The Valkyrie’s Daughters
Part V: A Friend Like Me
Then, someone came toward me, a girl I think, she had short curly blonde hair and was wearing a baggy sweater and jeans.
“Uh, do you mind if I sit with you?” She asked. “I don’t really know anyone and I can’t seem to find my roommate and she’s the only one I really know that well and everyone else seems to have friends and I just really don’t want to talk to a group.”
I nodded a little, not quite verbal. Her presence at least served as a distraction.
“Are you okay? I’m Avery, I got by they/them.” So they were not a girl, I think… They sat down next to me. I noticed they weren’t looking at me, we were both just sort of looking a little off.
“Little shook.” I managed to mutter. “Michelle.”
They nodded. “Is that a stim necklace? I’ve always wanted one but Mom says they’re for freaks. I don’t think you’re a freak though. You seem nice. My parents just don’t get it.”
I nodded and smiled. Most people thought it was weird or gross… Maybe Avery was autistic too?
“My parents are just happy I stopped chewing my shirts.” I managed to say, the words were hard to say though. “Yours sound mean.”
“You’re right. They aren’t very nice. I was happy when I got accepted here. I wish I had one of those to keep myself from chewing my shirts.” The collar of their sweater had chew wear at the collar.”Do you have any other stim stuff?”
I frowned, I did, but not with me. “I have a spare, I don’t use it much, the octopus is just so good. I didn’t bring the rest. It was kind of an emergency exit…”
“Oh, man. Did you run away from a situation? I do that lots. I haven’t quite found a good hiding spot yet, or I’d share it with you.” They shrugged. “Have you seen the book collection in the living room? They have some pretty good ones and books usually help me stop feeling like I want to scream.”
Clearly they were excited by the books. They seemed so nice.
“I didn’t find one yet. And Wycked tried to kill me.”
They looked at me and I felt something odd, like a tingling in my brain.
Was that what I thought it was? “Is that you doing that? My head feels weird…”
“Oh, right, sorry. I didn’t mean to poke around, but you were just very sad and I didn’t think you wanted to talk so I thought that it would be better if I figured it out myself and I just really hate Wycked now so much and ignore her, Michelle. You’re a great girl and I really hope you defeat her one day and become super happy.”
I blinked. How much had they learned from reading my mind? It wasn’t like I had secrets, but it was odd… It had to come in handy, getting to learn stuff about people, being able to tell how they were.
“It does come in handy.” They confirmed out loud with a little laugh. “People tend to get upset about it though…”
“So you can read minds?”
“Yeah. I can also store a ridiculous amount of information. Like, I don’t really forget much anymore unless I really try hard. And I can hear from like kilometres away when I forget to turn it off. What are your powers?”
That sounded so useful, if I had their power, maybe I wouldn’t lose my things or forgot what I was supposed to do all the time. It took me a second to remember to answer her question.
“I fly! And eh… I guess I can hit things.”
“Yours sound better than mine. How could I even fight if I’m just normal? Ha, the one time I’m normal I’d rather be different. Strange.”
I took a moment to think. They were right, telepathy wasn’t the most superheroic power. Lots of villains were psychic, but not a lot of heroes… “That is a problem…” I conceded.
“Yes, I agree. I suppose I could someone who helps from the sidelines with planning and stuff. I just need to figure out how to read minds without people knowing I’m in there.”
“Practicing must be hard, people don’t like psychics.”
“Yes, that’s true. It gets frustrating sometimes. But listening is fun because I can hear heartbeats if I listen really closely, and they’re just so rhythmic and soothing. I like it.”
Maybe I could help. I thought. It wasn’t like I had anything to hide, and beside it’d be easier to be friend if they just knew me right away? I really hoped they were autistic too, I didn’t have any other autistic friend…
“Are you good at flying?” They asked. I’d gone quiet again.
“I only learned yesterday, but I practiced a lot last night.” I said with a smile. Just then, the bell announcing the end of class rang. “I guess we’re free now. I think it’s lunch time.” Just then I had an idea to make friends, hopefully it wasn’t going to be too weird… “Want to go to the house with me before we go to the cafeteria?”
“Yeah, sure. What kinds of food are there at the cafeteria?” They said.
“I don’t know. I hope they have curry, it’s my favorite thing.” I got up and we walked out along with everyone else.
“Maybe they have chicken nuggets? Those are good.”
I laughed a little. I too had my history with chicken nuggets. “I used to eat those all the time when I was young, it was one of the only things I liked.”
“When you were young? Aw man, I feel behind now. I still eat them all the time. They’re the best!”
“I’m better with food. Not so much with crowds and noise.”
“I’m a lot better with food too but chicken nuggets, Michelle. They’re great!”
I had to agree with them. “Nuggets are indeed amazing.” Whenever I’d have a sensitivity episode, nuggets had been one of my go to food along with potatoes and peanut butter sandwiches.
We split from the rest of group and headed to the house, which wasn’t far. We went inside and headed for Freyja and I’s little annex.
“Should I just follow you to your room or wait here or what do I do?” Avery asked.
I looked down at myself. My shirt was sweaty and had a few bloodstains from my cut. “I need to change shirt, so you should wait outside?”
“I’ll be out here waiting.”
I went inside my room and removed my shirt before putting another one on. It took a few minutes to get it correctly, having to get my wings to cooperate and fit inside the slits… When that was done, I looked through my drawer and found just what I wanted. I took it, clenched my hand around it and went back outside.
I came to face her, even looked her in the eye for a moment before focusing my gaze at her neck.
“You said you didn’t have one so I thought you might want it, if it’s not weird, I mean, I barely ever used it.” I handed her what I had gotten to her. It was a little purple rubber flower on a cord. Unlike my octopus, there was no obvious chewing marks. “Is it weird?”
“Are you sure? I don’t think it’s that weird. I would like to wash it before I chew on it though but that’s just because I would be nervous about dust or dirt or something. It’s very pretty. Can I give you a hug to say thanks?”
“Yes. I don’t use it. And I’ll take a hug.” I said. I opened my arms and waited for them.
Avery wrapped their arms around me and squeezed tightly. “I’m happy I made a new friend today! You’re really awesome.”
“You’re welcome!” I said, grinning. “I’m glad to have made friends too, I don’t have a lot back home, just Lina.”
I squeezed them and my wings wrapped themselves around them by instinct.
“Ooh! Your wings are soft and warm!” They said, which got me to realize what they were doing and pull them back.
“They kind of have a mind of their own sometimes.”
“Why did you pull them away? That was great! I loved it! I don’t have many friends either. Just Drew, she’s my roommate, and maybe Riley but I haven’t talked to them much.”
I put my wings back around them. “I don’t want to be overwhelming. How are they?”
“They’re great! It’s like a hug but it’s even better because it’s soft and everywhere. It’s almost as good as my weighted blanket! That reminds me, do you have one? I taught myself how to make them and I could probably make you one. They’re really great. Mine is purple and made with fabric like t-shirts so it’s really soft.”
“I left mine at home, I hope I can get it back soon. Let’s get something to eat now? Maybe we can meet Riley and Drew at the cafeteria.”
“Yeah, sounds good! I’m hungry.” They answered.
“But first, washing the necklace.” I reminded them.
We went into the kitchen and rinsed the flower thoroughly before Avery put it around their neck.
“There! I got it!” They had a huge smile on their face with I matched.
“I’m glad you like it. Now food. If we’re lucky they’ll have curry and nuggets. Maybe a nugget curry!”
“That’d be heaven!”