Author's Note: This is my first original story. Thank you for reading, and leaving a review, if you do. I appreciate your opinions.

Disclaimer: Any music, brand name product, or movies and television shows, or books are not owned or endorsed by me in any way shape or form. I think what I think and say what I say and if that sticks with you than I think I'm doing my job as a writer, but by no means am I doing it on purpose. Okay? Cool.

I don't make any money from this story, I'm still hoping I can write something that will bring notice to me as an author and put me out there. I've wanted it since I was eleven and have been looking but haven't found. So please, treat me well and with consideration. Thank you. By no means is anyone in this story you or anyone you know, or even any one that I know. They're just fictional characters I made up, any resemblance is just a quirked brow of wonder on your part.

I also ask that you forgive my horrid grammar and punctuations as I am- every day- doing my best, and if you can't how 'bout helping a brotha out and being my beta-reader? Hmm? Hmm I'm giving you a pretty good smolder... no? Rats, then please no high-handed reading and just enjoy while bearing with me.

I'd also like to enclose that this fic has some fantasy in it. You'll see what I mean in later chapters.

0 0 0

It's quiet.

It's always quiet in Her room. It could be from the fact that she's created this silence on her own, or that she was silent due to others creating it around her. It's not easy to tell. But one thing could be known for sure... She always smiling. Ghostly... Hidden... but smiling. Like looking at the painting of the Mona Lisa.

The days were getting closer and closer to her release date. The hours... The minutes... And finally... That large door opened behind her. A woman dressed in a white dress, sneakers, and cap looked at her with a smile of her own. It was tired, wary, but happy. Almost coaxing others to slap on the same type of happy as well.

The paint brush in the woman's hand stilled from its brushing, and she turned her head over her shoulder at her guest.

"Another beautiful painting... the others will miss your art when you check out today." She walked into the room with limbs that seemed to be heavy as iron, because her feet scuffed at the floor with just about every step. "Are you ready to leave?"

Nodding, the woman stood up from the stool she'd been sitting on; her hands brush down the back of her royal pants as if to smooth non-existent wrinkles out.

"The attendants will get your things to the car for you."

"I can carry them myself." She said in a very light tone. "Thank you." It was said as an afterthought.

"Alright." The nurse stepped aside; arm sweeping out to gesture the woman on ahead. "I guess this is goodbye then. It was a pleasure knowing you."

Nodding, the woman stepped out of the door and into the long white hall. It was like walking down an invisible tunnel, the only color contrast being the tan brown from the tack-boards stuck here and there. Schedules are written on dulled white papers; all the things she'd never paid much attention to while staying in the facilities have now caught her eye, as she realized just how many others here, were like herself.

Sad really. Being the one to believe themselves holy enough to judge a persons' functioning ability and give freedom due to that. It stung. Yet it made her smile. It made her realize. But mostly, it just made her smile.

And as she walked out of the large building; not a look over her shoulder at the woman who'd come to release her, not a glance at a face she knew would change once she were outside to a look that said 'good riddance'. No. She doesn't need that expression embedding itself as the face of freedom in the vast recess of her mind.

Suitcase tossed into the back of the car with as much care as one would give an empty box, the woman climbed into the vehicle and looked at her vacant eyes in the rear-view mirror... then something changed. They soften. The dark black-blue took on an almost sweet expression, a laughing expression, but her lips... once curved up into a smile seemed to flat-line as if her eyes had stolen their joy and the two could not coexist. One would have to replace the other. And it left willingly, it would remain gone, until the candle could once again be lit.

Groton, Connecticut. Lafayette Street. April 12th, 2010. Monday morning.

It's 8 p.m. and Yakusoku Land is in history class, absently tapping his ink pen against his desk in order to keep himself alert. He'd had another week of sleepless nights, and it's beginning to take a toll on his mentality. It was like the world decided to play a mean trick on him, thinking it would be funny if it counted down how long a person could go without proper sleep before they cracked up completely. And to tell the truth, he was sure he wasn't going to be fun for much longer, he's already starting to unravel.

Last night... he thought someone was in his room. He'd been staring around while mentally counting sheep, then all of a sudden this large black human shaped lump appeared right in front of his closet doors!

The restless teen stared at it forever; in fact, he stared so long he got a headache. But at least the ache forced him down to sleep, for an hour or so. When he woke up, the dark figure was gone.

Yakusoku's desk jutted forward a bit, snapping him out of a light snooze that he didn't even realize he'd been taking until his eyes snapped open. Looking over his shoulder, he smiled and nodded a 'thanks' to one of his best friends, Chester, who'd noticed quickly enough to alert him with a kick to the desk's chair leg before the teacher saw.

