“Lucas, why are you crying?”
“Hey Lucas, what’s wrong?”
“Lucas, don’t be sad,”
“You know you have people that care about your, don’t you?”
“Why do you hate us?”
“Why are you fighting?”
“Aren’t you tired of losing?”
“You’ll never be as strong as your brother,”
“You’ll never be like your father,”
“You’re a mother would be ashamed,”
“You’re nothing… but a monster,”
Lucas exhaled a breath as he continued on his path. He carried an emotionless face filled with neutrality and indifference. The look almost overshadowing the dirt and grim on his face also traces of blood on his forehead. He wears dark blue denim shorts, red and black converse, and a red stripped black hoodie. He wears the hood currently over his head as he continues down his path. He walks alone, no one around him. He didn’t know where he was going, or why he was here. He remembers scraps and pieces of his past. It was hardly anything worth remembering if he was honest with himself, and hardly worth the effort to try. He came from a place where humanity was on the path to extinction, one could argue he was the next step. The straw that broke the camel’s back, as the saying goes. He journeyed onward away from the deserted pile of dirt a few miles back. Behind him was nothing but an incredibly large pile of ash that stretched on for miles, the smoke still lingered in the air, and the destruction of what appeared to be a large forest region. Also there seemed to be a small town on the edging trails of the destruction. People were rushing over to investigate the horror no doubt.
He walked a few miles aimlessly ignoring the blazing sun that shined down on him. Ordinarily this would put him in a good mood, but he hasn’t had too many of those lately. He hardly remembers what it’s like to have a good mood anymore. He still wonders how could things have gotten so bad, how could things have gone so wrong? Was it his fault? No…at least in the beginning it wasn’t. He just wanted to be happy. Was that wrong? Was he only guaranteed a few years of happiness before total psychological torture set in? He often wondered why he hadn’t commit suicide by now. The thought of ending his life sounds sweetest when he wakes up the next day. Why does one continue living if they struggle hours upon hours to find a reason to get up and face the day? Why does one eat when hunger is the last reason they would? He doesn’t know the answer to these questions yet.
Maybe he may never know.
Lucas stopped walking abruptly. His head raised slightly from the ground in front of him to his current environment. He was surrounded by a lush forest in the middle of spring. A mountain was also nearby, with the base only a few miles away. The top of it was extremely high, no doubt from this vantage point it was touching the sky. A cool wind begins blowing complimenting the strong sunshine beautifully. How he longed for these days where living wasn’t so much a drag than usual. He raised his hands for sparks of sky blue energy to crackle around it. His eye flinched as he clenched his fist to make the static stop. Once it stopped Lucas stared at his fist carefully, but the static once again returned with renewed strength. Lucas’ breath hitched as he slowly began to panic as the sparks increased.
“Please stop…” he begged as if that would help. The sparks grew until it became an all-consuming Psionic flame surrounding his fist. The light increased until Lucas points it toward a mountain side to unleash a flash of psionic power right from his fist in the form of an orb of sky blue energy. The ball smashed into the top of the mountainside, and Lucas watched with growing horror as the mountain began to sag with the loss of supporting part of the mountain. He was glad he struck near the top instead of the bottom, but this caused a large rockslide to come barreling down. Lucas, at first, was greatly relieved but upon inspecting the base closer he sees a small house rested at the base of the mountain in the path of the rockslide. Lucas gasped as he rushed over as fast as his feet could carry him toward the home, that apparently had a herd of sheep there who were all panicking at the approaching terror but unable to get out of their pins.
Lucas saw that the rockslide was growing bigger and bigger as it continued down, the snow ball effect in plain view. He knew that everything in that yard would be crushed within an instant. The owners must’ve heard the noise as they came outside to see what was happening, and Lucas could see that it was a family of four. There’s a mom, a dad, two kids with one of them being nine years old, and the other thirteen. They stared in shock at seeing the mountain itself come tearing toward them. Lucas called for their attention, but they seemed to not be able to hear him since he was a fair distance away and the father was barking orders, and his son was trying tell him something at the same time. Lucas stopped to notice the rocks take a turn for the worst as boulders as big as the house itself began falling too.
Lucas clenched his fist for energy to build up again. “PK Love!” he yelled unleashing twin beams of sky blue energy from both hands that soared through the air slicing and destroying the rocks. Lucas was able to blast apart boulders and break up the rocks into a more manageable size. He continued this assault on the mountain until the rockslide was nothing but mere pebbles crumbling from the sky. The family stared in awe at the event, as they turned toward Lucas in shock. Lucas was trying to catch his breath after the exertion of energy and decided to settle down.
“Hey kid!” called the father. Lucas looked over to the man to see a grateful smile as he waved. “Thanks for the help!” Lucas winced at this form of thanks. If not for him, they wouldn’t have even needed saving. Lucas owed them the respect of checking on them. He approached slowly as each member eyed him cautiously. “That was some darn fancy light show you did there, amazing!” everyone except the man apparently.
“I-Is…everyone…alright?” Lucas asked while catching his breath.
The mother and wife looked everything over with a scrutinizing glance. “Yes, I believe everyone is fine,”
“Good…” Lucas muttered. Once his assessment was over he turned to leave.
“Wait!” called a small voice. Lucas turned his head to see the eight year old, a little girl with pigtails to be precise, called to him. “How’d you do that?”
Lucas looked at her for a moment thinking of some kind of way to answer that, but he settled with something simple. “I’m different,” Lucas responded and moved to walk away.
“Well whatever the case we can’t let you go off without us showing our thanks,” the father said sternly showing that his offer was not going to be turned down. Lucas looked at the man to see he seems dressed rather casually with a striped shirt, jean overalls, and work boots. His family was no different with the woman wearing jeans, a light red blouse, and running shoes. The daughter has on a small pink dress. The boy finally being dressed like his father with a yellow blue stripped short, overalls, red sneakers, and a red baseball cap tilted to the side. The males seemed to have black hair and the women blonde.
Lucas returned his attention to the head male. “I’m really appreciative of the offer but-,”
“But nothing, you saved our livelihood, the least we can do is feed you!”
“No, I can’t I-,”
“You look so thin,” the woman cut in observing Lucas. “We can’t have you walking around like that if we can help it,”
“Come on we were about to eat anyway!” the little girl agreed. Lucas flinched at all this affection being thrown his way, especially when he didn’t deserve it. He looked at the cap wearing boy for a moment noting he wasn’t being pushy with him, but he regretted it when he saw a glare. A glare that carried distaste and resentment. Lucas was familiar with that look, which made him glad to know that he was not fully received for this heinous crime.
“I can’t,” he said simply so he wouldn’t be cut off again.
“Good,” the boy finally stated while also halting any of his family members from practically forcing the boy into their house. He also continues to glare at Lucas. He takes a few steps forward then reels his fist back to let it sail straight into Lucas’s jaw knocking off his hood.
“NESS!” his mother called in clear anger at this rash action.
“Are you out of your mind boy!?” his father growled.
“We shouldn’t give this creep anything! He’s the one who caused that rockslide!” the boy accused pointing a finger at the blonde on the ground. The family halts as they stare at Lucas then Ness with unsure faces. “I saw a beam of light hit the mountain, the same light that he was shooting out!”
“Deny it or I’ll really make you pay for putting my family in danger!” The boy Ness yelled as he kicked Lucas back down while also raising a hand to show a multicolored energy building around his hand. Lucas’ eyes widened seeing that he had the same power…no…his power was calmer much more controlled.
“Is that true?” the woman finally asked.
“Yes,” Lucas stated simply as he pulled his hood over his face. However, Ness reached down to grab the blonde’s collar and slams him into the ground as he hovered over him with an angry snarl.
“You sick demented psycho! Did you think you’d just use us? Steal our sheep in the middle of the night? Rob us blind when we weren’t looking? What were you trying to do here?”
