You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter then you think- A.A. Millen

Bare feet pad silently across the cold tile floor making hardly any sound at all. The owner of the pale feet stops for a moment chewing on her bottom lip before continuing down the silent hallway. Fingers run along the wall feeling the all to familiar texture slide past soft fingertips. A soft amber glow entices the girl to the window and she curiously stares into the media room. Dark eyes stare back at her urging her hand to slowly turn the doorknob till the door opens with a metallic click and step inside the scarcely lit room. All eyes fall on the newcomer as she shuts the door back with barely a sound. The girl stands awkwardly away from the group with her back against the wooden door until a pale hand reaches out for her. She treads over to the other patients sitting in a circle around the candle the hospital gown swishing against her bare legs as she does. Cold, calculating grey eyes lock on her own blue ones and linger there seeming to stare into her soul until two warm hands grasp the girl's waist startling the girl and breaking the staring contest. Long fingers curl around thinly clothed hips and pull the girl into a warm lap. Two arms hold her close to the boy with the dark eyes and the girl can't seem to tear her gaze away from his face. The room is near deathly quiet; only the sounds of breathing disturb it until a low, dark chuckle resounds breaking the silence. Lips pull back over teeth reveling a brilliantly white scornful smile in the candlelight. "Glad you could finally join us."












"That's me!"




"Uhm…uhm..HERE!" The head nurse drones on checking off each and every person's name off her list. The teens fidget anxiously in their alphabetical line-up casting longing glances into the cafeteria where the smells off breakfast are wafting from. The last name on the list if finally called and with everyone accounted for they are dismissed to eat. A pair of bare feet smack loudly against the floor as the brown haired girl makes her way to the line angrily. A few send worried glances at her but most ignore her and begin hungrily tearing into their food. A stack of pancakes is place on the girl's tray and she harshly shoves the back at the woman serving food. Snatching a carton of milk and mini box of cereal the girl stomps over to a table as far away from her companions as possible. A few minutes later a tray is set down on the table beside her and the girl starts to glare up at the fiend before she catches sight of a pair of red and black sneakers under the table and sighs going back to picking the marshmallows out of her Lucky Charms as he takes a seat.

"What's wrong?" He asks quietly after finishing off most of his breakfast. The girl's eyes don't leave the table as she frowns and leans against her friend.

"M-my teeth hurt." She growls shutting her eyes.

"I'm sorry. Anything I can do to help?" The boy asks playing with her hair.

"I need something to chew on." The girl sighs.

"You know if it weren't for the fact you're in pain I'd assume you were coming on to him, Chlo." The small blond girl teases taking a seat on the girl's other side.

"Shut up. Don't you da-" The brunette barks but the blond cut her off.

"What, mention your oral fixation?" She smirks. The smaller teen digs in her pocket and pulls out a small water filled plastic child's teething ring. "Here." She hands it to the girl beside her who perks up almost immediately as she sets to gnawing on the cold ring.

"Hrow..did..rou..gret...diss?" The older girl questions still chewing.

"I might have let slip to Nurse David how mean you get when you're "teething" last week before he let to go get supplies." The blond girl smiles at her friend.

"Thanks, Fouts." The girl murmurs contently snuggling closer to the silent boy beside her as the smaller girl walks off.

"Okay, so listen up kiddies, today we are going to do some group therapy and then we'll go down to the pool for about an hour and a half." Nurse David smiles at the stoic group of teens he is assigned to. There are some grumbles of disapproval but they all follow behind the young man as he leads them to an empty meeting room. The teens take a seat on the floor and stare quietly up at the sunshine blond. "So who wants to go first?" David asks eyeing the group. When no hands go up his gaze falls on the dark haired boy farthest from him. "How about you Johnny?" Dark brown eyes stare listlessly at the man but he sighs and starts all the same.

"Me and Chloe got into a big fight yesterday. So I hit here and she bit me." He says rubbing his fingers across the still angry red bite mark on his hand. David's bright green eyes widen as he looks at the girl snuggling closer to Johnny. "But then she started crying and we talked for awhile and we both apologized. So I'm doing pretty good right now." The boy finishes running his thumb down the cheek of the girl under his arm.

"Uhmm…Chloe?" David clears his throat. "Your turn." The girl in question takes the teething ring from here mouth and smiles up at the man.

"Well like Johnny said we got into it yesterday and he gave me a big 'ol knot on the back of my head cause I fell back onto the floor when he hit me. So I've got a killer head ache and my teeth hurt real bad and I'm kind tired." She says latching back onto her toy.


