HellGirl – A Halflings Past
HellGirl let out a loud yawn and snuggled deeper into her father's large chest. It seemed no matter how old she was she could always fit into his lap and press against his chest like she had when she was just a small child. HellBoy's left arm was wrapped around her back and across her shoulder in a protective embrace. His right hand however, was placed in May's curled-up lap with her red fingers holding onto its thumb. They both had gotten into the same position ever since the small red demon was born and ran to her father when she had had nightmares or was lonely.
Red looked down at his daughter, taking one of his fingers and running it through a stray raven strand of hair. She reminded him so much of Liz it was almost unbearable at times. Then again, sometimes it was all he needed to keep going. It surprised him that she was so tiny even though she was a full-grown teenager. HellBoy was secretly glad that she didn't take on his trait of growing so big and so rapidly since it had caused him and his father, Trevor Broom so much trouble. He then began to recall his daughter's life as he watched her sleep soundly in his arms...
The two new parents stood hand in hand as they looked down at the small infant inside the incubator with wires stuck to her tiny chest and a tube going into her nostrils like a small alien on a life support system. Liz put her hand to her mouth, as if holding back tears. No matter how unemotional she usually was, the sight of her newborn hooked up to tons of wires and clinging to life by a thread jerked tears to her eyes. HellBoy hugged his wife closer and used his large, stone hand to wipe her tears away as gently as he could.
"She'll be okay, don't worry." He smiled down to the pyro to try and reassure her even though the sight crushed him inside. "She's a tough one... You're her mother, y'know." As corny as it was, it brought a weak, wavering smile to Liz's lips.
The small half demon, half human had been born extremely tiny even though she wasn't premature and had tons of health problems. The many doctors at the B.P.R.D had come to a conclusion that her two halves were battling for possession of the body. Even though it was said HellBoy had some human in him and he passed this over to his daughter, it didn't help with the internal battle.
"May." HellBoy blinked in surprise as his wife broke the silence of the dark room. The two were positioned next to the incubator even though it was well past midnight Liz had refused to leave the room and not even the large demon could convince her otherwise. "Her name will be May." Even though Red had no objection to the name, he looked down at the pyro under his arm in confusion.
"I just realized it's the first day of May, May Day." Of course it wasn't a highly celebrated holiday in the United States and didn't have a big meaning like Christmas or Easter, but it was a holiday nonetheless. From that point on her official name was May.
As time passed, the small demon child slowly recovered even though the first year of her life was spent lying in some sort of incubator or hospital bed. Even though she had won the battle, the internal war wasn't near over. May became sick very easily and still does throughout her teen years since her body is still trying to fight the two colliding sides. The two worst seasons that caused the tiny HellGirl to battle for her life were winter and spring...
May had never been to the outside world until she was five years old. The little Halfling had no idea that a world existed outside the B.P.R.D and only knew that her parents would sometimes leave the only world she knew to go one some mystical quest. Sometimes her mother would bring back something called 'candy' or a strong smelling black liquid that both of her parents loved and wouldn't allow her to taste.
Liz didn't want her child to have no idea what the outside world was, so she bundled her up to cover much skin as she could and lathered on tons of concealer until she looked like a slightly pinkish, five year old girl.
"Don't wipe that stuff off, May." The pyro once again grabbed May's gloved hand gently and peeled it away from her concealed face.
"But it feels funny..." The small HellGirl looked into the mirror, not liking what she saw. The concept that she wasn't 'normal' still meant nothing to her. All that she knew what that she looked more like her Dad then her Mom, nothing more.
"I know, but you can't take it off or take any of your clothes off while were outside... Okay?" Liz lifted the small Halfling from the bed and set her on the floor, grasping her hand to lead her out of the B.P.R.D.
"Ooookaaay..." HellGirl pouted and looked to the ground she they walked out. "Hey. Mommy?" Her brown gaze went from the floor, back to her mother.
