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The streets are dark aside from the occasional night club lights or street light. She's alone for now in this tiny space. It's her safe place away from her house. A house where she doesn't feel safe. Where everyone is a threat. Here she can stay curled up as long as she wants and no one will ask her questions at least until the cops find her, return her, and try to get her to confess what's been done to her. To which she says nothing. For now, though, she is calm with her legs pulled up against her chest and eyes closed. No she's not sleeping, but rather trying to stay conscious for the time being.

The booming bass, the steady pounding of the drums, strobing lights, sweaty bodies, and half-dressed girls are the reason they attend this place so often, that and the booze. The men in this group are almost always drunk. They spend more time drunk than anything else and they call themselves a band. Half the group is stuck at the table two of which are so drunk their heads are rested against the table. Two are on opposite ends of the bar sucking the face of some groupie, and another he's in the bathroom leaned over a toilet spewing his guts and squeezing his eyes shut tight. Oh yes this is their daily life because at the moment they have hardly any motivation to take their band dream seriously. Each of them with some type of past that they want away from. One of the men from the table gets up and he's surprisingly steady on his feet as he leaves. He's going to have to be the one to get them home tonight. He's the responsible one as always, never drinking too much and caring for his friends.

The night air picks up slightly tousling his dark tresses as he makes his way to where he's parked the van. From time to time the lights catch on his fair skin. One hand stays tucked in his pocket and the other runs through his hair. He watches for police, because his friends are rather incapable of staying out of trouble when intoxicated. Finally, his eyes spot the van and he sighs with relief and moves faster to get to it. Once he's inside and started it up, he moves it from its parking space and over to the club they've been in all evening.

She's not concerned about anything. Not even the fact that she's worrying her brother and driving him up a wall. Not the cold air that nips at her legs as she runs through the night drunk and laughing at the top of her lungs like a free spirit. Her eyes are bright with some type of electricity from deep in her soul. All he can do is try to keep up with her and keep her out of trouble. She's all he has left in this hell he calls life. It's why he does what he does.

It's the sirens that have her up and running now, forcing her to find another spot to hide. That signature red, white, and blue flashing in the dark. The potent wailing in the background as she tries to run down narrow passages into darker areas where no one will notice her, but her running leads her to a brighter area where doors open to loud exciting places. Places she avoids so that the things that she experiences at home are lessened. She can hear feet behind her, multiple pairs, and the sound of dogs barking. They'll find her if she isn't careful. Without a second thought she runs into the street. It's tires screeching, the feeling of her body being thrown back, and people screaming. Briefly the world stops and grows hazy before turning black.

He tried, he really tried not to hit her. But he hadn't seen her to be honest, wasn't even expecting her to run out into oncoming traffic. With a single fluid movement, he's clambering out of the van, the other members following suit.

"Shit, Mitchell, just fucking kill everyone."

Mitchell's not paying attention anymore. He's leaning over the unconscious girl freaking out.

"She alive?"

"Yeah, fortunately. Mitchie didn't run her down. She's lucky to just be unconscious."

" Aaron, you're not even over here. How would you know?"

"Oh Mitch, you worry too much. but if you must know her chest is still moving a little."

Sure enough, Aaron was right the girl's chest is still heaving as she struggles to breathe. Mitchell sighs and glances at the older male with another worried look. Their entire group could hear the sirens. They now have an even bigger problem on their hands.

"This is...this is... Going to sound shtoopid, but lesh jusss take her."

"Eijinn, we're best friends and all but will you shut your drunk ass up!"

Aaron of course knows that his overly drunk red headed friend is right about what he's said because otherwise it would look like they'd meant to hit her. And so it's no surprise that he moves quick to toss the injured girl over his shoulder and starts running. By then half the group is behind him and the van is no longer sitting in the middle of the street.

She's still running and giggling when he finally catches up to her. At the least she's enjoying herself though he's sure there are people who want her put into an asylum. A frown graces her face as he throws an arm around her.

"Ella, my darling sister, if you're not careful you'll get hurt. Let's just go home already."

The younger girl shakes her head and her smile returns. Before he can ask her what she's thinking, Ella is off and disappearing into the night, leaving him to try and catch up with her. She's a blur of motion and giggles in the night. He's thankful that he's fast enough to keep up with her. She's all he has left in this world that's cursed and poisoned. Her existence keeps him going, keeps him alive and happy. After all, she is his only sister. When she slows he looks over at her with a raised eyebrow. They've entered an area with no rules. Everywhere is dark, not a single side lamp or street light to light their way. This isn't what catches either sibling's eyes, it's the painted mural on the opposing wall. A delicate detailing of spiraling flames engulfing a city of lights.