The boy gave no response other than raising his brows while continuing to chew on the end of his ink pen. Returning his attention to the teacher, Yakusoku jots down some notes into his opened notepad then quickly drifts back into his tired stupor. And this was only the first class! How was he going to make it through the rest of the day?!

'Maybe I can go to the nurse's office with a fake stomach thing; she'll let me sleep, right?' He's known students who've done it.

Hearing the bell, the teacher sighed in agitation as though he were cut off before he could finish with his lesson plan. "Okay, don't forget to write out your homework assignments, it's right there on the board. That means you Steven, I don't wanna hear another session of your not hearing me say it. I've told you this before."

Steven blushed and wrote down his homework assignment in the little blue assignment book that the school has given to the student body on their first day. It came in handy for some, for others it may as well have been toilet paper because they never use it for anything, preferring to forget they have such a thing as homework all together. For Mr. Hensley, Steven is the number one culprit in the class.

"Yes sir." He muttered in mock obedience.

"Thank you." The teacher replied in mock caring for the boy's lack.

Exiting the room, Yakusoku yawned into his palm not the least bit surprised to feel an arm slump around his shoulders.

"What's with you?" Asked a cheerful tone.

Glancing at his full blooded American friend, he shakes his head. "I'm beat. I haven't been able to sleep all week. It's as if someone cast a sleepless spell on me, ya know?"

"I'm on the baseball team, and we practice practically round the clock after school. I don't know what tired feels like- I pass out- but I do know what it looks like, and you are 'poster child' worthy."

Leave it to the joking male to eloquently phrase things. "Thanks... Do you think they'd let me sleep during lunch? You know, if I skipped and went to the nurse's office?"

"Probably," He shrugged. "I don't see why not."

"Good." He yawned again. "Let the others know I'm not coming."

"Got it." Slapping him on the butt, he released his hold then waved before walking into his next class.

A cute hispanic girl came down the hall. Her pinched face smiled when seeing him. "Hi, Yaku'." The girl greeted, her friendly tone shining through the cruel face genes gave her.


They pass each other going in different directions. The school is labeled for convenience: reading wing, science wing, history, and so on. He and his friends are scattered apart nearly the entire day, having only lunch and gym together. But they don't mind, they're independent people who don't cling to one another like Koalas would to their mothers. But they enjoy each other's company, and live up any moments they can have together to the fullest.

"Ah..." Yakusoku voiced his pain, and fingers came up to his temple to put pressure on the sudden headache that's shattering his already busted little world.

This is the eighth migraine this week. Its gotta be like a record or something. He wondered if he could call the Genis book or Records about it. Ha. No one would be able to top him. He smiled at how ridiculous it was as he turned into art class. He hadn't wanted to take art classes; his mother insisted that he do it, after he brought home a self-portrait done by simply looking at his reflection in a hand held mirror that the teacher had passed to the students. That was in the 4th grade.

She said it would be a waste not to harness the talent. Yakusoku had wondered what he would do with harnessed talent and decided he wasn't interested in becoming a cartoonist or anything like that. He wanted to be a detective, and join a B.A.U when he got out of school. It'd be great to be able to do it part time now, but that wasn't going to happen. He's still in high school after all.

14 and in the 7th grade. Is there any other place in life less useful than the halfway mark of middle school and college? He highly doubted it.

Taking a seat, he scrunched his eyes closed trying to bite back the pain throbbing in his head. He really hoped that class wouldn't be very active today. At the most draw a stick figure doing something, maybe a toaster with heat lines coming from its head. Anything but still lifes and other assignments he'd have to concentrate on.

A girl took a seat beside him. She's new, he could guess because it wasn't until a week ago that he started seeing her around school. She's a strange one too, very quiet, very blonde and cut short to her shoulders for a bob. Her eyes are the most notable thing about her, bright... very bright icy blue. It was like looking into a puddle in the arctic.

That's where her eye color resides from. A few times Yakusoku's wanted to talk to her... but he'd changed his mind at the last second. Other times he'd go to approach her but she'd be gone from where she'd just been standing.

It was probably a sign that he shouldn't bother with trying to make any new friends, and his usual 5 were just enough.

The teacher was already sitting in the classroom watching as the students enter. He's a large man, takes up a good side of his markerboard. His brown hair is cut short like in a crew, and he usually wears black slacks and a white button down shirts, but today the man seemed to opt for green. It must be a special occasion.

"Mr. Land, are you alright? You look ill?" He asked when seeing that the male has his head in his hands in a fashion that seemed more like he were trying to block out the natural light coming in from the window, and the fluorescents overhead.

The shy blonde looked over at Yakusoku; her eyes held all the sympathy of the world, and she seemed like she were pleading with her body to reach out and comfort him. But she held back. It would be weird.

