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Talking Tomorrow

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Leon followed Pan, the silence heavy. How was the other boy going to start. Was it going to be ‘I should call the police.’ or ‘What were you thinking?’. Maybe the oldie but goodie ‘If you ever do that again...’


3 hours ago, RocketLord said:

"Why exactly are you here?" 

Leon regarded Pan, his eyes flickered up to the tree. It wasn’t one he’d expected, but is wasn’t completely unfamiliar. He looked back at the boy.


3 hours ago, RocketLord said:

"What are you trying to do? Be the one that everyone will hate or watch? Do you steal and cheat because you can? Take from whoever you want, just because it is fun?"

“For fun?” He said seemingly thoughtfully. “I guess it can be at the right times.” He answered honestly. “Because I can? Sometimes.” Leon continued, answering Pan’s questions in reverse.

”Watched? Hated?” He glanced back towards the school proper. “Don’t we all want to be watched? To be acknowledged?” He looked back at Pan, almost daring him to dispute him. “And being hated only matters if you care what the other person thinks.” He added, trying to sound dismissive, but something of the fire behind his eyes changed and he looked away again.

Something about Leon shifted, like he was drawing in on himself. Tensing up like someone expecting a fight while covering a wound already inflicted. “You want to know why I’m here? Short answer: family” Pan might be able to hear the mixed emotions that stung the last word.

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"No, being hated counts a lot more than you would think. Especially in a place like this."


Pan's feet were still slightly above the ground, just an inch or so. He was difficult to read, even as he wore his emotions on his sleeve. He seemed almost conflicted about what to do.


"And how does family mean you should take things just because you can?"

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Leon regarded Pan and shook his head. “You don’t get it.” He walks past Pan and leans against the tree. “Do you have any family?” Leon asks in return. “What would you do for them? Would you lie for them? Would you fight for them? Would you steal for them? Would you do anything you could for them knowing they would do the same for you?”

He pauses a moment before speaking again. “Guess when you do something long enough it just becomes habit, or instinct.”

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"Then you turn away from that instinct when it is no longer needed. I know what it is like to miss things, to steal to survive. That is different." Pan made little effort to mask his lack of response to Leon's question.


"What does stealing a book help? What does stealing from someone that you hired for a job?"


He sighed, and shook his head.


"You have the beginnings of greatness, but we can find a better use for your instincts. You're just a thief, but I do believe that we can turn you into a proper trickster."

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Leaning back, Leon laced his fingers behind his head and looks up at the branch’s. He smirked a little. He’d heard plenty of people dodge questions.

“The book?” He shrugged as he smirked. “That was just exercise, stretching my fingers.”

Rolling his head a little to look at Pan he gives the boy a wry smile. He searched Pan’s eyed, looking for the con. Or was he really one of those goodie-to-shoes that thought they could get criminals to turn over a new leaf.

There was a lot in those eyes, tricks and secrets. But as he searched, Leon couldn’t see him lying right now. He looked away again. Honesty made him uncomfortable with anyone other then those two. He idly wonders how much they would laugh at the thought of any of them actually going straight. He’s sure he would had if Robert or Elizabeth come home saying stuff like that.

“So, what? Am I your senior project or something?” Leon asks, trying to sound bored. How to Train Your Criminal?”

Something else trailed across his thoughts. Lying in the hospital. He’d felt something when the officer watching his room had told him the detective he’d tried to save was fine. He felt it again at the Prom aftermath and a little after their trip to the boardwalk.

Leon shoved those thoughts aside as he noticed the twinges of ghost pains in his... were his arm should be. Pushing away from the tree he rubbed absently at his left arm and regarded Pan. 

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"Yes, yes, I am sure you are very good, very grand. The greatest thief ever, and so on."


Pan rolled his eyes at the mention of the exercise and Leon's little joke.


"No, you are something much more interesting than that." He moved closer, right in front of Leon, obviously invading his personal space. He almost seemed to grow, towering over Leon now. "You can be better. What do you expect will happen if you continue as you have now? Expelled from this school, at best. Hunted by your former peers. Left in a gutter. Is that the future to you want?" Everything around them seemed to shift and turn, showing the scene just as Pan described it, with Paper fleeing from his life, men and women in capes pursuing close behind.


"Is that the story you want? Or do you want to be something better?"

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Leon didn’t back away when Pan invaded his personal space. He met the other boy’s eyes, having to look up a little. They were the same height, but Pan was doing his ‘floor is lava’ bit and floating a bit off the ground. Even without that he seemed to get ‘bigger’.

Around him, in the corners of his vision, scenes played out. It caught him off guard for a moment before he realized is was one of his schoolmate’s illusions. It had shaken him, but not for the reason Pan would have thought. He had come to terms with being a criminal long ago. It was seeing himself running alone that had disturbed him. Of course, Pan had no way of knowing about his brother and sister. Leon didn’t talk about them, and he had certainly never named them.

Still, anger seeped into Leon’s tone. “You think I haven’t had dreams like before? Please, those aren’t even the ones woke me up. There are worse things then being chased. Hrmph, there worse things even then being caught.” A good portion of the anger seeps out of his voice. “I’ve been abandoned by the people that should have cared about me the most. It was on the streets found my real family.”

Leon took a deep breath and finally stepped back to lean against the tree again. He looked down at the ground debating with himself. Finally he looked up at Pan again, his mouth set in a hard line. “You wanna know why I’m here? I’m here for them.” He snapped a finger at the older boy before he could interrupt. “Not because of them, for them.” Leon shoved his hand back in his jacket. “I tried to fly solo. Didn’t let them watch my back. I got myself caught.” He closed his eyes. “I made a deal to protect them. I’m here, so they could be free.”

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Pan laughed lightly. The scenes around them shifted, showing instead iterations of an older Paper. Not one being chased by a host of heroes, one investigating in an alley, one that fought villains, ones that did all manner of good, all around them.


"You made a deal? Then live up to your end of it."


He paused briefly.


"You are not the only one that have seen both sides, have lost and found. Not the only one that had to steal to survive. But taking something you do not need just because you can? How does that fit with your story?"

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