Description: The invading forces are in the process of pulling out. Peoples' lives and routines are at last able to resume... or what's left of them. Over at Pacific High, an effort begins to pick up the pieces according to the mission of the school - to be world citizens, chipping in at a time of need. Marisol O'Connell and teacher Howard Rust go over their difficulties through the trying times, in the face of so much work that has to be done, both as the future generation and a man responsible for helping the future generation be shaped, respectively.
Pacific's shop teacher should have been in the hospital for a whole month. His body taxed to its very limits throughout Southtown's darkest hour, his trail to the truth has come to a halt. His role in the 'Game,' as one Elle put it, was over - largely by his choice. Yet... there was something only he could do in the aftermath of the invasion.
He didn't get to stay in the hospital for even a /week/. Doctors found something weird circulating his veins. His insurance policy is very strict about what sorts of things they would willingly cover, and 'body pumping chemicals that were the only things keeping him on his feet some hours prior' saw to it they'd only cover up to five days of hospital stay. Anything beyond that was out of his pocket, and prohibitively spendy. In the end, Mr. Rust went by his old maxim that saw him through his 20s - I have work the next day.
On the sixth day, he dragged himself out of the hospital and had a friend drive him to Pacific (though he wondered why some keys were in his pocket, more on that later). It took almost no time for his co-workers to yell at him for going off campus... again. Screaming, even. His job was threatened over that choice, and boy that was a bad morning to be within earshot of the Principal's office. Why should we keep you, Howard? Why should we keep you, they asked. He told them why.
Fast forward a few hours.
On the Athletics Field, the near entirety of Pacific High's student body - diminished by the number of children who were withdrawn given the wartime difficulties - are gathered out and around the field, great stacks of construction materials being loaded into trucks and murmuring being exchanged between groups of students and a handful of teachers alike.
Indeed, Mr. Rust has work today, powering through the exhaustion and outright pain best as he can as he loads a heavy bag of cement mix into the bag with a loud grunt. It's a little chilly this afternoon with a clear sky, and even /then/ he is sweating like a pig, occasionally leaning against the side of a rented hauler with his right hand as he occasionally answers a few queries and points in some direction or another.
Indeed, Pacific is a busy hive of activity where most of the snooty rich kids wouldn't bother to spend an afternoon doing something other than trying to throw money at people to get them out of their (rapidly improving) situation.
In the meanwhile, Marisol has been busy...
Helping out at Pacific, that is. Perhaps to most of the faculty's surprise, the half-Spaniard girl has spent most of her days in the aftermath patching up portions of the school or making effort to clean up debris and whatnot. It's a tedious task, but those who have stayed behind ARE willing to help make their home away from home a nice place once more.
So it's been an eventful summer around campus--and the city. She's just glad it's over.
It's been a question on her mind, however: why hasn't the shop teacher been seen around lately? Usually efforts such as 'rebuilding' or 'fixing' would (she presumes) draw his attention, but after nearly a week he's essentially been a no-show. Until today, that is!
"Uhhhm," a voice pipes up from behind the pained, exhausted shop teacher.
"Maybe you should take a break?"
The voice belongs to none other than Marisol who, should he turn and regard her directly, will offer a slight grin in response before lifting a hand in greeting. "I haven't seen you 'round here lately," she converses idly. "A few people were thinking maybe you broke a hip or something and got put in the hospital. Of course, I wasn't about to believe something silly like a broken hip would keep you away.
"You need help?"
Oh yeah, it's tedious, sometimes dangerous, exhausting, and thankless. It's no fun at all. But that's what this school is doing, come hell or high water. Given the efforts have stepped up as of exactly this afternoon, who here is to blame for that...?
"Gnnnrgh." The American man grunts at the suggestion, waving his left hand down in a gesture that typically would be the end of that. If he were in physical rehab he'd be doing something like... grabbing balls, walking some distance tied in some harness or something, whatever. He has work to do, might as well do the work and make that his rehab. Or so he'd reason to the doctors, whose interest in the idea, unfortunately, ended at 'I'm out of here after day five, my insurance isn't covering this.' He's on his own there.
