The story of Allison Starr and Brian Bentley continues. Allison is no longer a Chevalier, and she is in a relationship with Brian. Now, with an uncertain future ahead of them, they must decide how to proceed if they want to clear Brian's name. Luckily, some help arrives in the form of Allison's college mentor.
, Young Adult 20-29
, Mature (40-49)
, Mouth Play Characters:
Micro (1 in. to 1/2 in.)Size Roles:
Following story may contain inappropriate material for certain audiences
February 23 2021 Updated:
April 18 2021
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
1. Looking Forward by Pluto Pendragon
2. The Big Reunion by Pluto Pendragon
3. The Big Decision by Pluto Pendragon
4. The Big Reveal by Pluto Pendragon
5. Revelations by Pluto Pendragon
6. Choices by Pluto Pendragon
7. Consequences by Pluto Pendragon
8. A Day Off by Pluto Pendragon
9. A Reconciliation by Pluto Pendragon
10. A Great Idea by Pluto Pendragon
11. A Birthday Party by Pluto Pendragon
12. A Crisis by Pluto Pendragon
13. Crisis Response, Part 1 by Pluto Pendragon
14. Crisis Response, Part 2 by Pluto Pendragon
15. Moving Forward by Pluto Pendragon
16. Skip Ahead, Part 1 by Pluto Pendragon
17. Skip Ahead, Part 0.5 by Pluto Pendragon
18. Skip Ahead, Part 2 by Pluto Pendragon
19. Skip Ahead, Part 3 by Pluto Pendragon
20. The New World by Pluto Pendragon
Looking Forward by Pluto Pendragon
Alright, this is happening. I know that I made it sound like a second story was unlikely, but over the past few weeks I've had a surprising burst of inspiration. In light of that, and the fact that I've been really bored lately, I've decided to see this thing through. I hope you enjoy the second chapter of this story!
“Brian, do you have a girlfriend?”
“Did. Did he have a girlfriend, dumbass.”
“He could still have one.”
“Yeah, right, like anybody would stay with him after what he did.”
Brian looked up from his place at the lunch table towards the two men talking at him. He was sure that they had names, but all he perceived them as were Prison Jumpsuit 17 and Prison Jumpsuit 24. He was sure that they had faces, but all he could see was a mess of twisting features that were always trying to provoke him. He wasn’t sure that they had souls. Naturally, then, they thought he would fit right in.
“Leave me alone,” he said softly, his voice neither high or low pitched.
“He told us to ‘leave him alone,’ can you believe that?” 24 asked, before plopping himself down right next to the downtrodden figure with messy black hair and empty green eyes.
“We’re not harassing you, dude, we just want to know if you had a girlfriend before you killed that kid,” 24 continued. Brian twitched, but nobody noticed.
“That’s right, we’re just trying to get to know you better! You’ve barely spoken to anybody in, like, six months now, don’t you want some friends?” 17 asked, sitting down on Brian’s opposite side. “We could be friends to you.”
“There are no friends in here,” Brian replied flatly, his eyes returning to their downwards position. 17 and 24 burst into laughter. It was a harsh, grating sound, one that caused Brian to physically recoil from it. A sudden arm around his shoulder prevented him from moving any further, though.
“True enough, man,” 17 replied.
“Especially not for you,” 24 continued.
“Please leave me alone,” Brian repeated in a small voice. Although he was getting better at concealing his expressions, he couldn’t stop the fear from leaking out through his face and voice. His tormentors took notice of this.
“Sure thing, man, soon as you answer our question. Did you have a girlfriend?” 24 repeated.
“Or boyfriend?” 17 said, a predatory twinkle in his eyes. Brian debated not responding, but he decided to answer their question, taking their word that they would leave him alone if he did.
“No,” he said. 24 grinned.
“Knew it,” 24 said, “dude is way too lanky and awkward for anybody to want to fuck him.”
“He’s got a pretty good face, though,” 17 replied. “Why not?”
“I answered your question. Please leave me alone,” Brian said.
“He was probably too scared to try,” 24 said, ignoring Brian’s request. “Rejections can be tough, especially for people that are already fucked up in the head.”
“True enough, true enough. Why bother trying if you know how it’s gonna end, right?” 17 responded. “Getting turned down would probably push him right over the edge.”
“I’m asexual,” Brian said quietly, his eyes never moving. 17 and 24 paused their banter and stared at him for a moment, before breaking out into boisterous laughter.
“Asexual?!” 24 said incredulously. “I’ve never heard anybody actually call themselves that before.”
“That’s because asexual people don’t exist, bro,” 17 said condescendingly. “That’s gotta be one of the worst excuses I’ve ever heard.”
Brian looked up at 17, his eyes finally emitting a spark of emotion.
“That’s not very progressive of you,” he said lowly. 17 scoffed.
“Asexual is just another word for somebody who needs a good fucking. That’ll snap you right out of it.”
At that, the arm on Brian’s shoulder suddenly tightened, and began to pull him away…
“STOP!” Brian shouted, jumping to his feet. Assaulted by an unbearable feeling of confusion, he looked all around, trying to figure out what was going on.
“W-What…? Where… huh?” he mumbled, desperately trying to clear the fuzziness from his mind. He took in his immediate surroundings. He was in a dark room, all lights turned off except for a dim blue light in the distance. This allowed Brian to get a sense of what was around him. He was standing on some kind of cloth, a large pouch seemingly sewn into the cloth that was right next to him. He guessed that he had been sleeping in that pouch, if the sweat stains were anything to go on.
All around him, reaching up to roughly eight times his height, were strange mesh walls. He could tell that he was supposed to be able to see through them, but the room was too dark to make anything out beyond his immediate surroundings. Brian was thoroughly disoriented, but a rustling in the distance soon snapped him out of it. Suddenly, a strange noise echoed around him.
It sounded like a voice, but it was distant and unnaturally loud. Brian’s fear only increased. He chose not to respond, as he did not want to attract the attention of whatever creature was apparently looking for him. There was more rustling, and a clicking noise was quickly followed by a stronger light illuminating the room. Brian winced at the sudden brightness, and then focused his eyes in the direction of the voice.
What he was met with defied all explanation. Sitting before him, from his perspective, was a living mountain. A woman, far bigger than anything he had ever seen before. Although far away, he could tell that just one of her fingers was nearly double the length of his entire body, and could easily swat him like a fly. Brian’s eyes widened even more, his sleep-addled mind unable to comprehend what he was looking at, and he fell to his rear.
“What are…?!” he stammered, crawling backwards. The woman’s face twisted in confusion and concern, and she spoke once more. This time, though, her tone was much softer.
“Brian? Brian, it’s me, Allie. You know, Allison Starr?” she said quietly, holding both hands up to show that she meant no harm. At the mention of her full name, everything came flooding back to him. This was Allison Starr, the former Chevalier who was supposed to execute him for a crime he did not commit. She chose not to, and had been concealing him ever since.
It’s Allie, Brian thought.
It’s Allie, I’m small, it’s Allie, I’m safe.
At that realization, he flopped over on his back, his heart pounding.
“Allie…” he breathed exhaustedly. Allison smiled in relief, and she moved to undo the top of the pet carrier in which Brian slept. With a quick nonverbal confirmation of permission, she gently picked Brian up and placed him in her palm. She then retreated to her original position in bed, laying him down on one of the pillows. Resting her head on the area right next to him, they soon found themselves staring at each other, Allison waiting patiently while Brian took deep breaths.
“Was it another nightmare?” Allison asked softly. Brian nodded. At that, Allison moved her free hand over him, covering his shoulders to his feet in a cocoon of her skin. She reached up with her thumb and began to stroke the side of Brian’s face tenderly. He closed his eyes and leaned into the sensation.
“They’re getting worse, I’ve never heard you shout like that,” she said. Brian finally got his breathing under control.
“I… I know. Ever since the session… I don’t know how to make it stop,” he replied.
“What was it about? Was it your mother again?” Allison asked.
“It was nothing,” Brian answered, breaking eye contact. Allison furrowed her brow slightly.
“Brian, you said you weren’t going to do that,” she gently admonished. Brian sighed.
“Sorry. Old habits,” he said. “It wasn’t her, it was prison. From before I learned how to stop the other guys from bothering me. A few of them… took it to extremes.”
“I see…” Allison said sympathetically. “Why did you look so scared of me, though?”
“I forgot where I was,” Brian answered. “I forgot what was going on, and I forgot that I’m… small. I was just confused.”
“Oh, Brian…” Allison sighed. “I know that being small must be scary sometimes.”
“Most of the time, it’s not,” Brian said. “Sometimes, though… when something unexpected happens, or when I forget… I-I just get so confused, and…”
“Shhh…” Allison soothed. “It’s okay. You’re safe with me. I’ll never let anything happen to you, not again. You know that, right?”
Brian smiled gratefully.
“Yeah,” he said, relishing the warmth and feeling of security that Allison was providing. Allison beamed, her happiness shining through any layers of sleepiness on her face.
“Anyway,” Brian said, “I’m sorry to keep waking you up with my nightmares. I don’t like to disrupt your sleep.”
“Nonsense,” Allison said dismissively. “What kind of girlfriend would I be if I didn’t comfort my boyfriend when he wakes up screaming?”
At that, Brian blushed slightly and averted eye contact. Allison noticed this, and saw an opportunity to tease him.
“Something wrong?” she asked playfully, already knowing the answer.
“It’s just… hearing you say girlfriend… for some reason it makes me embarrassed,” Brian admitted shyly. Allison wanted to squeal with happiness, as her favorite side of Brian was his bashful side.
“Well, it sounds like you’re going to be embarrassed quite a lot, because I am your girlfriend. I’ve been your girlfriend for a week now, and I’m having so much fun as your girlfriend, and I just love being your girlfriend, and-“
“Shut up!” Brian cried, hiding himself under the cover of Allison’s hand. She giggled, remembering the days when she felt like it was impossible to fluster the one-inch man she had rescued from death.
“I’ve never had a girlfriend before, cut me some slack,” said a slightly muffled Brian.
“Well, how am I doing so far?” Allison asked. She pulled her hand away from Brian, allowing them to look at each other once more.
“…You’re amazing,” he said quietly. Allison grinned like an idiot, her heart on fire.
“In fact, you’re doing too well,” he continued. “I feel like I’m not doing enough in return.”
“Brian,” Allison said incredulously, “a relationship isn’t like a transaction. There’s no law of equivalent exchange going on. We’re in a relationship, and we look out for each other. We care for each other, and we do things for each other. That’s all it is. And I can tell you, this has been the happiest relationship of my life so far.”
Brian’s eyes softened, and he broke out in a smile.
“Okay. Thank you,” he said. “We should probably go back to sleep. What time are you leaving tomorrow?”
“Around 11. I’m gonna meet up with Professor Dawson, then go out to lunch with her. So, we’ll need to make sure you’re covered for lunch as well,” Allison replied.
“Sounds easy enough. What do you think she’s gonna say?” Brian asked.
“About me being a Chev? I have no idea. I just hope she’s as understanding about why I did it as you were,” Allison answered.
“If she truly cares about you, then she will be,” Brian said resolutely. “When’s the last time you spoke to her?”
“Uh… about 7 months ago? It was a little while before they offered me the job,” Allison replied.
“Did she not reach out at all during that time?” Brian continued.
“Well… I guess not,” she answered after a brief hesitation. Brian narrowed his eyes.
“That seems weird,” he said.
“Not really. Like I told you, I was pretty… isolated for a while. Most people had stopped reaching out to me by that point, and taking the job only made it worse. As of now… you’re all I have, Brian,” she said, a gentle smile overtaking her face at the end. Brian reciprocated.
“You’re all I have, too, Allie. Sucks to be us, huh?” he said with a sly grin.
“Mmm… it’s not so bad,” Allison replied, leaning forward and gently kissing Brian on the top of his head. “Anyway, we should go to sleep.”
“Yeah, you’re right. Can you place me back in the carrier, please?” Brian asked, blushing after Allison’s kiss.
“Actually, I have an idea about that,” Allison replied. Brian made a questioning noise.
“For the past week, I’ve been using an app that tracks sleep behavior. It records noises I make while I sleep, so it can tell when I move around and stuff,” she continued.
“Wait, does that mean it’s been catching all my nightmare noises?” Brian asked, a feeling of embarrassment washing over him. Allison grinned.
“I doubt it. I keep my phone on the opposite side of the bed, and I doubt your teeny-tiny adorable voice gets picked up,” she replied.
“The teeny-tiny probably wasn’t necessary, but I’m with you on the adorable part,” Brian responded. “Why have you been doing that?”
“Well…” Allison started, a blush of her own overtaking her face. “It turns out… I don’t toss and turn in my sleep, like, at all. According to the app, once I fall asleep, I’m like a rock. So… I thought, you know, maybe…”
She took a deep breath.
“If you wanted… you could, well, maybe sleep in my hand? If you don’t think it would be safe, then that’s fine, but… maybe it would help with the nightmares? I could keep you safe all the time, you know? Even in your dreams,” she continued. Brian’s eyes softened in the face of her kind proposal. A feeling of immense gratitude and adoration welled up in his chest.
“Y-Yeah… we could try that,” he replied quietly, trying not to sound too excited. Allison beamed, and moved to turn off the light. Soon, the room was blanketed with darkness once more, save for the small blue night light in the corner. Allison gently beckoned Brian into her palm, and once he was secure she rolled onto her back and rested her palm on her stomach. She brought her other hand over Brian, creating a makeshift blanket with her fingers, leaving only his head exposed. Surrounded by Allison’s soft, warm skin, Brian felt safer and more secure than he ever had in his life. He was almost confused as to why they hadn’t tried this before. He looked up at his gargantuan girlfriend, and saw that she was gazing down at him with a tender expression.
“Goodnight, Brian. I love you,” Allison said.
“Goodnight, Allie. I love you too,” Brian replied.
At that, they both closed their eyes and drifted into a peaceful sleep. A new day was about to begin for Allison Starr and Brian Bentley, one that would set in motion a chain of events that had the potential to change everything. Regardless, they slept peacefully. They slept with the knowledge that, whatever might happen, they would be able to face it as long as they did it together.
There it is, a little introduction to get back in the swing of things. While I've got you here, let me give you some information on what this story is going to look like.
1) This story is going to focus on Allison and Brian's relationship a lot, particularly the sexual aspect. Brian's sexuality will be explored as well.
2) Now that the Chevalier aspect of this story is gone, in terms of giantess content it's going to mainly be gentle stuff. There won't be any crush/torture content, as outlined in the tags, so please keep that in mind if you were a fan of that in the first story.
With that being said, we're back in business. I hope you enjoy where it goes from here.
The Big Reunion by Pluto Pendragon
New character time! This is a dialogue-heavy chapter.
Allison strolled across the grounds of her old university. It had been over half a year since she last visited, but that might as well have been a lifetime ago. You see, most people have at least one “before and after” moment in their life. A crucible that distinctly bisects a person’s memories, to the point where the “before” feels like it happened to somebody else entirely. For Allison Starr, that moment began and ended when she decided to become a Chevalier. Now, walking through the memoryscape that took place in the “before,” Allison was completely entranced. Nostalgia, regret, comfort, longing, no emotion was out of bounds as the last 22 years of her life came flooding back to her. With that being said, she knew that the worst was yet to come as she approached an all-too-familiar building which housed the office of the person she was there to see. Soon enough, she found herself standing right outside a familiar wooden door. She knew who was waiting on the other side of that door, and her heart was beating with an intensity rivaling the moment she had decided to save Brian. Preparing herself to open the door, her last conversation with him flashed through her mind.
“Okay, Allie, what’s the one thing you’re not going to tell her?”
“That I’m the Chev who you were sent to.”
“Right. And why’s that?”
“It would raise suspicion.”
“Right again. If she asks about me, what are you gonna tell her?”
“That you had already been sent to someone before I showed up to work that day, and that I heard you died a gruesome and horrible death.”
“You’re damn right I did. Good luck, Allie.”
Thanks, Brian, Allison thought as she finally moved to open the door. There was a creak of wood and a shuffling of footsteps, and soon Allison was once more standing before her college mentor, Elizabeth Dawson.
Elizabeth Dawson, age 47, was a woman who inspired comfort in everybody she met. She somehow combined the wisdom of an old sage with the hospitality of a grandma baking cookies, and her warm, inviting personality was enough to charm virtually anybody lucky enough to meet her. Naturally, then, she made an excellent professor. Her librarian glasses guarded eyes that seemingly held all the wisdom in the universe, and many young students turned to her for guidance. Allison had been one such student, although their relationship had eventually evolved into one of true friendship.
Elizabeth was a surprisingly curvy woman, all things considered, but like Allison chose to keep her figure well protected behind a fine layer of clothing. Whereas Allison preferred formal office attire, though, Elizabeth usually went for more office-casual. Her thick, cascading brown hair fell past her shoulders, and the ever-so-slightly wrinkled texture of her otherwise flawless skin served as the only indicator of her age. Like Allison, she had dark brown eyes- eyes that were now pointed in Allison’s direction.
A moment in time was stretched to an eternity as Allison locked eyes with her former mentor. Whereas one might expect to feel joy, comfort, or some other invigorating emotion when reunited with an old friend, Allison’s mind was overtaken with only one thing: pure, and overwhelming shame.
She was right about him, Allison thought, remembering Elizabeth’s repeated warnings about the previous man she had chosen to love.
I should have listened to her. I was so stupid. I am so stupid.
Suddenly, another realization bore fruit in Allison’s consciousness.
I was a Chevalier. She hates the Shrink Penalty.
Although Allison was well aware of this, and had specifically prepared for that discussion with Brian, the full weight of this truth suddenly crashed down on her.
Albeit privately, so as not to stir any political or ideological conflicts among her students and coworkers, Elizabeth was a staunch opponent of the Shrink Penalty. She firmly believed that there was no room for torture when it came to the criminal justice system, and longed for the days of the past where the term “cruel and unusual punishment” was the rule of law. That was a long time ago, however, and she was absolutely in the minority when it came to this belief in her current time. Allison herself had disagreed with Elizabeth on this point, as a matter of fact, albeit not vehemently. Regardless, showcasing support for the Shrink Penalty and becoming a Chevalier were two different things entirely, and Allison suddenly found herself at an overwhelming loss for words.
For a few moments, the two women stared at each other in silence. Allison’s eyes widened, while Elizabeth’s eyes softened. Elizabeth rose from her chair, and slowly moved around her desk towards the trembling woman at her door. Allison decided to try and speak first.
“Um… E-Elizabeth, I…"
Suddenly, Elizabeth dashed forward, wrapping Allison up in her arms and squeezing with all her might. Allison was thoroughly shocked, the surprise bear hug momentarily clearing her of all her worries. Completely engulfed in Elizabeth’s warmth, it felt like she had finally come home after a long, tumultuous journey into darkness.
“Oh, Allie,” breathed Elizabeth, “I’ve been so worried about you…”
At that, Allison simply couldn't take it anymore, and instantly burst into tears. She wrapped her arms around Elizabeth’s soft, inviting figure, and buried her face in her chest as she began to sob. As if she had been expecting it, Elizabeth simply held her as she gently stroked Allison’s hair.
“I’m so sorry… I’m so sorry…” cried Allison, a whirlpool of emotions shredding her heart.
“Shhh… it’s okay, Allie, it’s okay…” Elizabeth quietly soothed. They stayed like this for a while, Allison finally receiving the hug that she had so desperately needed for over half a year. Brian would have been jealous.
Allison and Elizabeth made their way into one of the dining areas on campus, making small talk as they went. They both wanted the chance to stuff their faces before they got into any heavy subjects.
“Wow…” Allison muttered as she looked all around the dining area. “It all looks the same.”
“Of course it does!” laughed Elizabeth. “It hasn’t even been a year since you’ve graduated.”
“Does that mean the food still tastes the same as well?” Allison asked.
The two made their way through the kitchen area, grabbing some food before finding a table to sit at. Just like that, then, the real conversation was about to begin.
“Allie, I know that we hadn’t been talking very much after you graduated, and I also know why that was,” Elizabeth started while Allison averted her eyes in shame, “but I was so worried when I stopped hearing from you entirely. I’m so glad to see you safe and healthy now, but what happened to you?”
“I know…” Allison said softly, Elizabeth barely being able to hear her over the sounds of a semi-crowded dining hall. “I’m so sorry, Elizabeth. You deserved better than that. I pushed everyone in my life away, and that’s one of the biggest regrets of my life. I hope we can still be friends.”
“Allie, of course we’re still friends,” Elizabeth said. “Let me ask you this, though, are you still with…?”
“No,” Allison said firmly. “He was arrested.”
Elizabeth sighed in relief, closing her eyes.
“It sounds like it happened under dreadful circumstances, and I won’t ask what happened if you don’t want me to, but I am so relieved to hear that he is no longer a part of your life. He was so…”
“I know, Elizabeth,” Allison said lowly, indicating that she did not want to continue down that line of discussion. Elizabeth’s eyes softened.
“Sorry, Allie. You’re right, we should stop talking about him forever. I do want to know, though, when did it happen? Was it recent, and that’s why you wanted to meet with me?” she asked. Once again, Allison lowered her eyes in embarrassment.
“No… it was, well, a bit over six months ago,” she said. Elizabeth’s eyes widened.
“Six months?!” she said incredulously. “Then, why didn’t…?” Allison held up one hand to stop her, knowing that her least favorite part of the meeting was about to begin.
“Elizabeth, I need to tell you something that’s extremely difficult to say. You’re probably going to be shocked, and maybe even angry, but all I ask is that you hear me out before making any judgements. Is that okay?” she asked nervously. Despite the fact that she had practiced those words with Brian, she couldn’t stop the apprehension from leaking out through her face and tone. Elizabeth’s face twisted in mild confusion, but she quickly softened her expression.
“Of course, Allie,” she said gently. Allison took a deep breath and steeled her resolve.
“After he left, I was completely alone. I had pushed everyone away because of him, ignoring everybody’s warnings. Then, what happened happened, and I realized that everybody had been right. I was so embarrassed and hurt, and I was already in a really bad place because of what happened, and I just didn’t know what to do,” she started. Elizabeth looked at her with great sympathy, wishing that she had been around to help.
“I was nearly homeless for a while. At one point… I got really, really low. I don’t like to think about it,” she continued, trying to hold back tears.
“Oh, Allie…” Elizabeth said softly, fighting the same urge.
“Anyway, that’s when I was offered a job. They said I would have good pay, very few commitments, and complete anonymity. Where I was, mentally… I didn’t know how to say no.”
Allison braced herself for the stinger.
“Elizabeth, I was a Chevalier. That’s why I didn’t reach out to you these last six months. I knew how you felt about the Shrink Penalty, and I still became a Chev. I feel like I’ve betrayed you. I… I’m so sorry,” she choked out, covering her mouth with one hand as she closed her eyes in shame.
Elizabeth stared at Allison, a shocked yet glossed over look in her eyes.
“A Chevalier…? You executed criminals, Allie?” she asked slowly, her tone surprisingly soft. Allison got herself under control and resumed eye contact, albeit still with an expression of shame.
“Yeah,” she replied in a small voice. “Are… are you mad?”
Elizabeth’s eyes drifted away, and she leaned back in her chair in seeming deliberation. After a moment, though, her expression softened once more, and she resumed eye contact with her terrified former student.
“Allie, here’s what I think,” she said firmly. Allison braced herself.
“I think… I think you got caught in a vulnerable moment. I can’t begin to imagine the kind of pain you were in at the time, and it probably felt like a way out,” she continued.
Allison’s eyes widened. She was thoroughly surprised at Elizabeth’s quick understanding, and a tremendous weight started to lift from her shoulders.
“Also,” Elizabeth continued, “my guess is that you eventually felt like you were too stuck to get out, right?”
Once again, Allison was shocked. She nodded, as if in a trance. Seeing this, Elizabeth adopted a gentle smile.
“Allie, I’m not mad at you. All that doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. It just means that you’re human.”
That’s exactly what Brian said, Allison thought.
“R-Really?” she asked.
“Really. You have to understand something, Allie. I would never abandon you. You have nothing to worry about,” Elizabeth replied. A surge of gratitude and adoration welled up in Allison’s chest, and she smiled brightly through her budding tears.
“Thank you,” she said. Elizabeth reciprocated her smile.
“You’re welcome, sweetheart. I know how difficult that must have been for you to say, and thank you so much for being honest with me.”
At that, Allison leaned back in her chair. The hard part was over. She began to pick at her salad, having barely touched it so far due to the butterflies occupying her stomach. Elizabeth began to do the same, but soon adopted a somewhat curious expression.
“A Chevalier, huh?” she said softly. Allison looked at her questioningly.
“I’ve never met an actual Chev before. I don’t want to pressure you if it’s hard to talk about, but could you tell me about it sometime? Not when we’re eating, of course,” she asked, letting out a small chuckle at the end. Allison reciprocated, just glad that they were already able to talk about it somewhat lightly.
“Well, we’re really not supposed to talk about it, but I guess so. I trust you, and it’s only fair after you’ve been so understanding,” she said somewhat reluctantly.
“Since you’re here, I take it you resigned?” Elizabeth asked.
“Yeah, one week ago exactly,” Allison replied. Elizabeth nodded.
“Now, that I am definitely happy to hear. Why’d you quit, may I ask?” she continued. Allison’s heart ever-so-briefly fluttered, as this was the point where she would have to start lying in order to protect her tiny boyfriend. She remembered the practice conversations she had done with Brian.
“There really wasn’t one specific reason. Just a slow buildup over the months, and one day I realized that I simply had to quit if I ever wanted to be happy,” she answered.
“I see,” Elizabeth said appreciatively. “It takes a lot of self-awareness to do something like that. I’m so proud of you, Allie.”
“Me too,” Allison replied. At that, the conversation drifted into a comfortable silence, both women simply enjoying a break after such a heavy conversation. After a little while, though, Elizabeth’s eyes widened.
“Oh!” she exclaimed, causing Allison to flinch. “If you were still living in L.A., does that mean you worked at the Silver Strip?”
“Er… yeah, it’s the only one around here,” she replied, slightly bemused as she took a sip of water.
“Do you know anything about what happened to Brian Bentley?” she asked fervently.
Allison nearly spit out her drink. She had not expected Brian to be name-dropped so soon, if at all. She quickly regained herself and leaned back into her rehearsed lines.
“Well… yeah. His SPAR- er, Chevalier session had already happened by the time I showed up that day. I heard he died a gruesome and horrible death, though” she said, trying not to sound too stiff.
“Fuck!” Elizabeth exclaimed. Allison was shocked, as her mentor swearing was quite the rare occasion.
“I guess it’s over, then…” she muttered. Although a part of Allison wanted to draw the conversation as far away from Brian Bentley as possible, her curiosity over this unexpected outburst compelled her to probe the issue.
“W-What’s wrong?” she asked.
“It’s just… hearing it on the news is one thing, but hearing it in person from somebody who actually knows is another. A part of me was hoping that he was at least granted a quick death,” Elizabeth continued.
“I see… you’re still sympathetic to his case, then? You probably shouldn’t say that so loud,” Allison said.
“Allie, I’m sorry but it’s an absolute travesty that he was ‘re-sentenced’ to death like that. Not only was the government changing their definition of a ‘worst-of-the-worst’ criminal, the decision seemed entirely fueled by public outrage. Do you understand just how dangerous of a precedent that sets?” Elizabeth replied. In her mind, Allison was feeling vindicated. In a world where virtually everybody celebrated the death of Brian Bentley, here was somebody who shared her concerns. Outwardly, though, she knew that she couldn’t let on just how much she was in agreement, so as to not raise suspicion. Still, she couldn’t bring herself to disagree.
“Yeah, I guess,” she said softly. “I wasn’t very happy about it, either.”
“When I heard the news that he was re-sentenced, it made me feel sick. Then, two weeks ago when I heard that he had been executed, I couldn’t sleep. I just can’t believe that this is the state of our criminal justice system. It reminds me why I stopped practicing,” she continued, the floodgates having been opened. Allison felt nostalgic as she remembered all the times when Elizabeth had gone on a rant about something she was passionate for in the past.
“Allie, what would you have done if he had been sent to you?” Elizabeth asked cautiously.
Abort, abort, ABORT!
“I don’t know,” Allison replied quickly, “I don’t want to think about it. I’m really glad he wasn’t, that’s all.”
Elizabeth nodded thoughtfully.
“I understand. Did that have anything to do with you quitting?” she asked. Allison wanted to deny it, but she felt like that would seem odd based on their conversation up to that point.
“Yeah,” she said resolutely, “it had something to do with it.”
“I see. Well, I’m glad you eventually saw the SP for what it is,” Elizabeth replied. Perhaps emboldened by her desire for a sympathetic ear, Allison decided to keep the conversation on Brian, despite her better judgement.
“I never really did get an answer out of you on this,” she started, “but do you think that Brian Bentley was innocent?”
Elizabeth took a sip of water, apparently in deep contemplation.
“I don’t know, Allie,” she finally said. “I don’t know, but what I do know is this: if he was truly as guilty as they said he was, and the evidence was that overwhelming, there was no reason in hell for them to handle his case the way they did. The secrecy, the sealing of files, the ‘new evidence’ they discovered on the day Brian Bentley was old enough for the SP, absolutely none of it makes sense. That’s enough to make me doubtful.”
“I know what you mean…” Allison replied appreciatively. “In fact, you’re the one who planted those seeds of doubt in my head, Elizabeth. I never would ha-”
She caught herself.
“I wouldn’t feel the way I do if it wasn’t for you, so thank you,” she quickly said. Elizabeth’s expression softened.
“I just…” Elizabeth started, furrowing her brow as she adopted a troubled look. “When I look in his eyes… those eyes that everybody thinks make him a robot… I just don’t see a murderer.”
She took a breath. Allison was hanging onto every word.
“I just see a scared-shitless kid, shouldering an earth shattering amount of sadness. Imagine, for a moment, that he was innocent, Allie. Can you… can you even begin to imagine what it must have felt like to be him? To have the whole word despise you? Your own mother immediately throwing you to the wind? I physically can’t.” she asked.
“I can’t either,” Allison said quietly, remembering Brian’s breakdown.
“Just thinking that there’s even a sliver of a chance… it keeps me up at night, Allie. Sometimes, when I would see his picture in the news, I just couldn’t stop myself from thinking ‘that kid needs a hug,’ you know?”
Despite herself, Allison smiled.
“I do. I know exactly what you mean.”
Allison pulled up to her apartment, her mind buzzing. She quickly made her way into the house, throwing her things to the side.
“I’m home,” she declared to the not-quite empty room.
“Oh my god, I’ve been so bored,” replied a small voice in the distance. Allison looked towards the source- her large sectional sofa. There, set up on one of the edges, was Brian and his phone. They had recently installed blackout curtains on the windows surrounding the living room, so Brian could spend time outside of the bedroom when Allison was gone without fear of anybody spotting him.
Allison shot a questioning glance at her tiny companion.
“Er… that was French for ‘welcome home, Allie,’” he quickly corrected. Allison giggled, before quickly making her way towards him. She unexpectedly scooped him up and held him close to her chest for a moment, before setting him back down.
“What was that for?” he asked with a shy smile.
“Just felt like you needed a hug,” she replied.
“So, how was your lunch with Elizabeth?” he asked. Allison kneeled down so her face was roughly at Brian’s level with a determined look on her face.
“Brian, we need to talk about something,” she said firmly. Brian’s face twisted in confusion, before quickly dropping in realization.
“Oh, shit, I think I know what you’re gonna say. Allie, we absolutely shouldn’t tell-”
“I think we should tell her about you.”
“Oh, for fuck’s sake.”
Let me know what you're thinking! Until next time.
