Disclaimer: Marvin the Martian, as he is a character from Looney Tunes, is copyrighted to Warner Bros., and he is Chuck Jones' original character. Likewise, Lilly Cunningham is copyrighted to NightmareBeforeChristmasFreak, to whom I give thanks for allowing me to borrow her and for reading the story and giving the a-okay for the upload (on the expense I tweaked a few things first. lol).
(Cruddy title is cruddy X_x.)
This is a little plot-bunny from not yet a month ago, so I finally got around to putting it up. Gave me a dumb excuse to write something a little light-heartened in between writing dark themes.
For those who have not heard of Lilly or even NightmareBeforeChristmasFreak, you will not get this story and most of its content. I recommend reading her stories first, which are nicely in chronological order so you're not bouncing all over the place. And trust me, they're worth reading.
Ha, fan fiction for a fandom of a fandom. It's so silly, it was fun. A little something for the fans from a fan that NBCF technically considers canon XD.
What peculiar thoughts she was getting. They kept telling her she had not been in the house in years—correction, that she had not seen the house in years. Not that she forgot it, she just couldn't remember how it was like to live there. It felt so weird to be in her house, getting ready for school and just humming along with the radio. At least, that's what her mind said.
The longer Lilly stared at her reflection, the more her smile disappeared, her arms steadily feeling like lead as she dropped them, the brush hanging loosely from her fingers. Her subconscious started to fight with herself, trying to inform her about what the day, the future, holds for her. Meanwhile, the other half found it didn't make sense. I'm not a psychic, she argued. I refuse to believe it'll happen, it's crazy!
You don't understand! came the plea from the same psyche, but of a different point-of-view. Once you leave this house, you'll never see your parents again! It'll be years before you're happy again!
Something sensitive stirred in the girl's gut that backed up the latter thought—at least, she believed it was. It jolted when the thump of her hairbrush on the carpet sounded while her body remained immobile. Such a skittish feeling. Still, Lilly felt like laughing. She was scaring herself with these odd insights, split in two in choosing which side was right. If she left for school, her parents wouldn't be here to greet her. If she stayed, or at least convinced her parents to go somewhere for the day, a date possibly (they haven't had one in a while), then everything would go on as planned in her life. Which seemed right, the most accurate?
Her aqua oculars darted over to the clock, and she hissed, snatching up her brush. "Forget it, I'm starving." Shutting off the radio, she flung her backpack over her shoulder, and fluidly whipped up her hair into a simple ponytail. Slipping on the necklace she treasured—muttering a "My Precious" to get a giggle out—she exited into the hall. The welcoming aroma of omelets, sausages, and what may be cinnamon rolls disrupted her crazed train-of-thought as her mind went in a frenzy. Her mother made awesome breakfasts. Swinging around into the kitchen, she put on a grin. "'Morning!"
Her parents looked over at her lovingly from the stove, both wearing a near-identical set of aprons and each carrying a spatula. They were like mirror images of one another, except her mother was a foot shorter. They even said a unified "Good morning, Lilly!" in the exact same happy tone. It wasn't new for them to end up mimicking one another, there were just times it creeped Lilly out a little.
After getting her nerves back in control, she realized none of them said if anything was "different" about her, or even make any other reaction besides their normal cheery tones. She opened her mouth to mention it when she noticed her father's work clothes weren't on underneath. "Dad, don't you have work?" she asked, blinking.
"I have the day off," he stated with a smile.
"And thank goodness he does, I've been needing help with renovation." It was probably a mom thing, Lilly believed, for her to make the house look like the perfect dream house. She had been gushing about the extra room for a while now, and she finally got around to getting the job done a month ago. The room, in the meantime, was off-limits until it was finished. Not that she cared, it was really more of a guest room she only went in to fetch anything that was left in there (usually the board games in the closet) or when her grandmother was alive and stayed in the room on week-long visits, she'd sit in there and talk to her. In all honesty, it was a dull part of the house, though she wondered what they were altering in there unless they were just painting the walls. She could catch whiffs every now and then. "If we work on it all day, we should have it finished when you get home."
"That's great, Mom, can't wait to see it." She sat down at the table and went to the journal columns. Her father worked for the city newspaper as a well-known daily journalist, so to show support, she read his work. Most of the time she didn't get the message he was trying to prove/say, but she loved his style and sense of humor. Today, it was about the convicted killer who was cleared of all charges in the past week. He was giving his strong opinion about the wrong decision it was to let a murderer loose on the streets and at how corrupted the courts were or whatever that part was about. Lilly remembered hearing about it on the news, and at how upset he was at the verdict. It was a serious entry, she didn't know how to respond to it.
