Chapter 3: Monday Madness
"NO! I don't wanna go to school! I hate school! AHHHHHHHH-!"
"YO, shut up!"
"Uh, Peter, your underpants go under your pants, not over..."
"What time is it!?"
"Damn it Jack, where's my- ah screw it, we're already late!"
"Wait a sec, that's mine!"
If this couldn't wake Hank up, not even the sound of a raging battlefield could. Then again, there really wasn't much of a difference between a battlefield and the orphanage...
Hank was face-down on his bed, pressing a pillow over his head. The thin walls always annoyed him: even the slightest of sounds were broadcasted like an echo. Every five minutes, some idiot would let out fart, gasp, giggle, or obnoxious laughter.
At the moment, his next-door neighbors were having a fight to the death over getting dressed.
He groaned and rubbed his eyes as he sat up, yawning. For a moment, the teenager had forgotten why the other orphans were so frantic, until he glanced at his clock sitting on the bookshelf.
He was going to be late for school.
Hank swung his legs around and planted his feet onto the floor. He yawned yet again, eyes half-closed from drowsiness.
Standard attire would be fine for now, so Hank grabbed a clean pair of jeans, a plain red T-shirt, and a pair of white socks. He then shoved some folders and a stack of binder paper into his backpack.
Slinging his backpack over his right shoulder, Hank cupped his right hand to his mouth and took a whiff of his own breath. He cringed.
His mouth had become a miniature gas chamber.
He removed a stick of white gum from his desk drawer. Gum was his last resort; he didn't want his mouth to smell like the inside of a dumpster when he got to school, and there was no force in the world, divine or otherwise, that would persuade him to use the orphanage bathroom with the other dolts.
Hank stuck his arm into the other loop of his backpack and started for the door. As he rounded the corner, he almost walked straight into Julia.
Hank feigned a bored look as he crossed his arms. "What is it now...?"
Julia held out a small brown paper bag: lunch.
"Hank, the year's just beginning, and I want you to make some friends today. It's still the beginning of the school year, and it's going to get harder and harder the longer you wait."
Hank nodded, placing his lunch into his bookbag as he slipped his feet into his shoes. He quickly made his departure, slamming the door behind him and walking off with a nonchalant air. Julia looked down and sighed, wondering if Hank had even heard her.
Her focus was soon diverted however, to a child wearing nothing but his underwear who was frantically running around the halls.
"Clothes, Marcus! You need clothes for school!"
The path to school was a familiar ten to twenty minute route, but the mere fact that it was a Monday made it seem longer. The other students passing by, however, were giggling and joking as they recounted their weekend ventures. Ironically, their happiness only seemed to make Hank's day and attitude darker.
They easily bypassed Hank, who strolled with languid torpor.
"Ugh..." Hank muttered under his breath, as they continued on their blissful way.
After he finally reached his school, he grimaced at the post. In big brown letters were the words: "Sunset High School". A painfully average school with painfully average teenagers learning from painfully average teachers.
"Abandon all hope, ye who enter here..." Hank muttered to himself.
He recited his Monday schedule. First was...
Oh, goodie. He was gonna learn how long it takes for a body to go splat on the ground after being pushed off a plane.
Hank went up the stairs two at a time, painfully aware of the seconds ticking by. The sooner to class, the better; it meant more time to make up for lost sleep. He merged into the bustling crowd, flowing in both directions. By the time Hank had reached the staircase however, a horribly familiar voice intrusively blared into his ears.
"This all you've got to pay me today?"
Hank turned to his left, watching from the sidelines as a group of five seniors circled around a freshman. He sighed.
Thankfully, the group had no business with Hank for now; by the looks of things, they were currently occupied with an unfortunate freshman. Marvin spat, waving wad of dollar bills back and forth in front of the horrified teenager.
"That it? How am I supposed to feed my biceps with only this?" He gloated as he flexed his arms.
The others in the group circled the younger student like a pack of sharks around their prey, adding in their own jeers. The freshman tried to make a stand, but he looked as pitiful as a wilting flower facing a T-Rex.
"Uh… please, I can't let you keep 'borrowing' my money. My parents get mad when I run out of-"
Marvin ignored the feeble attempt and sneered, as if he were staring down some repulsive insect. His shadow covered his victim's figure, almost like a solar eclipse. "Well, why don'tcha tell your mommy something else, ya dumbass?"
Marvin crouched over, turning his head and placing a hand over his ear. His mocking stance was only made worse by the sniggers from his cronies.
"Punk-ass bitch!" He yelled. Spittle flecked the victim's face.