The Big Decision by Pluto Pendragon
Slightly shorter chapter, since I feel like the next one might be kinda long. Probably wouldn't be a good idea to combine this one into it as well. Enjoy!
“Alright, let’s take a step back. Can we talk about how the meeting went first?” asked Brian. Allison took a breath and nodded.
“So, how did she react to the whole Chevalier thing?” he said.
“Really, really well,” replied Allison. “Literally right away, she understood why I did it and said she wasn’t mad at me.”
Brian narrowed his eyes.
“Seriously? Not even a little bit mad? Was she at least surprised?” he asked.
“She was definitely surprised, but no. Not even a little bit mad. I laid out everything that happened prior to me accepting the job, just like we practiced, and I think that really softened the blow,” Allison replied. “Isn’t that great?”
“Well, yeah, I guess I’m just surprised,” Brian said. “What exactly did she say?”
“Well, she said basically the same things that you did. She understood that I got caught in a vulnerable moment, and I eventually felt like I was too stuck to leave. Just like you, she said that it didn’t make me a bad person. Like I remembered, she is a very caring, warm, empathetic, and amazing person. And that’s why…” she said, making an exaggerated wink at the end, signalling to Brian what she wanted to say next.
“And that’s why you think we should tell her about me,” Brian sighed. Allison vigorously nodded, and Brian groaned in response.
“Alright, I don’t want this to turn into another argument, so let’s just talk about it, okay?” he asked. At that, Allison rose from her kneeling position and made her way over to the sofa, sitting down right next to Brian. She then promptly picked him up and placed him in her palm, and he soon got settled as well. Brian pondered for a moment, while Allison waited patiently.
“So… can I tell you why I don’t think we should, and then you tell me why you do?” he asked.
“Yeah, that’s fine,” Allison replied. Ever since their argument, they had been working on ways to have difficult conversations without getting heated. One rule they had decided on was to let each other speak in turns without interruptions.
“So…” Brian started, debating how to word it. “Telling people about me carries risk for both of us. I’m not supposed to be alive, and if people were to find out that I am, and why that is… it could lead to my death and your incarceration. I don’t like that outcome, as I kinda like being alive, and I really like you.”
At that, Allison slightly blushed and smiled gratefully.
“Now, I understand that you have a history with this woman, but I don’t. As you know by now, trust doesn’t come easily for me, and trusting someone with our secret is about the highest level of trust I can give. That’s my first issue with her. My second issue is that, if I remember correctly, she was a former attorney, and currently teaches undergrad law and ethics, right?” he continued.
“That’s right,” Allison replied.
“Right. So, with that in mind, I have no idea how she will respond to your breaking the law by saving me. Showing support for my case, and perhaps wishing that I didn’t die is one thing, but actually breaking the law is another. My guess is that most law professors would say that you can’t choose to break laws just because you disagree with them. So, if she does not agree with your decision, and feels like her duty to uphold the law is more important than her relationship with you, then we’re dead. That’s my second issue,” he continued. Through it all, Allison simply listened in silence, a deliberative look on her face.
“Lastly… I guess I just don’t see why it’s worth the risk. I don’t really feel a desire to make friends with anybody else, and being found out is one of my greatest fears, for both of us. There’s already one person out there who knows about me, and we’re very lucky that she’s choosing to keep it a secret. I’m still not even really sure why she is, to be honest. Secrecy is our greatest weapon, Allie, and two people knowing about me is two too many, as far as I’m concerned. So… yeah. I guess that’s it. What do you think?” he finished, reclining into Allison’s upturned fingers as he passed the discussion along to her. Allison nodded, then smiled appreciatively.
“Those were some excellent opening arguments, Brian,” she said slyly. “Are you sure you weren’t also planning on being an attorney?”
“Oh ho ho, well you would certainly know, wouldn’t you, counselor?” he responded playfully. “Unfortunately, though, I never really figured out what I wanted to study before I got wrapped up in a series of unfortunate events. Anyway, what say you?”
Allison chuckled, before adopting a more serious expression as she deliberated where to start.
“Right… well, I guess there’s kind of a paradox when it comes to gaining your trust, isn’t there?” she started. Brian raised an eyebrow.
“Well, the only way for her to gain your trust is to gain it over time by interacting with you, but she can’t do that without knowing about you, which you don’t want to let happen because you don’t trust her, right?” she continued.
“Uh… yeah,” Brian replied unsuredly.
“Alright. So, let me just ask you this: do you trust me?” she asked. Brian’s eyes turned deadly serious.
“With every cell of my body,” he replied firmly. Allison smiled appreciatively, thinking back to how hard she had worked to earn that trust over the past few weeks.
“Good. I feel the same way about you, Brian,” she replied. “I also trust Elizabeth. Now, I know that it isn’t the same as you trusting her, but let me tell you what I know about her, as somebody who trusts her completely, okay?”
“Okay. Here’s what I know about her as a person, and here’s what I know about how she feels about your case. As a person, I’ve never met anybody as caring, wise, and empathetic as her. She sees the good in everyone, Brian. When I was in college, I sometimes felt closer to her than I did my own family. And, when it comes to the law, she was never above questioning it. I firmly believe that she values justice, not the law. So, once she knows that you’re innocent, Brian, I have absolutely no doubt that she would keep it a secret. You really don’t need to worry about that, if nothing else,” she continued. Brian’s eyes softened, not fully convinced but at least persuaded by her earnestness.
“Next, here’s how she feels about your case. So, think back to that first week or so after the death of Timmy Osment, when the media fever was at its greatest intensity, okay?” she said.
“Uh… I’d rather not,” Brian said quietly, turning his eyes downwards.
“Oh, shit. Sorry, that’s probably a good call,” Allison quickly corrected. “I just meant, when everybody was tremendously outraged, Elizabeth was still willing to openly criticize the decision to convict you. Her credibility took a big hit because of that, just because she felt like it was the right thing to do. I wish I had that kind of bravery.”
At that, Brian looked back up at her with a gentle smile.
“You were even braver when you decided to save me, Allie,” he said softly. An unexpected pang of emotion hit Allison in response, and she struggled against the urge to shower Brian in kisses.
“T-Thank you…” she stammered. “Anyway, my point is that she was never fooled for a moment, and her doubt surrounding what happened to you never faded. Today, she told me that the decision to ‘re-sentence’ you to death was a travesty. She said that when she heard the news, it made her sick. Then, when you ‘died,’ she said that she was unable to sleep afterward.”
Brian’s eyes softened, as if to say “really?”
“Really. She said that she doesn’t know if you were innocent, but the secretive and questionable way in which they handled your case is more than enough to inspire doubt. Even if there’s even a sliver of a chance, she said that it keeps her up at night. Believe me when I tell you this, Brian: there is nobody on this earth more likely to believe you than her. After me, of course,” Allison continued. She then took a pause, allowing Brian to absorb the information.
“You don’t say…” he muttered.
“Oh, she also said that when she would see you in the news, she always felt like you needed a hug,” Allison said.
Brian snapped to attention.
“She said that?!” he exclaimed. Allison was perplexed.
“That’s the thing you respond strongly to?” she asked in disbelief. Brian fidgeted in response.
“Well… it’s just, uh, who doesn’t like a hug, you know? She’s absolutely right, that’s all,” he said bashfully. At that, Allison grinned and held Brian close to her chest for a moment, giving him her best approximation of a hug for a one-inch person.
“Something like that?” she asked smugly. Moving her hands back to her lap, she saw that Brian had a doubtful look on his face.
“You’re trying to work me, woman. It ain’t gonna work,” he said with narrowed eyes. Allison giggled.
“Had to try,” she said. “Anyway, where was I? Right, if anything she seems more sympathetic to your case, now that you were ‘executed.’ Honestly, the moment where she seemed almost angry at me was when she asked if you were sent to me. I lied, of course, but I genuinely don’t know how she would have reacted if I told her that I had killed you. So, I guess that about covers it. She’s our best chance at an ally, and I also think it would do her some good as well, to know that you’re alive and healthy.”
Just like that, both sides had stated their case. That didn’t mean the discussion was over, though.
“I see. Not bad yourself, counselor,” Brian said with a grin.
“Thanks. I motion to move the floor into open debate for the remainder of this meeting,” she said stiffly, as if in a courtroom.
“Motion granted,” Brian replied just as stiffly. They smiled at each other.
“So, I want to talk about the last thing you said, Brian. Why don’t you want to make any more friends? Wouldn’t it be nice to have more people on your side?” she asked. Brian fidgeted for a moment.
“Allie, if I say something really lame and mushy right now, do you promise not to laugh?”
“Ugh, fine. Allison Starr, you’re all I need, okay? I feel no desire to make more friends because I already have what I want. That’s all,” he replied resolutely, trying not to sound too embarrassed. A surge of electricity ran through Allison’s body, and her face suddenly grew quite warm.
“…Brian, those are the things you say when you want to get yourself kissed,” she said, before puckering and drawing Brian closer to her lips. His eyes widened.
“Fuck, I take it back, I take it back! I hate your guts, you’re the worst, you suck!” he desperately cried, but it was all for nought. A moment later, his whole body slammed into Allison’s wet, cushy lips, and he was subjected to a long, drawn out smooch, once again coating his whole body with a layer of saliva. Pulling him away with an exaggerated smack, Allison quickly dried his body with one of her sleeves before returning her hands to their original position. There, sitting down with a peeved expression, was her tiny boyfriend. While he looked annoyed, his blushing cheeks indicated that he had enjoyed it quite a bit. As Allison had learned over the past week, kisses were Brian’s main weakness.
“You’re the worst, Starr,” he said.
“And proud of it!” replied Allison with a wink. Just like that, the mood had reset.
“While that makes me the happiest person in the world to hear, Brian, I really think it would do you some good to have somebody else to talk to,” Allison continued. “You’ve been alone for the past three years, so your standards have undoubtedly changed. As much as it pains me to say this, since I just want to keep you all to myself, it’s really not healthy to be completely dependent on a single person. Does that make sense?”
At that, Brian flopped over on Allison’s hand, letting out an exaggerated sigh of defeat.
“Fiiiiine,” he said, “we can tell her. But if this leads to me dying, I’ll kill you.”
Allison broke out in a huge grin, having achieved victory. Before they could proceed, however, she had to make one thing clear.
“Excellent. Don’t forget, though, my dearest Brian,” she said slyly. Brian raised his head to look at her, and she suddenly moved her head so her eyes were right before her one-inch companion with a fierce expression.
“Even if I’m choosing to share you, you’re still mine, got it? Finders keepers, and you belong to me,” she said sternly. Brian felt a strange tingle, and he grinned widely.
“Just like the Ring?” he asked.
“Just like the Ring,” Allison replied.
At that, the debate was over.
Alright, next are some introductions. See you then!
The Big Reveal by Pluto Pendragon
Like I suspected, this ended up being a longer chapter. I must have ESPN or something.
“Alright, she should be here any second. How are you feeling, Brian?” asked Allison. Brian shrugged, his expression eerily neutral. He was currently standing on Allison’s nightstand, where he would stay until it was time to reveal his existence to Elizabeth. Allison had invited her over for dinner, and she was about to arrive.
That bad, huh? Allison thought. As she had learned over the past few weeks, Brian adopted his infamous “robot” expression whenever he was stressed. The more emotionless he looked, the greater amount of stress. Judging by his face at that moment, then, Brian was very stressed. Allison could hardly blame him, considering what happened the last time someone had discovered him. As such, she felt like it was her duty to reassure him.
“Hey,” she said as softly and reassuringly as possible, “everything is going to be okay.”
She got on her knees, so her face was at Brian’s level. She then gently teased his chin upwards with the tip of her fingernail, and he soon locked eyes with her.
“I am not going to let anything bad happen to you, you hear me? Elizabeth is not Cathy, she would never try to hurt you. Even if she did, I wouldn’t let her. You are going to be in my hands the whole time, and I will keep you safe. Do you understand?” she continued. At that, Brian’s expression slightly softened, allowing a hint of emotion to shine through. He simply nodded in response.
Suddenly, a soft chime rang throughout the apartment, causing Brian to flinch. His gaze immediately hardened once again, as a new pang of fear washed over him. Allison gazed at him sympathetically, wishing she could just take his stress away.
“Okay, I’m gonna go let her in. We’ll probably talk for a few minutes, and then I’ll come get you. You don’t have to say anything to her if you don’t want to, just do what you feel comfortable with. I know this is hard for you, but I promise that this will be a good thing. Thank you for agreeing. I love you,” she said. Brian took a deep breath.
“I love you too,” he replied in a small voice. With that, Allison walked away, ready to welcome her former professor.
“Hi, Elizabeth!” Allison said cheerfully to the woman outside her door. Elizabeth smiled warmly in response.
“Hi, Allie, I’m so happy to see you again! Thank you for inviting me.”
“Of course. Please, come in!”
Allison promptly welcomed Elizabeth into the apartment, taking her coat and the bottle of wine that she had brought. They then moved into the living room, while Elizabeth looked all around.
“This is a very nice apartment, Allie!” she said. “You’ve always had great taste. Simple but effective, you know?”
“Right, also known as boring,” she replied. Elizabeth furrowed her brow, but Allison continued before she could offer a rebuttal.
“Thank you, though. With that being said, I’m actually looking for another place to live at the moment. Something smaller,” she said.
“Oh, and why’s that?” Elizabeth asked.
“Well… I kinda sorta lost my source of income recently, and I don’t want to burn through my savings while I’m figuring out what to do next,” Allison replied. Elizabeth nodded appreciatively.
“I also just don’t need this much space…” Allison muttered, thinking of Brian.
“I see. Well, I’d be happy to help you find something, if you want. Just let me know,” Elizabeth said. At that, Allison thanked her and motioned for them to sit down. She took a deep breath and steeled her resolve, as the important bit was about to begin.
“So, I invited you here because I wanted to talk to you about something. Would you mind if we do that before eating?” she started nervously.
“Not at all,” Elizabeth replied softly, taking note of the troubled look on Allison’s face.
“Okay. I’ve been thinking about our conversation the other day, about the Shrink Penalty. Well, first off, let me say again how much I appreciate your understanding. I was really worried that you would be angry, and it means the world to me that we’re still friends,” she continued.
“Honey, please,” responded Elizabeth, “you had nothing to worry about. Everyone goes through rough patches, I could never get mad at you for that.”
Allison smiled appreciatively, before her face turned serious once more.
“Thank you. What I wanted to talk about, though… well, it’s about Brian Bentley.”
At the mention of his name, Elizabeth’s expression saddened.
“I see… what about him, Allie?” she asked quietly.
“I was afraid to say so, but I agree with everything you said about him. It was absolute bullshit that Brian was re-sentenced to death, and everything about how his case was handled is just wrong. And… people were just so willing to accept it! We knew virtually nothing about the actual case against him, but because the media said otherwise we all just looked the other way. You did the right thing in questioning it, and I wish I had done so as well. I lied when I said there wasn’t a specific reason why I quit being a Chev. I quit because of Brian, completely,” Allison said, her tone growing angrier and angrier as she went. She had not expected to get so heated, but finally being able to express her true thoughts brought on some strong emotions that she had been suppressing for Brian’s sake. Through it all, Elizabeth just listened silently with a worried expression.
“Allie, are you okay?” she asked, like a concerned mother. “I agree with what you’re saying, but what’s going on? Why are you only telling me this now?”
Allison took a deep breath, getting her temper under control.
“Sorry. I guess I’ve been keeping that in for longer than I thought. Before I can explain, I just need to ask you something, okay?” she replied. Elizabeth’s face only grew more concerned.
“Um… okay?” she responded unsuredly. Allison looked at her with a deadly serious gaze.
“Do you think Brian Bentley should have died, regardless if he was innocent or not?” she asked slowly.
“Absolutely not,” Elizabeth responded instantly.
“If Brian was innocent and you had the chance to save him from death, do you think saving him would be the right thing to do, even if it was against the law?” Allison continued.
“Absolutely,” Elizabeth replied, just as quickly as before. Allison smiled in relief.
“Okay. I’ll be right back,” she said, before standing up and rushing to her room, leaving Elizabeth in absolute bewilderment.
“Did you hear any of that, Brian?” Allison asked.
“All of it,” he replied quietly. His expression was still neutral, but decidedly not as much as before.
“Good. Are you ready?” she asked. Brian nodded, and she beckoned him into her palm. Once he was secure, she gently covered him with her other hand, leaving him completely enclosed in a curtain of her fingers. She then made her way back, being extra careful to keep her hands steady.
“Allie, you’re acting very strangely. What is going on?” Elizabeth asked, watching as Allison approached and sat down on the sofa, keeping a moderate distance between them. Her eyes darted between Allison’s face and hands, looking for an explanation.
“Well… there’s no real way to prime you for this, so I’m just gonna show you,” Allison said, before removing one hand from the other, revealing what was contained within to the world.
Elizabeth took in the sight, her brain not being able to fully comprehend what she was seeing. There, sitting in Allison’s palm, was a tiny person. He was sitting cross-legged with both arms draped over Allison’s thumb, which was keeping him secure in her hand. He was naked except for some kind of cloth that was covering his waist to his knees, tied with what looked like string. Once the initial shock slightly lessened, she noticed his finer details.
He was slightly pale, but surprisingly fit. His abs sported the slightest hint of a six-pack, and his arms were thick and toned. Drifting upwards to his face, she saw three things of great interest. He had messy black hair and striking green eyes, which were showing an eerily neutral expression.
“What…?” Elizabeth said, before all the information compounded in her mind at once to create a revelation.
Messy black hair.
Striking green eyes.
She was asking about…
“Brian Bentley,” she whispered.
Allison waited patiently for Elizabeth to regain herself, while Brian simply sat in her palm, stiff as a board. After a few moments, Elizabeth seemingly snapped back to awareness, albeit still with an expression of shock.
“Allie, is that really…?” she started.
“Yes. This is Brian Bentley. The same Brian Bentley who was ‘re-sentenced’ to death,” Allison replied slowly, leaving no room for misinterpretation.
“So… you were the Chevalier that he was sent to?” Elizabeth continued.
“That’s right. And I saved him. I smuggled him out of the facility, and I’ve been hiding him here ever since.”
“Oh, my…” Elizabeth muttered, her eyes never breaking away from Brian. Despite the intense gaze from a person thousands of times his size, Brian simply returned the look with equal intensity. Elizabeth thought he looked like he was hardly aware of his surroundings in any capacity, judging from the neutral look on his face. She continued to stare at him for a few moments, thoroughly lost for words. Suddenly, though, her face dropped in sickening realization. She turned pale, and finally broke away from Brian to look at her former student.
“Wait… if you saved him… why would you…? Allison, are you saying that…?”
Allison firmly nodded.
“Yeah. He didn’t do it. Brian is innocent.”
Elizabeth drew both hands to her mouth, and tears began to form in her eyes. Her expression was one of pure and overwhelming dread, as she realized the full implications of what Brian had been through. Her faith in Allison’s judgement was absolute, and her own instincts surrounding Brian’s case had already made her more than willing to accept the possibility. She believed her instantly.
“Oh, no…” she squeaked, as a few tears ran down her face. "I'm so sorry…”
Her whole consciousness was overtaken with excruciating sympathy in the face of such a heartbreaking realization. Seeing such overwhelming concern for his well-being, Brian’s heart softened in appreciation. His grip on Allison’s thumb lessened, and his steeled gaze ever-so-slightly lifted, albeit not to an extent that most people would notice it.
Elizabeth’s mind was running a million miles an hour, as three years worth of events were re-contextualized for her. Every scathing news report, every hateful statement, every piece of abuse, none of it was deserved. His case was being covered up, and he must have only been ‘re-sentenced’ so he would never be able to tell anybody. His own family had thrown him away immediately. For three years, he had been completely and overwhelmingly alone, the whole world despising him. It made Elizabeth want to cry, both in sadness that such a young person could be subjected to so much, and anger that she lived in a world where it had been allowed to happen. Another realization hit her as she looked back at his face: his lack of an expression was not a sign of some robotic child killer psychosis, but a young brain consumed by overwhelming fear and sadness.
At that realization, Elizabeth got herself under control. She realized that they had given her a precious gift by telling her about him, and she was determined not to waste it by breaking down in front of him. She wanted to put his mind at ease, and assure them that they had not made a mistake by telling her.
“Um… okay. That’s a lot to take in. Okay… okay. Let’s, um… let’s start with some proper introductions, okay? We can go over more details later, I don’t want to barrage you with questions right away. Does that sound good?” she asked, keeping her tone steady and soft. Her one goal in life at the moment was to not scare the one-inch man in her former student’s hand. Allison smiled, remembering and appreciating how quickly Elizabeth was always able to take charge of a situation in a positive way.
“Sure, that sounds like a good idea,” she said before slightly extending her hand outward, as if presenting the tiny man in her grasp. Elizabeth took another breath, and adopted the warmest and most comforting smile she could manage.
“Hi, Brian. Is it okay if I call you that?” she began. After a brief hesitation, Brian nodded. The movement was barely visible to Elizabeth, but it nonetheless made her heart soar.
“Thank you. As you probably know, my name is Elizabeth Dawson. Although I wish it was under better circumstances, I’m very pleased to meet you. Also, let me just say how honored and thankful I am that you and Allie decided to trust me with this knowledge. I know that can’t have been easy, and I promise not to tell a soul about you. I hope we can come to be friends.”
At that, Elizabeth began to extend one finger towards Brian. The sight of her approaching finger caused Brian to stiffen, however, and Allison gently pulled her hand backwards in response.
“Sorry, Elizabeth, but I think we should hold off on touch for now. As you can imagine, Brian is a little nervous about meeting somebody new,” she said. Elizabeth retracted her finger and adopted a gentle smile.
“Of course, I completely understand,” she replied.
Perhaps emboldened by Elizabeth’s willingness to accept boundaries, Brian decided to finally speak.
“Um…” he started. At the sound of his tiny voice, Elizabeth suppressed the urge to gasp, and Allison’s eyes widened in surprise. She had not expected him to open up so soon. Brian forcibly removed any traces of fear in his voice, and began to speak in a soft tone.
“I hear… I hear that you advocated for me when I was first convicted,” he said.
“I did,” Elizabeth replied, matching his tone.
“I also hear you paid a heavy price,” he continued.
“I did. But, as of a few moments ago, it just became worth it,” she said, smiling brightly. Brian showed the faintest trace of a smile for a moment, before extending his fist out towards the gigantic woman before him.
“My name is Brian Bentley. Like the car. Nice to meet you,” he said. Elizabeth’s eyes darted between Brian and Allison for a moment, confirming that it was okay to extend her finger again. Allison gave a quick nod, quite surprised herself that Brian was choosing to do this. With that, she reached forward and tapped his fist with her finger, in a finger-fistbump. The slight sensation at the tip of her finger sent what felt like an electric shock throughout Elizabeth’s whole body, and she smiled at him warmly. Albeit tentatively, Brian had accepted her.
Some time had passed, and the trio had just been talking for a while. Or, more accurately, Brian had been listening while Allison and Elizabeth talked. That’s not to say they were ignoring him, though, far from it. Their conversation was entirely for his benefit, as they reminisced about some of Allison’s college days. Brian listened intently, tracking the conversation with his eyes. As you could imagine, he was quite interested in hearing about the college experience, since he was cheated out of one. Through it all, as he got used to Elizabeth’s presence, his posture slowly relaxed until he was comfortably leaning into Allison’s upturned fingers, a neutral but peaceful look on his face. Allison was teaching him how to trust again, and Elizabeth’s truly gentle and warm demeanor quickly put him at ease. Finally, Brian decided to ask a question.
“Did you ever go to parties, Allie?” he asked. Surprised by the unexpected addition of his tiny voice, Allison simply looked at him for a moment while his question registered in her mind. Before she could respond, though, a laugh cut through the silence.
“I’m afraid not, Brian. Our Allie here was quite the overachieving bookworm. I actually encouraged her to go to parties, believe it or not, but she was always on about how there was no time amidst her studying,” Elizabeth replied jovially. Allison suddenly turned beet-red.
“P-Professor!” she cried. “Don’t tell him that!”
“Another thing you should know, Brian, is that she reverts to calling me Professor when she gets flustered. I practically had to beg her to start calling me Elizabeth,” Elizabeth continued.
“Oh my god, shut up!” Allison exclaimed. At that, something unexpected happened. Brian laughed. The two women looked down at him, and saw that he had a genuine smile on his face, which promptly disappeared once he felt like he was being stared at. Allison’s heart warmed at the sight of Brian quickly warming up to Elizabeth, as she took it as a sign of his growth. Elizabeth, on the other hand, was positively thrilled. She found Brian to be just about the cutest thing she had ever seen, and her instincts were overwhelmed with the urge to protect him and make him happy. As Allison was well aware, making the infamous “robot” Brian Bentley laugh was a big step in gaining his trust.
Then, before any further teasing could commence, the doorbell rang yet again, shaking Brian out of his relaxed state.
“It’s okay, Brian, it’s just the food,” Allison soothed. “Sorry, Elizabeth, but I figured I should just order some takeout for dinner this evening. As you can imagine, I didn’t exactly have food on my mind when I invited you over.”
“Fair enough, Allie, fair enough,” laughed Elizabeth. At that, Allison went quiet for a moment, clearly in deliberation.
“Hey, Brian…” she started. “Would you like to stay on the couch with Elizabeth while I pay for the food, or would you like me to put you in our room?”
Brian stiffened for a moment at the unexpected question. After a moment, though, he relaxed.
“…here is fine,” he said quietly. Both Allison and Elizabeth suppressed the urge to react too strongly, so as not to embarrass him for what was clearly a difficult thing to say. With that being said, they couldn’t stop themselves from smiling, while Brian averted his eyes.
“Okay. I’ll be right back,” she said, before standing up and gently setting Brian down on the sofa. While he wasn’t exactly close to Elizabeth, he was still in grabbing distance. While this normally would have stressed him, at the moment a greater fear was drowning out his senses. At the sound of Allison opening the door, Brian retreated as far into the couch cushion as he could go, while craning his neck in the direction of the door. Elizabeth took note of this, and her face twisted in concern.
“Does the door scare you, sweetie?” she asked gently. Brian darted his eyes towards her, a neutral but clearly distressed look on his face.
“Uh… yeah, I guess so. It’s just… well, it didn’t go so well the last time somebody rang the doorbell unexpectedly, that’s all,” he said, thinking about a certain blonde-headed woman. Elizabeth’s expression darkened at the implication.
“D-Did somebody…?” she started, before quickly changing her mind. “Actually, no, I’m sure you don’t want to talk about it.”
Brian nodded gratefully, before the sounds of the deliveryman at the door caused him to flinch once more. Elizabeth decided to keep distracting him.
“Instead, can I just tell you how happy I am that you’re alive?” she said. “I was so upset when I learned about your ‘re-sentencing.’ As a former lawyer, believe me when I tell you that the way they handled your case was disgraceful.”
Brian looked back at her, and his eyes softened once more.
“Allison told me that you lost sleep over it,” he said. Elizabeth let out a huff.
“I surely did. Hopefully I can sleep a little better after tonight,” she said with a smile. Brian chuckled.
“Well, I’m sure I’m not exactly in the state that you would have preferred,” he replied, gesturing to his one-inch body.
“Nonsense, honey,” Elizabeth responded dismissively. “You’re still you, even if you’re small. And besides, it’s not like the shrinking is-”
“Here we go,” Allison interrupted, holding a takeout bag. “You still like italian, right Elizabeth?”
“You know I do, Allie!” she replied, before she realized something. “But wait, how is Brian going to eat with us?”
At that, Brian suddenly snapped to attention, looking more excited than Elizabeth had ever seen him. His eyes were sparkling, which she found adorable, while Allison groaned in the background.
“Oh, god…” she muttered. “He’s gonna want to show you at some point, so let’s just get this over with.”
At that, Allison placed the bag down on the kitchen counter and strolled over to Brian’s position, scooping him up from the couch. She then motioned for Elizabeth to follow with her free hand, and they all moved into Allison’s spare bedroom. There, set up on a table, was a strange looking cube. It had several transparent windows, showcasing the various odd gadgets and gizmos contained within. Elizabeth could tell that Brian was infinitely more excited about this than Allison was, so she decided to ask him for an explanation.
“What’s that, Brian?” she asked.
“My most treasured possession,” he responded.
“It’s a 3D printer,” Allison cut in dryly. “We use it to make stuff he can use, like furniture. We also use it to make cutlery, which allows him to eat ‘big-people’ food.”
Brian slowly turned his head to look at Allison, a look of mock outrage in his eyes.
“Way to take all the fun out of it, Starr,” he said while bopping Allison’s skin with his tiny fist. She simply shrugged in response. Elizabeth smiled in response to this bickering, before nodding appreciatively.
“I see… that’s absolutely brilliant, you two!” she exclaimed.
“Yeah. Allie thought of it,” Brian declared proudly, as if the achievement had been his own. Allison gently rustled his hair.
“If that’s the case, then why aren’t you more excited about it, Allie?” Elizabeth asked. Once more, Allison shrugged.
“I don’t know, I guess I just don’t think it’s particularly exciting. It’s extremely useful, that’s for sure, but Brian talks about it like it’s the coolest thing ever,” she replied.
“Wrong, the actual answer is that she has no imagination, so she can’t understand how cool it is,” Brian corrected. Allison sighed, indicating to Elizabeth that this was not the first time they had argued about it.
“On that note, why don’t we go eat?” suggested Elizabeth, trying to avoid conflict. At that, they all moved into the kitchen to prepare for dinner, and soon found themselves enjoying some delicious italian food. Although Brian was still hesitant to join the conversation, he was certainly more talkative than Allison had expected him to be. For the first time ever, Allison’s apartment was filled with the cheerful noises of a dinner amongst friends.
After dinner, Brian and Allison were relaxing on the sofa. Brian was sitting on Allison’s thigh while she ate some ice cream. Every once in a while, she would lower the bowl next to him, and he would scoop out a miniscule amount with a tiny spoon. Elizabeth was in the kitchen, as she had insisted on doing the dishes. After a little while, though, Allison noticed that Elizabeth was covertly motioning for Allison to follow her into the bedroom.
“Bathroom break, be right back,” she said, before gently plucking Brian up and setting him down on the armrest of the sofa. He promptly flopped over on his back and closed his eyes, as he was getting sleepy.
She walked to her bedroom and quietly closed the door, and then turned to face Elizabeth, who was waiting inside with her arms crossed.
“What is it, Elizabeth?” Allison asked quietly.
It must be something important, she thought.
“Do you think he ate enough?” Elizabeth asked concernedly.
“…huh?” Allison asked. Apparently not that important.
“Brian. Do you think he got enough food? I know he’s small and everything, but I could hardly tell he had eaten anything at all if I didn’t look closely. Do you think he’s still nervous?” she continued.
“Elizabeth, it’s fine,” Allison said. “That’s what it normally looks like, I promise. He fills up quickly. I’m sure he’s still somewhat nervous about meeting another new person, but I’m honestly amazed how quickly he’s warmed up to you. It’s going great.”
Elizabeth smiled in relief, before something clicked in her mind.
“You said another new person, Allie?” she asked slowly, her tone darkening.
“Um… w-well, you see…” she stammered, trying to figure out if she could worm her way out of this.
“You know, when you were answering the door, Brian looked terrified. When I asked why, he said that the last time someone rang the doorbell unexpectedly, it didn’t go well. What… exactly… did that mean?” Elizabeth continued. Allison broke out in a cold sweat..
“Uh… it’s just that, he was, well, accidentally discovered by a friend from work,” she said quietly. Elizabeth’s eyes widened.
“Work… as in, another Chevalier found him?! What the fuck happened, Allison?!” she said angrily, struggling to keep her voice down. Allison had never seen her so angry before.
