Authors Note: I do not own any canon characters, such as Frieda, or F-Stop. I only own Joey, and random gang members.
Constructive Criticism is Welcome. Rudeness is not.
"Hey Frieda," Francis's voice rang out, causing both Joey and Frieda to glance over. Frieda immediately scowled as she saw the red-headed boy, better known as 'F-Stop', come over. He had been continuously asking her to the dance, and it had been bothering her immensely. She wanted nothing to do with him, and he wouldn't take the hint. Quite a few boys had asked her to the dance, all of them very cute. However, she had ended up turning most of them down. Why? She was working on convincing her shyest friend to go. Joey rarely ever went to school events, and he was refusing to go to the dance. But Frieda wasn't taking no for an answer.
"What do you want, Francis?" Frieda asked in an annoyed tone, though she already knew his answer.
"For you to come to the dance with me. Heard you've already turned the other boys down. Waiting for the best guy to come and ask?" He grinned. Frieda rolled her eyes, turning away slightly, gripping her books against her chest.
"I've already got somebody to go with. He's better than you'll ever be." Frieda retorted. Joey knew she was talking about him. They'd be going just as friends. Of course, he had a crush on Frieda, and she knew, but he also knew that they were only friends. That was better than nothing.
"Who?" Francis demanded, before he looked over at Joey, who had glanced at Francis's body.
"What the hell are you looking at, twerp?" he demanded.
"Trying to figure that out," Joey muttered before he could stop himself. He had a sharp tongue, but he was also incredibly quiet, making events where he would say something rare.
"Why you little-"Frieda cut Francis off, grabbing Joey's arm.
"C'mon Joey, let's go." She told her friend, starting to walk away.
"Him? You're going with pretty-boy here?" Francis growled, suddenly reaching out, gripping onto Joey's shirt. The boy stuttered, trying to defend himself, saying he and Frieda were only friends.
"Francis, just leave Joey alone," Frieda tried to reason, "he didn't do anything to you." Francis, however, ignored Frida.
"You think you're real cool, don't you?" he snapped at Joey, still holding him by his shirt collar.
"N-no," Joey responded, shaking.
"Francis, just leave him alone!" Frieda's voice was becoming louder, hoping to draw a teacher's attention. Francis scowled, before throwing Joey against the locker. Joey was growing fairly used to this, he was a bullied kid. However, what he heard when Francis threw him against the locker caused his heart to stop for a moment. His shirt had ripped, a few of the buttons on the front coming off.
"What the fuck?" Joey didn't know who said it, but he realized the whole hallway was staring at him, and rightfully so. Over his undershirt were bandages, wrapped around his chest.
"You're a chic?" Francis question, "man, I've seen freaks like you on tv!" Frieda was the first to actually do something. She quickly helped Joey up.
"Let's go Joey," she said softly. The poor boy looked about to cry. Once the bell rang, the two had still not gone to class.
"Do you want to go to the bathroom? Fix up your shirt, get cleaned up?" she asked, resulting in a nod from Joey.
"Alright, I'll see you later," she gve Joey a small hug, before hurrying off to her class. Joey went into the boys bathroom, heading to a stall when two other boys came in. He couldn't remember their names exactly, but they were some of the gangbangers in the school.
"Hey Joey, we heard something pretty interesting about you," one of them grinned.
"Uh, excuse me." Joey said, trying to go into one of the stalls. He had fixed his shirt, but he had togo to the bathroom.
"Where you going?" One asked, moving in front of Joey.
"Gotta piss?" the other interrupted Joey. "By all means, go ahead," the two pushed Joey over to one of the urinals.
"Go on ahead, we aint gonna look." But Joey didn't make any move to unzip his pants. Instead, he gave a pleading look. He just wanted to leave now.
"No way," one laughed, "you really are a girl!"
"You're in the wrong bathroom, girly," the other said, picking Joey up, throwing him over his shoulder.
"H-hey, lemme go!" Joey begged.