"No. I'm fine, Mr. Lancaster. I've just got a headache." A very nasty headache, he wanted to include but didn't.

"Oh, then would you like" The man's words pause as he flexes his lips in odd angles while putting on lip balm and once it's capped he finished his sentence. "to visit the nurse's office?"

"Y- yeah..." His voice cracked as pain split his head a little worse than before.

This can't be a normal headache. Getting up from the desk, he walked very carefully to the door, being jarred by a few kids walking in.

"Watch it!" One of them called over his shoulder.

"Sorry." Yakusoku muttered as he continued out the door and down the hall.

It was almost frightening how quickly his pain started to go away the moment he hit the second wing of the school. It was almost like he'd never had the headache at all by the time he'd reached the nurse's office. The chubby woman looked at him with a faint, knowing smile. She probably presumed that he wanted to get out of class, since he didn't exactly walk into the room like he were on his last breath.

"Hey," He greeted.

"Hello. And what's your ailment, young man?"

"I've been getting these splitting headaches lately, and I had one just now but it went away." Man that sounded lame. But it was the truth. "I was wondering if maybe you could give me an aspirin or something for it?"

The woman shook her head. "I'm afraid I'm not authorized to distribute medicines that haven't been given by parents or guardians." She touched his forehead as if he might have a fever. "Would you instead like to lie down for a while? I know the ache is gone but, you never know."

"Thanks." He answered, then took a seat on a bed placed behind a dressing curtain. Laying back he closed his eyes.

He wasn't sure what he was waiting for to happen; his headache is already gone. But he supposed the rest was appreciated since he'd been so tired lately. Letting out a self comforting sigh, he tried to let sleep take over him as he listened to the nurse shuffling through supplies and papers, and moving about the room in general.

He wasn't sure how long he'd been lying in there, but his eyes sprang open when he caught the sound of a toilet flushing. A little embarrassed, he sat up and stretched his limbs a bit. Getting off the bed, he figured he should go. He'd stalled long enough, and just as he walked from around the curtain, the culprit came from the bathroom- only it wasn't the nurse as Yakusoku had expected.

The blonde girl from class blushed fiercely and dipped her head to lower her gaze. Figuring he'd spare her the embarrassment since he spotted a 'girly thing' as Massiel called Maxi Pads, and knew that she was probably embarrassed enough for the both of them. He isn't sure why, though, minus Chester all of his best friends are girls. He knows a thing or two about periods and stuff. No big deal.

"Hi." He said politely. "Wanna walk back to class with me?"

Blushing, though he was sure she couldn't get any more red, the girl replied. "S- sure. But art class is over."

"It is? ...What time is..." He cut himself off as his wandering gaze located the hand clock on the wall. "Yikes, 10:15 I must have really checked out."

"The teacher gave me your bag when I told him that I was coming here," She pointed.

Turning, he looked over his shoulder to where his bag sits on the floor by the little bed. "Ow," He muttered gripping his temple as his headache seemed to return full swing. His pained eyeball is covered by a winked lid.

Full of concern, the girl asks. "What is it? What's wrong?"

"My head hurts. I keep getting these damned headaches..." He hadn't meant to swear and he doesn't normally do it if he can help it. It isn't that he thinks it's wrong or anything, he just knows that it sounds weird coming out of his mouth. "Hey, I could still walk to class with you... we have science together, right?"

With the way he's holding back the pain, you'd think he were speaking to the tiled floor, or his sneakers.

But the girl beamed. "I... thank you. Yes, we do have science together." She nodded.

Yakusoku leaned over to grab his bag, while the girl opened her purse to hide the borrowed items. "Let's go." He called to her walking out of the room.

0 0 0

"I thought you said you weren't coming?" Chester practically, verbally, grabbed his friend by the scruff to pitch him from the lunch table.

Yakusoku shrugged. What did he want? Situations change. But he knew Chester was only messing around. Setting his tray down on the table, he rubbed his hands together in hungry anticipation to get into the hunk of lasagna that he's been smelling since Spanish class- which is located right across from the cafeteria.

Smiling he voiced his pleasure with a long, "Mmmm."

"Aaaw, he's in love." Massiel teased. "We didn't think it would ever happen."

He rolled his dual colored eyes. Massiel is always like that, kidding and teasing people. She's the tomboy of the twins, her sister Maina in pronunciation but is spelled with an 'e' instead of an 'a' is the sweet and girlish one, almost to to a fault.

The joke of them is that their souls went into the wrong body because Massiel has the face of an angelic beauty queen, while Maina has narrow, almost angry eyes but she looks sweet when she smiles... although to be fair the sweetness of her smile only makes it seem like she's going to murder you because her eyes squint up more.

