Number: Part II

Number

Part II: Infection

Through dinner that night, there was a kind of silent energy between Yougen and I, a mix of excitement and anxiety. A fight had broken out upstairs and it had sort of threw us off our moment, we hadn’t had the time to talk about what had happened.

I went to bed with a thousand thoughts burning through my mind that I wanted to desperately tell Yougen but with everyone around, having a moment of privacy could be hard…

On the next morning not long after breakfast all the returning parents came back and then left with their kids, going to a teacher-parent meeting in the administration building, I opted to go out and take a run through the school grounds as I would often to in the mornings before class.

When I came back, I jumped in the shower to wash out. Thanks to my black blood strain, I didn’t really sweat but grime still got on me. As I came out of the bathroom I saw Yougen was busy at the stove, a few things going on at the same time. I looked around and nobody else was in the house.

“You know the cafeteria’s open today thanks to the parents, right?”

“I know, but I thought I’d try my hands at making something.” She said with a smile. “I did a little when I was down in New York, but the people housing me were nowhere near as well equipped or stocked as here.”

“Who were they?”

“A really nice older black couple Macy and Jean, they were a foster home for parahuman children. There was two other kids with me, younger; Marie-Lou and Brian, they were twins and total brats.” She said with a chuckle. “What about you, where did you stay before you came here?”

“Legion headquarters, Erna, eh Indigo, set me up. She’s the one who got me into here.”

“Eh, lucky you. I had to apply.” She said with a grin.

“How’s the application process?”

“Weird, like it doesn’t really ask about experience or anything. Instead they want an introduction letter and for you to write an essay on a superhero related topic.”

I took a moment to think about it. If I had to guess they cared more about character than aptitude, you could teach the latter, the former not so much.

“Since we have the whole house for ourselves and it’s still a nice and sunny day, want to have a little picnic outback?” Yougen proposed.

“That would be nice.”

“Can you get a big blanket and a grill from the storage closet? I remember seeing one when doing laundry.”

“Sure.”

I went and gathered what she needed along with a bag of charcoal. I went out and set it outside in the garden, keeping the grill down to a low level. When I came back into the house, Yougen was putting some sealed containers into a big lunch bag. She gave it to me to carry and she went out back. I helped her out of her chair and onto the ground, leaning against the tree I’d set the blanket against.

We then took out the food out of its bag. It wasn’t much; a fresh miche of bread cooked in the morning by Annabelle’s parents, cheeses, spreads and dips, a pesto pasta salad Yougen had just made, cookies, potato chips, cold cuts and also a pack of uncooked sausages for the grill. I helped her lit the grill and she started the first batch.

“This is nice.” She sighed, content. I sat next to her against the tree and she rested her head on my shoulder.

“It is.” I whispered. “Not thinking about survival, training, exams or any of that stuff. Just enjoying the day.”

I turned to look at her and our eyes met. She slightly leaned toward me and dropped a soft kiss on my lips.

“You know about last night…” She began. “We never got to talk about what that makes us.”

“We didn’t.” I looked away blushing, chewing on a piece of bread quietly for a moment.

“Are you having doubts, regrets?” Yougen asked, clearly alarmed at my silence.

“No!” I dropped my food down in the panic of answering her. “It’s just this is all kind of new and crazy; I actually like someone and she likes me back! I’d always kind of thought with everything that had happened to me it would never happen.”

Yougen chuckled at my answer. “You know, I had the same fears, that I’d never get to be with a boy or girl…” I reached out out she took my hand in hers and we sat there, quietly focusing on that contact. “Do you like boys or only girls?”

“I’m not even sure myself.” I sighed. “With the militia I never really had the opportunity to explore my feelings about it.”

She used her arms to drag herself closer to me and she wrapped her arms around my chest, dragging me into a hug.

“But I like you, I know that.” I whispered to her ear. “And I want you to be my girlfriend.”

“I would love to be.” She said with a grin. I repositioned myself to better kiss her, putting an arm on her thigh only for her to jerk a bit.

“I felt that!” She said, looking at her leg.

“You felt it?” I blinked.

“I’m not supposed to feel anything in my legs, but I left like a light jolt!” She exclaimed, excitement over the news, I wasn’t so thrilled. “Are you alright, Yikaru?”

“Maybe you should see the doctor? It can’t be normal for that to just happen. I want to be happy and all, but I’m seriously worried.”

“You’re right.” She sighed. “I guess we can finish lunch first?” She gave me a pleading look.

“That would be an acceptable risk.” I said with a grin. I put my hand on her cheek and drew her closer a real kiss this time.

After finishing our meal and cleaning up I escorted Yougen to the Doctor’s office. Doctor Szijkith was an oddity, even for this world, an alien doctor in love with humans. She was however clearly qualified.

When we came in and asked to see her for a consult she looked jubilant at the idea of having an excuse to chase away questioning parents here due to the open doors, well as jubilant as Venusians could look, they didn’t really show emotions well. Yougen explained what had happened and the doc happily ran some tests after which she had us wait a few minutes in her office.

