Ludwig’s doubt was well-assumed because he wasn’t ten minutes into class when he got called down to the office because of the fight. And from there he found himself suspended for a week along with the other troublemakers, and he didn’t even do anything! But since everyone in the room silently agreed that narking to the principal was worse than bashing a guy’s brains in- which they’d planned on doing the minute they were released from the building- they all got in trouble. But with as sick as he feels because of all of this, he found this a convenient way out of freshly-acquired-news attacks, at least until next Tuesday because the school is closed for a teachers’ conference next Monday.
And so, during his walk home from school, he was sure to apologize to Gev. Gev waved it off and apologized back for being a dick, and letting his anger fuel his insults in the wrong direction of actually trying to hurt Ludwig. But Gev was only venting the same pent up thoughts, Ludwig’s been having himself.
“I’m gonna get out of here for a while,” Ludwig said during their departure.
“Aw, you’re not spending suspension with me?”
“Naah. I just don’t feel comfortable being here right now.”
“I understand. Again, that shit was my fault and if anyone tries bringing shit your way... let me know.”
“I will.” He snickered. He doubted it would come to ‘shit’ but it was nice to have someone on his side.
“...You know that I don’t give a fuck that you’re gay?”
“I know.” He nods. “I’m bisexual by-the-by.”
“Good.” Patting him on the shoulder, he then stuffs his bruised hands into his pockets and heads home. Or somewhere.
Ludwig didn’t know, but he went straight home from there.
October 31rst Halloween.
It was like Maria had lost her mind all over again. Like she had just reverted back to when she’d first nabbed him. She just snapped at him! He was playing keyboard- she had taught him how through July and August- and before Yakusoku knew it she was grabbing him by the hair and strangling him! He shouted “What did I do?!” but that made her scream and scream at him. Maria even said that he’d cheated on her- with whom he is still unsure of! But now he’s back where he had started from, and after all it took to earn his keep of being treated somewhat human. Yakusoku’s back in the basement, naked and chained, though thankfully at the ankle.
Maria may have lost it, but she was well aware of what the chain had done to his neck. He still has the darkened skin around it from internal bruising caused by having a cold metal brace around it. He kind of had to smirk, though, this little rage attack was probably brought on by Tsukiko’s disappearance. That March when Maria wanted him to flex his masculinity on her, she actually asked for him to choke her! And boy did he ever, almost completely out! But not.
When Maria lay unconscious on the bed, Yakusoku snuck into the little girl’s room; having to use his gift to force her eyes to see clothing on him because he did not want the young girl to have to see him naked, she’s been through enough. So in a false hoodie and jeans, he entered the room and ordered her to hide in Lucian’s room where he’d discovered a trap door under the bed when they were cleaning the house a while back. It was filled with a bunch of old VHS tapes and few DVDs, it was a mess. But he moved them easily into a trunk that had nothing but winter blankets in it, and he shoved the trunk back where he’d found it.
From there Tsukiko was to hide, that was his only plan so far. He would sneak her food, and make sure that whenever she had to use the bathroom he gave her the chance. It was risky as hell, but they’ve been pulling it off so far. And now Maria is becoming more unhinged than usual. And though people will die if he slips up, nothing will happen if it’s the demented bitch by herself. Yakusoku broke her once, he can do it again. And that little show of power she took on him last week is proof that it’s working.
And it was amazing that at first, she’d cared that the little girl, their mock daughter, was gone. But after two days of searching she’d just given up, saying that they were better off and that she’d actually wanted to get rid of her anyway. The captive teen did good by the little girl with devising a plan to hide her because when Maria means to get rid of someone it means one of two things... Death or the ward. He still gets tears prickling at the corners of his eyes when he thinks about it.
“I wonder what she’s doing up there?” Yakusoku asked his alter in order to distract his troubled mind.
“Tch. Probably looking for the kid again.” He replied. “You better hope she’s getting food and drinks and shit, or she’s gonna ‘peace out’ in no time.”
