Chapter Three: Vocabulary
It took a while to get Aneirin set up in his new bedroom, Caleb having to go out and grab some supplies for him to be more comfortable, but by the end of it he was in place and ready for sleep. Caleb had to go back to his own dorms right afterwards, promising to be back in the morning to make sure I was alright, but by then Aneirin was comfy.
And more importantly, he was clothed.
Caleb was a big help with this, handing over some old shirts and a pair of pants he didn't want anymore off to Aneirin, and even provided him with pajama bottoms for sleep. I managed to get a hold of some blankets and such for him to sleep with, which he cuddled into the moment he felt how soft they were, then gave me a practiced 'thank you' as a reply.
Once my brother was gone for that evening, I got to work trying to get Aneirin to speak more.
Bella had been right about his speech coming to him easily. He was still a bit choppy but he could repeat words back to me without much fail. Yes, it was a bit hard to understand him, but in no time he would be able to make full conversations.
At least… I really hoped so.
As he sat in the closet, now having become his new bed, he stared down at his fingers with a wide smile. "These… are… …fing-gurs?"
I couldn't help the small chuckle at his tiny voice. "Yes, and they help you pick up things."
He seemed to understand from observing so I showed him what I meant by picking up a pencil to give him. Unsharpened, for obvious reasons.
He even smiled at this. "What… …else?"
"Well… you can use them to point. Or touch, or feel. But a lot of the time you won't notice they're there. Just work with your body and you should be alright."
The young man nodded, now looking down at his toes. "And… the-eese are also… …fing-gurs?"
Another chuckle escaped me. "No, they're toes. They're kinda like fingers but… not. They're really just there to keep you balanced."
He nodded in understanding. He really was picking things up pretty fast.
I managed to call up Bella again and she helped me out with a few things on the phone. As long as I just spoke calmly and easily around him, he should be fine. His age would catch up with him and his brain would comprehend speech much more in the near future, but he would have a lot of questions as to what was what. At this stage he was basically a toddler in a man's body.
She liked my name choice for him.
He looked down at my fingers, smiling to himself before grabbing them and bringing them up into his. He seemed happy about such little things it made me smile as well. I knew this innocence wasn't going to last though so I played along until he realised the truth that would someday take hold of him.
He seemed to notice my smile was fake, sinking in a little. "What… …wrong?"
I perked up again, my smile wider than before. "Nothing! Really! It's just… going to take some time. I'm not used to this kind of thing. You weren't really supposed to be this big, you know."
He blinked in question, looking down at himself in what looked to be worry. "Big…?"
I got a bit worried for him, making his eyes meet mine again. "It's alright. After tonight we'll find a place for you to stay."
This only made him look more worried though. "I… have to… leave?"
"Well, you can't stay here forever, Aneirin. Living in a closet isn't good for you. You're a human, albeit not a traditional one. And you need to be free."
He seemed confused now, his bright blue eyes searching my dark ones. "What do… …do… you mean?"
I cocked an eyebrow at him. "What do I mean?"
His hands dropped my own to hold on to each other. "What is 'free'?"
That had been a difficult question to answer. He may have known speech but he didn't know what every word meant. He knew the basics, which helped me greatly, but when the first question he gave me was to know what 'free' meant, I wasn't sure how to answer it. Maybe because I wasn't sure what it was myself.
But I tried my best to give him the answer he sought.
"Free means… doing what it is you want. Not what we or anyone else want you to do."
He blinked in response, eyes turning to the floor again. "What if… I… want… …to stay here?"
I let out a sigh, trying not to get upset with his hard to answer questions. "You don't want to do that, Aneirin. It's better you go out on your own and live your life."
He flinched in response to this, holding onto his chest a moment later. It worried me to see him act like this and I asked him what it was that was upsetting him.
He shuddered a bit. "I feel… weird. I'm shaking… …and my chest is tight."
Another sigh from me. "That would be fear, Aneirin. And it's okay to be afraid, though I'm sure my brother would say otherwise."
He looked up in confusion again. "Bru-ther?"
"That guy who was looking after you while I was away." I reminded him. "He's my brother. Meaning we both had the same parents. As for 'parents', before you ask, they are a set of people that either give birth to us or love and look after us in our lives. For the moment, we only have a dad – who is the male parent."
"Do I have pair-ants?"
I shook my head at him. "No, you don't. I'm afraid you weren't… created in the same way I was. I made you in an attempt to complete a project on time and ended up…"
I stopped there, not wanting him to know he was a mistake. The last thing any kid wanted to hear was that they were a mistake.
I knew this better than anyone.
He took my hand again, grabbing my attention. "You… cree-ated me? So then… you are a pair-ant?"
I immediately took my hand away, throwing up my hands at him. "No! No I am not! Just… trust me on that! You call me Celeste, or Les! Okay? I'm a friend and nothing more."
"Frend?" He responded. "What do… they do?"
