Chapter 57: Something New
How did he do it? Get into my head like that? Sean, why were you able to stop me when I couldn’t stop myself? Out of everything that I couldn’t feel. I could feel his presence, I could feel that he grabbed a hold of me and snapped me out of that trance. It’s been almost a month since my last breakdown. These thoughts still haunt me. I don’t want to ask Sean, but at the same time, I feel like I should. Did something happen where the others don’t want to tell me anything? Did Sean ask them not to tell me? Being told that Sean and dad are the ones that stopped me makes me question what happened.
“Sasuke,” I look over to see Nero throwing a bale of shavings at me to knock me out of my thoughts.
“Geez us,” I mutter and catch the bail before it knocked me over.
“Should stop day dreaming and actually pay attention to what we’re doin’,” He snickers and I roll my eyes.
“I was not day dreaming, I was thinking,” I mumble and unlatch the bail so I can start placing new shavings in the nests for the hens.
“And what exactly were you thinking about”? He asked as I have my back to him but I head the bale of shavings he must have brought in hit the floor of the coop.
“Did you already hear about what happened?” I can’t bring myself to look at Nero as the chicken’s cluck around us.
“Yeah, I heard from Jay what happened. I didn’t want to bring it up, but it has been a month. You sure you’re okay to talk about it?” I finished putting the shavings in the nests and dumped the rest up on the roost that was close by.
“That’s the thing. I remember feeling sick and a strong ringing in my ears. When I started back to the house there was a click and then everything went black. I don’t remember anything else,” I explain to him, “I know that Sean was the one that got me to stop and dad knocked me out. But I was told how Sean was able to stop me.”
It fell silent between us other than the chickens clucking and scratching at the new shavings, “He’ll tell you. You know it’s not like him to keep you, especially in the dark for very long. I’m sure if you ask him straight out he’ll tell you.”
“I figured you wouldn’t tell me,” I sigh and kick some shavings.
“It’s not my place to tell you. It’s between you and Sean.”
“I know, I was just trying to get a bit more of an understanding of what happened that day,” I sigh.
“Come on, buck up. Tomorrow is the harvest festival. And we just have three more coups to do, then we’re done for the day. Ya know unless they call us out to harvest in the field too.”
“Oh, god I hope not. It’s hot enough in here already,” I chuckle, “Though, I could make it much worse.”
“I swear Sasuke if ya fuckin’ make it one hundred twenty somethin’ in this damn coop I’m dumping the damn dirty chicken water on ya to cool ya off. Not even the chickens wanna deal with that fuckin heat.”
“I won’t,” I chuckle as we both walk out of the coop and carry the feed through back in and set up the coop the way it looked before we started to clean it out.
Nero and I wanted to switch it up a bit for the job that we wanted to do in order to get some extra money for the harvest festival. This was kinda like our midterm break. We have the week off for setting up for the festival and helping with all the main harvesting. Early this morning we were both out in the field harvesting potatoes and then after lunch, we were sent to work on the coops. I don’t know which I would rather do. Be stuck in a hot coop with chicken dust clogging up my nose and lungs or baking out in the sun bent over harvesting potatoes.
After the second coop, the two of us were a bit faster with knowing exactly what we had to do, so it only took us another three hours to get the rest of the coops done. Nero and I helped in the field a little bit after with carrying hoses and winding them up to get them out of the way. Time flew by before I even knew it, it was five o’clock and the two of us were being sent home for the day.
“Weren’t we supposed to work on manifesting our soul weapons today at some point?” I mumble as I walk down the side walk back to the school grounds with Nero.
“I say fuck it today. Unless you have a storage tank that you have in the reserves that are just bursting at the seams with energy. I used muscles I didn’t realize I had today,” He whined.
“Well, we can look at it this way, we have the whole week of helping at the farm. Maybe the more we do it the better we’ll feel by the end of it,” I offer a more upbeat solution and I just get the most monotone expression from Nero. He just stares at me with his half-lidded eyes and slowly blinks as we walk. His shoulders slumped forward and arms dangling like their free weights just swinging, “Don’t give me that look.”
“We’re not practicing today Sasuke. At least I’m fuckin’ not. I just want a cold shower and to lay the fuck down,” He grumbled.
