Chapter 2, Part 1

-Rage's POV-

I stood outside the entrance of Borders bookstore, my hands buried deep within the pockets of my jeans, my dark head turning this way and that, as if I was a thief in the night. However, that wasn't the case. It was broad daylight, with the sun heating the back of my neck.

"I hate this place." I mumbled to myself as I stepped through the sliding glass doors. The only reason for my being here was to get a birthday present for my grandmother.

I stalked down the aisles of books, not daring to look up. A bookstore was not my scene, but my grandmother adored books and the fantasy world they wrapped around her. I was her complete opposite. I thought books were pointless and dumb, giving false hopes for those who believe in happy endings. I stood in front of the romance sections, thinking that would be an easy pick.

"Who doesn't like hot sex?" I asked myself with a snort. I reached up to grab a purple book when I spotted the sign that read 'Sci-Fi Romance'. Immediately the hand reaching up fell limp at my side and a groan slithered up my throat. My lavender eyes took in all the different branches of romance. I ran a hand through my black mohawk and tugged at my orange tank top. Paranormal, historical, fantasy, erotic, and mystery. I sighed heavily. "Who takes the time to write this stuff?"

It felt like forever and a day, standing there, dumbstruck, by all the titles. My grandmother would most likely love every story and devour them all in one night, no matter how sick or how perverted it was. If I wasn't the caring granddaughter, I would have grabbed the first cover I saw and ran the hell out of that place of oblivion. Yet, the love I had for the old woman made me stay and continue my search.

I was ready to give up when I heard a interestingly-accented tenor tone voice ask, "Hard to pick a good romance these days, isn't it?"

I turned around to look at the person taking to me. I was meet by a semi-warm stare of black eyes. His pale skin was a contrast to his chin length, red-brown hair, spiked downward in a cool kind of way. There was a small smile on his face. I looked him up and down. He was wearing a black t-shirt with small rips here and there on his thin frame. Black shorts rested on his hips, showing the purple and black striped stockings he wore on his attractively shaped legs. A pair of black combat boots donned his feet. As for accessories, I noticed a cross choker on his small, almost vamprish-pale, neck. I noticed the white badge near his left shoulder, stating he worked here. It almost took down that 'out-of-your-league' Gothiness attire. Almost.

I sighed and said a bit coldly, "Frankly I could care less about romance novels." He seemed a bit taken aback by the statement. His black eyes stared me up and down critically.

"Really? Then what kind of books do you like?" He gestured a slim hand to the other shelves of books. "I'm sure I can help you with your problem of indecisiveness."

Again I sighed and placed my hands in my spacious pockets. "Actually… I really don't enjoy books at all."

Now his face crinkled in utter confusion. "Then why are you here, ma'am?" He asked calmly without a trace of annoyance. "This isn't a place for a non-book lover to hang out; it makes them feel uncomfortable."

I smiled a little. This guy seemed to take it very politely that I disliked books. "Look," I stared at his nametag. "La… La" I tripped almost embarrassingly over his name.

"Lakonic, Miss…" he waited for me to introduce myself. I was really beginning to like him, even after knowing him for a record of three minutes…

"Rage. Just Rage. Anyways, Lakonic," I carefully said his name, trying to avoid a mistake. "I'm looking for a book for my grandma and she's a hard find. And since I'm not good with books…" letting the sentence trail, for the obvious was stated.

"Okay. Well, if you don't mind me asking, what kind of person is your grandmother?"

"Well, she is strong and very religious. She believes that everything happens for a cause. She has an iron will and can be very stubborn. My grandmother loves romance."

"Mmm." Lakonic said. Carefully side stepping me, he got on his tiptoes, reaching for the top shelf. Grabbing a red hard cover book, he came back down on his feet. As his black eyes quickly scanned the summary on the back, his smile got bigger. "Here, I'm sure she'll enjoy this one."

I stared at the book handed me. "What is this about?" I asked looking at the front cover. The picture was of a cliff above the sea. A shadow of a girl stood alone on the cliff, her skirt blowing in the wind. She was watching a ship sail away.

"The author is a new break out. Sonya De La Cruz. She's a writer from Spain. She…"

"My grandmother can't read Spanish." I told Lakonic, giving him the book back.