“Please…” Lucas begged.
“You almost killed us!”
“Sorry you got caught, or sorry your little scam didn’t work? How many people have you tried this on?”
“No,” Lucas shakes his head.
“In case you hadn’t noticed you’re not the only one here with that power. I can do it too,” Ness raised his hand to show a gathering of controlled PSI energy, pure psionic power. “I should blast you right now-,”
“Ness,” his mother gently began. Ness turned to her for a moment. “That’s enough,”
“He almost killed us!”
“I think he gets it,”
Ness looked back down at Lucas to see the boy is crying despite his eyes being clenched shut. He holds back the howl that would surely accompany the tears. Once Ness calms a bit he realizes that he isn’t the one shaking in anger, but it’s Lucas who is shaking. “I’m sorry…I didn’t mean too…I’m sorry…y-you don’t have to forgive me…hate me…go ahead I-I don’t mind…I’m used to it, really…you can-you can beat me up…I don’t mind…” Ness looked at the pathetic boy beneath him. He found his rage quelled seeing that the boy was weeping. He did actually feel bad for what happened. Ness stood up from the boy releasing him. Lucas continued to lie there looking into the sky. “Why can’t I just die already?” he muttered.
“Get lost,” Ness ordered. Lucas rolled over to his front then pulled his hood up. The tears never stopping as he sniveled while picking himself up.
“Wait,” called Ness’ mother. Lucas stalled without turning around. “You may’ve caused that rockslide to happen…but you came back to fix your mistake,”
“He caused it!” Ness protested.
“And he fixed it, there was no harm done,”
“We don’t know if this is a scam, people do stuff like this all the time. That’s why the people in town are so mean to each other so no one takes advantage of them,”
“He’s right…” Lucas said in a shaky voice. “I’m not good. I should be alone, I can’t be around anyone,” Lucas continued walking away at a faster pace ignoring the calls for him to stop. Lucas trudged on to the next location, wherever that may be. He walked on for a few minutes until finally he collapsed. Exhaustion was seeping into his bones, despite the vastness of his power, he was still very human and was meeting his limit. He couldn’t take another step, which meant he didn’t have the strength to use his power, which is good. His power was connected to his wellbeing, the worst shape he was in, the less chance he could use it. He figured it measured out well enough to not be an issue. He was prepared for a wild animal to come around and gobble him up especially when he heard grass crunching underfoot. He was surprised to see a sneaker step into his vision. He eyes casted upward to see Ness with a frown on his lips, and a basket in hand.
“My mother still wanted you to eat something. I still don’t think you deserve it, but at least out here you won’t put my family in any harm. In case you’re wondering why I’m bringing it to you, it’s because I don’t want you hurting them. Plus, I could beat the snot out of you if you try something with me,” Lucas didn’t doubt that Ness very well could beat him while in this sorry condition.
“Don’t…deserve it…” Lucas muttered weakly.
“I know,” Ness said with a sigh. “But you look like you hadn’t eaten in days, so maybe you did get desperate enough to pull that stupid stunt to get food. Asking would’ve been better ya know,” Ness said placing the basket next to Lucas’ face. Lucas hungrily looked at the basket, but he long learned how to resist his stomach. “Well, I’m not gonna hit you again,”
“What now the food is too good for you?” Ness threw his hands up. “Make up your mind!”
“Think about what?” Ness asked crossing his arms while narrowing his eyes.
“Dying…” This made Ness’ face fall as his arms fell to his sides. He looked at the blonde unsure if he heard right as he took a knee to his level.
“What did you say?” he questioned. Lucas said nothing in response opting to not meet gaze with the boy. “You said dying?” Ness questioned. Lucas didn’t answer which made Ness frown. “I wanted you to feel bad, but not that bad. Don’t go killing yourself to make me happy,”
“For me…not you…” Lucas corrected.
“Eat something so you can get your strength back I can hardly hear you,” Ness said reaching into the basket to pull out a sub sandwich, with celery, pepperoni, some kind of sauce, tomattos, and cheese between white bread. Ness put one end toward Lucas to take a bite, but Lucas refused the meal. Ness sighed in annoyance. “Will you just freaken eat already!?”
“Why?” Lucas questioned. Ness found this question beyond odd.
“Because, you’re hungry,” Ness answered incredulously.
“I’ve been hungry for two days, it wasn’t a good excuse then and it isn’t now. I want to know why I should eat if it means I live longer,” Lucas suddenly got a lot more clarity in his voice as some strength returned. Ness was astounded at how he did that even more so that Lucas was picking himself up to sit on his butt. “All it takes…is me to lie there for a moment…regain some strength to get going. Keep your food,”
“I just said eat!” Ness exclaimed shoving the sandwich into Lucas’ hands. “Gosh, who would want to starve themselves to death?”
“No…I eat enough to stay alive…until I can find a reason why I shouldn’t,”
“That’s so depressing. Look, I know I flew off the handle earlier but you gotta understand where I’m coming from. I may have power like you, but I wouldn’t have been strong enough to destroy all that debris at once like you did. I was scared…I just wanna know why you did it,”
“It was an accident…” Lucas said.
“An accident, what you shot in the wrong direction?”
“More like…I…I couldn’t control it,” Ness was quiet for a moment.
“You can’t control your powers?” he questioned. Lucas nods his head. “Are you serious?” Lucas again nods. Ness’ face loses its hardened structure as it collapses into one of regret. “Oh…I had no idea…I should be the one saying sorry now. Why didn’t you say that?”
“Because it didn’t matter,” Lucas responded.
“Why doesn’t it matter?”
“Your name is…Ness, right?” Ness nods.
“What’s yours?” Lucas shakes his head. “What?”
“I don’t want to burden you with my existence,”
“Dude stop that it’s really creepy,” Ness said started to get shivers. “Ya know suicide is never the answer, all this talk of killing yourself is crazy! That doesn’t stop the pain it just gives it to someone else!”
“I know, that’s why I’m alone. I die, I’ll just be a nameless kid you can forget about within a week or two,” Lucas said which made Ness frown in displeasure. “Ness, I’m not like you. You can control your powers, I saw it earlier. You have control of how much energy you release. I…I can’t…” Lucas begins to tear up. “I don’t know how to control this monstrous power…I wind up hurting people…so many people…” Lucas stared down at the sandwich in his hands. “I don’t even remember what having someone around felt like, what it felt like to be-,” Lucas stopped not wanting to delve into those feelings. “I’m not worth anything…I’m nothing…just leave me to die,”
“No, I won’t do that. Look, now that I know that the rockslide wasn’t on purpose I forgive you, so see I’m not mad anymore. So you can come back to my place and-,”
“And blow up your house,” Lucas cut in.
“I can’t control this Ness, I can’t control when it might come out, or how it might come out. It just does, and who knows what might happen. I can’t be around people, I can’t let anyone near me,”
“How long have you been by yourself?”
“Since I was nine…”
Ness’s eyes widened. “What about family?”
“Dead,” Lucas said simply.
“EVERYONE I KNOW IS DEAD!” Lucas yelled making Ness flinch. “I’m alone…just how monsters should be…”
Ness seemed to laugh, “Monster, you? Yeah right kid, I think you’re too caught up in make believe…”
“I… killed… them…” Lucas said slowly. Ness stared at Lucas. “Every…single… person…”
“It was an accident though, right?”
“You think that makes a difference?” Lucas snapped. “You think accidentally killing someone makes them less dead. I almost accidentally killed your family and you treated me like a killer…so what would be the difference wheatear it was an accident or not?” Ness was silent in response to the question. “My point exactly,”
“Well maybe if you learned to control your powers you could stop being alone, and stop causing accidents,” Ness suggested.
