Isaac loved the sounds the machines in the school's woodshop made. The fact that the place was always filled with sound comforted him. It was like a constant buzzing in his head that kept his mind from straying too far into unwanted territory. Presently, the laive in front of him was whirring excitedly, spinning the wood around at breakneck speed. Time always seemed to slip away from him when he worked in here. It was probably one of the reasons he spent so much time doing this kind of work.
"Hey! Didn't you say you have to be somewhere?" the voice was Alicia. Ally most called her. She ran the shop, unofficially, when the real student chaperone wasn't around. She was the only reason he could stay here as long as he did at night sometimes.
Looking up, the silver haired boy wiped sweat from his brow, and completely ignored the awed look Ally gave him as the laive came to a halt. Lots of girls looked at him like that when he was putting his muscles to use, but he hardly ever noticed or addressed the look. "Yeah, I'm just on my way out. Had some last minute touch ups to do on this." Isaac grinned as he pulled the baseball bat free of its metal trappings. It was far from perfect, but its recipient wouldn't care.
Turning from the flushed girl he tucked the bat into a canvas knapsack, which was stuffed with a few other wooden objects. When he pulled the backpack over his broad shoulders, the lengths of wood poked out over his shoulders like...the hilts of swords?
The reverberating sound of wood on wood greeted Isaac as he approached the orphanage. He knew the two boys outside swinging wooden swords at each other. The younger one with black hair's name was Dillan. The dirty-blond in the basketball jersey was Kyle. Each was only seven or eight years old. Isaac could never keep track.
As Isaac neared, one of the blond boy's swings came close to hitting Dillan in the face, but the black-haired boy ducked back out of the way.
"Woah now." Isaac caught the wooden blade of Kyle's sword "What's rule one?"
The boy look instantly abashed. In their fun, they hadn't noticed the Isaac's approach. "N-not in the face of the groin. I-If we fight, we fight fair." The boy eeked out. "It was an accident! I didn't mean to! Don't take my sword, please, Uncle Isaac."
Isaac sighed, releasing the sword and scratching his head. "How many times have I told you to call me 'Bro' instead of Uncle. I'm not that old, you know..."
"Yeah, you are! You're like an old man!" It was Dillan, resting his wooden sword over one small shoulder like some kind of kid show hero.
Isaac puffed out his cheeks. "Careful or I'll be the one aiming for your face!" Isaac replied in mock anger, crouching as though ready to strike. The motion caused both boys to flee into the building. Isaac followed, a grin of victory spread across his face. Victory and contentedness.
As he entered, a woman in dark jeans, auburn hair pulled back in a tight ponytail, was wiping her hands on her apron. Elizabeth was her name. One of the day time workers at the orphanage. She looked Isaac up and down before smiling faintly. Isaac thought she looked tired. "I was just about to call them inside for..."
"Lessons, yeah, I know." Isaac smiled easily. The girl led him down a hallway to the classroom, where he set his bag down and pulled out some tools. He set two more wooden swords down, as well as the baseball bat, before he pulled out what he was really looking for, a table leg, to replace one that was broken and falling off. It was the real reason he was here today - the actual thing he was getting paid for. "It's a good thing I came today, this thing might have fallen over and hurt someone." Isaac commented as he went to work unscrewing the broken leg.
"You're one to talk about them getting hurt when you bring them toy weapons." the comment was half joke, half true displeasure, but Isaac returned it with a soft smile.
"Kids hurt themselves, and others. It's what they do. They might as well be learning some discipline and sportsmanship while they do it." Isaac explained as he went to work. Out of the corner of his eye he saw a figure in the doorway. He knew who it was immediately, and turned.
Standing in the doorway was a young girl of about 13-14. Her blond hair was tucked up into her ball cap, a few strands falling out here and there to cover her right eye. The young girl walked into the room toward Isaac. In her eyes was a mix of bashfulness and determination. A look Isaac was familiar with. "You promised."
Standing a little behind where Isaac was seated on the floor, Elizabeth sighed. "This isn't your classroom, Tamsin."
Isaac sighed, looking back with a rueful smile. "I did promise, didn't I?" he reached behind himself and pulled out the Baseball bat and presented it to her. Her eyes widened in surprise, a blush coloring her cheeks.
Isaac laughed. "No, this isn't what I promised. You'll get that after you finish all your classes. This is because I know what day it is. Happy Birthday, Tam."
The girl held the wooden object to her chest and nodded. "Thank you, Uncle Isaac." she replied, and turned to leave the room.
"Ah, man, not her too. We're only like 4 years apart!" Isaac lamented, flopping down onto his back and looking up at the ceiling.
"Are you going to finish with that? There's a class starting in a few minutes." Elizabeth remarked, clearing her throat.
"Right! Yes! Absolutely!" Isaac hopped back up and got back to his task.
"It'd be nice if one day, when you settle down, you could adopt one of them." She remarked, with a more somber tone this time.
Isaac could hear the sounds of children's voices in the distance through the thin walls. "In another life, that may have been possible. But you know my road doesn't end with family."
After the morning classes were through, Tamsin found Isaac reclining in the grass in the back yard. She didn't have to say anything. He knew why she'd come. He'd waited for her. As she walked over to him he sat up on his palms, tossed the canvas bag to her. She caught it deftly with one hand, and pulled out It's contents. It was a hard wooden sword. Longer and better made than the ones the boys played with. There weren't any other kids her age who wanted to play with swords, and in fairness, she didn't really want to "play" with them either. Her wish was more practical.
When Isaac stood and faced her, he was holding a wooden sword of his own. "What's rule one?" he asked with a more engaged and excited smile.
Tamsin smiled slightly as she looked down at the wooden blade. "Never hold anything back!" she replied, and charged him.