[ Sky – Master Post ]
Title: Begins At the Earth
Characters: Arkady, Betty
Warnings: Expletives, violence
Notes: Twenty years later, Arkady said something about their first kiss. He also said something about being the damsel in distress. It’s not a pretty picture.
"Ebony, dear!" She fluttered her hand at him.
Evan looked up, baffled and annoyed. "What did you just call me?"
"‘Ebony’. It’s mysterious and gloomy, just like you." Liz put down her lunch tray and sat. "Besides, it sounds better than ‘hematoma’, which was the only other thing I could think of to go with all that black and blue."
"Woman, my eyes are the only blue thing on me, today." He raised an eyebrow, in irritation and pointed at her with a fork full of three-bean salad.
She reached across the table and slapped him so hard, the entire lunchroom stopped to look. "You’re right. That’ll still be red for an hour or two."
"What the hell is wrong with you, today?" He clutched at his cheek with one hand and jammed his fork through her tuna sandwich with the other. "I didn’t do it! I don’t know what it was, but it wasn’t me! Lay the fuck off!"
"You looked smug. You’re supposed to look smug at other people, not me." She pried the bent fork out of the sandwich and inspected the dents in the plastic plate, below. "It’s not you. It’s not."
"Yeah, I know it’s not me," Evan grumbled, stealing her fork, to finish his salad. "What did Rob do, this time? Do you want me to go make a point, Liz? I’ll do it. But only if you stop hitting me in the face. That’s the third time this week."
"He’d kill you, Evan. We’ve been over this," she sighed.
"At least if I’m dead, I don’t have to watch him ruin your life!" This time, the fork went into the slanted top of a chocolate milk container. "Holy Christ, Liz, I love you. Okay? There. I said it. I love you, and if I have to beat his ass for him to make you happy, I’ll do it. And if you want him to go away, so you can get something better, I’ll do that, too."
Liz grabbed his hand and held it to her cheek. "You’re my best friend. I love you, too." She kissed his hand and his fingers tightened around hers, as a hot wash of despair and glowing hope swept across his eyes. "I like you better when you’re not dead."
"You say the sweetest things." He snorted and poked her nose, before he pulled his hand back. "Oh, and you’re going to Homecoming with me. Because I’m going to kill your boyfriend and turn him into a cute hat and a nice pair of gloves."
"Oh, can’t I just have a testicle corsage, if you’re going to go to all the trouble?" She cocked her head and made puppy eyes at him.
"As you wish, ma petite bête." A lazily vicious grin dragged across his face. "But, only if you stop smacking me. You smack me again, and I swear I’ll leave you to him."
"As you like it, tall, dark, and handsome." She winked. "And it’s not a date. We’re not going out."
"Of course not, dearling. Dating’s for lesser folk." He smiled angelically.
"We’re better than that," she agreed. "We’re too pretty for that."
"It would be the end of the world. The sheer excellence of our union would obliterate life as we know it."
"Ebony and Elizabeth: The romance that doomed mankind!" She traced out an invisible marquee, with her fingers in the air.
He laughed. "You’re not going to stop calling me that, are you?"
"No, I’m really not."
"Ghastly. I’ll have to do the same to you." He raised an eyebrow and plucked the fork out of his chocolate milk. "I shall deliver my choice with your testicle corsage. Do me the favour of phoning for an ambulance when the first hit lands, would you, love? I’d hate to imagine what I’ll look like if they can’t put my teeth back in."
"You don’t have to fight him, Evan. I could just break up with him."
"You could, but you haven’t. You’ve been procrastinating." He shrugged and ate three-bean salad. "You keep thinking he’ll stop being a gnarly sack of shit, at some point, because he’s such a nice guy, when he’s trashed, but no one can be that piss-tanked, all the time. So, yeah, you can break up with him, and then he’ll have to ‘be a man’ about it, or some stupid crock of flaming shit, and then I’ll have to kill him, anyway, or die trying. Because you know that no matter what you tell him, he’s going to decide it’s all about me."
The first three words out of her mouth were distinctly less than ladylike. "I’ll do it, today. I’ll start it, you’ll finish it, and we’ll get on with being the beautiful people."
"Evan Newkirk: May twenty-sixth, nineteen sixty-four to September sixth, nineteen seventy-nine." He groaned and finished his salad.
"You’re not really breaking up with me." No one had ever described Rob Moore as ‘smart’. "Look, I’ll buy you a pin. Then you can tell people we’re going steady, that’s what you want, right?"
