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Life is Swapped

By Sarcastic_Raspberry

Drama / Action

The Burrow

Warren awoke, unaware of what had happened to him or where he was. He stood and looked around, a cold wind nearly sweeping him off of his feet. He couldn’t remember how he got there, but that hardly mattered as he stood and moved forward, deciding that the cold would kill him long before his curiosity did. He pulled at the sleeves of his shirt, attempting to gain some warmth in his arms as he jogged ahead. His foot slipped at one point, causing him to stumble back, another spray of ice-water being thrown into his face. When he wiped it away from his eyes and looked ahead, now at the top of the hill, he wasn’t able to look away. Standing before him was a twister the size of the city he called home. It was coming right for him.

“How is this even possible?” he whispered in awe as he backed away.

It should have ripping him apart from how far it was, how was he still standing?

There was little time to think about it, a large crack ringing from above him. It was with shaking hands and shivering shoulders that he looked up just in time to see a boat stemming from the lighthouse crashing down towards him, coming in fast. As he flinched down, he felt himself falling backwards. Instead of landing in the soft mud below him, or even feeling the weight of the boat crushing him, all he felt was a sharp pain in the back of his head, hearing metal scrap against the floor just under the sound of multiple voices laughing around him.

“Is something wrong, Mr. Graham?” Ms. Grant asked from the front of the room as he struggled to stand again, rubbing the back of his head.

“Uh, yea. I mean- no, Ms. Grant. Everything’s good!” he said with a forced chuckle. He finally made it onto his feet and corrected his stool, sitting on it with little more than a wince as he sat down.

Ms. Grant narrowed her eyes at him, erasing the work done so far on the board as she said, “Alright then, please solve the equation above. I’m sure you’ll find it quite easy. Well, so long as you’ve been keeping an eye on what we’ve been doing?”

He stood again, trying not to limp as he made his way over to the board. It was a simple formula to balance, something he’d been doing since middle school, really. He was finished with it soon enough and threw a smile over his shoulder at Ms. Grant as he did so.

“Very nice, Mr. Graham,” she said.

He nodded and started to make his way back to his seat.

“I’d still like to see you after class,” she chimed from behind, causing a few more sniggers to erupt throughout the class.

He gave a half-smile before looking back down at his notes. Well, they were notes, but they’d somehow degraded into cruddy doodles of old scenes from sci-fi movies. From the Spock in the corner, wishing him to “Live long and prosper,” to the crudely drawn Marshmallow Man walking happily along the edge of the page, his notebook was just as nerdy and hopeless as he was.

He flipped the book closed, resisting the urge to return the ta’al his favorite vulcan offered to him, even if it was a poor excuse for a hand.

He didn’t really need them anyway, not like the other guys in this class. With this thought, he allowed his eyes to trace the room over to Logan and Zach. They weren’t really paying attention to Ms. Grant’s lecture either, but she didn’t really seem to be bugging them. Deep down, he knew that it was only because she still had hope for him. Still, it wasn’t like her to give up on students. Then he saw Logan smash Zach’s water bottle while he was trying to drink it and the shoving match that ensued.

He looked back around the room, land his eyes on Brooke. Brooke was the only other person in the class that he really thought was smart. Well, maybe that wasn’t fair, but her marks were nothing to sneeze at, that was for sure. But that wasn’t without the constant determination that she showed, not even looking away from the board as she reached down to get a pencil that had fallen on the floor. He slumped and flicked his eyes over to the middle of the room just as Stella was nailed with a spit wad in the back of the neck.

The bell rang too early to figure out who’d done it but, as he looked over to Logan and Zach again, it wasn’t hard to spare a guess.

At that, he walked up to the front of the room and shuffled over to Ms. Grant’s desk.

“You wanted to talk to me, Ms. Grant?” he asked, glad that everyone had emptied from the room.

“Warren, you know I enjoy your company in my class,” she said, leaning her hip against the desk, “however, I enjoy it more when you’re actually awake.”

He rubbed the back of his neck and shifted his gaze around the room. “Uh, yea, I’m sorry about that. I guess I just zoned out.”

She lifted a brow. “Really now?” when all he did was give her an awkward smile, she sighed. “Warren, I enjoy your being in my class, I really do. You’re an intelligent boy, especially for your age. I know you’ve only skipped one year, but that is still quite an achievement. Don’t lose that wonderful advantage daydreaming. Okay?”

He smiled again, weakly this time as he backed away.

