Part VI: Family Secrets
When I woke up Sage was snoring softly. I showered and dressed quietly, mentally preparing for the rest of this day. I knew I needed to apologise to Jaeger but how I was going to do that I wasn’t sure. I know I’ve offended others in the class but I doubt they’ll make themselves known to me. I guessed that Sage and Allison were not the only transgender people in our class. I walked downstairs and noted the breakfast made up, I wasn’t that hungry though. Jaegers eyes immediately rested on me and I froze for a moment at his glare. I grabbed a slice of toast and, fighting the urge to gulp and run back upstairs, sat on the sofa next to Jaeger and Sanjay. There was a moment of silence which Sanjay thankfully interrupted.
“Want to join me for a run?” he asked Jaeger.
“Uh, I would but I need to go see the doc in this place,” He answered, glancing at his tablet briefly.
“Me too,” I jumped in.
“Good for you,” Jaeger nearly growled. Casual conversation was going to be difficult, but I knew that would be likely.
“I’ve been there before. It’ll save you time getting lost if we go together,” I added, hoping the offer might alleviate some of what had happened yesterday.
“I don’t get lost easily. I could just search out the place with medical equipment with echolocation if i had an issue following signs,” Jaeger shrugged.
“Woah, that’s cool,” I replied without thinking. So far everyone seemed to have a useful ability, or at least one that had more purpose to it than hurting people. Sanjay excused himself then to go running. Jaeger quickly left after that. I bit my lip and followed. We had barely the house when he turned to confront me.
“Allen, in case it’s not obvious I do not want you anywhere near me.You’re an offensive shit to be frank,” he said, sounding tired. I couldn’t help shrinking at his words.
“I know, I’m sorry. I’m working on it,” I murmured, hoping he’d accept my apology. Instead he made a noncommittal noise and turned to keep walking.
“I ain’t forgiving you anytime soon,” he said. I opened my mouth to push but he kept talking. “But I won’t stop you following me to the doctor, it’s a free world after all. Just don’t try to talk to me.” I let out a small sigh and followed him. The academy grounds looked the same as yesterday, although it was nice to take it all in with a less panic-stricken mindset. When we reached the waiting room silence quickly descended again.
“I really am sorry,” I said, well aware he might, and would have every right to, yell at me. I was still dimly aware that he was something unnatural but chimeras were made, so in a way the sin was someone else’s. Jaeger had no say in the matter. I tried not to think about how I justified myself or the others with mutations.
“Sorry would’ve worked the first time, but i had already told you not to use the G slur before the party,” he muttered, clearly bored of the conversation.
“I know, I’m not going to try to make any excuses. All I can do is say sorry and I won’t do it again,” I replied.
“And what about Ahti?” he threw back, surprising me. “Do you plan on giving them trouble because they’re an alien?” I hadn’t really considered what to do regarding Ahti. Truthfully the idea of interacting with it left me feeling a little sickened, but no one else had an issue with the creature. Speaking of terrifying aliens, the doctor from yesterday appeared. I tightened my grip on the armrests and mentally readied myself. I tried asking Jaeger to come with me but all he did was mock my fear. I guess I shouldn’t have expected anything else as a response. Sij looked exactly as I recalled, two sets of creepy cat-like eyes included. I sat down, fighting the desire to run from the room. I knew logically I wasn’t in danger, an academy wouldn’t employ something dangerous to treat their students.
“I understand you’re struggling to settle in. I just wanted to say now that my door is always open if you need to talk. I am a trained therapist as well as a doctor,” she explained. I didn’t think it would be very tactful of me to talk about my inner freak outs from aliens.
“I hope that over time you will feel more comfortable and safe in my presence, but I understand this must be overwhelming for you. I just need to run some of the same tests I did yesterday to ensure there was no effect on yourself from using your power,” she continued, surprising me a little. Was I being that obvious? I don’t know why but her continued professionalism made it easier for me to relax. I followed her instructions, relieved she was letting me do stuff as opposed to her touching me. Although I couldn’t take my own blood with a needle. She instructed me to hold a cotton swab to the injection site and let me put on the plaster on afterwards.
“I took a look through your medical history. In case you didn’t know Ravenhold is very inclusive of all LGBTQI individuals so never feel embarrassed to discuss anything related to your condition to me,” Sij said afterward. I frowned at her and she paused, taking in my confusion before extrapolating. “You have Klinefelter Syndrome, correct? I have the dosing information for your future injections.”
“Oh, that? I don’t really know much about it. Mum spoke to the doctors when they found it and sorted out the injections when I hit puberty,” I shrugged.
“Ah, I see,” she said. “Klinefelter Syndrome is a type of intersex condition.” I stared at her blankly and she spoke further. I listened as she explained what intersex meant, that it was considered a part of the wider gay community as intersex individuals can encounter similar barriers to others in the community. When she finished speaking my neck hurt from nodding on habit. I was still trying to process the information when I thanked her and left. Jaeger as talking to someone who left upon my arrival. Jaeger told me they were the raven and I managed a reaction.
When I walked into homeroom I searched more on my tablet as opposed to my planned lesson. Why had Mum never told me all of this other information? I had began struggling at school as a child which had led to extensive tests and discovering this. I had been too young to really listen when the doctor explained it to her, but I remember her insisting I overcome my fear of needles and get injections. I’d gotten so used to them I’d never wondered the why. Sij explaining the mix of secondary sex characteristics suddenly answered why she had been so frantic I start them.
The bell ringing shook me from my thoughts. I shut down the webpage I had been ringing and followed the others to the cafeteria. I didn’t even care if any of them were glaring at me, although to be honest they seemed more interested in their own lives than mine. Which I couldn’t blame them for. Would their attitude towards them change if they learned about this? Did I ever want someone to learn about this? I’d never thought about children but suddenly I now knew having them would be difficult.
A further rude awakening came in the form of a teacher turning up. He was dressed in dark grey and black armoured clothing with a bird-like mask and red goggles. A cape, utility belt and metal staff also stood out.
“Class three of year one. It’s nice to see you’re all assembled here, that makes everything easier.” He declared. “Some of you have had the luxury of skipping our first class. I believe it’s time we rectify this.” I glanced at the others, seeing a mix of confusion and worry.
“What class is that?” I asked, surprising the others.
“Follow me. It’s time to test out how strong you newbies are,” he answered. I assumed from that some kind of combat class. I glanced at Sage and Jaeger who both stood up. Allison joined as well for some reason. Outside his cape moved in the light breeze as he walked ahead of us. We reached a large grass area, shaded by trees.
“My name is the Rook, it’s my job to make sure you all prepared to fight villains.” I nodded, realising I was a few steps ahead of the others. Apparently the others had followed out of curiosity. “A volunteer?” he joked.
“I don’t have any weapons,” I replied. I glanced behind me but no one seemed interested in helping me out. “Right,” I murmured.
The Rook rested his staff against a nearby tree. I somehow suspected that didn’t even the odds much. The last time I had fought someone had been when I was nine in the school playground. It had been a draw on account of teachers splitting us up. He gestured for me to make the first move. I rushed him, aiming to punch him. The world became a blur, pain flaring as my back collided with the ground. Soft grass didn’t help much when you were flipped and thrown down with force.
“Do you yield?” he asked.
I pulled myself up a little and tried to kick his legs out from under him. He easily avoided this attempt grabbed my leg, dragging me into the air so I was hanging upside down. I muttered a curse, flailing uselessly. My fist connected with the back of his knee and he dropped me in an ungainly heap. I contemplated trying to use my power, but the thought of it going out of control and hurting anyone stopped me. Screw this I thought.
“I yield,” I muttered.