XI. Heart to Heart

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The six Gifted had returned the cart, and were returning to their dorm rooms for the evening. They were walking up the stairs in their dorm building, and had reached their hall.

"We should do that again soon!" Aria suggested eagerly. "Hell yeah!" Luke agreed.
"Yes," Dai concurred, "But for now, I think it's best we retired."
"Who died and made you boss?" Kai asked.
"Dealing with you and Raina for literally my entire life," Dai retorted.
"Please," Raina scoffed.
Laughter ensued, and the group began to separate upon arriving at their dorm rooms.

"See you guys tomorrow," Aria smiled, and she and Lena gave a small wave.
The boys waved back, and the two trios entered their respective dorm rooms.
Once inside, Luke immediately took off his shirt and collapsed on his bed.

"Is it me, or was today blazing hot?" he asked.
"Kinda," Kai said, sitting on his own bed, "Though, heat doesn't affect me too much."
"Well, duh," Luke rolled his eyes, and he looked up to where Dai was sitting at the desk closest to his bed, a bit far away. He was writing on a worksheet.

"Dai," Luke started, "Mind giving me a cool breeze?"
Dai gave him a surprised stare.
"No," he replied, and went back to writing.
Luke gave a pouty expression.
"Pleaseeee," he pleaded, "I'm hot."
"No, I'm busy," Dai replied.
Luke got up off his bed, went around and sat down on Dai's bed, right next to where he was sitting at the desk.

"I know you like me well enough to eventually do it," Luke sneered.
Dai looked up at the ceiling, "God, help me."
He raised an arm, icy vapor evaporating from it, and an ice teddy bear formed in his palm.
"Hug on this," Dai said.
Luke took the bear out of his hand, in awe.
"So cold..." he said, hugging it.

Dai then went back to work, Luke looking closely at him.
"Is making things out of ice easy?"
"For ice, yes," Dai said, "I was making stuff since I was a kid."
"He has," Kai called over from his bed, "I tried making stuff from fire but never really could. I think it's harder for some Gifts."
"Hm," Luke replied thoughtfully.
"Yeah," Kai said, and he checked his phone, "Oh, by the way, I have a meeting to get to."
"A meeting?" Luke asked.
"Yeah, in the music classroom," Kai answered, pulling his guitar case, "There's a music club here and I wanted to check it out."
"Wait, you play??" Luke asked.
"Yep!" Kai smiled, "We do other things besides Gifted Battling, you see. I'll be back soon."
He put the guitar case over his shoulder and hurried out of the dorm room.

"Huh," Luke said, looking from the door to Dai, "You play any instruments?"
"No," Dai admitted, "I dabble more in... theatre."
"Theatre? Like, what, acting?" Luke asked, setting the ice teddy bear on his lap.
"Yep," Dai said, "Raina, too. It was just... something to do outside of fighting and training."
Luke paused.
"Was it hard?" he asked, "Doing that stuff all the time? Training?"
"A little," Dai answered, "Especially for me, because, well, I don't have fire."
"Did your dad train you?" Luke asked.
Dai almost laughed, and turned to Luke.
"You mean my dad? Feu Fray? Fire Symbol on Congress' Gifted Council?" Dai asked, a hint of sarcasm in his voice.
He shook his head, an incredulous smile on his face.

"The man is hardly in my, or my siblings' lives," Dai continued, "Our mom has fire, but she doesn't know how to fight, so it's always just been whatever trainer money can buy."
Luke frowned, a feeling of sympathy coming on for the ice Gifted.
He stood up and placed the ice teddy bear on the floor, walked around behind Dai, and hugged him, resting his head on his shoulder.

"I'm sorry," he said, "It must've been hard."
Dai was surprised by the hug, and was further surprised by Luke's words.
"I mean... we do see him.. sometimes," Dai replied, "And he is in constant contact with us, but..."
"It's not the same as him being there in person," Luke finished.
Dai paused.
"Yeah..."

Silence followed.
Luke then let Dai go, and turned the boy in his chair to face him.
"You're a strong dude, Dai," Luke smiled, "Your brother and sister, too. Whatever else is going on, or will go on, I'm here for you."
Dai looked up at the blond, smiling. Though, he couldn't help but blush, given he was looking up at a shirtless, physically fit boy.
"Right..." Dai said shyly, "You too, Luke."
Luke smiled and patted his shoulder, "Oh yeah, and you can get rid of the bear. I appreciated it. I'll let you do your homework now."

