Comfortably Numb

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Chapter 42

Waking up this time is worse again. My body feels heavy; like it isn't really mine. It takes all of my strength to even blink my eyes open.

The stone ceiling reminds me of where I am.

"My sweet Andromeda...." Seth speaks, alerting me to his presence. I realize now that it was him who had drugged me, him who had snuck up behind me and knocked me out. I struggle to lift my head, to look for him.

He's sitting a few feet from me, trailing his eyes up and down my body in a way that is all too familiar.
Without my permission my eyes trace his figure.

He's wearing a khaki jumpsuit. It's stained in several places, everything from oil to sweat to blood, and it reeks like dark earth, ink and body odor. I can just see a yellowed tank top underneath, a pale color that might have once been white. He's lost weight since the last time I'd seen him- his bones poke out through his sallow skin. I can make out his clavicle and several of his ribs through the material of his jumpsuit, and his cheeks are gaunt and frail. His skin is sickly, almost grey. His hair is shorter than when he'd locked me here last, barely an inch long but the same dirty blonde. It's greasy too, like he hasn't washed it in weeks.

His nose is crooked now, clearly having been broken at least once, and images of him being beaten in prison for his crimes almost make me smile. Almost.
I finally reach his eyes and the sparkle that I find there has my muscles tensing in fear. They're the same watery brown, swirling with the horrifying thoughts and ideas that had led me down here in the first place.

"Have you missed me, my love?" His words are so loving; I want to throw up. I slam my eyes shut again and pray that this is just a dream.

He traces his finger along the top of my left foot- perhaps he means it to be soothing but all that it does is set my skin ablaze in agony. I try with all of my might to pull myself out of his reach, but my body is sluggish; the drugs taking their sweet time to wear off.

"I've missed you... dreamt about you every night that we were apart." He spins his finger in circles on my foot, slowly working his way further along my skin. "I know you dreamt of me too..." my eyes rip open without my permission to glare at him. Anger is briefly more pressing than the absolute terror I feel in his presence.

His subtle acknowledgement that he's been watching me reminds me of Blake. Blake, who had once been my hero, had defected to the dark side. No longer could I think of him with the love of a brother- he would always be the man that murdered my parents and gifted me with a bow to this psychopath.

"You r-recruited my b-brother." I accuse. He smiles, relief on his face. Perhaps he'd been nervous, waiting for me to speak. "I didn't recruit anybody, actually. He came to me." My heart shatters, pain caused by yet another one of Blake's betrayals.

"W-why?" I can't help but ask. Part of me is desperate to understand what I had done to deserve my brother's ire, another part is too mad to care.

"Why what, my love?" He reaches my ankle and loops his hand around it, gently tugging my leg closer to him so he has access to more skin. I try to command the limb to retract, but the muscles stay still, too weak to move.

"W-why did he d-do this?" I can't help the question. It's sad and hurt and broken, but Seth doesn't seem fazed. He smiles wider.

"Why else? He knows we're meant for one another."

A sob cracks out of my chest. His claim hurts worse than all of the injuries he had ever inflicted on me. He frowns then, and rubs his thumb in what I think he means to be soothing circles.

"Don't cry, Andromeda. We're together now. Nothing can ever separate us again." Another sob breaks free. He frowns, not liking that I'm ignoring his commands but I can't stop the tears.

"Why c-couldn't you take Blake?" I whisper. "He w-wants you. He l-loves you.... why does it ha-have to be me?" Seth frowns deeper and reaches up with his other hand to stroke my cheek.

"It couldn't be anybody else." I shake my head and his hand drops from my cheek.

"It c-could have been anybody else! You p-picked me! Plucked me out of the crowd and d-decided that we were....." I trail off, unable to say the words. He returns to rubbing my leg.

"I didn't pick you, Andromeda. The cosmos did." I shake my head.

"I d-dont understand!" He smiles- I think it's meant to be caring, to be kind and reassuring. It comes out creepy.

"I was looking for you.... you see, after my sister" he snarls the word, "abandoned me and threw me aside in favour of her little mutt family-" he growls. "I realized I needed what she had. A mate." Another bout of sobs press at my chest, but I try to control them. He continues on. "I needed to find my other half, to be able to unlock my real potential. I searched everywhere but...." he pauses to shrug with a smile "you were determined not to be found. I ended up wandering the streets of Toronto, following after your brother and hoping that the gods would lead me in the right direction. Just when I was about to give up hope..... there you were." I shake my head and his eyes focus back on me.
I d-dont... I don't get it. Why did you p-pick me?" He frowns again.

"I didn't pick you. Are you Even listening?"

