Written by: Selina
AN: This story is a Pre-Tribe AU centering around Martin/Zoot, Jay and an OC (that was very much inspired by Jay’s “lost girlfriend” storyline) with special appearances by May, Mega, Ved and later on the Wicked Sisters and Ram.
The year is 2004. The first signs Tribe withdrawal can no longer be ignored. Some lose it, some move on, some drown their feelings in 80 pages worth of fanfic. I was the latter. I originally wrote this story in German, but as time (and tribeworld) went, so did this story. Now after years of crippling writer’s block I decided to try and get back into the swing by translating and rewriting the last story I truly wrote with heart and passion. So here it is. No New York Bestseller, but written with lots and lots of love. I hope you enjoy it and aren’t shy with feedback. Thanks to Danni for beta reading!!!
“Rise and shine, sleepy heads! It’s seven o’clock, the sky is blue and it’s gonna be a wonderful day!”
“Shut up, shut up, shut up…” Selina growled as she leant out of bed in a rather unsuccessful attempt at pulling the plug of her dated clock radio out of the wall. When she had finally managed to stop Kelly Clarkson’s “Heartbeat Song” from happily blaring full force through her room, she fell back into her pillow with a groan. “Wonderful my ass”, she mumbled and pressed the heels of her hands to her eyes with a very unladylike yawn. She wasn’t exactly a morning person – on some mornings even less so than on others.
“Selina, honey! Get up!” she heard the cheery voice of her mother from downstairs. “It’s your first day of school!”
“Thanks, mum. I almost forgot”, she replied dryly, even though the dripping sarcasm was certainly lost on her mother through a closed door and down a flight of stairs. As if she could ever forget. This wasn’t just a first day of school. It was her first day at a new school. And her fifth first day in the last two years.
Selina’s father worked as a technician for the military – not that she actually knew what that meant. All she knew was that they moved around a lot and that she would have done anything to stay long enough in one place to finish a school year at the same school she started it.
At least this time they had given in to her pleading and two days ago moved into a nice, little house off-base. That meant no barb wire, no shouted commandos outside her window at ungodly hours, non-military neighbours and - most importantly - non-military kids at a normal, off-base high school. She would have been excited if she hadn’t been so nervous.
She already dreaded that moment when she would be standing in front of her new peers with her teacher’s hand firmly on her shoulder in what they misinterpreted as a friendly gesture of encouragement and half her classmates blatantly staring at her while the other half started to whisper.
Unfortunately, hiding in bed until graduation wasn’t an option, so Selina got up with a deep sigh and groggily scuffled into the adjoining bathroom. She still felt half asleep when she stepped into the shower. This feeling however was short-lived once she turned on the water and realized with a start - and a gush of foul language that would have put the average sailor to shame on their best day - that she was once again in for weeks of figuring out a thermostat’s very fine line between freezing cold and scorching hot.
When the water was finally down to a temperature that wasn’t made to cook her alive, Selina quickly washed her hair and stepped out of the shower. She was just slipping into her bathrobe, when she heard her mother call her again. She hurriedly brushed her teeth and then – still in her bathrobe – rushed downstairs to join her parents for breakfast.
“Good morning.” She gave her mother a quick peck on the cheek before she sat down next to her father and snatched a piece of toast from the breadbasket. “No eggs for me, please.”
“I doubt you’d have time for eggs anyway”, her father looked at her over his newspaper and acknowledged her state of undress and wet hair with raised eyebrows. “Shouldn’t you be ready by now? The school bus leaves in fifteen minutes.”
“Seriously?!” Selina shot up almost knocking over her chair. “And you just let me sit down and butter a toast?” She raced back up to her room, taking two steps at a time. “Shit, shit, shit!”
Her mother’s mildly scolding “Language, honey!” got drowned out by the slamming of her door.
Her new school uniform was already hanging on the outside of her closet. Selina thought it was a lot prettier than most of the other ones she had been forced to wear over the past few years. It was made up of a straight black skirt and a white shirt blouse with a brightly coloured symbol on its right chest . Apparently it was supposed to be marking the students different academic focus. Hers was a purple triangle, which according the pamphlet she got in the mail a few weeks ago, meant her focus was languages. The uniform was completed by a crimson blazer that – as she found out once she had slipped into her clothes - went rather nicely with her long, black hair.
About a year ago she had gone through a short and rather pathetic “Gothic” phase. Black hair, black clothes, black everything. It had been a half-hearted try to rebel against her parents and when they had been nothing but open and sympathetic about it, it hadn’t been long until Selina had started to miss her old clothes. She had however stuck with the black hair, because she found it complemented her green, almond shaped eyes. For a moment she stood in front of her mirror and pondered what to do with her still slightly damp hair, but a look at her alarm and at the wine red head square that went with the uniform told her that there wasn’t really much to think about and she stuck with putting it in a simple braid that fell down her back just past her shoulder blades.
Selina slipped on her boots – she had almost fallen to her knees in gratitude upon realising she didn’t have to spend another day in chunky, poop coloured loafers – and gave her reflection in the mirror a last critical once-over. Yes, she really liked the uniform. There was no time for make-up and she thanked the Gods of Hormones and Puberty that they had decided to not make this day any worse by cursing her with zits.
She grabbed her mobile phone from the night stand and her school bag from where it was hanging over her desk chair and headed downstairs. Her mother was waiting by the front door with a brown paper bag in one hand and a thermos mug in the other. “Have a great first day, honey”, she said with a warm smile.