“Everything turned out fine! Brian came up with the brilliant idea to act like I had only kept him to torture him, which she totally bought since she’s a sadistic pervert, and we got her to leave! W-Well, we kinda had to do a session to prove it, and also because she threatened to blackmail me, but I always stopped her before the torture went too far-”
“The torture?! You let Brian be tortured?!” Elizabeth interrupted.
“I, uh, also had to… kind of participate,” Allison replied sheepishly. Elizabeth grabbed Allison by her shoulders.
“You tortured Brian?! Allison Starr, it’s your job to protect him!”
“I know that!” Allison hissed. “I didn’t know what else to do! We had to get her to leave! Look, it all turned out okay, okay? Brian was never seriously injured, and he forgave me right away. Well, he did kind of have a breakdown afterwards…”
At that, Elizabeth held one hand up to stop her, pressing the other one to her forehead.
“Alright, that’s enough. Allie, we’re definitely going to talk about this in more detail at some point. Just tell me, though, does this Chevalier still believe that you only kept Brian to torture him?”
“Uh… well, no. I tried telling her that I killed him when I resigned, but she, uh… kind of understood everything. She knows that I think he’s innocent,” Allison continued.
“Oh, for God’s sake. And how did she react?” Elizabeth asked exasperatedly.
“Like I said, everything turned out okay! She said that she respects my choice, and won’t tell anybody,” Allison replied. Elizabeth raised an eyebrow.
“And you believe her? You actually believe that this supposedly sadistic pervert is fine with you keeping the Brian Bentley alive?”
“It seemed reasonable at the time! You don’t know her, I think she’s actually a good person. Maybe she just didn’t want me to get in trouble?” Allison responded.
“I don’t buy it. I know what Chevaliers are like, Allie, they wouldn’t just let this go. Listen, just tell me her name, alright? I want to look into her,” Elizabeth continued.
“Well… we’re really not supposed to reveal the names of-
“…her name is Catherine Gates.”
“Thank you. Now, let’s head back out. I don’t want to stay gone too long. You go first,” Elizabeth said. Allison sheepishly nodded, before briskly leaving the room. Wiping away any traces of that uncomfortable conversation from her face and body language, Allison made her way back to the couch and plopped herself down. Brian looked at her with a suspicious eye, which he soon turned to Elizabeth as she came strolling into the room.
“You two were talking about me, weren’t you?” he asked, although it came across more as a statement.
“What makes you say that?” Allison replied, a little too quickly.
“I heard it. One of the side effects of the shrinking process is that it enhances your senses, including hearing,” he said.
“It does?!” both women exclaimed.
“No,” Brian replied. “I was guessing.”
“Oh my god,” breathed Allison. “You’re the worst, Bentley.”
“And proud of it!” Brian responded. “Anyway, feel free to talk about me as much as you want, just let me go to bed first. I’m falling asleep here.”
“Yes, I guess it is getting kind of late,” Elizabeth said. “I should probably get going.”
At that, she walked over to the sofa, and gazed down adoringly at the half asleep one-inch man she found there.
“Listen, you two, this has been a wonderful evening. I can’t tell you how much it means to me that you decided to entrust me with your secret, and I promise that you won’t regret it. I’m going to do everything I can to support you both, okay?” she asked. Allison smiled gratefully, while Brian nodded. Allison then placed Brian into one of her palms and stood up, getting ready to transfer him to the pet carrier. Elizabeth gently reached out and poked him on the cheek, which elicited a sleepy smile.
“Goodnight, Brian. It was a pleasure to meet you, and I promise to come back soon.”
At that, Allison quickly moved into her room and placed Brian in the carrier, where he promptly made his way into his shirt-pocket-bed. Confirming that he was comfortable, Allison then went to see Elizabeth out.
“So, you said you want to come back soon. When are you thinking?” Allison asked as she opened the front door.
“How about tomorrow?” Elizabeth replied. Allison was shocked.
“Really, that soon?” she asked. Elizabeth chuckled.
“Of course! I don’t know if you noticed, Allie, but that boy you rescued is an absolute cutie. I’d love to get to know him better,” she said.
“I might have noticed…” Allison muttered, feeling the slightest pang of jealousy.
“More importantly, though, we have a lot to discuss. I assume you told me because you want my help, right? So we need to go over your plan as soon as possible, and figure out the best course of action from there,” Elizabeth continued. Allison was perplexed.
“Wait, wait, wait, what are you talking about? What plan?” she hurriedly asked. Elizabeth raised an eyebrow.
“Your plan to clear his name, obviously. So, be sure to clear it with Brian first, and if he’s okay with seeing me again so soon I’ll drop by, same time tomorrow. I’ll cover the food this time,” she said with a wink. “Night, Allie. Thanks again for telling me. You did the right thing in saving him, and I couldn’t be more proud.”
With that, and a quick hug, Elizabeth was gone, and Allison was alone. She stared at the closed door in a haze, with only one thing on her mind:
“…my plan to clear his name?”
Alright, that does it for this weekend's bout of chapters. See you next week!
Revelations by Pluto Pendragon
I keep forgetting to mention this, but this story is named after the Billy Joel song, which I love. It wasn't until after that I realized the lyrics are actually extremely relevant. Go figure.
Brian took deep breaths while Allison stroked the side of his face with her finger. A few hours had passed since Elizabeth left, and he had jolted awake from yet another nightmare. Due to the fact that Brian had opted to go to sleep early that day, it was still relatively early in the night. As such, Allison had already been awake to comfort him.
“W-Why… Fuck!” Brian exclaimed, rare tears of frustration in his eyes. “Why does this keep happening? I’m at the point where I’m afraid to fall asleep.”
“I don’t know, baby…” Allison sighed. “I’m sure that it will get better, we just have to give it time.”
Brian looked at her with a skeptical eye, his heart rate returning to normal.
“I hope so. More importantly, though, when did you start calling me ‘baby?’” he asked. Allison lightly blushed.
“I thought I could slip it in without you noticing,” she muttered. “I just thought… isn’t it appropriate for a couple to share nicknames? You’ve got ‘Allie,’ but what do I have?”
“I see, I see… So, what, are you not a fan of ‘darling,’ ‘beloved,’ ‘honey-bunches,’ ‘snookums,’ ‘sugar-butt,’ or ‘boyfriend-chan?’” Brian responded teasingly.
“You’re forgetting ‘asshole,’” Allison replied, with a poke to his cheek. At that, they shared a laugh.
“For real, though, I see your point. You can call me anything you want, Allie. Makes me feel special,” Brian continued. Allison beamed.
“Got it, snookums.”
“That makes me think, I’ve only ever had one other nickname in my life,” Brian said after a moment of silence.
“Yeah? What and by whom?” Allison asked. She always pounced on any opportunity to learn about Brian’s past, as they did not come often. After a moment, though, his face ever-so-slightly saddened.
“It was by my sister, Jennifer,” he said softly. Allison’s heart quickened, as it was an even rarer occasion when Brian talked about his family.
“When she was little, she had a hard time saying ‘Brian,’ so she called me ‘Bean,’” he explained with a soft chuckle. “Even when she grew up, it just kinda stuck.”
Brian’s eyes were distant, as if he was gazing into the starscape of another universe, trying not to be blinded by the light. Allison noticed this, and she smiled sympathetically.
“I see,” she replied quietly. “That’s a cute nickname. I’m afraid that one belongs to her, though, so I can’t use it.”
“What was your relationship with her like?” Allison asked. Brian looked up at her in surprise at the unexpected question.
“With Jen? Well…” he said, clearly conflicted.
“You don’t have to talk about it if you don’t want to,” Allison replied gently.
“It’s fine. We were pretty close. Well… it was more than that. She really relied on me, probably a bit too much,” Brian started.
“Why was that?”
“I’m sure this will not come as a shock to you, but we didn’t exactly have the greatest mother. Our dad left shortly after Jen was born, and our mom was always busy. She was working to support us and everything, but even when she was home… she just wasn’t there, you know?” he continued. Allison nodded thoughtfully.
“As such, I was always the one who looked out for Jen. Even though I’m not that much older than her, I just felt like I had to grow up really quickly so I could take care of her.”
“I see. Why haven’t you talked about her before?” Allison asked. Brian turned his eyes downwards.
“It’s hard. I don’t like to think about what she went through after I was convicted,” he replied. The room was overtaken by silence for a few moments.
“The day I realized I was never going home was when my mom told me that she didn’t believe me,” Brian said quietly. “After I calmed down, and was able to form coherent thoughts again, you know what my first one was?”
Allison shook her head.
“I thought ‘what does Jen think of me? Is she going to be okay without me?’ After that… that’s when I cried for the first time.”
Allison scooted closer to Brian’s position on her pillow and gently nuzzled him with her cheek. She then cupped him in one of her palms, holding him close to her face as he leaned into her skin.
“Brian… if she loved you that much, then there’s no way she believed that you had done it. I’m sure that she knew in her heart that you were innocent,” she said.
“I don’t know. She didn’t come to see me before I was permanently moved, and she probably followed her mother’s lead when it came to publicly distancing herself from me,” he replied.
“I wouldn’t be so sure about that,” Allison said. “For the most part, your sister was kept out of the public sphere. For what it’s worth, your mom worked hard to shield her from the spotlight.”
“Really?” Brian said, his eyes slightly lighting up. “Well, I’m glad she actually did her job for once. Still, I’m not holding out hope for Jen. She was only 14, and the whole world was shouting at her that the evidence was overwhelming. There’s only so much a kid can take.”
“Wow, I forgot that she was only 14…” Allison muttered.
“Yeah. Wait, come to think of it…” Brian said, a realization forming. “Her birthday should actually be coming up pretty soon. That means that she’ll be… Jesus, she’ll be 18. My baby sister is all grown up. What the fuck?”
Allison giggled at his bewilderment. After a moment, though, he turned contemplative.
“I hope she’s doing okay. I hope she found peace after what happened. I hope she forgave me,” he said quietly.
“Well… maybe you’ll get to ask her yourself, one day?” Allison asked, her voice laced with optimism. Suddenly, though, Brian’s eyes turned deadly serious.
“No,” he said firmly. “Allie, let me be clear on this: keep my family away from me. I don’t want them to see me like this, and all it would do is reopen old wounds. I’m afraid there’s no room for discussion on this.”
Allison was stunned at his stern insistence. Brian had never adopted such a tone before.
“N-Not even if we proved your innocence?” she asked. Brian let out a dry chuckle.
“That’ll never happen,” he said. At that, Allison sensed an opportunity to direct the conversation towards what Elizabeth had said prior to leaving.
“That reminds me, would you be okay with Elizabeth coming back tomorrow?” she asked. Brian raised an eyebrow.
“She wants to come back so soon?” he responded. Allison giggled.
“Yeah, I can tell that she already adores you. I didn’t get to ask before you fell asleep, but how do you think the meeting went? Do you like her?” she asked
“Um… yeah, I guess so. I think the meeting went well. I could tell she was trying really hard to put me at ease,” he answered. Allison smiled.
“Yeah, she has a way of doing that. I also thought that the meeting went well, since you opened up to her way quicker than I thought you would. I really, really appreciated you doing that, by the way. I know it can’t have been easy, and I’m sure it meant the world to her as well,” she said.
“It’s fine. If nothing else, it was obvious that she wasn’t planning on hurting me. I also loved when she called you a nerd,” Brian replied with a grin
“Oh, I could tell,” Allison replied sarcastically. “For the record, though, she did not call me a nerd.”
“She was implying it.”
“…that’s fair. What can I say, I was an excellent student.”
“I’m just messing with you, I definitely prefer an excellent student to a party animal. It makes me feel better about not attending parties myself,” Brian said slyly. “Also, it just makes it more special when they finally do go crazy.”
“Oh, you definitely don’t want to see me go crazy, Bentley,” Allison replied with a dangerous grin. “Don’t make me bust out the Chevalier handbook.”
Brian laughed out loud.
“Yeah, I certainly wouldn’t want you to take on that sadistic persona again,” he replied jovially. He then motioned Allison to move closer, and she leaned in so her ear was right before her tiny boyfriend.
“Or would I?” he whispered. At that, they both cracked up. Allison flopped back onto her side, causing Brian to lightly bounce on the pillow as she tried to calm down from her giggle fit.
“I feel like we’ve drifted away from the point,” Allison said with a laugh. “I was trying to ask if you would be fine with Elizabeth coming back for dinner again!”
“Right, right,” Brian replied. “Alright, I’ll say yes if you tell me what you two were talking about in private.”
“Oh yeah, I was gonna tell you about that anyway,” Allison said. “Well, this is actually kinda funny, she covertly motioned for me to follow her, right? So I obviously think it must be for something important. When I meet her in the bedroom, though, the first thing she asks me is if you had enough to eat.”
Brian looked up at her in surprise.
“If I had enough to eat?” he repeated. Allison nodded with a grin.
“What she was really asking was if you were still nervous around her, but she manifested that as concern for your eating habits,” she replied.
“You don’t say. Does she think I’m in the market for moms or something?” Brian asked, which caused Allison to giggle.
“I don’t know, she did seem to get pretty attached to you pretty quick. Who knows, though, maybe you need one.”
Brian’s eyes softened for a moment, his heart wrestling with conflicting emotions.
“Yeah…” he muttered. “Anyway, what about after that?”
Allison’s face darkened slightly.
“Uh… I kind of let it slip that somebody else knows about you,” she answered sheepishly. Brian looked up at her, his eyes narrowed.
“And?” he asked.
“And that she’s a Chevalier.”
“And that we lied about why I kept you, but I agreed to let her torture you to prove it.”
“And that I tortured you as well.”
“And that she realized afterwards that I think you’re innocent.”
“And that she agreed to keep it a secret, although Elizabeth doesn’t believe her.”
“Well, shit,” Brian said with a sigh. “How did she react?”
“Not… super well,” Allison said, remembering Elizabeth’s fury. “She also forced me to tell her Cathy’s name. She said that she wants to look into her, whatever that means.”
“Huh. Well, don’t worry about it, Allie. She was going to find out at some point, so it’s probably better to get it out of the way. Also, let me just remind you that I’m still not angry about what happened. It was an honest mistake, and we got through it,” he replied. Allison grinned widely.
“Oh, Brian, you really are the bestest,” she gushed, before drawing her lips closer to him. “It just makes me want to…”
“Forget it!” Brian shouted. Allison retracted her lips with a fake pout.
“Anyway, thanks for telling me. Yeah, she can come over tomorrow,” he said.
“Excellent, I’ll let her know. She said she wants to get to know you better, so I think it’ll be fun,” Allison replied.
“Good to know. Alright, let’s get some sleep.”
“And also to go over my plan to clear your name…” she whispered.
“Nothing. Let’s go to bed. Do you… do you want to sleep in my hand again?” she asked shyly. Brian averted his eyes, trying not to show his embarrassment.
“Er… yeah, if you don’t mind. It’s really comfortable,” he replied.
“I’m so glad to hear that. Alright, here you go, darling,” she said, holding out her palm as Brian rolled his eyes. Once he was secure, Allison turned off the light and rolled onto her back. Brian soon found himself once again wrapped up in a cocoon of warm, soft skin, and he was instantly lulled into sleepiness. As had become standard, they wrapped up the day with their favorite set of words.
“Goodnight, Brian. I love you,” Allison said.
“Goodnight, Allie. I love you too,” Brian replied.
At that, they both drifted off into a peaceful sleep. This time, it was untouched by nightmares.
“Hey, Elizabeth, welcome back!” Allison said with a knowing grin. Elizabeth beamed.
“Thank you very much, Allie, I’m glad to be back,” she said, before she was welcomed inside. As promised, Elizabeth had provided the food this time, and Allison graciously received the bags while Elizabeth removed her coat. Underneath was an extremely fuzzy sweater, and Allison quickly realized that she was probably wearing it in the hopes that Brian might want to rest on her body at some point. A small pang of possessiveness shot throughout her body, but she quickly got it under control. After all, it had been her idea to let Elizabeth know in the first place.
Despite her best attempts to be sneaky, Elizabeth kept glancing in the general direction of the living room.
“He’s on the couch,” Allison said with a teasing grin. Elizabeth’s eyes widened.
“Found out, huh?” she said with a sigh. “What can I say, I’ve been thinking about this all day. I had to nearly cancel my classes.”
Allison giggled at her eagerness, and motioned for her to follow.
They approached the sofa, and Elizabeth soon laid eyes on the miniature man that she was there to see. Unlike last time, where Brian was at his most robotic, he was showing a gentle smile as he waited with great anticipation for his new ally to arrive. At the sight of him, her face lit up.
“Hi, Brian!” she said warmly. “I’m so happy to see you again. Thank you so much for letting me come back so soon.”
“Of course, Elizabeth,” Brian replied calmly. “I was too tired to say so last night, but it was a pleasure to meet you yesterday. I was skeptical about the whole situation, naturally, but I think we made a good call in telling you.”
Allison and Elizabeth were stunned into silence for a moment. Compared to how taciturn Brian was the previous evening, he might as well have given an entire speech just then. Noticing this, Brian raised an eyebrow.
“What? I was nervous yesterday. I’m over it,” he said plainly. At that, they got themselves under control.
“W-Well, the feeling is mutual, honey. It means a lot to hear you say that,” she replied. At that, she and Allison made their way over to the couch. Allison scooped Brian up and held him in her lap, while Elizabeth sat down a small distance away. Allison ruffled his hair affectionately, which Elizabeth took note of with a raised eyebrow. After a moment, though, she remembered something.
“Oh! I keep meaning to ask, Allie, but when did you start wearing your hair down? Sometimes I almost don’t recognize you without your classic ponytail,” she asked. Allison instinctively grabbed a few strands of her auburn hair and twirled them around. Indeed, her medium-long hair was hanging freely, despite the fact that she usually wore it in a neat ponytail.
“Oh, about a week ago…” she said, slightly self conscious.
“Don’t be embarrassed, it looks great!” Elizabeth said. “What inspired the change?”
“It was me,” Brian piped up. “Allie, you want to show her?”
She nodded, and gently plucked him up with her free hand and transferred him to her shoulder. Then, when he was secure, she maneuvered her hair so it was hanging down over her shoulders and down to the top of her chest. As a result, Brian was completely hidden to the outside world.
“It was just something fun we thought of, in case I ever need to hide him quickly,” she explained. Elizabeth nodded, clearly impressed.
“Is it comfortable in there, Brian?” she called into the mess of hair covering Allison’s shoulder.
“Yeah, it’s pretty cool,” replied an unseen small voice. “It’s like being in a weird forest.”
Elizabeth giggled, and Allison transferred Brian back to one of her palms.
“So, with that out of the way, I was thinking that we could eat before getting into business, okay?” Elizabeth asked. Brian cocked his head at the word “business,” but nonetheless agreed to Elizabeth’s proposal. With that, they moved into the kitchen to plate up the food that she had brought.
After dinner, the trio were still seated at the dining table. Any traces of food were cleared off the table, though, and in their place was a legal notepad and a pen- both of which belonged to Elizabeth. Allison was sitting with her hands neatly folded on the table, in a manner that brought back memories of a certain metal room. Brian was seated directly in front of them, comfortably leaning into her soft skin. He was perplexed as to the nature of the two items, and was patiently waiting for an explanation. Allison, on the other hand, was trying not to fidget.
“So, tell me, you two,” Elizabeth started, putting her glasses on as she adopted a serious expression, “what have you been able to come up with so far?”
“What do you mean?” Brian asked, before Allison could reply.
“I mean, how has the plan to clear your name been coming along? I want to help,” she answered. For once, Brian was the one stunned into silence.
“Uh… about that, Elizabeth…” Allison started. Before she could continue, though, Brian regained himself.
“We’re not trying to clear my name,” he replied firmly. “There is no plan.”
Elizabeth went quiet for a moment. Her eyes darted between them a few times, before coming to a stop on Allison.
“Well, this is a surprise…” she said softly. “You probably should have mentioned that earlier, Allie.”
“You caught me off-guard!” Allison exclaimed, causing Brian to flinch. “You were practically walking out the door when you said that you wanted to help with my ‘plan,’ and I just didn’t know how to bring it up!”
“Wait, wait, wait,” Brian cut in, “you knew that she thought we had a plan? Why didn’t you say so?”
Facing the pressure of two sets of questioning eyes, Allison deflated.
“I’m the worst,” she said. “I crumbled under the pressure. I’m sorry.”
“Eh, it’s whatever, Allie,” Brian soothed, giving her skin a few comforting pats. She instantly perked back up.
“Anyway, like I said, we aren’t planning on trying to prove my innocence. Sorry if we misled you, Elizabeth,” he continued.
“Well, I’m confused. Why did you two decide to let me in on your secret, then?” Elizabeth asked.
“Uh… I just kinda thought that Brian could use a new friend, you know?” Allison answered unsuredly. Brian gave a thumbs-up in affirmation.
Elizabeth removed her glasses.
“That’s… it? Well, then… what have you both been doing for the last two weeks?” she continued, her tone slightly rising. Allison and Brian exchanged a few glances.
“We’ve been, just, you know, kinda been taking it easy, right Allie?” Brian answered, while Allison vigorously nodded. Elizabeth was thoroughly flabbergasted by their casual attitude.
“Wait… Allison, does that mean you rescued Brian without a plan for the future?” she asked.
“Uh… no?” Allison answered, although it came out more as a question.
“It was a spur-of-the-moment type thing,” Brian elaborated. Elizabeth held her head in her hands as the nature of Brian’s rescue became clear to her. She let out an enormous sigh, and then raised her head. Brian looked slightly bemused, while Allison looked terrified.
“Alright, there are a lot of things I want to say about all this,” Elizabeth started sternly. Before she could continue, though, Brian cut in.
“Well, before you’re too hard on Allie, let me just say a few things,” he said. Elizabeth raised an eyebrow.
“When Allie told me that she wanted to rescue me, she was upfront about how she didn’t know what to do afterwards. The truth is that we only had so much time before the session ended, and she needed to figure out how to smuggle me out in the first place. Also… it’s not like I was exactly being cooperative, since I kinda sorta maybe thought she was trying to torture me,” he started. Both Allison and Elizabeth’s eyes softened in the face of Brian’s candid defense.
“The most important bit is that she decided to rescue me from death. Her main concern was getting me away from any immediate danger, and she did that flawlessly. That took a lot of courage, so please don’t fault her for that,” he continued. At that moment, Allison was feeling a typhoon of love and adoration inside her chest. She wanted nothing more than to express her gratitude, but she was afraid that she might physically hurt him in doing so, if her trembling hands were anything to go by. Elizabeth let out a smaller sigh.
“Brian, you’re right. I apologize for getting upset. Regardless, though, that doesn’t explain why you still don’t have a plan. Have you both seriously been doing nothing for the past couple weeks?” she asked exasperatedly. Once more, Brian came to Allison’s defense. This time, though, his voice was slightly firmer.
“No, what she’s been doing is making me feel happy and loved for the first time in three years,” he said, trying not to get angry. “She’s helped me watch my favorite movies again, get caught up on world events, eat delicious foods, and feel completely safe. These are all things that I thought would never happen again, so just… just cut her some slack, okay? I think she’s been doing a great job.”
With that, he looked up at Allison and gave her a wink. Her heart promptly exploded.
“…Professor, we’ll be right back,” she said calmly, before unexpectedly scooping Brian up and leaving the room. Once they were gone, Elizabeth could hear the sounds of repeated smooches, along with the occasional squeak of mock-protest. At that, she suddenly had a realization as to the nature of their relationship. After a few more moments of this, where she clearly heard Brian say “Unhand me, she-devil!” at one point, Allison came strolling back into the room. In her hand was a frazzled one-inch man with beet red cheeks, while she herself looked positively pleased. She calmly placed Brian back on the table before taking a seat. She then turned her attention back to Elizabeth, looking as if nothing in the universe could bring her down from her good mood. Brian, on the other hand, had returned to a blank expression as he tried to repress his embarrassment.
After a moment, Elizabeth broke out in jovial laughter. Any traces of her imminent scolding had vanished, and she returned to a warm and comforting demeanor.
“Alright, Brian Bentley, you’ve defeated me. You really are a sweetie-pie, aren’t you?” she said. Brian gave a thumbs-up in affirmation, which only caused her to smile wider.
“Allie, I truly apologize. I should have given you the benefit of the doubt. Brian is absolutely right, all that matters is that you had the courage to save him. I also think it’s simply wonderful that you’ve spent this time trying to make Brian happy. It sounds like you’ve done a fabulous job, so I hope you’ll forgive me,” she continued.
“No worries at all, Elizabeth,” Allison replied with a smile. Just like that, the mood had reset.
“So, in that case, why don’t we come up with a plan now? What I would need is a detailed account of what really happened with Timmy Osment, and then we can move forward from there. How does that sound?” Elizabeth asked. Brian adopted a troubled expression.
“I don’t think you understand. It’s not just that we don’t have a plan, it’s that we aren’t ever planning on trying to prove my innocence. We don’t want to come up with a plan,” he said. Once more, Elizabeth was shocked.
“I’m sorry, what? You don’t want to try? But… why not?” she replied.
“I just don’t think it’s possible,” answered Brian. “It’s been three years since the murder, and nobody tried to actually find out what happened, since they already had someone to blame. As far as I know, the only thing that would actually prove my innocence is if we found the actual murderer, which is totally not gonna happen. Sure, we could try and expose the shady way in which they handled my case, but that wouldn’t definitively prove that I didn’t do it. That would just inspire doubt.”
“But doubt would be enough!” Elizabeth exclaimed. “My hunch is that the evidence they covered up is pretty damning for them, so I’m sure that uncovering it would bring the right people over to your side, Brian!”
“Would it be enough to protect Allie, though?” Brian asked.
“Protect… huh?” Elizabeth replied.
“If we try to prove my innocence, that means exposing me to the world at some point. That would also reveal that Allie broke the law in saving me. I’m sorry, but there’s no situation in which I’m comfortable pursuing this path if it puts Allie in harm’s way,” he continued. Elizabeth leaned back in her chair, while Allison gazed at him with all the love in the world.
“I… I see your point,” Elizabeth replied quietly, before her face twisted in contemplation. “I wouldn’t want to do that either. But… it might not be a concern.”
“What do you mean?” asked Allison.
“Well, as you two know, the power of public opinion is incredible. Let’s say we convinced the public of your innocence, for a moment. In that case, Allie doesn’t become somebody who broke the law, but a brave young woman who risked everything to do what was right. You think the public would sit still if she was punished for that? No, I think that would be a perfect repellent to any repercussions. Does that make sense?” she elaborated.
“I understand the concept, but that is in no way guaranteed. I can’t risk Allie’s life on a hypothetical. Look, the truth is that the risks are too great, and the reward just isn’t worth it. We agreed on this together,” Brian replied. Allison nodded.
“Yeah, we’ve talked about this for a long time. Obviously, I want nothing more for the world to know, but we just don’t know how to make that happen in a way that is safe for both of us,” she said.
“How can you both be so cavalier about this?” Elizabeth asked incredulously. “Brian, you say that the reward isn’t worth it? This is an opportunity to regain everything you’ve lost!”
Brian shook his head.
“What’s gone is gone, Elizabeth. My family walked away from me, and that’s not something that can ever be undone. As for the rest of the world, I don’t care what they think. My future is with Allie, and coming to accept what I’ve lost,” he responded. Allison nodded once more.
“But… what about your size?! Don’t you ever want to return to normal?!” Elizabeth exclaimed.
Allison and Brian stared at her in silence.
“Your size! This is your chance to undo the shrinking! Tell him, Allie!” she continued.
“Wait, me? Tell… him, what? Wait wait wait, what the fuck are you talking about, Elizabeth?! The shrinking is permanent!” Allison cried. Elizabeth raised an eyebrow.
“No it isn’t,” she replied plainly.
What a surprise! Until next time.
Choices by Pluto Pendragon
“I feel like you just said something insane like it was nothing,” Allison said, after a moment of silence.
“Allie, you were a Chevalier and you didn’t know the truth behind the SP?” Elizabeth asked skeptically.
“What the fuck are you talking about?! Nobody ever said anything like that while I was a Chev!” Allison shouted, rising to her feet. “Are you seriously telling me that the shrinking can be undone?!”
“Wait, they really didn’t tell you that…? I thought this was more common knowledge… maybe I shouldn’t have…” Elizabeth muttered.
“Professor!” Allison exclaimed, snapping her out of it.
“Well, too late now. Yes, the whole ‘permanent’ thing is a big fat lie. The government tells people that so it creates greater fear surrounding the SP. People would be more afraid to get shrunken down if they believe it can never be undone, you know?” she explained, as if giving a lecture. Allison sat back down, a faraway look on her face.
“No shit…” she whispered. “Brian, did you hear that? This changes everything!”
At that, both women turned their attention to the one-inch man on the table. Up to that point, he had been listening quietly. Whereas one might expect him to be crying tears of joy at this revelation, or perhaps shouting in excitement, Brian’s face at that moment was showing something else entirely: pure and overwhelming suspicion.
“How do you know that?” he asked quietly. Elizabeth’s eyes darted away for the briefest of moments, before returning to their original position.
“Look, you two. One of my primary goals since becoming a lawyer and educator has been to fight against the Shrink Penalty. That means, outside of actually talking to a Chev, I’ve made myself as intimately familiar with it as possible. That includes digging into areas that most people don’t know about. Frankly, though, I thought that this was more common knowledge among SP insiders. I’m genuinely surprised that they don’t tell Chevaliers. But, on the bright side, this means I’m the one who gets to break the good news! Brian, the shrinking isn’t permanent. It is possible for you to return to normal, and I truly believe that it will happen if we cast enough doubt onto your case. So, I would implore you to reconsider.”
Brian’s gaze intensified, while Allison’s mind was running at a million miles an hour.
“B-But wait… how does…? Why don’t they, but wait a minute…” she stammered. “Um, okay… okay, okay, okay… okay, I have a question.”
“Deep breaths, Allie. What is it?” Elizabeth asked.
“Um… if it’s a secret, then how are we gonna get them to unshrink Brian? Wouldn’t that mean revealing to the world that the shrinking isn’t permanent?” she replied. At that, Elizabeth’s face lit up.
“Excellent point, Allie. You see, you two, I think that this whole situation presents a game-changing opportunity. Do either of you know what it is?” she continued.
Great, she’s entered ‘teacher’ mode, Allison thought. She then pondered for a moment before a small voice cut through the silence.
“You think this could bring down the Shrink Penalty,” Brian said calmly, his expression blank. “People accept such an extreme and violent system because they believe it is perfect. Introduce an unstable element, me, and the whole thing could crumble. Then, with no need to protect the lie, they would be willing to restore me to normal.”
“Y-Yes, that’s exactly right, Brian. Well done,” Elizabeth replied, slightly unsettled by Brian’s intense gaze.
“Holy shit…” Allison whispered. “I mean, finding out about Brian was enough to change my mind about the SP, but I never felt too strongly about it to begin with. You really think it would have that big of an impact?”
“It certainly wouldn’t convince everybody, but I’m confident that it would convince the right people,” Elizabeth answered. “Don’t forget that Brian’s case was one of the most famous events of the last few decades. The government even lowered their bar for what constitutes the SP, so the revelation that the Brian Bentley is innocent would undoubtedly create chaos. Chaos that we could then use to our advantage.”
Allison groaned, holding her head in her hands.
“This is too much. I just want people to know that Brian isn’t a killer, and now we’re talking about bringing down the Shrink Penalty and exposing the fact that the shrinking can be undone?”
“Don’t worry, Allie, we’re just talking. Obviously nothing is going to happen unless everybody in this room agrees to it. Speaking of which, how are you feeling about all this, Brian? You’ve been kinda quiet, I imagine that this is all a lot to take in,” she asked kindly, turning her attention to the tiny man sitting in front of Allison’s hands. His expression was still neutral, making it impossible to get a read on what he was thinking.
