Tempo Trigger Chapter 30
Lion's Story: Dates and Stuff
Lion took in his surroundings with interest as he entered the main doors of South Lohkiarn High School. He was still a little bitter about his fifteen month "summer" vacation being over, but he didn't look nearly as miffed as the hundreds of other teens pouring into the doors. The only thing was, he was in his late twenties. In fact, he might be thirty by now, but he wasn't sure. His parents weren't allowed to tell him, for some reason that similarly could not be divulged. As he entered the building, he immediately felt himself being judged by the large groups of people hanging around in the halls. Some looked at him in fear, others in respect. Still others ignored his 'synth aspect altogether, and judged him a nerd or a bad ass, just like everyone else. He recognized a few faces from his eighth grade class, but they looked a lot older now.
At the main four way juction of the halls, a group of guys with soultech emblems on their jackets stood around, trying to look as cool as possible while doing it. They would be the latest batch of cadets, and almost all seniors. He felt the urge to steer clear of them, but they were right in his way, so there wasn't much chance of that. Instead, he approached them directly. "Soultech," he nodded curtly.
"Lionello." The apparent leader nodded curtly back, then his expression brightened a little at Lion's look of surprise. "There are only three prototypes in the school system, you know. I think almost everybody here knows who you are."
Lion surveyed all the serious faces, and tried to lighten the mood. "So, do you guys hate me or what?"
The leader scratched his chin. "Well, we don't hate your sister. Because of her, you're safe, for the time being." Lion wanted to respond with a scathing counter, but judging by the leader's expression, they all knew that Lion could destroy the whole school in a heartbeat if he wanted. They could too, but it would take them two heartbeats, so he had the advantage. He could see that most of the flunkies were glaring at him angrily, but there was some definite respect in the leader's glance.
'Kept in check by their own hormones.' Lion smiled. 'Well, saves me the trouble.' "I'll keep that in mind." He said dryly, then walked on through their circle. As he was walking away, out of the corner of his eye, he caught sight of someone approaching the leader from the hall to their right. Something prompted him to turn around, and he was very glad when he did. Occupying his field of vision was the most stunning girl he had ever had the pleasure to lay eyes upon. No, stunning was the wrong word, he realized. There were plenty of "stunning" girls out there that he'd like to have sex with, but would have to think carefully about anything else. This girl, on the other hand... She had that much rarer kind of legendary beauty. She was less sexy and more geniunely, well, beautiful. If she had asked, he would have married her on the spot. Realizing that one or two of the Soultech guys were glancing in his direction, he quickly turned around and was on his way.
At the next corner, he found Jaguarena surrounded by a group of guys. She was somehow managing to pay equal attention to all of them. Lion observed that they were also almost all seniors. But then, a woman in her thirties with the body of a seventeen year old probably couldn't stand any of the younger ones. Smiling, Lion swaggered through the mass of guys until his sister noticed him. "Hey you, what's going on?" She asked, and Lion couldn't help but smile at the angry looks that appeared on the guys' faces when he took her attention away from them.
"I was wondering if you'd be willing to let me borrow the Skyshroud Ranger once in a while." He asked casually. In fact, he realized he was being over the top casual, but in high school, that was just equivalent to being extra cool.
"Hm?" She raised an eyebrow. "And why would you suddenly be needing to use my ship?"
"Well, you know..." He trailed off, but she looked at him in a way that suggested he'd have to give her more than that. "Dates and stuff."
Jaguarena thought about it for a minute, then sighed. "Well, as long as you clean up when you're done." Lion turned a little red as he realized exactly what she meant. "Stay out of the chairs, and bring your own blankets for the floor too, because I don't want to have to deal with THAT."
Now Lion turned really red, and gulped, before smiling weakly. "Well, now I don't ever want to touch anything inside of there again. And since we've just indirectly had a discussion about my bodily fluids, I'm heading for the bathroom. I'll see you later." Lion made his way out from inside the circle of seniors that towered above him. He took comfort in the fact that he was much older than they were, and that they also seemed a little nervous about Jaguarena's frank discussion. Once he was out of sight of her group, he turned the issue over in his mind. He really hadn't had that in mind when he brought the subject up. But now that he did have it in mind, he couldn't help thinking about it. Once again, he pondered whether or not he should hop in the sack at the first opportunity that came along, or wait until he found someone he really cared about. The idea of "saving himself" sounded corny and somewhat feminine, but then again, he wasn't exactly comfortable with just hopping into bed with someone he didn't have feelings for. Then he sighed, and laughed at himself at the same time. It was very unlikely that he would have to make that decision any time soon. He was snapped out of his trance as the siren sounded, and warning lights flashed in the hall. He headed off to his first class, Current Events. It was an elective, and not one he had wanted very much, but such was the life of a freshman. At least it meant he could show up late a lot.
However, he felt he should be on time on the first day, so as to make a good impression. He arrived in the room, and relaxed as he saw that it was mostly full of freshmen and sophomores who had also not been able to get the electives they wanted. He dropped into a seat, and then recalled Jaguarena's advice on how the best way to look cool and casual was to actually be cool and casual. He propped his feet up on a desk, and forgot that the other people were in the room. He quickly realized that he was trying a little too hard to relax, as strange as that sounded. The palm of his left hand began to glow yellow. He quickly straightened up a bit, and the glow disappeared. Then he sat bolt upright as the girl he had seen earlier began walking into the room. She couldn't really be in this lowly class, could she? She could, and... ..so could the lead Soultech guy. They walked into the room as one, his arm around her shoulders. Lion clenched his fist and looked down. He consoled himself by concentrating, and feeling the tremendous power flowing throughout his body, just as he always had before when such a situation came up. 'Like I ever would have had a shot anyway.' His brain thought in spite of itself. He unclenched his fist. 'Shut up!' He thought at his involuntary first reaction. Still, he didn't relish the thought of trying to steal her away from her boyfriend. First, because it just wasn't the right thing to do, and second, because unless he used his powers, the boyfriend could majorly kick his ass. Using his powers in a situation that didn't require them was heavily frowned upon, to put it mildly.
