A/N: Okay, I'll be disconfirming and not tell you exactly what this is about. Just give your feedback and what you feel it should be. Have fun with it and enjoy! By the way...probably only partially slash lol.

He was sixteen. Still just a child. But he had been raised as an adult. Grown up in this small, country town where the seasons change, but life never seems to. The faces and places remain the same as the person inside of those hollow husks tends to lose itself among the masses. Everybody's the same, everything's the same. It's…peaceful. Yet, it's also a life of never-ending torture. Nothing begets nothing. What is there to gain in a world where nothing ever changes? But sometimes, things do change. In the winds of autumn where the trees wither, and the heart yearns for a brighter future in the death of the old. And that prayer is answered. Through death comes a new seed that will bear the fruit of a new era. And in this little, sleepy town of nowhere, the winds were shifting this year. Time was beginning to loosen it's hold on this hollow place to allow the seeds grow. New life was to spring from that comfort which would be lost.

>

Rick Chestfield was born, unluckily, into this tiny town. He grew up with a loving mother and a strict father. He lived in a tiny house on Main Street where his life always seemed the center of attention. Because if your family lived on Main Street, they were expected to be well-known. It was Main Street. Not to mention there were constant block parties throughout the year to celebrate the frivolous holidays that no one remembered the meaning to. But Rick would smile as he bit into that corn on the cob, or the succulent piece of ham, because he knew that this is where happiness lied. His parents would shower him with happiness (or that's what's to be assumed) until he forgot all about what depression was. Because in a town like this, there was bound to be the few who tended to frown for no apparent reason.

Rick never questioned the town or his upbringing. His mother stayed at home and took care of him, as she did with his older brothers. She wore dresses around the house and kept a permanent smile that never seemed to fade, but only grow wider as all seemed hopeless. Her hair would always be in a tight perm as she wore it the same everyday. She would always cook breakfast in the morning, prepare a lunch for him and his father in the afternoon, and work an hour in the kitchen preparing supper for three. She would nod her head to any matter that came to her attention, and if she didn't know the answer (which was only about half the time) she would direct all matters to her loving husband.

Now Rick's father was certainly a typical father. He had always stressed a strong bond between father and son and played that out fully. He enrolled Rick and his brothers in all the sports physically possible for boys to enter (except anything having to do with the arts or…dare I say, soccer). But baseball, football, basketball were the three main ones in which he emphasized. He'd toss the ball around with is sons every weekend usually and give them advice about any of their "manly" troubles. When they were little, he'd often discipline them when things had gone bad by either sending them to their rooms or with a good ol' fashion spanking. He was never harsh with them, but always disapproving.

As Rick grew older, he realized that his father was certainly a little bit harder than most fathers. What could he say about a retired navy man who had finally settled down with a loving wife and had three boys who stood tall and carried their chins above their shoulders? No, there was nothing wrong with that. Except, Rick had a hard time understanding him. He'd just come to accept his father's rule, punishments, and ideas. In this family, there was no arguing with dad. He remembered about how his brother Kevin, the eldest, had gotten into arguments with his dad. Rick couldn't exactly remember what it was about, but he remembered sitting on the living room couch and listening to them go back and forth between each other in the kitchen. His mom would be standing in there, trying to wash dishes and just closing her ears to the troubles at hand. After all, it wasn't her job to mettle in those affairs. But after she had finished her work, she'd come and take Rick upstairs where sweet dreams would usually overlap the screams and hate that traveled from downstairs. Eventually, the arguments came less and less. Kevin had just stopped talking to his father. Instead, he spent most of his time away from home and Rick saw even less of him on the weekends. There would be periods where he wouldn't even come home and Rick would ask his mother if Kevin had moved out. She'd smile and say that he was just going through a phase. Too bad the phase never seemed to end. Because now Kevin was in his twenties and never came home, but only called on the "holidays."

So how was Rick's relationship with his father? It was good. He rarely disagreed with his father, and when he did, he tended to just accept his dad's viewpoints and leave the subject alone. Though most of the time, Rick often talked to his father, he respected him. He was a navy man, and a dad. There wasn't anything to question.

