This is my first team fortress fan fic, and so I am excited. Only going to say this once, I don't own Team Fortress 2.
This is a Pyro origin story. Pyro is a female, but if you don't like that, you could easily see it as male. Gender is rarely referenced.
Keep in mind this is in a 50s-60s period in a trashy outside New York area.
~If you're going to play with fire, you're going to get burned.
As a kid, I dreamed I was a dragon. A mighty beast that breathed fire and with every step it took, the earth shook as though it was an earthquake. I dreamed I was a as tall as a skyscraper, towering above all and everyone that ever hurt me, everyone that ever doubted me.
Anyone that would try to get in my way I could send away aflame, and every roadblock in my path I could simply step over or obliterate. I took bites out of the clouds and spat them out hurricanes. I was a ferocious monster and I loved it.
The way I saw it at first, I didn't play with fire, it played with me. It chose me to be the beast and I had no objections.
I created fire storms. I made hell. I set fire to the very earth I walked on. The dream always ended with myself drowning in my own inferno, every time it simply ate me up as if I were paper and turned me to nothing but ashes and bones. The fire reduced to embers and smoke till it smoldered out and the people cheered over what was left of my charred body.
It was never a happy dream, but I liked it anyway.
And then I'd wake up.
~Fire is the most tolerable third party.
~Henry David Thoreau.
At every age I had a fascination with it, a beautiful flame that dies just as quickly as it destroys, and by eleven I already carried no less than four lighters in my pocket. My favorite joke was when someone would ask me if I had a light.
I'd just give them a quizzical look and present one of my zippos from the depths of my pockets, each one with a different engraving and a different model. They never noticed the details though, nor do they take the time to admire the flame.
Pfft, amateurs, the lot of them.
Lighters weren't the only thing I had. In my dresser drawer I hid my matches and in the back yard I built my fire pit. Every time I used either I got sideways looks, but I usually got those anyway and could almost always brush them off, others not so much but that hardly matters now.
I burned all sorts of stuff in my fire pit. Big things, little things, even dead things. Every summer night I piled it high with trash and doused with with lighter fluid and watched it burn for hours. I watched the way the orange danced. I imagined the kids' at school in the fire, and if I listened hard enough, through the crackles I would swear I could hear them taking back every word of insult they throw at me and replacing them with apologies.
No more chink. No more freak. No more witch.
At this point I realized I was guilty of playing with fire.
On the nights I couldn't use my fire pit I would usually fair fine. I could live without it. But then there were the nights that I absolutely needed to burn something and couldn't. That ate me up. When flicking my wrist around the lighter and burning all the matches in the house weren't enough to forget my problems and fears is when I thought truly violent thoughts.
Thoughts like what to do to that stupid fourteen year old boy who thought comparing me to squinty eyed pigs was funny. Thoughts like what to do with the twelve year old girl who gave me funny looks for not being like her. Thoughts like what to do with the old man in the candy shop who wouldn't sell to me because he thought I was some kid of a Japanese spy.
I had nights like that a lot more than most knew. Nights like that, that's when I'd dream of dragons.
After expressing this to my parents, they took me to see some kind of doctor. He smiles are as fake as his wig and his questions seemed off topic and accusing.
When seeing this doctor is when I was first presented with the term 'pyromaniac.' Had a nice ring to it.
~You don't drown by falling in the water; you drown by staying there.
~Edwin Louis Cole
At age thirteen I had been in more fist fights then churches. I didn't look for them, but I certainly didn't avoid them. As long as the other kid through the first punch it wasn't like I jumped them, as many assumed. I was told it was unladylike a thousand times, I was told it was improper a thousand more times, but only the first few times when my mother told me did I really give a damn.
Eventually it just grew old and I blocked out her voice.
I was fumbling with my lighter when they came to me. I had a cigarette in-between my lips (yes I smoked) and a couple of of gum packets in my hands, I'm going to assume that's what they wanted, or maybe I simply pissed them off. There was six of them in total, all older and taller, which is no surprise cause I was never very tall.
I offered them either a piece of gum or a cig because even thirteen year old me knew that handling the six of them alone wasn't something I could do.
