Simple Physics

Chapter 13 - Disruption

“Come out! You, you…dirty, cheating…yo sé estás adentro allí!

“Paulina!” Kwan’s voice came through the door, cutting in right after the first few bangs, and the pounding stuttered to a halt, footsteps approaching. “Paulina,” Kwan sounded out of breath, as if maybe he’d been chasing her, “this is the fourth-”

“He’s cheating on me!” Paulina accused, voice shaking. “He’s…he’s…” She made a soft, choked sound, “on me! No one does this…to me,” she insisted, as if trying to force the concept into fact and begging for confirmation. Feet shuffled, heavy, probably Kwan’s.

“Hey, look,” he consoled, sounding uncertain and possibly nervous, “you don’t…know that…just ‘cause he wasn’t at lunch doesn’t mean he’s not…I don’t know, in the bathroom, or-”

“All lunch?” Paulina demanded, a flicker of temper shining through. “No. I know him…I know him! This is…” There was a pause as she took a breath, “…this is what he does, don’t you understand? When he is upset, if he’s not throwing that Fenton kid in a locker, he’s…” She made a quick, frustrated sound—like a contained scream through grit teeth—and banged the door again. “It’s not…fair.”

“I don’t understand…why you’re so upset,” Kwan spoke up again, softer.

“He’s my boyfriend,” Paulina snapped back, irritated. “What more reason do I need?”

Kwan stayed quiet for a brief period, then said, “Well, yeah, but…” He sounded pensive, hesitant, “…it’s not like…you don’t cheat on him…I mean, not that I even think this is totally right,” he hastened to add, “‘cause I mean…Foley? Like for real? But-”

“First,” she cut him off, “I am right, and second, that’s different.”

“How?” demanded Kwan. “If he wants to go run off with some other guy while you-”

“Because I,” snarled Paulina, “know the difference. He is so dumb, I could blow Marcus in the shower next to him after practice and he’d never know…but I know when something’s up. He can’t hide from me, and when I catch him…he and his little four-eyed, loser boyfriend are so-”

The bell rang.

“We’ll finish this conversation later,” Paulina muttered.

“Maybe it’s ‘cause he trusts you!” Kwan called out after her as her footsteps swept off and away, and Dash thought he heard a low grumble of, “And I still don’t get how it’s different…” before Kwan left too, heading on to class.

Inside, neither Dash nor Tucker moved for a long while. Finally, Tucker shifted, frowning, and Dash watched him open his mouth, pause, and then say, “Well…that was…” He trailed off. “Look, I’m sorr-”

“Don’t apologize,” grunted Dash, pushing up off the wall and stuffing his hands in his pockets with a scowl. “It’s not your fault. Besides,” He looked back to meet Tucker’s eyes, “you’re not sorry, are you?” he asked, and it took Tucker a moment to reply.

“Well, no,” he admitted eventually, “but-”

“Then don’t say it,” said Dash. “Come on…” He unlocked the door, “…we better get out before everyone gets here,” and Tucker followed him out when he opened the door, but didn’t leave immediately. Even after Dash closed and locked up behind them, he lingered, and Dash eyed him curiously. “Class?” he suggested.

Tucker glanced over. “Oh, yeah, I know,” he said, though his brow furrowed and he stayed put. “It’s just…” He looked down, eyeing his sneakers, “…I mean, I guess what I meant was…I’m sorry she had to…well, that is…it must have been at least a little upset-”

“Hey,” Dash caught Tucker’s chin, risking the public gesture despite the approaching rumble of student voices, “it’s my problem, ok? I’ll deal with it.”

“Ok…” Tucker answered warily, “but what if-”

Dash kissed him—so quick Tucker’s words barely cut off before Dash was already pulling back—and he answered a startled, round-eyed stare with a light smirk. “I’ll deal with it, ok? I already kina guessed, anyway, and trust me…it’s not breaking my heart.”

Tucker hesitated a moment longer, then shrugged. “Alright,” he conceded. “I’ll…see you, then?” he said, and Dash watched his fingers raise—probably without thinking—to his neck, skimming an already deep-purple mark, and Dash’s smirk broadened.

