“So you’re really gonna do it ?”
Stan closed his suitcase. He hanged his sunglasses to his collar. “Yep. It’s more than time to take care of it. He did earn it.”
The clone smiled. “It’s true nothing bad happened in the last four months.”
“Indeed. And besides, this little improvised vacation will let me do some experiences. I want to make sure I’m not wrong about Leo.”
The double was slightly shocked. Sure, he was basically talking to himself, so he knew what his thought process was, but that still was enough to make him doubt. “You don’t trust Leo, do you ? Even after all these months of sympathizing and discussing ? You saw that he didn’t use his powers for bad deeds, even after the Big Incident. So why doubt him ?”
It was the original Stan’s turn to be shocked. Being told he didn’t trust Leo was already quite hard to hear, but it felt even worse coming from his own mouth ! “Well… I do trust him, but not fully. You know he wouldn’t use his powers for evil if someone was there to spy on him…” He paused. “I want to know if Leo is indeed special or just a normal boy. I wonder if he’d do something wrong when I have my back turned.”
This perplexed the double, who rose up from the bed he sat on to walk towards Stan. He lightly touched his double’s shoulder. “And what do you intend to do if he does do something wrong ? Lift him from his powers ?”
Never had a Stan ever been such afraid of this word. The double opened his mouth to rebuke, but needed a few seconds to do so. “You… Know what that implies ! How dare you think of such a drastic solution ? Did you only think of the consequences it’d have on his life !? That’s pure madness !”
Stan tried to calm his double down. “You know I thought about it. More than once, in fact, and that’s why I’m leaving. I need to find the ideal place to make him Pure. Because if my theory is correct, if he becomes pure, then he’ll be able to use his powers at will. Without any stupid limit ! Don’t you find a small sacrifice necessary in the long-run ?And besides, it’s only a matter of time before some damn big accident pops up and makes him discover his true nature by accident. It nearly happened this week, in fact ! So I’m not going to sit here and do nothing and watch him needlessly suffer !”
The double wasn’t entirely convinced, but clearly saw what Stan meant. “I see… So you really care about the boy.” Then, after a long silence where they both stared at eachother, he said. “So… Where do you intend to go ?”
Stan’s eyes were filled with determination. “In the place most appropriate.”
Stan continued to prepare his trip in front of his double. After ten minutes of doing so, he went into the main room to have a look at the library. He knew he was doing the right thing, but he still had some Doubt in his heart. He had to check one last time if Leo deserved this trip.
The god took Leo’s book and started reading through it. He couldn’t help but smile on numerous occasions.
Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014
Leo entered his bedroom and collapsed on his bed, tired of the day’s classes. He stared at the ceiling for a solid minute. Mock exams. Those two words put together had been pronounced way too many times today by both students and teachers. The tests were about to be spread out throughout the week and even if Leo had been preparing all year, the other students’ stress was more than contagious and was eroding the boy’s self-confidence he took so much time to build up.
He had to take a breather and clear his mind. And he very knew well where to go.
He spoke out Stan’s words a fair few times. It had already been a week and a half since he last saw him and he knew a bit of company would do the god much good.
Time stopped all around him and a portal appeared. Without hesitating, the boy got up from bed and went inside, before jogging towards the god’s home.
“Hello hello !”
Stan was standing at the center of the room and smiled. “Ah Leo, long time no see !”
“Sorry for not coming earlier…” apologized the boy.
The god kindly interrupted him. “Don’t worry, I know. You’re quite busy right now. I’m must say I’m surprised you’re coming here today in fact.”
Leo faintly smiled. “Tough day. I wanted to think about something else and I knew you’d appreciate me coming without warning.”
Stan laughed. “Well I’d much say you’re quite lucky of coming today, as I was gone a few days to see a new friend of mine.”
“Oh ? Another god, you mean ?”
Stan nodded. “Yes. And you’ll probably find this funny, but he just recently became a god, so it kind of reminds me of you, in a way.”
The boy’s curiosity grew by the minute. “How so ?”
“Let’s just say his intentions are more than pure… He just lacks experience.”
“So you went to teach him a few tricks ?”
“Exactly. At least, he’s a fast learner… Even if I’ve gotten more worried ever since I talked to him about the Passage.” Stan frowned.
Leo wanted to be reassuring. “But that’s not a problem, is it ?”
“No really, no. But if he does the rite of Passage to everyone…” His voice trailed off. He jumped when he noticed the more concerned stare of his protégé. “Well, yes, no. In fact, just imagine that he made more than one people Pass at a time and those people weren’t best friends… You read comic books with lots of super-heroes fighting against one another, so you know how it’d go.”
Leo silently nodded.
“Same here. Chaos and destruction would roam his world if he were to do that.”
“Guess it would’ve been a better idea to talk about the Passage at a later date, then.”
“You’re more than right… Pah, if I go see him regularly, there’d be no reason he’d do it out of curiosity.”
Leo smiled. “S’true that everything will go well if you’re around.”
The god raised an eyebrow. “What does that mean ? Was that sarcastic ?”
Leo felt uneased. He feared Stan was the kind of person who could be easily offended. “Oh no, it was sincere ! You really look like someone who knows what he’s doing !”
Stan oozed with self-confidence. “Heh, damn right I am ! Anyway… You wanted to talk to me about something in particular ?”
Leo looked at the ceiling. “Well, not really. I just told myself it’d be cool we’d talk more to better know each other, since I guess I’m to see you regularly.”
The god curled his lips. “Myes, though it’s more about you knowing me, since I know everything about you.”
Touché. It was true that with the help of the books, the god could read about Leo’s life at will, and he guessed Stan had already done it more than once… Not counting the hundreds of thousands of times they met during his numerous deaths. “True… True.”
“What about sitting down anyway ? Better that than standing up like two pikes for all eternity !”
The boy accepted the god’s invitation and sat on the guest’s chair.
Stan summoned a jug of water and poured it in two glasses. “But let’s be clear : we’ll limit these sessions at thirty minutes. I can’t reveal anyhting in one go and I can’t let you age too much outside of your world.”
Leo raised his eyebrow. “Oh ? There’s some sort of fast ageing process going on here ?”
“What ? Ah erm. No. Manner of speech. It’s just that if you stayed here each and every odd day for too long, you’d end up dying a few years too soon by Earth’s standard.”
“Oh ok. I understand.”
Stan smiled. “So. What do you want me to talk about ? The fact I’m a god ?” He took his glass and slowly drank.
“I must say this is quite intriguing indeed.” agreed the boy.
“Who wouldn’t be intrigued ?” said the god, smiling.
Leo shrugged. Being able to question a god and remember it all was something very few could brag about. “Yeah… So I was wondering… Why did you create this universe ?”
Stan felt embarrassed. “Created ?”
Leo was more than surprised by that question. “Didn’t… You create it ?”
It was the first time Leo saw the god blush. “Erm… No. It was already there when I arrived.” Seeing the boy’s puzzled gaze, he continued. “Let’s just say I wasn’t always a god… But that’s all I can say about that today.”
“Let’s put a bit of suspense in this story. And technically, we only met for less than a few hours, so I guess I need a bit of time before dropping that sort of truth bomb. And it’s a long story too, so I guess I can’t tell you that today.”
Leo was disappointed, but understood the god’s intentions. “I see… So, if I’m not mistaken, there are other gods ?”
Stan agreed. “Oh yes ! An infinity !”
“Well, I guess so. The Multiverse is vast and ever expanding, so if there is an end to it, I can only imagine the gods who are at its edges know about them.”
“Huh…” Leo couldn’t believe he had access to such crucial information. That was unthinkable ! There were so many questions that raced through his mind he couldn’t wrap his head around even one. “But does that mean that every god is like you or…”
Stan laughed out loud. “Oh no. There are already an incredible number of copies of me that roam the Multiverse thanks to all the worlds you created… If it were only composed of copies of me, that would be terrifying ! I like to consider myself unique in that regard !”
Leo smiled before another question popped in his mind. “So it’s possibile to become a god ?”
Stan gave the boy a sly smile. “If it’s because you want to become one, I ain’t telling.”
Leo shook his hands in front of him. “Oh nononono. I don’t intend of becoming one !”
“I know, I know. I was just messing with you.”
“But to answer your question, it is possible to become one, even if I think it’s better you don’t know how. Though maybe one day if the need ever arises. Now, there’s no need. Power brings lust in and if the wrong people knew they could litterally become gods and that a boy was in the know…”
“Yeaaaah… Better not tell me, then.”
“As you say. Anyway, I think it’s high time you go home.”
Leo was startled. “What ? Already ?”
“Well yeah, already ! And besides, if I told you too much at a time, you’d forget the things you need to know for your mock exams, am I wrong ?”
The god had a point. Better to absorb these optional information gradually than having everything served in one go and forget some crucial points. Leo nodded.
“Good. In any case, if we were to see each other once a week, that would be best. Every wednesday ?”
