“I’m going to continue to change. And I’ll do whatever it takes to keep my promise with Monica. But… when I see her again, if I’ve become someone completely different… If there’s nothing left of me from the time when I loved her, there would be no meaning to seeing her again.”
“I don’t think Monica would think that way.” Elmer said, not at all intending to be falsely kind.
Huey nodded slightly, but then shook his head.
“She might not mind, but I will. This is just one of my selfish whims.”
He then turned to Elmer and made his wish known to his friend.
“So no matter how much I change, Elmer… Please, I want you to remain just as you are now. I know I’m asking something very terrible and cruel of you. But if you never change, I think I might be able to rely on you to go back to the old me. The me that loved Monica.”
Elmer’s answer was simple.
“You’d better keep that promise from last year.”
“Once you see her again, you have to come show me the greatest smile in the world… together.”
Huey chuckled bitterly.
“I don’t remember proposing such a difficult condition.”
“Hey, our lifespans’ve gone from seventy or so years to eternity. I don’t think I’m asking too much of you at all. Do you have any idea how hard it’s going to be to try and never change from the way I am?”
“I can’t bring myself to trust you. But even if you were to betray me, and even if you were to become my enemy… would it be okay for me to love? Could you… let me love you?”—Huey Laforet, BACCANO! 1710 Crack Flag
“When I first met you six years ago, I despised the world with all
my heart. But Monica changed me. I came to love the world because she was in it. Although none of that matters anymore.”—Huey Laforet, BACCANO! 1711 Whitesmile
((Hey, guys. I know I’ve been away forever. I’ve just been so utterly swamped in classes and other roleplays that I had to put all my anime blogs on indefinite hiatuses. But I am considering bringing back my Chane account (Sylvie and Monica will be debatable for now until I’ve thought it over). I’ll probably make a new account for Chane though, simply because I completely forgot the email to her blog (which is why I’m not making this announcement on her blog). In any case, I’ll try to be more productive on her with a fresher start.))
Whenever Monica Campanella ended up in a new place, she had to hold a certain level of caution. It wasn’t as though she was new to such a place—she had traveled after to quite a degree—but she took precautions when they were necessary. And they always were. If people were to uncover her secrets or if Fermet were to hide her, the blonde-haired woman would find herself in a great deal of trouble. And she always had a run-in with a very talkative informant. The last thing she wanted was to let her identity slip out of her notice.
And so it actually did have to come down to this. Huey definitely couldn’t say that he was surprised one bit by this. Immortality always did seem to surprise everyone whenever they noticed that a person who should clearly be dead after a shot to the head or a stab to the heart weren’t dead afterwards.
“You sound surprised…” he murmured softly. “It wasn’t wanted at first… but then it helped to find a way to be able to see you once more…” or perhaps it would have been more correct to say that it was his selfish reason to come upon this alongside so many others. But then again anyone who couldn’t fulfill the final wishes of their beloved. No one could ever be considered to be that selfish, now could they?
—But this was just how it always had to be… giving up humanity to become a monster for the sake of this woman even though it was definitely a selfish decision.
But maybe in the end it all wasn’t that important. Maybe now he could try to use his inhuman nature to perhaps save his beloved. His dear Monica who just looked oh so frightened now. His dear Monica who shouldn’t ever have to look like that, and he can’t help but wonder why she did. What happened, what made her like this…
And did he have the power to help her through this?
But for now he made sure to keep her hands where they were, to hold her just to make sure that just perhaps she might be able to look at him. And it wasn’t like he had the ability to hold onto her very tightly anyways. He was never cut out for strength, athletics, and the likes anyways.
“He saved you and you accepted his words as the truth… but did you ever consider to find out if everything was right on your own? He is not human… he would only have you to force me to ruin as he has done many times before and to many others like him…” It wasn’t like Huey was exactly blind to anything that had happened to anyone else in that man’s hands. His eyes and ears were all over the world. He was aware of the torment and physical torture he put that ten year old boy through, how he had frozen the Asian man alive for fifty years, and that wasn’t even the tip of the iceberg of the crimes against humanity that Fermet had committed. “Monica, look at me. Look straight at me and try to see if I am lying or not. That is nothing more than a rumor that came from the play that his ‘friend’ had wrote, but I would never… never do anything to ever hurt you… there was talk before I had left for solitude that… that you had been with a child. Our child. If this was true… then do you honestly believe that I would destroy my own happiness?” If she was truly Fermet’s Queen in this idiotic game that seemed to have spurred between the two of them, then he made the affective move. Huey was practically near a shamble in trying to explain the truth of that long forgotten time.
—Perhaps he really has won this time…
And perhaps he could throw away what little hope he had left to try and make things right.
Huey had to take the time to try and figure out just what else he could possibly due to help—but the sudden scream of pain practically shook him from his thoughts. Pain though? What could have gone wrong in the few seconds and moments of silence between words that could possibly cause anymore pain? Of course, his answer was soon answered when he looked down, just long enough to catch the red against the fabric and catch the poor woman from falling over completely. “Oh… my dear Monica… what did that man do to you…?” How utterly sad and dejected his words sounded almost surprised Huey all together, but he couldn’t let that bother him right now. Instead he just did his best to help her back to the couch, to sit her down so that there could at least be a bit of stability for her right now.
And maybe to fetch a washcloth, but Huey wasn’t sure if that would be needed right about now.
Her legs wobbled and followed flimsily as Huey Laforet helped her to the couch. Her breaths came out shallow and hoarse, her gaze lowered as her head sank involuntarily against the shoulder of the man who allegedly killed her once before. Monica shut her eyes as she could feel the blood and the flesh returning to where it should have been. Pain. Such a common human feeling. After everything she had been through, she should have been used to such agony by now. And yet, she wasn’t. Fermet’s experiments had trained her to accept it, but to never be tolerant of it. No matter how much she tried to build and break her, the young woman could still feel.
What did that man do to her? If only Huey knew. So many years, centuries wasted upon repeated torture after torture and torment after torment. Monica sighed, shuddering at the memory of it all. Her memories may have been untrustworthy as of late, but the experiments were fresh in her mind, and they were real and true. She had felt them against her own skin and flesh, she had seen her own blood and tasted it, too. She had heard her screams and watched her body writhe in pain. Yes, that was how she knew those memories to be true.
Just as she knew the words of Huey Laforet’s to be true, too.
As much as she could have denied them, as much as a part of her wanted to, a more stronger part of her didn’t and genuinely wanted to believe him. When he had spoken to her softly and reassuringly, she had understood. She had seen it in his eyes and heard it from his mouth; in spite of everything that Fermet had told her, Huey Laforet was speaking honest and true. But if Huey had been speaking so honest and true, what did that make for her master? Was he the one who truly killed her, and not this young man at her side? For now, Monica couldn’t dwell on such thoughts. Fermet may have been many things. He may have been cold, cruel, harsh, manipulative, and demeaning, but he was also and always her rescuer. Perhaps, it was because of their centuries worth of time spent together and her established loyalty to him, but she could not betray him, even now.
That didn’t mean she had to trust him, though. Just as he could never gain her love and respect, he could also not gain her trust. Only her intense and utter loyalty is what remained, and there it would stay.
Her gaze flickered ever so slightly as Huey’s words echoed in her mind, repeating like an endless cycle, a broken record out of turn. A child, he had said. They had had a child. Her hand slowly crept to her abdomen, barren with no life inside. Then, what had happened to that child? Did it live—did it die? She couldn’t bear the thought of it. Either way, it would pain her more than she could bear. In that cold and dark room so very long ago, she had no nothing of children or childhood. There was a boy there who she had caught stolen glimpses of, but beyond that, there was nothing else. Once or twice, she could have sworn she had heard the cries of an infant child, but she had presumed it was merely her mind playing tricks on her just as it always would.
Her breaths faltered and became slow. The pain, the wound, everything had stopped. But Monica would always remember. Always. Perhaps, that was one of several curses of being an immortal. The wounds and the scars would feel, but the memory of the pain? That would always be eternal. The woman knew that all too well.
