• Published 21st Oct 2016
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Make a Mistake with Me - CoffeeAndCigarettes



Behind you: juvie. Before you: Canterlot High School.

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Track #10: Bite the Hand

Author's Note:

As the latest chapter ended the Prologue Arc, it's this chapter that begins the Outcasts Arc.

Track #10: Bite the Hand

“HEAAAAT OF THE MOMENT!”

Your hand flies out from under the covers before you even realize it, and hits the snooze button. Goddamn Asia. That so wasn’t the first thing you wanted to hear in the morning.

Mumbling curses under your breath, you throw off the blanket and get up. You are North Wind and your life used to be only about cigarettes and coffee. Now it was about way, way more; For good and for bad.

Not that it makes getting up any easier.

Only about a month in and you were already sick of high school again. The crowds, the lessons, the fact that you were expected to learn something there. You knew there was a point to it, but you had lost your ability to care somewhere along the way. A good example of that is your apartment.

It’s a veritable landfill.

Trash bags everywhere, half-finished take-away meals, beer bottles lined on the table. Oh, and a magnificently overflowing ashtray.

Crap, you’d need to empty that at some point. But not today.

A quick peek over to the fridge reveals the inconvenient truth that there’s nothing but a half-eaten burrito slowly gathering mold in there. Somewhat hopeful, you sniff it. About 0.3 seconds later, you open a window and throw the burrito as far as you can.

That would have turned into WMD in just a couple of days.

“Coffee-only breakfast it is, then...” you mutter to yourself as you switch on the coffee maker and the radio.

While your life’s elixir begins slowly gathering in the pot, you listen to the news report, but hear nothing out of the ordinary. Just a typical blend of politics, wars and economic troubles topped with a dash of local disappearances.

You swear this was the fifth time you had heard this exactly same report, with only the names switched around. World really trudged in the mud of time, sometimes. The black-and-white clock on the wall, though, mercilessly marches on.

Eventually, you have a steaming cup of boiling hot coffee before you. As you do your best to whittle it down with small sips, you light up the first cigarette of the day. Immediately, you can feel the phlegm in your throat start clearing up.

It was like Mentos. The only difference was that it tasted like ash and death. Such a freshmaker.

Indeed. Nicotine and caffeine. The breakfast of winners. You could only imagine the horrified expression Sonata would make if she knew.

“And that’s why she shall never know.”

As the morning rolls onwards, you are eventually jostled out of your drowsy thoughts by a muffled explosion coming from below. It shakes the building a little and causes the windows to rattle. However, it barely gets a reaction out of you. Just a sigh. A long and tired sigh.

These explosions coming from the basement floor are nothing out of the ordinary for people living in this house. In fact, they are the reason why the rent was so cheap. It’s not that the booms were dangerous, but when they happened three in the morning, some people get a little upset.

You, on the other hand, have just adapted. You know things could be much worse than having to get used to sudden, loud sounds.

Of course, the first time one happened, you had freaked out and nearly dove off the balcony. Thankfully you managed to regain your senses when you realized the building wasn’t crumbling down.

That, and your neighbor, who was at the moment watering her plants shot you a pitying look that made you quickly slink back inside.

In any event, by the time the shaking has stopped, you have already returned to finishing up your coffee. Humming the tune of Miami Vice absentmindedly, you head to the bathroom; It was time for a shower.

Damn Jan Hammer. He could make even washing one’s nether regions exciting.

You entertain daydreams of slipping through time back to 80’s while you start cleaning yourself.

***

It’s a bit after seven that you’re out of the front door.

You throw on your leather jacket to shield you from the cold of early November. There wasn’t any snow yet, but the temperature had started a rapid nose dive.

As you walk down the stairs to the main entrance, you swing by the basement door and knock loudly.

“You okay there, Strangelove?” You ask gruffly.

You hear a bit of a scuffle from the other side of the door, before a weary voice answers.

”Yes… mostly.”

“Good,” you say and chuckle. “Don’t blow up the house while I’m gone or anything.”

A vaguely agreeing groan echoes from the other side of the door. That’s good enough for you.

With a bit more zest in your step, you head outside, exiting the apartment building. You are greeted by the typical scenery of your new “hometown”. A bit too bright sunshine, sounds of birds and traffic and the alluring fragrance of the coffee shop down the street.

Resisting the temptation for another cup, you instead head to the parking lot, where your car awaits.

