Week of Hell: Day 3
Location: Stark Academy, Dining Hall
Timeline: 11.18.2011, 0944 AM
Halfway through breakfast, a brawl broke out amongst the Payers and faculty moved with Hulga, Kyort, Rin and Odate going around the outside picking people off and surprisingly, Summer and Emberline headed straight down the middle. Orphans were, as it was arranged, to handle stragglers.
That a fight had broken out was not a surprise, evidently because Jericho had warned them all the night before it seemed "highly likely". The scope of it was what was truly remarkable as it appeared all the males had grievances against one another and, as if adding insult to injury, so did the females.
It looked like a bar brawl.
Theodore and Donnal ducked and wove and managed to get out of it, having been near the edge anyway and Threnody had to perform a rather impressive arm-lock hip throw to get a larger boy out of her way to get free, sending him into the legs of other boys that were trying to grab her. She spun clear, as if dancing, her skirt whirling as she did so and grabbing Theodore's hand, he yanked her to the side and out of harm's way as Hulga came through like a mountain with a mean streak.
Hulga grabbed people, one in each hand and "gently tossed" them to the sides to waiting orphans of faculty, with Odate and Rin moving with her, taking the snarling knot of violence apart. Kyort just grabbed people and put them down on the floor, hard- tripping and knocking them down or to the side, a little ball of muscle that was all feet and fists.
And Summer and Emberline? Well, it appeared to be extremely painful when the Nurse grabbed you by something tender and fleshy and yanked it, making you squeal like a pig as she turned you around and frog-marched you by nostrils or earlobes or the occasional bottom-lip and pushed you face first into the not-so-tender mercies of waiting orphan teams ready to help you "fall down" a few times until you stopped "resisting arrest". More than once she grabbed someone by their hair and tied it to someone else's hair and pushed them off to one side to work that out for themselves.
Emberline wasn't quite so nice. She didn't punch, she didn't kick but the sounds of her slaps and flat-foot stomps carried quite clearly. The slaps she delivered knocked the spit out of football players larger than herself and sent streamers of saliva horizontal for yards, sometimes mixed with blood. When she stomped, she stomped on feet or kicked people's feet out from under them and then slapped them down, letting the unforgiving wooden floors do their work for her.
Drake, who had been on the outskirts of the Payer group minding his own business, found himself dragged into the fighting. But he'd made it clear what side he was on from the beginning she he fought with the teachers, knocking heads and kneeing groins as he worked his way towards the edge of the melee. He'd taken enough classes that he had decent fighting skills but he was more of a brawler then anything else, trusting his strength over any finesse he might have been taught.
Cat wasn't a brawler but she was good at Akido. So when people came at her she used their movement against them. She didn't see Mike when he came up behind her and grabbed her breasts but she reacted just the same. Elbowing him in the gut she turned and kneed him in the groin before throwing him against the wall. She made sure not to be too rough on anyone she wasn't sure was a complete Payer ass hat.
"So, Mark, still think I'm a pussy?" Brann sidestepped, tripping Mike's muscle-bound partner-in-crime as Summer handed him off. He watched the burly football player sprawl several feet, smearing a clear trail through a patch of slimy, cold oatmeal. Several Orphans closed as Mark clumsily got on his feet but Brann called him.
"Fucking FAGGOT!" Mark roared as he drove a massive punch at Brann. Brann shot forth with his forearm, deflecting the punch and driving Mark's charge to the side. It only appeared like Brann spun in place but a well-placed kick put Mark sprawling onto his face again, this time crashing painfully into an unforgiving overturned table. Brann planted a knee firmly in Mark's back and twisted his elbow painfully.
"You're right, Mark," He held the squirming bruiser until help arrived. "Everybody knows I'm gay and I just kicked your ass without lifting a finger. Oh, and in front of all your friends. Sucks to be you." He leaned down to speak directly into Mark's ear, punctuating each word with an agonizing arm jerk. "Never fuck with Cat again!"
"Brann," Jericho was standing right next to him and she said it softly. "I believe Mark understands, let's not ruin his ability to play any sports ever again, shall we?"
"But ma'am," Brann heaved a disappointed sigh. "He was never really that good." He brightened, "We could still use him as an archery target or maybe a hockey puck when the lake freezes over?"
"His parents would never forgive me," she replied, "and I tend to pass on the favors."
"Alright," Brann sulked. "He's too easy to hit with a hockey stick anyway."
