Hey guys, look who's back from the dead!

Just a quick note and apology to people who used to read my stories, I won't be continuing "alias". D: bawww poor you. the main reason is simply because it was, much like my other finished fic "red", just plain shite (excuse the language). The writing was cringe worthy and, reading back, I found the whole thing waaaaaaaay too fast paced and unrealistic for my liking. I might re-write alias and finish it some time in the future if it so takes my fancy, but don't count on it. I'm not known for my time management abilities and that story didn't really have a fixed ending in my mind.

For those of you who have yet to sample my past works, don't.

Thank you for putting up with my obnoxious nit picking rant and i hope my writing has improved at least a little bit since then. Criticism is much appriciated!!!

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"It's Kanda-san!"

"Oi! David! Hurry up or we'll miss the bus!"

"Moira! Where are the props for the school play?!"

"Oh! And Allen's there too!"

"Fine, fine, I'm coming already, just shut up and help me carry my Cello."

"E-eh? I thought Miranda was getting them from the drama rooms?"

"Maybe they're coming back from a date!"

"Dude! Are you insane? If I drop it you'll kill me!"

"You left Miranda on her own?!?"

"Ah! Don't be so loud Miyami!"

"Yes. I will. But if you don't come over here and help before I drop it I'll kill you anyway."

"Um, I just sent her to get some props . . ."

"Oh come on Bella, they're too in love to notice us. Plus, this is soundproof glass."

"Alright! You're really scary sometimes you know that?"

"Ugh! We're going to be here all afternoon at this rate."

Overlapping snippets of conversation drifted around me, mixing around in my head and muddling up the carefully planned equation that was so close to completion. Wasn't this supposed to be a place of study?

"What about everyone in here?!?"

"I know, now get your ass over here and pick up that end."

"It's not my fault!"

"Sit down Meagan!"

The library, so quiet during school hours, had been turned into a chaotic mess of giggles, yells and arguments that fought for dominance in the cramped space. The students of Black Order High were casting their concerns to the wind, laid out for anyone who cared to listen. Not that anyone did. No, they were far to immersed in their own problems to even spare a second for the ideas of others. No matter how many times they assured each other that their hair looked amazing, that they were going to ace their assignment, no one was actually listening. No one but me in any case.

I am a listener. I sit in my corner, struggling through my maths problems and soak in the words of others, letting them churn through my mind and settle as a pointless thought in the back of my consciousness, soon to fade with the coming of another no doubt equally useless thought as I step through my algebra homework with careful precision. I work like this, thinking and writing in two separate processes, until the lights are switched off and the librarians usher me out of the library, strained smiles thinly veiling their impatience. Like clockwork every day at 5pm sharp I am left standing outside the library, rain sleet or sun, as the librarians lock up and charge off to their cars with thoughts of warm beds and delicious meals fuelling their shuffling legs.

"Lavi! Are you even listening to me?"

A voice wrenches me from my musings. I am back in the library with another hour and a half until I am to make my way home through the twilit streets.

"Eh he, not really."

My companions face falls and a sigh escapes her lips. I would not consider Lenalee a friend as such, but rather someone who felt sorry for the "lonely" boy in the corner and decided to "cheer him up" one day after school. I've always wondered if she regretted saying hello that day. I'm fairly sure she does.

"Lavi, I was asking if you'd come out with me tonight and help me pick out a dress for the formal."

The formal again. It seemed to be the one topic that the entire year was fretting and fussing about. Dresses, suits and partners were in hot demand already and the actual date of the event was not for another 8 months, a prime example of forward thinking gone too far.

"Nah, I'd rather not. I don't like shopping."

I scanned the page of maths problems, picking out one at random.

Simplify the following:

The square root of 50 over 10. Surds. God I hated surds. Now to remember how I was supposed to do this . . .

"Oh come on Lavi! Surely you're not going to stay here all afternoon again!"

There was a hint of a whine in her voice this time, a subtle change in her tone that grated on my ears. I hated it when she did that.

"I don't like shopping."

I turned the irritating problem over in my mind to somehow remember what was required of me. Was I supposed to expand it first and then simplify? Or perhaps they wanted me to cancel out the factors.

"You've never been shopping with me though! It'll be fun Lavi, just give it a try."

She was nagging now, trying to coax me into agreeing with her. To break into a smile and trot happily from the library hand in hand with my Best. Friend. Ever. Unfortunately, I was not in the mood to humour her at the moment.

"Shopping is shopping, no matter who is dragging you through the mall by your hair." I keep my eyes on the page, ignoring the no doubt pleading look she was feeding me from her seat across the narrow table.

