thepainted_lady: (Capable of more than you think)
Since John had told them about Elijah, Lydia had been curious. John didn't know that much, really--just that he'd been watching them, and that he was likely old. Lydia had, in theory, known there were vampires out there older than John, but she'd never expected to meet one, and found herself wondering just how old this vampire was and what he was like and what he was in town and watching them for. It was a strange mix of trepidation and excitement that was twisting around in her stomach.

Angela seemed far calmer, for all that she was the most vulnerable. Dinner itself was hardly necessary for any of them but Angela and Amanda, but Lydia, at least, had gotten back into the habit. Food was delicious now, even if not really helpful nutritionally. Edgar had wanted to come, but Lydia had sent Amanda off with him instead, not really wanting Amanda around if their guest turned out to be dangerous. Granted, Amanda was pretty capable of defending herself--none of them liked fire much--but the last thing they needed was her getting really scared or angry and burning the house down.

They'd just have to rest on their own gifts to keep them safe if he was hostile, which, considering Sylar and Peter had a wicked number of them, she figured they were okay. She'd never much done all that well with cooking when human, so she mostly hung around the kitchen while Angela made the food, helping out when the older woman asked. Lydia did get the table set and the wine open to breathe, then came back to hover in the kitchen until the bell rang.

The sound of it echoed through the house and she jumped a little, then gave Angela a nervous glance and drifted to the hallway to hover, not really wanting to be the one to open the door to the new vampire in town.
thepainted_lady: (It's not always that simple)
1. We both had lives before. We all have them, I guess. But for me, it's just that. Before. There's a strict line of demarcation there--my life before, and my life after. Again--I guess we can all say that--before we left our old lives, before we found this home, this family. But that's not it for me, not really. Yes, there was a renewal the moment I stepped through the gates, there was a feeling of coming home, of finding what I'd been looking for. But all of that faded into the background the next morning, because the moment life truly began again for me was the first time you touched my hand.

2. You're the only thing in my life I've ever depended on, and the only person I think I'll ever fully trust. I just wish that was enough.

3. Thank you for coming back for me. I'll make sure you never regret it. However it started, whatever we had to go through, it's all made me certain of one indisputable fact: I love you.

4. I would have given you anything. I did give you everything. There's part of me that still wishes I'd never woken up, because there's a pain that I can't seem to shake that I live with every day. There are days I can't breathe for it. But I'm not that girl anymore. I see you now, with all the blinders off. I may be alive, but you killed something precious that day. Things still hurt, but I'm stronger now, and I don't care what I feel--it's over.

5. I never wanted to let you down or hurt you, but I know I keep doing it again and again. All my best efforts seem to do nothing but backfire, when all I ever wanted was for you to be safe and loved and have a chance at everything I never did. I love you. I would do anything for you. And I hope some day you can forgive me.

6. Sometimes I wonder if things could have been different, but I'm glad you're happy now.

7. You're the most confusing person I've ever met. Normally I know exactly what someone wants from me, but no matter how hard I try, even though I can read you just fine, I can't figure you out. ...It's kind of exciting.

8. I don't think there are enough words to say, "thank you." Everything you've done, you didn't have to. I can't imagine how much we've turned your life upside down and what we've put you through, but I want you to know I'm grateful--to you and for you.

9. Sometimes I don't think it's fair to you, to be trying to build something with me, when I know I'm shattered into so many pieces I still feel them cutting at me all the time. There's so much you don't know, and that scares me. But you make me feel safe, and you make me smile, and you make me feel...hope for the first time in so long I can't remember. I'm terrified of falling for you, but I think it might be too late.

10. I didn't want to like you, but I couldn't help it. I didn't think I could forgive you, but it wasn't really that hard. I never thought I'd love you, but now I can't imagine how I ever couldn't.

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thepainted_lady: (Bathtime kisses)
"Passion makes the world go round. Love just makes it a safer place." -- Ice T

Passion was something she knew, and knew well. It was her stock in trade, in some ways, or at least the illusion of it, the lure of it. Every inch of skin bared, every look, every smile was meant to be an enticement into paying for more, and if that more wasn't exactly what they'd thought--well. They got to touch her, in some way, and she saw into their souls and gave them some insight into their dreams.

Some of them got more than that, true enough, on nights she didn't feel like being alone, and the family tended to turn a blind eye, no one minding too much what she did on her own time. That was passion. Edgar made sure no one got too rough and that they left when she wanted them to go. That was love, and never did she let the two meet for fear of ruining the one with the shadows of the other.

If she thought perhaps one day they would in Samuel...well, time had proven her so very wrong in that, and reminded her just how very off her own judgment could be, hadn't it?

