FDR High School was never exactly a calm place, especially right after lunch, before sixth period. There was a palpable emotion in the air, the last week before Winter Break, seemed to go by at a snail's pace.
The air was crisp, and nippy at times. It snowed sometimes, at night, not heavily enough to give that beautiful s Christmas everyone desired, but just enough to turn the plants crunchy and brown. The grass had shortened, and was damp, and the sky, no matter which day, was always grey, and miserable.
It hardly seemed to get kids in the holiday spirit, Katharine thought.
"Are winter's like this in Russia?" Lindsey asked her.
"Not at all. It starts snowing way before the Christmas trees even get put up, or the Hanukah candles are lit."
"You miss it?"
"A bit. Living under someone other than the Tsarina is certainly a big change."
"Not a good change, I imagine."
"Pretty much. We really could learn from their matriarchy." Katharine said. She stood up, and brushed off her pants. She admired her work on the poster board, an announcement for a meeting later that evening.
"Damn shame we had to put it up so late." Lindsey lamented. The paper was about the size of a rooftop to a normal, and the board it went on was probably the size of a really big scoreboard.
"Word of mouth is far more effective." Katharine dismissed. "C'mon, lets get to class." The two Titans strode down the hallway, careful to stay centered, avoiding the little people at their feet. Katharine gave a few smiles to friends of hers, Amazons far beneath her, who waved back.
The bell rang, and the two quickened their pace, glad they had chosen to leave the board when they did.
Katharine took her seat next to Lindsey in the back of the class, where Titans sat. Advanced Post-Meteorite History was an intersizable class, one of the few. It was a requirement for anybody who wanted entry into a four year university. Not exactly the most eventful class, but informative enough.
"You do the notes last night?" Lindsey whispered, as other students filed in.
"They're not due till Monday." Katharine replied.
"Thank god..." Lindsey breathed.
"You lazy-" Katharine began, but was silenced by the sound of the tardy bell. Miss Franklin, a strict and daunting teacher stomped her foot on the wooden platform she stood on. A nine foot tall Amazon, from Wyoming, she was renowned for her strict punishments on anybody who forgot to do their homework. She checked them for right or wrong, and if her tests were not ridiculously simplistic, her class would be the reason an entire generation went to night school instead of college.
The class settled down almost instantly.
"Okay class, did everybody read the notes last night?"
"Yes Miss Franklin." A unanimous series of voices called.
"Okay then, today we'll continue our lesson on civil rights in the Middle East following the Great War." She said. "Can anybody tell me the name of a country heavily affected by the war, which did not change in government, even after the war?"
Nobody raised their hand. Sure, a good deal of people knew, there were at least seven countries that could be rattled off, but everyone knew Miss Franklin was asking for a single nation.
Unimpressed by what she saw, Miss Franklin asked a random student.
"Jesse." She called, awaking a senior from his nap in his desk. "Do you have an answer?"
"Ummmm...." He froze. Katharine stifled a chuckle at her unfortunate peer's predicament. "France?" He said, more of a question than an answer.
"No. Not even close. You have detention tomorrow morning."
"No sleeping in my class young man."
Jesse instantly went quiet. Miss Franklin was in her thirties, but was still bold, and was much taller than Jesse. The last thing he wanted was for her to confront him, on a much more emasculating level.
"Anyone have a correct answer?"
She scanned the room, reluctantly, Katharine extended her left arm into the air. Miss Franklin however, failed to see this, and instead, looked for someone still.
"Scott?" She asked. "Would you like to answer the question?" She asked, notably in a softer tone than the one she used with Jesse.
Scott Turner looked up. He was a scrawny little thing, Katharine thought. The two were acquaintances, having been lab partners many times in Anatomy, which required one Titan and one normal usually.
He was roughly five foot five, with short, neat light brown hair. He was pale, and was a rather nerdy looking. He had a pair of glasses sitting on his nose, with soft, amber eyes. Bookish, soft spoken. But he paid attention to his surroundings.
"Russia." He stated. "The Russian Empire experienced no change."
"Does this make Russia similar or different from China?" Miss Franklin pressed Scott further.
