To say that the morning was quiet when he woke up was an understatement.

When his ears connected with his mind, he heard virtually nothing going on in the household. It was odd to him – usually there would be the sound of pots sizzling over the stove, or the sound of Mom and Dad talking to, if not scolding, the younger sister. Wearily, he forced his body out of the seductively comfortable bed, reluctantly shoving the covers off of him. Instantly, he was hit with the cold morning air as he stood on his own two feet. Had it not been a school day, he would've gladly stayed in bed just to warm up against the chill.

Unfortunately, it was.

And so, he would have to resist the aggravatingly Arctic feeling once he emerged from the shower. He would have to fight off the feeling of grogginess and desire to sleep in order to get his routine chores done. And he would especially have to take care of his morning feeling in the presence of the rest of the Wings.

The only difference – their punishments were much, much harsher.

As he stumbled out of his bedroom and into the main hallway, he discovered that there was virtually no activity. A look of bemusement and curiosity crossed his countenance. Was no one awake? There was literally deathly silence in the household! No parents, no bratty sister, not even the cooking pots. In fact, as he lumbered across the one-way path to the bathroom, every bedroom that he passed by still had its door shut! Was everyone still asleep? Had he really woke up so early on this particular day?

He made a mental note to check later. For now, he slipped into the bathroom and shut the door behind him. A shower in the face would fully shatter his grogginess and snap him to his senses, his past dreams dissolved from his mind. Then, it would be up to him whether or not to wake the rest of the family. Sure, the latter option would make them mad, but it was their fault for sleeping in!

After the much-needed shower, as well as getting dressed and brushing his teeth, he proceeded to re-trace his steps and once again approach the bedrooms of his family. In his head, he was thinking – what would be the best way to awaken them? Bust into the rooms screaming, making a racket, and risk punishment so carelessly? Or would he play the good child, sneak in, and gently shake them? Either way, he'd have to take Jessica's room first – his parents tended to get a little more cranky when woken up before their time, so he would have to wait a little longer. Reaching up and balling his hand into a fist, he gently rapped on the door with just enough sound for her to hear.

"Hey, Jess!" He called out. "You need to get your ass up, it's school time!"

Strangely, however, when he stopped his own sounds, all that remained was the same deathly silence that had taken over the entire household. However, he wasn't so easily put off. In fact, he was getting a little miffed. Was she ignoring him on purpose? He repeated his actions, increasing the volume of his knocks greatly.

"Sis! C'mon, I'm not playing around!"

Still nothing.

It was starting to get ridiculous. He knew the girl had heard him that time. Why did she insist on playing games at such an early time of the day? He wanted to get this day over with, so that he could make it to the weekend! As much as he was tempted to just leave her and go about his business, she would just be subject to verbal target practice by their parents. He didn't want that for her!

So he did the one thing he could do at the moment – grab the knob, twist it, and swiftly push it open. Without hesitation, he stormed into the room, ready to grab Jessica and haul her out of bed. It was necessary to push all guilt out of his head – sure, she would start squealing like a pig after being carried over his shoulders and 'escorted' from her sleep, and maybe his parents would try to intervene. But, big brothers were supposed to be jerks! They were supposed to—

All thoughts stopped, among entrance into Jessica's room.

It looked as if it had been raided beyond repair. The two bookcases, once neatly filled with a mixture of books and toys, had been shattered to pieces, their contents scattered within the broken wood. The bed had been forcefully overturned, mattress completely separated from its holder. It appeared as if a fire axe had been taken to the walls, the plaster material having many slashes, tears, and holes on display. On top of such damage, the walls had taken on a darker colour, a bloodied red hue that might as well have been moving. He could only stare at it all, dumb founded at what should've been impossible. In his awe-stricken behaviour, he stepped forward into the room.


But before he could investigate, a heavy blow connected with the back of his head. All thoughts about the cause of the destruction had been ruthlessly knocked aside, replaced by the vicious shaking of his skull, brain, and eyes. His nervous system, if only for a moment, shut itself off, and without the proper motor coordination, his body fell forward and collapsed onto the floor. There was no time to react, no time to protect himself. Only one second, one millisecond was all it took to reduce him to such a vulnerable state.

Even then, the first thing that came to mind was:

"Where is Jessica?"

