A Little Secret

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Because There's Nothing More Excited Than Running Errands, Right?

Chapter 51: Because There’s Nothing More Exciting Than Running Errands, Right?


After Andy left I look over at Sean. He looks upset. I’m a little upset, but not nearly as much as Sean. Andy has been with him since I left. And now they’re apart. This is going to be really rough for him. I pull out my phone and open my contacts. Not bothering to send a text, I just hit Arron’s name and put my phone up to my ear walked away from Sean and my parents.

“Hello!” Aaron answered.

“Hey, could we do Disney night tomorrow night? Even if it’s not with everyone. I don’t think I’m going to be able to get Sean to leave the house. Andy just left with his grandfather.”

“I’m fine with watching Disney two night in a row. We can have it at our dorm instead tomorrow. But I’ll talk with everyone else and see what they want to do. Either way, I’ll let you know what’s going on.”

“Okay, thanks, Aaron, I really appreciate it.”

“Not a problem. I’ll go talk to them now. I’ll text you later.”

“Sounds good. I’m going to try to occupy Sean for a bit.”

“Good luck, if you need help let me know.”

“Will do, thanks again Aaron.”

“Not a problem. I’ll talk to you later,” and with that, he hung up.

I put my phone back in my pocket and went over to Sean. I look over at mom and dad and they nod at me and then head back to the house. He looks like he wants to cry. His shoulders are tense, his arms are hanging at his sides and he stares with a blank expression at the water. Placing a hand on his back I feel him jump and look at me, “He’s not gone forever. You know for sure he’s going to at least try to make it here for our winter solstice festival.”

“I just…I don’t know what to do…” He said quietly.

“Let’s see, well, there’s this thing called water messages. But only water elementals with a high level of skill can use it,” I mention and he instantly looks up at me.

“That wasn’t in the book that Chris had me reading.”

“That’s because it’s in the book that I brought you. Don’t think that I didn’t read a bit of it while I was waiting for you to wake up from a nap while you were in the hospital.”

He kinda gave me a look of “I haven’t started reading it yet” type of look, “But what about the Disney night thing?” Sean questioned changing the subject.

“It’s fine. I talked with Aaron and he said that we can do it tomorrow if you feel up to it.”

Tears welled up at the corner of his eyes and he looked away from me. I look down at the water of the pond and see one of the fish has come close to the surface again, “I’m fine Meme,” Sean muttered wiping the tears from his eyes.

“Is the fish talking again?” I ask him.

“Meme just wants to make sure I’m okay and is always asking if I brought food, which I didn’t,” Sean answered.

“Oh, right their pellets. I’ll show you where they are,” I motion for him to follow and take a step, but he doesn’t move from his spot. So, I reach out to him and grab his wrist lightly and pull him in my direction. He doesn’t protest and he lets me pull him over to the small shed that we have by the pond, “It’s right next to the door on the left. It’s in this barrel,” I explain and pop the top off the wooden barrel to reveal the pellets. I grab tin can that we have hanging on the wall next to the barrel and fill the can with pellets.

I hold the can out to Sean. He looks at the can then at me, “They asked you to bring food, didn’t they?” He sighs quietly and takes the can from me, “I’m sorry, by the way.”

“What are you sorry for?” He asked walking out of the shed with the fan of pellets.

“That I can’t really do much to help. I can’t make Andy come back, but you can at least look forward to seeing him during the festivals. I’m sure he can convince his grandfather to at least let him come for those,” I mention as I walk with Sean back to the pond and the two of us sit down.

“This just sucks ass. I knew it was coming, but I didn’t think he would end up leaving so quickly,” Sean mentioned grabbing a handful of pellets and tossing them into the water.

“There’s probably a reason, but what is it I don’t know,” I sigh and lean back on my hands, “The only thing that you can really do now is keep getting stronger right? The next time you see him will be when we have a tournament. Become strong enough to enter the tournament. Kyo’s been the champ for three years running now apparently. Someone needs to knock him off his high horse.”

“And you didn’t do it?” Sean chuckled tossing more food into the water.

“No, I made it all the way to the final round against Kyo, but I ended up getting a mind down and lost by default because of it,” I laugh lightly at my own failure.

“What the fuck is a mind down?”

“It’s where you’ve exceeded your mental limits and your mind shuts down along with your body,” I scratch my cheek, “It’s pretty much like an involuntary nap time so to speak.”

“So, you can over excerpt yourself with using your element too then,” Sean muttered with a nod, “And why is it me that has to beat him?”

“You can, the strength and duration of your element all depend on your mind and body. Along with lots of training obviously,” I wave my hands in from of me and laugh a little, “I’m not saying that you yourself have to do it. I’m going to be trying my damnedest to. I’m just saying that one of us needs to do it.”

“You fucking better be fucking trying to. Don’t leave all that pressure on me right off the fucking back,” He was trying to be serious but there was a smile on his face, “Then you have to train both.”

I nod, “And I’m sure that dad found a good teacher for you. Dad likes to find a teacher that’s compatible with others or just a certain person, you in this case. I’m thinking he wants someone who you’ll listen to and will also be willing to ask questions to when you’re confused about something.”

“Who was your teacher then?”