“…I don’t know if you can tell or not…but my powers are much vaster then yours. Your powers evolve with, you grow with you, and so it isn’t a battle for control. However, the moment my powers awoken it was a struggle. I could hardly focus it at first, there was a time I had complete control…but then…it evolved faster than I could control. It got stronger and stronger with each fight. It was becoming too much…I got scared…I was too weak…” Lucas began crying again. “I’m still scared…” Lucas began shaking again. Ness completely dropped his coldness toward the boy as full blown sympathy started to seep in. He was so far off in his first reading of this kid. How had he not notice the clearly frightened child before him, with no one around to be there for him. Ness was yelling at him like some dog, when the kid was truly sorry for what he had done. He had no intention of ill harm toward his family, toward anyone really. Ness knew good people when he saw them, this kid was broken beyond repair…but he still carried good inside…enough that warrant some effort by someone to fix him.
“What is your name?” Lucas shakes his head. “Tell me, what’s your name?” Lucas turns his head away. “Alright then,” Ness stands up to walk over to Lucas. He takes the sandwich that still rest in his hands away to sit in on top of the basket. Then he opens his arms, which catches Lucas’s attention. “Come on, you haven’t been alone long enough to not know what this is,” Lucas stared at Ness as realization dawned on him.
“Stop it…I’m going to hurt you,”
“Wanna bet?” Ness grabs Lucas’s arm then yanks him towards him roughly. Lucas only had strength to sit up and talk, so anything else was beyond him. He though Ness would beat him up until he revealed his name but instead he felt Ness’ arms gently but firmly wrap around him. Lucas froze.
Ness is giving him a hug…
“Why…?” Lucas questioned.
“You haven’t had one in a long time…and…maybe it can show you that…not everything you touch you destroy,” Ness pulled away to look at Lucas. “Listen, I’m sorry for what I said. I know you’re sorry so you don’t have to say anything. So…let’s make up and be friends,”
Monsters don’t have friends. “I can’t,”
Because monsters hurt everyone within range of them. “I’ll hurt you,”
“Then be ready to apologize,”
Monsters don’t apologize. “I-,”
“Please,” Ness said cutting in. “Stop it and let me help you. If you don’t want to hurt me, than let me help you, because it hurts me to see others in pain,” Lucas blinked at Ness. “I’m not leaving, unless you tell me your name… and eat that sandwich,”
Lucas stared for a bit longer before opening his mouth. “My name is Lucas,”
That’s when it started. Ness wouldn’t leave him alone after learning his name. Lucas refused to be around Ness’ family or to visit his home, but at the same time anytime Lucas would try to leave Ness always drags him back to that same spot. Ness never announced when he would visit so Lucas could never plan on when he should leave. At night when he thought he was asleep Ness would surprise him and sleep with him outside. Ness clearly didn’t trust Lucas as far as he could throw him. Eventually, Lucas gave up on trying leaving this spot in the forest deciding that he may as well get settled there. Ness helped him with that, setting up a camp, giving him a camping tent to sleep in, a sleeping bag, and sharing firewood with him. Lucas wished Ness would stop being so nice to him, to hate him like everyone else would. Ness refused such an ideal claiming Lucas did nothing wrong. It was easy to see that pushiness was a trait Ness’s family carried well. Ness told him how his family had wanted to see him and how they wanted to at least visit and see if he’s alright. However, Lucas was resilient. He accepted that Ness could visit only because he had powers to protect himself in the case of an incident, he’d not have another drop of blood on his hands. This had all happened in the span of about a month. During this month Lucas had eaten more, rested more, and started gaining more color in his skin tone. Summer was going to be approaching rather soon and it was going to get hot. Lucas had forgotten how it felt to take care of his body after so long of mistreating it.
Currently, Lucas is lying against a tree as he breathed evenly while under the leaves of the tree to gain shade from the sun for a bit. He always said, the moments were far from each other, but times like these make him feel above average about being alive.
“Hey Lucas,” interrupted a voice also cutting into his peace. Lucas barely had one eye opened before an arm was around his shoulders and a body scooted next to him. Lucas turned his head to see it was Ness this time out of his overalls and wearing shorts. “Nice day ain’t it?”
“Yeah I suppose…” Lucas said. Ordinarily, Lucas would fly into a panic if someone got so close to him and he reminded Ness on numerous occasions not to startle him. He hadn’t had too many incidents since he had met Ness. Ness had actually been trying to help teach him better control of his powers, which was a slow progress being that Lucas is scared of himself. But at least he can keep the power from coming out on its own now.
“Listen, dad had just come back from the town a few miles away. Get this, there was this huge explosion a month ago that took out a whole two acres of the forest with a few bits of the town! No one died thank heaven, but the scorch mark is HUGE. You wouldn’t know anything about that would ya?” Ness asked. The way he asked the question implied he knew the answer already.
“It was me…I tried to warn the people to run…I also got beat up a bit before it happened,”
“Wait, what, who was it?” Ness asked sternly which made Lucas cast his gaze to the side in embarrassment. Sometimes, Ness was far too overprotective of him, to the point he’s getting upset that some people beat him up a month ago.
“I don’t know, it’s not important, but I am glad no one died. How many got hurt?” At this question Ness was quiet. At his silence Lucas turns his gaze to Ness to see the raven head looking ahead not facing Lucas. “Ness how many got hurt?” Ness removed his arm from Lucas’s neck to gaze at him.
“No one died,”
“How. Many. Were. Hurt?” Lucas asked sternly.
“Everyone is going to be fine,”
“Being alive is not the same as living. I could’ve taken someone’s arms, their legs, paralyzed them, or any number of things. So tell me how many were hurt, how bad is it?”
“Why, so you can have more ammo, or more reasons to cut yourself off from everyone?!”
“Because it’s a prime example,”
“That was a month ago, you wouldn’t explode like that now,”
“I don’t know that,” Lucas said which made Ness flinch. “I don’t know what could happen. I’ve fallen asleep in a forest and woke up in a charred circle before,”
“You’re totally defeating the purpose of me telling you this Lucas. You didn’t kill anyone, it’ll take time but people will recover. It was an accident,”
“The forest will never be the same. There will always be that ugly scar,”
“I’m not letting you do this,” Ness stated sternly. “I’m not going to let you make yourself out to be this evil person. You’re not, not even a little. No one can feel so much sorrow from what they did on accident. Most people feel like because it was an accident that gives them the excuse to avoid responsibility. If you could do something, I know you would, which is why you’re out here. I’ve gotten a lot stronger since I met you and you’ve gotten more control. If you did lose your grip then I would be there to help you get it back or at least limit the damage. But there are still some unresolved issues mainly,” Ness poked Lucas’ forehead. “In there,” and then he poked Lucas in the chest. “And there,”
“When did you get all philosophical?” Lucas said crossing his arms.
“I’m not, but I’ve been spit balling ideas with my mom on how I’m going to help you,”
“I’m not worth this Ness,”
“Shut up, I decide if your worth it or not and I think you are. It’s my choice…something tells me with the way your powers are so chaotic…you didn’t have a lot of that in your life, a choice I mean. I don’t even know where you’re from,” Ness scooted around to face Lucas face to face while crossing his legs. “Alright, spill. I want to know everything,”
“Then you’re going to be disappointed,”
“Why won’t you tell me?”
