PRISON BREAK (VI)
An odd atmosphere hung over a small group currently hidden behind the looping rock; on one end stood Hannah and Primul, discussing something with low voices, while Lucky and Alison stood some ways off, the latter still sickly pale in her face with the former casually drinking, seemingly indifferent to everything.
Lucky glanced at Alison briefly and cracked a faint smile; she was currently biting at her nails, her expression torn between terrified and horrified, yet she still managed to somehow keep it together. Two hours, after all, was hardly enough for someone to recover from such a massive shock. It was easier for Lucky and Hannah as both were well acquainted with the current-day Empyrean, but Alison was not; if anything, she still held deep-seated hatred in her heart for him, whoever he may be.
“... I still can’t believe Hannah has let her guard down against him,” Alison suddenly mumbled. “What... what if he turns on her and kills her?! Or tells on us?!”
“... you do realize he’s just an ordinary guy now, right?” Lucky said. “There’s a greater chance he’ll break fingers before even getting to touch Hannah, so I wouldn’t worry.”
"You don't know that!" Alison scowled, glancing angrily at Lucky. "He might be tricking us! That's what the Empyreans do! They love playing the wolf in sheep's clothing role... it's one of their favorites! And, when we begin to trust them and relax around them, they just snap and kill everyone!"
“... yeaah, I don’t think that’s really the case.” Lucky said. “I mean, I’ve heard that the current Empyrean has quite a large following, but there don’t seem to be news of him chopping heads and taking asses over there.”
“Humph, it’s just a matter of time,” Alison said, frowning. “Someone who can kill Eos in cold blood is capable of doing anything.” Lucky’s expression suddenly shifted, though she barely managed to recover it before meeting Alison’s eyes; a flash of memories surged through her mind of that fated day that was still as vivid as though it had happened yesterday. “You alright?”
“... y-yeah, you might be right...” Lucky mumbled out. “Why don’t you head over and protect Hannah, then?”
“... w-why would I do that? She betrayed me! It might be a good thing if he goes mad and snaps her neck. Saves me the trouble.”
“You don’t really mean that...”
“I do!” Alison exclaimed.
“No, no you don’t,” Lucky fired back, sighing. “Look, I know you’re hurting, but she’s been your friend for far longer than she has been your ‘foe’. You love her, Ally. And she loves you back, perhaps more than you realize. Don’t throw that away so easily.”
“... why are you taking her side?” Alison asked, lowering her head. “I thought you were my friend...”
“I am,” Lucky said, smiling lightly and pulling Alison over, hugging her tightly. “That’s exactly why I’m doing this. Look,” she held Alison’s chin up and forced the latter to meet her eyes. “I know, more than you realize, what it is like to still care for someone who has caused you a lot of pain. And, truth is... you can fight it all you want, it ain’t gonna change a thing. She didn’t mean to hurt you... people who love us never do. That’s why we can forgive them, and continue to love them. That’s all Hannah wants from you, I know it.”
“... you say you understand,” Alison said. “But, if you did, you’d also understand that what she did was unforgivable. She traded her family, her own blood, her home, for a murdering madman. Just like that. Out of the blue. There’s simply no forgiving that.”
“... you know,” Lucky began slowly and mellowly, forcing Alison to sit down with her. “Before I became who I am today, I used to be a very willy kind of a girl. I wouldn’t take orders from no one, I wouldn’t do what others asked me, and I would take the knife stabbed in my back and shove it up where the sun don’t shine.”
"And, then, I met not one, but two people who changed all of that," she continued, her smile turning incredibly warm and peaceful, surprising Alison. "One of them was a woman I looked up to from the depths of my heart. Unlike me, she wasn't born into wealth, into opportunity. Instead, she found herself at the far bottom, treated like just another object to be played with by virtually everyone she knew. She could have folded, many times. She could have shoved a knife into them. But, she never did. Instead, she told me, she chose to let it go. Not because she wasn't hurt, not because what they did didn't make her feel absolutely worthless... but because hanging onto that was simply ruining her chances of ever moving past it, onto better things."
“And the other,” Lucky’s smile turned playful for a moment. “Is a wonder of his own. You met him, actually.”
“Your Master?” Alison asked.
“Yes. Did you know he’s actually younger than me?”
"True," she nodded. "When I first met him, he was this scrawny teenager. Not an iota of the air he currently has about him. However, even though he was the youngest in our group, we all listened to him. No matter what he did, we stood behind him. And, form time to time, it felt as though he was taking us for granted. He'd always make it up, however, no matter what."
“Then,” Lucky’s smile turned into a painful frown as Alison tightened her grip on Lucky’s hand instinctively. “We, uh... we were met, unprepared, by a Devil Invasion. He was gone, doing whatever he was doing, while the rest of us couldn’t run away. By the end of it, only I survived... because others died to protect me. I blamed them... I blamed myself... and I certainly blamed him. I never told him that,” she added, sighing. “But, because he cast such a blinding light, I believed from the bottom of my heart everything would have turned out fine if he had stayed, if he was there with us. In my heart, I always believe him to be capable of any, every, miracle. And he failed to come through. He failed to come through many, many times.”
"But, that's what people do Ally," Lucky glanced sideways and met Alison's somber gaze, caressing her hair gently. "We fail, time and again... not because we want to, not because we don't care... but because we are not perfect. For a long while in my life, I believed he really was perfect. That he was capable of doing anything and everything and that nothing could stand in his way. So, each time he fell short of that, I felt hurt... felt betrayed... because he just wouldn't live up to this image I had of him inside my mind."
“... did you ever tell him that?” Alison asked.
“No,” Lucky shook her head. “And I never will. You know why?”
“Because it would break his heart.”
“But he broke yours too.”
"Never because he wanted to," Lucky said. "And, each time he failed, I'd see in his eyes far more hurt and pain than I'd ever felt. And each time after, I'd see him try harder. Today, a lot of people look up to him, and they see this ethereal image, a roof that wouldn't collapse no matter what. They see this indomitable figure that cannot be shaken. However, none of them know what it took to become who he is today. And even fewer would ever be willing to sacrifice everything he did to become who he is today. For a moment -- just a second -- put yourself in Hannah's shoes," Lucky added. "See things from her perspective. Listen to what she had told you. Friends hurt us, Ally, but if we stopped being friends with people each time they hurt us... we'd never have any friends to begin with."
“... how... how did you forgive him?” Alison asked, lowering her head, playing with her fingers.
“... how?” Lucky’s lips curled up into a gentle smile. “It was simple. No matter how many times he’d fail my image of him, he’d never stop trying to become someone people needed him to be. Someone I needed him to be. Now, both him and I know... he’ll never be that. He’ll always fail at something. Sometimes he says things in a joking matter that don’t sit well with me. Sometimes, undoubtedly, I say some mean things to him that he doesn’t quite like. But, no matter what, he’s still someone I would lay my life down for in a heartbeat.”
“... it... it sounds like, you know... like... you love him...” Alison mumbled, her cheeks flushing red briefly as she felt a strange sensation of pain.
"Ha ha ha ha, well, of course, I love him," she ruffled her hair. "He's my big bro, despite being younger. Good fucking god, we are so weird."
“... s-so, you... you don’t like him romantically?”
“Oh, god no,” Lucky shook her head. “There’s already a woman dealing with that bundle of issues. And, if you ever tell her I said this I will kill you, but I think she’s everything he ever needed... and that without her, he’d be nothing.”