Chapter 1

It was always the same. Every morning, he woke up, at exactly 6:15, stayed in his room working on his latest project until 7 am, then he got back in bed, and waited for his mother to bang on his door, calling him lazy, then going next door to wake his brother while he purposely got out one of his older t-shirts, white of course, and threw on his uniform over it. By 7: 30 am, his brother would be done in the bathroom, and he could mess up his uniform, shaking a few drops of water on his black button up uniform, undoing a few of the upper buttons, or doing them wrong, messing his strawberry blonde hair until it looked ruffled, instead of perfectly in place like it always did when he woke. Next, he would rush downstairs, grab some sort of fruit, and "forget" something upstairs until it was time to go.

Honestly, it was pitiful exactly how much of his days were fully planned. He knew exactly what grade he would make on every assignment before he turned it in, knew who he would talk to long before he did, and planned exactly how much acting was necessary for everyone to think he was nothing more than a wanna be druggie. Which was stupid beyond belief. Someone only had to talk to him, without his numerous masks up to know exactly how unintelligent it was to think he was anything less than a genius. Then again, he thought to himself as he rushed back upstairs for his fifth, and worst, draft of his latest homework assignment, it was laughable to think he let anyone near him long enough to actually see through his masks. His parents thought he was a delinquent, his twin brother thought he was nothing but a poser, and everyone else thought he was going to end up in juvie, or jail, before graduation. If he reached graduation.

No one knows how to deal with him, compared to Darius, the perfect. His twin brother was a straight A student, who was a sports star, in both basketball and baseball, intelligent as hell, with a great sense of humor. Darius had the better name, the better friends, the better image, the better life. God he hated the idiot.

On the other hand, he doubted he would put up with half the crap his brother had to on a daily basis. It was better for both of them that Darius got the good attention and all the pressure, while he stayed in the shadows.

Finally, the call for him to hurry up came. He "rushed" downstairs, his tie messy, well messier than it was when he went upstairs. He jumped in his brother's car, some brand he never bothered to actually learn, and waited for Darius the perfect to get on to him before he put his seatbelt on.

"Why do you always look like trash?" Darius asked, exasperated. His usual good boy image always dropped when it was just the two of them.

He smirked at his annoyed brother. "Now, now Darry, dear, don't be like that." He loved watching Darius' hands tighten against the wheel. It was hilarious. His brother always looked like he wanted to hit him, but after nearly two years of having the same exact conversation every day, he knew that Darius wouldn't.

"Must you call me that every day?"

"It's worked for two years, why change it, Darry dear?"

Cue the grinding of teeth. He thought it was funny that Darius hadn't lost the same sensitivity that he had once. Now it was just habit, and he meant none of it.

"Werner," Darius ground out, "If you don't shut up in the next ten seconds, I will tell the entire school that you snuck out again last night."

He shrugged. "Whatever, Darry, it doesn't matter. No one would be surprised."

"True. Who did you meet up with last night?"

That made him smirk. He half wondered if Darius knew that he "snuck out" to do homework in the abandoned park near their house, not to do drugs, or meet up with someone. Then again, Darius thought that the time he spent out was to meet up with a gang he apparently joined. Yah, right.


"No one." He admitted, knowing that his brother wouldn't believe him. Sure enough, Darius snorted and rolled his eyes.

"Fine, don't tell me."

Werner smirked, but hid it. "If you insist."

He honestly didn't lie very often, in fact, he mostly told the truth. He just didn't tell the entire truth. Which was fine. It led more people to believe that he was something he never would be. Graduation was only a few months away, and everyone was still surprised he was still in school. He was, to the astonishment of the rest of the school, more than aware that there was a bet around the school to guess when he would drop out. It started, as far as he was aware, in freshmen year, and continued with people losing money every day.