“Mom, for fire. She’s an actual instructor for basic and advanced fire abilities. Dad has been my teacher for the moon element.”

“What about your other elements?”

“I was going to ask our friends to help me learn the element one at a time. Master one and then go to the next,” Sean tossed the last bit of food into the water.

“Ah,” He nodded quietly and looked out water a bit longer until he slowly got himself up off the ground, “It’s getting late, we should probably go back inside.”

I get back up onto my feet and take the can from Sean, “Go ahead and head back, I’ll go put this away.”

“I’ll wait,” He comments putting his hands in his pockets.

Nodding I turn on my heels and jog back to the shed and hang the can back up on the wall, lock up the shed and then go back to Sean who’s still waiting where we were sitting by the pond. I walk alongside Sean down the hill and keep a hand at the ready just in case he starts to fall. We make it back down to the house without a problem. Sean stopped at his stuff that’s in the sun room and looked at it, “Don’t worry about it right now. We’ll get to it later. For now, let’s go see what mom and dad are up to.”

“Okay,” Sean was quiet with his answer and he followed me through the house.

Mom and dad were sitting in the living room. Mom was crocheting and dad was reading a book. Dad looked up from his book when we walked into the room, “Oh, dad, am I going to do the sparring thing tomorrow so I can show you I’m ready to go back to classes?”

“You’ll have to it in two days. There’s a lot that needs to be done tomorrow,” He answered grabbing his bookmark and placing it in his book.

“What do we need to do tomorrow?” I asked sitting down in the beanbag chair that’s in the living room and Sean sat down next to mom.

“I need you two to get Sean’s picture taken and get the key to his dorm,” Dad explained to us.

“And I would like you to get clothes that actually fit you, love. I don’t want you walking around campus in overly baggy clothes,” Mom chimed in.

“It fit before,” Sean grumbled as I watched mom pick up the ball of yarn and hit Sean in the side of the head with it before continuing with her crocheting. The ball of yarn falls harmlessly on Sean’s lap after smacking him in the face.

“Yes, that was before all of this happened dear. They now no longer fit you properly and I would much rather you get clothes that fit you properly. You can wear your old clothes around the house and your dorm,” Mom said as if it were the simplest thing on the face of the planet.

“I hate shopping,” Sean sighed and leaned back into the couch more as he unwound more yarn for mom so she didn’t need to stop.

“Good, then you can also go grocery shopping with me tomorrow,” Mom said sweetly. The look on Sean’s face was a look that could kill.

Dad got up and put his book down. Walking behind the couch he slapped Sean upside the head for his look he was giving mom and continued out of the room without looking back. It wasn’t a soft smack either it was a hard on.

“Ow,” Sean whined rubbing the back of his head.

“So that’s a yes then,” Mom stated.

“Mom, you can just make a list and we can do the shopping while we’re out if you want,” I offer, trying to ease Sean’s suffering.

“I’m assuming your offering because you want to do something with Sean tomorrow afternoon and evening,” Mom commented as dad came back in with a tray with fours cups and the tea box. He set it out on the coffee table and then left in a blink once more.

I sat up onto my knees and grabbed my normal cup and opened the tea box so I could pick a tea, “I do. We were going to do Disney night tomorrow and I figured it would be a good way for Sean to really get to meet everyone and get to know them a little more.” I stated grabbing the mint tea bag form the box.

The whistling of the teapot rang into the living room, “Sean could you pull out the pomegranate tea for me please,” Mom asked.

“Sure,” He nodded and leaned forward off the couch and started looking for the pomegranate tea in the tea box as dad came back into the living room with the teapot. He set it on the pot holder that was on the table.

“That’s fine sweetie. I’ll write down what we need and I’ll leave the shopping list on the table for the two of you,” Mom answered.

After Sean found the tea that mom asked for and he placed it in one of the cups he started shifting through it again and pulled out a random tea. I grabbed the teapot and poured water into each of the cups and then set it back down before sitting on the floor to wait for the tea to soak.

“Thanks,” I smile at her.

The four of us continue talking about random things and every time Sean asked about his instructor dad was just say you’ll see and then continue with a different topic. So, needless to say, we weren’t going to find out who it was until dad gave Sean the okay to start his training, which shouldn’t be too much longer if these pills work the way they’re supposed to for him.

“I’m going to go take a shower,” Sean sighed finishing his tea and setting his empty cup back on the tray.

“I would feel better if you took a bath instead. I know you did quite a bit of walking and standing today so I don’t want your body to give out on you in the middle of the shower,” mom smiled at Sean as he got up and stretched.

“But, I’ll be fine,” He objected.

“Sean, please,” Dad sighed no looking up from his book.

“But…” He started.

“Sweetie, we worry about you being up on your feet for long periods of time after just getting out of the hospital. Please, just humor me and take a bath tonight instead,” Mom leaned over and straightened his baggy tank top.

His shoulders slump in defeat, “Fine, I’ll take a bath,” He grumbled.

“Do you need help figuring out where everything is?” Dad asked.

“No, I took a shower when I first got here today and Sasuke showed me where everything was. Thank you though.”

“Sasuke,” Dad looks over at me.

“I’ll go with him,” I stand up and set my cup down on the tray.