Saturn Yellow Buick GSX.

It had been your baby for just about forever, and after some work last month, it was finally back in your hands. Despite some memories that floated in the back of your mind whenever you saw the car, you were still glad to have it, if only for the fact that it made the journey to school and back a cinch.

Still humming to yourself, you hop in the car and thrust the key into the ignition, twisting it. The familiar roar of the V8 fills the parking lot, awakening a flock of birds in the nearby tree. Meanwhile, inside the car, the familiar roar of Ozzy fills your ears.

Grunting, you eject the cassette from the radio and fumble through the glove compartment. A minute later, you found what you were looking for: a cassette with the words “Led Zeppelin III” written on it.

You pop it in and hit play. Immediately, you hear the howl of Robert Plant.

God. Even after all these years, Immigrant Song gave you the chills.

***

By the time you pull up to the parking lot of Canterlot High School, you’re halfway through of “Since I’ve Been Loving You.” Plenty of time to stop by your locker and then head over to the classroom.

If you remember right, it was history first. Not that bad. At least you had some company during it.

And speaking of which…

“Hey! Wind! Good morning!” a cheerful voice calls out to you.

You turn off the engine and glance towards the side window. Unsurprisingly, you see that Sonata has found you once again. She’s squashing her face against the window, peering into your car.

“Hey, Goof,” you greet her. “Move over a bit, or I can’t get out.”

“Oh! Sorry,” she giggles sheepishly and scoots out of the way.

After a bit of scuffle with the seatbelt, you’re out and about, and join the steady flow of students with Sonata. She does a pretty good job keeping up with your stride despite how much shorter she is.

“So, what’s up?” you ask herr.

Ah, yes. Sonata Dusk: A girl a layman on the streets would call ‘Deceivingly Cute.’ After all, the slight mean streak she had hidden was so obvious even up front anyone could call her ‘Deceivingly Something-or-Other.’ That did not mean she was an evil person, no. But, well, let’s see…

Old habits die hard, you suppose?

Still, she had no ill intentions. Just one look at that smile she gave you reassured you of that. It’s a bit of a weird coincidence how you’ve managed to become friends with someone like Sonata, but that’s just how it is.

In fact, you could call your whole relationship with Poofy, Goofy and Aloofy a ‘mistake in progress.’

Not that you complained.

Talking with three headstrong girls that obviously were up to no good in the past felt far more familiar than attempting awkward social contact with rest of your ‘classmates.’ You still remember your disastrous meeting with the girl who showed you around the school. Less said about that the better.

“You mean in the rumor department?” Sonata mocks a salute and grins at you. “I gotcha covered, Boss!”

It’s become something of a routine for you to get the latest rumors every morning from Sonata. Depending on what classes you have, you don’t even tend to see Aria or Adagio till the lunch break. Therefore, it’s a good thing that Sonata Network keeps tabs on just about every stray bit of conversation she hears.

“Well, first of all,” Sonata starts, counting with her fingers. “It seems the Rainbooms are planning something for Christmas, and the school’s abuzz about it.”

Rainbooms?

No, wait, you suddenly recall a vague mental image to accompany that foreign name: CHS’s current power-clique, or so they say. Girls to stay away from.

“It’s most likely a party or something, but knowing them, well...” she continues. “Something big’s gonna happen anyhow. With them that’s given.”

There’s something quite self-sardonic in the look in Sonata’s eyes, like there’s a hidden joke only she could understand.

“Well, other than that… Oh!” Suddenly Sonata’s eyes light up. “There’s one about you, Wind!”

Wait, what? A rumor about you?

Somehow, that did not sound promising in the least. In fact, you were grimacing already.

“A rumor about me? Spit it out.” You almost dread to ask.

“Apparently someone’s been taking midnight strolls around the town lately, sneaking about here and there,” Sonata says and leans in closer with a wicked glee in her eyes. “Really Wind, if you were going to do something like that, at least make sure you aren’t spotted.”

Midnight strolls…?

You rarely even left your apartment after you had bunkered in for the evening. And hell, if you needed to go somewhere, you had your car. Everything is so off in this rumor that it naturally catches your interest.

“That can’t be me,” you immediately retort. “I usually hit the hay around ten, or a bit later than that. I’m a heavy sleeper, after all. My apartment also has a slight… noise problem, so there’s no way I’d try to add even more stress to my schedule.”