Brian did not respond. After a few moments, Elizabeth’s face twisted in concern.
“Brian? Is everything okay, sweetie?”
Brian did not respond. At that, Allison grew concerned as well. She stood up and moved around the table to where she could see his face.
“Brian?” she asked softly. At the sound of her voice, he snapped out of it.
“Sorry. Allie, could you take me to our room? I need to do some thinking, alone,” he said firmly. Allison’s eyes widened in surprise, and her heart quickened. After all…
“Brian, the last time you asked to be alone…” she started, remembering what happened after the session. At the sound of her troubled tone, Elizabeth grew worried as well. Brian shook his head reassuringly, though, which helped put them at ease.
“It’s not like that. I promised you that I would never do that again. I seriously just need to think in silence for a little bit,” he replied calmly. Although still apprehensive, Allison decided to trust him.
“Okay, of course,” she said, before holding out her palm.
“Thanks. And thank you, Elizabeth, for telling us,” he replied, casting a glance in her direction. She smiled warmly at his gratitude.
“Of course. You deserved to know all the information.”
“Right…” Brian muttered, before climbing into Allison’s palm. Once he was secure, they moved into the bedroom, where he was promptly placed inside of his pet carrier.
“Alright, I’ll come check on you in a little while. If you need me before then, your phone is right there,” she said. “And listen… whatever you’re thinking right now, and whatever you think the right decision is, just know that I’ll support you no matter what.”
With that, she left the room. Once she was gone, Brian sat down in a corner of the carrier. He then closed his eyes, and began to run through all the available information.
Allison made her way out to the living room, and threw herself face-down onto the couch. Hearing the noise, Elizabeth stood from the dining table and moved to join her. She sat down at a corner of the sofa, right next to Allison’s head.
“How you doing, honey?” she asked.
“I don’t know how my life ended up like this,” came Allison’s muffled voice. “I don’t even know how I became a frickin’ Chev in the first place, and now I might have made a decision that could bring the whole system down?”
“There, there, Allie…” Elizabeth soothed, running her fingers across Allison’s soft hair. “Regardless of how it happened, it sounds to me like it happened for a reason.”
“I guess…” Allison grumbled. “It was a really hard six months, though. I feel like a murderer. I have a higher body count than anybody I ever executed. I feel like… what’s the name of that Shakespeare character, the woman who washes her hands?”
“Lady Macbeth,” answered Elizabeth.
“Right, right… she felt like she had blood on her hands, and it wouldn’t come off no matter how long she cleaned them. That’s me. Sometimes, I just feel… tainted.”
“Allison Starr, you listen to me,” Elizabeth said sternly, while lifting Allison’s head with her hands. “You. Are. Not. Tainted. Despite the entire world telling you not to, you made the choice to save an innocent life. You saw the SP for what it is, and now you have the chance to make sure there will never be another Brian Bentley. You are a good person, Allie. Your hands are clean.”
Allison teared up, and Elizabeth scooted over and placed her head in her lap. Allison closed her eyes and leaned into Elizabeth’s warmth.
“Sometimes, I just wish none of this had never happened…” she choked out, before Elizabeth shushed her and resumed stroking her hair tenderly. After a few moments, though, Allison relaxed.
“Actually, that’s not true…” she whispered. “Because of this, I met Brian. Meeting him… it’s one of the best things that’s happened to me in a long time. I love him.”
At that, Elizabeth furrowed her brow.
“That reminds me, Allie…” she started, before motioning for Allison to sit up. She did so, and looked at her former mentor with a questioning eye. She saw that she had adopted an interrogative expression.
“What exactly are your intentions with that sweet boy?” Elizabeth asked skeptically, her arms crossed.
“…come again?” Allison replied, caught off-guard at this unexpected line of questioning.
“You heard me. I see the way you look at him, I heard you kissing him a little while ago, and now you say you love him? Tell me, what is the exact nature of your relationship?” Elizabeth continued.
“O-Oh, I suppose it hasn’t really come up, has it?” Allison replied with an awkward laugh. Elizabeth was unimpressed.
“Um… yeah, starting a bit over a week ago, we kinda… you know, started seeing each other. As in boyfriend-girlfriend,” she continued, intimidated by Elizabeth’s intense gaze.
“I see,” she said lowly. “And how many days had passed between when you rescued him and when this relationship began?”
Allison cocked her head, then began counting the days on her fingers.
“Er… five…? No, it was six. Six days. Yep, six,” she replied with a brisk nod. Elizabeth closed her eyes and let out a small sigh, confusing her former student even more.
“Look, Allie,” she began, “despite what I said to you and Brian, I am still somewhat concerned over the casual way in which you have been handling this whole situation. My guess is that this attitude is exactly what led to him being discovered by this Catherine Gates, right?”
Allison lowered her head.
“Yeah,” she replied quietly.
“Okay. So, I need to know if you are handling this relationship with the appropriate amount of consideration,” Elizabeth continued. Allison raised her head, a slightly defensive look in her eyes.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” she asked.
“Put yourself in his shoes, for a moment, and think about what you are to him. Not only are you thousands of times his size, you were the first person in three years to show him any amount of kindness. You showed him greater kindness than his own family did. Not only that, you rescued him from death and took responsibility for his life, a decision that permanently altered the course of your own life. He also relies on you for everything. Food, shelter, comfort, it all comes from you. You are his entire world right now, Allie. Think about what that could do to a young man’s psychology. So, with that in mind, do you think he feels like an equal in this relationship?” Elizabeth replied. As she continued, Allison’s face grew more and more concerned.
“W-We’ve… we had that discussion, Elizabeth. I told him that I wanted him to feel like an equal, and not to feel overly indebted to me. We had that discussion!” she exclaimed defensively.
“Okay, that’s what you wanted him to feel. And did he agree that he is your equal?”
Allison’s face dropped.
“N-No… he didn’t,” she replied. Elizabeth nodded.
“Okay. And how did that discussion end? Did he agree with you eventually?” she asked.
“We… we had an argument… I almost…”
She shook her head, a sudden burst of confidence renewing her resolve.
“We had an argument, but we made up right away. I told him that I understood why he felt that way, and promised to move slowly in gaining his trust. He also promised to not be so afraid in telling me what he thinks, even if it might upset me. I have given this a lot of thought, Elizabeth,” she continued firmly.
“Okay, you had an argument, made up, and promised to move slowly,” Elizabeth repeated. “And how long after that did your relationship start?”
Allison recoiled, as if she had been shot. A look of crushing realization overtook her face.
“It was the next day…” she whispered. Elizabeth’s face twisted in concern.
“That doesn’t seem very slow to me. I assume you’re the one who confessed to him, yes?” she asked. Allison nodded, a glazed look in her eyes.
“So, do you see my concern, Allie? I just worry that there is an unhealthy power balance, and it’s extremely important that you are aware of that. You should know better than anybody what it’s like to be in a relationship like that,” Elizabeth said. At that, Allison’s eyes shot up, glaring at her with a fierce intensity.
“Are you saying that I’m like him?” she growled. Elizabeth shook her head, refusing to budge under the pressure.
“Allie, don’t listen to what you think I’m saying, listen to what I am saying. What I’m saying is this: in a situation where you were to ask him to do something he didn’t want to do, do you think he would feel like he is allowed to say no?” she said. Allison’s eyes softened, and Elizabeth took her hands in her own.
“Allie, sweetheart, you are probably in the strangest relationship in the world right now,” she said with a light chuckle. Allison gave the faintest trace of a smile in response.
“All I’m trying to do here is make sure that you’re aware of that, and that you’re taking the proper steps to make sure that Brian feels respected and safe. Do you understand?” she asked. Allison nodded, brushing a tear out of her eye.
“I do. I know that you’re just looking out for him, and I promise that I’ll navigate this relationship carefully. Like I said, I love Brian. I’ll make sure that he is happy,” she declared. Elizabeth smiled, and moved in for a hug.
“That’s all I ask. Thank you.”
Suddenly, Allison’s phone lit up, accompanied by a somewhat unusual chime. Checking it, her eyes slightly widened.
“It’s Brian,” she said. “He wants to talk to us.”
Elizabeth raised an eyebrow.
“He’s able to send you messages?” she asked incredulously
“Yeah, it’s a long story. Anyway, let’s go see what’s up,” Allison replied, before standing up and motioning for Elizabeth to follow.
Allison was sitting cross-legged on her bed, Brian perched snugly in her palm. Elizabeth was seated at the edge, and was patiently waiting to hear what Brian had to say.
“So… here’s what I’d like to do,” he began. “I’d like to cooperate in forming a plan to clear my name.”
Both Allison and Elizabeth’s faces lit up. However, before they could get too excited, he continued.
“Here’s the deal, though,” he said. “Until what we have is a sure thing, we pursue this goal in absolute secrecy. I’ll tell you everything I know, and help where I can, but you both have to promise me that you will not make any public moves unless we’re guaranteed to win.”
“Of course, that makes total sense. Right, Allie?” Elizabeth replied.
“No complaints here.”
“Okay. You said you wanted a detailed account of what really happened with Timmy Osment, right? Let’s start there,” Brian said. At that, both women stood up and began to leave the room. Once Elizabeth was out of sight, though, Brian spoke up in a hushed tone.
“Allie, hang back for a second,” he said. She complied, looking at him questioningly.
“What’s up?” she asked.
“This isn’t going to make any sense, but I need you to do something for me.”
Back at the dining table, Brian began to explain what really happened the night Timmy Osment died. He was walking around, heard a cry, saw a man, saw Timmy, tried to save him, and was arrested. Through it all, Elizabeth was furiously taking notes, absorbing every piece of information she could. She asked him dozens of clarifying questions, to the extent that even Allison grew bored.
“Brian, are you okay by yourself with Elizabeth?” she had asked at one point. “If it’s all the same to you, I’d like to watch some TV.”
“Yeah, I’m fine,” Brian had replied, causing Elizabeth’s heart to soar. At that, Allison moved to the living room, laying down on her side as she turned the television on at a very low volume. The questioning continued. A few minutes suddenly turned into two hours, and Elizabeth had filled several pages in her legal pad with what, to her, was priceless information.
“Wow…” she breathed. “This is incredible. Awful, of course, but incredible. The evidence is even more damning than I thought, if we can find it.”
“That’s a big if,” replied Brian. “I’m no expert, but if I were to guess, the two most important pieces are the autopsy report and the bodycam footage, right?”
“That’s exactly right, Brian,” she replied. “The autopsy would show that he did not die from strangulation, and the bodycam footage would show the blood and how you were actually trying to save him, not choke him.”
“The question is how we make that happen.”
“Right. With that being said, I think we have enough for today. I don’t want to push you too hard right off the bat. Thank you for being so cooperative, though. I’m confident that you’re making the right choice,” Elizabeth continued.
“I hope so,” Brian replied quietly. Elizabeth smiled warmly, and lightly tickled his chin with the tip of her fingernail.
“And with that, I think it’s time to call it a night. It’s been a big day, I’m sure you both need some rest. Sorry for keeping you up so late, Allie!” she called over into the living room.
There was no response, prompting Elizabeth to make a questioning noise. She rose from her seat and peered into the living room, only to chuckle at what she saw.
“Oh, dear. She fell asleep,” she said softly.
“You’re kidding,” Brian replied flatly, his expression unchanging.
“Not one bit. I suppose it would be rather boring to listen to an extended edition of something you’ve already heard before,” she said. Brian’s nose crinkled, thinking of a certain fantasy series.
“Regardless, I’m still surprised she allowed herself to fall asleep, considering how protective she is of you,” Elizabeth continued. Brian shrugged.
“It just means that she trusts you completely,” he said, fixing his eyes on her. Elizabeth turned to look at him.
“And what about you?” she asked, sitting back down. Brian went quiet for a moment, apparently in contemplation.
“If nothing else, I think I owe you some thank-yous,” he finally said.
“Oh?” Elizabeth replied, a light smile forming.
“Well, for one thing, I never thanked you for sticking up for me when I was first convicted. Even in hindsight, it’s nice to know that at least one person was on my side,” he began. Elizabeth lightly blushed.
“Nonsense, honey. I was just doing what was right. And believe me, I was not the only person who was on your side,” she said with a chuckle. Brian raised an eyebrow, but decided to let it go.
“More importantly, though, I don’t think I would be here if it wasn’t for you. After all, you got Allie to where she was,” he continued in a strange tone. Elizabeth took note of this, and cocked her head to the side in confusion.
“What do you mean?” she asked.
“I mean, you mentored her in college. You helped inspire her sense of justice. And by sticking up for me when you did, you planted the seeds of doubt that ultimately led to her realizing my innocence,” he continued, returning to normal.
“Oh, I see,” breathed Elizabeth, adopting a gentle smile.
“So, anyway, thank you for everything,” Brian concluded, nodding in appreciation. Elizabeth beamed.
“Sweetheart, it is my complete and absolute pleasure. Compared to how things could be right now, I think it’s safe to say that things ended relatively well for us. And now, we’re creating an even better beginning,” she said cheerfully. Brian gave a small smile before laying down on his back, looking up at the ceiling with a faraway look on his face.
“Yeah…” he whispered. At that, they transitioned into comfortable silence for a couple minutes. Eventually, though, Elizabeth spoke back up.
“Can I ask you a question?” she asked softly. Brian raised his head to look at her, before nodding.
“How do you manage to smile?”
Brian sat up, looking at her with a confused expression.
“After everything you’ve been through…” she continued, furrowing her brow in sympathy. “No person, let alone a young person, should have to go through what you did. I can’t even begin to imagine the kind of pain that you felt, and must still feel. And yet… infrequent as it may be, you still manage to smile. You still manage to joke around with Allie. There’s still… light in you, Brian. How did you do it?”
Brian turned away from her, looking in the direction of the living room. He sat silently for a few moments. Then, he spoke in a gentle tone.
“I’ll tell you when the first time I smiled was, after the day where my mother abandoned me,” he began. “It was the first night when Allie brought me home from the facility.”
Elizabeth leaned back in her chair.
“Between realizing my innocence, deciding to rescue me, getting me to cooperate, smuggling me out, and taking me back home, she had actually forgotten to tell me her name by the time we went to bed,” he continued. “So, just as I’m about to give up for the day, she smacks her forehead and calls herself a ‘goddamn idiot.’ She then calmed herself, straightened her shirt, and extended her finger out to me, just like you did. She then said ‘my name is Allison Starr, It is very nice to meet you.’ And I thought to myself, Star? The person who rescued me from death is named Star? At that moment, all that came to mind was a shooting star. It was as if this amazing woman was a shooting star, here to make my wishes come true. That’s when I smiled.”
Elizabeth was smiling widely, a growing heaviness behind her eyes.
“I see,” she said softly.
“Allie is my entire world,” he continued. “I want to become normal sized again, if for nothing else than to give her the hug that I’ve wanted to give her since she saved me. She’s my only priority.”
Elizabeth nodded appreciatively. Her concerns that his love for Allison was born simply out of gratitude had lessened considerably.
“Can I ask you a question?” Brian said, turning his attention back to Elizabeth.
“Of course,” she replied with a smile.
“Are you the person who recommended Allie to be a Chevalier?”
Elizabeth stared at him in shock. Her eyes were wide.
“W-What did you say?” she asked quietly.
“I know that Allie was only offered the job because somebody recommended her. I think that person was you,” he continued. There was an overwhelming pressure radiating from his striking green eyes, burrowing a hole into Elizabeth’s consciousness.
“Why… why on earth would you think that?” Elizabeth asked incredulously. “After all I’ve said about the Shrink Penalty…”
“Yeah. You want nothing more than to take it down. And now, you have a former Chevalier, with intimate knowledge of the system, helping you to achieve that goal,” Brian replied.
“What are you implying? That I’m using Allie as some kind of tool to help me take down the SP?” she asked defensively.
“I’m not saying that. But it sure did work out in your favor,” Brian responded, lowering his tone.
“That’s ridiculous,” Elizabeth said dismissively. “And what, exactly, is your evidence for this claim?”
“Oh, just a few observations that built up over time,” Brian said, his gaze never breaking away. “I thought it was strange that she was offered the job shortly after she left an abusive relationship. It was as if somebody knew, and was waiting for the right time. I thought it was strange that you didn’t reach out to her once during that six month period. It was as if you knew that she wouldn’t respond. I thought it was strange how you reacted to the news that Allie had been a Chev with immediate acceptance and forgiveness, without even a shred of anger. It was as if you were expecting the news, and wanted to get on her good side right away. I also thought it was very strange that you knew the apparently well-kept secret that the shrinking can be undone. It was as if you had access to highly classified information, and perhaps the appropriate influence to get it.”
Through it all, Elizabeth’s face transitioned from defensive and incredulous to completely fearful. Something was changing.
“Really, though, it comes down to simple process of elimination. When I asked Allie who she thought might have recommended her, she was only able to list one person who knew her well enough to justify doing that. That person was you. She said it was impossible, due to her absolute trust in you, but I have no such trust. I think you did it. I’m not exactly sure how or why, but I think you recommended her. Am I correct?” he asked, turning the conversation over to her.
Elizabeth was now holding her head in her hands and taking irregular breaths. After a moment, though, she steeled her resolve and raised her head. She then turned her attention back to Brian with a resolute gaze.
“No, I didn't,” she said firmly. Brian raised an eyebrow.
“But… I know who did,” she continued.
“And?” asked Brian.
“And they did it at my request.”
Brian closed his eyes and let out a colossal sigh. Elizabeth sat silently, allowing him to process the information.
“Well, shit…” he muttered. “Alright, I have another question.”
He took a deep breath.
“Was it a coincidence that I was sent to Allie?” he asked.
“Hold on,” Elizabeth said with a raised hand. “I’ll tell you anything you want to know, but you have to tell me one thing first.”
“I… I was planning on telling her. I swear I was, just not right now. She deserves to hear it from me.”
“She deserved to hear it a long time ago,” Brian cut in. Elizabeth closed her eyes in frustration.
“Perhaps,” she replied quietly, “but the truth is that finding it out another way would crush her. I’ve betrayed her trust, and I at least want to be the one to tell her. So, my question is this.”
Brian narrowed his eyes.
“Will you keep my secret?”
What a surprise! Again! That does it for this week, sorry about the cliffhanger.
Consequences by Pluto Pendragon
When I said "that does it for this week," what I actually meant was "that does it for a few days until I get restless and keep writing." Hope you enjoy!
“FUCK YOU!” a woman screamed at the top of her lungs. A moment later, a small squish was drowned out by a loud echoing thump as she drove her shoe into the floor. The sound bounced off the room's metal floor, walls, and ceiling, creating an eerie reverberance that could only exist within the cold confines of pure metal. The woman was not done, however.
“FUCK YOU!” she screamed again, raising her foot and slamming it back down into the floor with equal intensity. A small burst of nondescript red matter shot out from under her shoe, spattering across the floor in a straight line. The woman was beet-red, her neat ponytail coming apart at the seams. Her eyes were practically aflame, radiating a pure and primal rage that was not going to be quelled with only two simple stomps.
She stomped again.
She stomped again.
She stomped again.
She stomped again.
She jumped up in the air and stomped the floor as hard as she could. The slippery matter under her shoe caused her to slip, however, and she fell to her rear with a yelp. Once the shock wore off, she laid down on her back, holding her head in her hands as she took shaky breaths. A maelstrom of conflicting emotions was shredding her psyche, worsened by the near-overdose of adrenaline that she was feeling. An eerie silence overtook the room while the woman slowly got herself under control. Eventually she spoke, her voice nearly gone.
“He’s never going to hurt anyone ever again,” she whispered, trying to reassure herself. She then repeated the words spoken by a bubbly blonde woman earlier that day.
“We’re giving these bugs exactly what they deserve- a fraction of the pain, suffering, and humiliation that they inflicted on the world. We’re doing the world a favor.”
Rather than calming her, though, these words just caused her greater distress.
“Did I seriously just call a human being a bug?” she said, cringing at the sound of her sadistic words. “I don’t think that lady is a good role model…”
Suddenly, though, a burst of confidence cleared away her doubts.
“No,” she said resolutely, “they’re not humans. They’re convicts, and they made their choices. Choices have consequences. Choices have consequences.”
She repeated this line a few more times inside her head. Another silence blanketed the room as she carved a mantra into the depths of her soul.
“I’m done being a victim,” she whispered. “He’s never going to hurt me ever again. Nobody is.”
At that, she steeled her resolve and raised herself into a sitting position. Thoroughly convinced that she was doing the right thing, she decided to look at the aftermath of her previous activity. She immediately regretted it, though. There, on the floor, was a horrifying red stain. What would have been a simple stain otherwise was made chaotic and violent by her repeated stompings, and the result was a borderline black explosion of nondescript bone, guts, and blood, staining the surrounding floor as if it was a morbid piece of abstract art.
The woman noticed that her shoe was similarly stained, and immediately tore it off her foot and cast it into a corner of the metal room. She then rose to her feet and dashed to an ordinary office chair located at the end of a long metal desk. She desperately tried to clear the disgusting images from her mind, lest she vomit. Her ironclad conviction from moments prior was slightly shaken by the fact that committing to her job would entail seeing that level of gore every day, but she nonetheless decided to proceed onwards. She opened a cabinet below the desk and retrieved a document from inside.
The document was simple- it listed three things, and contained a picture. The picture was irrelevant, as the thing it contained no longer existed, and the three things were as follows:
NAME: Robert Stanton
CRIME: Serial abuser, murder of 3 adult women
METHOD OF EXECUTION: (blank)
With a trembling hand, the woman grabbed a nearby pen, and under “Method of Execution” wrote
And then signed her name at the bottom. She let out a long sigh, finally dispelling most of her nerves. An easy task, now that the job was done. She then turned to look at the door of the strange metal room, extremely careful to avert her eyes from a specific spot on the floor. Above the door were two large lights, one red and one green, of which only the red one was lit. Above it was a timer that read “55:12” and continued to count downward.
“Damn, only five minutes?” the woman said to nobody in particular. “I should work at making it last longer. It’s only my first time, though. I’ll have… plenty more opportunities in the future.”
“Will you keep my secret?” asked Elizabeth. Her eyes were pleading with the one-inch man seated before her, while his eyes were as unreadable as ever. After a small eternity, he finally responded.
“I won’t have to,” he said, calmly and slowly, before nodding his head in the direction of the living room. Elizabeth’s heart dropped, and with a pale face she stood up and turned to face the inevitable. There, standing next to the sofa that she had been supposedly sleeping on, was Allison. She was awake and, judging by her face, had heard the entire conversation. Her face was twisted in an impossible mix of overwhelming fury and devastating sadness, and silent tears were streaming down her cheeks while her lips trembled. It was a look of perfect betrayal, as she realized that the person she trusted more than anything had violated that trust in the greatest of ways. The worst part was, she didn’t even understand why.
Elizabeth’s eyes widened beyond what she thought was possible, and she drew one hand to her mouth in total shock.
“Oh, no…” she whispered, a crushing wave of dread drowning out her other senses. “A-Allie, I-”
Before she could continue, though, Allison ran into the hallway, flying into her bedroom and slamming the door. Elizabeth closed her eyes in resignation, a single tear falling from her eye. The reality of the situation set in, and it made her want to crawl into a hole. After a moment, though, she regained herself and turned back towards Brian. He was looking into the distance, a sad glaze covering his eyes. To Elizabeth’s confusion, though, he looked completely unsurprised. At that, she had a revelation.
“Did you know she was awake, Brian?” she asked quietly, still somewhat in shock. Brian turned his attention towards the gigantic woman he was now alone with, as he recalled a conversation with Allison that had occurred a couple hours prior.
“Allie, hang back for a second,” Brian said. Allison complied, looking at him questioningly.
“What’s up?” she asked.
“This isn’t going to make any sense, but I need you to do something for me.”
Allison raised an eyebrow.
“Um… okay, what is it?” she replied. Brian furrowed his brow, debating how to word it.
“So… after Elizabeth has been questioning me for a little while, I want you to act bored and ask if you can go watch TV in the living room,” he started. Allison started to question him, but he motioned for her to let him finish.
“Then, I need you to lie down on the couch and eventually pretend to fall asleep. You then need to stay that way until after the questioning is over, at least until Elizabeth notices that you’ve fallen asleep.”
Allison was thoroughly bewildered at this unexpected and confusing string of directions. She was trying to figure out if he was messing with her, but his eyes were dead serious.
“W...Why?” she finally asked, really drawing out the word.
“I told you it wasn’t going to make any sense,” Brian replied. “Look, I need to ask her a question. I need you to hear the answer. I also know that she won’t answer honestly if she thinks you’re listening, so I need her to think you’re sleeping when I ask it. Please do this for me.”
Allison’s confusion only increased, and was now laced with concern.
“W-What’s the questio-”
“Allie,” Brian whispered fervently, “I need you to trust me. Please, promise me you’ll do this.”
Allison could see the strength of his conviction through his eyes, and she decided to trust him as he had trusted her. She got herself under control.
“Right, of course,” she said firmly. “I promise, Brian. I trust you.”
With that, they made their way out towards the dining table.
“I’d rather not say,” Brian finally replied. Elizabeth let out a sad chuckle.
“You’re pretty sneaky, Brian,” she said softly, sitting back down.
“We have that in common,” he responded, while she laid her head down on the table. She looked completely defeated- a far cry from the warm, inviting demeanor that she usually carried. Brian let out a sigh.
“Well, if you want to take your anger out on me, you should probably get it over with before Allie realizes she left me behind,” he said plainly. Elizabeth raised her head with a sharp glance.
“I’m not going to hurt you, Brian,” she said sternly, offended at the notion. Brian shrugged. Now that Allison was gone, he was at his most robotic.
“I told you, Allie is my only priority. She needs to know all the information if you’re going to work with us, and I’m not going to put myself in the position where I’m keeping things from her as well. The only thing worse than finding out about this would be finding out that I also knew and chose not to tell her,” he explained.
“I suppose you’re right,” Elizabeth replied. “It was unfair of me to put you in that position. I was just being selfish.”
Brian raised an eyebrow.
“It wouldn’t kill you to be a little angry, you know,” he said, surprised by her immediate acceptance.
“I’m angry, just not at you. I’m angry at myself,” she responded. Brian nodded in understanding.
“So, anyway, was it a coincidence? That I was sent to her?” Brian asked. Elizabeth lightly scoffed.
“Yes, it was a coincidence. I think you’ve watched too many movies,” she answered.
“You’ll have to forgive me for believing in conspiracies,” Brian said dryly.
“That’s fair. In this case, though, it’s not like that. You were sent to her at random, just like every other convict who was ever sent to her. Allie becoming a Chevalier never had anything to do with some overarching plot to take down the SP,” she replied. Brian furrowed his brow.
“It didn’t?” he asked. Elizabeth shook her head.
“Like I said, honey, too many movies. Frankly, you are hundreds of times more valuable in that regard, and Allie became a Chev months before you were ever re-sentenced. There’s no way I could have anticipated this scenario when I had her recommended. I may be capitalizing on the opportunity, as you said, but it wasn’t planned.”
“Huh,” Brian said, leaning back slightly. “Alright, that makes sense. Like I said, forgive me for believing in conspiracies.”
Elizabeth flashed a soft smile.
“I think you’ve earned that belief,” she said.
“Well, then, you can probably guess the next two questions,” he continued. “How and why?”
“Right,” Elizabeth sighed. “Let’s start with the why. As you noticed, she was offered the job shortly after her relationship ended. Has she ever told you the details of what happened between those two events?”
“Only what she told you during your meeting- that she was nearly homeless and in a really bad place mentally,” Brian replied. Elizabeth nodded.
“That’s putting it lightly. Despite what I told her, I’m fully aware of the circumstances surrounding her ex’s arrest, as well as what happened afterwards.”
“You were monitoring her?” Brian asked incredulously.
“I was looking out for her,” Elizabeth corrected with a firm glance. “I knew that her situation wasn’t going to end well, and she was one of my most promising students, as well as a dear friend.”
“Okay, I get that, but why didn’t you just reach out to her, then? If you knew what was going on, then surely you could have just helped her directly!” Brian said, his tone slightly rising.
“Now, that’s where you’re wrong, Brian,” she replied. “I did reach out to her. I even visited her in person, once.”
“Then why didn’t-”
“Because she didn’t recognize me,” Elizabeth said firmly. “She was in a dirty house with a bunch of strangers, barely conscious, and she didn’t recognize me. When I tried to help her, she attacked me.”
Brian was stunned into silence.
“You don’t understand, Brian,” she continued, holding back tears. “She was completely self-destructing. She was in so much pain, and had so much anger… anger that she was directing at herself. I needed to do something, or it would have killed her. So… I thought of a way in which she could direct that anger towards something else.”
“Convicts…” Brian muttered. Elizabeth nodded, drawing one hand to her mouth as she struggled not to break down.
“I called in a favor to a person with the right amount of influence. I told him the truth- that I knew somebody who needed help, and recommending them to be a Chevalier was the only help I could think of. I swear to you, that’s all it was.”
Brian looked up at her with cold eyes.
“Every time Allie spends money, she nearly cries due to the fact that she thinks it’s ‘blood money.’ Every time she steps on a bug, she nearly has a panic attack. Every time she so much as looks at metal, she nearly vomits. She genuinely thinks that she’s a terrible person, and I don’t know how to convince her otherwise. She went through six months of hell, Elizabeth. You think that… you think that having a reason makes it okay?!” he exclaimed, finally losing his temper. Elizabeth shook her head tearfully, as if she was a child being scolded by a strict teacher.
“It’s not okay. I willingly subjected someone who might as well be my own daughter to the horror of the Shrink Penalty. I helped perpetuate the system that I hate, and now Allie feels like a murderer… all because of me. But… if nothing else, please believe me, that… I was just trying to k-keep her alive,” she choked out, before completely burying her head in her hands as she began to quietly sob. Brian’s eyes slightly softened, as his mind was being pulled in multiple directions.
At that moment, though, the bedroom door flew open with a crash, and Allison sprinted into the living room. She looked all around with a crazed, worried look in her eyes, before she spotted Brian on the dining room table. Her face softened in relief, before immediately hardening again once she saw that he was close to Elizabeth. She charged at the table, practically teleporting, and frantically scooped Brian up in her hands. He let out a yelp at the unexpected movement, and was quickly entombed in Allison’s hands as she held him close to her chest protectively. She then turned her eyes, fierce and overwhelming as they were, to the silently crying woman at the table.
“Did you touch him?” she asked, her voice quiet but dripping with rage. Elizabeth looked up at her in surprise, not fully comprehending the question.
“What?” she whispered.
“DID YOU TOUCH HIM?!” Allison screamed, causing Elizabeth to flinch.
“N-No, I didn’t!” she hastily replied.
“You need to leave,” Allison hissed. At that, Elizabeth quickly got up, collected her things, and moved to exit the apartment, crying with ever increasing intensity all the while. Soon, she was gone, and Allison and Brian were alone once more.
Allison flew into her bedroom, closing the door behind her before finally uncovering the tiny man concealed within her palms. Brian looked thoroughly disoriented and slightly dizzy, a fact that Allison immediately blamed herself for.
“B-Brian, I’m so sorry that I left you behind, I can’t fucking believe that I put you in harm’s way again! I swear, if she had touched you… I can’t fucking BELIEVE that I did it again! I’m so sorry…” she rambled, placing Brian down on a pillow as she began to pace back and forth.
“Allie. Allie. Allie, come on,” Brian repeated, trying to calm her down. Eventually, he had enough.
“ALLISON!” he shouted. Her spiral ramblings finally came to a halt at this unexpected outburst, and she looked at him with a shocked expression. She saw that he was motioning for her to come sit with him on the bed, which she then did.
