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What It Wasn't

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It wasn't unexpected, not after Blake and Jenna and Avon got away. Not after punishment rations and six hours' daily seat confinement for everybody left behind. Discomfort, short tempers, and someone obvious to make pay for it--no surprise how that was going to turn out. And the guards, well, the guards remembered their dead. Vila never even hoped they might protect him.

It wasn't too painful. Not much bleeding, and they didn't break any bones, just held him down. There weren't too many of them.

It wasn't as humiliating as it could've been. They left him lying, afterwards, under a shower turned all the way cold. But he managed to get up, and even had some clothes on again by the time Gan found him. Good old Gan. He was so shocked.

"It wasn't the first time," Vila told him, mumbling past a split lip. "Been in detention on and off since I was fourteen. Used to it." And he was almost crying (only almost), so Gan didn't ask questions, just helped him dress. Took him to his bunk and sat there on the floor next to him, rubbing his shoulder, and didn't pay any mind to the things the guards said. Sat there watching over him while he hid his face under the blankets and couldn't sleep.

It wasn't easy, someone touching him so soon after, even though Gan meant well. But Vila got used to it, little by little. It felt a bit like being safe.

It wasn't too bad.