"I w-wasn't a wolf then. I didn't... I w-wouldn't be able to do what y-you wanted me to." I breathe. He nods, understanding dawning on him.

"No, you weren't aware of your heritage, but there are other ways...."

"What d-do you mean?" He smiles at me, patronizing.

"I went to a witch. Begged him to point me in the right direction. He found you for me. You were so close, right under my nose. But even then.... We almost didn't meet, you know."

Another tear falls. Oh, what could have been.

"Daemente was sure that I was meant to meet your brother first... kept trying to push me in his direction. But he was weak- barely even human.... No good to me. I went back to that witch, and he told me I needed to follow the path. that if I just gave Blake a chance... So I followed the path he led, like Daemente insisted and... there you were." He loses focus, obviously lost in his memories of the first time he'd seen me.

I take the time to catalogue this new information. Every word hurts, every new piece of information carves its way through me, every syllable slicing me open.

"W-why?" I beg the air. I am so sad, so angry, so desperate to understand why I'd been locked down here again, never to be separated from the one person I would slit my own throat to avoid. The world is one cosmic joke, and I seemed to be the butt.

My tears fall faster now, and I can't keep the sobs at bay any longer. He focuses back on me with a frown- unhappy that I'd broken his perfect memories with my tears. He resumes stroking my leg; a weak attempt at consoling me.

Seth trails his hand further up my leg, reaching my calf now. Every inch he moves burns like acid but still I cannot free myself.

"Shh baby. No need to cry. I'll make it all better." He mutters. He slides his hand further, reaching for my knee. I command my legs to move, to stand up and out of his reach, command my arms to push him away. I stay locked in his embrace.

"S-Seth... d-don't-" I know that if he continues, he will take the last piece of me I'd managed to hold onto. He frowns at me and his grip turns brushing. When I dare to look at his face he is glowering at me- Thunder rolling across his face.

"What did you say?" He spits. I freeze, unable to think past my fear. He glides his hand up to my thigh and the place his name is carved screams out in pain as he digs his fingers in.

"I'll do whatever the fuck I please, Andromeda. And you won't tell me to stop or not to touch you. You're mine, honey, and I will take what I fucking want." His words stir something in me. Suddenly able to move, I pull my leg from his grip and curl myself into a ball. I wrap my arms around my chest and press my forehead to the ground.

"What do you w-want from me?" I cry. Everything hurts, so much. I feel him moving, reaching for me. I roll away so I can see him.

"You c-can't honestly believe" I sob again and shake my head. "You can't hon-honestly believe I want to be here? Can't honestly b-believe that I w-will give you what you want."

He frowns and stops reaching for me. "Why wouldn't you want to be here?" A half laugh, half sob rips out of me again and I press my hands harder to my chest, trying to hold myself together.

"Andromeda, why wouldn't you want to be here? Why wouldn't you want to be with me?" I tip away from him and cry harder.

He hits me then, a quick slap across the face. The pain barely registers. I keep crying. He curses, and grips my chin to force me to look at him.

"I asked you a fucking question. Why wouldn't you want to be here, to be with me?" His voice cracks in anger, gravel and murder in the words. I blink up at him through my tears.

"You know w-why." I whisper. His eyes flash and I pull away. "You know w-what you did... know what h-happened here. And still... you b-brought me b-back." I lower my head again to the floor and continue.

"What I w-want never mattered to you. Y-you picked and prodded at t-the world around y-you to make it w-what you wanted. It w-was never me you were l-looking for. It was al-always the n-next thing in a string of mangled at-attempts at making yourself feel m-more important than you are." I hear him growl but I don't look up. "Everything you did... everyone you've hurt.... it's all b-been in a weak attempt at proving that you m-matter." I glance up at him now, to make sure he hears these next words.
"You c-can try to take me, to b-break me like the woman I w-was the last time you had me in here..... b-but I will never be your mate. I will never h-help you to murder m-my family. And I will never love you. " He snaps forwards and wraps his hands around my neck in a bruising grip. I let him, my muscles still tired and sluggish.

He forces my head up with his grip so our eyes are connected. He starts cursing at me, but I can't hear past the roaring in my ears. I blink up at him and let my head fall back again.

No longer speaking to him, I start to pray.

"I just want to die. Please god let me die." I barely whisper out. He hears me though, and drops his grip on my neck.

He rips at my hair, hoisting me up. When we're at eye level, he slides closer.

"You will do no such thing. You are mine, Andromeda. And you will stop acting so childishly this instant and claim me so that I can unlock what is rightfully mine." His eyes are wild and angry, his heart is beating erratically. My wolf whimpers in my head, surprising me. I haven't been able to feel her since the fight with Blake....