"Mama, would have loved this. She would've come up with a great story for it too."

"We can always show it to her, Ella. When we can, Mama will come here and I promise we can show her this. She'll love it."

"You're an amazing brother, Sebastian."

"And you're an amazing sister. Now please, can we go home?"

Finally, the girl sighs and allows him to lead her back home. Although she'd much rather run through the city she knows it's also in her best interest to head home.

Mitchell's managed to somehow pick up each and every one of his friends without getting pulled over. Especially considering Aaron has brought the unconscious girl with them. She hasn't woken once since being hit and he's worried that he may have done some serious damage. In the passenger seat beside him is Alex, mumbling about how they should just dump her somewhere and be done with it. The only thing keeping him alive is the fact that Aaron is too far in the back to actually do anything. Unless one of the others is drunk enough to switch seats with him.

"Alex, I suggest you shut your mouth before Aaron does find a way up here. I can't drive and pull him off you at the same time so until I have that capability shut the hell up or you can walk home."

The blue-eyed blonde looks over at his companion eyes wide with shock. Mitchell only catches a glimpse of it before slamming on the brakes at a red light. In the back of the van swears fly from some of the others.

"I swear if I didn't know any better I'd think we let Eijinn drive. But he's back here being a pervert, so it can't be him."

"Aaron, for a drunkard you sure sober up really quick. Next time I slam on the breaks I'll make sure you smack your head on the window. Might put you out cold. Now if you don't mind I'd like to not get pulled over tonight."

"Sucks to be you then, because I'm pretty sure Bryant just stuck his tatted ass out the window for all the world to see. And I drank more than him."

A groan and a yelp later the van is slowing to a stop beside a side street and Mitchell is fishing out the cars registration as well as his license. Meanwhile Bryant hiccups an apology that no one seems to understand.

"Do you know why I pulled you over?"

"Would it have something to do with my drunk friend sticking his ass out of the window while I'm driving?"

"How many of you are in here?"

"There are seven of us. My five brothers, my sister, and myself."

Alex raises an eyebrow, but before he can speak someone smacks him upside the head.

"Jason! Leave Alex alone will you!"

"Wasn't me."

"Aaron is in the far back of the car! Who else could it have been?!"

"Aaron, who else would smack Alex in the head?"

Mitchell huffs and turns his attention back to the officer. In the back of the van Aaron smirks and leans back in his seat. Bryant followed suit, eyes cast downwards towards his feet. Jason remains silent trying to block out everything else. Eijinn is passed out and Alex is still rubbing his head. The officer shines a brief light into the van inspecting each person.

"Is everyone in here of drinking age?"

"My sister isn't, but she didn't drink anything we're just coming from a house party."

"Alright have a good evening and the next time I won't let you off with a warning. You may want to seatbelt your friend so he doesn't commit another act of public indecency. "

"Certainly officer. It won't happen again."

"You gentlemen have a good evening."

"You too Officer."

The officer leaves and Mitchell waits for him to drive off before pulling back into traffic. He's well aware of the others sniggering in the back of the van. He ignores them and shakes his head. He has to get them home so that he can make sure the girl he hit is okay. Nothing bothers his conscious more than knowing he might have accidently ended someone's life or caused permanent severe damage. His heart rages against his rib cage as he drives as fast as he can back to their house. Although, he still manages to follow traffic laws and Bryant keeps his rear stuck in the car. The drive remains miraculously peaceful as the others pass out drunk in the back and Alex in the passenger seat. He's thankful that he's almost on their street when he stops at another red light. Finally, he pulls onto their street and a few houses down the road he's pulling into their driveway.

Alex is the first he wakes up after climbing out. Gently tugging the blonde male by his arm. In the back he taps Jason's leg to get him to wake up. Jason leans to one side and slaps Bryant on the back of the head before clambering out, his black tresses casting a shadow over his grey eyes. Bryant turns one dark blue eye on him before turning and shaking Aaron and Eijinn in the far back. Aaron's head snaps up, green eyes dark and brooding. It takes him a moment before he turns to Eijinn, kicks his leg, and then picks up the young girl. As he climbs out Eijinn finally gets up, copper eyes half lidded and sleep filled. Once Mitchell is sure that everyone is out of the vehicle he closes and locks all the doors.

