Status: On hold.

Anger Is a Gift

-You can drift, you can dream, even walk on water

I looked into Ava’s sparkling eyes, still able to taste the sour lime juice that she has transferred to my lips with her kiss. The tequila shots were affecting me more that they should have been doing, and my thought processes were too slow for my liking.

She had just kissed me. Ava, the studious, hard-working girl that had been the subject of my observations for years, had just kissed me.

I blinked, my eyelids feeling clumsy with the weight of the alcohol I had just downed. The gesture had meant nothing. She was completely drunk. She wouldn’t even remember this in the morning. It was nothing for me to dwell on. I repeated the statements several times in my head. However, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was trying to persuade myself of something by doing it. What that something was, I had no idea.

“Umm, hello?” Ava’s slurred voice snapped me out of my thoughts. She waved her hand in front of my face slowly and smirked. “Has the mighty tequila defeated the brave Prince Charming?”

I cleared my throat, supressing a giddy smile that the alcohol was trying to paint onto my face. “Nope. I’m still alive and relatively sober. Now come on, you’re coming home with me. That was the deal, remember?”

Ava groaned. “Fine. You win.” She held out her hand, smiling devilishly. “You lead the way.”

“Finally,” I muttered under my breath as I took her hand and led her towards the exit. Looking around us, I saw that we were the only ones leaving; the night was still young and a lot of people clearly weren’t as drunk as they wanted to be yet. I considered the option that we would look suspicious by leaving at such an early stage, but I dismissed the thought as soon as it came into my head. No one would think anything of it. It was just the tequila corrupting my judgement.

We stopped briefly at the exit, where I scanned my fingerprint and helped poor Ava to scan hers. In her intoxicated state, she could barely find the coordination to place her finger on the pad without my hand to guide hers. Once we’d registered that we were leaving, I took Ava by the hand again and took her out into the night.

Stepping outside provided no relief from the close, hot club atmosphere of the venue. It was really humid out here, despite it being the middle of the night. My dark shirt was beginning to stick to my chest in the midsummer’s night as I guided Ava down the sidewalk that led from the main road to the college campus. Walking was strangely difficult, and it took all my effort to just walk in a straight line. Ava seemed to be having much more trouble than me; she was practically leaning on me as she stumbled clumsily forwards with a drunk, quirky smile on her face.

The pathway opened up into a large, spacious plaza with grey flagstones covering the floor and tall, luscious trees planted in circles of soil dotted around the place. The college buildings rose up around us, their glass windows reflecting the light of the moon, and a large pristine fountain spouted water in the middle of the open space. All seemed calm, with barely anybody out walking at this late hour. I spied one person in the distance, running across the empty campus from the direction of the library with several books clutched to her chest. I smirked. She must have been crazy, studying this late. Apart from her, there was nobody to see us. Nothing apart from the government cameras, which I knew were perched like eagles on the corner of every building and in the canopy of every tree.

My breath caught in my throat. The cameras. They would see us both together. My orders, since the very beginning of the LI Experiment, were to not personally engage with any test subject unless there was an emergency. Did the emotional outburst in the club count as enough of an emergency? Would people back at the CIA notice that I’d broken this rule? Would they care?

“Hey,” Ava’s impatient voice called from next to me, far too loud for the virtually empty place we were in. “Is my guardian angel going to try and make conversation with me?”

As soon as she took her eyes away from the direction she was walking in, she tripped on a flagstone and stumbled forwards. My arms instinctively reached out to catch her, and I thankfully managed to get hold of her waist before she could hit the floor.

“Never mind conversation,” I spoke as I guided her back into a standing position. “You need to focus on where you’re walking.”

“I don’t need to watch where I’m walking. I’ve got you to catch me when I fall.” She said the last sentence in an almost sing-song way that made it sound sarcastically romantic.

“You’re wrong,” I stated coolly as I started to walk again. “Next time, I’ll just let you fall. How does that sound?”

A dramatic frown came over her face as she caught up to walk beside me again. “It sounds like you’re not like the Prince Charming I thought you were.” Her expression suddenly changed, thinking about what she’d just said. That mischevious look crept back onto her face again. “Actually… that might not be such a bad thing.”

I rolled my eyes, trying my best to look unaffected by her drunk ramblings. “Just watch where you’re walking, Ava.” I needed all of my effort to focus on acting completely sober.

We were almost halfway across the plaza. The dorm block that held my room was in sight. All I needed to do was to get Ava to the door, persuade her to go to sleep, and then there’d be no more trouble. I’d be able to deal with the aftermath in the morning. I’d be able to think of a way to sugar coat the evening’s events to my superiors, and I’d hopefully be able to get comfirmation that Ava’s outburst was nothing more than an anomaly.

Or, there was always the option to not mention anything. Keep it quiet, and handle it myself. Right now, with the ground teetering under my feet as an effect of the tequila, it seemed like the better option.

Blinking, I became aware that Ava was no longer walking by the side of me. My sense of shock was slightly delayed and when it did take hold of my muscles, I froze and threw glances from side to side, looking. How the hell had I managed to lose her already? I swore to myself, right there and then, that I would never drink tequila again in my life.

"Looking for me?"

A voice, undoubtedly Ava's, called out from behind me. I spun round, not being able to pinpoint her location at first. When I did see her, my lips parted in exasperation.

She was soaking wet.

And she was stood, of all places, in the fountain.

With a drunk smile painted messily onto her face, she had her head tilted back under the flow of the water, the ice cold liquid cascading down her body and plastering her black dress to her body. Somehow, she'd climbed in and decided to take a midnight bath. And miraculously, I hadn't noticed her. At all.

"You have got to be kidding me..." I muttered to myself as I walked towards the fountain with increasing speed. Her playful laughter echoed around the empty campus. As I got closer, it was came clear that she was sat down, with the water at waist height. She didn't seem to have any intention of getting back up again.

I stopped right by the side of the fountain. I found that I wasn't able to directly look at Ava. Maybe it was the way that her soaked dress clung to her frame a little too tightly. Maybe it was just due to the ridiculousness of the situation. I wasn't sure. "Are you gonna get out of there? Or am I going to have to carry you out?"

"It's too hot," Ava stated matter-of-factly. "And I wanted to cool down. Do you have a problem with that?"

I frowned. "Umm, yes, I do have a problem with that. You're in a fountain, Ava. A fountain."

She gave me a dramatic eye roll. "How long have you been training to be such a big killjoy? Or are you a natural?" With that, she tilted her head back under the water flow again, kicking the water with her foot so that huge droplets of freezing water hit my shirt. I staggered back in surprise, curses and insults forming at the front of my unusually slow, fuzzy mind. Drunk Ava really could be a little shit.

But I didn't voice any of my thoughts. Taking a deep breath, bracing myself for the sensation of cold water, I climbed into the fountain and scooped a protesting Ava up into my arms. Luckily for me, she was light, and it didn't take much effort to carry her. The only thing I had to tackle was the water seeping from her clothes onto mine and her flailing limbs as I took her out of the fountain and towards my college apartment. After a short while, her drunken protests died down and she lay silent limp in my arms. She had passed out. That, or she was just asleep. Part of me breathed a sigh of relief.

After all, when I'd first started work on the LI experiment, I'd never signed up to deal with something like this. Then again, I never really signed up at all.
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