"Right." The man in the centre spoke with a forced cheerfulness. "Now, lets all get to know each other. Introduce yourselves, and tell us a little bit about who you are."

Silence. Everyone looked at the scuffed limoleum floor, the dingy pale yellow walls. Everyone looked anywhere they could to avoid looking at each other.

The tall, thin boy, with a fine, waxy complexion, spoke first. His tone was slightly imperious, as though he were a visiting Prince to the local peasants.

"Well, my name's Robert," he spoke haughtily, "and I've been expelled from three schools. My father doesn't know what to do with me, so he thought time here would be good for me."

There was a shifting of feet. Another boy – a big, burly character – spoke. He had a British accent.

"You were expelled?" His voice was lazy. "Cool. What did you do?"

Robert shrugged, as if he couldn't be bothered to explain. "Well, I smoked when no-one noticed. I also refused to work. Private schools…they can't accept that. They told my father I had an attitude problem."

The larger boy laughed. "I think we're going to get along just fine."

"Do you have an attitude problem?" The man in the centre – whose name tag claimed he was Dr. Saito – looked at him, a kind smile on his face.

The boy looked at him. "I just have attitude. Simple as that." He put his hand in his pocket, and started to pull out a packet of cigarettes.

Saito's eyebrows went up. "Eames. You cannot smoke in here."

Eames shrugged. "Fine." He put them back in his pocket. "I'll go and smoke them outside, later."

Saito's eyes met his. Eames didn't look away.

The doctor turned. "Well, Eames, why don't you introduce yourself properly to the rest of the group? Tell us who you are and why you're here."

Eames shrugged. "I like to fight. End of story. And I like to drink. And I like…" he leered slightly at a small female member of the group. "…girls."

"Subtle." That came from another member of the group, a thin boy with dark hair, and intense eyes.

Eames looked over at him, irritably. "Didn't ask you. Who the fuck are you, anyway?"

"Arthur." The voice was quiet, calm.

"Arthur." Eames rolled the word around his mouth, then spat it out. "Sounds like a poncey name to me. What're you here for?" He leaned forward, aggressively.

Arthur didn't blink. "I beat someone up."

"You?" Eames began to laugh, disbelievingly. "You beat someone up? You look as if you only weigh about 10lbs, what was it over? Someone nick your dinner money?"

"No." Arthur continued to look at him, calmly.

Eames gave a disinterested shrug. "Fine, be that way. You look as if you'd snap in half in a fight, anyway."

"That was very hostile, Eames." Saito spoke pleasantly. "As though you want Arthur to fight you."

"I don't want Arthur to fight me." Eames looked at Saito. "Because I'll win, and I don't like winning with an unfair advantage."

Saito smiled again. "You have confidence, Eames. We can work on that."

Eames shrugged. "Whatever."

Saito tried again. "Now, Arthur. Do you want to talk to the group?"

Arthur looked round. "I think I've said all I needed to."

"But you beat someone up." Eames squinted at him, hostility mingling with naked curiosity. "I'm interested. What else happened? Are you one of these losers who spends all his time listening to Marilyn Manson, planning to shoot up his school?"

Arthur didn't flinch. "No."

"So, what did you do then?"

"I beat someone up." Arthur was perfectly composed.

Eames grunted, and looked away. Saito tried to regain control.


The petite brunette looked up, then down. "I don't want to talk about it."

"Never mind, dearest," Eames crooned, leaning over. "We can talk about it later, just you and me!"

She shifted in her chair, looking nervous.

"Leave her alone." Arthur's voice was barely raised, by the effect was as though he'd fired a gun. Eames shifted back in his seat and glared.

"I think you both need to calm down." Another voice broke in; Arthur turned to its owner. He was slightly older than Arthur, and blonde, with an intelligent, intense expression.

"And you are…?" Robert spoke, in a mildly contemptuous voice.

"I'm Dom." His voice was low. "I'm here because…people think I'm crazy. But I think you can read people through asking about their dreams. But people think its…psychotic."

Eames looked bored. "Fascinating, Dom."

Saito spoke. "Thank you. I look forward to our meeting tomorrow."

Getting up, he left, leaving the disparate group of teenagers to eye each other.