Jinx: Yet another new story, just because I was having fun. This one ought to be interesting to say the least. Enjoy.

I thought I'd give ya a new treat since I'm leaving for a week!

^ ^ ^

Danny could easily hear that someone was opening and shutting his apartment door just as softly as they could.

A robber?

Hell, no, of course not. Only one person tried to be that quiet . . . however . . . that one person was supposed to be in school.

The twenty-seven-year-old, dark haired man listened to the soft, graceful footsteps of possibly his favorite person in the entire universe. The kid was a little prodigy in just about every way, and was always looking so cute in his little gothic clothing.

The young man stepped inside of Danny's room, trying to be quiet, and slipped into the bed beside him. Well, it wasn't a bed, really; more of a mattress on the floor . . . But hey, it was better than nothing, especially to the struggling musician.

"Danny?" the youth asked quietly. Danny just grunted. "I need money."

Danny had to fight not to go stock still in anger, figuring that the little brat was trying to get down his pants for some money. But then again . . . when had Rossi ever been like that? And even if he was . . . well, could it be that bad?

"Can you help me find a job?" he asked, still so quietly. Danny had to smile in relief. There for a second, he thought the kid was going to turn out just like his . . . But he really didn't want to think about that. "There's no food at the house, and I don't have any money whatsoever to buy some. Noni was crying last night because she was so hungry, and there was nothing I could do about it. Mum's gone. I don't know where she went."

Danny cursed the stupid bitch in his mind. She was never there for Rossi, not that she had ever been. The only thing she was good at doing was selling herself for money, a job she took up not long after Rossi was born. But then she 'fell in love' with one of those men who bought her, 'settled down' with him, and had Noni. The next step, he guessed, was ditching the two kids.

Danny wrapped his arms lightly around the longhaired youth. To him, Rossi looked something like what he would call a Samurai, but maybe that was because he was totally fascinated with anime. Rossi had LONG hair, like, longer than a girl's, and he pulled it up into a high ponytail most of the time.

But unlike the beautiful Samurais, Rossi wasn't a fighter . . . and he was definitely too petite to be one of the ancient Japanese warriors.

"You're too young to get a job, Ross, you know that." Danny stroked the small child's cheek. The blond just stared back at him with sad eyes. "And even if I could find you a job, I wouldn't let you do it. Risking your life everyday isn't a good occupation. Besides, it'd be construction; too dangerous."

"Please," Rossi argued. "You know I can work hard. And I NEED the money. There's no other way around it, Danny! I can't just let Noni starve!"

"Get some sleep," Danny said sweetly. "We'll figure up something after you get some rest, okay?"

Rossi nodded, and Danny rolled over, away from the blonde, to try and get some sleep. But then he felt the tiny child lean over him and plant a firm kiss on his lips. "Thank you," the child said, before curling up on the bed, his back pressed against Danny's back.

When next the child awoke, he found himself alone in the older man's bed, thinking that maybe Danny had left, but then he heard running water. He thought it was the shower at first, but then the noise came to an abrupt halt.

A minute later, Danny stepped out of the bathroom, and into his room, clad in . . . absolutely nothing.

"What'cha gettin all red for?" Danny asked, studying his friend's facial expression. But then it hit him. "Ah, right. Forgot you swung that way." Danny grabbed a pair of gym shorts and put them on. "So," he said, approaching the bed, "like what ya see?"

"You are SO lucky I love you so much!" Rossi replied, laughing. Danny wrapped his arms around him, laughing as well. "So when's Fox comin' over?"

^ ^ ^

Rossi fell asleep again soon after Danny got dressed and went to work, saying that he was only filling in for someone and would be back in a couple of hours. He didn't really dream of anything, just slept; and it was nice. When he awoke, Fox was standing over him with the most disgusted look that Rossi had ever seen him wear.

"Wass dat look for?" Rossi asked tiredly.

Fox glared at him through deep brown eyes. "Going to turn into a whore..." he muttered, turning his back to the child and heading toward the door of Danny's 'room.'

Rossi, in confusion, looked around for whomever it was that Fox called a 'whore,' but found no one. It took him a couple of seconds to figure out that Fox was directing the curse word at him.

"WHAT?" Rossi nearly screamed in shock. "You think I-?" The boy started to laugh, and the sound was rich in amusement, and honest in its tone. "No WAY! I wouldn't do that!"

