A/N: Summer is finally here! More good news: I found the missing chapters and can finally upload. This is the last 2 chapters. (next one is a epilogue!) Thank you everyone for loving this story and reading it this far! Love you all very much.
Enjoy this chapter! There will be more upcoming stories more of less similar to this one. ^__^
Spell Laughter with Capital S
by Kalista Jia
It was dawn when Jeremiah was suddenly awoken from his peaceful sleep. He yawned and blinked tiredly at the faint twilight sipping through the deep blue sky. The brunet let out a loud disappointing groan when he looked at his electronic alarm clock on his night table. It was only five in the morning.
"What the heck, it is still so early." He mumbled unhappily and sank his head back into the pillow, trying miserably to fall asleep again.
Despite how tired his body screamed for a snooze, there was something that refused to obey that simple command. After turning a few times here and there, trying all sort of sleeping positions and counting sheep, Jeremiah still failed to let the darkness engulf his consciousness. It was strange. Normally, he would sleep until ten in the morning like a log after going to bed at two the previous night. However, that particular Saturday, June 6th, Jeremiah was somehow unable to respect his habitual sleeping schedule as though as he would miss something by falling asleep. -Something very vital.
Everything felt surreal. Crawling out his bed, the policeman began to strip off his pajama into a casual outfit, took his car key and walked out like it were the right thing to do. Jeremiah made a face. He wasn't even aware of where he was heading.
The morning roads were cleared of people and noisy vehicles, occasionally a few cars drove by his jeep. Other than that, the city was queerly silent. The rest of the neighborhood was awfully quiet. Jeremiah yawned once more, the feeling of peace was smoothing and he would really appreciate it if he could gather some extra sleep.
"Where am I going?" He asked himself, hands languidly turning the steering wheel. "Creepy," he commented on his own auto-piloted actions as the car continued on its promenade at dawn.
After awhile, his brain began to function properly and he slowly got a glimpse of awareness. His subconscious had driven him, much to his own surprise, to Rosen Helen Orphanage Institution. Unlike other time, the orphans and priest were still asleep.
"Oh man, am I such a workaholic that I came all the way from home, at this desperate sleeping hour, to investigate the missing men?" Jeremiah rolled his eyes, pulling his seat back for a nap. "This is ridiculous."
He shut his eyes for they shrieked for a moment of darkness while his mind continued to rummage through his memories. If he remembered correctly, the men who disappeared monthly were in their forties, looking arrogant as ever, all had taken subway to this area instead of their own cars. Weird case, he thought. The police had already branded the case as a solved case since they thought the culprit was the poorly skilled abductor that Jeremiah had arrested. The man who tried to kidnap an orphan and was later forced to commit suicide after the brunet's mental pressure.
"Poor guy, he died with his name stained with crimes he didn't commit. Oh well, not that his death matters much." He sighed. "Never mind, I will be the one who will reveal the real culprit's identity anyway. If those arrogant fools are just missing and are still alive… I will arrest the abductor. But if the kidnapper really kills the victims then… I guess I won't arrest him or her. Heaven darned me and my principle of not arresting murderers and not killing those who aren't a former criminals." Jeremiah yawned. "I wonder if it is just one person or more that I am dealing with. Pff, it doesn't matter."
Springing up quickly in a frustrated motion, he cursed his inability to sleep. However, as he sat up, he spotted Lawrence walking into the forest in accompany of another mysterious dressed man. Curiosity stirred madly within Jeremiah as he rapidly opened the car door and struggled himself to unbuckle the tangled seatbelt.
Steady, he shadowed the two into the forest. From what he had heard, the forest behind the graveyard was to say to be haunted. Therefore, the residents would avoid entering it at all cost. But Jeremiah ignored the warning, and had already entered it once and he had exited well in one piece. Rumors as they appeared to be unreliable. And now seeing Lawrence, who the brunet thought was supposed to be as superstitious as the others, entered, in accompanying of another, Jeremiah's assumption had failed him.
"What are they doing at this hour? This is really suspicious." Jeremiah frowned. "Moreover, who is that?"
The brunet narrowed his chestnut eyes at the sight of the stranger. Unfortunate with his position, he could only analyze the man's back. The figure was tall, perhaps a six foot three with short black hair, wearing a casual brown jacket and a pair of blue jeans.
The chill ran up Jeremiah's spine, the graveyard was still slightly foggy and with the wind moving the leaves, it added a haunted feeling. A perfect location for ghost hunting or even murder, he thought, a place perfect for criminals' hideout. The residents would stay away from places like that. It would take either a very brave soul or either a very stupid risk taker to come to places like that. Jeremiah himself wasn't sure which category he belonged to, but he refused to be placed in the latter.
