The house doesn't look any different from the last time you saw it. It's still made of stone. Still anchored on both sides with other, similar stone houses.
The front yard is still a carefully tended garden, with toxic plants mixed in among the vegetables and herbs.
Even the curtains hanging in the window are the same; slightly yellowed with age, but clean, and kept closed.
The only thing that's changed is you. Ten years older. Ten years harder.
He glared at it, untamed malice glinting in his eyes as he slowly advanced forward. He was content to leave it be. He had gotten out. He had survived. He was free... And then the dreams started. And then the dreams never stopped. Vivid. Painful. Visceral. Memories of poison. Memories of pain. Dreams of days past. Echos of torment etched into his memory. Into his being.
Where is he going? The window? The door?
To the garden. To see what her latest abomination is.
The garden looks surprisingly normal.
But then, that's not really a surprise. The experiments are usually kept either in the attic, or in the basement, if they aren't in her workroom.
Granted, people don't usually keep foxglove and belladonna in their gardens with their food, but, well, she is an alchemist.
The neighbors usually just shrug it off and move on.
What time of day is it.
That's up to you. You're the aggressor here, so you would have picked a time that you were comfortable with.
Did you do surveillance on the place ahead of time?
He was angry enough to scout out a time when the neighbors were at least not around (Hopefully). But aside from that, he didn't scout out too much more.
early morning, or early evenings seem to be the best times, based on your scouting.
He arrived at early evening. Glancing over the place from the garden, before looking at the window. And contemplating.
The curtain you're looking at twitches.
He backs away, before looking at the door. And walking over, giving it a swift knock. He pitched his voice high, and added some false cheer. The perfect example of a naive teen working his first job.
"Courier delivery service! Is there a... Miss Glass at this residence?"
The door swings open almost immediately, but there's nobody there.
Or rather, there's nobody there until you look down.
And then there is someone.
Someone small, and waif thin, with hollows under her green eyes (like yours used to be), and skin the color of arterial blood (just. like. yours. was.).
She's dressed in a dress that looks more like a too-large shirt with a belt around her waist, and her black hair is long and tangled.
She's sucking on the tip of her tail (like you used to), and her horns are slightly more wide-set than yours are, curling back along the sides of her head in a way that looks almost like they're crowning her.
"Mommy's busy," she mumbles around her tail, her voice pitched low.
His eyes widen. And he grins. It's a friendly smile. It does not reach his eyes.
"You mommy is home then? I have a parcel for her. I believe from an old friend of hers. Something about work aqu-" He paused, looking at the child.
"...Old work friends. Seems they had a breakthrough of some kind! ... Could you fetch her for me please? It should only take a few minutes."
She hesitates, glancing over her shoulder, then back at you.
You know that look.
You wore that look.
'Please, don't make me interrupt her,' it says, 'please, don't make me remind her I exist.'
He stares down at her. And meets her eyes directly.
"... How old are you little miss?"
DM: Today at 1:23 AM
" 'm six."
She looks down, reluctant to meet your gaze. She's still sucking on the tip of her tail.
He nods, and gives a small smile. It's no longer a happy smile.
"I'm seventeen, little miss. I've been around for a while now..."
He flits his tail around, the missing tip plainly apparent.
"Got into a bit of trouble on my travels. But I came out of it okay... In the end..."
He glances at her meaningfully, his long eye scar coming fully into view.
"What about you little miss. You have any battle scars? You seem like a strong little trooper."
"..." she hesitates, then slips her tail out of her mouth and rolls up her right sleeve enough for you to see the start of pale, white blotches on the skin of her upper arm.
Along with needle tracks dotting the inside of her elbow.
He stares at the spots, before slowly turning his head to meet her gaze. Crouching down to meet her height. His smile has fallen completely. His voice is low. And full of sorrow.
"Little miss... I need you to step aside... I need you to walk out here... Or walk to your room... and block the door as best you can."
He slowly slid his shirt collar to the side as best he could, showing off one of his more vicious scars. His eyes staring into hers. The one who would bear his curse unjustly.
