CLAIMER: I own all characters and this story. I *think* its an original plot, so I own that too ^_~ Trust me...stealing a story is easy, but you can never make it your own. Please respect the fact that I wrote this, and don't plajourize. (sp? XD heeh)

Notes: This story starts off....depressing. I won't lie, I musta been in some mood when I started. Later on, it gets better! And theres some lovely angst. I'm a highschool student. Don't expect perfection, or very frequent updates. You want frequent updates (and yaoi) go read the Brody story ^_^ I promise to get to work on this project.
-Emiko (C) 2000/01

Part 1
He sat in the corner of the coffee shop, disgusted. All around him they drank and smoked, laughing and talking. People. The air smelled of stale smoke, strong coffee and artificially sweetened pastries. He just sat, observing, eating nothing. The manager looked annoyed that he wasn't buying anything, and he ignored her pointed looks. He couldn't grasp what kept these people alive. They did some necessary things, and then did so many others he didn't understand. He, at least, had a reason to be there. He was creating, forming ideas and getting in the mood. They, on the other hand, were there for no reason at all. Oh, if he asked, they were meeting friends. The same friends they talked about whenever someone went to the bathroom. They were enjoying a coffee. But is coffee joy? a caffiene jolt, to brighten up their depressing days.
But they didn't see just how depressing it was. They depressed him. He picked up his jacket and left, smiling mockingly at the manager before walking out the door. There were people on the streets, driving cars and walking. They thought they had places to be. Didn't they know, he wondered, that the only places worth while were within? The world could be that way, he thought regretfully. If people accepted the fact that material things didn't matter. If they opened themselves to new experiences, to everything that waited within.
He had reached his apartement. It was small, and nondescript. A bedroom, a kitchen, a bathroom and a tiny living room. The kitchen held one chair and table, a semi-cold fridge, and a stove. There were counters, clean and practically barren. He kept only necessities. The living room had a couch and a TV. He watched the news, when he felt like it. He needed to see what happened in the world, to create. The bedroom had a bed, a desk and a chair. The desk had a computer and a printer, somepaper and pens. His closet held clothes, plain and boring. Clothes weren't important. Only his mind was important to him, and he was fairly sure he had a good grip on it. He knew that few could hold there minds in the fashion he did, few understood themselves. Before you can understand others, you must understand yourself. That was his theory.
He turned on the computer. It didn't have much in it. A program for writing, and nothing more. No games, no things he didn't want. He didn't want much. The internet was something he had, although he didn't use e-mail. He researched with the computer, for his writing. He was writing. All he wanted was writing, in the hopes that someone might be saved from the fate awaiting them in the coffee shop. He didn't just write for a living, he wrote for his living. For without writing, there was no life. He didn't just write. He became, he transformed, morphed. The things he typed in his small apartement came entirely from within, where they had been pre-approved.
He lived his stories, and in doing so lost faith in the real world. This he knew. He wasn't sure he'd had any faith in the first place. But he knew true emotion, he knew love and hate and sadness. He knew happiness and worry, frustration and admiration. Just not in this world. He experienced these feelings every day, but not while he sat in the coffee shop. All he felt then was pity. He walked into the bathroom to wash his hands, wanting to clean the feeling of the coffee shop away. His only mirror was in the bathroom. He was clean shaven, with dark brown hair and grey eyes. He didn't shave for the sake of his appearance. He did so because facial hair distracted him, itching him constantly and getting in his cereal at breakfast. He cut his hair, but only so it wouldn't get in his eyes. Not to mention he didn't want to be noticable. He wanted to blend in. When you were noticable, people were bound to speak to you. He was never good with people, they bothered him too much. He understood their every move, and heard their every lie. He was antisocial, and polite at best when in public places.
When people who read his work approached him, he waited to see if they truly understood before doing whatever possible to get rid of them. Unfortunately, he was sure anyone who understood would never approach him just for that reason. They would know he didn't want to be told he was inspirational, they would know he just wanted to write and be a fly on the wall. He wanted to observe without distraction or interruption. He checked his answering machine and listened to a message from his publisher. His name was Dean, and he had given up on changing him long ago. He'd always used to say,
"Lan, why don't you do a book signing? It'll be great publicity!" and Landon would smile slightly, and reply,
"I don't care about publicity." Dean was the closest thing Landon had to a friend, and knew that any suggestions made would be considered and then discarded. To change what was written was to lie, Landon thought. He never told Dean this. Dean wouldn't understand. Landon would sometimes experiment with people, manipulate them just to see how well he could judge their reaction. This was one of his pass-times when stuck on a story, to test his ability at understanding people. He wasn't sure it was fair to say he understood, when people did so many things he couldn't grasp. For example, going to the coffee shop. But he did understand, in a sense, for he knew exactly why they went there. He just didn't understand how it gave any meaning to their lives. He sat in front of his computer, typing and thinking about the coffee shop.