Fox, who had absentmindedly paused at the door, turned around and looked at the boy with a small smirk on his face. "I didn't think so," he said, his smirk turning into a rare, genuine smile. "You're just one of those lovey- dovey, people." The man paused, thinking. "What is it that you always tell everyone that gives you that look?"

"Lookie, no touchie!" Rossi squealed enthusiastically.

This time it was Fox's turn to laugh, and he did so in a deep voice. Rossi just grinned, not joining in the laughter. The younger of the two started to play with his waist-length blonde hair, which was pulled into a high ponytail, twirling it on his finger.

But Fox's laughter soon came to an abrupt halt, his face turning somber when he heard the apartment door open and close. "Watch it, Rossi. He'll take you as he pleases, whether or not you're up for it. I wouldn't let him so much as touch me if I were you, got it? Danny's trouble, and we all know it. I may be his band mate, but I won't hesitate to tell you he's no good."

Rossi nodded apprehensively. "I gotcha," he said straightforwardly. Inside he was slightly disappointed at the proclamation; he had always liked Danny as a person, and it sort of hurt to so much as think of him doing something like that.

Fox nodded in understanding, and went to walk out of the room, only to stop short once more. "Coming?" he asked, motioning for Rossi to get up and follow him.

When Rossi crawled out from under the worn blankets, and off of the black mattress, Fox couldn't even begin to suppress a laugh; sometimes the kid was just too crazy with the way he dressed. He was wearing fishnet socks that went up to his knees, skater shorts, and a black t-shirt. It seemed simple enough, but for someone as pretty and preppy looking as Rossi, it was just amusing.

^ ^ ^

The band consisted of only four people, thus far: Fox, the drummer, Danny, the bass player, and two others whose names Rossi did not so much as bother to ask; one of which was the lead singer, and the other played the electric guitar.

During their performance, Rossi got a tune running through his head, as a result of the particularly psychotic music, and he couldn't help thinking that it was no wonder the band made it nowhere. It wasn't that their music was bad; it was that it was fucking scary.

It sounded like ancient satanic music that was meant to rouse the dead from their graves.

"Blood lust, blood lust; I wanna see your blood run. Run, run, run away; I dare you to attempt an escape..."

Fox read the sentence above out loud to everyone in the room after tackling Rossi to the floor when he noticed him writing it. His friend was famous for his amazing writing, but never let anyone read it anymore. Since he wanted to read it and he knew that Rossi would never willingly hand over the paper he had been writing it on...a receipt from FYE, a music store...Fox tackled him and took it off of him, and then read it to everyone.

Needless to say, Rossi was seething. He screamed at Fox, who just laughed, waved goodbye to everyone, and ran for his life. He was late for work anyway...

^ ^ ^

"You stayin?" Danny asked after he saw his two other band mates off. He looked at Rossi with knowing eyes and smiled. It wasn't like the kid was going to decline his offer or something.

"I have Noni to look after...unless mum came home finally." Rossi gave Danny a suspicious look, tilting his head to one side and raising his eyebrows. That was the kid's trademark, the look, and Danny thought it was the cutest thing in the world.

"Come on," Danny said cunningly, "Jess wouldn't have left Noni by herself. If your mom wasn't home, she'd have swung by here by now, you know that." Jess was Noni's 'babysitter,' so to speak; she always watched after Noni for his mother when she used to work.

"Well, yeah...I guess so." Rossi shrugged. He knew that Jess would never just ditch Noni; the girl treated his sister like it was her own child; better, maybe. "Why not?"

Danny smiled and wrapped an arm around the minor's waist. "Tired?"

"Uh...a little, but not really."

"Don't worry, we'll find SOMETHING to keep us busy," Danny whispered artfully. He directed the child toward his room and closed the door softly behind them once they were inside. Once the door was shut, he started his assault.

The whole time his band was practicing, Danny had been forced to watch the beautiful boy, and his thoughts turned bitter because of how his band mates looked at the boy. Fox just smiled at the kid, as he always did, and when Danny saw Rossi smile back, it was torture. The other two gave him looks of curiosity as well as suspicion.

The looks made him jealous.

Danny let his large hand wander down onto Rossi's small, tight ass, giving it a hard squeeze. Rossi gasped and jumped back, as Danny expected him to, so Danny just winked and walked past him. He sat on the bed.