He only had a few seconds of unconsciousness (five to be exact), before he felt himself being dragged by the back of his collar across the floor. The pieces of wood poked and jabbed into his body, but his mind was far too hazed for him to feel anything. He was only dimly aware of the figure that was dragging him to the open window. His body refused to allow him resistance, for it had become numb and immobilized. He was helpless, scared, angry... but all he could do was express himself as nothing but a corpse.

Of course, that was what he was on his way to become. Without mercy, his attacker hefted himto up to the windowsill and sent him on a freefall several stories high. That was when he finally snapped to his senses, the feeling of his stomach flattened by the pull of gravity full awakening his nerves. His mouth opened up, a terrified scream escaping and tearing through his throat. But all he could do was flail his useless limbs about wildly, for it was far too late to do anything else. He plunged headlong into the concrete below.



The sound of a hard-back book slamming itself onto the floor forced him out of his senses, and he jolted up from his sleeping position on his desk.

At first, he had virtually no idea what happened – one second, he was falling to his death, and the next, he was here?! He found himself breathing quite heavily, his hand subconsciously finding its way onto his heart. Silently, he thanked whoever God there was for making it to be only a dream and nothing more. However, as he attempted to calm his frantic body, a dry voice laced with amusement came to his ears.

"I hope you had a good sleep, Mr. Cooper?"

Then, the sounds of snickers and laughter followed shortly after. He let out an irritant growl, shock replaced by annoyance and embarrassment. But he simply slouched back into his seat, fixing a glare at the smiling, middle-aged and white-skinned teacher. But there wasn't much he could say. Of course, the first thing that came to mind was the classic "F you!" response, which would only get him into more trouble...

Such was the class life of Terrance Cooper, one of the many students residing in North Hollywood High School. As of today's standards, he was a "bad egg" of society, a kid with bad grades and a personality to match. Most of his teachers had lost their patience, but the only one who never took the "honour" of throwing him out of class and giving him detention was the man in front of him – Mr. Osborne. The reason being? The problems and issues the other teachers had with him was work-related. Because of his laziness and outright refusal to complete what he considered to be too-complex assignments, he received bitter criticism along with his punishments.

However, Mr. Osborne proved to be much different. Despite his attitude towards assignments, Terrance was a non-disruptive and obedient student. He never spit balls, threw paper airplanes, or attempt to talk while the teacher was talking. In fact, all he mostly did was lie his head on his desk and sleep. This left Mr. Osbourne with two choices; either give him the necessary assignment while he was still asleep (and obviously cause him to fail), or use some sort of loud noise in order to force him awake.

Both of the choices were quite effective, sadly.

Now, the dark-skinned boy could only stare heatedly at the man, having to endure the snickers of his fellow colleagues. However, he wasn't one to sit by and take it. He fought back the urge to grin as he fired back his own retort: "Yeah, until the part where I woke up in a dump."

If anything, this earned him more chuckles, but this time in his favour. But this silent victory was short-lived by the dismissive remark that came from Mr. Osborne.

"Ah, that's good to hear!" This time, his tone was a bit more upbeat. He turned his back on the class of students, walking over to his desk to grab a mix of white and colored sheets of paper. "But, I'm afraid I'll have to cut the good times short." The next group of sentences he spoke was aimed at the entire classroom. "This worksheet covers everything we've worked on for the week. It will be due by Monday, so keep this in a safe folder..."


Terrance groaned in aggravation, though not as loudly as he had growled before. Even as the papers were passed back, he banged his head against his desk. Why, oh why did he have to sleep for most of this week?! Especially considering this was math class! Once again, he would have to find someone who would be merciful enough to spare him their work to copy off of... or, maybe this would be something that covered what he barely knew about! In that sense, he had a good chance of at least getting a D—


The sharp, screeching ring of the bell destroyed completion of his thoughts. Immediately, new life flooded his system, and he scrambled out of his seat in order to gather his things. As the class piled out, Mr. Osborne shouted out one thing that was guaranteed for them.

"Have a nice weekend!"