“I’ll try to remember that.”

“You better,” she said playfully, finally dismissing him with a wave of her hand. “Now go on.”

There was no more than a brief nod as he all but ran out of the science room. When he made it out into the hall, he managed to groom himself into order as he made his way to the bathroom. He bumped shoulders with a handful of kids on his way out, attempting to not make eye contact with Logan and his gang as they pressed Daniel back into a locker.

Man, I’d really hate to be that kid, he thought, his grip tightening around his bag.

He’d always aimed for invisibility, and it was times like these where he was glad he’d achieved it. Yet, there were also times when it was less to his advantage. He remembered this, huffing slightly as he thought of Max and opened the door to the boy’s bathroom. The room was pretty crappy, Blackwell being as prestigious as it was. This was a joke, of course. Heck, one of the stalls didn’t even have a door, and one of the urinals was shattered from the middle down, the plumbing twisted crudely on the other.

He eyed this with disinterest, noting that he barely used the things anyway. As Warren neared the farthest sink, the only one that worked, he dropped his book bag onto the ground. He realized his mistake too late as the clamps of two buttons, as cheap as they were, slipped out and caused them to spill onto the floor and roll away. One of them rolled under a sink, but the other darted behind a divider and into an alcove at the far end of the bathroom.

“Shit,” he whispered under his breath, picking up his book bag as he walked over to find just where they’d ended up.

He picked it up from the ground, fingering the round edges with a smile.I can’t lose this, he thought to himself. Brooke made it, after all. She worked hard on it too. The picture inside was an adorable rabbit. He was about to refasten the button back onto his strap and leave the alcove when the bathroom door opened. At hearing this, he didn’t think much of it and kept walking. That is, until he saw just who had entered. They were tall with blue hair, but that didn’t really matter. What stuck out to him was that the person who’d entered this boy’s bathroom was very feminine.

Not really understanding how to approach the situation, he resigned to hiding in the alcove all over again. What’s she doing here? Man, this has to be a mistake. She’ll probably just realize it and leave. No need to embarrass anyone!

That was when he heard the door open again. Only when the girl started talking did he realize what was going on.

“Hey, Prescott,” she said, heels of her boots clacking along the tile floor. “You look hella smoking. Or, should I say popping? That’s what you prefer, right?”

“Don’t say that!” the second person, Prescott, growled. “You don’t know who’s around.”

“Oh chill,” she said. “If there was anyone here, I’d get in trouble, not you. It isn’t like your dad is the one watching you like a hawk at this place. Oh, wait. Sorry, I forgot.” The laugh in her voice was unmistakable and it led Warren into looking out from behind the divider to see whatever he could.

There he saw that the Prescott in question just so happened to be Nathan Prescott. He didn’t know him well enough, but he did know who he was. Everyone and their mother knew who the Prescott’s were, after all. And yet, that air of power and sophistication that was carried with his name fell when Warren saw the boy reflected in the mirrors above the sinks.

He was shaking and moving around rapidly.

“Look, I can’t get you your money today, alright, but I know that-”

“Nathan- why do you do this to me?” the girl said with a roll of her shoulders. “You realize that I have a quota to fill right? I can’t do that if I’m not making sales.”

Nathan scowled. “I’m half of your ‘sales.’”

“Bullshit,” she said, pulling out a pistol and backing the skittish boy into a wall.

“Where did you get that?”

“It’s only a sale if you’re paying me for my service.”

“Chloe- Chloe stop!”

“I don’t get shit if you don’t pay up, and if I don’t get shit, then I get killed.So, the most I can hope for is for you to pay me off next time, got it?”

Nathan flicked his eyes from her to the gun before attempting to jump away. He slammed his head into hers, knocking her back and causing the gun to go off in her hand, sending the bullet into his body. He cringed and fell automatically as Chloe jumped back, looking down to the gun in her hand with a silent scream pictured on her face. Warren reached out, as if he could stop the action and, when he did, he found himself back in science class, jittering on his stool, but catching himself just before he fell. No one seemed to be paying attention to him, as if he hadn’t just seen Nathan Prescott get gunned down in the boy’s bathroom.

Oh my God, it was just a dream, he immediately thought, but it felt so real.

He tried to shake it off, but couldn’t help looking around, noting that Logan had bashed Zach’s water bottle and gotten water everywhere. He had to admit that was weird. Out of curiosity, he looked over to Brooke, feeling a bit uneasy as she kneeled down in her seat, eyes locked on the board. He could feel the blood drain from his face.

