Author: Patriot-of-USA PM
"You may not have wanted me father…" but yet he desperately needed her. John aka Delta has reflections on Eleanor and what she is to him. Meanwhile, he heals the scars of twenty years.Rated: Fiction T - English - Family/Hurt/Comfort - Delta & Eleanor L. - Words: 6,499 - Reviews: 18 - Favs: 48 - Follows: 5 - Published: 03-05-10 - Status: Complete - id: 5793540
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
You don't choose your family. They are God's gift to you, as you are to them.
– Desmond Tutu
Ameliorate: (verb); To amend, to relieve, to stitch the wound.
For the first time in twenty years, he tasted fresh air. He inhaled it like he would never taste it again.
For the first time in twenty years, he was above the water. He felt the sun, he heard seagulls cry, and he could see the sky.
He propped himself up, leaning against the escaped pod's dome window. The large diver's helmet that had encased his head for so long now was held in his hands. He set it to rest on the platform beside him.
He reached to the sky with his left hand, as if trying to grasp the bright orange clouds. The day he had walked into already had come to an end. The sun was bidding its final farewell, dipping into the sea, leaving a stream of orange and red hues in its wake. Still, the newly liberated Rapture citizen was not one to complain. He enjoyed his first sight of the sun, even though it would not last long.
The sound of a pressurized door opening was followed by the quick pats of light feet bounding around the dome from the other side of the platform. He looked up just in time.
Eleanor threw herself full force into him, tightly embracing him with her arms around his neck.
His grunt of pain didn't do much to distract him from the moment. He had waited too long for this. He could only return the hug with one arm, the other still encased by his drill, but that was more than enough to hold her slender figure.
"We made it!" she cried. "We are out of Rapture… and you're still…"
He had survived... Her beloved father had survived.
She released him from her hold just enough to hold his face in her hands, studying it for the first time. Seeing her Father's face… for the first time.
Tears still came down her face, but her smile assured him they were tears of joy. Eleanor affectionately massaged his cheek with her thumb as she looked him over.
He was quite handsome, as she dreamed he would be.
His cheeks and jawbone were well defined and complemented his broad shoulders. His black hair was relatively short, dirtied from years of being trapped inside the prototype suit. It was matted to the man's cranium from sweat. His deep brown eyes told the story of a man who had been through so much, only to come out the other end stronger and tougher than before.
Despite his well defined features, she could tell he was still young, with a certain charm about him that many would fall for; a charm that only a young man could pull off. Maybe too young to be a father…
The subject of her scrutiny and affection meanwhile had grown a little uncomfortable with all the touching and awkward silence. Not to mention the wound in his side was beginning to gain more of his attention.
She embraced him again, softer this time, but just as lovingly. "I knew…" she spoke with an unsteady tone. "I Kn-new… you would save me."
She drew back, looking him in the eye.
"I knew th-"
The violent strike of the golf club sent Eleanor flying off Delta's body, nearly throwing her into the sea.
"NOO!" the former Big Daddy roared. He tried to stand, but was only dropped in protest by his body, screaming at him now about the wound neglected on his side for too long.
He could only turn his head to look up at the attacker.
"Y-You…" Sofia Lamb was so enraged her voice stammered. "R-Ruined…everything."
The golf club in her hand was bent and bloodied from what must have been countless uses, no doubt on Splicers. Even she had to have crossed paths with a few.
"My daughter…" her voice was ominously low, destined to rise as she unleashed her built-up fury. "Was supposed to be the jewel of the city. The savior of the people. And the thesis of my LIFE!"
The woman's noticeably proper English accent made Delta feel like he was more being scolded by a teacher than being vented at. Of course it was the stereotype of all Americans (himself included) to cast British women as all very categorical and proper. It'd be funny if wasn't so serious.
"And you…" her whole body shook as she raised the club. "RUINED IT!"
A large needle shot inches past the woman's throat, piercing the glass capsule that had brought them to the surface. Both Delta and Sofia's faces jerked to the shooter.
Eleanor was still conscious, though noticeably hurt. Her arm that held her draining needle was propped out. She had somehow rigged the mechanism to fire it like a bullet.
"GET AWAY FROM HIM!"
Sofia Lamb stared with dumb struck disbelief.
"Even after…" Eleanor stuttered. "I spared you… I spared you! Even after everything you did! HOW COULD-… How could you…"
"Insolent little child…" Sofia Lamb hissed. "You DARE strike at me… Your own mother!"
