The tears had burned Elektra's eyes, and they were now bloodshot, beet red from the crying, the exhaustion, the weariness of having to play housekeeper, plaything and ragdoll to those who took charge of her at Puxley. The whole trek down to the slave dungeons was a quiet one. She was confused at the whole situation, unsure of whether to trust her ex-husband, or trust that it was just her body clinging to someone familiar in a time of devastation and desperation.
No, she fought herself. Landon was genuine, from what she remembered of him before the takeover, before their captivity. She refused to think of him as anything but that. They were both genuine, at a time, at each other, but times were definitely different. Times were hard, and in the slave pits, it's survival of the fittest. Elektra had to do so many things she wouldn't have normally done to survive, things she didn't like to think about, things she sometimes regretted.
Still, there they were, standing still, in her chambers, and she began shivering because of the lack of heat. The central heating units only flowed through the main part of the house, not for the slaves, of course not. Elektra cast her eyes to the floor, nervous, unsure of what to say to her ex-husband now, and she wrapped her arms across herself and tried to warm up.
Supposedly they were fleeing to safety by going down to the dank, dark rooms in which they "belonged." Supposedly this would keep their being near each other from being suspicious if they were seen. Landon knew this was a silly idea. It wouldn't make them entirely safe. There was no such thing as safety here in this manor or this world for that matter for people like them, people who didn't hold the right amount of magical blood to own a piece of paper that gave them the alleged safety and freedom. However, it was late, and he'd just found out something horrible that had happened to his ex-wife that irked him. Of course he was feeling cynical. Who wouldn't? No one but one of the cold-hearted bastards that kept them here.
Upon reaching the slave quarters, Landon came to a stop with Elektra. It was obvious that she wasn't comfortable, though the hugging of her arms to her body could just as easily be because she was cold. "I'll be right back," he murmured softly, giving her shoulder a gentle squeeze before taking off towards where he normally slept. He wanted to stay with her, to not leave her out of fear that her being alone left her completely vulnerable to an attack even if she was alone amongst a crowd of supposedly sleeping bodies. However, he wasn't stupid either. If they were standing around talking, they would be noticed. Laying down near each other and talking in a corner away from most people would be less likely to get them noticed. That sounded more ideal.
It took a few minutes, but soon the lumpy, cold mattress and flat, sorry excuse for a pillow as well as the light, holey blanket were all rolled and in his arms as he carried it all over to where he'd left Elektra. "Where's yours?" he asked. It wasn't like they really helped them be more comfortable, but at least the damp, flat mattress and the holey blanket would absorb some heat whereas the stone floor would not. Something was always better than nothing, though in this case it was barely so. He waited for an indication from her as to where her things were before he went to move it all towards a fairly dark, empty corner and set it back, placing her things nearest the wall so he could be between her and any possible Death Eater intruder. Once things were set up, he lowered himself and laid down on his side facing her mattress, fixing the blanket over himself.
Elektra shivered. Yes, she was cold, but she was also trying to shake the thoughts of that bloody Death Eater from her mind. She was still shocked at herself for coming clean to her ex-husband, using that as the assumed ice-breaker in their long silence with one another. But Elektra didn't have a choice. It was hard enough to keep up with the Death Eaters' demands, one could only hold so much resentment, so much hatred in their hearts, she just needed an outlet. Not to mention, he was willing to listen. She loved that about him so much, and that made her miss him even more. He could have up and left her as soon as she explained what happened. He could have even left when they bumped into each other upstairs, but no. Elektra was so relieved to be in his company again, there were very few words to describe her emotions at the moment.
Once he returned from his area with his pillow and blanket, she started towards their destination point and sighed. "One of the younger girls needed a blanket, so I decided to give her mine." Had this been a different circumstance, one would think this was an excuse to suffer and be cold or even sneak under the blankets with him, but she was telling the truth.
