Title: Teenage Dream (3/?)
Series: FE9 AU~
Character/Pairing: Ike/Soren eventual, Tibarn/Reyson, Kyza/Ranulf/Lyre triangleish, Boyd/Mist, Heather/girls, Heather/Nephenee, and starting from this chapter on: Mia/Rhys, Rhys Titania, Nailah/Rafiel, Geoffrey Elincia Ike
Author's note: Charity auction fic update, done for Ammy (and because she needs a hug.) And yes, I'm still up for grabs if you wanna buy me. Go poke around my journal if you're interested.
Rhys looked around nervously before he snuck his way into the lunch room. Today, he managed to slip by the children, and not have any lunch throw in his face– or slushies, for that matter. He had also avoided having his lunch money taken, which was always a plus. Of course he splurged on the dessert once in a while. And milk. It didn't keep so well, and carrying around a silver flask gave people the wrong idea, even when he tried to explain.
Rhys sighed in relief as he made it through the doors. He was safe here. No student would dare defile their inner sanctum of the teacher's lounge. For one, Nailah, Titania, and Tibarn were all here. Nailah was best known for being the wrestling club's coach. She was also the physical education teacher, a job she split with Titania and Tibarn, because Principal Oliver thought it was a better idea than Tibarn's offer of 'mortal combat, last one standing gets the job.'
She wore her usual attire of a white wife beater (Rhys had never understood why they called them such) ripped up jeans and combat boots. She could've come without anything on, if she so chose. People did not general tell her what to do in any sense. She was a large woman, buff and beautiful, but she was also one of the last remaining wolf laguz. People did just not tell a werewolf what to do, unless they wanted their head bitten off...literally.
She took a drink, absently lifting an arm weight as she did. Tibarn gave her that competitive look, and held out his arm. "Arm wrestle?"
"If you want your arms ripped off, sure," she said.
He noticed another heron there he hadn't seen before in white robes. He looked down in a demure manner. "Please don't break arms this time," he said in a very soft voice.
"It isn't my fault he has bird bones," Nailah said.
They squared off, and gripped each other's hands for the match. It was a fairly even fight at first, with neither gaining on the other for long, until by sheer accident, Nailah's wife beater slipped down her shoulder, revealing quite a bit of her left breast. For one moment, Tibarn lapsed and she struck, pushing his arm and the rest of him down to the table.
"No fair," Tibarn muttered from his place on the table. Nailah was currently using his face as an elbow rest.
"I believe that is a new record," the heron said.
"Doesn't count if she cheated," Tibarn said, muffled from under her elbow.
"Quiet, loser," Nailah said.
"Hello," Rhys said. "I'm Rhys, the school nurse." He held out his hand to shake. The heron's hand was small and delicate, even moreso than himself, which was saying something.
"Oh, hello..." The heron said. "I am Rafiel."
Titania made her way in, her red hair looking glorious in the florescent lights.
Nailah raised her fist. "Bump one for the win? Us girls have to stick together." She grinned. Titania rolled her eyes halfheartedly and finally smiled, almost begrudgingly as she bumped Nailah's fist with her own.
Titania sat next to him, and Rhys felt his heart flutter. He tried not to blush like a schoolgirl, but he wasn't entirely sure he succeeded.
"You aren't having more trouble Rhys, are you?" Titania asked.
"What? Oh...it's not a big deal... Boys will be boys." He chuckled, weak, and tried to smile. It felt flat and transparent.
He thought to this morning, where one of the bullies had thrown him in the dumpster, and then locked him in the men's lavatory when he had climbed out. He had tried coming earlier, to miss the bullies, or at least have them done with their pranks and such so he could come on time. This only made them think they had more time to torment him.
He smiled shakily. "Really..."
"You know where I am. Call me if you need me, and I'll give them a talking to."
A talking to from Titania was no laughing matter. Melior High had been called The Lesbian School. It was in fact, why Heather had chosen to go there at all, eschewing chances at all girl boarding schools to get a glimpse of this mysterious place. She was more than a little disappointed to find that the term was an insult, simply because Melior High had some very buff women and very fragile men. Still, the girls were cute enough to keep her around.
