This is a story I started back in 2009, and was supposed to be a one-shot with just this chapter. Then it was just 'installments', or little short stories that went together, but as it went on, they got more intwined and thus they became more like chapters, except...well...yeah. So basically I guess this is about interconnected one-shots ;) I'm still hashing out a name for the story, so the name I pick may be subject to change, just so ya know. Anyway...please give this a chance? I've become tentativaly fond of these characters...even though they came to life when my writing was horrible, but still XD This is as it was back in 2009, mostly - except I'm making a few changes, mostly for typos, detail, etc. (I don't mean adding detail, I mean taking it out O.O I guess I was in a descriptive mood back then, haha). Anyway, please lemme know what ya think!

Let us begin...! (full summary will appear at some point on my profile)

Picture This

Warnings: As of right now, the story may contain foul language, mentions of mental abuse, and perhaps other things as well. Lots of angsty and humor, if they go together. This is NOT slash, just brotherly friendship between two childhood friends. Rated T for now. More warnings may come when I get to them.

1 - Surprise!

It was a breezy, cloudy Tuesday evening in September. Clearly, summer had already packed its bags and fled to the tropical parts of the world that were sunny and warm all year long, like Hawaii or California, which seldom had snow. Dark, heavy storm clouds sluggishly rolled through the darkening sky, lightning striking in the distance. The storm would soon strike the small Indiana town and rain would pour down like angry tears, heavy and powerful.

A black car drove down the deserted road before it rolled to a stop at a red light. The occupants of the car listened to the radio in silence as rock music blasted from the speakers, nearly deafening to the untrained ears. The person seated comfortably in the passenger seat bobbed his head to the music, a small smile making its home on his face as he tapped his fingers on the window to the beat. The driver turned to glare at the passenger every few seconds before he glared at the radio, his left eye twitching in annoyance.

"Eyes on the road, Bryce," the passenger commented, not tearing his gaze away from the window. Thunder roared through the sky and little drops of cold rain began to fall down, slamming into the hood of the car. The passenger watched as drops of the water rain down his window in small, lazy rivulets.

"Turn that blasted thing down," the driver, Bryce, grumbled, turning his attention back to the road as the light turned green. He revved the engine and soon they were moving down the street as a car turned onto their street, following them at a reasonable distance. Still, Bryce, worried about his new car, glared at the new follower through his side view mirror.

The passenger grunted something inaudible over the loud music and reached over, turning the radio down. Bryce gave a heavy sigh of relief, sagging a bit in the driver's seat, relaxing. "There, happy now?" the passenger asked.

Bryce looked at him. "Ecstatic. Absolutely thrilled, Sora."

The passenger, Sora, rolled his green eyes and ran his fingers through his unruly, disheveled black hair, muttering to himself about 'best friends who were just sarcastic all the damn time'. Bryce gave a chuckle and turned at a stoplight. The car behind them turned as well.

Frowning, Bryce made another, sudden turn, doing it so quickly that Sora was thrown into the passenger door, where he glared at Bryce as he rubbed at his now-aching head. "What was that?" he grumbled. "Are you trying to kill me? Do you hate me? Do you have a vendetta against me and my awesome music?"

"Shut up," Bryce snapped, looking at the car in his rearview mirror. The car had made the sharp turn as well, keeping the same distance. "I think we're being followed."

Sora frowned and looked back at the car in question. It was a dark blue Honda Civic, one of the newer versions. All in all, it wasn't very distinctive and it didn't look threatening. "Are you sure?" He looked back at his friend. "Have you finally gone paranoid? I told you watching all those scary movies would do this to you."

"I'm not para-those were your movies!"

Sora shrugged. "So they were. What does that matter? I still told you not to watch them."

"You were watching them at my apartment, Sora!" Bryce growled, looking back at the Civic as he made another turn. The Civic quickly followed.

"I never said you had to watch them with me," Sora pointed out, clearly at ease.

