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“I’m angry, because... because...” Leo stood to his feet and began pacing. “Because... because I’m tired of people telling me to leave. And I thought you were different. More zen, like I wanna be. But... but...”
“I am different,” said Roman. “I am so different. You wouldn’t even believe how--”
“Shut up. That’s not the point, man. You’re not the problem.”
“Nah, man. It’s something else... It’s me.” He stopped and buried his face in his hands. “Why have I been here so long? What have I been doing?” He turned to Roman with wide eyes. “Why didn’t I want to leave this place all this time?”
It looked like Leo wanted him to answer, so Roman tried his best. “I... just thought you were some kind of a shut-in by nature.”
“No. No, no. This isn’t right at all, man.” Leo stopped to lean on his desk for support, having apparently become dizzy. “How long have I been here, man?”
That, Roman definitely didn’t know the answer to.
“It’s been...” Leo steadied himself and shook his head. “Years. Ever since that guy was here... I’ve been... completely...”
“That guy,” Leo repeated, more to himself than to Roman, seemingly. “Did he do somethin’ to me? Yeah. Yeah! He must’ve. That was the last time I got angry. And ever since then, I’ve just been... Oh, that bastard.”
“What bastard are you talking about?”
“He didn’t give his name. And his face--I can’t even remember it clearly... Did he do that, too?”
Roman frowned. “Hold on a second. You’re telling me, some mysterious man showed up here at a Lava Base years ago and brainwashed you?”
“Nah, man, not brainwashed... but... I dunno. He messed with my head, somehow. Made me... complacent. Lazy.”
Well, as far as excuses went, that was one Roman hadn’t heard before.