As it was, Titania had never had much trouble coaching. Talking about her past in the miliary, and then taking the time in the first morning to do a demonstration with her axe on a straw dummy had given her team a very healthy respect of her. The sight of her throwing that axe, and hitting it from ten feet away, right in the groin area was enough to make even the worst bullies reconsider their stance of messing with teachers.
Nailah too, had very little issues in any of her classes. People might have made 'time of the month' jokes, but they were said very quietly, because everyone knew werewolves had a really keen sense of hearing.
Maybe if he was stronger he wouldn't be bullied despite being part of the school staff.
Maybe if he was stronger, she'd like him.
Rhys sighed as the bully came up, smirking with a slushie in hand. Really, bad things came in threes. He'd already been thrown in the dumpster and locked in the lavatory. It was only natural that the slushie would come. Ike was nowhere to be seen, so his very last hope was gone. He closed his eyes, waiting for the inevitable, when he heard a Hi-yaaaah!
He opened his eyes, shocked to find the bully on the floor, most of the contents of the slushie spilled over himself and the floor around him.
A girl was standing on his chest, holding a kendo sword to his throat. She hand long purple hair flowing down her back and a black Wrestlemania shirt that was a bit too snug over her chest which had grown two cup sizes over the summer. She wore a pleated red and black plaid mini, and black stockings and what seemed to be arm warmers, which was perplexing as they did almost nothing to warm the arms, given that they were made of mesh.
He remembered now. She had wanted to start a kendo or fencing club, but hadn't had enough interest. So, she had settled for going under the tutelage of Nailah on the wrestling team, which had recently become coed.
He was twice her size, and yet when she sprang at him, she went straight for his core and pushed him to the ground.
"Geez, a little bully like that keeps you cowering?" she said.
"Ah...I don't quite have a lot of physical strength. I'm sorry. Even though I'm on the staff, the bullies seek me out."
"You're such a damsel," she said, one hand on her hip. "I'll just have to be your knight and protect you!"
He had often had dreams of Titania being his knight, whisking him away on a white horse and riding into the sunset. Even if he knew these dreams were foolish, because Titania had loved Ike's father – unrequited, but deeply — all up until the time when a special ops mission had gone wrong and he had died. Even now she grieved for him in her own subtle, composed way. And now this turn of fate had given him a knight in black mesh armor.
"Are you coming or not?" She demanded. "If I leave you alone, you'll just get beat up again."
"Oh, I'm sorry. I got lost in my thoughts," Rhys said meekly.
"See, that's your problem. Soren's too. Always stuck in your head and books and stuff."
"Ah, yes..." Rhys said. He chuckled in a nervous manner. So she took his hand, all but dragging him down the hallway to his office.
"Stick with me, kid. I'll keep you safe," she said.
Rhys was polite enough to not mention that he was at least ten years older than her.
"I didn't get your name," Rhys said.
"Mia The Magnificent! Fencer, wrestler and fighter extraordinaire. I'm going to be the best, you know? Medals and the whole shebang."
"I see," Rhys said. "Thank you...Mia the Magnificent."
He was glad she was on his side. Especially as if she squeezed anymore, his wrist might break.
Fourth period language was bound to give everyone a headache, especially Tibarn. Day by day he trained his students like they were an army. He tried to use unorthodox methods to lighten up his class, such as casual speech and many insults and dirty words to keep their interest. When that didn't work, there was always subtle implications that he would chuck them out the window if they didn't get it right. Most teachers would have been suspended, but the principal was a heron fetishist, and he was dating a heron, so he pretty much could've gotten away with anything, even coming to school naked. Hell, knowing Principal Oliver, he might get a raise if he ever did that.
The confused student let out a squawk. Tibarn slammed his fist to the table. It creaked under the assault.
"My mother was a saint!"
"Uh, sorry?" Squeaked the student. "It's just, my vocal cords aren't–"
"If Reyson can learn modern tongue despite his hatred of it, then you young minds can bear a little hawk. Now do it again!"
