I've been working on this for some while, and went through a lot of changes that eventually ended up as this. I'm happy with it, so I hope you guys will enjoy it. Might change the title somewhere along the line. Again, if there are any errors, please inform me! n.n

Risk of Dancing

Chapter 1: Cigarettes and Shooters

"Got a light?" I asked the boy sitting next to me, snuggling my scarf up to my throat and rubbing my face with my woolen gloves. He glanced over at me with lifeless eyes, and his breath was like heavy white smoke in the air.

The boy had what appeared to be black or dark brown hair, but his orange toque covered most of it, except his bangs. On his body he wore only a black band t-shirt and tattered jeans, with soaked sneakers on his feet. No smile crossed his lips, which were slightly parted to breathe in the thin city air.

He shrugged in reply to my question, rummaging through his pockets. He must've been at least a year or two older than me, while I was fourteen, and I only determined this over our obvious difference in height. Even though I grew slower than most boys my age, he was still taller than that 'most'.

"Smoking is bad for you, you know." He said, tossing the lighter up and down in his hands. A small grin finally played on his lips, and I smiled back, tilting my head in expectancy.

"…And?" I prompted him, holding out my hand and ushering him with the tips of my fingers curled. He sighed and handed me the lighter, rolling his eyes. "Thankya mister." I chided, joyfully lighting my cigarette and resting it between my lips.

He faced the street again and announced, "You can call me Abel." Shrugging and nodding, I took a drag of my cigarette and formally placed my hand down on my knee, tapping my fingers and foot to ignore the piercing cold of winter.

"I'm Toyo." I replied as I held out my hand to him, smiling broadly. Before he could shake it, I took my hand back, and pulled off my gloves. I dropped them on his lap and nodded at him. "If you let me keep the lighter, you can have the gloves…I made them myself."

He gave in and nodded, pulling on the striped gloves. The street was busy, but still no sign of the bus. "Where are you headed?" I asked, glancing over at him. He shrugged and mumbled, "I guess I'll head home, since Reece didn't pick me up."

Meaning, he must've rode the bus often. Especially in this part of our city, that could easily be dangerous. Buses, being the most popular way of transportation in this part of the city, were also the most popular way to get kidnapped. "You?" he asked, and I blinked suddenly, clearing my throat.

"Oh, you know. Around." I answered, and chewed my lip, scratching my head. I knew exactly where I was going, not that it was legal. The club was like my second home, even from such a young age. I felt like, when I was there, people cared for me. In the club, they cared about me more than my own family, if you could call it that. The club? Now that I thought about it, I didn't really know that it was a 'club'. It was more of a place where you could create your own reality.

I turned towards him, and noticed his focus was still on the street; his eyes pierced it, unmoved. That wet street, full of pedestrians and vehicles going this way and that. The way I looked at it, it seemed like everyone was running. They were all running from something. I just didn't know what they were running from. Then again, maybe I was the only one running, and they were still in slow motion.

Once I slipped from my own daze, I remembered Abel, who said, "I need to take the bus…until I find somewhere warm to stay. That, or I'll take the bus home." He sighed and shook his head, folding his arms solemnly and averting his eyes from the street.

"Is Reece your brother?" I questioned, looking down as well to my neon green rubber boots with bright pink stars on them.

"Yeah." He paused, running his fingers through his bangs and tapping his foot, making a strained splashing in the tiny amount water across the cement. "He takes care of me now, for my parents. They can't be here all the time…" He frowned, and we were quiet for a short time, when the bus screeched to a halt in front of us.

"So this is goodbye, then?" I stood, turning to Abel as the bus doors opened, and folded my arms. He shrugged and leaned back on the bench, tapping his finger across the top.

"Eh…" he sighed, finally standing and entering the bus behind me. I noticed a few awkward glances my way. I wasn't exactly the average fourteen year old boy, with turquoise hair, several earrings, a printed leather jacket over top of a black bikini top with low-cut jean shorts, torn fishnets, and bright rubber boots. Abel didn't seem to notice the staring, and took his seat near the front of the bus. Taking a last look at the bus stop from where I stood, I smiled and made myself comfortable next to Abel.

Finally, I stopped and thought to myself. What the hell am I doing? Now I'm going to make meeting people at bus stops my hobby? As if what I've already risked wasn't enough…

"So you're…going home, then." I mumbled under my breath, insecurely folding my arms. He nodded and pursed his lips.

"Yep…" suddenly, he had a pensive expression, and quickly turned to face me. "You know, you never really told me where you were going." He stated, and I laughed subtly at myself, feeling my cheeks go hot.

