Title: Falling Forward Arc – 2x2 Part One
Author: Sita Seraph
Genre: Drama (heeeeeere’s high school!)
Pairing: None, so far
Rated: PG-13
Archive: Aya and Sonny’s Aenai Ai - http://aenai.steelsong.com/
Vkay’s Silver Crucifix – http://www.silvercrucifix.com

Summary: Based on Nitid’s fic challenge. Teen dramas take a nasty turn when Duo moves to Novelty, Washington and takes center stage with his personality, band, and warm smile. This doesn’t turn out well for the most popular freshmen, whose blue eyes swear misery against the one who took everything of his – including the smile he never gave to anyone.

Warning: Light swearing. OOC, perhaps. A/U.

Note One: Nitid’s plot bunny/fic challenge:
Realistic pacing, different ages and stages. This is more like a fic challenge than an actual plot bunny. Prompted by some discussions at the GWA board and coincidentally, some ml discussions in my other het fandoms. I'd like to see someone write a complete, finished 1x2/2x1 fic, which actually follows the relationship at a realistic pace and doesn't stop when the guys 'get together'. I see this assumption in movies, books, and tv, not just fanfic - that it's all over and nothing left to explore after the two main characters realize their feelings and say 'I love you'. In fact, the middle of a relationship, a marriage, or whatever, can be more interesting and volatile than the 'get together' part. Here's the challenge. Write a fic showing the boys at various ages, ie. ages 16, 26, 36, 46, etc - at different stages in their relationship, their careers and personal interests.

Note Two:
Songs proceeded in this fic are all by PROZZAK aka Simon and Milo. If you have not heard of them, I implore you to not go on a download frenzy. I
would like all songs to be fresh in mind and heart when they are finally introduced into the story. With that said, please go download ‘Pretty Girls’ for the next chapter.

Note Three:
Thank you for reading this far! Now that that’s all done, I would like to introduce you to my new fic – The Falling Forward arc. We will be proceeding with the Teen Drama period aka 2x2. Since Abuse This is almost finished (yes! Its almost done!) I finally decided to bring this new story into light. I will post every three weeks, then shortened to every two weeks once AT is done and over with. Pray that I do not get writer’s block! I know three weeks is a long time, but I only have so many parts and so much more to write. Please be patient and look forward for any updates! This fic, if satisfactory, is also free to be posted elsewhere – but ask for my permission first please. But lets not get ahead of ourselves, yes? Read on and enjoy.

Please critique me for grammar, spelling, or just some ridiculous pieces in the story. Its appreciated if something missed by my beta readers to be pointed out and immediately corrected. Of course, if you like the story, that’s always nice to know too…^____^



When the graduates of the year 2006 came to Homunculus High for their Freshman year, everyone knew about the new garage band, 2x2, and their long-haired singer, composer, and guitar player who would be entering with his peers into High School. He was fresh and new, moving into Novelity, Washington that summer all the way from New York. His name was Duo Maxwell, being selected to attend Homunculus High simply for his extraordinary talents. He was not just an artist, but had attained high 4.0s throughout his entire life. He was a gifted child, stretching his mechanic fingers from his guitar to under the hood of a car. The boy was not just a whiz kid though. He was also a social butterfly and, thanks to his ‘cute’ looks, he had weaseled his way into different parties and meeting different kids of his age and older – which, you can assume, was why he was so well known by the time school started in a three-month time span. Returning to his looks, Duo was not what you called incredibly handsome but enough beautiful skin to make him decently cute. He was shorter than every boy in his class, nay one (but we will get around to him later), but also had the most unique eyes out of each and every one of his peers. Though they were just contacts, Duo had regal eyes. Not only was this color very hard to find, it was also very expensive. The boy simply explained that since he had glasses most of his life, his grandmother finally took pity on him and spent a little cash on his poor self. The whole mauve color clearly complimented Duo’s heart shaped face, where his cheeks still harbored a little of his baby fat and foiled nicely with his hair. The young man had light brown hair with a tinge of red and blonde melted into each strand. It was his natural hair color, conveying that Duo never really had an exact hair color, as the sunlight or fluorescent light kept changing it from strawberry red to light brown. And not only did the color keep changing, but his hair was incredibly long to the point of his lower back. His bangs were also long, layered around his face to frame the pale skin with its discolored locks. But all these details were put to shame, for his smile was probably the most amazing thing the man could possess. To be blunt, it was just damn sexy. Something stars in the movies had, a mastered grin that sent every girl around fluttering. And it was quite a relief that Duo barely ever frowned, always having a small bit of his lips quirked up.