"Let me finish, please." Lakonic replied politely, pushing the book back gently. "Sonya writes her books in Spanish and English." He smiled when I nodded my head. "This book is called Awaiting Spirit. The main character, Lola, has just become a widow when her husband drowned at sea. Now she claims she can hear his spirit talking. The town declares her insane and she is sent off to an asylum. Her doctor, Dr. Roberto, is there to help her. However, Sonya declares Dr. Roberto is her husband in a new body and claims him as hers."

I groaned. "Sounds dumb."

"Maybe you should read it when your grandmother is done reading it." Lakonic suggested.

"No. I don't believe in happy endings." Lakonic raised an eyebrow. He got on his tiptoes to face me at eye level.

"I never said this book had a happy ending, now did I?" His voice dropped an octave lower, making my back shiver ever so slightly. With a smirk he went down flat on his boots and asked, "Anything else, Miss Rage?"

I laughed," Please don't call me, 'miss', and no, there is nothing else. Thank you."

My, he is cute for a little Goth.

Following him to the cash register, I noticed a boy with long, curly, blonde hair, standing there with no purchases. Odd.

"One moment, Vanila." Lakonic told him. The blonde nodded and stepped off to the side. "Also, Rage, I might suggest the Borders gift card. If your grandmother loves books, I'm very sure she'll love this. And also, this way, you won't have to hang out in a bookstore trying to choose a book for her."

"Sure. Ring them up, please, so I can get out of here. My friend is waiting for me." As Lakonic rang up my purchases, I wrote my cell number down to give him.

"Your total is… $6.50." As I handed him my money, I also slipped him my number. I took my purchases and was ready to go when Lakonic quietly inquired, "What is this?" He held my note between two slender fingers with a neatly plucked black eyebrow raised.

"I think it's her number, Lakonic." stated the boy, whose name was apparently Vanila, with a half smile on his face. His New Zealand accent was very strong in even that little phrase.

"Well, Rage… I apologize, but I'm not interested."

I was little taken aback.

Must be the mohawk.

Putting up a good front I smiled and told him, "Keep it. Give me a call if you want to hang out for fun. You're cool." I started to leave when I heard the New Zealand accented boy say, "Poor she-devil. So, Lakonic, when will you pick me up tonight? I can't stay out on our date too long, though, I've got chores."

I chuckled as I left the building. Always the good looking ones. Why?

Chapter 2: Part II

-Adamantine's POV-

School started quickly, much too quickly. Going to school was the same; monotonous, uniform, each day identical to its predecessor and its future days. The people, though they wore different attire, acted the same, did the same thing everyday. After two days, I grew tired and bored of the uniform days and for a while, skipped many of my classes to sit atop the hill on the school campus and gaze around at the flowers around me, at the trees and the large sea that was spread before me, at all the nature!

All my life I had appreciated nature, and all my life I had been tormented for it. People thought that guys weren't supposed to be poetic and romantic. Guys were, in their eyes, supposed to be tough, muscular, and rude in any and every possible way. Guys were supposed to sex up every female in sight. I wasn't like that. I didn't want to be like that.

"Adam!" As I stared out into the sea that was spread out below my high school's campus, I heard a high-pitched squeaky voice. "Adamantine Festavio, you skipped class again!"

It was Yunaku Ito, my fourteen-year-old cousin. She was so hyper and so energetic, but yet so naïve and so childish.

I had a habit of analyzing everyone and everything around me. So sue me.

"What do you want?" I growled, turning to face the dark haired girl. She looked taken aback at my tone.

"I want you to stay in school where I can keep an eye on you! Your parents told me to watch you!" She cried. I narrowed my eyes, picking up a rock and heaving it into the sea, watching the ripples for a moment before turning to my cousin with fiery eyes.

"I can take care of myself. What the hell could a midget fourteen year old like you do if something bad happens, anyway? I'm stronger than you, a lot stronger." I made a face and began to stalk off when I felt a hand strike the edge of my shoulder. I turned around just as my little cousin kicked me, an angry frown on her face.

"I can just get someone to help me, dummy! Don't call me small or weak or stupid! I was taught how to keep you from harming yourself, so don't worry about it!" She pouted.

"I know. It just worries me sometimes… what I could do to you without even trying. You put your life in danger trying to keep me safe. Why don't you just leave my life to follow its own path?"

"Because I swore to protect you, that's why!"

I sighed and walked toward the school, shoving my hands into my pockets and shaking my head with contempt for myself.

