Rachel yawns. Dear oh dear, how unfortunate to be trapped in school once again, Rachel? She bears no grudge against getting a fine education, has nothing against the school system. In fact, in months previous she has grown quite fond of being in school, mostly because it is most assuredly not her home.

The bell rings. Dazedly, she just shakes her head, keeping her eyes cast downwards, a shy smile on her face.

"Hey Rache!"

"Hey Liam," she replies. Almost as if in a trance she opens her locker (yes, she has been 'out of it' on the way to her locker) and mercilessly stuffs her textbooks and binders in, preserving only those of the classes she actually gives a flying turtle donkey's wings about, mainly being science.

"Got a lot of homework?"

"Just studying," she looks back to the sandy haired boy. He is nice enough, she supposes.

"Neat-o," he remarks. Well, this is the annoying habit he has. Things like 'neat-o' and 'nuts' and 'awesomeness' are phrases that Rachel suffers often. She doesn't mind. Rachel has a lovely sense of irony and can appreciate a good cosmic joke. She sees everything through a Harlequin's eyes.

She raises one eyebrow. "Neat-o, indeed. Anyways, I have to get home."

"Ha-ha. Bus rider!"

"Say what you will, my carbon footprint is lessened!"

"Ah, I'm the cause of global warming anyways, you know that."

An inside joke that the two of them share. Rachel has been good friends with Liam for the better part of high school, and no, not in that way. Liam is not, as it were, Rachel's 'type' (assuming she has a type, my dear). Besides, Liam has an absolutely scintillating crush on a shy, short, dark-haired girl who reads far too often for her own good and is slightly dumpy. Her name is Sara.

Regardless, the joke is that Liam has ridiculously contradictory habits when it comes to energy conservation. He drinks bottled water, but they are 'eco-bottles', which use less plastic. He drives everywhere, including places within walking distance, but turns lights off and unplugs everything whenever possible.

Rachel grins. "Oh, indeed, good sir."

"Hey, speaking of good sirs-" he fishes in his locker for a moment. "Do you want this?"

Rachel half expected him to draw out a tiny little palm-sized fop. Alas, no such luck. In his hand he holds a bowler hat, a simple thing of grey material with a red silk band just above the rim. Grey and red, it is a color combination with which Rachel shares a love-hate relationship.

"Sure, why not?" She takes it from him, setting it firmly on her head at a slight angle so as to partially cover one eye. Her hair, which is brown along with the rest of her features with the exception of her skin which is only freckled brown, flops with a cut-off cascade just past her shoulders.

"Ah, beautiful. Wait, who am I kidding."

"Jerk." She smiles. True, the hat looks very post-modern pretentious chic on her, but she has someone in mind whom it will fit infinitely better.

"Well, keep it anyways."

"Where'd you get it?"

"Discarded from Drama. Can you believe they're actually getting rid of it? Not like anything's wrong with it. It's just that it's starting to grey."

Rachel smiles. "Perfect."

XXX

Walking home, Rachel has kept the hat on her head and her backpack slung over one shoulder in an acceptably 'cool' way. Well, honestly? She's simply too lazy to casually sling it over BOTH shoulders.

Today, she decides to take the long route home, because it includes walking through one of the road 'islands' covered in trees. A miniature forest, as it were. She does not often treat herself to such a detour, as it puts her ten minutes out of her way in total, but today as she has no physical homework she feels she deserves it.

Naturally, it is today that the clouds choose to empty their long-full purses of rainwater upon densely populated New York. Oh, yes, that New York, the overplayed one used all-too-often as the set of sitcoms and poor romantic comedies. But, this is a suburb of the city itself.

Regardless, it is not so much raining as swimming through a pool that is drizzling air.

As soon as the rain begins, Rachel freezes, just slowly absorbing the knowledge that on the one day she chooses to go home the long way, and at the exact halfway point home, it rains like this. If she goes back to the short way, it won't make a difference. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

Her eyes closed, she bites her lip to suffocate a smile. She does not succeed, letting out a loud guffaw. Ah, yet another cosmic joke from the Lord above for her. Such perfect timing. She's not upset. Sure, she doesn't appreciate being quite so wet, but it is amusing nevertheless. Such beautiful timing.

