Okay, first I have to apologise for the ridiculous and downright appalling amount of time it took to update this. I have been SO busy and so much has been going on that I just haven't had the time. And then I had it all perfect and I just had to actually upload it, and my computer DIED. And I lost the damn thing. So I just quickly wrote down as much as I could remember, so hopefully it'll do until I fix it up a bit later e.e;; As usual, thanks all who reviewed! And as usual, here are the replies! BACKWARDS!! o.O;;

Koharu-chan: I know, I'm sorry T.T

K.T.Wood: Language is okay! n.n Yeah, I don't see many Aussies around. Which kinda sucks XD Almost every story I read is set in America, and half the time I have no idea what they're talking about :P

NeverEverTown: I think he's really gone but...who knows?! You know what? I'm not sure. I just kinda thought 'Oooh! Bet! There should be a bet! Conflicty drama!' And didn't really plan the details. They are in Australia! I wasn't going to put them in a boarding school at first, but I'm glad I did :D

Silver Daratraz: I'm glad you love it

Test: The end is here! Finally!

Rachel: Sorry! -meep- I was busy!! I love my writing, but my personal life kinda overrides it.

Kari- Ryu no Hime: I have NO idea why he is XP He isn't THAT bad I guess, it's just the situation that made him a little...um...crazy. Yeah I know, but I decided to swap it around for once XD

Wolfwitch: Thank you!

Cookie Gestapo: It's been forever since I updated the damn thing :P Most people can't stand him, and they have good reason. He's a complicated one, that Koda. Bree was just trying to help, as much as it annoyed Bri XD

maybe.i'm.dreaming: Wow, 5 hours o.O; I love that song too n.n I could listen to it every day. Yeah, plots are useful things :P

ElliKat: Will the sun rise tomorrow?! Who knows XP Heh

FamousOneLiners: Hehe XP Thanks

A Tarnished Rose: I forget to review with almost everything I read . ;; lol they sound...fun? XP I'm still getting around Fictionpress -.-; So much to read, so little time! I know one nice Matt. That's about it. Who does homework anymore? Seriously? :P

Sian Parker: I'm glad you LOVED it n.n

Kogas Super Nova Girl: Hey, nothing wrong with inner-weird-perverts n.n Nice quote XD

PirateGrrl: Sorry it took so long to write it e.e; I wish it were that simple XD

Mr Anthrax: I er...didn't hurry? . ; :(

RisuMusume: It took three hours? I didn't think there was that much o.O;;

Esquirella: It came a little late e.e;; I wish I could XD

paledaisy78: Of course he didn't deserve it. Lol that's what I thought it stood for, but I wasn't sure. No, I don't have AIM. The most I have is MSN. I suck -sob-

ozumas girl: Thank you! I'm glad you like it so much!

knowbuddynose: Yeah, I know what you mean with that -.-; Never tried an internet relationship. Done the long distance thing and that was hard enough. I like the name Koda though...

jladotcom: I'm glad you like it and I'm sorry for not updating sooner. Seriously

Valoria Gilden: You're welcome :P Yeah, I'm sorry. There have been a few typos I was too lazy to fix XD

Cherise: Well I'm glad it brightened your day! I am trying to make things longer. I have a terrible habit of cutting them short.

Carpentar: Yeah, he really did care about him. He just didn't have great self-control XP I know what you mean with them acting like it's all Jamie's fault. I guess because Brian's their friend, so in their eyes he's automatically innocent? And hopefully they'll realise that relationships are two-way streets. And to your second review, he's not completely evil. It was just Brian suddenly being around and watching the person he's always wanted fall for someone else. It'd drive anyone mad. And to your third review...past 400! Just :P It's so annoying when Fictionpress does that...Next time you feel like whapping him upside the head, use something a little harder XP Three reviews for one chapter. You spoil me :)

rainbowhuggles: Mangoes are niiiiice. Yeah, vegemite can be like that. It's nice on toast. I'm not sure why. Because to me, ass is a donkey XP LOTE is Language Other Than English :) I'm glad you enjoyed it XP

r.mai: I was going to make something happen to Brian, but then I thought nah, I'll screw up Jamie for once XP

NoelleLove: lol quick mood swing there XP

Ree: Suck?! How could you love him?! Yes, he was important...psychotic flaws...cute? Strange XP He is awesome. If only he was real...Happiness is best! As for Koda...he was hella fun to write!

lilleo: If I have my way (and I do), he's not coming back. Thank you.

Miss Lucy: Projects suck. Having to work on them suck even more XP

Pugz: Yeah, you kinda would after something like that...can I have my cookie now??

Brett: He's fucked up? Take a look in the fucking mirror. If you're even reading this, which I doubt. Not that I care. Bloody arsehole.

Ez: Yes, that was a shitty excuse for a review. Hey, it took up two of your walls. Get over the damn snickerdoodles. Or at least shut up about them...and hit Ryu for me.

Coconutofdoom: I think everyone REALLY hates him now...I would, if there was anything to continue.

Genuine: I have NO idea. Tried to make it as un-cheesy as I could in one chapter, but...bah. Just read and see :P If it's too cheese you can have my head on a platter.

Losing Grip: Or is he??? He could come back! But he doesn't, so I'll shut up.

Spawn of Hell: I didn't really see it coming either...until I wrote it. Wow, we've actually found someone who likes good guys! Lol you're right, it usually is the other way around. He is very real, and that is why I stole him from my friend :P

Becks-007: Yes he is. Unfortunately. I'll get around to reading it as soon as I can find a few spare minutes e.e; I doubt it. After this one, there's not much to continue.

SatisfyAnEmptyInside: Breathe girl! XP Yes, he does deserve a hug. He was a good boy! I'm sad to see it end too, but it has to someday.

Now be prepared to see me repeat myself a lot and make no sense!


Brian shifted his head. It was no use. The pillow under him still felt uncomfortable. He didn't want to look at the new clock, but he did anyway. It was 6:01. He groaned, pulling the pillow out and pressed it over his face. Time was crawling. Of course, it might have helped if he'd actually slept. But he hadn't, and it was starting to take its toll. His eyelids felt so heavy, his head was stuffy and he couldn't concentrate on anything.

