The Most Sincerity

Some people are worth melting for. –Olaf, Frozen

 

He had never been very close to anyone before. It’s not like there were a lot of genuine people out there in the world anymore in the first place (unless they were very small children, but he figured that once they learned how to walk and talk they were a lost cause for any kind of sincerity. He hadn’t met anyone who was genuine since he had learned to walk and talk after all.) He wondered if maybe his mother had been the last genuine person that he had ever met, but she had died shortly after he’d spoken his first word and if he hadn’t had such an amazingly eidetic mind then he wouldn’t have remembered her at all.

His dad certainly wasn’t genuine about anything. Not even what he wanted in the world (“Everything, Alexander, you can’t settle for second best on anything and not having everything is certainly second best.”) Or what he wanted from his son (“Such a disappointment, I don’t know why I let you live.”)

His teachers and other peers (not that he had really considered them his own equals) either wanted something from him (money, things, influence) or had hated him due to his skipping several grades or coming from a rich family.

That isn’t to say that he didn’t take care of the people who worked under him. He made sure that they had good health care coverage and were paid fairly for the work that they put into the company that he had built from the ground up without help from his father. (In fact, his father had actively sabotaged him, trying to destroy everything Alex had worked for. He had never really understood the reasons behind his father’s actions and hadn’t really cared to ask the man. It’s not like he would have been honest with Alex anyway.)

So he had spent the entirety of his life closing himself off from others, building an impenetrable wall of the thickest ice around his heart and keeping everyone and everything at arms-length. No friends, no family, no one close to him. Not even the people who made sure that he was safe from all of his enemies were close to him for all that they spent the most time with him while guarding him.

“I like being alone, other people never turn out to be what they say they are.”

“That’s a lonely way to live.”

“But it is a way.”

“Sounds less like living and more like surviving if you ask me.”

“Sometimes they are the same.”

He hadn’t known any differently and rather than being all sad and mopey and depressed about it, Alex had just accepted that this was the way his life was going to be. Acceptance made things easier or at least less emotionally debilitating.

Alex had tried romantic relationships a time or two or ten and they went about as well as any kind of attempt at a relationship with his father had gone when he’d been younger and more naïve.

That is to say, they had failed when he’d realized that most of the women just wanted something, whether it was material things, influence or just bragging rights hadn’t mattered.

None of those things had been him and that was all that had mattered at the end of the day.

So he’d given up.

Not after the first ten times, he wasn’t one to give up so easily after all, but everyone has their breaking point.

The less said about his, the better.

He still did things for pleasure, watched movies and went to restaurants and concerts. He knew that working all the time was not healthy. Knew that being alone was not healthy, but what other choice did he have?

Sincerity was just a pretty word that meant nothing, much like the words “I’m sorry” or “I didn’t mean it.”

If you didn’t mean it, then why did you do it in the first place? Some part of you meant to do that, meant to take that action, whether it would hurt me or not. You wanted it more than you wanted to not hurt me.

That was the philosophy that he had spent so many years reminded himself for such a long time in the earlier years of his resolution to not get close to anyone or anything. It was hard to remember at first, which was why he had continued to try relationships for far longer than most people would have with all of the experiences he’d had with them.

It had gotten easier as the years had gone by, though. Practice makes progress and all that.

So why was he listening to this strange voice that had all but invaded his dreams like it was a real life person that really needed his help?

He’d given up on this kind of thing long before he’d even entered school.

But.

But the voice cam every night that he slept. Sometimes it came when he wasn’t sleeping, but not quite awake either.

Where was the voice coming from?

And why was he even still listening to it?

He was a pro at blocking out things, people, events that he didn’t care about, didn’t want to pay any attention to.

So why wasn’t he doing it this time?

‘Please,’ the voice would whisper and howl and cry out and murmur softly all at once, ‘Please, will you not aid me/us/her?’

‘She is most precious.’

‘She is most lost.’

‘You are just as lost.’

‘Will you not be found together?’

He didn’t know why, the words weren’t anything special, anything he hadn’t heard before, but there was something, some kind of emotion that accompanied them that found its way slowly through the ice and hoar frost that covered his heart.

Like a small and yet insistent breeze of spring-turned-summer.

It wasn’t even like it was weakening his protective ice to let others in, just loosening it enough to let the breeze carrying the voice inside and then sealing up the small fissure as it made its way in.

