I sat in the cafe for a little while longer before I grabbed Drake’s things and slid out of the bench dropping a fifty on the table for the girl I didn’t know.
I tucked the napkin full of information into my pocket as I walked. I tried hard not think about the last time I made this walk. Though we had made a stop at the park and as usual it had ended badly. But why on this fucking earth did I keep wanting to talk to him. To see Alex made me happy, even though we always fought. Fuck!
I couldn’t keep him from my head. The things he’d said, what I hadn’t done. All the shit that piled on top of me. I hadn’t cared enough, somehow I had lost sight of his feelings. And that was killing me more than anything. I knew I was a fucked up mess. Why would I want to put someone else through it too. I glanced at my silent phone – maybe I should.
I brooded the whole way. My talk with Margo and then later with Tony only confirmed one thing, that I needed to make changes if I ever wanted someone to love me.
The AU building was home. It towered in the sky in stark contrast to the other buildings. It was home and yet so much less than that too. I took the elevator. I watched the ground, and all the people walking in the lobby get smaller. I could feel my heart racing in my chest. But I forced myself. Made myself deal with it. I’d done it before, but always reverted back to my usual coping mechanism. I had to find other ways. Show it less, be normal…
I continued going up after I reached HQ, I wanted to drop these things off with the little Dragon before I went and started the real work of tracking these numbers down. The elevator opened up to the desk where the same woman who had been here yesterday sat. Her name was Barbara, Alex had pulled it from her head. “Good morning, Barbara.” I said with a perky voice. I may not feel it, but I was good at covering up how I really felt. I’d been doing it for years, the class clown when all I wanted to do was curl up and die.
She looked at me and frowned, “You shouldn’t be here, you got me in trouble.”
I sighed. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to. I just thought it would be a good idea for Drake to see his mother one last time before her execution.”
The woman frowned, “He’s doing better since you did that.”
I held up his things. “I brought him some of his things, if you’d make sure he got them. But I’d like to give him some of them personally.”
She stood up and took his things and was tagging them before she looked at me. “He’s in class right now. He has more control than some of the others there, so they felt safe letting him be with other potential fire starters. And teachers who expect it.”
I nodded. “Can I go see them?”
She pointed in the direction of the day car rooms. “Orange Door.” she said and smirked.
“Thank you.” I said as headed down the corridor. I hadn’t spent any time in the toddler section. I was five when I came, I went directly into regular classes once I’d been cleared.”
The orange door was on a half walled room. the top half of the wall was covered with one way glass. And fireproof. Just in case. Everything in the room was designed to reduce the risk of fire. Three were several rooms like that, which meant it wasn’t the most comforting of places to be and I felt my heart start to race as I knocked on the door.
A woman came over to the door and poked her head out. “Hi. I’m sorry to interrupted, but there’s a little boy in there, he’s new I was hoping I could take a few moments of you class time to talk to him.”
She opened the door wider. “Nox?”
I nodded. “It’s me Trica. Beatrice Holland. We had class together.”
I nodded as if I remembered her. She added, “I lost a lot of weight. Turns out sometimes we get a human metabolism and we have to learn to eat like them.”
I nodded knowingly at that. I did that, but I was half human, she was full Venatori. I still didn’t remember her. “Come on in.” She said and stepped aside of the orange door and I shuddered. I really hated these rooms. I hated them, but I forced my feet forward and I headed into the room.
As soon as I stepped inside a little boy was flinging his arms around me. I looked down to see orange eyes blinking up at me. “Hey little man.” I said and knelt down for a proper hug. “How are you doing?”
“I’s good. I get to play with kids.” He sounded so happy.
“I’m so glad for you.” I held up his blanket and his bright grin told me he was happier to see that. “I thought you might like some of your things.”
He took the blanket and pulled it to his face and buried himself in it. He took a big whiff of it. I totally got it. Then I held up Snoopy and he grabbed the stuffed toy and swung him around in a circle dancing happily. I pulled out my phone and grabbed a picture of Drake dancing around with his Snoopy Dog. I wanted to send it to Alex later, “Did I do good?” I asked as I tried to push Alex from my head.
He nodded emphatically. “Good.” He wrapped his arms around my neck. “Tanks.” He squeezed tight and the skipped off to the other kids and I saw the little girl who had turned her hair purple, she was talking with animation to one of the other boys, but I couldn’t see his face for all the moving that the girl did.
I stood up. “See ya Drake.” He gave me a wave.
Trica walked me to the door. “We should get together sometime Nox.” She said twirling her hair. Clearly flirting with me.
“Maybe.” I said. “Thanks for letting me see him. You know they can all touch all the elements. I imagine most of them have already sparked, just not with fire. I already know the girl Cass can control part of it. I watched her copy one of my tricks.”
She turned to look at the group of kids. “They all have potential but none of them have sparked.”
I shrugged. She didn’t have to believe me. I knew what I did. I would need to tell Dorian.