A/N: A rather lengthy oneshot that I've been drabbling since yesterday. Fanfiction is indeed a good way to vent. This is pre-Rocky, my view on how Riff and Magenta's childhood went and how they came to be what they're now. Absolutely unbeta'd. One of those idek-what-i-was-doing fics.
Warnings: Mentions of child abuse. Incest (even though knowing it's Riff/Magenta, this should be self explanatory, no?), probably some mild language. Angst and hurt/comfort.
Disclaimer: Let's all take a moment and thank the higher powers that Richard O'Brien owns TRHPS characters. Otherwise, ... well, you see.
Magenta was nine years old at the time. And this had been one of the worse nights in her entire life.
Everything started with was the shouting; her father's voice was clearly audible in her room, as if she was standing beside him. It made her shiver and she clutched her knees to her chest, biting her lower lip, tears already staining her cheeks. She may have been only nine, but she was too old for her age – she and her brother had seen enough for about twenty years of a lifetime. As the shouts were followed by breaking glass and a few low thumps, Magenta clutched her blanket fiercely and started to pray.
There was no religion on Transsexual, of course. Nor was there some higher power. But Magenta remembered from all the books that her brother read her when she was little, tales of a faraway land, where people believed in pure spirits, in some kind of ghastly power, which guided them and lit their way through the darkness of their own lives. Right now, she felt as if she needed that light more than ever. She hung to the fabric fiercely, nails digging into her pillow, as she prayed silently to her mother.
"Mommy," Magenta began, swallowing hardly. "I don't know if you can hear me, Mommy, but Riffy says you're always watching from above and …" she paused as she heard her brother shouting back at their father again, his words fading out after another loud thump, which Magenta could only imagine was Riff's head colliding with the wall. She tried to stifle crying out loud and instead continued praying. "and he always tells me how careful and gentle you were, how much you loved us. Mommy, please, do something before daddy hurts Riff." Magenta swallowed a sob that threatened to go out of her mouth. She knew that if her father heard that she was crying, things would get a lot worse – not just for her, but for Riff too, who would desperately try to protect her. "Just … please, make daddy stop drinking so much. Make him hit me and Riff less. Please, Mommy, help us."
She couldn't continue, because suddenly the noises in the next room stopped. Magenta caught her breath, she felt as if her heart had stopped beating. She just lay there, perfectly still in the darkness and coldness of her own room and waited.
Suddenly, her father's heavy, drawling footsteps exited the kitchen and walked up the corridor all the way to her room. She felt fear creep up her chest, not so much for her own safety, but more like for the fact that she hadn't heard Riff come out. As her father fumbled with the door handle, she hid her face in her pillow, pretending to be asleep, hoping that he would leave her in good condition enough to take care of her brother later.
He entered the room, slow steps coming close to her bed. Magenta clutched her eyes, trying her best to even out her breathing. Her father got closer to her bed, she could smell his breath, drowned in alcohol and nicotine. It almost made her cry out again.
He stayed over her bed for a while, gazing into something Magenta couldn't understand, then, to her big surprise, his rough hand clumsily stroked her head. She was almost going to gasp in surprise, when she remembered she was supposedly asleep. Her father swooned at one side, but managed to regain his balance and quietly left the room.
Magenta didn't move until she heard the door next to hers close and her father's snoring started just a moment later.
Her bare little feet touched the cold ground and she shivered, leaving the warmth that the blanket provided her. But she didn't flinch for a second, nor did she think twice. Magenta silently walked out of her room in her white night gown, checked whether her father's door was closed so that he wouldn't hear anything else until morning. Apparently, it was. She knew that she was being too precautious; once their father got drunk and passed out, he'd be stone-dead until morning. He wouldn't wake up even if one rang a church bell next to his head. Better to be safe than sorry, 'Genta, her brother's voice echoed in her head.
