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Taking Root Sidestory!

Author: Casey and Marina
Story: Taking Root
Challenges: Blueberry Yogurt 21 (blackmail), Apple Pie 19 (locals), Watermelon 21 (going my way?) [Casey], Coconut 27 (have a nice day), Tangerine 3 (intervention) [Marina]
Toppings &Extras: Caramel, Chopped Nuts (TR’verse), Smoothie
Word Count: 1,864
Rating: PG
Summary:Nicole doesn’t take kindly to hearing her friends insulted.
Notes:I love these two and their friendship. ‘nough said. Also, Marina's contribution of the Olympics and our LAST Official TR! Woo!

“She looks stupid. Who walks like that?”

The words slowly penetrated into Nicole Solaris’ brain around the letters on the page.

“A cow,” another boy snickered.

She brought her head up, intending to level a glare in their direction for being less than discreet in the library until she caught sight of Sidney heading for the check-out desk, limp more prevalent than usual. Must be a bad day, Nicole thought and then the words really sunk in, especially since the two boys hadn’t stopped speaking.

“Doesn’t she know that no one’s going to ever want her? Look at her.”

Nicole stood slowly, turning to face them as she leaned her hip against the table and folded her arms. “Why don’t you two dickwads say that again?” she said mildly.

The boys looked up, startled, before one relaxed. “Oh, you’re that new kid. You have lunch with the Gimp, don’t you? Just means you’re a loser too, hope you get that.”

“Mm, as a matter of fact, I don’t. Why don’t you spell it out for me?”

Confusion crossed the boy’s face. “Well, you know, she’s a loser so you’re a loser for hanging out with her.”

“Oh, is that it? How simple,” Nicole said, holding the second boy’s gaze until he squirmed.

“C’mon, Pete, it’s almost time for class anyway.”

“No, losers need to know their place,” Pete said, smirking.

Nic snorted. “Plain you don’t.”

The boy’s eyes narrowed as he stood. “Are you saying I’m a loser?”

“That was the implication, wasn’t it? Oh wait, do you not know that word? Out of your vocabulary?”

Pete shot to his feet. “How dare you!”

“How dare you make fun of Sidney for something that is not her fault,” Nicole retorted, anger growing.

“Doesn’t matter,” the boy shot back. “She’s still a cow.”

“I dare you to say that again,” she said in a low voice. Anyone who had talked to her or her brother for more than five minutes would have known that was a bad sign.

Pete either missed it or didn’t care. Instead, the little punk stepped up to her and shoved her shoulder. “Piss off, loser.”

Nicole hadn’t intended to hit the kid, just to say a few choice words to make herself feel better and maybe make them think twice, before leaving in time to catch Sidney on her way out of the library. He hit first, though, and that made him more than fair game. Instinct kicked in. Her hand shot out, grabbing him by the shirt collar. At the same time, she calmly kicked his legs out from under him. Mostly controlling his fall with her arm, she slammed the side of his head into the table with a resounding and satisfying thud, before pressing her hand against his throat, pinning him there. Pete yelped, staring up at her with wide eyes as she leaned in.

“Take it back,” she growled.

"Nicole!" Suddenly, Sidney was at her shoulder, tugging her arm. "Nic, let him go."

She looked up at her with wide, innocent eyes. "He's fine. You're fine, right, Petey?"

The boy under her hand grunted and attempted to pry her hand off.

"Nic, let him go," Sidney said firmly. "It's not worth it."

"Oh, fine, if you insist," she said, letting off the pressure. Pete gasped for breath, stumbling back upright.

Sidney immediately dragged her several steps away. "What were you doing?" she demanded, although she looked as though she already knew.

Nicole shrugged. "He annoyed me. And then he hit me. So I hit him back."

She blinked. "He hit you? Why?"

"Because I annoyed him back."

"Nic," said Sidney, exasperated.

"Yeah?" she asked. She knew full what Sidney was angling for but she wasn't going to say it unless she asked deliberately.

"Don't, okay?" Now Sidney looked worried. "It's really not worth it."

"Yes, it is, Sid. Sometimes, it just is."

"What did he do?"

"Mostly, it's that he shoved me. I was going to walk away until that."

"Nicole Solaris, you know what I mean. What happened?"

"Solaris!" the librarian called, before Nicole could answer. "Get over here right now!"

The two glanced her way to see that Pete and the other boy had run up to the front desk. They were looking a bit smug despite Pete's red face and watery eyes. The librarian couldn't see their faces, and didn't seem to care, since she was looking straight at the two girls. Nicole rolled her eyes. "Baby," she muttered but headed for the desk. Sidney trailed after her, looking worried.

"Peterson says you slammed him into a table," said the librarian. "Is that true?"

She met Pete's gaze. "Yes. He asked for it."

"What did he do?" the librarian asked, in a laboriously patient manner.

She shrugged. "He was being an asshole. Then he shoved me. So I hit him back."

"Solaris, that kind of language is not appropriate and you know it. You have to tell me, specifically, what he did."

"No, I don't. There's nothing forcing me to."

"Fine." The librarian calmly took out a pad of white detention slips, filled one out, and handed it to Nicole. "You're staying and picking up trash after school."

"Fine," Nicole said, taking it without ever taking her eyes off Pete. He began to squirm a bit under her stare.