"Enough of this," Bryce snapped. "We're being followed, okay?"

"You've lost your mind," Sora told him slowly. "It's okay - we'll get you help. We'll get you a hot female therapist and-"

"Sora! I'm being serious!" He sent Sora a glare. Why could Sora never take anything serious? Why did he always have to joke about everything? "Be serious for once, okay? I've made several turns and he keeps following me!"

"Maybe he's going the same way we are," Sora suggested, frowning, his brows furrowed a little.

Bryce's brown eyes narrowed. "I doubt that, because I don't even know where we're going."

"I knew it," Sora said. "You're a horrible driver. All those times we got lost, it was never my fault. I told you."

Bryce brought a hand up to his blonde hair, ready to pull some out. Instead, he just ran his fingers through it a few times before he glared at Sora. "Sora," he said lowly, trying to stay calm, struggling to remind himself that this was his best friend and hurting him would do nothing for the situation they were in. "I'm serious. Watch."

He made another sharp turn. Sora yelped as he slammed back into his door, unprepared for it. A few seconds later, the Civic turned just as sharply, keeping the same distance. Sora frowned at his side mirror, watching the other car.

"The windows are too dark to see anything," he murmured.

Bryce nodded. "I know. Do you believe me now?"

"I guess," Sora sighed. "So…what now, Driver Guy?"

Bryce snorted. "I don't know. I thought you were the brilliant one?"

"Ah hah! So you admit it!" Sora said cheerfully, grinning from ear to ear. He poked his friend in the side, causing Bryce to jump a little and glare at him. "You admit I'm brilliant! I'm amazing and awesome and wonderful and loveable and-"

"Loveable?" Bryce couldn't help but ask, a smirk on his face.

"Yes!" Sora said. "Everyone loves me. I should have my own show - I'm way more likeable than Raymond!"

"If you say so," Bryce said, glancing back at the Civic. It was coming closer now, breaking its constant distance. "It's coming closer, Sora."

Sora looked back at it too. "So I see. I think it's time for another swift turn….that way." He pointed.

Bryce made the sharp turn and nearly wrecked into a parked truck before he managed to take back control of his car. He sent a glare at Sora. "You knew that truck was there, didn't you?" he grumbled.

"Of course!" Sora told him, all smile. "I wanted to see you use your awesome driving skills. Way to go, buddy! You did it!"

"Are you ever serious?" Bryce breathed, struggling to stay in control and not lash out to strangle his friend.

"Being serious is no fun. It's so….serious."

Bryce snorted. "Of course it is."

"And I just don't do…serious. Seriously."

Bryce seriously wanted to bang his head on the steering wheel…or maybe bang Sora's on the dash…. He shook the thoughts from his head and looked back to see if the Civic was still following. It was still there, back to its original distance. He wished the windows of the Civic weren't so dark so he could see who was following him.

"You know," Sora suddenly said, breaking his train of thought, "that car looks oddly familiar. I'm just not sure why."

"Familiar how?" Bryce asked, frowning. Sora's memory was near perfect, probably even photographic, and if he said it was familiar, Bryce knew to trust him.

"I don't know," Sora said with a frown. "It's just familiar. I don't know why."

"When you figure it out, let me know," Bryce said, confident that Sora would figure it out within the next few minutes. He breathed a sigh of relief. It the car was familiar to his friend, then maybe it wasn't anything bad.

But what if Sora had seen the car on TV or something, on America's Most Wanted? What if it was a criminal's car or something? Bryce gripped the steering wheel tighter, his knuckles white from his death grip as he glanced back at the Civic. Why was it following them? Why them, of all people?

"Where's your cell phone?" he asked Sora suddenly. Maybe they could call for help.

"Repossessed," came Sora snorted reply.

Bryce frowned. "Repossessed? What the hell is that supposed to mean? They repossess phones now?"

