April NaNo 2016
Sierra replayed the practice simulation over in her mind. Willow was improving her focus on her surroundings. The girl generally got distracted easily with the more powerful senses of whatever animal she transformed into, but she was usually able to keep a good focus on the main goal of the practice. All she needed to do was practice multitasking, to remember the main goal and keep an eye on whatever other threat may pop up in the meantime.
Roy did well with that. He was almost the opposite, in fact. While he kept the focus of the simulation in mind, it was almost an afterthought in regards to him constantly checking out what was going on around him. Part of it, Sierra believed, was due to his paranoia about his powers. He hated being caught by surprise due to not only his nerves making him drip, but also because of his powers protecting him on their own.
Sierra had an inkling that his powers were growing and that Roy may be scrambling to catch up.
The security systems warned her of someone coming toward her room and she waited for the expected knocking.
“Come in, Ian,” she called. He slithered in his pool of shadows under the door crack rather than walk across the threshold.
“Evening,” he said as he settled in his solid, human form at the end of her bed. She gave him a smile from her computer chair as a greeting before waiting patiently for him to speak his mind.
“How are you?” was his question instead.
She raised an eyebrow in slight perplexity before saying, “I’m doing just fine, thank you. And you?”
“Not bad, thanks,” he said.
“Was there something in particular you wanted?”
“Am I interrupting you from something?”
“Not really,” Sierra admitted. “I was replaying Roy’s and Willow’s latest practice simulation.” He glanced at her powered down computer, a ripple of darkness making his brows furrow in confusion. “I was replaying it in my mind.”
“Ah.” He nodded. “Everything seem okay?”
“Yes, I suppose,” Sierra said. “They’re both improving and doing their best, although I am a touch worried that Roy’s powers are growing too quickly for him to keep up.”
“Is this about his gene reacting to his surroundings and emotions rather than his will?” Ian asked, to which Sierra nodded. “Perhaps we should have him practice keeping his emotions calm, such as you with your yoga.”
She blinked, having not thought of the idea. “That would be good. I’ll invite him to join me once in a while.”
“Maybe I can as well?” Ian asked.
“You want to do yoga?” Sierra said. With a slight smile, she teased, “Forgive me, but you seem to be flexible enough.”
He childishly stuck his tongue out at her. “Yes, as a shadow I am. It will be a challenge to keep myself in my solid form. And I’ll be able to hang out with you more.”
“Now, why would you want to do that?” Sierra meant to continue teasing her friend, but he grew serious.
“Because I never did when we were students,” he said, “and I regret that. If you’ll have my friendship, I will gladly give it.”
“I had believed I already had it,” Sierra said.
“Well, yes, you do,” Ian said, running a hand through his mess of dark hair. “I want to continue giving it by getting to know you better, if that makes more sense.”
“It does,” Sierra said. “You’ll have to understand, though… I’m not used to just hanging out for the sake of it. My mind is always working. Relaxing with a friend is a bit of a foreign concept.”
He gave her a fanged smile. “Not for long, I hope.”
Sierra was saved from responding by both of their cell phones beeping from receiving text messages. Rather, Sierra’s beeped. She raised an eyebrow at Ian for having the sound of ducks quacking as his text tone.
He was unabashed as he looked at the message and said what Sierra already knew from mentally reading her own. “Vanessa and Faith are almost home with the new students. Perhaps we should get the rooms ready.”
Sierra stood up. “Two more boys’ rooms and another girl’s, yes?”
“That’s right. It’s about time, too. Roy and I are seriously outnumbered here.” Ian mimicked her, standing up and heading toward the door. Instead of disappearing via his shadows, he held open the door for Sierra. With a jester’s bow, he said, “After you, my lady.”
“Thank you,” Sierra said with a soft shake of her head at his antics. “Perhaps we should warn Roy and Willow as well?”
“Nah, let’s let it be a surprise,” Ian said.
“Of course we’re going to tell them. Get ready for a full house again, Sierra.”