"Hey Spencer, can I talk to you for a moment?" A pretty blonde asked as she sidled up to his table. Brown eyes looked up from the book they had been reading so vivaciously and blinked owlishly at the girl from behind thick-rimmed glasses.
"Excuse me?" The small twelve year old asked in a quiet voice, resisting the urge to look around and make sure she wasn't talking to someone else.
"I asked if I could talk to you for a moment." Harper Hillman repeated patiently with a kind smile on her face. A smile he was not used to seeing directed at him. For a long moment, he simply stared at her, unsure of her intentions. She had never intentionally gone out of her way to give him hell but she was part of the group that did and she always laughed when they tripped him in the hallways or stole his homework. Still, it would be unfair to judge her prematurely so he decided to hear what she had to say, suspicious though he was.
"Well technically you're already talking to me and I can't really stop you." He finally answered in a bookish tone as he pushed his glasses up and could tell immediately that she was resisting the urge to roll her eyes which set off warning bells in his head.
Ah, so it was a trap; not a peace treaty.
"Is that a yes or no, Genius Boy?" She teased as she sat down next him, already assuming his answer.
"Yes." Was his simple reply, wishing he had just walked away. Not that it would have mattered; she would have followed or worse, gone to the football players to teach him a lesson.
"All right, so here's the thing, y'know Alexa, right?" She asked him.
"Well I know of her. But we've never spoken." Which was true, unless one counted malicious laughter and ugly jeering as conversation starters. He had to admit though, she was the most beautiful girl in school. Anybody could see that.
"Of course." This time Harper did roll her eyes but continued on with a sugary smile dipped in poison. "Anyway, I'm, like, her best friend and the other day she confessed to me that she thought you were," Her voice dropped with a giggle and she whispered in his ear like she was revealing a divine secret. "cute."
Spencer's a smart cookie, but he's still a child and he yearned for affection in any form he could get. The thought of Alexa Lisbon thinking he was cute nearly blew him away and he almost shot up to find her before his intelligence shook the infatuation from his head. 'Look at the facts, Spencer!' His mind screamed at him. 'Look at the pattern: Girl sneers at you, Girl jeers at you, Girl thinks you're cute? I don't think so!'
'Touché.' He thought, berating himself for almost falling for that. How juvenile! Then he realized Harper was still sitting next to him, obviously waiting for a reaction from him if her expression was anything to go by. Oh yes, something was definitely up; that expression of vicious glee only came about when he was about to be deeply humiliated.
"That's nice." He decided to tell her diplomatically with a polite smile. "Now if that's all, I really have to finish this-" Her hand slammed his book shut before he could finish his sentence and the sound echoed in the library, startling several other readers.
"But that's not all." She simpered sweetly, her hand grabbing his wrist in an iron grip. "See, Alexa wants to meet you."
"Does she now?" He asked, resisting the urge to rub the bridge of his nose, already tired of this charade.
"Yup! She's waiting behind the school on the football field. She really wants you to come." Harper pleaded and had the gall to fake a little sniffle; as if she couldn't believe he was thinking of rejecting her friend.
'The football field? Because that doesn't like a set up at all.' He thought sarcastically. Looking in her eyes, he realized belatedly that he should have never let her touched him because there was no way she'd let him go now. 'Might as well get this over with. Whatever they have planned, it can't be too bad.'He breathed out a deep sigh.
"When?" He asked her in a resigned voice and immediately regretted it when she gave him a vicious smile.
"Now." And before he knew what was happening, she was dragging him down the halls, practically dislocating his shoulder in the process. 'Now? So much for preparing myself.' Spencer thought, barely holding back a grumble of annoyance.
Upon reaching the football field in record time, he found Alexa waiting for him.
Along with the entire football team.
"I brought him!" Harper chirped brightly as she roughly pushed him towards the players. "Anyone have any hand sanitizer? I had to touch him!" She cried, like he had leprosy or some equally devastating disease. He had half the mind to snap an insult back but found himself occupied with the fact that he had just been encircled by people two times his size and three times his weight.
