Wayward: Part IX

The Wayward Son

Part IX: People Person

After leaving the clinic, our little group made its way to the science lab where our first class of the year was given. The teacher was this middle aged eccentric bloke with the worst case of bed-hair I’d ever seen, called Stanko Ferhatović, who spoke in a notable Bosnian accent

Well, he didn’t speak so much as he ranted and raved about the glory science or ‘SCIENCE’ if you took his enthusiasm at the word into consideration. Which was appropriate if Charlie’s account was to be believed, he was one step away from the stereotypical mad scientist.

“Get into four groups of four please,” Stanko spoke, ending his first verbose onslaught, “be mindful of the grouping as you’ll be working with each other for the rest of this year.”

While others in the room went out to talk with prospective partners, I stayed there. Jaeger who sat next to me gave me a look and I shrugged. His attention then went around us until he saw Charlie and Caroline.

“Hey shortie, wanna team up?” He said, clearly aimed at Charlie who hadn’t passed the five-foot of height mark.

Charlie just glared at him for a moment. When she spoke up, I saw a grin form on her lips.

“I don’t see why not. Batboy.” She said, putting emphasis on that last word, which seemed to take Jaeger aback.

Was that what Jaeger was? Biology was kind of beyond my expertise, I’d only done the standard high-school level assignments and most of that had been focused on reptiles and arthropods…

“Is that the type of chimera you are?” I asked.

“Yeah.” He bluntly said. “Let’s move our stuff.”

It didn’t take a genius to know Charlie had struck a cord. Charlie and I ended up moving our tables together, not the easiest feat as they were thick marble, but small statured or not, Charlie could definitely pull her weight physically.

As Allison and Sage had apparently opted to ditch class — on the first week no less; so much for dedication… — Stanko assigned them to fill in the empty slots on the other teams, meaning they’d be apart for the year.

“They’re not gonna be too happy to hear that.” Jaeger noted aloud.

“Not me. Someone else can break it to them.” Charlie said.

“I thought you were a brave hero.” Jaeger answered with a mocking grin. I could already see their little fight would be escalating…

Although Charlie gave him a murderous look, she didn’t get to answer as Stanko began giving us a fast paced, eclectic lecture on just about anything tangentially related to sciences, which required our full attention. His lesson continued until he passed next to Jaeger, stopped dead in his track and just started studying him, I wasn’t even the one getting oogled and even I was uncomfortable.

“You, what is your name?” Stanko asked, a little too much enthusiasm in his voice.

“Jaeger Smith.”

“Your paramorphic features are unique, are you a chimera?” Jaeger uncomfortably nodded. “Amazing. Now I wonder does anyone in the class know what a chimera is?”

He launched in discussion about Chimeras and how they were made but I didn’t pay too much attention to him, rather focusing on Jaeger, who looked like he was about to jump out the window because of the attention put on him, he even jerked away when Caroline put a hand on his in support. Thankfully the bell rang soon after and we left for the next class.

History just sort of went by. Jaeger who was still clearly following me like a lost puppy sat next to me, alternating between wanting to bolt out the door and making fun of Charlie’s height who at this point just seemed buzzed out of her mind.

“You know she will get you back for those.” I whispered to him.

“I’d like to see her try.” He said with a cocky grin.

Personally I wouldn’t aggravate the girl with ridiculously sharp knives and easy access to explosives, but that’s just me.

“What are you doing this evening?” He asked, I didn’t have time to answer that he did for me: “Let me guess, lab?”

He sounded disappointed… What else was I supposed to do? I mean, I have no idea… What do normal people do with their free time? With other people? Go to pubs? Talk, about what though?

“Are you still annoyed from earlier?” I asked, trying to stir my brain into a more useful train of thought.

“I’ll be ready for the re-match.” He said determined, but that wasn’t the thing I’d meant…

“I meant science class.”

“I’m fine.” His fist clenched at the mention of it, he shook his head but I wasn’t convinced.

The class ended soon after and much to my surprise, Jaeger didn’t follow me around, instead getting some new clothes and leaving the house. I considered checking on him, see how he was, but then again I wasn’t his mum…

I went to my lab and halfway punched the access code when Jaeger’s words came back to my mind. Even now that I’d left London, I’d decided to be a superhero, I was still stuck in the same loop… What the hell was I doing? Just working from dusk till dawn like a damn robot…

I closed the panel, backed away from the trailer and went back into the house. Although it hadn’t been long since they’d arrived, the others were already getting busy; Caroline and Allen were cooking, Ahti and Rowan playing a strange board game whose rules seemed to baffle Rowan, Tyler and Annabelle were playing a game together over the internet.

