Author's Note: Well, here it is, everyone, the final chapter for CracKing, the First.
Please enjoy!


Chapter Seventeen

Monday morning I started out with the best of moods. Ok I still wasn't going out with her much to the annoyance of Felix and Paul, but to tell all truths, that didn't really bother me.

I mean, that's not to say I'm going to give up on her or anything, I'm simply less worried about my not having a shot with her.

I now think I had a pretty good one, I just had to play my card smart and right, like Lars had advised me to do.

One day, and one day soon, Mia Thermopolis will be mine.

Even though she was flipping out about something in G&T.

I didn't hear much about what she and Lil were whispering about, well Mia was whispering, while shooting nervous glances in my direction, but then again it could have been in the general direction of the whole class because she was over by the computers, surfing the web for something, though whatever it is, it's freaking out Lil, who keeps yelping, "Oh, my God, Mia, why didn't you tell me?" over and over again. And whatever Mia was trying to say in her defence, Lil wasn't buying it.

I desperately wanted to know what the two of them were on about, if only because they both look hysterically funny with Lil getting all worked up about… whatever she had discover Mia looking at and Mia's face was just getting redder and redder.

But whatever had worked Mia up into a fit, I wasn't to find out then because the bell rang and she bolted from class, with Lil close behind her.

Anyway, besides that, I felt pretty good for most of the day; I got to miss out on PE in the morning because guest speakers for the local colleges and Uni's came to speak to the year twelve class, only downside was I had to make up that hour at the end of the day, when I usually had French… I wasn't entirely sure if that was a good thing or bad thing until I got there and by the end of the class I sort of wished that I had just gone to French.

To say that my good mood was completely destroyed in that hour is something of an understatement.

"Dude, what happen to you Saturday night?" I should have just ignored the conversation, moved away, done anything but listen. But heck despite what my IQ states, it doesn't necessarily mean that I'm all that smart…

"She is so going to pay." I really should have just tuned out; walked away, done anything but turn to look over to where Josh Richter stood with his cronies near by.

He looked positively murderous, which considering how he had been looking for most of the day; this was quite a turn around for him.

"The Princess?" I heard Matt ask sounding nervous.

I felt my stomach tighten as Josh nodded. But on the plus side he's usual followers didn't seem to be too keen on following him with this.

"I don't think that that's such a great idea." Bryan said looking nervously at Matt and Pierce both of whom were nodding their heads in agreement with him.

"You were all happy to make her pay for coning Lana last week!" Josh snapped at them angrily. "And the offence that she has inflicted towards me is far graver than that!"

I felt my hands tighten upon the basketball I was holding.

"Mike." Felix said beside me, his face warning against what he obviously guessed I was about to do.

"Yeah but that was before we knew she was something more than just some nobody kid. Now we know she's a princess with a bodyguard! Not to mention all those armed forces she has at her disposal, being a Princess and all. It's completely different now." Pierce pointed out.

"I will make her pay." Josh said with so much self confidence and arrogance, that the ball was out of my hands before Felix could finished yelping for me to stop and think about what I was doing.

The basketball smashed with a satisfactory thud against the back of Josh's thick skull. And instead of stalking out like I had done before, I started for him ready to beat him into a Cream of Wheat.

"What the fuck is your problem?" he snarled at me as I came to a stop in front of him, rising once more to my full height so that I now towered over him. I crossed my arms against my chest; I was going to see this through.

I started it and I sure as hell was going to finish it!

"I thought I warned you not to hurt her." I growled at him.

"Aw, you still haven't got with her yet, have you? But you're still trying to be her knight in shining armour?" He was baiting me but I refused to rise for it. Something he obviously saw because he started scowling up at me again as he demanded. "So what are you going to do to me, Moscovitz? Hmmm, pelt basketballs at my head for the rest of the year or are you going to send me more of those fancy viruses that you like so much?"

I forced myself to smile as I said, "Nah, I was more thinking of destroying you publicly. Far more interesting and entertaining, I think, personally." I could see him gritting his teeth as if he was contemplating whether to hit me now or wait.

