AN: Just something that was on my mind. School's out and I'm stuck to my bed, so I'll be updating my stories more :] debating on continuing this even though it was just something to get my mind back into the 'zone' of writing. your choice :)

Will Stronghold and his friends walked to his house from the Paper Lantern. A weekly ritual that they'd become accustomed to every Friday night. Tonight was different though, something was off. They all felt it.

As they continued to walk they heard what sounded like arguing from a darkened alley not far from Will's house. Layla subconsciously leaned closer to Will and Warren stood a bit taller in front of Magenta, Zach, and Ethan. It was two male voices, and someone whimpering, begging whoever it was to stop.

"Will they're hurting someone.." Layla said, her tone implying they she couldn't just walk away from this. Will looked to Warren who nodded and they stepped into darker shadows, attempting to get a better view of what was happening.

"Where's my money? You owe us money!" the man yelled as he kicked a figure on the ground.

"Pl-please just, just give me another week.." the voice abruptly cut off as the other man picked him up by his collar, slamming the figure into the wall behind him and a sickening crack was heard.

"You said that last week boy!" the man said before letting go and slamming his fist into the younger boy's jaw, making him fall to the ground.

"HEY!" Will yelled as he and Warren ran at both men. Will grabbed the first man, shoving him to the wall, careful not to hurt him too bad but enough so the man would feel pain. Warren took a fighting stance in front of the limp figure and ignited his arms to the second man's surprise. Meanwhile Layla carefully made her way to the younger boy who'd taken the beating. His pulse was slowing, but somehow he was still somewhat conscious.

"M-my phone.. It, it's in my pocket." he said, low and raspy but Layla heard him. She asked who to call and he mumbled "Saphire." before he succumbed to the darkness. She panicked and debated calling who he'd told her to or the ambulance. She chose this Saphire person. The phone rang twice before she answered.

"You've reached Phire, the all knowing queen of darkness. What can I do you for Lashy?" he voice was happy and melodic but the name had caught Layla off guard. Did the girl say Lash? Layla quickly looked at the bruised and bloody face before realizing that this was Lash and the girl on the other end was waiting for an answer.

"This is Layla, Lash is hurt really bad and he said to call you, we're in the alley on Green St. and S. Broadway." she said hurriedly. The girl said she'd be right there and hung up, Layla hearing the faint call of 'Matt' before the line went dead.

Will and Warren had scared the guys off and were now standing around Layla and the others. She was desperately trying to wake who they now recognized as Lash by holding different plants and herbs she'd created under his nose. They heard footsteps coming quickly and the group tensed. Two kids, maybe about 15, came running into the alley and the girl pushed her way through to Lash.

She knelt down and leaned her ear close to his chest and looked to his face, while checking his neck for a fading pulse. She gently plugged his nose and opened his mouth, breathing into his mouth twice before touching her fingers to his jaw and lifting his head enough to run her hand over the opening that had been caused when his head collided with the wall. He coughed and sputtered a bit before his eyes fluttered open and connected with the electric blue of the girl who'd just healed him.

"We've got to stop meeting like this Phire." he smiled a bit, coughing slightly as he stood shakily.

"You've got to be more careful Lash.. Those guys are bad news and you still buy from them.. You said you would quit.." she looked to the other boy, Matt, Layla guessed, and he bowed his head in shame. "You both did.." she stated before walking away. Mattlooked like he was going to say something but stopped himself and instead walked closer to Lash.

Will and the gang were confused by this. This was Lash. Why hadn't he fought back? Why did he owe the men money? Why did 'Phire' look so upset? It seemed to be the first time Lash had noticed their presence and walked up to them.

"You say nothing of this to anyone. In school, around mind readers, you forget this happened. Last thing I need is for the whole school to know what happened tonight." he growled as he pushed past Warren, the younger boy following.

"You could be more grateful." Magenta snapped and Lash stopped mid-step. He turned, a fire and rage in his eyes that hadn't been there before.

"Really? What should I be grateful for guinea pig?" he spat. She stood her ground and responded with as much fire in her voice as there was in his eyes.

"They saved your life Lash. And you're being an ungrateful bastard about it." she sneered. The younger boy stepped forward but Lash held his arm out, telling him silently to stay out of it.

"You wanna know something princess?" he said as he pulled out 300 dollars from his back pocket, "I had their money the whole time. I didn't owe them shit. Think about this the next time you feel like 'saving' some poor helpless person." he looked all of them in the eye, making sure they were focused and listening to him and only him, "maybe the people you're so gallantly saving, don't want to be saved." he said before turning and storming away without another word.

They stood stock still. Shocked at the words that left Lash's mouth. He didn't want to be saved? Then that meant.. Oh, god was Lash suicidal?

review if you'd like :)


Scorching Roses