"What was that for?" Rossi asked, moving slowly toward the bed, already suspicious. He was remembering now quite well what it was that Fox had told him about this man.

Danny was overly surprised by the look of suspicion in the kid's eyes, and it angered him. So the little asshole tipped him off, huh? He'd see to it that Fox regretted that decision later.

"Why the look?" Danny asked curiously. "It's not like I meant anything by it, Ross. I was just being playful; you know how I am. Come on, kid."

"Maybe I should go," Rossi said coldly. Danny jumped at the hollow sound of the kid's voice. Rossi was NEVER like that, never. He had never even come close to doing anything mean, let alone being downright cold to someone.

"Fuck you!" the older male said, standing up. "Don't you fucking treat me like I'm fucking stupid, damn you! I didn't fucking mean anything by it, and you know it! I don't know why the fuck you're acting like this, but you better fucking drop the attitude or you're going to fucking regret it, you understand me?"

Rossi's eyes hardened unexpectedly, but he didn't say anything. For the first time in his life, Rossi actually fit...meaning that even the way he dressed didn't seem off. The clothes matched his personality now, as he was no longer the bubbly child, bouncing around happily, infecting the whole room with that same happiness, or at least a little of it. Now the whole room felt as if it had gone ice cold, and Danny was left glaring at Rossi, wanting to strike the child in his anger.

Cold or not, the child was not expecting what happened next. He didn't expect Danny's fist to land in his stomach the way it did, didn't expect the punch at all. Rossi fell to his knees, gasping for air, his eyes watering.

"What was that for?" he asked after he had caught his breath. He looked up at the older man, his arms still holding his stomach.

"I could ask you the same." Danny knelt down and pulled one of Rossi's arms free, putting it around his shoulder. He lifted the boy up and drug him into bed, cursing whoever it was, (probably Fox) that warned the kid to stay clear of him. Rossi had never been one for a quick fuck...well, not until tonight. Danny was sure that he would have the little brat under him tonight.

But all he did at first, to try and regain some trust from the younger child, was to lay himself on the bed next to him, on the far edge, so that they weren't close. After a while, he scooted closer, told Rossi he was cold, and wrapped his arms around the smaller child, who, upon instinct, recoiled.

Danny figured he should have seen that one coming, and so tried to coax the child softly into his arms, which barely worked. While Rossi gave in a little and let himself be held by the older male, he was still rigid in his arms. And when Danny let his hand slip in between the boy's legs, Rossi freaked out on him, jumping back out of the bed.

"What the fuck?" Rossi swore, again taking Danny by surprise. Rossi almost never swore, and when he did, it had always been done playfully, good- naturedly.

"What's wrong?" Danny asked sweetly, starting to sit up while he studied the child. "Rossi, I like you, and I want to be with you. I'm sorry if I scared you or something, but I never thought you'd flip out on me for it. I thought you'd get that I was just trying to tell you I liked you the first time I did it, but that didn't work."

"Oh, but the first time you were just playing;" Rossi said in a cold, sarcastic voice, "you didn't mean anything by it."

Danny got out of the bed, trying his best to look hurt and confused at the same time. He approached Rossi slowly, reaching an arm out to put his hand on the younger child's shoulder, but again Rossi recoiled.

"Do not touch me," he growled, taking another step back, feeling the door pressed against his spine. His hand reached behind him and rested on the doorknob, ready to turn when the opportune moment came about.

"Get out," Danny hissed.

"Get out?" he repeated.

"OUT!" Danny pushed the younger child roughly away from him.

Rossi stumbled, but, scared as he was, he darted out of the apartment, leaving everything behind, including his coat. That wasn't a good idea, needless to say, in the middle of January. Not to mention that the child in question's house was over eight miles away.

^ ^ ^

Rossi had only gotten about two blocks down the street when the cold started to get to him. His whole body ached already... He told it to stop; that he still had so much further to go, but it wouldn't listen to him. Then again, when did it ever?

He rubbed his cold arms, remembering what the weatherman had said this morning, about how it was going to hit record lows tonight, and anyone going out should take care to cover up absolutely every inch of their skin to avoid frostbite.

Stupid fucking weather...

