It has been a month ever since the disastrous day that occurred in front of the high school. That day, where a young man, beset by so much rage, anger, and hatred, finally snapped and unleashed it all, alongside an incredible power that easily matched the defender of the city, and redefined the meaning of pain and suffering for a select few that very same day could never be truly forgotten.
Of course, everyone had their perspectives of the situation. Infuriated parents of the victims (thankfully, no one was killed) screamed that the boy was a monster and had to be dealt with to the fullest extent the law could provide. Others stated that they provoked him and forced him to awaken his hidden depths and deserved FAR more than what they received that day, considering the hell that all of them forced the boy to go through and how he purely took it in stride; snapping only when someone that he obviously cared about was hurt and he witnessed it firsthand. Either way, the arguments over the boy's fate didn't cease, that is, until someone showed security footage of the incident, and exposing the true colors of Vanessa Richardson in full.
Needless to say, those who witnessed the footage and seeing the true cruelty of Vanessa Richardson awakening the boy's suppressed darkness and bringing the madness full circle against her were extremely shocked. Some of the parents were in total disbelief that they had seen it. Others tried to cover their children's' sins by stating it was impossible for their children to do something so horrid to everyone in school and awaken a sleeping and very, very angry demon. Others were so enraged at this, they decried it and called it blasphemy, even though they all saw the truth looking at them in the face. Few were proud, particularly those who stood up against Vanessa, Jason and the like, especially the parents of Aeris, said girl being the first out of anyone to actually defend Leo out of pure intentions and to alleviate the horrible trauma he was reliving then and there.
The other was Maximilian Riley, the proud grandfather of Dante Riley, who risked his health and life to not only protect the two as Vanessa accosted them with a switchblade, but took the blow meant for them in his shoulder AND hacked the school's security systems to retrieve the footage of Vanessa's attack on the campus while losing 2 pints of blood. Granted, no one outside of his grandfather (outside of Aeris and her parents) knew that it was Dante who hacked the security and pulled the footage onto his flash drive, anticipating Vanessa to delete the information the second she had the chance.
But in short, one way or another, the true evil was exposed and things quickly began to change in the small time frame that happened. A letter from the courts was sent to Scott Ramsoomair's residence, showing proof of Vanessa lying to them so nothing would stop her from driving Leo to suicide or finish him off herself if the necessity arose. Scott's clearance made news all over the country and immediately casted Vanessa in a bad light as the one responsible for framing him and for causing the disaster that awakened Dark Leo and the subsequent rampage that he brought.
Speaking of such, after the flames of truth died down, the media then spoke about him, wondering on how to deal with this new predicament. Some, still denying the involvement, demanded that he be locked up in prison for causing so much devastation and chaos, not to mention the cruelty behind his attacks against those who ruthlessly tormented him during the years of hell he endured. Others stated that it should be the perpetrators who should pay for their sins. Let them pay for everything that they directly unleashed. They forced Leo into awakening his hidden power, and considering the hell he went through, everyone should've realized the hatred and sadness buried within the boy before he snapped. But it was just too convenient for Vanessa. She had ostracized him from everyone so she and everyone she truly converted to her side would torment the poor boy; not just physical but emotional torment as well, which truly showed the maliciousness and sadism of the mayor's daughter in full and grand view to everyone who once believed she was such a sweet little girl, including her father himself.
All this talk came to an end however, when the answer of Leo's fate would come in the form of the battered hero, Pantsman. He offered to take the boy under his wing and help him learn to control the gifts he has so this never would happen again. Most actually agreed with this, the guardians of those who defended Leo making up some of this factor. It was a pretty solid idea. Have him control his abilities, probably help out around the community with his abilities. Hell, maybe he could join up with Pantsman in crime-fighting and the duo could probably finally bring in the doctor to feel justice for his crimes against the city. That would be beneficial towards everyone. To Pantsman, it was a sly move. He expected everyone to agree with his plans so he could fully train Leo, not as the defender of the city, but as the godfather he was supposed to be to his godson, as he had promised to the boy's parents before their untimely deaths.
But still, a rather vocal minority resisted the idea, stating that if Leo were trained, he could decimate the entire city on a whim if someone angered him even the slightest. Some even said that since he overpowered Pantsman just a month ago, and that was barely tapping into his abilities, they feared that if Leo got stronger, he could easily take over the town and the city's defender would be powerless to stop him.
Tired of the arguments, Pantsman presented the solution publicly, saying, "Why again did he suddenly tap into those vast powers he has? Was it because of Vanessa publicly humiliating him and making him relive the traumatic incident when he saw his parents were murdered? No. It was only, and might I add instantly, after this young woman here was knocked unconscious trying to defend him that he snapped. Who does Leo hold his allegiance to? His friend. Why did he finally snap? To protect her, no matter how misguided he was in his efforts. And who was it that stopped his rampage? She did."
