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I Was Not Ender’s Shadow, I Was His Best Friend

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Ender Wiggin. The name that strikes fear, jealousy, and admiration into every being's heart. Except me.

Yes, I had admiration for Ender, but never fear or jealousy. I also, to this day, had another feeling for Ender that not many had. Love.

Yes many said they loved Ender, but who truly meant it?

His parents and sister? Of course. His jeesh? Well they were very devoted to Ender, and I am sure they loved him. His Brother? Possibly, though he never admitted it. Why else would he not allow Ender to come home after his victory over the buggers? He protected Ender because he loved him.

At least it seemed that way when the kidnapping started. We now know he couldn't have possibly lived a normal life on Earth.

I know that I truly loved Ender and that I still do. I love Ender in a way that no one could possibly love him.

Everyone thought Ender a monster or some non human creature at some point. I'm sure that even Valentine thought him a monster some time or other, but I never did.

Maybe it's because I was with Ender more than anyone else.

I grew up with him, though our child hood was short. We went to Battle School together for far too short a time. I was in an army with him, for awhile, before he had his own army and I was his second in command. I was even a commander against him for a short time.

They finally separated us for our training. I stayed with the jeesh, and Ender, sweet Ender, was isolated. He wasn't the same after that. They broke him.

I knew as soon as I heard his voice in our training sessions, even though I couldn't see him, that he had changed. I knew by his tone of depression and his cold actions, however small, that they had broken him.

But I couldn't do anything about it, no one could. We were playing their war games as they broke us one by one. We didn't have the capacity to also worry about Ender. I wasn't allowed to ever see Ender; I wasn't allowed to talk to Ender. He was kept completely alone during our time on Eros.

And so I blame myself for Ender's change.

For him thinking he was a monster and then believing it, for him having no friends and left to the nightmares of his childhood. I blame myself for everything that happened to Ender once we were separated, even though I know it was a plan.

Graff and the other adults kept the jeesh together. We improved together; we were each other's strength. We relied and depended on each other. With Ender as our commander we thrived, but they kept him out of our reach. And then they ripped us away from each other.

When I finally saw Ender, after the final battle, he was different.

Alai first tried to wake him, and Ender instinctively tried to hurt him. We all talked to him, told him how the adults said he was crazy, how we said they were crazy. He hugged Bean and Petra, the ones standing closest to him, and cried. Petra tried to comfort him until he released them. I didn't like the look on his face.

I stepped forward and tried to place my hand on his shoulder, but he smacked it away. I had been amazed at his strength. As I cradled my hand and looked up at Ender he was glaring at me. His eyes had such a ferocity they made me back away.

"Ender?" I had asked. His glare hardened. "Ender what's wrong?" It was then that he lashed out at me.

"What's wrong? What's wrong!? I just whipped out a whole race. I committed a genocide! I just killed a defenseless planet and you're asking me what's wrong!" He yelled pushing me away, but I stood my ground.

"Ender they weren't defenseless. They had star ships with loaded weapons just as we did. They out numbered us a thousand to one and we did what we had to do to survive." I felt sick as I spit back the rehearsed bullshit the adults had fed us. Had I started to believe it?

There was a new fire in his eyes, one that I couldn't describe. But I knew I had seen that fire before. That anger.

In his brother Peter.

Ender grabbed my shoulders and gripped them hard. I tried to calm myself and not be afraid of him. There would be a bruise waiting for me tomorrow.

"You don't get it! You don't and you never will! You're just like Graff and Mazer! You're just a stupid, selfish, intolerable, little girl!"

With that he shove me hard against the wall. My back had hit something metal that made me cry out as I landed on the ground. I could feel the blood on my back from whatever I hit. Groaning in pain I looked up at Ender.

I knew the look in my eyes must have been heart breaking because his expression softened in a second. His face dropped as he looked at my crumpled form on the floor, still cradling my hand, crying silently. No one made a move or a sound. I think they were afraid he would actually hit me, but his eyes were wide and apologetic as he walked slowly towards me.

"Tori...I didn't know I would never...I'm sorry...I just..."

I cowered closer to the wall, away from him, he stopped. I could see tears in his eyes and I knew at that moment, even though I was backing away, I didn't think Ender a monster. With a final fleeting look in my direction Ender turned and ran off.

That was the last time I saw Ender, because I was one of the first to leave. I didn't know till days later, that Ender would not be returning to Earth with the rest of us. I would never see Ender again.