. . .this was not looking good at all, was it?
"So, heard you thought you had a chance with my girl. Is that right, Spency?" Jack Sayous sneered as he wrapped his arm possessively around Alexa's waist.
"No." Spencer answered, doing his best to keep the tremble out of his voice.
"Oh? So she's not good enough for you? Is that it Brain Boy?" The quarterback spat back, clearly offended that this little twerp thought he was too good for his girl.
"How about instead of you trying to set me up, you just get on with it?" Spence snapped back, showing his backbone and surprising them all. "I kinda figured out this was a trap the moment it was mentioned that a girl who wouldn't spit on me if I was on fire suddenly decided she liked me."
Immediately, he regretted his outburst, but he was so tired of being picked on. The teachers say ignore, ignore, ignore, and they'll leave you alone. Well, Einstein (who was much smarter than his teachers) once said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
Spencer, who was a self-proclaimed scientist, wasn't seeing results with the ignorance theory. Not to mention he had a mother at home who wasn't well most of the time, so this bullying was just added stress on taking care of her, the house, the bills, the laundry, the groceries, and a thousand other things.
To be blunt, he was getting tired of this shit and he was getting tired of it fast. His vast patience was waning not unlike the moon. Actually, that was a rather good metaphor for him. Here he was this pale, brilliant being about to be burned and scorched by those glorious people that lived in the sun.
But it was all right.
"Well whadda ya know? You pegged it in one!" Jack mocked, nudging Alexa to move back and nodding to another player to hand him some rope. "See, we thought it'd be great if we could show you off to everybody, since you're the best student this school's ever had, and what better way than to strip you naked and tie you to the goal post for all to see?"
For you see, they were about to reach an eclipse.
I'm going to blind you all.
In their laughter, they didn't see a slow smile come across the child's face.
"Is that so?" He asked loudly to gain their attention.
"Yup. And there's nothing a shrimp like you can do about it." Alexa- or was it Harper?- snickered.
"I see." He replied nonchalantly, nodding as if he had just decided something. "I have a better idea."
He let his anger loose.
"How about you leave me the hell alone?"
Before Jack Sayous could come up with a comeback, he felt a small hand take ahold of his arm before another hand formed a fist and hit him slightly above his elbow. It hurt a little, like a friendly punch from his buddies. The next punch was felt in the middle of his arm and pain shot up him like never before and, surprisingly, brought him to his knees.
"What the hell?" He screamed in rage as he tried to use his arm and found it numb. "What did you do to me, you little freak?"
"Nothing permanent." Was the only thing he heard before he felt fingers press into his neck and blackness took over.
Meanwhile, Spencer let loose a relieved sigh and stepped away from the unconscious football player. Looking at the shocked teenagers he gave them a glare so venomous, a few actually took a step back.
"Right." He started out, "The next person that-"
"Jack!" Alexa screamed, running toward the fallen boy and making the others take action. They no longer blocked Spencer in but went over to their friend. "What did you do to him?" Alexa shrieked at him.
"Nothing he didn't deserve." Spencer shrugged, uncaring of Jack's predicament. Was it his fault that the moon snuffed out the sun so easily?
"You punk, I'll make you regret ever being born." A linebacker growled, rolling up one sleeve and forming a meaty fist as he made threatening steps towards the genius.
Under normal circumstances, Spencer would be shaking in his shoes, begging to be left alone with tears streaming down his face. As it was, these weren't normal circumstances. For one, adrenaline was still running through him, blocking out rational thinking and another was that he was still furious.
"Go ahead!" He yelled defiantly and some gathered wondered if this was the same kid they stuffed into trash cans on a daily basis. "You already do that anyway! What's one more to me? But if you're going to make me regret being born, I'll make sure you'll never be able to reproduce." He threatened and the lineman laughed.
