Out of His League
Posted By: Harbringer352<email@example.com>
Date: 21 March 2010, 5:27 pm
John Forge looked over the rim of his coffee mug and raised an eyebrow. He watched the professor walk to his lunch table, place her plate down, and dig into a caesar salad. John set down his mug and wrapped his hands around the hot ceramic. He looked around, searching the other lunch tables to see what they were dealing with: all he saw were Marines and miscellaneus crew members chatting amiably over their UNSC rations. John rapped his fingers along the side of the coffee mug, searching for the right words to say.
Professor Ellen Anders smiled at his awkwardness. She crunched her salad, as if nothing was wrong, knowing the silence was killing the sergeant. Shifting aside the salad leaves, she stabbed a crouton. The delightful crunch was louder then she intended.
"You eat that stuff?"
Ellen looked up at John, narrowing her eyes slightly. "Obviously I am," she retorted, her voice a tad too snide. She frowned and covered it up with a mouthful of salad.
John held up is hands in defeat. "You got me," he admitted. "What do you want?"
She shrugged without looking up. "This seat was empty," she noted, smiling as he predictably searched the room for another chair. Not finding one, he grunted and looked down at his own bowl of soup. The noodles in the golden broth drifted pathetically. He frowned slightly. Damn military food.
"Nice shirt," mentioned Ellen.
Of course, John Forge looked down at his shirt, a light gray, graphic t-shirt emblazoned with the words, "When In Doubt, Blow Shit Up," and a animated image of a mushroom cloud. John laughed a little and folded his hands on the table. "Yeah," he muttered. "Old friend gave it to me."
"Old friend?" Ellen pressed.
John took the bait but looked away. "El-tee Gracie Smith. We went to the Academy together, fought through Boot and enough Covie to make your head spin," a proud frown grew on his face. "Didn't know it at first, but the girl could shoot the crown off a rooster
" the smile died.
Ellen frowned. "And?"
"She died on Harvest. First contact with the split-chins."
Ellen blushed and looked down. "Oh, I'm sorry
She bit her lip. She knew the sergeant would never want pity, would never want to acknowledge weakness.
A Marine walked up to the lunch table, accompanied with flanking buddies. The front Marine was rippling with muscles, his too-small shirt fit to bursting. He looked at Forge briefly, before setting his eyes on Ellen, his tiny beady eyes examining her body.
The Marine put his hands on his hips and stared at Ellen, though not at her eyes. "Hey, pretty lady," he said in a strong Australian accent. "How 'bout you and me get together some time?"
Ellen glared at him and stole a quick sip from John's coffee. "Can't. Busy," she lied. Forge raised an eyebrow. The Marine leaned against the table on one arm, so Forge was blocked from view. The sergeant, looking indignant, shoved the larger man out of the way.
"Move it, sasquatch," John ordered, and the Marine over-exaggerated, tumbling from the table and landing on the tiled ground. A few others turned and the crowded room grew silent. Some stood up, trying to see who was messing with the biggest Marine on the ship.
His mouth open in faux-surprise, his buddies helped him to his feet and he stood over Forge, who sipped his coffee calmly. The Marine began breathing heavily.
"Who are you," he growled. "To mess with me? Are you honestly getting defensive of this bitch?"
Ellen watched in complete, utter surprise as John Forge magically went from table, to feet, to the Marine, who fell to the ground in a tumble.
And a fight was on.
John threw a punch that made the Marine blink rapidly, disoriented. Struggling to their feet, they bounced to-and-away from each other, a demented tango of forces. The Marine threw a punch that John ducked, lashing out with a swift left hook that just grazed the other's jaw. The Marine growled in anger and kicked at John, catching him in the knee. His leg buckled and he stumbled, catching himself on the table. He used that as propulsion, pushing off and attacking the Marine with reknowned strength. He brought two closed fists on the Marine's head, only managing to bruise his own hands. Wincing, John drew back, shaking his hands and seething.
The Marine laughed. "That bitch isn't worth my time," he gloated, then looked at Ellen. "Nice meeting you, lady." He sent a cocky grin her way, then turning around, stalked away. Ellen growled and chucked John's ceramic mug at the Marine. It impacted between the eyes as he was turning away; he dropped noiselessly, unconscious, to the ground.
"That's for calling me a bitch!" she shouted, and the crowded room grew noisy again. John Forge smiled.
"So... what were we talking about again?"
John groaned but smiled anyway. "You're way out of my league," he admitted.
Ellen Anders flashed a smile that reflected John's. "Yes. Yes I am."