See chapter one for disclaimers

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Recommended by the Bardic Circle

- To my darling Gem. The road is long and the distance seems unbelievably far, but as long as the moon and her glorious light guides us, I know that we will both cross the misty deserts of the unknown together. Dreams do come true...I have you in my life to prove that. I love you with all of my heart.

- Ohhh and this is also for all my pals; my Texan Twin-Courtie..and my cheerleader capturer Jamie<g>...and to my buddy the decidedly edible Merlin ( VBG ) To Jaden, thanks for all of your encouragement and also to Lena, who has been giving me some wonderful feedback. Thank you so much!!!!

Chapter 10

Tap, tap, tap. Reclining on his snugly bed, Phil looked up from the comic book he was reading contentedly and gazed around his room in bemusement. Hearing nothing more, he simply shrugged his narrow shoulders and continued devouring the ever exciting adventures of Batman. Tap, tap, tap.

"What the hell?" Phil dragged himself from his neatly made bed, reluctantly putting his treasured comic in a side draw with the rest of his 'special' magazines. With baited breath, he listened alertly for the strange sound......Tap....TAP, TAP! Scuttling over to the far wall, he quickly pushed the curtains aside and opened the window. Leaning outside, he squinted as his disbelieving eyes adjusted to the afternoon sunshine, which blazed brightly amid the sapphire sky. There, standing beneath the flower trellis, was a rather sheepish looking Raven, a green duffel bag slung over her shoulder and a bunch of pebbles clasped in her hands.

"Hey Phil...." Raven said clearly, staring up at her friend, who's face resembled the epitome of relief at her unexpected arrival. "Ms. Moody and Broody has come to beg for forgiveness Philly Boy...."

Phil grinned, then quickly disguised his automatically joyous reaction to his friend's presence. Eager much Phil? "Erm, so Ms. Moody and Broody, to what do I owe this pleasure? Why the sudden change of heart?"

Raven shuffled awkwardly from foot to foot, looking up at Phil, who was going to fall out of his goddamn window if he didn't lean back a bit...."Watch it Philly, or I might just have to come to your rescue again when you inevitably fall out of that window, and I sure as hell can't be arsed having to help your Mom scrape your guts from the patio..."

Phil nearly lost his balance as he realised just how far he was actually leaning out of his bedroom window.....Arggh! "You have a point!" He muttered as he quickly jumped back into the safer haven of his bedroom, fighting back a pang of nausea. "Rae, if you wait a minute I'll nip downstairs and open the front door for you....."

"Wait!" Phil hesitated as he heard Raven's voice suddenly take on a panicked tinge. What the hell has managed to scare the almighty Raven? Phil mused in disbelief, his forehead wrinkling in confusion.

"Is...." Raven hesitated. Taking a deep breath and putting her back pack down on to the ground for a moment, she let the pebbles slide through her fingertips onto the grassy lawn. She darted behind an apple tree which was positioned directly in the centre of the small but beautifully maintained garden, directly opposite to Phil's bedroom window...."I-is your Mom here?"

Phil quirked his head to the side at the seemingly inane question, and then realised the apparent reason for his tall friend's distress. The last time Raven had come over, Mrs. Rogers had persistently insisted that she look at a number of wedding dress patterns that she had 'coincidentally' found whilst cleaning up. Poor Raven had taken on the frigid stance of a startled zombie, looking as though she was about to lose her patience. And after 2 hours, 37 minutes and 16 seconds of continuous talk ( admittedly one-sided talk ) about dress making, Phil was positive that Raven was ready to do some serious damage. Even though he knew what a pain in the ass his mother could be, he was somewhat fond of the old broad and hey, he needed someone to pay for his college tuition. He had hence decided to rescue the dark damsel who was blatantly in distress - the dismayed and somewhat hysterical blue eyes glaring up at him were enough of an incentive.

Phil grinned and shook his head, God it's great to have her back!

"Err, she's downstairs Rae......if I creep down quietly and let you in she won't notice that..."

