|Heart Carved Tree Trunk
Author: Miss Elucidation PM
When a mix up in papers sends Damian to McKinley High, he finds more than he bargains for in self-proclaimed nemesis, Sue Sylvester. Can he navigate his way through the crazy unscathed? Not RPF, slight Dameron and Damian/everyone warning.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Humor - Sue S. & Rory F. - Chapters: 5 - Words: 14,379 - Reviews: 19 - Favs: 15 - Follows: 27 - Updated: 06-26-12 - Published: 08-29-11 - id: 7336651
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Note: This is not "real person fic." This is just my own take on what Damian's character could possibly be. C: I just took the idea of an exchange student and ran with it. A special thank you to the Montgomery High School Student's Handbook, and my lovely Beta, JL!
"William McKinley High School is an academically demanding and encouraging community that provides innovative educational, extracurricular, and social opportunities that promote responsible citizenship and life-long learning."
"No…no. NO! THIS ISN'T WHAT I WANTED AT ALL!"
In retrospect, Damian lamented as he dodged a stray stapler, he really ought to have given the exchange student application more than a cursory glance.
"This is an OUTRAGE! This—"A tall blonde woman, decked out in a track suit, pointed harshly at the boy sitting innocently in his plastic chair, "—is not what I ordered. The Department of Immigration will be getting a letter from me. And that letter will be full of anthrax. Do you hear me? AN-THRAX!"
"Sue, you can't just—just buy people!"
Wheeling around sharply, Sue Sylvester fearlessly faced a man in a pinstripe vest who looked vaguely like a poster boy for GQ. "Shut your distractingly hideous butt-chinned face, Will! I will not be silenced by the likes of you! Ever since you got my budget cut I've had to come up with new ways to support my Cheerios."
Will Schuester, Spanish teacher and glee coach extraordinaire, had seen a great deal of absurdity in his teaching stint at McKinley High, but he had to admit that the human trafficking was something new. "Did you honestly think you could get away with this? That you could abduct children from their homes without anyone noticing?"
Sue stepped in close enough for her breath to ghost across his cheek, her voice dipping. "Yes. Yes, I did. You know why? Because that's what foreign labor is for. You're so high and mighty on your pedestal—but take a closer look, Schuester. Your pedestal is made of empty bottles of hair gel. Hair gel that tiny little children overseas slaved to bottle, pack, and ship to America so you could slop it into your hair and look absolutely ridiculous. Now. All I wanted were tiny migrant workers to run on treadmills and supply energy to my Cheerio performances. It's not an unreasonable thing to want. What are a few small children here or there? Send out an exchange student form, make it look like they'd get some special opportunities and then end up with a cheap work force. It was perfect. But instead they had to send me an extra from Riverdance!"
Damian flinched away from the scowl she was directing at him. After all, it wasn't his fault she sent her fake forms to Ireland instead of Indonesia.
"That is enough, Sue!" The tiny principal rubbed his eyes wearily. "McKinley does not even have an exchange program. How is it possible that his transcript has been transferred here?"
Without batting an eyelash, Sue said, "I have a team of highly professional hackers that live in the basement of my Victorian chateau, subsiding only on red bull, mouse carcasses, and the knowledge that they serve a righteous cause."
Figgins and Schuester stared at the cheerleading coach in disbelief while Damian sank further into his chair. For all of the show tunes and inane Disney Channel movies about the luck of the Irish, he certainly didn't feel like he'd lucked out in this arrangement at all. I've been tricked into coming to McKinley by an insane cheerleading coach in order to be used as a cheap source of fuel.
…That even sounded terrible in his head.
What were the odds of this happening? Damian imagined that the percentage was slim, because this sort of thing just didn't happen in the real world. The cheap plastic of the chair bit into his back as he fidgeted, wondering if the teachers in front of him had an actual plan for how to handle the situation. If the renewed squabbling was something to go by, they didn't.
"—I will not tolerate this abuse, William! You think you can say these things to me because I am a woman with voluptuous breasts, but your brazen misogyny ends here. Susan B. Anthony will set you straight. That's the name of my arm. The 'B?' it stands for BICEP!" Schuester backed away quickly when Sue raised her arm menacingly. "That's what I thought. You, O'Hara, with me. You might not be what I ordered, but you can still run."
Damian frowned lightly and ran a hand through his short hair. "Erm… my name's McLaughlin, not—"
"Sue, he is not going with you." Figgins picked up his office phone exasperatedly and held it to his ear. "Now, you two. Get out of my office and do the jobs you are getting paid to do. Ah—yes, Father John?" He waved his hand at the door and swiveled in his chair as he spoke into the receiver.
