Chapter 1: Normal Life
Although this chapter itself contains no yaoi, if you don't like it don't read it.
Normal life. Yeah that's one thing I used to have. I was just a normal 17 year old boy, who went to school as a junior at Kingsley High. Well, sort of normal. My past wasn't exactly normal, but other than that, I shouldn't have gleened much attention. I have black hair and green eyes, my eyes were really the only thing that stood out about me. I always wore black, so I usually just blended into the background, and it got me teased a lot, but I could care less. I had only been at Kingsley about ten months, I didn't know anyone, so, because of me being pretty quiet, I faded into the background as often as possible. I had no friends because no one ever felt compelled to talk to me. Club activities never interested me, and my grades were pretty average.
So how did I end up THERE? I have no clue, even when I think hard about it and know hat I know now. It is...insane. Talking plants and animals, a king that's into bondage and lopping of heads, and differently colored EVERYTHING. I still think it might have all been a dream. Or I would if it weren't for...him. Yes, him. And yes, it's a him in a romantic sense. Wait I haven't even told you my name have I? Well, it's Alex. Alex Daratrazanoff. Yes, that's my real name, and yes, I am a boy.
Anyway, this all started when my teacher assigned us Alice in Wonderland as a reading project...
I woke up to find myself in English class. I must have fallen asleep again, as I often did back then due to my lack of care about school in general. It was just so boring, I already knew all of the material, and to top it off my least favorite teacher was blathering on about something. 'Well,' I thought, 'If I'm awake now I might as well listen.'
"Well, class, we have a new reading assignment. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll," she said.
Frankly, I really didn't care, but I felt I should at last do the assignment, just so I could pass and not disappoint my newest foster mom. "So can anyone tell me the plot of Alice in Wonderland?" Ms. Bitterman said.
Wonderland huh? What a crock...that's what I thought at the time.
The writer of the book was probably insane. What good does it do to think of a mad place like that? In reality you can't just fall down a rabbit hole and get caught up in some wonderful fantasy land. Books like that were just a waste of time.
I took out my sketchbook, which was pretty much my only friend during those days. Despite my misgivings about the book, I found myself sketching out the characters the way my minds eye saw them. I was halfway done with the Mad Hatter when a ruler slammed on my desk.
"Mr. Daratrazanoff, would you care to share something with the class? It seems to be rather interesting to you," my teacher seethed in a disapproving tone.
I glared up at her. Why did these things always happen to me? I just wanted to be left alone. And she smudged my drawing. "No, Ms. Bitterman, I would not. Could you please take your ruler off of my sketchbook? You're messing up my sketch." I heard snickers from around the room, and rolled my eyes. I could care less what they thought.
When 's face turned red, I mentally facepalmed myself as I realized I had just spoken without thinking. Again.
"Alex, because you refrained from paying attention, you're the last one to get your book. Here," she said as she handed me a beaten old book.
'Sheesh,' I thought. It was so beaten and worn I could barely see the title.
"It's in pretty bad shape. In fact, keep it if you want. As long as you do the assignment." I could swear she smirked as she said it. 'If I can read it, you bitter old hag,' I thought nastily in response. The rest of the class dragged on, and I thought it would never end.
When it finally did, I had to put my English book in my locker, and was in the process of doing so, when someone slammed into me, banging my head against the locker and causing me to drop all of my books. My sketchbook went flying, along with my English book and notes.
Knowing exactly who was the cause, I didn't do anything but hold my now aching head and bend to pick all of it up when a shoe came down hard on my sketchbook.
"Oops, my bad," a flippant voice said from above.
The foot twisted, tearing pages out. Feeling my anger start to rise in defense of those pages, I looked up to see Keith Jackson, one of the most popular guys in school. And, needless to say, one of the meanest. Damn jocks. Then I noticed the pages he had stepped on were full of sketches, specifially, the ones of a few Wonderland characters...and he knew it too, by the way he was grinning from ear to ear. I stood up, dusting myself off and glaring venomously at him.
Keith sneered. "Just get to pickin' up your stuff, ya damn emo," he said as he kicked my sketchbook.
'Calm down,' I thought heatedly, knwoing if I didn't cool my head, I would gt in trouble...again.
