Gabriel shrugged his shirt off and glared at Kallima.
“No?” he repeated, then laughed. “What do you mean ‘no?’”
Kallima crossed her arms and said, “You speak English. What do you think ‘no’ means?”
“We’ve been together for months, Kali, and I’ve spent a lot money on you. You kind of owe me.”
“I owe you?”
“Yeah, you owe me, Kali.”
“I’m just a kid, Gabriel! I’m fourteen!”
Gabriel snatched Kallima’s wrists and pinned them over her head to the bunk. He slammed his lips against hers. Stunned, Kallima gasped. The sylph took advantage of the action and thrust his tongue into her mouth. Panicking, Kallima bit down until she felt blood in her mouth and a hand on her throat, and the boy pulled back.
“Damn it,” the boy hissed, covering his mouth. “What is wrong with you?”
Kallima pushed Gabriel back and said, “I’m not going to sleep with you, Gabriel. Just- just get out.”
“No way! Do you know how much I spent on those tonics alone?”
Kallima marched towards the door. Before she could pull it open, though, her body was smashed against it, her hands once again pinned to the wood.
“If you’re worried about a kid, don’t be,” Gabriel told her. “That’s what they’re for. We’re good for at least two hours, Kali. It’s totally safe.”
“I. Don’t. Want. To,” Kallima said, struggling to get out of Gabriel’s grip.
The boy pulled one of her arms down and behind her back. Kallima shrieked as pain shot up her arm. Gabriel released her other hand to lock the door. The girl seized the opportunity to twist away from the door, but the sylph slung her back against the wall and began crushing her wrist. She cried and forced her knee into his groin. Breathless, the boy stumbled back. Kallima unlocked the door. She started to open it again, but Gabriel forced it shut and flung her away. She stumbled, tripped, and fell backwards onto her elbows. Gabriel lowered himself purposefully onto her and once more forced her wrists down and pried her knees apart with his own.
“Nobody’s coming, Kali,” he said, sounding quite pleased with himself. “Just relax, would you? It feels good.”
In response, Kallima did what she was taught to do when trapped. She spat at him.
To say that Gabriel was agitated by the projectile would be a grave understatement. He sneered and moved both of the girl’s hands so he could hold them down with one of his. After removing the phlegm from his face, he punched Kallima, snapping her head to the side. White spots clouded the dream fae’s vision. Kallima groaned in pain. She felt the boy above her shifting, but her limbs refused to respond. Fatigue pulled her muscles to the floor.
“Ger off,” the girl mumbled.
Gabriel shushed her and said, “I’m gonna take care of you. You’ll like this.”
“No...” Kallima sobbed.
“Just relax,” Gabriel said, his lips brushing her neck.
Kallima bit down on the only piece of flesh she could find: his ear. He screamed as the girl’s mouth filled once more with hot blood. The boy ripped away, clutching the side of his face, eyes fierce and angry at the feisty redhead. She blinked the lights out of her vision to see Gabriel raise an arm and prepare to strike again. Kallima squeezed her eyes shut fearfully with a squeak.
A bang and a yelp reached Kallima’s ears, and Gabriel’s weight vanished. Kallima, dizzy and slow, pulled herself to her knees using the bunk’s ladder. The world blurred slightly, but a small person was clearly visible. The short creature scratched at Gabriel and forced him away from Kallima. The sylph pushed back, slamming himself against the wall as the small savior crouched in front of Kallima, back to her, and golden hair standing straight up.
“Iggy...” Kallima breathed, stunned.
“Don’t you touch her!” the boy said, sounding nothing like himself.
Beyond him, Gabriel stared in horror. Blood dripped down his lip.
“Wha- What are you?” the sophomore asked.
Ignatius spat, “More a man than you. Now get out!”
He swiped the air with a clawed hand. Gabriel flinched and scrambled to his feet, wings flapping sporadically. The shirtless sylph threw open the door. Ignatius made a sound like a cough, and a ball of fire chased the traitor out. The claws on the senior’s hands shrank back to fingernails. Then he turned and examined the young girl’s face. Kallima blinked heavily and raised a hand to touch his face. He winced and gently pushed the hand aside.
