Subject: "Hey, guys!"
Posted on: 2019-10-19 17:51:43 UTC

Henry Robinson approached the teenagers with a show of confidence he didn't quite feel. It had taken an effort on his part to get the costume he wanted this year, and now he was second-guessing it.

Going as a Spartan was a great idea on paper. They were cool, and he knew that because the coolest person he knew spoke of them in admiring terms. His mother, however, had resisted the idea for reasons that weren't at all clear to Henry. Not in so many words, but with a reserved demeanor and multiple alternative suggestions. He had insisted, though, so in the end she'd helped him put the ensemble together: leather sandals and skirts, a sword belt, a shield with painted lambda strapped across his back, and a bright red cloak over one shoulder. (No helmet; helmets were no good at parties.) Su, of course, had contributed, too, so the degree of historical accuracy was excellent. In addition, Henry had taken to growing out his hair this year, and it was almost down to his shoulders. A pair of thin plaits at his temples kept the fine black stuff out of his eyes. Green eyes, he knew, had been considered exotic and very fetching in ancient Greece. He wasn't sure that applied to boys, but on the other hand, why not?

The only problem was that he really didn't have the physique of a warrior. He was tall for his age (ten—nearly eleven!) and perpetually skinny. He had muscles, you couldn't learn to ride a horse and use a sword and shoot a bow without getting some muscles, but he was still just ten (nearly eleven), and even though he was growing taller quickly, he wasn't showing signs of starting to fill out any time soon. He was also naturally pale, and no amount of sun seemed to do more than make him temporarily pink.

Head Nurse Suzine had taken pity on him and donated her cosmetic skills to the cause of giving him a bit of bronzing and his stomach a bit of contouring, but he wasn't sure how good it really looked. Suzine always looked amazing, but that was just her face, and she usually went for a very feminine style. Sure, you could watch how to do anything on the Internet, but was that really enough?

He would just have to find out. The first rule of being a warrior was "never let the enemy see you sweat," and Henry reckoned that applied to people you wanted to like you, too.

So he walked right up to Stephanie and Owen, one hand resting on the hilt of his cardboard xiphos, and said hello. "Cool costumes!"

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