After being handed her plate, she glanced up at him, knowing he was waiting to hear her opinion. One look at her, and he just smiled, reaching out to ruffle her hair. "It's okay, I didn't expect you to get it."
"I don't, really. Well, at least what you mean about the court system."
"It's a rather complex subject, I'll tell you when you get home."
Home. Her stomach lurched again. She was afraid she wouldn't be able to hold down her breakfast. Another look at her parents to see they were already having small talk. She was thankful they were, she didn't want to be fretted over about if she was sick or whatever. So she just listened to what they had to say as she slowly ate, trying to soak in the words even when many flew over her head. Sometimes, the grown-up mind confused her so.
Once Lilly finished, she cleaned off her plate in the sink and hurried to the bathroom to brush her teeth. Her eyes avoided the mirror long as she could until after the last of the toothpaste and water slid down the drain. Hesitantly, she blinked up at her reflection, staring unflinchingly at the strange being looking back at her. It had her eyes, just larger, her hair... she distinctly remembered it was completely jet-black like her father's when she was young. Why did it have a bluish tint? Forget it, it probably was just the lighting. Where was her nose and mouth? Did they somehow blend into her skin, which only reminded her of a Jynx and... there was something bothering her about how it looked so familiar. Reaching up to touch her face, the hand in the mirror had only four fingers.
...yeah, I'm definitely out of my mind.
Sighing heavily, she exited the bathroom and stood at the doorway to the kitchen. Her parents, still deep in (small talk) conversation, only noticed her when she uttered, "Thanks for breakfast, Mom, Dad. It was good."
Somehow, for whatever reason, she drew a connection of their smiles to the Joker's that lacked insanity. His smiles never had the light of love in it (in which the thought of it scared her). Whatever, they were probably up to something to look like that. "You're welcome, dear, have a nice day!"
...They're not pulling her leg, right? Was it just her, or did they sound strained?
Nah, she was probably imaging it. For all she could remember, she hardly had any sleep last night or something. With a small smile, she waved good-bye and left the house.
That was the last time she saw them.
Lilly quickly sat up from her bed with a slight gasp, wide awake. She switched on the lamp beside her bed and opened the top drawer, digging through its contents. She pulled out the heart-shaped locket and promptly switched it open. The family picture greeted her with their hidden, but rather noticeable smiles, the little girl's in particular. She let out a sigh, leaning against the headboard of her bed and staring up at the ceiling. "Odd dream," she murmured, frowning. For all she could remember, she hadn't dreamed about her parents in a long while. Only difference was they looked...
Huffing a little bit, she grumbled to herself about listening to music before going to bed and placed the locket on the dresser, turning off the light. Snuggling back into her blankets, she only lay there, staring into the dark. But a few minutes later, her mind now up-and-running, she slid out of bed, clicked the light back on, and headed over to her mirror. It was the same reflection she saw for the many months she was there, nothing out of the ordinary. Her heart, in the meantime, whined that this wasn't her, that it was not what she really looked like. The dream told her that, about why she felt a little out of place, a bit uncomfortable in her parents' presences.
They were human.
Her stomach churned at the memories, of her days with her parents and at the orphanage. She remembered all those people in her life, for the good and the bad, remembered the love and the shunning from them. All their faces were humanized. And hers?
Maybe it was just her, but was it possible she actually died and was reincarnated into something else? Not that she believed in that sort of thing, but could it be possible? For all she knew, Madame Brochy finally killed her, she hated her guts enough she could do that. No, if she was dead, and if she was indeed reincarnated, she would have other memories of her childhood in this current life. Maybe she had been beaten to the point she had forgotten everything, and they were just now returning. Fat chance, it was the memory of her parents that kept her alive that whole time. Her next guess was she had finally gone delusional, insane most likely, and was really in the mental institution she would have been thrown in had she not proved herself—
Lilly's thought process came to a halt. Did that really happen? The first day she came here, did everyone think her mad? So... how did she get used to it?
Before she knew it, strange questions were popping into her head. And who better to answer them than someone who was there from day one. Choosing to bring along her locket for the heck of it (or proof, whatever it was her mind thought it could be), she shut off the light and exited her room, barely feeling the cool tiles beneath her bare feet. The ship's hallways were dark and intimidating at night, it once frightened her to go to the bathroom down the hall or to the kitchen for a drink. After enough time had passed and she had wandered around one midnight for reasons unknown, she found it not as scary, though sometimes she would bump into a stray object from time to time (she swears the centurions choose to sleep in the middle of the hall for the heck of it).
She stopped before Marvin's sleeping quarters, debating whether or not she should be bothering him at this hour. He tended to be cranky when his sleep was disturbed, especially if he was up the previous night or two tending to commander duties, as was the case. He had been awfully tied up with work the entire week, she was not allowed to bother him. They would only see each other at dinner until he had to be rushed back to the controls. To keep herself entertained, Lilly did her usual activities of hover-boarding, listening to or playing music, talking with X-25 (when she wasn't needed), surfing the web, whatever she was in the mood for.