“Yeah,” He nodded, “sure,” and he watched Tucker smile, then turn and move off, and followed suit a second later. Who ever said Monday was the worst day of the week?

An hour and a half later, he was singing a different tune.

“McGinnis and Carlyle, Rivers and Johnson, and…” The teacher’s eyes scanned the room, “Baxter and Fenton,” he finished, and Dash sank low in his seat. This was not happening to him. “Did I leave anyone out?” No one moved. “Good. Now remember, this is a group assignment as much as it is a creative writing project. I want you to work together, get to know your partner…and try and have fun with this. Since there are only fifteen minutes left in class, I know…”

Dash stopped listening. At least, a small malicious part of him thought, Fenton looked just as unhappy about the arrangement as he was. When other kids started moving together, he stayed put, crossing his arms and settling in his seat—willing the other boy to make the first move. For several seconds, Fenton met his glare, equally stubborn, but eventually he rolled his eyes and stood, lodging his backpack over one shoulder and dragging a desk up near Dash to face him. After plopping down, he immediately took out a notebook and pen.

“Alright, so how much actually sank in, and how much made music in the hollow shell between your ears?” Fenton asked none-too-charmingly, tapping his pen to the blank pad, and Dash frowned.


Fenton rolled his eyes. “I thought as much. Ok, so look…you might not give a shit about your grade…or maybe you’ll get an A no matter what you do, but whatever the case, I’d like to not fail, so how’s this…I’ll ask you some really simple questions…and all you have to do-”

“Man, whatever, Fenton,” Dash snapped, “what are we supposed to be doing?”

For a second, he thought the kid wasn’t even gonna answer—but then he spoke up. “An interview,” he said, “and then a paper. We’re supposed to get to know each other and then write a reactionary biography.” Dash grimaced. “And don’t even give me that look…I’m as thrilled as you are.”

Dash snorted. “I’ll bet, Fenton…but what the heck am I supposed to write about you?

Across from him, Fenton’s lips curled back in an impressive sneer. “Oh, I don’t know…make up a fantasy about me being a superhero for all I care…just so long as you don’t fall asleep drooling in the middle of my interview, I really don’t give a shit.” He popped open his pen. “Birthday?”

Dash rolled his eyes. “August ninth, gonna buy me somethin’?”

Fenton ignored the jibe and scribbled. “Birthplace?”

“Ughh…this’ll be the most boring paper ever…why not ask something interesting?”

“Yeah?” Fenton surprised him by looking up, but an odd glint in his eyes made Dash instantly uneasy. “Ok…how was lunch?” he asked—and that was a little unexpected. “Oh wait…that’s right…” he amended, “you weren’t there…too busy vamping out on my best friend’s neck?” and Dash frowned.

After two second’s debate, he made his decision, and curved his frown up into a smirk, leaning forward against his desk. “Liked that, did you?” he purred, watching Fenton’s expression twitch and eyes narrow thinly. “I actually kina liked it…thought it looked real nice on all that pretty brown skin…a good-”

“Hey, shut it,” Fenton growled, and Dash raised his eyebrows, moving back a bit with faux-innocence as he raised his hands off the table defensively.

“Whoa, no need to get touchy, Fenton…you asked…” he reminded him, delighting in the heat this brought to Fenton’s glare—the way it lit up his cheeks, “…and anyway, I thought he was just your friend…what does it matter to you? Don’t like fags?”

“He’s not gay,” Fenton hissed, “he’s bi, though what he sees in you I have no idea, and it matters because you’re a dipshit and an asshole, and I don’t particularly like the thought of my friend at the mercy of a volatile, temperamental gorilla with the attention span of a flea…ok?”

Dash matched the other, glare for glare, but reined his temper. “Oh yeah? That’s really funny, Fenton, ‘cause for a second there…it sounded like maybe you were jealous…”

“I’m not-”

“What’s the matter?” he cut in, sneering nastily. “Do you miss having him on his knees for you?” Fenton physically tensed. “Or maybe you just don’t like the thought of him on his knees for me…” Dash considered aloud, and it quickly became a personal contest—how white could he get Fenton’s knuckles? How red could he make that previously pale, sneering disposition? “You did train him up into quite an efficient little cocksucker…” he continued, smiling when Fenton’s grip began to barely perceptibly shake, “but I guess you never did get him to spread his legs…actually, I sort of got the impression he thought you were the one who belonged in a skir-”

For a half second, he thought Fenton’s eyes turned green—not like Tucker’s deep, forest green, but an eerie, other-worldly glow like he might expect from one of those Japanese cartoon shows right before the ninja turned into a giant twenty-tailed dragon-beast or something—and then he shut them tight, as if pulling himself back from some mental precipice.

