Two words that didn’t sound like they went together in most scenarios.
A boy who was taught from a young age that his brain was certainly more than just another organ in the body. He was the descendant of a boy in the first hunger games. A rebel hearted boy who became a rebel hearted man in a matter of moments. That’s what Isaac was told as he was growing up.
His father made it a point to put his children to the test, constantly. Even at a young age, Isaac’s willpower was tested to a degree. Sometimes he was given a puzzle to do before he even walked out of his room, and sometimes to get out of his room even. His father wanted to make sure he was as sharp as a blade when it came to his mental endurance.
From what he was told, his part of the family all had big brains to match. His father Isaiah made sure that was known, whether it was in quick sermons over breakfast, or extended parlays through the course of the day leading into lunch. Their home was a library in more ways than one, each room adorned with a bookshelf that was dedicated to one subject each.
Isaac never understood how his father could afford the amount of books that were contained in the walls of a so-called sanctuary. Hallowed halls that were respected with the utmost grace and compassion. Isaac always had to be careful where he stepped, unless he wanted to be drenched in knowledge that he didn’t ask for at the moment.
A book was always placed into his hands, and he was instructed that he had to finish it front to back by the end of the day. Even if he didn’t fully comprehend that subject matter of the book, his task would always remain the same. If he didn’t, he would be given another that was even more complicated than the last, and then told he had to finish both by the next day. Isaac learned after the first couple times that his father was serious about his learning, and he was not afraid to push him past the point of breaking.
Isaiah Le Roux could be called heartless, but Isaac never thought that about him.
He grew to love it, just as much as he loved his career training when that started. Most of the subjects that he had read about had to do with the human body in some facet. Whether it be where pressure points were or the amount of force needed to break a nose in one clean motion. Combining his knowledge with practical tactics made things come faster than his counterparts.
He had always been teased for being the odd boy who had a book in his hand rather than a weapon. Children of parents who had never gotten a taste of what the games were like, Isaac was different in that respect. Born from a woman who married a man of a man of a man that had been in the very first games. It was simple to say that they were jealous.
There were days where they teased him, told him that he should put down the book and show them what he could really do. They would lift sacks of bricks over their heads like it was nothing, like they were trying to prove that their brawn could match to his intellect. They’d corner him at any chance they got to try to tease him, but when they were on the training grounds, it was always a different story. They’d take one step towards him and he would have them on the ground in seconds.
Isaac had a tally count in his room of how many noses he had broken since he was enrolled in career training. On a good day he had two, on a bad day, he would lose count.
They eventually stopped messing with him as soon as he asserted his skill on the battlefield, but every year, a new crop of kids would show up, and it would always be the same thing over and over. He would be provoked in the halls, they would get into class and Isaac would displace their nose in five seconds flat. Some of them proved to be more of a challenge, knowing to keep their distance and evading his usual signature move.
He knew it was a good thing, because that meant they were learning. Isaac Le Roux was no teacher, but he was the spitting image of his father. Everyone would learn one way or another after all.
It didn’t change anything when he caught their blow and flipped them on the side. Isaac calculated the next move in his head and struck under their hands for their stomach. Everything was an if and then equation in his head. Did this happen? If so do this, and if not, then do that. It came easy for him, but others couldn’t keep up with him. That’s how he differentiated himself from the rest of the children pining to get a taste of what the games were like.
And even now, watching Ridley, a cousin of his in the games, he knew that she was doing the name proud. They would show the world that they were not afraid of anything, that they thought of every mathematical equation and outcome and would find a way around it.
Isaac Le Roux was not the boy to be trifled with.
A ticking time bomb already exploded, his body shrapnel that already struck.