Sylar had changed that, at least partly. What started out as passion had deepened into something else, despite her best efforts to keep it as the one thing she was good at, good for. It was terrifying, and it was thrilling, and it left her shaken to the core at first, but she'd come to depend on it, somewhere along the way. He was her shelter, the one place she felt safe, the one person she could cling to through life's storms, and if anyone else thought it strange that she'd found safety and home in the arms of a former serial killer turned vampire, well...that was their problem. Maybe, really, it was the only thing she could have done.

Only now there was another, and she was shaken again, maybe even more than before. Shaken and excited and pleased and breathless and all the things she never let herself feel, those little sparks that she remembered from long ago, before life intervened and steered her on a far more destructive course. Peter loved her. He'd said it, and she'd felt it, and she couldn't deny the answering warmth that heated inside her. She didn't know how he could, how someone like him could love someone like her. They might be living the same life now, but they'd come from worlds apart, and she felt it sometimes--moreso when Angela was around, no matter how nice she was to her. She wasn't the sort of girl men like him fell in love with. But he had. He was. He did.

And the more she thought about it, the more the trickle of warmth inside her grew until she was nearly burning with it, and recognized the answering feeling behind it. Peter loved her. And, it seemed she loved him, too. Who would have guessed that could happen, considering she'd pretty much just wanted to rip his throat out most days the whole first few weeks of their acquaintance? She had to give a wry smile, now, remembering.

Passion she understood. Love mingled with it was new. It explained some of the tentativeness of the last few months, though, the desperate wanting to make sure things worked out, that feelings weren't hurt, the possessiveness--things they'd put down to just blood had perhaps been sliding through to something else. It made her smile to think of it now, even as she shivered a little through the warmth with residual fear at the idea of the new level to their triad, wondering what change, if any it would bring. Balance had been so delicately and deliberately achieved...she didn't want to throw it out again.

But the warm glow wouldn't go away, and she was humming as she went about the new morning routine of getting Amanda up and fed and delivered to Edgar to be taken to school (though she insisted she could get there alone), before drifting upstairs and snuggling down in the big bed for the day. For the first time all week, sleep actually came easy, and she was smiling a little with the memory of the night before as she drifted off. Trusting in the best outcome was easier, for once, and despite the possible minefields, and the terrifying spinning her emotions were doing, she still
thepainted_lady: (Softly pretty)
[ooc: This isn’t really verse specific, exactly, but loosely based on some RP-ideas she’s done here and there. Mostly, it’s a fic that needed to be written and not intended to dismantle those RPs, even for the sections aimed at each character. They aren’t aimed at a specific muse, if that makes sense? More at an idea of a relationship with the character in a post-canon world. Not me--or her--breaking off specific RPs. The fic has been in my head for a while, but I don’t want other muns coming and going, “OMG is Lydia leaving my muse!” because, no, she’s not. Even if maybe it might be healthiest for her to do so for a while. K? K. *<3’s you all*]

The smell of your skin lingers on me now
You're probably on your flight back to your home town
I need some shelter of my own protection, baby
To be with myself and center, clarity
Peace, Serenity

The first time he’d shown up at the carnival after everything had settled back into what she had started to think of as 'life after Samuel,' Lydia hadn’t really known what to make of him. )

The path that I'm walking
I must go alone
I must take the baby steps 'til I'm full grown, full grown
Fairytales don't always have a happy ending, do they?
And I foresee the dark ahead if I stay

He’d come back, like some prince on a dark horse. )

Like the little school mate in the school yard
We'll play jacks and Uno cards
I'll be your best friend and you'll be my Valentine
Yes you can hold my hand if you want to
'Cause I want to hold yours too
We'll be playmates and lovers and share our secret worlds
But it's time for me to go home
It's getting late, dark outside
I need to be with myself and center, clarity
Peace, Serenity

Sixteen years of denial and evasion melted in tears and relief at surviving the most terrifying day of their lives, as words bottled up too long came tumbling out, caught up in clothes discarded by frantic hands and all tangled between fevered limbs. )

I hope you know, I hope you know
That this has nothing to do with you
It's personal, myself and I
We've got some straightening out to do

And I'm gonna miss you like a child misses their blanket
But I've got to get a move on with my life
It's time to be a big girl now
And big girls don't cry

She wanted him, wanted to lean on him, wanted to let him become her new Northern star, to lead her and her family through this murky new world, and make everything right in the world again. )
thepainted_lady: (Girl in blue)
[ooc: Based on RP at [ profile] heroesreduxrpg. Peter is [ profile] tarnishedhero.]

A sign hangs crookedly off a building in the wasteland stretched out below. She shouldn't be here, perched on the balcony's edge like this. It's possible patrols still come through the ruined city, looking for people just like them. She's tucked up close to the crumbling brick, though, pressed in a nook between wall and parapet, and there isn't any wind blowing at her skirts to wave them like a flag to signal any searchers.