"As you wish, princess," he said, throwing Joey down against the outer door of the bathroom. The plastic broke underneath him, and Joey cried out in pain, holding his now wounded arm. The two boys laughed, heading back to their classes, calling him names under their breath. Joey closed his eyes, feeling sick. He knew how this worked. He had been to three other schools. His classmates would never let him live this down. Who wanted the transgender kid in their school?
~*~*~*~*~3 Weeks Later~*~*~*~*~*~
"No, you are not wearing that to the dinner!" Mrs. Brown told her son, or as she saw him, daughter. "You will wear this! I'm not having you play pretend at this dinner. You are to dress nice!" She threw a pink dress onto Joey's bed. "And do something about your hair, you look so ugly with the way you cut it!" Joey's parents had refused to accept the fact that their daughter was actually a son. Perhaps it was because they were worried it would affect their social status? It wasn't likely, but they were sure worried about it. They still called Joey by her birth name, Janie. They called him 'her', and introduced him as their daughter.
Joey found out that he was actually a guy when he was ten years old. It had severely bothered his parents, as well as school. He was often receiving death threats, always harassed, and so on, so forth. His Principle didn't want him in the school anymore, saying Joey was nothing but a disruption and distraction. He was then forced to transfer schools. He ended up switching schools three times. But as they were all in the same city, word quickly got around he was transgendered. His parents had no choice but to move to a new state all together, and he started school at Dakota Union High.
Joey was unaware of why his parents chose such a school, or even such a city. It was filled with gangs, and plenty of violence. Years before, there had been gang riots, where many people were injured, and there were even quite a few deaths. That had been the city's all-time high of gangs and violence. Since then, it had been decreased, but not to an extreme. There were still many gangs, they just kept under the radar.
Staring at the dress for a few minutes, Joey decided he wouldn't wear it. He didn't like playing female. He wasn't a girl, even if he looked like one. Throwing it on the floor, he grabbed his backpack and cell-phone. He hit number 2 on speed-dial, number 1 being 911.
"Hello?" A voice answered.
"Hi, Frieda. Um, can I come over? Please?" Joey questioned. Frieda didn't even need to be told what was going on. She knew the boy well enough, and had met his family before. She would often go to the dinners and parties with him, to keep him company and allow him to feel more comfortable. She would always joke around, saying it was good practice for when she was a famous journalist someday. She needed to learn how to hold herself up in the rich crowd.
Frieda herself was middle class. She lived in the suburbs, not the hood, but not the rich area, either. Joey expressed often he would love to live in the suburbs, even the hood, if it put him in a more loving family. He hated money, and all the corruption and greed that came with it. He didn't have an allowance from his parents, and they refused to give him any money until he went back to being a girl. That was fine with the boy. He found a job at an art studio. For the most part, he was just a janitor, cleaning up the supplies. But the owner did often let him make his own murals and paintings.
The boy expressed true talent in art. It was all he ever really did when he had any free time. While he was almost failing math class, he had top grades in the art class. He'd even helped make a mural for the school, and painted his and Frida's room. Ever since their classmates found out about his 'little problem', he'd pushed into his art even more. It was his one escape.
Throwing his sketchbooks and a change of clothes into his backpack, Joey climbed out his window, heading on his way to Frieda's house. He would probably sleep over. Her parents were very welcoming towards him, also knowing about him.
He was unsure where he took the wrong turn, but he soon ended up in an area he generally tried to avoid. He was near the docks, and it was becoming quite dark out. He looked around, trying to find a sign with the street name. Where was he?
"Hey!" He heard a sudden voice call out. He quickly turned, seeing a large, scary looking black man walking towards him. He had a gun at his side, a metal pole in his hand. Joey could tell by how this man was dressed that he was a gangbanger. Joey was suddenly thankful he was wearing a hat, and a baggy hoodie. The guy wouldn't recognize him for sure. But that gratefulness quickly turned to worry. What if this man thought he was apart of a rival gang? In this area of town, that was likely.
