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Tristam Core: "We feel."

Rune Jolara

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((School. Samual's School. And Tristam should definitely not be seated at a teacher's desk.))

::Samual sat with his head in his hands, elbows rested on the desk, caramel skin on his cheek now doing it's best impression of the colour purple, spreading up to his eye.::

::Taywor should have been here for this. Not Tristam. And the fact that Taywor was for some reason MIA stirred an anger that the Rodulan didn't think he was capable of towards his brother.

::He had his arms crossed, eyes intently staring at the young boy next to him. That was the point of all this - he was young. He was *allowed* mistakes. But violence as a Rodulan was one thing, violence as a young Rodulan in a place of learning was another.::

Samual: It's not my fault.

Core: Really?

Samual: She kept going on about mum and dad.

Core: I hate to break it to you, Samual, but you were at fault the second you decided to hit her.

::Samual only shut himself further from his uncle. Tristam sighed, resting his elbows on his knees to clasp his hands together.::

Core: You need to tell me everything that's happening at home. Because I am concerned. I am concerned that you have lied to me. For months. Then your parents and gradda lie to me, for *years*. No one is giving me a straight answer about anything, and the second I think that everything is starting to get back onto stable ground, I get called up because Taywor and Yanata "can't make it" and that I'm the next one on the line to sort this out. ::He rubbed at his beard.:: Where are your parents, Mual?

Samual: Mum was headed back to Cardassia. Dad didn't say.

Core: Great. So they're AWOL. Your gradda is with doctors. Should I even ask about Ilen?

Samual: Mum got into a fight with her. Haven't heard from her since.

::He was losing the ability to care at this point, now pinching the bridge of his nose and taking a deep, calming breath as he swallowed the pill.::

Core: Of course. ::He muttered.::

::The door slid open to reveal the student coordinator - less then pleased, evidently, not giving Samual a second glance before perching in her chair as if she were a snobby kind of bird. She even had the beak for it.::

Salamara: Daneil Core. I am Sage Salamara. I'm sorry we've had to pull you into this, but with no other close family available-

Core: It's fine. Let's just . . . skip the pleasantries please.

Salamara: Alright. Samual from this point forward will need to a new place of education. Our staff here, we feel his temperament doesn't suit us here at Maddel.

::Oh he didn't need this right now. This did not need to be the tip of the iceberg that would sink him. Tristam rubbed his eyes with a deep sigh, Samuals shoulder's sinking to a new level.::

Salamara: Given his previous successes in his education, we can recommend some high-caliber institutes in the area, but with this on his record-

Core: Who made this decision?

Salamara: The school council, Daneil Core.

Core: And did the council at any point in time consider the emotional aspect of this entire situation? Samual was *provoked*, Sage. He is having problems at home, and coming to this decision in the aftermath of another kid picking on him about his situation is hardly fair.

Salamara: I hate to inform you, Daneil, but this decision was made well informed of Samual's behaviour over the period of the last four months. I'm sorry that this incident may have been due to an emotional outburst, but we can't excuse that he has been deliberately skipping classes - not to mention that one of our teachers logged an incident with Samual regarding some of his work-

Samual: That wasn't my fault and he *knows* it-

Core: Stay out of this. ::He snapped coldly.::

::Wisely, the boy shut his mouth, looking away as those more mature debated what to do with him.::

::Tristam turned back to the sage.::

Core: Is there nothing? Not even a probation period?

Salamara: The council's decision was final.

oO And suspiciously swift. Oo

Core: And the other involved? What about her?

Salamara: That is a private matter.

Core: So she stays put? After deliberately provoking another student, engaging him in physical confrontation?

Salamara: No, Daneil. But I cannot discuss another family's private matters with you.

::Tristam leaned back in his chair, eyes closed as he gave a deep sigh.::

Core: I need guidance. Samual's parents are . . . having some problems, and his other family members are otherwise indisposed. Do I have authority here? Can I actually say 'yes, alright, I'll find somewhere else to take him'?

Salamara: Samual is your community's first priority. ::she looked back at Samual, finally addressing him for the first time.:: If you needed assistance at home, you have the right to a new carer, which will require a short investigation. There are also other resources you have access to - but if you wish to re-enroll here, you'll be required to undergo an assistance program.

Samual: I'm fine.

::Samual wasn't fine.::

::Salamara looked back towards Tristam.::

Salamara: Last I checked, Daneil Core, you have the authority as a family member to assist Samual, given that your fellows have not made attempts to contact us regarding him.

::The entire thing sounded juvenile - and it was. Taywor and Yanata, neglecting their kid? In what reality could that even be possible? It was unrealistic. It defied everything Tristam knew up to this point - hell, Tasnim wasn't even related to Tristam, not by any means other than his relationship with Roshanara, but he didn't downright ignore her existence, didn't provide a miserable atmosphere in her presence, and was there on the off-chance she needed something. Taywor and Yanata had a biological requirement to care for their child. 'Being busy' might be a valid excuse for the first week, but four *months* past that and you entered some dangerous territory.

::Salamara had given him a sympathetic look, and despite her initial reaction to Samual as she walked in - the same reaction Tristam imagined any education representative would have given that the kid had literally gotten into a punch up, which was a *huge* no in any square metre of Rodul other than training gym - she seemed to have a concerned bystander's approach to this topic in particular. She clearly didn't want to insult Taywor and Yanata, but she also wanted Tristam's involvement.

::How the hell did Tristam become the mature one, yet Taywor stuck with his child-like attitude to responsibility? And where the hell was Yanata during all this?::

Salamara: I can forward you more details and information about other education institutes and assistance regarding this problem. I assume your contact information is still as it was?

