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[#87a8c9 "You'd be surprised how many run crying to their daddies."] Hasan replied. It seemed like rich boys couldn't go a meter without calling daddy for money. [#87a8c9 "At least until they go on a bender and inevitably fuck up so badly that they're cut off. Which, as a professor, I am not supposed to find amusing, but as someone who grew up with very little opportunity and money find hilarious."] His eyes glinted mischievously when he said this.
[#87a8c9 "..."] Who hurt this kid? Hasan leaned back in his chair and watched him talk. Had this been a high school he might have had to turn him into the principal over the way he was talking. Perhaps he should suggest counseling? No. Plenty of kids these days talked like this. Hell, back in his college days there were plenty of kids that talked like this and didn't shoot up a school. Hasan shook his head and let out a dry laugh. [#87a8c9 "I suppose things have changed a bit since I was young, but the way I see it is there are some people that don't bother with looking good or powerful and then there are those that want to look like the baddest bitch. Guess which type tends to look like the baddest bitch. Yes, society is a struggle to get on top, but not everyone wants to be a part of that struggle. Some of us simply want to exist."]
This kid was starting to become infuriating. Such a negative outlook. [#87a8c9 "If you're fine with being beaten half to death on the regular, so be it. I won't come along to stop it next time. Since you seem dead set on proving how edgy and badass you are."]
[#87a8c9 I won't lie, a good amount of degrees are worthless now and cost entirely too much money. Hell, I thought that back when I was still in college."] Hasan leveled his gaze with the student. [#87a8c9 "If you find degrees to be worthless, why are you bothering going to school? Are you actually interested in learning? If you aren't, you're wasting everyone's time. Sure, the university still gets your money, but I know, at least a few, of my fellow professors hate it when kids waste their time. So do I."] He held his gaze for a moment longer and then broke eye contact in favor of cleaning up their impromptu meal. [#87a8c9 "If you're a sociology major, you're going to have to take my class."] At least, if the kid was taking it during spring or fall.
[#87a8c9 "Look, no one can make you do anything. Even if I did drag you here, you could have left. You didn't have to stay and listen to me preach out of my ass at someone who clearly doesn't care. If you get expelled, it will be your own damn fault. If there's one thing I hate, it's people who refuse to take responsibility and claim that other people "made" them do something. I realize that there are exceptions to that, but if I can pull myself from essentially gutter trash to a professor with a phd, I don't want to hear excuses."] Hasan told him flatly. [#87a8c9 "If you want to be successful, stop fighting to prove you're the strongest and focus on proving that you're better than them."] He shrugged. [#87a8c9 "That's just my two cents... Mr.... What's you're name kid?"]
[#DC143C "No rich boy wants to go to his father and admit he lost,"] Xasa murmured. He supposed he did look at it as though it was street cred, considering the circumstances, but it was how it was. Nonetheless, he scoffed at the presumption that it was. [#DC143C "No such thing as street cred in a society full of people trying to be on top,"] he started to explain, [#DC143C "Because of other parties ridiculing and gossiping and judging, where does street cred take place? Street cred is society."]
[#DC143C "As for me being put in my place, so be it, its not like it hasn't happened before. Gotta get put down before you can climb back up, right?"] Xasa finished off the orange juice as quickly as before. And what even was the point of a degree if nobody would take it? Those generally on top were the ones given positions, so how was he supposed to get to the top without a reputation or a connection? [#DC143C "Not to mention degrees are practically worthless. Maybe years ago when college was a big deal for the select few it was good, but now its moot. Which, by the way, I'm a sociology major. Ironic."] The last part was quieter, as though he was starting to have second thoughts about this entire ordeal. Second guessing never worked out for him, but now that he thought about it...
[#DC143C "I don't know, ramblings of a bitter person I guess. Doesn't matter. I wont cause so much trouble that I get kicked out and if some [i asshole] makes me get kicked out, oh well. Not like I didn't try, right?"]
Hasan sighed softly and set the wipes in the middle of the desk while he opened his own orange juice. The student was ravenous and didn't bother with social propriety. In a way it was good. He didn't like having to argue with a student to get them to eat. In this student's case it was a double edged sword. He was going to be expelled if he kept this up. As much as he would like to prevent that from happening it wasn't as if he was going to follow this kid around and keep him out of trouble.
[#87a8c9 "...Perhaps."] He shrugged and took a muffin as well. The professor started to eat if carefully as opposed to his guest. [#87a8c9 "And then I suppose someone bigger and badder will have to put you in line."] Large, yellow eyes considered at the boy for a moment before he shifted his attention to his food. [#87a8c9 "Of course, that's if the rich boy's "daddy" doesn't sue you or insist that you're arrested and kicked out of the school. Ah, but it's all about the street cred, isn't it?"] Hasan smiled faintly and took another sip of juice.
