Okay, so, @the-strangest-th11ngs and I discussed this literally ages ago, and I wrote it ages ago, but forgot to post it lmao! Anyway, here’s this!
Troy Lockwell had always been a major douche in everyone’s eyes (except, perhaps, those of James Middle, who’d been his lackey ever since James proved he could take a punch and was stupid enough to encourage it). Those who feared him went out of their way to avoid him—something he prided himself on. Those who stood up to him stuck out like sore thumbs. Mike Wheeler had always been somewhere in the middle; just irritating enough to set Troy off, but not enough to really cause damage.
That hadn’t changed the fact that somewhere along the years Troy had formed a vendetta against him, ignited during that fateful November. Those careful beady eyes would follow Mike through the halls in school in the months after, lit with a fire that had not been stifled; kindled with a madness that would not let it die. But they hadn’t faced one another since, and Mike was fine with that. In those lonely months, the last thing he needed was a bully on his back.