Okay Stella, he thought, it’s all on you.

The spitball hit her in the neck and Warren shot back, knocking a tray of test tubes off of the desk. He hissed with annoyance.

“Mr. Graham!”

He shot her an apologetic glance as she sighed. “Alright, I’ll call Samuel in. Maybe you can help him in cleaning up this mess.”

No no, he thought, if this is real and I have time powers, I need to use them to save that guy!

Looking down at the broken glass, he held out his hand like he had before, holding it there as the glass seemed to fly back to the table, reforming into its rack properly and neatly. He smiled looking at the class again. Water, pencil, spit wad. This was real.

The bell rang and he approached Ms. Grant’s desk.

“Warren, you know I enjoy your company in my class,” she said, leaning her hip against the desk, “however, I enjoy it more when you’re actually awake.”

“I know, Ms. Grant. I’m sorry. I know I have a real advantage at Blackwell. I don’t want to lose it daydreaming.”

She looked surprised for a moment before relaxing and smiling. “Well, just don’t let it happen again. I’ll let it slide this time though. Now go on, get to your next class.”

He nodded with a thankful smile. This time, when he got into the hall, he didn’t stop for anything, going straight to the bathroom. Once in, he didn’t really know what to do, running his fingers along the edge of his book bag strap, leading his hand to the button with the rabbit and the other button that had fallen before, a “221B” button. As he did so, both buttons fell off again and crashed to the ground. This time, however, the Sherlock button was the one that rolled away to the alcove, and the bunny had passed under the sink. It appeared that time travel didn’t account for position and physics.

He almost dove for the rabbit, but heard the door start to open. In his panic, he simply darted behind the divide again. He didn’t know who this Chloe was, but he knew that he wasn’t messing with a girl with a gun. Instead, he tried thinking of some other way to help, carefully stooping down to grab at his button first, truly the worst of his problems at the moment.

The door opened again, signaling Nathan.

“Hey, Prescott,” she said, heels of her boots clacking along the tile floor, just as they did before. “You look hella smoking today. Or, should I say popping? That’s what you prefer, right?”

“Don’t say that!” Nathan growled. “You don’t know who’s around.”

“Oh chill,” she said. “If there was anyone here, I’d get in trouble, not you. It isn’t like your dad is the one watching you like a hawk at this place. Oh, wait. Sorry, I forgot.”

He imagined Nathan shaking as he spotted the fire alarm.

“Look, I can’t get you your money today, alright, but I know that-”

“Nathan- why do you do this to me?” the girl said with a roll of her shoulders. “You realize that I have a quota to fill right? I can’t do that if I’m not making sales.”

Nathan scowled. “I’m half of your ‘sales.’”


He had to act fast.

“Where did you get that?”

He picked up his book bag.

“It’s only a sale if you’re paying me for my service.”

He hesitated only for a moment.

“Chloe- Chloe, stop!”

The book bag slammed into the glass, breaking it as he pressed the button inside, cutting his hand slightly on the shattered class in the process.

He peaked out, Chloe having jumped back, gun pointed in the air as Nathan scrambled. He managed to knock her legs out from under her, resulting in her sliding back on the ground as the gun passed away, landing somewhere near his button under the sink. Nathan followed the sliding weapon with his eyes, only looking away when he’d gotten his hand around the door handle. Then he bolted straight out of the bathroom.

“Fuck!” Chloe exclaimed, grabbing the gun and standing. “What a bullshit day,” she grumbled.

Then she placed the gun into her coat and she was gone.

Still, he waited and checked his book bag for glass before approaching the sink where his button still laid on the ground. Now that both of them had been replaced, he exited the bathroom. He looked to the left, opening the door to the right as he walked forward. His first instinct was to make sure that Chloe wasn’t still hanging around, but that lead him into walking straight into David Madsen.

“Hey! Why are you inside?” he asked as Warren backed away.

“Uh, I was using the bathroom,” he said.

“When you hear that buzzer, you’re supposed to be outside- what part of that do you not understand?”

He looked down, “I was just-”

“Look at me when I’m talking to you!”

“That will be all, Mr. Madsen.”

Warren had never been so happy to hear the principle say his name in his life.

“Thank you, now please allow Mr. Graham to move on outside with the rest of his class, and shut off that alarm- seeing how that is your job and all.”

Warren watched him leave with a weary glance before looking up the other immediate threat.

