See chapter one for disclaimers

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This chapter is dedicated to the most unbelievably amazing woman in this world. I love you Gem...plain and simple. You're my hope, my strength, my eternal dream....and forever you'll be my best friend and one true love. Thank you for showing me what love really is.
- And my thanks as always to the fans who continue to send me wonderful feedback. My special thanks go to Courtie, Merlin, Jamie, Sue, Em, Jaden and Law. You guys rock!!! <g>


"Hmm, hmm, hmm, hmm....cha-cha-cha, dee dooo!" Phil bobbed around the tiny bathroom, shaking his hips from side to side as the Latino music continued to blare from the radio perched precariously on a nearby shelf. Swiping with a razor at one last bit of fuzz on his chin, the lanky boy grinned as he finished his morning rituals, a sense of happiness and well-being pervading over him.

Last night had been great. Phil had enjoyed himself like he never had before, having two beautiful girls sit with him in the cinema... granted, he wasn't actually the one that had been playing the 'whoops-did-I-accidentally-touch-you-again' game, but he sure as hell had enjoyed watching Nicky's face light up with hidden pleasure whenever Raven had conveniently and ever-so-innocently placed her hand over the petite blonde's. After all, it wasn't her fault that the arm-rest was too small for both of their elbows to rest on... Raven was just being creative about where she chose to position her arms and hands, namely all over the uncomplaining cheerleader. Phil scoffed in amusement at Raven's behaviour....That girl is soooo in love. I wonder why she keeps denying it? Hmm, you're gonna have to try and figure that one out Philly...

"What are you so happy about?" Raven mumbled, a tooth brush shoved in her mouth as she scrubbed at her pearly white teeth.

"Nothing in's just a great day! Don't ya think so Rae?" Phil turned the taps on and threw some water over his face, quickly ducking out of the way as Raven leaned forward to spit out the toothpaste that was in her mouth. "Watch it Rae!" He squealed.

"Shhh!" Raven said, holding a finger to her lips and grabbing hold of Phil's arm.

"Why should I do someth.....Hey! Ouch!" Phil glared at Raven as she swatted him over the head. "There was no need for..."

"Shhhhhh!" Raven said again, motioning for the dimwitted boy to shut his trap before all of his squawking caused Mrs. Rogers to come and investigate. And there's no way that I'm going be around if that mad woman is on the loose....Hmmm, be considerate Rae, it IS her house after all. "Yeah, well so long as she doesn't know that I'm in it, then everything is just fine and dandy!" Raven muttered to herself, walking away from a thoroughly puzzled Phil.

"You really oughta try and be a little less tense Raven," Phil said, rubbing the back of his head with one hand and stalking out of the en-suite bathroom. "And TRY not to be so damn aggressive..."

Raven smirked as she watched the lanky boy walk away muttering to himself. She gathered up her belongings and followed the still grumbling boy into the bedroom. "Me? Tense and aggressive?" Raven smiled at Phil who was running a comb through his hair and plastering gel all over the cow-licked tufts that stuck up all over his head. "Whatever gave you the impression that I was aggressive?"

Phil halted his actions, a splodge of green and gooey hair gel hanging perilously on the end of his finger tip. "Hmmm, well it could have something to do with the crater sized frigging lump that's on the back of my head...Hummph! There's sensitive cargo in this here skull Rae, you wouldn't want to risk damaging it now would you?"

Raven snickered and reached over to grab her jacket. "What, you mean endanger making you even more crazier than you already are?"

Phil turned back around and sticking his nose up in the air, he proceeded to sniff in a disgruntled manner at the tall girl. "Crazy my arse!" Phil said, trying not to laugh at Raven's overconfident attitude. Giving into the lurking grin anyway, Phil glanced at his bedroom alarm clock and consulted his mega-nerd watch to confirm the fact that they were going to be late for school if they didn't hurry up. "C'mon Rae," Phil huffed, grabbing his ruck sack with one hand and quickly squelching the rest of the gel into his hair. "We've gotta get going!"

"Ok, Ok! Sheesh Phil." Raven held up her hands and made her way over to the window. "I'll climb down the tree and meet you round the block in 5 minutes. Ok Philly?...Oh crap. Did you remember to hide my bag? With all my clothes and stuff in?"

Phil opened his bedroom door before peering cautiously out into the hallway. Mother Watch Guard was in motion... Nope, she's no where to be seen! Phew! Turning back to his friend, Phil couldn't help but admire the shape of Raven's firm ass encased in those old Levi's, hugging and moulding into the gorgeous flesh like a second skin. Hmmmm.

"Yeah, I did hide your stuff... it's under my bed..."

Raven scoffed at this and swivelled around, catching the longing look in her best pal's brown eyes. "See something interesting?" Raven grinned, down playing the poor boy's smitten behaviour. Phil just blushed and decided to look at something infinitely more safe.... like his nice brown shoe laces.

"Really original hiding place by the way." Raven chuckled and waved briefly in Phil's direction, before making a quick run and jump for the handy branch once again, then when she was safely ensconced within the other branches and twigs of the tree, the dark haired girl expertly clambered downwards, soon disappearing from Phil's sight.

Sighing, Phil walked out of his bedroom and skipped down the stairs and out the front door. Glancing up at the surprisingly clear blue skies, the geeky boy sent up a few prayers that today was going to turn out Ok...please, just for this once! It's not too much to ask, is it God? The Big Guy upstairs remained suspiciously quiet.....



"Move it girls!" Coach Redburn yelled at the top of her lungs, huge hands resting on her ample hips and her chin wobbling in reaction to her body's sudden flurry of movement as a group of semi-reluctant teenage girls strolled around the track field. "Don't make me come over there and shift you myself!!!"

"Yeah, like we'd ever let her get close enough to actually touch us!" May scoffed, prancing from foot to foot and kicking her tanned legs up into the air to warm and limber up her muscles.

"Urrgh!" Stacey whispered to her clique of friends, "I know what you mean! She gives me the creeps. I swear that I thought that furry THING on her top lip was a fucking caterpillar until Nicky here explained to me that it was only natural for Physical Ed teachers to have moustaches...Urrgh!"