Raven cut him off quickly, glancing around the garden in search for the old harridan that scared the living shit out of her. There's a fine line between being interested in your son's love life and being rip-roaring psychotic!. Shivering at the memory of Phil's mother encouraging her to contribute her thoughts to the precise science of choosing appropriate wedding accessories, Raven knew without a doubt which category Mrs. Rogers slotted into.

"Don't bother!" Raven yelled, as quietly as she could of course, to Phil. Phil halted his motions and ran to his window once more, worried that his dark friend had decided to just take off again.

"Rae!" He said in a rushed whisper..." Rae, hold on a minute....." Phil's voice died in his throat as he saw 6ft of hard, lean and decidedly feminine muscle scale his tree like it was a mere climbing frame. Okaaayyyyy, Phil gasped and leant back against the window sill, a deliriously happy grin working its way onto his face as Raven effortlessly pulled herself and her back pack up the trunk of the tree. "So this is how you get your work-out, huh pal?" Phil asked.

Raven looked up at Phil, just as she pulled herself up to the same eye level as the grinning boy." Ohhh, it's just one of many things I like to do to work up a sweat Philly boy." Raven chuckled evilly as her friend blushed in embarrassment at the implications of her teasing words.

"Hmmm...." Raven murmured as she considered her options. She was at the same height as Phil's window, but there was a gaping gap between the broad branch she was precariously standing on and the window ledge....You could make it Rae if you had a run up...but do you want to risk that jump just to avoid Phil's Mom???? "Damn straight I bloody do!" Raven growled with renewed determination. "Hey, Phil!" Phil noticed Raven's predicament and watched as the dark girl swung her back pack in his direction. "Catch my bag, Ok? "

Phil had barely muttered "Ok," in response when the said bag was hurtled through the air. It landed squarely against Phil's skinny chest and the sheer momentum caused the lanky boy to stumble backwards for a moment.

"Goddamn it Rae!" Phil called, watching as Raven mulled her chances of making the jump. Surely she wouldn't make that jump, Phil pondered, placing his friend's back pack down on the carpeted floor."You won't make that jump Raven...don't be stupid!"

Raven looked back at the gawky boy, feigning indignity. "Oh ye of little faith!" she called cockily, spotting a smaller branch that was higher up the tree, about 8ft away from the open window. Hmmmm, a challenge! Raven thought with glee, mentally rubbing her hands. She stretched her arms to limber them up, before taking a step backwards and quickly planning her actions. She took a deep breath, counted to three and let out a shout of triumph as she gracefully vaulted off the branch that she had been standing on.

"Rae, nooo!" Phil cried in panic, seeing his friend jump off the branch in one large leap. "Faith my arse!" Phil muttered in bewilderment, as instead of falling to her untimely demise like any other gravity bound mortal would do, the dark amazon of a girl seemingly flew through the air. Abruptly grabbing hold of the higher branch, Raven swung herself once, twice, and having gained more momentum, she then released her hold. An awe-struck Phil watched on in disbelief as she performed a perfect somersault, pushing her lithe body through the air, through his window and onto the floor. Directing his wide-eyed stare downwards, Phil's gaze connected with a pair of sparkling blue orbs that twinkled mischievously back up at him.

Raven folded her arms behind her head and sprawled on the floor. "Ha! Told you I could do it!"

Phil stumbled over to his bed and plonked himself down on the soft mattress. "Well," Phil drawled, rubbing the back of his flushed neck. God, all this action and excitement is going to kill me! Hee, hee! Phil regarded the smug looking Raven, what a way to go though....... Refusing to think about the possible repercussions of his friend's dare-devil antics, he smiled indulgently. "I should have known that the stairs would be too ordinary for you.....Erm, Rae?"

Raven sat up and rolled her shoulders backwards to relax her muscles. Hmmm, methinks I should be doing some more exercises if I want to keep limber..... An image of a certain blonde crept through Raven's active mind, causing a small smile to appear on her face. Sighing, she turned to regard the knowing smirk on Phil's lean face. "What?"