[#87a8c9 "Where I'm from that would easily be the solution. Here, however, it isn't."] Hasan brushed the crumbs from his fingers and dropped the empty muffin paper in his wastebasket. Somehow he'd managed to finish it despite talking.
The kid wasn't bad looking once he'd gotten the blood off. He was young, but decidedly not a freshman. Probably about Rana's age if anything. Early twenties. Yeah. That seemed about right. [#87a8c9 "The one on top generally has deep pockets."] He told him with a sigh. [#87a8c9 "That's something to worry about when you're out of school though. For now the best thing to do is get your credits out of the way and get a degree so you can get out and do something- though I'm not going to lie... There are always going to be assholes in life and you can't "deal with" them all. Sometimes you have to live with them."] He looked irritated about the last bit, but pushed it back and kept a neutral expression. [#87a8c9 "What's your major anyway? If you don't mind my asking."]
[#DC143C [i 'Oh, so he's not going to let go, this is fine,']] Xasa was very rapidly thinking to himself. He wasn't ready to get a lecture, but the grip on his arm was as tight as it had been when he had been forcefully pulled out of the fight. Oh well, it looked like he was going to get some food out of it so he didn't put up too much of a fight and instead resigned himself to reaching their destination.
Entering the small office, [i [#DC143C 'I thought it'd be bigger,']] Xasa closed the door behind them and sat in a chair in front of the desk. It had been a bit out of the way, but he supposed its location made sense. And it wasn't long before a lot of food was dumped in front of him. It took him no time at all to rip open the package of blueberry muffins and dig in. Hands down, it was his favorite snack. They weren't homemade, but they would do. Then he all but tore the cap off one of the orange juice bottles and chugged half of it in less than a few seconds.
And a question? [#DC143C "He had it coming. If someone thinks someone else is in charge, they wont act out of line again,"] Xasa explained, mouth full, before wiping his mouth with the back of his hand once he was done chewing and swallowing. [#DC143C "It accomplishes more than you think. If I had finished, he would have respected me and one look could stop him in his tracks."]
He paused momentarily as he accepted the wet wipe and started cleaning himself up. The bruises would be gone in a day or two, but for now the cuts on him were clean enough to where he was presentable. He began brushing through his mussed hair before continuing. [#DC143C "This is a shitty world, and someone has to come out on top of it all by any means if they [i want] to survive."]
The spilled school supplies weren't lost on him, but seeing as he had not witnessed the situation himself, he couldn't do much other than break up the fight. Hasan didn't know exactly what had happened, nor did he know who had started the fight. All he saw was a very aggressive student and the potential for suspension. If he could help it, he wasn't going to have that on his watch. The professor watched as the boy he hadn't restrained walked away and narrowed his eyes. He looked familiar- probably a troublemaker. Seriously, why couldn't they just leave that behind in high school?
With a sigh he turned his annoyed gaze on the crowd pointedly. Why did people enjoy fights so much? It was so damned childish. [#87a8c9 "..."] Once the crowd had mostly dispersed he looked the student over with a critical eye. Perhaps it was the father in him, but it looked like this kid was exhausted and hungry. It was a wonder that he had it in him to be fighting. Then again, he remembered his own college days and how consistently hungry he was.
He also couldn't help but notice the blush on the boy's face. Oh, right. [#87a8c9 "Oh really now?"] The murderous intent seemed to have left his eyes, but he didn't release him yet. Hasan shook his head with a sigh and turned to start walking towards his office. [#87a8c9 "...You're a mess."] He told him plainly. [#87a8c9 "I think I have some disinfectant wipes in my office."] The professor glanced back at him. [#87a8c9 "And food. We can talk more about this there."] At least until he had to get to class.
Why was he offering this? He didn't know the kid and he had, had to literally restrain him from beating in the face of another student. Maybe it was because he reminded him of his young self. Back then he had been so confused about everything on top of being a brand new werecat. With his emotions fluctuating wildly as if he was going through puberty once again, things had been particularly crazy. Really it was a wonder that he had made it through his first two years in college. If it hadn't been for one of his professors taking an interest in his success, he might not have made it through. Yeah, that was probably what it was.
