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THE SHAPE OF THINGS TO COME

posted in 24_fanfic

Title: The Shape Of Things To Come
Author: marinw
Rating: PG
Characters High School!Jack / School Headmaster/ Sam/
Summary: Teenage Jack learns how the world works
Disclaimer: 24 is the property of the Fox Production Company. Etc.
A/N: The football reference is stolen from xbedhead's personal canon. Thanks to my beta, sardonicynic, who is a tense Nazi. In a good way.



“That’s quite the shiner you have there, Jack. We should have the nurse take a look at it.”

“I’m fine.”

Jack regarded his black eye as a badge of honor. You should see the other guys, he thought wryly.

The headmaster felt otherwise. “I am so disappointed in you, Jack. As an honor student and an athlete, it’s your job to set an example. Be a role model.”

“I’m sorry I let you down, sir.”

“Why did you do it, Jack?”

“I couldn’t let Howard and Joel beat up Manny. I had to stop them.”

“Then you should have found a teacher, not joined the fight yourself.”

“There wasn’t any time. By the time a teacher got there, Manny would have been hurt even more. And Mr. Raver wouldn’t have done anything but call the police.”

“That what the police are for.”

“By the time the police got here, it would have been too late.”

“That wasn’t your decision to make.”

“They were really going at Manny. He could have been hurt.”

“You broke the rules. Also, taking on two boys who are bigger than you? What were you thinking?”

“I was thinking about Manny. If I hadn’t done something, they would’ve kept picking on him”

“Than Manny should have come to us.”

“He did.”

“Do you have a problem with authority?”

“I do when the authorities can’t protect my friends.”

“Your attitude is becoming a problem. It’s too bad because you are such a good student. You are going to have to be disciplined.”

“I know.”

“I’m giving you a three-day suspension. I should kick you off the football team, but regionals are coming up and you’re one of our best running back.”

“So you’re going to use me for what you need and then you’re going to get rid of me.”

“You’re getting off easy.”

“What about Howard and Joel?”

“They claim that you started it.”

“That’s not true. You’re just saying that because their parents give more money to this school than my father.”

“Speaking of your father, I’m calling Mr. Bauer right now. He can send someone to pick you up.”

For the first time in the conversation, Jack lost his defiance. “Sir. Don’t call him. Please.”

“He pays tuition to keep you and your brother enrolled. He deserves to know.”

“Don’t do this. I’m begging you.“ Jack whispered, “We can work something out. Just don’t tell my father.”

“Now you’re being dramatic. Go clean out your locker. I don’t want to see you anywhere near this school for the rest of the week.”

Welcome to high school, where no good dead goes unpunished.

Jack stood up. He was determined not to let the headmaster see his knees shake.

Jack left the office resigned to his fate. Sam would probably pick him up. That would buy him some time. But not much.

Jack walked to his locker, grateful that the bell wouldn’t ring for a few more minutes. He hit the gray surface of his locker with his fist before entering the combination into his lock. He quickly piled his textbooks and novels into his knapsack. History and English were his favorite subjects. His father pressured him towards math and science, which Jack was also good at.

He would be allowed to study. It was probably all he would be allowed to do. The loss of three day’s worth of football practice could be a problem, as his father was expecting more trophies. The weight of his expectations was starting to eat away at the joy of the game.

As he left the stately, ivy-covered, brick building Jack thought about Manny. Nobody was going to protect him now, and he couldn’t protect himself. His parents would do what they usually did: Pull their small, stuttering son out of this private school and into another one, where he would quickly become fodder for new bullies.

It wasn’t long before Sam arrived. He looked sad. He looked like he wanted to protect Jack, but he knew he couldn’t because he was only the hired help.

Sam drove towards the Bauer estate as slowly as possible.

“It won’t always be this way,” Sam promised “You won’t always be punished for doing the right thing.”

END

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