The student cleared his throat and tried a shaky squawk. He looked up nervously, seeking Tibarn's approval.
"Better," Tibarn admitted. "Still, all of you are lily-livered cowards who are defiling the language! Now repeat after me: 'I will disembowel you, and turn your mother into a pie'"
Many voices squawked yet another defilement of his language.
"Your spine will be my new bling!"
Screeches this time. Tibarn rubbed at his temples.
"Uh, teacher, this looks like chicken scratch," said one student, looking down at his written test questions.
"For the last time, Billy, it's Hawk scratch. There is a difference."
Of course, being mistaken for or even compared to chickens was always a very offensive thing to his culture. They were very sensitive about this subject. So sensitive, in fact, that it often took a whole bucket of deep fried chicken wings to get over the slight.
However, there was no chance of chicken wings now (though damn if he didn't get a sudden craving) so he'd have to pick them up later, preferably when Reyson was not around so he wouldn't get the meat is murder glare.
"From the top: Mr. Naesala, I hope you die by impalement."
The chorus of screeches and squawks had never sounded so sweet to his ears as when they involved Naesala and horrific death.
Ike sidled up, with his plate of mystery Monday special. Only Ike was brave enough to try the so-called casserole and mystery meat. He was already considered brave around the school, but putting those two items of supposed 'food' on his plate alone vaulted into a legend.
"He can't be straight," Ranulf said.
"Nu-uh. Not with those lovely locks. Any girl would dump his ass for having better skin and hair than her," Kyza said.
"Who's what again?" Ike asked. He put some of the mystery food into his mouth, and most of the gym fell silent, waiting for him to spontaneously combust. When he did nothing of the kind, they started to return to their own gossip and drama of the day.
"We're discussing Soren's sexuality. Kyza and I vote gay, Heather here still isn't convinced he isn't a girl, Lyre thinks he might be asexual, and Boyd, who needs glasses apparently, thinks he is the epitome of heterosexuality," Ranulf said. Kyza gave a Boyd and affronted Ihow dare you/I look.
"I'm just sayin'," Boyd said.
"He's gaydar-blind, so he doesn't count," Ranulf said.
"I see," Ike said.
"So what's your vote, huh?" Ranulf asked.
"He is whatever he is," Ike said, and took a bite of the casserole.
"What exactly does that mean?" Lyre asked.
"It means that whatever he decides he to be, that's what he is," Ike said.
"It's almost like you're not caring about this juicy gossip," Ranulf said, twisting the pasta he'd snuck in via Kyza's interference from a local place.
"Funny, it's not like I've ignored juicy gossip ever before," Ike said.
"Ha ha," Ranulf said, and stuck out his tongue. "So you really don't care if Soren might secretly like dudes?"
"It's his business," Ike said.
"They always secretly like dudes," Heather said, huffily, as she gave Nephenee a pointed look. Nephenee was too focused on her orange juice to notice.
"Uh oh. Trouble in paradise?" Ranulf said, the beginnings of a trademark smirk. And for the moment, Soren's sexuality was forgotten and a whole new topic of juicy gossip was introduced.
Not for the first time, Ike was glad for Ranulf's short attention span.
Ike's locker was mostly empty, save for an ad for Outback Steakhouse which Ranulf had threatened to put up, and then finally had after Ike failed the so which one would you do? test for the twentieth time. Ranulf had proclaimed him steaksexual then. He pulled out his books, and threw them into his backpack, about ready for the trek to the library. He was interrupted by a soft clearing of a throat.
"Ike," Elincia said. "I hope I'm not interrupting you."
"Oh. Hey," Ike said.
"Would you like to join my study group? One of the cheerleaders looked like she might be failing a class, and so we're banding together to support her."
"I'm not a cheerleader, though," Ike said.
"Ah, yes, but I thought you might enjoy it too." She smiled, bright and looked up at him with the hint of a blush.
"Sorry," Ike said. "I already have a study partner thing going on." He closed the locker.
