Ch. 1-The Accident

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"Somebody put me out of my misery and end this torture." Kou groaned as he dropped his head onto his desk. His teacher was too busy with his speech to worry about him, but he did give him an evil look and a second of silence before continuing. Kou leaned back in his seat, frowning and trying to act like he was listening. He grew tired of pretending and fixed the sleeve of his long sleeve dark blue shirt.

"Mr. Mezami, care to elaborate for us?" He looked at the teacher, his confusion evident on his face as he dropped his arm onto the desk.

"Elaborate on what professor?" His professor sighed, lowering his head, and then looked back at him.

"Why do people dream? And why do they dream about the things they do? And do these dreams hold any significance?" Kou shrugged.

"I dunno, that sounds like a psychological question."

"This is Psychology class Mr. Mezami." The other students erupted with laughter as he looked around for a minute, thinking. He finally began to come up with a good answer and started to reply, but was cut off by the bell.

"We will finish this discussion Monday. I expect an intelligent answer next class period Mr. Mezami. And might I suggest that you start taking class a bit more seriously unless you plan on repeating my class next year." Kou yawned as he picked up his bag, slung it over his shoulder, and walked out of the room. Without really noticing, Kou stepped on the bottom of his tan pants and almost fell flat on his face. He caught himself and pushed his spiked, dark brown hair out of his right eye. He growled in frustration when the spiked locks of hair fell back into place.

"Damn, it's as if the guy was put on this planet to make my life a living hell!" Kou stumbled forward as somebody slapped him hard on the back.

"Hey man, you coming tonight?" Kou looked at his friend with mild confusion.

"Where are you going Jess?" Jesse smiled at him as he fell in step beside Kou.

"Me and Kai thought it would be a good idea for the three of us to go find something to do tonight. You know, it's been a while since the three of us had a chance to hang out together. And it is Friday after all, what do you say?" Something was different about him today, Jesse wasn't usually like this. Most of the time, Kou found it hard just to get Jesse to answer a question.

"I dunno I have some homework I need to get done. I know I'm not too big on homework, but I promised myself I'd bring my grades up for the end of the year." Jesse laughed, that laugh only he could make. It was somewhere between crying and laughter, but Jesse never cared what people thought about it.

"Come on Kou, just a few hours. How about this, you name the time and we'll bring you back as soon as you like." Kou thought about it for a moment. They had reached his locker and he opened it, shoving his psychology book inside and pulling his calculus one out before placing it in his backpack.

"Sure I guess it can't hurt, can it? But where are we going?" Jesse shrugged.

"Dunno yet, probably just out to see a movie, they just released a new Eliminator movie. We'll work out the details later. Me and Kai will pick you up." No, now Kou knew something was going on. Jesse never liked to go see movies, he despised the theatre.

"Well, I gotta get home and take care of a few things. Catch you later kid!" Jesse and Kai had both made a habit of ending their goodbyes by calling him kid. It was because he was only nineteen, younger than both of them by two years. He nodded and closed his locker. Jesse was gone before he could respond.

"There he is!" Kou cried out in surprise as two guys came up to him and pinned him to the lockers, one holding each arm. He dropped his bag onto the tile underfoot as he looked at the two. A third young man came up to him; he was wearing a red sports jacket with white stripes down the arms. His hair was clean, neat, and blonde.

"You think you're somethin' don't you Mezami, just pushing right through me and the guys this morning like you did. You're always doing whatever the hell you want to!" The young man threw a fist into Kou's gut. Kou groaned in pain and lurched forward, trying to fall forward. But the two holding his arms did not allow him to, one grabbed him by his hair and pulled his head back up. Kou growled as he looked at the guy who had punched him. Sean. That was his name.

"What the hell are you talking about? I never came anywhere near you guys this morning. You prick; you're just trying to come up with a reason to hit me!" Sean grinned and threw his fist into Kou's gut again. Kou once again doubled over and was once more pulled back up.

"You're probably right Mezami, we just want you and your little freak friends to get out of our school! There's a place for people like you, it's called the circus."

"Yeah, and there's a place for people like you, it's called rehab. I think it would do you some good." Kou smirked at Sean when he gritted his teeth and growled at him.

"You little- I should pound you into the ground for that!" Another blow to Kou's gut. The same result. Everything and everybody seemed to be against him today.

"I bet you wouldn't be saying that if you didn't have your pals here holding me against the wall. So why don't you just go screw yourself and let me go." Somehow, Kou knew he should not have said that before he did. Oh well, he was this far he might as well let his actions run their course.

"That's it, let him go!" The two let him go as Sean grabbed him by the neck of his shirt and delivered a blow to his face. Kou grunted and glared at him before spitting some blood out of his mouth.

"You're so much tougher now that you're beating up on a guy who can barely stand on his own legs. Bet you feel real big right about now, don't you? Yeah, this is probably the only entertainment a guy like you can get out of life. Probably the only time you'd ever try to beat me too. Piss off!" Sean growled, but smiled afterwards.

"Yeah I'll leave, you're not worth my time anyway. But next time you mess with me, I'll beat you within an inch of your life and throw you out of this school myself." Kou smiled slightly.

"I'd like to see you try." Another grunt escaped Kou's throat as Sean sent a left hook into his jaw and then slammed him into the wall before walking off with the two guys that had come with him. Where had everybody gone? A second ago the hall had been filled with students. But as soon as he started getting pummeled, everybody left. Kou slid against the lockers down to the ground. He rubbed his jaw, but it seemed the pain in his face was already subsiding. Those blows to his stomach had hurt pretty badly though.

"I just don't know when to shut up do I?" Kou leaned forward and slowly stood up. He stumbled before he remembered how to use his legs. There was a sound moving toward him, rapid footsteps.

