If Alec had known beforehand that posing as a bouncer at this ridiculous party would also require him to throw on a costume, he would’ve preferred to be banned from every single football match this year rather than being forced into a full on Batman costume while sitting at a table in front of the entrance to the gym hall in order to sell tickets to his fellow students.
Their introduction to the job was quick as it was rather simple. That left more time for Alec and Matt to spend constantly throwing swears and insults into each other’s faces. Matt was wearing a Thor costume and the amount of effort that had obviously been put into it revealed that Hollie and Chandley must’ve helped out quite a lot. In fact, there was no doubt that this costume must’ve been their idea all along.
But neither of them resembled a superhero even remotely, their lack of motivation written all of their faces and not very well hidden in the way they were barely even looking at the tickets they were shown or the money they were given.
Cassandra was one of the first guests to arrive. She knew about Alec’s punishment, but hadn’t been as happy about it as she was supposed to be. She would’ve preferred someone a little more cheerful at the entrance. Perhaps someone like Lou or Finn. Someone who would’ve drawn the guests inside rather than scare them off.
As she stopped by Alec she couldn’t help but briefly look him up and down and consider leaving the party to go home and change upon seeing his costume. She was wearing a dangerously tight fighting Catwoman suit herself and the irony of that didn’t get passed Alec either. He remained silent, though.
Unlike Matt – of course. “Nice costume” He complimented Cassie, primary to annoy Alec. Because everybody knew that he couldn’t have cared less for Cassandra.
“Thanks” She replied, her voice a steady force of leadership.
“Yeah, unlike others, you can really pull that black suit thing off” Matt grunted in pain as Alec kicked him hard under the table, while quietly continuing to check the tickets. But his lips were pressed into a firm line, the muscles around his jaw trembling slightly from the way he was clenching his teeth.
Cassandra chuckled. She knew that Matt disliked her just as well as all the other jocks did. Or maybe he was just indifferent. But she could use any kind of amusement. She was still worried that the party would somehow turn into a disaster, now with Alec’s hatred having tripled ever since his punishment. Still, she left as soon as the transaction of ticket and money had been fulfilled. She much preferred to seek further amusement and distraction inside with the rest of the Drama Club.
Hollie and Chandley came next with their arms linked. That was, until Hollie came running to hug Matt from behind. She briefly greeted Alec who was busy selling tickets anyway.
“We came early to keep you some company” Hollie explained. She was wearing a cute red dress with green spots. Her hair was shimmering red in the dim light and a huge green bow tie was holding it together in the back. “I’m a strawberry” She explained, before anyone could ask. Nobody questioned it. It suited her. There was no doubt about that.
“Look, Chandley had this hat at home, so he’s a cowboy” There was really no need for explanation here. His costume gave itself away.
“Adorable, isn’t it?” Alec snarled back, rolling his eyes. “Now go and be annoying somewhere else. Matt has to do his part of the job. I’m not going to do this crap alone”
“Don’t listen to him. We didn’t get permission to actually throw people out, so there’s nothing he can do, really” Matt explained, enjoying how for once Alec’s hands were tied, but Chandley was already pushing Hollie farther along anyway. Witnessing another fight between the two jocks was by far the last thing on his list of things he wanted to do tonight.
“But he’s right…we shouldn’t be standing in the way. Maybe we’ll see you later inside?”
Matt nodded briefly as Chandley and Hollie were already back on their way into the gym all.
“I like that kid” Alec announced once Matt’s friends were long gone. “What was his name again?”
“None of your business” Matt sighed, solely because he didn’t want to do Alec even the smallest favour by answering his question.
The crowd was getting bigger by the hour. Between all the freshmen Alec didn’t even recognize all of the faces passing him by anymore. Of course, the costumes weren’t helping either. His mask made him quite unrecognizable himself, but that suited him perfectly. Nobody had to know he was helping out the drama club and even worse that he was doing it dressed as Batman.
But soon enough after the big crowd had passed, keeping Alec and Matt quite busy, the line at their table was getting shorter again until only occasional groups of people were still asking to get in, but Alec and Matt didn’t even bother selling them tickets anymore and just waved them through. Pretty much everyone was already inside anyway, enjoying themselves. The music was playing loud enough to be heard out here and Alec finally had some time to lean back and relax more or less. He massaged his forehead with two fingers as he let out a deep sigh.
“Holy Costume Party, Batman! What do we do now? You’re not going to get tired already, are you?”
Alec looked up, recognizing the voice immediately. Standing right in front of him there was a boy of almost the same height and most definitely the same age, wearing a Robin costume with a cape and a mask and everything. He had his fists jammed into his hips and shook his head at Alec in disappointment.
