Chapter 3

Kyle rose at the familiar sound of his alarm clock buzzing annoyingly. He cracked an eye open and blinked before its twin followed. He yawned, stretching his tall frame in the almost too-short bed. 7:34. It had been a while since he'd seen those numbers. Kyle trudged towards the closet, pulling a pair of jeans and a muscle tank from the hangers. He smirked. The girls had to be beat away with sticks when he wore that particular shirt. Kyle frowned. That didn't really matter now though.

He quickly showered, hating to get under the warm spray when it was already 70 degrees or more outside. It made him feel muggy. Kyle turned this air conditioning on full throttle. It would most definitely feel wonderful after a stroll around the grounds. He wondered if Arek was awake yet. Kyle grinned. Only one way to find out.

He knocked softly on the door, just in case the other residents were sleeping (mainly Rachel whom Kyle did not want to argue with.) There was no answer but that wasn't about to deter Kyle from his mission. The door was unlocked, much to Kyle's surprise but sheer delight. A serene grin curled the corners of his lips. Arek, cradling the LOTR dvd, was slumbering more peacefully then a babe in his mother's arms. The guards that were usually on Arek's beautiful face had vanished replaced by an innocence and naivety that clenched Kyle's heart.

But just as soon Kyle stepped inside and gently shut the door, Arek's eyes snapped open; the barrier once again in place. Kyle smiled sheepishly, blushing. Arek sat up immediately, avoiding Kyle's intense gaze. Kyle started the conversation though he figured it would most likely be one- sided again. "Sorry about that. I wanted to know if you were awake and your door was unlocked so I cam inside."

"It's okay."

"Hey!" Kyle suddenly exclaimed, startling Arek who went rigid. "We should get some breakfast. I'm famished." One cue his stomach rumbled angrily. Arek laughed though it sounded more like a nervous titter. Kyle grabbed the smaller boy's hand, unprepared for the rush of emotions that quelled his entire being. The warmth was intoxicating but why? Why was he reacting that way to Arek? He put it aside in the recesses of his mind to dwell on a later date.

Arek, too, had felt the same emotions. He was frightened. He wasn't supposed to feel anything so wonderful. The hand in his...the sensation was more than he could describe; it was euphoric. It had been so long since he'd touched another human. Most, actually all, people ignored him once he didn't show interest in talking. Speaking was a problem for him; he secluded himself from everyone after his mother died and human contact was very rare. It was the main reason his father built Evergreen. Arek still lived in memories thus causing his depression and avoidant.

The rest of the children at Evergreen disregarded him. Even Silvius did after two years of chasing. Silvius scared him more than any horror story that he'd come across in the library. Arek wasn't ignorant; he knew what Silvius wanted from him and Arek was relieved that Silvius had ceased hunting him like an animal.

Arek bashfully met Kyle's warm gaze; so different from anyone else's and so like his dead mother's. Arek was able to read people by their eyes. Some were blank, like Oliver's. Some were lustful, like Silvius's. A few were terrified such as Emily and Aaron. The nurses were full of pity. They had been that way when they came into Evergreen. Yet Kyle's were abundant in kindness and honesty; nothing else permeated the brown oculates with the golden flecks. Kyle hadn't given up on him and was making an effort to try and despite all outward pretenses, Arek was aching for a friend. Even if he couldn't spill his mind and tell his daily stories, he wanted someone to lean on and care for him. Could Kyle care for him, at all? Kyle's genial face split into an amiable grin. Arek returned the smile much more denser but it was a candid attempt.

Kyle's heart raced erratically in his chest. He calmed himself before speaking again, it would be embarassing for him to stutter. "Do you need to change or anything?" Arek nodded, rummaging through his wardrobe. Kyle blinked, feeling anxious for some odd reason he couldn't decide.

Arek didn't bother with formality. If he was to be comfortable around Kyle then he'd have to get used to being nearly nude. Kyle stared, unable to wrench his vision from the boxer-clad boy. A lean body was wiry and trim, effiminate to a degree. The flesh was milky white, reminding Kyle of a Grecian statue. Arek could feel Kyle's eyes on him. He shivered. There was something erotic about having Kyle in the room with him as dressed. Kyle's eyes went insanely round as Arek's fingers wound into the cotton material, about to slide from the boxers. Kyle squeaked, spinning on his heel and staring at the door, willing his rapid pulse to slow. What the hell was wrong with him?! He didn't freeze like that around other boys!

Arek smiled to himself as he kicked the boxers to the side, shimming into khaki curduroy pants. At least he knew Kyle was feeling as awkward as him. Arek pulled the polo above his head, straightening the folds. He threw his clothes into the hamper. "...You can turn around now." Kyle's blush was prominent still, his cheeks and nose dusted with scarlet.