Then he laughed.

"All this?" he gave a snort of laughter. "All this because I got the girl before you did? All this because you didn't have the guts to ask her out before the queue started forming? You do realise, that it's only going to get worse from now on, right? That you're chances of actually getting to go out with her for one measly date is like in single digits now. Actually come to think of it, if she turned down me," I felt my temper start to rise as he voiced the fears that I had thought of over and over again, since I first heard that she was a Princess, "why the fucking hell would she ever go out with you? You're just her best friend's nerdy older brother. Hey," he said laughing even harder now, "that might be exactly how she sees you. As a brother. Dude," he laughed again and I felt my hands tighten into fists at my side, "you are so freaking screwed. At least I got a kiss out of…"

I don't really know what happen, just that it happen really, really fast. One minute I was calmly thinking about beating the crap out of him and the next thing I knew I was punching him with all my might right in his stupid, smug face.

Somewhere nearby I heard someone, I think it was Pierce whistle as he said, "Woah! You're so going down now Moscovitz." but I wasn't completely sure it was him because Josh had just thrown a punch at my face, which I somehow managed to duck so that it wouldn't break my nose. Instead his fist hit my jaw, which killed but it was far better than a broken nose. I punched him in the gut in revenge for that though.

I could hear cheering all around us, not to mention yelling.

I could vaguely hear Felix trying to yell some sort of instructions or advise as to where to hit Josh or how avoid one of his hits, but truthfully I wasn't paying much attention to what he was yelling, what with how much blood was pounding in my ears.

I'm not a good fighter due to the fact that really I've never been in a real fight in all my life up until now, but I knew that the times that I did hit him, hurt him quite bit and he was growing tired quickly from trying to hit me, except I kept blocking him and using my height against him. But in saying that he had his footballer's weight working for him so we were actually pretty evenly matched in some ways.

That is until he finally punched my nose and I felt it break.

I felt sick right then and wanted to throw in the towel when I saw that he had left his face open to an attack, so as quick as I could, I socked him one right in the eye.

"What the fuck is going on here!" to say that we froze at the sound of Wheeton voice swearing across the Gym is actually pretty truthful because both Josh's and my next punches hung limply in thin air, never to meet their original aim marks.

"This is supposed to be a make-up gym class for those of you who had that college thing this morning, not some boxing match? What the fuck is this, Fight Club?"

I tried not gag at the roughness that Wheeton grabbed my collar by, but it was hard since he was basically dragging us by the scruff of our PE shirt collars all the way to Gupta office, where she stood staring at us for a full minute in disbelief.

She spent the whole meeting just staring at us as if she couldn't quite believe her eyes as to whom were sitting in front of her desk, bloody and bruised, also wheezy for breath. The fight had taken a lot out of both of us.

"I guess neither of you are going to tell me what this was all about?" Gupta asked as she handed us letters to give to our parents and after she had assigned out our punishment.

Mine actually isn't too bad; one days suspension (tomorrow) and fixing all the broken computers, both staff and student before and after school for a month. I think there are laws against this sort of thing, but hey beats being stuck in a classroom doing nothing or worse writing repetitive lines over and over again, like Josh is going to be suffering with for a month. That is after his three day suspension (I get one he gets three; don't even ask me how they worked that one out, maybe Gupta is really desperate to start me working on the school computers.).

Heh, give me a broken down server any old day.

Anyway, neither of us said anything and Gupta just looked at us all disappointed like and said she was deeply disappointed in both of us and that we should know by now that violence does not solve our problems and that we are suppose to be setting an example for the younger students and blah, blah, blah.

She just kept going on and on.

I felt like I was going insane at the repetitiveness of her preaching, but I can understand why no one mucks up again for awhile after being sent to her office. Who wouldn't behave if misbehaving meant you had to sit through this!

Anyway, it was just about time for school to finish when Gupta finally ran short of breath and she allowed me to leave.

