Author's Note: Yeesh, it's already been quite a summer so far. Experienced both the good and the bad, and I figured that there was no way in Hell (no pun intended or anything XD) I'd let this fic go an entire summer without at least an update or two. So- here you go!
12. Leita's Warning (Ezra)
Benjamin-Elliot found himself in such a trance at the image of the girl that had passed by. How long had it been since the brief encounter? Minutes? Maybe an hour? He wasn't quite sure. All the five year old knew was he found himself hugging his small legs to his chest, as his mind searched through any possibility of slight familiarity to the pretty girl.
And for another note, he didn't know why he was thinking about her so much either. It was so weird, but yet the minute their eyes glanced to one another, his soft frost blue ones into those piercing dark brown ones, something felt so off. It was an indescribable sensation, but one that made a glowing flash through Ben's mind. If only he could figure out just what that meant.
It was funny too. The corkscrew curly ringlets of dark brown hair on the girl seem to somehow remind him of the few memories he carried of the woman he knew was definetely his mother. Of one of the things he knew well about his mother, she always had thick, untammable, curly hair in any of the little memories of her. Actually, now that he thought about it, Ben suddenly found himself inticed in all the thoughts of his mother now. Despite the fact he never knew her personally, and knew absolutely nothing about her but the false lies Ethan had droned on to him sometimes when intoxicated -to which even the logic of a five year old could figure out was nothing but lies- and also made Ben curious as to how he even knew his mother in the first place. But the very thought on the presence of Ethan made Ben feel uneasy, so he quickly changed right back to the images of his mother.
Her hair, her tear stained eyes, the aura of her being so frail and weak during her final moments, and that sweet but sad small smile. Ben himself gave a small sad smile to himself, for his favorite thing about his mother was her smile. It must've been the source of the glow in his memories of her, it was such a beautifully vibrant smile. He really wished now that he had the chance to see her smile when she was at her happiest, but he knew well enough even at such a young age, the cruelty of Death and in this case, he would never see his mother smile.
"What the hell you smilin' about?" came the unfortunate voice of the ever so unwanted presence of Ethan, whose voice quickly droned through Ben's ears just as his smile was fading away anyways. A part of him shivered at the sensation, yet still bravely rose his head up to the face the man, who seemed surprisingly somewhat sober. At least enough to put a decent impression to be allowed in the room obviously and come up with the excuses and lies as to Ben's injuries.
"Nothing." Ben murmured , shrugging innocently. To which Ethan gave a slight half smirk, and approached the five year old, tussling some of his hair rather roughly before going back to crossing his arms, his smug still as wide as ever.
"Little weirdo, just like your ma, ya know." he remarked with a dry chuckle. But as it carried on, going slightly softer and meant for an insight joke to himself, it only made Ben furrow his eyebrow. This wasn't the first time Ethan had ever made a remark on his mother, but it was the one like these when a comparison was made that confused him. The curiosity within Ben grew, to the point he could no longer contain it anymore, and it didn't help how a part of him was still thinking about his mother.
"How did you even know her?" Ben couldn't help but ask with widening eyes, ears perked with innocent interest. He couldn't help himself, and a part of him regretted doing so in the first place. Now he had done it, he just knew that would be all that it took to unintentionally anger Ethan, and Ben shivered as he inched back against the soft pillows. Ethan had snapped his head up, his face scrunching as if he smelled something horrible, before appearing somewhat amused once again.
From Ethan's perspective, he really didn't know where to begin on his little rant. Mind you, he hadn't physically met Kirsty Cotton, but he happened to be an occassional tag along to someone he knew her very well though, her ex-husband, Trevor Gooden in fact. It had started many years back, a coincidental encounter between the two of them, along with the third occasional friend- a name whom Ethan couldn't quite remember due to all the alcohol soaked in his brain for years- but something along the lines of Wyle or Wesley. Yes, Wesley, that was the name. All three had led different lives and had not a single spark of similarity to one another, yet somehow they had struck a considerable friendship.