"Don't knock it; love is fleeting but food... is forever." He said in a mock serious tone.

One of his friends, Enid, fidgits hearing that but returned to eating her lunch and listening in on the others talking.

They spoke of nothing too specific, just this and that about their days as usual. The twins have soccer practice later that day, and Chester has baseball try outs to attend. Chester's girlfriend, Sophie, said she had nothing to do and would walk home with Yakusoku, if he wanted. Which Yakusoku was glad to accept.

The 5 of them have known each other since forever, and when Yakusoku attended school in the third grade they allowed him into their inner circle. They could tell he was withdrawn, but not shy, so they decided to ease the new kid's tension and be his friend. He thought it wouldn't last, truthfully, but they stuck by him. It was wonderful.

Yakusoku has an usual tale, not because he's adopted; Asian American with a Swedish mother and American father; and he figures he's mixed because of his dual eye color of green and blue in their darkest shading. That is so not an Asian thing...

His story is unusual because he doesn't know who his parents are or were, all he knows is that he was outside one night and he passed out. When he woke up he was in the car with these two people who said they'd drop him off at an orphanage tomorrow, and promised that he'd get a good home out of it; but for the night he stayed with them.

They believed that because he was in such dishevelment, he must be a homeless child who fainted from lack of food. He didn't know himself because he couldn't recall anything from waking up and forward, not back.

But the family kept their word about dropping him off, and so there he sat... in the system for a year. And a year later the couple showed up to adopt a child, and happened to see that he was still hanging around, so they adopted him too.

It was amazing how it worked out, and he was forever grateful that it had. He hated the adoption business. People would come in and scrutinize him. They'd adopt you, and being one of the other kids you think you'll never see that lucky kid again, he's found a home... and then, two... maybe five months later that "lucky kid" is back.

They never spoke about the reason they've been returned, they just act as though leaving had never happened at all. When you put it that way, being adopted seemed terrifying. But at least he got a very lucky break- and a name! He couldn't remember his when they'd picked him up, it was like he had amnesia or something.

The people at the home said he could call himself whatever he liked, but they absently named him "John" as in John Doe. He hated that name, so boring and sour. He would have taken Elephant for all he cared, but he has a good solid name now, and he loves it. His little brother on the other hand didn't appreciate the jokes brought upon by his.

His name is Ai and he's 10, and oddly enough, Asian American as well. But anyway, the joke comes from the fact that his name sounds like Island when it's said with their last name, which is Land.

Yakusoku's is a little more hidden, and only his close friends know what it is. The Land's named him with the translation "Promise" as they had said about him getting a good home. So you could say that they kept their Promise, and here he is today; 14 years old and enjoying all of life... with a couple of ticks here and there. Such as...

"Hey you guys... Any of you know the name of that girl over there." He nods in her direction.

The group looked to where their friend was gesturing and they visibly bristled at the girl seated by one of the large trees, lunch bag on her lap, blonde head dipped as she eats her sandwich.

"That's Maria Atkinson." Said Sophie after recovering from her cringe. "We have reading together, she's such a weirdo." The girl put her fork down to pick up her napkin and wipe her mouth from pasta sauce.

"Why is she sitting over there all by herself? She's been here a week; doesn't she have any friends yet?" Yakusoku was recalling his own lonesome feelings from when he'd first began school, and when he was first taken to the orphanage. Always a lonely child, wondering what life will do with him until the answer comes along. It's how the world worked.

Some people have it and some people don't. He didn't, he got it, but he didn't start out that way. But then again, he remembered nothing beyond the age of 7, so how was he to know what he was like before then.

"Maybe we should invite her over?" He wondered out loud.

Rolling her eyes, Massiel shook her head. "Gonna go make another promise to care for a wounded animal, are we?"

Those were his jokes. That he always made promises to protect and serve the weak. And in a sense it was sort of true. He would feed stray animals, offer anyone who needed it change, bring the stray animals home with him! So he supposed that 'yes' he is looking at this Maria as though she's a stray animal. It hurt to think that way, but he got a chance at life, is it so wrong to give it to others?

"No." He replied in counter of his own thoughts. "I just wanna push her in the right direction so that she'll be all right."

"Well don't bring that cling-in-a-box over here." The girl chided.

"Massi', that's really rude. And someday you'll be alone somewhere... Wouldn't you want someone to approach you and be nice?"

The girl gave him a scrutinizing look, then smiled. "Yaku' you know how I feel about people... it took me awhile to get used to all of you."

He couldn't disagree; and she's still crude! "It's not the point," He started to say but was cut off by Enid who finished his thought.