“Tsukiko’s pretty smart. She’ll figure it out.”
“Or think you’ve escaped again because you haven’t shown up for a while, at which point she might freak out and do something stupid.”
“Well, let’s hope I’m right.”
“Are we through with playing Whipping Boy? Because seriously how much stronger do you need to be?” He’s now bouncing on the bed. “You no longer pick up conversations you don’t wanna hear, you can manipulate things without them shaking, and look...” Mamoru lifts it with his ability. “You took the brace off your ankle all by yourself. If that’s not strong to you then you’re really gonna scare me with how weak-minded you are.”
Yakusoku curled in on himself.
“You’re kidding me?” Mamoru stops bouncing, then drops to the bed to stand on his knees. “Dude, you seriously got fucked up... you think this is it? You don’t care if you go home or not, as long as you don’t have to go back to the ward- she fucking broke you!” He gapes in disbelief when Yakusoku curls into himself and under the blanket a bit more.
Mamoru shakes his head. He doesn’t know whether or not to be saddened, or so angry that he has to squeeze something... and if Yakusoku doesn’t figure it out, it might just end up being his neck that gets the python move put on it.
“Dude, bitch killed you... remember that? Snapped you neck mentally and had you believe you were dead?” Yakusoku shrugged. “Okay, she tried to drown you four times!” He calls into his counterparts ear. Nothing. “Alright, how ’bout the fact that she’s starved you seventeen pounds under weight? You look like a goddamned rattling sack of bones! How anyone is still into you is beyond me!”
“I’m pretty tired... maybe I’m just hungry and run down. I really do wonder what she’s doing up there- the door opened a little while ago, wonder what that was about?”
“I don’t know. But I’m really sick of your lackluster personality, snap out of it!” He pouts. “Despite your weakened state, you’re managing to beat me back from taking over.”
“Because despite my weakness, mentally I’m stronger... I’m not just bulking up against Maria, I’m watching out for you too.”
“Hn.” He scoffed.
“I know these are hard truths that you have to deal with... but you’ve been mysterious since I’ve met you. I can’t have you taking control of my body or the entirety of my mind.”
“Who says ‘entirety’?” Mocks the alternate. “Let’s just let ourselves upstairs and see what she’s doing.”
“No. I need some thinking time.”
“I can’t believe you’re still scared of the basement.” Ludwig’s Aunt Rissa set a cup of hot cocoa down on the coffee table.
“Well when your aunt’s house is full of attack dogs, you tend to get a little fearful of their turf.”
Smiling, her cup of tea held up to her lips she says. “Oh stop. They loved you.”
“As a chew toy... you remember when I was crawling around on the floor and Pewter charged me?!” He even jerked away from the memory of the large German Shepard coming to sniff at his vitals for a meal.
“Stooop. It’s not true. They loved you, and didn’t have the slightest idea as to what your problem was.” She sips her tea. “And I remember that day, he was not sniffing for a meal. Pewter wanted to be sure you were alright because you were groaning like a wounded idiot.”
“Mhm.” He cast a cautious eye at the foreboding basement door.
Ludwig’s been at his aunt’s house during his suspension, and he really needed her comfort. He told her about what’s been going on at home, at school, with her son. She got very teary eyed hearing about how much the little boy has grown and wants to visit him again very soon. He offered that she come back with him but she declined because she isn’t sure if she can get off from work.
“Tell them you just wanna see your son.”
“I can’t. I’m still being watched, you know.” Her gaze lowers to her lap.
“I know. And I’m sorry.”
“Blame your uncle.” Rissa smiled weakly.
Ludwig wanted to say something but chose against it. It really wouldn’t help the woman’s condition any to aid her in playing blame games.
“So,” And she’s changing subjects now. “tell me more about this boy you’re in love with.”
He felt his cheeks heating up. “I didn’t say I was in love with him... I just kind of really like him.”