...and with movement as swift as the students running past her, she shut her locker door and sunk against it, her back pressed against the cold, metallic steel for support. She looked ready to collapse at any given moment, her eyes droopy and ready to close. However, she simply allowed herself to gently descend into a sitting position onto the floor, arms resting on her upright knees. Drawing attention was the least of concerns, as there were only a few other students lingering in front of their own lockers. Idly, one of her sneakers tapped against the floor, the distinct tapping echoing through the hallway's grey walls.

Her name was Samantha Hunter, 12th grade senior. Though she was simply "one of the crowd" when compared to all other students, Samantha would've been part of the "far cries" when it came to high-school beauty. She had long, brown hair that was combed neatly and flowed down to pass her shoulders, as well as skin the colour of milk chocolate. She was considerably lithe, but judging from the slight muscle in her arms, she was also athletically built to an extent. Her attire consisted of what would've been considered just enough to be formal, but retained that casual teenage look – a bright blue T-shirt with brownish-grey pants, white sneakers, and matching-colour socks.

As of this moment, she was thinking of her own plans for the afternoon. She only had a few homework paper sheets that were mostly complete, and could therefore be completed at any time without hassle. In that manner, she had only a few hours before work. Now, what was she to do in order to pass the time? Go home for a moment and catch a flick or two? Explore the outside for a little while? Or maybe just go home and take a nap?

She would get her answer in the form of a lone, boy approaching her. He wore a sweatshirt of the colour black, the hood off to expose raven hair that was fresh and a face the same colour as her own. His jeans were a faded grey. At their base, black-and-white Nike-brand sneakers decked his feet. As soon as her drifting eyes landed on him, all mental exhaustion was forced away, and she immediately rose up.

"Terrie!" She exclaimed, stopping the boy out of surprise. However, she didn't give him a chance to reply before she charged him, nearly tackling him to the ground with the hug she gave him. He let out a grunt, staggering back a little and barely managing to keep his ground. She wasn't so stupid as to let him fall; she made sure to keep a firm grip on him before he could tilt backwards.

"Jesus....!" He managed to hiss out, irritated at the jump on his person. However, he managed to hold her for a moment before gently setting her on her feet. "Are you trying to kill me, woman?!" This earned him a rough punch to the arm.

"Oh, suck it up!" Sam told him, smiling. As she folded her hands behind her back, it was clear that she was very enthusiastic to see him. She was slowly rocking back and forth on her feet, standing on her tip-toes whenever she moved forward. This made him grin a little. The girl's happy behavior seemed to be so infectious to him... "You know you're glad to see me."

"And you'd be right." Terrance confirmed, annoyance immediately fading away. "All I've heard today is nothing but bitching and moaning from the teachers. How 'bout you?"

"Work!" That was the immediate thing Samantha said in return. Her hands were held out in an explanatory manner. "Algebra, P.E., computer science... though I have to admit, history class was boring and pointless. All Ms. Robins did was talk and talk. We barely even do work in there!" She shrugged. "But, at least the notes are something worth taking..."

This only made Terrance shake his head, folding his arms across his chest and lowering his head. "So, all-in-all, you managed to have yourself a good day. Good for you..." His tone, though attempting to be jovial, held a rather bitter envy. Samantha frowned, leaning closer to him with her hands placed on her knees.

"You know..." She began to speak, her tone a bit more maternal and formal. "I think you'd be doing a whole lot better if you'd just try to be patient with it a b—"

"It's not me that needs patience!" Abruptly, Terrance cut her off, whirling away from her and taking a few steps forward. He spread his arms out to the side of himself. "All they do is get mad just because I find their work too hard."

"Too hard, or you're just not asking for help?"

Wait a minute.

This question made the man stop for a moment. Had he bothered to ask the teachers at all in his impatience? He dropped his hands, head craning towards Samantha with a blend of confusion and helplessness. As her initial mirth faded away, her eyes squinted slightly, and a sly smile formed.

"Gee, I don't know... maybe that's one of your problems?"

Terrance snorted, his stubborn attitude once again coming up to the surface. "I am not asking for help from those—"

"Not them!" Samantha once again cut him off before he could end his sentence in a colourful manner, a bit miffed at his tone. The guy just didn't know when to let go of his own pride! "Your parents!"

This only made the boy scowl bitterly. "They're too busy punishing me for my bad grades in the first place. They don't give a damn about how I feel..." He caught the slight flinch from her, the words obviously having killed the majority of her optimism. But he wasn't fazed at all by it. Pity and sympathy wouldn't help him get smarter, would they? He didn't need it...

