"First," Lone said as he took out a spare set of underwear and pyjamas for Sophie, "Some clothes?"
Bobbing her head up and down, Sophie grabbed the floral pattern panties and the blue button-up sleaved pyjama shirt and silk trousers combo. Carefully getting off of Lone and unwrapping herself from his fluffy tails, she began putting her PJs on.
Meanwhile, Lone searched in his Dimension Storage and grabbed a tank-top to wear since he was still shirtless. Once he had that on, he waited for Sophie to finish getting dressed.
As soon as she was done, she shyly held his hand and looked up at his face. "Sleep?"
Lone shook his head. "Not yet. I'm way too awake now. Plus, I think we both need a bath at some point. We reek of sweat. Late-night snack and a talk first?"
Sophie was a bit embarrassed at having her scent called out. "Mmm..."
Lone chuckled. "I don't hate the smell of your sweat. It's just a bit gross thinking about it outside of a more... intimate moment. Come on, to the kitchen," he announced as he tugged at her hand.
Sophie trotted alongside him and helped him set up the candles once they entered the kitchen. When that was done, she sat on a stool and watched in silence as Lone started to use his magic to create different ingredients.
Lone had decided on pancakes for their late-night snack. While he was mixing together the batter, he chose to start their important discussion. "My parents were pretty rich. They owned a fairly successful business selling computers."
"Computers? Are those the things you always talk about? With the 'screens' and 'pictures'?" Sophie asked, trying to be engaging. She was also busy formulating how and what to explain once he was done with his part.
Lone smiled. "Yup. Those are the ones. My dad ran the company, and my mum was his secretary. It wasn't the most successful business nor the most relevant around, but it made more than enough money to support us."
He created some chocolate syrup and added it to one of the two bowls of pancake batter that he'd been mixing. Sophie adored chocolate, so he was hoping that this little treat would help cheer her up.
"When I was about seven or eight - I can't really remember which - my dad made a few shitty deals and the company started collapsing. It was still turning a profit, but it wasn't as much as before, so in his eyes, it was a failure. A slowly capsizing ship, so to speak," Lone said.
He pulled out a frying pan from his Dimensional Storage and sat it atop the counter. Lone then created some propane with his Creation Magic, an expensive thing to make since he had no clue what it was made of, doubly so since he was making a small canister of it. After that, he let the gas flow up through the stove and then created a match to light the hob. He then retrieved some butter from his storage and spread it across the pan before pouring just enough of Sophie's pancake batter into it for a single pancake.
"As soon as that happened, my dad changed. He never touched Hazel, thank God. Ah, excuse that... Bit of a habit. I'm not actually thanking God." Lone scratched his cheek with a bit of shame.
Sophie nodded. She knew what he meant. He always thanked God and he'd said it was just a cultural thing and that barely anyone he knew was religious, so it held no special meaning. "It's fine."
"Thanks." Lone smiled. "Anyway, he started beating me pretty much every day. If I failed a test, beating, if I came home past my curfew, beating, if I left the toilet seat up, beating, if I looked at him wrong, beating. You get the picture."
Using his dexterity, he perfectly flipped the pancake and started cooking the other side.
Sophie had a pained look on her face imagining it. "That sounds awful. I was never tortured like that... Well, kinda, but not so directly..."
Lone chuckled a bit. "I can't imagine what I went through compares to your story, but still, thank you. It's nice hearing you say that."
Sophie blushed, but otherwise remained silent, so Lone continued. "This went on until I was fifteen. No one ever helped or stood up for me. Not Hazel, not my mum, not the school authorities. No one seemed to notice."
Sophie looked a bit disgusted. "Really? Not a single person? Why not? Didn't they know you were in pain? Wasn't your body bruised?" Sophie felt angry. "I would have helped you."
Lone shrugged. "I dunno. Maybe it wasn't worth the legal troubles? We still had a decent amount of money despite the failing business, so my dad could have hired a great solicitor if he needed to. My family? Maybe they were just scared to go against him in case he turned on them."
Sophie frowned. "Sounds complicated."
"I bet it was to them," he laughed. "Then there was school..."
