What's this? Another new story?

I know, I know, I hardly have time as it is and I still owe you guys two weeks of So You Sent Them to Boarding School?, but I can't help it. This idea had to be written (badly, maybe, but written nonetheless). This may become my baby.

Summary: Tiny pixies, demons, pretty faeries, and one unbelievably big mess. Barrett Malley, troublemaker extraordinaire, is in the middle of it. All he needs to clean up are three friends, a healthy dose of common sense, some self-discovery, and a heavy-duty vacuum. Love and some Windex wouldn't hurt either. MM Slash.

--

chapter the first: Made Josie Cry; Put a Hole Through the Closet Door

--

List of Misdemeanors for July 2108, Part 4

7/26/08: Fire in the backyard, dog singed, rosebushes burned.

7/27/08: Window broken in escape attempt. Mother's china broken…again…

7/28/08: Laundry room flooded, clothes swamped, mold cultivated.

7/29/08: Made Josie cry by accident; knocked a hole into closet door.

I added 'broke Mother's vacuum' to what I had for today's charges, underlining the words in purple pen. Damn, I'm bad.

Josie was still wailing away in the kitchen, probably just for fun now. Josie is my baby sister; she's only six, and already she knows I'm trouble. She starts whimpering whenever I come into the room with anything but a smile on my face. I think it's all my mom's fault; she's convinced herself that I'm a bad seed and will do the same to anyone who'll listen.

It's not that she hates me; it's the opposite, actually. She loves me, but I'm hell on her nerves. And she's not unjustified, I mean, even I can say I'm a bad kid. The worst.

Well, maybe not the worst. I don't go around raping girls or doing drugs instead of going to school, but my record is definitely cluttered with misdemeanors. My mom, a lawyer, is forever trying to get me to change over to the light side; it'll be better for me in the long run if I reform now, she always says.

My dad says I'm just being a teenager, and that he was worse when he was my age. He probably was; I get my mischievous streak from my dad, and probably my tendency to sneak into the liquor cabinet when nobody's looking too.

"Bay! Did you break Josie's doll?" My mother screeches from the kitchen. That's when I notice Josie has stopped crying.

I sigh. "Damn…I was hoping she'd miss that," I said to myself before raising my voice. "Maybe!"

Mumbling. Then, "Josie says you did—Bay, come out here! I'm not going to just yell across the house when you have two perfectly good legs to get yourself over here with!"

Despite the fact that you're yelling right now. I sighed. "Fine!"

I pushed my chair backwards, ignoring when it fell over instead of just rolling, and left my room in something of a huff. I hadn't really meant to break Jo's doll, but she was hitting me with it. Hard. You wouldn't think six-year-olds would pack a punch, but Josie does.

My mother is holding Josie's doll in one hand, making a feeble attempt at fitting its arm back into the gaping socket. Josie is watching her with some form of amusement, giggling when Mom drops the arm altogether and has to pick it up off the ground. Josie has billions of those things, why would it matter if just one is broken?

"Bay," my mother says, still loudly, and walks around the table to shove the doll and her arm at me. I recoil; not only does it reek of perfume, but it's naked. I have standards.

"Fix Tanya for your sister," Mom commands, and I raise an eyebrow. She has a name? And Mom is calling the doll by said name? This is ridiculous. And I refuse to fondle Tanya.

"She's got tons of dolls, Mom, just throw this one out," I say. When she doesn't move I widen my eyes and make a 'shoo' motion towards the garbage. "That way."

"You broke it, Bay, you at least should try," Mom says, attempting to be authoritative. I snort.

"Put some clothes on that whore first and maybe I will."

Mom gasps. "Bay! Don't use that kind of language in front of your sister!"

"I saw her with Ken! Do you know the kind of emotional trauma Brian is going through right now?" I demand, keeping on a serious face.

"Bay!" She repeats, but this time she's laughing too. Josie takes Tanya from her hands and begins assembling an outfit from the bits of sparkly, multicolored cloth on the table with care.

I watch Tanya pivot in Josie's pudgy fingers, Josie absorbed in finding the matching shiny blue heel on the doll's left foot. Once found, she slips it on and holds it out to my mom, who takes it with a smile.

"She looks lovely, sweetie," Mom says fondly, and I roll my eyes. What sap.

