A/N: A few things real quick. The gemstone of the month they were born in is the aproximate color of their eyes. All Arthians have pale skin. White/Silver hair for winter months. Blonde/Gold hair for spring. Browns for summer. Red/Oranges for autumn. Hope this isn't too confusing.

Enjoy :)

I remember that day we met, Xaleren and I. It was the day that I will forever regret—the day that I made the worst decision in my entire fifteen years of life .Looking back though, there was no way to make a different one…

It was just another regular, boring day. Get up, get dressed, go to school. The usual. I had no reason to suspect that it would forever change my life.

It was January, my favorite month of the year, the month I was born in. I always felt the best during these thirty-one days. The overcast skies dropping soft snowflakes, covering the ground in their sparkling white powder…it was comforting to me.

I suppose that's how it was for everyone though. They were always the happiest during the months that they were born in. We thought that it had to do with the fact that we also exhibited certain characteristics of our seasons. I was born in the winter, so my overall body temperature was lower than average. I was cool to the touch. Too much heat made me sick. I often had to stay home during the spring and summer months.

"Asi!"

My head jerked up at the sound of my name. I saw my twin sister several feet ahead, waving her arms at me. She looked just like me, with the white hair, the dark red eyes…but she's a girl, and a lot prettier.

I sighed and picked up my pace just a little. Once I finally reached her side, she grabbed my arm and hauled me forward faster. "If you keep up that pace, we'll never get to school on time," she said, pretending that she was angry. I knew she wasn't though.

I just smiled and rolled my eyes. "You know I don't care when we get to school, Saa. In fact, maybe we should just ditch today. You know, get away from it all. I feel too good right now to be stuck inside all day long."

"I would," she huffed, still dragging me along, "if you could promise me that we wouldn't get caught. But since the teacher will contact our parents if we're not there or someone could spot us, I'm not going to risk it. I don't want a repeat of what happened last time." She sounded worried.

I sighed and gave up trying to hold her back and actually walked with her. I didn't want a repeat either. I had ditched class two months ago. My dad had found out. I was in bed for a week and a half. End of story.

When we arrived at school, we hurried quickly to class with only seconds to spare. Our teacher glared at us as we walked in. She was a summer, born in June. June's always kind of scared me…their eyes were so…cold, colorless. It was weird. And they were especially scary when they were directed at me. She automatically assumed that because I was the boy that I had made my sister late too. Not that it wasn't the truth, but when she just assumed…it bothered me.

I controlled my expression though, leaning back in my chair with my feet propped up on the desk. I purposefully smirked at her, daring her to lecture me in front of the whole class.

Instead she just cleared her throat, pulled her coats tighter around her, and started to teach. I hated that our school was so small that we had the same teacher all day long and only one lunch break.

I groaned, putting my feet on the floor and banging my head down on the desk rather loudly. I had totally forgotten to pack a lunch today. Our crappy little school didn't have a cafeteria. Our village only had a population of about six hundred people total. We were small to say the least. And that meant that unless Saa wanted to share her lunch with me, I was going without…again.

As soon as the teacher shut up and let us out for lunch, I was up and nearly to the door before a hand grabbed my arm. I turned and saw Ani, my girlfriend. I grabbed her hand and we walked around the building to the back, where there weren't as many people. Not that there were really that many people to begin with…but I still preferred to be as alone with her as possible.

I sat on one of the benches and pulled Ani onto my lap, wrapping my arms around her. She was a December, so her hair was the same color as mine, but her eyes were a bright, vibrant blue. The prettiest eyes I had ever seen.

I brushed her hair to the side, exposing the back of her neck and the pretty little blue topaz set in her skin. It was the strangest phenomenon, and our people, the Arthian, were the only ones to experience it. Along with our strange looks and connections with the seasons, we also had strange birthmarks. Instead of a patch of discolored skin, we were born with actual jewel fragments set into our skin. Ani's was on the back of her neck, mine was set in the hollow of my throat. From a distance it actually looked like I was wearing a garnet necklace.

