Seth sauntered into the aging, wood-paneled room, his hands buried deep in his pockets as he carefully inspected the columns of decrepit desks; looking for a place to sit. His eyes started with the wall to his right, and moved around the room until they circled back to the space right in front of him. It seemed that this year's English class had quite the cross selection of the school's cliques and posies, and it was really up to him to decide who was the least likely to drive him insane by the end of the semester. He could sit with the jocks and their ditzy female groupies, and listen to their endless tales of drunkenness and partying. He could sit with the Goths, the skaters or the punks, and spend the year contemplating a method to eradicate the world of all of their poser kind. He could sit with the Ackies, and listen to them harp and complain about how they got an eighty-eight rather than a ninety-five. He could sit with the Goodies…

No. He could never do that. He had no intention of being "saved" in the foreseeable future.

It was at that moment that Seth realised that these were not options; that was, unless you could call having one choose their method of torture, an option.

He should not have been there, not in that English room, or in that school at all for that matter. He was supposed to be at Amy's house right now, relaxing with a lit joint between his fingers. He was supposed to be out of this wretched hellhole. He was supposed to be moving on with his life and having fun, while all these other losers buried their noses behind their pathetic textbooks.

That bitch had made him stay. He was seventeen now, damned well old enough to decide if he wanted to attend school or not. What kind of idiot wrote a law saying that a kid could drop out at sixteen, while at the same time giving their parents the power to keep them in school until they were eighteen? What good would books do him in the real world anyways? Besides, there was nothing offered in all those tech courses his mom had signed him up for this semester that he could not learn in his Uncle Bob's garage.

"I see you've made it to Grade Twelve English, Mr. Martin. I must say, congratulations sir- I honestly didn't expect you to make it."

Seth spun around to face his English teacher. Mr. McGinnis was a lightly built man, with brown hair that was graying at the temples. His nose was long and hook-like and a set of very thick lenses hid his brown eyes. His lips were thin and dry, leaving Seth to wonder if the school was paying Mr. McGinnis so badly that he could not afford a decent chapstick. The man wore a shirt of faded blue plaid, and the same black pants that he had worn day in and day out for the past four years.

Indeed, Mr. McGinnis had taught him English for the past four years. One would have thought that with four English teachers in the school, the chances of getting the same one four years in a row were low. However, it seemed that Seth had been lucky enough to beat the odds.

Seth rolled his eyes, before turning around and facing the columns of desks once more. There were only a few empty seats scattered about the room now. Eyeing the empty desk closest to the back of the room, Seth took a step forward. It did not matter at all anymore who he sat next to, so long as he could get away from Mr. McGinnis.

"Hold on, wait!" it took Seth a few moments to realise that Mr. McGinnis was speaking to him. He turned around once more to face the middle-aged man.

"You walked off before I was finished. I've assigned you seating this year."

"You made a seating plan?" In all the years Seth had had him, he had noticed that Mr. McGinnis usually waited a few weeks before devising a seating plan. In addition, creating a seating plan before the first day of school seemed downright ridiculous.

"No, I assigned you a seat, sir. I wanted to negate any bad influences, so I've put you next to one of my best students," Mr. McGinnis paused for a moment. "Sorry, I suppose I have fibbed a little. I've assigned you, and one other student, seating for the rest of the semester," he corrected.

Mr. McGinnis stood up, and strolled over to the pairing of desks in the front row, right in front of his own writing table. He pressed his fingers down on the wooden surface of the desk closest to Seth, and said, "You will be sitting here, and…"

"Bad influences?" Seth exclaimed, after giving up on figuring out the definition of the word "negate."

"Yes. You paid more attention to Amy and David last year than you did my lectures on Macbeth."

"But Amy and Dave dropped out," Seth replied.

"Oh, did they really?" Mr. McGinnis paused, and scratched his chin. "Well, I never did really look over the class list anyways. However, having a good student sit next to you certainly won't hurt either."

Once again, Seth found himself rolling his eyes. He sighed. He could not do anything about it. The kid was only supposed to be a "good" influence; that did not mean he had to take to him, or even make eye contact with whoever he was.

"Who is it?" it would not hurt to learn the kid's name.

"Damien," Mr. McGinnis replied.

Seth searched his mind, trying to figure out who this Damien kid was. As far as he knew, there was no person named Damien in his grade. Not that Seth new everybody in his grade either; outside of his own circle of friends, he really did not care about anyone else. Probably just some stupid assed nerd…

"Oh," Mr. McGinnis said, breaking Seth out of his thoughts, "here he is now."

Seth turned his head and watched as a small blond boy walked into the classroom. He was a coward, trembling and biting his lip as he surveyed the room. He had those eyes, those wretched, Anderson, green eyes. His eyes were large ovals, his nose a perfect triangle, and his perfectly set on his face. He had that face, the face he and his excuse for a human being of a brother shared.

God, how he hated that face.

"This is Damien Anderson, I'm sure you've heard of him before. I hear his brother is a local celebrity."

Damien looked up at him, and smiled. Seth hated that smile. And those eyes, those wretched eyes. He watched in disgust as Damien extended his grin. It was supposed to be a friendly gesture, but Seth was not about to accept any gesture from a member of the Anderson family. He looked Damien up and down, noticing that he was wearing all black.

He was a poser. That made him even more repulsive, if that was possible at all.

He watched as Damien's smile faded. Yeah, you'd better…he thought to himself in silent contempt. He was an idiot anyways. How dare he smile at him, really? And that face of his, that pretty little face of his…Seth clenched his fingers together in a fist…He wanted to punch that pretty little face, bruise it, mar it. That was the least that Steve deserved really.

"You two know each other, don't you? Damien's brother is the youth pastor at your local church, correct? Or do you live in Durby? I always thought you lived here in Chiniquam though…"

His hand relaxed, and he exercised his fingers to get the tension out of him. The urge to give Damien a black eye had diminished now, and the urge to wrap his fingers around Damien's neck and strangle him had replaced it. That was the only way he could avenge Steve, really; blood for blood.

"Mr. Martin, are you going to dignify any of my statements with a response?"

Damien shook his head. "I don't think he really likes me, sir," he said, his voice meek and wavering. He was trembling even more now, and he seemed to be hyperventilating. That made sense; Damien's asthma attacks were almost as "famous" as his brother was. Let him suffocate. He was biting his lip again, harder this time than the time before, almost to the point of bleeding.

"Well, he's going to have to learn to like you, because you two will be sitting together from now until June," Mr. McGinnis responded.

Damien threw his eyes to the floor, and slid his books onto the desk adjacent to him. Seth looked him up and down once more, refreshing the absolute feeling of disgust in his body. If he were going to have to sit next to this kid, well, he would have to find a way to work it to his advantage.

This semester was going to be very interesting.