Buddy_Wazzizname Jun 6th, 2015 (edited) 731 Never
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- >Get a call.
- >Another 'incident' at school with your daughter.
- >Swallowing the unnameable feeling in your gut, you clock out work early and drive to her school.
- >Again, there are the glares of other parents to greet you in the parking lot.
- >Again, you can hear the screaming from down the hall as you approach the office.
- >Again, you enter and are immediately greeted by the sight of your daughter's usual tormenters, all conveniently lined up in chairs against the wall opposite your little girl so they can stare her down.
- >This time, however, they're all sporting black eyes, fat lips and bloody noses.
- >That's... a new one.
- >You look down to your daughter's usual seat and find a young boy, maybe a grade lower, sitting right next to her.
- >One of his eyes is covered up in bandage and gauze.
- >His face is cut up to hell, probably from the set of bloodied keys sitting on the principal's desk.
- >He's bruised everywhere and his knuckles are torn open, oozing blood all over his pant legs and the floor.
- >There's a small Maltese Cross tattooed on his forearm, marking him as an adept of the Paladin Hospitaller Order.
- >And he's glaring right back at the kids on the opposite wall, clearly ready for round two.
- >All the usual screaming of the teachers, parents and the principal you heard on the way to this office is actually directed at him instead of your little girl this time, who, for her part, only has a teensy scuff on her cheek as she stares down at the floor and silently tears up.
- >You ask what the hell happened.
- >Immediately the kids on the far wall burst into tears.
- >Oh, great. This shit again.
- >"W-we were just playing with the monster, when this scary kid showed up and started yelling at us..."
- >Where've you heard that one before...
- >"We told him to go away and maybe pushed him a little, but then he started hitting us!"
- >Anything else they could say is drowned by their collective sobbing and blubbering.
- >The young Acolyte, easily a head shorter than the smallest among them, is clearly unamused.
- >"So then, Mister, what were YOU doing?" the Principal wheels around and asks the boy, leaning down in his face, trying to look intimidating.
- >"My job."
- >"Don't give me that, you're a PALADIN! you're supposed to-"
- >"DEFEND THE WEAK." he cuts the rotund old man off, causing him to stumble back and sputter a little, hands raised defensively.
- >In retrospect, yeah you guessed that even a young Acolyte with the most basic Paladin training under his belt was probably more than a match for a grown man.
- >Screaming in ones face was probably not a bright idea.
- >"They..." your ears perk up as your daughter speaks for the first time. "Held him down... and cut his face... with keys..."
- >"N-NO!" The fat kid on the opposite wall, easily taller than you sporting a face that looked like it had a recent, intimate encounter with a brick wall manages to sputter through his swollen lips "I just wanted him to stop hitting me!"
- >"That's funny, Tub-Tub, you were laughing pretty hard before I got out of your hold." The Acolyte fires back, causing the giant to flinch back and whimper slightly.
- >Silence falls over the office, until the Principal finally nuts up and finds his voice.
- >"Two weeks suspension, all of you." he manages before turning to you. "Mr. Anon, I'm sure you're aware that most Acolytes are orphans, would you mind driving this... young man... back to his monastery?"
- >The car ride was... odd, to say the least.
- >Resolving to drop your daughter, Shizuka, off at home before heading to the monastery, the whole way your rearview treated you to the surreal sight of your little girl, head hung low and occasionally sneaking glances beneath her long locks at the little paladin sharing the bench-seat with her, who was glancing back on occasion as if trying to figure out what she was looking at.
- >The boy, for his part, had finally pulled his hands out from being wrapped up in his shirt, clearly satisfied they'd scabbed up enough that he wasn't going to bleed all over your car.
- >His face though...
- >"Hey, kid? Never really got your name."
- >"Oh, uhh... I'm John." he replied, clearly not expecting the sudden break in silence.
- >You would've asked for his last name, but you got the feeling he didn't actually have one.
- >"Well, John, those cuts on your face look pretty bad... should we take you to get them stitched up?" Usually you'd feel like an idiot for even asking a kid that, but this whole situation was far from usual.
- >"Huh? Oh, no, it fine. Even as an Acolyte I can perform minor healing spells. I just need to eat something before I can do it again."
- >Well, that kinda made sense, he is a Hospitaller after al-waitaminute.
- >"...Yeah." he scratches the back of his neck and avoids your gaze.
- >You remember the tiny scuff on Shizu's cheek back at the office, and watching her curl her hair around herself tighter and go from gloomy to outright depressed only confirmed your suspicion; that he'd burned through all his magic helping her.
- >And now it's back to awkward silence.
- >"Would you... like to come to dinner then?" Shizu finally speaks. Causing the boy to stare at her like she just said something profoundly alien.
- >"Uh... sure, if your Dad's okay with it."
- >"I am." You say, not missing a beat.
- >At the very least, you weren't letting this kid go home without a warm meal.
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