Yet, he turns his head and starts to walk towards the back of the truck in case that student dumped off something heavy for him to lift and put in the truck, and that's when he catches that little grin and the wave and... oh, yeah, Marisol. That voice did sound kind of familiar.
"I, uh... yeah, something like... like that." He's not sure if she'd believe that he DEAD LIFTED A GODDAMN BLAST DOOR and his back is really hating him for that now, to say nothing of being blasted by a should've-been fatal charge of electricity and then being injected with unpleasant stuff just to get him back on his feet.
Either way, the man's face screams of someone who may not have slept in the last three days. It's hard to even really see the color of his eyes past those droopy eyelids as he wipes something from underneath his left eye. God damn this mutant grass and its pollens, if he gets sick from that, swear to God he is going to use his American racial power of frivolous lawsuits to get whoever manufactured the mess to pay for his allergy meds.
"Uh... yeah, if you're goin' to this school, yes you can," almost sarcastically, gesturing broadly with his left arm out towards all the student groups. "We're... we're loading all this," he coughs a few times, "excuse me. We're loading all this and, and getting it out 'round Southtown."
He's not the most eloquent of people at the moment, but can anyone blame him after all he's been through? He's fighting to stay awake and keep on his feet through all this. This is a man who should be bedridden for the next few weeks, only to go 'ah, fuck it' and just come to work anyway. It's the source of a lot of his health problems, to be truthful.
"Gonna do our part, and... and I mean /everyone's/ part. To build it all back."
There's a look of mild disbelief on Marisol's face when Rust actually regards her. Now that she gets a better idea of his condition--namely the tired look on his face and general 'I look like I really need a vacation'--her brow knits lightly, furrowed in private thought. He really shouldn't be hauling stuff, she thinks. But would he listen? Proooobably not.
"Well!" the girl chimes, looking from the shop teacher toward the groups before the stuff they're loading up. "I can do that, I guess. I was indoors trying to help patch a few walls up but figured I could use the fresh air." Lightly she pops her lips before grinning. "So let me help you out a bit!"
And, perhaps with almost freakishly man-like strength the girl picks up a bag with some mild effort and begins the process of helping Rust load the truck. She's quiet for a few minutes, just focused on trying to do the job before she reaches her third back. Then she pauses, hooding her gaze slightly.
"You really don't look so well, you know," the girl bluntly states. "I mean, are you sure you should be out here doing this to yourself? You're not standing on a broken leg or bleeding internally or something, are you?" Her concern sounds geniune, at least.
That the kids are already hard at work at rebuilding the school before he even dragged his sorry carcass back to direct some of it is nothing short of a moment of pride. At least, that's what he will tell interviewers years down the road when writing the biography of a man whose life is something of a long shot and a bunch of circumstances lining themselves up at just the right time.
"Hey, hold u--" He reaches out as Marisol volunteers herself to help a bit. Doesn't she have an assignment to a certain part of the school or something? He only vaguely went over who was doing what before he made the pitch to the rest of the staff that they do exactly as Pacific's mission statement is written - bringing the students the idea of an international community, integrating them among where they go to school in only the best way possible: getting everyone to roll up their sleeves and do the fixing themselves.
The thump of the first bag against the floor of the truck hold brings back a rather evocative image of someone who stopped by here right at the beginning of the conflicts: legendary fighter Ryu, wanderer, philosopher, warrior.
'The most important thing is to start, and to do what you must.'
When Marisol goes for bag number two, Howard pushes himself away from the side of the truck and stumbles on over to lift a heavy bag himself. Joints pop, creak, and otherwise make the usual fuss as he strains to lift up a bag from the pain that shoots up his back. For a man who, in a moment of sheer indignation, managed to help guide a blast door upwards... he sure looks like he's not having a good time of heavy lifting. With your knees, not your back, he grumbles to himself. The ache that goes through his left leg reminds him very suddenly why he chanced his back instead with that lift as he exhales loudly, plopping that bag down by the time Marisol gets her second one loaded.
Marisol pops that question moments after he finishes loading that one, and he doesn't look well - he's leaning against the truck again, trying to catch his breath and otherwise looking like he had better damn well stop before he lays on some other permanent injury. He grits his teeth in aggravation at all this, head bowed as he's still looking away from Marisol. I'm a god damn working man, of course I'll go all day!