“I can do it myself,” Sean complained as I walked over to him.

“I know, just come on,” I put a hand on his back and push him towards the hall.

“I can really take a bath on my own. I know what to do,” Sean hissed at me.

“I know, mom and dad are just worried is all. They more so wanted me to walk with you to make sure you didn’t fall.”

“But, I’m not going to fall,” He says as he trips over his own foot and starts face first towards the ground. I grabbed a hold of his shirt and right arm to stop him from falling. It was quiet between us for thirty seconds as I held Sean in mid-fall, “Don’t you say a word.”

“Wasn’t going to,” I said as I pull him back as he gets his feet under himself again. When he was back on his feet we continued down the hall then up the stairs, “I overheard mom and dad talking last night about what happens when the first sets of pills wear off. So, they were more so nervous about when they were going to start wearing off is all.”

“I wasn’t told of the effects when they wear off. I wasn’t even told that they wear off,” Sean commented.

“For the next few days when they wear off, you start losing your balance and will have a bit of a harder time standing,” I explain.

“That’s wonderful,” He grumbled walking into the bathroom and flicking the switch to activate the lights, “I guess I shouldn’t go back downstairs after my bath considering I tripped over my own foot.”

“Probably not,” I nod, “Do you want a different pair of shorts? I’ll bring some up for you.”

“Son of a bitch, I fucking forgot my clothes were still downstairs,” Sean tapped his head against the wall in frustration.

“It’s fine, I’ll bring up a couple of your bags to your room. That way you don’t have to worry about it. And tomorrow we’ll get more stuff up here,” I pat his shoulder to comfort him.

“Thanks,” He sighs and looks at me, “I’m sorry I’m such a burden.”

“Na, you’re not a bother Sean, don’t ever think that. Mom, dad, me, Aaron, Gil, we all care about you greatly. We want to help.” I pat his back and then head out of the bathroom, “I’m going to bring some of your clothes up.”

“Okay,” He said and I heard the water start to run.

I head downstairs and to the Florida room. I heard some clanking in the kitchen and I bopped in there first. Mom and dad were cleaning up from us having tea, “Sean’s working on the bath water now. He said he’s just going to stay upstairs when he’s done. He did stumble a bit while we were heading to the bathroom,” I told them.

“That’s for the best,” Dad said and looked around.

“What are you looking for?” I ask and mom leaves the sink and leaves the room. She comes back with the backpack that Sean brought with him today when he got back from the hospital. She then opened it and pulled out a paper bag.

“Is this what you’re looking for?” Mom asked opening the paper bag and pulling out a small glass bottle that held tiny little blue pills.

“It is,” Dad nodded as mom put it back in the bag, “I’ll take these up to his room with some water,” Dad commented.

“Sounds good,” Mom and dad kissed then dad got a cup down and filled it with water.

“Oh dear,” Mom sighs.

“What is it?” I asked going over to her.

“It looks like Dr. Strife miss placed Sean’s file and Sean must not have realized it when he was packing things up,” She pulled out the manila envelope that was in the bag and what looks like a picture falls out and flutters to the floor. I walk around to the other side of the table where mom is and pick it up off the floor. Flipping it over I stare at the picture. I’ve never seen this picture before. “Mom…I don’t think this is Dr. Strife’s file,” I comment looking up at her from the picture, “I think it’s Sean’s file from the E.C.U.”

It fell quiet in the room and then I hear footsteps and dad slip the picture of out my hand, “Sasuke, can you please go take care of what you told Sean you would do.”

“Um…sure,” I mutter and decide not to protest. I know that Sean will probably show me what’s in the folder later, so I’m not worried about anything. I don’t think mom and dad would go looking at Sean’s stuff without permission first. At least, I hope. I leave the kitchen and go to the Florida room and grab three of the duffle bags that are pretty much filled with clothes and take them up to Sean’s room. Dad was already in there because there are three little bottles and a glass of water sitting on the nightstand that’s next to the bed. I put the bags at the end of the bed. I blink and dad’s in the room with the backpack and he sets it down.

“You should take a shower and head to bed yourself Sasuke,” Dad mentioned with a small smile.

“I will,” I said and walked out of the room. The bathroom door opened and Sean walked out with a towel around his waist and his clothes in his arms, “You’re all set in there. Dad brought up your pills and a glass of water for you too.”

“I dry swallow those tiny things,” Sean commented, “But tell him I said thank you.”

“Will do,” He holds up his hand for a high five and I happily oblige and high five him, “I’ll see you in the morning.”

“Sounds good. Good night Sasuke,” Sean went into his room and closed the door.

I headed back downstairs to let mom know that Sean was heading to bed and that I was going to take a shower and go to bed myself. They said good night to me and then I wandered back up to my room, snagged a pair of shorts and took a shower. After my shower, I notice that Sean’s door was slightly cracked open so I poked my head in to see if he were sleeping yet or not. Sure, enough he was sound asleep. I leave and go to my own room. Dropping my clothes in my hamper and draping my towel on the bedpost at the end of my bed I then flop down on the mattress and lay there. Even with being back and sleeping in my own bed for over a week, I still feel so much more comfortable. I sprawl out on my bed and just lay there for a little bit. Sighing I get up grab my phone off my desk, put it under my pillow, turn off the light and as the black cover slides down over the moss, I use what light is left to get under the covers and lay down on my side and look at the window as it turns completely black in the room. Closing my eyes and relaxing I quickly fall asleep.

