AN/: I'M SO SAD THAT THIS DAY HAS FINALLY ARRIVED! But I'm also relieved and happy. This story has been in the works for at least three years now, and I'm so glad that I finally got to see its end. :D I love each and every one of you for reading, and I give out SOOOOOO much love to my friend Andrea, who was one of the only reasons this story was finished. I will never forget your help, my love!

Thank you again, and enjoy!

DISCLAIMER: I do not own any products and/or merchandise named in this story.

I ended up staying the night at the Jones' house. Mrs. Jones, who insisted I call her Tammy, was surprisingly sympathetic to me, considering I had just met her, and was the one who offered that I stay the night. Mr. Jones, a.k.a. Phillip, cheered me up with stories of his 'wild adventures' abroad. I discovered that, besides Trey, Daegal had two other siblings: twins. Abigail and Lionel Jones were six, and had the most adorable, identical cherubic faces I had ever seen. I was later told by Daegal that they were little monsters, but I couldn't believe that. Damn these children for being so cute!

After a late dinner and a few episodes of Spongebob, we retired to Daegal's room. I was dreading this, since I had managed to avoid explaining what was wrong earlier on, and I was sure that the older boy would want an explanation for me showing up at his house randomly, again, sobbing my eyes out. It only made sense, but that didn't stop me from not wanting to do it. As I timidly followed the dark haired boy into his room, he shut the door behind me and crossed his arms. The look on his face was akin to one that my dad gave me whenever I stayed out to late or didn't tell him where I went. Instead of acknowledging his stance, I meandered over to his bed and flopped on it.

"Well, it's been a long day, and I'm beat," I started, not looking at the now seething brunette. "Goodnight!" And with that, I dove under the blankets, hoping they would save me like they did when the monsters were after me as a child. I heard a muffled sigh right before my blanket fortress was torn off of me.

"Sophie..." Daegal began exasperated. "Why don't you want to tell me what's wrong?"

"Wrong? Who said anything was wrong? Nothing's wrong. I just hadn't seen you in a while and I-" His death glare shut me up instantly, causing me to turn away from the intensity in his eyes.

"Look at me," he said softly, sounding nothing like James had earlier when he gave me the same command. Despite that, I still shook my head, tears gathering. I cursed myself. Why did I have to be such a crybaby all the time? I nearly jumped when his hand touched my cheek lightly, turning my face. By this time, the tears were flowing easily down my face. I met his eyes with my watery ones and saw the emotions swirling in them. This just made me think of how I must look right now, with my puffy, red eyes, tear-stained cheeks, crinkled chin, and cried harder.

"S-stop it," I told him, the words shaky.

"Stop what?" he asked, obviously confused.

"L-looking at me like you c-care," I choked out, pushing his hand off of my face. He looked like he wanted to say something, but no words came out of him. After a few moments of silence, except for my snivelling, he sighed again.

"Why won't you tell me what happened?" he asked, almost to himself. He didn't look at me, so I wasn't sure if it was a rhetorical question or not. I decided to answer.

"Because you were right..." I mumbled, sitting on the floor when my legs decided to give out. Daegal's eyes shot to me.

"About what?"

"About...everything," I sniffed, using my sleeve to wipe away tears. They were all right, in the end. Keegan, Daegal, James himself. All had told me that it was a mistake, in their own ways, but I didn't listen. Now I was here, and I had no one to blame but myself. The silence in the room stretched on until there was a rustle of clothes beside me and a warm arm went around my shoulders, pulling me into an equally warm chest. As I sat there in Daegal's arms, I cried. I remember him guiding me into his large bed and getting me settled, and I remember how he held me until my crying stopped and I fell into the deepest sleep I'd had in a while.

