Summary: Being the new kid in Catholic school is one thing. Being the gay kid in Catholic school is something else entirely. Kanda hates the new kid, Allen. Lavi drives Tag nuts with his impulsiveness. Lenalee's just trying to understand Rhode.

Pairings: Kanda/Allen, Lavi/Tag, Lenalee/Rhode

Disclaimer: I do not own D.Gray-man. It is the property of Hoshino Katsura, and the last time I checked, that wasn't me. (I will alert you all if that changes any time soon—which it won't.)

About the Title: Erm… This is not meant to be a rip off of Star Wars. XD (I do love Star Wars, though…) Think about it for a little, then consider the hierarchy of the Church. "I am your Father." ::laughs at her own corniness::

Rant: The idea for this story was very much like one of those annoying songs on the radio that are overplayed, despite the fact that they're horrible. (I won't name any to avoid being massacred by people with different tastes.) But I'm sure everyone knows what I mean. It was so simple. So utterly simple. And it wasn't original. Or profound. In fact, I guess it's the fact that it was such an overused idea that made it seem so disgustingly appealing. ::shrugs:: Hopefully this won't turn out to be some cliché, plotless piece of shit. Only time will tell, I suppose. ::prays that it doesn't::

The POV switches between the characters, but it's not too hard to figure out who's the speaker. (I hope.) I wrote it like this as an experiment. I'm not used to writing in first person.

Ehh…what else is there to say… ::hangs head shamefully:: I'm very sorry about how I wrote Kanda. He's very…difficult for me. I'm afraid I couldn't portray him the way I wanted to. ::sighs:: He seems so very OOC… D:

Started: July 14, 2007.
Completed: July 16, 2007.


"I am your Father"

Prayer One: Augury


I like to think of myself as a very rational person. I always consider all options before I act, and I always try to pick the best course of action. This is how I know that I am fully qualified in my reasoning when I decided to kill Lavi.

After all, if it weren't for that poor excuse for a so-called friend, I wouldn't have ended up in the main office with the responsibility on my hands of babysitting the new kid.

Che, like I didn't have more important things to do.

I was hunched over in one of the plush chairs in the office, just scowling at the wall in front of me, when Hevlaska, our school's counsellor, tapped me on the shoulder and told me the new kid was here.

Now, Hevlaska is a very difficult person to describe. I think Lavi came the closest with coming up with an accurate description, and it was something like "a cross-dressing glow-worm."

Shut up. I'm being serious.

Hevlaska has always had this weird unisexual thing going. In fact, it's been going on for so long that nobody even remembers if Hevlaska is male or female. His/her first name wasn't any help, either, because it was one of those long, foreign names that nobody can pronounce.

As for the glow-worm bit… Well, I'm not exactly sure when—or how—that started, but it was a while back. But the basic gist is this: Hevlaska has this weird fetish for all things that glow in the dark.

That explains the glowing. The part about the worm was added for two reasons. One, Lavi couldn't think of any other creature that glowed—fireflies and deep-sea fish don't count. And two, to this day, Lavi is convinced that Hevlaska is a guy.

(If you don't get the meaning behind that, you're seriously screwed over in life.)

So, I followed Hevlaska into his/her office and made no effort to sit down in the seat offered to me. He/she gave me this annoyed look and sat down behind his/her desk when he/she realised that I had no intention of sitting.

"Kanda," he/she said, "I'm glad that you volunteered for this."

I bit back some vomit and cursed Lavi in my head. He/she was insane if he/she thought I'd signed up for this hell willingly.

"Hn."

No point in sounding excited.

Hevlaska gave me a rather exasperated look before smiling and nodding at the chair on my left. "This is Allen Walker, your new peer."

That's when it finally clicked that there was someone else in the room with us. I stared at him blankly, not quite sure what to make of the new kid.

For one thing, he was short. Short and scrawny. Sort of like an undeveloped girl. (And I suspected him to have to mood swings of one.) And he had a head of shock-white hair. It was like someone had emptied a tub of bleach on the kid's head.

His eyes were downcast, not really looking at anything, and he was chewing thoughtfully on his lower lip. His gloved hands were folded neatly in his lap, fingers laced.

To be completely honest, he looked like a queer. A queer with a really nice haircut, anyway.

"I expect you to guide him around campus and see to it that he is welcome and feels comfortable," Hevlaska said, his/her low, soft voice dragging me back to reality. Then she/he opened a dark blue dossier and leafed through it before selecting a paper and handing it to me.

