Warning: Some cursing and probable violence.
Otherwise, enjoy.
No beta, will be proofread at a later date so bear with me please.


Roughing It.



-=Thursday, May 8th (afternoon)=-

Erin sat at her lunch table, picking at her mass manufactured, inedible gruel. Tiffany sat beside her, ranting on about the schools conspiracy to poison students.

"...And if that's not what they're doing then they're gradually drugging us! I know I'm right. One day, someone's who's eaten this crap their entire school career will wake up under government control." The green haired girl nodded confidently as she poked at a piece of meat.

Erin smiled slightly at her friends absurdity as Santos sat to her left, sighing.

"She on the 'Brainwashing through school lunch' thing again?"

"Of course." Erin felt the moment her expression changed and saw Santos looking around.

"Really Erin, how the hell do you do that?" he questioned when he spotted Danny making his way across the room.

"She has psychic powers."

"I do not. Don't believe her."

Santos snorted. "I never do."

As Tiffany defended the validity of her theories, Erin retreated to her thoughts.

*

After school, Erin sat on the side steps of the building, waiting for her friends.

Yesterday, Danny had taken it upon himself to warn her away from his house. Of course, she had no loyalty to him so she'd gone anyway. She'd left him dinner, stocked the pantry with cereal and put milk and juice in the fridge. She had even counted the number of pills in the bottle so she could have some sort of idea to if he was actually taking them.

Hell, she wasn't going to stand there and force the pills down his throat.

"Hello?" Absently she answered her ringing phone, wondering what she would do today.

"Hi Baby!"

"Hi Mom. What's up?"

"Sweetie its so beautiful here!" Dawn gushed excitedly. "You should see the water. It's green! I was beginning to think that brown was a natural hue.

Erin laughed as Tiffany and Santos came up the block. "Where's Ms. Lina?"

"Jet lag. She's resting." After a moment passed Dawn spoke again, some of the energy gone from her tone. "No problems yet? Danny's okay?"

Erin stood as her friends neared and joined them as they continued up the block, the mention of Danny having a similar effect on her as well. "Yea, everything's fine." For now, she added silently.

*

Danny idly kicked at a crumpled sheet of paper.

He. Was. Bored.

He was sitting on his front steps, watching the cars drive through the block.

After he'd had time to calm down, and do nothing, Danny discovered that he did possess a conscience.

The even bigger shocker: it worked.

Some people would be overjoyed. An epiphany of sorts, a event welcome to those in search of such things.

Danny didn't have such useless thoughts.

In this case, his conscience was a handicap.

He'd gone through school in a bad mood, ignoring everyone he came across while he mulled over this revelation. After a while, people got the hint and left him alone.

Even now, his irritation persisted. He couldn't do it.

This was stupid. He stood, and turned to go into his house, kicking the door shut behind him.

He felt a familiar pang shoot through him as her face flashed in front of his eyes. You would think that he'd be used to feeling by now, or, at the very least, have figured out what the feeling was. But no, all he could identify was the irksome feeling that remained afterward.

Cursing the day he ever set eyes on the blasted female, Danny stalked into his room and dropped into his chair. Waiting for his laptop to boot, he tapped his fingers idly on his desk, a sigh escaping as the glow illuminated his room. He was helping to conserve energy by keeping his lights off all the time; he was very eco-conscious.

*

Erin crept the silent house as stealthy as a ninja. Satisfied that the house was still in orderly condition she started back down the hall. Just as she passed Danny's room, the door slammed open. Ninja skills still need some work.

Erin turned to face him; her apprehension not reaching her expression.

In the moment that passed; waiting for something to happen, Erin suddenly found herself in his arms.

"I told you to stay the hell out of my house," he growled, twisting her arm painfully.

Her eyes narrowed slightly but that was that only sign that she displayed towards his brutish behavior. "Your mother asked me-"

"I don't give a damn what she asked you to do, stay out." his grip on her only tightened before he pushed her from the room. His mouth curved in a slightly sadistic manner when he saw her slam into the adjacent wall. She didn't fall or make a sound, only steadied herself against the wall. "Next time it'll be worse."

Without a word, she turned and left, looking as unconcerned as a child in a park.

