Disclaimer: Hellboy 2: The Golden Army and all its associated characters and concepts belong to a whole bunch of people who aren't me, including but not limited to Guillermo del Toro, who is pretty much God. I'm making no profit and intend no disrespect, so please don't sue me.
Author's Note (WITH SPOILERS!): This is absolutely 100 movie-'verse; I've never read the comics. It's also completely AU; in this happy little world in my head, Nuala challenged Nuada at the end of the movie, and everybody got to live. I may actually write that fic, but so far my attempts to do so have been utter crap. So there could be more, related fic - or not. Nuala's story, and the need for it to end differently, has pretty much eaten my head for the moment - but we'll see if the sudden obsession survives the release of 'Breaking Dawn'.
There's some bashing of Star Wars episodes 1-3, in here (yes, I know that seems fairly random; it actually has context, I swear). So, if they're your favorite movies ever, you may not enjoy this.
Being half of a couple, Abe was learning, was at times very much an exercise in re-learning the entire world through a new set of eyes. The film Nuala was presently watching so fixedly, for example, had always struck Abe as being primarily an exploration of the subject of free will and the existence of both good and evil in all beings.
It was occurring to him, quite belatedly, that it had quite a few things to say about family as well. There was even a set of male and female twins, and a remorseful, dying father. It wasn't that he'd missed that fact before, but it had simply never struck him the way it did now; Nuala had paused with a single piece of popcorn halfway to her mouth for the last several minutes as the film's dramatic climax shifted into bittersweet resolution. Her eyes were very wide, and the popcorn bowl was teetering dangerously at the edge of her lap.
"Is this distressing you?" Abe asked, reaching for the popcorn; Nuala startled, the bowl tipped, and Abe caught it just before it would have spilled all over the rug. She didn't appear to notice, her eyes on him only a moment before they went back to the screen. Abe set the popcorn down on the floor beside the oversized armchair they shared, still watching her face as he did.
"No," she answered; her tone was distant, but when he settled back into his seat she leaned back and wriggled closer, fitting herself against him. "No, it's wondrous. To be able to bring a tale to life this way . . we have theatre, of course, but nothing that compares."
"There are other films – ones that don't revolve around themes of familial confusion," Abe offered, wrapping one arm around her shoulders and playing gently with her hair.
She glanced up at him, a little longer this time, then reached across his body to take his other hand between both of hers. Her eyes went back to the TV screen, but he felt the fierce sense of rightness, the belonging and contentment she projected through the touch of their hands. "I feel no confusion," she said firmly, though quietly.
Abe could also feel the ever-present shadow of grief, the habitual tense concentration that reduced Nuada's madness to an insectile buzzing she couldn't entirely keep from her mind, but he made no comment on these things, verbally or otherwise. He showed her only how very, very much he reciprocated her affections; he felt her sigh, relaxing just a little more against him. They were both quiet as, on the screen, the now-repentant father died.
He could feel the chord it struck in her, the tantalizing impossibility that this, this was how things should have been. Sons should love their fathers past reason, and fathers should not be willing to sacrifice their sons, and brothers should wish to protect their sisters. He felt her sadness, felt her trying to burrow closer against him as if she could crawl right into his skin, but the sense that she was now somewhere safe and right didn't waver.
Abe was well aware that to take credit for her mental state was quite chauvinist and archaic, beneath him, really, but he couldn't help the pride he felt at that. He made her feel safe.
He wanted her happy as well – entirely, unencumberedly happy, all shadows chased from her mind. He had no idea how to accomplish this, but nothing else had ever seemed so important.
"I think I'd rather enjoy the theatre, actually," Abe speculated aloud, a bit wistfully; at the moment, the best plan he had was to distract her. "I've only seen recordings of live performances – I doubt it's the same."
"We could attend a play," Nuala suggested; he could tell, with a tiny wince of embarrassment – quickly forgotten in the warm rush of fondness he felt from her – that she knew exactly what he was doing. "I think you would like it – a performance of my people's."
There was, he realized then, a kink in this plan. He'd been thinking of attending a human theatrical performance. "If you think they'll perform, with me in attendance," Abe responded carefully. He hadn't meant to remind her of yet more troubles.
"I could order them to do so, if they didn't," Nuala speculated quietly. "Certainly my father would have done – and the gods only know what my brother would do in response to such a show of disrespect."
"I think your brother is singularly unlikely to ever select a consort of another species," Abe pointed out. Nuada was quite unlikely to ever select a consort at all, seeing as he was being held in a lushly appointed but well guarded facility at BPRD, but Abe didn't remind her of that. "And while I am not entirely familiar with your culture's attitudes in regard to gender, I suspect they would not feel quite so strongly that he was being defiled by the union, if he did."
"They can think what they please," Nuala answered, turning her head into his neck. Her breath was warm and damp, a soothing contrast to the dry air. It was almost more intimate than a kiss; he could taste her, each soft exhalation bringing with it a hint of butter and salt and her. "I wouldn't order them to perform," she murmured. "It would not truly be art if – oh," she stopped, exclaiming softly as, on the screen, the shade of Anakin Skywalker appeared. "I didn't expect that." She was pleased, though also shaken, also sad.
"I've found that humans are fascinated by themes of redemption," Abe offered, twining his fingers through hers. She clung tightly, pressing their palms together; it was not exactly comfortable, her thin fingers stretching the membranes between his own digits unpleasantly taut, but he craved the contact as much as she and did not pull away.
"There is more of this story?" Nuala asked hopefully. "His story -" she nodded at the screen, her hair brushing across his shoulder, strands whispering through his fingers, "- the first part?"
"Yes," Abe replied hesitantly, "Another trilogy, but . . well, they're not very good."
"No?" He could feel that she was pitifully disappointed.
"Red has the DVDs, if you want to watch them anyway, but they won't be the story you're expecting," Abe warned her. "They're . . silly, really, and a bit offensive in places. I'm not sure what George Lucas was thinking."
"Oh." She sighed.
"At least, I'd imagined something completely different – a darker, more mature tale, with grit and genuine pathos and -"
"Show me?" Nuala asked eagerly, drawing just a little away to peer entreatingly up into his face. He missed the warmth of her breath instantly. "I want to see the beginning you imagined."
"You wouldn't rather see another film?" Abe asked. "I don't think I'm much of a storyteller."
"Don't tell me," Nuala corrected gently, settling her head back into place in the crook between his neck and shoulder. Abe had the fleeting, rather ridiculous thought that if her scandalized subjects could see this – the way her head fit just exactly into that curve, perfectly – they could have no more objections. Appearance, genetics, culture – it was all irrelevant. They just fit, a perfectly matched pair. "Show me," she murmured and he breathed in the words, absorbed popcorn-salt taste and the flutter of her eyelashes against his skin as her eyes slipped closed. She gave his hand a brief squeeze. "I'm watching."
"Oh. Well," Abe stumbled; he'd never previously considered that he could construct an imagined scene out of his thoughts, for another's viewing – that he could play his speculations and idle daydreams like a film. It was a little daunting, but also a little thrilling – another possibility he'd never recognized, just the world turning on its head one more time. "Well, I suppose it would have to begin . . " And he tried to fix in his mind the image of scrolling white text and a background of darkness and stars. A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away . . . and she sighed contentedly.