A/N: So, Ahahaha just kidding, I *am* going to repost this story from just short of scratch. Oops. I hope it's significantly improved by this decision, I got some amazing detailed concrit pointing out a lot of flaws. For those of you here for the first time, this is a story I started writing ten years ago with FictionPress user Arene, back when we were in high school. the story has a lot of heart, and I'm going to keep trying to improve upon (and finish writing) it. Apologies for the prologue being so exposition heavy - it was pointed out to me that I should provide more of an introduction to the characters, and I hope the exposition is worth the insight into the characters before things really get started in Chapter 2. Note that the entire story is set in 2006.


If there was one thing that Lawrence was truly not looking forward to, it was the start of the new semester. He expected the second half of his junior year of high school would be about the same as the first half, which was… well, at least it had been better than his sophomore year. Most people were finally leaving him alone, he only had to deal with the one bully and his occasional cronies. Even if there were only two people in the entire school who ever bothered to intervene, at least the rest were ignoring when it happened rather than joining in.

Lawrence had somehow managed to lose all track of the days going by, such that he might even have forgotten that it was New Year's Eve, if not for his godfather sending him a text inviting him to come over and watch the Times Square Ball drop on TV. He considered going; after all, he always enjoyed visiting his godfather and his partner. They would probably be willing to pick him up so he wouldn't have to drive, even.

On the other hand, it was freezing out, he didn't feel like putting on real clothes, and he woke up with a terrible stomach ache, so maybe not.

Some rummaging through the nearest bathroom medicine closet turned up a bottle of Tums, and Lawrence grimaced at the chalky taste as he chewed one. From there he wandered downstairs to the kitchen, passing through a completely pointless dining room, and poured himself a glass of water. Why the hell did they even have a 10-person table? His parents wouldn't even notice if he got rid of the thing. Not for a while, anyway. A glance through the wall calendar informed him that his father wasn't due home for months, but Lawrence seemed to remember that his mother – ah, yes, she was going to be making an appearance towards the end of January. And she'll be home for... he flipped the calendar back up a page. Huh. A whole week and a half. That might be interesting.

Lawrence finished his water and went to sit on the sectional couch in the living room, leaving the glass on the kitchen counter. He pulled a pen and a spiral notebook out of the bag he'd tossed on the couch when he first arrived; the notebook was neatly labeled "Chemistry" in large, block letters. The first 20 pages or so were taped shut, and not for the first time Lawrence wondered why he didn't just rip them out and throw them in the trash. Putting the thought from his mind, he opened it to the first blank page (near the end, he'd have to get a new one soon) and started writing.

Last day of 2005. At least that nightmare of a fucking year is finally over. Happy New Year to me, I guess.

He stared at the paper in front of him for another good fifteen minutes before tossing the notebook down in disgust, not even sure why he was feeling so frustrated.

The rest of the day he spent alternately watching TV, listening to music, and pacing back and forth through his stupidly, annoying, unnecessarily large, empty, silent house.

At 9pm, he opened his phone, for the fifth time, once again scrolling to his godfather's contact — listed under Mr. Dé, since the man was also his chorus teacher he'd gotten in the habit of calling him what the other students at school did — and got halfway through writing a reply to say he did want to go over.

But they had already put up with him for Christmas, (although he knew exactly what Mr. Dé would say if he heard Lawrence use the term "put up with"), and leaving his house at that point seemed stupid. He'd see Mr. Dé in class on Tuesday, anyway. He could apologize then.

In the end, he watched the ball drop on his own TV, alone in his living room. He sent a text to both Mr. Dé and his partner Robert at midnight reading "Happy New Year." He didn't bother with his parents; who knew what time zone they were in, and it was unlikely they'd care.

As expected, he didn't receive anything from them either.

###

"3… 2… 1… Happy New Year!"

Constantine cheered along with his mother as they watched midnight fall on Times Square, curled up on the couch in front of their small living room TV.

"Happy New Year, mijo," his mother said with a smile, embracing him in a warm hug.

"Happy New Year, mom" he replied, grinning from ear to ear as he hugged her back. "Here's to hoping that this one is awesome!"

Constantine considered calling some of his friends back in California, but he knew they would all be together celebrating and calling would be disruptive. Texting wasn't an option either, since he didn't have a cell phone. The thought of his friends back home—no, back in California, that wasn't his home anymore—brought a pang of sadness, but he determinedly pushed the feeling aside. He was confident in his ability to make new friends, and by this time next year he was sure he'd have people to celebrate with out here. Besides, celebrating with his mother meant neither of them was alone. She was starting from scratch here as well, after all.

"Ready for your first day?" his mother asked him, a grin on her face as she ruffled her hair, messing up the already frazzled curls even more..

"Definitely!" Constantine replied. He attempting to comb his hair back into place, but it was a lost cause. "It'll be exciting!" Looking backward had never served him well, and he was determined to stay positive about this entire move.

#

"I wish you didn't have to work on New Year's Day," Constantine said with a sigh, sitting at the kitchen table and watching his mother get ready for the day.

"Hospitals don't have the luxury of closing, mijo," she replied, slinging her purse over her shoulder and fiddling with her shoes. "Someone's got to be there." With that and a quick kiss on his forehead, she was out the door.

That they could use the money she would get from overtime hours went unsaid. Constantine tried not to feel guilty, knowing it was his fault that they had to move across the country. His mother had been supporting the two of them on her own for the past eight years, their saving limited enough that the move had been a considerable strain. That said, the cost of living was much cheaper in this area, his mother was working at a slight pay raise from her old job, and their finances were on track to improve. Moving to the other side of the country might even be a relief for his mother as well, or so Constantine hoped. She had never really stopped grieving for his father.

Constantine spent most of the day physically and mentally preparing for his first day at a new school, with a brief break to call a couple friends from California. He spent a long time debating over outfits, longer than he would care to admit to anyone, before settling on something in his usual flashy style. Not like he really cared what people thought of him, especially not if they were going to judge him negatively for being himself.

Tomorrow's outfit decided, Constantine decided on a whim to go for a walk outside. They'd only moved in a week ago, and he still found it fascinating how different everything looked outside the apartment. The architecture for one, with buildings that tended to be tall and narrow rather than short and wide. The trees even more so; there were a good deal more of them than he was used to, in a wide array of unfamiliar varieties, though it was hard to tell for certain when so few of them had leaves. The most significant change, of course—the biggest thing that made it clear that he was in New England as opposed to California? Snow. Snow actually on the ground, measurable by feet, which was just insane. Well, that and the equally insane cold. The snow itself was fantastic, as far as he was concerned. Definitely the first time in his life he'd ever seen so much in one place. The excitement might eventually wear thin, but for now it was more 'pro' than 'con'. The temperature was much less fun, especially with a coat that was designed for the "cold" of Sonoma County. He didn't stay outside for long, but he was still shivering by the time he got back.

He didn't want to be a financial burden, Maybe he could find a Goodwill in town. Then again, maybe this was just temporary,things were bound to warm up eventually. Until then, he could make do.

#

Two days later found Constantine squinting at the building in front of him, sizing it up. Made of brick, tons of over-sized windows, big double door for an entrance. Definitely looked like a high school. Featuring its own unique architectural quirks, of course, but not so different from his old one.

New place, new school, new people—Constantine was sure he was supposed to be terrified or something, but he couldn't seem to muster up anything but excitement. The circumstances that brought him to the other side of the country weren't ideal, but he was prepared to make the absolute best of the situation. He took a deep breath, pushed the big double doors open and walked inside.