*

-=Friday, May 9th (Mid-morning)=-

When Danny saw Erin in school, things were normal: he didn't exist and she couldn't care less.

Except, every now and then he thought he saw her flinch whenever someone touched her arm.

He smiled slightly.

"Hey Danny." Sophie sauntered up to him, encouraged by his positive expression.

It was small but it was something.

*

Erin went straight home after school.

She didn't feel like hanging out with Tiffany and Santos today, so after walking with them to the train station, she took the long way home.

Sighing, she unlocked the door to her empty home, went to her room and started her homework.

By 5:30pm she'd finished. She took a moment to stretch and picked up her bag dropping it a moment later as her left arm sang in protest. Careful not to aggravate her arm again she put away her books before getting an ice pack for the bruised limb.

He didn't want her help – fine.

She just hoped he'd be – no, actually, she didn't hope anything. He could handle himself.

*

Danny paced the length of his room, irate.

He couldn't believe it.

His mother always left cash whenever she went out, even if she just went to the store.

It didn't make any…

'Not a babysitter per se, more of a caretaker.'

In an instant, his mind clicked. "FUCK!"

She'd left all the money with that girl. She didn't trust him to handle his own expenses now?

Whatever. All he had to do was rethink things.

Easy, right?

*

-=Saturday, May 10th=-

Danny picked up his pill bottle disdainfully, unscrewing the top. He lifted one to his mouth and stopped. After examining the capsule shortly, he threw it over his shoulder.

A moment later the entire open bottle collided against the wall.

Slinging his bag over his shoulder, he left, locking the door behind him.

He didn't need medication-he was perfectly fine.

But… maybe he shouldn't have thrown it.

He shook his head, stupid conscience.

*

Erin walked into the cafe and realized she had done something she hadn't done in a decade: looked for Danny. After realizing what she was doing, she shook her head, chastising herself slightly as she headed towards her friends.

"Hey Erin," Santos smiled at her.

She grinned back, "You just saw me a little while ago." The trio had split up to do their own individual shopping, as was their Saturday afternoon routine.

"He's in love with you silly, every time he sees you is like the first time of the day." Tiffany sighed as she sat down beside him.

The girls laughed slightly, their giggles dying out as they realized Santos' silence.

"Oh," he said softly. "Didn't realize I was that transparent."

"You're lying..." Tiffany stated, thunderstruck, her expression matching Erin's.

Santos remained silent, his eyes on the table.

*

Danny flinched as he slammed the front door shut, regretting the action.

His head was pounding; he hadn't been able to escape the clutches of the leeches that clung to him today. Sophie by herself was bad. Add in her loud friends - her very loud friends - and it was simple chaos.

But not even that could spoil his mood today.

Tossing his bag into the living room, he headed into the kitchen. He grabbed a banana and held it in his mouth as he poured himself a glass of juice.

He'd had a productive day of doing nothing. He'd simply gone for a walk. After a few hours tinkering on his laptop in the park, he had decided to head through the mall for something to eat.

Hell, he was smart enough to have his own emergency stash of cash, thank you very much.

He made a quick stop in the living room to retrieve his laptop before strolling to his room.

Danny took a moment to re-situate his laptop before booting it up.

He could make things work.

*

Santos walked between Tiffany and Erin, the trio uncharacteristically silent. After about a block or so, He finally stopped and sighed.

"You have to admit, it was pretty funny."

"Uh," Tiffany started as she whipped around to face him. "No, it was not funny Santos. At all."

"Aw, Tiff, come on. It was just a joke. Erin didn't find any harm in it. Did you?" He asked suddenly, uncertain at her familiar blank expression.

Tiffany gasped sharply, "do you see what you've done!? You invoked the Danny look - WITH NO DANNY!!"

A moment later Erin laughed, "I'd never do that to you guys. And no harm done. I know its not me you're in love with."

Santos froze, "what?"

Erin grinned, nudging him softly. "Yes, I noticed. You are that transparent," she glanced at Tiffany slyly. "To me at least."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

Santos merely looked at her, shaking his head slightly.

"Santos, you brought this on yourself buddy." Erin giggled, taking his hand. "I'm going home. And I think its time you told Tiffany." She put Tiffany's hand in his, the girl remaining silent in bemusement. "I'll see you guys later."