Leo smiled. “Sure ! Though you won’t be mad at me for skipping the next two weeks ?”
Stan made a reassuring sign. “Nah, it’s okay. Exams first ! And even if they’re just mock exams, it’s best you have a clear look at what’s ahead for the real deal next June.”
Both men got up. “Now scram. You’ll be hungry too early if you don’t !”
Leo smiled, then went back home through the portal.
Saturday, January 25th, 2014
Leo slowly woke up. He had grieved his childhood the day prior and felt more than ready to embrace adult life. He was now eighteen1. For quite a long time he awaited this day as much as he dreaded it. The end of all limits and the beginning of serious responsibilities… Even though technically, that was just theoretical. For him, it’d only be a day like any other, as his parents didn’t seem that eager to see him leave the house.
In any case, he’d still be a king, today ! To me goes all the gifts, the money, the fame and… Erm… Leo shrugged. He didn’t plan anything in particular for the day. The most interesting thing planned was eating cake and that was basically it.
He rolled on his bed to grab his phone and look at his notifications.
His eyes widened for multiple reasons. Not only did he receive a lot of messages from friends and family alike on Facebook and Twitter, but it was already past ten o’clock. He’d reply to all later, as he felt it was more important for him to check on his parents.
When he arrived in the kitchen to take something to drink, he noticed both his father and his mother had a rough night. And looking at their faces, they too had just woken up. “Oh hey Leo…” Elsa seemed she was about to fall nose first in her bowl of cereal.
“Hello Mom.” he kissed her on the forehead, her cheek being occupied by a concerned hand that tried not to let her fall.
“’Ppy birday, love.”
She told it in such a tired way Leo couldn’t help but smile. He then went on to greet his father, who was making toast. Hugh too seemed tired, but not as much as his wife.
“You partied all night or… ?” asked the boy.
“Oh no. S’just your Mom who wanted to make a last minute gift and spent the whole night.” replied Hugh.
Elsa then reached at her husband’s chair and revealed a pile of paper had been sitting in his stead. “Here. Presie.”
The stack wasn’t huge, but for something that had been made in less than a night, it remained impressive. Leo didn’t take more than a glance to know it was a short story. On the first page was written the title : “The incredible adventures of Princess Peppermint, saviour of the Harmonia Kingdom and the spectacular rescue of the Cucumber Knight (because the knight saving the princess is kinda overdone, so there)”
Leo burst out in laughter reading the title. “Well well ! Seems you went all out !”
“Happy it pleses you, son. Pretty sure you’ll also like what’s inside.”
“That I don’t doubt.” Leo gave her a sly smile.
His chair finally freed, Hugh sat down. “Your presents are waiting in the living room if you ever want to tear them down now.”
“Nah, am good for now. I’m so hungry anyway.”
After a hearty breakfast, Leo went to the living room, where a small, but quite impressive pile of boxes was waiting. Underneath it all was a bigger box, of which Leo already knew the contents. “Noooo… You didn’t…”
Elsa and Hugh followed, smiling. “You’d better start off by your grand-parents presents.” said Elsa. “Not something huge, but I’m pretty sure you need it.”
“Where are they ?” asked Leo.
“At the top of the pile.” said Hugh, while swallowing his coffee.
Opening the first present, Leo found out it was a new sweater. It clearly wasn’t the best looking, but given the fabric, it’d guarantee him a warm winter.
There also was a card, he opened without waiting further. He was surprised when a small piece of paper fell from it the moment he opened it. He needn’t look at it too long to know it was a cheque. He picked it back up, unfolded it and… “Whaaaaaaat !?”
“So ? How much ?” asked Elsa.
“Five… Five hundred quid !” Leo’s hands were shaking. He was used to getting from a hundred to three maximum when combining the money he’d receive on Christmas and his birthday, but five ? Only on his bithday ? That was insane !
Hugh frowned, while Elsa whistled. “Daaaamn ! You’ll be able to get some nice stuff !”
“Or save it up.” corrected Hugh.
“Or save it up. Indeed.” said Elsa.
Leo took the time to read what was written on the card, which could be summed up with “have a nice day and behave”, which made the boy smile.
He then focused on the other presents, which were from the rest of his familly. A few notes in envelopes, a lot of new clothes and a few british gaming magazines.
Then came the last three boxes. Two DVD-box-shaped ones and the big one. He knew what the biggest one was ,so he decided to open it first. His enthusiasm vanished in a flash when he discovered it was only a cardboard box with crude drawings made without much care.
Elsa burst out with laughter, phone in hand. “If only you could see your face ! Priceless !” She had obviously filmed the whole scene. “And I’m keeping that.”
“But that’s just sadistic !” protested the boy.
Hugh couldn’t help but smile too. “We had to do it, Leo. The opportunity was just too big for us not to do it. Though I’m sure you’ll find what you thought you’d have if you peek inside the box.”
Leo gave his parents a fake stink eye, then opened the box. He beamed. “You really shouldn’t have !”
Inside was a special edition Nintendo Wii U console, complete with the latest Legend of Zelda game.
“We wanted to give it to you last Christmas, but figured it’d be better to celebrate your eighteenth birthday with a bang !” said Hugh.
“S’more symbolic.” added Elsa.
“Anyway, three more to go !”
“Three ?” Leo turned his head and saw only two boxes remaining. Like he thought, they were games that would feed his new console. More specifically Super Mario 3D World and The Wonderful 101. “Cooool !” He faced his parents and kissed them.
“So yeah, we saved the best for last ! Hon ?”
Hugh prodded a small envelope from his sleeve and gave it to his son. “Here.”
Leo opened it and saw a small piece of paper, on which was drawn a less than realistic plane. On the other side was written “Special voucher for a trip to England”. Leo’s eyes lit up.
“Yep, we’re all going there next summer !” said Hugh with his widest smile.
Leo didn’t know how to react. “Oh you really shouldn’t have !
Meh, not every day you get to be eighteen.” said Elsa, before wincing. “That was incredibly cliché…”
Friday, February 14th, 2014
Leo woke up moaning. Something told him the coming day would be a disaster. Or at the very best only very irritating. Valentine’s Day. The day to remind him how much his sentimental life had been a mess.
Every time he tried, he failed spectacularly. And it all started so well.
Two years prior, he managed to be with a very nice girl for about two months. Lise. He felt like he was on top of the world. She was really nice and everyone thought they made a great couple… Except her parents, who thought of him like an opportunistic parasite for daring being with their precious daughter. Because they were rich, while Leo and his family were much less so. That came as a shock when Lise told him her parents thought him to be after her wealth.
The relationship only lasted so long, especially when her parents decided to forbid her from being with him ever again and continue this “futile attempt”. Leo was heartbroken. Elsa was outraged. But sheer feelings couldn’t do anything more.
Leo spent the month afterwards not knowing which emotion to have. Sometimes he felt happy, only to have sadness barge in the next second for no apparent reason. Thankfully, Thomas and his parents were here to help him, so he managed to rebound and life finally went on.
The second girl he dated… Didn’t last a week. And it wasn’t pretty. They had absolutely nothing in common, despite his good initial impressions. And the third… He had views on her, but when he finally felt confident enough to show her his feelings, she just found him to be a nice guy, but not her type.
Those failures made him seriously doubt he’d ever be good at being with someone2. He even considered dating another boy for a few days. After all, his family was open-minded and he felt he wouldn’t mind it either. Even today he was open to the possibility, though in the end, he’d be with the right person and that would be that. “Come what may”, as they say.
The boy left his bed, frustrated, but not as angry as he thought he would be. And besides, the mock exams ended just two days ago, so it couldn’t be that bad !
When the tram reached Place de la Victoire, Leo felt the most absolute horror. Splattered eggs on the ground ? Flour covering most of the Place ? Students in their science class blouse ?
He totally forgot he was exactly a hundred days away from the Baccalauréat ! Today… Was Père Cent3 !
This explained why some people on the tram were wearing such extravagant clothes and were smiling the same way a serial killer was about to commit a murder. Leo knew the next few minutes were about to be painful : Place de la Victoire was left so little opportunity for cover and he looked like the perfect victim…
Leo peered at his bad and saw the sadistic student eye him as the perfect victim, as he was only wearing a beanie for protection. They were thinking about how much of a delight it’d be to ruin it.
The tram stopped and opened its doors. People with bags full of eggs rushed to the Place, while all the other students warily came out of the tram, or straight up stayed inside, fully knowing that people would still be waiting for them at the next stop. At least they’d go out in a place less occupied by the ennemy.
Leo decided to get out of the tram. He knew that if he calmly went to school by foot, it’d take him roughly ten minutes.
He tried calmly walking to look the least conspicuous possible. In vain.
Two students who were standing at the great stone gate noticed him and decided to chase him down, eggs in hand. “Here’s one !”
