Arthur knew his place at Camelot Academy.
Admittedly, as his father was the principal, he could only go two ways and either join those who ruled the place or be the most picked-on kid in school.
Arthur didn't do being picked on. He liked to be in with the popular kids, be at the top of the pile. He wasn't going to end up like that scrawny little new kid who was standing in the doorway of the classroom with nowhere to sit because the only free space was next to Valiant and nobody sat there. Not if they wanted to live. Valiant and Percy were the school rugby team Props and one was as intimidating as the other was gentle. Nobody messed with Valiant. If Arthur was prince at the school, then Valiant was the king.
The death glare Valiant was giving the kid told him as much, and Arthur could see him scanning the room, trying to find somewhere, anywhere else before the teacher noticed and did something about it. Something that would involve forcing him to sit in that empty chair beside the class thug.
Valiant would probably be anticipating it, looking forward to it. Arthur watched him flex his arms, cracking his knuckles meaningfully. The new kid was pale anyway, but Arthur was sure he lost what little colour he had when he saw that.
A faint smell of smoke always heralded the arrival of Mr Kilgharrah, even though smoking was completely banned on the academy grounds. He paused for a moment in the doorway, having little choice as the boy hadn't moved, then gave a little chuckle.
"Emrys. Hmm... where to put you... Knightley!"
Leon looked up. "Sir?"
"Go and sit with Black. Pendragon, you can help Emrys settle in."
Leon reluctantly gathered his things and moved them behind him to the empty seat beside Valiant. Arthur heard Valiant mutter something, but Leon was quick to snarl back and that was the end of it. Valiant wouldn't pick on someone who was going to fight back. Arthur though, he was getting the new boy. Great. He'd have to make sure the unpopularity didn't wear off.
Kilgharrah seemed happy enough. He ushered the tall, thin teenager towards the seat Leon had just vacated.
"Come along now, Pendragon's the principal's son, you two should get along nicely. Two sides of the same coin and all that." He chuckled to himself at whatever joke he thought he was making.
"Oh God, he'd better not mean that loser bats for your team," Valiant hissed at Arthur. "Another bloody gay to watch out for in the showers."
It was always a thin line with Valiant. Whereas Arthur's sexuality was largely accepted, Valiant was an ignorant thug and always would be. Arthur knew he was the one who needed to watch out. But being the match-winning fly half on the rugby team had so far kept him protected and esteemed by the rest of them. That and the fact Percy, Leon, Gwaine, Elyan and all the rest of them actually liked him. If it wasn't for that, he'd be dead meat. Valiant had already proved that with a couple of the other boys.
Emrys dumped his bag on the desk, sat down and then turned to face Valiant with a smile. "He means my mother is the new vice principal. But as for the other thing, you really don't need to worry," he beamed, reaching over to pat Valiant's hand. "I only go for attractive men. You're safe."
Arthur almost choked. Far from being nervous, Emrys obviously had a deathwish. From the look on Valiant's face, it was a wish that he was going to get granted.
Valiant snatched his hand away as if it had been burnt, and growled menacingly. "You'll pay for that Emmiss, or whatever your name is!"
Emrys just smirked, opened up his bag and started rummaging around inside it. He had his head almost completely inside, and must have turned on his phone or a small torch or something because Arthur swore he briefly saw a glow of golden light reflected within.
"Oh my God!"
Leon had jumped to his feet and was standing well away from his new desk, clutching his backpack and staring at the floor in horror where a puddle was slowly spreading under Valiant's chair and staining across his trousers.
Valiant had never looked so mortified. He leapt up from his seat and practically ran from the room, laughter and disgusted shrieks accompanying him in equal measure.
Emrys just sat back in his chair, smiling at Arthur as Mr Kilgharrah tried to maintain calm.
"Bullying's a pretty disgusting trait, don't you think?"
Arthur knew that somehow the boy next to him had caused what had just happened. He shifted in his chair, a little nervous himself now but determined not to show it.
"Vile. I'm Arthur."
With a name like that no wonder he knew a few tricks. But he was giving Arthur a friendly enough smile. Cute, slightly cheeky and confident. Arthur felt himself drawn to the boy.
"And just so you know, about what that creep said."
Arthur frowned, feeling a clench of fear. He hoped there wasn't going to be a homophobic snipe after all, or worse after what had just happened to Valiant. He'd briefly started to hope for a kindred spirit or possibly even something more.
"Not safe. Not at all." And his smile widened suggestively.