It was a Monday. One of the Mondays where you want nothing more than to be left alone, but apparently William McKinley High School in Lima, Ohio couldn't understand that. Then again, it may also have had something to do with Nate being the new kid.
"Hey." Nate looked up from his chessboard to see, admittedly, the most fabulously-dressed boy he'd ever had the (dis)pleasure of meeting. Doing nothing but blinking his coal-gray eyes, Nate twirled a piece of hair around his finger as the other boy said, "Do you need someone to play chess with?"
He shrugged, still playing with his hair. "You can if you'd like. I don't care."
"Okay." With a smile, the boy slipped his shoulder bag over his head and set it beside him on the table before sitting down and holding out a hand over the board. "My name is Kurt."
Nate stared at the hand. "Nate. Black or white?"
"Um, black, I suppose," Kurt replied awkwardly, retracting his hand and setting up his pieces on his side of the board. When Nate pulled one knee up to his chest and continued twirling his hair, Kurt bit his bottom lip and said, "I don't think I've ever seen you around here before. Are you new?"
It took all the control Nate had not to respond sarcastically. "Yes. I moved here last week from a… boarding school in England. It's a bit of a change from what I'm used to."
"Do you like it here?"
"Not particularly," Nate answered, moving one pawn forward. "So far, it's proven itself to be marginally more boring than Winchester was."
Kurt moved one of his pawns and said, simply, "Oh."
An uncomfortable silence, in which dozens of gay babies had been birthed, left the tension in the almost-empty cafeteria thick enough to hack with a chainsaw. Nate's finger twirled non-stop in his hair while Kurt shifted in his seat and picked a hair off his shoulder. After five minutes of that, Nate opened his mouth and said, "Checkmate."
The next day—which, according to the calendar, was Tuesday, though Nate had gotten in the habit of questioning everything lately and somewhere in the back of his subconscious entertained the thought that maybe Tuesday didn't come after Monday—was eerily similar to the previous day, aside from him almost getting tossed into a dumpster upon arriving at school. (Un)fortunately, Mihael decided to come to his rescue, which he should've been thankful for because the pissy blond kept the jocks from sending him dumpster diving; however, considering the fact that Mihael enjoyed doing acts similar to throwing him in the trash himself, he decidedly wasn't.
Pulling his leg up to his chest and resting his sandwich on his knee, Nate stuck a straw in his juicebox before setting it and his sandwich down on the table. He broke out his beloved chessboard, completely content with playing with himself despite God deciding he needed someone to play with.
Thanks, WMHS. You all suck.
"Hey, newbie!" Nate sighed, then looked up to see two jocks walking toward him, one with a Mohawk and one with quite possibly the most vapid expression on his face. He'd heard of them, even after only a day at McKinley, but didn't know their names—he only knew them as The Jocks that Don't Bully the Nerds, also known as The Reformed Asswipes depending on who you asked. "Need someone to hand your ass to you?" the one with the Mohawk asked, smirking.
Nate motioned to the chessboard. "If you can."
"Ooo, a challenge for the Puckasaurus," Mohawk said, sliding onto the bench and setting up his pieces while his friend dropped down next to him.
And so they played.
A good ten minutes later, Puck didn't look nearly as cocky as he had at the beginning.
"The fuck," he said flatly, gaping at the checkmate he was put in. Nate just cracked a small smile and twirled his hair victoriously. "Finn. Dude. You're doing this shit next."
Finn—as Nate assumed his name to be, if Puck's addressing him as such was any indication—stuttered out an okay and took Puck's seat when he slid over. He gave the white-haired Chess Master a nervous look and set the black pieces back up, waiting for Nate to make the first move; when he did, Finn moved one of his pawns forward two spaces.
Nate retaliated by moving one of his pawns forward two spots.
Finn moved another pawn forward one.
Nate captured Finn's first pawn.
Finn whined in the back of his throat.
