deadgirlslikeme: (i won't back down)
[personal profile] deadgirlslikeme
(Set a few days after Alice breaks up with Victor to try and protect him. For reference, the King took over Victor on January 30th, visited the Nexus (and was dealt with by April) on the 5th, and Alice broke up with him on the 6th.)

It’s been a tough few days for Victor Van Dort. After Doc and Dee came home from their expedition to meeting the other living car (bringing Marty with them after telling him what’s been going down), they discovered him sobbing in his room. A few minutes of questioning revealed what Alice had done: “She left. . . .”

“She what?” Thunder boomed outside as Doc’s fists clenched. “That – that – I’m going to find her, and when I do--”

“No! No, please, she – she s-said she was doing it to p-protect me, she said it was all her fault. . . .”

After hearing the explanation of Alice’s guilt issues, Doc calmed down, and both he and Marty tried to contact their friend. All that came back was a message stating You’re safer not knowing me. All other attempts at communication failed. Marty suggested PINpointing to her, but Doc said that they didn’t have her PINpoint address; and that “even if we did, all she has to do is scream for her uncle and we’d be thrown out on our ears, if not worse, for invading her room. She does live in the Victorian age. Not to mention I don’t want anyone having any interesting reactions should I let off steam. . . .”

And that was it for the past three days. Nothing but Victor existing in his room, eating only to please his friends, sleeping when exhaustion takes him, and otherwise just sitting on his bed, staring at the walls and trying not to cry. He knows Doc at least has begun to come up with plans on how to get rid of the King (he’s asked not to know about them, for everyone’s safety), and that he should probably be doing the same, but – he can’t bring up the energy. He feels – numb. Broken. Like there’s a black hole where his heart used to be, and it’s sucking everything he is in. Alice is gone. Alice is gone.


And the King isn’t helping matters. He hasn’t yet tried to get past the mental blocks, but he’s still quite audible – and he’s been complaining a lot. About Victor, about Alice leaving, about being called a “parasite,” about the implausibility of everyone preferring Victor over him, about everything he can think of, honestly. And today he’s especially chatty. I mean, really, what do you have to offer the world? You’re nothing but a spoiled rich brat who likes butterflies and who would stink of fish if he were back home, I’m sure. How you tricked these people into caring about you is beyond–

Something deep inside Victor snaps. “SHUT UP!” he yells to the voice in his head, springing to his feet. “Just be quiet for five minutes! Do you not understand the meaning of that word?” He begins to pace back and forth wildly, feeling a most uncommon rage gripping him. “You’ve already ruined my life! Can’t you be happy with that? Must you always--” His hands reach out to grip the air in front of him ineffectually. Oh God, he wishes the King had his own physical form, just so Victor could shake him–

And then he catches sight of his reflection in the full-length mirror by his bed. Specifically, of his eyes.

Pitch-black eyes.

Suddenly frightened, he checks the mental blocks, and finds them holding strong. The King isn’t even trying to get out at the moment. He looks back at his reflection, baffled momentarily. Then, just as quickly, he decides he doesn’t actually care. This will do for yelling at. “Must you always degenerate me?” he continues, marching up to it and scowling.

Yes! Because you’re a good-for-nothing weakling who refuses to let me out! the King replies. The voice almost seems to come from the mirror in front of him, but Victor can still feel it centered inside of his head.

“If I let you out you’d hurt people,” Victor says. “You’d ruin Wonderland if you ever found your way back. I may be a bit of a ninny, but I’m not going to let that happen.”

You’re more than a bit of a ninny, the King replies coldly. And I would never seek to ruin my home.

“Just like you said the Queen wouldn’t?” Victor snaps back. “You’re just like her! You’d order people to die on a whim if you could!”

I would not! I pardoned anyone who asked for it! And many who didn’t! I was a merciful king!

“Really? What if I had come to Wonderland back when Alice was a child? Wouldn’t you have tried to kill me then?”

No! Why – why. . .would. . . .

Victor frowns in confusion at the sudden lost tones in the King’s voice. This is like back at April’s apartment, when he was fighting off the King in his spectral body and asked him why he was so dead-set on killing him. The King hadn’t come up with a response then either. “Why do you hate me so much?” he whispers, a little of the anger draining away.