“Thanks, Principle Wells,” he said, attempting to shuffle away.

“Now not so fast there, Warren,” he said.

Warren slumped back slowly and stood in silence.

“I usually don’t have a problem with you. You’re the brightest mind Blackwell has to offer, and we’re proud to have you on campus. But that still doesn’t excuse the fact that there’s something off about you today. Wanna tell me what happened?”

Warren searched his face for a while, disputing whether or not to tell him what had just happened. Would he even believe me? he wondered.

He weighed the pros and cons, finally deciding to say “I pulled the fire alarm.”

Wells nodded. “I figured as much. Well, this is pretty serious, Warren. You better have a good reason.”

“There was a girl in the bathroom,” he said.

He gave him a look, shifting back and crossing his arms. “Well you and I have very different responses to that situation.”

Warren shook his head quickly and said, “No, it was different. She had blue hair and black clothes and… she had a gun.”

“A gun? On school grounds?” he asked. Warren nodded, and he looked down, placing his hands on his hips. “Well then… I’ll get to the bottom of this. You said she had blue hair?”


“Alright, now was there anyone else with her?”

The question made him freeze. “Uh, there might have been a boy with her. I’m not sure though.” There’s no way I’m getting on the bad side of a Prescott.

“A boy? Could you be more specific?” Wells asked.

“No, it was just a dude, you know?”

He didn’t look convinced, but nodded along anyway. “Well, go on then. I promise I’ll get to the bottom of his. Have a nice day, Warren.”

“You too, Principle Wells,” he said, scampering long and out of the building into the court yard.

Oh my God, that was so fucking weird. That was the only thought that rang in his head as he looked around. I can’t believe I really have the power to go back in time. I feel so ‘Terminator’ right now! Okay, I need to take this slow. I can’t get too cocky. Gotta play it cool.

As any other Spidermanfan-boy knows, “With great power comes great responsibility.” And Warren was not prepared to forget his responsibilities or let them get to him.

That was the plan, anyway.

Before he got too far, he felt his phone vibrate, signaling a text. Looking through his phone, he found a message from Max.

‘Hey I have your flash. I finally finished all of those dumb nerd movies you forced me to watch.’

He let out a chuckle. And replied: ‘Oh yes, I obviously held you down and forced you to watch them. Well, as long as you have it, can I get it back? I kind of need it. (=’n’=)’

‘Ugh, if I must. Meet you in the parking lot.’

Warren rolled his eyes. ‘I am so sorry to impose on her majesty. See you then!’

He smiled, walking in the direction of the parking lot when something caught his eye. It was a small robot soaring over the courtyard, and its pilot just so happened to be the girl smiling down at her pink IPad.

“Hey, Brooke, how’s it going?” he asked.

“Oh, hey Warren,” she said, pushing her hair behind her glasses. “Freaky fire drill, right? I didn’t think they had one scheduled today. Then again, I wouldn’t put it past one of these assholes to pull the alarm.”

He hissed internally, deciding to change the conversation topic. “So, you really like that drone. It looks different though.”

“Yea, I made some major upgrades. Wanna take a crack at it?” she asked, offering it with a smile.

“Uh, sure,” he said with a shy grin. The controls were something that he’d seen her operate before and, not thinking it too hard, he started to move the drone forward, not watching the screen and landing it into a tree as the blades proceeded to twist and break in the branches before falling into a smoking mess on the ground. He hissed, handing the controller back and sticking his hand out. Let’s not.

“Wanna take a crack at it?” Brooke said, offering the controller again.

“No thanks. As cool as they are, I don’t think I’m ready to get behind the controls of one yet.”

She looked a bit disappointed, but smiled anyway as she pulled the controller back. “Okay, see you later then.”

He waved her goodbye and proceeded through the courtyard, now focused on just getting to the parking lot without incident.

Then saw Trevor trying to jump a flight of stairs on his board. He ended up attempting a move midair. It would have worked, had he not flipped his board too late, resulting in it landing upside down. When his feet finally hit the board, his face slammed into the asphalt with a hard thunk.

Warren hissed, walking over and rewinding another time.

This falls undergreatresponsibility, right?

As Trevor prepared to leap from the top of the stairs, he jogged over.

“Hey, Trevor,” he said, coming up on his right. “I think some of your tricks might go better if you did the kick flip earlier in the jump.”

Justin nodded. “You do come in a little late on those, dude.”