“Where have you been? You’ve missed almost an entire week of school”
“School…yeah…” Henry scratched the back of his head. “I kinda forgot about that…”
Matt huffed, pulled his chair back and rose, rolling his eyes. “Whatever, I’m out of here” Nobody took notice of him as the flashing lights of the gym swallowed him whole, only his cape flying behind his back.
“But let’s not talk about that…I’m so much more interested in that fabulous costume of yours and how they got you to wear it…I mean, you’ve never worn it for me” Henry crossed his arms. Alec got up as well, seeing that Matt was probably right, even if he’d never admit that. The big crowd was gone. There was no one else coming in and he wouldn’t charge his best friend for a ticket. His job was done.
“You’re the one to talk” Alec walked around the table and stopped right in front of Henry. “I mean…are those green tights?” He frowned in disbelief.
“Yes, they are. And don’t tell me I can’t pull them off, because we both know you’d be lying. But enough about me…what about you? How has Gotham City been doing?” He loosely put one arm around Alec’s shoulders, ignored his friend stiffening up underneath his touch and tried to stay serious for about three seconds before he started cracking up again. “I’m sorry, I just can’t-“ He couldn’t even catch his breath from laughing too hard. “It’s just…you look really, really ridiculous”
“I’m not going to have this conversation with someone who looks like he has just come from a gay pride parade”
Just like that, Henry shoved his best friend in through the doors where music, stifling heat and blinding lights were already waiting for them. “Whatever, I know that I look fabulous” Henry flipped his hair as he let go of Alec.
Obviously, there was strictly no alcohol allowed on a school party. Still, a lot of students were dancing, there was no middle school awkwardness between the boys and the girls and only few teachers were standing scattered around to watch over the students. Alec made sure not to walk too closely past one of them, because he was probably supposed to guard the entrance all night. Once again, his pitch black batsuit kind of came in handy.
“You want a drink?” Henry was already leaving for the buffet that surely had huge bowls of cold punch prepared for the students, but Alec held him back.
“Wait…” Alec pulled Henry a little bit farther into a corner and started fumbling around on the utility belt that had come with the costume.
“What are you doing?” Henry was only confused for roughly five seconds until his eyes widened and a mischievous grin spread across his face. “Holy alcoholic beverage, Batman. You do have a plan, don’t you?”
Just then, Alec drew a little bottle of vodka from his belt. He didn’t say anything else, because his motive was obvious. “You might want to take this with you, if you’re going to the buffet” Henry seemed to be as excited as a little kid on Christmas whereas Alec’s joy was much crueller.
“Ally…I have to say, I’m proud of you. If this is what you’re up to when I’m gone, I should be leaving a little more often” He wiped a bunch of invisible tears from his eyes.
Alec huffed. “Yeah right. Don’t you dare. Now go, Gotham City needs you”
“It’s an honour” Henry took a little playful bow and rushed away to fulfil his task of pouring vodka into the punch.
Henry was right. It wasn’t like Alec to sabotage a school party just for the kicks. But it was definitely like him to do everything possible to destroy his opponents, preferably by stabbing their backs when they least expected it. Cassie might’ve thought his hands were tied after he’d been given his first warning. But the prank wasn’t possibly going to be traced back to him and the blame would be on Cassie who probably should’ve guarded the drinks better. Besides, there were enough idiots in this school well capable of spicing up the punch, many of them even along the lines of the drama club itself.
Alec felt his lips curving into an involuntary smile. The darkness and his mask made it hard to actually see it, but it was there to stay. For now. His eyes searched the room for Henry, because he got a little worried about what was taking him so long, but once he spotted the bright green and red colours of his costume, he found his best friend chatting away with groups of other people. After all, he wasn’t the only one who hadn’t seen Henry in months. Not even his own family had known anything about his whereabouts. Alec knew, because he had asked them repeatedly. Henry had this habit of disappearing. What had started out as little unannounced weekend trips had quickly evolved into missing full weeks of school. He usually came back just often enough to pass his classes and that was it. But every time Henry came back with his ever so expert timing, Alec felt like there was no time to be angry or resentful for he never knew how long his best friend would be staying this time. It was bound to get worse after graduation and Alec couldn’t even imagine Henry attending college.
“A great party, isn’t it?” Alec’s smile dropped immediately. Lexi had been coming right from the dance floor, still bobbing hear head lightly to the beat. Alec was already planning on ignoring her, but found that it was probably useless, so he just stared at her blankly. Did she really just say that? Had she really just complimented a party that had been thoroughly organized by Cassandra?