That was the truth, plain and simple. These facts stopped even those who were heavily against the idea, because it did explain something. Leo wasn't a monster, as countless teenagers made them believe he was. Not even the rampage he caused was enough proof of him being a monster. In the end, it was settled. Once they recovered, Leo would be tutored constantly by Pantsman to master his innate power and forge his own destiny, as long as it was in the right path of course. But Scott had no doubts as to what his godson would do. What he did dread however, was revealing the secret of his identity to him. After this, he would have no choice in the matter but to reveal who he is to him, especially since when Leo was finally freed from his dark half's grip, he saw him before slumping into unconsciousness. The worry came from how Leo would exactly take the news. Scott honestly didn't know how Leo would react to this sudden development, or the fact that, instead of trying his damnedest to overturn Vanessa's court rulings to protect his godson, he instead became a popular vigilante and essentially left Leo, the boy he promised to care and nurture in the event that something happened to his parents, to be thrown in the lion's den. "Some godfather I am..." Scott thought to himself.
He felt like, even though he defeated Dark Leo, that he failed his godson. Failed in protecting him from the harshness and cruelty that the world had to offer. He mentally swore that when they met again, things would change, and by the end of the month of June, that day would finally come. Before then, those who defended him had already been patched up nicely and freed, except for Jason York, who suffered extensive injuries for trying to face Leo head on which was a rather foolish mistake on his part. Winding up with several broken bones, definitely caused by the scant few attacks that Dark Leo pulled on him, Jason would spend nearly all of summer healing from his wounds. This filled him with wrath towards the boy, as well as complete shock. It was impossible that someone so scrawny possess such incredible power, enough to make the strongest student in school look like nothing but a rag doll. Even while lying in his casts, Jason fumed and growled and roared out of anger at the impossible odds. It just couldn't be happening. Leo Orlando Leonardo the 3rd, son of a crack whore and lazy ass drug addict, couldn't be blessed with power capable of rending the earth beneath him apart just by punching the floor. It couldn't be true. Not to Jason York that is.
But to Vanessa, her injuries went far deeper than Jason's. To those who worked on her to help heal her badly damaged body, it was a miracle that Dark Leo didn't do anything that would permanently cripple her. To many, this showed that while Dark Leo truly wanted to end her life, the lighter side held enough control to prevent hurting her too badly, and only the timely intervention of Aeris allowed him to regain control over himself. She couldn't believe the things that had happened as she was laid up in her hospital bed. Not even her father would visit, not since someone exposed the truth of her actions that day, stating that 'he was too ashamed to see her'. Everything she had worked on, trying to crush that persistent fool and undo the dark prophecy that came true, nothing but a complete failure... it just wasn't possible. She was destined for greatness while that monster was destined for destruction, and she was to be the one who broke him, not the other way around. But one thing was certain. His destiny: the destruction that he caused, pain he inflicted, completely turning into the evil being hell-bent for world collapse; it was all true. And even though this strange invert of destiny occurred, Vanessa, wrapped in her cast and comforter, resolved mentally that it would not end like this. She refused to allow Leo's destiny of death and destruction come true. She refused to allow her destiny of ruling over all be changed by someone as inferior as Leo the 3rd. While he hadn't killed anyone when the demon inside him woke up, there was still the risk of that fate coming to pass, and now with everything inverted so that now everyone is now against her, there was only one person she could speak to who knew the answers on how to rectify this problem. The one who led her on her course of destiny. Only he could fix this and set the record straight on who is the real monster and who should be revered and adored by all... The very second she would leave, Vanessa had already decided to seek him out... and with his help, change the very nature of the world itself, with her on the very foundations being worshiped like the savior she was destined to be.
Dante 'Jeice' Riley looked up into the skies on the roof of his home. After being treated of his injuries and released 3 days prior to June 24th, he contemplated his actions that day. Normally, he wouldn't even give a damn about whatever the hell was going on in the world, preferring to keep his distance from events like that. But he was questioning himself. Why would he involve himself in that incident in the first place? Why would he throw himself in the way of a goddamn switchblade? That thing hurt like hell! And most importantly... why warn everyone, especially Leo's tormentors, of the hidden genome that was finally awakening, the supposedly extinct Micro-genetics Engineered towards Augmentation of host parameters, or the lost META genome? It was a rare find to even learn of someone who has it, let alone able to utilize this power. And for someone to actually push said person beyond the brink of self-control? Whatever they awoke, they deserved to be eaten by it. It's only karmic justice. But no, he still warned everyone about the situation that was about to happen. Even more, he assisted clearing the feline's name from all sorts of horrible slander and sealed the deal by not just showing Leo snapping purely under stress, but also by exposing the true Vanessa Richardson to the whole city, if not the globe. Everyone with a decent heart truly hated her, Dante included. But not even Dante himself expected to expose her like this. And the weird thing about it? He was more concerned with saving Leo's life and reputation more than exposing Vanessa to the world. That struck a few chords in his systems. Why was he so thoroughly reminded about Tucker, even though the two had absolutely nothing in common, including the scenarios they were in? Why, even when he was asked, and noted that he shouldn't even remotely care about the situation, did he respond that he left someone on the sidelines to suffer once before while he stood helpless? Nothing made sense...