Duo was also incredibly different. Though he was always socially active, his clothes would be nothing close to preppy. In fact, the boy chose to show off his own style from safety pins in his clothes, to holes at the end of his jacket sleeves to accept his thumb, to tacks underneath his shoes, to faint eye make-up, to glittered clothing, to even long hair. The boy was a complete walking contradiction to every one else around him. And by the time school started, everyone at least had one safety pin on one part of their clothes. His uniqueness, that he liked to show off for everybody, also included his friends, which he chose very carefully simply because they had something different from everybody else.

His quiet frame in small city Novelity grew when he put together a small band with Mae Minnie, a Sophomore of 2003, Wood (nobody remembers his first name), Freshmen of 2004, and few more background singers Mae could round up for them. Mae was the main background singer and a full connection to radio stations and proper recording equipment since her father was the host of KMCY 95.5, which was more of a classic rock station but who cared? Wood was the drummer and had an awesome set at that, going all the way to chimes. His parents could really afford the money. Then there was Duo, with his old guitar that he had bought with his pinch of an allowance from New York before he moved. It wasn’t as amazing as Wood’s set, for the forest green paint was chipping off of the beloved wood, and the original strings still attached to it. But, luckily, it was electric and that’s all they really needed, along with good sound, which accompanied the old, old strings after massive tuning and a good, long work out. The band had of yet played an original song, instead playing whatever songs they knew at parties. Which was all fine and dandy for most, but being that original maker he is, Duo strived for more.

It was the night before the first day of school and Duo was hauling out his instrument from Mae’s car. It was a little chilly; the mist of the sea coming in gradually from Seattle and the sun was just setting. This would be the last party until the end of September, right after Spirit Week. Duo had yet to figure out what that was all about, simply shrugging his shoulders whenever it was mentioned. The music and mumble of people talking at the party was clearly evident through the night, even if the wide-opened windows helped to show the bustle of teenagers enjoying themselves. It was MacDee’s house, a Senior who made it very apparent to everybody that he now ruled the school and he was making sure his last year was nothing but a big party. Like all of his previous three years, only…um…better. Duo quietly smiled to himself. Even him, the new guy, could recall half of MacDee’s adventurous life. It was quite an interesting one too.

“You nervous?” Mae asked, pulling out microphones from her trunk. The wind picked up then just as Duo looked over to watch Mae’s fiery red hair blow over her shoulders. She had naturally curly hair and she had cut the curls in all sorts of layers. If it was someone with straight hair, Duo decided, it would definitely look awful, but Mae had made it, and her handy gel, a new style for curly-haired girls. Some of the top strands were cut by her ear, but then the strand next to it might have been longer, reaching to her chin. Duo’s favorite hairpiece was the one right next to Mae’s right eye, because not only did she constantly fiddle with it, but also it always got in her eyes. It was funny to see her flick back her head every five minutes.

“Do I look nervous?” Duo asked and crouched down by his friend’s car, checking himself out through the side mirror to make sure none of his light eyeliner was droopy anywhere from practice. He kept looking himself over, even after he heard the trunk slam shut and Mae’s footsteps stop behind him. Running a hand over his face and smacking his chubby cheek, Duo finally stood when Mae heaved a sigh. She only had to tilt her head back a tiny bit to meet Duo’s eyes, since he was only 5’2” and Mae 5’1”.

“Are you done?” She asked sarcastically. “I’ve never seen a guy pine over his appearance so much.”

“That’s because all the guys here think they’re good lookin’,” Duo replied nonchalantly, helping Mae handle some of the equipment as they walked up to the house. “Which isn’t false most of the time, but I-.”

“Oh, get off it, Duo,” Mae replied, rolling her sparkling brown eyes, the perfect foil to her embellished hair. “No wonder you haven’t had a girl ask you out yet. You have no confidence.”