Yet, Ryu's wisdom from that day continues on. 'Whether it is enough or not. Alone, even the mightiest of us is not enough.'
The teacher turns around, facial expression softening from tension back to fatigue as he coughs a few times. Yeah, maybe that's right, but surely enough for this task, he inwardly debates as Marisol wonders about what sorts of injuries he's trying to push himself through.
'Not for any battle, in the end. Our strength comes from community, and diversity, respect, and honour.'
He shakes his head twice, wipes his forehead, and takes a couple steps towards Marisol. There is a visible limp, suggesting he is working on an injured leg or possibly something worse, but the man tries his damned hardest to put on at least an air of health and strength, straightening out his back best he's able instead of peering at the turf on the athletics field.
"...Yeah. You're right." Not 'probably' right, not 'maybe' right, just plain ol' right, as he reaches out to touch Marisol on the shoulder. "I'm just gonna... gonna go over inventory. I'll be over at," he points with his right hand, hand outstretched rather than with a pointing finger off towards the benches, "there, if... if you or someone else need something."
It would seem that Rust's call is lost upon the young woman as she begins loading the truck. Sure, she might have some kind of summer assignments to handle but right now what's more important to her is seeing things get back to normal. So she's content in just helping everyone else out, taking pride in the fact that those who stuck behind, student or teacher, are willing to do whatever is necessary.
After the second bag is loaded, Marisol's gaze shifts, peering toward the elder man as he seems to struggle. Frowning quite visibly the redhead observes as she turns and carefully deposits the second bag into the back of the truck. For a while she continues to remain somewhat quiet. Something seems kind of off...but she isn't sure what. Did something happen..?
Eventually, her curiosity gets the better of her. He certainly does not seem like he is in any shape whatsoever to be doing heavy labor, she assumes, what with his heavy breathing and looking like he's about to just pass out from exhaustion. Part of her suspects he's somehow overworked himself today--he's like that, as she recalls!
"Uhh?" Marisol offers lightly as he looks away. Did she say something wrong, she wonders? When he looks back and grins she offers one in turn, though it seems hesitant--especially when he limps forward. That certainly can't be good. But she says nothing; she presumes that he'll have something to say, and waits for it.
"I...am?" the half-Spaniard questions, looking at the older man as he puts a hand on the shoulder. When he explains his intent she follows his finger, blinking twice before she nods. "S-sure!"
So she'll leave him to do his thing at the benches, returning to load up a few more bags before curiosity gets the better of her. Leaving the task behind, Marisol will wander over and take a respectable seat near the older man, hands resting between bent knees.
"Uhm...so...what happened, anyway?" she wonders. "I mean, you don't seem like you're doing well."
And off to the benches that man goes. His discerning eye reveals none of them are, at present, in need of repair. This is for the best, for the last thing this man wants to do right now is to have to babysit another busted bench. It's always a bench, for some reason, in these parts and he's getting really sick and tired of having to fix them. At least today, the fates are not inflicting the need to fix another bench.
Which makes that little trek a smidge more bearable as his body feels like shutting down entirely. Creak by creak, grunt by grunt, the man parks his tookus on the bench. Ol' Rusty, still in that toolbelt pocket, points forward as though the thing wanted to be ripped clean from its makeshift sheath and run off and do whatever it is rusted lengths of pipe do. His eyes falling upon it brings attention back to his right hand. Pulling the glove off with his teeth, open air strikes against the palm and makes the fingers twitch a little. That ugly discoloration from handling molten metal, along with those 'loving' stitches from Rolento all get their own little narrative close-up camera shot. This means it's about all over for him, isn't it? Him and his aspirations to the Neo League.
Marisol's questions draw him out of that trance, his head lifting up with a start as said hand falls onto his lap. What happened, she wonders. What happened, indeed. Could he give any kind of executive summary?
"Well... uh." He rubs the back of his head with the opposite hand, still gloved in comparison. "A lot." Too exhausted to really yell at her to get back to work, his mind entertains having to give some kind of summary. "Got caught up with, with a bunch of scary people. And... well. You want to know why... why all this shit came to a bunch of schoolkids? You, and every last one of them who had nothing to do... NOTHING, to do with what they were doing?"
