The lecture went by quickly, but Gabriella hardly noticed a thing that went on, her mind was dwelling on the man with the strange Aetheric aura she had seen. It was so utterly strange she was compelled to find out more about him. The line of Aetheric energy trailing out of him had been fine and faint, perhaps that had been why no-one had noticed it before, maybe they had and that's what the professors wanted with him. He seemed willing enough so perhaps he was a willing participant in some kind of experiment. It seemed to her though, that something about him was missing and perhaps it was at the end of this tether he carried with him, wherever it may go.
“...and that concludes today's work on Aetheric Transducer interactions. Remember the assignment is due next week people.”
“Gab. Gab! You weren't listening at all were you?”
“Huh?” Gabriella blinked out of her thoughts.
Casey smiled and sung in a sing-song voice. “I think somebody has a crush.”
Gabriella blushed and then looked down at her note pad. She had idly been doodling the man from the hall, a thin line stretching from his back and off the page.
“What? No! It's not like that at all!”
Casey lit up with fun without a hint of maliciousness. It's what Gabriella loved about her.
Gabriella shook her head despairingly. I love you, you idiot.
“Yes. Really. It's just that there was something weird about his aura, something I've never seen before and, well, I guess I just want to know more about it.”
“I guess you'll be wanting to know more about what the lecture was about too, you were miles away.” Casey giggled.
They both laughed and left the lecture theatre. When they got back to Gabriella's dorm, Gabriella explained what she had seen.
“It was like a part of him was missing or misplaced somewhere, connected to him only by a thread.”
“That is weird, no wonder the professors want to study him. Say what, why don't we find lover boy--”
“Don't call him that!”
Casey grinned mischievously and ignored her. “--and find out what's going on. Maybe we could help, get some extra credit?”
“Yeah. Let's do it.”
Together they returned to the hall where Gabriella had first bumped into him. From there they asked other people if they had seen him and eventually tracked him down to a specific room of the Research Wing. The room was locked when they got there are there didn't seem to be anyone inside. Gabriella could see traces of pain and fear stained on the door, subtle shades of anger spattered in the air like rain frozen in time, faded.