"How come you and everyone look the same, but Abe, me, and Daddy look different?" Liz almost stopped in mid-step as the dreaded and long-awaited question slipped out of her five year old daughter's mouth but she tried her best not to look phased and bent down to May's level.
"If you promise to not ask that again until we get back home, I'll tell you why." After getting a conformation from her daughter, the two headed to the outside world.
During the outing, Liz took May to the zoo, to get hot chocolate, and many other things small children enjoy. They made it back to the B.P.R.D when it was just getting dark, both of them tired from walking around all day and having a generally good time. Liz Sherman carried the sleeping Halfling into the secret base and was met by HellBoy, who took the small child's weight from his wife's arms. He was amazed at how light she was and was concerned at his daughter's lack of weight and size.
"Have a good time?" The large red demon looked down at May who had now turned the groove of her father's left arm into a hammock.
"Yeah, now I'm bushed." Liz removed her hat and gloves as they walked towards May's room to put her to bed. Both of them froze as the small demon sneezed and curled up into a ball in HellBoy's arm. Even a single sneeze could mean a life a death struggle when it came to the Halfling. "We need to take her to the medical wing." The raven-haired pyro turned towards the medical wing but stopped short as she felt the slight pressure of Red's large, stone hand on her arm.
"No, you go get some rest. I can take care of it. I'll tell you if anything is up." Before she could respond, HellBoy was already on his way towards the medical wing. Liz hesitated before going to her room to take off her thick clothing she had worn outside.
It was proven later that May had come down with pneumonia and would spend almost two months battling the illness and trying to hang onto life. After she was cured, many colds and illnesses would follow until she finally got back to her full health over five months later.
It wasn't until then that the tiny HellGirl had the chance to get her parents together and ask the question that ate away at her brain and her parent's hearts.
"Mommy? Daddy?" May stood in front of the two as they watched a movie, wearing her purple pajamas and grasping the stuffed cat doll she constantly slept with. HellBoy and Liz gave each other a worried glance before the pyro reached out and lifted the small Halfling to sit in between them.
"Did you have another nightmare?" The large red demon looked down at his daughter as she snuggled into the cushions.
"No. But I remembered something I wanted to ask you and Mommy." Her brown gaze went from mother to father, wondering why their expressions looked worried and upset. "Why do Abe, me, and Daddy look different then Mommy and everyone else here?" The two parents tensed, knowing they might as well tell their child that her life would be in solitude as long as she lived.
HellBoy took most of the role to explain how her life would be since he had lived through the same ordeal first hand. How she wouldn't be aloud outside, how she'd never be able to have any childhood friends outside of the Bureau, the list seemed to go on and on... At the end of the explanation, May was in tears huddled into her mother's arms. It was so unfair and her father's entire fault. If it weren't for him, she'd be normal. The small Halfling almost yelled at him through her tears, but as she detached herself from Liz and glared at him... She couldn't. She just couldn't. He had gone through the same thing and still did. As her eyes squinted shut and her tiny fist clenched, May suddenly went numb and fell on her rear, staring with blood shot eyes and a tear stained face at HellBoy.
"I'm... I'm sorry, Daddy..." She started to cry once more, feeling her father's large left hand scoop her up and onto his lap. That night and a few days afterward, she refused to sleep alone in her own bed and would always find some way to snuggle between HellBoy and Liz.
"Daddy?" The small Halfling blinked and she peeked into HellBoy's room, a yellow ball firmly in her grasp.
"What is it, May?" The large demon seemed to be getting ready for something, though May didn't know what. Slowly, she walked into his room and crept over to his bed before sitting down.
"How come..." She paused, somewhat afraid to ask her question and traced the designs on the ball with her fingers. "How come you cut your horns off?" Her own didn't look anything like her father's, pointy and over six inches long as the slowly grew with her body and curved upward.
"Well, mine are pretty big and get in the way. So I keep them shaved down." Of course that wasn't the only reason. He had originally snapped them off and shaved them down to fit in, but that wouldn't be a very smart lesson to teach to a young Halfling.
