When I first met him, he was curled up on a park bench with his face buried in bruised arms.
He’s like the me back then. I could sense it immediately. I didn’t ask how he got hurt or who had hurt him – I had an inkling, though deep down, I really hoped I was wrong. “Hey...” I reached out my hand, and the boy threw his arms up as a guard and drew away from me with a yelp.
I backed off and looked around. The place was deserted; but that was kind of the point. I had stumbled across this park looking for a secluded spot to teleport back to the A.R.E. My bosses would be ticked at me if I got back late, but I just couldn’t leave the kid alone and looking so vulnerable, especially when it was getting dark. I slowly took a seat beside him on the bench. After a moment, I asked, “Is there anything I can do for you?” and waited for him to an