Chapter 15 - Two Days Later...
"We're back on the scene, now, with Eric Arden, our crime reporter here on SNN, Eric?" the reporter on the television asked.
"Thank you, Kate, I'm here live with Sargent Bradshaw of Sudbinam Police Force outside the Lawson Bank where this commotion started two days ago. I say started but we really saw the first signs of the, uh," he chuckled slightly "Superhero group known as HATE back in the late eighties when a series of kidnappings across the country resulted in mass-hysteria. Since then, they had become a normal part of society, also showing up in other countries until they now seem to have international branches. This was until two months ago when the Thames Disaster occurred and three million people died. Not only were there riots here in England, but also across the world as people called out for their own forms of HATE to be disbanded and leave the countries. However, after disappearing, HATE have now shown up here, can you shed some light on this for us, Sargent?" he offered the microphone to the same officer who had lead the assault on the bank.
"I can try." he grunted. "When we got there, they were fighting amongst themselves and tying up their colleagues so they could take the money for themselves. They also-"
"That's a load of lies!" a woman roared, pushing him from view and taking the microphone. "I was a hostage in the bank that day and HATE were not associated with me and my child's captors! They saved our lives and then he charged in and took the real criminals who will probably escape soon!"
"That's not true, ma'am." he grunted darkly.
"I think we'll go back to the studio for now, back to you Kate." the reporter said as the woman jump-attacked the Sargent.
"Uh, thank you Eric for that-" Violet turned off the television.
"Well, HATE have certainly become celebrities again." she said, smiling slightly at Philip.
"That's a slight understatement, Mum, all people were talking about yesterday was HATE. It was all 'HATE this' and 'HATE that'. It's driving me nuts!" Sasha sulked.
Violet laughed. "I can imagine, now come on, school." she said and got a moan in return. "You too, Phil."
Philip grabbed his bag and joined his mum and sister in the elevator. At the bottom, he said goodbye and headed towards the train station. He swiped his card and boarded the train then sat in his normal seat. Only then did he start to wonder why he was being sent back to the school where he'd been found.
His thoughts were disturbed when Pixel sat next to him wearing the JMA school uniform (navy blazer, white shirt, blue and silver tie with a black skirt).
"Hey Phil." she said.
"You're coming to JMA?" he asked.
"Hm? Oh, yeah. You can't call me Pixel while we're there, you gotta call me Emily Hawkin. I hate my normal name." she sighed. She seemed to have tried to make herself look more normal. Her black hair was slightly curled and the streaks had been removed while it was also back offer her face rather than dangling in her blue eyes which were rimmed with less eye-liner than usual.
"Emily isn't too bad of a name." he said.
She laughed. "I prefer Pixel."
"Anyway, why're you coming?" Philip asked as the train started forward.
"Because Beam and Probe want to make sure Probe's mind blocks are working." she continued after Philip's blank look. "Probe blocked any memories Quake had about where he found you and placed the idea in his head that he want to wipe it off Shade's computer, too. I'm just here to help if any uglies do show up."
"Ah, gotcha." he said as the train stopped at the Redbrook Station.
"Yeah, I just can't be bothered to go. I mean, I was rarely at Hayfield because I was always needed at HQ so it's just going to be settling in."
"You'll be fine." Philip said. "You're gonna be the smartest person there, Haystack or not."
Pixel chuckled. "Thanks." she looked out of the window as the train stopped at HQ's skyscraper. "Wow, it's weird not getting off here."
"You'll get used to it. Next stop is us, anyway."
"Not too much of a journey then." Pixel, or Emily, said, looking out of the window at the city. "I've never been this far into the city before without Void or Probe before."
Philip stared as the train started to descend. "No way."
She nodded as they jumped off. "Mm hmm, not once." A few minutes later they had passed between the large iron gates of JMA and walked past the fountain and passed through the entrance hall.
"Don't know why you're thinking you're gonna have trouble fitting in, it's just a school." Philip said with a shrug.