“Now, Allie, that’s enough of that,” he said softly and reassuringly. “She was never going to hurt me. Like you said, she’s not that kind of person.”
“Well, a-apparently I don’t know what kind of person she is, at all! S-So, I should have known better, and…”
“Shhh…” Brian soothed. “She didn’t touch me. I’m safe, and you’re safe. Everything is okay.”
Allison’s manic energy suddenly transformed into a deep, refined sadness, and she completely deflated. She flopped over on the bed, laying her face right next to Brian’s position on the pillow.
“Everything is not okay, Brian…” she choked out. “She lied to me… she’s the reason I went to that… place… and she lied to me! I don’t understand… I t-trusted her more than my own family…”
“I know…” Brian sighed. He was once again lamenting the limitations of his size, as it was impossible to physically comfort her. He hoped his words would be enough, but he didn’t exactly feel confident in that possibility either.
“I just can’t believe this… it feels like my mind is being torn apart,” Allison continued. “She did all this… as what, a part of some kind of conspiracy? I’m just some pawn she’s using to take down the SP? How could she do that to me?!”
“That’s not why she did it,” Brian muttered. Allison was perplexed.
“What?” she asked softly.
“There’s no conspiracy, it’s not like that. I was sent to you at random, just like everyone else. Those were just my suspicions, but she told me the truth,” he replied. Allison scoffed.
“And you believe her?” she asked incredulously, her voice dripping with bitterness.
“At a certain point, it stops making sense for her to keep lying. Think about it this way- one former Chevalier is not going to be able to take down the system. That’s where my value to her lies, and she recommended you months before I was ever re-sentenced. There’s no way she could have seen this coming.”
“You don’t know that,” Allison said, her conspiracy-prone mind going into overdrive. “What if she knew months in advance that they were planning on re-sentencing you? She clearly has influence in the program, so who’s to say this wasn’t a situation that was months in the making?”
Brian softly shook his head.
“Allie, please listen to me. Obviously I believe in the power of a good conspiracy, but I genuinely don’t think she was lying to me on this one. Just like how you knew that I wasn’t lying when we first met. You trust me, right?” he said, trying to calm her down. It worked, and Allison’s breath softened as her heart slowed.
“Yeah…” she whispered. “So, why did she do it, then?”
Brian adopted a troubled expression.
“I think… I think that’s a conversation you need to have with her. It’s not my reason to tell,” he said. Allison shook her head vigorously on the pillow, nearly knocking Brian over.
“No way,” she said firmly, her anger returning. “I don’t want to talk to her ever again.”
“Okay. That’s your choice,” Brian replied gently. “I’ll support you, no matter what.”
Allison’s heart softened at his kind words, and her anger finally dissipated. All the energy in her body evaporated, and she seemingly melted into the bed. Following her lead, Brian laid on his side, and he soon found himself staring into Allison’s beautiful brown eyes. After a few moments of silence, her face darkened in guilt.
“You must think I’m a terrible person,” she whispered.
“Wait, what?” Brian asked incredulously.
“If she hadn’t done what she did, then you would be dead. I’m getting angry at her for saving your life, and bringing us together. I’m a horrible, selfish person,” she continued, closing her eyes in shame.
Brian sighed deeply.
“Allie, here’s the truth,” he began. “Yes, if she hadn’t recommended you, then I would be dead. We never would have met, and I would have died forgetting what it felt like to be happy.”
Allison nodded, trying not to cry.
“But this is also the truth: a person who you trusted more than anything made a choice behind your back that caused you tremendous mental pain and trauma. She lied about it to your face, and even capitalized on your experience to try and bring down a political system. You were lied to and manipulated by a person you loved, and you’re allowed to be hurt by that. You’re allowed to feel any way you want about that. You’re not horrible, and you’re not selfish. I don’t want to hear you say those things ever again, okay?” he continued. Allison smiled brightly through her tears, and nodded once more.
“I wish you were big again,” she said after a long silence. “That way, I could do everything I want to do to you right now without causing permanent injury.”
Brian softly smiled, before rolling onto his back. He was staring up at the ceiling with a distant look on his face.
“I wish I was big, too.” he said quietly. Allison scooted closer to him, gently pressing him close to her cheek. They both closed their eyes, basking in the comfort that they were providing each other. They stayed like this for a while, before Allison spoke up again.
“Can I kiss you?” she whispered. Brian opened his eyes and tried to look up at her, although all he could see was a field of her skin. If he had been able to see past the bottom of her cheek, though, he would have seen that she was blushing.
“Since when did you start asking?” he replied sarcastically, causing her to giggle. She moved him away from her cheek so she could look at him. Brian saw that her expression was slightly different than anything he had ever seen before.
Her eyes were half-closed, yet hyperfocused on him. She had the faintest hint of a slightly predatory smile, gently teasing the corners of her lips upwards into a playful curl. Frankly, she looked like a cat who just found a mouse. Brian felt a strange swirling sensation in his stomach, but decided to ignore it.
“You can always kiss me, Allie,” he answered. “You didn’t hear this from me, but giant kisses actually feel really good.”
“I’ll take that into consideration,” she replied in a low, breathy voice, before slowly drawing her lips closer to her tiny boyfriend. Her mind was clouded by a sensation that she had been suppressing for Brian’s sake: desire.
Just a taste… she thought.
Then, using one hand as a counter-balance, she pressed her lips into Brian’s entire body, completely smothering him in her warm, soft, and slightly wet embrace. Now that he was done pretending like he didn’t like it, Brian melted in her gentle grip. It felt like the softest full-body massage of all time, to the extent that the increasing wetness coming from her lips didn’t bother him in the slightest.
Allison moved her lips around, occasionally opening and closing them in order to give several prolonged kisses at once. She let out a few soft hums, creating a vibration that made Brian’s bones rattle. This was their longest kiss ever, by far, and Brian soon began to wonder if it would ever end. His wonderings were interrupted, though, by Allison’s tongue peeking out from between her lips and dabbing his face. It retreated just as quickly as it arrived, and a moment later she finally pulled away with a satisfying smack.
Brian was completely relaxed, albeit more than a little perplexed, and he looked upon his giant girlfriend with questioning eyes. He saw that she was borderline panting, her cheeks redder than he had ever seen them before. Her eyes were similarly intense, which made Brian a little nervous, although he couldn’t understand why. Ignoring this, he tried to speak in his usual tone.
“W-Was the tongue necessary?” he asked, unable to prevent a small stutter. Allison giggled, biting her lip with a shrug. It was a lower, softer giggle than he had ever heard, though, further setting off his alarm bells.
After a moment, Allison darted forward and licked Brian’s entire body, covering him in a thick layer of slime. Brian made a noise of disapproval, causing her to grin even wider.
“The fuck?” he asked, with a nervous laugh. Allison smacked her lips a few times, before letting out a small moan of satisfaction.
“You taste good,” she breathed, before once again scooting closer to Brian. He unconsciously crawled backwards slightly, albeit not to a noticeable extent.
“You look good, too,” she continued, bringing her lips right up to Brian’s body once more.
“You’re so cute…” she whispered. Being so close to her mouth, the words caused Brian’s whole body to vibrate, and his ears slightly rang. Allison puckered her lips once more, but before she could continue he suddenly dove backwards.
“S-Stop!” he cried, backing away as far as he could in the brief amount of time. His instincts were screaming, and an unexplainable wave of panic drowned out his other sense. For the briefest of moments, he forgot where he was and what was going on. It faded as quickly as it formed, however, and he swiftly regained himself. He then looked back up at Allison, and saw that she looked extremely concerned.
“What’s wrong, baby?” she asked softly. Brian put on a disarming smile, although she could tell it was forced.
“Sorry, sorry,” he said quickly. “I just got a little overwhelmed. Everything is so much more intense when you’re small, you know?”
Allison’s face softened.
“Of course, I guess I got a little carried away,” she said with a guilty chuckle. “You’ll have to forgive me for loving you too much.”
“Forgiven. Anyway, we should go to bed. It’s super late, and I think we both need some time to process everything that happened today, okay?” he asked. Allison nodded in agreement.
“That’s for damn sure. Let me go tidy things up out there really quick, and then I’ll go to bed. When I come back, do you want to sleep in my hand again?” she asked.
“Actually, I think the carrier is fine for tonight,” Brian hurriedly replied, causing Allison to furrow her brow.
“I-I see. Well, no problem, then,” she said. At that, she gently pinched him between her fingers and placed him in the pet carrier, where he instantly made his way towards the shirt pocket. Allison was concerned by his odd behavior, but attributed it to the stress of the multiple revelations that had occurred that day. She then exited the room, leaving Brian alone as he settled into the shirt pocket.
Despite what he had told Allison, his heart was still racing, and his hands were shaking. He rolled onto his side, trying to hold back tears that had begun to inexplicably form.
What the fuck is happening to me…? he thought, before closing his eyes and taking deep breaths as his body succumbed to pure exhaustion.
By the time Allison came back to say goodnight, she found that he was already asleep. Once again attributing this to Elizabeth’s visit, she settled into her own bed. Her heart instantly grew troubled as well, as all the emotional weight of the evening crashed down on her at once. Still, she calmed herself to the extent that she could sleep, knowing that she and Brian would be able to face the consequences together, just as they always had.
With that, a new day began.
Did I also say that there would be no more Chevalier content? What a sneaky sausage I am. Let me know what you're thinking! Until next time.
A Day Off by Pluto Pendragon
Everyone needs a stress-free, fluffy day every once in a while, right?
“You’re so cute…”
Brian jolted awake. As was now standard, a nightmare had caused him to forget where he was for a moment. His consciousness was overtaken by confusion, as well as a strange swirling sensation in his stomach. Surprisingly quickly, though, the feeling faded and everything came flooding back to him. He didn’t remember what the nightmare was about, but it must have not been very severe.
At least I didn’t scream this time… he thought, grateful that he wasn’t going to wake Allison up. Although he deeply appreciated all the times she comforted him, he still felt guilty about interrupting her sleep every night. So, he simply closed his eyes as his heart rate returned to normal, hoping that he would be able to fall asleep soon. After a moment, though, a strange noise coming in the direction of Allison’s bed caused him to sit up.
He could hear a rustling noise, as if her bedsheets were shifting around, as well as the sound of slightly heavy breathing.
Is she having a nightmare too? he wondered. He removed himself from the shirt pocket and walked to the edge of the pet carrier, trying to see what was going on in the bed. While he was pondering if it was possible to wake her up if she was having a nightmare, yet another noise interrupted his thoughts. This time, though, it was her voice. Despite the fact that she was whispering and panting at the same time, his tiny ears were able to pick up her words quite clearly.
“B...Brian…” she whispered. His face twisted in concern, wondering if her nightmare was about him. His eyes slowly adjusted to the darkness, allowing him to get a better look at what was going on while she continued to whisper.
“B-Brian,” she repeated, “You’re… you’re s-so c… cute…”
Brian finally was able to see what was happening on the bed, and he suddenly felt like he had been struck by lightning.
“It’s… o-okay… just t-touch it… good boy…”
Allison was turned on her side, her body facing the pet carrier. Her eyes were shut tight, though, meaning that she couldn’t see her tiny spectator. Although hard to see in the dark, her cheeks were bright red, while small beads of sweat rolled down her flushed face. One hand was on her chest, while the other was stuffed down the front of her pajama pants. Her whole body undulated as she continued to pant, moan, and whisper, clueing Brian into exactly what she was doing, as well as who she was thinking about while doing it.
“Mmm… y-you’re so good, little one…” she purred.
Brian’s face turned bright red, while his breath became stifled. Driven by instinctual panic, he dove back into the shirt pocket, rolling over so his back was facing the writhing woman on the bed. His heart rate skyrocketed as his ears were assaulted by Allison’s pleasured moans and whisperings.
“You’re mine… my itsy-bitsy b-boyfriend… I l-love you so much…”
He closed his eyes and covered his ears, which did little to block the noise. All sounds were amplified for shrunken convicts, a fact that Brian was now lamenting.
“W-Where do you think you’re going…?” she breathed with a giggle. “You can’t… you can’t get away from me… you’re too t-tiny…”
His entire consciousness was gripped by an unexplainable wave of primal fear. Small tears began to run down his face, and he struggled not to make any noise. The only thing matching his fear was his confusion.
“Aww… I'll keep you safe… let me give you a… kiss…”
Calm down, calm down, calm down, calm down, calm down, calm down, calm down… he endlessly repeated inside his head.
Why am I so scared?! What’s going on?! Where am I?! MAKE IT STOP!
Then, just when he felt like he was about to go insane, a slightly louder moan echoed throughout the room, followed by silence. Brian could only hear Allison lightly panting as she came down from her previous activity. A part of him wanted to call out for help, but the part of his brain still paralyzed by fear forced him to lay in silence. Despite the hurricane of panic and confusion obliterating his insides, on the outside he looked as emotionless as ever. Anyone would have assumed he was sleeping, completely unaware of his inner turmoil.
Able to think coherently again, Allison rose from her bed and began to move towards the bedroom door. She took a moment to gaze lovingly at her tiny boyfriend as she passed by the carrier, glad that he appeared to be sleeping peacefully. She wondered if he would be waking up due to a nightmare soon, causing her to frown in sympathy.
“Poor baby…” she muttered, before making her way out towards the bathroom to do some washing up.
Brian continued to lay still for a few hours, completely paralyzed, before the mental stress finally exhausted him to the point where he could fall back asleep.
“Good morning, Brian!” Allison said cheerfully. He looked up at her from the pet carrier, flashing a small smile before averting eye contact.
“Good morning,” he said quietly.
“Did you not have a nightmare last night? I never ended up having to comfort you, so I took that as a good sign,” she asked. Brian considered lying, but decided to go with an altered version of the truth instead.
“I did wake up at one point, but I didn’t shout or anything. It must not have been very bad, so I decided to just go back to sleep,” he answered. Allison frowned.
“You should have woken me up,” she chided. Brian let out an awkward chuckle, still finding it hard to make eye contact.
“It really wasn’t a big deal. Anyway, how about we get some breakfast? Afterwards, we should probably talk about everything that happened yesterday.”
Allison shook her head vigorously.
“Actually, no,” she said, “I don’t want to do that.”
“Oh?” Brian asked, raising an eyebrow.
“I think we both need a day off,” she continued. “Just for today, I don’t want to think about anything. No Elizabeth, no Shrink Penalty, no Chevaliers, no wrongful convictions. For one day, we’re just a normal boyfriend and girlfriend spending a lazy day off together.”
Brian looked down at his one-inch body, before looking back up at her with a skeptical eye.
“Normal…?” he asked, causing Allison to pause.
“Almost normal,” she corrected with a wink. Brian smiled, her playful attitude slowly soothing his troubled heart.
“I mean, that’s great and all, but what do normal boyfriends and girlfriends do in the first place?” he asked. If you recall, this was Brian’s first relationship.
“I guess you’ll just have to find out,” she replied with a dangerous grin. Brian’s alarm bells started to ring again, but he pushed the sensation down as Allison held out her palm.
“Hop on, snookums,” she said. Brian rolled his eyes.
“That one isn’t going away any time soon…” he muttered, before climbing aboard. With that, he was whisked away towards the kitchen, Allison holding him close to her chest with an enormous smile.
“Oh, you missed a waterfall. Go back and look behind it.”
“Okay seriously, why do you always want to look behind every waterfall we see?”
“That’s, like, video game logic 101. If there’s a waterfall, you look behind it. Are you a pro gamer or not?”
“Shut it! Nobody asked for your unhelpful hints, doofus.”
Allison was playing a video game, while Brian was perched on her shoulder. He occasionally chimed in with commentary or suggestions, much to her chagrin. Brian let out an evil chuckle, before lightly gasping.
“What’s wrong?” Allison asked.
“I just realized, I’m the real life version of those fairies that follow you around in games and annoy you with unwanted hints,” he said in awe.
“Holy shit, that’s so fucking true,” she replied with a hearty laugh. “Unlike with those fairies, though, it’s possible to shut you up.”
“Oh, and how exactly do you do that?” Brian asked playfully. Allison paused the game and pondered for a moment.
“Well, I suppose you have your pick of scenarios, don’t you?” she replied with a grin. “I could always wrap you up in my hand, for example.”
Brian nodded, making an appreciative noise.
“Or… maybe I could trap you in my shoe, hmm? Or maybe pop you in my mouth and treat you like a little piece of candy? You’re certainly sweet enough,” she continued with a giggle. Brian raised an eyebrow at her train of thought, the swirling sensation in his stomach slightly returning.
“Or, of course, I could always stick you back between my boobs. Keep you nice and warm and safe. It’s a pretty effective mode of transportation, if you think about it. So, what’s your preference, little one? ‘Cause if you keep it up with your little comments, you just might find yourself having to pick.”
Brian was staring at her in shock. He couldn’t entirely see her face from his position on her shoulder, but he could tell that she was grinning widely.
“What’s gotten into you?” he asked, trying to suppress the nervousness in his voice. “Are you role-playing as Cathy or something?”
Allison giggled, nearly knocking him over from the vibration.
“Of course not, baby. Just something to think about.”
With that, she resumed playing the game. Brian reclined against her neck, more than a little confused by her sudden change in attitude. After all, this was a woman who usually went beet-red at the first mention of anything even slightly sexual, and she was now joking about her boobs like it was nothing. The events of the previous night popped into his mind, but he immediately pushed them out and chose to focus on the game. This time, though, he was decidedly less vocal.
Later on, they were watching TV. Allison was sitting cross-legged on the sofa with a pillow in her lap, which Brian was comfortably perched on. Despite Brian’s expectation that their “day off” was going to entail somewhat different activities than usual, due to her emphasis on the “boyfriend and girlfriend” part, it had been surprisingly ordinary so far. Not that he was complaining, as he was perfectly fine with just hanging out until Allison was ready to talk. As if to answer his ponderings, though, Allison suddenly placed her hands on either side of him, creating a wall of pleasantly-smelling moisturized skin.
Before he could question this development, she darted inwards with her fingers and began to gently poke-and-prod him all over his miniscule body. She moved her fingers all around, gently squeezing an arm with a few while caressing his chest with others. It was as if she had suddenly become blind, and was trying to “see” him through the tactile impressions coming from her fingers. The immensely pleasurable sensations coming from this treatment quickly drowned out any confusion, and Brian allowed himself to completely relax in her grip, giving her full control over his tiny body. Noticing this, Allison bit her lower lip with a smile, and her efforts only increased. They stayed like this for a while, Allison watching television while idly fondling and playing with Brian’s body as if it was a fidget toy, while he completely submitted to her gentle and loving hands.
Eventually, her fingers slowed down their assault and released Brian from their embrace. He found himself slumped over in her palm, feeling just about as relaxed as he ever had in his life. One thumb began to stroke his hair, while Allison simply continued to watch television miles above him. She was showing an immensely satisfied smile as she hummed a soft tune.
Brian looked up at her with a grateful expression.
“That felt insanely awesome, Allie,” he said softly. “You training to be a masseuse or something?”
She looked down at him with a smirk.
“What, do I need a reason to feel up my handsome boyfriend? I love the way you feel between my big, giant fingers,” she replied teasingly. Brian adopted a look of mock-offense.
“I’m not some piece of meat, you know.”
“Mmm, that’s for sure,” Allison replied as she brought her palm up to her face. “You’re a specimen.”
With that, she began to twist her palm around, examining Brian from every angle as if he were a prized gemstone. Brian felt like he was being put under a microscope, and her intense appreciation of his physical features made his heart speed up.
“You really are handsome, though,” she breathed. “You know, there’s actually a small, dark corner of the internet that’s dedicated to appreciating your looks, Brian.”
Brian’s eyes shot open.
“You’re fucking with me,” he said. Allison shook her head with a sly grin.
“Nope. Some people think you have that “evil is sexy” thing going for you,” she replied.
“Wait wait wait, you’re telling me there are people out there who get off to a child murderer?!” Brian asked incredulously, thoroughly disturbed. Allison raised an eyebrow.
“You’re not a child murderer,” she replied.
“They don’t know that!” Brian exclaimed, which caused Allison to laugh at his bewilderment.
“Look, my point is that your attractiveness is pretty well known, Brian, but people just don’t want to say so out loud,” she explained. Her tone, low and breathy, brought back the swirling sensation.
“And now…” she purred, tracing one finger across his body. “I have you all~to~my~self~”
That did it.
“Allie, please stop,” Brian said quickly, clutching his stomach with one hand while he held up the other one to stop her. He was trying not to throw up, as the swirling in his stomach was making him nauseous. His heart was racing, and he was fighting the urge to jump off her hand and run away. Allison quickly dropped her flirtatious persona, and her face twisted in concern.
“What’s wrong? Is everything okay?” she asked hurriedly, lowering her palm back on top of the pillow. She could tell that Brian was greatly distressed.
“It’s just… um…” Brian started, trying to slow his heart. “You’re acting… different, today. I’m worried about you, and I just wonder if… we, um, should be talking about what happened yesterday… is all.”
“I said I didn’t want to do that today,” she said quietly. Brian nodded, as he finally got his breath under control. He looked back up at her with a gentle expression.
“I know, but it seems like you’re bottling something up right now. We both know why that’s a bad idea, so I just think it’d be a good idea to get things out in the open. Like I promised to do with you,” he said calmly. Allison’s eyes softened.
“Listen, just… tell me what you’re thinking right now,” Brian said, giving a reassuring smile. Allison opened and closed her mouth a few times, as if the words kept disappearing. After a few long moments of silence, though, she began to tear up.
“I’m thinking… that… a person I loved betrayed me,” she choked out. This confirmed Brian’s suspicion that she had been acting strangely to cover up the pain, and he nodded sympathetically.
“She betrayed me… and lied to me, and I don’t even understand why,” she continued. “Can you blame me for not wanting to think about it?”
“Of course not, Allie,” Brian replied gently. “But… pretending it didn’t happen isn’t good either. Like I said, I really don’t feel comfortable sharing what she told me, but she did have a reason for it. Even if it’s hard to face her… I really think you should give her a chance to explain. It would make you feel better.”
A few tears raced down her cheek, before she wiped them off with her free arm and let out a deep sigh.
“I’m sure you’re right. I should at least hear her out. But not today,” she said, flashing a sad smile, which Brian reciprocated.
“Right… I’m sorry to bring you down, but I’m just worried about you,” he replied.
“Nonsense, don’t be sorry. You’re just being a considerate, caring sweetheart, as per usual. Come here, let me give you a kiss,” she said, before bringing her hand up to her face.
Suddenly, a memory of the previous night pierced Brian’s mind.
“Aww… I'll keep you safe… let me give you a… kiss…”
“You’re so cute…”
Brian let out a small yelp at the sight of her approaching lips, and he unconsciously flinched. Allison noticed this, and brought her hand back down.
Did I just… scare him? she wondered in shock. Suddenly, Elizabeth’s talk from the other day flooded into her mind, causing her blood to freeze.
“I need to know if you are handling this relationship with the appropriate amount of consideration.”
“Not only are you thousands of times his size, you were the first person in three years to show him any amount of kindness.”
“You are his entire world right now, Allie. Think about what that could do to a young man’s psychology.”
“Do you think he feels like an equal in this relationship?”
“How long after that did your relationship start?”
“I assume you’re the one who confessed to him, yes?”
“I just worry that there is an unhealthy power balance.”
“In a situation where you were to ask him to do something he didn’t want to do, do you think he would feel like he is allowed to say no?”
Allison snapped back to reality, feeling nauseous. She looked down at Brian, and saw that he was averting eye contact, his face pale. She suddenly felt utterly and overwhelmingly guilty.
“…did I pressure you into starting this relationship?” she asked, her voice barely audible. Brian’s eyes shot up at her in shock as his mind went into overdrive at this unexpected question.
“What?” he asked incredulously. He was completely perplexed. Allison’s face darkened even further, looking like she had just committed a crime.
“Elizabeth told me that… you might not feel like an equal, because of everything and… I might have told you how I felt too soon, before I could make sure that you would feel safe…”
“Woah, woah, woah- Allie. Allie, Allie, Allie, Allie-” Brian desperately tried to stop her, but she continued to speak as if a dam of doubt had just broken.
“Just one day after you told me you don’t feel like an equal, and I almost h-hurt you, and I promised to move slowly… I told you that I loved you, and… I should have waited… t-to make sure you felt like you could say no, and… oh god, I’m taking advantage of you!”
With that, she buried her head in her hands, feeling more ashamed than she ever had in her life. Seeing Brian afraid of her seemingly confirmed everything that Elizabeth had warned her about, and she suddenly felt just as abusive as her ex. She started to breathe heavier as Brian desperately tried to get through to her.
“Allie! Come on, what the fuck are you talking about?! When did Elizabeth- Please listen to me! Allie, please!” he cried, standing to his feet and waving his arms.
“This is wrong… I should never have confessed! I couldn’t even keep you a secret from Cathy, a-and I’ve put you in harm’s way so many times now! I was just being selfish, and you probably felt like you couldn’t say no, and I’m so sorry… W-We should just stop-”
“SHOOTING STAR!” Brian screamed at the top of his lungs. At the sound of those words, a memory of their third night together flashed through Allison’s mind.
“Brian?” she whispered, “Brian, are you awake?”
He did not respond, and her suspicions were confirmed. Careful not to jostle him around, she reached up and grabbed him from her shoulder. She gently transferred him to her palm, and she gazed down at him as he slept.
She was reminded of when she first brought him to her apartment. He had been sleeping inside of her breasts, and it was the first time that she had seen him look so peaceful. Just as she had done before, she marvelled at how innocent he looked. Nobody would have been able to tell that he had been through so much pain. He simply looked like a normal young man, and Allison was extremely happy that he was able to look so relaxed in her presence.
It’s only been three days, but we’ve really come a long way, she thought.
She continued to gaze at him adoringly, not fully realizing just how happy his presence was making her.
At that moment, though, Brian began to stir. He half-stood up, his arms pushing his chest up, as he looked all around. His eyes were still half-closed, and Allison guessed that he was still partially asleep.
“W-where am I?” he slurred, sounding more perplexed than actually scared. He looked up at Allison.
“Who are you?” he asked drowsily. Allison couldn’t help but grin.
“It’s me, Brian. Allie. You know, Allison Starr?” she replied softly. At the mention of her full name, Brian relaxed, and lowered himself back onto her palm. He rested his head on her thumb, which she had conveniently laid out immediately prior.
“Mmm… Starr…” he mumbled. “My shooting star…”
Allison’s heart skipped a beat. Her whole body suddenly felt very warm, and her cheeks turned bright red.
“That’s right, Brian,” she whispered, “your shooting star…”
Allison brought one finger to the side of his face, and began to stroke it tenderly. She continued like this for a while, basking in her burgeoning feelings that she was finally becoming aware of.
“Do you want to know when I fell in love with you?” Brian asked calmly. Allison weakly nodded, her eyes wide.
“It was after you came back from the facility, before Cathy showed up,” he began, adopting a gentle smile. “You opened up to me about why you became a Chevalier, and you were crying. I then told you that what happened didn’t make you a bad person, it just made you human. Remember?”
Allison smiled and nodded, recalling the warmth and comfort that his words had given her.
“When I said that, just like you are right now, you showed me a dazzling smile. It was the most radiant, grateful, and beautiful smile I had ever seen. It made me feel all… warm inside. It didn’t make me feel like I was one-inch tall, or a child murderer, or anything bad. It made me feel happy. And I knew that… as long as I could see that smile, then I would be able to smile, too. That’s when I fell in love with you. Gratitude, fear, doubt- none of it had anything to do with it. You’re the reason I can smile, Allie, and that’s why I love you.”
Overcome with emotion, Allison simply laid her head down next to Brian on the pillow. Her eyes carried all the love in the universe.
“I’m so happy…” she whispered. Brian leaned over and kissed her forehead.
“So, why did you flinch when I moved to kiss you?” Allison asked, after a small amount of time had passed. Brian fidgeted, scratching his neck while he averted his eyes.
“Come on…” she gently nudged. “It’s not fair if I’m the only one being vulnerable here.”
Brian sighed deeply, before closing his eyes in resignation. He opened and closed his mouth a few times, as if trying and failing to find the right words.
“Look…” he began. “We haven’t really talked about this since the beginning, but…”
He took a deep breath. The swirling in his stomach was nearly unbearable.
“Are you… really okay with the whole ‘no sex’ thing?”
Allison was taken aback. She searched through her memories for reasons as to why he would ask that, before the answer slapped her in the face. She instantly blushed.
“Oh…” she said shyly. “I’ve been coming onto you pretty hard today, haven’t I?”
Brian sheepishly nodded.
“Yeah… last night, too, with the whole… kissing thing…”
“Shit, I’m so sorry,” Allison said, averting her eyes. “Yeah… the truth is, well, last night I got a little… excited, while we were kissing. I was just so happy, and grateful for everything you said and did, and… yeah.”
“It wasn’t just that…” Brian muttered, turning extremely red. His heart was still pounding, but being able to openly talk about it was making it easier on him.
“What do you mean?” she asked, cocking her head.
“This is the part where you’re going to regret asking me to open up,” he started.
“Like I said, last night I woke up from a nightmare but didn’t scream or anything. But… you were already awake, too.”
“Really? Then why didn’t you get my attention?” she asked. Unable to stand it anymore, Brian averted his eyes.
“Because you were already… busy…” he said, gesturing to her lower half.
Allison’s face twisted in confusion for a moment, before dropping off a cliff in realization. She simultaneously went pale and blushed harder than she had ever blushed before, as she realized that her boyfriend had seen her masturbating. She felt even worse once she realized that he also probably heard everything she had said while doing so.
In a trance, she calmly removed the pillow holding Brian from her lap, and placed it to her side on the sofa. She then moved like she was about to stand up.
“If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go jump in a volcano,” she said flatly, before trying to stand up. She found that her legs had turned into jelly, however, and she promptly fell back onto the couch.
“On second thought, I’m just going to stay here until I die.”
Brian regained his ability to speak.
“I’m only telling you this because it made me feel really strange,” he said.
“No shit…” Allison muttered, still staring blankly into the distance. “I said all that embarrassing stuff about you…”
“No, not like that. Look, sexual stuff has never affected me my whole life. Like I told you, I appreciate beauty, but that’s about it. But… last night, when you were kissing me, and when I saw… that… as well as all the times you were flirty with me today, I felt really odd,” he elaborated.
This snapped Allison out of her embarrassed haze, and she looked at him with concerned eyes.
“Odd how?” she asked.
“I don’t know… I get these weird stomach aches, and I get really scared… my heart starts racing, and I start to panic. It just feels… overwhelming,” he explained. Allison furrowed her brow.
“And that’s never happened before?” she asked. Brian shook his head.
“Last night was the first time. I mean, being in between your breasts didn’t make me feel anything, and neither did Cathy’s teasing. But now… it’s like something is different. I don’t understand what’s happening to me, and… I’m really scared,” he replied, holding back tears at the end. Allison noticed that he was trembling as well. She quickly scooped him up in her palms, holding him close as she tenderly stroked his cheek.
“Whatever’s going on with you, Brian, you’re going to be okay. Look, sexuality is a really complicated thing. You never really got a chance to experiment before you were convicted, so maybe you’re just now discovering something that was always there. But you listen to me,” she said comfortingly, moving her hand so they could look at each other.
“We’re going to figure it out together. And I promise not to be so pushy in the future. Believe me, that kind of thing is only fun when we’re both having fun, so we’ll just take it slow, figure out what your boundaries are. We’re probably in the strangest relationship in the world right now, so we just have to work a little harder in figuring things out. I want nothing more than to figure it out, though, so I’ll do whatever it takes. What about you?”
Brian smiled, gazing up at his loving girlfriend adoringly.
