Drei rolled over on his bed, groaning quietly. He'd fallen in P.E. earlier that day and hurt his ankle; it was driving him nuts. Every time he moved it sent a sharp pain up his leg, making him regret playing dodge ball. He had always liked the game when he was a kid, and he hadn't played it since he started high school. Now in his junior year, he had figured it would be fun to play the game he'd enjoyed so much as a kid.

Dumb mistake. He had never been very popular at his school, though he didn't think anyone would go so far as to actually cause him physical harm.

When the teacher called for everyone who was playing to line up on the black line that marked the edge of the basketball court, Drei, figuring he might as well play instead of sit on the sidelines like he normally did, stood and got in line. The teacher looked surprised for a moment, because he'd never once seen Drei willingly participate in a P.E. class, but didn't comment. He hadn't wanted to discourage the boy.

He picked two of the more popular guys for team captains and let them decide who was on whose team. Drei was one of the last ones picked; they didn't know how good he was, and they didn't want to risk taking on someone who couldn't throw straight.

When the teams had been decided, the teacher sent them to opposite walls before setting the rubber dodge balls out along the center line of the court. When everything was ready, he yelled out, "Go!" and chaos erupted.

All the sudden the two teams burst from the walls, scattering away from each other so they wouldn't make easy targets of themselves. A few, braver than the rest, made a mad dash for the center line, attempting to get the red balls before someone on the other team.

Drei was one of the first to get to center court; his long legs and stride made him a fast runner. He stooped quickly, snagging the nearest weapon.

The rubber felt rough under his fingers, the miniscule lines making small indents in the tips of his fingers. He tossed it at the nearest opponent, a well-built guy with dark hair. Drei had caught the guy by surprise; he looked around, bewildered. But Drei was all ready halfway back, another ball in his grasp. He wasn't going to stick around by the center line when there were a ton of people up there; that was just asking to be tagged.

"Aaron, you're out! Hit the sidelines," the teacher called, referring to the dark-haired boy Drei had gotten out. Aaron scowled, stalking off the court. Drei ignored it; sometimes his classmates were way too into the game, getting angry and holding grudges when they lost. Drei thought it was rather ridiculous, how into the games some of them were. That's why he didn't play all that often; the competitiveness of it all drove him nuts.

He wasn't a very competitive person, and he didn't really care. He didn't need to be competitive; he just wanted to survive. Was that really too much to ask, in the long run? Most people wanted fame and fortune, and big expensive cars and lots of money and to win the lottery. Him? Nope. He had his sister, he had a place to live, and he was breathing. That was all he wanted.

He jumped nimbly to the side as someone on the other team threw a ball at him, probably trying to get him out for revenge. That was another thing that drove Drei nuts; all the jocks felt compelled to beat up whoever sided against them. He almost hit the captain of his team as he jumped sideways; the guy cussed at him, telling him where to watch where he was going. Before he could respond, a ball flew by Drei's head, hitting the captain.

"Sorry Ben!"

Well, apparently they'd meant to hit him. Deciding it wasn't worth pondering over, Drei turned his attention back to the other side, remembering he still had a ball in his grasp. Ben walked off the court, sitting in the bleachers among a few other kids that were out and the ones that had decided not to play. He sat next to Aaron, and the two of them bent their heads together. It might have just been Drei's imagination, but the gesture seemed pretty sinister.

The rest of the game passed fairly quickly; Drei got out near the end, when two of the people on the other team (including the one who'd gotten Ben out) threw a ball at him at the same time and he only saw one of them, causing him to walk right into the other. He'd just shrugged and walked off the court, to the bleachers; getting out didn't bother him. It was just a game, after all.

Apparently, Ben didn't think so. "You moron; how could you have gotten out on something as simple as that? Are you blind?" He looked pretty angry. Drei, shocked by the sudden outburst, froze with one foot on the first row of the bleachers.

"It's just a game," he responded, deciding it was better to avoid the whole confrontation. He stepped up onto the bleachers, about to walk past Ben and Aaron. Right when he was about to continue on his way up the bleachers, Aaron stretched his arm out, the picture of exhaustion and innocence. His arm hit Drei's foot, knocking him off-balance.

He teetered on one foot for a moment, his arms going out in front of him as he fell to catch himself. His ankle rolled as he fell, sending a sharp pain through his leg and up his spine. He gasped as the sudden pain caught him off-guard, causing him to close his eyes and bite his lip to keep from crying out. He'd made a relatively loud noise when he'd fallen, so it didn't surprise him when he heard the teacher asking if he was all right, if he could still walk, blah, blah, blah…

He muttered that he was fine, determined not to look like a wuss in front of his entire class. He braced his hands on the bleachers on either side of him, standing slowly. "Sorry, dude; didn't mean to hit you," Aaron said, the fact that he was forcing the apology blatantly obvious to Drei.

Drei just shrugged and tried not to wince when he put weight on his ankle. The teacher told him to go to the nurse's office, so he limped down the bleachers and out the door, his jaw clenched against the pain in his ankle.

That was how he'd ended up here, at home, at two o' clock. The nurse had sent him home to rest his ankle, and he had been in too much pain to argue. She'd given him painkillers, but his mother had taken them with her when she'd left him at home, telling him he'd just have to wait for her to get home.

She didn't trust him with any form of drug, ever. So he had to lie there on his bed, in pain, in the dark, waiting for her to get home. This was going to be a long afternoon…