“Because, I’ve already gotten too close, Ness I don’t want to hurt you. You keep this up, and I might do just that,”
“You won’t explode,”
“That’s not what I meant…”
“Then what-,” Ness cut himself off as his face grew stern. “Lucas, don’t, don’t do that. I’m trying to be here for you, I know some days I don’t visit but things can get really busy at home and I might not have time to-,”
“Ness, it’s nothing you’ve done. It’s just how things have played out. I really want to thank you for being my friend…I had forgotten what caring for other people felt like. You remind me of someone too, which is a nice way for things to end,”
“You’re not going to die,” Ness growled as he grabbed the scruff of Lucas’ shirt then pinned him against the tree behind him. “You’re not gonna just…treat this like nothing,”
“I tried to warn you Ness,”
suicidal, yeah, I got that part. But clearly I haven’t given you enough a
reason to live. But I can Lucas, don’t you see what I mean? You’ve gotten
control of your powers more, you don’t have to be afraid to show your feelings
anymore, and you have a friend who wants you to be happy. You are not a monster,
you’re my friend Lucas. I’m sorry for all the accidents that happened in your
past, but are you really that cold to keep hurting people?”
“I don’t want to hurt anyone anymore!” Lucas cried.
“Then don’t,” Ness said simply. “Give me one day,”
“One day for what?”
“One day to show you that you do have a place here, you don’t have to die, and we can keep being friends. Give me that chance please, for the sake of our friendship give me one day,” Ness winced as his next words come. “If I can’t convince you after that…” Lucas noticed Ness couldn’t even utter the words. Ness would never in a million years give him the go ahead to end his own life. Lucas assumed Ness would even interfere given the chance, but basically showing he will one day learn to accept the loss of a friend should it come to that. Ness looked at Lucas pleadingly hoping against hope his words meant something. Lucas admitted he couldn’t find a reason on why he should continue living, so maybe Ness might.
“Alright it’s a deal,” Lucas said in agreement. Ness’s face lit up as he was overjoyed that Lucas accepted his terms. He began to tussle Lucas hair much to Lucas’ annoyance. “I’ll do anything, as long as I’m not endangering people,” Lucas added quickly. Ness gave the words barely any attention as he informed Lucas that he would have to leave and come back for him bright and early in the morning. Ness dropped off food for Lucas like always then rushed off back to his house. Lucas watched after him as he left then sighed. He felt a tingle run through his fingers, and his eyes shot down to see sparks of sky blue energy began building. He took a deep breath as he focused on bringing the energy sparks back down. It took only a few moments but the sparks soon vanished. Lucas noted his hand was shaking so he used his other hand to force it to stop. His appetite suddenly left him as he lies on his side in the fetal position not bothering to seek comfort in his tent. He fell asleep right then and there.
Lucas opens his eyes being in the same position he fell asleep in. He however was in a different place when he awoke, a very dark, cold, and damp place. He wondered why it was so dark and why he felt this warm liquid pooling around his body. He assumed he must’ve been lying in it for a while as the liquid absorbed his body heat. However, he didn’t want to get sick while lying in the substance. He picked himself up to sit on his legs and take a better look around. Despite his different vantage point he couldn’t make out anything, not even the outlines of the cave he’s in. He stands to his feet now and cautiously puts one foot out to take his first step hearing a slight squish sound. The water splashing against his sneakers sounded comforting to hear, or any sound was comforting in this quiet dark place. He took a few more cautious steps forward until he felt his foot hit something. It moved as his feet touched it and he immediately scrambled for it. He felt around the object to realize that it’s a flashlight.
“Duster, must’ve dropped it,” he said to himself. He wondered where the others were, odd that he hadn’t heard anything, especially with Kumatora so outspoken. Lucas decided not to waste any more time and flipped the light on.
He regretted it as the moment was burned into his very psyche…
Duster lay on the ground half of his body is a crisp dark black color…he didn’t see the other half. Lucas covered his mouth feeling the bile build up, but thanks to the edges of the light he saw something on his hands. He pointed the flashlight at himself to see he’s covered in a scarlet liquid.
Blood…lots and lots of blood…
Lucas jerked around to point the light to where he was lying to see the spot was amassed in blood… from a girl…a balding man…and a dog. Lucas couldn’t hold it back anymore as he threw up the contents of his stomach right there on the ground. Seeing their bodies burnt to such a blackened degree, parts of their bodies missing, and the fact he was laying in their blood the entire time.
“Oh…my…oh dear creator…” Lucas shined the light away, for a gleam to shine back at him. Something shiny reflected the light so he couldn’t shine the beam on it directly. Lucas hopped against hope that it was something good to see. Lucas saw a metallic skeleton with a mass of human organs and skin still wrapped around it…half a face was left…but half was all that was needed for Lucas to know who it was. Lucas ran as hard as he could away from this cave trying with all his heart to ignore the splash of blood, the growing number of bodies as he traveled, and the deepening depth the blood seemed to get from his ankles to his thighs, his torso, and then his shoulders. So much blood…so many bodies it was overwhelming. He couldn’t swim out of it, it was too thick, and it dragged him down as he tried sticking his mouth over the surface. He screamed with all the might his lungs could muster before he was brought under…
The last thing he saw was a hand reaching out for him. “Lucas!” a voice, he’s heard this person’s voice. “LUCAS!”
Lucas awoke with a start as he gasped for breath. He scrambled to stand up to his feet but was grabbed by his shoulders and forced down. He struggled feverishly against the hold gasping and clawing for freedom. “Lucas, stop it’s me!” the voice called again. Lucas stopped as he gathers his wits.
“…Ness…” Lucas asked with his voice hoarse.
“Yeah, are you okay, I was coming to wake you up and I heard screaming? You also uprooted a tree or two…and you barfed,” Ness said with sincere smile. Lucas looked up at Ness and once Ness was sure Lucas was calm he released him. Lucas glanced around noticing the trees Ness mentioned splintered on the ground and his breakfast from yesterday. “Do…you always have nightmares like that?”
“Almost every night…”
“But…the times I sleep over here I never-,”
“I faked it every time you would come,” Ness looked downright appalled at this admittance of truth. “It’s no big deal!” Lucas ushered Ness.
“The way you were screaming I beg to disagree,” Ness responded, however he shakes his head. “We’re gonna circle back around to that though, but today we’re gonna have a mess of fun!” Ness grabs Lucas’s hand to pull him forward.
“Where are we going?” Lucas asked as he was practically dragged away.
“Get breakfast at my house,”
“Ness I said-,”
“You can stay in control for half an hour at least. It’ll be a quick meal, in and out promise,” Ness said as he continued pulling Lucas. Lucas had no choice in the matter as he was brought back to the house he had seen a month ago. It hadn’t changed much, if at all if he was honest. Ness leads him toward the door then opened it up held out his arm for Lucas to enter first, Ness either wanted to have a mock showing of politeness since he is a visitor, or prevent him from turning tale to run. Either way Lucas humored him.
“Why thank you kind sir,” Lucas said in a regal voice. Once Lucas entered he was met with a cozy little house. Not large, but by no means was it small either. The space was a bit compact, but it was a perfect fit for the family of four. On his right the common area it seemed judging by the furniture where it was positioned to hear a radio and view the television. On his left was what he assumed to be the kitchen where he smelled something rather wonderful was being cooked. And straight ahead of him is a long dining room table, long enough to fit three people side by side. It looked rather new, which made Lucas give it a suspicious look. Behind the table were stares that led to the second level.
“We’re here mom,” Ness informed his mother. She turned her head from what she was doing to look at Ness then smile at Lucas.
“Welcome back. Lucas, please make yourself comfortable, this meal has been long overdue,” Ness’s mom said passionately as if she were putting her very being into the meal.
“Best to stay out of her way,” Ness muttered to Lucas.
“Hi!” a little voice chirped making Lucas snap his head to the side to see the little girl of the family. “I’m Tracy, it’s nice to meet you properly Lucas,”
“Likewise,” Lucas said giving a slight bow.
“My father would be here, but he’s busy with stuff in town. Plus, taking periodic trips between here and town can be quite exhausting for him, but he sends his best as well,” Ness informed. Lucas nods as his eyes fall toward a sleeping dog in the corner of the room. Ness follows his eyes to smirk.