"Ohhh... I see." May tried to look up at her own horns, failing miserably. Would she ever have to snap them off? Shaking her head to forget about it, her gaze went back down to the ball, remembering why she had come in the first place. "Daddy?"
"Yeah?" HellBoy snatched his large, beaten leather jacket off a chair and put it on. May wiggled off the bed and went over to him, grinning and holding up the ball to him.
"Can you play ball with me?" The small Halfling was all smiles, as she looked up to her over 6ft father with the ball in her red hands. The large demon paused, looking down at her with saddened eyes. It hurt him that he couldn't always be there for his daughter and had to go on missions. Slowly, he kneeled down, still towering over May as he rested his hand gently on her head and spoke.
"May, as much as I'd love to, I can't. I gotta go out again." The small demon pouted and lowered the ball.
"... Oh." Her brown gaze turned away from HellBoy as his hand left her head. "Why do you have to go out sometimes? Why can't you stay here with me?" It puzzled her that what she had been told that neither her father nor she was aloud outside, yet sometimes HellBoy didn't have the choice if he wanted to stay and had to go outside.
"Well, it's my job to go out and hunt down bad guys." He held back from saying 'monsters' since he didn't want to scare the young Halfling.
"Ohhhh... Okay." She slightly understood, but didn't feel like pressing the subject any further.
"Now c'mon, lets go find Mommy and she can play with you while your gone." HellBoy lifted the small child into his arm like she was as light as a doll and walked out of his room. It was only when May became the age of 10 did she find out what exactly the 'bad guys' were. It didn't really surprise her since she sometimes over heard some of the meaner agents referring to her and her father as monsters, but said nothing of it.
May wandered around the long, narrow halls of the B.P.R.D. A blank expression covered her face, as if blocking off anything that could get inside. It had only been a few days ago that her mother, Liz Sherman, had been taken to the hospital. At the time neither HellBoy, nor anyone else would tell her exactly why until yesterday. Her father had sat her down like she was going to get a lecture. With age came curiosity, causing the small Halfling to often get in trouble or break things, which lead to the lectures. But when she looked up into her father's yellow eyes, she didn't see anger... or even a speck of a lecture coming.
"Daddy...?" May blinked, looking up at HellBoy with large, questioning brown eyes. It was then that he hugged her for a very long time and wouldn't let go. Even when she asked what was wrong, he wouldn't answer until he sat up again. The strong, invincible father she had known looked like he was about to cry... But not a tear was shed. He told her that Liz had fallen ill with something called 'cancer'. At first May just thought it was something like what she often got, like a cold of sorts... But HellBoy filled her in on exactly how much danger her mother was in. At first it took a few minutes to sink in... Then she cried. Cried for what seemed like hours until she finally fell asleep from exhaustion in her father's arm.
The small Halfling had woken up not too long ago, still in the pajamas her father had put her in. The tears from the night before were still slightly visible stains on her face as she approached the large metal door that lead into her father's room. May hopped up onto a chair and took the strange, metal key from her pocket. She was one of the few that possessed a key to his room, but usually had an agent open it for her since she couldn't pull the door open. As she turned the key, the door opened slightly. All she had to do was tug on the handle until there was a small enough crack for her to squeeze in and shut the door behind her.
May turned to look into HellBoy's room. At first it looked empty, until she spotted the large, red form that was her father. Slowly, she walked over. He was sitting on a metal chair and what looked like staring at nothing... Until the small Halfling got closer to inspect. He was staring at one of the few photos' the whole family had gotten together to take. HellBoy stood with his arm around his wife, looking proud yet... rather unhappy and ready to jump out of the camera's way. Liz had a huge grin on her face and held May, whom was only an infant at the time.
