Chapter 1: The Start Of It All

I hate routine. Routine sucks balls. Routine is boring. Routine can get you killed.

I fucking hated routine.

Everyday was the same as the last. I sat in my boring desk, in my boring classroom, in my boring school, in my boring town. It was like this every fucking day. Nothing big ever happens in this town. Nothing ever changes.

Until he came.

The day I met the boy who turned my world upside-down began like any other day, really.

I watched the clock as the second hand slowly ticked away the seconds, taunting me with the knowledge that this class ended in just a few agonizingly long minutes. I don't know why I bothered to watch it, though. I knew exactly what would happen when it rang. I'd move on to second period, then third, fourth, lunch, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, and then, finally, school will end and I'd go home.

The same as every other fucking day.

I sighed and slumped back in my chair, wishing school was already over. Hell, sometimes I just wished life was over.

My staring contest with the clock was interrupted when the door at the front of the classroom suddenly opened. The sleepy, glazed eyes of the students who had been pretending to pay attention as the teacher lectured all turned as one to stare at the intruder. Noticing the shift of attention, the teacher turned to the door, eyebrows furrowed, ready to start lecturing the poor student who had dared be late to his class.

But, to his surprise ― and everybody else's ― in walked a small, frail, pale-looking boy, followed closely by the principal. The boy was dressed in an long-sleeved, ill-fitting black shirt that dwarfed his small frame, and black pants, covered in frayed holes. His black shoes were beaten and in bad shape, obviously well-worn. His long, straight hair was a deep, midnight black, shining with a slight emerald tint in the sunlight through the window ― like only true black hair can do.

He timidly stood in front of the classroom, ducking his head and hiding his small, feminine face beneath his thick, black bangs as the principal and the teacher had a short whispered conversation. I continued to study him as the principal and teacher finished their conversation, and the principal quickly departed. Turning to us, the teacher began to introduce the young boy. He told us the boy's name was Danny Morino, we should treat him kindly, and the teacher hoped Danny would enjoy it here. He had just moved here with his family.

And, the teacher told us carefully, Danny couldn't talk.

I was surprised at that. I've never met anyone who couldn't talk before.

The town here is small. Any minorities who live here stick out like a sore thumb. Most of the people here are racists, and ignore or terrorize those who are different. Most of the people who live in this town are white, middle class Americans.

I hate it.

I sat up higher in my seat, interested. The teacher looked around the class, and his eyes landed on the empty seat at the back of the room right in front of me. He pointed to the seat and told Danny he could sit there. I felt a weird excitement at the idea of the new kid sitting near me.

Danny nodded jerkily and quickly made his way towards his new seat, hugging his binder tightly to his chest. Justin, the local football quarterback ― and school bully ― stuck out his foot right as Danny went past. The black-haired boy tripped over the foot and flew forward, dropping his binder and throwing out his arms, desperate to catch himself. Before I realized what I was doing, I nearly fell out of my seat as I jumped to quickly grabbed him, stopping him from falling onto the ground.

I could feel the top of his body pressed up against me. My heart skipped a beat at our close contact, then started again, beating as if I had just run ten miles. He was so small, and weighed next to nothing. He felt like skin and bones. He looked up at me, and I finally saw his eyes.

They were a deep blue, a blue so vivid I could feel myself drowning in them. I had never seen eyes as blue as his. They were like looking straight into the sky on a cloud free day. Or the ocean on a warm beach. The crystalline saucers slightly widened, and I felt trapped in them. Lost. Warm.

But they looked so haunted.

The spell was broken when he roughly pushed himself away from me with a large blush on his face, and grabbed his stuff that he'd dropped. He plopped down into his seat and sat staring rigidly ahead, effectively ignoring me, so I gave a small sigh and sat back down. The lessons began, but not more than five minutes later, I watched as Danny gave an annoyed little huff and began to move, grabbing a piece of paper and a pencil from his binder. He scribbled on it, then quickly passed it back to me.

'Thanks,' was all it said.

I gave a silent chuckle, quickly grabbed my own pencil, and wrote, 'No problem.' I passed him back the note, and waited to see if he had anything else to add.

I didn't have to wait long. 'What's your name?' was all the next note said.

'Nate' I wrote back.

I handed him the note, and waited for him to write something back. But he didn't.

I was just about to tap him on the shoulder to get his attention and ask him more about himself when the bell rang. For once, I hated the bell, 'cause now I couldn't talk to him. He had gotten up as soon as the bell rang and rushed out of the classroom.

I gathered up my things and slowly stood up. Just as I was about to leave, Justin stepped in my way, 200 pounds of indignant muscle raging in front of me.

"What the hell do you think you're doing? You just helped that stupid little fag!" he growled.

I could feel little specks of saliva land on my face as he spoke, and I forced myself not to gag.

"What are you talking about?" I asked innocently once I resisted the urge to puke. Well, as innocently as I could manage.

"You know what I'm talking about, you stupid fucker!"

I abruptly dropped the innocent façade. Narrowing my eyes, I stood straighter, nearly level with Justin's 6 foot 5 frame. Feeling a tic in my jaws as I clenched my teeth, I let the anger I was feeling fill my eyes. Justin's face slowly paled, and he realized the error of his ways.

He'd angered me once when I was fifteen. He had wound up with some broken bones, and I, sadly, had ended up with a broken bat.

It was my favorite bat, too.

"Don't test me, Justin," I said, my voice low.

He involuntarily took a step back, before he remembered that everyone still in the classroom was still watching.

"Whatever!" He spit out, trying to salvage his damaged ego, then quickly turned and left the classroom. I felt a short burst of triumph at getting the bully to back down in front of so many people.

After all, no one messes with me and gets away with it unscathed.