Shiny Happy People

Chapter 4

1:39 AM, MARCH 13 XXXX

"Well, sir, you're a lucky one! You could've died along with the lady!" the bartender joked- apparently after Behemo's slip up with the drink orders, this nitwit decided to go all old school on him with a dash of black comedy.

He's decided that Hammond Bar, as classy as every customer is, as pristine the premises are, could've been a mistake. Or maybe he's just mentally bullying the bartender.

And it's sweltering hot. He might have missed his blazer and tie, but he'll get them back someday.

The bartender fixed him and Levia two martinis, in which the gentleman looked rather perplexed at the sudden niceties. "I didn't order this," Behemo started, but the bartender shrugged and smiled.

"They're from the ladies over there."

He turned around only to spot a few young ladies with tight jeans and fancy designer blouses, waving over at him while giggling to themselves. One redhead had the audacity to say a "Hey, handsome! Drinks are on us!" before winking, blushing and turning away to talk to her friends.

The young gentleman suddenly felt a pair of eyes staring at him from behind, and he turned to see a much recovered Levia, looking almost livid.

"...Do you want my drink?" Behemo asked.

"Absolutely not!" Levia exasperatedly said, and downed hers.

He's admittedly never been to a bar before. Hammond's his first, and more or less, he was forced to put up with the conditions. The lighting's dim, the drinks were cold and he and Levia are more or less resting, recuperating at the bar table while wordlessly looking at the many bottles of gin, absinthe and various types of spirits. He can hear faint sounds of a person trying out a saxophone and another person trying out the piano, and he knows that they're safe for now.

Behemo asks if Levia's okay. She nods quietly.

"I think this would be a good time to tell me who set the power off," he gently said.

"It's probably one of my colleagues," Levia said with a groan, putting her hand over her forehead. "It's...a long story."

"Do I have anything to do with it?" Behemo asked, softly brushing her hand away to check her temperature. She lets him and relaxes before giving him her answer.

"Yes and no."

"Your colleague tried to kill us," Behemo pointed out, smoothing out Levia's forehead with his thumbs. "By shutting off the power, the air would've come in and if we were sleeping at the time, we'd be suffocated before we could even get the gas masks. So I think you'd better tell me this bit."

"If he checks the hospital two days from today and sees that we're not there, he'll know that we escaped," Levia mouthed, leaning into his touch. "I mean...what time is it now?"

"One in the morning."

"He'll start searching tomorrow, then..." Levia said drowsily.

Behemo turned to the bartender, deciding to ask something that seemed quite impossible. "I'm sorry, sir, but my...sister's quite out of it because of the haze. You got any place for her to sleep for the night?"

"Sir," the bartender sighed, "I wish we had beds. We all sleep on the chairs."

"So where do you sleep when the haze's up?" Behemo questioned, arching an eyebrow.

"On the floor behind this here counter."

Behemo clicked his tongue.

Levia shifted a bit in her seat, having no energy to even glare back at the women who were obviously eying her counterpart in their drunken states. She'd tried so hard to seem that she was supposed to care for him for the time being, however she had left the fact that she had transfused most of her blood to him still unknown. It would take more than water and food to replenish herself, but Levia was a prideful woman. She'll say nothing.

Hands encircled her waist, to which she stiffened to the contact, but she realized that Behemo was untying the sleeves of her coat to make a makeshift pillow for her head. He gently lifted her head up, placed the coat on the wooden bar counter and slowly placed her head back, letting her at least a bit of softness on her head. The side effects were unfortunate- she could still smell the haze, but it was better than nothing and it felt quite good.

"...Thank you," she murmured.

"I'll look around," he replied, getting up. "Sir, mind if I do some scrounging?"

"By all means," the bartender shrugged. "We've got stuff at the Lost and Found. People pick there when they're bored, really."

"I'll come back. Might search upstairs too- watch my sister for me, okay?" Behemo asked, looking over at a very drowsy Levia who obviously looked like she didn't want him to leave.

"Sure thing, sir."


3:20 AM

He's picked something, alright. Behemo looks at the cane in his hand and decided that it wasn't only classy, but it's something to fight with just in case.

There wasn't much at the Lost and Found at the second floor of Hammond's- he found old keys (which he kept), a very nifty phone (better than those touch screens, but he decided to leave it be), a laptop (honestly, who leaves these things here?) and other things that he wouldn't bother to remember. Behemo twirled his new cane in his hand while watching Levia sleep, and true to the bartender's word, he did sleep on the floor behind the counter.