“Found anything?” I asked once she came back into the office. Next to me Yougen looked a little stiff so I squeezed her hand tight.

“As is my job and was requested of the Legion, I studied your combined conditioned. Although many things are different, the one trait you both share are a filament growth coming out of the brain stem and wrapping itself across the spine.” She took out a folder of X-ray pictures from under her arm and showed it to us. “Here is the picture I took of Yougen when she first came a month ago and here is a random archive image for comparison.”

Although it was hard to tell what was happening, having never seen those kinds of pictures, the one with yougen had mass around the spine.

“And here is the one I took earlier.” She flipped it and the mass had grown just a smidge. “As you can see, the fibrous growth has begun breaching the gap between the severed vertebrae.”

“Is that good or bad?” I asked.

“This is something entirely new never encountered on this earth. I have no idea. How are your infection level Yougen?”

“42.7 for the last nine days.” She answered.

“So 1.3 higher than at the beginning of the month.” Doc Venus confirmed.

“Her infection is progressing?” I asked, alarmed at the news.

“It has, slightly.” The doctor confirmed. “But this could simply be from the increase in usage due to Ravenhold’s demands. From that data you both gave me, I believe it’s possible it will stay stable and with Yougen’s mass and age she’s still far from the danger zone.”

I wasn’t particularly relieved. Our place here was entirely reliant on using the blood’s powers, it wasn’t like we could hold out on doing that.

“I’ll still recommend avoiding extraneous usage of your abilities as much as humanly possible, but for now you’re discharged.”

“Thank you doctor.” Yougen said.

We went out and back toward the house.

“Guess I’m already scaring the crap out of you on our first day as girlfriends…” Yougen sighed after a moment of silence.

“You’re not the only infected here.” I reminded her. “And taking care of you is kind of part of what I signed up for as a girlfriend, didn’t I?”

“I guess you’re right. I’ll have to make up for it.”

“You don’t have to.” I said, putting a hand on her shoulder. “Let’s not start keeping scores? We just gotta do our best for each others.”

“Okay.” She nodded.

 

Advertisements

Exile: Part III

Exile

Part III: Conflict

The third black blood’s name was Rowan. I spent the evening watching it from afar, I wasn’t sure if it was supposed to be a male or female as it didn’t change back to its human form.

The more I thought about Rowan, the more questions I had. It didn’t act like it should have been, it wasn’t taken over by this overwhelming predatory instinct that accompanied the manifestation of black blood, instead perfectly content to sit around and watch a film with the others…

The only aggression Rowan showed had been toward another member of our assigned class who had called the small orange extraterrestrial an ‘it’ and insisting she use ‘they’ when referring to the alien. For safety’s sake, I made the mental switch of Rowan from an ‘it’ to a ‘them.’

Come morning, I decided to introduce myself, maybe pry information off of them… As they weren’t around when one of the other, a girl with long white hair, served breakfast I found their room and knocked.

“What is it?”

“May I come in?” I asked.

“Whatever.”

I opened the door and went through, closing it behind me. Rowan was still in bed, lying down much like a cat would have on top of their bed sheets.

“Hello, I’m Yikaru.” I began

“Rowan. Pronouns are them and them.” They answered, confirming my change of pronoun had been right. I wasn’t familiar with English rules on pronouns usage but I didn’t question their reason. “Anything I can help you with?” They asked, more out of politeness than genuine desire to help.”

“I just thought I should introduce myself. If I may ask, where are you from?”

“Fort Jackson.” They said.

“Where’s that? I haven’t heard of it.”

“South Carolina.”

I blinked. Although I couldn’t place it on a map, I knew South Carolina was part of Earth Aleph, but there wasn’t supposed to be any black blood on this earth, the comet carrying the dormant infection hadn’t hit them…

“How did you get to be like you are?”

“I’m a mutant.” They answered flatly, their cat like ears turning away in annoyance. Still, I knew they were lying, I could sense the black blood coursing through their veins.

“You’re not like the others.”

“I’m a paramorph, So what?” They snarled. “leave me alone.” They took a step toward the door but I blocked it.

“You’re lying.”

“Get out of my way.”

“You’re a black blood, I can feel it.”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

“It’s what you are, it’s what I am too.”

“You sure don’t look like it.”

“We of a different strains, but both black blooded. How did you get infected?”

They tried to pass by me but I summoned my shield, blocking the way. Their brow frowned as I did.

“I’m not letting you go without an answer.”

Their tail lashed wildly behind them, I saw their hind leg muscles tense, as if ready to pounce. But then they relaxed.

“Fine, whatever!” They snarled. “I was coming home from softball practice when something jumped me, bit my leg. I didn’t see what it was and I transformed during the night, satisfied?” They pushed me aside and went for the door. “Now leave me alone.”

The answer surprised me enough that I couldn’t react before they had left the room. Transformed during the night? Could they really not change back to their human form? How could that be? If anything my brief conversation with them had only added more unanswered questions…

I didn’t have the chance to ponder them any more as we were called to attend school, something I hadn’t done before in my life… Although my parents before their death had taught me to read, write and count, I felt lost in the class. The teacher, a man called Mr. Martin was kind enough to explain to me the workings of a classroom and the functioning of the technological slabs they used. He had apparently been informed of my unique conditions. Although Yougen had shared the same world as I had, she did not seem as lost as I was.