She still felt lonely the entire time.
Even as she stood at the door, the pangs of solitary still hurt. It was going to be obvious the moment she opened that door, Marvin was going to be yelling at her and ordering her back to bed, then end up ignoring her the following day. And it wasn't really an emergency, so why would she wake him just to ask him dumb questions about why it was she had that weird dream? Was she really that desperate to talk to him again?
Rolling her eyes and face-palming, Lilly mumbled tiredly to herself and started trudging for her room. Who was she fooling? Her, desperate? Maybe she really should lay off late-night music or dessert in general if it was making her think this way.
"Did you need something, Lilly?"
She jumped back with a squeak of surprise, spinning around to see Marvin peering at her from around the doorway, nightcap askew. "Oh, h-hi, Marv!" she gasped, waving a hand around. "Um... just coming back from the kitchen. Nothing else, really! I mean... what a coinkidink—coincidence we meet in the hall this... late at night..." She trailed off, stuffing her hands into her pajama pockets.
He raised a brow, but it was so subtle, she didn't catch it. "I'm quite positive it is."
Even this late at night, his dripping sarcasm still found a way to backfire her lame remarks. "W-Well what are you doing up this late? And so... awake as such?" She scowled a little. "You're missing your beauty sleep, you know. You're just going to get fussy in the morning."
Ignoring her last comment, Marvin repeated, "Did you need something?"
"No, I'm going back to bed. 'Night." She turned to leave.
His hand caught her wrist lightly, swirling her around. Lilly let out a small "meep", meeting his worrisome look. No, she shouldn't think that, he was probably just tired, he never looked this worried. Or... concerned, anyway. "Lilly, is there something amiss?"
She blamed her shivering on the floor. But she was taken aback at how calm his voice was, at how caring the sentence sounded. And this late at night after a very, very long week... "Really, Marv, I'm fine." She tried to shake her hand away without making it seem forceful. "I'm just tired, is all."
"Lilly, you are never up this late unless there was an emergency." He leaned in a little, voice dropping to a whisper. "Are you out of toiletries?"
Lilly yanked her arm from his hold. "No! You shouldn't even know about tha—gah, great, now I have to explain girls again!"
"There is hardly a Martian my age who doesn't know about the female cycle, but that's not the point, since you told me so kindly that's not a problem." He folded his arms, the caring tone now gone. "Is there an actual reason you happened upon my bedroom door that does not involve spy robots or insects of the like?"
"That was only that one time! How was I supposed to know—okay, whatever, I had a dream and questions that come with it, you happy now?" She leered. "Do I have permission to go to bed, Commander?"
Marvin blinked, relaxing his shoulders. "Did this dream frighten you?"
"No, but..." She dropped her gaze to the necklace in her hands. "...it kinda did bother me a little."
After following her line of vision, he held out a hand for the locket. Lilly passed it to him without hesitation, watching as he opened it, scanning the pictures inside. She could have sworn a smile appeared in his eyes. He looked up, then gestured his head to the room. "Come inside, Lilly," was all he said before he entered his living quarters and a soft light illuminated. She followed soundlessly, casting her eyes about the room she hardly ever saw, but wasn't unwelcome from it. She had once commented (complained, really) about his bed at how it was bigger than it should be for him, but when he started bragging about being the top commander in the Martian fleet and thus was given some royalties and the like, she shut up about everything else. Technically, as a resident of the ship, she had access to the best of anything, she just preferred the simple, and thankfully her room was the right size for it. Had it been like Marvin's room, she wouldn't know what to do with any empty space she was sure to have.
She moved to get a chair until he insisted, "Over here, Lilly," and he patted a spot beside him on the bed. Obediently, she shuffled over and hopped onto the piece of furniture, glad to have her feet off the ground. Marvin clasped his hands together (it reminded her of a psychiatrist). "Now, what was the dream about?"
Sucking in a breath, she tussled with her hair. "Ehh... nothing to worry over, really."
"It was enough to get you out of bed and take the risk of coming to me."
He had a point. She couldn't fib to him now. "Yeah... I suppose..."
Marvin reached out to take a hand, making her squeeze back involuntarily. "You can tell me, Lilly. What was in it?"
"Nothing terrible, honestly," Lilly assured him, "it was a pleasant dream. But uh... it was about my parents."
He nodded. "And?"
