Woooo. Shortest chapter yetttt. The next will be pretty long though. Please reviewww~ They make me write faster. ._.

Chapter 7

"So, like I said before, Stephen is just using you guys." Zero took a bite out of the burger on his plate, and seeming to like the taste, took another before continuing.

"I guess I'll start in the middle, and explain things that way. The first night since being transferred to Stephen's I knew something was wrong. He just felt…off. It's hard to explain, but being around him made me uneasy. I didn't trust him at all.

"While we were living in the dark room I often wrote stories for Eri, so when I asked for paper and a paperclip I was given it without much thought. I used the paperclip to pick the lock at night and explore our new home. I stumbled across Stephen's office, which was perfect. I broke in and found mountains of notes, all about us. It took me the three days to read and understand completely what had been going on.

"Eri and I aren't human. We're similar to what you guys already know of, those Outside humans. Well, Eri was captured by one of Stephen's research teams fifty eight years ago and brought to the dark room. About a year later, I joined her."

This didn't make any sense at all. I understood Eri and Zero could age while seeming to be so young, but Stephen was human. His ears weren't pointy or anything. He had the immortal look about him, but that could have been purely his genes.

"You said Stephen's research team…?" I questioned.

"I'm getting to that, Leanne. Eri, or Everlasting Regenesis: Indestructible, was basically a part of a research project that wanted to see how far they could push our kind without us dying. I couldn't believe the things they had done to you, Eri." Zero looked at her in such lovingly a way it almost made me jealous.

"Anyway, they became bored with trying to kill her. Outside human blood became the heart of the experiment; they wanted to see how our blood would react it mixed. It did, I suppose. Eri's eyes turned pink because of her blood being tainted, and her power weakened.

"Our kind have incredible senses; hearing, seeing, smelling and even tasting. Thanks to the experiments, only Eri's sense of smell has stayed, and even then it's diluted. Luckily the Outside humans were mutated, so it was just her senses dulled and a small amount of her physical abilities changed.

"Me, Project: Absolute Zero, was the complete opposite. With me they tried to transfer my abilities, copying them into other living organisms, Stephen included. He only managed to gain our ability to age slowly, as far as I can tell. Since it sort of worked, it then it was decided that they would try to completely remove them. I died each time. I was dead for three days each time, and every time I aged a little before my body regenerated and I awoke. After almost fifty seven years of that, I aged almost ten years."

I nodded as Zero took a few more bites of his food. I had lost my appetite.

My own life had been played with like it was nothing, and I never found out until one person had thought I deserved to live the last year of my life. By the looks of it, these two could live through many things. Would anyone have showed them enough compassion to set them free?

Zero smiled.

"Cheer up, Leanne. Why are you the one getting sad?"

Zero was right. Being sad wouldn't change anything.

Vashyron chuckled, dropping his empty plate of the coffee table.

"Leanne is just too nice for her own good,"

I slapped him arm gently.

"So how do we fit into all of this?" Zephyr asked, actually showing some interest. Usually he just wanted the name of his next target, not paying attention to the details.

"Well, Stephen had several notes, all possible outcomes, all describing different situations. One, the current one, was just to let us go and never contact us again. Other ones, however, have me worried.

"That dark room we grew up in? It was Stephen's basement. He hoped that with the both of us growing up together, we would form some kind of relationship, be it siblings or lovers, he didn't care. He hoped that if we were to be separated, one of us would snap and take part in the destruction of Basel. Given what we are capable of, it could be possible. We would be unstoppable.

"Obviously, that didn't happen. I had managed to escape from the house, and I assume Stephen knew Eri would try the same. I spent a few days in the lower Levels, trying to gather any information at all. I was just about to start the hike back up to Chandelier when I heard a rumour. Apparently, a very rich man was willing to pay someone to kidnap a young, pretty, black haired girl with pink eyes from Level One. I inquired, but it was too late.

"The job had been taken by a group of Level Ten scum. By the time I arrived, they all had been slaughtered and picked apart by dogs and other creatures. I was at a dead end. I figured I would start from scratch, and headed back up to Stephen's place. That's when I met you guys."

So we were being used, after all. Stephen had dumped Eri on us, hoping we would just do something with her.

"So what now? Put a bullet though Stephen's head for revenge?" Zephyr suggested.

I wanted to shake my head, but it was up to Eri and Zero.

Eri stared at her hands like she always did when she was nervous about something.

"I-I don't want to fight…but I'm just so mad at him!" She bit her lip, and I realized she wasn't nervous. She was angry. In the short time she lived with us, I had never seen her angry once.

Zero patted her head.

"I would love to strangle him myself. I still have nightmares of the things written in the notes of his. What kind of monster would do those kinds of things to children? Human or not,"

"It's settled then. Tomorrow morning we'll storm Stephen's manor," Vashyron stood, stretching.

I copied his actions, glancing at the clock. I didn't realize so much time had passed during Zero's explanation. If we had a big fight tomorrow, I wanted my beauty sleep.

"I'm going to get ready for bed…"

"Me too!" Eri followed me into our room.

I changed into my pyjamas and dropped onto my bed. To my surprise, Eri pushed her own against mine.


She didn't need to finish. I understood she was scared, and felt lonely.

"It's okay, Eri."

She smiled and hopped on her mattress, her doll in her hand. Part of her night routine was to brush her doll's hair. I had taught Eri how to sew dresses for it with scrap fabric, but didn't expect her to enjoy it so much. The doll had at least several outfits now, some almost the same as Eri's.

I pulled the blankets up to my shoulders, just lying on my side as I watched Eri.

Our bedroom door opened and Zero waltzed in, a pillow in hand. He jumped on our beds pushed together, claiming his spot between us.

"You're not sleeping in here, are you?" I asked, but I had a feeling he wouldn't leave even if I asked.

"Why not? Eri is here, and I don't like Zephyr's way of thinking. I couldn't possibly sleep in the same room," Zero put his hands behind his head and closed his eyes.

"His way of thinking? I thought you guys were getting along," Well, I did for a bit, anyway.

"It was more of a neutral thing. He kicked me out after I started lecturing him. What a stubborn brat,"

Lecturing Zephyr wasn't the easiest thing to do. He had a strict way of thinking usually, and didn't like how to act to be told what to do.

"About what?"

Zero sat up and smiled.

"Nothing you need to hear of, Lea."

Lea? No one had ever called me that, not even Vashyron. It was...interesting to have a nickname.

Zero took up the job of watching Eri take care of her doll as I started to drift off to sleep.

A quiet sobbing in the middle of the night woke me. I heard Zero saying something in a hushed voice, mumbled enough I couldn't make out what he was saying.

I didn't roll over until the crying stopped.

Zero sat cross-legged on Eri's half of the bed, Eri sitting in his lap. Her head rested against his chest, fast asleep.

"Sorry that woke you," Zero whispered, gently tucking Eri back under her blanket.

"Is something wrong?"

He shook his head.

"She's just…" He sighed. "She's grown too attached to you guys, that's all. As soon as all of this is over we'll be leaving, and she just doesn't know how to say goodbye."

I nodded, burying my face into my pillow. I knew she would leave at some point, but I'd miss her. It would just go back to the way things were, which would be kind of nice once I got used to it.

I clamped my eyes shut as the first tear hit my pillow.