"Hey, Jordan."

"Mmmm."

"Jooor-dan."

"Mmm."

"Jordan, get up! Sheesh."

Jordan Parker (Boy #9) looked up. Dory Dobb (Girl #18) was grinning at him, her mischievous, freckled pixie face hovering above his. "I'm up. What do you want?"

"Nerd couple alert, entering the bus right now."

Milo Hailan (Boy #13) and Elphaba Skeat (Girl #11) were coming on to the mostly empty bus. They were whispering about numbers, as far as Jordan could tell, and Elphaba was furiously scribbling in a battered blue notebook. No doubt they were discussing a complicated math equation.

"You know, when you kind of squint, they look cute together," said Dory. "I saved you from the perpetual depths of nerdiness last year by becoming your friend. You could have been just like them, glasses and all. You should thank me."

"Of course, thank you. For becoming my faithful watchdog against all nerdiosity. You clown."

She punched him in the nose, leading to a merry free-for-all scuffle, and they almost missed the next person to swagger into the bus.

"Uh oh," muttered Dory. "It's King I'm-so-mighty Cornelius."

Cornelius Ellion (Boy #14) was perfect. At least, in his eyes. He was on the football team, got reasonably high grades and made nearly every girl swoon for his good looks. He had baby blue eyes, which Dory remarked were probably contacts, and curly red hair.

Jordan knew Dory didn't give a hoot for Cornelius, but he couldn't help being annoyed when King I'm-so-mighty gave Dory a dazzling smile and waltzed over.

"Hey, Dory dear. You still hanging out with that guy? He's a loser, not worthy of us, right? Come and sit next to me. We don't need him." Jordan felt he'd never hated him more.

"That's right. We don't need him," echoed Dory sweetly, then slapped him hard on the face. "I am, of course, talking to Jordan, regarding you. Get away from me, freak."

Cornelius looked as if he was about to knock her down, then thought better of it and slunk away. Dory performed a tiny victory dance in her seat. "What a coward. He says he's perfect, fearless, yadah-yadah, then runs away with his tail between his legs."

"Nice job, Dory dear," Jordan teased. She scowled and rolled her eyes at him.

"Watch it, loser. I can best you any time in fisticuffs." She put up her hands like a boxer. Jordan raised his in fake surrender. "No, no, I admit defeat! Spare me! Spare- hey, look, there's Wilma. And, oh preserve us, it's the Jewels."

Wilma Pinkerly (Girl #19), a chubby blonde girl, hurried into the bus, covering her tearstained face. The reason for that was evident, as the airheaded, spoiled, bratty group of girls that called themselves the Jewels was behind her.

The Jewels consisted of Helen Wyatt (Girl #6), Destiny Finn (Girl #7), Sandrine Laivette (Girl #10) and Jubilee Kymet (Girl #15). Helen was the leader, and was largely considered the prettiest girl in the school. Jordan, for one, didn't care about her and all her blonde hair and long legs, but most boys did. What he really cared for was Dory, her silky brown braids, her laughing blue eyes, the adorable freckles covering her face...He gave himself a mental shake. Stop it, you dreamy dozer, he scolded his wandering mind. Dory only likes you as a friend, and that's all.

"Hey, you jerks. Leave the kid alone. Don't you have hearts under those V-neck mini shirts you wear?" Jordan sighed in relief. The bird twins were there to save Wilma, and they were braver than anyone else he could think of. Robin Gage (Boy #12) and Wren Gage (Girl #12) rose from their seats in the bus and glared identical glares. The Jewels backed off as quickly as if they had been facing down two bears.

"Take it easy. We were just messing around," muttered Sandrine, before escaping to the other side of the bus. Wilma fled to safety behind Robin. He smiled kindly at her, his warm brown eyes twinkling.

"It's okay, Wilma. You can come sit with us, and we'll drive them away again if they come back," Wren reassured her, then led the grateful girl away.

Jordan sighed happily. All was right for now. He closed his eyes and listened to the chatter of the rapidly filling up bus. He could hear Belinda Valastro (Girl #3) and Carlo Valastro (Boy #3), the other pair of twins, jabbering away to each other in their native language, Italian. He heard Simon Willis (Boy #4) and Timothy Sheen (Boy #7) engaging in an earnest conversation about the merits of Gamma World compared to Changeling the Lost. He heard Carmen Satchel (Girl #16) softly singing a song to Alice Ninian (Girl #5), who sat enthralled beside her. He could hear Dimitri Nalyaren (Boy #21) attempting to teach Russian to Samuel Norris (Boy #20). Sam was hopeless, but tried gamely. Jordan was sure everyone was on the bus, when he heard a tremendous crash at the door.

"OUCH! Trixie, you nitwit! You led me right into the door!"

"I'm sorry, Eva. Quit shoving. I'll get you in." The door was banged open, and two breathless girls staggered in. The one attached to the other with a death grip around the wrist was Eva Nyling (Girl #4), who was blind. The girl leading her was Trixie Bell (Girl #21). She had been assigned by the school to assist Eva whenever possible, a duty she was quite sick of, as headstrong Eva didn't like being 'a dog on a leash' as she put it.

Everyone was finally all settled in, all 42 students, and they drove off. Nobody knew what lay ahead of them, because it wasn't a harmless class trip like they expected. Nobody knew that their teacher, Vanessa Skyling, wearing a gas mask, calmly shot the driver and took over the bus. Nobody knew, because every student was sound asleep from the gas canister that Vanessa had smuggled in. Nobody knew that their patient, intelligent, well liked teacher was a murderer. Nobody knew that they were in Battle Royale, except Hairo Mizuno (Boy #16). The quiet boy from Japan had gone through it and lived, and as he saw his classmates dropping like flies around him, he knew he was going into it again.

So, this was the first chapter of my American Battle Royale story, where you get to meet some of the characters. There is no main character. This is my first Battle Royale story, and I was inspired by some amazing stories by Fomalhaut. Go read Fomalhaut's Battle Royale stories! And please review this, and tell me if you like it, and what you think of the characters. My special review question for this chapter is:

Who is your favorite character so far?

Thank you for reading!