"I guess since none of this makes sense, I should talk to the ones who can make sense out of all this." He thought out loud. When Leo would awaken after his coma, Dante resolved to speak with him and try to piece together why he did those things for him in the first place and how in the exact hell did Leo even come across those miraculous abilities in the first place. Answers had to be found, and deep down in his heart, Dante wanted to befriend someone... why not try to be his friend?
For Aeris. Her injuries weren't as bad as some had made them out to be. Sure, Vanessa held her down and started viciously punching the crap out of her, but it hasn't been the first time that Aeris been in some scrapes. Hell, she would've laughed it off after throwing her off and REALLY showed Vanessa how to throw a punch. That is, if she wasn't struck in the right spot and knocked unconscious near instantly, consequentially allowing Dark Leo to do that job for her in her stead, quite literally taking that measure up to eleven when it came to showing Vanessa how to really punch someone out. Aeris was quickly released after being taken in, her only true noteworthy injury being a minor concussion and very small cuts. Nothing that wouldn't eventually heal. But what came during this time-frame was her parents finding out about this and the visit they gave her in the hospital. At first, they were thrown out of the loop concerning what happened that day, but as they drilled her with questions, she explained everything. Leo requesting he go alone that day, the public humiliation that Leo suffered later on, her standing up for him, the massive brawl that ensued, her being rendered unconscious, the last thing she saw before that, and awakening to learn that the guy she defended had suddenly gone batshit insane for revenge and attacked everyone who made him suffer, not to mention how he promptly defeated Pantsman and was ready to kill Vanessa Richardson, until Aeris herself intervened and managed to restrain Leo from doing the deed long enough for her and Pantsman to render him unconscious.
At first, they were in total disbelief. A nice boy by many standards, as she had described him as, suddenly going crazy? The whole thing sounded ludicrous. So she had no choice but to explain why he did it, and the events that led up to Dark Leo's release, including the gruesome murders of the Leonardo's and the personal hell he endured during his childhood years. Samantha Cole nearly had tears upon hearing of Leo's tragic history. Vincent Cole was shocked and cried for him, repeating that it wasn't fair. Daniel looked livid at first, then completely disgusted. He explained that he was in service and while he did fight against men fighting for their lives at some points in his life, no man or woman should EVER relish in the torture they do to victims of their actions. It always has a habit of biting them on the ass in the end.
In short, Vanessa was a monster by category of the Cole's. Leo, on the other hand, was tormented soul who has gone through WAY too much hardship than any regular person could bear. But then again, after what she told them, Leo was FAR from regular. Vincent took that particular bit of info rather surprisingly, considering the fact that having those abilities are the fevered dreams of young boys everywhere. He seemed rather disheartened when learning how they were used. Daniel just looked on in silence before assuming a pose of quiet contemplation while he thought of things. Samantha wasn't anywhere shocked or surprised. Instead, she was more concerned for Leo's well-being. And speaking of well-being, the parents were about to go off in a rant and question why the hell Scott wasn't there overlooking his godson. Aeris sadly told them why, but not before telling Vincent to leave and go visit Leo (still sleeping at the time) since she knew Vincent would NEVER keep this information a secret. After he left and the parents made sure he was gone, Aeris told them who Pantsman truly was.
Upon learning of this, Daniel immediately flew into a rage. He was yelling on how unfair it was to Leo that his guardian would just go off and be some crackpot vigilante, not even remotely caring for his godson. However, Aeris countered that he was essentially banned from even getting close to Vanessa due to the now exposed as falsified rape charge placed on the comic artist. Daniel simply said that what Scott did was unforgivable, leaving poor Leo to suffer at the hands of the others and any sane man would fight against the law to save Leo from such a horrible fate. And as much as she wanted to present a counter argument, Aeris was speechless. And in time, things started to piece together to support Daniel's perspective. Because of this, she was angry at Scott too. He should've done countless things to defend Leo... But instead chose a different path. One that held consequences that only made a massive impact to everyone else today. How stupid could one be with his decisions? Samantha wanted to help him, plain and simple. But if there was anything both parents were, it was proud at their daughter. She had truly redeemed herself of her past by protecting Leo when he desperately needed it, consequences be damned. She really stepped up, and showed it in the traditional ass-kicking manner. And Aeris? She was happy that she did step up and defend him when no one else would.
This proved that she wouldn't stand by and allow any more of these horrible things to plague anyone who didn't deserve it. Now, the only thing she could do now was wait for the day that said boy would finally awaken.
On June 24th, 201X, the boy would finally wake up.