"I am not a bad man. But I am about to do a bad thing. A bad thing... for a good reason. And I need you to go to the safest room you know. Away from her. Because it doesn't get better little miss... It will only hurt more... unless it's stopped. Because she didn't stop at me, little miss."
She hesitates again, glancing from the scar you're showing her, to your face, and back again.
Indecision wars with fear on her face, and it crystallizes into terror with five words from a voice inside the house.
"Beaker? Who's at the door?"
Footsteps start down the stairs, and she darts around you and flees, barefoot, down the street.
His face crystallizes into the most hate filled scowl it could. And he stood up, popping his neck and advanced into the house, Closing the door behind him, and locking it.
The footsteps pause at the sound of the door closing, then keep coming.
"Beaker, I thought I told you not to answer the door! You know better, dammit!"
Your first glimpse of your mother in ten years hits you like a punch to the gut.
She's beautiful, still; almost like she hasn't aged a day. Her hair is cropped short, to keep it out of the way while she's working. Her horns are closer to Beaker's than yours, and her skin is brighter red, but still close enough in color that it's easy to see the relation.
It was easy to see your relation.
She sees you, and freezes, and that's all you need.
Something feral enters his eyes.
And he lunges, swinging his club, not to kill, but to impede, to cripple.
You hit her in the knee, and feel something give with a sickening, wrenching, pop, and she goes down.
The scream she lets out is backed with magic, and fueled with panic, and you feel something in your right ear pop.
He grit his teeth, biting his tongue hard enough to taste copper.
He scowls, his world spinning briefly, before talking a swing with his off hand, an enraged punch to the throat.
"Mommy's little monster finally came home."
Amber chokes, gagging and gasping for breath as she scrambles for the stair above her, shoving herself away from you with her good leg and pulling herself along with her arms.
"Get-" she chokes, coughing, "get away!"
It's barely a wheeze.
He growls, stomping forward, and taking a swing at her elbow.
"Funny. I almost remember saying that twelve Voiddamned years ago. I wonder, what was you response?"
She shakes her head, practically throwing herself to one side to try to avoid your strike, then wailing when it hits anyway with another sickening crack.
Amber screams again, the sound deafeningly loud, but raspy and painful sounding, and you can see blood flecking her lips from the effort.
His eyes twitch, wild and wrathful, before he grabs her by the shoulder and hauls her back down.
"What was it, what was it? Oh, Right. 'Mommy's medicine will make it all better in time!' "
She shrieks again, this time without the magical resonance as her injured knee is bent sideways from you dragging her, and tears spill from her big green (so much like yours were, they were, she called them beautiful once, and you saw them earlier, looking up at you from a hollow face) eyes.
The hand on her uninjured arm comes up, blackish red flames flickering around her index finger, and she jabs it at you with a hoarse cry.
The flames leap from her finger to you, engulfing you with a roar of heat and light, then they die away leaving you barely feeling warm.
His eyes widen. Long restrained mania flowing freely, and he took a swing at her outstretched arm. A horrific smile across his face.
"So, Mommy dearest. I have an idea! Lets play a little game! It's called 'How much of a monster!' If you made one of these mistakes, scream in pain!"
She whips her arm out of the way, barely avoiding your strike before lashing out with her good leg toward the fork of your legs.
"Monster," she chokes, "what—" she breaks off into coughing again
One step back takes you out of range, and she pales with rage, her eyes glittering with tears and fury.
"Made you... better."
"Had a kid, decided to experiment on them. Decided to experiment on them a lot." He took a swing at her good leg.
You hit her shin, and the bone shatters with the force, driving one side of the break up and through her skin, and the other side down into the muscle of her calf.
Amber howls with agony.
"I made you better" she screams, swinging at you with her good hand, her fingers clawed
she can't see, tears of agony blinding her.
She couldn't reach you even if she could see.
it's just wild flailing.
He grins a savage smile. Vital copper leaking from his tongue.
"Kid begins to change. The experiments increase. And kid changes more." He steps forward and swings with his fist for the flat of her cheek.