She tosses Tanya to me and I let out a noise of strangled disgust, catching the doll by the remaining hand. She still smells like some jasmine crap. Eww.

"I don't suppose she could get a bath, too?" I ask, wrinkling my nose, but my mom gives me a 'stop-dicking-around' sort of look and I sigh and attempt to fix the doll from arm's length.

Click, click, click.

I'm waiting for the pop that means I've correctly jammed the limb back into the hole from whence it came. It's hard to aim, though, when I'm holding the severed arm like it's a knife and Tanya's body is…well, a body.

I hear my mom sigh and decide to actually try this time; lining up the parts, I thrust the arm home and nearly drop Tanya in the process.

I transfer Tanya back to my fingertips and wave it in Josie's general direction. "Here you go, Josie-Jo. Don't hit me with her again or she'll be missing more than an arm."

"Bay!" My mom scolds, landing a soft hand on my arm.

"Ow," I say, and my mom rolls her eyes.

"Look, I wanted to talk to you anyway, so we might as well do it now."

"Okay. Shoot."

Suddenly she's nervous, looking away and twisting her hands. There's a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach, knotting my insides up with anticipation.

"Well, Bay, you're not going to like this, but…" She trails off and I assume the worst.

"Oh my God. You're pregnant again?!"

"No!" she snaps, but the anxiousness had been lifted by my stupid joke somewhat. "I'm sending you to a psychologist."

…Okay.

What the hell? A psychologist?

"What the hell? A psychologist?" I say aloud. I wasn't under the impression that anyone thought I was crazy, let alone my own mother. What had I done wrong this time to make her think that, yet again, I was a psycho?

Hmm…psycho made me think of psychiatrist…which made me think of psychics and—

Holy shit. A fucking psychic.

I'm scared to death of psychics.

And this is pissing me off.

"Look, Bay, I just want to know what's wrong with you. A lot of people are concerned for you," she says, reaching for me. I step back. This is almost frightening—who thinks what is wrong with me?

"What do you mean, 'what's wrong with me'?" I ask, my voice rising. I'm freaking out a little. "There's nothing wrong with me!"

"Well, it's just…your behavior lately—"

"Is the same way it's always been!" I exclaim. I'm pissed now, for sure; I act the same way I always have; maybe a little worse, but on the same sort of scale. Who the hell was she to decide how my behavior should be, anyway?

"Bay, this isn't up for discussion," she says, frowning. "You're going to see Doctor Ryan on Thursday and that's final."

"Who says what is wrong with me?" I pursue, narrowing my eyes.

"People," she says offhandedly, averting her eyes. "Just accept it, Bay. Thursday."

"Like hell I will!" I shout.

"Barrett Isaiah Malley! You will not raise your voice at me!" Mom snaps back. "Go to your room! I don't want to see you until I call you back out!"

"Screw that!" I tell her, and leave the house fuming. There's only one person who can help me now…

--

"A fucking psychologist! A head doctor, Ky!" I rant, pacing hotly in front of Kyle Matthews' sofa. My best friend sits there placidly, regarding me over a pillow. "She thinks I'm fucking insane or something!"

"Psychologists aren't just for the crazies, Bay," Kyle says, shrugging. "They're for emotional and behavioral issues, too. I guess I can see why your mom would want you to see one."

"Oh, really?" I bite, then sigh. I flop down on the floor. Anger takes a lot out of me. "Enlighten me. I'm still in the dark."

"Well, I think she just wants to know why you're not like all the other kids," Kyle hypothesizes. "You know, you're not running around outside chasing faeries—"

"Because I'm not fucking ten anymore!" I whine, clutching at my hair. "I'm fucking sixteen! What am I supposed to be doing?"

"I don't know, seducing faeries instead?" Kyle shrugs. "Joining an underground band? No idea. But she wants the guy to get inside your head and figure out why you're not out doing…whatever we're supposed to be doing instead of sitting here and talking about your mental issues."

"D'you think she'll leave me alone if I do start seducing faeries?" I ask hopefully. They're not really my type—blue skin? Not a turn-on, if you ask me—but if it would get Mom off my back…

"Not likely," Kyle says, saving me from a roll in the toadstools. "She'd wonder why you changed your behavior so quickly and send you to a psychologist anyway. Women are like that. I'd says just accept it and go to the appointment."