Aeris was sitting at his bedside, while Scott (still garbed as his superhero persona) stood close to him. Doctors had informed her and the fully recuperated Pantsman that his brain activity was increasing dramatically, and that he would be awake any day now. So now here they were, awaiting the moment he would awaken. One question they both shared was if either Leo or his dark persona would emerge when he woke up. It was scary just thinking about it. After all, what would happen if Dark Leo was still in control after all of this time? Neither of them hoped that would happen, but now, they could only hope for the best as he began to stir in the hospital bed. His groans and moving him arms were clear signs that he was finally awake. Since his head was faced towards the wall away from them, they didn't know if he had opened his eyes, and if he did, which persona was in control. But he was up, that much was certain, as evidenced by his groaning.
"Leo?" Aeris said, rushing to his side.
Scott stood beside Aeris, and then added, "Wake up. It's us."
Leo was silent for a while, but eventually, he responded with, "You..."
The tone wasn't very pleasant, but Scott knew who it was directed to.
"How long did you know I was like you, Scott?" Leo asked, his back still turned to the two of them.
So Leo did clearly remember Scott at that moment. Scott's heart welled up. He knew Leo was very angry now. He knew that he needed to proceed with extreme caution. So, he started to speak, "... Le-"
He was interrupted however, when Leo shouted, "I SAID, HOW LONG DID YOU KNOW I HAD FUCKING SUPERPOWERS LIKE YOU, SCOTT RAMSOOMAIR! ANSWER ME! I KNOW MOM AND DAD TOLD YOU!"
"How did you remember?" Pantsman asked, flabbergasted.
"THAT'S NOT THE FUCKING QUESTION!" Leo yelled back, "ANSWER ME!"
Aeris was surprised. She didn't understand what was going on, but from the vagueness she could deduce, he was demanding answers to his abilities. Abilities Scott himself long knew the feline had. If this was the case, then Scott would have a lot of explaining to do in the first place. And Leo deserved answers. Especially after the hell that occurred.
Scott sighed. He anticipated this for a long time ever since his duel with Dark Leo. And so, he told him everything. About how he was born with his gifts, how his parents had them but never used them for selfish gain, hell, even use them at all... everything. Leo was silent as his godfather explained everything to him and remained that way afterward, never once turning his head. But he eventually spoke in a calm tone, saying, "... Can you come closer?"
Scott thought that Leo was ready to speak to him on a normal level. He hoped that his good side was still present as he drew close. When Leo turned his head to face him, Scott paled in horror. The red eyes were still there...
"YOU UNBELIEVABLE FUCK!", and before Scott could duly react, his godson shot up and slammed him across the face, sending him crashing into the wall behind them. Scott coughed in pain. He didn't expect that to happen, and the amount of wind Leo knocked out of him.
"ALL THE YEARS OF HELL I SUFFERED AND YOU NEVER BOTHERED TO HELP ME AT ALL, CHOOSING TO BE SOME GODDAMN HERO, AND YOU KNEW ALL THIS FUCKING TIME WHAT I WAS CAPABLE OF, NEVER TELLING ME HOW DANGEROUS I COULD BE AND WHAT I COULD DO TO PEOPLE IN A FUCKING HEARTBEAT! I'M YOUR GODDAMN GODSON, YOUR NEPHEW, AND THE ONE THING CLOSE TO FAMILY THAT YOU HAVE! AND INSTEAD OF DOING EVERY SINGLE POSSIBLE THING YOU COULD DO, LIKE AN ORDINARY LOVING PARENT, YOU CHOOSE TO BE SOME IDIOT VIGILANTE AND LEAVE MY ASS TO THE WOLVES!" Leo screamed in rage.
Leo jumped out of the hospital bed and grabbed him by the neck, anger and rage still burning in his eyes, "WHY THE HELL DIDN'T YOU TELL ME ABOUT MY POWERS!? WHY DID YOU KEEP ME IN THE DARK ABOUT THEM!? ABOUT MY MOTHER AND FATHER BOTH HAVING THEM!? WHY!?" He screamed, balling another fist and ready to strike once more.
Scott could only apologize, somewhat labored thanks to the earlier blow, "I'm sorry... I wanted to tell you, so much... I promised I would train you when you were capable of harnessing them innately instead out of spontaneous moments... then your parents were killed, and you broke down and became an emotional wreck. I thought I would start when you were six. You had every right to know then, until Vanessa managed to get that restraining order on me. I couldn't override it and when that happened, I realized that if I taught you even how to throw a single shot, you would more than likely take brutal revenge on everyone who had hurt you at that point in time, if not killed someone, especially Vanessa. I'm sorry... I really am..."
Right when the explanation came out, Leo had nearly punched him again. But then he began processing the information. Leo KNEW that Scott was very much correct in the situation. If he had learned earlier on about his powers in his life, more than likely he would've made a few people 'vanish', into the wind... Literally. As ashes.
Leo let go of Scott, absorbing the thoughts and words. And he realized... Scott wanted to train him, but the risks FAR outweighed the benefits at the time, and Vanessa's influence was just too strong to defeat. For an 18 year old, she had very strategically high genius, and only her pride led to her ultimate downfall.
