Summer's having the time of her life, except for the confusing or draining parts, which is all of them. Take going to school. Aria had insisted. She shot back a lighthearted jab at being bossed to school, and got treated like she'd been seriously sassing. There'd been an apology, but Aria was still clearly grumpy. Well, I'll show her the drone today, she'll think that's cool. Life is falling into a familiar pattern. When Pneuma came about, she and Leo had spent time being close to each other, shutting out the world, solving his problems and hers through togetherness. Then the breakup, with Pneuma's departure and return. The rebuild into a new body. Her time forging an unbreakable friendship with Leo. Helping him understand a girl's feelings, helping herself learn them by experience. This time around, the boy is Jason instead of Leo. The two didn't start out in love (and Summer privately still wonders how much of Jason's confession was "I need someone " rather than "I love you "). But still, it hit so many of the same beats. The resurrection from a machine. The night-time talks. The learning experiences. The inevitable, necessary separation. Summer feels like she knows what'll come next. She will make progress in her personal life, somehow. Jason will figure out his love life. The two will become a pair of trusting, dependable friends-- The next part, the part where Leo and Aria got together, doesn't really work in this scenario. The uncertainty, the feeling of this is where this story ends , makes her uncomfortable. So she skips thinking about it around that point. During assembly, she sees Jason, and sees he sees her. Hi, Jason! Good luck! I'll be here cheering for you! That's what she wants to say, but she's not sure the smile conveys it all. Well, hopefully. Leo technically took Aria's first kiss, and Jason took hers. It's a goofy convention, but the girls have seen enough anime to think of it as a thing. Seeing Jason look nervous and awkward in response to the wave awakens similar feelings in herself - basic empathy at work - and those feelings hunt down a memory. What they come up with is that one, of course . Summer squirms a little in her seat, and tries to pay closer attention to the assembly. The presentation is actually kind of interesting. There's a whole strain of idealistic Robin Hood-ism in superheroics, the idea of doing your part to help the needy, the idea of "the innocent" or "the civilians", heroes sacrificing to save a child, that sort of outlaw altruism. Yet the kids of those heroes, and some teen heroes, are going to this high-class school with rich kids and high-culture snobs and stuff. Are they really going to learn that ideal here? Or does it happen in spite of attending places like Gardner? It's something Summer wants to figure out. Lunch comes around. A Gardner girl approaches, clearly - clearly , we're not just projecting this time, sis - trying to put the moves on Leo. Summer doesn't even need to coordinate with Aria. She feels the same thing, and puts out the same vibe. The challenger backs off immediately, and both girls roll their eyes and share a brief knowing grin with each other. Another one bites the dust. Part of her mind, the part that's intent on helping Jason through his romantic woes, starts projecting ahead, anticipating problems from similar rivals. The more rational part of her mind points out that Jason has been attending this school longer than she has, and hasn't needed her protection during all that time. Maybe his thickness is working to his advantage here. ---- She's still thinking about it during Consumer Science. There he is again - she waves again - he looks like someone shot him through the lungs. She spares a brief, worried glance at her own hand. Am I waving wrong? Is he able to see me? Doubt begins to snowball. Did I do something to upset him? Was the note a bad way to say goodbye? I thought if I left without talking to him, it'd be easier on him, he wouldn't have second thoughts about pursuing Alycia, it'd be a nice clean break, but now-- Was the coffee bad at Blintzkrieg? No, I followed the instructions, training was very specific, the machine does most of the work anyway-- Nono and Aria are here, at least. As is Alycia, which is surprising but important. This is going to be his first big opportunity-- Jason, wait, no, where are you going? Turn around. She's here. Leo comes in. Jason is called in. Jeez, something's really worrying that guy. "And so, in particular for you, Mr. Quill, we will be kicking the semester off this week by tackling our Family Health and Sexual Education unit." That.... might be a good or bad thing for him. ---- She sees Adam for the first time at "study hall" - the AEGIS meet-and-greet, very clever. She looks searchingly at him, looking for signs of distress. The Sol situation is still fresh in her mind, and like Aria, she worries how Adam is handling it. Leo is still shutting him out - the jerk - but neither of the girls have figured out how to make an approach that won't seem patronizing. Maybe Otto. He's got a way of talking to someone that cuts to the heart of the problem. Harry Gale is barely handling his dad's situation, too, from the look and sound of it. He's here, at school, so things aren't dire. But still.. Summer knows Leo has been meaning to talk to him about his living situation with Aria, so hopefully that will be an occasion for them to have a good, meaningful conversation. When Jason appears, she makes one more try - smile, wave. He's smiling back. Okay, that's good. It's not me. He's just ... apprehensive. She wants to stand right up and pull him into a corner and tell him the truth: "Jason, Alycia's right there. Say hi. Be yourself. You don't have to gush out with your feelings right away, just be a good, standup guy. Welcome her to the school. Make her feel welcomed in the team." She watches Leo do most of the personal welcoming - she surmises - and give Jason a thumbs-up. What the hell? Let Jason do that, you dork. Summer likes all these people, she really does. And being with them is great. But god damn, sometimes it's exhausting to keep up a friendship with all of them.