Opening her eyes, Monica pursed her lips and narrowed her gaze by an inch as her eyes wandered, finding Huey’s free hand. Slowly, she took it in hers, wordlessly f trying to find some sort of familiarity and warmth.
"… I believe you," she finally whispered, breaking the silence between them. "I believe you, I do. It’s just too difficult to take in right now." She couldn’t accept the idea of Fermet betraying her and taking away her life just yet; she wasn’t sure if she ever would. "You didn’t kill me…" Monica leaned into him a little. "But I can’t accept that Fermet killed me, either. I just—I can’t." It would shatter everything that she had built her life upon until now. She couldn’t allow that to happen. Monica sighed and managed to make small smile in spite of it all.
Her headache was wearing off, and so was the memory of her wound, too. It was strange. Normally, things like this would have consumed her entire mind and being until she ended up in unconsciousness, but this time, it didn’t. Could it have been this man’s doing? Huey Laforet? Monica looked up at him. Perhaps.
Izaya could almost see the skepticism in her demeanor, but he didn’t acknowledge it beyond taking note. It would not serve to make him any more credible. This Monica seemed like a cautious being already, for one reason or another. Finding out why would be less than simple, particularly not knowing her full name. However, that wouldn’t stop him from seeing what he could dig up through his resources.
If nothing else, it was apparent to just about anyone that she was foreign. As for not being very familiar with the place— “People around here have a way of standing out or simply blending into the background. Of course, I have no way of knowing everyone in a city this size, but you don’t seem familiar at all~” he explained. “Ah, but yes; I happen to be an information broker. I know quite a lot about this city…”
Standing out or blending in. It was an interesting choice of words for the informant to describe the residents of the city of Ikebukuro, to be sure. Monica wondered which she would be. Likely the latter given her discretion when it came to her reluctance to reveal her true name or colors, and she had an essence of the former given that her blonde hair, blue eyes, and light skin revealed her to be a foreigner without doubt or question.
"An information broker?" Monica asked, her gaze narrowing by an inch. The woman supposed that it was good that she refrained from speaking her full name—or both her names, for that matter. Izaya Orihara could have easily used that very crucial information against her. And for someone like her, for someone like Monica Campanella who could be found as an immortal—and who needed to keep the fact that she could get away with two names instead of one—she had to most certainly withhold that information with her life. "If you happen to know this city quite well, then you must be right person for me to go to, should I need directions or the like?"
“I’m only being friendly,” he answered, a chuckle in his voice, almost as if this were a silly question to ask. Of course, this wasn’t exactly the truth. He only ever did anything to benefit or amuse himself. However, if being ‘friendly’ was an effective way to learn about someone, it was what he would do. What made the statement a lie was simply the word ‘only,’ for that certainly wasn’t all he was doing.
“Correct me if I’m wrong, but I assume you’re new to the area. Unless you have friends around here, it can be advantageous to come across a stranger who knows the city well~” Again, this was not a lie. But just how advantageous that was depended on who the stranger was. The key, when talking with Izaya Orihara, was knowing that even his truths could be deceptive. And even knowing that, one had to discern precisely which things were lies, which were truths, and which were one disguised as the other.
Of course, you are, Monica thought. There was something about this man that she didn’t like—the way his words flowed or how even the slightest of things did not seem to faze him. For the last several hundreds of years, she had learn to differentiate lies from the truth, honesty from deceit. That was how she gradually figured out that the experiments that dealt upon her were for pure sadistic pleasure, not out of an effort to help her. But with this man known as Izaya Orihara, it was difficult to ascertain him. There was a falsehood to his voice—but there was also genuineness in it as well, two complexities mixing into one. Whatever this man was, whoever this man was, Monica Campanella did not know. All she knew was that she had to protect her identity at all costs.
"Is it that obvious?" she replied casually, glancing around the bustling, busy city of Ikebukuro. The young woman tilted her head and exhaled, her lips curling upward into a slight smile. "You are partially correct, Izaya Orihara. I have been to Japan before, maybe once or twice, but if I said I had any friends here, then I would be lying." Her gaze returned to the informant. "And are you, perchance, a stranger who happens to know this city well?"
She seemed quite cautious. He wondered if she wasn’t the type who was a good judge of character almost immediately. There were some humans, after all, who simply distrusted him despite whatever act he put up. That didn’t mean he would drop said act under any circumstances but his own, but it was an occasional occurrence.
“Of course not~” he conceded. “No one is obligated to give anyone anything, are they?” His tone was slightly mocking since that seemed to be something so many people believed. However, he was rather self-serving as well and did very little for anyone’s benefit but his own. Despite this, part of him did like to believe that his humans owed him entertainment and perhaps some love as well. “But yes, snap judgments will rarely get you anywhere. After all, we’ve hardly introduced ourselves.”
He was mocking her. Or at the very least, he sounded like he was mocking her, anyway. Either way, it did llittle to encourage her mood. While Monica had given up her quest of seeking out her murderer and living a life of misery, she still found it difficult to go out of her way to talk to people she’d rather not concern herself with. But talking to people—or to anyone, really—that’s what normal people would do, wouldn’t they? It was human nature for people to want to interact and connect with others. This Izaya Orihara appeared to be no different, and if someone as seemingly bizarre as him could be human, well, so could she.
"Hm." He was just agreeing with her. In other words, he was just repeating her words, too. Beating around the bush, more like it, she thought. Monica tilted her head, observing him carefully. ”So, to what do I owe this pleasure, Izaya Orihara?” she asked. After all, he was the one who greeted her.
That lovely smile was definitely something that Huey would never get tired of seeing. It was so nice, so lovely, so very Monica. It was almost relieving to know that this was just one thing that his beloved could never lose—even though he still had no idea just what sort of a life she had been living prior to their chance meeting just moments ago.
“Then you shall stay with me,” he brought a hand up to lightly cup her face, a thumb coming to rub lightly against her cheek, “you shall stay with me because I always want you.” This was just going to be one more thing that he will take. Any sort of hesitation would also be erased so that Monica could enjoy this without any sort of worry. “You shall stay with me forever…” And forever really did sound like such a good thing. He had lived for such a long time that he never thought that such a cheesy thing would sound so nice to him, but here was Monica. His precious Monica who was no longer dead and perhaps could also spend the rest of eternity by his side. Huey wanted nothing more than this. Nothing more than this long forgotten happiness once again.
Maybe it would be just how it was so many centuries ago—ah, but then again Huey knew better than to just expect that. Things change, and he was not someone who could avoid that little unfortunate fact about humanity.
But what was more important was that he would always have her, keep her by his side and keep her in his arms until the rest of the world burned around them. And it wouldn’t matter because she was his world. Monica was his world once again and he would do his best to make sure at it would always remain just as such.
“… … A friend once told me that if there was something in the world that made you smile, then perhaps that’s the best thing to live for,” okay, it was probably not the exact words that Elmer had shared with him one day but it would probably do to get the point across. “So then you live… live to do whatever it is you want. Whatever it is that would make you the happiest that you can be. Alright, Monica…?”
“… Your body is used to things being one way than another. Eventually… it will also figure out how to forget that feeling…” After all Huey could be considered someone with quite the expert on the topic, couldn’t he? “And you are in control of your body. You can decide if you want to hate or not… you can decide if you want to be happy or not… you can decide everything,” with that he pressed a little kiss to the top of the woman’s head. “You can decide if you want to stay with me or not… consider this a miracle that we could finally be reunited to be with each other…” Perhaps this just was what he had been looking for. Perhaps Huey just needed this one little moment to finally be able to see his beloved wife once more—
Until that all seemed to change.
Once more Huey seemed to be reminded about just how bad his skills and strength as an athlete were, but he knew better than to fight against Monica. So he let her pin him against the wall, he let her be angry with him (because if anything Huey figured that this was what she really needed), and she let her voice it all.
