Cassian blinked, glancing to the base of the willow tree, and at the child resting there. A calm breeze was wafting in, lifting the autumn leaves from the trees in a whimsical fashion. His breath caught in his throat, as the voices of reality nagged at him the improbability of this meeting. Besides, had it not been spring here a moment ago? The boy tipped his head a perplexed matter, standing up this time.
"Sir?" He asked again, pausing as something brushed against his leg, the form of a young lamb stepping out from behind the tree, and stumbling into him with that familiar, awkward step of an infant, the sort of thing most people found irresistible in animals that young.
"Then… You're..?" the man swallowed, backing away from the child with a hand to his mouth. The child too took a step back, lifting the fluffy creature into his arms in a rather defensive way.
"Are… Are you alright?" He murmured, still clutching the lamb, but now eying the man with a distinct caution.
"Jizabel…" he choked, his throat tight, his words not coming out the way they should, this isn't right… "Jizabel, you have to come with me, alright?" This is not real.
He took a sharp breath, unphased by the sudden cool crispness of the air, before holding out his hand. "Just… come with me." He murmured again, a rising urgency in his voice.
"A-are you a friend of fathers?" The boy whispered, backing up against the tree, as if he had no place left to escape. Cassian frowned, the words in his mind unable to reach the surface, as he took another step towards the child, this time hearing a soft crunching under his foot. Snow? Now snow? Slowly he raised his eyes from the three or so inches of fresh snow on the ground, resting them again on the nervous child. This time however, yet another change in this fantasy had occurred aside from the weather. Rather then the boy of nine years he was sure he'd been talking to before, stood an older one, fifteen at the least… And in place of Snark, that poor childs only source of comfort, was a sharpened blade. Still, the same expression remained.
"Jizabel… Are you really Jizabel?"
The boy nodded slowly, slinking away from the tree and stepping in a slow circle around Cassian, either a prey not willing to risk taking its eyes off the predator, or the predator itself encircling the prey. Either outlook brought a sick feeling to the pit of Cassians stomach. He's not, it he?
"Who else would I be….?" The boy responded, his question far more sincere than sarcastic, as his hand tightened around the scalpel, drawing blood from his palm, blood which dripped down those thin, pale, fingers in a steady stream onto the pale white snow, "Am I them? Are they just part of me now?!"
He words were followed by a sharp cough, and he wrapped his arms around himself, the blood on his hands staining the laced white shirt he wore. Cassian took another step towards him, as cautiously as one would a wild animal… Although one part of him told him that Jizabel would never harm him, one part said he eagerly would, and the part entirely told him that none of this was real to begin with, merely an insane illusion caused by over work and stress. Afterall, Delilah gave one much to stress over, as did the current Jizabel and his tendency to chase death.
"I am not a friend of Alexis, It's me, Jizabel, I…" His frown deepened, as logic reminded him that a teenage Jizabel would have no recollection of man he'd only meet ten years later, "…I'm not your enemy. Alright?" He offered his hand yet again, bumps rising in his skin from the cold weather. And this time, surprisingly, whatever Jizabel he was currently speaking with decided to take a chance and take that hand. Which brought some relief to Cassian, as if one bridge had been safely crossed.
"Would you like to go somewhere else?" he asked, pulling the boy into his arms, doing his best to shield him from the deathly cold.
"But there is nowhere to go."
The older mans heart pounded, as he stared down at the red pigments staining the snow, and finally back to the boy in his arms. His breath caught in his throat as he stared down at the scarred up body in his hands. To the slit across the boys throat, to the whip marks that had nearly mutilated his back, and finally to the jagged cuts up and down his arm.
SINNER. The scars read boldly, an array of memories from that night, and visions of a nightmarish future playing across his mind.
"I told you…" He whimpered, his grip on Cassian loosening, "….There is nowhere to go."
The jolt coursed through him like electricity as he rose from the makeshift bed, in a cold sweat, his hair and clothing clinging uncomfortably to his skin. Just another dream, then?
He raised his hand rubbing his eyes before staring blankly at the pitch black around him. Normally this would have been the moment to look out the window at the star lit sky, before falling lazily back onto the bed and taking advantage of the next few hours he had free until the day came, and until he felt the need to trek up to the doctors chambers and help him prepare in the morning. However that had not been the norm for quite some time now, and after spending the past several days traversing Londons underground, in hopes of discovering the best escape routes for him and Jizabel in the future, sources of completely natural light were few and far inbetween. He groaned, rubbing his eyes once more before reaching blindly over the edge of his "bed", a coat he'd tossed over the cold stone, to grasp a box of matches beside it.