Unlike his brother, he wasn't naturally good at school. He had to force himself to learn. By the time he had figured out how to absorb the information that came so easily to his brother, he was already called a problem child. He was seven when he realized why his brain didn't work the same way that everyone else's did. He was just wired differently. It wasn't a bad thing, but it meant that had to consciously shift the way he learned. He needed to work with his hands. In classes like computer, science, engineering, and art, he did the best. He could do better in the core classes, but by the time he figured out how, it was too late, and he had a certain reputation that wasn't going to go away.

The car came to a rough stop, and he was about to make a joke about Darius working on his parking skills. It died on his lips when his twin was looking at him with a far too serious expression. "What?" He asked stupidly, inwardly cringing.

"Look, mom and dad are going to sit you down soon. They are going to ask what you are going to do with your life, and if they don't like your answer, mom told me dad's considering kicking you out on our birthday. I figured I should warn you that if you don't answer right, dad's going to pack your stuff up and throw it outside as soon as midnight hits on your birthday. They are sick of dealing with you and your crap. Hell, so am I. The only reason I'm warning you is because, unlike them, I still believe my twin brother exists somewhere deep inside you. We need that Werner to show up, and soon. If not, well you'd better make plans to stay with one of your gang members."

And with that, Werner mentally said fuck it. He got out of the car, grabbed his bag, and walked off. He had nothing due that day, and already knew that no one would miss him if he skipped. He knew that his parents were pissed, but seriously? He pulled out his crappy MP3 player, stuffed the old ear buds in his ears, and turned it up.

The words were loud enough that the world around him could probably hear them, but all he cared about was that he couldn't think when it was that loud. Or at least, it muffled his thoughts enough that he could just not think for a while. He scrubbed his dark green eyes with his fist once he was far enough away.

He was so tired of his brother ruining his acts. He mentally calculated how much trouble he would be in for skipping. It should be fine, he had only missed one day, but he would end up with detention for a day, maybe two, depending on how bad of a mood Mr. Greensmith, the principle of Little Haven Academy, a private school that he should have been kicked out of years ago, but since his mother was in city hall, there was no way they would. The publicity would suck.

He turned his music up even higher and tried to drown out his thoughts with it. It wasn't working. He was too wired to relax. He needed to get rid of some energy first. He shrugged off his jacket, and took off his uniform shirt, crumbling and stuffing them both in his bag. He was getting weird looks from those around him, few of whom recognized him as the son of Judge Abigail Whiston, who was running for some new position, DA or something like that. Their father, who stayed "home" mostly nowadays, working in the school's council of all places, and sold his Mechanic shop years ago, was known as her greatest supporter. In public.

At home, well that was a different story. His father was never home, even if that's what the rest of the city thought. Jonathan Whiston enjoyed "Volunteer work". Any and every natural disaster that happened, anywhere in the world, he was there. The funny part was that while there were pictures of him helping, the man actually didn't do more than drink foreign alcohol and yell at people to get back to work.

When he was home, he went to every single publicity event that he could drag Judge Whiston to, signed as little of his paperwork as possible, and lorded his position over him. They would sometimes bring Darius with them to play perfect little family. He would see them sometimes on TV, or a magazine while he's at the library. He hardly ever knew when they were going out. Of course, the next day, Darius would complain most of the way to school.

He blinked away his thoughts, and barely missed running into some old guy.

"Watch where you're going!" He yelled, waving his cane and almost whacking Werner with it.

"Children these days." Was muttered. He shouldn't have heard it over the music, but he did.

To his surprise, he ended up near the school anyway. He glanced around, making sure no one was near, before snorting quietly to himself, and turning off his MP3. He shoved it in his pocket, and started pulling out his uniform top again, buttoning it up and putting the blazer on top. He glanced at the clock tower on the outskirts of the campus. Huh, he still had about ten minutes before it was time for class to start. He opened the front door, and ignored the way everyone was staring at him. It had taken a while, but he was now used to the looks. He had grown up in the public eye after all. Werner was used to the looks, or at least, the usual hostile looks.

Today, they seemed to be looks of pity. Which meant that Darius hadn't kept his mouth shut. Again.