The bar's dead.

It's his time, the night, the darkness. Sleeping people with their chests heaving up and down slowly as they breathed seemed to arouse something forbidden in the young gentleman, but strangely not counting his female counterpart sleeping beside him. Behemo sat there as vigilant as an owl, and even the musicians decided to doze off on their chairs at the no-longer lit stage.

He didn't plan to be Hammond's night guard, but he couldn't sleep.

Not with all these people, defenseless before him.

He could do something. Maybe he should start with the girls. The girls won't suspect a thing. Or the bartender- making fun of him like that. Ought to put someone like that in his place, right? Maybe the musicians- that guy with the saxophone wasn't doing his best, when people obviously wanted good music.

But he slowly took one good look at Levia and had his doubts about her too.

What were his thoughts when he went through the mirror, really? Was he that spineless to own up to the fact that yes, he's a deranged murderer who even had the flair to kill that bitch of a maid for her clothes? If Levia's him, then why was she hiding so many damn things, and why was he tolerating it so much?

Maybe this would be the next bitch he'd have to end.

But there was something about Levia that he couldn't help but- dare he say it, love. It was different- he could understand her feelings. He could understand her, relate to her, tell when she's uncomfortable. Then again, she's right there, sleeping, breathing...he could slit her throat and check how similar they could be.

No.

No, he doesn't want to.

No, he won't do it.

Not to her. He doesn't know why, but not her.

He wearily got up and filled a small ice bucket with cool, clean water from the tap behind the bar counter, soaking a clean cloth into the liquid as he added some ice. Bringing it to the counter, he looked at his sleeping counterpart again before slowly lifting her head to take a hand, and he wrung the cloth to wipe her hand and arm. Behemo did the same with the other, and he got on his knees to handle her legs and feet, and he was done. He'll do it all over again when she wakes in the morning.

His sister.

It's believable.


9:00 AM

Levia wakes up to clean feet, a clean face, and currently, with her hands being wiped with a damp, cold cloth.

She looks around and remembers vague details blearily. She sees people having breakfast, and for a moment she thinks that she's dreaming- she's more accustomed to the hospital, so the sudden change of scenery made her balk a bit. The smell of buttered waffles permeated in the air, and there's excellent live music for the morning, and she saw that the person who's wiping her hands was none other than Behemo.

"Good morning, Levia," he smiled. "About time. Today's the last day of the haze."

"What- what time is it?" she sleepily asked.

"Nine..." and he checked the time. "Nine oh one. Breakfast's on the table," Behemo laughed. "We're having a good time here while you were out like a light."

She noticed that Behemo's wearing different clothes. A black button-up shirt and black slacks, accompanied with a yellow necktie- the stock uniform for the bar. He noticed that she was staring, and he sighed.

"Levia, I had to wash my clothes and dry them under the fan upstairs."

The wave of relief was so great. "Oh."

"Your younger brother's been taking care of you since seven in the morning, lady," the bartender laughed, serving up hot milk for a few who ordered them. "He's good, if not odd."

Younger brother?

"I...ah...yes," Levia smiled bashfully. "He's...he's great."

"I'm not the younger one!" Behemo protested, flinging the damp cloth right at the bartender's face.

The bartender caught the cloth and shrugged. "Well, it's all about the matter of who came out first."

"He's definitely younger," Levia grinned, taking a plate of pre-made waffles as she relished in the appalled face of her alternate. The babbling noises of disbelief came as expected, and the bartender chuckled, leaving his default place to serve more drinks and food to the three-day folks.

Leaving the gentleman and the scientist alone.

"...You called me your sister yesterday," Levia said with a sincere smile.

"Well, of course," Behemo said. "We look the same. And given what we are, I can't think of any other way to call you."

"Unless we can think of other names," she suggested, eating her waffles.

He drank his tea. "Mophead," Behemo suggested.

Levia twitched, then retorted: "Drag queen."

"Loser."

"Weirdo."

"Artemis."

"A- what?" Levia blinked.

Behemo shrugged. "I think the name rolls of nicely. Artemis. Artemis had a twin brother, right?"

"Apollo, wasn't it?"

"Yes."

"By the time we get sappy," Levia said, smiling, "we'll go with that."

"Trust me," Behemo laughed. "We'll have plenty of time to get sappy."


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