I woke up late the next morning. I pulled myself up in the bed, then falling back down as a headache- the leftover effect of too much alcohol- slammed into me. ‘Wonderful. This’ll teach me not to remember to burn the leftover alcohol from my system last night. Speaking of last night…’
I looked around the room. It was still the way it always was- with the three empty cans of A & W sitting on top of the television, the cases of snacks and drinks sitting by the door for potential use as a door-block, the space where my heater used to be (Mental note- pick up new heater at the tool shop in Shroudia City.), not to mention all the laundry of my own strewn all across the room-
‘I think last night goes under ‘stuff to never forget, especially if you eat bad chili’,’ I thought to myself. I looked over in the bed- nothing but an empty mass of blankets- and…
“Huh? What’s this? Looks like a note….”
I opened the thing up and started to read it.
Sorry, but I won’t be there when you wake up. I told you I have to go meet my friend from the Republic who’s flying in today. As for last night…..
Thanks for listening to me. It actually felt good being able to express my feelings for once, without someone thinking I’m such a weakling.
I looked to the ceiling and rolled my eyes. ‘That’s Flare all over. He wants to be ‘Mister Macho’, yet he won’t even listen to his girl when she wants to share feelings. Then again, the only thing he’s feeling right now might be a sudden urge to obliterate the entire sixth period class of Combat Situations. Go figure.’
I guess I needed what happened as a way to assure myself that it wasn’t a dream- that I was really with someone who gave more than a damn about my personal well-being. The more I think about it, the more I realize that life before you was nothing more than a lie to myself- and everyone else who cared about me.
I want to talk to you about everything- as soon as you can find the time to. Maybe this isn’t just a one-shot thing. Maybe it’s destiny, maybe it’s fate, maybe it’s because something just ‘clicked’ between us. But if you’re willing, I think it’s high time I changed my life- by dumping muscle-lump and deciding to be by your side for anything you decide to do.
If you manage to get up before 11 A.M. (which I highly doubt, the way you were out like a light last night :^)), please come and meet my friend and I for a lunch break in town- at that new place we ate at last time.
“Whoa….” I muttered, not quite sure what form of stammering was appropriate. I glanced over at the wall clock above the television, and saw that it was about ten to nine in the morning.
‘8:50. Which means, if I want to, I have either an hour where I can either get up early and go practice, get up early and go find Blazer, or just swoon and collapse back into the bed and sleep for another hour. I think I got in enough practice at the sessions I had Friday and yesterday, Blazer’s gotta be either still sleeping in her own room or out at the airport picking up her friend, and- let’s face it- I have my priorities straight- I think.’
My eyes roll back in my head, my face gets that dreamy look on it just like the main character in some video game I played last week, and I collapse back onto the bed, squealing and creaking springs reminding me to go ask the dorm manager for a new mattress.
‘Sheesh. When you think about it, it seems like my life’s finally gaining a meaning. I have almost everything I ever wanted. I’ve got a great grade-point average. I have some of the weirdest guys for friends. And I finally have my dream girl on my arm. Looks like it’s all starting to come together.’
I lay there for several seconds, grinning to myself, until a massive explosion rocks the building. I pull my uniform on- slinging the overcoat on instead of wasting time struggling to make it look perfect, and rush to the door just in time to meet a scared-to-death Alex.
“Red, you’ve got to leave. They just let Flare out of Hell an hour ago, and someone told him that you and Blazer were seen entering here last night, and that she didn’t leave until about one. Somehow he managed to put two and two together- remind me to call the world record guys when and if we get out of this one, for most complex thought by a primate- and he’s decided he wants to turn you into tiny little flinders.”
“Well, that’s just great. Here I am, my power cold as anything, and you have to tell me in less than several minutes, I’m going to be facing the most powerful guy on campus. What’s next, Alex? They drop ‘Robot Wars’ for ‘ALF’ reruns?”
Alex was about to retort when a sudden explosion down at the end of the hall forced me to think rather quickly. I gazed out the window- the explosions had attracted quite a crowd- and I saw among them my sister Sarah and her friend Dustin.
“SARAH! UP HERE!” I yelled out. She looked up, nodded, and floated up to the window.
“What’s going on, Jason? What’s all the commotion?”
