If There is No Sun, There is No Light


A/N: M/M relations, language

Chapter 1: Daybreak

I love the noise and clatter of the locker room, which is especially comforting and familiar after a long day of practice. Fencing is a great old fashioned art that hasn't lost any of its elegance over the years, especially when people who are really great at it participate. Which is why I always get an adrenaline rush watching the other guys duel. It's a fascinating thing to see,
two people squaring off in the roles of knights, doing the very same exercises that Sir Arthur may have done centuries ago. Of course, I never say any of this to the other guys. They'd laugh at me and call me a faggot princess or a queer pansy. You know the names.

Anyways, sitting in the sweat-fogged locker room, I sat on the long wooden bench and stretched my arms high over my head and let out a soul-wrenching yawn. Damn, did it ever feel good. I glanced sidelong at Rio Reedmonte, one of my teammates, my best friend, who also happened to be our very best fencer, and unlike his stories, it's not an exaggeration. If anything, its an understatement.

Rio is tall, lean and what the girls call a "hottie." He has lazy green eyes and this impossible grin that pulls you in with it. His hair is a cinnamon-ginger colour, usually mussed up and falling into his eyes. Usually he ties it back in a tiny ponytail, or ties a headband around his forehead to keep it from bothering him. All the girls at school adore him, and he's a party animal, so it looks like they'll all have a turn with him eventually. Everybody loves him. It's really not that hard, he has an easygoing personality and he's a real charmer. But sometimes I wonder if its an act, if somebody can really be that unaffected by the world. I mean, there are a lot of really serious things out there he should care about. But maybe he really doesn't. Who am I to judge, you know?

Rio was telling one of his outrageous stories that you can't help but to half-believe. I grinned at the impossibility of it all and tossed my sweaty fencing uniform into my open gym bag. I felt a hundred times relieved. It felt really good to be free again. I sighed in pleasure, and was suddenly whacked (hard) on the back of the head. Before I could swing around to protest or see who my assailant was, I was suddenly pulled close into a classic headlock. My sweaty head was rubbed.

"Yo! Jackson! You weren't so bad yerself, eh?!"

I recognized Rio's light-hearted voice instantly.

"Uh, yeah." I replied, feeling dumb.

"Heheh. Don't be so modest! You defeated Fryson in under a minute! That was amazing!" Rio paused, then took me out of the head lock, grabbed my shoulders and eyed me suspiciously, raising an eyebrow. "Oh, I see. That wasn't you. You let your sister use your uniform again, eh?"

The other guys on the team chuckled. I saw the twinkle in his eye and the twitch in his lips. I decided to play along.

"Shit, man. You caught me. Now what're ya gonna do? Tattle to Eggmender?"

Rio grinned. "Nah. I'll let you off." He winked. "For now."

I smiled and shook my head. "Stupid goof."

"Don't mention it, sugar."

The guys laughed again. I groaned.

"Rio..." But I was still smiling.

"Riiiiiio..." He mocked me. He poked me on the forehead. "Get dressed, punk. We're going someplace special."

This really got the guys going.

"Ooh, sugar and Rio are going out!"

"Hahahaha!! Faggots!"

I shook my head. Did I also mention that Rio is an oddball? Well, if not, he is. He gives me all sorts of "fond" nicknames, if you get my drift. Personally, it does embarrass me to no end. I don't think any of the guys truly think I look or act like a fruit, but I worry about it anyway. Not like Rio, who almost seems to enjoy making people wonder. Rio grinned and stripped his own uniform off, and, just to be a showoff, did a flip before he went over to the showers. I almost giggled at that, especially when he bowed and barely missed slipping on Jason's bar of soap, which now got the guys started on Jason.

"Jason, you need to be more subtle!!"

Uproarious laughter.

"Jeez, Jay, get a soap on a rope. Or did ya drop it at Rio's feet on purpose?"

More laughter.

Jason was ten shades of red, though he was laughing as well.

I'm a guy, but honestly, I wonder about the male species. We love to joke about gays, but as soon as we meet one, we're thoroughly disgusted. It's weirdness.

I went back to undressing, and packing, took my shower and got dressed. I was combing my hair when I looked over at Rio, who, with his total confidence in himself, hadn't even bothered to comb his wet hair. It looked funny, sticking up in weird places as Rio tied the bandana. He looked up to see me watching him and his eyes crinkled up as he smiled.

