"You were freakin' boss today, dude!" Lea mentioned, breaking the silence between the pair. They hadn't really spoken much in detention (mostly since they weren't allowed to talk). "Didn't know you had that in you."
Joseph was silent for a few more paces before responding. "Thanks…"
"Why haven't you stood up to Andrew before?" Lea inquired curiously. "Obviously, you could have. Well, if it was one on one."
Joseph shrugged. He had a reason why he hadn't before, but he apparently threw that out the door yesterday. And yet, he didn't care to share that reason. Besides, it was always him on his own against them, and there was no way he could have won. So why bother? He never expected to win.
"You shouldn't have to take that. You should have stood up for yourself. You have the right," Lea chided, internally wincing. God, he was being such a hypocrite.
"I guess…" Joseph muttered reluctantly.
"Well, I don't think they'll bother you for awhile," Lea said, as they arrived at the driveway of the red-head's house. "You want to come in for a bit? We could play video games or watch something."
Joseph grimaced visibly looking at the house. Honestly, he didn't want to spend too much time in that house. And, after today, he'd really just like to chill on the hill and shift. "Not really…"
"Fine, you want to go to the hill right?" Lea made an educated guess. "Well, I'm going to join you so come in while I drop off my junk."
"Fine," Joseph gave in reluctantly, knowing there would be no way to persuade Lea otherwise. They walked up the pathway to the door.
Lea opened the door with his key and let Joseph in. A voice drifted from the other room, startling the two boys.
"Lea, is that you?"
"Uh yeah, it's me," Lea clarified, nervous all of a sudden of the tone of the voice. "You're back awfully early today, Mom."
"I got everything set up today so I came home early. Lea, why did I get a call from your school today?" a high stern voice asked.
A woman approached them from the kitchen. She had the same fiery red hair just like Lea. She had a softer face, though. She wore a white lab coat, one that made Joseph shiver a bit since it reminded him of a coat a doctor would wear. She wore a stern, annoyed expression on her delicate features, but upon seeing Lea's beat up stature, her face melted into a face of incredulity and concern.
"Lea, honey…" she sighed, shaking her ginger ponytail in disbelief. " What kind of trouble did you get into this time?"
"You should have seen the other guy, Mom," Lea chortled. Lea's mom gave him a firm look before noticing Joseph.
"Oh yeah! Mom, this is Joseph, my friend, and Joseph this is my mom," Lea introduced.
"Joseph! You were the one my son was talking about. What a nice name! It's nice to meet you. I'm Angeline Dibenneditto, but you can just call me Angie," she smiled, shaking hands with Joseph, the latter awkwardly nodding.
"Why can't I call you Angie?" Lea teased, earning him a gentle whack in the back of his head.
"Um, nice to meet you… Angie," Joseph muttered awkwardly. He didn't like talking to parents. It was awkward, and he couldn't believe Lea's mom wanted him to call her Angie. It was so… informal. He could definitely see the family resemblance between the two.
"You have bandages all over your face!" Angie noticed, extending her hand to touch Joseph's cheek. "Did my Lea drag you into trouble as well? I'm terribly sorry for my son's antics."
"Ah, no. Lea actually kind of… saved me." Joseph said, pulling away from Angie's touch. Besides, it was pretty much Joseph's fault Lea was all banged up.
"Yeah see, Mom? Why do you always assume I drag people into trouble?" Lea rolled his eyes.
"'Cause you are my son." Angie bluntly claimed.
"Well, that's on you then," Lea chuckled, before hurdling his messenger backpack towards his room. "I'm gonna go hang out with Joseph for awhile. I'll be back by dinner."
"Honestly, I have half a mind to ground you for that stunt you pulled at school," Angie remarked seriously with the 'Mom-look'.
"But you won't because I'm trying to acclimate to a new town, school, and people. And, the fight at school was out of self-defense this time," Lea coyly pointed out.
"Alright, but at least clean your face off. You looked like you just got mugged," Angie sighed exasperation.