“That’s up to you, but I at least want to try to get a little practice in since it’s not physical stress to make my body even sorer,” I shrug as we enter the academy and start our truck across campus to get to our dorm.
“All power to ya Sasuke,” Nero chuckles as we walk into the training field that separates us from our dorm.
“Hey,” I nudge Nero as I look over to my right and see Sean and Harley sparing off. They look like they’re in the middle of a match. Sean dodged out of the way of a wind gust that made the grass around us blow like mad. We continued to stand there to see the outcome.
“I’m impressed that he’s able to dodge those blasts of wind,” Nero comments and as soon as he finishes his sentence Sean gets nailed and sent flying backward, “Most of them.”
I chuckle as Sean comes to a rolling stop and he’s lying flat on his back, “Ugh,” He groans and doesn’t move.
I walk over to him as I wave at Harley and look down at Sean, “So, how’s it goin’?”
“Oh, you know just chillin’ after getting knocked on my ass, the usual,” He chuckles and sits up. “How was work for you two?”
“It was a long day,” I sigh.
“We cleaned up chicken shit all day,” Nero pops in, “Sup Har?”
“Not much,” Harley was getting a lot better with his English and could say a few sentences without mixing in his Scottish accent. The hardest part was teaching him to say dinner instead of whatever he says instead, “You?”
“Tired,” I smile.
“Fuckin’ beat man. I have a fuck ton more respect for everyone who does farm work every day, but god fuckin’ damn wanting to shock those obnoxious chickens was real fuckin’ tempting,” Nero groaned.
“It wasn’t all that bad,” I comment and Nero glares at me.
“Even though ya can’t fuckin’ feel the heat, you were fuckin’ sweatin’ too,” Nero points out as I help Sean up onto his feet.
“Of course, I was sweating we were shoveling and lifting shit into wagons then emptying the wagons into a manure pile. But anyways, how long have you two been at it?” I ask looking between Sean and Harley.
“What, like an hour I think,” Sean looks over at Harley and Har pulls his phone out and checks the time.
“Yeah, an hour,” He smiles and nods, “Gonnae against win’ isnae Seans’ specialty.” He chuckles and nudges Sean in the elbow.
“We all have our weaknesses,” I laugh lightly, “But you two were also working today. Was it dead?”
“Oh no, it was busy we just had some energy to spare,” Sean puts his hands in his pockets.
“We’re also tryin’ tae catch up tae a’ fowk sae we dornt feel loch we’re bein’ left behin’,” Harley stated and I still have to stand here and process what he said for it to click.
“You two don’t have to drive yourselves into the dirt to try to catch up to us. You should learn at your own pace. If you stress yourself out too much you’ll get hurt or really sick,” I look between the two of them.
“We both know from experience. There were a few days where Sasuke worked and trained so much that he couldn’t get himself out of bed and couldn’t go to class. Then I got fuckin’ sick as balls and was shocking everyone worse than I normally do. Like they fuckin’ walked within three feet of me and they would get zapped. And it was watch the fuck out when I sneezed,” Nero explained to them.
“Yeah, don’t go near him when he’s sick. In fact, don’t even come near the dorm when he’s sick for that matter,” I chuckle and Nero socks my arm.
The two of them stared at us with wide eyes and leaned away from the both of us, “Want me ta fuckin’ zap ya two now so you know what it feels like?” They quickly shook their heads, “Then stop fuckin’ leanin’ away from us. I’m not sick god damn it. I’m just explanin’ to ya what happens.”
“Okay, okay, sorry geez,” Sean puts his hands up in front of him.
“Don’t mind him, guys. He’s just cranky and wants to shower,” I stick my hands in my pockets.
“You look just as tired as he does,” Sean points out.
“Yeah, but it’s worth it. Not having to work a booth at during the festival makes it better,” I shrug.
“We’ve gotten out of working a booth a couple times now,” Nero smirks, “Though, it all depends on which one you get stuck at or if you and your friends get together and make a booth that’s worth working at. On top of it, you get to keep the money that you make for your booth. But in order to make one, I think it’s like two hundred Sol or something like that.”
“Two hundred isn’t too bad. If you and your friends all spilt it.” I look down at Nero.
