Title: True Faith
Author: Sybil Rowan
Summary: Finny is having problems fitting in at his school. Snake's foster family are borderline delinquents that get him into trouble. When Snake is punished by being assigned to help Finny with his school work, their lives change considerably. AU high school Finny/Snake.
Pairing(s)/Characters: Finny/Snake- Bard and Mey-rin are a married couple. Also, Snake's circus family are in this one, living as foster children under Lord Kelvin's roof. The Grim Reapers as teachers, couldn't resist :D
Warnings: Memories of horrible abuse and violence, some language, not terribly graphic. Kelvin in the background being a weirdo/pervert, not too much, same as canon.
Author's Notes: This is a high school AU. So it'll be modern times, but the characters will retain their "modifications" for the most part. It depends on what's need for the plot, so DO NOT necessarily expect canon. Named after a New Order song, of course :)
Disclaimer: Black Butler is owned by Yana Tobosu.
Beta Reader: WingedPanther73, of course.
Date: May 1, 2015- 01:55 am
Word Count: on going
"Not again," Bard mumbled as he and Mey-rin walked down the cool, school hallways that reeked of antiseptic, cleaning fluid and stale, warmed-over hamburgers.
"Please don't. He already feels bad for all the misunderstandings at this school. He's new and wants to fit in. He just touches things and disaster happens. We're used to it, already. We have to help him adjust to life around other people. This is part of that."
"Yeah, but this meeting is about how far behind he is, not breaking more furniture. Maybe we should have home schooled or something?"
"Bard! You know I don't have the education for that. Besides my job at the cafe helps us meet any shortfalls. I can't take the time out for Finny right now until we get caught up on some of the bills. We rely on your salary for so much, so you can't reduce your shifts. "
Bard repressed a sigh and nodded. "I know, Mey, I wasn't trying to poke at you or anything. I just want to keep him safe before he attracts too much attention." He then whispered with suspicious, narrowed eyes darting around. "Your uncle could come back and nab both of you, and I don't want to be investigating that."
Bard sighed as she nodded with a grim expression. He, more than anyone, knew the trials and tribulations his wife had to face since she had broken away from her mafia family five years ago. It had been hard for her. She didn't know how to read or do much of anything... except... that one thing... kill.
Being a sniper for the mafia wasn't a resume enhancement in normal life. Bard, being a police officer, had found ways to help the poor, young woman when he had found her shivering in an alleyway and covered in blood. After a year or so, Mey-rin had gotten her feet under her, and Bard found himself enjoying spending more of his off-duty hours with her.
He still worked with what he knew about Mey-rin. She had revealed just a little at a time. Five years, though, and he was still kind of ignorant of most of her family. His wife's cousin had turned up a little more than a year ago. Finny had run away from their mafia family, too, but Bardroy suspected it was more like escape, judging by the horrible shape the kid was in when he had knocked on their door Summer before last.
There was something about Mey-rin and Finny being "different," and that's what made them both stand out. When her cousin had shown up on their doorstep, bedraggled, she had begged Bard to take in Finnian. He was just a kid, so Bard's compassion was high. In his line of work, he'd seen too many abused children to ignore Finny's plight. He'd grown to love Finny like a kid brother, but there were issues Mey-rin and Bard had to struggle with almost daily.
He said, "I know, I know. He's an innocent, good kid that got caught up in bad business, like you. We're doing the best we can... considering," Bard said in dour, hushed tones near Mey-rin's ear. He hoped he hadn't sounded too testy towards his wife. Bard took a deep breath, gave her a fake smile, and an encouraging nod. That was one thing Mey-rin and Finny had taught him. Sometimes you put false smile just for other's benefit, to cheer other's spirits.
Mey-rin had done some explaining why her cousin was in such a horrible state, and Bard had understood. After all, Mey-rin had been in the same situation. She had been trained to be a gang enforcer because of her special abilities. Her cousin, Finny, had been expected to fill another role. He was to fight underground matches and win their mafia uncle a lot of money. Bard found the whole thing disgusting.
They arrived at the principal's office. Bard had to admit he was a little tired of seeing the named "Doctor Sebastian Michaelis: Principal" stenciled on the door. Bard gave a firm knock on the door and a firm voice called out "Enter."
Bard sighed seeing the typical scene: Finny sniffing and holding back tears in a corner seat while Doctor Michaelis was busy sorting through files. The dark-haired principal looked up and pushed aside his work.
"Officer Bardroy and your lovely wife. Nice of you to join me this afternoon."
"Not like we had much choice," Bard griped and took a seat with Mey-rin in front of Michaelis' desk. "So you say his reports aren't strong."
"Aren't strong is an understatement. He's already flunking across the board. Sutcliff, Crevan, Knox, and Spears are all at the end of their ropes with his test grades. Agni and Randal agreed to let him retest along with my other four faculty members if you agree to get him help," Michaelis insisted.
Bard gritted his teeth. He still wanted to choke that Ronald Knox for flirting with Mey-rin late in the last school year. He wasn't pleased that man was still Finny's history teacher this year.
"Well, we can't really afford a tutor for all of his subjects," Mey-rin pointed out awkwardly. Finny stifled a sob and lowered his miserable expression.