She probably does!! He doesn't waste any time waiting for an answer, aside from the necessity to clear his dry, tired, dehydrated throat. "Because... they represented some kind of a threat to all their shit." Not a world military force, not even the local police, because of the /kids/. "Can you fucking believe that?"
There's a cursory glance spared toward his hand, though the young woman is currently seated in a spot that makes it a little difficult for her to really see what is wrong with it. Obviously, SOMETHING; the details are sketchy at best. Fortunately for him, she won't bug him too much about it. She's already plaguing him with her curiosity as it is.
So she sits and listens, casually slouching forward with her elbows crooked and rested on her knees. Part of the half-Spaniard student wonders if he'll be open with her--certainly she hopes so. She has some measure of respect for the teacher for being the only one on campus actually capable of standing up against rowdy students--and invading armies of powerful crimelords.
His response earns him a lopsided smirk. "Well that sounds rather unfortunate," she replies of his getting caught up. "Sorry to hear that, but it's good that you're still /here/." As for why, the redhead's brow arches slightly, Marisol's lips pursing into a thin line. Why? Well, of course she's a little curious. Though she says nothing, her expression speaks for her.
And he answers, a frown crossing her lips. Quietly she looks away, watching the students in the field do their part to pick up the pieces and start helping everyone in starting over again. "Well..." the girl states, gray eyes shifting to the skies above.
"We were, weren't we?"
Looking back, she offers a faint grin. "Don't get me wrong. I think it's bullshit and stupid, and I hate the thought that all of this happened partially because of students. But at the same time, I can't deny that the kids were...really damned determined to kick their asses--and did." Nevermind the few light scars left over on her arms and legs. "And I'm pretty sure everyone would do the same thing again if it happened." Frowning a little, she looks away.
"But...well...I guess now rather than be angry at what /was/ done it's time to just look ahead and worry about how we're all going to move forward. I plan on turning my back to all of that and just working hard to get even stronger so that if that bullshit happens again I'll be more than ready to punch a few heads off if they so much as /think/ about showing up."
Pausing, she looks back to Rust and asks, "What about you?"
Marisol may remember some of it from when the two of them had the talk on the night of that fateful PR broadcast by (the late?) Geese Howard, hijacked by Kain to bring accusations to bear as to why people were attacking the city. Those were the most tense of times, even if she had a whole lot of optimism that in the end, it'd all turn out okay.
'We were, weren't we.' If we really were the greatest threat to a bunch of terrorist organizations of immense manpower and hold of destructive technologies, that is truly scary. Something he's told her before when he was headed off to the YFCC one afternoon about how much that shit scares him. He's getting too old for this fantastical nonsense! He's a friggin' schoolteacher, not a super vigilante, no matter how decisive he may have been in the invading forces' decisive defeat at the facility built over the park.
And the kids are still as psychotic as ever. The teacher wonders what became of that punk kid who hit him with his skateboard when he was limping back from Gedo High. Crazy-ass kids. The woman with that scary eye sure was right about how a bunch of rabid kids in the right place seem to be able to overturn just about everything, but... ahh, what's the use of thinking about her any more, the man thinks, the two are never going to see one another again. God willing, she can do whatever it is she does under the seamy underbelly of society, he can do his job here.
As Marisol talks about her views of the whole thing, the teacher rolls his left shoulder around a little to try and work out some of the stiffness trying to set in now that he's not in constant motion in trying to lift things, four revolutions done when that question is popped. What about himself?
"Me? Ehhhhh...hrm." He grunts as his eyes start to wander. So, what about him? Ryu's sayings have plenty to say about the whole ordeal. Things Ryu said the man must know better than most right from the onset.
'We have no choice over when we fall, it can come from a million directions for a million more reasons, but each of us must choose how we live, and what choices, risks, and acts give that journey meaning.'