The cycle continued until Finn lost his queen and he knew he was royally—no pun intended—screwed over. Not long after that, Nate had him in a stealthy checkmate while Finn tried to process what exactly had just happened to make him lose. Defeated, Finn hung his head and Puck nodded at Nate in approval, as if giving him props for his chess skills.
Then they left, and Nate was blissfully alone once again.
So he ate his sandwich.
Wednesday—or "Happy Hump Day," as one student had referred to it on the board in his Advanced Physics class; Nate still didn't understand what that meant—was rather terrible. Most of Nate's suffering started before third hour AP French class, and was most definitely the reason he spent the rest of the day walking around with blue hair and smelling like a raspberry slushy.
He officially hated America.
Lunchtime was, keeping with the pattern of the previous two days, not spent alone. Kurt decided to swing by and introduce Nate to his friends Mercedes and Rachel, and though they may have been Kurt's friends it was painfully obvious that the two girls did not like each other too much. With a smile, Kurt asked for a rematch of their game on Monday, which Nate granted before promptly owning him; he lasted about ten minutes longer than he did on Monday, which Nate congratulated him for.
So, naturally, Mercedes and Rachel wanted to play in the hopes of beating him. Nate allowed it, seeing as he had nothing better to be doing.
Mercedes lasted about seventeen minutes.
Rachel lasted four, after which she had a diva-fit and stormed away.
When Nate asked what Rachel's problem was, Mercedes went Sassy Black Woman on him and told him exactly what she thought of her. Despite his usually emotionless appearance, Nate couldn't help but laugh at that.
The morning of Thursday—also known as Hell on Earth: Part 4—was eventful in the way that wasn't fun at all. Not only did he smell like cherries and sport red hair for the rest of the day, but it was Mihael's fault. Of course it was Mihael's fault; it was a habit he'd never grown out of, and now it was more infuriating than just annoying like it used to be.
So infuriating, in fact, that Nate turned around, kicked Mihael in the shin, and told him to go screw himself—with R-rated language added, of course.
Josie and his Pussycats joined him again for lunch, but Kurt managed to lug Quinn, Sam, Lauren, Tina, and Mike with him. Introductions were had, the usual questions (Where are you from? What was it like? Do you like it here?) were asked, and asses were handed. Quinn, for some reason, lasted the longest at twenty minutes, but was still beaten along with everyone else, including Finn and Puck when they'd gravitated over to the table.
That was also the day Nate realized he was gaining an audience. When he used to play chess at lunch—like Monday and Tuesday—nobody paid much attention. But after he'd beaten ten people at chess, word started to spread and people started glancing over at lunchtime to see who he'd own next.
He also whipped, dominated, and made a bitch of Mr. Shuester, who just so happened to be on lunch duty that day.
And because he had some time left over, he played Kurt and Finn again.
Smug smile creeping onto his face, Nate played with his temporarily dyed hair and hummed Queen's "We Are the Champions" to himself.
Nate woke up Friday morning feeling like P. Diddy; well, if P. Diddy was a weird, nerdy, albino kid that disliked shoes and high school. He walked to school because he missed his bus, narrowly avoided being slushied only to have a surprise attack of grape come from overhead, and failed his AP French test because he couldn't remember how to conjugate correctly.
All in all, it was a crappy day.
Lunchtime brought the entire glee club to his table—plus a few of his acquaintances that had moved from England with him—and after Nate was introduced to Santana and Brittany the whooping begun.
Finn was done in ten moves.
Puck was owned in eight.
Kurt lasted about fifteen.
Mihael got pissed off and left after twelve.
Mail stuck around for thirteen until Mihael came back and dragged him away.
Mike, Tina, and Lauren lost in twenty-two.
Mercedes and Quinn both stayed alive for thirty-six moves.
Elena managed to hold on for forty moves.
Jiovanni crapped out after seven.
Maldwyn hung out for thirty-two.
Sam and Rachel lost after thirty-eight.
"Santana, you're up," Kurt said, patting the Latina cheerleader on the back and wishing her good luck.
"Bring it on, Sheepy," Santana challenged, cracking her knuckles and staring Nate dead in the eyes as the rest of the group fell into a deafening silence.