It was the kid's schedule.

"Allen's already been to his locker, so you two are set." Hevlaska rose to his/her feet and checked his/her watch. "Class will start in a few minutes, so you boys better get going." He/she turned and regarded Allen with a sombre nod. "I'll call up your stepfather to alert him that you're set up for the year."

When Hevlaska appeared to be done talking, I spun on my heel to leave the room, clutching the kid's schedule in my hand. Allen lingered behind me, busy thanking Hevlaska for all his/her help.

I rolled my eyes. Suck up.

Allen carefully shut the door behind him, and glanced up at me shyly, pale blue eyes uncertain. It was then that I noticed the peculiar scar that trailed down from just above his left eyebrow, through his eyelid, and down his cheek, like some kind of a trail left by a raindrop. I furrowed my brow, taking in the bizarre shape of an upside-down pentagram carved into his skin. If Allen detected my staring, he ignored it.

"Erm…hello," he said at last, face splitting into a bright smile as he extended a hand. "I'm Allen Walker—oh! Haha, you already know that… Uh… So, I just got transferred in from the Order in England," he continued, punctuating his rant with a sheepish laugh; a clipped British accent plagued his voice. "I'm very pleased to meet you…Kanda, isn't it?" He gave me an expectant look, as if waiting for me to shake his hand and introduce myself just as he had.

However, with a dark, inward laugh, I refused to shake his hand, and instead fixed the kid with an incredulous stare.

Allen's smile faltered, his silvery eyes shifting anxiously from his hand to my face.

Hevlaska, who'd been watching us from the tiny window in his/her door, quickly stepped out. When he/she saw Allen's outstretched hand, he/she sighed wearily. I gave him/her a bitter look. He/she had known me long enough to get used to my "complete lack of humanity," as Lavi put it.

"Kanda, don't be so cold," Hevlaska reprimanded patiently, shooting Allen an apologetic look.

I narrowed my eyes a fraction. "I'm Kanda," I mutter gruffly, displaying my idea of a passable introduction.

The kid's smile disintegrated as he lowered his hand, now looking quite foolish. "Pleasure to meet you," he mumbled, averting his eyes to the ground.

"Che," I grunted noncommittally, signifying that the conversation was over.

Hevlaska, meanwhile, was staring at us, probably wondering what could have possessed a person like me to take on a job that required, well, the ability to be friendly. (It's four letters long, has red hair, and a stupid face.) Seriously. Just about anyone else would have been a better choice for the job than me.

Hevlaska finally cleared the silence, clearing his/her throat loudly. "Kanda, Allen, I need you two to head for your classes now, before your teachers get upset with me…"

I nodded curtly and glanced carelessly at Allen, making a stiff, jerky movement with my head, telling him we were going.

Allen, who apparently couldn't understand the simplest of gestures, blinked his large eyes for a moment while he processed my command. "Excuse me?" he said at last, sounding quite confused and still immensely polite, to my disgust.

What a pansy.

"We're going," I drawled, snatching the kid around the wrist and forcefully dragging him away, ignoring his sputtered protests about how he was perfectly capable of walking


I didn't want Mana to make such an extensive trip, especially coupled in with all the hassle and stress of moving, but the doctor insisted. Things were cheaper in America, and Mana had a lot of hospital bills to pay for.

See, my stepfather, Mana, has been ill for as long as I can remember. He's got an autoimmune disease called multiple sclerosis, which means that his body is gradually destroying the myelin sheathes on his neurons, and is therefore wreaking havoc on his nervous system.

Hehe, sorry if I lost you there.

Ever since Mana adopted me, back when I was little, I've been incredibly attached to him. He and I did everything together, and I love him just as I would my biological father. Mana was the only sense of family I'd ever known, and I was willing to do anything for him.

That's why I agreed to move to America.

Mana got diagnosed a number of years ago—back before he adopted me—but he never bothered to mention it until it got really bad. By the time I was seven, we were making constant visits out of our sleepy little village and into London, where we'd go to the hospital for Mana's many appointments and doses of medicine. By the time I was eleven, I had learned the proper way to inject Mana with his weekly shot of interferon.

It wasn't like the meds weren't working, because they were—sort of, it's just that the expenses were rather appalling. Also, Mana's doctors were of the opinion that he should consult a renowned neurologist who lived in the states. They said that he should think about taking another kind of drug—a kind of monthly infusion. It was still considered an experimental drug—so was his Avonex shot, actually—but it was a promising one that had been dealing out some good results.

