Fandom: Deltora Quest
Pairing: Lief x Dain
Summary: Suggested by my very lovely and talented friend Hija, with whom I have a pretty exceptional deal; I write stuff and she draws. She suggested the general concept of Dain as a teen delinquent. I took it a bit too seriously. Heaven help you all.

This is the only high school AU I will ever write. I hate the things. xD The title was taken from the song of the same name by The Dresden Dolls.
Warnings: mental illness

gravity plays favourites i know because i saw

honest to god, officer, it's awful (awful)

down at work i'm getting too familiar with the floor

trading in my talents by the mouthful

"Is there anything you want to tell me, Dain?"

"No, Mrs. Rodda," I say quietly, keeping my gaze in my lap. She sighs. They all do, after a while. They can't understand it; how the shy boy in the back of Advanced History can go from fawnlike to fanatic in a matter of moments. It's alright. I can't, either.

"Obviously this isn't something we can easily overlook," she tells me steadily, "Bede could have been seriously hurt."

I don't bother to tell her that Bede is an asshole who has thought he was hot shit ever since he got elected for Arts Prefect, in spite of the fact that all this really means is that he has a copy of the theatre key and can sneak in with his girlfriend to fuck in the wings when nobody's using it. That would, of course, damage my credibility.

"I didn't mean to." My voice sounds soft. Pathetic. I'm making myself angry, although I know better than to let it show. "It was an accident."

As in, he called me a faggot and I 'accidentally' slammed his head against a wall and broke his nose. She doesn't seem much more convinced than I am, but she doesn't call me out. She's pretty cool, Mrs. Rodda, for a principal. I try not to shove her back when she wheels her chair around her desk to sit beside me instead.

"Is everything alright at home?" she asks gently.

"It's fine." I think my eyes are watering but I can't really feel them. I never can when I'm like this. "Please don't call Jarred."

She pauses for a moment, which is how I know she's going to do it anyway. Then she stands up and pats my shoulder.

"I know you're a good kid, Dain," she lies, "You can go back to class now."

"Thank you," I say numbly.

I don't go back to class. I sit by the dumpster behind the Social Science block and have a cigarette because my hands won't stop shaking. I need my meds. They're at home. Can't get back in the house without Jasmine's key, and she's in Maths.

Simple stress melts into anxiety and silent, aching rage that yearns to tear out through my skin and leave big, bloody gashes down my arms. I wish I'd smashed Bede's face a bit harder, even though I know that won't make the feeling go away. It never does; not really. Sometimes I think it might never go away and it will boil under my skin for the rest of my life; which might not even be that long, if I carry on like this. That's what everyone says when they think I can't hear them.

"Very troubled young man. Such a shame."

Fuck them, anyway.

I have to move, though, because the janitor is coming around to empty some of the bins into the tip. It's not that I care, but last time he saw me smoking he asked if I wanted to know where to buy some pot. If I'm going to get arrested, it's going to be for something glamorous like first degree murder, not bloody pot. I stub the cigarette out on the ground then crush it too hard under my foot, grind it into the ground until I'm sure all the embers are dead.

I don't respond when the janitor mumbles something about whether or not I want to meet the Shadow Lord. I have quite enough crazy in my life already.

Nobody noticed I was gone in last period except Lief, of course; which is hilarious, really, since he's not even in my class. He's Jasmine's best friend from when they were kids and when her dad adopted me he came over every day for a fucking week to stare at me and give me books or sweets. I can't really remember much of that, but I've still got the books. They're all the same; knights and dragons and grand adventures that none of us would ever get to go on. Lief loves that crap.

"Are you okay? I didn't see you on the way to English."

"Sorry. Mrs. Rodda wanted to see me." I try to look embarrassed, since he tends to fall for that. Predictably, he does.

"About Bede? He didn't hurt you, right?"

"I'm fine." I manage a twitchy little smile, even though my stomach's turning. My arms are itching like I need to scratch them open. He offers me a smile right back, and I quickly change the subject; "Where's Jasmine?"

"Still talking to Barda, I think. Sorry, you must have been waiting for her…"

"It's alright. I don't mind."

Our feet swing gently over the edge of the bench. I try not to think about hurting him, but it's getting easier. I just have to sit still and focus on my breathing. He sits beside me, blissfully unaware, reading all the tacky posters the Health teacher keeps putting up. My personal favourite says 'THIS IS A NO HITTING PLACE' in giant block letters on a pink and yellow background. What are we, five?

It's a little while before I realise his feet aren't swinging any more and he's looking over at me sort of curiously, like a lost puppy waiting for someone to feed it. I frown at him and he balks, turning his face away again. Then he wets his lips cautiously to speak. "Dain. I really need to talk to you about something."

My stomach twists and I shift away ever so slightly. For me, 'we really need to talk' tends to lead to things like 'this kind of behaviour is not acceptable'.

('…you're going to be moving in with Mr Hill and his daughter.'

'Did you start the fire, Dain?'

'We'll start you on 600mg…')

"Dain! We've got to go!" Thank God for Jasmine. I've dodged yet another bullet; now I just have to watch out to see who will fire the next one. "Dad's picking us up."


I wish I'd stayed at the dumpster. I wish I'd climbed into the dumpster and waited there with the rest of the rubbish until the truck came and crushed me down into nothing. It must show on my face because Jasmine's eyes widen and she asks, in the manner of one who has asked many, many times before; "Alright, what did you do?"

I don't say anything. I look down at my lap so I don't have to see the exasperation on her face or, worse, the pity on Lief's. She sighs.

(They all do, after a while.)