Author's note: Well, quite a few of you have asked for an extended version of Surprise, Surprise, so here it is. We'll start it before Henry loses his notebook, and get better acquainted with him and Kenny, then I'll bring it through to after the scene in the library, to see how it all pans out.

And I will be continuing the other pieces, too. Bear with me while I work my way through it all. And don't forget to leave me a review to let me know what you think of it all.

As always, you can also join my yahoo group (the link is accessible on my profile page) to get updates, sometimes an extra chapter here and there, and information on projects and new stories I'm thinking about. There's a challenge currently posted that nobody's yet taken me up on. Maybe you'd like to take a stab at it? It's all for fun!

Well, onto the story!

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Chapter 1

Henry Thornton looked around furtively as he made his way to his locker early one fall morning. School had only started a week ago, but Ricky and his friends hadn't wasted any time falling back into their familiar routine. Henry pulled open his locker after entering the combination and winced as he pulled his jacket off. He knew the multitude of bruises he'd "acquired" the previous day would sting for at least a few more days before the pain dulled to an ache and they started to fade. And he also knew that Ricky Bianca would add new ones to the old before they were gone. It had been that way last year, so why would things change now?

He was jarred from his thoughts as his locker was slammed shut in front of him, nearly catching his small hand inside.

"Ah, the resident joke has arrived!" Ricky sneered jovially. His friends snickered nearby, but Henry hear rather than saw them, as he clamped his eyes shut in preparation for whatever unpleasantries were about to occur.

"Too bad the bell's about to ring," Ricky added with a sigh. He lifted a section of Henry's mousy brown hair and twirled it around his finger. "Guess we'll have to wait till gym to have our fun." He yanked the hair hard, making Henry whimper in pain. "You better be there early this time, runt," he sneered. "Or … else!" Then he pushed Henry into the lockers hard and walked away laughing with Mark, Freddy and Dillon trailing behind him, all smirking down at him as they went.

Henry waited until they were further down the hall before he painfully got up and reopened his locker to finish putting his books away. He sighed deeply as he gathered the books he needed for his first three classes and put them into his well-used book bag. He didn't mind not having a brand-new one this year. His mom worked hard enough to keep the rent paid and food on the table. She didn't need to have him complaining about how other kids got new things all the time. If his father sent the child support he'd been ordered to pay her, Henry would have all the new clothes and many of the gadgets other kids had. But he didn't mind it, really. Most of the clothes the other kids wore were just newer versions of the tees and jeans he had, and the gadgets might be fun, but they would be easily lost to guys like Ricky and his friends. And he had other things to keep him occupied, anyway. He glanced in his bag to make sure his notebook was inside and smiled when he saw it. That was his pastime, a notebook to record his thoughts and doodles, and his way to vent about things. He zipped his bag closed and started off toward his homeroom.

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Kenny Jones dropped himself into his desk in homeroom and took out a book to read. He was early, as always, but he liked having some time to himself in the mornings. He knew he wouldn't have a chance for free time until after science class, and he wanted to get through the chapter he was on right now. The book was a suspense thriller, and he was finally past all of the setup parts. He wanted to get into the real base of the plot already. Just as the newest victim was about to meet her end, groups of loud people started entering the classroom. Unable to concentrate, Kenny sighed and shut the book. He pushed back his shaggy dark brown hair as he shoved the book into his bag and leaned back to glance around the room in boredom.

"What do we have planned for PE?" Mark Jasper asked Ricky Bianca as they stood by the door. Kenny looked over at them with narrowed clear blue eyes.

"Don't know yet," Ricky grinned smarmily. "But we can improvise."

"True. See you later!"

"Later!" Ricky called as he loped out the door, presumably to go to his own homeroom.

"What are you looking at?" Mark growled as he walked by Kenny on his way to his desk.

"Absolutely nothing," Kenny said with a smile.

"Ass."

Kenny snickered to himself when he heard that. Mark knew there was nothing he could do to Kenny, so any threat would be empty. Kenny would cheerfully hand the other boy and his friends their asses, as he did the previous year, when they tried to give him trouble after he'd let it be known he was gay. Besides, any trouble they tried to make now would have to involve the rest of the football team, who would, albeit grudgingly, help defend their star tackler. They wanted to win games, and Kenny helped them to that, so they wouldn't be too happy with anyone attacking him.

Outside the door, Kenny noted a small figure carefully make its way past the doorway. He frowned as he noted that, in even that brief few seconds, the boy looked like he was in pain. Kenny sat up a bit straighter and debated whether he should find him. He knew that was Henry Thornton, another junior. But he didn't know how to approach him. He and Henry hadn't really been friends. They hadn't been enemies, either. They'd just never spoken to each other, a fact that Kenny was determined to rectify at some point this year. Henry had become a "person of interest" in Kenny's world in the last year or so, and he'd been trying to figure out how to approach the smaller boy ever since.

Well, there was always science class. He looked forward to it because he'd somehow manage to snag the seat right behind Henry in that class. At least then he'll be able to see if he was right about Henry being in pain.

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Henry entered the locker room later that morning and quietly began to get ready for gym. He wasn't as early as he'd have liked, but then that would have given Ricky and his friends time for whatever they'd been planning to do. Though Henry was sure he'd pay for that sometime in the future. But at least he could avoid it for now.

"Next time, fag," Ricky whispered coldly, pushing Henry down on the bench. They were in an alcove of lockers, away from the other kids. "When I tell you to get here early next time, you better be here! Or I'll make sure everyone knows your dirty little secret." He punched Henry hard in the shoulder and smirked at the muffled cry the smaller boy emitted. "That's a little reminder." He then stalked off, leaving Henry to hurriedly change for class before he was marked late again. The last thing he needed was detention. Then he'd have to explain why to his mother, and she had enough on her plate as it was.

Class passed by without further incident, but Henry kept an eye over his shoulder for Ricky and Mark, just in case. They were playing volleyball, and he was afraid of errant spikes into his head. At the end of the period, Henry offered to help the teacher put the equipment away so that he could avoid Ricky and Mark when changing his clothes. He knew he'd be a little late for Earth Science, but his gym teacher said he would sign a pass.

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Where is he? Kenny's brows drew together in concern as Mr. Seltzer closed the door and prepared to deliver one of his monotonous lectures. The clock ticked by audibly as Kenny tried to listen while he watched the door. Finally, about 10 minutes into class, the door creaked open and Henry slunk in, dropping a pass onto the teacher's desk as he glided by. Mr. Seltzer narrowed his beady little eyes at the latecomer, but didn't pause.

Henry slipped into his seat and quickly pulled out his science book while Kenny watched him from the seat behind. Kenny hadn't missed the wince of pain Henry tried to conceal when he entered the classroom. Something was up with him, and Kenny was going to figure it out. Shaking his head, he got back to his own notebook and jotted down a few things the teacher droned out, but he kept one blue eye on the small boy in front of him.