A/N: Hey there everyone, I'm back ^_^
I'm writing this to explore a new style of writing and also to do a character study of my two favorite characters on The Troop (Felix and Gus XD). I really hope that people read and like this.
This story is dedicated to Callie (you know who you are =])
Augustus Brown, it seemed, was a lot like Felix. It was as though they were two sides of the same coin, a sad lonely thing, cast out into the gutter and hoping, praying to be found.
To be seen.
Both were exceedingly smart, an excellent thing in the real world but a cause for ridicule in a high school environment, especially when coupled with the level of social awkwardness both seemed to possess. Felix at least had the cover of "Mime Club" and was regularly seen with the up and coming Haley Steele and the, more or less, socially accepted Jake Collins. Bullying for him got as low as it could get, at least one incident a week was better than the constant harassment he'd been subject to.
Augustus didn't get that. If anything the abuse had only gotten worse for him since he lost the Doulos. The same people he'd sought vengeance against had "righted" the "natural order of thing" increasing both the frequency and brutality of there joyful chore. What started as body checks and shake downs soon became outright extortion and assault.
With each new humiliation Gus showed up to classes less and less. At first it was maybe two or three days, then a week, and soon he gave up all pretense and just stopped showing up. And for the first time someone noticed him or his absence rather. People starting talking more and more as each day of his extended absence went by.
It started with an offhand comment from one of his tormentors, then slowly escalated with Haley's public confrontation in the cafeteria, and the rumor mill needed no more incentive to run wild. What made it worse (or better depending on how you look at it) was the fact that no one even knew where he lived. There was no friend to dispel the rumors, benign or viscous. No buddy to give him assignments or even to see how he was. Very few students actually cared about the boy. Sensation was what they wanted and it was certainly what they got.
His name was Augustus. It was the name of a King, an Emperor. His name alone should have commanded respect, his mother gave it to him so he could carry it with pride. He was magnificent to her, why not to everyone else? But he learned early on that people weren't the brightest at any age.
It was fine at first. But it always was that way at first. He lived with his parents, a beautiful mother whose face he couldn't remember but whose warmth he felt with every breath he took, father whose appearances were rare and unwanted, and a woman called Jocelyn Grey. She was like a second mother to him, when things got rough at home and his father showed looking violent and ugly and "leave mommy alone!" they would leave the house and stay with Jocelyn.
They were there so often that he couldn't remember what their house looked like. But he remember Jocelyn's home. It was a cozy apartment (three bedrooms, two baths) that smelled of incense and love (sometimes cookies too). Jocelyn always had the stereo on, playing her favorite mixed CD on a loop. Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, Hisaishi, Hirasawa, and Deuter were her favorites. It always felt good to be in her home. They would sit in the kitchen and eat their meals together. At night the three would sleep in the same bed, an overstuffed queen mattress on a rickety frame and sing him to sleep.
On the weekdays after school was over and homework was done they would take him where ever he wanted to go (within reason), movie theaters, restaurants, museums, playhouses, parks, it was all fair game so long as they were back before 9pm (Bath time was very important in the Grey- Brown household). On the weekends he would go to Jocelyn's Aunt's house and play with her baby cousins: Samantha, Joyce, Kenny, Sergei, and Eric.
He fell in love with Samantha almost immediately, they were the same age (Jocelyn's Aunt called them the runts of the litter because they were youngest) and liked the same things. Every weekend he'd bring her a flower or candy and she'd give him new words that she'd "borrowed" from the dictionary, and pretty seashells she'd found at the beach. They shared their snacks and blankets and anything else they had with each other.
The other children were great too. Kenny was tallest and when his mom wasn't looking he would climb up on a chair and get more sweets for them. He mostly watched the T.V. with his mother but he was still the nicest big kid he knew. Joyce and Simon always came up with the best games and were the most fun to play with. Eric was a little shit. Augustus told him so too and got his mouth washed out with soap and put over in the time out corner (Samantha always wanted to read aloud when he was in the time out corner).
And Augustus was happy. He had two moms, a girlfriend and three awesome playmates. What more could a five year old ask for?
The faculty was suddenly up in arms. An assembly was called on the third day of the second week of Gus's absence. An irate and disappointed vice principal Stockley is there to greet them on the stage. Behind him are two guest speakers that no one has seen before.
"In light of recent events it has become a sad necessity for us to hold this assembly. This is not an excuse to get you out of class. Homework packets have been prepared for all of you and at the end of this assembly you will go up row by row to collect them. Failure to complete your packet will result in an instant ten point drop in all of your class grades." A chorus of groans begins but is quickly silenced by a withering glare from Stockley. No one has ever seen him look so serious or angry. They quiet soon and a police officer stands up from his seat on the stage.
"This is Officer Reynolds. He's here to talk to you about bullying. You will give him your undivided attention." There's an unspoken threat in his words and no one dares to make a peep until the officer starts speaking. There's the usual spiel about the legal ramifications of assault and harassment. How many young people he's seen at the station as aggressors, some of which were jailed, the rest released with a warning.
A doctor comes up next, Sondra Kim. She's qualified in pediatric psychology as human anatomy (a few lewd jokes are made at that last one). She explains to them the mental, physical, and emotional consequences of bullying on both the bully and the victim. It's all quite boring to most.
Then comes the slide show.
It comes coupled with gruesome stories and graphic images of "accidental" murders, and stories of the victims of bullies who've committed suicide. Thankfully the latter don't come with pictures.
"Why is this even happening?" Jake whispers to Felix, who shrugs, not having any answer to that.
Pamphlets are handed out and so are the homework packets. Everyone seems glad that it's over and almost grateful to have the packets here to distract them. A few of course still don't care but the thought that goes through everyone's mind is almost identical.
