Disclaimer: Do not own!

A/N: OH...MY...GOD, YOU GUYS! I am SO sorry-I know I've been A.W.O.L for the past few days and I seriously couldn't be more sorry. I don't even had a valid excuse this time-Life just gets the better of me sometimes and gets in the way. But here's a new chapter, I didn't want to go to bed tonight without posting it-It's been in the back of my mind for days...just nagging away hahah.

On another note, I can't believe all of you thought I'd let Adam off that easy-You know me better than that. I love this boy but c'mon, what kinda author would I be if I didn't give him a hard time? ;]

Enjoy:


CHAPTER SIXTEEN: PAYBACK'S A JOCK

It was eight o'clock in the evening and I was home alone. My parents dropped by at six to tell me they were going to dinner and a movie and would be back at ten. But they aren't the ones I'm worried about—Where is Drew? I knew he had tutoring with Wesley after school but that doesn't take more than an hour. I was starting to get a little worried. I hadn't seen Drew since after lunch in the hallway—You know when he was all bloody and running from a teacher? Yeah, that could make a guy worry a little bit, I'd say.

I was sitting with my feet up on the kitchen table, watching the game and eating a hot pocket when my doorbell rang. I bolted it to the door, thinking it might be Drew.

"Clare?" I blurted out. I checked over her shoulder for Eli but he was nowhere to be found.

"Expecting someone else?" she joked.

"I thought Eli might be with you," I told her.

"Nope, I've come alone," she said. "Are you going to invite me in?"

"Clare," I said in a fancy voice, "Won't you please come in?" I must say, I was in a bunch better mood since I'd quit keeping what happened with Natalie a secret.

"I will," said Clare, playing along. She stepped passed me, and taking another quick glimpse of the street, for Drew this time, I closed the door.

"So Clare," I said, following her into the kitchen. "Not that I don't enjoy unexpected visits but why are you here?"

"Very nutritious," said Clare, picking up my half eaten hot pocket and ignoring my question. "Which food group is this again?"

"The best one," I answered, taking it from her and stuffing the rest in my mouth. Clare grimaced.

"Lovely," she said.

"So what're you doing here?" I pressed, my mouth full.

"I come bearing auspicious news," Clare told me with a smile.

"Out with it then," I said, swallowing.

"Natalie doesn't care about you being an FTM," she announced, her smile widening as she waited for my reaction.

Which I'm sure disappointed because, instead of being happy, like I'm sure she expected, my face fell at the mention of Natalie's name and the numb feeling began to sting my fingertips, threatening to spread again.

"Adam, that's good news," Clare told me as though I was slow.

"Yeah, how?" I demanded, a little bit ruder than I'd intended. But I had to admit, things did start to make more sense. Like why she wasn't fazed by anything, except 'Gracie'…That was still weird, though.

I stopped. "Wait a minute, how do you even know this?" I asked, giving her suspicious eyes.

"Well, I—You know," Clare got nervous. "I kind of…Spoke to Natalie". Her voice got high as she said this.

"You what?" I exclaimed.

"Don't be mad!" she pleaded. "I was only trying to find out what happened!"

"So you thought you'd ask Natalie?" I couldn't believe it.

"You wouldn't tell me!" she reasoned. She had a point, I suppose. "And thanks a ton for agreeing to tell Eli when I wasn't there," she said, her voice a little hurt.

"I only told him because she threatened to kill one of my most prized possessions and frankly, I didn't want to hold out long enough to see if he was bluffing," I told her. Clare raised her eyebrows.

"I'll never understand guys," she sighed.

"Probably not," I said. "Just like I'll never understand girls".

"Well," said Clare, giving me a smile that was a little bit too reminiscent of Eli. It scared me a little bit. "I can help you with that".

"How?"

"By telling you that winning her back in not impossible. She really liked you, Adam. Still does, in fact," she informed me. I felt my heart swell a little bit at her words.

"Oh, yeah? News flash, Clare. I'm pathetic! I don't know what I'm supposed to do," I told her. Clare thought about it for a second then looked up at me with her earnest blue eyes.

"Maybe you should stop focusing so much on what you're supposed to do, and try thinking about what you want to do," she told me. "I think you'll find they might just be the same thing".

