Harter Shore apparently had some strings pulled — both in staying alive, and in getting his job back.
The story went that he, too, had gotten kidnapped by a gang (him actually being in a gang was a bogus assumption) and now he was back from his extensive recovery sessions to do the teaching game again. So when he sauntered in Remy nearly choked in shock. He was missing an arm and had an eyepatch but there was a faint smile on his face.
No doubt Dominic had punished him, but to take off an arm and pluck out an eye? Dominic was a fucking psycho.
Mr. Shore met Remy's eyes as the kid gaped but he didn't say anything. Well, what would he say? Mission was a miscarriage, as you know, and Dominic fucked me up? Well that was pretty goddamned obvious. The whole class was staring but Shore just walked in with his eyebrows raised as if he couldn't understand their shock.
"So, page 60, according to the note your sub left me?" he said, looking round. "Is that right?"
"Mr. Shore, what the hell did those thugs do to you?" a kid asked. Everyone's ears were open.
Mr. Shore said, "we're in class Billy. I lost an eye and an arm, as you can plainly see."
A girl nudged Billy. "Dick! Just lay off him."
Mr. Shore smiled at her, and her cheeks reddened. Even missing a limb, Shore made girls wet. How nice.
Shore had a student read through the first page as he sat, boredly flicking his pencil across his desk. Through class Remy squirmed. When it finally ended, he kept to his seat and waited for the students to file out. Mr. Shore stared at him from his desk the entire time. A student made to stay behind but Shore asked him to go on, so he did.
When the door at last slid shut and they were the only two in the room, the silence stretched. Mr. Shore was smiling.
He said, "Is it smart for you to be alone with me Remy? Aren't you avoiding the Reds?"
"Are you still a member?" Remy asked.
"Of course I am," Harter said, laughing. "You can't just leave the Reds, Remy. As I learned. Dominic wouldn't even let me go to jail. Instead he locked me up for weeks and... well... you see the result." He waved his shoulder where the rest of his arm just... wasn't.
Remy pushed his chair out and stood. "I'm sorry I didn't save you."
Shore frowned. "What's that?"
"I didn't know where you were," Remy said. "I thought you were dead. I went for Rock and got him out but with you... I didn't..."
Mr. Shore blinked, thrown off. He shook his head. "You had no reason to save me."
"It's okay though," Remy said, nodding. He fidgeted with his sleeves, which were frayed to hell. "Well, maybe not. You got really hurt... but for your information, I'm going to take the Reds down."
Harter stood as well, grinning awkwardly. "That's... funny, actually. You look so serious I want to laugh."
Remy looked down at the car park below. "I just wanted to stay out of it but that's impossible isn't it? Dominic hasn't given me a choice."
"He's going to kill you," Harter said, shrugging. "Well. No. He's going to do much worse than that."
Remy fidgeted some more. "I'm not as strong as Tag or Rarren... or Kody, even. But if I join the Hounds officially..."
"Remy, you should probably go," Mr. Shore said. "You'll want to avoid me as much as possible. I mean in class it's hard, but after and stuff... if Dominic finds out we talk, if Raster tells him, then I'm going to lose my other arm."
Remy looked at him.
"He wants us to kidnap you still you know," Shore said. "So either I take you back to him or you get out of this classroom."
Remy nodded. He stopped in the doorway and looked back at the ragged adult. "I'm sorry I left and —"
Remy shot out of the room.
"Have you been harmed?" Kody asked as soon as Remy rounded the corner. Remy sputtered when Kody grabbed him by the collar of his shirt and tossed him face first against the wall. He tensed as Kody patted him down like some big headed cop on a power trip.
"Uh, Kody?" Remy said. "This isn't how you check if someone is hurt..."
"Oh." Kody's hands left Remy. "Well, you seem okay anyway."
Remy turned round, straightening his collar. Kody gave him a big smile and slipped his hands in his pockets, then turned on his heel and made to walk off.
"H-hey!" Remy said. Kody looked back at him curiously. "Was that a routine check or something?"
"No," Kody said, frowning all troubled like. "Harter Shore's back in action isn't he? You just had his class. I made sure you didn't have any holes in you, so... Shore won't die today." He put his fingers together in the position of giving the gun and pretended to shoot Remy. "Justice."
"Er..." Remy fidgeted with his sleeves. "Kody, Shore isn't much of a threat."
"Well he does lack an arm..."
"Can you come here?" Remy said.
Kody made a very curious face but walked back to Remy regardless. "What's up, Remy?"
"Can you confirm something for me?" Remy asked.
Kody blinked at him.
"I mean... I know it's silly... it's just to put my mind at rest," Remy said. He pulled out his cell and flew through his pictures til he got to him and Tag, one he took on a whim. He didn't have many pictures but he had some. He turned his phone face to Kody.