"I don't want this guy in my head," I said petulantly, pulling a chunk of dark red-auburn hair in front of my eyes so I could braid it. Nervous habit, anxious habit, regular habit. Braiding soothes me. "That's so creepy."

"He won't be a psychic," Kyle says like it's obvious, rolling his eyes. "Total breach of privacy. Psychics don't work in the medical field, anyway, remember?"

"Yeah, yeah." I frown. God, this is scary. I don't want some slimeball poking around in my mind.

I live in a weird sort of world. People with magic powers are the norm here; psychics working in the law, healers in medicine, elementals on the battlefields, and the freaks being taken out back and shot…well, I've never heard of one being shot, but it could happen, I suppose.

Faeries are never in short supply in Infinity City, which is so big it should be called Infinity County. They're pretty much like the rest of the human kids, but with skin in various shades of blue and wings. With them are the nymphs, the tree-girls with their dark green skin and the tree-boys colored olive, with their grasslike hair and beetle-black eyes. There are the seraphim, the mermaids where you find water, talking animals…you name it, it's probably here or in a cage somewhere here. This is definitely not the world of two hundred years ago, that's for sure (emphasized by the repeated speeches of my history teachers. Like technology is that interesting…).

"Don't be so paranoid," Kyle says. "At the most he'll be an empath. That's not so bad."

"A psychic empath, maybe," I grouse despite his efforts, picking at the carpet. It sounds childish to be so fixated on this subject, but this is only making it worse. I'm actually almost terrified of psychics; for some reason, having my mind opened for someone to see is frightening. And past the fear, I hate being analyzed; I know I'm bad, you don't have to spit it out at me again in some psychobabble Freudian bullshit speech. And I hate being labeled and classified as a problem, like my mind's a bomb and I'm about to blow up. Not happening. I like having my thoughts and my reasons to myself. And seriously, who the hell wants their mind invaded? Show of hands?

Nobody?

I thought so.

"Look, I know you're doing some handcount in your head about how you hate being taken apart and observed, but he's just a psychologist, Bay. He's won't be a psych, just an empath."

Oh, shit. "Get out of my head, you psychic bastard!" I snapped. I had always suspected Kyle of being a psych (but then I sort of suspected everyone of being a psychic), but I hadn't really realized the implications of it if it really came to pass. The boy has too much goddamn insight for it to be common sense. "There's things in there you shouldn't know!"

Drama queen…

"I know you're a gerontophobe, an aichmophobe, and an arachnophobe, and they haven't come up with a word for fear of psychics yet, I don't think," Kyle said matter-of-factly, raising an eyebrow. "And I'm your best friend. What else is in there that I don't know?"

"Shut up." I sit up, letting the braids sifts between my fingers. I have four thick, messy twists bumping against my face now, and they comfort me a bit. "I…it's just nerves, I guess."

I sigh and Kyle looks at me. "You know, you can just refuse to cooperate. That's what I would expect from you, the troublemaker that you are."

I gasp. "Brilliant!" Uh…why did I not think of that before? I'm the criminal mastermind here, right? "I knew there was a reason I kept you around?"

"I thought it was for my devilish good looks," Kyle said blankly. I shook my head.

"No, that's what I'm for. You're the brains."

He sighed. "Oh, damn. I never get to be the looks."

"Cause you don't have any!" I sing, bouncing onto my feet. "Come, come, let's go to Camaro's place. We'll be saving him from another hour of piano, I bet."

"Okay." Kyle stood, stretching, and followed me out the door.

Steeped in afternoon sunshine, I felt much better than I had the first time I'd stood on Kyle's porch today. While I wasn't necessarily happy about the whole psychologist thing yet, it made me a little better to imagine the difficulty the shrink was going to have tomorrow.

Camaro's house is just down the street; a large silk-blue two-story landmarking the three acres that defined the Backlash estate. The lawn is carefully kept, the shrubs tamed, tiny pixies fluttering in elegant circles around the flowers. The place looks perpetually trapped in April; all cool and green and brimming with new life.

I go up the walkway, feeling somehow inadequate, and ring the doorbell. I always feel sort of nervous at the prospect of seeing anyone from Camaro's family, let alone having to talk to them. They're all so collected and regal and whatnot that it's slightly unnerving.