"See something you like, kitten?"

I shook my head. "Rio, where are we going?"

Rio looked up at the ceiling, ignoring me. "Eh? I can't hear ya, sonny. Hearings gone bad, ya see? If ya'd just speak up..."

I rolled my eyes. "Rio."

He looked at me, mischief dancing in his green eyes. "Aw, but if I tell you, it'll ruin the surprise, Chief. I know how you love surprises, and all."

I hate surprises.

"C'mon, Rio."

Rio grinned infectiously again. "No-can-do, my little sweetpea."

I snorted with laughter at that. 'Sweetpea' was a new one. Like I said, Rio comes up with the faggiest nicknames. I don't think I have ever heard him call me by my first name. My last name, sure. All those fruity nicknames, yeah. My God-given name? Nope. Even when we first met back in eighth grade, it was always 'Jackson', and then sometime in our sophomore year, he'd started giving me all these chick nicknames. In fact, I remember why very well.

See, Rio had always been really popular with girls. But, for some reason he didn't date until our sophomore year. Once he did, he'd date a girl for about a week or so, get bored and move on. However, this started taking a chunk of our time together, and I'm afraid I actually got jealous. Rio and I had a huge fight. And I yelled,

"Hey, asshole, I'm not the one ruining this friendship by going out with every slut in Einstein, am I?"
"
Hey," Rio said testily. "They're nice girls-"

"Then why the hell do you dump one every frickin' week? Huh? Huh? Tell me, Rio! What, don't they put out for you--"

Before I could say another demeaning word, Rio had punched me. Hard. In the jaw. I stared at him, dumbfounded.

Then Rio, in his characteristic way, changed back into his friendly self. His lip curled up in amusement and he said softly, "If I didn't know better, I'd say you're jealous." Pause. Wicked smile. "Sugar."

I scowled at him. "Hey--"

Rio grinned. "If the shoe fits, wear it."

"Are you suggesting I wear mary janes and high heels?"

"Heh. Yes, sweetie."

"Hey, quit it already, ..." I had been about to call him a chick name in response, but found I couldn't. What kinda guy can call another guy "sweetie" or "sugar", you know? Well, besides Rio. Rio can somehow get away with calling someone girly names without looking totally fagolla. I, on the other hand... Well, I'd look like a fag, thru and thru. And not because I'm small (which I am) but because I have, as my mom says "such a cherubic face." Translation: I look like a fucking chick.

Anyways, Rio wouldn't tell me where he was taking me, so I crossed my arms.

"Fine, I ain't going home with you."

In retrospect, that was a really bad thing to say.

Rio's grin grew sly. I tried to cut him off.

"I mean--"

The other guys in the locker guffawed as my cheeks grew warm. I'm so stupid!!

"Shut up!" I scowled.

"Aw, tinkerbell, don't frown." Rio smirked. "You dug your own hole this time."

"Maybe I should make it six feet deep?"

"Suicide is not the answer."

"Who said it was for me?"

Rio's green eyes grew wide in mock horror. "You'd kill your best pal?"

"Guess where Rio Reedmonte's gonna be if he doesn't shut the hell up?" I said in a mocking voice.

"Where?" He asked, his voice low, seductive. His eyes were tiny emerald slivers now. And I actually found myself growing oddly warm, my insides felt all twisty, and I thought, "I wonder if this is how he makes girls feel?" Then I blushed and pushed the thought far from my mind, wondering what the hell had gotten into me all of a sudden.

I scowled, because I couldn't think of a response. Rio seemed to sense my frustration, as he didn't mock my lack of words, just looked at me thoughtfully and flicked a strand of that cinnamon hair out of his eyes.

"You'll see where we're going soon enough, Jackson." He said, turning to his locker and stufing his crap into it. Rio is extremely messy. You don't even wanna see his pig-sty, er, excuse me, I mean room. He's just nasty. Me, on the other hand, I have everyhting clean and ready, all the time. I'm a neatfreak, so what? There's nothing wrong with always being ready for the unexpected. Plus, my parents are real messy, and I hate that and always have.