“I’ll do whatever it takes, too. I love you,” he said
“And I love you, Brian Bentley,” she replied, gently leaning in to give him a kiss. This time, he felt completely safe, and gladly accepted the giant lips that engulfed him in a tender embrace.
Just like that, they were ready to move on.
I lied about the stress-free part, but it was still pretty fluffy, yeah? Until next time.
A Reconciliation by Pluto Pendragon
Longer chapter! Just the way the cookie crumbles sometimes. By the way, I hate cookies that crumble. Chewy all the way.
Allison and Elizabeth were seated opposite each other at the dining table. Allison’s eyes were as cold as an iceberg, while Elizabeth’s were solemn and repentant. She was immensely grateful for the opportunity to explain herself, a feeling that Allison told her to direct towards Brian, but she was fully aware that Allison had no obligation to forgive her. Still, she was hopeful that their relationship, which she valued so much, would remain intact.
Allison had wanted Brian to be present, but he insisted on letting them speak alone. He knew that they were going to get into some dark territory, and he didn’t want Allison to talk about it with him unless it was on her own terms. So, he was in their bedroom with the door closed, reclined against a pillow with a contemplative look on his face. He was also hoping for a positive ending to their discussion, but he committed himself to supporting whatever decision Allison would make. After a few long moments of silence, their conversation began. Brian could not make out any individual words, but he could hear the tone of their voices. The chill from Allison’s tone practically made him shiver, while Elizabeth’s was as soft and light as a feather.
Back at the dining table, Allison was showing a robotic expression that was clearly inspired by her tiny boyfriend. She started by demanding to know just how much of what Elizabeth previously said had been lies, and thus began a recount of their original conversation at the university dining hall. Obviously, Elizabeth had been aware of Allison’s former job. She was not aware, however, that Brian had been sent to her, or indeed that she had rescued him. She had hoped for the best, admittedly, when she learned that Brian had been sent to the Silver Strip, but there had been no grand plan behind the scenes. Just as Brian had, Allison could see that she was telling the truth. This was of some relief to her, but that feeling was immediately undone by the next admission.
Next, Elizabeth revealed that she had been keeping tabs on Allison after she graduated. This meant that she knew the exact circumstances surrounding the end of her previous relationship, as well as everything that happened after. Allison’s face twisted into yet another look of intense anger at this breach of privacy, and she nearly ended the meeting right then. Remembering Brian’s plea, however, she got herself under control and let Elizabeth continue. Elizabeth apologized for her secret monitoring, as well as lying about it, but she explained that she only did so because she knew that Allison’s relationship wasn’t going to end well, and she was being pushed out of her life. Although this soothed Allison’s anger somewhat, she pointed out that her explanation didn’t excuse the lying. At that, Elizabeth hung her head.
As Brian had asked, the logical next question was why Elizabeth did not reach out once Allison’s life went up in smoke. Then, as had been revealed to him, Elizabeth told her how she did reach out, multiple times. Allison raised an eyebrow in skepticism, retorting that she would have noticed. Elizabeth rightfully pointed out that, by Allison’s own admission, she had been nearly homeless for a while. As such, reaching out had been very difficult, and there was no way of knowing if any correspondence would actually make it to her. Allison had sold her phone at the time, making it even more difficult. Then, with a critical look, Allison asked why she didn’t just reach out in person, if that was the case. At that, Elizabeth’s face darkened in pure sympathy. She then began to recount what had happened the one time she tried to visit in person.
As her story continued, Allison’s face went through a gradual and striking transition. It twisted in confusion at the beginning, not understanding how she could forget something like that. It then dropped in dismissive denial, confident that Elizabeth was incorrect. Then, there was a sliver of doubt. A few details began to register in her mind- a few locations sounded familiar, a few descriptions of houses. Still, she was confident that things never got that bad for her. At that point, though, Elizabeth described the state that Allison was in when she found her, as well as what had happened when she tried to help. Once again, Allison was dismissive. After a few moments of gentle nudging, however, something clicked in her mind. Suddenly, as if a door had been opened, an entire ocean of repressed memories flooded into her recollection. She immediately remembered just how bad things had gotten, as well as how close things had come to getting even worse.
She weakly shook her head a few times, in one last feeble burst of denial.
“It’s okay, sweetheart,” Elizabeth said gently, her eyes carrying an ocean of concern. Allison simply continued to shake her head, her face pale as tears began to form. Then, after a small eternity, she broke down into hysterical sobbing. The memories were too painful, and it exploded out of her like a bomb. Elizabeth dashed from her chair over to Allison’s side and wrapped her arms around her tightly. Desperate for some kind of physical comfort, even from somebody she was angry at, Allison accepted her embrace, burying her face in Elizabeth’s soft sweater. Back in the bedroom, Brian could hear Allison’s uncontrollable wailing, and he clenched his fists in anger at his own helplessness. He had never felt so enraged by his height, and his determination to become normal sized increased by a factor of thousands.
Allison and Elizabeth stayed like this for a while. Overwhelmed by the forgotten feelings of despair and hopelessness that had dominated her life for a while, Allison continued to cry into the chest of her former mentor. Elizabeth continued to hold her tight, fighting back tears of her own, softly stroking her hair as she continuously reassured her that she was safe, and that everything was okay. Elizabeth had never seen Allison cry with such melancholic intensity before, and it pained her heart as if she was seeing it from her own daughter. Nothing else in the world mattered to her- she simply had to hold her and reassure her that the bad times were over. Eventually, her loving embrace and reassuring words started to get through, and Allison began to calm down.
She was guided over to the couch where they could sit in greater comfort. Elizabeth sat down right next to her, keeping her close with one arm around her shoulder. With her other, she gently helped Allison wipe her face with some tissues as she slowly got herself under control. When the tears had lessened enough, Elizabeth decided to continue her explanation.
“Seeing you like that broke my heart, Allie,” she said softly. Allison continued to sniffle, her eyes shut tight as the occasional small tear streamed down her face.
“I knew that you felt like everything that he did was your fault. You had so much anger, and you were directing it at yourself. You probably felt like you deserved it. Am I correct?” she asked.
Allison weakly nodded, a sobbing gasp escaping her lips.
“I knew that if I didn’t do something, you were going to wind up dead. I felt so helpless. You obviously weren’t going to accept help from somebody you knew, so I thought about ways in which I could give you an out without you knowing it was from me,” she continued.
“But… b-but why a… Chevalier?” Allison choked out. Elizabeth sighed.
“I remembered how you always expressed mild support for the SP, despite my best efforts,” she started, giving Allison a gentle nudge with her elbow. This elicited a weak smile.
“So, I thought that it would be a way for you to direct your overwhelming anger towards something else. Something that was unable to hurt you back. Like you told me, as well, it was a job with good pay, few commitments, and complete anonymity. I just… thought it was something you could accept. And let me make this clear,” she said, gently moving Allison’s head in her direction.
“Allie, I’m extremely sorry for going behind your back. I’m sorry for lying to you about everything. I’m sorry for taking advantage of your pain to try and bring down the SP. I’m sorry for all the pain, regret, and guilt that you’re feeling right now. But I’m not sorry for getting you that job. I truly believe that if I hadn’t, you would be dead. It also led, unintentionally as it was, to you meeting Brian. I think it’s safe to say that we’re both glad that happened, right?”
Allison smiled through her tears, nodding in affirmation.
“So, thank you for letting me explain myself. If you still want me to leave you and Brian alone from now on, I completely understand. I don’t expect you to forgive me for lying, but I hope you understand why I did it. I did it because I love you, Allie. I love you like you’re my own blood, and I couldn’t bear to see you destroy yourself. And no matter what you decide to do, I will always love you.”
At that, Elizabeth moved in for another hug. This time, Allison reciprocated, wrapping her arms around Elizabeth as she laid her head on her shoulder. Showing an emotional, teary smile, she let out a colossal sigh.
“I love you too, Elizabeth,” she said softly. The weight of a thousand suns was lifted from Elizabeth’s shoulders, and she squeezed her former student even harder as she tried not to cry. Just like that, they had tentatively made up.
After a while, they finally let go of each other. Allison was still crying, but she was clearly feeling a lot better. Elizabeth lovingly brushed Allison’s hair out of her face, her own face showing a tender expression.
“What would you like to do now, sweetheart?” she asked gently. Allison thought for a moment.
“I need my Brian,” she said firmly. Elizabeth smiled warmly.
“You certainly do,” she replied. At that, Allison rose and dashed to her bedroom, ready to collect her one-inch boyfriend.
“Hey,” Brian said softly. Allison sat down in the space between her bed and nightstand, so her face was roughly at Brian’s level on the bed. Seeing the face of someone she loved look so concerned for her well-being, she struggled not to break down again.
“So, what did Elizabeth tell you the other day?” she asked with a sniffle.
“An abridged version of what happened when she tried to visit you in person. As for the rest, I only want to hear it if that’s what you desire,” he replied. Allison’s face softened in gratitude, and her lip quivered.
“I don’t understand… how could I forget something like that?” she wondered incredulously. “I didn’t realize things had been that bad… how is it possible to not remember that?!”
“I think it’s your brain doing you a favor,” he answered. “Like what happened with my mother, I had completely buried it. Sometimes… when something unbelievably painful happens, I think our brains make us forget it, so we don’t have to relive the pain.”
“But… then, how are we supposed to move on?” she asked.
“By confronting it.”
“How are we supposed to do that if we don’t remember?”
“By getting help.”
“I wish it was easier.”
They both let out a deep sigh, before transitioning into comfortable silence for a minute. Eventually, Brian spoke back up.
“So, what are you wanting to do about Elizabeth?” he asked. Allison nodded.
“I’m still angry at her for lying, but I honestly can’t blame her for recommending me. I understand why she did it, and I’m not sure what I would have done differently in her position. For all the pain being a Chevalier caused me, it did get me out of that bad place. Plus, it got me a cute boyfriend, so it’s not like I can be too mad,” she replied with a wink, causing Brian to grin.
“So, you want to stay friends with her, then?” he asked.
“Yeah. It will take time for her to earn my trust back, but I still love her. I want her to stay in my life, and help us prove your innocence,” she answered. Brian flopped over on the bed.
“Well, I’m glad to hear that. I was going to support you no matter what, but the selfish part of me was hoping that you’d let her stick around to help us out,” he said with a guilty smile. It was Allison’s turn to grin.
“You should let your selfish side out more often, it’s pretty adorable,” she said. “Anyway, she’s still here, so do you wanna go say hi?”
“Sure, not like I’ve got anything else going on,” he said dryly. Allison beamed, and scooped him up from the bed, giving him a few quick kisses before exiting the room.
As Allison returned to the living room, Elizabeth eagerly trained her eyes on her palm, waiting to see the treasure hidden within. When she finally rested her eyes upon him, her face was overtaken by pure happiness and gratitude. Brian took a few exaggerated sniffs.
“Smells like a breakdown in here,” he said plainly. Elizabeth laughed out loud, caught off guard by the unexpected joke.
“You would know, asshole!” Allison cried, giving him a poke with her free hand. “You’re the reason I invited her back in the first place!”
“That’s right, and let me tell you how unbelievably grateful I am that you made this happen, Brian. You’re just the cutest, most wonderful little sweetheart in the world,” Elizabeth said adoringly. Allison curled her fingers around him possessively, making a noise of disapproval as she scowled at her former mentor.
“No worries, Elizabeth,” Brian replied through the cage of fingers he was trapped in. “It’s the least I could do after tricking you into confessing.”
Elizabeth waved her hand dismissively.
“Oh, don’t worry about that. You obviously couldn’t be expected to keep that big of a secret from somebody you love so much. And honestly, I think it’s a good thing that you did. I told myself that I had a reason for keeping it secret, but I think I was just being selfish. I hope that, with it being out in the open now, we can all begin to move on. I’ll work hard to win both of your trusts back,” she explained. Brian nodded appreciatively, while Allison carried the smallest hint of a smile.
“Also,” Elizabeth said, “I was actually kind of impressed that you tricked me like that. Pretty sneaky, little guy.”
“Three years in a prison where everybody hated my guts, I had to learn how to be a little sneaky,” he retorted. Both women let out a small noise of appreciation, and Allison sat down on the sofa a small ways down from Elizabeth. She was a little disappointed that neither of them had asked if she wanted to try holding Brian yet, but she knew not to push her luck.
“So, have you done any more thinking about my case?” asked Brian, causing Elizabeth to make a small squeak of realization. Although he would never say this out loud, lest he incur Allison’s wrath, Brian found it to be pretty adorable.
“Yes I have! I obviously wasn’t going to make any moves without your permission, as I wasn’t sure if we were all planning on proceeding, but I did give some thought to potential strategies,” she said.
“What are you thinking?” Allison asked.
“Well, it’s tough,” Elizabeth replied. “We obviously can’t go about this in any kind of official way. The way they handled your case was sneaky, Brian, which means we have to be sneaky in turn. But, I did come up with two things.”
She held up one finger.
“One: when we find the pieces of evidence we need, we can’t present them to the police,” she started.
“Why’s that?” Allison asked with a raised eyebrow.
“Well, because there’s no guarantee they won’t just cover it up again. No, we need to take this story to the media,” Elizabeth replied.
“The media?” Brian asked skeptically. As you could imagine, he was not exactly fond of the times when the media and criminal justice intertwined.
“That’s right. Whereas the media was used like a weapon against you, Brian, we now want to use it for you. If we expose that the Brian Bentley’s case was tampered with behind the scenes, and there’s a possibility that he was innocent, it will absolutely blow up in the media. Create enough attention and public pressure, the government will have no choice but to reopen the case. Then, we could let them do the work for us. And as they would now have the pressure of public accountability and transparency, there’s very little chance they would be able to get away with covering it up again,” she explained.
As she continued, both Brian and Allison’s faces transitioned from doubtful to appreciative.
“Elizabeth, you’re brilliant,” Brian praised, while Allison vigorously nodded.
“Don’t I know it,” she replied with a wink. With that, she held up a second finger.
“Two: in terms of how we get enough evidence to start the media wildfire, this is where I have to start acting shady. Brian, you remember how I told you that I wasn’t the only one on your side when you got convicted?” she asked.
“Yeah,” Brian replied.
“Over the years, I’ve built up a web of connections with people who feel the same way as I do about the SP, and the state of our criminal justice system in general. One of the things we agreed on was the dubiousness of your trial, both when you were convicted as well as ‘re-sentenced.’ I think that this web can help us out,” she said.
“Hold on,” Brian cut in, “I thought you said that there was no conspiracy?”
“We’re just a group of like-minded individuals. We have no collective power, we mainly just get together to rant and rave about the SP sometimes. However, we all agreed that your case offered the greatest opportunity to strike at the SP, and they may be willing to help me get what we need,” she replied.
“Wait, you’re not planning on telling this entire web about Brian, are you?” Allison asked cautiously. Elizabeth shook her head reassuringly.
“No no no, of course not. But, I think I can convince them that it would be worth taking a look into Brian’s case files. That’s all,” she said. Brian and Allison nodded, convinced with what they had heard so far.
“So, that’s it. Just some preliminary thinking. Thoughts?” Elizabeth asked. She was met with a couple of heads shaking “no.”
“We haven’t really thought about the case since we saw you last,” Brian said.
“Yeah, we’ve been… busy,” Allison continued sheepishly. Elizabeth raised an eyebrow, but decided to let it go.
“So, what can I do for you, Elizabeth?” Brian asked. “Do you want more information about what happened to me? What my actual lawyers said, what happened in prison, or what happened when I was ‘re-sentenced,’ perhaps?”
“I mean, yes, yes, and yes, but let’s not today, honey,” Elizabeth said. “I’m sure you’re a bit burned out with all this talk about your case, so why don’t we save it for another day?”
“Oh, well, okay. I’m really not worried about it, but whatever you think is best,” he replied, a little surprised.
“What about me? Anything I can tell you?” Allison asked, a bit too eagerly. She felt like she hadn’t been of much help yet, and was itching to prove herself. Elizabeth pondered for a moment.
“Well, I suppose I have been wanting to know about what it’s like to be a Chev, but I didn’t want to push my luck today. I’ve been taking advantage of your situation for my own interests enough, and I only want to know what you’re comfortable telling me,” she said softly, a guilty look on her face. Allison’s heart softened. At that moment, though, Elizabeth’s face lit up in realization.
“Well, there is one thing you both could provide some information on,” she said.
“What it be?” Brian asked dryly, reclining into Allison’s hand.
“If you don’t mind, I’d like to know about Catherine Gates.”
“Cathy?!” Allison exclaimed.
“That terrifying woman?” Brian asked with a sigh, closing his eyes.
“She goes by Cathy, huh? Good to know,” Elizabeth muttered. “Yes, of course. This is the only other person who knows about Brian, and unlike me probably has no intention to help prove his innocence. She’s a Chevalier- an enthusiastic one, from the sounds of it, and she could prove troublesome. I said I was going to look into her, but I haven’t had a chance yet. I’d appreciate everything you can tell me about her, as well as… well, the circumstances of her discovery.”
“You mean the torture, don’t you?” Brian asked plainly, still reclining with his eyes closed.
“Brian!” Allison hissed.
“Come on, Allie, think about it. This is probably your best opportunity to tell her about it. She’s literally not allowed to be mad at you today, so you have free reign to tell her everything without fear of a scolding,” he explained.
“Thank you for your, er, candidness, Brian,” Elizabeth cut in. “Yes, to put it in unflattering terms, I wanted to know about the ‘torture.’ And yes, Allie, I promise not to get mad. I’m in no position to criticize your actions, and Brian has already clearly forgiven you.”
Allison nodded, slightly relieved. Elizabeth turned her attention to Brian.
“Are you okay talking about it, sweetie? If it’s difficult, we don’t have to. Or perhaps Allie and I could go somewhere else,” she said kindly.
“Nah, I’m good,” Brian replied with a thumbs-up. “I’m over it. Plus, I kind of want to see Allie squirm.”
“Oh my god,” Allison breathed. “You’re the actual worst, Bentley.”
“And proud of it! Hey, I said I forgive you, but that doesn’t mean I can’t get a little payback,” he replied plainly. Allison groaned, while Elizabeth broke out in a huge smile at their bickering.
“You two are adorable,” she said jovially, causing Allison to blush.
Thus began a recount of everything Allison knew about the blonde bombshell Chevalier known as Cathy. Her age, her looks, her “preferences” as a Chevalier, anything that she thought could be helpful. Brian listened intently as well, as all he knew about Cathy up to that point had been her methods of torture. Eventually, the recount caught up to the moment where Cathy had discovered Brian. Allison had fled home after her execution, and Cathy had followed as soon as she could. She stormed inside, overwhelming Allison with questions before she could get her to leave. She broke Allison’s plant pot, and asked to use the bathroom amidst the chaos. Then, with not enough directions given as to where the bathroom was, she wound up seeing Brian in Allison’s bedroom. Brian noticed that, a few times, Elizabeth’s face twitched during this section of the recount, indicating that she was holding back a bit of anger at Allison’s carelessness. Luckily, Allison was too wrapped up in her story to notice. Before she could continue, though, Elizabeth spoke up.
“Hold the phone. Before we get to the bad part- well, all of it’s been bad… anyway, I need a drink. Allie, could you spare a glass of wine?” she asked.
“Yeah, that’s a good call. The glasses are on the top shelf, could you get me some as well?” Allison replied.
“Of course. What about you, Brian, do you want a drink? I’m sure we could find a thimble or something,” she asked with a chuckle. Brian made an odd face.
“Er, I’m good, thanks,” he said. At that, Elizabeth moved to grab some wine. Soon enough, they were both settled, drinks in hand. Allison took a large swig, in a manner that was quite inappropriate for wine. She couldn’t have cared less, though, as she was about to relive some unpleasant memories.
“Alright, so she found him. What happened next?” Elizabeth asked, taking a sip.
This time, Brian began the story.
“Well, I had recognized her voice as the same person who spoke with Allie when she smuggled me out. I also saw that the door was open, so I prepared myself for the possibility of being found out. So, the instant she recognized me, I began screaming my head off, begging her for help,” he started. Elizabeth raised an eyebrow.
“I told her that Allie was this vile, horrible, sadistic, cruel, terrible-”
Allison poked him in the cheek, stopping his excessive description.
“Ahem. I convinced her that Allie had only smuggled me out to continuously torture me,” he said.
“Really, and you thought of that all on your own?” Elizabeth asked incredulously. Brian shrugged.
“Hope for the best, prepare for the worst,” he replied.
“Oh, that’s a good line. I’m stealing it,” Elizabeth said with a wink.
“Anyway, once Allie understood the lie, she picked up on it right away. Pretty good at acting like a sadistic kidnapper, this one. The crazy lady bought it immediately,” Brian continued.
“Is that so, Allie?” she asked slowly, a curious look in her eye. Allison’s blood froze.
“I took lots of acting electives in college! You know this!” she replied defensively, causing Elizabeth to giggle.
“Of course, I’m just messing with you. What happened next?”
Allison took over, and began to recount the details of the discovery. They managed to keep up the ruse, but were blackmailed into letting her have a ten minute session. Then, so as not to raise suspicion, Allison reluctantly agreed to participate. She was quick to mention, however, that she had no intention of letting ten minutes actually pass, as she had messed with the timer, and she had ordered a cab ahead of time. These details were enough to quell Elizabeth’s anger that was bubbling beneath the surface. At one point, though, she noted an important detail.
“Wait wait, she said that she had also smuggled out convicts?” she asked slowly, making sure that she understood correctly.
“Uh, yeah. It’s pretty disturbing to think about,” Allison replied with a grimace. Elizabeth put a hand to her forehead.
“Allie, I think we just found a clue as to why she agreed to keep quiet about Brian,” she said with a sigh.
“Wait, what?” Allison asked.
“Think about it. She couldn’t tell on you, because she had committed the same crime. Mutually assured destruction,” Elizabeth explained. Allison frowned.
“You… really think she did it for such a selfish reason?” she asked hesitantly. Despite everything, she still wanted to believe in Cathy’s friendship.
“I don’t know, honey, but it had to have crossed her mind,” Elizabeth replied with a gentle smile. Allison nodded, looking somber.
“Actually, this could present an opportunity,” Elizabeth continued. Allison made a questioning noise, then Brian suddenly spoke up.
“You think we could blackmail her?” he asked skeptically.
“Quick on the uptake as always, Brian,” Elizabeth praised. “If she’s smart, then she would have… well, disposed of her stolen convicts the minute she returned home. If not, though…”
“If we got evidence, we could use it to ensure that she keeps quiet,” Allison said, slightly in awe.
“That’s right. Who knows, maybe we could even get her to give us some information,” Elizabeth continued, causing Allison to frown.
“You’re talking about blackmailing and manipulating her like it’s nothing…” she said softly, disturbed to think that this was who her mentor truly was.
“Allie, it’s not like that…” Elizabeth replied quietly. “It’s more like, well…”
She let out a huff.
“She tortured Brian and made him cry. Don’t you want to get some revenge?!” she asked angrily. Allison’s eyes shot up at her in shock. She looked down at Brian and saw that he was looking into the distance with an odd expression, indicating that he shared the sentiment. After a moment of thought, her eyes hardened in anger.
“…point taken. We can think about it,” she replied plainly. At that, the recount continued.
After a little while, they got to the point where the session began.
“Brian, are you sure you want to stick around for this? I probably shouldn’t even be asking you both to talk about this, but I simply have to know what this awful woman did to you,” Elizabeth said guiltily.
“Really, I’m fine,” Brian replied reassuredly. “Look, I’ll even start us off. She began by flicking me.”
Elizabeth’s eyes widened.
“She flicked you?!” she exclaimed.
“Yup. I was on the table, and I flew right into that remote,” he said, pointing at a remote. “It knocked the wind right out of me, but it actually didn’t hurt that much.”
“Oh, you poor thing,” Elizabeth cooed sympathetically. Allison rolled her eyes, as she could tell that Brian was eating it up.
Brian forced Allison to describe the torture, enjoying how uncomfortable it was making her. At every step, Elizabeth would make borderline-motherly crooning noises in sympathy, her face twisted into one of overwhelming concern for Brian’s well-being. She would occasionally reach out to try and physically comfort him, only for Allison to swat her hand away. Eventually, they reached a peculiar part of the recount.
“Then, she said that Brian deserved some “relief,” and tried to get him to…” she said, her voice trailing off at the end in embarrassment.
“What?” Elizabeth asked concernedly. Brian decided to take over.
“She wanted me to masturbate,” he said plainly. Both Allison and Elizabeth went beet-red- a rare sight for the usually unflappable professor.
“Oh, my…” she muttered. “And… d-did…?”
“Professor!” Allison cried. “Why do you need to know?!”
Brian laughed out loud.
“No, I didn’t. She tried to give me some ‘material,’ but her feminine charms had no effect on me. You see, I’m asexual-”
“Well… I’m asexual, but… I don’t…”
“What is it, sweetie?” Elizabeth asked kindly, noticing his discomfort.
“Actually… maybe you can give us some advice,” Allison said, sensing an opportunity. “You see, over the past few days Brian has been having some questions-”
“Allie!” Brian exclaimed, in a rare burst of emotion. “I don’t… wanna, you know…”
“You’re fine talking about torture, but not about sex?” Allison asked incredulously.
“Compared to sex, torture is easy,” he countered.
“Honey, you really don’t need to be embarrassed talking to me about stuff like that. Sex is natural, it’s nothing to be- wait, are you two having sex?!” she asked, her eyes darting towards Allison. “How do you even…?”
“No, we’re not!” Allison quickly replied. “That’s kinda the point… ‘cause, you know… I’d sorta like to-”
“Everybody shut the fuck up!” Brian yelled. The room went silent.
“Alright, fine,” he eventually said with a huff. “Look, my whole life I’ve never been even slightly turned on by anything. It’s been kind of difficult, actually…”
His face turned somber.
“I’ve always felt… broken. If our primary instinct as humans is to reproduce, then… it made me feel like a failure of a human, if that makes sense,” he continued. Both Allison and Elizabeth’s faces softened in sympathy.
“It’s embarrassing, but… I used to look at porn- both women and men, and just… pray, to feel something. Anything, like what my friends told me about. I wanted it so fucking bad, but it didn’t happen. I eventually just accepted that it’s a part of who I am.”
“And that’s the right thing to do, honey,” Elizabeth cut in. Allison nodded.
“But… over the last couple days… a few, well, sexual things have happened with Allie, and they made me feel really strange,” Brian said.
“Strange how?” Elizabeth asked. “Do you think it’s arousal?”
“I wouldn’t know, since I have nothing to compare it to,” Brian replied. “But… it’s not a good feeling. I feel sick, my heart starts racing, and I get extremely scared. Sometimes… I even forget where I am. I always thought arousal was supposed to make you feel good, so I’ve been really confused. Anyway, do you have any idea what’s going on, Elizabeth?”
Elizabeth reclined into the sofa, pondering carefully for a moment.
“Well, let me get this out of the way. Brian, it’s perfectly natural to be questioning your sexuality at your age. Believe me, I’m an undergrad professor. I see kids going through what you’re going through every day,” she began with a reassuring smile.
“But, it doesn’t feel like questioning…” Brian replied. “Literally my whole life, I’ve never felt anything. But now… it’s like something suddenly changed.”
“Well, something did change,” Elizabeth said. “You fell in love with Allie.”
Brian looked up at her, while Allison raised an eyebrow.
“Brian, have you ever heard of demisexuality?” Elizabeth asked.
“No…” Brian replied unsuredly.
“A demisexual is someone who only feels sexual attraction to somebody they’ve formed a strong emotional connection to. Would I be correct in assuming that this is the first time you’ve been in love?” she continued. Brian slowly nodded, completely captivated by what she was saying. Allison was showing an appreciative, impressed smile at Elizabeth’s immediate insight.
“Well, there you go. A lot of demisexuals think they’re asexual, but then they form a bond with someone and start to feel attracted to them. It doesn’t mean you’re wrong about what you’ve felt your whole life, it just means that you’re feeling something new. Does that sound like it’s possible for you?” Elizabeth asked. Brian reclined into Allison’s fingers, a faraway look on his face.
“Demisexual…” he muttered. Elizabeth smiled kindly, while Allison was positively beaming.
“Sweetheart, maybe the scary stuff that you’re feeling is just your body reacting to a strong, unfamiliar sensation. So, maybe if you experiment a little and get used to it, the bad parts will fade away, and you’ll get to experience something new and exciting. Just give it some thought, and I’m sure Allie will take good care of you if you decide to try,” she said. With that, she looked back up at her former student.
Allison’s eyes were sparkling, as if they contained an entire universe. She gave Elizabeth an enthusiastic thumbs up, ready to completely forgive her for lying about the recommendation. Elizabeth adopted a slightly exasperated smile, before she suddenly turned stern.
“But Allison Starr, if you get carried away and hurt this precious boy…” she said firmly.
“It’ll be fine!” Allison replied defensively. “Shrunken convicts have increased durability, so they can take quite a bit of punishment.”
The room went silent.
Elizabeth narrowed her eyes, while Brian slowly turned to look up at her.
“What exactly are you wanting to do to me…?” he asked nervously. Allison turned beet-red.
“A-Anyway, I think we were talking about the torture?”
Hope you enjoyed! I actually have to take a break from writing, as I have increased "responsibilities" (ugh) over the next couple weeks. Whoever invented midterms deserves the Shrink Penalty. Anywho, let me know what you're thinking! Until next time.
A Great Idea by Pluto Pendragon
Eh, midterms aren's as time-demanding as I expected. This is somewhat of an "in-between" chapter, but I didn't want the next one to get too crowded.
“It sounds to me that you took all this like a champ, Brian. That’s pretty incredible,” Elizabeth said. Allison nodded.
“I have to agree with you on that, Elizabeth. He even told me that the one time he screamed was a fake, just so Cathy would stop before it got really bad,” she replied.
“No, that scream was real,” Brian said plainly, reclining into a pillow. Although he had spent the first part of the recount in Allison’s hand, he was now on the couch, between her and Elizabeth.
“What?!” Allison exclaimed. “But, you said…!”
“I was trying to make you feel better, since you were freaking out.”
Allison held her head in her hands, letting out an exasperated groan. Elizabeth shook her head in disbelief.
“You’re the one who gets tortured, and you were trying to comfort Allie?” she muttered. “Regardless, it sounds like you were really strong, honey.”
Brian’s face darkened.
“Well… there was one thing, at the end…” he said softly. Allison’s face dropped in sympathy and guilt, while Elizabeth grew concerned.
“Near the end, Cathy forced Allie to start calling me a ch… a child murderer, over and over again. Cathy then went on a rant about how the whole world hates me, and that I deserve to die,” he explained, looking down at the ground.
“Oh, honey…” Elizabeth said softly. “You know that Allie didn’t mean it, and Cathy is an idiot.”
“I know that, of course. But… the words, they brought back some difficult memories. Stuff that I had pushed down,” Brian replied.
“It was stuff about his mother,” Allison cut in, not wanting Brian to have to say it. At that, Elizabeth’s face darkened in hatred and disgust.
“That awful woman…” she growled. “I simply can’t believe the things she was willing to say on national television. Immediately, she was willing to throw her son away. How could a person, how could a mother, throw her baby boy to the wind like that?! Does she have no soul? Did she not find the handling of her son’s trial suspicious? She makes me sick. Knowing now that Brian is innocent, it makes me want to find her and slap her-“
“Elizabeth,” Allison softly chided, glancing at Brian with her eyes. Elizabeth quickly realized her error.
“Oh, sweetie, I’m so sorry,” she gently apologized. “I shouldn’t be saying those things around you, I’m sure it’s hard to talk about.”
“It’s really fine, I feel the same way you do,” he replied reassuringly. “I’ve been… doing some thinking about what would happen if my innocence is revealed. I try not to get my hopes up, but I can’t help but wonder. One thing I wonder about is if I would want to meet her again. Honestly, at this point, I don’t think I would. I think it would be too painful.”