Dash swallowed. That wasn’t natural, right? Maybe he’d just imagined…

“If we…weren’t in a classroom…I swear-” Abruptly as flipping a power breaker, the words came to a clipped, sputtering halt, and after, a tiny, sharp inhale, Fenton asked with suddenly sharp, strained civility, “So, do you have any endearing memories from your childhood?”

“Wh…huh?” Dash took a moment to look absolutely thrown before he noticed the teacher looming behind him, and he felt himself pale, choking convincingly. “Oh, I uhh…well there was this one time…” His words trailed, and he sank with relief as the teacher moved on to another desk. As soon as they were out of earshot again, he fixed Fenton with another glare. “You nearly got me-”

“I saved your ass,” Fenton snarled before he finished, and Dash snorted.

“Ok, whatever,” he grunted, “you saved your own ass…and what was that about ‘if we weren’t in a classroom?’”

Fenton’s eyes narrowed again—but at least, Dash thought with no undue relief, they were definitely blue this time. “If we weren’t in a classroom…you’d be regretting you ever dared-”

“Really, Fenton?” he challenged, “Sounds like you’ve forgotten already why you spent half your life in a locker freshman year…” and he made no secret of sizing up his possible opponent: not an inch taller than Tucker, similarly built, and at least as wiry, but small. He shook his head with an amused huff, pointedly ignoring the uneasy garble still left in the pit of his stomach after the whole glowing, demonic chameleon eyes thing. “I’d break you.”

“Yeah? Well maybe I need a refresher course,” Fenton taunted, not looking nearly as threatened as Dash might have liked—in fact, he looked downright cocky—and Dash resisted the urge to crack his knuckles. The kid was practically begging for it. “Never know…maybe you’re out of practice…”


The bell rang.

All around them, students burst up. The teacher said was saying something about working more tomorrow and partners possibly arranging extra after-school get-togethers. Yeah, right, Dash thought, like that was going to happen. Fenton was already almost packed, hands in his backpack as he fiddled with something.

“What was that you said about Tucker earlier?” he asked, and Dash rolled his eyes.

“What?” he sniped, “About my appreciation for you training him up to be a good cocksucker?” For some reason, Fenton’s smile made his heart thud forebodingly.

“Yeah,” Fenton said, “that,” and only then did Dash catch sight of what he was fiddling with—his phone. “Amazing what technology can do these days,” Fenton mused. “You know originally, this thing couldn’t do crap, but Tucker fiddled with it for me, fixed it up, you know…so now not only can I text and call obviously…but it does photos, video cam…and voice recording.” When Dash paled, Fenton’s grin broadened cruelly. “I’m sure he’ll love to hear that that’s what you think of him…”

“No,” Dash choked, “wait…” but Fenton slung his backpack over his shoulder, ignoring him completely. “Fenton! Shit, I said that to piss you off!” he insisted desperately, struggling to get his stuff together and follow up, despite Fenton’s insistence on ignoring him. “That’s not…I didn’t mean…god dammit, won’t you hold up? Fenton, please…” he begged before he even thought about, the words falling out and he almost clapped a hand over his mouth, but—too late. At least Fenton’s footsteps stuttered. After a moment, he turned slowly, others filing around them in the hall.

“Did you just say please?”

Dash opened his mouth, but nothing came immediately. “I…it’s just…” He teetered between the boiling need to swing a fist between those horribly satisfied, mocking blue eyes, and the dizzying fear of Tucker hearing those words and—he hadn’t meant it like that, dammit! “If you…he’ll…you can’t just…”

Fenton eyed him for a moment, a new, curious expression coming over him. “You actually give a shit about him…don’t you?”

