Some people see the revolution, but most only see the girl
I can lose my hard earned freedom if my fear defines my world
I declare my independence from the critics and their stones
I can find my revolution, I can learn to stand alone...
Fall Semester, Week 1: Monday & Tuesday
Clove drops her navy book bag onto the floor and slides into the blue chair. On-time, she thinks victoriously, before looking idly to the old clock; it's probably been there since the university opened... in 1825.
She withdraws her phone, skimming through a few messages from her sister, her lips twitching into a small smile. It's 5:29. Her executive board should be here by now. Especially Professor Emerson, who is neurotic to the bone.
As if reading her thoughts, the phone dings twice.
She peruses both, then dumps her phone into the bottom of her bag haphazardly, and then leans into her arms. It's been a long day, and it will only continue to get longer throughout the night.
"Hey, you," Professor Emerson greets, sitting at the head on the table. "Where's the rest of the rat pack?"
"Missy is on the bus, Captain Everdeen is presumably on her way, and Darius decided he just isn't coming. At least, that's what Katniss said."
I'm sure you guys are really glad you elected him now, Clove thinks bitterly.
Professor Emerson shuffles through her papers and tucks a mousy brown strand behind her ear. "He's got natural charisma, Mr. Strong."
Destiny's Child is actually quite happy with Hillary, Laura, and Condoleezza, though, Professor. We neither need nor want a George Dubya.
A fair-skinned redhead darts into the room and takes a seat beside Clove. "Sorry I'm late, but wait for this," she says extending her arms in a dramatic gesture, "I just had a stroke of genius."
"Sure it wasn't just a stroke?" Professor Emerson murmurs softly, before looking away in embarrassment at the realization she made the comment aloud.
"Lay it on us, Laura," Clove says dryly.
Marissa's eyes flit in confusion. It's a lost reference on the junior. "What if we toured the medical examiner's office?"
"What made you think of that?" Professor Emerson says in a mildly horrified distaste, her face in a taut grimace at the morbidity of the statement.
"I was on Rose Hill Drive, and I-"
"Doing what?" Clove asks with a smirk.
Everyone knows the free clinic is Rose Hill Drive.
"Volunteering with the Red Cross," the redhead squeaks, shooting the brunette a dirty glare as a pink tinge makes its way across her cheeks, "And on the bus ride back to Lambeth, I passed by TJ Health Department, and then I thought, what could be better than touring the city morgue right before All Hallow's Eve?"
"It's a good opportunity to expand the students' horizon." Marissa jumps at Katniss' voice, suddenly startled by the braided girl's stealth. When did she get here?
But there's a sudden mischief in Katniss' eyes, and Clove hides her unseemly grin, because Everdeen's boyfriend's always been somewhat of wimp. In three seconds flat, she can already imagine nine or ten ways Katniss will fuck with Peeta's head, and certain pride surges through her.
"Formalities, ladies. Before we continue any longer, Marissa needs to begin the docket," Dr. Emerson presses.
Marissa shuffles through her belongings, before opening to a blank page, and announcing, "This meeting of University of Virginia's Undergraduate Justice Honor Society and Recreational Club has been called to order. Present is Clove Holloway, acting president, Katniss Everdeen, events coordinator, Marissa Volpe, recording secretary, and Dr. Cecilia Emerson, faculty adviser. Absent is Darius Strong, vice president. We now open the floor to Dr. Emerson."
The three girls look expectantly at their adviser "One of my esteemed colleagues has suggested that we may retain underclassmen if we give them designated tasks and responsibilities to uphold. Shows a little bit of faith in them or something. Kids love it, apparently."
Clove considers as much.
Before their last executive board graduated or abandoned ship, she and Marissa had been active recruitment liaisons, advertising the group in various first and second year justice classes to increase membership. Had she been a more eloquent speaker and less adverse to crowds, this might have been helpful, but to her luck it showed "initiative" and lead to her election as acting president anyway. It didn't hurt that she ran unopposed.
"I've been thinking in addition to the sweatshirts, and the social events, that we could spruce it up a little this year. Make it a little more festive by recruiting another student who could create our club's very first annual scrapbook."
Katniss's shoulders rise and drop lazily, "Why not?"
Marissa loses her doe-eyed innocence and adds sneakily, "You know, but, I think we need to think about this caustically. The criminal justice major is split 50/50 and our leadership board is 75/25, it wouldn't hurt to even out the odds with another male voice."
Clove snorts. Subtle, Missy, she thinks.
"Actually, I was going over my roster for Research Methods, and Cato Elroy is in my 2:00 class, and -"
"Why?" Clove blurts. Katniss and Marissa's eyes train to her. "Sorry," she mumbles.
Dr. Emerson continues, "He was in my International Justice class last fall, funny guy, and as I recall, he is a double major in Photography." She looks directly at Clove, "Unless you know of anyone else."
Photography minor, Clove corrects internally, and no, she doesn't know of anyone else.
