On The Roof

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  • Published: 21 Jun 2018
  • Updated: 21 Jun 2018
  • Status: Complete
Sparrow and Hawk have a little system.


1. Oneshot


“All the stars are closer up here,” Sparrow commented. Her twin brother, Hawk, grinned at her. “Well, breaking the law is a hell of a lot more fun when there’s a view.”


“You are so insufferable, but I have to hand it to you. You know how to plan a view.” Sparrow climbed up the rattling shingles of the roof and stood on the apex of the triangular prism. “This is a terrible place to act out the king of the world scene from Titanic!” Hawk yelled. The wind whipped around Sparrow as she threw out her hands and let herself be carried away.


“Soon enough you’ll have to come down,” Hawk called over the wind. He had to admit, it was a great look for Sparrow. Her long hair whipped around her and she looked like the sketches in his book; like a goddess of the air, like she would be blown away at any moment so she was taking it all in while she could. It was kind of how she embraced life. With a passion that she didn’t show. Like she was focused on a goal nobody could see.


Suddenly, her foot slipped. Sliding down the slick shingles of the roof, she clamped her mouth together so that she wouldn’t scream. If she gave away that they were on the roof or woke up Papa, it would all be over. She grabbed the gutter that separated her from death and hung limply, the wind battering her form.


The house was three floors high, and they were at the very top. If she were to fall, she would die or be paralyzed for life. “Hang on, Sparrow!” Hawk hissed, clambering down the roof while trying not to fall. “I’m okay, I’ve got it,” Sparrow insisted, and started to pull herself up. The rain gutter lining the roof creaked alarmingly, and Sparrow threw her leg over the edge of the roof. She dug her short, ragged nails into the cheap sandy texture of the shingles and pulled herself up the rest of the way.


Hawk released a breath he hadn’t known he was holding and grabbed Sparrow’s outstretched hand, pulling her up to the safer point of the roof. They both sat there for a minute, gazing at the stars.


“I- I wasn’t afraid,” Sparrow claimed, cheeks flushed and chest heaving from the adrenaline and panic of being so close to death. “Well, we won’t be trying that anytime soon,” Hawk breathed.

They both laughed, and the bond between twins was made even stronger.


“We have school tomorrow,” Sparrow said. “Yep,” Hawk muttered. “The first year of school since you’ve come out,” Sparrow commented. “I know,” Hawk snapped. “It’ll be okay,” Sparrow told him, her eyes large and serious. “I’ll protect you.” She ruffled his hair comfortingly.


Hawk blinked away worried tears. “I’ll be fine,” he said again. “I don’t need my younger sister to protect me.”


Sparrow drew away a bit, looking hurt. “Hey, I just had a near-death experience. I don’t need you sass.” Hawk looked mockingly scandalized. “Sass? I would never sass one as powerful as you, Your Majesty,” he snickered. “Oh, shut up,” Sparrow said, shoving his shoulder. “Now let’s get down– using the ladder this time,” Hawk taunted. Sparrow rolled her eyes. I promise you, I will never let anything bad happen to us, she thought fiercely.








Sparrow’s long black-brown waves were tied back into a neat ponytail. Her eyes were lined in thick black eyeliner, her lids smeared with bullet-grey shadow. She added some dark red lipstick and decided she was ready.


She walked down the stairs to the kitchen, grinning at the smell of eggs. “Wow,” commented Hawk. “The dress and the Doc Martens are a good look for you.” “Thanks. I like the sweater,” Sparrow told him. They both smiled at each other.


“Are you going out dressed like that?” asked Papa threateningly. He was sitting at the kitchen table drinking a veritable jug of coffee. “Yes,” Sparrow said cautiously, edging towards the door, prepared to run. “Take some pepper spray, honey. Remember your lessons,” he told her.


Good. He wasn’t drunk. “Hey, Papa? Can I taste your coffee?” asked Hawk. Sparrow narrowed her eyes with suspicion. He walked forward, not waiting for an answer, and took a sip of it. “Is it safe?” Sparrow mouthed. “No,” said Hawk, all pretenses of being covert about stopping the raging drunk that was their father gone.