“Our good for nothing lazy sheep dog, King,” Ness said walking over to the dog to pet him on the head. Lucas rubbed his arm uncomfortable as he watched Ness pet the dog. The dog didn’t even stir which made Ness chuckle at the dog. “You can try waking him if ya wanna play with him, good luck on both accounts though,”
“I’m fine it’s okay,” Lucas said rather quickly with a nervous hint in his voice. Ness obviously noticed it, but said nothing.
“Let’s go to my room till breakfast is ready,”
“Ness, you said this would be quick,” Lucas said holding his arms close to his body as if giving himself a hug.
“It will I swear!” Ness exclaimed as he turned to draw an X over his heart. “Cross my heart,” Lucas shivered a bit looking at all that was around him. Ness longed learned of the little quirks Lucas puts out. Whenever he began to act like this, it means he’s being reminded of something in his past. Ness quickly comes to Lucas’s side to place a hand on his back. Lucas’ shivering stopped as he looked at Ness to receive a bright smile, as Ness guides him upstairs. Lucas didn’t notice, but Ness gave his sister and mother a thumbs up. In Ness’s room were simple things a bed, a skateboard, a closet filled with similar type clothes, a hat rack for his hat and a few others, a rug, and baseball bat with a baseball. “So here is where I spend my free time when I’m not with you,”
“I assumed you had no free time unless you’re with me,” Lucas questioned walking around the room.
“You’re not the certain of my universe ya know,” Ness responded sharply. Lucas glanced over at small telescope perched next to his window. Lucas glanced to it to see his camp was in that direction.
“If you say so,” Lucas responds.
“You should ditch the hoodie,” Ness suggested while also changing subjects. Lucas shakes his head. “Come on, I can see your face shining. Go ahead, whatever scars you have I won’t judge,”
Lucas seemed shocked to hear that, “…okay…” Lucas removed his hoodie to reveal the crimson and orange stripped shirt underneath. Ness’s eyes fell to Lucas’ arms and his eye narrowed as he winced. Lucas’ arms were burnt badly, purple from bruises, scars, and some cuts that looked like they recently healed. Ness couldn’t imagine what Lucas’s torso looked like but he didn’t push any further. “Sometimes…the power can hurt me too. I should-,”
“No, it’s fine,” Ness insisted. “I mean, no that isn’t fine, but its fine you don’t need to hide them. Ya know what they say, best friends know how messed up you are, but they still choose to be seen with you,” Lucas seemed to stare at Ness a moment. “What?”
“Nothing…just…no one ever called me their best friend…”
“Well I am a trend setter, and I’ll only be the first of many,” Ness said with a hint of hope.
“Well, I’m not surprise why you visit me so often now. For someone like you, this room seems rather boring,”
“You know me all too well my blonde comrade!” Ness laughed.
“Do you even read?” Lucas questioned looking at the small collection of books on a shelf.
“Of course I do!”
“What’s this one about?” Lucas picked up a random book off the shelf.
“A thrilling mystery novel with chase scenes, romance, and a hook that grabs on and won’t let go! I don’t know how can I bare not to read it in fact I-,” Ness pauses hearing something he has never heard before and the source coming from Lucas. He looks at the boy curiously to allow Lucas to explain.
“A gripping novel you this isn’t Ness?” Lucas questioned a hint of a laugh in his voice. Ness was surprised by this but smiled.
“Why do you say that?”
“Because your novel is a dictionary,” Lucas responds. Ness blinks confused, and then looks closer at the book Lucas is holding to see it is an Itoi Dicitionary. Ness blushes from embarrassment and Lucas, unable to hold it back, actually laughed. Lucas’s laugh didn’t last long and it wasn’t like howling laughter, but a regular laugh. It was small, but to Ness it made no difference. He hadn’t ever heard Lucas laugh in the month he had known him. Lucas also seemed to realize this occurrence as he pauses for a second unfamiliar with the fuzzy feeling in his chest.
“By the end of the day we’ll see who laughs last!” Ness proclaimed. After a few minutes the boys were called down for breakfast. Ness cups Lucas eyes as they walk down the stairs.
“This is so unnecessary, I might trip,”
“Then don’t rush,” Ness instructed. Once on the bottom floor Ness removed his hands to let Lucas see the breakfast feast before him. Pancakes stacked high, sausage patties, bacon, freshly made biscuits, and what appeared to be a yellow fluff on the table. Lucas stared at the yellow fluff specifically, shivers went up his spine as he gulped down the lump in his throat and fought back the emotional tears that were about to come out. “Beautiful isn’t it?” Ness asked wiping away tears of joy.
“Better get it while it’s hot,” Ness’s mom said sweetly…as she was stacking up her plate.
“Just because you made it doesn’t mean you get the most of it!” Ness exclaimed hurrying to get his fix. Tracy was already eating before any of them. Lucas stared for a moment before a plate was thrust in his direction. He looked to see it was Tracy who gave it to him as she smiled at him sweetly.
“My advice, show no mercy and have no remorse,” She said which made Lucas gawk at her a bit then turned to the table of food that was slowly dissolving away.
“U-uh hey…no one touches the omelet!” Lucas exclaimed hurrying over. After eating breakfast rather hungrily the four residents were happily filled with a few scraps left to spare. Lucas felt sort of bad that Ness’s father missed out on all this. Lucas felt a cold wet object poke his arm. He winced for a moment jerking his arm away before looking to see that it was Ness’s dog King awake apparently. The dog looked at him pleadingly, as if knowing Lucas’ weakness to animals. Lucas glanced at the other occupants then without them seeing he slipped a sausage patty to the dog who hungrily gobbled it up. Lucas smiles as he gently strokes the dog’s head. He was shivering a bit, but the contact with the dog helped eased him a bit.
Suddenly there was a knock at the door. “Wow perfect timing,” Ness remarked hopping out his seat. Ness walked over to the door to open it and Lucas blinked in astonishment. Lucas swore Ness may’ve just opened a portal to a parallel dimension as he sees a boy that looks exactly like Ness. The difference, his cap’s brim is backwards, his hair more untamed then Ness’, a bandanna around his neck, a sapphire shirt with a single yellow strip, denim shorts, red socks with blue shoes. “Hey Ninten,”
“Sup cuz,” Ninten said inviting himself inside pushing past Ness who gave him an unamused stare. Ninten waltz over to the table ruffling Tracy’s hair in greeting, greeting Ness’s mom warmly, snatching a few scraps to scarf them down rather gluttonously, and finally he stops next to Lucas. Lucas felt uncomfortable under Ninten’s critical stare as his eyes scanned him from head to toe. His eyes lingered on his arms, but he said nothing. “So…you’re Lucas huh?”
“Ninten, stop scaring him!” Ness demanded.
“I’m not scaring him!”
“You totally are, you know how intimidating you can be to people who aren’t used to you. Lucas is worse, he can barely breathe!” At this Lucas had just realized he was indeed holding his breath. “See!”
“Fine, geez,” Ninten said taking a few steps back. “I’m Ninten Ness’ cousin, in case you hadn’t noticed, Ness and I look alike. Though I think I’m the better looking one, but that’s a debate for another time. I’ve heard a few stories about you Lucas and I find it really interesting…cool hair by the way,”
“…Ness…w-what’s about t-to happen?” Lucas asked.
“Ninten here has powers too,” Ness explained. Lucas had suspected that giving this odd aura he felt from Ninten. “Did you let everyone know?” his question directed at Ninten.
“Yes,” he answered.
“About twenty minutes,”
“Sweet, let’s have some fun!” Ness said rushing outside. Ninten follows calmly before turning his head and waving for Lucas to follow. Ninten may look like Ness, but Lucas felt he was waay scarier. It was possibly because he was so used to seeing Ness smirking like a dolt, so to see this contrast threw him a bit. Lucas shivered…this was awfully familiar.
