compos_dementis: Picture of anime Mello with gothic M (Default)
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These are excerpts from the six-novel series that I wrote. More stuff for Raychell, probably... Anyway, the first bit is from the beginning of the second book, during their summer vacation. Something fluffy to contrast the utter heartbreak of the other things I posted here... she'll know what those are, which book they're from, and why I chose to post it, no doubt.

This is for you, radioactive-x. Again.


{Book 2}

Chapter 2: Discoveries

When Jordan left her room to be greeted with the sound of crashing, of cursing, of crying... When she closed her eyes to imagine the damage, when she could hear drunken singing and somebody belting out "Kumbaya" in the back of the house, she simply knew.

She didn't need to see the wreckage of the kitchen to know that it was another day at the Mallory household.

Willow was sitting in a pile of powdery white flour, dust covering her face and lingering the air while she smooshed her fingers in it. "I didn't mean it!" she was crying, while her mother scolded her tiredly.

"Sweetie, you're almost nine now! You need to learn to keep out of the food unless I make it, all right? I'm so tired of cleaning up your messes!" Her voice was rough, probably from lack of sleep after Jack's unexpected return, and she tucked some frazzled blond hair behind her ear to keep it out of her face.

Jordan looked shockingly like her mother. The same curves in her face, the same attractive hourglass waist (only she didn't ruin it by under-eating). But her hair was smooth, silky, cascading down her back in bright red waves. Her coloration was all Jack's, minus the freckles. Oftentimes, she longed to look more like the rest of her family, like all the blonde beauties the Mallory household possessed.

Of course, there was always a price for beauty, and she looked at her older brother James -- thirty years old today -- with an expression of disapproval. "You're drunk awful early today, aren't you, Jamie?"

James merely shrugged, blond hair sticking up in the back. "'S my birthday. I think I-- I deserve a drink or two without somebody yelling at me 'bout it." He took another swig of beer that was probably stale anyway, green eyes glazed over drunkenly. "'Sides, Ma don't care. Do you, Ma?"

Their mother just waved her hand, attempting to clean up the flour. "If you want to waste your life on alcohol at 6:30 in the morning, that's none of my business. But breakfast will be ready soon... I'm making pancakes, as a celebration." She dumped the contents of the dustpan into the trash can while Chris ran around her with his toy airplane.

"Mama, Mama! I'm a pilot!" he laughed, zooming underneath her arm and knocking a spatula out of her hand.

"Th-That's nice, Christopher... Please, let Mommy cook right now--" One of the many pancakes fell to the floor, and Willow came up, picked it up off the ground and ran. "Oh, Willy, don't eat that..."

Jordan rolled her eyes. "Let me guess. You want me to go fetch Dumb and Dumber, right?" she asked, referring to her baby brother and sister. Her mother nodded frantically, pushing breakfast into plates.

Jordan did as she was told, not stubborn enough this early in the morning to argue. Still in her silk pajamas, she made her way to her sister's room and banged hard on the door. "Lainie Bug! Breakfast is ready!"

"Whatever," Elaine growled from behind the door. "Tell Mom I'll be down in a sec. I'm almost done with this level, just... gimme a minute."

"I'll tell her," she replied, then crossed the hall to hit on the faded wood of the door directly across. "Warren! Time for breakfast!"

There was no reply, and Jordan sighed, tapping her foot on the ground while she half-heartedly played with her hair. She knocked again, with her foot this time, and said louder, "Warren! Get your skinny ass out of bed and go eat!"

Again, no response. She opened up his door frustratedly, eyes raking the room for her brother. The fluffed up pillows were on the ground, the overstuffed comforter a mess as usual... but the room was empty. Where could he be at this time, anyway?

She checked the bathroom, the kitchen, the other bathroom... still nothing. Warren was missing, and she was beginning to panic, but then she reminded herself that there were a lot of people home at the moment and he was probably fine. She searched for half an hour while her own pancakes went cold downstairs, and her stomach growled with the demand for food as she looked for her lost baby brother.

"Warren, where the hell...?" Finally, as a last resort, she checked her own room.

And her jaw dropped.

Warren was in front of her full-length mirror, and... wearing one of her favorite tops. It was a baby-cut T-shirt with the word "princess" across where her breasts normally fit, but now it was across his tiny chest. He giggled, flipping magically-grown hair and pinning it up in various styles.

To her horror, he was also wearing her denim mini-skirt. And his legs were shaped and shaved, face smiling and... happy. Really happy, free, green eyes bright and youthful like they should be.