Now it’s Sonata’s turn to look confused. She tilts her head quite cutely as the two of you enter the main building.

“But from what I heard, the description of this ‘lone midnight wanderer’ matches yours perfectly, Wind.” Sonata folds her arms and pouts a bit.

“And I’m not that common in looks, yeah, I gotcha,” you conclude for her and stroke your chin.

This rumor just keeps getting curiouser and curiouser.

“Well, whoever it is, they’ve got a good taste in fashion,” you say, trying to downplay the foreboding atmosphere with some humor. “But in the end, if the only thing they are doing is midnight strolls, I don’t think it’s that note-worthy.”

“Nah, it’s not because they like to walk. It’s because lately there’s been—“

Suddenly Sonata backpedals in her words almost like she remembered something that outweighed everything else in importance. Her hand reaches out and catches you by the shoulder.

Damn. Those eyes are just sparkling with excitement.

“Oh! I totally forgot!” She beams at you. “Adagio finally managed to get a job over the weekend!”

Okay, getting bit too excited there, Sonata.

To protect yourself, you start slowly pushing Sonata’s approaching face back again. Best not to give the bothersome type of rumors more fuel to the fire.

“Then we had a taco party to celebrate it on Sunday, but Aria got sick and threw up in the fountain, and now the janitor’s been hunting for her and she’s been busy hiding—“

You raise your hand to stop Sonata’s babble.

“Wait. First of all, Adagio got a job?” You ask, and Sonata bobs her head up and down in excitement. “Now ain’t that great news? Where’s she working now?”

“You know that old record store few blocks away from here?” Sonata asks and points towards the city proper. “There! Adagio said she’s gonna raid your cassette collection to get herself up to date with the albums they sell there.”

For a moment, you felt an incredible urge to run back to your car just to check if the doors were really locked. However, a stray thought stops you.

“A record store?” You repeat. “You mean the place owned by old Grimey? Damn. How’d she manage to get a job there?”

“Oh, she said she just ‘did her best North Wind impression’, and they immediately took a shine on her,” Sonata giggles and adopts a taciturn expression that’s most likely meant to resemble your face.

You nearly rip out the door of your locker when you hear that. Damn Adagio. One of these days you’d get your payback.

“...?”

You’re about to comment on what Sonata said when you see what waits inside your locker.

Another note. Another collection of big red letters written with fury. You don’t even have to read it, they’re all the same anyhow. Ever since that day when you met Sonata, you’ve been getting these occasionally.

And always they demand the same thing.

“Wind? Something wrong?” You hear Sonata call for you, worried look in her eyes.

Instead of answering, you just take the note and crush it in your hands, stuffing it in your pocket.

“Yeah. Everything’s fine. Don’t worry,” you answer without your voice betraying a thought.

“Umm, Wind…? Was it another—“

“So, anyways, taco party?” You purposefully speak over what she was about to say. “And Aria puked? Damn, I wish I would have been there to see that.”

Sonata gives you an odd look, but eventually smiles.

“Yeah! I guess it all got caught on tape, since Aria’s had to avoid the janitor the whole day,” Sonata cackles. “Last I heard, she was bunkered in home economics class.”

“Home Ec? Should except lemon pie, then.”

Talking this and that, you and Sonata head to your classroom. As you walk, you can’t help but to notice the odd looks you occasionally gather. Or rather, Sonata does. Most of the students look wary. Others are clearly uncomfortable and some… well, some try the classic trick of bumping to either her or you with their shoulders.

Your sweeping glare is enough to keep them at bay, though.

They’ve heard enough rumors about where you were before moving to this city. And rumors are way better in creating fear than actual truth. Even if the truth and rumors were practically identical.

Few minutes of small-talk later, you two arrive at the classroom. When Sonata hesitates a bit on the doorway you take that as a signal and act.

With the blue-haired girl trailing behind you, you step inside. Immediate and awkward silence falls to the room. Letting your eyes scan the perimeter, you spot your places and lead Sonata there. Without saying a word, you two sit down.

After some coughs that try to break the silence, the rest of the classroom eventually return to whatever they were talking about. Still, you can easily notice that everybody is trying their damnedest not to look at you two.

To be honest, that’s mighty fine with you.

“Wind…” You hear Sonata’s quiet whisper.

You look at the girl, who sits there, biting her lip.

