Aiden found himself drifting in and out of consciousness during Biology. The teacher babbled on about entrepreneurship and whatnot as Aiden continued drinking more of his energy drinks to try stay awake. His vision began clearing as he drank more. Damien kept nudging him in his seat.
“Dude. Try stay awake, you’re gonna get detention again.”
Aiden looked up at the board, smiling in the teacher’s direction. He whispered to Damien. “This is all in the book, I can study it later.”
He jumped in his seat as the echo of the teacher’s voice rattled in his head. “Sorry, miss.”
“Now, now, don’t be sorry. It’s only your education.”
The teacher continued talking to the class. Damien chuckled as Aiden leant back into his seat. “Now you look awake.”
“Shut up.” Aiden teased as he kept his eyes on the board.
The bell rang and all the students leapt out of their seats. The teacher scurried back to her desk, taking in a long sip of her mug. Damien got up. “You coming?”
“Give me five minutes.” Aiden said.
“Okay, see you in the library.” Damien replied, leaving the room.
Aiden got up and walked towards the teacher’s desk. She turned and stared at him with studious eyes as her glasses tilted to one side. “How can I help you, Aiden?”
“I…wanted to ask you a biology question.”
She smiled. “Really? Well, this is the most initiative you’ve shown in a while, what’s on your mind?”
“Do you know anything about…cellular regeneration?”
“You mean like lizards?”
“Not really. More like how the amount of energy a human can hold.”
The teacher put her hand in her eyes, sighing heavily. “Explain, please.”
“Well, I was reading about energy and how human beings can manipulate it, and I found that theoretically, it is possible for someone to hold more.”
“Aiden, I teach biology, not science fiction writing.”
Aiden took a deep breath and sat down. “I was looking at some research done by a man named Quentin Lloyd.”
The teacher’s eyes widened. “Where did you hear that name?”
Aiden’s eyes darted around. “The Internet.”
“You must not have been looking hard enough. Did you not hear what happened to him?”
“No. What was it?”
The teacher sighed. “I went to university with Quentin Lloyd. He was brilliant, one of the brightest minds there. Our professor, his name was Matthew Nable. He idolized this man, brought in every assignment two days early, and was always the first to raise his hand. A teacher’s pet, if you want to put it that way.”
Aiden hunched his shoulders forward, listening in. “Were you friends with him?”
“No, Quentin didn’t have any friends. His only real friend was science. After I’d graduated, he stayed at the university. Said he was working on something that could change the world, he wouldn’t stop bragging about it at every reunion we had. One day, we found out that one of his experiments went wrong…and he was fired. No one’s heard from him since. Now what you’re saying is the idea that a human can be adapted to hold more energy than normal. Personally, I believe what you’re saying just does not exist.”
Aiden looked down, his mind wandering into space. “You know what Temazepam is, right?”
She looked puzzled as her eyes wondered. “Yes, it’s a drug. Used to treat patients with insomnia, why?”
“Theoretically, if someone could hold more energy than humanly possible, would something like that have a large effect?”
“Well, theoretically speaking, it could. If you could hold more energy you’d be stronger, but it might work the same way for a depressant, it could potentially drain you of energy quicker.”
Aiden nodded. “That’s all I wanted to know.”
“Aiden, this is all purely based on science, right?”
He looked straight up, nodding instantaneously. “Yeah, of course. Thanks, miss.”
She smiled. “Happy to help, off you go now.”
Aiden waved and headed out of the classroom. He heard distant chatter by the lockers, and a familiar Irish accent stood out, followed by a cry of help. He ran to investigate.
Underneath the stairs, he spotted Jimmy cowered up against his locker. He held his books close to his chest, and his face was red with a swollen lip. Alistair stood proudly in front of him, with his arms crossed and a great big smile parading on his face, it didn’t take Aiden long to figure out what had happened.
“Okay, Alistair. That’s enough, leave him alone.” he ordered.
Alistair turned and smirked at Aiden. “Or what?”
Aiden tightened his fists. “Don’t test me today, pal. I’m not in the mood. Now just get out of here and we won’t speak of this again.”
Alistair grinned at him, spitting on the floor. “What are you gonna do, big man? Hit me? I dare you.”
“Aiden, just leave it.” Jimmy begged from the corner.
“Jim. I got this.”
Alistair slicked his hair back and sniggered at Aiden. “You look really brave for someone who just spent the night in a hospital.”
“You look really brave for someone who helped put me there.”
Alistair chuckled, wiping his brow. “Wow, you really are delusional. Do they treat that in hospitals now?”
Aiden smiled and laughed quietly. “You’re really funny, Alistair.” Within seconds, he lunged towards him and froze just before hitting Alistair’s face. Alistair jumped back, breathing heavily. He ran off into the school’s playground. Aiden smirked and looked over at Jimmy. “You okay, pal?”
Jimmy nodded and dropped his books, littering them all over the floor. “He was only picking on me because I stood up for you.”
Aiden knelt down and helped him. “Sticking up for me for what?”
“He was laughing about how you screwed up last night.” Aiden stared at him. “Sorry.”
Aiden picked up the last of his books. “And he punched you in the lip for that?”
“I tried to hit him first.”
Aiden sighed. “Look, Jim. You’re not going to prove anything by looking for trouble. Especially from kids who are bigger than you.” His eyes darted around. “I learnt that the hard way.”
“But you’re cool, Aiden. I’m not like you.”
Aiden put both of his hands on his shoulders. “Look, you don’t wanna be like me. Look at me, I’m a freaking mess. You’re not me, you’re Jimmy Drake. Be the best damn person you can be, dude.”
Jimmy sighed, looking down. “Thanks, I guess.”
“Here’s what I’m gonna do. I’m gonna go study now with your brother and I’m not gonna tell him about this little encounter. He might flip on Alistair if he finds out he’s picking on you, but he’ll go ballistic if he thinks you started it. You go put some ice on that lip, and keep out of trouble.”
Jimmy nodded, smiling. “Okay.”
“Good man.” Aiden said.
“Oh, Aiden, there’s something else I heard while I was there.”
Aiden’s ears perked up. “Yeah? What’s that?”
“Alistair mentioned something about talking to Alison. Scarlett was there, said she was gonna go look for her.”
Aiden’s fist clenched. “Thanks, pal.”