Jay drained himself of energy last night saving my life from a threat that wasn’t actually threatening us. I’d like to say that’s never happened before, but I remember his first encounter with Girl Guides though it didn’t end quite as badly. Currently he’s eating his way through a seventh large pizza and is finally slowing down. The motel room smells of sausage and vegetables, with pizza boxes and bottled water stacked up by the door. I had four slices of pizza in the time it took him to wolf down 4 large pizzas.
Jay sits back in the bed with a huge, happy sigh and grins toward me. “So. Do I get dessert?”
“You’re feeling better?”
He pokes his stomach with one finger, then nods. “I’m full, and not tired-tired but just tired. Ith it still snowing out?”
I glance toward the living room window. “Yes. We could go for a walk anyway down the highway.”
“Okay!” Jay hops out of the bed in a blur, and his coat snaps toward his hand, bound by his talent for bindings. He thumps back down on the bed, binding his shoes and then putting them on, the laces tying as he scowls from behind his dark glasses.
“You should use your fingers,” I say.
“I can’t thee the laces. I mean, at all,” he says, looking away toward the window.
“Last night, when I took us away from Lance and – and I almost lost you – and I kind of hurt Justice itself by accident and it took a lot out of me and what was left of – of my eyes went away entirely. I decided it maketh – it makes the most sense if I bind it away so it all comes back at once, when I heal?”
“Jay.” He doesn’t move. I go back over and sit beside him on the bed, reaching out slowly to poke his nose. “I could tickle you.”
He lets out surprised giggle at that. “You would?”
“Want to bet?”
That wins a grin and he relaxes, resting his head against my shoulder. “It just – it makes it feel real now, Charlie. Not seeing at all. I’m thcared.”
“It’d be scarier if you weren’t.” I reach over and squeeze his left hand gently. “Still up for a walk?”
He nods and stands quickly, heading to the door.
“You do need to use the cane,” I say dryly. “I know you can sense bindings around you, but it will confuse humans if you don’t use it – and it might help you figure out how to sense just surface bindings.”
Jay stops, pokes the door with the cane. “Oh! Sorry.” He opens the door with his left hand as I put my coat on and follow him out. “It’th snowing.”
“So it is.”
“It’s harder to sense surface bindings in snow and rain; they make things a bit fuzzy right now,” he says softly.
“You want help?”
He nods and reaches out his left hand. I put my right in his and we just walk along the path through the snow that passes for a sidewalk beside the highway; Jay doesn’t jump as vehicles pass and keeps quiet for a couple of minutes.
“You okay?” I ask.
“Yep. I’m just trying to – to sense how many trees are around uth and how you’re moving and the vehicles going by. It takes lots of concentration to do right and – and I’m not really all okay at all,” he adds softly.
“Because this is really good snow we’re walking through and you’ll win in a snowball fight.”
I look over; there is no huge Jay-grin on his face and he gives the snow a kick with a foot.
“You could bind the snow and throw it at me, you know.”
“But if humans were watching, they’d see,” he grumbles.
I give his hand a squeeze. “I could wear a blindfold.”
“You’d just pretend to,” he says, but sticks out his tongue.
“Well, you could wear one too.” He giggles at that and looks a little better. I consider, then tug his hand gently. “Here, into the woods.”
Jay follows along beside me. He’s using the cane but, being Jay, doesn’t even think to ask where we’re going or why as we wind our way around trees and through snow drifts. The god inside me keeps me warm; the cold doesn’t really bug Jay at all since he’s tough. I find a tree stump and ask Jay to unbind snow from it, the snow hitting the ground moments before we sit on it.
“You’re honestly miffed that we can’t have a snowball fight because you can’t see.”
“Yeth,” he says firmly.
“And there’s nothing else about not being able to see that doesn’t bug you?”
“Oh! Lots of little things, but snowball fights are big things.”
I pause, about to ask if he is serious, but this is Jay. “All right, kiddo. I want you to relax and say if you sense any people around us right now.”
Jay frowns, then shakes his head a moment later.
“Okay.” I reach over and remove the glasses covering his eyes; they are filled with crystalline fractures of light, the eyes proper rolling about like dead stones. Jay stiffens a little; he doesn’t know what his eyes look like now, but he has overheard people gasp in shock. I set the cane aside as well and stand. “Here.”
He walks toward me through the snow. “Okay?”
“Make some snowballs; no one is watching, and we’re going to have a proper snowball fight?”
I call on the god inside me as fur and claws and armour, moving quick to grab snow and throw it. Jay senses the snow and dives aside, grabbing some and hurling it back with a huge grin. He’s faster than humans are, and tough enough to recover quickly when he slams hard into a few trees or trips over roots.
We throw snowballs for good five minutes before I call a time-out and go back to the log. Jay follows, panting for air and grinning hugely as he puts his glasses back on. “That was fun!”
“We’re going to again tomorrow.”
“You need to.”
“I do?” Jay scratches his head, thinking it over. “Oh! You mean like for being fast when people want to hurt me?”
“Exactly.” I ruffle his hair and stand. He follows suit. “This way.” I tug his hand and head back toward the motel.
“I can walk better on my own now,” he protests, but doesn’t let go.
“You also don’t want a headache from overusing your talent, kiddo. I need to be able to depend on you in bad situations still, Jay. So it’s going to be snowballs and then sticks and we’ll go from there.”
He lets out a huge sigh at that. “This isn’t a proper friendship at all!”
“You’re making fun thingth into work,” he says with a huge grin.
I cuff him lightly in the back of the head and he just grins and informs me he’s going to have to use his tablet in private later and do lots of vocal searches of the internet for the best snowballs ever. I’m almost sure he’s convinced I have no idea how scared he is right now and I don’t plan on letting him know I know.
He does manage to duck the snowball I throw at the back of his head just as he enters the motel anyway, but I have no idea if that is his talent with bindings or just how well he knows me.