Work Header

The Ingenue

Work Text:

It wasn't meant to happen like this.

It was what was necessary. She was to be used – sweet and innocent and fragile, she was just a ticket out of this whole unfair mess.

But it's been a long time since he's touched something sweet and innocent and fragile. You can't blame his for forgetting what it's like.

He doesn't understand it, because she's not stupid. Yet she looks at him with that soft smile tugging her lips, the adoring gaze he's never really seen before, and he thinks she should know. Despite everything, she just can't see the wounds and scars on him, or the cold calculation when he takes her hand. Some part of him wants to tell her everything, to show her how deep those scars really run, but he can't. He needs her ignorant.

So he tries not to care. Because he wasn't meant to.
Sometimes he just wants to crawl inside her head and never leave. He thinks it must be nice there – there's light and color and joy. He can't remember any of those things.

She doesn't have a clue. She's like everyone that way – except of course she's not. She's her, and she should see – she should flinch and recoil, she should turn from the boy who thinks he can use and destroy her, who can use and destroy her, who will use and destroy her, because what else can he do?

But she doesn't have a clue.

She's dragging him into her world, her happy world. And he wants to follow her – it's his long standing wish to be someone else, anyone else, and she's offering it on a silver platter. But he knows he can't stand in the light with her, because she is no wish-granting fairy or whatever, and he is not the hero with a choice. Anything but. He is the monster who will use and destroy her.

And she doesn't have a clue.
She shouldn't have been dragged into this.

It's what he needed, sure. But he can see growing darkness behind her eyes with every moment he's with her. She swallows his lies without a doubt and he kind of wants to hit her, to make her see. To show himself as the Bad Guy, and to let her take in his darkness without pretense.

Because some tiny part of him daring to say she would understand. He thinks this part is a liar, but you can't be sure.

She is sure, though. She opens her heart to everyone and seems not to notice the knives they've wedged in there. He'd like to be like her, to see goodness in everyone, to see goodness in himself. Because she lets him near her and there must be a reason for that, other than her being naive and not having a clue what is really going on.

But he's not her. He sees the knives in him, and he sees the one he's slowly pushing into her. He hopes he won't be there when she breaks.
Up until a few months ago, he didn't believe in people like her. When he was planning this, deciding how and when to get her near him, he knew for a fact she would be dark. Everyone was. He could see that in her, it that sweet nervous way she smiled – she'd have some dark secret, some reason to drag him into hell. He braced himself for that before he said a word to her.

It never came.

Instead, that sweet smile hid... a sweeter look of confusion. It hid her banter and belief and everything everyone would show the world, and he knew it was completely genuine with her. That was what dragged him into hell.

He hates her a little for it. For daring to let him near her, for being stupid enough not to see him, to see what he needs from her. I'm no fool, she's said it more than once, so he doesn't understand how she can live in this darkness and not see it.

He hates her for lying. For promising the darkness she just couldn't give.
He doesn't know when he started loving her. It really came as something of a shock – he could feel the wish for that sweetness she has, but love? He doesn't understand that.

But suddenly, in a moment, he just can't use her anymore – he needs her. He wants to see the love and innocence in her eyes, everything that reminds him that he's wrong and cruel and The Bad Guy, now he needs to see it, and he needs to see that reasons she'll let him near her, whatever it is.

It makes him laugh, what he's gotten himself into. Of course, being cruel and manipulative to this sweet girl would result in falling for her and needing the trust she gave. Wasn't it just poetic? Didn't it have the best touch?

He should run. He should forget himself and walk away from the one person who shows some faith in him, because he's going to crash and burn spectacularly, he's going to let her down, he's going to be the one to break her, and he's not sure he can live with that.

He soon realizes it's not his choice.
He doesn't mean to miss her like this. He knew this was coming from the moment he laid eyes on her – the moment when he part would be done and he'd have to cut her away from everything else, if he had a hope of surviving. He doesn't understand why he now feels guilty about it, if about nothing else.

He tries to act like it's not killing him. He fails spectacularly, of course, and he doesn't have a clue how he got so bad at lying. Dick's saying stupid stuff about free men or whatever, and handing him a beer that he vaguely wants to smash over Dick's stupid thick head because he so doesn't have a clue what's happening.

Lucky bastard.

He doesn't want to need her. He doesn't want to reach for his phone and have to fight off every instinct to call her, to beg for forgiveness and to explain everything. He doesn't want to wonder what he could really say if he made that call, and wonder if she'd even take it.

He knew this moment was coming. He just wasn't prepared for it.
She shouldn't have let him near her.

He's always known it, but never was it clearer than when she was dragged out of his hotel room, eyes wide. We had a deal, the words ring in his head, but it's not like he's ever been trustworthy. It's not like he even half-expected this whole thing to go according to plan.

Okay, the deviation he expected wasn't for her to just get too close. He more expected her to find out everything and hate him for using her, to side with her dad. He didn't expect her to let him in like she did, and he didn't expect to need that the way he did.

He must call her a million times. She won't take a single call. He guesses imprisoned somewhere in Vermont, she's taken as much as she can. There's only so much one person can do to you and only so much you should let them do.

So yes, he had this moment coming. It doesn't stop him dialing her number yet again.
He has to move fast, he knows that, because she's just in the shower and the words are right there on the screen. Veronica. Pretty little Veronica who really should have just been on the bus.

He should kill her. She's right there in the shower and there's no way he's getting away with this if she lives, even if he deals with Veronica. He really shouldn't care – he can't care.

He reaches for the gun. Safety off. He looks toward the bathroom. It strikes him as funny that he just can't do it. He knows he'll be the one to break her, he knows she'll miss her friend, he knows she could never understand now. Maybe he would be doing her a favor, to kill her, but this whole “relationship” was born of him being selfish and evil and he just can't bring himself to make her die.

He'll never get away with it if she lives. So he guesses he won't get away with it.

He reaches for her phone and writes a short message. Meet me on the roof now.

He wonders how tall the Neptune Grand really is.