^ ^ ^

"HEY!" he heard someone call a couple minutes later. Looking over his shoulder, he saw the dim outline of a person on the porch of a very large house, but he figured that they were not talking to him, and so, walked on.

"HEY! WAIT!" Whoever had called his name was rushing toward him, he noticed, when he again looked over his shoulder at the sound of the voice. But he still continued to walk on, actually picking up his pace to avoid having to talk to whoever the person was. Rossi wasn't much of a people person, and would go clear out of his way to avoid something as petty as conversation if he felt that he must.


Rossi spun around and seethed at being referred to by his last name, though he made it quite clear to everyone that only his friends were to call him by his first name. "WHAT?" he almost yelled, livid.

"Where are you going?" the person asked curiously. "It's like five below out here."

"Then why are you out?" Rossi asked menacingly.

"Man, you can't stay out here. You're headed home, right? You do realize that's like ten miles from here, don't you? You'll die before you make it!"

"LEAVE ME ALONE!" Rossi yelled. "I DON'T CARE!"

"Well I do! And I'm not letting you freeze to death!" the kid pleaded. "Come on. Come back to my house; you can stay tonight. We'll take you home in the morning, all right?"



"Dude, what are you yelling about?" someone else called, standing out on the porch of the large house. "Get your scrawny ass back here, you'll freeze."

"I KNOW!" the kid screamed to his friend before turning back to Rossi. "I'm not going unless I have you with me."

"Guess you won't be going." Rossi turned and started to walk away, but the kid grabbed his arm, gripping it hard, and started to pull him in the direction of the big house.

"LET GO!" Rossi screamed, trying to yank his arm free. When he failed to do that, he balled his small hand into a fist and struck his captor. He thought that that would be enough to get the message across that he was not going anywhere with the preppy little punk, but that was far from it.

The kid reached to grab him again, but Rossi got smart and dodged, only to have the kid lunge at him. Rossi just turned and ran, wondering what the hell was going through that kid's brain, and how he could possibly conceive that he was helping.

Rossi was fast, but not fast enough. Being undernourished and barely fed twice a week had its negatives; though he remained skinny, he didn't have very much energy to spare for things like running away from crazy, psychopathic people.

"Dude! What are you DOING?" his friend yelled from the porch, mouth gaping.

The kid, who was taller than Rossi (not that ANYONE was shorter than him), wrapped his arms tightly around the kid so that he couldn't get away. But it's not like that stopped Rossi from struggling.

"Stop! Moving! You! Jerk!"

"YOU'RE THE JERK!" Rossi screamed. "LET ME GO!"

Rossi felt something brush up against his shoulder and looked up to see the kid's friend. His name was Bill, if he wasn't mistaken, and he was the quarterback of the football team.

"Help me!" the kid said, panting.

"Help you what? Kidnap a poor, unsuspecting child?" Bill asked, staring at the kid as if he were crazy. Well, he wasn't alone in that thinking, Rossi thought the kid was nuts too.

But eventually, after the kid quickly explained that Rossi lived so far away and that he'd never make it home alive, and yet still refused help, the football player gave in and helped force a struggling Rossi into the large house.

"LET ME GO, YOU STUPID PREPPY KNOW-IT-ALL!" Rossi screamed, but his screams went unattended to, and the next thing he knew, he was inside of the nicest house he had ever seen. It didn't make him feel ashamed, or poor, as maybe it should have, yet made him just want to leave more than anything. He didn't trust people with a lot of money, mostly because when he thought of money he thought of drugs and drug dealers; people he really did not like. He had seen a few of them in his day, coming to his home in search of one of his mother's boyfriends, wanting his money.

In fact, as soon as the two thought they had him safely inside and let go of him, he walked right to the door and opened it, almost getting outside again, only to be grabbed and yanked back inside. The football player took up a guard in front of the door.


"Quiet down!" the kid said urgently. "My sister will rip ALL of our heads off if you don't! She's trying to sleep!"


"NO!" the kid screamed back.


"KARL!" a female screamed. Rossi had a pretty good feeling that it was the kid's sister, and that she was really going to bitch him out for waking her up. Or, rather she was going to bitch this Karl kid out because ROSSI woke her up.

In an instant, Rossi saw a pretty girl that he recognized as one of the popular people, walk down the stairs in a pair of pajama pants and a t- shirt. He thought she looked kind of cute, for a girl anyway.