He had to admit that Santana was probably one of the best opponents he'd played during the week—she gave each move careful consideration, rationalized which pieces were worth losing, and set out to capture Nate's more useful pieces earlier on. Everyone was surprised, almost pleasantly so, when Santana managed to take Nate's rooks, one knight, and one bishop away.
But the sad fact of the matter was that it wasn't enough, and Santana found herself in checkmate before she could understand just how she got there.
"Damn," she said intelligently. "Just… damn."
"My turn!" Brittany chirped, giving Santana a hug before taking her spot and grabbing all the black pieces, setting them up incorrectly. She frowned, looking over at Nate's side of the board and making a noise of understanding. "Castle, horsey, pointy dude, big guy, short guy, pointy dude, horsey, then castle. Do I just put all the little midgets in front of the others?"
Nate held back a facepalm. "They're called pawns, and yes. Do you know the rules of the game?"
"Nope." There's a shocker.
"Okay," Nate sighed, "pay attention: The king can move exactly one square horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. Are you still with me?"
"The rook moves any number of open squares vertically or horizontally. The bishop moves any number of open squares in any diagonal direction. The queen can move any number of open squares diagonally, horizontally, or vertically. The knight moves to the nearest square not on the same rank, file, or diagonal; in other words, the knight moves two squares horizontally then one square vertically, or one square horizontally then two squares vertically. It cannot be blocked by other pieces, because it jumps to its location. Still with me?"
Brittany nodded again.
"A pawn can move forward one square, if that square is unoccupied. If it has not yet moved, each pawn has the option of moving two squares forward provided both squares in front of the pawn are unoccupied. A pawn cannot move backwards. Pawns capture diagonally, but cannot move diagonally unless capturing another pawn. If you can manage to move a pawn to the last row on my side of the board, you will be rewarded with the chance to swap that pawn for a previously captured piece. Understood?"
"Uh-huh. So how do you win?"
Nate twirled his hair. "If you put the opposing player's king in a position in which he cannot avoid being captured, it's a checkmate and the player in checkmate loses. Does that make sense?"
Scratching her head, Brittany said, "I think so. So the tall guy can only go one space, the castles can go up and down or left and right, the pointy dudes can go diagonal, the shorter guy does whatever he wants, the horsies move in Ls, and the midgets are pretty much useless. And you win by making sure that the other person can't go anywhere because their tall guy is trapped. Right?"
Facial expression the epitome of what the hell, Nate nodded and said, "Sure. I suppose. Now I move first, since I'm playing as white." With that, Nate moved the pawn in front of his right-side bishop one space forward.
Hesitantly, Brittany grabbed the pawn in front of her king and asked, "I can move this one two spaces, right?" Nate nodded, and Brittany did so. "Your turn!"
Almost boredly, Nate moved the pawn in front of his right-side knight two spaces.
Brittany moved her queen diagonally to line up perfectly with Nate's king. "Ooo! Checkmate!"
The entire glee club, plus the people two tables away that were tuned in to the match, gasped dramatically as Nate's jaw dropped. Santana gave Brittany a Look and Puck stared stupidly at the board before switching to stare at Brittany, who had an airy smile on her face. "You… you won?" Nate asked, beyond shocked.
"I guess so! Yay me!" Brittany squealed, jumping up and hugging Santana tightly.
Long after lunch was over and long after Nate and the gleeks had gone their separate ways for the rest of school, Brittany's victory bothered Nate and he couldn't focus in class. Why bother with deriving formulas when he could uncover why an airheaded, bimbo cheerleader checkmated him in two moves?
He decided to sleep on his thoughts in hopes that he'd wake up Saturday morning refreshed and with a logical reason as to why he lost.
That's what he'd planned, anyway.
Too bad he never got any sleep.
Author's Note: Well, that was crazy. I just hope nobody was too OOC.
High school is not kind to Near, is it? LOL
I'm off to go finish Henrietta's trilogy and conduct some research on Belarus, so ta-ta for now!