Fandom: Sky High
Disclaimer: Not Mine. Disney's
Prompt: 085. She
Word Count: 2476
Rating: PG for a few mild bad words.
Summary: "No matter what I do, I can't get them to stop talking to me."
Author's Note: Some missing scenes set after Warren agrees to go to Homecoming with Layla.
The Better Part of Valor
Well, not really. But it turned out that the whole Homecoming Date charade was just the beginning. Now, when he was at school, at anytime, she might suddenly appear, talking to him, sometimes touching him or taking his hand, and always smiling at him.
And it wasn’t just her. Ethan, Zach and Magenta were always in tow in some combination or another.
Take the lunchroom, for example. He used to be able to sit at his table, content that nobody wanted to sit within ten feet of him for fear of being roasted. Now, every day, like clockwork, she appeared, with the whole flock of Sidekicks, invading his table, and showing absolutely no fear whatsoever that he might be planning to fry them.
It was not good for his image.
“We have to sit together, at least for a few minutes so that Will will think it’s for real,” she had explained to him, looking at him with her big puppy dog eyes. And she pointed out that if Will didn’t see them together, there was no way that he could become jealous of them and if Will wasn’t jealous then what was the point?
“I thought you said this would be painless,”
And he would find himself more and more often at a total loss for words.
The first day, he’d lasted about two minutes before heading for the hills. The second, about five. And each day, Will Stronghold shuffled by their table pretending not to care in a way that made it obvious that he actually cared quite a bit. And after he had gone by, Layla would have a big grin on her face that she would try to hide, but
So by the second week, Layla was bringing even more little bribes for him like her homemade fruit and cookies. And there was even an odd little gift or two like a black studded leather bracelet she claimed she made in art class.
“That’s the kind of thing girls do for their Homecoming Date,” She’d told him with a wink. “And we have to make it look good,” She said in a conspiratorial voice.
By Tuesday, he was up to eight whole minutes before he stormed away from the table. And by now other people besides Stronghold were starting to notice the strange phenomena of
“What the hell is that about?”
On Wednesday, he got carried away and actually found himself in a ten minute conversation with Magenta about the history of Tiger Man.
“No,” he had tried to explain to her gruffly, “I had that class last year. Tiger Man was NOT bitten by a radioactive tiger. It was a regular tiger, and then he AND the tiger were exposed to radiation. That’s how he and the tiger became symbiotic.”
When she tried to object he made her pull out her History of Superheroes text book, and he’d even started thumbing through it to find that passage he remembered before he noticed that Ethan was leaning on his left arm, and Zach was leaning on his right. Magenta was tapping her fingers and leaning over from the other side. And Layla was beaming broadly at him from her place directly across the table from him.
And for a moment it had seemed almost normal, sitting with a group of friends, discussing homework and sharing lunch.
Layla thought she saw a wistful look shining in his black eyes. That part of him that desperately wanted to have friends and go on dates and be normal like he used to be a long time ago. But he didn’t let that show for long.
“Oh, screw this!” And
“Man, I am really off my game,” he thought to himself as he lurched away from the cafeteria as fast as he could.
Speechless yet again,
Later that day, Layla had found him by his locker after school and insisted on standing there with him for a few minutes, “To keep up appearances since we missed lunch today,” she had whispered to him conspiratorially with her big earnest eyes. And she was standing very close to him and Warren noticed that she smelled like honeysuckle, and that she was very small, and that she was smiling at him just the same as she had at the Paper Lantern. And that nothing he had done since then had changed that one bit. And it didn’t even matter to her that people stared and pointed at them as they walked by, or even that Gwen and Penny walked by openly snickering.
And then she went into her babbling routine, which started something like “You’ll never believe what happened today….” And then would go on for a few minutes. And it didn’t really matter what she was saying to him. And the whole time she’d smiled warmly at him, and finally, pulled out some more cookies that she’d meant to give him at lunchtime. Chocolate Chip was his favorite, she had learned. (“Because that’s the kind of thing girls do for their Homecoming dates,” she was always explaining to him.)
But just as he was taking the cookies from her, Stronghold walked by apparently trying to catch up to Gwen and Penny. Layla was mid giggle when she saw him walk by, and her eyes followed him down the hallway, her face darkening. By the time she looked back at
By that evening,
That night, after he was done with his shift at the Paper Lantern, he returned exhausted to the two bedroom apartment he shared with his mother, he found her there waiting for him, even though it was almost midnight.
She was beaming.
“Guess what I got out of storage!” Laura Peace said as
“You’ll have to try it on, of course,” The blond haired, blue eyed woman beamed. “But I think it will fit you just perfectly,” She gushed.
“It’s your father’s,” she said simply. “But he doesn’t have any use for it at the moment, and you do.” She said firmly, holding the bag out to him, insistence on her scarred, care worn face.
“Oh, let me at least hold it up to you to make sure it doesn’t need any adjustments,” Laura finally said to him as she pulled out the jacket and held it up to her son’s shoulders.
“Maybe just a little bit too big, but not enough to make a difference,” She told him. “You look so much like him.” She said wistfully. “And he would have been proud of you, just like I am. Before…” But then she shook her head and didn’t finish.
“Yeah, I know.”
Laura continued, on a new topic. “I’m so happy you’re going to Homecoming this year! I knew you’d find a way to settle in up there. I just knew it!”
And Laura’s desire for
So he held up the jacket again and put it on, “So, I guess it looks OK, he asked her?”
“It looks wonderful,” Laura gushed. “I’ll take it in tomorrow and get it cleaned and pressed, and it will be as good as new.”
Then he asked the question that was really on his mind. “And you think Layla will like it?”
Laura Peace laughed said with a twinkle in her eye. “I know she will.”
And the killer thing, she was still smiling with this genuine warmth and radiance, that not even her petty annoyance with Will Stronghold, or her jealousy of Gwen Grayson could hide.
“Hi, Cutie,” she had called him cheerily. And when she took his gloved hand into both of hers, and for a moment all he could do was stare at her. And it’s entirely possible that he even enjoyed the way the sunshine glinted on her red hair, and the way her small fingers felt entwined around his.
He might even, for a moment have pretended that her babbling about how she couldn’t wait to go to Homecoming with him, was for real and not part of a (rather lame) plan to make Will Stronghold jealous. And that fantasy might have lasted for as long as she was looking at him.
But then she looked away from him. He saw her eyes follow Stronghold, arm in arm with Gwen Grayson, and heard her voice trail off like the sight of them had siphoned all the joy from her.
He hadn’t planned for his hand to burst into flame just at that moment. But it did. It was entirely spontaneous. But he managed to cover it well.
“Never call me Cutie,” he’d told her before taking the better part of valor.