"Oh yeah," Sora said, nodding grimly, his voice serious. "Those Verizon guys follow you like crazed stalkers, even to the bathrooms, which totally sucks. You yell at one of them for handing you the toilet paper and wham! No more phone. Especially if you're late on a bill after that…."

Bryce rolled his eyes, scoffing. "I don't even want to know."

"But I just told you," Sora said, suddenly grinning, his voice no longer serious.

"I'll pretend I didn't hear you."

"You can't ignore me - you love me!"

"Says who?"


"God told you this?" Bryce asked, raising a skeptic brow as he kept watch on the car following them.

"Yes!" came Sora's enthusiastic reply. Bryce shook his head. Sometimes Sora was just like a kid, even though he was twenty-three as of last month. He himself was going to be turning twenty-three tomorrow.

If their stalker didn't kill them first…..

Bryce shook those horrid thoughts away quickly and focused on the banter. He knew this was Sora's way of easing the tension, and he could really use less tension right now.

"God specifically came to you to tell you that I love you?" he asked.

Sora nodded rapidly. "Uh huh! There was a bright light and everything! My cat fainted."

"…You don't have a cat, Sora."

"Okay, okay, your cat fainted."

"…I don't have a cat either," Bryce said, looking suspiciously at his friend.

"Okay, fine! Our cat fainted!"

"We don't have a cat!"

"Fine! Okay, sheesh! You win! The cat I found in an alley, and may or may not have put in your apartment, fainted. Happy now?"

"What? No!" Bryce growled. "A stray cat? In my apartment? Why not yours?"

"Please, Bryce - my apartment doesn't allow pets. I've told you this."

"Mine doesn't allow pets either, Sora!"

"Shh! You don't have to tell anyone," Sora said. "It can be your dirty little secret - it's your fantasy!"

"Fantasy? I don't have a dirty secret fantasy!"

"But you want one," Sora said, nodding as though it made sense.

"How do you figure that?" Bryce asked, looking back at the Civic. It was still inching along after them, keeping a steady distance.

"I can read your mind."

"Pft. No you can't."

"God told me."

"God speaks to you about stuff like that?" Bryce asked, skeptical.

"Of course. He loves me. He loves us all."

Bryce shook his head. "You have problems. Have you figured out why that car looks so familiar?"

Sora sighed. "Not yet, give me a few minutes. Oh, hey, look! A new music store!" He pointed out the window and laughed. "We should go there when we get a chance…you know, when we're not being followed."

Bryce's left eye twitched. Sora had a short attention span, plain and simple. Sometimes it was hard to remind himself that Sora was his best and closest friend, and they had known each other forever. Sometimes it was hard to remind himself that he didn't want to kill his friend.

Suddenly Sora let out a gasp, catching Bryce's attention. Sora's eyes were wide as he stared at his side view mirror, his face paling. "What, what's wrong?" Bryce asked, immediately concerned. "Sora?"

"A gun," Sora murmured. "He's got a gun….he's got a gun, Bryce."

"What?" Bryce gasped, looking back at the Civic. He couldn't see anything through the dark windows. "How do you figure that?"

"Oh, I don't know," Sora said with a sigh. "Maybe it was because I saw a glint come off of it when the sun popped out of a cloud, or maybe it's because his window is down and when we just made that turn, I saw it. Maybe I'm psychic and read his mind. Maybe God told me. You choose."

"Smart ass," Bryce muttered, clutching at the steering wheel tightly. "So he has a gun. What do we do now?"

"I don't know."

"You're supposed to know!"

"I've never been chased by a gun guy before," Sora pointed out.

"Wait a minute - his window's not down," Bryce said, and then glared at Sora.

"It was," Sora said. "Believe it or not."

Bryce grumbled to himself but trusted his friend. "A gun. Okay." He scrubbed a hand over his face, feeling his growing stubble. He needed to shave before tomorrow, if he ever got that chance.

Sora frowned suddenly, tapping Bryce on the shoulder. Bryce jerked and glared at Sora.

