Disclaimer: All characters belong to their respective owners. This story is for entertainment purposes only.

"The Promising Road Ahead"

"Don't tuck your thumbs in when you punch someone."

Clifford look at his fists and adjusted them accordingly. "Like this?"

Linderman nodded. "There you go. You were lucky you didn't dislocate 'em when you were punching up Moody."

"Gosh, it feels more natural to do it the other way." Clifford studied his fists (it was an awkward feeling for him, because prior to his confrontation, he'd never punched anybody in his life) before he gradually relaxed them. "I can see how you can really mess up your hands."

The larger boy smirked. "We'll work on you some more later."

"Okay! … Oh, hey, Linderman?"


Clifford wiggled his fingers stiffly, noticing the slight discoloration on his surface of his knuckles. "Um… thanks for sticking up for me. I couldn't have won my first fight without you."

Linderman stared at him incredulously before he replied, "No Cliff, thank you for taking a chance on me."