The freshman was at a loss of words; he had been ambushed numerous times but never this early in the morning. Before the gang made its next move though, one of Marvin's buddies huddled over his shoulder and whispered into his ear.
Marvin nodded, cracking his knuckles. "Alright, let's go. Pin-prick's starting to bore me."
The group quickly dispersed, going their own ways as if nothing had happened. With papers spread out across the floor the victim knelt, picking up the mess, teary-eyed.
There was a feeling deep in Hank's gut. Sympathy? No; that had died years ago. It was something different. Whatever the feeling was, it compelled Hank to push off the wall and step towards the pile of papers, sorting them and helping the freshman refill his backpack.
As Hank handed the last piece of paper over, the boy gathered the strength to say something.
Hank showed him his back as he continued his path back upstairs, while the dumbfounded freshman shut his mouth and hesitantly stood in place. As the distance between the two increased, Hank silently re-evaluated his own actions. What was he thinking, wasting precious resting time like this? Why would he help someone he didn't know, let alone share the classes with?
Was he subconsciously following Julia's advice?
A loud bell rung; its tinny, synthetic tone heralded the start of yet another horribly boring day.
"Good morning, students. Let's start today's lesson with some warm-up questions to refresh what we learned Friday."
Andrea Lyn, the physics teacher of the class, began scribbling down equations onto the blackboard. Bits of chalk fell as the dark-green surface was filled with contrasting white letters and numbers. She moved rather fast around the board, jumping around with her hands; up, down, left, right, each motion more hurried than the last. The students frantically copied down the equations she wrote before an eraser turned them into gray smears and the chalk replaced them with even newer writing.
All of the students, save one.
Among the bowed heads and scribbling pencils, there was one student sitting in the very back of the class who was leaning backwards in his chair, arms folded, head nodding down towards his chest in dreamless sleep. Typically, Andrea would scold any students that dared sleep in her class, but this child was a rare exception.
After the students copied down the necessary formulas, she handed out worksheets to everyone. She walked up and down the rows of disgruntled children until she finally reached that one student, the one who always put her into a state of disbelief, one way or another.
Andrea wondered to what extent Hank's capabilities reached. To test his intellect, she decided to challenge him with questions she would give to her Advanced Placement course. Andrea expected him to miss every question; these were topics she still wouldn't teach until Senior year.
After giving Hank his worksheet, she walked back to her desk, occasionally glancing above her laptop screen to check on the student. In the ten years she had taught at the school, Hank was the only student to have ever received perfect marks on all of Andrea's tests. Yet, regardless of his remarkable feat, he had never shown any effort to improve in class or at home. Hank would either space out or sleep through her lessons, his homework would always remain blank, and he displayed an attention-span rivaling that of a goldfish. How could anyone manage to pull off such unbelievable grades while spending so little effort?
Andrea pondered this as she pretended to grade some only probable answers that the teacher could think of was that Hank had been secretly listening in on her lessons or, more unlikely, studying in his free time. After all, how could a student absorb this much information with so little intent of learning? Was it even possible, let alone human?
Once he would give her back the worksheet, perhaps she'd receive her answer.
Hank blankly stared at the paper on his desk, and scratched the back of his ear. The problems were the most challenging he had seen the entire year. He passed his eyes over the neighboring student's worksheet. Strange; his neighbor's problems were elementary in comparison. To confirm his suspicions, he scanned the papers of the students to his left, front, and back. All of their worksheets were simpler by several magnitudes of difficulty.
Hank's eyes flitted towards Mrs. Lyn, who briefly returned his gaze before focusing back on some papers on her desk. Hank's stare returned to the problems inked on the paper before him.
So this was planned, huh?
Hank scrutinized the page before setting his pencil down. The problems melted away as Hank blazed through each one, dissecting the Optics and Fluid Dynamics problems with ease, finally pausing his answering spree when he reached the Special Relativity and Quanta problems. After a few seconds of deep thought, his pencil danced into action once more, scrawling an extensive proof. Andrea was taken back by Hank's speed; it was as if he had already mastered what was in front of him.
Whether he was faking it or not, however, would be clear by the time Hank turned in his worksheet.
Forty-five minutes flew by to everyone's surprise when the bell rang once again. The students quickly packed their supplies and funneled out of the door, anxious to escape the classroom.
Hank stood, handing the sheet to Andrea as she looked over his work for a few seconds. Even though she didn't have the time to read the whole sheet, she could see that Hank had definitely made some clever points. The question as to whether Hank had aced the worksheet however, still lingered.
Just before her student was about to leave, Mrs. Lyn cleared her throat. "Hank?"