I opened my mouth to ask her what the heck that was supposed to mean but she interrupted me before I could.

"I should go," she said. "My parents don't like me out this late". I nodded and walked her to the door in silence.

"Thanks," I said, opening the door for her. "for everything". Clare smiled and put her hand on my check.

"Make her realize she wasn't wrong about you," she told me. Then turned and left.

Lost in my thoughts, I closed the door and went to sit on the couch. How was I supposed to show Natalie that she wasn't wrong about me? Not supposed, I thought—Remembering Clare's words. How do I want to show Natalie that she wasn't wrong about me? I groaned in exasperation. I had no idea what that even meant.

The sound of keys turning in the lock and the front door squeaking open pulled me out of my thoughts. Drew.

I ran to the entrance hall to find him coming through the front door.

"Where the hell have you been?" I exclaimed, sounding frighteningly like our mother.

"Nice to see you too, bro," he said, smiling. He looked just as bad, if not worse, than I'd seen him in the hallway. He was limping and clutching his side.

"What happened to you?" I demanded, closing the door behind him and helping him to the couch. "You look awful".

"You should see the other guy," he joked.

"You got in a fight? Why? With who?"

"Don't you worry about it," Drew told me. I was about to retaliate but my cell phone rang—it was Eli.

"Hello?" I answered.

"Dude, tell your brother he is the man!" Eli yelled excitedly on the other end. I looked at Drew suspiciously.

"I was about to tell him something but that was not it…Why? What did he do?" I asked Eli, not taking my eyes off my brother.

"Dude, you don't know?" said Eli.

"Obviously, if I'm asking you," I said, a little irritably. I wish someone would tell me what had happened already.

"Let's just say, you should be calling him 'Dark Avenger', not me," Eli told me. "Or maybe 'Jock Avenger'…" Eli laughed.

"I'm still waiting for you to tell me why," I said.

"He took on Fitz and Owen, man!" cried Eli. I don't think I'd heard him that excited since the Dead Hand concert.

"What?" I demanded into the phone. Before Eli could say anything else, I turned to Drew. "You're an idiot," I told him. "Why?" Eli got quiet on the line.

"I heard what they did to you," said Drew slowly. "With Natalie right there…" He trailed off.

"So you decided to let them kick your ass…again?" I said, remembering last time my brother tried to stick up for me.

"Dude…Word at school is that he kicked their asses," said Eli on the phone.

"I had a little help," said Drew simultaneously.

"And that's not even the best part," continued Eli. "You should hear what he did to Bianca…"

"Thanks, Eli but I think I'll let Drew tell me about this one," I said. "See you tomorrow?"

"Cool. Yeah, definitely," said Eli. And right before he hung up, I swear I could hear him doing a celebratory happy dance and singing something along the lines of "Fitzy got owned! Fitzy got owned!"

I laughed a little bit before rounding on my brother.

"Enlighten me," I said, going to the freezer and grabbing an icepack. "What did you do to Bianca?" I handed him the icepack and he put it on his swollen eye before speaking.

"Well, I recruited Wesley to help me make a little bomb during our tutoring session…"

"You bombed Bianca?" I exclaimed. "You realize that's terrorism, right?"

"No! Let me finish." he said. "We put it in her locker…When it de—deto—When it exploded, it made a huge mess. Stuff everywhere. When a couple of the faculty tried to help her clean it up. Well, they found some questionable stuff in there…"

"What did they find…?"

"Let's just say it wasn't oregano…" responded Drew smirking.

I couldn't help it, when Drew finished his story—I burst into laughter. The images of Bianca's busted up locker and Fitz and Owen's busted up faces, well—It was all too much. Have I ever said how much I love my brother? Man, it felt good to really laugh again.

"Okay," I said, finally. "You are the man".

"No one messes with my brother," said Drew simply. "…Now I just need to find a way to tell mom that I've been suspended for two days," he added. My face fell.

"Suspended?" I said incredulously. "If you've been suspended, I don't think you need to figure out how to tell mom because she's going to kill you regardless".

"As far as she'll know, all I did was get into a fight," said Drew. "No one found out that it was Wes and me who planted the bomb…As long as Wes doesn't squeal, I'll be fine". I gave him an uncertain look. "Don't worry about it," he insisted. "Since it was only my first strike I got two days…I got off easy. When I was waiting in the office, I heard Owen's mom telling him he's going to military school".