Only me, I guess she thought that the moment Josh and I left this room, if we were left together, we start our punch up again in administrations and we couldn't have that now, could we?

"Michael?" I looked around back at Gupta wondering what now.

"Yes?" though it came out more as an "Gyes?" due to the vice grip I had on my bloody, broken nose.

"Please clean yourself up before you leave the school grounds." I fought the desire to roll my eyes. But I got her point.

Out of the two of us, Josh and me, I was the more bloodied up one, not to say he didn't look pretty roughed up too, what with his already spectacular black eye and the impressive bruise formation forming across his cheek bone.

I stagged a little out of her office, keeping my head slightly down so that any teachers or early-markers wouldn't stop me when they saw my bloody face and shirt.

I really was a mess; I discovered when I finally saw my reflection in the boy's change room. My whole face was just covered with blood.

Gee, Gupta nice to know you care about your students, just let us bleed everywhere, why don'tcha? I washed my face and hung my head over the sink as blood continued to flow out of my nose. I must have used up half of Gupta's tissues while she was ranting on and on about how disgraceful both Josh and I were.

Once I was fairly sure my nose had dried up enough with old blood so as stop any new blood from flowing out, I yanked off my bloodied Gym shirt and changed back into my school uniform.

I almost looked half decent when I finally came out of the change room, just as the bell signalling the end of the day went off, except that my nose had decided to start bleeding all over again.

I clutched it tightly as I one handed dragged nearing the entire contents of my locker into my school bag, ignoring the curious looks sent my way.

I easily found Lil, Mia (and Lars) by Mia's locker, all of whom looked at me with slightly open mouths.

"What happen to you?" Lilly asked looking torn between being impressed and disapproving of my current state.

"I think someone was in a fight." Lars said. This caused Lil to look even more impressed and Mia to gasp as she squeaked, "Are you ok."

I tried to shrug nonchalantly, but it hurt too much causing me to wince.

"I'd take that as a no." Lars said but he didn't sound disapproving, in fact he actually looked like he approved of my fighting.

"He can't go home like that." Mia was panicking.

"I'm fine. Really." I tried to smile but found that that hurt too.

"No you're not. Don't lie. Come on, you can come with us in the limo." She took hold of my arm and started dragging me for the school front doors.

"Ah, no, you don't have to do that." I said, sounding completely lame and causing both Lil and Lars to roll their eyes at me.

"Just come on." She said and I let her drag me for her limo, pushing me gently inside once we reached it.

"Does it hurt?" she asked, looking up at me worriedly.

"Yeah a bit. Actually it's more numb than anything else."

"Adrenaline. It's still pumping itself around your body. When it stops, then everything will hurt." Lars informed me.

"Wonderful." I sighed.

"So who did it?" Lil asked.

"Huh?"

"Who beat you up?" I felt more than a little annoyed at that.

"I wasn't beaten up by anyone, I beat up Josh Richter!" Mia looked at me somewhat bug-eyed while Lil, she just laughed.

"You," she giggled, "beat up Josh Richter? No way."

"Yes way," I growled, "ok, so it was more of a tie, but I gave him a spectacular black eye and some pretty impressive bruise pattern along his jaw line."

"And he broke your nose." Lil snorted, "And bruised your jaw too. Hehehe, you are going be in so much trouble when we get home."

Yeah, I knew that, but heck, it was worth it. Plus Mia fussing over me the whole way over to mine was fantastic, almost as good as the dance.

Reaching mine was a completely different story. Not that the parental unit was exactly mad at me for the fight… ok, they were, but oddly enough I wasn't grounded (Much to Lil's great disappointment).

I did have to sit through three hours of being psychoanalysed, which trust me is punishment enough, but surprising that was it. They didn't even look vaguely disappointed in me, just told me that violence was no way of solving ones problems, then they let me go to my room and lie down (with an ice pack, my nose and jaw were seriously taking to kill now.) and left me alone while dinner was getting ready, not that I actually felt like any, what with my jaw ache but still it was way worth it.