Leo collapsed to his knees, allowing himself to process the information. Despite Scott seemingly abandoning him, he was right. If Scott intervened at any point in time, no doubt Leo would lose him too as his last caretaker, and he would really be alone in his life. And if that happened, no doubt he'd wind up in adoption agencies, which would later come underneath Vanessa's oppressive paws and make his life a miserable hellhole worse than his current life. It's not like Scott wanted to abandon him, it's just like he couldn't save him and had to watch Leo go through hardship and pain beyond the scope of countless others suffering in the world.
"I'm sorry, Uncle..." he whispered, fighting back the tears.
"No. I'm sorry to you, Leo...", Scott replied, before wrapping his arms around his nephew, "You NEVER deserved the hell you went through, and partially due to me, you did... If your parents were alive, they would be kicking my ass to hell for letting all of this happen... or allowing your dark side to do that for them."
"He's not coming back. Whatever you did out there, it helped me stop him in here..." Leo said as he pointed at his head.
"What a relief..." Scott thought. The last thing anyone needed was a Dark Leo event now.
"But Leo. I want to make up for my neglect..." Scott responded, "I want to train you. Teach you everything there is to know about your powers, as I promised your parents I would when you were ready. Can you allow me to amend my greatest failure and let me teach you?"
"... Sure... I could really appreciate it... Maybe when I'm done... I COULD TERRORIZE THE ENTIRE WORLD AND MAKE EVERYONE BOW AT MY FEET! THE WORLD WILL TREMBLE IN MY PRESENCE!" Leo yelled, and laughed maniacally, and the blood red eyes shimmered as he did... Needless to say, Scott and Aeris both blanched, before Leo stopped and started laughing as he pointed at the two of them, and began an entirely different laugh, "BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAH! FOOLED YA! YOU SHOULD'VE SEEN BOTH OF YOUR FACES! PRICELESS!"
There was silence in the room, aside from Leo's laughing. But after a moment, a shout echoed throughout the room, "YOU IDIOT!"
Those words made him stop laughing for a moment, before a pink fist slammed into the roof of his skull, slamming him on the floor, and another shout from Aeris, saying, "DON'T EVER SCARE US LIKE THAT AGAIN!"
"OWWW! Sheesh... even with my high endurance, you still hit people with cyborg strength..." Leo sighed, while grasping the comical bump that swelled on his skull. "You sure you don't have any powers like us?"
"No.", Aeris said, "In any case, are you okay? Your eyes... They're still red."
"Really?" Leo checked a mirror nearby and paled a little at seeing the normal emerald green now crimson red, but gave a sigh of relief when they shifted back to normal after a few seconds.
"Phew!" he said in relief, "I thought I was gonna be a red eyed monster! Glad I'm up. So, what did I miss?"
It was then they told him what happened during his month long slumber ever since the disaster now known as The Trigger Nightmare. How Vanessa was exposed for everything she did, and how someone went behind her back and revealed that she was a lying, manipulative schemer hell bent on tormenting Leo for reasons no one could understand, how the residents of Toronto learned the truth of the disaster, how some wanted Leo to pay for causing that incident, but how witnesses claimed it was Vanessa who started the nightmare and how she and her loyal goons be held responsible for the incident and pushed a boy way too far for everyone's own good, and Scott came to save his godson by stating he can train him to control himself and his powers for everyone's benefit. Seemed a little selfish on the civilian's part, but hell! It certainly would help, and even Leo himself had to agree! And now, everyone saw Leo in a brand new light, now that Vanessa's iron grip on things was finally, after many years, FUBAR. (Fouled Up Beyond All Recognition.)
"The doctor's said you were free to go after you woke up.", Scott informed, "Your clothes are over there on the counter next to your bed."
"Oh. Thanks! 'Preciate it!" Leo said before heading for the counter and grabbing his stuff. As he turned around, he accidentally tripped on a cord connected to his bedside, lost his balance and fell down. Luckily, as he did, his paw caught on something, and it helped to cushion his fall.
"Oww... That sucked..." he said, recovering, "At least this soft pillow broke my fall..."
"Uh... Leo...? That's not a pillow..." Scott stated plainly while having a surprised look on his face.
"Hey, Aeris. Is the kid... awake...!?" Daniel Cole, her father asked as he walked in the room, only to see something no father would ever want to see.
His daughter, lying on the floor, hair strewn around, a BOY, screw the fact that it was Leo, lying on top of her, and his left paw ON HER BREASTS!
If there was anything Leo picked up on, it was the sudden drop in the temperature of the room, not to mention the two sources it came from. One was the girl he accidentally fell on, and his paw was groping her chest as he subconsciously thought it was a pillow. And the second made him pale, as he gazed into the angry and cold eyes of Daniel Cole... while Scott next to him shied away little by little, not wanting to get caught up in the ensuing slaughter-fest. "You really did leave me to the wolves this time! On purpose!" Leo screamed in his head.