'Whatever happened to Gus?'
There were a number of anti-bullying assemblies to follow the first and a zero tolerance policy (which was fully enforced for two weeks and then forgotten). When he came back they tried (rather desperately) to get him into counseling and into school clubs. Rumor has it that he declined both, supposedly he has his own therapist and is in group therapy on the side (also his parents were quite displeased with their butting into the family's life considering their utter uselessness in protecting their son before he left). But the rumors were hard to confirm.
Felix wasn't entirely sure about how he felt about the boy. It certainly wasn't pity as Felix himself hated to be pitied almost as much as he hated to be bullied. No, the emotion wasn't nearly as benign as that, it was cold and heavy and... slimy. Guilt was an emotion he was largely unfamiliar with but he felt it now. It really didn't make sense either, Augustus was planing on killing people! All he did was save his own life and others, why should he feel bad about anything?
But actually looking at Gus flushed out that logic completely. Shoulders slumped, eyes downcast, he looked so sad, so defeated. It was as if all the joy and passion had been stolen from him and Felix felt responsible for it. He was still friendless and alone, a discarded coin still seen as worthless by all who didn't take the time to look a bit more closely.
So with that in mind he set out to find a way to befriend the boy. It would be quite difficult he was sure. They'd never actually spoken save for that time in the factory and was glad that he couldn't remember that particular meeting (attempted murder is never a good way to start a friendship) and it was rather odd to randomly ask someone to hang out if you'd never even spoken before (. So Felix was now tasked with finding inconspicuous ways to "bump into him at random" which is much harder than it sounds.
He would have to go to the library to sort it all out, look up ways to bond with males in his age group, and pick up that new Jousting for Morons instructional book he knew they had (Thank you Ms. Sybill). So with that in mind he walked with purpose to the county library (way bigger and much nicer than the school library).
When he went into the warmth of library the smell of old books and clean strengthened his resolve.
He would make a new friend.
Despite his countless hours of studying such sacred texts as "Making Friends for the Socially Inept", "How to be a Bro", and the self esteem destroying "You're How Old And Don't Have Friends: A Step by Step Program for Losers" none of which were much help in his efforts to befriend Augustus as none of them had any good ice breakers for this sort of situation. Asking anyone "How's the weather?" is just as lame as it sounds and asking someone to be your friend just sounds painfully desperate.
So he had to arrange something. A "random" occurrence that would force them together. Like a car accident, spilling a drink on his lap, or ... something. The car accident might be a bit much but maybe Felix could just bump into the guy, knock over their books and ask Gus to have coffee with him as an apology. Even if it didn't work he could still say that he'd tried.
But no, that was way to cliche. It happened in everything at least once, no, Felix had to be original!
...how though, was another question entirely.
But of course everything had to go and get ruined. And honesty, that really all can expect from such a sickeningly sweet beginning. It was too good to be true. But the night had beautiful, the moon was high and the night was hot, Mozart's C major Flute and Harp Concerto was loud in background playing on an endless loop (the stereo was busted again but they didn't complain). They sat on the fire scape, drinking lemonade and eating watermelon.
Maybe he should have known something was wrong. It was too calm, too quiet, too perfect. Nights like that one were only real in stories and dumb sitcoms. It seemed fitting, when the loud pounding on the door began. A man's voice cried out, loud and angry, all the bad words his mother made him swear never to say. Jocelyn and Mommy exchanged looks over his head and Mommy whispered, "I'll be right back sweetheart." Gus nodded, hugging her tightly.
"You promise?" She kisses his forehead and promises then leaves, closing the door behind her. Her calm voice is just barely audible over the music. She spoke softly, trying to calm the raging brute just outside the door. "Think of your son," she said. And the man cried and screamed and begged, "Please come back baby, I can change. Don't leave me for some dyke. I can change." She doesn't believe him, it's all lies and desperation at this point. Even Augustus knows that. But he seems to calm. The loud cries grow quieter and his mother's voice grows stronger," You should go now. We'll be back in the morning." He tells her that he can't live with out her, that he needs her, then there's the sound of retching outside and Mommy comes back in.
"Jocelyn, I have to drive him home, would you mind watching Gus for me?" It was a question that didn't need to be asked, of course she would.
"Are you sure you need to drive him? We could just get him a cab ride home." But Mommy won't let his dad go home alone, not when he's so sick. Even if he's bad and hurts Mommy she still loves him. So he kisses his mom goodbye and makes her promise to comeback soon. She promises again then leaves after hugging Jocelyn tightly.
She doesn't, of course, what were you expecting a happy ending? As if. Gus couldn't remember much about what happened next. He just knew that his Mommy was gone. That he couldn't see Jocelyn, and that he would never see the kids again.
Things were blurry and unfocused for a while. Like an old photograph with a dirty screen, each image came with a border of fuzz that couldn't be cleared away. He remembered being in different houses in different places. Nice upper middle class condos, filthy rotted out apartments. There was even a mansion once. He remember long car rides to everywhere and nowhere. Pop songs blared on high and sad little love songs. People talking to him, no, talking at him. He remembered being lonely and sad. He remembered not speaking to anyone. He remembered wanting to disappear. But no faces, no voices, just the endless sound of and engine and the landscape speeding past his window.
When he turns eight things slow down at a door step in Colorado. He sees a cute, two story house with an ornate black fence and a perfect lawn. He feels more and more tired with each heavy step so when the door opens and a kind face looks down at him it's all he can do not to cry. She kneels down and pulls him in for a hug.
He is home. He is home. He is home...
A/N: So yeah, that it for now. I hope you guys like it so far.