As Erin walked away, she heard Tiffany speak:

"Santos, what was she talking about?"

Erin resisted the urge to cackle.

-=Sunday, May 11th (evening)=-

Danny clutched his head in his hands as though it would stop the splitting pain.

Okay; Now he was pissed off.

He couldn't think without his head throbbing against his skull in protest.

Growling in aggravation, Danny launched a chair out the living room, flinching when it collided with the kitchen door.

So it was louder than he anticipated but it took his mind off the pain, off the heat - why the hell was it so hot? Yeah, it was practically summer, but his heating system doubled as AC.

Danny stumbled his way to the thermostat, succeeding in knocking over the table as well as many trinkets that decorated the room. After taking a few moments to focus on the swimming numbers, he huffed. It was below 45 degrees in his house.

He pulled off the thin tee shirt he wore, then tossed it across the room, not caring if he ever saw it again.

Ice, he thought suddenly, there was always ice in the house. Hell, even if there wasn't the freezer itself would suffice.

Heat making his movements sluggish he started across the living room, before looking up and stopping. When the hell did the room get so fucking wide? And it was still expanding!

Was this Karma? If it was, she picked a hell of a time to fuck with him. There was no question as to why though, he already knew.

Danny collapsed to his knees at the renewed intensity of his headache, feeling his eyes water as he slumped against the back of the couch.

It just...

Hurt...

In a feeble attempt to get back up, he managed to knock over the the side table.

It hurt so much...

For a moment, he watched his imagination morph youthfully wide, concerned eyes into cold, narrow, calculatedly blank ones.
Karma was a bitch, alright.

He stopped fighting and simply let go.

...so much...

-=Monday. May 12th=-

"Erin..." Tiffany hissed softly. They were presently in History watching a documentary on the Civil Rights Movement, and were supposed to be taking notes.

Erin had yet to open her notebook.

"Erin," she whispered again. "Whats wrong with you?"

Erin continued to stare blankly ahead, not hearing her best friend. When Tiffany nudged her in the side hard, she turned to her. "Hn?"

"What's wrong with you? You always pay attention - to everything! You don't even know what class we're in." Tiffany rushed in a strained whisper.

After a few moments of silence, Erin sighed. "Something doesn't feel right Tiff."

She mimed a gasp, "you are psychic. It's the only explanation."

"Not now, Tiffany. Call me with homework later okay?" Erin shoved her things back into her bag and left before Tiffany could even protest.

Walking quickly through the empty halls, she pulled out her PDA and made a note to verify her leaving with the school when she got a chance as well as get notes from Tiffany and Santos when she could.

*

Nerves and unease made her hands shake as she fumbled for the key to Danny's front door.

She wasn't exactly sure what she expected to find.

Part of her protested that Daniel was as much of an adult as she was, and therefore could take care of himself.

The other part of her - the part that insisted she leave school, the part that knew Danny - brought her here. This was the part of her that still, as much as it disturbed the logically part of her, recognized Danny as a friend.

The logical part never failed to point out that that was no longer the case. That things had changed. That the responsibility she felt towards him, the loyalty to him, was uncalled for. No matter how she tried to deny it, Danny had been her friend - her best friend - and somewhere deep inside, he still had the potential to be.

Shaking her head, she took a breath and jammed the key in, turning it immediately. Erin shoved the door open and froze, quite literally as a blast of cold air expelled from the doorway. She shivered at the contrast to the heat before heading inside. A lone toppled chair greeted her as she entered the hallway. Sighing she picked up the chair and took a step into the living.

"Oh wow. So much for keeping the house clean Daniel. D-Danny?" She whispered as she spotted a foot sticking out behind the couch.

Apprehension and self preservation flew out the window and fear firmly took their places as she knelt by Danny's prone form. Unconscious, the teen was sweating and had been for an unknown amount of time.

Erin pressed her hand to his forehead, he was hot to the touch despite the cool temperature, and groaned softly.

What the hell was she supposed to do now?


Sorry, its taking so long to update. Mostly caused by an error in writing out this chapter which I didn't realized until I was going to post it, then had to go back and rewrite the Entire chapter. I messed up the time line - I'm an idiot, I know.

Anyway, hopefully I can get the next chapter out soon. Pfft, not like anyone reads this.