"Hey, I've seen you before!" she said, her voice filled with wonder. She pointed a finger at Rossi, looking at him as if he were a famous rock star or something. "All the girls talk about you!"

Karl and his friend Bill looked quite stunned. "What?" they said together.

"Well, look how hot he is," the girl reasoned. "I mean, I know you're guys, but seriously. He's fucking gorgeous. And his hair is nicer than any girls', even mine."

"Right," Karl said dryly, staring at his sister with a look of disgust.

"You know, you should really try to be nicer," the girl said, rolling her eyes.

"I was being nice to him. I brought him here so he wouldn't freeze to death." Karl looked fidgety. "He wasn't even wearing a coat or anything, and it's so cold that he'd end up dying of hypothermia before he even got home."

"You sound heroic," Rossi said bitterly. "You fucking dragged me in here, you fag."


Rossi's mouth dropped; that was so below the belt.

"That's enough!" the girl said, grabbing Rossi's shoulder and pulling him aside. "You don't have to be such an ass about it!" She turned to Rossi. "Come on, I'll take you home."

"No," Rossi said. "I can walk." He turned to leave, but the girl caught his arm and gave him a pleading look.

"You'll freeze to death. Please?"


"Then I'm afraid I can't let you leave," the girl whispered, as if afraid he would strike her.

"See, and everyone was making me out to be the bad guy for dragging him here in the first place!" Karl looked livid. "You take care of him, Kayla, the little fucker can die for all I care."

"Whatever, Karl," Kayla said, rolling her eyes. She turned to Rossi and smiled one of those nice smiles she gave teachers and such. "You can sleep with me," she started. "And don't worry, my parents would probably just think you were a girl...no offense."

Rossi glared at Kayla, hating how everyone felt that they could just step in and control his life and what happened in it whenever they felt like it. They had no right to interfere with his life. But why would they want to in the first place, he wondered.

^ ^ ^

Kayla dragged him upstairs and practically groped him in her excitement. "Oh, you're so cute!" she said happily, jumping up and down on the floor. "I'm sooo going to dress you up for school tomorrow, and you'll be sooo incredibly cute!"

Rossi flinched, afraid, but felt helpless. He would never do anything to harm a girl; he had seen enough violence done to women by his would-be step- fathers to his mother over the years, and now he kind of felt as if he had to just comply with whatever a girl told him. He could not stand to see them hurt; it killed him inside.

Kayla went to her dresser and pulled out a pair of baby blue pajama pants, which she said matched Rossi's eyes, and then grabbed out a wife-beater tank top, saying that it was the best she could do for him at the moment.

"Go get a shower," she said softly. "It'll warm you up a bit. Your lips are still purple, you poor thing."

Rossi just stared at her.

"The bathroom's just through that door." She pointed to a door on the wall opposite of the one they were standing closest to. "And don't worry, it's my personal bathroom, so you don't have to worry about my pervert wait, I forgot. Sorry." Kayla turned red.

"Forgot what?"

"You're not a girl."

"Thanks," Rossi said dryly. He walked through the door, and looked around the large bathroom. It was big and white, decorated with pink lace stuff, not that he really cared. He just jumped in the shower thingy and got himself as clean as humanly possible. When he stepped back out he dried himself off and put his clothes on.

"Can I play with your hair?" was his welcoming message when he stepped back into Kayla's room. Figuring it'd be best to give in to her, not that he minded the attention, he let her blow-dry, straighten, and then crimp his hair.

"It looks funny," he said to his reflection when she was done.

"It looks perfect," Kayla said in a jealous voice. "I wish MINE worked so perfectly."

Rossi giggled and watched as Kayla wrapped her arms around him in a tight hug from the back. He was happy that she was ALMOST as short as he was.

"You're sooo going to be my new bestest friend!" Kayla squealed.

^ ^ ^

In the morning when Rossi walked into the kitchen, Bill the football player stopped in his ranting to Karl and just stared at the boy, who smiled softly and winked at him, while Kyle, who had been eating, dropped his spoon in his bowl of cereal.