"Never." I whisper. My throat is raw from his grip, and I can already feel that it's bruising. Tears are still streaming down my face. Seth bares his teeth at me and leans closer. I can feel his breath on my cheek now. Every inch of me wants to collapse, to hide from him. Only his grip on my hair keeps me straight.

"I would stop playing so coy if I were you." He threatens. I shiver in disgust but he obviously takes it as excitement, shifting his grip so he's holding my neck instead of my hair. He pulls me into him and I don't fight it. He smiles, "I guess I'll just have to rip you out of that pretty little dress and claim you myself." He grips my hip with his other hand, slowly sliding his way up towards my bust.

All at once, everything becomes too much. His grip on my neck, his junk against my gut, his threats.... all of it sends me falling back into my memories.

I can feel him everywhere. Every bruise, every cut, every break of every bone hits me all at once. I can hear screaming- both mine and Steven's. I can feel him trailing his fingers and hands along my skin, feel him spraying his semen on top of me while I'm chained up and unable to shield myself. I can hear him laughing and begging me to love him, grunting and moaning.

When I open my eyes, I see him. He's smiling down at me. It's demented and grotesque, but that's always been him. He's trailing his fingers along my skin, touching me so lightly I could almost convince myself he's not really there. But he is, and that knowledge makes my stomach roll. I haul in a deep breath and move towards him so his grip on my neck isn't so strong. His smile grows wider- and then I slam my head back and launch it into his nose as hard as I can.

The crunch of his bones is the most satisfying sound I have ever heard. He curses and falls back from me, reaching for his nose that is now gushing blood.

"You fucking bitch!" He snarls. I smile at him and stand up. For the first time ever, I loom over him.

"You are going to regret that, bitch." He spits. He drops his hands to the ground and pushes himself to stand. I take a step towards him and lean down, so he can understand me clearly.

"I'll regret nothing." I draw back as he tries to stand and I let him. My anger is building now, and nothing but his blood will soothe it.

I take a step back to keep some distance between us.

Once he's steady on his feet, I smile.

"What are you smiling about, whore? I'm going to rip you apart and enjoy every second of it." I laugh without a trace of amusement.

"Then let's fucking go."

He makes the first move; patience was never his thing. He lunges for me and I spin out of the way. My body is thrumming, anger and bloodlust putting me on high alert. He keeps coming for me, again and again, but each time I glide out of his reach. I don't want him to touch me- I just want to rip his throat out with my teeth.

Our dance continues for several minutes. I sacrifice distance a few times to strike out at him, and several more of his bones break beneath my fists. But he gets me a few times too and each wound is like a shot to my confidence.

My own nose is bleeding, a trickle rather than the gush he'd had. I've got a few lumps and bruises from places he's managed to strike me. My muscles are still relatively heavy from the drugs but I focus on staying out of his grip.

He strikes out with his left fist and I dodge out of the way, but I've been paying too much attention to his body, and not enough to my surroundings. I slam into the pipe wall, and the metal caves beneath my weight. One of the pipes cracks in such a way that the metal cuts into my side, and I Yelp. Seth flies towards me, shoving me further into the wall. The pipe cuts deeper into me, and I glance down to see how bad it is. I'm bleeding profusely- my blood is starting to pool beneath me. I try to pull away from the pipe, but Seth leans further into me, keeping me in place. I reach up to try to wrap my hands around his neck, but he locks my right wrist in a pair of shiny silver handcuffs. Before I can react he twists my arm and locks it around the smallest pipe and then clicks the other handcuff into place on my left wrist.

Dumbfounded, I just sit there for a second. The pain is ripping at my mind, and beyond that terror is slowly growing over my anger. Seth smiles and steps back away from me.

He stalks over to the pile of blankets and grabs a dirty blue cloth. One sniff of the air tells me that it's the same rag he'd used before to knock me out. I open my mouth to plead with him, to scream for help, to say anything... but nothing comes.

"I told you you'd regret it...." he taunts, strutting closer. "Although I do have to say I'm really liking this new temper of yours. Feisty may just be my favourite colour on you." He reaches up and brushes his nose with a brief wince.

"Although I will like it a bit more when I'm not so fragile."

I shudder and the wound at my side screams out at me. He smiles and closes the small gap between us, raising his rag. I hold my breath but he rolls his eyes and shoves the rag over my mouth and nose, just holding it there.

"Night Night, Andromeda. It's time that I show you exactly what it means to be mine...." unable to hold my breath anymore, my body slips towards unconsciousness. I inhale without meaning to and get a whiff of chloroform.

Everything fades to black once again.
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