“Is that really just the problem?” Duo asked curiously as Mae helped herself into the house, people moving out of the door’s path hesitatingly with pop and beer assorted into their hands. Cheers greeted them as soon as they stepped inside, the hallway lights lighting up their faces from the dusk quickly setting outside. Duo smiled crookedly and greeted a few boys back, failing miserably to hand back the high fives that were too high over his head. Duo convinced himself it was just because he had lots of stuff in his hands. That and he couldn’t jump. Yeah. That’s it.

The Freshmen was just about to stop to catch up with a few pals he hadn’t seen in awhile when Mae’s arm lashed out and hooked with his, dragging both of their short bodies through the crowd. Duo whined in protest, the friends behind him laughing at his turned back.

“Come ooooonnnnn, Mae,” the dapple-headed teen protested. “I haven’t seen ‘em forever!”

“After,” Mae said shortly as they went to the back of the living room, pushing their way through the taller crowds and dodging miscellaneous groups of chairs and couchs, where there was a slightly uplifted stage for the music and bands. The DJ, who Duo dubbed Mike, was just moving his stuff for more room for Wood’s drum set. Just when Duo was wondering where the hell the drum devil was, out he popped from nowhere from the dining hall, which was right behind the music set in front of the door (probably to keep most people out).

“Wood!” Duo jumped up and down and waved as he and Mae waited for a group of friends to pass. Duo thought that he got a blue-iced glare from one of them, but he didn’t pay much mind to it since Wood was waving back. Wood was most certainly one of the hottest Freshmen that year, breaking free into his own growth spurt that summer and losing most of his freckles. He had short mahogany hair, buzzed down and gelled to keep it that way. And he probably had the hottest accent ever – Scottish. He moved to Novelity two years before Duo and since then had many, many girl friends, simply because of his undeniably sexy voice. Duo wouldn’t admit it to anyone, but the whole reason Wood and he became friends was because he heard that unique sound of his when he laughed at a party. In records time, Duo had bulldozed over almost all his peers to find it. What can he say? He had a thing about original friends, and Wood was it. No one was anything like him – incredibly smart, an awesome drummer, and an accent that sent girls flat on their backs – if you know what I mean. So then, what was the reason for Duo picking Mae to be one of his closer friends? Simply because she didn’t put up with his crap. She either told him to shut up or told him exactly what she thought. Duo really respected that. Somebody not afraid to speak their minds. And Mae was the loudest.

“Did your guitar survive the trip?” Wood asked, his lip curled up in a short smile and dark brown eyes watching the case holding Duo’s precious item. Wood barely ever smiled. Or, Duo had yet to see it. It was always this quirky little grin that either made the longhaired boy downright furious or giddy like a little kid. To say the least, Duo had competition against smiles when it came to his best friend.

“Hah, hah,” Duo mumbled, setting the black case down. “Shove it up your carcass, Woody.”

The said boy simply made a short sniff in reply and settled down behind his beloved instrument, lighting testing it for imperfections. Duo settled down on the stage, opening his case and gazing around. The stage was, thank God, big enough for moving space, incase Duo ever felt like jumping around. MacDee must have remembered the first time when Duo had warned him he might get out of control…in which he did and it was still a horrible memory for the plait-headed man and MacDee’s cat.

“Nice belt.”

Duo looked behind him and grinned cheesy at MacDee who had sat himself down on the stage with his friends, Trant and Alex. Though Mac was a real swell guy, Duo made a real heavy wall on the friendship line. Basically, the three scared him. They were all seniors and really, really big. And besides, they got in more trouble than the Three Stooges. Something Duo didn’t need already.

Duo looked down at his ‘nice belt’ and grinned a little bit more. It was made completely out of gum wrappers. All you had to do it fold them up and stick them in into each other and they made a very convenient new look. Duo loved being different from everybody else, making up his own sense of style with every day life. He even went into the trouble that night to be very different. He had gone out and gotten small cans of paint that had the same color as his disarranged gum wrappers, had taken his worn, torn, very light blue jeans and had a hay day throwing paint all over it. It took from daybreak to sunset to finally dry (which was why they were late in the first place) and even if they were a little hard to move in, Duo knew he stuck out like a naked cheerleader. Then he simply had pulled on his baggy and short black t-shirt with slashes on the side that he had done with some very sharp scissors.

“New pants?” MacDee asked.

“Just made ‘em,” Duo grinned, looking back up at the older and tougher teen.