He went back over to his own bed and pulled out his phone.
Dai watched him for a moment, then looked down at the bear on the floor.
He sighed, smiling, and snapped his fingers. The bear then dissipated into snow flurries.

🌊

Kai was hurrying over to the education buildings, guitar case slung over his shoulder.
The sun was setting by now, but alas, many Gifted were still out and about.

He was about to enter the first building, when he noticed something out of the corner of his eye.
Jace was sweeping inside the building, a dustpan near him.
Kai quickly entered through the door and came over to him.
"Hey!! You!" Kai greeted warmly.
Jace was taken a little by surprise, clutching the broom as lightning trickled over his hands briefly.

"I remember you! From the ferry!" Kai smiled, and snapped his fingers, "Ugh... what was your name?"
"Jace," Jace replied, unsurely.
"Jace! That's right," Kai laughed, "Sorry, I'm really bad with names."
"It's okay," Jace said.
Kai's smile disappeared as he noticed Jace's demeanor.

"Hey," he said, "Are you okay?"
"Oh, um, I'm fine," Jace replied.
Kai then took notice of the broom and dustpan.
"What... are you doing?" he asked.
Jace sighed.
"I got in trouble and I have to do stuff like this as my punishment," Jace explained.
"What did you do?" Kai asked.
"It doesn't matter," Jace sighed, "It was my fault, anyway."

Kai thought a moment, and then remembered seeing Jace hang around Hunter and Melany on the ferry.
"Are you... friends with Hunter?" Kai asked.
Jace perked up at the mention.
"You know him??" he asked, "He's my friend."
Kai's gaze narrowed.
"Are you sure...?" he asked.
Jace paused.
"...Yeah," he said.
"Doesn't sound like a sure answer to me," Kai said.
Jace didn't reply, unsure of what to say.

Kai considered for a moment.
He sighed and gave Jace a reassuring smile.
"I was going to a music club meeting," he said, "But... I think it's a far better idea if you and I... went on a walk."
Jace looked at the taller boy, astonished.
"But... I don't wan-" he started.
"Nah, don't give me all that crap," Kai interrupted, and he wrapped an arm around Jace, "Drop the broom, we're walking."
Jace did just drop the broom, and he and Kai walked at a slow pace.

"You seem like a really nice guy, Jace," Kai smiled, "So, tell me, why hang around with that jerk?"
"He's not a jerk," Jace said, "He's the realest friend I got. If it weren't for his advice, I wouldn't be where I am now."
"...sweeping halls," Kai stated.
Jace paused, realizing just what he said.
"Well... it really was my fault I'm here!" he protested.
"Doesn't seem like it to me," Kai said, "You're too hard on yourself, man."
Jace didn't reply, he just held his arm sadly.
"He's the only real friend I got," he said a moment later, "Well, there's Janice too, but she's my girlfriend."
Kai raised his eyebrows, "Girlfriend?"
"Yeah," Jace replied, "But Hunter..."
"Listen," Kai said, "I am willing to be your friend, Jace. Not to sound like an ass, but I'd be a better friend than Hunter, just sayin'."
Jace was still uncertain, "I don't know..."
Kai sighed, looking pitifully at the brown-haired boy.

An awkward silence fell, neither boy sure what to say.
A brief moment later though, a thought struck Jace.
"Say... would you like to come to this bonfire party tomorrow night?" he asked.
"A bonfire party?" Kai asked.
"Yeah," Jace smiled, "It's gonna be fun! I promise!"
"Sounds fun, I'll bring my siblings and friends," Kai smiled.
"Great," Jace said, his demeanor seeming more cheery.
"I guess I'll leave you, then," Kai said, "But... think about what we talked about here."
He patted the lightning Gifted's shoulder, and walked off in the other direction.
Jace watched him go, a feeling inside him growing.
"W-Wait!" he called out, stammering.
Kai stopped, and turned around.

"Can you hang around... for a little while longer?" he asked, rubbing the back of his neck.
Kai smiled a little in response.
"Sure," he replied.

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