And what choices, risks, and acts that man chose, first to answer the call to try and save Gedo, to not quitting his job and getting the hell out of dodge in order to stand against the assault on Pacific, to being brought into Rolento's fold (staying willingly only at the chance of finding out the truth of the matter), to chancing being in the same place as FREAKING SAGAT who would've been more than prepared to steamroll him, to wind up conspiring with a scary shady lady, to holding tight when Rolento told his part of it all, to choosing to fight back against a reckless hooligan and eventually helping to drag a woman and her dying child to safety, to getting caught up inside that park base through a comedy of errors... to deciding he wasn't going to dig any deeper than he already did.
'Your confusion is understandable, but only half as deep as the rest.' Ryu said. 'You are here, you have already made up your mind. It is frightening, but if they come here, if you must strike out with someone else, there is already purpose.' Purpose, there was. 'It is already enough, that you act. The outcome... is just one of two possibilities.'
That's when Rust's mouth takes over for the message replaying in his head, if put through a filter of Howard Rust the Shop Teacher instead of Ryu the Warrior Poet. "Y'know... even if we all got, got wiped out and everything went to shit," and boy did it, "wouldn't have... have stayed that way. I mean... today. Shit. Even some of those punk ass kids went with 'em, but... you know what? Y'know what? Long as I'm," he coughs twice again, "excuse me, long as I'm here. Long as you, your friends, whoever else is in this god damn preppy farm, when all that other shit we see today's all... rotted, gone, collapsed?" The man sits up a little more straight, now putting that work glove back on his right hand, hiding away the ugly scar and burns. (If only he'd do s
omething about that combover.) "When you and the rest make this, this whole world yours? I'm making... making damn sure you kids know what it's like to, to really work. Doing things for your other fellow man, just... building up a community. None of this, this... old, bored power grabs, or none of that shit."
And here, teaching for a bunch of kids who the evils of the world considered the biggest threat to all this, set to inherit this planet when people like Mr. Rust are dead from old age or otherwise? That counts for double. Triple. Far higher multipliers.
"My fighting days... y'know... I think that's that. But Marisol, I'm still a teacher. Still a teacher. I still got... still got a job," he says as he raises his right hand and struggles to re-fit the glove all the way over the hand, his face tense as he makes sure it's all properly fitted and all that junk.
Likely, there's no way Marisol could ever know what Rust has been through--or know. She doesn't feel it's her place to bug him, as he feels deeply for what occurred. He's had a hard time, she can see as much in the way he holds himself, his posture and overall demeanor. Rust is tired and weary--he shouldn't even BE here. But he is.
For a moment the redhead nearby doesn't seem to anticipate him answering her. Slowly her smile curls into a small frown, eyes slanting aside as she considers that, maybe, she's said something wrong in all of this. He's never really seemed the optimistic sort--at least not when she first met him a few times. Lately he seems a bit better, but...
Finally Rust speaks, and promptly does the half-Spaniard girl lift her head and turn her attentions back onto him. She's silent as he speaks his piece, her eyes only moving when he shifts his hand and slides the glove back on, hiding the gnarled flesh from sight. She can't help but frown a little, looking away once he's finished speaking. She remains a little quiet.
...until a quiet laugh escapes her.
"I'd rather die than be like those assholes who came in here beating up on innocent people and holding a city hostage," she offers, leaning back on the bench, her weight supported on her arms as she reclines. Turning her head, she looks his way. "And I assure you that no one here would object to helping build a community. Isn't that what this essentially is?" she wonders, looking toward the field at the rest of the students.
"To you it might be some preppy farm. To some of us, though, this is kind of a community. That's why I won't hesitate to punch someone's teeth out if they so much as look this way with ill intent. I don't want people coming in, hurting my friends and their friends and friends' friends."
Looking back to Rust, Marisol grins once more. "You're a part of this too, you know. As much as you'd continually like to write yourself off, you're just a big of a threat to those assholes as we would be." She pauses briefly, hooding her gray eyes at the man as she asks, "And I hope you're not telling me that you're about to give up on being a fighter."
That quiet laugh, oh, how many times has he heard that throughout his time here at Pacific? The lecturing that usually follows comes. At least she's got the right idea of what he's trying to say, right? He thinks to himself as he starts to flex his right arm inward to ward off stiffness at that elbow before letting that arm come to a rest, Marisol bringing up how no one would object to helping build a community.
