Rising moon, downing sun

She doesn't smile at him like she used to: broad, relaxed as if his mere presence brings her comfort. Her nose doesn't crinkle and her eyes don't roll when his tongue finds another way beneath a stone equipped with silly words and dense statements that used to make her think of him as quirky.

Silly, but loveable.

People thought of him as funny, endearing – but not really. Being popular has its perks. No one really acts sordid because they're afraid.

She was real, though. Pretending was needless – impossible.

Then she stopped rolling her eyes because he wasn't silly anymore, just stupid. And smiling at his goofy antics became scowls because saying Socio wasn't as funny as it used to be.

('Was it ever?' she'd asked)

It was freshman year when he first saw her, during one of Scott's legendary parties, as he'd liked to call them.

She was nursing a red cup and from the way her hand seemed to degrade, her shoulders square and tense, he'd guessed it was still full. There was warm beer, loud music – Drake was on – and the prettiest girl he had ever seen amidst a sea full of hormonal teens was bringing the brim of her cup to her pouty lips, but she never took a sip.

She didn't smile when she met his eyes. He was always used to girls smiling when they saw him. She wasn't impressed and for a fleeting moment he wondered if she had seen guys that could blow him out of the water without sharing something as common as a drunken half smile.

He dropped the grin.

He chunked down his beer before striding to the kitchen where she was standing. Mocha chocolate skin, luscious dark hair with the ability to make the howling night jealous and such brown eyes that, from afar, looked piercing black. Soul haunting. He was captured.

He leaned against the counter, her eyes had not once looked away–now was that really the expression of a girl who thought of him as less handsome than he actually was?–and gave her his best grin.

''I saw you looking and I thought: no way am I going to pass the chance to get to know this girl. I'd have to be real fucking stupid if I did.''

She eyed him for so long and so hard, he was silently squirming underneath her stare.

Seconds after, a smile broke through the tapes of her face. ''Aha. That would have been a shame.''

They talked. He found himself speaking more than he expected to, but she had a way with pulling words from his mouth and he longed to know more about this mystery girl.

She said her name was Lacey and he confided in her that his second name was Dennis. Archie Dennis and she swallowed the warm liquid inside her cup whole when he suggested they go upstairs to–wiggle eyebrows–get to know each other better. She threw the cup inside the trashcan–a terrific arm throw, she must play tennis or badminton or baseball or something–and consented.

The party indeed became legendary. High School's all-time popular couple had been born, molded in Scott's parents' master bed room, raised in the halls of Green Grove's top High School.

There were times she'd ask him not to touch her. When his hand slipped past her shirt to remake their first time, she'd push him away, like the shore sending the ocean back to serenity.

When he asked why not, she'd say: ''What if he's watching? What would he think of me?''

She'd quickly veto it out.

('Why should I care?'

And they'd fuck, anyway.)

There were moments when he seriously thought about accepting Socio.

Tiny, little moments he doesn't dare to admit out loud. He pitied the Freak. A bit. Just a bit. Archie swore he saw a piece of himself roaming and hiding inside the complex package of the murderer.

At times, he didn't see a sick bastard. At times he saw a boy, wandering through the cold hearted hallways of Green Grove's top High School with a bag pack strapped across his back and a flare of hope that seemed oddly out of place in a world where eleven year olds could kill grown aunts and teenage girls were murdered in their homes.

Just a simple boy levied with mistakes, but really, don't they have them all? He knows he'd want to be accepted once he found it in him to be better.

And he never did do anything to Archie, personally, to warrant his anger.

For a second, a few seconds perhaps, he had half a mind to accept.

Then he saw him looking at Lacey and it didn't really do him anything until he saw Lacey looking at him, too.

She murmured: ''He's back,'' and there was fear and anger in her words.

But longing too.

But longing too.

She was a shade of grey, Lacey. Archie had figured out what that meant.

There were times when they laid in bed sleeping and he was staring at her face because she was just that damn beautiful, when she would suddenly start thrashing.

Her beautiful face contorted and his name would fall of her lips in hisses and gasps and pleas as if the shore was attacked by unforeseen gusts and it lied as it promised she wouldn't get hurt.

''Stop it, Danny. Drop it. Drop it. Drop it. Danny, Danny, Danny – why?''

He woke her up.

She said it was nothing.

(There were times she'd toss in the sheets and his name would fall of her lips.

''Danny. Danny. Don't stop. Please, please. Don't stop. Yes, Danny, Danny, Danny – oh.'')

She loathed him, she loved him – and that could not possibly be black and white when they formed an entirety.

Desai wasn't worthy of his acceptance.

She'd look at him nevertheless. Nights of the gust attacks were somehow nothing compared to its soft breeze when it finally came around and graced her being. When he'd joke about Desai or call him names, she'd silently frown.

Or purse her lips.

Or shake her head.

Or huff.

Gradually, she'd rolled her eyes and it struck him that she didn't think he was silly, at all.

Until rolling her eyes seemed to be too much time spend on a stupid soul like him.

Until rolling her eyes at Danny became a habit. Uncontrolled. Uncertain. Unexpected. Necessary.

As is love.

''I'm doing it for Regina. Not for you,'' though the air was thick when they met behind the breeches of the soccer field and her hands were trembling when Danny leaned in close.

He found himself looking, because from afar, they looked like an entirety.

They don't kiss. It's more intimate than all the times combined he has had sex with Lacey.

After a while, there's never a sign of Jo.

And that's when he accepts.

(He doesn't speak a word.

Not a word.

The harder he pushes, the better it endows. As it scurries away, how easy it would be to pretend.

When she cries out his bitter name, Archie gets the joy to have her thoroughly, his own fuck you to the guy he could never, thoroughly, comprehend.)

But he's afraid to say, he may not really have her at all.

(Did he ever?)