Then he kicked the sketchbook again, and a picture ripped, fluttering to the ground.
With that, the last strand of my control snapped, and I growled, but with an unchanging expression, punched him directly in the face. He stumbled back a few steps, and it was obvious if I hadn't had the element of surprise, I wouldn't have hurt him nearly as bad.
He grimaced and covered his now bleeding nose. "You really shouldn't have done that, emo boy." Even as he said it, two of his friends who had been lurking behind him came up closer. He grabbed me by my shirt and threw me up against the lockers. My head snapped back and I saw stars. 'Oh shit,' was all I think. He raised a fist and I squeezed my eyes shut. 'Why couldn't I just pick up my books and walk away?'
I waited, but the blow never came. I opened my eyes to see Keith was just as surprised as I was to see the hand gripping his fist a few inches away from my face.
"Three against one? That doesn't seem fair." I heard a deep, melodious voice say that just as a blur of black and red entered my vision and Keith went flying backwards. "Of course, if it was fair, I don't think you'd stand a chance."
Once Keith was a few feet away, I looked up to see who had rescued me rescued me, and all I could do was stare. I had seen him around, we were in the same grade after all, but I never really got a good look at him. Until now. So, this was Devin James. Blond hair with the tips dyed red and black, a black t-shirt with rips in it, and a fishnet long sleeved shirt underneath. Black Tripp pants with red accents and chains, and goth boots to match.
Then I saw his eyes as he looked over his shoulder to me and smiled slightly, and they were so blue, I couldn't believe it. He continued to smile, his teeth perfectly white and straight, as he raised his fists and bent his knees slightly, obviously still ready to fight. "Yo. Nice to meet you, I'm Devin," he said.
I blinked. "A...Alex," I replied, unable to think of a way to respond other than that.
He just smiled at me. "Yeah, I know who you are. Might want to keep on your guard 'cause this isn't even close to finished yet."
Keith was finally getting up as he said this, and those two friends snapped out of their stupor and helped him up. "Oh, perfect. The artsy emo and the homo. Let's get 'em guys."
Oh, yeah. Devin was gay...which would explain why even though he was exceedingly good looking, he wasn't very popular.
I was a little uneasy being so close to him, but I had more important things to worry about than Devin possibly flirting with me...like staying alive. I didn't know how to fight, in fact I didn't know what possessed me to hit Keith now that I was in my right mind. As I was thinking this, one of Keith's friends came at me, and I was so clueless, I just closed my eyes and ducked. The guy went flying over my head and into the lockers and Devin smirked, simply stepping in front of me completely. "That was lucky. Look, if you don't know how to fight, just stay behind me. I jumped in to help you, not to see you get pummeled."
"But-" I tried to argue. He just raised a hand to cut me off.
"It's cool. I can handle this." Keith and his friends had formed a half circle around us, with us up against the lockers. Devin put his fists up again, not intimidated in the slightest.
"Mr. James! Mr. Daratrazanoff! It is against school rules to start fights!" Oh, shit...Ms. Bitterman. That was th last person we needed.
Keith smirked as the old teacher walked up to us.
"Ms. Bitterman," Keith whined, "Alex punched me for no reason. My friends were just trying to make sure he didn't do it again," he said showing off his bloodly nose.
She smiled at them, her demeanor completely different than it was when eh spoke to Devin and me. "Of course Mr. Jackson. Our star football player wouldn't start anything like this." She turned to glare at us. "But, you two, on the other hand, would definately do something like this. After school detention. Now." She turned and started back to her room. I bit my tongue to keep my mouth shut. I wasn't hoping to make this any worse, for once.
Devin bent down to help me pick up my stuff so we could follow. "Ehh, I guess it could of been worse," he said in an amused tone, picking up my torn-up sketchbook. "Hey, these aren't that bad. I really like this one." He pointed to my half finished Mad Hatter.
I blushed a little and took my sketchbook back. "Th-Th-Thanks. It's not finished though." I smiled at him. "Thanks for helping me. I...I'm not much of a f-fighter," I stuttered, rubbing my neck.
Devin chuckled and handed me everything as we started on our way to Bitterman's room. "Yeah, I could tell. Though you looked pretty pissed back there, and that wasn't a bad punch either, lots of power. But, I could guess why," he stated, gesturing off handedly to the sketchbook.