Alex is the first to stumble into the house having unlocked the door himself. Behind him is Jason and Bryant, followed by Eijinn, Mitchell, and Aaron carrying the girl. Mitchell quickly ushers Aaron into the downstairs guest room. The only room left in the house. The room is simplistic with a queen sized bed set up center against one wall, double windows on another, a full bathroom across from where the bed sits, lavender bedding, deep purple tiles across the floor, and pastel purple on the walls. The consequence of letting Alex pick the color for the room. Aaron wastes no time in placing her in the bed and then following Mitchell out and into the living room. Everyone is sprawled out somewhere, most being on the floor.

“For now we wait for her to wake up. There’s not much we can do. She should only be out for a little but, there’s no telling. I’m certain I didn’t hit her that hard, but she looks underweight and deathly sick. If she doesn’t wake up in a couple of hours, we take her to the hospital.”

“This means someone has to continually check in on her.”

“Well, yeah, and since you’re all going to be spewing sooner or later we can take turns.”

Everyone groans at Mitchell’s proposal, but as he said half of them get up and run up to the bathroom. He shakes his head and sits on the couch, tossing his head back against it and letting sleep take him for a while. Tonight is going to be the longest night of his life. At this rate he’s not sure this ideal they have is the best one for the way they live. He clenches his eyes shut as the sounds of gagging fill the house, tearing apart his thoughts. He’s surprised that she doesn’t wake to these sounds. Himself, he would not be able to sleep through this even if he’d been hit by a moving vehicle.

Ella and Sebastian make their way quietly through the alleyway leading to their house. Theirs is the only one on this street. It’s decorated with various solar powered lights in various colors and sizes. The porch light to their not so humble abode is on and they can see the silhouette of their father as he waits for their arrival. She sprints ahead of her brother, up the steps of the porch, and into her father’s arms. Sebastian takes his time approaching the house knowing full well that his father will be harsh with him for having Ella out so late. He waits for Ella to go inside before stepping onto the porch. Their father doesn’t look angry, but then again he’s never been able to tell.

“Do I even want to know what the two of you got up to?”

“She really didn’t get into any trouble. Just ran around town, despite the cold weather.”

The man sighs and shakes his head. He’s used to this behavior by now and at this point no longer has anything to say about the way they behave. He knows for certain that his daughter has a tendency to run around in the cold winter weather in short clothes. It’s a wonder she hasn’t gotten sick yet. The only thing he’s sure of is his son’s ability to keep an eye on her. Although him and Sebastian have never really seen eye to eye, since the boy was but four years old. At that point his father had left his mother and he’d come into the boy’s life. It didn’t help that he was the reason his father abandoned them. If she hadn’t gotten pregnant with Ella maybe things would be different. There’s no telling now. He loves the boy as his own, but the tension will always be there. The least he’s grateful for is the fact that he looks after Ella.

“Thank you, for looking after her.”

“I don’t need to remind you that I’m not doing it for you right. I do it for my mother and for myself.”

“When will you come to terms with what’s happened. You were four and you’re still holding onto that.”

“It’ll take a lot more than you bringing Ella and myself here. Or even bringing my mother here. My own father refuses to speak with me because he believes I helped you get with my own mother. I have not seen him since I was a child. He refuses to acknowledge my presence! I did nothing to him! I was a child! I did not tell you to knock my mother up! I did not tell you to bring us here!!!”

Sebastian has had several outbursts over the years but nothing quite like this. Nothing so real and undoubtedly true that would hurt him. No everything has been said in passing with a sugary coating on top of it. Not tonight, tonight it’s raw emotions and boiling blood. This is probably the first time he’s been so outspoken about his life at all. Taken aback he lets Sebastian storm into the house. There’s nothing he could say that would obviously make the boy feel a bit better about his situation. From inside he can hear the door slam shut to Sebastian’s room and Ella’s startled screech. He sighs, looks around and then up at the starry night sky. Something has to be done about both children by the end of the week in his mind before he can even think to bring their mother.

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Live Life

It's dark when she opens her eyes. She's also overly warm as if someone's covered her with something. Slowly she tries to sit up, but a pain she's never felt before races along her body forcing her to toss that idea aside momentarily. Instead her eyes scan the room she's in as best they can. Every inch of the room is bare, no decorations, just the furniture to make it feel less empty. Well at least she knows it's not her room, but where in the hell could she be?