"No, Rob. I want you to stop talking to me. I’m breaking up with you. It’s over. Go away," Liz insisted.
"It’s that Newkirk faggot, isn’t it. Maybe he’ll bend over and take this shit from some little black-eyed whore, but I’m not gonna. You’re my girl, and you better remember that. Mine."
"No, Rob, I’m not. I’m my girl. And Evan’s not a fag." She sighed and picked at the bark of the tree next to her. "It is over between us. Done."
And then Evan came sliding down the banister, from the front doors, and all hell broke loose.
"Liz? Everything okay?" he asked, swaggering over, pretending to know nothing about what was going on.
Rob turned around and tried to tower over him, unsuccessfully. "Stay away from my girlfriend, faggot."
"Stay away from my best friend, meathead." Evan dropped his bag and sneered.
"That’s your cue to take a hike, Rob," Liz piped up, from behind them.
Rob took the first swing, but for a few minutes, it looked like Evan might actually win — a whole lot of dirty-fighting with knees, teeth, and thumbs made for a good start. Unfortunately, speed and terror-tactics will only get a man so far, in a fight with a sturdy, hamfisted opponent. Evan went down, hard, bleeding from the nose, mouth, and one eye. After a few more kicks to the head, he curled around himself, just waiting for Rob to decide he’d died.
What he didn’t expect was for Liz to get involved. While they’d fought, she’d cleaned off a few slender branches of the tree, behind her, and when Evan stopped moving, Liz went after Rob, with one in each hand, wielding them like switches. After the first few strikes, she learned to pull back at the last second, and the skin lifted off Rob’s face and hands, as he tried to grab at her.
He finally caught her wrist, and she rammed one pointy-toed boot into his crotch. "I will kill you," she explained, calmly, punching him in the side of the head, as he bent forward. "You hurt my Ebony, and I will end your miserable, shit-eating life."
Rob staggered, and Liz kicked him again and again, until he fell.
"Do you want to live? Huh? Do you?" she shrieked, switching him as he tried to rise. "Run, or I’ll put your eye out, dog-bait!"
For once in his life, Rob Moore did the reasonably intelligent thing, and ran like hell.
Liz tucked the bloody, broken switches under her arm and crouched down next to Evan. "Ebony, dear? He’s gone."
Evan groaned and uncovered his bruised and bloodied face. "Do you know anything that’ll take brains out of cotton? I think I got mine on my shirt. I’m sorry. You were right. I was insane."
"Oh, Evan, sweetie! Your face!" Liz looked horrified. "What did he do to your face?"
"Something involving a team of horses and a steam train, I think." He prodded his cheekbone with one finger. "I don’t think anything’s broken, but I don’t think I can see on the right."
"That eye’s red. I think it’s bleeding."
"Liz? Next time, I get a phalanx shield. This is bullshit." He sat up, dizzily. "The next time I offer to kick someone’s ass, remind me how this ended, so I’ll take a damn locker door with me, for protection."
"Do you need a doctor? I think you need a doctor. Do you have a quarter? There’s a payphone up the block…"
"Shut up, dearling. You’re babbling." He covered her mouth with one finger. "Help me up. All I need is a bag of ice and a pride transfusion. I just made a total ass of myself. My god, I must have looked like a moron."
"You looked daring and heroic, right to the end. You’re so tiny! It was crazy and kind of sexy." She pulled him to his feet, and he looked down at her.
"Tiny? I tower over you. I am not tiny."
"You weigh less than I do. That makes you tiny." She poked him in the chest, backing him into the side of the building.
"Ow! Less poking!" He rubbed at his bruised chest and looked dismayed.
"But, you missed the important part. The part where it was sexy and heroic," Liz purred, closing the already small distance between them.
"Liz, what are you —" Evan never finished that sentence. Whatever of his brains hadn’t been knocked out in the fight, he was pretty sure liquified and ran out his ear, when Liz kissed him. He wrapped his arms around her and nearly crushed her to his chest. His lips stung and his teeth were a little loose, but none of that mattered as she lustily savaged his mouth, like she meant it.
All too soon, she stepped back. "Come on, we should get you home. You’ll want to ice that eye before it gets any worse."
"It’s not the only thing I’m going to need to ice, after that," he grumbled, stepping out, to walk with her. "You’ve got some blood on your mouth."
"That’s fine, it’s a fashion statement." She winked up at him and laced her fingers with his.