Title: First and Last and Always
Author: Sybil Rowan
Pairing(s)/Characters: 002x004/ everyone is used in this story in a fun way.
Summary: Jet is a delinquent from a wealthy Manhattan family. His favorite teacher at his exclusive school dies and is replaced by a mysterious German man. He tries to find out more about Heinrich while grieving. He ends up in danger from a 'hunter' named Van Bogart.
Warnings: Alternative Universe (they aren't cyborgs), sexual situations, violence, under age drinking, and bad language.
Author's Notes: This one will be posted in pieces rather than complete. Don't worry... I'm going at a good pace and will have it done by June 4, 2009. This romance was inspired by Mik Link's art piece entitled Vampire, Franz Ferdinand's song Dark of the Matinée, and Chelsea Quinn Yarborough' Count Saint Germain novels. Count Saint Germain vampires are slightly different. This should help if you aren't familiar with those novels: they must have their native soil in their shoes to move about during the daytime in shade, they control certain animals by telepathy, they have protean (melt into the ground), they aren't visible in mirrors, they retain every wound they died with but regenerate any wound they receive after they turn, it takes about five or more times that they have 'relations' with someone before that person turns into a vampire, the person doesn't instantly become a vampire... they live out the rest of their lives and rise as a vampires AFTER they die. Also, the vampire has empathy and will adapt their emotional state to their 'victims/ partners.' An example is that fear in a victim can put a vampire into a vicious blood thirsty rage; lust in a victim can create affection and loyalty.
Disclaimer: Cyborg 009 is owned by Shotaro Ishinomori. Count Saint Germain is owned by Chelsea Quinn Yarborough. This story is named after one of my favorite Sister's of Mercy song.
Beta Reader: My darling Beta, WingedPanther73. Thank you so much!!! I love you!
Date: May 16, 2009 (4:40pm)
Word Count: extended
"I can't believe this! The third time this month you've cut class!" Gilmore pounded his hand on the manila folder on his desk. Jet didn't even flinch, he kept scowling while his eyes were fixed on the name plate that read Doctor Isaac Gilmore, Headmaster. "What do you have to say for yourself?"
"I was going to flunk Mr. Chang's test anyway. I figured I'd make better use of my time."
"Why didn't you study? He would have put you in Calculus II this year, but your apathy was the reason he's held you back."
"I hate math," Jet mumbled lowly.
"But you have such talent! You're flunking Mr. Chang, Mr. Dwambee, and Mr. Gamo's classes. You're only carrying a satisfactory grade in Mr. Britain's class. I suspect that's because you have him charmed with your sense of humor. Your Senior year is turning out to be an abysmal failure and it's only November 2nd! Don't you want to graduate in 2009 with your friends? You need to refocus. You'll be eighteen in exactly three more months so there is a large shift you need to make towards responsible behavior by then."
"I'm passing Coach Geronimo's class."
"Physical fitness doesn't count! Even though you and Mr. Shimamura certainly have brought this institution many honors with track and field competition, it doesn't excuse your disregard for this school. When your parents get back..."
Jet made a tisking noise and rolled his eyes. "I don't even know where they are."
"Mr. Link, please don't interrupt! When your parents get back from Italy next month, we'll discus your declining grades and your habitual truancy."
"You know, I understand that Miss Cathy's sudden passing has not been easy on you. That's why I haven't been as hard on you as I really should, but this behavior has to stop."
"Are you finished?" Jet snarled, leaping out of his chair.
"No. I'm telling you that I hired a new foreign language instructor."
"What! Another one! But it's only been a month!"
"I'll expect you to treat this man with respect and not, I repeat not, chase him off like all the substitutes. Now hurry along. Mr. Dwambee is expecting you. And straighten out your school uniform; you look like a bum and not a Saint Ann's student."
Jet bolted from Headmaster Gilmore's office and down the wide hallways. He quickly marched to his locker and started dialing his combination.
"Take another 'vacation day' without asking?"
Jet swirled around to see Joe Shimamura, smirking at him. His best friend was half-Japanese, half-American; his family owned several profitable electronics businesses. Jet shot him a dirty look and turned back to his locker.
"How was Chang's test?"
"Horrible, as usual. Frances thought it was easy, but she studied with her little brother." Joe went over to his locker, which was seven spaces down. "You know if you cut one more time, you'll be off the track team."