I frown to myself and suddenly I remember that my bangs are still braided ridiculously. My hands fly to my hair to fix them, and I barely manage to comb them out before the door is opened.

"Oh, hello, Barrett. Kyle." Camaro's older brother Thomas is about the only person under twenty who calls me by my given name. He has short dark hair and a neat, clean-cut appearance underscored by his collared blue shirt and khaki pants, both nicely ironed. In short, he looks almost nothing like Camaro—exactly the kind of guy who would call me Barrett. Eww.

"Thomas, are you answering the door again?" I hear Camaro's voice from behind his brother, and suddenly he shoves his way past his brother. Turning, he jabs Thomas in the chest for extra measure, muttering, "Fucking robot. Go do something useful, you hunk of scrap metal."

Thomas looks slightly affronted but wanders off, and I roll my eyes. Camaro just laughs, scratching his head. He and Thomas do look a little alike; they both have dark hair, but Camaro's is long and unruly and his eyes are violently blue. He looks like he dressed in the dark—admittedly, from a wardrobe of nice clothing—and altogether could not give a fuck about his appearance unless it means he looks like Thomas.

"Hey, y'all," he says, stepping back. "Sorry, I guess Robo-Boy wandered up here by accident. I was getting dressed."

An ongoing joke that we have is about Thomas being a robot. If you knew him, you'd think the same thing too; his eyes are flat, voice monotone, movements kind of stiff. It's almost ridiculous. "In the dark, I'm guessing," I say, and Camaro nods.

"You guessed it."

I laugh and so does Kyle, who neatly closes the door behind us when we come in. Equally neatly, he steps out of his shoes and leaves them symmetrically arranged by the door whereas I just kind of kick mine off. If I had severe OCD I'd be glad to hang around Kyle; everything he does is subconsciously organized and neat.

Camaro leads us to the kitchen, where I'm relieved to find neither his imposing mother or kingly father are hovering around. He picks up a can from the counter and seats himself on said counter, taking a gulp form the can before dropping it back down.

"So, what's up?" he asks, raising his eyebrows expectantly. "What's new, what have I missed, come on!"

My bad mood returns in full force when I'm reminded of that subject. Not even the thought of tormenting the guy tomorrow can help me cheer myself up. Fortunately, I have friends. "I've got to go to a head doctor tomorrow."

"A neurologist?" Camaro asks, confused. Oh, God. "Did you have an aneurism or something?"

"Not that kind of head doctor," I snort, leaning against the island. I've bruised my hipbones on this thing more times than I can count. I mean, who puts a fucking giant countertop in the middle of their kitchen? "A psychologist."

"His mom thinks he's crazy," Kyle elaborated.

He stifles a giggle, forcing himself to look me in the eye. I glare at him. "I can so see that happening," he said. "What are you going to do about it?"

"Do about it…" I sigh. Tomorrow seems like it's coming too soon now; I want to drag today out and get it over with at the same time. I really don't want to go. "Bitch and moan, most likely. Be a total jackass, definitely."

"Seems like something you'd do," Camaro says, shrugging.

I open my mouth to give him some sort of witty reply when a girl's voice comes floating across the room. "Well, well, well. Bay Malley, finally sent to a psychologist. About time, hmm?"

Cecelia Backlash, Camaro's fraternal twin sister, smirks at me from the wall where she stands. She looks like Camaro a little; same dark hair, like all the Backlash kids have, but hers hangs in loose curls down her back and her green eyes glint mischievously. She's what Camaro would be if the boy had his head properly set on his shoulders, and she's one of my closest friends.

"Nice to know you support my sanity, Celia," I say dryly, rolling my eyes. I don't want to be really mean to her—she's too pretty and too dangerous for me to want to mess with.

"I think you're sane," she said, sliding sleekly across the polished marble floors towards us. "Just not as much so as everyone else."

"Ha, ha." I give her the barest shove when she stops. "It's not funny."

"I think it is, actually," Camaro pipes up, grinning ear to ear at me. "I'd laugh like hell if you weren't standing right there. Actually, I might start laughing anyway."

I narrow my eyes. "Shut up, Cam. Having a psychic in your head is not fun."