What he had needed (but didn't expect) was the feeling of her arm around his neck and other around his mid-section. His eyes widened slightly as she brought him closer to her, comfort washing over his negativity. Her chin rested against his shoulder. "You know..." She whispered in this ear, her breath tickling his lobe. "If it's all too much for you, you can always stow away at my place. My folks wouldn't mind... much."

A satisfied smile was made of his face, and he embraced her, his own arms wrapping around her waist. No matter how many times it happened, it always felt so nice when he was this close to her. "Hey, this is me we're talking about, all right?" He answered, not hiding his amusement. "Thanks for the offer..." He moved his head a little so that she could look him in the eye. One of his hands rose up, his palm touching the side of her face. The sudden warmth made her gasp quietly, and her eyes widened in slight surprise, but he could easily tell she liked it. "But I'll be fine. I can take care of myself..."

Samantha laughed a little, moving the lower arm to grasp the back of his neck.

"You'd better..."

Then, she leaned in towards him, capturing his lips with his own. He responded immediately, arms tightening a little around her waist in almost a possessive manner. But if she noticed, she didn't care one bit. The warmth.... the taste.... Oh, how they wanted more of each other! But, in this setting, they knew such was not possible. As they broke away, Samantha's eyes widened, and she backed off much to Terrance's surprise.


"Crap! I just remembered, I was supposed to catch the—" In the middle of her excited sentence, she cut herself off with an aggravated groan. She turned to the locker, her posture slumping and her head hitting the metallic door. "Now I have to walk all the way home! Oh God, I hate myself so much right now...." She whined, continuing to bump her forehead against it for a moment.

Terrance couldn't help but feel pity for the girl. He shoved his hands into his hoodie pockets, grinning. "Want me to walk you there?" He offered. "I mean, it'll be a long walk, and you're probably going to be by yourself...." Although she blushed a little, she turned her head to look at him with a smile and gently pushed herself off of the locker.

"Lucky for me, I've got a big, strong man to look after me, huh?"

They both shared a laugh, and as they made their way to the school's exit, one of Samantha's arms slipped between one of Terrance's.

It's so easy to fall into happiness.

Samantha immediately regretted complaining about walking. As soon as she stepped out, she was hit with the crisp, warm air of the summer day. It was like an ice pack to her tired soul, her senses heightening to normal levels again, and her body re-awakened with new life. She was quick to run out onto the edge of the nearby sidewalk, allowing herself to embrace the warmth of the sun's rays. "Whoo! Feels great out here!" She said in ecstasy, extending her arms out for a moment to let the sun's rays hit her full-force. "You think we have time to stop at McDonald's, get a Frosty, or—"

"Don't you have some work to do?" Terrance immediately cut her off with a dry tone, promptly walking past her with his hands folded within his hoodie. The surprisingly sceptical attitude caused her to gawk a minute at his retreating back, and she practically felt his smirk. The nerve of him, trying to kill her mood like that! She was quick to follow him, protesting in a mildly indignant manner as she did so.

"Hey, I told you, I've been working' non-stop today! It doesn't hurt to take a break once in a while!"

When you are in sadness, the mind constantly attempts to find some kind of comfort, even if that comfort's got nothing to do with your situation. It's the only drug in the world that's not hindered by prohibition, banning, or any kind of restrictions.

It was quite the walk. The exact distance, in terms of mileage, could not be estimated. However, more than twenty blocks had been crossed in order to keep it positive, most of it being focused on Samantha. Terrance soon learned where she had gotten her bee-busy motions. Her father was a doctor who spent his days treating numerous patients, while her mother served as a housekeeper and baby-sitter. In most of the time that the family owned it, the house was practically empty. The only times the Hunters were actually together were at breakfast and late in the night, where they would be asleep.

Because it was the weekend, more time was placed in the hands of the two, little or otherwise. Therefore, Samantha's hope managed to pull through to reality. They stopped by a McDonald's store, buying themselves something of their own accord. Terrance had snagged a Pepsi drink, while Samantha herself bought an Oreo-flavored Frosty. The rest of the walk was spent in silence, the two enjoying their delicacies.

