A new generation of heroes
Part XI: Complicated
Once Allen and Jaeger left, the rest of the party slowed down. I noted Sanjay had snuck out and the others hung out with their friends; Annabelle with Tyler and Amber, Caroline and Charlie, Yougen was talking to a surprisingly visible Yikaru who seemed a little lost at the party. Although Ahti hung with us for a few minutes, they eventually went to be with Rowan.
It got dark soon after so we retreated inside, Sage looked like they were about to drop dead and so they went upstairs to get some PJs before going down to change. So I did the same, getting everything I needed from my room.
I reached out for the bathroom door’s handle only for the door open from the inside. The door swung open and I saw Allen, just staring at me for a second, looking a bit tense, before he just left. Just behind him was Sage, toothbrush still in hand.
“Are you okay? He didn’t try to hurt you or anything did he?” I asked frowning.
“No, he was apologising,”Sage said, coming out of the bathroom, shutting the door behind them and leaning against the common room’s wall.
“Wait, are pigs flying?” I asked, making them laugh out.
“I broke my own rule and checked his mind. He meant it at least.” They said looking away from me and at their feet, clearly ashamed of having done so.
“I don’t blame you. He’s caused a lot of trouble in just one day of being here.” I shrugged. Although mind reading wasn’t the coolest thing to do, Sage’s safety and comfort was miles above Allen’s right to privacy in terms of priorities..
“I should probably go to sleep.” They said.
“You know, if you ever wanted a time out from Allen, you could crash on the floor in my room. I don’t think Rowan would mind if I asked them in advance…” I offered, feeling my chest tighten a little… Although I’d said floor, I was A-okay with letting them sleep with me in the bed, but didn’t want to make it awkward…
Still Sage gave me a bit of an absent smile, seemingly lost in their thoughts for a minute.
“Thanks, but I’ll be fine I think. I might take you up on that offer later though,” They answered.
“I’ll maintain an open door policy for you.” I answered a little too quickly, I really hoped I hadn’t sounded too forward with that.
“Goodnight Allison,” They said.
There was a short moment of nothing before I got myself to step forward, reaching for Sage and hugging them. They hugged back and it wasn’t just a simple hi/bye hug, rather it was like neither of us wanted to let go.
“Goodnight.” I said, finally letting go of them.
Sage went back into their room and I went to change quickly before practically running to mine. I didn’t lie down or anything, instead I just stared through the window at nothing, forehead pressed against the glass. My brain simultaneously worked in overdrive while being at a complete standstill.
I’d known Sage for only about five hours and yet I was pretty sure I was stupidly crushing on them… Then there was also Mace who was chill and all, but I didn’t know what I felt about him and there was also Sheila, the girl I loved, waiting for me back home.
Worst of all, I had no earthly clue what in G-d’s holy name that I wanted… At that moment, I felt so lonely. I took out my phone, looking at my contact list. It wasn’t a big one; My dad, Tyrone and Sheila at the top followed by a few school and synagogue friends.
I wanted to talk to someone, get my head in order, but I couldn’t bring myself to hit dial.
“Are you alright?” Rowan asked, coming into the room almost as if fate had answered me.
“Yeah… My brain’s just not cooperating tonight.” I said.
“Oh okay.” They said with suspicion.
“I’m going to lie down. Goodnight Rowan.”
Even with my head all twisted and full of confusing feelings and thoughts, I slept like a baby that night and woke up much later than usual. For once I was feeling well rested. The after effect of Sage’s power had faded by morning, but the memory of it was still fresh.
I came out of my room into a busy common room, the others hanging about, Sage however was nowhere to be seen. There was a massive pile of pancakes that had been left on the hot plate and I served myself quickly, also chugging down coffee to get my brain working.
“Is Sage up?” I asked Yougen who was enjoying a cup of tea.
“Yeah, I saw them earlier, not sure where they are.”
My breakfast done but more coffee in hand, I got up and searched the house, I went to their bedroom first but got no answer. In the end, I found Sage in the sunroom, sitting on one of the big comfy couches I saw that they had their phone out and were talking to someone, although I couldn’t hear the words from behind the glass door. And then there was Ahti hiding out and watching them.
“What are you doing?” I asked them.
Ahti made a ‘Krrriiisshh’ sound in surprise, freezing up for a moment before turning my way still obviously surprised. When they did, I could see the spit glands at the side of their mouth opened up.
“Sorry, didn’t mean to scare you.”
“Is Sage going to be okay?” They asked out of the blues, clearly worried. “They fell and hurt their leg and then they left but they said they have this sickness and it made them fall… Are they going to–” They kept talking, really quickly and getting visibly upset.
“Woah, calm down little guy.” I said putting a hand on their shoulder. “I’m sure they’re going to be alright. I’m going to check up on them and if they aren’t I’ll bring them straight to doctor Sij, is that going to be alright?”
Ahti nodded and I took another look in. Sage had apparently finished their phone call so I knocked on the glass. Sage turned my way and motioned for me to get inside.
“Good morning.” I said with a smile, sitting next to them and putting my coffee on the nearby table.
“Hey. Late sleeper?”
“Not usually, my fibro usually kills me awake early.”
“Ouch, that has to suck. How are you right now, not too much pain?”
“I’m alright, I’m surprised you know what that is.”
“I do volunteer work at my mom’s clinic, I’m not really supposed to say, but there’s a client who also has it.”
I nodded. Processing the information. Sage knowing what fibromyalgia was saved me the need to explain what it was and that you couldn’t just happy thoughts it out of existence.
“I’m disabled too; Narcolepsy.”
“That explains what happened. You really got Ahti really worried, you know. They were spying on you.” I said. I knew a little about narcolepsy, having read up quite a bit on other disabilities.
“Did you hurt yourself?”
“Just some minor bruising, I’ll be alright.”
“Ahti will be happy to hear that. They wanted you to see a doctor.”
“They’re really that scared?” Sage said, their eyes widened.
“Well, Itharii are actually a lot less enduring than humans, what is just a minor injury for us is far more dangerous to them, they also heal much more slowly. I’m not sure Ahti knows that we’re tougher than them.” Unlike humans who’d evolved as endurance predators, Itharii were more like leopards; fast (aquatic in their case) sprinters but they weren’t built for endurance.
“You know a lot about Itharii.”
“Yeah, my little brother’s in love with them, they’re one of his special interests and he loves to info-dump every bit of trivia he knows. It’s really cute and informative.”
“You have a brother? What’s his name?”
“Tyrone Chasdiel Walker, he’s eleven.”
“That’s quite the name.” They said with a chuckle.
“Well, my full name is actually Allison Avital Walker, mom wanted us to have Hebrew names too.”
“Ah, I’m just plain old Sage. So, do you have any other siblings?”
“No, just the two of us. What about you?”
“No, I’m a single child.”
“That’s a shame, you’re missing out on the totally awesome experience of having your little sib steal your stuff and then making you to be the bad one when they tell on your parents because you won’t share.” I loved Tyrone to death, but he was still four years younger than I was, sibling squats was a thing that happened.
“Such a shame.” They said with a smile.
“Maybe I can lend him to you for a week.”
“Nope, I’ll pass.”
“Aww, shucks.” I said faking a pout.
Since there was still plenty of time before the start of class, we kept talking and having fun. Although I tried not to think too much of what had happened the night before.