Title: Dishpig and Snowball, Matchstick and Book Monger
Summary: Life turns out to be more than busing tables and thesis statements, more than dysfunctional behavior and cigarettes on school property, more than superheroes and villains. It's life like microwaved leftovers; a hot skin, a cold center, and a soggy aftertaste.
Spoilers/Warnings: None. Post-Movie by two years.
Chapter: 1: The Wall (prologue)
A/N: This is a revamp of the story "Dishpig and Snowball" with slight changes to the title. Some much needed but not asked for time off from writing gave way to a load of new ideas and an all around better story. The premise is largely the same but the story will have major and minor changes all that aside I hope you enjoy the new version as much or more than the last.
Due to many concerned reports and past occurrences the Maxville Sky High School District has funded new construction on school grounds to alleviate certain nuisances that have come to attention regarding the parking premises. Barriers have been set up on the buildings south side around the edge of the parking areas, both teacher and student, to resolve the problems faced in previous years of cars falling into the self sustaining, free- floating crash guard under the school that acts as our current buffer against environmental and accidental collision with objects. The barrier itself is encased with it's own buffer to prevent any damage to vehicles that may come into contact with it.
We hope this new measure will prevent damage to both cars and the school during times of inclement weather, destination change, and changes in altitude that often cause the schools ground to shift leading to a slide of all objects in the parking areas. We ask all teachers, students, and parents to be aware of this new addition to the school grounds.
All other completed construction projects are summarized in detail in the appropriate sections of this handbook and all future projects will be made clear through announcements and letters home to all student and parents.
That was what the student handbook from his junior year said about it. It sounded nice and the parents were thrilled to have a stop to all the phonecalls home about their kid's cars falling off the edge of the school, the school was happy to finally stop getting angry calls about the cars falling off the school from parents, and the teachers were all breathing a sigh of relief about not having an insurance policy that covered automobiles falling off floating schools.
The handbook said a lot of nice things.
Nice things that were printed on the carcasses of way too many dead trees.
Nice trees used for such an impractical purpose.
Impractical because no one ever read the handbook in some people's opinions, especially in the opinions of such people who were environmentally conscious, which included one person he saw every day, sometimes not wanting to see every day, but someone who always, always, made her opinion on such matters clear both explicitly and implicitly very loudly to anyone who happened to be listening or at the same lunch table.
Everyone just called it 'The Wall.'
The teachers thought it was ugly, the students tried to cover it in crudely rendered pictographs in graffiti-like mediums, and then there were some that walked through the halls of Sky High that loved it.
The teachers had to deal with it, the kids that covered it in badly drawn depictions of penises had to clean it, and the people that loved it found need of it every day and on any given day it was not uncommon to hear someone ask someone else at their locker, 'You going to the wall?' 'Yeah, but I only got two left. Can I bum?' 'Yeah no problem I'm going to the Rez later I'll hobo you a few.'
He was one of those type of kids.
The type of kid that loved it, not the type of kid to stand around and talk at other people's lockers.
The type that towards the end of his lunch period or right before all the buses came to bring everyone home at the end of the day or before getting on another bus to go down into Maxville for driver's ed. climbed up on an often replaced garbage can and jumped over the wall to grab a quick bit of a tumor growing, black cough producing, cancer creating, smoke break.
All together there were a handful of sophomores, a generous dose of juniors, and about a third of all the seniors that paid homage to the wall, freshman weren't allowed it was 'Wall Code.'
'Wall Code' was just a term someone who had graduated had come up with, some self important idiot probably who thought it sounded cool.
What 'Wall Code' entailed was really only four things, 1: That there should always be something to step on to get back over the wall, 2: If you bum, you owe, 3: Only go over the wall at the part of it where the camera can't see you, 4: Don't throw anything over the edge.
The thing about no freshmen was more an unspoken rule, more for the fact that most freshmen didn't smoke to begin with or even know there was a place to get away with it on school property.
Whoever had come up with the term had also probably thought it was a good idea to slather the rules all over the back side of the wall in red spray paint, personally it was all too Animal Farm for his tastes.
He was a regular. That was how he'd met her in sophomore year when he was fifteen and stolen a pack out of his mother's half full carton that'd been sitting in the car as she went into the deli next door to The Paper Lantern to buy hot dog buns and powdered iced tea mix.
While he couldn't remember the day he'd first spoken to her he could say that'd he'd been in one of her classes and seen her in the hallways and in the library and just generally 'around' but it had been by then months after his fight in the cafeteria and weeks after one of the most less than stellar wins in save the citizen that he'd been a part of that he'd been in a situation where she was something other than a part of the florescent highschool scenery or one of the bodies that filled a chair in a classroom like everyone thought of everyone else that wasn't in their orbit of frequently talked to peoples.
It had been in April, a month before the school was marked for destruction by one Gwen Grayson.
He remembered because while every other girl broke out their spring wardrobes she looked better suited for an Alaskan winter and sat with her back against the 'Wall Code.'