Finally I give up, taking a peek in the answers section of the textbook. Root 2 times root 25 simplified to 5 root 2 and cancelled into the 10 to get root 2 over 2.
Rats. I should have known that one.

"I won't drag you by your hair Lavi! You're just being pessimistic!"

I am not a pessimist, I am a realist. I don't sugar coat the truth to make it easier to swallow, I bite down and chew, tasting the bitter reality and savouring it for what it is. I know that I will fail the next Maths test because I can only complete one third of the relevant problems in the text book. I know that I will not enjoy this shopping trip with Lenalee because I do not like crowded malls or clothes. But more than anything, I know that no one else really cares about what I know because, by nature, they only care about themselves.

"Alright then Lena, I'll come." I say with a smile.

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The shopping centre is crowed and cramped. The buzz of conversation is everywhere, fizzling up from the hordes of people bustling about sale racks and discounted window displays. It all looks the same to me, but Lenalee is on fire. She drags me not by my hair, but by my wrist from shop to shop, spreading dress after dress over the coarse fabric of her uniform and surveying herself in the mirror before clicking her tongue and tossing it back on the shelf.

"Lenalee, do I really need to be here?"

It's a futile effort I know, now that she has gotten my away from my books there is no way she will let me go until all other options are exhausted, but anything that has even the slightest chance of halting her rampage through the outlet stores is better than allowing myself to be tugged through this hell any longer.

"What's wrong Lavi? We're having fun aren't we?"

It takes all of my self control to with hold a sarcastic comment and respond with polite disagreement.

"Well shopping isn't really my 'thing' if you get my drift Lena."

Her face falls, settling into a guilty frown.

"I'm sorry Lavi, I just wanted to spend some time with you is all. . ."

Her guilt, no doubt intended to sway my resolve, only serves to shorten my temper and test my patience. She has no interest in me. Her concerns are with the formal and the various stresses that accompany such an occasion.

"I know Lenalee, it's alright."

She smiles, if you can call it that. A weak twitch of the mouth that softens her features into a "comforting look".

"How about we stop the window shopping for now and go somewhere else? I can always come back with Miranda tomorrow and finish picking out my outfit."

At last, reprieve for my poor aching feet seems to be in reach. Perhaps today won't be such a disaster after all.

"That sounds like a plan."

I smile, a horrible fake thing that tugs at the muscles in my face and stretches them into an absurd grin. I hate lying, it makes me feel like a hypocrite.

"So, let's go and meet up with the others shall we?"

Her smiles widens, as if challenging mine. She had planned this all along. Poor Lavi in his corner with school books spread around him, he should get out more. He needs to experience new things and meet interesting people. I have no interest in that kind of crap.

And yet, I follow her, out the roller doors, down the escalators and through the automatic sliding entrance into the cool afternoon breeze.

"Come on Lavi! You'll love these people, they're really nice."

Nice. What a bland word. Then again, Lenalee had never been known for her vivid imagination. In any case, by her definition 'nice' could mean anything from a sweet smiling nun to a drunk hooligan who'd passed her a compliment.

She scans the crowd, squinting against the harsh sunlight for her "nice" friends as she stands on pointed toe at the edge of the plaza. I hate to admit it, but suffocating as she is Lenalee is actually quite attractive. Not too long hair frames a cute face with big black eyes that can be pretty on occasion, sexy even if she's in the mood. Not that she isn't aware of her natural beauty, quite the opposite in fact. She flaunts her milky white legs with inappropriately short skirts and high heels, even going as far as to have her school uniform tailored to make it just a tad more revealing with a pair of shiny new heeled school shoes to top it off.

"Hey! Over here!" She's dragging me again, pulling me by the hand like a lost child through the crush of bodies that crowd the fountain at the centre of the plaza as she frantically waves her free arm in the air in a desperate bid to attract the attention of her nameless friends.

With a sigh, I pack my misgivings into the back of my mind and spread a welcoming grin across my face, ready for the polite and no doubt forgettable small talk that was sure to spawn from this brief encounter.

I had no idea how much one conversation could change my life.

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So that's chapter one. Apologies for the dodgy line breaks, I'm still trying to figure out how to do proper ones in the new system. In reference to the stuff about surds and maths, I pulled out a text book and picked a problem at random in case you're wondering. I'll try to come up with more complicated stuff in the future though, because for Lavi to be struggling with year 10 maths is a little bit odd.

In the next chapter (if all goes to plan) we'll meet our favourite grumpy samurai and his less than willing companion. Watch the sparks fly!

CRITICISM PLEASE!!! Though regular reviews are nice as well and flames amuse me to no end.