There was a knock on my door and after a moment my Dad came in.

Out of my two parents, and I know your not suppose to have a favourite parent, just like a parents isn't suppose to have a favourite child, but Dad has to be my favourite of the two of them. He's not quite as pushy for information as Mom is and he's way more laid back about most things that mom isn't.

"Hi." He said as he came to sit in my computer chair.

"Hey." Though it came out more as "a" because of my nose being so blocked up with dried blood, oh and happen to be broken.

Dad shook his head as he said, "Wow, you're first real fight. Personally I never thought I would see the day." I looked over at him with vague interest. I mean just half an hour ago he (and Mom) were both singing the tune that fighting is wrong, violence doesn't sound anything, but now he actually sounded… pleased, that I had been in a fight.

"Josh Richter must have done something pretty bad for you to blow up at him like that." he continued.

I rolled my eyes, so he was just here to pump me for information.

"It doesn't really matter." I said feeling exasperated as I stared hard up at my boring ceiling. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Dad chewing on the inside of his mouth, as if trying to keep himself from smiling or something.

"It was about Mia, wasn't it?" I felt like gagging. Why does everyone keep jumping to the conclusion that my main motivation for doing out of character things is Mia!

"What makes you think that?" I asked trying to sound calm and causal.

"Oh, only the fact that you've had a crush on her for the last eight months or so," Dad said in as calm and causal voice as I had just used.

I felt like gagging as I stared of at him in disbelief.

"How did you…" I trailed off weakly.

"Know?"He laughed, "It seems to be a male Moscovitz trait to fall in love with their younger siblings' best friend." He shook his head in amusement as I just stared at him in disbelief, though I had vague recollection of some family gathering where it was stated that Mom and my Aunt (Dad's younger sister) were the best of friends in college.

"You and Mom?" he nodded.

"And most of your uncles and your grandfather and I think his father too. As I said it seems to be a family trait that is past down through the Moscovitz men. Though at times it feels like a curse, doesn't it?" he looked at me with a knowing look.

I rolled my head to stare dully back at my ceiling. Great, well at least now I could blame this thing on my genetics. It's all their fault for my crush on Mia!

"You have no idea." I sighed.

"Well, I do actually because I was in the same situation as you are with your Mom."

"Yeah, but there is only a year between you two. There's three years between Mia and me." I pointed out grouchily.

"Details," Dad said with a wave of his hand. "So what are you going to do about it?"

"About what?"

"About Mia?"

"Um…" I trailed off weakly.

"You really have no idea, do you?" Dad said laughing.

I scowled over at him.

"Not helping."

"Right, sorry. I'm just remembering how I was when I was trying to ask your Mom out."

"How long did it take you? To ask her out, I mean?" I asked curiously.

"Two years." I groaned, "Actually I was finishing Uni before I actually built up the guts to ask her. Yeah, having a great deal of trouble asking a girl out is also a Moscovitz trait." I groaned again, reaching behind my head for my pillow and slamming it on top of my face.

"Hey, I still got her in the end, didn't I? As did all my brothers and my dad, your grandfather and his father. You just have to work at it and not give up. And in the end you'll get the girl."

I lifted my pillow off my head and looked at him. "Seriously?"

"I haven't met a Moscovitz man who hasn't yet." Dad reassured me.

"Seriously?" I said again as I sat up slowly, "In the end we get the girl?"

"If we're serious and we don't give up, yeah, we do."

"Ok."

"Not that I'm saying that I want you two to go get married next week, though." I gagged at him.

"I just want to ask her out!" I yelped. "Not to marry me!"

"Well, you had better watch that because we usually end up doing that too."

"Seriously?"

"Yup. We're not big daters, if you hadn't noticed already. We see the girl that we like and that's about it, the end of us, we're wrapped around her little finger, doing everything in our power to keep her happy and smiling. And getting her to marry us too, of course."

"So to sum all that up, we're suckers." I simplified with a groan.

"To our soul mates, yeah."