Across the room, Matt was snoring peacefully. Brian envied him. Everything seemed so simple for Matt. And at least he got to sleep all night.

He pulled the pillow off and sneezed. Light was leaking in from the window and he could hear the birds outside. Another day he didn't want to face. After yesterday's events, he really didn't feel like seeing anyone. Everyone was still going on about Jamie and Brian, and no amount of denial had made it easier. Which brang his train of thought back to Jamie, and how he'd looked the previous day. He'd looked terrible. Bruises, the scratches, the miserable and somewhat confused look he'd had, the way he'd held his arm, the way he'd walked. Like the world was ending.

Brian was very worried about it. He was worrying about Jamie more and more lately, and it wasn't having a great impact on the rest of his life. But he couldn't help it. Even though they weren't together, he still felt like Jamie was his responsibility in some way. Even though they weren't together.

He rolled onto his side and stared at the wall. Not together. Not anymore. He wasn't so sure that was a good thing anymore. He missed everything about the other boy. And he couldn't help but wonder if he'd done the right thing. Was pushing Jamie away just because he was scared something would go wrong okay? Was it okay to give up everything he'd worked for so easily? Was it okay to do that? Was it okay to be careful? Or was he being too careful? Too selfish?

He groaned again and rolled back over to look at the clock. 6:02. He shoved the pillow onto the floor and headed to the bathroom.


By the time he got out, Matt was awake and moving about.

"About time." He said sleepily. "You've been in there for ages."

"Sorry." Brian muttered, digging his uniform out. Matt rolled his eyes, rubbing the sleep from them at the same time, and went for a shower himself. Brian got dressed, slow and ready to fall asleep again. He was trying to do his tie when Matt re-emerged, a towel wrapped around his head.

"See, that's how you have a real shower. Quick and painless." He lectured, unwrapping the towel. His golden hair flopped onto his forehead and stuck to it, soaking wet. Brian went over to the window and peered out, fiddling with the loop of material around his neck.

"Here." Matt grabbed it and tied it with another roll of his eyes. "You're so bloody clueless."

"Tell me something I don't know."

Matt grinned, taking his shirt off. "Two plus two is four."

Brian just grunted, not in the mood for conversation. He turned his back so Matt could change his pants, and pulled on his socks. He frowned down at the hole in his left heel.

"I wonder what surprises await us today." Matt said mysteriously, sitting down on his bed to put on his own shoes. Brian glanced up sharply, raising his eyebrows at the other boy's smirk. "Why? Do you know something I don't?"

Matt shook his head, nonchalant again. "Nope. Now hurry up so I can eat."


"Gotta love a good, healthy breakfast." Bree murmured, buttering her toast, still half-asleep.

"Yeah," Kate agreed around a yawn. She dumped suar into her Cornflakes. "Except it isn't healthy. Or good for that matter."

Bree parked up when she notiiced Matt and Brian come through the doorway. "Oh look, boys."

"Pity we can't eat them." Kate grumbled. Matt sat down next to her.

"Who are you eating?" He asked, watching Brian claim his seat beside Bree. Kate grinned.

"Not you, unfortunately. But hey, wanna lick the cereal from inside my mouth?"

Matt made a grossed-out face. "Gross. No offence. I think I'll just steal it the normal way thanks."

Kate shrugged and handed him Bree's spoon. "Suit yourself."

Bree shook her head and glanced at Brian for the first time. "You look exhausted. Not sleeping much, huh?"

"Not really."

"Want some of my toast?"

"No thanks." Food just didn't seem as appealing anymore. He scanned the room, coming to rest where Jamie and Koda normally sat. They were empty and Brian frowned, trying to shrug it off. It wasn't as if they'd never missed breakfast before.

"I hate life!" Nat wailed, throwing himself into the empty chair beside Matt and startling everyone.

"What's wrong Natalie?" Bree asked between mouthfuls of toasty goodness.

"Break your brush again?" Matt snickered, eyeing the older boy's dishevelled hair. Nat whimpered, touching his hair.

"Very funny, jackarse. Koda's disappeared."

"What?" Brian snapped around to see him properly.

"Oh my god!" Kate exclaimed. "When?"

Nat shrugged his shoulders miserably. "Last night I guess, coz I saw him yesterday morning. No-one knows. He just vanished. All his stuff's gone, everything."

Brian looked back at the empty chairs, a sudden terrifying thought making his blood freeze. "Is Jamie gone too?!""

Nat rolled his eyes at the panicked look on the blonde's face. "Relax kid, your boy's still here."

"He's not my boy." The blonde muttered, relaxing and letting his pulse return to normal. He didn't know what he would've done if Nat had said yes.

Bree's hair swung around her face as she shook her head. "That's so weird. Why would he suddenly leave like that?"

"I have no idea." Matt forced a normal face. He was itching to tell his friends the truth about what had happened and what he'd done. But he made himself stay quiet. That was Jamie's story to tell. If he wanted to.

Brian watched his friend suspiciously, puzzled by the other boy's odd expression. But half of him didn't care. He was too busy rejoicing at the unexpected news. Koda was gone. Gone. As in, nolonger around to manipulate anyone, to hurt anyone. The relief was too enormous for words. For one thing, Jamie wouldn't get in as much trouble anymore. He couldn't be talked into doing anything and, hopefully, things would be better. No-one was poisoning his mind anymore.

Brian's forehead furrowed and he wondered how Jamie was dealing with it. He turned back to the conversation.

"The tragedy. It eats away at my soul." Matt deadpanned.

"It eats away at my band!" Nat cried, going all druamatic again. "What the hell am I gonna do now?!"

He looked at Matt. Matt raised his eyebrows.

"I love you Matty." Nat cooked, moving closer. Matt smirked at the desperation in the other boy's eyes.

"I'll think about it."

"Thank you!" He punched the air happily, Koda completely forgotten. "Thanks! I better hunt down Freeman and let him know the good news!" He took off.

"Mm, you, drums, band, hot." Kate said dreamily. "Just don't run off with a fan."

"Oh, I'll try not to." Matt replied seriously.

