Notes: Well, I got a new computer. *Does happy dance* I'm going to do something odd with this one, that I don't do with most of my stories anymore…I'm going to post this as a WIP. I'm getting kind of tired of writing stuff, and not getting feedback…and then giving up because of it. So please, review. I would very much appreciate it. It will tell me whether you like the story, and if you want me to continue or think it's absolute crap.

On another note…who's absolutely elated that it's almost summer? I know I am. ;) I don't know when everyone gets out, but here in Michigan we get out mid-June. Mostly it's because we start school in early September because of a law we have around here…I know some people start in August, which really sucks a lot. Hopefully, though, everyone gets as much summer as possible, and it's a good summer! ^_^

That being said, the last book we're reading this semester is Taming of the Shrew. I'm basing this story off of that. Because everyone loves adapting Shakespeare, right? I have seen 10 Things I Hate About You, and I'm probably going to be incorporating elements of both into this. But it won't be a complete Taming of the Shrew knock-off, and it won't be a complete 10 Things I Hate About You knock off. I'll be original…hopefully. *Cries*

The Obligatory List of Non-Canon Human Names:
Denmark
: Mathias Køhler
Norway: Nikolai Sorenson
Iceland: Eirikur Jameson

Pairings: Denmark/Norway, Sweden/Finland

Background Noise: Too many to mention…Please go visit my profile, and under 'Favorite Ships' you will find a rather long list of APH pairings. If the pairing is on there, it's liable to appear…I'm not saying it will, because several pairings on that list contradict each other, but whatever you see has the potential to show up.

Summary: Northern High School: A cesspool of bigotry, cliques, and the drama they cause. Berwald Oxenstierna just wants to catch the attention of the lovely Tino Vainamoinen. Nikolai Sorenson, Tino's stepbrother, just wants to survive the last few weeks of the school year unscathed. And Mathias Køhler is pulled into a mess that he isn't quite sure he wants to get out of.


Chapter One: The New Kid


Walking through Northern High School was intimidating at best. It was huge; four floors, sixteen hallways, no less than eighty rooms. Three gyms, two swimming pools, a theatre, a football field, a baseball field, a library to make several upper class institutions green with envy, a cafeteria, four courtyards, a senior lounge, and an entrance hall which included an almost-too cliché grand staircase outside, leading up to it.

But it was not only these things that made Mathias Køhler incredibly nervous as he walked through the doors of his new school for the first time. No, it was the stares he was receiving from the hoards of students whom all seemed to be congregated to gawk as he walked through. For such a big school, this place had a rather small student body. Maybe it was only because the brightest and best (Supposedly) were invited to attend this school. Or maybe it was because tuition was so Goddamned expensive here. Either were reasonable explanations.

Although, Mathias thought as he stared at a trio of bumbling bleach-blondes, the latter is looking much more likely. Judging by the blank expression on some of the male population's faces, he could tell that they weren't exactly qualified to attend this school by their test scores, either.

Mathias could tell just by looking at the guy that the German kid in front of him, leading him towards the front office, was King of the Tight-asses. He'd introduced himself as Ludwig—just Ludwig. Mathias had no clue if that was a last name or first name, but didn't have any intention of being particularly close with the kid, and so didn't really ponder all that hard.

"This is the front office," said Ludwig, pointing to the left. Though the school looked old on the outside, inside it looked exceptionally modern. The front wall of the office was made of glass, and you could see the two secretaries clicking away in there. There was a hallway off to either side, and plaques above those. As far as Mathias could tell, one hallway lead to the Dean of Students and Vice Principal's offices, and the other hallway lead to the Councilors' offices, as well as the Athletic director's. The Principal had his own little office to the left of the main one, which was guarded by a secretary.

In the few minutes it took Mathias to gather this information by staring, Ludwig continued without even noticing that Mathias was in no way following. He only looked back when Mathias cried, "Hey! Wait!" And ran to catch up with him.

"Oh, sorry." Ludwig then picked up what he'd been saying, either not realizing or not caring that Mathias had no idea what he was talking about. Then again, that was partially his fault for thinking Mathias actually cared about the history of the school. All he needed was a little help finding his classes, and the hallway where his locker was located.

"Ah, not that this isn't…incredibly interesting," Mathias said, scratching the back of his head, "but…I need my schedule…"

"Mrs. Héderváry," said Ludwig.

Understandably, this statement held absolutely no importance or meaning in Mathias' mind, and so he just stared rather blankly at Ludwig and said, "Uh…huh?"