"You believe in soul mates?" I asked surprised. My dad has always been about logic and reason, so hearing him refer to a term like 'soul mates' was more than a little out of character for him.

"Yup."

"And you think Mia is mine?" I asked feeling a little overwhelmed.

"Well," Dad said, looking up at my ceiling, "that's really up to you now isn't it? But yeah, I think it's a pretty likely chance that she is. I mean, the way she used to follow you around was rather cute." He teased.

"She was eight!"

"Yeah, and you doted upon her. She had you wrapped around her little finger the moment she walked through our front door and said she liked Star Wars."

"Star Wars is cool." I defended before sighing. "So what should I do?"

"Well, firstly stop acting like a jerk whenever she's around." I opened my mouth to argue but fell silent because I knew he was right, "it's not going to help you at all and will just end up pushing her away."

"So what should I do?" I repeated.

Dad smiled at me and ruffled my hair.

"Just be there for her to begin with. You know, she's going to have it real tough from now on, what with the whole princess thing. Be the best of friends with her, listen to her when she's down, give advise, make her smile, show her that you care about her, not the princess part of her, though be understanding of that too, but that you care about just her, who she is, how she is. Make her feel loved for being just Mia Thermopolis."

"Ok." I said, "I can do that. I'm tutoring her."

"That's a good start. And you two can defiantly talk to each other; you don't seem to get tongue-tied with each other or anything." He started grinning. "I remember times when Lilly wasn't around and you two would just start talking away. We never seem to be able to shut the pair of you up once you got started." He chuckled as I scowled at him.

"Weren't that bad…" I defended but saw that Dad was silently laughing.

"You weren't seeing you two from an outsider's point of view, trust me, once you two start yabbering away at each other, I swear, even if the world was ending you two would still be talking."

"It's not bad to talk." I gruimbled.

"No, it's actually a real good thing." Dad said turning serious once more, "Just don't forget to, ok? Always make sure you talk everything out, even the more embarrassing things when you two start going out." I felt my cheeks begin to grow hot, knowing exactly what he was implying to, but forced myself to nod.

"Ok."

"You'll be fine. Trust me; she is very fond of you."

"But what if I've messed it up? Already! What with my jerkiness towards her?"

"I don't think you have." Dad reassured, "I'm pretty sure she didn't take too much offense from it, plus you two seemed to be pretty cosy on Saturday night after the dance, so I don't think you have nothing much to worry about. Though," he gave me an amused look, "you might want to tone down your response as to when people insult her. You can't hit everyone and get away with it as lightly as you did today."

"I know." I said sighing, then I grinned, "But it was fun. And I mean, it's ok every once in awhile right? When that person really, really deserves to be turned into a Cream of Wheat."

Dad laughed and nodding as he ruffled my hair again as he got up to leave.

"Dad." I said just before left. "Thanks." He smiled and left my room, closing the door behind him.

Ok, yeah, I'm suspended… for a day (but still, that might hurt my chances of getting the Library collected works of Issac Asimov) and I have to fix the school computers both staff and student for the next mouth, but overall, I feel pretty good.

I mean, I'll feel even better when I am finally able to tell Mia my true feelings for her, but for the moment, everything seems to pretty good with the world. Josh isn't likely to come anywhere near her (Or me most likely) anytime soon and hopefully any other potential vultures have been scared off for the moment.

Though, I am kind of curious as to know what had Mia so freaked out today. I mean, the last time I saw her look this worried was when she was keeping the whole princess thing a secret…

Why do I have a feeling that this is going to be the next big news in the already huge news of New Yorks own Princess Story?

I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

The END


Author's Note: So that's that. Well for book one at least. Thank you to all of you who read and enjoyed my fanfic. A special thank you to all of you who took the extra time to write a comment, they meant the world to me, thank you so much.
I should start uploading the first couple of chapters for CracKing: The Second Round soon, so keep an eye out.
Once again thank you to all of you for reading this and comments are deeply appreciated.
Bye for now!