As soon as she was convinced it was safe, she sped down the corridor to the kitchen. She still hadn't heard her brother come out. By the sounds of what was happening earlier, he'd be torn to shreds.
And it was up to her to pick up the pieces again.
She opened the door gingerly, not really surprised by the sight that greeted her. Shards of glass lay in one corner, the table was turned over. What made her sick was a slight trail of blood, leading to Riff's bundled body next to the kitchen counter. Apparently, he was conscious, desperately trying to get up, his own legs failing him, his blonde hair had red streaks and his eyes were bloodshot, one of them was going steadily black. Magenta winced at the sight of Riff – at the age of twelve, he was already taking a stand against their poor excuse of a father and managed to protect himself up to a point.
She walked through to him, careful not to step on any of the glass, her bare feet already going blue from the cold. As he noticed her, he opened his mouth in astonishment, lower lip trembling slightly. Magenta felt that tears were prickling down her face, but she picked him up by the elbow and shushed him to be quiet. Riff swung his arm over her shoulders and she half-dragged, half-carried him to her own room. Her brother bit back all the sounds he could make from all the pain – the last thing they wanted was for their father to awaken.
The siblings finally took their breaths as they reached Magenta's room. Not wanting to hurt him anymore, Magenta guided Riff to the bed and snuggled up beside him, covering them both with a blanket, just like he used to do whenever she'd feel sick. Even through the bruises in his face, he managed to smile at her, whispering softly into her ear. She hugged him closer and cried into his chest.
"Don't cry," he croaked out in his deep and melodic voice. "don't cry, my darling 'Genta. I won't leave you. Never."
She lifted her head to look at her older brother.
"Do you promise, Riffy?"
He smiled at the nickname, kissing her forehead gently.
"I swear on it."
Later on in their lives, for about three years, Magenta was stupid enough to believe that things would get better for them.
They didn't. Which was, what she considered at least, the start of her steady downfall. She didn't blame herself for anything that she did at that time – contrary to that, one of the best things that had ever happened to her came to be then. She never regretted a single thing, never felt as if she'd made a wrong choice. It was a good feeling indeed.
Two major changes happened in her 17th year of life. It was that peculiar age when she wasn't a girl, but she wasn't a woman yet either, curious about everything, trying to grasp the concept of her own existence, failing, but still having a rather good time.
The first one was that their father remarried.
She and Riff could barely believe it that someone would, in full sanity, marry the boor that was still dubbed as their father. They never attended the wedding either – they spent it with a bottle of wine on the couch, tangled in some old sweaters they'd found in the closets, Magenta had shoved her bare feet under her brother's thigh to keep warm, his hands gently massaging her ankles. They were sure they had had a better time than everyone on the wedding combined.
Magenta believed that their father would straighten up with his new wife Allyson around. He did quit drinking and didn't hit Magenta and Riff anymore, but now he was a walking and talking vegetable. Obediently bowing his head to everything his new wife demanded, not even sparing a glance to his children, carrying the general image of a man, who wished he was dead on the spot. But there was no such luck for him.
For a mere three months, Allyson was their version of the worst nightmare. She held a rather neutral attitude for Magenta, both of them basically ignoring each other at all times, but absolutely despised Riff Raff. She was a smart woman; having noticed that he, now that his father was obviously incapable to, had his ambitions of becoming the man in the house. Allyson didn't like that. Not at the least. She called him an antisocial zombie, never missed a chance to badmouth him in front of everyone, including Magenta. The great problem with their step-mother was that she was convinced of her own nobility – so sure that she belonged somewhere better than this, so she used any possibility she could to convert the siblings into the posh, glamorous lifestyle she herself desired, while this was the least of their desires. This made something break inside of Magenta, she turned into an emotional wreck, seeking solace in Riff's arms, the only person who she could still trust.
But she knew that this shelter wouldn't be there forever.
