Warning: Rated M because then I don't have to tone the violence and swearing down – of which there will be plenty.

This is slash. Don't like then fuck off. End of discussion.

I think that's it folks. I want to see what response this will get, because I really like the idea and what I have planned for it. Constructive Criticism is warmly welcomed – thanks for reading.

On a side note: YAY FOR THE STATS PAGE BEING BACK UP! (Though I HATE the new layout).

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Ethan all but bolted down the school corridor – he was so fucking unlucky. He'd been stuck talking to his teacher for ten minutes after school on a Friday and was trying to get home in one piece. Though with no witnesses left hanging around and no crowd of people to blend into he didn't think his plan was going to work. Besides, Jamie liked seeing him on Friday – bruises faded over the three nights before school started again. Shit. He was so dead. He could see the main entrance but he also noted a figure standing outside the boys toilets, a figure that shadowed him and pushed him sideways through the swinging door into the manky, smelly and graffitied toilets. Shit. Shit. Shit!

"Hello, I was getting worried that I'd missed you. I don't think I'd be able to stand not seeing you until Monday…ah, ah, ah…where do you think you're going?" Ethan had tried to get up off the floor whilst he still had a chance from where the harsh shove had landed him only seconds earlier, only to have his fingers stood on in harsh retaliation.

Jamie Banks had taken a serious dislike to the only person in his school year that didn't bow to his every need, he didn't like different and he certainly didn't understand how anyone couldn't like him. Ethan West deserved what he got. He was pathetic. Besides, a little beating here and there was a bit of fun and as long as no one got landed in hospital it certainly wasn't anything to worry over. Ethan wouldn't tell on him because it had been going on for far too long now – he understood that rebellion simply made things worse because if needs be, Jamie had friends.

Rubbing his fingers Ethan frowned but stayed silent, gasping when he felt himself being tugged to his knees by the neck of his shirt. Jamie, his hold still firm, he knelt down in front of the boy and looked him square in the eyes commanding him to do the one thing that was consistent about these meetings. "Say it." Whether the beating that followed would be awful or minimal, consist of kicking, punching or both, be by him or by others, this part always stayed the same. Because it made Ethan feel like shit – believe he was shit, and it made Jamie feel powerful.

"Say it. I don't have time for this you useless piece of shit. Stop fucking me around." He jerked Ethan back and forth, laughing cruelly when he slapped him round the face leaving a nice red mark and a hefty stinging sensation in his wake caused by both the pain and the humiliation Ethan was enduring.

"I will not tell you again."

"I'm a useless waste of space and deserve everything I have coming to me." He bit the sentence out, tried and defeated because he now found that the conviction he must issue that sentence aloud with for it to be deemed satisfactory by the other was no longer fake.

"Good boy." No more words were uttered following those two, Jamie's fist smartly collided with the side of Ethan's face, his foot connected to his stomach and then again and again and Ethan just curled up on the floor in pain. Jamie's fist was raised to deal the final blow and with one last laugh, he delivered it straight to Ethan's ribs. Satisfied, he turned to leave the bathroom and go home, only to find it opening and a tall boy he had never seen before entered. He took one look around at the bathroom – grimacing at a cowering, bleeding Ethan on the floor and glaring at Jamie who was trying to figure out how he could get out of this one.

"What the fuck have you done?" Before Jamie could react, he was pushed into the wall face first, his arm pulled up behind his back and his body held in such a way he couldn't effectively kick back.

"Nothing. Get the fuck off of me you twat before I beat your skull in!"

"Try it and fail. Simple as." He turned to Ethan, "Kid!" He barked and Ethan flinched, "did this piece of shit do this to you?" the fire of warning in Jamie's eyes was all the convincing Ethan needed to lie.

"No."

"Liar." Effortlessly Jamie was turned around and had the shit kicked out of him, and whilst Ethan should be watching this show pleased that finally that jerk was getting what was coming to him, all he kept thinking was that he was so fucking in for it on Monday – Jamie would finish him off! The bathroom door was opened and Jamie was shoved out of it, "touch him again and I'll smash your face off you little twat." The door banged, "are you okay?" It took Ethan a while to realise he was the one being spoke too.

"I've had worse."

"Doesn't answer my question does it."

"I'm fine thanks," he sighed, "thanks for that. A lot." He wished that he could put some form of sarcasm into that sentence because to be fair the dude had just made his life worse, but he couldn't because if he had a backbone, he wouldn't be huddled on the horrible toilet floor in the first place. He sat up and gingerly got to his feet, he walked to the sink and shakily spat blood into it, grimacing as he did, he never got used to that taste.

"Here, let me help clean you up."

"Oh, no I'm fine, thanks."

"As you keep saying. You are not fucking fine. You mean you're used to it." He sounded annoyed and Ethan flinched – if he beat him up it would be even worse than Jamie! "Come on I wont hurt you…" he wet some paper towels and eventually cleaned Ethan up, thankfully deducing that nothing was broken and no long term damage was caused.

"Come on, are you alright to walk?"

"Fine thanks…"

"Okay well I'll give you a lift home."

"I – urm,"

"I'm not going to rape you or anything."