Landon awoke when pain lanced through his head and back. The air was knocked from his lungs, and he groaned. He must have fallen asleep and fallen backwards in his chair. After regaining his ability to breathe, he stood up. The blood rushed away from his head, and he staggered, clutching the desk for support. His vision swam, his head light, the world rocking around him. Slowly he came back to his bedroom, and sat down on the edge of his bed. 4:52 am. He walked down the hallway to the bathroom, taking a quick shower before changing his clothes. Dean told him his sleeping habits were unhealthy. Landon always answered that Dean should quit smoking cigars before he started giving advice about healthy lifestyles. Grabbing a jacket off of his kitchen chair, Landon decided to go for a walk. Interesting people were up at 5:15.
He had locked his door behind him before he saw her. She was curled up in the doorway beside his, eyes closed. Her hair was bright turquoise, obviously dyed but strangely realistic. It was cut short and gelled, with two long sections reaching her shoulders on either side of her face.She wore bright orange pants and a white long-sleeved shirt with a black-and-white checkered vest over top. Suddenly, she opened one eye. It was reddish-brown, and very big.
"Can I help you?" She asked, her voice tinged with sarcasm. Landon frowned.
"I just wondered why you were sleeping in the hall." he stated. The girl stood, brushing off the seat of her pants. She was short and slight, and looked very young.
"I locked myself out of the apartement, and the bloody landlord sleeps like a rock. I moved in last week, and I don't have a spare key." Her voice was soft, and the anger with which she said all this didn't seem to fit it. Landon shrugged and moved on down the hallway, hoping she didn't expect him to talk to her later because of this. When he returned to his apartement at 7:45, she was gone.

part 2
This isn't happening, Landon groaned inwardly. He sat in front of the computer, his hands poised over the keyboard, and could think of nothing to write. No, no! His mind was blank, no words came to him, no ideas. He walked down the dimly lit hallway to the kitchen. He was drinking coffee, just for the sake of staying awake when it happened. The sound of something heavy and glass smashing, and then delighted laughter. He frowned, for these are not two sound normally heard in succession. Then, for reasons unknown to God and man, he left his apartement and knocked on the door next to his. The girl from the hallway answered, smiling gaily.
"Hey. I just heard something break, and I wondered if you were okay." said Landon, not aware until afterward how lame it sounded. Her smile grew, reminding him of the cheshire cat.
"Oh, that was just the lamp my mother gave me. It was butt ugly, and I *accidently* dropped it when I was standing on the table." Standing on the table?! Landon nodded, trying to recover his ability to speak.
"Why didn't you just throw it out?" This was obviously the wrong thing to say, for her expression turned stony.
"Because my way is more fun."
"I," she announced haughtily,"don't want to talk to you anymore." and promptly shut the door. Landon stood, shocked, outside the door. Slowly, he turned and walked back into his apartement. He was utterly confused, and felt strangely frustrated. He was unused to this. He'd never before encountered anyone who acted as strangely as she did, and he couldn't seem to think what she might do next. He's spoken to her twice, and already he could see only that she was unpredictable and different. People could be unpredictable, of course, but after knowing them awhile you generally get used to them and eventually know them well enough to see the way they thought. Somehow, he felt that she wasn't just unpredictable. She was down-right mad. He sat at his table a few more minutes before he heard a soft knock on the door. He opened it cautiously. She stood in the hallway,hands behind her back, looking meekly up at him.
"I'm sorry." she said quietly. Landon raised his eyebrows, exasperated.
"It's okay." She grinned happily.
"Want some jello?" Landon was bewildered.
"Jello?" he asked. She nodded, bringing her hands in front. She held a glass dish with Jello cut in various shapes. This is crazy. Jello? Since when do I eat jello with people who smash things while standing on their table? Since when do even eat JELLO?
"Sure, come on in." She followed him into the apartement, looking around.
"You LIVE here?" she asked incredulously.
"Uh huh."
"Where's all your...stuff?"
"Your looking at it." he replied, watching her carefully. He'd always taken every opportunity to study people, but never someone like this. And not usually from such close proximity. Talking to people was not his best suit. She shook her head and shrugged.
"What do you do?"
"I'm a writer." Her eyes widened, and she gasped.
"Ooooh! Will you dedicate a book to me?" Landon found himself, again, thrown off balance.
"I...guess so." She set down the jello on the table, and looked at the one chair.
"Do you EVER have people over?" Landon, for the first time in a long time, felt embarrassed.
"Yeah. Not very often, I just find...I just find people rather...distracting."
'I see. My name's Kalila, so you know who to dedicate it to." She looked at him expectantly, and he caught on.
"I'm Landon." Suddenly, she turned and began looking through the kitchen drawers.
"Do you have a- oh, here it is." She turned around, a spatula in her hand. She then began looking in cupboards, and pulled out two plates.
"Sit." she instructed. He sat. Kalila handed him a plate, and and used the spatula to put two jello stars onto it. She then selected two for herself and sat on the floor beside him.
"You can have the chair-" he began to stand, and Kalila frowned.
"No. We'll BOTH sit on the floor!" Landon complied, and wondered what the hell he was doing. This could be useful, sometime, you might as well see it through. They proceeded to eat the jello,and several minutes had passed before Kalila jumped up and groaned.
"I forgot something! I'll see you tomorrow or something, kay?" Landon nodded dumbly as she turned and ran out the door, slamming it behind her. He cleaned up the kitchen, and returned to his room. He still couldn't write, so he just gave up and went to bed. But, as it always was, insomnia caught him at the worst time possible. He lay in bed, watching the numbers on his alarm clock change. It was sometime after 2:40 that he fell asleep, wondering how long it would be before he could write again.