Which almost gets a laugh out of /him/, given the difficulties he had from time to time in getting his students interested in what he teaches to begin with! Shop isn't a highly focused subject here in Pacific, although things were getting better as time went on. Especially when Fuchi was no longer taking his class.
Incidentally, Fuchi from quite a ways away manages to bust not one, not two, but three sandbags at once. (Some things never change.)
Marisol gushes with school pride that the older man is really just getting a good grasp on, like that newfound importance he has in doing his freaking job. He may not be on the greatest terms with most of his fellow educators on several fronts, but despite his harsh words and occasionally self-deprecating views of his shortcomings, he's not sure he'd be able to willingly give his job up now, rubbing at his eyes again as Marisol gives that grin. He's part of this too.
"Y'know what..." The teacher starts, looking away. Part of this is a cautionary glance at what's going on out there and... oh, great, some kid left a mess and he's pretty sure he knows who. He motions to stand up, pressing his left hand against the bench as he leans forward to stand. Someone still has work to d--
...eh. He relaxes back just a little, reluctantly, but turns his head back towards Marisol. Those brown eyes of his, still tired. "Right now, this... this just calls for a, a different kind of fighting. 's... not going to be fun. Gonna see a lot of sad faces, from people who lost a lot." He himself heard one of the teachers here may have lost one of their children in the violence, they haven't found him yet. "Gonna be hard. This kind of fight, just, getting it all built back up. Renewing it." A couple of gestures of no particular meaning or basis in any sort of recognizable communication are made with his left hand as he looks away. "That's one I haven't, haven't given up yet." He clears his throat.
Why wouldn't she gush with pride for her school? Why, numerous times now she's punched people who were na'er do wells out of the grounds and stood up for the people who couldn't stand up for themselves. She's less a delinquent now these days and more of a kid who has some sense of direction in the scheme of things. While it may seem amusing to him, she firmly believes that when it really comes down to it, people will bind together.
Rust speaks up and again Marisol's gaze fixes on him, even as he himself looks away. Part of her braces for the possibility that he'll tell her he's going to give up on everything now and move on. Another part of her doesn't want to believe in that--and doesn't! He begins to get up--
But stays where he is. A quiet sigh of relief follows.
"Yeah, I'm aware," the girl states, gray eyes looking toward the field. "And honestly I'm glad that you haven't given up. I'm sure half the faculty here and elsewhere have wussed out and run away for fear of another hit. And I guess I can't really blame them. I do hope for the best, but it can't always be that way. I know that."
She looks back. "But I am also aware that I can't sit here and dwell. I have to stand up, look forward and move on. Sitting around feeling sorry for everyone and myself isn't going to help fix the school or help the other schools, right?"
Exhaling loudly, Marisol hops up from the bench, stretching her arms high before she turns and smiles at the shop teacher. "Which is why I'm glad we have a teacher like you here, Mr. Rust. Like I said you're the only one here with the guts to stand up and fight. Some people here need models like that, someone older than them to show that some grown ups out there actually DO care. And I know this might not mean much coming from ME, but..." Her smile broadens with sincerity.
"Thanks. I know you don't like it, the fighting. I know you've been hurt and you've suffered. But...thanks."
The aging man grows a little grumpier thinking about how many of these kids are still none too good about, well... any single step of this whole rebuilding process. This whole next semester, mark the teacher's words, they're going to be doing this for weeks and they're going to /like/ it but that doesn't mean he will, especially if there's going to be a lot of little incidents like that pile of busted sandbags, he's /needed/ for this. He's not going to let anybody do a half-ass job on any step of the way of constructing a new shelter or two or what have you!!
But his body is too battered for him to allocate enough resources of 'damn' to be able to work himself to a stand, for the time being. Glad he hasn't given up, that he isn't like the faculty who wussed out and ran away. Sometimes he wonders.
He nods at that 'can't sit here and dwell' thing, right, lazily motioning with his right hand back towards where those bags were getting loaded up, leaning back a little again as Marisol hops on up and has herself a stretch and... smiles at him?