Phil's smirk became wider, knowing that only one person could have put that smile on the stubborn brunette's face. Someone's madly in looooove...Phil mused in amusement, "You didn't tell me that you were frigging related to Wonder Woman, oh she-who-flies -through-the-air..."

Raven flexed her muscles once more, noting the admiring look in Phil's brown eyes. "Well, if you've got it, flaunt it!" Raven snickered, quickly ducking as Phil threw a pillow in her direction. "Hey! Watch it Philly, you know better than to start trouble with me!"

Phil held his hands up immediately as Raven stalked towards him with the deadly feather filled weapon. "I give in!" He squealed, in attempt to avoid Raven's wrath.

Raven gave Phil a slightly disgusted look that was softened by the quirk of her lips. "Wuss!"

"Yup!" Phil grinned, glad to have his pal back once more."And proud of it!" Raven gave her friend a dubious look and raised one perfectly arched eyebrow at him. Raven's mind wandered onto her problem at hand and her gaze suddenly dropped to the floor, avoiding Phil's mud brown eyes as he looked questioningly at her.

"So....Ms. Moody and Broody..." Phil muttered, watching Raven's shoulders scrunch up and relax once more in an attempt to open up to her best pal. "Why did you finally decide to grace my door step Rae? I've been tryin' to get you to talk to me for ages and you've just been ignoring me and Nicky for days now..." Raven's head shot up at the sound of the blonde cheerleader's name, her pulse beating heavily as an image of the beautiful girl skittered across her mind.

"I...I...Oh crap!" Raven jumped up off the bed and stalked around Phil's bedroom like a caged animal. Turning, she leant her hip against the desk that stood in one corner of the spacious room. "Listen Phil...."

Phil grinned in an attempt to lighten up the situation. "Phil's listening...".

Raven scowled briefly at the dorky boy, then sighed and rolled her shoulders around uncomfortably once more. "I'm not used having to explain myself to anyone." Raven held up a tanned hand as Phil was about to interrupt. "No, let me finish. I know I've been a complete bitch, Ok? I really don't know why you and that little blonde keep on coming back to me for more, but Phil, you need to realise that sometimes, I...I just need to be left alone. I wasn't purposefully taking my temper out on you and Nicky, if I was going to go off at anyone it would have been that fuckin' bitch Maria or that creepy cheesy git Br.." Raven quickly clamped her mouth shut, her eyes widening in surprise at what she had almost said.

"And Brad?" Phil finished off for her. Phil idly scrunched his bed cover up in his hands as he watched Raven reluctantly nod, admitting her feelings to a certain extent.

"Shit....yeah..." Raven mumbled, looking up and watching for Phil's reaction to what she had just said. Sure, he said that he was fine with her being gay, but what would he think if he knew about the sheer hate and undeniable envy that had rushed through her body as she watched that blonde jock handle Nicky right in front of her? What angered her more was that there was nothing she could do to stop him......she didn't have the right.....Nicky was HIS girlfriend, not hers.

Phil stood up and walked over to his troubled friend, sympathising with the confusion that ran rife over the sharp plains of her beautiful face. "Rae, it's Ok to feel like that...."

"What!?!" Raven growled, clenching her fists, slowly uncurling them as she realised she was scaring Phil. "Phil," She muttered hopelessly, "I can't....I just want to pound his fuckin' face in! When ever I see him, with his hands all over her body, holding her, touching her..." Raven stared into brown eyes that looked solemnly back at her. "I want her....I want Nicky so damn much Phil....It's hurting.....deep inside, it hurts."

Phil watched, swallowing a gulp of emotion as he regarded Raven rubbing a hand unconsciously back and forth over her heart. "Rae, there's nothing wrong with loving someone...."

Raven was shocked at his words....LOVE? NO! "'s not love!" Raven adamantly protested, both to him and to herself! It wasn't love...was it??? NO! it couldn't be! "It's...just lust! I want her Phil. I'll admit that! I want her, to feel her hot little body move under mine, to listen to her voice pant in my ear as I make her cry out in pleasure! That's what I want....But it can't ever be Phil! She's got a boyfriend, she's straight for God's sake and fuckin' hell, even if she was interested in me, the bloody bigoted shit heads in this screwed up town would sooner burn me at the stake than sit back and watch as I corrupted Thursville's little golden girl!"