Without a word, the small demon hoisted herself up onto her father's lap and crawled to the center before sitting silently. It wasn't long before HellBoy bent down and wrapped his arms around her, resting his large head on May's tiny shoulder. Something moist fell through the cloth on her shoulder, hitting her red skin. It was warm. Her brown gaze turned to her father as tears welled in her eyes. Her father was crying. Her invincible, indestructible father was crying. May let her own tears flow freely as she rubbed her face into the side of HellBoy's, her small hands reaching over to grasp one of the stone fingers on his right hand for comfort...
After May had been given the awful news that her mother probably wouldn't survive for long, the nightmares started to take hold. She had had nightmares before, but they were usually just like normal small children got when they were left in their dark rooms all alone. But now she had nightmares with much, much more meaning. The small Halfling often woke up screaming, crying, and covered in sweat. Though oddly enough, she never remembered the dreams she was having. Only once did she remember a dream and it caused her to loose lack of sleep for many nights afterward...
A loud, ear-piercing scream echoed through the long, narrow halls of the B.P.R.D. May sat up in bed, tears streaming down her face and a fresh layer of sweat covering her body. HellBoy's yellow eyes shot open as he woke from the light slumber he had finally managed to get in. He bolted from his room, almost knocking everything over in his way. The first to arrive at May's door, he opened it only to have his legs tackled by his daughter. Her arms wrapped around one of his legs tightly, as if trying to squeeze her fear away. The large demon bent down, peeling the frightened child from his leg to hold her close. By then other agents were peeking into the room. With a wave of his large, stone hand, HellBoy dismissed them.
The small Halfling continued to weep in her father's arms as he slowly made his way over to her bed and sat down. The large demon waited until May slowly stopped crying to ask her any questions.
"Another nightmare?" May just shook her head, one of her hands clenched into a fist over her mouth and the other grasping the thumb of HellBoy's stone hand. "Do you remember it?" It was a long shot since she couldn't seem to remember any dreams she had been having recently. Though he was quiet surprised when she nodded and spoke.
"I-I was older... And you were there..." May stifled her tears throughout her sentences. "And... And we were standing... In front of Mommy's grave..." Tear began to form in her eyes once more. "And... We were both crying..." The tears started to flow freely once more as she dove into her father's chest, rubbing her face in his black shirt. "Mommy's gonna die, isn't she?!" Her voice was loud, yet somehow soft... Like she couldn't control its volume due to her tears.
HellBoy wrapped his left arm around his daughter's small form and held her close to him for a very long time, bending his head down to rest on top of her's. "No... She's not going to die... She's gonna get better, okay?" At first it seemed like his words had fallen on deaf ears until May finally managed a nod.
"D-Daddy?" She sniffed and cuddled into a ball on his lap, still pressed to his chest. "Can I sleep with you... tonight?" The large demon nodded and stood, May cradled in his left arm like a doll as they headed towards his room.
The small Halfling ended up sleeping with her father for about a week until her nightmares became less and less, eventually going back to how they had been.
For a long while in May's life, things were pretty uneventful. Unlike her father, whom had been put in charge of exterminating monsters and the like when he had reached his full height at the age of 12, she didn't have the privilege and often spent her days wandering around the B.P.R.D. The small Halfling was now nine years old and full of adventurous energy. She was getting more and more of a tomboy as time went by, and went around wearing jeans and plain, red shirts for the most part. Ironically enough, her favorite toy to get in trouble with was a small plastic gun that shot suction darts her father had managed to get her one Christmas.
The young demon wandered restlessly around the narrow hallways inside the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense, the plastic gun stuck in a makeshift holster she had made out of fabric and tied around her waist. Before she realized it, she came upon the hallway that her father's room was down and stopped to watch an agent and HellBoy walk out of his room. A sly, evil grin curled up her features, looking much like the Grinch from How the Grinch Stole Christmas as she dove behind one of the many glass cases that held artifacts and other such things inside.
