Furud lurks outside of Antares class, and grabs her arm when she exits. "Hey, we need to talk."
Antares jerks her arm away with a scowl before even turning all the way to recognize that it's Furud. She eyes him warily for a second, then nods. "'K."
Furud nods and makes no move to touch her again, but leads the way out of the school to the football field, and climbs up on the bleachers.
Antares follows, her face going closed and her eyes staying on him carefully. She faces him square when they stop, hands hanging loose at her sides like she's not sure whether to make fists or not.
Furud 's posture is tense, and he looks around for a long time, making sure they are alone, before he speaks. "Sorry about grabbing you." He stares over at the school, at the office window. "I... shit, Antares. I just had a meeting with Johnstone." He turns to look at her intently. "It wasn't good."
Antares blinks, since she'd thought he was going to lay into her about Polaris again. She sits down, most of the fight draining out of her body language, and looks at him. "Tell me."
Furud "He's got files on us. You, me and Merope. He's heard about what we can do."
Furud "He's had some jackass following us around"
Antares Antares' face goes grim, then she shakes her head. "Shit. But... does this change anything? We still need to know what he knows."
Furud "No, but he's trying to find out what WE know. Said some shit about destroying a fragile balance, whatever THAT means."
Furud cracks his knuckles again.
Antares glares out across the field for a few seconds, thinking. "We gotta make sure you don't get caught--he can't even know you've been there."
Antares "Which means I've gotta be ready to cause some real trouble, if that's what it takes."
Furud shifts uncomfortably for a few minutes, trying to figure out how exactly to say this to the girl who just beat up his cousin not long ago, then finally just blurts. "He'll expel Polaris, send her off somewhere bad if I fuck up. I played it cool, like I didn't care, but..." He growls and punches the metal seat. "I want to bury the bastard."
Antares looks at Furud for a second, trying to choose the right words for her answer. "I got a problem with someone, I go after them straight. If Polaris wants hers back, shit, I'll give her my hand and a hammer." She scowls. "What I'm trying to say is, no matter what she did to Maia, I'd side with you and her against Johnstone."
Antares "No one should have to go to the Academy, or wherever he's talking about sending her."
Furud nods, looking down at his hand and making an effort to uncurl his fingers. It's not that it hurts so badly, but that he wants to keep punching. "Thanks." He looks up again, past Antares and up to the sky. "If he's got anything on you already, be careful. You're strong, I know, but.... Merope... She doesn't even want to be one of us."
Antares jerks her shoulders in a shrug. "Fuck it, he could have plenty on me. Doesn't change what needs to be done." She looks down at her own curled hands, then shoots a glance over at him. "Dunno what to tell you about Merope. You tight with her?"
Furud shakes his head mutely, then after a pause he speaks. "Not anymore."
Antares sighs. "Then don't say anything to her, not until after we get into his office. You gotta stick with the people you can count on." Her eyes are bitter.
Antares "Once we know what we're up against, we can take care of her."
Furud looks at Antares again and nods. "On the plus side, I got an extra detention or three," he says with false levity.
Antares "I think you're winning, then," Antares says with a smile to echo his attempt. "Gimme a couple days, I'll catch up."
Antares She looks down at her hands. "About Polaris..."
Furud "...yeah..." He rubs his bruised knuckles. "She'll be okay."
Antares "I talked to Maia, and... I dunno. There's shit going on, but it's not mine to talk about." Antares looks unhappy. "I'll give Polaris a call." Unstated is that over the phone, she can trust herself not to hit anyone.
Antares She stands, pacing a couple of steps and then back. "Sorry for coming back to town and fucking your shit up, Furud. I sorta figured it would take longer."
Furud "You were right, she was trying to provoke Maia." He sighs. "But she says she just wanted to find out the truth. I talked her out of continuing this..." he waves his uninjured hand "thing."
Antares nods, tightly.
Furud laughs. "It happens."
Antares A little more of the tension goes out of Antares' body. "So we're okay again?"
Furud stands up and faces her. He holds out his hand to her. "Still friends?"
Antares takes his hand, then steps forward to wrap her other arm around him in a fierce hug. "Still friends," she whispers before stepping back.
Furud hugs her back tightly, and his old, cocky grin is back. "Good. Because we've got some mayhem to plan."