A/N: This is part of the Coalition Awareness Program begun last week for the ten-year anniversary. Have questions? Comments? PM me. I can give you all the information about the Coalition that you want.

THE BEGINNING

CHAPTER ONE OF FOUR

David's POV

Sometimes my life just seemed so meaningless. I mean, it was always the same cycle: we move, I stick out like a sore thumb, I finally manage to fit in, and then, of course, we move again. It was boring and routine, but I learned not to hate it. What kind of life can be lived if you hate your existence? For the time being, I accepted my routine life. It was boring, but safe.

Until the day I walked down Caran Street.

It had been a fairly typical day. I had gone to school and been totally ignored by everyone except the jerks, the stoners, and the nerds. The jerks picked on me, the stoners tried to get me stoned, and the nerds all thought they were my best friends…leading the jerks to associate me with them and to pick on me for being a nerd. It sucked, but it was life.

I headed home, trying to ignore the little girl who was walking just behind me. Apparently, I wasn't walking quickly enough for her, and she kept trying to pass by me. Well, there was no way I would be shoved around by a seven-year-old! I quickened my pace, as did she.

Now it was a race. Neither of us was running, but we were both moving at top speed, gasping for breath. I concentrated on getting to the end of the block. Of course, I tripped on a root and went crashing down right in front of the abandoned construction site in the middle of the block. The little girl fell over me.

"You okay?" I asked her, straightening. With my luck, her family would probably sue me or something.

"I'm fine," she said, grimacing. "I just skinned my knee."

"Let me see." I bent down again, then frowned. There was something blue glinting underneath a low board in the construction site. "You see that?"

The girl followed my gaze. "What is it?" She pulled herself up, and we went over into the site.

I reached my hand under the board. "I can't get it."

"Let me try," the girl suggested. She slid underneath the board and pulled out the blue object.

It was a glowing sapphire cube, small enough to fit in my hands, but too big for my pocket. It was smooth and shiny, and seemed almost…unearthly.

"Can I…?" I held out my hands. The girl gave me the cube reluctantly. "Weird."

"Yeah," she agreed. "Are you going to keep it?"

I considered it. "It looks like a religious icon or something. I can probably get some money for it online."

"It shouldn't be sold," the girl said quietly.

I stared at her. She was spooking me now. "Sorry, but I could use the cash." I held out a hand. "Come on- I'll walk you home."

She laughed in an odd way. "I don't even know your name. If I show up at home with a strange boy, I'll be grounded for a month."

I stared at her. "If you say so." She started to walk away, but on impulse, I yelled to her, "by the way, I'm David!"

"Marcy," she called back. "M-A-R-C." And she walked away as though her skinned knee had already healed.