Author's Note: Chapter…umm…seven or eight, I think, up for your enjoyment. Let me know what you think!
"Where are we going?" Graham yelled over at Shamus as they pushed past all the people down the hall in their hurry. Shouts of protest ranging from Watch it! to Slow down, you crazy bastards! echoed after them.
"Mr. Delaney's room," Shamus panted back. Running obviously wasn't one of his talents.
Shamus smirked. "You got a map, didn't you?"
"Yes, I did," Graham scowled, "but I believe we already went through this."
Shamus's smirk didn't waver. "I know. I just wanted to rub it in."
"Haha. You're a real comedian."
"I like to think so."
Graham held back an exasperated sigh. "So where is it?"
"Where is what?"
"Professor Delaney's room," Graham growled through gritted teeth.
Grinning, Shamus paused and pointed behind them. "We just passed it."
"We what?" Graham stopped straight in his tracks. He reached out and shook Shamus's shoulders. A few pieces of scrambled egg fell out. "Why the hell didn't you say something?"
"It seemed like a good idea at the time," Shamus shrugged. And that was when the bell rang.
Graham sent him an annoyed glare. "Yeah. Excellent idea."
Shamus didn't appear pleased either. "I swear that bell's getting faster every day," he scowled.
Graham yelled in frustration. "Or maybe a certain idiotic person decided to run straight past the classroom without saying anything just for the hell of it, and wasted too much time!"
"Aww, calm down, Grahamsey," Shamus's grin returned full force as he hit Graham on the back merrily again. Graham suspected he would have quite a few bruises before the year ended. "I've got a plan."
He groaned. "Don't even say it. Everything bad that's ever happened in history has always started with the words I have a plan."
"No, they haven't!" Shamus exclaimed, frowning. "Name one time."
"Okay," Graham said, "Ever watch Scooby-Doo? Have you seen how their plans turned out?"
Shamus looked shocked. "Are you admitting that the highly esteemed Graham Scott has ever spent his time watching something as trivial and crude as Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?"
Graham flushed with embarrassment and annoyance. "Of course not. But I've heard about it."
"Where?" Shamus crossed his arms, looking doubtful.
"In literature essays," Graham said hastily. "Anyway…"
Shamus cut him off. "Literature essays?" he barked. "On Scooby-Doo? I'd like to hear what they say." He contorted his face in what he deemed to be a haughty expression and imitated an overly cultivated tone. "Scooby-Doo is a delightful children's show that teaches competency and valor. However, it should not be viewed by adults due to its unrealistic fornicationess."
Graham interrupted him sourly. "Do you even know what fornicationess means?"
"No," Shamus said sheepishly. "But it sounded good."
Graham sighed. "One, it isn't even a word, and two, fornication means to sleep with. So, in other words, you're saying Scooby-Doo has a lot of unrealistic sex in it."
"Oh. I didn't know that."
"Well, anyway," Shamus defended himself hastily, "I don't know what you're talking about. Their plans are always great."
"Untrue," Graham said. "In all the, ahem, literature essays I've read…"
"Oh, come off it already. I know for a fact that nobody's gonna waste their time writing an essay on Scooby."
"Okay, maybe it is somewhat farfetched," Graham admitted. "Anyway, in the few, very few, episodes I've seen, every plan of theirs always ends up with one of them in a net and the culprit still running around in one of those ghastly costumes."
"Yeah," Shamus said with a triumphant smile, "but Scooby always ends up catching them in the end."
"Yes, but unfortunately, we don't have a large, halfway-illiterate dog around."
Shamus glared at him. "Lareina was wrong. You're the one that sucks the fun out of everything."
Graham looked affronted. "I do not!"
"Yes, you do. Fun-sucker."
"I'm not a fun-sucker!"
"I give up. Let's just go to class."
"Do me a favor. Shut up."
"Argh!" Graham nearly tore out his hair in frustration. Shamus, on the other hand, happily reached into his shirt bowl and pulled out a few strips of bacon. Graham stared enviously. His stomach was rumbling.
"Can I have some?"
Shamus looked smug. "I told you I wouldn't share."
"I hate you," Graham scowled.
"No, you don't," Shamus said simply, as if he were sure of the fact. "Nobody does."
"I'm sure there's at least one person in this school," Graham said.
"Nope. Really, there isn't." Shamus chewed absentmindedly on a breakfast sausage.
"What about Hayley?"
Shamus literally choked on the sausage in his mouth. Graham had never seen anything like it. He pounded him on the back, hard. "You all right?"
Shamus didn't say yes. In fact, he didn't say anything for a while. Just before they reached the classroom, he finally looked up at Graham, his face devoid of any of its usual humor. "I don't know what you've heard about me and Hayley, but you've got no right to judge. Not until you've heard all sides of the story at least."