“Hey- hey! What do you think you’re doing!” thundered Papa, slamming his fist down on the table. “Helping you,” Hawk snapped. He dumped the giant mug of liquor- laced coffee down the kitchen sink.


“I am your father, and I think I deserve a bit of respect!” yelled their dad, standing up unsteadily.

“No, you’re not our father anymore,” snapped Sparrow. “You stopped being our father–” “And you stopped deserving any measure of respect–,”Hawk added–“When alcohol became your first priority,” Sparrow finished.


“I’m your- your motherfucking father!” shouted Arlonzo Cage, lunging at his son. His drunken fist hit home, slamming into Hawk’s face. Sparrow shouted something obscene and ran at Cage, shoving him away from Hawk and screaming at him.


Hawk pulled her away and they both ran out the door, breathing heavily. “I- I can’t believe he hit you,” snarled Sparrow. “I’ll fucking beat his face off,” she screamed. Hawk hugged her tight. “You- you’re bleeding,” she sniffled.


“Don’t cry, you’ll ruin your makeup.” Hawk let go of her and glared into her eyes. “He may be a douchebag, but so are foster homes. He’s our only choice of home.” Sparrow shook her head. “When did you get so much taller than me?” she asked brokenly.


“When you got short,” Hawk murmured. “Come on, we’re going to be late,” Sparrow said briskly, wiping stray strands of hair off her face and taking a deep breath. “I cannot believe that you are thinking about that now, of all times,” Hawk told her.







They got to their first period (Algebra for Sparrow, English for Hawk) exactly when the bell rang, both having to clean up after the ordeal. “Miss Cage, would you like to explain why you were late today?” the teacher, Mr. Roney, demanded. “It’s Glisset, not Cage,” Sparrow snarled, switching to her mother’s maiden name. “No, it says Cage on the attendance form,” insisted Mr. Roney.


Sparrow glared at him. “If you have a complaint, may I suggest you take it up with the front office?” he suggested, blissfully oblivious. “I swear to god you little weasel, I will rip out your tongue and nail it to the wall, she whispered. “What was that?” Mr. Roney asked.


“Nothing, I’m fine,” Sparrow gritted out. She took her seat. “Dumbass bitch,” whispered a guy sitting next to her to the boy behind him. Sparrow rolled her eyes and was silent for the rest of her class.


After hours of torturous classes, it was finally lunch. Sparrow entered the lunchroom and saw her brother immediately, already making friends with the artistic group sitting at one of the round tables in the far corner. She strode through the cafeteria, ignoring the gazes around her–spanning from disgust to lecherous–and sat down next to him. “Hi, Sparrow,” Hawk chirped. “Hey guys, this is my twin Sparrow,” he told the rest of the group. Six people sat at the table besides the twins, four girls and two guys.


They all greeted her with varying levels of cheerfulness. She put her hand on Hawk’s knee and he slid a piece of paper into her hand. “Well, I need to go take care of some schoolwork. See you guys later,” Sparrow said with a wave. She grabbed her computer bag and strode towards the student lounge.


Sitting down on one of the uncomfortable sofas, she began her mission. She typed in the name of her high school in the search bar and hit enter. She opened the slip of paper and her eyes widened at the seven names. One was a very popular jock. Hmmm.


Sparrow hacked into the student database and typed in each of the names, one by one, memorizing the face and history of each student. Then, she emailed a contact with the names.


S: Get me some dirt on these kids, ok?

Anon: Sure. Regular price. 


 The list was almost all guys, but one was a girl. The seven students were:


Anna Taylor, president of the Mathletes,

Jason Gonzales, lacrosse player,

Hector Bell, very popular jock and total gigolo (in Sparrow’s opinion),

Beckett Farmer, not particularly sporty or popular,

Levine MacSlate, theatre nerd,

Ben Prettle, computer kid,

and Aaron Queza.