"Don't do that," he growled.

Sora shrugged. "Sorry. We need to get back to my apartment."

"What? Why?" Bryce frowned.

"I need to get something," Sora said.

"Your apartment's on the other side of town!"

"So? You said it yourself, you don't know where we're going. Now we have a destination. I just need to get something."

"Sora! Have you forgotten that someone's following us?"

"So what? Just slow down and I'll jump out. Drive around the block a few times and pick me up when I come back out. It's not that hard, Bryce. I've always wanted to jump from a moving car….even though I always imagined it to be going at least thirty…oh well." He shrugged to himself.

Bryce growled lowly. "Sora…we're being followed. By a guy with a gun! Now is not the time for jokes!"

"Just drive to my apartment," Sora said, suddenly serious. "I'm serious, Bryce."

Bryce sucked in a calming breath, running a hand over his face. "Okay, fine. Fine, I'll drive by there."

"Goody," Sora said, and then looked back at the Civic. "Hurry."

Bryce sped up a little. Maybe if a police officer caught him, he would catch the maniac with the gun in the Civic.

They arrived at Sora's apartment complex about ten minutes later, much to Bryce's relief. He decided to follow Sora inside, because he didn't trust the other driver. He didn't want to be left in his car alone to wander around the streets.

Sora quickly unlocked his apartment door and stepped inside, Bryce quickly following after him. "What did you need to get?" Bryce asked, frowning as he looked around. Sora's apartment was clean. It was always clean, and every time he saw it, he was amazed and stunned. Sora didn't strike him as the tidy person, but his apartment was never a mess.

Sora frowned. "Go look in my room for a brown box, okay? It's small." He himself went to the other side of the living room, looking around on the DVD and CD shelf, moving them around and looking behind them.

Bryce frowned but did as he was told. A few minutes later, he was kneeling on the ground, looking under Sora's bed when he heard a gunshot and Sora shout in pain. He jumped to his feet and ran to the door. "Sora!"

He didn't care that the man with the gun was probably waiting for him in the living room. He didn't care that he was scared to death. All he cared about was helping his friend and making sure he was okay.

When he entered the living room, he didn't see their follower/shooter anywhere. All he found was Sora sitting on the ground next to the DVD shelf, leaning against the wall and holding his shoulder, a grimace on his face as a red liquid seeped through his fingers. Red splattered his clothes.

"Oh God," Bryce murmured, eyes growing wide as he hurried toward his friend. He knelt down next to him and began prying Sora's fingers from his shoulder. "Let me see, let me see," he chanted. "Let me see, let me see."

Sora waved Bryce off, getting to his feet, still gripping his wet shoulder. "I'm fine," he grunted. "Just…we need to get out of here. I don't know where he went."

"He?" Bryce asked. "What'd he look like?" He stood next to his friend, watching him worriedly, wanting to somehow help him.

"I don't know," Sora murmured. "I turned around when I heard a noise and he was just there. I don't remember…It all happened so fast…" He staggered a bit, wincing as he kept his hand held tight to his shoulder.

Bryce reached out and grabbed his arm, keeping him steady. "We need to get you to a hospital," he said, concern in his eyes.

"No," Sora said, shaking his head. "I'm fine. Just hit my head when I jerked when he fired. It just grazed me - I'm fine. No bullet hole. We just need to get out of here."

Something in Sora's behavior was off…but Bryce just couldn't place what. So he sighed and gave into his friend. Once Sora made his mind up, he was stubborn and couldn't be dissuaded. Bryce had learned that long ago.

"What if he did something to the car?" Bryce asked as he followed Sora out of the apartment. "What did you come here for?"

"Forget it," Sora grunted. "We need to get out of here." He didn't even bother locking his door as he moved toward the stairs.

Bryce sighed. "Elevator?" he asked hopefully.

Sora shook his head. "No."

