ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem was written outside the prompt calls, inspired by discussion with [personal profile] dialecticdreamer. It also fills the "pursuit of happiness" square in my 5-22-14 card for the [community profile] origfic_bingo fest. It has been sponsored by an anonymous donation. This poem belongs to the Antimatter & Stalwart Stan thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.


"I'm Here for You"


Lawrence felt intensely grateful
when Stan returned to school
after the big fight at the Mall
that left him injured.

Climbing out of the car,
Stan went to sling his backpack
over his shoulder as usual,
then winced and put a hand
to his wounded side.

"Give me that," Lawrence said,
stealing the backpack and
lightening its mass with a thought.
"Should you even be back yet?"

"I'm healing," Stan said. "I'm okay,
as long as I don't overdo it."

"Like you just did,"
Lawrence scolded.

Stan gave him a weak smile.
"Well, you were here to save me,"
he said. "My hero."

Lawrence felt the blush
heating his cheeks,
and he wanted to hide,
but Stan needed him.

"I'm here for you," he said.
"Come on, I'll walk you to class."

"Too bad we don't have
all our classes together,"
Stan said as they walked.

"So I'll be late to mine,"
Lawrence said with a shrug.
"It won't be the first time
that I've gotten in trouble."

"You shouldn't have to," Stan said.
"We could go to the office and
get permission for you to help me."

"You'll have to ask for it, then,"
Lawrence said. "Nobody listens
to me like they do to you."

"I don't know why," Stan said.
"You're way smarter than me."

Lawrence rolled his eyes.
Stan didn't see it; he never did;
his own light was invisible to him.
"Just think of what you want to say."

So Stan knocked on the office door
and said, "I'm back, but it hurts
when I try to lift heavy things.
Lawrence offered to carry my books,
and he needs a hall pass so the teachers
won't scold him for being late to his classes."

The principal raised his eyebrows,
clearly surprised by the offer,
because Lawrence didn't usually
put himself forward like that.

Lawrence dropped his gaze
and let Stan do the talking.
It didn't take long for him
to convince the principal
to hand over the pass.

"Thank you," Lawrence said,
running his thumb over
the etched wood.

"You're the one doing a favor
for me," Stan pointed out.

They had their first class together,
but not the second, and it took
a bit of juggling to get everyone
into the right places at
more or less the right time.

Lawrence was quick and clever,
though, and so he managed the
dual schedule without too much trouble.

Lunch was a little more awkward,
with Lawrence trying to handle
two trays at the same time
and still keep straight which food
belonged on whose plate.

It was nice to sit beside Stan
and listen to his easy chatter,
the way people flowed around him
always smiling and nodding.

They didn't like Lawrence
nearly as much, though, and
when he got up to return their trays
a couple of the seniors hemmed him in.

"Looks like you got a new boyfriend,"
one of them purred at him.

I wish, Lawrence thought,
because they hadn't really
defined their relationship
in that much detail, and
Stan didn't know himself
the way Lawrence did.

He tried to sidle away,
but the other boys were
older and bigger and
determined to pick a fight.

"Wonder what he sees
in the little fag,"
someone else said.
"Stan could have anyone."

That was painfully true,
but Lawrence didn't
feel like arguing about it
with them and making it worse.

He just tucked his head down,
heart racing and breath shallow.
He didn't want to do this anymore,
didn't want to be the same kind
of troublemaker that he used to be.

Then someone pulled his hair,
and Lawrence slapped the hand away,
glaring at the cluster of bullies.
Oh, now he wanted to hurt them again.

"Don't touch me," he said coldly,
power flaring around them
in waves they couldn't see
but that must surely be
stirring the hairs on their skin.

Just like that, Stan was there,
pushing his way past the bullies,
and they gave way for him
as everyone always did --

and he ignored them,
heading straight for Lawrence,
touching their foreheads together.

"I'm here for you. Look at me,"
Stan said to Lawrence,
his voice low and soothing.
"That's it. Calm down now.
Let me handle this."

Lawrence shivered
under the gentle touch,
feeling his breath slow
as the tension began to ease.

"Stan's gay for nerds now,"
a voice taunted.

"I don't like to see anyone
get picked on," Stan retorted.

"You gonna let him fight for you
like the sissy you are?"
the leader teased.

Lawrence sneered at the bullies.
"I don't need your approval,"
he said to them.
Then he caught Stan's gaze again.
"I have his."

Lawrence turned and walked away.
Behind him he could hear Stan
ripping into the bullies with
an utterly scathing tone.

Lawrence just smirked to himself
and went to collect their books.
It took no more than a twist of power
to convince Stan's locker that
it didn't want to be locked anymore.
He knew what books Stan
would need for the next class.

By the time Stan caught up to him,
Lawrence was mostly calm again.

"What you did today,
that was really brave,"
Stan said with a fond smile.
"I'm so proud of you,
I could just pop."