Meanwhile, Maus was working on his footwork, which meant he was busy sabotaging all the brawlers feet, balance and directions with gentle taps, misdirections and shoves that sent them careening in different directions. Jeremiah Abrams took a swing at his, which he nimbly danced to the side and reached out in what seemed a slow pat on the elbow and spun him to his right. That, to his Jeremiah's dismay, made him connect with Kyort. Kyort, turning around with a rather bestial snort and flared nostrils, saw only Jeremiah who was looking at his own fist and then at Kyort and then looking for Maus who seemed to have disappeared into thin air.
Kyort lobbed Jeremiah out of the crowd with a not-so-fancy shoulder-toss to bounce off of a table and fall at the feet of Yuki and Petit-Pic. If there was ever an odd couple, Yuki was a tiny Japanese girl who looked white made up to look Japanese and Petit-Pic, whom everyone called "Pike" for "Pike's Peak" was just over six and a half feet tall and,w ell, "round". It wasn't just that Pike was fat, oh no, there was a lot of muscle under there along with the heart of Buddha.
But let's remember boys and girls, even Buddha kicked ass now and again.
"Pike!" Kyort ordered, pointing at the grounded Jeremiah. Pike came to attention instantly.
But there wasn't much to hear, just some wildly kicking arms and legs that weren't Pike's. Yuki had police-grade zip-strips ready and quickly had Jeremiah immobilized so Pike could get up and let him breathe before he suffocated to death.
Pike caught the next boy, a tight end named Daniel and held him by his ankles upside down while Yuki did his arms and legs and then lay him carefully next to Jeremiah.
Cat let out a laugh as she finished immobilizing the Payer girl that had tried to claw her eyes out. "What is wrong with you people?" She asked, not really expecting an answer.
Jacquelle went for her eyes by way of reply, hands in claws, cheap nails in lollipop-pink hooked to do as much damage as possible.
Cat caught her hand and twisted so that she was behind Jackie. Pulling the arm in her possession up high and hard she caught the other girl's flailing hand and quickly used a zip tie to bind them. "Seriously, learn to fight."
As things quieted down and Payers were immobilized, cowed or generally "handled into immobility", they sat on the floor as Jericho moved to stand gingerly in the middle of a huge mess of broken chair, slopped oatmeal and utensils. She stood there, staring at the Payers as she paned the room for several minutes, as buckets and brooms and mops and garbage cans appeared. She nodded to the orphans who had gotten them and to the faculty and orphans who had orchestrated this so well and then she spoke. "First, like the night you destroyed the property of the orphans and the Academy, this has all been captured by surveillance cameras. This morning, digital reconstructions were completed and the parents of those who participated will soon be notified and receive copies of the digital recordings. The students who participated will be expelled unless your parents pay for the damages that were done. Even if they do so, you will all be automatically failed this semester and be required to take it over again and as the Academy is not open for summer classes, you will have to take classes somewhere else that meets the accreditation levels of this institution to graduate on time." She panned the room again, noting who looked angry and who looked terrified but acknowledged none of them. "Of the current class of non-residential students, there are twenty-one of you that are innocent of the property damage and you may return to your rooms. You will not be autofailed for this semester and your current average will be used as your final grade. The rest of you are still grounded and," she paused and tapped her black cane on the floor once to make sure she had everyone's attention as it boomed everywhere halting all conversation, "you are going to clean up this mess with the tools we've provided. Anyone who refuses will no longer be fed," she said simply. "And one last thing, before I let you get to it. The guilty ones are being removed from this island on Saturday and dropped on the mainland as I will not have you here a minute longer than I am required to. Pack quickly as those unprepared will have their personal goods mixed together and dumped with them to sort like trash on the street. That is all," and she nodded to her people and turned her back on the Payers and headed to the kitchen for some tea.
Then she nodded to the faculty and the orphans that had been there to handle to fight, who picked out those who were innocent of the original crime and get them tended to and off to their rooms.
Cat looked around and saw that most of the orphans were perfectly fine before she headed over to Drake. "Fighting again I see?" She said with a small grin. Her chest ached and even though she knew she wasn't really injured she was still going to go to see Summer just to be on the safe side.
"Yeah but no more nursemaiding needed, I was ready this time," Drake said with a smile, even only a day later he felt remarkably healed, either that or he was just really enjoying the care he was getting.