Nicky tried to prevent herself from snickering at her friends, but was unable to avoid bursting into gales of laughter at Stacey's dramatic antics. "Ohh, stop it Stace," Nicky whispered, stifling her laughter as the mulish Coach glared at them suspiciously.

"What?!" Stacey huffed."I'm only telling the truth!"

"Yeah!" May chimed in, hands stretched above her head." What are we doing today anyways? Any track events? Or are we gonna have to do the high jump?"

"I hope not!" Nicky exclaimed, a disgruntled look settling over her pretty features. Although she was quite fond of sprint and long distance running, she HATED events such as long jump.

"Yeah, it's not fair on us vertically challenged students!" Stacey said, scowling as the small group stopped in front of the rest of the girls.

"Why is that?" Inquired a voice tinged with sarcasm. Maria casually walked up to the other girls, opting to stand safely by Donna. "Because you're both short-arses? Ha! Maybe you still need to do a bit of growing, huh, Nicky?" Maria stared pointedly at Nicky's pert breasts then back to her own ample cleavage.

Nicky held her breath and clenched her jaw, barely controlling her temper. BITCH! Hummph! "Well, to be honest Maria," Nicky sneered at the other girl, stepping forward and shooting her an unimpressed look, " I think it's you that needs to do a bit of growing up. I've warned you before and I'll only say this one more time." Nicky stepped closer, only to have Stacey hastily grab a hold of her elbow to stop her from lashing out at the bitchy brunette."If you don't learn how to play nice Maria, YOU'RE the one that's going to bloody regret it!"

"Ohhh!" Maria snarled. Her top lip quivering with barely suppressed hatred, the slim girl took a step towards the small blonde, adopting a threatening posture and closing the gap between them. "Issuing orders now, huh? Well I'm not gonna listen to you, you little shit!"

Nicky gasped as she watched Maria's hand quickly descend towards her....She closed her eyes and held both of her arms up to protect herself......and waited......then waited some more. What the hell? Nicky peeked open an inquisitive and wary green eye, expecting to be slapped at any given moment. What she did see brought a welcome smile to her face. A joyful sense of deja vu crept over the blonde cheerleader.

"Ah-ah-ah!" Raven's smooth throaty voice drawled, snatching Maria's hand in mid-air. "That's not a very nice way to act to your.... friend, now is it?"

Maria's pallor visibly paled, and gulping audibly, the angry girl turned around to meet the deadly blue eyed glare that impaled her. Oh shit...maybe it wasn't a good idea to have started bitching on Too late now...."" Maria stuttered, gulping and finding it harder to breathe as the dark haired girl advanced towards her. Christ, she's gonna kill me! Shooting a spiteful glare towards Nicky over Raven's shoulder, the slim girl winced as the tall girl's grip tightened on her arm, cutting off the flow of blood to her tender wrist.

Raven ignored the other girl's in the group that stared goggle-eyed at the developing scene. Raven angled herself forwards until she was face to face with the other girl, a deep rumble of anger sounding from her chest. "Walk away now....and I might let you end the day with all of your bones in got that?"

Maria shuddered in fear, feeling like a trapped rabbit caught in car head-lights, she tried her best to squirm away from this deadly coiled cobra of a girl who seemed ready to strike out at her any time now.

"I SAID have you got that?" Raven growled harshly into the cheerleader's ear. Maria's head bobbed quickly up and down in agreement. Nicky you fucking bitch! Maria's mind screamed. Relaxing her grip a little, Raven gave Maria a little shove before almost absently adding, "And stay the hell away from shit around with her the wrong way and I'll rip your fucking head off? Understand?"

"Hey, hey!" Coach Redburn stomped over to the growing crowd of girls, and bursting her way through the throng of mass femininity, she howled in rage as one young girl accidentally stepped on her foot. "Oww! For gods sakes girls, get a bloody move on! And clear outta tha way or else y'all in detention! Ya 'ear me!?"

The crowd of inquisitive girls soon dispersed, leaving behind only a few cheerleaders who knew that with their popularity, that they were above such orders.

"Ms. Vlade!" Redburn shouted, her face turning a mottled purple colour in a vain attempt to control her anger. "What the hell is going on 'ere? Get your mitts offa that there lil' gal!"

Raven growled at the brash order and tightened her grip on Maria for a single moment, before sighing and reluctantly letting go of the obnoxious slim girl. Maria yanked her arm away from the imposing figure of the tall girl, stumbling backwards and hastily sidling away to the opposite end of the group of girls. Raven smirked in glee as she watched the snide cheerleader skulk away. If she had even dared to lay one finger on Nicky's head I would have...Raven stopped her thoughts before she became too enraged to calm herself.

"Don't you EVER let me see you acting like that again around these lil' got me Vlade?" Redburn sneered, trying to look down her nose at Raven, a feat which was somewhat impossible since the amazon of a girl towered over her easily by half a foot.

"Whatever..." Raven mumbled, refusing to back down to this ginger haired woman.

"Good!" Redburn turned away from the eerily intimidating girl and stomped her way back over to the track. "Don't fergit to register in girls!" Redburn waved the folder that she held in her chubby hands. She turned around and glared at Raven. "And that means you as well Ms. Vlade!"

Raven scoffed at the older woman, staring back at her and meeting the Coach's look of intense dislike with an evil glare of her own. Raven suddenly flinched and turned around sharply when she felt someone touch her arm.

"Raven...?" Nicky said, quickly withdrawing her tempted fingers that ached to travel all over the exposed flesh on Raven's fore-arm. She couldn't help but feel hurt that the dark girl had flinched under her touch.

"Oh...Nicky." Raven smiled, realising who it was that was talking to her, an unwanted flood of desire sweeping through her whole body, settling contentedly in the pit of her stomach as she took in the scantily clad cheerleader. Hmmm, gods..those legs....those hips...Oh GODS! This is torture! Raven quelled her urge to bite her lip and frown as she adopted a neutral and wholly defensive mask against Nicky's charms that were so adorably displayed for all and sundry to see. "Are you Ok Nicky? "

The relief and genuine concern written across the beautiful planes of Raven's face made Nicky sigh in thanks that the friendship they had formed was still intact. For a minute there I thought the Raven had second thoughts about this whole friendship thing...PHEW! "So here you are rescuing me again, huh toughstuff?"