She hasn't exactly had the time to get to know the majority of her peers. Little can be afforded between the multifaceted dictations of her color-coded daily agenda. Only Gale's saving grace has afforded her this luxury, and no one can say she didn't earn this right, even if she doesn't always want it.
"It's worth a try. I vote yes," Katniss affirms.
We're voting now?
Marissa dots her is and crosses her ts, "Can't find out a reason to object, and think, just because we ask doesn't mean he'll say yes."
True, Clove's conscious reasons, settling the irritation pricking at every inch of her skin, but something tells her she won't get quite that lucky.
"Glim, Big Mouth," Cato greets, closing the door behind him and snatching a beer out of the refrigerator. Johanna flips him off, and sends the blonde a dirty look, which bounces right off of him. He looks around, and furrows his brows, seemingly puzzled. "What happened to your small get-together?"
Glimmer leans back against the couch, a beer perched comfortably in her grasp. "It's a surprise," she says with a wink. Cato hopes to himself that it isn't Thresh. He still owes him a couple ("a couple") bucks from their last get-together.
A toilet flushes, then he hears a stream of water pouring from the faucet. His eyes turn towards the bathroom expectantly and a mop of curly brown hair emerges. A wide smile stretches across his face.
"Marvie!" he exclaims, exhilaration coursing through him. Cato grabs Marvel, wrapping his arms around him, and slaps his back.
A shy smile twitches at the young man's cheeks, "If my visits were received this well every time, I'd probably come around more often."
Cato ruffles Marvel's curls, softly murmuring, "You know I hate you being so far away, especially out in Baltimore. It's dangerous-"
"Can we skip overprotective brother mode and settle on something a little more fun? In fact," Marvel swipes the blonde's beer, "I think I've found a great alternative already."
"Sorry, Marv. No drinking," Cato remarks, taking the drink back. "But, hey, when you're 21-" He leaves it on the table, and Johanna snatches it up victoriously.
Marvel groans, his puppy dog expression rather pathetic. "That wouldn't be my first beer, Cato."
"I'm going to pretend I didn't hear that," Cato retorts lightly.
"We're fourteen months apart, stop being such a prick."
Cato looks over him. Marvel has grown to be nearly as tall as he is, but hasn't been quite able to extradite the boyish charm he's exuded for so long. And Cato can't help it. Can't help something that's been so ingrained in him since they were children. Marvel's always going to be his little brother.
"Boys," Glimmer admonishes, drawing out the word deliberately. "No one cares about how many pubes you have on your prepubescent ball sacks."
"I'll drink to that," Johanna mocks with a sly grin, hitting her (Cato's) bottle against Glimmer's with a nice clank.
"Cato, drop the dirty look," Glimmer warns.
Cato makes an exaggerated motion, grumbling, "It's not my fault you bring that succubus into our apartment."
Marvel's eyes haven't left the carpet and he's barely able to force the words out without vomiting from nerves. "Mom called, and I-"
"What?" Cato breathes, abandoning his staring contest with Johanna and turning his brother. "Did you tell her to go to hell?"
"Something like that," he mumbles, still not looking at the three of them.
Cato nods approvingly, "Last thing you need is that scam artist-"
Marvel's heart beats faster, "I don't really want to talk about it. I just wanted to see if she called you too." He then adds awkwardly, "Guess not."
Harshly, Cato shakes his head. "She wouldn't call me. She knows I wouldn't give her a dime. Fuck, I wouldn't give her the sand in my shoes. That bottom feeder can-"
"Look, I know you're happy with the way you live your life spreading the 'joy,' but I'd rather not be known as the dude with mommy issues. It's been three years, Cato. It's time to move on. And really, she can call me as much as she wants, because I've wondered every night for the last six months whether or not her body was drifting down the Hudson, so it was actually pretty nice to get a courtesy call just to know she's still alive."
Glimmer senses the tension, and grabs Johanna's hand, dragging the brunette into her bedroom with an apologetic smile, but Johanna looks much more interested in numerous shades of red Cato's face is transitioning through than anything the twenty-two year old can offer her. The blonde girl pulls Johanna into her room forcefully.
An intensity of energy pools into his chest. "Marvel," Cato threatens, his fists shaking.
Marvel shakes his head, bitter, "Yeah, what a great way to appeal to me, acting just like Jack and Kevin and Casey."
Cato's fists still and he unwinds them immediately as if he's been doused in hot oil. "I'm nothing like them."
The curly haired young man looks away, "Look, I'm just going to head back to the Amtrak."
"See, that's the problem with you, Marvel. You're can't ever face a problem a head-on. So, yeah, run right back to Baltimore, and don't come back til you've grown a pair."
Marvel's eyes fixate on Cato for only a second, and it looks like he's about to respond, when he swallows his comment instead. Rubbing at his nose self-consciously, he treads towards the door. Cato ponders whether or not this is a dramatic ploy, but before he has time to think, Marvel closes the door behind him quietly.
He fights the regret that claws at him from the inside out.
Finally, he stops staring at the doorway, stops expecting Marvel to return. And he hopes to god his little brother is okay, before coming to the foregone conclusion that maybe his little brother isn't so little after all, that he really wasn't that different of a person fourteen months ago.
