After school they walk to the pizza place on hot pavement, sweating. Since it was the first day of class some kind of enthusiasm hatched the pizza scheme but they soon fall into twos and threes like oil and water. Although May goes back and forth talking to everyone, Camilla walks to Suzu, and Lana is in no-man’s land between the two girls and the Rob-Kou-Hiroki contingent, with whom she trades barbs. Terrence, Eshwar, and Yves kick up noise at the back.
May can’t circulate fast enough to forge the semblance of group cohesion, and they’re sliding around like stray amoebae by the time they get their slices.
The light is thickening to orange when the bell on the shop door jangles shut behind them. It’s with a sense of relief in more than one heart that the girls split off – even though Lana and Suzu’s houses are not in that direction, and they all know it.
The guys looks at one another. Give each other nods.
Eshwar: “Man, I forgot school was so much work.”
Terrence: scoffing, “You’re such a scrub, Eshwar.”
Eshwar: “Oh, riiiiight, I’m that scrub who’s beaten you in Smash all summer.”
Laughter from Eshwar, a quick in-and-out scuffle. They start meandering toward the metro.
Yves: “You guys should get Tale of the Elder Star!”
Kou: “Pfft. Shit’s for kids.”
Rob: “We need something else to play… Man I’m so beat.”
Eshwar: back at Rob, “So long as its got nothing to do with your zombie fetish.”
Hiroki: “What about the new RawMecha? It’s pretty good, isn’t it?”
Feet slow. Inscrutable looks.
Eshwar: quietly, raising one hand and squinting at the red traffic light up ahead, “Pew, pew…”
Nobody is around.
The chckkk of joints and squeak of wheels, springing into countdown sequences, racing against each other. To the takeoff – KRRR-PHOWWWWW. The dogfight is instantaneous, lasers missing eyes by milimeters. Kou draws back in the attempt to launch a missile, Eshwar harrying his position and Yves running interference, as the swords come out in the sky. Terrence isn’t changing sides, he’s a faction of his own. Hiroki winces as he dodges a wide swing.
Then, underneath it all, a green light and the quiet beep, beep, beep of the walk signal. Straight past them, a woman pulls her little girl across the crosswalk. The woman’s hand is covering her mouth. The little girl is staring.
The battle dies out with red ears and necks and cheeks. Rob slides his Mega Doomsday Shitsmacker back into its sheath, and slumps back into being tired like he never left it. They reach the metro stiff-faced with the pretense that they are too old to play robots.
Cut to black.