Tessa knocks Mr. B’s door and looks around as he lets her in. She sees his belongings are packed, with boxes of books on the bed. She looks confused and asks him where he is going.
Archie sits on the couch in his room and pats it in invitation for Tessa to sit. “I’m going back home. I’m not cut out for this sort of thing. All this…. fighting.” He looks completely miserable. “I’ve called Niko, my, er, friend. He’s coming to get me.”
She sits down next to him. “I know, that’s why I was trying to keep an eye on you.” Tessa shakes her head. “These new kids are crazy! We never had this much trouble before. Maybe we can have them moved some place else and then you can stay. I mean I like a good fight, but I thought it was going to be against vampires, not the whole world.”
Tessa looks at him pleadingly. “I know you don’t like all the fighting, but please don’t go! I don’t know these other people. You’re the first person since my family was killed that didn’t think I was crazy.”
Her voice falters and she looks down. “Or is that why you’re leaving cause I am crazy along with everyone else here…"
Archie offers her a cookie: his favorite animal-shaped ones with smooth icing. “You are not crazy. And neither are they.”He tries a smile and jostles her shoulder trying to lighten the mood. “Well, maybe Aiden. But it’s not you. I thought I could do this, but I can’t.” He studies his shoes. “I’m sorry.”
Tessa takes the cookie and just kind of stares at it. She looks up at him with tears in her eyes, “Please don’t go. You’re the only one that I trust here. I promise I’ll protect you better! I’ll train harder with Carter, so I can keep you safe. Then you won’t need to go.”
“I’m not afraid for me. Well, sort of,” he admits sheepishly. “But these kids — you — need someone who won’t fall apart every time something goes bump in the night.” Something skitters up the wall outside and he jumps, empty teacup rattling against the saucer. “I’m much better with just books.”
“We need someone that’s good with books. Someone other than Aiden. I swear that boy is a robot, not a kid. Plus I don’t trust any of them. They can all read minds and change computer records and…and… If you leave so will I.”
Archie’s brow furrows as he thinks. “I’m not sure how your guardian would think about that, but I could look into it. I’m sure Niko would be happy to help you train.”
“Really?” Tessa looks at him, a glimmer of hope in her eyes.
“I’ll look into it. I can’t promise anything except that I’ll try.” Archie’s face is earnest. Tessa hugs him, knocking the breath from him with an ‘oof’. “Um. Why don’t you get us more tea and we can talk some more while you help me pack.” He pats Tessa’s shoulder awkwardly when she turns him loose.
“Okay. I’ll be right back, Mr. B!” Tessa leaves the room, less despondent than when she went in. However, before she can brew tea, her watcher and trainer, Carter, pulls her aside with some news.