The crack of your fist against her face is so satisfying. You can feel it, from your knuckles to your toes, and her head flies back, rebounding against the wall with another crack.
He lets out a feral growl, and stared at her good arm.
"Kid finally has enough, fucks off and leaves. AND YOU HAVE ANOTHER. AND THE CYCLE CONTINUES!"
He howls in rage, grabbing her arm and forcing it against the wall. before taking a swing directly at her hand
Her hand pulps. Some of the studs on your club tear through the delicate skin of her half curled fingers, and the bones shatter.
Her voice breaks on the scream, leaving her with her mouth open, only a breathy, keening moan coming out as she writhes against your grip, trying desperately to pull away.
He snarls, and lets her arm drop.
"... You're right in a way you know. You did make me better, in your own sick, twisted way. It's a damn shame YOU NEVER FUCKING ASKED. ME, OR HER!"
"I can fix it!"
her voice is cracked. Warped and broken. Blood trickles out of her mouth with every word, and she's nearly breathless with agony, "I can fix you! It's why I sent so many... so many after you... trying to get you back to fix it! I needed her... needed her to fix it, and it worked."
He froze. And his eyes locked to hers.
"You could fix it. You could fix it you say? Really? BECAUSE I COULD HAVE SWORN YOU JUST CLAIMED IT WAS AN IMPROVEMENT! WHY WOULD YOU EVER WISH TO FIX SOMETHING SUPERIOR?!"
"If it was better, then why fix it?! And if you could fix it, HOW THE FUCK IS IT BETTER?!"
she sobs, cradling her mangled hand to her chest and straining to get away, "It was a weapon! An improvement for the guards!" she wails, "but they didn't want retirees to have it, or criminals. They wouldn't take it if it couldn't be undone!"
He stared. And fumed.
"... You know what. I believe you. All those people you sent after me? Broken, or buried. But in the end... I believe you. You really wanted to fix little Vial Glass."
He glared hatefully.
"I'm afraid I have some bad news for you Mother. Vial Glass died in an alley at age 9. You're looking at whatever's left of him. A walking, spiteful obituary. A bitter testament to your failures. As an alchemist. And as a mother."
"Vial Glass died in that Alleyway, scared, and alone. And what was left rotted away, and stood back up. All that's left, are Vile. Toxic. Bones."
She sobs again, looking up at you with glittering, tear filled eyes,
"Can fix it... fix you..." she chokes again, her voice rasping, "fix Beaker,"
His muscles clenched, hard. And he felt his hand scream in pain as a loud crunch echoed out. and the remains of his wooden club fell to the ground. Splintered, and twisted.
"You had your chance to fix it Mother. You've had a lifetime to make your mistakes and learn from them. And maybe you have. Maybe I'm making one myself. And if so? If I may be judged for my actions here? Then the gods have one more black stain against their name. They have no right to judge me... But I'm more than happy to let them judge you."
She says nothing, gasping and sobbing and bleeding on the floor.
She's getting paler, even with her ruby red skin and the pool of blood is getting alarmingly large.
He frowned and let out a distasteful tut. Before grabbing her firmly by the hair.
"Now now Mother. You can't give up just yet. What was that you always used to say? Mothers medicine will make it all better soon. Let's go find some!"
He gave her a grin, filled with malice and began dragging her forcefully up the stairs. His arms screaming in protest. His will ignoring the pain.
she goes silent and limp on the second stair, and when you glance back you can see that she's blacked out from the agony.
There's a slight tugging on each stair, and it seems like the shin you shattered is catching on the lip of each step, ripping through more of the muscle and skin of her calf with each yank until the leg looks like it's been half chewed off.
He frowned. And some part of him, deep deep down, said to just put her out of her misery.
He kept dragging her up the stairs.
The workroom is where you remember it, a door on the left, looking out with large windows over the small-ish backyard.
It's full of tables, and shelves, and cupboards.
there's glassware, and ingredients, and burners, and all kinds of things that got you near beaten to death the one time you dared to touch.
He smiled, and leaned her against the wall, away from any of her little... Toys. Before searching for two things.
