A new generation of Heroes
Part X: Caring
I went inside and straight to the bathroom. After a quick break, I headed to the coffee machine and poured myself a cup, putting it into the microwave to heat up before taking out the milk from the fridge. I turned around the moment I closed the door and came face to face with Mace, almost bumping into their empty cup.
“Oh sorry.” I said, getting out of the way.
“It’s alright, they’re out of cola out back so I came to get a refill.”
I nodded and tended to my now warm coffee.
“Do you have a minute?” I asked after a moment of silence.
“Alright, well, it’s just that I wanted to apologize about earlier. I think I was rude and defensive when you were just asking an innocent question.”
“It’s alright, apology accepted.”
“Eh, thanks.” I said. That should have been it, but I couldn’t help but explain. “It’s just that I’m still recovering from my last relationship. And well, it’s kind of a complicated and long story actually.”
“Alright, did you want to talk about it?” He asked.
“Eh.” I said with a shrug. “It can’t hurt.”
He nodded and went on the other side of the counter, sitting on one of the stool where I joined him.
“Heh, where to begin?” I mumbled to myself.
“The beginning is a good start.”
“That’s true I guess. So, her name is Sheila and she’s my best friend.” I began. I saw his expression change at my words. “I’m bisexual.” I then clarified.
“Anyway, we’ve been friends since forever; she goes to the same Synagogue that I do and being one of the only other Black kids in an ashkenazi congregation, I got close to her really quickly and we’ve been BFF ever since. But then fast forward to three years ago when I came out as trans she was the nicest, most supportive person I knew. Oh, in case you haven’t noticed, I’m non-binary.”
“I’d been wondering about that…” He answered. “So, I don’t want to be weird… But how does that work? Like I’m not trying to diss you, I just want to understand.”
I shrugged. “I don’t know, it’s just how I feel inside. Some days I’m really comfortable with being a girl and with the body-type I have and others I feel terrible, like everything about my body is wrong and it disgusts me… When those days strike, making my appearance match my mental state makes it a lot more tolerable.”
“That explains it.” Mace said, their expression neutral.
“Anyway, about a year later Sheila came out to me as a lesbian and just like she’d been supportive I returned the favor. And then things got serious between us… She was my first partner, I was her first and we were happy together…At least until my head decided to get all messed up. I developed a crush on someone else, like it was just a stupid, meaningless crush toward someone I didn’t even really know. And it was like a switch flipped in my head. All of a sudden everything I did and thought was tainted, I felt bad whenever I looked at anyone else or spent time away from Sheila. Of course she noticed but in my paranoid mind her attempt at talking to me felt like she was judging and accusing me when I know she really wasn’t…”
As I spoke, Mace got up and took a few steps before coming back with a handful of paper tissues. I only realized why a moment later when I felt the tears roll down my cheek. I took the tissues and wiped my face clean.
“Are you alright?” He asked.
“What happened next?”
“Sheila broke up with me. She saw that being together was hurting me, even though it made her so happy so she let me go even though she loves me. And I love her too, but we’re just friends now… Well, I guess. We still do things, but ‘just as friends’ and it’s all so complicated…”
“Thank you… That’s why when you came to me earlier I snapped, it just mentally sent me back to those days.”
“You still like her, don’t you?”
“That’s the thing, I love her. But I also like you and I think I’m starting to like Sage too.” That seemed to surprise him. “I’ve always been like that; getting an endless barrage of crushes on people, never being able to only focus on one person…”
“That must be rough.” He said, he offered his arms and I gave him a quick hug.
“You have no idea…” I mumbled.
Before we could say any more, Jaime came in and sort of glared at us for some reason.
“Alright, I’ve got to go. I’ll see you around?” Mace said.
“Yeah, I should probably check on Sage, I wasn’t supposed to leave them for so long.” I answered.
With that, Mace got up, took a bottle of Cola before joining Jaime. On my end, I went back into the bathroom and found my make up a mess once more. Rather than fix it, I just used a pad to wipe my face clean. That done, I went outside and saw Ahti and Sage hanging by the buffet.
“What can you eat?” Sage asked.
“Not landmeat.” Ahti answered, I saw that Sage was a little lost so I came in to the rescue, putting some egg and tuna sandwiches on Ahti’s plate.
“Sorry, I took so long.” I said. Sage looked at me and frowned, but I wasn’t sure why. Maybe the lack of make up?
“Are you okay?” They whispered to me.
“Yeah.” I said with a dismissive wave. “Hey, you haven’t shown anyone your ability yet.” I then said, changing the subject. The last thing I wanted to bore them with was my failure of a love life…
“Oh yeah what is your power?” Ahti asked, really excited.
“Erm.” Sage intoned before taking a second to speak again. “Do you give me permission to use it?”
It was a rather odd request.
“Sure.” I said, not sure why I had to agree to it…
Sage bit their lip nervously before gently touching my cheek. I felt the power take hold immediately, it was like a current passed. I could feel them there, it was deeper than just a touch. Quickly, I was filled by a warm soothing and caring presence across my body. The conversation I’d had with Mace was still in my mind, but it didn’t hurt anymore.
“Did you just-” I began but couldn’t really find the words, leaving my mouth open.
“I can do a few odd things.” They said with a nervous laughter, understandable mental powers like they had were usually feared, but having experienced it, I knew they wouldn’t hurt anyone. “I mostly try to help people if they’re feeling sad like my Papa. I can also heal some physical injuries like my Mama.”
They broke the contact and slowly the effect dissipated, although the pain remained subsumed even the fibro pain remained gone…
“Wow, your power is actually useful. Color me jealous,” I murmured, still recovering.
“Not as useful as yours is in a fight,” Sage replied, holding their hands together in front of me awkwardly. I made a dismissive noise in the back of my throat.
I wasn’t all that happy with my powers; it was sort of limited… Sure, I could be really dangerous and dish out some damage, but that was it…
“I think everyone has nice powers,” Ahti said, Sage gave them a nice smile before looking back at me.
“It was okay for me to do that, right…?” They said, clearly worried.
“No, no, it was fine.” I answered.
“Oh, phew.” They said with a sigh.
The party went on, but my mind was still occupied with the memory of Sage’s power. It made my whole body hot and flustered, It had felt so intimate… Like touching their soul… And then seeing the care and goodness in it…
It was so strong, I couldn’t even get that mad when Allen unleashed the G-slur toward Jaeger, instead keeping Sage calm and composed.
It’d just been an experience beyond words…