"Hey! Look who's up! Well now that we know you're alive we can relax a little."

She gives the blonde male a peculiar look as he enters the room and sits at the foot of the bed. As far as she knows she doesn't know anyone who is blonde and a guy. So who the hell is he?

"I'm Alex. You took quite a hit last night. Luckily Mitchell's a safe driver. Next time you have a death wish toss yourself off a bridge into the ocean or some shit, spare the lives of others."

"Alex, shut up and get out. You're being an ass. I'm sure she wasn't expecting to be run down. Go be useful or something."

Alex scoffs, casts his blue eyes on her again, and then gets up and leaves. He slips right past her new intruder without so much as a glance at him.

"Sorry, about him. He's normally friendly. But like he said, because of you we all almost died last night. It's a rather scary ordeal. On top of that you also almost got us charged with murder. Oh, I'm Bryant. Not that it matters right now."

She only stares at him with wide eyes. Her mind races and silently she's hoping they'll keep their distance from her. Of course her hopes are dashed when four new faces force him further into the room. Bryant has always thought that describing someone's eyes as being wide as dinner plates was a bit over the top, however, the look on her terrified face is exactly how he has always pictured it and when Eijinn, his red headed friend who follows no rules, moves to sit beside her, Bryant does the one thing he can think of: trips him.

"The fuck Bry!"

"I didn't do anything. I think we should give our guest some space. After all she is just waking up."

Eijinn turns his glare on Bryant more as he rubs his throbbing nose, thankful that it's not broken. As he saw it this girl had nearly ended his life, he had a right to interrogate her, didn't he? He'd come back later when no one was throwing their feet in front of him to knock him on his face. Like everyone else he files out quietly, letting Aaron close the door behind them.

"Stay out of there. She doesn't know us and we don't know her. Last thing we need is a body."

"Aaron, you're the violent one not me."

The other male's palm connects with the back of his head in agitation. If there is anything Aaron hated about his friend it was his need to try and be humorous, in which case he was not. Then again if Aaron recalled the man had dropped out of high school.

"Seriously, stay out of there. She's terrified of us. And I doubt she'll just let one of us near her without a fight."

All eyes turn towards the quietest member of their group. He rarely talks and the fact that he's just spoken not one but three sentences astonishes them.

"Jason, shut up you talk too much."

"For the record, Jason is right. She looked freaked out at the sight of us. She may look innocent, but we don't know what she's capable of. Give her space and when she's properly recovered we can send her on her way. Anything else?"

Now they're all looking at Mitchell as if he's grown seven extra heads in the past five seconds. He merely sighs and walks off to go do whatever it is he normally does: read. Eijinn on the other hand turns his attention back to the spare room. The only obstacle in his way happens to be the drummer. He knows for certain that the whole reason Aaron was put on drums was for everyone's safety: More specifically, Alex.

"Don't even try it. Walk your ass in the opposite direction or there really will be a body to carry out of here. And it sure as hell won't be mine."

Eijinn shrugs and as he's been told walks off. Normally he's all for invading people's privacy. Thankfully, today just isn't one of those days. Especially since it meant pissing off Aaron. No today is one of those let's go lay our asses out in the living room kind of days. That's exactly what he is going to do. After he kicks Alex out for being Alex.

She stares at the closed door eyes never wavering, panic still in her chest. There isn't just one or two of them, no she's seen six of them. Six different guys who can easily overpower her. Her mind tells her she can't stay here, that she needs to get out and as far away as possible. And that's what she starts doing. With as much strength as she can muster, she climbs from the bed, forces her way to the window, and starts undoing the locks. Her fingers fumble several times and by the time she's gotten them undone the door swings open, revealing one of the men from earlier.

Mitchell looks at the her for the first time since he's run her down. Dark brown hair wild around her face making her eyes brighter and skin paler. What strikes him as odd is the fact that she's trying to climb out the window.

"I was going to ask if you were hungry or anything. You don't have to climb out the window to leave you know."

He's a little hurt that she doesn’t trust them but figures she has her reasons.

"How long have I been here? Who are you people? Why are you offering me food?"

"You've been out for a couple hours actually. It's almost 4 in the morning. I'm Mitchell. The others are Bryant, Alex, Eijinn, Aaron, and Jason. I'm offering you food, because we did hit you with our van and it's polite to offer guests things."

"Can I really leave whenever I want? No one will stop me?"

"No one is going to stop you. It's not our place to do so. At least let me get you something clean and decent to wear."