"My nightmares wouldn't let me sleep and Nurse Tara, fucking bitch, wouldn't give me my damn sleeping pills so I've been up all night. I'm pissed" The small blond from earlier spat leaning her back against her only slightly taller boyfriend.


"WELL! I saw this squirrel outside yesterday but Nurse Nancy wouldn't let me go play with it so I went to the media room to watch TV but Cass was hogging the remote so I colored in this cool book till lunch and then me and Reillie watched the rain and played cards till dinner and then we watched Finding Nemo again before bed!" Randy laughs happily nuzzling his nose into the hair of the girl in front of him.

"C-Cassandra." David says slightly frightened of the excitable boy who just finished talking.

"I watched a Happy Days marathon all day. I'm so bored of that show I could claw my eyes out but I love the theme song. Right now I just wanna get this over with so I can go read." Cassandra says flopping onto her back as she finishes talking.

"Jessie May."

"Have you ever wondered how they get all those little seeds on the hamburger buns? Or like how gravity is just strong enough to keep us on the ground but not in it?"

"She doesn't get here meds. Till after lunch today Dave." A girl calls from the opposite side of the room.

"Oh. Julie do you want to go then?" David shifts uncomfortably at the thought of all of these kids without their medication.

"Hmm... I guess since ya asked so sweetly Dave." Julie smiles with a fake a flirty voice before she starts cackling. "Anywhooo...So I finished chapter 23 in my book 'Ending Shadows' and umm…Oh yeah! I gave Reillie my pudding cup at lunch." The brown haired girl smiles at her friend who rolls her grey eyes in response.


"Nancy made me clean the bathrooms for setting her desk on fire and stealing the mirror in her purse. But honestly come on, I gotta made sure I stay this good looking!" The narcissistic boy chuckles to himself.


"I hate him. I wanna rip him limb from limb for hurting her but she doesn't seem to give a shit." The heavy boy snaps glaring at Chloe and Johnny. I have to get my tonsils removed tomorrow so I won't be back till Thursday. Yeah…that's it." Tyson finishes venting and the nurse looks around at the messed up teen that surround him.

"Alright everyone get your bathing suits on and meet me down stairs in 5 minutes." Nurse David smiles cheerfully and leaves the group to do as they were told.

"Fucking hate swimming." Reillie growls as Randy pulls her to her feet. The group of teens change and shuffle down the two flights of stairs to the swimming pool. After an hour of mindlessly doing laps and needlessly perfecting dives that no one would ever seen outside this facility the adolescents are free until lunchtime.

"Can we go outside? Please David. Just for a little while?" Chloe pleads with the nurse as the rest of the group assembles behind her awaiting the inevitable answer that they always get. But the sad, broken eyes of every one of the children are filled with the tiniest bit of hope. David looked down at all those hopeful eyes and for once against his better judgments he caved.

"For a few minutes." The young nurse whispers and he can't help the smile that comes to his face as the kids' eyes light up with excitement. "Go change and meet me back here in 10 minutes." The sheltered teens rush and are back in the poolroom in 6 minutes. David sighs as he opens the door that leads to the side yard of the institute and checks for any signs of other people. When he's absolutely sure there is no one nearby the man cracks open the door and motions for the teens to hurry outside. Sunlight dapples their awed faces as they take in their surrounding. Real, warm sunlight, fresh air, animals, everything is so spectacular to the group.

A bubbly laugh comes from the back of the group and David turns to see Chloe rolling in the plush green grass and giggling like a two-year-old. The others lay down near by with their faces turned up toward the bright blue sky as they watch the clouds drift by lazily. A strong breeze tears a bunch of leaves from the nearby trees and the children squeal in excitement as they jump up to try and catch them.15 minutes later David smiles sadly. "Back inside gang." He sighs but is surprised to see the teens are not as saddened by the fact. Randy, Reillie and Julie stuff grass and dirt into the pockets of their gowns before shuffling past the nurse into the building once again. Tristan, Cassandra and Jessie May all hold handfuls of dandelions as they follow after the first three. Tyson grabs a fistful of pine needles in his large hands and goes through the door again without a fuss, leaving only Chloe and Johnny outside with the man. Raindrops splash onto the pairs faces as they make their way back to the asylum holding tightly to the multicolored leaves they've collected. As they pass the brown haired girl looks up at Nurse David with a genuine smile that reaches her cerulean eyes.

"Thank you." She whispers and then the two hurry up the stairs with the others to no doubt store their precious new belongings. Deep inside David feels he's given these teens something that they really truly needed…a break.