But, like all other drugs, it's only a temporary solution. Once its effects end, you're left feeling sick, miserable, and craving for more. Your mind will keep searching for a way out, grabbing at what's never there. I hate every minute of it.

It was later on that day that they finally stopped at the Hunters' household. Terrance looked at it silently for a moment, eyes scanning for any possible activity. But he was to be disappointed, for the lack of inner illumination, sound, and overall human life had been virtually drained from it. His thoughts drifted back to what Samantha had said before about her family usually being apart for most of their days due to work. She was stuck inside of that abysmal house until she went to bed, and only then would her parents show up to turn in. He narrowed his eyebrows slightly at the thought, fists clenching slightly out of the anger towards himself.

He wanted to be there for her.

But, as it was, due to his worsening grades and moderately rebellious behavior.... he was stuck on a curfew, thanks to his lousy parents.

For now, all he could do was retain himself and maintain his cool. He took a deep breath, turning his head towards Samantha. Inwardly, he was surprised to find her brown eyes staring at him wonderingly. "Looks like this is your stop." He murmured, turning his head away and starting to walk off on his own. "I've got to get going...."

"Do you really have to....?" However, Samantha's slightly hurt tone made him stop for a moment out of subconscious regret. This gave her a chance to move up behind him, her fingers clasping around his shoulders. She brought herself closer to him, resting her forehead against the back of his head. However, the regret immediately faded as she took on a more tempting and seductive tone. "C'mon...." She whispered. "My parents aren't home.... and you're allowed in any time...."

At that moment, Terrance was extremely grateful that he had been wearing his hoodie at the time. Her mouth was not too far off from the skin of his neck, and had it been left unchecked, her breath would've been the only thing needed to convince him to defy his parents just a little longer. The only reaction he allowed himself to express was a smile, a light chuckle escaping his mouth. "As much as I would love to...." He admitted. "Mom and Dad are just going to take that as another excuse to come down on me. They're probably already mad that I took this time walking you home...."

Samantha pouted, releasing Terrance's shoulders and turning away from him. "Fine....."

However, she found a bit of surprise (and inward delight) taking over, and she instinctively took two recoiling steps forward as she felt Terrance's hand shamelessly slap her rear. Although she mentally squealed at the motion, she only allowed herself to twist back around, and Terrance had to refrain from laughing at a pricelessly shocked countenance. "Now quit being a bad girl and get in your house!" He ordered, though in an obviously joking manner.

This made her shock fade away immediately, and she gave a return smirk in his direction. "All right, Dad." She fired right back, before turning back around and walking up to her door.

Terrance himself looked after her for a moment, before he changed his own direction and walked away, in the direction of his own house. On one side of his mind, he was thankful it wasn't too far off, and only a couple of blocks. He wouldn't have to walk too far in order to reach it, for it was only a couple of blocks away from hers. It would be tedious to close the distance, but it wouldn't consume an extremely long time. But, on the other hand, apprehension was seeping in, and he wondered if taking the walk as long as possible would ease the growing negativity. With every step he took, his heart was pounding even harder and causing his chest to ache.

There's nothing that can keep me from this drug.

As he walked, he barely noticed a lone figure moving out of his peripheral vision, walking on a sidewalk parallel from him and going in the opposite direction. His eyes drifted towards it. It was dressed in what appeared to be a brown, hooded sweatshirt with black, leather gloves on his two hands. While the shirt part was brown, the hood was a grayish-white and stuck out in the decaying afternoon. He also wore yellow-brown shorts, the hems reaching down to the knee. His feet were decked in white socks and completely black sneakers. The bottom of his face was covered in what appeared to be a black mask. In all reality, and to the common eye, there was nothing wrong with such a scene. However, as soon as Terrance set his eyes on it, a chill went down his spine.

Nothing at all....

Except.... maybe death.

Terrance's hand finally managed to find its way around the handle of his own doorknob. Swiftly, he pushed it open.

To meet him, there were two disapproving looks in his direction. A sigh escaped his lips, and he kept his eyes averted away, attempting to keep his cool facade. "All right.... what did I do now?" He asked, not hiding his exasperation.

