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Shadyside is the time of town you expect to see in the mid-fifties. Sunny skies, carefully groomed lawns with picket fences, children playing about while adults gossip happily on their porches, a cheerful ambiance with upbeat music quietly filling the streets. It was a dream, a perfect little town. No criminal violence, no deviance, just a joyful bubble of a community.

"Did you hear about that new movie in the cinema? It was a real neat science-fiction picture, if you dig." The brown haired boy looked between his friends, arm in arm with the two girls.

"Oh, yeah! I heard about that. Did you see it, Buffy?" The one girl with black, bob-cut hair bouncing as she walked.

"Yeah, but I dig those action-adventure pictures more." The other, Buffy, said, her curly black hair held up in a piggy-tail.

"We should go see one!" The boy quipped as they stepped into Jefferson High School. His smiley demeanor was soon reversed when a tall boy with slicked-back hair and was sporting a leather jacket and jeans walked up in front of them, looking right at the shorter brown-haired boy.

"Why don't you just see yourselves out of here instead?" He challenged, a smirk obvious on his face.

"This is a public school, a requireme-"

"Cyrus, don't." Buffy warned, releasing her arm from his and instead placing her hand on his shoulder.

The dark-haired boy's smirk grew slightly, and the girls stepped back subconsciously behind Cyrus. The boy shoved him subtly, laughing as he stumbled back.

"Back off, Kevin." The boy looked up slowly from Cyrus, focusing on something behind him. His eyes widened considerably and betrayed his obvious fear. Cyrus looked confused, along with Buffy and the other girl. He slowly turned around to be face-to-face, about three inches between their noses, with TJ Kippen, the most miserable, feared boy in the school.

Buffy noticed the dark-haired boy nod slowly, backing up and running off after a few tense seconds. TJ moved his withering stare once he was sure the boy was gone, finally resting it blankly on Cyrus' surprised yet appreciative gaze. He was able to see the boy up close for once, his chocolate brown eyes mesmerizing and comforting.

"T-thank you." Guilt twinged in his stomach as he could hear the hesitance and anxiety in Cyrus' voice. Yet, he still gave TJ a glowing smile that made his heart melt. His mind scrambled for some unknown reason, leaving TJ to simply nod in response and slowly back away.

"Well that was weird..." Buffy stated, causing Cyrus to turn back to look at the girls.

~

"All right class! That's it for today. But before you go..." The art teacher paused to collect a paper. Her cheery voice and suspicious wording made Cyrus worried. "You're all going to pair up to complete a painting or drawing, whichever you and your partner choose, that reflects something you both care about. Since this is to help you all get to understand and relate to one another, the guidelines on what to illustrate are open-ended. The due date is Monday, two weeks from now. " TJ slouched back in his seat; he hated partner-projects.

"I'll assign each of you with a random student, to help spread you out." As she called out names, Cyrus fiddled nervously with his hands. The last time he did a project with someone, he literally did the project - all of it. He met with his partner once the whole time. "Cyrus Goodman and TJ Kippen." Both boys' heads shot up, ping-ponging between their teacher and each other.

Well, maybe TJ didn't hate partner-projects as much as he thought...