Yes rejoice, this is an official ThisLoveThisHate14 update hot off the presses of the sick and twisted confines of my lazy mind.

Also, I have renamed Anonymous Review Time to just Review Time for lack of anonymous reviews, when in hindsight I felt the thrill in my goodie two shoes soul talking to complete strangers.

Review Time

Guest - When are u going to update its been 3 months I love your story so much !

I just did, thank you very much.

TheBirdThatCan'tFly - Jesus, I Love this Story! Its creative in it's plot and characters. The waiting-to-be relationship between Leon and Astrid is just too cute and the bitches who try and interfere in that to be relationship. I don't know why but I totally love Astrid's cold, regal personality, I think its because I have never really encountered a personality like it in stories! Anyway Love this story and please update as fast as you can!

Awww! I love you too! Astrid's personality is supposed to be like that because it's interesting for everyone too see how she reacts to certain situations. I remember being new to FanFiction and Fictionpress in around seventh grade, and immediately tiring of the standard shy girl, or headstrong girl, or girl with a crush (ironically all are in this story), who were usually the main character but who's actions, even with the small amount of out of character surprises, usually had a see-it-coming esque feeling to it.

FishXD - This, as you mentioned already, was waaaaaaaaaayyyy too short. I loved this. And it seems we have a new character too! I love this. Now hurry and update!

I made this chapter especially long and have already written the other following chapters (they just haven't been beta-ed yet), so yes there will be quicker updates.

Insanity Fuels My Imagination – ... You have the same birthday as me...

Anyways: yaaaaayyyyy, you've updated! *happy dances around room*
Why does her mum want Astrid back? And what is Alexis gonna do?
Please update so I can find out (not to mention everyone else who reads this story).

Le Gasp! Birthday Twin! Everything will be revealed in due time . . .

findings - I thought Red's POV was interesting, as well as Faye's, but I would much rather have Astrid's or Leon's POV. (Although Kamden's POV was much needed!) Oh geez, I can't wait to see how this plays out!

Their POV's were for everything to initially begin to play out.

oasion - you should review you'r story for spelling and grammer errors this is not a flaming just advice courtesies to jeremy ames or oasion :-{) like sight and slight and the spacing problems throuout the story and also the word though and thought also the word you and your and i will notifie you on errors form now on :) bye

Sure! Why not, it'll help me in the long run when I have this whole 'correct my crappy grammar' palooza for all my chapters before school starts. Critsize away!

Alright, thanks for the reviews, sorry if yours isn't one of the one's above, and enjoy the show. :)

Love you forever and forever

Love you with all my heart

Love you whenever we're together

Love you when we're apart

And when at last I find you

Your song will fill the air

Sing it loud so I can hear you

Make it easy to be near you

For the things you do endear you to me

Oh, you know I will

I will

Mm mm mm mm mm mm mm mm mm

Da da da da da da da

To reference Valentine's Day, or what Jiro dubbed 'The Day of Death', North Fieldwater High played 'I Will' by The Beatles on the intercom as much as they could get away with, putting the song in place of the bells that separated each class, before the morning announcements, and even during lunch. It was a song that sickened Red to his punk rock core and gave him another reason to hate coming to school.

Oh, he didn't miss the shy trailing looks from the girls as their imaginations would get the best of them, as they'd imagine whatever it was that they deemed romantic and would imagine it with him in the picture and look at him with hope.

Nobody could ever miss that.

And he didn't miss the looks some of the either young or hopelessly old teachers gave each other that screamed 'We're gonna get it on tonight!' just encouraged by the hopelessly romantic song. Frequently with Ms. Berri, who he would have pegged to just be a thoughtless bimbo, but in reality was a thoughtless bimbo with an actual interest in the opposite sex. Huh, so sue him.

Point of the matter was that Red Death hated love songs.

It didn't matter how corny it was, or how filled it was with propaganda, or how updated and autotuned the beats were, or even how –if it was possible- good it was, he hated them with a (pun intended) red-hot passion.

