Bandages are unwrapped from around a mess of an arm - the image reflecting in the bathroom mirror. The infection is still red hot to the touch. Wounds still unhealed from many a venture to remove the thin, white roots from the flesh... but, what is newest, is the hard, risen roots that have breeched the surface of the skin before dipping back down into it.
These are spread all up and down my arm now... across my back...
"Oh MIIIIIIISHY! Have you missed me?"
I jumped as he appeared out of thin air. As he usually does now. I only sighed - running a hand through my knotted hair. "Heh. What the hell was it that I said to you before...? 'Like one would miss the Black Plague'? That still seems pretty accurate to me."
He glanced down to my exposed arm. "How is your new best friend doing in there? Growing up nicely?"
I rolled my eyes before moving back to the bedroom to get more bandages. "Oh yeah. It's coming along SO well, I'm thinking of naming it soon. I'm thinking 'Luke' would work - for some reason it just seems so FITTING for a parasite that drains everything it touches." I smirked back at him. "I even have you to thank for it, don't I? Least in part. I got this burn cause of you, after all."
"HAHAHAH Oh... You flatter me dear. But no. It is your own fault for getting that burn, not mine."
"You're the one that set the fucking barn on fire, asshole."
"If you had been a nicer sister and a better daughter, I wouldn't have had to." A grin. "Speaking of your pointless rebellion... how is Haku-chan doing? Taking the fact that you are now a murderer well?"
"I've been a murderer since Becky, Twinkle. I never really tried to deny that all that much, did I? Val just... now knows it never bothered me. Still doesn't... though I still would like to know the name of that kid Father fitted with your image..." A sigh. "Valerie's better. Bitter as all Hell, but that's more directed at herself. She'll... be alright."
"Oh? You think so. What happens when you are gone, hmmm?"
"Heh. She'll have to fight for herself. I won't get much say in it at that point, will I? Either she'll get stronger, or she'll need to find a replacement for me. That'll be her call."
"Or she'll die."
"...I hate the fact you're in my head. It's cheating."
"Well lets be fair. I hardly need to 'cheat' to know what YOU are thinking. God. I thought sociopaths were supposed to be DIFFICULT to read. You are SUCH a disappointment, you know?"
"Easy for you, maybe. Apparently, I'm an excellent liar when I want to be. Escpecially when it comes to lying to myself..."
"AHA. Yes. You are quite good at that. Or you were. I am sure these recent events have given you SO damn much to think and reflect on. HAHAHA. Ah... But the Guard Dog is not meant for thinking is it? No. No. Leave that to your Master. You just wag your little tail and follow along. Maybe get petted here and there. 'That's a good girl, GOOD girl.' Has she ever scratched you behind the ears? Given you a tummy rub. She should. You deserve it after all you have done for her... Not like she appreciates it. Not really."
"Like it even matters, Twinkle. Seriously? What DOES it matter? She still involved herself in this mess of her own damn free will. She came into this TO die. And so, pretty much, me protecting her has been... well, futile, in that regard. Like bailing out a boat that's already underwater." A smirk. "But that's not what it's been about, now, has it? No. It's always been about keeping her safe so I can keep up my own little scheme. Protecting myself from Daddy Dearest. I figured out a LOOOOOOOOOOONG time ago I needed Alpha, Twinkle. Not like Father would 'appreciate' my assistance any more than Val does."
"Oh I know you know. I just like repeating it. I know you LOVE the sound of my voice. You deprive yourself of so much joy. You know that? You poor dear. I almost pity you. As I am sure so many of our siblings do."
"Heh. And THERE'S the sale's pitch. Though... you're not wrong, of course. It would be easier if I fell in line and was just be another masked murderer, but... what would be the point? I mean, honestly? What is the point? To live longer? To get some strange sense of a 'family' idea going? I had a family. You killed them."
"And your point is...? It isn't like you really cared about them you know."
"They were still MINE, you know. My family. My life. My home. My job. Mine. What the hell do you idiots have by serving Father? You barely can call anyone a FRIEND for fear of getting stabbed in the back later."
"Nightscream was a friend. My Team. There are some. But what WE have, is simple. Longer lifespans. Money. A Clear and Defined Goal. Comraderie, so long as you do not fuck it up. And of course... A guaranteed exit and life after death."
I held up my arm. "You think THIS is going to let me have a longer life? I'm not scared of death, Twinkle. I never have been. And I don't care about money either. Goals... I have goals NOW. Comraderie... ehh, I have Val. I'm not really a social person anyway..."
A grin. "You know, really, when it comes down to it... You are really just being obstinant aren't you? There is NO reason for you not join us save for pure spite. I would call it pathetic, but I am not sure that's negative enough to describe you."
A smirk began. Which pulled into a smile. A grin. "Okay. Basic reason. Ready? To prove I CAN. All my life, it's just been one puppeteer after another telling me what I'm 'supposed to be'. I've always been told what I was going to be. By everyone. All the way back to fucking ROBERT... and those fucking Devil Eyes of his that still haunt me to this day. The same damn stare that terrifies me. That... that studied me as he experimented on me behind my brother's back. Some nights, I can still feel his fingers on my temples... all the while scribbling notes in that damn book of his. I remember shreds. I remember pieces. His voice. He thought I had purpose too. Just like every damn one of you do. Father. Doubletake. You." A laugh. "But you know what? Fuck you all. I CHOSE this. From the very start, this was MY decision. To prove to every damn one of you that your strings don't have PERFECT control. I may be fucked to Hell, but at least it's on my terms. Bet you can't say the same, brother."
