A/n: Unlike the last time this was up, it'll just be a one-shot. I think its better this way.


"Psst, hey, Charlie; can I ask you something?"

I ignore the whisper and continue walking on my way home. It's Friday and school has just let out, meaning that I'll be free of my tormentor. At least I will be, as soon as I can get away from him.

"It's a simple question, really," he says more loudly as he catches up and walks right on my heels. "Is your-?"

"My mother is human," I tell him robotically, and before he can say anything else, I add, "And no, radioactive sludge was not thrown on me as a child." Trust me, he's asked me these questions hundreds of times before. It gets old after a while.

"I wasn't going to ask that," he says hotly, probably affronted. Like I care. "I was going to ask if your mother was going to ever enter you into the Ugliest Person Alive contest. Because baby, you'd win first place."

My face burns as he starts to laugh, and I'm glad none of his blundering friends are with him, cause that would only make me feel tons worse.

"No, seriously though. Are you?"

"Please leave me alone, Hunter," I sigh mournfully. "You're not funny."

"I am; you just don't see the beauty behind my jokes."

I sigh loudly and wish for the earth to swallow me up. I hate him, I really do. He's been like this since we first met, in Kindergarten. He just didn't know how to play nice and greeted me by saying that I looked like I was raised by a pack of wolves. It didn't stop there, either. He usually made rude comments about my family and liked to shove me when we crossed paths. I thought that as we grew older and matured, he'd be nicer to me or at least lay off, but it's only gotten worse over the years. Honestly, I don't see an end in sight. We're in eleventh grade now, but he hasn't slowed down yet.

"Aw, c'mon Charles! Lighten up!"

He's walking beside me now, giving a cheeky grin that makes his sage green eyes dance with mirth. I give him one simmering look before focusing on the path ahead. It had rained while we were in class, and there are puddles everywhere on the sidewalk. The grass is dewy with rain and certain areas are nothing more than large, sinking holes of mud, vaguely reminding me of the tar pits that dinosaurs used to fall into long ago. I wish I could sink in one, just to be able to get away from Hunter.

"You shouldn't pout, you know," he remarks casually, clasping me on the shoulder; I wince under the force behind it. He may be slender, but he really packs a punch. "It does nothing for your already misshapen lips."

I grit my teeth and try to spur my legs faster, but his are longer than mine, and he keeps up as if I didn't put in an extra burst of speed.

"Hey, I saw Sheryl staring at you today at lunch," he sniggers, "don't get your hopes up; I think she was only interested in that giant zit in the middle of your forehead. Seriously, are you gonna pop that sucker?"

"Go away…" Sometimes he makes me just want to break down and cry.

"Has your nose always been that crooked?"

"Please stop…" I hate him so much.

"And your eyes; I don't know if anyone's told you yet, but they're very spaced apart-"

"Would you shut up about my face?!" I snap.

Hunter takes a very startled step back as I stop and round on him. I've never done this before, this talking back thing, but I figure now is as good a time as any.

"There's absolutely nothing wrong with it! You need to stop being a jackass and leave me alone!"

I think that I've finally gotten through to him for he merely stares at me in shock, eyes wide and almost innocent, his flyaway black hair falling into his slightly open mouth, but he quickly recovers and smirks arrogantly.

"You shouldn't get so angry, darling. There's a rather nasty vein conveying for facial time right next to your pimple."

I gape at him in disbelief before clenching my jaw and doing what I should have done years ago. I rear back my good arm and backhand his frosty face, sending him reeling back with a sound of pain. He immediately clamps a hand over his reddening cheek and gives me a look, as if he can't believe I just hit him. I raise my nose at him as a snooty person would and roll my shoulders as I continue home. Now that that is taken care of, maybe I will have some peace and quiet for the rest of the way. Maybe now he'll see that I'm tired of his crap and won't be putting up with it anymore. Maybe, he'll even start to respect me.

Or maybe he'll just get angry and tackle me to the ground.

