Chased by the Past
Part III: Sentinel
I managed to get back to the house for a shower and change of clothes in time for our first class, barely. I had Harleys number in my phone and a new friend who was more than happy to meet up again in the future. I admit I wasn’t that focussed that day, the night with Harley had reminded me how long it had been since I’d been with someone I wanted. Spanish class passed by easily enough, Kellen had taught me some remedial spanish when we were teenagers so I had a headstart on the others. After that was homeroom with Mr Martin. I got there after Sanjay and as I was reading text explaining some maths formula I felt my mind wandering again, recalling the events of last night.
“Are you okay?” Sanjay asked, disturbing my line of thought. Without meaning to I had been looking at him.
“Yup,” I replied quickly, hoping I wasn’t blushing. I stuck in headphones to help myself concentrate on the work in front of me, and to stop conversation. Next was the class I dreaded. I knew it was just a matter of time before Stanko remembered his obsession with chimeras. I’d made a point of staying quiet during class to avoid drawing attention to myself. Today it was an enthusiastic speech on antibiotics, and how viruses were getting smart and resistant so there was a rush to discover new drugs.
Our last class was world history with Doctor Chononaut, more talk about the Tzari invasion. As the class was drawing to a close she gave us some new homework.
“I want you to work in pairs and tell the class what you were doing the days of the Tzari invasion. It’s important you talk to each other as it will be your partner presenting your experience next week,” she explained. The weeks of the invasion were extremely memorable to me, but there was no way I could tell Sanjay about any of it. For one, some of was definitely illegal. For another, if anyone looked into any of the details they might be able to work out who I was, and from there it would be all over. No one here would trust me if they knew my ties to the Syndicate.
“You coming Jaeger?” Sanjay asked. It took me a second to remember it was Friday, which meant a group played no-powers football. I mostly just kept scores and help referee the games. About forty minutes into playing Sanjay came to the bench to grab a drink. I tried not to stare too obviously at his bare chest. All the guys were shirtless. It was autumn but the gym wasn’t very good at losing the heat with the large windows overhead, wooden panelled flooring and brick walls that all retained any heat they absorbed.
“You know, you could join us,” Sanjay suggested.
“I’m fine just keeping score and watching,” I shrugged.
“You sure?” he asked, something he did pretty much every Friday afternoon since we both joined up.
“Very sure,” I replied, unable to help the added emphasis as I shot another look at his abs. For a technology nerd he was well-built. “And no way I can pull off the shirtless look,” I added.
“Because of the wings or the scars?” he asked. The question took me by surprise and I bit my lip to prevent myself speaking without thinking. “But you know it’s not mandatory,” he added, sounding almost defensive.
“Both,” I sighed. “People tend to stare rather than focus on the game,” I joked. Luckily the conversation was cut short by my ID beeping. I pulled it from my pocket and saw a message – RETURN TO THE DORM ASAP.
“Is your doing that too?” I asked, showing it to him.
“I left mine in the locker. Better safe than sorry,” he shrugged. Football ended early as apparently some of the others had the same type of thing. I waited in the main part of the gym while Sanjay showered and dressed in the changing room. Leonine passed by and stopped to chat.
“Hey, how are you?” she asked.
“Fine, wrist all healed,” I replied, showing off the easy movement of the limb to make my point.
“So I can finally not hold back when we fight?” she said, grinning.
“You better not have been before,” I threw back, matching her expression. She laughed and checked that no one was around before moving closer to me.
“I meant what I said last week; if you need to talk to someone about your past I’m here,” she whispered. I shifted comfortably, about as much as I had when she first mentioned it. We were both chimeras and there was only one organisation that made human chimeras. She was possibly the only student who knew I had a connection to the Syndicate.
“I’m fine,” I insisted.
“Even so, if you need to talk about what you went through I’m-”
“I said I’m fine,” I cut her off again. She looked mildly hurt but conceded.
“What’s going on?” Sanjay asked. I jumped a little and wondered how long he has been there. Had he overheard anything?
“We were just catching up,” she said. “How are you Sanjay?”
“Good, thanks. Unfortunately can’t really catch up, we need to get back to the dorm,” he explained.
“Oh, of course it’s that time for first years,” she laughed. That confirmed my suspicion this was all related to what Mr Martin had told me about on Wednesday; parents evening. Sanjay shot her a confused look but she waved it off, leaving us to go punch stuff.
The first thing I did when I got in with take a quiet moment alone in our room, mentally preparing for the influx of random strangers. I heard the door knock and Mr Martin appeared to give a surprise dorm inspection. After that the others families appeared. I claimed some wall in the corner of the living room, expecting no one to turn up for me.
“Hello Jaeger, how have you been?” I blinked up at a tall asian women dressed in a nerdy t-shirt and jeans. It took me a moment to place her voice. She looked very different without her superhero get-up.
“Managing,” I replied, unable to help a smile.
“Managing to get in trouble more like,” she muttered, although she looked amused.
“Hey, I’m simply helping them test their security team,” I shrugged.
“Uh huh,” she said, joining me by the wall. “Quite a mix of characters in your class I hear, I hope you’re playing nice and making friends.”
“What makes you think I wouldn’t?” I asked, my tone turning serious. “We both know I don’t 100% get the hero thing but there’s no point looking a gift horse in the mouth.”
“What an odd phrase,” Sentinel laughed.
“My dad taught me it,” I replied, immediately remembering my own similar reaction when he had first said it to me when I was eight. “I guess you’re not allowed to tell me if you’ve found him?”
“Depends, can I trust you?” she asked, meeting my gaze evenly.
“I’m not going anywhere,” I replied honestly. She considered me quietly before she continued.
“We traced his machine but we couldn’t get an accurate signature. All we know is he’s somewhere on the eastern American coast,” she said. The news surprised me, I honestly expected them to have caught and locked him up, but he was still out there, and in America of all places. Did that mean he was looking for me?
“Right now you’re thinking of how best to find him, aren’t you?” Sentinel’s question brought me back to the present and I flushed a little. Why did I feel guilty?
“I don’t blame you, he’s family to you. However hopefully in time you will consider Ravenhold as family too,” she murmured. Her phone beeped and she sighed. “Unfortunately I can’t stay here long, but it was good to see you. Despite being a bit unruly, Raven says good things about you. Keep up the work Jaeger.” I blinked at her smile before waving my goodbye. I hadn’t expected her of all people to look proud of me. It left an unsettling feeling in my gut because the knowledge Heppenheim was in the states meant I wasn’t going to stay here – that’s if I could find a way to get off this island.