Maybe Alex had been looking too much into difference things involving ice, but he had just sent an expedition out to the Antarctic to follow up on some of the readings that they’d been picking up recently.

Either way, he didn’t know why he was letting this voice get to him, why he has started looking forward to the feelings of belonging and home that crept into his heart along with every whispered/howled/cried/murmured word that drifted across his dreams and through his daydreams.

‘Won’t you let me/her/us in?’

‘I/She/We won’t leave you alone.’

‘You don’t have to be alone anymore.’

His heart just wouldn’t listen to his mind.

How could a voice that he didn’t even recognize (and he had tried to find it, but hadn’t been able to pinpoint the strange/familiar voice) sound more sincere than anything he had ever heard in his entire life?

(How could it sound anything but?)

Winter’s Day

Bits of snow dropped from the branches, the cold of the wind helping to drive the powdered substance to glide off the houses that they passed in their walk. The wind picked up and more and more bits of snow fell from the trees, the houses, the lampposts. From certain angles it looked like it was snowing though the sky was clear and nothing fell from any point higher than the tallest trees.

It was a cold day and if the looks of the wind it was bound to get colder. Even now she could see people huddle further into their coats and scarves, hands that were already in gloves or mittens stuffed further into pockets to try and preserve what little warmth the smaller limbs generated on their own.

Mary was bundled up in her own winter gear; no matter how little she needed it not wearing it would make her stick out like a sore thumb and she didn’t want any undue attention. Her clothing looks slightly worn, but only superficially. Alex wasn’t about to let her go out in anything that wouldn’t do the job it was meant for, but he also hadn’t wanted to dress her up in name brands or anything too flashy. Not only was that far outside of her own comfort zone, he hadn’t wanted anyone looking too closely at her financial situation either. As long as people didn’t know about their connection then she couldn’t be put into the position of being used against him. He was likely one of the most overbearing and yet understanding people that she had ever met and Mary often wondered just how he had come by those particular personality traits when they were normally so at odds with one another.

This was a lovely world her sister had sent her to even if it had its own problems and issues to deal with.

The smog mixing with the clouds overhead made her sneeze slightly. It was probably going to snow that strange mud-snow that it had been doing for the past several days. Maybe she should have taken Alex’s advice and gone to school in a college town rather than a city?

Winter’s Day

Bits of snow dropped from the branches, the cold of the wind helping to drive the powdered substance to glide off the houses that they passed in their walk. The wind picked up and more and more bits of snow fell from the trees, the houses, the lampposts. From certain angles it looked like it was snowing though the sky was clear and nothing fell from any point higher than the tallest trees.

It was a cold day and if the looks of the wind it was bound to get colder. Even now she could see people huddle further into their coats and scarves, hands that were already in gloves or mittens stuffed further into pockets to try and preserve what little warmth the smaller limbs generated on their own.

Mary was bundled up in her own winter gear; no matter how little she needed it not wearing it would make her stick out like a sore thumb and she didn’t want any undue attention. Her clothing looks slightly worn, but only superficially. Alex wasn’t about to let her go out in anything that wouldn’t do the job it was meant for, but he also hadn’t wanted to dress her up in name brands or anything too flashy. Not only was that far outside of her own comfort zone, he hadn’t wanted anyone looking too closely at her financial situation either. As long as people didn’t know about their connection then she couldn’t be put into the position of being used against him. He was likely one of the most overbearing and yet understanding people that she had ever met and Mary often wondered just how he had come by those particular personality traits when they were normally so at odds with one another.

This was a lovely world her sister had sent her to even if it had its own problems and issues to deal with.

The smog mixing with the clouds overhead made her sneeze slightly. It was probably going to snow that strange mud-snow that it had been doing for the past several days. Maybe she should have taken Alex’s advice and gone to school in a college town rather than a city?

Frustrated Protectiveness

She gritted her teeth, but plowed on.

“Alex-“

“Are you certain about this?”

“Alex-“

“You’ve never been anywhere here by yourself yet. Please let me send someone as your, ah, guide.”

“I’m not taking a bodyguard.” Mary said flatly.

“They don’t have to be a bodyguard…”

“Oh I’m sure that wouldn’t be their official designation, but at the same time be at least a Third Degree Black Belt on the side, completely learned without your needing it required.”

“There’s no need to take that kind of tone with me.” Alex protested, “I’m just- I’m worried about you, Mary. If anyone ever finds out about our connection-“

“And having a bodyguard won’t out me in five seconds?”

