(Note: this takes place around the time the rest of the team was staking out the Second Syndicate arms shipment)
The scene: the dimly-lit basement of the Lemp Brewery. A young boy, perhaps twelve years old, sits at rickety desk, writing feverishly on a piece of paper. From out of the shadows, a familiar orange and yellow-garbed figure approaches, clutching something in his right hand.
"And... pencils up! Alright, let's see how you did, Leon." Contained looks down at the boy approvingly. "Here, I made you some cocoa." A chipped mug rests in the palm of Contained's hand, a faint greenish glow peeking out from underneath as steam rises from it.
"Ah, shit," the boy rolls his eyes. "Don't be usin' that green shit on my cocoa! You're gonna turn it radioactive or some shit!"
"Hey!" Contained snaps back. "What did I tell you about that cursing?"
"What's the big deal?" Leon asks. "Everybody talks like that."
"Well, you're not EVERYbody, son.... you're a SOMEbody. And besides, you're smarter than that. You know every well: exposing something to radiation doesn't make something radioactive..."
"I know, I know," the boy sighs, then begins imitating Contained's monotone. "'It won't make it radioactive any more than eating a flame-broiled hamburger will make someone burst into flames!'" The boy flashes a smile as he takes the mug. "I was just messin' with ya. Thanks, Space Man..."
Contained picks a pen up from the desk and begins to correct Leon's test. A few minutes later, he sets the paper down, a large "A" emblazoned on the top.
"Outstanding," Contained says, giving the boy a thumbs-up. "I told you, you're a natural at algebra."
"OK. Now can I?" Leon asks hopefully.
"In a minute, Leon." Contained pulls an empty barrel up to the desk and sits down. "I want to talk with you for a minute about something."
Contained pauses for a moment. "Look, Leon. This experiment I'm going to go through... if it works, a lot of things are going to change around here."
"Well, for one thing, I'm going to be human again. And I may not have any powers any more. And I don't think I'm going to be able to stay here at the brewery either. I mean, it was one thing when I looked like this, and I didn't have a choice; but now..."
A look of comprehension, then sorrow comes over Leon's face. His voice is barely above a whisper. "Oh. I understand. It's cool." The boy turns away.
Contained reaches out to put his hand on the boy's shoulder. "No, no, no! It's not like that, Leon—that's not what I meant at all! You guys have been like a family to me—you and Curtis, and Paolo, and Dee and... Reg... you all took me in, when anybody else would've turned and ran! I can't forget that, and I couldn't turn my back on you all now." Contained pauses a moment. "I'm being given a second chance; and I'm going to see to it that you—my friends get that same chance... and that's a promise."
"What I'm saying is," he continues, "whatever happens next, wherever I end up, you're welcome to come with me... if you want to, that is."
Leon wipes his eyes. "Really? You mean it?"
Contained ruffles the boy's hair. "I mean it. No more living on the streets. No more foster homes. If I'm coming up, I'm taking all of you guys with me."
"And now," Contained says, reaching into his belt pouch, "I seem to remember that I promised someone a special reward for passing his math test; and I think I've finally got that X-Box we found in the dumpster all patched up. Which did you want to try first," Contained asks, holding a couple of battered CD jewel cases, "NBA All-Stars 2007, or Cyborg Shoot-Out 3?"
(Scene fades to the sound of video game sound effects...)
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