Elizabeth nodded in agreement, while Allison frowned.
“I don’t know, maybe you’ll feel differently if the opportunity comes,” Allison said. “You only get the one mother, and she was under the intense scrutiny of an entire country.”
“Are you seriously defending that woman?” Elizabeth asked incredulously. “Even if it was under duress, she was unbelievably cruel. If Brian thinks what she did caused irreparable damage to their relationship, then we should honor that decision.”
Allison and Elizabeth went to war with their eyes for a few moments, and Brian could practically see the sparks.
“Uh… look, that’s not a decision that needs to be made right now, as Allie said. So, let’s just table it,” he said, trying to avoid conflict. The two giant women surrounding him looked away from each other with a huff.
“Anyway… yeah, the session brought back one of my worst memories. It was the first and last time she spoke to me after Timmy’s death, on the day of my trial. That’s how I found out that my trial wasn’t televised, and that my evidence was being covered up. I thought… I thought she was visiting because she had found a new lawyer, or something. Not to say goodbye. And she said…”
He paused. Elizabeth was thoroughly captured by his story, her eyes showing an ocean of concern and nervous anticipation. Allison could tell that Brian was struggling to say it, and wondered if she should stop him. Looking into his eyes, though, she knew that he was choosing to say it out loud in an attempt to heal and move on. So, she let him continue.
“When I asked her to help me… she said that doing so would make things even worse for her, and that nobody was going to help me. I told her that the truth would stop the harassment, and she said that the truth was that I killed a child. S-She said that I was disgusting, and that I murdered a child. She said that I was no longer her son. She said that I deserved the Shrink Penalty. She said that I deserved to be squished like a bug. She said that she would do it herself. Then she left.”
As he continued, Brian’s eyes grew darker and darker, until he was one step away from his robot persona. Allison was trying not to cry, and she regretted letting him say it out loud. Elizabeth, on the other hand, was showing a look of pure and indescribable rage. At that moment, there was not a person on earth who she despised more than Laura Bentley. She quickly calmed herself, though, and her eyes softened in sympathy. She decided that she simply had to do something.
“Brian… would it be okay if I held you?” she asked softly. Both Allison and Brian’s eyes shot towards her in surprise- Allison looking skeptical, and Brian looking slightly confused.
“You want to hold me?” he asked quizzically. Elizabeth nodded with a gentle smile.
“I wanted to wait until you felt comfortable to ask me yourself, but… I’m sorry, I just really feel like I have to. Forgive me for saying so, but you need to be held right now,” she explained. Brian’s heart softened.
Allison was physically forcing herself not to protest, as she knew that it was his decision. Inside, though she was screaming.
Then why don’t I hold him, huh?! I’m right here! You thieving, conniving…
Still, she somehow managed to keep quiet, while Brian thought silently for a moment.
“Okay,” he said quietly, averting his eyes. Elizabeth tried hard to suppress her outward joy, instead simply laying her palm flat right next to him. Allison was shooting daggers at her former mentor, but she was promptly ignored. After a moment’s hesitation, Brian slowly and carefully climbed onto Elizabeth’s wrinkled palm.
He marveled at the sensation of her skin, slightly firmer than what he was used to but in no way uncomfortable. It felt like she had been applying lotion nonstop for days, which very well may have been the case in preparation for this exact event. A weak yet soothing scent of lavender wafted around him, and any nervous anticipation was quickly washed away. If forced to choose a word, Brian would have described her palm as comforting, and he instantly knew that his decision to let her hold him had been the right one.
Similarly, Elizabeth was in amazement at the feeling of his tiny body settling into her hand. He was even lighter than she had anticipated, and every little movement from his microscopic hands and legs sent tingles all throughout her body. Then, a realization struck her like a bolt of lightning: she was literally holding a life in the palm of her hand. Every emotion, every thought, every memory, every ounce of potential within him- it was all contained within her grasp.
Rather than making her feel powerful, though, this realization brought on a tidal wave of responsibility. She controlled his fragile, precious little life, which meant it was her duty to protect him and comfort him. Her instincts went into overdrive, and she felt an immense swelling of motherly protectiveness in her chest. At that moment, she came to an important decision.
I’m going to make up for all the love she failed to give him.
At that, Elizabeth slowly brought her hand up, slightly curling her fingers around him comfortingly as she drew him closer to her chest. Brian was impressed by how gentle and soothing she was on her first time holding him, and allowed himself to relax in her palm. He shot a thumbs-up at Allison, who he could tell was not a fan of this development. A moment later, another unfamiliar sensation hit him as Elizabeth began to softly stroke his hair with her other index finger. Then, she spoke words that caused a stirring in his heart.
“You’ve been through too much… and you persevered. I’m so proud of you,” she said quietly, gazing at him with a tender expression. Brian looked up at her, his eyes extremely wide. He didn’t know what, but something about the way she said those words caused an unexpected flood of emotion to overtake his consciousness. A few tears formed in his minuscule green eyes, and he quickly looked down at the skin of her palm as he began to quietly cry. Elizabeth held him closer to her sweater, quietly murmuring words of soft comfort to the tiny, sniffling man in her grasp.
“W-Why did she have to say those things…?" he whispered.
“Shhh… don’t worry about a single thing, sweetheart. Allie and I will take care of you. Everything is going to be okay," she replied, wiping a tear away with her thumb.
Allison’s jealousy subsided. Although she wanted to be the only one allowed to comfort him, she could tell that Brian was receiving something that he desperately needed.
Just this once…
Some time had passed. Brian was back in Allison’s hands, as she had snatched him up the moment Elizabeth had put him down. With a small pout, she was petting him with her thumbs, still a little sore that Elizabeth had been the one to comfort him. Brian was looking down, his cheeks bright red in embarrassment. Elizabeth, on the other hand, was extremely pleased. Ignoring Allison’s cold gaze, she decided to make Brian an offer.
“Are you sure you don’t want a little drink, Brian? I think there are very few people on this earth who deserve one as much as you,” she said. Allison snapped out of her jealous pout to nod in agreement, and Brian looked up with an odd look.
“Uh… yeah, I’m fine. I’ve never been sure if I wanted to drink or not. Besides, I’m not even old enou-”
He stopped. His eyes grew wide.
“Oh shit, I’m 21,” he said quietly. Both women raised an eyebrow.
“You forgot how old you were?” Allison asked incredulously.
“Age stops mattering when you think you’re gonna be in prison forever. Also, don’t forget that my 21st birthday was when they reopened my case. I wasn’t exactly thinking about my age that day,” he explained, causing Allison and Elizabeth to make sympathetic noises.
“I see,” Elizabeth said softly. “That’s a shame, your 21st birthday is supposed to be special.”
“That’s for sure,” Allison replied. “Unlike most people my age, I actually saved my first drink for my 21st, and it was pretty fun.”
“Is that so? And do remind me, what was your first drink again?” Elizabeth asked teasingly.
“…vodka. And I spit it out,” she answered sheepishly. This snapped Brian out of his contemplative haze, and he laughed out loud.
“That’s hilarious. Well, no big deal,” he said with a small smile. After a small silence, Elizabeth furrowed her brow.
“No… no, that isn’t right. It is a big deal,” she muttered.
“Elizabeth?” asked Allison. Then, Elizabeth’s eyes lit up.
“Brian, how would you like to have a birthday party tomorrow?” she asked.
He was stunned into silence, as was Allison.
“But… my birthday was months ago,” he replied.
“I know, but you deserve to celebrate, and I don’t want to wait until next year. We should celebrate your 19th, 20th, and 21st birthday all at once. You’re alive and healthy, and we’re going to prove your innocence, and that deserves a party. You can even have your first drink, if you like. Not vodka. What do you say?” she asked, her eyes sparkling. As she continued, Allison grew more and more excited as well, until she was practically vibrating.
“Yes, yes!” she exclaimed, flapping her free hand up and down. “We should have a party, and have some cake, and have some presents, and do whatever Brian wants!”
“Right! Let’s forget about all this Shrink Penalty nonsense and what the world thinks, and just have a good time! It’ll be so much fun, Brian, what do you say?” Elizabeth asked. At that, they turned their attention to the one-inch man in Allison’s hand. He was slightly intimidated by their manic excitement, but overall looked very appreciative.
“Sure. Thank you,” he replied plainly. The enormous women on either side of him squealed in excitement, and Allison placed him back on the sofa as she began to speak at a million miles an hour.
“Okay, so Elizabeth- you’re staying for dinner, because we have a lot of planning to do. This is your best idea ever!” she said as she bounced on the couch with a humongous grin.
“Right, right, so let’s get started! We have no time to waste. So, Brian, what kind of cake do you like?”
Just like that, they catapulted into party-planning mode, and began to ask Brian a billion questions about his preferences for cake, food, presents, decorations, and anything else they could think of. Brian did his best to keep up, offering as much information as he could. It was a slightly difficult task, as he had forgotten most of the things he enjoyed prior to his conviction, but Allison and Elizabeth’s gentle prodding and infectious mood slowly brought back his happier memories.
The discussion continued over dinner. Eventually, it was decided that they would have homemade pizza for Brian’s birthday dinner. Although it would be slightly difficult to pull off, some tools created with the 3D printer would allow them to create a small enough pizza for Brian to cut and eat on his own. Then, they would open presents. Allison and Elizabeth were scrambling for ideas, but a few came along after some help from the birthday boy. Finally, Brian asked for a red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting. Elizabeth knew a recipe, and decided to bake one herself. Ultimately, they decided to cut off as small a piece as they could, and just let Brian eat as much of it as he wanted. At a certain point, the logistics stop mattering when it comes to fun. Just like that, a makeshift birthday party had been assembled. After a little while, Brian was placed on the couch.
“Alright little man, you stay here and watch TV for a while while we go discuss your birthday presents,” Allison said with a teasing grin, while Elizabeth beamed. Brian rolled his eyes.
“Oh my god, you’re treating me like I’m six,” he said exasperatedly, causing both women to cackle. With that, they bounced away into Allison’s bedroom. Once he was alone, Brian took a moment to reflect.
A realization caught up to him like a speeding train: he was actually looking forward to this. For the first time in three years, he had something to look forward to. The thought made him a bit emotional, and he drew one hand to his mouth as he grinned widely underneath. He felt an unimaginable swelling of gratitude in his heart, and he was truly happy.
I love them.
“…that’s a brilliant idea, Elizabeth! But do you think you have enough time?” asked Allison.
“I’ll stay up late if I have to. It shouldn't take that long, considering the size, but the finer details might be a bit tricky. This is important, though, so I’ll make it work,” Elizabeth replied, causing Allison to smile widely.
“This party is a truly wonderful idea. You’ll get used to reading Brian’s emotions through his eyes, but for now let me assure you that he is really excited about this. I think this earned you a lot of points with him,” she said.
“Well, that’s the greatest gift I could ask for. That boy deserves happiness, and we’re the two people in the world who can give it to him. The sooner he becomes comfortable with me, the sooner I can help. Also, of course, I want to get back on your good side as well, Allie,” Elizabeth replied, which elicited an appreciative smile from her former student.
“I appreciate you saying that. And you’re right, we have to work hard to make sure he has a good time. So, to that end, what do you think my present to him should be?” she asked. Elizabeth pondered for a moment, but Allison suddenly had an idea.
“Oh! We were just talking about it, what if I-”
She stopped, slightly blushing.
“Actually, nevermind. I’ll keep it a secret,” she said with an awkward chuckle while averting her eyes. Elizabeth raised an eyebrow, but decided to let it go.
“Whatever you say, honey. So, it can either be something useful or something fun…”
Elizabeth was getting ready to leave. Allison was standing next to the door, holding Brian. Once her coat was on and her bag was in hand, Elizabeth turned to the duo with a huff.
“Are you okay to drive, Elizabeth?” asked Allison.
“Oh, absolutely, I just had one small glass of wine,” Elizabeth replied. “Alright, you two, I need to do some quick shopping. Tomorrow is Saturday, so I have no classes. I need some time to bake the cake, though, so how about I stop by at four?”
Allison and Brian nodded.
“I need to get the pizza dough ready tonight so it can sit overnight, and in the morning I need to head out and buy some decorations. Everything should be ready by four, so that sounds great,” Allison said. Through it all, Brian was showing an appreciative but somewhat shy smile. Clearly, he was not used to being the center of attention. Elizabeth turned her attention to him with a big grin and sparkling eyes.
“This is gonna be great, Brian. We have to make up for some of the fun you were cheated out of, don’t you think?” she asked. Brian gave a slight nod, somewhat bashfully, which only reinforced Elizabeth’s belief that he was the cutest thing in existence. Allison held him out towards her so he could say goodbye.
“Thank you, Elizabeth. This was a really kind and thoughtful idea. I’m… well, not very good at these things, but just know that I really appreciate it, and I’m looking forward to tomorrow,” he said quietly.
“Aww, it’s my pleasure, sweetheart,” she replied adoringly. “You deserve to have some fun. And, with that…”
Suddenly, Elizabeth leaned forward and pressed her thick, pink lips right onto the top of Brian’s head.
“Mwah! Goodnight, honey. Night, Allie!” she said with a wink, before flying outside and closing the door. As she entered her car, Elizabeth could faintly hear a distressed cry of “Professor!” from behind her.
At that, she smiled even wider.
Party time! Hope you enjoyed.
A Birthday Party by Pluto Pendragon
I'm not the biggest fan of birthday parties, but I always appreciate it when people make an effort to do something nice for me.
“Three… two… one!”
Allison removed her top hand from her bottom one.
““Happy Birthday, Brian!””
Brian slightly winced from the sudden brightness, before looking around the apartment. What he saw elicited a genuine smile.
Allison had decorated her apartment to the max. Green was the dominant color, as Brian had revealed it to be his favorite the day prior. Green streamers hung from the ceiling, with the occasional balloon strung around for good measure. Due to the last minute nature of the party, the balloons were just what happened to be in stock at the store, meaning that the images were somewhat random.
Moving into the kitchen, which was similarly decorated, Elizabeth’s cake was proudly displayed on the counter. 21 green candles were carefully placed on the top, just waiting to be lit. Directly in front of it were three small boxes, all neatly wrapped with a small bow on top. Despite being the smallest boxes either of them could find, they were still about twice as big as the tiny man they were intended for. Overall, Allison’s apartment had all the trappings of a somewhat makeshift but lovingly assembled birthday party, and Brian was genuinely moved.
“Wow,” he said quietly, somewhat lost for words. “This is amazing. Thank you both so much.”
“Do you like it?” Allison asked nervously. “It was kinda rushed, and I know all we have are some green streamers and random balloons, but it was everything I could find, and-”
“Allie, let me stop you right there,” Brian said firmly, holding up one hand. “This is already the best birthday party I’ve ever had. I love you.”
Allison was melted by his kind words, letting out a sigh of relief while babbling about how she loved him too. Elizabeth was positively beaming at their adorable exchange.
“Elizabeth, that cake looks spectacular. You did a fantastic job, thank you so much,” Brian said, turning his attention to her. Like Allison, Elizabeth was moved by his heartfelt praise, and her eyes softened in loving adoration.
“Oh, you are so welcome, honey,” she said. “This was nothing. Happy birthday.”
“Alright, we’ve kept you waiting long enough. Let’s get the pizzas ready!” Allison said jovially, before placing Brian on the counter. Indeed, Brian had been waiting in the bedroom for the last hour while Allison and Elizabeth prepared everything. Now that the introductions had been made, it was time to begin Brian’s 19th, 20th, and 21st birthday party.
For the pizza, the trio had to be a little creative. Allison began by taking a glob of her homemade dough and rolling it out as thin as possible. Then, with a specially made cutting tool from the 3D printer, she cut out a circle of dough a quarter of an inch in diameter. Although this was still relatively large in comparison to Brian, they would make it work. For the rest, Brian had to take over. With his custom printed cutlery, he took a dot of sauce and spread it around the dough. Next, Allison handed him a single shred of cheese, which he then cut into appropriate sizes with a knife. Once the cheese was spread, the pizza was very carefully handed off to his giant girlfriend. Then, she put the pie under the grill for a few seconds, which was just long enough to cook it perfectly. Just like that, a strange but delicious tiny pizza had been assembled for the one-inch birthday boy. For Allison and Elizabeth, their pizza making process was much more conventional. Soon enough, it was time to eat.
“It’s been three years… three long years…” Brian muttered, tears in his eyes as he took the first bite. The two women were watching him with extreme anticipation, hoping that their pizza experiment had been a success. He took a bite, chewed, and swallowed. The tension in the air was palpable. After a few moments of silence, his eyes shot open.
“Delicious,” he whispered, his eyes sparkling like a diamond. Allison and Elizabeth cheered and applauded, practically in tears themselves. Brian took another bite, savoring it as if it was his last meal.
“This is unbelievable. I’m one-inch tall and eating pizza! I thought this would never happen again! I’m so happy!” Brian exclaimed, grinning widely. Allison thought her face was going to break from smiling so widely, and Elizabeth was gleefully cracking up. This was the most outwardly happy Brian had ever been, and they were positively thrilled that it was because of them. Wasting no more time, they all began to dig in. This was undoubtedly one of the best meals any of them had ever had. The food was great, but the company was what made it truly special.
After dinner, it was time to open presents. One was from Elizabeth, one was from Allison, and the last one was from both of them. Brian decided to open Elizabeth’s first, and she placed the box in front of him with great anticipation. A quick glance from him reminded her that he wasn’t going to be able to open it on his own, though, and she squeaked in embarrassed realization. She then sheepishly unwrapped it herself and set it back down, allowing Brian to peer inside. What he saw shocked him into silence.
It was a shirt.
A tiny, green, short-sleeved shirt.
His eyes darted between the shirt and Elizabeth a few times in disbelief.
“You made me a shirt?” he asked incredulously. She nodded with a shy smile.
“When I was a girl, I wanted to be a seamstress,” she said with an embarrassed chuckle. “So, I’ve been sewing my whole life. I noticed that you only wear that cloth around your waist, so I thought I could maybe put my talents to use and make you some proper clothes. Do… do you like it?”
Brian reached into the box and pulled it out. After appreciating the soft fabric for a moment, he slipped it on. It was a little big, as it reached down to his thighs, but it otherwise fit great and was very comfortable.
“Oh, for the love of… I see it’s too big, but we can fix that,” Elizabeth said with a sigh. When Brian looked up at her, though, he was beaming.
“This is amazing. I love it. Thank you so much, Elizabeth,” Brian said. The genuineness in his voice caused Elizabeth’s heart to explode.
“Y-You’re very welcome, sweetheart. I’m glad you like it, even if it’s a little big. Let me assure you, though, I plan on making more clothes for you. This is just the starter,” she replied, fighting the urge to lean in and give him a big, fat kiss.
“I’m looking forward to it. How do I look, Allie?” he asked, turning to his girlfriend. She had been watching their exchange silently, a huge smile on her face. When she got a good look at him, her face lit up even more.
“You look amazing,” she purred, leaning in close. “Good enough to eat.”
With that, she kissed the air right in front of his face, before turning to her former mentor.
“It looks even better than I thought it would. You did a wonderful job, Elizabeth,” she said appreciatively. All this praise caused Elizabeth to blush.
“Oh, thank you. Like I thought, the finer details were a bit tricky, but I’m sure I’ll get better with practice. A man deserves a proper wardrobe,” she replied with a firm nod.
“Brian, I think the trade-off to this agreement is that you’ll have to let her play dress-up with you occasionally,” Allison whispered, leaning back towards him.
“Allie! It’s not like that…” Elizabeth said defensively, before a questioning glance from Allison and Brian caused her to trail off.
“…okay, it might be a bit like that. But I promise it’ll only be clothes you’ll like, Brian!”
Brian laughed out loud.
“Sounds like a fair trade to me, Elizabeth. I’ve got nothing against this whole cloth-and-string getup, but it’ll be nice to have some variety. Thanks again,” he said, grinning. Elizabeth let out a sigh of relief.
“It’s my pleasure. Happy birthday,” she said with a bright smile. At that, it was time to move on.
“Alright, Allie, your turn,” Elizabeth said. Allison suddenly looked very self-conscious.
“Oh, um… I just realized that my gift is probably horrible in comparison, so don’t get your hopes up,” she said sheepishly, causing Brian to frown.
“Don’t say that, I’m sure I’ll love anything from you,” he said kindly, while Allison continued to fidget. Elizabeth passed her the box, and she nervously unwrapped it. Setting it down, Brian looked inside. What he saw bewildered him.
“Is this a sword?” Brian asked incredulously. Although he couldn’t make out the finer details yet, inside the box was a distinctly sword-shaped item. “How the hell did you get a sword?”
“I 3D printed it…” Allison muttered, her cheeks burning. “Take it out, though, and you’ll get it…”
Brian did as he was told, and pulled the sword out of the box. The blade was extremely long, and it was surprisingly heavy. As he examined it, Brian suddenly realized what it was.
“Is this Andúril?” he asked in disbelief, his eyes shooting towards Allison. She sheepishly nodded, still blushing.
“Yeah… I found a model online which I reduced in size, and I painted the finer details earlier today. Do you like it?” she asked nervously. After a moment, Brian let out an excited laugh, his eyes positively gleaming.
“You made Andúril for me?! This is so fucking cool, Allie!” he exclaimed, giving the sword a swing. Allison broke out in an enormous smile.
“Really? You like it?” she asked. Brian vigorously nodded, while Elizabeth turned to her with questioning eyes.
“What’s Andúril?” she asked, as all Allison had said the other day was that she was going to make a sword.
“It’s a sword from The Lord of the Rings, a fantasy series that he loves,” Allison explained.
“Oh, I see,” Elizabeth replied appreciatively. “That’s a really thoughtful gift, Allie!”
“Yeah, this is fantastic! Thank you so much, Allie!” Brian said, still showing a huge grin.
“I’m glad you like it,” Allison replied shyly. “I just thought, since we can make utility items for you at any time, I should do something unexpected.”
“Well, this is really unexpected, and I love it,” Brian said. Allison smiled in relief.
At that, it was time for the final box.
“So, this is from both of you?” Brian asked. Allison and Elizabeth shared a glance.
“Yep. Keep in mind, though, this is more like an optional gift. You’re under no obligation to use it,” Allison said.
“That’s right, honey, don’t feel pressured. We just thought it would be fun,” Elizabeth added on. Brian was slightly confused, but decided to roll with it. The box was unwrapped, and he soon was able to see what was inside. What he saw made him laugh out loud.
Inside was a miniature wine glass, beer mug, martini glass, margarita glass, and even a microscopic shot glass. None were actually glass, of course, but the shapes were all correct. Brian looked back up with a smirk.
“Very subtle, you two,” he said slyly, causing them to crack up laughing.
“Look, look, we just thought, you know, if you wanted to have your first drink, we’d make it easier, that’s all!” Allison explained with a laugh.
“Why don’t we have some cake, and you can think about it, okay?” Elizabeth suggested. Brian nodded, looking very amused.
Soon enough, Brian was standing next to the cake as Allison and Elizabeth sang “Happy Birthday.” Once it was done, they all clapped.
“Alright, baby, aren’t you going to blow-”
“Don’t even go there, Starr,” Brian said sternly, pointing a finger in Allison’s direction. She giggled like crazy, while Elizabeth looked on with a warm smile.
“Fine, fine, let me help you out. Don’t forget to make a wish,” she said with a wink, before leaning in to low out the candles. Brian closed his eyes.
I wish that, some day, I’ll be able to become normal-sized again.
Coincidentally, that’s what Allison and Elizabeth wished for as well.
After the cake, which Brian thoroughly enjoyed, it was time for the big decision.
“Alright, Brian, what do you think? I know a recipe for an obnoxiously fruity cocktail. It’s very easy to drink, even for a first-timer,” Elizabeth said. Brian pondered for a moment, before his face twisted in slight concern.
“But… what if it has strange effects on me, due to my size?” he asked.
“Just take it slow, honey. Have a few sips at a time, and you can always stop if you start to feel sick,” she suggested. Allison nodded in agreement. Brian wasn’t quite ready to give up, though.
“Yeah, but… what if I say or do embarrassing stuff? What if I’m one of those people that gets really weird when they’re drunk?” he asked, averting his eyes. Allison and Elizabeth couldn’t help but smile.
“Don’t drink enough to get drunk, then,” Allison said. “Stop when you start to feel something, and it’ll be fine. Look, I’ll have some, too. That way we can be embarrassing together. Elizabeth, you’ll have some too, right?”
“Oh, that might not be a good idea. Someone’ll have to keep an eye on you kids,” Elizabeth said with a knowing smile, which caused Allison to groan.
“Oh, come on. It’s no fun if you’re the only one being responsible. At least have another glass of wine!” she pleaded.
“Allie, if I do that then I won’t be able to drive. I need to get home later, remember?” Elizabeth replied.
“Don’t go home, then! I have a spare bedroom, and you can borrow some of my clothes,” Allison suggested. Elizabeth pondered for a moment, before sighing in defeat.
“Oh, fine. Just a bit more wine,” she sighed, causing Allison to grin widely.
“Looks like it’s a party, Brian. What do you think?” she asked, turning her attention back to her tiny boyfriend. After a moment, he adopted a nervous smile.
“Alright, I’ll try some,” he said. At that, Elizabeth began to prepare her cocktail. Soon enough, one of Brian’s new glasses was filled with the pleasantly-smelling liquid, just waiting to be consumed. Brian took a deep breath, and had a sip. After an initial grimace from the taste of the alcohol, his face softened and he made a noise of approval.
“Damn, this is actually really good,” he said, before taking another sip. Elizabeth beamed, and poured some for Allison as well. They continued like this for a while, patiently waiting to see how Brian reacted to the alcohol. He took a sip every few minutes, until the cocktail was completely gone. It went down surprisingly easy, just as Elizabeth had promised.
“You feel anything, baby?” Allison asked. She herself was feeling a pleasant buzz, which was where she decided to draw the line. She didn’t want to get drunk enough to where she could no longer take care of Brian, after all.
“Nothing yet,” he replied.
“That’s weird, you should be feeling something by now. Maybe your size does affect it, after all,” Elizabeth pondered. She had been sipping on wine, and was only feeling the faintest trace of a buzz. As she had said, she wanted to be able to keep an eye on them. After a few more moments, though, Brian began to clench his fist repeatedly as his eyes widened.
“Wait, wait…” he muttered. Both women turned to him expectantly.
“I feel something. A slight tingling in my fingers.”
He looked up at them.
“I think it’s affecting me.”
“That sounds familiar…” Allison muttered.
“Well, this should be fun,” Elizabeth said, with a small sigh.
“Professor, someone seems to have stolen my finger,” Allison said, with a slightly-drunken giggle.
“I can see that, honey,” Elizabeth replied, smiling widely.
Indeed, Allison’s index finger had been claimed. For the past five minutes, Brian had been clinging to it tightly as he sat in her palm, his eyes shut tight with an enormous smile. To everybody’s relief, Brian was a happy drunk. He had been smiling non-stop since the alcohol took effect. Despite the slow start, it eventually hit him like a truck, making him quite drunk very quickly. He wasn’t complaining, though, so nobody was too concerned.
“You doing okay, sweetheart?” Elizabeth asked kindly, gently rustling his hair with her finger. In response, he somehow managed to smile even wider.
“I’m good. Her finger is really soft. And warm. I could hug it forever,” he replied, his words slightly slurred. Both women cooed in response to his adorable statement.
“You go ahead and hug it forever, baby,” Allison replied. “I just love you so much. So so much. Like, a lot.”
“…love you too,” Brian muttered, burying his face in her skin. At this, she broke into another giggle fit. Elizabeth shook her head exasperatedly, suddenly feeling very much like a babysitter. She didn’t mind, though. Seeing a new side of Brian made everything worth it.
They continued like this for a while, Allison fawning over Brian while he blissfully clung to her finger. Elizabeth simply sat and enjoyed their adorable display. Eventually, Brian asked a question that caught them completely off guard.
“Hey, can you look up a picture of my sister?” he asked, still slurring a tad. Allison and Elizabeth’s eyes widened in concern, and they exchanged nervous glances.
“Why do you want to do that, honey?” Elizabeth asked cautiously.
“Yeah, don’t you think that will make you sad?” Allison added. Brian shook his head, adopting a gentle smile.
“I’ll be fine… I just want to see what she looks like, now that she’s all grown up,” he replied. Although still apprehensive, they decided to honor his request. With her free hand, Allison took out her phone and did a search for Jennifer Bentley, trying to see if there were any recent pictures. She found one from earlier that week, taken by a paparazzi. Although the Bentley family had mostly faded from the public sphere, Brian’s “execution” had sparked a renewed interest in them. As such, some of the more slimy photographers had captured photos around the time of his execution. With modest trepidation, Allison moved her phone so Brian could see the screen. She angled it so Elizabeth could look as well. There, walking along some street, was Jennifer Bentley.
They took in her features. Similarly to Brian and their mother, she had jet black hair, which was a bit longer than Allison’s, and striking green eyes. Perhaps taking inspiration from her brother’s reputation, her youthful, cute face was showing a neutral expression. She looked to be about 5’5, and was quite thin. Overall, though, she was very…
“Beautiful,” Brian said, with a loving smile. “She grew up to be so pretty.”
“That’s for sure,” Allison agreed. “A lot more grown-up than when you last saw her, huh?”
Brian nodded, still smiling.
“I’m glad she seems to be doing well. Thank you for showing me,” he said quietly, before turning his head back towards Allison’s finger and closing his eyes. Elizabeth was now worried that he was sullen, but one quick look at his face eased her concern. He looked completely peaceful. Clearly, he had been worried about her, and was simply relieved to see that she was alive and healthy. At that, Elizabeth smiled warmly.
“Oh. It’s gone,” Brian said flatly.
“What is?” asked Allison.
“The alcohol. I feel normal now,” he continued. Elizabeth raised an eyebrow.
“You mean, you’re not drunk anymore? That was fast…” she muttered. All things considered, not that much time had passed since his first sip. Allison, for example, was still slightly feeling the effects. Brian shrugged.
“Maybe that’s how your size works,” Allison said appreciatively. “It has stronger effects on you, but it doesn’t last very long. That’s interesting.”
“Maybe it has something to do with your metabolism?” Elizabeth pondered. “Oh well. Was it fun while it lasted, Brian?”
Brian reflected for a moment, then smiled.
“Yeah, it was pretty fun. I’m really tired, though,” he replied. Elizabeth nodded appreciatively, then checked the time.
“Yeah, it’s pretty late. How about we all go to bed?” she suggested.
“That’s a good call, I’m starting to feel it too,” Allison responded with a yawn. “Did you have a nice ‘birthday,’ Brian?”
Brian grinned, his happiness shining through any layers of sleepiness.
“I really, really did. Thank you both so much. Even with my height, this was the best birthday ever,” he answered, which elicited huge smiles from Allison and Elizabeth.
“That makes me so happy to hear, sweetheart. Now, if I may be so bold, may I give you a birthday kiss?” Elizabeth asked, a playful smile overtaking her face. Allison snapped to attention, while Brian averted his eyes in embarrassment.
“I think I’d get in trouble,” Brian sheepishly replied, pointing to the giant woman next to him who was making a strange growling noise. Elizabeth laughed jovially.
“True. It just means I’ll have to get you when she isn’t looking,” she said with a wink. Allison narrowed her eyes in suspicion, placing her hands in front of her miniscule boyfriend.
“I’m never taking my eyes off him again,” she said slowly, acting like a lioness protecting her dinner. Elizabeth laughed once more.
“Let’s put all that aside, for a moment,” she said, before her face softened. “Goodnight, sweet boy. I’m glad you had a nice day.”