Trevor looked at him before smiling. “Alright, I’ll try just going for it.”

With that, he launched himself down the stairs, flipping almost immediately. The board made a full spin in time for his feet to touch back down, landing perfectly perpendicular to the ground as he swerved around and held his hands up in victory.

“Woo! Thanks for the tip dude!” he said, picking up his board and jogging back up the stairs.

“No problem,” he said as he walked again towards the parking lot, only leaving a wave behind him.

All in a day’s work for The War-Machine… I’ll figure something else out.

While that was running through his head, he rounded the corner and almost bumped into a familiar face, quite literally. Stella stared up at him with wide eyes blinking curiously. Warren’s smile slowly dimmed as he noticed how unusual she appeared today.

“Hey, Stella. What’s going on? Are you okay?” he asked.

“I’m fine,” she said. “Thanks for asking, Warren. How about you? You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”

“It’s nothing,” he said, eyes flicking away for a moment.

When he looked back, he saw David Madsen walking by at that moment, brushing shoulders with him roughly as he walked by. Now Stella was someone he knew to be quite nice. However, she could be jaded at times. This was shown through moments such as this one where she glared openly at his back.

“That guy is such an asshole,” she said with a sigh.

“Why do you say that? I mean, he is, but did something happen?” he asked.

She looked down at the ground. “A few things have happened as far as he’s concerned. I’ll see you later Warren. Thanks for the talk, BTDubs.”

Warren waved his goodbyes, smiling as his eyebrows formed together in worry. Stella’s been a little out of it this week, he thought, More so than usual, that is. I hope she comes around soon.

He turned a head and stepped forward and looked through and round the maze of cars until he could clearly see Max standing at the end. When she spotted him, she waved ecstatically for him to come over. He grinned and scampered across the parking lot.

When Warren finally reached her, he opened up his arms in greeting of a hug, pausing when Max held out his flash drive.

“Here you go!” she said.

He scratched his head to cover up the gesture, using his other hand as he took the flash drive from her. “Yea, thanks. So, I see you located my new wheels,” Warren said, motioning to the blue car behind her. It wasn’t much, but it was something to get him around from that junky school bus.

“Nice, very old school,” she said with a tone of enthusiasm.

“1978 to be exact. Now we can go to the drive-in! There’s one in Newberg, just 60 miles away.”

Max scoffed. “You’re in the wrong time Warren.”

He nodded solemnly, gripping the hood of the car as he said, “More than you’d think.”

“Is something wrong?” she asked.

“Maybe…” Warren said trying not to let his eyes stray to the ground.

“Something happen? You can tell me, you know that, right?”

“It’s nothing, really,” he said. “So, in other news, what’d you think of my Flash Drive?”

“Man, there’s some cool shit on there, really retro of you. I wasn’t expecting the Twilight Zone block, but it was greatly appreciated. Though, it seems fairly apropos today…”

“I consider myself a pop cultural pirate connoisseur,” Warren said.

Max laughed, much to his delight, only to be followed by, “Yea, that does sound better than, ‘thief.’”

“Ha-ha,” he mocked, rolling his eyes. “Yea, yea, whatever. Look, just promise you’ll check out Cannibal Holocaust.

“Pssh, that thing? I was more disturbed by all of those emo vampire movies you put on there.”

Shit I thought I took those off. “Can’t a sensitive high school boy love sensitive vampires too?”

Max crossed her arms and tilted her head. “So you’re ‘sensitive?’”

“Ouch,” he resisted the urge to grab his face, “that sounds awful, the way you say it!”

“No, I was impressed you had Faster pussycat. Kill! Kill!

“Russ Meyer was a genius of black and white.” Deciding that sounded a bit cliché, he added, “Plus, babes with breasts.”

“Who would beat your sensitive ass down!”

“Tch, if I was lucky! Speaking of hip and fast, we should cruise out in my car to an actual movie this week.”

“Are you sure you’re up for that?” Max asked. “You seem a bit… I still think you seem a bit out of it today.”

Warren had to stop and think. I know a secret identity is a must for any super hero, he thought, There’s a reason for every rule. I mean, what if she gets hurt? No. That’s stupid. This isn’t a movie. This is… Max.

He resigned to logic. “Maybe there is something I need to talk about.”

“Okay, go on,” she said as she stepped closer. “Tell me everything.”

“Before I do, you need to know that I’m being completely serious,” Warren said, his tone low and full of warning.

“Warren, I won’t make fun of you. Just tell me what it is.”