The two walked silently until they reached the swamp where Jeremiah last visited. The forest that made Jeremiah felt uncomfortable as if someone was watching him from… somewhere. The location could be, perchance, haunted now that Jeremiah remembered the piercing feeling. He watched closely the two men as they walked to the edge of the water. The stranger spoke at last, though Jeremiah wasn't able to hear a coherent word from his faraway position. He scoffed. He couldn't get closer either for he was currently hiding at the nearest hiding point if he didn't wish to be seen.
Frustrated, Jeremiah gritted his teeth, wishing he had Trisha with him since the girl had a heavenly talent for lip-reading. Trying to read miserably the stranger's lips, Jeremiah could only get more and more enraged of his own uselessness.
"There is nothing here!" Jeremiah nearly jumped at the stranger's angry shout.
Peeping an eye back to the two men, Jeremiah placed a hand on his hidden blade, ready to strike if necessary. From the tone, the situation before the brunet didn't sound pretty jolly.
"You take me for a fool?" The voice grew louder and louder as the stranger began to trash the nearby stones into the water.
While he was doing so, he accidentally tripped over a rock and tumbled himself into the water with an unmanly screech. Jeremiah almost had the urge to laugh at the sight of the pathetic fool. The stranger continued to splash the water around to ease his utter frustration while Lawrence simply stood there, watching the man.
"You bitch!" The said man shouted. "How dare you lie to me, saying there is something rare in this fucking shit water?"
Hurt by the insult and accusation, the raven haired man sighed and replied with a lower tone. "I do not lie."
"Shut fuck up! You are going to pay for tricking me!" the stranger pulled out a gun, aiming at Lawrence.
Jeremiah flinched. His eyes widened in shock as his heart beat furiously. The brunet's world had turned blank with a single goal of stopping the gun from firing. With a quick sprint, he raced against the soft breeze, and the hilt of his sharp blade was gripped tightly in his palm. Lawrence had made no sign of retreating; the raven haired had simply stood motionless there as if he possessed immortality. Jeremiah's heart made a hard contraction that he winced in pain. He feared. He truthfully feared. The man he had actually desired was about to have his head pierce through by a darn tiny bullet. The gorgeous face ruined by an ugly hole. The icy yet charming attitude killed by an over raged fool. Heaven forbid, he cursed himself for his betraying action. He had promised not to meddle with the dark haired caretaker but instead followed his heart to explore the secrets of the Vaccuumers. And yet, now his legs skidded as if there were ice beneath, so slippery that he had arrived near the swamp within ten seconds instead of a normal sprint of twenty seconds.
"LAWRENCE!" Jeremiah shouted until he was breathless.
Surprised by the brunet's presence, the black haired turned his face around, ignoring the threatening gun and its equally stunned wielder.
Jeremiah inhaled a strong lungful of air before charging towards Lawrence. He leaped onto the shocked Lawrence to dodge from the flying bullet. Together both ended rolling across the soft grass, until Jeremiah laid on top of Lawrence. Despite the rare blush, the two continued to stare into each eyes before the brunet forced himself up from their awkward position. It wasn't the time to be romantic. They were about to be killed.
Spinning around, Jeremiah returned his intense, murderous gaze at the gun wielder. Much to his surprised, the stranger wasn't even paying attention to them, rather, he was staring at the water. The man panicked when he began to scream. There was something else beside the three of them. It must be something scary that could make a grown up adult so terrified. Jeremiah frowned.
"Could this place really haunted?" The brunet muttered to himself. "I mean this is a cemetery."
The man screamed over and over again, though Jeremiah remained motionless. He made no effort to helping the panic man. He watched as the man fought the unknown. He was so intrigued that he grinned. He laughed mockingly when the scared man made some futile thrashing. He didn't care anymore; he just wanted to watch the odd spectator.
"HELP ME!" The tall stranger cried out.
Jeremiah smirked as he stood, wanting to join the fun as well, until Lawrence placed an arm to stop him. The brunet eyed the black haired man with interest and curiosity. Feeling the uncomfortable gaze, Lawrence shifted his attention back to Jeremiah and shook his head.
"If you help him, you will die too."
Now Jeremiah really was intrigued. He watched the man doing his usual kicking until something else appeared to the water surface. The brunet nearly choked on his own spit.
"Holy shit!" Jeremiah gasped.
There it was, as mighty as it rumored to be, emerged a large 20 feet green anaconda. Its, smooth, silky, dark green skin with black oval shaped spots glittered at the day break sunbeam. Serpentine eyes slit sharp observed its struggled prey with hunger. The man, who was then understood his situation, screamed with all his might, only to cause the strong muscular around his legs to creep to his upper body. Jeremiah jaw remained wide opened.