"I know... I know... Did Coach Geronimo say anything?"
"You know him. He didn't say anything directly, per se, but he implied that I should talk to you about reorganizing your priories. His words, not mine. Afternoon practice is canceled, by the way."
"Good. I've got something I want to do after school."
"Make up Chang's test?"
"Hell no! I'm flunking his class anyway. I mean... I like Mr. Chang, but I'm tired of all this Saint Ann's Academy bull shit. I'm ready to find my way in life and experience it first hand."
"Oh... you act like you are such an old man sometimes. You still have college ahead of you." A soft, girl's voice with a heavy French accent interrupted. Joe put his arm around Frances Arnoul after she walked over to him.
Jet rolled his eyes at Joe's girlfriend; she always was giving him lectures on moral behavior. Especially since Miss Cathy had died last month. Jet knew it was Frances' way of trying to support him, but it only made him want to ditch school all the more.
"It's nothing but a noose around my neck. I can't breath in this school."
"We better get to Mr. Dwambee's class or you'll be in more trouble." Joe headed down the hall. The three of them made their way through the crowded hallway in silence. Finally, Joe spoke up. Jet could tell Joe was uncomfortable when he asked, "Did you hear about the new language professor?"
"Yeah... I heard. What's this one like?" Jet asked, not bothering to keep nasty, bitterness from his voice.
"Ivan had him earlier," Frances said, waving at her adoptive, younger brother across the crowded hallway. The Freshman pushed his glasses up in front of his heterochromatic eyes and flawlessly threaded through the crowd in spite of having his nose buried in a some Senior's Chemistry book.
Jet watched him flip the pages with blinding speed; it was nothing new. Jet would have been amazed to see Ivan not reading. He admitted the kid was a little spooky, but seemed nice enough. Joe always gave Frances, Ivan, and Jet rides home so Jet always got stuck sitting beside the kid. He used to tease Ivan, but the kid was way too clever to get caught up in any of Jet's gags.
"Ivan, what's the new foreign language instructor like?"Joe asked.
Ivan looked up and had an expression of deep concentration. "Strict. Straightforward. Intelligent with a very dry wit. Take a sweater to class. He keeps the temperature around 63 degrees."
"Is that all?" Jet scoffed and glared down at the frail Freshman. Ivan fixed him with a severe look; that one blue eye, one brown eye still unnerved Jet from time to time.
"No, he smells like dirt and wears gloves all the time." Ivan turned and walked down the hallway towards Mr. Chang's class. Jet glowered and turned to Frances.
"You need to have your parents take him to a shrink. He gets weirder every day."
She glowered back; Joe tugged them both by the elbows to Mr. Dwambee's classroom. It was an airy, sunlit room, with lots of maps and African tribal antiques lining the walls.
"Ah, Mr. Link! You'll be joining us today? How wonderful for you! We'll be continuing our discussion on the Second World War today. If that's okay by you?" Pyunma Dwambee, Saint Ann's history instructor, shouted from the front of the room. The handsome, ebony-skinned man from South Africa enjoyed using embarrassment to enforce good behavior.
The other students giggled, bringing a flush to Jet's cheeks. He shrugged off Joe's arm and slouched in his desk. Mr. Dwambee snickered with the rest of the students, leaned against the edged of his desk, and cleared his throat. Everyone settled in and got ready to take notes.
"Okay... now we were talking about the insidious ways the Nazis would experiment on people. In particular, the infamous Dr. Joseph Mengele and his twin experiments. Not to startle you, Miss. Arnoul, but your little brother would be given maybe an extra couple of weeks because Mengele also choose people who were hetrochromatic for his experiments. It's a rare condition, but it intrigued the man."
"It's horrible. Ivan was just born that way," Frances said. Jet start sketching random patterns in the margin of his history book.
"But let me tell you, the most barbaric part was the experimentation that went on after people were dead. They would take hair off of the dead to use as insulation for U-boats. They tried rendering the fat to make soap and... yes, they would take the skin and try to use it as well." Pyunma Dwambee crossed his arms and furrowed his brow.
Jet set aside his pencil and payed more attention. Mr. Dwambee would tell more morbid stories from history right before a test. Jet admitted these stories were the only reason him kept going to Pyunma Dwambee's class rather than skip it more often. It was like keeping eyes locked on a bad traffic accident.