"Mrs. Héderváry," Ludwig said again, pointing towards the office. "You're a senior, right? She's your councilor. You'll be able to get your schedule from her. I can show you to your classes once you have your schedule, if you like…"

"Uhm…no thanks, I think I'll be able to find myself around," Mathias said, waving him off. Ludwig was nice enough, sure. But rather stiff, and to be honest Mathias really didn't want to have to follow him around like some lost puppy for much longer. Perhaps if he didn't behave so much like the New Kid, people would stop gawking so much.

As he walked back towards the office, the whispers about him finally started reaching his ears in the absence of Ludwig's droning, German-accented voice.

"Is that the new kid? The one who got expelled from Southern?"

"I hear he was expelled for stabbing another kid."

"Oh my God…did he die?

"No, but New Kid over there just spent the last year in Juvi."

"I know this guy whose friend's girlfriend is that guy's cousin…he told me, that he ate a squirrel."

"Yeah, everything but the tail."

Mathias sighed an rolled his eyes. His reputation preceded him, it would seem. It did always tend to. He wasn't sure when the rumors started; he'd moved schools all his life, an army brat until just recently. His mother had just divorced his father last year, and they moved back here to be with Mathias' grandmother. But around his fifth or sixth school, rumors started flying about why he switched schools all the time. Somehow, someone from his previous school always managed to contact someone at the next, and the rumors started before he even got there.

The squirrel was new. He wondered if it was some warped version of the 'Guinea Pig on a Stake' rumor that had been following him for a few years.

This would be his last school, most likely. He was basically only here to take his finals and then get as far away from the states of California, Nevada, and New Mexico as possible. He was planning to go back to Denmark, his birthplace, and attend college there. It wouldn't be easy, but he knew he would feel better once he'd put his grueling adolescent years behind him, and found a place where no one knew his name and he could start from scratch, for once.

When he stepped into the front office, he leaned over the desk of the first woman and smiled his charming smile at her. "Hello…" after a glance at her nameplate, Mathias looked back over, "Miss Engels. Could you point me towards Mrs. Héderváry's office, please?"

Miss Engels was quite the young woman, and she stared at him with a very deadpan look. "Around the corner. To the left. You're the new kid, aren't you? The one who transferred from Southern? I hear you're quite the juvenile delinquent, Mister Køhler."

Mathias' smile became strained. "You shouldn't believe everything you hear from the gossip mill, Miss. It yellows your teeth and makes your blood run green." Then, tipping an imaginary hat in her direction, he headed off towards Mrs. Héderváry's office.

Mrs. Héderváry appeared to be another younger woman, with chestnut brown hair, green eyes and a pleasing olive skin tone. She was typing furiously on a laptop computer, which was odd because there was a desktop computer on her desk that she was completely ignoring. But maybe she was just one of those 'I only trust my own equipment' people. All he knew was that when he knocked on the doorjamb, she barely took her eyes off the computer to examine him before she said, at length, "Just oooone second…I have to finish this paragraph…"

Well, okay then. Mathias gingerly stepped in the room, as if there were a couple of mine fields that were just waiting to explode, and sat down gently in the chair across from Mrs. Héderváry's desk. Immediately, he became annoyed with the chair. The seat was made of pleather. He hated pleather.

"Okay, thank you for waiting." He looked up, realizing that Mrs. Héderváry was no longer typing crazily, and her face was no longer hidden behind a computer. She smiled. "What can I do for you?"

"Ah…I'm Mathias. Køhler." He handed her the identification card he'd gotten in the mail yesterday, and continued, "I'm a new student here. A senior."

"Oh, oh! So you're the infamous new guy." She seemed to be amused by his notorious reputation, rather than believing of it. For, when she mentioned it, she winked before getting up out of her chair and retrieving some freshly-printed documents off the printer. "Huh. Nine schools in twelve years. Problems, parents, what?" She sat back down, and now did turn on her desktop. Mathias was rather confused, but didn't really feel like asking.

"Parents, I guess," Mathias mumbled, "My dad…he was in the air force…"

"General Blas Køhler, yes," Mrs. Héderváry muttered, nodding and pointing to the paper she held. "Yes, it says that right here. Army brat, I see. Or, rather, air force brat." She winked and continued putting his information into the computer, then brought up his schedule. "Let's see…Hmm…Well, I can't say your transcript isn't impressive. Your grades, anyway. Your behavioral examinations are…interesting, at least."