Smelling salts. And one of her mixtures.
Everything in this room is neatly labeled. Most of the experiments are in her own shorthand, but ingredients or other medical supplies are all clear as to what they are.
There is a small beaker currently resting just to one side of a lit flame on one of the workbenches
He grinned, gathering up what he could, and peering balefully at the mixture. Horrible thing for a horrible cause... but it would redeem itself today.
the liquid inside is pale, powder blue, and when you move it, it hisses slightly against the glass of its container
His grin widens, and for the briefest moments, something wild and feral flashes in his eyes. She was right, in her own way. She did make him better. But she twisted him. She made him Sick. She made him stronger. She made him Hurt. And so the favor would be repaid.
He rounded on her and marched over, tearing the lid off the smelling salts and all but forcing them against her nose
"Wake up mother. It's time for one. Final. Game."
She chokes, coughing, and spluttering, and gagging, spitting blood from her mouth and whipping her head wildly around to try to see where she is.
"Hello there Mother. So happy for you to rejoin us. I was just getting ready for one last game with you."
He grinned widely, grabbing her jaw forcefully, and centering her gaze on him. There was nothing sacred left in that smile. There was no mercy left in those eyes.
"I learned it from hanging around those 'Uncouth Simpletons' around the bars of the city. I believe they called it a... Drinking game."
"Get off" she rasps, trying to jerk her head away from the bruising strength of his grasp,
"Get off? You mean like you did to all the pain and suffering you caused for years? Oh, wait, my mistake. I suppose you meant something else."
He growled, and slowly, forcefully pried her jaw open, his fingers screaming at the feeling of the edge of her teeth.
"Now lets see mother... how much you can drink."
And without another word, he shoved the bottle past her teeth, stretching her jaw as wide as it could go, before clamping it back down.
Her eyes fly wide open in sheer terror, and she flails against you as the small beaker shatters under her teeth, pouring the blue liquid across her tongue, down her throat, and out between her lips.
it barely clears her airway before she starts screaming.
The flesh around her mouth melts, pouring like liquid wax down her chin and onto her chest,
her back arches, slamming her head back into the wall
He pulled his hand back, before snarling one final time, and slugging her in the stomach.
"Mommy's medicine. How the fuck does it taste?"
She chokes, and coughs, and vomits clear blue, glowing liquid up onto the floor next to her, then looks up at you, her eyes glittering not with tears, you finally realize, but with hate, and madness, and sheer, unadulterated spite.
"You... w'r alws—" she gags again, and vomits up a chunk of flesh, "nothing more'n a broken vial."
He stares back, equally hateful, before sighing.
"And yet yours was the hand cut by the shards."
She doesn't hear you.
Her eyes stare into yours, but sightless, now. Her chest doesn't rise and fall. No more blood flows.
You have your revenge.
He stares. Before turning away.
"And it was always up to me... to clean up after the mess."
And with that, he walked away. His fury running cold. He expected a sense of satisfaction. And in a way, he got it. But knowing about Beaker, what happened in his absence, he felt his disgust grow. And so he walked. Down the stairs, and out the door. He had a sister to find. He could at least help fix that mess.
He never even thought... to lock the door.
Your mind is in a haze. The only thing you can think of with any clarity right now is the direction she ran, and how thin she was.
Her bare feet, and how they slapped against the rough cobblestones of the road.
You walk, and eventually you see a flash of pale fabric and a red that matches your bloodstained sleeves.
He blinked, his mouth moving before his brain even commanded it.
The spot of color shrinks back, and you blink, realizing that you're looking at an alley
He moves forward, slowly. Cautiously.
"Beaker?... Is that you?"
You can see her more clearly, now, eyes huge and terrified as she twists her tail anxiously.
She's trapped; you’re in front of her hiding spot between two bins and the back wall of the alley.
He stops. His face wavering into a frown. What does he do? What was his plan? What does he do? What was his plan? What does he do?! What WAS HIS PLAN?!
His voice cracks. And something he long thought buried came out, in a hoarse whisper.
