Author's Note: I re-uploaded this chapter because there were a few mistakes in it. Also, I moved the story to General instead of Spiritual. I just... don't think it's very spiritual. I don't know why I put it in there. xD

Mirror, Mirror

"Mirror, Mirror, on the wall, who's the fairest one of all?" Madoc snorted, rolling his eyes and shaking his head. Sure, yesterday he was saying he could do this really well, but maybe not. He really didn't know how to start it. Madoc sighed, swallowing. What did he see?

"You look gorgeous. You done in here yet?" Madoc turned to look at Darren's girlfriend. She stayed over their house sometimes. "Why do you spend so much time in front of this mirror anyway?"

And where Lisa is concerned, nothing is sacred.

"It's for a project. I have to write an essay on what I see when I look in the mirror."

"And what do you see?"

Madoc shrugged. "Derek said he saw the same best friend he has six months ago, only stronger."

"But you're not Derek."

"What do you see?" Madoc asked, turning to Lisa. She turned him back around, her hands on his shoulders, resting her head on his left shoulder atop her own hand.

"I see you."

"... But who's me?" Madoc asked quietly, more to himself than to Lisa. She sighed, rubbing his shoulders after standing up straight.

"That's what the essay is about." She said, pushing Madoc out so she could go to the bathroom. "Tootles." She waved, shutting the door in his face. Madoc sighed, stepping back and looking at the door to his room. He walked over and plopped on his bed, getting out a pad and paper, starting to write.

---

Essay, after essay, after essay. And for college students, they all sucked. Dario couldn't joke around about it. They really did suck. Sighing, he picked up the next one. Derek Czajka. Oh yes, 'Bitch-zilla'-kid. Dario wondered if the kid was part Polish or something. He didn't really look it. He sighed, reading it and starting to mark it. Kid was smarter than he looked.

A hell of a lot smarter than he looked. Dario was proud of him, actually. He really didn't have to mark anything too much. Just a few grammer mistakes -- and a few curses -- but he was good. He set Derek's aside and picked up the next one. Madoc Argall. The quiet sidekick of Derek. He vaguely remembered one of the teachers mentioning that Madoc had been through something rough recently... not too recently but fairly, and that he used to be just as vibrant as Derek -- but less obnoxious. He sighed, setting the page on his desk as he began to read.

And he just couldn't stop.

---

Derek sat up straight and craned his neck to look as Madoc got his paper back, comparing grades on their essays. "What'd you get?" He asked, raising an eyebrow.

"You were just looking. You didn't get a peek?"

"Hey, I check out the girl's locker room a lot too. Sometimes I don't always get a free show."

Madoc rolled his eyes. "97. You?"

"Eh, 92." Derek shrugged, like it was normal. Madoc chuckled, because it was. "But hey, 97... good job, Madoc!" Derek said, cheerfully. Madoc was generally the 'B' or 'C' student.

"Yeah... Well, I had Lisa proof read it first."

"Lisa? Why the fuck would you have Lisa read it?"

"Because she doesn't give a damn what I write." Madoc said, rolling his eyes. "She likes picking out my mistakes, remember?"

"True dat." Derek mumbled, the bell ringing and he and Madoc stood up, getting their things together.

"Madoc?" Dario stood at the front of the class, looking at the brunette expectantly. "I want to talk to you about your essay."

Madoc hesitated, looking at Derek as if the blonde would give him the answer. Derek raised an eyebrow at Madoc and shrugged, waving. "See you, Mad-Dog." He said, leaving Madoc there. Madoc narrowed his eyes at the door. Traitor. "What's up, Professor?"

"... Well, um... I thought your essay was probably the most powerful."

"Yeah?"

"Yeah."

Madoc shifted uncomfortabley. Ew, he really hoped the teacher wasn't hitting on him. "So...?"

"Well... you seem kind of lost. I just want you to know that if you ever need anything, you can come to me."

"You're not hitting on me, are you?" Madoc blurted out stupidly.

Dario rolled his eyes. "No, I'm straight, thanks. I just mean..." Dario sighed, rubbing the back of his head. "I might be able to help you through it better than you think."

Madoc watched Dario for a moment. "Like... how?"

Dario shrugged. "You mentioned in your essay that you feel like you can't relate to anyone. You can relate to me." He said, looking Madoc right in the eye.

Madoc looked totally shocked. He started down the stairs, walking right up to Dario. "You mean you've got--?"

"Turned into full-blown AIDS. Got it from a girl who cheated on me without telling me. She was actually my fiance at the time, too. Ain't that a kick in the nads?"

Madoc broke into a slight smile. It was weird to hear a teacher say nads. "... I guess I can... to an extent." Madoc said, shifting the strap to his school bag on his shoulder. "I didn't get it from my girlfriend." Madoc said, staring Dario intensely in the eyes. Dario raised an eyebrow. Did that kid seriously think it mattered if he was gay?

"Look, kid. Gay, straight, or whatever, it's still hard to go through alone. Trust me, I know." Dario sighed, walking around his desk, putting his own things away. "But--"

"It's not like I asked for it."

Dario looked up, confused. "...I never said you did."

"That's not what I mean. I'm saying I didn't sleep around. I didn't ask for it, figuritively." Madoc said.

"... Neither did I." Dario said, starting to get offended. Seriously? Did that kid think he slept around or something?

Madoc opened his mouth again, but seemed to struggle for words. Dario's lips parted, and he looked confused. What the hell? This suddenly got even weirder. "I... I call it the incident, 'cause I don't like to talk about it. I don't like calling it by its real name."

"What's its real name?"

"Rape."

Dario's eyebrows shot up. "I'm--"

"I know, one in a million, right? Fuck." Madoc shook his head, pinching the bridge of his nose. "But I guess he got what he deserved."

"How?"

"Somebody offed him."

"What?"

"Yeah, I know, right? That's one in a billion! I sure as hell didn't do it... I was in the hospital at the time. They never caught the killer, but I guess it's Karma, right?" Madoc scoffed. "But if it is Karma... why me? Is this 'cause God's pissed at me 'cause I'm gay?" He said, stepping closer to Dario.

"Not all gay people have HIV, Madoc."

"Then why?"

Dario shrugged. "I don't believe in Karma. I think we're all just... here. No God, no Karma, no Heaven or Hell. Just us." He said, but this seemed to make Madoc more upset.

"Then what happens to us when we die?" The brunette asked quietly. Dario's jaw just dropped a bit.

He didn't have an answer to that one.