"Damn…" he grumbled coarsely, as he struck the match and fumbled at the ground beside his bag to find his lantern. Twenty more minutes passed until he finally gathered his belongings, and took the path nearest to him. All the roads lead to the surface, it was not a matter of where to go, but how and when to get there. That, and with less then a day left 'till all of London walked blissfully into a trap… Well, less then a day given the time he'd spent sleeping… It didn't matter either way, He still knew nothing had begun. Once that madness started, nothing could keep it under wraps, even to those below the city, the explosions would be the first sign. Disgusting.
Though he had heard of their back up plans before leaving Delilah, nothing had prepared him for the grim reality of that situation, nor for the grizzly stories that circulated through the underground. He cringed, stepping around yet another scattered bone, as he re-adjusted the bag on his shoulder. With his current position, it would still take him roughly an hour to get back to Delilah's dumping site for the remnants of their little project. Such atrocities seemed just low, even to him. Though at the same time, a cruel voice told him that none of it really mattered in the long run. What was eating at him more was the question of what Jizabels part in all this might be.
No matter what state he's in now, his fathers arms are more venomous than ever. The environment alone is smothering him…
He sighed blankly, pausing as he shook his head. Why did the nature of their relationship still puzzle him so? Even now he was not sure just what he felt for the doctor, other then simplest explanation, and could not help but wonder if that disturbed young man was less confused about love then he was. To make things simpler in his own head, he had decided the night prior that whatever Jizabel felt was fine with him. If he was his lover, friend, father, or simple servant, he was willing to accept whatever weight was set upon his shoulders. But thinking clearer, after some needed sleep, he once again felt himself pining after the hope that "lover" was higher up on the list of things Jizabel saw in him. However odd he felt to finally think such things freely, for until Jizabel he had never once been attracted to a man in this matter. Regardless, he knew that he would never feel this way towards anyone else again, regardless of gender, which somewhat put his mind at ease on the subject. Besides, it's not as if anyone else would find out, we'd be alone together, just us.
He smiled to himself, absentmindedly. It seemed to him that years had already passed since he'd left… And in those "years" he taken the liberty to reclaim what was truthfully his... Eagerly faking identities along the way, of course. In turn, he now had relatively free passing to a house on the country side that he was sure his deceased parents had no further use for... Nor did the most recent owners of the home, though that was a detail he decided to push to the back of his mind, thus, a part of the story which never happened.
Just the thought of how much Jizabel would love the property put abit more of a hop in his walk, as he stepped awkwardly around a few rats who'd been making a meal of some stomach churning rubbish that Cassian couldn't, and did not want to, identify.
Of course Jizabel would love it, the air was so clean and fresh, there were many acres of land to keep animals, and the countryside around it stretched on forever… Well, save for a small village a few miles down. He had loved it there himself, back in the days when his childhood had actually been just that, and his body matched his mind. Another joy was that the general lack of people would make it much easier to blend in… Especially considering the most recent owners of the house, some distant relatives of his, he was mostly sure of, had only just moved in, and nobody in the surrounding area really had a chance to meet them. It wasn't as if anyone would notice the change in occupants when they were out in the middle of nowhere.
He rubbed his head, once again pushing his most recent murders from his mind, and focusing on more pressing matters. Besides, he could barely even remember where he'd buried the bodies. It was completely behind him now.
And as much as those visions of a perfect future where the both of them could be safe and content appealed to him, he knew that time was running down to fine tune his current plans. If I hadn't decided to head up to the surface for food yesterday, and get lost for most of the evening this would not have happened…
He frowned solemnly but kept walking, his mind now trailing on about the fresh loaf of bread in his bag, and how he really had not needed it. Then again, Cassandra was a pampered, weak, little man… He wasn't even sure if he could last too long in this body without proper nourishment. It hadn't taken him much time outside of Delilah to realize just how much more difficult life now was. Despite the advantages of a full grown body, he found his stamina drained much quicker… Something he knew would be alleviated in the future, through his usual physical labor, although he wished something could be done about it now. Even his knife throwing was not quite on the dot, considering the time it had taken to retrain his aim, as had it taken him awhile to get used to most other aspects of Cassandra's physique. Thank god that disgusting hair was all shaved off before the surgery….
