"Hollow"

Genre: Angst, Family
Rating: T
Time Frame: 3x02, "The Butterfly Effect" expansion
Characters: Elle B., Bob B.

Summary: For a moment she convinces herself that the patterns of red were merely ketchup, and oh God, but she had never lingered to watch a life fade away before . . . Elle, and growing up.

Notes: Short, twisted, messed up little thing . . . It is also my first stab at a Heroes fic, so slaughter as you will. The style is also a gamble as well, so, in short, I'm really just pushing boundaries in all directions with this.

Disclaimer: It's not mine gosh darnit all!


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"Hollow"
by Mira-Jade

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Elle's mom dies when she is five.

She remembers very little of it – flickers of memory circling around the rotting smell of the roses covering the gravestone, and the black fabric draping the coffin like shadows; all punctuated by the pain clenching around her heart until she couldn't breath (cantbreathecantbreathecantbreathe), let alone process the feelings sparking like miasma through her veins.

She remembered the night before – mommy yelling, and daddy angry, and warm arms enfolding her with a fading sense of security. She remembered mommy whispering: I'll never let them have you, dear. (Nevernevernever -

Ever.)

Lies.

Things broke that night – china and skin and hearts, and she had blinked up at her daddy in silence when he told her that her mommy had had an accident . . . In the end, after things tearing, and smearing, and breaking all around, she was not even allowed to stay and watch the way the forgotten ashes danced on the wind by the sea.

She had always hated beaches after that – hated the surf, and the clinging sand, and the taunting sun, and the gulls screaming at her from the sky. All of it was awful. (HateditHateditHated.)

She remembers drawing into herself in the months afterwards, mumbling and scattered within her own thoughts. She remembered the teachers with the kind words that she hated, and little Dorthy Sanders who had first teased her about her dead mom . . . She remembered the sparks pouring from her fingers for the first time, turning Dorthy Sander's mouth blue and twisted and burning until she would hurt no one else with her words ever again. (Nevernevernever -

Ever.)

She remembers the pain in her fathers eyes – fake even then, past the glow. She had always only seen the glow, the greedy expression akin to the same glimmer she sees when he pressed his hand against an object to make it precious as gold.

Foolishly, she wanted to be made precious as well.

So she let daddy take her to the place with the glass windows and the cold gray bricks with giant bold numbers on the wall. She sparked when he asked her to, letting her little flames fall until she simmered at her own hands, feeling the electricity as lightning behind her own eyes when she tried too hard.

She remembered thinking that if she tried hard enough, daddy would see her as something special - like mommy had. And maybe, just maybe, he would keep her and love her, like he hadn't done to mommy . . .

She had passed out from the voltage that day, and awakened to the sound of doctors arguing with her father just outside her door.

She remembered the other kinds of doctors visiting her, as well – the kinds without stethoscopes, with clipboards and patience written in every line about their eyes.

She remembered them speaking in grave whispers to her father – mentally unbalanced, you are damaging her far more than you realize . . . She would plug her ears and drown out the voices that said that she was broken – (brokenbrokenbrokenbroken), knowing that no amount of tape and paste could put her back together again – ever.

Never.

She remembered less some times – remembered the tall silent man, and the man with the glasses and the hard set to his jaw. They came when she knew too much, and the tall one would make her forget – forget all but the feeling of safe she had in his arms before he took the bad days away from her memory.

Her years flew by at some point – braces and teen years and first assignments on an older man who could control water with his mind. She remembered her first kill turning into the first of kills – things she could never feel guilt over, since they made her father proud, and she never stayed long enough to see a corpse, anyway – ever.

Never.

She remembered meeting the cheerleader once from afar, and envying for a moment – just a moment - the things she had been shielded from, how easy she had it to when earning her own father's approval. Elle hated her instantly. Hatejealousyyearning – all those things together in a blender, swirling in her mind like a bad cocktail.

She remembered, when she was older, the mission with the watchmaker – finding true approval there, (even if inside of a lie), and loving (however forbidden) the feeling of gentle pride it gave her.

After that fell through – two killers could never make it work after all. (Nevernevernever) - she tried twice as hard to feel that from her daddy. She had messed up, she had known, and she would make it better. All better.

She didn't, and the strain inside for just a little something more grew into something almost desperate. (Moremoremoreplease? Daddy?

Please?)

She remembered trying one last time.

She remembered everything about that moment – her mother all over, but with no last hugs, and no other parent to turn to. She remembered turning her father's chair around and feeling the angry words on her lips die as she stared into sightless eyes, forever molded into an expression of agony.

In that moment she had wanted to vomit, the only thoughts in her mind ohgoddaddyno and howcouldhehowcouldhe – in reference to her father leaving her or to an old-almost-flame's last twist of the knife, she had not been sure.

She remembered wide eyes – after all, she had never seen her corpses up close before, and if they had fallen by her hand, then there was nothing but ash and charred things that held no life . . . He was merely pale . . . crossed with crimson stains that she could almost pretend were ketchup.

Her fists had clenched, anger threading inside of her and filling all the holes the hurt had left with soothingly harsh things. I'll never forget you, she had sworn in her mind. I'll always love you. Loveyouloveyouloveyou . . . Always.

Forever.

This time, when the words were not returned, she could pretend, and not have anything to contradict her.

A last kiss to a deathly cool forehead, and then she snatched the gun from the desk.

She remembered the adrenaline from battle later fading – the wake of her flames revealing her failure in one way, while the healing cut at her forehead revealed it in another. She remembered her father's replacement/boss coming up to her with a harsh smile on her face, as she whispered words that bruised and scathed.

You have no idea how your father had been protecting you all of these years.

The words filled her with something tangible alongside the sorrow. More half-lies molding her life until they filled the hollow places left yearning inside.

"Yes . . . I have," she whispered as she left, one last glance at the killer on the bed and the cold woman watching him with even colder eyes.

It was something she would never forget – nevernevernever.

Ever.

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FIN

~MJ