It was tense and awkward on their last morning of imprisonment in that damn rec room. Armpit and X-Ray were still a bit uncomfortable, though not as much since Zigzag's multiple singing outbreaks. And it had seemingly hit everyone else that they had just revealed their most embarrassing or most degrading secret to the others, and had all suddenly become very quiet.
Well, apart from Zigzag.
"Hakuna matata, what a wonderful phrase…" he was singing happily and loudly. They could hear grumbles of people passing by outside, going to collect their shovels and start the day's digging. All of D-Tent would have loved to be asleep right now – these two days should have given them a chance for a lie-in – but they couldn't. It was like they all had their own built-in alarm clock, waking them up at four AM. Not to mention that they'd been up half the night anyway.
"Hakuna matata, ain't no passing craze…"
Everyone just let Zigzag sing. Even Squid had given up trying to argue with that.
"It means no worries for the rest of your days…"
"Would you shut it, fag?"
OK, so maybe Squid hadn't completely given up arguing.
There was a painfully long silence, only broken occasionally by Zigzag humming and Squid yelling at him to shut up, fag! Magnet drummed his fingers on the arm of the couch and looked round at everyone.
"Only a few more hours to go," he said, trying to break the silence. Nobody even looked at him. Armpit was glaring at X-Ray, X-Ray was desperately trying to avoid his eye for fear that his face would melt from the death glare he was being given, Caveman was staring at his feet, Zigzag was looking round dreamily and Squid was watching him with his eyebrows raised.
Magnet sighed and picked up their spinning pen and fiddled with it absently. Immediately, everyone jumped to their feet.
"Don't touch the pen!" they all yelled at him. Magnet hurriedly dropped the biro and held his hands up in a surrendering motion.
"Sorry!" he said, "But I'm bored! You're boring!"
He folded his arms across his chest and sat back, sinking back into his boredom. Of course, he knew why none of them were talking. Caveman was embarrassed, Armpit was mad, X-Ray was – amazingly – a bit scared, Zero… well, he didn't talk any way and Zigzag and Squid were hoarse from antagonising each other for two days. It was those damn secrets! It was like they were in some sort of weird story, and some crazed writer was putting words into their mouths, as hard as they fought it.
In his head, he went over all the things that had managed to slip out in those two days. Zigzag's gayness, or ex-gayness as he kept insisting, Squid's multiple girlfriends, Caveman's guy-girlfriend, Armpit's stabbing incident, Zero's illiteracy and, of course, his own weird family and his stupid betrothment thing. It was humiliating for them all. The only consolation was that they had all been humiliated, as a group. A blanket embarrassment. In fact, the only person who had seemed to avoid it was…
Magnet glanced up and looked at X-Ray.
"Hey X," he called. X-Ray looked up; glad to have something to distract him from Armpit's death stare.
"You know what?" Magnet went on, "I think you might be the only one who's not said anything stupid yet. That's not really fair."
Everyone else immediately perked up, all looking at X-Ray like predators closing in on their pray, while X-Ray looked like he wished he could return to Armpit's evils.
"Good point, Magnet," Squid said, a little too happily, "It's unfair if X is the only one to avoid that."
Everyone, even Zero, stared at X-Ray and grinned more than slightly evilly, and X-Ray actually blushed. No doubt, everyone pounced on him. Literally.
While he was being held down by Squid, Caveman, Magnet and Zigzag, X-Ray groaned. He should have seen that coming.
"Come on guys," he half pleaded, half threatened, "You all know you'll regret this later."
"Doubt it," Caveman grinned. X-Ray sighed.
"Well, just remember, I know all that shit about you guys."
Everyone stared at him blankly for a while, trying to work out if they were being blackmailed or not. Then a grin suddenly spread across Squid's face.
"Wait! I know something! I know one of X's secrets!"
He stood there grinning madly, verging on looking completely deranged, for quite a while, with everyone else waiting expectantly. Finally, Magnet felt inclined to burst Squid's bubble.
"Are you going to tell us this, or are you just going to stand there grinning at us?"
Squid pouted. "Be nice," he sulked, "Or I won't tell you."
Everyone debated this silently for a while, wondering whether X-Ray's secret was worth being nice to Squid for. Finally, they agreed (in their minds) to be nice for a while.
Apart from Zigzag.
Satisfied with 80 per cent of the others being nice to him, Squid gave the held-down X-Ray a grin and turned to the others. He was all set to tell them when X-Ray cut in.
Everyone turned to look at him. He sighed.
"I'll tell you," he said, "It's better if I do that Squid. He'll just make up the bits he doesn't know and make me look like a total jerk."
Squid didn't protest. He had been planning to do exactly that.
"I… I'm not here for drug dealing," X-Ray said nervously. He looked abnormally terrified. Everyone just stared at him, prompting him to go on.
"I didn't really break the law at all. Well, I did… but not like…"
"Get on with it!" cut in an impatient Magnet. X-Ray sighed.
"I'm in here because there's this guy…"
For some reason, everyone looked at Zigzag, who grinned absently and shrugged.
"Nah," he said, "He doesn't set off my gay-dar."
X-Ray glared at each of them in turn and continued with his story.
"There's this guy, and he was trying to… well… he was trying to kill me."