Waking up to the sun making my room stupid bright I groan and flip myself over so I can barely breathe as my face is on the pillow. I kicked my blankets off like always at some point during the night and didn’t give a shit what’s so ever. “I’m not ready to get up,” I grumble to my pillow.

Laying there and taking slow breaths I heard the toilet flush. Sean must be up. I don’t think he can sleep in. moments later I hear a knock on my door, “Sasuke, you up?”

“Yeah,” I say a bit louder than usual so he can hear me, “I don’t want to be up, but I’m up,” I lifted my head and prop myself up onto my elbows so I can see Sean standing just inside the room.

“I mean, if it was raining yeah I get it, but it’s bright outside. Get your ass out of bed, It’s not like we were up late last night,” He commented.

I sat up and looked at him,” I have a match today, I need to get all the sleep I need.”

“Well, your body says you’ve got enough sleep. Now get up. I want to get some stuff up in the room,” I look at him with a deadpan face and blink slowly at him, “Don’t talk to me in that tone of face mister, get your ass out of bed and come downstairs.” He snickered and then left my room.

Do I go, do I not go… “Sasuke, ass, downstairs, now,” Sean yelled.

“UGH, I’m coming,” I yell back getting off the bed and leaving my room, “I’ll be right down,” I head into the bathroom first to relieve myself. Once I’m finished I head downstairs and go to the Florida room. Sean is already digging through the bags to see what’s there.

“Dude, you grabbed my anime?” He has excitement in his voice as he holds up a blue-ray.

“I grabbed what I could. Kyo wasn’t too sure why I was grabbing a bunch of DVD’s and blue-rays and I told him that they were important to you,” I answer coming over to him.

He has a soft smile on his face as he looks at the cover to the anime. Being here anime was something that I never really was able to get into. I hear about it here and there from students around campus and at the café, but that’s about it. I haven’t had time to see what it’s about, “We’ll have to watch some at some point.”

“I don’t see why not,” I smile at him and he puts the anime back into the bag a brought them here in.

“So, what time do we had to leave to go and get my ID and what not?” Sean asked throwing the strap to the bag full of anime over his shoulder and he grabbed about bag.

I grabbed a few boxes and we wandered upstairs to his room. He looks like he’s doing better than he was yesterday. He still looks thin though. It could just have been from seeing him so much on Earth. “The administration office opens at six in the morning, so we can honestly go at any time.”

He stops and looks at the clock that’s in the hall, “Oh wow, it’s only seven. I thought it was a hell of a lot later with how bright the sun is.”

“Yeah, normally I would be in class right now. It’s only three days a week class, so it’s not so bad,” I explain as we turn into his room.

“What class is it?”

“Soul weapon class,” I answer, and Sean stops what he’s doing and just stands in his spot on the other side of the room.

“But, I thought only someone who’s into the advanced skills of their element in order to have a chance at getting to learn how to obtain a soul weapon?”

“Okay, one, I’ve pretty much mastered my base element to it counts considering I’m the fire prodigy, and second, how do you know that? I don’t remember telling you anything about that.”

“Oh, yeah that,” Sean trailed off as he started working on his bags of clothes and putting some of them in his dresser, “I found it…in your old house, after you left. I held onto it and kept it safe. I didn’t let anything happen to the book. The book was about Spirit Weapons and the Spirit Realm.”

“But dad found the book a few months ago,” I said confused. Sean was just a human at that time that dad found it. How did he have it?

“After I met Chris, he brought it back here for me, but in return snagged Basic of the Elements, so that’s how I came to having that book when I was ordered to capture you,” Sean explains not looking at me.

“That makes sense then,” I walk over to him and pull the bag away from him so he can’t keep taking his clothes out of his bags.

“Sasuke,” Sean looked at me and went to grab his bag from me and I pull it further away from him.

“You might want to wait on that,” I comment with a smirk.

“And why’s that?” He questions right back raising an eyebrow.

“Because you’re going to be living in a dorm like I do. So you might want to hold off on putting your clothes away.”

“And just where exactly am I going to be dorming?”

“You’ll see,” I smile, “Now let’s get dressed so we can since we have a fuck ton of running around to do today,” I leave Sean’s room and head back to my own so I can get dressed into a pair of cargo shorts and a tie dye t-shirt. I come out and Sean is in a pair of gym shorts and a baggy t-shirt with black ankle socks on, “Do you want to borrow one of my shirts so you’re not swimming in your old ones?”

He looked down at his shirt then back up at me and sighed, “I guess I should, as much as I don’t want to admit it.”

He follows me into my room and I let him rummage through my drawer till he finds a shirt that he likes and he throws it on. As he switches shirts I get on a pair of ankle socks and then we head back downstairs, grab the list and envelope that mom and dad left us, throw on our shoes, I make sure I have my wallet and keys, then we head out. We take a slow walk down the hill into town.

“Where did my phone go by the way? I realize that it’s probably useless here, but I saw you put yours in your pocket and I got to thinking that I have no idea where mine is,” Sean mentioned.