School was...awkward. I had trouble paying attention in my classes and every time I even saw the back of James' head, I ran the other way. I never went anywhere without either Phoenix or Daegal beside me, except for during class, and had never felt as paranoid as I did then. It felt like every time I saw James, my heart would beat rapidly, then stop when I remembered what happened, then restart sporadically. My head was no better, telling me in one minute to forget all about him, and in the next it was praying he'd come apologize. I knew I was a wreck, and was glad that neither Daegal or Phoenix mentioned it.

On Wednesday, three days after what I now referred to as the 'incident', another incident occurred. I was leaving the school with my brunette saviour at my shoulder when he was called away by a teacher we passed to talk about his marks. Before leaving, Daegal looked at me sternly.

"Will you be okay if I go?" he asked seriously. I faked a laugh, trying to show how okay I could be.

"I'm fine Dae, just go," I told him, waving him off. After giving me one last meaningful look, he followed the teacher into his classroom. I sighed and leaned on the row of lockers behind me while I waited. While it had been nice to have him talking to me again, it annoyed me how damned protective the brunette was. I wasn't a little girl anymore, and I didn't like being treated like I was eight.

While I was wrapped in my thoughts, I failed to notice the footsteps approaching me. I did notice, however, when I was pulled into a firm chest and hugged.

"I'm so sorry," was whispered in my ear, "I don't know what came over me, Sophie,"

Eyes wide, I struggled against his hold, only escaping when he let me go. I glared up at James, trying to burn a hole in his face with my laser beam eyes. Once I realized that that wasn't going to work, I settled for stepping back from him a good few feet, crossing my arms, and furrowing my brow in anger. The boy sighed, running a hand through his hair. My eyes tracked the movement, softening. I'd watched him do the very same action so many times before, and the familiarity of it made me smile slightly. It reminded me of those National Geographic shows that proved that even in the darkest of times, something normal and beautiful can grow.

I shook my head, looking away. "Oh, well as long as you didn't know what you were doing, that makes rape okay," I returned, mocking his words to me a few days earlier. My lip was drawn back into a sneer, and I refused to be won over by any of his stupid gestures. Who cares if I thought they were cute? This guy had almost raped me.

The sadness on James' face reminded me of that of a kicked puppy. It was intense and instantaneous. I tried not to feel bad, I really did, but the gnawing feeling was brought up anyway.

"I guess I deserved that," he murmured, looking away from me, "I'll understand if you never want to see me again, but..." He fell silent for a moment, as if looking for the right words. "Dammit, Sophie, I love you," he finally got out, almost yelling it. My eyes widened. There was no way that was true. 'It's just pretty words, Sophie, don't listen to them,' I told myself sternly, trying to ignore how my heart jumped hopefully at the words.

"I know what I did was wrong, but I really wanted to show you how much I love you then," he explained, bringing up a hand to caress my face, "I'm sorry I didn't listen to you when you told me to stop, and I'm sorry that I pushed you far enough to want to stop," James took a deep breath before meeting my eyes. "I know that sorry doesn't cut it, and I know that it will take more than that to fix this, but I'm willing to do whatever it takes, because I can't lose you, Sophie,"

'Lies! He's spewing very well rehearsed lies!' My mind informed me. Too bad I wasn't listening to my mind at the moment. My heart had taken over, and I found myself leaning towards James, believing his words.

"Sophie, I'm done. Ready to g-" came Daegal's voice from the other side of the hall, sounding almost as if it was coming through a dense fog. I tried to turn my head to look, but suddenly James was kissing me, one hand on my face, the other wrapped tightly around my waist, holding me to him. I squeaked in shock and embarrassment. Despite that the majority of students had left already, we were still at school, and in public. I wasn't a very PDA friendly person. Though before I could even begin to pull away, James was forced backwards. I noticed Daegal standing by my shoulder, looking angrier than he had the time he had kissed me. I swallowed. This would not end well.

James was rubbing at his jaw, looking almost shocked. Then his shock faded, and anger moved in. Almost at once, he was on top of Daegal, punching him anywhere he could. The dark haired boy was doing his best to block the shots, but a few got through. As Daegal pushed him off of him and stood up, pulling James up with him, I got over my own shock and started yelling at the two to stop. Like typical boys in a testosterone-charged fight, they ignored me, so I decided to take matters into my own hands.

