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Sykkuno didn’t quite know what to expect with his senior year of high school. He was incredibly nervous to graduate and go to college but at the same time, he was so ready to leave. High school wasn’t necessarily bad for him, yeah he went through a bit of bullying but that didn’t stick around much past sophomore year. Junior year was kind of awkward for him because, for some reason, girls started noticing him more but he was never really interested in anyone so it was mostly just feeling bad for rejecting people. Now, he was a month into senior year, and honestly, it was going how he expected. A lot of work, anticipation, but mostly just living the best you can knowing you might never see your friends again after graduation. 

For Sykkuno, his closest friends were Toast, Leslie, Lily, and Poki. The five of them were planning on going to the same college, and buying a house together when they can afford it, so he wasn’t too worried about that. They have known each other since the beginning of middle school and despite some fights, they always made up a day later. It was just hard to stay mad at each other because that’s time they could have been hanging out instead. 

Unfortunately, the brunette had a full schedule with no off periods ( NOTE: Their schedules will be block schedules meaning they have 8 total classes, but periods 1-4 are Monday/Wednesday, periods 5-8 are Tuesday/Thursday while Friday is all eight classes). His other friends had periods 1 and 5 off which meant they got to sleep in. He was a little jealous. But only a little. 

The first month of senior year had been, for lack of better words, boring. It was the same people he’s known for his three years of high school, there was no new stupid drama, there weren’t even any fights yet, which is crazy. And he knew all the tea because if anyone loved the drama, it was Poki. So while Sykkuno avoided that stuff, Poki loved to talk about it with their little group even though no one really cared. 

It was lunch, the group taking one of the tables outside that they usually sat at. It was the five of them plus Rae, Poki’s friend, and Scarra, Toast’s friend. Sykkuno always brought lunch from home considering their school’s food tastes like cardboard. Poor Rae was the only one who had to eat the food they served at Falcatraz (the nickname Toast had dubbed Falcon High School). Next to her, Poki pulled out the extra sandwich she often made for her friend before turning to the group with a sly smile. 

“So, I heard there’s a new guy coming to school today.” She smiled, a devious glint in her eyes as she intertwined her fingers underneath her chin. Their school was in a small town so it was relatively uncommon to get new students. So naturally, this gained everyone’s attention. Lily perked up at this, quickly swallowing the chip she had been eating. 

“Oh yeah! He was actually in Michael’s first-period class.” Her high-pitched voice chirped. Michael Reeves was a year younger than him and her boyfriend. While she did get teased a lot for dating a younger guy, he was a nice person and really funny. Poki grinned at the information, leaning forward to look at her inquisitive. 

“Really? Do tell.” Lily was oblivious to what Poki was trying to figure out but in all honesty, she was a rather nosy person. Sykkuno kinda felt bad for whoever this new guy was because Poki was going to be sniffing out his deepest darkest secrets. Although she was understanding if people wanted her to back off so long as he told her that, the new kid would be fine. 

“He wears all black, has a face mask on all the time, and Michael says he wears jewelry and shit. But get this,” she giggled, rubbing her hands together with a smile. She was a bit of a gossip too. “He’s mute.” Sykkuno’s eyes widened, unable to think of anything to say. He’s never met someone who was mute. And almost instantly, he just knew this poor guy was going to get swarmed by the bullies at their school because it happened to him when they learned he stutters when he’s nervous. 

“I heard that he’s a drug dealer and he doesn’t talk in case he outs his gang.” It came completely out of the left-field, even for Poki. Toast sighed, setting his garbage in the paper bag he brought for his food. He tossed it into the trash near them. 

“Or, you know, he’s actually mute. Occam’s Razor, Poki.” He grumbled and she rolled her eyes, pouting into her can of Dr. Pepper. The rest of lunch was spent with the group brainstorming about this mysterious new kid but Sykkuno was never one for rumors, he just hoped he was a nice person. At the sound of the bell, they threw away any trash they had left before entering the building again to head to their last period of the day. 

For Sykkuno, he had Digital Art with one of his friends Sean McLoughlin. They had met last year when getting put into the same US Government class together. He was an incredibly funny guy and was one of the nicest people he had ever met. Sykkuno offered him a smile as he took a seat at the table in the corner next to him. Felix Kjellberg sat in the other seat next to Sean, a foreign exchange student from Sweden who was also hilarious and nice. He transferred to their school freshman year and he was, unfortunately, going back to Europe at the end of the year. 