"Isn't that weird though." Bree spoke up slowly. "How Koda just left...I wonder if Jamie knows anything."

Brian flickered to the chairs. "I wonder how he's handling it."

"Ask him." Matt suggested blankly. Brian frowned at that.

"Not now...I'm going back to the room till classes start."

"Sure." Kate said, not sounding sure at all. "See you at morning tea."

"And I'll see you in bio." Matt added. "Remember, we have that dumb test so don't be late."

"Yeah." Brian left, planning to wander the halls aimlessly.

"You'd think he'd be happier." Bree shook her head again, giving up on boys.


Brian hated math. He especially hated it when it was the first subject of the day.

"Oi." Adrian nudged him with his elbow for the third time. "You may want to pay attention and try to learn something for once."

Brian sat up and tried. This was important stuff. He had to know it. But he just couldn't concentrate. The numbers on the board swum around, making no sense whatsoever. He was failing math. He was failing almost every subject and he knew it. No-one had told so, and no-one had to. He just knew it. His schoolwork was shocking. It was so far behind what it had been. His mother was gong to kill him when she found out.

He had never meant for it to get this bad. But somewhere along the way, he'd lost interest in it. He had other things to think about. Other people. He'd become so caught up in all things Jamie that the rest of the world had faded behind him.

And now he was paying for it.

He squinted at the whiteboard and tried to concentrate.


Matt glanced at his watch worriedly. Brian was going to be late. And on the day they had an important test to assess their progress.

He breathed a sigh of relief as the blonde came through the door.

"About bloody time. Ever hear of a clock?"

"Sorry." Brian apologised half-heartedly, sitting down at the desk. "Stupid maths teacher."

The desk in front was empty and his nose scrunched up, watching the teacher close and lock the door.

"Where is he?" He whispered, worried. "He's going to fail the test."

"I dunno where he is." Matt said quickly, hoping his friend would just drop the subject. He wasn't very good at keeping secrets sometimes. The urge to tell people usually won.

Brian glanced at him, remembering Matt's reaction to the news about Koda and the suspicious feeling he'd gotten about it. He'd been so calm and unsurprised...like he already knew.

"Matt...can I ask you a question?" He didn't wait. "Did you know Koda was going to leave?"

'Fuck.' Matt kept a straight face. "No."

"Okay everyone, you get five minutes revision time. Afrer that all your books will be put away and the exam begins. After you have completed your paper, place it face-down on your desk and wait silently for everyone else to finish. Anyone caught talking during the exam will be disqualified immediately." The teacher said from the front, flipping through the exam papers impatiently.

"Are you sure?" Brian asked, still not convinced. There was something wrong somewhere. He could feel it, and it was worrying the hell out of him.

"Yes!" Matt snapped, sticking to small sentences.

Brian eyed his friend, randomly opening his book.

"You're a terrble liar, Matt."

"I'm not lying!" Matt huuffed, his face a dead giveaway.

"Then why are you being so defensive?" Brian asked, frustrated. He just wanted to know the truth. Something was going on, and he needed to know what.

"Because you won't shut-up!" Matt snarled, getting really annoyed and wishing Brian would give up already. He could feel Brian's gaze on his face, and he glared down at his book.

Brian sighed. "Matt. Please."

Matt played with the corner of his page. Jamie hadn't said he couldn't tell Brian what had happened, but he knew it wasn't a great idea. It would just upset him. A lot. And then all the dramas would begin again.

"Matt." Brian repeated quietly, knowing by the frown on Matt's face that he was getting somewhere.

There was a long pause.

"Four minutes." The teacher droned.

Finally, Matt let out a breath. "Yeah. I knew he was going to leave." He regretted the words as soon as they left his mouth, but he couldn't take them back.

'You idiot.'


Matt shrugged numbly, mad at himself for his inability to do anything right. "I told him to."

Brian stared at him, confused. "You...told him to? And he just...left?"

Matt grimaced. "I uh, threatened him."

Brian raised his eyebrows, curious. He hadn't expected that. "With?"

"Can we not talk about it? Drop it."

"Matt, tell me. Please."

Matt swallowed, unable to stop himself. "You know how he goes a little crazy sometimes?"

"Yeah..." Brian said slowly, getting a bad feeling.

Matt sighed again. "Well he uh, had a fight with Jamie."

Brian sucked in a breath. "Koda did that? But Koda...why would he do that to him?"

Matt tried to shrug but his shoulders wouldn't move. "I dunno. But, um, yeah. They had a fight."

Brian scowled. "I swear, if he was still here...I mean, Christ. It's strange that he would leave just because of a fight though..."

Matt picked at his fingernail unhappily. "Yeah, well, Koda's strange."

Brain looked at him properly, noticing the unusual look on his friend's face. "Is that all? You don't look "

"For fuck's sakes Bri, just drop it." Matt said heavily.

"I would if you just told me the whole story!" Brian spat back, running his hand through his hair, agitated.

Matt groaned. "It's none of your business anyway."

Brian drew his eyebrows together at that, wondering how it had become Matt's business. "It concerns Jamie and that makes it my business, okay? I care about him...a lot, and you're really freaking me out here. I'm really worried about him."

"Two minutes." The teacher called boredly.

Matt glanced at the book, feeling helpless. "I...Koda didn't just..." He took a deep breath, wincing even as he spoke. "Koda...he just...h-he kind of tried to...uh..." He wasn't sure how to say it. How do you tell someone something like

that? "The nicest way to put it? He um, tried to force himself, uh..."

The news hit Brian like a ton of bricks.

"What?" Brian whispered, shocked.

"Yeah." Matt grunted. "It's sick."

Brian sat back, his mouth open in disbelief. "I can't believe...that fucking....oh god."

He felt sick. His stomach reeled, his throat was thick and dry, he couldn't breathe. "That..."

"I know." Matt muttered. "I could kill the little motherfucker. I have my problems with Freeman, sure, but even he didn't deserve that."

"One minute."

"I hate him." Brian snarled beginning to boil. "How could he, he was supposed to be his friend! How could he do that?!"

He wanted to kill him. He wanted to tear him apart, to make him suffer, how dare he even try to do such a thing, how could he?