(Why must I ruin everyone's lives...? They have their own lives-places to go and people to see-and yet they must keep their eyes on me who wanders aimlessly and slowly behind their bodies, and they must guide me to the light that is not there…)

I tossed and turned in my bed of black satin, trying to drown out the voices below me.

"I think we should put him in treatment! He needs help!"

"But we mustn't hinder his education, Ryuichi! Treatment for this kind of disease could take years! He would be the only twenty-five year old in high school!"

"He's a danger to himself and to others! Did you happen to see those scars all over his body!?" My father screamed.

"It isn't his fault!" My mother fended for me. Upstairs, I fought back tears as I listened to their arguments.

(It's about me… it's always about me! My mother can't handle me… and my father resents me. Only Yunaku is able to put up with me, and she, in caring, alienates herself from her friends to keep an eye on me!)

I cursed my bad luck to be born with such a fucked up personality and slammed my fist into the wooden desk next to my bed. As I nursed my hand, there was a soft knock at my door and a moment later Yunaku came into my dark room.

"Adamantine, are you okay?" She asked in her innocent voice. Just hearing her ask that simple question made my tears come rolling out from inside my eyes. I turned my face down toward the blanket that had been thrown carelessly over my half-clothed body. I refused to allow myself to even visibly show my pain, so I wiped the tears from my eyes and hugged myself from the sudden rush of cold that came into my room.

"I'm fine." Despite the strong face I was attempting to put on, I heard my voice shake.

"You don't sound fine." She said, moving deeper into my room. I didn't reply. "You know, your father is wrong."

"Wrong about what? About me being pathetic because I can't control myself?" I snorted. "He's right! What kind of person can't control how they walk and talk and act?"

"Don't say that! You aren't pathetic!"

"I'm not pathetic but I have to have a fourteen year old shrimp watch out for me because I can't care for myself!? Just stick me in a goddamn insane asylum now! It's where I belong!"

"Adam!" She screamed. "I've told you before-"

"I'm going out." I threw my blanket violently to the floor and climbed up, throwing on a leather shirt that I had flung over a chair and grabbing my leather boots from beneath the bed. Yunaku watched me with weary eyes, her arms crossed.

"Where are you going?" She asked me.

"To the park."

"But Adam, what if-"

"It's three in the fucking morning. Who in their right mind would be in the park at this time?"

"You." She responded without hesitation.

"And how many of there are me, physically? Only one. So only I will be at the park."

"Can I come with?" She asked as I pulled my waist length black hair into a ponytail.

"No." As a final thought, I tossed my black leather trench coat on and walked out past my small cousin, surely leaving her with a faint breeze, all that could really be assured of my confusing form.

As I walked around aimlessly in that park I had fled to so many times, my trench coat flew out behind me from the heavy wind, and it also ravaged my hair. My mind was struck with thoughts like lightning bolts, fast and dangerous.

(Am I really worthless? Does everything I do really have no meaning, no value? It isn't my fault that I have this… this disease, so why am I resented for it? It isn't like I can control it…)

I stared sadly down at my wrists, hidden at the moment by the sleeves of my trench coat. Almost mechanically I lifted one up, revealing those old lesions that were as painful now as they had been then, at the time when they were inflicted.

People said wounds heal over time. They lie. Though the wound on the outside heals, a little piece of your heart and soul is permanently gone, having escaped with your blood. I believed that was why people who were depressed were so sad-because when they cut themselves, their heart escaped too and because of that, they become sad. As a cut bleeds on, our souls leak away and if it continues, we die. This is why my own body was weighed down with so much sadness-the identical, multiple scars on my wrists proved that.

The worse part of it all was that I couldn't stop the slow deteriorating of myself. I could die tomorrow and it wouldn't be because I wanted to. For some people, life is something taken for granted. They believe that their future, their time, is assured and that they can live as recklessly as they please. I, on the other hand, grew up knowing and fearing that one day I could go to sleep and never wake up. I was to be kept away from anything and everything because I was that much of a danger to myself. The teachers and the other kids were scared of me, and therefore I grew up a very antisocial, very taciturn boy, and outcast. In my middle school years, I was taunted by many, thought to be 'the kid with more self-inflicted scars than hangovers'. No one wanted to be my friend for fear that my depression could wear off on him or her. They hadn't understood me then, and they didn't understand me now.

