You don’t think you ever saw Deuce’s fists leave the two kids before their faces turned purple and their legs gave out on them.
Deuce landed one final hit before the white haired boy pulled as far away from him as possible and screamed while whipping the blood now on his face from his bleeding lip, “Fuck, this guy’s a total madman! That was more than 6 hits, you liar!”
The red haired student was not faring any better with a black eye and clutching his stomach, “Oh, crap! Let’s run! I’m so sorry, Mr. Chicken!!”
Deuce had no speck on him, standing firm with his hands on his hips, “Apologize to the eggs a hundred times before you stuff your faces next time, dumbass!!”
“Okay uhhhhhh,” You could not lock eyes on anything that was in front of you; be it the two students close to the ground clutching parts of their bodies and apologizing or the kid who you thought wouldn't hurt a fly standing proud forcing apologizes from people.
Grim agreed with you with a shriek and a skirt behind you.
The two boys after bowing their heads for several seconds gathered their last dignity and ran out clutching their stomachs and arms from the beat down.
Deuce, finally, lost his other persona and squatted down and cried out, “Ah!!”
Grim popped out from behind you after he realized that Deuce was back to normal, “What happened to you!?”
Deuce stood up with his hands over his eyes, “I did it again…” He began lightly rubbing his eyes. “I promised myself that I’d be a model student for sure this time, and yet…!” His shoulders finally relaxed while he let out a breath.
Grim stood still confused, “Eh?”
“It’s okay, Deuce. One mistake will not kill your reputation,” You knew this kid was freaking out about nothing, “Also, in my opinion, I think honors students would fight those who prey on the weak.” You winked at the sullen looking boy, walking closer to him.
Deuce huffed, “I wanted to be different from who I was back in middle school… “ He flinched slightly when you placed your hand on his shoulder, “I always skipped classes, and I got into fights every day. I didn’t show respect to teachers and I hung out with a bad ilk of seniors. Even my hairstyle was pretty wild back then, too. I fought with anyone who I could fight with… I used magic even on guys who couldn’t use magic. I was an over-all bad person then.” He rolled his shoulders back to escape from your grip, but he never seemed to lose it.
Grim paid no attention to the air, “It totally doesn’t look too obvious now, though.”
“You can continue talking if you want Deuce. No one is here to stop you,” You smiled light, “I would love to hear more about you.”
Deuce nodded, “Thanks.” He finished up his story now comfortable with your hand on his shoulder, “But one night while I was hiding myself from view… I saw my mother cry and talk to my grandmother about it. She was asking her where she went wrong with raising me, and about whether she was a bad parent for how I turned out. But that’s not it at all. She’s not to blame!” Deuce’s red eyes with some tears in them locked onto yours , “Everything’s my fault! That’s why, when the black carriage from the prestigious Night Raven College came to pick me up, I made sure that I will never take that smile away from my mother again. I made up my mind to become a model student that my mother can be proud of. And yet… Damn it…!” He stomped his foot onto the ground and curled his fists but still none of that anger was even remotely portrayed at you or anyone but himself.
“Deuce, sweetie. I need you to listen to me to understand this. You were a bad person in the past. Past. Not now. You realized your mistakes and now you want to fix them. Is that right?” Your smile never faltered even when Deuce tensed up more or he stepped away from you.
“Well, yeah,” Deuce spilled out.
“Then, I think you are being the best honors student you can.” You reached out your hand to offer some of the bags to him, “No one is born with any traits that an honors student would have. The fact that you now know that you want to change and that you strive for being an honors student proves that you are one.”
Deuce stares at you with widened eyes, “What?”
You grabbed his right hand and opened it in order to place some of the bags into it, “No one is perfect either. Even honors students make mistakes, but fighting for the weak and protecting me who would get hurt if I even tried to fight them even though I wouldn’t be scared, shows you care. Deuce, you are a great person. You just can’t realize it yet.”
Tears spilled out of Deuce’s eyes while he whined, “You make it sound easy.”
You raised your hand to wipe Deuce’s eyes, “It’s not. Believe me. But starting is the hardest, and once you get there, I know you can do anything.” After wiping his tears, you stepped back and grabbed Grim by his belly, “You just have to keep going forward.”