"Am I seeing things or is that freaking real?" He laughed in disbelief, ignoring the shouting of the snake's victim.
As Jeremiah watched the feeding with amazement, the snake had started to contract the man to suffocation, breaking every bone, causing the broken bones to puncture deep into the screaming lungs. The man's inhalation became slower and slower until soon, he float unmoving as the snake muscular loops around it tightened. A single human life was lost that moment, before their very eyes. The water boa stretched its mouth wide as its swallowed head first then the rest of the limbs into its stomach. It had its meal.
"Oh my god…shit…I am speechless." Jeremiah commented amusingly. "No wonder I felt someone was watching me from before. So there is an anaconda living here after all. Have you known it is here?"
"I do." Lawrence replied hesitantly.
"Don't worry. I will just have to get rid of this snake before it continues to feast on poor citizens."
Jeremiah smiled, picking up his blade and moved towards the swamp where the anaconda rested. He paused at the edge, waiting for the chance to strike.
"Don't!" Lawrence came running after him. "She doesn't feed on humans for no reason. It was the man who provoked her by throwing stones and luring her with his presence in the water."
"True, but it will be better off if this snake is gone."
"How could you be so inconsiderate about others?" Lawrence shouted, his arms encircling Jeremiah's to prevent him from advancing.
Jeremiah blinked, he was indeed taken back by the statement. "What do you mean?"
The pretty black haired man sighed, his eyes shut tightly. "She needs to eat to live. Why don't you let her?"
"It is eating on humans! It is wrong." Jeremiah snapped back.
"And humans eat on other animals is very rightful." Lawrence argued back with distaste in his angelic voice.
"Lawrence! I am really sorry." The brunet admitted. "But it is dangerous, who knows how many lives it has eaten!"
"We are all dangerous to animals."
"I am protecting our kind. What are you talking about?" Jeremiah spoke softly, trying to enjoy the last conversation he will ever have.
"Humans are such selfish creatures. They only think of themselves and treat those who aren't the same as tools." The black haired continued. "They think they are everything."
"Hey. I will make it a quick death, alright?" Jeremiah rolled his eyes as he jumped into the water.
The snake hissed him dangerously before it moved away slowly with the heavy dead human in its stomach. Jeremiah snorted and walked after it. A blade high above, he was ready to stab the serpent's belly open.
"Stop it, you moron!" Lawrence kicked Jeremiah aside and stood in defense of the snake.
"Lawrence!" Jeremiah said in a threatening voice. He was pissed. "Move or I will hurt you."
"As if you can."
"Try my patient and I won't be so nice." The brunet warned in a slow and low tone.
"Who are you to threaten me and her?"
Standing up, ignoring the extra weight of his wet cloths, he pointed his blade. "Screw this. Sooner or later, you will know anyway, all thanks to that shithead Merry-Go-Around."
"Merry-Go-Around?" Lawrence repeated after him in surprise.
"Yes, a spy for the Vaccuumers, the group you had spoken to me and Dave about." Jeremiah chuckled. He no longer cared what others will think. His intention was set. He was going after the Vaccuumers at all cost.
"You believed me when I-"
"Never mind, I will let you know. I have abandoned everything for this pursue. I am C-" Jeremiah smirked dangerously at Lawrence who took a step backward.
It was too much. Neither understood anything anymore. Jeremiah had sealed his emotions. He was doing what was best for men. He had become a policeman to arrest criminals. He had taken the mysterious killer mask of Criki to kill former, untamed criminals. Everything was perfect, he had leaded a perfect life until he met this black haired angel who instantly provoked a feeling he had killed long ago. He had made friends with the children, the priest, Yilind, Dave, old granny Reoure and even became rivals with Vincent. His life had never been that much fun He loved the new changes. He could smiled freely and forget to wear his cruel smirks. He had everything he desired, except the disturbing feeling in his life.
Staring ahead, Jeremiah saw fear in the mesmerizing black blue eyes. His conscious smiled sadly. He knew Lawrence was protective of the killer snake, but he could not tolerate the danger it will cause for others. Jeremiah had to end it, no matter what. The policeman tightened his grip on the knife. His happiness was about to end. All he had worked hard to achieve. The brunet wouldn't kill Lawrence, he would simply knock him out of consciousness and kill the snake. And when the lad awoke, Jeremiah would be long gone, leaving the black haired man to grieve over the dead of a serpent.
Jeremiah sighed internally. It would be for the best. After all, he had given up all for chase after the Vaccuumers. There would be nothing more to lose. This would be just a sacrifice. A very painful sacrifice. Lawrence had really come to trust him. He had even opened up his past to the brunet, telling him that he could be trusted. That had made Jeremiah utterly happy and he wished he could let that joy stay. But what must be done shall be done.
