Chapter 10: Get a Clue
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: They've had enough.
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
Chapter 8 - THINGS HIT THE FAN
Chapter 9 - BEFORE THE MEETING
The seven friends walked into the gym, having been directed there by Miss Ayudante, the school secretary. They entered exactly as planned. Will strode through first with Layla just behind him, slightly to the right. Ethan, Majenta, and Zach followed next, with Maj directly behind Will and the boys on either side of her. Melinda and Warren came in last. Melinda glided in and turned to the right, shifting a few steps forward. Warren stalked in, staying in the back but sliding to the left. The order had been deliberately chosen – Will in the front with Layla as his immediate backup; the other three freshmen in the center for some cover; Melinda and Warren last to watch their backs and keep an exit open. The adults already seated in the chairs on the floor of the gym stared at them.
Principal Powers shook off her surprise and gave a maternal smile at the teenagers. Melinda gave a tiny sniff.
Does she know how patronizing that looks?
"Welcome, students. We are going to get some details handled first, so if you would not mind having a seat in the bleachers? Thank you."
With that, she retook her seat, fully expecting them to jump immediately to her tune. Most of the adults turned back to the table that had been set up for the staff. Nobody moved for a long moment. As the silence drew out, everyone looked back at them. Will, his face stoic and carefully blank, raised a single eyebrow before giving the tiniest of smirks. Glancing back at Warren, he tilted his head. With that, Warren led the way towards the bleachers nearest the door. Maj, Zach and Ethan followed. Melinda drifted back to climb the steps with Layla only after Warren had gotten into place. Will brought up the rear once the two girls were seated. Most of the watching adults looked confused, but Melinda noticed that Will's parents and Warren's mother were all smiling.
A slight frown marring her forehead, the school's principal turned back to the people seated in front of her. Her determination to control the meeting was clear. While she and the staff, along with a representative from the Board, sat on a slightly raised platform, the parents were arranged in front of them in rows. It looked like a miniature assembly. With a polite smile, she began speaking.
"Thank you all for coming in this morning…"
An hour or so later, the seven teenagers lounged in the bleachers, staring down at the adults in disbelief. Of all the adults present, only Ms. Peace, and Mr. and Mrs. Stronghold had even tried to include them. Now they sat, watching, as the "meeting" devolved into a petty, blame-assigning argument. Ms. Peace had long since left them to their own devices, shrugging her shoulders and sitting back to watch. Mr. Stronghold sat to her right, his arms folded and chin down – he appeared to be taking a nap. On his other side, Mrs. Strong hold watched with sparking eyes and compressed lips as the others shouted.
Will started doodling on a notepad as Layla watched. Her lips twitched as their eyes met, and she turned her gaze towards the window. As she concentrated, he passed the notebook back to Maj. She looked at it, her eyes growing intense, while Ethan and Zach peered over her shoulder. As the dark haired shifter passed the pad back to her, Melinda noticed a small smile slide across Ms. Peace's lips before her face fell back into a passive mask. Whatever Will was up to, Warren's mom was not planning to stop it. Even as she turned her eyes to the paper, Maj changed forms and scurried down the row. Only six pairs of eyes saw her leave.
Melinda focused on the note, tilting it slightly so Warren could see it as well.
**Time's up – enough is enough. Maj – go get as many of Medulla's inhibitor sprays as you can. Stay outside until the commotion starts. Zach – when everything hits, grab a couple of bottles and go for the teachers and Principal Powers. Ethan & Maj – go for the parents. I'll take some and hit from above. Melinda – Layla's going to make it very wet down there. Lock down the powerhouses down until we can get them. Warren – watch our backs and come in wherever necessary.**
As she met his eyes Warren quirked an eyebrow towards the ceiling. Melinda glanced up and saw that Layla's vines had crept along the sprinkler system pipes.
Yep, that'll do it.
A small movement at the door seemed to be all the sign Will needed. With a nod from him, the vines tightened around the pipes, and water cascaded down on to the unsuspecting adults. Confused by the sudden shower, they all looked up. Surging to their feet, the teenagers scattered.
Melinda threw out her arms and allowed her power to flow out in full force. She gathered the moisture from the air and focused on the most dangerous targets first. Before they could look around, she had the Commander, Jetstream, Principal Powers, and Boomer encased in blocks of ice. She carefully trapped Medulla and the Mediator in ice cages.
As she dealt with them, Warren had moved higher up the bleachers and used some fireballs to keep the other adults off kilter. As they focused on him, Layla managed to catch the remaining teachers and many of the parents in webs and cages made of vines. Only a handful of the adults had powers that allowed them to escape.
Those few adults were dealt with by the trio of so-called "Sidekick" freshmen. Maj, Ethan, and Zach had surrounded the adults and started dousing them with Medulla's inhibitor spray. It would suppress their powers for two or three hours. They focused on the handful that could avoid the triple threat of ice, fire, and flora. Will came in over the top to spray those that had been caught in the various traps.