"He won't be a psychic," Cecelia and Kyle say at the same time, Kyle with a little more exasperation in his voice. "Bay, they don't do that. Psychs are almost exclusively employed in the police force, so unless he's got a gun and a badge he's not going to be unraveling the darkest secrets of your mind."

"Shut the fuck up!" I say, spasming at just the thought of some psychic breaking through my mental barriers. "Shut up, Kyle! That's disgusting!"

"Bay—" Kyle says, but I cut him off.

"It's wrong!"

"Bay—"

"It's like having your brain raped!"

"Bay! Seriously! No psychics! I swear to God, if you don't stop this nonsense now I will slap you silly, do you understand?" Kyle almost shouts. Then all the angry energy leaves him and he slumps against the counter. "I don't wanna hear about brain rape anymore."

I'm a little shaky—even if I do piss Kyle off once every two weeks or so, it's still so rare that you can't get used to it. Freaks the fuck out of me. But I still can't stop from running my mouth—that's one of my weaknesses. Snarky comebacks, twenty-four-seven. "I don't want to have my brain raped."

"Oh my God, Bay. Nothing's going to happen. You're so paranoid," Cecelia said, elbowing me gently. I sighed.

It's not like I asked to be terrified of psychics. I don't like it, but this is the way I am: pathetic whenever faced with someone who could rip my thoughts apart in a few seconds flat. I know I go overboard with it sometimes, but really…I don't mock Kyle mercilessly for being afraid of candles!

…Well…I do, but that's beside the point.

Seriously, who the fuck is afraid of candles?

"If Kyle says the guy won't be a psychic, he probably won't be. Kyle knows shit, man," Camaro said, nodding emphatically. Kyle gave him a grateful smile.

"Okay, Kyle. Fine. But if he is—" I jabbed my finger in Kyle's direction, glaring above my fingers, feeling some of the fear dissipate. Kyle is usually right about everything, so I have to trust him on at least this. "--if he is a brain-fucker, I'm coming after you."

"Brain-fucker," Kyle snorts, and I grin weakly. Just don't think about it and you'll be fine…

"Fucker," Camaro giggles for a completely different reason. "How would you fuck a brain?"

"Ew." Cecelia wrinkles her nose daintily. "That's disgusting, Cam."

"Sorry, Cece," Camaro chirps innocently, giving her his best wide-eyed-puppy look. Cecelia laughs, but her expression softens.

"You know, you all don't suck as much as you could for being my best friends," I tell them, suddenly feeling thankful. Cecelia raises an eyebrow and Kyle looks skeptical, but Camaro laughs.

"You don't such all that much either, Bay," he says, wiggling his eyebrows, "and I mean that in a very literal way—ow, Cece, don't hit me!"

Cecelia's frown is back, but she's trying to hide her laughter. "Quit being such a perv."

Kyle and I trade amused looks, and I settle back to enjoy the rest of my evening before my head is invaded.

Shit, wait, I'm not supposed to be thinking about that.

Oh, fuck it.

But even if I can't stop thinking about it, I can still enjoy myself.

--

"Bay…"

I groan and turn away, rubbing my face against the downy softness of my comforter. It's probably obscenely early to be up anyway, I can ignore whoever it is.

"Bay, babe, your appointment's in forty-five minutes. Time to get up, sweetie," my mother croons. I ignore her and snuggle deeper into my sheets. Maybe she'll forget about the appointment if I don't wake up.

"I'm going to burn that shirt you like so much if you don't get up right now," she says, her voice still sweet.

I jerk upright, one eye flicking open. "Are you serious?"

I know which shirt she's talking about; the dark one in her hand, my favorite shirt, the only article of clothing I actually wash myself. And to my surprise, a lighter was in her other hand. I could see the little fire mote dancing in its case, its flame alternating from blue to green to yellow and back again.

"You wouldn't," I say, my voice hoarse and not that menacing. My mother smiles creepily.

"Would you rather find out the hard way?" she asks, and I frown. There's really no way of getting out of this, is there? Damn her for being so conniving, the woman. "Get dressed, Bay. I want you downstairs in half an hour."

Reluctantly rolling myself out of the warmth of my bed, I ask, "What time is it?"