“Alright, quiet down now.” The teacher called, waiting until the classroom was silent. At the front, standing next to her, was a guy their age in all black, his hands in his pockets, and he looked like he couldn’t care less. “This is Corpse, he’s new to the school and he’s mute. That means he can hear but can’t talk. I expect you all to treat him with respect.” Much like Lily had described, he was wearing a black face mask and his black curly hair fell over his forehead, and a bit over his eyes. There were bags underneath his dark brown eyes, and he was looking everywhere except the people in the classroom. 

“You can take a seat Corpse.” The teacher smiled, and finally, his eyes clicked to the only empty seat between Sykkuno and Felix. Slowly, he made his way over and pulled out the chair to sit. She began to describe the assignment they’ll be doing for the week before leaving them to their own devices, and once everyone started talking amongst themselves, Sean was the first to greet their new tablemate.

“Hi, Corpse! I’m Sean, nice to meet ya.” He enthusiastically greeted, and Sykkuno could’ve sworn he saw a bit of fear flash in Corpse’s eyes before it disappeared. He brought his hands up and made some motions before stopping halfway through. Digging through his backpack, he pulled out a notebook and wrote something before lifting it up for them to read. 

“Nice to meet you.” It read and Felix introduced himself quickly after with Sykkuno following suit. Corpse’s eyes lingered on him for a bit longer than the other two and if it made Sykkuno blush a little, no one had to know. It wasn’t until he heard Sean chuckle did he look away. 

While Sykkuno didn’t know sign language, he could recognize it when he saw it. It was distinct from the way that Sean was moving his hands in such a deliberate fashion when addressing Corpse. The black-haired man widened his eyes in surprise before saying something back. Sean laughed, picking his pencil up to begin on his assignment. 

“My sister has a friend that’s deaf so she and I taught ourselves sign language,” Sean explained and after that, they spent the class making small conversation (with the Irishman translating what little Corpse said) and once the bell rang to signal the end of the school day, they packed up their stuff before taking their separate ways. Sykkuno met up with his groups of friends, deciding to leave out the fact he met the new kid for now, and once they left the building, they heard a bunch of shouting a little away from the school. 

Out of curiosity, they approached the crowd of students making the noise and pushed their way through so they could sort of see what was happening. In the middle were two guys, one of them was Jake who was Falcon’s resident bully, and the other was Corpse. Sykkuno felt his stomach drop. He knew this was going to happen because if there was anything Jake was good at doing, it was picking on people who were different from the norm. Which is what Corpse was entirely from being mute to what he wore. 

“Not gonna fight back pussy?” Jake sneered, shoving Corpse back who quickly caught himself. Sykkuno felt his stomach drop, knowing all too well how this felt. He opened his mouth to say something but Rae beat him to it, her arms crossed over her chest. 

“Leave him alone Jake, it’s not his fault you're so insecure about your own masculinity.” A chorus of ‘Oooooohs’ arose from the crowd and Sykkuno watched as Corpse signed something that made the handful of students who knew sign language laugh. That pissed Jake off and he reeled back, landing a punch right on Corpse’s cheekbone. He stumbled backward, holding his face, and with a glare, he stood right back up and grabbed Jake’s wrist when he threw another punch. He tugged his arm so he caused the jock to trip over his feet and as he was coming down, Corpse connected his elbow to Jake’s nose. 

The football player reeled back in pain, a hand coming up to hold his nose. Sykkuno’s jaw dropped, amazed by the fact Corpse was able to defend himself against someone as big as Jake. And not only did he defend himself, but he also won. Against Jake. In a fight. The said jock was dragged away by his friends in case his nose was broken. As for Corpse, he forced his way out of the ground, a hand still to the side of his face, and stalked in the direction of the neighborhood closest to the school. 

Soon enough, the crowd dispersed and Sykkuno was so tempted to chase after Corpse but stopped himself. He probably wanted to be alone and it wasn’t like the brunette knew him well enough so it would be weird. They began walking towards the direction of Leslie’s house where they often hung out after school for an hour or two. 

“Oh my god, guys, the new guy is a total badass.” Poki cheered, a huge smile plastered on her face. Toast scolded her, mentioning how he could’ve seriously been hurt if he decided not to defend himself. Sykkuno was worrying his lip before he glanced back in the direction Corpse had gone in. 