She cleared her throat and he flipped around, tripping on the heeled sandals he was wearing. He fell to the ground to land on his ass, hair messy before it grew shorter again and his face now held that perfect "deer in the headlights" look.

"What, pray tell, do you think you're doing?" she asked, smirking.

He stammered, face going beet red in that classic Mallory blush. "I--I... Jordan, I'm sorry... I was just... curious? Oh, please don't be mad at me, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'll never do it again--"

"Warren." That cut him short, his mouth snapping closed again. "Chill. Seriously. Why are you cross-dressing in my clothes?"

Warren shimmied a bit, biting his lip. "Um... well... I..." He took a breath as she nodded, urging him onward. "I... wanted to?"

She smiled. "Why?"

"Well..." He paused, then looked to the ground. "It... makes me comfortable..."

Jordan walked over to him, helping him up off the ground and making sure he didn't fall on the heels again. She looked him over while he shook, on the verge of tears, and then nodded slowly. "Ah. I see."

"You... You do?" he squeaked, and she nodded again.

"Yep." She patted his head, smoothing down his rumpled hair. "Keep 'em."

His eyes were priceless, confused and surprised and appreciative, but mostly just confused. "Keep... them...?"

She shrugged, hand on his shoulder. "Yeah. Go ahead." She laughed. "Honestly, they look better on you than they do on me anyway."

He grinned, face pleased again. "Oh my gosh, really?" He bounced on the balls of his feet. "Really?"

"Yes, really," Jordan said, pinching his cheek playfully. "I'm not going to blow up at you for trying on my clothes. How stupid is that? I'm not Elaine, quit acting like I'm gonna hit you."

Warren laughed a little, but then his face fell and he looked to the floor. "You... won't tell Mama... will you?" he asked softly, going pale. "Or Papa, for that matter..."

She watched him, her heart twisting in her chest. No, their father wasn't one to accept such 'scandalous' thing, and she could just imagine the beating... So she shook her head.

"I promise. I won't breathe a word of your curiosity to our darling parents." She smiled at him gently. "Poofter."

***

{Book 6}

Chapter 46: Elaine

The school looked... different, to say the least.

Hell, everything looked different to her eyes now. The Followers were everywhere, clutching at students from all sides and there was so much blood, everywhere, coating the floor beneath her bare feet. She was cutting herself on broken glass from the shattered windows, the shards digging into her skin painfully, but she drove herself onward. She had to find Mildred, she had to find the others.

Her eyes ached and watered from the stench of copper in the air, and the lights didn't help with her headache as they flashed over her head in spellfire. Objects flew left and right from Levitation, and the M-track students could be seen trying to bond together to create a barrier around a cluster of younger children.

"Millie, where the hell are you?" she muttered to herself. Her dark eyes scanned the crowd for a flash of black hair, for dark skin and a determined look. Instead, she found things that she tried to hardest to ignore -- the bodies of young children, so much younger than her. She saw a few of the P-track kids lying together, as if asleep; her eyes locked on the body of one of them, and she couldn't shake the feeling that she'd seen that coat before...

Gently, she nudged him onto his back. Then she had to turn and throw up, knees trembling while she wiped her mouth on her sleeve. Pierre's eyes were empty, and his expression was hollow as it should be, and even though she'd seen bodies on TV before, this was so much different.

She had to keep going, her heart racing as she stumbled past more familiar faces, past kids in her class, past boys that had asked her to dance only a week before. And suddenly, she got a burst of hope.

Warren looked different, too, as he struggled in the arms of one of the Followers. His hair was choppy and frayed, his eyes wild in his makeup-clear face. She called to him, but he didn't hear, closing his eyes tightly and the force of the blast that followed knocked her back roughly. She got to her feet, her nose bleeding at the wave of magic, and when she looked back, he wasn't there anymore.

"Damn it..." Elaine coughed, scrubbing at her face in irritation while her lungs labored to breathe. The noise was too much, the shouting of curses, the explosions that echoed around her. When she saw Warren again, he was desperately healing one student after another, hands working madly at wounds that would be untreatable without magic.

She didn't see Daniel, and she tripped once over a body that she had thought was Mr. Green, but at closer inspection, she noticed the face of her Potions teacher. Sniffling and whimpering like a wounded dog, she wound her way through the battlefield of the Underground, dodging spells like she was from the Matrix, dust catching in her hair as walls were blasted apart.

Just when she was about to give up, just when she was ready to sit on the floor and admit defeat, she heard it. Her father's voice, loud and clear among everyone else's as the Followers froze.

"Give me the scroll, girl."