I felt myself blush again and kept my eyes straight ahead. "Yeah, well, Bitterman already ruined one, and I didn't see any reason to be nice to Keith after he screwed with them. I wasn't really thinking," I mumbled.
Feeling Devin's arm slide around my shoulders, my eyes snapped up to meet his. "You know, you're really cute," he said with a smile that once again showed even, stunningly white teeth.
I gulped and sped up my steps, making his arm fall from my shoulders. God, I'd almost forgotten he was gay...until he said that. "Look, I-"
He held up a hand to stop me, smiling and shoving his other hand in his pocket. "Yeah, yeah, I know. You don't swing that way. It's cool. I was just saying, that's all. It's like you're not used to people touching you."
I stopped and blinked.
"I'm not. I'm one of those blend-into-the-background, wallflower kind of people."
He kept that smile on his face and glanced at me out of the corner of his eye. "You don't blend to me. But, you do seem like the quiet type. That's what makes you so cute."
I flinched, but managed not to move away this time. It wasn't like I was homophobic, I just didn't know how to handle a gay guy hitting on me is all. We got to Bitterman's class and I took my seat by the window. Devin chose the chair behind me.
Bitterman looked at us from her desk and said, "Just sit there and be quiet. Alex, you should get started on your reading assignment. Mr. James, I'm sure you have somthing to do as well." I sighed and pulled out the book, and Devin pulled out some math. I opened the book and stared at the front page.
Uhg, I soooo didn't want to read this book. Pointless books about fairy tales weren't my thing. I glanced back at Devin to see him staring at me. His gaze connected with mine and he smiled thst smile, not even slightly embarrassed at being caught. He gave me a finger wave and started his math homework. I turned around and all sorts of thoughts were going through my head.
1: I liked Devin(in a friend sort of way)
2: Devin liked me(not in a friend sort of way)
3: I was NOT gay
4: Despite not being gay..I thought he was pretty good looking...
I shot up in my seat. Wait what? I went over the list in my head again. I glanced back to make sure that Devin was still doing his math. 'Did I really just think that? That's so wrong. It's not like I'm a homophobe or anything. It's just, I'm a guy, he's a guy. It's wrong,' I thought rapidly to myself.
Okay, I needed to get off this train of thought. I opened up the book and, as much as I hated to, began to read...
Someone poked me in the face. I kept my eyes closed, wanting to sink back into my dream, even though I was already forgetting what I was dreaming about. But when I got poked again, I opened my eyes to see, not my bedroom, but Bitterman's classroom. And a close up of Devin's face. I sat up quickly, blushing and popping my neck in the process.
"Ah...Ow..." I complained.
Devin laughed. "Rise and shine, sleeping beauty. Come on, it's time to go."
I saw heading out of the room and looked down at the book I had been reading. I was only on page seven. Geez, I fell asleep. The book must have been more boring than I thought. Devin looked at the book as I began to put my things away. "I've read Alice in Wonderland, and it's not that boring, man."
I shrugged and picked up my bag and sketchbook. "I guess. I'm just tired after all the drama today."
We got our stuff and left the classroom, but as we began walking down the hallway, Devin started up conversation. "So do you walk home or do you drive?"
I raised an eyebrow at the question, and thought of my beat up '66 mustang my foster mother had given me. "I walk. I do have a liscence, but I only live around the corner, so I don't see the point in driving. Besides," I gave him an innocent look, "...it's healthier to walk."
Something sparked in his eyes, but died down almost immediatly. Did I imagine it?
Devin smiled and laughed lightly. "Very practical. Are you some kind of health nut?" Was it just me, or did that smile never seem to reach his eyes...except when he looked at me? My eyes widened as I realized he was waiting for an answer.
"What? No, I -" I sputtered nervously, not wanting him to think I was a weirdo. He put a hand on my shoulder and chuckled.
"Hey, hey, calm down. I was just kidding. So, anyway, do you mind if I walk you home?" he asked nonchalantly, looking at me out of the corner of his eye.
I grinned like an idiot, for no rason I could place. "Yeah, I would like that."