She slowly advanced on her daughter. "I am the one to be disappointed. You had the world at your fingertips. I nurtured you into the perfect being. One that would lead humanity into an era of true unity."
The doctor shook her head as she continued. "You had everything… and what did you do? You destroyed it all…"
Sofia actually started crying, and it was no act as Delta frightfully realized.
"The Family…" Sofia's voice was now about to break. "The Family is destroyed Eleanor! YOUR FAMILY! The family that worshipped you as the savior you were meant to be!"
The woman fell to her knees and cried openly, holding her face in her hands. "It's all over. Everything I worked for…The Family…Rapture…the future. The future YOU were supposed to lead the world too."
She quickly stood and grabbed her golf club. She glared down on Delta. The former protector now felt himself locked in her less mentally-stable gaze.
He fretfully tried to move. "Come on…" he urged. Nothing budged.
"And you do it all for this… failed lab experiment."
Eleanor's eyes widened in horror as she realized what was coming.
"Perhaps…" Sofia's voice found stability again. "His destruction will finally discipline you Eleanor. Perhaps even save you… "
"NOOOOO!" Eleanor screeched, making both of the adults wince. "YOU CAN'T! YOU CAN'T TAKE HIM FROM ME AGAIN! NOT AGAIN!!!"
The young woman struggled frantically, but her wounded body rendered her immobile. She cried helplessly. Tears of frustration and fear flowed freely down her face.
"You took everything from me! I never had friends… I never felt love… you…y-you tortured me in you experiments!"
Delta's eyes widened at the last accusation. What?
"All of those people…" Eleanor continued. "Your FAMILY all handled me like something to be passed around…praying to me like some faceless god! The way they looked at me… some of them… even tried to…" The girl trembled.
"Did you ever wonder what they meant Mother…?" the girl's whole body shook as she recalled the horrors of the past. "What they meant…when they said 'to receive the savior's blessing?'"
Delta's rage was now rising to dangerous levels. What…The….HELL?!
"He…" she looked at her father. "He was everything to me… and you took him! That awful day!"
"Daddy!" And after that gunshot, he couldn't protect her for ten long years and in that time…Sofia had…
"You can't do it again!" Eleanor cried openly now. "You can't take him from me again! PLEASE!"
Sofia sighed with contempt. "You are such a disappointment."
She strode over to Eleanor's side. With a raised a hand, she struck her across the face. Eleanor cried out.
With that… something inside Delta snapped.
"Such immoral thoughts!" The English woman spat. "All you do is whine about the trivial. You, who would lead the family into the world, can only whine about the sins of want! You have no need of a father Eleanor, no friends either. The family did love you my daughter… as did I. All I did to you…I did out of love. The love of what you would bring to-"
A resounding stomp interrupted Sofia's lecture and grabbed the attention of both women to the sound's source: Subject Delta was on his feat.
"Delta…" the older woman spoke in surprise. The man had had enough.
"SOFIA LAMB!" the man roared. The resounding cry made the woman's spine rattle. She dropped her golf club just from the shock.
Even Eleanor was frightened by the man's shout.
"I'VE HAD ENOUGH OF YOUR BULLSHIT!!"
The woman stepped back in fear, feeling the full weight of Delta's rage bearing down on her. And just now, she came to fully respect to just what she was regarded as in his eyes.
"I have seen some ugly things in Rapture… but you…" he snarled. "Who DARES to call herself a mother… are by far the ugliest."
Sofia now twitched with fear; there was no way to defend herself. Not against him.
She fully knew just what unforgivable sin she had committed; what the Family had committed in his eyes. That genealogical code of unquestionable protection of his little sister still lurked with Delta's subconscious somewhere.
"Now Delta…" her voice stuttered. "I-I…I AM her mother… you know this…"
"You're… nothing…" he growled.
The woman took one step to the side… and dashed.
A hand viciously grabbed her and threw her to the ground. He stomped his foot down on her legs, breaking them instantly. Sofia cried out in pain.
"FATHER!" Eleanor cried.
Delta glared down at the woman, the murderous intent in his eyes now fully visible for her to see.
"Delta, Please!" the woman begged.
"Oh no…" Delta sneered. "You've done a little too much. And it's been ten years…I've been waiting for this."