>

It was an early morning in September. Autumn was approaching rather quickly and already had his street been preparing for the annual, Fall Festival. Rick could remember coming to it when he was little. His mother would give him a few dollars to explore at his whim. He'd usually buy a caramel apple and play a few games where he'd win some cheap, plastic prize. Then he would return where his father would cook out wearing a Griffin's sweatshirt. The Griffin's were the local high school's mascot, the one that Rick just happened to attend.

But now, Rick had grown to the plump age of sixteen and the life of being a child was also coming to a close. His father had given him his old Buick as his birthday present. Rick couldn't have been more overjoyed at the fact of getting a car, but it almost seemed pointless. The school was only four blocks away and he rarely went into the city for anything. But just having it on hand seemed like enough for Rick. The responsibility his father entrusted him with was more than he could've hoped for.

So on this early morning in September, Rick walked down pleasant Main Street, inspecting the various booths that were being set up for that weekend. He always hoped the cake stand would return. Then maybe he might consider going outside to actually take place in the merriment. It would at least give him an excuse.

Leaves had yet to fall from the trees on this early morning in September. No, it was still too early for the trees to give up their merriment. Instead, they tended to cling on to that last bit of greenery that existed in their empty existence. Rick would enjoy the last few days of being able to wear a short sleeved shirt for the rest of the year. He would enjoy that last few moments he could walk under the cool and crisp shade of the maple trees that lined the street in which he would along everyday. He would enjoy those last few steps in where he could feel happy just walking to school instead of say, "Oh…another day."

On that Autumn morning, Rick strolled down the usual sidewalk just as he would normally do everyday. He found walking to school quite peaceful. Especially this time of year where the weather was just perfect in the morning. He felt the cool wind behind him as the morning light showered his face with its golden beams. Yes, everything was quite perfect today.

But Rick's calm and monitored rhythm was interrupted abruptly. Something had run into him suddenly. His mind was boggled as he was sent back a step. He shook himself back into consciousness where he saw a young girl kneeling on the ground in front of him. At first, he didn't quite know what to do or say. He wasn't too sure if he even knew that there was another human being there. All he knew was that there was something that had disturbed his perfect day and that's all that seemed to matter.

But when the realization came to him he finally said, "Are you okay?"

Golden brown eyes shot a glance up towards him. The wind blew a calm whisper as the golden locks of silky hair from the young female blew up into the morning air like a spider's web caught in space. Her cheeks flushed a tiny hit of ruby red across the beautifully pale skin of hers. She parts her pinkish lips with a reflexive smile as Rick could feel his heart beginning to pound harder. She seemed to have gained her composure as she stood up from the ground. Her motions were smooth and elegant like a dancer's. She stood only about two inches shorter of Rick as he could feel his eyes following hers as she moved. She dusted off her plaid skirt and checked her black stockings for any stretches or tears. Rick saw her cleanly shined black shoes. Her black socks were adorned evenly like a perfectionist. She lifted her black backpack off of the ground and slung it across her shoulder in a clean, solid motion. She flicked her hand through her hair as she flashed him one more smile.

"I'm okay. I guess I just wasn't paying attention to where I was going." She giggled.

Rick's heart seemed to have stopped for the moment. The whole world had stopped. Birds had ceased their tantalizing songs, the wind had silenced its gentle breeze, and the space around them seemed to have frozen like an eerie photograph. Time had stopped just so Rick could observe this lovely girl whom had taken his heart the second he saw her.

His words didn't come to him, neither did his actions. Instead, he stood there, dumbfounded at her beauty and elegancy. She flashed him a queer glance.

"Are you okay? You're not hurt are you?" She asked him in a very casual and concerning tone.

Rick's mouth was hanging open slightly like some stupid tourist who was seeing Niagara Falls for the first time. But her words came through to him as he shook his head in response.

"Oh...well that's good." She smiled once more, "I wouldn't think you were hurt. After all, I'm the one who fell."

