- - Making Amends - -

Chapter One, The Past Comes Back
Roy Eberhardt, now a boy of nearly eighteen years, couldn't recall the last time he'd ever felt so upset and bothered.

He lay on the roof of the Molly Bell, his top half-from his chest up-leaned toward the water below. Glowering, he watched a school of silvery fish dart across his path, and he set them all with a glare. He precisely shot a hand into the water, into the gyrating body of fleeting fish, and successfully captured a single, glassy-feeling moonlight-colored fish within his fingers. The little Mullet gaped at him, eyes blank and fins twitching to and fro.

"Stupid Mullets…" He muttered. He felt an urge to smash the defenseless creature inside of his hand, but the better part of his conscience overrode the "Devil" in him; he gently tossed the fish back into the water to catch up with his group.

After all the ruckus with Mother Paula's was done and over with, Roy had thought that Mullet Fingers, now revealed as Napoleon would have reappeared into Roy's now-dull life, alight with some other conservation-animal-saving scheme, but no, Roy was wrong. It was like there was no Mullet Fingers, like he was just an imaginary person Roy's mind had come up with. Beatrice, though she still attended the same school as Roy, hardly had time for him, what with her busy soccer schedule and stepbrother to attend to.

"Sorry Cowgirl, but ol' Mullet Fingers told me that he wanted to be left alone for some time. Don't think that he hates you or anything, but he's been having a tough time keeping out of the Public Eye, and with our mother after his hide, he can't have word spread about where he is, you know?"

That had been a good year ago that Beatrice had told him that, and every time his mind revisited her slightly solemn and regretful face saying that to him, he got madder and madder. Was he just someone Mullet Fingers had used to put his save-the-Burrowing-Owls-plan into effect? It's what it seemed like to Roy, and although he was all for saving the Owls, he felt betrayed by his supposed friends, Beatrice and Mullet.

"I can understand wanting to be hidden from people for a bit until things calm down, but it's been years since I've ever seen that godforsaken face of his!" Roy growled to himself, clenching his hands together into identical fists, turning white from the pressure.

He berated himself, cursing slightly uncharacteristic of Roy for cussing!-when his vision blurred with angry, frustrated tears. Sighing, he pushed himself up into a sitting position, minding the spot on the boat where the wood wasn't as strong.

A midsummer's afternoon in Florida was unbearably hot, and the sun sparkled down on the water, creating a crystal-effect against the lagoon's surface. Being so humid and warm out, Roy opted for a pair of plain black swimming trunks, nothing more and nothing less. He really didn't intend to do much swimming, but it was just for the sake of being able to if he had to.

He couldn't keep track of how many times he'd come out here, hopefully looking around for a sight of gleaming dirty blonde hair, or listening for a chuckle whenever he tried his hands-literally-at catching Mullets in the water. But now, it was more of something to do with his free time during the summer holidays than for a chance of spotting the now-disappeared Mullet Fingers.

You would think that with the Mother Paula's incident that Roy would be a more popular person among his peers. In the beginning, he was surrounded with new faces, all seeming like they were his friends since the beginning, but Roy turned them all down, acting curt with them and being polite enough to not seem rude. He didn't want their friendship, tainted with the fact of "fame". He wanted the real friendships he'd had before the pancake house had happened. He wanted Beatrice and Mullet Fingers. He wanted the lazy summer days out in the Everglades. He didn't want people who only talked of celebrities and the latest Hollywood trends. He wanted-no, craved, the company of people who were more mature.

He gave up the dreams of ever seeing Mullet Fingers again, and came to terms with the cold, hard fact that he would never see Mullet…ever again. He was saddened, close to depressed, that Mullet Fingers basically never wanted to talk to him again. Roy knew he wasn't the brightest, coolest, or most popular boy in Coconut Cove, but he thought that his company was amicable, at least. Apparently, his presence wasn't desired in the least. At least, not to the one person that mattered the most to Roy.

This time, he let himself shed one or two tears. He wasn't wanted at all by Mullet, and it burned himself from the inside out to know that animals were more desirable to Mullet than a pathetic, scrawny Roy Eberhardt, the one that was invisible, bullied, and looked down upon.

He sighed, this time not with fury but with sorrow, and wiped his eyes. Reclining on the boat's surface, he frowned as he watched an alligator, which was extremely well hidden watch him with reptilian eyes.

A rustle sounded in a bush near him, but he didn't pay it much mind; animals were always scurrying about around here. It was only when there was a second rustle, and a groan of pain, that Roy became alert, eyes darting around the premises for any kind of predator or person who had the intention of harming.