She visibly relaxes and nods. He exhales a breath he hadn't known he'd been holding and steps out of the room practically ramming into Aaron.

"I'm taking her food while you find her clothes. She's awful thin and it's terrible to see."

"That's fine."

When the door opens she flinches and tenses. Aaron isn't stupid, he knows the signs of abuse and fear, he's made people that way on occasion. He's so used to the petrified look she's giving him that he places the food on the bed where she can reach it, but remains on the other side of it.

"I know Mitchell told you who we are, and you met Bryant and Sass master Alex. I'm Aaron since Mitchie is vague on his descriptions. Remember I'm the one with the beautiful to die for green eyes and awesome tattoos. No one else. So, what's your name?"

She smiles a little at his self-description, before moving towards the bed and taking the sandwich from the plate. This makes him feel quite accomplished.

"My name's Marie Elridge."

"You sure it's Marie? You look more like an Anya. I'm just going to call you Anya. No one else can call you that."

She nods again and he smiles triumphantly. Now he just had to ask her why the hell she was out there at two in the morning running into oncoming traffic. He was also sure that he didn't want the answer to that.

"You don't have to answer me, but it'd be nice to know why the hell you were out at two in the morning running across the street like a mad woman."

"I was trying to get away from the cops."

"Well I figured that, but why?"

"It's nothing."


He isn't going to push it further; her silence was more than enough to give him the answer he was looking for. The fact that someone had put their hands on her was clear when he'd seen her dash across the street. In fact, he figures it's not really the police she's running from, but whoever is causing her physical and obvious emotional pain. With a silent nod, he sighs and runs a hand through his black hair pushing it back from his forehead. His eyes watch her as she eats waiting until she finishes to take the plate and leave her be. After he's gone Mitchell comes back in with clothes to which she gladly accepts.

"You can come sit with us if you want or if you plan on leaving one of us could take you home."

"What if I don't want to go home?"

"We can take you wherever you want to go."

She's quiet and unsure, surprised at such generosity. One thing is clear to her, she has nowhere to go, her brother is the only place, but that idea didn't turn out so well. Still she knows that staying in a place with people she doesn't know is dangerous.

"Why did you help me?"

"I nearly killed you for one and for two, everyone deserves to be treated kindly. Like you I'm trying to live life to the fullest. It's something to think about. She nods silently as Mitchell walks out. He’s the first person she’s met who hasn’t looked at her disgustingly or as if she’s a plaything. Well, besides Aaron who made it a point to not push too far into her life or why she was out. The door closes gently behind him and she turns her attention back to the bed where there’s now a set of perfectly clean clothes for her to wear. A simple pair of sweatpants and a baggy sweatshirt. It takes a moment for her eyes to spot the bathroom door. Her tiny fingers deftly lift the material up from the bed and she pads off into the restroom. She’s surprised at how simplistic the room is. An array of black and grey hues and shades fill the room. It reminds her of the emptiness that has become her mind and briefly she enters a world that no longer lets her have the control she desires. All around her are the faces of people she passes by on a daily basis. People she fears because of the threat her own flesh and blood poses. Her vision blurs and two more prominent faces take shape in her line of vision. The face of her older brother and his wicked girlfriend.

Lines like a blurred haze fill a room with no walls. They’re like open wounds with eyes. Screaming only excites them and makes them stronger. No amount of burning fire or rage could turn these foul creatures back to where they came from. The heart that beats inside her chest, now hollow and drained of whatever could be her life force. It’s both her end and beginning.

She’s screaming when he gets into the room. Her voice echoes in the room, bouncing off the walls and coursing through his veins. He’s thankful that she didn’t lock the door when she went in. the condition she’s in frightens him more. Nails digging into her own flesh, head tossed back, bruises covering her exposed skin, lacerations set in bright reds and pinks, tears on a dirt stained face, and eyes bloodshot to the point of looking painful. Panic settles in and he’s not sure what to do. He’s only ever had to care for himself before. And none of the guys ever acted this way. His hesitation keeps him in the doorway, until someone shoves him aside and swears.

“God fucking Damnit Jason! At least help me get her in the fucking tub!”

Jason blinks and then moves to quickly assist Aaron in putting the girl in the tub. He doesn’t expect to be kicked, which is exactly what happens when he goes to lift one of her legs. He swears as he crumples to the floor in agony.

“Will someone come fucking help me! Before she deafens the whole fucking house?!”

“What the actual hell is going on?”