Mathias winced. He was very well aware that his behavioral and temperament testing were a twisting, turning roadmap of contradictions. But honestly, it just depended on how he was feeling that day, or how happy he was about where exactly his father had dragged him. In elementary school, he'd been a relatively happy kid. Until fifth grade, when they'd moved for a fourth time and Mathias had to leave a really good friend he'd made in New Mexico, for a small, strange school in Nevada attended almost entirely by evil little boys whose fathers were grooming them to be killing machines in the military. That, and a few shy little girls who hadn't wanted anything to do with him.

In middle school, they'd made him go to therapy and considered him borderline suicidal after he'd yelled at a councilor that he, "Sometimes just wish I would DIE! It would make everyone happier!" That was the mark in his record that everyone's eyes were drawn to.

But honestly, he'd been twelve years old. Did nobody realize that preteens were just like that? Then again, the school had been a large, sterile environment in San Gabriel and that wasn't the type of school to take a chance and let boys be boys.

"Hmm…well, anyway, here's your schedule." Mrs. Héderváry handed him the paper she'd just pulled out of the printer, and said, "You're only taking core classes, except for mythology. That means you have four free periods, which isn't usual for seniors. A lot of them don't take electives both semesters."

"Senioritis," Mathias remarked, smirking. "I don't have it, but I just don't want to have to catch up in too many classes only to graduate in a month, you know?"

"Understood," Mrs. Héderváry said, nodding. "I wouldn't, either." Mathias watched her as she rolled back towards the file cabinet, and slid his file in.

"Well, Mr. Køhler, welcome to Northern High School."


The Front Courtyard, 4:00 that Afternoon


Everything about Tino Väinämöinen was lovely, beautiful, and perfect. From his flawless, snow-white skin to his pale blonde hair, to his curvy and petite little body. Or so, that's what one Berwald Oxenstierna's opinion on the matter was. He'd developed quite the hobby of examining the little Finn from afar, when he could. Unfortunately for Berwald, Tino also happened to be utterly unattainable.

Most of the student body was under the impression that Tino was either a complete, stuck-up brat (Not that there weren't plenty of them in that school excluding Tino) or painfully shy. The truth, Berwald had come to find, was just that the boy's father didn't really like him talking to people whom he hadn't known for a long time. A rule like that made it very hard to make friends, and especially to come across with his true, loving personality.

As far as he could gather, Tino's father was just very paranoid. No one really knew why, but they did know that Tino and his brother Nikolai were not allowed to date and, especially in the case of Nikolai, were not interested. It was hard for Berwald, to know this and simultaneously realize that A: Tino wasn't available, no matter what, and B: Tino wasn't interested in the slightest. Anyone who had eyes could see that Tino was receiving looks from Ivan Braginski, and no one wanted to get in-between that.

Ivan Braginski was the captain of the wrestling team, and rumor was he could mess you up pretty bad. He didn't seem like such a bad guy on the outside, but on the inside it was mostly confirmed that he was a ticking time-bomb of rage and insanity. They said it had something to do with the fact that his uncle, an Russian army veteran whom was known to his nephew, and his two nieces (Ivan's sisters) as General Winter, ran their house like a boot camp. Things like that did stuff to a boy.

Sighing, Berwald rested his head on his hand and stared at Tino. That poor boy, not even knowing the danger he was getting himself into just by looking so pretty within the eyesight of Ivan.

Berwald wouldn't go so far as to say Tino didn't know he existed. That sounded a little too melodramatic, and they had talked on occasion. However, it wasn't enough to actually call each other friends, and Tino had his own clique (The popular, vapid kids that only liked him because he had a big house and his brother could drive) and Berwald had his. (Those kids in every school that aren't really a group, but are classified into one category because they all sit around, being silent and looking scary.)

But sometimes, when it was warm and sunny out, and they could wait for their respective rides on the patio instead of inside the school, Tino would sit at the same table as him and they would exchange a few words. Nothing profound; just a hello-how-are-you. That's all they really had time for, before Tino's brother would roll up in his second-hand blue Ford sedan, and tell Tino to stop breaking Dad's rules and get in the car. Tino would blush, and inform that he wasn't, before shyly bidding Berwald adieu and climbing into his brother' car.

"Hi, Berwald."

Berwald looked up completely surprised to see Tino sitting next to him. He'd been so caught up in his own thoughts—about Tino, no less—that he hadn't noticed the little Finn sneak up beside him and sit down. He stared for a long moment, before nodding. "'Lo, Tino."

"How have you been? I haven't talked to you lately. I should do that more." Had it been anyone else from Tino's clique, Berwald would have taken this as condescension and probably blown the statement off by getting up and walking away. But Tino seemed to being saying this in all sincerity, so Berwald let himself believe it, and let it alone.

