Nothing New Under the Sun

Chapter 3 - Awakening.

© 2007 by Ghaidin

This page was last modified: 2007/04/02


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I sit calmly at the breakfast table the following morning, still wondering how I may approach the issue, when Camus and his cousin walk down the stairs and sit at the other end, joking and pushing each other. The mother asks how he's feeling as she lays her hand on his forehead. Both answer and temperature say that the fever is gone and the child feels great.

The kid smiles at me over his toast and milk and is soon back to his childish games. The events of the previous night seem now a dream -so different is the boy's attitude towards me.

Days go by and the child and I get to know each other better. He's a bit too serious for his age, too responsible for an only child and all together unusual. Sometimes he looks at me intently, when he thinks I do not see him, and it makes me wonder if he really remembers nothing of our midnight conversation.

* * *

It's been just over a week when the two of us seat together in the kitchen, he's just back from school and his mother and cousin have not yet come back from their jobs, they will still be away for a few more hours. He shifts an apple around his tiny hands and I know he wants to speak to me but can't find the proper words. I offer him a beginning

"I'm glad you're feeling better, Camus, we were all so worried."

"Yes, I can imagine. My mom gets really sad when I get sick."

I cannot let the silence between us grow uncomfortable, this is my chance to know a little bit more about what happened, and so I press on "you seemed quite unlike yourself that last night before you got better"

He eyes me nervously and mutters, "You are the man of my dreams, are you not?"

I regard him carefully; there is no menace, nothing of the threat of his last words back then. He just seems anxious and maybe a bit scared. I sit closer to him and place my arm around his shoulder; I think it's time to tell him who and what I really am.

He keeps on looking at me and I chuckle as his eyes grow wide when I tell him of Athena and the men and women who protect her. It is truly a tale to amaze a boy of his age.

I turn then to how the saints are chosen and trained, I tell him about cosmos and describe to him what a cloth looks like. He's fallen quiet and pensive and I know his quick mind is tying the loose ends of the stories very quickly.

"So that's it. There is much more, of course. But that pretty much summarizes the most important things"

"So...you're a Saint of Athena?"

"Yes, little one, I'm the Aquarius Gold Saint. I own a gold cloth -an armor if you'd like to call it so- and my constellation is often represented by a young man pouring water from a vase"

I would have liked to hear his response to this, but his mother enters the room and takes him in her arms. She's still very thin, and the dark circles under her eyes are still there. She looks better than she did not too long ago, but there is little doubt the uncertainty of his child's disease is taking a heavy toll on her.

In my way out of the room I toss the kid's hair and give the woman a gentle pat on the shoulder. That night at the dinner table he and I exchange looks and I know he's thinking hard about what I told him.

* * *

The next day he comes to the bar looking for me after school and we again sit together in the kitchen. This time around there is little shyness.

"What does it mean? You, appearing in my dreams when I'm sick. Why do I feel cold when everybody says I should be on fire? Does it have anything to do with the Saints?"

I raise my hand to stop the flow of questions --he speaks too fast and we're not going to get anywhere if he doesn't pause to let me speak.

"I think your illness may well have something to do with the Saints. To be more precise, with the Aquarius Saint"

"But you are the Aquarius saint! And you said you weren't causing my illness... are you?"

"I didn't explain properly, I'm sorry. It has to do with the Aquarius Cloth, which is what makes me the Aquarius Saint. But there have been many Aquarius Saints before me, as will surely there be after me. You see, the Cloth chooses a new bearer whenever such a thing is needed. In every generation, we search for kids with potential to become Saints. Gold Cloths are not quite like the rest, and one of their particularities is that only those born under each sign stand a chance of ever wearing the cloth."

The child nods, his brow furrowed.

"So only someone born under the Aquarius sign can ever become the Aquarius Saint?"

"You got it right the first time"

"I am an Aquarius..." the child offers this piece of information doubly, without thinking that I've known about it all along.

"And I think that may be the key to everything. Your dreams, your sickness, your... aura"

"Aura?"

The time has finally come, I can't avoid it any longer and it's just as good. "Do you remember what you said to me that night in my room?"

Camus tilts his head in a manner that reminds me of his mother deeply, I know he's thinking hard. "I asked you who you were, I asked you if you were the man of my dreams... I told you about my dreams... and that was all"

"Do you remember calling me traitor, Camus? Do you remember calling me weak, unworthy?"

I watch his reaction closely, and I have little doubt the surprise on his face is genuine. When he says he would never say such a thing, I believe him --he doesn't remember. I will pose this puzzle to the Kyoko when I'm back at Sanctuary, but I first need to take the child with me. I decide to play my card now that he's enthralled about what I've told him.

"Don't worry about it, little one" I toss his hair as I have often done and I press on "Say, would you like to come to Sanctuary with me?"

"To become a saint?"

"Yes, well, to try to become one. I can't promise you will succeed, but I honestly think you have a really good chance at it."

He ponders on that for a bit before asking, "what happens if I don't become a saint?"

I like the answer as little as I like the reality behind it, but the child deserves the truth. "Most often, those who fail die trying."

"I just get sicker every year. I heard the doctor said the illness would make me weaker every time and most probably kill me one day. Will you take me knowing I'll die?"

I'm happy the truth is not as grim this time, so I smile before saying "There is a very wise old man at Sanctuary. I think he might find a solution for that if you came"

"There is no need to decide now, Camus. Just let me know when you're ready"

I walk out of the room softly and go out for a walk. When I come back later that evening the mother greets me at the doorstep.

"Camus told me there is a wise old man where you live who may be able to cure him of his disease" Her expression grows somber as she goes on, "he also said he'd have to go away with you, and maybe never come back"

I wish there was something I could say to comfort her, but all I can do is nod my agreement.

The End of Chapter 3 -- Continued in Chapter 4


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