Bryce rolled his eyes. Sora didn't trust elevators - never had, not for as long as he could remember. He wasn't sure why Sora didn't trust them - they worked well for him - but he never asked, just accepted it as another Sora thing. Sora had many quirks and it was just one of the many thousands.

"What if he messed with the car?" Bryce asked again, watching Sora worriedly as they walked down the stairs. Sora's hand never left his shoulder. His hand was now covered in the red liquid. Bryce had to struggle to restrain himself from rushing Sora to the hospital against his will. Sure, Sora was an adult and could take care of himself - but damn it, he acted like a child! He needed medical care, Bryce was sure.

Even if it was just a graze….

"I don't know," Sora said. "I doubt they did anything. If they were going to just mess with the car, why come up after us?"

Bryce sighed. "Not everyone has to have a reason."

"Says you," Sora said, pushing open the door to the apartment complex and heading out toward the car. "It looks fine to me, and no Civic in sight."

Bryce growled. "Looks can be deceiving," he cautioned.

The two climbed into the car and Sora smirked. "Told you. Start it up. Nothing is wrong with it."

Bryce twisted the key in the ignition. The car started right up and he glared at Sora. "Not another word. This never happened."

"What never happened?" Sora asked innocently, gripping his shoulder and leaning against the passenger door.

"…You sure you're okay?" Bryce asked, eying him worriedly.

"I'm fine."

"…Okay. If you say so."

"I say so."

Bryce rolled his eyes and started driving. He rounded a corner and saw a blue Civic pull in behind him. He gasped, clutching at the steering wheel. "Sora…he's back."

"I know," Sora murmured. "Keep driving."

Bryce didn't bother telling Sora that he sure as hell didn't have any plans to stop the car again. "We can't keep driving forever," he couldn't help but point out.

Sora sighed. "Forever is a long time…we drive for a while, 'til we're out of gas."

Bryce checked his gas. It was almost empty. "Crap…This is so not my day."

"Nope, that would be tomorrow, wouldn't it?" Sora quipped.

"Shut up."


Bryce whipped his head around to stare at his friend in shock. Sora, agreeing to be quiet? No, that never happened. Something was wrong. Sora leaned against the window, his eyes closed, a grimace on his face.

Something was wrong…it was more than a graze…something was wrong.

Bryce shook Sora's arm, causing Sora to blink his eyes open. "No sleeping," Bryce told him. "I'm getting you to a hospital."

"No," Sora said. "I'm fine, really! I swear!" He sat up a little straighter. "My shoulder's just sore, that's all!"

Bryce shook his head. "You're going to the hospital and that's final." He made a turn. The Civic followed. It was back to the game of cat and mouse, except kitty had a gun and didn't play nice.

"The guy will only follow us…are you willing to put all those poor hospital patients in danger?" Sora asked, his voice soft. "What'd they ever do to you?"

Bryce didn't have an answer to that. He just gripped the steering wheel tighter and narrowed his eyes. "Damn it!" he growled. "You need help."

"I'm fine," Sora said. "I've said this I don't know how many times, Bryce. I'm okay. Honest."

Sora did sound sincere, even honest. Bryce chewed on his lower lip and nodded slowly. "Okay, just…stay awake."

"Okay," Sora said, sitting up more and moving away from the passenger door, still holding his shoulder.

Why was he still holding his shoulder if it was just a graze? Why - oh shit.

"…Sora," he said slowly, eying him, "that's not the shoulder you dislocated last month, is it?"

"Yeah, it is," Sora said. "Why?"

"Damn it!" Bryce growled again.

"Damn what?" Sora asked, grinning.

"Shut up."

"You're no fun."

"I never claimed to be."

"Still, you're no fun."

Bryce rolled his eyes, secretly happy that his friend was acting like himself again. "Whatever, Sora."

"There," Sora said suddenly, pointed. "Go there."

"The abandoned warehouse? Why?" Bryce asked.

"We're almost out of gas," Sora said. "Might as well confront this guy somewhere with a lot of good hiding places for us, right?"