She glanced over with a frown. No turning back now. "It was just... strange. I would look in the mirror, but feel it wasn't me in there, that it was someone else. To help back it up or something, my thoughts are saying 'Look, if you leave, your parents die', which is scaring me, of course. And I'm not believing it, even though everything else is. So I go eat breakfast, because I still had school—I was only twelve at the time—and I see both my parents there. And..." She only paused for a moment before Marvin gave another nod of assurance. "...then I was thinking about how strange they were acting, at how they didn't realize they were out of place, actually I thought they were out of the ordinary. So... after breakfast, I go to the bathroom, and look in the mirror again. And I know it was me... I just didn't feel like myself. Somehow, I knew something was wrong, and then... I said good-bye... and left..."
Lilly swiped at her bangs to hide the fact she was rubbing tears away. Her friend ducked his head a little in thought, stroking his thumb over her hand. "How out of place were they?" he wondered.
She let out a melancholy sigh. "Now that I think of it... it might have just been me. My parents looked the same as how I saw them last." She caught Marvin stealing a glance at the family picture. "Not like that. No... they were human."
His grip tightened, bringing her attention to his face. His worried look returned. "Human, Lilly?"
To her, it didn't sound like a question, more like a statement or just the repetition of the word. If she wasn't mistaken, he already knew where this was ending up. "Yeah... they were human. I wasn't..." Her brows knitted together. "At least... I don't think I was."
"When you said you weren't feeling yourself, you must have been referring to your dream self," he gave his opinion. Wait, she knew him better than that to know he never gave his opinion. He then pointed a finger to her chest just below the collarbone. "And she's in here."
A quiet gasp escaped her. "I was a human in my dream?"
Marvin tilted his head. "You don't remember? You kept on blabbering about how you were from the quote-unquote 'real world', and not from Mars. Maybe it's the result of being away from your dimension for so long."
So he had not forgotten after all. "No, I-I still remember. I just... forgot how it felt. Or maybe it was a lucid dream, I dunno. It was just weird."
"Dreams are a representation of memories, of what your heart desires. Perhaps it was telling you something about yourself."
"Like it didn't want me to forget?"
"A good possibility. There's also that chance you became worried about something. Is there anything special coming up that this particular dream touched on?"
Her face fell. "If you call my parents' deaths special..."
Marvin slapped his forehead. "Butterballs, I didn't mean to call it that!"
"No, it's okay, you didn't know." Lilly then grew silent, pondering on the last moments she spent with her parents. Her dream wasn't off when it came to her parents' personality and her father being home, but she remembered talking to them about this and that and not sitting there brooding quietly. She might have even squeezed in a piano/vocal practice before she left, and they praised her. They were very supportive on anything she said she was going to do. She was their princess, not spoiled, but loved and well taken care of. The afternoon she walked home with her friend was the worst afternoon of her life. The fire left very little for her to salvage from, and there hardly was anything to tell what it once was. She could have sworn, however, she saw what looked to be a baby's mobile being taken away, but for all she knew, her parents kept that. They treasured everything about her since she was born.
Her hair was brushed from before her face, a delicate gesture. Lilly glanced over at Marvin, who immediately dropped a hand when visions crossed. "I've been having nightmares lately," she then said out of the blue.
He didn't blink. "About what?"
"A lot of things, really... Sometimes it's about my old orphanage, other times it's losing a loved one. They're really warped and messed up, just makes things more creepier and vivid than I wish they were."
Marvin held his tongue to keep from suggesting she should stop pigging out on snacks before bed, staying up late to watch movies, or even both entirely. "How bad do they get?" Wow, is he trying to comfort her, or is he this morbid?
Lilly shrugged. "Depends on what it's about. And on how exact it is." She paused, staring at the pile of damaged junk that were piled across the room. (The infamous mountain of broken items he swore to fix one day but procrastinated on for months on end.) "Madame Brochy almost killed me, once."
His eyes widened in horror. "What!" he breathed out, his chest had constricted in on him. The way she said it, it was like she didn't find it a big deal, almost a natural thing.
She nodded rather nonchalantly. "Yeah. It really was no surprise, I always felt she wanted to rid the world of me."
Lilly snorted out a laugh, which frightened Marvin even more. "Oh, let's just say I... did something that was unintentionally my fault that blew her top off and that everything went dark. Next thing I know, I wake up in a hospital bed with a terrible headache and getting this made-up story from the nurses and even Brochy herself about my 'accident'. I'm sure she still blames me for the hospital bills."
There was a faint smile visible on her face the entire time. It was a sad, sarcastic... almost haunting smile. Marvin could hardly keep his disgust down, and here she sat like it was a regular topic she'd bring up. Gods, it's like she's enjoying this. Inside, he felt a growing rage against this woman whom he never met and barely even heard from Lilly. She had put his friend through harsh, hellish times, and she was sadistic enough to play pretend. How could she smile at the mere thought of it? Was she really that tormented she had to laugh to make herself feel better about it?
