Little Nathan Explosion scowled as his mother straightened out his jacket, patted it down to clean it of dust visible only to her, and fixed the bow he had on the front.

The big red bow. Which his mother seemed to think went beautifully with his dark blue jacket and shorts.

Stupid bow. And stupid uniform. They were the main reason that as soon as he left his house, there would be a bunch of bullies trying to... well, bully him. Push him around, mock him, call him names, the dicks.

Maybe he should drop by Murderface's house before school so they could go together. Sure, the kid smelled slightly, and spit at everything while he talked, but he did fight dirty – always went for the crotch first. Might come in handy in case they needed to fight to keep their lunch money.

Maybe he should take Dad's hunting knife with him today. Stabbed by a five-year-old. That should get his mother to finally take him out of the school. He barely talked as it was, yet he was supposed to pray before the start of each lesson anyway?

Stupid nuns, he thought grumpily as his mother pushed him out the door and told him to behave.

But hey, maybe he'd get that new kid to play with him today. The four-eyed kid everyone else seemed to avoid. Something about him being very smart, but still getting kicked out of four different schools.

He sounded awesome, though Nathan never really could see that in him. Looked like a normal geek. Glasses, sleeked down hair, and he always had his uniform in perfect shape.

Maybe he should try pushing him into mud. Wonder if the dirt would even stick.

As Nathan rounded the corner, he stopped dead, staring. A bunch of familiar looking teenage bullies stood in a circle around the new kid, sneering down at him. As he watched, one of them grabbed the back of the geek's jacket, and lifted him into the air, his face red in anger at whatever it had been the kid had said.

What Nathan saw next would forever be ingrained into his young mind.

Because there, lo and behold, little Charlie Ofdensen, the smallest kid in their class, the immaculate little genius as the nuns called him, kicked him leg forward, slamming it into the bully's jaw, the teeth clanking loudly (and painfully). When the shocked teen released him as he staggered back, the new kid fell onto his hands and feet like a kitty. Then, leaning his weight on his arms, he kicked out again, his shiny-shoe-clad-foot meeting the side of another teen's knee, which buckled with an cool-sounding crunch.

The third bully just looked at the kid, then at his fallen (and wailing) friends, then turned and run the Hell away.

Charlie simply stood up, tugged his jacket straight, retied his bow, and walked away, picking his bag up without even pausing or looking back at the beat-up teens.

For the rest of the day, Nathan trailed after the kid with stars in his eyes, one word circling in his skull: brutal.