Raven, to her absolute shock and horror felt her cheeks burn. I'm not....the heated feeling travelled along her face and down her neck....I bloody well am! I'm blushing! Argggh! " I said last night, you seem to have a knack for getting into trouble, huh?"

Stacey, Donna and May exchanged startled looks at this new development. "Last night?" Stacey mouthed quietly, her fair eyebrows sky rocketing to the clouds, as the other two girls struggled to lip read Stacey's garbled words.

Nicky shuffled her feet slightly, glancing away coyly and grinning in response. to the other girl's teasing words.."Yup, that would be me....good thing that I have you to get me back out of trouble then, right Rae?"

"Sure thing...." Raven mumbled, tensing up as she became aware of the other cheerleaders presence. "Well...ahh." Raven reached up and pushed her long dark mane away from her face."I'd better go and sign in, or else Coach will be stringing me up by my toes and flogging me."

"Ahhh, don't say that Raven!" Stacey exclaimed, grinning as she walked over to her best friend and the tall girl who looked about as comfortable as a worm on a hook. "Knowing Coach Redburn, she'd probably enjoy doing something like that to your hot bod." Nicky beamed at Stacey, happy to see her best friend attempt to be nice to Raven.

"Yeah, well still...I'd better go." Raven walked away from the cheerleaders, then turned around and called out. "It was nice talkin' to ya." Raven sent a wink in Nicky's direction which was met with a gloriously beaming smile from the little green eyed cheerleader.

Nicky's eyes ran over Raven's well muscled form with an admiring eye, taking in the beautifully sculpted body with immense pleasure. Hmmm, oh my Raven, Nicky mused, a gentle smile settling over her face as twinkling jade orbs tracked the dark girl. You're so beautiful Rae. Nicky sighed and turned to Stacey, who was looking at Nicky with a speculative glint in her eye.

"She's gorgeous isn't she?" Stacey said, watching in suspicion as the muscles in Nicky's face twitched in panic as the blonde cheerleader simply nodded her head in agreement. Stacey glanced over to the tall dark girl who was being bollocked once again by the red faced Coach. Stacey had never seen the dark amazon in anything other than her jeans or leathers, but now wearing a short sports kit skirt, Stacey could not help but feel envious of those long supple legs and the perfectly shaped waist that Raven possessed, not to mention the lean hips and curvaceous breasts..... Hmmm, if I swung the other way, then Raven is definitely the girl I would be chasing after. Stacey chuckled to herself at her erratic thoughts and turned back to her still silent friend. "Come on girls, I don't want to have to do extra laps jus' cos you were all too lazy to git your asses on the move!"

The group of cheerleaders groaned appropriately in response to the bossy redhead's orders and began to jog over to Coach Redburn. Nicky continued to stare in Raven's direction, mesmerised by the stunning confident smile that showed off all the sharp angles and slashing cheek bones on Raven's healthily tanned face.

"Wow!" Donna muttered, noticing what had captured Nicky's attention once more " What I wouldn't give to have a face like that!"

Nicky laughed, bending over at the waist as she started to choke, until an ever helpful Stacey began to pat her on the back. "Well, " Nicky said, forcing her gaze away from the gorgeous dark haired girl who was now standing off to the side by herself, "There's always your next birthday to try and achieve that goal Donna!"

May snickered as Donna's hands immediately covered her artificial nose. "That's not funny!" She sulked, scowling at Nicky and Stacey. "Take that back!"

"We can't take it back," Stacey giggled, joining in and tormenting her terribly highly strung friend. "And anyways you should deal with your own responsibilities...Didn't you know that a nose is for life? "

Donna squeaked in anger and glared at the three laughing girls before storming off in the same direction as Maria, hoping to find sympathy elsewhere.

Nicky sobered herself up and bit her lip, fearing that she had taken a joke too far. "Maybe we should go and apologise..." Nicky said, her brow wrinkling in consternation and a touch of guilt as she watched her friend stalk off towards a prettily pouting Maria.

"Nah!" May declared, grinning as they finally made their way onto the track field.

"Donna's just being a pain in the ass....she can dish that crap out but she can't take any back. She needs to learn to roll with the punches Nicky."

"Yeah," Stacey agreed, fiddling with the waist band of her sports skirt, securing the tags and buttons in place."She needs to learn to go with the flow."

Nicky stared at her fellow cheerleaders, unsure of their comments, "But still, maybe we shouldn't have...."

"Maybe we shouldn't have blah, blah, blah!" Stacey grinned, hooking an arm around both May and Nicky. "We can do whatever the hell we want Nicky." Stacey directed her head towards her blonde friend." You're going to have to stop being such a goody-goody need to let your hair down....and be naughty for once! Grrr!" Stacey mock purred while directing her friends towards the impatiently waiting Coach Redburn.

Nicky smiled and her gaze was irrepressibly drawn to the proud stance of the dark haired girl. Now there's someone who knows how to be....bad. Nicky's smile grew as she continued this line of thought. And I can't think of anyone else I'd rather have show me the ropes.....Nicky withdrew from Stacey's arm and turned to look down at the smaller girl. "Maybe you're right Stace.." Nicky smirked impishly at the redhead before walking off up to Coach Redburn. "I DO need to have a bit of mischief in my life." Nicky set off to get her name registered, the lingering presence of a certain dark girl's shadow bringing a smile of acceptance onto the blonde cheerleader's pretty face. And I know just the person I want to give it to me......


"Ok, I'll be partnering you off in a moment...I want each of you to try and run two laps, while the other partner waits in the side lines, once the first team member has ran their laps, the second team mate is to ready themselves to catch the baton passed from the first partner." Redburn shouted her instructions clearly, having developed a magnificent ability to scream her lungs off after teaching for the last 14 years. This was a talent that she continuously put to damn good and effective use, much to the dismay of every student. "Right, Valquez, you partner with Mittere, Dane you go with Summers, Mayfair you partner with....."

