Enlighten Me

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"Sang, what a pleasure to see your name on my phone, what can I do for you?" Dr. Roberts asked on the other end of the phone.

I sat down on my counter and crossed my ankles. There had been a time when I'd thought it was kind of neat that he always seemed to offer to help. When I'd first met him, there had been the assumption that he was just saying it, that he didn't really intend to help with anything.

But as time flew by and I got to know him a little, I realized that he was sincere every single time. He was willing to help anyone, with any problem they thought he might be able to help with- even the ones that they didn't.

"Sorry I haven't called for a few days. I've just been... busy."

I didn't want to get into what I was busy with, because he had a way of pulling information I normally wouldn't share. I called it his 'doctor voice'.

"You're okay, but I assume there was a reason for you calling.. Or did you just miss hearing my voice?" He teased.

I smiled slightly, dropping my head back so that I was looking at the ceiling lights.

"Tell me about the Academy."

There was a pause, and then a short, humorless laugh. "Well that was quick. I knew you'd find out when you were exposed to more members, you're a smart one, but I didn't think you'd put things together quite so quickly. The members who work alongside you were told not to tell you anything about it... but then again, you're a smart little bird."

I closed my eyes. "I put the pieces together. It's an organization, isn't it?"

I could almost envision his eyes twinkling with pride over the conclusion I'd drawn. "Why don't you tell me what you think, and I can fill in the rest."

"Well," I started, wondering just exactly where I should start. "The Academy is an organization that aims to help people- that's its main purpose. Some of the jobs are dangerous," I thought to the boys. The fact that the Academy needed a recovery center period, spoke words of its own. "It's kind of like a school too, but not in the general sense of the word.

"You learn by classes, yes, but also by doing. There's no better training than real life. People within the Academy group together into units of people that they consider family. To be a part of the Academy, you have to want to help people and make a change. You have to put in hard work and get pretty much no acknowledgement other than the handful of people who knew what you did. There isn't an actual building to refer to, The Academy just is.

"I'm not one-hundred percent sure, but I believe the Academy runs on a system of favours and monetary debt, which you do jobs for. There's probably a council of people for when things don't go smoothly, but I don't think that council has any specifically appointed people. The Academy has a code, but for the most part it's random. You have this term... Ghost? It's where.. " I swallowed, "It's what you call people who don't officially exist.. Let's see.."

I paused, holding my breath as I gathered my thoughts. On the other end of the phone, Doctor Roberts was listening silently. When I didn't keep going, he took his opportunity to speak.

"Sang Sorenson, you are the most perceptive young lady I have met to date."

I blushed and sat up straighter at the compliment, eyeing the untouched kitchen sink.

"I'm a ghost aren't I?"

"Indeed."

"But.." I tried to figure out how to word it, without offending him.

He chuckled. "You're wondering, if you're a ghost, and I've spent so much time on you, why haven't I asked you to join, when I know all you want is to help people?"

I bit down on my lower lip and nodded. I felt weird, questioning someone why they didn't see my worth, when I didn't entirely see it myself. A beat later, I gave the verbal confirmation to his guess.

"Well, you know that the Academy is a family of sorts. You have to be able to fall into a group of people- of your choosing of course, because family is a choice, and trust them. You came to me, dark eyed and shaking with nerves over a simple handshake, and I knew you weren't ready at all. You had everything you needed to be able to fit in perfectly, but I wasn't going to force you to find a family when you'd had such a rough experience with your prior one. I wanted you to learn what it felt like for someone to care about you, and for you to care about them.

"If you'd been introduced to the Academy three years ago, I have no doubt in my mind you would have put your own comforts aside to make everyone else happy- to fit in with a family that you weren't comfortable with, just because you thought you had to."

I swallowed and pushed myself off of the counter, pacing the kitchen restlessly.

He was right of course.

"Why did you send me to Shellsea Recovery?"

"Don't pretend as if you don't know the answer to that little bird. You know what you want to do. I've been getting reports from a certain Mr. Blackbourne about his team regarding you. I don't pretend to know what your family put you through, but if you'll give the Blackbourne team a chance, if you'll give the Academy a chance, we can show you what the word family should really feel and look like." 

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