and that was her mother. Nana was not a frail old woman by any stretch of imagination. She was seventy when I was born and lived to see me enter High School. I remember I spent every afternoon I could sneak from chores at her house. It was a real house, not that far a ride from my apartment, and I loved it. It smelled like cinnamon and apples. It was scrupulously clean and it was always filled with sunlight and singing as Nana bustled about. She was a slender silver-haired woman who looked like she could be snapped by the nearest breeze. But I saw her stand up to Dad more than once on my account, and I know she was stronger than anyone could have dreamed.

I loved her. She told me stories, comforted me when Daddy hit me, and more than once threatened to call the police on my father. When he broke my nose, she drove me to the hospital and only me begging on my knees go her to tell the hospital that I was hit in the nose with a baseball. I didn't want to leave Daddy, Kenny and Jason, no matter what else happened. She was the only one I might have told my secret too, about how I watched other boys. But she died on my fifteenth birthday, more than a year ago. I didn't cry at her funeral.

Sometimes what's right doesn't always come out and hit you in the face. Sometimes what's right isn't what you've been taught. Sometimes standing up for yourself doesn't mean using your fists. A twinkle of starlight catches my eye. I must have fallen asleep in the abandoned lot/alley that I claim as my own. I sniff and the familiar smell of apples catches my nose. I get up and stretch, knowing I'll catch hell for being out so late, but not caring. What I have to do is simple. I have to warn Kit. And I have to stand up for him, and for myself.

KIT/Alan

Kit yawned softly as he dropped his stuff on the floor. He didn't have homework tonight, thank god, so he was definitely considering taking a nap. He was beat; that lecture on 'Why Atomical Structures Can Be Defined As Constantly In Motion' had floored him, and his head was still spinning. He slumped into the over-stuffed library chair, yawning softly as he curled up.

"You're Kit, right?" His eyes snapped open, as he mentally piled curses on the intruding voice. He uncurled his slender form and blinked as he stared at the boy before him. A slight, tremulous try at a smile lingered on his face as he watched Kit. Wavy blonde hair might have made him handsome, but a round, boyish face merely made him cute. Intense blue eyes stared out at Kit, and there was nothing cute about them at all. He felt a shiver down his spine at the intensity of them. The boy was taller than Kit, though he wasn't particularly tall, for a male. Calm down, Kitsune, he can't hurt you here, this is a library. Be cool, man. Trying to look nonchalant and failing utterly, he grinned at the other boy. "Yeah, or so I've heard."

Alan blinked, and then laughed, nervously. Ok, Alan, you've gotten past the hard part. Now, just… Just WHAT? Hello, my name is Alan, I've been stalking you and there's some boy's out there who want to take you apart because you're outwardly gay? Er…no, I don't think so. Kit regarded him curiously, his unwavering stare completely unnerving. The pretty green eyes didn't hold a trace of disgust or annoyance, just mild interest and a spark of something close to fear. Alan winced. The idea of Kit having to fear him was not only ludicrous. It hurt more than he expected. "Look…umm…do you know how Jeremy is?" He asked, putting his hands behind his back. Kit's look melted into one of confusion. "Denton? Yeah, sure, he's in some of my classes. Umm…why?" Alan flinched inwardly. He did NOT want to scare Kit, and for the first time, he questioned what he was doing.

"He and some of the other guys are going to try and beat you up." Kit didn't exactly gape, but his eyes brows did rise and draw together, an expression he had learned from Jinx. His hands curled into fists and for a second, he felt the urge to cry. Damnit, damnit, DAMNIT! He turned away from the other boy, fear, anger and confusion raging through him. Why me? I… I just want them to leave me alone. I don't try to make them mad. He leaned against the chair, his emotions confused and lost. He felt cold, alone, and lost in a world he didn't understand. A hand on his shoulder caused him to stir, remembering the boy who had told him this.