"School?" Sophie echoed.
Nodding, Lone continued, "I got bullied a lot there. Both primary and high school. I never spoke to anyone and just kept to myself. I was thin, average-looking, wore glasses, had a pimple-covered face and was just a loser in general. I probably looked depressed to everyone thanks to what was happened with my dad. Easy target, I guess. It didn't help that if I tried to fight back against my dad, he'd beat me twice as hard - which I sometimes did, then I'd be even more upset, and fight back against the bullies, making it ten times worse."
"That sounds like hell... I don't know if I could have put up with so much suffering from so many angles..." Sophie felt her heart breaking for him despite what she had gone through herself.
"You're a strong girl. I'm sure you'd have done just fine," Lone replied with a confident tone.
The first pancake was done now, so Lone plated it and made some whipped cream and a cherry appear on top of it. He put a steel fork on the plate and passed it to Sophie with a smile on his face. "Eat up. Don't lose your appetite because of my story, 'kay? I put a lot of love into that."
Sophie nodded mutely and began munching on the food. Lone smiled again and got to work on her second and final pancake. "Well, one day, I come home from school to find police standing guard and forensics in the house. Turns out my dad hung himself. I wasn't even happy. It all just happened so fast. The forensics were in and out in a couple of hours. No detectives since it wasn't suspected to be foul play. His body was carted off. End of story."
Lone sighed as he flipped Sophie's second pancake. "The day I turned sixteen, I moved out. The bastard left me some inheritance money. I've no fucking clue why, but I wasn't going to turn my nose up at it. I lived off of benefits when my inheritance ran out, and I went to college then uni to get my teaching degree. Studied for seven years. I have no idea why I wanted to be a teacher. Maybe to help people like myself? Doesn't matter anyway. I just ended up getting bullied again. Some things never change until they do, I guess. I dunno. That sounds stupid now that I'm thinking about it. I was lucky to live in the UK. Benefits were easy to swindle out of the council, but even with my games and my weekly phone call from Hazel, life fucking sucked."
The pancake had finished cooking now and thankfully, Sophie had finished her first one. He plated this one and topped it with honey and strawberry syrup. "I'm honestly really glad I met you. I don't how much longer I would have lasted in that repetitive cycle."
Lone got to work on his own pancakes while he waited for Sophie's reply.
"I only understood about half of what you said. I don't know about anything like police, forensics, phone calls, bullying, benefits, the council, but it all sounds horrible." Sophie had finally chosen to come clean.
"Lone, there's two mes." Lone raised an eyebrow, but otherwise nodded and continued cooking. "I'm the normal me... It's hard to explain, but the time that I spent running from the Templars and being imprisoned by them... tortured by them... It hurt me. I spent decades trying to kill myself. To end the pain, but nothing worked. I was completely immortal."
Sophie looked down at her food and grinned bitterly. "It's sweet." She sucked back her tears and continued talking. "I eventually stopped trying to kill myself and filled my time by talking to myself."
"And this created a split personality?" Lone asked.
"Mmm." Sophie licked her plate clean. It really was very sweet. "Everything that happened before killing God... It all kinda joined together and formed her. She's really nice to me, but ever since I met you, she's been trying to get me to murder you."
Lone froze for a moment mid-pancake flip, making the batter splatter all over the floor. "Ah, fuck. Gotta clean this up now." He poured the second half of his pancake batter into the pan and took out a few rags which he started using to clean up his mess. "So she's really paranoid? Of men, or just people? I don't mean to ask a really sensitive question, but you weren't... sexually abused, were you?"
Sophie shook her head. "God didn't let anyone directly touch me. They tortured me in different ways. Mostly pouring this liquid they called 'holy water' into my eyes. It blinded me. Both of us don't trust people, but for different reasons. I'm scared of being left alone and betrayed, she's terrified of betrayal and insists that there's an evil in all people that controls them. She really didn't like you. Saying that you're just using me, that I'm only using you. I'm scared she's right..."
Lone tapped his chin thoughtfully. 'Not going into detail about her past? Still, this is a fantastic start.' He hummed softly. "What's so wrong with that?"
