"Give me a smidge of confidence
Give me a speck of something that makes sense
Give me an ideal of dependency
Give me a dash of loyalty
I woke up again with a jolt, the bell abrasive in my ear. Fourth and fifth period seemed to have gone by too quickly. For half a moment I considered that that was the bell to start fifth period, but when I saw everyone packing up to go to the six/seven block, I grumbled with the grim recognition. I got up, rubbing my eyes and ruffling my hair a little as I shambled out of class. Again with the glorious hallway traffic. I felt pretty good-next period I had Ms. Fey for language arts, and she was chill as can be. Aside from that crazy morning schedule mash, today was going pretty good. Only two more days 'till the weekend, after all.
But then I ran into something. Something that, despite its normality for a girl like me, stuck out in my memory for a long time.
First thing I heard was Ike calling out to another of his victims. Ike was your classic school bully. Even across the ocean I couldn't escape the typical jerk and his entourage who want nothing more in life than to rough up little guys. But this little guy was Artemis-that cleverclogs kid that I shared philosophy and Po's torment with. Even from the other edge of the vaulted hall, I could pick out Ike from the sea of kids. Not like this was a tough thing to do; Ike was a head taller than any other student and had twice the acne. He was shoving a kid that I couldn't quite recognize from this distance, but by the pale skin and swatches of black hair I caught between traveling students, it was Fowl. I made my way over, dodging around other students to get closer.
"That's a shiny GPA you've got there," taunted Ike, going on to call Artemis an unprintable name. By this time I was crouching behind a herd of bystanders, watching the goings-on between two heads. "What'd ya do, memorize the textbook?"
"I could if need be," growled Artemis. By the strain in his voice I could tell he was keeping his temper under control-but just barely. "How far did you read into it? An entire sentence before the big words made your head swim?"
'Oohs' and 'Burns!' rippled through the crowd. I didn't like the look in Ike's eyes. He wasn't used to being taunted like that, and whatever he wasn't used to he usually punched. With Arty's thin frame, I doubted that he could take a solid hit from Ike without a trip to the ER.
"I'd rather be an idiot than a dorkfaced % *#& like you!" retorted Ike. One of his partners in crime backed him up, his voice tinny and a little too high to be a natural man-voice.
"Yeah!" he piped, his white-blond hair greasy and mussed up. I think this one was Garret-but he was twins with another kid named Garth, and I could never keep them straight. "He'd rather be a dork!"
"That's idiot, idiot," corrected Ike, elbowing Garret in the ribs. Garret doubled over and whimpered.
"Survival of the fittest, eh?" mused Artemis, straightening his school tie. I had to admit, you could tell that he'd been practicing his scary face. I got chills just looking at those narrowed eyes and that vampiric smirk. "A flawed regime. Obviously if you were truly powerful, you wouldn't have to remind your subordinates to behave all the time. True loyalty is nothing you possess. Why would you expect them to be loyal?"
"What do you know about loyalty?" bellowed Ike. I adjusted my position in the crowd. I could tell by his stance that he was just about finished with a word battle he was losing. "I know your type. You think you're all 'that,' but when the blows start coming, you go crying to mom!"
In the same fraction of a second, three things happened. Ike rushed forward, cocking back a vicious overhand slug. Artemis paled even more than I thought was possible, his deep blue eyes widening at the sight of the oncoming onslaught. And I slipped in between them, so catlike that nobody noticed until Ike toppled backwards with a violent swear and a rattled jaw.
"That's right, ya *#&$ing %* &!" I cussed, watching as Ike spat out a bloody tooth with murder in his eye. I smugly rolled up my sleeve, hot anger bubbling up within me and tinging my speech. "That'll teach ya to pick on someone your own size! But would ya take a look at that pot-belly! A fight with a hippo would be no better than this!"
Then the glory begins.
Garret-or is it Garth?-rushed at me, carelessly berserking. I tackled him in the gut, punching him in the eye as he fell. Another of Ike's cronies seized me by the middle and pulled me up off of him before I could do any more damage. But I stomped on his toe as hard as I possibly freakin' could, plus elbowing him in the ribs. When he still didn't let go, I kept it up until Ike up and socked me in the stomach.
I doubled over, the breath knocked from my lungs. Agony blossomed in my stomach, my muscles audaciously demanding why they'd been put in the line of fire. But as I drew another breath, I started laughing. I'd never done that before in a fight. But I laughed, my strawberry blonde hair dangling around my face so that nobody could see the ridiculous mirth that cracked my face wide open. Finally I looked up, smiling straight into Ike's ugly mug.
"Eat this, $*%& #(*#." I giggled.
Now that the person holding me back was distracted and under the impression that I was incapacitated, I lunged forward with a burst of speed, his grip falling away like noodles. I headbutted Ike straight in the gut, his squished organs sending surges of pain through his nerves. Then I pulled his head down and knee'd him in the face, crunching his nose into a bloody pulp. I shoved him in the side, causing him to roll gracelessly to the floor. I stomped on his back, drawing a moan and a gory cough. I pounded again, the blood rage alight in my eyes, but then Garret/Garth tackled me off of him. I rolled on top of him, giving him another black eye to match his left one. But my true target was Ike.
I sensed someone coming up behind me, and with predator instincts whirled and pounced blindly. Luckily, it was Ike, and now that I had pinned him with a half-nelson and a face in the floor, I let loose everything I had on that cur. I punched him in the back of the head about twelve times, and then I flipped him around so I could get a dishonoring slug to the face.
"You ain't the biggest or the baddest, toughnut," I snarled vehemently. "You better watch yourself, because you've'd pissed me off, and when I'm mad I-"
"What in the name of sanity happened here!?"
I looked up straight into the eyes of my principal, my school nurse, and my psychologist. I grinned, one of my teeth falling out in the process.
"Hiya, Po!" I greeted.
"Loyalty" is copyright MandoPony and AcousticBrony