"Point is, subconsciously... you want someone there."

The group shrugged.

Maina patted the boy on the shoulder. "Go ahead, go eat with her." Lowering her hand, she added. "If it's the right thing to do for yourself, then it has to be done." She smiled sweetly.

Smiling back, he replied "Thank you." for her understanding. Getting up from the table, he gathered his tray, and after retrieving his can of Pepsi he walked over to the tree.

"You'll regret it!" Massiel called after his retreat.

He doubted it, already feeling his heart swell over helping someone in need. Maria looked up with a sad expression that slowly turned into a small smile. He smiled back, then took a seat beside her by the tree.

"Hi. Remember me?"

"Yes, you walked me to science when you went."

Yakusoku almost had to slap himself for being so stupid. Of course she remembered him. "My name's Yakusoku Land, what's yours?" Though he already knew.

"Maria Atkinson. Nice to meet you."

"You too."

He could feel his friends' gazes drilling into him from behind, and he scooted himself off to the side a bit to ward off the creeping chill of their disapproval.

"So what are you?" Yakusoku asked.

"Excuse me?"

"Oh.. oh! I didn't mean it like that," He waved it off. "It's just that my whole group- well, except for Chester Flint- is of foreign backgrounds." He turned to point them out. "Enid Aarenstrup is swedish, Sophie O'Daire is Irish, Massiel and her twin sister Maina Santos are Venezuelan, and I'm Japanese American... so what are you?"

"I'm Canadian, on my mother's side."

"Oh cool. Are you gonna learn French?"

This conversation is going great! He knew he could bring her out of her shell, she may be shy-free and making her own friends in no time; because with the way Massiel gave him the finger when he'd pointed at her, he was sure his friends would kill if he thought she could hang with them. And then Maria would have no one, yet again.


"No?" He found that weird. "We're all gonna learn our native languages, that way we can speak them to each other." He beamed at their brilliance.

Maria furrowed her brows in thought. "...If you're all learning something different... how do you expect to understand what the other person is saying?"

That wiped the smile off his face. "...You know what... I hadn't thought of that."

Maria chuckled into her palm. And Yakusoku laughed along with her.

Enid sighed in thought. "He's insane right? I mean, we all agree to that?"

The others nodded.

"Maybe" Sophie offers. "we should tell him that she's weird, and then he'll forget the whole thing."

Maina shook her head. "That's rude and... we shouldn't judge someone just because they eat lunch alone, and are quiet... all the time. She could be really shy."

Massiel shrugged. "Or she's hate filled and decided to spare the world of her banter of disdain."

Chester laughed loudly at that.

They were like a match set those two; far more compatible to Massiel than his chess club, priss of a girlfriend Sophie. They all hated it regardless. They didn't mind new people, Hell they all have other friends outside of their little circle of 6. But this girl is a freak, and would completely cramp their style. And already, just from by the way she's putting her hair behind her ear, they can tell that she likes Yakusoku and that could only spell trouble for them, and their friend.

He's too into saving the world to be into anyone, and she's gonna be hugely disappointed when she learns about their friends little habit of saving wounded birdies.

0 0 0

His breathing is hard in his, supposed to be, restful sleep. Pants hard raspy sputter from his naturally down turned mouth. It hitched and caught, sped up, and slowed down until finally it stopped.

The tween's once flailing body stilled its movement just as his breaths have. Is this it? The end, dead in his sleep. This isn't the first night his dreams have tried to erase his existence, and it wouldn't be the last.

A painfully loud inhale sounds through the silent room, soon joined by sounds of rapidly intaken breaths of air to replace what had been lost. Groaning, the teen wipes cold sweat from his forehead with the back of his hand. Breaths calming, he takes the moment of relief to glance at the red glowing numbers of his digital clock. 3:17 a.m.

'Just my luck; still too early to be awake and head to school.' Throwing the blanket off, he slips his feet to the floor, walking across the large bedroom; the carpet softening the sounds of his foot steps, he entered the bathroom in his bedroom.

Yawning; the teen dropped his pants when in front of the toilet and relieves himself into it. Once done, he flushes then pulled up his pants and headed over to the sink to wash his hands. Gaze meeting his reflection's, he's glad to see that at least he's young enough not to have bags under his eyes yet from all the missed sleep. Catching water in his hands, he rubs the cool liquid over his face to remove the cold sweat he'd broken out into when in bed.

Speaking of 'cold sweat', he walked back into the main part of his bedroom and over to the dresser where he removed another set of pajamas to slip into. Stripping down, he changes quickly then climbs into bed. Taking his clothes off always made him a bit uncomfortable, he wasn't sure why. It wasn't as though he'd made a grand show of it or anything, but once he was bare he had to hurry into something- anything- just to cover himself back up! Dressed, he dropped himself onto the bed and closed his eyes. He'll fall asleep, he's sure of it. He just needs to find a way to relax his busy mind and body.