"'kay."

There was an awkward silence—and their silences were always awkward, because Tino hated them and Berwald never knew how to fill them—before Tino said, "Prom coming up, huh? Excited?"

"Not goin'."

It must have been a trick of the light, because Tino didn't actually look disappointed at that information, did he? And, well, if he did it was probably only because he felt sorry for Berwald. Missing out on a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and all. "Oh, that's too bad. Why?"

"No date. No tux," Berwald said, and shrugged. He hadn't really been looking forward to the prom in the first place. Just another social event where he'd stand a head over everyone and feel completely awkward. Spending the night as a wallflower was probably Berwald's least favorite thing to do.

"Hmm…well, I'd like to see you there," Tino giggled, patting Berwald's hand and making the Swede shiver slightly at the contact. "And a tux isn't that hard to find. Seriously, you should come. You only get one prom, and I promise if you come, I'll dance with you once."

For all its clique mentality and bigotry, Northern was a very progressive school. It wasn't usually frowned upon when two boys were in a relationship, or two girls. It was well-known that Tino was gay. Not so much for Berwald, but he didn't actively try to keep it a secret, either. Those who knew had asked, and those who did not, didn't know him and wouldn't care . Berwald's name didn't make it into the gossip mill very often.

Berwald tried to control his reaction to Tino's offer—stopping himself before he could look up too quickly, raising an eyebrow, trying not to make any face that would look threatening or angry. He was well aware that he was infamous for making odd faces when he was excited.

"Really?"

"Really!" Tino gave another big smile. "I'll save one of the slow dances, promise. But you've gotta promise you'll come, okay?"

Berwald nodded. "'kay."

Tino's brother chose that moment to walk bye. "Tino, stop talking to strange boys. You know what dad says."

"Nikolai, Berwald's a friend," Tino said, scowling at his brother. "And we were having a really nice conversation before you came by and decided to be rude. Dad never said anything about friends."

Nikolai only rolled his eyes. "Whatever, Tino. I'm riding home with Ice today, since Dad dropped us off this morning. You can either call Dad and get a ride, or you can ask one of your friends to drive you. Not him."

Tino's scowl only deepened. "Berwald doesn't even drive."

That was a lie, and Tino knew it. Berwald knew Tino had seen him drive to school in the mornings, and so he wondered why he would tell his brother that. Tino was usually respectful to his brother, unless the older boy was being particularly mean to him, and then it was a battle of who could be meanest. They liked to butt heads, those two.

"Hmm." Nikolai rolled his eyes and walked away, back over to his friend Ice. The boy's name was actually something like Eirikur, if Berwald remembered correctly, but Ice was the nickname everyone knew him by. It was a bit of a mystery, as to why the name had come about. Nikolai was always the icy one, so it stood to reason that it would be his nickname instead of the simply shy boy who was his best friend. But he wasn't the one to come up with the nickname, and he figured there was a perfectly logical reason.

In their minds.

Once his brother was out of earshot, Tino looked back at Berwald and said, "If he knew you drove, he'd drag me with him and Ice and I don't want that."

Berwald nodded. "'course."

"But…I do need a ride," Tino muttered, biting his lip. "Care to help? We'll have to wait a little while, because if I get home before my brother he'll know I rode in some boy's car; most of my good friends are girls, and none of them drive."

Something told Berwald he shouldn't accept, but something about the way Tino was looking at him so sweetly just made him unable to not say yes. So he nodded, and stood up. "Wanna go t'the libr'ry w'me? W'can spend an hour there b'fore w'leave."

"Oh, okay," Tino nodded and stood up, wrapping his satchel back around his body as he did so, and nodded his head inside. "Come on."

Berwald waited until Tino was inside to smile in a slightly dopey way, and proceeded inside.


End Chapter; TBC


A/N: As you've probably noticed, certain parts of this story take place at later times than others. In order to not make this confusing, I'll list the time and the location in the scene breaker, if the scene is not immediately subsequent to the one that just took place. If this gets confusing for you, please tell me and I'll help with that. But just so you know, the Mathias storyline is at the moment taking place about seven hours before the Berwald storyline. They'll catch up to each other in a few chapters, of course, but for the moment that's where they'll be.

You'll get into Nikolai's head next chapter. I just really wanted to get this started, because I knew if I waited any longer to post this, I would never bring myself to get around to it. That's just the way I operate. :/

So I hope you enjoyed the first chapter, guys!

-Lynn