The clocks ticked silently into the night, their faces unmoving yet ever watchful of their hands at the witching hour. The household slept as one of the dead, neither the rustling of sheets nor the resonance of snores disturbed the silence. Save, that is, for one individual.
For the sake of her parents peace of mind, Gwen had feigned sleep when they peeked into her room hours past. And so she continued this convincing charade well into betwixt of day and night. It was then that she rose from her bed, quickly slipping into clothes that would shelter her well from the evenings chill.
The window leading outside quietly slid open and Gwen slipped out of her home unnoticed.
Her neighborhood, the quintessential image of suburbia, looked different at night. The shadows seemed longer, darker, creating an abyss that threatened to pull Gwen in if she drew too close. The white picket fences now appeared as the lower half of razor-sharp teeth simply biding their time for their upper partner to clamp down.
She shivered as she walked down the deserted sidewalk, past lampposts that hummed from the electricity flowing through their narrow bodies, her shoe-clad feet making no sound. Gwen did not hurry. Her pace was relaxed, as if time meant nothing.
Perhaps it didnt.
She knew hed be there. He had promised hed be there.
It didnt matter if she had reason to trust him or if he had proven himself in any way. He even insisted that he was incapable of keeping his word and warned her of his unreliable nature. She still believed in him. She just wanted to.
It was as simple as that.
A grunt greeted her as she reached the peak of the dark, grassy knoll. She smiled before seating herself on the ground beside the hulking figure that was Kevin.
Cold out tonight. Want me to light a fire? The older boy offered, pyronite arm igniting.
No, its fine. She shook her head, opting to draw her coat tighter around her. The offer still stands, Kevin. Just so you know.
He blinked, all three of his eyes, and turned warily at the young girl. What offer?
The one Ben made when we first met you in New York. Gwen replied matter-of-factly.
The mutant canted his head, ridges knitting together where brows would have been. You mean after all the shit I did like trying to waste you, you still want me to join up with you?
The young girl nodded, I may have brought up the subject with Grandpa Max and Ben a few times and they seemed to believe you deserve a second chance. And Im sure Grandpa has some alien friends who could maybe do something about your problem.
She sounded so hopeful and her eyes shone brightly, Kevin almost, almost, wanted to believe her. But the doubt and the anger and the hatred festering in him from all those years wouldnt allow him.
Why would you want me around? he snarled, unable to picture himself in such a warm, caring environment. He had tried, countless times to pretend he was normal and still had a family, a mother who would hold him gently but protectively and a father who would teach him, guide him. But the vision would last barely a second before his form shifted and grew into the massive, mutated monster he was now. And his mother would stare up at him in wide-eyed terror as his father pulled her away to run.
Why wouldnt we? She cocked her head, gaze unwavering.
Kevin looked at her in disbelief, I dont know, because maybe I could just be pretending to be nice to you so I could gain your trust and then use you to get revenge on Ben? Maybe because Ive killed before, and I enjoyed every minute of it.
So why havent you? she asked patiently. Youve been out of the null void for almost two years, so why havent you gotten revenge or gone on a massive, mindless rampage?
Why? Kevin thought it was obvious. Because of you.
But the words wouldnt form, let alone make themselves heard. How could he tell her that if she hadnt been the first familiar face he encountered, he may very well have done everything he had set out to do?
I dont have to answer that. Kevin muttered, turning away so he wouldnt have to see the disappointment in her eyes.
Gwen sighed, turning her gaze heavenwards as she shivered in the cold night air.
He draped a furred arm hesitantly over her shoulders and she leaned her head against him, her own slim hand resting tenderly atop his. The touch was familiar but not comforting to Kevin. If any, it pointed out to him of what could have been had things been different.
If his parents had been more understanding of his gift, if the world had not been so quick to turn its back on him, if he had been someone else altogether then maybe. Just maybe he could bring himself to believe her.
But he wasnt. He was Kevin Levin and no amount of wishing or hoping would ever change that fact.
Im sorry. Gwen murmured softly.
He eyed her skeptically, For what?
Im sorry that you dont seem to want a second chance. She began, Im sorry that you dont believe in anything but hate and pain. Im sorry that you feel like you cant be anything else but the monster you keep making yourself out to be.
But hed never believe her words. He was too stubborn, and prideful, and so filled with spite and malice and anger. There was so much hate knotted and twisted inside his heart and try as she might, it didnt seem like she could reach him anymore than she already had.
How could she when he didnt want to be reached in the first place?
And Im most sorry that you dont know how wonderful a person you could be. Was what she truly wanted to tell him. Instead, she pulled away from him and got to her feet.
Goodnight, Kevin. She whispered before heading back home.
At the foot of the grassy knoll, she looked back.
Goodbye, Gwen. The wind carried his words and the young girl once again raised her eyes to the skies. No shadow flew overhead, no sudden gush of air blew past, but she knew he was gone. And somehow, she knew he wouldnt be back to see her.
But some small part of her believed it wouldnt be the last time she would see him. It didnt matter if she had no reason to think that or how unlikely the possibility was. She still believed in him. She just wanted to.
It was as simple as that.
Come up to meet you,
Tell you Im sorry you dont know how lovely you are.