After as second class where an ape-like extraterrestrial being explained the history of paranormal individuals and happenstance within Earth Aleph, my new classmates and I were released for a free afternoon. But first was the question of lunch. Behind the administration building was a long open building called the ‘Cafeteria Galleria’ which served to feed the students, a half dozen or so counters offering this world’s varied cuisines.

A side effect of my infection had been the reduced need for sustenance. On most days I would only require one meal and only two on the most physically demanding of days. As such, I hadn’t partaken in the morning’s breakfast with the others, but now found myself hungry.

I explored the cafeteria, looking at all the different options. So much of it was alien to me. After a moment I opted to try the ‘Mexican’ cuisine, enticed by the mix of spices whose aroma came to me. The knowledge that Erna had imparted me told me Mexican was the ethnicity of a nation but who they were, where from and what they looked like was not part of what I’d been given.

A boy from the group I’d been assigned came to me. Although I didn’t know the nations and ethnicity of Earth Aleph, like me he looked like a Yamato Imperial.

“Hi, I’m Mace.” He said.

“Yikaru Kensuke.”

“Out of curiosity, are you Japanese, Chinese, Korean, something else?”

“I’m yamato…” I answered with a shrug, I wasn’t sure which was accurate to this world. My grandparents had fled the Great Yamato Empire long ago, wishing to avoid the war of liberation that raged across the colonies and the mainland. They had settled into Correia, which I knew now that the humans of this world called ‘North America.’

He kept talking and I had no idea what he wanted from me. I did my best to avoid his questions, asking where I was from as I doubted answering truthfully was a good idea. So after a minute I just left him there, taking my meal outside to enjoy the sunny day while I could. As once winter would be there, I would be forced inside…

Mr. Martin had mentioned going to the administration for paperwork and I reported soon after my meal was done. It took a long time for them to explain everything as it was all so unfamiliar, but I now had a plastic card which if I tapped on certain machines would exchange currency. After that I was asked to report to the medical offices for an examination. The doctor there was yet another extraterrestrial. I’d yet to get accustomed to how this world worked so I could not tell if that was normal or not.

Once I finally came back to my class’ shared housing, I went into my room and sat down to note the events of the day in my journal but as I reached for the pen holder on my desk, I found it empty. I looked around for my pen but couldn’t find it, having been removed from the cup holding it. After a minute, I found it under the desk. I picked it up and tried to write but no ink would come out.

A moment later my roommate came into the room, carrying her sword which she carelessly tossed onto her bed. Scabbard or not, it was truly poor handling of her gear.

“Did you use my pen? It’s out of ink and wasn’t in its place.” I asked.

“Yeah, so?”

“I didn’t give you permission.”

“Dude, it’s just a pen.” She said with  shrug.

But it wasn’t any pen, it had been my pen, the one the captain had given me, one I didn’t know if I could even refill on this world…

“It was mine, and I didn’t give you permission to use it, much less waste the remaining ink.”

“Jesus, what’s with the raging pms, all this over a stupid pen?” She said rolling her eyes at me. “I’ll get you a ten pack from the commissary if you just chill.”

Before I could answer she left the room. Rather than chance after her, I decided I needed to find a quiet place, somewhere alone and far from people. The day hadn’t been good when it came to people and I needed a break…

Mind Games: Part VIII

Mind Games

Part VIII: Date Night

After all the meetings were finished I waved my parents goodbye at the gates, hugging them both tightly before they left. I headed back to the house in time to hear Charlie yell.

“Batboy!” She racing into the corridor, pausing in front of me. “Have you seen Jaeger?” she asked.

“Not since lunchtime,” I replied, somewhat scared for my life.

“Dammit, he’s gonna get it,” she muttered. I listened as she walked into the kitchen to ask Caroline for help. I paused at her open doorway and peeked inside. It took me a second to realise what he had done; on the ceiling above her bed where pictures of Itharii. I opened and closed my lips a few times and then walked away. I wasn’t going to get involved, instead going to Allison’s room. When I walked in they were lying in bed asleep. I sat next to them, careful not to disturb them. It didn’t work as after a few seconds their eyes opened. They groaned and I placed a head on their forehead, making sure they weren’t sick since they looked shockingly pale right now.

“Are you alright?” I asked.

“Ugh… Today was exhausting…” they answered. “My everything’s killing me.”

“May I?” I offered.

“Oh hell yes,” they replied, slowly sitting up. They removed their shirt before turning over to lie on their belly. I tried not to blush at their bare skin. I got more comfortable myself and began to massage their back, letting my power weave through them, finding all the points of inflammation and easing it. I could still sense they had mind fog so I placed my hands to their forehead, helping clear it. I felt a little tired after I was finished but it was worth it to see how much happier they were.