"S-she... she won't hurt you... e-ever again, little miss. She w-won't hurt... us ever a-again."
She twists her tail harder, and you can see where the skin is chafed and raw under her hands, but she doesn't make a sound of discomfort. Doesn't say a word. Just stares at you with big, scared eyes and twists her tail.
He stares back. His eyes, slowly but surely watering. And his legs, throughout all of the night, finally gave out. as he was brought to his knees. His palms hitting the dirt and stone, in a struggle to support his collapsing frame.
"It’s done. I can't take it back. And I w-wouldn't take it back... She had to... she had to be stopped. It couldn't go on a-anymore. It had to stop."
His voice is warbling. The weight of what he'd finally done... and what he'd lost, finally catching up.
You hear one quiet step, then another, the tiny slap of bare feet against cobblestone coming closer until her little red feet come into view and stop.
There's the sound of shifting fabric, and a tiny hand reaches out and tugs on the arm attached to the hand that shattered the club.
He looked up at her. His eyes wet and cloudy.
"... I'm sorry... I never came sooner."
Beaker tugs at your arm some more, not looking at your face
Bones: Today at 4:01 AM
He slowly lifted up his arm for her, letting his head hang limply, as he let the tears finally fall.
there's a soft shuff of fabric, and she sits in front of you, bending over your splinter filled hand and carefully starting to pluck bits of wood out of your wounds
"She said she'd fix it,"
her voice is barely a whisper, and she's either ignoring the blood soaking into her shirt-dress, or she doesn't notice it.
"she said she'd make it better..."
He glanced over at her, his voice cracking.
"She told me... s-she made ME better."
"... She would make it better... in the end... but she would never fix it. She would just make it hurt more."
"... she promised..." the whisper is broken, and you feel soft drops of water landing on your palm, stinging where they run into or land on the cuts and scrapes.
"... She was never going to keep that promise. She was going to keep making promises... until you were just like me. And I.. I c-couldn't... I couldn't let that happen. Never again."
The pile of bloody wooden shards on the ground next to her knee is increasing as you watch, but she still won't look at you. It's like she's using the task of cleaning out your wounds to keep her from having to look at you.
He paused... and let out a soft, broken sob.
"... I was the first, Beaker.... I was the one... who came before you. I was the little boy... who she hurt first. Many... many years ago."
She shakes her head, tugging at a particularly stubborn splinter. "No."
He glanced at her.
DM: Today at 4:15 AM
"No. Beaker is good, better, best. Can only be Beaker. Can only work with Beaker. Beaker is special."
more tears drip down her cheeks and land in your palm.
"Beaker is a good girl..." her voice breaks again
".... Yes... you are. Beaker is a good girl. It was... It was mommy, who was bad."
His voice trembled, and tears of his own joined hers.
She stills, then trembles once, violently, and looks at you from the corner of her eye without raising her head.
"You are... brother?"
He looks back.
"I am... and I was....Mommy was mean to brother... years ago. She ... she tested... and tested... and tested. Until... brother. Broke."
His eyes water.
"... I couldn't let her break you... L-like she broke me, Beaker. You're a good girl... a sweet girl. Mommy... wasn't. Mommy said she was nice. Said she would make t-things better... Mommy lied. Mommy lied... so that Beaker would be good. So that Beaker... wouldn't leave like Brother. So that Beaker... wouldn't break like Vial."
She shudders, once, and yanks out another shard. "Don't like it..." she whispers, like she's telling you some horrible secret.
He smiles, softly and sadly.
"Me neither.... It isn't fair."
She nods, then shakes her head.
"Don't like Beaker... don't like Vial…"
She's quiet for a long, long minute, focusing on your hand where all the big pieces are gone and only a smattering of teeny splinters remain.
"Mommy would sometimes break things, and scream. Would break beakers and vials. Don't wanna be broke. Don't want brother to break. Don't want to be a beaker... don't want brother to be a vial..."
Her breathing hitches, "mommy's gonna be so mad..."
the tears come faster now, and her hands are trembling against yours as she desperately tries to stifle her sobs.
