I absolutely must write this. This very second. I was working on ExBoyfriend chapter 18 but I stopped to get the mail. I was reading the TIME magazine article about the Red Lake shooting when all of a sudden, I felt this driving force telling me to write a fic for this. And so I am. This is heavier then I've probably ever written and heavier then I'll probably ever write again, but I feel that I have to do this. I don't know why, but I just do.

Disclaimer: I don't own the Teen Titans.

Dedication: To all the innocent souls who died in the Red Lake shooting, but especially to Chase Lussier, who was shot in the process of protecting his friend Ashley Lajeunesse, the most noble thing, in my opinion, one could do for another in that situation. May he rest in peace.

Red haired, green eyed Kori Andrews bit her lip as she examined the problem set before her. Stupid geometry. As her brain continued to process the fifteenth question on the two hundred and fifty fourth page of her Geometry book, she couldn't resist letting the tip of her mechanical pencil rise and fall against the hard wooden desk at which she sat, producing a satisfying yet slightly annoying tapping noise. While one part of her head was trained on math, another wandered; wandered to topics of little concern, such as what she would eat for dinner that night, and perhaps what she would wear to school tomorrow. Typical study hall.

Kori's gaze shifted to the right where her best friend, Dick Grayson, sat, leaned over his English textbook, most likely over-analyzing a simple question about the literature he had recently read. His blue eyes scanned what seemed to be the same paragraph too many times for Kori to count, and he unintentionally raised a hand to his spiky ebony hair every few minutes to subconsciously check it's condition. Typical Dick.

Not really in the mood to fry her brain, Kori sat back in her chair, adjusting her purple mini-skirt and blouse as she went over her day. The morning had gone rather well, if you didn't count the little incident in Mr. Connor's second period Biology class. Raven Roth, another friend of Kori's, had lost her temper with some snotty classmate who had refused to stop calling the dark girl a "gothic freak". With all the yelling Raven had done before she was calmed down, Kori was surprised that the kid hadn't gone deaf. Lunch was smooth sailing as well. The cafeteria food was only half edible, but the students of Jump City High had come to expect nothing more than that. It had been as such since the moment they arrived on campus as freshmen and would most likely remain the same right up till the day they graduated. And now Kori sat in study hall, bored to death as usual. Typical day. The carefree sophomore student had expected nothing more from it and certainly nothing less.

Then the shooting began.

It started with a single blast from a shotgun outside of the classroom. A few students looked up, puzzled, but did not suspect anything out of the ordinary. Kori, in particular, took the noise to simply be a student dropping a stack of textbooks in the hall, not exactly an uncommon occurrence. But soon there was another bang, then another still. Suddenly, all the teens in Jump City High's Room 13 seventh period study hall were throwing quick, anxious glances at one another, eyes wide with a knowing fear.

Who would have thought that on such an ordinary day, something so terrible could happen?

Ms. Lannin, the teacher in charge of the study hall, immediately took action, also sensing what was going on. Trying to remain calm, she swiftly rose from her seat and went to the door, shutting off the lights in her classroom and twisting the lock on the door. She then ordered all the students to the back of the room, instructing them to keep quiet and hide as best they could in the room sparsely populated by assorted desks and chairs.

Kori, terrified yet managing to keep from losing her head, crouched beside Dick near a bookcase that was adjacent to the wall farthest from the locked door from which the blasts could still be heard. Suddenly, she felt a hand on her back, shoving her down and further into the wall that lay behind.

"Ow! Dick why are you-"

"Shh. Stay behind me. Don't move."

"But what if-"


A death-like silence blanketed the room as the shots drew nearer, each student prospecting not the next day, but how many minutes they might have to live. Kori sure wasn't thinking about dinner any more. Her breath come short as a result of getting squashed between Dick's back and the wall, and as she struggled for air a heart-stopping sight caught her eye. The handle on the door was moving. Slowly, at first, but the movement got more forceful with each passing moment.