Of course, she is wearing jeans and a cotton sweater, both of which retain water quite successfully and are quite intent on not letting it go. She releases another laugh, because Rachel is lenient like that, and it is hard to irk her.

"Oh, You're good," she half-shouts in the general direction of the sky as she crosses an empty street. She is completely, utterly soaked to the point of having no dry areas at all. Her pants stick to her legs uncomfortably, clinging in places they don't when dry. Usually, her clothing is relatively loose, because Rachel hates clothes that cling to her body, but now it is a rather unavoidable event.

Her hair drapes around her face in inelegant strands.

But as she approaches her own house, the rain lessens to a light drizzle, the sun mockingly scraping its long fingers through the clouds.

Her lips, in a tentative smile, quiver. She giggles.

"Oh, touché, magic sky." She snorts, because the only other alternative would be to just bowl over laughing.

Rachel lives in a two-story yellow house that sits atop a small hill, with a low slung willow tree in front of it with a branch that dangles over the sidewalk. Apparently it is too big a temptation for most kids, and children always feel obliged to swat it as they pass it. But it never seems to suffer ill affects for this – not lately, anyway. She lives in it with only her parents and her dog, all nice enough creatures in their own rights. Her parents both work late most nights.

She soon enters her house, slamming the door behind her with one foot.

"So, are you in love with me yet?"

A boy, about Rachel's age, is sitting on a desk just to the left of the door. One leg dangles down, the other bent up so that he may drape an arm over the knee. He is entirely grey, or at least, almost entirely gray. His shirt is a faded grey, almost feathery, the sleeves rolled up to his elbows to reveal white skin, but not eerily so – like an albino in a soft light. His pants are a darker grey, the same color as the vest buttoned over his skinny chest, both made of something that seems almost like a burlap-linen-silk hybrid. His thin face is all angles and bones, his body lithe and tall, a swath of dark hair on his head flops stylishly on one side of his head. His eyes are light red. Not pink, because if you were to see them the word pink would not be applicable, but a light, airy red. They stand out magnificently against the rest of his body.

The boy's name is Ambrose.

Rachel smiles at him, taking the hat off her head.

"Not today sir, but there is hope," she says the same thing she has said everyday, and fixes the bowler hat on his head while doing so. She puts it at an angle so that it tilts in the same direction as his swath of hair. "I bid you, ask again tomorrow." He smiles at her fiendishly, amused.

The hat fits him perfectly, the same color as his vest and pants, the band of red silk accentuating his not-quite-gentle eyes.

"Your answer is the same everyday," he goads, reaching up to brush a finger over his new present. "For me?"

Rachel smiles a bit. "Sure."

His smile brightens. "Well, I'll have to return the favor someday."

"You already have. And then some. Half my wardrobe is fey clothing that just mysteriously appears overnight."

Ambrose is fey. Dark fey, to be exact. Which is not to say that he is evil.

Which is not to say that he is not, either.

"That wasn't done intentionally, however," he replies, as sly-voiced as ever.

She chortles. "Oh, and I suppose the strength of your 'love' just happened to put them there?"

Ambrose meets her eyes rather pointedly for a breathtakingly long few seconds before Rachel smiles, shakes her still-wet head, and heads up to her room. On the stairs up, she pulls off her soaking wet sweater to reveal a white t-shirt which is just as soaking wet, dropping the discarded garment on the banister.

"Get caught in the rain, did we?" he murmurs, suddenly right behind her, whispering in her ear. His voice is dark and silky.

"Hey, sometimes God chooses to prove His sense of humor through ironic weather," she says shakily. She fights the urge to bring her hands up to cover any exposed skin on her neck.

He emits a sultry grin, and she can almost feel it. Her knees are threatening to buckle beneath her, but they don't, because these sorts of charades are ones she is accustomed to.

"If I fall down these stairs and break my neck, I'm blaming you."

He grits his teeth. He takes a slow breath before returning to his casual demeanor. "Don't worry, Rachel dear. I wouldn't let something as silly as stairs come between us."