Regarding my life now? I had a few friends, a few people who I could trust with my life and who I could share my pain with, but I usually didn't. They, of course, shared their sadness with me and I did my best to help them, but none of them knew my secret. No one except my doctor, my parents, Yunaku, and the principle of my school knew. It was strictly confidential.

I heard a distinct laugh and looked up just in time to see the form of a girl before I tripped over something and fell into the fountain that loomed in front of me. Immediately I cried out, the water consuming me. In an instant, I couldn't breathe. Panicking now, I felt the water go up my nose and into my mouth and ears. Someone's hand-most likely the girl's-grabbed for mine that was flailing around. I felt our fingers interlock and soon I felt myself being pulled up, out from the water that could be so kind and so cruel. I got up enough to glimpse at the girl's face. To me, as her face and hair and body were lit up by the streetlight above, she resembled an angel.

I started to stand up so I could climb out of the fountain, and in doing so I caught a glimpse at what had tripped me-an iguana-on a leash!

"You…" I started to ask her why the hell she was walking an iguana this early in the morning, but my foot slid on the bottom of the fountain and I fell back into the fountain, though this time something heavy fell with me. I panicked again (this time because I am claustrophobic and I value my space) and began moving around frantically, as if I were a barbarian. My head finally came above water after quite a bit of scrambling and I was able to look down at what had fallen atop me. It was that girl! She sat up and rubbed her eyes, finding that one of her hands was caught in one of the chains on my pants.

"I guess they don't call them tripp pants for nothing, huh?" She smiled and I forced a smile to my own face. She had… a rather unique accent. My mind contemplated what it was-definitely European, but beyond that I could not tell.

"Yeah… I guess so."

(Why the hell are you out so late?)

"So…" The girl smiled at me, gazing down at my wet clothes. "Are we going to stay in here all day?"

"It isn't day yet." I scowled, wading toward the edge of the fountain but finding that I couldn't-one of the chains on my pants was caught on something. For fear that I would rip the material I backed away from the edge, trying to find the place that my chains were stuck to. The girl laughed and I turned to her with a scowl.

"Why are you laughing?" I asked her, the unpleasant expression frozen on my face. My eyes were narrowed but were not focused on her.

"…You're all wet." She giggled.

"Of course I am. That's generally what happens when you fall into a fountain." I finally found where my chain had caught and pulled it free, wading back toward the edge of the fountain to climb out, then realizing that my trench coat was too heavy. I growled and tugged it off, tossing it over the side of the fountain and getting ready to climb out when I learned that my pants were also too heavy.

"Having a little problem getting out?" The girl asked, sneering. But it was a sort of kind sneer, more of a playful one than a nasty one.

"Just a little." I wrinkled my nose and tried again to lift myself up.

"Here, let me help you out." I thought the girl was heading to climb out, but instead I felt her arms wrap around my neck and pull me backwards into the fountain again.

"Hey!" I struggled to stand up, but tripped and lost my balance, falling once more into the warm water. I pushed her away from me and stood again, glaring down at the pale girl with fire in my eyes. "What the hell!?"

"I slipped… I'm sorry. You're all that was here to grab onto…" She said, blushing. I threw her a nasty glare and attempted to climb up again. She laughed and began to wade toward the edge once more.

"By the way…" She turned around to face me for a moment before continuing on. "My name is Prussia Akiromonov. What's your name?"

"Adamantine Festavio." I replied coldly, watching her but maintaining my distance. There was something strange about this girl… something I found annoying and yet appealing.

"Wow, what a mouthful! How do you get by with that name?"

(Look who is talking! As if I wouldn't have a problem saying 'Akiromonov'! What is that, anyway? It sounds… I don't know, German, maybe?)

"Most people don't care to say the entire thing. They usually shorten it to 'Adam.'" I told her.

"Does it mean anything?" She asked in curiosity, no longer walking toward the wall.

"I believe that it is similar in spelling and pronunciation to 'adamantium.'"

"And that is…" She looked at me, clueless.

"An indestructible metal." I replied, my voice cold and impersonal, the same way it had been since I had first met this strange girl. The only time my tone changed was when she surprised me-which, with other people, was not quite often, but this girl seemed to be quite good at surprising people. Again, it was both annoying and yet appealing. Several times during our short conversation I had wanted to laugh, and it was rare these days to see me laugh. I never had anything to laugh about.