It was an interesting trio. Trevor had such charm Ethan envied, longing he could lucky and laid in the same way that Trevor made it appear easy with those three mistresses he gloated about. Wesley on the other hand, was bold, at least street smarts wise. Though he never physically said it, the other two caught the definete vibe he was involved heavily in something with city gangs, perhaps a member or a pimp if even, considering there was never less than two women around his arms when he went off on his way. Poor pitiful Ethan possessed nothing to make himself stand out amongst the two, he was nothing more than a low life. He was the mere coward who followed under the pair's shadows, but would dump them the minute he could get his hands on the next best thing.
However, that opportunity never came, and the one he had then was lost. There seemed to be a curse with women between those three. Wesley, who Ethan and Trevor hardly knew, was the first to get picked off. Back around '93 when they had only just recently met and had started to get to know one another, it also was the same time when there was a few unexplained murders occurring down in New York City, around Wesley's territory in fact, here and there. The investigation behind the possible murder had gone cold, considering the unspoken law for anyone on the wrong side of the street was that they don't associate themselves with the police. Secretly though, Ethan could think of one possible lead, but never said, again due to his cowardly nature. Wesley always did mention about this one woman who had gotten away from his wrath, and had a slight obsession over that. And again, the years of alcoholism had blurred his memory of this woman's name, but something about her last name being a type of motorcycle.
Then came Trevor's fate, how unfortunate it was for Ethan too. Not because he grieved for the loss of a friend who may have possibly been the only human being in the world to want someone like him as a friend, but because the loss of a future. Now that was how he knew Kirsty Cotton.
Ethan had to admit secretly from the picture Trevor had once shown him of her, she was pretty fucking hot with fine legs. But she was worth of no value compared to what Trevor was really after, and that was some fortunate she apparently had. Ethan had been the earliest person to know of Trevor's plot to murder Kirsty, but only the basic concept of it. No details, and with his proud admittance of being the coward who would only jump along for certain benefits and no possible danger, Ethan was certainly no co-conspirer. He just knew, and was simply a bystander like always. However, Trevor had mentioned as long as things went smoothly, perhaps he could have himself a piece of the fortune as well. And from the stories Trevor had described, it was enough to make Ethan's dull grey eyes enlighten to the bright color of dollars at the very thought. But that chance had been lost, all because that little slut ruined it!
Returning back to the subject on answering little Benjmain's question, Ethan gave a chuckle and rolled his eyes. "How do I know? Well, how else? She was the biggest whore in town, I knew her pretty well enough." he laughed coldly.
Ben felt his heart sink right into his stomach at the very thought of those horrible words. His face scrunched up, though he fought the temptation look weak and cry in front of Ethan. How awful those words were, let alone how they were even stated, had to be the worst lie yet. And yet, Ethan was sober though, and not droning and slurring his lies to where they were barely audible English words. What if he actually meant those words?
At the same time however, a part of his mind isolated itself behind stone walls of denial and remained fiathfull headstrong with common sense and his heart. No...there was no way his mother was anything like that. He may not have known her at all, but a part of him just knew it to be true that Ethan was just once again taking pleasure out of Ben's pain. Like always, this hurt. But for some unexplained reason, the anger boiling inside the little five year old's chest became unbearable.
"You're lying." he mumbled softly, completely under his breath. His eyebrows creased upwards sadly, but his small hands curled into tiny fists as they hid themselves underneath the thin hospital bedsheets.
"'Scuse me?" Ethan immediately frowned, inching towards Ben face. He was so close, it made Ben's nose burn at the very strong smell oof the mix of alcohol and powerful mint, probably something to attempt to cover up the stench of alcohol. His dull grey eyes narrowed, the pupils shooting straight towards Ben's frost blue ones with warning anger. Though Ethan wasn't entirely stupid to strike the kid in public, but he was thankful Ben was so stupid not knowing this and instead trying to purposely get him busted by challenging his anger.
Somehow, though not even really intentionally, bravely Ben did suddenly want to say exactly what he had just said. A part of him wanted Ethan to hear him out.
"I said you're lying." Ben stated, louder than before. He stiffened and sat straight up on the bedside, his blue eyes narrowing a little bit just as Ethan's was. He was still utterly terrified at his stupid bravery, and yet at the same time he could hardly contain down the fact he was actually standing up to Ethan in the longest time.
