Magic. It was, really, very disturbing. Brion grew up believing, as did most people, that it was something possessed only by those who were strange at best and insane or depraved at worst.
It turned out he was very wrong about that, in so many ways.
At the age of 17, fairly late as far as these things go, Brion discovered he was one of the unlucky people born with magic as a part of his very being. The way he discovered that he possessed magic - or, perhaps, that magic possessed him - still haunted his dreams, even five years later.
But to understand the situation that lead to Brion discovering the magic that lived within him, first one would have to know something about his background up to that point.
Now, Brion didn't exactly have the best of childhoods. His father died only a month before he was born, the victim of a random murder late one night. His mother never quite recovered from that loss, and ended up finding solace in the bottle. Eventually, after a string of ever worsening boyfriends, she remarried to a man willing to support her - and, reluctantly, her adolescent son. It worked for them, in a twisted, sad sort of way. Both drank heavily and regularly. Each enabled the other, and were blind to most everything else.
Brion’s step-father had two qualities that made him memorable to those who knew him: he was intolerant of anything he didn't understand, and he expected those around him to fit into his life in the ways he believed they should regardless of their own feelings on the matter. He made life for Brion - who was a quiet, intelligent, studious boy and everything his step-father despised - utter hell. But, Brion endured it well enough.
Life went on like this for years. But, slowly, things started to change. Brion’s mother became more and more withdrawn. Brion’s step-father became increasingly impatient with Brion, sometimes even downright cruel toward him as he moved from childhood into the bewildering phase of being a teenager.
The day Brion took his SAT test, part of his eager preparations for college, he was out all day. He'd been talked into celebrating after the test with his small study group - the closest he'd had to friends, though he didn't really think about it that way - and was out far later than head intended to be. When he got home that evening, Brion was buzzed on the pleasure of his day out, of the certainty that he’d done well on the test, and that his life was going well despite his problems at home.
Within moments of stepping through the front door of the little house he called home, his world came crashing down.
Brion’s mother lay crumpled into a heap on the floor of the living room. He might have even thought she was passed out - it certainly wouldn’t have been the first time - except for the blood that coated her swollen face. Another good indicator that this wasn’t a normal thing was his step-father, standing in the doorway between the living room and the kitchen, staring at Brion with rage seething on his face and burning in his eyes.
“This is your fault, boy.” The words were bitten out in a harsh voice, filled with contempt and blame. “You see what you made me do? She’s dead.”
Brion would have a hard time talking about what came next, though he could still see it when he closed his eyes sometimes, and he remembered every detail vividly, with perfect, unrelenting clarity.
The air around him crackled, sparks forming in mid-air before dissipating. The air smelled like a storm coming in, the electricity in the air so heavy it could be tasted. Power coursed through him, familiar and welcome, though he was certain it was nothing he’d ever felt before.
Brion was no longer afraid of his step-father. (The fear would come back later, for different reasons, and would never really leave him.)
“No.” The single word was barely more than a low growl, animalistic and born of instinct and grief and something that had been pent up within him for far, far too long. Something that, by those same instincts, he let free, directing it to take his revenge against the man that had made his life hell.
Lightning ripped through the small room, born from Brion himself, born from the very air, from seeming nothing. Lightning struck Brion’s step-father over and over and over again in blinding flashes, until nothing was left but a charred husk smoking on the floor. When it was over, Brion stood, shaking, trembling, trying to grasp what had happened.
It was only when he realized the house itself had caught fire in the onslaught that he stirred from his shocked staring to move. The realization hit him then, too; he had killed someone, and his mother was dead. Everything was burning.
Brion ran. Terrified, confused, filled with guilt - Brion ran.
In some ways, despite being saved by Ash, despite five years having passed, he was running still.
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