“You have no idea how much I love you right now,” they said, immediately turning my cheeks red. Was I supposed to say anything back or-. Before I could finish the thought Allison grabbed the collar of my shirt and pulled me down to them for a kiss. Then just as quickly they rolled on top me, turning it into a full make-out session. They lifted their lips from mine and guided my hands to their hips.

“Woah…” I murmured, very, very aware that the only piece of clothing on the top part of their body was a bra and unable to help looking at their cleavage.

“I’m not moving too fast or being a little too rough am I?” they asked. “I just have a month’s worth of frustration to vent out of my system,” they added with a nervous laugh.

“Well, I’ve never, erm, been in a relationship before so…” I trailed off, feeling embarrassed by my own inexperience. “Can we maybe not go too fast with certain, erm, activities?” I asked.

“Of course,” Allison said. They let me sit up, and kissed me some more with their legs straddling my lap. “I don’t want to make you uncomfortable.”

In answer I pulled them back to me for a proper make-out session, just enjoying the sensation of their tongue against mine. I couldn’t help letting my hands run across the bare skin of their back. I pulled back, steadying my breathing.

“Everything okay?” they asked.

“Yeah…” I said a bit sheepishly despite having a goofy grin. Allison hugged me.

“I have an idea. How about we go out and have some fun on the town? It’s a weekend, there’s no curfew and I heard about a club for teens from Charlie. You like dancing, right?” they suggested.

“If you’re okay with someone with two left feet. I’m better at music, not so much at dancing to a tune,” I replied, laughing. Maybe they had a piano I could hide behind to avoid it…

“I’m sure you’re just being humble,” Allison said. I choose not to argue my case with a story that resulted in my cousin going into the lake.

“It’ll be good to have a evening away from this house anyway,” I added.

“It’s a date.” I smiled as they stood up and pulled back on their shirt. As I sat up to stand up myself I remembered what my mum had told me this morning.

“Wait,” I said. They immediately turned to face me and I bit my lip. “I was thinking since we’re going to be a thing, that before anything happens… Maybe we should go and get tested, to be on the safe side? That’s not weird of me to suggest, is it?”

“It’s a smart idea.” they answered, leaning down and kissing my cheek. “Let’s go?” they said, holding out their hand.

For the second time that day I was at Doc Venus’ clinic. We were lucky it ran a twenty hours a day service. Lissa was of course not there at this time in the evening but there was a computer check-in system in place to cover that. Allison was called first so I waited, staring at my toes. These past few days had been insane. I saw my parents after what was the longest amount of time I’d ever spent away from them. Allen went and kissed me, and then Allison went and kissed me, and I was going on a date with Sheila. It was quite the turnaround for me in turns of a love life. When Allison emerged a few minutes later I walked on in.

“How can I help?” She asked.

“Erm, same thing as Allison, STD testing, to be sure,” I said, my cheeks feeling very warm.

“Oh, okay.” She went on to explain the tests which didn’t take long thankfully. I’d never had performance anxiety about peeing before though. She took some blood and told me the results would be in by Monday. When I walked back out Allison was looking at her phone.

“Well, looks like we won’t be alone.” they said with a chuckle. “I asked Charlie for directions and Caroline invited the whole class.”

“We better get dressed then,” I laughed, holding out my hand. Allison took it and we walked back to the dorm. I snuck my head in me and Allen’s room but it was empty thankfully. I’d grabbed lazy clothes, not dress up ones. This was technically also our first date, so I wanted to look nice. This would be a whole lot easier if I wasn’t feeling nervous. I grabbed some skinny blue jeans and a white shirt with a symbolic pattern on it and then I took the top back off.

“Even in guy mode this is hard,” I muttered. Then the door opened behind me and Allen walked in. I froze. So did he.

“Sorry, I’ll come back later,” he said, turning to leave. His voice sounded so much like a lost puppy though.

“Wait, are you coming to the club with us?” I asked. Based on his expression he hadn’t been told about it yet.

“I don’t have anything to wear,” he laughed. I immediately grinned.

“Help me and I’ll help you.” In the end I wore the original shirt I pulled on, along with a black blazer jacket. Meanwhile Allen was dressed in his usual jeans and a dark blue shirt. I tried to convince him to wear a hat but he wasn’t having that. I rolled my eyes at his defence of ‘hats are gay’ and pushed down the urge to point out he wasn’t exactly straight.

I headed downstairs first where Allison, Charlie, Caroline, Annabelle, Amber, Jaeger, one of his friends from earlier, Mace, Yougen and Yikaru were waiting. Charlie glanced around and announced the bus was leaving soon. I frowned and looked upstairs. Allen was hovering uncertainly still, so I opted to be forceful.

“Allen, get down here or we’ll miss the bus!” A few people were admittedly surprised, I guess I did make a point of being fairly quiet. Allen caved and walked downstairs.

The Annex was a big brick building with large windows that made it remind me more of a warehouse than a club. There was a small line outside the building where a pair of guys were making people sign something as they entered.

“First time here?” The slender man asked when Allison and me reached the front of the queue.

“Yep,” Allison said.