"I confessed," Jeremiah inhaled deeply, "that I am Criki, the decapitator!" He said it in a breath. Voila. It was awkward. Normally, he would announce his secret to his targets with so much pride and confidence but now, he felt the hesitation, that announcement pained him. It was a really strange sensation.
Jeremiah planned to knock Lawrence unconscious when a foot came in his way. Dodging the powerful kick, he jumped backward, splashing water aside.
"You are Criki?" The black haired man looked straight into his brown eyes. "Are you here to kill me?"
Jeremiah gulped. He was surprised nevertheless. Jeremiah frowned when he saw no fear in the pale man's eyes. They reflected calmness with only a slightly shock gleam in them. Jeremiah immediately recalled yesterday's event. It was the same expression the caretaker wore when he fought against the fat mad man. There was no fear, something similar to Jeremiah, as if he as well faced death everyday.
"Yeah, I am Criki." He brunet confirmed.
"And you have met Mr. Merry-Go-Around." Lawrence asked with almost a grin on his pretty face.
Jeremiah pulled his head back, nose up in the air while he pinched the bridge of it. "I did. He was goddamn annoying. Saying about leaving the Vaccuumers alone or he will expose my identity to you and the orphans. Sorry but I decided to find more about the Vaccuumers and you should be wise enough to tell the children the right thing, so I am leaving everything in your hands. I am off searching more information about the Vaccuumers, especially, the two already on town. What were their names again…? Medusa Flute Charmer? Hanger? So there you go." Jeremiah said all that out, feeling a sudden weight lifted away. It felt good.
"Now would you excuse me and let me finish that beast behind you?" Jeremiah asked politely.
"I am not amused by your sarcasm, Jeremiah."
Jeremiah sighed. "You leave me no choice then, Lawrence." He added the lad's name bitterly.
The brunet bent over to retrieve the fallen gun in the water which belonged to the previous deceased stranger.
"Are you going to kill me, Criki?" Lawrence said in mock humor.
"No, it is against my principle to kill non former criminals, have you not known that?" Jeremiah replied with equal teasing tone.
"Pardon me, but I clearly don't understand your ideal anymore. Clearly, this snake is not a former criminal." The pale man chuckled, tilting his head at the direction of the anaconda.
"Certainly not, my friend."
"Therefore, wouldn't that defy your principle?"
Jeremiah rubbed his chin in thought. "Alright, you are right. However, it is still risky. Perhaps sending it to a zoo will do everyone good… Fine, it is decided. I shall capture it."
"Forget about it." Lawrence snapped back. "There is no way I am allowing a human to restrain her. I saw it once, on internet. There was a video about a cow and a little chick. The chick's leg was tied to a pole and the cow ate it. Imagine, a vegetarian cow ate a chick. It was cruel. The farmers starved the cow so much that it eats a chick. It was extremely wrong and pitiful, yet the people laughed at it. We humans had destroyed nature, weather, and now food cycle."
"I understand your worry but many people had vanished in this area and the cause of it is probably due to this snake. If I recalled correctly a large meal like a man, it takes a month to digest and that explains the mysterious disappearance of several men near the area, like the community chief for example."
"You are a fool if you blame the fault on an animal. How can a snake be responsible of choosing only men in their forties to dine?" Lawrence questioned back at Jeremiah whose facial expression hardened. "Criki, don't think you can lay your hands on her while I still stand. Otherwise, I shall never forgive myself. Come, Criki. Show me what you are capable of."
Jeremiah gasped. The black haired beauty was challenging him? "A duel? Wow, hold on. It will do you no good. I am a professional killer. You won't stand a chance against me."
"Don't swell yourself." Lawrence hissed. "I am confident to take you on."
"As you wish," Jeremiah made a polite bow, "what are the rules?"
"The first one who gives up loses."
Jeremiah laughed. "You think it is so easy to defeat me?"
"May it be easy or hard, you are just a mortal like all of us."
"Alright, alright. Despite being a killer, I have no desire of taking your life." The brunet added, feeling his blood boiling to no end. He wanted to show off, wanted the black haired man to acknowledge his strength and power. He wanted to control Lawrence.
Jeremiah grinned. The fair man had offered him a challenge and he had never backed away from one. He had now nothing precious to lose, nothing left by pride. He threw the gun aside. He didn't want his game to end too quickly. Jeremiah chose to fight with his knife. Expert fingers rolled the blade as if they were playing with pencils; he threw the sharp weapon in the air and caught it without gazing once at it. His eyes were furiously locked into a staring battle with the black haired man.
"I feel bad fighting a weaponless opponent." Jeremiah noted, shrugging his shoulders disappointingly.
"Have no worry; I always carry something in case." Lawrence took out a small Swiss Army blade from his pocket.