And yet, as the song played, with it's mellowed out guitar tunes, chords Red recognized, and his eyes was fixated on the girl in front of him, with the fair alabaster skin that was somehow just the perfect color of cream, the long raven black hair with blond streaks in fashionable places, the inverse of his blond black hair, and the large innocent doe like eyes, getting larger and messing with his mind by the second. Riske T. was a picture to behold.

And he, he who was usually stared at, because of his quote devilishly good looks unquote, could not keep his steel colored eyes off of her, or close his mouth, bottom lips that were hanging by the hinges of his jaws.

But wasn't she supposed to be a he?

Does it matter, she's hot!

Guy's aren't supposed to have long flowing hair, or soft looking skin, or wear a skirt!

Then she's a girl!

But she's supposed to be a dude, with a di-

But she isn't, so he should enjoy himself!

Red's inner demons were at the moment having an internal spat.

The Goddess's lips moved, "Uh, excuse me – "

Dear God, her voice was heavenly too!

"- are you Red?" she asked, eyes questioning, and vulnerable, voice lilting and causing his mind to implode. He couldn't even utter a word, but it seemed Riske' T. liked to fill in the blanks from other people for people, which was ironically something that Red hated from people, but couldn't help but find horribly cute coming from the girl/boy (?)/ it.

"Of course you are! I've heard so much about you from Ms. Bodice and everybody else! You're like a legend, or something like that, and I get to help you with school!"

Then suddenly her attitude had changed from bouncy to forlorn and solemn, "But you'd probably hate that, right?" a look of uncertainty appeared onto Riske' T.'s face, lips pursed, eyes shifting down, and overall appearance just down right . . . wow, just wow.

Red, still unable to speak, he still had a rep to uphold, shook his head. His face, more like his mouth, was no longer slack and ridiculous in appearance, and he now looked like his usual self, a mixture of a sneer or smirk on his face, eyes judging and unperturbed, and body language screaming, oozing 'I am Sex god, praise me'.

Riske' T. then looked for a paper in her pink small knapsack – too cute – and wrote on a piece of paper. With a purple gel pen – stop being cute – on a black notepad – where's the cuteness – she wrote on the paper rapidly, face concentrated on the self-given mission, and it was with pride she handed the paper to Red, that in cute hand writing said 'Room 246D, Lunchtime', in cute handwriting. It was so bad, but so good.

Then she left, an over exuberant smile on her face as she said, "Bye! See you later!" and left, leaving Red finally able to go slack in his seat, bangs over his eyes as he didn't bother to 'Justin Bieber' whip them out of the way.

"I want to die." He muttered with embarrassment.


Astrid disliked gym.

Her uniform gave her problems, which though she gave good efforts to ignore, were far too troublesome to ignore each time she had to put on the offensive colored uniform and be forced to partake in external effort.

Her small hands, to keep it from riding up her mid-drift, she who was partial to layers, often held down the dark green shirt. When left by itself, it was snug and tightly wound on her waist, the female gym shirt form fitting for each girl, but in her opinion, as she had not fully hit the curse known puberty, felt like an over exposed stick.

On the other hand the bright neon blue shorts that everyone received, were too big for her, and she had to often pull the drawstrings around her hips tighter than it should be pulled, tying it into a knot that would hopefully – often not – stay in place. She had to wear black legging underneath to put out the slight fear of underwear exposure or worse, something the boys had begun to live for, pantsing.

Oh the horrors of high school.

But thankfully, after 5 pointless laps around the large gym and a pathetic soccer scrimmage where the girls were squealing in fake fear whenever the ball came in their direction, and the guys dominated over the ball almost obsessively, sweat and muscle giving the girls hearts in their eyes as she just watched the game happen around her, Astrid barely moved, even when the ball came near her and her competitive teammates screamed at her to at least kick the damn thing as they liked to put it. She received dirty looks when the other team received the ball.

Leon among those playing, she noticed, was a natural perfectionist at sports. He always seemed to take the fuzzy yellow and black soccer ball and control it in whichever direction he willed it to go, and make precise hits in the center of the goal. His team combined made only four shots, he had made twelve.