But more importantly he let that blade sink into the skin of his throat. It wasn’t enough to actually kill a man, that much he could tell by just how much blood seemed to roll down his neck, but it still hurt. It actually did hurt—which was probably what surprised the old immortal the most. Huey had thought he lived long enough for even the pain to stop hurting him.
“… You listened to a liar because he was the one who saved you…” was all he managed without anything else spilling from the little hole in his neck, but even that didn’t last for long. The injury had already started to close back up, blood wiggling back in like little worms, and perhaps it was a good thing because now he had to stop Monica from hurting herself. Possibly hurting herself as he soon amended in his head but it was still enough to make him take the few steps to grab both of her wrists and try to keep her hands to her sides.
“I will not force you to do this but please listen to me! If the person who saved you is the man that I think it is, then you were lied to. He manipulated the playwright from so long ago to create a performance that would break both of us, and in the end he took it far enough to actually murdering you while I tried to save you! I… I lit half of that town on fire to try to save you… but it was hopeless…”
It should have been worrisome that Huey could feel himself slipping back into that feeling of hopelessness, but it was still there.
“… I spent the longest year mourning… wishing that you were with me again… wishing that maybe I could have died alongside you so that we could remain together forever… wishing that idiot hadn’t held me back so that perhaps I would not be the cold monster that I am today…”
—All because that man just wanted to break us for his own amusement.
As Monica’s mind began to twist and turn with uncertainty and doubt, her shoulders stiffened at the sight of the blood on her knife seeping off into small blobs and floating behind her. She dared to look in the corner of her eye back at the man known as Huey Laforet. H-His wound… It’s… Her eyes widened. He’s an…
"Immortal…," she muttered inaudibly, a breath escaping her lips. Of course, he was—if he was telling her the truth about waiting for her for the past hundreds of years, and yet, it still made her skin crawl to see someone like her, someone who could not die, whose body could always heal and revert itself, someone who wasn’t human. Her heart pounded. So, he’s just like Fermet… Just like me. She bitterly chuckled in her head. Even in her descent to madness, she could still laugh. Fermet had told her that there were people like them in this world; she merely thought she’d never meet one until now. Her hands shook, one of them still gripping onto her stiletto. What was she supposed to do now? Kill him? He would not die. Devour him…?
The thought terrified Monica. Once, and only once, Fermet had threatened that he would devour her when she had disobeyed him. It was during one of his experiments… or was it something else? Her mind was like a puzzle with pieces scattered and missing. Some memories were clearer than others; some were blurry and distorted, but she remembered that something like this happen because the voice was so cold and clear in her head. "How disappointing. How very disappointing. Would you like to be devoured, Monica?" he had said once. "It’s rather simple, really. With one touch, I could erase you from existence. Would you like to see…?" She remembered herself screaming and cowering, and never again had she disobeyed him since that day in that cold and dark room. That man had gently caressed her face and hair as though his words never happened. "You have such a beautiful face, Monica. Don’t disappoint me again.” And so, she never did.
It had never once occurred to her to devour that man instead. No, she was too scared—too scared that he would devour her before she had the chance. And the idea of having that man inside her mind. It was bad enough to be tormented by Fermet’s experiments. To be tormented with him inside her everyday for the rest of her perpetual life was an everlasting nightmare. She shuddered at the very thought.
Hearing Huey Laforet’s words, Monica turned onto instinct, ready to either lash out or attack him for such an insinuation at her master when his hands reached out and grabbed both of her wrists, forcing her arms to her sides. She struggled in his grip in vain, her teeth gritting together with a mixture of ire and frustration. She said nothing as the young man spoke. All she did was listen and breathe, her heart racing. Lied to? Lied to? Why would Fermet have any reason to lie to her for? What on earth would he gain from that when he had held her captive for hundreds of years, when he had his own perfect experiment he could test and toy with? What had he to gain? ”He saved me, so his words are truth in my ears,” she hissed out of her gritted teeth. No matter how much she despised her master, she despised the idea of him lying to her even more. Sure, his stories contradicted Huey Laforet’s, but who was she supposed to believe—her master who rescued her and had brought her back to life, or her supposed lover who could also have been her murderer? The moment Huey Laforet dared to insinuate that it was Fermet who had killed her, Monica thrashed in his arms, squirming with unsettling rage at the despicable slander. “You’re wrong! You’re wrong, you’re wrong, you’re wrong! He didn’t murder me; he saved me!” You murdered me, she wanted to say, but she bit her tongue in silence. She wanted to say it—oh, how she wanted to in her anger—but a part of her had still loved Huey Laforet in spite of being her supposed murderer. It made no sense to her. None of what the young man said did.
Her heart pounded as Huey Laforet spoke more. No matter how bitter and unsettled she was, his words managed to reach her and hold onto her. Monica swallowed dryly. She knew that he had been waiting for her. She knew that he was in love with her. And she knew that she loved him back. Thanks to the brief memory she had chanced upon, she knew what he was telling her was the truth. But she really had no way of knowing who was her murderer except for the words of others. According to Fermet, it was Huey Laforet; according to Huey Laforet, it was Fermet. Her mind felt like it was cracking, threatening to break.
She began muttering inaudible noises as her eyes grew watery. How many times would she have to break today until fate was satisfied with her excruciatingly unfair pain? It wasn’t fair. It wasn’t fair, it wasn’t fair, it wasn’t fair. None of it was. And yet, she was the one who was killed. She was the one who was brought back to life, only to be subjected to experimentation. She was the one who had to lead a life a misery and find her murderer, who was either the man who had rescued her or the man who had loved her. Monica’s mouth quivered before she shook her head furiously, biting her bottom lip in an attempt to stop the tears that were threatening to escape her eyes. Lowering her head, Monica narrowed her gaze and sighed heavily. On that day, so very long ago… On that day that I cannot even begin to recall… Why couldn’t I just have died then and stayed dead? At least it wouldn’t have hurt like now. It wouldn’t have caused her so much grief and so much confusion as to who to trust or believe or care about. Or who to love. It hurt. It hurt. Everything—everything hurt. If only she could make it all go away… Silence fell as Monica braced herself for what she was about to impulsively do. With her hand still holding onto her stiletto, Monica shut her eyes and stabbed the stiletto into her leg. If physical pain would distract her from the emotional and mental, then so be it. An agonizing scream echoed through the room; Monica could scarcely tell that it was her own. She continue to groan as she faltered to her knees, clutching onto her wound with pain. It hurt, and the pain would so pass, but for now even as she winced at the agonizing pain, she almost savored it, too. It made her forget her world was breaking—if merely for a moment.
It was so funny that he could easily forget what it was like to be so human before, and yet for some reason Huey really didn’t mind one bit. He didn’t mind this warmth, he didn’t mind this forgotten love, and he didn’t mind that this woman was able to bring all of that out of him once again.
—It was all worth it in the end. All very worth it…
All these long years striving to find the one woman he loved so much again, those years spent striving towards being able to fulfill that promise, it was all for her. And it was all worth it. If Huey had to, he might actually do it five lifetimes over again. He already did it for almost three now, didn’t he? It wouldn’t he that hard at all. And in the end he would dedicate himself to making the same for his dearest Monica. Helping her through her time of need, making sure her adjustment to her new life wasn’t filled with any rocks or bumps. Anything would be for her and he would have no complaints about it.
He would worry about whomever it was that she had been living with up until this point later on. Dealing with them shouldn’t (Wouldn’t? Couldn’t?) be much of a problem. Huey had his confidence now, so that just meant that it shouldn’t be much of a problem at all. And if it was a bad life that she had lived up until now? Well then, Huey would just have to make sure to take her away and give her an even better life all together. “You’ll stay here with me, Monica,” he spoke as if he was trying to read what unsure thoughts might be running through her head right now (and Huey would really be shocked if there wasn’t anything at all going through her head right about now). “You will stay here with me for as long as you need… as long as it might take to make you feel comfortable. Alright, Monica?”