“Yeah, but you’re not including all the sol you’re going to have to spend for the materials and what type of booth you want or if you’re going to be taking a classroom, which is an extra fee. Then you have to supply a product and all that time that goes into it,” Sean adds in.
“Yeeaaaahhh, that’s why I don’t wanna fuckin do one,” Nero groans.
“What if we talk to Mr. and Mrs. Manson? One of these times we could set up a booth and ask them if we can get their opinion on things or if they want to help,” I offer.
“True, if we wanted to do a cosplay café. And I did buy the last one that I had while I was working there,” I mumble, “Maybe for the winter festival if we don’t enter the tournament.”
“Tournament?” Sean and Harley say in unison.
“There’s a big tournament or two every summer and winter solstice. Any elemental are allowed to enter. But normally all of us join,” I start.
“And when they see our names on the sign ups a fuck ton of um decide that they don’t wanna sign up,” Nero props himself up by placing his arm on my shoulder and leaning forward.
“Why?” Harley asks confused.
“Because we’re prodigies,” I sigh a bit and cross my arms, “People don’t want to go against us unless they want to try to prove that they’re stronger than us.”
“Most people hate us. We all share that burden with being a prodigy. There’s nothin’ we can do to change who we are, though,” Nero said.
“Which reminds me,” I look at Sean, “They haven’t made the announcement that you’re the water prodigy yet have they?”
“No. I’m not sure when Uncle plans on it,” He answers.
“Maybe during the festival,” Nero offers.
“Most likely considering Harley hasn’t been announced yet either,” I shrug.
“But, ah dornt kin hoo bein’ able tae send messaged through th’ win’ makes me th’ win’ prodigy.”
“No other wind elemental can do that. Therefore, it’s the rare trait of the element. Considering you can use that trait and how quickly you’re able to get a handle on the training that normally takes at least two years for someone to go through, it means that you’re the new prodigy of the wind element,” I explain to him and kinda to Sean.
“Hoo did they fin’ Sean out?”
“It’s simple, he can talk to fish and hear them answer back in return,” I reply.
“On top of that, he used the rare ability of the water element to stop Sasuke from burnin’ everything to a crisp.” Quickly look down at Nero and then at Sean. Sean was looking away from me and refused to look at me.
“How did you do it?” I ask in a soft tone waiting for him to look at me.
“You were coming after uncle and me after we got your attention. I screamed for you to stop and it just sorta happened,” Sean mumbled, but had his voice loud enough for us to hear.
“I’m sorry,” I look down at my feet.
I feel Nero push off me, “Come on Harley, these two need a moment.”
“O-okay,” I hear the two of them walk away. But Sean doesn’t move from his spot as I can still see his feet.
“I’m sorry,” I apologize keeping my head down, “I’m so sorry, I thought I had it under control. And I hurt you and everyone because I snapped. And I don’t know why I did. It’s not like I was under stress or anything like that.”
“Sasuke,” I don’t move, “Look at me Sasuke, not just my feet.” I do as he says and look up at his face, “Everything’s fine. Uncle said that he was going to try his best to keep it hidden. But he doesn’t know how long it’ll be until the elders find out on their own.” Sean shifts his weight.
“I don’t know how to control it. I just know that I get a flood of sickness and then I either go blank or I’m stuck in a mental prison where I can’t control my own body, but I know exactly what’s going on,” I explain to him.
“Let’s continue this conversation in the dorm. It’ll be safer to do,” Sean didn’t give me a choice. He grabbed my elbow and started dragging me towards his dorm.
Gil and Aaron were sitting at the table and Aaron was working on something so intently he looks like he didn’t even hear us come in, “Welcome back,” Gil smiled at the two of us.
“Thanks,” Sean smiled, “We’re going to be up in my room if you need either of us.”
“Sounds good. Harley told us you two were talking. It must be something important for you to come inside with the conversation,” Gil points out.
“It is,” Sean nods.
“I’ll get the details from the two of you later. Go talk,” Gil shoos us off with the flick of his wrist. I follow Sean up the stairs and we go to the right. We pass the bathroom where I hear the water going and go to Sean’s room.
Sean’s room is a little bit of a mess from him seeming to be alphabetizing his anime. So, there were a few stacks of anime sitting over by his book case, on top of he didn’t make his bed, and his clothes are at least folded and on top of his dresser, “Sorry about the mess.”
