The Wayward Son
Part VIII: A Clingy Batboy
I was woken up early in the morning by a loud bang. I jumped out of bed only to see Jaeger sprawled on the floor, back on the ground but their legs still partially hanging from the ledge of his bed. His shirt had fallen down to his shoulder revealing some rather worrisome but faded scars on his chest…
“Are you okay?” I asked.
“Fine,” He said, not too terribly convincingly before getting up and taking some clothes from his closet. “I need a shower.” Like that, he left me alone.
It was late enough that I stayed up, being only a few minutes before my usual wakeup time so I just got up, put some joggers and headed for the kitchen where some of the others were already awake. I got myself a cup of tea and toasts. Caroline had made pancakes but I declined them.
I went to sit on the couch soon joined by Annabelle and Amber, and absently watched the morning news which was mostly preoccupied with floodings in the south and the upcoming elections.
A few minutes Jaeger came to sit beside me, wearing blacks jeans, a gray t-shirt and an unbuttoned red shirt over it. Even with the shower, he still looked quite preoccupied.
“You okay?” I asked.
“Fine.” He answered defensively.
“Well, let me know if you want to talk,” I offered.
“Wird nicht passieren.” He muttered, defaulting to his native German. I might not have known German but it didn’t take a genius to know it meant no.
At that moment, Allen walked into the room and Jaeger’s gaze was filled with murderous thoughts. Despite the obvious dislike Jaeger had for him, Allen opted to sit down beside him. By the way Jaeger unconsciously seemed to tense, I knew one of them would likely end with a broken bone by the end of the morning if nobody did anything.
“Want to join me for a run?” I offered as an escape door for Jaeger.
“Uh, I would but I need to go see the doc in this place,” He answered.
“Me too,” Allen said, apparently oblivious to the fact it was in his best interest to stay as bloody far away as he could from Jaeger.
“Good for you.” Jaeger said, his voice positively dripping with sarcasm.
“I’ve been there before. It’ll save you time getting lost if we go together,” Allen offered.
“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 said, mentioning what I presumed was one of his abilities.
“Woah, that’s cool.” Allen said, eyes wide.
Apparently Allen was the type who needed a giant ‘fuck off’ neon sign before he’d get the clue that Jaeger didn’t want him around.
“Well, I better go run. Hope all goes well with the doctor.” I said, finishing my tea cup and getting up.
I went on a run alone, going the same path that I’d picked. As boring as it was, I liked routine. Although I did not stop within the hall of heroes that time. I came back home and showered before taking care of my daily prayers and meditations.
When Homeroom came about, Mr. Martin had hooked me up with a selection of college level courses of different subject matters as we’d discussed. Rather than waste time doing something ‘educational’ I popped the basic aeronautics class and began reading. Jaeger joined me, taking the seat beside me.
“Hey, how did the doctor’s appointment go?” I asked.
“Good.” Jaeger replied, switching his own tablet on. It didn’t take long for Jaeger to need some help with some maths problems. Although I didn’t mention it, I couldn’t help but notice that he were struggling with middle-school level mathematics even though he was clearly around my own age.
I didn’t mind helping them though, it was less of a waste of my time than the curriculum I’d picked. After all, I would actually do something productive with Jaeger.
“What’s our next class after lunch?” Jaeger asked once Homeroom ended.
“Science,” I said, checking our schedule as we headed for the cafeteria, where Jaeger kept following me like I was his safety buoy. I lined up to get a veggie submarine sandwich and Jaeger even ordered the same.
I saw that the others were all together, save for Annabelle and Amber who were mysteriously missing. And headed toward them rather than be left with the clingy batboy outside. After a few minutes, I saw the Rook make his way through the cafeteria clearly on the lookout for something or someone.
That something was us as he stopped right at our table.
“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 couldn’t help but give Jaeger a worried look. The Rook’s Ravenhold welcome wasn’t any fun. Those who hadn’t had the chance to face him got up and followed him outside, themselves followed by the rest of the class. I admit, we were curious as to how they would perform.