It’s almost funny that this person who had tried to attack him only moments ago was still the same adorable woman he had fallen for so long ago. Granted the circumstances were different nearly over three centuries ago, but really that wasn’t what the important fact here was.
“It’s fine. Time is an entity that chooses whom it will be kind to… and sometimes it is never kind to those who believe that they have earned the right…” he raised one hand to lightly brush at a few strands of blonde hair. “Your rescuer and murderer…? Living for the two?” for some reason he felt that he should hold his tongue in asking who both were (though he already knew who had killed her so long ago), “as loving as that idea is, I will not force you to. The most important thing to me is that you are happy.”
Almost at once that forgotten yet soft smile had managed to find his lips once again. It was something that only this woman could really bring out of him. That gentle side that Huey had thought was buried underneath that cold exterior of a scientist. “Take your time to figure out what to do, my live. You have a lifetime to figure out what move you wish to make now, and I will be here to support you no matter what the decision is. If you wish revenge against that man, then I will gladly assist you. If you wish to be by my side once more, then I would be more than happy to be there for that as well.”
“… Oh?” What a silly response. Of course she didn’t. “Huey, my dear. My name is Huey Laforet.”
Monica smiled. Another smile. So, even she was capable of such things that were once unfamiliar to her? Fermet had taught her how to smile, but it was always forced, always conceived for reason and never for want. But here and with this young man, the smiles came naturally. It was different. A good different.
"I want to stay with you…" She sheepishly looked down, feeling a twinge of warmth rise to her cheeks. "If you’ll have me." Such hesitance, and even the voice that came from her lips—unlike her deepened Mask Maker persona—were alien to her, and yet so familiar, too. "I want to stay with you forever." Was it too bold of her to say such things? But she wanted to say them, anyway. There was just so much filling her heart and her mind. Good things, bad things, warm things. She desired this man, she admired him. She wanted to stay by his side, feel the touch of his hand against her own, and savor every minute of having him in her gaze. All these wants were so fresh and new and different. It was nothing she ever felt when she was with Fermet. With Fermet, there was this immense loyalty, this desire to please him merely out of being indebted to him, but that was all; he was her savior, and so she clung to him, but she did not love him nor did she care for him at all. Even when he was the only person in the world who could have loved her, she could not love him back. At the time, she had thought it was because she was a creature incapable of love, but now she knew it was because she simply did not love him. They had been together for centuries, he was her constant companion and probably her only friend, but she could not feel anything for him. All Monica felt was hate for his experiments and an intense loyalty based on owing him her life. That was all. No more, and no less. She could not feel love—not for him, anyway.
But with the young man, she felt it. She felt so much happiness and love that it was as if her heart could explode from all the wonderful feelings she was experiencing. So much kindness, so much warmth. So gentle, sincere, and true. This man spoke with feeling when Fermet had not. There was always this hallow edge to her rescuer’s voice; he would speak sweet words, and while she would believe him, she would also know that some of his words did not hold truth. Monica supposed that she believed him because she had no reason not to. Fermet was her sole companion in the world for so long. Who else was she to speak to but him? But her world had expanded now. There was now color, shape, and form. And it was all thanks to the man who loved her, who held her in his arms, who smiled smiles that were only for her. It made her want to love him even more.
"I had nothing else to live for. No one else. Until now." Monica met his gaze and smiled sadly. If only she had found him sooner. If only he had found her instead of Fermet, perhaps things would have been different. Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps. "I am happy. As long as I’m with you, I feel like… like I could do anything." It was as though everything was in her reach—when all she really wanted was the person standing before her.
"I don’t want revenge anymore. Maybe my body does." She could still feel her fingers twitch with the desire to, but she blamed the many centuries of experimentation and the sugarcoated words of Fermet oozing into her ears for that. "But I don’t. There’s so much I already hate, but I don’t want to hate anymore. I want to… What I want is…” Love? To love this man? She wanted to say those words, but they wouldn’t escape her lips. ”I want to stay with you. If it wasn’t for my murderer, I would have never been brought back to life and had been reunited with you.” It was the only thing she could thank her murderer for, and it happened to be a steep debt in that. It seemed she owed both her rescuer and her murderer everything—to merely allow her to be reunited with the man she wanted to love but could scarcely remember. She was so happy, happy, happy—
—But the moment the young man had spoken his name, her body moved before her mind could process.
Before she could realize her actions, she already had the young man pinned to the wall, her arm pressing into his chest with her hand holding a stiletto to her throat. She breathed in and out, in and out, her heartbeats beginning to rise. The name she had been told over and over, the man so sweetly spoken into her ears, the name of her murderer… The name of the young man. ”Huey… Laforet… Huey Laforet…? You’re Huey Laforet…?” her voice was but a meek whisper. The more she said the name, the more she wanted to deny it. ”You’re the one who… the one who…” It made no sense to her. None of it did. Her mouth twitched slightly, her eyes shook and stung, beginning to grow watery. ”You’re the one who killed me…?" This man loved her—and he killed her, too?
Here, she had sung praises of her murderer. She thanked him for killing her because he reunited her with her lover—but for her lover to be her killer, for them to be one and the same that only meant… Her mind was splitting apart. She didn’t want to believe it, she didn’t want to. She knew the young man was being sincere with his love and with his name, but Fermet had told her… He had told her… ”He said, he said, he said. Huey Laforet, he said…!” she repeated over and over in a mindless mutter. A shriveled, inaudible sound escaped her lips. Her body hungered to exact her revenge, her mind was broken, distorted, and confused.
Her eyes widened the moment she noticed the stiletto had already pierced into Huey Laforet’s skin, causing a single drop of blood to roll down his neck. Monica immediately backed away and turned from him, her hands balled into fists on both sides of her head. The headache worsened with speed. ”You’re Huey Laforet. He said Huey Laforet killed me. He said, he said…!” She shuddered, her fingers rattling and her knees buckling. How she wanted to kill this man, but how she wanted to love him, too! In spite of it all, in spite of everything! What was the fine line between love and hate again, if there were any line to begin with at all? Tears threatened to leave her eyes, but she forced herself to blink them away. Weakness, she reminded herself. Tears were weakness, and yet… How many times had she cried today? Not that she had counted at all. Just as she didn’t count how many times her mind plagued her or how many times Huey Laforet broke her only to make her soar again. And now she was broken again, the cycle perpetually continuing. How long would she be chipped away until she was no more? Not that she was anything to begin with, no. She was nothing more than Fermet’s experiment, a being bent on vengeance, something that should not have been alive. And she was Huey Laforet’s lover, too. Lover—and victim. Her eyes fell to the floor, where she could still see her blade from the corner of her eye, stained with the young man’s blood. It shook her in hand—or was it just her hand that was shaking? She didn’t know. There was just too much in her head and in her heart. She would shatter soon, surely.
She bitterly chuckled in spite of the hurt, the pain, and the betrayal. All were excruciating.
But none hurt her more than knowing that the man she loved was the man who killed her, too.
It was nice to hear her laugh again. Really nice. It was as if things were finally taking a step in the right direction for this little moment, and Huey couldn’t complain about that one bit. One by one the air seemed to become a little less tense and soon replaced with an air of happiness that better suited the both of them—or at least Huey figured that it did. It had been a long time since he allowed himself even the vaguest hints of happiness.
But if Monica was able to smile again for him, then that was okay. He would just take that smile and use it to unlock the parts of his mind and heart that he had locked away so many centuries ago. Allow himself to reconnect and feel a bit more human than he used to be. And help Monica along with remembering the forgotten moments of the past, of course.
This was now Huey’s duty to take care of.