"In other words. Exactly what I said, except reworded to sound more... Whats the word... Impressive? You are hardly the first to start dancing on your strings without Father pulling them for you. As you recall, I did that for a little while. I think Reach was the first. Anyone can do it. There is just no point in it."
"The point... is to not give in. You did. Reach did too. They Served Him. I never have... and I never will. That is the point. To break THROUGH. To prove there's a choice. Even if it IS hard as fuck to do. Even when I DO die and burn in Hell with the rest of you... I can at least go knowing I never gave Him what He wanted. I've always been a 'failure', haven't I? So I'll be a failure. One. Last. Time."
"And you wish to prove this point to WHO exactly? Yourself? Why bother? Really. WHY BOTHER WITH THIS STUPIDITY."
"...Why do any of us bother with it? Why did you bother serving Him, Twinkle? Why did you give Him what He wanted from you? Father tore you to shreds and rebuilt you the second you said 'yes'...and I don't want to lose function like that. I don't want to lose my MIND like that. At least now, I can still think. I can still plan and manipulate, if I want to. It's all me. My thoughts. He took everything else... these are My Thoughts... and He's not getting them."
"HAHAHA. Oh. Oh that is rich. Trust me, my lovely, you can keep your thoughts. Father just needs your body. And he is claiming it... Isn't he?"
"No, Twinkle. He isn't going to claim me. Stop grasping for straws. I'll just do what I can... until... until He decides it's Game Over." A grin. "Then you get to die a second time! Doesn't that sound just AWESOME? Not everyone can claim that, you know."
"HAHAHA! Death is only the beginning, my dear. And that arm of yours is only spreading, slooooowly but surely. I know you feel it moving beneath your skin. It is not limited to your arm."
"...So you're saying it's a race to see what knocks me off first? The Bleeding Tree or Father? God, these things need to take a number..." A sigh. "In any case, as much as being turning into a human tree sounds like fun... I don't plan on going out that way. Why do you think I spent so long cutting roots out of my arm? Hm? Trying to limit the progress has been the best I could do so far... thought, lately, we did get those comments from that Rafael guy. He suggested a bunch of different herbal remedies. He even mentioned about one concoction that might actually keep Father out of my head a bit more than He is now. Some sort of mixture that... I don't know? Eases off the pain? I guess we'll see what happens. Valerie's pretty psyched about it. She wants me to try it, and I agreed. I mean... why not, right? It might help..."
"Or it could just kill you faster. There is no miracle elixir, and you are an idiot if you think otherwise. You know Father has some connection to the tree. What if this just makes it easier for him to control you? The tree inside you is spreading isn't it? You can cut at it all you want... It is growing despite your best efforts. Maybe it won't kill you. Maybe it will simply assume control of your form. A new set of strings for Father to make you dance on. Oh I can't wait... Soon now, so very soon... Tick Tock, Tick Tock, Tick Tock... Your time is running short. Soon we shall see the end of this petty teenaged rebellion against Father. One way, or another."
A sigh and a half-hearted glare. "I know there isn't a miracle elixir. Don't be an idiot. It's just... I might as well try right? I mean what do I have to lose?" A bit of a laugh. "And this is only IF we can find everything this guy was talking about. It's going to be a bitch to gather all this together and it's not as if Val and I have a lot in the way of cash anymore either. I... honestly don't know where to start."
"You have nothing to lose. Hence, money should not be an issue. Just do what you do best. Kill some random man in the streets and take his wallet."
"You really just want me out stabbing people, eh? Blood-lusting igit." A quirk of the brow. "Should I go all-out maybe and drop a piano on someone? Or is that too old-school?"
"Perhaps you should find your OWN killing style."
"Right, right. How silly of me. First I'd need a mask that fools NO ONE and a ridiculous name. I more or less already have the look, eh?" A snap of the fingers. "That's it! I'll start beating people with hockey sticks and force them to listen to a mix tape of Celin Dion and Justin Beiber. The worst Canada has to offer~"
"Lets be honest. That is still more threatening than some of the Proxies out here."
"Hehehaha~! Jesus, Twinkle, was that nearly a compliment? I am absolutely SHOCKED."
"I am nothing if not unpredictable."
A smirk. "True. Which makes you as annoying as you are amusing. Nine times out of ten, you just give me a headache."
"Then why don't you tell me to shut up?"
A pause. "...Even if you aren't real... talking to a Proxy is..." I don't finish.
"AND THERE IT IS!"
I growled a bit. "It doesn't change anything, Twinkle."
"I don't even have to try with you, do I? My, my..."
"If you have something to SAY, then just SAY it already."
"I have said a lot already."
"Then go away. I have to pack."
"HA. As you wish..."
"It is. Shoo. Until next time, asshole."