He opened his mouth to speak, but was instead interrupted by a loud shout of, “Hey!”

Startled, Warren looked over to see the same girl from the bathroom, bright blue hair being the main give away. She marched towards him from seemingly nowhere, pressing him back to the car, and disregarding Max entirely.

“Listen here, you little punk, I don’t think you realize what you cost me today,” she said.

He tried to formulate an excuse of sorts, saying “I- I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

She slammed on the hood of the car next to him as she said, “Don’t play dumb with me you punk ass little-!”


Max’s voice made the girl jump and look over to her immediately, as if she was a dog hearing a soft whistle.

“Max?” she asked, squinting her eyes. “Is that you?”

“You’re one to talk. What are you doing here?”

“I could ask you the same thing,” she said, backing off slightly from Warren and crossing her arms. “So, you’re friends with this nerd, huh?” Chloe looked at him. “Then I won’t rough him up too much. We’ll just have to see what Frank says about him.”

“Who’s Frank?” Warren asked. “What did I do-”

“I said don’t play dumb! I know someone was in that bathroom, and you were the last one to leave the school. It had to be you! You were the one that lost me that sweet stack of cash Prescott was gonna pony up!”

“You did what? What were you doing in the bathroom?” Max asked.

“Stay out of this!” Chloe yelled as she whipped around.

“No, Chloe, I know we haven’t talked in a while, but this sounds serious,” she peaked around her and looked at Warren. “What happened in the bathroom?”

She blocked her view of Warren. “Seriously Max, you better back off.”

“Hey, leave her alone!” Warren said, putting a hand on Chloe’s shoulder to turn her around.

Chloe spun around and he felt her finger prod harshly on his chest.

“Don’t think I’ve forgotten you, you little bitch. You told old Wells, didn’t you? Do you realize how much money I make at this school, huh? How many sales I’ll lose because of this? I was gonna go easy on you, since you’re Max’s friend and all but, now, you’re gonna pay!”

He went white, sticking out his hand to rewind, only to have it grabbed as Chloe was shoved off. He looked behind him as he followed who ever grabbed his hand, assuming it was Max. He only realized, in the heat of the moment, that Max was still behind him when he found himself being shoved into a car. Either way, he scooted over, seeing that Max was being completely ignored by the enraged and mysterious Chloe who only shouted and ran after them, making it a quarter of the way before a security guard caught her by the arm and hauled her away.

His blood was still pumping as his breath quickened.

“Oh my God,” he said, turning to the person next to him. “Thank you so-” He froze.

The reason for the pause was quite simple really: The driver of the car, and his savior, just so happened to be the person that put him in this situation in the first place, Nathan Prescott.

He didn’t seem to care really, shrugging and shifting his eyes over as he said, “Don’t mention it. Anything to get to that bitch at this point, am I right?”

Warren nodded slightly and tried not to really look at Nathan. Moments like these were less described as “real” as they were “surreal.” One does not simply walk into Nathan Prescott’s car, Warren thought. What does he want with me?

“So, why was she after you anyway?” Nathan asked. “You’re way too dorky to be a buyer.”

“I’ll take that as a compliment,” Warren said, ignoring the glare that followed the banter. “I really don’t know. She just seemed angry about something.”

“Heh, you’re telling me. She’s coming for your ass. Don’t worry too much though, as long as you don’t owe money. As long as that’s settled, you’re still off of Frank’s list. She probably won’t pay too much attention to you.”

“I hope you’re right. Jeeze what is up with this school? If I’d known there would be drug dealers and gang wars-”

“Woah, don’t get so dramatic, nerd,” he said. “Frank’s only ‘gang’ is two bitches and that shitty RV he rides around in.”

There was a long pause. Nathan flexed his hands against the steering wheel, and Warren messed with the strap of his bag. Should I ask him to pull over? Or ask him where he’s going? There was plenty of time to ask these questions, but Warren’s hesitation left a pause and Nathan continued again.

“But yea, you’re right, this school does suck. I’m only going here because my shitty dad donated to the place and thinks it’s the best academy in the country,” he scoffed, “It’s all bullshit. I know he just did it to keep an eye on me.”

Oh, so goes the woeful ballad of Nathaniel Prescott, Warren thought, forcing himself not to roll his eyes.

“Yea, that does sound kind of lame,” he said.

“It is.”

Warren looked out the window at the scenery as the car drove on, locking and unlocking his flash drive shut, a soft click ringing through the car each time he did so. Does he want me to talk?