Hank sighed. Today was full of interruptions, wasn't it?
"Yes, Ms. Lyn?"
Andrea shuffled through her papers, "I just wanted to say you've been doing a good job on your tests lately, but you need to focus more in class and do the work I give you every night. It will benefit you greatly in the long run if you put in a little more effort, even if you don't particularly like this class, got it?"
Hank kept on his signature blank face during this short monologue. Once she had finished, he nodded and immediately turned for the door.
...Only to pause before exiting.
"See you tomorrow, Ms. Lyn."
Andrea watched in speechlessness as what was possibly the strangest student to enroll in her class walked out of the door. She began getting her materials ready for the next group of students waiting outside the classroom.
Outside, Hank stuck his hands in his pockets as he walked down one of the school's many hallways. Five more periods; and that was until lunch.
The rest of the classes went through their expected courses. Hank laid low, finding any possible way to pass through each 45-minute class without saying a word. After finishing differential equations, his last class of the day, Hank finally made it to the cafeteria.
His eyes scanned the place, finally sighting a single completely unoccupied table in the middle.
Hank sat himself down and pulled out a brown paper bag, shaking the contents out onto the table. A crushed peanut butter and jelly sandwich fell out, wrapped sloppily in aluminum foil. With a small shrug, he proceeded to take a bite out of the soggy bread.
Hank rested his head on his right arm, letting his eyes wander around the room as he chewed. Teenagers all around him made smug jokes amongst themselves, laughing. It was actually Hank never really did approach anyone before in the school, although almost everyone there knew about him. Hank Shawnson; the brilliant freshman that nobody could compare academically to. Still, they gave him his space, and that's how he liked it.
Hank frowned, analyzing his thoughts over. Hank Shawnson? What a crappy name. For one, it didn't click… almost as if it wasn't meant to be a part of him. When the orphanage first found him, they had no idea what name to use. Eventually, one of the workers suggested the name "Hank," after some macho action-hero movie star. Hank watched all the movies feature his namesake; to him, they seemed insipid and shallow, just some muscular, tanned twenty-year-old blasting away endless waves of aliens.
As for his last name, since Julia was the one who found him that night, and since he didn't have any documentation to show his true last name, they carried her last name to him. Hence, Hank Shawnson.
… The name sucked.
He lost his train of thought when he heard someone aggressively shouting nearby. Hank didn't even have to look to know who it was.
Hank watched in disgust as Marvin shoved one of his classmates to the ground. The tenth grader sat back up, a hand on the back of his head, gritting his teeth. Marvin seized his collar with both hands, causing the student to whimper in fear.
"Listen, I already told you! I'm sorry man, I had homework of my own to deal with, there was no way I could've done your project! Just let me finish it tonight, okay?" Marvin's victim protested.
Marvin shook him violently. "I told you, you little shit, to do that project for me three days ago! And now, you're giving me nothing?! I'm gonna bash your head in, you fucking shithead!"
Hank rolled his eyes. As if on cue, he realized that his third stick of gum was starting to lose its flavor. A devious yet interesting plan came into his mind as he smirked, delicately letting the chewed up wad fall out of his mouth and into his hand. Placing the gum in between his thumb and index finger carefully, he twisted his hand in front of him, almost as if he was handling a gun.
Let's see how good I am at this...
Hank flicked his thumb forward, watching as the wad flew surprisingly further than he expected. He suppressed his laughter as he saw his projectile landed right onto the back of Marvin's hair. Seeing the act, one of Marvin's lackeys whispered into his leader's ear. Marvin dropped the sophomore, who wisely took the opportunity to scamper off. His eyes widened as he gingerly reached for the back of his head; the gum stuck to his fingers like glue. A few hushed giggles and whispers echoed through the room.
Clenching his teeth, Marvin turned to the large group of students staring at him. The hubbub stopped.
"Who the FUCK just did that?!"
The students avoided contact with Marvin's livid eyes. Marvin was infamous for his boxing skills, and anyone who dared to brave a fist fight with him was more than likely to end up on the ground, begging for mercy.
The same henchman who saw who had done the deed nodded towards Hank. "That little cunt over there."
Marvin turned, the rage-fueled fire in his eyes roaring hot. He stomped forth, fists clenched, while Hank averted his eyes and scratched the back of his head, playing dumb. Realizing it was too late to hide, he looked up towards Marvin.
Marvin slammed his left fist on the table, dangerously close to Hank. While the students nearby started in surprise, Hank didn't even flinch. He crossed his arms.