The concrete of the sidewalk disappears from under my feet as Hunter charges me from behind, him being smart enough to direct most of his weight to the side so that we land in the grass. Or more specifically a nice, deep, muddy puddle, of which I get a nice, big mouthful.

I splutter to get the foul taste out of my mouth, but find it difficult to do when Hunter pushes my face right back down in it. I swing my arms about to try to dislodge him as he digs his knees into my lower back, but he doesn't let up anytime soon, obviously showing me who's the more dominate.

Just as I realize that he's probably trying to drown me, Hunter grips my hair and yanks back, allowing me to take in some much needed air. While the gesture was somewhat kind, he really shouldn't have done that, as it's easy for me now to turn the tables on him.

Digging my hands on either side, I give myself enough leverage to turn a bit and buck him off so that he slips off my back and to the grass. Without waiting for him to recover, I pounce and yank him up by the collar of the shirt in order to maneuver him closer to the puddle so that I can push his back into it with a wet squish.

He gasps and squirms but is no match in his current position. Removing one hand from his shirt, I reach for the puddle and scoop up a good amount of the gooey stuff before depositing it right in Hunter's face, giving it a good push and twist for extra measure.

"Hah! How do you like that, Hunter?" I taunt, reaching for more. "How's this?"

With my hands still holding his collar, I pull back the shirt and promptly dump it down his throat and onto his chest. He grunts and makes a disgusted noise as I pat the mud down.

"Want some more?"

His response is to punch me squarely in the jaw.

I flinch back and barely have time to touch the spot before he takes my faltering to his advantage and rolls us over, once again putting him on top.

"You son of a gun," he hisses angrily. I don't rise up to the bait as he looks rather comical with brown gunk sliding down his handsome face like a facial mask gone wrong. "I'm gonna kill you."

Knowing his threat to be nothing more than words, I roll my eyes. "I'd like to see you try."

He grits his teeth at me threateningly. "Shut up, Charlie."

Done with talking, Hunter attempts to roll me back face first into the mud puddle, but I react quickly and push him off before he can finish adjusting. I shove him over onto his back again and move to straddle his waist, so that he won't be able to get me off easily.

"You think my face is ugly, huh?" I pant, leaning down. "Well you should see yours. It's hideous."

Obviously peeved, Hunter reaches up and grips the front of my shirt with both hands in order to yank me down further to his level. He does look absolutely atrocious now, no longer well groomed but dirty and covered with muck. His hair is coated thickly with the drying mud and his face still drips with the stuff. Underneath it all, his eyes shine out at me with enough force to suddenly send me reeling. I gape into them as he bores them into my blue ones, and I can't seem to look away.

"You better be lucky I like you," he says shortly.

I blink down at him. "You like me?" I ask dumbly, not knowing what else to say.

"Tch…" Hunter glances off to the side before returning his penetrating gaze to me. "Man you're dense."

With that, he gives my shirt one strong tug at the same time that he leans up, bringing our faces close together so that he can press his caked lips against mine. I freeze at the contact, not knowing what to do or what to make of it. All I know, is that Hunter, my biggest rival since Kindergarten, and me are sprawled in a mud puddle out in the open where anyone walking past can see us, kissing.

Kissing. He's freaking kissing me. Kissing me.

And man does it feel good.

Sighing, I close my eyes and push against him, adding to the pressure that he already has. I balance myself with my limbs on either side of this thin frame so that I don't fall completely on him and bury him deeper into the tar like pit. Without thinking much about it, I angle my head the same moment that he does, and almost at the same time, we peel open our lips and tentatively touch one another with our tongues.

His oddly sweet taste has me tensing and coming back to my senses for whatever reason. Stiffly, I back away to stare him in his cloudy green eyes, wondering what's going to happen next. We gaze at one another, no longing caring that we're covered from head to toe in cooling mud or that just mere moments ago, we were threatening and taunting one another.

At last, Hunter's face breaks from seriousness to one of a dazzling smile, which makes my cheeks burn in embarrassment.

"Wow. Didn't know you were such a fruit cake," he says lightly.

I grunt and shove him away from me. "Jackass."



"Ugly Duckling."




"Let's hug and make up."