Mana, bless him, being the thoughtful person he is, turned to me and asked if I was all right with making such a change in life's pace. Since I only wanted him to be well, I told him that I'd start house hunting.

After all, he'd need medication like this if he wanted to keep on walking.

I'd been enrolled in an international string of Catholic schools established by Jesuits, called the Black Order. The headmasters of the English branch of the Order made a few phone calls, and passed my records on to one of their schools in the United States. They made sure it was near a hospital, too.

We moved in about a week before the first day of school, but I ended up missing it so I could drag Mana in to all his doctor's appointments. The secretary for his physician thought I was adorable and offered me a cookie.

The next day, I was forced to go to school, despite the sick ache in my stomach. My clothes felt all wrong on me, even though I'd been wearing the same uniform for nearly my entire life. I couldn't explain it. The vest felt too loose, my tie was choking me, and the sleeves of my jacket felt too long.

Once I entered the school, my stomach's painful back flips became more intense, paying no mind to the Tylenol I'd taken earlier. The guidance counsellor was nice enough, but I couldn't tell if Hevlaska was male or female…

Hevlaska had previously been given a copy of my course selections, so my schedule had already been made out to suit my tastes. Hevlaska also told me that one of the upperclassmen would be helping me get adjusted to the campus, which, quite honestly, bothered me a little.

I mean, it's not like I'm two… I'm not completely helpless. But, me being the passive person I am, just nodded and said 'okay.'

I've got to admit. He wasn't anything like the mental image I'd concocted in those few minutes.

I'd been imagining something like the picturesque teacher's pet, or the class suck up; y'know, with the glasses and the oily complexion and the unending train of used tissues. But maybe I was just being stereotypical.

Like I said before, the guy who stalked into Hevlaska's office didn't bear even the slightest resemblance to my prediction. Kanda walked in with his head held high, face aloof, like he owned the place, his long, dark ponytail swinging behind him. He was so caught up in the utter unimportance of the world, that he didn't even notice my presence in the room until Hevlaska mentioned me.

I instantly decided I didn't like him.

Kanda seemed like the kind of person who would be able to accurately read and interpret the slightest bit of body language. So, I kept my eyes down, just so they wouldn't betray anything.

Still, because Hevlaska was trying so hard to make me feel welcome, and because Mana would be getting better medical treatment here, I would have to endure. I cracked a smile and introduced myself, trying my best to remain polite and civil.

His reaction was something I half-expected: absolutely nothing. In fact, he looked rather repulsed by me—which suited me just swell, seeing as I didn't like him, either.

Hevlaska must have been spying on us or something, because she (he?) quickly made to intercede in what was looking to be the beginning of an awkward silence. Hevlaska kicked us out of the main office and left me with my aggravatingly stoic guide.

Kanda yanked painfully on my left wrist as he led me down a number of hallways, glancing back down at the crinkled schedule in his hand every few seconds. I was nearly jogging in order to keep up with his longer strides. I'd be damned if he ripped off one of my gloves.

"You've got IB English I," Kanda stated, voice monotonous. He gave me a pointed stare as he came to an abrupt halt. "That's a high level class."

I decided to take that as a compliment and ignore the venomous glower he was giving me along with his observations.

"What grade are you in?" he asked, releasing my hand and folding his arms across his chest. His dark eyes were boring holes in my head.

I determinedly looked elsewhere, instead choosing to watch a pair of grungy looking boys saunter by, one of them, a blond, was giggling hysterically. "I'm turning sixteen in a few months. I'm in grade eleven," I replied shortly, in a voice just as flat and dull as his. "How old did you think I was?" I asked hotly, feeling my ears burn.

From the corner of my eyes, I saw Kanda gave me a dubious look. He was probably laughing inwardly, the bastard. "You're so short," he said nonchalantly, "I thought for sure you were a freshman." He let out a derisive snort. "I hate freshmen."

I scowled openly at him, completely forgetting my prior goal to be civil. "That's stupid," I muttered, averting my eyes to meet his dead on. I nearly recoiled when I saw that look in his eyes. It was like the Grim Reaper had just gotten itself some sort of illegitimate love-child with the Devil. I swear, I must've nearly had a heart attack just then. I know my pulse sped up.