"Kid, you're pretty fucking lucky about where you are right now, or else I'd be sending your ass flying someplace else." Ethan muttered, so lowly so darkly to make certain that Ben only heard and nothing else. "Suck it up, your mom was a hapless whore, the end." he added with a sneer.
Hapless whore. The very words echoed straight into Ben's ears, numbing him completely, yet at the same time weighing him down. It was like they were weights bringing him down into these icy waters of lies, trying to drown him. All Ben could think of was his mother's sweet smile and the light it brought with it, and that was the last thing he thought of before being able to stop himself within those seconds. A sudden force, slightly similar to the one when he had made eye contact with that girl, but one that he couldn't explain suddenly overtook Ben in those seconds, and he felt strangely...powerful.
And that power felt so right
"You're lying!" Ben growled, his eyes flaring with a powerful fire of such fury. At the minute, the noise of something sounded like it had popped and shattered, just like glass. The memory of the glass from the bottle piercing into his skin made Ben shudder, and immdiately he jotled. Blinking his eyes fast, he noticed Ethan seemed taken off guard as well, but wasn't staring directly at Ben. Ben decided to follow Ethan's eyes and turned over ot the nearby table, where a glass of water had apparently been placed there. At least, formerly. Instead where it once was laid broken pieces of the glass cup, some of it's pieces scattered and littering the floor nearby, and the water dripping messily all over the place.
In the short minute of silence, Ben was bewildered. Had he...had he really done that? How? It sounded like something done of magic, or some super powers. He didn't know, but he did know for certain it wasn't like he didn't have any powers. That'd be crazy, and though Ben was one to believe in many things and have hope, his common sense could tell him so right away there's way no way at all he had powers. It was probably just by some weird accident. Maybe the wind-
Ben glanced over suddenly, noticing the windows in his room weren't even opened to the slightest crack. So forget about the possibility of the wind. That still did not mean Ben could have possibly done that.
Those thoughts of denial were unknowingly shared with Ethan. He would always call the kid some sappy little weirdo, 'Which he is', but there was no way he had just shattered glass like that. In an instant like that as if he meant it from anger. 'But...Nah. That's just part of the supernatural load of shit.' he remarked to himself, never once to really believe in any of that talltale crap about powers, or the unknown, or the unexplainable.
"Er...I'm sorry." Ben said quietly, breaking the icy silence that had fallen in place. He wasn't quite sure why and just what he was apologizing for, he just felt as though he should. A good natured instinct deep inside of him told him he should do so. Still, the entire incident was extremely odd. And on top of that as he had started to notice, he looked back to the stitches. For some unexplainable reason, he wanted to touch it and did so. But instead of expecting the response of it being sore and sensitive, it felt...a bit normal. Like it had healed faster than planned.
"Well." Ethan hissed, clucking his tongue. "Damn kid, what's up with you? Got friends on the other side- as if." he had muttered that last part snarkily in his joke.
'Like angels?' Ben thought innocently, though did not dare say aloud.
Hannah Munroe was, the least and safest to say, one of many things, including an unusual child.
From first sight it'd seem she was a tragic child who accidentally opened the Lament Box and spared due to her innocence, only to be trapped within the Labyrinth for all eternity without truly being damned. Some wouldn't truly believe that she was in fact the first Hell-born child, let alone the idea children could be conceived in the Labyrinth. But she was the living proof of defiance.
But it was not for her physical existence that made her so unique, rather it was because of how she truly was; Innocent.
As silly as it sounded, some of the Cenobites admittedly found themselves envious of a child. Though surprisingly intelligent and able to even hold conversations for someone of her age, there was this sweet obliviousness in her mind. Flesh that had yet to be touched or scarred, such a delicacy and rarity, but there laid an even greater prize within the child. A heart and a mind that had yet to be tainted by anything at all. One would thing such a nefarious place where the sinned and damned roam would be so terrifying beyond wildest dreams— but to this girl, this was her home. Mutilated demonic beings were the very same ones she affectionately saw as her family.