It's hard to believe there might be any. Looking's hard to believe there might be anyone else alive, at all. It's a lie, of course. Just behind her, behind the door she pressed shut against the heat of too many people in a room and too many hiccuping sobs, huddles a portion--too small--of her family. Out there, somewhere, goddess willing, more are with Edgar.

There are bars, restaurants, homes, families, schools, stores, goes on in the world. She knows. Just last week she was in a sleepy little town in Arkansas buying provisions for breakfast the next day.

But here it's stopped. Here there is nothing but the sound of the wind through buildings she'd like to call abandoned, but in which she knows people died. How many? More than was right, more than ever should have been allowed. Over there, across the bridge, the rest of the city tries to rebuild itself, but here...New York has fallen, devastated, lost.

Not forgotten, though, because no one will ever forget, never again...the man--Sylar--who blew up the City and exposed them all. The Linderman Act. A president determined to hunt them down. She looks down, twisting her fingers in her shawl. His brother was one of the ones who saved them. Saved her...took the bullet meant for her...and she can't quite work that out. How can the president hate them so much, when his own brother is one of them? Why would he, just because of one man? None of them have done anything to deserve the things they've done. The detention centers...

She closes her eyes, blocking out the devastation below, trying to block out the grief welling up inside, suppressing the images that attempt to flood her mind of what they must do there...what it must be like...what Samuel might be going through...It won't do any good to agonize over it, to cry about it. That won't get him out any faster. She can't help it, though. Inside, back behind that door, she has to be strong. Danielle is a great help with the physical needs of the children, but she's terrified for her husband and useless for anything else. Arnold's getting sicker. The children are all scared and asking for Samuel, wanting to go home. She's the one who has to be strong, to lead them until he gets back. She can't cry in there.

So she's out here instead, staring at a stupid sign that's barely hanging on to a building that once was a place where people came to learn, to be entertained, to spend a few hours. It twists there, swinging back and forth, and she imagines she can hear it, the creak of its chains, their stubborn refusal to give out, even after a blistering devastation. Slipping off the edge of the balcony, she sinks down to the flagstone floor, leaning back against the wall, and just listens to the silence below.

If that damn sign can still be there after five years, she can hang on, too. She can do this. She will do this. She'll hold them together, and she'll do what has to be done to bring him home. Everything's changed, but they can make it okay again.

She sits for a few minutes more, calming her breathing, drying her tears, and then she pushes to her feet, moving back to the door. Another breath, two, her forehead resting against it, and then she makes herself put a reassuring smile on her face as she moves back into the crowded room, brushing fingers through hair here, touching a shoulder there, reassuring the flock that their shepherd will be back soon, and she's here to take care of them until then.
thepainted_lady: (Carnival beauty)
Something has changed within me
Something is not the same
I'm through with playing by the rules
Of someone else's game

The music was loud and the crowd was already drunk at noon, as Lydia made her way through the press of their too-hot bodies. She’d killed a girl heading this way and taken her clothes--her own far too ripped and bloody from her run through the woods--and boots (since she’d run off without any shoes) and felt like she fit in fairly well, though she was still occasioning quite a bit of comment.

Then again, women in leather miniskirts, corset tops and boots tended to do that anywhere. She felt a hand on her ass and let it pass. It was a grope, sure, but a quick sense from the touch...he wouldn’t take it farther if she complained. Not what she was looking for, then. She wanted her usual prey, but she needed a lot of them, or their kin. People the world wouldn’t miss, people she could use and still face herself in the morning.

Edgar had mentioned this place as somewhere to avoid, last time they passed through the area. She saw why when her attention was caught by the group in the corner.

Unfortunately for Edgar’s peace of mind, she had no intention of avoiding them today.

* * *

A half hour later, she was on the back of the bike of their leader, his blood singing in her veins--not enough to incapacitate him, but enough to give her compulsion an iron-clad hold. )
thepainted_lady: ([Samuel] Threatening)
[ooc: Based on RP with [ profile] heroslayer, [ profile] offering_hope and [ profile] hadtobeahero in AU/Vampire Diaries xover verse]

The cave floor was cold and hard, but she barely felt it. She’d shifted last night, mostly to stop the wracking sobs when she couldn’t take any more of them shaking her body. Exhaustion still weighed her limbs down from how far she’d run, and for the moment she had no idea where she was. Austria, perhaps. Maybe Switzerland, if she’d shifted directions. As fast as she was going, she could have made it to Italy. It wasn’t like anyone paid attention to the borders anymore, especially not for creatures like her.

