The bell echoes loudly in my head. The usual mad rush to the door ensues in utter chaos, and the teacher's scolding fall on deaf ears.

I walk with my stack of books clutched in my arms as I try to avoid colliding with the other students coursing through hall. In the middle of the hallway, there's a lull in the traffic. I get close enough to discover why.

Of course. It's Rider. Just Alex Rider. The druggie, everyone says as they pass him, some fearful, some with disdain.

I keep walking past, not looking at him. For some reason, I can't bring myself to believe a word of the rumours. Maybe it's because he was in my class. Maybe because I knew him. A nice boy really. Smart, quiet and collected, never a trouble maker.

So why…?

Oh, right. His uncle died and he began missing a lot of school. Not for a moment did I take the "ill" excuses he'd come back with each time, only to disappear soon after. No one did, really.

I think he's already past me, so it felt safe to look up. But he is still there, caught in the mob of rushing teens, like me. He looks up briefly and I find myself staring into his eyes. Mesmerized.

I realize it then as I stand frozen. The boys and girls milling around me mean nothing to me when I see. I see the depths of his agony reflecting upon his chocolate brown eyes. He had suffered. More than a fourteen year old should.

Why? I ask silently. Why do you have to endure this pain? Alone.

His eyes smile sadly and they convey the words he would never say. I don't know. No one would me.

It's not fair. I argue back, but I know it's pointless. After all, what do I understand about him? Does anyone? I hope the answer is yes.

Does he ever ask himself that question? Does he ever hope for a yes? Maybe once upon a time, but not anymore. That much is clear.

He looks away and the spell is broken. I walk down the crowed hall and turn a corner as I wonder how I never noticed before…

So it doesn't really surprise me that sunny afternoon, as I sit near the open window. Alex didn't come to school today.

A newspaper lies on the table in front of me. I can't keep my eyes away from that lonely little column, hidden unless you looked twice. It's an obituary, small and undefined and unnoticed.

No, I guess it doesn't come as a shock at all. He had been alone, there is no doubt. He had always been alone.

In solitude.

A/N: So…how was it? Kind of lame maybe? Okay? Interesting? Horrible? Off?

It's very short, I know, and maybe too unrealistic? I need feedback! This is my first attempt at a AR one-shot, so yeah!

Review PLZ!