She chuckled to herself. Rick responded with his own ridiculous laughter which sounded more like someone who was gasping for breath.

"Well, I better get going. I forgot my books. I don't want to be late for my first day." She began to walk past him and Rick could already feel the moment slipping. The world was beginning to move steadily once more like a clock. He felt as if he was losing her as her presence began to slowly fade. He wanted to turn around and say something that would keep the moment for just a little bit longer, but the words never came. He couldn't even bring himself to turn around and watch her walk away from him. Instead, he listened to the sound of her shoes clicking against the sidewalk as it dissipated as well.

>

School was a world of its own. Every high schooler knows that high school is another existence outside the real world. It has everything it needs. A population of students that roam through the halls like a herd of cattle. A government, also known as the administration that serves more like a dictatorship than anything else. Handing out punishments and deciding on the laws of the land with no consent to those who must follow it. There are social groups that range from the jocks to the preps to the geeks to the weird to the "norm" and to the various in-betweens. Each defines its own culture and its own rules in which to govern its people. They act like a family or more of a tribe. They even have a religion which is often called "school spirit." You follow it exactly and without question. Everyone is expected to do it and it provides a sense of security for those who become enveloped in it. Then there's the news, or what many others just call gossip. It spreads like wildfire through the hallways like some deadly pathogen. Rumors to lies to absolute truths flood the ears of those who are willing to listen and are then regurgitated into various other forms to make life a little more pleasing. Even though there seems to be this tiny world in the shell of another, it still means something to everyone, no matter what you might think of it. It will affect them in some way, even if they say it doesn't. For everyone revolves around something. It's how the world works.

Rick was very much a follower of ways. He followed many beliefs in high school. He hung onto every trend that flew out from one social group to the next. He went to all the home games, and occasionally the away ones, and participated in all the school events he could (except the plays and musicals because those weren't for men). He was never in the "popular" group, no matter how hard he tried to be, but never in the "outcast" group either. He was usually a go-between who was able to communicated briefly between the two extremes and fall somewhere comfortably in the middle. This led to a very peaceful life where he would live comfortably away from the public's eye. That's where he liked to be.

There are many morning rituals that Rick takes when he arrives at school. For the first period of the day is often socializing for an hour before school actually starts. That usually tends to the be the most popular one, right behind lunch and after school. There are many things to discuss here, but we'll get back to that later.

The first bell rang as a pierce shrill that directed the herd in their driven paths towards their classrooms. Rick was no exception as he trotted alongside the other students towards his first hour class. The faces had become familiar to him. The kid with freckles, the obscenely tall girl, the "cute" couple always holding hands and giving each other a peck and a giggle as they parted ways. Yes, those things were always natural. They weren't at all different from the usual pattern. But that was until a face caught the glimpse of his eye. That one that seemed to have stirred his soul restlessly.

It smiled at him as he passed. It noticed him. The light emanating from it's majestic skin as it seemed to slowly fade past him as it did once before just moments before he had been thrown into this river of dread. But as the glimpse seemed to pick up his heart, it faded just like that. The light was gone and so was it. He tried to stop and find it once more, but the flow would not let him. He was taken in, over swept, by the natural order of things as he was hurled into his classroom and the door was shut. Darkness again.

The announcements had been the same everyday. Or at least it seemed that way. He had heard all the sports announcements since the week began, and if he hadn't…they all sounded the same by now. Clubs and organizations calling out to him again. He'd get to them eventually. Mr. Farsth put down the paper and proceeded with his usual lessons.

The class was Algebra-2. Standard for any junior. Though he wasn't in the advanced class, this suited him just fine. Rick was always good at being mediocre. Mr. Farsth's voice seemed to drone endless for the last forty minutes. Or at least it seemed thirty minutes. Rick looked up at the clock. Ten minutes. He returned his head to his arms that were carefully laid upon his desk. Tired. Though he really wasn't, this class seemed to suck the energy straight from him. Or maybe it was just the entire school.

"Alright, now we'll try some exercises. Get with a partner and do problems…" His voice carried on.

