Julian clasps his knee, trying to stop the bleeding. The officer that had pushed him into the cell simply walks away. Looking at his surroundings, he's stuck in a cell with three other boys, seemingly around his age.
A boy jumps from his top bunk, making his way over. "Hey, dude! Welcome to our cell. The name's Erin." Erin holds out his hand, letting Julian shake it.
"Julian." His voice leaves his mouth in a small whisper, still nervous to talk. The boy in the bottom bunk below Erin walks up too.
"Hey, I'm Kasey. Nice to meet you." A smile finally forms on Julian's face. He spots another in the bottom bunk of the other bed.
His coarse hair is ranging from a shade of light copper brown to mahogany blond, tied back into a short ponytail. His dark grey eyes are trained on the page of a book.
Julian's thoughts get disrupted when Erin snaps his fingers in front of his face. "That's Baron. He's a little weird-" Kasey giggles. "And scary. He's not the best guy to be around." Erin finishes.
With a nod, Julian's eyes shift back to the pale boy. Unexpectedly, Baron's eyes rise to meet his. His breath hitches as he looks away. Julian hears an unfriendly grunt come from his direction.
"Baron, can't you at least make an effort to say hi?" Baron rolls his eyes, looking up at Julian once again.
With a bite of his lip, Julian shyly waves at the mysterious boy. Baron sets the book down and gets out from under the bunk. He's tall, long legs, and athletic-looking.
He stuffs his hands in the pockets of his sweatpants, making his way over to Julian. Begrudgingly, he put his hand out. Julian's hands are small compared to his.
His hands are cold and Julian's could easily fit inside his fist. He shakes him firmly, slightly pulling Julian toward him.
Almost instantly, he let go of the handshake and returns to his bunk.
"Weird guy, right?" Erin nudges Julian with his shoulder. A weird smirk rests on his face, along with Kacey. "I think he's fine." They look at him. Their mischievous faces turned into ones of confusion. "A little intimidating, but fine."
This comment makes Baron's head pop up from his book. Julian sees him from the corner of his eye. A small tint heats his face and he looks toward the bunk bed.
"So, am I sleeping there?"
Julian makes his way to the courtyard. He scans the vast enclosure. The courtyard is a large area, part tar, part grass. A playground is situated beside a hill. Thick trees surround the park, trapping everyone inside.
"We're really trapped here?" Making his way to one of the trees, he feels the scratched bark of the cage. Erin stands beside him, crossing his arms.
"What did you think? It's not like they're going to let us go." Kasey huffs. "Well, I have things to do." Erin clears his throat, glancing at Kacey from the side of his eye. They both nod and leave Julian alone.
He wanders the large, grassy hill, east of the courtyard entrance. Flowers of different colors and lengths rest within his clutch. Bouncing from one spot to another, Julian's excitement grows as he spots flowers prettier than the previous.
Finally, he takes a seat on a large stone. He carefully weaves the flowers together to make a patterned flower crown. A smile forms on his face as he remembers making flower crowns with his mother in their garden.
"Hey, flower boy!" Julian's reminiscence is cut short as a group of three boys makes their way toward him. He tenses up, already feeling uneasy about them. They surround him.
"What are you up to?" One boy, blond and thin-looking speaks. His tone is overly nice, obviously faked. The others around him snicker.
"I, uh..." Julian stares down at his palms, gripping the newly made flower crowns gently. The heat of embarrassment spreads across his cheeks.
"Aww, he was making little flower crowns-" another boy, brunet and shorter than the blond points at his hands. "Flower crowns? Isn't that a girly thing to do?" The group laughs at him again.
"Please leave me alone." Julian's voice is shaky and soft, not the tone needed for a situation like this. The third boy grabs him by the collar and pulls him to the ground.
"Lemme see these!" Julian tries to hold them to his chest, not letting them take it, but a rough kick to his stomach causes him to let go.
The boys mess around with the colorful bands and rip them to pieces. The dirty-blond boy that kicked him lifts him before throwing him to the stone.
"Hey. What the hell are you idiots doing?" Julian perks up his head, eyes almost overflowing with tears. Baron stands behind the group who turn and look terrified.
"Don't you asses have anything better to do than bully the newcomers here? Piss off before I beat the crap out of you." Baron growls. The boys scatter and run into the playground.
Julian tries to get up, wincing when his arm shoots a stab of pain through his chest. To his surprise, Baron helps him sit up onto the rock. Kneeling in front of him, Baron hands him the broken pieces of his flower crowns.
"They were very pretty," he says, taking a seat in front of Julian. "The grass is probably wet. Do you want to sit on the rock with me?" His request visibly surprises the other.
"I- Do you want me to?" Baron's eyes are widened, lips parted with certain amazement. Nodding, Julian scoots to the side, making room for Baron.
Reluctantly, the boy takes a seat next to him. They talk for a while, getting along better than Julian would have expected.
Baron is really nice once you get past the intimidating aura.
"You were reading earlier. What book was it?" Julian starts to open up, asking more and more questions due to his nosy curiosity. He strings together new flowers Baron helped him pick.
Baron smiles warmly at him before answering, "It's not a very good book." Julian looks up from his flower crown. "Then why are you reading it?"
"Boredom." The simple answer causes him to giggle. Baron raises an eyebrow in question. "What's funny?" He simply shakes his head and continues knotting the flowers together.
"You're a weird one, Julian," he mutters, a small smile resides on his face. This smile spreads to Julian's face as he glances at the boy beside him.
He noticed Baron's voice is softer after getting to know him. It's bassy with a pretty gentleness. However, that gentle tone disappears when he gets angry or defensive.
"People around here don't seem to like you, why? You're nice to me." The question catches him off guard. Baron fidgets with his fingers and gulps.
"I'm not necessarily the nicest. You're kinda the first one I've ever had a civil conversation with," he confesses. Baron flinches when Julian sets something in his hands.
Looking down, he holds a delicate flower crown. His eyes widen as he blushes. The crown is made of blue and purple flowers with no discernable pattern.
"Is this for me?" His widened eyes shoot to Julian who simply smiles. "No, it's for that squirrel over there. Of course, it's for you!"
Taking the crown, Julian carefully sets it on Baron's head. "D-Does it look nice?" His embarrassment is evident through his voice. "Looking like a king," Julian beams.
This is the start of a beautiful friendship.