“Bryant, you blue eyed bimbo, just fucking help me.”

A scoff later Bryant is helping lift and toss the petit girl in the tub. By now everyone is in the bathroom; all eyes on her. Jason’s moves so that he’s not within arms or legs reach of her. Eijinn and Alex stand in the doorway, Eijinn looking drunk and tired and Alex looking both tired and disgusted. Bryant is sitting on the closed toilet while Aaron tries to run hot water. And Mitchell just stares shocked from the center of the bathroom.

“Does she know how disgusting she looks?”


“What? It’s true she’s gross to look at.”

“I did not get kicked in the fucking nuts for you to joke about this shit okay. She’s obviously not in any good shape!”

“Well, maybe she should do something about that, because it’s really hurting my eyes.”

“Then, get the fuck out. You’re in my mother fucking way!”

Mitchell immediately starts ushering people out of the bathroom as Aaron works to pry the torn material from the girl’s paled skin.

“I’m going to look for a first aid kit. If not, I’m going out and getting first aid supplies.”

Aaron barely nods his head as tosses the ragged material aside. Locking the door Mitchell hurries out of the room and out into the kitchen to look for a first aid kit or something that will help take care of her wounds. Nothing turns up for him, not even a small package of Band-Aids. He frowns, not really wanting to leave the house, but knowing he has to. Just down the hall he can hear her still, although the sound is muffled. There’s no time for him to hesitate he immediately grabs his car keys and is out the door.

Everyone is in the living room, all of them but Eijinn, giving Alex dirty looks for his earlier comments. Jason’s lower region pain ignored for the time being. Alex, being who he is ignores them. Writing them off as being immature. Bryant, however, isn’t having that. He’s been here long enough to know that Alex needs to understand when to keep his mouth shut.

“I swear Grace; you get stupider every time something bad happens in this house. Do you realize that more than half this house’s problems are because you open your stupid pathetic little mouth and say unnecessary shit? That girl doesn’t even live here and all you can do is insult her for something she can’t control. You’re fucked up in the head.”

“I’m pretty sure she can control her screaming it’s damn near six in the morning and the whole neighborhood can hear her. I’m not going to jail for a stupid bitch like her.”

“For fucks sake she doesn’t even know you. And from the looks of it she’s having a panic attack or some type of unstable melt down. Those aren’t necessarily controlled by the person having them. They just happen.”

“I’m not buying that for a second. Oh and the next time you call me by my last name you stuck up piece of ass, you better be ready for me to knock all of your ugly teeth down your throat.”

Bryant’s swift and so the smaller petite boy doesn’t see the fist that comes flying at him until it’s already hit him the eye. Jason is still in too much pain to even care what happens to Alex at this point. Not that Alex doesn’t have it coming in the first place. The blue eyed blonde pisses almost everyone off at some point. Aaron being his constant. Everyone knows Aaron has a temper and most everyone knows to keep their distance and not to anger him. Yet with Alex, it’s as if he’s walking on the thin line between safety and having his spine torn out through his ass. There are no regards for who he pisses off and when he pisses them off. For this very reason Aaron is on the drums and everyone remains safe. That’s just how they survive in this house. Unless of course you’re Alex, then he has to piss everyone off before he’s satisfied with himself. Alex takes a few steps back and glares hard at Bryant with his un-swollen eye.

“The fuck was that for?”

“For being an inconsiderate piece of shit who has no fucking self-worth. You want to threaten people and talk shit on people then be ready for the ass whipping you’re going to get. If you can’t back it up, then shut the fuck up and sit in a fucking corner.”

 Aaron stares at the tiny girl trembling in the tub. She flinches every time he reaches to help her or get her to try and clean herself up. He silently prays that Mitchell hurries back with the first aid stuff. Once more he tries to assist her by pulling back her hair. She flinches only slightly, but otherwise lets him continue, brown eyes darting across his ink adorned arm. His ears catch the way her breathing settles then picks up. There’s a fear of something more and he can tell. Not only that he’s aware of the way his presence can affect those around him. This girl is no exception, despite the fact that he can tell she’s trying to do what she can. Another minute passes and instead of trying to assist her he begins to lightly drum against the edge of the tub, a habit he developed for stress, especially if he wants to keep calm. Lost in the gentle sound he doesn’t notice her rest her head against the side of the tub closest to him or Mitchell coming in with a first aid kit. Doesn’t catch sight of her small fingers tracing one of the tattoo’s on his arm. Can’t hear a thing Mitchell is saying to him not until the male snaps his fingers in his face.