Rick bit his lip. A partner. He hated when that happened. It was bad enough he didn't have any friends in this class, but he tended to dislike most of the people in this class. He usually settled with Mark Donalds who just happened to be absent today. Another punch in his stomach. But he figured he'd just let it go and get on with whoever didn't have a partner today.

He settled with a kid he hadn't really met before. Actually, he didn't even know his name. Had he even recognized him in this class before? He had been starring out the window the entire class period, probably unaware that class had even started. Rick tapped him on the shoulder and felt this strange shock run through his arm. A weird spark that was cold and unusual. Like some type of warning telling him to stay away from him. Rick was probably getting ahead of himself. But he had to admit that this kid really didn't present a very "social" attitude.

"Hey, want to be partners?" That's all it ever took. You'd just mutter those words and they'd never object unless they were already in a group. But Rick highly doubted this kid had ever spoken to anyone else the entire time.

He turned his head. The sun had this strange color this time of year. It was a deep orange. It had positioned itself just in a perfect spot. As he turned his head, the sun broke out around the edges of his crown and began to reflect its deep colors across upper half. It almost looked like some kind of halo you see in old paintings. His dirty blonde hair that looked like it formed a protective helmet suddenly seemed to turn into a dark, majestic brown. Rick saw his skinny, small frame. He was very…ordinary. All except his eyes. They were gray. Not just gray, but gray. They were such a strange color that Rick found them unworldly. They ran deep into his heart and seemed to guide their way up and down his soul. As light entered them, he found that they almost danced as if absorbing every bit of information that went into them and storing it somewhere safe.

He did not speak, but nodded his head.

They began to work on their problems. All the time, he did not talk. Rick felt urged to ask his name, but did not. He erased some of his problem and began working on it again. Anything would suffice as long as he didn't have to start an awkward conversation with the silent boy. All the time he kept his head bent down at his work, he found something peculiar about this silent boy. Somehow he felt as if he knew him from somewhere. Maybe one of the many faces he found wandering through the halls in-between classes. But that seemed unlikely. Never had he heard this kid's name nor spoken of.

The bell rang and the rest of class seemed a daze to Rick. Well, that was most class periods. He could never quite remember what actually happened in them, but he knew that they had existed. But the boy stuck with him in his mind. He would not let go of that thought so easily. No…he would not.

>

The day flew by in a blur, or what seemed like one. Like some passing dream, the memories of the day were nothing but some weird haze. Rick had found that the more he let himself go, the faster the day went. So his mind wandered while time seemed to pass him by. But when lunch came, it seemed the day started again all of a sudden. Or more like it had actually began.

He headed outside as he began to walk home. His mom would have lunch prepared for him when he got home, and he'd see his dad once again. This routine he had been familiar with since he was little. It was never any different. He and his father would mutter a few words, almost always incoherent, and then they would begin to eat. They'd part ways once more and finish the day before having to see each other once again at the dinner table. Then they'd start all over again.

The weather had warmed up slightly. Mainly because the sun had been out longer and the air had warmed up. Walking in the afternoon was probably the most pleasant part of the day. The light shimmered off the various colored leaves and the world just seemed more eager to greet him as he walked home. The streets were empty since no other student wanted to go home for lunch. Rick was by himself and preferred it that way. This had been his way since he could remember.

"Hey, you wanna walk together?" What was this? Another voice? Another presence? Something disturbing Rick and his walk home for lunch? That almost seemed inconceivable.

He turned his head to see perfection once again. That girl, the one that had been played over and over again in his mind throughout the day had appeared in front of him like some weird fantasy.

"Sure…I don't mind." He was baffled, but muttered a response that was typical. Would he have really told her that he did not prefer to walk with someone to his lunch? Would he explain to her that this was his moment of peace and she would have to keep so many steps behind him so as not to disturb his brief reprise? That would just be stupid.

"Hey, didn't I bump into you earlier this morning?" She flashed him a polite smile while brushing a lock of her golden hair away from her cheek.

