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Ever since this semester had started the weekend would pass by without knowledge for Advay. It was Monday and yesterday just like the previous week Tevy struck his shoulder multiple times before approving of his essay with some disdain. And once again prof. Logan said some of his quirky remarks about how Advay was just not up to the mark.

Advay did mind being told off like that in front of all his peers and his face would contort a little and his lips go in a very thin line. But that was where his emotions stopped and it seemed that the contempt was mutual between the teacher and the student. Advay chose not to utter a word in retaliation because he knew he could not win against the foolish man. Advay never understood how students who were ranked below him never got a treatment like him. He refused to believe that the fact he came from the Force was the source of all this.

He waited for Saturday to come soon. He wished he would not meet Nana by some grace of God. He was only interested to get some new data for his next report and maybe, get a chance to talk to a certain boy.

...

On the Saturday that he awaited, Advay was finally on a ride to his destination on a brown bike. His favourite blue one seemed to have been taken by the time he was at the gates of the university.

The whole day passed by as usual. The in-charge first greeted him at the reception. The receptionist wrote in her register and Advay as well as the in-charge put their signatures against it. Then Nana, Milo, Milian, and some more children entertained him. He waited and waited until lunch but the boy only appeared when the dishes were being cleared off the counter. This time Advay thought he'd as well go and give the boy company while he ate at the counter. But he was not lucky enough. As soon as the boy filled his plate with food, he was beckoned by the in-charge and was given some work. The boy took his plate away into the kitchen where it was to become cold. Advay peeped from where he sat and could see the boy covering his filled plate with another plate on top.

After a while the boy came back but he brought his lunch into the corner room behind the counter. That boy must be very anti-social. Who eats alone in their room? He had even closed the door.

Advay waited for the boy to come out. He got bored and started some pointless game with the group of kids. Somewhere in between the boy had come out and used the shed toilet at the back of the building but Advay did not notice that. Soon, it was evening and he had to leave.

This time he did not even have the chance to wave the boy bye before leaving. He should have been favoured by the providence last time, he joked on himself.

...

Yet another week passed and Saturday was here. He rode on his favourite blue coloured bicycle this time. He said a hi to the gatekeeper and parked it inside the compound of the orphanage. Soon the in-charge greeted him and after recording his visit at the reception, his eyes were once again keen to find the boy.

Luckily this time he saw the boy before lunch. The boy was being shown a direction by another worker of the orphanage. The boy then proceeded in that direction and seemed to take care of some work there.

Advay had a disturbing feeling. He was told by the in-charge that the boy did not like to talk to new people but he was sure that the worker who pointed to the boy was not new. He had seen him around right on his first visit and he seemed to be working at the place for quite a long while. Was there really no need for any words when they communicated just now?

After a few moments Advay was not even sure of what he was thinking himself. The boy seemed to have chores to do so he could not talk to him right then.

He went off to the upper floor in hopes of finding someone to talk to. He found Rosy sitting across a girl who was older, Lily. Lily was Rosy's elder sister and she started going to school that year and the younger one could not wait to join her. Both the girls were very nice to talk to and did not like to have meaningless chit-chats.

He sat together with them and spoke about the next topics lily was to be taught at school. Rosy would be amazed and ask questions in the middle. Lily would anwer most of them and if she is unable to, Advay takes over. He thoroughly enjoyed the conversation he had with these two. It was all about very simple topics but their enthusiasm was the key.

...

Lunch hour over and Advay caught the boy gobbling down his food fast before the in-charge walked over and patted his shoulder. The boy turned to the in-charge and she pointed to some room on the left, the kids' rooms. The boy quickened his pace and finished eating and went into the room. Soon he came out with a pile of clothes and took them outside and dropped them there. He then did the same task in the other rooms.

Advay was once again bewildered. Not a single word was said by the in-charge again. Nor was there any form of verbal acknowledgement from the boy.

...

When the evening came, he packed his stuff and checked his notes. He had taken down whatever points he needed for the report. Ah, his pen seemed to be left with Lily. He climbed the stairs to the upper floor.

There he saw the boy. Sitting alone on the floor at a corner. He seemed to be simply sitting there staring off in front of him. He found his pen on Lily's desk and grabbed it; the girl wasn't there.

He then went to the boy and bent down to his level, "Hey?" Advay smiled a little.

The boy looked up, green eyes cautious of him.

"Um," Advay didn't have much to say to him now, "I'm going back. See you next week."

The boy was now cautious and also curious. He didn't say anything in return though.

"Alright, bye," Advay still smiled and waved at him. The boy really seemed to have some fright for people.

Then he turned around and walked away. He felt that the boy's gaze had not left him, a gut feeling, or the boy's stare had great power.