“So…this is what it’s like from the other perspective…” Lucas muttered to himself. The boys arrived at a spot closer to the base of the mountain where a few rocks and boulders were resting. “What are we going to do now?”
“A game that Ninten and I made up, that’ll be loads more fun with you in the mix. Basically, Ninten can’t blast stuff like you and me can. But he makes up for it in a different way,” Ness gestured for Ninten to demonstrate. Ninten sighs as he approaches a boulder four times his size. Lucas almost laughed seeing Ninten move to pick up. However, the laugh turned into a gaping look of wonder seeing Ninten lift the darn thing with barely any trouble.
“Supernatural strength, can’t blast stuff, but I smash stuff pretty good,” Ninten remarked as he sat the boulder back down.
“What is this game Ness?” Lucas asked not liking the involvement of powers.
“Shooting gallery, kinda like skeet but with our powers, we call it PSI Rock. Ninten is going to launch a bunch of rocks into the sky from small ones to little ones. Usually Ninten would try to make me miss, but now it’s between you and me. Whoever gets the most rocks wins, loser can’t be captain and must suffer the embarrassment of being last picked,”
“Captain? Last pick? I don’t know what that means,” Lucas stated.
“Ness I’m not going to play this game, I almost dropped part of a mountain on your house what if I lose control?” Lucas asked fearfully.
“Ninten and I both have powers, we won’t let you do any real damage, see, totally safe. I suggest getting your game face on blondie because I don’t take prisoners!” Ness flexed his right hand into a gun. Lucas was showing very mixed feelings about this as he was shivering. He was terrified of his powers, Ness knew that! Why would he want him to play a game with something so dangerous?
“Don’t be scared,” Ninten’s voice suddenly cut into his thoughts. Lucas looked at him to see a friendlier visage. Lucas questioned this for a moment. “It’s okay alright,” Ninten placed a hand on Lucas’ shoulder. “I know it’s scary. When my powers set in I was kinda mad I couldn’t blast stuff like Ness, and worst I couldn’t control my strength. Opening doors, pushing buttons, flipping switches, pulling things, all those simple actions became destructive or hazardous because I couldn’t control my strength. It’s really tough living in a world made of cardboard, I know trust me, but you can’t be scared to allow yourself to relax those barriers you put up. You have to cut loose sometimes, otherwise you might get paranoid about doing anything. So just have fun, give it a try at the very least,” After Ninten’s words Lucas paused as he gave a curt nod. Ninten smirked then took a position farther away. “Ness is up first, ready?”
“Pull!” Ness yelled. Ninten began chucking rocks into the air some small the size of his palm and others the size of his entire body. The smaller ones were thrown harder making them go faster so they cost the most points, the bigger rocks were slower and easier to hit. Ness fired a multicolored beam from his finger like a trained marksman zapping rock after rock. Showing off by turning to shoot and hit his mark, under his leg, and blindfolding himself with his hat. Lucas was dazzled as Ness was hitting almost every single rock.
“Time!” Ninten called.
“Yes, that was an easy 35 points, new record, tough luck Lucas,” Ness smirked at his blonde competition. Lucas knew he had neither the accuracy nor control for such precision shots.
“Cut loose…” Lucas muttered Ninten’s words.
“Ready Lucas?” Ninten asked taking position next to a healthy supply of rocks.
“Uh r-ready, I mean, pull!” At Lucas words Ninten began chucking rocks straight into the air. Since he hadn’t had a lot of practice with this as Ness he decided not try and trip him up. Lucas closed on eye to take aim as he fired a few narrow beams of psionic power. He missed almost every shot except a few big ones thrown rather slowly.
“Lucas just cut loose!” Ninten exclaimed as he threw a storm of rocks into the air. Lucas understood now as he pulled his finger back to make a fist his hand was consumed in sky blue energy.
“PK Love!” Lucas shouted sending out a blast of sky blue energy into the air. The rocks were torn apart into mere pebbles as Lucas got every single one of them. Ness gaped in awe at the display. Ninten did the same thing, and Lucas waited for a healthy supply of rocks to get up and he decimated all of them at once in a flash of sky blue light.
“Time!” Ninten called.
“Oh, done already?” Lucas questioned clearly he was having a blast.
“Yep, what’s your score?” Ninten asked. Lucas thought a moment. “The big rocks are worth two and the smaller ones are worth four,”
“Oh then in that case I got 56 points,”
“What the heck!” Ness yelled which made Ninten burst into a fit of laughter. “No, I call do-over, that wasn’t fair he cheated!”
“There wasn’t a rule that said he couldn’t blast them all at once. Besides he can’t aim like you, but you definitely can’t create a big burst like that. He played with his strengths,”
“Taken his side, we’re supposed to be blood Ninten!”
“Deals a deal, Ness, Lucas is captain while you deal the shame of being last picked,”
“What do you guys even mean by that?” Lucas asked.
“You’ll see, go get your stuff dude,” Ninten said. Ness nods glumly before trudging away which made Ninten smirk. Ninten turned to see Lucas nervously looking at him then to the ground after meeting eyes with him. “Don’t be so nervous, I’m not gonna hurt ya,” Ninten said throwing an arm around Lucas. Lucas glanced at Ninten surprised, but not so much since after all he is related to Ness. “Okay, some friends should be over here to meet us soon, ya wanna play some PSI Rock a little more before leaving?” Lucas smiled at the idea.
After a couple games Lucas managed to practically double his score. Lucas made Ninten promise not to tell Ness, the news would crush his dreams. Ninten lead Lucas toward a field where a bunch of other kids were standing around chatting about something. Lucas paused making Ninten look back at him. “What is it?”
“I can’t be around so many people. Not all of them even have powers, no I can’t, I can’t do this,”
“Yes you can,” Ninten said sternly grabbing Lucas’ shoulders. “Ness isn’t gonna be your only friend when this day is up, I suggest remembering that,” At this Lucas assumed that Ninten was aware of what this day represented for him, possibly, his last day on the living plane. Lucas sighed at Ness’ blabber mouth. Ninten recognized that sigh easily. “Of course he told me, he’s my cousin, but I didn’t tell anyone else. Forget about your powers, your past, your scars, and just remember you’re a kid,” Ninten smiled. “Now let’s play some baseball!” Lucas was brought forth to be introduced to everyone there. There’s Paula, Ana, Jeff, Loid, Poo, Teddy, Tracy joined them, along with Ninten’s sister Mimmie and Minnie, a boy named Tony, and Ness joined them shortly. Lucas was surprised with the rather warm greetings he received. No one pointed out the scars on his arms and he felt like he was no different from them. They wouldn’t know he was a monster unless he told them, and even then he doubted this crowd would even believe him.
“Alright, Captain Lucas step forward please,” Everyone seemed surprised to hear that, even Lucas, but he walked toward Ninten. Ninten pointed for Lucas to take a few steps to the side. “Alright, we’re about to play baseball, as I’m sure you guys may know already, but not for our new friend here,” Ninten addressed Lucas now. “Alright, the point of the game is simple. You score when you teams is batting, you change sides after three outs on the batting side, after you hit the ball you run to the bases, we play with five innings, and that’s about it,”
“That’s not even scratching surface!” Loid exclaimed.
“Well his team will have to help him,”
“It sounds like something I’ve played…but I’m not sure…” Lucas admitted. The others were rather confused as to where he could come from that he didn’t know what baseball was, but Poo was quick to point out that as of a few months ago he didn’t know either.
“Alright you pick people to be on your team Lucas, it’ll be kinda small, but small games are a lot of fun too,”
“Okay…I’ll take Poo,”
“Cool, Ana with me,”
“Well my sisters are pretty much a package deal, come on gals,” Mimmie and Minnie both walked to their brother’s side. This left Ness to stand all by his lonesome. “Look at him, look at him and laugh!” Ness glared at Ninten.