Raven's head snapped up and she stood taller as she heard Nicky's name being called out.....Like I'm not pathetically eager to be chosen here? Raven grinned and looked over to the blonde cheerleader who was glancing over towards her and smiling in return. Ok, this feels...nice. Raven beamed back at the other girl, her eyes flashing hopefully as Redburn turned to glance at her.

"And pair off with Marralson." Raven sighed with disappointment as Redburn ordered a particularly bubble headed cheerleader to be Nicky's team mate. Nicky waved at Raven, shrugged her slim shoulders and strolled off to find her team mate."And Vlade...that leaves only...oh what's her name?" Redburn gazed over to the nerdy girl who stood scuffing her trainers on the track, looking extremely uncomfortable in her too tight gym skirt that strained against her chubby stomach. "That leaves her...." Redburn pointed at the girl standing all alone and left Raven to walk on over to the small rotund girl.

"Hi...." Raven said, her voice warm and welcoming for a change with this new, shy looking girl. "I'm Raven Vlade and..."

"YOU'RE Raven?" The other girl exclaimed, her head shooting upwards to gaze at Raven with trepidation, a mass of brown fuzzy hair flying everywhere.

Raven rubbed the back of her neck with one hand, letting the cool breeze cool her heated skin that burned from the sun's rays. "Well....yeah." Raven stared at the uncomfortable looking girl, deciding to try at least try and bring the girl out of her shell." And you are...?"

"Me?" Soft hazel eyes gazed shyly at Raven and the dark haired girl smiled in response.

"Well, there's no one else around 'ere, is there?" Raven motioned with her arms and did a little half circle, causing the shy brunette to giggle. There we go! I knew I could do the nice goody-goody routine! Ahhh, Nicky will be so proud! Raven snickered in amusement at her wandering thoughts that always led her back to the cute little blonde. Yeah, like I would ever want them to lead me anywhere else!

"I'm...I'm Penny....Penny Nelson." The chubby brunette muttered, her soft hazel gaze dropping to the floor as a subdued silence over came her once more. Raven frowned at the stunted silence and raised one perfectly arched eyebrow.

"Well then, it's a pleasure to meet you Penny Nelson," Raven grinned, gently reaching over and grasping the other girl's hand in her own, shaking the plump hand up and down in greeting. " I don't think that I've seen you around here before, have I?"

"I...I've been around, " Penny whispered, glancing up once quickly before ducking her head again and withdrawing her hand from Raven's larger palm. " I've seen you before....with..with Philip."

"Philip?" Raven stared at the other girl and chuckled when she saw a cute blush work it's way over the other girls fair freckled skin. Ahhhhh! Oh yeah, looks like Phil has a secret admirer! Ha! This is going to be sooo much fun! Raven barely prevented herself from doing a gleeful little jig at the prospect of being able to torment Phil as much as he had been tormenting her with her crush on Nicky. "You mean Phil Rogers?"

Penny glanced up and actually managed to meet the tall girl's beautiful blue gaze when she answered, "Yeah....I..we...kinda went to the same elementary school and stuff..."

Raven smiled then grimaced in annoyance as the loud fog horn of a teacher shouted at the two of them. She honestly felt like telling Coach Redburn to fuck off as the teacher yelled at the pair of girls to get their asses over to the starting line. I'll take my ass where I want, when I want...Raven's mind grumbled, reluctant to give in to Redburn's instructions.

"Shit, what a loud gob she has on her..." Raven muttered, glowering at Redburn's back which was turned towards them. Raven looked at the other girl and motioned her to walk to the starting line. "Ok, do you wanna go first or should I?"

Penny blushed and squirmed uncomfortably under Raven's blue gaze. "I'm..." Penny stopped walking as they neared the starting line, shame reflected in her words. "I'm no good at this Raven...." The little brunette motioned at the track field which looked terrifyingly long and exhausting to her. She didn't think that she'd make it round once, never mind twice...not without having a heart attack anyways.

Raven smiled and shoved Penny in a friendly manner with her shoulder. "Ahh, don't worry about it!" The dark haired picked up a baton from a pile that rested near the starting line. All the other girls were lined up ready for the off. Raven passed the chubby girl the baton and nudged her gently towards the starting line. "You just run with all that you've got...Ok?" Raven waited for the hesitant nod that Penny gave her.

"Then just pass me the baton and I'll do the rest....You ready?"

Penny nodded nervously once more, stumbling her way over to the white line.

"Get a move on!" Redburn shouted irately at the unpopular girl who she had partnered with the troublesome Raven Vlade.

"Yeah, get a move on lard arse!" Maria sneered at a cowering Penny, causing a couple of other girls to titter at the malicious put down. Penny hunched her shoulders and frowned, sighing as she lined herself up at the starting spot on the track.

"Why don't you just shut the fuck up Maria before I shut you up permanently!" Raven growled, her tone meaning business. Maria scowled in the dark amazon's direction and promptly closed her mouth. Nicky smiled over at Raven, warming the dark girl's heart to no end. Yup, St.Raven kinda has a nice ring to it...

"Enough talk!" Redburn yelled, her salt and pepper hair sticking up in the air as if the woman had just had a thousand volts of electricity shoved up her rear end. "Get to the line!" The girls complied and positioned themselves at the starting line, listening for the shrill call of the whistle."Ready! Set!.....GO!!" Redburn blew the whistle that hung around her thick neck and a stampede of teenage girls took off as fast as they could, circling the track.

"Yeah! Yeah! Come on Babs!" Nicky cried, pumping her fists in the air as she watched her partner speed off with quite impressive results. Raven grinned and crossed her arms, content to simply watch the highly animated excitement that passed over the blonde girl's pretty face. Oh Nicky girl...Raven tilted her head to the side and frowned as another girl blocked her view for a moment. Move...out...of...the....WAY! Ahhh! Yesssss! Raven continued to gaze at the small blonde, her eyes sweeping down the gym kit that she was wearing. Damn, that girl looks good in a uniform.....Raven licked her suddenly dry lips, shifting her stance and rolling her shoulders to stop them from stiffening up. Raven's eyes latched on to the blonde cheerleader's neck, noting the graceful length of smooth skin with hungry eyes...