How ironic the the twisting tunnels he now crawled through inhabited many of the people that bastard would have loved to kill… Just those unwanted souls trying to survive…
Of course, it did also house its fair share of criminals, though Cassian of all people hardly felt fit to judge, given his record. For now, he was satisfied that no one knew his face, the scars he wore had shielded his identity beautifully. He raised his lantern, looking over the area to make sure he was still on the right course, and after taking a moment to ponder which of the two turns he was supposed to be taking, he continued onward.
He could not wait to leave this place behind him. Despite the sense of security in knowing that no enemy of his could find him here, the darkness did awaken some of the blacker corners of his mind. Despite the disquieting dream, and the lost time, he was thankful for his sleep earlier; as it had been the first he'd had since he started coming down here. Lately his mind had only been haunted by visions of his broken youth, the ringleaders whip, and nightmares of Cassandra. These days, however, it wasn't so much the man himself, but who he was today. Some nights he would lay awake and wonder what ever became of his old body…. Surely the remains had been cremated, or something along those lines. But the thought of them in a pile of corpses somewhere, decomposing… It spurred many nightmarish visions of his head, visions of coming face to face with himself, in death. Still, the idea of facing his own rotting corpse served as some support, as the thought of, in a way, already having died did relieve one of the fear of death. If only my fears of his death would wane…
And there he was again, as he turned that last corner. Right back under Delilah's feet. He frowned deeply as he raised the lantern back to the pile of bones that were the centerpiece of this maze. Although he could not be certain, he was sure that the size of that massive grave had increased in the time he'd been gone. Yes… There was something particularly low about this act, something that made his stomach churn…. At the same time, however, one really couldn't look away from it. He shook his head, lowering the lantern and walking back around the pile, nearing his usual spot. He'd learned back in his youth that it was never good to leave ones belongings unattended in any poverty stricken, crime ridden, area… Space however, seemed a different matter here, a matter people seemed to respect, and he was thankful to find that his usual camp had not been dismantled.
And after stepping quietly over an older man sleeping on the cold, wet, stone, he dropped his bag on the ground, before pulling a flask from his coat and taking a drink… Although all he had left to fill it with was water.
The idea of any future without Jizabel had long since been erased from his mind. It was as simple as this: If anything were to happen to Jizabel, he would return to his old miserable existence, a lifeless one with only a purpose to kill, nothing more and nothing less. Just a dog. He would sooner die then live that way, and sooner kill himself were he to let anything more happen to Jizabel.
Those nightmares that haunted him every night… His sleep was so much better in those few times he had shared it with the doctor. And although he'd never fully comprehend how true it was, the same applied to Jizabel. How was it that a soul so troubled could provide that same comfort? Was what he felt those past few days in the underground that same feeling Jizabel lived with? Was Jizabel always in this dark?
…Was lulling that poor boy to sleep the only thing that gave Cassian protection from his own mind, and sound sleep at night?
If so, how had he even lasted without him before that? But it hardly mattered, he knew the doctor now, and nothing could be done to change the past.
But you'll love the future ahead of us, I know you will.
It was then that he took another swig from the flask, and then that the sound of bones crunching echoed through the maze of tunnels, causing him to jump ever so slightly. The first thing that came to mind was another dumping of human remains, but that same old sound was much different, much more hollow, and lighter…. He had heard it enough times to know it by heart.
And it was then that he turned around to face the pile of bones, the flask in his hand dropping limply to his side as he stared slack jawed at the raven haired young man lying unconscious, dumped right out of Justices chambers just like the rest.
Lawls. Bear in mind that right about now a hobo is waking up on the otherside of that ol' pile o' bones, wondering who's started dropping aristocrats from the sky. So, just felt like noting that when Cassian says interesting, he says is with kind of an "oh shit" expression on his face. Because on one hand, things just got a tiny bit more complex…. But on the other hand, Cain, of all people, dropping from the ceiling has opened up a wide window of opportunities. xD
Anyway, this story is still winding down to it's last chapters. I'm kind of exited. xDD
Hah, well, how did one chapter of Cassian alone make up for the two chapters of Jizabel all by himself? Nahh, didn't really make up for it, Since poor Cassian can't take his mind off Jizabel.
This chapter was also pretty short, but I guess not as short as the early chapters… Thanks for reading as always, you guys make me so happeh.