“Are you okay?”

“Yeah, I’m fine, just a little distracted.”

“I’ll leave you to bandage her up. I have to go take a look at our blondes because it looks as though they got into a fight”

“Sounds like Bryant beat his ass to me.”

“Don’t encourage that. I’m downstairs if you need me.”

“Yeah, okay.”

Mitchell leaves and Aaron turns his attention to Marie. She stares up at him and something inside him tears at the thought of someone hurting her. He frowns before silently reaching for some soap and handing it to her. He moves to the closet looking for a towel that she can use when she gets out. He keeps his back to her as she bathes, making sure she knows that he means no harm to her. She finishes in a timely manner and he hands her the towel. The second she’s dry he begins to take care of her injuries.

“There, that should take care of you for the evening. Get some sleep, or at least try to. If you need anything I’m on the second floor the last room on the left. Just knock before you enter. I’d hate for you to see something that you don’t need to.”

He leaves and she’s left with the silence of the bathroom and her angry thoughts. Nothing prevents her from enjoying her life more than the demons in her head. Slowly and with shaky hands she dresses herself in the clean clothes and then steps out into the bedroom where it appears someone has managed to lock the door so that no one gets in and the room has been thoroughly checked for something. Wavering eyes scan everything before she climbs into the bed and lies down. A weak attempt at trying to sleep. The only thought running through her head: The demons get you when you’re sleeping.

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Kept Secret

She's been here for three weeks. Attends school and comes back. In the morning she makes breakfast. At night she makes dinner. However, she does not associate with any of them. They've tried various things to get her to talk about herself, but she's always as silent as a mouse. Today, Mitchell hopes he'll get a different reaction out of her. He and the others set up in the living room. Or in Eijinn's case all over the hallway floor. It's him she avoids the most and they can all see why. Although, he's not clingy or obnoxious, well not too obnoxious, he still manages to annoy the hell out of her.

"We're really just going to leave him there on the floor like that?"

Alex looks at his band mates and friends as if they've committed some kind of crime. Of course in Aaron's case he may have, there's never any telling with him.

"She's going to ignore him anyway. Always does."

Alex rolls his blue eyes at Bryant, prompting the other male to flip him off. It also prompts a dirty look from Jason, who normally wants nothing to do with anyone. Before anyone else can protest the front door opens up and in steps Marie.

"Anya's home!"

She waves at Aaron, officially used to the fact that he's changed her name to Anya against her will. Ignoring the others, she starts for the spare room she's been staying in, but of course Eijinn's sprawled across the hallway floor and looking up at her. Marie halts altogether and takes a few steps back. Her eyes widen slightly.


She nods before turning and exiting the house. To which Mitchell groans and Aaron gets up and follows her.

"Eijinn, can you be normal for once. Like can you not terrify her?"

"All I said was hi. And she took off."

"You're lying on the hallway floor. That's why she took off."

It takes Aaron a moment to spot her curled up by the side of the house crying. He hesitates before going over and sitting across from her.

"I know he's terrifying to be around but he's harmless. He means well, sort of."

She's silent, her tears stopped, head lifted slightly to look at him. Her brown eyes search his green ones, but finds nothing that says he's lying. No, not Aaron, he's been nothing but truthful to her since she showed up anyway. He doesn't treat her as if she's fragile but he treats her like a person, like she's the most precious thing in his life.

"Thank you."

Her voice comes out in a whisper, barely audible. But he hears her and smiles a little.

"Now, let's go inside. Maybe watch some movies or something."

She nods, lets him help her up, and follows him into the house. Where Eijinn is still lying on the hallway floor, eyes half-lidded. Again her instincts kick in and she's tempted to flee, at least until she's guided to sit next to Aaron on the couch.

Bryant can feel her shaking in her body. He's never had to deal with this before, a girl who's terrified of the male species.

"Hey, Marie can you help me with something in the kitchen?"

She's a little shocked, but otherwise nods her head and follows him to the kitchen. At first he makes it seem as if he does need her help and then turns to her.

"I know it's none of my business, but what's really going on with you? You refuse to go home. And you avoid us like the plague. I know we're not the best people to hang around visually, but I promise none of us will hurt you."

Wide eyes stare up at Bryant. She knows now that she can't hide anything from him. A frown forms on her tiny lips before she responds.

"It's complicated."

