Title: Silhouette
Summary: He had never called her by her first name. And when he did, she didn't hear him.
Warning: Based on the film version.
Disclaimer: I don't own Speak by way of the actual book or the movie. Please don't sue me.


I find myself being somewhat curious about Neck and him not being the key character of any Speak fanfiction and found this one-shot born of that. I know nobody actually likes him, but I liked him in the movie version…or, at least, I liked him at the end and just after he yelled at Melinda about the oral report.

There was blood coming from a cut on the groove of her cheek.

What drew Neck from the end of the hall originally were all the girls bunched around a storage closet he remembered once using to take a nap in at the beginning of his service to the school. It was the last day and all of the students should have been gone by this time, save for those that were still talking to other teachers and their friends possibly in the cafeteria. To see a small pack of them making a lot of noise in dark voices into the closet and Sordino scurrying away from them with this look on her face he had never seen before was rather…disconcerting, to say the least.

"What's going on down there?"

Sordino was coming his way, but she didn't even appear to see him; not at all. She looked a complete and utter wreck, as well—hair ruffled and some sticking to her face, clothes wrinkled and out of place. Sort of like the way she had been during the beginning of the school year, only worse.

He didn't like it.

She had been gaining confidence and looked less like a stray cat—or worse, that woman who taught literature with black hair who he didn't socialize with—in the last few months. This wasn't how she should look on her last day of school.

"What happened?"

She walked right past him and as he looked closely, he saw that her hand was cut as well and she was shaking very badly.

He calls out, despite his slight efforts over the entire year not to, her first name. He hasn't said it once and coming from him now he knows that it shouldn't have to be said like this, now.

"Melinda?"

She doesn't hear him. She just keeps walking.

Some small fraction of his mind tells him that he should go after her and check if he should call the police or at least the ambulance services, but he picks up the sounds of the tennis players yelling at someone still in the closet.

He calls out and gets their attention, two of the girls looking his way instantly, but with angry, wrath ridden frowns etched in the lining of their faces. Three of the other girls acknowledge him, but are too busy blocking whoever is still in the closet from exiting. Neck can hear that it is a young man, screaming something like, "Please, please, I can't see!"

He picks up the pace and the girls move away so he can see who is making all the noise.

Andy Evans stares back at him with dark, bloodshot eyes, some kind of liquid on his hands and face. Neck can see there is a bottle broken on the floor next to a still leaking jug of cleaning fluid that is flooding the floor and leaving a puddle.

Neck sees all of this and then… everything else.

The room is littered with pictures, figures and all the like of trees. Hundreds of the leafy, green oxygen making things. The entire place screams hideaway and female.

There is also a piece of broken glass near Andy's feet and a nick on his neck that doesn't even come close in comparison to the one Melinda was sporting on her face.

In almost a blink or clarity, Neck suddenly gets it. The silence, the rebellion, the clothes, the lack of friends.

Neck wants to kill the little prick (and himself for being so thoughtless the entire year to the girl that so needed anything other than what she got) and the only thing that keeps him from striking out are the five girls behind him, brandishing their tennis rackets like baseball bats.

He settles for muttering, "Son of a bitch," under his breath and telling Nicole (he actually notices how tall she is, now that they both are in a situation that could lead to violence and could put that height to an advantage) to go to the office and call the police.

He hauls Andy out with his hand like a vice on the boy's arm and makes a mental note while Andy's struggling that he should catch up to Melinda and at least call her parents for her.

Or, at least he should catch up to her and get one of those stupid bandages from the nurse that work to seal stitches.