He clenched his fists, he was shaking. All of a sudden he shot out of his chair, and Matt grabbed his arm.

"What are you doing?"

"I have to see him, I have to make sure he's okay, I, I have to see him."

"Bri if you go now you'll fail the exam." Matt snapped.

"I don't care." Brian wrenched his arm free and flew out the door, leaving Matt to shrug helplessly at the teacher.


His head was killing him.

He stared blankly at the bare bed across from his, vaguely wishing he could see his mother. He hadn't seen her since the attack. But she was in class, and he knew from experience that it was not a good idea to disturb her when she was teaching.

The knock on the door caused him to wince at the noise vibrating through his head.

He stay still, hoping whoever it was would just leave. Bt they didn't and the knocking continued.

"Alright, alright." He spat, raising himself off the bed, placing his hand on his head as the blood rushed to it.

"Stupid fucking evil son-of-a..." He mumbled under his breath, turning the knob.


"What are you doing here?" He adopted an annoyed expression. "Shouldn't you be in class?"

Brian pushed past him, slinging around to see the other boy's injuries properly.

"Yeah, sure, feel free to barge in." Jamie said sourly, shutting the door. Normally he would've been overjoyed to see Brian. But not now. Not when he was like this. He couldn't even manage to pull himself together, let alone deal with his ex.

Brian ignored his sarcastic tone, his eyes scaling the other's face.

"You...are you okay?" He'd calmed down a lot on the way over, but was still wracked with emotion. He almost smacked himself in the head. 'Stupid question.' He thought bitterly.

"'Fine." He was not fine. He was nowhere near fine. He was sore and scared and why the hell was Brian there? He should've been in class, he should've been anywhere but standing in his room.

"Liar. I...I'm so sorry." He said miserably. "I should have, I could've done, I, I should've been there."

"What are you talking about?" Jamie asked, getting a bad feeling that he already knew.

"Koda." Brian swallowed.

'Ah, fuck.'

"Matt." Jamie guessed with a scowl. "Trust him to fuck up."

"It wasn't his fault." Brian said quickly. "I practically begged him to tell me."

Jamie frowned a bit. "Why?"

"I was worried." He answered softly. "You...you missed breakfast and you didn't look good last night and then when you weren't in class...I kind of freaked out and I had every right to! When Matt told me I...I just had to make sure you're okay."

Jamie forced a quick smile, strained and looking more like a grimace/scowl. "Yeah, well, I'm fine."

"Bullshit." Brian said bitterly. "I can't believe...I should've...been there. I shouldn't have let you go in alone, I shouldn've - "

"B," Jamie interrupted, alarmed at the blonde's frantic tone, "there was nothing you could've - "

"Yes there was! I should've stayed, I shouldn't have automatically blamed you for the stupid rumours, I we shouldn't have even been fighting in the first place! I shouldn't be so fucking selfish! It wouldn't have even happened in the first place if I hadn't - " He broke off, close to tears.

"Brian, calm down." Jamie said worriedly. "It's not like it actualy happened, I stopped - "

"That's not the point!" Brian cried wildly, his fists clenched by his sides. Tears welled up in his eyes and he blinked them back rapidly. "It could have! And I wasn't there to make sure you were okay and now you're not okay and I, I...I'm sorry. And no matter how much I say that it still doesn't change what happened, and I just don't, I can't..." He trailed off, his voice mangled, his fingers uncurling.

Jamie shook his head, not sure how to respond. "It wasn't your fault. It had nothing to do with you." His mouth twisted downward, the pounding in his head worsening. "If anything it was my fault for not listening to anyone about him. And he's gone anyway and I'm fine, so stop freaking out."

Brian shook his head. "How the hell can you be so calm about it? You're just shrugging it off like it's nothing!"

"I am not!" Jamie snapped, his temper flaring along with his headache. "Fine, you want the truth? I'm not fine. I feel like shit. My back feels like it's broken. I haven't stopped thinking about it, I've only just stopped shaking from it, I'm scared, no, scratch that, I'm fucking terrified, I want to talk to my mother, I'm not in the mood for this shit and at the moment I just want you to shut the fuck up!"

Brian stared at him. He dropped his eyes, feeling guilty for upsetting the other boy. "Sorry." He muttered, turning his back to the other boy. Jamie caught his arm with a sigh.

"No, wait, I...that was a bit harsh. I'm just a bit out of it at the moment." He licked his lips, his eyes finding the blonde's. "Stay."

His voice was barely above a whisper. Brian swallowed hard, not daring to break eye contact.


Matt's voice swam through the open door.

Jamie let go of Brian's arm and took a step back.

"Sorry 'bout the interruption and all but the teacher sent me after you. I'm supposed to take you to Moncrieff. I was nice and gave you some time, but he's expecting us and if we don't get there soon..."

"Yeah." Brian cleared his throat, glancing at Jamie's sombre expression. "I...I guess I'll see you later."

"Bye." Jamie mumbled.

Brian couldn't move. He didn't want to move. What if he moved and something bad happened?

Matt, running out of patience, rolled his eyes and shoved him out the door. Brian threw one mournful look over his shoulder before he was shoved down the hall. Reluctantly, he trudged away.

Matt hung back, breathing in the uncomfortable air.

"Surry about telling him." He apologised sincerely. "But he was really worried and he really, really cares about you and - "

"It's fine." Jamie cut him off.

Matt nodded hesitantly. "How're you feeling?"

Jamie shrugged, finding it funny how things had worked out between them. They definately weren't friends again, but things had certainly softened. "Head's sore."

"You should see the nurse."

"No thanks."

Matt snorted. "Stubborn arse."


There was a steady silence. Finally, Jamie rubbed his sore arm.

"Nat tells me you're replacing Koda."

"Yeah. Thinking about it."

"Okay." Jamie nodded, holding out his good arm. "Welcome to the club then. Or...lack thereof."


"I hate him." Brian said sourly, turning the corner so sharply he almost hit the wall.

"I gathered." Matt said amusedly, making a face as the bell for morning tea rang overhead.

"'We're going to have to have a long talk to your mother.'" He said angrily, mimicking Moncrieff. "'I'm not happy about this Brian.'"