"Hey Ike!" A voice broke through their conversation. Ranulf was running down the hall. "Your boyfriend is here looking for you!"
The last was several octaves harder than necessary, and everyone else who was mingling in the hallway turned to look. Had it been any other guy, their popularity would've been knocked to bottom rung, but Ike was beyond such silly games. The fact that he was pretty big and had broken ribs certainly helped.
"Next time I'll just call him," Soren grumbled. He gave Ranulf a dirty look, but Ranulf just grinned., cheeky as ever.
"That's my study partner," Ike said. And yet his gaze didn't return to her, for the moment Soren had appeared, he had been fixated on him.
"Where's Geoffrey?" She asked.
"Oh, you know. Polishing the old silver. Give him a minute," Ranulf said. He winked, and nudged Ike. "We're off to interrogate Juliet here. You wanna come too?"
"Oh..." Elincia said. "Well, if it isn't imposing."
"'course not. C'mon, it'll be fun. I bet you'll enjoy it plenty."
"Please," Elincia murmured. "I'm not vindictive."
"That's no fun," Ranulf said. "No catfights?"
Elincia cleared her throat politely. "Lyre and Kyza do enough of those for all of us."
Ranulf laughed. "True. They are the champs at that."
Soon they all convened into one of the empty classrooms. Kyza was there, at a laptop, and Sothe was in the back, listening to screamo.
Soren came only because of Ike–something he made very clear by his sullen response to them all. Sothe was in the back, being nihilistic today. He put up his feet and tried to outdo Soren's sullenness, but it would take a lot more than angsty music and clothes lifted from hot topic to get anywhere near Soren's sheer unpleasantness
"I got what you requested," Kyza said.
"Excellent," Ranulf said, tapping his fingers together.
"Gather around guys. Juliet here has some explaining to do."
The video in question was the last year's Sectionals. The Warblers preformed a smoky, dark and positively creepy rendition of Girl With One Eye. Soren had the solo. He had dark eye makeup, and frankly, he looked the part of someone willing to cut out eyes far too well.
They all were glued to the performance, but none more than Ike. His stare was intense. There were oohs, and ahs, and a few annoyed snorts from Sothe in the back, who was very loudly not caring in a fit of sullenness. When it finished, they were all silent for a moment, before Ranulf broke the silence.
"I'll get you a copy later, bro," Ranulf said.
"Cool. Thanks," Ike replied, his gaze still glued to the blank youtube window.
"Indeed. And the point of bringing me here was?" Soren said.
"I've looked, and the only time you've done solos was that once at Sectionals. The Warblers aced it, so what's up with that?" Ranulf said.
"I'm not an attention whore who demands every solo," Soren said. "The Warblers have some misguided system where every single person gets their chance at a solo. It simply coincided with the lead of that day getting Laryngitis."
"There's more to that. You've got talent to take it on like that. Unless you were lip syncing."
Soren glared at him.
"Prove it. We could have a singing contest."
"I'm not a dog who barks on command," Soren said.
"Sit. Stay," Ranulf said.
"This is inane–a farce," Soren muttered. He rolled his eyes, he moved to rise from his chair.
"Stay a while," Ranulf amended. "We could have a campfire tete-a-tete. Sing kumbaya and trade Glee club stories."
"It sounds like a waste of time, like every other time you open your mouth," Soren said.
"Ooh, burned!" Tormod said.
"You could learn more about Ike," Ranulf offered with a grin.
"The reason he joined Glee Club was because you found some harebrained scheme plan to bring him in," Soren said.
"Whoa, he told you?" Ranulf said.
"He didn't have to," Soren said.
Soren started to make his way to the door. Ike had been leaning there, and he reached out. Soren looked down where Ike held his arm, and frowned.
"I know he's a bit out there, and my friends are crazy, but I'd really appreciate it if you stayed a bit longer," Ike said.
"...Ten minutes, and only ten minutes," Soren said. He took a chair by the door as far away from everyone as possible.
"Ranulf started the whole thing by singing in the shower," Ike said.
"We were dueting,"Kyza said dreamily. "Diana Ross."