The phone rang. Then it rang a second time. On the third, Landon picked it up, half awake still needing more sleep.
"Hello?" he mumbled.
"Hey, Lan, it's Dean." Lan covered the mouthpiece of the phone and groaned before answering,
"Oh, hi. What's up?"
"Well, as you've probably forgotten, it's your birthday in two days." Landon sighed. He hadn't forgotten, he just hadn't been thinking about it.
"What about it?"
"Some of the guys and I want to take you out to dinner. Nothing formal, we can talk about business. How's the latest book going?"
"Fine," lied Landon, " But dinner really isn't necessary." Dean chuckled wryly.
"Oh, no, you're not getting out of it. Don't tell me you have other plans, you're practically a hermit. It's a shame, really, you're so young." This time, Landon didn't even bother covering the mothpiece when he groaned. Dean lectured him about 'getting out there' and 'enjoying life' every chance he got.
"Fine, all right. Just don't start!"
"See you at 7:30 on Sunday!" said Dean jovially before hanging up. Landon climbed reluctantly out of bed, taking a shower before dressing in his usual jeans and sweater. He added a jacket to this so he could take a walk. He was hoping desperately that something in the cool air or the smells, the sounds of morning in the city would awaken the story that lay dormant. He left the building, and found the streets damp from rain the night before. It was still early, and businessmen were talking on cell phones while buying newspapers. He silently corrected himself, remembering it was unfair to refer to them as businessmen. Many women were to be seen, wearing suits and expensive jewelry, the heels on their shoes clicking as they walked hurriedly across the pavement. He considered what it would be like to live their lives. A wife and kids, a house. No, he definitely felt comfortable in his current position. He was 21, turning 22 on Sunday, and somehow not the average young adult. He didn't go to parties with his friends, or save up to buy a nice car. He didn't try to make his apartement look nice. Basically, he didn't try to impress anyone. He had published 4 books, and didn't spend the money frequently. He paid bills, bought what he needed, and hoped he didn't take too long to finish the next book. Money, he had learned at a tender age, was unpredictable. It could fall easily away from you, leaving you with nothing but debt. How had he learned this? He borrowed money from friends a lot in grade 3. Eventually, after complaints to the teacher that he wasn't paying anyone back, he was told to bring a lunch from then on. His lunch the next day consisted of 1 piece of bread with a slice of cheese. You know the cheese you buy in those square slices, that come wrapped in plastic? That kind. The next day, it was a badly bruised banana and some juice. His father had been a writer, as well, although he was only published once. He'd been immensely proud of Landon's love for literature, and always told him that he'd lost his inspiration after the first book. His wife. Landon's mother, who had died when Landon was barely 2 years old, leaving his father to raise him alone.
Lost in thought, Landon barely noticed the girl ahead of him until he hit her.
"Ow!" she growled. Landon looked up and tried not to gape. She looked relatively normal, except for her clothes. If you could call what she wore clothes. It was like a Halloween costume, only more elaborate. A Jester hat with two long points, each with a bell jingling as she readjusted it atop her head. Blond hair hung to her shoulders, and hostile blue eyes regarded him from beneath the rediculous hat. Her dress was sleeveless, and the skirt was pleated and didn't reach her knees. Around the neck were triangles of material, adding to the clownish appearance. A large diamond shape was cut out to expose her stomach, and she wore long gloves that started before her elbows. Topping it off were the boots, which went above her knees and looked very much like socks with soles.
"I'm s-sorry." he stammered, staring at her hat. The girls seemed to realize what she was wearing, as well, and turned an amusing shade of red.
"S'okay." she replied before dashing away. Landon shook his head, and suddenly a thought came to him. And another. Before he knew it, the novel was writing itself inside his head, and he was running full speed towards his apartement.