I don’t sleep well. At one point during the night, I get my quilt wrapped around my legs and wake up in a sweat, panicking hysterically.
“Stupid baby.” I hiss to myself. “That was years ago. Get over yourself.”
I sit up, peeling my shirt away from the sweat on my back and rub my eyes.
God damn it, I thought I was over this.
I kick angrily at my quilt until it’s bunched at the end of my bed.
Anger is good, I can deal with anger. It’s the hole that seems to open up in my chest when I think about my family I can’t handle.
At least anger lets me zap people if I have to.
Sadness leaves me powerless.
I roll out of bed with a sigh, pull on my slippers and open my door. Cool night air cleanses my face, cooling my damp skin and I drift like a ghost down the hall.
The carpet is soft and plump beneath my feet, and with my padded slippers, I feel like I’m walking on a cloud. My fingers trail idly against the wall, jumping over the occasional mahogany door.
I remember doing the same as I passed fences when I was a kid. Metal rattling and fingers tingling once I’d reached the end.
I turn into the kitchen where a sink, fridge and microwave sit looking as lonely and melancholy as I feel.
Opening the fridge, I grab the milk and begin to make myself a hot chocolate.
“Make you nice and relaxed,” Mum smiles. “That way you can get a good-night’s sleep.”
I put the milk back with more force than I intend to.
My mind is elsewhere as I heat up the milk then add the chocolate powder.
My door opens, letting light into the darkness. Mum peaks her head in, plastering on a smile so thickly it looks painful.
I nod, anticipating being freed.
She takes her time untying me, starting with my feet and then moving onto the hand furthest from her.
She jumps back, out of reach as I untie the my right hand.
They don’t realise I don’t need contact to hurt someone, but, not knowing how they’ll react if they knew all I needed was to see them, I don’t tell them.
She practically cowers in the corner and follows behind me.
I automatically shut and lock the bathroom door.
Mum bangs on it.
“Don’t lock it Rose!”
I flick the lock, trying to take as long as I can, slowly soaping my hands, creating bubbles that create rainbows in my palms.
“Rose, come on.”
I step out, go back into my room and lie down. I don’t meet her eyes, just tie up my legs and my hand, she binds the other hand and kisses my forehead.
“It’s for your own good.” She smiles, tugging on the scarves, making sure they’re tight. “We cant have you hurting anyone else. You understand that don’t you?”
I nod, waiting until I hear the door closing to open my hand.
The tiny bubble sits in my palm and I spend innumerable minutes looking at the rainbow. A fraction of the world outside.
When it pops, I am alone again.
I jump, spilling hot chocolaty milk on my arm.
“Ah!” I hiss and rush over to the sink to wash it off.
I wipe my wet cheeks with my shoulder.
I hadn’t realised I’d been crying.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to make you jump.” Leo smiles. He looks younger with his sleep wrinkled shorts, t-shirt and messy hair.
I smile over my shoulder and regret it as soon as his drops off his face.
“Aw Rose, what’s wrong.”
I pull a face and shake my head, turning off the tap and drying my hands. “Nothing.” I give him a look like he’s crazy and sit back in my chair beside him, sipping my drink.
“Then why are you out here at one in the morning crying to yourself?”
I glare at him.
“Why are you out here?”
“Same reason as you. I couldn’t sleep.” He leans forward, taking my cup from me when I trace the zig zags on it, avoiding his eyes. “Rose, don’t shut me out. With Roan and Rin, you’re the only friend I’ve got left.”
I meet his eyes, a warm green but with flecks of brown and blue. In different lights, the flecks catch and his whole iris changes colour. Now they look a comforting brown.
I sniff pathetically.
“Just…you know… stuff. Why do I get such a horrible Quirk? I can only cause pain. At least you can move people out of the way of traffic or something. Roan can make people feel happier or forget upsetting memories. What can I do? Make someone pass out with pain? Scream in agony? Writhe on the floor?”
“You’ve actually made someone pass out before?”
“Yeah, Billy Jones. The first time I ever used my Quirk. He was trying it on and grabbed me. I just….let it all out. Next thing I know he’s passed out and I can hear sirens.”
“That’s quite an experience. But that’s not what you’re upset about is it?”
I sigh and wipe my cheeks. “No, it’s just…I don’t like to be confined. After that incident, my parents were scared. They were so worried I’d hurt them or my little brother I was tied to my bed so I couldn’t touch them. I was left like that for a week before we got the St. Bart’s letter. They were so pleased to get rid of me…”
I bite my lip, trying to stop myself from crying.
“Aww Rose.” Leo stands up, pulling me up with him and wrapping his arms around me.
I cry silently into his shoulder, soaking the soft material and cling to him. He makes comforting noises and strokes my even wilder, bed mused hair.
Right now I don’t care if there is something more between us because right now, he’s the only one keeping me in one piece.
Whatever it is we have, I’m glad.