“Na, don’t worry about it.” I laugh and start straightening out his bed.
“Sasuke, stooooop. You don’t have to make my bed,” Sean groaned at me.
“I’m just fixing it so I can sit on it,” I answer finishing up and sitting down.
Sean sat down on the bed with me before he flopped over. “How many times have you lost control?”
I sat there are thought about it for a moment, “Three, if you include this last one.”
“Have you been able to shift into a different element since then?” He asks and by his expression, I can tell that he’s not really wanting to bring up the past, but it’s the only way to get to the point.
I shake my head no, “Every time I’ve tried I get a terrible pain in my chest and I want to break down crying from it or almost pass out. So, I’ve just been sticking with my base element to make things easier.”
“Uncle told me that you can’t switch out of your base element when you’re like this. He wanted to tell you when you woke up, but I asked him if I could be the one to do it. For the past month, I’ve been trying to bring myself to sit down with you and tell you what he told me,” Sean’s voice trailed off the more he spoke.
“I know that these breakdowns are different than what everyone else considers a breakdown,” I point out to him, “Dad’s brushed the topic with me because he didn’t want that mental switch to happen,” I mention and he looks like he’s going to breakdown himself.
“It’s all my fault.”
“No, it’s not.”
“Yes, it is Sasuke. You wouldn’t be in this mess if it weren’t for me.”
“Stop blaming yourself. I’m not blaming you and I’ll never blame you. It happened, it’s in the past, so now we’re going to deal with it,” I put both my hands on his shoulders as I looked him in the eyes.
“I’ll try,” He muttered.
“That’s all I can ask for. Now, will you tell me exactly what dad told you? Or at least what you remember about it?” I ask.
“Well, I remember, uncle told me about how he had his break down,” Sean started and I held up my hand to stop him there.
“Don’t worry, I was already told this story,” I smile and Sean looks at me confused.
“By who? Uncle said that he never told you.”
“By Chris,” I smile sadly, “He told me about that day.”
“When?” I look away from Sean then back at him.
“The day of the experiment. It was really early in the morning. I think it was like one or two in the morning.”
Sean looked at me with some sadness in his eyes and then coughs in his palm and then looks back at me. He looks upset that I said uncles name to him. I want to know what’s running through his mind right now and if he’s okay. “Then I don’t have to tell you that. But, he said that the breakdown started out slow and huge gaps between at first. But by the time he had his fourth breakdown the elders at the time caught on that he had lost control of his element.”
I swallow hard, “I’ve had three so far,” I mumble.
“Hopefully they won’t catch on. I did talk to everyone about it personally and told them to look for signs that you’re going to have another breakdown. When it comes down to it, it’s best if we knock you out before you can snap and it becomes a battle and a half to get you to calm down.”
“So, one of you are going to try to be around me as much as you can just to be safe?” I ask with a bit of relief but at the same time, I feel anxious about it all. I don’t want to hurt my friends.
“Thank you for everything. I really appreciate it. It makes me feel a bit better that I know I have everyone looking out to make sure that I don’t hurt others if it happens,” I smile at him.
He pats my back and smiles back at me, “don’t worry about it. That’s what cousins are for. We’re here for each other no matter what.”
“But, are you okay?” I ask and he blinks at me and stays silent so I take it as a sign to continue. “What I brought up Chris’s name earlier. You looked upset. Do you want to tell me?”
“I’m okay, really,” He smiles but his soft smile is still sad and I can tell by his expression that he’s not really okay.
“No, you’re not. I’m here, talk to me.”
“I just…he never told me why he just left. Why it is that uncle John thought that he killed him. What exactly happened to my mother. Why it is that your parents didn’t remember that I was their nephew. I’m just left with so many unanswered questions and I don’t know how to even go about getting them answered,” He leaned forward and rested his elbows on his knees.
“How about I help you try to solve your questions then. Maybe somewhere there’s something about all of that or at least try to answer some of the questions,” I offer and he looks up at me and his eyes widened for just a moment. “You’ve been so busy with training I know that you haven’t had the time to try to look into anything, so I’ll help. I’ll see if I can find anything in dad’s libraries and around the school. I’m sure if we talk to the right people we can get some answers.”
