A tall,curly-haired, handsome boy walks into a meeting room filled with pre-teens and teenagers. He radiates strength, not showing any signs of anxiety or fear. "That's him. I can't believe it's him." Whisper a group of girls, as he passes. He flashes them a blinding white smile, triggering excited blushes and squeals. He makes his way to the front, walking confidently to the platform set up by the other six that had come before him. He stepped up, turning on his microphone, inhaling slowly. The room went silent as he opened his mouth to speak. He began the story that would tell them why he became a mentor for the academy, and a well known hero:
I opened my mouth, the new recruits immediately silencing themselves. "Hey there! I'm here to present myself. Nice to meet you all. I'll be your mentor, Leonel. But please, PLEASE call me Leo. I hate Leonel. It's too professional. Or, if anyone of you want, you can call me Blaze! Spice it up a bit, y'know?" I said, the students laughing slightly. I continued. "Addie said I had to do this for all you new recruits so I guess I can tell y'all about my life. Alright then! Gather 'round rookies! Time for my "Oh so boring" story.
Now, my story began when I was eight. I was such a happy care-free boy, living with my parents, basically just being a normal kid. If you're expecting I say "But I always felt... different. Like something was dormant inside of me, just, waiting." You kids are way off. I mean, I'm predictable, but not THAT cliche. In fact, I was never alone. I had my best friend, you all know her as Addie the elder (don't tell her I said that), or sometimes as Nightshade (who, my dears is her patron). I always had my parents too, my mother (such a beautiful kind, and gentle woman she was), and my father (he was who I looked up to. Sadly, I'm not as good at inventing as he was. All of them go KA-BOOM). Like I said, I was always happy.
Then it all changed. That everything that was good, suddenly went away. It all began with terrible nightmares. They always involved me being at the center of a fire, watching everything burn. I always woke feeling like I was suffocating, and I could swear that I always caught the scent of smoke in the air afterwards. Another thing that was strange was the voice in my head. It would always be calling out, crying out to me, it was similar to the braying of a wolf. I tried to silence it, but I never could. One day before the accident, the voice in my head spoke again, but this time, it was something that I was actually able to understand. It said, "Beware the angry flower of the scorpion." And, for once, it has stopped. I didn't pay much mind to the warning my patron had given me as it didn't make much sense to eight year old me at the time.
That is... until the next day, at night I was awakened by the voice screeching the words, "WAKE UP!" and suddenly seeing tendrils of smoke entering my room from under the door. I suddenly hear my mothers screams and sobs as she rushes into my room through the door in hysterics. "Leo, mijo. ¡Te tienes que ir! You have to go, NOW!" She was breathing heavily. And then I asked, "Mami. Where's Papi?" She looked at me, a broken look in her eyes. "Your papa's gone Leo. Hurry now. We need to leave. Grab your pack and go out the window." My mother was still sobbing as she opened the window, while I ran and grabbed my pack and an image of my family. My mother helped me down slowly, giving me a chance to live. Sadly, that was the last time I would ever see her. And it was the last thing that she'd ever do for me.
As soon as I'd made it safely away from my home, awaiting my mother, a wooden support fell on my mother, the window slamming shut as I cried out for my mother. I heard sirens coming, they weren't far from my burning home. I didn't care though. My mother was in there, and I did, possibly the dumbest thing an eight year old will ever do. I dropped my bag, and began to run towards my burning home. I felt someone grab me, holding me back as I sobbed out my mother's name. And then, my home exploded. The sound was deafening, all I was able to hear were far away sounding voices, ringing in my ears, the voice of my parton trying to calm me down, and then silence. I looked to the dying flames that had killed my mother and my father. I saw a dark figure, and heard a sinister laugh. And I saw something that no one would believe. At least, not for a few more years. In the flames, there was a flicker of a giant, red scorpion.
After that day, I changed. I stopped eating, I couldn't sleep, and I stopped going outside. Every little thing would bug me, and I lost trust in most people. I was taken to a foster home because my relatives didn't want me. They believed that I was the one who caused the death of my parents, and they didn't even care that I was in front of them whenever they referred to me the devil spawn. I would cry every night at that foster home, and I wouldn't talk to anyone. I felt that I couldn't risk getting attached to another person, only to end up losing them too. However, when Addie would visit, I had to plaster a fake smile on, just to keep her from worrying. I actually believed that it worked for a while. But it didn't. I felt like I was suffocating. Burning out, disappearing. I remember this one moment, writing a will in foster care, and my foster parents came to a simple conclusion: Something was wrong with me, and I should be fixed.
So about a month after that, they tricked me into getting into the car to go visit Addie. Boy, was I such a gullible child. Surprise, surprise! I ended up at the psychiatrist, getting myself screened for anything. I hated it. Finally, that doctor told them that I had been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, and I would be prescribed some drugs to keep me sane. Oh joy. They did as they were told and got me my medicine, making sure it took it. Every. Heaven-forsaken. Day. So yeah, that was basically my life. I had to survive like that for another week, until life decided I had had enough torture in foster care that it brought me my adoptive parents. Yay.