The woman pinned her with a stern look. "Next time, it's a suspension, am I clear?"

"Loud and clear. Can I go now?"

"Yes, you can."

Nicole turned on her heel, knowing her fury was unreasonable since she had made a decision not to call out Pete, but still unable to help it, clutching the detention slip tightly. Sidney was already ambling toward the door, red in the face. Nicole grabbed her book and backpack and followed her, trying to ignore Pete's superior smirk from the librarian's desk.

Once outside, Sidney just kept walking. Nicole sighed. "Sid," she called, jogging a bit to catch up.

Sidney swiveled on her heels and folded her arms. "What?"

Nicole had not meant to upset her friend, but she stood by her actions nonetheless. "I'm not going to stop doing it. No matter how much you or anyone else disapproves. It's just not how I operate."

"They're just idiots," she said flatly. "I don't want you getting in trouble cause of me. All the teachers know Pete's an asshole, you wouldn't have gotten that detention if you'd just told them why. Or at least he'd have been punished, too."

Nicole glanced down at the detention slip and then felt herself smile. "Oh, I think he won't be in any hurry to make fun of anyone for a while."

"That's not the point," said Sidney, although Nicole could tell she was trying not to smile.

"No, the point is that I need to not hit back, but not to stop fighting."

She considered it. "Yeah, I guess so."

Nicole grinned and slung an arm around Sidney's shoulder. "Hey, better get used to me. It's all Resh's fault."

Sidney shot her a sidelong look. "Maybe I should tell him that."

"Do it. He likes to take credit for teaching me to defend myself. Although sometimes I think I do it a little too well." She grinned sheepishly. "I didn't really mean to pin him to the desk like that."

"No, of course not." Her arms were still crossed, but she had relaxed a bit. "Seriously, though."

Her grin only widened. "It was worth it for the look on his face."

"Nic," Sidney groaned.

"Okay, okay, I promise to keep my hands to myself, all right?"

Sidney nodded. "Don't beat people up because of me. I mean, maybe you're going to have to beat people up sometimes. Just not for that, okay?"

Nicole studied her expression and then nodded. "I'll have you know he came after me personally too, because I won't beat them up, but I won't not say something either. It's bullshit and I'll call 'em on it."

"You can say whatever you want. It is bullshit. But it doesn't matter. They're just idiots, and it's their loss."

She offered her hand. "Deal. My parents would kill me if I got suspended anyway." She shrugged. "They'll be displeased enough with detention."

"So would mine," Sidney said, wrinkling her nose. She shook Nicole's hand readily, though.

"Nothing personal, Sid, but I have a hard time picturing you ever getting detention, let alone a suspension."

She grinned. "I'm just saying."

Nicole was glad to finally get a smile out of her. "So we're cool?" she asked, just the slightest bit nervous, although she never would have admitted it.

"We're cool," Sidney assured her.

"Awesome. Oh, by the way, I was looking for you anyway. Can you come over after school tomorrow? Kenz is coming and I'd rather not have to deal with just her and Resh being all sappy."

"I totally can," said Sidney, smiling widely.

"Sweet. Kenz already said she could give both of us a ride if you said yes."

"Great, because I'm not walking all the way there. I don't like you that much."

The statement was delivered with a perfectly straight face and a rather bland tone that made Nicole blink, and then burst out laughing. "Yeah, well, it'd probably mean I didn't like you that much either if I made you, so we're even."

Sidney beamed. "Good."

She let out a silent breath of relief that Sidney wasn't truly mad at her, and snuck a glance at the other girl, wondering if there was anyone else in the school that stuck up for her, even a little. She decided immediately it was both their loss and said a lot about the stupidity of middle schoolers if they didn't. She also decided she couldn’t give a rat's ass about any of the rest of them if that was the case. Sidney didn't seem bothered—either that, or she was really good at hiding it. Nicole hoped it was the latter as the bell rang. "Bah, class," she said, just because she could.

Sidney shook her head. "I'll see you at lunch."

Nicole flashed her a grin. "I'll be there," she said and turned, bouncing back off towards the library and also her class.

It was partially luck and partially contrived that Pete and his little friend was just leaving the library when she passed back by. He didn’t notice her until she stepped up in his face, and then he jumped. “You touch me again, you’ll get suspended,” he said, voice wavering in false bravado. She couldn’t say she wasn’t a bit gratified.

“I’m not going to touch you. I just want to remind you that people are listening when you speak, got it? And if I hear from anyone that you were bad mouthing Sidney again…” She let the thought linger for a moment before finishing: “I will find you when the teachers aren’t around. Got it?”

He swallowed and nodded quickly. “Got it!” he said and then grabbed his buddy. The two bolted in the opposite direction. Nicole dearly hoped it was in the wrong direction for their class. Whistling cheerfully, she headed for her own.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 1st, 2012 03:58 am (UTC)
Wow, I'm not super familiar with these characters, but Nicole seems like a badass! Her attack there was pretty impressive. She may have gotten in trouble, but it seems she got the message across :O
Aug. 2nd, 2012 07:20 pm (UTC)
Nicole IS a badass and she's gotten good unofficial training from her brother. She can also be VERY intimidating when she wants to be :D Thanks for reading!
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )


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