'Lo to all out there. My first real original fiction. Have fun. Flames at forbidden_shadows . Review and I'll put up the next bit. Don't and I won't. Too sick to think of anything else to say. That's me out.

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'It's not a cry for attention. It's not. That would be juvenile and not a thing that I would do.' Gabriel thought to himself as he stared down at the shiny silver blade that he held in his hand. 'Isn't it though?' the whispering voice in the back of his head that usually seemed to be right, no matter how he tried to lie to himself. 'I think it's just an attempt to get one of the most popular guys in school to look at you.' Gabriel ignored the voice and again focused on the blade that he held just above the skin on his lower arm. Slowly he dragged the blade across the flesh, watching as blood welled up in the groove that was left. At least it was early winter, and he would have a credible excuse for wearing long sleeved shirts to school. School was the main problem in his life these days. Not the school itself or the schooling that went on in those damn walls, but the people that went to the grey building every day. 'Jamie. Not all the people, just one, and his name is Jamie. The most popular guy in school, and you have a crush on him. That would only be impossible if he was a girl, but he has the grace not to be. So now it's not only impossible, but insane and possibly dangerous to your health.' Gabriel laughed out loud at the last statement that his brain spouted out. 'Dangerous to my health? Take a good look at what I'm doing right now, and you think I'm worried about my health?' The damn voice shut up. Gabriel grinned and dug deeper with the blade, not caring that the excess blood ran down the side of his arm onto his shirt. Black showed nothing, and he had had lots of practice removing bloodstains from clothing. There was a knock at the door to his room followed by a loud *THUMP* that sounded like the protests of a drunk body hitting a carpeted floor. Gabriel ignored the three-ring circus that was most likely going on outside of his room. It happened every night; his father would get shit faced drunk and his mother would have to mop him off the floor. Every night. School was a torture chamber, but it was better than what he had to put up with at home. At school there were people who gave a shit as to what happened to him, 'except one,' the voice whispered again. 'Shut up.' he flung back savagely, and after wrapping his wounded arm, he sat back to do what he ended up doing almost every night. Gabriel Ramerio- Sanchez considered himself an artist, not a very good one, but enough to get him into the advanced art class at the high school. 'And Jamie isn't even in the damn class,' he thought while drawing a charcoal of his tormentor. As usual for any school night, he fell asleep over the drawing.

"Gabriel, you were cutting last night.'' his best friend (what ever the classification for the term was) Tristian told him. ''And how are you so sure?'' Gabriel asked her, knowing that she was right and would continue to be right every time he cut. ''You have this look in your eyes,'' she tried, ''I don't know, but it's this look that you get, like if the wrong person looks at you funny, you'll kick their ass. That kind of look.'' ''Damnit, I hate it when you're right.'' he said shrugging, thinking that she was the only one who really gave a fuck about him. ''I was...screwed last night'' he stopped at the look on her face. ''Really?'' she asked, too innocently. ''By who?'' ''Not that screwed, mentally. Damn you and your sick mind.'' she had the sickest mind of anyone that he knew. Not that he knew many people. ''But, I don't know what to do about...him.'' ''Come on, we're going to the bluff.'' she told him, knowing that the only class that he cared about was his art class. ''You need to talk. Get going.'' ''Yes, ma'am.'' There was definitely a sense of humor in both, despite the 'depressed, suicidal, druggie' label that society gave them. As they walked out to the bluff, Gabriel touched on that subject. The real conversation would wait until they made it out to the bluff. ''What, because we wear black and don't feel the need to socialize with the rest of the world, we're suicidal druggies?'' the walk out was not hard, but it was long. ''Either that, or we ditch school every day to screw each other. I mean someone's going to notice eventually.'' Tris grinned at him. They were more brother and sister than...screwmates. ''In two days, I've forgotten the view that this place offers. Remind me to come out here with my oil paints and get this view.'' "Yeah, sure.'' from past experience, Tris knew that he never needed reminding when it came to his arts. ''So, spill. You're all hung up on him, and you cut over him. That's more than I thought you would ever do.'' ''What do you mean by that? That you didn't think that I could/would ever drag up enough emotion to get worked up over somebody?'' This was the way that most of the conversations began on the bluff. The two of them never could agree on anything. ''That's not what I said and you know it. Now spill before I decide to go back. We have to find a new place during winter. It's too cold out here.'' ''I really don't know what I'm all worked up about. I know, and I'm pretty sure that I've accepted that I will never be able to have him, so I'm now wondering what would happen to him if something happened to me. If he would react, or if he would not care and get on with his life, glad... not glad exactly, but knowing and OK with the fact that I was gone, or would anyone besides you give a shit.'' he looked at Tristian, waiting for an answer knowing that the one she gave would be what he was trying to find. ''I think what you want to know is if he even knows you exist. If he knows you exist, then you have a chance of getting him to notice you. Cutting is your way right now, and if you're not careful, that might answer your question if he knows you're alive. You think that if you get hurt or something then you might find out if he knows who you are.'' She, once again, told him what he was trying to find. ''Damn, I hate it when you're right. Especially on stuff like this.'' She smiled, but it didn't reach her eyes. ''Trust me on this. I did something really stupid once along the lines of this, and that's why I moved here. To get away from all of it, and try to start over. So far, it's working, but I have my doubts on how long it's gonna last." ''What happened that made you move from Hawaii to Tennessee?'' He asked, and knew that if she didn't want to answer, she wouldn't. ''The horses. No, actually, I had a crush on this guy, he was a piano player, and so one day after school when he was going to practice or something I went over to him and asked if I could go and listen. He said yeah but he seemed quieter than he usually was and while he was practicing he stopped, pulled two letters out of his bag, handed them to me, and then pulled a gun out of his bag and shot himself in the head. The stuff in the letter was pretty bad, and I couldn't stand to be there any more, so I asked my dad, and he said I could move wherever I wanted. He had to stay, but he rented me an apartment here and I stayed and I'm trying not to dwell on what happened too much. But the horses were a plus.'' she added with a not-so-dry sense of humor. ''Wow. That must have sucked. I think it's a load of bullshit, what I'm stuck with.'' he said, ''you sure that you don't belong in one of those rubber rooms?'' ''Funny. At least I don't have to see a shrink.'' Gabriel winced. ''Ouch. Stung. That one hurt.'' Maybe the hurt will go away soon for her. Don't feel sorry, that makes it all worse. They sat in silence for a while, basking in the wintry sun that made its way through the clouds. ''Hey, Gabriel,'' she prodded him. "We've got to get back, or you're gonna miss your art class.'' "Damn."