“Waiting…” it was such a cruel word but it was true. Waiting for so many years was such a horrible thing and definitely the most unhealthy. But Huey didn’t care. He still waited for Monica—he dedicated his life to waiting for this woman that meant oh so much to him. It was bad. Unhealthy. No one should have ever really spent so much time waiting for. But it really didn’t matter to him “Far too long… but it is alright, my dear Monica. Long ago I had thrown what little of a human life I had left to search for a way to be able to see you again. Even bring you back if I could have the power to do such a thing, though I guess now I don’t have to have to continue waiting and searching for such things…”
It was probably a little morbid for the other to hear by now, but he couldn’t care now. “You can love anyone as long as you believe you can… I—I was the same way at one time in my life. If I can change… then it is possible for me to change as well,” a faintly wry smile seemed to make its way to his face as he spoke. “So yes. It is okay, my dear…” It was very much okay with him right now.
It also reminded him of how he first confessed. How funny that the past seemed to be catching up to him so easily.
But now that would change. Now he would create new memories for Monica and himself that would be better. Now he would provide comfort in the form of a hand coming up to lightly catch her tears with a finger, a faint smile playing at his features at the sight of the woman’s smile. Such a beautiful and lovely smile she had. It definitely would make him hate himself if that smile was ever taken away.
“’It was me’…?” Huey repeated with a vague hint of confusion. What was him? Did something else happen?—ah, but her next words seemed to chase away what remained of those confused thoughts. He didn’t know what memories she was able to recall—couldn’t know, yet he was sure that they were good memories. He simply wrapped his arms back around the woman’s smaller form, making sure to hold her close. “You do not need to be sorry, my dear… never be sorry for what couldn’t be helped…”
And Huey would continue to hold her close to him.
Just to make sure that she could never run away from him again.
The warmth seemed to enclose around her. Monica wouldn’t mind if it stayed like that forever. Just this embrace that conveyed so much love, happiness, and emotions, perhaps more than words ever could.
He gave up his humanity for me…, she thought. And yet he was still able to smile, to bring her comfort and warmth, to love her. If this young man was capable of doing that, then so could she. No matter her dormant memories or her tormenting past, that cold and dark room or the experiments of Fermet, perhaps Monica could be more like that again. More human. She was human once, wasn’t she? Couldn’t she be like that again? It seemed that this young man would love her either way, but she felt as though she had to become the Monica in his eyes, the Monica she once was—whoever that was. But if the Monica she once was was capable of loving this young man and being loved in return, then that was definitely someone who Monica wanted to be.
There was still Fermet to think about, of course. He’d drop in and find her eventually; Monica tried not to think about that, but it was still in the back of her head, weighing. He would find her, speak sweet words in her ears and perform experiments on her again, maybe even take care away from this man. She was afraid of that. She didn’t want that at all. She was grateful to Fermet as any person would be to their savior, but she could never love him and would probably never grow to like him in general. To put it simply, she felt indebted to him. She owed him, and she felt as though her debt would never end up being paid. After all, what could you give someone in return for your life? Monica couldn’t think of anything but her servitude and loyalty. And yet her loyalty—and perhaps even her servitude—were being tested by the young man and his warmth. She knew that eventually Fermet would steal her away again, but the thing was that this time, she didn’t want to leave. She wanted to stay. With this young man, whose name she didn’t even know. If she was with this man, she would improve, love and be loved in return, and be happy. If she was with Fermet, she would only endure pain, miserable vengeance, and madness. She didn’t want to betray him, she didn’t. She still owed him her life. But until that time for him to enter her life again comes, Monica would try to put it behind her for now.
After all, the only person occupying her thoughts now was the person standing right in front of her, her mysterious man who managed to sweep her off her feet and helped her love again. More than anything, she wanted to love him, to stay by his side, to be with him always—and to be the Monica that he loved and deserved; he gave up everything that made him a human, all to be reunited with her again. The young man deserved to be with the Monica from his memories, not the amnesiac and broken Monica that she was right now.
"But I am sorry. I couldn’t remember you. I didn’t know you were looking for me. All this time, you were here, and I was…” In that cold and dark room. With Fermet and his experiments. Mindlessly living a life of miserable and pitiful revenge. ”My life has revolved around nothing my rescuer and finding my murderer. But I could throw all of that away now.” She looked up, meeting his gaze. ”I could throw that all away for you.”
She gave an awkward smile as her hands found his face again, caressing his cheek and running through his hair; such actions like this had a twinge of familiarity, though Monica still couldn’t remember the faintest things about the young man other than the memory in the abandoned mansion that filtered through her gaze. ”I’m not even sure what to do now,” she admitted. ”Of course, it bothers me that I was killed, and to be brought back to life was both a blessing and a curse. More of a blessing now because of you, but… I don’t want to keep running around and chasing after someone who might already by gone by now. Even if it is the person who killed me, I… Existing for the sake of revenge is sad, and I don’t want to be sad. I want to be happy, and I want to be with you.”
She laughed softly. ”Which reminds me… I don’t even know your name.”
“You only guess, hmm~?” Izaya tended to read people rather well, but he was unsure of the precise reason for her selection of words. Her first name alone was very little information to go off of, after all. To be fair, the conversation had only just begun and he had time to figure things out yet, but they seemed to fairly confusing to one another at the moment. Whether she would come to figure him out at all remained to be seen. Considering how few people really understood him, however, it didn’t seem extremely likely.
“I wonder if I should take that personally or if you treat all people this way. It’s a little early in the conversation for anything to be personal, though~”
Monica frowned, raising an eyebrow. Something about the man’s tone and wording just rubbed her the wrong way. Or maybe, that was just the type of person he was. Or maybe, the type of person he wanted to give off. Again with the theorizing. It would surely hurt her head if she prolonged these thoughts any longer. But this young man seemed to remind her of someone. Who—she wasn’t sure of, but it was someone. She could feel it. But given how helpful her muddled memories had been lately, she could have very well have been seeing things.
"I don’t think I’m obligated to give you my full name. That’s a little informal, isn’t it? We’ve only just met," Monica replied coolly. On the surface, her response seemed innocent enough. After all, who willingly gave their full name to a stranger they had only just met and might very well not meet again? For all she knew, this man was dangerous. But for all she knew, he could be a regular, typical person. Since she knew nothing about this man at all, and perhaps even preferred it that way. It wasn’t like they were trading life stories, but Monica had a feeling that this Izaya Orihara wouldn’t give his up so willingly; it seemed that they had much in common, not that she would ever admit it. ”You’re right, though. It is a little too early.” Even though Izaya Orihara reminded her of someone, she didn’t know if that someone was good or bad. And she doubted they had met before, so a careful guard was as good as any and definitely better than none at all.
“If you insist~” he replied with something of a mock bow, as in response to her request for certain manners. “I’m Izaya Orihara. Nice to meet you~” His manner was amiable enough; perhaps some would still find it suspicious, but others would accept it as simply being decent, like any person should. He had no intention of harm at this point, but he did mean to learn anything interested about her that he could.
Monica observed the man known as Izaya Orihara carefully, attempting to gather if he was being honest or not and finding that such a task was an impossibility. This man was wrapped in layers, and whatever they were, it seemed as though he didn’t want people figuring out his true character. That, or this was his true character and he was merely leading people off. Either way, analyzing the informant would do nothing but give her a headache, and she already suffered enough head trauma for one immortal life.
"My name is Monica," she introduced herself in response to Izaya’s greeting. She didn’t have to, and personally she didn’t want to with such an ambiguous guy, but he did give her his name, didn’t he? She supposed the least that she owed him was her name. But there was no point in revealing her full name or the fact that she had two names instead of one. No, there was no need for such talk as of yet to this man.
Her blue eyes trained on him and she tilted her head. ”… I guess it’s nice to meet you, too.” Of course, that wasn’t what Monica really felt; meeting people was a distraction. Not to her goal, no. It was merely that she had been following her goal for so long that it was hard to adjust to the fact that she didn’t technically have distractions anymore—now that she had decided to give up on exacting revenge on her murderer. After all, there was no point in chasing ghosts that didn’t seem to want to be found, and if Monica was going to spend the rest of her endless life on the earth, then she might as well live it instead of being in a miserable revenge quest.