He saw nothing and no one, and suspiciously looked about, seating himself once more on the boat. He caught movement from the corner of his left eye, and swiveled his head around so fast that his neck creaked a bit from the quick jolt.

"Who's there?" Roy shouted, gripping the withered edge of the Molly Bell.

"Nnngh…" Was his only response. Quickly jumping into action, Roy leapt from Molly Bell onto the ground, and ran over to the moving bush.

He parted the leafy green shrubbery and was greeted, much to his surprise, to an owlishly blinking, wide-mouthed Mullet Fingers.

His old companion didn't look much different; he still had his sandy blond hair that reached his shoulders, his caramel-colored skin, and usual attire of a shirt, shorts, and bare feet.

"Mullet Fingers…?" Roy muttered in shock.

"Hi," The said boy squeaked out, frozen in place.

Regaining himself, Roy narrowed his eyes and a frown formed on his face.

"What're you doing here?" He asked his voice heavily laced with suspicion.

"It's not like you own these parts or anything," Mullet Fingers said defensively, crab-crawling back, away from Roy.

"Still, why are you here? After all this time?"


"A better excuse than that, you moron!"

"Because I can?"

"Ugh!" Roy threw his hands in the air in exasperation, and got up, looking down at Mullet Fingers with something akin to hate.

"Whatever, Mullet, I'll just be on my way then, if you don't need to use me in another one of your animal-saving stunts." Roy shouted bitterly, stomping off to his home.

So he was back, after all this time. No reasons, no apologies, nothing.

How was it that once you got over a problem, it just came right back?

Roy remembered how much it hurt in the beginning, to be rejected by his supposed friends. Didn't his loyalty and trust mean anything to them?

He was tempted to ring Beatrice, to question her a bit and get her uncomfortable to ease his own distress, but the girl had gone out-of-state, to visit with some relatives in Maryland.

It was just about nine at night, so the sky outside his bedroom window was a deep blue, dotted with stars in intricate patterns. He was facedown on his bed, his face crammed into one of his pillows, nearly suffocating him. But Roy didn't really care; his mind was thinking about other troubles.

Unfortunately for him, Roy's problem went deeper than it seemed. Those years back, when Mullet was still in contact with him, he was attached to the boy who was Beatrice's stepbrother.

It all started with utter fascination that one boy near his own age could make such a big difference, and then it morphed into something close to admiration for the blond-haired rebel. One day, he was shell-shocked at a revelation he made, around the time when the owls' problem was just about solved: Roy loved Mullet Fingers.

No, not in the way a boy loves his dog, or someone loves their friend, but love-love, as in "I really, really like you" love. He found himself dreaming about grey-blue eyes constantly, even during classes, and he awoke one night in a shout when he found that his body had… responded to an intense dream.

So when Mullet Fingers disappeared off of the face of Roy's life, it wasn't the hurt and loneliness of a betrayed friend, but also the stabbing pain of being rejected.

It took Roy a good two years to get over himself, and even now he still felt repressed feelings for Mullet. He chided himself that he would just get hurt again, but his heart ignored him, blindly shining and beating with a newfound hope that acceptance would be found.

The brunette stirred from his spot on his bed when he heard a scratching noise at his window. There weren't any trees nearby, so it wouldn't be a branch tapping against the pane. It was too late for any bird to be out; would a bug make such a ruckus?

When Roy turned to look at another scratching sound, a bashfully smiling Mullet Fingers was the last thing he expected to see at the other side of that window.

Roy gasped, eyes rounded, and felt a jolt of fear at seeing a person, but then when he recognized the stranger, fear was replaced with a slowly crawling dread.

He got up from his bed and went up to his window, his mouth in a straight line.

Unlocking the window, he glared distrustfully at Mullet. The boy still had the stupid smile on his face.

When Roy opened the window, he said, voice full of venom,

"What the heck do you want?"

"I guess I have some explaining to do."

Ha-ha, I randomly decided to write this thing from some odd inspiration when I paged through the book, Hoot.

This isn't going to be a million chapters long. Actually, I plan to only have three or four chapters.

If you didn't already catch the hint, this is a SLASH story, meaning that if you're a homophobic, you should run off.

Also, I don't think I'll be updating this soon, since I don't have much access to computers at the moment and I still have to think of my Harry Potter story waiting to be worked on.

I hope you enjoyed this first chapter, and remember: reviews help the updating process speed up!

Until Next Time,