Nicky felt the hairs on her neck stand on end and looked over towards her dark haired friend. "Raven..." She whispered, her eyes searching and immediately connecting with the other girl's.

Raven gave a lop sided smile as she saw Nicky mouth her name. "Hi..." Raven whispered back, wiggling her long slender fingers at the small blonde before she realised what a sissy she probably looked like and turned her head away quickly in embarrassment. Oh my God! Raven you are getting really sad! Snap out of it! Raven shook her head from side to side, clearing it of the tempting thoughts that plagued her dreams like forbidden fruit. Yeah, well it ain't my fault that I'm so obsessed...not when the fruit looks THAT tasty! Raven sighed and gave in to her urge to openly ogle the cheerleader while she was in her skimpy gym skirt. Let the drooling commence!

Raven's electric blue eyes eagerly tracked back to Nicky, but the cheerleader was once again caught up in the action that was going on. The stampede of girls were just nearing the end of the second circuit.....and poor Penny was at least twenty metres behind everyone else, puffing and huffing away as her face glowed redder and redder with every step she took.

"Come on Penny!" Raven shouted in encouragement, oblivious to the surprised looks issued to her by the other girls waiting for their team mates to run up and pass them the baton. Raven gave her head a mental shake one more time, clearing out all thoughts of a certain delicious blonde that drove her to distraction. Gotta concentrate...I've gotta race to win!

Penny took a deep breath and huffed as she pushed her body as far as it would go, but even with this extra effort she was still way behind the other slimmer girls. Nicky glanced over at Raven who had a serious competitive frown plastered on her face. How cute is she? Nicky giggled to herself, almost missing the baton that her team mate passed her. She quickly grabbed at the metal bar and set off at the same time as Maria, who was practically crowing with laughter as she glanced behind her and saw the distinctly embarrassed image of a heavily sweating Penny struggling to finish the race.

"Come on Penny!" Raven called out, encouraging the small brunette with a friendly wave of her hand. "You can do it! Just a little bit further!" Raven positioned herself on the starting line, standing alone as all the second round of girls had already set off.

Penny panted and groaned in pain as a stitch pierced her side, causing her to gasp out loud and hold a hand to her aching side. Ok....I'm unfit. Penny thought frantically, focusing solely on Raven's out stretched hand. So sue me! With one more gallant effort, the shy girl pushed herself forwards and shakily passed the baton to Raven.

Raven grinned confidently at the other girl and winked before shooting off like a rocket around the track. Penny closed her eyes and collapsed onto the floor, groaning as the stitch in her side subdued a little bit now that she was no longer attempting to exercise her reluctant body. Opening her eyes once more and still gasping for breath, the other girl watched on in amazement as her tall team mate ate up the distance between herself and the horde of running girls who were just starting their second lap.

Go Raven! Penny silently cheered as Raven caught up to the straggling girls at the back of the group. Penny looked upwards as she heard a sharp gasp. Apparently she wasn't the only one who was impressed with Raven's natural athletic abilities. Coach Redburn was eyeing up Raven's performance with renewed interest as the dark girl effortlessly out raced another couple of girls and closed in on the leaders of the race.

Raven grinned playfully, easily passing a couple of cheerleaders who both sounded like they were going to faint any time soon with their heavily laboured breathing. Raven turned her attention to the girls who were up at the front of the group.....Yup, there's my Nicky. Raven smiled proudly. Nicky was running for all that she was worth, her slim legs pumping up and down furiously, trying to catch up with Maria who looked to be taking the lead quite comfortably. We'll see about that! Raven smirked, letting her competitive side kick in.

Penny stood shakily to her feet and watched the drama unfold before her very eyes. If possible, Raven had lengthened her gait, those long supple legs of hers stretching and flexing as she sped up, leaving the group of girls behind her eating the dust that her trainers kicked up. Closer and closer....Raven was closing the gap, apparently with ease by the confident grin that was placed firmly on her face, the sensuous curve of her lips making the beautiful girl appear almost infuriatingly relaxed as she caught up to Nicky.

"Hey, fancy meeting you here!" Raven said chuckling, taking in a deep breath as she ran contentedly beside the small blonde cheerleader for a couple of seconds. Surprised green eyes turned to look at her and Raven winked, blowing a kiss at the blushing girl before picking up even more speed, passing Nicky and sprinting after Maria.

Nicky continued to put all her effort into catching the other two up, but she couldn't help but get a little side tracked as she watched with curious interest the muscles in Raven's long legs as they rippled and flexed with every move the dark girl made. Hmmm, dreamy.....Nicky grinned, embarrassed at her thoughts and set about concentrating on the race once more.

Raven felt like howling in triumph as she approached the bitchy cheerleader. Maria felt someone close the gap behind her and glanced over her narrow shoulder, expecting to see Nicky.....Ahhhh! How the fuck did she get there!? Maria gulped in panic as her eyes connected with wild blue orbs that glared evilly back at her like a dangerous predator. SHITTTTT! Maria turned around and focused on the finish line that was surrounded by screaming girls who yelled and squealed encouragement to their team mates. Only about 60 metres to go Maria girl! C'mon! Show that trashy freak what you're made of! Maria took off, sprinting the last length of the race as fast as she could, feeling like she was being chased by some demon from hell nipping at her tail.

Oh crap! Raven cursed as she realised that Maria was pulling away. Does she really think that I'm going to let her win bloody win? I don't think sooooo... Raven took another deep breath and growled out loud, her legs pounding away on the track surface, the friction causing the bottom of her trainers to burn up with heat. Watch out bitch, 'cause here I come! Raven snickered and dug in deep, using her long legs to her advantage, the rebellious girl closed the distance between herself and the slim cheerleader.

Maria gasped for breath, her mouth gaping open in amazement as Raven pulled up beside her, the dark haired girl grinning madly and raising that frigging eyebrow of hers in triumph before snickering once more and speeding off in front of her. No way! That's not humanly possible!