It was so dark down here, she noted. And it was quiet. Most of the slaves were in their own quarters, or rather, places in this dungeon they declared to be theirs, far from where they were laying now. Others were probably upstairs still, tending to 'needs' of the Death Eaters that needed to be done by sun-up. Elektra did not envy them.
She shivered again, resting on the pillow he had set down for her. Elektra curled up on her mattress, the pathetic excuse for a bed. It was definitely better than sleeping on concrete, but still not much better. She rubbed on her arms for warmth and turned to look at Landon under his blanket, who was already facing her direction. She couldn't help but stare at him, the silhouette of his face in the darkness, still reminding her how handsome he was. A grin tugged gently at the corner of her mouth. She sighed again, this time in exhaustion and relief.
"What happened to us?" It was the question she was fighting not to ask, but it was simply inevitable. Elektra knew she missed her Landon, but she wanted to hear his thoughts for a change, she wanted to hear was was in his head.
Landon nodded slightly to acknowledge what she had said about the blanket. Self sacrifice was one of the things he had always loved about Elektra, but it was one that had disappeared during the last days of their marriage. She had been so cold and distant in her grieving, and he had just stopped caring after a while. It had been so difficult to try to support her when she was unwilling and to deal with his own grief. But now, such wounds were lessened with time and it was time to move on and forget, to forge in this hell hole some semblance of the friendship that had foreshadowed the beginning of their relationship. It seemed fate had had served him motivation to make it through this alive. The only real love of his life was here before him and needed him for comfort, and somehow he found it easy enough to ignore any hard feelings he may have held until now. Before him was a woman who was now broken in ways he had not seen her, a woman who had once been so strong and independent.
He wanted to see her smile, Landon reflected. He wanted to see that defiant, playful spark in her eyes again as she looked at him. He wanted her to be happy, and if he could do that for her, then there would once again be reason again in this world that had cocooned around him, and he would come out stronger and better for it. They both would. They had to.
And as she shivered, looking so pathetic and exposed on that poor excuse for a mattress, Landon grasped the thin blanket he had and lifted it for her to crawl under with him. He didn't care about the proximity right now. He just cared about her, and her being cold and exposed right now was not going to help her. He wasn't certain what would or could, but he hoped his arms and body heat could help to some extent. However, her question derailed his thoughts. It seemed so sudden to him, so out of place, and he didn't know what to say or, rather, what she would want to hear.
Resting the blanket over her, Landon moved himself so he could better see Elektra rather than stare past her head and gave himself a few moments to collect his thoughts. "We just forgot to talk," the man replied quietly. "We lost...we lost, you know," he continued, chewing back his lip momentarily, "and we forgot to be there for each other. And we resented each other for it, argued...." He inhaled then exhaled quickly, shaking his head as much as he could with the flat pillow beneath him. "It was a mess, one that I wish hadn't happened more than you could possibly know." Well, there, not awkward at all...having her so close and letting out his feelings. Nope. Perfectly fine and normal.
The sudden warmth took over her and she shuddered. Elektra scooted in gratefully, trying not to make things any more awkward between the two as she snuggled into his blanket. She was thankful for the warmth, yes, but she felt that if she got too close he would pull back or feel obligated to hold her. As much as she wanted arms around her, his arms to wrap around her shivering body, Elektra wanted to take things as slow as possible. Divorce burned all bridges between them and it would be too much to ask for such contact so quickly. Elektra was going to take what she could get; a mere conversation between two adults, any warmth he would share with her, and the comfort of his presence. She was relieved already.
She listened to him talk now, a gentle whisper in that flowed through the silence of their dungeon room. It wasn't until he brought up the loss of their child that the tears struck again, tears she didn't think she had, as she did a lot of crying while they were upstairs. She could never forget the pain of losing the child they were so happy to bear. The fights after the death were futile, but unending for quite some time. It seemed that that was the final straw in their relationship; no longer would they put up with such verbal bouts with one another. It was no use trying to salvage a marriage already shattered by such devastation...or so they thought.