He looked back at the boy. "Bye bye! See you!" Advay smiled broader and waved more before he went down the stairs. The boy had still been looking at him.

...

"Ha ha! So you've finally spoken to your boy?" Prof. Logan only flipped two pages before getting too excited for a professor in lecture. The other students were all bewildered but Advay gave the professor a long and hard stare.

"(...) I only saw him speaking very briefly with Nana until now. For the next visit I want to get that young boy to speak with me."

The professor read out the last few lines of his latest report. It was amusing how the professor was interested more in the side details than those that actually helped improve the orphanage.

After his hilarious laughter subsided, he commented once again, "All the best courting your boy, ha ha ha!" He broke into another fit of laughter.

Perhaps his laugh was contagious or the students didn't find many opportunities to laugh in the class, almost everyone was laughing loudly. Advay had his lips in a tight line sitting with disinterest in his surroundings. There really wasn't much he could do. Should he actually ask Aris if there were any crimes that had some relation to this man?

...

"This time, I'll write my own report." Advay was aggrieved that day. He complained about prof. Logan to Tevy.

"I won't even look at you if not for the fact that you're so pathetic and you live four feet across myself! So irritating!"

Advay also knew that so he stayed calm. In fact, it was good that he had Tevy or this professor would have roasted him even more for his reports.

"He's always making fun of me." Advay continued with a sad face.

...

Soon it was Saturday. The coursework became hectic with assignments again. Last night they had kept him up until late. Moreover, Tevy's comments on his report were not just useful to satisfy prof. Logan. They were also teaching him a lot regarding the multiple meanings of expressions, how different the meaning could be through other's eyes, and inevitably, a vast vocabulary. He was becoming better at at least half of his subjects. He was immersed in reading that he failed to notice time. When he almost fell over his book face first, he decided to sleep.

He had overslept. Forget about his morning training, now he was lucky if he got a proper breakfast. In the canteen food was served timely. Once you are late, you would have to settle for some snacks.

"Advay!" Advay had just run out of the dorm room.

"I took your food card and brought you breakfast when I went. I was going to wake you up but Tevy said no."

"Oh... thanks Chen."

Advay went inside the room and on their combined study tables was a silver foiled pack.

"Thank Tevy. I didn't think he's so caring."

"Please, he beats all day on every Sunday."

"Well, good for you, hehe. I'm going for my class."

"Bye."

...

Advay rushed as fast as he could but it was lunch by the time he reached the orphanage. He was starving from all the running though he had eaten only a couple of hours ago. He ate his lunch along with Milo and the gang.

Later he did not see the boy so he went to the upper floor to help out some kids with their homeworks. Not all kids showed enthusiasm to go to him. Many were shy. But when they saw him being jovial with Lily and Rosy, they also came over. Not exactly for their homeworks but just to listen to him teach others.

Perhaps it was typical of those from the Militia, all of them could muster great patience to deal with their juniors. Moreover, Advay himself enjoyed talking, even if the topics were academic, elementary mathematics and science.

An hour passed by and that's when someone climbed up the stairs. The person walked very slowly, seemingly tired, anticipating what he would see when his eyes reached above the flooring. When people on the floor saw his face, they carried on with what they did, except Advay.

There were still some steps for the boy to reach the upper floor but his eyes caught the one person who spoke to him two times in a span of less than two months. This was the same person who had given him great fright previously. He thought he was caught by some new underling of the in-charge. He thought that his action would be mistaken as trying to slip out of the orphanage while the reason why he went out was that the washroom was occupied for quite a long time and the in-charge was not around to inform her.

When he did try to escape years ago, he had been unsuccessful. With no food and warmth or any form of kindness from anyone on the cold night, he roamed around the place not knowing what to do. He wanted to eat and sleep more than anything else; it was the most desperate time of his life. He had returned to the orphanage after getting lost on the way. He was outside for one full day. The in-charge had shown him hell by not giving him any food for an entire week following that.

The boy slowly walked towards the group of people. Advay noticed the boy. He had a slight smile as a greeting and continued his discussion with the kids.

The boy did not react much. He stopped for a second and continued towards a corner of the room and sat there by himself.

No one approached him.

"Brother, but if negative numbers are real, then give me minus five pencils!" A boy extended his hand to Advay and Advay thought hard on how to explain to the boy.

He should not have played with such pure curiosity and dump information beyond their level. He felt slightly awkward, "I'll tell another time, alright?"

He was looking elsewhere when he caught the serene eyes of the boy. He gave an awkward smile in that direction. Soon they jumped to another topic which another girl raised.

...

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kmd_dgkr

  • India

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