“Oh right, for now, Mrs. Ashi is holding onto it until you pick out a new one. She’ll then transfer whatever you want from your old phone onto your new one before your old phone is incinerated,” I explain to him.

“Incinerated??” Sean said louder than he needed to, “But it’ll send off toxic chemicals and all sorts of bad shit.”

“It won’t actually. You see, there’s lots of different species and plant life that live here on Amoura. And there’s this one plant that I can’t remember the name of for the life of me but it produces this type of purple acid that specifically devours toxic chemicals until it reduces whatever it’s eating into either its natural state or ash. Either one really,” I shrug my shoulders, “Do you want to go and pick out your new phone first? Or do you want to go and get your picture taken and get the key for your dorm? Getting your new phone is on the to do list and mom and dad gave us a fair bit of money for all the things we have to do today.”

“Do we have to be there at a specific time for the picture?” Sean looks over at me.

“No, so you want to go get your phone first?” He nodded, “Alright, let’s go do that then.”

“So, explain to me how cell phones work here and why I can’t just use my own cell phone,” We turned down the opposite road we would have taken to get to the school when we went into town.

“Since cell phones on earth are made with plastics and lithium Ion batteries they are harmful to the environment. Even though there are plants here that can digest those chemicals we are forbidden from using plastics, or anything that has a harmful effect on the world. So, elementals began to improvise. Considering that magic heavily exists here in Amoura, elementals have been able to highly expand science. If you couldn’t tell in the living room the TV is a pane of glass like one of those see through white board things. The lights are actually a luminous moss and when we flick a switch it activates a pulley system that brings down a shadier that blocks off the light from the moss. The roofing on all the housing here are actually solar panels and all that light goes to the moss and helps power the house and the recreated gaming systems. We do tap into the natural gasses that are trapped in the ground,” I explain to him as we make our way through the morning bustle in town.

“So, it’s pretty much the reimagined version that people on earth would love to have,” Sean comments as we make it to our destination. “But that still doesn’t explain to me how cell phones work here.”

“I guess you could say it like that,” I agree and then pull the door open so he can go in first, “And you’ll get the speal from Mrs. Ashi anyways.”

It’s a decent sized store and there are displays off Amoura’s version of “smart” phones, in other words, touch screen phones, slide phones, flip phones, ear pieces, and neck communicators. Everyone is required to have at least an ear piece for if they are ever sent to Earth, that way they can communicate. “Damn it,” I mutter looking around.

“What is it?” Sean asked looking around.

“Good morning~” A young women’s voice rang out from the other side of the store.

“Morning Mrs. Ashi,” I smile at her and walk up to the counter, “Do you still have the phone that my father brought in a few weeks ago?”

“Of course, I was told to hang onto it. I’m assuming the boy who looks like your twin is the one’s phone I’ve been holding onto?” She smiled sweetly at me.

“It is. Thank you for holding onto it for so long,” I lean on the counter, “But I also have to find a new ear piece, I lost mine.”

“You lost your ear piece?” She sounded a little cocky at my comment. She did tell me to go with a neck communicator instead of an ear piece because I looked like someone who would end up losing an ear piece and she was right.

“Yes, you were right, I should have just gotten a neck communicator instead. I’ll look through what you have and I’ll cash out with Sean when he’s ready.”

“Sounds good, please, take your time and find something that he feels comfortable with,” Mrs. Ashi smiles at me and then leaves the counter and goes into the back. I push off the counter and head to where Sean is. He’s looking at the touch screen phones.

“Find anything?” I asked him. He has one of the latest touch screens that was developed in his hand and he looks like he’s feeling the weight of the phone.

“I don’t know, If I go with a touch screen it’ll be like my old phone, this one feels lighter compared to this one. I don’t know if lighter is good or not,” He looked at me for an opinion.

“That’s completely up to you. If you would feel better with a bit more weight to the phone then I would say go with the last model. I think with this new one they were developing a longer battery life and trying to make it lighter so it wasn’t weighing down so heavily in people’s pockets,” I explained to him as he examined the phone a bit more.

He looked at the phone and looked to see where the camera button was and the on button. All the basic things for it, “Will they be mad if I go with this phone?”

I chuckle and shake my head, “No, they set aside plenty of sol for us to be able to get you what you want.” Sean looked down at the floor away from me, “You okay?”

“I’m just not used to this is all,” He mumbled and I patted him on the back.

“Well, get used to it,” I push him forward a bit so we head to the counter.

The two of us go up to the counter where Mrs. Ashi was and she got her all set up with the new phone, explaining how phones work here and how he recharges the phone. Once we made sure it would turn on and Mrs. Ashi was able to transfer at least the pictures from his old phone to his new one, along with this old phone number so he didn’t have to memorize a new one. I put in my number into Sean’s phone and had him text me. I got his text and saved his number on my phone. Then we got him a neck communicator and I got myself one. Once everything was paid for we thanked Mrs. Ashi and then left the store.

“Thank you again,” He says slipping the phone into his pocket and I held the paper bag with the communicator’s in it.

“It’s not a problem at all.”

“Question, so how do other students get phones?” That was actually a good question.

