It's dark, wet, and warm. There's red everywhere, it's so hard to breathe..... He can feel the warm substance filling his nostrils and then flowing into him against his will, choking him. He tries to move but something binds him, and will not let his limbs move as the should. He sinks deeper into the deep redness feeling his life ebb out. As if his soul were giving up and moving on. He closes his eyes and...... "Rag," the voice calls, annoyingly familiar, he scrunches his face and hears it again, "Raggy!" And awakes in a shock to being shaken by a big hand. He looks up to his friend and remembers he's in class and mumbles, "You know my name damn it, Ragnar not Raggy!" Rubbing the crust out from his eyes that developed in his sleep. His big annoying friend smiles and retorts, "Well it's a better name for an ass like you! Besides I've been calling you it so much it's all you respond to!" Chuckling in a thick voice like he was in the middle of eating. Ragnar sighs and acknowledges the truth in this, not bothering to debate it he says, "Why the hell did you wake me? I was dreaming of marrying a princess and inheriting a kingdom!" In a rather snide voice, his big friend, John, replies ,"Oh is that so? Then why were you whispering like a little girl in your sleep? Don't tell me, I want to guess, it was... The Blood Sea again!" Ragnar sighs at his friends annoying characteristic, his insight into things he really shouldn't know. "Yes now why did you wake me up?" John looks down at him and smiles, "Well you slept the entire school away lucky bastard, its time to go home and do the usual," "Work our ass off and sleep more?" John goes, "Ding ding ding! Someone give this man a prize!" And laughs at his old joke. Ragnar stands up, and slips the backpack on his wide but slim shoulders. He and John have been friends ever since they met in a adoption agency at age 7 and some how miraculously remained together through their entire teen years in the time they were moved around from adoption center to another adoption center. 12 in fact, it seems the older women didn't really see the value in two rather awkward and unmotivated boys so they avoided showing them to the hopeful couples looking for children or singles looking for a kid to spoil since they were rich. It sucked but what could they do? Become attractive? Far too late now. They're both 18 and are basically butlers to the old witches of the adoption center. They cleaned and did various chores, and repeated those chores having to clean more than a 100 feet of wooden floors and every nook and cranny of the house, dusting and looking after the children if the witches had one of their famous 'headaches' which were from the enormous amount of alcohol they drank to help with their nonexistent stress. Ragnar sighs and looks at John wondering how he's so cheerful when he has to cook and clean and even help care for over 30 children, it's a miracle that he didn't turn bitter from it like Ragnar, who's griping and generally unapproachable. They pack up and start their long walk home since they don't like riding in the bus and the walk provided the chance for silence unlike the rowdy packed school buses. John as they walked turns to Ragnar with a thoughtful expression, "Raggy, do you think that maybe..... Well Ms. Clara won't be drunk today? She was happy when we left in the morning," Ragnar snorts, "She was happy to see us go John, she's going to be drunk when we get back. Again. And we are going to have to clean up after her and the dozens brats. Again. It never changes!" Ragnar eyes flicker with frustration at the unchanging rhythm their life developed, but he sighs, and continues with his pace, John pats his back comforting him saying, "Raggy relax! Things have been changing, I hear some of the kids found a home and Ms. Clara might actually be trying to cut back..." Ragnar snorts derisively at that comment and retorts, "There will be more kids, and she always says that! She's a lying mmf!" At the attempt to curse John claps a hand over Ragnar's mouth, smiling and saying, "Just give a chance? Things are moving, and at least that's something!" Ragnar sighs smacking John's hand away, "I'm not holding my breath. At least though...." Ragnar words drifts off at the sight in front of him, a dark wisp with red edges, pulsating and seeming to directing its attention to Ragnar, floating to him, he cries out falling backward on his backside shrinking away from its touch as if it were a particularly disgusting bug. John yells in shock at seeing his friend become disturbed at something he couldn't witness, calling out attempting to direct Ragnar's focus to him, "What's wrong! What is it Rag!" Grabbing his shoulder Ragnar snaps at him, "Get away! Stay back!" Turing back to the wisp only to see it's disappeared without a trace. He pants, and stands. "That was..." Shaking his head he looks at John, "Sorry.... It's nothing let's just go home." John unhappy at being lied to but remaining quiet because he understood that if he pushed Ragnar he'd block him out. Sighing, "Let's get going." After a half hour of walking they arrive at a half nice and half rotting building, some of the wood on the porch replaced and repainted but the roof rotting, the windows stained, and the yard looked cleanly cut. Bracing them selves they step in only to be greeted by the sight of a passed out woman who looked rotted herself, yellow teeth, spindly limbs, and a yellow pallor as if she bathed in a egg yellow. Ragnar almost vomited at her smell, but held it. "Yeah sure she's trying to change..." He grumbles to himself lifting her limp almost comatose body up and taking her up stairs putting her in her bedroom. Then head back down to see John being tackled by three little boys ages 6-9 chatting excitedly at seeing their so called, 'older brother' telling him about his day as he chuckled trying to keep up. Ragnar though to himself, 'Rather surprising that the boy who flinched at anything became mature,' and head down to see a couple little girls arguing over who's doll it is as they tug on a a bright blue porcelain doll dressed in frilly rags, it was the only doll that was bright and they argued constantly over it, Ragnar headed over tapping the children and yanking the doll from their tiny hands angrily saying, "Share, or I'll break it to bits!" The girls stared at him shocked, and sulkily agree with a bit of wet eyes at being scolded harshly. He sighs and hands it back saying, "Sorry it's.... Just be good today I'm too stressed." The girls nod quietly and walk off. John grabs his shoulder and says, "No worries in a hour they'll forget they argued!" Smiling at Ragnar, "Now let's start working!" Cheerfully John works and then children help, getting what they could reach clean as Ragnar and John do the higher or heavier things. After its all done Ragnar collapse in a rickety chair, "John!" "Yeah?" Ragnar says with a half a grin, "Today's the day for pizza." John laughs and gets the phone calling it up as Ragnar shuts his eyes........ Hours later he wakes up on the couch a wet rag across his forehead and the smell of warm baked cheese and pepperoni in his nose making his stomach grumble, looking over at the dining room filled with his.... Family you could say but the bond between them isn't easily described. He sighs and stands up joining the children and his only true friend in the feast and rowdy fun over pizza.