Right in front of him was his middle-aged father. His father had slightly darker skin than he did, his own black hair braided. His face was completely shaved of hair that would've consisted of a thick beard. His physique was, at least to Terrance himself, looked ridiculous, what with the muscles that would only be categorized with that of a boxer's. The fact that he was only wearing a white undershirt and blue jean pants didn't help much, and suited to increase the intimidation factor that the man was bringing down upon the boy. But there was only one thing that Terrance himself was focused on; the brown eyes that were glaring directly at the boy like a hawk ready to swoop down on a hiding mouse. It was such an accurate simile, considering his situation....

"First off...." The dislike of Terrance's tone was clear in his father's voice. "Where in the hell have you been? You were supposed to get your ass back here at six o' clock." Bristling, Terrance decided to stop playing innocent. He walked right up to his father until he was directly in front of the man, sending his own glare. Defiance filled his every being. He would not be held guilty for his actions!

"Well, sorry for wanting to walk my girl home before then." He shot back bitterly. "And besides, I'm here, aren't I?"

A scowl crossed the father's face, and he raised his finger up, the tip barely pointing at Terrance's face. This made the boy flinch, but overall, he refused to falter. "Don't cross me, boy." The man said threateningly. "I wouldn't be back talking your father in the position you're in right now!!" He earned a light growl from Terrance, but other than that was silence. "Because that's just half of the reason I'm gonna grill the fuck out of you!!"

"Then what's the other part...." Terrance asked, his teeth now gritted with his own building anger. He had just come from home, and the first thing he desired was to punch the living daylights out of the man. Fortunately, his mother seemed to have sense the tension building up within both of them and decided to intervene with her own words.

"Your grades." She said firmly, allowing herself to stand up from the couch and reveal her own figure.

Ah, his mother. She herself had long brown hair tied and wrapped in a dread-lock style, hanging behind her head and down just past the neck. She herself wore a rather casual outfit – a white kurtis tunic top with blue her only being of middle age, she seemed a bit on the skinny side, the physique showing through her rather bony hands. Her glare, though obvious, wasn't as intimidating as her husband's had been. Though she was obviously as displeased as his dad, she wasn't giving him the kind of stare that was piercing through his very soul, but rather a "You know we're getting tired of this" look. That, at the very least, was something to be grateful for.

Her words, of course, did not match the relax-inducing aura that her body language did. "We just got a call from your teachers saying that you've been sleeping in class. And we already tried changing to an earlier bedtime.... plus, they're saying you get "rebellious"..." She emphasized the quotes by raising two fingers up on each hand and flexing them every syllable of the last word of her sentence. "...every time they try to help you. What do you think this is telling us?"

Terrance snorted. "It's telling you that they're not doing their jobs right."

"It's telling us...." His father growled. "That you have been falling behind on your schoolwork! It's telling us that we're not doing a good enough job of laying down the law. I think you need to be grounded for a few more months just to make sure we understand each other--"


That had broke the final straw of Terrance's patience. His fists clenched again, and he no longer hid the fury on his face. He didn't care that he was only making his parents angrier at him. It was obvious they didn't care one bit about his needs. "I understand that all YOU want to do is ground the shit out of me until I'm 63!!" He screamed at them. "I understand that all you care about is beating me whenever I make a mistake!! God fucking damn it, is some help from my mom and dad too much to ask for--"


He suddenly found his vision shattered, his eyes in a concussive state as he felt the fist collide with his jaw. He staggered back violently, before his body fell to the floor with an unforgiving smack. His ears picked up the sound of his mother gasping in shock, obviously not expecting the father's brutal blow upon him. The man who struck him, however, was now seething in rage, the offending fist clenched so hard, a vein was jutting out from the skin. Slowly, Terrance allowed himself to sit up, feeling the metallic taste of his own crimson fluid within his mouth. With the pain within the affected area, he could have sworn his jaw broke under the power of the blow. However, even as the blood trickled down the corner of his mouth, all he did was smile vindictively.


"Weaver, stop!!!" His mother yelled, alarmed and panicked. She rushed over to the enraged father, a hand gripping his arm in an effort to get his attention. "What are you doing?!" The display of violence had not been expected by her. What in the world had made the man punch his own son in such a manner? "You're going too far with this, calm yourself!!" However, this only earned a growl from said Weaver, as well as the prompt toss of his son back onto the floor. Having yet to acknowledge his wife, he continued to speak to Terrance, his voice dripping with venom.