“Do you think he’s okay?” Lily awed at his concern, patting his back comfortingly. 

“I’m sure he’s fine, though he’s gonna have a bruise for sure.” Leslie supplied, unlocking the door as they got to her house. Toast and Sykkuno spent the first hour finishing their homework before joining the rest of their friends in playing Super Smash Bros on the Switch. Sykkuno lost horribly but they didn’t judge him. 

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Ever since he was a child, he was ridiculed. It started when the kids in his elementary school found out he was abused by his parents. For some reason, they found that to be hilarious. Then, it was because his parents were arrested. Followed by his year in the foster system and then when he was adopted by his childhood friend’s family, it was another reason to be made fun of apparently. Finally, in middle school, his voice started to deepen greatly and since it was different from everyone else’s he was bullied for that too. 

His friend, Mykie, was the only person who had treated him with kindness through everything. They had known each other since elementary school and her parents had quickly become family to him. They didn’t know about his situation at first, and when they found out, they did everything in their power to legally remove him from his parents. And it worked, however, the legal system wouldn’t let them adopt him right away. They had to go through a year-long process to ensure they were competent enough to raise another child. But they had welcomed him with such open arms, he was unsure how to react. He closed himself off to them for so long, and they never pushed him, but he remembered how much they cared for him. And he slowly grew to accept their love. 

The summer before freshman year of high school, Corpse had woken up with no voice. They took him to the hospital and essentially they found he had a condition called GERD. His stomach acid was degrading his vocal cords and they put him on some medication. From then, his voice came and went randomly until halfway through freshman year where he lost his voice completely. After a month with no sign of it coming back, he and Mykie decided to learn sign language. They picked up fairly quickly on it and after almost a year, they became proficient at it.

Towards the end of his sophomore year, his voice came back to him but it wasn’t what he remembered. It was so much lower and raspier than it used to be and he didn’t quite understand how it happened. But the doctor had said it was normal and that he’d have to take extra care of it because if he loses it again then it probably won’t come back. After that, he was extremely careful with what he ate and made sure to never skip on his meds. 

The rest of his sophomore year after that, everyone was suddenly buddy-buddy with him. The attention was so uncomfortable but he didn’t know what to do. So, he pretended those people never bullied him in the past and after a month of that, he fooled himself into thinking they actually liked him. His first girlfriend was named Delilah, one of the most popular girls at the school. This relationship destroyed his perception of his voice. 

She was so nice at first, talking about how hot his voice was, but eventually, she started to show her true colors. Delilah would put on this mask around other people to make it seem like she was so kind. She just loved to brag that she was dating the guy with the hot voice. But the second they were alone, she either ignored him completely or insulted everything about him. 

“Every time I hear you talk it’s like someone is sticking fucking nails in my ears.” She would growl, before going back to her phone. Corpse was positive she was cheating on him and he decided he couldn’t take it anymore. He broke up with her and the next day at school could only be described as hell. 

Just like that, a flip switched and he was on everyone’s shit list again. Delilah had spread a lie saying he cheated and abused her. And now everyone at his school thought he was an asshole, great. Not that it matters. He endured the rest of the year, getting drunk far too often than he’d like to admit, and a week before junior year was supposed to start, he lost this voice again. This time, it didn’t come back. 

Corpse had never been so relieved when he got the news they were moving to a completely different state. He would have a clean slate and hopefully, go undetected for the most part. Of course, he stood out. I mean, he did wear all black, jewelry, and a face mask. But he figured if he didn’t wear a face mask, that would give them a reason to hate him despite the fact he was mute. When he was 8 years old, his dad barged into his room with a broken beer bottle. He was screaming at him before swinging the bottle, causing the sharp end to cut open a gasp going from his right cheekbone down diagonally to end underneath his lips. They, of course, did not take him to the hospital, and Corpse was forced to take care of it himself. It didn’t heal properly and the scar that was left looked uneven and gross.  That was the reason he covered the bottom half of his face. 

Though he had to admit, his fourth-period class was already his favorite. He decided to take Digital Art as photography was something he was interested in. Mykie would often have him help with her photoshoots for her the YouTube channel she started and over the months, he grew proficient at it. He had hoped to get a table to himself but there was only one spot open at a group of three guys. 

The enthusiasm of the first guy scared him, however, he seemed so genuine that Corpse decided to actually talk to the guy. Plus, he knew sign language which made a little part of his dead heart happy. However, that wasn’t the most interesting part of that class. No, it was the shy guy in a green hoodie that caught his attention. 

