A I D E N M c K E N N A & W I N T E R C A R L Y L E
Monday 26th September, Mather Memorial High School [Collaboration with @FantasyChic]
Kit Renard seemed irritated for only the briefest of moments, before slinking back into Mr Lehrer's chair and grinning to himself. Even when Kit's eyes were fixed firmly upon his latest victim (in this instance, Aiden), they never seemed 'still'. They were like two shimmering emeralds, swimming constantly with some unreadable intent. It was easy to imagine the cogs behind them spinning wildly as he schemed.
"Well, as keen as Jonas was that I stuck to his curriculum,
" Kit mused, "Winter here seems like she knows how to have a good time. Someone give this girl a spoon.
" he jabbed, making a 'stir-the-pot' motion and smiling excitedly as he gestured towards Aiden. "Please, proceed.
"Woah, woah, woah,
" Aiden protested, rising to his feet and backing off a few paces. "This isn't cool. You can't just, like, read my mind and shit. No way,
" he said, visibly panicked but firm in his delivery. His stance only seemed to amuse Kit further.
"Oh, come now, Aiden,
" he cooed. "Don't be silly. Miss Carlyle wouldn't tell a soul - would you, Winter? Not unless she was... Convinced.
" He paused, then chuckled at his intentionally sinister tone. "Of course, that would be unnecessary. There's very little she could unearth in that skull of yours that I don't already know. Now please, Winter, will you do the honours.
" His tone seemed ever so slightly impatient; there was a definite sense of his request being more imperative than he let on.
Aiden felt defeated, but his reluctance was still more than obvious as he looked anxiously to Winter; begging for some sign that he could trust her. He scanned her face; hoping for the slightest glimmer of empathy in her eyes, desperate for her to speak out and assure him that he was safe in her hands. That his secrets
were safe in her hands.
Winter was put on the spot and for once in her life...she hated it.
Kit seemed pleased about having both her and Aiden reluctant and confused, but she felt determined. Not only because it would help her understand her own powers, but it would allow Aiden to fully trust her. She silently nodded to herself before she turned to Aiden. She caught his gaze and could see the worry and fear in his eyes.
"I won't lie, Aiden. I don't fully know how these powers work, but I know enough that I should be able to pick and choose what I see. If I do see something I shouldn't, you have my word it will be a secret. No matter what he says, no amount of pressure will get me to break if you don't want me to tell. I promise.
" She hoped her words were enough to get him to let his guard down.
She reached her hand out, "I need to have physical contact, so if you are ready, I am too.
" She didn't dare look at Kit, who was probably laughing his ass off. She was determined to prove to herself and to the others she was someone they could trust. If these past few weeks have been any indication, her old self was gone.
It was time for the new Winter to come out.
Aiden nodded, his face full of apprehension though he fully acknowledged that there seemed to be no immediate alternative to the situation. Not with Kit Renard watching over them, grinning like a Cheshire Cat. Aiden might not have spent much time with the supposed teacher, but he understood clearly that Mr. Renard was the type of person who always got what he wanted. He swallowed the lump in his throat, and hesitantly extended his hands towards Winter's own.
They touched, and the world began to fade. The colour in the room washed away, leaving Aiden in a grey twilight, before the details of his surroundings began to warp and slip out of form; like a chalk drawing on the pavement, washed away by an unexpected rain. Only a muddy blackness remained.
And then, from within the blackness, there was a light. Small, flickering, orange; but bright enough to penetrate the darkness that engulfed it. The ember grew, developing into a fist full of flame that illuminated the face of the figure who held it: Aiden. Or rather, a vision of himself, a memory, watched back by Aiden the observer... And no doubt, by Winter Carlyle.
As the vision unfolded, the cloudy scene became more clear; Aiden was crouched in a storage closet, surrounded by mops and spray bottles and other everyday cleaning supplies. Though there was no indication of its whereabouts, Aiden knew exactly where the room was: through the door marked 'PRIVATE - MALL STAFF ONLY", just behind the Nike store at the shopping centre on the other side of Mather Memorial Park. It was the day that changed everything.
He remembered clearly what had driven him to take refuge away from the hustle and bustle, dabbing his bloody nose on his sleeve. He had been accused of giving a suggestive look to one of the school's star quarterbacks during gym class, and his teammates had banded together to make it clear to him that none of them swung that way. But the coast had to be clear by now, and Aiden cracked open the door.
"Hey there, faggot," said one of the brutes, smugly stood waiting for Aiden's emergence.