"Father…" the girl whispered. He turned around to regard her.
"You're right Eleanor," the man acknowledged. "I forgive when I can…" He looked back down at Sofia Lamb. "But I also know when not to… when to put'em down."
The drill that encased his right hand whirled to life.
The woman's eyes widened in horror. "Delta?! DELTA!" She desperately squirmed under his boot.
The man looked down with a smile. "Say hi to The Family for me."
And with a vengeful, righteous cry, Delta plowed the drill right though Sofia Lamb. The woman screamed in terror and agony as the metal contraption plowed though her stomach, rupturing and tearing through her internal organs. Twenty five years of sin had come to collect on her in the most horrendous of forms.
Blood splattered everywhere, making a hallmark of Delta's revenge. The orgy of blood and screaming and horrible mechanical whirs of the drill lasted a full ten second before it was over.
With his boot planted on her face, Delta pulled out his drill from Sofia Lamb's mutilated corpse and looked up to the sky.
For the first time in twenty years, John felt the sun on his face, finally had what was his (daughter and freedom) returned to him, and had finally taken his revenge.
For the first time in twenty years, John felt truly alive.
- - -
John… that was his name. His REAL name… His last name was long since lost to time.
But that was fine though. "John" was enough. Much better than "Delta," that was for damn sure.
He and Eleanor had tracked down his life to New York. All they had found from the contraband locker in Persephone was the clothes had worn, a key, and a business card with his first name and an address.
The city had been a trip for the both of them. John had a difficult time with the reality of being surrounded by thousands of people and none of them attacking him. Eleanor was also particularly cautious, keeping a firm grip on her father's arm. And of course, both were enamored with looking up and seeing the sun and sky rather than the waves of the sea.
Both did their best to not attract attention or talk. A young teenage girl walking with an older man would be written off as a father and daughter walking together, until they tried talking and their accents didn't match up. For now, they wanted to avoid attention.
John stopped abruptly (causing Eleanor to run into him) in front a building reaching high up to the clouds.
"This is it."
He looked down at the card in his hand and back up at the number on the apartment door. They matched.
"Shall we?" Eleanor offered.
John reached inside his jacked, cocking the pistol. He had no idea what he was walking into…
"Here goes." He twisted the key in the lock and the bolt gave way.
He shoved the door ajar, pointing the gun forward. The lights were dark and dust had accumulated on the furniture. No one had been here in years.
His empty hand felt along the wall and found a switch.
The lights flickered on after a moment, revealing a well furnished apartment in Manhattan.
"Wow…" Eleanor whispered.
Wow indeed… the place wasn't half bad, if one ignored the dust. The sight from the window alone was great, but John was more interested in how this was all his.
He shoved the gun back into his coat and began to walk about the flat. He hoped something would jog his memory, but nothing did.
All of it felt like he was seeing it for the first time. Ryan's brainwashing had been through.
Two bedrooms, a bathroom, a small office, a kitchen with bar… none of it clicked in his mind.
The large living room with a leather couch and two big easy chairs with coffee table in the middle had look of abandonment. A light film of dust coated everything, giving the whole flat a ghostly aura.
The large room also sported a grand black piano shining in the city light coming in from the massive windows. He walked up to it, strumming his fingers along the keys. The notes softly rang throughout the room.
Eleanor ran her finger alone the countertop, piercing the dust layer to reveal deep redwood beneath it.
"Is this…" she cut the silence with her voice. "Really yours..father?"
The man turned around in place, clearly awestruck at the lavish apartment.
"Who the hell am I…?"
John looked about the office. For an office, it seemed rather plain and orderly… like it was fake.
There were no papers thrown about, just the same dust layer that coated everything else in the apartment.
He took a seat the large swivel chair. The desk before him, like everything else, felt foreign.
One thing he had noticed was that there were no pictures anywhere; no evidence of friends… or a family.
Had he ever had anyone? A wife? …A son? Nothing indicated the possibility.
His eyes glanced out the door to Eleanor standing in the living room, eyeing the large TV set against the wall, looking for a power button. Perhaps she really was the only family he had.
He turned his eye back to the office. The few neatly stacked papers detailed stock information that he honestly couldn't understand. Had he been some stock broker then? Surely someone would have noticed he was gone…
So why didn't it look like the apartment had been searched?
His eyes were suddenly drawn to the painting on the wall. It was of a shipwreck, resting on the bottom of the sea.