"You know…" I gestured with my hands, hoping he'd think of something to get me out of the awkward situation. Shaking his head, he leaned closer to me.

"You can tell me." He mumbled, placing his hand on mine. I choked and faked rolling my eyes, though I was most likely flushed by now. Breathing slowly, I shook my head and avoided his gaze, though it pinned me down into a corner and made me want to scream out for help.

"It's like…a club. But it's not the kind of club you would think…if you know what I mean…" I explained in a low voice, sinking slowly into my seat and shifting my bag into my lap. He nodded and backed off again, resting his arm up over the rim of the seat above me.

"I won't ask." He nodded, and I sighed, finally finding myself relaxed, though slightly more coy than I was used to. No one had ever gotten this personal with me, even if he wasn't exactly asking my life story.

The dark street crept up beside the window as the bus stopped, the engine still quietly humming. Grimacing, my eyes narrowed at the glowing street lamp and the usual couple of men at the mouth of the deserted alley. Abel turned to them also, and then to me. "How do I get in?"

"You don't. Cheerio…" I coldly murmured, standing and nearly tripping over my own feet as Abel tightly snatched my arm. When I turned my head and glared, I noticed Abel was standing, a stern look on his face, not about to let go. "What the Hell do you want!?" I snarled, shoving at him, though he didn't budge. The bus driver suggestively cleared his throat, and Abel loosened my arm, still gripping my hand.

"I'm coming with you." He decided, and I groaned, quickly hopping off of the bus and standing on the sidewalk with my arms folded. Abel came from behind me as the bus left and slithered his arms around me, hovering at my ear, his breath seething its way through me. I shuddered and clenched my eyes shut, shaking my head. "If they ask, I'm with you, alright?" he asked, and the way he sounded made me think of it as a threat. Growling, I threw his arms off again and quickly approached the two punks hanging around under the street light. One of the men had a pink spiked mullet, and the other sported a green Mohawk and a torn jean vest with silver studs.

"Hey, guys. Can I just go on in?" I questioned, smiling sweetly, and they nodded leisurely, waving me off and continuing with their drunken conversing, cackling loud into the city night. Smirking, I listened as the shouting behind me began at Abel's approach to the two.

Taking a deep breath as I swung the heavy steel door open, I slammed it shut when I was inside and stood against the wall, shaking my head. I'd been aware that there were freaks in this city, but I'd also gotten used to dealing with them. Abel was my age, and he was a different case.

The first to approach me was Lein, a local DJ who I'd quickly made friends with earlier in the year, when I first discovered the club. He gave me a concerned look, which was when I realized how forlorn I really must have seemed. Straightening myself up, I slung my purse over my shoulder and smiled, standing on my toes to wrap my arms around his shoulders. He patted my back and released me, leading me to a room on the right that was nearly empty, away from the rest of the busy club that I had yet to enter.

Wiping off my forehead, I allowed him to sit me down on the cushiony hot pink couches that lined the walls of the room, and I dragged someone else's shooter from the low glass table in front of me.

"Whoa, whoa, ease up, there…" he sighed, taking the glass from my hand and placing it back on the table, facing me with the same concerned gaze. I released an awkward laugh and shrugged. "..Are you alright, Toyo?" he asked, resting a hand on my back to support me as I leaned forward with an elbow on my knee. A lopsided frown crossed my face, and I nodded. "Had a rough day?" he asked, and I loosely shrugged his arm off, rolling my eyes.

"Does it matter, Lein!? I didn't come here to talk about my fucking day!" I shouted, standing and dropping my purse on the couch. "What do you want me to say!? Huh?" I felt the after-effects of my crash last night coming over me, and I collapsed onto the couch again, gasping for air. Whatever strength I had left was rapidly decreasing, and my eyelids lowered. Lein groaned loudly in frustration and stood, shaking me back and forth.

"What the Hell are you doing to yourself? Look at you! Fuck!" he screamed, tossing my purse across the room and gritting his teeth. Opening my eyes, I pouted and shook my head, slowly standing and grabbing Lein's hand.

"I'm sorry, Lein, I swear I'm just tired. I'll be alright." My eyes lifted to his, though he wouldn't look back to me, and he nodded. "Lein…?" I whispered, and finally he looked at me. "Can I stay at your place tonight?" He paused and sighed, shrugging and kneeling in front of me.

"I'll think about it. But I have a job, Toyo, and roommates. I don't know if they'd like me bringing you into work…and what if your parents find out?" he scratched at the back of his neck and I frowned, shaking my head.