The computer dinged. Sparrow grinned at her inbox. Everyone has a secret. It’s just a matter of finding it. She tracked down Anna first, knowing that she’d be in the bleachers taking notes. “Hey, Anna,” she acknowledged as she passed her. Sparrow paused, as if she’d had an important thought. “Actually, I have something to talk to you about.”


“Yeah?” Anna asked, looking up warily. Sparrow walked up to her and sat next to her. She saw Anna tense. “Lay a single finger or talk shit to my brother ever again, and some unfortunate emails sent to Mr. Hackle about grades–and what you offered him in return for good ones–will be posted all over social media. Good luck with college after that,” whispered Sparrow. “Why are you doing this?” Anna demanded, looking shell-shocked.


“Because I love one thing, and that is my brother. And because it’s fun seeing the face of someone right under my thumb.” Sparrow’s minty breath was hot on Anna’s ear. Anna got up and walked away as fast as she could. “I won’t ever go near him again. You’re crazy! You both are!” she yelled.


Sparrow smiled. One down. The fun thing was, after the first few, word got around. Soon, people around the school would stop their homophobic remarks and punches altogether, and Sparrow could be happy.


Next up, Levine MacSlate. Levine was easy, because every lunch he went to the same place. The auditorium. Sparrow checked her phone. She had ten minutes to complete this one, but she was pretty sure it would go fast. After all, Levine had the backbone of a rat. It snapped when the cat got too close.


Sparrow smiled at Levine enticingly. He sat in one of the cheap metal auditorium chairs. She took the one next to him. “Hi there, MacSlate. Congratulations on the lead role in Shrek.” “T-thanks,” he stammered, smiling vapidly. “Might not keep it, though,” she murmured. “What?” Levine demanded. Poor, idiotic, homophobic Levine. “You see, there’s some very interesting footage of you snorting cocaine. Want to tell me about that?”


Levine turned white. “It was only once,” he insisted. “I was pressured into it, and it was late and I had been drinking–oh shit that was a dumb thing to say, and–” “Well, as it turns out, Levine, the footage didn’t actually exist,” Sparrow said sympathetically. “It was just an assumption. But now there is some footage, of you admitting to it. Oh, the magic of technology,” she sang.


“You have no proof that it’s me. After all, it’s just a recording,” he said triumphantly. “Okay, one, you must be on drugs right now if you’re that stupid. You didn’t interject when I called you MacSlate or Levine. Also, I took a video, not a recording. So it got your face admitting to it. Stay away from my brother, dumbass. Or else you might lose your leading role–and your reputation, and your money, and your current lifestyle.” Sparrow smiled sweetly and left the room, hips swaying.


The second the auditorium door closed behind her, she broke into a sprint. She was going to be late for her next class!







“And now, your valedictorian of this year, Sparrow Cage-Glisset!”


Sparrow strode out onto the stage looking pleased as punch. “Thank you, thank you,” she said into the mic. She waited for the cheers to calm down. “These past years have been very hard for me and my brother, but the lovely academic and social programs at this school have helped me overcome my insecurities. I have done my best to eliminate bullying and homophobia in my position as Student Council President…” she caught Hawk’s eye and winked.


“...And I look forward to what I’ll accomplish with the skills this school has presented me with!” Sparrow finished with a broad, saintlike grin. To the students, though, she was a snake. She was the cat that had caught the mouse, and everything was right under her thumb.


And for years to come the students will tell stories of Sparrow and Hawk, the team that single handedly eliminated all bullying–for a price, that is.


Sparrow is currently the CEO of Cage-Glisset Industries, one of the most successful tech companies in the world. The employees whisper reverently about how whenever she goes to negotiate, she always comes out on top.


Hawk is a stay-at-home dad, married with three kids to the successful entrepreneur Jacob Welsh. Although he spends most of his time away from working, many kids have found great new homes through his social worker’s line.


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