From the Author: This story is the prequel to "November Rain," which you can access on my author page. This story does, however, stand completely alone. The connections are there, but either story and be perfectly understood without the other. This story takes place while Brandon was in High School and struggling with his heroin addiction.

For people who read November Rain, this story has no Audrey in it.

For everybody, I've done a lot of research for this story. I want to be honest - brutally so, even. If I get anything wrong, please leave me a note in your review. Thanks. I didn't need to do any research about Straight Edge, since I live it myself, but anybody who wants to know more about it just ask away, or look it up if you find it interesting.

"Hey, come on! Brandon! Get over here and play volleyball." A hyper blonde in her gym uniform called as she walked towards the stands. Brandon was sitting in those stands in the corner, with another kid or two.

"You know that I never dress for gym class."

The girl was distressed, she clearly wanted his to join her in the game. "C'mon, it's fun. You don't have to dress to play. Just to get a grade."

Brandon wanted to play. He really liked the girl, she seemed sweet. But he couldn't. He could never play volleyball with the class. There were certain rules. Never drink if you're going to be taking smack. Never do smack if you're going to be drinking. Never wear a t-shirt, even in the summer. Never roll up your sleeves to play a stupid game in a stupid class that you're failing anyway.

His arms were too sore and too scarred. Nobody could see them. Ever. And a volleyball hitting them didn't sound like it would be a fun thing to do.

"I don't want to play, leave me alone." He told her as she got closer to him. A little hurt and a little shock, the blonde turned around and joined in the ongoing game, ignoring Brandon suddenly.

Brandon buried his face into his knees. He was tired of this situation. He hated having something to hide all the time. He just really wished that he could lie back and take a hit. The pain of hiding made it worse. It made him need the escape so much more.

"I never meant to be like this," Brandon admitted to Harvey.

"Nobody ever does."

"But I need more," Brandon continued.

"I knew you would." Harvey smirked at Brandon's desperateness.

"Have you got any on you?" Brandon asked, scratching his head with anticipation.

"You think I'm crazy? I can get you some tonight. Relax. I know exactly what it feels like to need more... But you don't have to worry about it. 'Cause you can get it."

"How much is it this time?"

"20 bucks a hit."

"Shit, Harvey, you just keep charging more and more." Brandon started to calculate in his head how many he hits he could get for each of his paychecks.

"Hey, I need a way to pay for my habit, too. 20 bucks is the regular price. I let you in on some good deals 'cause I like you, Brandon. But those eventually run short."

"Once you get me hooked." Brandon pointed out. "The deals ran out now that you know how badly I need it."

"Like you need the air." Harvey confirmed as he clutched his hand around Brandon's shoulder. "I'm familiar with the concept."

"I'm going to a concert tonight. I need some before I go."

"Shh," Harvey warned. "Shut up. Somebody's gonna hear you. Call my cell."

Brandon held a blue grocery bag in his hand as he made his way through the crowd of concertgoers.

He sat down in the furthest back corner of the bar, where the population was thin. Brandon didn't even know what band was playing, but he had to be there. He knew not to ever take heroin alone. He didn't sit around in a group with his friend shooting up. He didn't have that many friends... and none who knew about his habit. Harvey was the only person who Brandon could ever talk openly to. And Harvey knew his shit. He told Brandon all the warning, gave him all the advice... He told him how to take heroin safely.

If there was such a thing.

Sitting back, Brandon quietly and calmly pulled everything out of his bag. He hid it from view in the darkest place he could, doing as much as he could on his lap underneath the table. Finally taking the needle to his skin, he slid his right hand under his left sleeve and didn't watch as he did it. Before he even felt any effect from the actual drug, he already felt so much. The mental assurance was amazing. He suddenly felt whole again.

As the heroin started to fill his bloodstream, he felt so good. The pain rushed out of him as he became calm. He could feel his heart slow down. He could feel his breathe slow too.

The only way to describe what he was feeling was with the word good. Nothing hurt. Absolutely nothing.

Without even realizing it, Brandon dropped the used needle on the tabletop. He couldn't even think about anything other than how amazing he felt to finally have the relief.

A girl with uneven brown hair cut just below her ears and tucked behind them wandered to the back of the concert bar. She spotted a teenager sitting at the table in the very corner alone, and started to walk towards him.

Noticing the needle on the table, she huffed and almost turned around.

But something told her not to. She already hated him. But she kept talking towards him.

Suddenly Brandon's temporary bliss was interrupted. A small pale hand with a big black X marked across it slammed down on the table in front of his face and picked up the needle.

Brandon looked up, hardly noticing the angry look on the girl's face.

She threw the needle to the floor, still angry. "I think you're in the wrong place. Take your poison somewhere else."

Brandon could understand what she was telling him. She was mad at him, and passionately so.

He started to laugh and smiled lightly. "I just feel so fucking good."

Stooping down so that she was at eye level with Brandon as he sat in his chair, she stared into his eyes. "Pin-fuckin-point pupils..." She observed. She looked down at the needle she'd thrown.

"You already took it... Horse?" She asked, that being the first assumption she made.

Not caring about anything the girl was saying, Brandon nodded. Yawning, he whispered, "Yeah... I could get you some. You could feel like I do."

Snorting, the girl folded her arms, a little offended, "You hear the band? That music? That's my drug."

Looking around, she restlessly wanted to leave, to get back to the concert. But this kid was completely alone. She stampered for a moment, almost pouting, but sat down in the seat directly across from the dark-haired teenager she'd never seen before.

"Shit, you're going to owe me one..." Folding her arms across the table she complained, "You just took it, didn't you? I'm staying with you 'til it wears off, alright?" But Brandon was almost completely in his own world. Leaning back in his seat, he yawned again and looked almost euphoric. For just a fraction of a second, the girl almost wished she was the one feeling that way.