• I’m standing someplace dark. No…Not just dark. Pitch black. I can barely see my own hands in front of my face, and anything past that is nothing but dark. I can hear voices, mocking, jeering…and then a loud scream. I try to force myself to run towards it, but my body refuses to listen to me. More screaming, and then an eerie silence. And then I see him. Despite the darkness, he’s as clear as day. Drake. The first boy I loved. I see him staggering towards me, beaten and bleeding badly, and somehow manage to make myself walk over to him, just in time to catch him. He feels so cold. His wings are bent at unnatural angles, and it looks like his nose is broken. Both eyes are blackened, and his chest rises and falls only weakly. He looks at me sadly.

    “Adrian…It hurts…” He whimpers, and it feels like a knife has been plunged into my heart. When we were together, he had always seemed so strong, so brave…and to see him like this…it hurts… I feel tears coming to my eyes as I hold him and whisper…

    “It’ll be alright, Drake…I’m here…I’ve got you.” He smiles weakly and I see the blood around his mouth.

    “Adrian…I wish…I could stay with you…but…I know… I’m dying… I can feel it…” Those words make my blood run cold, and I reflexively clutch him tighter.

    “No!!! Drake, you can’t…not after we just got back together! Please, Drake! Hold on!!!” He reaches up and weakly strokes my cheek, his voice weak and raspy, so unlike the melodious and lively voice he used to have.

    “Adrian…I love you…I always have…And I always will. I…I’m so sorry…I guess you’ll have to live…for…the both…of us…now…” His voice trails off, and his hand falls away from my cheek limply. I stare at him for a moment, not wanting to believe it, and then start shaking him gently.

    “Drake? Drake?! Drake!!!!!!” I yell to the black sky above me, holding his
    lifeless body close to me. And then, from around me, I hear jeers and laughter. Suddenly, the two of us are surrounded by shadowy figures. The only things I can see on them are their mouths, which are the color of blood.

    “Hah! Stupid queer-a** tail-raising f**! He got what he deserved!” One taunts.

    “Looks like God really does hate fags like him!” Another jeers…
    I stand up, enraged. I lunge at one, throwing a punch, but the strike passes straight through him. I turn, striking at another, and again, strike only the air. Suddenly, I feel one of them hit me in the back, and I stagger, lashing at the offender with a kick. Still, only air. Again, I am struck. And again, and again, and again…

    Adrian sat up with a start, almost smacking his head into the desk lamp. He was still at his desk.
    “Another nightmare…Why do they keep happening? That was almost half a year ago!” He thought, shaking his head and staring at the clock on the wall. 6:30. He had only been asleep for ten minutes, and yet it had felt like an eternity.
    “And to top it off, I have to get ready for school, too…” Adrian sighed, pushing himself out of the chair and trying to stand up, only succeeding in falling over with both legs asleep.
    “Crap…This sucks.” After another minute of cursing to himself, he finally managed to push himself to his feet, and walk over to his dresser to get some clothes and things for the day ahead. Still tired and not-altogether-aware of what was going on, he walked into the bathroom, turning on the shower and standing under the cleansing stream of water. With a sigh, he began to clean himself off, starting with his long red hair. As he worked the shampoo into a thick lather, he let his mind start wandering to the past…and to the night his world had changed. With a sigh, he shook his head and muttered quietly to himself.
    “None of that, Adrian. You’ve already had a bad enough time as it is…” He slowly scrubbed his bodyfur off next, paying careful attention to his paws and feet. Finally, he washed off his tail, making sure to untangle any knots in the fur, combing the shampoo through it carefully. At last, he turned off the shower, stepped out, and grabbed a towel, wrapping it tightly around his waist, then grabbed another for his hair and tail. As he walked out of the bathroom, he saw Soichiro walking towards it, and gave his adopted brother a small wave. Soichiro stopped for a moment, and then gently grabbed Adrian’s shoulder.

    “Hey Adrian…Can I talk to you for a minute?” Soichiro asked, looking a little shy and ashamed all at the same time.

    “Sure, Soichi-kun. I guess we can.” Adrian replied, his tailtip flicking as the older bat leaned forward, pinning him against the wall with his wings.

    “I just wanted to apologize for yesterday. What I did was completely out of line…” Soichiro trailed off as Adrian gave him a quick kiss.

    “Don’t worry about it, bro. I’m not mad. Now, you better get showered up quick, or you’re gonna miss breakfast!” Adrian chuckled as he turned and bounced off down the hallway, “accidentally” letting Soichiro get several good looks at his butt…

    “Damn that fox…” Soichiro murmured as he turned to get to the bathroom. He was gonna need a little… “extra alone time” today…