"Yeah you're going to have to come to the forge with me. I can't leave you alone for a minute." Cat chuckled and grinned at him.
"This one giving you trouble, Cat?" Brann stepped protectively to her side. He sized Draco up with a look of wary intensity.
"The only trouble he's giving her is how fast she can get outta her bra," Maus stepped up beside Drake and popped Brann on the arm. "Baka!"
Brann pivoted away from the pop on the arm and turned what would, in Aikido be a sweeping push into resting his arms around Maus' waist and his chin on the other boy's head. He rolled his eyes dramatically, "I was totally going to make her jump between us and make a complete fool of herself. You fail, Inaka kusai hito."
"Boys, you know the rules. Payers and Orphans don't play that way together." Cat rolled her eyes at Maus and Brann's antics. "The only reason I'm taking him to the forge with me is because Summer will have my ass in a sling if he doesn't take his medicine on time."
"Good thinking," Brann nodded sagely. "That way he gets your ass in a sling first."
"Asses in slings Mmmmm," Maus gurgled like Homer Simpson.
Drake, who had beet red while the others bantered, decided to go with a simpler approach at putting their minds at ease, "I solemnly swear, my intentions are honorable. Ms. Summer put me in her care or I would not trouble her, and have in fact given her many opportunities to bow out."
"Hell I even offered to take him off her hands," Angel said, though she had done it knowing full well that there was no way Cat would give up time with Draco even though it was pure torture. Her sister was a masochist when it came to matters of the heart.
"I see your horns," Maus commented and turned to Draco, "'Jewel', her last name is 'Jewel'."
"Maybe he took a harder knock on the head than we thought." Brann smirked.
Cat crossed her arms over her chest and winced. "You guys leave Draco alone. He's being a good patient and he's a decent guy who's actually not trying to get into my pants." She cut a glare at the two boys.
Angel saw the wince and looked at Brann and Maus, "Can you two keep an eye on him for me, I need a minute alone with Cat."
"His eye or one of the others?" Brann flicked a gaze at her.
"Go," Maus motioned them off, "I'll keep Brann's hands off Drake."
"Sure, I'll get the sling." Brann smirked.
Drake just looked confused but did as he was bid.
Once they had stepped a few feet away Angel's hands were on her hips and she gave Cat a look, "Spill."
"Mike grabbed me during the scuffle. You know how easily I bruise. When she's done with the serious injuries I'll go see Summer." Cat shrugged and gave Angel a half smile. "It's probably nothing but I'll have her check so no one has a coronary."
"Grabbed you how," Angel said, her eyes narrowing murderously at Mike.
"How do you think?" Cat rolled her eyes at Angel. "Everybody was moving and swing so he saw an opportunity to get a cheap feel. He grabbed I elbowed him in the gut and then kneed him in the nuts." She shrugged again. "It was no huge deal."
Angel's teeth ground together, "Where on your body did he grab you?" she said it through clenched teeth knowing that Cat was intentionally hedging the issue.
"My chest." Cat said softly. She knew when to stop pushing Angel's buttons.
At that moment Summer was attending to Mike's injuries and commenting on how he shouldn't be grabbing on girl's breasts without their permission because his testicles can only take SO much abuse before they cease sperm production entirely and essentially become useless. She was doing this right in front of everyone and not especially trying to be quiet about it, which of course made him squirm and her rebuke him for squirming around and to be a man and show some discipline.
Cat heard Summers words and froze. Her tan skin going pale as she turned large horrified turquoise eyes to the scene of the commotion. Shame flooded through her as she felt her heart beat speed up. She could feel the same sense of stupidity of complete ineptitude as she had had when Mike and Mark had jumped her. She closed her eyes for a moment, unable to see the look of disgust that she was sure everyone in her family was sending her way. And why shouldn't they, she was disgusted with herself, she couldn't believe that she had let her guard down again. That Mike had been able to get close enough to get his hands on her. She felt completely incompetent. As she opened her eyes she began to inch towards the door, trying to make her escape before anyone noticed.
"It happens," Emberline's voice said softly from nearby. "Plus, you'll notice Summer didn't say whose boobs he groped and made a tard out of him, so only those who know you best know it was you, unless you go running out of here in tears and totally give yourself away to everyone. Was that what you had in mind?" she asked smiling slightly. "'Cause, you know, I won't stop you."