Selina took the bag and mug from her mother and sighed dreamily when the smell of fresh coffee filled her nostrils. “You are a saint, mum.”
“Don’t tell your father I gave you coffee.” She winked conspiratorially and tucked a strand of stray hair behind her daughter’s ear. “Now off with you. I don’t want you to be late on your first day.”
Selina had to fight the urge to drag her steps the closer she came to the stop for the school bus. There were maybe fifteen to twenty kids with uniforms from her school and the sight alone was enough to make Selina queasy. To Selina the first ride on the school bus was almost as bad as the school day itself. Probably because this was the first time she ever had to use one to get to school. What if there was some unwritten “School Bus Etiquette” she didn’t know about? What if she sat down somewhere she wasn’t supposed to? What if she talked to someone and they didn’t want her to? What if she kept silent instead and everyone just assumed she was a stuck up bitch?
Every bit of logic Selina had in her said that if she was friendly and open then things would be fine, but unfortunately logic had very little to do with her sweaty hands and the tight knot in her stomach.
She opened her school bag and started to go through the papers she needed for her first day - schedule, map of the school, copies of her enrolment paperwork, the filled-out front sheet for her file and a fancy brochure with a bunch of overly cheery students on the cover. It wasn’t like a whole bus ride or even the short walk to the headmaster’s office wouldn’t give her more than enough time to go over this stuff, but Selina hoped that if she feigned being busy, people wouldn’t notice her. Her hopes however were bitterly disappointed, when she was so absorbed by her fake task that she didn’t see the boy coming out of a front garden until she slammed right into him, sending her bag and papers flying in the process.
She probably would have made the entire situation worse by falling on her butt, if the boy hadn’t quickly grabbed her by the shoulders. Abruptly all conversation had stopped and Selina could feel the other student’s stares like little spider legs crawling just below her skin. For a second she wanted to cry, puke and be swallowed by a giant sink hole preferably all at the same time.
But that surely wouldn’t have helped salvage her first impression, so she squared her shoulders and despite the fiery blush on her face forced a bright smile as she moved to pick up her scattered things. “I am so sorry! I’m usually a lot more graceful than that.”
“It’s okay”, the boy said with a small smile as he bent down to help her. He was about her age, tall, handsome, with light brown hair and grey eyes. “There are worse ways to meet the new neighbours.” He laughed when saw the confused look on her face. “I saw you move in the other day.” He stood up and handed her a stack of papers. “I’m Bray and this is my brother Martin.”
Selina had been so preoccupied with the utter embarrassment of her collision with Bray, she hadn’t even noticed the other boy who now handed her the school brochure with a non-committal nod. He was blond, had blue eyes and next to Bray with his tall frame and broad shoulders he looked younger and even a little awkward. “Hey”, he said. Nothing more.
He obviously wasn’t interested in being dragged into the the conversation, so she extended her hand to Bray. “I’m Selina. And this is not how I wanted to go about my first impression.”
“Don’t worry. We’ve had worse”, Bray said, but before he could further elaborate on that, the yellow school bus arrived and they joined the other students to get on. Maybe Bray had sensed her uneasiness, because he turned around to her on the small steps. “You can sit with us, if you want.”
“That’d be great”, Selina said and sat down between the two brothers with a sigh of relief. “Thank you.”
“No problem”, Bray gave back. “First days can be pretty awful if you don’t know anyone. Now you know me and my brother.” She smiled at that, even though she found that so far Martin didn’t exactly give the impression that he particularly cared about knowing her. He had his nose in a book and she wasn’t even sure if he heard what they were talking about. Fortunately, between her own shyness and Martin’s possible muteness, Bray had no trouble doing the lion’s share of the conversation.
He was funny and charming and along with his good looks Selina was quite sure that he had all the makings of a heartbreaker. She would be sure to keep her guard up a bit around him. Her father had promised her that they would be around long enough for her to finish school. She was looking so very forward to that and she was not going to ruin it by getting her heart broken.
“What class are you in?” Bray asked.
“Hold on.” Selina picked her schedule from her bag. “This thing here says Mr. Collins.”
“Collins?” Martin surprised her by looking up from his book with a crooked smile. “Sucks for you. We’re in the same class. He’s an ass.”
And just like that the ice was broken. The rest of the ride Bray and Martin took turns feeding her stories and gossip from both the student body and the teacher’s lounge. The more Martin opened up, the happier Selina was they were going to be in the same class. It was nice knowing there would be a friendly face staring back at her when she was being introduced to the class.
When the bus finally stopped in front of the school Selina found herself comparing it to the other ones she’s been to just like she had done with her uniform earlier.
It was a lot smaller than the on-base schools she had been to so far. There were only two medium sized buildings standing on either side of a schoolyard that could have almost passed for a little park. Behind the schoolyard Selina could make out what was probably the gymnasium and a sports field.
She was sure that from the inside the school would be just as clinical and latently filthy as any other school, but at least it was a nice sight to behold during recess.
“Come on”, said Martin who had stepped off the bus after her. “I’m gonna introduce you to some friends before I show you to the office.”
Selina couldn’t help the big smile on her face when - after one last wave at Bray - she followed Martin towards a small group of three students who were sitting at a table in the shade of an old oak tree. So far this was the best first day of school she ever had…