Toby sighed as he laid his head down on his desk. Today was another boring day at school. Everyday was the same; he woke up, walked to school, pretended to pay attention, and when the final bell rang, he would go home. His grades were average, though he didn't try particularly hard to get good grades. His teachers always urged him to try harder, but he just couldn’t bring himself to care enough to do so.
Turning his head so he could look out the window, he saw a flock of birds fly by. I wonder what it would be like to be a bird, he wondered to himself. I could just fly away, and not worry about coming back to the same place.
He was forced out of his thoughts when he felt something bounce off the top of his head. He decided to keep his head on his desk and not react, knowing that acknowledging that he felt it would only give the thrower satisfaction. Another item bounced off his arm, his bully not having given up. This lasted the rest of the period. This was a daily thing, and though he knew who was responsible, he also knew nothing would happen if he told an adult. The only thing they would do would be to advise him to ignore it. Adults were useless.
When the bell rang, signaling the end of the day, he waited until the room was mostly empty before standing up and leaving the room. He slowly walked to the front of the campus. Deciding he didn't want to go home yet, he went to a grassy area, and sat down under a tree. He pulled out the book he was currently reading, and continued where he left off, getting lost in the words.
"Hey, what's that you're reading?" One of them asked.
"I didn't know he could read." The second one said as he reached for the book.
Without blinking, Toby was able to move the book just enough that the bully was unable to grab it. Deciding it was no longer worth it to stay here, Toby closed the book and slipped it into his bag, standing up as he did so, and refusing to recognize that there were two people standing in front of him.
Unfortunately, the two antagonists took it as a challenge. The first one, obviously the leader of the two, threw a punch at Toby. He was able to move enough that it didn't hurt so much, but it would still leave a bruise. The second of the duo shoved him back down to the ground. This time, Toby decided to stay on the ground. They would give up eventually when they got bored.
Suddenly, he felt a strong kick to his side. He curled up in anticipation of a second kick that never came. He only dared to open his eyes when he heard the leader angrily yell.
"What the fuck?" The bully was now holding his head. A discarded backpack laid on the ground just in front of Toby. He knew it didn’t belong to either of his assailants, as the backpack was a shiny plastic bag that was a mix of pastel pink and blue.
"Oops, sorry. I guess I didn't see you there when I dropped my bag." An unfamiliar voice said. That must be who the backpack belongs to, Toby thought.
"You did that on purpose."
"Did I?" The mysterious person said, with no remorse at all.
Toby looked over his savior with confusion. The kid had wild black hair, with bangs that were dyed orange, and were pushed to the side of his face. He was wearing an oversized shirt that was ripped in random places, really tight pants that could have been leggings, and pastel blue boots.
The bully didn't say anything in response, but toby could see that he was now holding the new kid's shirt in one hand and getting ready to punch him with his other. Toby closed his eyes, not wanting to see another kid get beaten on his behalf.
Toby cracked his eyes open after hearing the sound of a punch, and the heavy thud of a body hitting the ground. He was surprised that it was one of the two bullies, and not the unknown kid, that was on the ground.
At that moment, the teacher that was supposed to be in charge of watching the front finally decided to intervene.
"What's going on here?" She demanded.
"Just some rough housing that got out of control, right?" The strange kid said, looking at the two bullies, giving them a look that demanded they agree with him.
"Yeah, what he said." The second bully replied nervously.
"Hmm, I see. I'll let you off with a warning, but any more of this, and you all will have a meeting with the vice principal. Understand?" The teacher replied, bored and obviously not believing anything she was told, though not caring enough to do anything about it.
All three mumbled in agreement, and the teacher walked off, satisfied.
"Well, you heard her. So why don't you two go away now and leave me and my friend there alone?"
Friend? Toby stared at the strange kid confused. He had never seen this kid before in his life, so how they could be considered friends was beyond him.
The leader got up off the ground, and before leaving, turned towards the other kid and glared. Without actually saying anything, turned and started walking, his subordinate following.
"What a piece of work that one is, huh? What did you do to make them so angry?" Toby's savior was now standing in front of him, offering him a hand.
Not accepting the help, Toby stood up and grabbed his bag before finally answering. "I exist."
"Hmm, interesting." The kid said, looking Toby over. "Looks like they managed to mess you up a bit before I showed up. Your sweatshirt sleeve has blood on it. Do you live nearby?"
Without answering, Toby looked down at his sleeve, and saw the blood. He must have scrapped his arm when he fell.
Great. If my dad sees this, he’ll want an explanation.
Not giving up, the kid kept talking "You should get that cleaned up. I live two blocks from here. You can come with me, and I can have my cousin drive you home."
Looking at the strange kid for a minute, Toby suddenly asked “Why?”
Caught off guard, the kid looked him over, and Toby saw it. The look of pity. This kid didn’t really care about him. He just felt bad for the emo kid that was getting bullied. Without another word, Toby grabbed his bag, and started walking away from the school, leaving the strange kid standing there with a confused look on his face.
"Hey, wait!" The kid called after him, but he just kept walking.
Toby walked home, his senses on full alert. He couldn’t wait to be home, to be in his bedroom, away from everything and everyone