But their smiles quickly faded away when the eggs they threw didn’t hit their target. Even worse, their target straight up caught them in the air without breaking them ! His reflexes were frighteningly sharp ! Even more frightening was his stare. It looked kike a furious demon’s !
“So that’s how you wanna play, huh ?”
Leo threw back the eggs, making sure of hitting their torso. He knew hitting them in the head was unjust as well as dangerous and that cleaning their hair would prove to be a pain. He had to do them this favour at least.
The two students stopped, shocked by the boy’s speed. They started moving back when they saw the faked glimmer of madness in the boy’s eye and felt it’d be a safer bet to attack someone weaker.
Satisfyied, Leo continued on his merry way, making the third student who thought a good idea of attacking him know a similar fate.
Leo’s time-manipulating power coupled with the armour proved to be more than useful. And with his naturally fast reflexes, it was easy to fool the others into making them believe he wasn’t making the eggs fly in slow motion.
Three minutes later, the boy arrived at the school’s yard. He was finally safe, so he stopped using any of his powers. Everybody who managed to get inside looked at him like some crazy anomaly, as he was the only student who didn’t have a speck of flour on his clothes, even though he was clearly dressed like an easy targer.
But now clearly was not the time to prance in front of the others. Thankfully, he had ten minutes before going to class, so he decided to hide in the toilets to give enough time for his hair to come back to normal.
After a few minutes, he realized he needed about two to arrive to the corridor where he’d have his class, so he decided to leave. He gave a quick look at his pocket watch : five minutes left before he completely got back to normal. He grunted. He needed to stall for time.
The only solution was to slowly go to his class so that it didn’t look as if he was trying to voluntarily miss out on it. Slowly he walked to the building. Slowly he went up the stairs towards the classroom… And quickly he rushed inside it when he realized everybody was already inside.
With his beanie still on, he entered. Everybody was unpacking, even his physics teacher. “S’rry for bein’ late.” mumbled the boy. He knew this professor in particular was quite lenient and two students were still missiong, so it wasn’t as if he really needed to apologize.
Leo slowly unpacked while making sure his beanie would be the last thing he get rid of. He felt more than glad there was only a minute left to his magic gauge to charge back up, so his timing was spot on. He felt happy when he took his beanie off to reveal a flow of brown hair that didn’t tick any of his classmates off. No ginger nor black hair in sight. That was pleasing.
He then focused on the rest of the class and noticed that nearly everyone had fallen victim to the egg throwers. The professor noticed it too and complained about this sad day.
The end of the day was the root of a lot of concern to a lot of students. They were most certainly still out there, waiting.
Leo didn’t feel like leaving. He stayed in the yard for a few minutes to check on Twitter, until he realized about 80% of the messages were about Valentine’s Day. He switched off his phone, considering the eggs were a much better thing than this.
When he went near the schools exit, he heard some girls’ screams, as eggs flew by them.
Bringing up all of his courage, Leo decided to use his time armour. He wasn’t about to go slowly this time, as he didn’t know how much time he’d have to wait for the tram and waiting more than six minutes with his armour on would be less than recommended, nor an option he could consider.
Grabbing his beanie, Leo went out. Thankfully, he never was considered a target and managed to avoid an egg by a hair’s length. In less than two minutes, he arrived Place de la Victoire. It was one of the worst messes Leo ever saw.
If the ground could’ve been qualified as horrifying in the morning, there were no words to describe it as he saw it now.
The town’s cleaning department was fully at work, but there now was everything. Broken eggs, flour, party favors, and empty plastic bags sticking to the pavement. Policemen were making rounds while two of them were entering rue Sainte-Catherine. Leo knew trouble was about to brew near his school.
But that was also a good sign, as he didn’t have to use his armour anymore, so he stopped using it and enjoyed his trip back home. It was only 15:13, so rush hour wasn’t fully started. And it also meant he was on holliday a bit earlier !
His mother was more than surprised to see him flourless, especially after watching the local news on France 3 Bordeaux. He lied to her by saying he had been fortunate nobody though of him worthy to be a target.
This end of day couldn’t have been more perfect… Well, if you took out the constant reminders of Valentine’s Day, which made him sigh more times in a few hours than in the whole month.
Sunday, February 16th, 2014
Leo had a hard time waking up. His strolling through the town center the day prior didn’t go as planned. It had been a pretty cold day and people had been pretty sick on the way back.
So he too became sick. He had spent the night waking up to get some tissues and had slowly started piling them up.
Oh noooo… His mind already was clouded by the illness and his fatigue, but if one thing was for sure, it was that the coming week would be a nightmare.
When he arrived in the kitchen, he saw his parents being fairly all right. “Hello my… Hum ? You look like a real zombie.” noticed Elsa.
“Am sick…” replied gluly the boy.
Elsa sighed. She knew her son wasn’t to type to get easily sick, but when he did, she always hesitated to call out for a ambulance. Because even if it was a simple cold, Leo was so knocked out it looked like he could die at any minute. “Well… Guess it’s a day sealed off in your room, then.”
“Good thing you’re on holliday, then.” said Leo’s mother.
He limply raised his arms. “Greaaat ! Just when I could’ve gotten some rest…”
“Better now than when you’re in class.” argued Elsa.
“Or worse, during your mock exams.” added Hugh.
Leo sighed. “Fair point.” His mock exams went quite well. The only thing he feared was the real sports exam that awaited him after the hollidays. Swimming. A real treat for the boy who swam as well as a two-legged dog… And for this test in particular, he wouldn’t be able to cheat if he’d ever wanted. Then again, he never intended to do that. His tests, he’d pass them like all his classmates, fair and square4.
Elsa tried to be reassuring. “You’ll be back on track in about two or three days, don’t worry. And you can always count on your good ol’ mom to take care of you.” She stuck out her tongue. She knew her son didn’t like her being all motherly as he felt too old for that… So that’s why she’d do it everytime she had the opportunity to.
The boy frowned, then took his breakfast while making sure he didn’t transmit his germs to his parents, before going back to his room.
Leo sniffed. He was getting more and more annoyed of the fact he had to take a new tissue, use it and throw it in the bin litterally every three minutes. It was so tiring an idea popped in his mind. What if he rewinded time on himself to basically have his healthy body back ? He wasn’t ill yesterday morning, so that’d work ! Obviously, he’d forget everything that happened after that, but considering the bad day he had, that wasn’t much of a loss.
Though, just to be safe, he took a sheet of paper and wrote : “Yo, past me ! I caught a very nasty cold, and since it got on my nerves (look at the bin), I rewinded time on myself for about a day ! Don’t worry, yesterday sucked and basically nothing happened. Bring in the healthies !”
He stick the sheet of paper to his PC’s screen, sat on his chair so as his past self would first see the memo and then rewound time.
When he woke up, he looked around him, confused, then saw the note. Seeing such ingeniosity from his future self, he smiled. He rose from his seat and looked at himself in the mirror. He looked more than healthy if he took out of the picture the few ginger and black strands of hair. Just to make sure, he checked his pocket watch, only to see he’d used his magic barely two minutes. Easy peasy.
Seeing as how he’d eat in about an hour and how he forgot everything, Leo decided to catch up on the Internet the day’s news.
“Wow ! You sure seem healthier than before !” noticed Elsa at noon.
Leo forgot this small detail. He had to find a good excuse as well as to not look too healthy. “Oh well, you know. A small tablet and off ye go !”
Elsa frowned. “You didn’t take one when you had your breakfast, did you ?”
“Erm… Yes ? Yeayeah. I took one when you weren’t looking.” God dammit. You future idiot ! Could’ve told me what they’d been up to ! Leo bitterly thought.
“Huh… Weird. But anyway, it’s cool you got better ! So you think about going out ?”
Leo had to stay natural. “Meh, not really. I’d rather not risk it outside, you know.”
“And that’s a good idea !” said Hugh. “Everybody’s getting sick right now, so it’s obviously better to stay at home.”
Everybody agreed as they calmly ate their meal.
Monday, February 17th, 2014
You gods damned idiot… Leo had a hard time waking up. He once again used up a full pack of tissues throughout the night. It seemed he got sick again because of all the germs he had left on his keyboard and the bin he didn’t take care of emptying.
His mother was as surprised as he was when she saw him arrive in an even worse state than the day before. “Damn ! That’s a relapse !” she said.
Elsa looked at the ceiling and sighed. “I’ll take some oranges and some medecine if town if you want.”
Leo silently nodded.
He waited for his mother to leave home to change his course of action. As swiftly as he could, the boy went into his room, took his bin, brought it back to the living room and threw every single tissue in the chimney before lighting it up.
Then he went to the kitchen to grab as many cleaning products as possible and took care of his room. Every single nook and cranny was cleaned up so that most germs were obliterated.
He finally took a whole stack of post-its and furiously wrote : “So guess what ! You’re a gods damned idiot, believe me ! This time, I took every sane measure so that you won’t relapse. I cleaned your room from top to bottom, so you better be careful ! Also, be a better actor and act tired when Mom brings the oranges. Eat. Them. All. And take at least one or two tabs, because you still might be slightly infected when you read those words. Just in case. And drink a lot. Better safe than sorry. Oh and don’t take too much time to take some clothes in the closet. Mom should arrive soon.”