"Stop it!" I screamed one final time before pushing myself between the two scrapping boys. In an instant, my nose was on fire. I held a hand to it momentarily, then pulled it back, seeing my fingers covering in blood. I let out an embarrassingly girly squeal and squatted down, backing myself to the wall of lockers. Daegal stopped immediately once he realized what had happened and crouched down beside me.

"Sophie? Sophie, are you okay?" he asked worriedly, reaching to move my hand from my face, only to be stopped halfway by a hard hit to the back of his head. The dark-haired boy careened forward into the wall, hitting it not-so-softly. I screamed his name, tears coming to my eyes as I saw his neck twist to an awkward angle. Behind me I could hear a loud scuffle going on, but I didn't look. All that mattered was that Daegla didn't die. He couldn't die. Not now. Not after we'd gotten so close. I needed him in my life.

I softly pulled him away from the wall, supporting his head as I did so. After laying him down, I put my hand to his chest, praying for a heartbeat. A few breathless seconds later, I felt one. I laughed breathlessly in relief before pressing a soft kiss to his forehead. A teacher kneeled down beside me, fussing over my nose, but I just shook my head and told her to look after Daegal. She called over a larger male teacher who then picked my saviour up to take him to the nurses office. I was helped to my feet by the other teacher before following closely after.

I had never felt more tired in my life. After the weekend I had had, and now this, only three days later, I was beat. Daegal was moved to the hospital to check for any spinal injuries, but after a day, was released. His mother made him stay home from school the rest of the week, though, and I spent almost every hour I wasn't at that horrid place at his house. By the end of the week, his mom allowed him to leave the house, so I invited him to our band practice. I hadn't been to one it a while, what with all that was going on in my life, and felt bad for it, but the rest of the group insisted it was fine. Oli even claimed that it was better when I wasn't there because with Simon bringing my sister, he got to hit on Bel more.

As I entered the familiar room, with Daegal in tow, I smiled. It was good to be in the small, soundproof room Simon's parents had set aside for us once more. With all it's homey touches and instruments jammed in, it also doubled as a hang out spot. Everyone else was already there, practising, so I just grinned in apology, ushered the brunette to the couch my sister sat on, and skipped up to the mic. I stood silently for a moment before recognizing the song and where they were and starting in.

"Sit down, this won't take long now. With blood these lyric came. Your words they eat right through me. Dead could hear my shame!" I began, belting out the lyrics. "These tears we cry, this love has died. You're by yourself with me tonight. It's what we hide with every lie. And stitch these wounds with me tonight."

I soon lost myself in the music, forgetting about everything that had happened over the last week. Forgetting all the heartbreak and pain. This was why I had wanted to start a band in the first place. As one song turned to two, the lyrics consumed me. Why had I ever left this?

"Ohmigod, really? You got us in?" I yelled into the phone, squealing like a little girl on Christmas. "Oliver Williams, you are a king among men."

"Christ, Sophie, what's your problem?" Monique muttered as she walked by my room, "It's in the morning,"

"Monique! You'll never believe it!" I told her, throwing the phone down on my bed and rushing towards her, grabbing her hands and grinning like an idiot. "Oli got us in at Black and White!" B&W was a small club in Cavendale, only hosting a few small-time bands a year, and we were opening for one. I saw recognition slowly creep into my sister's eyes, and a smile lit up her tired face.

"Good for you guys," she told me sincerely, ruffling my hair, "When is it?"

"A week Friday,"

It had been about a month since the fiasco with James, and life was back to relative normalcy. The band practised at least twice a week, more now that we found out about the gig we had. Daegal came to every rehearsal and kept Monique company, though from what she told me, he barely took his eyes off of me. That thought made me blush. Up until all the drama in my life, I hadn't realized how much the brunette meant to me, but now I couldn't imagine life without him. I had finally admitted to myself how much I liked him, and from what Monique and Phoenix claimed, he liked me just as much, if not more. I wasn't sure, but hope filled me at the idea.

