Chapter 8: Things Hit the Fan
Disclaimer: If you recognize it from the movie, I don't own it.
Warnings: OC character (kind of) - I've given Freeze Girl a name and a character
Pairing: Warren/OC, Will/Layla, Zach/Majenta
Summary: A parental reaction
Author's Note: First posted at FF.net
Chapter 1 - MELINDA
Chapter 2 - THE STRONGHOLDS
Chapter 3 - MONDAY
Chapter 4 - DETENTE
Chapter 5 - INTERLUDE
Chapter 6 - JUST A DANCE
Chapter 7 - TEAM DYNAMICS
"Would someone please explain to me how this happens twice in as many months? I would like to hear the official explanation for this debacle. Did it even occur to you that maybe, just maybe, to add some kind of security to this dance? One surprise attack I can understand, but two? Did anybody even bother to think there might be a problem?"
Principal Powers square off her shoulders, tilted up her nose, and gave Jetstream a pointed stare.
"Honestly, Josie, how was anyone to guess that another attack would take place at Sky High? Royal Pain was able to attack due to her place in the school. This gunman had no connection to us. No one could possibly have considered another attack. I understand you are disturbed…"
Melinda could hear Maj muttering to Zach and Ethan.
"Probably not the best way to say that."
She quietly choked as Jetstream rose slightly off the floor in indignation.
"Disturbed? Disturbed? Tell me something, Diana Powers, exactly how long have you been out of the field? You are the principal - you are responsible for every student here! It should have occurred to you to plan for a possible attack! You should be prepared for anything possible, whether or not it was probable. That is beside the point. What have you been doing since homecoming? Playing diplomat? Trying to soothe ruffled parental feathers? Wait until word of this gets out! Again, our children are proven to be unsafe in your care."
Boomer stepped forward and pointed his finger at her.
"Get off it, Stronghold. Sky High is the safest place any of these kids could be. They'd be in more danger on the ground."
The Commander leaned forward.
"Point that elsewhere."
Boomer turned his glare on Will's dad and opened his mouth. Before he could do more than inhale, Will's mom started talking again.
"Where were you when all of this happened, Boomer? What were you doing when this . . . person waltzed in like he owned the place? Propping up the buffet table, perchance? Do you mean to tell me you were not even trying to watch the doors?"
His eyes narrowed, but Melinda tuned him out as she noticed a new figure coming across the gym. The woman had long, dark brown hair framing a delicate, pale face. Her petite, wispy frame almost seemed to float across the floor. She wore jeans and sandals, with a lavender peasant top. A sharp sense of recognition hit Melinda, but she knew she had never met this woman before. When she drew closer, Melinda's blue eyes widened at the soothing energy flowing from a dreamy violet gaze. Melinda's jaw dropped.
This has to be…
Before she finished the thought, the woman reached the group.
Warren's head shot around and he focused on the smaller figure coming up to him. Confusion flickered across his face before he settled back into a blank inscrutability.
"Mom? What are you doing here?"
She smiled and glanced at the six people surrounding her son. Gracing all of them with a benevolent look, she threw Melinda the tiniest of winks before turning to the rest of the adults. She nodded to the Strongholds before looking at the teachers with the detached implacability of the Mediator. Warren touched her shoulder.
"Give me a moment, love. Principal Powers, I am not known for taking sides in these kinds of arguments, but I tell you now that I stand behind everything Josie has just been saying."
Jetstream winced, but the Mediator shook her head.
"Yes, I could both hear and feel you as I arrived, but that is quite all right. You neither said nor did anything wrong. As both a hero and a mother, you should be outraged. Our children should be safe in this school, Principal Powers, particularly from outsiders."
Principal Powers broke in, exasperation clear in every line of her face. She threw up her hands in disbelief.
"Who could possibly have guessed there was some kind of outside danger to the school?"
A calm voice answered her.
The adults all turned to look at Will.
Melinda knew what they were seeing – a small rag-tag group of students who had no business being friends. Five hero-class adults looked at the mixed bag, some with pride and others with condescending exasperation. She grew annoyed with the teachers' disdainful attitudes.