She just laughs and jogs the rest of the way up, into her room.

Rachel's room is simple, if a bit strange. The head of the bed only touches one wall, and takes up a good deal of room (the room is small, the bed is of regular size), with a four-to-five-foot-wide strip of floor around it on three sides. She has had to make do with this space, and has managed rather well. She got a desk that fit snugly in one corner, a few beanbag chairs, a butterfly chair (essentially a condensed hammock), a few bookshelves. It is very grey in itself, and sometimes she wonders if this is part of what originally caused Ambrose to find her – one day he was just there, sitting on her bed and looking dangerously attractive. He matches the room impeccably, his shirt the color of the walls, his vest the color of the comforter, his eyes the color of her thoughts.

She pulls open the door to her closet, surveying the clothing. She wasn't lying previously about the amount of clothing she'd 'accidentally' received, thanks to Ambrose's…accidental affections, shall we say.

They range from modest, form-flattering silks, chiffons, dresses with so many layers they look like gorgeous oil spills, dark things that seem to almost sparkle, to insane creatures that even a fashionista would be considered daring to use on a runway. They all share a tendency towards the dark and dramatic, though bright greens and blues and purples can be found without difficulty. Pastels are nowhere to be found (for this Rachel is grateful).

"Hmm, I like this," Ambrose purrs, his fingertips coming to rest on her hips in a feather-light touch, referencing the wet, white shirt.

"Down, boy."

"Oh, not even for me?"

"As fun as pneumonia is."

Ambrose lets out a small growl, sliding his arms a bit further around her waist, bringing his mouth down to the exposed skin of her neck.

"What if I were to…keep you warm?"

Rachel allows herself to close her eyes for a short while, to just marvel at the way he makes her feel. In short, she succumbs. His face is hot against her neck.

Ambrose opens his eyes, glancing towards the mirror. He takes a mental snapshot of the image, of her letting him willingly caress her, how she seems to enjoy it. In short, how good they look together.

Snap your fingers.

It didn't take long, did it? Longer than it took to read the sentence. That period of time is how long Rachel allows herself before she opens her eyes, sees her and Ambrose, and remembers.

He's not good. Dark fey. They trick people. They steal hearts. Probably literally.

"Get offa me," she grumbles roughly, walking towards the 'human' side of her closet and withdrawing khaki slacks and a brown shirt with long sleeves. The brown girl and the grey boy.

Ambrose watches her with tortured fascination. Perhaps if, say, you had ever been to a zoo and seen juvenile rabbits, mice, bear pups, anything small and furry and cute such that you wanted nothing more at the moment than to approach one and pet it, hug it, keep it with you always, so much so that your fingers almost itched with the sensation…

You may almost have an inkling of how Ambrose feels whenever he watches Rachel.

It is inexplicable why he has fixated on her, but he has, and that is that. There is a reason, I suppose, but still. It is unfortunate for the poor darkling. That is what dark fey are called – darklings. I, personally, am rather fond of the term. It's better than 'flower faerie' which the light fey get stuck with in some parts of the world.

But he only has half a heart (which is one half more than most darklings have), so he does not seem as hurt. He just grins when she steps behind an accordion divider to change.

He considers informing her that she has nothing new he hasn't already seen on one of the infinitely beautiful fey girls, but he'd rather not have her mad at him. He's also a bit scared of her wrath.

Instead, he seats himself on her bed, matching perfectly the grey room, ruminating on how he should return the lovely gift he's received. And really, the hat appears to be the something that he'd been missing before, the extra dash of color that says that all that grey really is intentional.

He has an idea.

"Well, unless you've fallen in love with me in the last few minutes…"

"Afraid not," comes the muffled call.

"Then I will be back shortly. I have matters to attend to."

With that, he's gone. No poof, no smoke, no popping noise, just…not there. Goodbye, Ambrose.

A/N: ...I'm not exactly satisfied with the first chapter as far as representing the story goes. It seems very...generic, doesn't it? Well, I'll probably post the second chapter soon, and it has more/better funny bits. Anyways.