What he did instead
was loop an arm around
Lawrence's waist,
warm and strong,
making him feel wanted
for once in his life.

Lawrence let himself
lean into it just a little,
and he began to imagine
that he could get used to this.

* * *

Notes:

After any injury, make sure not to overdo it on the way to recovery. This tip list for concussion is pretty good in general, plus muscle injuries mean you shouldn't lift heavy things for a while. Stan has Super-Strength so the weight is negligible, but moving cut muscles like that still hurts, and with a torso injury it kind of connects to everything.



Persuasion relies on a combination of personal traits and learned skills to coax people into doing what you want. Know how to persuade people to do what you want. For Stan, this is easy and natural; people tend to do things for him because he is just plain likable. There are tips for becoming more likable.

Bullying is a problem at many schools, especially homophobic bullying, which may need special attention to stop. The concept of "gay for X" is particularly conflicted. Know how to intervene in bullying, help a bullied friend, and heal from the effects of bullying.

Teenagers are known for seeking popularity and acceptance. However, humans are social creatures, so everyone has a need for approval and understanding, although some people need far more while others need very little. Try to balance internal and external approval.

Praise encourages people to face difficulties. "I'm proud of you" works best in relationships where people know each other well and share a foundation of respect, and it can be very potent. Know how to give good praise.

More bullying

Date: 2014-07-20 12:38 am (UTC)
dialecticdreamer: My work (Default)
From: [personal profile] dialecticdreamer
This is /really/ beginning to bother me, in that Lawrence is facing near-constant but low levels of bullying with pretty much EVERY social interaction. It's a long, long process of erosion, and in this case, what has eroded is his ability to reach out, his willingness to express compassion, and his trust in /everyone/ else.

In short, I can see the /exact/ path from "High school nerd" to "supervillain." In Technicolor.

It's not going to go away now, and it will probably get MUCH worse the second Stan and Lawrence aren't within sight of each other.

Which makes me /hope/ that there's enough positive influences left on Lawrence's formative years to be a platform for the new positives to cling to, otherwise... YIKES.

And, y'know... thanks.

Re: More bullying

Date: 2014-07-20 01:41 am (UTC)
dialecticdreamer: My work (Default)
From: [personal profile] dialecticdreamer
It's bothersome not because it's unbalanced, but it /is/ bothersome in part because it's so very, very realistic as a dynamic.

Conversely, that's what I /like/ about the situation you're writing out with Lawrence and Stan-- Lawrence is getting help that I never had, and Stan is more mature than a lot of teenagers in the ways that /matter/ in the long run: he knows he has to not just talk about things, but DO something, and he understands at least some of how to fix interpersonal mistakes, which are both skills Lawrence not only lacks, but mistrusts as unreliable at best.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-07-20 03:33 am (UTC)
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
From: [personal profile] mdlbear
"I don't need your approval [...] I have his"

Wow. Best. Comeback. Ever.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-07-20 07:15 am (UTC)
thnidu: my familiar. "Beanie Baby" -type dragon, red with white wings (Default)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
"What you did today,
that was really brave,"
That is: not letting the bullies goad him out of control, but holding himself together long enough, in the event, for Stan to come to his rescue. ¿Sí?
Edited Date: 2014-07-20 07:16 am (UTC)

Re: Yes...

Date: 2014-07-20 08:31 pm (UTC)
thnidu: my familiar. "Beanie Baby" -type dragon, red with white wings (Default)
From: [personal profile] thnidu

AMEN.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-07-20 02:36 am (UTC)
ext_3294: Tux (Default)
From: [identity profile] technoshaman.livejournal.com
I have his

ZOT!!!

I don't usually like slash ... but this is two series now ... Maybe it's just done well...

Thank you!

Date: 2014-07-20 03:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com
>> I have his

ZOT!!! <<

I'm glad you enjoyed that so much.

>> I don't usually like slash ... <<

Then I'm extra flattered.

>> but this is two series now ... <<

Counting Frankenstein's Family as slash, or something else? I tend to define the term liberally.

>> Maybe it's just done well... <<

Aw, shucks.

That does make a difference for me in what I'll read. Horror has to be really well done before it interests me.

Re: Thank you!

Date: 2014-07-22 03:55 am (UTC)
ext_3294: Tux (Default)
From: [identity profile] technoshaman.livejournal.com
Slash in this case meaning M/M (being its original definition... it was *many* years into reading fic before I learnt that the *original* slash story was Kirk/Spock... which in retrospect makes a certain amount of sense now that it didn't before...

Re: Thank you!

Date: 2014-07-22 06:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com
One of the interesting things about Igor and Victor is that they are both heterosexual men, not capable of engaging a homosexual relationship -- but they are also homosocial, homosensual, and homotractive. So they can make a life together, share a bed, just not have sex.

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