Elaine turned, almost like slow motion, to face the one who spoke. Yes, there was Jack, red hair falling perfectly over those dark, dark eyes. Her heart skipped a beat, because even though she’d seen him a million times before, even when he was her blood relative and there was so much about the man that was familiar, she had never seen that expression before.

He looked dangerous, to say the least. Elaine wasn’t sure what to make of the look of his face, but she knew she didn’t like the way he looked at Mildred. Like he intended to hurt her and nothing less, like she was just an obstacle to him.

Elaine tried to run forward, but was blocked by the crowd, which was standing perfectly still as if waiting. Students who had stood for Mildred, who had loved her, who had hovered behind her as her guardians when she was in trouble… they now only watched. Sickening hypocrites… Elaine shoved one boy out of the way, who fell easily to the side in his trance.

“This doesn’t belong to you,” Mildred said in a lethal whisper, her eyes angrier than Elaine had ever seen them before. “This is my mother’s… it’s her right, she’s earned this…”

Jack laughed, harsh in the deadly quiet, and he tossed his hair in a very Warren-like manner. No, it was the other way around, wasn’t it? That Warren had inherited that trait from their father, just like the color of their hair and the freckles scattering their faces. But Jack wasn’t like them, not at all. He was darker, twisted, every motion a threat.

“Your mother,” Jack repeated bitterly. “Your mother, Miss Astol, was a whore. Just like her daughter.”

Mildred stood straighter, the paper crumpled in her dark fist. “All the same… it’s hers. She’s the one who earned this, the one who wouldn’t turn her back even on you.”

“She turned her back on me!” Jack screamed, face going pale. “Just like she turned her back on everyone else! It wasn’t for the people that she ran away, Mildred!”

Elaine didn’t like the sound of her best friend’s name on her father’s lips. It sounded terrible when it should have been like music; Jack made it heavy and sour and ugly, like everything he touched.

“I am Chaos, the destroyer of worlds…”

No, don’t think about that. This isn’t then, Elaine, this is now… and Millie’s in trouble. She needs you, she needs you, she needs you…


“She ran away from society,” Mildred said in that same whisper, “to protect the innocent. No, to protect the tainted. Don’t you understand, Mr. Mallory? No matter how tainted you are, no matter how stained, no matter how ugly… there’s something beautiful in each of us. You have something… beautiful…”

Jack raised the gun and fired a shot into the air, making the crowd jump as part of the roof collapsed on the ever-standing P-track students. Not heavy enough to kill, if they were strong… but enough to injure, enough of a threat to prove he was serious.

“Beautiful?” he laughed, but his shaking hand gave him away. He pointed his weapon at her again, even though she didn’t show any sign of relenting. “There is nothing beautiful about humanity, Miss Astol. You are as ugly as I am… you’re as tainted and stained as any of the ‘villains’ you fight. Nobody is innocent, don’t’ you see that?”

Mildred’s expression was sad, more than anything. Elaine had to admire the way she could manage to pity something as disgusted as Jack.

“I don’t agree,” she said, as if talking about the weather or global warming. “My mother believed that there was some good in everyone… even you. And because of that, she deserves this little scrap of paper.”

“Scrap of paper… do you even realize the power that scrap of paper holds?” Jack stepped forward, and Elaine did too, ready to dive at a moment’s notice. “’Whomever holds the Scroll of Fate—‘”

“—Is destined to a bounty great,’ yeah, I’ve heard it all before,” Mildred said boredly. “But it’s a legend. A story. That’s it. And you’re going at it like it’s something extraordinary.”

Jack’s expression was fierce. “It is extraordinary!” he hissed. “Now give it to me, or I’ll pull the trigger!”

Mildred was about to respond, when another piece of the ceiling fell… Jack turned to see, distracted, and Mildred took this opportunity to run, and Jack turned back to her and his finger was ever ready on the trigger…

No.

It was all a blur. She couldn’t hear herself shouting out Mildred’s name, didn’t really feel it as her body hit Mildred’s like a bowling ball. She only saw as Mildred fell, safely, to the floor… and then… pain.

She was deafened. She couldn’t tell if it was her or if her ears had been stuffed with cotton, but the rest of the sounds were muffled now.

Red. She could feel it beneath her fingers when she reached down to check. No matter. Her eyes closed tightly as she gritted her teeth, and she could see Mildred’s face above her own, frightened and concerned, just like it was in Elaine’s darkest dreams. She smiled up at the sight, her throat tight.

“M-Millie…” she said, but wasn’t sure if her friend had heard.