Aiden made a sudden dash, his fight-or-flight instincts leaning towards the latter. But as two of the boys grabbed his arms, laughing and jeering, a rage began to burn within Aiden's chest. It was a rage that he had been fighting for several months now to quell; a fiery anger that had repeatedly threatened to erupt since his powers had manifested. His father had warned him about it, urged him to commit himself to extinguishing even the slightest ember he felt... But none of this registered during the moment. He was sick of diminishing himself for the benefit of others. If these assholes wanted to try him, then let them. It was time to let go. A burst of orange, a wave of heat, and blackness.
The darkness faded slowly, swirling like smoke, before Aiden realised that it was
smoke. And it filled the air, billowing through the trees as Aiden fled the blaze he'd caused at Mather Memorial Park. Tears streamed down his face as he reflected on his actions, furious at himself for giving in to the monster within. Tricked by the fiery tempter within him into releasing his hold on it, and instantly filled with guilt, shame and regret. Instantly, the scene swirled, melting away as hours passed and the moon rose.
Aiden was sat in his room, his hoodie still stinking of smoke from his earlier break. A wet note lay half-written on the desk, dotted with salty droplets that smudged the ink as Aiden buried his hands in his head. A gentle knock at the door broke the silence, as his mother's voice called through the wood.
"Aiden, are you OK, dear?"
Panicked, he grabbed the note as his mother pushed open the door and peaked her head around the frame. It burned away to ash in the heat of his fist; and so did the scene... The night of the dance.
The quickness of the vision alarmed her. She figured it had to be due to lack of practice, but soon she saw the fire. The small flame burning that soon engulfed the vision. She was watching through her own eyes, but she couldn't move. She tried, but it was a powerful force holding her back. She wondered if, with practice, she could move around.
She saw the closet. She saw the bullies. She saw Aiden, fearful and afraid, but also angry. The boys were harsh. It was obvious from the scene this wasn't Aiden's first encounter with them. She could see it on his face. The anger.
Then the fire.
She hated putting Aiden through all that again. She had to imagine it was a memory he didn't want to relive. However, it gave her a new perspective of the boy. An appreciation. She witnessed the rest of the events. Soon, she found herself where she wanted to be. The night of the dance.
She looked around and could see that it was the moment after the wolves attacked and the hooded man was coming for Elroy. She watched as kids ran and screams filled the air. Aiden was doing his best, trying to protect Elroy. Knowing where he was hiding. Soon, the hooden man approached.
Winter looked and she saw his face. Finally, it was there. Both her and Aiden got a good look at his face.
And it wasn't Kit.
Was that good or bad? She wasn't sure. Kit still rubbed her the wrong way, but at least he wasn't their enemy. Yet. She continued to watch the events as the man uttered some powerful words and soon, flames emerged. It happened so suddenly, but she knew what she saw. Aiden didn't start the fire. He was controlled. So not only did they get the man's face, but they knew he was able to control other powers, perhaps. Also, a small blessing to Aiden to know he wasn't the reason for the fire.
Soon the vision ended. She mustered as much strength as she could and soon the bond ceased. She still held on to Aiden's hand as she found herself back in the classroom. She didn't know whether to laugh or cry, so she did neither. Instead, she released the boy's hand and nodded "All right. It wasn't Kit at the night of the dance.
" She kept her promise. She hoped Aiden was all right.
As Aiden sat - wide-eyed, pale and silent - Kit walked smile contentedly.
"Well, I'm glad we're all on the same page,
" he said, though his tone would indicate that he wasn't particularly interested in what the students thought of him. "Now, I'm sure we'll all be the best of friends. But as much as I'm enjoying getting to know you all, I really must press on with the lesson. We've important work to do, after all, and it's paramount that I have a competent team.
" He paused, looking around the room. "Those of you who are incompetent, will find yourselves removed. I have little inclination to entertain timewasters.
He looked over the class as he moved over towards the door, holding it open and gesturing through. "Well, come on now, what are you waiting for?
" he asked, expectantly. "Make your way to the cafeteria. And do it quickly, please.
As he watched the students file out of the classroom, he called out after them: "And, if anyone is considering playing the truant, they will find themselves removed from the class with immediate effect.
" His tone was one of business now, lacking much of his usual showmanship. "As I hope I've made clear: I am not here to play games.
But then, as he pulled the door shut, locking the classroom tight and beginning to make his own way to the empty canteen, Kit found himself smiling at the irony of it all. Because, of course, he was Kit Renard. And he loved to play games.