Roxy shifted, her hands going up to brush her frizzy hair out of her face. She smiles, a wobbly smile that doesn’t quite match up with the rest of her face, and her chest goes down when she finally exhales. Her lip was quivering. “He doesn’t want to see me really, much less you. He didn’t say it like that, but you know how he is.” She laughs breathlessly, and gasps into it, “We’re terrible people.”
You blinked, knowing deep down that she’s right and that doing this will erase any progress you’ve made of getting better, but you also know that you have to do it. It’s for the safety of everyone, after all, and after hearing what Dave told you, you know that hurting people is well within a version of you’s capabilities. You’re going to keep everyone safe from his human hands that can now choke you if he wanted to his manipulating words that he speaks so cleverly without a hint of ignorance. He used to be above you.
Roxy gives you one last pleading look, which isn’t surprising considering she was the closest to him; she was the only one who would give him a time of day. She was the one who cried the longest when you got together with Jake and agreed that this was the best option, the one with the least amount of bloodshed. (Jane wanted no part of it and this isn't everyone else’s problem. It was actually only yours, but Jake and Roxy demanded to be apart of it.)
“He wants his own friends, his own life, so maybe we can just let him go? He’s never actually hurt anybody!” She wipes the back of her palms on her eyes, smearing her mascara, and takes a shaky breath. You reach out, resting a steady hand on her trembling shoulder. She refused to meet your eyes.
“Yes, he has, and you don’t want to count those, then you want to count the ones he will eventually hurt? Maybe it’ll be Rose, or Dave.” You reasoned with her, the chance of Roxy bursting into an emotional breakdown and relocating him somewhere you can’t find him for his own safety is high. You try to reason with yourself that this kind of thinking isn’t identical to his.
“Dirk, you don’t understand. He’s just a child, gotta be thirteen or something like that. I can’t kill a child.”
Pushing down any hints of guilt that she pulled up, you tugged her into a hug. She cried openly into your shoulder and the two of you stayed like that until Jake came around the corner with the dish in his hands. You maneuvered her into his arms, and the silent agreement that you’ll be the one doing this stirred in the air when Roxy started to cry harder. Jake raised his brow when you took the plate from him, his voice almost an octave higher, “I put as much as you told me. You sure this is going to work, chap?”
You nodded. It will, though it’s sad to think that his first meal is going to be his last. You walked slowly down the hall to the room he’s held out in, and gave yourself the reasons again why this had to happen as the wood groaned under your shoes. He’s dangerous, he’s hurt people before, he’s you with no limits or morals. He may say he wanted to move on and let everything go, but you knew how his mind worked. The first thing he would be thinking about in revenge. You looked down at the plate to distract yourself.
The peas are greener than you remember seeing in a can, they’re soaked in butter and a few on them have drifted away from the pile they’ve been grouped in. Those strays cultivated into the mashed potatoes, that mouth-watering, gorgeous mess of spices and chopped up meat. A fitting meal, or the best you could do on such short notice, for a prince. It had only been hours since you found him.
Your feet lead you to his room, and the light was on, you could see it peeking out of under the door. You took a breath, it’s common for you to be having second thoughts, but then you remembered how Dave’s posture looked when he explained, or the way his eyes kept flitting between your sunglasses and your scarred hands. This had to be done. You knocked on the door, the sound ringing out and will echo in your ears for late nights to come.
He opened it slowly, and gave you a long glance, giving you a clear chance to look him over yourself. He seemed so tiny, like one good placed exhale of breath would send him toppling over and the youth of him was almost eggaerated. His cheeks lacked the plumbness to them that every child had, but they still were freshly painted with the pink of roses and his nose was more button than the row of them on his collared, baggy, wrinkled shirt. His eyes were bright red, and more knowing then they should be for a child his age, you would assume. You’ve never seen a child before besides the pictures of Rose her mom took of her. He looked a lot like Rose, and Dave, and Roxy, and you.
“What do you want?” He asked, suspicion and edge creeped into his adolescent voice. You hold out the plate, and you saw his gaze shoot down to it. “I figured you didn’t want to starve to death.”
This doesn’t reassure him, but he must trust you to some degree, because he gingerly opened the door and let you in. The room he held out in is plain, and he sat down on the boring bed with a small quality of difficulty. Navigating his limbs, and his senses, must be hard for him since he’s never had a body before. He gave a small nibble to a single pea before digging in.
It was easier than you originally thought.
After that, it didn’t take long for him to start coughing. The half-eaten plate fell from his lap, crashing into the burgundy carpet, and spilling. He clutched his throat, wheezing as he tried to breathe. You were counting down in your head, and you leaned against the doorframe as the numbers went off. He lifted his head, and his glistening eyes, shining with tears, narrowed at you. He knew.
His body was already shutting down, so when he tried to get up, his legs collapsed under him. His knees slid into the potatoes with a mush and he dropped his hands from his neck to stabilize himself. Humiliatingly, he attempted to crawl to you, but the distance was too large for his frail body and he stopped halfway, deeming it impossible. He went on his back, and panted, or sobbed. It was hard to tell.
That’s when the seizures hit him, and you watched as he accidentally cut himself with his teeth. Blood dribbled out his lips. He couldn’t breath at this point, and after a minute, his body stilled. He exhaled his last breath. You finally walked over, and crouched, sliding your thumb across his cheeks that were damp with his tears. He truly didn’t want to die, did he?
“...Hal, I know this means nothing to say, but I’m sorry.”
You closed his eyes, and covered his body with the blanket from the bed. It was for the best, you had to kill him. You tried to justify your actions, but all you could think about was how he didn’t even question the food on the plate. It’s what you would’ve done, and he was you.
You didn’t kill an innocent boy, but after relieving these events, now you’re not so sure.