I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. “Here you will be Leo. Here everything will work out. Leo, you idiot, this is the chance of a lifetime, if you don’t get on this you will lose your life’s purpose. Do it!” In order to conjure up enough confidence from the depths of my cowardly self I thought of all the times I had been called Ella. I finally felt that familiar tug at my heart and put on the headset. I knew my body would be teleported to wherever, so I wasn’t worried about standing up in the middle of my tiny room. I felt my body almost disappear as I was teleported into the game.
“Welcome to Neverland. Please make your profile.” I heard a voice before a screen popped up in front of my face. “Too close,” I murmured and pushed it back. “Please create a username,” the phantom voice said. I fiddled with the keyboard before fixing my perfect username. The one I had always used for everything, Le0_r0cks. It wasn’t much, but knowing people, my name would be shortened to just Leo, and Leo was all I would ever want to be called. I had wanted to change my name from Ella to Leo for a year now, although even now after a year people wouldn’t take my requests seriously. ‘I’m too young to understand what I’m talking about’ was usually their response. Even if I was born in a girl’s body, I wasn’t necessarily a girl. Or a boy. I shook myself out of my head and back to the profile. My character looked just like my drawings of Leo from when I was little, and it was perfect. I entered my age and was assigned a team. “Red Team” My ratty gray sweatshirt turned a bright shade of red. “Well, at least I kept my hat,” I sighed. My hat was the one thing I had kept from the real world. My friend Nat had given it to me so I could hide my hair without looking odd. Even after I cut my hair I wore it all the time.
I looked down at my hands. They were perfect. I looked at myself and the character model and felt like screaming. I looked like a boy. I looked like Alex. I had no memory of life before the game, just feelings. I knew my name was Ami, though I would change it to Alex within seconds. That was why I made my username Alex_1. The first Alex. the best one, too. As I vaporized into the line I noticed I didn’t have anything red on like everyone else. Someone with the username Le0_r0cks tore me off a piece of… “They/them.” They stated. “I’m Leo, and my pronouns are they and them and stuff.” I felt my heart skip a beat as I realized I wasn’t the only gender non-conforming kid here. I was a little confused about why everyone else was a kid too. Ignoring the creeping feeling of dread, I took the torn piece of sweatshirt they offered me and tied the red fabric around my left arm. As I went to line up with everyone else I tripped over the air and fell into Leo’s arms. They helped me get into the line. I stuck out my arm like an idiot and Leo shook my hand. “Well, uh... Yeah, I’m Alex. that was kinda awkward, sorry.” Leo laughed the most beautiful laugh I have ever heard. “Yeah, you were kinda an idiot.” I felt like I had to have a comeback, but I was an idiot so I just spouted nonsense. “Takes one to know one.” Leo laughed and a guy dressed in all red clothing came out and barked at us to “shut yer yaps!” He had on red workout pants, a red athletic T-shirt, and had a red whistle. “Alright, you youngsters! Welcome to Neverland. It ain’t paradise, but it’s close as yer gonna get!” I grimaced and realized I had emotions turned on. Going into settings, I turned off facial expressions. “Better safe than sorry,” I whispered, but I knew I would miss being open and normal. Open? Normal?! My conscience screamed You have never told the truth to anyone in your life! You’re just lying to Leo like you do everyone else. And you will toss them aside and betray them like Lucas, like Mum and Pa. Remember Mum? Remember how Pa desperately tried to save her from you? I regretted that day, one of the few memories I had access to. I’ll make up for it, I decided. I would be truthful to Leo and they would hate me but it would be okay. It would be better than burning them down with everyone else I loved. I looked down at my hand, which had just created another small flame. “Shoot,” I murmured, hoping nobody noticed. I closed my hand and extinguished the flame. I had tried to make it disappear when I went into Neverland, but that was one of the few things it couldn’t do. Something was up about this place.
- Author's Note!!!!! Please Don't Skip!!!!!! -
Okay, so this series is something I've been wanting to do, but it's also something I'm doing for fun and for myself. So I won't have a regular update schedule and the updates will be varying length. I've wanted to publish this for over a year now, but I'm still learning, and my work will not be professional quality. I can't wait to start this journey with you guys!!!