A bullet shattered the window pane beside the door of Room 13 and a gloved hand reached in ever so carefully to untwist the lock. Each passing second felt like an eternity. A hulking figure over six feet in height wearing all black and carrying a 12 gauge shotgun in his arms strolled in, the glass under his combat boots producing a sickening crunch. Kori couldn't help but take a peek over Dick's shoulders to look at her prospective killer. His eyes swam with emotions, but the ones the frightened teen could pick out best were hate and fear. Suddenly the fear was dominated by the hate as the two locked gazes. The gunman rose his weapon and shot without a second thought.

Kori dove behind Dick once again, yet she could feel a warm, liquid sensation against her leg. She'd been shot. Her mind raced. She was going to die. And to think that her only concern a mere ten minutes ago was her geometry homework. Even with the knowledge of her end in mind, Kori didn't cry. In fact, she couldn't even feel pain. Was this what dying was like? She held her head in her hands, trying to sort out her last, muddled thoughts. As she did, she heard people in the classroom communicating with their soon to be killer. The voices that swam through her mind were nothing more than a buzz as she contemplated her last moments on Earth. Gunshots. Those were more like cannons.

"...Kori..." She looked up, startled. Dick was still in front of her, but his stance was slightly bent. A sudden, horrifying realization washed over Kori, a trauma inducing sensation like ice water being poured down her back. She wasn't dying. It wasn't her blood that coated her jeans. It was Dick's.

Dick Grayson, her best friend, had sacrificed his life for hers by placing himself in the path of the bullet, and now he lay perishing before her.

Shaking, Kori lay an unstable hand on Dick's shoulder and positioned him so his head rested on her lap. Finally, the tears were starting to flow.

"Kori...please..." The teenaged boy's eyes were only half open now as he lost touch with the world. Slowly, with slight hesitation, he reached up and touched Kori's tanned cheek. "Please don't...blame yourself...I'm not afraid...I'm just glad I could protect you..." With the last of his strength and uncertainty laced in his expression, he pulled himself up and bestowed a kiss upon his best friend's lips. He fell limp mere moments later, Kori's tears, not his own, sliding down face, just as another gunshot roared from the shooter's weapon. The gunman fell dead, having taken his own life, after a rapid exchange of fire with the police force that had apparently arrived and were stationed in the hallway. Six other dead bodies were strewn about the room, including that of the teacher's. Silent throughout the ordeal, the surviving students finally let all hell break loose. Their screams could be heard for miles.

Hold onto me love
You know I can't stay long
All I wanted to say
Was I love you and I'm not afraid

Can you hear me?
Can you feel me in your arms?

Holding my last breath
Safe inside myself
Are all my thoughts of you?
Sweet raptured light
It ends here tonight

I'll miss the winter
A world of fragile things
Look for me in the white forest
Hiding in a hollow tree

I know you hear me
I can taste it in your tears

Holding my last breath
Safe inside myself
Are all my thoughts of you?
It ends here tonight

Closing your eyes to disappear
You pray your dreams will leave you here
But still you know the truth
No one's there

Holding my last breath
Safe inside myself
Are all my thoughts of you?
Sweet raptured light
It ends here tonight

Say goodnight
Don't's be afraid
Calling me, calling me
As you fade to black

"My Last Breath"by Evanescence

Wow...that was heavy. Short, yeah, but heavy nonetheless. I don't think that Chase, played in my fic by Dick, kissed Ashley, played by Kori, as he died, but I couldn't resist...

I want all of you who read this to carefully consider this question:

If you were in that position, would you do for your friend what Chase/Dick did for Ashley/Kori?

I know I would've. Without my friends, I'm nothing. This is an example of just how far someone would go to protect a friend. I hope I captured everything in the correct mood. I think that's the least amount of dialogue that I've ever had in a fic...hmmm...it seems to fit though...

With Love as Always,

Special thanks to StarryRavenFire and Queen-of-Azarath for the much needed assistance in posting this one shot.

Note: Yes, I found a way to beat the virus. The next chapter of ExBoyfriend will be up very soon. Next week prolly. I've been so busy with the school play lately...we just had our first show tonight, and we did great. Great job to all those guyz, my awesome castmates. I luv u guyz!