As the bell rings, I stand at my desk, straightening the pile of map drafts I've sketched out. It was really just an excuse to look busy, but these particular doodles actually came out...alright. I've never been much for art. My hands are too destructive to produce anything but pain. I've often wondered if perhaps it was what I was meant to be. A destructive monster.

I slide my backpack onto my shoulder, waiting patiently as the blonde flirt gathers her things and stuffs them into her oversized purse. I wouldn't want to get hit with that thing. She notices me bent against my desk and sends me a sneer. "What, too lazy to move?"

I raise a brow. "You're carrying a weapon. I'm not suicidal. That monstrosity you're holding could be used to clobber someone over the head."

"That's a good idea," she snaps, "maybe I'll knock any possibility of you having kids off." The blonde walks off, tossing her hair back as if to punctuate her threat. I shrug to myself, shaking off the retort. Women could be scary sometimes. Especially when angered. Professor York must have caught the exchange, because he sends me a warning look, clearing his throat loudly.

"You should treat people better. It only benefits you in the long run, Dante." He says, softly. "Just like hurting others hurts you, too." Before I can respond, he's gone, coffee cup in hand, jacket in the opposite, walking out of the room and into his office.

I frown, seeing myself to the door. Treat others better? This is the only way to keep myself safe. Especially after that night. I don't need anyone. People are just baggage. And I most certainly don't need baggage on my shoulders. Hurting others hurts me too? What kind of bullshit is that?

I don't get hurt. Because I'm not around people. It's that simple.

Grinding my teeth together, I shove my hands into my pockets, turning down the Main Hall to make my way to Classical Literature. Shaking the ridiculous thoughts out of my head, I sigh--walking straight into Professor Vesci. Something hot splashes against my chest, and I hiss uncomfortably at the scalding sensation. "Professor..."

What irony.

"Dio mio! I am so sorry!" He exclaims, face reddening as if he were the one burned. "I did not see you there!" He digs a napkin from his pocket, dabbing and drying the soup that's spilled into both my shirt and jacket. "It does not burn badly, does it?" He grimaces at the stains.

I bare my teeth to retort that yes, you idiot it burns why weren't you watching where you were going this shit stings, but the words clog up in my throat when the wide, pleading green eyes look up at me. "...no. It's alright. Just a little sting." I mutter. This professor is a bit strange, but he's so expressive; I can tell he honestly didn't mean to be carelessly splashing soup at people while walking. I study him, while he prattles on in Italian and English, the dried patches on his shirt and sleeves, the worried tightness of his eyes and mouth. "Where are you off to with hot soup too early for lunch?" I ask, and tilt my head when he pales a few shades. "And too late for breakfast, I might add."

Professor Vesci stiffens for a moment, then scowls, his green gaze smoldering. "It is not your concern, amico."

I blink, shocked.

"I may have hurt you, but I will not bend to your will simply because of that. I said I was sorry, and that is all I can offer at the moment. I am needed elsewhere." He sniffs, giving me a small bow and turning on his heel. "Buona giornata, Dante."

I've...been defied by the strange art professor. The short, random, quirky art professor.

"Wait a minute..." I cock an eyebrow, making a face. He must be hiding something, to be acting even weirder than usual. I take off after him and ignore the entry bell as it rings, following the raven-haired man to his classroom instead of hauling ass to my Literature period.

I forget to even question why I'm following him, why I care that something might be up with this professor, why my stomach is flipping out, or why, when I catch up to his classroom and see the nerd from this morning through his office door, I don't walk back to the hall and settle for Professor Harley's speeches on Shakespeare instead of this out of the norm experience.

The End

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