Cedric didn’t expect his newfound friendship to last long… but his newfound friendship didn’t care what he expected. Over the next few months, Dyllan and Cedric only grew closer. They covered each others’ weaknesses; Cedric helping Dyllan with his schoolwork and Dyllan coming to Cedric’s aid whenever things turned… physical. More importantly though, they showed each other whole new worlds full of wonder. Cedric would share his favorite books, introducing Dyllan to fantastical realms of sword and sorcery, and galaxies of epic space battles. Dyllan would constantly drag Cedric out into the woods, finding flowers and bugs with him – proving that a sort of magic existed in reality as well as fiction.
Still, Aspen didn’t give up easily, and every time Dyllan caught the bully picking on his friend, he grew a little less trusting of him. It started to take less and less for encounters between Dyllan and the bully to come to blows, but there were two lines Dyllan never crossed:
He never turned to physical force until he’d tried to shoo Aspen away using words, and he never tried to stop Aspen from escaping the fight. No matter how violent the fist fights got, Dyllan was done hurting Aspen as soon as Aspen was done trying to hurt Cedric.
The whole thing had made Dyllan rather popular. The same kids that had looked the other way when Aspen attacked Cedric, now cheered for Dyllan – even going out of their way to cover for him when Aspen tried to get the teachers involved. It wasn’t perfect, but things were pretty good.
Until one day.
Cedric hadn’t known at the time, but this was the day Dyllan found out his dad died. An icy cold burned throughout him that whole day, pent up and ready to blow. It made him quiet, and a little distant. He barely paid attention to Cedric at all. Then, at the start of recess, Dyllan caught sight of Aspen. The bully was minding his own business, and seemed likely to continue doing so. He seemed to be in a good mood.
That really rubbed Dyllan the wrong way. There he was stewing in misery, helpless at the news of his hero’s fall… and this… this snot-nosed bully? He hardly had a care in the world. It made something inside the boy just… snap. It snapped and unleashed a fury inside him that the school had never seen, a fury that drove him to cross a line he’d never crossed before.
For the first time ever, Dyllan started a fight.
A note from the
Oh, and I should mention – Dyllan’s mother did NOT try to make Dyllan go to school on the same day he found out about his father’s death.
She actually actively discouraged him from going to school – but Dyllan was stubborn and proud. His dad was his hero, and with him gone… Dyllan felt it was up to him to be the hero in the family.
And in Dyllan’s mind, a hero never showed weakness- and a hero never left the innocent undefended.