He wanted to duck his head, blush, and basically hide away. Not that he would. He carefully adjusted his stance from in a hurry to relaxed. It was easy enough to straighten his posture, and stretch his arms over his head.

No one was speaking to him today, which was fine, he didn't expect anyone to. Casually, he ran his hand through his hair, and adjusted his bag over his shoulder. Like most of the students, he didn't have an actual backpack, but more of a shoulder bag. Of course, Darius, nerd that he was, could actually get away with having a backpack and not be teased for it.

He mentally wondered if he would be able to get away with it if he actually tried, before shoving the thought away. It didn't matter. He needed to focus on his patterns that he had created, and hope that everyone played their parts. He knew they would. He had grown up with the same class. A few came, and a few left, but most of them had been together since kindergarten. Then again, most of them had been together long before that, going to the same nursery as two years olds. At the moment, there were fifty-seven seniors in his graduating class, and forty eight of them were from the same preschool as he was.

If that wasn't sad, he didn't know what was.

Every single one of his classmates had one thing in common, a single trait that even he couldn't suppress sometimes. They all loved to gossip. Growing up together made them more prone to loving it. If someone was dating outside the school, they were looked down on, but that didn't mean the rest of the class didn't know everything about the person. It was also funny how none of the classes communicated. The gossip that the seniors knew wasn't the things that the juniors, sophomores, or freshmen knew. They all stayed with their own grade, and the only time you ever saw grades mix was during sports, or gym classes. There were a few seniors, such as himself, that were in the junior art classes, but that was only because there weren't enough of them to have a senior one.

He moved towards his first class, completely relaxed, and lost himself in his mind, trusting himself to actually make it to his seat without any input. To his annoyance, there was already someone sitting on his desk. Good ol' Darius the Perfect strikes again.

"Hey," his twin said semi-softly, "I didn't mean to upset you this morning."

Punching someone before school, Werner reminded himself, tightening his grip on his bag, was a very bad idea.

"Of course you didn't." He snorted. Darius would never intentionally upset anyone.

How sad was it that he could hear the sarcasm dripping in the thought.

"What can I do to fix this?"

Werner wanted to say that it could never be fixed. He couldn't lower his masks, because no one would believe that he was anything more than someone destined for jail.

"You could go to your own class, Darry dear." He dismissed, lowering his bag to the ground, exactly an inch and a half from the back right leg of the chair. He raised his eyebrow at his brother, and watched as he blushed and moved away from his seat.

"We'll talk about this later, Werner." Darius told him, picking up his own bag and throwing it over his shoulder.

Werner paused for a moment. "Oh, don't bother waiting for me today."

Darius snorted. "Of course not. You know you're going to get in trouble again, right? What am I saying, of course you are."

He bit back the 'thanks for throwing my business out there again, Darius the perfect' with more than a little trouble. Why did his brother insist on always throwing out his business? Then again, why did people actually gossip about it? After all these years, it wasn't anything different, nor was it anything actually interesting. Whatever. It didn't matter, and it wasn't worth thinking about.

He reached into the front pocket of his bag, and picked two mechanical pencils, a big eraser, and a black ink pen. He put them all on the left side of his desk where he could easily reach them, before grabbing his book for the class, and then his notebook. The book was always beneath the notebook. Always.

It wasn't ever on purpose though. He never meant to do it, but he always did. Why? Because everything had a place, at all times. There was nothing that annoyed him more than needing something and not being able to find it.

The classes passed as he knew they would, slowly, but steady. Time never sped up or slowed down, he knew, even if it didn't always feel like it.

"Mr. Whiston, if you actually did your homework to an acceptable level, and don't get it out in the next five seconds, you will end up failing my class. Now take your head out of the clouds, and into the classroom, before I give you detention for the rest of the semester, and make you have to take summer school."

If there was one thing Werner hated, it was someone spewing his business in front of a lot of people. It was enough to make him have to take a deep breath to keep from punching the teacher, no substitute, lovely, in the face. There are better ways to get detention, he reminded himself, reaching in his bag and yanking out the three page assignment. Maybe, his bad side argued, but there is no way that is more fun.