Bryce grumbled to himself but knew he was right. They were just about out of gas - it was already on empty. He pulled over and the two of them jumped out and ran into the warehouse just as the Civic stopped behind their car.

"What now?" Bryce whispered as they entered the warehouse.

"I don't know…hide?"

Bryce sighed and grabbed Sora's arm, pulling him more into the warehouse and toward rows of boxes. Sora suddenly stopped, shaking his head. "What?" Bryce asked.

"We should split up," Sora said. "We're too big a target together."

"That's how everyone dies in those stupid movies," Bryce growled. "We're not splitting up."

"We have to," Sora said. "You know-" He suddenly ran off in a direction when the two of them heard footsteps coming toward them in the dark.

"Damn it, Sora," Bryce grumbled to himself, heading off in another direction.

After two terrifying minutes of hiding behind a stack of boxes in the dark, alone and beginning to panic, Bryce heard Sora shout out in surprise. He stiffened, closing his eyes. The guy found Sora. That was the only explanation.

But he hadn't heard a shot yet. There was still time…still a chance…

He got to his feet from his kneeling position and moved around the boxes, taking quiet, deliberate steps in the direction Sora's surprised shout had come from, his heart hammering in his chest.

It was quiet…too quiet…why was it so quiet? He should have heard the sound of struggling, because surely Sora would try to get away…unless…unless he couldn't

His friend was already dead, that had to be it. The follower/shooter had killed his friend, probably broken his neck or something to silence him. A heavy weight settled over his chest at the mere thought of it, making him feel sick to his stomach.

Sora was his best friend…his closest friend. They'd been friends since they'd been six-years-old. Seventeen years of friendship, all gone in the blink of an eye.

But still…he had to find out for sure. Maybe Sora was unconscious…maybe he was just being quiet because he'd gotten away and was hiding somewhere else. Maybe there was still time, still a chance…

A gunshot in the distance. An angry, surprised shout from Sora. Then more silence. More deafening, terrifying, suffocating silence.

There was no more time…

There wasn't a chance.

He sucked in a shaky breath, clenching his eyes tightly closed as his hands curled into fists at his sides and then uncurled again before repeating the motion.

He should have taken Sora to the hospital. If they'd been at the hospital, the police would have been called in and they would have been safe. No matter what Sora said, they should have gone to the hospital or the police station. He was sure the follower wouldn't let them go to the police station, but still…they could have, should have, tried.

Now it was all gone and too late and he was standing there alone. Always alone. Heaviness claimed his chest and everything just felt so dull.

Then suddenly the lights came on in the warehouse, blinding him. He held a hand up, wincing and taking a startled step back. He heard a chuckle and looked to see a man wearing black coming toward him, carrying a gun at his side. His eyes widened.

"A-Anthony?" he whispered, stunned. Anthony was the follower/shooter? Anthony had killed Sora? He took a step back when Anthony stepped toward him.

People came out of the shadows from behind him, startling him. Bryce turned around quickly, breathing heavily. They were all people he knew, and they were all smiling happily at him, and maybe even a little apologetically.

"W-What?" he stammered, shaking his head. "What's going on?" He narrowed his eyes. If these people were all people he knew, then why would Anthony shoot Sora? He rounded on Anthony, glaring and taking a threatening step forward, ignoring the fact that Anthony had a gun. "Where's Sora?"

"I'm right here," Sora said, coming out from behind a stack of boxes. He was rubbing his shoulder with one hand and gripping his stomach with the other. Red liquid covered both hands. Bryce's eyes widened again.

"Sora…" He stepped forward quickly.

"I'm okay," Sora said, smiling as he removed his hands. There was no bullet hole, just red…everywhere. "I'm okay, I swear."

"…How?" Bryce asked, frowning, staring at where the hole should have been.

"Paintball gun," Sora said, nodding toward Anthony and his gun. "Though he didn't have to shoot me." He glared. "That hurt."