"Oh, yeah…" He nodded his head, as if trying to sound enlightened by this, but he had her face pictured in his mind perfectly. Never would he forget her face.

"Sorry, I can be a klutz sometimes." She giggled, quickly moving her feet so as to catch up to him.

"That's okay, I wasn't paying attention either." He gave her a comforting smile and continued on his routine path.

"By the way, my name's Cheryl. I don't think we were properly introduced earlier this morning. It was kind of hectic. This is my first day at a new school and all." Did her cheeks just flash a slight hint of red?

"Mine's Rick Chestfield. I figured you were new. I think I would've remembered you from school if I had seen you before." He noticed it as well. He stood up tall with his shoulders back as he slowed his pace down slightly.

"I see. Nice to meet you, Rick. It's been different moving into a small town. I used to live in the city. But my parents wanted a house and moved here. I don't really know anybody. That's kind of why I wanted to go home for lunch. I think it'd be too awkward trying to talk to all those new people. Or even trying to sit at a table already claimed by a group." She talked fast, but her words were always smooth like silk. Never did she fumble, and never did Rick ask her to repeat. For all she said was apparent to him.

"Where do you live?" He looked over to her to see she was no longer smiling. Her eyes were cast down to the sidewalk as she nestled her hands in her skirt.

"On Main Street. On the corner. The white house." She shot a glance up to him and quickly plastered on a smile.

"Hey, I live on Main. I didn't know someone moved into that house down there. Heck, I didn't even know the people who lived there moved out." Rick chuckled to himself.

"Really? How close are we?" Her face brightened.

"Well, the old couple in the lavender house live next door to me and then…well I'll be damned. The white house on the corner is right next door to them. We're practically neighbors!" They both laughed heartedly now. Their laughter echoed through the empty streets and it silence the birds. The wind halted and the leaves stilled. Their laughter could be heard all over the world. But what were they laughing at?

"That's good. At least now I know I have a friend close by." She blushed once more before retracting her gaze.

He paused for a second. Was she already considering him a friend? Did she have that right to decide if he was her friend of not? Did he have the right to deny her friendship?

"I guess so…" He responded with a grin.

Friendship. Quite an awkward relationship. Neither party knows when it begins or when it really ends. It's more like some common understanding. It's not like a relationship where the couple decides when they are dating and end their relationship by breaking up. No, friendship is a relationship tied together with thin binds that form when no one is looking. They latch on tightly to ones chest and pull the two bodies closer and closer together until neither one of them is aware that they have really just become the same person. For Rick and Cheryl had not become friends all of a sudden. No, they had formed a bond in some way that can be easier understood as calling it friendship. But like love, there are many different kinds of friendship. But for the sake of understanding, we now just call Rick and Cheryl friends.

"Well, this is my house." He looked at the olive green, home ahead of him. The wind blew by them once more, playing with Cheryl's hair.

"Well, have a good lunch." She smiled at him once more, closing her eyes and giving all the emotion into it she could.

"Do you want to walk back together?" He asked her hopefully. It only seemed appropriate. After all, they were supposedly friends.

"I'd like that, but…" She looked away, into the wind. Her hair golden hair shimmered once more before the sunlight left it to turn into just a dull yellow. Her cheeks drained of their flushed ruby color, and returned to a pale white. Her smiled faded into the darkness that had presented itself as gray clouds were slowly overcast across the beautiful sun.

"But what?" He cocked his head, unsure of what she was trying to say.

"Maybe it will rain." She looked back at him, no smile present on her face. No color in her eyes. They had gone gray.

She left to the white house on the corner where she opened the door and slid in like a phantom retreating into the shadows. Rick watched her leave his sight. He paused a brief moment, wondering what to ask himself. But when no thoughts came to him, he shrugged and walked up the long pathway to his house. He opened the door and walked inside.

>

After lunch Rick came outside and waited outside Cheryl's house. He knocked on the door once. There was no answer. The sky was dark now. Drops of rain began to sprinkle across the sidewalk. Rick turned away and walked back to school alone in the rain.

?>

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