It hadn't been a good day. More teasing, more beating, more crying, and screaming. Just like every day, though, I put on my best smirk and took it. Took it all, without a fight. I wouldn't cry for them. Wouldn't give them the satisfaction of letting them know just how much they hurt me. See, it's not that I care about them. It's him. He comes around sometimes. Says he's sorry for all he does when he's with them.

I believed it once. The time he kissed me, that is. As soon as his lips were on mine, he could have asked me to do anything - and I would have done it. My heart had sped up and slowed down at the same time, the world had froze and all that was there, standing in the middle of the street - was us. The fag and the bully. When he'd pulled away, he'd given me this wonderful smile and said, "I won't let them hurt you anymore."

Of course I'd known better to believe him, and I was right too. When I returned to school the next day, he'd been the first one to push me up against the locker, pressing his mouth to my ear and hissing, "if you ever put your fag hands on again, I won't hesitate to kill you." It took everything I had not to break down at that moment. I managed a quirk of the eyebrow and a small smirk, which earned me a fist to the gut.

They'd all joined him after that, and that's how I got to where I am now. Walking down the street, pouring rain, trying hard not to bawl my eyes out. There was a steady flow of blood mixing with the rain that was coming from the gash in my forehead -- the newest addition to my many cuts and bruises. My parents gave up on asking. At first it had annoyed me that they always insisted to know exactly what happened, but when they gave up... it almost seemed like they no longer cared. Which was a hurtful thought.

It wouldn't be anything new, though. I'm used to being betrayed. I've got no friends, not since I left fifth grade. Which means I've be friendless for about six years now. It used to upset me, seeing friends together, but it was easy to get over, because all I had to think about was how everyone I ever trusted had ended up leaving me in the end, no matter what they had said. So, I came to the conclusion that I was better off without friends.

"I'm sorry." The voice came from behind me and I immediately recognized it. I had to keep myself from running, and at the moment I was thankful for the freezing rain, for I couldn't feel the tear that rolled down my numb cheek, and I knew he wouldn't be able to see it. "I really am." A harsh, bitter laugh escaped my throat and I stopped walking, turning around to face him.

"What part are you sorry for?" I asked, my eyes and voice just as fierce as ever. "Sorry for kissing me, sorry for lying to me, sorry for hurting me, or sorry that you're just another worthless prick like the rest of them?" I asked, venom dripping from my voice. All my life I'd been the one called 'worthless', and though I hated to admit it, it felt really good to spit the word in someone else's direction for once.

I could see the guilt etched into his face, but I didn't understand it - not really. Was it possible to feel guilt for a screw-up? I mean, I'd been tortured all my life without the slightest sympathy, and now this guy stumbles along and wants to feel guilty for hurting me? I guess everybody had his or her limits, though. Kissing a faggot was probably his.

"I'm sorry that I hurt you." Was all he said, walking closer, but I could hardly see him for the rain was coming down so much harder now. I couldn't help the soft smile that passed over my lips as I heard the distant rumble of thunder - what a fitting setting. I immediately pulled back when he put his hand on my shoulder, and his pain expression was all to obvious.

"I've been hurt all my life, Troy. You're not the first one to do something like this to me, obviously. You aren't the first one to lie to me, or hit me, but you are the first one to apologize. See? I can't accept it, because you'll turn right back around and do it all again without even thinking about it. How do I know this? You did it just the other day. Just the other day. I almost feel sorry for you. I mean, you came crawling back so quickly to apologize to me - the faggot. Better watch out, you might catch it! 'Cause we all know what fag hands can do!" My voice was quiet, but fierce and I knew that my eyes were giving away everything that I was feeling.

"We can leave, we can just run away. Forever. We won't have to worry about them and I won't ever hurt you again." His voice was almost drowned out by the loud crack of thunder, but I heard him loud and clear, his words ringing in my ears. Part of me wanted to believe him, but the rational part could still feel his breath on my ear as he whispered the threat of death if I ever touched him again.

"I wish," I whispered and it was the most vulnerability that I'd ever shown to any of them. Suddenly his lips were on mine again and I got the same feeling as before, tenfold. "Please.." I whispered against his lips, pulling away slightly to look into his brilliant brown eyes. I didn't even know what I was saying... it just slipped, but he seemed to understand well enough and he nodded a bit, pressing his lips against mine. Suddenly the freezing rain couldn't keep my body numb. I felt like I was on fire as he wrapped his arms around my waist and I wrapped my around his neck. "You're lying."

"I'm not." His voice held just as much emotion as mine did, which made it hard for me not to believe him. He sounded so honest, so real, but I wasn't sure. "I'm in love with you." At this, I pulled back, eyes widened with surprise and disbelief.

"If you loved me you would have spared me all the harsh comments and brutal beatings," I nearly hissed, suddenly angry again. "If you were in love with me, we wouldn't be in this situation now! I wouldn't be extremely sore when I woke up tomorrow, and I wouldn't have a cold. Which I will get." I closed my eyes when I felt his lips against my own once more. How could he do that? One kiss and I was completely out of it. Maybe this was love?

Was it possible to be in love with someone who'd physically and mentally tortured you for half of your life? My answer to that was strangely, yes. When we broke away from the kiss, I was crying again as I buried my face into his soaked shirt, basically clinging to him. "Forever?" I finally whispered and I could feel him nod against me. "Without pain, without numbness?" It sounded dumb, but I was scared.

He pressed his lips against my ear once more and I visibly winced, waiting for him to say something nasty. "I'm never going to hurt you again, and if anyone else tries, I'll make sure to put a stop to it." I was crying again as he continued to whisper sweet-nothings in my ear, trying to soothe me.