"So your parents named you after metal?"

"I believe they were trying to say that I should be strong."

(But my name means nothing to me. I don't act that way at all… do I?)

"Oh. That seems a very cold thing to tell your child. 'Be strong because your name says so!'" She faked an adult male voice and I cracked a very small, barely noticeable smile, though quickly hiding it with my hands until it went away.

"My name is the only thing about me that is strong." I said sadly.

"You don't think you're strong? You look strong." She pointed to my well-toned arm muscles (which were emphasized because my shirt was sleeveless, and I had, of course, removed my trench coat), her finger just a little too close to my skin for comfort. I stepped back a little, looking at her with scared eyes.

"That's not what I'm talking about." I snapped.

"Then what are you talking about?"

"…It doesn't matter." I sighed, crossing my arms and turning around. A moment later I heard that girl pull herself up from the fountain. I saw her hand come down to help me up and reluctantly, I took it.

"Your hands are so small…" She commented.

"I was built very small." I told her. "I said before, I am not strong at all."

She didn't say anything, but she took my other hand and helped pull me from the water. I could imagine that my pants were extremely heavy, and as I came out of the water I could feel the slightly loose material begin to slide down my hips. An alarm sounded in my head as one of the chains on my pants caught on the side of the fountain and Prussia tugged hard, seemingly unaware.

(It's going to snap…!)

I almost audibly cried out as I heard the leather tear.

"Shit!" I fell atop of Prussia, wincing as I heard her cry out. Quickly I sat up and looked at my pants, finding a large tear in the thigh of the left leg. "Damn it!" I fiddled with the hole as I saw Prussia sit up, her eyes widening when she saw the tear.

"Oh my gosh, I am so sorry!" She cried, reaching over to finger the detached material. "These looked expensive!"

"They were… but it doesn't matter." I scowled and stood up, almost tripping over the loose chain that had come off along with the material.

"It doesn't matter!? Of course it does! I'll do whatever I can to pay you back!" She cried. My lips molded into a smirk and, without warning, I began to laugh. Prussia looked utterly confused.

"Why are you-"

"I'm sorry." I smiled lightheartedly. "I think I might have needed that."

"You needed to rip a pair of expensive pants… why?"

"Prussia, they're just pants. I don't care if they are ripped! I think I just needed that rush-you know, when you were pulling me from the fountain, I thought they were going to fall off."

"And that made you laugh…?"

"I'm too uptight." I explained, finally understanding why my body had decided to spontaneously combust in that way. "That felt quite… spontaneous. Refreshing."

Prussia smiled warmly, nodding.

"You like feeling spontaneous?" She asked me.

"Yes, I do." I looked down at my pants and started laughing again. However, I stopped when I saw the mischievous smirk on the girl's face.

"You know what I do to feel spontaneous and free?" She asked devilishly.


Instead of replying, she pulled her shirt off. As my eyes came across her lacy black bra, they narrowed seductively.

"Skinny dipping?" I raised my eyebrows as she kicked her shoes off.

"Of course! It's too hot right now-I'm sure you know that in your leather clothing-and that water felt pretty cold. If you want…" She removed her pants and stood before me in her undergarments. "…You can join me." She climbed back into the large fountain, tossing her undergarments on the pile as she did so and motioning me over with a finger. I smiled and lifted my shirt up, tossing it to the ground.

"You sure know how to interact with strangers…" I murmured, dropping my shirt to the floor. I heard Prussia gasp, and I immediately knew why.

"Adam… oh my gosh…" She watched as I slowly discarded the rest of my clothes, having no qualms about standing nude in front of people I did not know. I'm not a virgin. I haven't been for a very long time. I do not wish to summon up the details of how I lost my virginity. However, since that time, I had grown into a full blown nymphomaniac, sorry to say. Things like this were nothing to me. I had been skinny dipping many times before, but none of the times were in a public place like this, and none had been with such a strange girl. Such a strange… intoxicating girl.

I stepped into the fountain, the water indeed feeling relaxing to my overheated skin, sweating because of that restricting leather outfit. Prussia swam over to me, her small but firm breasts seeming to float along with her body. She stood in front of me, touching those long scars that ran the entire length of my chest and abdomen.

"Where… where the hell did those come from…?" She breathed, looking almost scared.

"I… I don't want to talk about it." I said quietly.