She was wearing grey shorts and a tight fighting gray tank top. Two giant grey ears were sticking out from her slightly curled blonde hair.
“Do you wanna dance?” Lexi seemed so caught up in her own little world that Alec could’ve sworn that she already had taken a few sips of the new, upgraded punch. But that was impossible.
He shook his head hard. The answer should’ve been predictable, but Lexi’s shoulders still sank. “I don’t do…dancing” He hissed, his voice almost disgusted by the mere thought of it.
Lexi rolled her eyes. “Yeah, I can see that” She blew a strand of her out of her face. “And you don’t do fun either”
“Oh, just fuck off” Lexi’s presence angered him. Ever since she’d transferred to this school one year ago, he had disliked her for no reason at all. It happened more often than not that he developed a deep hatred for someone he barely knew solely based on his first impression of them. Because of a thing they said or some vibe they didn’t even know they had given him. But there was nothing Lexi had ever done to him, really. Still, he didn’t feel any sign of remorse as he watched her flipping her hair while walking away from him.
“Holy slutty versions of seemingly normal costumes, Batman!” Just like that, Henry was right by his side again. He mimicked Alec’s tight posture, crossed arms and grim expression as he reported gravely. “And now we wait”
“Just kidding, let’s get in on the fun” Henry held up two plastic cups filled with what Alec assumed was the spiced up punch. “Cheers!”
Alec took the cup from his best friend and nipped on it. According to his calculations, there should be enough Vodka mixed into it to work its magic but not enough to spoil the sweet fruity flavour. He gave everyone about an hour until the first inexperienced freshman would throw up on the dance floor.
“Matt!” Chandley was surprisingly daring and enthusiastic as he snuck up on Hollie’s tall friend from behind. “There you are!”
It had been roughly two hours since Matt had quit his job for tonight and he hadn’t really been able to get a hold of Chandley and Hollie since then. They were busy dancing and begging the DJ to play specific songs, wooing and cheering when it was actually played. In short, they were just really enjoying themselves while Matt had been left standing at the buffet or somewhere else far enough from the dance floor. He clearly wasn’t intoxicated enough for all of this. It was already miraculous enough that Hollie and Chandley had been able to talk him into the Thor costume. In the end, there were few things he wouldn’t do for his family. And Hollie was family after all.
Within the last half an hour, though, there had been no sign of the two freshmen at all and he had started to get a little worried. And that’s when Chandley had appeared from behind. Hollie, however, remained nowhere to be seen. Her cousin was carrying two generously filled plastic cups. “You’ve got to try this punch” He offered Matt one of the cups.
“No thanks. I’ve had some of that earlier on” He smiled, but Chandley wouldn’t give up. If it hadn’t been for the darkness and occasional flashing lights, Matt might’ve noticed the red flush of Chandley’s cheeks or the dim spark in his eyes indicating his intoxication.
“No really…it’s so good” Chandley persisted and nearly spilled the whole drink on Matt’s costume. To prevent further accidents Matt decided to take the cup anyway, even though he wasn’t a huge fan of this kind of sweet and sticky stuff. Chandley kept watching him expectantly until Matt gave in a second time and lifted the drink towards his mouth. He could smell it before he tasted it. There was clearly a strong scent of alcohol mixed with the fruity flavour.
“Chandley…” He said slowly. “Have you been drinking this stuff all night?”
The blonde boy nodded eagerly. “Oh, yeah”
“What about Hollie? Did she drink any of that?”
“Even more than me…’cause it kinda tastes like strawberries and we thought it was funny with her costume and all” As he had finished talking he took another big gulp from his cup.
“Oh, for God’s sake…give that to me” Matt took the cup from Chandley who willingly handed it over. “Where’s Hollie now?”
“She went to the bathroom a little while ago”
Matt frantically ran his fingers through his hair. “Alone?!”
Chandley shrugged. “I think so” He saw Matt getting more and more fed up with the situation and he just knew that there had to be a good reason for that but his drunken and blurry mind just couldn’t figure out what that reason was.
“Is something wrong?” He was alarmed nonetheless.
“It’s fine…just show me where exactly Hollie went” Chandley nodded. He remembered that. At least something he could do.
He led Matt to one of the girl’s bathrooms in the hallway and without further ado Matt slammed the door open, leaving Chandley standing outside in shock. “That’s the girl’s bathroom” he gasped, but Matt had long stopped listening.
“Hollie?!” You’re in there?!”