Both the Coles looked at him with dead eyes, before simultaneously cracking their knuckles and saying in perfect unison, "Any famous last words?"
Leo was silent for a moment before standing up again and saying, "In the words of Jan Valentine from Hellsing Ultimate... Oh fuck me..."
Dante was just outside the door to Leo's designated room. This was his chance. Tell Leo he was the one who destroyed Vanessa's reputation as a saint and wonder if he could try to be friends. As he gripped the doorknob, it slammed wide open, with Dante on the other end getting slammed into the wall behind the door, leaving spider web cracks as Leo ran out screaming for his life while two bloodthirsty animals known as Daniel and Aeris Cole ran out after him, wanting badly to spill the offender's blood for doing what he had done. And powers be dammed, they were catching up to him!
"RUN AWAY!" Leo screamed, attempting to warn everyone in the Coles' path
"GET BACK HERE, YOU PERVERTED MOTHERFUCKER!" the red and pink cats shouted, still infuriated at what Leo had done.
As the door creaked, Dante came from behind it, battered to hell before he collapsed on the floor, leaving a human sized imprint in the wall he fell from.
"Oww..." He muttered almost comically before slipping into the anesthetic known as unconsciousness.
Scott came out, shaking his head in embarrassment and noticed Dante lying on the floor, and remembered that he was the one who exposed Vanessa with his impressive computer skills. And it was no mere coincidence that he was here now, that much he could tell. Picking up the unconscious youth, he carried him along. The future had much to show, and these two would help Leo in that path... Of that, Scott was sure of.
After Leo recovered from the brutal beating the two Coles dished out, him screaming apologies all the while, it was time they finally left and went home. Dante had awoken from his earlier incident and asked if he could talk with his two fellow classmates about something. Before Leo could answer, he felt something. Someone...
"Excuse me. I need to go handle something. I'll be right back." he said as he excused himself, and headed for the hospital's garden. Where only one person was there, sitting in a wheelchair holding daisies in her paws...
Vanessa froze upon hearing someone speak her name like that, and not just someone, but the only one who owned that voice. And her heart sank when she turned around to face the man who nearly killed her a month ago.
"What are you doing here? Shouldn't you be leaving now that your life is better?" she scowled at him. Not like it will remain that way, you monster...
"Yeah... But I came here to settle something first." Leo spoke... before the eyes once again shifted into the blood red rubies Vanessa saw a month ago, and even now it filled her with absolute terror and fear.
"I don't care what you do to me from here on in, Vanessa. I know of my family and their lineage, I know who I am, and nothing you can say or do to me will ever break me or my soul ever again. But I swear on my parent's graves, if you ever decide to hurt anyone I care about, especially Aeris... I will kill you, make no mistake about it. And nothing short of the God of the man who created video games himself will stop me when that day comes. Until then, I will be your angel of humility, reminding you of your failures in making me suffer for your own amusement. And when the day comes that you don't take my promise seriously, I will become your angel of suffering."Leo stated calmly to Vanessa, but meaning every word he uttered with complete venom behind it.
Calming down, the blood red jewels shifted back the emerald green as he looked at Vanessa one last time before walking off, allowing the words to sink into her heart.
2 months later...
"Excellent. You're making great progress on your skills, Leo!" Scott beamed as he blocked another punch from his godson, now his protégé.
Leo, after starting his training, learned very fast, and now learned how to innately call on his abilities by sheer will and how to harness his strength in no time flat. He still had a while to go before flight ever came to mind. When he asked why, Scott responded, "You must learn to walk before you learn to run."
It made sense. Master the basics first. So far, he had his endurance down, and thanks to years of torment, it was at astoundingly high levels, which explained how Leo was able to match Scott so easily when that day happened... and to think, he was still a teenager at that. Imagine the capabilities he would have as an adult. As Leo trained in a large white T-shirt and black gym shorts (to be able to move to his absolute fullest without restrictive clothing holding him back), Scott took pride in what he was doing and fulfilling his end of the promise. And even his friends were astounded as they watched from a distance, calling on his abilities with a mere thought, and destroying large training boulders with little effort, while still practicing his fighting with Scott.
By friends, Leo meant his long-standing friend, Aeris Bradford Cole and their new acquaintance, Dante Riley. To the shock of everyone there, Dante claimed he had known about that type of power ever since he was a child, but never went into much detail about how he knew. He also stated he could sense people who had it, which explained how he was the first one to know when Dark Leo emerged. As to why? He didn't know. It surprised him that he could still sense people, even though the last time he did was when he was a child. And sure, the man was silent and brooding sometimes, but he was good-natured and curious to see how far Leo could go, even helping out with simplistic exercises and small teachings that stretched far into his growing talents. Not to mention the fact that he was loyal. He seemed to be on a higher level of maturity that even Aeris was impressed with, and even with his insights to things impressed even Scott and Aeris' parents.