"You lil' fucker." Marvin spat venomously, his nostrils flaring. "How stupid do you think I am?"
Hank chuckled slightly. This was too easy.
"Well, I've never seen a sack of potatoes walk and talk before, so that's an accomplishment I guess."
Nearby students who had heard Hank's words 'ohhh'ed in shock. Marvin's face turned even more redder; he gripped Hank's shirt, just like how he'd tormented his previous victim. But he saw something strange; something he wasn't able to identify.
He squinted and leaned over, covering Hank in his shadow. Yet, Hank's eyes continued to stare; there was not a single shred of cowardice in his gaze. Hatred; was that it? No, not hatred... Marvin had seen plenty of hatred before. Hank's eyes were filled with something else entirely.
Marvin hesitated, and the chants of his friends around him became muffled as his world shrank; it was just the two, a duel of wills. An uncomfortable feeling surfaced deep in his gut as he realized that he was losing.
"Marvin? C'mon man, what're you waiting for?! Hit the fucker!" One of Marvin's companions urged.
Realizing that he was loosening his grip, Marvin shrugged off the feeling, clenched Hank's shirt tightly, and raised his fist.
"I'm done screwing around, you little-!"
"Over there, Mr. McCrawford!"
Rapid footsteps announced the arrival of the teachers. The crowd subsided to a hush as they stepped into the cafeteria. Once the three teachers and a single student had come into view, Hank immediately recognized the student that had called for help as the same freshman he had aided earlier in the morning.
Marvin looked up with a start. A vice principal stepped forward, pointing.
"Marvin! One more inch, and it's expulsion!"
Marvin growled in frustration, dropping Hank. That made two lost targets; today just wasn't his day.
Hank dusted off his shirt. "About time you showed up..."
Marvin glared at Hank. As he walked away and escaped the teachers, he turned his head back and drew a finger across his own throat, sending off killing intent.
The freshman walked over to Hank. "Hey, you alright?"
"I'm fine." Hank said. He turned away, turning away slightly in embarrassment.
The freshman grinned. "Consider us even."
Everyone had eventually returned to their normal spots, restoring peace and order once more in the cafeteria. Some of the students were stealing glances at Hank now, disbelieving his calm attitude.
After finishing his lunch in complete solitude and silence, Hank pulled out another stick of gum and popped it into his mouth.
DING! DING! DING!
Lunch was over. Hank groaned; Marvin had taken up too much of his free time. On the brighter side of things, at least only a few periods remained.
Hank walked out of the school building, exhausted but alert. Thankfully, Marvin must have been pulled into detention before he could take any further action; Hank was certain the senior was already plotting his revenge.
By the time he was on the streets, he heard a car honk its horn at him. He turned to the direction of the sound and saw Julia waving at him, leaning on her cheap red sedan. Hank casually walked to the car and sidled into the shotgun seat, surprised at the rare occasion that Julia would pick him up.
Julia smiled. "So, how did your day go?"
Hank shrugged, clipping his seatbelt on. "It was okay, I guess."
"Did you make any new friends today?"
"Yeah. A really, really nice one now that you mention it."
"Oh really? How is he?"
Hank smirked, remembering the lunchroom incident.
"Like a walking and talking sack of potatoes."
Julia didn't understand Hank's choice of words, but shrugged it off; the boy was probably tired. She drove down familiar streets until suddenly snapping her fingers in realization.
"Oh, before I forget!"
She pulled over to the side of the road, reached down with one hand, and handed a large packet of papers from her bag to Hank.
Hank stared at the block of text, seeing all the problems on all the stapled pages. Jebus; there were probably about two dozen pages.
"What exactly am I looking at right now?" Hank asked.
Julia reached a red light, taking the opportunity to turn to Hank. "Don't you remember? This is your IQ test!"
"Right, right, the IQ test. Wait, but aren't I supposed to go somewhere to take it?" Hank recalled.
"Well, not necessarily. Why, did you prefer otherwise? I thought you'd feel more comfortable at home-"
"No, no, no! That's perfectly fine I don't mind!" Hank quickly intervened. The choice was surprisingly well thought-out on her part. He skimmed through the pages, losing more and more enthusiasm with every problem he looked over. "When do you want this done by?"
The light turned green. Julia turned back to her front and pushed down on the accelerator. "By the end of the week."
"This week?! As in, THIS week?!"
"I know; I don't like the idea of it either." Julia said as she began to drive. "But according to the system the test makers created, there are certain time periods to submit these tests, assuming you want to do them at home. You know, anti-cheat and stuff. Anyways, if you don't do this now, we're gonna have to wait for another six months. But hey, look at the brighter side of things; if you score high you can give yourself some benefits in the future!"