“You don’t have to do that.”
“Yes, I do. You’re my cousin and I want you to finally have the answers that have been digging a deep hole in you solved so it will help in recovering and letting you concentrate on other things and help you strive further than you are now.” I smile at him, “That’s what family is for right. We’re here to help each other.”
“Thank you,” He smiles softly at me.
“Of course. That’s what I’m here for,” I smile back at him.
After the conversation, we decided to talk about lighter topics like me helping him finish organizing or helping clean his room. After bickering with him and just getting up and working on putting his clothes away he gives up and lets me do what I want. Once his room looked a little better, minus the anime stacks, I decided to finally head out and next door to my dorm so I could shower, eat something and pass out for the night.
The week continues to fly by. Most of my day is hanging out with Nero and at the farm working on cleaning stalls and helping harvest. If we were allowed out early we would normally meet up with Sean, Shiro, and everyone else. The two of us were pulled from making dinner for the week because of us getting home some nights close to ten at night. It’s stupid rough but completely worth it. Especially when we were given a half bushel of food to take home with us. That’s only happened once, but that’s fine with us.
“The nights are getting cooler,” I mention as Nero and I walk home, tonight being one of the nights where we were just let out and it’s nine at night.
“It is. It fuckin’ feels nice after today, though,” He said putting his hands in his pockets, “Is it just me or does it feel like even though we’re literally working our asses off every day, we haven’t gotten jack shit done.”
“No, I feel pretty much the same way. It’s because we’re too damn tired when we finally get out to want to do any sort of training.”
“Other than the day of the festival we get tomorrow, off, don’t we?”
“I think so. I’ll have to check when we get home,” I nod.
“If we do have off tomorrow, we’re fucking doin’ Somethin’ to get some practice in.”
“I thought you were gonna say you were going to sleep all day.”
“Ain’t go time for that and we can fuckin’ sleep in on the day of the festival. Considering that shit doesn’t start till eleven in the monrin’ anyway.”
I can’t help but laugh even with being so tired, “Fair enough,” I nod in agreement, “Then tomorrow we’ll practice together.”
“Or with our luck everyone else will have the day off and we’ll end up fuckin’ around all day,” He snickered.
“That’s also true,” I agree with a chuckle as I see our dorm come into view. The crickets fill the silence in the air between us. Yawning I stretch my arms above my head before bringing them in front of myself.
“How are you feeling by the way?” Nero asked and I looked down at him.
“So far so good. I haven’t had any sort of pressure in my chest and I haven’t gotten a sinking feeling. Doing all this physical labor I think is doing some good to keep me from having a breakdown.”
“I’m going to keep a close eye on you tomorrow when we practice,” Considering it takes such a huge toll on one’s heart to practice summoning their soul weapon I can understand why he’s going to be keeping an eye on me as we practice.
“Thanks, Nero, I appreciate it,” I take a few strides ahead of him and I get to the door first. Opening it I let him go in first then follow suit.
I let him take a shower first as I straighten up my room a bit and get clothes together. Once he’s done I take my shower and brush my teeth then head right to bed and fall asleep. Waking up and not wanting to get out of bed I dig my phone out from under my pillow and look to see what time it is. Groaning when I see five thirty am light up my screen I drop my phone on my other pillow and bury my face in my pillow since I’ve already kicked my blankets off at some point during the night. “I’m not getting up,” I muffle into my pillow. Even though this is the time I’ve been getting up all week. Nope, no, I’m not getting up. I’m laying here and going to try to go back to sleep for another hour at least. Instead of sleeping I just end up laying there in bed for another hour before I finally get up and get dressed. Making my way down stairs I check my phone again and see that it’s Thursday. The festival is on Saturday and Sunday. So, we work Friday and then we’re done with this week for working on the farm. That’s not so bad. Even with it being a lot of work, I’ve enjoyed this a lot.
Swinging from the stairs into the living room I see a pair of legs propped up on the back of the couch, “Morning.”
“Morning,” Nero groans back.
“Couldn’t really sleep in either?”
“No. I fuckin’ thought I was gonna be late then I remembered that we had today off.”
“Everyone else still here?” I look around, but I don’t hear anyone else moving around in the house.