"Raven, relax! Chill out a minute, Ok?" Phil could see that this was driving the brunette crazy. No wonder she's been so weird over the past couple of days. For me, a disaster is when my latest shipment of comics hasn't arrived on time, while Raven has to put up with all this shit.....Phil glanced over to the back pack, wondering why Raven had brought it with her.

"Rae?" Raven smoothed her brow out with her hands, massaging the frown that seemed to have taken up perpetual residence on her face. "What?" She muttered, looking questioningly at Phil.

He pointed over to the bag on the floor, bringing it to Raven's attention. "What's with the suit case Rae? You planning on moving in with me?"

This brought a little grin to Raven's face, albeit a small one. Sighing, Raven ducked her head and looked up at Phil through the curtain of thick dark hair, obscuring the sudden vulnerability that she was feeling. Biting her bottom lip and rubbing her hands over her well worn jeans, she decided just to shoot straight with him. "Uncle Charles has been...erm..less than hospitable, Phil." Raven watched in amusement as Phil's skinny frame stood to attention, his scrawny fists curling in a protective stance. Looks like little Philly is feeling brave, Raven mused, reluctant to acknowledge the kernel of pleasure that wrapped itself around her neglected heart at the thought of someone caring about her. Raven carried on, more confident that her request would be met kindly by Phil.

"I was wondering if I could crash on your bedroom floor for a couple of nights?" Raven tilted her head up, waiting for a response. From the surprised look that was plastered all over the dork's face, she couldn't ascertain what that response would be. "Just till things cool down a bit....."

Phil couldn't have kept the delighted look off his face even if he tried. his room....sleeping in the same room....WHOA! There IS a God! Woo Hoo! Calm down Phil! Breathe in...and! Phew, the girl is gay and your best friend.....yeah, but that doesn't mean that I can't appreciate the benefits of having a sex goddess staying in close proximity of me for the next couple of days, now does it?

Phil shook his head and promptly agreed with Raven "SURE!" he gushed, giddy with happiness that she had turned to HIM - Phil Rogers: Geek Extraordinare - for help. Pulling his shoulders backwards and puffing out his scrawny chest with pride, Phil strutted around his room as Raven shook her head and laughed at his 'macho' attitude.

"Men..." Raven chuckled, throwing the long forgotten pillow at Phil's head, who in turn squawked and shrieked in girlish outrage as it nearly knocked him off his feet. "Just don't go gettin' any rash ideas about us sharing the same bed or anything Philly..." Raven warned him, cocking an eyebrow in his direction and chuckling again at his indignant response.

"Me?" He pointed to himself with utmost innocence. "Now would I do ever something like that?"

Raven eyed him suspiciously for a brief moment before simply nodding and throwing another pillow at the outraged Phil, who continued to scream in an uncannily feminine manner. "Shit Phil, are you sure you're a dude and not a dudette?"

Phil frowned and stuck his tongue out at Raven in reply. Unfazed by Phil's defensive gesture, she continued with this line of thought.." It's just that I've never heard such bloody high squealing before...." Raven straightened her shoulders and did a little bit of strutting around the room herself, " Well, not from a boy anyways, and certainly not while I was still vertical."

Phil scoffed at this and launched the pillow back at Raven who effortlessly grabbed the feather missile in the air. "Crap! That's not fair, you always manage to get the better of me Rae!"

"Yup," Raven said proudly, positioning the pillow at a right angle so that on contact it would cause more damage to her bespectacled opponent. "What can I say? I can't help it if I'm so damn talented! I have many skills you know..." Raven paused a moment and grinned as a feeling of deja vu over took her, but she soon snapped out of her confused reminiscing as another pillow was swung violently at her head. Deftly ducking out of its way, Raven growled and launched herself into the fight, determined never to lose any battle. Be it a simple pillow fight or something more sinister, Raven knew that she had to come out on top and be the best...... old habits die hard and for Raven, survival was her main priority.


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