A/N: Continued trigger warnings!
Hater stared awkwardly as Wander sobbed uncontrollably, shaking as he wailed like a child who had fallen off the swing and scraped up their knee.
He should be happy. Here was the person he hated more than anything in the universe, the very bane of his existence, in a cage, terrified beyond measure and sobbing his eyes out, never to be released from his prison.
Exactly like Hater had always wanted.
So why did he feel so… so sad?
Was it because of what Corsair had said to Wander?
Was it because her words had brought back those painful memories he'd thought he'd forgotten long ago?
Go away, skull-boy!
Mommy! There's a monster!
What in glorn's name is that thing?!
If my child looked like that, I'd never let them out of the house!
Hater clenched his jaw, forcing the painful, horrible memories into the back of his mind. Slowly, he took a step forward.
Hater's eyes widened. "Wh… What?"
"I said leave. You w-want to go, right? Then… then just leave me here."
Hater hesitated. "I… I'm never going to see you again, so… so before I go, I want you to tell me what you were doing near that court."
The orange fellow didn't speak for a minute. "Our… our birth parents weren't good people. They hated us, and each other. One night…" Wander got a far away look in his eyes. "Th-They were fighting, and Mama got one of the knives from the kitchen to defend herself. Daddy didn't like that, so he took it from her and he… he…" Fresh tears rolled down his face. "We- That is, me, Corsair, and Meander- were in the kitchen when he did it, and he turned the knife on me and Meander, sayin' that Mama cheated on him to make us, but… before he could hurt us, Corsair grabbed another knife and she…" He started to sob, burying his face into his knees.
"… How… how old were you when that happened?"
"… Four. I… I was scared, so when the police came to question us about it, I… I lied. I said that I had been in bed and hadn't seen anything. Corsair had gotten rid of all the evidence that could convict her, and Meander… she just stopped talking all together." He swallowed hard. "The… the statute of limitations for murder in the Nomadic Confederation is twenty years. That's in two days. I… I was going to change my testimony… I had to try."
"Your father was going to kill you! Why would you-?!"
"It wasn't for him! It was for Meander!" He shouted suddenly. Hater had never seen him look so enraged.
Hater recoiled. "Wh… What?"
Wander turned away. "… Corsair's always been kinda… abrasive. She's always yelled at me, called me names…" He drew into himself. "About ten years ago, I did something to set her off. I can't remember what it was, but it really got her mad. She… She slapped me, and she told me…" He took a deep breath. "'You are a useless, filthy, nasty little freak of nature! You're a mistake! Mom never should have had you, you stupid half-breed! You never should have been born! Everything would be better if you never existed!'" He shuddered, tears rolling down his face. "I tried to say that I was sorry, but she just kept yelling. Meander got in between us, and then…" He trailed off.
Hater didn't know what to say to that. How could he? Sure, he and his own sister had had their differences, but he'd never even consider saying anything like Corsair had said to Wander, much less do what Corsair had done to Meander.
He stood, turning away. "That's… that's all I wanted to know." He swallowed hard, trying to ignore the wave of sadness washing over him. "Goodbye, Wander." He said quietly as he started towards the door.
"She's right, isn't she?"
"Corsair, I mean. You hate me, don't you?"
Hater didn't answer him, and silently walked away.
Wander was going to stay in that cage forever.
Wander was never going to bother him again.
Wander was out of his life.
He should have been happy.
He should have felt like bursting into song.
Instead, he just felt like crap.
"Tell me lies, and I'll come runnin'. I must've lost my mind… I could close my eyes, and tell you just exactly what's coming. Life's gonna turn just a little unkind…"
Hater smiled as he entered the bar. He'd never admit it out loud, of course, but he loved hearing his little sister sing.
Even back when she was technically his little brother.
He watched as she strolled around the stage, her bright red dress shining in the bright spotlight of the bar. Her curly hair was pulled into a loose bun, strands falling elegantly around her face. Her gray skin looked nearly white, and her bat-like ears were adorned with earrings.
His sister was definitely the more attractive sibling.
"Hey, sweet pea! How's about I buy you a drink, eh?"
Though that really didn't warrant the cat-calling.
Apparently, Tuesday agreed with him, as she shot off a quick beam towards the unruly patron. "Sun's always shinin', but it's never for me. Why should I try anymore? Tell me lies, tell me lies, I'll keep right on comin'. This time, I've got to believe in the dream." She turned to face the curtain, strutting slowly towards it. "This time I've got to believe in his dream…" As the song ended, she disappeared behind the curtain, much to the chagrin of the bar-goers.