“I think Mrs. Ashi does a payment plan with the student. I think Nero ended up doing a payment plan so we can ask him about it,” I lead Sean onto campus as we enter the east side of the campus.

“Why is this campus all hill?” Sean grumbled as we got to the top of one of the slopes to get to the Volkov building.

“Because that’s where the campus was built. There is really no being out of shape with having a campus like this,” I comment with a small smile. “Running around it and not stopping it rough though.”

“Is there a trail or something that goes around the entire school or something?” He questioned.

“That’s exactly it. It’s a decently wide dirt trail that makes it way between the tree line that makes up the campus wall. Instead of having an actual wall that separates that campus from the town it was better to use trees instead,” I explain as we head up a set of stairs, “It’s not much further.” I look back to see Sean struggling a little bit. Not as much as he was yesterday, but I can see him breathing heavier. I stop in my tracks, “We can take a break.”

“No,” Sean protested. I put a hand on his shoulder to get him to stop.

“We’re taking a break. I’m not having you push yourself and then get hurt. If you want to get better then we’re taking a break. Most students are in class right now so we can sit on the stairs without worrying.” He mumbled under his breath but didn’t protest loud enough for me to prove him wrong. Instead, he brushed my hand off his shoulder and sat down on the stairs. I sat down with him, “You know, you’re a lot further along in your recovery than I thought you would be. Even with taking the pills.”

“It’s just those damn pills that are making me feel better,” He muttered leaning back against one of the metal rails.

“You also have a very strong will and you don’t like to be held down. The pills are just helping you along.”

Sean just looked down at his lap and it fell quiet between us. “How much further is this place that you’re taking me anyways?” He questioned breaking the silence.

“The Volkov building, is up these stairs, up one more small slope and set of stairs and then we’re there.”

“That sounds Russian,” Sean comments.

“It’s because it is Russian. The building is named after Anastasia Volkov, she was a sight elemental prodigy. She was the sight prodigy before Gil,” I explain. And I name off a couple of other buildings that are in our line of sight and who they are named after. Once Sean looks like he’s calmed down as relaxed we get back up and head the rest of the way to the Volkov building. We get into the building and Mr. Acker is working with a couple of other students. I pull Sean over to the side so we’re not in the way. “After this, we’ll go upstairs and see dad if you want.”

“Mr. Kaisai is in this building?” Sean sounded surprised.

“Yeah, dad’s office is upstairs. If you want to thank him for the phone or anything,” I shrug my shoulders.

“Sasuke, I can help you now,” Mr. Acker called and I looked over at him to see the two students leaving.

I nudge Sean and walk over to Mr. Acker’s desk, “Where’s Ms. Sterling?”

“She’s running errands for me and your father,” He smiled, “But, on the plus side, we’ll be getting a new kid in for training in a month.”

“That’s awesome! This is Sean, by the way. Sean, this is Mr. Acker. He’s the head of dorming.”

“It’s a pleasure to meet you,” Sean nodded towards him.

“The pleasure is mine,” Mr. Acker smiled and stood up from his seat, “So, I’m actually going to have you come around the counter and I need you to stand in front of that wall so I can take your picture for your ID. The ID will allow you access to the buildings on campus along with getting you into the placement exams that’s coming up in two weeks.” He explained to Sean as he lifted up a section of the counter and Sean walked through and did what he was told and stood in front of the light tan wall.

“What’s a placement exam?” Sean asked as Mr. Acker set up the camera.

“It’s just what it sounds like. It’s going to test your general knowledge and figure out what classes you should be placed in,” Mr. Acker said as he positioned himself behind the camera, “Ready,” Mr. Acker held up his hand to signal he was about to take the picture.

Sean ends up smirk as the photo is taken and I can’t help but chuckle. Sean looks over at me and raises and eyebrow, “What?”

“That fits you is all. You should keep that picture,” I comment.

“Well, I didn’t want to frown, and I feel like I have a stupid smile, so smirking was the last option,” Sean states as Mr. Acker takes the chip over to his screen and he slips it in as Sean comes back to the other side of the counter. Mr. Acker’s fingers quickly tapped on his keyboard and then his printer starts up.

“That’s going to take a few minutes to get your ID finished,” Mr. Acker said and then walked over to a filing cabinet and pulled open a draw. Fishing through the tabs like it was nothing he pulled out a small envelope and came back over to us. “This is the key to your dorm Sean. It’s dorm 202.”

Sean took the envelope and opened it up, “Who are my roommates then?”

“It’s Aaron Strife, Gilbert Reis, and Jason Grim,” Mr. Acker tells him, “If you want to go visit your father, just stop by and pick up Sean’s ID on the way out.”

“Sounds good. We’ll be back down soon,” I say and tug on Sean’s shirt to get him to follow me up the stairs.

I go to knock on the door and stop with my knuckles inches away from hitting the door, “What’s up?”

“Dad’s in there with someone,” I answer hearing dad’s voice.

The door is closed so at the same time Sean and I press our ears against the door.

“You sure you’re willing to do this?” I heard dad ask.

“Of course, I think it’s best that I’m the one that does it anyways. He knows me and respects me. That will make it a lot easier in the long run. Don’t worry John, I swear I won’t let you down.” It was another man’s voice.