He smiled and held open the door for me. As we walked, the silence wasn't uncomfortable, which surprised me. Usually, just being around people put me on edge. I glanced at sideways at Devin, and found that he was staring at me again. His expression was relaxed and happy. "So, Alex, what kind of car do you drive?"he conversed, looking genuinely interested.
I blushed and looked at my converse. "A 1966 mustang. My foster mom got it for me. " His eyes widened and his smile reached his eyes.
"For real? That's amazing! It runs right?!"
I stared at him and nodded. "It's pretty beat up though."
Devin just kept grinning, and we were no longer walking. "I could fix that for you. I work at a car repair shop. And man, a chance to work on an old car like that...!"
My jaw dropped, and I shook my head. "I don't have the money."
He smiled and winked at me and I felt a twinge in my chest. "Free of charge. You just have to let me drive it."
That was ... weird. I shook it off and smiled pleasantly at him. "You got yourself a deal."
Devin stopped smiling for a second, looking as if something had ust registered in his brain. "Wait, did you say foster mom?"
I looked at my shoes again. "Yeah." He was going to ask the question, I knew it and dreaded it even as I steeled myself for it.
"What happened to your parents?"
I closed my yes and took a deep brathe, refusing to look at him as we kept walking. "They were murdered." No need to tell him specifics. Like that it was right in front of me. Or that it was one killing the other.
He seemed to get the hint and suddenly started talking about cars, getting really excited and telling me all about his work with cars in the shop. I seriously couldn't imagine him working in a car shop, and my bad mood started to fade the more he invovled me in the conversation.
Suddenly, he got a devious expression on his face and his eyes sparkled. The look he gave me made me feel like a trapped rabbit. "Hey, Alex, do you, by chance, remember what you were dreaming about?" I though about it for a minute. All I could remember was wanting it to continue.
I shook my head "No, why?"
He smiled mischieviously. "Well, its just that you said my name. A lot."
My face burned. "Wha-, I-, Well-," I stuttered, genuinely having no idea what i had been dreaming of, and then...someone tapped me on the shoulder.
I turned around to see the strangest man I had ever seen, and Devin was staring too. I turned my eyes back to the man again. He had snow white hair and was wearing a three piece white suit with a pink tie, a matching top hat, white shoes, and... red eyes? This guy couldn't be over 20, so what was he doing with white hair, and NO ONE had red eyes. But, he had just saved me, so I had to respond.
"Y-yes?" I said.
He smiled, revealing perfect, white teeth. He was good looking enough to be a movie star.
"Excuse me for the interruption, gentlemen, but have you seen a gold pocketwatch, by any chance? I am afraid I lost it somewhere around here." I looked at Devin, who shook his head.
"No, I'm sorry we haven't."
The man looked disappointed. "Then, I am terribly sorry to have bothered you." He smiled again and got way in my personal space. "May I have you instead, by any chance?" He put his hand on my cheek I felt the other at the small of my back. "You have a lovely face."
"Wha?" I tried to step back, but his hand held me in place, and his other moved to my chin to keep me from looking away.
"Must I repeat myself?" he murmured seductively, leaning in with the obvious intention of kissing me.
Suddenly he was forced backwards and I stumbled back a few steps. Devin was holding the man by the collar, having pulled him away from me. "He's not gay. And I don't appreciate you trying to molest my friend," he growled, letting go roughly.
Then I saw something shining out of the corner of my eye, and glanced in that direction. Making a suprised noise and picked it up out of the gutter. "Um, sir, is this your watch?" I said as held up the shining gold pocket watch now in my hand.
His eyes brightened, and he came over to sntach the watch from me almost immediately. For some reason, when he took it, I felt a sudden absence inside me, like I didn't want the watch to go. "Why, yes, yes it is! Thank you, boys!" he said. Two white rabbit ears popped up on either side of his hat. They had been blending in with his hair.
I moved closer to Devin, staring at the new body parts. "No...problem," Devin said warily, also staring.
"Hey by the way, are you going to some kind of cosplay thing?" I murmured.
The man looked up from his watch. "Cos...play? What is that?" In his excitment, he had completely forgotten me, or rather, that he had tried to molest me.
