Leah: A Long Walk Home

Leah continued to stomp towards her home. She desperately wanted to turn around and scream out Monroe's name. Beg him to help. Talk his ear off until he knew everything she was going through. She wiped at the tears streaming down her face, knowing damn well that speaking up about everything wasn't an option.

The walk home was long and lonely. An echo of her path through life up until that moment. Long and lonely. Exhausting. She thought about the words that scrolled before her eyes. They had referred to Damien as an 'important asset'. Something to be manipulated on a whim, should the situation require it. She folded her arms across her chest as a breeze blew through. Whoever was on the other side of her eye had another thing coming if they thought this was who she was. Who she would become. Who she would let them turn her into. She sniffed hard and used the sleeve of her jacket to wipe her face dry, her resolve etched into her features. She would figure it out. She was strong. She would fix it.

Her mind raced for answers, searching for ways to get a message out to someone. A way to inform the people closest to her of what was going on. How much surveillance did they have on her? What would they do if they caught her reaching out for help? The short video feed they had sent replayed in her mind. Thermal imaging of her house. Of her father. No, she would have to figure it out on her own. She couldn't risk her father's life. Or... Monroe's? He had been kind to her. It was something she wasn't used to. He deserved better than to be dragged into her problems.

She shifted off to the side of the road as her house came into view. She wasn't ready to go in. Her father always knew when she was upset, it was like some supernatural ability he possessed. And people thought biotics were the mind readers. She skirted around her house to the small table and bench out back and took a seat, tossing her bag atop the table. She felt rooted in place. Heavy. She held her head in her hands and exhaled deeply.

As her mind sorted through the labyrinth of hell she had been navigating, she couldn't stop her thoughts from drifting back to Monroe. To the kiss. She didn't have many memories that allowed her to associate her biotics with a positive reaction. Violence? Sure. Ridicule? Absolutely. Fear? In spades. But a kiss? That was a new one. She couldn't help but smile in spite of everything else. Sure, he made it quite apparent that he was interested in her, but so had many guys in the past. He was the first to pass the test. He didn't run when she displayed her abilities. He didn't look at her like she was some kind of freak. He just... laughed. Laughed and kissed her.

Despite what the galaxy had thought of her, Leah's parents always told her that what she had was a beautiful gift. Not a curse. Not a burden. Not something to be feared, hunted and locked away. Beautiful. They warned her that some may not be able to understand it. The galaxy was filled with narrow minded individuals and it may push them to fear her. To say hurtful things, do hurtful things. But she couldn't hate them for that. She was raised to be better than that. To maintain her composure. Push it all down and keep moving forward, no matter how much it hurt. Leah's parents' words and the morals they attempted to instill in her were important to her. But if she was honest with herself, she never really felt that beauty they talked about so much. Never felt accepted for who she really was. For what she could do. Not until now.

Leah reached up, touching the area just below her eye. It wouldn't stop her. It couldn't. She had been through far too much to give up now. And this time, when she came out of yet another uphill battle, she actually had something on the other side worth fighting for. She briefly, for the first time in as long as she could remember, entertained the idea of being able to just... stop pushing forward and start living. She would persevere.

She used the bottom of her shirt to wipe at her face once more and scooped the bag back up. She forced a smile, just as she had done so many times throughout life, and stepped through the front door.

"I'm hooooome!" she called out loudly, "I brought you some burgers! Get in here before I eat 'em!"