Schuester grit his teeth at the dismissal, but left without issue. Sue, on the other hand, slammed the office door, turned, and shot Damian a look through the glass that could curdle milk. He looked back into the very depths of her soulless blue eyes and cowered in his seat. Bless the Healthcare Act, because I am going to need intensive therapy when I get back home.
"Very good. Thank you, sir. Thank you!" The phone clicked as Figgins placed it back into its cradle. "Weeeell. That was a local minister, Father John Michaels. You will be staying with him and his son for the duration of your… education here at McKinley High." He stood up and walked to his printer, pulled out Damian's schedule and handed it to him. "His son will meet you in the Main Office immediately after last bell to pick you up. Good luck, learn things, play nice, stay off the smack!"
Without waiting to hear anything Damian had to say, he shepherded the young boy out of his office and left him to face the crowded hallway alone.
Fantastic. Good to know the administration was on his side. Damian cocked his head at the paper in his hand, trying to figure out just what the heck was written there. The time table looked more like a cipher than a class schedule. Fantaaaastic.
He rolled his shoulder and readjusted his heavy pack, trying to catch the eyes of one of the students in the hallway, only to be fastidiously ignored by all. His watch read 7:05, giving him a few minutes to wander around and find his class. When he flipped the sheet he found a list entitled "McKinley Handbook".
The faculty are here to help you; we want to hear what you have to say.
Damian snorted, crossing it out with amusement.
The dress code is strictly enforced.
With the amount of girls in miniskirts and guys wearing "ghetto pants" running about the hallways, he sincerely doubted the validity of this statement as well.
We value your right to self expression.
Perhaps it was because of his own cynical thinking; perhaps it was because the first points were wrong or perhaps it was the obnoxious flowery font the paper was written in that made Damian believe that the rest of the list was a load of bologna as well. Regardless, he was wasting time. He needed someone to help him find his first period, and standing around reading useless McKinley High mottos would not help.
This in mind, he tapped the nearest person on the shoulder. "Ehm, E-excuse me!"
"What?" The tall African-American girl dropped all of her books in anxiety.
"I beg your pardon." He bent down at gathered them for her. "Didn't mean ta give you a fright. I was jus' wonderin' if you could help me figure out my schedule? I'm new here."
The girl didn't return his awkward grin. Instead she looked fearfully down the hallway multiple times before snatching the schedule out of his hand and scribbling down a deciphered version in the margins.
She shoved the paper back into his hands and snatched her books back. "You didn't talk to me, got it?" Without further delay she made her hasty escape.
"Aaaalrigh' then." He frowned at her retreating back for a moment. Logically, Damian knew that everyone in the school couldn't be completely cracked, but he was starting to get that impression. After a thorough mental shake, Damian headed vaguely in the direction of the Science wing, not wanting to be late. But not before mentally crossing out,
10.) Fellow students are open and caring; don't be afraid to ask them questions!
When Damian cut through the court yard to get to third period, he wasn't very shocked to see the cluster of drama kids smoking by a koi pond that resembled an in-ground dumpster more than anything else.
He uncapped the pen with his teeth and used a book to prop up the list, carefully drawing a line through 19.
19.) Smoking on school grounds will not be tolerated.
Rather than surprise, Damian felt more disturbed and nauseas when, in the library, the boy at the computer next to him opened up a new tab called "BIG TITZ" and proceeded to stick his hands down his pants.
Damian was already halfway down the hallway when he pulled out the list and scribbled out rule 34.
34.) The creation, display, access, transmission, reception, exchange or distribution of any text, image or sound that is indecent, obscene, racist, sexist, pervasively vulgar, defamatory, illegal, or that promotes harm to self or others is prohibited on school computers.
Damian was not lost. He just didn't know where he was. Cursing the architect who thought it'd be a fabulous idea to make identical hallways, the Irish boy trekked onwards in what he hoped was the way to the Canteen. It wasn't so bad, he supposed, since the normally packed hallways were completely devoid of life. The quiet emptiness was comforting. When he closed his eyes, he could almost pretend that he was back in Derry. Though, he couldn't say that being grabbed by beefy arms was something that happened often at his old school.
"TOP O' THE MORNIN', FAGGOT!"