"Different." He stated.
"Excellent. Katharine, could you explain why this is?"
Katharine had left her arm up, she had not anticipated the speed of the questions and answers from the two.
She thought for a second.
"Russia maintained its government following the Great War, China took on the monarchy afterwards."
"Good." Said Miss Franklin.
"Now, what you must know for your test next Tuesday, is that following the execution of the 16, Kajar and his armies would go on prepare for an all-out war, but was actually defeated from the inside...
Miss Franklin went on with her lecture. Katharine, somewhat ashamedly, found herself bored out of her mind by it. She simply rested her chin in her palm.
Her eyes wandered, naturally. She found herself fixated on Scott.
He was indeed rather scrawny. Even for a person small enough for her to pick up. He paid avid attention to Miss Franklin, and even from where she was sitting, she could see that unlike literally everyone else, he wrote furiously. Copying down the notes.
Katharine looked down at her own tablet, and her physical notebook. She only had a paragraph written. She glanced over at Lindsey, who was yawning rather lazily, chewing on her pencil cap absentmindedly.
Popping a joint in her neck, Katharine then picked up her pencil. She began to write down what was on the PowerPoint, as quickly as she could. Looking up once in a while to ensure she had absolutely everything important written. She moved from leaning back in her seat, to actively hunch slightly.
As a Titan, Katharine was aware that her movements were loud, but not at all clumsy. The light scratching of her own pencil was loud, and itself especially punctual considering the general silence of the class. She drew some ire from her smaller peers attempting to gain some rest. Even the teacher looked up, and gave a small little smile as she wrote.
Scott looked back at her, but she didn't catch his expression, caught up in her work. She kept at it until the bell.
Katharine bid farewell to Lindsey, and promised to send her a text about their club meeting tomorrow. She left the school and began the tedious walk home.
Her boots crunched the damp, grass covered sidewalk noisily. No amounts of TET training, could possibly have been able to keep it quiet. She was smart enough not to check her phone as she walked though. Last thing she wanted was some kid to run right into her boot for not seeing where he was going. Or worse.
She shivered slightly. She looked around, feeling as if she was not alone, and with her keen, well trained eyes, she found a figure walking all on his lonesome in the cold. On the Titan sidewalk, specifically the one connected to the school. Not safe at all.
She quickened her pace, and caught up to the boy. She realized who it was relatively quickly. The scrawny figure coupled with the ineffective sweater was host to none other than Scott Turner, famously unprepared for the weather of a cold day. He was brave, all on his own. But pitiful. It was at least a mile or two walk to his neighborhood, she knew. He'd be tired, cold, and too spent to do the massive amount of homework assigned. On the other hand, she could cover the same distance at a lazy trot.
He was a tad startled upon her approach. Her thundering footsteps came upon him suddenly, and he nearly lost his footing as her boot landed firmly behind him.
"Relax! Just me Scott." Katharine smiled, holding up her hands in a 'surrender' kind of pose.
"Oh, Katharine. I uh, didn't see you..." Scott said, slowly realizing how stupid he sounded, not being able to see or hear the pretty, plus one hundred and forty foot teen girl until the last possible second.
"It's fine, more of a compliment than anything. I was just wondering... you live pretty far from here, right?" She asked. She didn't bother kneeling like most Titans, she simply stood, looking down at Scott like some Roman Goddess.
"It's not that far... I can make it alright."
"It's a far enough walk to get yourself frostbite. Here-" She reached down, fingers splayed
"Hey, Katharine!?" Scott protested, as her fingers wrapped themselves around him.
"Don't worry about it." She reassured. "Snowy Oaks, right? It's no trouble. I'll give you a lift." Katharine declared.
While it was very rare for a Titan to ever pick up a Normal, and transport them without permission, Scott felt that while he should feel somewhat offended, he was actually rather comfortable. Katharine's hands were warm, and soothing. She held him somewhat unconventionally, he noticed.
TET taught two ways off proper carrying, he knew. One way, you stand or sit in their palm of their non-favored hand, and their dominant hand formed a barrier around so it you would not fall under and circumstance.
