Chapter 4

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A/N: Hey guys, sorry for long time without update - but this is a long one :)

As Sera's silhouette disappeared into the distance, John cursed one more time at the thought of having just hurt the person closest to him at a time when she needed his reassurance and support the most. Yet when he had wanted to go after her his legs had failed him. He had so much to say to her, and didn't know where to start or how to make sure she understood him correctly.

When did I become like this? he thought. Mocking my own best friend. He remembered with anger the mean snickering expressions of the fellow students at whose hands he underwent the endless string of bullying this past year.

It is as if I am starting to act more and more like them. Memories of the time at his previous school then resurfaced, culminating with the image of Claire, the girl he once loved, crying on her knees surrounded by the bodies of the beaten up, bloody classmates left almost lifeless after John's rampage. The raven-haired teen gulped at the painful memory that was still fresh in his mind as if it had occurred yesterday. He never had his closure – the next day after the incident he was promptly suspended and barred from entering the school grounds. All attempts to reach out to Claire were ignored, with even her mother blocking his number eventually after the daughter's continual refusal to speak to him. John couldn't bring himself to hate her however despite the backstabbing, knowing deep down that he had brought the betrayal upon himself. He had often thought about her since, particularly whenever he was all alone – but in recent months thoughts of her had been gradually subsiding and getting replaced by a certain magenta-haired girl.

I can't let that happen again, John thought, clenching his fists. I don't want to see her cry, no matter what.

John headed back towards the boys' dorms, deciding to give Sera some time to cool down. It was nighttime already and getting chilly, with the campus almost deserted at the evening hour. This was for the best as any confrontation may have ended poorly for anybody who stood in John's way at that time. The raven-haired boy entered the tower where the apartment he shared with Blyke was and climbed up the stairs. Along the way, he had texted Sera an apology with a "Sorry! Please forgive me" emoji, getting no response despite seeing that it had been read.

John slowly opened the door to his new apartment, trying to sneak into his room through the hallway without bumping into his redhead roommate. As he was crawling in the hallway, he heard Blyke and Isen having an agitated discussion in the living room, with the conversation catching his interest.

"No, dude, I am the one bringing Remi to the formal!" Blyke said, slamming his fist on the table.

"Ha! As-if she would say yes to a brute like you who can't even dance," Isen retorted.

"Shut up! As if you are any better. What matters is who she wants to go with!"

"Exactly," Isen replied with a smirk, implying he was the one.

"You are really asking for it today," Blyke threatened, pulling his arms up into a fighting pose.

"Hey, no need for violence. After all, if I go all out you will likely not recover in time for the formal either, so we both lose. How about we settle this with rock-paper-scissors?"

"How dare you decide something so important so trivially," Blyke complained. Seeing that Isen was not backing down, he hid his hand behind his back.

"Okay," he sighed. "one, two, three!"

At the end of the count, both boys threw their right hands forward, with Isen's scissors meeting Blyke's paper.

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