Maybe it was wrong for Huey to selfishly keep this woman against him—with him like this. He should just let Monica do what she wanted. It should be wrong for him to hold her so close and wish so hard that she could just love him so much once again. Like how it should be wrong that he was the one who was making her cry as so—and yet that wasn’t going to make Huey ever let her go.
Everything just felt so right. The mood was lighter, everything wasn’t as tense as they could be, and it was just oh so right. Perhaps this was just their tragic fate that still connected them, or maybe it was the unspoken promise from so long ago that Huey knew he could never fulfill no matter how hard he was to try to fulfill it, but he still felt it. Huey Laforet could acknowledge that this moment here still felt as right as it did nearly three hundred years ago. In a time long before that horrific day had to occur.
Maybe it was just wrong for them to question fate.
He let her lean into his chest, his own arms wrapping just a little tighter around her smaller form. It was almost as if Huey was trying to comfort any unspoken thoughts and questions that seemed to be flittering along inside the woman’s mind. Or at least attempting to. It had been quite a long time since Huey forgot just what comfort and love actually felt like along with a number of other emotions. But this once—maybe just this once he might be able to remember how any of these emotions felt like. And maybe it was just a little funny that being able to hold Monica once again told him that perhaps all of those emotions weren’t as far away gone as he had thought.
—Dearest Monica… you should never have to look at me with those eyes of sadness…
Those beautiful eyes he could remember holding so much love for him, so much sadness, and oh so many tears from times before—it almost pained him to stare in them now when all they held were nothing more than fear of what seemed to be unknown and what seemed to be… contradiction? It was hard to tell but it almost looked to be an internal conflict as to what was true and what wasn’t true. Maybe that could be a conversation for later—if there would ever be a conversation for later of course. He needed to just distract himself from all of that for now. Run his hand through that soft and oh so familiar blonde hair, allow himself to treasure the warmth of the woman that was now clinging to him like he was the only thing left for her in this barren and broken world. And maybe even relish in the relit memories in his mind—but Huey could leave that for another time.
“Look into my eyes, Monica. See the truth that lies inside of them…” for some reason Huey decided not to wait for her to move on her own, one hand already coming up to keep her face in place, a thumb lightly brushing along her cheek.
“You can trust me with everything… you can love me as much as you want. Because I would do anything for you. Help you remember what you need to… I would even burn down the world to make sure to save you again…”
A faintly wry smile seemed to play at his features when he mentioned that bit. It was one of the few things Huey could still recall from his past. It probably wasn’t the best positive memory, but it was still one that he was sure would hopefully ring a bit positive in Monica’s memory. Or at least he hoped it would and nothing about that damned rumor was in her mind.
“You can believe anything and everything I tell you.”
Monica gave a small smile, hinted with a laugh. It was strange. This was the first time she’d smiled in her encounter with this young man, was it now? Her eyes had looked upon him with fear, provocation, doubt, uncertainty, and other feelings she could not name, and while she still felt some fear and uncertainty, there was also a happiness nestled deep within her that she had never felt before. She had seen in on other people’s faces, anyone but her own. Not even Fermet was able to have her produce such emotions from her.
But with this young man—whose name she did not even know—she was able to smile and be happy. And for some reason, the young man’s words felt so familiar and connected, even when he said he’d burn down the world for her, as though he’d said or had done something of that nature before. Could it be? Was he… telling the truth? About everything? About loving him and him loving her? Even though love should have been impossible for her, someone incapable of love, did she once truly love this young man. "You can believe anything and everything I tell you." That was what he had said, and so she decided to believe him.
Fermet was the one who brought her back to life and protected her, and for that she was grateful. She hated him for the experiments, but she couldn’t help but feel thankful that he saved her life. She did feel some guilt for believing the young man because it contradicted everything Fermet had told her, but Monica was tired. She didn’t want to keep living a life only of vengeance. That was not how she wanted to live. It was a sad and cruel life that she no longer wanted to be a part of. Whoever killed her—that didn’t matter anymore, and whether the young man standing in front of her was telling her the truth or not—well, that didn’t matter to her anymore either. She had decided to believe him, so his words would become her truth. Leaning her cheek into his hand that had brushed against her, Monica allowed herself to savor the warm and gentle touch. She wondered if she had felt such a thing before, as kind and wonderful as this. To think that for centuries, all she had known was that cold and dark room with no one but Fermet and his experiments when this young man was waiting for her this entire time. A stifled breath escaped her lips. ”I’m sorry. You… You’ve been waiting for a long time, haven’t you?” Monica asked him softly, resting her hands on Huey’s cheeks and searching his eyes and face.
She wondered how long he had been looking for her and what he had to do to get here. ”I can’t love anyone or anything, but I want to love you—the first person who’s ever given me so much warmth and kindness. I don’t even know your name, but I want to love you. Is that… Is that okay?” She wanted to love this man. For the first time, she had felt what it was like to be happy and to be loved, and they were such wonderful feelings that she didn’t want to let go of them or the young man standing in front of her. He made her feel loved, and so she wanted to believe with all her heart that her pitiful life was more than miserable revenge.
Tears trickled down her face, but now she knew they were not the tears of sadness or tears of pain that she was familiar with. No, they were the tears of happiness, and Monica didn’t mind crying if it was because she was so happy to be near this man and to allow her heart to accept and love him. She was smiling and she was crying and she was happy. Everything seemed so strange, and yet being in this man’s presence and warmth felt right and complete. Monica removed one hand to brush away her tears, only for her eyes to widen ever so slightly.
Vague images resurfaced in her mind. An abandoned mansion, a cloaked man embracing her, and tears of joy streaming down her face. This was a new memory, a memory she never had before. It wasn’t like the memories of the scared, young girl or the homicidal murderer. It was different, but it happened. Being hugged like this, weeping tears of happiness, and feeling overwhelmingly loved and loving another—it had happened before. But where…? And who? Her fingers rattled and her eyes shook as she looked up at the young man, and something buried inside of her just knew that the person in her vision was… ”It was you… You’re telling the truth…,” Monica whispered inaudibly, stunned and staring up at him with wide, wet eyes as a single teardrop rolled down her cheek. Why couldn’t I see it before…? This man… He... Monica hastily wrapped both of her arms around him, pulling him into a hug, overcome with emotion. ”I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry,” she repeated over and over, embracing him tightly and allowing his warmth to immerse her.
The memory felt so real and genuine and hers. And now she knew the truth with all of her heart.
This young man loved her, and perhaps, she loved him, too.
“You were lost to me…” he didn’t need to hear the woman’s words to know what she may be asking herself. Huey always knew what would go on in that funny little heard of hers—that’s what made them so perfect. So wonderful for each—no. That should be in the past. That past hat just seemed to manage to find him, but it wasn’t like he would complain right about now. “You were assumed dead… even as I begged to be let go to retrieve your body… yet I failed you, didn’t I? Allowed myself to get lost in my grief for you… whoever found you did not know you, Monica. Because you were oh so loved…”
That was how it was. He had struggled so hard against Elmer’s hold that day—hell, he even punched his friend before succumbing to the level of grief he hadn’t known again for over ten years. The wounds were fresh in his heart. He had been left alone by the one person he truly and deeply loved so much. And yet here she was again as if the whole thing never occurred. Perfect and pretty like nearly three hundred years ago… it wasn’t fair. This whole thing was just not fair. Not fair for him, and he was sure it just wasn’t fair for Monica.
‘It’s not fair because she must be his Queen… the final piece in this game can only be conceived by the hearless.’
That was the only conclusion Huey could come up with. If it was true then he has lost this stupid chess game for sure. Nothing else could possibly matter now.
He could just stand there and let her hate him for whatever lies she had been told. He would just silently accept his loss—if this was truly a loss. But that also didn’t matter in the end, right? The unspoken checkmate was so long ago after all.