The Friday of the show finally arrived, and I was nervous. Backstage, I was bouncing around anxiously, singing quietly to myself. Eventually, Simon came over and held my shoulders down to stop me from moving.

"Chill, Phee," he told me, shaking his head, "It's just like practice. Besides, you won't be able to see anyone with the lights on you," It made sense, but I was still jumpy.

"But if I mess up, Dae-" I cut myself off, not wanting to reveal the real reason I was nervous. Daegal was here, and I was planning on surprising him with a song. We had worked on this one at the rare times he wasn't able to come listen, and I felt good about it. That didn't mean that I wasn't stressed, though.

Simon gave me a look, and I knew he had guessed what my problem was.

"You won't mess up. Daegal will love it," he said, patting my head brotherly. I pouted at the action, but shook it off as a man called to us, telling us we had five minutes. I swallowed. There was no backing out now.

As we placed ourselves on the stage, I fiddled with my costume. I was decked out in a Gothic Lolita styled dress that Bel had ordered off some website. The rest of the band was dressed in Victorian era boy's clothing. Our dear drummer refused to wear anything that ever resembled a skirt, so slacks it was.

The curtain began to open, and I took a deep breath before putting a little smirk on my lips. A few people cheered loudly, and I had a good feeling I knew who they were. The rest just clapped politely, but I promised to myself that we would win them over before the end of our performance.

"Good evening, ladies and gentlemen," I greeted, voice low and raspy as I gazed out at the audience. I struggled to recognize my friends, but as Simon said, I couldn't see anyone. "We are Nightmare Faction," Right as I finished speaking, Oli gunned out a note on bass, letting it hang in the air. "Welcome to the darkness,"

The rest of the band started into out first song, making me forget all about my nerves. We played three more songs before we fell silent, basking in the cheers of the crowd. I let them make noise for a few moments before putting the microphone to my lips again.

"For our last song," I started, hushing the room, "I'd like to dedicate it to someone who's very special to me. Daegal Jones, enjoy,"

I wasted no time looking for him in the audience, and instead fell into the song I knew like the back of my hand.

"When the lights go out, Will you take me with you? And carry all this broken bone, Through six years down in crowded rooms, And highways I call home, Is something I can't know till now, Till you picked me off the ground. With brick in hand, your lip gloss smile. Your scraped up knees and, If you stay, I would even wait all night. Or until my heart explodes. How long? Until we find our way, In the dark and out of harm. You can run away with me, Anytime you want,"

The lyrics meant a lot to me, considering what had happened recently, and I thought it was appropriate to sing to Daegal. I put all of the emotion I had left into this song, hoping he'd understand how much it meant to me; how much he meant to me. Once it ended, the applause burst out towards us and I felt my cheeks flush. I looked down, pleased that everyone liked it, but slightly disappointed. I wasn't sure what I had been expecting to happen after, and had no reason to be upset.

I then felt a hand on my cheek, turning my face. My eyes met familiar pale blue eyes, and I gasped just before Daegal pressed his lips to mine. With no hesitation, I wrapped my arms around his neck, pulling him closer. His went gently around my waist, holding me securely and lovingly as his lips moved with mine. This was completely different from when he first kissed me, and I was loving every second of it. At the first 'whoop' I heard from the crowd, I pulled away, flushing and hiding my face in his chest. The brunette chuckled and held me tightly as my friends continued to catcall. I pulled from him arms, grabbed his hand, and raced offstage before he grabbed me once more and kissed me soundly.

"Sophie," Daegal murmured as he rested his forehead against mine and stared into my eyes, "Did you mean that?"

"If I didn't, would I be kissing you right now?" I returned before attacking his mouth with mine. I felt him smile into the kiss, and that was all the answer I needed.