Chapter 1

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Birch Stockhart lay on his motel bed thinking about his life, or at least the last 7 years of it. He was so lonely, he was on the move so much he barely had time to learn people's names much less make friends.

And he was tired of running. Tired of running from those who would do him harm and from his memories.

Tired of being away from his family, and not being able to start one of his own because of his running.

He groaned as he turned to face the window. The night sky was beautiful, but he barely saw it, wrapped up in his thoughts as he was.

Birch had been a happy child, his parent's only child. His mother had often told him how loved he was as she and his father gave him hugs and kisses. She still did tell Birch of their love for him, but being told over the phone wasn't the same as was being told while being held in her arms.

Birch gave another groan as he thought about how it had all started.

When he was about seven, things changed a bit in his life. Things began to go wrong at school and his mom noticed. She began to give him looks, looks that said she wanted him to confide in her, but he couldn't.

His friends began to avoid him, or bully him, and it made him sad. Finally, when the bullying became physical he told his dad what had been happening. He remembered the frown his father had gotten on his face as he told Birch he'd talk to Birch's mother about it.

His dad had left the room and Birch had sat for a moment before following his dad. To this day he wished he hadn't and that had been nineteen years ago.

*Flashback*

"Honey, Birch is upset. The kids at school are making fun of him and calling him names." He'd heard dad say.

"Oh? I'd noticed him becoming more withdrawn, but he hasn't said anything." His mom had answered.

"Well, they are and I don't like it. I know he's more like me then you, but still."

Mom had sighed. "I know. I was hoping his hair would stay light brown, but it hasn't. Every day now it seems to darken."

"Why does that matter? My hair is dark so it isn't unusual that his would darken." Dad had questioned.

"Because, when a faerie's hair goes dark it's usually a sign. A sign that they are becoming dark fae. Dark fae are bad husband, very bad." His mom had whispered.

"But he's just a child! How would he already be showing signs of being a dark fae?"

His mom had shaken her head. "He wouldn't be...but fear knows no age limit."

*Flashback over*

Birch turned over then, burying his face in his pillow. He remembered how his seven-year old self had run to his room to cry. He was going to be bad, it didn't matter that he didn't want to be. It was fate, written in the stars, he had been given no choice! He was bad and that was all there was to it!

The kids at school had continued to bully him, leaving him with bruises and cuts. He had let them do it because he feared if he retaliated it would turn him bad like they said he would be.

At thirteen though, he'd finally had enough and became the 'bad faerie' everyone said he would become. By that time, he figured all his being good had gotten him nowhere, so why continue the trend?

He started lifting weights at fourteen, slowly bulking up. He'd also reached his full height of five foot, ten. This made Birch tall for a faerie male, but short compared to a lot of men. He didn't let it stop him though, what he lacked in height, he made up for in muscle!

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