No answer. Luckily, there were no other girls in here to scream at Matt disrupting their privacy. He wouldn’t have cared anyway. Yet, one of the stalls was occupied and locked. Matt repeatedly banged his fist against the door. “Hollie?!” He yelled again, startling Chandley with each bang. There was still no reply, even though someone…anyone had to be in there.
He kept banging until there was a reluctant crack of the automatic lock. Once the door was unlocked, Matt pushed the stall open immediately, revealing a senior with slick black hair and stinging grey eyes. He lifted his hands up immediately, but there was no doubt about where they had been before.
Hollie was with him, the straps of her dress falling loosely on her shoulders, her red lipstick smudged. Her mouth was opened in shock and even though she recognized Matt, she wasn’t quite sure why he was here. “Chill” the boy suddenly said and shoved himself between Hollie and her best friend.
“Don’t touch her” Matt barked, pulling the boy out of the stall by his collar. He struggled, but didn’t stand a chance against the much taller boy.
“Matt!” Hollie screamed. “What are you doing?!” She covered her face with her hands and started crying, probably realizing what she had done or what she had been about to do.
“Relax, man” His voice was shaking as Matt pressed him against the tiles of the bathroom wall, almost choking him. “She came with me by her own account”
Matt wouldn’t have that. His fist came down on the boy’s face before he dropped him on the floor, his nose bleeding and probably even broken. “Does she look like she knew what she was doing?” Matt growled.
Hollie had sunk down on the toilet, her eyes still covered, tears wetting her hands and dress. As her best friend approached her carefully, she looked up. “I’m so sorry…he was being so nice…It wasn’t his fault, really”
“I know” Matt said grimly and drew Hollie into a tight hug. He felt her shaking against his chest and tears soaking his shirt.
“I don’t feel really well” She moaned in pain and Matt knew from his first experience with alcohol what would come next. “I’ll get you two home” He said, dragging Chandley along by his arm as he left the bathroom to call for a Taxi. God help the one who was responsible for the booze in the punch.
Alec was standing at the top of the stairs leading to the entrance. He was leaning against the wall, arms crossed and not looking as casual as he ought to be. It hadn’t taken long until the teachers had noticed that there was something terribly wrong. But by the time they had confiscated the punch, the bowl had already been nearly empty. Now they were busy picking up the students that were obviously drunk in order to inform their parents and send them home.
Alec silently enjoyed himself quite a bit watching the uproar. He hadn’t seen Cassandra since the beginning of the party, but assumed that she was busy trying to fix what could be fixed. She had probably already gotten her fair share of furious teachers and their lectures and rents. Behind his blank expression there was pure enjoyment of his little victory. Not only had he gotten Cassandra into that kind of trouble that could even get her expelled from running for school president, but also had he gotten revenge on the teachers for making him help Cassie out and wearing this stupid costume on top of everything. And they didn’t even have a clue. It was glorious.
Suddenly Henry was behind him, loosely resting his elbow on Alec’s shoulder. “Holy intoxicated freshmen, Batman. I’ve just received five phone numbers I didn’t even ask for” He frowned. “Even though one is from a guy, I believe…” Henry shrugged and shoved the pieces of paper and napkins into his pocket. “What about you? You should be having more fun…after all this trouble I went through spicing up the punch. I risked my life for this party to be enjoyable”
“Yeah, I’ll make sure to put that on your gravestone”
“Lovely. I can die happy now” Henry said gleefully.
Then all the lights turned on, illuminating the whole gym hall and urging Henry and Alec to cover their eyes. They had had a few cups of bowl too after all and the vodka had been leaving its marks.
“Dear students….on behalf of the school administration, this party ends here. I’m sure by now you have all heard of the accident spoiling this supposedly peaceful event. Your parents have been informed. Everyone who has knowingly consumed any alcoholic beverage will be held accountable for their actions. Whoever was responsible for illegally bringing alcohol into our school will be found and punished appropriately. We have our methods. I want you to know that if I could, I would keep you locked right here in this hall until one of you confesses. Unfortunately, this goes against school law and some of you have already left the building to be brought straight home…or even to the ER. There will be consequences for each and every one of you. But for now, you need to rest well and we will talk about the rest tomorrow. I will not accept any excuses for not attending classes tomorrow morning. No exceptions”
The principal stepped away from the microphone and Henry and Alec gave each other a mischievous look. “Well, it’s not even midnight” Henry remarked, but it was enough for his best friend to know exactly what he was on about.
“I happen to have brought my fake ID with me”
“What a coincidence”
They shared another grin.
“We should probably get changed first, though”
“Oh no, the ladies happen to love superheroes” Henry chanted knowingly as they were already on their way out.