"Oh really? How're you gonna do that? Kick me in the balls?" The teenager guffawed as he crudely grabbed his package. "Hate to break it to you, but my dick is bigger than your foot."
"That may be." Spencer conceded with a nod while digging into his back pocket. "But I have no intention of going below the belt. . ."
"Then how're you gonna kill off all my little soldiers, eh?" The other asked, clearly not taking him seriously.
"I have no intention of going below the belt with a kick." Spencer finished. "But I will taser you. I'm sure your future heirs will thank you for that-if they survive. An electric jolt can kill anything if it's powerful enough and I've got about 300,000 bolts just waiting for you if you take one step closer." The boy threatened as he held the taser for all to see; at the sight of a small spark of electricity coming from the device some began running for the hills without a second thought.
. . .others weren't so smart.
"Oh please!" The lineman laughed. "That has to be a fake! Where on earth would you be able to get a real one?" The older boy asked, not believing Spencer one bit.
"I don't know man," Another kid called out in concern. "It looks real to me. Maybe you should back off."
"Don't be a dumbass! There's no way someone would give a scrawny shrimp like him something dangerous like a taser." The aggressor sneered.
"You're right." Spencer admitted without batting an eye.
"See?" The football player said as he took another step towards Spencer.
". . .it's actually a stun gun. Civilians can't purchase tasers. Not like it matters; I imagine they both hurt like hell." And without further ado, he went through with his threat, striking quickly in one of the most sensitive places on the male body. Some would think it dishonorable of him to aim there but he was past caring about honor. This was about survival and he decided if he had to use underhanded means to get them to back off then so be it. Maybe then they'd understand just how pissed off they'd made him.
The lineman felt it.
"The next person gets pepper sprayed!" Spencer yelled loudly, whipping out a small can from his other pocket.
"Where the hell are you getting all these dangerous things from?" One of the teens asked incredulously.
"I've always had them." Spencer replied truthfully. He'd had the spray since he was a small child. Something had happened- he couldn't recall what- but after they had moved, his dad had handed him the can of pepper spray and told him that if any strangers tried to touch him to spray it in their eyes. He was told quite firmly that the pepper spray was not a toy and was to only be used in emergencies. Come to think of it, that was also the same year his mom made him start taking karate classes which was where he learned the pressure point techniques. It had been hard at first- his coordination wasn't very good- but he got the hang of it after a few months. It was strange; normally his mom would let him drop something physically taxing but not this, no matter how much he begged.
'It's for your own good Spencer.'Her voice echoed in his head. 'You need to know how to protect yourself.'
He had gotten the stun gun from a women's self-defense course. He had run into the YMCA to avoid some bullies chasing him and accidentally interrupted their class. They had been quite kind to him after seeing his bruised cheek and bloody lip. The instructor had kindly let him sit in on the lesson and afterwards sneaked him one of the stun guns that the ladies could purchase if they felt the need. The instructor had given him one that she thought was broken. It was really supposed to be a scare tactic to frighten away bullies but he became curious about it at home and decided to take it apart. Turns out a wire had gotten loose and it needed new batteries. Once that was fixed it worked like new.
Honestly, he had only kept them on his person for in case he was ever in a situation like a mugging. Not once had he thought about using them on his classmates until today and even then it was more out of instinct to survive than to hurt.
"I'm giving you all an ultimatum right now: you can either leave me alone or be on the floor frothing at the mouth from pain while rubbing your eyes. You don't have to like me- go ahead, hate away; just don't touch me and we'll be ok." He offered in firm voice, arm still tense, ready to strike the first person to act aggressively.
The group looked at each other, holding a silent conversation that was at a standstill if the stubborn and pleading faces meant anything.
"No way." One finally said confidently with only had a small tremor in his voice. "There's one of you and about twenty of us. So what if you have weapons? We could easily take those away from you!" The kids that had wanted to leave him alone became more supportive when they heard that reasoning.
"A valid point." Spencer replied calmly as his mind tried to think up a way to save himself. "But I too have friends; adult friends who aren't afraid to lay hands on people like you." He delivered in a quiet, cold voice that sent shivers up their spines.