"But hey, at least you got to see Freeman." Matt offered, trying to calm the other boy down a bit.

"Yeah." Brian agreed faintly.

"And failed a class." Matt snickered.

"Shut up...it was worth it."

They entered the nearly empty dining room to find the girls already seated.

"How are they always here before us?" Matt asked confusedly.

"Must be a girl thing."

"Hey you sexy thing." Kate said chirpily, undoing her hair.

"I'd say the same about you, but I don't lie." Matt grinned, sitting down beside her and kissing her cheek. He was really starting to like her. She was funny and kind and always put him a better mood. 'Wasn't such a bad idea after all.' He thought, twisting a long red lock of hair around his fingers.

"Get a room. How'd your test go?" Bree smiled, happy to see others happy.

"Wouldn't know." Matt shot a playful glare at Brian as the blonde sat. "I have to take it at lunch."

"Why?" Kate demanded, not missing the look.

Matt shrugged. "Didn't feel well."

Brian gave him a grateful look and Bree poked his arm. "How about you? How'd you go?"

"Fine." He lied, deciding to not mention how he'd been disqualified and now had detention to look forward to.

"That's good." She stood up, kicking her bag under the table. "I'm gonna grab some food! Anyone in?"

"Not yet. But steal me some juice." Kate ordered, snuggling into Matt's side.

"Did he say anything exciting?" Matt asked Brian, watching the room gradually fill up.

"Who?" Kate was puzzled.

"Jamie." Matt informed her, patting her head.

Kate sat up properly. "You saw Jamie? How's he?"

Brian shrugged. What was he supposed to say? "He's..."

"Here I am, complete with orange juice!" Bree piped up, balancing a glass of juice on her palm.

Brian saw it coming before the glass even fell. He flinched, and the orange liquid soaked through his pants. The glass hit the floor and by some miracle didn't break. It rolled under the table and came to rest at Kate's feet.

"Oopsies." Bree said weakly, her face bright red.

"Great." Brian scowled, glaring down at his wet lap. "Just fucking great. Could this day get any worse?"

"Bri, I'm so sorry." Bree apologised, setting the other stuff down on the table. "Is it bad? Let me - oh. I'm so sorry. "

"It's fine." He said gruffly, pushing away from the table and standing.

"Go to the bathroom and see what you can do. If you can't get it out, just change." Matt said, trying not to laugh.

"Yes mother." The blonde sulked, slouching away.

"He doesn't seem very happy." Kate pouted, helping herself to Bree's lunch.

Bree sat down heavily, feeling so guilty. "I swear I didn't mean to do that."

"Don't worry, it's not just that. It's...been a weird day." Matt finished lamely.


For Jamie, weird was an understatement. It had been far worse than 'weird'. Seeing Brian had been the icing on the very cruel cake. And he'd been nice. So damn nice about it. He'd cried about it for fuck's sake. How was Jamie supposed to survive this whole stupid break-up thing if Brian kept crying over him like that?

He couldn't. How could he? How was he meant to spend every day in the same building as him without going completely insane? He'd never had to do it before. He'd never had a relationship that lasted longer than a week before, let alone one he'd actually cared about. He'd never fallen in love before. And he never wanted to again. If this was how it was going to be, he never wanted any part in anything like this ever again.

He sighed and dropped his head into his hands, trying to think straight. His headache was starting to go down, and he could hear people moving around outside. He didn't want to go outside. By now people would've realised Koda was gone, and being the closet person to him, he'd be asked questions. Too many bloody questions that he didn't know how to answer. How could he answer? He still wasn't quite sure what happened. Well, not what had happened. He knew what had happened. He knew what Koda had been trying to do, he just didn't know why. Koda had been his best friend for years, they'd been through thick and thin together. How could someone just...turn on you so suddenly?

He lightly traced the bitemark embedded in his neck. Koda was probably back home already, had probably made up some lie about being expelled or something.

He couldn't help but wonder...would Koda've attacked him if nothing had happened with Brian?

He groaned, cradling his skull. He couldn't even think properly without it leading back to Brian.

"This is stupid." He mumbled into his palms.

'Of course it is.' Inner Voice agreed. 'So stupid you should do something about it. Talk to the boy.'

"Not a good idea."

'Come on. Can you really keep going like this?'

"...No. And I have really got to stop talking to myself."

The sudden, shrill ringing made him jump. He glanced at the mobile phone balanced on the table, panicked.

It could be Koda.

'Stop being paranoid.'

He reached over and picked it up cautiously, looking at it vibrating in his hand for a few seconds before he shook his head to clear it, and pressed the green key.


"Hey baby."

He sighed with relief and relaxed. "Mum. Hey."

Tebbany glared warningly at a student about to throw paper onto the ground. "Just calling to see how you're doing. I haven't had a chance to see you lately, we've been so busy organising these stupid meetings. How are you doing?"

"Yeah. Fine." He hadn't told his mother yet. He wasn't so sure he wanted to. But just hearing her voice calmed him down.

"Okay. I heard that Koda left."

He knew that was going to come up. News travelled fast. "Um, yeah. Yesterday. I have no idea where he went. I didn't even know he was going to leave." It was only a half-lie.

Tebbany just nodded. "Hmm, okay. There's something else I wanted to talk to you about. A few of the students in my class have been saying you were in a fight. Care to explain?"

Jamie rubbed his forehead, memories of Koda's attack flashing through his mind. "I...just an arguement that went a bit too far. I'm fine. Really."

"Jamie...I'm really concerned about you. You haven't been yourself lately."

"I just have some shit on my mind, okay? I said I was fine. Can we drop it?"

"Jamie - "

"Por favor?" His tone sounded desperate, and Tebbany sighed.

"Yeah, alright. I probably won't be able to see you until this afternoon after classes."

Jamie glanced at his wrist. "Okay, whatever. Bye."


He pressed the red key and set the phone down silently, glancing up at his cieling. "Okay. Let's do this."


"Well personally I can't wait till my parents meet my math teacher." Bree boasted. "I think they're going to be really happy with - Jamie!"

