“Hey look. She’s back!” Boris squeaked excitedly, nearly falling onto the table as he stood up to get a better look at the new kid a few days later.
“Boris! Sit! DOWN!” Aleksei ordered much to the youngsters’ disappointed face.
“It ain’t like ya gonna see much, idiot. Everyone’s trying to look at her.” Dmitri noogied Boris. The youngster squeaked in back in protest.
Aleksei didn’t try to stop them.
He was too busy trying to figure out why that girl was back in the mess hall after being dragged to the hospital.
Why were they letting a girl in here, end of story?
Maybe the Mad Doc was more insane then he thought.
Unless she was meant to be a diversion? Aleksei had seen enough of those action and spy movies that were shown on Saturdays to know somewhere there was always a diversion.
And if he wasn’t careful he could lose his team for it.
The thought made his eyes narrow.
“Bet she’s a pretty little piece really up-close.” Dmitri smirked, attacking his scrambled eggs with his fork. “Maybe we should give her a decent welcome later eh Captain?”
“Stay away from her.” Aleksei replied coldly.
“Huh?” Boris squeaked.
Even Ivan was looking at him questioningly.
“Regardless of what has happened, that piece of meat has yet to earn its rank.” Aleksei looked at his team with cold blue eyes. “I doubt it’s possible for it to even do so. You should be concentrating on other things and not on some wasted space. I order you all to leave it alone. Is that understood?”
His team nodded.
“Especially you Dimi.” Aleksei pointed his fork in his friend’s direction. “Stay away.”
“Seriously?” Dmitri glared back. “Why always me?”
“Because I know you.” Aleksei looked at what was left of his breakfast then pushed it aside.
“Don’t you want your eggs Captain?”
Aleksei looked into Boris’s eager face and pushed his plate towards the youngster. “Go ahead.”
“I bags da meat.” Like a shatter of lighting, Dmitri reached out and snapped up the remaining sausages, devouring it just as quickly.
Only Ivan glanced at Aleksei, a small frown between his eyes. He looked at the remains on Aleksei’s plate then back at Aleksei.
“I’m fine.” Aleksei replied, kicking back his sweet-less coffee before standing up. “Boris, you messed over your shirt. Change it before class. Dmitri, remember what I said.”
“Yeah, yeah.” Dmitri waved a hand dismissively. “No playing with da new kid.”
“Good. And Ivan,” He turned to the giant. “Try not to kill anyone today.”
Ivan grunted before turning back to his meal. Inwardly Aleksei smiled before turning and walking away from the table, heading towards the exit.
He ignored the crowd parting for him, turning to look at the creature sitting alone.
The meat-bag was too busy watching the crowd to notice him, its’ attention on a fight that had broken out in another section of the mess hall.
Aleksei didn’t miss the way the meat-bag was rubbing its arm. A sure sign that it had taken another knock recently.
From the angle Aleksei was standing, he couldn’t see the creatures face. Its’ hair fell forward covering its’ more noticeable features like a curtain. It had bruises there too if he recalled.
His eyes narrowed for a moment at the small figure. He tried to guess her age but the closest he could get was maybe around twelve. He had never had another girl to compare with before.
Kids from the main-lands that ended up in this place were either those that wanted to come or those forced to come for some reason. If he hadn’t known any better, he would have thought the kid fell in the latter categories. From the bruises the other day, the meat-bags didn’t look like a fighter, or likely to turn into one soon.
“Ya gonna stare at that one all night now?” The hint of laughter in Dmitri’s voice grabbed his attention. “Pretty one ain’t it? All soft like.”
“Knock it off Dmitri.” Aleksei ordered, taking the final steps outside. A shiver ran down his spine at his seconds words. “The Meat-Bags’s not that pretty.”
“Not like we was, ya mean.” Dmitri pulled a cigarette from some hiding place and began lighting it. Aleksei watched the stick come to life with little interest. He had read about the way cigarettes die, the way they burn in the dark like tiny fires trying to spark to life. This one had too much competition with the lights from the mess hall behind them and the dorms ahead. There was nothing poetic about it being lit just to die out, Aleksei mused.
It was almost a reminder of their lives. Brief, fighting for a chance to shine in a bit of darkness around them.
“So what ya think the story is with that one?” Dmitri cocked his head back towards the mess hall. “A new game for the guys?”
“Bait.” Aleksei replied simply.
“Eh?” Dmitri looked at him with a curious expression. “What now?”
“You saw the Mad Doc with her. She’s probably here because she’s working with the Grunts and Coats.” Bitterness tainted Aleksei’s voice. “This is just a game to watch us. I wouldn’t be surprised if that show the other day had been deliberate to get our attention. Why else would they make sure we know there’s a girl here?”
“Maybe she’s a prize.” Dmitri suggested. “Ya’know, for good behaviour.”
“Since when have you ever been on good behaviour?” Aleksei glanced at Dmitri with a hidden smile.
“Who? Me?” Dmitri feigned an innocent look. “I was practically born a saint.”
“The saint of trouble-makers.” Aleksei teased.
“Ah, me ma would be so proud.” Dmitri faked wiping a tear from his eye. “If I had one that is. Hey I have some vouchers to cash in. Ya wanna come with?”
“Out of cigarettes already?”
“Shut up.” Dmitri’s eyes narrowed. “Ya want something or not?”
Aleksei thought for a moment before shaking his head. “I still have my rations. Thanks for the offer though.”
“Catch ya later then.” Dmitri turned around and began to walk away. “Father Frost, Father Frost, help the light shine its way.”
Aleksei watched Dmitri walk off, picking up pieces of the nonsensical song. He shook his head with a smile before walking off in the opposite direction, ignoring the yelps of a fight starting behind him.