Disclaimer: I don't own anything Degrassi.

(Dedicated to the loyal readers and reviewers of Raindrops and Cloudless Skies (All you guys rock and for the many of you aspiring writers: ROCK ON!)and dedicated to my own Marco for his inspiration that he brought me and the unconditional support and love he shows to my little Ellie self. I love you so much Darling!)


Love and Changes


Chapter One


"Congratulations to the Grade 12 Seniors, we wish you all the best. See you at graduation…"

Within the halls of Degrassi Community School, shouts and screams ricocheted when the last of the end-of-the-day announcements were finished by Principal Raditch. The final bell of the school year rang and crowds of students poured out through the doors led by the gleeful faces of the upperclassmen.

Cars of various colors and styles sped out of the student parking lot; around the far left side, one senior jumped out of the way of a furious driver. His blue shoulder-bag fell onto the concrete ground and his dark hair got windswept over his big, almost black eyes. In the distance, he could hear someone bellow, "Move out of the way, queer!"

Marco rolled his eyes upwards in annoyance and picked up his bag effortlessly. Within the crowd behind him, a voice yelled, "Del Rossi, come on!" He peered around to his best friends who waved to him down the way. A grin spread over his face as he stepped over, getting slapped on the back by Craig Manning and Gavin 'Spinner' Mason. Craig said to him, brushing back a curl of his hair, "You going to Jimmy's before-graduation party, right? Gonna be fun."

"Cool, yeah. Sounds great, guys."

"So, what we suppose to be doing?" asked a clueless Spinner.

"Uh," Craig frowned, "wasn't Hazel and Paige suppose to meeting us out here?"

"We're right here idiot." Indeed, both females were standing behind them, arms crossed and identical expressions of irritation fixed on their faces. The blonde girl jabbed Spinner in the shoulder, "You were suppose to meet us inside. Come on, let's get the party supplies before all the teachers lock up." Paige flipped her hair aside and began marching up to the school. Craig made a noise under his breath that sounded distinctly like a whip. As Spinner proceeded to wrestle him, Marco followed the girls inside.

He separated from them once in and ended up wandering around the empty hallways. It was creepy, the only sound he could hear was the padding that his sneakers made on the tiled floor. It felt…surreal. Marco shuffled over to one of the lockers, it drew him to it like a magnetic. He observed the rusting sides and saw something unique.

Carved thinly in the metal space between the locker and another was two names connected by a heart: Ellie hearts Marco.

His heart was suddenly wrenched. Marco had forgotten that it was her old locker in Grade 10, the time when they were dating. He missed her. Exhaling, Marco forlornly touched the words engraved by her slim fingers. "Dude, there you are. Move your ass unless you wanna stay here all day." He turned around to Spinner who was giving a pretty good Paige impersonation. They walked out of the school and met back with Craig who was holding a box of streamers. Spinner added, turning on the engine of his car, "Let's get a move on, I've got to go to Paige's around five."

They climbed into Spinner's car "the Love-Mobile" and Marco was dropped off at his house. At the first sight of his home, something about it felt strange. His Mother's minivan was parked in the driveway. What was odd about this was that Mrs. Del Rossi was never home around the hours of one and two in the afternoon. Ever.

The Italian boy stepped through the front door and called out uneasily, slipping off his bag, "Ma?" She walked out into the hallway with a smile on her plump face. He asked, a little unnerved, "Momma, what's going on?" Before she could answer, a guest found their way down the staircase. Bright red hair framed a flushed face, and eyes watched him round with lots of black eyeliner.

Marco stared astonished at the smirking Ellie Nash who stood erect and proud in front of him. His eyes lingered on her bare arms where many of her once scars were invisible and healed. She clasped her hands together, her voice came out in a little whisper, "I'm okay now. I really am." He couldn't believe it. After spending nearly two years in a hospital and under the care of a 'help centre' because of her cutting... here she was, standing in his house. Marco opened up his arms when she did and they fell into each other's arms, hugging tightly.

Ellie's face crimpled as if she was going to start crying. "Oh god, it's so good to see you."

He murmured against her shoulder, "I'm missed you so much, El. What's going on? How did you get here?"

Marco's mom spoke up, "I can answer that son." She wrapped a comforting arm on Ellie's shoulder. "Eleanor has asked to stay at out home until her social worker can find her another home to stay with. I have agreed to the arrangement just as long as you were fine with it, darling."

He smiled sunnily, "Of course," but was looking at his best friend when he said it. Ellie wiped off a smudge a mascara on her cheek sheepishly and Marco turned to his mother, "Ma, there's a before-graduation bash tonight. Would it be alright-?" Mrs. Del Rossi kissed his cheek.

"Yes, you may go. Just come home before two."

He kissed her cheek back and asked Ellie, "Would you like to come, El? It's a party at Jimmy's. I know it's only for seniors but Sean might crash-" Her green-brown eyes perked up

"What are we waiting for? Let's get ready," she declared, sprinting upstairs to change. Marco followed her, hiding a smile as he consulted her on what was appropriate to wear. To Ellie's liking (and Marco's sanity), they choose for her a small, ripped-material black dress and choker necklace. He wore a dark shirt and pants with one of his favorite hats atop his straightened hairstyle. Ellie watched him examine himself in the full length mirror and found herself comparing his present self and what she remembered long back.

He had grown a few inches, definitely taller than her, and seemed a bit more confident in his own skin in a matter of speaking. When Marco turned around, he strike a poise and inquired devilishly, "How do I look?" Ellie resisted saying that she would ravish him because of the fact that they weren't attracted to each other that way. Only best friends.

But Ellie did say, "If I was a lesbian, that look would have turned me straight," and flashed a noticeable wink.

Marco blushed a moment then tipped his head. "Thanks Ellie."

She smiled tenderly at him. She had gotten over the fact that they could never be together but she wouldn't stop loving him. He was exactly like the brother and lover she never had in her life. And she was grateful for him, grateful to be back and seeing his caring face again. Marco saw a mist of tears in her eyes and hooked his arm through hers, asking worried, "Are you okay?"

Ellie nodded firmly. "Yeah, let's go have fun."

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