Little Boy Blue:
After three days, Kaidan was sure that the blue-eyed guy was stalking him. Either that or he was assigned to every god damned place he happened to be at.
He didn't look at only him, that much Kaidan was sure of. But when Kaidan was looking at him, the stranger seemed to be studying him.
This made Kaidan nervous. And when he was nervous, he fucked up more easily.
"God damn it, Alenko, where the hell is your head?! You would have been dead out there," Michael barked, tugging off his helmet so he could give Kaidan a proper glare as they walked out of the simulator, breathing hard.
"I am sorry, okay? It's just
That guy makes me nervous. He keeps -staring-," Kaidan barked back, wiping away the sweat on his forehead, helmet already under his arm.
"Get over yourself, he is staring at everyone," Michael replied, his voice gruff. "That's what he's doing, observing. Like, it's why he's here."
"Who the hell is he anyway?" Kaidan asked, looking towards the stranger who was currently standing with his back to them. "Some kind of hot shot?"
"Don't know his full name, but I've heard the other two call him "John" so I am guessing that's his name. And yeah, think so," Michael replied, turning his focus on switching out the thermal clips in his gun. Kaidan joined him by the gun table, slowly picking his rifle apart.
"All three of them are apparently top students where they're from. They're finishing up basic training and are looking for options as to where they want to go and what they want to do. Or so I heard," Michael continued, cursing as the thermal clip refused to come out from his rifle.
"I call bullshit on that," Kaidan replied as he finished disassembling his rifle and started cleaning the parts. "We're at a boot camp just like they are. When we're done, we'll leave here just like they will leave ONY. There's nothing special here."
The thermal clip in Michael's rifle shot out from the back of it with a loud pop, hitting Michael's armoured chest. He just raised an eyebrow and picked it up, looking it over before he started talking again.
"We still have some better options though than ONY. We got people we can talk to, people that can recommend us so we can get where we want to go. Or rather, where we should go." He tossed the ruined thermal clip into a container with other faulty parts. "Maybe if they like it here, they will be here for a month or so, finish the training so they can get the right people to recommend them elsewhere."
"I don't buy it," Kaidan replied, hanging the rifle in its place after reassembling it.
"Do you buy anything, Alenko?" Michael quipped back, smirking at Kaidan who offered a smirk back before he moved towards the exit.
"I buy when I trust the price."
It was true though. His experiences at Jump Zero had left Kaidan with a rather unhealthy scepticism. He had a hard time trusting something, especially when it involved people and "observing." Heck, he had a hard enough time with trusting people in general, but that was something he was slowly working his way through.
More than once did he wish that someone would prove his scepticism wrong so he could get some peace of mind. Maybe he would actually learn to trust if he was shown that it was okay to be wrong about something from time to time.
Especially if he was wrong about something with a good outcome.
But it really didn't help that he could feel the stranger's eyes at the back of his neck as he left the room, making the faint remains of hair he had there rise.
Leave was always welcome at the camp and just about everyone there went crazy when they were presented with it. Especially when it lasted for three days.
Some went home for the duration, others went to town for a much-needed release of steam and hormones.
Others, like Kaidan, stayed behind at camp because now it was quiet there for a change.
His parents had wanted for him to come home, to come with them to the orchard in the BC interior. Kaidan had politely declined, still needing a little time to just
They had understood and his mother had promised to send him a small present as soon as they reached the orchard. Kaidan was willing to bet anything that it was another sweater.
Though there was one more reason as to why he had preferred staying behind besides having a moment to himself.
It was the only time he could actually have a moment to let himself go in privacy.
Kaidan wasn't exactly hiding who, or rather what he was, but he never used his biotic abilities in training. He knew what would happen then. He would be reduced to "the shield" or "the one that levitates stuff."
Still, he needed to unload some of it from time to time and he tried to do it as discreetly as he possibly could. He didn't want to risk an overload. He wasn't even sure if a biotic overload was possible, but it was one of the "warnings" they had given him at Jump Zero. It could just as easily have been something to scare the kids into submission, making them want to use their powers, but Kaidan wasn't about to take chances.
Especially since he had fewer migraines after unloading a little, just like he got more of them if he overdid it.
It was a hair-fine balance and Kaidan was still trying to find it.
He wasn't the only one that was remaining at the camp though. While the people he usually spent time with had left to see their families, there were still some familiar faces around, and two not-so-familiar ones.