He continued staring out of the window, opening and closing his mouth two times before he turned to Nathan again and said, “I’m Warren, by the way.”

Nathan looked at him from the corner of his eyes, but he didn’t scowl or stare, just looked genuinely shocked as he said, “Yea, I’m Nathan. But I’m going to assume you already know that.”

Warren looked out of the window. “It’s possible.”

Nathan chuckled darkly, sending Warren some very mixed messages in and of itself.

“So, you’re the kid that skipped a grade, right?” Nathan asked.

“Uh, yea,” he said, “just this year.”

“I see. Just one?”


“Damn it,” Nathan hissed. “That’s one thing I’ll never get to experience about high school: Freshman Lackeys. Oh well.” He looked over at Warren with a smile only to see that he was just staring out of the window with a concerned expression. He swatted him on the shoulder. “Come on! I was only joking. Nah, cronies are more Victoria’s thing. You know her, right?”

“Uh yea,” he said, “She’s in Max’s photography class.”

“Well, good to know she complains about her too. Seriously, Caulfield is all she ever talks about now. Well, her and Mark Jefferson of course.”

The way that he said Mark Jefferson made Warren chuckle. “Yea, what’s the deal with that guy? I feel like he has the female student body eating out of his hand!”

“Tell me about it,” Nathan said. He didn’t get the chance as they pulled up to and behind the boys’ dorms. “Well, here we are. Back to the hell away from home.”

The way that Nathan glared at Blackwell, when coupled with the tension in his shoulders and flexing of his arms, reminded Warren of who he was sitting next to. Newly uncomfortable, he shifted in his seat to move away.

“Thanks for saving my ass,” he reached down for his bag.

“Whatever,” Nathan said, turning off the car with a flick of the wrist.

As he pulled on the strap of his book bag, Warren pulled straight up, popping off a button in the process. This time, the pin dislodged completely, falling on the floor. He scrambled to grab that first. When he sat up straight, he loudly declared, “Found it! Sorry for the… trouble.”

He’d trailed off when he saw Nathan staring down at the rabbit button.

“That button. Where did you get it?” he asked with a growl just under his breath.

Warren flicked his eyes down to the button, slowly reaching for it. “My friend Brooke made it for me.”

Nathan snatched the button from the center consol. “That isn’t what I meant and you fucking know it! Now tell me the truth!”

Warren maintained his stair for some time before dropping his hand in defeat. “I lost it in the bathroom, but I picked it up… after you and Chloe left.”

“Oh my God.” Nathan dropped his arm into his lap. He didn’t look angry anymore, just staring blankly at Warren before turning to the steering wheel. He chuckled. “That’s why Chloe was pissed.” When he looked back at Warren, he met the stare. “I have one more question for you. Did you pull the fire alarm?”

Warren looked at him for a while with a small frown before nodding slightly. “Yea, that was me too.”

“I knew it was too convenient,” he grumbled, opening the car door and stepping out. Warren lingered, looking around before Nathan opened the door again. “Get out of the fucking car!”

Warren jumped and skittered out of the car, following Nathan inside of the boys’ dorm and up the stairs. When they got to their separate rooms, Warren tried opening the door to his own room, only to be grabbed by Nathan for the second time that day and dragged into his room instead. Only when the door was thrown closed did he look back at Nathan.

The anger radiating from Nathan died down almost instantly.

“Thanks. I guess I owe you,” he said, handing back the actual button portion of his button.

Warren flicked his eyes down to the button and back up to Nathan for only a moment before focusing on the stupid emoji and grabbing it tenuously. When his hand grasped it, Nathan’s grip tightened around him, acting like a fly trap in its own right.

“I still need to know what you heard.”

Warren’s eyes went wide as his hand was released, the button safely clasped inside. Nathan crossed his arms, towering forward as his presence filled the room. This wasn’t the same Nathan from the bathroom. This was the Nathan Prescott Blackwell Academy bowed to, and for a good reason.

Warren looked down. “I heard everything.”

“Shit!” Nathan raised a hand and ran it through his hair as he took in a deep breath. “Did you tell anyone?”

“I told Principle Wells- but I didn’t tell him you were involved! I just didn’t wanna get busted when they figured out I pulled the fire alarm…”

Nathan nodded as he placed his hands on his hips and began pacing. He looked back up at Warren with a glare as he continued pacing.