That week, a lovely couple known, the Vincents, came into the foster care to look for, not one, but two children. Every boy and girl in the home smiled, and laughed, and interacted with them. I, being the... enthusiastic kid I was, huddled in a corner the entire time. Mrs. Vincent was the one to come up to me. "Hey kiddo. What's your name?" She asked. I looked up, hesitating slightly before managing a fake smile for her. Mama had always told me that not answering was impolite. Guess what I did next was out of force of habit. "I'm Leo! What's your name Miss?" I asked. "My name is Amanda Vincent! My husband is Carter Vincent. Hey, Leo? Might I be allowed to ask how old you are, my good sir?" She said in a fake British accent. It strangely made me laugh for the first time in the months since my parents' death. "It's really nice to meet you ma'am! And, I'm eight years old!" I said, copying her accent. She giggles slightly and shook my hand. "What a charming boy you are! You seem more like a prince that an eight year old!" She smiled. I directed an almost genuine smile at her. We spoke more that day, often making each other laugh, and learning more about each other. I almost felt like she understood me, like how Addie did, but different.
In a few days, while I sat by my usual spot at the window in the room, I heard a knock at the door, to see my foster mother standing there, practically glowing, her face beaming. "Leo, I have some very good news that I'm sure you'll be glad to hear." I sat up, not sure whether to be worried, or interested. I looked over to her, as she said, "We've found parents who are willing to adopt you. They've already filed the papers and are waiting for you at the front." My eyes widened. I wasn't sure how that was possible. I am almost sure that this was some sick joke, after all, there wasn't any way anyone would want a devil spawn as a son, right? I was handed my bag that had been packed and led to the living room. There I saw Mr. and Mrs. Vincent, and another boy being held by my foster father. I stared in shock. Mrs Vincent smiled and was the first to speak. "Hi there Leo. I' m so glad that I finally get to see you again. I chose you to be our son because of your personality, and how much of a caring person you are. Question is... Would you like to become our son?"
I was in so much shock that I stared for a while in disbelief. How could someone so perfect want to chose me, a broken mess for her son? They looked slightly anxious as they awaited my answer. I nodded, excitement making me smile. I walked up to them and stood by them. My foster father presented another boy, he seemed to be about my age, maybe a little younger. The boy was shorter than me, and so pale that his skin rivaled snow white. His hair messy and its color was an obsidian black, while his eyes were a stormy blue-grey. He bowed slightly to both Mr. and Mrs. Vincent. "I'm very honored to have been chosen as your son. I'll try not to let you down." He said. My foster father introduced me to my new brother calling him by the name of Nicholas LeBlanc (which was ironic because he was anything but blonde). I guess I have a family now.
Nico and I arrived at the house. Nico said that he knew about me, though I had never once noticed him. We talked a bit on the car ride to our new home. My instinct suddenly told me not to get too attached to avoid another tragedy. I told it to back off. I tried to convince myself to be happy. I tried to convince myself that I deserve to be happy. But I couldn't. So I shut up for the rest of the way home, immediately pulling away from Nico and my new parents. I tried to fall asleep, but I knew that once I closed my eyes, the haunting images from that day would resurface. So I stared outside. I didn't know why, but I recognized the house next to my destination. Suddenly, realization slapped me across the face. That was Addie's house. She was my neighbor. I felt myself smile slightly as Addie came outside, curiosity was painting her features. Once my new parents had parked the car, I ran out, and saw excitement immediately take over the curiosity. As cheesy as it sounds, we ran towards each other, and then hugged each other.
Happiness hit me like a tidal wave during that moment. I remembered how much I'd lost. And how much I'd earned. I guess the world isn't completely against me, no matter how likely it seemed a few hours ago. I looked up at the sky, and thought, Mami, Papi. Can you see me? I'll try my best to keep living. I'll miss you every day though. But I know that you're finally in a safe place. I was called inside by my new parents, and we lived happily for a while. Everything was peaceful, and I learned that I was never going to be as alone as I felt. Everything was perfect. That is, until I turned 16. But you all know that story. Now, we've run out of time newbies. Let's go. Addie's waiting to welcome you all to Silver Phoenix as our new recruits.
Third person POV
Leo, their mentor smiled as he finished his story with a fond smile, his thoughts drifting to his dear childhood friend as he dismissed the new recruits. As they left, a pale, raven haired girl, not much older than he was, walked in, shadow gloved hands intertwined with vines from the flower in which she controlled. She gave him a sweet smile. "So you finished your story, huh Leo? I'm so proud of you! I was worried." She said coolly. He flashed her a smirk. "My flower girl was worried? About me? I'm tougher than I was my delicate little flower." He replied smoothly. She rolled her obsidian eyes at him, failing to hide her smile. "C'mon Leo! Told you not to call me that! It makes me sound weak!" She said, a silver flower suddenly appearing in her eyes. "Well, I'd stop, but your Nightshade is showing." He teased. She smirked. "Fine! How about we just start the orientation tour before Wren and Error start one of their wars, fire boy." She said, as the two exited the room, hand in hand, smiling and laughing.