Now, she spent the remaining minutes before dismissal, avoiding his eyes, thinking that she'd see humor at her expense with her uncomfortably with her cursed gym uniform.

Frankie, who she subtly noticed wore it flawlessly with the right fat and muscle body components to look considerably good, made it easier to ignore his presence, with her constant cry of "Astrid!" as she too would make considerably impressive shots into the goal, not as much as Leon, but still better than what she expected.

How the girl managed to have a conversation with her while fending off the precious ball of fuzziness from competitive boys and still score was beyond her normal concept of just having the body to play sports and a charisma that she was sure she herself lacked.

Jiro stood on the sidelines with the other girls who refused to play, pretending to swoon, and cheering a shrill unrealistic imitation of a girl, "Go Leon! Marry me! Have my babies!" It made her blanch and turn away to observe the only other person like her, who was standing still, Keir.

Like Frankie, and pretty much everyone else, he wore his uniform impeccably. But like her, did not perform in any activities. His eyes watched the sport with disinterest, eyes only showing the slightest glimmer of attentive light when Frankie, who was still playing with much vigor, came into view. Astrid's eyes lingered on him longer for more than a moment, causing his eyes to meet hers, and they silently agreed that this class was in all dumb.

The bell, or song, interrupted everything as simultaneously the Phys Ed instructors blew their air into their precious whistles, face contorting into shriveled red pictures.

Though she wanted to stop, and refused to believe something as strong as her will was broken by the presence of a single person, her head turned to Leon, expecting a victorious look to be on his face, his team had won after all.

But he was looking at her.

Looking at him looking at her.

He took one step in her direction, she took one step back.

He began to walk in her direction.

Frankie dragged her away to the girl's locker room, mourning her team's loss.

Astrid did not feel regret, nor relief.


Granite sat down on an uncomfortable red plastic chair, the muscles in her back tensing up and tightening to the point of distress, shoulders struggling to stay squared and in correct posture. Her hands were folded neatly within her lap, right hand atop left hand, and her face was kept straight, despite the uncertainty and fear that hid within her blue and gray eyes.

Ms. Bodice sat down, the wrinkles around her orange face gruesome looking and her painted red lips giving the whole picture a scene of a horribly colored monstrous face. The fact that the woman willingly chose to be tan and it didn't even look good left room for Granite to be offended.

"I have to say, I'm worried about the people you have chosen to surround yourself with. Your past counselor had confided with me your social problems and I want to be able to report with confidence and pride that you can socialize without the threat of a panic attack or vomiting on someone's shoes."

Red surrounded Granite's face as she thought with a mixture of anger and embarrassment of her actions in middle school, 'Patient confidentiality seems dead to the world.'

"And while I'm glad you have friends, I'm not so sure your judgment is in the correct place. I'm not trying to talk down on students but, they each have troubles of their own."

Granite's head, that had been low and facing her lap for the whole amount of the time she had been there suddenly snapped up with her eyes as narrowed as was possibly for her and lips in a thin line. She inwardly dared the overly tanned, curvy – flabs were a variation of curves -, rude woman to go farther than she already had.

She did.

"While Ms. Graves has the most topnotch grades, her attitude could use some . . .tweaking, being rude to teachers who hold the future in their hands isn't a good choice, and the students naturally avoid her. That isn't healthy."

"And Red, maybe he's in his rebellious stage, but his constant disrespect is a bad habit, usually seen in children who want attention, but he takes it to an unneeded level."

If Granite was not Granite, and had miraculously become an Astrid, calm and sharp edged, she would have coolly retorted, "And you Ms. Bodice are seemingly unprofessional, gossiping with a student about other students, how admirable."

If Granite were not Granite, but magically Red, charismatic and harshly crude yet charming, she would have hotly countered with an equally sharp jab about the woman's weight, choice of style, and career all in one go.

But she was neither Astrid nor Red, and was Granite Vertex, the girl with an equally bad tan and no self-esteem. The girl who stumbled over her words and lacked the ability to even begin a decent comeback/retort/sneer. She was the type of person not to stare at someone in the eye, and convey a message of disregard and unspoken snide comments. She was the type to keep her eyes on the ground as her fingers practically strangled each other, holding each other tightly in her lap.

