[This story takes place between DESCENDANTS #61 and 62]
“Wow!” Tink said, starry eyed as Warrick flexed his python-like biceps and rippling pecks before her. “I can’t believe that you defeated Morganna, dismantled Project Tome, cured Liz von Stoker and invented the perfect roleplaying system all in one day!”
She glommed onto his arm and pulled herself close to him. “You truly are the perfect man. I’m really lucky to have you. Also, I’m going to buy you a huge New York Style pizza.”
Warrick smiled and his perfect, white teeth gleamed audibly. “No need for anything special my love, I did it all for you—because you’re the most special thing in the world to me. And since I’m so good with words, I wrote you one hundred and fifty-four sonnets, then sent them back in time to Shakespeare so he would make them famous.”
“That’s so romantic.” She snuggled closer to him.
“Capital show, old bean, but not capital enough!”
Both looked up to find that a tall man with long, flowing blonde hair had ridden an impressively large, black horse into the living room of Warrick’s huge mansion. He was dressed in an impeccable waistcoat, trousers and spats with a monocle on one eye and a bowler hat perched atop his head. As he spoke, he held a saucer in one hand while sipping tea from a fine china cup with the other.
“Sir Lord Giles Worthinghamshireton of London!” Tink exclaimed with breathless admiration.
“Indeed I am, fair one.” said Sir Lord Giles. His smile’s audible gleam was so loud that it hurt Warrick’s ears. “And while this filthy Brooklyn commoner was wasting his time on the small stuff and living out his foolish comic book fantasies, I used my superior knowledge of physics and engineering to cure all the diseases, avert all the bad futures, eliminate the very concept of evil and in the time I had left, made you this perfect batch of fish n’ chips and cloned you your very own riding dragon.”
He held out the newspaper lined basket heaped with fried deliciousness just as a silver scaled dragon poked its head in the main door and roared in greeting.
“Oh, Giles!” Tink swooned. “You’re too much. In fact, your far more perfect than Warrick. You’re even tall!”
Sir Lord Giles nodded heartily and took another sip of tea. “Tallness is the universally understood measure of manliness.”
“Weren’t you just holding a plate of fish and chips?” Warrick wondered, noting that the knight/lord/scientist was once again holding his cup and saucer.
“This poor, vulgar fool.” Sir Lord Giles sighed, “He can’t even carry more things than physically possible. I suppose that’s what happens when your strong suits are art, drama and chemistry.” He said ‘chemistry’ as if it left a bad taste in his mouth.
Tink laughed and was suddenly sitting on the horse behind Sir Lord Giles instead of holding on to Warrick’s arm. And also, she was wearing a monocle with her hair (since when did she have so much hair?) up in a looping, Victorian style. “As if anything is made of chemicals. Everyone knows the universe is made of physics!”
“Indubitably!” Sir Lord Giles agreed, “Now come: let us away to my floating castle above Cambridge, which transforms into a giant robot and has an utterly kickass arcade built in!”
The horse reared and Giles smiled broadly again. This time the gleam off it was a tooth grindlingly piercing sound, like a series of sharp, high pitched chirps cutting in over one another to give the auditory equivalent of scissors cutting through nerve endings.
Even as horse, rider and lady-love quit the now woefully inadequate room, the noise kept going, cutting in over everything in consistent intervals, over and over again until to broke through unbearable and into the realm of revenge fantasy, where in many methods of destruction were being devised for the perpetrator.
Warrick looked everywhere for it; under the card table where the Whitecoat, Renee Faust and Errol Flynn were playing a three sided chess game, in the giant miniature space hamster’s mouth, and even behind the penguins. But there was just no…
He came awake in a haze of confusion and collapsing dreamscapes and was catapulted into the confusion only a high quality bizarre dream could offer.
Errol Flynn was dead and Renee Faust was fictional, so the chess game probably wasn’t real. And as far as he knew, there were no dragons and matter was composted of chemical elements with the interaction between matter, space and time comprising physics.
To say nothing of the fact that the Tink he knew and loved was neither flighty, nor fickle, wouldn’t ‘glom’ onto anyone for all the money in the world, and knew that Chinese or Indian was victory food. Pizza was for casual hanging out or gaming sessions.
Duh, Subconscious Dream Tink. He thought shortly before realizing how insane it was to act smarmy toward a figment of his imagination. Maybe he’s be able to think more clearly if that damn noise wasn’t still going on. And after thinking that, it became all too clear that the terrible chirping hadn’t been part of his dream, it had just been interrupting.
As much as he was loathe to, he sat up and opened his eyes. The bleary morning-shadows in his vision were enough to remind him that he wasn’t at Freeland House anymore. He was in his dorm room, in college. It was only his second day of waking there and just that bit of knowledge was hard to process.
Except that damn noise was still going on. What the hell was that anyway?
He collapsed back onto the bed and rolled over to face his clock. It was seven thirty in the morning. His alarm was set for nine. This was no longer just annoyance, it was injustice.
Driven by a desire to just make that noise stop happening (forever if need be), he leaned out of his bunk and looked across at JC in his loft bed. His best friend was still snoring, blissfully unaware of the aural assault going on. Briefly, Warrick wondered if his dreams were incorporating the noise too, but decided this didn’t matter. Instead, he eyed the clock arranged on a small shelf sticking out from the loft.
It was old school: brass with a white face and two big bells on top that a mechanical hammer struck when it was alarm time. JC insisted that said clock was the only alarm that could wake him up. No way that antique was making the ear-murder Warrick was subject to now.