Or, the Titan ever so gently curls her fingers over head to support you.
Katharine had a much more dominating, blunt way about her. She simply held him within her fist. Unlike the sitting or standing in palm taught, this why, she was in total control. He could hardly move, and with the slightest bit of effort, she could squeeze him from existence, easier than she could empty water from a sponge.
Horrifying to think about, yet he was so comfortable, as she supported him.
It was a short enough walk for her. Her pillar like legs were stronger than most man made cars, her muscles more powerful than all the power he could sum up. During which, they conversed on school, studies, movies. Other stuff...
"You really are an interesting student, I've never seen anyone it through a lecture and actually do notes of their own accord."
"Oh, that? Just a study tool." Scott dismissed.
"It's impressive." Katharine said, authoritatively. "Would you consider coming to our school club meeting?"
"Oh... um. I'd consider..." Scott said nervously. He was nervous to say no. With only his head poking out from her fist, he was in no position to make her upset.
"You don't sound so enthusiastic." Katharine noted.
"I'm not much of a club person."
"You'd enjoy working with us. Lindsey can be a bit melodramatic, but it's just zeal."
"I asked many of my friends who were guys. Alvin, you, Luke, you guys just don't... It's nothing, I suppose." Katharine sounded disappointed. "Just keep it on your mind. We are meeting after school tomorrow in room 325."
"Um, thanks for carrying me home Katharine." Scott said, as he saw her near his community. She could not enter, as it was a very strict no Titan, his Normal sized community. She chose to stop a hundred feet or so. Her footsteps could shatter windows.
She held him to her face, a smile on her face.
"I'm just happy to help, it was hardly a hassle. I just wish I could actually put you at you're house."
"You've... helped me a lot. Thanks Katharine, it means so much." Scott professed.
"It's no big deal. But your welcome, Scott." She set him on the ground, on her haunches. He looked up in awe as she rose to her full height, looking down on him from what felt like miles in the air.
"I'll see you around." She said, preparing to leave. As she turned, Scott called her.
"Katharine! Maybe... maybe I'll go to that meeting after all. But don't count on it too much." He called.
Katharine smiled, turning back.
"I'll save you a spot." She said, before heading home. "Just in case."
Katharine herself lived in Titan only community. While anybody could live there, only a Titan was permitted to own or rent the house. Intersizable spaces, such as wall stairs and boy-walks were easy enough to install. Table ladders were a thing of the past, but they could be put in for the nostalgia.
Katharine gasped joyously as she felt warm air blast her. She wiped off her boots on the massive door mat, and entered her house, finally. She shrugged off her bag, put it on the couch, and slipped out of her sweater and boots.
"Mom! Sorry I'm late, I was just helping a friend out." She called. No response. Odd, usually her mother was in the Kitchen, preparing some snack or watching something in the living room. Katharine frowned at the silence. The kitchen was bare, and the TV was not on.
"Mom?" Katharine called again, and began to head to her mother's room. "Mom? Everything okay?" Katharine asked again.
Suddenly, her mother appeared at the top of the stairs. Clad in a brilliant blue dress, her dark hair tied back in a ponytail.
"Katharine? I thought you were studying with your friends or something."
"No, a boy I know was cold, had a long walk home so I just helped him get home."
"Oh! Well that's very sweet of you, I'm sure he'll appreciate the gesture." Her mother gleamed.
"What's with the dress? Are you going out?"
"We're going out!" A small, masculine, and perhaps a bit overzealous voice came. It was only then Katharine noticed her mother was not alone. On her shoulder, a young man, wearing a dinner jacket with a bit of stubble, and strong features stood. He playfully held onto her mother's hair.
"Oh, I didn't know you had company." Katharine said.
"This is Tommy, he's the nice man I told you about from the office."
"I see." Katharine said, monotone, as her mother came down the steps.
"So this is your daughter, Monette?" Tommy eyed Katharine with... a rather lustful gaze. He was clearly around the same age as her mother, but it showed on him. He was loud, very forward, and lacked decorum. He wolf whistled. "She takes after her gorgeous mother, I can see."