She could only reply with a weak "Yes Ma'am"


While it seemed completely suffocating inside the Counselor's room, outside was completely frigid, and Granite's knee's shook, knocking into each other a little as she shied away from the cold air, pulling her plaid uniform skirt down only to have it ride back up to it's normal length. She regretted not wearing her stockings that day.

Her jacket was one she had had since sixth grade, a black long thin pea coat jacket, where the ends of her sleeves reached only the slight beginnings of her wrists; she had to use the sleeves of her black cardigan to keep her hands to keep from freezing.

It was already after four, Ms. Bodice had a talent for taking up time, and she was sure that Jiro and the rest had already gone their separate ways, and possibly her driver was driving around the neighborhood in attempts to starve off boredom.

Tugging on the deep orange tuff of hair that was an unruly part of her already unruly bangs, she focused both her eyes, bluish gray and brown, on the piece of hair, crossing her eyes and biting her lips. She could image the skin would probably be broken by the next day.

She wasn't quite sure what she was doing, maybe she too was trying to starve off boredom, or maybe she liked making silly faces when she was alone. Perhaps she was trying to keep herself from crying, the pressure that had been in her chest and suffocating her neck was painful, and awful to contain, and there was a certain pain behind her eyes . . .

"Hey Honey Pot!" she heard a familiar voice call out, shocking her out of her depressing stupor, and forcing her hand come down strictly to her sides and eyes to remain moist, she could blame the cold, as she focused her eyesight on the person.

It was Jiro, with his mandatory sunglasses, a large gray sweater that was not appropriate for the snowy weather, and a large feathery boa scarf, the color of peaches, dark grapes, and to many's fashionable horror, pumice. He waved at her like he did not look completely ridiculous and like he did not just call her 'Honey Pot'.

"H-hello, Jiro." A slightly stutter came from her, which was a feat itself, but Jiro didn't notice, as he smiled brightly and said, "Good day to you to Madam Kitty, I would like to ask you how was your day?"

Granite tried to keep the slightly horrified expression off her face. 'Honey Pot'? 'Madam Kitty'? Jiro was usually off his rocker, but he still made sense most of the time. He wasn't making any sense at all at the moment.

Jiro laughed, albeit a bit nervously, to himself, "Sorry, sorry. I'm just trying out some new nicknames I found on a Yahoo Answers page. I wanted to try to find the right nickname for you."

Granite, in slight shock was silent, but a giggle burst from her as she asked, "Why?"

Jiro then had a sour look on his face, "Red get's to call you Princess, and . . . Frankie calls you Granny . . . Granny Smith Apple! . . . no that won't work either. . . what was I talking about again? Oh yeah! So I wanted to try and find a nickname too, but I'm the most uncreative person in the world so . . ."

Granite's shoulder's racked with what would have sobs a few minutes ago, laughter, "Any more?" she asked

Counting off his finger, he listed off, " Petal, Puddin' Head, Pookie Head, Joy Bell, Huggalumps, Sugarlumps, Peachies Pie, Rum, Sparkles, Sparky, Stud Muffin . . .you can call me that, Pussy Cat, jeez the list goes on and on. I even thought about piggy-backing off of Princess, Queen, but that seemed too unoriginal and every girl wants to be a queen. I want to be a queen!" he exclaimed, now rambling and looking off into the distance, rather that looking at her while he talked.

Granite flushed at the enormous amount of names he had thought up, which was ridiculous because she witnessed other people being called nicknames everyday, and was oddly touched. She had never been given and opportunity to be this close to a person before! Just as it was touching, it was just as overwhelming.

"You can call me anything you'd like…" she said, not stumbling over any words once and making sure her voice was heard.

There was a pause in their conversation, a long one, which began to make Granite regret even talking, she was sure she had ruined the flow now. But her heart sped up as Jiro spoke in a steady, quite voice.