Finally making it as far as getting his feet on the floor, Warrick closed his eyes and focused on the noise. After a second, he almost shouted ‘eureka’ (but he was too tired to). The noise was coming from the bathroom, or rather from the room on the other side of the bathroom, which shared said bathroom with him and JC.
Warrick cringed, but more horrid chirping steeled his resolve, causing him to rise to his feet and spring (or hobble) into action.
A knock on the door made it clear that no one was actually in the bathroom, so Warrick stumbled through it and over to the opposite door and started banging on it.
All the while, he was chanting in the back of his mind: Please be Sully. Please be Sully.
Herbert ‘Sully’ Sullivan was a jock. No two ways about it: he had full lacrosse and baseball gear in his room and planned to go out for both teams. The trophies that also decorated his half of the room indicated he was good at it too. According to movies and television, that should have made him the natural enemy and possibly predator to a nerd on Warrick’s scale.
But during move in, Sully was nothing but friendly; making idle conversation, helping Warrick’s dad with a particularly large box, and even being nice to Tammy. That last one especially counted for a lot in Warrick’s book.
Mike Cole, on the other hand was, as far as Warrick was concerned, a face sorely in need of thorough punching. He always spoke ten decibels louder than was appropriate, openly laughed at Warrick and JC’s posters (And not Warrick’s funny one with the orangutan in a lab coat either), mocked his father’s career choice, and called Tink ‘beanpole’ when she came to visit.
Of course it was Mike that opened the door. Warrick bemoaned that there could have been no other outcome.
“What’s with all the banging on the door, man?” Mike asked with an accusatory tone. He was taller than Warrick, but that wasn’t saying a lot, with red hair and a bushy, red beard. This morning, he wasn’t wearing a shirt, so Warrick as treated to a view of what wasn’t so much chest hair as some sort of horrible, red mold that spread out over a dish rack chest.
Warrick looked anywhere but the pectoral ‘hair’ colony and found himself looking at eyes that seemed to be trying to decide on what kind of blame to pin on him.
“Is that Sully’s alarm?” So little sleep. He didn’t have to strength for wordplay.
Mike shrugged, uncaring. “Sully got up at like seven. Said he wanted to use the pool at the gym before it opens.”
“Oh, so he forgot to turn his alarm off.”
Warrick was too tired for this. “Okay, then whose alarm is that then?”
“Oh. That’s mine. I like to keep it on ’til I’m totally awake.” Mike leaned on the door frame, stretching on arm above his head in the process and inadvertently showing more armpit hair than should have been possible on a man his size.
So much for ever wanting to eat again. Warrick thought to himself as his belly heaved. “Uh, can you turn it off now then? It woke me up and I don’t have to be up for class for a while. Kinda like to go back to sleep.” He was rather proud of himself for being so diplomatic while the alarm was still drilling into his brain.
“Can’t. I’m not awake yet.” said Mike.
He was way more awake than Warrick felt, that was for damn sure.
“You look awake.”
Another shrug from Mike. “Yeah, but I’m not.”
Warrick fought not to grit his teeth. “How long is it gonna be ’til you are awake?”
“I never know. Usually a make a cup of coffee, check my blogs, then stretch a little, then I’m about ready to start the day. Half hour maybe?”
Men had snapped over less. Warrick had managed to pull the classic heroic ‘triple shift’, combining school, home and patrolling, since he was fourteen and he’d learned how to get by on those inevitable, but thankfully infrequent days where he dragged his sorry carcass home just as the eastern sky was starting to get light.
But hearing that he’d have at least a half hour stolen from him every morning made him feel twitchy. For a moment, he indulged in a fantasy of converting the shower rod into a sword of burning lithium and informing Mike that there would be a change in his morning routine. And then he would cut that damn clock in half.
He touched it tentatively with his metal sense, from its copper wires to the solder in its chips. It wouldn’t take more than a nudge from his powers to destroy it from beyond repair.
But he backed out of both ideas. Not only would it reveal his identity, but it just wouldn’t be right to slag someone’s harmless possessions just so he could feel comfortable.
“Are we done now?” Mike remained blissfully unaware of how close he’d come to finding out first hand just who his suitemate was. “I was just about to make my coffee.”
“Are… we not communicating here?”
Mike rolled his eyes. “About what?”
“I’m asking you to please turn off your alarm. I’m trying to sleep and I can’t with that thing making that crazy noise.”
“Sorry, can’t stay awake without it. And I need to be totally awake for class.”
“Then do something else!” Warrick finally exploded. “Put in some headphones and listen to music, go for a walk outside, splash cold water on your face! Anything but leaving your alarm on and keeping other people up!”
“No one else is complaining.” Mike said smugly.
“You live on the corner of the building! Sully’s not here and JC can sleep through anything. I’m the only one who can complain right now!”
“Hey.” Mike put his finger right in Warrick’s face. “You need to chill out. Go all psycho like that one me again and I’m writing you up with the RA.” Before Warrick could react, he’d closed the door in his face.
He stood there for a good thirty seconds, just listening to that awful alarm continuing behind the door, before he finally found words to fit the moment. “You slimy son of a bitch.” He muttered before retreating to his room.
After ten minutes trying to fall back to sleep with his head firmly lodged under his pillow, he gave up and grabbed his tablet. Sending a message to their RA, Ryan wasn’t likely to help anyone, as Ryan had made it all but clear that he’d rather not be bothered with their questions or concerns during orientation, but it would give Warrick something to do.
The entire time he was writing, he could feel that damn alarm clock in his metal sense: every screw, every solder. It would be so very easy. But he didn’t. He couldn’t. Mike wasn’t a villain, to be dispatched with an ass whupping and a call to the cops.
No, he was something much worse:
A complete jackass that hadn’t broken any laws.
And those guys were untouchable.