Ethan trailed wearily behind him until they ended up beside a car. Which was red and that was the extent of his knowledge of cars. He'd really rather not get in a car with a stranger who could quite clearly beat the naff out of him in instance, though he didn't fancy walking home again in this condition and he didn't think he had a choice anyway.

"Hey, do you have to be back for a certain time?"

"…No why?"

"Fancy coming to my place? Hang out for a bit?" His place? How fucking old was this dude? He didn't look much older than Ethan but he could be.

Wonderful; a pity party. "Sure," he smiled, "thanks." What the fuck are you doing Ethan?! He doesn't want to know you, he's just in the wrong place at the wrong time, feels sorry for you and is too nice to tell you to fuck off. More than that, he didn't know the dude! Fuck. Jamie must have finally beaten the sense out of him.

"Fuck I'm so rude. I'm Avery by the way."

"Ethan."

"So Ethan, what happened?"

Silence.

"Does he do it a lot?"

Silence.

"Why?" Because I deserve it, because I'm a loser, because no-one stops him, because I'm a freak and I'm stupid and ugly and everything horrible.

Silence. He fiddled with the hem of his shirt nervously as they pulled up to an apartment complex.

"Only one flight of stairs for me thank fuck. Come on in," he held the door open for Ethan who did as he was told and politely kicked his shoes off, standing awkwardly by the door awaiting further instructions. "Sit down, make yourself comfortable, do you want a drink?"

"No thank you." Avery brought him a can of coke anyway, "thank you." Silence. Fuck it. Ethan needed to know why this was happening.

"You're too fucking polite."

"Why are you doing this?"

"To be nice. What don't you know what that is or something?" Did it fucking look like he did?

"Oh."

"So what do you want to do?"

"I don't mind."

"Well what do you and your friends normally do?" Shit that was the wrong thing to say…Ethan turned bright red and hung his head allowing his hair to fall even further into his face – something he loved – it offered him comfort to have something to hide behind.

"Oh. Sorry. Didn't mean to put my foot in it."

"S'alright – not your fault."

"Come on, play games with me," he tossed Ethan some kind of gaming controller he'd never used before and they played for hours until Ethan said he had better go for dinner. Parked outside Ethan's house Avery smiled at him, and Ethan actually found himself smiling back. He couldn't believe it; he had had a good time with someone.

"Do you want any petrol money?"

"Hell no. Take care of yourself Ethan, don't let those twats push you around. I'll see you again soon." No you wont – but thanks for not blowing me off directly he thought.

"Okay, well thanks, bye." Avery saluted him and drove off leaving Ethan to dig his key out of his pocket and let himself into the far too big house that would almost certainly be empty.

And empty it was. Of course. Neither of his parents had time for anything but their work – the last time he saw either of them was sometime last week and with the decent sum of fifty pounds left on the table for him, without even a note, he knew he wouldn't see them for a few more days either.

That night, for the first in ages, Ethan got distracted when doing homework – he couldn't stop thinking about Avery - he just didn't understand why the guy had shown him such kindness.

Avery seemed honest and decent, he was very straight forward, swore a lot, but was funny, self-assured, relaxed and confident – pretty much Ethan's opposite. Yet they had had a good time together.

The afternoon had confused him.

He was feeling mixed about it in all honesty – he had never been bothered about having no friends before – he got on with life quite fine by himself, but then again, he'd never known what he was missing before. Now though, he had had the tiniest glimpse of it and he was actually angry for that because people were right when they said ignorance was bliss. He was also pretty annoyed at Avery's lie – where he said he'd see him again. Bollocks. It was all very nice that he was trying to spare Ethan's feelings but Jesus he could have handled the rejection – surely that was obvious?

On top of everything, he was scared. He did not want to go to school Monday, Jamie was going to kill him. He was going to get slaughtered. Regular and unimaginative beatings would be nothing compared to that. He'd only ever experienced something along the lines of what he was expecting once before and it wasn't pretty. It had been an end of school summer breaking up present and had involved himself, Jamie and four of his mates. Needless to say, Ethan lost that fight.

He wasn't sure why all of this negative attention had been stuck on him. He'd never been outgoing in his entire life, he was the kind of person that would go somewhere as mundane as the shops by himself and be proud of himself for it. So when the time came for making friends he was just too nervous and shy to approach anyone else, so he stood there, happy enough to blend into the background and not naïve enough to be sad about it because he knew that he technically could just approach someone himself…but he didn't because at the same time they could just tell him to fuck off, and they would talk to him if they wanted too. Eventually, everyone's friends groups were formed and he was by himself. He didn't talk to anyone, and no-one really spoke to him aside from everyday comments. It wasn't like he'd been singled out and bullied or anything, he liked being alone.

That is until Jamie joined the school in year ten – he paid special attention to Ethan. He did it simply because he was not being labelled as the pathetic new kid and he did it because he knew full well he could – and would, get away with it. He made Ethan feel like shit just for fun, and its not like he was obvious about it either – no-one minus his friends knew – Jamie wasn't dumb, he looked a well placed insult as much as he did a well aimed fist – psychological harm was fun. After a while Ethan begun to believe the shit he was told and just gave up, he couldn't fucking wait for school to end and university to start. Jamie was a prick – he pushed his luck and tested Ethan's boundaries until he felt pushed to the limit.

That was something that had just never changed.

That was something that would change.

Change isn't always good.