"she's gonna be so so mad."
He slowly wrapped his free arm around her.
"She was. She was so mad at me. But... mommy went too far. Mommy broke Vial a long time ago... but... Vial put himself back together. And it took a while. It took... a very long time. But... mommy will never break us again... Vial did a bad thing... for a good reason. Mommy broke Vial long ago... but Vial came back. And broke Mommy for good."
She's stiff, like she doesn't understand what you're doing, and the tears keep coming.
"I went outside... 'm outside 'n left the garden an' she's gonna be so mad..."
He glanced at her again, slowly wrapping his other arm around her.
"Beaker... Mommy will never be mad again... Mommy is gone."
DM: Today at 4:39 AM
She's crying harder now, still stiff in your arms. Not resisting, just not understanding what you're trying to do, "but she comes back! She goes away, and says Beaker eat this and not this and light the lamps at night and then she comes back."
She looks around a little wildly, and tries to lurch to her feet, "Gotta go home, gotta light the lamps and maybe she won't notice, maybe she won't be mad—"
He holds her firm. his tears fall across her back.
"Beaker. Mommy is GONE. For good. Mommy... isn't coming back. Ever."
His breath hitched, and he let out another choked sob.
"Mommy tried to hurt Vial when Beaker ran away. And Vial... Vial hurt Mommy back. And kept hurting mommy back. Mommy tried to break Vial again. But mommy failed. And Mommy broke. She's not coming back. Mommy is... shattered."
Beaker freezes, then trembles, and then breaks.
She wails like her heart is shattering, high pitched and breathy, with tears pouring down her cheeks in a veritable flood, and finally, finally, she sags into your grip, melting against you as she cries her tiny heart out.
He rubs his hand against her back, his own tears falling in a steady rhythm. Doing his best to keep his own breath from hitching again.
she cries, and cries, and cries, and at some point it crosses from anguished wailing, to heartbroken weeping, to forlorn sobs and then a restless, hiccuping sleep, slumped against your shoulder and only held up in her standing position by your arm.
He waited for his own tears to dry, before standing up, lifting her into his shoulder, and slowly beginning to walk away. He hated this fucking place, with all the memories it brought back. It was time that they left. Hopefully... one day, the memories might fade away.
for a moment as you lift her, she stays stiff in her standing position, then, with an almost inaudible sigh, she curls into your chest, one hand coming up to clutch at your shirt as she hiccups in her sleep.
He gave a soft smile, before beginning to walk away. He had some supplies hidden out nearby. And a change of clothes for... him...self...
He glanced down at his little sister. And whispered, in a voice, filled with far more emotion than it had shown in a long time.
Beaker hiccups again, and fresh tears leak out of her closed eyes
It's fully dark now, but the streetlights you pass under make it absolutely clear what a sight the two of you are.
If you ran into the guard now, it'd only reinforce their stupid idea that you'd somehow murdered some noble brat.
You'd think after three years they'd have given up on it, but no, apparently mommy and daddy had enough money to throw at the guards to keep them on a guy's ass forever.
He took a glance at the small bundle of existential terror in his arms, and let out a sigh.
"Looks like we're going the long way."
Without another word, he walked off into another alley. He'd lived here for years. He knew many of the shortcuts between buildings... although the shortcuts over the buildings might be a bit more difficult.
This part was done through voice chat, and not recorded, so there is no written record of it. What is here is a summary of what the two of us could remember.
Bones goes to one of his stashes of clothing and supplies, located in one of the massive trees that line The Pit, and changes. Beaker is still asleep, and Bones swaps her death grip on his shirt for a death grip on his tail.
He’s uncomfortable with trying to change her clothes, and so just layers a clean shirt over the shirt she’s already using as a dress.
She starts to shiver, since it’s mid autumn, and Bones panics. He can’t take care of her. He doesn’t have a house, or a job really. He has nowhere to keep her safe, and warm and fed and happy.
So he does possibly the hardest thing he’s done in his life.
He swallows his pride, and goes to ask for help.