Marisol gives probably the first actual gratitude he's heard on campus, in contrast to the yelling of scared fellow adults who really, really, really wanted him to stay put on the grounds that he was the only grown-up here who had any actual fighting talent. Some people need models like him, to show that adults really do care, huh, well, what the hell has he tried to present himself as?! He rubs the side of his head at her sincere smile.
The thanks. Not liking fighting... well, after all that's said and done, having to fight for his goddamn life and everyone else's lives to the extent his own fighting for his life could have affected fighting for their lives, he's not sure how much of him would really want to jump at the chance of beating someone's face in for fun. Through that injury and suffering, though, that teacher has endured. Even as the world seems intent on eroding him to nothingness, or at least enough for him to just tip over and fall down.
"Yeah... uh, no problem." He tries to work up a smile in turn, best his face muscles can as he brings a nearby clipboard closer. He's got work to do, even sitting down. "We'll get it all, all worked out."
Truthfully, his response wasn't what she'd expected. The silence is a little awkward as she speaks honestly and openly, looking (and feeling) a little awkward being nice. But, hey. He's been through a lot before and even now, and she's pretty sure the world of adults is generally a thankless one. So she does what she thinks is best. She thanks the teacher for being one that actually /cares/.
His smile brightens hers a bit, gray eyes hooding with a sort of delight in the fact he seems a little appreciative of her efforts in sincerity. "Well, glad that's settled then!" she chimes, lifting her arms up and folding them behind her head. "Y'know, after all this bullshit you really ought to think 'bout taking a vacation or somethin'," Marisol remarks, watching the field and students mill about. "Might do you some good. Couldn't hurt to take some time to yourself and try and clear your head."
Glancing back, the half-Spaniard girl smirks. "Be/sides/, you overwork yourself too much. You should do something for yourself for a change!" Lifting a sneakered foot, the redhead begins marching forward.
"Aaaaas for me, I think I should probably get back to helping everyone out. I can feel the angry glares I'm getting for sitting around while everyone else does all the hard work." She pauses briefly, head tilting back as she looks to the sky thoughtfully. "But you're right. It'll all work out."
Lifting a hand over her shoulder, she continues forward, assuming he doesn't stop her. "Well, you rest here Mr. Rust! I'll go take care of the rest. See ya later!"
The world of adults is not very fun! That's why so many kids want to grow up to be astronauts so they can get into some other world some day, or something. Anything but being a grown-up!!
He waves his hand in dismissal of a vacation. Far as he knows, those days he /wasn't/ on campus are already counted against him. (The world of adults is not fair, again, grow up and become an astronaut for a chance to blast off to some other world!) Sitting on this bench is probably the closest he's ever going to get a break from here on out. Lots to do. Lots to watch other people do while you're resting up and getting ready to pile into that aforementioned lots to do.
"Yeah," he gets that word out through a strained throat, which he once again clears. And then coughs twice. I hate this fucking grass so much, he grumbles to himself. But hey. "We'll get it done." Everyone's willing, so far, to pitch in all they can, and he's pretty sure he hasn't even heard of that German kid she hangs out with causing any problems lately. So far, so go good.
He takes off the toolbelt around his waist in order to get some weight off of his back, Ol' Rusty now dangling precariously over the edge of the bench as he looks over a bunch of papers on that notepad to sign. He himself is going to have to write off a lot of this - he himself is technically in charge of the whole shebang now, as it were.
As Ryu said, these things can turn around before you even realize what's happening. Hours pass. The afternoon stretches into evening, bringing forth a sunset sky again, and again as it will while the days continue to pass.
'Right now it is chaos, and overwhelming. But they are the intruders here, even as the Syndicate is, and the Universe has a way of responding to overt use of blunt instruments.'
Nighttime eventually comes. Everyone packs up, goes to rest up wherever they will. Mr. Rust accidentally leaves behind his entire toolbelt. Ol' Rusty, that rusted length of pipe, tilts precariously between its place suspended over the ground and the toolbelt that holds it.
In the night that passes, it slides out into the dirt and rolls a way forwards across the turf of Pacific's athletics field, clearly not content to be left hanging somewhere as a relic of bygone days.
Log created on 15:25:34 06/08/2009 by Rust, and last modified on 02:16:19 06/24/2009.