“Entry is two dollars, we take Ravenhold cards. Lockers need to be paid for separately, no alcohol or drugs allowed on premise.” His voice was monotonous as he spoke, so this was probably something he was used to saying. “The Unkindness is playing tonight, so you’ll have to sign a waiver.”

“Waiver?” I asked.

“They’re a parahuman band, so you have to sign this accepting the performance’s effect,” he explained.

“Oh alright.”

We signed the pad he gave us and showed him our IDs. The form explained the band used emotional and psionic powers. I glanced behind me at where Jaeger was standing, remembering his earlier freak out when he had learned my powers. Charlie was nice enough to cover the payment of a locker for our stuff. I promised to pay her back which she shrugged off.

Us; Undefined: Part VI

Us; Undefined

Part VI: Moving Too Fast

After a few minutes of making out, accompanied by some over the clothes touching, we left the closet and joined everyone in the auditorium. I quickly noticed that Sage’s mum had the biggest understanding grin on her lips.

After the speech by the headmaster ended, my dad, Tyrone and I followed Sage’s family around. They didn’t hesitate to tell their parents what had happened and how we were now a thing, which my dad heard.

“So, you and Sage, eh?” He asked as we walked.

“And Sheila too. We’re trying the whole polyamory thing.” I answered a little nervous.

In answer, my dad wrapped an arm around my shoulder, drew me closer and kissed my scalp. “If it’s what makes you happy, then I’m happy too.” His answer warmed my heart.

Following Sage and their parents, we went through the clinic to meet Doc Venus and then a few teachers which my dad talked to. As the morning progressed, my head started getting foggy and everything became a blur as pain reared its head up. Stuff happened and people talked, but I just followed people around

“Are you okay sweetheart?” My dad asked putting his hands on my shoulder and stabilizing me. “You’re looking all kinds of pale.”

“My fibro’s acting up worse than usual.” I answered.

“You should get some rest then.”

“But—”

“I’ll be seeing your teachers most of the day, you won’t be missing anything interesting.” He gave me a hug. “Alright, now go rest. Daddy’s order.”

“Yes, dad.” I answered with a smirk.

It took me longer than it should have to get back to the house, my brain was foggy and I struggled to remember the right turn. When I finally made it into my room, I immediately flopped onto my bed and closed my eyes, not bothering to change or anything. I’m not sure if I slept or not as time as well as everything else became a blur in my head. After some unknown amount of time the weight of something sitting on the side of my bed brought me a smidge of consciousness. I opened my eyes and saw Sage sitting there.

“Are you alright?” They asked, putting a hand on my forehead to check my temperature.

“Ugh… Today was exhausting…” I answered. “My everything’s killing me.”

“May I?”

“Oh hell yes.” I answered.

I removed my shirt and lied belly down on the mattress. After a month of their pseudo-magical treatment, I knew it worked easier if they had direct access to my skin. Sage quickly put their hands to work, their mutant mojo seeping through my skin, sending a warm, comforting sensation through my whole body until the pain faded away. After a minute or two of gently rubbing my back, they put their hands on my temple and quickly my thoughts cleared, the fog replaced with that mental presence I’d grown so familiar with.

“You have no idea how much I love you right now.”

I rolled around on the bed and grabbed Sage by their collar, dragging them down into a kiss. Before they could react any further, I turned the table, ending up on top of them and their body pinned to the bed. I took their hands and guided them to my hips.

“Woah…” Sage muttered, clearly getting flustered. Their gaze wandered down, stopping over my almost bare chest, with my bra as the only piece of clothing left.

“I’m not moving too fast or being a little too rough am I?” I asked, feeling a little worried. “I just have a month’s worth of frustration to vent out of my system.” I added with a nervous chuckle.

“Well, I’ve never, erm, been in a relationship before so…” they murmured, blushing. “Can we maybe not go too fast with certain, erm, activities?” they added sheepishly.

“Of course.” I helped them sitting up on the bed, with me sitting on their lap and wrapped my arms around their head, dropping a few slow kisses on their lips. “I don’t want to make you uncomfortable.” Sage pulled my head back to theirs for more slow kisses. Just as thing started heating up they pulled away slightly.

“Everything okay?” I asked.

“Yeah…” They mumbled, looking a little sheepish.

I gave them a quick hug.

“I have an idea. How about we go out and have some fun on the town? It’s a weekend, there’s no curfew and I heard about a club for teens from Charlie. You like dancing, right?”

“If you’re okay with someone with two left feet. I’m better at music, not so much at dancing to a tune,” they laughed.

“I’m sure you’re just being humble.”

“It’ll be good to have a evening away from this house anyway,” Sage said.

“It’s a date.” I answered getting up.

“Wait.” Sage said. I turned back to face them. They bit their lip, a little nervous. “I was thinking since we’re going to be a thing, that before anything happens… Maybe we should go and get tested, to be on the safe side? That’s not weird of me to suggest, is it?”

“It’s a smart idea.” I answered, kissing their cheek. “Let’s go?” I offered my hand and they took it.

