A/N: Hiya everyone thanks so much for sticking with this and i am so sorry about the deley! I would really apprechiate any comments, and all of your previous comments and reviews have helped me loads, just to let you know they are all very much apprechiated!

Michael's POV

I walked onto the field, not really needing to go the dinner hall after having packed my lunch this morning, running the conversation through my head I had just finished with Addy. Does this mean that she's giving me a second chance? One to prove myself? Or is she just that pissed with me she thinks that I'll leave her alone now?

Oh god. I really hope not.

I found James, Austin and Ryan all sitting in a circle on the top of one of the two hills that make up our school field. At the top are the netball courts for P.E lessons and leading down from that is a load of playing space for football or whatever. Then it slopes and leads to another space, and then again. We sit on the top of the second hill, nearest the end of field. In the middle, not to close as to get hit by the footballers on the left of us or the cricketers on our right.

Walking up they all saw me and waved, but even from this distance I could tell something was up with Austin. He was waving with something less of his usual gusto. Pulling my black and blue bag off of my back I sat it on the ground next to him, knelt down to dig out my lunch, sat down on the grass and turned to face him. Aw crap. He knows I know something's up…he just looked away - it couldn't be plainer he didn't want to talk. Years of knowing him has told me that. Then again he never does. Behind his jokey exterior he's actually a very closed off person. He'll open up to us three, and that's it. Sometimes he'll only do it when he can't take it anymore and he snaps, the pressure mounting inside of him until he cant bear it and other times you wont even know that something's up. He's funny like that. Not funny ha ha either.

I compromised.

"Dude I wanna talk to you a min, come here" I said hopping up and pulling him to his feet. Me and James exchanged glances – he's noticed as well…looks like tonight calls for another worried phone call discussing the latest problems and how shit it is we cant actually help him. Ryan just sat there, I can see James explaining it to him now actually, Ryan nodding after finally understanding, his face now joining ours – grave as hell.

We walked a few meters away from the others and wasting no time I looked into his hazel eyes and voiced the question, which has been bugging me since I got on the field – all of what was it? Two minutes ago? "What's wrong?" Suddenly the grass became more interesting than I was to him, he just would not look at me. "Look at me mate, I know when something's wrong and the last time you got really upset I swore id never leave it until you broke down to talk to you about it again, now come on. You were fine earlier and I know that when you're not around others its harder for you to cover it up." Speaking softly and friendly, I hope, I gently touched his arm and very slowly, and as if it was hurting him somewhat to do so he raised his head and looked at me.

Finally he said very strained and very slowly. "I don't want to go home." Oh shit it's those bastards again. I might've known. His so called mum and dad aren't around much but when they are they're pissed. His dads around more than his mum – she's normally out sleeping around…put it this way they've got money enough for booze and neither of them has a 'job'. I say his dads around more often I mean like when he can't be arsed to get pissed at the pub. I know it sounds horrid of me to talk about a friend's parents like that – trouble is its all fucking true.

He was looking down again, nevertheless he slowly carried on "I don't suppose its any different from any other time I've not wanted to go home, its just that he's been away for about two weeks now and its always, worse, when he comes back. I snuck out to school through my window this morning Michael…he was pissed again and they were arguing…I didn't wanna get caught in the cross fire…" Suddenly his sadness turned to anger as he spat "I fucking hate him. I really do." He curled his fists up into little balls, turning his knuckles a ghostly white. Taking hold of him and - on the outside, I calmly gripped his arms, slowly uncurling his knuckles, looking into his deep eyes and actually telling him it was going to be okay. On the inside I was shaking, shaking with anger towards those bastards and what they're doing to my friend.

I hate them and I hate myself.

There's nothing I can do, if I hadnt've caught him at a weak point he probably wouldnt've told me anything at all. What he said next, was what shocked me most of all. All my anger at those pathetic excuses for human beings he has to put up with was instantaneously replaced with worry for my friend. "I can't take it anymore." And with that, he walked off. He actually walked off and sat down again pretending like nothing was wrong, like he really was the carefree outgoing boy that everyone else sees. I honestly don't know how he does it. What I do know though – those five words shook me with terror – what was he going to do? It wasn't a general comment, he's never said anything like that before, its like he's giving up and that fact, the whole contradiction to his character, is what scared me the most.

Dinner was awkward. And that's an understatement. Yet me and James found out long ago that when Austin wants to pretend like nothing's wrong, you should pretend too…at least on the outside you should. Otherwise he gets mad and annoyed, humour him and he appreciates not talking about that one thing no one ever wants to talk about.

As we sat back down, Jamse and me exchanged looks again, silently agreeing to talk later and silently telling the other how worried we were. Ryan on the other hand, opened his mouth, undoubtedly to ask about it all, asking to know what we knew which was what he hadn't figured out yet. After sitting down I gave a significant look to Jamse, which told him all he needed to know at that moment as to what was bothering our friend. "Not now, okay?" Jamse hinted softly Ryan understanding at last, nodded and changed the subject. "So urm…What happened between you and Addy earlier then?" He asked nodding at me.

Glad of a chance to veer Austin away from his depressive thinking for now I seized my opportunity. "I don't know honestly – its weird…like we actually ended the conversation civilly…she apologised, said that we're going in circles with all this arguing…" At that point I had to take a minute to stop and laugh at the looks on their faces, obviously they hadn't expected it just as much as I hadn't. "Yeah, we decided to just kind of leave it there and not do the whole at each other's throats thing all the time."

There were positive responses all round at this small little breakthrough, however it was the comment made by James which interested me most. Whilst Austin was telling me to 'get in there' and when Ryan was trying, and I do mean trying to wolf whistle Jamse on the other hand merely said, "well it's a start, I'm pleased for you mate."

"A start to what?" I enquired. He looked at me very exasperatedly and the looks on Austin and Ryan's faces were enough to tell me that they too, did not have a clue. "Being civil to each other is how you're going to win her over mate" he explained slowly "it's exactly why you offered her help in the first place, and it's exactly what is going to help her to see that you are infact a good person and not a prat. Gheesh." He finished with a grin on his face. He wasn't the only one with a grin on his face either.

Addy, seeing my good side - wow would I love that.