He didn't say hello and neither did she.
She didn't ask for a light with a cliché thrown in for good measure, something he got much too often out of everyone.
He didn't ask what was up with her scarf, and hat, and gloves, and leather jacket on the sixty degree day.
The only thing she said was "Do you get 'let's heat this up' often when you get into fights? Because I tend to get 'Let's get frosty' a lot myself."
She didn't look at him when she said it, just looked down as she ground her cigarette out under the sole of the timberland boot she had her jeans tucked into.
He'd taken a drag and thought it was a good question, but he'd still answered it with a 'No' because his life wasn't as nearly as interesting and pun-filled as people liked to think is was just because of his powers.
She shrugged, gave a 'See ya Smokey' as a goodbye, and climbed over the wall using a wobbly desk someone had stolen from a classroom and hefted over the wall.
He remembered hearing the lid on the garbage can crack and break and also her lashing out by way of expletive usage when she fell into remnants of garbage can and bag.
It was after when he'd taken his last drag and the sound of her angry foot scuffles fading out of hearing distance and across the parking lot and hopped over the wall himself that he gave a small chuckle to garbage can encased ice sculpture.
He stopped laughing when he slipped on it.
Most days since then she'd been there and they called each other things like smoky and frosty and talked about inconsequential things about inconsequential circumstances and bummed smokes off each other and asked for answers to upcoming tests that were going to be given in classes after lunch.
It was a routine, if he'd ever went as far as to even classify it.
His fingers had once skimmed the edges of the thick pages holding those filaments of the "old days", hoping for death by paper cut.
The scrapbook must have been an added touch, an after-thought of cruel sentimentality left somewhere she'd knew he'd look eventually, for clues, not the trip down memory lane.
Senior year, Sky High. Pictures. Old hall passes. Candy wrappers. Pamphlets. Stickers. Cut up cigarette carton headlines. Sections of the student handbook made frequent appearances with red pen marks and highlighted portions and the snippets of wit that made him remember her the most in the margins.
Things had changed and maybe in their youth they hadn't thought of how much that would mean.
Will was scared. He didn't blame him.
Layla was crazy. He could understand.
Magenta was uninvolved. He couldn't forgive her.
Zack was somewhere. He couldn't find a place to start looking.
Ethan was "transcended." He wouldn't know where to look.
She was singular.
He was divergent.
They were really the last ones left.
For the moment at least.
He wondered where the book was now, probably lit it up with the rest of his desk. He regretted it's destruction the moment he thought about it.
Whatever they'd put on his arms to keep infection out of the burns was tight and suffocating on his upper extremities.
His chest heaved, alveoli fragile and dry with pain inside his lungs as he struggled to get them to move inside his chest in anyway that would help hold air.
Thinking maybe he should laugh because it was funny in his kind of way funny; the way he was going to die in some stupid hospital bed, staring at the stupid white popcorn crackled ceiling, feeling stupid that he thought it wouldn't get him he realized he wouldn't be able to even grin.
The morphine was working too well for him to even try.
Or maybe his kind of jokes weren't ever really funny.
There was a word for what was going on, respiratory depression or retardation or something. Too much morphine, or maybe too little lung.
His thoughts went to how cold she could be while he was lying in his bed listening to the nurses outside his door fumble with the med-cart preset pin, it was time for rounds.
He thought of how good it would feel for some ice water in his veins, slowly he realized hers had probably already frozen, her veins. Even blood froze eventually, if it got cold enough.
Thinking he was dying in a better way immediately made him hate himself.
Trying, struggling to stay above the slip and slide and fade and phase-out of the I.V. drip he tried to mentally recall the last time he'd seen her. Warehouse, angry, mission, Global Guardian, uniform, "See it?", frost, lighter, wet socks.
He knew he was falling asleep. His thoughts were coming letter by letter, slower and slower until the shapes got blurry and the bee swarms that tasted like blue corn chips came for his head and the worm in his arm got twisty with a drip-drippy sound and the plastic wrap got snuggie and the white shoes became floppy kitten sacks and the moreyfin was nice and warm and like pudding and he wanted to mix some peppery icecubes and make cheeseburgers.
The nurse came into the room, checked the chart, flushed the line with saline, fluffed the pillows, rewrapped the young man with the "No Information" status's arm again after douching it with antibiotics, she made a note to tell the charge nurse that the morphine wasn't strong enough to knock him all the way out.
He was babbling with slited eyes at her direction but not at her, unfocused and confused and thoughts skipping too fast for him to really think.
Maybe up the concentration a bit.
Since he didn't look like he was in pain she decided it could wait despite never seeing such a high dosage unsuccessful in conking out someone.
He mumbled something about the mice being covered in moss and the cloud talking to him.
She smiled and signed her initials on the chart.
Rounds needed to be finished and the new nurse practitioner was on the floor, the RN doubled checked the room before leaving hastily thinking it was a shame such a nice piece of man was going to waste.
A/N: Thanks for reading.