It was all so alien to me, yet so normal… They had friends, they had passions and hobbies, what did I have beside work? I sat down on the couch and just spent some time watching them.

Charlie came out of her room, holding a rabbit with antlers, I had no idea how she’d gotten her hands on a chimera, but it was probably the same place she’d gotten her gadgets. She came to the couch where I was and sat down, sharing an apple with her pet. When it was done, the rabbit hopped away and right onto my lap, it stared at me for a moment. I didn’t even think, my hands found the critter’s furry back and gently pet it.

“Nibbles seems to likes you.” Charlie said coming up to me, she fetched something from her pocket, which turned out to be a brush. “Here, why don’t you give him a brush.” She handed it to me and I sheepishly took it.

She got away and I was left with Nibbles, just awkwardly rubbing his back for a moment before I decided to do as Charlie had asked me. He let himself get brushed and not long after it was done, Charlie brought him back home to her room.

Freed of the fuzzy beast, I went back to Jaeger and I’s, sitting on the bed. I opened my tablet and started browsing, researching. Not parts, tech or science, but people and relationships…

Friendship for clueless idiots.

I smirked at the title. Clearly it was a book specifically made for me. I ordered it and set myself to read. Maybe I could learn something here after all…

Jaeger came back sometime later, I’d kind of lost track while reading.

“Hey.” I said.

“Hi.” He answered, then dropped his stuff on his bed and went back out. He came back a minute or two later and started rifling through his stuff. He’d removed his shirt and for the first time I could see the pair of tiny malformed wings that clung to his back, which bore a fresh tear.

“Are you okay?” I asked.

“Fine.” He snapped. “It’s rude to stare you know.”

Had I been staring? I hadn’t meant to…

“You’re hurt, I can help.”

He kept searching, presumably for something to help but gave up.

“It’ll be fine. I’ll take care of it in the morning.”

“You’ll wear yourself out if you keep getting hurt like this.”

“I’ve dealt with worse.”

He tried to shrug, but as tough as he was trying to act, he didn’t completely mask the hiss of pain he let out. At this point, it was pretty damned clear that his pride was going to be a problem.

“Sit down.” I ordered. “I’ll get the Medkit from downstairs.”

I didn’t give him the chance to protest and left the room and jogged downstairs, finding a medkit in the supply closet under the staircase before going back up. To my surprise, Jaeger had actually sat down and waited for me. He didn’t put up a fight as I stitched his wing back together and applied medical glue so it wouldn’t move. It wasn’t the prettiest job, but it was adequate. Thankfully, Securitech had made me run first aid classes in case of lab accidents. However one detail caught my eye as I stitched his wing; a stylized ‘S’ branded onto his left shoulder. 

“Done.” I said, once I was finished. The medkit had a pair of strong painkiller tablets, but only two (probably to avoid doping) so I gave them to him.

“You trying to roofie me? You’re not very subtle about it.”

“They’re pain tablets.” I answered, raising an eyebrow at what I assumed or at least hoped was a joke… “Label said they work fast and I figure your back and your arm is going to make for difficult sleeping.”

I focused back on my tablet and Jaeger sat next to me.

“What?” I asked looking back at him, surprised by his move.

“Nothing.” He looked back at the tablets and downed them. There was a moment of silence before he spoke up.

“Schnell arbeiten ist eine Untertreibung.”

“You okay, mate?”

In answer he slumped down and practically collapsed onto my lap…

“I’m starting to wonder if I’m your roommate or your mum,” I sighed.

“I may not know who my mum is but I do know that’s not possible.” He said, his speech slurred. “You look about twelve.”

“I’m sixteen,” he replied.

“Heh, baby. I’m seventeen,” He said, giggling like an idiot.

“Yet you need my help in class all the time.” I joked back.

He didn’t have a witty comeback, unless snoring can be considered one. I stared at him for a moment but gave up the idea of moving him. It wasn’t like I had anywhere to go. I raised my tablet and focused on it once more.

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