"Here I go!" Jeremiah signaled and jumped at Lawrence in an incredible speed.
The blades made a rough contact before Jeremiah bounced off, regaining his composure, and smirked victoriously. Lawrence groaned when he felt a wound on his thumb. Licking the cut, the pale man sent Jeremiah a hard glare before exiting another blade. Before Jeremiah knew, Lawrence was already by his side, and with a swing of his blade, he managed to cut Jeremiah's left upper arm before the brunet retreated back to land with a high back jump.
"An eye for an eye."
The policeman hissed, the wound hurt like hell.
"Shit, it burns. Almost as if it is soaked in poison or something?" The policeman snarled, while using the other hand to press out a drop of transparent liquid.
"Nothing dangerous, just numb your nerves." Lawrence answered coolly. "If you give up, I will give you the antidote."
"Heck no, I am not forfeiting over something that trivial." Jeremiah grinned. "I was taken by surprise; I mean who the heck carries blades as if it was something normal?"
"Why, you don't?"
"Arg, I do, that is because I am a killer. Whenever, I see a suitable target… I kill." The brunet sighed. "Having weapons with me makes things more… convenient."
"I see. Therefore, isn't that enough of a reason? I have blades to protect myself from killers like you. It wouldn't be fair if you have a weapon and I don't."
Jeremiah remained silent, it was awful. He hated it when he was stuck with questions he couldn't answer.
"Normal citizens don't carry knives, my friend."
Lawrence shrugged his right shoulder nonchalantly, brushing a strand of hair off his face. "Just to remind you, I am not a citizen, I am a citizen of nowhere. I am not even supposed to exist, how about that."
Jeremiah eyed the black haired beauty and a bizarre sensation exploded in him. It felt different. It was no longer a little crush he had; That feeling took a whole new level and had developed into a strong desire… a desire to claim one as his own, his and only his, no one else's. Biting his lips, he tried to control his urge.
"Whatever, you are right. Go ahead then. Make me surrender, save that beast, if you can."
"Oh, I will." The shorter man said in a tone that one would find it very dangerous.
Lawrence inhaled a bit and exhaled, eyes closed. Jeremiah waited, acting all apprehensive to amuse himself. The lad snapped his black blue eyes wide opened and suddenly jumped towards Jeremiah to deliver him another blow to his neck with an aura of handicapping his enemy if the brunet wasn't capable of protecting it. Using his sharp fighting instinct, Jeremiah quickly reacted before the black boot of his challenger touch his nape, catching the offending foot, the brunet grabbed it and swung the man aside. With a satisfying thud, Jeremiah stood straight up and panted softly. Lawrence snarled, and flipped himself up in a swift motion. Tilting to his left, his right leg raised perpendicularly with the heel of his boot aim at Jeremiah, the black haired man placed a hand on the side of the boot.
A gun shot was fired.
Jeremiah flinched at the sound as he felt the bullet scratch the side of his waist. Frozen, he stared at the black haired man before him. He was totally got off guard and wasn't expecting a surprise attack, especially not from a gun. Lawrence's hands were empty of any type of object close in form of a gun. His hands held nothing.
"Where did that bullet come from?" Jeremiah hissed, rubbing a finger on the scratched spot where a droplet of blood appeared. "Did you fire that bullet?" He received a faint nod.
Narrowing his eyes, the taller man whistled.
"Lawrence, you are full of surprises, do you know?"
The beautiful caretaker let out a wicked smile. "I accept your praise, Criki."
"I would have never thought one would have his gun there!" Jeremiah laughed, index finger smeared with his blood.
Lawrence lowered his feet.
"One hell of crazy boot you have there." The brunet continued his laugh. "This is way too interesting. Who was it who dismantled a gun and fixed it in boots? I suppose Vincent, your dear friend, did the job?"
"You are correct. I did ask Vincent to help me."
"Awesome. Very creative indeed. Like a booby trap specialist? So when you pull the extra decorative shoe lace, it acts like a trigger, then the projectile ran along the barrel which is covered and exited at the muzzle which is the hole in the heel. Too fascinating!" Jeremiah explained in awe. He was thrilled beyond words. "Are there more surprises?"
"Why should I tell you?"
"Right, don't. Otherwise it won't be fun." Jeremiah pouted.
"You are too arrogant for your own good." Lawrence commented.
Jeremiah cocked his head with a small, proud smile printing on his lips. Sparring like that was extremely rare for the only time he took a weapon was to kill his victims in a blink of an eye. He wondered how things would be if they were serious about killing each other.