We arrived to flat patch of grass with the occasional tree here and there which became the battlefield.
Allen went first, getting utterly crushed in record time as they had no weapons and didn’t use any noticeable parahuman ability. Next to me, I could see Jaeger look a little too satisfied with Allen’s fate.
Sage went next, Charlie giving them her utility belt which she carried hidden under her coat. They did not do so well but at least managing some impressive dodging. The Rook held them in a chokehold when Allison intervened, breaking them out. Like that, Allison’s turn began and they were terrifying to say the least.
Allison was powerful, nigh unstoppable. Ignoring bombs and blades thrown at them which just disintegrated as they hit the plasma form they transformed into. Their attacks could vaporize wood and left the ground charred where the bolts landed. It was only by a stroke of luck that the Rook won, using one of Charlie’s foam charge that they’d stolen from Sage which caused Allison to transform back.
“Does anyone have a gun?” Jaeger asked when his turn came.
I could see the others look at him like he’d said something odd. It took me a second to remember the device I’d made in the hotel room.
“I only have a laser one.” I said, taking it out and handing it to him.
I made sure to explain how it worked and that he’d have to replace the microfusion cell every three shot. The weapon’s performance was pretty abysmal, but it was simply an improvised prototype.
Jaeger’s fight was different from the others, more brutal and visceral. Both he and the Rook scoring some good hit. Even though my laser blaster was inaccurate due to its design, Jaeger seemed to have no issue landing a shot which filled the air with the smell of burnt flesh…
Jaeger was not lightweight when it came to holding his own in a fight; fast on his feet, quick to act and react and improvising well; even using the Rook’s costume against him. Although the Rook came out on top, both figuratively and literally, it hadn’t been the clean victory he’d had against so many of us.
Jaeger was good, scary good. It wasn’t the type of performance you put up without going through some serious scraps. The scars I’d seen in the morning came to mind. Something told me he wasn’t just another hopeful wanting to play with the heroes like many of the others…
Once Jaeger surrendered, The Rook quickly left and I went to Jaeger’s side, flanked by the others.
“You okay?” I asked for the thousandth time that day.
In answer Jaeger simply rolled their eyes and pushed themselves to a sitting position, visibly pained by the move.
“We should take you to Doc Venus,” Charlie said to Jaeger.
Jaeger nodded and tried to get on his feet alone but he was about to topple over so I caught him by his good arm and helped him up.
“Danke.” Jaeger whispered.
We started walking and several of the others followed, including Charlie, Caroline and Ahti. Which seemed to weird Jaeger out as they looked at me for an answer as to what to do, which I had none for.
We went to the clinic and were greeted by a Venusian doctor, which was odd but then again Ravenhold had quite a few aliens so a doctor from a parallel dimension Venus wasn’t that out of place.
The others stayed in the waiting room but I followed Jaeger into the examination room, which he didn’t seem to mind so much. After some examination and an X-ray, the doctor declared Jaeger’s hand sprained and had a solid splint fabricated around their arm as to prevent it from moving until it healed.
“Take these if you get serious pain but it should be fine if you go easy for a few days,” The doctor told him, a plastic bottle full of pills in hand “Plenty of time to recover before you next fight with Michael.”
“Brilliant,” Jaeger muttered bitterly.
He didn’t move so I took the bottle and thanked the Doctor before pushing Jaeger toward the door. We were getting late for class.
“C’mon. At least it’s nothing serious.”
“What are you, my mother?” Jaeger snapped at me before snatching the pills from my hand.
“I’m just trying to help.”
He turned toward the door and there was a moment as his gaze shifted from the handle to his hurt hand and then to the one holding the bottle before he looked back at the handle. I couldn’t help but smirk as I opened the door for him.
“Werden sie küssen mich meine lippe zu heilen?” He asked. I might not have understood German, but the tone of it made me question if I actually wanted to know what he’d just said or not…
He didn’t volunteer a translation and we left the exam room, the others waiting for us.