I shrugged in response, leaning on my hand then. "They help you out when you need them to, hold your hand when you're scared or sad. Sometimes they're just a shoulder to cry on or an ear to vent to. If you need me… I can probably help you out. Though, don't expect much."
I could tell by the way he stared at me he only got about half of what I was saying to him. I was almost tempted to use a bit of magic on him to make this easier on me but then he might learn more than he needed to. Not that I didn't trust myself to not go overboard with the power, or that he wouldn't be able to keep himself secret, but there was a certain charm to him not knowing anything bad about the world we currently lived in.
But there was one thing I could do.
I got up from my seat on the floor, heading over to my shelf to grab a small dictionary I had on hand. My mother always said it was good to have a dictionary close if ever I needed to know the definition of a word quickly.
I handed the dictionary over to him. "Can you read?"
His blank stare told me otherwise.
I placed a hand over his head then, transferring over the information I had on reading over to him. It wasn't much, and he wouldn't be able to read harder words as easily as I could, but he would be able to look up anything he had questions on.
"There, now if you have any questions you can look them up in that dictionary."
Another blink as he looked down at the book. "Dick-shun…"
I let out another laugh. "Look it up on the letter 'D'. A hand should come out and smack you if you're on the right page."
He looked wary of this, holding the book away from him.
This only made me laugh more.
"I'm just kidding. Now have at it. Look up anything you want on there. I need to get to bed. I have an early class tomorrow."
With that I had made my way off to bed, leaving Aneirin to his research.
Oh how I would regret this.
I felt a sharp poke to my arm at four in the morning, my eyes fluttering open at the touch. For a split second I thought it had all been some kind of dream. My homunculus hadn't become a human, and my project was safe and sound.
No such luck.
Above me I saw a young man, Aneirin, looking down at me with worry in his eyes.
"Celeste?" He whispered, almost shakenly. "Do… do monsters exist?"
My brows knitted together at the question. "What?"
He pointed to the dictionary. "I read about the word monster… but, do they exist?"
I was never told how he got to the word monster, nor how he found out other words he would use later on. I had simply sighed and told him that monsters didn't exist and that he was safe where he was.
This hadn't satisfied him, however, and he made a sort of scared whine.
Another sigh from me. "Yes?"
He gripped the book tighter. "Can I… sleep beside you?"
Were this someone I'd known for years or a boyfriend I wouldn't have cared, except he wasn't and I immediately shot up in fear.
The incredulous look in my eye did nothing to deter him as he awaited my answer.
I massaged my temples, feeling the beginnings of a headache coming on. "Tell you what; you can have my bed, and I'll get up and get ready for class. Okay? We'll talk more about why you shouldn't ask me this later. I'm too tired to answer you right now."
I had gotten out of bed and headed for the shower then, leaving Aneirin to the room so I could get cleaned. Thankfully there was a lock on the bathroom door and I could get clean without him walking in to sneak a peak or ask more questions. I had thought in the beginning his questions would be easier than this, but looking back now on Bella's sinister smile I could tell she knew what kinds of things he was going to pose.
Hopefully this wouldn't drive me insane.
After exiting the shower and dressing for my class, which was another hour and a half away, I left the bathroom to see Aneirin laying back in his closet bed looking more than a little ashamed of his actions before.
I decided to ask him what it was he was doing in the closet after I said he could have the bed, and his answer hurt a little more than I would have imagined.
"You hate me, don't you?"
I jolted at this. "What? No I don't."
He handed the dictionary over to me. "Hate; to dislike intensely or passionately; feel extreme aversion for or extreme hostility toward; detest. You hate me for waking you up… don't you?"
Another sigh had escaped me and I tossed away the book. "Alright, no more dictionary for you. And I don't hate you, Aneirin. Everyone gets cranky when they're woken up."
He seemed to perk up a little. "Cranky: ill-tempered; grouchy; cross…"
I actually let out a snicker when at this. "How many words did you read?"
Aneirin thought about it, looking at his fingers. "I got to the 'M's and stopped after 'monster'."
"So, a fair amount." I deduced. "But there are other words you should know that are better than 'hate' or 'monster'. Like 'Love' or 'kindness'…"
He sat up in his bed, looking confused by those words. "But… I don't know what they feel like."
"Well, kindness is an easy one. Kindness is what my brother did for us or what Bella helped me with. They did the things they did because they were kind. As for love… …well… you'll know it when you feel it."
He nodded, putting his trust in my promise. "Okay… I believe you."
I grinned back at him, giving a pat to his shoulder. "Alright, now I have to get my homework in order for school. Think you can help me?"
The young man immediately stood up from his seat, letting out a smile.
"Would this be considered a 'kind' gesture?"
I chuckled at his words. "Yes it would. Provided nothing gets destroyed."
"Aneirin," I stopped him, still smiling, "you don't have to worry about impressing me with what you learned. Use the words you read and increase your vocabulary to the best that you can."
His head cocked in one direction, making he let out a sigh in slight frustration.
"Vocabulary: the stock of words used by or known to a particular people or group of persons."
He smiled in return. "Thank you."