"Eh?" Sophie made a strange noise at Lone's unexpected words.
"Well, I am using you." Lone sounded like he was stating the most obvious thing in the world.
"Y-You are?" Sophie was confused and started to panic.
Flipping his new pancake, Lone smirked. "Sure. I'm using you to keep me company, to talk to, to help me fight, to help me train, hopefully, to love. There's nothing wrong with using someone. It's how you use them that matters. That's what I believe, at least," he said with a casual shrug.
"... 'There's nothing wrong with using someone. It's how you use them that matters'..." Sophie echoed Lone's words and they rang through her mind on repeat.
Lone laughed. He plated his pancake and sat next to her after turning the gas off. "You can be really adorable sometimes, you know?"
Her cheeks flushed a shade of crimson. "Sorry..."
"And you're back to apologising for no good reason." Lone saw Sophie's pout, so he rubbed her head with his free hand as he shovelled the pancake into his mouth, piece by piece. "Don't worry about it. We'll work things out. Don't force yourself to change though, or her, the other you. Forcing it to happen can only lead to a disaster."
"Mmm," Sophie agreed. Her eyes kept darting back and forth between Lone's fork and his mouth.
Of course, he noticed that. "Want some? You're such a glutton..."
"Ah, em, no! That's not it!" Sophie replied in a bit of a fluster. "I was just wondering what it felt like to... to ki- to ki-" She couldn't finish her sentence out of sheer awkwardness.
Grinning, Lone grabbed Sophie's chin and turned her head to face him. He planted his lips on hers and smooched her for a few moments before pulling back. "What it felt like to kiss me? Got an answer now?"
"Ah, um... Yeah... It was nice... sweet... and a bit wet." Sophie brought a finger to her lips and was beaming from ear to ear. "I thought you only wanted to do stuff like that with my adult body..."
Lone waved his hand dismissively before putting it back on her head. "Kissing is fine. Any more than that? It's hard to see you as more than a kid in that body, so any more than that is off limits unless you're in your twenty-year-old form, okay?"
Sophie looked hurt, offended even, for a split-second before she wiped the look from her face fast enough for Lone not to have seen it. "Mmm. That's fine. I don't mind."
"I'm glad." As he finished his pancake, a thought crossed his mind. "We should use different names for you and this other you... Hmm... Maybe Soph for you like now, but Sophie for the other you?"
"Sure." Soph hardly cared. If it made things easier for Lone to identify the two of them, then she was happy to fully embrace her nickname as her actual name. "I usually suppress her since she's been so mean to you, but she's sleeping right now. I can't even talk to her."
"You can usually talk to your other self?" Lone asked in shock. He knew nothing about split-personalities or anything of that like, so this was news to him.
"Mmm. She's really supportive and protective of me, but she's really violent. I don't like her much. She was my only friend for a long time, but I don't know... I want her to like you too," Soph admitted.
Lone rubbed his chin. "We can work on that I guess. We have nothing if not time."
"Mmm." Noticing that Lone had finished his pancake completely, Soph asked him, "Bedtime?"
Lone nodded. "Sure. Sounds good. It's been an exhausting night. I guess we can have a bath in the morning."
"Em, Lone," Soph looked to the floor as she got up off of her stool and called out his name.
"What's up?" Lone questioned.
"T-Thanks for not hating me... I-I know I'm weird, and I know I act strangely... but I'm really grateful you treat me normally. It means a lot to me. I wanted to say that I think I love you too..." Sophie's bashfulness was only overshadowed by her embarrassment.
Lone chuckled softly. "Right. You never said it until now... Anyway, like I already said, We're all a bit fucked in the head, so don't sweat it."
"Still... really... thank you..." Sophie mumbled as she took his hand and followed him out of the kitchen.
It had been an eventful night for the both of them. Not everything was positive, but their relationship had gone a step forward, hopefully, in the right direction.
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- The Scottish Slothy Sloth
Bio: Hey there, nice to see you. I'm just an ordinary man who enjoys writing, which is great since it's my full-time job now thanks to the support from you guys over on Patreon! I hope you enjoy my novels if you read them, and if not, I hope you enjoy looking at my profile.