"So the Nazis would actually 'harvest' people?" Frances asked, her face puckered.
"No, certainly not. It could buy you some of that precious time before going to the gas chamber if you volunteered to be a Sonderkommando. The Jewish men were the ones who were forced to drop the gas and take apart the bodies for use. It was gruesome, but you would have four... maybe six... months extra to live. Then they were the ones who would go to the chambers and a new set of Sonderkommandos chosen."
"Who would choose to do that for just four extra months of life?" Frances burst out, getting emotional.
Pyunma Dwambee nodded and sighed, "It was all about trying to get extra time in hopes that the Nazis would exhaust themselves."
"Even so... what kind of person would want to live on after they've done such a horrible thing to their fellow humans?" she persisted.
Jet perked up when Dwambee didn't answer right away. The man was staring out of the window, looking very troubled. It was several long minutes before he said, "We never know what we're capable of until we're put in that situation. Okay, here's the topics for your test tomorrow..."
Jet started to wonder the same thing Frances had; what kind of man would want to live on after that.
Jet paused before the door of the foreign languages classroom. Joe and Frances were so deep in their conversation they didn't notice Jet wasn't walking with them. Jet couldn't help but think of Miss Cathy's smiling face before he stepped into the room; she had done so much to keep him on the right path.
She convinced him to try out for the track team and apply for college. She had also kept him from heavy drinking by himself in the Links' posh, penthouse; his parents were gone so frequently that he had no one to be accountable to except her. Now that she was gone, there were no more controls on his behavior. He considered her the only parent he had ever had, now he felt like an orphan.
"Jet! Come on," Joe called out. Jet shook off his memories and worries. He stepped into the classroom and looked over at the man at the blackboard; he was writing some German irregular verbs in chalk. He was a couple inches shorter than Jet, but well-built. He had gray hair, but looked no older than thirty. The man wore tinted glasses, and true to what Ivan had said, he was wearing black leather gloves.
The room was cold and dim, the shades were drawn. No more bright posters lined the brick walls anymore. The room wasn't the same when Cathy was here. He resented the intruding stranger. He fixed his hostile eyes on the new instructor. The man paused and looked at Jet through those blue, tinted glasses.
"Please take your seat. It's time to start." The man turned back to his verb list. Jet went to the desk next to Joe and flopped down. Frances and Joe were already scribbling the verbs down for different reasons.
Frances was a neurotic, but good student; Joe was abysmal at any language outside his mother's native English and his father's native Japanese. Jet didn't bother. He never had a problem in this class; his mind usually absorbed foreign languages on one hearing. That's why he stood out to Cathy.
"Good afternoon. My name is Herr Heinrich. I'm Saint Ann's new foeign language instructor. Let's get started right away. The German verbs on the board are all irregular and all..."
Jet tuned out what the man said and flopped his head back in quiet rebellion. He drifted into a light doze. Suddenly, a darker, iciness fell over him just before he fell into actual sleep. An overpowering grassy odor jolted him upright. Mr. Heinrich was now standing over him with a stern expression. Everyone in the classroom was looking at them.
"I would appreciate your attention, Mr. Link. You may be confident in your previous knowledge, but we're about to move into a very tricky area."
"Wake me up when you get to something interesting, Herr Heinrich," Jet blurted out in German before he could even think. A sour expression crossed the man's face; Jet wished he could take it back, but he was committed to a snotty attitude now. He crossed his arms and sunk lower in his seat. He was dismayed to see both Frances and Joe shoot him dirty looks.
"Please remain after class." Mr. Heinrich replied in German, turned, and went back to the blackboard. Jet hunched over his desk in irritation directed at the new instructor.
Soon the new instructor dismissed the class. Jet remained sitting until the classroom was empty of other students. He walked over to Cathy's old desk and waited while the man wiped the board clean.
"I've got English next. Macbeth and all." Jet spoke up first when the man was silent for a whole minute, just wiping the board.
"Mr. Britain knew I was going to have a small talk with you after class."
"So it was an ambush?" Now Jet wished he would have said something more biting and foul if he was going to have to stay after any way.
"He suggested it."
"Wonderful," Jet muttered. Heinrich sat down and took off his glasses. Jet couldn't help but notice the new instructor's bright, blue eyes.
