Don't Tell Mom


aman_icon.gif walter_icon.gif

Scene Title Don't Tell Mom
Synopsis Aman takes advantage of having picked up a certain ability again, setting up a unique tutoring session with Walter. When things get rolling, he gets a start for his trouble.
Date October 23, 2020

Park Slope

"All right, buddy, now don't tell your mom we did this."

The floor has been swept clean as much as possible to prevent any tripping. A hard, red rubber ball falls from Aman's hand, bounces, and comes back just barely to his palm. In his other hand is a hockey stick, which he tosses to the younger boy he's brought here. On either side of the abandoned office space is a net, and next to a desk left in the middle of the open floor is a second hockey stick which Aman takes in hand for himself.

"You're gonna have to get past me and score three times before we get to go home today. But here's the secret— I'm pretty fucking good at this."

He lets the ball drop and come back to his hand once more, faintly grinning. Yes, he used that kind of language. And yes, he's dead serious about his proficiency.

"So you're going to have to get creative to get the goal, kid. You're going to have to take everything we've been working on and put it to use. I want you to use your ability to get the upper hand on me this time."

Aman lifts both eyebrows, holding up the ball as he says, "But— we're running a fair game here, all right?" Not breaking eye contact with Walter, in less than a blink Aman simply vanishes and reappears noticeably to the left of where he was— with barely a whisper of sound caused by a displacement of air. He's never done that before in front of him. "So you still have to think fast, and work faster. Deal?"

He offers out the red ball with one hand. Surely this was better, if not at least more exciting than their usual exercises, was it not?

Walter is great at secrets. Even when it comes to his mom. So Aman's more personal request earns him a slot on that secret rolodex. The weather has a brisk touch now, and Walter waits to listen with his hands shoved in his coat pockets, eyes on the man he's here with; he moves to catch the hockey stick with a fumbly grab.

For his part, the language doesn't make him laugh as much as Aman's coyness does. He's heard it all before, have at it. Squirt is ready for the mid-term, eyes wider at the small display Aman gives him.

"I didn't even hear you move, primal—" Maybe he'll get there. Eventually. "This is already cooler than the usual stuff. Don't worry, I won't tell." The ginger lifts a finger in a 'ssh', then reaches to take the ball. "Deal."

However, the whole 'is he any good at hockey' is a mystery. He could be better. Because when he drops the ball and steps after it, Walter thwacks it like a golfer.

Amanvir really did not think this part through. He just— assumed. It was maybe a bad assumption.

Okay, so he might go a little easier on Walter than he initially planned, assuming he doesn't get his head chopped off.

"Jesus H—" Aman winces back as the ball goes flying, hitting the desk with enough force it groans on the floor and moves back an inch on the impacted corner. The ball goes ricocheting away carelessly, and blessedly not near either of their heads. "Walter, stick doesn't swing above your knees at any given time. Got it?"

Muttering, the taller and elder displaces to scoop the bouncing ball up before reappearing again in front of the younger. Aman mashes the ball down to the ground like that might help it stay put better. "We're using a ball like this because it's easier to keep track of and hit, but it's also heavier. Try not to take out my kneecaps, all right?" He lets out a laugh that's more light-hearted than he actually is about the matter. "Let's keep this thing on the ground."

He takes a step back, brow lifting as he comes back to his full height. "Try passing it to yourself. Shoot over toward my goal, and 'port yourself over to adjust the shot and make the goal."

There's almost certainly more to it than that, but that's a then issue.

Walter does a full body scrunch when Aman goes flinching, and for a moment wonders if he actually hit him with that. No? No. Okay, good, good.

"Sorry! Crap, knees, okay, okay." He looks down to gauge the distance between his feet and his knees, stick still held loose in his hand. Looking up at Aman past a tuft of red hair, Walter wets his lips, brows knit as he listens more closely. He seems unsure of himself, still, but he readies himself just as told, testing the stick against the ground and waving it a bit to decide where it needs to stop. "No kneecaps…" whispering to himself.

The sound of the ball popping against the stick's blade is a dull one, a test, before Walter hits it with a much smaller swing than before. He's played minigolf before, he must figure it's somewhere in between?

The ball hops and rolls across the floor, wide of Aman's makeshift goal but enough for the boy to take a half-step back and a second of a hard run, chased by the sound of a snap-pop; Walter's own aim goes wide too, though close enough he can pivot and catch the ball with a lunge of his stick.

At least this time when the ball comes breezing to Aman, it's just a tad above knee and way less of an assault. Better than the Hail Mary?

Hey, it's better than before, and Aman's not new to this. "Good," he calls out as he brings his stick up to absorb the impact of the ball, letting it bounce again. "Now get on defense, or I'm going to score on you." The ball is juggled back and forth for a moment, providing the illusion that he's getting his bearings.

Well, in a way, he is.

Aman looks up to a spot across the floor just before teleporting to it with less than a whisper of sound, well out of Walter's reach, and with a line on the other goal. "Think fast!" His stick slaps the old industrial carpeting hard, chopping the ground as he sends the ball off low and fast for Walter's net.