"Um, nevermind," I said. The man opened the pocket watch and checked the time...and the crazy-ness started.
He looked horrified. "Oh, my! I am late!"
I blinked. "What?" I said.
He rushed off in the opposite direction, stuffing the watch in his pocket, only to have it fall out of a hole he obviously didn't know was there. "Oh dear! I am here, I should be there! I am late, I am late, I am late!"
I looked on the ground to see he had dropped the pocket watch. I picked it up and yelled, "Wait! You dropped your watch again!"
He glanced back, but continued running. "I am late! No time to say hello, goodbye! I am late, late, late!"
I froze for a second, suddenly hearing as if I had heard those words before, and then I realize exactly where I had heard them. Wait a minute. I looked back at Devin. "Did you hear what I just heard? Or am I going insane?" Because those words sounded like the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland.
Devin and turned his gaze to me. "No, man. I heard it too, but we better give that crazy guy his watch back, before he reports us for stealing."
We ran after the guy in white just in time to see him turn a corner. "Hey, wait!" He ignored us and turned another corner. It kept on like this for another ten minutes. Us calling out to him, and his only response, if any, would be "I am late!" We came to a city park, and the man in white went around a tree. Devin and I turned the corner, expecting to finally catch him, only to find nothing behind the tree.
"Are you kidding me?" I said. "Where did he go?"
I was exhausted, my breath coming in heavy huffs.
"Well, people can't just disappear," Devin said in between pants.
We walked around the tree a few times. "Well, no rabbit hole," I joked.
Devin laughed nervously. We had now gone around the tree 3 times. "Um, Alex..." Devin muttered in a disbelieving tone.
I looked to where he was pointing. "Oh. Hell. No."
There was a handle. On the tree. I now noticed the different colored grass on this side of the tree. A green carpet? "Well. Apparently this is where our guy in white went. Do you want to open the door or shall I?"
I shook my head. I wasn't opening that thing. Devin just shrugged and opened the door. A pink and purple neon sign was the first thing we noticed. This time it was Devin who said, "Oh, heeeeell no."
THE RABBIT HOLE was written in the neon letters. "Maybe he was in some kind of cosplay group," I said. Devin stared at the dark stairwell lined with pink and purple lamps. "Doors in trees. Now I've seen it all. But whatever. Dude went down here so we need to go down too."
He brushed his hair back from his ear as he stepped inside, and I noticed for the first time that he had piercings. "How many piercings do you have?" I blurted out suddenly, staring at all of the loops and studs.
He grinned. "Oh, so you finally noticed those? I have seven in each ear, and my eyebrow is pierced." He brushed his hair out of his face so I could see the black hoop going through his his eyebrow. I reached forward without thinking, but stopped.
"C-Can I touch it?" I asked, feeling really stupid.
But I was curious. His smirk softened to a smile and his eyes flared, like I had thought I had seen before. "Of course."
He bent a little to make it easier for me, and it made me realize how tall he was. I was average height, about 5'8" or 5'9", but Devin had a good 6 or 7 inches on me, making him 6'3" or 6'4". I reached up to slowly touch the ring, and found it to be warm from his body heat. I couldn't make eye contact with him as something seemed to spark in my chest, and knew I had to be blushing.
"Alex," Devin whispered.
I just stared at his shirt, still touching the ring. I knew I should drop my hand, but I was frozen, and my hand wouldn't listen to me. That pain in my chest from before came back.
"Alex, look at me."
I dropped my arm finally and shook my head.
He grabbed my chin and forced it upwards, and I froze as our eyes met. His stare said 'Kiss me,' and his eyelids lowered as he started to lean forward. Oh, God. He was going to kiss me. But, looking at that look, I couldn't pull away. I felt my eyelids lower until they were halfmast like his.
'Pull away,' I thought. 'You are NOT gay.' But the closer Devin's lips got to mine, the less it seemed like my body agreed with me.
Suddenly, as his lips were a fraction of an inch away from mine, "Late! Late!" echoed from the tunnel/staircase. It seemed to make me snap back to reality and I pushed Devin back.
"W-we need to go after the man in white." I stuttered, voice slightly husky, as I shook my head to clear it.
Devin looked slightly disappointed, but nodded. "I guess."