"Just a school for the rich and snooty plus highly judgemental." she scoffed.
Phil laughed then another voice sounded from behind them.
"Who's your friend, Phil?" Andrew Lawson said, walking up with two of his friends.
"I'm Emily, you are?" Pixel asked and Andrew almost flinched at her accent.
"Andrew Lawson, nice to meet you." he said, turning the sleaze back on.
"The same Lawsons' who had their bank broken into?" she asked, her face innocent.
Philip turned away so Andy couldn't see him choking back laughs.
Andrew's eyes were like plates. "Uh, yeah."
"You should tell your dad to get better security." Pixel said matter-of-factly an walked away.
Andrew stared after her then looked at Philip for an explanation but he only shrugged and caught up with her.
"Did you see his face?" she giggled.
"Yeah, I think if his eyes had gotten any bigger they would have popped out of his head."
"I know! Oh this is gonna be fun!" Pixel beamed, the twinkle in her eye mischievous.
They were crossing a corridor to their form room when a boy in the year above Philip and Pixel came running through the fairly busy corridor carrying a bag and a spray paint bottle and sending people flying as he barged his way through. He knocked Pixel to the floor, too. "Oi!" she shouted angrily after him but he was gone.
"You okay?" Phil asked as she got to her feet.
"Yeah, fine." she said, scowling down the corridor. "I wonder what he was doing." she said, her brow creasing.
"Not a-" Philip was interrupted by Mr Harris the English teacher appearing at the end of the corridor, shouting. His thick glasses were askew, his bald head shiny and the wrinkles around his eyes very prominent.
"... little vandal! You'll all pay, you animals!" he huffed, charging through the crowd after the boy.
Pixel watched him go. "Is he always like that?"
"Pretty much." Philip shrugged.
The bell rang and the crowds slowly dispersed as people headed for form, one person to walk to Philip's form was Luna who walked up from the opposite direction to Mr Harris.
"Hey, d'you know what happened?" Pixel asked her.
"Hm?" Luna looked up from her timetable, her hair was tied into two, low pigtails but still had the crescent hair pin at the edge of her side-fringe. "Oh, someone wrote 'long live HATE' o a wall with bright pink spray paint."
Chapter 16 - Gossip...
It seemed that everywhere Philip went, the only thing to talk about was HATE. One of the main gossipers was Cassandra Wright. She had been watching through the window so, naturally, everyone wanted to talk to her.
Philip was sat next to Kyle with Pixel at the desk in front of them (Jess had broken a few ribs and an arm at the bank so she wasn't in) while Cassandra was chatting away to some other girls on Kyle's right.
"Well, who do you think is best?" Alicia Brown asked.
Cassandra tapped her chin and then her eyes lit up. "Haze, by far, he's tall and strong and controls fire. Imagine the heat, no what I mean?" they all burst out in fits of laughter and Ms Richards told them to shut up and get on with their work.
Kyle sat frozen, his expression mortified. His eyes were huge, his pupils dilated and his mouth was a thin, upside down U.
Pixel, on the other hand, was shaking with laughter and trying to write but she couldn't even hold a pen.
Philip was grinning too and resisting the urge to laugh by biting his lip, hard. He patted Kyle's back. "So, when's the wedding?"
"Shut up, Phil. Seriously, this isn't funny." Kyle snapped.
Pixel rolled her eyes, still smiling. "No, not at all."
Cassie and the other girls were still laughing when they left the classroom thirty minutes later.
"What you got?" Pixel asked.
"History." Kyles sighed.
"Biology." Philip said.
"I've got IT so I'll see you both later." she said and went down the corridor to the left. Kyle also went left while Philip went right, towards the newer science block. He came out of the back arch and crossed the small courtyard to the glass and redbrick building. It was only two storeys tall but it held eight classrooms, each had a wall of floor-to-ceiling windows, and two preparation rooms filled with chemicals.
Philip had just climbed the few steps into the main corridor, like the other students going to science, when he heard a yelp of pain behind him.