"I'm listening," Graham said patiently.
"Not now," Shamus shook his head, "Not here. It's too soon. Let's just go into class before the teacher kills us."
Graham shrugged. "Fine."
The smile on Shamus's face returned, but it did look somewhat forced this time. "Great. Now, what you gotta remember is that Professor Delaney can smell fear. Walk in like you own the place. Don't let the man know he scares you."
"I'm sure that won't be a problem," Graham scoffed.
"Good on you, man," Shamus clapped him on the shoulder. "Now, just follow my lead." He took a deep breath, put on a cocky grin, and swaggered into the room, leaving Graham to catch up.
"Mr. Costello!" the teacher bellowed as soon as Shamus crossed through the doorway.
"Yes?" Shamus squeaked. He had obviously forgotten his own advice. Graham looked at him, surprised, before he saw the struggling smile. He stared incredulously—Shamus was mocking the professor. Not a wise thing to do, Graham thought as he sized the man up. He could easily picture this man as a sergeant for the Marines.
"What's that you got in there, Costello?" Mr. Delaney said, pointed to the large bulge in Shamus's shirt.
"New style, sir," Shamus replied. He walked over to his seat behind Jason and beside Lareina. "Bulge is all the rage this year."
The man looked dubious but said nothing. Instead, he rounded on Graham. "And who are you?"
Graham cocked an eyebrow as he gave Mr. Delaney another once-over. This man was large. He was at the very least 6'7" with large biceps, triceps, and just about any other muscle Graham could think of. He wore an expensive suit that made him look like a hit-man for the Mafia. Graham yawned. Been there, had met quite a few men like that. He had probably been scrawny and pimply in his teenage years just like all the rest of them.
"Well?" the teacher barked.
"Graham Scott," he said lazily. "I trust you were informed of my arrival." His kiss-up voice, as Jason had described it, was back.
Mr. Delaney frowned. He obviously was going for intimidation. Graham smirked. He'd be sorely disappointed if he was looking for some over him. "Of course, I have," Mr. Delaney said. "Take your seat quickly. I expect you boys to be on time tomorrow. In fact, to ensure you are, I suggest you come in early to clean out the lizard cage."
"And this is a suggestion, sir?" Graham asked.
"Try demand," Mr. Delaney said, a sour smile on his face. "Consider it your first warning. Now, take your seat."
"I don't have a seat," he said patiently.
The man growled. It was a low, guttural sound. Graham was alarmed. Just what sort of teachers did this school hire anyway? "Take any empty one then."
Graham turned to survey the room, well-aware of the whispers echoing through it. There were quite a few giggles too from the girls. He grinned lazily and strolled to an empty seat towards the back. To his dismay, there weren't any empty desks around Shamus, Lareina, and Jason. He really would have preferred to sit with them.
Jason noticed this and reacted accordingly. "Hey, Natalie," he said, leaning in close to the girl in front of him. She didn't have spectacular looks, Graham noted. She was really rather plain with dry brown hair frazzled by too many unnatural blonde highlights and a too-large nose. "Could you do me a favor?"
Natalie giggled and smiled flirtatiously as she turned to face Jason. "Whatever you want, babe." Jason's sexuality obviously didn't turn many of the girls off here. If anything, it made them even more determined to grab his attention.
"Well, see, my friend Graham is new here, and he doesn't really know anybody besides me and Shamus. Would you mind moving to the back, so he can sit here with us?" he pleaded.
She looked put-out, but Jason gave her his infamous wide-eyed puppy look, and Graham paused to shoot her a smile that he knew could make girls melt. It was a conceited observation, yes, but not a lie.
"All right," she gave in quickly and gathered her books. She aimed what she thought was a seductive look at Graham and winked, "Catch ya later."
Graham nodded, "Thanks, doll."
She giggled and blushed and hurried to her new seat in the back. Graham shook his head and settled into his own seat. "Thanks, Jason," he said gratefully. "I owe you one."
"Yeah, you do," Jason grinned. "Just kidding, man. It was nothing."
"It was something, all right. That girl wasn't exactly a joy to talk to."
Jason laughed, "Who, Natalie? She isn't so bad. Just a little…bubbly."
"Bubbly?" Graham said skeptically. "She laughs like a hyena."
"You're exaggerating," Jason accused.
"Actually, I'm being nice."
Jason laughed again and shook his head.
"Anything I'm missing here?" Shamus whispered as he leaned across the aisle.
"Yeah," Jason said. "What does a hyena's laugh sound like?"
"Natalie," Shamus answered promptly.