He paused to see what everyone's reactions were. Surprisingly, none of them seemed to react that much. Perhaps it was because they'd heard so much over the past couple of days, nothing seemed weird anymore. Or maybe it was because none of them could really see X as the drug dealing type.
"Why's he trying to kill you?" Caveman asked conversationally. X-Ray's cheeks went a bit red, and nobody could miss the huge smile spreading across Squid's face.
"Um… i…" X-Ray mumbled, looking like he'd rather be anywhere but there.
"If you don't tell us, Squid will," Armpit pointed out. X-Ray took a deep breath.
"I might have… you know… sort of… slept with his little sister…" he muttered, staring intently at the floor. Magnet let out a short, sharp laugh.
"And she was how old?"
Once again, X-Ray hesitated, before grunting something inaudible. Everyone stared at him expectantly, with huge, mocking grins on their faces.
"What was that?" Armpit teased, "Didn't quite hear you."
"Fourteen, OK?" X-Ray snapped, "She was fourteen, and I was fifteen, and her brother wasn't too happy about it. they had to put me in here for protection."
"You slept with a fourteen-year-old?" Zero piped up, his eyebrows raised in genuine surprise. X-Ray sighed yet again.
"Yeah, I did, OK?" he snapped, "And she was as willing as I was! So shut up about it, OK? Just because you're a bunch of virgins!"
Zero dropped his gaze. X-Ray raised an eyebrow and stared at him.
"You're not?" he asked, half in curiosity and half in a desperate attempt to get the spotlight off him. Unfortunately, Caveman, having had experience, totally called him on it.
"Stop trying to shift the attention onto Zero!" he said, "Tell us more about this guy who wants to kill you!"
"Yeah," Squid grinned, "Do tell."
X-Ray pointed an accusing finger at him.
"You can shut up!" he snapped, "You're the one who started all this crap! If you weren't such a…"
"Hey, let's not get personal," Squid cut in, grinning, "Anyway, if you're going to get all accusing on me, it was that fag's fault." He pointed to Zigzag. "He was the one who started it all with his gayness."
"Ex gayness, dude, get it right!" corrected Zigzag for what had to be the millionth time, "And stop calling me a fag!"
There was a silence as everyone decided whether to pursue the completely-humiliating-X-Ray route, or the watching-Zigzag-and-Squid-argue-about-sexualities-again route.
Squid and Zigzag arguing, without a doubt.
X-Ray let out a sigh of relief and sat back, watching the argument happily. He was glad the attention had returned to Zig and Squid. They were the two who didn't mind attention. Anyway, Caveman had been starting to look at him like he was some kind of paedophile. And Zero… well, nobody would ever suss out that kid, would they?
"Ow!" And Zigzag was singing again. For once, everybody else was singing along too. Even Zero. Even Squid. Because it was the hour of release. They had heard the truck of the door-fixing guys (whoever the hell they were) pull up. Mr Sir said they'd be out within an hour.
They were all high on the promise of freedom, and the prospect of no more humiliation. And, for some weird reason known only to Zigzag, their new way to celebrate… well, anything really… was to sing.
"I used to think maybe you loved me, now baby I'm sure…"
They could hear the guys coming up to the door.
"And I just can't wait till the day when you knock on my door…"
There was a lot of banging now, as the guys got to work. They sang louder to be heard over the noise of the door-fixing guys working.
"Now ever time I go for the mailbox gotta hold myself down…"
There was the sound of wood splintering. That was good. Definitely good.
"Cause I just can't wait till you write me you're coming around…"
"Ha! I knew I'd have you guys singing by the end of this!"
"I'm walking on sunshine, wo-oah!"
"Shut up, you fag, it's this freaking room. It does stuff to our minds!"
"I'm walking on sunshine, wo-oah!"
"Yeah, I know! A few more hours and who knows? Maybe you would have eventually been de-closeted!"
"I'm walking on sunshine, wo-oah!"
"Speaking of which," X-Ray interrupted the singing and arguing, "I think we'd better make a deal. What we heard in the rec room stays in the rec room."
"Deal," everyone agreed.
"Keep our mouths shut or die," Magnet added, nodding.
They all spun round to the light that was now flooding in through the doorway. A slightly disappointed Mr Sir stood there, his arms folded.
"Come on then, ladies," he sighed, "Let's go."
Cheering, the guys rushed from the room, running around in the sun like little kids. Only Zigzag remained in the rec room, glancing around almost sadly at the spin-the-pen pen and the sofas that they'd all fought over.
"And don't it feel good…" he sang quietly.
The end!!!! Yeah, I know I said I'd write two more chapters, but I'm reeeaaalllly busy right now (it's my Higher year, which'll only really make sense to Scottish people).
So apologies for the long time between updates, and the shortness of several of the chapters, and the crazy ooc-ness of them all, and the terrible writing and the cheesy songs (can I just say those songs are not my taste in music). And big thank-yous to all my reviewers. I couldn't have done it without your support and suggestions.
A special shoutout to my nine regularest reviewers: SamSammySamantha, GoTheDistance Anime Girl23Beckybabedorkyduck Jersey GirlMrsPiccolosWife HPSmallCharm29 and Crystalized Chaos. You're all amazing, and I love you to bits!
So goodbye for now, my friends. I hope to return to the magic of Holes fics soon. If not, feel free to read my other fics!
For the last time sob, over and out.