The straw that broke Riff's back was their late mother's birthday. Every year, he and Magenta went to her grave, silent tears falling down her face. They just stood there, hoping that their mother could see them. That even after everything that had come raining on them, they were still together as a family, as they always should be. When they came home though, Allyson was ready to lash out at Riff.
"How dare you subject your sister to this?" she had screamed at him, rage and jealousy in her sight. Riff turned to Magenta.
"'Genta, go out."
She had tried to oppose him, but then their eyes met and she saw that look that always said please, just go, I don't want you to see this.
And she obeyed.
Magenta crashed in front of the door, listening to the shouts coming in, experiencing a weird sensation of déjà vu, voices shouting in the kitchen. She felt her guts clenches, feeling as if she was that little girl again, with no hope of love and protection anywhere. Only this time, Riff's voice wasn't weak and uncertain. After about twenty minutes, she heard the words which made her heart sink.
"Get out of this house!" Allyson had screamed at him. "If I see you here again, I'll have you arrested. I don't want you anywhere near me or your sister!"
Magenta desperately hoped he would say something. He would fight to stay here with her. She wouldn't be able to bear it if he had to go away. But as she saw him exit the door and his gaze fell to her miserable form, he let out a sigh, full of hurt and pain, and kneeled down beside her, gathering her in her arms. She desperately clutched to his shirt, not able to hold her tears.
"Don't leave me," she whispered, her voice barely audible.
"Don't cry, 'Genta," he shushed her gently. "I promise, I will get my own place and when you're old enough, you'll move in with me."
Magenta's eyes met Riff's; she could clearly see that his intentions were pure, that he really meant it.
"Just wait," he kept silently whispering to her. "I promised I'd never leave you, did I? I don't plan to. Just be patient, 'Genta, and everything will be okay."
He packed what little possessions he had in a rush. Magenta was the only one to walk him out of the house; Allyson wouldn't want to even meet his eyes and their father was, as usual, blissfully oblivious to everything that was going on. Riff held Magenta in his arms long, promised he'd stay in touch and disappeared into the night.
Things only got worse after Riff left. Allyson had no one to vent her obsessive-compulsive emotions onto, so she dumped them all over Magenta's head. She started bringing young men at home while her husband was at work, seduce them with her snake tongue, then take them up and lock into what used to be Riff's room. There was not a trace of her brother in it, it was now a guest room and Magenta could only guess the types of guests that her step-mother let stay over. It sickened her to no end.
At least Riff had kept his promise and not forgotten about her. He contacted her regularly, they arranged secret meetings while they were sure Allyson wouldn't know. They had to be extremely careful with it. Magenta still hasn't reached the age of majority on Transsexual – she had two more years until she did – and by that time, she was still in custody of her parents. If they wanted, they could sue her brother for whatever they wanted, because since they've cast him out of their household once, he was no longer a member of their family.
Magenta couldn't care less. From what she knew, he was her flesh and blood, the only being she had ever truly loved. He showed her to his own place, a beautiful house, nestled near the shore. Riff kept saying how they would move in together, how she could come to see him whenever she desired – his doors were always open for her. No matter of how desperate her own situation at home was, Magenta found that reassuring – it was the light in her soul that gave her hope and helped her put up with her step-mother's growing insanity every day.
At nights when Allyson would bring another catch from her man-hunt, Magenta felt as if she was going to go insane. All she could do was stay silent, then get up, when the noises in the next room got unbearable, go out, dressed in the most provocative outfit she could possibly find, get drunk, screw someone senseless and not even remember his name in the morning. Boys never appealed to her, even though a lot of them seemed to take interest in her. She knew that she was just a toy to them – a portrayal of a faceless and nameless girl, a one-night stand. It was good; it suited her. It was a way to run away, without having to trouble her brother with herself. In those moments, when she'd be laying in some stranger's bed, her head woozy from alcohol, she would find herself dreaming that it was Riff beside her. He'd always handle her with care; like a porcelain doll, as if he was afraid she'd break every minute. Magenta was angry at herself. She couldn't allow it, couldn't be in love with her own brother. Incestuous relationships, even though not rare, were extremely frowned upon on Transsexual. Not cognizable, of course, but she could only imagine the damage it would do for them both. She couldn't let her emotions cloud her judgment. For Riff's and her own sake, she hid her feelings deep underneath and lay with someone different every time, absent-mindedly imagining them to be her brother.
