Troupe meeting goes badly.
“Goddamn it, Gerard, focus!” Sidney shouted. Gerard shook his head, shaking out the punch to the head. Shifting his weight, Gerard faked to the left. The other boy fell for it, tilting right. “He’s off balance! Take him down!” Sid yelled.
Gerard obliged, sending a right hook straight into the side of his face. Gerard cringed when he felt the cheekbones under his hand pop. “Go for it! Solar Plexus!” Sid called.
What the hell was a solar plexus? Wasn’t that in his eye? Noticing the older boy had raised his hands to his face, Gerard socked him in the stomach, hard, first with the fists, then dug in with an elbow.
“Face! Go for the face!” Gerard heard somebody call.
Grabbing the older boy’s shirt, Gerard hauled him up, ramming his fist into his nose. Gerard felt warm blood spatter on his forearms, but he couldn’t stop. His right arm hurt with the amount of force, but it still felt good. Over and over and over and...
“Easy!” Sid barked, pulling him back. Sid helped the older boy to his feet. Gerard noticed the weird bend to his nose, and the fact that he bent over like spaghetti.
“Did I do okay?” Gerard asked Sid, staying half a step behind him. Sid turned around, teeth flashing in the candlelight. “You did great! Let me get Evan down, okay?” Sid asked. Gerard nodded.
“WHO’S NEXT!” Sid boomed, helping Evan sit down. “Me and Izzy!” Apollonia shouted. “Again? Alright, head out,” Sid said, waving the two girls out. He watched them fight for a bit before turning back to Gerard. “You did really well. Evan’s, like, thirteen, so you really kicked ass tonight.”
“Really?!” Gerard exclaimed, jumping up and down. Sidney laughed.
“You’ve got a bit of a fat lip. Run some cold water on it before you go to sleep, okay? Gotta get you pretty for your parents!” Sid pointed out, voice sounding tight.
Oh yeah. He was going home tomorrow. But...this was fun. He didn’t want to go home yet.
“Goddamn. Apple’s a nice girl, but she can’t fight,” Sid observed. Gerard could see his point, Apple was getting her ass kicked. “She can pack a punch, though. Do you see what she’s doing wrong?” Sid asked, carefully watching Gerard.
“Uh..” Gerard focussed on the match.
Apple got kicked in the stomach, stumbled, and Izzy wrapped her fingers in Apple’s silky blonde hair, pulling her head up.
“Her hair’s too long?” Gerard asked. “Yeah. She needs to put some weight on, too. Cuz, damn, girl’s five-four, she should weigh more than that,” Sidney pointed out.
Gerard nodded. He watched Apple get beaten to her knees, then knuckle under.
“I’m done. Fine. See you next week Izzy.”
At that moment, there was a knock on the door. “Somebody get that?” Sidney asked, sounding bored.
One of the kids near the door wrenched the door open, and one by one everybody fell silent.
“Well? Who is it?” Sidney asked, trying to see over everyone.
The person at the door walked forward, and everybody parted, either out of respect or fear.
Gerard jumped up, and caught a glimpse of who it was.
Uh oh. This wasn’t gonna end well. A cold sweat beaded on Gerard’s spine, and he looked around for somewhere to just blend in.
No. He couldn’t just leave. He had to look after Sidney.
Keeping an eye on Sid’s face, Gerard waited for the moment everything would explode.
When Sid finally figured out who it was, his expression morphed to something between surprise, fear, and pure, unfiltered hatred.
In the end, it was the new person who spoke first.
“Heya, Bestie,” Les said, packing in so much venom into those words they seemed to scorch the air.
“What the fuck are you doing here?” Sidney asked, trying to sound casual, but there was an edge in his voice.
“You invited me,” Les replied, reaching into the back pocket of his shorts. Showing his hand again, it was like a magic trick. Scissored in between Les’s index and middle fingers was a tarot card.
“Where’d you get that?!” Sid demanded, lurching forward.
“Oh, no, no. Not yours, Siddy. Don’t take,” Les said, holding it out of Sidney’s reach.
“Get outta here Leslie, so help me God,” Sid snarled.
“What? Why? Party’s just getting started.”
“And so are the cliches.”
Les laughed quietly. “Funny stuff, Sid. Funny stuff.”
“No. I’m invited in. I’m here for a reason. What do you think that reason is?” Les asked softly.
Sid remained silent.
“I’m here to show everybody that you’re not nearly as cool as you think you are. You are nothing more than a little boy crying for his mommy. Right, Sid?” Les asked maliciously.
“I’m only telling the truth.”
“SHUT! THE FUCK! UP!”
Leslie laughed, and a couple people in the crowd laughed along with him.
“Listen, Siddy, you wanna know the real reason I’m here?” Les asked.
“I do. But you seem to be dragging it out, enjoying my suffering.”
Les ran his tongue over his upper lip. “You’ve never been publicly humiliated before, have you?”
“You’re not gonna strip me and handcuff me to the flagpole are you? Lord have mercy!” Sid pressed the back of his hand to his forehead dramatically.
Les’s upper lip curled. “Nope. How do you think it feels to know that your girlfriend cheated on you with your best friend?”
