Welcome to Grissom Academy

Chapter 11

Josh had very rarely felt afraid when he was with his brother. Danny, as much as he hated to admit it his brother always gave him great comfort. He had always proven himself to be strong and confident but when Josh looked to his brother, still standing behind the safety glass and saw the fear in his face he knew. He should be afraid of the people on the other side of the glass.

One of them was to be his teacher he had been told. That was scary enough, the women looked and acted like she should be in an asylum. Covered in head to toe in tattoos and screaming throughout most of the fight. However she didn’t seem cruel, she didn’t seem cold. In fact she seemed rather warm in a strange way. Like she would protect her own in any way she could. The fear he felt wasn’t from her, but from him.

He wasn’t like her. He wasn’t oddly warm. He didn’t hold a look of furious passion like she did. He held a stone cold face. Dead eyes looked at the when he approached. This man didn’t have his own people. This man didn’t have friends he would fight for. He was a ghost, coming and going from different places without making ties. Josh knew that when picking somebody to fight you should always go for someone you can read. Someone you could read wasn’t a problem, you could see what they want and how to counter. Someone you can’t read is dangerous. Josh couldn’t tell if this ‘Quatre’ was a threat or not. Either way judging from the display or the feeling of power running through his amp Josh knew that this man was dangerously powerful.

Quatre gave Jack a hand up. Still ignoring the stare of the crowd standing behind the tinted safety glass. However his attention was turned fully to Jack as he saw thin lines of blood coming from her nose.

“Jack, you’re bleeding. You need medical attention” said Quatre as Jack wiped her brow of sweat.

“Good spar scars. Care to tell me where you learned to fight?” replied Jack, ignoring the worried look on Quatre’s usually blank face.

“Maybe someday. How about we go say hello to our audience if you’re so insistent upon not cleaning up your face.”

Quatre was replied by a laugh as Jack wiped her bloody nose and walked around the glass to the spectators.

When Quatre rounded the glass he could see the faces of the audience. Kaylee looked saddened by something, what Quatre didn’t know. Mark still held his normal fatherly face. Miranda held her usual disapproving cold face and Oriana looked nervous when she locked eyes with Quatre. ‘She’s pretty when she’s nervous’ thought Quatre.

There were also two strangers in the mix. Two boys looked to him with very different expressions. One of them, clearly young with unkept short brown hair looked at Quatre with a fix of fear and excitement to his face. ‘Clearly impressed with the spar’ thought Quatre as he turned his attention to the other boy. The Other boy was standing slightly behind the first. He was clearly some kind of relative to the other. He had the same short brown hair although it was clearly well looked after and held the same strong facial features. The main difference was the scar on the face of the boy. Quatre was something of an expert on scars and knew the wound would have been bad when inflicted.

The scar ran from just below his left eye and curved in a jagged line around to his bottom lip. The way the boy kept touching the scar told Quatre that it was fairly knew. ‘Probably got attacked during the war.’ The thing Quatre was interested in though was the eyes. The first boy’s eyes still held a level of innocence a joyful charm which told Quatre of his youth. The scarred boy’s eyes were very different. They were sunken into his skull and had deep dark circled hanging from that which only sleepless nights can bring. These eyes didn’t hold the look of youth like the others these eyes looked far older than any other part of the boy’s body. ‘A protector. Maybe older relative?’ Thought Quatre. It was at this point that Mark began to speak.

“Jack, Quatre. Care to tell me who is gonna clean up our gym?” joked Mark

“How about the loser” replied Quatre as he looked to Jack. ‘Make them think me as normal’

“Ha. As if I was the loser” replied Jack. Her tone light hearted to match Quatre’s

“Well you did end up in a ball on the floor”

“I laid you out dozens of times”

“You used weapons. Doesn’t count”

“And why not”

“Alright. Round two, you can use any weapon in this room and I can use my sword”

“Maybe you think I hit my head harder than I did. But I’m not suicidal” Joked Jack

Oriana was confused. The way she saw it there would be two ways Quatre would react to the new students. One far worse than the other. One way that he could react was to become emotional, to run away. Oriana was fully expecting to have to chase after him. The second way was what he was doing, the worse way. He was deflecting. He was hiding, but not physically. He was acting with what he deemed to be normal behaviour. She knew he must have been freaking out mentally. He hadn’t had enough time to acclimatise to the academy before these knew people had been brought into his new home.