'Looks like it's gonna be another night of, mental, Tetris.' He sighed. 'L shaped blue piece, attached to floor... that green piece I never know what to do with can sit on that...' He smiled at his personal displeasures with the game he loves so much.

He and Ai play it, and Doctor Mario, all the time when homework is done or there's nothing to do because friends are busy, and there's nothing on tv. But its not working... it actually hasn't worked since, sleepless, day one.

'Maybe I could tell my parents about it, and have millions of dollars worth of treatments done on me. Take experimental drugs and get rich from the checks they shell out. Retire at 17 and live my life like an elderly person in hot, sunny, Florida.' Snickering, he figured he'd probably be told that he's retarded, and he has a violent snore that he can hear in his sleep and it's keeping him awake.

Rolling over, he continued his game while staring at the red lights of the digital.

'Maybe I can try masturbation?'

He knows guys who do it, they talk about it all the time. He wasn't sure if he was the type though. Yakusoku was pretty sure that you had to be a type of person to do something like that.

"Well... only one way to find out." He whispered while slipping his hand past the waistband of his pants.

Grabbing a hold of his penis he could feel his cheeks heating in embarrassment; this is stupid. Pulling his hand from his pants, he scrunched his eyes closed and once again thought of Tetris. But he grew bored of that- plus, he was cheating himself several board clears during the speed round. Deciding a drink would be best, he sits up. Something warm and comforting, like green tea. His mother buys this kind that specifically reads: Sleepy Time on the box.

Heading downstairs he closes his eyes once mapping out the clear path to the kitchen; from 8 years old to 10 he's been seeing a dark figure roaming about the Land home, several actually, all of them moving about as if they belonged there. He'd once told his foster father, Reeve, about it but the man had told him it was nonsense. The dark plays tricks with your eyes. Its called 'matrixing' or something along those lines.

Then he told his son that it was the reason he'd see pictures in the marbled bathroom floor, his eyes were trying to make sense of nothing. For years he's kept his mouth shut, believing that what he'd said was some sort of taboo, and that seeing the U.W.O., Unidentified Walking Orbs, was Wrong. So he'd close his eyes and let them watch him as he moved about the dark home and eventually, yes, they did just go away.

He wasn't always afraid of them... it's just the bigger one that made him nervous. It remained by his mother's studio and only came closer one time when he was 9. He'd come down for a drink, and had dropped his cup when turning around to see the dark figure in the doorway. It vanished quickly after, but not quick enough to keep him from feeling a horrible chilling sensation anytime he passed the studio at night.

Quinn Land, his mother, is a designer and sells the clothes from the downstairs room of their home. She has legal papers and everything saying that she can. People come from around the neighborhood to look over the clothes, it's basically having a department store in their house. She does some mens wear too!

The closet enlarged to become three dressing rooms, and she would tailor fit things if asked. His father owns a dealership- three actually- and they live quite comfortably. But Reeve wants to keep his family honest, so he doesn't spoil them or anything. "Learn the earn of a dollar before you spend money that isn't there" but occasionally, he allows them splurges.

It is weird sometimes, though, imagine strangers in your house and having to turn them away when your mother wasn't home because, frankly, even though you know how to work the system and dish out the cash... it doesn't mean you wanna be around people you don't know. That's the way of the world.

After the tea bag steeped in the heated water, he blew on it for like a second then chugged the mug as though it weren't the slightest bit hot, only to lower the cup and fan at his scorched tongue. Turning on the faucet he tilts his head and swallows enough water to cool his tastebuds off.

Rinsing the mug, he sets it into the sink then runs the back of his hand over his wet mouth. Turning off the water he then heads back to his bedroom, climbing under the covers to allow the effects of the tea to take over.

7:15 a.m.

Yakusoku is just finishing with brushing his black hair to their usual spikes; Chester once commented on how badly he wanted his hair to spike out like that, because he got stuck with a wavy ball of fluff for a hairstyle and he hates it.

Sophie always touches his hair saying that she loves it. But then girlfriends are like that... at least, he would assume so, because Yakusoku's never had one personally, so referencing couples behavior off of them made sense in his world.

Dashing downstairs to breakfast; he's disappointed in not smelling his mother's delicious cooking, but instead he sees Ai having a bowl of Apple Jacks at the table. He was about to ask where the Swedish woman was when the sound of the sewing machine caught his attention. She must have had an idea in her head last night, and had to get it out of her system. It happens sometimes. But normally, his mother would never miss a chance to shove homemade meals down into her son's stomachs.