"Are you sure, cause I've had this idea for a while, y'know. But I wasn't sure . . ."

"Will you tell me?" she inquired, she didn't want to sound too eager

Jiro was silent for a moment, then said, "Songbird . . . Song for short, hehe, a nickname for a nickname... ha . . ." he still wasn't looking her in the eye.

She could see that the tips of his ears matched the red blotchiness of her face, and understood that by some degree Jiro was embarrassed, so with a calmer disposition and a smile, she said, "I love it."

Jiro stared at her, wide eyed and in disbelief, and his words, unsure and wary, were now confident and brash again as he laughed a short laugh that sounded more like a breath and began to ramble on again, his mouth taking control as his hand took hers, she made an 'eep!" sound, and started walking them out of the courtyard of the school and towards the direction that would lead several blocks past the metro station to the Running Field.


Sitting next to Astrid on the train was more awkward than he'd though it's be; her posture was straighter, lips thin and sealed shut, and eyes forward ahead, completely devoid of natural human emotion.

She acted normal near Frankie, even talked and replied, thought they were usually monosyllabic, but they were still answers and replies, and way more than he had gotten, what he would've gotten if he attempted to talk to the stoic girl.

When Frankie left for home at her own stop, the air around Astrid had grown mind numbingly cold, and he knew that if he even attempted to talk to her, the only ting he'd get was either a lack of reply, like he wasn't even there, or worse, one of her chilling glares that seemed to look down on you, blue eyes shining with a macabre light, and face like a porcelain doll, lacking of everything but royal detachment.

Leon tried to discreetly look at the girl by his side, violet eyes shifty and wandering, as he looked at the moving area around them through the glass windows, then at the pregnant woman sitting across from them who looked a little too green for his tastes, then at two other teens who were seniors at Fieldwater, only to have his secretive or not-so-secretive glances land on her again.

The train stopped at their stop, and she got up, and since it was his stop too, he got up also. She didn't even acknowledge him.

Leon felt awfully passive, but he followed quietly.

Yeah, he certainly felt a glimpse of normal –ish-ness when he saw Tuesday's freckled face smile at him, the cute shyness melting his already softy heart, and Argon's imitation of cool indifference, trying to be a cool older brother who didn't like high scholars and didn't act like a kid; it made him want to laugh.

But the coldness from Astrid's straight and rigid shoulders and never ending stride kept him from completely relaxing. The lack of his . . . what ever he had with Astrid made him queasy and unable to almost think straight.

Maybe he made her mad? But that was impossible, Astrid never got mad, ever. To him mad was anger and yelling and screaming and the typical bitchness that a girl embarks on when on her period.

The closest he could think of was something he'd rather not think of out of respect for another person, plus he was really at a loss.

"Big Bro, hey Big Brother Leon?"

Looking down at Tuesday, who was still unbelievably cute, he smiled and said, "Yeah?" his voice was cracking and started at a high pitch, which was humiliating, as he tried again in a lower voice, "Yeah?" with much emphasis on the bass.

Tuesday giggled, and pointed to a white buggy, sleek and clearly new and professionally taken care of. It was a white car, and most of the white cars he had seen in his lifetime carried unfortunate scratches, marks, scrapes, and bird poop. But this car blended in with the snow that surrounded them.

Then he noticed Astrid's stillness, the tenseness of her body as she looked at the car in front of them right by Hollowmill's black gothic gates. He could imagine the tightening of her knuckles, as the white bone would push through the pale skin. He could see the narrowing of the already half lidded blue orbs that were her eyes and the tight firmness that would be her lips as they would be set in a straight line.

He could especially see the darkening of her irises, as the blue color would become a darker blue into a darker blue into a darker blue until it was a color that only resembled an empty black.

All this without even looking at her, by just staring at her back.

Just as Leon was about to gather his wits to step up next to Astrid, Astrid had quickly stepped away and towards the large wooden doors that were the entrance to Hollowmill, leaving Tuesday and Argon with him. He could see both of the children were worried, he was worried too.

Maybe Astrid was on her period.