Joseph snickered while Lea rolled his eyes and complied. He went around the corner into the bathroom.
"I suppose I'm used to this by now. He's very accident prone and somewhat of a klutz," Angie sighed, running a hand through her red hair. Joseph noticed Lea did that as well. "He's gotten progressively worse over the years, but I suppose there is nothing I can do about it."
Joseph raised an eyebrow in confusion. Lea seemed to be very coordinated during the fight; in fact, Joseph didn't doubt the red-head could take on two or three of Andrew's gang with his hand behind his back. He was nimble and quick. What was his Mom even talking about?
Before Joseph could respond though, Lea came back, his face cleaned and bandaged up.
"Alright, I'm clean and handsome as ever," Lea declared, grabbing his keys off the counter. "I'll be back later, Mom!"
"Fine, but do remember it's a school night!" Angie called out as her son and Joseph left.
"How do you even do this?" Lea ogled in awe, watching as Joseph played with the hues of the night. Lea's question was met with silence. "What, are you ignoring me again?"
"Did you say something?" Joseph snapped out of his concentration.
"Man, you get really into this. I can see why, though. I asked how you do this," Lea said, motioning to the sky.
Joseph shrugged. Even he didn't fully comprehend how or why it happens. It just did.
"You don't know?"
"Not really. It just happens."
"When did it start? What can you do?" Lea asked eagerly.
"Why should I tell you? I barely know you," Joseph remarked coldly. It was not really on purpose, but he didn't want to go into how he got his powers.
"Aw, don't be like that! We were just getting along fine!"
"As far as I'm concerned, I'm being bribed," Joseph remarked, returning his attention to the sky. He had been trying to see how many hues of blues and purple he could fit within the range of sight.
"Is it true you can make it day during the night?" Lea asked, ignoring Joseph's previous comment.
Joseph only responded by reaching towards the horizon with his hand. The brunet slowly shifted his fingers up, and along with the movement, the tip of the sun came up over the horizon. It looked as if the sunset was happening a second time before Joseph slid it back to its original spot, hidden from their view. The sky darkened again.
"Whoa!" Lea cheered, watching in awe. "Holy crap, Dude! Holy crap! That is amazing!"
"I don't usually mess with the day or the night anymore, though. It freaks people out, attracts too much attention, and is generally an inconvenience. So, I stopped," Joseph explained, finished with perfecting his hues and now playing with the stars.
"Makes sense, although day during the night is typically the norm in Alaska par of the year." Lea nodded before noticing something. "It really looks like one of those painting apps for an iPad! Like, it looks like a touch screen!"
"Seriously man, when did you figure out you could do all of this?"
"That is something I don't want to get into," Joseph snapped, a flash of anger ran through his eyes. At the same time, a rumble of thunder ran through the sky accompanied by a flash of lightning.
The sudden thunder surprised Lea, but more than that, for a second within the flash of light, he could have sworn he'd seen long, black hair fluttering in the wind.
"Joseph… did you do that?" Lea hesitantly asked. Joseph was silent as he continued to play with the big dipper. "Are your emotions linked to the sky?"
"Only sometimes." A curt response from the brunet.
"What do you mean only sometimes?"
Lightning shot closely over Lea, making him jump in surprise. Only this time, the lightning had obviously been intentional.
"You can control lightning too?!"
Another lightning bolt streaked overhead, this time a little lower. Joseph was glaring at Lea. He apparently did not want to talk anymore.
"Alright, alright. I get it. You don't want to talk about it," Lea sighed in frustration. "I'll just go home, I suppose, since it's almost dinner."
"Don't get hit by lightning on the way back," Joseph taunted.
"Ha ha, very funny. See you tomorrow." And with that, the red-head left.
Joseph let out a breath of relief as he relaxed. It felt really weird having someone fawn over his gift so reverently. He wasn't used to attention. It was sort of pleasant until Lea started asking too many questions. Questions he did not want to answer.
