It's A Trap

October 02, 2010
Participants: Alek, Linus
Summary: Alek and Linus get beat up by bullies

A Wednesday, John Hughes High School

It's just after second bell and the corridor is emptying as kids file into rooms or sprint for more distant locations. There is a banging from one locker, from someone /inside/ said locker, and then a smaller bang - that's Alek's forehead hitting the locked metal door. He cranes his neck, peers out the small ventilation slits, seeing if the coast is clear. He can change - it'll be a very tight fit since a locker that holds a wiry 15-year-old won't hold up to a 20-year-old with a quarterback's build - but first… people have to freakin' leave! Slackers and loiterers confound the situation, though; at least one or two kids at either ends of the hall will certainly see the flash and atomic display when he goes hero… frustrating.

Bang. Damn.

After his afterschool outing the day before, Linus has been keeping relatively quiet during the day. But, as he turns the corner, he stops short. Was that a bang? A familiar banging? One that he usually hears from inside? He presses his back against one empty wall, moving along it as he eyes the lockers. Could be a trap. Damned bullies. "'Lo?"

Aleksei bangs his head against the locker door in relief. "Linus?" he says from inside, a short intense whisper. Rattle. "Roy and his cossacks stuffed me in here; no warning, no nothing!" he grumbles in a fierce whisper. "Can you get me out? I can't change with those guys at the end of the hall…"

Once Linus hears the voice, familiar with its accent, he's already at the locker door, working on opening it from outside. "Cossacks? That's a new one," he says, his voice a little low. "Hang on," he says, growling the words. "Door's stuck." he presses his forehead against the locker door after looking around, and whispers behind one hand as he does quick, hidden gestures with the other; a spell to pop the door mechanism open. "They got me yesterday, because they were talking crap and I got mouthy back. Leigh got me out."

Alek unfolds himself, a grateful smile on his face, as he spills out into the hallway once Linus is able to pop the door. "Thank—"

Ut oh. It IS a trap! Roy, with Mick and Dan, his two sycophants, step out of an empty classroom across the hall from the pair, grinning. "Yeah, and I ain't forgot it, either, blanket-boy." Linus.. Blanket. Funny stuff to a 16-year-old and to think Roy made that connection all on his own. He smacks one hand into his palm. "I don't see any girls around to save you.. You and your commie boyfriend are going to eat lunch through straws after we're done with you…" he says, smile twisting into a cruel line.

Alek looks at Linus, eyes wide. "What are we going to do?" he whispers.

The words come out of Linus' mouth, spoken sotto-vocce to Aleksei, before the young mystic even realizes it. "Milkshake diet, I've had enough. You. Run." he quips, his expression going dark as he wheels on the much, much taller and muscular jocks. Maybe Leigh was right, he thinks.. Just because Linus thinks it's the 'law of the jungle' doesn't mean he has to accept it. It's not all that black and white. At least he kept enough presence of mind not to correct Roy out loud and inform him that Alek is not a Communist.

"Go on and try," Linus says, dropping his backpack, and /glaring/ at the bullies. "But don't you have anything better to fucking do?" He takes a step forward, in a show of bravery or sheer madness. His voice rises a little.. "Come on! Come beat on that kid who's a good six inches shorter than you are!" His chest heaves, his blood pounds behind his eyes.

Alek freezes at the sight of the huge teens and gets to his feet as Roy outlines his plan, the youth adjusting his glasses. After this.. contact lenses. Yes, talk to Dad, get him to … wait, busy now.

He looks at Linus when told to run, and his heart pounds as he turns, then… keeps on turning and winds right back up at Linus' side. "No," he says so the other boy can hear. "Do not … reveal anything.." But he stands there, hands balled into fists. They just faced down minions of Hell. These are just guys… Big guys. And I don't have any superpowers.

"No," he says to the older boys, his Adam's apple bobbing.

Roy stares, then… laughs. Mick does, too, but Dan…. Dan gets a good look at the Look in Linus' eyes and simply stands there. "What, blanket-boy found a spine! Whoah, shit,we better watch out." Mick steps forward and pushes at Linus, that arm that pushes opposing linebackers out of the way on the field. "Maybe you and him will fit in there together; bet you'd like that, huh?"

Linus finds himself very close to a screaming headache. His brain churns out dozens of comebacks about sexuality to fling back at Roy, but he holds his tongue. If he admits it, he'll die. His friends will abandon him, and the bullies will crush and kill him. It would be Over.