He couldn't say that being slammed into a locker was something that happened at Derry, either. Damian attempted to twist away but was easily shoved backwards, the handle of a locker digging painfully into his spine. He staggered forward a bit and got a clear look at who had ambushed him. Seven hulking boys stood in a semi-circle, effectively sealing off any escape routes. All wore matching red McKinley varsity football jackets, all were easily over 6 feet tall, and they were all sporting matching smug grins. Why he had incurred the wrath of what he assumed was the McKinley defensive line wasn't so much of a mystery—he was fresh meat. Why, on the other hand, they were all clutching 7-11 Mega-Gulps, was yet to be known. Damian internally crossed off rule 31, outlining that students were not permitted to leave campus for lunch.
"What?" The boy who had first grabbed him stepped forward. "Not even gonna say hi back? That's very, very rude."
"Yeah, that ain't polite. Say 'top o' the morning' back to Karofsky," said the only African-American of the group. His legs were wide apart, as if he were preparing for a tackle and his chest was puffed out arrogantly. His stance and tone of voice screamed 'ring leader.'
Damian clenched his jaw, unwilling to play their games.
"Say it!" The ring leader smacked him hard on the shoulder.
Still Damian refused, squared his shoulders, and looked unyieldingly back into the others eyes. He anticipated the blow before it came, but his reflexes weren't fast enough to stop the footballer's fist connecting with his jaw. Damian reeled, clutching his face as pain exploded in his mouth and knocked his teeth spectacularly. Tentatively, he used his tongue to make sure none of them had been smacked loose. There was no doubt in the Irish boy's mind that the hit would leave a bruise; he simply hoped that it wouldn't be a large one.
"Fuck it, let it go Azimio. We need to educate this newbie about how things are run around here." Karofksy grinned with wolfish enthusiasm and shook his 7-11 cup.
Azimio, rather than being put out over being questioned, smirked back at his Number Two and nodded his assent. "Heeeells yeah we do. So here's how it goes, newbie, are you listenin' close?"
Damian balled his fists at his sides.
Azimio's face fell into something cold and menacing. "Jones?"
A boy, Jones presumably, came forward and grabbed Damian's short hair and roughly threw his head forward and back in a violent nod.
"Gooood, now that I gots your attention. We," Azimio motioned to his disciples, "are top of the food chain. We are the lords n' saviors of this school. Our popularity is through the roof. Yours. Ain't. You are so low you ain't even on the charts. We run this place. We own you." After sneering with a flourish, he looked down at his cup and frowned. He turned to the rest of the Defensive line. "Y'know, considerin' the fresh meat is foreign, why don't we treat him to something more patriotic? How 'bout green slush?"
The footballers nodded eagerly and presented their cups out to their leader. At Azimio's command Jones ran off to the Janitor's closet and returned with a large bucket. They all crowded around the orange plastic Home-Depot pail, glancing anxiously back and forth at each other.
"Uh…" Jones began, "What colors make green?"
"RED N' BLUE, FAGGOT! DON'T YOU KNOW YOUR COLORS?"
Sticking around to see what they planned on doing with their slushy mix seemed like a bad plan. So Damian began to steal away, only to be thwarted when Karofsky grabbed him roughly by his neck and, to the smaller boy's dismay, held him there until the jocks sorted out their primaries. Eventually they arrived at the right color, and the green mess slopped up to the rim of the bucket.
Azimio motioned with his hand and one of the jocks lifted the pail. "Welcome to McKinley High, mother fucker."
Damian had never felt such a biting cold before; the ice was like a thousand needles piercing into his skin at once. The corn syrup seeped its way between his lids, burning at his eyes his so terribly that he couldn't open them. He stood there, gasping and wiping at his eyes with panic as the jocks laughed hysterically. Damian kept his eyes shut as he stumbled down the hallway, the laughter growing quieter as he got farther and farther away. He was pretty sure there was a bathroom down this way somewhere. He had to get this junk out of his eyes or he'd…he'd… He didn't know what he'd do. The bubbling alarm and the humiliation that sat hollowly in his chest made it hard to think.
A disgruntled "Eek!" came from the body Damian had just walked headlong into.
"S-sorry!" Damian rubbed futilely at his syrupped eyes and attempted to crack them. "Normally I'd say something else along the lines of, 'I should really watch more carefully where I'm goin' ' but as you can see, I can't see." It stung every time Damian forced his lids open.