On the fourth day, one of the students from ONY had left, having apparently not found what he was hoping for here in Vancouver.
To Kaidan's annoyance, it was not the blue-eyed wonder that had left. And on day six of their one-week stay, said boy was still popping up where Kaidan was, always staring and never saying a word to him. Looking at him with a stare so intense that it was sending shivers down Kaidan's back.
It made him want to punch the guy in the face.
That or just take a biotic hold of his balls and squeeze until those damn eyes popped out of his skull.
It was probably just as good that he couldn't do that yet or he would have.
Inhaling softly, Kaidan took a quick look around himself before he entered the grand simulation hall. While it was no crime or even weird that students came here during off-hours, the hall was ready to be used at any time by anyone that was a part of the camp, Kaidan just wanted to make sure that the "hot shot" from ONY was not following him.
Once inside though he stopped, staring at the all-too-familiar character in front of him, watching as he prepared a rifle by the gun table.
"Excuse me, what are you doing?"
The blue-eyed guy looked up at Kaidan before finishing the preparations without even looking at the rifle. Then he tossed it towards Kaidan who caught it automatically.
Kaidan just raised an eyebrow at the guy. "Huh?"
The guy turned his back to him and walked over to the lockers, pulling out two sets of armour. Then he looked back at Kaidan. "Suit up."
Kaidan narrowed his eyes some, just looking at the stranger. The guy stared right back, face unreadable, but there was something in his eyes that Kaidan just couldn't place his finger on. Then he started moving towards him, placing his rifle next to the locker before he started pulling off his shirt.
They didn't speak a word as they both changed out of their clothes and slipped into the armour. Kaidan noted that his current company had chosen a similar armour as he himself had; something light that was easy to move in.
"What's your level?"
Kaidan looked at the guy for a moment before he realised just what he was asking. "Depends on what my role is. I have just started level six."
"Out of ten?"
The guy gave a brief nod in return before he walked over to the control panel and started typing. "Which scenario do you hate?"
"What are you doing?" Kaidan stared at the guy, who stared right back, obviously waiting for Kaidan to answer his question. "I don't know, I
I am not that good on the Firebase," he ended up saying. The guy nodded and finished setting up what Kaidan guessed was a simulation, walking over to the entrance to it.
"Wait, what the hell are you doing?" Kaidan was tempted to just aim his rifle at the ONY guy instead, but once again the guy just stared at Kaidan, face unreadable, patiently waiting for Kaidan to move his ass.
Which Kaidan, in the end, did because he just couldn't handle that staring. He tugged his helmet on and grabbed his rifle before more or less stomping into the simulation room.
As soon as he was inside, the blue-eyed annoyance closed the door behind them, letting the simulation start up with a brief countdown.
What happened next, Kaidan wasn't sure of. All he knew was that they were on the Firebase and they were higher than level six.
Simulated bullets started flying around his head and the only thing Kaidan could do was duck for cover, his shield already cracking from the intense pressure. His current partner seemed calm as day though, following Kaidan behind cover, but keeping up pressure with his own rifle.
Kaidan wasn't sure if he was to admire him or feel even more annoyed by it, butt the calm inspired him and he tried to gather himself enough to fight back.
Which he wasn't doing very well, but by God, he was trying.
The pressure was intense; the enemies kept on coming and bullets seemed to hail down over them from every direction without showing any signs of stopping. It was almost enjoyable. In the end, Kaidan let his mind simply do what he had intended to do in the first place, giving him his outlet.
This John was obviously a better shooter than he was, but he had his own tricks up his sleeves. Soon the enemies were hit by Kaidan's own biotic shots as he focused on putting out barriers, pushing the enemies back by simply tossing someone at whoever he could or levitating them into the air for his teammate to pick off.
He used every trick he had learned, picked up from BAaT, instruction movies or simply through trial and error. He was feeling a rather delicious burn go through his body and his brain as the adrenaline and the euphoria from using his abilities rushed through him, making him feel empowered.
He wasn't sure when the simulation ended or even if they won, but as soon as the simulated environment stopped blinking, Kaidan slumped down onto the floor, laying on his back and just breathed, staring up at the roof.
His body, especially his brain, was still humming with the intense surge of being powerful, making his fingers and toes tingle from the amount of biotic abilities he had used. It was both wonderful and terrifying.