Dash felt heat sweep up in his cheeks—anger and embarrassment—and, “No,” he snapped defensively, “I just…it’s…” He hesitated, unnerved again by Fenton’s expression, and why was this so damn difficult? “…I don’t want you to…I mean, if he hears that, you’ll just hurt him, and-”

Fenton snorted. “Oh, yeah, ‘cause you think he actually cares about you?” he said sneeringly, and Dash wasn’t prepared for the cold, sickening knot that came with that—worse than a gut punch, and those hurt. He swallowed thickly. What the hell did Fenton know, anyway? “He knows you’re an asshole and dumb as bricks, he’s not stupid…but for some reason he’s putting up with it…I guess ‘cause you’re not too sore on the eyes. I’m just hoping maybe this’ll knock some sense into him about what you really are…but don’t worry…” Fenton looked so damn smug, and Dash’s fists clenched and trembled. “When he leaves you…” The bastard had the nerve to wink, “…I’ll take good care of him,” and Dash’s first punch met its mark—hard.

After that, everything ran together.

Fenton’s jaw felt great, giving against his knuckles, and a loud BANG was Fenton’s back slamming the lockers. Then something hit him and—damn, maybe he’d underestimated Fenton’s ability to throw a punch, but no matter—he snatched the offensive fist a quarter second later, slipping to catch the wrist and twist and—oh, yes, Fenton’s scream was music—maybe he’d broken something? Plenty of time to day dream later, preferably sometime without Fenton’s elbow in his gut, making him lurch and spin, and the crowd’s “Fight, fight, fight!” was an unnecessary mantra as students started to gather, circling up and creating their very own human arena. Dash wondered how long he had before the teachers made their showing.

Fenton was stronger than he gave him credit for—not to mention fast—and every now and then he got the sense that the kid was just toying with him—like fucking Spiderman or something, dipping this and swerving out of that, and holy fuck, had his hand just gone through his body? Not possible, Dash reminded himself, a little disoriented, and the moment passed so fast he couldn’t have dwelled on it even if he’d wanted to. When he got Fenton to the floor, it was too much of a victory to fully process the sharp cry of “Danny!” that erupted from somewhere in the crowd—Fenton was down and not about to get away.

Blood pounded in his ears as he sank his fists in the smaller body, barely registering when Fenton quit fighting back, and by the time whistles started blowing, he had lost most sense of the rest of the world, just digging in as Fenton lay there, limp as a worn rag under him and taking the hits blow by blow. Then—about time—hands grabbed at his shoulders, circled his arms, and yanked back his wrists. It took multiple bodies to drag him up and off. More whistles blew, teachers shouted through the crowd, and Dash’s heart felt lodged in his throat, nearly choking him with its pounding, and his entire body burned, shaking with dizzying amounts of adrenaline and a sweeping head rush as he staggered to his feet and followed the guidance of those forcing him back, not bothering to resist.

“Danny, oh god, Danny,” was that goth chick, shoving her through the crowd and dropping to her knees, and right behind her—Tucker. Dash’s heart gave an extra, stuttered thump.

Suddenly, he felt like a convict.

It had been so much Fenton’s fault—ok, well, so technically, Dash had thrown the first punch—but all Tucker or the teachers had seen was him wailing into a bloodied, unmoving body, and—god—Fenton still wasn’t moving?

Tucker’s eyes found him—furious, confused, hurt, accusing—and Dash couldn’t explain a thing, still being pulled back and away. It struck him far too late that maybe Fenton really had quit on purpose in the end—why the hell not? This way, everything was Dash’s fault—the teachers thought so, Tucker thought so—and best of all, Tucker probably wouldn’t talk to him for ages, possibly not even want anything to do with him.

Someone was shouting at him, but Dash wasn’t listening. The last thing he saw before the crowd swallowed the scene up was Tucker leaning down, propping up a limp—unconscious?—Danny Fenton onto his shoulder and bringing paper towels to bleeding lips as a teacher—was that the new school nurse?—knelt down beside him.

For the first time in his life, Dash honestly hoped the bloodied brunet was ok—for his own sake, if nothing else. This was not shaping up to a good Monday.  



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