12512 ; 5 years into Miles Yuu and Kate Thiers' marriage. The two had been born and raised in District 17, and had met and settled in District 17. Miles had graduated at 16 with a humble diploma in marketing, though he'd been working since age 12, as the cashier of a local greengrocer's. Its clients found him sweet and agreeable, a friendly and attentionate kid ; their ego would’ve likely been scratched, had they known he forced himself to write down and revise each of the regulars' names like a lesson, to give himself the air of a deserving employee. Kate was the youngest daughter of a disinherited family that had once had the funds to live in the higher class suburban areas of District 4 ; their fortune lost in gambling and favors, they’d fled to D17, cut all their past contacts and had a new child, by the name of Kate, that they could dump all of their spite and frustrations onto. Not to let it get her down, Kate had taken her difficult situation in stride, coupled with her parents' intricate knowledge of social conduct and manipulation, to land herself in a mediocre position as public relations manager of a stationary company whose name changed every three month in the vain hope of gaining some relevancy.
The two had met one another at a meaningless buffet between neighbours. While their faux extroversion worked just fine amidst a crowd of actually social people, conversing with one another, they’d understood they were of the same breed. If they’d had a truly amorous period in their relationship, it had likely been short ; ultimately, their personalities hadn't allowed for it. Not because they were cold or didn't want to have fun ; but because their sense of priorities, earned from a short and compromised childhood, had urged them to marry, find a home, and lastly, have a child.
Catherine was born to a household that loved and wanted the best for her ; the best out of her. Mr. and Ms. Yuu knew best what was best ; and expected the same from her in return.
She had round, puffed out cheeks, decorated with symmetrical freckles - her mother’s. Toffee-brown skin and hazel hair, that would darken to a wooden, warm brown as she got older. Her big, watery eyes looked almost fake ; not only due to their size and adorable round shape, but because her iris were a dissionant, watered down grey, that would've looked dead on anyone else, but still conveyed a deep, intense emotion on the young girl. She stumbled around on her unbalanced legs, already thicker around her hips in her youth, and growing to a proper pear shape in her adolescence. As a toddler, she often extended her arms in a T to balance herself ; her pointed, elongated ear seemed to extend the same way, little round wings framing her rotund head. Her big, fluffy eyebrows always gave her a worried expression, even with her big old smile. While Kate and Miles' plastic smiles were usually convincing, they lost all their luster next to sheer shine of their daughter's childishly honest expressions - though she also made them laugh quite a bit, more than they usually did.
Having themselves grown up in a difficult environment, they’d worked day and night all their lives to bridge the gap, rid themselves of inherited reputations and tend towards higher standards. They’d learnt the hard way what society did and did not favour ; the behaviours that did or did not help one stand out. Rich of their experience, they wanted to spare their daughter the mistakes of their own youth by ensuring that she would never make a mistake. The difference between Catherine and her parents, was that they'd learnt these things of their own resort, because that was the kind of people they were, not through parental enforcement. Their daughter was not so fortunate. She was soft and sensible. Their demands would have been tough on any young child ; but Catherine was mentally frail from birth, and took every single remark to heart, berating herself even more than they did. She needed to be a good girl. She needed to be a smart girl. She needed to be perfect. That was why she was alive. If she wasn’t perfect, then... Despite their good intentions, Mr. and Ms. Yuu had a poor grasp of parenting.
Their methods were not only mentally straining on the girl, but counterproductive too. They always reminded her of how important it was to be polite, and empathetic, and clear, and direct, and careful, and charismatic, and reserved, and attentive with others ; so much so, that Catherine would either avoid other kids entirely to save herself the headache, or freeze up with anxiety, knowing she'd never the exact thing to say, or talk too much, or not enough. Her forcibly timid behaviour would only become more and more disadvantageous the older she grew, and her parents became worried. They critiqued her all the more, urged her to hang out with kids her age - all of which only worsened things.
And so the cycle repeated itself. She had no friends, and no hobbies : pretty much anything she did ended similarly - the stress of sports only worsened her health, gave her fevers and heart problems. Creative activities threw her into a fit of frustration, unable to translate thought to paper. Anything that wasn’t work or chores felt like a waste of time - like she was a disappointment.
She passed off as just shy, clumsy - an average little girl who'd grow out of it with age, likely learning to settle for the same socially acceptable disguise as her parents. But there was nothing 'shy' or 'little' about her behaviour ; she wasn’t afraid of others or ignorant of how the world worked, much to the contrary. Though her childhood was barely any better than her parents', they'd made her abundantly aware of how important it was for her to have a constructive, positive, balanced childhood if she wanted to make it to adulthood at all. Yet, none of the other kids seemed to care. And soon, she assumed it was her fault ; she was born a failure, hence she needed to work all the harder. Catherine was nothing but envious of children her age, who lived carefreely and were blind to her distress.
Envy begun to plague her every thought. She hated it She wasn’t supposed to feel that way about other people. Her parents had told her that too ; it's easier to be nice to people if you genuinely like them. Or so they figured - bitter as they were, they had no idea. Selfishness, egotism spite ; they were all looked down upon by society, compromised bonds, led to crime. She repeated those words in her head with only a surface understanding of their meaning. She had to be moral, empathetic, understanding of others, never put yourself above them, but don't be a doormat, stand your ground when needed, be aware of others intentions, this and that and that and this - she knew it all. She knew who she was supposed to be, what she was supposed to do. But she couldn’t.
Kids her age pissed her off. They were stupid and selfish and forgot their own words. They liked weird glass pebbles and wasting their pens by filling up entire pages with scribbles. They talked behind each others' back like her parents with the neighbours. And they all knew much better than her how to fit in, without even trying. Ultimately, she was Catherine. She was flawed. And she hated every second of it.
Catherine had an ability, developed at age three ; temperature manipulation. The Yuus didn't care so much about what she did with her life, just how she went about achieving it - they were relatively open when it came to her career choice. (Though given how she'd been raised, she'd likely have just asked them their opinion anyway.) However, having an ability made the choice easy : heroism.
Kate and Miles let her attend hero school - not only that, a boarding hero school, hoping it would help with her sheltered habits. Although it'd mean she would be harder for them to tutor, it would force her out of her shell.
In a way, it did. Now that she was faced with them every single day, her envy of people her age worsened, and got more pronounced, more specific, personal. Everytime another kid got the seat she wanted, a compliment from a teacher, a slightly better grade, had more friends, was picked even for the most irrelevant of reasons, she noticed, and she remembered it. Not their name, sometimes their face, but the day, the act, the feeling she always got. It further clogged up her mind and stopped her from focusing on school - and more importantly, on her ability. She didn't know how to use it at all.
Instead, her temperature manipulation manifested in bouts, based on her mood, betraying her hypocrisy, her constant mood swings, her utter mess of a mental state. And while her meek, round, puffy face and panicked gestures invoked pity and sympathy from teachers and older classmates, her tendency to melt, burn, freeze or even blow up through temperature shock random objects across the classrooms, be they school supplies, furniture or clothes did not.
Catherine Yuu was not only written off as troublesome, she would constantly be graded C - the lowest possible grade. The girl no longer slept full nights, desperate to learn how to control her ability, and crying whenever her parents would call to berate her, even when their tone was more worried and caring than harsh.