No matter how degrading the thought of it was, he couldn't help it. This was the most emotional he'd ever seen her in the span of almost six months he had known her.

Slowly encouraging Tuesday and Argon to come with him, he quickly followed after Astrid.


She burned.

Her insides hurt. They had hurt at school no matter how much calorie and caramel infested chocolate she had consumed, they hurt during her classes, they hurt as she barely listened to Frankie, during gym, on the train, and even now. But it was a dull pain. It was something she could easily ignore.

But . . . he, she didn't want to think of his name at the moment, as usual was oblivious to it all. And naturally she should be able to react normally to him, at least acknowledge his existence at the very most. But something kept her.

Something made her hesitate.

And no matter how logically, how methodically she looked at it, for the love of all that she considered sane (Grandfather, love of chocolate, control, reason) she could not figure out what made her act like this.

Should she apologize?

Should she act as if nothing is out of the ordinary?

Astrid had been halfway to convincing herself to do the latter when she saw it.


Unlike the whitish, grayish, slush that the entire town was covered with, already halfway to becoming nothing but damp nothingness on the ground.

This was white. It was sleek. It was sophisticated. It was what everyone would expect from a trophy wife from a trophy family.

It reeked of her past.

Ignoring her current problem that she still had problem identifying, she rushed to the door and knocked on the wooden block that she was sure anyone would hear, the knock was rather harsh and hard, she could feel her right knuckles bruising. But at the moment, she'd rather not care.

The door opened to reveal her annoying uncle's face who's expression matched hers the most of the time, except she could find the amusement in his face, the grim mirth shining at her face as he took in her expression at the same. She swore she could even catch a hint of a damned smile on his face as he stepped to the side with a sardonic flourish, lacking feeling in his motions, but in a way that only she could perceive was mocking, like a child going 'nah-nah-nah-nah-nah' at her expense.

Tuesday and Argon rushed inside, without thinking anything of it, rushing past the lanky eighteen year old to her room, focused on their afternoon cartoon specials that they had grown to love.

Leon was next to step in, giving her a look, and it was the first time in days their eyes had truly met, without her trying to do to much introspection, at least with him as the subject, and without him trying to figure out what he did wrong.

She followed him, warily, but with her usual calm posture and striding footsteps.

Kamden's eye's smiled creepily, while his thin lips stayed lucid, "There's someone to meet you in the living hall." he said, voice dripping false boredom, which put her on alert.

The difference between Astrid and her four year older uncle was how they perceived and approached things. While she was usually apathetic and calculating to the most severe point, just as he was, she took no joy out of solving problems other than the fact that she had solved them. But Kamden seemed to leave most cases without any mention of drama; rich baby mama's, sex scandal/tape, divorce, deaths out of jealously, etc., to her, and while he was no exception to the normal boring 'why can't the police figure this out?' case, she knew of his love for types of drama.

So when she stepped into the hall, while she had been bearing herself for the worst, which usually didn't affect her, she felt a horrible choking ball of air within her throat. It burned. It began to hurt. She could feel her fingers pressed and cut through superficial skin.

"Do you recognize her?" Kamden asked, though he already knew

She could feel all eyes on her, Kamden's full of heavy amounts of sadistic mirth. Leon's was full of confusion that was beginning to assess the situation. And her. . .

"Astrid." she said, as if she were breathing a fresh breath of air. Her perfect pink glossed lips touched each other as her name was spoken. Her eyes sprouted fresh tears as she put a perfectly manicured hand to her mouth in an expression of deep feeling, "Oh Astrid, …it's been so long…"

Keeping her posture unrevealing, and eyes unwavering, Astrid looked her in the eyes, and said, "You know why." in the most flippant and cold voice she could muster. Her eyes narrowed and her eye color significantly darkened as she stared this woman down.

As she stared her mother down.

Leon spoke up; not knowing when was appropriate to speak, "Astrid who is this?"

Astrid turned her eyes to him, and watched him flinch and writhe under her gaze.