“Di ‘e hi’ you?” Kallima asked.
“Oh, Kali… Yeah, but I’m okay,” the boy said. “You look way worse.”
“Ma be a’ righ’.”
“You need to go to the nurse’s station. Right now.”
“Wanna go shleep.”
“Stay with me, Kali. I’m gonna help you stand up.”
The senior pulled the girl to her feet and eased her arm around his shoulders. The redhead groaned in pain and exhaustion, resting her cheek on Ignatius’ tall hair. Her knees trembled under her. Before they made it out the door, Kallima’s whimpers convinced the boy to let her onto his back. He carried her down the stairs, his arms under her long legs and her toes nearly dragging on the floor. His warmth exacerbated her need for sleep, but his words kept her conscious. Humming, Kallima leaned into Ignatius.
“How di’ ya know, Iggy?”
“Um, Bla- Blaze told me,” the boy said, shifting her weight to his other shoulder.
“Mm...” Kallima moaned, blinking heavily. “How ’e tella?
“We have a system,” Ignatius said. “He was waiting for me today. Wanted to forgive me, he said. Then he roared, said there was a pain in his leg like electricity. I was fine, so it had to be you.”
“Figured. But Blaze said if I really meant to make things right, I would do it for him. If I was sincere, I would rescue you. Told me you were in your room.”
“Than’ you, Iggy...” the tall redhead said.
Ignatius bounced the girl. She gasped and jolted awake.
“You were falling asleep.”
Ignatius shook his head and rapped on the nurse’s door.
“’Nother one? Jus’ a minute,” the nurse’s voice sounded.
Inside, someone shuffled around. A boy’s voice yelped, and Ignatius swore under his breath. Kallima reached up and put a hand gently over his mouth. The door swung open to reveal Anna in a pair of pajamas and a white apron, a gloved though bloody hand on one hip. She flinched at Kallima’s state and ushered Ignatius inside.
“Sit her down-”
“Is Gabe here?” the senior asked, cutting her off.
Anna nodded slowly. Ignatius stamped a foot.
“I won’t put them in the same room. Not alone.”
“I’m not gonna let ’em alone, Ig. Just sit her in the cot, an I’ll patch up Gabe while you go an git Locke, okay?”
“Why gotta ge’ him?” Kallima asked.
Anne glanced at the girl and back to Ignatius, pointing at the redhead.
“She been doin’ that a lot?”
“I think she has a concussion.”
“In here,” Anna said, “Set her on my bed. Jus’ keep her awake ’til I kin git Gabe out.”
Ignatius obeyed, following the nurse into a small but bright room. He eased the girl off his shoulders and onto the large, fluffy bed. Pleased, Kallima laid down and snuggled into the bedding. She grunted at Ignatius when he began prodding her with a bony digit.
“No sleeping, Kali,” he reminded her.
“Nope. Can’t sleep yet.”
“Mm... you ‘n’ Blay may up ’en?”
“D’jou ‘n’ Blay patchin’ up?”
“Oh! Yes, yeah, Blaze and I are good. He said you talked to him. He’ll do anything for you,” the golden-haired boy said.
“Sa goo dra-”
“Sh... He’s amazing, yeah. Kali?”
“Mm. Bah me dinner. Shaw show. ‘N’ we gah bag. ’E made me dring gol shtuff.”
Ignatius winced and asked, “Kelver Tonic?”
“Dunno. Shaid id magur I didn’ ge pregan.”
“Yeah. He took a red one?”
“Mm-hmm. By din’ wanna’, any tag me....”
“Oh, Kali...” Ignatius said, stroking the girl’s hair.
“I loved ’im,” Kallima sobbed, her vision blurring again.
Ignatius wiped her tears.
“When Anna gets back,” he asked, “did you want me to go get Shay or Case? I’d get Sable, but-”
“No,” the fiery girl said. “Don’ leamee.”
“I won’t. I’ll stay. I’m sorry.”
“I wish Blay wa here...”
“Kali, no sleeping.”