"I think I have a solution," Michaelis said, giving them a kindly, charming smile. "I can arrange for free tutoring to catch him up and fill in some gaps he obviously has in his educational background."
Bard got a suspicious feeling in his stomach suddenly. It was that instinct that made him such a great cop. "What's the catch?"
"The other boy is a bit unusual," Michaelis said. His smile dropped and he said, "But I have a feeling unusual won't bother you too much."
[earlier that day]
Snake adjusted his backpack on his right shoulder and avoided getting too close around other students in the hallway. The start of his senior year, so far, was not too terrible. The other students were used to his looks by now and gave him a wide birth and averted their eyes. Thanks to Joker and Dagger, he hadn't suffered the indignities of bullying like he had seen others go through.
It was his gratitude over their protection that lead up to trouble. He saw the two of them loitering by his locker. Joker was a senior, too, and Dagger was a junior. They had all lived together in their foster home for about eight years now. Long enough for them to grow loyal to one another. There was just something, though, that Snake didn't like in their expressions.
Before he could say a word, Professor Spears came storming out of his mathematics classroom and marched up to Joker and Dagger as he pushed his glasses high on the bridge of his nose. They slipped down his nose again as he raged, "This is the last straw! It better not have been you two or you'll be expelled. Finally!"
"What? Us?" Dagger asked in faux innocence.
"What was in that locker you just shut, Joker?" Professor Spears demanded, pointing at Snake's locker. Snake started getting worried. He had no clue that those two could get into his locker. Were they planning a prank? Both of them were notorious around school for them. No doubt, judging from Spears' expression, the prank had already been pulled on the teacher.
"Nothing, sir," Joker answered. "You should check my locker or Dagger's."
"Open it! Now!" Spear's insisted. Now, Joker was looking very uncomfortable. Snake drew closer. Spears glared at Snake and said, "Don't tell me these two influenced you into their incorrigible behavior. Open it! Now!"
Snake opened his locker, that he had assumed was private, and was surprised to find a huge bottle of Gorilla Glue. Spears grabbed the glue in one hand and Snake's upper arm in the other. Before Snake knew it, he was sitting in front of Principal Michaelis, accused of putting glue on every seat in Professor Spears' classroom.
After Michaelis got rid of Spears' irate presence he looked at Snake and said, "I know you didn't play the prank, but I must punish you unless you tell me who did."
Snake's stomach sank. Both Joker and Dagger had stuck by him in some dark times, and he didn't have very many people that didn't look on him with revulsion. He looked down and said, "I did it. I'm very sorry."
"Well, I'm not going to press you further. You'll only maintain your lie. You keep a very high grade average, and I don't see a reason to waste that. I have a punishment in mind that can help another student that came to my attention this morning. Keep in mind, I'm punishing you for your lie, not a prank."
"Yes, sir," Snake replied and was dismissed, but instructed to come back after school the following day.
Finny was so upset by his failing grades on his first round of tests of the year. He didn't want to disappoint them at all, and it seemed like he couldn't do anything but disappoint. His life over the last year was walking on eggshells, trying so hard not to bring attention to himself. Bard and Mey-rin explained in detail why he had to act "normal."
If he was found, Mey-rin could be found. He didn't want to go back to that bloody arena again, and he would despise himself if his beloved cousin had to go back to assassins' work on his account. The problem was, he just didn't know what was considered normal, because he had been exposed to the outside world for only a little more than a year.
Bard and Mey-rin had brought Finny home after the meeting with Principal Michaelis. He really like his principal a great deal, and the man had gone out of his way to help camouflage some of Finny's differences in front of the other students.
He was grateful for the man's help, but it had come to the point where his learning was just so lagging. Doctor Michaelis promised him a tutor because Bard and Mey-rin's finances were tight, but he didn't know who it was. Whoever it was, he had to make sure he looked as normal as possible.
All was quiet around Kelvin's dinner table set with pot roast. Snake glared at Joker and Dagger, occasionally, and they did look guilty.
Finally Beast, who was a junior at their school, said, "Really, you two should confess. It's not fair to Snake. Why should he be punished for your prank? He didn't do anything."
Snake didn't expect that. She had a crush on Joker, and Dagger had a crush on her. It was a bizarre love triangle. Snake didn't expect her support at all.
"But we'll get expelled," Dagger whined.
Before Beast could chastise her classmate, Snake said, "Don't worry about it. The punishment won't be too terrible. I'd rather take it than them getting kicked out of school. Can we just get through it?"
All of the sudden, Dagger bounced out of his chair and shouted, "Yeah, Snake! You're such a buddy! Thanks, man!"
Snake could see Joker give a relieved sigh. Then Wendy and Peter joined them for dinner. They gave their two-cents worth and gave Joker and Dagger an earful about how bad it was to let Snake take the blame for looked to the head of the table where Kelvin was missing. Snake was grateful the man was on a business trip. He could be rather harsh in his punishments.
Snake excused himself and went to his room. After school, he was to go to Michaelis' office and get his punishment. He had the vague clue he was to help another student, but most others hated or feared him. How could he even hope of helping another student when they looked at him with disgust?
To be continued.