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Story: The Age of Heroes
Title: Fight!
Prompts: Vanilla Custard #28: what's the point in being grown up if you can't act childish sometimes?, Red Hot Cinnamon #4: firebreathing, PawPaw #20: it's a long story + gummy bunnies (500themes #51: uncontrollable wrath) + whipped cream + fresh blueberries ("We are healed of a suffering only be experiencing it to the full" – Marcel Proust)
Rating: PG13 for a couple cusswords
Words: 1491
Characters: Alana Arden, Sydney Arden
Summary: This was supposed to be a part of a binge I'm doing around Sydney's childhood but it got way too long so I'm making it a stand alone piece. Sydney's mother, Alana, gets the story about a playground fight from the source.

Alana found Sydney sitting very still on the edge of her bed, her hands folded in her lap. Sydney didn't look up at her mother so Alana went over to her. She knelt down in front of Sydney and covered her hands with hers. "Are you okay, baby?"

Sydney nodded, glancing up at her mother to gauge how angry Alana was before jerking her eyes back down. There weren't any tears on her face but the way she was trembling, the shivers so small they weren't noticeable except where Alana was touching her, was testament enough to just how scared Sydney had been. Alana leaned forward and hugged her daughter, trying to reassure her. "Why don't we go to the kitchen and I can put an icepack on your arm while you tell me what happened?"

Sydney nodded again and followed Alana back downstairs. She sat at the table while Alana first got her a glass of lemonade then put some ice in a plastic baggie and wrapped it in a towel. Alana sat down beside Sydney and pressed the icepack on the angry red mark on her left arm. "Mrs. O'Brien," that oversized idiotic bull masquerading as a bitchy drunk of a housewife, Alana thought viciously, "said that something happened on the playground."

"Michael O'Brien is a bully," Sydney started. "He lives right by the playground and he waits until he sees the boys littler than him then he comes out and takes all their snacks away."

"Nobody sees him do it?" Alana asked, a bit incredulous. The playground just down the street was a small one that only kids in their close-knit neighborhood used. A lot of the older kids were allowed to go down there and play without their mothers accompanying them, Sydney included. Still, there were almost always a couple parents there to keep an eye on things. Alana went multiple times a week with her little boys and she never saw any evidence of bullying.

Sydney shook her head. "He does it where the adults can't see, behind the big trees or under the slide."

Alana was definitely going to talk to the other parents about that little tidbit, although Michael O'Brien seemed to have been put squarely in his place today if his evil cow of a mother was to be believed."What happened today?"

"He came out and the little boys all ran away, except stupid Ian Carter ran right under the slide where me and Ashlyn were playing."

"Don't call people stupid," Alana said automatically. Ian Carter was Sydney's age though they hadn't ever really played together. As far as she knew, Ian didn't really play with anyone.

"Sorry," Sydney said then continued. "Michael O'Brien saw him go right where he wanted and followed him under the slide. He pushed Ian Carter down in the sand and took his fruit roll-up even though Ashlyn and me told him to stop. And then he told us to shut up and he kicked Ian Carter in the stomach."

"What!" Alana said, alarmed. "Is Ian okay?"

Sydney shrugged. "I think so. He only kicked him once because I threw sand in Michael O'Brien's eyes. He screamed and fell right on top of Ian Carter! I pushed him off Ian Carter and then I told him that if he wanted people's snacks so bad then he could have mine."

"And that's when you stuffed your chips and the bag in his mouth," Alana said.

Her daughter nodded, looking distinctly uncomfortable. It went against Sydney's thoughtful nature to engage in acts of violence. This was certainly the first time she'd ever gotten into a fight. Alana could tell that even now she was starting to regret her impulsive actions. "I didn't think he'd throw up. And then he started crying and he called me a bad name and ran back to his house. I was gonna come home then but his mom came out and grabbed me. She was really mad," Sydney voice went down to a whisper when she said that last sentence and the fine tremors started again.

