[personal profile] lilychick
For 17 Seconds. I am a weird, weird person.

Blew Away

Benjamin was generally a rather supportive friend, but the sight of Cory in a suit of armor gave him pause. "Oh, no. You aren't."

Cory flipped up the visor, flashing his wide grin. "Faint heart never won fair lady. I thought I ought to look the part."

He shuffled awkwardly to his seat, crashing into it with a series of clangs, and Ben sighed. "Cor, have you thought this through?"

Cory tugged off the helmet, depositing it atop his desk with another clang, and revealing his strawberry-blond hair pointing in innumerable directions. "What do you mean?"

Ben paused, trying to figure out just how to phrase his point. "It's just...if Rosalyn hasn't agreed to go out with you so far...what does the armor add, exactly?"

Cory was unoffended by the question, giving it a bit of thought. "Dedication," he answered proudly. "I'm willing to go the extra mile."

After a long moment, Ben clapped Cory on the back. "Godspeed, buddy." (He rubbed his hand afterward, having discovered that the metal really was as hard as it looked.)

The girls' entrance to the class went about as well as Ben expected, in that, as soon as the two of them set eyes on the resident knight, Nikki loudly proclaimed, "Oh my God, this place is a fucking freakshow."

Rosalyn smiled a little, repressing her laughter, and responded, "And you thought Amos would be boring."

As they took their seats, however, Ben noticed that Rosalyn avoided looking directly at Cory, despite the fact that his friend was batting his long eyelashes and generally looking cute as all hell. Cory, as usual, was unfazed.

"She can't resist much longer," he said, a confident aside.

"I'm sure she's thinking the same thing."

With that, Mr. McFarland breezed into the room, tossing his briefcase onto his desk with abandon. "Okay, people, today we are going to get through Romeo and Juliet if it kills us along *with* the young lovers -- Mr. Graham, what in the hell are you wearing?"

"Armor, sir," Cory said cheerfully.

"If this is some misguided attempt at extra credit through historical accuracy, I'm obligated to tell you that you're several centuries off."

"No, sir."

"Then dare I ask?"

"I am a soldier of love," he declared.

McFarland sighed, but Ben caught him smiling as he did. "Of course. That was obvious enough." He clapped his hands. "Okay, everyone, open your books. You know where we're at -- the fictional bloodbath has already been set into motion, so --"

Abruptly, the teacher stopped talking, and hopped into a sitting position on his desk. (Just barely making it -- vertical leap was not his strong point, but that was neither here nor there.) "On second thought, let's just get this over with. I won't be able to teach you anything constructive until this is out of the way, as we know this saga is always the high point of *my* school day." He spread his hands in a magnanimous gesture. "Mr. Graham, go ahead, and make it good."

This blatant devotion of class time to his best friend's Quixotic quest caught Ben by surprise, although Cory remained unfazed, rising to his feet with a few metallic thunks. Rosalyn ducked her head in something that Ben suspected was dismay.

"Dearest Rosalyn," Cory began, shuffling across the room to where she sat (still not looking at him). He ignored the snickers of less-tolerant classmates as he did so, though Ben noted that was par for the course. "I can think of no other way to prove the depths of my devotion --" He paused, a wry smile crossing his face as he momentarily dropped his affected English phrasing, letting his faint Southern accent poke through. "-- than to be really, really literal."

With that, he dropped to one knee with a crash, directly in front of Rosalyn's desk, as she had taken to hiding her face behind her hands. "Therefore -- I am in your service! My loyalty shall always lie with you, my lady, queen of my heart! Command me how you will!"

"Oh, for fuck's sake!" Nikki burst out, rising so sharply that Cory nearly toppled over with surprise. "Get a fucking grip, Graham! She doesn't want to go out with you! This routine of yours may have been cute at the beginning, but now you're just starting to look pathetic. Do all of us a favor, and leave her the fuck alone." She dropped back into her seat, fuming, her face almost as pink as her hair.

Dead silence followed this outburst. Even those rootless snickers had momentarily halted. McFarland broke in wryly, "Thank you, Nikki, no good high school English class is truly complete without someone yelling 'fuck' several times in the middle of the classroom. Although that usually isn't in the curriculum until Catcher in the Rye." He flipped through some papers, not quite looking at Cory, who Ben could see was frozen and wide-eyed with shock. "So, if no one else has anything to add today...Ben, let's start with the end of Act 3, where --"

"Mr. Mac, I have something to add," Rosalyn interjected firmly, raising her hand.

"Oh, please, we're all ears."

She looked calmly from Nikki to Cory, and then offered a warm smile. "Gentle knight, I think I *will* go out with you."

Cory just blinked, still glazed over in (if not plunged further into) shock. "You will?"

(This covered up for the fact that Ben asked the exact same question at almost the exact same time, Nikki yelled "What the f--" before stopping and shooting McFarland a slightly chastened look, and someone in the back of the room let out a catcall.)

"A lady admires persistence," she said easily, and shot Nikki a dirty look.

"I really can't make any bloody sense out of you," Nikki muttered in return. "You know that, right?"

Ben chanced another look at Cory, and his heart was warmed by the way in which Cory was simply *glowing* with happiness --

Not that he had far to go, or anything. I mean, he *is* freakishly pale to begin with.

"Well, Mr. Graham," McFarland interjected, "as much as we're all happy that you finally got the girl, I think you can manage to set up the particulars *outside* of class time, am I right?"

Cory stood up, wearing his wide smile with an intensity that made Ben fear it might burn itself in and become permanent. "Yes, sir." He scuttled back to his seat (if one could really be said to scuttle in a suit of armor), so firmly on Cloud Nine that he just barely managed to glance at Ben and flash him a thumbs-up.

"Please, Romeo," McFarland said in a rather grand and tragic way, gesturing to Ben, "please bring us out of this state of romantic bliss by running your sword through someone."

When class was over, and the lovers, as promised, lay dead (a girl in the corner had even gotten teary, and Ben felt horrible about the fact that this made him proud of himself -- maybe he had a shot at the next Denton show after all), Cory nearly bolted from his seat, tripping in the process. "Ben, I'll see you at lunch, okay?"

"Okay. Oh, hey, Cor!" He grabbed the helmet off Cory's desk. "Don't forget your headgear."

Cory gave his friend a sly little grin, retrieving the item. "Thanks. I'd be nothing without you around, squire."

Ben laughed as Cory jogged noisily over to Rosalyn, trailing her out of the room adoringly. He couldn't help a rueful shake of his head.

"Benjamin --" Ben jumped; he hadn't realized that he was the only one left in the room as McFarland packed up his papers. "-- good job with the play.

"Thanks, Mr. Mac."

"I would have said as much to our Juliet as well, but --" He chuckled. "-- I didn't want to make your friend wait any longer than he already has to fulfill his destiny."

Ben smiled weakly. Filled with a sudden curiosity, he asked, "Mr. Mac? Why'd you let Cory keep going on and on with this, anyway? I mean, Mr. Rays threw him out of class the other day." He paused. "Forcibly."

"Aside from the fact that I seriously disagree with Mr. Rays' teaching style..." McFarland thought the question over. "Honestly? I suppose I've always liked to see the underdog get the girl. And I had a feeling that Rosalyn would agree. Luckily I was right -- I never wanted to add to someone's therapy bills, except maybe my kids." He snapped the clasps on his case, and looked at Ben pensively. "Are you all right? You look a little lost."

He shook his head again. "I...no. I'm fine."

"Okay." The teacher picked up his case. "Don't worry, Benjamin. I don't think Cory's the type to throw over his friends for the girl."

Ben wished he could be that sure.
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