“Just someone pick me up!”
“I just picked, Lucas has to get you,”
“No way, I’ve gotta score to settle let me on your team,”
“Hey, that’s not fair, you two are the best players, you can’t be on the same team!” Jeff proclaimed.
“It deals with matter you all may never understand!” Ness proclaimed dramatically.
“Well if you get Hamlet over there, then we bat first,” Teddy said. Lucas agrees with the idea with a nod. After getting the captains okay, Ninten sighed as he accepted Ness.
“How should we set up the batting order?” Jeff asked.
“You first Jeff,” Lucas said thrusting the bat into Jeff’s hands.
“W-what, I stink at batting!”
“Which is why we don’t mind giving an out so early, got get em Jeff,” Teddy encouraged as he slapped Jeff on the back almost making the fall over. Jeff dragged his bat as he dragged his feet at the same time to the home plate. He turned his head to see Ness standing on the pitcher mound with Ninten as catcher.
“It would make more sense if I was pitcher. No one hits my fast ball,” Ninten called.
“Yeah, but no one fully recovers after catching it either,” Ness had a good point. Someone would need to play catcher and the force Ninten threw at could shatter someone’s hand. Plus, chasing after the ball would get annoying fast, and having something there to block the ball might cause a ricochet which puts everyone in danger. Jeff raised his bat signaling he was ready. Ness stared at Ninten as he gave signals that only the two knew. Ness nods then winds up to let fly a fast-no it was a change-up pitch. Jeff didn’t recognize this and swung far too early.
“STRIKE ONE!” Ninten yelled tossing the ball back to Ness.
“How does this game work?” Lucas wondered aloud.
“How I learned,” Poo said standing at Lucas’ side. “You hit the ball as hard as you can when batting, and when in the field you catch the ball to tag someone whenever you can. The specifics will come in later,”
“OUT!” Ninten called. Jeff dragged his feet as he sulked back to his team.
“Alright, now we gotta get someone on base, Tracy your up,” Teddy said. Tracy looked to Lucas for approval who nods. She smiles taking the bat from Jeff then skipping to home plate. “Sibling rivalry!” Teddy said getting bumped up.
“Don’t go crying to mom when I strike you out okay?” Ness stated.
“Strike me out and I’m telling everyone about ‘you-know-what’ concerning a certain ‘you-know-who’,”
Ness glanced nervously toward Paula’s direction. “You’re bluffing!” Ness proclaimed. Tracy narrowed her eyes.
“Try me,” Ness stared his sister down. Then he threw a ball, then another, another, and finally one more ball for Tracy to take her base.
“What’s she talking about?” Ninten smirked.
“Shut up, it doesn’t concern you!”
Lucas smiled at their antics. Despite just watching it was a rather fun time. “Poo will you go next?” Lucas asked. Poo bows slightly then picks the bat up from its place next to the plate then takes a batter stance.
“Poo’s up to bat guys spread out!” Ness called.
“Ness, please don’t suck right now!” Paula called from the field. His eyebrow twitches but that’s about it. He stares Poo down as Poo remains totally neutral face. Seeing his intimidating stare didn’t work here he decided to go with his fast ball special. Ness charged the ball with his powers as the ball is surrounded by a multicolor aura as he throws hard. The ball is spinning in a spiral straight down the middle. Poo’s eyes widened as he swung hard.
“STRIKE ONE!” Ninten yelled out. Poo paused then looked back to see the ball in Ninten’s mit. “Not bad Ness,”
“Finally developed a pitch that Poo can’t hit,”
“We shall see Master Ness,” Ness huffed at that response. The air was rather heavy as if two old rivals are meeting to duel. Ness throws the same pitch and again Poo misses. Ness smirks as he gets the ball back again. He waits for Poo to gather his wits, but not enough time as he’s already charging his next throw. He lets it fly faster than ever, Poo smirked though as he stuck the bat out over the plate. The bunt acted more as a reflector, as the ball bounces off and starts spiraling out into the field. Paula didn’t know how to catch the darn thing as it kept move. She huffed as she raised her hand to unleash a cold wind that blew at the ball freezing it in its tracks. Once it stopped she hurried to catch it but missed by an inch. She didn’t let that stop her though as she grabbed the ball then hurled it at third base where Ness was waiting to cover third. Ness caught the ball as Tracy skids to a stop halfway to the base. She rushed back to second barely making it after Ness almost trapped her. Poo had stopped at first completely content.
“That was close, alright my turn!” Teddy said holding the bat on his shoulder.
“No batter, no batter!” Ninten called. Teddy sent him a glare but focused on the pitch. “Teddy don’t waste our time here, those muscles are just for show if you can’t hit anything. You’re not fast enough to bunt either,”
“I’ve got a plan…” Teddy said cryptically with his shades reflecting the light to make him look important. Ninten raised an eyebrow at him. Ness readied his pitch he winds up seconds before throwing. “Paula, put your skirt down!”
“What?” Ness questioned jerking his head around as the ball flies out of his hands. The misdirection of the ball moved a little too far as the ball hit Teddy in the arm.
“Ness, you idiot!” Paula cried with her face reddening.
“Wow that was low…” Loid muttered.
“Take. Your. Base,” Ninten growled through his teeth. Teddy rose to his feet, a little dramatic mind you, and walked toward first base as everyone shifts.
“Talk about taking one for the team,” Jeff said astounded. “Alright Lucas, let’s see what you’ve got now,”
“M-My turn,” Lucas stuttered fearfully.
“You won’t have to be as desperate as Teddy,” Jeff said jabbing a thumb at him who was standing on the base as if he had made it back from a war. Tony stood next to him shaking his head. “But just do your best, have fun,” Jeff smiled. Lucas looked at him surprised at it seemed like all of Ness’ friends were able to smile like that, everyone except him. “Good luck,” Jeff said handing him the bat. Lucas takes a deep breath then exhales as he steps forward. “Ness, don’t do anything crazy this is his first time!”
“Moi? Do something crazy?” Ness questioned. “Perish the thought my high IQ friend,” Ness stared Lucas down as Lucas seemed to shrivel under his gaze.
“Remember,” Ninten muttered to Lucas. Lucas looked at Ninten out of the corner of his eyes. “Cut loose,” Lucas nods then looks forward to see Ness wind up and let fly a fast ball. Lucas swung too late to earn his first strike. Ness winded up again then let fly a curve ball, Lucas nicked it, but it went into foul ball territory. Ness caught the ball as he tossed it up and down in his hands.
“Alright Ness, one more strike!” Ana cheered.
“You got this Lucas!” Teddy cheered. Lucas tightened his grip on the bat. He was shaking a little afraid even. It wasn’t fear of hurting someone, but fear of letting them down.
“Alright Lucas, here comes the heat,” Ness informed as he gloved the ball and covered it in his multicolored energy like before. Lucas gasp as he shook even more. This moment reminds him so much of a time that was not fun in the least. Ness winds up. Lucas grips the bat as his own energy began to merge with the bat. Ness throws the ball as it turns into a spiral of colors rushing toward Lucas. The blonde focused his own powers then saw the balls movements, timing it, and then he swung.
The ball went soaring into the air reminiscent of a blazing sky blue comet as it soared into the air. Then it came crashing back down into the tree line with a loud smash. Lucas’s eyes went wide as he dropped the bat as he saw that he took out a tree. He didn’t mean it to do that, everyone is looking at him in shock. Lucas knew any moment that shock may turn to hor-
“HOMERUN!” Teddy cheered the sudden aching in his arm leaving him as he jogged to second base. Lucas was confused as he watched Tracy, Poo, and Teddy casually touch each base without a care. When they made it to home plate they looked at him expectantly.
“You gotta take your bases,” Tracy said pointing to the bases in order. Lucas trotted to the first base, then second, third, and arrived back to home plate rather confused. However, the joyous laugher of his teammates helps him realize that what happened was a good thing.