“Elaine… Elaine, no, no… Elaine, oh, God…” There was sound there, at least. Mildred’s pretty mouth forming her name. Elaine reached up, but her limbs felt heavy. And she coughed, and that hurt too… everything hurt.

Mildred…

Nothing seemed to make sense. She felt hands pressing down on her chest, and tried to shout that it didn’t matter, as long as Mildred was safe. But her friend kept pressing, presumably to stop the bleeding, face panicked now, but without tears.

“You’re going to be all right, Elaine… Warren’s going to Heal you, okay? Can you hear me? Elaine?!”

Her eyes were drifting shut. She felt nauseated, sick, as bitter liquid came bubbling up her throat. She coughed again, and some of it splattered the dark face above her, and Mildred didn’t even wipe it off. Elaine couldn’t breathe, and her shirt clung warmly to her skin as if she’d just been dipped in hot water.

“M… Mil…”

“Elaine!”

Someone else, shouting… a deeper voice, screaming out for her from across a long hallway. Her foot slipped on the stair, head crashing into the handrail as hot tears trickled down her face.

“Elaine!” Warren’s hands soothing against her forehead, stroking back her hair to look into her eyes. She’d been so much smaller then, and he’d been so kind to her…

“I—It hurts…” Elaine whimpered, her bangs sticking to her forehead with the blood from the cut she’d given herself.


“I know…” Mildred was holding her to a slender chest, petting her hair. “Oh God, Elaine, I know…” Her breath hiccupped with a sob, dark hair hanging in a curtain around them.

“Mildred…”

“I’m here.” Warren smiled at her, pressing his hand to her cut. “Stop crying, it’s okay.” Warmth flooded her as he Healed the small wound, followed by a lulling sensation, as if going to sleep.

“I’m here now, Elaine.” He leaned down a little, kissing her forehead tenderly as she sniffled. “I’m here because I…”


“I love you, Elaine!” Mildred sobbed out, and Elaine couldn’t breathe, couldn’t see… couldn’t feel anything but the soft mouth that suddenly pressed to hers despite the blood. It was gone as quickly as it was there, but…

Elaine couldn’t regret it. She just…

She had to sleep. She could feel that sensation pulling at her, tugging violently at her heart.

“Mi-Millie…”

“I’m here because I love you, Lainie Bug.”

“I love you…”

And she slept, pressed close to a warm chest as familiar tears salted her skin.

***

Chapter 47: Regrets

As soon as he heard the gunfire, his heart simply knew.

He watched as Elaine fell into Mildred, watched as Mildred cradled his baby sister to her chest.

And he ran.

“Elaine!” he screamed, panic thrumming through him. He fought off a group of Followers that were gripping at him, running, because when Magic failed, he could trust his legs.

He could run to her, he could save her, he could…

Watch as the light in her eyes disappeared, replaced by cold.

“Elaine!” He was half-sobbing now, mostly in fear, because he was fast. He was fast enough to get there in time to save her, to Heal the bullet out of her chest, to watch her come back to him.

And then…

Arms. Wrapping firmly around his waist, holding him.

“L-Let me go!” he hollered, heart thundering madly in his thin chest, feet scraping the ground in a desperate attempt to get free. He fought the Follower as hard as his little feminine body would allow, struggled and wriggled and screamed…

But it wasn’t a Follower at all.

“Warren, it’s too late…” Daniel said in his ear. He sounded empty, hollow almost, and Warren had to look back at his friend to be sure. Daniel’s handsome face was streaked with blood, making him look so much older than he was, so much more experienced.

“D-Danny… Daniel, let me go…” Warren had to explain, had to get it across. “This is my sister, Daniel, please…”

“No.” Daniel held firm, gripping him tighter. “It’s too late… she’s dead, Warren, look at her…”

Like a lifeless doll in the arms of a small child, limp and vacant and unfeeling.

Beautiful and poetic, a sacrifice held in the embrace of a hero.


“She—She’s not dead!” Warren screamed, as loud as he could. He tried to push Daniel away, but Daniel shook his head, holding him. “Stop it! DANIEL! LET ME GO!”

Daniel sobbed, tightening, Warren thrashing in his hold. “Warren, please… please don’t go… it’s too late, you can’t—“

“I can save her if you let me go!!!”

“Warren—“

“LET ME GO!” Warren’s throat hurt from screaming, and he shoved his way out of the prison that was Daniel’s arms. He ran, bare feet hitting the floor like lightning, and made it to Elaine’s side.

