If someone had told Derek Fieldsworth two years ago that he was going to save his sister's life, he would have snorted and told them to get lost, because two years ago, Derek was not a friendly thirteen year old and he made it clear to all the people he came in contact with, right from the start, that he wasn't around to make any friends.
That's why it was most perplexing to him as to why the enigmatic, gregarious Robyn DeLeon, the new kid who showed up from Arizona, did everything within his power to wriggle under Derek's skin like an ugly mite and stay there.
For Derek, Robyn was a hard kid to ignore. He was loud, brash, made easy friends, and long time enemies. If there was anyone at Hughman Junior High that didn't know Robyn within their first year, they were either socially inept or had been living under a pile of game cards and library books. That's just how the guy got around. And if anyone dared make fun of his name, he would counter it with a smile and say something witty about it because he wasn't afraid to make fun of himself.
The two boys didn't exactly hit it off right away. Robyn was being his usual self in art class, the only class Derek and he shared, the only class that Derek hated the most, when he purposefully flung wet clay into Derek's braids. Things got pretty heated from there. Ugly words were exchanged, clay utensils were thrown about, and people ganged up on Derek.
Eventually, Mr. Yuan had to come in and break up the verbal fight, wrote Derek and Robyn up, and sent them to the office. Neither boy was happy about what had just happened and walked to the office in silence. Then, Robyn broke the silence as he started to laugh. Derek didn't find it so funny and he brushed past Robyn so he wouldn't have to deal with the reason he had gotten in trouble in the first place.
Robyn wasn't going to give up though. "Ah, come on, man!" he called. "You gotta admit that fight was kind of stupid."
"Shut the hell up and leave me alone," Derek growled, turning the corner and getting away from Robyn. For a moment, he relaxed and rubbed his forehead, knowing he was dead when he returned home.
"Hey, dude, I didn't mean to do that," came Robyn's persistant voice as he ran around the corner, lightly shoving Derek on the shoulder.
"Don't touch me!" Derek yelled, shoving him back. Hard. Robyn stumbled back, nearly falling, and stared at Derek. "Don't fucking touch me again or you're going to regret it."
"Oh, yeah?" Robyn said, sticking out his jaw obstinately. He walked right up to Derek, who threw his referral on the ground, and glared at him. "Prove it." Then, he shoved him in the chest. Derek let out a furious noise and attacked Robyn, throwing them both to the ground. He began to whale on the brunette, his intentions more or less a broken and bloody nose.
Robyn didn't let him get much past the third punch before grabbing the side of Derek's neck and punching him in the jaw. Derek rolled with the punch and Robyn grabbed him by the front of the shirt, pulling him up and kneeing him the gut. The other boy didn't stand a chance as he tried to get his breath back, so Robyn took the opportunity to throw him on the ground and kick him in the chest and face.
Derek grabbed the back of Robyn's foot blindly, blood trickling down into his eyes from a cut on his forehead, and tried to yank him to the ground. The feeling of hands, digging into his scalp, trying to dissuade him, only further angered him. He pushed Robyn's foot up and forward, throwing him off balance. With a yell, he jumped on top of him and began to bash his head on the tile.
Robyn didn't know if he would be able to stay conscious much longer, so he did the only thing he could. He brought his knee up. "Sorry, man," he hissed, as Derek let out a keen of pain, rolling off him. "I just had to do it. You understand, right?"
"You bastard," Derek whined, curling up in the fetal position, his eyes squeezed shut. He could feel the pain deep in his stomach, it made him nauseous and dizzy, he could hardly breathe with all the white lights in his eyes.
The two heard heavy panting and clapping shoes: the school police. "Way to go, genius," Robyn groaned, his teeth rattling as he took in his next breath. "Now we're going to jail."
Derek didn't say anything. He couldn't say anything. If he did, he would forget how to breathe and die. They were eventually found, hauled to their feet, assessed, and put in the nurse's office to wait out their judgement and an ambulance.
"Hey, are you still mad?" Robyn asked, holding a compress against the back of his head. It wasn't a very big wound, but it was going to require stitching.
"No, I'm just going to be sulking for several years with testicular cancer because someone had to kick me in the nuts. Of course I'm not mad at you." He was sitting adjacent from Robyn, in the seat furthest away from the boy, fingering his forehead wound.
"Oh, well that's good," Robyn sighed. "Look, I'm really sorry, but since you're not angry-"
"I am extremely angry!" Derek cried. "Just leave me alone, okay."
"But, you just lied to me," Robyn said, looking as confused as possible. "I'm trying to apologize over here."
"You're sorry, great, apology accepted." Derek shook his head slowly, wondering when the nurse was going to get back and take this kid out.
"Aren't you going to apologize, too?"
"For being an unsociable jerk." He said it like it was obvious, like it should be something Derek was aware of.
"You shut your fucking mouth and just wait until the ambulance gets here so they can take you away. I'm tired of listening to you talk."
"You're not very nice," Robyn said, his smile audible. "What's your name again? I'm Robyn." Derek made no comment. "Well, if you ever want to say sorry, just find me." He shrugged. "You're not the worst guy I've ever met." Finally, the nurse came back with a few ambulance workers who led Robyn out to the van where he would be taken to the nearest hospital.
"How about him?" asked the third paramedic.
"I'm fine," Derek said, looking up a bit too quickly. He rubbed his neck and shoulders, but realized the pain was coming from his chest. Great. It's where the idiot kicked me.
"Well, let's give you a once over, just to make sure." The woman beckoned him over and he got up with a small sigh, walking out with the medic to the remaining EMS vehicle and running him through a few tests, wherein he failed the deep breathing one.
"I'm going to have to go to the hospital for this, right?" Derek frowned.
"Unfortunately." Then, she began to lecture him on morales and ethics and a lot of stuff about the law, all of which he ignored because he couldn't get past the fact that inevitably, he was going to be meeting up with Robyn yet again, and he wasn't going to like it.
However, this is not where our story begins. Our story begins four months prior, with the end it all statement that would take Derek's life away forever.