In truth, he didn't have any adult friends; at least, none that would hurt kids. But it never hurt to bluff. This was Vegas after all.
The next thing that happened was an event so serendipitous, it was probably the most serendipitous thing to ever happen to one person.
For at that moment, a motorcycle gang had pulled up into the parking lot that Spencer's back was facing. Traffic was always loud in Vegas and their school was on a main street so he had filtered the roar of the engines as background noise. One of the players had opened his mouth to call his bluff when he became stark white. In fact, all the teenagers had become seriously pale with dread filled looks on their faces in a matter of seconds.
"Oh my God." One whispered.
"He wasn't kidding!" Another choked out.
"Of course not, why would I lie to you?" Spencer asked, taking advantage of their sudden fear. He didn't know why they were suddenly so scared but he had learned long ago to never change your bluff if you can help it.
"Run!" Someone shouted.
He didn't expect them to pick up their injured friends and move like the devil was on their heels. Uncertain of the reason, but not ungrateful for the strange reaction, he put his gun and spray back in his pockets and let out a big exhale of air.
"Why the hell are they all runnin'? We aint that scary!" A deep voice from behind him said, scaring the daylights out of him.
"You look in the mirror lately?" A feminine voice shot back sarcastically.
Whirling around, Spencer found himself staring up at the biggest man he had ever seen in his life. He was a bear of a man, with arms that looked like they could squeeze Spencer's head off with little effort. His eyes were hidden by dark sunglasses and his hair was held back in a red bandanna. He was dressed in jeans and leather and had a full black beard with a cigarette hanging out between his teeth.
"Shut up." He growled at the woman. "There's one left. See?" He said, pointing at Spencer.
"Only because he couldn't see your ugly mug, now he's traumatized." She teased, her red lips smeared into a smirk. She was a round lady, but by no means obese. She also wore sunglasses, jeans and leather but seemed far less intimidating. Her blonde hair glinted in the light and she put her hands on her knees and bent down, ignoring the man's reply and focusing on Spencer.
"Hey, little man." She greeted him, removing her shades to reveal pretty blue eyes. "You don't need to be afraid of us; we just need to ask you a few questions. I'm Gretchen and this here is Black Bear."
He could see where that nickname fit.
"Um, ok? I'm Spencer." He replied hesitantly, fearing for several of his body parts.
"My wolf pack just got off the big slab and we're lost." The man explained shortly.
"Ah, I see. Where do you need to go?" Spencer asked; his relief evident. They just needed directions.
"We're in town for a convention. I think we took a wrong turn somewhere. We saw you kids and decided to stop and see if you could help us out. Didn't think they'd run for their lives." The man muttered the last sentence in an offended tone.
"What convention? We have three- why are you caring a metal pole?" Spencer asked suddenly when he realized the man was holding onto a long metal pole like one would a walking stick.
"This?" He asked, waving it around before letting out a deep laugh. "I'm just usin' it 'cuz I got a charley horse! I won't beat you with it, promise." He chuckled.
"But there're specks of dried blood on it." Spencer pointed out weakly with a small gulp.
"Yeah. Used it in a bar fight two towns over." The biker said shamelessly.
If Spencer had the strength to run, he would have, but fear kept him frozen. His feelings must have shown quite extravagantly because the next thing he knew Gretchen was punching the big man in the shoulder while he tried to simultaneously make the situation better.
"I promise I won't hit you with it kid. I'm not like that. Now, if you were a few years older with a bad apple attitude trying to mess with my guys- Woman! Would you stop hitting me?" He snapped at her.
"Idiot! Shame on you, scaring small kids!" she scolded back.
"Better than the abuse you're doling out! Some example you are!" He quipped back and both began to bicker with each other.
"Ur, hey, do you guys still want directions?" Spencer asked even though he didn't think they'd hear him.
Never underestimate a biker's hearing.