"Jamie?" Kate repeated, lost. "What has he got to do, oh, Jamie, hi. Your face looks like it got into a fight with a mad cat."

Jamie scanned the table. "I know. Where's Brian?"

"In the bathroom I think." Matt answered, glad for the interruption in Bree's ramblings.

"Thanks." Jamie left in the direction of the boys' bathroom and Kate frowned.

"Are they still working their crap out?"

Matt appeared nonchalant. "Apparently."

"Love takes time!" Bree said melodramatically, flipping her short hair. Kate turned to Matt, grinning. "Do you love me yet?"

He smiled and snaked an arm around her waist, drawing her to him. "I could learn to."

Bree gagged. "You two make me sick."


Jamie stood outside the door of one of the public bathrooms, his stomach in knots. He had no idea what he was going to say. Hopefully sometheng that would have the blonde back in his arms by the end of morning tea. He seriously doubted that was going to happen, but he could still hope. He took a deep breath and pushed the door open.

Brian was at the sink, carefully wiping down the front of his pants. He turned at the noise, surprised to see Jamie there. Jamie looked at the big wet patch curiously.

"Orange juice." Brian explained quickly. "Bree spilt it."

"Of course." Jamie looked dubious, but didn't say anything else about it. "B, look," he shifted his weight to his other foot, glad the bathroom was empty, "this, us, the whole stupid break-up thing, it's stupid. Really, really fucking stupid."

Brian winced. "Jamie, don't do this, not now, please." He wasn't ready to talk about it again.

"Do you want it to be like this?" Jamie asked, determined to get his point across.

"I - "

"Do you?"

Brian hesitated. "No. Of course I don't."

"Then what the fuck are we doing?" Jamie demanded, waving his hand between them.

Brian glanced at his reflection in the mirror. "I...why do you have to keep doing this? It's hard enough without you doing this."

"Because," Jamie said with a scowl, "I love you."

Brian closed his eyes, the words having a strange effect on him. He hated hearing it, it was so hard to hear those words, but at the same time it sent...something through him. It made him feel ridiculously happy, and painfully miserable at the same time. His breath was shallow. "Jamie - "

"No, shut up and listen," The other boy snapped. "I hate this. I've never...I never thought I'd have to do this, the break up thing. But we seem to be doing it every bloody second minute. But the whole proper relationship was never on my To-Do list. You know that. Fuck, everyone knows that. Especially not if it was with a guy. That...that bit still shocks the hell out of me. I never planned for this. And, well, it's kinda fucked me up a bit. It's totally screwed up whatever reputation I had now that everyone practically knows. It completely destroyed my friendship with Koda. I don't think he would've...attacked me if everything with you hadn't happened. It's put me through more pain than I thought was possible. You think it's hurt you? It's hurt me almost as much. It's been horrible."

Brian's throat was dry again. "I..."

"And the stupid thing is, I'd do it all over again." Jamie snorted dryly. "I'd do it all over again a billion times if I had to. If it meant everything'd be okay and we'd be all together and that shit. I'd do it in a heartbeat."

Brian swallowed the lump in his throat. He looked at the floor and wished it would just open up.

"But it's not okay, and we're still screwed, and could you please tell me why the hell we're like this?"

Brian took a shuddering breath. "Because I can't do it again. I can't go through all that again. I can't...Jamie, you, I just...you mean a lot to me. You're everything to me. Being with you, having you, was, despite all the bad stuff, the best thing that's happened to me and...I can't think I could handle losing you again."

"This isn't all about you, B." Jamie said quietly.

Brian grimaced. "I know that. I don't want either of us to go through that - "

"Who says we'll have to? Stop assuming that the worst is going to happen."

"You can't guarantee it won't." Brian said weakly.

Jamie rolled his eyes. Before he could speak, the door opened and an 8th-grader stepped in. Jamie turned to glare at him.

"Get out."

The kid was flustered. "B-But I - "

"Fuck. Off." Jamie snarled, narrowing his eyes. The poor kid backed out, bewildered. Brian felt sorry for him.

Jamie faced Brian again, licking his lips. "I'm not guaranteeing it's going to work. You're right, I can't do that. There's no guarantee that anything's going work. It could screw up, I don't know. That's just a risk people have to take." He chewed his lower lip without realising it, breaking the healing cut. He winced and ignored the bitter blood. "I can't promise that we'll never fight, or seriously consider killing each other. I'm not saying that we'll never piss each other off, because we probably will. All I'm really promising is that I'll try my fucking hardest to make sure we don't want to kill each other. And that's really all I can do."

Brian looked at his reflection again, dragging a trembling hand though his hair. He didn't know what to do. He didn't know what to say. Jamie was sincere, he could tell that, he was dead serious. He wanted this. But he couldn't guarantee it. No one could. There was no way of making sure they didn't end up back at square one.

"It's just..." Jamie shrugged half-heartedly, "you just have to be able to think it's worth taking all those stupid risks. And for fuck's sakes, trust me for once. I've screwed up, I know that. You think I don't realise how much I've...I do. I know fucked it a few times. So I get why you're so reluctant to trust me...but...Bri..." He gave another helpless shrug. "I don't know what the fuck to say. I just...want to be with you. The rest of the world can get fucked. I'm not making any sense, am I?" He shook his head, giving a bitter laugh. "Just trust me, okay? Better yet, trust yourself."

Brian closed his eyes again, his breathing not going too well. "I...I can't. I'm just...I'm really sorry." His voice cracked terribly and he tried to swallow it, something, whatever it was that was blocking his throat, down.

And he truly was. Tears clung to his eyelashes and he couldn't be bothered wiping them away. He felt too heavy, too heavy.

Jamie took a step back, crushed. He couldn't believe it. Hs arms hung limply by his sides. He upened his mouth to argue, or something (anything) but the only thing that came out was air. He shook his head and turned away, wishing he hadn't confronted the other boy. He wished he was back in his room, alone, okay. He wanted to be okay again. Not like this. God, no wonder he'd never wanted to get seriously involved with anyone.

At the sound of the retreating footsteps, Brian opened his eyes. He wanted to move, to run up to the other boy and apologise a thousand times but his feet remained rooted firmly to the spot. He watched Jamie close the door behind him and finally, he could breathe properly again.

