VII. Poor Thing

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"So, what gave you the idea to start a 'duel' without any supervision?" Danford asked from behind her desk in her office.

Lena, Jace, and Hunter sat on the sofa facing the desk, a small coffee table separating them from it, not entirely sure what to say. The office they were situated in looked like a regular old office, with bookshelves and filing cabinets. What made it stand out was that it was a larger room, and art pieces were hanging on the walls.

"Well?" Danford asked again, clasping her hands together and resting them on her desk.
All three hesitated to respond.

Danford sighed, "Well, no matter what the reason, I'm disappointed. It's only the second day of operations, and you couldn't have possibly forgotten the regulations after they were relayed to you yesterday."
Jace looked at Hunter, who looked literally anywhere other than Danford.

Danford sighed, "I'm asking you all why this happened so I can give you an easy reprimand, one that doesn't involve confining all of you to the campus grounds."

She stood up and looked out the window behind her.
"The founders of New Haven chose Elfen Island so Gifted enrolled here can not only obtain an education, but also have a vast space where they can use their Gifts for mostly whatever they desire, with some exceptions, of course. We can't have Gifted running around and destroying New Haven property with their power, or starting fights."

She turned and looked pointedly at the three of them.

Lena had her arms crossed and she slunk in her seat. She blamed the lightning Gifted for this, for if he hadn't attacked her, she wouldn't have to deal with this.

"Ms. Prasylova," Danford began.
Lena looked up at her.
"Why don't you tell me your side of the story?" she asked, "Did you start this altercation?"
"No, miss," Lena replied, "I was minding my business, when this... тупой идиот attacked me for no reason. I told him we need someone to supervise the duel, but he didn't listen."

Danford looked to Jace, who practically glued his eyes to the floor.
"Mr. Verrater, your response?" she asked.
"She's... completely right, ma'am," Jace uttered, "It was my fault. I just... wanted to see what I could do in a fight."
Danford narrowed her eyes, "And you, Mr. McAlister? What's your place in all this?"
"Miss, I just saw them fighting and went to stop them, that's all there is from me," Hunter shrugged.
Danford sat back down at her desk.

"I see," she said, "So this is all the truth, then?"
All three nodded.
"Very well," she said, "Mr. Verrater, as a punishment you shall endure twenty-four hours of volunteer work over the week. This will include assisting instructors with menial tasks, as well as performing 'chores' around campus. Failure to complete this will result in expelling you from New Haven and your removal from Elfen Island. Do you understand?"
"Yes... ma'am..." Jace sighed in defeat.
"I also believe you owe someone an apology," Danford continued.

Jace turned to Lena, slightly admiring her.
"Uh... I'm sorry," he said, rather quietly.
Lena couldn't help but feel some pity for the boy.
"Forget about it," she replied.

"And Mr. McAlister, I thank you for stepping in. It's nice to know some of our Gifted won't be bystanders," Danford smiled.
"No problem," Hunter grinned.

"Alright," Danford said, standing up, "You're all free to go. Mr. Verrater, you are to report here to me tomorrow afternoon after your classes for your first tasks."
"Yes, ma'am..." Jace uttered.

The three then got up and headed towards the door. Lena shut the door behind them as they entered a hallway of the first education building. Outside the windows, the pathway and courtyard could be seen, as well as the dorm buildings.

"Well, that was fun," Hunter sneered.
Lena and Jace said nothing.
"Jace, why don't you go find Janice, she's probably still at the food court," Hunter suggested.
"Yes, right..." Jace said, and holding his arm, he walked towards the exit.

Lena crossed her arms, uncomfortable.
Hunter looked at her quizzically.
"You've been avoiding me and Mel," he said.
Lena didn't reply.
"C'mon, Lena," he said, inching closer, "You and Mel have been like sisters since you were kids, and then when I came along, you started distancing yourself."
Lena still didn't reply, inching backward.
"Do you got something you wanna say to me?" he asked, a little smirk crossing his face.
Lena finally plucked up the courage to speak.

"I have plenty I want to say to you," she snapped.
"Then say it," Hunter pried.
"You disgust me."
Hunter could only chuckle.
"You're only saying that 'cause you like me, don'tcha?" he sneered.
Lena let out an offended grunt and shoved him, fast-walking away towards the exit. Hunter watched her go, very amused.

Lena hurried to the dorms, seething with irritation. She entered her building, climbed up the stairs, brushed past a few fellow Gifted, and arrived at her room, shoving her hands in her pockets to find her key. She sniffled, and upon realizing she was about to cry, she hastily pulled out her key.

"Um... are you okay?" she heard a voice ask her.
She quickly looked to see Dai standing outside his dorm
room, with quite a concerned look on his face.
She didn't reply and continued to insert the key into the lock on the door.
"Hey, answer me here," he pressed, "What happened?"
Lena still didn't reply and unlocked her door, hurrying inside, and slamming the door behind her.

Dai stood in the hallway, absolutely dumbfounded.
His dorm room then opened, and Kai peeked his head out.
"What's going on out here?" he asked.
"That girl, Lena, that I told you about," Dai explained, "She just ran into her dorm room... crying."
"Oh, yikes," Kai replied.
"I know," Dai agreed, "I tried asking what's wrong but she ignored me."
Kai shrugged, "Some people just don't like to talk about their problems, I guess."
Luke then peeked his head out.
"What's happening?" he asked.
"One of the girls next door ran into her room crying, and Dai was worried about her," Kai explained.
"Yeah, I leave to go get some food and she's just... really upset," Dai confirmed.
Luke smiled, "Wow, and do you even know her well?"
"Well, no," Dai answered, "But do I have to in order to reach out?"
"Guess not," Luke said, "Heh, y'know, girls must like an emotional guy like you."
Dai's expression soured.
"I do not see her that way," he stated.
"Woah, I never said you did, I was just-" Luke started, but Kai pressed his arm against his chest and looked at him, shaking his head.

"I'm getting food," Dai said, his tone darker than it was, "Y'all want anything?"
"No," Kai said, "We'll get something later."
With that, Dai walked down the hall, and Kai closed the door, Luke still perplexed.
"What was that all about?" Luke asked.
Kai sighed.
"Look, we just met yesterday, so I won't tell you everything right now," Kai said, "Just... Dai's had... bad experiences when it comes to that sort of stuff. Really bad."
Luke backed off, realizing.
"Oh... was he... abused?" he asked.
"Emotionally, by a previous partner," Kai answered, "Don't take it to heart."
"No, I get it," Luke said with a smile, "Poor guy. Who could treat him like that?"
"A selfish monster," Kai answered darkly, and took a deep breath, "Sorry, but I don't wanna think about this anymore. Want me to get me to get my iPad put on that movie you mentioned?"
"Sure! You'll love Gattaca, it's a classic."

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