She suddenly turned to him, starting him from his thoughts. "Hey, Marv? Can... I ask you something?"
He swallowed down what he sure was an angry tone or a sob. "Sure you can."
She took a slow breath. "How... did you know?"
He tilted his head, dreading the subject she was referring to. "Know what?"
"How'd you know I was out there when there was no light source for a shadow under the door or anything?"
It wasn't what he thought. Marvin silently thanked the gods and brought on a smirk. "You were never that great sneaking around."
"I wasn't sneaking, just walking."
"Same thing, really."
She gave him a funny look. "No, really. I never made one sound out there, and I know the room is soundproof."
"It only prevents anyone outside the room from hearing anything inside," he corrected with a chuckle.
"Gah... whatever. Did I really make a loud noise for you to hear me or something? I never touched the door. Can it sense body heat or something and let's you know?"
The Martian Commander shifted weight on the bed, tugging on his nightcap. "No, but erm, well... how to explain this..." He hesitantly raised his hands to try and help emphasis his point. "I-It's like I... just knew you were coming here. Like... a sense of déjà vu, in a way."
"You don't believe in that," she pointed out incredulously.
"Okay, what's the point in trying to make this more complicated? Honest-to-goodness, it was just a random thought that came to my head, so I came out to check on you and there you were." He threw his hands up. "There."
Lilly surprisingly giggled and squirmed in place. "Aren't our minds funny like that?"
Hers is, anyway, he thought. Just being able to switch between moods like that. So I take it that's the secret to her rather cheerful nature? A few moments of hesitation before Marvin nodded briefly with a shrug. "Something like that, yes. There's always something about the psyche we can never figure out. And people have reported events like that, even though it's scientifically proven it's stronger in close family members and friends, particularly in twins, though. That's where the strongest peak of so-called ESP currently holds—"
"Wait, Marvin, you said close friends, right?" she interrupted, slapping a palm to his shoulder doing do.
A bit displeased she disrupted and smacked him, he responded, "Indeed I did." He raised a brow curiously. "Why? What's on your mind?"
"Funny you should ask," she squealed, spinning around and crossing her legs. (He didn't like how she reacted as such.) "I wanna see if it really works!"
Marvin let out a small groan, pinching his brows. "Lilly, I'm sure it doesn't work like that."
"Come on, I've seen friends do it all the time. Now, what am I thinking of?" And she lifted her eyes to the ceiling in a far-away look.
He scowled, shaking his head. "Lilly, I was not talking about mind-reading."
"You said ESP."
"'Extrasensory Perception' stands for the many different psychic phenomenon that cannot be explained fully by science and logic," he started to sound off. "There's been reports of telekinesis, mind-reading, clairvoyance—"
"Come on, Marv, don't be a joy-kill!" she whined, breaking her concentration to reach out and shake him lightly by the shoulders. "It's just for fun. Now, what am I thinking of?" And her eyes unfocused again.
"Ponies," he grunted almost immediately.
"No-o-o, you didn't concentrate hard enough! Do it again while I'm still thinking about it!"
The longer he gawked, the more idiotic she was looking. He gently removed her hands from him, and fixed his nightcap. "Lilly, you're only making a fool out of yourself staring at the ceiling like that. And besides, your face will freeze like that."
She sneered. "Nyuck nyuck, you're no fun."
"Of course. Are we done here? It's going to be a rather typical day in the morning, and we both need to be in top shape."
She pouted. "Fine, since you're not going to cooperate, I'm just gonna try and read your mind." A rather non-existent villainous smirk spread across her face, and she leaned forward (making him lean back) as her eyes narrowed. "You thinking of something yet?"
"As a scientist and commander, I am always thinking." He puffed out his chest.
She poked to deflate him. "Well, pick something to think about, and I'll see if I can get it."
They weren't getting anywhere arguing like this. Rolling his eyes, he crossed his arms and lazily looked at Lilly. She furrowed her brows, wracking her brain power to tap into her own ESP she was sure existed, unaware of the faces she was making (Marvin tried hard not to laugh). She then raised a finger and pointed. "Are you thinking what I'm thinking you're thinking?"
Scowling, she exclaimed, "You're thinking about something scientific!"
With a growl, she tried again. "Commandeering!"
"You mean 'commanding'," came the bored amend.
"Well, whatever it is you do as a commander."
He shook his head slowly. If Lilly had visible teeth, she'd be gritting them at the moment. "Ridding the world of Duck Dodgers!"
Marvin dryly chuckled. "I wish."
"Really? That's a shocker."
"Well, as shocking as it sounds, I am finding myself rather irked. How much longer is this going to take?"
"Shut up, Marv, I'm trying to think."