Allyson though seemed to notice once that Magenta hadn't spent the night home. When she came home early in the morning, almost unable to stand on her own feet, her step-mother was waiting for her in the kitchen, hands crossed in front of her chest. Magenta chuckled, cherishing the irony in the image. What a typical caring mother look, she thought, knowing that it was all a pretty act, which Allyson used to fool herself that she wasn't really that much of an awful person. Silently, Magenta was marveled at this woman's insane wish to be a good mother.
"Where have you been all night, Magenta?"
She swayed at the doorframe, gripping at it to regain her balance, trying not to get the grin away from her face.
"Why should you care?"
"I am your mother." Allyson stepped at her, a deadly glare in her eyes. Magenta huffed a laugh and the other woman caught her arm. "Listen to me, you ungrateful brat. I can't allow myself to work silly, while you –'
"Work silly where? In bed with all those boys, who are at least twenty years younger than you?"
"Don't you dare talk to me like that." She hissed warning, her grip on Magenta's arm tightening.
"What, are you going to hit me?" Magenta asked.
"Where have you been all night?"
"None of your business."
"Magenta," Allyson grabbed her wrists, her eyes shining with anger. "do you sleep with other boys?"
Magenta tore away from her step-mother's grasp, adjusting her dress and glaring her with cool indifference.
"No, mom," she stressed on the last word, a small smile peaking in the corners of her lips. "you sleep with boys. I sleep with men."
Slap! Before she knew it, Allyson's hand collided with the side of her face, her cheek burning. Magenta swooned back, shooting her step-mother with a death glare.
"You deserved that," the woman growled. "this is no way to talk to your –"
"You are not my mother!" Magenta shouted, unable to control herself anymore, tears welling up in her eyes. "You chased away the only person I cared about in this damn family! We were ruined and you came, but instead of picking up the pieces, you only made things ten times worse!" She ran back through the corridor, aiming for the front door, almost tripping in her high-heeled shoes. "I. Am. Done."
"Don't you walk out that door!" Allyson screamed back, her eyes almost bloodshot with anger. "If you go to that freak, I will release hell on both your heels."
Magenta shot her one final glare, opening the front door.
"I don't ever want to see your face again. Not yours, not my fathers. You're not my family. He is."
Magenta staggered on her way to her brother's house, sand prickling between her toes, as she carried her shoes in one hand. She couldn't believe what had just happened. There was, of course, every possibility that Allyson would unleash some force of law on them two, or she would come herself and give them hell. Perhaps she could even get their father drunk again and he would come, beating them into bloody pulps again.
She couldn't care less.
As selfish as it sounded, all Magenta needed now was Riff. She needed his warm embrace, his soft voice in her ear, his hand gently stroking her frizzy red hair, telling her that everything would be all right.
Having finally reached his house, Magenta knocked on the door in a rushed manner. It took a while for Riff to answer, apparently having just gotten out of bed, barefoot on the wooden floor, a black t-shirt and pajama pants hanging on his thin frame. All sleepiness left his eyes when he laid eyes on his sister.
She fell into his arms, feeling her own limbs give away and melted into his touch, her arms tightly wrapped around his neck. Riff held her steadily, not asking any needless questions. Her smeared eyeliner, the shadows under her eyes and the red mark on her cheek said enough. He gingerly picked her up, as she sobbed into his neck, unable to control herself anymore. Her brother carried her into his bedroom, settling her down on his bed so that she would be able to rest. As he gently removed her shoes, Magenta inhaled the smell of his rumpled sheets, still warm from his own body and then felt him hold her tightly in his hands.