Because you’re weak, the King snarls, back on track. Weak and useless and cowardly and clumsy and always saying the wrong thing, or doing the wrong thing and you’re the wrong –

He stops again. When he speaks, he sounds more confused than before. The. . .wrong sex? But – that can’t be right, I have no particular want to be a girl. . . . And why does it – it’s almost like it’s a woman’s voice saying that.

Victor stares at the King’s reflection. “Mother,” he whispers. Suddenly he understands what April meant when she said when she thought the reason for the King’s anger toward him was because of where the King ended up in his head. “The dark places of your mind. . . .” Everything the King just said was something he’d more or less told himself over and over again. Something he’d become convinced of the more his parents berated him or his fellow boys teased him. And if the Queen had gotten connected to Alice’s insanity, and been warped by it, wasn’t it also possible. . . . “Perhaps that’s why you don’t like me,” he whispers. “I don’t like myself very much.”

You – you think I’m – The King sounds baffled – and frightened. You yourself don’t like – what’s there to like, you’re nothing but – but – I wasn’t. . . . Oh God, what’s happened to me?

“I’m not sure,” Victor says, the anger gone completely now. Suddenly it seems the King of Hearts has been suffering just as much as he has. “Maybe it’s part of how Wonderland changed after Alice went mad for a while. “You came back and – g-got stuck following your wife’s pattern?”

She wasn’t a horrible person, not really, the King tells him. She ordered beheadings, but she never gave tuppence to seeing them carried out. She just wanted to yell. And when she was in a good humor. . .why did Alice have to kill her? I gave my life to see her saved.

“She’d destroyed Wonderland,” Victor says, though not without sympathy. (God, he’s feeling sympathetic toward the King of Hearts? Today officially got weird.) “From what I gathered from Alice, the Queen somehow became linked to her own insanity and pain. By the time Alice got there. . .she told me directly she wanted to ask the Queen to surrender, she didn’t want to keep having blood spilt, but Gryphon told her she had to be destroyed. And when Alice saw her, she’d become this – this thing with tentacles--”

His eyes suddenly snap to his reflection’s jacket. There’s a vague suggestion of tentacles writhing under there. Without warning, though, it suddenly goes still. Too far gone, the King whispers. And I nearly – Victor, I’m so sorry! I – I can still feel that hatred, but now I can tell it’s off! It’s wrong, it’s not supposed to be there, and – I tried to kill you. I was the merciful one, and I tried to kill you.

“All because I have far too much self-loathing,” Victor sighs, leaning his head against the mirror. “No wonder April thinks I should see a therapist.” He lets out a deep breath, fogging the glass. “I wish we’d figured this out before. . . .” His throat closes up.

You still have your friends, the King says, though his voice indicates he knows that isn’t really enough. There’s a pause. You really do love her, don’t you?

“With all my heart,” Victor confirms.

And do you believe you deserve her? the King asks, voice suddenly challenging.

Victor looked into the King’s eyes. He thinks back on the happy memories – not just of him and Alice (though they do take center stage), but of him and his friends. And he thinks of learning about the future, discovering about his powers, helping take down a zombie, assisting Doc with experiments, meeting so many different people in the Nexus and somehow managing to get along with the vast majority. . . . “Yes,” he says, straightening back up. “Yes, I do deserve to be with her. And you know what else? I am not weak, I am not cowardly, I am not--” He pauses, thinks a moment. “I’ll give you that I’m clumsy sometimes, and sometimes say the wrong thing. But I am far from worthless!”

There’s a brief silence. Oh yes, that’s much better, the King says, sounding relieved – and much nicer (even if he does still have the Sweeney-like voice). I think I managed to pull myself free of much of it while you were making that speech. Well done.

“Thank you,” Victor says, smiling. He knows he should probably still see the therapist, still talk to someone about these feelings of self-loathing. But he also knows he’s taken a big step today. Finally acknowledging that he can’t be the screw-up he always saw himself as, even after all this time in the future? It gives him a little thrill. And the King apparently getting free of the darkness makes things even better. “Truce, then?”

Truce. A pause. Though I still want my own body, you understand.

Victor laughs, feeling better than he has in days. “Oh, of course. I’d be quite happy to be the only person in my skull again.” Then the smile fades. “I just wish. . . . Oh, Alice. . . .”

Don’t give up on her, the King says. You’ll find her again. If you’re really meant to be.

Victor thinks of LOLed future memories of weddings, and nods firmly. “We are.” Alice may think it’s necessary for her to give him up – but he’s not going to give her up.

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Victor (Van Dort) Brown

December 2014

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