"Go to your room and don't come out for the rest of the god damn night. I don't want to look at your face right now."

Terrance was quick to oblige, stumbling away and still clutching his pained jaw. As he staggered up the stairs, he could hear the argument begin, his parents' voices now being aimed at one another. He felt a chill run down his spine; even if it was directed towards someone else, Weaver's voice was always frightening to listen to when in an angered state. He was thankful that he was not the one that fury was being directed to.... at least for the moment. Tomorrow, he would probably be facing the same thing...

It wasn't long before he reached his room, quickly opening the door, ducking inside, and shutting it behind him. However, it was because he didn't look closely enough at it to see the small figure laying belly-down on his bed, a bare foreleg raised up in the air. He didn't see the head turn, brown eyes locked onto him. But, as he leaned against the door, the pain finally beginning to fade as he nursed it, he could hear the girl's voice that spoke to him casually.

"Dad wasn't too happy with you again, huh?"

The last member of the family made herself known – Jessica, the twelve-year-old sister.

He only craned his own head to look at her. "How many times have I told you to stay the hell out of my room?" He said in annoyance, both ignoring the question and attempting to force his anger back down. The response he got was a shrug, which made him roll his eyes.

"Too many to count, brosky." She smirked, rolling over on her back and folding her hands behind her head. "Besides, your room's farther from all the yelling down there, and I was kind of tired of having my heart beating really fast because of all of that yelling down there, and I was kind of getting tired of it. The first few times, it was scary.... but after that, it was the same thing over and over again...." Her smirk immediately turned into a thoughtful frown, and she averted her eyes away from him to focus on the ceiling above her. Her brother walked over to her, his eyes looking for her over. She was already prepared for bed, it seemed. She was wearing a white shirt that was obviously too big for her, the bottom of it reaching down to just above her knees. The shorts she was wearing could not be seen. Her long, black hair was scattered around her head due to the position she was in.

Had she been thinking of falling asleep in his room?

Deciding not to comment on it, Terrance moved himself over to his bed. Jessica scooted over, allowing him to lay himself onto the bed. "Tell me about it...." He responded dully. It was obvious that she didn't need to, though. The purple, ugly bruise on his face was enough to prove that. "So, you decided to hole up in big brother's room.... how are you so sure that I'm not going to get screamed at again any time soon?" He asked skeptically, turning his head to look over at her in response. She gave him a kind smile in return, shifting onto her side so that she could face him.

"Because they'll know that I'm in here." She answered softly, though with a bit of confidence. "If they see you keeping me company, they're not going to try and separate us so that they can yell at you again." She was a little bit taken back when he cocked an eyebrow, allowing his own body to shift to face her own.

"Really? What if I give them something to come up here for?"


Without warning, Terrance's hands lunged out like snakes, fingers marking their target and unleashing a tickle attack on Jessica. He grinned in satisfaction as he watched her squirm restlessly underneath his mercy, trying to fight him off. However, her efforts were futile, her strength unable to fend off his own. "This is what you get for coming into my room when I say not to...!" He reprimanded playfully, continuing to attack her funny bone. His spirits were lifted even higher as he heard her start to laugh, unable to hold it in anymore.

"Oh my g-- hahahaha!!! Stohohohop it you jerherherk!!! I'm gonna puhuhunch you in the f-face if you ke-- hahahahaha!!!!"

After a minute of tickle torture, Terrance finally allowed himself to relent, his hands retreating away from a threatening position. Jessica was left breathing heavily, having laughed so hard. The laughing grin was still on his face even as he met her less-than-intimidating glare. "Y....you....hmph!" Was all she could in hope of retorting, twisting her body so that it was facing away from him. She folded her arms across her chest and put on a rather poutish and annoyed look, keeping her sight averted from him. She wasn't really mad at him, of course... but she was glad that he was starting to come up from his gloomy mood. She didn't like it when he was being bitter! It was no fun at all for either of them... but, then again, because she was always the obedient and competent child, she didn't really have an idea of what he went through thanks to their parents.... their father...

But that didn't make it any less painful.