She was shivering, but not from the cold. The cold she barely felt, whether from her own nature, or the fur she hid behind, letting it dull the sensation of having her heart ripped out of her.

All that hate. [Cut for long stream-of-consciousness and possible triggering material] )
thepainted_lady: (The center cannot hold)
[ooc: Sylar is [ profile] heroslayer and Peter is [ profile] hadtobeahero and both are used with love and permission. Based on RP with them and [ profile] offering_hope. John is [ profile] of_highdegree.]

Words wouldn't come. In truth, Lydia was afraid if she opened her mouth she'd start screaming again. The host of the Gasthaus had come running, pounding on the door, sure they were all being murdered in their sleep, and Sylar's assurances that she'd only had a nightmare had barely reassured the man when he'd seen how distraught she was. Only having seen them always happy together probably gave his conscience any ease to leave. If she started screaming again...?

A nightmare.

The word seemed too vague, too ephemeral for such a visceral experience. She was used to nightmares. Life had been a constant one for three years, a time when, honestly, sleep had been a semi-escape, but one from which she could be awakened at any time by searching hands wanting things that made her heat with shame for giving, sure she was damning them both to Hell, and God was going to punish her for the Devil living in her like he must. After waking life improved, sleep was less of a haven, and she got as little of it as necessary, as the monsters from her childhood returned in her dreams to torment her still. She learned some tricks, found some teas that helped, figured out if she were utterly exhausted physically, sometimes he didn't come...she lived her life to avoid the dreams as best she could.

Joseph told her she wasn't damned, and she tried to believe him. She stopped believing in God. Mostly.

Dreams of a bullet, of a kiss, of a cold place (that might have been Hell), a gasping return...they'd intermingled in the last year, and no wonder. She slept lightly, woke frequently, and mustered on as best she could. Sylar returned and she let him provide any comfort he could, even if it was to push her into oblivion, when she was too tired to dream, and that was a sweetness and no burden at all.

Last night...

No, to call it a nightmare was to call those other dreams some sort of unpleasant reveries. )
thepainted_lady: (Wistful)
[ooc: More of a canon answer, and obvs not aimed at any Peter she's actually met, or verses where she knows him? LOL]

Dear Peter,

You don’t know me, but I’ve heard so much about you and, as odd as this will sound, felt you enough times that I sometimes think I know you. There was a chance, once upon a time, that you were going to come to us. I saw it, saw you, lost and longing for a place, a home. There were three of you who needed us: you, Claire and Sylar. Claire and Sylar found their way here, but though Samuel found’ve never found your way to us.

I find myself wondering time and again what might be different if you had.

We aren’t bad people. I know you’ve had...encounters with us that might lead you to believe that. You haven’t seen us at our best, haven’t heard of us at our best, but we are capable of so much more. At our core, we’re a family, just like any family. We have our good and our bad, our hopes and our dreams. We want to be safe, protected, loved, free. We want a home. We want the chance to live our lives as ourselves, without being persecuted for who and what we are.

For so many years, the carnival has given us that, and though we live apart from the outside world, we’ve been happy. But...we lost our heart. We lost our way. We’ve been wandering in the desert. I’d like to say we fell when Samuel killed Joseph, but it wasn’t all his doing. Joseph...Joseph wasn’t the saint we make him out to be, and somewhere inside of us, something was falling apart before that. A discontent, a restlessness, a need for something more. Samuel’s power, his drive, his reflects something in all of us.

There is a story I remember from my lost catechism, the Israelites wandering in the desert for 40 years, longing for home, losing heart, needing to believe in the Promised Land, but ceasing to think it could be real. I think, perhaps, that’s us. Joseph failed as our shepherd. He had no vision for us, no guidance, just a code he clung to, but didn’t believe in. Samuel has a vision, but it’s tainted by hate, by vengeance, by too many years of belittlement and degradation.

We’re a lost flock in need of a shepherd. We say it’s an empath we need--an empath to replace Joseph. Some of them look to me, because it’s my ability, but I’m as lost as they, as trampled down and turned around as everyone else.

You could have been that person. Maybe you still could be. You’re good--I’ve felt it. Pure of heart and soul, longing only to help a world that you see hurting around you, but you don’t fit in, either. No one accepts you--not your friends, not your family. You’ve lost so much, been betrayed by those closest to you, found yourself alone in the wilderness not of your own making.

I know what that’s like. We all do. You could do great things here, save a lot of people, have at your hand countless family members willing to aid you in your quest to help a world in need. We could do good things in the world, instead of ill, with the right guidance. But you haven’t come, even though I’ve felt your soul longing for us without knowing what you reached for. Even when I called for didn’t come.

Maybe one day you will. I just pray it won’t be too late.


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