Quinn has a huge heart and will help anyone in any way that she can; she'd even said she planned to adopt again! But for right now, she's madly in love with her two sons and won't be doing it until they're off at college or something.

His little brother was given up by his birth mother to the first person to say 'I!' about taking him off her hands, so the Land's are all he knows as parents.

Yakusoku doesn't want to know where his parents are. They probably didn't really want him either, look at how he'd ended up at an adoption agency. He was just a boy wandering the streets. If they had that little care for his safety than so be it... they can go away.

"Yaku'? Are you all right? I heard you last night, you sounded distressed." Ai asked.

"It was just a bad dream, nothing major."

He grabbed a bowl and some Corn Pops, then scooped the milk jug from the fridge. After getting himself breakfast, he replaced the milk then sat at the table to quickly eat so he could head to school.

"Oh. Is that all?" The boy suddenly became 10 again rather than 20. "Well don't do it again, I'm too young to have ulcers."

"Yes mother number 2." Smiled the semi-scolded.

Ai could be such a worry wart sometimes. He was always in the kitchen helping cook, always around the house cleaning and picking up after him or reminding him that he had to bring his dirty clothes down when the hamper was full. But He wouldn't have him any other way.

His father is already at work; and the sewing machine is making soothing sounds in the background while the two eat in a comfortable silence of their own thoughts. And around 7:22 the doorbell rings.

"That would be for me, see ya, Ai- bye mom!"

"Later." The boy was at the sink washing both his bowl and his older brother's.

Loading his backpack as quickly as he could without crushing important papers with his lunch bag, he scurried out the door. "Hi, Massi'." He greeted getting his customary eyeroll in return. She hates formalities of any kind.


"Yeah, where's Maina?"

"She slept over at Sophie's and took the bus; wanna race?"


They got on their marks.

"On your marks," Massiel said.

Laughing, he replied. "We're already on our marks."

"Get set..."

He made a face as if to say... "get on with it"


They tore off down the street towards Howard Scott middle school, with every intention not to stop until they'd gotten there. Although, Yakusoku did daydream about stopping to get a soda in the main part of town from the vending machine at the Food Lion.

But knew the queen of straight A's and perfect attendance would never allow herself to be tardy for her idiot friend. Passing by a large white picket fence, a big boxer mix trotted up to the fence wondering if he should bark at them or simply growl to mark his territory but by the time he'd managed a lazy 'woof'.

"Hey you two!" Chester greeted darting into dash with them. "You should have seen my old man last night, he really chewed out my mom and just when I think "here comes the divorce talk", they end up screwing each other."

"Euuww!" Yakusoku and Massiel barf in unison.

"Wish I knew his secret." The brunet continued to lament.

The two racers rolled their eyes to one another.

"Aren't Irish woman supposed to be loose?" Yup. He's in his own little world now.

"Imagine that, a 14 year old girl doesn't wanna have sex," Says the one girl with them currently. "Has the world gone mad?!"

"Maybe pizza and hamburgers will be free, or grow from the earth like vegetables!" Yakusoku chided.

"Alright, alright, I get it." Chester gave the other male a shove to knock him into the Massiel.

Their running slowed considerably ages ago, and now they're hard walking up the path to the school. Breaths hard as they calm themselves down off the sprint, they walk up the long row of stairs.

Spotting her sister, Massiel walks over swatting her on the back of the head to say 'hello'. Chester linked arms with Sophie, and Enid just fell into step beside Yakusoku as they entered the building for another eventful day.

0 0 0

During lunch, the four heard about the two girl sleepover, and then they chatted about that night's episode of Hell's Kitchen and how that one chef Boris really got his ass served to him by Chef Ramsey, for mocking his saying of "its raw!" They spoke of other things: homework, projects, sports, vacations coming up in the summer and slowly Yakusoku began to die out of the conversation.

"Man..." Yakusoku started rubbing the side of his head as another migraine gripped his senses. 'Of all the times to get a headache.' He grunted in pain as thinking seemed to make it worse.

"Yaku', are you ok?" Enid asked petting the male's back.

"I'm fine. I've just got a nasty headache brewing." He replied. "I actually feel like I'm gonna throw up..." His circling fingers turned into a massaging palm.

Maina reached into her backpack and pulled out an Aspirin. "Here. Take this, it'll help." She handed the pill over to him.

He shook his head. Regardless his wanting one in the nurse's office, taking pills sometimes made the headache last for hours rather than minutes or at least that's the way it was when he was a child. Who really knew now, but he wasn't going to risk it.

"Aahh..." He dipped his throbbing head; tears welled in his eyes.