I leaned in and kissed the stone, earning a giggle from Ani. She turned in my arms to sit sideways on my lap. She wrapped her arms around my neck and leaned her forehead against mine. We stayed like that for a while, not talking, not moving, just sitting. It was comfortable. The snow fell silently all around us.

"Asi," she said after a while.

"Hmmm?" I murmured, stroking her arm.

"What are you thinking about?" she asked, her fingers playing with my hair.

"How much of an idiot I am," I answered mostly truthfully. True, I was thinking that it was really stupid to forget to bring a lunch, and piss the teacher off, but I was also thinking about me and Ani in a few different situations that she didn't really need to know about.

"You're not an idiot," she whispered, pressing her cheek to mine, her warm breath tickling along my neck.

"Well…I forgot my lunch for the third time so far this month, which is stupid, since Saa reminds me every morning before we leave. And I'm an idiot for pissing the teacher off today. That wasn't a smart move on my part."

"Well she's a bitch," Ani said, kissing my neck. "She deserves it. I see the looks that she gives you and I don't like it. Makes me want to hit her."

I laughed softly, pulling her closer to me. "Did you know that I love you?" I asked playfully, licking the outer shell of her ear. She giggled again.

"I vaguely remember you telling me a time or two," she laughed. She pulled back slightly, tapping the tip of my nose with her finger. "But did you know that I love you?"

I kissed her briefly before quoting her words back at her. The rest of lunch passed in a similar manner. It was one of the best lunches I'd ever had, and I didn't even eat.

When school was finally out, I was intercepted by Saa before I could make it to Ani. I guess it didn't matter though, because Ani seemed in a bit of a hurry. I had to wonder why she was out the door so fast today though; normally she lingered and talked to me before she left.

I decided to just shrug it off and tried to pay attention to Saa lecturing me on how rude it was to leave my poor sister to go make out with my girlfriend. Try as I may, I just couldn't seem to pay any attention to Saa; my gaze was still locked on the door.

After a few more seconds, I put my hand over Saa's mouth to shut her up. "Come on, let's go. I wanna see something," I told her, grabbing her arm and pulling her along, much like she did to me this morning.

"What is your problem Asi? I was trying to talk to you!" she said angrily.

"I've just…I've got a bad feeling. Just give me a bit, I want to check something out," I tried to explain as I dragged her out the door and into the cold snow. I picked out Ani's footprints from the others and followed them. She didn't normally act like this. Something was wrong. Was she in trouble? I didn't know, but I wanted to see her and talk to her, to find out what was going on.

We rounded the corner, sloshing through the muddy streets and there I saw the last thing that I ever wanted to see: Ani in the arms of another man—literally. He had to be at least ten years older than us. I could tell from his fiery red hair that he was an autumn; I just didn't know which month. That didn't bother me though, what bothered me was the fact that he was kissing her…and she was kissing him back!

The only thing I wanted to do at that moment was beat them both up, and then break down and cry. But instead I opted for reigning in my emotions. I didn't want her to see just how hurt I was. Saa took in the scene and instantly realized what was going on. She squeezed my hand and whispered, "I am so sorry, Asi."

I took a deep breath, blinked my eyes a few times to make sure that no tears fell, and marched straight up to them. "Hey Ani," I called as casually as I could, which was actually surprisingly casual. "Who's your friend? I don't believe I've met him."

"Asi?!" she squeaked, utterly shocked that I had found her. I didn't understand why though, I mean, she was making out with this guy right out in the street. Not the best of hiding places.

She twisted out of his arms and approached me. I backed up and she stopped with a hurt look on her face. "Asi? Why'd you step back?"

"Why do you think?" I asked, trying to be nonchalant about it. I averted my gaze to the nearby trees, tilting my head up and blinking to keep the tears back. "I just caught you making out with some strange man after you told me today at lunch that you loved me. That isn't how you express love for someone, Ani. You don't go around behind their backs cheating on them." I said this in my best "bored" voice, trying to keep myself under control.