Using that distraction as a chance when the black blue eyed man concentrated his attention on the attack, Jeremiah ran towards the lad and placed his blade at his forehead. Neither moved, but the tension between the two was severe. The pale man hissed at his mistake and the triumphant smirking on Jeremiah face didn't ease him at all. Lawrence lifted two of his arm up to Jeremiah's arm, which held the knife, and rest them on the nicely shaped muscle. Jeremiah frowned as he watched what the black haired man tended to do.
"Are you going to give up? I knew I will wi-" The brunet didn't have this chance to finish the arrogant sentence when a leg delivered a hard kick on the side of his knee, sending him off balance while Lawrence's hands pushed his arm away to dodge the sharp end of the dangerous blade.
Jeremiah had fallen flat on the floor with a loud groan of dissatisfaction. The brunet gritted on his teeth, almost threatening to break them if he continued to shame himself. Sitting shamelessly on Jeremiah's pelvis, Lawrence used his body weight to immobilize Jeremiah legs and right arm, given that his poisoned left arm was paralyzed. The pale man grinned for the first time at his victory as he placed the poisonous blade on Jeremiah's throat.
"I don't know what your intention is for going after the Vaccuumers but if you ever try to hurt my Medusa once, you will not get off so easily. Be wise, Criki Jeremiah Covaled." Lawrence leaned over to whisper those words with bittersweet tone and lifted himself.
"Who the hell are you?" Jeremiah said between pants. "I don't think an average orphan caretaker can pull out a stunt like this one."
Turning back, Lawrence walked to the edge of the swamp when the anaconda resurfaced back to the exposed air next to the pale man. "I? You should have known your enemy before striking, Criki. I thought you would have already gained more information about me and my partner here." He said as he petted the Anaconda's head. "My lovely friend here is known as Medusa and I, as the Medusa Flute Charmer. We are the two of the members in Vaccuumers."
The world went silent for a fraction of second after the revelation as Jeremiah stared at Lawrence with total incredulousness in his eyes.
"Wh-what?" He stuttered at his words. "What did you-you just say?"
"You have heard it right, Criki."
"Are you for real? You mean I have been with a Vaccuumer along and not noticing it?"
"Why did you lie when I ask you if you are part of it?"
"I didn't lie. It is you who asked the inexact question. You asked if I was part of The Paparazzi Club and I am not. It was unfortunate. If only you have asked the right questions, you would have known long ago."
"You are responsible of the missing men?" Jeremiah's brain was frozen, it couldn't think of a calming thought.
"Do you honestly think a snake chooses its meal?" Lawrence crossed his arms with a mocking grin. "Of course I am the one who lure those foolish men here. It is perfect, there aren't many fish in the swamp and if Medusa eats them all, it won't be enough for her to live. Therefore, by feeding upon men, it spares the other animals' life. Beside, it is once every month. It is killing two birds with a stone. They are my targets and as well as Medusa's food."
"You have quite a character huh?"
"So do you, Criki."
"You asked why? You can say it as a mixture of hatred revenge and trauma. Arrogant men in their forties just like the Carlos's father who sold me to the politician. Both were in their forties. Both possessed power until to the point that they abuse it on weak people. Who do they think they are? They are just humans with greed more than others. Can you imagine living in a cage like an animal when you did nothing wrong to deserve such treatment? I do. Can you imagine how I feel when I was told to kill my roommate to get a meal after two days of starvation? Those experiences turned me into a monster. And I will never forgive them."
Jeremiah listened to Lawrence's woe with pity. He would have never thought the man before him had gone through such unimaginable childhood. "Is that why you chose to volunteer in the orphanage because the children are helpless to the world?" The brunet looked up to see a faint nod. "Is that why you killed the community chief? Was it because he discriminated the orphans?"
"He said they were better off since Father Sammos was using the residents' donation to feed them. He wanted to tear down the church. Where Father and the children are are going to end up? He called himself a Christian; well he is doing a very poor job in proving that. I couldn't forgive him. Father Sammos is old and couldn't do much and there is nobody I can ask help from. That is why I must to protect them."
"There is no use of killing them." Jeremiah commented which earned him a cold glare.
"You are the last person who can say that to me, mister murderer yourself. As if I didn't try to persuade him. I always persuaded all my targets to change their mind. Some, smart enough to considerate, but there are those too brick head to listen. So they ended up where I want them to be."
"Preventing the roots of discrimination from spreading?" The brunet suggested.
"You could say that."
Gathering a lungful of air, Jeremiah let out a loud and long laugh, slapping his thigh with much force of his right hand.
"This is perfect." He said. "Way too perfect that I do not believe it."
"What is?" Lawrence asked, not quite liked the way the brunet reacted.
"You must understand that I have issue, especially with horrific feeling calls love. I never quite understand it. But now I understand." Jeremiah smiled.