If it was possible to be stung by words, then Huey would be lying in a bloodied mess on the floor. It was true—he wanted her to stay so badly, but that was wrong. Not to mention it was selfish and he didn’t know if he had the experience to help her. “’Let’s meet again’…” he let those immortal words leave his lips in a soft murmur. Like a deafening promise on the winds, they were words he chose to live by for as long as he could. “Those were your last words to me. A spoken promise that a selfish man like me chose to live by for the next centuries to come in my horrible life… but it would be even more selfish of me to keep you here, do you not think so?” If needed, they would always be able to find each other again one day later on. A day when everything might be put right and things might be a lot better—but that was a future fantasy. And Huey of all people knew that fantasies never did come true. “… I would still miss you if you died again…” he murmured. “As I have always missed you… but I have always been selfish in that respect I suppose…” How annoying this all was. How annoying all of this was.
This game—whatever it was is over as far as Huey is concerned. All he wanted was to just go back to his peaceful life. Stop the past from coming forward. Well, except that part. That part seemed insistent on coming on forward no matter what these days.
Like those tears that seemed to come down from those pretty cheeks once again. It was enough to make him sigh. Not because of Monica, oh no. It was because he was tired. Tired of himself, tired of this mask, tired of this whatever it is, just so tired of everything right now.
And yet that still doesn’t stop his body from reacting. It still doesn’t stop him from taking the few steps needed to wrap his arms around her again.
He could really damn this life to hell one of these days.
Just when she thought she was going to walk out that door and leave this city—and this man’s life—forever, Monica was once again pulled into the young man’s arms. And just like before, her broken mind and heart were gradually becoming repaired and cleared. However, that didn’t stop the tears from falling.
Whether it was out of happiness or sadness, the young woman did not know. Though her mind felt lighter, it was still difficult to think. There were so many memories muddled, so many questions left unanswered. And then, there was this young man who was holding her in his embrace, who was the biggest mystery next to her unclaimed memories. She had no idea who he was, could never remember a single thing about him, and yet he felt so familiar and there was something about him that always seemed to draw her to him, whether she liked it or not. There was an invisible thread binding them. By fate or simple circumstance, Monica did not know.
She knew she should have not allowed this. She should have shoved him off of her and make her way through the door, get out of here and this city, go somewhere and anywhere where he could never find her again. But Monica felt warm and safe in this young man’s arms. In a sense, she felt whole. Her hands crept up and held his arms that encompassed her. She leaned her head against his chest, shutting her eyes and taking in the utter and distinct peace of the moment and the unrelentingly genuine and kind warmth. Everything felt strange. As much as she wanted to run away from the young man, she also wanted to run into his arms and stay just as she was. She knew that her memories had always been a complex sort. Always distorted and hazy and almost distrustful. It was like her body and her mind would tell her two, vastly different stories and compelled her to separate the truth from the lies. But how could she do that when even she didn’t know that for herself. Who was telling the truth—Fermet or the man whose name she didn’t even know? Is it all right for me to trust this man…? I don’t even know his name. But there’s just something about him… Something…
Monica turned around to face him, much like she did in the alleyway. She searched his face, hoping to find some sort of memory of hiim—and found that she could not. There was something intensely familiar about him—which both compelled and terrified her, but she felt as though she didn’t want to leave him and his arms that gave her so much warmth. Monica remembered what the young man had told her: how they went to school together, how she had feelings for him, how they were once lovers, and how he lost her. She knew she shouldn’t believe him; after all, all of his words contradicted Fermet, the person who saved and protected her. So, did she have a loving or a loveless life? That seemed to be the ongoing question presented in these two different people and their two, different scenarios. I know that man is right… I know he is, I have to, she thought. He saved me, after all, but… Can I believe this person standing in front of me? Even for a little while, can I…? Monica looked down, her hands clinging to his clothing. She had a mission to accomplish. There was no reason for Fermet to lie and she had to follow his will, and yet, for some reason, all of that seemed distant and far-off now, at the sight of this new, more hopeful life, brought by this young man whose name she didn’t even know.
"Is it… all right for me to trust you…?" she asked, the words slipping out from Monica’s lips with ease. "Is it okay for me to…" A pause. "Is it okay for me to love you…?” For some reason, these words felt so familiar, but she knew somewhere deep, inside that she was never the one who said these words. Then, who…? The young man standing in front of her? Someone else? She didn’t know if the young man was telling the truth or not.
All she knew was that she wanted to believe in him. She wanted to believe in a life where she was loved and happy, not miserable, alone, and unloved. A life where she could be happy, not a life would she had to endlessly seek out her would-be killer. She wasn’t even sure what she would do if she even met her murderer. The obvious answer was to kill him, which she would probably end up doing anyway, but she would more than likely ask him why. Why did he kill her? She wanted to know that much. But revenge was far from her mind now. Fermet would probably hate her for being so selfish—when he’d eventually find her, she’d probably be punished for this—but what good had that man ever done? Reviving someone who should be dead, bringing her into a miserably, immortal life of vengeance, subjecting her into experiment after painful experiment. Of course, the loyalty was still there. No matter how much she hated him, she naturally felt a loyalty to him for being the only human contact she had for centuries. But the only good thing she saw in Fermet’s actions was that it indirectly led her to the young man standing in front of her. She looked him, her eyes searching his face. ”Is that… okay?”
She buried her head into his chest, wrapping her arms around him. She felt so tired, so exhausted of this immortal life, of this revenge quest, of Fermet, of everything. Everything except—him. This young man who seemed to give her peace and kindness and love. ”Can I… believe you? Can I trust you? Can I…”
This was definitely going to be harder than Huey had figured it would be.
But at least the explanation seemed to do a bit of good—or maybe that was Huey’s brain trying to fool him into thinking that a bit of good has been done in this meeting. Maybe thing was probably a better choice of word in this case. This was just a thing that had no possibility to ever have a full definition or allow an understanding of just how it can be fixed. Or if everything could be fixed all together.
But Huey did have to admit the question she presented was a good one. Just why did he save her? He wasn’t this sort of man anymore—Huey Laforet would leave a woman to rot in a dead end alleyway before he would show them any sort of compassion.
‘But it was because it’s her…’
Or maybe that man just wasn’t as far gone as he had originally thought.
“I lost you once, Monica… I can’t stand the thought of ever losing you again…” Did she remember those times? Could she still remember how he once tried to burn down half of a town just to save her from the dark world that had taken her from his side? It was a question that probably had no answer at this point in the game. “And I couldn’t stand the idea of leaving you there. Any sane man would have done the same thing.” Maybe she would buy that answer a lot more.
But that was just an excuse, wasn’t it? In the end the truth was going to be hard to get across so he might as well be left to excuses. That much Huey could understand.
Maybe he should have just impaled himself on that stupid stiletto earlier on. Maybe that would have helped to ease any of this pain and this tense air about them. Maybe it would have also made things a bit easier—and now he just wanted to scoff at how ridiculous this whole thing was. It was unfathomable that such a thing could happen to someone like him. There was no such thing as being punished for his actions, was there? Unless there was and maybe—just maybe this was his time for hell.
“I won’t stop you if you want to leave, Monica,” it was surprising just how sad and detached his voice could get. “Just know… if you need help, please ask for it…”
Just when Monica thought she was about to leave and exit this man’s life forever, he told her words that made her feet rooted to the ground. ”Losing me…?” she asked inaudibly and more to herself than to the young man. ”I was… lost?” But that made no sense. Fermet said she was always alone until he found herself, so she was always lost. ”No, no, no. I was alone. No one came looking for me. No one wanted me. That’s what he said, that’s…”
But these were words Fermet had told her. She never experienced them beforehand, no, she merely felt the emotions that she would have felt with these verbal memories in her mind. She never once doubted that man’s words. Not once. After all, what would be the point in Fermet lying? He wouldn’t have gained anything. So, she blindly believed him because that was the only thing she could do. That was her only option—until this young man came out or nowhere and into her life, spouting nonsense that completely contradicted what Fermet had been telling her for centuries. She didn’t want to believe him, she refused to believe him, and yet, this young man also had no point to be lying and nothing to gain in the process. Her mind rattled, unable to figure this puzzle out. Who was telling the truth? Who was lying? Was one of them telling the truth and the other was lying? Were they both telling the truth? Were they both lying? Partial truths on either side?