Popping off the cap to a fresh beer, Cato grabs the text for tomorrow's class in his left hand, and returns to the abandoned couch. It was steal, a couch and a loveseat for $100. He'd invite the Craigslist killer to dinner for another deal like that.
The blonde tries five or six times to concentrate on the text, but can't over Johanna and Glimmer's giggles through the walls.
Sliding the back door open, Cato steps out onto the balcony. He leans into the railing and observes the city skyline.
Charlottesville isn't perfect, but it's a hell of lot better than home. Anything is better than home. Anything is better the roads he endured to make it here, to make it to the University of Virginia.
And if he had a mother he could count on, he's sure she would be proud.
If anyone in the world was teaching Research Methods other than Dr. Emerson, Clove would have stayed home bundled up in her pajamas and taken the class online while watching old reruns of Dance Moms (the show is strangely addicting) and eating poptarts, but she's waited two incredibly long years to have this opportunity, to have the opportunity to take an entire semester's worth of in-person classes, and she's not letting a single second escape her unscathed.
So, she's here, and she's dressed, and she's pretty sure (87% sure) she didn't wear these jeans yesterday. So, in her book, she's got herself pretty put together today.
There's only a couple of other students in the room thus far and Clove keeps waiting for Marissa or Katniss to show up - they're her only friends (and really, Katniss is more Gale's than hers) - with the full knowledge that neither is enrolled in the class.
And there's sudden nervousness, because she has no one to partner up with should that become an expectation, and if Dr. Emerson's previous course is anything to measure the expectation on, then she's already one leg down.
So, as it stands, Clove is about ten minutes early to her first class of the fall semester, and she's about to have an anxiety attack (over what she couldn't tell you) and class hasn't even started yet.
"You look like you're about to have a coronary," a voice remarks, taking the seat in front of her.
Oh, and she still has to formally invite (more like beg) this piece of work to become a member of the Justice executive board.
"Do you want me to call the paramedics for you?" Cato asks, his voice distorted by the ringing in her ear.
She must inevitably shake her head 'no,' because with one last concerned glance, he turns back towards the the front board.
The first day of any college class is always a major drag.
If you're unfortunate enough to take a freshman-level course, which you'd never do unless you were actually a freshman (or incredibly naive), you will inevitably be forced into every ice breaker activity the graduate assistants can think of until they grow wary of hearing your favorite flavor of ice cream.
And even if Dr. Emerson is her favorite professor, she is not exempt from the standard routine of reading through the course syllabus stanza by stanza. Though she does spruce it up by handing each student a copy of "What Is Poverty?" by Jo Goodwin Parker as they get ready to pack up their things. With two minutes on the clock, Clove breezes through the page and a half recollection.
Clove drops the sheet to the floor, rather happy with the twist of fate, when Cato picks up and places it back onto the wooden surface of her desk.
"It's nothing to cry about," he murmurs, and Clove is ready to lay it into him. Because what the hell could he know? What could this arrogant, lazy, belligerent son of a bitch know what it means to be poor, what it means to endure hardship?
Nothing, because like the inordinately pricy Canon that hangs around his neck, Cato's certainly always been polished and well taken care of. And she doubts he knows anything about what's worth crying about, besides maybe the unhealthy amount of gel in his slick blonde hair.
But she doesn't cut him down, doesn't make him swallow his words, instead, Clove asks, "Dr. Emerson, I, and the rest of the executive board were interested in knowing if you'd consider joining the Justice Rec Club as Historian."
"Honestly? Because you were the first idiot that popped into Emerson's mind when she decided we needed a Historian."
He smirks at her slightly, "Between you and my roommate, I don't know which of you is the better snake charmer."
Which fits, because if this loser is anything, that'd be it. Clove bites down the acid retort, "Think about it."
The 21-year-old picks up his things, "I don't have to. I'm a rather generous soul, Clove, as you will find in our work together."
She rolls her eyes. The only thing she's ever "found" in their work together is that this neanderthal has zero work ethic and even less brain cells. Clove tries to coerce herself into a state of diplomacy, a rather stale skill of hers. "I haven't even told you when we meet. Don't you have any other commitments?"
Clove finds the last remark almost comes out as a plea and that her tact has dwindled down to nothing.
Cato shrugs, "I'll accommodate."
"Fine. Our first group meeting is tomorrow at 5:00 in the underground library."
"Really?" he asks, his interest caught. He turns towards the right, and Clove heads in the opposite direction, already thinking about the countless other things she needs to do today. Cheerfully, he calls out, "See you then!"
Great, Clove thinks in falsetto enthusiasm.
AN - I know, I know, not as much interaction as you'd like, but I want to develop Clove and Cato separately, before developing them together. Don't worry, unfortunately for Clove, she'll be seeing a lot of the blonde terror in the days to follow.
Also, friendly reminder that clatorecs on tumblr always has prompts to be filled, and when I'm not writing, I'm always reading.
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