"But these look-"

"Please don't bother. They're old scars. There's nothing either of us can do about them now."

"Are they… self inflicted?" She asked cautiously. I closed my eyes and turned my head away, only to have her grasp my chin and turn my head back to face her. I tried to turn my head away again, but she held it firm, trying to catch my eyes.

"Adam… are they self inflicted?"

"…Yes." I nodded, clenching my fists up. At this moment I felt naked-excuse the pun-in front of this girl. She was somehow pulling things from me that I never told anyone before, besides Yunaku.


"Don't say anything. It doesn't matter."

"What caused you to do this?"

"…I honestly don't know." I shook my head, unknowingly wrapping my arms around her nude body and pulling her close to me. In moments her hands were in my waist length black hair, pulling it from the ponytail and letting it fall around my shoulders. I pressed my lips to hers and pulled her into a long, deep kiss, suddenly craving any kind of interaction possible.

Despite being the nymphomaniac I was, I was always lonely. I suppose it couldn't be helped, especially with my limited amount of friends. I surrounded myself with people… and yet it did me no good. But this girl… she seemed to be more company and more interesting than any of the other girls I knew.

"What was that for?" She asked, pulling away. I looked down at her, my mind dull.

"Oh… I'm sorry… I wasn't paying attention to what I was doing."

"Sure you weren't." She smirked and brought our lips together once more. I inhaled sharply, moving my hands in the way they had been taught to move. This was my time now.

Now do not be so appalled. I am not the only teenage male to go out and screw some random girl I met in the park. Many others before me, I'm sure, have done the same, just never told anyone about it. It isn't wrong to want to have someone by your side, is it? Besides… she advanced on me first. I was not the one to strip down naked and seduce her into coming into the fountain, was I?

We moved slowly and rhythmically, not leaving a spot on the other's body unexplored. She seemed just as experienced as I, and that both impressed me and turned me off.

"Does this mean… that we're together now?" She asked breathlessly, lying beside me on the grass. Somehow we had gone from the fountain to the ground, but the details of our lovemaking were hazy and cloudy to me.

I frowned, looking away from her.

"We are together right now." I said indifferently.

"No, I mean… are we dating now?" She sounded expectant, as if that's what she wanted. But how could she want me? What was so special about me to make her want to see me again?

"I don't know." I climbed up and began to put my clothes on, wiping some of the sweat from my forehead with the back of my hand. "Whatever you want."

"Shouldn't you aid at least a little with a decision like this?"

"No." I said coldly, bored now with her childlike mannerisms. Or was I? Maybe I was just testing her.

She didn't say anything. In a moment, she was up from the ground and dressing, and after a few minutes we parted ways. I had no regrets. I had often left my temporary lovers like this, and afterward I felt nothing but loneliness. To solve that, I went out and found another person, and ended up leaving them with that same feeling. It was like a never-ending cycle of loneliness. The day it stopped would be the day I died.

Sometimes I thought I was born and raised on loneliness, as it seemed to be my entire being. Ever since I was a young boy, my parents were never home. I was left with a less-than-qualified babysitter who did nothing right and everything wrong. When she was forced to leave, I was scarred by my loneliness and other things that I just… gave up. And then Yunaku stepped in and here I was now, sixteen years old with more self inflicted scars than the Sahara had grains of sand. And more would appear in the next week or so, I knew. It was the cycle of life that had been chosen for me. A few hours of pleasure, and then scars, pain, and loneliness. The aftereffects of which sent me plummeting into oblivion, waiting for someone, anything to pull me out. And those hours of pleasure came along, and the cycle repeated on and on. The only time I was figured to have peace was when I was sleeping, and even then I had nightmares and tossed and turned. Besides that, I was an insomniac, and rarely, if ever, got half the sleep a normal person got.