I swallowed the lump in my throat. "Why hate freshmen?" I continued, "You were one at some point…"

Kanda gave me a belittling sort of 'what, are you stupid?' look. "You're joking. Please tell me you're joking." He stared at me blankly before shaking his head. "You're worse than I thought…"

I crossed my arms and glared at him. "At least the feeling's mutual," I shot back.

The corners of his lips quirked and he closed his eyes. "Evidently," he drawled. When he opened his eyes, they were still glimmering with that same chilling abhorrence, but there was something else, too. Maybe a twinge of amusement?

What a sick bastard. He's probably some kind of a sadist or masochist or a vegan… Those were the only explanations I could think of that would cause a person to turn out like that.

Kanda sighed, looking bored. "Whatever. Anyway, I've got to get you to class before you make me late…" And just like that, he spun around, nearly swatting me in the face with that hair of his. (Looking back, I think he was trying to hit me.)

I followed him to the English wing in silence, both of us squeezing through the crowd of students clad in black and white. More than once, I nearly got carried away by the sea of moving bodies, only to be dragged back on track by Kanda, who would snort, roll his eyes, and let me know what a nuisance I was being and how stupid I was.

In response, I sweetly told him that he was the bigger idiot for signing up for a job that required him to work with me, the 'aptly' named "moronic fool and complete waste of airspace."

The room he led me into was fairly empty, only about half a dozen teens were lingering in the room, chatting up a storm with their friends.

It was instantaneous. The moment we walked in, all the room's occupants went silent and stared at me, eyes looking me over with poorly concealed interest and curiosity. (Or maybe they were looking at Kanda…?) My stomach churned uncomfortably and I found myself edging a little closer to Kanda, and accidentally grabbing a good handful of the back of his jacket. And before I could recoil, he, unfortunately, being the epitome of all things unholy in a Catholic school, noticed.

"The hell are you doing?" he hissed, eyes flashing a promised death sentence. "This is your first class, I've got to go." He skimmed my schedule—which had been reduced to near-shreds while we wrestled through the halls—and gave me an aggravated look. "Look, I'll send someone down to pick you up for your next class." He sneered down at me. "So you can stop clinging to me…"

I quickly released his jacket, clutching my hand to my chest as if it had been burnt. I scowled back up at him. "I wasn't clinging…" I argued weakly.

He raised an eyebrow and looked like he wants to say something, but changed his mind halfway through. He rolled his eyes and stormed out of the room.

I watched him go, feeling incredibly awkward and alone and out of place. Even more out of place than I had felt with Kanda.

I timidly eyed my classmates, eyes widening in surprise when I realised that I no longer captivated their interests. I felt an indignant swell of annoyance. They really were just looking at Kanda, after all.

I wanted to strangle something. Preferably something that looked like—and hopefully was—Kanda. I turned around and gazed longingly out the door, wishing I knew where Kanda was so I could go squeeze the life out of his lungs.

A person standing behind me stretched out a hand and tapped me lightly on the shoulder. "Hey, I don't think I've ever seen you around here before… Are you new?"

I had half a mind to say something snide and sarcastic to whomever the wiseass standing behind me was, but when I turned, mouth open wide and prepared to let the hate fly…

I found I couldn't.

The girl standing there had such a welcoming smile that I honestly felt all my frustration melt away.

I swiftly deflated and offered her a weary smile. "Yes," I mumbled, adjusting the strap of my messenger bag. I stuck out my hand, hoping not to get snubbed by two people in one day. "I'm Allen Walker. I just moved in from England."

The girl's deep blue eyes widened and she clasped my hand with both of hers and shook my hand with such enthusiasm that her ponytails fluttered, threatening to break free of their restraints. "I'm Lenalee Lee," she said cheerfully. "Come on, you can sit with me. I have the best view in the room."

I followed her over to the seats on the far side of the classroom, the ones right next to the window.

"Take a look," Lenalee told me eagerly, pushing me into the seat behind hers and gesturing toward the window. "There's a wonderful view of the gardens from here."

I gave her a sceptical look, but I leaned over to peer through the glass. My mouth fell open into a perfect 'o' when I finally saw what she was talking about. She was absolutely right, for one thing. The view was breathtaking.

The garden wasn't one of those typical lawns that was carefully pruned and measured out to the last square foot. It wasn't even structured in the slightest—though it might have been, once upon a time. The garden was just raw life. Everything had been left to the forces of nature and was overgrown; but it still somehow managed to not be complete chaos. It was…artistic, for lack of a better word. It was like the perfect mix of chaos and serenity—if that makes any sense at all.