The ship itself was made of wood, slightly eaten away by the currents. It almost looked real, like it was frozen in time.
He couldn't help but chuckle at the irony of it. His office with a picture of dying ship at the bottom of the ocean; just like the one he got out of.
He stood up and walked closer towards it, almost mesmerized by the intricate detail.
He suddenly stopped and examined it closer. It looked like it was hanging from its side. Sure enough, he saw hinges holding the right part of the frame to the wall.
He ran his hand along the left and felt a gap. Pulling it, the picture swung open like a door.
He found safe on the other side. John stared wide eyed for a moment. He looked back at the door, as if half-expecting to be caught for doing something wrong.
Of course he wouldn't remember the code. Using the skills he mastered in Rapture though, the lock proved to be a futile obstacle.
Inside were stacks of crisp bank notes neatly bound with a paper band. His hand bypassed the cash and instead reached for a stack of papers, all of which were folded in thirds. He opened the first one, failing to catch a mall card that fell out as he did.
The letter was from the Department of the Navy, detailing the shipwreck of a "foreign research vessel." It was asking for his "consultation" on the matter. He set the letter aside and opened another. This one was from an oil company out of Texas, detailing a rig sunk to the bottom of the Pacific, asking for his "help" in acquiring "assets" from the wreck. He opened another…
Every letter was like this. Most of them seemed to be from the U.S. Navy, and all of them signed by the same person: one Lieutenant Commander Roscoe Inman. Someone within something called "Office of Naval Intelligence." With each passing letter the requests were less and less vague and more personal in pleasantries.
In a nutshell, he seemed to be "shipwreck salvager." Not the kind that looted old Spanish ships for rare coins. More like the kind that gathered secrets from them… or covered them up.
Either way, it sounded shady to him. Maybe it would explain his bad luck to be diving around Rapture. The city seemed to attract the shady type.
The last letter was from the U.S. Navy, asking for an investigation into a set of coordinate in the middle of the Atlantic, regarding "strange radio waves emitting from the sea." The letter guessed to be radio waves from a sunken ship, but it was his job to get the facts.
He didn't look at map to find the coordinates. John had a grim idea of just where they led…
He would probably be written off as died in accident and the job "forgotten."… along with him.
He put the papers back in the vault. Before closing it, he looked down at his feet, noticing the small business card that had fallen out. He picked it up.
The name Credit Suisse was etched in gold letters along with a phone number beneath the name. He flipped the card over to find another number on the back, this one jotted down in black ink (in his own hand writing he could tell).
"Found something," he announced as he left the study.
"Oh?" Eleanor stood up from the couch she had taken a seat on.
"A bank in Switzerland…" He flipped the card over again…
A telephone sat on a table inconspicuously against the wall. He picked up the receiver and dialed zero.
One ring later, a voice answered.
"Operator speaking," a woman's voice spoke.
"Yes, connect me to Zurich please."
"One moment…" the woman replied.
The line rang a few times before being answered.
"Guten Abend." Another female…
"Uh… yes hello," John answered awkwardly. His German wasn't the best. "Credit Suisse please."
Again he waited. This time a man was on the other end.
"A-ello?" the voice's deep accent threw him off for a second. He couldn't place it.
"Uh…Guten Abend?" he asked.
"Guten Abend!" the man replied cheerfully. "How may I assist you?"
"I, uh…" John felt slightly unsure for a second. Would they try to ask for a password or something? What would he say? "I would like to check my balance… please?"
"Of course," the man on the other end replied in perfect English. "Your account number please."
John read off the card allowed.
"Five, two, three, seven… eight, six, three, three, three, dash four, one."
"One moment please, sir…"
Eleanor watched her father with curiosity. So far, she understood very little about how the surface world worked. Still, she could feel something was a little strange with having one's bank account in a foreign country…
"Yes?" her father suddenly replied out loud. She must have found his balance…
His eyes suddenly went wide and the phone receiver slipped from his hand, banging against the floor.
"A-ello? A-ello, sir?" the phone called.
Eleanor quickly picked up. "Uh, y-yes thank you for your help, good bye."
The girl quickly replaced the handle back on its cradle.
"Father?" She looked up at the man.
John's eyes were bulged wide open and he was staring into space.
She ran her hand through her hair awkwardly. "Well… I take it affording groceries won't be a problem, eh?" She tried to laugh.