I trudged home in the darkness, feeling nothing but self-pity. I longed to return to that strange but intoxicating girl Prussia, and perhaps I could escape my feelings of sadness if only for this night. It would be nice to fall asleep in someone's arms and be able to stay there…

I figured at that time that I would never see Prussia again. I didn't recognize her from my school, and I figured I would have. She was so different from the other girls, so perfectly different, with her beautiful chocolate colored hair worn in a length that rivaled mine, and soft lips and delicate looking skin that held a complexion seemingly better than my own. However, I was wrong. For one day, on a day I decided to actually attend my classes for once, I saw her standing in the hallway by someone's locker-presumably her own-staring off into space. I had no intention of beginning a conversation with her, given my cold-shouldered nature. However, she must not have wanted to leave it that way, for I felt a soft tap on my shoulder and turned around to look directly at the neck of Prussia Akiromonov. I hadn't noticed before that she was at least four inches taller than me, probably because I had taken to wearing platform shoes outside of school (and occasionally in school, too) to hide my embarrassingly small height. I was 5'7". Not a bad height, I suppose, but not a good one, either. In a school full of burly American boys, I was at least four to five inches shorter than all of them.

"Hey." Prussia didn't seem the least bit hostile. I almost smiled, relieved that she didn't hate me for whatever I had surely done.

"Hi." I nodded briefly, slumping my shoulders and looking down at the ground. I suddenly felt intimidated by that questioning look in her eyes, and I at once wondered what in the world I could have possibly done.

(Well she's talking to me… so that's a good sign, I hope. I really did like her… even if I didn't know her for that long…)

"Walk with me?" She motioned down the hallway with a hand, smiling strangely. I nodded, sensing some ulterior motive. What if she had some trick up her sleeve to hurt me? If she did, she wouldn't be the first. I was always getting myself into situations like this…

"Sure." I nodded a bit and followed her down the corridor, becoming more and more uneasy as the hallways emptied out. Suddenly I felt my body pushed into a locker and I cringed, waiting to be punched or kicked or abused in some way. I was used to the cycle by now. After all, it wasn't like I had suffered enough, was it?

But no harm ever came, unless you consider a long, passionate kiss harm. Normally, people didn't. But me… I was different. I felt my body begin to panic inside and I squirmed, squealing as I pushed her away from me. I was panting now, my body having broken out in a sweat from that panic. My eyes were wide and were watering, and my insides felt twisted and locked up. I gazed up at the girl who had kissed me with such desire then, and saw the confused look on her face. I didn't want to say anything, but I felt I had to.

"…I'm sorry." At this point, it was all I could offer. Prussia regarded me with caution, seeming to get the hint that I did not want to be touched.

"So I guess you are a nightly lover, and squirmy by day?" She chuckled, watching me shake my head of that terrible blankness of my memory, the spot where a certain something should be but was not. Sometimes, my memory was a terribly confused place.

"I guess you could say that." I replied, shakily gaining my composure. I leaned back against the cool wall, sighing. "I apologize for that, I just… freaked out, I suppose."

"It's okay. I'm not one for PDA, myself." She smiled reassuringly, and I instantly decided, in my boyish mind, that I liked this girl. Whatever I had done to her last night hadn't affected her so much that she would not talk to me. For that, I was both greatly appreciative and upset. I didn't want to get too close to a person, not now… not until I was better.

"It isn't that… I am claustrophobic." I told her weakly, cursing myself inside immediately. I expected the reply that came next.

"Last night you were not so claustrophobic."

"Last night was different." I told her.

"How so?" She gazed at me with a dangerous gleam in those emerald green eyes.

"…It just was. Now, what do you want?" It wasn't that I was trying to come off sounding mean; I just wanted to get away from this area where passing-by teachers could write us both up for detention, and there were certainly better things to do on a Saturday morning than sitting in a chair, half asleep, doing schoolwork.

"You remember last night when you said that whether we dated or not was up to me?" She asked, not seeming the least bit offended. I didn't remember, but I nodded anyway, figuring I had probably said that.

"Is it still up to me?" She asked. I thought for a moment, frowning. She was going to ask me out, I knew it! Only one other person had dared to ask me out, and our relationship… it had left me scarred and pitiable, and from there part of me had become that nymphomaniac that I was today. Prussia would be my first person since that time, since no one ever really dared to ask me out since then. I would have said no anyway. Everyone knew nights with me were one-night stands, and nothing more. Was this girl stupid that she didn't know that, or was she just purposely ignorant?

"I don't know." I shrugged, turning away.

"I want to ask you out." She said bluntly. I paused in my task of walking away from her. Yeah, I did like her, but… I couldn't risk getting hurt again. The minds of women frightened me sometimes, which is why my first and only relationship had not been with a woman. I trusted only Yunaku, and no other woman. Perhaps I had my past to blame for that.