But that was then and this is now.
"Okay... Let's call it a break for today, okay? You've been pushing yourself hard for the entire session." Scott said, as he blocked another punch from him, sensing that he was too tired to go on any further.
"Oh fine..." Leo responded as he quickly calmed down, the red eyes shifting back to green.
No one understood why his eyes would light up crimson red whenever he called on his inner strength, but he promised that Dark Leo was sealed away safely, never to come out again. But deep down, there was a sense of dread... that one day he would return. Even now, Leo felt like he would see his evil side again... Sooner than he expected.
You see, when someone like those two start to rely on their powers, it increases their many parameters, and starts allowing access to powerful attacks and flight (if they are ready for it). When not using it, they are simply as weak as the average human. No special benefits are active, save Leo's freakishly high endurance and recovery, granted the former was more or less thanks to Vanessa which was something Leo begrudgingly admitted he appreciated.
"That was amazing to watch..." Dante admitted from his spot in a nearby tree watching them.
"Yeah... It's scary when those red eyes come back, though..." Aeris responded as she sat at its base, the memory of those eyes shining in delight of the pain he caused still in the forefront of her brain.
"Don't worry. It's definitely Fuzzball behind the wheel in that fucked-up head of his." he chuckled, "Granted, I do kind of feel bad for him though..."
"Why?" Aeris said, looking up at Dante.
"Look up 'Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex' and you'll see what I mean..." he said, smirking.
Aeris didn't need to look it up however, and was able to infer as to what Dante was getting at, and said, "Okay, eww."
Dante laughed a little and said, "What? Sure he can use 'em whenever he wants at a mere thought, but still. What would happen if he accidentally called on 'em when... well, ya know. Seriously, it's like the only chick he can get with is someone like him, and Mr. Ramsoomair confirmed that the last woman like him died out nearly 20 years ago..."
"I know... It was Leo's mother." Aeris said sadly.
Even though he finally came to grips with his parent's deaths, Leo still missed them horribly, and speaking about them was a touchy subject whenever he was around or nearby.
"As things stand... those two are the last of them..." Dante sighed, "It's... almost ridiculously tragic..."
"Almost?" Aeris asked, curious about his wording.
"It's tragic on countless scales, considering the things those two have dealt with." the young man explained, "The loss of close friends and loving family, and that bitch nearly ruining what little bonds they could salvage over the years. But in the end, they're still here. Finally enjoying each other's company to the fullest while the former loner has a few people he can remotely trust. You and me, I mean..."
"That's true..." Aeris said, looking about over to Leo, who was walking over to them.
"Well, my day's done. You guys feeling hungry? I know this awesome Italian joint that's finally back in business, thanks to Dante here exposing Van for what she really is." Leo said when he got up to them.
It was no secret that even before then, many places stopped serving Leo altogether, more or less because of Vanessa using her status and position to destroy the reputation of those establishments that DARED to serve her hated enemy. But, with her exposed in being a ruthless brat trying to drive a poor kid to suicide, her power and status was now forever lost. And now, Leo could live a (somewhat) normal life. And because of that, his favorite restaurant was finally open after 5 years of closing down, and the owners (who he knew very well) were able to restart their business after proving their case after a month of Vanessa's exposure that they were framed. Now it was back in business, and Leo felt like treating his new friends to dinner.
At that, the two got up, well, Dante jumped down, and walked to him, and said, "Sounds nice."
"Sure." Aeris agreed, but mostly because she could never say no to Italian.
"That's great." Leo said with a smile, "We better get moving before it gets late. They should be opening any moment now, and the owners personally extended an invitation to me."
Dante lifted an eyebrow. "Wow, popular already? When did you get an invite to this place?" he asked.
Leo shrugged as he started walking off to his house. "8 years ago." he casually replied, while both of them simply looked at him, flabbergasted. "I'll explain when we get there."
Later on that day...
The group casually walked downtown, each of them discussing topics of their own interest. For Leo, it would be how school would start out after break and their status now. Dante countered, stating while things will be better, it won't be by much, since Vanessa had quite a few people under her leadership, regardless of how she manipulated people. Leo himself agreed to this, knowing ALL of the true lost causes when it came to her in the first place, since they, aside her of course, gave him the most vicious beatings in the past. And even then, she had a large clique of friends and allies in the first place, but her foothold has been lost, which will eventually have people leaving her side and seek redemption or just stay away from the two altogether. But things seemed to veer more to the former than the latter. After all, several people left many cards for the guy during his month long coma.
For Aeris, it was simple topics. Their likes, dislikes, etc. Better way to know the two better. Dante replied first.