After making sure all of the adults had received hits of the inhibitor, and waiting long enough for it to take affect, all of the teenagers except for Will returned to their seats. Melinda allowed her ice to melt away, assisted in a few cases by carefully placed flames from Warren. Layla withdrew her vines while Ethan fiddled with a small device that Maj handed him. The doors and windows to the gym suddenly locked. Zach sat back with a grin while Will leaned on the rail in front of him. Glancing down at the sodden and shocked adults, he gave them a small smile.
"Are you ready to listen now?"
Boomer swelled up, his eyes narrowing, and shot to his feet.
A small fireball flew past him, mere inches from his nose. He sat back down and blinked up at Warren.
"Not your time to talk."
The pyro gave the surprised man a dark look before tilting his head to Will. The freshman nodded and turned back.
"We've been here for an hour, just listening to you try and assign blame. No one is talking about the real problem here. No one is trying to figure out what to do next. If you're just going to point fingers and not actually do anything, can we go?"
In the silence that followed, Harmony Peace stood up. Her soft, disappointed voice echoed in the gym.
"I have to agree with Will. You have accomplished nothing so far this morning, except perhaps some loss of respect. These seven young people whom you have ignored since their arrival have provided you with an example of the very issue that concerns us today. In front of your eyes and under your noses, they planned and executed an attack. With only a few moments of surprise, they neutralized a room full of super-powered individuals. How? How did they do that? Shall I tell you?"
No one spoke. In full power mode, the Mediator stared at the staff table.
"Josie knows and so does Steve. Within moments of being defrosted, they had put the clues together. None of you have. My son and his friends were making a point. We have become blinded to the dangers that face our children. Sky High remained a safe haven for so long that we have become lackadaisical in our acceptance. We have chosen to ignore any sign that the school might become a target. Royal Pain implanted a device that allowed her remote control over the anti-gravity units. What else did she do?"
As she paused, Josie Stronghold rose to stand next to her. Her strong and maternal voice carried to every ear as she pointed to the teens.
"Those seven students spent two weeks of their free time looking into possible allies of Royal Pain – looking for people she may have recruited into her plans. While they brought their concerns to Steve and me, we were not concerned about the school. We had every confidence that you would be reviewing and working on the security to prevent similar attacks in the future. It never once occurred to me that you had decided to continue with the status quo after it had failed so dramatically."
When the Board member tried to interrupt, Jetstream glared him into silence.
"Our children had to get your attention. Despite Steve, Harmony and I trying to include them in the discussion, you pushed them aside. You ignored them and never bothered to ask their opinions about anything that has happened. Sky High is no longer the safe haven it once was. I have to ask if it is even providing the education the students will need."
When she stopped, Steve Stronghold stepped up beside the women. His voice dripped with derision.
"While the first attack can be accepted as a fluke, something new, what about the second one? Please explain to me how a villain with no connection to the school manages to invade the gym, take out half a dozen teachers and staff, and then start on the students. Would someone please explain to me why the only people who seem to be able to take out this guy were a group of seven students made up of one junior, one sophomore, and five freshmen?"
Principal Powers opened her mouth, only to snap it closed as he pointed to her.
"While I am beyond proud of what my son and his friends have done, I want to know why they are the only ones who managed to find cover, come up with a plan, and bring him down. You have roughly forty or fifty seniors about to graduate? They are going to be out there fighting to protect people – and all they can do during an attack is panic? Of these seven, only one is an upperclassman, and he's a junior. If the point of Sky High is to graduate the next generation of heroes, these seven deserve their diplomas and the rest need remedial classes."
Silence reigned in the gym once more. Will sighed, the soft sound loud in the stillness. For a moment, he simply leaned on the rail and looked at the floor. When he raised his head, calm and serious eyes focused on the three parents before shifting to the staff table.
"Mom, Dad, Ms. Peace – thank you. Principal Powers, believe me, we don't want to cause trouble. All I wanted this year was for my powers to manifest and me to survive being a freshman. Both looked pretty shaky at the beginning. If it were up to me, all I'd have to worry about is keeping Ethan and Melinda's phone numbers handy so I can pass my classes."
Will's dad grinned as he sat back down while the two mothers shook their heads.
"Really, we'd like nothing more than to come to class on Monday morning and have our only concern be Medulla's pop quiz, but that's not going to happen. On Monday morning, while everybody else tries to shove this whole thing under the rug and deny everything, we're going to be watching for potential problems."
Warren moved to stand next to him.
"No offense, but isn't that your job?"
Principal Powers stared at the two young men for a long moment. Finally she took a deep breath and spoke.
"Why? Why do you know we are going to have another problem?"
Will gave a small smile and turned to look at Melinda. She huffed, but nodded. He turned back.
"While monologue, Royal Pain announced that she had plans for opening a school for super villains – a rival for Sky High. We stopped her. A few days after the Homecoming dance, Melinda asked us all a very pointed question."
He paused; looking over the sea of faces to make sure he had everyone's attention.
"What was she going to do with two hundred babies?"
As she watched their reactions, Melinda gave a tiny sniff.
1...2…okay, Layla's mom has figured it out…3…oh, and there's a few more parents…4…5…BINGO!