He snorted to himself. Of course, because he did, everyone loved to throw his business out there. He laid the assignment on his desk, and looked up at the wanna-be teacher. He would not hand something to anyone, or take anything directly from someone's hands. It was a weird quirk that he had from the time he started school. At the man's look, he knew this was going to be one of those times where he didn't have a choice. All of his teacher knew how he felt about it, and didn't make him, possibly in respect of his mother and brother. When they were gone, they always left a note that said not to take things directly from him, or make him give things to them. He picked up the paper with a grimace, and held it out. He carefully pried his fingers off the pages as soon as they were in the hand of the other.

This was going to be one of those days then. Great.

Sometimes, when the teacher felt like being cruel, or the subs didn't know any better, they would make him, probably hoping to either screw him up even more, or make him get over it. He clenched and relaxed his grip on his black trousers, wrinkling them even more than they already were. The sub, as he was going to call him, was not worth remembering. He was an older man, with brown hair that was turning white at the tips of his forehead, and dark brown eyes.

Everything about him was normal, from the slight limp he walked with, he must have messed up his right knee, his brain told him helpfully, to the slightly hunched over figure he had. How boring, he sighed mentally.

He tried not to read the name on the blackboard, but gave up when his glance was enough to know that this man was Mr. Jameson.

As the man started telling them the assignment, he got lost in his mind again. Who was this man to threaten him with failing a class, or detention for that long? No one. In fact, he knew his grades well enough to know he had to be making around a seventy- three. Easily passing.

His day wasn't getting any better. By the time lunch came, some students decided, apparently, that teasing him was a good idea.

Words are easily ignored. Someone dumping your entire book bag over your head? Textbooks and everything? May have required slight medical attention.

He tried, really hard, to not touch the burning annoyance on his forehead. The nurse told him he was lucky. If the textbook had hit him just a little bit lower, it would have hit his eye. Now though, the skin was butterflied together on top of his left eye. He had to keep his expression neutral as well. It was driving him nuts, but any movement in the muscles caused a sharp pain. No rolling his eyes today, or raising his eyebrow.

He debated going back to class, there wasn't very much time left, and he already had both his homework assignment, and a pass to go home. On the other hand, while he only wanted to ice the swelling muscles, he knew his father was home today, thanks to a gala tonight that he and his wife were going to.

Free night. Great.

It really was great. It meant he could listen to actual music he liked, not what everyone wanted him to, work at home, on the kitchen table instead of under a light at the park, and actually get to sleep at a normal time. If all the lights were off when they got home, the others would assume he went out, and most likely not check his room where he would happily be sleeping.

His eyes lit up slightly from the thought of a normal night, but dulled again when he took in the sight in front of him. Yes, tonight, he would get to listen to whatever he wanted, act however he wanted, and pretend that he always could. Today on the other hand, he had to deal with his brother.

Darius stood just out of view. If someone asked him, he would be able to say he had no idea what was going on, and be telling the truth. His friends, on the other hand, wouldn't be so lucky. The guy who had dumped his bag over his head was in the middle of the baseball team, being shoved around.

"Darius!" He complained loudly, stopping the idiots from messing with Arthur Golding. Both his brother, and the group turned to him. They seemed frozen, and completely unsure of themselves, which was an interesting difference compared to before he spoke. His brother, on the other hand, had long since perfected the deer- in- the- lights look. Not that it actually worked on him. All he ever felt was a twinge of guilt, before the feeling faded. "Damn it, Darius! I wanted to do that."

Why did it always make his chest hurt when his brother looked at him like that? It was a mixture of disappointment, surprise, and cruel pleasure.

"You…you did?" Darius asked, surprise was dominant on his features, but both of them knew it was only there because he wanted it there.

"Yes, you big lummox! I can't now though, thank you ever so much, Darry Dear." He sarcastically told his brother, careful to keep his expression blank.

