A breath of air escaped my lips, and a sense of defeat began to well up in me. He knew. He might not know the specifics, but something in his tone told me he knew enough. I didn't even bother trying to fib my way out. There goes Plan B, C, D, and the rest of the damned alphabet. My Master then offered reassurances, claiming he wouldn't ditch me, but it did little to reassure me. "Trust isn't something I dish out on random, Karr." Life just isn't like that.
I squeezed my eyes shut, wringing my hands in my sleeping gown -- mildly surprised that it wasn't shredded. I absently made a note to thank the manufacturers before returning to the task at hand. Right. The truth. "The truth doesn't always cut it," I murmured, more to myself than anything. "But sometimes it's the only choice left." Another sigh, and I wondered how I could have let myself get to this point -- backed in a corner, knowing if I didn't come clean, this...relationship Karr and I had built up would be ruined. Oh, it'd still be there, but it wouldn't be back to this point.
That was another thing which had surprised me. For years, I had shut everyone out, losing myself in a world of crime and highs. And yet, somehow, this annoying, persistant, almost fatherly Kel Dor Jedi had become -- dare I say it? -- my friend. This Jedi, who I only knew for a short duration of my existance, was someone I'd trust with my life more than I'd trust my gang, whom I'd known since childhood.
But could I trust him with my secrets, too?
Before another maidenly (and vomit-inducing) sigh could escape me, I reopened my eyes. My decision was made.
"I once told you that I discovered my abilities when I went on a speeder-ride-gone-wrong. Obviously, that was a lie." I paused, looking down at my lap again. Build up to it, I told myself. Ease into the truth, it'll be better. You're in it for the long haul -- this is an all-or-nothing thing! You coward! "When I was seven is when I really found them. There was this kid in my class, a real stuck-up bully who loved to squash others. For a while, he'd tried to pick on me but a quick conversation with my fists corrected that really quick." A brief grin lit up my face. That was the best day of my seven-year-old memories, beating up that loser. "In fact, he didn't bully anyone for a while -- he was too scared I'd come back for a second helping. But...it didn't last." A frown, now. "The bully reset his sights on this little whelp of a kid, a little six year old who was probably half my weight. Like, seriously, the kid probably fell down in a breeze. In any case, he became the bully's new target.
"I'm not proud to admit it, but I ignored it at first. I mean, it was just the basic name-calling and gimme-your-lunch-money stuff. I guess my brain figured if the kid couldn't get the guts to stand up to the bully, there was no point in saving him. Perverse logic, but whatever. One day, though, it became physical. The bully and his groupies had surrounded the kid and were pushing him around, throwing in a punch or kick for good measure. It was recess, and the adults were busy, so I decided to take things into my own hands.
I closed my eyes again, the memory fresh in my mind. In fact, I could see it as I recounted the story to the Kel Dor.
I shoved my way through the circle of boys and girls, intent on figuring out what was going on. Me being all joints and jabby elbows, this wasn't so hard. When I got to the front, i could just feel the anger building up.
They were shoving the little whelp back and forth, and his bruised skin gave testament to what he'd already been through, and it didn't look like he could handle much more. Any kid should've been able to handle the name-calling, but this was too much!
My mad face on, I balled up my fists and stomped towards the ringleader, who didn't notice me right away. He was too busy cheering and taunting. "Gravi Mordet! Stop right now!" My voice was high-pitched and childish, but my anger and tone gave it enough "oomph" to warrent a scared look from the bully. Clearly, my lesson was fresh in his mind, too.
But the threat of my fists didn't deter him. With a faint sneer that chased away the initial look of fear, Gravi said, "We're teaching him a lesson. He didn't give me his money like I told him to."
That set me off, and before I knew what was going on, I felt a sense of power build up in me. "Gravi Mordet," I intoned in a low, lethal voice that should not have belonged to a seven-year-old, "You will stop pushing this kid." Suddenly, the bully's face became blank, almost slack-jawed.
"Hey, guys, I'm gonna stop pushing this kid." And he did, must to the dumbfoundedness of his peers.
A faint look of surprise crossed my features, only to be replaced by a wicked grin. "You will leave this kid alone, or else I'll punch you."
Gravi blinked a couple times before intoning, "Everyone, let's leave this kid alone. I'm bored and I don't want to get punched by Roshki." With that, the bully spun around and walked off, his friends running after him.
I watched them for a few minutes, a grin plastered on my face before I turned to check on the kid, who was curled into a ball. "Hey, you, you alright?" When I didn't get a response, I tapped his shoulder. "Gravi's not gonna bother you no more, alright? So you don't have to worry." That got a reaction out of the kid, who looked up at me with not gratitude, but fear, startling me slightly.
I let out a huff. "The following day, I was called to the office. Gravi and his buddies told the principle that I'd taken over his mind and made everyone beat up the kid. Even worse? The kid wouldn't back me up, saying it was all true. Apparently my little trick scared the pants off of him. My parents didn't believe, me either." Massaging my feet gently, a grim look settled on my features. "I guess you could say that's when my delinquincy began.
"After that, it was the same old story. I'd go to a new school and spend most of my time making a nusance out of myself. The teachers and I got to see each other a lot, for all the wrong reasons. When I was old enough, I'd even skip school, and eventually I tried to see how long it'd take for them to kick me out. About that time, too, I'd fallen in to a group of kids like me, and together we'd run around the slums of Commenor and get into all sorts of mischief. My parents disproved of them, which made their company all the more desirable. And, then, when I was 17, I left home. For good."
Ah, now was the moment. Now was when I could choose to reveal my deep, dark secret, or to let it fester within me. Ah, what the hell. I'm already this far.
I took a deep breath, fully aware that what I said next could change my life -- particularly if Karr didn't keep up his promise. "For about a month or two, I avoided the drugs that the others used. I'd take a nip or two of alcohol, don't get me wrong, but glitterstim, death sticks, all of that: I avoided it. I saw what it did to your body, and I didn't want that to happen. But one day, at a party, one of my friends -- her nickname was Poison, as in "What's Your Poison?" -- presented me with this stuff she said was great for what I wanted. It was a common euphorant found in medical kits, and was pretty easy to get your hands on. It made you feel blissful and happy, and took about five times as long to affect your body as it did the other stuff. I was skeptical at first, but...eventually, I bought it." Eyes shut again. I couldn't believe it -- I was spilling my guts for the first time in my entire life. "It...it was -- is -- called A Vrassa. I've been hooked on it for...I don't know. Two years? Three? I've been responsible with it, though. I can go an entire two weeks without having to get my fix." I fell silent, waiting with baited breath to see how Karr would react to my story.