Wednesday, August 20, 2008

jamie and eric-26-flashback to highschool

Eric’s clearest memories of Jamie were of when they first met. First met in the bathroom when Jamie was crying. Led him around St. Phoenix’s campus avoiding detection, stealing food and office supplies. They didn’t really talk much. Or at least Jamie didn’t talk much. At the end of the day they just managed to sneak onto the busses heading back to the boarding school.
But Jamie disappeared as soon as they got off the busses. The crowds of students in bright red blazers, it wasn’t hard. And Jamie stayed disappeared for almost a week. Had they not been bonded Eric wouldn’t have cared, well if they hadn’t been bonded Eric would never have stopped to comfort him. But they were, and Eric kept looking over his shoulder hoping to catch sight of him.
In passing time before last class period on Friday a small black haired boy approached Eric at his locker. He didn’t say anything, he barely looked at Eric. “There you are, you jackass!” Eric exclaimed. “I’ve been looking for you all week.” And Jamie’s bright eyes widened with surprise. Jamie still couldn’t say anything though, shy and tucked into himself. Eric looked around at the busy hallway. “Let’s ditch class. Head out into the woods.”
Jamie gulped, clearly afraid, and managed to say “No.”
Eric scuffed the floor with his shoe. Jamie looked ready to run away. “Hey don’t freak out. We can hang some other time.” Jamie nodded. But Eric was freaking out. A little.
The crowd in the hall was thinning out. Jamie looked visibly nervous. It was making Eric nervous. The hall monitor security guy walked down the fall shouting out, “Get to class boys.”
Jamie almost ran, but Eric grabbed his shoulder. Letting go quickly. He tweaked something in his arm. His hand fell asleep. He pumped his fingers a couple of times and the feeling died down.
“Here after class. I’ll find you.” Jamie blurted out and ran away.
Eric smiled. He just felt happy. Eric’s older self knew that this was the moment that the bond had physically formed. Vaguely Eric wondered if this had been the first moment of being bonded, then how were they bonded before.

* * *

The pain was subsiding.
Eric could see his food again. He could see Jamie’s food. The table. The paintings on the wall. Eric forced himself to slow down and breath deep to fight the shakiness he felt.
Touch. Being close enough that their energies could touch and attach to each other. They were bonded again. It really hurt this time. It changed the way he felt. All of the feelings of mistakes, uselessness, emptiness, undirected energy… It was gone. It was gone. Completely.
Eric laughed from embarrassment. What was all of the angst over? He didn’t know what to do with his life. He didn’t know what to do? He was a part of Jamie’s research. He helped with Jamie’s research. He remembered talking to all those millions of candidates with some level of bond. Jamie spent a lot of time with books, and Eric talked to so many people.
And then he realized that he hadn’t remembered any of this. Hadn’t remembered that moment, the moment when he had first bonded with Jamie, before this lunch. The memories were his. The knowledge, the knowing. Were natural in his mind. But he knew that he had not known this yesterday.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

