Title: Diamond in the Rough
Disclaimer: Do not own them.
Summary: Warren gives Will something he'll never forget.
Now that he thought about it, years later, he realized that Warren always had been a romantic. It was a wonder that Will, super strength and everything, had been able to keep him from the swarming hoards of girls at all.
High school girls. And they were always the worst.
Even now, he still remembered what started it all.
Mad Science, third period. It was a double period. Apparently it wasn't enough that they suffer through forty-five minutes of this class. Instead, they got two periods. Third and fourth. Which boiled down to one hour, fifteen minutes, and exactly thirteen seconds.
Not that Will had counted it… often.
Well, that day, everyone had already been paired off to their lab tables. All except for Warren and that creepy girl in the back with the big glasses. Now, being the nice guy that he was, Will wasn't about to let his newfound, half-villain friend pair up with this girl. After all, chances were this was her third time around Sky High, or something creepy and vaguely evil like that.
So Will left Layla, capable girl that she was, to work the lab by herself.
"What are you doing?" Warren had been leaning back in his chair until that point. When Will sat down, he sat up a little straighter. "Why aren't you back there with Flower Power?"
"You looked lonely."
"Oh god." Warren looked away, arms crossed, but there was a flash of humor in his eyes. "Did she break up with you?"
"What? No!" Will frowned. "What made you think that?"
"Last time either of you two were this perky in my general vicinity, you were using me to make the other jealous."
"Look," he leaned forward, glancing at the creepy girl that still hadn't moved from her shadowy corner. "I thought I'd save you from your horrible fate." He smiled. "If you'd rather I leave you to your doom, I'll go."
"Horrible fate?" He cocked an eyebrow and followed his gaze. "What, Tenya?"
"You just wait, she'll turn out like Gwen. Hits sixteen and starts all over." He paused. "Maybe she's a vampire."
Warren snorted, just as Medulla walked into the room, demanding silence and their attention. Will's eyes drifted to the black board, but he could hear Warren moving beside him.
The dark haired boy pulled a piece of coal from the table, part of whatever experiment it was that Medulla was droning on about now. He cupped it between his palms, hiding the fire under the desk.
"What are you doing?" Will hissed, glancing down. "You know better."
"Shut up, Stronghold. I don't want him looking over here."
Will frowned and fell silent, eyes darting back to that flame, even as he tried to concentrate.
"Mr. Stronghold, if you would be so kind as to focus your attention up here." Medulla turned, frowning in disapproval. Immediately, Warren's flame went out.
"Yes, sir." The younger boy stuttered.
Warren glared, kicking him in the leg with a pointed look to shut up. Then, once more, he lit up. Will couldn't help but be curious. It was part of his nature. Whatever it was that Warren was doing had caught the attention of half the class already. He tried to keep his eyes at the front of the room, but when everyone else was staring, it was hard to be left out.
"Class!" Medulla turned around once more, slamming his piece of chalk into the dust tray. "Your attention, please. I'm sure, while your social lives at this moment are a seemingly infinite source of fascination with you, I can assure you that in the long run, this is more important. If I turn around one more time and find any of you not paying attention, you can expect a fifty point test on this tomorrow."
And then, once more he returned to the board, continuing his notes or formulas, or whatever the hell he was doing. Will pretended to watch, but he was waiting for that flame to light up again.
Instead, Warren pressed something into his hand. Feeling heat and a razor edge against his palm, he looked down.
There in his palm sat a diamond in the rough.
The girls that sat behind him cooed and a boy in the next row whistled. He tried to shove the diamond into his pocket before Medulla turned but the professor was already glaring down at him.
"Mr. Stronghold, something you'd like to share with the class?"
"No, sir." His hand hadn't quite made it to his pocket. Medulla noticed.
"What have you got there? A note. Bring it here." He held out his hand.
"It's not a note, sir."
"Well, whatever it is, bring it here. I'm tired of you disturbing the rest of the class."
"I'll put it away."
Medulla narrowed his eyes.
"I believe I told you to bring it here, Stronghold."
Will hung his head, knowing he'd been caught. He could feel Warren roll his eyes as he trudged up to the teacher's desk and deposited the diamond into the teacher's hand.
Medulla's eyebrows rose for an instant and he glanced at Warren before slipping it into the pocket of his lab coat.
"Sit down, Stronghold. And I want the rest of you to know that Mr. Stronghold here has earned you all a fifty point test tomorrow morning."
Warren glared at him as he sat down.
"Why in the hell did you give it to him?"
He didn't answer. He couldn't, really. He felt bad enough having lost it.
Will had waited after class, standing by the teacher's desk and watching Medulla's back as he erased the remnants of his lecture from the board. He knew he was being ignored. And he could feel the eyes on his back as the next class filed in. But it didn't matter if Medulla made him wait until the end of this class too. He had lunch this period, and he wasn't leaving without that diamond.
Finally, after an eternity, Medulla turned.
"I suppose you'd like it back then." He said, looking down his nose at the boy.
"Yes, sir. I would."
The late bell cut off the last of his words and Medulla's eyebrows rose.
"You'll be late now."
"It doesn't matter." He met his stare.
"This means a lot to you then?"
Will nodded and the teacher was silent for a long moment.
"I don't want to see this, or any other of that fire boy's creations again. Do I make myself clear?"
"Good." He handed it back, dropping it into his hand without letting his seniors see it. "And, Will?"
He turned, halfway to the door already.
"There are certain advantages to being… involved with another super hero. Take your parents for instance. They're a wonderful team. But every substance has its opposite. For example, Mr. Peace's parents." He held his gaze. "What I mean to say is, be careful. Your diamond there might turn out to really be only a piece of coal after all."
"I'll… keep that in mind." He said, fleeing the room and out into the relative safety of the hallway.
The lunch line had already emptied by the time he got in, everyone already seated at their tables. He made his way through the line and back to his own table, sitting down next to Layla. Warren had been ignoring them until he sat down. He glared then, looking up.
"Where were you?"
"Couldn't let him keep it, could I?"
"Keep what?" Layla turned, curious. "That thing he made you take up to him? What was it?"
Something flashed through Warren's eyes, gone in the next moment. But Will had seen it.
"Warren and I were playing frog football between the desks." He grinned. "It was a really big headed frog. I didn't want him to get a good look at it."
She shook her head, and frowned, turning back to her geography book.
"You two are so immature."
It was the first time he could ever remember lying to Layla. But the look of gratitude in Warren's eyes at that moment had been well worth it. And even as they lay on the couch of their top floor apartment, curled into one another, Will still remembered it. He remembered a time before they had been The Flame and White Eagle. When they'd only been two kids with super somethings for parents, when they'd been waging a war against their hormones.
When they'd only just started falling in love.
He'd been able to get the diamond put onto a chain. And over the years of Warren being too close when he burst into flame, of that same fire consuming them both as they made love, it had smoothed.
No more was it a diamond in the rough.