"'Trying to think'? Such hypocrisy."
"Says you! You weren't having fun!"
He tutted. "There is nothing fun about ESP. And thank goodness you don't show signs of it, otherwise we'd all be doomed." A sly grin slowly grew.
Lilly's eyes flashed. "You're a braggart hypocrite yourself. You got my hopes up all because you 'said' you could 'sense my troubled thoughts' or whatever."
"I said nothing of the sort."
"Yeah, well you were thinking it."
Marvin merely scowled. "Are we done playing this childish game? I do have an important meeting in the morning to attend to, if you remember correctly."
She matched his expression. "Marvin, I thought you were trying to make me feel better, not get me riled up like this," she grouched.
A brow rose in mock surprise, hands on hips. "Oh ho, so it's my fault?"
"Of course it isn't," he quietly scoffed.
"All right, fine, it is your fault for not making me feel better!" Lilly tightly folded her arms, shoulders hunched and a huff roughly exhaled out.
He wasn't fazed a bit. "You already said that."
"Shut up, I'm trying to make a point!"
"That everything was my fault I screwed up my own life!"
Marvin didn't know where she had gotten such an idea. The seriousness of her tone of voice as she accused herself was a bit shocking, to say the least, but he had seen her angrier. It just wasn't a confession. If at all, she rarely yelled it out, let alone put herself down as such. "I never said anything of the sort!" He quickly caught his rising tone, and took a breath to help cool it down. "Don't say I was thinking about it, because I wasn't. I would never put you down like that." Letting out a silent sigh, his body and gaze relaxed. "What makes you say such a thing, in the meantime?"
He could swear a vein was pulsing in her head for a second before she swerved around and hopped off the bed. She held herself and walked across the room, stopping near the junk pile, glaring at many of the numerous items she herself broke. She picked up the toolkit that was close by, scrutinizing the uniquely-styled gadgets inside. "Why can't I remember being human, Marvin?" she murmured unhappily. "What happened to me?"
He hung his head slightly, shrugging. "You want my thoughts on it?" When she nodded, he resumed gingerly, "I'd say... you're suffering from trauma left untreated from abuse."
Her blue eyes narrowed dangerously when she cooly leered over at him. "Really?"
"Blows to the head and unwanted memories will do that to you." He paused, wondering how far this conversation would go. "Where was the most damage, by the way?" And there I go again with my sick curiosity.
Lilly stared for an uncomfortable moment before returning back to the toolkit. "My head. They actually had to shave me bald to stitch me up. Before then, my hair was about a little longer than mine is right now." She waved a hand behind her, pulling at air. "Back then, before the incident, I used to be pretty."
"But you are pretty," Marvin found himself blurting out. The word still made him flush even though he had told her once or twice.
"Then you should have seen me at the hospital. I was told I was hardly recognizable, what with all the abrasions and swelling going on. It's really a wonder I recovered so nicely and that my hair even grew back the way it did." She pulled out a wrench from the kit, noticing it could extend at the push of a button underneath. From behind her hair, she glanced at her friend. "You curious as to know what I looked like?"
He twiddled his thumbs nervously, then shook his head. She shrugged, then strolled over to one of the centurions. "You know, because of what happened, there was a chance I wouldn't have been able to speak normally again, let alone sing if I ever did make a good recovery. Which I did, for whatever reason."
"What are you getting at, Lilly?"
"I'm sure that had I done that day a little bit differently, my voice would be way better than it is now." She raised a hand to rub at her throat, humming a little tune to herself. Marvin recognized it as a favorite Broadway song. What was it called again? "For Good", she had called it? "I was once told I had a voice of an angel from someone other than my mom," she then sighed, slowly shaking her head. "Then after that night..." Her eyes closed tightly. "Took me months to carry a tune, and even longer to get to where I am today."
"Then I must say you are a lucky girl."
Lilly huffed. "Not as lucky as Tyr'ahnee," she muttered darkly.
He didn't like where this was going. "Lilly, we've talked about this before. Everyone is unique in their own way. You have a lovely voice, and you are proud of it."
"And what if I had lost that ability forever? Would you still think of me the same way?"
"Lilly, why are you asking me these strange, unethical questions?" he inquired sternly, hopping off his bed. "This isn't like you!"
"Oh yeah? Well I'll show you what isn't like me!" With a cry of frustration, she swung the wrench at the robot, only for it to repel off the metal and bounce back into her face.
Marvin promptly hurried to her side from where she crumpled, turning her around so he could see, trying to pry her hand off. She snarled from the pain and pushed him away, shouting, "Get away from me!"
"Let me see, Lilly!" he raised his voice back, grabbing for her again.
"Lilly, cease this silly nonsense for a few minutes! You're only making this harder on yourself!"