Probably what was most fascinating about the innocent qualities within the girl was her imagination itself; While so many of Leviathan's children were plagued with minds twisted like thorned vines, in the heart of this laid a single angelic rose that was Hannah's colorful mind. The great floating entity, whom now beared a reserved name to her only of 'Gwandpa', took great interest in the girl that was indeed the first-born child of Hell, and his grandchild through his mighty, non-existant eyes.
Her very soul, which was large and lively, reminded Him in every way of her— Leita. Rarely would there be a time to dwell on the memory of the youngest of His original forgotten children, but with such a daily reminder like Hannah, it was entirely impossible to avoid the memory.
Leita had been the most unusual of her siblings. She was such a delicate creature, almost always forgiving of others and rarely resorting to the solution of violence, unlike her eager, war-hungry brothers, always in the mood for a challenge. She was quite a daydreamer, and rarely did a frown ever grace her lips. When she smiled, which was often, it was a genuine and warm, nothing sadistic and not for any reason like the enjoyment of others' suffering like her sisters would. And for such a long time of her childhood, there was a dependent bond between the pair, and rarely did she ever truly leave His side. Perhaps father-daughter like.
Perhaps this being why Leita's betrayal was the most... disappointing or lack thereof of a better word.
This could also be why there was a whole new light of eagerness into Hannah, the rencarnated form of her. Times had changed, and from what Leviathan could tell, so had she. Almost the same still, and yet not quite.
Running through the long and seemingly endless dark corridor, she suddenly came to a complete halt when it appeared she had finally found a light at the end of this utter darkness. A relief it was too, for this darkness was frightening.
And as the sudden brightness blinded her doe eyes for a moment, causing her to scrunch her face before adjusting to the vision before her— Alone in a hollow room dimly lit with thousands of tiny candles or whatever was left of them, stood a man, wearing a cloak, and was beastly tall. Wisps of long reddish hair stood out from the darkness of his concealed face. She staggered back, nervous, and despite shadows hiding his face- she could see the man smiling. It wasn't the pleasant smile of either one of her parents, but... cold was the best way to describe it.
He outstretched his large hand towards her, as if offering it out for her ot grab, and just barely a whisper he breathed; "Leita."
And suddenly, as if within a 'whoosh', gone was the man. And instead before her in the same room stood a petite, youthful, lovely woman with the same doe eyes as her. This woman was extremely familiar, a friend in fact, one she had seen often in visions.
"Hello." Hannah smiled, having figured out by now this was a vision, although a bit intimidated with how it began.
However this time, Leita was not smiling as warmly as she normally would to the young girl.
"Are you happy, child?" Leita asked, rather oddly, as she blinked. "You are beloved as if royalty, a legacy, and already an anticipated destiny before even your fourth birthday." she quickly continued, as Hannah attempted to understand, and for the most part she more or less could.
"I'm vewy happy! I do know that my Mommy an' Daddy love me, especiaddy Daddy— he says I'm his numbah one girl." the three year old nodded contently, thinking of her parents suddenly, as she often would anyways. Leita then smiled warmly in a familiar way Hannah was used to seeing, but something about it quickly seemed off.
"I'm delighted to hear of this, but I'm afraid there's a grave chance you may lose that all." Leita informed sadly, her doe eyes sympathetic to the familiar pair across from her. Hannah took one step forward for no particular reason, perhaps out of curiosity. She didn't know why really.
"Why?" Hannah asked, frowning.
"Listen to me carefully— as of now, you can never stray from either one of your parents' sight at all. And you can not ever wander off from the heart of the Labyrinth and your Grandfather, not ever. You must believe me and take this seriously." every single word spoken by Leita was sharp, worrying Hannah deeply.
"Is dat man..." the three year old started to say, stuttering softly. She was never given the chance to finish her question, for Leita continued for the last time.
"Be warned." Leita started, her voice rising, and suddenly so did the flames of the dimly lit candles, reaching out and stretching forth towards Leita as if summoning them. They were now at her feet, but not burning her as they slowly rose, and more of Leita disappeared. Still, her final sentence echoed loudly in Hannah's ears.
"You may never see your future if you fail to heed my warning!"