Joseph laid back on the grass lazily and pulled out his ear buds from his hoodie's pocket. After slipping them in, the brunet began blasting a Seven Lions playlist. Trance step was always the most fun to shift the sky to. That and dubstep in general.
Now that the brunet was settled and focused, the real show was about to start.
You got to keep your ideals high
You got to know the sky belongs to no one
You got to go
Joseph got home late, a little past two am. That was usual though. He was always up on that hill for the better part of the night. His butler and maid weren't awake; they probably went to bed early.
The sky shifter quietly padded up the stairs and to his room. All the lights were off, but that was to be expected. Quickly, the brunet threw on a white tee and plaid pajama bottoms. He was exhausted, especially after all the things that happened today.
Lazily, he flopped down on his bed, and pulled a blanket over himself. Looking back on the day, he wondered why he had jumped into that fight. Was it really because he felt guilty? Granted it had felt super liberating to beat up Andrew like that. But, would he have done that if Andrew had attacked anyone else? Probably not. Joseph frowned what made Lea different? Most likely because he was the only one to ever stand up for Joseph. It felt right to return the favor and do the same.
"Yeah, that and he's bribing me," Joseph snickered, rolling over onto his side. Gradually he let sleep overtake him but not without the last thought of Oh, I get to look forward to detention tomorrow.
Joseph doodled in boredom as they all sat in detention. All the other people sat away from him except Lea. That's how it always was. Well, besides the red-head. The brunet avoided people the best he could, but it always seemed like he didn't have to try too hard. People would give him looks of fear and uneasiness. He was glad people avoided them him as much as he avoided them, but he couldn't figure out why. None of the other antisocial kids around the school or town got those looks. Only him. He was pretty much the outcast, ironically in his living situation. So why didn't Lea do the same thing? Why didn't he treat the brunet like the plague?
A note hit Joseph's cheek, pulling him out of his thoughts. Speak of the devil; it was the annoying red-head next to him that had thrown it. He sent a glare at the teen smiling 'innocently' next to him and gesturing at the note. Joseph sighed and unfolded the note.
I heard Andrew is out for our blood
Joseph frowned and wrote back.
Do you really think he'd risk it? I mean after what happened?
Lea shrugged when reading it and wrote back.
I dunno, but we can take him, man.
You say with your face still scarred up.
Casualty of war, necessary sacrifice.
Joseph frowned looking back at Lea; sure he had just gotten into a fight with Andrew a few days ago, but his wounds should have healed up a bit. But instead, his face still looked a bit banged up, and there were new wounds. The brunet noticed that in P.E as well. There were more Band-Aids on him than from before. His mom had said he was clumsy, but that seemed highly unlikely. Perhaps he did some kind of sport in his free time.
Another note hit Joseph. The brunet gave another glare to the red-head.
Why are you staring at me? Finally captivated by my good looks?
Joseph rolled his eyes.
As if, I was imagining how painful those snakebites are right now.
Lea shrugged and fingered the silver piercings. There were cuts and abrasions surrounding them. There were more than last time, Joseph noted.
Yeah, a real bummer. But, at least they didn't get damaged to bad; it should only take a week to heal.
You got off lucky.
So why snakebites? And why all the piercings at all? Are you trying to come off as punk? (You definitely don't pull it off btw).
Aww, someone's chatty today.
Joseph frowned, and decided to go back to doodling. Lea totally blew off his question. Another note hit skidded across his desk.
Jeez, don't ignore me! I just think they're cool.
Joseph called BS; it didn't feel like someone like Lea would get so many if he just thought they were cool.
"Alright, you are dismissed for the day," the teacher watching over the students said.
"Freedom!" Jake yelled, grabbing his backpack quickly and fleeing the room. "See you bros later!"
Subaru rolled his eyes, packing up his bag. Turning towards them, he said, "I've got to go to work. See you guys later."
"See ya, bro," Taito nodded, leaving the room himself.
It was only Lea and Joseph left.
"You are not following me."
"I'll tell them." Lea gave a devious grin at Joseph, whom rolled his eye in frustration and marched out of the room with the red-head in tow.