"It's alright, no need to apologize. We've all been here. Though I can't say I've ever seen anybody get a green one," said the stranger
Damian rubbed at his eyes bitterly. "I'm so glad I got ta be the first. Hate ta dash but-" He made to push past the person on front of him, but was stopped short by a hand on his wrist. Anger flared up in him like a red hot poker to the ribs. "Let. Go."
To his surprise, the stranger immediately released him and pressed a tin bottle into his palm. "That's for your eyes, and I haven't drunk out of it either, so you won't have to worry about getting backwash into your corneas. It's best to flush the corn syrup out immediately although you'll still feel a peculiar burning sensation for several hours and unfortunately there's nothing you can do right now about the skin-staining that is undoubtedly taking place, because as it is you look like you're going to audition for Elphaba in Kurt's all male rendition of Wicked." The girl finally stopped for a breath, but her voice had taken an accusing tone. "You're not auditioning, are you?"
"Uh… no?" Damian swung his head back and tipped the water into his right eye. "What's an 'Elfehba?'"
After a moment of shocked silence she tutted. "She's only one of the most inspiring and iconic female leads to ever grace the stage in a musical."
Damian found it remarkable that she could sound chiding and relieved at the same time. "Oh. Sorry, musical theater isn't really my area of expertise." With both eyes cleared of slushy, he could finally see whom he was addressing. The girl in front of him was petite, with medium length brown hair and a stony expression. The kitties on her lurid sweater looked like they had crawled out of one of the circles of hell. "Thanks for helping me… uh-?" He cut off feeling spectacularly awkward.
"Rachel Berry," she supplied matter-of-factly while taking back her bottle.
He shrugged out of his damp, dark green button-down to reveal a white under shirt only somewhat speckled with green slush. "Thanks then, Rachel. I'm Damian. By the way." Giving up on the shirt as a lost cause, he used it as an improvised towel for his wet face and hair. When he pulled the fabric away Rachel was staring at his arms. Damian cleared his throat. "Uh… so uh… why are you out here instead of at lunch?"
Rachel snapped her gaze back up to Damian's eyes and folded her arms across her chest. "I decided that my talent was much more important than the urge to consume food. So I spent my time in the choir room." She raised her chin and looked down her nose. "I happen to be singing one of the most important solos of my career -made famous by none other than musical legend and Broadway goddess, Barbra Streisand- so I couldn't risk not practicing and dishonoring her good name."
"So you're in the chorus?" He ran a hand through his sticky spikes.
"What-club?" his eyebrows started to raise against his will.
"Glee club." Rachel eyes widened and her arms fell to her sides. "Glee club. You don't have those in Ireland?" When he shook his head she patted him consolingly on the back. "A glee club is a group of students organized to sing short choral works combined with choreography in a competitive setting. Our club made it to nationals last year. " She opened her meticulously organized bag and withdrew from it a flyer, which she passionately handed to the tall boy. It read "New Directions – Now accepting new members. Auditions on September 20th in room B2224. Please contact Rachel Berry, Finn Hudson, or Mr. Schuester for more details."
Damian squinted at the paper. "Why is there a person with their head on fire?"
Flustered, Rachel pulled out another flyer from her bag and scrutinized it angrily. "Puckerman!" she crushed the paper in her hands and straightened her back. "I have something to take care of. It was a pleasure meeting you, Damian." Her clunky loafers made a squeaky noise on the wet floor as she abruptly turned heel and stormed down the hallway.
With a sigh, Damian reached into the back pocket of his jeans and slipped out a list and a pen. He drew a line through rule 31 and, with extra zeal, also crossed out rule number four.
31.) Students are not permitted to leave campus for lunch
4.) We have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to bullying.
Damian folded the list and the flyer and tucked it back into his jeans pocket before heading off towards his locker. Finding the Canteen could be a job for his second day of school.
When Damian passed by a couple voraciously sucking face next to the stairwell he didn't even blink. He simply pulled out his list and blacked out rule 7, taking the stairs two at a time.
7.) Students are to refrain from embracing, kissing, and other over displays of affection which may be interpreted by others as undue familiarity and improper decorum in a school setting.
Heaving a sigh, Damian closed the locker door and pressed his forehead against the cool metal. Everybody in this school is absolutely barmy. I'm in a school for the loony. Attempting to regain some semblance of control, He slid his eyes shut. Much to his chagrin, a tall blonde girl sidled up next to him.
"Hi. I'm Brittany."
Shouldering the burdens of the world, Damian opened his eyes, turning to address the girl in what he prayed was a polite manner. "Err… Damian. Everything… alrigh' there?"