Alex sighed, “I just want you to be safe should anything happen.”

Mary softened, “I know, Al, but I’ll be fine. You seem to forget that I know more about fighting than every single person in your employ.”

“I don’t want you to worry about breaking the seal and hurting yourself!”

“I know how to fight without my ‘extra abilities,’ Al.” her tone was drier this time and less sarcastic, “There have been plenty of times where I couldn’t use them either, brother-mine.”

He snorted, “And that won’t draw attention to you either, I suppose?”

Now Mary laughed, “There are plenty of young women in this day and age who have learned how to defend themselves. Unless I start sporting a colorful costume or a mask, I’m fairly certain that I won’t draw any more attention to myself than your average college student who knows how to defend herself against assault.”

“I reserve the right to have someone tail you every now and then just to reassure myself at least.”

“By all means, check the CCTV footage if you must, just so long as you use that subtlety that I know exists within you. Somewhere, anyway.”

Lonely Library

It was lonely here. Likely because, though she could no longer feel her sister she knew that she should.

Alex didn’t often let her stay anywhere alone for very long. She was grateful for that, more than grateful.

She wasn’t certain what would have happened if she had been alone.

Mary (and it was very strange to think that was her name now) pulled out a book from the shelves standing in front of her and flipped through it halfheartedly. The story was one of those ‘old’ books written back before the turn of the century. Her eyes slid over the words and Mary didn’t absorb anything about them, couldn’t even tell anyone what they were talking about so she closed the old and valuable book and placed it back on the shelf in front of her.

“You know that book’s actually pretty interesting to read.”

Mary didn’t jump, didn’t even startle, when Alex spoke up from behind her. She simply nodded without even looking at him.

Even if she didn’t want to be alone, she had yet been able to talk overly much about anything.

Alex was mostly fine with that and continued talking about the book, the author and even how it had made its way into his family’s collection.

Even the wicked…

Even the wicked have souls.                                                                -Lightning, FFXIII-3: Lightning’s Returns

Alex was not a nice man.

He was ruthless and merciless in his business dealings, had no friends (only frantically loyal bodyguards that, really, were mostly furniture to him), no family (left…) and no one who would care if he died.

That last part wasn’t quite true.

There were well over half a million people (at least) who would care one way or another if he suddenly expired. His very many employees across the continent (and soon the globe if his recent business dealings were fruitful enough) as well as his (also very many, sadly) personal and business enemies. People who he’d stepped on moving his way up the company ladder before he was able to secure control of the corporation for himself as well as those who had decided that they just didn’t like him, for one reason or another. (i.e. environmentalists, conservationists, political activists, disgruntled former employees, journalists, ex-girlfriends, one or two ex-fiances, etc.) Supposedly his death would also not be greeted by the local law enforcement. Alex was in relatively good health and any death would be suspect and need to be investigated. The local cops didn’t exactly like Alex (no one really liked big businesses that might possibly have shady dealings going on, but how else would you get certain things done?), but they hated having to deal with his corporation even more. No one really liked dealing with all the inevitable paperwork that someone of Alex’s social standing dying would generate.

He’d given up on making friends and creating a family for himself. What good were friends and family when all they did was betray you? No, he was fine with his ambitions and bodyguards and multi-billion dollar company.

You’ve Ignored me, Now I Ignore You

I am entitled to know all his business.
–Lady Catherine de Bourgh
 
Reality never seems to show what’s there;
I find that demands are constantly placed here.
Getting in the way of my life, because you believe you have the right?
How is it that someone who has never cared
To help me, opinion’s now what I should share.
 

Alex said nothing as his father ranted and raved at him.

“Why you should take this little nothing into our family when she is just that! A nothing!”

He had to sit and listen to his father, a man who had never done a single thing in his life to deserve the title ‘father’, degrade the choice of his son to adopt a woman as his sister without his ‘father’s’ approval.

Alex stood as his father began to speculate on the connection between him and his new sister.

“That is quite enough. I will hear no more from you.”

Alex left the room, his father still yelling after him to come back.

‘You spent decades ignoring my cries, Father. Now it is your turn to be denied.’


Another little part of my Former Guardian universe using a character that I wasn’t even sure was going to show up. Alex’s father is not the kind of character that I like to write about and I honestly never thought he’d show up until he was yelling and screaming at Alex.

I really don’t like him.

Anyway, this is partially inspired by the revisit of the Dungeon Prompt: Entitlement Ideology from Sreejit.