"Ow!" came a girl's voice.
Philip turned to see Luna collapsed on the steps, clutching her ankle. Nobody else had even turned round. He scowled a bit and walked back to her. "Hey, you okay?" he asked, stretching out his hand.
"Yeah, I just fell on the steps." she said, taking Philip's hand and he helped her up. "Thanks." she smiled and took a step but collapsed again as she put her weight on her right leg. "Ah!"
Philip helped her up again. "You wanna go see the nurse?"
She nodded whilst gritting her teeth. "Mm hmm, will you help me get there, though? I don't think I could walk and I've forgotten where it is." she grinned sheepishly.
"No problem." he said and put her right arm around his shoulders and took half her weight.
"I'm sorry, I'm so clumsy!" she giggled. "I'm wasting your time."
"Hey, it's only biology, it's not like it's anything important." he grinned back.
She laughed. "I'm Luna, by the way, Luna Heart." she said as they entered the main school building.
"Philip Forster." he nodded and turned them onto a corridor branching to the right and up a flight of stairs.
"Yeah, I think I've seen you around but I can't quite remember. I still haven't settled in." she sighed. "I kinda miss London."
"Is it very different from here?" he asked as they climbed another set of stairs and turned down a wide corridor to the left.
"Not that much, just busier, but I miss my friends." she replied with half a shrug.
"You'll settle in soon." The stopped outside an office marked 'Nurse's Office' with three chairs outside. "There you go."
Luna knocked and opened the door when a voice replied with "Come in."
"Sit there, love." the woman said from behind her desk, gesturing to the small, medical examination bed.
Philip went to leave but Luna grabbed his wrist. "No, stay? Please, I won't be able to find my way back." she pleaded, her grey eyes big and representing her name sake very clearly.
He turned to the nurse. "May I?"
"Sure," she nodded. "Take a seat outside.
Fifteen minutes later, Luna hobbled out with a metal splint on her right ankle and a crutch.
"I've twisted my ankle." she said.
"Just on the steps? It wasn't slippery or icy or something, was it?" he asked, completely confused. She might say she's clumsy but it's pretty hard to fall on them steps dry, he thought.
"Not that I noticed." she replied, shaking her head.
"Weird." he said as they walked back down the stairs.
"Yeah, maybe. But thanks for helping me, nobody else even looked over." she said, her lamp-like eyes catching his again.
"It was no problem, hones-" his phone began to buzz in his pocket. "Hang on." he said and pulled out his phone, nobody ever called him in the day, ever; he didn't recognise the number but answered it. "Hello?" he asked.
"Falcon, we're back on business terms, me and Haze are at the gates. Stop cuddling up to Luna and get down here." Pixel rushed.
Philip glanced at Luna, hoping she hadn't heard that. "I am not cudd-"
"NOW!! Pixel roared and he dropped his phone.
He picked it up. "Okay, okay, I'll be there in a few minutes." he hung up and turned back to Luna. "I have to go."
"What? Why?" she asked.
"It's... Complicated. Biology is just down this corridor, into the science block and the second door on the left." he hurried.
"I'm really sorry, I just have to!" he called back over his shoulder. When he was round the corner, he jetted himself forward and was at the gates in two minutes, landing next to Pixel and Kyle. "What's up?" he panted slightly.
Kyle looked solemn. "HQ's under attack."
I promise it starts to get more intersting now, I'm sorry for the incredibly long build-up!!
I've started a shipping war between my friends. Some of my friends read this and now they've started shipping it! I don't know whether to be flattered or freaked out.
On one side there's 'Flaxle' so they're shipping Philip/Falcon x Emily/Pixel.
And then there's 'Fluna' (seriously, that's what they came up with, just... Just don't ask). That's Philip/Falcon x Luna.
I just stopped asking and let them get on with it.
As for in the last upload, in Paranoia's speech, those typos are meant to be there so you know what her accent sounds like. I wouldn't miss that many typos in one space.