"Oh, God, it stings!" she hissed under her breath.
The commander noticed the trickle of blood dripping from her fingers. Sighing heavily, he literally hoisted her up. Lilly snapped at him when he forced her to stand, but ignored it as he led her into his bathroom. "Sit down," he ordered, pulling out the first-aid kit from underneath the sink.
"I'm fine, just give me a band aid and I'll be fine!" she spat, glaring at him with her only visible eye.
Not wanting to argue with her again, Marvin lifted her onto the counter top against her protests and flipped the lid open. "Stupid girl, you realize what you could have done?"
"What's it matter to you?"
"Let me see the damage."
Tempting to slap her, he yanked the hand away from her face, pushing her bangs out of the way. His brows rose a little. "I can't tell if stitches will be needed until I clean off the blood," he announced.
"Go ahead, stitch me up!" she challenged, swinging a fist at him (he dodged). "It's not new to me, and I've always wanted to be a rag doll! I think I'll go as Sally for Halloween, it's perfect!"
Even when in pain, her smart-aleck comments still were harsh. Tearing out a few strips of gauze, he drenched one with alcohol and pressed it onto the wound. She smacked his arm in place of her screaming from the stinging, and it smeared down her face. "Lilly, enough!" he hollered, eyes blazing as his arms began to shake. "You brought this upon yourself! I should be making you clean yourself up, stitches included, you incompetent girl!"
"I will, then!"
"I will not!" He attempted to soak up the blood again.
She fought with him again. "Marvin the Martian, I'm eighteen, dammit! I can take care of myself!"
"Clearly, you are too delusional to remember that the centurions are equipped with a special metallic surface that wouldn't dent from blunt objects!" he snapped back. "What makes you think I trust you with a thread and needle, let alone a syringe to numb the skin so you can perform simple surgery on yourself?"
Lilly, though her eyes remained hardened, stopped thrashing to let his words sink in. They hit a soft spot, speaking truth. Honestly, she wasn't keen about the idea of stitches, so having to do them herself would have been terrifying. But the entire thing that led up to now... What was it that made her try and trash an already-broken robot (with armor where only other robots or lasers would easily cut through)? What made her think a wrench would work? No, what came before the wrench? What started this whole problem in the first place? Why must her head hurt so much—oh yeah, she's bleeding. And all over her favorite PJs, but she could care less at the moment. It wasn't like it wasn't washable. Her mind was everywhere, it was making her dizzy.
Sensing the tension lifting, Marvin resumed cleaning her up, wishing he had a clip to keep her hair back. Not that he didn't mind brushing it out of the way—no, he's not going to think about it. All that matters now is getting her patched up and back in bed. It was getting really late, and who knows how long she had been up. Peeling away the gauze for a peek, he sighed with relief. "Well, you got lucky, Lilly. You'll just be needing a butterfly bandage after the blood flow has stopped."
She relaxed a little, eyes closing. He was half-expecting her to show more of a reaction, but she never did. Silence, he felt, was the best answer. They didn't need any more words without fearing one would anger the other. Both of them avoided looking at each other while Marvin kept applying pressure. He searched slowly through the first-aid for the small bandage mentally counting down every painful second. When he found it, and the blood was starting to clot, he ripped it open, pinched the wound together (making her wince) and gently stroked it onto her skin. He figured it would be a small scar later on if she left it alone, but her bangs would be in the way, they would hardly notice it. To make sure it would stay in place, he left a piece of gauze on the sealed lesion, and loosely wrapped a bandage around her head, tying it off. Pleased it was finished, he discarded the gauze and started to wash his hands.
He paused, just letting the water wash over wastefully. She sounded pitiful, a sad sigh. "I am as well, Lilly," he whispered back.
"No, I should be the only one to apologize," she muttered, shaking her head. "I was stupid, not thinking clearly... I just got the dream messed up with something else."
Marvin reached over to pat her when he realized his hand was sopping wet. "It wasn't your fault," he said softly, turning off the water and drying his hands.
Lilly gave a displeased snort. "Oh, please, she blamed her insanity on me. Of course it's my fault."
"That doesn't make you insane."
He looked over to catch her side-ways glance. "Depends on how you look at it."
A small frown creased her brows, and she turned away to hang her head, clenching her pajama bottoms. "It... sucks," she slowly uttered. "I can't remember what my nose looked like."
It was the most random thing she could say in a serious tone, he almost let out a chuckle. He held it back as he faced her, hesitantly taking a small hand into his. She made no motion to reject him. "I bet—" He cleared his throat to start again. "I bet it was cute. Erm, for an... Earthling nose."