"Ooohh..." The girls gave an empathetic sound to him when seeing the tears.

Wanting to stop their sadness, he said jokingly through clenched teeth. "Just what I need, maidens crying out in sadness instead of pleasure." He laughed dryly at his comment.

Just when he was about to say something else the area slanted, like someone tilting a picture... no wait, outside isn't slanting... he is. Luckily before he could slam into the hard grass covered dirt below he'd blacked out.

Yakusoku heard himself groan before his eyes opened. Fluorescent lights shined in his eyes making him squint.

"Mr. Land, can you hear me?" Asked nurse Flint- no relation to Chester.

"Hmm?" He says half-witted.

"I asked if you can hear me?" She leans into view, covering up the blinding lights.

"Yeah, yeah I hear you. What happened?" His groggy voice asked.

"You fainted during lunch." She replied. "Your friends said that you complained about another headache."

'You don't have to make it sound so small.' Snipped the boy's thoughts. "Yeah, my head hurt really badly but... I feel all right now," Yakusoku paused after saying this, only to be sure that his wording was correct; and the pain had actually stopped.

Glancing at the clock behind the nurse's head, his dual gaze widened in shock.

"I've been asleep for 2 periods!?" His baffled words sprang out.

"Yes. Could have been from the bump on the head you took in the fall, you hit a small rock." She tisked. "If Miss Aarenstrup hadn't grabbed your arm you might have only bumped your shoulder, but it's not her fault, she was only trying to help you."

'Remind me to thank her.' He pouts, rubbing the left side of his head where a small bump lay.

Seeing the displeased look on his face she says to comfort him, "That should go down by tonight, don't worry." She handed him an ice pack.

"Thank you," He took it and pressed it to the welt. "Can I go?"

"Myy, aren't we plucky!" She laughed. "You may go- but walk slowly, please."

"I will." Gathering his things, the battered male exits the office.

Heading slowly down the hall; to anyone going by he was walking slower than needed, but he is a teenaged boy in school after all. What's the hurry? His gaze shifts to the right at the sight of movement from there. It was that girl, Maria. She looked even more lonely than yesterday causing him to frown at the thought of such a sad existence.

How can his friends be so cruel? Everybody needs somebody... when he'd needed somebody the Land's took him in- twice! So what if he has a 'Hero Complex' is it a bad thing when you can make somebody smile?

The girl turned her head looking down the hall directly at him. She had a weird smile break out across her face; just as he was about to say something to her the last bell rang telling the kids to go on home, and the halls filled quickly with the children planning to do just that- minus the ones staying for after school activity.

Turning his head, he's just in time to catch Sophie before she linked arms with him.

"I hate when gym is last period." She says in a small voice, as if saying it softly made it sound less like complaining. "Like I really wanna sweat on the already stinky, sweat inducing bus."

"So walk with us." Bellowed Massiel, tired of hearing the bitching already.

"Why walk, when I can take the bus?" Unphased by the girl's usual boarish manners.

Turning their attention elsewhere, Maina asks. "So how are you? Clean bill of health?"

"Bump on the head, but still standing, so yes." Yakusoku replied.

Noting the bandage, guilt trampled Enid's soul. "But you've still got that bump?"

Laughing, he replied with a shrug. "So now I'm rugged."

The other 5 figure he's fine and continue on their way out of the building.

0 0 0

Yakusoku went straight up to his bedroom to do his homework; it took him twenty minutes and he was almost positive three of the answers on his math sheet were wrong, but he didn't feel like going over it right now.

Plus, he's never once felt the need to shout 'straight B's' at the top of his lungs so why should he care that he's getting them from lack of really applying himself. Going downstairs, he cracked the door to his mother's studio.

"Mom, are you down here?" He walks down the stairs.

"I'm right here, Yak- what's happened to your head?!" She cried out when spotting him.

"I fell from the bench during lunch and cut my head on a rock." He replied loving the motherly treatment he's receiving for just a bump on the head. Her love really does keep him going sometimes.

"Oh dear." Quinn rocked him back and forth within her hug. "What were you doing that you'd managed to fall?"

"Nothing much. Bad headache, next thing I know I'm waking up in the nurse's office."

"Well, I'm glad you're alright." She kissed him atop his spiked head. "You want some tea?" She asked pulling her dirty blonde hair into a ponytail, fully turning on her mother switch.

"I had a soda a while ago, but okay."

"You got it." Pinching his nose, she walked out of the room.

Yakusoku took one look around and for a moment he felt a shiver up his spine, and quickly, he walked out of the room.

Being alone down there always gave him the shivers, and hurrying to the stairs he missed two shirts moving gently on a rack as if a gentle gust had blown them apart...