"Eleven-thirty," she tells me before leaving my room, presumably so I can get ready.

I toy with the idea of going back to bed for a second, but discard it with a sigh. As much as I don't want to face this psychologist, I really don't want that shirt burned. I've had it forever; there were so many memories in that piece of fabric that I couldn't sacrifice it for two hours of sleep.

The perks of being the oldest child in a family of two: I get my own bathroom. I didn't have to worry about Josie spraying her little kid germs all over my shit or using my toothbrush by accident, and I didn't have to wait in a line. Meaning that I was in and out of the shower in ten minutes, and dressed in about five.

I came downstairs when I'd found my shoes under my bed and wrestled them away from a dust bunny. Those things are vicious; I was nursing a scratch on my knuckle now because of the little gray devils.

"You have ten minutes to eat, Bay," my mom says when I reach the kitchen. She looks ready to go as usual, smoothing peanut butter onto a piece of bread for Josie; I can only imagine how I look. "So get your butt in gear, mister. We won't be late."

"Can I have my shirt back?" I ask, stretching before I head for the cereal cabinet. That's about all I have the energy for right now, and besides that the fridge sprites are mad at me for throwing them together with a few lighter sprites last week. It was entertaining then, but I was still paying for it now. Those little bitches can hold one hell of a grudge.

"No. You wouldn't cooperate if I didn't have anything to threaten you with. So when you get back, then you can have your shirt back."

"When did you get so scheming? Damn," I mumble under my breath, taking my cereal to the table to eat. Josie is watching Mom impatiently, her eyes following the knife's tracks over the bread like it's gold. Or something equally valuable to a six-year-old, I guess. Maybe gummy worms.

"When I learned that was the only way to get you to do anything," she replied smartly. "Eight minutes."

I scowled, stabbing at a Cheerio. "I don't even like Cheerios."

"Don't eat them, then," Mom said. I picked one up and flicked at Josie; it hit the side of her face with a wet plop and she let out a wail. "And don't throw them at your sister, either! Good Lord, Bay!"

"Okay, okay. Jesus." I returned to mauling the little oat spheres and restrained myself from throwing anything else at Josie. Even if she was only six, she was definitely a brat sometimes.

As I sat there the full gravity of today sunk in. Psychologist. Fucking hell, did my mother seriously think I acted out because I had mental problems? I mean, I'm not the sharpest bulb in the drawer, but seriously…I act like an asshole because I am an asshole. Anyone who's ever seen me in action knows that.

I'm not too much of an asshole to ignore people's advice, though. Despite Kyle's reassurances, I was still…uh..still—okay, I'll say it: terrified that this stupid counselor was going to be a psychic. It seems silly; they wouldn't tear apart the lining of my mind and read my innermost thoughts, they'd just find out what made me tick. But for me it's more than that; I meant it when I told Kyle it was basically brain-rape, what they did. Psychics scared the hell out of me.

"Bay." My mother was holding Josie by the hand, looking at me. I composed myself and dumped my bowl in the sink, pausing only to push the spoon down the drain. See what those little nixies made of it.

"Let's go," she said, and I followed her outside.

--

Steel, plexiglass, black metal.

I stared up at the psychologist's building, feeling my neck strain as I tipped my head back to take it in. It had to have at least thirty stories; how the hell many crazies were there in this part of Infinity City?

You're one of them, my mind reminded me, and I winced. Fucking hell. I was officially mentally ill, courtesy of this Doctor…Ryan, I think. I don't remember exactly what its name was.

"Come on, Bay," my mother prods, grabbing me by the elbow and hurrying me into the building. "Don't want to be late."

"I do," I mutter to myself, looking around as a blast of cool air counteracts the warmth of the late summer air outside. The reception area was blue-tiled and yellow-walled, both pale and soothing. Potted plants created a veritable jungle, a pathway of branches framing the way to the receptionist's desk. The receptionist herself was a faerie, her skin a pale teal that matched the layout of the room. Her angular black eyes widened in a friendly manner as my mother approached her, hauling me along. By now I was actually making an effort to stop her, but my mom is stronger than she looks.

"Good afternoon! You must be Mrs. Malley. Doctor Ryan is ready for you, so you can just go on up," she says cheerily, smiling widely. Her eyes don't move to me at all; they just fix on my mother's face, the pupil-less irises blank and innocent. It's kind of creepy. "You can use the elevators right over there."

