Part VII: Mind Fears
When I went back inside my parents sent me a quizzical look. I whispered to my mama I would explain later, although I’m pretty sure she noticed I was blushing. When the talk finished Mr. Martin handed my parents a schedule. I noticed Allen’s step-dad turning his away before leaving the building with Allen. We had a fifteen minute slot with each teacher and these were spaced throughout the day. Since we had some time to kill I decided to introduce them to Doc Venus, whom I was going to be starting an apprenticeship with. She had told me I’d had to get through my first set of exams, whenever those were, and then I could begin working with her.
“So, where did you disappear off to?” Mama asked as we left the building.
“Erm…” I quickly realised I didn’t need to make an excuse. “Remember Allison?” I said.
“Yessss,” she said, drawing out the word with a big smile. My papa was fighting a wave of giggles beside her.
“Well, I’m kind of dating them,” I said. “And possibly their other partner. We’ve still got to go on an official date.”
“Wow,” papa murmured. “That is the raisin at the end of the hot dog,” he muttered in icelandic. We reached the clinic which had been set up in an open day fashion as well, apparently parents were sometimes interested in the facility that treated their kids if things went wrong.
“Just make sure you both get regularly tested whatever activities you do,” mama said after making sure no one was in earshot.
“Yes mama,” I replied, well aware I was blushing. Inside the clinic was mostly empty apart from reception. I was pretty sure the girl behind the computer was new. She had tousled blond hair and emerald green eyes. As I got closer to the desk I realised she was also in a wheelchair.
“Hi, I’m Sage. Would it be possible to see Doc Venus?” I asked.
“Sure, you’re the third visitor so far. I’ll let her know you’re going in,” she smiled. I returned the smile and noted her name tag.
“Thank you Lissa. I’ll be here in a few weeks doing a medical apprenticeship so figure I should learn your name now,” I joked.
“Oh, really? Nice. I’m here doing a gap year before going to university,” she explained. She hit a few keys on the computer and motioned for us to head on in to see Sij. We walked into Sij office. She had freed up some of the counter space and put some food and drinks on it.
“Sage, so nice to see you,” she said as I walked in.
“Hey, I brought my parents to meet you, I hope that’s okay?”
“Ah, I did recognise their scent. It’s nice to meet you both,” she said, standing and shaking both their hands in turn. “How can I help you?”
“I was wondering mostly about the apprenticeship program Sage is hopefully starting with you after their exams – I’m a nurse myself,” mama said.
“It’s a 1200 hours program over two years not including vacations – 12 hours a week. Sage would learn the basic of anatomy, medicine, first aid and medical ethics through hands-on experience and theoretical learning after which they would have the qualification to apply for a parahuman medicine license if they so please,” Doc Venus explained. Mama asked some more technical questions, Papa also asked about how the mental health of students were managed.
Then upon learning she was also a qualified therapist they had a geek out talking about some recent published papers. I exchanged a look with Mama and she giggled. We stayed there for about thirty minutes in the end. Taking us comfortably to lunchtime, so I led the way to the cafeteria where I spied Jaeger sitting with a Tzari, another student I didn’t know and an older woman.
“Grab some food and I’ll join you in a bit. I just need to speak to someone about something,” I said, heading towards Jaeger. He looked up, apparently sensing my presence and stood up, excusing himself. I motioned outside and he nodded. There were a few people eating on the benches outside, including Sanjay’s family. We walked a bit away from people so there wasn’t anyway people could overhear.
“About yesterday … I want to thank you for your help. Even if it was a dumb thing to do,” I begun.
“You’re not the first person to tell me off about it. I’ve already apologised to Allen about it,” he replied. I nodded, hesitating before speaking again.
“Look, I don’t want to alarm you or anything but see…my powers are mind ones, and when I went to help you up, I sensed you were distressed. I just wanted to make sure you were okay and-” I stopped speaking, because Jaeger had gone very pale. “Jaeger?” I asked.
“What…what kind of powers?” he asked.
“Oh, erm, I can do some mild healing stuff and calm people down if they’re panicking. If I’m touching someone I can get surface thoughts. I’ve only tried it with animals, but I can go into their minds and experience the world as they do,” I explained. “I never got a chance to ask, what are your powers?”
“Just bat benefits. Mostly echolocation,” he shrugged.
“Oh, you just seem to be a very good fighter. I wish I was half as good,” I murmured.
“It helps me in a fight. There are nuances to what I hear back that can tell me a lot about people. For instance,” I saw his expression change briefly, “You’re right-handed.”
“Most people are,” I joked.
“You also broke your ankle, probably when you were a kid at a guess.” I stared at him, mouth agape.
“How did you know that?” I asked.
“The bones in your left ankle are abnormally shaped, but your other body tissues have grown around it now,” he replied.
“That’s….insane,” I replied.
“Sage….can you promise you won’t read my mind?” he asked.
“Of course. I don’t go around doing that. Like I said, I was trying to help you after you fell and it sort of just happened. I don’t know what’s going on but if you need to talk-”
“I don’t. Thanks,” he replied. His gaze left me, looking at Sanjay and his family with a sombre expression. It didn’t take a genius to work out he was sad for some reason.
“Okay, but the offer still stands. Us trans kids gotta stick together,” I joked, hoping to lighten his mood. He lips quirked into a smile for a moment but there was obvious discomfort being around me. I was used to that happening when I told people my powers, I kind of hoped that wouldn’t happen here.
“I better get back to my parents, but thanks again,” I said, leaving him alone.