A new generation of heroes
Part XIII: Quiet Moment
As Charlie had promised, the foam dissipated in eight minutes. What she hadn’t told me what that it’d leave this sticky, greasy residue that just smelled like a mix of dollar store perfume and gasoline.
In the time it had taken for me to be free, Jaeger had fought and the others had left. All except for Sage who sat on the ground not far from me.
“Are you alright?” They asked once I broke through the thin barrier that held me down.
“Yeah, but I think I’m going to need a shower or twelve. How’s your shoulder?”
“It’s alright.” They said, getting up. There was a flash of pain in their expression when they put weight hurt shoulder.
“It hurts like hell doesn’t it?”
“Totally.” They said with a tired chuckle. “Nothing serious though.”
“Glad to hear that.” I said, giving them a smile.
We went home and I grabbed a change of clothes from my room, going for shorts and a tank top before barricading myself in the shower.
I spent an eternity in the shower rubbing over and over trying to desperately get that disgusting gunk off me. I brushed so hard I thought I’d lost half the skin on my body. But worst of all, I had to undo my braids to properly get the sticky residue out of them.
When I finally came out, I found Sage waiting for me in the kitchen, sitting on one of the stool, their arms crossed on the counter. They looked pretty damned tired and I could see their throat had turned red from the Rook’s hold.
“Hey, I’m squeaky clean now.” I said, putting a hand on their shoulder.
“That’s nice” They said, turning around to face me. There was a pause before they spoke again. “You undid your hair?”
“Yeah, I had to.” I said, feeling a bit depressed out it. I’d only kept the braids in for two weeks. And not only would I have to wait before I could put them back in, lest I damage my hair, but I wasn’t sure how soon I’d have the five to six hours it took to braid them…
“Well, I think you look great like this too.” They gave me a smile and I could feel my heart warming up. I couldn’t help but smile back.
“So, we’ve missed like half of science class. Guess we should just wait for the next one.”
“Eh, honestly I’m so done for the day. The gunk gave me a headache and the refractory period is just kicking my ass on top of the usual.”
“So you’re cutting class?”
“Yeah. Want to join me? It’s going to be a heck of a lot less boring with you around.”
“That sounds fun and scary. Think we’re going to be in trouble for it?”
I shrugged. “Either way, classes are recorded so we won’t be missing anything.”
“I guess we can stay in then.”
“Awesome. Say, do you want to hang around my room? Rowan typically only goes there to sleeps so we’ll be alone for as long as we want.”
“But first; Food. I’m starving.” I went into the fridge and found a tray of leftover sandwiches from the night before. I took a whole bunch and stuffed them down my face at record speed.
“You weren’t kidding when you said you were starving.” Said commented, wide eyed.
“Well, we skipped lunch and I hit the refractory period of my power, which made it worse.”
“What’s it like hitting a refractory period?”
“You’ve never had one?”
“I’ve never used my power enough.”
“Well it comes into two flavors of suck; weakening and shut down. Weakening is the first to come; your powers stop responding as quickly and you need more concentration and effort to do less. Shut downs happen when you’ve pushed past your limit; Your powers just stop working and it’s weird, it’s like a piece of you is missing… Either way, fastest way to recover is plenty of high calorie food and rest.”
In answer, Sage nodded, absorbing all that information.
“So, my room?” I asked.
I took lead and guided them to my room, holding the door open and letting them in first. Sage took a long look around.
“Obviously this is my room. Uh, please avoid touching anything, no offense but if things aren’t in order it makes my OCD act up.”
“Oh alright… Well, your room is pretty much identical to mine. Say, is that yours?” Sage said, pointing to the Bass that leaned against the wall.
“Yeah. It was a gift from my mom a few years back. I’ve always loved the way bass sounded so she got it for me on my birthday after plenty of begging for one. I still play it, although I do most of my music with synthesizers now. Mostly drum and bass or electronica in general.”
“Oh cool. I primarily play the piano as well as some cello and the flute. I did a lot of classical music.”
“That’s pretty cool. We could start a band.” I joked. “The Enbies of Ravenhold.”
“Oh yeah, bass and piano. That’s going to be a hit.”
“Totally.” I said in a super serious way, which made them laugh.
“You know, I’d love to hear your music one day.”
“Maybe you will. Plus, I’m registered for music as my art elective.”
“Guess you’ll hear my play sooner than later.” I said sitting on my bed, Sage sitting right next to me. “How about a movie? Anything you want.”
“Sure, do you have any musicals?”
“I can get anything.” I said.
I booted up a streaming site and soon found a cute animated musical adventure based on Igbo mythology. The two of us huddled close under the cover, back to the wall with my laptop on my lap.
Although I couldn’t focus as my head just started throbbing.
“Are you alright? You don’t look so good.” Sage asked as if they’d read my mind. Which was a possibility, but I knew they wouldn’t do so without permission.
“Eh, I’m kind of beat from the fight and everything.” I said, rubbing my temples.
“I could help… If you want me to that is.” They said, shifting uncomfortably.
“Alright.” I didn’t even think about it.
“Are you sure?”
“Of course, I trust you.”
They even huddled closer to me on the bed and raised their hand, softly brushing my cheek. We closed our eyes. Immediately, I felt the contact happening; My body becoming less tense, the pain fading away and that warm caring presence inside my head.
I could feel the warmth of their breath on the skin of my neck. My heart started beating faster and my breaths got sharper. I could just feel how close we were…
“Are you alright?” They asked, breaking the contact.
“Yeah, it was just a little intense…” I said, looking away. “The movie’s still playing.”
Our focus went back to the movie. Or rather Sage’s did, while I just got lost in my own thoughts. I was accurately aware of just how close we were and my heart was beating like crazy, my skin burned bright hot. Somewhere along the way, Sage’s head became propped up against my shoulder.
Here I was, snuggling in bed with my brand new crush… It was simultaneously exciting and terrifying.
However I couldn’t help but think back to Sheila, I felt like I was betraying her. I know we weren’t really together anymore, but in a way we still were. After all, she’d only broken up to spare my feelings…
And what would Sage think if they knew about Sheila… I couldn’t hide it from them. It wasn’t right. I had to talk to them.
“Sage?” I softly asked, a noose forming in my stomach.
“Uh?” They intoned lowly.
“There’s something I want to tell–”
I didn’t finish my sentence as Sage answered with a light snore. Exhaustion had gotten the better of them. They looked so peaceful sleeping against my shoulder, I couldn’t bring myself to wake them up.
“Goodnight sleepyhead.” I muttered, running my hand through their hair.
I guess it could wait…