Well hey there Tower Prep! How I've missed you!

Yes, its me! I'm back and better than ever and this story is getting a COMPLETE make-over. Something to be proud of!

Enjoy my lovelies!


Slam.

Step. Step. Step. Step.

Inhale.

"Ian..."

Exhale.

"I don't wanna talk about it, Kristina."

Stomp stomp stomp stomp-SLAM.

Silence.

A sigh left coral pink lips and the younger Archer rubbed her forehead, a tick that her mother told her over and over would give her bad acne or frown lines.

Like that mattered...

Stepping as quietly as she could up the white carpeted stairs, Kristina tip-toed by her older brother's room and scurried down the hall into her own solitude, only taking the time to close her door before she slumped against the hair wood and let out a breath of frustration.

Suspension. Like Ian needed that on top of everything else going on.

When Ian had returned from school with Kristina worriedly trailing behind him like a shadow, the look on their parent's faces - annoyance, disappointment, frustration, aggravation, exhaustion - told a bigger story than her father calling her brother down nearly ten minutes later.

"Ian, Ian would you come down here please?"

Kristina winced as she heard her father shout up to Ian from the first floor landing. She could picture in her mind's eyes his deep set frown and tired green eyes, a hand running through his shaggy caramel hair that both Kristina and Ian had inherited.

She heard Ian's door open and close quietly almost a full minute after and her father begin to ramble on again about Ian's numerous suspensions.

Hoping she could at least avoid the bulk of her dear older brother being chewed out by her dad, Kristina flipped through her worn copy of Emma again.

"Kristina that means you too."

Groaning to herself, Kristina jumped off of her bed and padded her way down the stairs, avoiding eye contact with her father or mother as she sat down next to Ian at the dinner table.

Taking his hand under the table top, Kristina squeezed it in what she hoped was a reassuring gesture. Ian's small, tired smile confirmed she had succeeded.

Dinner was a tense affair, no one saying much for the beginning of the meal. Gnawing at her lip, Kristina played with her chicken Alfredo listlessly.

"Kristina, please sit up and eat. And if you keep on chewing your lip like that, you're going to tear a hole through it." her father barked. Immediately Kristina sat up ram-rod straight and released her lip.

"Dad, leave Kristina alone, please." Ian had to bite back a growl and Kristina gripped his knee under the table, sending him a panicked look to drop it.

"Watch your tone, I'm not one of your school yard bullies, Ian." his father snapped.

"Michael..." Mrs. Archer tried.

"No Lydia. Do you know how many times we have tried to...to fix this, Ian? Too many!"

Ian snapped at his father, eyes narrowed. "What exactly is there to fix, Dad? People are messing with my friends, so I'm resolving the issue!"

Kristina squeezed Ian's knee harder, silently telling him to cool it.

"That doesn't mean that you and your temper are just supposed to go in swinging!" Lydia scolded and Ian's voice took on an exasperated tone.

"So I'm just supposed to stand there and do nothing?"

"No, you tell a teacher or you tell one of us." Michael told him sternly and Ian scoffed.

"Ian..." Kristina murmured, but was all together ignored.

"I can't just change who I am!" Ian finally snapped and Lydia sighed.

"You don't even know who you are yet, Ian."

Ian fell silent after that. Kristina could have sworn she heard him whisper I know who I am...right?

She said nothing about it.

After another tongue lashing from their father, Ian stormed back up to his room as Kristina cleared the table.

Lydia sighed, eyes downcast but said nothing as Kristina finished her chores and went after her brother.

"Ian...?" she called softly as she pressed the door to his room open. He stood next to his window, looking somewhat forlornly out onto the front lawn as fireflies danced between blades of grass in the twilight.

"Did Dad send you to chew me out too?" Ian asked sarcastically and moved to flop down on his bed, facedown.

Sitting down on the edge of the bed and running a hand through his auburn hair, Kristina smiled softly at her brother.

"No, he would come up here himself, you know that."

All she got in response was a muffled grunt of frustration. Sighing, Kristina patted Ian's head like a dog.

"I know its hard, Ian...I see how much you're sick and tired of dealing with this."

Ian lifted his head off of the pillow and flipped over onto his back, putting his hands behind his head.

"Sick and tired is a little bit of an understatement, Kristi." Ian muttered, bitterness laced in his tone. Kristina smiled weakly at the old nickname.

"Do you remember when we were kids," Ian spoke up after a long, empty silence between them. "We used to walk to the park all the time, and we had to cross Liberty Street to get to the swings?"

Ian still wasn't looking at her, but instead he was staring up at the ceiling, apparently lost in his memories.

She said nothing.

"And that one time those knucklehead kids were messing with you and pulling your braids out, and I kicked one so hard he ran crying to his mom?"

Kristina ran a hand through her long hair. She could remember the sharp tugs like it was yesterday.

"That was when standing up for others mattered. Apparently when you reach high school it all just stops mattering." Ian concluded.

"Ian, you and I know that thats not true. Standing up for people is just as important no matter what your age is. The methods maybe have to change." Kristina soothed.

"But throwing punches and defending my friends is all I know how to do. I'm trying to do the right thing but every time I try to do something good it ends up like this," Ian gestured wildly around him, "The bullies get away scott free and where do I end up? Suspended and on Dad's next-to-throw-off-of-a-cliff-list."

Kristina couldn't help but giggle at that one, and Ian lifted his gaze to smile tiredly at her.

"At least I've got you, Kristi. The only sane person in this house." Ian mused, chuckling with a sort of bitter air in his tone.

Kristina shook her head. "You're just as sane, if not more sane, as I am." Kristina gave him a knowing look and Ian propped himself up on his elbows, a concerned look on his face.

"Are you hearing voices again?" Ian asked at a near whisper. Kristina chewed her lip.

She's been hearing them again. Ian's voice echoed in her head and it took all the willpower Kristina had not to flinch. This time the voice sounded just like Ian, which made lying to him even harder.

She knew she should tell Ian that the voices had started back up again, but fearing he would push back his problems to help hers, Kristina let go of her lip and forced a smile onto her face.

"Nope! They've been gone for awhile now, no need to worry, right?" Kristina smiled and Ian nodded slowly, but pulled her into a long embrace anyway.

Ian was silent after that. The siblings sat in quiet for a few more minutes, neither really wanting to break the nice serene that had fallen over the room.

But remembering the heavy amounts of homework her teachers had piled on for her, Kristina reluctantly moved to stand.

"Well, if you ever need to talk or something, I'm always here for you, Ian." Kristina took Ian's hand in her own and squeezed it, a light smile gracing her lips.

Ian smiled back at her and nodded.

"I may just take you up on that, Kristi."

Kristina smiled at her big brother and pecked him on the cheek. "Love you, Ian. Get some sleep okay?"

Ian smiled and nodded again. "Love you too, Kristi. See you in the morning."

Kristina smiled at Ian one last time before opening his bedroom door, walking out of the room and closing the door softly behind her.

The echo of wood meeting wood reverberated around the hall long after Kristina had entered her own room.

She settled in on her bed with her iPod and Emma, slowly drifting off to sleep.


I'm back and better than ever!

Thanks for everyone who continued to view and review this story! I'm taking the plot somewhere completely new here, so the old chapter are gonna be scrapped.

Chapter two should be along somewhere soon (I'm not sure, I have exams right now)

Review, I wanna know what you guys are thinking!