"I think you just did." I said a bit too coldly. I could hear the brunette wince at the harshness in my words. I was both afraid and pleased that I would scare this girl away. Sure, it might hurt to lose her now, the only girl who could love me, but it would hurt me even more if later in life she decided I wasn't good enough for her.

"And what is your answer?" She demanded. Her voice mirrored my own, filled with acrimony. It seemed, however, that there was a bit more humor behind those words than she wanted.

"What do think my answer is?"

"I'd like to think it is yes."

"Thinking and knowing are two entirely different things, Prussia." It was the first time I'd said her name aloud, I think, and it felt wonderful to say that.

(Wouldn't it be nice if I could say that every single day…? Just for no reason, murmur that name when I am feeling lonely, or when I am with her just to assure myself that it isn't really a dream?)

But that's all anything with me could be, a dream. For that's all I am capable of, are dreams. It was nice to be a dreamer, but in the end it was disappointing. I dreamt of happiness and contentment, but when I awoke from those dreams, I lost that warmth from next to me in the bed, and a cold blast of wind hit me in the face. Nothing was clearer than when I woke up the day after I was broken up with my boyfriend and discovered not his sleeping form, but an empty indent on the pillow where his head should have been.

"Then enlighten me on the difference between thinking and knowing." She grinned evilly, smirking. It seemed… that she was enjoying playing with me like this!

"I don't care to right now." I told her coldly. I began to walk away from her when I felt a hand grasp my arm. At once empty pictures flew by my mind, but instead of feeling nothing, I felt horror. It washed over me in waves, and before I knew it I was falling to the floor and then my world went dark.

I awoke in what felt like a hospital bed, instantly feeling a stinging pain in my head. I rubbed at it, opening my eyes to see a face that was familiar by now.

"Prussia…? What happened?" I asked her, amazed at the pain in my head that arose from talking so little. The girl looked up from staring at where her hand held my left hand and smiled, light filling her face.

"Oh, you're awake!" She cried. I looked at her, confused for a moment before realizing what might have happened.

(Oh no! What if he…)

"You fell into a trance, or so the doctors told me." Prussia said. "I thought it was a coma at first, because it looked almost like you were dead…" Saying this brought tears to her eyes for some reason, and subconsciously I reached up with my left hand, pulling away from her own hand, and wiped those tears away. She smiled down at me, as if my touch had made her happy again.

"I apologize for making you upset." I said sadly.

"You don't seem scared. Do these trances happen often?" She looked at me suspiciously. At first I intended to lie, but I decided in the end to not be deceitful to this girl who was only trying to help. So I nodded.

"They do." I admitted.

"Do you know why? Don't they scare your family? Have you ever been medically affected by them?" She asked. I filed the questions into my brain, thinking up answers before answering them, slowly. One of my best traits was my ability to listen and understand, and then remember everything I had been told, even if it was fired at me like Prussia had done.

"I know why, but I do not want to tell you." I knew she was going to say something to that, so I let her go ahead and say it.

"Why not? Don't you trust me?"

"Not yet." My curt reply wiped the smile from her face, but she regained it shortly afterward when she looked at my face. Was it just me, or did she seem incapable of looking at me without smiling? If it had been another girl I would have felt violated, but with Prussia this trait was appealing. The only thing was… how could looking at someone as fucked up as me be so appealing that she had to smile?

"You will in time, I hope." She said.

"So does this mean that you plan to stay in my life?" I asked, not quite hating the idea. An even bigger grin crept upon that delicate-looking face that I was enjoying gazing at as the minutes turned into hours.

"Of course!" She smiled. "Will you accept that?"

I thought. Only a few hours ago-maybe even just one hour-I had been against sharing time with this headstrong girl with the intoxicating European accent, and now I was considering dating her as she asked. Who did she make me become? Slowly, I felt the shield around me bending and breaking. Either it had not been strong, or Prussia was just special enough that she could break through it. Doubts still lingered about becoming so close to a female, but I pushed them aside. They would be a hurdle for another hour, another day.

"…Yes." And in that moment it felt like I was agreeing to marriage, for the happy feelings that naturally came on that day overflowed my mind and for a moment, I could see nothing but sunshine. Prussia was good for me, I knew, because even just by saying yes, that darkness, depression, and the loneliness that had plagued me my entire life was gone.

At least for a little while. Was it so wrong to ask for happiness when you suffered so much and finally wanted a break?