Alana's vision went red-tinted for the second time today. She'd just about blown a gasket when she'd opened her front door to see Mrs. O'Brien holding Sydney up on her tiptoes. Mrs. O'Brien was overweight on top of being just naturally a large woman; she was huge compared to an eight year old. Sydney would have a bruise where the woman had dragged her up the street by her arm. It was well known that Mrs. O'Brien had a temper and she often smelled of alcohol when she bothered to talk to any of her neighbors. To think that that uncontrolled rage had been turned on her baby had brought out every fierce maternal instinct Alana had. She didn't care that Sydney had hurt Michael; there was no excuse for a grown woman to terrorize any child.

"She had no right to treat you that way," Alana said fiercely. "I told her so."

She had. Alana had listened to about ten seconds of Mrs. O'Brien's curse-filled tirade on her doorstep then she'd sent Sydney to her room and shut that hateful woman down. Alana doubted that she'd really gotten through to Mrs. O'Brien about how her behavior was wrong, but she'd damn sure made it clear that no one was allowed to harm her children or she'd go after them with both barrels loaded.

Sydney was finally relaxing from her encounter with Mrs. O'Brien and Alana knew it was time for her to lay down the law. "Sydney Louise, you should not have stuffed your chips down Michael's throat."

The little girl flinched at the sound of her middle name, which always meant she was in big trouble, but she did try to defend herself. "I was really mad at him. Ian Carter is stup-dumb but he's pretty nice and he doesn't hurt anybody. Michael O'Brien shouldn't have kicked him."

"No he shouldn't have," Alana agreed. "And it was good of you to protect Ian. But that does not make what you did okay. You know better than to ever force anything into someone's mouth like that. They could choke. You could have seriously hurt Michael."

Sydney ducked her head and examined her lemonade glass. Her lower lip was puckered out in a pout but it was the kind of look she gave when she knew she'd done something wrong.

"You know how you should have acted in that situation. If someone is doing something wrong you tell an adult, you do not take it into your own hands or hurt them back. Do you understand me?"

"Yes ma'am," she said softly, thoroughly chastened.

"Your father and I are going to talk about what your punishment is tonight when he gets home. Until then, you are grounded to the house and you are not allowed to watch any tv."

That lower lip puffed out further. "Yes ma'am."

Alana had to remind herself that she was an adult for this next part. She despised Mrs. O'Brien but it was Alana's responsibility to teach her children a sense of right and wrong. She tamped down her own petty objections and continued, "Tomorrow you and I are going to go down to the O'Brien house and you're going to apologize to Michael for hurting him."

"But he started it!" Sydney said, showing some anger for the first time since she'd come home.  

"Yes he did," Alana agreed. "But that does not excuse your behavior. You were mean to him and what do we do when we're mean to someone?"

Sydney's expression was mutinous behind her glass of lemonade but she muttered, "Say you're sorry."

"That's right." Alana decided she was going to take tomorrow's visit to try and get a good look at what sort of situation Michael was in at home. She would not be at all surprised if he'd learned his bullying techniques from his parents.

"Does Michael O'Brien have to say he's sorry to Ian Carter?" Sydney asked.

"That's up to his mother, not me," Alana answered, though she doubted talks about apologies would ever come up in that woman's household. Although Alana did need to call up Melissa Carter and tell her everything that had happened so she could check on Ian. "Does your arm hurt?"

"No ma'am," she said.

"If it starts hurting tell me and I'll give you some aspirin. Now go to your room."

Sydney hopped up out of her seat and set her lemonade glass by the sink. Alana caught Sydney as she was walking back to go to the stairs. She hugged her daughter close. "You were very brave today, baby. I love you."

Sydney hugged her mom back, careful of her arm. "Love you too."

Alana let go of her daughter and Sydney hesitated, hope in her honey colored eyes. Her mother shook her head. "To your room."

Sydney sighed and went.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 11th, 2012 12:49 am (UTC)
Aw, baby!Sydney is adorable. Mrs. O'Brien and her son sound like right terrors and I love Alana forcing herself to play the mother when she really just wants to strangle Mrs. O'Brien. Definitely too long for a binge :P How old would Sydney be here? I'd guess somewhere between 7-9?
Jul. 12th, 2012 04:28 pm (UTC)
lol, this was supposed to be part of a POCKY binge too! XD Sydney's 8 here, yeah. Alana is one of those women that was made to be a mother. Even when she wants to a petty biatch, she won't because she's got to teach her kids right. Thanks for reading!
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )


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