What do they know? They see the slightly gawky good-boy… the peacenik hippy…the sullen Goth-girl…the lanky clown…the nerdy geek…the brooding bad-boy…the preppy princess. They don't know us. They don't understand that Will's image hides a potentially stronger leader than his dad has ever been. They can't see under Layla's peacefulness to the fierce protective instincts she holds for those she loves. They gloss right over Maj's secret compassion. None of the teachers bother to see the optimism that Zach gives everyone around him. In the same way, they completely ignore Ethan's enthusiasm that makes people try just a little bit harder. They had written off Warren from the start, and so they still ignore his carefully protected noble streak.
Principal Powers eyed Will and spoke up, interrupting Melinda's internal rant.
"What do you mean, you did?"
Will raised his chin and stared back at her. He gestured at his friends.
"We knew there had to be more going on than just Gwen and her friends. It was too…"
Boomer broke in.
"You teenage brats think you know everything! How could you…"
A large hand grabbed the front of Boomer's suit and dragged him around to face one very unhappy Commander.
"First, never speak to my son or his friends that way again. Second, not only did they realize that Royal Pain wasn't working alone, but they brought it to mine and Jetstream's attention. We've been working on it quietly since the week after homecoming. These kids have been doing the same thing in their spare time. This is the first week they've taken any free time, all to get ready for this dance. They wanted to relax and enjoy themselves, and if you lot had been doing your work properly, they would have."
The two men stood eyeball to eyeball, glaring and daring the other to try something. Boomer was the first to break, backing away while muttering under his breath. Principal Powers pushed him behind her to give everyone more breathing space before turning to Will's dad.
"What exactly did they bring you?"
Jetstream and the Mediator shook their heads at the same time. Jetstream gestured for Warren's mom to go first. She smiled at her before turning back to the principal.
"Not tonight. These kids have done their fair share for the evening, so they are going home to relax. Tomorrow afternoon is soon enough to go into this further."
Will's mom stepped up to the plate next as Melinda, Maj, and Layla hid smiles behind their hands. The teachers were completely floored that anyone would blame them for this whole fiasco.
"I don't care what you have to do, or what you have to reschedule, but you clear some of your calendar tomorrow. We will have a meeting to discuss all of this, and you teachers will be respectful when talking to these kids. They've seen what you did not, and I'm beginning to get cranky about the whole thing."
Powers started sputtering.
"You can't just decide to drop everything right here and then leave! We still have to deal with this person, and…"
Jetstream's eyes flashed as she swung back around to face the teachers. Her voice, however, dropped into a cold anger, even more frightening than her fiery fury had been.
"Do not attempt to lecture me. I cannot begin to tell you how…unhappy I am with this entire situation. When the children brought their thoughts to me, it never crossed my mind that you were not somehow trying to improve security at this school. Steve and I worked on this from our angle, secure in the knowledge that you and Boomer were here to keep our son and his friends safe. If it had occurred to me that you would make no changes, that you would make no plans for possible problems now that a weakness had been found, I can guarantee you would have seen me sooner. While we have been pursuing lines of investigation in the world, and the kids have been studying and searching for potential assailants, what have you been doing? Twiddling your thumbs as far as I can tell."
When the principal started to speak, Jetstream threw up her hand.
"Not tonight. You deal with the authorities and that idiot down there. We are taking the kids home. Good night."
As one, the three parents began ushering the seven students out of the gym. Melinda just smiled as the other kids melted out of their way.
No one's going to mess with Jetstream tonight!
Plans were quickly made for all of them, Warren included, to stay overnight at the Strongholds. His mother had to return to the careful negotiations she was overseeing to prevent bloodshed is some tiny corner of Europe. She would arrange to meet them at the school the following afternoon.
As they boarded the bus for Ron to fly them home, with Jetstream and the Commander just out the starboard side, Melinda turned to Will and gave him a big smile.
"Will – I really like your mom."