"Probably the principal or something. I'll just start walking and hope they don't bother me. I had hoped I wouldn't have to deal with stuff like this in college, but I guess some people are just immature throughout their whole life." Slowly, he picked up his pack and slung it over one shoulder. The weight of the bag caused Kou to fall into the lockers again. His vision was splitting as well, but he dealt with it and kept walking.

"Figures, damn I hate those guys! They think they own the campus. Well, I guess somebody has to put them in their place. And that's not gonna be me, not today anyway." Kou watched as his vision blurred, he stopped to try and focus. As he stopped, his vision became worse. Before he knew just what was happening, he found himself sprawled out on the ground staring at the tiled floor beside him. With great effort, he fought his way up to his feet and kept walking. Barely a step later, he lost his balance and fell into the lockers again. He placed one arm on the lockers for support and kept going.

"Kou are you okay?" Jesse again? No, the voice was too high, and much more feminine than any guy he knew.

"What do you want?" Kou asked, the words slightly slurred together due to his state. His breath came to him in ragged and erratic patterns. It always ended like this, five minutes and he'd be fine. He slowly turned to see who it was. There he went again, saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. Now Kat would be worried sick about him all weekend if he told her what had just happened.

"Oh hey Kat, I just took a nasty fall. You know it's nothing I can't deal with. I'm feeling a little hungry too, I'll just grab a bite once I get home." He pressed his back against the lockers and patted his stomach, he grimaced slightly. Kat pushed her hair behind her ear as she looked into his eyes. The two had been friends for over ten years. She was nothing like him though. She wore light colors year round and loved to be involved in school. Kou despised almost all school related functions, aside from the occasional play he would go see at the local auditorium. But then, that was only to watch her perform.

"You're lying. You've always been horrible at lying to me Kou. You know that I'm smarter then that. It was Sean. You messed with him again didn't you?" Kou began to speak, but stopped when she shook her head violently.

"When are you going to learn? You idiot! You can't just shoot your mouth off at anybody you want. Just for once, you should listen to me." She pulled her hand back, but stopped as she looked into his eyes. It was a look she had not seen in years. The same look she remembered him giving her when she asked about his mother after the plane she had been coming home on crashed into the Pacific. Grief, sorrow, and anger all rolled up into one neat little expression.

"I do listen to you Kat, but there are some things that I believe are more important then my own physical well being. You can tell me not to shoot off my mouth at them all you want, but until they believe this school is just as much ours as it is theirs I'm not going to stop. My mother had always believed in standing up for what you believe in, that's one thing she taught me before she died." Kou wiped at his mouth again then wiped the blood off his hand onto his shirt. Kat looked like she was about to cry and he smiled at her.

"Hey don't worry about me so much. It's unhealthy. Now if it's not too much to ask, could you help me get to my car?" She smiled and wiped at her eyes before putting his left arm around her neck and walking him down the hall.

"You can be a real idiot sometimes Kou."

"Yeah, I know. But where Sean is concerned, I won't back down until I show him and all his friends that we've earned the right to be here. It's a pride thing; guys are real big on it. That's the only reason I stand up against him. I don't care about the school." Kat smiled again, Kou winced as another sharp pain shot through him.

"He hits pretty hard, I think I need to lie down."

"Why don't you let me take you home Kou. Give me your keys." There was another strange occurrence. Since when did Kat offer to drive? Under any circumstance, she did not like driving. He always did the driving. Kou blew it off and fished his keys out of his pocket. Kat graciously took them and looked around the almost empty parking lot for his car as they left the school building. She found it after a few minutes, a small black truck. The paint was dull, and it had dents in many places from various incidents it had been in before Kou bought it. Kou climbed into the passenger seat as they reached the car, Kat walked around and hopped into the driver's seat.

"Now don't wreck my truck. It may not be much to look at, but it gets me around. Not to mention, Dad probably can't afford another car right now." The car sputtered and came to life as the gas gauge filled up and the stereo came on. She quickly switched the station from his usual hard rock and he groaned in protest.

"Come on Kat, that's not fair." Kat gave him a quick smile before throwing the car into reverse and backing out of the parking space. Kai reached for the knob to change the station back and she slapped the back of his hand. He pulled his hand back and gave her a pleading look. For a second, she thought about just telling him no. But, she gave in and switched it back. He smiled at her as she sped down the road.

"You're such a pain." She said jokingly, pulling the car to a halt as she reached a stop light. He turned up the volume slightly, and then looked out the front window to see a semi barreling down the road towards them. The driver of the huge truck was unconscious. Or drunk, he couldn't tell which from this distance. A car spun off the road as the semi slammed into it while it was turning.

"Kat, get out of the way quick!" Kat cried out in horror and slammed down on the accelerator and spun the wheel right, but the car didn't move. Kou looked over at her as she fought with the car; the semi was getting closer by the second.

"I can't, the accelerator is jammed or something!" Kou growled in frustration.

"Figures it would be today of all days that my car won't cooperate. Open the door Kat." Kat opened her door like he said and he pushed her out.

"Get away!" She shook her head in protest as she stumbled out of the jeep. The semi was seconds away from hitting the car as Kou fumbled with his seat belt. He grabbed the door handle and tried to pull the door open, but forgot that the passenger side didn't open from the inside.

"Damn!" He hissed and looked back ahead of the car. The semi hit the truck head on and continued down the road before the truck's wheels turned and caused both vehicles to go tumbling off the road.

"Kou!" Kat screamed his name and fell to her knees in the middle of the street. Tears streamed down her face, she told herself it wasn't true. When she looked back up to verify her answer, she began to cry again. Kou's truck was nothing more then scrap now, and Kou was still inside it.