"Isn't he GORGEOUS?" Kayla asked, beaming at her creation. She had put Rossi back into his fishnets, but had added a short, black and white plaid skirt, and a chick tee that was white with a black design of a skull and cross-bones on it. With his crimped hair, he really did look like a girl. A very, very hot girl that was worthy of even Karl's bed. But, as Karl had to repeatedly remind his dick that morning, it was a BOY in that clothing. Rossi didn't even have boobs; his chest was flat. Not a girl, not a girl, not a girl.

^ ^ ^

Fox always drank some alcohol as a pick-me-up in the morning before school. He'd lean on his car and slowly drink the stuff as he watched all the preps, who usually made some sort of a comment about him, walk by.

This particular morning, a little bubbly blond girl caught his eye. He wondered what she was doing with Kayla McPheron, the most popular girl in school; especially when she was wearing clothes like that. The duo was talking animatedly to each other as they walked toward someone in the parking lot.

It took Fox a minute to realize that they were approaching him. "Shit," he said, smiling at the hot girl, who winked at him.

"Hi, Fox."

The black-haired boy spit out his Black Velvet, nearly choking on it. "ROSSI? What the fuck! I thought you were a girl!"

"Ha, ha! That makes three!" he said to Kayla. "We're on a role today, and it isn't even first period!"

Fox frowned. It had been a while since he had seen Rossi so happy, and that was back when he was wee little, and just a piece of candy could make the kid happy all day. It wasn't that he wasn't happy for him or anything; it was just that he was afraid Kayla was using him or something.

Rossi noticed Fox's facial expression, and remembered something. "By the way, Danny kicked me out of his apartment last night at three in the morning because I wouldn't have sex with him." The boy looked thoughtful, and then made a face. "Thanks for the tip, by the way. I think the only reason I didn't get my ass raped was because he didn't expect me to be suspicious of him, and it took him by surprise."

Rossi stood on the tiptoe of his steel-toes boots and gave Fox a kiss on the cheek. "Do you HAVE to do that?"

Rossi just smiled and looked back at Kayla, who was wearing an extremely confused expression on her face. But then she smiled and grabbed Rossi's arm, leading him away. After she got about ten feet from where Fox was standing, she suddenly stopped and looked back at the man.

"Coming?" she asked sweetly. "I wanna get some breakfast, I'm kind of hungry. I was fixing Rossi up this morning, so I didn't get a chance to eat. But none of my friends eat breakfast (or any meal for that matter). You wanna sit with us?"

Fox raised an eyebrow, and was about to tell the girl that she was out of her fucking mind, and that there was no way he was going to go anywhere with a preppy bitch like her, when Rossi ran back, grabbed his wrist, and pulled him forward. Well, at the very least, he could keep watch over Rossi and make sure no one else hurt him, right?

^ ^ ^

A lot of people crowded around the lunchroom during breakfast hour; not that anyone actually ate anything. Most people did grab a snack or something every couple of days, when they were hungry or had forgotten to eat breakfast, but for the most part, people just sat around and talked.

Rossi and Fox, lead by Kayla, sat down at a random, deserted lunch table and put their books down. The boys just sat down and looked at each other, Fox giving Rossi a reproachful look, while Rossi just smiled.

"I can't believe I thought you were a girl," Fox said in mock-anger.

Out of nowhere, Rossi suddenly shot up out of his seat, his eyes going wide. "Oh no!"

Fox gave his friend a confused look and studied him. "What's 'Oh no!' about?"

"I left my books at Danny's yesterday!" he pouted. "Along with my coat and everything! I have to go get them!"

"Danny as in the same Danny you were talking about outside?" Kayla asked skeptically.

Rossi nodded, looking over at Kayla, who had a set and determined look on her face.

"You are SO not going over there, Rossi," she said sternly, as if she were his mother. "I'm not going to let you just walk out and get hurt by that asshole."

"Asshole?" Fox said, as if offended. Kayla looked shocked and went to apologize, but Fox cut her off. Turning to Rossi, he said playfully, "Man, she's never even met the prick, and she already knows all about him!"

Rossi giggled and Fox laughed. Kayla looked slightly angered, but shrugged it off and smiled. "I'm going to get some food now. Anybody want anything while I'm up there?"

The blonde haired boy immediately shook his head, feeling slightly put out that he didn't have money to buy food in the first place, and also slightly ashamed of it. But Fox pulled out some dollar bills, handed them to Kayla, and told him to get two more orders of whatever she was getting. Then he watched her walk away.