A little voice, part of his inner thoughts muses. Wouldn't it be nice? Peaceful? For it to be all over?

He hears Aleksei's warning. No powers. He knows; as much as he would want to strike back, make them afraid of him so much they'd leave him alone, Linus knows it's wrong. So, no magic, no flying. Just a geeky kid with some nerve. His eyes slide to Mick as he's pushed. He loses ground, doesn't fall, but stumbles back. But all this time, he doesn't take his eyes off Mick.

"Leave us alone," he says. "What're you going to gain from this?"

Roy gives a soft little laugh. "What do I gain? Fun, from seeing you squirm. You little geeks need to know your place," he says. "And that's at the bottom."

Mick grins and shoves Alek this time, harder, causing the boy to slam into the locker. His glasses clatter to the ground and Roy takes a step, snapping the frames and breaking one of the lenses. Fortunately Alek is not totally blind without them, but he squints hard as he levers himself up with a mmmppph back to a standing position.

"We should both run…" he says under his breath to Linus. "That means you, too."

"No more running," Linus says, backing up a little. The words are spoken lowly to Aleksei, and he curses himself. This is Linus' fault; he should have said run. Still, he's pushed, so should anyone ask afterwards, the others attacked first.

"No." Linus says, and he steps in to actually swing a fist at Roy's gut. A thousand cramped lockers, swirlies, wedgies… He wonders. He doesn't have the physicals, but there are fingernails, teeth, knowledge of how to do a groin shot, and Absolutely Nothing To Lose. That's all Linus has. "No MORE!" he says, with his swing.

The ordeal is short and bloody, as three boys gang up on two and leave Linus with bruises and a bloody nose, Alek with a massive purple bruise on his leg that causes him to limp the rest of the day and a couple of cuts to his jaw from Mick's class ring. All in all, a professional beating: nothing TOO severe that couldn't be explained away by 'they fell and we were helping the clumsy geeks up'. The humiliation is worse, the knowledge that Roy and his crew are on top and everyone else is merely along for the ride. Made worse by the fact that they both DO have the power to fight back … and can't.

The pair DO fight back: Linus manages to whiff on the opening swing, but he still manages to bruise Mick a couple of places, and Dan sports a split lip where Alek headbutts him (and almost knocks himself out doing so; not as easy as it looks in the movies). But in the end, superior strength and training prevail; Roy and his crew walk away high-fiving and laughing, leaving Linus and Alek laying up against the row of lockers in this semi-isolated hallway.

Alek rubs his chin and groans, looks over to Linus. "Well, that went better than I thought," he sighs.

"That headbutt thing was pretty impressive," Linus says, holding a scrap of torn-out notebook paper up to his busted lip. "I just figured….if we ran, we'd always be running, an' forever. Couldn't take it." His expression darkens a little. "I'm sorry…I can give money to get you new glasses."

Alek puts a hand on Linus' shoulder, and nods; he takes his torn sleeve and dabs at a cut on the side of Linus' head. "You missed this. I know what you tried to do and why; was very brave. Thank you." His lips quirk up a little at the mention of the glasses.. "No need. I was thinking of talking to father about contacts anyway. They are much cheaper here than glasses. What do you think, eh, with no glasses?" he says, semi-seriously, pointing to his face. Teenagers, always concerned with their appearance.

"It's not my place to say," Linus replies. "That decision has to be yours and yours alone." Though Linus has his own opinions on things. Maybe smaller glasses, geek chic and cute. Which only upsets the kid mage more, on top of everything else. "Just wish they'd leave me alone. I wish…"

Alek raises an eyebrow, which hurts a little. "Just asked your opinion," he says, settling back against the locker. "Ehhh, do not make wishes. You are Chudodej, a wizard. You never know what will listen; you might wind up totally alone forever. You know how things like our friends from the other night like to twist things, yes?"

"I like the glasses," Linus answers. But he's a geek, so. "I just don't want you to think you have to do or not do something based on what I say. S'not healthy." He saw the hurt, there, and Linus' stomach twisted in response. He does nod, slowly. "I know. Be careful what you wish for. But once…just once, I'd like to not have to look over my shoulder when I walk the halls."

Alek smiles and (very) lightly punches Linus' shoulder. "Did not I say, I have back?" he grins. "I will handle shoulder. They will not surprise us again like this. Mostly we walk same direction between classes, should not be problem.."

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