Leo took the post-its and slapped them on the bathroom mirror. He undressed, threw all of his clothes in the basket and rushed into the shower.
After a first round, the boy decided it was a good time to rewind time on himself. He sat down, and did it.
Once again, Leo woke up and felt lost, wondering why he was under the shower. Through the shower’s steam, he saw the bright yellow colour of the post-its stuck on the mirror. Obviously, he rewound time on himself. Again. Just in case, he washed himself once more, got out of the shower and read the notes. He quickly noticed his future self was quite mad at him and he understood why.
Then he started panicking once he read the last words. Carefully listening at his surroundings, he knew his mother didn’t arrive yet, but that was not the time to dawdle. He decided to stop time for just a minute in order to finish drying up without having the magic refill give it too much away.
When she arrived, Leo just had the time to rush to his room and put on a fresh pair of trousers. At least the timing was right…
Wednesday, February 19th, 2014
Leo was bored. He successfully managed to avoid getting ill and continued munching on oranges as if they were crackers, to his mother’s surprise and amusement. And there was nothing left to do : he already took care of his homework and just finished roaming the Web for the freshest news. He didn’t feel like playing any games either, as he knew Thomas would come home to play and talk about stuff.
The boy looked at his calendar. Wednesday. Oh yeah ! He did tell me I could go see him on Wednesdays !
He didn’t wait another minute to call out for Stan and entering the portal that lead to his realm.
“Hello hello, Stan !”
Once again, the god was waiting for him at the center of the room. They shook hands. “Leo. I’m so happy to see you ! I’ve seen you’ve been pretty active lately.”
Leo slightly bobbed his head to the left. “Heheh, yeah. A bit. Even though today’s a big borefest.”
“Same here, I must admit. In any case, when I saw Père Cent happening, I was a bit afraid, but you managed like a pro !”
Leo didn’t know how to take the compliment. “Erm… Thanks ?”
“It’s sincere ! You timed your catch just well and people didn’t notice a single thing. I forgot to give you this lesson, but I guess you figured it out on your own. Use your powers wisely and everything will go well. Now come and sit.”
Both men went to their seats.
Stan summoned the same two glasses and the same jug as usual.
“Oh, I forgot… I’m sorry I missed your birthday.”
Leo’s eyebrow raised itself. Stan had intended to do something ?
“Don’t be surprised like that ! You’re about to make me believe I can’t be nice with people.”
“Oh erm… It’s not that. It’s just that given your status, I thought…”
Stan grew impatient. “Pah, who cares about that ! I wanted to wish you a happy birthday, but since you were with your family and had a few things on your mind, I gathered I wouldn’t barge in just give give you a message.”
Leo waved his hand. “Oh, you could’ve. Nothing of importance happened anyway, as you might have seen. I think I would’ve been more than pleasantly surprised, in fact.”
The god seemed annoyed by the boy’s kind response. “Okay. I’m taking notes for next year. But don’t get mad at me if I interrumpt you doing something fun !” He cheekily stuck his tongue out, which made the boy blush. Leo poured himself a glass of water. “But anyway, I’ve got a present for you.”
Leo nearly choked. “What !?” The idea of someone this important in the universe giving him a present was unthinkable !
“Whoah ! Careful ! And no, it’s not a physical or magical present. But it’s something that can be just as important.”
The boy felt more lost than intrigued.
“A lesson. And before you start pouting and want to leave this house screaming, it’s a very important lesson that will be useful throughout the rest of your life. You’ll need to think about it constantly, as it’ll be the most valuable lesson you will ever learn.”
Stan got closer to the boy and watched him straight in the eye. “Nothing is useless.”
The boy seemed even more lost. “Huh ?”
Stan rolled his eyes. “I’d let you leave right now to think on it, but I’d much prefer elaborate so that you don’t get the wrong idea. Because, you see, everything you do has a meaning. And even the things other do or don’t do can have meaning to you if you take the time to analyze them.”
“If there’s something I more than despise, it’s people judging other people’s worth and treating them like dirt. Are these thoughts sane ? Absolutely not. They are more than despicable. Every single life is worth the same amount as the other and it’s more than a waste anytime one of them ends.”
“I’m sorry, but I can’t agree with that !” objected the boy.
The god smiled. “Oh ?”
“People gratuitously killing other people. Criminals and terrorists are worthless.”
The god’s smile widened. “And that’s where you’re more than wrong. As cruel as it may seem to you, those people are just as important, if not more. If they disgust you, there’s where their sole usefulness lie, as they show you a path you don’t want to follow. Humanity is marvelous in that it acknowledges its peers and acts according to what they do. If Evil didn’t exist, then Good wouldn’t exist either. There would be no moral reference point to consider what’s Good and what’s Evil.”
The boy’s mind raced furiously. “Yes, but the world would be a better place without them !”
“On that I wholeheartedly agree, but to the only condition Evil existed at some point in History and that everybody acknowledged it for Good to exist. And that’s why nothing is useless. If you can draw lessons from everything that goes on in your environment, your actions and even your mistakes, then you’ll be able to make choices you’ll deem just and appropriate.”
The god shrugged. “So yeah, it’s base level philosophy, but it is a lesson that made me appreciate life even more. And I know you’re still a bit young, so you’ve never known the pain seeing a loved one die – thankfully – but when you’ll have to confront it, I want you to think about this lesson. Death is more than an unpleasant experience, believe me. But if you take the time to look at other people’s reaction… And even reflect upon yours for that matter, then you’ll understand your own life’s worth and the usefulness of everything.”
Leo’s joy was long gone with that dark note. “I… See…”
Stan gave the boy a reassuring smile. “I know it’s not the happiest lesson out there, but I thought it nessessary to give it to you, with Valentine’s Day just about gone and whatnot. So now, you can’t forget these words.”
Leo’s face grew darker. “I guess you’re telling me that because of the thoughts that went through my mind last year…”
Stan winced. “Yes. And I’m more than happy those thoughts were short-lived. You can’t imagine how much of a waste it would’ve been had you decided you’d commit suicide. But then again, you doing that would’ve proved painful, and thus useful to others, hence the lesson I just taught you.”
Leo gave Stan a bitter smile. “With that, I understand it much better…”
“Good.” The god stretched on his chair. “Well then, now that this dark page has been written, let’s think about more positive stuff ! I guess you have questions you wanted to ask me about ?”
Leo nodded. He was more than happy to change subjects. “Yup ! It came to me just now : I guess you too have a birthday, right ?”
Stan smiled. “Well of course ! It’s erm…” He started absentmindedly rubbing his chin. “It’s erm…”
The boy raised an eyebrow. “You’ve forgetten ?”
“Let’s just say it’s been more than a thousand years since I last celebrated it. And even then, I didn’t care much about it at the time I could. Wait for it…”
Stan stood up and walked towards the center of the room. He told Leo not to get up before snapping his fingers.
Leo nearly screamed when he saw a huge book pop up and hit the ground so heavily the whole house trembled.
“Yeah… It’s a bit big.” admitted Stan when he saw Leo’s terrified face.
Leo got up to get a better look at the monolith. The book was as long as him, and must’ve easily made a meter wide. Its height was just as impressive, as the cover reached the boy’s neck. Aside from that, there weren’t any gold or precious jewels. It was a relatively simple book in appearance and had the strong smell old books carried with them. Come to think of it, only its size was impressive, really.
Though it did contain some aura of mystery, as Leo couldn’t understand a single word written on it. He could see crude symbols following each other and that was basically it. He never saw anything like it. “As if I’d let you read my life !” jokingly said the god. “You curious devil !”
Stan read through the text at an impressive speed. His eyes darted from left to right more in a second than Leo could humanly count, to the point it was frightening. But the god’s stare proved to be the most concerning. The more he read, the more he seemed sad. “Stan ?”
The god screamed. “Huh ? What !?” He saw the boy’s worried look. “Don’t scare me like that !” He snapped his fingers to make the book disappear. “So yeah, I’ve seen my birthday and if we had to translate it in more modern terms, I guess it would be around August 10th.”
Leo had heard and registered the information, but something was amiss. “Are you alright ? You seem nervous.”
Stan tried calming himself, but was unable to. “Yes, I am. I just read some stuff I would’ve loved to forget.” He grunted. “And no, I don’t want to talk about it. Not in the mood, and I’d rather you not knowing about it. Not now at the very least.”
Stan finally managed to calm himself. “Anyway… I think it’s best we leave it at that for today. We’ll talk about more fun things next time, okay ?”
Wednesday, March 5th, 2014
“I was wondering… Why… Are you dressed like that ?” asked Leo the god while they were sipping tea.
Stan raised an eyebrow and put his cup down. “Hum ?”
