A/N: It's a year after Bullworth was turned into a battleground, and the school has basically recovered. Jimmy's lust for power has slowly died down into a flicker for respect, Peter is head boy and, as far as Cornelius is concerned, life is good.
I'm sorry, I just finished replaying the game (for the fourth time!) and I found some love for Corny. "Y'know, the scrawny kid in the acting club?" Heh heh... So I had to make a Corny/Jimmy/? thing. Hope it's not too woeful.
Cornelius sighed. He'd sprouted five inches in the past year, and muscles had gradually filled out his bulk. Instead of wearing the Astronomy Club mandatory green vest, he'd washed down a regulation school sweater into a teal-colour, making him stand out, but still belonging to a clique. Most importantly, his voice had morphed into a deeper, more normal tone. He'd made an effort to be less nerdy since the fight, but the sweater, voice and figure couldn't make up for the fact that he was still that wimpy kid in the acting club.
Fortunately, Jimmy made up for that insecurity.
"Hey, Jimmy." Cornelius said with less panache, but just as much affection.
"There's a party tomorrow night for Beatrice and Bucky... I was thinking you'd want to come?" Jimmy said, eyes sparking and sidling closer to Cornelius with every word.
Cornelius's face brightened. He hadn't seen Bea or Buck for about a week - not since they'd moved in together in the Vale. He'd heard they were happy, but he still would have liked to see them. They were his first friends when he'd come to Bullworth five years ago.
"Of course. I trust they will be there?"
"Yup. And punch, they promise. Lots of punch." Jim winked, and Corny blushed. "Should detract a little from the rowdy games of Grottos and Gremlins, right?"
Corny laughed. "Yeah. I'll come. Where did you say it was?"
"Ugh, I talked them out of holding it at Dragon's Wing." groaned Jimmy, rolling his eyes theatrically. "The best I could do was my beach house. Don't worry, I'll clean it up."
"I'll be there." Corny winked, and turned towards the library.
"Don't stand me up now, y'hear?!" He heard Jimmy call, followed by a laugh.
Corny flicked his hand dismissively behind him in response. Making his way up the steps, opening the heavy oak door and smelling the familiar scent of books, must and mothballs, Corny felt happy. He had a hot boyfriend, good buddies and his teachers loved him and his work. Things were looking up for him for the first time in what seemed like ages.
He stepped quietly into the 'Historical Fiction' section of the library and smiled, looking over the creased and wrinkled spines of his most favourite volumes. A muffled sob caught his attention.
Corny's head flicked over in the direction of the cry, and he squinted to make out vague shapes in the gloom.
He saw something that his brain refused to believe, yet reviled at the thought.
---------(This is where I would cut it off, but due to the error I want to publish as much as poss)----------
Corny recognised two faces in the darkness.
The first was the head boy - Cornelius assumed that his lips had uttered the sob that had caught his attention - on his knees, tears streaming down his face. Peter Kowalski. His arms were crossed protectively over his chest, and he was shaking.
Immedietly Corny knew that there was something seriously wrong.
As his eyes adjusted to the lack of illumination, he recognised the face he'd never wanted to see again. The psychopath. The kid who liked to torture people. The one who instigated the chaos that had been the subject of Cornelius's nightmares for months afterward.
He stood a pace away from Peter, adjusting the waistband of his nondescript dark pants, his scarred face blank and washed free, for once, of any sign of a twisted grimace or disturbing grin.
For a second, Cornelius's normally lightning fast neurons failed to piece together the puzzle.
And then they did.
Corny felt sick.
But before his leg muscles could spring into action, Gary started to speak in a rasp that bespoke of what he'd just done. Cornelius was bolted to the spot.
"No one will believe you."
Cornelius's mind raced. His heart quickened. His throat tightened and he could feel tears of inexplicable rage and disgust pooling in his eyes.
But before he could utter a single word of the emotions raging inside him, the scarred, psychopathic face disappeared in the darkness and footsteps were no more. The only sound in the normally quiet library was Petey's sobs, and Cornelius's own thudding heart. He wondered if he could say something, anything, to show little Peter Kowalski that someone was here, with him, and that if he just spoke to someone about this it could be stopped. But almost immedietly he recognised the futility of whatever he was capable of saying now. It was too much for his vocal chords to bear. And he knew that Petey wouldn't listen.
Already, Petey was wiping the traces of his tears from his cheeks and struggling to get up from where he was kneeling so vunerably. Cornelius stepped forward and offered his hand, and Peter took it, hauling himself up and flitting from the safety of the shelves. He was out of the library before Corny had a chance to stop him.
----------------------------(again, another interval)--------------------------
One Day After
Cornelius stripped off his slacks and his sweater, changing into his faithful swimming shorts. He dived into the school's pool, setting off in a powerful front crawl and giving himself up to the mindless rhythm that so often calmed him. Doing laps in the gym's recently refurbished fifty metre swimming pool was one of the ways he'd made the transition from weedy to ripped, and it was one of his most favourite because it was like meditation. He could strip off the misgivings of his day and leave them in the laundry bin with his uniform, and emerge refreshed and suitably tired.
But today he couldn't shake the disturbing feeling that had greeted him so coldly yesterday. He'd considered so many other possibilities... Perhaps Gary was just trying to comfort Petey, maybe his pants had just needed to be adjusted, and that what his brain had jumped to was just a stupid conclusion that an understimulated and bored mind had so craved: drama.
His muscles tensed with the thought and he fought to keep swimming smoothly. Even his own body had known that what he'd witnessed was not an unfortunate coincidence.
But who could he tell? Gary had said so himself - no one would believe him. After all, who was he to think that Petey's livelihood was his to save? Moreover, who was to say that Gary's... abuse would not heighten in intensity when he knew that someone had squealed? He would know that it was Cornelius that had grassed. What was stopping Gary from coming after Cornelius? He'd made it clear that he was never fond of the nerds... Or anyone, for that matter. So what would he do to Corny when he found out that someone had dobbed him in to the authorities?
He reached the end of the pool for what seemed like the fiftieth time, and then realized that there was no one in the pool. Even without looking outside, he knew that more than an hour had passed, perhaps two, since he'd entered the pool.
Man, I have got to pay more attention to the time.
With a start he realized that Bea and Buck's party had probably started by now.
He pushed himself up on the side of the pool, dripping with strangely blue chlorinated water and yanking his clothes off the bench near where he'd dived in.
He made a beeline for the Boys' Dorm, ignoring the seemingly sarcastic catcalls and wolfwhistles in his direction. His swimming shorts weren't skimpy but he still felt vunerable. He wondered if this was how Petey felt most of the time - he'd become the subject of all gay jokes on campus since that fling with Jimmy... Cornelius felt a flicker of jealousy, but it soon disappated as he entered Jimmy's room and changed into his clothes that were still lying on the floor near the bed from last night. Corny smiled.