He usually wasn't at the school later than school hours. He usually wasn't here after dark either, but that was all irrelevant. He had a task at hand. He grinned to himself, even as a hand moved up to cover his mouth and muffle any noises his heavy breathing would make. The heavy footsteps of a large group of students were coming closer and Jack was hiding in the shadows of the gym doorway. Across the hall and behind the chain-link fence was the pool, covered for the winter. There weren't any lights in the alley between the gym and the fence and it really was the perfect place to hide from the angry hoard of art students that were currently hunting for him.
There were at least three of them, but Jack could have sworn he saw a fourth pair of feet run past him toward the center of campus. They were silly to think he would head in that direction. Oh no, he was leaving campus for the senior parking lot.
He had a grudge to settle and a bucket of paint to do it with.
Once their footsteps faded, he stood, taking the bucket with him. He looked around the door-jam to make sure that no one was there. The coast was clear so, clutching his prize to his body, he ran in the opposite direction they had gone.
The parking lot was empty save for a single green Volkswagen bug. He was grinning as he opened the lid and slashed the ice blue paint across the forest green hood. He made sure not to get any of the paint on the windshield. He still wanted Aster to be able to drive the stupid thing.
"The only thing my pranks are harmful toward is your paintjob, Kangaroo," he said to himself.
He stepped back after a minute, once the paint can was empty. He admired his handy work for a long moment before he caught the sound of his pursuers making another round towards the parking lot. He dropped the can and sprinted toward the darkness of the street.
The art students heard the paint can clatter on the concrete and came to investigate. Jack hopped the fence off the campus and waited in the darkness for a second. He counted to three before one long exasperated shout echoed from across the parking lot.
With a bust of laughter that he hoped didn't carry, he took up the jog home, leaving the mayhem behind him.
"Hey Aster!" he called from across the hall. The other boy looked up from his locker and over to where Jack was standing in front of his own. As soon as his eyes landed on Jack they narrowed.
The Australian thundered toward him like an elephant, pushing some poor freshman out of his way. Jack was almost afraid he would throw a punch but Aster was too much of a goody-two-shoe to even dare. So Jack just crossed his arms over his chest and smirked, feeling rather proud of himself.
"You think this is funny? My car is blue thanks to you, you little-" He was shaking with rage, one fist raised and ready to strike.
"Well you shouldn't be spreading lies, eh Rabbit?"
"I told you, you prick, I didn't tell Effie those things. She wrote them all on her own."
Effie was the head editor for the school paper. She had written an article on Jack back in the fall that had read that he was hurting people with his pranks. Jack had gotten a rumor that she had heard from Aster that Jack had caused some kid to drown when he was in middle school.
"Oh please," Jack tried to keep his own anger at the whole situation under control. He just needed to keep smirking and pretending and he would be fine. "Everyone knows she worships the ground you walk on."
"You know what, I'm glad that they spread all those bad things about you. Harmless pranks or not, I wouldn't be surprised if someone got hurt one day."
Jack pushed off the lockers behind him, his arms falling to his sides. He was about to say something in response when the bell range loud enough to cut him off. Aster straightened from how he had been trying to tower over the smaller boy. He smirked, and for a second Jack saw red.
Without another word the Australian turned and walked down the hall toward his class. Jack was about to go after him when a hand on his shoulder stopped him.
He turned partially, about ready to punch whoever dared to stop him. He stopped, his anger deflating upon meeting the gold-grey eyes of his only friend.
"He doesn't know, Jack. You can't be angry at him for being an idiot."
Jack snorted. "Like hell I can." He made a gesture down the hall. "Maybe he should think before he says things."
Pitch waited patiently for a moment for Jack's anger to simmer before he decided it was safe to change the topic. "Did you do the lab?"
Jack glanced at him briefly, distracted in his thoughts. "What lab?"
"The one that is due in five minutes," Pitch answered flatly.
Jack instantly paled. "Oh crap." He looked back at Pitch for longer than a second this time. "Did you do it?"
Pitch raised a single black eyebrow but remained patient with the trickster. "I did. Would you like to copy?"
By the time Jack finished quickly scribbling the answers from Pitch's worksheet onto his own, his anger towards Aster was mostly forgotten. He handed back the paper and shoved his own into his backpack rather haphazardly. "So where were you this morning? It's not like you to ditch."
Pitch's lips tighten into a thin smile that was in no way happy. "I was having car problems."
Jack winced. "What kind of problems?"
"The kind that makes me ask for a couple hundred dollars." He looked at Jack from the corner of his eye, waiting for a reaction.
It took Jack a moment to swallow that bit of information before he could actually acknowledge it. "You need money," he replied flatly. "Well, at least you don't beat around the bush about it."
"You know my dad can't pay for it."
Jack eyed Pitch for a moment. "Can't, or you just won't go to him."
Pitch shrugged, looking at the floor. "Both." He glanced at Jack again. "Didn't your dad just come home?"
It was Jack's turn to look at the floor now. "Nah, he called me last night and said he wasn't able to get a flight."
Pitch had the sense to look sympathetic, despite the fact that he was not in the slightest bit surprised by that turn of events. "He sent the check, though, didn't he?"
"Oh yeah. He always sends it," Jack replied bitterly.
There was a long pause between the two of them as they entered the chemistry room. Pitch doesn't say anything until both of them are seated again. "So you can lend me the money to get my car fixed, yeah?"
Jack looked over at his friend, exasperated but oddly amused. "Yeah, I guess, but come on, Pitch. I ain't made of money, you know."
Pitch snorted at his friend. "You're better off than I am. This wouldn't be the first time you've shelled out a couple hundred for a friend."
Jack suddenly froze in his rummaging through his backpack. He slowly sat up straight to look at Pitch properly. "Did you seriously just spout that line?"
Pitch gave him a small smile and it was obvious that he was trying not to laugh. "Maybe I did."
"You really just tried to pull the 'friends help friends' thing? On me?"
"You are my only friend, Jack." If Pitch was capable of such a face, Jack was sure he would have tried to turn puppy eyes on him.
Jack scoffed. "'Cause that's stopped you from getting what you want from other people. You don't have to be their friend to manipulate them. Didn't you tell me that in freshman year?"
"It was a very good piece of advice and I still stick by it," Pitch defended haughtily.
Jack rolled his eyes, staring at the darker boy for a long moment. "How much do you need?"
"Three hundred should cover it," he replied brightly, which was odd for Pitch.
"I'll see what I can do," which translated into 'I'll ask my butler for money and he'll have to give it to me because he's my butler'.
Jack doesn't miss the smile that stretched across Pitch's face or the triumph in the other boy's eyes even though he pretended not to notice.
Afterword: Oh what, a new story? Oops. Now before you all get your knickers in a wad, this is for a contest for CottonCandy1234's fanfiction battle. The winner is the person with the most reviews. I don't actually expect to win because this is far from anything I'm actually proud of. My writer's block lessened around the time I posted the last Invisible chapter, and then it decided to come back and I literally have not written anything since except this. It took me three tries to be almost happy with it. I will post chapters of this every Thursday for its duration and I'm hoping that once I get the juices flowing again the chapters will get longer and significantly better. I hope you enjoyed, tell me what you think. :)