"You and..." Kody took the phone and squinted. "Hey! Dude! I didn't know you knew Patches."
"Patches," Kody said, waving Remy's phone excitedly. "I haven't seen him in a while, but sheesh, here he is with you. Well on your phone anyway." He giggled and held the phone back to his face, overly close. "Paaatches. He was so cool! He was always all sullen and moody and like 'I hate the world, the world hates me'. Oh! One time he broke a chair over Timmy's head and we were all like, Patches, take a moment!"
Remy awkwardly slid his phone from Kody's grip and turned it so he could view the picture again. In the picture it was just him and Tag. They were sitting on the bed, Remy grinning like an idiot and Tag recovering from a yawn.
Patches? That was his Spade nickname?
"So you know him?" Remy asked.
"That's your boyfriend?" Kody asked. "Why didn't you just say 'Patches'? Of course I know the gick."
Remy sighed. "Shit, that's a relief."
"Where's he at now?" Kody asked. "If he abandoned my gang I may have to rip his fingernails off, by the way."
Remy looked up at Kody, who was suddenly not smiling.
"I... I think he's still faithful... I mean... as far as..."
Kody laughed and poked Remy's chest. "It'll be fiiine. Patches is my friend. He'd never betray me."
"R-right?" Remy said, smiling hopefully. "I mean, he wouldn't hurt his friends, right?"
Remy rubbed his eyes with his sleeves. "Kody, I'm a shit person."
Kody's hand was on his shoulder suddenly. "You switch gears so fast my head spins. Don't be sad. I don't know you well, but I'm sure you're not total shit."
Remy frantically shook his head. "I didn't want to doubt him but I'm such a paranoid person. I don't believe in anyone. I am so horrible."
Kody's mouth opened. "You suspect him of cheating?" he whispered.
"No," Remy said, smiling awkwardly.
"What are you two doing?"
They turned as Copper approached. He had his bag slung over his shoulder and looked bored with life.
"Kody, I was waiting at the door," Copper said. He looked at Remy. "Are you okay? Did something happen?"
"Sorry," Kody said, staring at the wall in a weirdly abashed way. "Remy wanted to talk and I couldn't just ignore him. But, you found me." He side-stepped to Copper, who'd stopped beside them, and pushed their shoulders together. "You found me."
"Uh," Copper said, nodding. He turned to Remy. "Again, you okay?"
"Yes," Remy said.
"Have lunch with us," Copper suggested.
"Yes, yes," Kody said. "One second. Mind if I text my friends back?"
Kody leaned against the wall and flipped his phone out. "I can't text in class!"
"Everyone does anyway," Copper muttered.
"Not I," Kody said, winking. "I'm a model student."
"You beat up that tall guy for butting in line yesterday."
"Yeah, he butted in fucking line, Copper."
Remy grinned and leaned against the wall beside Kody. He texted Tag, some stupidly mushy I-miss-you message he would definitely wince at if he read over. But he was relieved. Relieved and feeling sort of sloppy because he had unintentionally been wary of Tag. Which was mean. Really mean.
So... was it really Rock who was planning on killing Rarren? He glanced at Kody. If Kody was even right.
"Remy?" Copper leaned beside him. Now there they were, three in a row. "Want some? You look funny... like you're thinking bout something really ugly." He was holding out his little milk carton. Remy accepted and sipped through the straw. His cheeks flushed when he realized he'd borrowed Copper's straw, but Copper's mind didn't seem to be on that at all. He was just looking at Remy with genuine curiosity. He really was concerned.
"I kind of doubted Tag for a second," Remy said, handing the milk back. "I'm ... yucky."
"Yucky, he says," Copper muttered, taking hold of the milk. "You aren't. I don't like yucky people, and I absolutely like you."
"You don't like yucky people?"
"Starting from... since I met you," Copper said, grinning.
Remy ducked his head and laughed. So embarrassing, but not unpleasant.
"Say," Kody said, pocketing his phone, "Remy? How has Patches been?"
"Good," Remy said.
"That guy..." Kody said, sighing. "Did he tell you bout his 'rents? That shit is sick."
Remy nodded. "Yeah. I can't..."
"That's one of the repercussions about being in a gang," Kody added. "It doesn't happen often, but when it does you just... there's no way of seeing it coming."
Remy looked at him. "Repercussions?"
"Yeah. No one intentionally set out to kill his parents," Kody said, motioning round, "but they got caught up in... something really shitty. I guess it happened a lot in their neighborhood too."
"What... happened... a lot?" Remy asked.
Kody looked at him. "Drive by shootings, dummy."
"Patches' parents died in a drive by."
Kody poked him. "You're looking at me funny."