“The gloves and the long vest. Aren’t you too hot ?”
“Me ? Pssshhh ! I’m never too warm or too cold ! My body temperature self-adjusts according to the environment I’m in and the clothes I wear.” lied the god.
“But why the gloves ?”
“You know, when you have sensitive hands, you always make sure they’re protected. Do you have sensitive hands ?” asked Stan with a teensy hint of frustration in his voice.
Leo frowned. “Erm… No ?”
“Then there. You can’t know what it’s like.”
Leo pouted. He knew Stan was hiding something and his attitude was more than proof of that. “Something stupid happened to you and you won’t admit it.”
A nervous spasm went through Stan’s forehead. “Okay. Want the truth ? Had an accident a few months back. I litterally played with fire and my hands got badly injured. Here. Happy ?”
Leo winced. Not only had he learned of a quite painful truth, but he had also vexed Stan. “Sorry… But then why don’t you use your powers to heal yourself ?”
“Obviously you’d imagine I tried ! But for all self-inflicted injuries, even if I heal myself, there still are marks. Kind of like karma getting back on me for being an idiot. And for that I also am a bit jealous of you, because you can rewind time on yourself and have no marks at all…”
“Yeah, well I do lose my memories of the incident.” argued Leo.
Stan did an irritated gesture with his hand. “Pah, just a side-effect.”
Leo rolled his eyes and muttered. “Side-effect I’d be glad I didn’t have…”
Stan dimly smiled. “Well, you can’t have everything, can you ? And besides, it would be no fun for the Universe if he couldn’t put up some sort of risk versus reward system with your powers.”
Leo sighed. But then something came to mind. “But you can’t do that ?”
“Do that what ?”
“Rewind time on yourself. There’d be no traces left.”
Stan’s gaze turned towards the happily crackling fire. “If I could, I’d do it without a second thought.”
“But you can’t do it ?”
The god nodded. “Nuh-uh. Even though I’m a god, I do not possess every single power out there. To be honest, compared to others, I’m one of the gods who has the least amount of power.”
The boy was confused. A not-so-almighty god ? That was… Odd. “Why is that ?”
Stan sighed. “I still can’t talk about it in full detail, but what I can tell you concerns the process of becoming a god. And let’s just say I followed a very quick course, to the point I came out of my ‘graduation’ waaaaaay before I received it all.”
The words’ sad undertones reached the boy, who didn’t know how to respond.
Stan saw the boy too was a bit saddenned. He smiled. “Eh, it’s all right. And even if I don’t have all of the powers, I still have more than enough to help you with your life.” His smile grew wider. “And besides, you got some powers I do not have, so we could almost say we’re complementary !”
Leo started to laugh. “Does this mean we’ll later team up to fight crime and bring back Peace and Justice to the world ?”
“Only if you go waaaaay ahead and I’m waaaay behind.” replied Stan, laughing.
Saturday, March 8th, 2014
Leo checked out the Internet to look at adresses for thrift stores. Stan’s looks had more than impressed him and even though it wasn’t his intention of copying him, he felt it now was his duty to further spread class and good fashion across the world. And besides, these looks were becoming trendy once again thanks to the steampunk community that Leo had admired for the past year or so. Also, considering his british origins, he had to wear something that reminded others of his other country, so he already had three good reasons to change most of his wardrobe. He knew his father would secretly appreciate the change. And his mother… Would probably be extatic, so he felt it better to keep his upcoming shopping spree a secret.
With the adresses noted on his phone, Leo went to town.
Surprisingly, most of the shops were located in streets very close to rue Sainte-Catherine. Leo never knew about them, as he never really took the time to explore.
The first thrift shop had a ton of old clothes, but they were all overpriced, to the point he felt intimidated and went immediately out, empty-handed. He felt this clothing business was like this horrendous second hand gaming market, where prices rise way too quickly if a game was from a popular series5. Here, it was just old pieces of fabric, so their ungodly prices were a form of heresy to the boy.
It was a good thing he saw two other thrift stores nearby. And they were way more afordable. Still, the choice felt a tad more restricted and he felt like a total stranger in the middle of all the well-clothed hipsters roaming the place, but since he was there to change his looks, he felt a more legitimate customer than the others.
He saw an old black vest as well as a white and still bright shirt for thirteen euros total. He hesitated taking a pair of trousers, as it went well with the rest. Seeing how much of his birthday money was left and the low price, it wasn’t that much of a gamble, so he took it.
On the way back, he noticed the comic book shop Pulps. It was to him worse than the siren’s song, as the sight of the nice looking statuettes called him. Oh… Dog gammit. The temptation was too big. He went inside and got convinced into buying a Batman comic one of the store employees praised. When he went out, he cursed himself for being such a lowly impulse buyer, but considering the money left on his bank account, it wasn’t too much of a pain.
He then realized he only took a day’s worth of clothes, which wasn’t clearly enough to maintain a consistent look. So it was off to the more general clothing stores… To hell with being authentic, at least they had some stock.
He took three new shirts. Another white one, a blue one and one with a plaid motif. He also took another black pair of trousers, a second sleeveless vest and a pair of black leather shoes that were half-price. His transformation would be a bit costly, but at least it’d be complete.
Considering all the shopping bags Leo carried with him, going through to house to his bedroom without being noticed proved a bit tricky, but he somehow managed. He changed for a full set of his new clothes and went into the living room, where his parents were sitting down.
“Hey Mom. Hey Dad.”
Elsa didn’t bother turning around, but Hugh did. “What the…”
Intrigued by her husband’s reaction, Elsa finally decided to turn around. “Oh wow ! What in the… My son ? Is that you ?” She saw Leo’s shy smile. “I’m not dreaming ! Hon, is this really Leo ?”
Hugh stared at his son with wide eyes. “Errrrrrm… Yes, yes.”
“Am I dead !? Hon, tell me the world didn’t explode and that I didn’t die while watching TV !” Leo glared at her. She rose up. “Roh, just kidding ! You’re superb !” She observed him. “Are you dating someone ?”
“Erm… No ? I just wanted to change my style, is all.”
“It suits you well.” claimed Elsa. “Don’t you think so too, hon ?”
Hugh looked confused. He spent the whole evening in this state, everytime he looked at his son. Leo himself couldn’t believe he did this : he spent more than eighty euros on clothing. And that was precisely why he wouldn’t wear it once and leave it in his closet to rot. This… Would be his definitive style !
Monday, March 10th, 2014
The “new Leo’s” first day at school was more than peculiar. Not only for the boy, but also for his classmates and his professors, who all looked at him in a puzzled way. For once, Leo wasn’t considered like a weirdo nor simply ignored, as every single person who crossed his path looked at him. Sometimes, the looks were negative, but the majority remained positive.
His friends too were shocked. They asked him why the change. Leo smiled and told them it was because he simply wanted to. And besides, didn’t he have to get something to go well with his pocket watch ?
Wednesday, March 12th, 2014
“Errrrrrm… You didn’t choose to dress that way because of the whole super-hero team thing, did you ?” asked Stan, worried by Leo’s new appearance.
“Huh ? Oh no no. I just wanted to change my style. Especially considering yours is so cool.”
“Well seeing you wanting to imitate me’s very nice and all, but it’s… Kinda freaking me out.”
Because it’s like a master/apprentice relationship or more like the beginning of a horror movie where a boy respects someone so much he wants to become just like him to the point it becomes super uncomfortable ?”
Stan nodded. “Second option.”
The boy rolled his eyes and smiled. “Don’t worry, it will never be like that.”
“But still, hanging out with you really made me want to change my wardrobe a smidge. Your style is soooo cool !” Leo was rife with enthusiasm. He had such a nice day, even managing to get some people’s attention. The kind whom he’d never be able to talk to with his old style. In a sense, that was more than sad, because it proved the point that simple looks could drastically change social interactions, but now that he had learned the way things worked, he’d fully take advantage of it.
As usual, Stan invited the boy to sit down and drink a glass of water.
“Oh, and while on the subject.” started Leo. “I was wondering why you dressed like that. Isn’t it some sort of early twentieth century style ?”
Stan nodded. “Indeed it is. I must say, even if I’m older than most trends, this one really caught my eye when it arrived. I thought it looked so good I decided to keep it. I even asked your great-grand-father his opinion and he gave me his approval.”
“Cool !” Leo never really had the chance to know his great-grand-family. Nearly everyone had died before the boy’s birth and his great-grand-mother was the last one to go when Leo was only two years old. He had been told they were respectable folk. Even if they were poor, they were always eager to help others in need.
“So I stayed with this style. Then again, nothing after this one suited me. I did try the fifties greaser look… For less than two minutes. Horrible.”
Leo couldn’t help but try to picture Stan with a black leather jacket and a crazy hairstyle. The god noticed it and gave the boy a deadly stare.
“So what was your style before that ?” asked an all too curious Leo.