Raven practically soared through the last 30 metres, crossing the finish line with a smug smile in place. She slowed her pace and turned back around, wandering amongst the other loudly clapping girls who patted her on the back, making Raven feel like a prized mare. And the first power point goes to the dyke! Take that Maria you fucking little bitch. Raven grinned at the thought and shrugged off the hands that kept touching her back.

"Thanks.." Raven mumbled, eager to get back to the finish line to see Maria cross the line a couple of seconds after her. Ok Raven.....don't tease the straight's not nice to gloat....Raven took in the pissed off expression on the slim cheerleader's face and let the smug smile surface once more. I'm not made of stone! Fuck the goddamn sainthood, this is too much fun to pass up!

"Hey there...." Raven said, striding up towards the bitchy cheerleader and regarding her with a deceptively sincere smile. "Good race, huh? "

Maria glanced up at the tall intimidating girl, malice dripping from her words. "Just shut up Raven. You're such a fucking show off!"

Raven raised one perfectly arched black brow and sneered at the smaller girl. "Well, like they say, you're either a winner or a loser..." Raven looked the other girl up and down with a snarl escaping from her lips as she remembered the other girl almost physically attacking Nicky before. "And it's obvious who's the loser this time Maria."

Maria stood up and out of the way of the other girls crossing the finish line. "Piss off you fucking trailer trash!" Maria screamed, letting her anger overtake rational thought. "You're the LOSER! You've been a fucking loser all of your life! You're the one that lives in a shitty beat up tin can in the trailer park and has a slutty whore for a mother, not me, so back off bitch! You probably shoot drugs up your frigging veins.... there's no way that you could have won me fairly!"

Raven stared at the other girl, intense anger boiling in her veins. Control it Rae...control it!

"Why don't you just fuck off back to where ever you came from," Maria sneered, looking down her nose at the seemingly calm facade that emanated from the amazon of a girl. "Cos we don't want losers like you around here!"

Nicky crossed over the finish line and threw the baton to the floor, running over to the huddled group of girls that Coach Redburn was trying to push her way through. Nicky's jade green eyes widened in worry as she heard Maria shout. Looking around at the group of girls, Nicky failed to spot the one person that she was searching for. Raven! Nicky's fists curled in resentment. If Maria hurts her, I'll bloody gauge her eyes out with a rusty nail!

"Hey...erm...excuse me?" Nicky turned around from the group of girls to see a plump girl with fuzzy brown hair talking to her.

"What is it?" Nicky muttered in dismay, wanting to tell this girl to wait for a moment until she was sure that Raven was fine.

"I...I err, are you Raven's friend?" Penny stuttered, hardly believing her own audacity for talking to this popular cheerleader. Penny watched as the blonde girl instantly nodded her head in a distracted way. " Well I was wondering if you could...."

Penny stopped talking as voices rose and someone yelped.

"Oh crap!" Nicky exclaimed, her eyes turning to the anxious shy girl.

"Raven!" They both said simultaneously, worry evident in their high pitched voices.

"Stop right there Raven Vlade!" Redburn shouted, unable to believe what she was seeing. Raven had Maria hovering up at least two foot in the air, holding the slim girl by the scruff of her neck. "Drop that cheerleader now Raven!"

Raven ignored the authoritative tone of the girls' Coach and shook the squealing mass of Maria with both of her clenched hands. "Who's' the little shit now Maria? Huh?! HUH?!" Raven growled, shaking the other girl like a limp rag doll, anger rolling through her veins. "If I had my way I'd fucking kill you without second thought you little bitch!"

Maria backed her head as far away from the hissing Raven as she possibly could.

"Please! Don't hurt me! I...I....Heeelllpppp me for gods sake!!! Someone?? Anyone?"

Raven felt Redburn approach her and turned laser blue eyes in her direction. "Don't you fucking dare!" Raven warned. "Stay back!" Coach Redburn watched the remarkably strong girl with interest, immediately holding both hands up in the air and backing off slightly to appease the furious girl's anger. Christ, with that strength and power...not to mention the way she just stormed around that track like a ferocious tornado.....this could be the best discovery I've ever made for this damn school! Redburn backed off a bit more, scared and yet somehow fascinated at Raven's display of brutal power.

"Okay, okay...just put Maria down Raven!" Redburn said as calmly as possibe, her voice wobbling a bit, uncertain of what she should do to prevent the bitchy cheerleader from becoming pulverised.

Nicky pushed her way through the dense crowd of squealing girls, promptly followed by a nervous looking Penny, who was wringing her hands in abject worry and mumbling unheard words under her breath.

"Raven!" Nicky called out as she emerged from the group of teenagers. Raven's eyes opened wide at the sound of Nicky's worried voice and let her grasp on Maria slacken a little bit.

"Nicky?" Raven's gaze tracked towards the little cheerleader whose face was framed by a halo of fiery golden hair. Raven took in the angelic sight and sighed with longing, a sense of sadness creeping over her as she realised once again that this earth angel didn't belong to her.

Nicky stopped where she was, taking in the scene before her. Maria was beginning to turn an interesting shade of blue and Raven's passively cold face peered back at Nicky with a curious detachment that frightened Nicky. This isn't my Raven....this isn't the real Raven Vlade.... Nicky approached the statue like girl, cautiously reaching out her hand.

"Come on Rae." Nicky pleaded, looking quickly at the gasping Maria who seemed to be losing consciousness. "She's not worth it Baby....." Nicky let the endearment slip out without noticing what she was saying.

Raven gulped, feeling a lump of emotion form in her throat as she gazed solemnly into twin jade pools of comfort and acceptance. You should be mine Nicky.... Maria groaned and coughed before becoming strangely silent. Shit Rae, what are you doing? Raven slackened her hold on Maria and noticed for the first time that the slim cheerleader had passed out, from lack of oxygen or just plain old fear, Raven wasn't sure and either seemed a plausible reason.

"Ahhh fuck!" Raven exclaimed loudly, quickly placing Maria on the ground and backing off as a swarm of concerned cheerleaders buzzed around their fallen squad member. Raven glanced up, her eyes searching Nicky's. "Nik, I didn't mean to..."