Hater smiled and rolled his eyes, nodding at the owner as he slipped backstage.
"Rough night, kid?"
Tuesday gasped and turned towards him. "Thatcher!" She squealed excitedly, tackling her brother in a hug. "What are you doing here? Aren't you supposed to be conquering some planet somewhere?"
"Oh, I was just in the area, and… I just wanted to see you." He smiled at her, trying to mask the melancholy feeling. "I missed you, I guess."
Tuesday's eyes narrowed. "Are… are you okay? You seem kinda down. I mean, more than usual."
The overlord rolled his eyes. "I'm fine, Tuesday. I just… I found out that an… acquaintance of mine was having some… family troubles, and… well, it reminded me that I hadn't seen you in a while."
Tuesday didn't look at all convinced. "Thatcher…"
Hater sighed, leaning against the back of the stage. "… You remember that Wander guy I told you about, right?"
"The annoying fuzzy guy with the hat and the banjo who travels with that sassy Zbornak? Yeah, why?"
"Well, have you heard of Corsair the Conqueror?"
"Dude, everyone and their mother has heard of Corsair the Conqueror. She's probably on par with our mom when it comes to hostile takeovers."
"… Apparently, she's Wander's older sister."
Tuesday blinked in disbelief. "Bullshit." She said finally, her green eyes wide.
"You're telling me that Wander, the most obnoxiously cheerful guy in the galaxy, and Corsair the Conqueror, the woman who took over twenty planets in two days, are brother and sister?!"
"Well, technically they're half-siblings, but yeah. Anyway, I… I may have helped her capture him."
"Well, that's a good thing, right? He's out of your hair!"
Hater didn't respond.
"… I should be happy about that, but… ever since I left him on her ship, I've… I've had this awful feeling in my gut." He sighed. "Something about seeing him so scared, so helpless just… I don't know, I guess it brought back some bad memories or something."
"… Or something, indeed." Tuesday murmured.
"What was that?"
"Oh, nothing." She gestured to the curtain. "Listen, I gotta get back out there."
"O-Oh, um, right." He turned away. "I should get-"
"H-Hey! No, stay for the next number!" Tuesday insisted, grabbing her brother's arm.
Hater rolled his eyes again. "Fine."
She grinned, hopping back up the steps.
He glanced back at his sister, who was staring at the curtain.
"There's only a few things in the galaxy that I love." She smiled at him. "And one of them is you."
With that, she walked back out onto the stage, leaving Hater staring at an empty spot.
He sighed, smiling at his little sister's corniness.
"She's too much like our dad for her own good."
"I've always thought that men were slime, and every guy I've met has proved me right, until tonight…" She started, watching as her brother took a seat at the bar.
"Give me a beer on tap, Chuck."
The bartender nodded, grabbing a mug.
"Just when I thought I had it figured, that life's a game you cannot win, he comes in and changes all the rules…"
A certain orange nomad flashed through Hater's mind, shocking the overlord so much that he nearly fell off of his bar stool. He smiled awkwardly at the bartender as he readjusted himself, chuckling nervously.
What the hell?!
"What I've been taught, I learned the hard way, that life and love are never just, and if you trust you're just one of the fools…"
Hater shook his head, trying to clear his mind.
"Here ya go, sir."
The overlord nodded, taking his beer from the bartender. "Thanks." He replied, sipping a bit.
"And now I can't believe my heart is saying don't resist him, that I've been on my guard too long…"
Hater! Is that you?! It's me, Wander!
The skeleton nearly choked on his drink, glancing around furtively.
"Shit…" He muttered after he managed to swallow. He put the drink back on the counter.
"I can't believe my heart surrendered when I kissed him, and told me all I thought I knew, how sad but true, is wrong… If life is worth the disappointment, I hadn't seen one reason yet, until I met the boy who smiles for free."
Wander's smile flashed before Hater's eyes, making him flush inexplicably.
What in glorn's name is wrong with me?!
"And now I can't believe my heart has overcome my senses, to help me see that he's the prize."
Why was this happening? It wasn't like he cared about Wander-
"I can't believe my heart says tear down all your fences."
He did care about that little weirdo. For whatever reason, that stupid little nomad had somehow wormed his way into Hater's metaphorical heart.
He cared about Wander.
And he had to go save him from that woman.
"That everything you want and more is right before your eyes."
Tuesday looked over to where her brother was sitting, smiling when she saw the empty chair.
"I can't believe my heart could be so wise…"