His voice was so soothing in such an odd way and as he spoke to him he could hear no judgment. Sykkuno, he learned, covered his mouth every time he laughed or smiled and for some reason, he felt himself getting pulled towards this guy. He didn’t understand why and he honestly didn’t want to dwell much on the reason. 

And then, of course, he was all but jumped when school was released. He expected this to happen, to be honest, I mean, his style of clothing was odd enough to cause it. The guy was no doubt a football player and Corpse tuned out most of what he said. Until he heard a girl behind Jake make a comment on his masculinity. Corpse would have laughed if he didn’t hate the sound of his voice.  

Get fucked’ He signed eliciting a laugh from Sean and a few other people. In all honesty, he didn't expect Jake to actually throw a punch. So when he felt the all too familiar feel of it against his cheekbone, he saw red. He was his dad standing over him with a sneer, his knuckles bloodied. Without thinking, he grabbed Jake’s wrist and pulled him forward, bringing his elbow up to crack his nose with the momentum. The yell was what pulled him out of his thoughts and he immediately let go of the jock. He felt absolutely sick with himself. 

He pushed his way out of the crowd, holding his cheek as he headed to their new house. The area he got hit throbbed uncomfortably and when he barged into the house, he ripped off his face mask and headed to the bathroom. His cheekbone and part of the skin around his eye were already turning purple. He frowned, moving to head to his room when Mykie all but snuck upon him.

“Corpse! What the fuck happened?” Her blue eyes were wide and she tentatively touched the injury. He winced and Mykie grabbed his hand to drag him to the living room, sitting him down on the couch and rummaging through the freezer to put some ice in a Ziploc bag. She also wrapped it in a paper towel so it wasn’t too cold before holding it against his cheek and eye. Mykie was looking at him expectantly and with a sigh, he knew he wasn’t getting out of this. 

‘Some jackass picked a fight he couldn’t win. I’m fine’  He assured, taking the ice pack from her so she wasn’t totally babying him. She frowned though, picking at her lip with her teeth which caused Corpse to softly flick her nose to make her stop. When she worried, she would do that until her lips started to bleed. This was his way of helping her stop. 

“I’m assuming you handed his ass to him.” Corpse smirked at that and Mykie giggled, going upstairs to grab her backpack. She pulled out her homework and started it so he decided to do the same. Luckily the bruise was on the left side of his face so he was actually able to write. Around 5, Mykie’s mom walked in through the garage door, setting her purse down on the island. She had blue eyes like her daughter with blonde hair but Mykie got a lot of facial features from her father. She smiled at her two children before noticing the ice pack.

“What happened?” She gently moved the ice away from his face so she could properly examine it. She was a nurse and Corpse trusted her to see if it was fractured by any chance. He doubted it but couldn’t hurt to know, right? 

“Some guy tried to beat him up. He didn’t succeed of course.” Mykie answered for him, as he was currently grimacing in pain as her mom prodded his cheek and around his eye. She shook her head, setting the ice pack on the table for a moment. 

‘I might’ve broken his nose’ Corpse signed with a smile which earned one of those signature mom glares. She was also against how many fights he got in at their old school but even she understood he never started them, just finished it. 

“It’s gonna be bruised for a couple of days but you’re fine.” She finally smiled, giving him a kiss on top of his head before handing him the ice which he put on his eye again. It was the girl’s turn to cook dinner and they agreed on spaghetti. He loved it when they cooked although Mykie’s dad was amazing at cooking any kind of meat. Corpse just felt like he didn’t match up to any of them but he was learning. Slowly. 

By the time dinner was ready, her dad came home and they sat down at the table to eat. Mykie very briefly explained Corpse’s bruise (which earned him a proud high five from her dad) and they all sat there to share anything interesting that happened to them today. Corpse didn’t share much like usual, only bringing up that he met someone who understood sign language.

Per tradition, Mykie’s dad and Corpse were on dish duty and then after that, he retired to his room where he was joined by his adopted sister where he could vent about anything else he wanted to. He actually didn’t have much to complain about, but before he could sign that, the image of a cute guy in a green hoodie popped into his head. 

He spluttered on the water he was drinking, earning a confused glance from Mykie. The last thing Corpse wanted to do right now was to go down that rabbit hole.