Summary: It occurs to Russel that CRDL's leader acts a little odd around JNPR's; Lark seems to think it's old news; and Dove doesn't really know or care.
The leaders of Teams CRDL and JNPR were fighting. Again. But rather than hunker down and try to ignore it this time, Russel Thrush was watching from the sidelines with a speculative expression on his face. Ever since Forever Fall, Cardin had stopped—and Russ hesitated in using this phrase for many reasons—“picking on” the blonde, and instead resorted to starting arguments that invariably degenerate into shouting matches. Like today, for instance, with both team leaders practically screaming at each other outside the doors of the dining hall.
It gave Russel an idea, though, and he decided to see what the other guys on the team thought about it. “So,” he ventured during a lull in the argument, and they could see Nikkos step in to try and mediate. “Have you guys noticed that when the boss is around Arc, he gets kinda…”
Russel trailed off, trying to find a good word for the happy-angry-smug-hurt-desperate-excitement that he’d only recently noticed in his leader, though looking back it had been there every time Jaune was near. He couldn’t find it, though, and frowned at his burger as if it had wronged him somehow. Fortunately, at least one other person seemed to understand what he was getting at.
“He’s peacocking,” Lark supplied in an oddly knowledgeable tone of voice, as if he knew a great deal about… whateverthehell that was. When the other two just stared at him blankly, the blue-haired boy continued. “It means that he’s trying to get somebody’s attention—back before the War, that meant wearing bright colors and stupid outfits, but we kinda do that anyway, so nowadays it means acting in a way that grabs attention.”
Dove looked vaguely disturbed—which turned into looking scandalized when Lark added “It’s a method of courting that male peacocks use to try to attract mates” with an evil glint in his eye—but all Russ could think was how much sense that made. Since their leader couldn’t physically make Arc pay attention to him anymore, he was being so obnoxious that even the mild-mannered blonde ended up shouting him down during class. This conclusion was cemented in his mind when the argument outside raised in pitch, making the rest of CRDL wince as one of their leader’s more... colorful slurs echoed throughout the room. People were staring now, completely unashamed in their curiosity.
“Um,” Dove a said, breaking the relative silence that had followed Lark’s explanation. “I thought ‘courting’ meant, like, flowers and holding the door and giving the girl—er, guy—compliments and stuff.”
Lark snorted into his juice, and Russ said “Yeah…” hesitantly. He didn’t want to bad-mouth their friend and leader, but—“I don’t think Cardin’s very good at this whole… courting… thing.”
He looked over to the other guys, who both nodded in agreement. Armed with this new and slightly disturbing knowledge of peacocking—not the least because it had the word “cock” in it, and they would be studiously avoiding any and all thoughts from now on about their leader and Arc… peacocking—their whole experience with Cardin at Beacon took on an entirely different light.
“Do you think we should… I dunno, help him out… or something?” Lark offered as the guys in questions rushed through the door, red-faced and breathing har, and bee-lined over to where their respective teams sat. Cardin threw himself onto the bench with a huff and glared harshly at the tabletop.
Without prompting, the others scrambled to donate a portion of their own meals to satisfy him and pushed an odd conglomeration of apple sauce, chicken nuggets, and chocolate milk toward their scowling leader. He gave them a weird look, but spat out a “Thanks” and took an unnecessarily vicious bite out of one of the nuggets. Russel looked at the other boys pointedly for several seconds before Lark shrugged and frantically nodded his assent. Dove just heaved a sigh and made a gesture that roughly equated to “If you must”.
“So, uh, Boss?” Russel began carefully. Cardin looked from the Beowolf-shaped poultry, which he’d been frowning at, to his teammate with a challenging expression. “We were, uh, thinking that you might want—”
“And, by ‘want’, we mean seriously need,” Lark cut in helpfully.
“Yeah, thanks, man,” Russ said, glaring at the blue-haired boy warningly before continuing. “We thought you might want a little help with the way you’re going about your, ah, courtship…”