Warren clenched and unclenched his arms at his sides before he said, “I don’t get what your problem is. It’s not like I told anyone.”

Nathan spun around, pointing all of his fury at him as he said, “And you can’t! You can’t tell anyone what you heard- do you hear me? If you do, I’m going to make you pay!”

Warren allowed his surprise to show through for a while, before he stood up straight. “And how would you do that? Huh? I’m not so sure daddy would be so keen to help out his drugged up son!”

“Shut the fuck up! You have no idea what you’re talking about!” Nathan stepped back, turning to the side as he ran his hand through his hair. “I… I haven’t used in two weeks,” he grumbled.

He let his shoulders slump as he also took a step back.

“I’m sorry. I really won’t tell anyone.”

“You better not.”

Warren kept his brow pinched in anger, but it turned more so into a disgruntled look as he flicked his eyes around the room.

“So, if you haven’t been using for a while, why was Chloe so upset with you? I thought you owed money.”

Nathan’s shoulders rose into a defensive posture, about to tell him to mind his own business when he clamped his mouth shut. “It’s not a new debt. I’ve owed her and Frank for a while. I just… have a bit of trouble.”

“Getting the money?” Warren asked.

“Drug dealers don’t exactly take cards,” Nathan said with a scowl. “It wasn’t a problem before but, now that Rachel’s gone missing, those two have been on my ass for payment. Say they wanna get out and find her. Ugh, don’t they get that she probably left because of them?”

“Wait, Rachel Amber? Like, that girl half the school is talking about?” he asked.

“That’s really none of your God-Damned business,” he said. “Why are you still here, anyway?”

“You were the one that dragged me in here!”

“Yea and, now that I know you wouldn’t dare spill to anyone, you can go fuck off.”

Warren shot back but brushed past him, aiming for the door. He would have made it too, had a harsh, crippling pain not filled his skull, bringing him to his knees.

When he found himself able to stand, he looked up to see the same scenery as before.

“Not again! Damn it!” he said into the harsh wind.

The thing that caught his attention was a proud cat, sitting tall and unwavering in the storm’s icy bite. He was entranced by it, watching closely as it followed him with clear, dark eyes. Then, it began to bound away up the slope.

“Hey- get back here!” he said, compelled to follow the beast as he dodged a large boulder.

It took some time to get up the slope, having to shoot by some logs and rewind to get by a tree. He wasn’t as stealthy as the cat before him, but he made it up in time to see the same vortex that had plagued his last dream. As he stared up at it, he felt something brush his leg, seeing the same cat wander over to the fence surrounding the area of the light house. There, it pawed and sniffed at a scrap of paper clinging to one of the fence posts. Curious, he bent down, scaring the cat off.

It was a newspaper.

“This Friday?!” Warren looked back into the hurricane. “No way! This can’t be real!”

The paper was torn from his hands as he looked on.

It’s heading straight for the town!

His shoulders shook as he fell to his knees. When he did, he felt a hand come over his shoulder. Looking to see who it was, he saw a very worried Nathan inches from his face.

“Holy shit, I’m back!” he said. “Is this real?”

“Back? Oh my god, you’re high aren’t you?” Nathan asked, about to stand up.

“No, it’s different- oh my God, this is really going to happen,” he said, breathing heavily.

“What is?”

“Arcadia Bay is going to get demolished on Friday!” Warren said, not really thinking.

Nathan scoffed, “Yea, I’m totally sure you’re not high.”

“It’s true! I saw it! Just like this morning… in my vision.”

“Okay, now you’re really pissing me off. Start making sense or I’m gonna-”

“It’s snowing!”

A loud shout had interrupted him from the hall.

“Bitch, don’t play me like that.”

“Nah, man, it really is!”

Nathan squinted his eyes at the door. “What the hell?”

Warren stood and made his way over to the window carefully, looking out at the campus, which was indeed being covered in tiny snowflakes. He could feel Nathan come up from behind, seeing his confused face appear in the mirror next to him.

“Holy shit. It’s still like eighty-something. How is this happening.”

“It’s a sign. A storm is coming.”

He felt blood drip from his nose slowly, and raised a hand to stop it as he turned around to look Nathan in the eye. It was only at that moment that the other boy realized how serious he was.

Nathan nodded. “Alright, I’ll listen. So you better tell me everything.”

It was clear that this was meant to be threatening, but Warren only heard it as a loose command as they both rested on the couch. There, Warren began his story:

“I’m a time traveler.”

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