As the teacher walked into the room, he just sighed and tried to forget about it. Most likely, none of it would ever matter. He would just pine after her for a couple months, saying and doing nothing, until a new object for his affection came along. That was how it had always worked so far. The teacher stepped up to address the class as the siren sounded again, and everyone looked up expectantly. More accurately, Lion noticed that everyone was pretending to look up expectantly, but most of them were stealing glances at him at every opportunity. "Good morning everyone." The teacher started in, "I'm Mr. Earl. As I'm sure you are all aware, this is Current Events. To answer a question I'm sure I'll be asked at least fifteen times this period, yes, you can try to transfer out of this class, but good luck. Now, to get things started, let's look at today's top current event..." He paused, and pointed at Lion. "You."
Lion was surprised, but rather than let the teacher grab the attention for talking about him, he decided to take control of the situation. "Well, everybody's been looking at me all morning." Lion smiled. "How about we start things off with a little Q and A session?" Mr. Earl nodded, stepping aside. Lion got up, and began to arrogantly swagger up to the front of the room. However, his brain reminded whatever controlled his coolness that this was not the impression he wanted to give her. Instead, he assumed a normal walk, and turned around in a dignified manner. "Okay, as Mr. Soultech there..." Lion pointed at the Soultech guy, gesturing for him to speak. He might as well know the name of his arch nemesis.
"Matt." He said, smiling, but giving Lion a curious look at the same time.
"As Matt said to me earlier, almost all of you probably know who I am. Are there any questions that pertain specifically to me, rather than just the fact that I'm a 'synth?"
The class looked at each other, each expecting someone else to ask a question, until Matt raised his hand. "Well, sure. Why were you gathering energy when I walked in?"
'He's a sharp one.' Lion made a mental note. 'I'll have to watch myself when I start putting the moves on his girlfriend.' Lion then frowned a bit. "Putting on the moves" sounded too crude. It definitely did not do justice to the girl he was thinking of. But he couldn't think of a better way to phrase it at the moment. "I wasn't "gathering" energy at all. I just almost accidentaly released some."
"Then why did you gather energy before you came in here?" Matt frowned. "School isn't exactly a combat prone place, you know?"
"I couldn't help that. My cells gather the energy automatically, no matter what. I just "hold it in" until I need it."
"Really?" Matt was surprised. "I didn't know that about 'synths. Doesn't it get tiresome though, constantly keeping it in check?"
"Do you get tired of controlling your bladder?" Lion asked, prompting giggles from much of the class. "It's pretty much the same thing. Sure, it's easier to let it out, but it's no problem holding it in. And unlike drinking a gallon of water in one sitting, storing up a large amount of energy has no adverse effects."
"I have a question." Lion's heart skipped a beat as he realized the girl of his dreams was looking right at him. And she had such a lovely voice too... He stopped himself as he was beginning to drift off, quickly realizing that he could learn her name the same way he had learned Matt's.
"And, that is, Miss...?" He gestured for her to provide her name. It was a little more obvious this time around, but hopefully not enough for anyone to really notice.
"Tess." She responded.
'Ah, Tess. Tess...' Lion turned the name over in his mind. 'That is surely the most beautiful name ever created by... whoever's job it is to think up names.' He snapped out of his semi-articulate thought as he realized he had already missed the beginning of her question.
"-really the one who was responsible for that "world destroying blast" seventeen years ago?"
Lion was glad that he had heard most of the question. "Well, partially. It takes me, Tigered, and Jaguarena to power that beam." Lion noticed several guys in the room drift off into trance like states at mention of Jaguarena. He was puzzled. Sure, she was his sister and all, but he thought he would have noticed if she was that hot.
"Can you still do that today?" Lion was snapped back to attention. How his attention had managed to stray from the vision of loveliness in front of him, he would never be able to figure out.
"Still power that beam? Well, we haven't tried it in a long time, but I don't see any reason why not. We only get stronger as we get older. Until we get to be old geezers, anyway." Then, the rest of the class jumped in with their questions, which pretty much all pertained just to the fact that he was a 'synth. How fast could he fly? Had he ever been in space? Had he ever killed anybody? Finally, the period was winding up, and Mr. Earl gestured for him to finish up. "Okay, everybody, I guess that covers about everything." Then he paused. "But, before we go, I've got a question for you, Matt." The senior pointed at himself with a questioning look that undoubtedly endeared him to almost everyone watching. "What are you doing in the freshmen overflow class, Mr. Super Cool Senior Man?"
Matt leaned back in his chair. "I admit, it's pretty much only because my girlfriend is in here."
Lion's brain dropped the subject of Matt faster than a fat cow pushed out of a spaceship. "And why are you here?" He asked Tess.
"Well, she's the daughter of the Soultech president."
'She could have answered that herself!!!' Lion shouted in a spittle inducing rage, but only in his mind. That hadn't exactly answered his question anyway.
"Well, someday, when I'm in charge of Soultech," Then, the magnitude of what had just been said finally smacked Lion on the back of the head. Daughter of the Soultech President? Oh, shit. "I'll have to always know every last detail of what's going on, so I thought I might as well get used to it now."
Lion nodded in acknowledgement, but he was deep in his own thoughts now. The daughter of the president of Soultech was the girlfriend of a Soultech cadet, who was also a "Super Cool Senior Man." This was going to take a lot of work...
"You're beautiful, you know." - Prince Ashitaka
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