"Mom won't find out. She doesn't care about me. She won't care if I'm gone." I explained, and tugged gently at the rim of Lein's tight black t-shirt. "Please?" I begged, wrapping my arms around his waist and grinning.

"Alright…but cut that out. I have fans, y'know?" he joked, ruffling my hair as I stuck my tongue out at him. He leaned forward and bit my tongue, sending me backwards.

"Hey!" I chuckled, shaking my head and retrieving my purse. When I turned around, there was a man speaking with Lein, and Lein contently nodded his head as he listened to the man. I stood lifelessly as Lein turned around with a frown on his face.

"Hang around here or find your way to the front, okay? I'm on after the next song." He leaned forward and kissed my forehead as I frowned with revulsion and nodded.

"Good luck!" I called out as he exited past the curtains at the doorway. Sighing, I collapsed back onto the couch. Hovering over me was a familiar boy with black or dark brown hair and an orange toque. I didn't squirm away, I only slowly sat up.

"I need somewhere to stay…" he whispered, just recognizable over the bass of the song that boomed through the core of the club. I shook my head and lowered my eyebrows. He didn't get the message, but crawled willingly further. A lit cigarette slipped into his lips, and my mouth fell open at the image.

"Smoking's bad for you…" I mumbled in a low voice, eyeing his movements carefully. My stomach twisted, and I felt eerie, shaking my head. If I didn't put up my guard, he might've taken advantage of me.

"How do I get in?" he asked, smirking and blowing the smoke out of his nose and into my face. I coughed and rolled my eyes, shoving him off of the couch onto his back. The shooter on the table spilled across its surface, and I twitched, gripping at my jean shorts.

"You're an amateur, forget it." I laughed, shaking my head and stepping over him. Removing the cigarette from his lips, I put it out in an ashtray and smirked, waving politely as I turned out of the room and made my way straight into the restroom. I crashed into the sink and turned the tap on instantly, ducking my head under and lavishly drinking the flat taste. Sweat beaded my forehead, and I slipped on the floor, finding myself with my back to the tiles of the restroom.

Quickly, Abel came to my side, and pulled me up to a sitting position from under my arms. The room was busy, stalls full of lovers, and corners crowded with friends willing to get their share in the drug scene. I hated them. Every one of them claimed it was just for fun, but they couldn't even admit to themselves that they were just truly fucked up in life. "Get off, I need to go." I demanded, my eyes piercing the aquamarine of Abel's. He didn't move, only grimaced, and pulled off his toque.

"No, I'm not moving! Who the fuck do you think you are? You're some hell of a mess, yet you strut around and think you can treat everyone in your path like shit just to get what you want!" he shouted, and I panicked as a couple of heads turned in the corner. Looking back to Abel, my heart dropped to the floor, and my jaw hung open. He was beautiful, and had I not seen it for the way he hid?

"I…" Swallowing, I shook my head as tears rose in my eyes, the ones in the corners smirking and whispering among themselves. He was doing this on purpose, to teach me a lesson.

"No, shut up. It's my turn to talk. Back there, at the bus stop? I thought you were nice. Now I don't even know who the Hell you are!" he paused, and that's when I realized he really must've cared for this helpless stranger that had come across his path. "So either you show me, or I walk into that club, and you never see me again." He breathed hoarsely.

"I'm sorry…" I whispered, the room quiet for once. Pulling him by the front of his shirt, I closed my eyes and gently touched my lips to his, resting my hand on the back of his neck. I felt his muscles relax, and he supported himself with a hand on the wall, pressing his lips back onto mine. Dragging my head away, I instantly stumbled onto my feet as Lein's song came on. "I…I have to go! Wait here, okay? Just one song!" I promised, quickly trotting off and making my way through the entrance.

It wasn't long before I was pulled back by the arm from a man of about nineteen years, who flicked a pack of heroine back and forth between his fingers. I paused and peered around, noticing Abel back at the entrance with his eyebrow raised at me. "How much do you want for it?" I asked, rummaging through my purse. He grabbed my hand and shook his head with a deranged smirk.

The man had many impressive piercings; lip, eyebrow, ears, and his tongue, which I caught a glimpse of when he spoke. His hair was a solid black with neon green highlights, and his bangs hung over one side of his face. I'd seen him before, but I'd bought from him the last time, not sold myself for his drugs.

"I'll take you to my place." He shouted, "You'll like it there!" I shook my head disconcertedly and pried his hand off, quickly pushing through the crowd, but he grabbed me by the waist and began dancing with the music to avoid a scene. Sighing, I uncomfortably lifted my chin over his shoulder to shout in his ear, "..What do you want?"