“Cool. I heard you guys finally have your own song,” the Senior stated, taking a sip of his drink. He grinned slowly. “Dedicated to me, right?”

“Oh, you know it,” Duo shook his head, smirking.

“It better be,” MacDee said. “For my cat.”

“You just had to mention that, didn’t you?”

“Oh, you know it. Now hurry up and get ready.”

“No problemo.”

MacDee and his pals went and joined the party again and Duo continued to make sure his guitar was in ready shape. Behind him, he could hear Mae tuning her voice as she set up the microphones and her choir friends slowly appeared out of the crowd to help with the background music. Thankfully, Duo’s tuning only took a half an hour after his constant check-up on it before the party. Wood was finishing his warm-up and the background singers were in the dining room quietly practicing when Duo looked up from his beloved, old guitar to scan the room for familiar faces. He spotted a few, who returned his eager wave, but mostly they were people Duo had only glanced at during the many parties he had attended. The little auburn butterfly made it a firm note that after they were done playing, he’d buzz around and try to talk to all of them. Dodging the really pretty girls, of course.

Duo grinned to himself and looked down at his instrument, playing a few chords from his new song before finding it in good working order. Duo never had real good luck when it came to gorgeous girls. He always got tongue-tied around them then embarrassed so he was forced to quietly excuse himself. Wood always teased him about his childishness and Duo was secretly jealous about how Wood was really good with everybody. When Duo thought of his Grandmother saying ‘They’re lucky to be your friend’, the original boy always thought of Wood and how lucky HE was that the Scottish boy liked him. But then again, Duo had always been better around guys. And not to say that Mae wasn’t pretty, because she was. It was just that she was more a guy in the first place. She didn’t believe in dresses, preferring comfortable jeans any day, and she…she, well, just had a guyish aura.

Duo was still grinning to himself when Mae crouched down beside him, playing with her unadorned gold chain around her neck. For once, Duo looked her over, approving of her own sense of style. She was wearing a see-through black jacket over a red vest and black, tight jeans with red sparkles running down the side. There was some sort of red flower in her hair, blending perfectly in her fiery hair that Duo almost didn’t see it in the first place.

“Ready, Freddy?” She asked. Duo nodded and she helped him up with his touchy item. Sighing together to get out the sudden nervousness, Duo turned towards the crowd, brought his fingers to his mouth, and whistled loudly.

“Hey, everybody!” Duo shouted, overriding the people who continued to talk upon not hearing his first call for attention. Heads turned gradually to the band on stage and Duo willed himself to not start grinning like an idiot. Mae moved off to her two other companions on the side of the stage, in front of their two microphones. Wood was lightly testing his with the tap of his finger and Duo moved in front of his, plugging his instrument up to the speaker right beside it. Flipping a layered bang off his cheek, Duo came up and adjusted the microphone to reach his height. Then, giving himself a mental mantra of being completely calm, that he didn’t REALLY care what his peers thought of his song, Duo gave everyone his heart-stopping, silky grin that he had mastered for years and took hold of the mic, that grin unwavering on his face. He was satisfied to hear at least a couple girls whisper to their friends with small blushes on their cheeks.

“One more day, everybody,” he said, applauding inwardly that his nervousness didn’t go into his voice. People groaned and cheered in the crowd, drinks rising into the air. After this, he thought, it will be easier. It will. If everybody likes it. “Well, I’m Duo, that’s Wood, and over there is Mae and her friends, Oz and Breanna, who will be helping us tonight. Thank you very much. So, in celebration of going back to school, I actually wrote a song for our band, 2x2.” Hoots and hollers came forth at this and Duo willed his blush down and his on-coming panic attack. “So, actually, I really hope ya’ll like it. Its called…Pretty Girls.”

Duo turned away from the audience and took a large deep breath before daring his eyes up to Wood. The boy just grinned and shook his head at Duo’s obvious nervousness that was coming through now that he didn’t face those exploring eyes from his peers. The Maxwell child just merely grinned nervously back at his friend then glanced at Mae. She smiled reassuring to him and tapped her voice box. Duo nodded then looked down at his slightly shaking hands. Flexing them back and forth then shaking them wildly as if to get rid of the quivering, Duo took out the pick from his hair.

Here goes nothing, he thought.