“Way to go kid!” Teddy exclaimed.
“Homerun on your first try, even I was not that good, you are quite the natural,” Poo said giving a bow.
“Toldja, just have fun. And there is nothing more fun than winning, ha in your face Ness!” Jeff exclaimed pointing at the pitcher. Lucas and his team stared agape at the usually cool and collected Jeff. Cleared his throat before continuing. “Well guys shall we continue thrashing these guys?”
“Yeah!” they agreed. Ness stared at where the ball landed then his eyes ventured toward Lucas. He smiled beside himself seeing Lucas…actually having fun, smiling even.
“He’s really powerful like you said,” Paula said stepping up behind him. “You sure this is a good idea?”
“First step to a normal life… is to abandon the idea of normalcy and find people just as weird and messed up as you are. I think we did that,” Ness smiled at Lucas again happy, almost overjoyed, to see the boy so animated. “Hey the game’s not over yet, we haven’t made it through the first inning yet, let’s play ball people!”
And they did. They played until they couldn’t possibly play anymore. Until the sunset when everyone was tired and ready to go home to rest up for another day of fun. Everyone said their good-byes for now gathering their personal items and leaving. Lucas’s team did wind up losing, but it was an awfully close game. The five innings turned into one long bottom of the six inning. Everyone was glad to meet Lucas, Ness sent Tracy home ahead of him, so Ninten took her while deciding to walk home with his sisters. He stopped short though to look at Lucas sternly, but also filled with a lot of hope.
“I’ll see you later,” Ninten said then turned before Lucas could respond. Then that left only Ness and Lucas.
“Well…that was quite a day,” Lucas admitted as exhaustion was taking over him too. He never felt this type of exhaustion before…it was different then what he had gotten used to after so long.
“And there’s one last thing,” Ness smirked as he too was tired, even his smirk looked drained, but remained upbeat. Lucas looked at him pleadingly. “This one will be easy, all you have to do is sit, come on,” Ness gestured Lucas to follow. Lucas begrudgingly did and walked toward where Ness led, which was back to Ness’ house. Lucas halted a bit slightly unsure, but Ness noticed he didn’t hesitate long. Ness grabbed a lamp out of the shed next to his house and lit it knowing it was going to get dark soon. They began scaling the mountain path climbing up while they still had just enough sunlight to see.
“You said I would be sitting, not climbing,” Lucas whined.
Ness tapped his shoe on top of Lucas’s head. “Don’t be such a baby, we’re almost at the perfect spot,” Lucas grimaced at the act but followed. Once Ness made it to a ledge he reached down to grab Lucas’ hand and pull him up too. “Maybe you should skip a few meals after all, especially if eating regularly gets you this heavy,”
“Shut up,” Lucas responded. Lucas looked out into the sky to see one of the prettiest sights he’d seen in a long time. “A sunset…”
“Yeah, one of the most beautiful things mother nature can make…” Ness said happily watching the colors extend. They see the reds, the oranges, and yellows all meshing together to create a breathtaking sight, especially from their point of view.
“So the day draws to a close,” Lucas said after a few moments of silence. “You’ve presented a rather good argument today Ness,”
“So, don’t go…stay…get to know those other guys, get to know Ninten, and get know even more people!”
“Ness, you don’t get it. I haven’t always been like this, I’ve been happy before. I had a family, friends, and a great life…” Lucas began shivering. “It was just taken away from me…and this power…this power made damn sure I could never get it back!”
“Then stop trying to get back what you had and make something new,”
“How can I make something when I keep breaking it?!” Lucas exclaimed. “You made me feel things today, things I hadn’t felt in a long time. I’m grateful for that…but all you’ve done is make the pain run deeper now. I don’t want to hurt you and I don’t want to hurt anyone else either. I just wanted to leave and my existence not be missed. I didn’t want to be like everyone else I knew, who just left and left me with all the pain, all by myself!” Lucas began crying. “I’m the only one alive from my home, I’m the only one left that can mourn…I can’t take mourning alone anymore…no one understanding this agony inside me. If I’m with everyone again…I won’t have to mourn anymore…I’d be free…”
“You’d be no better than those who left you all alone then!”
“I’m the reason I’m alone!” Lucas yelled. “I pulled the needle, I released the monster, I killed my brother, my father, my friends, and anyone else on that island!! Everyone is dead by my hands!”
Ness didn’t fully understand what Lucas just told him, but he knew understanding the why wasn’t important. “That’s even more reason to live. Not be alive, but live,” Ness said gently. Lucas tears stained eyes stared down below him, Ness wondered if he was thinking of jumping. He knew better though, Lucas wouldn’t be cruel enough to do that in front of him. “You’re the only one left, of your parent’s legacy and of the legacy of your home. If you die, everything that was your home dies with you. Do you want the home you love so much…to mean absolutely nothing in the end? Let it stay in the ashes you put it in,”
“I…I…” Lucas’s tears didn’t seem to have an off switch. “It doesn’t matter, its gone Ness!”
“You still remember it you still loved it, so that means it still lives in this world. You’ll really be killing everyone you know all over again if you go through with this idea,”
“Ness, stop it…”
“You’ll be hurting all the new friends you just made,”
“You’ll be causing pain to all those whoever cared about you all over again,”
“You’re willing to scar us, just like you scarred that forest!”
“STOP IT!” Lucas yelled as sky blue energy burst from his body. Ness was prepared for this reaction. “SHUT UP, YOU DON’T KNOW ANYTHING!”
“WELL, WHAT I DO KNOW IS YOU DON’T FEEL AN OUNCE OF REGRET IF YOU’RE WILLING TO LOSE ANOTHER BROTHER!!”
Lucas gasped hearing that. He stared at Ness to see Ness stare back at him fiercely. “I consider you my family Lucas, I consider you my brother! All that time I spent with you, all the times I took care of you when you got sick, bringing you food, cheering you up, and trying to make you see someone does care about you. THAT’S WHAT BROTHERS DO!” Lucas had a brief flashback of another boy, a ginger haired boy. “I’m giving you a choice here Lucas! Kill yourself and I swear to mighty heaven I will HATE you for all eternity!” Lucas looked like he was punched all over again. The power growing more irate around him by the second. Lucas stared at Ness then his own hands. All he could see was bloodshed he caused, but Ness…he saw something different. “If you won’t live for yourself, at least live for everyone else, live for me, live for your mom, your dad, your friends…” Ness smiles. “And live for Claus,”
The power began to die away as Lucas settled down. His eyes staring at the ground as he falls to his knees, crying. Ness moves closer as he wraps his arms around the boy as the tears never stop flowing, but the comfort felt amazing. Lucas hadn’t held someone while crying in a long time. He hadn’t cried this hard while someone held him in a long time. He hadn’t felt this loved in a while. “N-N-Ness… I’m-,”
“It’s okay, I know,” Ness said rubbing Lucas’ back. This was the secret of it all along. Lucas’s power was called PK Love for a reason. It drew power from Lucas’ heart, from the love he felt from those around. When that love was brought into question it showed when his powers became unstable. He thought no one could love a monster, and his PK Love was forever out of his control without him accepting the love of others and returning it. Both a curse and a blessing.
Suddenly an explosion went off alerting both boys as they turned to see exploding lights in the sky. Lucas gasped at the showing as Ness smirked muttering about his dad having good timing. Lucas pulled away from Ness his tears starting to finally dry out as he wiped his face. “T-Thank you…for not giving up on me…e-e-even when I did…”
“Hey, what are brothers for?” Ness responded as he began ruffling Lucas’ hair, though Lucas clearly didn’t like the act he allowed this once while giving a crooked smile that made Ness laugh in response. “My brother Lucas, your struggle is over,”
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