The bright green grass had been left uncut, and each blade was a different length than its neighbour. A light breeze passed over the turf, causing the grass to bend and ripple, catching the sun's glimmer and glowing brilliantly.

The trees towered imperiously over an elegant, silver pond that sparkled with colourful fish, surrounding it protectively like a mother would hold her child. The leaves rustled in the gentle wind, whispering hypnotic lullabies to the pond while squirrels scampered about their roots and as birds chatted animatedly in their branches.

Small, delicate-looking flowers were soaking their soft, vibrant faces in the morning sun, stretching their arms upward to welcome the day. They had long since taken over the garden, having spilled far out of the area that must have been the original flowerbeds, spotting the grass with splotches of rich colour, like a painter had randomly flung paint out the windows, creating gentle arcs of smooth velvet.

Never-ending vines and bushes of ivy and roses had crept up the walls of the school, curling intricate patterns of green and pale pink over the smooth stones of the walls.

Then Lenalee waved a hand in front of my face. "You were zoning," she said with a knowing wink.

I laughed lightly, still entranced by the spell of the garden. "I'm sorry," I said with a small smile, meeting her grin with one of my own. "It really is something, though…"

Lenalee nodded wistfully as she watched a black butterfly dance through the air. "It really is," she agreed dreamily. "We call it the Garden of Eden for a reason."

"Who landscaped this?" I asked her. "This must've been a serious work in progress…"

Lenalee tore her eyes away from the window to fix me with a blank look. "I'm not really sure," she admitted. "One of the families that donates a significant amount of money to the school, I guess."

We sat there staring out the window for another minute before the bell rang, signifying the beginning of class. Our man was a teacher with wild curls, a thick moustache, and an even thicker pair of glasses. He approached me with a gentle smile, his eyes crinkling at the sides.

"I'm Froi Tiedoll," he said in a sleepy voice, kneeling by the side of my desk, grasping my hand with one of his large ones and shaking it gently. "And you are Allen Walker, right?"

I nodded and grinned widely at him. "That's right."

He nodded vaguely. "Welcome to IB English, Mr. Walker," he said in his soft voice that reminded me of waves sloshing up against the beach. "Forgive me if my teaching seems a bit…out of place." He smiled again and retracted his hand. It had spots of royal violet paint dotted along his knuckles. "I'm generally an art teacher. I haven't taught English class in a while. Tell me, do you think that will affect your ability to learn?"

I shook my head, hair flying in my eyes. "Oh, no, of course not," I said earnestly. "After all, writing and literature are just other forms of art."

Father Tiedoll nodded sombrely, looking pleased with my answer. "That's exactly right." A toothy grin spread across his face. "Well, Mr. Walker, I have a hunch that you'll fit in perfectly." He patted me on the back in a reassuring way and rose to his feet, making to return to his place at the head of the classroom.

Lenalee turned around in her seat, smiled, winked, and gave me the thumbs-up sign.

I couldn't help but grin as well.


He punched me in the eye. I mean, what the hell was that?! I tried to help him, but nooo… I mean, God—whoops! I'm not supposed to say the Lord's name in vain, am I?

But seriously, what the hell is Yuu's problem, anyway? I mean, just the other day, he was bitching about how he didn't have enough extra curricula, so I offered to help him. (After all, there's only so far one can go with martial arts. You don't want to come off as some bad rip-off from a reject Bruce Lee movie when you're in the middle of a college interview…)

Yuu gave me one of those looks that said 'I'll turn to you for help when flowers have taken over the world and made me bow to their hermaphroditic glory.' So, I took that as a 'yes.'

Apparently I'd greatly miscalculated.

So, here's what happened.

Since I am very dedicated to my friends, I took the task upon myself to ensure that Yuu was participating in as many extra curricula as possible. So, naturally, I went around and signed his name on every club sign-up sheet the school had.

When Yuu noticed the large amount of club presidents approaching him—I think it was the president of the school's debutante association that tipped him off—he probably put two and two together and figured that I was the culprit.

You see, Yuu's a person who believes in "guilty until proven innocent."

(The fact that I really was guilty probably didn't help.)

So after he went around removing his name from the lists (ungrateful bastard), he cornered me at my locker and let his fist fly into my left eye.

(He'd actually done a pretty good job of removing himself from every club. The only thing he hadn't weaselled his way out of was that 'Peer Welcoming Committee' thing. Something about a new kid, and that he was the only person who'd been signed up. Yuu seemed more chagrined about the fact that he couldn't get himself out of that than the fact that I'd signed him up for the debutante thing.)