"K-Kit? Are you ok?" Blue eyes met green ones and Kit stared as he found understand. "Why do they want to do this?! Why do they hate me?" It was the question he had asked since sixth grade, since he had asked one of the other boys—he didn't even remember the boy's name—to dance at a school event. The boy had run away from him and started screaming names at him. Everyone had started to stare, even the teachers. Kit had run, run out, run away, crying, into the parking lot to wait for Jinx. The gang of older boys, eighth graders, had found him out there, and when Jinx found him, he had bruises across his face and one of his eyes was blackened. It was one of the few times Jinx had ever lost his temper. He reported the assault to the police, and his voice was dark with seething anger. Jinx had tended to the bruises and told him why they did it, because the hated him for being different. But the next morning, the gang had been back. Jinx had talked about enrolling him in self-defense classes, but Kit had firmly disagreed. Sooner or later, he was sure they would forget about him.

As always, Jinx was right. Some of the parents started to get involved, even, screaming names at him when Jinx picked him up. He had learned a lot that year, and it had left him less naïve than ever. The school authorities finally put a stop to most of the abuse, though he was careful not to walk alone, but the emotional damage had already been done. After that, he learned everything he could about being gay. He made sure he was known for what he was. He earned friends among the smart people, some few of the outcasts. It was a mixed group, but he made his own way, and by seventh grade, he was no longer slinking to class, but instead walking boldly. He went to dances in dresses, and Jinx just looked on and smiled. The school authorities tried to protest, but they really couldn't do much about it. Most of the students looked on him as some kind of oddity, a few with real hatred. It didn't matter. Somehow, Kit had come through the year of sixth grade stronger.

But this brought back what it felt like to be alone in the cold air, crouching in the parking lot sobbing silently and then having fists hitting from all sides, legs kicking at him as he curled up in the dark lot and tried to protect himself. He shuddered slightly. He had nightmares for a long time after that. And he knew that high school kids would not leave with him just bruises and blackened eyes. "Why do they want to do this?! Why do they hate me?" He didn't know whom he was asking, Alan, or the boys, or maybe just God Almighty. But it was Alan who answered. "They don't hate you. They hate what you are. They don't know you, they just want to hate something." His tone was soft, comforting, but it had a bitter note it in Kit recognized all to well. It was the one he had heard in his own voice when he was asking why.

I'm touching him… Alan stared at his hand on the slender shoulder, so thin and fragile. There seemed to be a lot of warmth in that shoulder, and that warmth seemed to radiate up and fill him, as well, warming him from the inside. "Why did you tell me?" Kit didn't sound bitter or angry anymore, just… tired and resigned. That, somehow, hurt more than anything, to see the this lively, spirited boy so… Broken. "I… told you because I… I… didn't want them to hurt you, of course." Kit's green eyes watched him, constantly shifting emotions too hard to pinpoint. "…I don't even know your name." Kit's voice was tremulous, quiet. Too quiet. "Alan. It's Alan." He said. He had daydreamed about telling him his name, once, twice, but never like this, never with that fear lurking just behind Kit's eyes. Alan stared in surprise as Kit's hand enveloped his, the warmth of skin against skin sending a shiver down the neurons of his spine. "Alan…? Have you ever been afraid?"

The question stirred up the ashes of emotions into full formed life. Anger, fear, rage, pain. Faggots in the streets nowadays… they're ruining everything we do… will you look at that homo?… Me and some of the guys are going to teach that faggot a lesson about his place… "Yes. Yes I have." His tones tried for equilibrium, and, finding none, grasped for control. There was none of that to be had either.

"What are you afraid of, Alan?" Alan turned his eyes to the hand cupped over his, to the fine line of the boy's cheekbone, to the slender form beneath the windbreaker. Fag, homo, gay, queer… "You. I'm afraid of you." Kit's eyes widened, and Alan could have slapped himself for saying something so calculated to hurt. He knew what he meant, but to Kit… to his surprise, though, Kit's hand tightened over his, squeezing gently. "D-do you want to talk about this somewhere else…? I mean… you could come over… if you wanted too…" He sounded unsure of himself and for a second, Alan was scared. This was not what he expected to happen. He had just meant to vanish, never to be seen again. But in his mind's eye he saw himself, watching Kit's every move. He couldn't pass this up. "Yes."