Drawing back towards reality, Hannah blinked, frozen in her place. Whatever she had previously been doing, wherever she was going, or whoever she was attempting to find were all immediately forgotten. She was visibly shaken, although not entirely surprised, for things like that had a bit of an unpredictable tendency to occur.
She was indeed one of many things, unusual as an understatement, and perhaps also— clairvoyant perhaps?
"Say what you want and do what you will, there is no avoiding the truth." Xivine remarked with an amused smirk upon seeing the response of Angelique's face from his last sentence. Her vibrantly magnolia pale face had hardened in the brief silence, full rouge lips parted but not a word was said. It would only appear as though she had stiffened at hearing the sudden news, but Xivine's azure eyes observed sharply to where he knew she would truly reveal her emotions- within the dark orbs of her eyes. And how right he was.
They flickered instantly, from the tiniest spark at the finish of his words as her mind had taken them quickly in, each and every word. And from there the spark had roared into a raging fire consisting of disbelief, anger, and perhaps disgust.
She simply couldn't believe it. It was such a revolting thought in the first place, but to accept it was even more difficult so. To process the fact such a pathetic, weak, human girl had her way with Xipe Totec. Made him care about her, and be given the greatest destiny of all to bear the Dark Prince of Pain's child. Of course, Angelique herself didn't like children the slightest bit, but if any exception was to ever be made, it would've been only for Leviathan's favoured son of course.
Instead was not one, but apparently two children, two opportunities gone to waste. Such spoiled flesh, she thought in disgust and in anger towards Kirsty Cotton.
But at the same time mentioning her name yet again, Angelique stopped her silent temper. Already with her back turned against from that arrogant Xivine, whom she could already sense found childish amusement from her anger, he also did not see the Chesire Cat smile slowly spreading across her lips. Once with such wicked irony anyways. After all, Kirsty was dead anyways. On top of that, Xipe was not aware in the slightest of these two offsprings. As long as they were disposed of, or at least within Xivine's hands soon enough before Xipe could realize the continuation of his bloodline, then there would be nothing to worry over in the first place. That meant though, that time was short, and not even the smallest second was to be wasted.
"Do you know where they are?" the princess purred with curiosity, turning her head slowly, the corner of her dark eyes watchful over Xivine's figure. There was a chilling echo in her voice within these chambers, which had such a ghostly aura. The slightest part of Angelique on the inside was slightly disturbed at noticing this, recalling the images of his fallen siblings. Not that she cared in actuality, just something about them, something about this place itself, was so haunting. The thought the very floors closest to the presence of Leviathan was also where the unholy execution of his own true children were held...
She then shook them off her mind. After all, if not one sympathetic damn was given to them from anyone else, then why should she?
"I haven't the slightest clue in the world." Xivine answered with a broad, wicked, and stretched smile across his face, as if pleased of that. He was only smiling purely for his own entertainment, which happened to be none other than the princess herself. Her and her little temper tantrums were so amusing, such a refreshing sight for the former dark prince, and just as exactly as he imagined. Indeed, he heard many tales of the infamous little princess. Despite reminaing faithful to his sentence, it wasn't as though there hadn't been a rare occasion in which he daringly left his exile, hidden amongst the dark shadows of the Labyrinth to overhear the update of news through whispered rumors of those he spied upon. Just in that method, that was how he came to hear of the princess during her reign. But Xivine figured he would've heard of her sooner or later anyways, for her days of chaos, though now long dead and never again to return, were infamous.
Although to Xivine, her idea of chaos was rather childish in his experienced eyes. He and his siblings had once witnessed unspeakable things of horror and yet such breathtaking creativity, that it'd almost appear the princess was merely a, as he heard from the slang of mortals and the Pseudo Cenobites, a 'wannabe'. But it was her ferocity, the arrogantly proud attitude of her accomplishments, and determination to get whatever she wanted that made her quite appealing to him. And when she didn't get what she wanted, well then it was the result of her furious temper that Xivine looked forward to- including situations like now.
He was right.
Angelique whirled around to face him once again and growled in frustration at how everything she seemed to say or do amused him. Granted she would permit the excuse of how his age was beyond hers, and Leviathan only knows (literally) what many things he had seen that would not even cross the minds of the wildest imagination of any of the Cenobites. But his all-knowing look was degrading her purposely to make her feel like a child. And there was no end to it! Oh what she wouldn't give for the opportunity when he was looking for her to give him plenty of narrow surface wounds all across his smug face. Just anything to show how dare he foolishly test her thin patience.