The bastards jumped me. One held each arm and another socked me in the gut a few times. I must've picked a fight with at least a couple of them before hand because they had some anger to unleash on me. I absorbed blow after blow but I knew they were holding back. Every fourteen year old boy could hit harder than that.
When I was able to pry an arm free and swing my fist one of their heads is when they got mad. I hit a familiar red head square in the jaw and everybody fell silent as he hit the ground clutching his face as if that would keep the blood in his skull. He screamed something horrible, shouting profanities I hadn't had the chance to use yet. He withered in pain in the dirt.
I might've felt genuinely bad. I might've even felt sorry, but I might also have been patting myself on the back for such a good hit, one that would leave purple bruises on my knuckles for weeks. Good bruises.
"You little shit, yo 'little piece of-" The rest of what he said was to mumbled to make sense. He then gurgles over blood and spit in a way that makes me believe he lost a few teeth.
I learned I should've just taken the beating because now they planned to do more than just take my stuff. I struggled to even hold my feet on the ground as two of the stronger ones hauled me off with grips of iron around my arms. The other boy was yet to get up and one kid decided to staying with them.
I would've given anything for another fifty pounds or another six inches, any size would have helped.
"Ya little shit, ya real jacked up Thomas face."
I spat at him. "Fuckers."
Down by the reservoir is where I was thrown down. A black boy took my shoes and another kicked me with his own, the leather making indents in my skin. If I just had the chance to get up, I would've had a chance to defend myself.
They thew me in the water.
I got out.
They threw me back in.
I got out.
They threw me back in.
And the process repeated for hours till I finally just sank.
I wasn't a mighty dragon. I wasn't a witch as I was accused to be. I wasn't nearly as bulletproof as I had led myself to believe.
They weren't trying to kill me, not really, they just wanted to cause me pain, and so when the hour was long past dinner time and when I finally grew tired of trying to get out and let myself sink to the bottom, they left. I would've done the same, I didn't want to be part of some fucking murder.
The water rushed through my nose and mouth and down my throat, filling me up like a water balloon. Drowning is a far more painful death than most realize, and within seconds I was squirming like a useless rat to reach the surface. My foot was stuck under what felt like a tire.
I tried and tried to pry myself loose and float to the top, but I only exhausted myself further.
Then I dreamt of dragons and fire, of burning cities and scaly beasts. I dreamt of being able to play with all the fire I wanted and I dreamt my parents were watching and playing with me.
As if, but a sucker can dream, right?
I woke in a hospital bed the next morning. Turns out some Boston kids (visiting New York for what reason?) saw what happened and pulled me out in time. I didn't get a chance to meet them if they were even real, and even if I did I wouldn't have remembered their names, but I was thankful.
I can still feel the water soaking through my skin. The liquid bursting through to my lungs. No matter how dry I was I still felt saturated, and I couldn't shake the feeling because there are no matches available to teenagers in a hospital.
And the food is terrible, if i had a choice, that would be the first to go up in smoke.
I had visitors soon, and they brought no matches. This was one of the few times I didn't have a lighter and so my hands itched for the glossy metal of a zippo. I asked my dad if he had brought one and he looked at me as if I had grown another head.
I shrugged. Pyromaniac problems, I suppose he wouldn't understand. No one does.
My parents told me they were happy I was okay, that they loved me, and for the next week they paid me more attention than they had in years before I shut them out again.
The night I was released I went home and burned as much shit I could get a hold of in my fire pit. I pretended that the searing flames eating away at the trash was actually the charred bodies of those boys, bloody and beaten.
Only I couldn't hear them apologize in the crackling, only screaming. That suited me just fine, but this time I didn't tell my parents about it, any of it. They thought it was weird enough and with any more they might just through me in an insane asylum.
From then on when I dreamed, I had dreams of drowning too.
Next chapter should be soon. Please review. I'm sorry if this is slow, but in a Pyro origins story so I need to get the origins down. Have a nice day.
Oh, and one question, does the Pyro seem fucked up enough as a kid? Is this over kill, or just fine?