Saleem tried to walk steady, but it wasn't working. He was tripping over and stumbling along wiping the blood away so that it didn't drip into his eyes. They would pay. He would make sure of that. He stopped off at a takeout and went to bathroom and cleaned himself up. He walked out and got some food and put it in his bag. He walked out, starting to feel the warm feeling of safety as he was approaching familiar territory when he felt someone near him.

"Saleem, you alright?"

"What does it look like?" Saleem answered.

Daz raced in front of him and couldn't believe what he saw.

"What happened?"

"Like you don't know" Saleem barked.

"I don't, slow down will ya" Daz tried to keep the urgency out of his voice, he didn't want to frighten him.

"Get lost" Said Saleem, but the anger building inside him made him tired, and he stopped. Daz became relived, finally hoping he'd get some answers. He hadn't known him long but felt that he was a mate, and if there was anything he could to help him, then he would. Daz suggested they sit down somewhere but Saleem said he'd already been to a take away. Daz mentioned that he was feeling a little peckish and fancied something. Before Saleem could protest Daz gently turned him around and began walking him to a nearby cafe. There were only two other people there so they were practically by themselves. Saleem didn't want anything, but Daz ordered him a drink and got himself a drink and a sandwich. He placed Saleem's drink in front of him with an expectant look on his face.

"What" Saleem said anxiously.

"Are ya gonna give me the truth?" Daa questioned him.

"You know it" Saleem said firmly.

Daz shook his head, and it occured to Saleem that maybe Daz didn't realise what they'd done.

"A couple of your mates..........they started"

"Nah........are ya sure?"

"Course"

"But why?"

"You know 'em, they don't need a reason" Saleem reluctantly sipped hia=s coke and Daz took a bite of his sandwich. He knew that his mates picked a fight occasionally or had a go at each other for a laugh, but not strangers, not lads like Saleem. He was fuming at them, but he'd knew he couldn't confront them.

"I should have been there"

"Why? To help kick me about" Said Saleem bitterly.

"As if........to help ya" Daz said without a trace of uncertainty.

Saleem shook his head in disbelief and Daz just wanted him to believe that he would never do anything like that to him or to anyone else. He'd have to bring it up with them and see what they said. He'd tread carefully though. He didn't want to be next.

"I'm a born first-aider me, I could tend your wounds for ya" Daz offered kindly.

"Stop talking to me like I'm a girl" Saleem ordered and Daz became quiet and he ate half of his sandwich and offered the other half to Saleem, but as he'd already guessed, he refused.

"I don't need anything, I've gotta go" He got up and Daz tucked the rest of the sandwich into his pocket before they both left the cafe. Saleem turned a corner but stopped and put his hand in his jacket pocket and offered a surprised Daz with a couple of quid.

"It's for the drink"

"Nah it's alright" Said Daz feeling that he'd been taken advantage of enough.

"Take it" Saleem urged him, but it didn't work.

"Nah.......you've got me number ain't ya" he asked him.

"Well....yeah"

"Use it as credit"

Saleem walked off while Daz was going to make plans to see his mates to get to the bottom of things and wondered if Saleem would ever have the guts to call him sometime.