“Abel,” Sean mutters and pushes himself off the wall and grabs the door handle. I stand up straight just in time as Sean opens the door. Sure, enough a blonde man with his hair pulled up onto a messy bun and wearing what looks like a simple t-shirt and black cargo shorts, with running shoes.

Abel turns and looks at us, “Well look at you. Up and walking already?”

“It’s nice to see you again Abel,” I spoke first between all of us, “Sorry for interrupting.”

“You asshole, I didn’t think I would see you again,” Sean’s shocked expression softens and turns more into a happy about to cry look.

“Awe come on now, I’m sure Chris told you I was an elemental. Sasuke, Gilbert, and Aaron figured it out on their own,” Abel smirked at us, “Now, get in here and shut the door.”

We did what we were told and shut the door behind us. Both Sean and I walk up to Abel and Abel puts a hand on Sean’s head. Even though Sean’s taller than him.

“I see that you still have your height now that you’re seventeen again,” Abel laughed messing up Sean’s not brushed hair.

“I’m so confused, why are you here? What were you two talking about?” Sean asked brushing Abel’s hand away and completely ignoring Abel’s comment.

“I’m going to be your water element instructor,” He crossed his arms and stepped back from Sean to get a good look at him. “I think this is a plus that this happened, now you can move more freely and we can build your muscles up with memorizing the movements instead of trying to teach the one’s you gained from working at the E.C.U. to go with the flow.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Sean asked and Abel just laughs take a couple steps towards Sean and slaps him on the back.

“Let’s just say I didn’t like the routine that Paul was making you do. I didn’t think it was the right one for you and it just so happens that was right.” Abel pulls out his phone and looks at what time it is, “We’ll have to continue this conversation later,” He slipped his phone back in his pocket then turns back towards my father, “I’ll be back by tomorrow and I’ll drop those off to Otto when I get back.”

“Sounds good. I’m sorry to cut your expedition short like this,” dad apologized. What expedition? I look at Sean and he looks about as lost as I do.

“Na, it’s fine. I’m sure that Torin would just complain that I was getting in his way because I’ve been gone for so long. He should be on his way back anyways now that I think of it,” I’m so confused about what’s going on. “Anyways, I’ll head out and I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“Yes, it’s going to be after classes, if you would like to watch.”

“I wouldn’t want to miss it,” Abel turned around and put a hand on both of our shoulders, “Don’t be a headache for his now. I’ll see you two later,” Abel chuckled and walked between us then left the room.

I look at Sean then at my father, “Don’t worry about it,” He says and collects papers that are on his desk. “So, what did you two want to talk about?”

I opened my mouth to say something but Sean stepped up first, “Thank you,” He said I can see the determination in his face. He’s very focused, but he still has that hint of embarrassment in his expression, “Thank you for everything you’ve done. You didn’t have to do as much as you did. You could have left me there, you could have done nothing for me and yet you take me in.” I watch as he clenches his fists, “I know that I’ve said this so many times it’s probably getting old by now, but thank you. I’ll do whatever I need to so I can prepay you and Mrs. Kaisai. Just let me know what it is and I’ll do it.”

It fell silent between the three of us. This isn’t something that I could interfere with. Dad looked at Sean with a soft smile, “Listen to Abel, he was at the top of his class when he went through the academy. He knows what he’s talking about and I trust that he’ll be a good fit and be able to find a method that will work best for training. He’s worked with you before so I figured it would be best to have someone you already know be with you and teach you your element. And as for paying us back, there’s no need for that. We’re going to help you no matter what happens. We lost you once under unfortunate circumstances, we’re not going to lose you again.”

I hope that Sean understands that even before we knew he was my cousin that we did really care about him. Sean’s shoulders start to tremble and I look at the side of his face. He takes a deep breath and bows in front of dad, “I won’t let you down. I may not be as strong as Sasuke, but I’ll do my best.”

“You’re stronger than you think Sean. I’m sure you’ll come to realize that as you train,” I look at dad and then back at Sean. Sean stood back up straight again and looked at him confused. We both waited for a longer explanation as to why, but all dad did is smile, “Don’t you two have shopping to do? I’m quite sure mother won’t be very happy and won’t let you go tonight if you don’t get that list done.”

I turn and Sean’s looking at me, “Guess we should get going then, time’s wasting,” I smile.

“Thank you again,” Sean said to dad and dad held out his hand.

“Let me see it first,” He said and Sean blinked a few times looking a bit confused.

“Oh, right,” Sean dug his hand in his pocket and then pulled out his phone and handed it to dad. Dad spun it in his hands and then turned it on and had Sean unlock the phone. Before he handed it back he punched his what was probably his and mom’s numbers and then handed the phone back, “You should probably get your friends numbers as well. You two have fun while you can. You have a placement exam coming up in a week and if Sasuke passes this sparring match he’s going back to classes in a few days.”

“We’ll see you later dad,” I wave and dad smiles, “Behave you two. I don’t want any phone calls saying that you two did something stupid.”

“We’ll behave I promise,” I say and we head out of the room. Good timing too, there was a student who didn’t look too thrilled came up the stairs.

