Pulled from his thoughts as he walked, he slowed his step and looked around till he saw Freya moving towards him. She asked about his injuries. To which he shrugged, about to say they are fine. But then she she said to tell her the truth. He felt his words caught in his mouth as he sniffed and rubbed his nose with the back of his right hand. Looking looking forward and away from her. He didn't know what to say. Of course he wasn't fine. He didn't even know why he was here today. He didn't belong here. "I'm fine...leg is just a bit tight is all.
He said with a smile, more genuine than previous attempts. He didn't want her to worry about him. I Just have a lot of things on my mind lately as well...Dont worry about it."
Worrying wasn't exactly something Freya could avoid. The look she gave him remained tender, although her words were blunter than they had been so far. "Look... I know you're not fine,"
she admitted. There. She'd said it, like she'd have had to sooner or later. "Keri was right the other day, this... This isn't like you,"
she continued, lowering her voice to a whisper. "If you don't want to talk about it, it's ok, I'll respect that. But if you do..."
A little reassuring smile spread over her face, the kind her mother wore when comforting her. "I'm here."
Slowly, she lifted her arm. While she recalled the searing shock all too well, there was no need to be skittish around him, no need to make him feel worse. This was the friend she trusted. Placing her hand on his shoulder, she hoped that trust would show through.
Renard looked at her again. When she said she knew he wasn’t fine. Going on to say if he wanted to talk about it she was there. He didn’t know what to say, only standing there conflicting actions running through his head.
It was when she she lifted her arm though. He looked down at it, it seemed almost in slow motion when she touched his shoulder. No electricity shot forth, he lowered his head. “ I was thinking you were afraid of me... now.”
He said awkwardly, thinking back to their ride to school, while he did keep to himself, he didn’t want to scare her at all.I just...”
looking around he then continued “My mother was murdered seven years ago.... all that.... that blood. Those bodies... just reminded me how weak...”
his right side of his face wincing as he rubbed the deep scar that went over his eye as it seemed to burn once again. “I-I...”
he let out a sigh and closed his eyes. Taking deep controlled breaths. Refusing to open his eyes out of fear of crying.
At first, all Freya could do was gape, wide eyes blinking. Murdered. His mother was murdered. He'd told her she'd passed away, but hadn't said more than that. The only sounds were footsteps in distant hallways and the steady thrum of the rain outside. Then Freya managed to speak."Oh god..."
she muttered. "Oh geez, Renard, I had no idea..."
She gave his shoulder a gentle squeeze. No wonder he'd reacted that way, seeing all that right in front of him again...
Her gaze travelled in the direction of his fingers, to the long jagged scar running down the right side of his face. A reminder,
she thought with a wince of her own. "And you were hurt too."
Truth be told, sometimes she'd wondered what her happy-go-lucky friend must have been through to have gotten such a wound. Between the scar and the way he barely spoke about his past, she'd suspected something she'd hated to think about - Renard must have had some much rougher experiences than he'd let on. And now it had all come to light in the most horrific of ways.
All because of her own stupidity.
Shivering at the full implication of what she'd done, she did the only thing she could think of. "Look at me,"
she said, lifting her hand from his shoulder, then holding out her arms. She wouldn't blame him if he refused, but he let her pull him into a hug. "That isn't hurting you, is it?"
she asked, keeping her grip loose so she wouldn't set off any injuries. She'd hurt him enough by making him relive his worst memory. "You're not weak,"
she said softly. "Please, don't say that about yourself."
She glanced over her shoulder down the hallway, looking out for anyone who might overhear. "Come on, let's find somewhere to sit."
Renard hesitated only for a split second before he allowed her to pull him into a hug. He simply said no when she asked if she was hurting him. She then continued to say not to call himself weak. But that’s what he was. He couldn’t protect his mother... he couldn’t even properly protect Freya, or the others in class.
It might seem Arrogant of him to think he was stronger than the others, but he genuinely went through hard training for seven years to become strong enough to defeat the man who murdered his mother.... the man who was even stronger than his own father. He thought he was making progress because he was starting to keep up with his father in training... he must have been going easy on him.