"Wow. What about Fitz and Bianca?"

"Well, Fitz and Bianca have both been suspended twice already so they have disciplinary hearings with the school board on Monday," he explained. "And I'm glad I'm not them because when mom finds out what she did to you and, now, me—She's going to be pissed". Drew smiled widely. That reminded me.

"Speaking of mom finding out, how did you find out…about what happened…with Natalie?" I asked suspiciously.

"I was walking by and heard Natalie telling Clare," Drew said, shrugging. Drew had heard them?

"What else did she say?" I asked, trying not to sound too eager. Thinking maybe this could give me a clue as to how to get her back.

"I don't know, do I?" said Drew. "I was so angry when I heard that I rushed off to find Fitz and Owen".

"I still can't believe you did that," I said, looking at his busted face. I got up and got him a wet rag to wipe the blood off his chin.

"I let it go last time because you asked me to," he said seriously. "I wasn't going to do it again…"

"You're really a meathead, you know that, don't you?" I said fondly. "But thanks". I smiled at my brother, as he wiped his face with the rag.

"Anytime," said Drew grinning.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^later^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

"Dude!" Eli called from behind me. I stopped, allowing him to catch up. It was just before second period and we had a ten minute break. "I saw Fitz at the Dot this morning," he said excitedly, wearing the widest grin ever. "He's wearing a cast! A cast! Your brother broke his arm!" He couldn't even believe it.

"That's awesome," I said distractedly.

"Dude, what's with the face?" asked Eli. I blinked hard, then turned to look at him. I was going to tell him that I was preoccupied with thoughts of trying to get Natalie back but someone interrupted me, stopping us in the hall.

"Hey Little Torres," he said, giving me 'the nod'. I'd seen him around before, he was on my brother's football team—Riley something or another. All I know is that he recently came out as gay. "You okay?"

"Er hi," I said, trying to be friendly but unsure why he was talking to me. "Yeah, I'm fine—Thanks".

"Tell Drew yesterday was awesome," said Riley, as I tried not to look to confused.

He didn't say much more and after giving me a quick smile, he made his way past me. I was entirely clueless as to what that was about until I caught a glimpse of his knuckles, which were bruised and purple.

I remembered what Drew had said when he got home yesterday: "I had a little help".

So that's how he'd managed to take on both Fitz and Owen—Riley had probably helped him out. Someone told me a couple of weeks ago that Owen had some sort of beef with Riley being gay—That bully wrote 'RILEY IS A FAG' on the team bus and 'HOMO' on Riley's locker. I don't know why anyone would mess with Riley—Gay or not—That guy was tough. Somehow I didn't have a hard time imagining who took on who.

Smiling to myself at the mental image, I walked to History with Eli—A renewed spring in my step and a newfound determination to get Natalie back.


A/N: Like I said before guys, so sorry! I literally have had no time to myself. And the next couple of days is going to be busy too so I don't know when I'll be able to post but I'll try to do it as soon as possible-Hang in there! I'm also sorry that I haven't had time to send anybody a review this time-So many people have reviewed and I didn't have time to send 1 person a message let alone 15-20. If I'm going to be honest, I don't think I'll be able to send you previews this time either but I'd really appreciate a review anyway :]

Anyhow, thanks so much for reading this story-Final chapter is the only one left. It's been real, you guys :] Along with your review, why don't you tell me what you're favorite part of the story was?

I'm currently mulling over a couple of ideas for my next story-Tell you more about it when I post the final chapter. Thanks so much for your support,

xx,

Holly

P.S. In case you guys didn't get a chance, I still recommend that you check out the Degrassi RPG sites-I'm seriously addicted and we'll get to chat :]

here are the links again:

1. w w w [dot] z7 [dot] invisionfree [dot] com / afterthelockdown (I'm Adam & an Admin)

2. w w w [dot] ddegrassii [dot] proboards [dot] com (I'm Bianca & Fiona)

3. w w w [dot] z7 [dot] invisionfree [dot] com / be_the_best (I'm an OC)

All of these rights are awesome and need members; Plenty of awesome canons are open! P.S. if you do decide to join, please be active-there's nothing worse then getting excited about new members/characters and having them disappear