We stopped by Mr. Acker’s desk and picked up Sean’s ID and then we left.

You and Sean up for Disney night tonight? I read my text as the two of us walk down the slope.

We’re good for it. Mom is making us do all the shopping so we can come tonight. Usual time?

“What are you texting?” Sean asked.

“Aaron. He’s asking if we’re good for Disney night tonight,” I answer as my phone vibrates again.

Yep, normal time. Maybe I’ll see you in town. Gil and I are working at the café today. If you get time maybe you can weasel Sean into helping us haha

I think if we get done soon enough I’ll drag him back out. If it’s busy I’ll get Sean to help. But I’ll be happy to help out.

Thanks again. I’ll see you two later then.

Sounds good.

I put my phone back in my pocket, “Everything good?”

“Yep, we’re all good. Let’s get going and get this shopping over with.” I chuckle and we head towards the north exit on the main road. “So, what do you want to do first? Clothes shopping or food shopping?”

“We have to do both so can’t we just do all of it now?” Sean questioned.

“Well, mom has a pretty big list and whichever one we do first we would have to carry the bags with us. But, if we do the grocery shopping first then take them home, we can eat lunch and then go back out to do the clothes shopping,” I offer as an option.

“You have the time element, right? Can’t you do that time flick or whatever the fuck it’s called to get the groceries back home?”

Pfft, time flick. “Flash step, and no, I can’t. I haven’t trained at all with the time element.”

“UGH, fine, let’s just fucking get the grocery shopping done first. I hate shopping in the first place,” Sean groaned his shoulders slumping and he leaned forward as we walked.

“I know it sucks, but the sooner we get it done the sooner we can have fun,” I mention and nudge him with my elbow a bit, “And I’ll take you to the café for powering through this with me.”

“You act like I’m a little kid sometimes,” He commented but there was a smile on his face, “Or have we forgotten I’m older than you.”

“You’re only older than me because I decided to not have my eighteen birthdays on the records, keeping me at seventeen for another year,” I point out.

“Yeah, but how am I supposed to be an older brother role if you’re older than I am?” He has a point.

“Why do you think I told dad that I would stay at seventeen? It means your birthday stays before mine and you stay older than me,” I smile, “We don’t need to be confused about who’s older.”

“Fair enough,” Sean chuckled and I took him into the first store. We went through the aisles and got was we could that was on the list for this store. I paid for everything and we got it bagged up and left the store.

“Can we go to the café for lunch? I think that would make more sense considering we’re going out tonight and I’m assuming that we’re not going out to eat.” He hit the nail on the head.

“Right, we’re actually going to your dorm to have a Disney night with everyone. It’s their turn to host it,” I answered pushing the door open with my back to the next store, “This store and more one then we can take the groceries home.”

The store clerks let us place out groceries that we had behind one of the counters with them so we could have free hands to grab what we needed. Got what we needed from there cashed out, we were able to fit those groceries in the bags we already had then we went across the street to the last store. Thankfully, this last stop had the least number of things that we had to get. But, we had to get two more bags to hold the food. In all, we have six bags in all between the two of us. We had to keep stopping on the way back to the house for Sean to take a break and to readjust the bags in our hands. Living outside of town and having to carry groceries in bulk like this sucks.

“Is this how it always is with your parents and groceries?” Sean asked as we stopped at the end of the driveway for we could breathe.

“No, normally when we go shopping dad will always go with whoever is going to get them so he can just flash step them back to the house. I feel like this is a punishment of some kind though,” I laugh lightly.

“What did we do wrong?”

“Good question, I have no idea.”

“Maybe it’s in case we do something later,” Sean offered as an option as he stood back up, “Alright, let’s get these fuckers into the house and get them put away.”

I nodded in agreement and we picked up the bags one last time and made it to the house. I show him where everything goes and then we both get glasses of water and sit down at the table, “Okay, half an hour break, then we can go back out for clothes shopping.”

“I swear I can just wear my clothes,” Sean groaned.

“Mom said no, not unless it’s around the house,” I didn’t lift my head from the table top to look at him.

“UUUUGGGGGHHHHHH,” He groaned loudly, “But I don’t wanna.”

“We have to. Unless you want to get in trouble and have a punishment on top of the shopping. I’m sure mom would love to go shopping with you and pick out cute clothes for you to wear.”

“I hate you.”

“Mhm, love ya too bro,” I snicker finally lifting my head up to see him leaning back in his chair and just staring up at the ceiling.

He pushed himself upright and leaned forward again, “Let’s fuckin get this over with then.” I guess that was enough motivation to get him to do this.

“They worry about me being on my feet for so long and then they make us do all of this in one day,” He comments before finishing his water.

“They know that we’ll do the right thing and take breaks. I think that they more so worry about the end of the day when the pills start to wear off,” I mention getting up out of my chair.

“Eh, if anything else you’ll just have to drag me back to the house or we’ll sleep in the dorm for the night.”

“Fair enough, I don’t see why not. But I would have to drag you back home if we forget your pills.”

“Then we just won’t forget them,” We walk back out to the main hall and get our shoes back on. We make sure that we both have our phones and I have the money and keys then we leave the house once more to start another adventure in town. Oh, the joys of running errands.

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