Maybe it would have been better if we'd stayed out on the bluff. Gabriel thought as he tried not to look up at the front of the room where the new addition to the art class sat. Shit. There goes my not so secure bubble. He felt Tristian prod him in support. There were only a few students in the advanced art class, and not many joined each year, and definitely not in the middle of the semester. The teacher asked to see Jamie's portfolio of work that he had done in the intermediate art class. From his view point, Gabriel could see most of it. It was all damn good, most of it was of scenes of nature, but a few were scenes of people. One of the canvases was shredded, like by some wild animal or by the creator. "Gabriel? Dude, wake up. He's coming this way. I think Jones asked him to join this group.'' No, don't come over here. I can't handle it. Oh, damnit. What the hell do the fates have against me? Jamie swallowed against a dry mouth as the teacher directed him to the group that all the others seemed to have been avoiding. No wonder, taking a look at who sat there. Gabriel Ramerio-Sanchez and Tristian Granaliel. Now, not only was his mouth dry, but his palms were sweaty. 'Great first impression you're gonna make Sideler. That's the way to do it.' As Jamie slid onto the stool Gabriel nodded a greeting, and Tris smiled a uncertain greeting. These were the people, who at her old school accused her of killing...him, even though she had been cleared by police. "You're going to start on a scene that shows something that you would like to see happen in the future. Doesn't matter whether it's the near future or something that you want to happen 30 years from now. Something that you want to happen in the future. You can get started on it today, but those of you who need to finish your nature scene, get that into me ASAP.'' The teacher started wandering around the room, occasionally stopping to examine something more closely. "I'm Tristian. If you want you can call me Tris. This is Gabriel. He's probably spaced out thinking about the scenes that he's gonna paint.'' "I am not,'' Gabriel protested vaguely. ''Just ignore him when he's like that. He'll join the real world eventually. Until he does, you're stuck with having to talk to me.'' she grinned evilly. ''Know anything about the culturally refined entity called anime?'' That was something he could talk easily about. "Sure. Vampire Hunter D?''

A no brainer conversation. Now waiting for Gabriel to join. Come on, damnit. I didn't just ask the most popular guy in school about anime only for my benefit. "Seen X/1999?" Gabriel asked, now trusting himself to speak. "Don't think so. I'm not that great with titles. What's it about again?'' ''There's a topic that'll last for about 3 hours. Just the plot line of that movie. I gotta go grab some of my stuff that I left, and need to talk to Jones. Be back soon." Score one for the Tristian! Getting the two involved in a conversation, and getting the hell out of there. "Soo, X/1999 has this really complicated plot. There's Seven Dragons of the Earth, and Seven Dragons of the Heaven. The Dragons of the Earth are bad, and the Dragons of the Earth are good...'' Jamie listened to the voice that was describing one of his favorite movies. It wasn't that he didn't know about the movie, he just wanted a chance to listen to Gabriel talk. It was better than the cello solo that he was going to perform at the school concert. He painted while he talked, and ended up with a still that seemed to have been taken from the movie, but the Dragons of the Earth were the good guys, and the Dragons of the Heaven were the bad guys. They were intertwined around a central point: two guys that could have been Fuma and Kamui. ''Hey, guys. Finish already?'' Tris ran into the table, ''Ouch. So, like the plot for X?" she continued, dumping her stuff on the table and snagging a canvas for the next project that they had been assigned to. ''Yeah. The parts that I could follow I liked." he smiled at the not-so- quiet girl who seemed to truly give a shit about Gabriel. "Oh yeah. Forgot to tell ya that Gabriel can't tell a story for shit. But he does a damn good impression of a bass player. Unfortunately, most of what he does is jazz. Traitor, I though I had trained you better than that.'' she turned to her painting and began sketching. Not too soon, the class ended and everyone packed for home, glad to be gone. They had a three day weekend coming up, and Tristian knew for a fact that Jamie would be at the stables where she boarded her Thoroughbred/Arabian gelding. Now to find a way to get Gabriel there...