"She's not all that bad for a prep," Fox said apprehensively, turning to Rossi, who was staring at him in disbelief. "What?"

"Why did you just do that?" Rossi asked angrily. "You know I can't pay you back!"

"So what, Ross. I don't care."

"Yeah, well I do." Rossi got up and went to walk away, but Fox stood up quickly and grabbed his arm, yanking him back.

"Just sit down and eat," Fox said, annoyed. "I understand that you can't stand when people try to help you, Rossi, I've known you for long enough. But you don't need to act like that. For God's sake, how many times has that whore of a mother of yours fed you in the past month? Once?"

Rossi tried to yank away, but only ended up hurting his arm in the process. "Let go!" he said in a warning voice.

"Just sit down," Fox retorted, "and I will. Don't you dare run off, you hear me? Do you know how fucking bad you scared me yesterday when you took off during lunch hour and didn't turn up for the rest of the day? I didn't even know that you knew Danny, damn it. You could have told me where you went.

"And if you consider it such an insult to your pride that I bought you some fucking food, then think of it as pay back for what you did to me yesterday!" Fox let go and sat down.

Rossi stood for a minute, but when he saw Kayla coming back with the food, he got an unpleasant jolt of pain through his stomach, and sat down. He knew that the only way to make that pain leave was to eat.

He kind of just let himself drop into the seat, defeated. He didn't even chance a glance over at Fox when Kayla handed him some type of bakery sweet with strawberries on top of it.

"No one's allergic to strawberries, right?" she asked, receiving no answer. Suddenly she realized that there was a tense atmosphere around her table. "Guys?"

Rossi bit his lip and turned to Fox, his face showing a slight hint of fear. "Thanks," he said softly, watching Fox give him a half-smile.

"Anytime, kiddo," he responded. "And no, we're not allergic."

Kayla smiled, and that brought a memory back to Rossi. "So, what was it exactly that you were saying about Kayla when she left?" he asked curiously, seeing the color drain from Fox's face.

"Nothing," he muttered. He glanced down at his silver watch, reading the time. They still had a half-hour of breakfast left, but... "I just remembered I forgot to do some of my homework," he said tonelessly, standing up.

"You don't DO your homework, Fox," Rossi said nonchalantly. But then it hit him. "YOU LIKE HER!"

Fox went red, and Rossi started to giggle insanely. "I knew it, I knew it!" the blonde said in a singsong voice. Fox wanted to slap the little girly boy, he hadn't wanted ANYONE, not even himself, to know that he had a crush on a stupid, preppy girl.

Kayla just smiled and shook her head, patting the seat that Fox had jumped up from. "Sit," she said. "And I can't say if I like you or not, cause I don't know you, but from what Rossi told me, you're a pretty cool guy. Do you REALLY have a band?"

Fox nodded and smiled. "Yes, but you wouldn't like the music."

"Because it's fucking scary?" she asked. Both boys jumped when they heard her swear.

"Something like that." Fox looked over at Rossi, who was the only person he knew of that had ever referred to his band's music as being 'fucking scary.' "I'll take a wild guess that you're the one who told her that?"

Rossi just smiled cutely. "Yeah, right after I told her about how you stare at her ass everyday after fifth period when the three of us walk down the hall together, and right before I told her that I thought you might be in love with her or something."

"So," Fox said coolly, cracking his knuckles and giving Rossi a look that made him shiver, "do I kill you now, or later."

"You can kill him after he goes out on a date with my friend Eric," Kayla interrupted. "And not a moment before. He promised."

"Wanna make it a double date?" Rossi asked hopefully.

"Only if one of you can convince Karl not to try to kill Mike."

"Who's Mike?" Rossi asked, a weird look coming over his face. A moment later, the child's face lit up. "Oh, yeah. I haven't heard anyone refer to you by your first name in so long, Fox."

Fox laughed. "Yeah, me neither."

Rossi stood up slowly and gracefully. "Don't worry; I'll be right back." He turned and started to walk gracefully over to where Karl, Bill, and all of their jock friends sat laughing and having a good time at a table not too far from where Kayla and Fox were sitting.

Karl looked over to see the blond coming and rolled his eyes. "The fuck do you want?" he asked rudely.

"Whatever," Rossi said, taking a seat right beside Karl. "Your sister is very pretty," he said coolly, looking back over at her. Karl looked too, and his expression twisted into fury.