As the two approached, May leapt out, rolled in front of them and shot. "Ha!" The suction dart stuck to one of HellBoy's red cheeks as he barely even flinched. As the agent regained his composure, the small Halfling stood and realized her father didn't look amused at all. "... Oh crap." Before she could even turn to run, the large demon had already curled his left arm around her waist and hoisted her up to his chest. May grumbled, hanging from his arm like a rag doll until he moved his right hand under her bare feet for her to stand on. Even though she was nine, she barely measured up to other children her age.
"So are you mad at me?" May looked up as HellBoy plucked the suction cup from his cheek and handed it to her.
"Not really, I was expecting it." May put the dart back into her gun after her father set her on the floor once more. "You should get some shoes on... or socks, at least. You know how easily you get sick."
"Iiiiii knooooow..." The Halfling rolled her eyes and grabbed a hold of HellBoy left hand. The large demon then said something to the agent and they split up. She didn't really care what was said between them, zoning out to her own little world until her father broke the silence.
"I should teach you how to use a gun soon..." He then sighed, not wanting to teach his little girl such things... But it was inevitable. Once she got old enough, they'd put her on a position right along side him. That and when she got old enough, she would probably beg to come along anyway.
"... Really?" May raised a brow in disbelief as she craned her neck to look up at her seven-foot tall father.
"Yeah, your gonna need to learn how to eventually anyway." The young demon grinned as HellBoy opened up her door. "Now put some socks on, I gotta go."
The Halfling took a few steps into her room before turning to the large demon with a scowl. She then raised her arms to the sky, as if trying to grasp something that wasn't there. "Hug." Smiling, her father kneeled down and gave her a quick hug with his left arm. The young demon stretched to reach him, still short even though he was kneeling.
May waved as he stood and left her room. "See-ya!" For a moment she just watched her father as he disappeared around the corner, thinking about things most children her age didn't dare think of. Shaking her head, she ran over to her dresser to put on a pair of socks.
The Halfling panted furiously as she leapt from rooftop to rooftop. She often snuck out and stole small things like coffee or cookies or something without getting caught... Unfortunately this time she had been caught, and on camera no less. Danm, once she got home she'd be in DEEP trouble. They'd ground her for life, for sure! Now 16, they punished her like they had done with her father and locked her in her room. May was starting to loose her momentum and stumbled as she leapt to the next building. Upon landing, she tripped and rolled head over heels until she lay sprawled on her back with all her limbs outstretched.
"Auugh... God..." Cursing, she didn't bother to try and stand, too out of breath to even move.
"Uhm... Are you okay?" A face entered May's view, sending her into a panic. Throwing her exhaustion aside, she leapt up and crouched not too far away, backing up slowly and ready to spring into a sprint again at any sign of danger. The girl that seemed her age approached and held out bottled water she had been holding. "Here, you look exhausted."
The demon could just blink at the girl's kind gesture, like she had spoken in a foreign language. Slowly, she reached out and took the water bottle before relaxing a little bit.
"Your HellGirl, right? What were you running from?" The girl walked over to the edge of the apartment building and leaned on it, looking down then over to May. "And don't worry, I don't have a camera or will tell anyone you fell onto my roof." She smiled as the Halfling chugged the water. For some reason, the demon felt more comfortable after she saw the smile... As if she could truly trust this girl with anything. Of course, she knew that wasn't always true and stepped wearily.
"I was running from a guy who snapped my picture..." HellGirl heaved as she stood and set the now empty water bottle on the side of the building. "I better go. Thanks for the water." May turned to leave, but was stopped by the girl's voice.
"Hey! You can come back here y'know... It'd be nice to have someone to talk to sometimes on the roof." The girl held out her hand, "My names Cate... Is yours really HellGirl?" The Halfling paused before turning and shaking Cate's hand.
"No, my names May... I might take you up on that offer once they unground me." Before Cate could question who in the world would dare to ground a demon, HellGirl had already waved and leapt to the next building.
"Hm... Oh well. I'll have to ask her about that if she comes back." Cate watched May's form vanish over the buildings before she turned back to stare at the street below...