"Take a guess as you look at our similar bone structures, eye colors, and skin tones, and then come to me with your bound to be incorrect guess, Amador." her voice was now completely lacking, just like how it had become before she had moved into Hollowmill.

She watched as Leon looked away uncomfortably, and as her mother looked at them two hesitantly with interest.

"Is he your friend?" she asked, trying to find some common ground with her estranged daughter.

Ignoring the question that the woman was trying to initiate conversation with, Astrid stayed silent, refusing to speak anymore. She just wanted to leave. She felt her insides burning, with something only she could describe as white hot, and while her outside shell remained a ice cold husk, shielded with solitude and sharp biting words, she had begun to suffer inwardly.

Trying again, Dana asked, "What school do you go to now?"

Looking at her with a dubious look, she tilted her head to the side, and then looked at her uniform, then her again, as if that answered the question.

Dana looked embarrassed, "Oh, right, sorry. Well, then … how have you been?"

Astrid was still silent. She was halfway through leaving before Leon asked another question, but not to her. To her horror, he asked her mother of all people, the one she remembered as a shallow, self pitying, absorbed, others words that only painted her bad in Astrid's eyes, mother.

Happy to have someone talk to her, Dana replied, "I'm her mom."

"Mother." Astrid corrected

While Dana began to look hurt, Leon, who seemed to take her last jabbing insult at him with surprising and easy stride, looked at her with amusement, "See Graves, I guessed right." And then he asked another question much to her chagrin, ignoring her discomfort, which might have been, if she admitted it, well deserved retaliation to her rudeness earlier.

With a charming smile that put Dana at ease, he asked, "So why does she live here then?"

"Well we had some problems so-

He cut her off, very rudely and inquired with his still polite tone, "So do me and my parents, very often actually, but I don't live with a weird and creepy uncle, inside a secluded mansion."

In the corner of her eye, Astrid saw Kamden pretend to be offended.

"Well what happened is between me and -

He cut her off again, voice losing it's pleasant lilt and becoming more affronted, "-you and Astrid right? Then how come she looks like she rather be stabbing newborn kittens than be in the same room as you, hmm?"

His tone had taken on a false friendly tone that became more and more forced as he spoke, eyes an piecing reddish violet that was further driving her into a corner.

Astrid watched, as the more she heard Leon talk, the more she felt better. Better enough to set things straight. Better enough to ignore the burring and the hollowness in her gut that was the first feeling of emotion she had experienced involving her parents in years.


Stopping since it was rare to hear her say his name, let alone the fact she hadn't talked to him in a while, Leon relented on his third degree burn, and let Astrid speak.

"Remember we first met?"

She watched as he recalled with much embarrassment how he treated her when they had met.

She continued, "I recall you called me a bitch."

He sputtered, "I didn't know you, know you. I know you now!" he was indignant, and it made what she was about to say easier, "Then again, I remember flipping you over my shoulder, so I'd suppose we're even."

He turned even redder at the memory.

"My mother and father, and little sister who I'd have to guess to be about eleven and in middle school, all decided that I was a an emotionless child who had no regard towards how people looked at me and how that reflected on them, an oddball in other terms. So the equivalent of a cold hearted bitch, I'd suppose."

"We never called you that!" Dana shrieked with an indignant yelp

Astrid was quick to counter, "But you don't deny any of the other thing's I said."

Walking up to her, "I spent less than a minute after you had given me to Grandfather, wondering why you had me pack my things and move out like the family pariah."

Dana began to blanch.

Astrid was less than five feet away from her, and the sick feeling in her stomach was relentless, but she continued, "Tell me, was I intimidating?" her glacier eyes narrowed at the older artificial blue eyes.

"No, I -

"Not pretty enough, not social enough, never smiling at all, always head in books, words always sounding like they came out of a thesaurus, something you as an adult who severly depends on her husband, lack."

Leon muttered, "Burn…"

"Astrid! I'm your mother! You have no right to speak to me like that. The decision we made was out of our own hands. You were too much of a trouble child. You always got into arguments with your teachers, and classmates. You never spoke to your father or I. We were worried you'd be a bad influence on Misa! We had no choice!"