"Yes." They both replied, looking at him with renewed hope. Smiling at their child-like eagerness, he explained that there were three motorcycle conventions all held in the downtown arena.
"Awesome." Black Bear beamed and Spencer couldn't help but smile back because he could see a certain charm in these rough, tough riders of the open road.
"Now how do we get there? Cause we're lost as hell." Black Bear asked, scratching the top of his head.
"Hmm, you're not an auditory learner are you?" Spencer asked with a small smile.
"I mean, you're not good with hearing instructions. You need a visual or have someone show you." The genius explained. The man stopped smiling and gave Spencer a hard look, making him wonder if he had gone too far.
"Damn. We've known each other for ten minutes and you already know that? You must be a pretty smart kid." Black Bear grinned, easing Spencer's fear.
"So I've been told. If you want, I could show the way, if you don't mind an extra passenger." Spencer offered. The two bikers exchanged worried looks.
"That's a lovely offer honey, but won't your parents want to know where you are? Don't think they'd appreciate you hoppin' on with us for a quick ride downtown. What if we're kidnappers?" Gretchen asked.
"That'd be a rare statistic indeed! Men and women usually only team up when they're in a relationship and lost their child. While there have been group kidnappings in the past, they're filled by political or moral reasoning." Spencer felt the need to point out. "Also, we'll be in a heavily populated area, so I could yell for help at any time." He neglected to tell them about the pepper spray or stun gun he had hastily put away but had a feeling they knew when they exchanged slow smiles with one another.
"Alright, kiddo. You've convinced me. Have you ever ridden on a Harley before?" Black Bear asked as the trio began walking toward the others.
"No, but I know when it was built, along with the maker and several other things." Spencer replied back, eagerly spilling the information to them. Along the way, he felt the bikers deserved to know what they had interrupted earlier.
"Well I'll be damned! You are smart, aren't you? Serves them punks' right! I thought it was odd they were carrying two of them but I thought they received injuries from football practice." Reaching the others, Black Bear made a brief introduction and told them what was going on. After that, he grabbed Spencer with one massive hand and set him on a bike before sitting behind him.
"Normally, passengers sit behind the driver but I can just see you shootin' off into the wind if you accidentally lose your grip. You're small enough; I can see without having to look over you. Ah! Can't forget the ol' brain bucket!" The biker said, grabbing an extra helmet from his side satchel and putting it on Spencer's head.
"All right, fellas! Let's roll!" He yelled as he revved his bike and shot off, listening to Spencer's directions perfectly, despite the wind and loud motor. Upon reaching the arena (many of the bikers cheered at that; Black Bear seemed to have a bad sense of direction). While they were in line getting registered for the bike show, the men filled more information into Spencer's already vast pool of knowledge by explaining biker slang to him. He was having such a good time, his smile wilted when Black Bear clamped a hand on his shoulder and told him he needed to take him home.
"I'd love for you to stay short stuff, but I don't want your mam to be worried about you."
"I could take a cab." Spencer pointed out.
"You got that kind of money?" The man raised a bushy eyebrow making him squirm.
"No sir." He admitted softly, staring at the ground. Today had been such a liberating day. He didn't want it to end.
"Hey now, none of that." Black Bear said quietly as he bent down and wiped away the silently falling tears. "If you do that, I'm gonna be ballin' too and that just aint good for my image." He joked weakly as he removed his sunglasses for the first time, revealing soft brown eyes.
"But, I really like being with you guys. I've been having a blast." Spencer admitted, well aware he was pushing a moot point. He needed to go back home. Just because he fended off his bullies didn't mean he could leave his mom alone. Responsibilities needed to be upheld and he was the only left to do them.
"C'mon, little buddy. Let me take you home." The man gently man-handled him towards the bike after Spencer gave a tearful goodbye to all the bikers who seemed to be holding back their own sniffles (except Gretchen who cried as she crushed him to near death in a hug). Just like how they reached the arena, Spencer gave Black Bear directions to his house over the wind.