Before she could think about it more, she was wrapped in her brother's arms, and she found her body brought close to Terrance's by his will, her back pressed against his chest. Her pouting expression changed to one of surprise, her face heating up slightly. "H...hey!" She protested, fighting him a little. But the thing that was stopping her was the warmth of his own presence. It was just far too comfortable for her to escape from, and she even found her eyes closing a little. She heard his voice, still retaining a cocky guise. But now it possessed a brotherly tone to it.

"Relax, sis...." He insisted. "Besides, I don't mind you coming in here to get away from all the drama. Don't worry....." As his mouth was so close to her neck and face, he had to restrain a full-on yawn that threatened to escape from within his throat. "Now, then...." As he kept speaking, he allowed his eyes to slowly shut, his arms fitting around her mid-section evenly. She stifled a dumbfounded gasp when his face partially nuzzled against her neck affectionately. "I think we should get some shut-eye.... and hope this shit fades away by tomorrow....."

"Great idea." Despite herself, Jessica rolled her eyes, though she didn't make any attempt to free herself from the Stockholm syndrome-inducing prison. "Now if you'd be so kind as to let me go to my own room--"

"I don't think I will." She could practically feel the smirk in her brother voice, but the sleepiness was influencing his way of speech very quickly. "You're quite a good pillow."

Inwardly, she resisted the urge to groan out of agitation. He could be so stubborn sometimes! But, resisting was far from her mind at the moment. Instead, she sighed softly, relaxing her body and finally allowing her own eyes to drift shut. The darkness, for both of them, would be comforting and inviting, their mind drifting to their respective realms. It would be a temporary escape from the stress, but at least it would be at least some form of relief. Sadly, it would be only just that.... temporary. Her mind blacked out, and she slipped into the world of black.

Night time came far too quickly. It was nearing twelve o' clock. The argument that Mr. and Mrs. Cooper were having before had been reduced to silence, nothing but light snores filling the air of the household. Everyone within its walls had fallen to slumber, the children having been the first to do so. Not a single thing was stirring, not even the usual roaches that pillaged the home of crumbs that its residents had carelessly left behind. If anything, the Cooper's home looked absolutely dead and empty.

At least, until the creak of the steps could be heard, and a lone, hoodie-wearing figure could be seen stepping down from the stairwell in a creeping manner.


The complete darkness of the house shadowed any visuals one might have had on him, while his slow, limited movement restricted sound from reaching the sleepers' ears. It wasn't long before he reached the door of the front entrance. His hand clasped around the handle, twisting and pulling the door open as delicately as one would crack a bank safe. Then, he stepped out, shutting it softly behind him. He stepped back, his body freezing and his ears listening for any possible activity within. When he was sure it was completely undisturbed and that he was unopposed, he turned and ran off, making an arc to the back of the household with his pathway.

There was a bike – his bike – waiting for him on its chain against the fence.

He wasted no time. As he got close enough, he knelt down to remove the chain and free his ride. He hopped on, pushing the pedals and taking off from his backyard. After he made his way past the house and onto the sidewalk, he forced the pedals downward, riding as quickly as he could down the street. He ripped through the neighborhood, every muscle acting to push himself towards his destination. His face was set in a scowl, narrowed eyes looking every which way as if he was expecting something to chase after his rapidly dissolving wake.

Eventually, he managed to make his way out of the neighborhood and into town, where it was only slightly busy. He made his way past several alleyways for a moment before stopping himself at one of them. Slowing his speed, he parked his bike inside of the alleyway and stepped off. The first thing he spotted was a small, lone fire in the corner of where the alley would angle to the right of him and continue down. A rather triumphant smirk ran across his face, and he walked right down, hands shoved into the pockets of his hoodie.

However, as he turned the corner and walked down, he didn't seem to notice the smaller alley way off to the right. He didn't notice another shadowy figure hiding from his vision, frozen in place as he walked past. However, he did hear a click behind him, and he did notice his own muscles freezing in apprehension. Instinctively, he spun around, and what he saw made his blood turn to ice. All of his motor functions, if only for a moment, stopped functioning.

A pistol was aimed straight for his head, the barrel inches away from his face.

"Hello, Terrie...."

A/N: Oh, how I love cliffhangers. I proud of myself how this chapter ended. But what about you guys? Please read and review! Constructive criticism is appreciated!