Astrid's eye narrowed, "As I recall, you said that when I stopped being a person who believes she smarter than everyone else, then I'd be allowed to come back there. But as you can see, I'm still who I am. So why are you here?"

Dana hesitated, and then said, "We want you to come back, Astrid."

Her eyes remained narrowed, she let Dana continue, "Your father misses having two daughter's to dote on, and . . . you have a three year old little brother, he looks just like you."

Astrid's eye's widened considerably, but she still remained silent.

"You grandmother, the wife Mr. Nathaniel divorced, moved from Iceland to also live with us. She would like to meet you as well. If you moved back in with us, we'd be a happy family again."

Astrid looked her mother in the eye, the same blue color she was born with, only lighter. They were the eyes that always saw perfection, the bright side of things. They were also the eyes of someone who was delusional.

"You're delusional."

Dana shrank back.

Astrid walked away from her, "We were never a family, we never talked, you never made eye contact with me, my father doted only on one daughter, and I am sure you can guess who that is."

"…His name is Zaahir." Her mother warbled, "I thought the meaning was similar to what 'Astrid' means . . ."

She continued regardless, "I was told that I was an empty child and it was hoped that the rest of your children would never end up like me."

"Please listen Astrid."

At the moment, their words sounded like a jumble of belligerent words filled with a combination of detachment and long withheld bitterness along with garbled delusions and hurtful words. Astrid's mother was near tears and Astrid was growing exasperated. Astrid suddenly held her hand up, to cease all conversation. Dana stopped talking.

"I want you to leave."

Dana looked stricken, then furious, and at last defeated.

"I hope you enjoy your two normal children, and stop attempting to interfere with my life, as if I'm to suddenly feel an ounce of regret for the family that threw me away."

"We didn't-"

"Just leave." Astrid's voice was dry, tone clear and the conversation was done, and the result was unchangeable as Dana looked at her estranged daughter and saw nothing. Like how she always saw nothing. Always.

"You're very selfish, not everything we've done is to spite you. Not everything revolves around you. I hope you come to your senses."

Astrid was silent, as Dana pushed her way through her, and left the room. The door of the manor left a resounding slam, despite the mere hefty weight of the wooden door. Kamden watched in amusement and figured the damage hadn't reached the levels he had wanted it to reach, but it was suitable enough to keep something on his mind. Even though he knew his little niece would get back at him sooner or later.

He skulked back to his room, ready for the prolonged shower.

Leon was in shock. He slowly remembered Kamden's words, about not knowing anything about Astrid. He tried not to beat himself down, he had a really bad habit of doing that, but the fact still glared at him, shined it's mockingly bright lights in his face. He really knew nothing about Astrid at all.

"Hey, Astrid?"

Astrid still faced the other way, were she had been talking to Dana. She did not respond.

Leon thought about how much he took his mom for granted sometimes. Sure she was annoying sometimes, and ragged and raged on him whenever his room was a complete 'bloody mess', and embarrassed him in public enough times to make him want to die. But she was his mom. He loved him mom, and he was one of the rare male teens that wasn't ashamed to admit that.

Looking over was Astrid's small frame, still turned from him, Leon did something that that required guts, a steel spine, and a lack of will to live.

He hugged Astrid Graves from behind.

It wasn't hesitant and pitiful, nor awkward. But strong and full of sympathy. She was flushed against his chest, and his head was buried within her silver blond hair. His arms encircled her waist and his nose was buried near her neck that smelled of cold sweat and her natural scent.

It was small, but Astrid rested her hand hesitantly against his arm, the small appendage slowly trekking to meet his larger hand in a small grip.

'Thank you.'

He hugged her tighter.

'You're welcome'

ERAMAGOD! It's been so long since I've experienced the pure pleasure of writing this fic! Yes, I know I'm a completely horrible person for prolonging it this bad, but I least I updated, and I didn't leave a cliffhanger! Or did I?

Ah~, it's how you perceive it.

Anyways, thoughts, concerns, compliments, flames?

I need your love!

Leave your comments where they are most appreciated.