"Who… the hell… am I?" John whispered.
- - -
Eleanor would be out for awhile, leaving John alone in the high rise apartment that was apparently his. The lights of the New York skyline pouring through his window were the only illumination in his apartment, aside from the small orange light of the cigarette he was smoking.
The glass of whiskey that sat on the small end table by his side perspired, leaving tiny droplets of water glistening in the city light.
"Hello Mr. Diary. Want to play? 'Actually, I'm quite busy right now, Miss Eleanor. Maybe later.' Well, all right. But do you mind if I take you apart while I wait? I promise I'll put you back together! 'Wait! You can't do thaaaat ...noooo.....waaaaiiiit, wait Eleaaanoooorrrr...'" (crash)
He looked at the machine. It was obvious from the scratches and dings that it had been operated on a few times. This had been the first Accu-Vox and tape he ever found. It was hers no doubt.
A girl without a friend in the world…
The only thing coming close was machine that only played back an echo. Now the echoes played for him, telling the life's story of the child version of Eleanor, telling what he could not see or hear during the ten years in which he had not existed.
For all her talk on building a society of community and unity, Sofia Lamb had committed the worst of ironies and isolated her own daughter for the sake of this dream.
John pressed the stop button on the Accu-Vox. He had taken very little memorabilia of Rapture along with him to the surface. The only thing of real value to him was the audio diaries detailing Eleanor's life he had found. Eleanor's recordings told the story of what he had missed in her life, filling in the gaps of what he had missed… revealing to him just who she was.
Because truth be told… he didn't really know.
The Accu-Vox spoke to him like a ghost, detailing all the events of the past as only one who had actually been there could tell him.
He pressed the ejection button on the Accu-vox's small control keyboard and slipped out the tape. Others just like it sat in a small tower beside the player. John grabbed a new one from the top of the pile and slipped it into the machine, closing the compartment and pressing the play button, starting up the machine once more.
"Well, Mr. Diary– Mum's got a new security system, to stop me from seeing Amir and the other kids. But security's just made of bits and bobs, like you are - and now we're the best of friends, isn't that right?"
Arthur chuckled as he listened to a younger Eleanor fiddling with the mechanical parts of the virtual prison Sophia had set up for her daughter. Even as child Eleanor was nothing but trouble.
"Anyway, Amir's got a whole book about the surface - it has India and Ireland, and... and everywhere! Yes, all right, Mr. Diary - if you must know, I do think Amir's kind of pretty, for a dog eater."
Her first crush… a boy named Amir. Another part of her life he had missed out on. An alarm sounded in the background. "Oh no! Retreat!"
Sofia Lamb's voice entered the playacting out over the speaker "Eleanor! Come back here at once!"
He popped out the tape in the machine and inserted another. He took a sip from his whiskey glass as the third tape began to roll.
"I'm all alone here. Mr. Diary. You're my whispering friend. A doctor keeps coming to see me. He says Rapture needs me, and tomorrow I'll be leaving with him. I ask why... and he just smiles. I'm not an orphan. Mum's alive somewhere."
As the taped squelched to a stop, John contemplated the reality of his relationship with Eleanor.
Their meeting was accident. Their relationship was never supposed to happen. Both of them had been stolen from the lives they had known.
His thoughts drifted back to his confrontation with Stanley Poole: The man who had thrown Eleanor to the lions.
"He's the reason father… he's the one who turned me into a little sister…"
John hadn't given it a second thought as he drove his drill right through the Stanley's skull. The man was no more than a kidnapper and thief. And he deserved the death of one as well.
Yet… had he never sent Eleanor to the orphanage, John and Eleanor would never have been paired. Yet they did because it had all happened… and he had repaid Stanley by decapitating him.
The frustrating contradiction made his head throb. Or maybe that was the Scotch.
A siren wailed from the city streets below as he popped in the next tape. He puffed on his cigarette, puffing light into the other end which lit a bright red.
"Mother says that my condition is a blessing in disguise; she constantly reminds me that I was born for the express purpose of promoting her ideals. And now she's trying to convince me to begin splicing with the same cocktail that drove Dr. Alexander mad! She thinks that my condition makes me immune to the damage... The surface is my only chance at freedom. But mother took the one person I knew from above and murdered him in front of my eyes... Father. If I could only find a way to bring him back..."
