There was a saying, one which Bailey was told time and again: first impressions are like magic.
His first 'impression' of Claudius was simple. He was a narcissistic asshat who really needed to learn social cues. Such as not getting in Bailey's personal bubble, because, frankly, if the man had kept his distance, Bailey was certain his own grave and headstone wouldn't be a subject of whispered conversation. The magic between them was stained with blood, at this point, and as Claudius dropped his hand, pale skin smeared with red, Bailey silently begged the gods to spare his life.
Granted, he didn't know the man would have such a harsh reaction to getting punched in the face. Bailey hardly knew him, Claudius that is, though the two of them shared several classes together. Claudius often slept in most of the lessons they shared, black-haired head resting on the desk furthest from the student population. There were rumors, certainly, about the man's temper. Bailey knew all of that.
And he still proceeded to punch him in the face, and over something as stupid as a name. Bailey's name, as it was.
It's not my fault it's girly. Bailey edged away from the older student, knuckles stinging. The grassy hills around them had fallen silent, students hushed and wide-eyed as they watched what was occurring unfold without a whisper of concern. Or perhaps they just weren't stupid enough to try and help. That was more likely, now that Bailey thought about it. The fucker just had to bring up the name, when we were doing so well about not killing each other. He pressed and pressed, even after I said to drop it!
Quotes existed for a reason. Bailey understood this now, as Claudius slammed into him. Quotes, they were small bursts of advice, each which came from a person who had done something so stupid the likelihood of taking it back was slim-to-none. He absently wondered if they wrote these little quotes in blood on a random surface, and prayed someone would find them so others would not make the same mistake. Bailey highly doubted he'd be able to write anything in blood before the outraged, silver-blue eyed bastard bashed his head in against the brilliant green slopes resting peacefully next to the track.
Which led him to thinking about the second, and last, part of his mother's favorite saying.
Those we meet are not by accident, but by the tides of fate. Careful not to cross the wrong lines lest you end up tangled.
Bailey wished he listened a bit more, now that he finally understood what she had been trying to teach him before she had died a rather dramatic death. He was tangled, this he knew. If he wasn't careful, Claudius would wrap those invisible lines around his neck, and proceed to strangle him. As he twisted and clawed, trying to free himself from a man twice his size and weight, Bailey cursed himself and the asshat attacking him.
One well-placed elbow to the gut had Claudius yanking away, and Bailey whipped around with a deep scowl on his face. His uniform was torn at the knees and elbows, the black cloth dirty. It was nothing compared to the deep, silver-blue of Claudius's dress shirt and white slacks, both which were torn and bloodied and covered in deep, thick brown soil. Inwardly, Bailey cheered for himself. Even if he did get killed, at least he left a mark. Albeit temporary as it was, it was a victory.
It felt less like one when Claudius's fist met with his jaw, and the smaller of the two saw stars as he was knocked right off his feet. He didn't even feel the ground, when he hit it. All he heard was the whoosh-whoosh-whooshing sound in his ears, like an ocean raging against a sandy shore. Or maybe it was like being underwater where everything sounded different, and even the clearest of sounds became muddled and disjointed.
As Bailey regained his bearings, the loud and shrill ringing in his ears dying down, the first thing he noticed was the fact Claudius stood over the top of him. One foot planted firmly on either side of his hips, the larger, older student regarded him with a head tilted minimally to the side. As Bailey dragged in a deep breath, Claudius's eyes narrowed, and then he was crouched on top of him, practically straddling his lap as he caught his chin between clawed fingers.
"Which insult initiated the attack, gan'ma?" Claudius turned his head this way and then that way, and Bailey felt his brow twitch. The man was invading his space, again. He inhaled, slowly. The scent of herbs reached him, and the man grinned as Bailey's brow furrowed. That word. Bailey let out a low hiss, and swatted the hand away from his face as he said, "Gan'ma, why is it always gan'ma with you people? Gan'ma this. Gan'ma that..."
Claudius snorted, and then he was standing as a shrill whistle broke up the silence. Several professors were rushing towards them, not a one looking pleased. It was odd, Bailey noted as one was suddenly helping him up. He was positive his teacher had been with the others, and then, bam, she was helping him sit up.
"What happened?" Bailey groaned, once that voice reached his ears. He clasped his hand on his teacher's shoulder, and sat up slowly as the Deputy Headmaster advanced upon them. He was a scary man, even with the dress-like robes he wore. It was a miracle Vasquez wasn't there, too. He really didn't want to go through another long hour of being stared at by the headmaster, he really didn't. Bailey nearly jumped out of his skin when Namaris hissed, "Well?"
Bailey wasn't sure what to say, exactly. He could say it was because Claudius was picking on his name, but that was just childish. It was true, in part, but still. Rising to his feet, he eyed Namaris with a sense of trepidation. As he was getting ready to speak, a hard hand fell on his shoulder, and then the bane of his existence was speaking.
"I provoked him." Claudius stated, and the grip on his shoulder tightened. An expectant look was aimed right at him, and Bailey felt it. From the both of them, and the rest of the class. Exhaling, Bailey looked away from the green grass to meet his deputy's eyes as he muttered, "And I punched him in the face, afterward."
It was more along the lines of him saying my mother was an inferior peon that polluted the air of purer creatures. It was that, actually. Bailey twitched as the thought crossed his mind, and his gaze narrowed. The deputy blinked, and then Bailey looked at the ground. The other students were beginning to move on, and Namaris looked between the two of them, for a moment, before sighing. He shook his head as he asked, "Again?"
"Again." They both deadpanned, and the young man shook his head in disbelief. Namaris grinned, suddenly, his voice light as he said, "At least you weren't fried alive this time, eh? Gods forbid what would have happened if I had to tell Zanara if the two of you set something else on fire."
Bailey would rather not imagine how that would turn out. The headmaster was rather terrifying, when angry. The history classroom was still being repaired, after the last time the man had lost his temper. Shooting a quick glance at the student next to him, whose race he still hadn't yet determined, Bailey could see the same thought was going through Claudius's mind. An enraged headmaster was never good, not for anyone or anything.
Namaris nodded, a moment later. "Well, off with you."
As Bailey made to slink away, the grip on his shoulder tightened. He dunked his head, eyes wide as he and his unsavory classmate walked side-by-side for some time in silence. As they reached the massive doors of Blackbriar Academy, a sense of unease coiled in his stomach seconds before warm lips brushed his ear. "Don't think you're getting off easy, gan'ma."
If Bailey thought to entertain the idea, he most certainly didn't after that.
AN: This one-shot came out of nowhere. Literally. I was sitting here, at my TV-Computer, thinking 'what to write,' and this came flying out of my fingers and brain. It splattered across the TV, and left my laptop in a sad state of pink braininess, all which left me happy by the end. Though I have to say I love Bailey and Claudius. They're rather interesting, getting into a fight over a name. Not that I blame Bailey, given his name is very girly. However, I think he's more than justified to punch the git in the face. I would have done the same thing.
Enjoy, and, if you would be so kind - review.