Cat stopped moving and looked over at Emberline. She was right- running out of the room like a scared rabbit was only going to show who he grabbed. She gave the older woman a soft smile. "You're right, thanks." Cat straightened her shoulders and stood her ground. She was used to be the subject of rumors, at least with the Payer crowd. It didn't really matter to her what the Payers said, like Hulga had said the other night in the forge it was just the idle chatter of monkeys. She could handle this. Logically she knew her family would never blame her for what Mike had done and tried to do, and now that her logical brain had reengaged she felt stupid for acting emotionally in the first place. There were times when Cat absolutely hated being a hormonal teenage girl. Right now was a big one.
Brann stepped away from Drake when he saw Cat grow pale and inch toward the door. He saw that she and Emberline whispered privately and waited until they finished before leaning close to Cat's ear. "Don't let Mike get to you. He isn't worth it."
Cat gave Brann a wan smile and wrapped an arm around his waist to give him a one armed hug. "Thanks, big brother." The fact that Brann hadn't looked at her like she was an idiot had helped the emotional upheaval. Now all she had to do was live down the fact that Drake had probably seen and heard everything. Well being an idiot would probably help keep him from wanting to spend any more time with her than he had to.
It had been all Angel could do not to kick Mike into the soprano section permanently. She even thought to take the blame on herself, but she hadn't been anywhere near Mike in the melee so it wasn't a believable story. Bastard. She put on her best smile and looked at him, beaming brilliantly, she'd think of someway to get back at him.
Draco came over to Cat and Brann, "Didn't you say you were going to have to take me to the forge?" He was giving her a good excuse to leave so she could lick her wounds in private, "I'm going to need a 'what not to touch' tour if I am going to be spending much time there."
"Yeah, we'll go as soon as they don't need me any more." Cat said looking over at him. Of course he had to pretty much be perfect. That was just her luck. The first guy she had ever really liked and he had to be a Payer. She never really thought that there would be a Payer who would ever actually be nice enough to make her want to break one of the biggest rules of the school.
"Rule number one:," Emberline said to Drake, "Cat. Do not touch the merchandise or she might castrate you by accident. Rule number two: when in her territory, follow her orders explicitly as it will likely save you being otherwise maimed. Rule number three: Go to Betsy and get breakfast from her and take it with you, now, while nobody is looking or else you might find yourself escorting a paying student somewhere and have the onerous duty of re-kicking their ass."
Drake counted them off on his fingers, "Don't touch the glass-work, listen to Cat, get food quick, got it." He willfully ignored the actual meaning of rule number one in deference to Cat's earlier embarrassment.
"You listen better than your peers," Emberline acknowledged and nodded to him. "I have hope for you."
Drake bowed giving her a roguish smile.
Cat let out a soft snort. "You better go get your breakfast. You can eat in the forge." She gave Emberline a look, for some reason all of the staff seemed to be perfectly okay with Cat spending so much time with a Payer. Not that she minded spending time with Draco, but he was a Payer and therefore completely off limits. She was getting a little too attached to him, something that she was going to have to work on over break no doubt, for now she really didn't want to see him hurt because he was a decent person.
"As you wish," Draco couldn't help but grin as he went to get his meal.
Rolling her eyes at Drake Cat shook her head and looked around the room. Why couldn't he be a proper asshole like most of the Payers were? She wondered as she watched the Payers who had destroyed their things cleaning up the mess. Turning to Emberline she cocked her head to the side. "Any idea what started this?" She asked gesturing around at the destruction.
"Too many animals in too small a space?" Emberline replied. "It was the plan, wasn't it."
"I was just wondering what the inciting incident was." Cat said with a shrug. "Did someone misspell Prada with their soup or something?" Cat really was not a big fan of violence though she was good in Akido she just didn't like the risk to those she cared about. Thankfully as a whole the Orphans were much better trained than the Payers were.
"Am I sure," Emberline asked, "no. Do I suspect, yes."
"What do you think it was?" She asked with a grin.
"That," she replied with a touch to Cat's nose like she was a toddler, "is a discussion for Winter break."
"Everything seems to be a discussion for Winter break lately." Cat said giving Emberline a cute pout. "Patience just isn't my virtue."
"Duh," Brann leveled a knowing look on her. "That's only been true since we were born."
"Careful Brann," Emberline warned, "That kitten will scratch."
Cat made a hissing sound as she pantomimed scratching Brann.
Angel rolled her eyes.