The tape stopped on that ominous note.
Had he been used?
… It was something he thought often about. Eleanor was a smart girl, there was no denying that. Had she used loyalty of the Big Daddy to her advantage?
I wouldn't be the first time someone had taken advantage.
"You may not have wanted a daughter father… but Love is only a chemical! We give meaning by choice. I won't let mother take you from me again."
It was as if she could feel his doubt coming right from his mind. She had sounded almost desperate… afraid even. Afraid of his rejection of her perhaps?
A life time in that city had taught him the fine art of seeing, hearing, and telling the liars apart from the genuine. But Rapture was full of good liars.
She was a child… but Rapture did not discriminate. It brutalized men, women, children, the sick, the elderly, the weak, and the strong. No one was beyond its poisonous touch. None were immune to its viruses of sin.
The next recording only strengthened his fear.
"I've been quarantined, but Mother's unaware of the extent of my connection to the new Little Sisters. I don't just sympathize with them, I can control them directly. They are my hands and eyes, now. Better yet: we have found Father's body, and took a gene sample. The girls are hiding the samples inside those dolls we used to make. It's only a matter of time before I work out a way to rig one of those vita-chambers to seek his genetic signature... and then... I can't wait to see Mother's face..."
She had excitement in her voice when she talked about him. Should that bring him joy or dread? So many ways it could be interpreted, and for some reason he was leaning towards the doubt.
Why was he thinking so cynically? Had the years in Rapture made so paranoid now he would trust no one?
He began to wonder if he was chasing ghosts.
The next tape clicked in and the machine began to roll once more.
"We've done it. Father is back... right under Mother's nose. I've contacted a woman named Tenebaum through my Sisters."
Tenebaum… he never really wrapped his head around just who the woman was. After his introduction to Sinclair, he never heard from her again. From time to time, he wondered what happened to her…
"We worked out a way to free his mind inside that suit... to awaken the man inside the monster. Mother's entire belief structure is corrupt -- and if I know one thing about Father, it's that he will believe in escape."
Lamb's voice entered the recording abruptly. "Eleanor. It is time for you to accept your duty to the people. When you awake... you'll understand..."
The sound of a struggle made John's hands grip the chair's padded arms.
"No!" the girl screamed. "Get away from me!"
The tape stopped.
He knew she was safe… he knew she was fine now.
But… it still made his skin crawl. The sound of young girl barely sixteen struggling just for the right to not be harmed made him grind his teeth. It was times like these he hated Eleanor Lamb.
Listening to this tape reminded him of how satisfying it was drive his drill right through Sofia's body. It was quite satisfying to remember when he listened to this particular tape.
Sofia hurt his daughter… and he had returned the favor.
He pushed down the Accu-vox's arm rather forcefully as he played the next tape. What came out of the speaker surprised him.
"Mother says that my condition is a blessing in disguise; she constantly reminds me that I was born for the express purpose of promoting her ideals. And now she's trying to convince me to begin splicing with the same cocktail that drove Dr. Alexander mad!"
Somewhere along the line in his organization of the tapes, he had gotten out of chronological order. This chapter of Eleanor's life was out of sync with the rest; playing a ominous song to a tragedy he already knew was destined to come.
"She thinks that my condition makes me immune to the damage... The surface is my only chance at freedom. But mother took the one person I knew from above and murdered him in front of my eyes... Father. If I could only find a way to bring him back..."
His nostrils gently inhaled the fumes from the whiskey glass dangling between his fingers. His eyes had been hypnotized by the silver light streaming through his window. Its translucent, wavy haze made it look like the ocean and for a moment in time it was like he had returned to Rapture.
The language she had chosen: "murder."
That wasn't a work someone described a tool with. Had she felt something more for him after all?
"Love is chemical…" he hoarsely whispered to himself. So what meaning did Eleanor give it?
His fingers felt around the end table at his side, finding the last tape. One more, he hit the ejection button, removed the tape that had just finished and clicked in the last one in the set.
He hesitated to hit the play button. He had only heard this tape once… but the one time honestly was enough. This of course was the last one he had ever found of Eleanor… and it was one part of him wished he hadn't.
But still… he needed to whole picture to find the truth… even if it turn out to be something he didn't like.
He poured a little more whiskey into his glass and with a sigh, hit the play button.
"Hello, mother!" The sing-song voice was sweet... sickeningly sweet. And he knew it fake.