jamie and eric-25-a startlingly painful discovery

The Masters’ building had a small cafeteria off the main lobby. Jamie wasn’t sure how much food they actually served, but the small sitting area seemed to always be empty. Or almost empty. Still it was nice. The seating area was broken into cushioned booths. Calm music was soft enough for conversation but eased the tension of talking in a silent room. It didn’t help the two boys that entered the room and grabbed their plastic trays.
Eric led Jamie to a booth in the back of the seating area. As usual Eric had gotten a large lunch. He never really had the appetite to eat a large breakfast, and after hard work in the hot sun Eric was ravishing by lunchtime. Today was two entrees: spaghetti and roasted chicken. Jamie only had half a sandwich. They sat opposite each other in the booth and Eric immediately began stuffing his face. Jamie was quiet and still across the booth, composing himself. Eric tried to ignore him, just enjoy his lunch. Jamie exhaled audibly and Eric bristled.
“I..” Jamie began. Eric continued eating. “We have the test today.” Jamie began again. Eric grunted affirmatively. “Right now we would register as having no bond.”
Startled Eric swallowed prematurely partially choking on his bite. After a generous gulp of water he demanded, “what?!”
“You know that the incident broke our bond.” Jamie stated simply.
“Yeah,” Eric thought for a second. Eric felt a little stupid. It wasn’t that he had really thought that they were strongly bonded, or bonded at all, he just hadn’t thought about it. Still everyone talked about them like they were bonded and Eric just accepted it as truth. “But why do a test then?”
Jamie eyes fell again. Eric waited for him to talk again, having momentarily forgotten about his food. Jamie tucked a few stray black hairs behind his ears. He looked uncomfortable. But when he did finally spoke his voice was authoritative, “I lied. Being an expert on the nature of bonds I was able to bluff alternative explanations for the obvious symptoms. Further they believed me because of my credentials, and because of my assumed investment in reestablishing a healthy bond.” Eric was a little taken aback. It sounded so premeditated. Hostile. “Fortunately it’s relatively easy to reconnect.”
And this really took Eric back. What was Jamie covering his tracks now. Did he think that Eric would just take it. “Why should I go along with your lies?” Eric demanded angrily.
Jamie shut his mouth. His face turning pale. He looked a little like Eric had just punched him in the gut. Eric slowly wound spaghetti around his fork. Jamie deserved it.
Jamie remained still, looking into his lap. Eric continued eating. Jamie’s coy silence only fueled Eric’s anger. Eric knew his was useless, but if someone was going to use him as a tool he at least deserved to know about it. He watched Jamie out of the corner of his vision. His lips were moving like he was talking to himself. Finally he spoke.
“Eric I’m not going to give you a chose.” He reached across the table to touch Eric’s hand as he said it. Almost a gesture of comfort, but Jamie’s hand was icy hot. Sending piercing pain where it touched Eric’s hand.
Jamie held Eric’s hand firmly, determinedly, until Eric yanked free. The pain didn’t stop. It spread and deepened.
Jamie cradled his hand, his face showing pain, as he got up and left. Eric couldn’t have stopped him if he wanted. The pain was consuming. It made his vision hazy. His stomach queasy. His body feel weak and shaky. The pain was in his bones and his blood. He timidly drank some water, hoping to ease the pain. Eric’s senses registered the weight and feel of the glass the way he would dream about drinking water. He had to direct the glass to the lips with his vision.
Eric abandoned the cup. The water hadn’t helped. Hadn’t registered. The pain was beyond physical. His soul was on fire. Eric tucked into himself and closed his eyes, surrendering to the pain. No one could see him and no one would look for him. He would just wait the pain out. And as the sensations settled in his mind became numb, time became numb.
And then something strange happened. Eric remembered back to when he first met Jamie. The memory replayed itself drawing him in. He relived that first moment when…

* * *

Monday, August 18, 2008

jamie and eric-24-heading home from work

Last time (and yes I am changing the past)… Dahlia ended up skipping dinner to finish homework she had forgotten about (which means that Master Brown doesn’t find out that Eric has memory issues). Bridgett carried the conversation through dinner and became more and more annoyed at both Jamie and Eric feinted her attempts to make talk. Grilling Eric she discovered Eric’s loss of memories. This discovery seemed to make Jamie uneasy, but he didn’t say anything. Eric continued his tests all that week feeling worn not just by the long periods of intense mental activity but to the repeated assault of feelings of uselessness. He was sure Jamie hated him.
Friday came around and Eric went to work as normal. The heat of the day was just beginning to bite as Eric got off. Eric blessed his half days even if they meant waking up early. He spent the morning weeding. After work the venerable Master Dragon (or whatever his name was I forgot) would perform the bond test. Eric wasn’t sure what he would have to do or why only Master Dragon could perform the test in the entire South Central Region.
Dumping his weeds into the compost bin, Eric brought the wheelbarrow back around the front of the shed. His co-workers were breaking for lunch, laughing and talking in Spanish on the lawn in front of the shed. Eric smiled uneasily. A couple of times he had managed to pack a lunch before leaving for work so that he could eat with them. Their English was poor and he didn’t know any Spanish. Eric quickly finished cleaning and storing his tools. And not saying anything, just left.
He was only watching the trail walking home. Eric felt so.. frustrated maybe. Doing all of these tests exposed not only exhausted him. The thorough quiet scrutiny didn’t end when he failed, but continued demand answers from him until it had proved he was completely worthless. Work was okay, he could do it. The other guys all treated him like a rich white boy. He kinda was. He scuffed his shoes in the gravel of the path.
He automatically took the turns that would bring him back home, not really paying attention to his surroundings. Not really thinking either. Eric’s thoughts were such a mess. Jamie was standing next to the main entrance of the building, but Eric didn’t notice him as he approached. Eric had almost passed Jamie, when Jamie reached out almost touching him, “Eric!”
“Wha-?” Eric was slow to register that Jamie was talking to him. And then he felt immediately nervous. He couldn’t remember seeing Jamie outside of the suite. Eric thought he might be in trouble. He couldn’t have taken that long walking home.
“Let’s get lunch.” Jamie said quietly, tentatively as if afraid to speak. Eric didn’t respond, but the open-jaw astonishment on his face did. Jamie swallowed. “I have to tell you something.” Jamie explained turning his body to suggest they head inside, to the cafeteria. Eric went inside, not looking at Jamie but so aware of his presence he could almost feel it. Jamie followed. Silent. Slightly behind him. Slightly to the side.
The Masters’ building had a small cafeteria off the main lobby. Jamie wasn’t sure how much food they actually served, but the small sitting area seemed to always be empty. Or almost empty. Still it was nice. The seating area was broken into cushioned booths. Calm music was soft enough for conversation but eased the tension of talking in a silent room. It didn’t help the two boys that entered the room and grabbed their plastic trays.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