Pursing her rouge lips together to form a thin line, she held back as much of her boiling temper of annoyance as possible. She wanted to do whatever it took to prove that his childish antics wouldn't bring her down to his levels and prove that she, naturally to being with, was better than this low life exile.
"I'm disappointed, princess. I was honestly expecting such an energetic show from you- but this? It'd seem as if you don't even care as much as I thought you would." Xivine commented, arching one brow questioningly.
"I would've thought the same for you. If you cared so much to carry out your plans, wouldn't you have given more thought and be more prepared?" Angelique bitterly responded, with an ounce of satisfactory knowing she was right. For someone who took to great lengths of holding her hostage, it would appear as if he never thought twice about ever going much farther than that. How... childish.
But to her own humilation, it appeared she was wrong. Xivine still kept his proud all-knowing smirk wide on his face.
"Honestly, I'm hurt princess! Really. Don't think I would be so inconsiderate, bringing news that would be of no high value- value just like yourself." Xivine leaned closer towards the princess, yet again giving off such an intimidating factor in comparison to her. He was nothing more really than some arrogant rogue, but still, Angelique would not lie and say his physically appearance wasn't fearful. His height alone would tower over Xipe himself, despite being magnificently tall as well. And being so broadly large and wide shouldered, there was something warrior-like and unsettling about him. Angelique hadn't realized she trembled for a slight moment upon noticing the shadow he casted covered her completely.
At the same time, she herself failed to realize she absentmindledly moved slightly closer towards him. Upon realizing this she was repulsed, but couldn't bother to move anyways knowing he'd notice. So instead she gave an unamused sigh.
"I'm in no mood for games, Xivine." the way his name slipped off her tongue, so smooth, and yet so venomously like a viper. Xivine raised his eyebrows for the slightest second in arousal. Not noticing this said action though, Angelique quickly continued anyways. "You've managed to catch my interest just as you intended, a rarity for many. I want answers, now." she finished acidly.
"Perhaps you'd settle for someone who has the ability to give answers?" Xivine offered alternatively, his eyes hungrily searching her face for a reaction. The consideranle godly demon could've sworn he saw the slightest glint within the princess's onyx eyes, most likely relief for him managing to somewhat answer a question without teasing her.
To the contrary, it a slight flash of annoyance from Angelique. She seemed to never be able to get a straightforward answer out of him. Yet when she thought about it yet again, she was oddly relieved that at least he hadn't said something immature, along the lines of 'I can give you answers, and I can also give you other things too...'
"Ezra darling, make your presence known." Xivine turned his head and suddenly called from the nearby dark shadows of the room. They were oddly darker than the other ones amongst the room, and Angelique wondered if perhaps that was because it was an unlit doorway. Not only that, but he had manage to take her by surprise with these words. Ezra? Who was she? Xivine's lover?
She felt a pang of something as well. Jealousy? Of course not! Angelique was quite amused at her conscience's suggestion of that, and immediately carelessly shook it off. If anything, she toyed for the slightest second in her mind for entertainment, a wicked idea of making Xivine fall in love with her. And not through seductive passion, but mentally as well, to where it drove him to madness, only to realize she instead longed for Xipe. The anger and defeat in his sharp azure eyes, the feeling more or less a sharp slap to the face that he wasn't all-knowing and couldn't get what he wanted, oh! How hilarious it would be. But now was not the time for such thoughts.
She quickly noticed though from the posible doorway that something did make it's presnce known. Though very small, extremely petite definitely, shadowed, and hooded- someone was there. Ezra, Angelique supposed, did not reveal herself.
Instead, the very first thing she did was lift her head.
And amongst the shadows of her mostly concealed face, was a pair of bright, inhumanly bright, purest blue eyes.
A very long overdue update indeed, with what I figured was good timing for some small expositioning on little miss Hannah. :)
Everyone give a big congratulations to Laura and Thomas- they're TOGETHER! :D