One of the idiots decided to prove that they were good for nothing outside of sports. "You don't look angry."

The smarter ones, who knew they existed?, shoved him slightly. "Shut up! You know who that is, right?"

"Darius's younger brother?" the idiot answered.

Werner couldn't help the flash of pure fury that passed over his features. There was a reason he had a reputation, even if it was mostly false. Almost all the best lies have at least a hint of truth. His truth was that he had a temper. Mostly, he was calm, but sometimes, even he couldn't control it.

"That's Werner Whiston! The one who stabbed a guy with a pencil for pissing him off until someone had to pull him off! He's the one who is an unofficial member of the Ghostly Knights! You don't piss off Werner Whiston if you want to live!" The smarter one hissed.

Alright, firstly, he did stab a guy with a pencil because he had been hurting this woman, and when he heard the bones in her wrist crack, so did his temper. No one had to pull him off, the woman called the police, and she thanked him, before letting him run off into the alleys.

Second, the Ghostly Knights were supposed to be called the Ghostly Knives, but people kept messing it up, so only those who misheard it called it that. He most certainly was not a member of a gang. He had too much to do to actually have an after school activity. Add that to the fact that he didn't believe in ghosts, and well, no. It wasn't happening.

And, thirdly, he had never killed anyone. Thus making the last statement utter crap.

"No," Werner agreed, mostly because it was good for his reputation, "You don't want to piss me off. You wouldn't like me when I am angry. Now, unless you would like to see me angry, I would suggest going back to whatever pitiful lives you lead."

"But I was just-" Werner cut his brother off with a dark glare.

"I know what you were trying to do, idiot. Next time, let me get my own damned revenge, alright? Now, if you don't mind, I've got a headache the size of Antarctica, and I just want to sleep for a few hours. Good bye, and goodnight."

Keep calm, don't turn around, Werner! Make an awesome exit. He could do that. He had somehow managed to have the entire conversation without having blood running down his face.

"You are such a coward, Werner. We both know you wouldn't have done anything to Golding, and you are too weak to actually do something anyway. Just like we both know you're going to go drink, or whatever else you do these days." And, there he is. Darius the Perfect has finally given way to Darius. The real one.

Werner paused for a moment, debating the pros and cons of responding to him. On one hand, it would be extremely satisfying, and be good for his reputation, on the other hand, he would probably be bleeding again. Eugh, sometimes he hated common sense more than he hated trying to not freak out when he saw blood. So, like a good little slave to logic, he just walked off.

"Mom and dad hope you won't come back when you leave. They told me a couple of weeks ago that they hope that they would just get the call instead of having to guess with you. You know the one, from the police saying that you're dead. Hell, some days, I hope I'm the one who answers the phone."

As it was, Darius, the real one, not the mask, was a jerk, and enjoyed trying to upset him. Not that Werner would ever tell him, or anyone else, but he was extremely good at it. But Werner was better at pretending it didn't affect him.

"I'll see you later, Darry Dear." He threw over his shoulder with a smirk in his twin's direction.

The smirk became a little more real when he heard his brother scream not to call him that. Satisfaction was clear in his eyes, he noticed as he passed the trophy case and caught his reflection. That, and the haziness he connected with trying to suppress everything else. As soon as he was gone, he let himself feel everything.

It made him feel like a girl, but honestly, as soon as he acknowledged it, the feelings suddenly weren't as suffocating as they had been. It was either a few moments of intense feelings, or weeks of snappiness. . After a few seconds, sure enough, he was indifferent again. Nothing Darius said was anything new, or was it anything worth reacting to. If he did, it would give the idiot power over him, and show that Darius was something he wasn't.

Calm was good. Calm meant you could react to things without being held back by annoying emotions. Calm meant he didn't drop his head phones like three times, and his hands weren't shaking as he turned on his MP3 player. Calm meant he didn't have to turn on his favorite symphony to try and get himself back together.

He did anyway.