The WMHS Cheerio's uniform was the first thing he noticed about her, with the second being the intense look of interest on her face. Brittany stared long and hard at the lanky Irish boy without answering, until she finally leaned in to whisper conspiratorially, "I'm here to help you. I know what you are, and I'm going to help you keep it safe. There are evil people around here who want to take advantage of you, since you're so far from home." She smiled softly and placed a gentle hand on Damian's shoulder. "But I won't let them get you, I promise."
Blinking hard and scrubbing at his eyes, Damian replied, "S-sorry? I don't think I… I don't think I follow."
"It's okay," Brittany replied soothingly. "I haven't seen any rainbows lately, so your gold should be safe, at least for now. The next time it rains, you'll want to move it, though. It's strange; I always thought your kind would be shorter… and more… beardy." To punctuate her point she motioned at her chin, as if she were stroking an invisible beard. He stared at her, brow furrowed, until at last it dawned on him what she was talking about. His eyebrows shot towards his hairline. Oh sweet merciful Mary, this girl is calling me a leprechaun.
Where… where to begin? Damian stared into Brittany's earnest eyes and felt his surprise escalate when he realized that she wasn't having him on. "Listen, Brittany, I—," but his mouth clicked shut at the expression on the cheerleader's face. The look she was fixing him could only be described as open, kind, and caring. "I am…" Damian could feel the protest dying in his throat. "Erm… I put my gold in the uh… bank. It's a special bank just for… err… when we have to travel. We can't bring giant pots of gold around with us all the time, y'know?" He tugged at his hair, hardly believing the conversation he was having. "But I appreciate the offer, really, I do."
It was astounding, Damian concluded, as he watched Brittany's face. It was almost as if he could see the gears turning in her head as she thought it over. At last the petite cheerleader accepted his explanation and nodded her head. Damian smiled awkwardly at her.
"Oh! I have—" Brittany exclaimed as she dug around excitedly in her bag. "Here!"
A plastic baggie of slightly smushed, stale Lucky Charms was procured and brandished in front of Damian's face. Oh, hell no. Assuming he kept a pot of gold was one thing, but giving him Lucky Charms? That wounded Damian's national pride.
"Now hold on jus' a minute, I don't—"
Brittany cut in quickly "—the cafeteria doesn't sell breakfast cereal. I brought some from home so you wouldn't starve." She dangled the plastic bag close to his chest, her sweet smile sending waves of innocence off her.
It was in that moment, in the face of Brittany's… well, face, that Damian realized just how royally screwed he was. He stretched his arm out and accepted the baggie, twisting the zip-tie edges in his fingers as he attempted to come up with something to say in response. It was really quite nice of Brittany to bring him the cereal, since she did truly believe that he'd starve otherwise. Brittany was a caring girl, if only a bit misguided. Okay, a lot misguided. Suddenly he remembered he was supposed to have said something, rather than get caught up in his thoughts. Judging by the look on his companion's face when he came to, however, he needn't have worried. Brittany was simply staring, waiting patiently.
He swallowed thickly, thinking it best to humor her. "T-Thanks, Brittany. It can be hard sometimes, y'know… for my people. We're often overlooked by the school administration in favor of other minorities. We can't even get a proper meal plan." He shook the bag of cereal for emphasis. "And this is supposed to be the land of plenty, yet we have no representation in Congress, no lobbyists for Leprechaun rights. How long must we suffer in silence? How long must we suffer injustice at the hands of a government indifferent to our plight?" Damian grinned and continued with gusto. "I have been to the mountain top, and I have seen the promised… land…?" He trailed off when he caught sight of Brittany's bewildered expression. Oh. "I… I may have overstepped it a bit with the Martin Luther King," he conceded, his smile slipping. To be honest, Damian had probably lost her at 'administration.'
"It's okay, I know you're sensitive and missing your homeland." She pulled Damian into a soft hug, oblivious to his discomfort, and then excused herself with propriety. "I have to pee. See you around!" With that, she shouldered her bag and ambled down the hall, leaving a very confused Irish boy in her wake who belatedly wiggled his fingers in goodbye.
Everybody in McKinley could stand for psychological evaluation….himself included, Damian decided as he made his way to History class. Maybe if he ignored it long enough, the throbbing in his jaw would go away.
I hope you guys liked this! It'd be great to get some feedback on what I can improve. I haven't written anything in years, and this is my first foray into fanfic-land.
Next chapter we will meet the Minister's son, Cameron. ;D