"I told you," Graham said to Jason smugly.
"You two are awful," Jason scolded them. "She's nice enough."
"Shamus, could you make it any more obvious that you're not paying attention to Mr. Delaney?" Lareina hissed, breaking into their conversation. "He looks like he's about to explode."
Shamus's smile went tight as he glanced up. Lareina was telling the truth; Professor Delaney really did look like he was about to hit the roof. Shamus froze.
"Is there something you'd like to share with the class, Costello?" the professor demanded.
"No, nothing at all," Shamus said. Graham could tell he was trying, and nearly failing, to be nonchalant. "Continue on with your lesson please."
Professor Delaney stared at Shamus for a good long time before he turned back to the board. Shamus let out a breath of relief. "He's a bit like Thing," Shamus whispered. "All you have to do is outsmart him."
Graham in a moment of unawareness laughed aloud, earning him a glare from the teacher. He waved weakly and began taking notes. He obviously wasn't leaving the best first impression. Jason sniggered behind him. "Smooth, Scott, real smooth."
"Don't even start," Graham muttered out of the corner of his mouth.
"Why not? I never get caught."
"Yeah, right. After all those years of being around Shamus? It'd be impossible not to get caught doing something."
"It's true," Jason insisted. "In more years of school than I care to remember, I've never gotten caught doing anything."
"That is such complete bullshit," Graham said.
"It's not," Jason said. "I've got a gift."
Graham opened his mouth to retort at the exact second Professor Delaney decided to turn around. "Scott, Costello," he bellowed, his face red with rage. "I've had it with you two! Detention tomorrow night for the both of you."
Shamus let out a squeak of indignation, "But sir, I wasn't even…"
"Do you really want to make that two nights of detention?" Professor Delaney threatened.
"No sir," Shamus sighed. Once the Professor was safely immersed in explaining something else, he shot a glare over at Graham and Jason. "Thanks a lot, you two."
"Any time, dear," Jason said airily. He smirked at Graham. "What did I tell you? It's a gift."
A few seconds later, the bell rang. He blinked in surprise as he turned to Shamus. "Didn't we just get in here?"
Shamus had a similar dazed expression on his face. "Sure seems like it. I just finished my breakfast." He let his shirt fall, revealing the brown grease stains Graham had warned him about.
"I don't know what you two are talking about," Lareina grumbled. "I thought that class would never end." As an afterthought, she added, "And your shirt looks dreadful, Shamus."
He ignored her, choosing instead to continue his conversation with Graham. "Did we actually learn anything?"
Graham shrugged. "I don't even know what subject this is."
"History of English Literature," Jason supplied helpfully. "Known as H-E-L, for short."
"You call this class hell?" Graham said, amused.
"Not hell," Jason rolled his eyes exasperatedly. "It's H-E-L."
"In other words, hell," Shamus cut in. "Jason can be such a stiff sometimes."
"I've been called many names," Jason said easily, "but stiff has never been one of them."
"With good reason," Lareina said after she finished copying down the last few notes on the board. "Shamus is just bitter because you got him placed in detention."
"Hey!" Shamus cried. "I'm not bitter. Bitter isn't even in my vocabulary--"
"—Along with a variety of other words," Graham added in.
Shamus grinned. "Anyway, as I was saying, I'm very calm, no…mellow. That's the word. I'm very mellow."
"But very bitter at the moment as well," Jason smirked.
"All right," Graham cut in before it could go any further. "Shouldn't we be getting to our next class?"
Shamus checked his watch and shook his head. "Nah, we've got plenty of time."
"Here at Richmond's we believe students should be given time in between classes to digest the information they have learned to enrich their minds," Jason said in a stuffy, pompous voice.
"We've still got ten minutes to party," Shamus said.
"Some party," Lareina scoffed. "Let's go out to the quad. People are going to start thinking we're unsociable if we hang around in the classrooms for too long."
"Heaven forbid that people should think we're unsociable," Shamus rolled his eyes causing Lareina to slap his arm. "Oww!" he protested. "That hurt!"
"You're so immature," Lareina mocked. "I don't even know why I put up with you."
"Because you love me," Shamus answered smoothly as if this were the easiest question in the world. Graham felt an uneasy twinge at the word love but said nothing.
"I'll never understand just how I let that happen," Lareina sighed.
"It was my irresistible charm," Shamus assured her. He stood up and tugged on her arm. "Come on, let's go to the quad now." He directed his gaze on Jason and Graham. "Are you coming?"
"Of course," Graham said hastily as he stood up. He wanted to see what the rest of the people at this school were like. He hadn't gotten much of a chance to meet many people at breakfast.
"Let's go," Jason said, and they left the room.