Dammit. While you might not be bothered by people acting like this, that didn’t mean Sonata—

“Um, did you do your homework? I… kinda forgot. Can I copy them real quick?” She continues, looking magnificently embarrassed.

Your forehead is quick to meet the desk. This girl is gonna be the death of you some day.

While Sonata is busying herself with cheating, you enjoy the cool surface of the desk. Lazily, your eyes wander around the classroom. Everywhere you look, only one thing greets you.

‘Distrust.’

Antonym of ‘Trust.’

Word with roots in the Old Norse word meaning ‘Protection.’ Yes. Right now in this school your three friends were, in a way, with no one to protect them. Therefore, without actually meaning to, you had taken that role upon yourself.

You had been cast as a villain; a monster that followed the whims of those others viewed as ‘bad.’

The mere thought makes you chuckle. Just like was typical, the audience was projecting their hatred of the characters unto the actors themselves.

But no matter.

You look over to the other side, where Sonata is happily humming to herself and copying your homework. That sight was enough. The hatred of others was meaningless when you knew what happened behind the curtain.

Most of the lesson that followed was just a blur to you.

At some point you think you answered some questions, but mostly, you felt like sleeping. Just like always. Only sleeping. Seeing strange pictures that filled your daydreams floating by, never quite being able to place them in right order. The slight sting of inconsistency somewhere in the back of your neck.

Like, for example, green grass growing from within the snow.

Like, for example, evening that cannot turn into night.

Like, for example, rain warming you up on a cold morning.

Slight paradoxes that kept piling up and becoming phantasm you saw in your slumber; A Midsummer Night’s Dream in the middle of this harsh winter.

Yet, as if it was something agreed upon beforehand, no one questions it. No one questions and everybody forgets. Even you must’ve forgotten it at this point.

Yes… what were you even thinking about?

Just daydreams to pass the class which had turned out so boring, like you had heard it before.

You yawn quietly and slump on your desk. It would be quite a while before lunch break. You might as well get some sleep while you were at it. That’s how you mostly felt these days.

Sleeping.

***

“Ugh. I can’t believe that old fart. Chasing me down the hallways like I was some common criminal…”

Aria’s complaint is quiet yet firm in the background noise around you four.

“Look at it this way, Aria,” Adagio answers. “At least it’s over for now.”

“Yeah!” Sonata is quick to join in the conversation. “And only thing you got was a stern talking-to from Principal Celestia!”

Aria doesn’t look the least bit happy about that. In fact, if looks could kill, her mashed potatoes would be dead right about now… whatever that means for mashed potatoes.

You and the Dazzlings were currently enjoying your lunch at the corner-table of the school’s cafeteria. This was the eleventh time you had been actually allowed to join them. It was the reward for helping them out with some… personal problems two weeks ago.

Or as Sonata had eloquently put it: ‘shutting them in the band room and waiting until everyone had yelled, apologized and cried enough.’

You had not pried further than that.

But at the very least, you had been pretty much accepted into the esteemed social circle of the Dazzlings. Trial by fire, or how they call it.

“Helloooo~? Wind? You still with us?”

You snap out of your thoughts only to find Sonata staring straight at your face.

“Oh, yeah, right,” you murmur, shaking your head. “Sorry about that. Sorta… spaced out.”

“Not the first time, as we’ve come to notice,” Adagio says and looks at you with a sly smile. “You are rather good at ignoring your surroundings.”

“I blame the lack of interesting people surrounding me,” you retort and return the expression.

As a reward for that comment, Aria jabs you playfully, a small grin now on her face.

“Shut it, Roadie,” she chuckles. “Without us, you’d just be hunching in some dark corner again, making snarly-faces at anyone who tries to approach you.”

“I refer to your opinion on that. You’re the master of snarly-faces, after all.”

Everyone gets a chuckle out of that, even Aria.

As the conversation starts up again, you use your fork to skewer one of the many chicken nuggets on your plate and devour it. Really, after the horror-show that was your breakfast, you could practically eat a poultry farm. You didn’t even mind dipping the nuggets in that horrible excuse for *spicy* sauce that came with them.

The looks of the female trio, however, told you that there was something wrong with the enthusiasm you were displaying. Adagio especially seemed appalled.

“I will never understand how you can eat that filth…” Her face contorted in disgust.

You simply shrug your shoulders and shovel another nugget from your plate into your mouth. Mmm. Grilled production waste. Your favorite.