We walked to Doc Venus’ clinic which was about twenty hours a day and registered on the electronic bulletin. Poor Sage looked a little nervous so I cuddled them on one of the couch in the waiting room. After a few minutes, Doc Venus called me and I went into her exam room where I explained why I was there.

She didn’t react in anyway, just being professional and explaining to me the procedure for tests, how they worked and the time before an infection could be detectable. Once that was done, she had me give her the samples she needed. Admittedly, peeing in a cup and getting a blood draw was kind of a weird thing to have as your first activity as a couple, but it was an important thing to do.

“I should have your results by monday.” Doctor Sij declared as she escorted me out. “Sage, if you would please follow me inside my office?”

They got up from their chair and went into the office. I sat back down and become quickly aware of the table filled with condoms of all sorts. I took a gander and was quickly overwhelmed by all the options offered. I didn’t think about it, just stuffing a handful from different types into my bag.

While I liked Sage, I wasn’t exactly thinking of jumping right into that kind of intimacy just yet, but it was better to be safe than sorry.

As I waited, I took out my phone and texted Charlie, asking the exact address of the ‘annex.’ Two minute later, she and Caroline were volunteering to accompany us. By the time Sage came out of Doc Venus’ office, we had a good chunk of the class signing up, Caroline having invited them.

“Well, looks like we won’t be alone.” I said with a chuckle. “I asked Charlie for direction and Caroline invited the whole class.”

“We better get dressed then.”

They extended a hand and I took it. Together we walked back to the dorm to get dressed for a night out. The others might have opted to tag along, but this was our date.

Previous                                                                                                                 Next

Mind Games: Part VII

Mind Games

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.

Into the Unknown: Part II

Into the Unknown

Part II: Brattiness

When I arrived at the joint mechanic and doctor’s office, Charlie was in the shared waiting room for the mechanic and doctor, fiddling around with her phone and her skateboard propped against the nearby wall..

“Are you alright?” I asked.

“Yeah, I got your text and just thought I’d accompany you.”

“That’s very nice of you.”

Although I was still annoyed at Charlie’s prank, I wasn’t going to reject company during maintenance lest I risk death by boredom. I registered myself for both mechanic and doctor. Max Steel and his ridiculous name came and called me out first. Maintenance went smoothly, with no outstanding issue and we were back in the waiting room soon after.

“Ready to go home?”

“Actually I need to see the doctor for my hormone injection.”

“I thought you took pills.”

“Those are just testosterone blockers. Estrogen I get through monthly injection. ”

“Oh.”

“And I probably should go in alone unless you want to see my butt getting jabbed…”

“What if I do?” Charlie said, her cheeks getting a little pinker and her gaze drifting a few inches away. I blushed at the thought. We hadn’t gone anywhere near there yet… “That was a joke!” She said raising her hands up.

“I know.” I said with a rapid nod.

“Caroline?” Doc Venus called out, just in time to save us from the awkwardness and having to think about Charlie wanting to see me naked…

“I’m here.”

I got up and into her office with her.

“Your registration says you need your HRT shot anything else?”

“Oh, I could use a prescription for my Aldactone since my pharmacy’s way back in Massachusetts. I still have a week’s worth of tablets though.”

“That I can do. If you can ready yourself.” She motioned at the exam table. “I’ve memorized your file so this will only take a moment.”

She prepared everything and I unbuckled my pants.

“Have I ever told you how much I love HRT?” She said as she drew the correct dosage out of a bottle. “No life and death danger, just a little prick and it makes my patients so much happier and more comfortable with themselves.”

“That’s cool. Out of curiosity, are there transgender venusians?”

“Not really. We don’t really do gender, it’s very much irrelevant in our society. We also don’t form romantic partnerships and as our youngs are rapidly independent and are taken care of communally so we never developed a division of labor by sex. Add to that the fact that we have no sexual dimorphism outside of internal genitalia and a very slight variance in scale tone.” She explained. “You can see why I think humans are so fascinating, you’re just so different in every aspect.” She came toward me, the needle ready. “If I may?”

I lowered my panties a little and she gently injected the hormonal solution into my buttcheek. Although I was generally really shy about these things with normal doctors, I didn’t mind it with doctor Sij. Maybe because she was an alien, it’s hard to feel embarrassed to be naked around a gentle giant blue reptile.

“Here you go. It’s going to be a bit sore and yada yada yada, you know the drill.” She said before writing a prescription for me.

“Thank you doctor.”

“It was a pleasure.” She said, escorting me to the door.

Charlie was still waiting outside for me and we went back to the dorm together. When we came in, the aroma of indian spices came to me. In the kitchen, Sanjay was busying over pots and pans, the first time I’d seen him do so along with Allen. Although it hadn’t been like he needed to what with my frantic need to blow steam through cooking.

“Oooh, what’s this?” I asked him.

“Hey Caroline. Dinner should be ready in about four or five minutes.” Sanjay answered.

“You made dinner? Gosh darn it.” He frowned.

“I totally would’ve loved to cook with you and learn your recipes. But I missed the chance!” I declared, making sure to over do it so he’d know I was kidding.“How will I ever live with myself now?”