As you've always said, I shouldn't be allowed to wander the city in my condition, but without going outside, it's hard to hear much about the world -- so I'm learning at home! This, I think, is a... porcelain tea service, in the style of Louis the 15th, isn't that right?"
The sound of the vase shattering as it crashed to the floormade John wince.
"Now that's a fascinating sound! And this is called a 'stained glass window,' hand-crafted by your adoring flock... they've gone to a lot of trouble to capture your likeness, haven't they?"
An even more resounding crash made him visibly jerk.
The tape stopped.
For a moment, John simply sat in the silence, wishing there was another tape… but there wasn't.
He set down the glass he held and held his face in his hands, trying to rub away the exhaustion he had just from listening to the horror that had played out. He exhaled through his nose and supported his heavy head on his folded hands, staring at the floor.
To what extend to could a mind be damaged?
Eleanor's cynicism was more than just retribution against her tormentor and captor… it was a sign of trauma.
The tapes before the last all showed the warning signs of a girl in danger, calling for help and never getting it…
Because he was not there. He had been dead for ten years. The ten years it which she was slowly destroyed…
And now… was it too late?
He looked at the Accu-Vox, almost fearfully, wary of the tape it still held inside as if it would repeat the whole tale of Eleanor's life all on its own.
Eleanor's downward spiral was left open ended. He was getting sick of coming to that conclusion again and again.
Was that her solid resilience talking, or had her years of isolation and torment finally broke her sanity?
John thought back to 'Alex the Great.' The man hadn't started off "evil," (John wondered if anyone did.)
But if Rapture was good at one thing, it was destroying people.
"No! Get away from me!" Her voice was desperate…
"I won't let her take you from again…"
She unlocked the door with one hand pushed against, her other hand holding too grocery bags. She set them on the counter top, procrastinating to put them away.
Why were the lights off?
She walked into the living room. The chair he normally sat in by the window was empty.
A soft breath from behind caught her attention. Her father was laid out on the couch, arms folded and eyes closed, with his chest slowly rising and falling with breath coming in and out of his nose.
Even when he slept he was discreet.
She smiled at his peaceful form. She quietly pulled the blanket left in a heap at the end of the couch and pulled it over him.
Eleanor crouched down at his head, gently running her fingers through his short black hair.
"Sweet dreams…" she whispered and placed a kiss to his forehead.
- - -
4. Nightmare's end
The cool water he splashed on his face broke the twilight spell that came over him. John guessed it was sometime after midnight right now. That's when he had most of his nightmares.
He looked in the mirror, watching his own pupils fluctuate.
Even now the visions of Rapture were no less definitive in his memory.
It all replayed in his head: His forced "suicide," fighting his way through Rapture, learning of its terrible downfall through the diaries of the dead.
Mark Meltzer… for a time, he thought he would find a way to save him and his daughter, only to find that the only salvation he could give was ending his life to liberate him from Lamb's grip.
"I wish you could have made it…" he mumbled to himself.
"I'm sorry buddy… take care…" His voice echoed in his head from time to time.
His hand shot to his forehead and he grunted in pain. The ensuing migraine from waking up from one of his flashbacks was coming. Or maybe that was scotch again.
His other hand held to the sink as he felt his legs give out beneath him. He stumbled for the doorway, just making it into the living room.
He fell forward… into Eleanor's arms.
"It's okay…" she whispered.
Her arms tightly wrapped around him, she slowly bent her knees, carefully lowering him down.
All he could do was breath softly as his head lay in her lap. Her fingers gently combed through his short hair, massaging his head as if directly soothing his pounding head. It was working well. She moved her hand to his back, smoothing away the stress.
His breathing slowed and his eyelids flutter shut. As he felt sleep coming on… he oddly didn't fear the possibility of impending nightmares.
They wouldn't come this time…
She gently kissed his head once again. "Sweet dreams… I'll be here…"
- - -
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I hope you enjoyed it. For me personally, the Accu-Vox in the Bioshock world do something unique in that they allow us to look at other people from a different perspective. It was with the Accu-Vox I first suspected something was amiss with Fontaine's death.
When I heard Eleanor's last diary with smashing the vase and stained glass, I thought she might have finally snapped... Glad she didn't though. (Although I personally wished Delta had been the one to kill Sofia.)
Reviews are appreciated.