"A friend," Rossi said, folding his arms over his chest. "My friend, but her new boyfriend."

"WHAT?" Karl was on his feet.

"You so much as walk over there," Rossi said, not moving, "and I WILL ruin you, do you understand?"

"Ruin me anyway," Karl challenged. "I'd like to see you try." He turned and walked toward Kayla's table.

"You asked for it," Rossi said, a small smiled playing on his face. The other boys at the table turned their attention to him, staring, but not really saying anything.

^ ^ ^

When Karl got over to where Fox and Kayla were, he found Kayla laughing so hard that she was practically crying, and a couple of her friends standing by the table with disheveled looks on their faces.

"What was that all about?" Karl asked, temporarily forgetting about Fox.

"They came over here and told Kayla that if she continued to talk to trash like me, then they weren't going to be her friends anymore, but then they turned around and starting flirting with me, thus throwing Kayla into a fit of giggles," Fox explained.

"Right," Karl said unsurely. He watched as the girls turned to leave. "And what exactly are you doing hanging out with my sister?"

"Just talking about stuff," Fox said coolly, "like classes and shit. Did you know that Kirk is making us do a bio about a person you don't know or don't talk to in the class? That's gonna start some shit between people. Stupid ass."

Karl shrugged. "I doubt that's all you've been talking to her about. Rossi said something about a date."

"Yeah," Fox said, shrugging. "Kayla wants him to go out on a date with some Eric kid, and he wanted us to come along for moral support, I think. It'd be kind of like a double date, in which I get sick if those two get to close."

Karl almost smiled at the statement, but held it back. "I wanna know where you're taking her, what time you're going, when you'll be back, and you'd better not hurt her or I will fucking rip your throat out, do you understand."

"Perfectly," Fox said, smiling a little. "I used to be protective of my sister like that too, man. I know where you're coming from."

Everyone in the school new that Fox's sister had been raped and killed about two years back in an alleyway not far from their home. Fox had been a really popular kid at the school he used to go to, but after his sister died, he switched schools and stopped talking to everyone. Rossi had only attracted him because he reminded him of his sister. The way they met was actually pretty weird.

Karl nodded and turned to leave, almost running into Rossi. "Gonna take me up on that challenge?" he asked the blonde boy as he walked by.

Rossi just smiled.

^ ^ ^

Rossi Johnson wasn't a hard person to figure out, really. He was pretty cunning, but Karl was sure he knew what Johnson was going to try to pull to 'ruin him,' and just how to get the little brat back for it.

So after fifth period, when Fox and Kayla met at Rossi's locker and started to talk to each other (Kayla was going to sit with the duo), Karl came up and stood behind him.

"Need something, Karl?" Kayla asked, smiling at her brother. "You have a plot up your sleeve, don't you?"

Karl just smiled. "I need to talk to this one here," he said, pointing to Rossi. The child stood up and gave him a weird look, not expecting Karl to reach out, grab him by the shoulders and yank him forward so that their lips touched.

"I think I'm gonna be sick," Fox groaned, turning around so that he didn't have to see the scene. He watched as a whole bunch of people just stopped what they were doing and stared in disgust as well as awe at the couple in the hallway.

Rossi's eyes were wide open, and only went wider when he felt Karl's tongue on his lips. He tried to yank back, but realized that he was already pressed firmly against the locker by Karl's body. The man forced his tongue into the blonde's mouth, and then just pulled back. Just like that.

Rossi stared, his mouth open in shock.

"I win," Karl said. He turned and walked away.

"DAMN IT! YOU STUPID SONOVABITCH!" Rossi screamed after the man. "THAT'S CHEATING!"

The people in the hallway just stared at Rossi, utterly confused as to what was going on between the cute loser and the hot jock.

And thus the battle between the two commenced.

^ ^ ^

Jinx: So, what did you think? I thought it was kind of long, but I had to put the kiss in there. You always need just a little action in the first chapter, right?

I hope you like.

PREVIEW: There's a project going on that involves two people who don't so much as speak to each other getting together and finding out all they can about the other person, and then presenting their report to the class.

Go figure that Rossi ends up getting stuck with his new rival, Karl. Fox gets stuck with Bill. And Kayla with some 'slut' that has a reputation for doing anything...including girls.