Nicky walked over to Raven and placed a delicate finger over Raven's trembling lips. "Yes you did mean it Rae." Nicky gazed steadily into the troubled blue orbs that threatened to consume her very soul. "And I'll tell you something else." Nicky stroked the flushed skin on Raven's face, meaning only to reassure, but at the same time relishing being able to softly caress the tall girl's smooth skin. The blonde girl briefly looked down at Maria who was stirring back into consciousness. "She deserved it Raven. We all know that you could have bloody ripped her legs off if you wanted to...but you didn't. Don't worry Rae, me and ....errr....what do you call her?"

"Penny?" Raven glanced over at the plump girl who obviously wanted to join in on her and Nicky's conversation, but still held herself back.

Nicky smiled gently making her nose crinkle adorably. "Yeah, Penny....we'll stick up for you pal....we're friends....forever remember?"

Raven stared at the small blonde, taking a deep breath, inhaling as much of Nicky's scent as she could and for some peculiar reason she felt like crying. Ohh gods I want you so damn much Nicky...."Friends?" Raven replied stupidly, her heart thumping away like a drum as she struggled to control her emotions.

"Yeahh!" Nicky murmured, chewing on her bottom lip and reluctantly bringing her hands back under control, tucking them in the edge of her skirt. Unable to resist touching Raven's gloriously hot body once more, Nicky playfully socked the taller girl in the arm. "You're stuck with me now Raven Vlade, whether you like it or not!"

Raven pretended to be hurt by the blonde cheerleader's actions, rubbing the spot on her shoulder that still tingled from Nicky's touch. "Ouch! Bloody hell! So I don't get a choice huh? "

"Nope!" Nicky grinned, dimples showing in the corner mouth as her white teeth glinted at Raven. " You're mine now Raven...."

Raven stared earnestly at the smaller girl. "I'm yours?" Raven raised one dark brow and then let a wolfish grin take over her face. Ohhh, I like the sound of that! Say it again! Say it again! Go on!!!!!!!!

"Yup, you're all mine now Raven Vlade." Nicky smiled at the tall girl, oblivious to what she was actually saying. "And Phil's as well I suppose...." Nicky failed to recognise the disgruntled sigh that escaped Raven's lips at her words. "And Penny's .....looks like you just found a new puppy dog to follow you around Rae." Nicky laughed as Raven's face scowled and the dark girl pretended to be annoyed. She's just a big softie....Nicky smiled once more in gentle reassurance.

"Thanks Nicky.." Raven whispered. She longed to just reach out and wrap the smaller girl in her arms and practically hug her to death....Yeah, then I'll have to resuscitate her...mouth to mouth...Hmmm....No! Don't even contemplate it Raven! You've got trouble to sort out first! And sure enough, Coach Redburn was walking over to them.

"Pissing hell!" Raven swore, knowing that she was about to get bollocked for her less than diplomatic behaviour. "I'm in deep shit here..."

"D-don't worry..." Raven and Nicky both turned around to see Penny blushing to the roots of her fuzzy brown hair. "Me..and ..and..Nicky will stand by you Raven." Penny screwed up her face as all three turned to watch Maria whimper and dramatise over the extent of her minor injuries while a gaggle of squad members, Stacey, May and Donna included, surrounded the loudly wailing Maria, who was screaming for Raven to die a rather unpleasant, torturous death involving several rather long sharp instruments.

"Someone doesn't like me..." Raven drawled in amusement, trying to hide the fluttering of regret that was flooding her mind, making her feel uneasy about not being able to control her temper yet again.

"You don't say?" Penny giggled, earning approving looks from Raven at her increased confidence. Nicky giggled along with the plump girl, automatically liking this quiet and rather reserved girl.

"Hmmm, wonder what gave it away?" Nicky questioned as she fiddled with the toggles on her skirt. She was finding it increasingly hard to keep her hands all to herself....they seemed to be instinctively drawn to the beautiful dark girl that stood so close to her. Nicky could smell that alluring earthy scent that clung to Raven, stirring some sort of long forgotten memories inside of the puzzled blonde cheerleader.

"Perhaps it was the fact that you were tryin' to strangle that thar gal wid your freakin' paws young lady!" The laughing trio became silent as Redburn stomped her way over to them, hands on her sturdy hips and a disapproving scowl plastered on her chunky face."And Nicky Mayfair, I'm surprised at you! Shouldn't you be over there with your team mate instead of fraternising with the enemy?"

"Raven is NOT my enemy," Nicky shouted, shocking herself as well as her teacher. Since when do I shout back at teachers like that? Nicky took in the appalled look on Redburn's face and gulped. Shit, if Daddy hears about this I'm as dead as a turkey at a Thanksgiving dinner.

"I suggest that you and Penny go and get changed like the rest of the girls." Redburn motioned at the crowd of girls that was dispersing and returning to the locker rooms now that the excitement was all over. Nicky and Penny glanced at Raven who had turned back into the image of a marble statue. Raven nodded at them to do as they were told, not wanting them to get into anymore bother over her.

"Fine." Nicky huffed, wanting desperately to stay and defend her friend so much that she almost bit her lip off in her attempt to remain silent. "I'll talk to you later..Ok Rae?" Raven nodded once more, refusing to meet the cheerleader's gaze just in case she cracked under those sympathetic green eyes that drew her in and made her want to want to trust so much that it was almost a physical pain to resist depending on the blonde cheerleader.

"Bye then..?" Nicky tried in vain to get Raven to look at her, sighing in annoyance as her new friend repeatedly avoided eye contact! Urrggh! She's doing the 'Oh-I'm-so-strong-and-silent' act! Hummph! Stubborn as a bloody mule! Nicky grabbed hold of the contentedly silent Penny and dragged the unresisting girl away. I'll show her stubborn! Why can't she just admit that she needs someone in her life to depend on? That maybe she Big stupid tough girl that she is. Huumph! Nicky frowned and looked over at Penny.

"She's not going to get in loads of trouble is she Nicky?" Penny asked, worry evident in her trembling voice as the two of them entered the back entrance doors leading towards the locker rooms.

"I don't know Penny..." Nicky sighed deeply and gave the other girl a friendly pat on the back as they strode towards the locker room. "I sure as hell hope not."

