A new generation of heroes
Part XIV: Enjoy the Moment
The movie ended, with Sage still firmly nested up against my arm, but I didn’t wake them just yet, they were clearly so tired from the fight that I opted to let them sleep a little. Not long after the others had come back, I gently slipped out of bed, making sure not to disturb them just yet.
I went into the kitchen and saw the others had broken off into little groups. Ahti and Rowan seemed to be playing some kind of board game, Allen and Caroline were busy making some kind of dough, Annabelle and Tyler were fixated on their computers while Amber hovered around the former.
I went to the kitchen part and plugged one of the electric kettle in the sockets after filling it until it was full. Since I knew Sage liked hot chocolate, I opted to prepare a pair of them as a waking up gift. I typically drank coffee myself, but I didn’t feel like cleaning and changing the machine.
“Hey, everything alright? Mace asked, coming up to me. “You weren’t in class.”
“Had a headache and the refractory period of my power on top of it kicked my ass.” I explained, finishing what little prep I needed before the water was hot.
“Oh alright, is it any better?”
“Yeah. Took a shower, some aspirin and got to relax.”
“So… I noticed Sage wasn’t in class either…” He then said in a suggestive tone.
“They stayed in to relax with me and then fell asleep while watching a movie.”
“Watching a movie, just the two of you, in your room?” There was a clear nudging in his tone.
“Getting jealous? Wishing it was you?”
“Damn. I’ve been found out, you’re too clever for me to fool.” He answered with a mocking grin.
“In all seriousness, I might have noticed you and Jamie seemed to be getting closer…”
“It’s complicated.” He said with a sigh. The playfulness that had been there a moment ago had vanished.
“Guess I’m not the only one with a complicated love life.”
“You don’t know the half of it.” He said with a self-depreciating snort. “We sort of know each other and kind-of dated for a while.”
“Last summer was a bit of a mess…” He sighed. “I’m not even sure if I should tell you… Especially with people around…” His eyes darted toward Caroline and Allen who were only a few feet away.
I nodded toward the bathroom and he nodded in answer. We both skipped there and closed the door behind us.
“Since you’re from Brooklyn, have you heard of the villain Sliver?”
Sliver had been a new figure on the local scene about a year and a half ago, beating a few high-profile local heroes before getting taken in by Columbia in early spring.
“Wait, you don’t actually mean to say that…”
“Jaime and Sliver; Same person.” He said with a sigh.
“Damn…” I muttered in shock. I knew Ravenhold had reformed some villains, but knowingly having one in the same dorm as you was something else. But if she was here, she was probably trying to reform her ways, right? It wouldn’t be fair to judge her for her past…
“Say… If she was a villain and you two were together… Does that mean that you also were…” I didn’t find the guts to finish my thoughts, but he understood regardless.
“No, I wasn’t. Well, I helped her out of a bad situation or two, but I didn’t do anything else.”
“Ah alright.” I nodded and there was a moment of silence. “I should go check on the kettle.”
We left the bathroom and I went to the kettle which was surprisingly already boiling. I filled the two cups which left plenty in the kettle for more. Because of my OCD: I didn’t like partial things or fractions so I had put a whole liter of water in it.
“Would you like one?” I asked Mace.
“Sure, why not.”
“Alright, coming right up. Get me the milk?”
He did as I asked while I poured him a cup and added the hot chocolate powder. As we did, Jaime came down the stairs and scanned around the room before finding Mace. She walked to his side but didn’t say anything, just looking at what we were doing.
“Hey Jaime.” I turned around and made her a cup before giving it to her.
She frowned at that but took it without another word before staring down at it for a moment.
“Just hot chocolate.” I said with a snicker. “Just thought it’d be nice.”
“Thanks, I guess.” She muttered.
Jaime and Mace having got their drink, I took my own two and headed back into my room. — Obviously, after carefully setting everything back in place until it felt just right — When I went in, cocoas firmly in hands, I found that Sage had woken up by themselves and now sat on the bed.
“Afternoon sleepyhead, or rather evening.” I said, giving them a smile.
“Why didn’t you wake me?” They shouted, the panic evident on their face. Their answer made me froze for a moment. “Sorry,” they sighed, “I shouldn’t keep falling asleep randomly like this. It completes throws my sleep schedule out and exacerbates my narcolepsy more.”
“It’s okay.” I answered coming next to them and putting down the two mugs of hot cocoa. “I didn’t realize. Next time I’ll wake you up.” I said with a smile and they gave me a nod.
I took a moment to look at them and struggled not to laugh: With their hair all ruffled up from sleeping, they looked pretty darned adorable. They could definitely pull off the grungy look.
“What?” They mumbled, clearly annoyed.
“You have cute bed hair.” I answered, which had them let out a snicker. I reached out with my hand and ruffled it even more which prompted them to give me a look. Their hair felt like straw in my hand, most likely due to the repeated bleaching.
“I should probably not bleach it again for a while.” They murmured, inspecting their hair with their finger.
“What’s your natural hair color?” I grabbed one of the cocoa and gave it to them.
“Thanks.” They whispered. “And it’s brown, not easy to make white.”
“You should ask Caroline, she seems to have gotten it down.”
“I might. Should probably ask how she keeps her hair looking all nice and not like this…” They sighed.
“For the record, I think your hair is great.”
“I think yours is so much better. Your braids were the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen.” They said with a dopey smile.
“Oh you big flatterer.” I said with a chuckle. “But if you like braids so much, I’ve got no choice but to do your hair now. And I won’t take no for an answer.”
“As if I’d ever say no to you.”
Their answer made my heart warm up. Maybe they liked me as much as I liked them. Sheila’s shadow still hung over me, but in that moment, I didn’t care. I didn’t want to torture myself thinking about who to pick, what to do.
“Turn around and prepared to be bored for a while.” I said with a chuckle.
“Well, we can watch another movie. I can show you one of my favorites.”
“That’d be great.” I said with a smile, taking the first lock of their hair and getting ready to work them.
All I wanted was to enjoy the moments Sage and I had together without doubt, guilt or questioning. We could put a word to what was growing between the two of us and what we might be another time.