"Riff, I –"
"I'm not sure I want to know what happened," came his reply, as she clutched to him even tighter. "You made the right choice coming here."
"She's terrible," Magenta mumbled in his t-shirt, settling her head in the crook of his neck. "Absolutely terrible. I couldn't take it anymore, Riff, I couldn't. I know you said I should wait, but I just –"
"Shh," he silently whispered in her hair, his breath warm in her locks. "You don't have to tell me anything. Just relax. Sleep. We'll deal with everything later. I'm not letting you go anymore, 'Genta."
As much as she wanted to tell him everything, how she felt towards him, how confused she was, yet still had the feeling this was the right thing to do, words seemed to escape her and she drifted off. Riff waited until her breathing evened and held her closer, flipping a warm blanket over her.
"My most beautiful sister," he whispered, his voice barely a breath.
Magenta woke up with a blinding headache, the events from earlier in the day coming to crash over her head. She remembered arriving at Riff's house by dark. It was now light in the room and she noticed she was wearing one of his old stretched out shirts over her. She tried to stand up, but the pain came back in a strikingly agonizing wave and Magenta groaned, letting herself drop back. She heard rumbling from the kitchen and soon enough, her brother entered the door, a glass of water and a pill in his hand. His mouth opened in astonishment when he saw she was awake, he sat down at the edge of the bed beside her. Magenta smiled at him.
"Drink this first," he put the pill in her hand, along with the water. "It will help with your headache."
Magenta obliged, their fingers touching slightly as he gave her the glass. Even this simple touch sent a bolt of electricity through her body. Apparently, he had felt it too, because he hurried to pull his hand back. His sister swallowed the pill and set the glass on the nightstand.
"How long have I been sleeping?"
"About six hours," he smiled at her, but she could feel the tiredness in this smile. "You gave me quite of a scare here, little sister."
"I'm so –"
"Don't you apologize, 'Genta," Riff said, gently stroking her cheek. "Apparently, everything turned out to be too much for you; you had a nerve fit." As she leaned into his touch, he stopped moving his hand, guilt settling into his gaze. "Magenta, this is all my fault. I'm sorry, if I had been there to protect you –"
Magenta raised up abruptly, putting her fingers to his lips. "Don't. If it weren't for you, who knows where I'd be."
She didn't remove her fingers though and suddenly, the world was very small, so condensed in this little space between their faces. Magenta felt her blood boil. Her head was still woozy, but her mind was absolutely clear, as Riff took her hand and held it in his.
"You have no idea, Magenta," his voice hitched in his throat, but she interrupted him, absolutely sure what she had to do now.
"I think I do."
With this, she reached to the back of his neck and crashed their lips together, and it felt so familiar, so welcoming, so warm and home. He pulled away, his eyes widened in shock.
Her heart sank at his expression. He was freaked out and of course he had every right to be – she was his sister and she had just kissed him. They had been close all their lives, but this was new, unfamiliar, weird. Magenta was even afraid to say wrong.
"Riff, I shouldn't have –"
But surprisingly, he didn't want to hear any of it, as he pulled her in, this time taking the upper hand, his hands gently wrapping around her waist and pulling her body closer to his.
Magenta breathed in his scent, tasted his breath on her, felt the warmth of his skin. It was then and there when she thought that she didn't care what hell would be released on them, who would chase them and sue them. Allyson could come in and shoot them if she wanted to. This was right. This was home – something she hadn't known all her life. Here, his warm touch, his body slowly leaning into hers and straddling her, his soft voice whispering in her ear.
Everything bad and vile drained away from her skin, as she melted into his kisses and silently promised him that they would have this forever.
And after all, it didn't sound like such a long time for having someone you've loved all your life. She planned to make the most of it.