sonoflongshot: (Alone and cold)
[personal profile] sonoflongshot
He wasn't in class when he should be. A student still needed to attended classes even though he had finished his final project early. The young Mojoworlder knew this. He just had a hard time getting out of bed after his girlfriend left to go help in tumbling classes. When he finally pushed himself upright, he scratched an itchy belly and decided to hell with the rest of the day. Now, he was standing in the senior boys' steam-filled restroom. Class time was about the only time he figured he could get this place on his own. Today, at least, he was right. His skin was still pinkish from the long, hot shower. His shoulders and the back of his neck had a more reddish cast, but he ignored any minor stinging. He wiped the fogged up mirror with his hand shaking and stared at the smeared reflection.

His skin didn't look sallow and mottled egg-shell yellow. Blond hair instead of masses of multi-colored wire. Aiden stood there for a moment and shook his head slowly. So different. His blue eyes seemed dull. Could have been the steam. Most likely was life. The person in the mirror was not like the person Aiden had been a year ago. A year and the boy who had been was gone. No more moves with unrestrained zest. Everything seemed calculated or cautious now. How much was needed to get by. How much the audience would appreciate. Except the audience was all of one and not impressed.

Standing there and slightly dripping on the tile didn't stop him from staring to try to figure out changes that were below the skin. The mirror fogging up again did. He thought he had more friends a year ago. A willingness to make them. A sense of adventure. Less nightmares. Last night had been horrible when he shut his eyes. A reminder that even though he was back here, the bloated sack could and would grab him back with no one able to stop him.

Aiden had been helped by the Professor and Miss Grey, but that only went so far. So many footsteps inside his head before he felt intruded upon. He only allowed so much help before he thought he was being carried. And he wanted desperately to be strong enough to not be carried. He figuratively pushed himself to his own feet and started walking. It had gotten him here. And here seemed miles from the happy there he had been in a year ago. Maybe not happy, but definitely massively ignorant. Sheltered long enough to be broken and burned later.

He grabbed his towel with a sigh and started to actually dry himself off. As much as he could in his informal sauna. Too much self-reflection was probably a bad thing. But he had to think about it. Since when things got rough he was told he was not the son they had raised, the brother she had grown up with, or the hero he needed to be. Aiden hated uncertainty. That's why he dove into things. Things were so much clearer in action.

Except everything was muddled now. Or mired. He didn't go out like he used to. No bike races recently despite the messages on his phone. Though he didn't know about being called 'Hollywood' now. Though maybe he should take that as a code name or something. Or just take that as his name entirely. Or just go by Aiden. There were better suited people to carry on the Blaire name anyway. Four that he could think of. Five if you considered Caroline in. Six when he remembered Josephine was a half-sister on that side. He was starting to think he didn't fit in anywhere, really. Not at home. Not at school. And he was so going to be the odd guy out when Angel went to college and they lived with Val and Sara. Those three had maps with directions and he had... blue post-it notes falling off a mirror.

He hoped the final tests came soon. His education before Xavier's had always been geared toward tests. He excelled there. Not that he pulled down top grades, but he did pretty well. It was his push comes to shove instinct. Adrenaline kicking in and making his mind clearer. His final project had been a great distraction. It had taken up all that time he was now spending waiting. But it was done and handed in and he was left with time on his hands.

Angel was a big help, though. She was what kept him sane. His mind would start to float off and her presence would bring him back like a tug on a string. If she hadn't been there with him when he had his nightmares, he probably wouldn't even be here anymore. Aiden would have been gone. Pushed on the road and running from inevitable dread. Hunted by friend and foe alike. Though he thought the odds were tipped more toward the enemies at the moment. If Spiral came to drag him back, there was no defense against her. He knew that. He didn't mention it, but he had to accept and live with it. Thus, he tried to live every day with Angel like it could be his last. Because if he was pulled back into hell, the devil wasn't going to let him go.

His girlfriend was a rock to cling to. A saucy and flirtatious rock, but one all the same. When he struggled awake from his nightmares, she was there. Soft, warm certainty asleep beside him. Sometimes with her tail wrapped around him somehow. Usually when his dreams were his worst. He sometimes wondered how she managed to cling to him tightly when he needed it. He would also be glad when he could live someplace where he didn't exactly have to sneak around to share a bedroom with her.

Done drying so he wasn't dripping anymore, Aiden tossed the towel at the hamper. This was school and not a hotel so he couldn't steal the towels. He watched the balled up towel get right inside the rim. He had a ghost of a smile on his face before he turned invisible. If he had brought clothes in, they would have gotten damp from the sauna atmosphere his shower had made in the room. So, instead, he propped the door open to get the room to air out and padded down the hall, back to his dorm room.
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Aiden Blaire

August 2016

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