“I can teach you another time.” He promised.

“That’d be great.” I said, a wide grin on my lips. I opened the pots and smelled the dish simmering inside, the aroma of onions, chiles, garlic, tomatoes and ginger coming to my nose. “Looks and smell amazing.”

“Thanks, it’s a family recipe.”

I took my plate and thanked Sanjay. Next came Charlie’s turn and immediately her hidden brattiness resurfaced.

“What’s that?” She asked, looking at her plate.

“Chole Masala and biryani; it’s a type of chickpea curry and a vegetable pilaf-like rice.” Sanjay answered.

“I think you got me mistaken. Nibbles is the rabbit, this is like rabbit food.” Sanjay glared at her silently. “I’m a growing girl. I need like actual food.”

“There’s only one person in the world I cook meat for and it’s a tiny mischievous Tamil girl who loves fish. While you might have got the tiny part right, you’re not her. If you’re not happy then don’t eat it.”

“Damn it, not you too.” She mumbled.

“Oh my god…” I sighed.

I had enough and I could see Sanjay wasn’t happy. I grabbed Charlie’s plate, shoved it in her hand and then dragged her by the ear to the dinner table.

“Ouch!”

“Sit and eat.” I said firmly, dragging a chair for her.

“But I don’t like vegetables…”

“Charlie, you haven’t even tried it.”

She reluctantly dug her spoon into the curried chickpea before putting a small bit into her mouth, chewing slowly. She at least didn’t spit it out, although that might have been because of me watching her like a hawk. The rice went down much easier and without a complaint but that was one of the few things she liked.

During dinner, Sanjay remained at the kitchen counter, quickly eating his plate before jumping on the dishes. When I finished mine I got up and went toward him.

“Sorry about Charlie.” I began, giving him my empty plate. “She can be really bratty. I swear she eats nothing but meat, sweets, bread, pasta and rice. She ‘hates vegetables’ she says.”

“It’s fine.” He sighed.

“It’s really not. I’ll kick her butt if she does it again next time.”

“I’ll hold you to that promise.” He said with a smirk.

“I’ll do it. Cross my heart.” For good measure I made the sign. “Heck, we’re all going vegetarian for the next few days, until she change her mind, that’ll teach her to be a brat.”

“You’re a scary girl Caroline, I wouldn’t want to cross you.”

“Good.”

***

I kept my promise and the next day we dined on tofu tacos, much to Charlie’s irritation. Which was after giving her the cold shoulder most of the day and having her sleep in her own bed rather than snuggle at night. Was I over reacting to her brattiness? Maybe….

“Caroline? Are you still mad at me?” She asked Friday afternoon once classes were over.

I stopped and faced her. “A little.”

“I’m sorry… I just wanted to get back at Jaeger for teasing me. I didn’t think about how you were the one who made those cookies. I promise I won’t do it again. If I’d known it would’ve hurt your feelings, I would’ve never done it.”

I scrutinized her and she did seem genuinely sorry. “Alright.” I said with a sigh.. “But you’re also going to apologize to Sanjay for being grumpy and difficult the other night.”

“Yes Ma’am.” She answered sarcastically and I rolled my eyes.  “Alright, I’ll go talk to him. I still think vegetarian food is yucky, but you’re right, he worked hard on it and I was a brat about it…”

That was a start, I knew I had to give her a little slack. “Since there’s plenty of time before dinner, how about we get some fresh air and sun before the weather gets colder?” I proposed.

“Sure, we could hang out in the Ravenhold park. Do some skateboarding or something?”

“After last time, I am so not jumping on one of these things ever again.” I said firmly. I still had bruises and scrapes on my knees from when I’d tried the weekend before.

“You don’t have to, I’ve got roller skates or—”

“I’ll be fine walking.”

“Alright, whatever works for you.”

I took her hand and headed for the house so she could gear up.

Past Scars: Part II

Past Scars

Part II: Old Flames

“What are you doing here Roxanne?”

“I wanted to see you.” She said, her voice almost pleading. 

“The organization—”

“Doesn’t know I’m here. You know that they give me some leeway, after all it’s not like I can run away. Plus it’s hard to keep track of a girl with my powers.” I lowered my knife and let her go from my telekinetic grasp.

“What do you want?”I asked.

“For one to see you, it’s been so long…” She came a step forward and put her hands on my hips but I brushed them off. She seemed disappointed by that. “I guess we’re not that close anymore.” She sighed.

“You didn’t just come here to fuck did you?”

“Of course not.”

“What is it then?”

“Isn’t it obvious? You got away Jaime, shook off the drugs. How did you do that?”

“I don’t know.”

“You don’t know?”

“I had help, but I was half unconscious. I don’t fucking remember what happened, okay?”

“What kind of help? Who was it?”

“I don’t know what he did… and I sure as hell don’t know if I should tell you.” I sighed. She grabbed one of my hand and squeezed it. “Fuck it.” I sighed. “His name’s Mace, he does shit I don’t understand, some of it got me off the drugs.”

“Where is he?”

“He’s here too. I know, fucking coincidence.”