Laughing she sets her teacup down on the coffee table. “Those secret smiles tell me otherwise.” Standing she asks. “Would you like some peanut brittle, I just made a batch yesterday when you went out for a stroll?”
“Sure, thanks.” Putting down his cocoa, he grabs the remote to turn on a movie. He could talk to his aunt for hours, but he’d really like to ditch the topic of Yakusoku. It’s one thing to talk about it with Gev but another matter entirely when it’s a woman. “I hope there’s something good on.” He gasped when grabbing the remote. Static shock.
Shaking his hand to rid it of the charge, he grabs the remote again with static-free success. Flipping through the movie channels, he sees that The Great Pumpkin is on. When Rissa walked back into the room she hands her nephew a jar of peanut brittle.
“I’m really glad that you’ve spent this week with me, I’ve been kind of lonely.” She tucks her dark brown hair behind her ear. “Which is why I wanna gossip about this boy you like. Is he handsome? Or cute... sexy?”
Now he’s in a full on blush. Women should not talk like this with guys, especially if they’re related. “Aunt Rissa, he’s... he’s just a guy. And it’s not really about his looks.”
“It helps.” She giggled.
He laughed as well. “Yeah... he’s got black hair and the most exotic blue-green eyes you’d ever see. He’s weird... but not in a bad way. And he tends to stare off into space a lot, or make 'stupid face’ as my friend Gev likes to title it.” He closes his eyes trying to picture Yakusoku but he just can’t.
But Ludwig can feel Yakusoku’s soft lips pressed into his, and his strong presence. He had to let out a quick breath to calm himself. He’s had so many naughty dreams and fantasies about him, it’s almost obsessive how badly he wants to hold him.
“I just wish that there was some tiny little sliver of information of what happened to him. And it’s so stupid how these people are usually right under everyone’s noses, but somehow nobody ever sees them! It’s fucked up...” He clenches his fist against his lap, angry at the world and angry at himself.
“You still believe that you’re to blame for your friend’s disappearance?” Rissa’s words are kind and sympathetic.
“Well don’t. People are taken all the time, but it’s just a matter of time to when they’re found.” Touching his hand she takes it into her own then gives it a squeeze. “Just believe.”
“I’m through with believing! I want pay-off!”
Cupping his cheek, she shakes her head. “You need to rest.”
“I don’t wanna rest... besides, I need to get home.” He says softly. “My plane leaves in two hours.”
“So get another flight.” She takes his hand again. “You really do need the rest.”
“No. I need to go.”
“Take care of yourself, then.”
“I will.” He stands from his seat in the rocking chair. “You take care of yourself, too.” He gives her a kiss on the cheek. “I’ll bring Eli with me the next time I come out.”
“Ohhh,” She swooned. “I wish you were my son.” Holding him tightly, she twists back and forth before planting another kiss on his cheek.
“Naah, I’m sort of one of those ‘only once in a while’ kind of people.” He grins. “You would hate me if I were your son.”
“I could never.” Giving his shoulders a squeeze, Rissa sighs and shakes her head. “I’ll see you next time you come, and please... don’t let this missing friend consume you. You tend to isolate others when that happens, and you’ve got a pretty good thing going back home.”
“Yeah, and it’s all been turned to rubble.” Ludwig waves as he turns away from her and heads to the door. “Bye.”
Closing the door, he shrugs his coat higher around his throat to ward off the nip in the air. Looking at the sky, he frowns over how ominous it looks.
‘Probably a freak blizzard.’ He says to himself. ‘Hope it doesn’t start until I’m back home.’
Yakusoku sat up when hearing the basement door open. It made his oncoming headache that much more pronounced, and he winked an eye to bite back the pain. “Maria..”
“Come upstairs, we need to have a little talk.”
He didn’t even see her. She said what she had to say, then vanished beyond the door. And all Yakusoku could think is... ‘I hope I’m not in trouble.’