Elektra hadn't known true pain until they were swept away by the Death Eaters. They were both yanked into this prison, this hell that others merely called "slavery". Had she known that their lives were a cake-walk compared to a life in misery under the roof of some tyrant, she would have refused to give up such a luxury. "Such a mess, my love..." She said shakily, her voice wavering in and out of a whisper as she both cried and spoke. It was only a few seconds later that she'd realized she called him "love", and she turned away in embarrassment. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to--er, I mean..." She stammered, in an effort to find a segue into a different topic.
The words did not escape his ears, however, as easily as they escaped her mouth without her knowledge. Landon stiffened slightly, not entirely certain what to make of it, and and he couldn't help but wonder if she could feel his heartbeat pick up as she said them. He had missed hearing her call him that, but it couldn't be. Not now, not after so long. Yes, he had regretted the divorce after a while, but it had been necessary, hadn't it? And now here in a slave situation was not the time to try to revive a lost romance no matter how desirable and tempting it was. It would be comfort, but comfort was dangerous. If you got comfortable in this situation, you could easily lose everything. All it would take would be for a guard to catch wind who has a vendetta against you, and it would all be gone.
He was silent for the longest time after her apology, an apology he tried to pretend hadn't happened. Was it too much to ask for the awkwardness to simply dissipate despite the potential and likely consequences? Something in him didn't want to give up the way he was feeling right now. She was his piece of familiarity, his piece of home, in this hellish reality they now shared, and there was no denying it. And being here right now gave him some sense of purpose, some entity outside of himself to be concerned about and to focus on, to comfort and protect. Unfortunately, the danger was far too near for there to be any true comfort, but he could do nothing about that. He had no wand, no real strength compared to his well-fed, uninhibited captors. All he had was his will and his fists, the prior something he could never let them take from him completely or it was all over. Then, he was nothing but a living dead man, something he didn't want.
"Don't worry about it," Landon said after what felt like an eternity had passed, and he placed a hand tentatively on her shoulder. "You just get some sleep. You need it." Yes, it was cutting everything short, but what did it matter? She needed to rest to stand any chance of even feeling a little better. She was undoubtedly emotionally and physically drained after all that had happened, and hopefully her dreams would allow her a brief escape from her personal hell and its demons.
Elektra felt so awkward, so uncomfortable in the silence that dawned after she apologized frantically. Why was she apologizing, exactly? It's something she's wanted to call him for many days now, many nights where she lie alone in her dank, disgusting corner, left to rot away with the rest of what death and despair lie underneath the grand manor. On one hand, she didn't regret saying it, but on the other, she was scared of his reaction, considering she hadn't spoken to him for so long, endured so much to be beside him again and what if he didn't take this kindly? Elektra exhaled nervously.
"don't worry about it," he said, and then told her to go to sleep. He touched her shoulder, and his touch sent a chill through her body, a shockwave through her, a sense of hope, a familiar feeling. She reached up with a weak grip and took a hold of his hand.
No doubt, Elektra knew she needed it but she couldn't sleep now. She didn't want to let a moment like this pass her by. "No," She whispered back defiantly, "No, I can't sleep..." She tried not to sound panicked, but on the inside, her heart was racing. "I'm finally here, with you. I'm finally at a place where I can rest comfortably, beside you again and I refuse to sleep and let it all go." She was spitting out nonsense, maybe, but Elektra really did not want to close her eyes and wake up the next day only to discover him gone...again.
"Please, Landon..." A tear streaked down her cold cheek. "I'm sorry about what I said, I am...but only if you don't accept that..." She paused, "I still love you." It was a chance she had to take, baring herself to her ex-husband like this, exposing her thoughts. Because when you live as a slave, you find that there isn't much to lose. If he accepted her, it would bring such warmth back into her life, and she would finally be content, even after enduring rape, physical, verbal abuse...the pain would fizzle away. If he rejected her, she would just be right back where she was: miserable.
