LM didn’t bother looking back at her. He knew just from the sounds of her flames what he’d see—her flame tentacles flicking angrily in the air, waiting to lash him for his wrongdoings. “Are you going to kill me the same way you killed Capernaum?” There was no challenge in his voice. Just sadness. “Are you going to burn this building down too?”
Her flame tentacles flrrrrrrred in response.
In his mind, he saw how they twisted and thrashed, tangled and untangled.
He waited for the bite.
“I wouldn’t burn this hospital down.” Missy said. “I should burn you, though, for letting The Institute hurt me. For helping them hurt me for not caring that they hurt me.”
His feathers bristled at that last part. “I’m not like them.” But how am I different from those leering, sneering crowds? None of them tried to protect me. None of them cared if I were hurt. How did I treat her any differently from how they abused me? “I am like them and I can’t defend myself. Truth is truth. Plain is plain. A straight line is a straight line.” His feathers calmed down again. “So, go ahead. Burn me.”
Missy frowned. “I should burn him. It’s what he deserves. Just like Antioch.” Her flame tentacles burned hotter and brighter. They flicked and twisted and snapped above her head. “But burning Antioch didn’t make me happy. Killing the whole Institute didn’t make me happy either. It knocked me out and forced me to stay here instead of going to Ambrose’s wedding and seeing Raven in a tuxedo and Ambrose and Robin all dressed up pretty too. I could have had a whole lot of fun with Raven and eating good food and great wedding cake while dressed up all nice and fine but I couldn’t because I was unconscious. And Raven was worried about me. My pretty Raven worried about whether I’d ever wake up.”
LM didn’t turn around for any part of that whole paragraph. He just continued to stand by the window, looking at who knows what and holding onto his book as if he’d drown without it.
“Killing you won’t make me happy either. I know that for a fact. It won’t change anything about our shared past. It won’t make you a better person or make you see that there are other people in this world who matter besides Capernaum.”
LM turned around sharply for that. He looked at her like he wanted to challenge that statement, but he said nothing.
“Besides that, killing you would just reunite you with Capernaum which is what you want anyway. Best punishment would be to not kill you and let you keep living on without him.”
He gave her a searching look. “I don’t know how to respond to that. ‘Thank you’ would make the most sense, but no. No, it really doesn’t. You want to spare my life to punish me. That isn’t something to say ‘thank you’ for.”
“That’s true enough.” She pulled her flame tentacles back into her body. “But you’re welcome anyway.”