"How sweet of you." Monette said. She looked at her daughter expectantly. "Aren't you going to say thank you to Tommy? He just paid you a compliment."
Katharine forced a smile on her face.
"Thank you, Mister Tommy, I'm glad you feel so."
"Before we're off, Katherine, is it?"
"Katharine." She replied, her voice dropping its sweetness. "With an A."
"My bad... perhaps you would care to make a drink for your mother and I to share? I saw a bottle of vintage Vodka in the fridge I'm sure would soothe my parched throat."
Katharine was about to reply, not necessarily sarcastically, but certainly not politely, when her mother intervened.
"We really should go, however." She picked up her purse. "Tommy, let's be off, we have that reservation, after all."
"Of course, of course." He replied.
"I'll see you later hon." Monette said, a bit disappointedly to Katharine, and walked past, as Tommy and her laughed and chatted, leaving Katharine there.
She stood still for a solid minute, thinking, before she realized they left the door open. Without thinking twice, she angrily slammed it shut.
"Fucking boyfriends..." She muttered, walking upstairs, entering her room.
Around the room, like most teens, she decorated it with her own brand of persona. Pictures of her and her friends, posters, and most were put up years ago but she hardly cared to remove them. Her Suska Oni poster was still up on her door, and a picture of her and Lindsey next to Mrs. James from the center was a prized possession.
She plopped down in bed, and lay back. She sighed, and took out her phone, checking text messages.
She noticed one from Lindsey:
-Hey Kat, tallied up the sign in page, we gotta nice turnout. My mom says that a Carrier may even take us seriously. But we probably will have to move the club out of school, think the principle is getting some heat after what happened in Romania last month, bad rep apparently.
She texted back:
-How many newbies?
Nobody totally new to the subject, they just want proof that we're not terrorists or militant's most likely, same questions each year.
She typed back:
We'll change their mind, I just hope they realize that this is simply an introductory. Bare bones. Half of the people in the club won't even join up, and even those that do probably won't get passed Carrier anyways. A few changed minds help the cause, however. See ya.
Katharine turned off her phone. She was well aware that the Green and White club was hardly taking off. Maybe five actual members since her freshman year. In that time she quickly arose to officer. It was after all, a barebones club into actual WFBS membership. Not in any way truly connected to the organization, but held the same values.
Katharine herself would most likely join when she was done with high school. It took dedication to become a Carrier, time, effort, either, doing research, writing articles, making surveys, a Carrier was to carry the message of the group. She longed to be a Femme, to know the secrets of WFBS and work even closer. Nobody knew anybody higher than Femme, sadly for her. But still, whomever controlled the group, she would be there to support them.
"Might as well pack from now." She muttered. She got her jersey on a hanger, fliers in her bag, before beginning to work on her homework.
"How did your date go?" Katharina asked, as her mother entered her bedroom a few hours later.
"I'd... rather not talk about it." Monette said to her daughter, who was leaning back in bed, reading a manga of some sort.
"How unexpected!" Katharine mused. Monette gave her a sour look.
"Shouldn't you be reading your English assignment over?"
"What English assignment?" Katharine lied through her pearly whites.
"The study packet? On Shakespeare? Wouldn't that be far more important than reading whatever that is?" Monette asked.
"I'm fully prepared for the test. It's an optional grade!" Katharine defended. "And don't change the subject, what, is that the eight guy this month alone you've taken to dinner and walked away from?"
"When you fail that test, please do keep this conversation in mind." Monette said, turning to the door, and beginning to walk out. "Now go do your chores, or you can study something meaningful. More meaningful than a black and white comic."
Monette reached the door when Katharine cleared her throat, and began to talk.
"Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow, creeps in this petty pace from day to day..." Katharine began to quote, as her mother turned, trying herself to memorize the soliloquy. "To the last syllable of recorded time, and all our yesterdays have lighted fools."
"Okay, now you're just gloating." Monette said with a chuckle as Katharine stood.
"Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more." Katharine said with a grin.
"Alright, you've proven your point. What's next, will you call for spirits to unsex you?" Monette asked.
"Ugh... never did memorize that one..." Katharine said.