“From what I can tell, I think one or two others are up. But that was stupid fuckin early this morning and I wasn’t about to get up and find out who the hell it was,” He pulled his legs off the back of the couch and flipped over landing on his feet on the floor, “I’m going to assume that it was probably Kyo and snowflake.”
“That’s true. Those two can always get up stupid early,” I rub the back of my head, But if it is those two, just what exactly do they have to do in order to get up and out of the house that early? “Maybe they had to go out and get errands done for someone.”
“They could have. They are working at the café, so maybe they offered to go out and get supplies for Mrs. Manson so she could sleep in,” He agreed with me and stood up straight to stretch, “Well. We’re both up. We might as well get started. It’ll give us like five to six hours of training before we get too hungry to break for lunch. Then we can go bug everyone else who’s at the café today.”
“That sounds like a solid plan to me,” I agree. We get our shoes on and then head out to the field that’s not too far from the house.
Standing not too far away from each other we both fell silent and concentrated on bringing out weapons into the physical world. Taking slow deep breath, I close my eyes and I can see my soul weapon waiting for me to grasp it. I lift my arm as I do in my mind and close it as I wrap my fingers around the staff. I feel a strong heat in my hand. Opening my eyes, I see blue flames shooting out from both ends of my hand but it quickly disperses and the heat is gone. “UGH,” I groan dropping my hand back to my side.
“Hehe, didn’t get it,” Nero snickered and I looked over at him. His hands are in his pockets and watching me.
“Did you even try?” I rose an eyebrow.
“That’s adorable,” He cackled and brushed some of his bangs out of his face, “You got started first so I want to watch you see if I could get any pointers, but it looks like you have just about as much luck as I’ve had with it.”
“I know we were told this isn’t going to be easy, but for fuck’s sake lets us have this one thing, right?” I laugh and make Nero laugh even harder.
“Ain’t that the fuckin’ truth. Damn twins and they rivalry. Already fuckin’ figuring out how to get theirs in the physical world.”
“They totally have a secret they aren’t letting us in on,” I add in.
“Fuck yeah. I wanna know how they did it.”
“It had to be with their twin telepathy or something that made them get it.”
“Whatever the fuck it is I wanna know. If it is that, well then we’re fucked eight ways to Sunday, my friend.”
“So, true,” I run my fingers through my hair. “Alright, it’s your turn, give it a go. We’ve got all the time to make some progress.”
“Taken turns, I like that idea. Tell me if I’m doin’ something wrong.” I nod and he closes his eyes taking his hands out of his pockets at the same time. It falls silent between us again and I watch as he brings both his arms up and folds his open hands into fists. Sparks start to crackle around his fists and small bolts shoot out of both ends of his hands. But as soon as it looks like a solid shape starts to form a weapon it makes a loud pop and fizzles out. “Son of a fuckin’ bitch.” I look up to Nero’s eyes and he just looks pissed altogether.
“I didn’t see you do anything wrong,” I said shaking my head.
“Well, your turn,” He motioned to me and I closed my eyes again and concentrated. Again, I managed to get the flames to being to take the shape and then the dissipated.
We keep going back and forth like this for a few hours stopping for five-minute breaks every hour. We’re sitting back to back in the grass after giving up on trying to summon our soul weapons and just deciding to have a small sparring match instead. “How are you feeling?” Nero asks.
“I’m doing good. Just a little painful during the last round, but since we did the sparring match it doesn’t hurt anymore,” I answer.
“That’s good. We picked a good time to help relieve the stress,” He chuckled.
“We both needed the relief,” I comment laughing as well, “What time is it anyway?”
“It is…” He said and I felt him lean more into my back so he can dig out his phone, “one thirty.”
“Wanna go get food and bug everyone who’s working at the café?” I offer.
“Let’s go fuck with um,” He laughs and leans on me again, I’m assuming he’s putting his phone away then I don’t feel him on my back at all and look over my shoulder to see him standing up. He holds out his hand and helps me up onto my feet.
“If we fuck with them we’re getting screamed at to clean it up by Mrs. Manson and you know it,” I can’t help but chuckle.
“Fiiiiiiiiiinnnnneeee,” He groans but still ends up laughing a bit, “We’ll be nice.” Then the two of us headed out towards town to go to the cosplay café for lunch.