"Asi…I…" She took another step toward me, her hands reaching out for mine.

I stepped away from her again, turning my back on her. "I don't want to hear your lies. In fact, I never want to see or hear you again. Goodbye Ani. I really did love you. I wish you luck with your new boyfriend." Then I pulled less than gently at Saa's hand and started at a brisk walk to our house.

"Asi…" she said uncertainly as we walked along.

"I'm fine." I knew it was a lie, she knew it was a lie, and neither of us called me on it. I just shook my head, picking up the pace. We were damn near running by the time our house came into sight.

I was grateful for the slightly warmer air in the house. I wasn't exactly cold, but I wasn't exactly warm either. Just because I had a lower body temperature and got sick in the heat didn't mean that I was impervious to the cold.

As soon as I had released Saa's hand I was in my room, shutting my door. I leaned back against it, keeping everyone out. I just wanted to be alone. Why did this have to happen? Why did that bitch have to do this to me? I idly wondered if she had just been stringing me along the entire time. Had she ever even liked me?

I felt my cheeks dampen with my tears and I slowly slid to the floor. I buried my face in my hands and cried. I had really, truly loved her and this is how she repaid me?

I felt, more than heard, the soft knock on my door. I knew who it was instantly. It was Saa. She was worried and wanted in. She wanted to be here and comfort me. I'll admit that it sounded pretty nice to sit in the arms of my twin and have her stroke my hair and lie about how everything was okay, but I also didn't want to break down in front of her. Stupid I know. I was her twin and she always knew how I felt. I could never hide anything from her, but I still tried.

"Asi…let me in. Please?"

"I just wanna be alone," I mumbled brokenly.

I heard her lean her head against the door. "No you don't. And besides, it's my room too and I want in."

I sighed, getting up and shuffling over to sit on the edge of my bed. I had tried and failed to win that argument too many times to count.

She entered slowly, checking to make sure I was out of the way of the door. She didn't want to hurt me. She always freaked when I got hurt and sometimes I laughed at her for it, but then I did the same thing so I was somewhat of a hypocrite. We all have our faults.

"Want to talk about it?" she asked quietly, sitting next to me, taking my hand in hers and stroking my hair with the other.

"No, not really." I hated how my voice was so flat and unemotional. I sounded dead. I guess I had a reason to though. The girl that I loved was sneaking around behind my back, spouting loving lies to my face in my presence. I felt betrayed and lied to and used, which was everything that had happened really. The tears increased.

Saa wiped away the tears that she could catch and then wrapped her arms around my shoulders, leaning her head against mine. I always felt comforted when she did this, I felt safe. She had said she felt the same when I held her. At least I knew that someone loved me.

Someone pounded on our door then and we knew it was dad. Mom didn't knock that hard.

Without waiting for us to answer, he swung the door open. His red eyes looked more menacing than usual, his unruly brown hair sticking up all over the place. He leaned against the doorway and crossed his arms. "Well…got word from your teacher. It seems you two were on the verge of being late and then Asi was being disrespectful in class. Is this true?"

I dipped my head down, clutching Saa closer to me. "Yes," I whispered.

He slapped me. I bit my lip, trying to not cry any more than I already was. He always blamed me. Every time. This time it actually was my fault, but numerous other times it was Saa's fault. She hated school just as much as I did.

"That was for being nearly late," he growled. He slapped me again. "That was for making your sister almost late." Then he backhanded me as hard as he could with his left hand, the one with his ring on it. A small sob escaped as his hand connected with my face. That would definitely leave a bruise, not to mention the small cut that was already bleeding. "And that was for being disrespectful to your teacher. Mind your manners in the future and this won't happen again," he said, walking out the door, closing it loudly behind him.