He whirked around, suddenly furious with himself, and, without knowing he was going to do it, his clenched fist smashed into the mirror. It shattered instantly, big shards crashing into the sink below. He stepped back quickly, ignoring the burning pain in his hand.

"What is wrong with me?!" He cried angrily, hurtling around to give the wall a sharp kick that sent more pain bolting up his leg. He sunk to the floor, his eyes squeezed shut, a tear rolling down his cheek.

"What the hell am I doing? What the fuck did I say no for?!"

The door opened and a guy wolked in, gave him a weird look and went into a cubicle. Brian ignored him and stared down at his hand. His knuckles were red and sore, and two of them cut. Tiny rivers of blood trickled aimlessly down his hand.

"What am I doing?" He repeated softly, noticing a glint of silver in one of the cut knuckles.

"Just trust me, okay? Better yet, trust yourself."

He wasn't so sure he did trust himself.

'Idiot.' He told himself furiously. 'You're going to throw away the best thing you've got, the thing you've wanted all your life, just because you're too chickenshit to give something a chance.'

"I..." He didn't have an answer.

'Just making up dumb excuses.'

He swallowed audibly, his eyes falling shut again. He'd been so happy with Jamie before everything had gone wrong. He wanted that again. He needed it.

He opened his eyes and gritted his teeth.

"You just have to be able to think it's worth taking all those stupid risks."

He carefully pinched the tiny shard in his knuckle and, with a pained moan, pulled it out.

He pushed off the floor.


The other boy was nowhere in sight. He glanced down the two halls, fear swelling in his gut.

'What way?'

"Left." It led back to the bedrooms, and Brian figured that would be where Jamie would've gone.

He sped down the hall, dodging the students hanging around there.

"Jamie?" He stopped and looked around, desperately searching for the other boy.

"Jamie!" He cried, moving toward the familiar person walking down the long hall. At the sound of his name, Jamie turned, and barely had time to think before Brian was upon him, crushing his lips to the other's. Jamie winced as pain shot through his mouth from his split lip, but he didn't care. It was Brian.

Brian pulled back before Jamie could respond, his pale face flushed.

"You were right," he said in a rush of hot air that curved around Jamie's face, "about everything. This isn't just about me and I've got to realise that and...god, I'm so bloody stupid sometimes! I'm sorry, I shouldn't have even, I should've just listened and - "

"Calm down." Jamie said, touching his lip gently. It stung. Brian took a deep breath.

"You're right. It is full of risks, and that is what you have to decide. Whether it's worth it or not, and everything and..." he was giddy and finding it hard to keep his pulse under control. "I'm not, argh! I get scared, and at the moment I'm so fricken terrified that it is going to screw up and that I am going to lose you again because I don't think I could...it'd kill me." His lip trembled and Jamie frowned, warmth spreading through him as he realised what Brian was trying to say.

"I wasn't kidding." He said shakily, moving closer to the other boy and backward at the same time. He was too nervous to do anything right. "When I said I love you. I do, I think I really do, I've never really been in love before so, yeah, y'know, inexperience and all, and, I guess I didn't do such a great job of proving it. I took everything out on you and I wasn't there when you needed me the most..."

"B, you didn't even know about that until today." Jamie said with a frown. Brian shook his head.

"I should have. We shouldn't have been fighting in the first place. It was just me being paranoid and stupid."

Jamie smiled weakly. "Yeah well it's not like I haven't given you reason to be."

"True...but I haven't been perfect with it either." Brian argued. He licked his lips nervously, eyes flickering up to trace the curve of Jamie's neck. He reached out, hesitating only slightly, and gently touched the bruised bitemark left by Koda.

"What the hell did he do to you?" He whispered, pained. "That bloody...I just want to strangle him."

Jamie shrugged, unable to speak. The sobject was a touchy one still, and not one he liked talking about.

Brian stepped in, sucking his breath between his teeth. He leant in and pressed a feathery kiss to the teethmarks. Jamie shivered. He'd really missed that feeling. He brang his hands to Brian's waist, wrapping them around the curve of his hips. Brian took that as an 'okay' and basically fell into the dark-haired boy, wrapping his arms around Jamie's waist, and buried his face in his neck.

Brian drew a deep breath that made him feel dizzy and his chest stung slightly. "I...I want to do it. I want to do it properly, without the stupid fights and me being an idiot. I wanna," he swallowed, the swirling emotions making his head spin, "I want you. I want to be with you. I just...I need you." he tugged his hair absently. "If I start to go stupid again, just hit me okay?" He paused, listening to students walking past, seconds silently ticking past as he waited for Jamie to say something. Brian tightened his grip, starting to worry. "Is...is that okay?"

"Yeah." Jamie breathed finally, coming back to earth. He'd been so lost going over what Brian had just said, tangled up in all the emotions hurtling around. The air was so thick.

Every rigid muscle in Brian's body relaxed and he exhaled loudly, pulling back just enough to look Jamie in the face. "I missed you. I really did."

"Likewise." He just couldn't speak properly. He was too excited to even think about forming proper sentences.

Brian bit his lip and kissed the scratches snaking down Jamie's face hurriedly, as if kissing them would make them disappear. He shuddered, gently nudging Jamie's jaw with his nose. "I swear, if you start to screw this up again, I'll get Matt to kick your arse. And if I start to screw it up, you can kick my arse."

Jamie's mouth twisted into a wry smile, his cheek tingling. "Deal. But I can think of better - "

"Don't even finish that." Brian warned, giggling dizzily, his skin hummimg. He sniffed and rested his forehead against Jamie's ear. "God...I'm such an idiot...and everyone's watching us." He added, suddenly aware that the students in the hall were staring at them in shock. It made his cheeks flare, bright red and burning. Jamie kissed his hair, clasping the blonde's hand, feeling the long fingers in his own. He couldn't think.

"Does it look like I give a shit?"

He didn't. He had Brian. Brian had him. As if he cared what anyone else thought. They could go to hell. And he could just stay there with Brian.


"B, hurry up, you're taking forever. " Jamie whined impatiently.