Hank on the other hand wasn't as enthusiastic. He sighed as he placed the bundle of papers into his backpack. "Fine. I'll get this over with tonight."
"If you say so."
Hank stared outside, resting his head on one elbow as he watched the birds fly away freely in the silver sky. There was something he envied about them, perhaps by the fact that they were able to move wherever they pleased. Nature gave as much of a damn about society as he did after all. As the car cruised on by however, his attention was diverted elsewhere. Something had caught his eye.
A figure dressed in black, standing tall on the edge of a distant rooftop, motionless.
For some reason, Hank shuddered at the sight. He suddenly felt his eyes itched and rubbed them quickly before losing sight of the watcher. Hank looked back up.
He turned back to the front, confused as to what had just happened. Julia noticed his shift in composure.
Hank stared at his feet, still puzzled. "It's nothing..."
Andrea cleared the room of students; there were always stragglers, some students who stayed behind to ask questions or get advice on homework. But soon, she alone once again, grading a test she recently handed out. That was when her gaze roved upon a piece of paper she left on the desk. In a sudden moment of remembrance, Andrea picked it up.
Ah yes, Hank's "special" worksheet.
She didn't think much about when she first issued it. In fact, Andrea was thinking about throwing it out. It simply wasn't possible for a sophomore to understand university-level material.
Still holding the sheet, Andrea debated with herself on whether or not to check his work. She couldn't help, however, but think about how nonchalant he was in class. With a bit of reluctance and a whole lot of curiosity, she took a look at the first problem.
Fluid Dynamics. Books had been written on the subject, and Andrea had read many of them. She spared no expense in making these problems challenging, and most of her seniors struggled with this topic greatly. She glanced to the answer sheet and towards Hank's response. Her eyes widened.
Andrea shook her head and made a relieved laugh. What was she thinking? This was a multiple-choice problem, for God's sake! Anyone can guess and have a lucky shot at it!
She chuckled at her own arrogance. Yes, that's all.
Just a coincidence.
Andrea continued to scan his assignment, but after five correct answers, she realized that it was no coincidence. Hank answered every question on the multiple-choice section correctly. Had he cheated? Of course not; he was the only student with that problem set, and the only answer set were locked away in the drawer next to her.
Andrea flipped the page over. Okay, maybe he figured out the algorithm she used to scramble her multiple-choice answers. But that would mean he couldn't answer the "Show-Your-Work" questions. They were on Special Relativity; Andrea's specialty back when she was earning her Master's degree. There was no way that Hank would be able to answer it, let alone complete the proof.
Thirty seconds later, the paper fluttered to the ground as Andrea stared in disbelieving shock.
She picked the paper back up with a trembling hand and folded it, placing it into her pocket. The principal had to see this. Andrea turned one last time towards the window, staring into that gray sky, thinking about Hank, his nonchalance, his aloof nature.
She was holding the work of a prodigy, the likes of which the world had never seen before.
A/N: Chapter three is done. It was 3,574 words in total, and I'm glad I'm back on track. A vague idea for this plot is forming in my head, so I will spend the next couple of hours thinking how things should play out.
There's still not a lot to broadcast, so I'll get to Reviewers' Credit:
DodgeStreaker: Thank you! I'm glad you liked Chapter 2, even though its length was too short. No worries, this story is far from over, of course, but I wanna do this quick so I can get to my other ideas.
Sacrom574: Wow man, that's real nice! Thanks to you too! I don't mind if your review is short, because it's still meaningful to me. Sorry for the lack of creativity; I just think that I should get to the story quick instead of thinking days on the title.
Also, yeah don't worry, he's coming soon, but just don't spoil it!
You have a nice day too comrade.
Done. I will release a one-shot most likely, and you guys might like it because it's definitely original and humorous, in a sense.
Remember to check out the stories I recommended to you guys! They're all in my favorite stories list, so you can easily check them out from there! Also, check out The Madness Combat Fanfiction Revolution's community and forum (links on my profile). If you wanna say something about it or join, just PM me! Don't worry, I reply to all comments made to me in, at most, a matter of hours, plus I never criticize (unless you're a troll or flamer, cause dudes, that's just wrong man).
Chapter 4 is gonna come soon! I noticed most of my readers from Final Salvation dropped by here too, which makes me feel overjoyed! Thank you all who are checking out my works! You guys are still awesome!
That's all folks, and I hope you enjoyed this chapter of Hank's Legacy!
Actually had motivation to edit. Don't set me on fire. Thanks.