Mildred was crying softly, her brown fingers clutching at Elaine’s pajama shirt. “Oh God… no… no…”

Warren looked at her, then began to remove her hands. “Millie, you have to let go now… please, let me—“

“No!” Mildred tightened her grip, refusing to let go. “Warren, she—She just…!”

“I know… Mildred, I know, please…” He helped her let go and then he went in between them, looking down into his sister’s face.

She’s not dead. She’s just sleeping, dreaming of sugar and candy and music and masks. A party that never stops, a romance that will never reach that unhappy ending.

She’s playing a joke. She’ll wake up any minute now, laughing, shouting, “Gotcha, Warren!” and I’ll let her hit me on the shoulder because really, I like it when she hits me… And I’ll be angry because damn it, it isn’t funny…


He put his hands on her chest after unbuttoning her top, pressing down as he felt the Magic pulsing beneath his skin. It flowed into her only when he forced it, pushing it, trying to get it to circulate…

And Mildred was crying beside him, distracting him…

He pushed his thin fingers into the wound, digging for the bullet. His perfectly manicured nails scraped her ribs and he felt sickness pushing at his throat, but held it back.

“Elaine… come on, Elaine…”

Mildred gripped his shoulder. “W-Warren, stop… Warren, stop, it’s too much! It’s—She’s gone! Warren!”

No… I can’t stop now. I can save her. I can use this incredible gift to make her wake up, to bring her back to me. My baby sister, my little Lainie Bug, I can make her open her eyes.

Mildred, I can Heal her back to life.


Nothing worked. He pressed down and he dug for some tiny object and he poured Magic into her until he felt warm liquid trickling from his nose.

Too much.

Finally, he took a deep breath and he removed his hands, but no tears came even when he needed them to.

Only Mildred’s arms going around him.

“Oh, Warren… I’m so sorry…”

This can’t be happening.

“Forgive me…”

This has to be a prank.

“Warren…”

Why isn’t she waking up…?

He felt vacant. Like he was stoned again, only without that pleasure rush he got. The room was spinning, he felt that… he let Mildred help him stand, like a puppet without strings. A broken marionette.

Nothing made sense anymore.

The room was empty now. There had been… what, an alarm?… minutes ago. And now there was nobody, only a small group of students that he could barely recognize through the tears in his vision that refused to fall.

Simone. Dark hair shielding a forlorn face as elegant hands stroked soft brown hair out of Pierre’s eyes.

Macie. She was watching him, her own face streaked with tears as she held Violet’s body, her mouth forming apologies although she’d done nothing wrong.

Nathaniel. Throwing up against the wall, one hand pressing against the dark paint and the other… somewhere on the floor, probably.

And Daniel. Coming up to them. Warren remembered a time when the boy was a head shorter than Warren himself… now taller than he or Mildred, thin and gawky and exhausted-looking.

Worn out, like the rest of them.

He reached for Warren, palms stained dark with red, and Mildred caught his wrist.

“It’s… Jack,” he explained, and Warren couldn’t even feel anything at that statement. “I… I just…”

Mildred let Warren go, wrapping her arms around Daniel’s neck in a strictly friendly embrace. Daniel was shivering as he pressed into her, and Warren looked away, unable to watch. He hardly felt it as his knees hit the ground with such force that it would leave bruising for weeks, and his shoulders shook with the sobs that he’d been waiting to come.

My little sister… is dead.

Elaine is dead. Gone forever. I’ll never see her smile again, never hear her laugh, never hold her in my arms when she’s feeling small.

I’ll never play with her again, never tickle her, never…

Oh God, I’ll never see her graduate.


Those arms found him again, but he pushed Mildred away violently. “Get away from me!” he shouted, tears staining his face as he scrambled away from her. “Don’t you touch me! It’s your fault!”

Mildred blinked at him, face concerned. “Warren…”

“No!” Warren screamed, tripping to the floor when he tried to stand. He grazed his palm on the rough ground, and he was grateful for the pain. “If you had never existed… If you had never been here…!”

He knew it was cruel. But he had to blame someone, had to cry and scream and hurt somebody, even when he loved that person dearly.

Mildred didn’t cry, or even really move. She looked away from him, her eyes meeting Daniel’s in a moment of tension.

“Elaine…” he sobbed, on his hands and knees as he shivered. “Elaine… No, no, no… no! No!”

And he vomited, and nothing seemed to matter anymore. Not Daniel, not Mildred, not his mother, not even himself.

There was nobody anymore.

Just… nobody.

Only the tears and the blood and the phantom sight of a bright smile lighting his peripheral vision.

I wasn’t fast enough.
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