Hello, people! As I said in the summary, this is the sequel to "Smells like Teen Spirit". If you haven't read that, please do so, so this story will make sense.

Now, it appears to be time for the usual notes. Here we go:

1. In this story, as with my other one and pretty much everything I write, everyone talks like modern people. This isn't meant to be disrespectful; it's meant to be funny. Remember that now.

2. As for everyone's ages, well, Elves come of age around fifty human years, and I decided that that's equivalent to twenty-one of their years. Works for me.

3. The title is stolen from a Good Charlotte song. (Man, I love that song)

4. And, in keeping with the theme from my previous story, all the chapters in this are named after songs from the video game Guitar Hero III.

So here we go. Enjoy.

The Young and the Hopeless

It's stupid, contagious

To be broke and famous

Won't someone please save us

From Punk Rock 101

-Bowling for Soup

Chapter 1: School's Out

I have this theory that I'm adopted.

Seriously, it's the only logical explanation for a lot of stuff. Check this out:

1. I'm a cat person. All my brothers are dog people.

2. I'm a vegetarian. All my brothers are total carnivores.

3. I'm ultra-skinny. All my brothers are athletic and perfect-looking (hmm, maybe that's related to #2 somehow. I should look into that. Nah, too much work)

4. I have a wicked awesome singing voice, if I do say so myself (thank you, thank you very much). You don't want to hear any of my brothers sing, trust me.

5. And, of course, all my brothers are at least semi-competent smiths, whereas I barely know how to use a hammer.

So there you have it. Am I adopted or what, people?

Unfortunately, my "beloved" father, not realizing that I was nothing like him and probably never would be, forced me into five torturous years of being his apprentice before finally letting me drop out of school, chuck the apprenticeship down the loo, and go to Alqualonde to study music for a year. And THAT is where our story begins.

Well, technically, it begins on the way to Alqualonde. Close enough. My new master (although he'd told me not to call him that, as he said it made me sound like a slave) Amlaith and I had set up camp and were now cooking our supper.

"So, Maglor son of Feanor," said Amlaith. "Tell me about yourself. If you're my apprentice I don't want us to be total strangers."

I shrugged. "What's there to tell? I hate math and forging stuff. I like cats and loud music. My brothers drive me insane, and I'd prefer it if you didn't attach 'son of Feanor' to my name because I have absolutely nothing in common with that nutcase. That's about it."

"A bit hard on your old man, aren't you?"

"I wouldn't say so," I said. "I'm not much harder on him than he is on me, anyway."

"Point taken," said Amlaith. "From now on your father will not be mentioned. But I hope you don't mind me asking how a boy like you ended up with any musical ability at all."

I shrugged. "Who knows? All I know is that's what I'm good at, the only thing I'm good at. And I don't question it."

Amlaith laughed. "Is that the only thing you don't question?"

"Pretty much, yeah."

"A boy after my own heart. You, my young friend, are a miracle."

"Am I the first apprentice you've ever taken on?" I asked.

"Yeah," said Amlaith. "Look, kid, I'm a lazy guy, all right? I wouldn't have offered to teach you if I didn't think it would be easy."


"Let me explain that. You already know so much that it won't be that hard to teach you."

Well. That was something.

"I can't wait to get to Alqualonde," I said.

"You'll love it. Trust me, boy, there are a ton of people who are way weirder than you there. And some who are a lot more normal. And no one cares at all."

"Sounds like paradise," I remarked.

"It is," said Amlaith. "It really is."

"When will we get there?"

"Probably tomorrow afternoon. Depends on the weather and how the horses are acting. These animals can be pretty damn stubborn sometimes. Now, we'd better get some sleep. It's late."

Not needing to be told twice, I lay down and closed my eyes, wishing that tomorrow afternoon would hurry up and come. For once in my life I had something to look forward to.

Yes, I know that sounded lame. But it was true. Seriously.

I woke up really early the next morning (by "really early" I mean sometime around eight o'clock) to find Amlaith eating an ancient-looking biscuit and drinking out of a metal flask. When he saw I was awake, he tossed me the flask.

"Drink up," he said. "It'll keep you awake."

I sniffed the stuff. It smelled pretty good, actually. "What is it?"

"Coffee. I warn you, it doesn't taste as good as it smells."

Taking a drink, I had to admit he was right. It was kind of bitter and weird-tasting. But all in all, not bad. At least it was hot.

"It's okay," I said.

"Glad you think so. You'd better get used to it. In this line of work you'll have a lot of late nights."

"If I make it," I said.

"Oh, you'll make it," said Amlaith matter-of-factly. "You think I'd have looked twice at you if I didn't have faith in you?"

Wow. Someone had faith in me. That was unusual.

"So how did you get into the music business anyway?" I asked.

"I was born into it," said Amlaith. "My mom and dad were both musicians—they played a lot of gigs together before they got married—so I guess it's just genetics. I've never wanted to do anything else."

"That's cool."

"Isn't it though."

"I wonder if I'll ever get married."

"Sometimes I wonder that too," Amlaith admitted. "I mean, I'm thirty-eight. Most of my friends are married by now. But I figure, why not enjoy the single life? Chicks dig musicians, so I'm never lacking in company."

He kind of sounded like Maedhros. Except Maedhros was single because he couldn't keep a girlfriend for more than two weeks.

"Anyway, let's be off," said Amlaith. "I'm assuming you want to get there as soon as possible."

"Hell YEAH!" I said, before realizing that I sounded totally dorky and muttering "I mean, yeah."

"Excellent," said Amlaith, grinning. "Off we go."

And off we went.

We rode for most of the day, only pausing once for lunch. I felt way more awake than I usually would have at this time of day—that coffee really worked, I guess.

"Hey, Amlaith, I have a question," I said.

"Do I have to answer it?"

"Yes. It's an adult's duty to answer whatever questions a kid asks."

"Okay. What's the question?"

"Got any brothers?"

"Nope. Got a sister, three years younger than me. Nice girl. Why?"

"Ah, just wondering. Me, I've got six brothers. Five of them younger than me."

"Six brothers? Get outta here. How'd your parents manage that?"

"Don't know. Don' t really want to."

"I don't blame you. That's actually kind of disturbing."

"Yeah. Can I ask you another question?"

Fake sigh. "Fine."

"Are we almost there?"

"Kid, look ahead of you. We pretty much are there."

I looked ahead of me.

"Sweet!" I said.

For those of you who don't know, Alqualonde is an amazingly cool-looking city. It's like all white and spread-out and it's right on the edge of the ocean. Those Teleri knew what they were doing, I gotta say.

"Dude, I'm way jealous of you for living here," I said. "Do I have to go back to Tirion?"

"Kid, we're not even in the city yet."

"Who cares? This looks way cooler than my town."

"That's because it is," said Amlaith. "Now let's see if you like the city once you're actually in it!"

He rode off, and I followed, grinning. This was going to be awesome.