“Oh, nothing too fancy. I must say I’ve never been much of a fashion freak and I mostly sticked to my pre-god style.”
“What period of time ?”
“From waaaaaaaaay back… But still, can’t talk to you about that.”
Leo winced. “So I guess I’ll have to come back later for Stan’s secret origins story ?”
Wednesday, March 19th, 2014
“Well… That’s a mourning face if I ever saw one.”
Leo’s shadowy eyes were darker and deeper than usual, further deepened by the despair on his face. He sighed. “Yeah… And I guess you know why.”
Stan bobbed his head sideways. “Yeup. This choice was much more simpler in my time. You wanted to do something with your life ? You only needed to be in the right place at the right time and hope that your parents didn’t have some sort of work that relied on you.” The god frowned. “Well, I guess the same does apply here too, but you get my point.”
Leo let out a small grunt. “Three days I’ve been stressing on this stuff and still nothing.”
“To be fair, if you’d done your research earlier…”
“It wouldn’t have changed a damn thing.” Stan gave an irritated Leo a cookie from the jar on the table. The boy angrily munched on it. “Thanks, Stan.”
The god couldn’t help but smile. “Knowing you, I’m pretty sure you’d enjoy yourself in a language study. There you’d learn about more than enough cultural fluff.”
“Yeah… Enough fluff to become a freaking teacher.”
The god tried to find something positive to counter that statement, but quickly gave up6. “Yeah, you’re right.”
“My father wants me to continue studying in the science departments, because it’ll probably help me in a future endeavour, but that stuff is becoming insanely hard…”
“Even though your grades tell me otherwise.” calmly objected Stan.
Leo made a disaproving pout. “Erm… Yeah ? Right now ? And even if it’s easy for me, I still find that boring as fffffuuuuuu…”
Stan coughed. “Language, Leo.”
“Sorry. You get my point, though.”
“Yes. And in any case, I think I might have the perfect solution, though it will raise some concerns back home.”
Leo raised an eyebrow. “You want me to go sabbatical ?”
Stan nodded. “Indeed. Then again, I just hope you don’t do nothing and you’ll be able to find a job to make a bit of money, because that way you’ll have one more year to think it over and avoid feeling like you wasted a year of your life.”
The boy thought about it intensely. Then he smiled. “Sure ! I still don’t know if my dad will be okay with that, but if I tell him like you do, he might accept it.”
“I’m thankful you give me credit for that !” said the god, amused.
The announcement of Leo’s plan to his parents proved quite difficult, especially given Hugh’s insistance on Leo continuing his studies, but the financial and personnal happiness arguments were enough to win him and Elsa over. They accepted, but only on the condition he’d find a job for after they came back from England.
Thursday, April 3rd, 2014
Leo sighed. It was heavily raining and the effect his new style has has was already long gone. Everybody got used to it, to the point he once again became anonymous among his peers. He even got sneered at for his results during the last English test, as, once again, he had the best grade without any large effort.
And the bus was currently taking an eternity to make the way back home. The raindrops were heavily banging at the windows, begging to touch the passengers’s face, as the vehicule went to a complete halt, thanks to a good old traffic jam. Leo considered it had been a good thing the town equipped the roads with lanes used only by buses, but that only slightly decreased the waiting time. So he got bored.
The boy stared at the window, wishing the bus would go… Quicker.
Then it dawned on him : he could still manipulate time ! Ever since he got ill, never has he had the chance to use his powers. To him, that was an eternity ago, so he felt it a good time to use them again.
Leo knew he couldn’t make time speed up. Only stop it, rewind it and slow it down. Stooping time in this case would prove counter-productive, and rewinding it would make matters much worse, as not only he couldn’t use any other vehicule to go home, but Stan forbade him last Wednesday to use this power in particular, or only in case of dire need. Leo asked the god why, but he stayed mysteriously silent afterwards. Though his gaze did tell something was terrifying him, but Leo couldn’t quite put his finger on why.
There was only the slowing down time solution left. If he slowed it down around him, it would prove more than useless. But if he slowed himself down…
Leo digged through his bag to take his beanie. Not only would that cover his hair, but it would also shield him from the bus’ small draught. He also took a piece of paper and a pen so that people would think he was overthinking stuff, instead f just moving in slow motion. If he didn’t move too much, nobody would notice.
Once ready, he faked looking intensely at his notes for about thirty seconds, then took his pen to his mouth and turned his head towards the outside world, so that he’d know where he was. It was time for the experiment to begin !
Rain dropped quicker to Leo’s mind and the bus was moving and stopping every ten seconds. The boy wanted to smile because he thought he now was inside of those fancy movies where they accelerate scenes in order to show the passage of time when nothing of importance was happening. What’s it called already ? A… Time-lapse ? Yeah. It’s a time-lapse.
He focused on the exterior as best as he could in order to be synched back to normal when he’d be close to home. If he blinked too much, he’d probably miss his stop.
Three minutes – for him – passed. The boy noticed he wasn’t too far from Gradignan, so he stopped slowing down time on himself. It felt weird seeing the rain pour at normal speed, but now wasn’t the time to wonder at that. He had to look at his pocket-watch. When he did, he felt his heart stop beating for about two seconds.
Ninteen minutes !? I only used about three or four ! That’s illogical ! When he rewinded time for two hours, it wasn’t like he used his powers for the same amount of time ! It took him about a minute ! So why and how did he use his powers for nineteen bloody minutes !?
His mind raced. Then he winced. Obviously, he couldn’t use his powers freely when he stopped time, so it was linked to the time he used them. But here, it was linked to the outside world’s notion of time. By the Universe’s twisted sense of logic, that must’ve made more sense.
Grumbling and feeling humiliated by the cosmic entity’s little game, Leo gripped his beanie and pulled it harder so that no ginger hair could be seen, then he got out of the bus.
He took his time to go home, knowing that he’d have to stay hidden in his room for the next fifty minutes or so. So that’s what he did after quickly greeting his parents.
Monday, April 14th, 2014
Leo’s teachers and parents had been categorical : it wasn’t because he was on holliday he’d play all day and do nothing productive. He had to study every day, because baccalauréat was now less than two months away !
Well… This really did concern the other students, as he ws already studying on a consistant basis and didn’t choose to learn everything at the last minute. He had decided to study at least three or four nights per week ever since the beginning of the school year. Still, this wasn’t an excuse not to do the same now, as it was more than easy forgetting things that would prove to be less than useful in life7.
Nothing is useless.
Stan’s words rang inside Leo’s head. He remembered in vivid detail the conversation he’d had with the god. Obviously, nothing was useless. And he knew he’d have some use of this knowledge further down the line, especially for the baccalauréat… But still, he wondered how useful most of these math lessons would be in life. Oh well, better to keep those lessons in mind. Just in case.
Friday, April 18th, 2014
“I’d love to have super-powers… Wouldn’t you too ?” said Thomas while giving Leo a huge beating on Super Smash Bros. Melee.
Leo raised an eyebrow. “Hum ?” The question came out of absolutely nowhere. The boy was used to it, though, as his friend’s mind went from an idea to the next in a flash. Still, this question really came out of nowhere.
“Eh, just like that.” said Thomas. “Could you imagine… I’d have super-powers and that would be… Just so cool !”
“Yeah, but what for ?” asked Leo, curious to see as to where this conversation might lead to.
“I dunno. Depends on the powers.” Thomas looked at the victory screen. His Fox McCloud was proudly posing while Leo’s Roy was clapping farther away. “Honestly, I’d love to create portals.”
“With or without killer robots on the other side8 ?” slyly asked Leo.
“Obviously without.” replied Thomas. “Even though having them in there would be cool too.” the boy paused. “In any case, creating portals would be awesome to save on transportation ! Imagine : I’d put a portal in front of the Nintendo World Store in New York, then I come home, make another linking it in my bedroom and boom ! When a new game comes out, I can get it while also shaking Reggie9‘s hand !”
Leo smiled. He’d do the same thing too, though the portal would be linked to his grand-parents’ house England. If he could go there whenever he wanted without paying hundreds of euros and losing tens of hours in transportation, that would make his life ten times better. “Yeah, it’d be cool.”
“Oh, and also, I’d love to fly, to take in the scenery. Imagie this. I could fly other unexplored lands and take pictures. There’s so much cash to make in aerial photography !”
“Erm, yeah… But you’d better get covered, cause it’s quite cold up there !” explained Leo.
“Not a problem if I fly low enough.” replied Thomas.
“But if there’s a storm ?”
“Well I don’t go out ? I’m not that stupid.”
“And don’t forget the indigenous tribes. You remember that story about those tourists in a plane that got attacked with arrows while flying over uncharted territory ? Pretty sure these guys would love to practice their skills on a flying target !”
“Yeah yeah, okay. Dash my dreams, you monster…” mumbled the boy. But then his foul mood disappeared in an instant with his next idea. “Or I could manipulate time !”
