A/N: This is the sequel to "The Passion Paradox." The other story I have posted takes place after this because I originally didn't feel like putting this on FictionPress. YES, I know the writing isn't perfect. I wrote this when I was like fifteen. Take it for what it is. I'll get around to editing it one of these days. Oh, and just a few things to note:
+ V ) signifies that the chapter is in Viktoriya's POV. [1st]
+ L ) signifies that the chapter is in Liev's POV. [1st]
+ T ) signifies that the chapter is in Terra's POV. [2nd]
The Dark Triad
1: L) Reflections
It was overwhelmingly dark in my pathetic excuse for a bedroom at night. I was terrified of the shadows at first, refusing to detach from my mother, but she eventually told me that strong people learned to face their fears instead of cowering behind others. So I reluctantly released her and slept all alone in my bed while she returned downstairs to confront my father.
I idly struck matches and watched the flames dance faintly as the sound of her shrieking angrily drifted up the stairs. He just laughed at her like always and I tried to ignore the squeals of pain, tried to tell myself that they didn't give me some sick sense of pleasure. Sometimes, I snuck downstairs to watch him slapping her just because something in my mind urged me to. But the fighting would stop after a little while and my mother would start crying, hugging him and begging for forgiveness.
My father just continued to smile like an alligator.
"Liev? Are you awake?"
The images vanished from my mind in a puff of smoke as my younger sister slipped into my bedroom, her green eyes visible even from a distance. I sat up on the bed and gestured for her to join me, to which she clapped happily. Viktoriya was relatively easy to please.
"You need to wake up for school tomorrow," I said passively as she curled up next to me. I was nine at the time and Tory was around seven, though we both acted older.
"I know," she said. "There's a spider in my room." She dropped off to sleep within a couple of minutes, so I gently rested her head on the pillow so I could sneak out of my room to sit on the staircase. Observing my parents physically brawling was almost amusing to me, though I knew it shouldn't be.
Nikolai appeared from the kitchen with a delighted smirk on his face while Adel tailed after him, insisting that I needed psychiatric help. I rolled my eyes and played with my matches a bit more while my father ignored my mother, much in the way that I would. He knew as well as I did that absolutely nothing was wrong with Viktoriya and I.
"Adel, Adel, you're hysterical again," he murmured, placing a finger to her lips.
She slapped his hand away angrily. "Our son is a psychopath! I caught him gutting a squirrel last night for Christ's sake!"
I smiled wickedly. All in good fun, of course. It was mere curiosity about the innards of living creatures, as my father so eloquently put it.
Nikolai rolled his eyes and condescendingly ruffled her hair. "You know that I don't like yelling when the children are sleeping. Come, darling, let's discuss this in our bedroom."
My heart rate immediately sped up at the double meaning in his words and my mother roughly shoved him away. She knew as well as I did what was going to happen next, though I had never listened in on the two of them out of revulsion.
"I hate this!" she exploded. It was a typical response to Nikolai's gentle persuasion and neither of us really cared.
"You love it," he corrected, "as much as you love me."
I grinned when Adel broke down into sobs, nodding as my father led her toward their bedroom situated on the opposing side of our small house. He technically wasn't supposed to be here, but most people thought he was dead by now. The only person bothered by his presence was my sister, who glared at him furiously, permanently allied with my mother.
She was suddenly sitting next to me, curling her thick black hair behind an ear. I didn't acknowledge her presence at first, but she reached up to tug on my own thinner brown hair and I grunted to show that I was listening.
"How can you stand it?" she asked.
I lit a match and snuffed it out just as quickly. "I like it."
Tory stared at me through the darkness separating us, her emerald eyes shimmering with tears. I detested my mother's weakness, but I couldn't ignore the miniscule soft spot I had for my little sister. As Nikolai always said, it was my responsibility to protect her.
"Me too," she whispered. "Can I see one of your matches?"
I shrugged and lit one for her, then waved the flickering flame through the air. Before she could reach out and seize it, I blew it out and discarded the used stick. She almost looked a little hurt by this, but I knew she didn't really like fire. Tory was much gentler than I was or would ever be.
"Don't worry about fitting in, kid," I said, "or you'll be very unhappy. It's time for bed."
Tory took my hand as I led her back into her own cramped bedroom, where she swiftly hopped under the blue coverlets. I turned off the light and gave her an encouraging smile, then shut the door and walked back to my own room. Nikolai and Adel were done fighting for tonight, so I had to wait until the next evening to inherit more useful tricks from my father.
He was an excellent psychopath.
"Have you ever considered murdering someone, Liev?" The old man sitting across from me was leaning forward as he asked questions in a low voice, barely managing to let the word "murder" slip past his lips. It was bothering him deeply; I could tell by how his eyes averted to the floor for a split second. I didn't budge when my mother turned her head to nervously look down at me.
I smiled. "Yes."
Adel sighed and looked away from me to rub her head. "It's gene-inherited, Greaves," she said tiredly. "He's always going to be like this."
I was a teenager now, just entering into high school after the principal had considered expelling me for my condition. But my mother refused to let that happen and wrote the Board of Directors an essay about how it was unfair discrimination to stereotype all psychopaths. They reluctantly relented and I would be entering the ninth grade tomorrow.
"He only turned fourteen back in July," the shrink said soothingly to Adel, "so there's still plenty of time for him to come visit me."
They both watched me strike a match or two before my mother once again burst into tears and had to be led from the room. A moment later, Nikolai entered with a peculiar expression upon his face that kind of looked angry and was pointed in my direction.
"Come, Liev, we have things to discuss," he said, beckoning me.
Dr. Greaves ran a hand through his thinning hair and dismissed me, but kept glaring at my father as we shut the door to the room behind us. I smiled at Nikolai while we stood there and Tory comforted my mother somewhere off to the side, though he did not smile back. He pinched the bridge of his nose between his fingers, then placed a hand on my shoulder.
"Be wary of who you torment," he told me in an unmistakably threatening tone.
I stared at him in surprise, but nodded my head to show that I understood. Adel was off limits.
We returned home and my father was uncannily kind to my mother, standing quietly instead of berating her like he usually did. She kept repeating over and over that she knew this was going to happen, that I should be committed to an asylum as soon as possible to protect other people, but he didn't react to that. I sometimes got the feeling that Nikolai was becoming less of a Machiavellian as he grew older.
Viktoriya was already in my room when I went upstairs. She was sitting on my bed, staring at the collection of matches I had accumulated while I closed the door. I had been mulling over whether or not she would be a good outlet for my frustration, but for some reason, I couldn't bring myself to lay a hand on her. My father told me it was the soft spot that all psychopaths had: his was only for my mother. Apparently, I would never be able to hurt my sister.
"What now?" I asked impatiently.
She was biting her nails nervously, but quickly stopped before I could scold her for it. "Don't you think that I should look like you and you should look like me?" she stated more than inquired. "I look exactly like dad and you look exactly like mom, but you're mean and I'm nice."
"I'm mean? This is news to me."
"Yes, you're downright cruel."
I grinned and sat next to her. "That's melodramatic, sis. Go to bed, we have school in the morning."
Tory got to her feet and left the room with a still contemplative countenance. I shut and locked my door when I realized that my parents wouldn't be fighting tonight, then crawled into my bed and was shocked at the anxiety writhing in my stomach.
"They're just more entertainment," I yawned to myself.