Lawrence stared suspiciously at Jeremiah stood slowly as the brunet brushed off the tiny peddles accumulated until their fight. Lifting the knife, Jeremiah paused in the air for a second before his fingers leisurely unwrapped around the hilt, letting the blade sank into the grass with a soft thud. The morning breeze blew softly around them, balancing their hair as it flowed as the sun rose languidly between them. The two stared straight into each other's hidden soul, there laid nothing but truth of their existence, no obstacle of lies, only the naked core.
"I give up!" The brunet finally declared and held his arms high. It was the first time he surrendered after all. "I give up, you win. I spare your partner."
"It is about time." Lawrence tilted his head sideway with a relief sigh and stood up. "Here is the antidote."
"Thanks," The policeman caught the flying vial. Spilling the liquid on his wound, he winced at the sharp pain but after awhile he started to feel his left arm and that was a good sign.
"Now leave us be, Criki."
"I give up, BUT!" Jeremiah shouted, jerking the other lad into reality. "I have another intention in mind!" He said as he forced the shocked black haired man on the ground.
Lawrence gasped at their sudden new position. His black haired spilled over the grass where his wrists were crossed and pressed by a strong right hand, whereas his thighs were held by the upper man's weight.
Jeremiah chuckled. "I am not going to hurt you, relax."
Finding it hard to struggle, the pale beauty groaned. "Let go!"
"Wait, I will after you hear what I have to say." The brunet assured. "How should I put it? Hmm. I have been alone all my life, killing former criminals, so my memory is quite solemn. However, after I met you and the others, life has become much brighter, more excitement and more meaningful. But deep inside, I knew I could never be in the light that is why I distant myself. I want to meet people like me, but when I do, I arrest or kill them as long as they were not murderers. And most murderers I have met are quite mentally unstable or either too punky for my taste. People like them won't last long; the police can anytime trace and imprison them. So I decided to search for professionals and like their title said, they are untraceable. So I was again alone. Therefore when you mentioned about this Vaccuumers group, I became intrigued because the members seemed to shall similar mentality as I do. 'I want to meet them. I want to be with them. I don't want to be by myself anymore.' That was what I said to myself."
Jeremiah smiled sadly at the thought.
"Like usual, I started to be drawn to the Vaccuumers, and things became complicated when Mr. Merry-Go-Around appeared and threatened to expose my secrets to you all. I was afraid. Afraid of losing the sole friendship and light of my life after meeting the kids and everyone, which means I will be continuing my solo journey alone. Therefore I was torn between desire to search for a rightful companion and friends. And you know what? In the end, I actually gave up friendship for this cheesy feeling. I want to be with a person or a group of people that I don't need to hide, no need to lie to belong. I want to be whoever I truthfully am for once, I want to savor freedom."
Lawrence listened quietly nevertheless.
"Moreover, I used to mock people who say they are in love, but after meeting you, I don't dare to mock anymore. I am in love, very in love. Perhaps it is because of some stupid love cupid, but hell it was love at the first sight, but I denied it, convincing myself that it was merely friendship, yes just friendship that I have been urging for. Then I began to truly know you. When you trust me with your secrets, I was really happy. You made me realize that life can be as heavenly as death. Now at this very moment, I understand my feeling. It was no friendship. It was-" The brunet stopped to inhale quickly. "Arg, I am so out of character, and screw that. I don't care. I am not shame to say this! What I want to say is that I really, really, like you. So!" Jeremiah took another deep breath. "So, will you, Lawrence Else, go out with me?"
Lawrence stared at him with shock glimmering in his beautiful eyes as if the man on tip of him had two heads.
"Look, Jeremiah. Do you know what you are blabbering abo-"
"I will be a man that will live above your expectation. If you want the moon, hell I will get one for you." Jeremiah added. "Isn't this fantastic? Birds of the feather flock together, which I find rather accurate seeing that we have same goal and mentality. Opposite poles attract can show perfectly our personality. You are the calm headed one, and no offense, as well as the fragile one while I am more of the social type and tough looking." He chuckled at his own brags.
"Hey, wait, I-"
"If you are scared of people might judge you differently because we are both guys then rest assure, I will beat the living hell out of them until their mother can't recognize."
"Jeremiah, let me sa-"
"You are an incredible man. You can fight in a fierce battle; you can protect yourself and not always depend on others for help. That is someone I would want beside me. Also, you take care of your companions dearly even it endangers you for your stubbornness of not lying no matter what circumstance. I know you care about others but you just deny it with that expressionless attitude that could freeze soul. Ever since I met you, to me, you are a mysterious character waiting for me to explore your true side. And now I did, and I am very glad so as well. However, I still have a long way to go, so that is why I want to be closer to you so I can understand you." Jeremiah said softly, brushing a stand of black hair over the gorgeous black blue eyes.