"Was a loner, preferred being alone, have a messed up history, like watching Comedy Central, I think black comedy is hilarious in some cases, favorite food is Denny's Bacon Slamburger, drink is Watermelon flavored Kool-Aid, I despise sexists, racists, and homo-bashers, and the concept of a predetermined fate. There is no fate but what we make. Lastly, my IQ is 175, but I'm a slacker on so many levels and my favorite video game genre is shooter/horror. So I'm at home with games like Dead Space and recent Resident Evil games, but I'm also good at strategy and RPGs and definitely Hack and Slash, like Devil May Cry, Dynasty Warriors and Asura's Wrath, granted that was a beat-em up."
"That was... quick and to the point..." Aeris remarked, surprised with his ability for the laconic.
Leo went next.
"You both know my past, I just wanted to have friends and glad I do after God knows how long. As for my likes... Video games and making my parents proud as they watch over me, and reading when is get REALLY BORED."
"Religious much?" Dante sniped.
"Ignoring the peanut gallery..." Leo said before continuing, "Favorite food is Italian, drink is... Cherry flavored soda, I guess. I dunno, I'm just going off the top of my head here. Despite me being good in school, it's SOOOOOOO BORING, that I would rather shoot myself in the head than listen to some boring ass lectures, like how Deadpool did in his game. That was funny... I like all kinds of games, so long as they don't suck, but fighting types is my specialty though." He finished.
"Alright... I guess it's my turn, then." Aeris began.
Dante then interrupted. "Aren't you the girl who was nearly raped in an Ottawa high school locker room by the team's ex-quarterback?"
Aeris was shocked, and looked at Dante with an expression of astonishment, saying, "How did you..."
"Your face was familiar somewhere." Dante explained, "Cross-referenced your name and found you on the Ottawa news. Not to mention, remember who curb-stomped them after the guy was arrested..."
"Oh yeah! I remember!" Leo said, "Our school beat them because they lost their star quarterback because of attempted rape charges! Man, that was brutal... I remember how the school celebrated. With a piñata..."
"A piñata?" Aeris asked, raising an eyebrow at him.
"I was the piñata..." he said, looking down.
"Oh..." Aeris responded, wishing that she didn't ask. She then took a deep breath, and said, "Okay... I'll say it again, I'm-"
"LEO, YOU FUCKING ASSHOLE!" came a shout from behind them, cutting Aeris off.
The three stopped on the spot and tensed. Only one person could make such a racket and curse at him... Jason York. Said tiger was walking towards the group, a large group of his personal gang at his sides and behind him. The short version? He was here for blood and vengeance... and he was going to collect in full from the three of them right now.
However, despite the situation, Leo smiled in a playful way and said, "Hey there, Jason. Here to kick my ass? Good to see that nothing's changed between us."
"Can it, you fucking freak of nature!" Jason called back, "You're fucking dead, and I'm going to be the one that kills you! You, your whore, and that other fucker that you call a friend!"
Suddenly, Leo looked much more serious. His eyes went from green to red in a near instant, and he said, "You know, I was going to let you walk away with a warning. But insulting my friends? That's just something that I won't stand for in the slightest."
"Oh, what? You going to go evil on us again?" Jason scoffed, "Go ahead and do it. Show the world what a freak you really are. That'll win you popularity points."
Leo looked at Jason dead in the eyes, and said, "I'm not going to let him out... but I'm still going to kick your ass."
The entire group had a laugh at that, and Jason then said, "Oh sure, the wimpy whiner is going to kick my ass. You sure you want to do that? After all, it would be a shame to see you blow up an entire city block."
"I'm not going to." Leo said, "But I'm still going to kick your ass."
Jason chuckled, "Okay, now it's just getting sad. Tell you what I'll humor you. I'll give you first go. Come on, don't be shy. I'm a man of my word."
Leo sighed and said, "Okay. But I can't be held responsible for what happens next."
The gray cat then strolled up to the tiger before punching him square in the jaw. Not strong enough to shatter the bone, but just enough to dislodge it, and send him flying into a nearby alleyway. The others just stared at Leo as their leader climbed out of a garbage can. The cat then turned to them before smiling, and saying, "So... anyone else want a go at me?"
And quicker than you can say 'Fuck no!' the entire group had run away, save for Jason. He was growling at Leo as he walked past. He then, in a swift motion, realigned his jaw before saying, "Don't think I can't see through you, freak. When you hit me, I saw your eyes... red. Everyone says your some fucking big time hero, or you didn't deserve it or whatever. But let me tell you something. I expose you, and everyone will know just how much of an evil prick you are."
Dante rolled his eyes and said, "Seriously Jason, do you ever just... you know, shut up? It'll make people like you better. Then again, nobody likes you, so... yeah."
Jason looked about ready to wring Dante's neck, and in fact, he did. He didn't get far though. As soon as his paws were around his neck, Leo snapped into action. He punched the tiger in the face once more, sending him into the same alley, but this time, knocking him senseless. Leo sighed and said, "God that was annoying..." before turning back to his friends and saying, "So, you guys still up for some Italian?"
The two cheerfully nodded and said yes, once more making their way down the street and toward their destination.