I ended up going to the nurse after that. Through the miracle of back-breaking training schedules, Kanda had turned his fists into lethal weapons. I know this from experience.

When I strolled into the nurse's office sporting a black eye worthy of peas, the nurse, this hot chick named Eliade, gave me that 'oh, Lavi, you poor, sexy moron, you' look and went to get an icepack and the eye patch she'd kept on the side specifically for me.

(Believe it or not, I actually get socked in the eye by Kanda on a fairly regular basis. My grandfather is convinced that I'll go blind in my left eye by the time I'm twenty.)

I was still sitting in one of the plastic chairs clutching the frozen pack of holiness to my eye when another person wandered into the wonderfully sanitary office. Even though the door was in my current blind spot (my eye was covered), I knew those footsteps anywhere.

"Ah," Eliade smiled and greeted the newcomer. "Doug, I was wondering when you'd come by." She shot me a wicked look and jabbed a finger in my direction. "I assume you already know what happened, eh?"

There was a heavy sigh. "Oh, Lavi…" A pair of exasperated dark eyes appeared in front of my face. "What'd you do this time…?"

I leapt from my seat and threw my arms around the person, enveloping him in a bear hug. "Tag!!" I wailed. "I thought you'd never come for me!!" I cried, throttling him to and fro.

"Ahh! Lavi, stop it! The icepack!! It's—AHH!!" Tag swatted my hands away from him. The icepack had been pressed up against his neck.

I laughed sheepishly, moving the icepack back over my eye. "Sorry, Tag."

Tag gave me that disgruntled look of his and sighed, straightening his tie while attempting to pick up whatever was left of his dignity. "Eliade, our math teacher sent me out to find him. Can I take him to class?"

"Go ahead," Eliade said, reclining back in her chair and whipping out a compact of makeup. "Make sure he doesn't upset Kanda again."

Tag twitched. "Lavi!" he cried, glaring at me. "You made Kanda angry again?!"

"One would think that he'd have wised up enough to realise that Kanda doesn't like being 'helped' by him," Eliade muttered.

Tag groaned.

x x x

"Exactly what were you trying to achieve this time?" Tag hissed as he copied a math problem off the board.

"Yuu said he needed more extra curricula for his college resume," I replied through the corner of my mouth, trying to imagine how silly I looked. "So I took the liberty of signing him for everything."

Tag gave me that incredulous look that he seemed to have reserved specifically for me, and echoed, "Everything?"

"Yup. Everything."

He just stared blankly at me for a moment before sighing heavily and shaking his head. (Seriously, he became more and more like my Grandpa every day. Sad, really.)

"Lavi, why can't you just leave Kanda alone?"

I gasped dramatically. "Tag!! How can you even suggest such a thing?! Yuu is our friend! Our beloved companion! We can't possibly leave him behind in the dust!"

I must have said this rather loudly, because our teacher (whose name I could never remember) gave me a rather unimpressed look. "Mr. Sheridan," he drawled to Tag, "Would you care to share what you and Mr. Bookman have been discussing with the class?"

Tag turned as red as the cherry nose of the life-sized edible Rudolph the Reindeer gingerbread cookie-cake the school made every year. "N-no, sir," he stammered, his blush stretching to the roots of his dark hair.

A sneer spread across the teacher's face. "I thought so." He narrowed his eyes. "Remember, Mr. Sheridan, you being in my class—a class that isn't normally offered to younger students—is an honour and a privilege. One you shouldn't take for granted."

Tag's eyes widened and he nodded hastily, bowing his head.

The teacher made a vague gesture with his hands, like 'you're dismissed' or something. He glanced at me, like I was leftover lunch meat, something that was unappealing to the eyes. "Mr. Bookman, kindly seat yourself."

I scowl and slowly lowered myself back into my chair. I hadn't even noticed I'd jumped to my feet. I crossed my arms and glared at the teacher.

He raised an eyebrow. "Something you wish to say, Mr. Bookman?" he asked in that repulsive nasally voice of his.

I smiled and shook my head.

He nodded slowly. "Lovely eye patch, by the way."

I let my smile grow wider. "I can help you get one, if you want."

"Excuse me?"

Tag poked me sharply in the side, as if saying 'shut up, you fool.'

I glanced briefly at him before turning back to the teacher. I flashed him another grin. "Nothing."