"Thank you," Mom says, giving her a smile, and shuffles me off to said elevators. I half expect there to be plants dangling from the ceiling when the doors ding and we step in, but all I get are butterflies and dark marble walls.

"What the hell—" I duck as an orange butterfly makes a beeline for my head. Who the hell keeps butterflies in an elevator? What kind of place is this? "Mom! Are you seeing this?"

My mom laughs. "Butterflies in the elevator? Yes, Bay, I see them. And if you hold still they might land on you. That's supposed to be good luck or something, right?"

"How the hell should I know," I mumble, but straighten up and force myself not to flinch when they come too close to my face. A green butterfly settles on my shoulder, and others begin to take a leaf from it's book; soon my torso is freckled with butterflies.

"And how do I get out of the elevator without taking them all with me?" I demand, turning on my mom. This was her idea anyway. Stupid butterflies…

"I don't know," she shrugged. "They'll probably leave once you move. Butterflies are skittish."

I sighed irritably, frowning as a yellow butterfly perched on the bridge of my nose. Two more floors to go…one…

The doors swept open and I took a step forward; like my mom had predicted, most of the butterflies jerked into a smooth tornado of tropic colors that twisted back into the elevator. Still a few remained, though, including the one on my nose, much to my displeasure. That thing tickled like hell and I didn't want to move it.

"So I'm going in to meet this guy with butterflies on my face," I said, raising a hand to brush at my shoulder. The green bug there just fluttered over my hand and resumed it's perch, making me scowl. "The hell…"

"They like you, Bay," my mother says pleasantly. "Maybe Doctor Ryan will too. Now go on, get out."

She pushed me gently into the smaller lobby that awaited us. Same color scheme, same myriad of plants, same..receptionist? I blinked at the blond, pale teal faerie behind the desk and she only smiled emptily.

"Mrs. Malley! You can send Barrett up now, Doctor Ryan is ready for him. Would you like to meet the doctor first?"

"Yes, please," Mom said, not at all fazed by the sameness of the receptionists. "That would be nice."

I looked from my mother to the receptionist, waiting for her to realize that maybe something was, y'know, just a little off. But she didn't seem to recognize the receptionist at all, which was kind of weird.

"Just go through that door right there, and he'll be right inside." The receptionist flashed my mother a bright, fake smile, completely ignoring me, and pointed toward a door to our right.

"Thanks," my mother said, and proceeded to pull me to my death.

A sudden shot of adrenaline hit my system, making my hands quiver just a bit. This was what I'd been freaking out over for the past day; a bunch of butterflies and identical receptionists.

And a possibly psychic psychologist.

I inhaled deeply, pushing down that heady rush of nervousness creeping up my spine, and let my mother pull me through the doorway.

Fuck.

I could practically feel myself breaking out into an anxious sweat of sorts, my skin prickling unbearably despite the coolly neutral temperature of the room we stood in. Blue-carpeted, pale-blue-walled, a large, soft-cornered chocolate-caramel colored desk off to one side, in front of a large dark gray file cabinet. A potted plant, this one looking considerably tamer than the ones in the lobbies, sat to one side of the desk, curling elegantly over neat stacks of paper. A long navy couch, possibly the darkest furnishing I'd seen yet in this entire office, sat adjacent to an equally dark chair.

And, sitting in the chair behind the desk, was my psychologist.

"Oh, hello," he said, standing and coming around the desk. "You must be Mrs. Malley."

"I'm Doctor Ryan."

--

Dun dun dun…ah, that probably wasn't as dramatic as I wanted the ending to be, but it'll do. Let me know what you think; personally I think I'm going to have fun with this story, and I hope you all do too.

Reviews are like vowels to the word 'supercalifragilisticexpialidocious'.

P.S.: Gerontophobia: fear of old people or growing old. Aichmophobia: fear of needles. And, of course, arachnophobia: fear of spiders.

These were all sort of loosely (…okay, exactly) based on three things I was afraid of because I guessed I would be able to relate to those best. (Yes, old people do scare me. And I'm terrified to death of spiders. And I still try to fight off the nurses who come at me with needles.) I'm only a little pathetic.