Escape, by OwlofArtemis.

-dedicated to all the freaks of the world, myself included-

I never really wondered how a name like 'Johan' might affect a child, until I was staring right at him. Johan James. The first kid to call him 'J.J' had been poor Chris Fields. The last kid to ever call him 'J.J' had been poor Chris Fields. After watching Johan box Chris' ears, after watching Chris spit out three teeth and wipe at his bloody nose, no other third grader had ever made that mistake again. I had watched from my corner of the playground, already being singled out as a Freak, capital 'F', and I had never wondered. Until now, of course. Now that he was a tall, thin Senior with a dragon curled up on his chest.

"Nice tattoo." I managed to get out, before the other guys that had been playing basketball with him began to yell at him to get the ball. He turned and gave them a glare that shut them up pretty quickly, and when he turned back to me, I had already scrambled to remove the ball from under my bench.

"Here." I gave it to him quickly. You never knew with Johan James. They returned to the game, all grunts and the slap of shoes on the concrete. All around me, it seemed the world breathed again, and I looked back at my book. Suddenly the idea of reading at the park wasn't so appealing anymore. But I didn't want to go back home. Not yet. I sighed and watched the guys play a while longer. There was Chris- still wary of Johan, letting him steal the ball a lot easier than he usually would have played. A bobbing blonde head down the court would be Gary, the high schools lead player. Odd to see him here, he really didn't like street ball. Then I watched Johan.

For all his distaste of organized sports, he sure did play B-ball well. He ducked and dodged so well, I imagined him to be an eel, or a snake. He scored over Chris, dunking the ball and letting one of his teammates –a guy I'd never seen before, rebound it to Gary. Chris snarled a comment, and almost immediately I knew Johan had heard, and that it was not a favorable remark. He whirled on my classmate, and in three strides was right in his face. I sucked in a breath. Johan didn't flap his hands around the way most guys did. He just watched Chris with a venomous expression. And almost every one of his teammates was suddenly behind him as well. I got to my feet, though I wasn't sure why. It's not like I could do anything, it would be insanity to even try. Chris looked him up and down. Don't push him, I thought, don't even touch him. Apparently Chris didn't obtain the gift of telepathy, because his next move was to swing his fist around towards Johan. I bit my tongue. Johan moved back, just far enough for Chris to totally miss him, but he didn't strike back. He only watched Chris with a steady, neutral look. When one of his teammates moved forward as if to hit Chris or Gary, Johan put a hand out on his chest, moving the guy back.

"Let the rich boy think he's accomplished something." He said, and even as far as I was, I heard the guys snicker. All but Chris and Gary. I knew Gary couldn't afford to be caught fighting, his team was counting on him to have a perfectly clean record for this year. Chris, though…. I clutched my book in my arms as Johan left, grabbing his sweatshirt from the ground as he passed it. One by one, the rest of his teammates casually sauntered off. Looking around, it seemed insane to me that no one else was watching in alarm, as I was. Didn't anyone else see the way Johan had looked back at Chris in absolute hatred and loathing? Quite suddenly, it was dark. Or maybe I hadn't noticed, too wrapped up in my own fears and thoughts to note the fact that the sun was gone, and the light that was left over was rapidly fading into the night. Great. Now my aunt would have a good excuse to rant and rage at me. If she was even home. Who was I kidding? She was probably home for the first night in a month, just so she could catch me coming in after curfew. That's how the universe works.