Lyre glared at Kyza and cursed the lack of coed showers under her breath.
"Sothe here joined because there's no shoplifting club, and so he could indulge in his secret love of showtunes."
Sothe gave him the finger and turned his screamo to eardrum destroying decibels.
"I'm guessing Heather joined for the same reason she does everything: getting tail."
Heather wasn't there to confirm or deny, presumably because she was sleeping with a cheerleader.
"Wherever you are, and whichever cheerleader's panties you're removing, girl, I'm fistbumping you," Ranulf said. He raised his fist to the ceiling.
The rest were simpler affairs. Elincia had been classically trained and had a very good range, and was about the next best thing to getting a heron on your Glee club roaster; Geoffrey and Lucia had also taken singing lessons, but more importantly, they always stuck close to Elincia's side. Nephenee figured any club that had a name like 'Glee' was worth joining, while Tormod had joined because his earlier hobby of setting off illegal fireworks behind CostCo had almost landed him in juvie. (And of course, because Sothe came along.)
None of this of course explained why Tibarn had foregone being in an extracurricular program.
"You know, I never did know why Tibarn picked this club up anyways," Ike said.
"I think it's nostalgia," Ranulf said. "He joined Glee club way back when to get into Reyson's pants. I hear he was competing with Naesala for Reyson back then. He won, but maybe he gets his kicks by serenading Reyson."
"Wait, isn't Naesala your teacher?" Ike asked.
"Yes. What of it?" Soren said.
"It's interesting, don't you think? Naesala taking a Glee club in a place like Dalton..." Ike said.
Soren snorted. "He was offered a sizeable sum and took it. There's nothing particularly noteworthy about it. Crows are fond of shiny things."
"Hey, no need to stereotype," Ranulf protested.
"It's a biological fact, not a stereotype," Soren said.
"Like cats liking catnip," Ike added.
Soren rose."More or less. As it is, your ten minutes are up."
Ike followed suit, nearly tripping on the chair on the way out.
"Hey, Dalton. You do know that you were here for twelve minutes, right?" Ranulf called back.
"Of course," Soren said. He was already half out the door. "It was all according to my plan."
The group looked to each other, one by one as the realization sunk in.
"I bet he has a death ray in his basement," Ranulf said.
"And a degree in horribleness?" Tormod prompted.
"Several," Ranulf said.
She could've gone to a private school. She had, in fact, been tutored, and cloistered away in a private manor for many years. But she wanted to meet her people, be they rich or poor. So she had taken a regular school, and never played up her heritage. She did not demand, or even expect special treatment from the rest of the students.
He played classical violin, but girls didn't want a guy like that. They didn't want a man who spoke perfect French and shined silver obsessively, who could arrange flowers and pull out chairs, who drank tea with one pinkie out.
Or he should say, she didn't want a guy like that, because in the end, she was all who mattered. Ranulf's comfort of there's plenty of other fish in the sea, if you know what I mean didn't sway him. It didn't matter if every other girl (save Lucia and Heather, of course) liked him. They weren't her, and that was all that mattered.
Tibarn had made an assignment for them to sing a song that bared their soul. How and why Geoffrey had come to listen to emo music was another story altogether, but this song touched him in. Hearing this song was like finding a friend who understood. He didn't sing so much as murmur out the words, soft and painful. The guitar was quiet, the pressure to his fingers a welcome pain.
"I'm starting to fashion and idea in my head where I would impress you, with every single word I said would come out insightful, or brave, or smooth or charming...and you wanna call me."
He paused on that line, stroking the guitar almost lovingly as he played on.
"And I would be there every time you needed me. I'd be there every time." These words were not sung, so much as spoken aloud, making the melody discordant. But then, there was no one to hear him. He paused, and thought of starting again, but instead he just cleared his throat and went on. It wasn't as if he were recording. He thought of standing there at the lockers while she looked up at him like he was everything her world needed. Seeing her smile like that made his chest feel tight.
He sang on.
"But for now I'll look so longingly. Wait for you to want me. For you to need me. For you to notice me..."