"Honey, there's nothing more complicated than holding it in. I'll keep it to myself if that's what you want, but you have to talk about it."

"You swear you won't say anything?"

"Yes, unless you did something illegal. We have nowhere left to hide the bodies."

He chuckles a little bit, so that she isn't frightened of him. However, he can still see the tension spilling from her skin and it makes him silently pray that whatever she has to say isn't too terrible. His heart on the other hand already knows that it's bad. Her mouth opens to speak, but then she stops, body visibly shaking. It's upsetting to see someone so broken. For a brief moment he's afraid that asking wasn't such a good idea and maybe it'd be best to leave her alone, that is until she does speak:

"I can't go home."

"That's not explaining why."

"It's complicated."

"It can't be that, bad. What could possibly be worse than almost being run over by Mitchell?"

"I'm scared of my brother."

"You're scared of your brother?"

She nods, fidgets, and then looks up at him again. He frowns and raises an eyebrow at her.

"Marie, princess, I'm going to need you to elaborate."

"He does things, things that I don't want to repeat."

He can hear the tears in her voice, see the gentle way her body shakes. His frown deepens and soon his mind registers what she's saying.

"Marie, does he rape you?!"

Her hesitation is enough of an answer and obviously more than Aaron bargained for. A small whimper leaves her lips as she tries to find a place where she's not between the two of them. Aaron's face is a considerable shade of red as he turns and storms out. Bryant on the other hand stands speechless, blue eyes wide with concern and anger. His mind can't process what's been said. Can't fathom why someone would do that to their own family, especially their own sister. He's not sure if he should cry or punch something. Instead he gently pulls her to him and hugs her, quickly letting go after. Without another word he leads her out the kitchen and to her room, kicking Eijinn in the ribs for still being on the hallway floor. Once her door is closed he goes off in search of Aaron.

He knew people were cruel and sick, but he never thought he'd come into contact with such cruelty. She didn't even look like the type to be victimized by this world's evils, yet there it was like a burning fire. Somehow she'd run into them and now that he thought about it, it was obvious how terrified she was and yet still so comfortable with them.

"They say birds of a feather flock together."

"We're only together because we're moths drawn to the same flame, Bry. She's different."

"Yeah, but she's still similar to us in many ways. Nothing is going to change that. Remember how different we all were? I mean you practically hated my guts when we met."

"Who's to say that I don't still hate your guts?"

Aaron runs a hand through his hair. A sarcastic grin poisoning the features of his face. His ears pick up Bryant's gentle scoff. The two have been friends for a long time. They know what pisses the other off to no end. Yet, they get along extremely well.

"You can't say anything about what she's said. It's bad enough I pressured her into telling me. You two, however, are best friends and it'd be best if you kept it to yourself. I know it pisses you off to no end."

"It does more than piss me off. It makes me sick to my stomach. To think someone, she calls family can do that to her. If I knew where the hell that sick piece of shit was right now, I'd kill him. I'd make him suffer a million times over."

"Yeah, well, for now keep your mouth shut and keep a close eye on anyone near her."

Aaron nods and sighs, knowing full well the consequences of exposing someone's secret. He just stares off into the distance green eyes dark and brooding. Bryant leaves him be, knowing the consequences of being around an upset and angry Aaron. Back in the house the others look over at him, except of course Eijinn who is nowhere to be seen. Neither is Marie. Jason simply points down the hall to the room she’s been staying in. With a raised eyebrow he starts down the hall. Marie’s room door is closed and Eijinn is on the hallway floor, head leaned against the doorframe. Inside they can hear Marie sniffling.

“You didn’t say anything to her did you?”

“No, she won’t even open the door for me. Is she okay?”

“Don’t worry about her, so long as you didn’t do anything to her it’s none of your business.”

The red head looks up at him as he passes into the room. A frown forms on his face at the sight of their petite guest. She’s curled up in a ball against one wall of the room. Tears stain her face and her nose is running.

“Marie, come here.”

The door shuts gently behind Bryant. He moves to sit on the bed and after a moment’s hesitation she sits beside him with her head in his lap. The tears fall heavier and all he can do is wait her out. Her body shakes as each sob leaves her throat broken and deformed. He never thought that he’d ever have to face something like this. But there it is, in the form of a girl who’s lost all hope in the world.

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Sound Consumption

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School Encounters

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New Friends and Stage Lights

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Shadowy World

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Badly Broken

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Author's Note

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Brother's Heartache

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Violently Surviving

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Important Notice

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