" ." Kyle opened the door, nearly turning back inside when Silvius passed. The green eyed boy grinned ferally.

"Well, my two favorite inmates in this entire ward." Silvius smirked at Arek who was trying to contain his terror. The lust was frightening. "Since when did you two become friends or...are you more?" Silvius sneered. Neither spoke. "Oh, I see! You're boyfriends, aren't you? Kyle came along and offered to protect you from me. How sweet." His voice suggested anything but sweet. "How do you like it Arek?" Silvius hissed, not noticing the warning flash in Kyle's eyes. "Is Kyle attentive and romantic with you? Or does he take you hard and fast like the bitch you were bor-"

"Shut up!" Kyle snapped, muscles clenching. "Get out of here before I do something you'll regret," he snarled.

Silvius was undaunted. He shrugged, studying his nails. "Fine, whatever." He threw them a smirk as he sauntered towards his room.

Kyle was still bristling. "God, the nerve of that bastard. Are you okay?" he asked as he turned to Arek. The boy was pale, paler than normal. Arek nodded, backing up into his room but Kyle took his hand. "Come on, don't let him get to you. I won't let him hurt you."

"...thank you."

"You're welcome. I'm hungry. I wonder what their serving..." Kyle said to himself as the two made their way to the cafeteria. Arek felt safe...for the first time since his mother's death.

~ ~ ~

Arek glanced suspiciously around the cafeteria, gnawing on his lower lip. The other children glanced at him in undisguised interest. He hid himself behind Kyle's taller frame, shadowing himself. It unnerved him. Silvius, sitting with a flustered Aaron and Emily, sent a sly grin at Arek and Kyle. Kyle glared, leading Arek to a set of tables. "I'm going to-"

"Dont leave me," Arek whispered, darting a wary glance in Silvius's direction. Arek did not want to be left alone with Silvius, even if the orderlies were keeping a close watch on them all. Arek hated to have these feelings of terror; it reminded him of horror story he had once read and Arek's vivid imagination had the woman replaced with himself and the serial killer replaced with Silvius.

Kyle, with Arek clinging to his side but not close enough to touch, walked towards the counters. The cook, Paula, smiled at them both charmingly. "Arek, so nice to see you." Paula always felt sorry for Arek, the boy rarely showed into the cafeteria. His meals were usually taken to him in the library.

Arek didn't respond. Kyle spoke to him in soft tones, "What do you want?" The boy shrugged, wanting Kyle to decide for him. "Um...pancakes, oranges, and milk." Arek seemed pleased with the decision, a slight smile played on his lips.

Silvius watched with envy and lust. How dare Kyle take what was rightfully his away! And how dare Arek become attached to anyone but himself! He crumpled the carton of milk in his hand, ignoring the gasp from the two siblings next to him. He wanted them both and by the gods, he was going to make them his.

Arek and Kyle retreated to a table in a far corner. "Do you ever come in here to eat?" Arek shook his head, peeling his orange. "Hn, I dont blame you. Is it because of Silvius?" Kyle raised a brow at the flit of panic on Arek's visage. This was elusive... "What has he done to you?" Kyle restrained the anger in his voice and the quelling of protectiveness.

"Nothing." Arek arranged the rind into a stack. "I don't like the way he stares at me." Kyle didn't either. There was something so endearing about the small boy that Kyle couldn't help but want to keep him safe from all the dangers that world had to offer.

Kyle decided to drop it. "You want to watch those movies this morning or tonight?"

"Whenever."

An idea suddenly formed. "How about this? I talk to Doctor Baxter and see if she'll let us go outside for a little bit on our own and then you can watch the movies because you'll be tired from walking." Kyle was pleased with his plan. He was positive he could wheedle Meredith into it; after all, he wasn't in any real danger to anyone, just to himself.

Arek pondered. He hadn't been outside in years. Even when everyone went on the daily excursions to the city, he didn't join. He preferred his books to those sorts of things. But with Kyle... Arek really didn't want to let Kyle down and Kyle seemed to be so excited about the prospect of getting outdoors. "Okay," he said simply, pouring syrup onto his pancakes.

"Great!" Kyle beamed, taking a huge drink of milk. "Do you have your air conditioning on high?" Arek nodded, daintily eating the bites of flappy- jacks. "Alright, it won't be too warm in there. You want me to bring some soda and stuff for you when we come back?"

"...you can watch them with me," Arek murmured.

Kyle was taken aback. Was Arek actually inviting him? He couldn't stop the grin that spread. "I'd like that a lot. We better hurry so we can get out there early." With that, the two settled into a quiet meal. Comfortable but silent.

Well, its updated! ^_^ This chapter is for fonduehamster. :-D Review!