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[Originally posted by The Burned Handler]


He hadn't even seen the shape appear at pool's edge, preoccupied as he was with burning lungs and leaden arms and pinching his nose shut like they always said to do when it was bleeding. He couldn't remember who "they" were, but he'd kept his head down as he pulled himself up from the sludgewater and tried to ignore the throbbing memory of bone meeting cartilage with panic-born strength. Don't think, his body said, don't look back. Don't ask questions. Just stop the blood.

Then a voice. An annoying one, with its questions and its concern and its not seeing Max really wasn't in the goddamn mood. Couldn't they see he was hurt? Stupid, inconsiderate lowborn...

His eyes darted up, and it made sense. Ilya Volkov, one of the lugs on the wrestling team. Now credit where due, Ilya was one tough kid, Max made a point of knowing the other Aurora athletes at least a little and he'd seen that for himself. That didn't stop him from just being some dumb Russkie though, who'd either get a scholarship to some shit school on the Bible Belt for his skills at rolling around in spandex or never get anywhere in life at all.

The "Ilya Volkov is stupid" hypothesis really wasn't being challenged too much considering the kid was staring at him, standing in his way, asking what the fuck happened. But what could he say? There weren't very many slick arguments out of being caught climbing out of a pool some ex-hot chick had just drowned in. He kept it simple.

"It's not what it looks like," he managed through blood and pinching fingers and pain, looking up even as he kept his head tilted down and fought the urge to swear. "Just get out of here, Ilya. That's best for both of us."
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Hollow Stars · The Pools