Leo gave Thomas a huge embarrassed smile. “Yeah… Even better…”
Thomas noticed his friend’s Doubt in his voice. “Are you mad ? It’d be awesome ! We could go back and kill Hitler before he becomes evil… Or better ! Go back and train raptors into doing skateboard ! Like in Denver the Last Dinosaur.”
“’Cause he’s my friend and a whole lot more ?”
“Yep !” proudly said Thomas.
Leo sighed. “You know, I’m pretty sure those dinosaurs wouldn’t be really happy about learning how to skate.”
“Yeah, but it’d be funny as hell. They’d climb on the boards and fall down head first on the ground like dumbasses.” Thomas tried to imitate his potential victims’ expressions, which made Leo burst out with laughter.
“Or I could rewind time to win the lottery and get loaded. That too would be cool.”
“You wouldn’t want a sports almanach with that while you’re at it10 ?”
Thomas chuckled. “Obviously, especially if the results automatically adapt to changing circumstances.”
“I’m… Not sure it’d work this way.” Leo thought about it once while he was bored. Considering the almanach would come from a precise time and a different universe from which the boy would emerge by rewinding time, the book would not change at all. His victories and slight fluctuations in continuity made by his acquisitions would not chage the future the almanach was from. It’d only create an alternate future, independent from the one already existing, meaning that if Leo bought a club or two with his gambling money, it’d render the unchanging book forever obsolete11.
“Pah ! Who cares. In any case, if I could, I’d use this power to give myself some pocket change.”
Not me, thought Leo. He had sworn to use his powers for good, and even if he let himself a small treat or two, he’d never use them for truly selfish reasons.
“What powers would you like to have ?” asked Thomas.
Leo knew this question would come. He faked thinking about it. “Erm… Probably something that’d have to do with lost objects. Something practical.”
His friend stared at him for a few seconds before bursting out laughing. “Why am I not surprised, airhead ?”
Leo rolled his eyes.
“Or maybe polymorphism ?” added Thomas. “Could you imagine ? I could transform into absolutely anything. And it’d be even more amazing if I gained their capacities.”
“Kinda like Envy in Fullmetal Alchemist ?”
“Hell yeah !” Thomas smiled.
It was Leo’s turn to attack. “Admit it, it’s because you want to become a Pikachu.”
“Heh, you may be joking, but it’d be cool. I could control electricity and be super cute… Every girl out there would rush to me.”
“Yeah… Or not. Because when it’s cartoony, it looks good, but if it was realistic ? Let me have my doubts. Because it might look only weird or plain horrendous. And imagine you can’t control your powers… Either you’d burn people to a crisp or you become a real monster.”
Leo’s pragmatic reasonning started to irritate Thomas. “Dashing my dreams once again. Man, you’re really overthinking it !”
Leo shrugged. “Better to overthink it than to underthink it, I’d say.”
Thomas pouted. “Yeah, well if we’re real for a minute, getting super-powers is unfortunately impossible, so there’s that.”
Oooh if only you knew…
Wednesday; April 23rd, 2014
“I feel you’re not about to like what’s coming, but I have something really important to tell you.”
Leo and Stan were quietly eating cookies when the god’s sentence brought a certain weird tension in the room.
“Errrm… What’s it about ?” asked the boy, growing more and more worried by the second.
Stan tried to be reassuring. “Oh, nothing much. It’s just that something made me want to make you Pass minutes before we did it.”
Leo tried to remember the day. “You mean when you went out ?”
The god nodded. “You remember when I said I made you Pass so that I’d get some peace ?”
The boy frowned. “Yeah, yeah. I remember.”
“Weeeell that was half true. The real reason I wanted to make you Pass this soon was because another god was after another you.”
“Yeah… If I had waited a bit longer, not only I wouldn’t have made you Pass, but I wouldn’t have been able to anymore.”
Leo looked at the god, concerned. “So you’re telling me you stole his Passage ?”
Stan bobbed his head. “We could say that, yes. I also wanted to spare the other you the regular sight of his ugly mug. You should’ve seen this god. A real fop that was onto me for some unknown reason.”
“Did you try to figure out why ?”
“Didn’t have the time to. He spent his whole time looking at me as if I were nothing. And when I told him I’d make someone not fully Pure Pass, that was the end of it. I nearly saw him tell me it would be good riddance if I were to die during the Passage !”
Leo couldn’t believe the god’s tale. “Are you sure you’re not exaggerating ?”
“Not even one bit ! This god was horrendous ! You know, the movie cliché of the perfect snooty noble that looks at you only with condescending eyes. The kind who snaps the second things don’t go his way.”
“Aaaand you did just that. I hope he doesn’t get mad at you.” said Leo, worried.
Stan sighed. “I hope so too… Then again, I did this for you. And the other Leo, in a way.”
“I’m kinda sad for him to be honest.” admitted the boy.
“Pah, don’t be. It’s not your fault. And besides, if the other crazy comes at my door to yell at me some more, I’ll take it. I ready to face the consequences of my actions and there’s that.”
Thursday, May 8th, 2014
Leo walked down the manor’s corridor, pistol in hand. This place’s sinister, he thought.
He already had the jolly occasion of killing two zombies a few minutes earlier too. It was quite scary, but weirdly not as traumatizing as he thought it’d be.
“Hey Leo, come over here !”
A feminine voice was calling him from the other end of the corridor. Huh ? But I came here alone, didn’t I ?
He went inside the room he’d heard the voice coming from. “What’s going on, Lara ?” He stopped. Lara ? How did he know her name ? He never saw her before ! At least, she was pretty. Slightly shorter than him, she had dark skin and short brown hair. Oddly enough, only one strand was dark grey and fell on the left side of her benevolent face. She wore his unit’s uniform. It was not the best to hide her little belly, but it did fairly well the job, especially given the bulletproof vest, that had seen much better days. Her dark eyes looked at him, perplexed. “Something wrong, Leo ?”
The soldier jumped. “Oh nono. Nothing !” He looked at his surroundings. He now was inside a great hall where modern metallic and old wallpapery architecture nearly collided, depending on the walls you looked at. Funny, it looks like Resident Evil’s Spencer Manor, thought Leo.
“Look over there. Don’t you find this wall odd ?” asked the woman while pointing the newish metallic wall.
“Yep, clearly. Something tells me this mystery will quickly be solved.”
Lara looked at Leo reproachfully. “Quickly ? After you spent two whole days stuck like an idiot on this simple puzzle ?”
“Oh come on ! It’s not as if the solution presented itself ! And besides, you could’ve helped !”
Lara started to laugh. “As if ! You’re the main character ! Heard about a secondary character solving every puzzle without the main character being involved ?”
Leo growled. “Yeah, well okay. True.”
“And you did finally manage to find the answer like a grown-up, so my help was not needed.”
“Yeah, more like thanks to the Internet.” Leo shrugged.
Lara was appalled. “You’re most dishonnorable !”
“I know… But at least we got the plot moving forward !”
Lara sighed. “Fair enough… Let’s go.”
Leo hesitated. He once again looked at the room. It was so huge and looked so much like a pivotal place… It had to lead to a boss fight, meaning that if he crossed an arbitrary point in the room, a cutscene would play out or something along those lines. “Hey, um, Lara… Could you… Be the one to go to the end of the room first, please ? I need to check out something first.”
Lara too seemed hesitant, but complied. She reached the end of the room and opened the door on the other side. Nothing in sight. “It’s okay !” she said.
Leo squinted. There really was nothing on the other side. Confident, he walked to check on his colleague. All this for absolutely… “Oh son of a… !”
As he arrived near the center of the room, Leo found himself unable to move. His sight reduced itself to show black borders on the top and the bottom. Lara too was stuck as a huge snake rushed through the open door. And again… One more boss. God. Dammit, wanted to say the soldier.
Once the snake had gotten to its place and Leo’s eyesight went back to normal, he could finally move. “Lara !”
She was stuck in the snake, her legs passing straight through its body. A glitch, obviously, as she didn’t seem to be hurt. “I’m fine !” she yelled.
“Shoot at it, then !” ordered Leo.
Lara reached for her gun and started shooting at the creature. It head reared a few centimeters back every time she hit it. Leo did the same. The good thing with those games, it’s that they didn’t need to reload… Especially when cheating for infinite ammo, though Leo would never say that to Lara, otherwise he’d get a wordly beating.
The snake continued attacking the soldier. His moves were fast. Too fast for Leo’s taste, as he could only move and turn awkwardly.
But he did have something nobody knew of : he could (in theory) slow down time !
He tried doing so. By some odd miracle, it worked. The snake moved so slowly is was nearly motionless.
“What the… You’re not cheating again, Leo !?” yelled Lara.
“Me ? Nah ! Just using every option I have at my disposal ! Come on, shoot it until it dies and let’s move on, okay ?”
Lara awkwardly shrugged, then continued shooting.
And they continued shooting.