“They let Flare out of Hell this morning. Some genius told him of the events that happened last night- like myself and Blazer entering this room and she not leaving until about two hours later- and, well, for lack of a better term… he went royally apeshit.”
“Yikes.” Her face grew worried. “Is there anything I should do?”
I nodded. “Go scream around campus. Try to get anyone you can- instructors, Biolife workers, it doesn’t matter. If he gets in here, he’s going to turn me into a crispy critter.”
She nodded. “I’m on it. Be careful- try to get out of here.”
I nodded back to her, then winced as the door to a room down the hall was blown open.
I motioned to the window. “Alex, get out of here. I’ll follow.”
He shook his head. “It’s a two-story drop. It’s too dangerous.”
“Like getting pounded on by Flare isn’t?”
Another door- this time from about two doors down- was blown inward off its hinges.
“Just GO, stupid! Get out of here!” I shoved him torwards the open window, and watched as he called out to the students below. A couple of Wind-users floated up to assist him, and he made it to the ground safely. I sighed, then listened as the room next door got the treatment its neighbor had gotten. I rushed over to the window, was almost through it-
When the door blasted inwards, revealing an extremely pissed-off Flare.
‘Oh great, I’m going to die.’ Those were the last things through my mind as he brought his sight to bear on me, and I could almost reach out and feel the loathing in his eyes.
“Play-time’s over, Red. Now you play with the men- who don’t readily appreciate people swiping their women.” He raised his fist, and drew it back.
“Oh, shi-“ was the last thing out of my lips. He punched forward, releasing the spell I had nightmares over.
Sarah was getting worried. She had already sent several hundred people off running in the direction of the dorm, when she happened upon a group of three- and swooped down on them.
“Blazer! Instructor Miaka! You’ve got to come! Red’s in trouble!”
“Slow down! What happened?” Miaka’s face took on a look that could melt a brick.
“Flare was let out of Hell this morning.” She turned to Blazer. “Someone filled him in on the fact that you and my brother were seen entering his bedroom that night. He managed to put it together and he went bananas.”
“Oh, my God….” Blazer’s hand flew up to her mouth in fright.
The spell’s impact was like a napalm in my lungs. The tremendous heat power overwhelmed my defenses, tossing them aside like so many Spellfire cards. The energy flowed into my body, and finally exploded, the backlash catapulting me through the window, breaking the glass, and out into the air.
‘Dammit, nothing responding! I can’t even slow my fall!’
I cascaded through the air, coming ever closer to what I thought was the end of everything, until I felt two pairs of hands gently catch me, like the hands of angels waiting to run me upstairs to the big boarding school in the sky.
I opened my eyes- not realizing I had clenched them shut as the spell hit- to see my sister’s face look down with fear at me- and at the other end- Blazer.
“…you guys… must be….some sort….of angel…” I croaked out, then as they landed, everything went absolutely black.
Miaka and a group of instructors came rushing up just as Sarah and Blazer hit the ground with Jason in tow.
“Lord, have mercy upon this poor student….” Miaka struggled to hold back her emotions.
Sarah looked over at her. “Injuries this bad can only mean one thing- Jason got hit by a Flare tech. Which means he’s probably dying on us as we speak.” The anger in her voice was apparent as she saw a face lean out of Jason’s window. She flew up, her mind clouded with rage.
“YOU!” she screamed. “YOU KILLED MY BROTHER!”
Flare looked like he had just scored a touchdown. “Yeah. The little punk was messing with my woman. So I taught him a lesson that should tell him never to mess with me again.”
Sarah’s anger reached a fever pitch, and she immediately put it into action.
“Winter Blade!” she yelled, before unleashing a massive shot of her brand-new Ice/Wind tech. It swirled around Flare, freezing him to the bone, while it gave time for Miaka to rush him from behind and slap him with a light-wreathed hand.
“STOP!” she yelled- and amazingly, Flare suddenly stopped dead in his tracks- not even moving one eyelash. Sarah was about to go for his throat with a knife she had kept stuck in her uniform, but Miaka held her back.
“Don’t let him drag you down to his level, Sarah! He’s going to get his from the administration. You’ve got to go see if Red’s going to be all right!”
The next chapter isn’t from Jason’s POV. It’s going to be- where else? Blazer’s point of view. How will she handle everything? Keep reading!
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