It took less than 10 minutes.
Stopping the Harley in front of the house Spencer pointed out, Black Bear killed the engine and helped the kid get off.
"You sure you'll be able to get back?" Spencer asked as he handed the man back the extra helmet.
"Yeah, once I've been there, I know the way." Black Bear told him cheerfully. Seeing the forlorn expression on the kid's face, he heaved a big sigh. "C'mon, little buddy. Don't be sad. It's not like this will be the last time we meet."
"What?" Spencer sniffed, hope shining through his eyes.
"Well, I doubt this will be the last convention Vegas ever holds for bikers. Also, I have something for you." Black Bear said as he rustled out a paper from his vest and handed it to him.
"The B.A.C.A. Legion of Utah?" Spencer asked with a tilted eyebrow.
"Yup. Most pro bikers have a legion of some sort they're affiliated with. You ever have any problems at home, school, or anywhere else you call them up and ask for me. They'll send me the message and me and my gang will be here faster than you can shed a tear." Black Bear said seriously.
"What? All the way from Utah?" Spencer asked, shocked.
"What can I say? You're worth it." The man said with a loud, gruff laugh before realizing Spencer wasn't laughing. "Ah don't be that way, little buddy." He said, seeing more tears pool in those brown eyes.
"But from Utah?" Spencer asked again in disbelief, shaking his head. "I'm not worth that."
"Now don't go and say things like that." Black Bear said seriously. "Spencer," He started, using Reid's name for the first time. "I don't think any child should ever feel worthless or be put down the way your school mates tried to do today. You are most certainly worth it and if I have to come down here and scare the shit out of a few dumbass teenagers to prove it then I will."
"No." Spencer laughed. "I think I can do that well enough on my own."
"Spencer?" A familiar voice called out and both looked to see Diana standing in the front doorway. "Who are you talking to?" She called out, looking worried.
"I gotta go Black Bear. Keep the dirty side down, ok?" Spencer waved as he began walking towards his mom.
"You got it kid! Keep the shiny side up!" The man let loose one last laugh before starting up his engine and driving away.
"Who was that?" Diana asked as soon as the door was shut. Spencer was surprised she didn't seem more panicked. Maybe today was a good day.
"Just a friend." He replied vaguely, hoping that would be enough.
"Spencer." She said in a warning tone so he relented and told her about his day.
"Well," She started after he finished, hugging him tightly. "What kind of mother would I be if I wasn't grateful for wild angels roaming the open road?" She asked rhetorically before letting him go to go start dinner. Silently, she made a memo to call the school later and raise hell.
"Yeah," he said softly to himself with a peaceful smile, staring at the bright blue sky out the kitchen window. "Wild angels indeed."
A/N: Ah, how do I explain this piece? Well, I got to thinking, and if I ever had child that encountered a sexual fiend, I would enroll them in a self-defense as fast as I could. The idea just kept nagging at me, so I wrote it down.
B.A.C.A.- Bikers Against Child Abuse. This is a real group. What they do is, when there's a waiting period during a trial with abuse charges, they give that child their phone number and that child can call them anytime, anywhere, anyplace. Doesn't matter why. They'll even go with them to school. The point is to make sure that child is safe and feels empowered. Now, Reid's not an abused child but neglect can be just as bad, if not worse.
I just get a kick out of the thought of these big scary bikers coming to stand behind a kid at school with their arms crossed. I find it to be a very admiring cause.
Aaaaaaand some interesting tidbits.
A Solar Eclipse can blind you if you look directly into it, or at least it can damage your vision.
Keep the dirty/shiny side down/ up - Means ride safe.
Big Slab- Highway
Brain Bucket- Helmet
Jack Sayous is an anagram. Unscrambled: You Jackass. If you've read Dumb and Ditzy then you should know I can't help myself when it comes to these kind of things.
I hope you guys enjoyed it!
2/16/15- Re-edited. Probably still missing some parts but it's better than what it was.