And again… It took them roughly twenty-five minutes to kill the beast. Leo wondered if the game hadn’t crashed at some point without him noticing.
The snake started to melt, then, as it disappeared in a pool of censored green goo, Leo and Lara saw two grotesque hammers materialize. Aren’t they… Super Mario Brothers hammers ? What the hell ? Thought Leo.
Then mutant slugs rushed out of the door. Leo and Lara didn’t wait longer to grab the hammers and start whacking the monsters. They were surprised at how light the items were, to the point it was a miracle they squashed anything. They sound they made was so absurd it was hillarious.
He furiously whacked a slug. Then another. And another. It was so fun and dumb, he thought he was four years old. He spent the next ten minutes whacking zombies like a maniac throughout the manor until the Lagiacrus’ theme from Monster Hunter 3 blared from out of nowhere.
Leo woke up with a start. He tapped at his bedside table to find the phone responsible for this display of noise and shut it down as quickly as he could. He growled, not remembering the sound was this loud.
He spent the next two minutes crawling in his bed, wishing he could go back to this stupid dream instead of going to school.
But he had to, so he got up from bed, switched on the light and clumsily went to his wardrobe. But as he passed in front of the mirror, he noticed something weird enough for his tiredness to instantly vanish.
His hair was wholly black and ginger. No traces of brown left. His eyes widened. The powers he’d used in his sleep… Had been used in the real world too !
Leo rushed to his bedside table to pick his pocket watch up. He was terrified to see the hand just went under the second segment, meaning he had more than crossed it earlier. He did find some sort of comfort in the fact that whether or not it crossed a segment, with time it could still go to the previous one.
Leo let out a sigh of relief. That was reassuring. What was less reassuring was that he still had to wait about an hour for the magic gauge to go back to normal and he only had forty minutes left before leaving the house. There was only one thing left to do.
Leo didn’t wait another minute to call out for Stan. The portal took thirty seconds to appear. The god probably had been somewhere else and came back rushing… But there was unfortunately no time to wonder about that. The boy jumped through the portal and rushed to the god’s house.
To Leo’s surprise, Stan was in his pyjamas and wearing a bathrobe. His face showed signs of fatigue, though they didn’t stay long when he saw the boy’s fiery looks. “Wowza ! What the hell happened !?”
Leo scratched the back of his head, embarrassed. “Well… Erm… Let’s just say I had a weird dream and I accidentally used my powers ?”
The god’s jaw seemed just about to hit the floor. “You… What !?” Leo shrugged in response. “That’s horrible ! Wait…” Stan snapped his fingers. “There. The problem should be solved.” Leo raised an eyebrow. “I’ve used a spell to block your powers in case you lose conciousness. It should do the trick.” Then he stopped talking. “Or maybe not.”
Leo started to worry. “Maybe not ?”
Stan once again snapped his fingers, making the boy fall to the ground, unconcious.
Leo woke up to the sound of snapping fingers. He noticed he was slumped on the ground of Stan’s house. Turning his head, he saw the god’s eyes. They were the ones people use when they see someone strange. “Watizit ?” asked Leo with a coated tongue.
Stan jumped. The boy was trying to get up. “Oh nothing. Nothing. I just needed to test out a theory.”
Leo shoved dust off of his shoulders and said reproachfully. “Well you could’ve asked before making your experiments…”
“If I had told you, you would’ve been against it.” pointed out Stan. “And even then, there’s a good side to that ! Now you don’t have to wait an hour to go home anymore.”
Intrigued, the boy went towards the mirror on top of the chimney to look at himself. And indeed, his hair went back to normal. “I didn’t sleep for an hour, did I ?”
“Oh no. Barely two minutes. My experiment went out with resounding success it seems !”
“So you managed to get rid of the side-effects ?”
The god winced. “Nope, but your transforma…” He stopped, seeing the boy’s intrigued look.
Without warning, Stan went near the library to nonchalantly drop a book, all the while staring at Leo, who was looking at him weirdly. “What are you…”
The god snapped his fingers. The boy’s head violently reared back. “What the…”
Stan shrugged. “Oh erm… I was talking about one of your ancestors and you wanted to read a bit more about his life, but the book feel on your head and you were badly bleeding, so you panicked and rewound time on yourself a bit too hard I believe.”
Leo looked at the book on the floor. “Did I really hit my head with a book from this shelf ?”
He pointed at the lowest shelf, from which the book came from. Stan noticed his mistake and hit his forehead. He went back to the shelves and less than nonchalantly threw the highest and heaviest book on the ground. “No, but it was from this one”, hissed the god.
Stan angrily snapped his fingers, making the boy’s head violently rear back again.
“Ah Leo ! Glad you’re okay !” The god seemed reassured. “You’ve badly injured yourself when you wanted to read about one of your ancestor’s life. A bigger book fell on your head, so panicking you rewound time on yourself a bit too much.”
“Ah…” Leo looked at himself in the mirror. All of his hair had turned back to normal.
“Shame you don’t remember a thing.” said Stan. “We had such a nice discussion, too. Oh well, you can go home now. Bet you’re starving, huh ?”
The boy’s stomach gurgled with approval. “Yeah…”
“Well off you go, champ ! This day is going to be great !”
The overpositivity mixed with the cliché boxing coach moves made the boy queasy, who left the house with a perplexed “Errrrrm… Ooooo-kay ?”
“You really were an idiot on that one…” pointed out Stan’s double.
“No need to add this much salt, thanks.”
“Guess that’s what rushed your decision, then ?”
“Yep.” said the original Stan.
“Let’s hope there won’t be anymore blunders.”
“Coming from you, I meant.”
A nervous spasm crossed Stan’s forehead. He growled.
Then, after putting Leo’s book back into the library, Stan turned towards the double and cracked his knuckles. “Anyway, go back to my room. It’s time for the Plan to come into effect.” The god smiled.
1Basically, you’re free to do absolutely anything past his point, though if you’re responsible for something wrong, it is now all up to you. In any case, if you’re under eighteen (or twenty-one if you’re in one of those weird countries), don’t consider this milestone as a reason to be stupid. You’re better than that. Also, alcohol is overrated ♪
2It really is an odd situation. When you’re a teenager in France, there’s a lot of pressure from the outside for you to date someone it can litterally drive some people mad. And it’s a real shame, as there really is nothing wrong about staying single. So, if you’re reading this and you’re a teenager or about to be one : Do. Not. Pressure. Yourself. Otherwise you’ll make some dumb mistakes that might hurt you even more than if you just let things happen. Also, be nice to others. It might not bring you love, but it sure will give you more fun opportunities for anything than if you start picking on anyone and everyone. As my sister once said : Positivity can only lead to positive things in the long run, so hang on and face the odds with all your resolve and by finding the good in everything !
3The stupidest thing to come out of high school, Père Cent is a tradition that less and less tolerated by the authorities, as a hundred days before the Baccalauréat, some students wreck havoc by throwing eggs and flour to other students (or passers by if the students are morons). Why ? I don’t know. It’s dumb and a real waste of ressources. Hell, it’s not only a waste of food, but also a waste of public money, because obviously the dimwits don’t realize who’s cleaning after their mess. Thankfully, this “tradition” is slowly dying off, but having this sort of idea in the first place was just bloody stupid.
4Well… Like most of them anyway.
5Even though, you know, those games were popular back in the day and sold a lot, basically meaning there are still tons of copies out in the wild so their value should be kept to a minimum… Oh well, hooray for remasters and the digital market.
6Not that being a teacher in France is the worst thing on the planet, but pretty close. Teacher are more than underpaid for a task involving dealing with dumber and dumber children, even dumber adults and a government that values education more as an afterthought than something that would benefit Humanity and long-term economy. Reports of teachers being threatened by angry parents are unfortunately too common. Maybe it’ll have positively changed by the time you read these lines (I sincerely think it’ll become worse as time goes on), but in 2014, nobody sane enough wanted to be a teacher in France.
7Case in point : I’ve forgotten basically everything I was taught in school the day I left it ! Then again, this is really not a thing I’d recommend, because the more time passes, the more you forget and the more you’re getting closer to spend your time coinlessly writing books to teach valuable lessons to others as you’d have failed to get a “real job”. Woops.
8I admit, this reference is quite obscure to those who haven’t played Portal. Basically, it’s a puzzle game where you can create portals to solve puzzles and sometimes there are killer robots that will happily try to poke holes though your body. The game is quite cheap on PC and is also one of the funniest out there. Especially the sequel, which is absolutely bonkers as well as a really entertaining head-scratcher.
9Reggie Fils-Aimé, the current CEO of Nintendo of America and a very well known figure in the gaming community. He’s always there if there is a joke he can make to his fans and always looks open. Fun Reggie fact : he once was a major executive at Pizza Hut and had a killer afro when he was in high school.
10If you don’t get this reference, there is nothing left I can do for you…
11Doc Brown can suck it ! (I’m deeply sorry for this last sentence. Please forgive me, Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis.)