Ah, yes, family. Well, both of my parents are like hippy rejects. Seriously. My dad has super long brown hair, a thick beard, tiny wire-rimmed glasses and one of those soft fagolla type voices. Seriously. And he works as a teen counselor at my very own high school, Albert Einstein High. He sucks at discipline. My mom usually does that. My mom is small, thin and has long black hair in a lot of tiny little braids. She's really pretty, but I take after her in the looks department, and considering I'm a guy and all, that kinda, well, blows, ya know? She is usually pretty lenient, but once I screw up, she's all over me like a pack of hyenas on dead carion. Needless to say, I am not the type who gets into trouble often. She works as a social worker. It's a pretty tough job. I've learned I have it real easy compared to some kids.

Then there is my sister, Light. Yes, I know that Light is a highly odd name, but my parents are freakin' hippies. What do you expect? Light and I are twins. I'm the younger one, by an hour, if you can believe it. As I said before, my mother is very small, so she isn't too good at childbirth. She nearly died giving birth to Light and I. Needless to say, she never did have any other children besides Light and I.

Light, is, as I said, my twin sister. We actually look nothing alike. Heh, truth be told, Light looks more like my Aunt Stephanie, my dad's older sister. Light has really pale blue, almost white eyes. Her hair is the prettiest blonde you'll ever see. It's really long, like my parents, and the colour of a canary with stripes of white that look almost like somebody took a paintbrush and painted them there. Some mean snots at school claim she dyes her hair. But I know that she doesn't. I love Light. She has the quirkiest sense of humor, and despite her name and looks, she isn't an angel. She's done many things in the past that have alienated her. But I'll tell you about all that later.

Oh, and Light is a fencer, too. She's just not on a team because here at Einstein, girls don't have a fencing team. Pretty damn cheap, isn't it?

As Rio and I left the P.E. building, we saw Light sitting perched on a bench, her long hair cascading down her shouders. Light is the only Gothic in our school, so she stands out quite a bit. She stood when she saw us. I glanced at Rio, to see if he knew why she was still here. Usually Light went home in her clunk machine of a Hummer, Das Boot as soon as school let out, while I got a ride from Rio in his truck.

Rio looked as surprised as I was. We sauntered over, meeting her halfway and stopping.

"Yo." Rio saluted her. Light ignored him, as she always did.

"Shadow." was all she said.

"Why aren't you home?" I asked.

Light shifted her weight. "Das Boot is empty."

Rio looked... well, for lack of better word, relieved. What he was relieved about was beyond me. Rio was friendly enough to Light, who didn't even share mild interest, but to be relieved about her car being empty? I couldn't fathom what went on in the mind of our resident playboy. Maybe he'd taken a liking to Light? But Light would never consent. She disliked Rio considerably. Though why, I also did not know.

Light shook out her hair. "So, are you going to stand there like a moron, or are you going to get me some gas?"

This was directed at Rio. Rio smiled his most charming smile. Light didn't return it. She looked at him as though he were retarded. "Well?"

Rio's undying enthusiam didn't wane even under Light's darkest glare. His smile actually grew wider. "Sure, what the hell? I mean, it's not like Jackson and I had plans or anything."

I remembered his earlier comment about the surprise place. Before I could say anything, though, Light gave Rio a weird look, scrutinizing him. "Did you?"

Her tone was neutral, but her eyes were sharp as a hawk's. I briefly wondered what she was trying to find. I glanced at Rio, hoping to catch what she was seeking. Nothing. I saw nothing, except the smiling face of my hyperactive best friend.

"Did I what?"

Rio was insufferable.

"Did you have plans with Shadow? Duh."

Rio looked blank for a minute, then he snapped his head up. "Huh?! Wha?!" He shook his head a little. "I mean, no. No. We didn't have plans."

I stared at Rio. "But what about that surprise?"

Rio glanced at me. "Yeah. I guess that'll have to wait for another day, eh?" Then he winked at me. "Okay. Let's roll!"

Light did roll. Her eyes.

Rio just laughed at that and led the way to his car, chattering happily the whole way. See what I mean about him? Doesn't he ever let himself worry or get angry? It's almost unhealthy, ya know? We all piled into the truck, with me in the middle, since I was the smallest. Light isn't an amazon, but she is three inches taller than I am, and at least ten pounds heavier. And don't go thinking she's fat, because she is nowhere near it. She's actually very slender.

Light pulled out a hairclip (black, of course) and neatly pulled her long hair into it, to keep it from bothering the hell out of her. She looked very pretty. I looked at Rio to see if he'd noticed. His eyes were on me. I stared back, wondering what he was thinking. His almost melancholy gaze quickly turned sunny and cheerful. He looked over at Light.