jamie and eric-17 3/4-scene conclusion

Jamie settled in front of his book again and before he could find his spot on the page Bridgett asked, “Don’t you miss Eric?”
Jamie started a little. Bridgett hadn’t asked this specific question before. Or any question along those lines. The answer was yes and he didn’t want to say that.
“Yes.” Jamie said at last. Looking at his page, he waited for her next question.
“Invite him to go to dinner in town with us.” Bridgett pleaded. Jamie squirmed. “Or I could.” Bridgett offered. Dahlia snorted. She had already heard about Bridgett’s and Eric’s reunion. Bridgett shot her a dirty look, but relented. “I bet he would come if you invited him, Jamie. Please invite him.”
“Are we going to dinner in town tonight?” Jamie avoided answering. “Yes,” Bridgett declared, “you, me, Dahlia, and… I rustle up a couple of kids from class, and Dahlia will invite Tonya.”
“Tomorrow’s a school day, thank you very much Miss I-can-get-up-whenever-I-want!”
“Take one for the team,” Bridgett shot back.
“I still think he’s an ass.” Dahlia retorted.
“Well?” Bridgett asked turning to Jamie.
Jamie so rarely left this room. Neat, quiet room. With its comfy brown couch and Jamie’s black-topped lab table over in the corner. In the past he had never felt so scared to leave, but now he realized how dependent he was on the nice quiet world Master Brown provided him with.
“Sure, fine. If he shows up before dinner time, I’ll invite him to join.”
Bridgett smiled. And tried to hide her smile. “Excuse I need to get something from my lab.” Leaving her books strewn across the table she gilded out of the suite. The heavy wood door giving a solid thunk behind her.
Jamie’s head fell to the table. He groaned. Dahlia looked confused.
“What? It’s not like she could possibly make that happen.” Her eyes darted to the main door and back to Jamie.
“She’s going to cast a suggestion spell.” Jamie answered.
“Oh give me a break; those things never work.” Dahlia tucked her fluffy brown hair behind her ear. As much as Bridgett took to plotting, and as annoying as it was, she really couldn’t do anything.
“Bridgett can do suggestion spells.” Jamie said matter-of-factly.
“No she can’t! The concept of a suggestion spell is inherently flawed. Not only do you have to form a connection with the target’s mind,” Dahlia counted the action on her finger, “which, I might add, has to be voluntary on both sides, but you have to give them thoughts, “ Dahlia counted this action as well, “while overcoming the mind’s sense of self and foreign.” Dahlia ticked this final action on her fingers as well. Throwing her arms up into the air, “You can’t ask for a connection and then tell the person to do something without them realizing it was you telling them to do it.”
“I never asked Bridgett how she does it. We should stop talking, though, and get our work done before dinner.”