The worst thing he could do was to not act. He couldn’t act normal. He needed to vent, if not he would inevitably become volatile. Then when more people were brought in he would snap. He would become explosive and that would be a situation in which Quatre would end up being the biggest loser. She wouldn’t allow that to happen. She couldn’t let the academy fail him. ‘Right. It’s not because it’s him. Not at all.

Quatre was sitting in his room. He was sitting cross legged on the end of his bed. As usual he was polishing his sword, turning the natural dull colouring of the prison steel into a beauty of dark grey steel. He needed a break from the constant talking, a break from the pretending. Quatre didn’t mind the Grant brothers. In fact he actually quite liked them. He just couldn’t keep up the act of normality anymore.

It took effort to force a smile. To laugh at jokes he didn’t understand and act the happy innocent man who could make jokes and still keep a happy look. He doubted that the façade was still airtight by the time he made his excuses and almost ran from the common lounge in which the Grants, Jack, Oriana and himself sat. Quatre was certain that if he stayed there any longer someone would see through his mask. ‘Some like Oriana probably already had.’

Five minutes later and Quatre was correct as somebody began to knock at his door. ‘Simple three taps. Not Jack, she would go for more than three. Miranda would use bell. Tapping too light to be grown man so not Mark. Leaves only Kaylee or Oriana.’ Deduced Quatre as he opened the door to Oriana

“Oriana” said Quatre as he turned from her and at on the edge of his bed. Leaving the door open for her to enter.

“Quatre” replied Oriana as she stepped inside the room. ‘Still completely plain. Not like the grants. Maybe he doesn’t own any posters’ thought Oriana as she looked around the room.

“What can I do for you?” asked Quatre as he put away the glistening sword.

“Actually it’s more of what I can do for you”

“What do you mean?” Oriana had joined Quatre on the foot of his bed by this point.

“I saw you with the Grant brothers. I saw that mask”

“What of it?” asked Quatre a bit more forceful than he intended

“Quatre. You’re here for the foreseeable future. There are two more students arriving by the end of this week and then more still the week after that. You can’t put on a mask each time you step out of this room”

“What do you suggest I do then? Greet them by saying ‘Hi. I’m a former slave, the brother of the famous Commander Shepard and I’ve lost count of the amount of people I’ve killed’?”

“Obviously not” replied Oriana, cutting off Quatre. “A therapist is arriving at the academy soon. We want you to have a few sessions a week with her”

“Absolutely not” interrupted Quatre, his voice leaving no room for debate

“Why not?”

“I dot need someone poking into my life and telling me what to feel. It won’t help”

“Quatre, we need you to do this. Let us help you”

“Why should I go to this bullshit therapy?”

“Because it will help you”

“No it won’t. Now if this conversation is just going to go round in circles I want you to leave”

Oriana knew what he was doing here. Miranda used to use the same trick on her, deflect and manipulate. He wanted her to get mad with him and storm off. To give him some more time to think of reasons not to go to the therapy.

“What if I come with you?” asked Oriana. Much to the shock of Quatre

“Why would you want to hear about the shit in my head?”

“I don’t particularly. But it will help you and if you need me to go with you than that’s fine. I don’t have anything else to do anyhow”

Quatre knew that was a lie. Being a teacher and a doctor would surely leave her with little time. Yet she was willing to spend her time in therapy just to help him. ‘Maybe she does care for me’

“All right then. But only few times a week”

“Of course” replied Oriana as she left Quatre in his room “You know you can trust me right?”

“Uh sure” replied Quatre, hoping she wouldn’t keep asking questions.

That night Oriana fell asleep thinking of Quatre and what she might find out about him when she went with him to the therapy sessions. Would it be good, or would it be bad. Either way; she knew it would be interesting.

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