Taking a quick turn, Joey started to run.
"Get back here!" The thug shouted after him. Glancing back, Joey saw he was being chased.
'No, no, no…" Joey thought as he ran as fast as his scrawny legs could carry him. He wished more than anything else that he could be invisible. This was something he often found himself thinking about. If he was invisible, he would never have to worry about others seeing him, pointing out he was really a girl. If he were invisible, they would have to take his word for it.
He turned a corner, before skidding to a stop. In his haste to get away, Joey had run into an alley-way. It was a dead end. He turned around, backing up against the wall. Wasn't that something you were never supposed to do? He must have missed the memo.
"P-please," he begged softly. He winced, cursing himself mentally for how pathetic he sounded. He sounded like a girl, for goodness sake! And his vocal tone only added to that.
"What are ya, a girl or something?" The thug smirked, walking closer, hitting the metal bar menacingly into the palm of his hand.
"Heh, this'll be fun," he said sadistically. Joey closed his eyes, not wanting to watch as he was beaten up, maybe even killed. It was how he always acted when being beat up, though a stupid idea. Suddenly, he heard a loud explosion, opening his eyes. The man had heard it too, turning.
"The fuck?" he heard the man murmur. Joey took this distraction as a way to escape, and quickly dodged under the man.
"Hey!" Only having managed to get about fifteen feet away, Joey felt himself being tackled to the ground, groaning out in pain. Immediately, he felt the hard blow of the pole against his side, then his face. This time, he didn't close his eyes. He was too focused on a fog that was coming towards them. A purple mist. The next blow caused his vision to go black, his mind blank.
"Joey, are you alright? Joey?" Joey's eyes opened groggily as he heard a voice call out to him.
"Joey? Joey! Where are you?" That was Frida's voice. Was he with Frieda? Moving his hands, he felt the sheets and blankets. The room also had a flowery scent. Was he at Frieda's house? He tried moving, before wincing in pain. He felt like he had been run over by a truck, or pushed in the middle of a mob. He put his hand to his head as he remembered what happened the night before. Right, the man with the pole. But how did he get to Frieda's?
"Joey, where are you?" Frieda again called out, looking around in the room.
"Frieda, I'm right here," Joey spoke, his voice raspy with pain. She gave a gasp, turning. She was looking right at him, but why didn't she seem like she was actually seeing him.
"Where, Joey? I don't see you," she told him.
"Right in front of you, you're staring right at me," he told her. She shook her head no, and Joey couldn't help but frown.
"I'm right here, Frieda," he put up his hand, but suddenly gasped. Where was it? He looked down at himself, unable to see anything. Frieda was right, he wasn't there.
"I'm…I'm not here…" Joey whispered. Frieda came over, sitting next to him. She moved her hand, finding his shoulder. She could feel his skin against her hand. With her mothers help, she had changed his clothes. He now simply had a long tank-top on that was her fathers. It didn't bother Joey. He was comfortable with her. He couldn't help his body.
"It'll be alright," she tried to say comfortingly. She rubbed his shoulders as he started to shake, and she could hear the soft gasps coming from him. She pulled his head down to her lap, allowing him to cry as she ran her fingers through his hair, humming soothingly. It took about another thirty minutes for him to become visible.
Over the next few weeks he would learn to control that. He also learned his new group. The city called them bang babies. They were all affected by the gas, giving them mutated genes or something. Joey gained the ability to become invisible. At first, he almost liked it. But he also gained something else. Super senses. Super smell, hearing, sight, touch. But to use one, he had to turn another off completely. And it was hard to not go into overload mode. After a while, he stopped showing up at school. Frieda didn't hear from him for a while, until he came over to her house, a wreck from another dinner his family had had, where his parents blew up at him for not wearing high-heels.
But Frieda was glad to see him again, bang baby or not. Now all she had to do was get him back at school, something he was terrified of.