"Kody," Remy said, trying to remain calm. Calm, calm, super fucking calm. "You know... how he has that ... that scar on his side?"
"Oh! You mean the one his brother gave him when he refused to join the Reds?" Kody scowled. "What a dick, hey? Who knifes their bro! Not cool."
Slowly, Remy pushed off the wall. He took a numb step.
The wound and his parents' death weren't related at all?
That was... all bullshit?
"Remy?" Kody said.
"Remy?" Copper said.
Remy dropped his bag and took off.
Rarren's house was in sight. Remy was sleek with sweat and his heart was in overdrive, but he couldn't stop. He was almost there. He reached the door and shoved it open, both relieved and horrified it wasn't locked.
It wasn't Tag, he knew. He knew because in his memory he saw Tag all the time. Sure, sometimes Tag was strangling him in his memory, but Tag was also kind-ish and awkward-ish and funny-ish. Tag was violent and uncontrollable, and he liked sex and beer, and he was young and checkered, but he was not a bad person. He was just — Tag.
Remy ran down the hallway.
It wasn't Tag because Tag was his friend, his lover, his... his first and all that stupid shit. They were like, bonded and stuff. Remy wasn't super familiar with what Tag and him were in all the fancy ways because he despised chick flicks, which tended to categorize things a lot better than him, but... whatever he and Tag had, whatever beautiful mumbo jumbo the universe placed them in, they were never supposed to hurt each other like this. So that was why Remy dreamed, and Remy never dreamed, about all this crap about him and Tag, about how they were right for each other, how they really, super-fucking liked each other, maybe even — maybe even more, so...
Remy turned into the living room and fell. As soon as he saw Rarren on the carpet, bleeding out, his legs left him and he fell.
Rarren was alive, but he wouldn't be for long. Not with that much blood leaking onto the floor, staining his beautiful white rug. It seemed like he'd bought it just to die dramatically on it. Who buys a spotless white fucking carpet?
"R-Rar..." he started, voice hoarse, and then he saw the culprit standing. Remy stared up, Tag looked down.
Tag held the bloody knife firm in his hand, looked apathetic, didn't really seem fully aware.
"Tag?" Remy said. He knew the situation looked bad... but it didn't... it didn't have to be. "Who..."
Rarren was dying. Remy scrambled for his phone. Had to get help. Had to...
"Remy, put that away," Tag said. That was definitely Tag's voice, nothing strange about it, all Tag.
"B-but you see..." Remy said, hastily texting Copper. It was faster than waiting for his own phone to ring, and then he could be intercepted — by who? Who here would intercept? — and then he dialled only after telling Copper to call an ambulance for Rarren.
"Remy." Tag kneeled in front of him and took the phone gently from Remy, hitting end call. "No, no. You texted someone just now, didn't you?"
"I did," Remy said. "Tag, who hurt Rar-Rar?"
Rarren sputtered something. Remy shoved Tag to the side and crawled to Rarren.
"Hey, hey," Remy said, snatching up Rarren's hand. Rarren was blinking and turning his head weakly, but he wasn't fully awake. "Rarren, it's Remy. You're okay. You're going to be okay. Someone stabbed you and then Tag came and scared them off and now I'm here and an ambulance is like, whoosh! It's coming."
Tag grabbed Remy and pulled him away from Rarren. "Remy, stop it."
"Who was it?" Remy asked, turning to Tag. "Who did this?"
"Remy. I'm holding the knife."
"But you know how in movies the good guy stumbles on a dead body and like... picks up the murder weapon all shocked and stuff and then gets framed?" Remy rushed out.
"I'm a good guy?" Tag asked.
"You are," Remy said. "You better be." He looked straight at Tag, who was pale, covered in sweat, and his eyes were dark and wrong. "Or I will kill you."
Tag stared at him. He leaned forward on his knees and kissed Remy full on the mouth. Remy eyes almost fluttered shut until he heard Rarren make a horrible sound. Remy broke the kiss and looked down at Rarren, whose face was screwed up in pain. Tag had just stabbed the knife into his side.
Tag took Remy's face in his other hand and urged their lips back together. Remy knew at that moment, one hundred percent, the boy kissing him was going to die.
AN: JINXING REMY IS DONE! Since I know (and you know) I'm continuing this I thought I could leave it at a cliffhanger.
The sequel will be up... sometime soon. It will be called Hexing the Hounds, so check for it :)
But on another note, I feel I should say something or give a curtsy. But llamas are a bit challenged so I'll have to bow my neck. Thank you guys so very much for reading this story! Remy and his cuckoo nest of friends are also grateful. This project was started for fun and it has been fun all the way through so it served its purpose. Hopefully the sequel will too.
You guys are the best readers everever!