“It’s because Roadie here has no interest at all in what he eats,” Aria explains matter-of-factly and shoots you a pitying look. “I once caught him chugging down a whole bottle of expired milk from the salvage yard’s fridge.”

Well, she has you there, and you paid for that milk dearly. In fact, your stomach hasn’t really forgiven you to this day.

“Eh, I don’t need to justify it. I eat to fill my stomach,” you explain. “The taste and healthiness ain’t really my concern.”

“Oh, I get it! Like ‘A bad taco can taste good in the right company’?” Sonata asks, beaming.

No, Goof, you’re a bit off. In fact, you’re just about as off as one can be. However, you’re not in the mood to start arguing about detrimental effects of a bad dietary plan. Thus you pop in another chicken nugget to your mouth.

“Or, in a way Wind would put it…”

To your abject horror, Sonata suddenly hunches and adopts a bored, taciturn expression. You know that face. After all, it stares back at you whenever you look into a mirror.

“Hmph. I think the food itself is inconsequential,” she speaks in monotone. “What matters is the company it is enjoyed with.”

… Oh goddammit. That slightly pompous and overly serious tone of voice is far too familiar. She’s got your speech-pattern down to a T. The other two aren’t even bothering to hide their snickers.

Annoyed, you skewer another nugget and chew in silence.

“Wait, why are you just ignoring me, Wind? Did you get angry?” Sonata asks, looking a bit worried.

Trying to appear calm, you concoct a quick revenge plan.

“Wiiiind? Don’t be like that!”

Showing surprising amount of self-restraint, you continue not reacting to Sonata’s pleads.

”This isn’t funny anymore! Answer me, Wind!”

This seems to be enough. You gesture towards the blue-haired girl with your fork and look at the other two.

“Did you catch that, Aria? Adagio?” you ask out of the blue.

The two of them look at you, surprised. You continue your explanation, like a researcher at a seminar.

“It’s bit like tuning from one station to another,” you say. “You just gotta keep turning the dial in your head until you can no longer hear the idiocy.”

Finally, they understand what you’re getting at. Adagio gasps exaggeratedly and hits her palm with her fist.

“Ah, that’s useful!” she laughs. “I need to try it someday when the dimwitted atmosphere gets to me.”

“That, or just switch from FM to AM,” Aria says and grins wickedly. “No chance of her reaching you anymore.”

At this point, Sonata looks like she’s ready to cry.

“Y-you guys are the worst!”

Unable to keep straight faces anymore, the three of you burst laughing, Aria even tousling Sonata’s hair for good measure.

“We’re just joking, you numbskull. Don’t take everything so literally.”

“F-for realsies?” Sonata asks, relief clear on her face. “Aw, here I thought— Hey, not so rough!”

“Too late! Noogie-time!”

While the duo of Aria and Sonata engage in ritualistic head-meets-knuckles bonding, you and Adagio exchange glances. You see that the smile playing on your lips is reflected on hers.

“It’s like having two younger sisters, right?” Adagio asks, her voice is quiet enough for only you to hear.

To be frank, it’s a bit surprising. The way Adagio worded it, it was almost like you were already counted as a ‘brother’ in this messed up family. A title that didn’t sound nearly as horrible as you would have expected.

Finding Adagio still staring, you simply nod at her. No need to put into words what goes without saying. And thus, the lunch break rolls on. Sometimes troublesome, sometimes cheerful, sometimes awkward… yet, at all times, cozy.

Just like all the times spent with these three.

“By the way…” you speak up, catching the attention of the trio. “Did you have any plans today after school?”

All of them shake their heads. A grin rises to your face as you push aside your tray. Only few more lessons and then you might move to more interesting things possible at high school.

“Alright. Then it’s band practice again tonight. I’m expecting you guys to be able to pull off Fireball by the end of this week,” you announce and tap the table in a familiar rhythm.

Adagio, Aria and Sonata all get a little nervous look on their faces.

“Wind?” The copperhead asks, cocking an eyebrow. “Has anyone ever told you that you get somewhat… different when discussion turns to music?”

“Really? No, never,” you answer and give them your best villain laugh. “Nobody has had the balls so far.”

If people wanted to think of you as a bully or a bad guy because you were friends with the Dazzlings, then, well...

… You might as well act the part.

Comments ( 8 )

Ok, I don't know why but when I saw herr I just started laughing.

Continue??

Need moar!

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