Last Edit: May 12, 2010 10:48:05 GMT -8 by elektra
"And I'l--" Landon began to say even if he knew it would be a lie. After all, by first signs of light, he'd have to be away from her for fear of what might come of being spotted together. But she kept speaking, apologizing for what she said. "I accept it," he replied quietly, closing his eyes. "But I'm not saying more until you've had some sleep. I'll still be here when you wake up." There was that half-lie again, but what did it hurt? She could use all the comforting thoughts as she could get at the moment. Anything to get her to close her eyes and at least rest. As though in second thought, he pushed himself up slightly and kissed the side of Elektra's forehead. Something comforting, something familiar she probably wanted right now, and he didn't see any harm. It could just as easily be a friendly gesture at that location. "Now, sleep," he muttered tiredly.
Of course, if she listened, the problem would be keeping awake so he could move when needed. Tonight had been tiring emotionally and physically, but maybe things would start looking up now, though he scolded himself for thinking that. Anything that made anyone happy who wasn't free wasn't worth the heartbreak it would later afford.
((Where, oh where, has Landon gone? Oh where, oh where could he be? =p))
His lips felt good against her skin. Even though his kiss was brief and on her forehead, Elektra felt a warmth in her that was more soothing than the feeling of being beneath a down comforter. They didn't have those sorts of luxuries down here in the slave pit, but she could only imagine that it felt like this. A smile tugged the corner of her lips, but only slightly. She was exhausted, physically spent, emotionally drained, mentally defeated. Finding a relaxing position beside him, she felt good to know that he was accepting of her words, and only slightly concerned that he didn't say it back.
Any woman would be concerned that the man failed to reply with "I love you too" after those three words were spoken, out of the blue and what not. Elektra was only partially hurt because she couldn't hold her ex-husband to that unwritten obligation of a reply. What did she expect? She would cry to him, tell him about the rape and everything would be fine and dandy? No. Elektra was trying her hardest to be realistic. Times were hard. The current circumstance deemed it was not appropriate.
"When I sleep, I think of you, Landon...I miss you so much." She whispered, bringing a her hand to his face, and she delicately stroked his cheek with her thumb. "I don't know why I am saying any of this, but I feel so compelled to that...that I have to. It's as if my mind is spilling it all out because I don't know when I'll get the opportunity to be with you like this again..." In her exhaustion, she wearily spoke, a half-sob and a half-whisper. But she was aware of her words, and was completely sincere.
Landon rolled to his back as Lex began to speak to him again, not protesting if she curled up against him. He just didn't want to look at her. He couldn't look at her right now and expect to remain strong. This desire for intimacy, to be close, to dare to love her...again...it wasn't something he should be longing for. His survival depended on remaining self-efficient. Nothing else mattered--rather, nothing else should matter. He stared at the ceiling and fought the urge to close his eyes to enjoy the feeling of her thumb stroking his cheek as she spoke. He couldn't relax, not for an instant. Even sleep was a luxury that had to be carefully planned out anymore in a world where even looking at the wrong person funny could gain the reward of a flogging or even death or worse.
"Please...Lexa..." Landon pleaded as she reached the end of her rather small speech. "I..." He sighed, daring to glance at her a moment, the cold air stinging his moist eyes as he turned his head. He quickly looked back up, closing his eyes. "I know what you feel, but you know how things are right now. This kind of talk is dangerous. We shouldn't even be near each other right now."
He felt like a failure. He knew he was probably hurting her right now. He knew what she wanted to hear, and he hated not being able to let out those three little words, but he knew once he said them, it was all over. There would be no more chance for him to shy away, fade into the background to protect her. He'd want to be with her because things would get emotional then, and who knew what could come of the next several minutes before they'd fall asleep. Emotions weren't safe. Nothing was anymore.
Last Edit: Jul 1, 2010 0:29:13 GMT -8 by elektra
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