“Maybe it’s fate.”

I rolled my eyes. If fate was real she had some shit to explain about how my life had turned out.

“Let me get him.”

I went back into the house. I called Mace out and he came over from hanging out with Tyler and Yougen, both of whom also hadn’t had any visitors either. I grabbed his hand and dragged him to the corner of the garden where Roxanne was still waiting.

“I need you to do something.” I said.

“Sure, what is it?” He asked, like there was nothing weird happening. 

“Repeat that shit you did to get me off drugs.”

“What drugs?”

“When we first met?”

“When was that again?”

“Last summer”

“Are you sure about that? I have a blank.”

“Great, as always you’re so fucking useful.” I sighed. Despite my comment, Mace didn’t seem to mind. Sometimes the guy was a real doormat, letting people step all over him. His eyes fell on Roxanne.

“Hi. Do I know you?” He asked with a smile before looking at me. “Do I know her too?”

“You don’t.” Roxanne said rolling her eyes. “Are you sure its him? You’re not fucking with me, are you?”

“No, his brain’s just fried from whatever mojo he’s got, I’m surprised he can remember how to tie his shoes most days… Right now he’s useless to you. Probably take a day or two for his brain to get better.”

“Great.” Roxanne said. “I’m due tomorrow afternoon and it’s a ten hour travel back. No way I can wait that long.”

We didn’t get to brainstorm any more as Caroline came toward us, gave them the signal to shush.

“Hey guys.” She said jovially. “Dinner’s served if you’re hungry.”

Roxanne introduced herself as my cousin under a fake name before shaking Caroline’s hand and quickly jumping onto small talks about the meal ahead. We all went into the kitchen and sat at the absurdly massive table, which didn’t see a whole lot of use. We mostly ate at the kitchen’s breakfast counter or scattered about doing other stuff. Nobody questioned Roxanne’s presence.

“I should go.” Roxanne said once dinner was over. “Walk me out?”

I nodded we left the house together, walking toward the gate.

“What we had… Was it ever real for you?” She asked after a moment of silence.

“I don’t know.” I said with a shrug. Despite everything that had happened between us, I still didn’t know what if anything I felt about girls…

“Really?”

“I was lonely and hurt, you were there. You helped with that and you got what you wanted. I don’t know what else you want me to say…”

“Is that really how you think of me? That I was just using you, that it was just sex?”

“It’s what everyone does.”

“I’m sorry.” She said, coming up to me and wrapping her arms around my shoulders.

“What for? It was a fair trade I guess…”

“I’m sorry that’s how you feel. And while I doubt you’ll really believe me, for what it’s worth, I genuinely do— did love you.”

I just nodded. She was right, I wasn’t sure I believed her. She probably was just trying to score some more points hoping I could help. And really she was the one who’d taught me how survival was the most important thing, no matter the cost…

“I guess this trip was for nothing.” She sighed as the main gate came in sight. “I’ll have to find another way.”

“Wait. I think I know someone else who might help.”

“You do?”

“It’s not going to be magical miracle cure, might not work and even if it does it’ll take a while.”

I took her hand and guided her to the doctor’s clinic. Thankfully Ravenhold grounds were distinctive enough and filled with enough landmarks I’d become easily able to find my way around using my sixth sense.

“Jaime, you know I can see a doctor.” She said, seeing the clinic.

“She’s different. We can trust her.”

She didn’t protest any further and we came into the clinic, signing up. We had to wait a few minutes before the doc called us into her exam room.

“Hello, Jaime, how can I help you?” She asked, looking at Roxanne.

“I need a favor.”

“What kind of favor might that be?”

“Something you need to keep secret. My friend here needs help and if anyone learn you did help, she’ll be in trouble. If the Legion or anyone but us knows the people she’s trying to get away from will probably know too.”

I’d been with the organization long enough to know what happened to those of us who had thought themselves smart enough to get help. The organization had eyes everywhere. Dead parahumans and missing doctors was typically the result of trying to get help… She inspected me for a moment, then spent a moment focused on Roxanne.

“Tell me everything.”

So I did, told her about the organization, about the drug, about its effect and what little we knew of the organization. To my surprise, she agreed to help Roxanne and keep it a secret. She took quite a lot of blood, leaving Roxanne feeling woozy when we left.

“You really think she can do it?” She asked, crashing more than sitting on a bench outside before putting the meal bar doc venus had given her into her mouth.

“She collects medical diplomas like you collect bugs.” I said. “If anyone can, it’s her.”

“Thank you.”

“I shouldn’t have left you behind. If I hadn’t maybe Mace could’ve fixed you too.”

“You had no way of knowing that.”

“But—”

I didn’t get to finish my thought as she pressed her lips on mine. I didn’t return the kiss and she took a step back awkwardly.

“You don’t have to defend what you did.” She said. “All that matters is that you’re alive and you keep fighting on. That’s what I’ll do. I just hope we’ll get to meet again when we’re both free.”

I nodded.

“Thank you for your help.”

With that she vanished, leaving me there alone. Her power was more than just invisibility, she faded from my sixth sense as well.