The first "one-shot" in a potential series of them. As a disclaimer for anyone who is not visiting from the roleplay, as a matter of fact neither of these characters' concepts are mine. Christopher Dawson and Daisy Fields are two characters created as a part of a Tumblr Roleplay entitled London in Love (insert shameless plug for how amazing the roleplay is and how incredible the people involved are here). I play Daisy, and this one-shot has been posted as a (very belated) birthday present to the awesome roleplayer who is actually responsible for the angsty little beast that is Chris. This is a flash of their very long past together. More may be in store, maybe a whole story. We shall see. Enjoy! Especially Miss Abby (if your name is wrong, feel free to shoot me), happy belated birthday to you.
November 9th, 1999
So he sat there, huddled, arms curled and hugging his knees to his chest, trying to be as small as possible. Maybe, just maybe, if he sat here long enough in the dark corner of the hall, they would forget about him. He'd be nothing. And he could be okay with being nothing, as long as it meant being nothing made people stop looking at him, made people stop noticing him and hurting him.
The thing about Northview Elementary was that, no matter how quiet a conversation in a classroom was, the sound still carried. Even now, during indoor recess, as the rain pounded the windows and children were roaming the halls with their friends, he could hear them. Just inside the classroom door. Maybe they meant for him to hear. Maybe they didn't.
"Look, tomorrow during recess, we'll steal that cruddy jacket he always wears." Pat was always the ringleader. Always.
Young Christopher Dawson curled in on himself further, if that was possible, hugging his jacket, one of his only treasured possessions, closer to his skin. He didn't want them to take the jacket. But they were going to anyway. Nobody ever listened.
"He'll go crying to a teacher. It's stupid."
"Please, it's just a stupid jacket. You notice how he flinches if you raise your hand near him? We'll keep him quiet."
He just didn't want to get hit. Chris didn't want to get hit anymore. Not any more than he already was, anyway. He wanted school to at least be a place where he couldn't get hit. At least they weren't planning on hitting him. Not yet. But he also didn't want to say goodbye to his jacket.
"Where are we going to do it? It's not like he goes anywhere other than-"
"Dumbo, that's where we'll-"
"So we'll just yank the jacket off him. Maybe throw it in the woods or something, I bet the squirrels in there need something that'll keep them warm in the winter. Think about it like a favor to the squirrels."
"And I'll think about it like it's something Miss Ritter needs to know about."
This was a new voice. Chris perked up in curiosity - it was a girl. What girl in his class would even think of confronting Pat the bully? Sarah? No, Sarah liked to trip him sometimes just so she and her friends could laugh. Rita? No, it couldn't be Rita either. Rita liked to call him names.
"Oh, yeah? What are you gonna do, Daisy?"
Daisy. Chris blinked. Daisy Fields?
"I'm going to tell Miss Ritter if you steal his jacket."
Daisy Fields, the quiet little redhead who only answered questions when called on, but always got them right without fail?
Chris heard Pat laugh. "You wouldn't tell Miss Ritter. You're just being a girl."
Daisy Fields, the meek little redhead who sat silent at the lunch table of girls, quietly eating her lunch and barely participating in the conversation?
"And you're just being a bully. You guys should stop being so mean to him. He's never done anything to you."
Daisy Fields, the sweet little redhead who'd on more than one occasion had offered him a piece of candy during every single one of the class parties even though he always refused it?
"So? You can't tell me what to do, so shut up."
Taking a deep breath and gathering his courage, Chris rolled himself onto his hands and knees to take a peek into the classroom. He wanted to see what was going on. He also wanted to tell Pat that he shouldn't ever tell a girl, especially such a quiet, meek, and sweet one like Daisy, to shut up. They could do whatever they wanted with him, but she had done absolutely nothing to deserve being treated that way.
But to his surprise, what he saw was definitely not what he expected. Neither party could see him. Pat and his friends were all in a semi-circle around that tiny girl with red ringlets framing her face. Her bright green-blue eyes were on fire, and she stood at her full height despite the fact that she was still far too small to be bigger than any of them. It reminded him of the video about animal behavior that they watched the other day, when an animal felt threatened, they either fled or tried to make themselves look bigger to scare off their opponents. As much as he would have taken Daisy to do the former, it looked like she was more like the latter instead.
"I'll shut up as soon as I tell Miss Ritter what you're planning to do," Daisy retorted.
"You're lucky it's not nice to hit girls," Pat growled. His fists were clenched, and Chris shrank away from him despite his distance. Clenched fists always meant anger. And anger always meant getting hit. And he didn't want Daisy to get hit. Not in the least.
"It's not nice to hit anyone. And if you hit Chris, I'll… I won't just tell Miss Ritter. I'll tell the principal, and you'll get kicked out."
Chris blinked. He couldn't believe what he was seeing. Nobody ever stood up for him like this. And nobody ever should. People weren't supposed to be nice to him. There was something wrong with him. If there wasn't, his parents would love him. His family would love him. His dad wouldn't punch him. And his brother wouldn't laugh. His mother wouldn't feed him the scraps from his family's plates, and she would give him lunch money. People weren't supposed to stand up for stupid kids like him.
He also couldn't believe it when Pat finally said, "Fine. I won't steal his jacket. Or hit him. Just don't get me kicked out of school."
But nothing, absolutely nothing, beat Chris's surprise the next day.
Because Daisy Fields sat down with him at lunch, offered him a sandwich, and stayed faithfully like a watchdog by his side throughout all of recess. And for the first time that year, Pat didn't bother him once.