"I understand that Miss Cathy was your favorite teacher and that she really helped direct your life towards a positive direction."
"You don't know anything about her!"
"I know she thought highly of you." Mr. Heinrich held up a folded piece of paper towards Jet. "The letter she wrote for your college application says it all."
Jet snatched it from Heinrich. "That was private! Between me and her! You had no right to rummage through her things and spy on me!"
"My intention was not to offend you, but to go ahead and get the air clear between us before you make some bad choices in my classroom. I expect the same level of work she received. I won't tolerate the same behavior you have demonstrated to the substitute instructors. Your choices are yours. I can't force you into acceptable behavior, but I can remove you from this class for the sake of the other students. That would set back your college aspirations considerably."
"Who says I'm still going?"
"Your choices are yours. I don't really care what you decide about your future if you're apathetic towards it. I do care that the other students have a fair chance."
"Are we finished?"
"I just want to say that it is horrible to lose someone close to you at your age. I'm sorry for your loss."
Jet bolted from the room and jogged towards the English classroom. Everyone was seated while the bald English teacher, Mr. Britain, was doubled over in laughter. Several students were giggling with him.
"Awww... Jet! Now we can start!" he called out enthusiastically. "Back to Macbeth! Come on... come on. Your turn, Jet, to recite your lines. Ready?" Mr. Britain flashed him a huge smile.
Jet's mind went blank; then he remembered his assignment to recite the witches' speech for today. "Well, I don't have it memorized."
Britain gave Jet a sharp, disaproving look and tugged Jet over to his desk. "You know I won't have a choice, but to give you a failing grade for the assignment if you don't recite today."
"Wait! I do have something from Macbeth. Can I recite that instead?"
Britain slowly nodded and sighed. "It had better be spot on." The English instructor clapped his hands and got the students attention. "Okay... last recitation. Here's Mr. Jet Link about to regale us with... something. Stage is yours."
Jet took a large breath and said, "Act 5, scene 5. Lord Macbeth: She should have died hereafter; There would have been a tome for such a word. Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and tomorrow, Creeps in this petty pace from day to day, To the last syllable of recorded time, And all our yesterdays have lighted fools, The way to dusty death. Out bright candle! Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player, That struts and frets his hour upon the stage, And then is heard no more. It is a tale, Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing."
The class blinked at Jet and finally, slowly clapped. Britain grabbed Jet's hand and shook it. "You pulled that one out of the fire, but next time stick to the assignment. Okay?"
Jet nodded and took his seat. Mr. Britain got into the piece Jet had just recited and the dissection of the meaning. Just one more hour and he could leave.
Jet walked into his massive bedroom and flopped down on his bed. He stared up at the ceiling for several long minutes, not aware of anything but his own body. He had never felt so exhausted in his life, but he hadn't done anything except go to school. He didn't even run track. He would have felt more energized after a run.
He rolled over and checked his cell phone. It would be two weeks tomorrow since his parents had spoken to him. He hurled his phone hard against the opposite wall and frowned at the pieces after they bounced on the carpet.
Jet remembered the last face-to-face conversation he'd had with them. At first his parents had given him hollow pity as if he had just lost a pet. Finally, his father had threatened to send him to a psychologist if he didn't snap out of his depression by the time they got back. His mother just sneered and said, 'She was just some teacher, for heaven's sake. Save it for someone who's obituary matters.'
He had wanted to scream at them and tell them how much he hated them. It had always been like that. Appropriate behavior and appearance came first. There was no discussing messy emotions or feelings in the Link household. Instead, you paid someone two-hundred and fifty dollars an hour to listen to personal matters.
He sighed and rolled over on his back. If it hadn't been so sudden, he could have dealt with it better, but it was such a shock. One afternoon in early October Miss Cathy had complained of dizziness; by the following morning she had died of a weakened heart valve. She had only been twenty-eight so Jet hadn't believed Gilmore when he made the announcement.
The thought to drink came to him. He looked over to the stack of books on his desk. The Edwards & Penny Calculus book caused a pang of guilt. The right thing would be to study. He hopped off his bed and tried for about half an hour. His emotions were so churned that studying was useless.
He got up and walked to his parents' entertainment parlor. There he found the dark amber liquid that promised quick release. He promised himself to drink just enough to take the edge off and then get back to studying.
To be continued.