“So this is what it’s about, huh? It’s about Nina. Not even me. It’s about Nina. Well, guess what? Shit happens, buddy. Yeah, I did a bad thing. Get over it.” Sid ran a hand through his hair.
“No. I’m here for my revenge. I’m gonna brutally humiliate you in front of people who respect you. Hell, I know for a fact most here don’t, but they like being here, so they just put up with you.”
At Les’s words, a few people in the crowd coughed and shifted their weight.
“Ooh, I’m so scared. How’re you gonna beat something you can’t even see?” Sid asked, folding his arms. “Nice bravado, dude. Afraid you’ll lose?” Les asked, then added:
“I’m gonna send you crying to your daddy.”
Sid’s fake-calm demeanor dropped immediately. “You take that back,” he growled, low in his throat.
“Oops. Touched a nerve, did I?”
Gerard watched the two of them. God, they were stupid. But all the same, it felt like a sword fight in an old movie.
“Under this mask is an idea, and Ideas are bulletproof,” Gerard whispered.
Back in the ring, Sid had gone to swinging punches. Les was easily outstepping them, and the crowd was egging them both on.
“C’mon, Les, hit him already!”
“Y’know, for the one with twenty-twenty vision, you sure have a hard time hitting what you’re aiming at,” Leslie commented, blocking a right hook.
“Says...the guy...who hasn’t thrown a punch yet!” Sidney growled.
“True,” Les admitted, then cracked Sidney in the face.
Sidney stumbled back, a thin trail of blood leaking from his nose, but managed to dodge Leslie’s next hit. Stepping in, Sidney planted his foot on top of Leslie’s, then drove an elbow into Les’s sternum.
Leslie fell back, but managed to get a hold on Sid’s shirt. Pulling Sidney to the ground, Leslie rolled over and drove his foot into Sidney’s ribcage.
“Ahh! Fuck!” Sid snarled, curling up.
“Doesn’t that hurt? Doesn’t it, just?” Les asked, getting to his feet. “Yeah,” Sid agreed, getting to his feet. “How about that time I tore up your shoulder? Hurts back!” Sid smiled, wiping blood off his upper lip.
Going in for the attack, Sid faked left, punched right, missed, then shoulder-checked Les off balance. Les tried to stay on balance, but he rolled his ankle. The cracking noise seemed to echo through the room, and a few people stopped cheering.
Sid pounced, grabbing Leslie’s blonde hair, backhand across the face, then a straight punch.
The punch landed with a sickening smack! and Leslie’s mouth was bleeding, but Sidney was laughing, and people were slowly stopping their cheers and the ones that had before were watching, horrified, eyes wide, and Sid got in another punch, right to Leslie’s jaw.
Leslie grabbed onto Sidney’s knee, twisting it sideways. Sid fell, and Leslie got off his knees, watching Sid lying on the ground, one boy’s nose bleeding, the other one spitting blood, and Leslie raised his foot.
Sidney clamped his eyes shut.
Leslie kicked Sidney in the face. Sidney’s head snapped back, blood spraying, teeth clicking together.
“Uhhh....” Sidney groaned, falling into a heap.
Standing over Sidney, Leslie wiped off his mouth. Everybody was silent.
“Oh, God...” Sid moaned again.
“No. Just me,” Les responded.
“I...I’ll try. I’ll do it, dude. I know...”
“Who’re you talking to?” Les asked, staring Sidney down.
Bleeding from a cut on his forehead, nose gushing blood, right eye already starting to swell, Sidney shifted his weight, managing to get up.
“What? Sid, sit down. You are done. You can’t win. Give up!” Les said.
“I keep fighting...because I choose to.”
“Dude. Sit down.”
“Yeah, Sid, it’s not worth it.”
Gerard listened to people trying to talk Sidney down. Sucking in a huge breath, he screamed:
“KICK HIS ASS!”
That was exactly the incentive Sidney needed. Faking one way, Les remained stationary with flat feet.
KICK HIS ASS!
Getting behind Leslie’s back, Sidney grabbed Leslie’s left arm, twisting it, until Les was forced to his knees, then onto his stomach.
“Give up, or I’m dislocating your arm,” Sid warned.
“You wouldn’t dare.”
Sidney twisted until a sickening pop was heard. Everybody in the room cringed. The pop seemed to come from inside Les, and he screamed.
“AAAHHHA! OKAY! FINE! FINE! YOU FUCKING WIN!”
Sid grabbed Leslie’s arm and twisted it the other way, ignoring the blonde boy’s second shriek of pain. “Can you move your fingers?”
Les tried, tentatively, then nodded.
Sidney stood up, face starting to swell into something garish.
“How’d you do that?” Gerard asked.
“I’ve dislocated my own arms a couple times. You just bend and push. It’s easy. And you,” Sidney said, turning his attention back to Les.
Extending a hand, Sidney made his offer.
“How about next week?”
“More like next month. Crazy bastard.”
Turning his attention to the rest of the Midnight Troupe, Sidney said his closing statement, slurred from swelling on his jaw.
(A.N. Well that sure got violent fast. Whoops. I'll try to be more lighthearted in the next couple chapters to even it out. Thank you for reading, all the same.)