But he trusts the boy will think fast, and as soon as he shoots, he looks back to him to mind each step of it for himself.

Shaking a little of his hair from of his forehead, Walter manages a half-smile before he realizes Aman is sending it all back. Defense just means hit it back, right? The redheaded boy pivots around to get back to his side. Both of them shift from one spot to another with displacements of air and a reappearance a moment later.

Walter makes it in time to raise his stick out, appearing in a plane-shift of frame and blaze of ginger hair; he catches the ball with the edge of the stick, popping it haphazardly back into the air. Not quite what he'd wanted to do, but—

At the expense of making it far enough to hit the ball back, it flies up and bounces off the ceiling, back to the floor, leaping around for Aman.

"That's the way!" Aman encourages Walter when he sees him snap right where he should be. He's proud and glad — enough that he doesn't scold when the ball goes flying. He laughs, ducking to the side with a hiss of some wordless watch out to who-even-knows as the ball goes bouncing around. "A ref would card you, but fuck it, you had great reaction times there, Walt. Great job."

As soon as the ball quits bouncing, he corrals it back under his stick, bringing it back to the arena, and tapping it across the floor toward Walter. "You think you've got what it takes to get past me this time? You were close before. A little more control, a little more breathing and focusing on where you're going, and you'd have had a clean shot on me."

"One more," Aman encourages enthusiastically, tapping his stick against the ground.

"Good thing this isn't real hockey then." If a ref would card him, that is. Walter scratches at his chin as he says this, brow knit. Readier this time, Walter angles to catch the ball with his stick, keeping it in control like he might a soccer ball with his foot. That seems to help.

The boy works his jaw, narrowing his eyes as he puts a mental bead on Aman, then the space nearer to the goalposts. In, out, one, two. Walter's tongue ticks out between his teeth in concentration—

He steps forward with the ball against his stick, more gentle this time when he taps it; from there, Walter seems to try and catch a breath before pushing off and moving from one point to another with a more tame effect around himself, glinting in periphery as he goes.

Unfortunately for him, Walter's landing may bring him close enough to close in on the rubber ball again— but the rush in the way he charges for it and swings(it's a good swing!), the stick strikes empty air and man dooown. Both feet and stick go flailing, the boy landing on his back with the grunting ow of any old made-of-rubber kid.

Aman wants to lie to himself and say at least he didn't go down while wearing skates, but that's of poor consolation here. Heightened background anxiety suddenly slams its way to the foreground as he lets his stick fall to the ground, vanishing from the goal and reappearing a little over an arm's length away from Walter.

He doesn't seem to be hurting. No cries of pain to indicate anything broken. Relax, Amanvir.

Though this is a great reminder why this ability isn't all sunshine and rainbows. He knows, instinctively, he's nearly overreacted. But at least he'd come back just from the threshold of it.

"You just trip, or you get dizzy?" Aman asks as he offers a hand down to help Walter back up. "We are running more quickly than we normally do at practice."

"Hhhh…." is Walter's first reply, as he resigns himself to the floor for a bit longer, arms out at either side, wincing eyes peering up at Amanvir's hand. "Botswarf, ugh…" Grumbling out something else under his breath, Walter extends his hand in return to allow himself to be helped up.

"Uhh," The boy pats down the dirt from the back of his pants. "Both? Ouch…" Aman can tell that he had a bit of wind knocked out, but not the whole of it. Rubber. "Dizzy like a carnival ride I guess?" Walter scrubs his hand through his hair, playing it off. It's fine. He's fine. He starts scanning his vicinity for his stick.

"I was watchin' the ball and not my feet, 's all. M'fine, swear."

Strain is something Aman has been overly careful to avoid with Walter's ability, inferring what he has about the untouched depths of it. He's tried his best to respect Delilah's wishes there, and not overly pushing him has seemed the best route to avoid accidents beyond the likes that can be fixed by picking him off the ground.

But he tells himself now that Walter's stronger than he was when they started the beginning of this year. He trusts the boy can handle it.

"I'm gonna take you at your word and give you another chance. Just this one more, though, and then we'll head back." Ample enough time is allowed for Walter to find his dropped stick, and for Aman to locate the rogue ball and bring it back. He dribbles it, passing to Walter with nothing more than a gentle nudge from the edge of his stick. "Take a minute to get your feet back under you first, to get your bearings again. And if you score, I'll buy us something on the way back."

Aman shifts the seat of his jacket along his arm to reveal the watchface on his wrist, checking the time. They're not doing bad.

Getting better at the easy stuff will make the rest better learned in turn; Walter doesn't quite get that yet, even if Aman knows he's improved by leaps and bounds. Walter knows that this is definitely a step up— and he doesn't at all want to disappoint Aman. Aman's cool.

"Hh, okay." It's Walter's disappointment that drips out, though. His shoulders only sink for a moment before he takes up his stick properly, testing it in previously slippery fingers and taking his place again. At least he didn't rip his jeans, Dee would absolutely catch that.