Deuce wipes his eyes one last time before smacking himself on the check, “You're right. Me becoming an honors student won’t happen overnight. I’m not gonna stop because of some stupid assholes.”
“Exactly,” You threw a thumbs up.
Grim smirked, “If it were me, I’d have punched those delinquents ten more times, yanno?
But you took care of it before I could.”
“That’s definitely not what we are trying to get at,” You rolled your eyes.
Deuce snorted at the two of you, “You guys…”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” You placed Grim back onto the ground and your groceries on a bench before going over to the bag of broken eggs, “Let’s stop the mushy gushy and get back to business.”
“Got it…” Deuce threw his hand up in salute before chuckling, “Hehe, the chicks will probably feel at ease now, too, huh?”
“Chicks?” You turned to face Deuce fully, “There are no chicks in these eggs. Chicks can’t be in an egg that’s not fertilized.”
“Wh-what?!?!?!” Deuce ran and grasped your shoulders, “You’ve gotta be kidding me!!!!!!”
“Why would I joke about this?” You raised your shoulders in a confused gesture.
Deuce, silent, fell to the ground with his knees crashing to the floor.
Grim ignored the crisis, “Let’s just get back to everyone soon.”
You nodded picking up the remaining trash before taking a trip back to the store while Grim and Deuce just waited in the same position you left them in.
The trip back was complete silence with Deuce walking several steps behind.
Ace was the first to react when the three of you stepped through the door, “Oh, they’re finally back. What took you guys so long?”
“That’s a long story,” You sighed.
“Let’s get this over with” Trey clapped his hands, “shall we?”
Everyone besides Deuce who was still in a trance joined in, “Let’s make some marron tarts!”
You laughed, “Damn what simulation are we in?”
“Shut it for once,” Ace scowled before turning around to let out a snort disguised as a sigh.
Trey read over the recipe once more before voicing the next step, “All that’s left is to mix the marron cream into the tart.”
Grim jumped after hearing that, “Will we be able to eat after this!? I’m getting excited already!”
Ace seemed to be the same, “Alright, let’s finish this in one fell swoop!”
Neither of them, however, were hanging onto the words that were coming out of Trey’s mouth, leading to the two of them taking a bit too long in their part of the job.
Trey was still trying to get their motivation going, “Don’t lose focus now, got it?”
Ace’s motivation was there, “You got it!” He dropped the spoon into the batter. His mind was not there.
Grim mimicked Ace, “Yeah!” while almost falling off of the counter top.
“I don’t think you two have full focus,” You continued to add the batter to the crusts.
Grim hissed and did his best to contribute, “Nyaha! What ‘bout that!”
Trey encouraged all of them more, “You guys are good. Keep up that pace.”
Grim boasted, “Hehe, anything’s easy-peasy for the future great magician, Grim!”
Ace countered him, “You get carried away too easily!”
“Quite the hypocrite, Ace.” You joined in the little argument.
Deuce was mumbling to himself through his internal crisis, “Eggs don’t… turn into chicks…?”
Ace wondered about Deuce, “What have you been saying, man!?”
“It might be better to ignore him,” You mentioned to Ace.
The rest of the process happened with relative quiet with some chatter.
Your group finally finished backing the tarts.
Ace had the brightest expression on his face with tall shoulders and a high head, “Alright, perfect!”
Grim eyes the tarts, “It looks so good!”
Trey finished his clean up before thanking everyone, “Thanks for the great work, guys. All that’s left is to put some marron glacé on top.”
“Me, me, pick me! I’ll do it!!” Grim waved his little paw high in the air almost hitting your face.
Ace jeered, “Don’t mess it up, okay?”
Grim took the glacé and began to spread it out on the tarts, “Leave it to me! There we go! As expected from me! This is gonna be the best tart ever!”
You just hoped that this tart was not ruined with how much effort some of your friends put in.
Trey grabbed the glacé from Grim and gave him some powdered sugar, “Alright, the last step is to sprinkle some powdered sugar on top and then…”
Maybe the tarts would be good.