::Tristam shook his head, watching as she slid over a notepad to him on the desk's touch display, entering new details.::

((Qucaberry Park))

Core: You didn't tell me what's happening at home.

::They'd been forced to clear out Samual's locker. Despite being incredibly helpful when Tristam volunteered himself as a new parental for the kid, Salamara had stressed that they no longer wanted Mual within the area of the school. He was to leave immediately. The fact that other learners had scattered when they saw him spoke wonders about how serious the 'scuffle' had been.

::All of Mual's music gear had been stuffed into his bag, Tristam cringing when he heard what might have been the boy's instrument crack under the pressure of the books, trinkets, and electronic devices now pushed up against it. Textbooks that had been given to him over the years by the school had been returned - Tristam had never seen a librarian shove her nose so far into the air, eyes piercing downwards in a clearly judgemental look. If it hurt Tristam, Samual was definitely feeling the scrutiny.

::When they finally left the building, Maul looked back over his shoulder, recognizing a slightly older boy leaning up against the paved outer wall. Tristam watched on as his nephew almost crumbled.::

::Now they were slowly walking home, Tristam having stopped to get a bag of pop rocks, now sharing them with Samual. He didn't need anymore attitude, didn't need Tristam saying how incredibly bad his actions had made him look. Now he just needed a shoulder to lean on.::

Samual: There's not much to tell.

Core: Four months worth of bad behaviour on a kid's otherwise stellar record says to the contrary. Spill.

::Mual sighed, rubbing his forehead.::

Samual: They're just . . . always arguing. I ask them to stop, they look at me like I broke their basotile, and *I* get told to back off. Help with homework? Forget about it. Then every word mum says at me . . . It's not abusive - at least, I don't think it is. But she picks on basically everything I do. And then says that I'm better off for hearing it, strengthening me for someone harsher. ::He paused.:: It sounds worse when I say it then it actually is.

Core: I don't think so.

Samual: I do. I love her. She loves me. Dad loves me, too. But when they broke their basotile, they tried playing tug of war with me, and that wasn't . . . it wasn't good. Mum wanted me to go with her on her trips, dad said I should go do overseas studies so that I'm out of the house and in a "more positive environment".

Core: And what does Huzana think?

Samual: She's been gone since last Areil.

::As Medledore was to Tristam and Nygeyan, Huzana was Samual's individual tutor. In the event Samual needed more assistance in his studies, Huzana was the go-to. Tristam knew extraordinarily little about her, having never met her. Her job was like Medledore's for him - help the kid, always be there for the kid in his studies and the stress they involve, be the guiding rock for the kid until they're no longer a kid.

::Last Areil was almost a year ago.

::He'd been without a mentor or a guiding rock for a freaking *year*. No wonder he had some pent-up emotional issues. There had been no one around to recognize he was having problems - no one unbiased in their opinion of him.::

Core: You're telling me she's been gone a year?

Samual: She moved overseas.

Core: And nobody found you a replacement?

Samual: We just . . . didn't have time to, I guess.

::They live on Rodul. Rodul has 29 hour days. "Didn't have time to" was a lie. Nobody could say that unless they dealt with the 24 hour time most Federation vessels stuck to - *that* was a nightmare when first getting used to it.::

Core: Because of gradda's illness?

Samual: I think they just didn't get around to it.

::Tristam sighed, throwing a handful of pop rocks into his mouth, chewing as he thought of his next words, swallowing when he was ready to say them.::

Core: Okay. So the way I see if, yours being at home, at this stage in your life, is not ideal. That's not because I think your parents are evil beings from the shadows of the canvas, ::he said before Samual could interrupt:: but at some point they've not realized that what's happening between them is clearly affecting you. And I am *not* okay with that.

::Silence. He was honestly surprised Mual had had enough courage to grab a handful of pop rocks, picking one by one out of his hand.::

Core: You have two options. You stay at home, ride this out, put up with whatever is happening between your parents right now. Or, you can exercise your right to find a new carer - if only temporary until they can sort out their problems.

Samual: Are you volunteering?

Core:::sighing:: I'm not sure the Gate's legal teams will recognize my ability to look after you, given that I tend to be off-planet for decades at a time - not to mention currently sleeping on my best friend's couch because I've nowhere else to go.

Samual: Nygeyan?

Core: Does it seem like I have any other friends here? ::He grinned.::

::Samual just shrugged, still depressed about the entire day.::

Samual: If I leave, they'll hate me.

Core: They won't hate you.

Samual: They will.

Core: Emotionally blackmailing you to stay isn't fair. It's all the more reason to leave. I'm here now - I will defend you if required. If I have to step up as the oldest, then so be it.

Samual: But you're *not* the oldest. Neither of you are. It's a two minute gap.

Core: Exactly. I'm older. Not to mention apparently more mature then both of them combined. ::He sighed again.:: Samual, this is your decision. And it's a tough one to make, I know - but it's not permanent. I know that my saying you should leave is harsh, unfair and unwanted, but hearing everything today, hearing that neither of them so much as lifted a finger to support or be there for you today, proves to me that you are better off with them in the background until they can get their act together. It's not just me that will rally, it's the entire freaking *neighborhood*. Vebra is probably shaking in her slippers right about now.

::That earned a giggle from Samual, likely picturing his elderly neighbor literally shivering in her woolly brown slippers.::

Core: If you want to leave, you only have to give the word, and I'll have people on the com to make it happen. You just have to say when and who.

::The boy glanced back to his uncle, gripping the straps of his bag.::

Samual: Okay. But . . . not today.

Core:::nodding:: Not today.

Tbc . . .

Tristam Core
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