The pair do an easier game of dribbling and passing first, and Walter sets himself up to play second. His control gets better this time, crossing the floor with the ball and passing it to where he wants to go; determination has him concentrating harder this time as well, and his moving from one place to another begins like every other time—

And he doesn't reappear—

Aman's stomach drops. He looks up and down the large room, counts the seconds. One, two…

Two too many.

"Walter?" he calls out loudly, praying it was only a directional misfire the kid took.


Wood strikes tile and rubber a couple of seconds after Aman starts calling out and looking elsewhere. The squeak of sneakers and the whisper of autumn coat just out of sight leads into another sound—

The hop-skip-trip of a ten year old once again, apparently, stumbling over his own feet and bellyflopping onto the floor. This time he's crowing, though, that sound of a kid who has just bested an adult, none the wiser.

"Wooo! Take that!" Still on the floor, Walter flops over and sits up, holding his stick aloft and grinning. That red hair is staticked at the top enough to look like fresh bedhead. "Who's the hockey master now?!"

What in the world. Aman rotates on a dime, bewildered and concerned, completely ignoring the red ball that skips its way into the goal. When Walter makes it clear he's all right, the elder of the two should bite his tongue, but he can't. "Did you wait a few seconds to reappear on purpose, Walt?" He sighs in exasperation, but lets his stick slip from his hands to fall to the ground in a slap.

He smiles, even if it's a tense thing from his anxiety over having potentially lost his student somewhere in spacetime with no way to follow.

With both hands still grasping the hockey stick, Walter brings it down limply onto his lap. Aman's tension relieving itself through his words isn't exactly a familiar thing, and the lack of congratulations is puzzling. It's what he wanted, wasn't it? He totally did it right, right?

"You're being weird, Aman…" The boy settles on this assessment as he stands up and awkwardly peers around for that errant ball, mumbling under scrutiny. "I did the hockey thing, like you've been showing me… why does it matter how long it took…" Walter's frown easily sags into his body language, stick blade lolling on the floor, grip rolling in his hand.

Aman quickly shakes his head, hands raising to defend himself— or to reassure the boy. "I was just worried, kid. You've, uh… never done that before."

Still tense for a moment longer, he finally breaks it with a laugh, stepping forward to ruffle Walter's hair. "You took me by surprise. You did good. As long as you were in control, that's all that matters. And if not, it's something to work on next time. Either way, you win." He quirks his head to the side before adding, "You should get a load of your hair, though. Looks like someone took a balloon to it."

"It's what I do all th—" Walter blows a raspberry and playfully slaps Aman's hand from his hair; unfortunately, his own attempts to flatten it don't seem to work either. Not entirely. His ears red and cheeks puffed, his hand drops back to his side. "I already get enough about— hnn." He works into a pure mumble this time, unintelligible save for to himself.

"Anyway yeah, I did win." The redhead perks up when he repeats it. That's the important part, okay. "Do you know how to skate? Cause I can do skateboards a bit and skates a bit, Mum showed me, but she doesn't know how to play and skate. And she's always watchin' like I'm a kid." Except he is. A kid.

Aman withdraws his hands back to himself in surrender, still in good spirits. He looks across the space, taking stock of how they've left things, and then turns back to Walter. He hears the ask between the lines, to try this again. "Roller hockey's a sight harder than field hockey, if you ask me. You get to moving pretty fast when you're like that… it's warmer than ice hockey, though."

"We can try sometime, though," he reassures quickly, before the boy can get dissuaded. "Definitely want to make sure we're solid on skates before we throw sticks and pucks into the mix."

With a tip of his head, Aman decides, "I'll come clean this back up later. You know what you might want for your prize?" He settles his hand on Walter's shoulder, more weight to it than usual. There's purpose behind it.

Yeah, the learning to stay upright is probably good to do beforehand. Walter nod-nods, attentive at the idea. He looks around at the space they've occupied, snickering. "I don't think anyone's gonna really notice if you forget." More importantly—

"There's a lady at the market that makes chocolates—" Hamster wheels go buzzing, and Walter raises his browline up at Aman. "Let's get some! I bet she has Halloween ones already!"

Candy. Of course. That works. It's doable.

Aman lets out a scoff of a laugh. He knows just who the boy is talking about. "You know," he concedes. "I bet she does." His hand firms on Walter's shoulder.

A hush falls over the area as the two suddenly aren't there anymore.

There are victory sweets needing obtained.

Red Hook Market

Aman leaves his hand on Walter's shoulder a moment longer after they appear in an alley just outside the market, all the better to draw his attention as he holds up a single finger from the other hand.

"This is just a today thing, the whole zipping around left and right. All right? Any other day, you need to be careful about where and when you use your ability. It's nothing to mess around with." They truly are breaking almost all the rules here. Once he's satisfied he's said enough, he claps the boy on the shoulder.

"Now c'mon. Let's catch the shop before it closes for the afternoon."

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