Thn he was suddenly crowding me up against the inside wall of the staircase so fast, I couldn't do anything to stop it.
"You know, you really shouldn't tease me like that," he put his mouth close to my ear and whispered. "You looked so cute blushing like that, and admit it or not, even if it was only for a few seconds, you wanted me to kiss you." He pulled back so his face was only a few inches away. His eyes seemed like they glowed in the semi-darkness of the staircase's doorway.
He pulled away just as quickly. "Okay, let's go after that guy."
I gulped, still a bit shaken. "K-Kay. But why do I feel this is a bad idea?"
Devin laughed as we stepped all the way into the stairwell. "Probably because it is, but what else is there to do?"
I stared at the darkness we were about to walk into. It was a bit... cramped and...dark. The lamps didn't give off much light. But, he had a point, and...I could handle this. There was some light, and it wasn't tooo cramped. I would have felt uneasy going down there away, but after what Devin just pulled, I felt even more uneasy. I was going down into a dark tunnel I knew nothing about, with a guy I knew almost nothing about. We walked for a minute, and I looked over to Devin to see how he was handling it, only to see him staring at me.
"What?" I said, not comfortable being stared at.
He just gave me a small smile and said "Sorry."
I started sweating. 'No problem.' I could always go back if it got really bad, and then I realized something. "Wait. I don't see the light from the door anymore," I said looking back.
We both looked back only to see that the door was completly gone. It was completely black at the top of the stairs. "Well, can't go back that way," Devin said lazily.
I gave him a 'Well, Duh.' look. "Okay, lets go then. The only way to get back is to ask that guy."
We were closed in. I souldn't see any exit. I was getting claustrophobic, and even as I realized this, I could feel the walls closing in, my breathing become heavy, and the horrible memories surfacing. Oh, God not now.
"Alex did you lock the door?"
I smiled and sat on the couch next to her. "Yes, Mommy." I really hadn't but, I didn't feel like getting up. She smiled and rubbed my hair. "Good boy. Ready for movie night, Lexy?" I snuggled up to her and nodded. I turned seven last week. And my drunken Dad had finally left us.
Suddenly someone busted in our door. "Where is that bitch?" I heard a male voice yell.
"OH GOD! Hide Lexy! Now!" Mom got up and pointed to a cabinet.
I hurried into it just before my ex-father came into the room, brandishing a machete. I cracked open the cabnet door. All I could do was watch and hide as I saw my mother massacered. Shoved in the dark cabnit. I couldn't help it, and I screamed.
"Oh, there you are ALEX." The door was slammed on my face and, dazed, I felt something wet and sticky being shoved in there with me, and heard a lock click shut. "Fuck you." I heard.
Days. Days in that dark cabnet, drifting in and out of consciousness.
Devin put his hand on my shoulder. "Alex, you okay?"
I turned my wild gaze on him, not even seeing him. "Get me out! I can't breath!"
One look at my face and he nodded, his own eyes wide and worried. He grabbed my hand and we were running down the stairs so fast I couldn't see where I was going. So, of course, I tripped. Devin caught me quickly though, and we resumed running, when we came to a door out of nowhere.
Actually, we almost ran into it. When we stopped, Devin opened the door. We were both shocked at what we saw.
It was a bar.
A freaking bar!
It was almost empty, except for the bartender. We looked around the bar for the guy in white, but he was nowhere to be seen, so we walked up to the bartender. His hair was parted down the middle, and he had a huge nose with a handlebar mustache. He glanced at us from cleaning the glass.
"Strange place to bring a date," he said.
We both looked simultaneously at my hand still clasped tightly in Devin's. I quickly let go and explained while Devin just grinned. "No. no. We're looking for the guy in white." He glanced at us.
"Oh, you mean Peter, the White Rabbit."
Oh, good Lord. "Yeah, I guess so."
The bartender pointed to a red velvet curtain in the back. "He went that way..." We started towards the curtain. "You don't want to go back there though."
I looked back at him. "Why not? We just want to give him his pocket watch."
The bartender shrugged. "Suit yourself. Don't say I didn't warn you." I looked at Devin who just shrugged and held open the curtain. I took a deep breath.
"Next time, don't follow the damn rabbit."