We unfroze as soon as he was gone. My hands and Saa's hands went to my face. I was trying to ease the pain; she was trying to move my hands to see the damage. I finally gave up the battle and let her do what she wanted.

Once she was done softly poking and prodding, she looked up at me. "Don't worry, it probably feels a lot worse than it is." She kissed my other cheek and stood. "I'll go get a bandage."

After I was all bandaged up I just sat there, staring blankly at the wall. Today had really sucked. First, we're almost late to class, then I screw up and piss the teacher off, then I didn't get any lunch, then I find that the girl I loved is a lying two-timing whore, and now half my face is black and purple, courtesy of my own father. I hated days like this.

"I'm going for a walk," I announced, getting up.

Saa looked confused for a moment before standing as well. "I'll come with you."

I shook my head and gently sat her back down on the bed. "I just want to be alone. Besides, I like the snow. Don't worry about me; I'll be back before dinner."

She looked hurt at being left behind, but I really did need to be alone for a while. And dad had gotten all of his violent urges out of his system, so I knew it was safe for Saa to stay home. She jumped up and pulled me into a hug. "Fine. Be safe though, I don't want to lose you."

"I'll be fine," I said, rubbing my hands along her back soothingly. "I'll only be gone for a couple of hours."

"Don't get lost," she mocked, pulling back and smirking at me.

"I was five," I reminded her, trying not to sound mad. "I know my way around now, thank you very much."

She kissed me on the cheek. "I love you."

I returned the gesture. "I love you too." Then I turned and headed toward the door.

Once I was outside, breathing in the cold winter air, feeling the soft fluffy snowflakes on my cheeks, I felt a little better, although not much.

I continued taking deep breaths as I walked along, going no place in particular. After a while I stopped paying attention to the things and people around me so it surprised me when I ran into someone. The force of it knocked me to the muddy ground. Oh shit. My dad was going to kill me. These were my best pants and I had just ruined them on a walk that I wasn't even supposed to be going on.

I looked up at the person that I had run into. He was tall and lean, with well-developed muscles. You could see them straining to pop out of his clothes. His skin was tan, something you didn't see around here. I looked at his face. Honey-colored eyes were slightly obscured by his long black hair. Nobody in Arthi had hair and skin colors like that. He was definitely a tourist.

He held out a hand and I hesitantly took it, using it to help myself stand. Once I was on my feet he let go, smiling politely. "I apologize young man; I was not watching where I was going."

I shook my head. "No, it's my fault. Sorry."

He nodded, accepting that. He smiled at me, his eyes locked on mine. He blinked and I felt something twist in my gut. As soon as my body registered the unpleasant feeling it was gone.

"Are you alright?" the man asked in concern, reaching a hand out to touch my bruised cheek.

I jerked back from him before he could touch me. "No I'm not alright."

"Did one of your parents do this to you?" he asked. It sounded like rage was sizzling beneath his calm exterior.

"My dad," I said, looking down. "But don't worry—it's nothing, really. I've had a lot worse." I kept my eyes cast downward as panic rose within me. Why was I answering all of his questions? I never did that. Unless it was someone I was close to, you literally had to drag information out of me.

I felt him grab my hand, but strangely, I didn't pull back. I was beginning to worry myself. I never acted like this. It just wasn't me. What was wrong with me?

I looked up into those pretty honey eyes. He was looking at me with a mix of pity and sympathy. "Would you like to come with me? I would never hurt you, unlike your father. I'll protect you and keep you safe. You'll never have to worry about anyone else touching you ever again."

He tugged gently on my hand, trying to get me to come with him. I thought about how life would be if I never had to suffer at my father's hand anymore. It sounded pretty nice. I didn't want to be hurt again. I didn't want to be abused.

He tugged again, taking a step forward. I felt a strange tugging in my stomach, like it was telling me to go with him. So I took a deep breath and joined him.

Worst decision I ever made.

Thank you for reading. Please review. I would love to hear your thoughts :)