He nodded simply and followed her to a bench nearby. Once there, he simply said “I am, freya.... mentally and physically. I couldn’t protect you or the others... and I’m certainly messed up... more than the others in class.” “I have been working for seven years towards this. And I couldn’t do a thing.”
Sitting down next to him, leaving her backpack and lunch bag at her feet, Freya shook her head. "Stop. Stop saying that,"
she insisted. "You did protect people back there. Eira... and Sofia. If you hadn't knocked that fire extinguisher away..."
She shuddered at the thought. "And you saved me. Shit, I'm sorry you had to, I'm so, so sorry it led to that... But thank you."
She pulled a packet of tissues from her bag and handed them to him. "It's ok if you need to cry,"
she reassured him. "It's not weakness, it's just what anyone would do. Yeesh, I don't blame you."
Moving closer, she put her arm around his shoulders, that nervousness gone. She hadn't exactly been afraid of him over the past few days. More like shaken from everything, although nowhere near to the extent that he had. All she could do now was be the friend he needed. A better friend than she'd been at the hospital. "I don't blame you for anything."
He was silent for a minute as he processed what she said. She did bring up some valid points. But to him, he felt it wasn’t enough. But he simply nodded silently.
He did shake his head in decline of the tissues. He honestly didn’t want to cry in school. And frankly he cried enough over the weekend. He stared at his hands for a moment, actually taking comfort from her arm around his shoulder.
He then softly said. “ I didn’t save you, if anything you saved me. I probably would be dead if you didn’t come back down and distracted that girl. I don’t blame you either so I don't know why you're saying sorry, I would do it again without a thought.”
Freya stared up at him. "But you did! If you hadn't stepped in, I wouldn't be here right now."
She cringed at the memories of what had happened afterwards. His insistence that she shouldn't have tried to help. That he should stay behind so she and Eira could escape. Survivor's guilt? Had that played a part?
Her arm tensed around him. "Do you know how much you matter to people?"
she asked, her voice shaking. "I mean, I'd do the same again, for you."
She closed her eyes. The conversation was just going round in circles, doubtlessly keeping Renard's memories of that day fresh and raw. Letting out a long, drawn out sigh, she looked at him again. "Think of what Keri said. About how we've only just started,"
she reminded him. "Even if you've been training for years, none of us have completed our training yet. That's what we're here for."
Standing up, she gathered her belongings. "If you want to practice some more, I'm sure we can use the gym right now."
Normally she wasn't one to suggest a training session, the mere thought of practicing in front of others making her squirm. If it helped Renard, though, it would be more than worth it.
Renard sighed as she as she tried to confirm that he did save her. What she was saying was helping. Slightly. But this issue wasn't something that couldn't be fixed after one or two appreciated hugs or words of encouragement. She tried to say he still was still just learning and despite what she mean for, it only caused him to close up slightly inside. He listened to her silently, and was glad when she decided to offer training. Changing the subject.
How ever she hated training in front of the others, as he tried to get her to train with him many times before. The thought was appreciated and gave him a small smile. Thank you, Freya. For listening. We can go over there, but I don't want to aggravate my leg anymore than I absolutely need to. It seems like most of our classmates are heading that direction anyways. “
He stood up as well, and the duo walked towards the Gym. When he opened the door, he could hear them talking. Kerianne, Breeze and Eira were talking/ training. They just happened to walk in when Eira spoke up. She was one to be cold, to everyone. But did she literally forget about the three guards that were killed Friday? Growing a little irritated, he said loud enough for them to hear. ”Three people did.
Staring at her with a hard glare. ”Also, Sofia, who almost died… is not coming back to school. I Meant to tell you earlier. But I didn’t see you at the hospital...
He pulled out her letter and added, ”She wrote me a letter before she was taken to another hospital.
Placing it on the bench right next to him. Then adding flatly.feel free to read it...
As he turned and started to limp slightly towards the bleachers. He sat down and sighed.placing his bag to the side.
He was trying to stretch out his tight leg as he did, and using the electricity he had generated while moving around to concentrate in that same leg. Using the heat caused by it to help sooth.