jamie and eric-17 2/3-cliff hanger concluded

“I knew that Jamie and Eric had stationed in Harnet and were studying at Link. So I went to administration office there and talked to some people and they redirected me to some other people. Basically I spent the entire day trying to figure out where Jamie and Eric were. Finally, someone gave me the address of the house Jamie and Eric were renting a room in. Apparently, Jamie came home one night, about the time I got his thought-spell, completely mad and Eric’s whereabouts were unknown. Jamie was able to lead the family matriarch to where Eric was, severely wounded. Jamie had done his best to stop Eric’s bleeding but he was unconscious.
“The family immediately brought Eric to the hospital, which was inadequate to treat him, but better than nothing. Because Harnet has an unusually high number of bonded pairs, which is why Jamie and Eric chose to study there, understood that Jamie’s behavior was consistent with the shared shock experience. Meaning that when Eric was injured Jamie went into shock as well. But shared shock generally subsides quickly.
“By the time I got there, they had institutionalized Jamie. They deemed him mentally unstable, and kept him subdued with tranquilizers.”
Dahlia started, “But I thought—“
“Yeah, Jamie’s race have a high sensitivity to sedatives, and they did have him doped too high. I tried to explain that to them, but they wouldn’t believe me. This brings me back to my research. If people were more culturally aware—“
“Yes yes I know I know” Dahlia prompted Bridgett forward.
“Well anyways,” Bridgett continued. “I crashed in Jamie and Eric’s place for a couple of days. Originally I was just there for support, but both Jamie and Eric were getting worse. You know that I have some healing ability, as it’s taught in all the schools back home.”
“Yeah,” Dahlia intoned.
“So I offered to help stabilize Eric, but they wouldn’t have it. So I tried convincing the staff at the asylum that Jamie wasn’t insane, that it was just a case of extended shared shock. That Jamie should not be on such heavy drugs. They wouldn’t hear it either. They wouldn’t even let me see Jamie. I couldn’t convince the family they were living with to help me. And I couldn’t get anyone at the university to talk to me. I think it was probably a week after I first arrived in Harnet when I busted Jamie out—“
“You what?!” Dahlia blurted in surprise. “What do you mean ‘busted him out?’ How? What happened?”
“Harnet is a tiny little town and they don’t have security at the asylum at night. So I picked the lock to the front door and then picked the lock to Jamie’s room. It really couldn’t have been easier.
“Leaving with him was another story. He was physically shaking. He didn’t respond to me at all, and he jerked away any time I tried to touch him. I was pretty sure it was the drugs, but all the healing I know is along the ‘stop bleeding’ lines. So I fed him some syrup of ipecac. He threw up a lot. He still had drugs in his system but if they had given him anything before they left it wasn’t going to get into his system. It probably wasn’t the smartest thing to do, but I didn’t know what else to do. We were they almost all night. After a while he started coming back to himself a little. Enough for me to give him water. So when I started to hear birds chirping I freaked out. Basically carried Jamie out and back into the woods.
“I hadn’t really thought it through ahead of time. I had just figured I would bring Jamie back to the house, but when I had him it occurred to me that the whole town seemed somewhat… I hate to say it because you’re going to say that I always say it.”
“What racist?” Dahlia asked.
“Yeah. Well that and I had gotten so much resistance when trying to change Jamie and Eric’s situation. So I was in the woods with a half conscious, still physically sick Jamie with some food in my backpack and no way to get home.”
Dahlia looked almost incredulous. “No way. It couldn’t have been that bad. What did you do?”
“Well,” Bridgett continued. Jamie was really taking his sweet time in the kitchen. “I cheated.” She paused.
“What does that mean?” Dahlia asked impatiently.
“It must have taken two hours of sitting in the woods before it occurred to me, but I made an anchor point in my room here ages ago mostly for practice. Took me nearly another hour to remember how the spell goes. I teleported us back to my room here. In retrospect it wasn’t that smart a decision either.”
“Why?” Dahlia seemed to disagree.
“Bonded pairs are affected by distance. You’d have to ask Jamie why, but separating them when they were both in such a bad way was rather stupid.” Bridgett berated herself.
“But it turned out alright.” Dahlia insisted.
“Obviously. Master Honeywell (or whatever Bridgett’s Master’s name is) helped me get Jamie to the medical building. They hooked him up to an IV. They said there wasn’t much they could do for him. Once Master Brown had heard the full story she arranged for Eric to be moved to Phoenix University (or whatever this university is named) medical ward as well. It took about a week to get him back here. But you know all of this.”
“Yeah.” Dahlia seemed a little amazed. “But how do you know their bond was broken? If Jamie was under shared shock wouldn’t that mean he was still bonded to Eric?”
“I know that their bond was broken because Jamie told me. I wouldn’t be able to diagnose it myself. But Jamie told me that shared shock would have only lasted a day. He was reacting to energy whiplash and then energy withdraw.”
“What?” Dahlia wasn’t convinced.
“Whiplash.” Jamie explained coming out of the kitchen with strawberry lemonade. “All of the energy that was between us ‘hit’ me, so t speak, when the bond was severed. Some of it hit Eric as well, but the connection was cut unevenly. Withdraw is not entirely accurate. It’s more like energy drain.” Jamie paused in thought for a moment, setting the drinks down. “If you can imagine that the soul creates a shell for itself to hold its energy in, then a bond requires that a hole be made in the shell for energy to be exchanged. The exchange of energy being essentially what a bond is, of course.”
“Of course.” Dahlia and Bridgett repeated, giggling.
“Yeah,” Jamie smiled a little embarrassedly. “Well anyways, when the bond is broken the hole takes time to heal over. The soul is waiting for the connection to reestablish and continues to send energy out. Yeah.”
Jamie settled in front of his book again and before he could find his spot on the page Bridgett asked, “Don’t you miss Eric?”