Smushed Grapes
Part 4

I alternated between crying miserably, cursing Schulderich to the deepest depths of Hell and stuffing my face with M&Mís.

"Fucking bastard," I muttered, blowing my nose with one hand while shoving in a fist full of chocolate candies with the other. I mopped at my watery eyes with the sleeve of my blue and grey plaid pajamas and chewed loudly.

About an hour had passed and I no longer was in a murderous rage. I had liberally decided that I would only kill Schulderich and leave his loved ones and any possible offspring the may spawn to live as they would. But I still was going to smash the hell out of his car. And ruin all his trench coats.

I pulled my blanket up to my chin and stared blankly at the wrinkled brown M&M wrapper that lay on the pillow beside me. I hated him for showing me what I wasnít ready to see. He had no right to invade my dreams and ridicule me in front of...of...

"Oh God," I moaned, burying my face into my pillow.

How the hell could I be in love with *him*? He was supposed to be my best friend! I couldnít like him in *that* way! Could I?

Okay maybe I could. My feelings for the Irish man had slid from friendship into love at such a slow rate that I hadnít even been able to see it. Schulderich had had known, though. He was right, that bastard. He was always right. It wasnít fair. I hated him.

But most of all I hated myself. After everything that had happened in my life, after being hurt by so many people, how could I possibly have allowed myself to fall in love? I had sworn, on that rainy night after Iíd killed my own parents, that I would *never* love anyone. I had promised myself that I would never burden anyone like Iíd burdened my parents. I didnít want to be hurt anymore and then hurt others in return. I wouldnít beg for love, wouldnít give love when it wasnít wanted.

And now, with the knowledge that Iíd broken all my promises, what should I do? How could I love him when all my defenses were shattered? I didnít want to be hurt again.

Schulderich was right. I was pathetic.

I stared up at the ceiling, searching for answers that never came.


After school the next day, I didnít go and visit Farfarello. For the first time in months, I went straight to my room and stayed there. I sat on my bed, plodding through biology homework, trying to substitute thoughts of Farfarello with thoughts of dominant and recipient genes.

I chewed on the tip of my pencil and stared blindly down at my biology book. Needless to say, studying was not going well.

"Working hard I see," Schulderich remarked, wandering in.

The pencil in my hand snapped, the very sound of his voice sending me in a fresh bout of anger. "You fucking asshole! How dare you come..." Abruptly I trailed off, staring at the German. "What the hell happened to you?"

A harsh purple-blue bruise marred one sloping cheekbone.

Schulderich grinned wryly as he closed the door behind him. "Your psycho boytoy didnít take too kindly to me fucking around with you."

I gaped at him. "Farfarello *hit* you?"

"And probably bruised a few ribs. He also trashed my CDís."

"I donít believe it," I muttered. Farfarello was crazy but he *never* hit Crawford or Schulderich or I. Even in the most severe of fits, he always recognized us and never hurt us.

"Neither do I. I mean, whoíd wanna hit a beautiful face like mine?" He touched the bruise and winced. "Hurts like a fucking bitch."

I couldnít help but smirk. "Serves you right, retard."

He came and sat down on the edge of my bed. "Listen Nagi, I know youíre probably still mad about yesterday but you have to understand that I did it for your own good."

"Oh I see. You did it for my own good. And here am sitting around and not appreciating your noble efforts. Gee do I ever feel like a heel now!" I glared furiously at him through narrowed eyes.

Surprisingly, Schulderich smiled. "Your sarcasm tells me that youíve been spending too much time with Bradley."

"Isnít that calling the kettle black," I mumbled, picking up my biology book and scanning it with feigned interest. "Now if youíll excuse me, I have a lot of work to do so kindly get the hell out of my room."

"It must be hard work skimming your bio book."

I looked up and caught his eye. "What the fuck do you want Schulderich?" I demanded coldly.

"Someone had to help you out," he told me calmly. "Who knows how long it would have taken you to figure it out."

"So what?" I cried, upset. "It was for me to figure out, not you! You had no right to come into my dreams and see...see..." To my immense horror, I found my sight blurred with tears, my throat constricting. "J-just le-leave me al-alone!" I turned away from him and buried my face in my hands, unwilling to let him see me so exposed. Damn him for making me cry! He was such a bastard!

"Nagi," he whispered in the softest voice Iíd ever heard from him, a voice usually reserved for cooing Crawfordís name. His lanky arm wrapped around me and he pulled me onto his lap.

I struggled frantically. "Asshole! Get your frigginí hands off me!!!"

He tightened his hands into a death grip. "Iím not going to hurt you," he told me firmly. "If anything, I should apologize."

That stopped me cold. Schulderich was going to apologize? There was a laugh. He never apologized, not even to Crawford!

"Bradley isnít vulnerable. And I didnít hurt him." Long fingers, slid into my hair, stroking gently. "I shouldnít have come into your dream Nagi but I wanted you to see the truth. I didnít know how else to convince you that you loved him. I never meant to hurt you."

His kindness was so unexpected, so unlike him. I sniffled loudly, feeling like such a baby for letting him get to me this way. "I still hate you."

"I know." He wiped at my cheeks. "They arenít worth your tears, Nagi. They deserved what they got." He smiled. "Giving up a cute little bishonen like you. What were they thinking?"

I whacked his arm and hiccupped. "Donít call me that!"

He laughed. "Why donít you go now and visit your boi? He must be waiting for you."

I hesitated, confused. "Naze? Everything that youíre doing for me..." He really did surprise me. Crawford was the one who fussed and worried over me, not Schulderich. It wasnít like him to be concerned about me and comfort me. As far as I knew, he didnít even care.

There was a smug smile in the Germanís voice. "Of course I care for you, brat. Bradley and I are practically your parents."

I groaned. That was a decidedly very scary thought.

He shoved me unceremoniously off his lap. "Now get going!"

I stumbled, grabbing hold of my dresser to keep from falling. "But you didnít answer my question."

Green eyes rolled. "You love him! Isnít that enough reason for me to do what I did? Is it so hard for you to believe that Iím concerned about your happiness?"

"Yes," I muttered, studying him suspiciously. "Youíve never cared before."

"How was I supposed to know that it was gonna take you this bloody long to figure out that you have feelings for the guy?" Schulderich huffed indignantly. "Best friends my ass! I had to help you out because youíre so damned stupid!"

"Oh shut up!" I snapped, my temper flaring. "This is so pointless! What do I look like, some kind of frigginí love expert? Iím not a cheap floozy like you!"

"Nagi listen," he ordered, his voice straining to keep patient. "All I know is that Farf likes you. You know when you first came here and he let you play with his blender? Well that night when I asked him what he thought of you, he said, 'I like him.' Farfarello said that! This is the guy who thinks of people as big hunks of meat that need carving! He hates everybody and everything. And he said that he liked you after knowing you for one fucking day! Do I need to say more, brat?!"

I was stunned. "I didnít know that," I said finally.

"Of course you didnít. Now go!"

"Youíre so pushy," I mumbled and stuck out my tongue at him. It was childish but I felt better after doing it.