FIVE MINUTES- Alternate Ending to American History X

(Instead of Danny getting killed, he gets shot in the shoulder trying to protect a girl he's got a crush on, who happened to run into the wrong bathroom, while trying to get away from Danny, after an argument in their history class, got extremely heated.)

"You have five minutes Vinyard. To explain exactly why I should give you a chance. Starting now." The girl said, as she tapped her foot impatiently on the concrete floor of the American History X classroom. Vanessa, or Van as most of her friends called her, wasn't big on patience, and was known through out the school as "The one with the temper.. And the wicked right hook." and so far Danny Vinyard had succeeded in doing nothing more than sticking his foot into his mouth each time they were in the same room. Sighing, he shrugged and said, "Cause I'm not the same guy I was at the start of term. Cause you owe it to yourself.. And last but not least, Vanessa Rivera, I happen to be the "skin headed dick" who's fucked up.. And fallen for you." Vanessa glared at him, and if looks could kill, Danny Vinyard would be on his way to the ninth ring of hell right now. "USing my own words against me, huh?" Van said as she continued to glare, making her golden brown eyes shimmer in the flourescent lighting of the classroom.

Their mentor sat shaking his head. These two did this. At least twice a month. Then Danny would back off, lapse back into his "beliefs", and Van would be left in peace. But for the last two months solid, since Danny had publicly denounced Cameron and his white supremacist lifestyle, Danny had been after Vanessa Rivera nonstop. Sighing, the teacher watched silently with his arms folded, ready to step in if it got heated like it had two days ago, when Vanessa had sent a right hook to Vinyard's gut and ran out of the class.

Danny watched her intently. He'd used her own hateful words against her. Had he been the old Daniel Vinyard, he'd have denounced her a "basket weaver" or something like that and told her to swim her ass back to Cuba. But from the moment he met her at the start of the year, he hadn't been able to shake her, even though at the time, he'd been in deep shit many times with Cameron and his other friends, because of his intense feelings for Van. "Look, Van, just do it. Please? Life's short. We might not have a tomorrow." As he said this, his mind flashed back to the confrontation with one of the meanest guys he'd met in his life. He'd crossed the guy, and the guy would get his revenge. It was just a matter of when and how badly.

"Still not hearing anything I give a damn about .. And you're now down to three minutes!" Van said, still glaring. It wasn't that she didn't like Danny, it's just that her home life wasn't the kind of life you'd go inviting someone into. They'd kill him and more importantly her, if she bought him home. And Van was the first person to tell you she got enough drunken late night beatings from whatever boyfriend her mom happened to drag home that night, that she strongly believed in self preservation. She herself loved him, even though all he did was get under her skin and piss her off. She looked at her watch, hell bent on not giving in, but with each passing second, her will grew.. WEAKER.. She sighed, internally, and continued to give off her typical "I don't give a damn about you" attitude, hoping that like times previous, he'd just give up and sit down. But for some reason, today he seemed adamant about her giving him a chance to "prove himself." She had no doubts that he would either way her decision went.

Danny watched Van. He knew she couldn't hold out much longer. He also knew that she was simply put, the most STUBBORN chick in California. He'd complained about this fact a million times over the space of a few months to his older brother Derrick, who'd encouraged him not to give up. He'd explained it as, "Girls, man, girls just have to know that you'll be there, no matter what. Especially Van." He never actually clarified what he meant by that, but Danny'd put two and two together, all the mysterious "injuries" that would seemingly fall upon Van that she'd try to hide. Each time he thought of whoever it was doing these things to her, he'd get angrier and angrier, and he'd resolve to keep on with her, until she gave in. Or got so mad she cracked and at least told someone what went on in her home.

Vanessa continued to stare. Finally she heard something she couldn't argue with. He blurted out her BIGGEST SECRET and used it against her. Hearing from someone else what she had to go through at home, well it brought on a rush of emotions she wasn't equipped to deal with. Vanessa was the type of girl who pushed down her anger and fear and hatred, seething in it, until it consumed her. Then she'd explode, beat the shit out of someone, and be done with it. Until the next time. But lately, she'd had a harder time diffusing. She blamed Danny, and her growing attraction to him for this. Cursing loudly, she shoved past him and ran, after screaming "WHAT PART OF NO DON'T YOU UNDERSTAND?"

She tore out of the classroom, as if she were on fire. She didn't stop running until she'd found a bathroom. She ran in and ran straight into the guy who'd been gunning for danny as well as her older brother Marco, who was in prison with his older brother D-Boy. Looking up at the six one dark skinned boy, she crawled frantically backwards toward the wall as her heart raced in fear. She had no farther to crawl, she was backed firmly into a corner.

Danny came skidding in, having chased her down the hall. She looked at him, her eyes frozen in fear and tried to get him to leave, because she'd just seen the gun in the guy's pocket, and knew he'd meant to kill Danny at some point. She begged with her eyes, but Danny didn't get it. He stood there. The guy whirled around and in seeing danny, he smiled a sickening smile. Van's heart sank, as she realized that the guy was now aiming the gun.. At Danny's head. Then as if he was in a daze, he turned back to Van and snatched her up off the lineloeum floor. He held the gun to her head instead, and cocked the safety off. Van gulped and paled, begging with Danny to just run, get the hell out of here.

Danny froze in terror when the guy hauled Van off the floor. He looked from the guy with the gun to Vanessa. Danny had never been a really bright boy when it came to what response one should have in certain situation. So when Van begged him to run and save himself, he did what he thought felt right. Instead of running, he glared at the guy coldly and said "you're such a man, take me. Shoot me and not her." The guy smiled and shrugging said "you asked for it Vinyard."

Shots rang out through the hall. One Two.. BOOM BOOM. Danny slumped to the ground, the guy hauled ass out of sight and Van, crawled over to Danny, blood now oozing from him, and cradled his head in her lap screaming. When the blood hit her leg and hand she screamed louder, cursing, anything she felt would get people into the room faster.

Remembering her training one summer as a lifeguard, she frantically tried to keep him breathing, as she checked his pulse, and held onto the wound which gushed more and more blood by the minute. Finally his brother Derek arrived along with the teacher and the EMT's. Van told them all what had happened and what he'd done to save her, as she continued to hold Danny's head in her lap. As they loaded him on the stretcher, she sighed and leaned down whispering into his ear, "Yeah, alright. I can't turn down a guy who'll stop a fucking bullet with his body for me now can I?"

This was the last thing Danny heard before he blacked out from the blood loss. But when he woke up, there she was sitting there. After months of healing and therapy and surguries all of which Van was there for, Danny Vinyard finally got his chance. He had to take Vanessa Rivera to their senior prom.