"Wait a minute…just what is going on here?" Bryce demanded, glaring at everyone.

"Happy birthday," Sora said. "It's a birthday party…a very, very, very surprise birthday party."

"What?!" Bryce growled. "You knew about this? You knew Anthony was driving the car? And you let me panic?" A painful stab shot through his heart. Sore knew? And he let Bryce think...?

"No," Sora said, shaking his head. "We planned to have your party tomorrow, on your actual birthday. Then you said someone was following us. The car really did look familiar, but I didn't figure it out until I saw the gun. I thought it was real at first, but then recognized why I knew that car. It was Anthony's. And I knew he wouldn't be carrying a real gun, so I decided that it was either a water gun or a paintball gun, and both options were hilarious. Why would he chase us with a water gun? Or a paintball gun?

"So I had you take me to my apartment because I knew he would follow. I had to send you out of the room so I could talk to him. I asked him about it and he said it was for your birthday, then wham! He shot me. It hurt like hell and apparently he wanted to make it look real as he put only red paint in the gun. I played along like I had actually gotten shot and was really hurt because apparently it was part of the plan, I dunno. He told me he wanted us to go to the warehouse before he left, and, well…here we are. Though he didn't have to shoot me again, in the stomach no less." Sora glared at Anthony.

Anthony grinned. "Couldn't help myself. Think of it as payback for all the times you called me in the middle of the night when I had to work the next day."

Sora grumbled to himself. "Fine, fine. Whatever." He looked at Bryce. "I'm sorry if you were scared or whatever - I didn't think they'd take it so far. I thought they'd be waiting for us when we got in here, but I guess not."

Bryce continued to glare at Sora. Out of everyone, he was most unhappy with Sora. How could his friend do this to him? How could Sora actually let him believe someone was chasing them with a gun? Or that Sora had been shot and maybe even...? "How could you?" he uttered before he could stop himself, letting his hurt seep into his voice, ignoring the fact there were other people around them, ready to celebrate.

Sora flinched and looked at him. "I'm sorry," he said again, his voice full of genuine regret and guilt. "I just wanted it to really be a surprise party - you'd always expect one on your birthday and you're never surprised at a party, so…this was a chance to actually surprise you…and scare you…at the same time. I'm sorry it turned out this way, though. It went a little far."

"You held your shoulder the whole way here. Was it so I wouldn't notice there wasn't a hole or graze?" Bryce asked, frowning, still not ready to forgive his friend.

Sora sighed. "I guess," he said. "But it was also because it hurt. Like you said in the car, I dislocated it last month and Anthony just had to hit me there. I think it was on purpose."

"It wasn't," Anthony said, frowning as well. "I'm sorry - I forgot about your shoulder. Are you all right?"

"I'm fine," Sora said. "It's numb now. Or at least it's getting there. Still…I'm sorry, Bryce." The sincerity in his eyes tore at Bryce's angry walls.

Bryce sighed, giving in. "Okay…fine. I forgive you," he grumbled, knowing no one meant any harm to anyone, especially to him. He should have known something was wrong anyway, when Sora said he didn't remember what the shooter looked like. Sora remembered practically everything. Maybe Sora had been trying to warn him…but still. He wanted a better warning next time. "Just, next time? Let me know that it's not real in some way, okay? And no more guns - water, paintball or otherwise."

Sora grinned. "Of course!" He looked at Anthony. "You did have someone pick up the cake, right? And ice cream?"

Bryce rolled his eyes. Some things never changed.

And he wouldn't have it any other way.

Sorry it's so long! But yeah, there's the first little thingy that started it ;) I debated leaving this bit out because it really doesn't have much to do with the rest of the stuff...except, you know, it introduces the characters. So...yeah. Anyway, I have like the first 5 or so parts done so I will update this soon, if you want? Does it sound okay? Anyway...thanks for reading and please, please, please review!