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This Paradox That Is Life
Of Ink Spots & Printed Lines
NaNo'05 » Day II & III 
“Well, if it isn’t everyone’s favourite little Exchange Kid,” scathingly remarked a voice behind him.

Sven turnedaround to be face to face with a boy who looked familiar, and squinted. Matted black hair fell naturally over the other’s forehead, not quite reaching the middle, but slightly spiked to show off a pale face where two faintly-eyelined dark eyes stared at him unfazed. Looking down, Sven took in the long black trenchcoat and spiked collar the other was wearing before he clicked. ”Dash?”

Dash gave a small smile but didn’t make any other movement. “Long time, no see. You’ve missed a lot, by any rate.”

Sven gave a nervous laugh and shrugged his shoulders. “I figured as much. Tends to happen when you’re away from one place for a long amount of time.”

“You obviously have a lot of catching-up to do and since I have nothing to do,” Dash said, digging his hands into the pockets of his trenchcoat, “Why don’t I get the ball rolling?”

“Well, if you’re sure...”

Dash shrugged and starting walking past Sven. “I’m dying for a smoke so outside we’re going.”

“Since when did you smoke?” Sven asked, walking after his friend.

“Since after you left,” Dash replied, looking straight in front of him. “Long story.”

As they walked down the hallway toward the exit, Sven couldn’t help but feel that some major things had happened since he had left that had changed his friends. Definitely Dash. He shuddered to think what had happened other than Feliks...

At the thought of his friend, Sven clenched his fist and his jaw tightened. Dash, who was looking at the German boy from the corner of his eye, grimaced slightly and his hands clenched around the carton of cigarettes inside his pocket.

“So how was your trip?” Dash asked as they exited the building. “Good, bad, wish you hadn’t left?”

Smiling, Sven looked around the school grounds as they walked towards the sports field. “It was great. Different. I reckon you’d get on well with Jei.”

“Jei, eh? Why’s that?”

“He just reminded me of you in some ways, that’s all.”

They sat under a tree where Dash pulled out the carton of cigarettes, flipped the top open and pulled one out. Sticking it into his mouth, he pulled out his lighter and was about to light the smoke when caught Sven looking at him. Lowering the lighter he asked, “You don’t mind, do you? I mean, I could put it away although I don’t want to...”

Sven shook his head. “No, don’t let me stop you.”

Dash shot him a smile that said ‘I would’ve anyway...’ and lit up the cigarette. The smoke billowed out in front of him as he breathed out and Sven refrained himself from coughing as the smoke lazily drifted in his direction.

“First things first, I guess,” Dash said as he lowered his smoke and rested his hand against his knee, lazily flicking the ash off the end. “I’ve started smoking since my parents went across the ditch when my sister had her baby.

“Boy,” he said, as an afterthought. “Some shit went down while they were gone and since I’m not terribly fond of getting pissed over week I turned to smoking. Unhealthy, I know, but it’s helping me mentally, I guess.”

He took another puff of his cigarette.

“Actually, I have no idea what the others got up to since Jothan split me off from the group.

“He what!?” Sven exclaimed, looking at his friend in shock. Dash’s head was down as he checked his watch. “Why would he do that?”

At the same time he inhaled his smoke he said, “He blames me for Feliks.”

Sven felt his blood go cold and a shiver run down his spine. Questions stormed through his mind, what? why? how? But could only manage a feeble, “Oh?”

“But Jothan only sees things he wants to and would blame me. Afterall, it’s not like he was everywhere and anywhere last year. Seriously, he’s had something against me since you left. Maybe earlier... Izzy’s been trying to get us to talk but we both know that Jothan’s a stubborn prick.”

“Okay, so a lot has been happening since I left, but how are you to blame for Feliks?”

“Well, you know...”

“Actually, no I don’t. Care to enlighten me?”

Dash looked at the German through narrowed eyes. “Why don’t you ask your precious Jothan why?”

“Because I’m asking you,” Sven pressed, suddenly getting suspicious at Dash’s sudden attitude change. “And you said you’d tell me as much you knew. Hell, you know I wouldn’t judge until I knew at least both sides--”

“And that’s the point. You’re better mates with Jothan than are me so of coure it’s bloody obvious you’ll believe his side more than mine. After all, the only one who can actually settle everything is dead!”

Sven moved so fast that Dash had not realised what had hit him until he hit the ground with Sven standing above him.

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