"Jamie I just got in!" Brian said incredulously. "I haven't even dialled the number yet!"

"Well hurry up!" Jamie snapped, pouting. Brian rolled his eyes and flashed a smile at his friends waiting at the end of the hall.

"Baby." He muttered, dialling the number.

"I heard that."

Brian leant back on the cubicle wall, twisting the phone cord around his fingers. He sighed nervously, listening to the rings. He stopped breathing as he heard the click.


Brian held his breath.


He let it out slowly. "Hi."

There was a brief pause. "Brian? Is that you?"

Bian glanced out the cubicle. "Yeah. I uh, I just had to call about the parent-teacher meetings. Um...are you coming?"

"Of course." Elizabeth sounded surprised. "I have to see how you're doing."

'Great.' Brian thought moodily. That wouldn't go down well. "Oh. Okay."

"And," Elizabeth hesitated, her voice wavering, "maybe, if you wanted to, you could introduce me to your, um, b-boyfriend."

Brian was floored. "What?" He looked at Jamie, shocked.

"What was his name? Jamie? Lives next door?"

A smile spread over the blonde's face. Jamie quirked an eyebrow at his boyfriend's freakishly happy expression.

"Yeah." Brian grinned, buzzing. "Yeah. That'd be...yeah."

"Okay well...I'll see you then? And, Brian...I'm sorry for the way I acted. I was just very surprised, I suppose. But I've spoken to some people and, despite whatever choices you make...you are still my son. I can't just erase you from my life. I love you for god's sake."

"Thank you." Brian breathed, the words sounding like heaven. She had no idea how much her acceptance, however reluctant, meant to him. Besides, he had all his life to convince her.

"What for? I'll see you in a few days." Pause. "I love you."

"Yeah." He replied, too embarrassed to say it back. "Bye."

He hung up and stepped out, relief washing over him. She accepted it. Finally. What's more, she was beginning to support him. He wanted to dance or something.

"Took you long enough." Jamie sulked.

"I was only on there for what, two minutes!" Brian said, amazed. Jamie snorted.

"Yeah, two minutes you could've spent with me instead."

Brian sighed. "You're impossible. When did you become Mr Jealousy anyway?"

Jamie smirked and took the blonde by the hands, tugging him closer. He kissed him, crushing their mouths tog ether hungrily. He let go of the hands and moved his up to Brains'hair, tangling his fingers in the soft locks. Brian snaked his hands around the boy's hips, pressing against the small of his back and biting down on Jamie's lip gently.

They parted, their foreheads pressed together, breathing a little heavier than usual.

"Oh for god's sake, get a damn room." Kate joked with Matt beside her, joining them because they were tired of waiting. Matt made a disgusted face.

"Or at least stop doing that in public. You're going to make someone sick."

Brian blushed furiously, wiping his hair. Jamie just poked his tongue at the other boy, and Matt rolled his eyes.

"Oh yeah, real mature Freeman."

Bree sighed and made her way over. "How'd it go with your mum, Bri?"

Brian smiled and they started to walk down the hall. "Good. She's coming to the meetings. And, uh, she wants to meet you." He added to Jamie. Jamie groaned.

"Fuck. I hate meeting the parents. Your sister was bad enough."

"I dunno, I liked her." Matt said with a grin. He flinched when Kate shot him a glare. "In a purely friendy way of course."

"I'm sure you'll live." Bree patted Jamie's shoulder in support. She was still getting used to constantly seeing him attached to Brian.

"Unfortunately." Matt added without missing a beat. Jamie gave him the finger and he smirked. "Ooh, getting better."

"Jamie," Brian said seriously, touching his hand to get his attention again, "this is really important to me."

Jamie scowled half-heartedly. "Alright, alright, I'll do it. Geez."

Brian smiled. Things were coming together perfectly and he couldn't remember being that happy. For once. "Thanks." Knowing Jamie would at least try to be on his best behaviour meant he could relax again.

Ignoring everyone else, Jamie leant over and kissed his temple. "S'kay." He murmured, trying to walk straight with his mouth glued to Brian's ear. "You know I'd do it for you." It amazed him how much Brian had changed. How much he had changed. Brian had been a complete whimp, and just let others walk all over him. Now...well, he was still a bit soft, but he had definately grown himself a backbone. Jamie never thought it was possible. But then, he'd also thought it was impossible for him to care so deeply about anyone...to be willing to give up everything to be with them. In his opinion, they had come a long way.

"I swear to God, if you two start trying to eat each other alive again, I'm gonna puke." Matt said with a grimace.

"Shut-up Matty." Jamie said almost affectionately, moving away from Brian.

Kate giggled. "Just ignore him, Jamie. I think it's cute."

Bree wrinkled her nose. "I'm with Matt. It's kinda nauseating."

"Yeah coz you're jealous coz you're alone." Jamie said smiugly. Bree hmphed and Brian made to playfully slap Jamie but the other boy grabbed his hand and swung him in front of him, bringing them to both to a standstill.

"Jerk." Brian smiled, cupping his face and kissing Jamie softly. He just couldn't help it. It was like he couldn't keep his hands or lips off him. He needed every inch, every minute...he didn't think he could ever let go. He didn't care if people knew anymore. He was happy, his friends still supported him, Jamie was happy, Koda was gon, and his mother was turning around. He didn't think it could possibly get any better. It may have been a risk, sure, but it was one definately worth taking.

He opened his eyes and smiled again, fondling Jamie's cheek. The scratches were healing slowly. Jamie hadn't heard a word from Koda, and he was hoping it would stay that way.

"You're an arse."

Jamie just smirked, pressing a kiss to the corner of his mouth. He tasted salty, and Jamie couldn't get enough of it. "I know."


Okay, that ending was pitiful. I definately coulda done it better but at the moment I'm too exhausted and upset to really care. It could have been better in a lot of places and I'll probably come back later when I have some free time and my brain is working again, and fix it up a bit. There are probably a billion typos in there, and I apologise for that. And of course, I love reviews! And since I can't thank you next chapter, thanks to everyone who reviews this one. Aaand thanks everyone who's read this, reviewed and put up with me XD

Dirty Angel Toes