Whatever it was, he was currently dragging a student back to his office. Security would have been there sooner than later and this kid was scuffed up; it was obvious that he had been in a fight. His office was on the second floor of the humanities building, tucked into the corner and mostly unused as he didn't have classes every semester. Without letting go of the student he fished his keys out of his pocket and unlocked the door. He opened it and led the way inside, only releasing him once they were inside. [#87a8c9 "Take a seat, I'll see about the food."] He had been there the day before to stock up on snacks thankfully. The professor walked around the heavy desk that was set up in one corner of the room to open the mini fridge that sat against the wall behind it. [#87a8c9 "..."] Maybe he'd overdone it with the snacks. He should get a cabinet or something to store some of this in, but then there was the chance that vermin would be attracted to it. This was an old building after all. Ah, whatever. He brought out a small pack of four large blueberry muffins, two individual sized bottles of orange juice, and a pack of fruit cups. [#87a8c9 "Help yourself. I'll see about those wipes I mentioned."] He told him softly before turning his attention to one of the bottom drawers in his desk. [#87a8c9 "What were you trying to accomplish exactly? That wouldn't have helped in the long run."] He asked as he pulled out a package of clorox wipes. The professor opened them and found that they were dried out. Typical. Hasan opened the fridge again, pulled out a bottle of water, closed the fridge, and opened the water. [#87a8c9 "I'm not stupid, the other kid was the one that started things, but fighting isn't going to solve anything."] As he spoke he poured some of the water into the wipes and shook the tube carefully to help distribute the water. He tugged one of the now wet wipes out and offered it to the boy. [#87a8c9 "Here."]
It was a normal morning. Well, as normal as it could get living alone now that he had moved away, [i [#DC143C 'ran away,']] from home. College was a last option for him. He could pay for it for the first semester, but he really needed to find a job. No electricity on yet, but at least he had water. Anything he had here he could easily use over at the campus in the library or...just about anywhere with a computer. He would eat here in the darkness of his own apartment, but he really felt the urge to splurge on a bagel instead of a cold can of pork n beans.
So he got ready, packing his backpack with the two books that were more urgent to get for the first day, and headed out for the ten minute walk onto campus. He was lucky to get a place for so little so close to campus. He hadn't expected a confrontation so soon after he got on campus. A kid's backpack had been ripped open and books and notebooks thrown about, kid in question on the ground as he was verbally abused desperately trying to pick up his things before they got soggy. [#DC143C [i 'All you'd have to do was walk up there and teach that shit a lesson,']] he thought. And he did just that.
Except, it was a lot less walking and a lot more of a running jump leading into a brutal punch to the face of the [#DC143C [i 'Bully.']]
In reality, being grabbed was possibly the best thing that could have happened for Xasa. Hearing that he could be suspended on the first day almost didn't mellow him out until he looked up angrily, face red and hot, at the man who had grabbed him. He had expected a security guard, but instead was met with a professor. Hot. Xasa almost regretted he probably looked the way he felt: beaten, bloody, and bruised. He was glad his face was already red though, because the involuntary blush he felt blended in just nicely as he looked back at the asshole he had been fighting.
[#DC143C "I..."] Xasa started to defend his actions but then realized this was a professor that probably didn't care, much less half the students around. They were just there for the show. Still, being held as forcefully as he was...well, it was a good thing. Otherwise he didn't know what he would have done, murder already on his mind, when the other kid spit at him. He couldn't find whatever strength he had before to pull away, however, and the words flashed back into his head. He needed this education more than anything else right now.
So eventually he dropped his stance as the other kid grabbed his backpack off the ground and disappeared into the dissipating crowd. And yet, his hand was still caught in a vice grip. [#DC143C "Hey man, no offense, but I'm pretty damn calm now. You can let go,"] he murmured, loud enough for the other to hear. The kid that he had been defending got his attention and mouthed a 'thank you' before giving a wave and running off. He didn't have a class for about an hour, and had planned on just grabbing some breakfast.
Xasa was trying to avoid any kind of facial contact whatsoever. Now that his face was growing less and less red from anger, it would be more obvious that a blush was there. The haze disappeared from his eyes as soon as he realized he couldn't escape the grip he had been in, bringing him back to reality. [#DC143C [i 'You're too old for this shit, Xasa, and look someone actually cared enough to stop you,']] he thought to himself, intrusively.
It was an old conversation of theirs. He wanted to give her eternity, but she continued to refuse. That night they were in the car, driving back home after a day out and somehow that subject had resurfaced. She shook her head with an amused smile as white lights illuminated her features. For a moment the world stopped as she spoke. "I'm pregnant."
And then the world came crashing down.
Hasan jerked awake and instinctively turned to look at his wife's side of the bed. A shaky hand reached out to touch the untouched pillow as he closed his eyes once more with a pained expression. The same dream again. The one that had plagued him for the past two years; mocking him. His wife and unborn child had been killed in the crash that had immediately followed her words. Hasan himself had been 'lucky' to have survived without a scratch according to the paramedics. Luck had nothing to do with it. It was this curse of his, this condition that his wife had rejected so often. If he had insisted would she have lived? Perhaps, but she would always have regretted and resented it. No, he could never have forced her to live this life. Even when she looked old enough to be [i his] mother.