"Jeremiah!" Lawrence snapped. "How do you expect someone to communicate with you if you keep cutting my phrases?"
"Oh! Sorry your highness." The brunet smirked. "I guess I got too excited, you know."
"Don't call me that, you imbecile. I hate that. Back to your interruption, I also hate that and people who are like that. They think they are so great that they-"
"They own the entire conversation, those fools." Jeremiah finished the sentence in union with Lawrence, causing the black beauty to gasp in shock. "Sorry, I just wanted to show off a little. See? I understand you. I can even predict your mind." He widened his grin.
Jeremiah's brow twitched. "What did you call me?"
"Hey, you have one too."
"…" Lawrence eyed the man with jaw opened. "Gross"
"I know, sorry, I couldn't help it." Jeremiah chuckled playfully.
"You cheater" Lawrence groaned as he fought futilely in hope that the brunet would lower his guard after the nonsensical conversation but failed miserably.
"If you are worry about me cheating on you later in the relationship then don't because I will remained faithful. Heck if I haven't met you, I might even think myself as asexual. I don't feel attract to neither gender at all. But with you, I feel the urge to glue onto you. At first, I was afraid you might are too naïve and nice for me, but now that I know you can be as devilish when you want, I would, not literally sadly, tear my heart and offer it to you. My sweet devilish stunning angel. You are my perfect match so I won't cheat, I promise. I mean, god has taken pity upon my poor soul to allow me to meet someone so untouchable like you. You are freaking beautiful, smart, feisty, charming, calm and quiet just the way I want, you smell like lavender, your sweet angelic smile makes me melt like candle on fire, and you totally own all the heavenly adjectives and description in the world. It would take a blind, deaf, or a five-senses-disable person for not liking you."
"Jeremiah, you should really say this to a woman, she will be squealing your ears deaf."
"No way, I don't care if people think of me as asexual or whatever because I don't give a damn about either gender. I don't care if the person I like is a female or male and I only say this to the person I love."
"You really don't mean it, do you?" Lawrence eyed him with widen eyes, cheeks turned slightly pink.
"Lawrence, do you accept it?" Jeremiah leaned closer.
"Stop it. Heck no! You are just fooling around. Arg, you moron! Get off me!" Lawrence groaned as he struggled.
"If you want to reject my affection then run, run as quick and as far as you could but always keep in mind that I will hunt you down no matter what circumstance. I will track you to the end of days and times. There will be no escape from me. I am afraid angel, you are really caged by me now, at exactly the 6th of June at 6o'clock, aren't I poetic? 666 the devil numbers, it suits our relationship perfectly well."
"Get off." The trapped man snarled dangerously.
"This is fate. Have you not thought that you were born for me to claim you?"
"Nonsense," Lawrence growled in irritation, fighting the urge to roll his eyes.
"Have me in your life. I will offer you protection, with someone strong like me by your side…"
Lawrence cut him with a snarl. "I have Vincent to do the harsh work."
"Well then, you get to seat with me in my brand new jeep." Jeremiah frowned.
"Vincent's sport car is more comfortable."
The policeman thought challengingly. "Alright, how about, since you can't kill women…I will do it for you."
"They are Vincent's targets; he can take care of them himself." Lawrence argued with a bright smile.
"Seriously, you really want me to kill that bastard, don't you?" Jeremiah fumed.
"No, I am just proving to you that you aren't the only almighty one."
The brunet rolled his eyes before choking on the revelation. "Wait, what? Vincent kills women? What the fuck?"
"Why, he is a member of a Vaccuumer as well. He is Hanger. He kills by choking his victims with their own hair." Lawrence feigned an innocent look. "Hanger… Hang Her?"
"I am stunned speechless. Whatever, back to our original conversation. So Lawrence, will you at least give us a chance and try this?" Jeremiah asked with a hopeful look that made the black haired man twitched a nerve. "Please?" He added with a silly smile.
After a silence minute of hesitation, the black haired beauty sighed. "You know what you are talking, right?"
"You know how embarrassing the situation is, right?"
Jeremiah grinned, baring two rows of white teeth.
"Right… Arg, you better don't screw it up or I won't forgive you." Lawrence muttered it lowly as he turned his flushed face aside. It was just too cute for words.
"Oh my god! You… agreed? YES! YES! YES!" Elbows angled at forty five degrees, he balled his fists tightly as he threw his head back. Jeremiah roared. "You have no idea how crazily happy you made me!" He shouted with a silly wide smile plastered on his joyful face.
"Now get of-mfthmm-" Profiting of the part lips, Jeremiah covered the soft flesh with his, initiating a gentle kiss.
There they were, in the deepest end of the wild ancient graveyard, sharing their first and passionate kiss.
To be Continue… in epilogue
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