Isellta spread his handful of dead spy cameras out on the recovery room bed.
“I ought to do something with these. Transform them into something better. Something lovelier.” He stroked the colored wires.
His mind did an incongruous leap to the scar on Robin’s face.
I wonder if there’s a way I could transform that into something lovely. But, even if I did, would he appreciate it?
I know I would appreciate it if I were him.
But I am not Robin.
And Robin is not me.
Robin hates me and he would hate me all the more for making his scar pretty.
How can I transform his hate into…its opposite? How can I make him see me as someone who is not a threat? As someone who…
As someone who what?
What do I want him to see me as?
I don’t know. I want him to be happy when I’m near him. I want him to see that I am more than Olessa’s former slave.
I just want him to see me as me.
I don’t want him to love me, mostly because I don’t understand it. It worries me with its lack of sense and sensible behavior. If I loved him, I would stop being sense-driven and where would that leave me? What would that make me?
Nonsensical. That’s what.
I can’t have that happen to me.
I can’t let anyone, especially him, ruin me like that.
He braided the one stream of cords with another one.
I should just stay away from him.
I should just stay here.
He saw a mental image of Robin talking in the bar with his friends.
The way he laughed.
I want to make him laugh like that.
That image changed into Robin mouthing that woman’s face.
Isellta’s wings flittered in irritation.
That image close-upped on Robin’s face.
Isellta’s hands went still.
He wasn’t thinking about his scar then. Or anything about Olessa.
He was happy.
He was at peace.
Isellta’s wings flattened against his back.
Robin will never want to do that to me.
I don’t make him happy.
I will never be able to make him that happy.
Why does that hurt?
He’s just a human.
And he hates me.
So, why do I care about what he thinks, about how he feels?
About how he feels towards me?
Olessa looked annoyed.
“Can’t you make him stop hurting?”
“Why? That is why he is here, fey. He is here because I want to see what makes these vampires tick, what makes them break. What makes them hurt.” Her eyes glinted behind her copper and gold masquerade mask. “I want to make them hurt. I want to see them tremble and snap and cry and wail. I want to see them beg for mercy. Not that I’d ever grant those pine sap dwellers mercy. Not after what she did to me.”
His wings flittered. “It isn’t right.”
She threw her head back and laughed. “Oh, fey. You crack me up so much. I don’t know what I find funnier. The fact that you think experimenting on monsters is wrong. Or the fact that you think I care.”
She laughed until tears came to her eyes and she could barely take a breath.
I give up. There’s no sense in trying to make her see. Not when she is so deliberately blind.
I just do.
And I don’t know why.