"Hey. princess. Ya got money for your gas?"

"Hey dudley." Light responded in her usual monotone. "Would I ever want to owe a debt to the King of Queens?"

For once, Rio looked a little peeved. "What are you trying to say?" He glanced quickly at me, then back to her.

She shrugged, gave him an intense look, as if gauging what she should say. I got the feeling I was missing something here. "Nothing. Just that you have quite a fleet of women. That's all."

Light looked out the window. I studied her, still didn't get it, then looked over at Rio. He was staring at the road, his grip on the wheel hard, his jaw set. He actually looked serious, which I rarely see in Rio. But I still didn't get it. I sighed and settled back, feeling too stupid to understand the rest of the human population, like I was a stupid ape who wanted to be human or something.

At the gas station, we got the gas for Das Boot without trouble, and Rio decided to get gas for his truck, too. As he filled it up, Light went to a pay phone, put in 50 cents and called her boss, Lorenzo Harper, who owned the local resteraunt, Birdsong, which doubled as a karaoke joint. Light was a waitress there. She had to be ten minutes late by now, but Lorenzo was a good man. He'd most likely been more worried than angry.

I wandered over to the other side of the gas station, where I saw a lone boy standing with his back against the brick wall of the bar next door. One leg was crossed over the other, and his arms were loosely folded over his chest. His hair was weird, a dye of light purple, curtaining his face so I couldn't make it out, and his left ear was ringed with earrings. Even though his arms were crossed, he was wearing a tank top, and I could see that he had a bright tatoo encircling his left arm, but I couldn't see what it was from where I was. His build was slight, he was almost delicate. His right wrist had a silver bracelet of some kind clinging to it.

I looked at him, wondering if he was some gang member or a drug dealer. He certainly looked like he could be either one.

"Shadow! Hurry up."

I turned around to see my sister waiting impatiently. "I told Lorenzo I'll work overtime, so hurry up."

"Right." I followed her back to the truck.

Rio was already in the truck, rocking his head to Metallica. "C'mon you two. Light, who were you callin?"

"Not that it's any of your business," she said as she climbed into the truck and slammed the door shut. "but I called my boss. Now if you don't mind, you could step on it."

Rio grinned at the challenge. "Aye, aye, Captain." He saluted her.

"Give up the saluting, fartbag."

"Tsk,tsk, so unladylike."

"Tsk, tsk, so unmanlike."

"Are you saying I act like a girl?"

"No."

"Aw, I get it. You think I'm gay now, eh?"

"Are you?"

Rio paused. "Hell, no."

"Hmmm, was that uncertainty I smelled?"

Rio laughed. "Yo, sugar, did you know your sister was a vampire?"

I laughed, too. "No. Why didn't you just say so, sis?"

"Because I'm not."

"Then what are you?" Rio teased. "A werewolf?"

Light smiled. "Nope. I'm a witch."

"Seriously?"

"Yeah, Rio." she said sarcastically. "I can cast a spell that'll make your dick so small, you'll forget you were ever male."

Rio shifted umcomfortably. "Geez, what crawled up your ass today, princess?"

"Yeah." I had to agree. "Why are you being such a bitch today?"

Light raised an eyebrow. "What, I wasn't a bitch yesterday?"

"Well, okay, so you're always a bitch." Rio looked over at Light. "Why?"

"Because, I live on the same planet as you two morons, that's why. Happy now?" She crossed her arms and gave Rio a defiant--and very fake--smile.

"I'm always happy." He smiled to prove it.

"Nobody is happy all the time." I interjected.

Rio looked at me out of the corner of his eye. "Heh, so true. You caught me."

"But when aren't you?" I asked, genuinely interested.

"Well, I wasn't when my dad died."

I was silent. Rio really missed his dad. I'd never met him myself. He'd died the year before I met Rio. Before I'd even moved to Somerset.

"I wasn't happy with my mom's decision to marry Jed."

I was still silent. Jed was, needless to say, Rio's stepfather. Rio despised him.

"Do you really want to hear more?" He asked, sounding more bitter than usual.

Both Light and I were silent.

Rio didn't say another word until we dropped Light off at the school. Then he said good-bye, and then he turned to me, and then, face full of mischief again, "So, do you wanna see it or not?"

To be Continued!

Please R&R!