It was too bothersome to think around. She recoiled a few steps back, her gaze narrowing, only to lift up her gaze and look at the young man standing before her. No matter how much Monica wanted to deny it, she had a connection with this young man. Whether he loved her or not, whether she “loved” him or not—whatever it was, there was something there, and Monica wasn’t sure if she wanted to get rid of it or see what would happen if she didn’t. Her heart pounded. Too many words spoken that could shattered her world. Did she want it to break?
And if it did, what would happen, then? Would Monica Campanella become broken, just as broken as she supposedly was when she was alive? Or would she become renewed? Different? … Perhaps, even better?
Then, the young man spoke, completely contradicting his former declaration to her. Monica’s eyes flickered as she looked at him, bewildered. ”Just like that… You’re going to let me leave? You said, you can’t stand the thought of losing me, and you’re going to let me leave?" It made no sense to her: this man and his words, and the questions that kept pouring out of her mouth, as though she was the one being betrayed, even though she had no right to feel that way. A bitter laugh escaped her lips as she stood slow steps towards him. "I could leave this city and never come back. You would never be able to find me." That was supposed to be her plan to fully rid herself of this young man. Just leave. Go somewhere, anywhere, where she wouldn’t have to deal with this—whatever this was—again. But for some reason, she found herself getting annoyed and bothered and distraught just because this young man was allowing her freedom. She didn’t know why she was feeling this way when she didn’t know him at all. She didn’t know him, right? … Or did she? She wouldn’t be asking these uncontrollable questions and feel bitter and betrayed unless she did know him, right? Or was this merely all of the muddled words he had told her causing her to perceive all of this? ”I’ll be gone, lost, you’ll lose me again—I-I might as well be dead!" Monica snapped, already in front of her. Her fingers were trembling, her feet rooted to the ground; she didn’t know why this was happening, why her body was drawn to this young man that her mind couldn’t remember. This didn’t make sense. None of it did. She turned away and repeated herself in a whisper, "I might as well be dead…" What was her point of existing if it was just to kill someone who ended her pathetic existence?
If anything, she should be thanking her murderer for killing her and putting an end to her misery. And then, Fermet brought her back—for, for what? To just kill? And then, what would happen after she killed her murderer? What the point of living at all. This realization shook Monica’s very core. A tear rolled down her cheek. Slowly, one of her fingers crept up to her cheek and brushed it aside. Crying… I’m crying? Again… again… It seems like I can’t stop crying today… This made no sense. None of this made any sense, and yet… yet… She wanted to believe Fermet, but more than anything, she wanted to believe the young man she did not know because at least his words made it sound as though her life wasn’t meaningless and miserable.
She turned suddenly, tears still on her cheeks, and began her slow descent to the doorway. But there was no point in thinking like that, was there? That she had a life where someone was waiting for her and she was loved—where she was loved by this young man. That life didn’t exist for her, did it? She didn’t know, and the fact that she would never know pained her more than words could express. Monica Campanella wanted to die. She wanted to be dead. That would have been better. Anything would have been better than this, this life—this pathetic, miserable, cruel, and eternally unloving life where no one would find her or call out her name.
The two looked at each other in confusion, trying to find a way to try to make it up to her.
“What should we do, Isaac?”
“Maybe we should leave her alone for now?”
“…good idea. We’re bothering her.”
The two casually moved away from Monica, looking a bit ashamed.
"Wh-What did I just say!?" Monica hissed. When she realized snapping at them wouldn’t work, the young woman exhaled and tried to regain her composure. "Y-You’re not bothering me, all right? Look, I just… There’s something important I have to do, and I’m not sure where to start."
Everything that had started seemed to end in quite the flash.
At one moment Huey had been staring down the end of a stiletto (or rather feeling it pressed against his neck) and suddenly he was holding an unconscious Monica in his arms. This wasn’t exactly right—or maybe he should say that this sort of volatile reaction just shouldn’t have happened. Just what on Earth went on in their time apart? What just happened between the day that she fell before his eyes and he disappeared for a whole year? There were just so many questions that Huey needed to be answered at this very minute—and yet the only person who could answer them was passed out in his arms. Not that it could help him any. She still had no idea as to whom he was.
“My poor Monica…”
Clearly Huey couldn’t keep her there. And clearly the footsteps that seemed to echo down the alleyway agreed with him. He was lucky that he made sure to live in a city where there’s a vessel not that far away at most hours of the day.
He was also lucky that he didn’t have to say anything to the other woman—Hilton for that matter. No words needed to be spoken, Hilton already knew to support on one side as Huey took support on the other side. They were a little lucky that they weren’t that far from the apartment Huey had been renting in this city. And if anyone had to stop them to ask what was going on, it would be quite simple to steer them away with a story about how he’s her personal physician. He had the reputation in the city for that to actually be believable.
But that might not be enough right now. He might have the skill to help the one person who actually meant a whole lot in his life. Centuries of research could not help him in a moment like this—
“Is everything alright, Master Huey?”
He hadn’t even realized that he got lost in his thoughts again while walking. It was seriously a bad habit that Huey needed to try and break or he’d start to notice things like how they had finally returned to his little home.
“… It’s fine now. Go back to your ‘normal life’, Hilton…” as if on cue he took more support to the blonde and helped her inside, making careful sure to lay her out on the couch. It was only better for Monica since there was no sense in letting her lay on the floor. And admittedly it wasn’t good to keep her in his place (no matter how relatively tidy it was) but Huey had nowhere else to go. An empty place wasn’t meant for a pretty woman now.
But that was enough about that. For now Huey made his way back over to the door to shut it and over to the kitchen to fetch a glass of water and set it on the coffee table. And then wait. Waiting never seemed to be such a hard thing to Huey (he spent more than enough years in solitude) but now… it seemed different.
But it looked like he was lucky. Huey wasn’t going to have to wait for long.
“… Do you feel better?”
Monica sat up slowly, one hand clutching her head as she muttered inaudibly, trying to get a sense of where she was at. Her gaze was low and hazy. Had she returned to that creaky, abandoned apartment she used for meager supplies? But she didn’t remember leaving the alleyway or getting rid of—
—His voice cut off her thoughts in a heartbeat.
The young woman turned fiercely to the young man staring at her. Her back slid into the couch, her eyes wide and wary. ”Y-You…!" Her vision clearing almost instantaneously, she scanned the room, darting her eyes left and right. "W-Where am I? What do you…" Her heart pounded, her fingers trembled. She did not know where she was, and she was with the man who had such an effect on her. The young man explained of how she had fainted and where she was brought to; Monica listened to him silently, taking in his words, and taking sips of the water that had been brought for her. She tried to process it but found that she couldn’t, or rather, wouldn’t.
She did not get it at all. She was drawn to this man, and yet everything about him terrified her. Why would a man she did not know feel so familiar to her? Why did she allow his embrace and cling to him as though he were life itself. "I know because I am the man you loved so dearly…," he had said. "As I loved you oh so dearly…"
But that was impossible. Fermet told her of how she was unloved through life, death, and immortality. How the only person capable of loving her and her unloving heart was him, and how she could never love anyone. After all, she was a loveless girl. Her existence pitiful, her death more so, and her unending life even more. Monica Campanella would live a woeful existence for the rest of eternity. ”Why…,” Monica asked him quietly, averting her gaze. ”Why did you save me…?” It made no sense to her. None of it did.
She had threatened him, screamed at him, and had nearly killed him. And in return for all the verbal and physical lashings, he rescued her. An act so selfless and without personal gain was unfathomable to her; she couldn’t wrap her head around it—and downright refused to believe that it was out of love. Then, she wondered why she was asking this at all. Her mission, her life’s work. She should be hunting down her murderer, not—not this. Whatever this was. And maybe she didn’t want to find out what this was.
"Forget it. I don’t have time for this…," she spat, standing up and turning, heading for the door.