Anna appeared in the doorway and pushed the girl up. Ignatius copied her on Kallima’s other side. Together, the duo forced Kallima to her feet, out the door, and into a new cot. Ignatius sat next to the girl to prevent her from laying down as Anna examined her eyes.
The nurse shook her head and said, “Yep, you got a concussion. Let’s get you fixed up.”
“Bashur,” Kallima growled.
“Alright, then. I got a lord with one ear, and a lil girl with a concussion. Can someone tell me what happened?”
Ignatius tugged his ear and explained, “I was bringing Kali her mock test, so she could study for finals. I got to her door and heard noises inside. I was going to put it under her door, but then I heard a scream. I pushed the door open and saw Gabe on top of Kali, and his ear was bleeding. He raised his hand like this, like he was going to hit her. So I cast a quick strength spell, grabbed him, and threw him against the wall. He smacked me pretty hard, too, when I did. But I scared him out. Then Kali started talking funny, so I brought her down here to you.”
“Did you bite him?” Anna asked, stirring a muddy-looking drink.
“Yesh, I di.”
“Twenty stitches to put his ear back together. Where’s the pain worst?” Anna asked.
“Hur...” Kallima said, touching her right temple softly.
Kallima took the glass and choked down the contents.
Ignatius rubbed his forehead and said, “I know it doesn’t taste good, but it’s for the pain.”
“Let her lay down, Ig.”
The boy stood up. Kallima mumbled thanks and laid down as Anna laid a damp rag on her forehead. The fiery-haired girl hummed, the chill easing the throbbing in her head. Ignatius knelt next to her, though her senses were already shutting down.
“Anna, would it be alright I stay with-?”
Kallima heard no more. She slipped into the first dreamless slumber she had ever experienced before Ignatius could finish his sentence.
“I’m beginning to think you’re trouble, Miss Satudotter,” Locke said, narrowing his eyes at Kallima.
She sat up on the cot, Ignatius at her feet like an exhausted puppy trying not to fall asleep against her leg. He admitted to staying up all night watching over her, but he appeared to be regretting that decision. Headmaster Locke paced in front of them as Anna scribbled her own findings on a clipboard. Kallima shook her head, feeling much better after her rest.
“He attacked me,” she said.
“Mr. Lindon, please step out,” the headmaster said. Once the boy was gone, he asked, “What exactly happened?”
“We were just spending time together in my room,” she lied. “Then he started talking about having sex, and I said, ‘no, I don’t want to.’ And he attacked me.”
“More specifically, please?”
Kallima sighed and recounted, “He tried to pin me to the wall, but I kneed him. So he threw me, and I fell down. Then he climbed on top of me and… I spat at him, and he h-hit me so- so hard… I bit his ear; it was all I could reach. He got mad and went to hit me again, but…” Kallima sniffled and said, “Iggy showed up and scared him away.”
“Did Lindon seem strange to you at all?”
Kallima tipped her head, saying, “Iggy’s always strange. He said he used a strength spell, if that’s what you mean.”
“Mr. Tucker said he looked like a monster.”
“I wouldn’t know,” Kallima said. “Where I come from, I’m a monster. It’s all relative.”
“So nothing really odd?”
“I didn’t think so, but I have a concussion,” the redhead said.
“Right,” Locke said. “How did Mr. Lindon enter the fray?”
“He was bringing me something. Gabriel screamed when I bit him, so Iggy ran in and threw him off me. Gabriel got scared and took off. Then Iggy brought me down to see Nurse Anna for my head.”
Kallima nodded and shrugged. Locke whispered to Anna, who shook her head and whispered back. The dark-skinned woman pointed to the papers as she spoke. Locke sighed heavily and started to leave.
“Am I in trouble?” Kallima asked.
“I- don’t think you will be,” the centaur replied. “I’ll need to speak with Lord Tucker about his son’s behavior. We’ll see.”
Kallima nodded and watched the silvery man trot out of the room. Before the door shut, the freshman could see him stop and question Ignatius on the strange events. Though she could not hear anything, Kallima noticed that the senior tugged his ear as he talked. Once again, her gut churned with worry for herself and her tutor.