He lay there for a while longer. The emptiness of the space next to him only becoming more and more heavy as he tried to reconcile his thoughts. With a sigh he pulled his hand away and looked up at the ceiling. Enough of this for now. It was the first day of the semester and he didn't want to be late because of something like this. It was difficult to pull himself out of bed. The heavy, leaden feeling that had settled over him when the realization that Amelia was never coming back was stronger today. It felt like he was stuck in a swamp; sinking slowly in mud that would eagerly devour him. Everything felt duller to him now and life was almost pointless. Still, he managed to push forward and live life. Not for himself, no. Hasan would happily join his wife. The one he was living for was his son Rana.
When he had finally emerged from his room, freshly showered and dressed it was Rana that greeted him. He had just finished feeding their cat when his father stepped out into the hall. "Mornin'!" He called. "Are you ready for the inevitable class of fangirls?" Hasan regarded his son dryly as he walked into the kitchen. [#87a8c9 "As ready as I'll ever be. Half of them will drop after the first test, guaranteed. They always do."] As he spoke he took his favorite mug out of the cupboard and turned his attention to the waiting coffee that Rana had already prepared. The young adult leaned against the opposite counter and sipped at his own mug of the stuff as he listened to his father. A grin easily slipping into place. "You mean once they find out that you're a hardass." That earned a laugh from Hasan. With his mug filled he replaced the mostly empty carafe and turned to look at Rana. [#87a8c9 "If you want to put it like that, yes."]
The two of them were often mistaken as brothers. Rana clearly took after his father with the dark hair and the darker tone to his skin. Their heights were similar as were their features. The only real differences were that Rana was a bit lighter than his father and he had dark brown eyes; Hasan's were golden yellow. Other than that, they could have easily passed for siblings. After all, Hasan didn't look a day over twenty. Perhaps that was the reason why he had so many admirers on campus, why so many students clamored for a spot in his class. An attractive teacher was always popular and for whatever reason whenever they found out that he was a father that made him all the more popular. The things he heard his students whispering, during class of all things, could fill a book. A book full of admittedly stalkerish things. There was a reason he hadn't bothered with social media despite Rana begging him to. It was bad enough that he'd had students try to follow him home. No. It was best to leave the throngs of admirers to Rana. His son knew how to handle them better than he did.
[#87a8c9 "Do you have any classes this morning?"] He asked. "Just one, then three in the afternoon. You?" Hasan made a note of that as he moved to fix himself something to eat. [#87a8c9 "I have a late morning class, one just after noon, and one in the late afternoon."] He told him softly. "...I thought you weren't going to accept that time slot anymore. What if you get caught up again? That one time-" Rana made an irritated noise when he noticed his father attempting to ignore him by stuffing his face. "Dad."
Hasan swallowed and smiled sheepishly at him. [#87a8c9 "I know, I know. The class ends at five thirty. That gives me plenty of time to get home."] Rana sighed heavily, but didn't pursue the subject further. "I'll see you tonight. I have to get going." Hasan paused and watched as his son set down his now empty mug in the sink and walked out to the main room where his bag sat waiting. A little spike of panic needled its way into his chest. [#87a8c9 "Rana-"]
"Yeah..?" Quizzical brown eyes were turned upon him. Hasan bit back a worried rant and smiled at him. [#87a8c9 "I love you. Drive safe."] Rana nodded and shouldered his bag. "I will." He unlocked and opened the front door, pausing as he stepped out to call out. "Love you too. See ya later." The door closed and Hasan was alone again. Not for long, however, as he was following suit not an hour later.
The campus was the same as always. The faces changed, but the student base remained essentially the same. Groups flocked to their respective places to chatter between classes and catch up or complain about one thing or another. The trends changed and there was certainly much more diversity, but things hadn't changed much from the time he was a student. Except for tuition. How these students could live with the highway robbery that was set upon them he could never understand.
Walking through the campus he received some greetings from colleagues and former students, but for the most part it was peaceful. New students that had yet to notice him and students too drained to care anymore made up the crowd today. A typical start to a semester. Of course, things could never stay typical in his life. Or simple. Hasan was forced to suppress a groan when he noticed a crowd forming, shouting excitedly as they grouped around two students. A fight. Campus security would be there soon, but Hasan wasn't about to wait. With a soft grumble he pushed his way through the crowd and stared down the two that were getting into it. Whatever their reasons, it was no reason to cause such a disturbance. He set his sights on the more aggressive one and stepped in by grabbing one of his wrists in a strong grip. His other hand was held out in front of the other young man as if to warn him back. [#87a8c9 "Break it up, now."] He told the two of them softly; his voice held a dangerous tone to it. If his voice wasn't enough to give them pause, the dangerous look in his eyes would be. [#87a8c9 "Don't you have a class to get to? It would be pretty stupid to get expelled or suspended on the first day of the semester, don't you think?"]
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