His sincere remark caught her attention, eyes grown wide and bright. It made him blush in embarrassment when he thought back to what he said. He waited for a laugh or sarcastic reply from her about the slip-up for what felt was a minute, when she answered back within a quarter of it. "Why Marvin. Did I just hear you say something... positive about something Earth-related for once?" she breathed in a near-teasing tone as she leaned forward a little. "Have I really gone mad?"
Marvin gave her a lop-sided smile, quirking a brow as he played along. "You most definitely have. That's what you get for being sleep-deprived, Alice."
Lilly choked out a giggle, and she held out her arms. He obliged, standing on tip-toe for her to wrap around his neck as he lifted her into a tight hug. The two held each other in blissful tranquility, silently shaking with mirth. She pressed her tear-streaked cheek against his when she leaned up against him, feeling a peace-of-mind ascend into her as she closed her eyes. Marvin slowly took a breath, catching scent of her hair. It was a nice smell, subtle enough he wouldn't be caught down-wind of perfume, but it was there. He didn't recognize the aroma, though he figured she'd laugh if he said something about blueberries. It was really all she was missing to complete her fascination of blue. Smiling at his own joke, he tightened his hold.
Time was forgotten while the two friends remained frozen in a heart-felt, forgiving hug. It was only when she began to feel leaden did he remember she needed her rest. Gently shifting an arm around her shoulders and another curling under her legs, he carried her out of the bedroom, failing to acknowledge K9 standing on his back legs at the doorway, poised to knock. The dog's ears stood up as his eyes widened at the sight of his master with Lilly in his arms, immediately confused as to why she was in his room in the first place. Though curiosity wanted to know why he looked so at peace with her, he chose to remain where he was, not wishing to bother him.
Marvin entered the cozy room, sliding the switch for a soft light to illuminate doing so. Carefully, he lowered her to the bed, gazing at her relaxed face. She had fallen asleep sometime ago, the tears leaving a shine where they dried. He tucked strands of hair away from her eyes, noticing how feathery her eyelashes looked. For being through a lot in her life, it was amazing how peaceful she still looked, at how pure her spirit was. A sad twang in his heart sounded, wondering how it is anyone could have harmed a sweet, innocent being. She hadn't done any wrong, and yet many things went wrong in her life. He marveled at it all. Perhaps her stubbornness kept her strong and alive after all.
When she began to shiver, he quickly tucked her in, withdrawing the moment she moved, rolling onto her stomach with a small moan, face half-buried in her pillow and arm exposed in the open. Inwardly, he sighed. She looked so beautiful, too, and then she had to flip over. Even in her sleep, she was still Lilly. A bit worried she was at risk of suffocation, he gently cupped her cheek and tilted her head a little ways, then brushed away more hair. Honestly, what was it with him wanting to touch her hair? Holding hands and hugging he could see, those were innocent reactions. But to touch her hair, even just by moving it away from her face, was more of an intimate gesture, it was like caressing her face, he would never do tha—
Marvin swiftly pulled away, folding his arms tightly against him. Gods, what was going on with him? Why was he doing this all of a sudden? He glimpsed at the clock. Good, an excuse in case she ever brought it up. He was dead tired, it was a wonder he took her to bed—no, sleep-walking! That was a better story, she would totally believe that!
...he must really be out of his mind by now. But why would he choose to remain there, watching her sleep? Did his brain finally fizz out and now he can't think properly? Why would he drag a chair over to her bedside and sit there, staring into her dark face and listening to her breathe? What, was she that interesting to look at when asleep? If she woke up to see him like this, she would punch him in the face. What if someone was to break into the ship and steal her away? Oh, come on, who would barge in at four in the morning to do that, and in the middle of space, no less? Was it to make sure she wouldn't get out again until she was completely refreshed? What about her nightmares? Would she get them again? And when she does, is he willing to stay awake with her? What if... something... went wrong...
...gods, she looked cute asleep...
"Commander, were you wanting some breakfast before you go to the mee... ting?"
X-25 went silent at the sight of his empty, unkempt bed in half-descent. Her pixel eyes blinked, swerving her monitor around for a better look of the room, even peeking into the bathroom. She ascended into the ceiling and came down again outside the door, looking K9 in the eye. "He didn't return last night?" she asked him.
The Martian dog raised his front paws in a shrug, shaking his head. He then pointed down the hall, miming carrying a light object. She barely saw his charade once she got the nonverbal message, and momentarily lowered her screen into Lilly's room. A small smile dotted on the monitor at the sight of Marvin hunched over the bed cushioned by an arm, the free hand loosely clamped over the girl's left forearm. "Well, then," she muttered to herself as she quietly exited, "guess I'll go take his place. I'll fill him in on it later."
Besides, she had always wanted to go run a meeting.
...I missed my late-night uploads... *passes out on bed*