Penny simply nodded, knowing that the other girl wasn't really in the mood to talk about least not with her. It was blatantly obvious to her, if not anyone else, that the only person that the infamous Nicky Mayfair wanted right now, was standing outside, her tall dark stance rigidly proud, pretending to be macho while she awaited her punishment.

Raven stood up straight, pulling her shoulders back, feeling like she was under inspection during an army drill. Bloody hell, creepy much??? Raven thought as Redburn "ummed" and "ahhed" looking over Raven's impressive physical attributes.

"Just get on with it!" Raven growled, losing patience with the Coach.

"Why should I young lady?" Redburn smirked at the impudent girl, admiring her rebellious streak. "Hasn't anyone ever told you that patience is a virtue?"

Raven scoffed at Redburn's words and curled her lip distastefully. " Isn't it obvious by now that I sure as hell don't have any frigging virtues....they kind of fly outta the window and disappear when you repeatedly piss people off."

"So don't piss people off Ms. Vlade."

Raven gazed quizzically at the older woman and remained silent.

"It's as simple as that."

Raven looked down at the ground, growing bored with the conversation and wishing that the Coach would just dole out the punishment so that she could go and meet up with Phil..he'd be wondering where she was by now, sitting in the Cafeteria all by himself. "Raven? Raven! Are you paying attention to me gal?"

Raven snapped out of her straying thoughts and tried to listen attentively to the same old monotonous barrage of verbal abuse that she was sure she was going to get. Redburn starred at the lithe muscular form that stood proudly before her and smiled, instinctively knowing that she had a potentially first class winner on her hands here.

"You do realise that when Principle Greener hears about this new little escapade that you're going to be waist deep in a heap of shit...right?" Raven gave a quick nod of her head, sensing by the sly look that appeared in the Coach's eyes that something else was going on here.

"Yeah...and?" Raven drawled, clasping her hands behind her back just in case that they decided to misbehave again and try to strangle the cocky teacher that seemed to be very pleased with herself.

"Soooo..." Redburn exclaimed in excitement, her hands waving around in front of Raven's face. "I'll make a deal with you Ms. Vlade!"

"A deal?" Raven eyed the teacher up with trepidation, both eyebrows raising curiously.

"Yes, a deal!" Redburn clenched her fists and practically pumped her hands up and down in victory. "If you agree to this, then I'll make sure that Principle Greener is informed that the little...incident that occurred today was a misunderstanding...that Maria was at fault just as much as you were...."

Raven frowned at this, not believing that anyone, never mind a goddamn teacher would defend her and keep her out of trouble."What's the catch?" Raven's deep voice murmured, eyeing the older woman suspiciously.

"No catch.." Redburn insisted, trying to prevent herself from smirking in smug glee. "All you have to do is....." Redburn looked Raven over once more and nodded enthusiastically. "You've just got to sign up for the track team and..."

"Whoa! Wait there just a goddamn minute!" Raven scowled, bringing her hands around from behind her back and running them through her snarled black locks. "There is NO WAY that I'm joining the fucking sissy track team....for one thing try-outs have already taken place and.."

"And nothing Raven!" Redburn shouted, panicking slightly that perhaps the young girl wasn't going to agree for this. If in doubt, go straight for the jugular! You taught me well mommy dearest! "I'm the Coach here, I get to decide who is and who isn't on the team...and from now on YOU are Raven!" Redburn halted the dark haired girl's protests with a wave of her hand. "Hear me out, Ok? " Raven reluctantly nodded, grumbling and muttering several rude words under her breath. "You know fine well that as soon as Greener hears about your latest mishap that he's gonna be wanting to throw you out of the school Raven. Do you really want that? You'll end up just like your mother and..."

"I WILL NOT END UP LIKE MY MOTHER!" Raven yelled, pain and hate coursing through her veins. "I'll fucking kill myself before I'm reduced to her level!"

Redburn bit her hair top lip, immediately regretting aggravating the young girl whose pain filled eyes haunted her. "Raven, I'm sorry..I didn't mean anything by it....just calm down gal...Ok?" Raven glared evilly at the Coach and backed off, trying desperately to reign in her explosive temper. "What I'm saying is this, you have only two options. One: you accept my offer and I'll back you up in front of Greener or two: you refuse my offer, then Greener learns about you physically hurting yet another student and you're out of here, no education and no future. It's up to you Raven. What are you going to do?"

Raven sighed and let her shoulders stoop a little, feeling bewildered and wishing to high heaven that she hadn't been so bloody stupid as to lash out at Maria's taunting. I need my education...I need to get away from here, from the trailer park, away from all the hopeless unattainable dreams and disillusioned faces that stare back at me everyday with such defeat on their bone weary features. Raven glanced up at the silent teacher that watched her every move with caution.

"Fine." Raven said quietly, her low voice barely audible. "You've got yourself a deal." Redburn practically screeched with glee as Raven agreed to her request. "When do I start training?"

Redburn scratched her chin reflectively as she thought about it. "Well....we've got to make it seem as though you've punished in some way now don't we? " Raven stared coldly at the giddy Coach, resenting the small compact woman's triumphant smirk. "If it's gonna look realistic that is...Hmmm, about right now? It'll look like I've given you your punishment and at the same time we'll be able to see what that body of yours is capable of."

Raven's eyebrows zoomed upwards as she was automatically reminded of a certain flirtatious art teacher that had been all too eager to see what exactly Raven's body was capable of.

"So, although I know it's dinner time, we've got to make this look go now! Get started. You warm up and I'll go get my stop watch...I'll meet you back here in 10 minutes. Go on! Get going!"

Raven snarled at the happy teacher one last time and trotted off back towards the track. Christ! The tall girl groaned as she stretched her muscles before setting off at a gentle pace around the track. Looking up at the clear blue skies Raven quickly stuck her tongue out and then curled her lip up at the heavens. Remind me never to ask you for a favour ever again if this is what you're gonna give me! Raven chuckled and tried to shake off the last tendrils of emotional disruption that clouded her mind, instead concentrating on the soothing gate of her body, as it effortlessly worked its way around the track.

To be continued in chapter 16........

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