Just one word, but repeated so often that it still echoed in his mind even to this day so many years after the bullying had escalated and he'd had to move schools.

He wore contact lenses now to hide his strange eye colour. Red, like evil or blood. Like the devils. He hated them. His white hair he had kept though because hey, it made him look cool, and with his true eye colour concealed by blue coloured contact lenses, he was now pretty popular and had been for years at his new school.

Too bad the cocky attitude he'd made up also drove away the one person who he could actually relate to; Mathew Williams. The boy with the strangely purple coloured eyes that Gilbert first saw being bullied two years ago, and who he had stood up for him so many times since then.

But nothing he did really seemed to gain him Mathew's trust. Sure, he would say thank you. But he seemed to distrust any movement on Gilbert's part to actually become friends. He likely had been made fun of enough times that he just didn't trust anyone.

He was a smart kid though, and fairly good looking so Gilbert worried that he was likely bullied far more out of his and others eyesight than he ever was within it.

That's what had happened to him, after all.

Sure, a bystander can do a lot of good, but not everyone is bullied in front of others. Too many times, it is just a few people that ever know about it. The bully and his victim.

And if that was true, what could Gilbert do about it? He stopped it whenever he could. What more could he do?

So, he waited to see if there was a good moment. A good moment to act on his feelings, or at least openly acknowledge them even to himself more than as a concern for the boy that even his best friends, Antonio and Francis, had teasingly noticed he "must" have a crush on and joked about.

He'd made sure that they were the only ones with such suspicions. It wouldn't do the most popular boy to be caught with the least popular one, not when he'd worked so hard to build up this image of himself after what happened at his last school...



North of the North