He could hear that his partner sat down next to him, breathing hard as well.
"W-what the hell was that?"
"Level nine Firebase, three-man simulation. Figured I'd go easy on you since I wasn't quite sure what your level was."
Kaidan let out a small snort before that snort turned into a tired chuckle. "
Go easy on me
"I should have cranked it up to level ten."
"I am rather glad that you didn't. That was
more than enough for me." Kaidan slowly eased the helmet off, letting it lay somewhere near his head while remaining lying on the ground. "Yup
Definitely more than enough."
"You did well."
That was just sheer panic."
The stranger chuckled softly and Kaidan felt himself relax some. At least the man wasn't completely made out of stone.
"My name. It's John."
Kaidan smiled some, closing his eyes as he inhaled deeply. "Kaidan. But we're a bit late on the whole introductions now, aren't we?"
"Hmmm. Maybe. I wouldn't know." John removed his own helmet and placed it next to him, looking down at his feet. "I am not the most social creature."
"That's okay," Kaidan replied, easing an arm under his head, trying his best to get the "power trip" out of his mind. He hadn't had an outlet like that in a long, long time. Not since
He cut his thoughts before he started going down that trail. "Neither am I," he finished before he opened his eyes, looking up at John. "So
Care to explain why you tugged me with you like that?"
"You were a part of my test."
"Your test?" Kaidan pushed himself up onto a sitting position so he could see John better. "Okay, I think you need to run that one from the beginning, because I can't remember being told I was anyone's test."
"You weren't supposed to know. It would have
Kaidan just raised his eyebrow, keeping his eyes on John until it was his turn to give out under Kaidan's intense stare.
"Let me explain." John rubbed his fingers against the back of his neck, frowning some as he seemed to struggle with his words.
Kaidan waited patiently. He knew how hard it could be to voice himself, especially when under pressure.
"We were three, from the ONY boot camp," John finally started. "Recruits with
potential, as we were told. But we had our problems that we needed to fix before we could be given the chance for further, more advanced training." John glanced over at Kaidan, just looking at him for a second before he looked away again.
"My problem is co-operation. I
don't co-operate very well with others. With strangers or people I don't know very well." John bit his bottom lip, rolling it gently between his teeth before continuing.
"I was supposed to
Approach someone and try to co-operate with them. So I spent the last six days trying to find someone that I felt I could co-operate with despite not knowing them."
"I see." Kaidan wasn't quite sure what to make of that story. "So
"Would you believe it if I said that it was a coincidence?"
"Not a chance."
John chuckled softly, letting a small smile appear on his thin, chapped lips. "I don't know
I just... took a chance. Decided on one group, watched the group work and from that group singled out the one I thought would fit me the best. Not quite in the way they wanted me to do it, but
" He shrugged his shoulders, fingers picking lightly at the barrel of his rifle. "I wasn't sure how to ask for something like that. I thought it might sound strange, coming from a stranger, but
He glanced over at Kaidan. "You surprised me though. I did not know that you were a biotic."
Of course. It was always the biotics.
Kaidan was willing to bet that if he hadn't used them, John would have called him a shitty soldier.
Don't go spreading it around. It's a secret."
John let out a small snort and shook his head, an amused smile playing on his lips. "Yeah, right
Silence fell between them again before John finally got up, picking up his helmet as he did so. "I should head back. Thanks for the battle, Kaidan."
Kaidan nodded his head at John. "Thanks yourself. We made a pretty decent team. Make sure you tell your squad leader that."
John smiled back at Kaidan, nodding his head at him. "I'll do that."
Then he left, leaving Kaidan to his own thoughts. It let him think about what had just happened and what he could learn from this.
He'd been approached by a stranger, battled with him and had a conversation with him. And they both seemed to have expected little of the other, but somehow were able to give freely in return. Kaidan was still bugged by the fact that he couldn't wrap his head around this guy and his actions.
Maybe if he was a little more alert, a little more observant, he would have been able to.
Getting up from the floor, Kaidan walked over to the gun table to disassemble and clean his gun before reassembling it again so he could put it away.
He didn't see John again for the rest of the day.
The very next day, John and his camp mate left the boot camp and went back to Old New York.
Two months later John was just a memory that Kaidan took hold of from time to time to remind himself that trusting someone was not always a bad thing.