“Goodnight, Elizabeth. Thank you for everything,” Brian replied softly, before he was promptly whisked away by his gargantuan girlfriend. Soon, they were in their bedroom, and he was placed on a pillow.
“Alright, let me go get stuff ready for that sneaky, conniving old lady,” Allison growled, causing Brian to chuckle. “Then I’ll come back, and we can go to bed. Don’t fall asleep yet, though, because I have one final present for you.”
“Oh?” Brian asked. Allison adopted a playful smile.
“Be right back,” she said, before flying away. Brian flopped over on his back, wondering what was coming next.
“Don’t open your eyes yet,” Allison instructed. Brian was facing the wall, still on the pillow, with his eyes shut for good measure. Behind him, he could hear a strange rustling. His nervous anticipation was overriding his sleepiness. Then, after one final rustle, the room was overtaken by silence.
“Okay… turn around,” Allison said softly, sounding very nervous. Brian did as instructed, and what he saw instantly obliterated any sleepiness and brought back the swirling sensation in his stomach.
There, standing in front of the door, was Allison. She was dressed in lacy black lingerie, her face completely red. Still, she was trying her hardest to muster a sultry, inviting look in her eyes. Her breasts were on full display, and for the first time Brian got a real sense of how big they truly were. Her waist was similarly alluring, and her hands were placed suggestively on either side. For the first time in a long time, Allison was making an effort to show what her body looked like when not protected behind a thick layer of office attire, and Brian was completely stunned. Both by her looks, and by this completely unexpected turn of events. He immediately turned beet-red as well, and the swirling in his stomach was quickly accompanied by a growing level of fear.
“What…?” he weakly asked. Allison did her best to adopt a sexy, playful smile.
“Do you want to unwrap your present?”
Oh dear. Allison, naughty! Where'd I put the spray bottle...? Oh well, until next time.
A Crisis by Pluto Pendragon
If I do badly on any of my midterms, I'm blaming you all.
“U-Unwrap my…? Are you my present? Wait wait wait, I’m so confused. What’s going on, Allie?” Brian babbled, the swirling in his stomach and his nerves making it difficult to think clearly. At that, Allison squealed in embarrassment and dashed over to the bed, kneeling down so only her face was visible to the tiny man seated on the pillow. Now that he couldn’t see her scantily-clad body, Brian was able to think more clearly.
“I’m sorry,” she said, red as a tomato, “I was trying to be sexy. Did it work?”
Brian let out a nervous laugh, as his heart rate ever-so-slightly slowed.
“That was sexy? More like terrifying,” he answered. Allison groaned, laying her head on the bed, face down.
“I must still be a little drunk. I kept going back and forth on whether I should try it, but after seeing you so happy I was convinced that it was a good idea. I’m so embarrassed,” she muttered, her voice slightly muffled.
“Try what, Allie?” Brian asked. She looked up at him, clearly still embarrassed but with a certain twinkle in her eye.
“To get you aroused,” she replied guiltily.
Brian was stunned into a moment of silence.
“Me, aroused? Wha- Why? How?” he stammered, completely perplexed. Despite her embarrassment, Allison couldn’t help but giggle at his bewilderment.
“I just thought, you know… maybe we should test Elizabeth’s demisexual theory, that’s all,” she said, lowering her voice slightly. Now that her cards were on the table, her own desires began to cloud her consciousness.
“But… you know this stuff makes me feel horrible, right? My stomach is killing me, and my instincts are screaming at me to run away,” Brian replied, holding one hand to his swirling belly. At that, her face darkened in guilt.
“I’m so sorry, baby…” she whispered, placing one hand behind his back and rubbing his stomach with her thumb. Brian closed his eyes and leaned into the soothing sensation.
“Like Elizabeth said, I just thought that exposure would make the bad parts fade away… I realize now that I’m moving too quickly. I apologize,” she continued. She rested her cheek on the bed and gazed up at him with apologetic eyes, continuing her attempts to physically soothe him. Brian pondered for a moment.
“No, no… I understand. I was just surprised, but… maybe it isn’t a bad idea,” he replied, going against his panicked instincts. He thought back to Elizabeth’s words.
Sweetheart, maybe the scary stuff that you’re feeling is just your body reacting to a strong, unfamiliar sensation. So, maybe if you experiment a little and get used to it, the bad parts will fade away, and you’ll get to experience something new and exciting.
New and exciting… he thought. Maybe this is my chance to be normal.
Years and years of doubt and jealousy came flooding back to him. Before he had accepted his sexuality, a part of his life was dominated by desire for sexual attraction. The way it was described, the importance it seemed to carry for practically everybody, it sounded like the greatest thing ever. The fact that he never felt it was a source of unbelievable frustration, and he had felt left out of a major aspect of existence. Presented with the possibility that it had been available to him all along, he had just never fulfilled his specific criteria, he began to feel a sense of excited anticipation that outweighed his instinctual fear. At that, he came to a decision.
“Allie, I want to try it,” he said firmly, pushing down his nerves to the best of his ability. Suppressing his emotions was arguably his greatest skill, and he was utilizing it to the max. “I want to try being sexual.”
Allison’s head shot upwards, and her face lit up. Part surprise, part excitement, and part not-believing-she-had-heard-him-correctly.
“You what now?” she asked. Brian chuckled.
“You’re right. The only way to get past this fear is to get used to it. So… let’s give it a try. I’m ready,” he replied. His voice carried traces of nervousness, but Allison could tell that he was sincere. Suddenly, she felt very excited. Her lips were teased upwards into yet-another playful curl, and her eyes narrowed as her voice seemingly dropped an octave. Her predator mode had been engaged.
“You sure, baby?” she breathed, bringing one finger under his chin and rubbing it tenderly. Her tone and expression clued Brian into just what he had awoken, and the fear came back in full. Still, he chose to keep moving forward, having faith that it would dissipate as they continued. With that being said, he couldn’t quite muster the strength to audibly respond, so he simply nodded. At that, Allison took a deep breath and stood to her feet.
Suddenly, Brian’s entire field of view was overtaken by nothing but Allison.
If he looked to the left- he saw Allison.
If he looked to the right- he saw Allison.
If he looked up- he saw Allison.
If he looked anywhere- he saw Allison.
It was as if the entire world had transformed into an endless field of silky-smooth skin, only interrupted by the occasional piece of skimpy black fabric. Then, far above him in a realm that no mortal could ever hope to reach, was the face of a goddess. A perfect beauty, with gorgeous auburn hair and stunning brown eyes. This… existence, larger than him in every sense of the word, was gazing down at him from the heavens, her beet-red face clouded by pure and overwhelming desire. For the first time since becoming small, despite having been called one many times, Brian truly felt like an insignificant bug.
“How do you feel?” Allison asked kindly, trying to prioritize Brian’s comfort regardless of her own arousal. This was proving to be quite the difficult task, however. She wasn’t sure if she would be able to keep it up, due to the lingering effects of the alcohol mixed with her own lust that had been building for nearly three weeks.
“Like I’m going to throw up,” Brian answered truthfully, before quickly realizing how that sounded. “N-Not because of you, of course- well, yes, because of you, but not you-you, as in your looks, more just like a general sort-”
“Shhh…” Allison soothed with a slight giggle. “I know what you meant. Here, let’s both get more comfortable.”
With that, she gracefully rolled onto the bed. Brian was amazed that such a large, overwhelming creature could move so quickly and fluidly. The movement caused him to lightly bounce on the pillow, which did little for his stomach. When she came to a stop, Allison was on her side, her front facing Brian as she propped her head up with her elbow.
“It’s funny,” she said, “you get a new shirt and the first thing we do afterwards requires taking it off.”
With that, she reached forward with her free hand and grabbed the bottom of Brian’s new shirt. She began to pull it upwards, which Brian helped along by raising his arms. Soon, his chest was once again visible. Despite the fact that this had been his default state for weeks, he suddenly felt very exposed.
“And now the bottom…” Allison purred, biting her lip as she reached for the string acting as Brian’s belt. A miniscule hand on her fingernail stopped her, though.
“Can we keep that on for now?” Brian asked hurriedly. Allison raised an eyebrow, but nonetheless shrugged and retracted her hand.
“Whatever you say, baby. It’ll have to come off at some point, though,” she replied with a dangerous smile. Brian reciprocated with a nervous one.
“So, I guess we should start. Don’t worry, I’ll be very gentle,” Allison cooed. “How about we start with a touch?”
Brian made a questioning noise.
“Touch? You touch me all the time,” he said, causing Allison to giggle.
“No, no, no. There’s a big difference between being touched, and being touched,” she responded, placing a sultry emphasis on the word. “Allow me to demonstrate.”
With that, she slowly brought her free hand towards Brian, her index finger slightly extended. The pad of her finger was at least twice as big as his face, and Brian couldn’t help but be intimidated. Then, with a gentleness that should have been impossible for such a large creature, Allison lightly touched Brian’s chest with the tip of her finger. An electric shock surged throughout his entire body, and he suddenly knew exactly what she had meant by the difference between touching and being touched. Allison slowly began to drag her finger downwards across his body, taking a moment to linger on his waist. Every sensation caused a new wave of fear to wash across Brian’s consciousness, and he shivered. Then, the test was over, and the finger was retracted back towards the enormous woman it belonged to.
“How did that feel?” she asked sweetly. Brian took a moment to compose himself.
“Intense,” he replied. “Not necessarily in the good way.”
“I see…” Allison muttered, furrowing her brow. “Well, let’s try it another way.”
She rolled onto her back, so her chest was facing the ceiling. She then reached over and plucked Brian up off the pillow, being extra careful not to overwhelm him. Then, with a fresh wave of embarrassment, she gently placed him on her left breast. Brian sank into the soft flesh, feeling like he had just been placed on a marshmallow, and instantly turned red himself. Although he was technically on the fabric covering her chest, the fact that he was so close to such a delicate spot made him very self-conscious. After a moment of adjusting to his new terrain, trying not to fall over as a result of every jiggle and wobble that accompanied even the slightest movement, he looked into the gargantuan eyes of his blushing girlfriend.
“So, let’s think back. What has happened so far that made you feel funny?” Allison asked. “Maybe we can narrow down what might get you… excited.”
“Well… the first time was that long kiss a few days ago,” Brian answered, causing Allison to hum in contemplation. Then, she adopted a playful smile.
“Do you like my lips?” she asked breathily, tracing one finger across her smooth, inviting pink lips. Brian couldn’t help but be slightly mesmerized by the display.
“Yeah…” he muttered. “I really like your kisses. But… it’s more for the way it feels, like how relaxing it is. It never made me feel, well, excited. It’s just, I could tell that you were kissing me in a different way, and it made me nervous. Like when you licked me, and said I tasted good.”
Allison closed her eyes in embarrassment.
“Oh, god…” she muttered. “I say the stupidest shit when I’m horny. Well, what about after that?”
“Well… the next time was when I woke up that night, and saw you-”
“Actually, I think we have all the information we need,” Allison hastily interrupted.
“I agree,” Brian hastily replied.
“Alright, here’s what we know. It seems like the kiss is what awoke something. So, if we want to continue…” she started
“Then we should try more kissing,” he finished.
“That’s right. So, with that being said…” Allison said, before closing her eyes and taking a breath. When she opened her eyes again, her predator mode had been reengaged.
“Come here, you,” she said slowly. A little slower than necessary, she reached towards Brian with her thumb and index finger. His field of view was slowly eclipsed by the approaching digits, and the swirling sensation intensified.
It’ll stop… it’ll stop… it’ll stop… it’ll stop… he repeatedly reassured himself, convinced that the sensation was nothing more than his body reacting to something new. If he didn’t believe as much, he would have called this off dozens of times by now.
The fingers grabbed him, and he was gently lifted and pulled towards Allison’s waiting lips. She rolled back onto her side and carefully sat Brian down next to her face on the pillow, allowing him to recline into the hand that was propped behind him. She decided to tease the moment out a little bit, hoping that the anticipation might help awaken his arousal.
“Just watch my lips for a while, Brian,” she instructed. “Watch my lips as they move, and just imagine them darting forward and enveloping you in their soft embrace. Imagine getting lost in the squishy folds of my gorgeous lips as they completely engulf your teeny-tiny body.”
Brian did as instructed, and simply watched the immense lips as they moved to form Allison’s words. He could see the occasional string of saliva within the dark caverns of her enormous mouth, as well as the barely noticeable slithering of the gigantic pink muscle that dwelled within. Allison’s words caused the entire world around her mouth to rumble and vibrate from the sheer force of their soundwaves, and Brian’s whole body tingled and vibrated as each softly spoken word thundered its way into his brain.
He began to feel lightheaded from the whole experience, and he lost his ability to talk. The rational part of his brain was slightly concerned by this, as it meant he was no longer able to call out for help if needed. He simply had to have faith that Allison would check on him before going any further. If the clouded, flushed look on her face was anything to go on, however, this was in no way guaranteed.
“You know, since we’re trying to figure out what turns you on, why don’t I tell you what turns me on?” Allison suggested. Without waiting for a reply, she continued.
“I actually kind of like how small you are,” she admitted with a guilty smile. “I want nothing more than for you to become normal again, of course, but I’d be lying if I said your size didn’t get me a little excited.”
She began to breathe slightly heavier as she started to admit her deepest fantasies.
“I love feeling like I can completely engulf you in my love,” she continued. “With my lips, like I said, but also with everything. What man can go swimming in boobs? Wrestle with my tongue like it’s an alligator? You could be having the greatest experiences of your life, and I could be walking around in public while nobody knows. You’re that tiny. That itty-bitty. That teensy-weensy. I love it.”
The hand not supporting Brian began to slither down her stomach, until it was resting against a very delicate spot. Allison suddenly felt like just as big a pervert as Cathy, but at that moment she couldn’t have cared less. Still, she continued.
“I mean this in a loving way, of course, but I also love feeling like I can trap you,” she purred. Brian’s eyes widened, breaking through the anxious trance he had been in for the last minute. He felt like a door was opening in the deepest parts of his subconscious, and he wondered if this was the moment when it would start to feel good. However, a creeping sense of dread made him realize that it was going the other way.
“You’re so tiny, you couldn’t get away from me if you tried,” Allison continued, once more biting her lip with a stifled giggle. She was basically in fantasy-land at this point, but the fact that the object of her fantasy was actually there in front of her heightened the enjoyability by a factor of millions. She couldn’t see him over the bridge of her nose, but she tried to imagine that he was completely captivated, breathing heavily as he finally gave into his desires.
The truth was actually quite different. Suddenly, Brian’s awareness flashed to somewhere else. A place with cement walls and orange jumpsuits. A place where he was being held down by monsters. The present became mixed with memory, and his brain was overstimulated by the information.
You can’t get away from us if you tried.
“You’re completely helpless.”
You’re completely helpless.
“I can do whatever I want to you.”
We can do whatever we want to you.
“And right now…”
And right now…
“I want to…”
We’re going to…
Brian was laying on the floor, stomach down. His pants were pulled down to his feet, and his shirt was slightly torn. His chin was resting on the cold concrete, and he was staring straight ahead at the wall. For the first time since his conviction, his eyes were completely empty. What once were striking green were now swirling pits of darkness, and anyone looking at him would question if he was aware of his surroundings in any capacity. The only sign of life was his mouth, which was barely open and slightly moving. A thin string of drool was escaping his lips and pooling on the floor. Just like his eyes, his heart was completely empty.
“I don’t want to feel,” he whispered. He knew that the room was now empty, but he hoped that somebody was listening. Somebody who he was pretty sure had abandoned him a long time ago.
“Please… don’t make me feel,” he pleaded, mustering what was left of his soul and transforming it into one earnest appeal.
“Don’t make me feel… I don’t want to feel…”
Just like that, his wish was granted. Whether it came from his intended listener, or from his own pure willpower, he stopped feeling. A part of his soul was placed inside of a room, along with the memory that had destroyed it. The room was locked, welded shut, cemented over, and thrown into the sea. It stayed there for just over three years, until it was forcibly opened before he had time to prepare himself. Because of this, it annihilated him.
Allison finally drew her lips forward, ready to begin the session. Her hand had been massaging and probing for the last few minutes, and she physically couldn’t stand to wait any longer. Right as she was about to make contact, though, she decided to check on Brian and make sure that he was still okay with it. She hoped that he would be blushing and panting, just as excited to begin as she was. What she saw, instead, instantly obliterated her fantasy.
“S… s-stop… st… stop…”
There, reclined against her hand and stiff as a board, was Brian. He was completely pale, as if all the blood in his body had evaporated. His eyes were wide and unblinking, silent tears falling down his face. He looked like he was looking at everything and nothing at the same time, in an eerie expression of primal fear mixed with overwhelming confusion. His mouth was barely opening and closing, and his strained whisperings formed the same word, over and over: stop.
Allison’s heart froze. She tore herself from her prone position and rose to her knees, frantically collecting the frozen one-inch man in her palm and raising him to her face.
“Brian! Brian, what’s wrong?! Come on, not again!”
She poked and prodded him with her free hand, trying to elicit any kind of a reaction that didn’t involve repeating the word “stop.” She didn’t know exactly what was going on, but she could tell that he was in some kind of a trance.
“Come on, come on! Brian, snap out of it! Tell me what’s wrong! Brian, baby, not again! Not again!!”
Faced with the possibility that she had caused Brian to have another breakdown, Allison felt like the biggest monster in the universe. She desperately tried to get through to him, but she wasn’t entirely sure if he was even conscious. Just when she was about to give up and run to Elizabeth for help, Brian suddenly stirred. Still pale and confused, he began to look all around the room. Allison let out a relieved sobbing gasp
“Brian! Baby, look at me. Are you okay?! Please tell me you’re okay, please…” she begged, gently teasing his chin towards her with her nail. At the sound of her voice, Brian regained some sense of awareness, and turned in the direction of the booming voice. What he saw defied all explanation…
“Baby, can you hear me? You have to talk to me, tell me what’s goi-”
“W-What the fuck?! Who- why are- what the fuck?!” he cried, looking at Allison as if she was the Grim Reaper. He scrambled to his feet and dashed away, only to quickly reach the edge of her hand. He peered into the abyss, a fall that looked to be hundreds, if not thousands, of feet. He cried out once again, before falling to his rear and crawling back towards the center of her enormous palm. Looking all around with a wild look in his eyes, he looked like a caged animal. Allison was more scared and confused than she had ever been in her life.
“Brian…?” she whimpered. “W-Why are you acting so afraid of me…?”
“P-Please put me down!” the frightened figure shouted. “Please! Sto- don’t- please!”
Allison complied, gently placing him down on the bed with a trembling hand. Once he was down, the figure scrambled backwards as quickly as he could, retreating until his back slammed into a pillow and could go no further. He closed his eyes in fearful lamentation, gritting his teeth as he looked around for another avenue of escape. He looked to be on some kind of bed, but his brain couldn’t comprehend how large and distant everything seemed to be. He looked back towards Allison with a fearful eye, his mouth quivering as he shivered in instinctual terror. Allison had unconsciously taken a few steps back, and was standing a few feet away from the bed with both hands drawn to her mouth. She didn’t want to accept what she was seeing.
Does he not recognize me?
She took a step forward, and tried to open her mouth to say something. She was interrupted by more frantic shouts, however.
“Stop! Stop! I don’t understand! Stop!” the figure screamed, apparently just verbalizing every thought in an attempt to stop the unbelievably titanic figure that was approaching him. Allison immediately complied, holding both hands up to show that she meant no harm. Still, the figure continued.
“Stop! I don’t understand! What is this?! Please, what is this?!” he shouted, increasing Allison’s confusion even more.
“Brian, I don’t know wha-”
“STOP!” he screamed, covering his ears and closing his eyes as he fell to his side. The booming vibrations of Allison’s unnaturally loud voice caused him to panic, and his mind shut down as he curled into the fetal position. He desperately tried to limit his sensory input, as everything he was seeing and hearing made no sense to his panicked mind.
Allison tearfully realized that everything she was doing was making it worse, and she hurriedly grabbed her shirt and ran out the door, closing it behind her. She sprinted across the apartment to the other bedroom, and frantically knocked on the door. After a moment, Elizabeth swung the door open. She was momentarily confused by Allison’s lack of pants, but that confusion was quickly replaced by overwhelming concern once she saw Allison’s sobbing, panicked face.
“Allie! Allie, what’s wrong?!” she asked, grabbing her former student’s hands.
“It’s- it’s Brian!” Allison stammered. “S-Somethings wrong! He was screaming, a-and I don’t think he recognized me! We were trying to- but I got carried away, and he was pale, and something’s wrong, Professor!”
Elizabeth grew more and more concerned, but she realized that she had to know the full story before she could react. She turned stern, throwing away her desire to comfort the crying figure in front of her.
“Allison, if Brian is in trouble then you have to calm down and tell me what is going on,” she said firmly, moving her hands to Allison’s shoulders. The message got through, and Allison desperately tried to get herself under control. She was guided into the bedroom, and sat down on the bed. Once she could think clearly, Allison began to relay the events of the previous twenty minutes. She had surprised him, they agreed to try being sexual, Allison lost track of him for a minute, and he ended up in some kind of trance. Through it all, Elizabeth listened silently. She was starting to feel panic tugging at her heart as well, but was able to push it down.
“I-It was like he was in a trance, or something! He kept saying ‘stop, stop, stop’ over and over again. Professor, what if he was having some kind of, well, flashback or something?” Allison asked. Elizabeth furrowed her brow, tearing up slightly.
“Do you think he could have been assaulted in prison? Did he ever mention anything like that happening?” she asked. Allison turned pale.
“He s-said that, that he was harassed, and some took it to the extreme, but he never said that- oh god… Professor, what if we weren’t encouraging him to try something new? What if we were encouraging him to relive his assault?!” she cried, trying not to break down again. Elizabeth drew one hand to her mouth, unable to stop a few tears from streaking down her face.
“We should have… we should have fucking listened to him!” Allison continued, slamming the bed with her fist. “He said that sexual stuff makes him panic! He said that it causes him to forget where he is! He had a nightmare a few days ago that also caused him to forget who I was, and he said that the nightmare was about something that happened in prison! Professor, he fucking said it!!!”
“Allie, you need to calm down,” Elizabeth weakly said, putting one hand on her shoulder.
“No! This is all my fault, AGAIN! I just had to be horny, I just had to surprise him, I just had to push the boundaries! I fucking told him that I was fine with a non-sexual relationship, and I just fucking LIED!” Allison screamed, feeling like her mind was about to explode. Suddenly, she rose to her feet.
“I need to see him,” she said firmly, before storming towards the door. Elizabeth caught her, however, and held her down as she tried to break free.
“Allie, you can’t do that!” she cried. “He doesn’t know who you are!”
“Shut the fuck up! He needs me! He’s alone, a-and scared, and he doesn’t understand what’s going on!” Allison screamed.
“No, he doesn’t! He’s clearly having some kind of mental break, and you would only make it worse!” Elizabeth shouted. Allison gave up her struggling, and turned limp in Elizabeth’s arms.
“What am I supposed to do…” she sobbed. “This is all my fault, again… what am I supposed to do?!”
“I don’t know, sweetheart, I don’t know,” Elizabeth choked out. “But… but we’re going to figure it out… we’re going to figure it out. I know we will. We have to.”
Allison continued to sob, while Elizabeth struggled not to break down herself. Across the apartment, a frightened one-inch man was shivering in the fetal position, not understanding how he ended up in a world where everything was thousands of times his size.
“We have to…”
Crisis Response, Part 1 by Pluto Pendragon
Alright, let's see what the aftermath is.
“Honestly, Brian, just fuck off,” said Laura, a middle-aged woman with jet-black hair and striking green eyes.
“Way to prove my point,” sarcastically replied Brian, her 18 year old son. “What kind of mother tells her son to fuck off? This is exactly what I’m talking about!”
“The kind of mother who has an asshole for a son,” she responded bitterly. “You act like I’m some failure, when all I do is provide for you and your sister.”
“I’m not calling you a failure! I’m saying that you’re not here for us! The second you get home, when you even do come home, you might as well disappear! You leave the cooking, cleaning, the fucking everything to me, like it has nothing to do with you!” Brian shouted.
“Because I work all day! What, you expect me to take care of everything for you?” asked Laura.
“Not everything, I’m just asking you to be here! Have dinner with us, take a fucking interest in our lives!” he replied frustratedly. “Did you know that Jen just fucking aced her math test? She’s doing amazing in school, and she just wants her mother to say ‘good job’ every now and then! It’s not that hard! And I’m graduating soon, and I’m genuinely worried that you won’t take care of her when I’m gone!”
This was an argument that had occurred many times before, and he knew how it was going to end. Even when she did promise to do better, the sentiment would fade by the next day. Still, he couldn’t stop himself from trying, no matter how painful it was.
“Brian, you have no idea how hard things have been for the last 14 years. Your father walked out on us, leaving me with two kids and nobody to help me support them,” Laura said exasperatedly.
“I know that, I was there! I lost a father too, remember? What I’m trying to tell you is that I lost a mother, too!” he exclaimed. Laura rolled her eyes.
“Oh please, don’t be so fucking dramatic. I feed you, I give you a place to sleep, I pay for your school-”
“That’s the bare fucking minimum!” Brian shouted. “That’s literally what you signed up for when you became a parent! If you didn’t do that, you’d go to fucking jail! I’m obviously grateful, but that doesn’t give you an excuse to just shut down and act like we don’t exist! Come the fuck on!”
“I can’t deal with this,” Laura sighed, holding one hand up and turning away. “This is so stupid. You are so fucking ungrateful. Your sister, too-”
“Don’t you fucking go there,” Brian growled, moving one step closer. “She has done nothing wrong. She loves you, and tries so hard to get you to love her back. Don’t you fucking say a single bad word about her.”
“No, you know what? Fuck you. You both can go to hell. You say this is what I signed up for when I became a parent? Fine then, I wish I never had. You happy? That’s right, I’m just as horrible and bad as you think I am. I don’t act like your mother because I don’t want to be your mother. Now that we’ve established this, just fuck off and leave me alone. I’ll continue to work and keep you alive, but I want nothing to do with either of you.” she spat.
Brian saw red.
“FUCK YOU!” he screamed.
“Yeah, yeah,” Laura sighed while rolling her eyes. Brian held his head in his hands, trying not to punch a wall.
“I can’t fucking do this. I’m going for a walk,” Brian said, before storming away.
“Feel free not to come back!” his mother called out after him.
Brian huffed in anger as he reached the door, then crouched down to put his shoes on. A moment later, he heard a noise in the direction of the stairs. Turning towards it, he saw that Jennifer, his 14 year old sister, was sitting on the lowest step, looking at him with teary eyes. Brian’s heart fractured at the realization that their mother had broken his baby sister’s heart again, and his eyes softened in sympathy.
Standing back up, he opened his arms in her direction. Jennifer got up and dashed towards him, seemingly melting into his arms once they closed around her. Brian squeezed his sister tight, taking solace in the fact that she at least had him for comfort.
“I don’t like it when you shout,” she said in a small voice.
“I know, I’m sorry,” Brian replied softly. “Sometimes, I have a hard time controlling my emotions. I’m working on it.”
He felt Jennifer nod as she buried her head in his chest.
“She didn’t mean what she said about you,” Brian continued. “She was just saying anything to hurt me and get me to leave. She loves you.”
“No she doesn’t,” Jennifer whispered. She gripped her brother tighter, trying not to cry. Brian sighed, as he couldn’t bring himself to completely disagree. Still, he had to try.
“She does love you. She just sucks at showing it. She sucks at most things when it comes to being a mom,” he said, which elicited a small smile. “But you know that I love you, right? With everything that I have."
Jennifer looked up at him, her green eyes carrying an ocean of love and adoration. Brian was her hero, and nothing was more important to her than hearing those words from him.
“I do. But… you’re leaving soon. I don’t know what to do without you,” she replied.
“We’re going to figure it out, I promise. I’d drive 100 miles every day to make sure that you’re okay. I’ll always take care of you,” Brian said firmly. Jennifer buried her head in his chest once again.
“I’m always asking too much of you,” she muttered. “You have your own life, I shouldn’t be such a burden.”
Brian gently pushed her away, his face showing a soft expression. After a moment, he reached up and flicked her forehead.
“Ow!” she squeaked, holding one hand to her forehead as she looked at him with questioning eyes.
“You’re not a burden. You’re my sister,” he chided. “You’re always allowed to ask too much of me.”
Jennifer smiled widely at his kind words. After a moment, though, her smile twisted into a sly grin.
“You spoil me too much,” she said teasingly, causing Brian to chuckle.
“I don’t hear you complaining,” he replied. “Anyway, I’m gonna go walk around for a while. I really do need to clear my head.”
“Can I come?” Jennifer asked hopefully, her eyes sparkling.
“Come on, you’re so close to being done with your homework. I’m just gonna walk to the financial square and back, it won’t take long,” he replied. Jennifer groaned.
“Fine…” she grumbled. “Listen, though, are you done with the next chapter of your book?”
“Basically, yeah. There’s just the last bit of editing left,” he answered.
“Will you read it to me when you get back?” she asked.
“Come on, you’re too old for bedtime stories,” Brian replied with a laugh, causing Jennifer to grin widely.
“I know. I don’t care,” she responded. Brian rolled his eyes.
“You’re the worst, Jen. Fine, I’ll read it to you. Go finish your homework, I just need some fresh air.”
With that, Brian patted her head and moved for the door. Once he opened the door, though, a hesitant voice stopped him in his tracks.
“You’re not gonna listen to Mom, right?” Jennifer asked. Brian turned his head back.
“Generally speaking, no, but what are you talking about specifically?” he responded.
“She said to feel free not to come back. You’re coming back, right?” she continued nervously. Brian smiled reassuringly.
“Of course. I’ll always find my way back to you.”
“You promise, Bean?”
“I promise, Jen.”
Elizabeth lightly knocked on the door, letting the inhabitant know that somebody was about to come in. After a moment, she took a deep breath and walked into the bedroom. Trying to move as quietly as possible, she closed the door behind her and stood in front of it. She then looked towards the front of the bed, where Allison had told her to. What she saw broke her heart.
Brian was curled into the fetal position, with his arms wrapped around his neck. They were pushing his head into his knees, which created a tightly wrapped ball of one-inch-convict. Most importantly to Elizabeth, however, was the fact that he was shivering in fear. His whole body was afflicted with instinctual terror, and it showed through his uncontrollable trembling. It made Elizabeth want to cry, but she was able to push it down. Once again, her motherly protective instincts went into overdrive.
“Brian?” she called out softly. Allison told her that he had reacted with panic to the sound of her voice, so she tried to make her own voice as light as a feather. They had deduced that his reaction had been due to the loud, booming quality of normal-sized voices to shrunken convicts, which further led them to the suspicion that he had forgotten why he was small. As such, they were operating on the assumption that Brian was experiencing his size for the first time again, and Elizabeth was determined to be as gentle and reassuring as possible every step of the way.
“Brian, I’m standing in front of the door. I’m not going to come any closer unless you want me to, okay?” she said softly. She waited to see if he would react at all to the sound of her voice, but he didn’t. He only continued to shiver, clearly scared out of his mind.
“I know that you must be so scared right now, but I promise that I’m not going to hurt you. I only want to help you, so please tell me how,” she continued. After a few more moments of unbearable silence, the tiny figure spoke up. His voice was barely audible.
“I-I don’t understand what’s going on,” he choked out. Elizabeth frowned in concern at his frightened words, wondering how best to reassure him. She couldn’t imagine the level of fear that would accompany suddenly waking up one-inch tall.
“I know, but I promise that everything is going to be okay” she said gently.
“I don’t understand why everything is so big. Why is everything so big?!” he asked, his voice rising at the end. Elizabeth closed her eyes in resignation, as he had just confirmed their theory that he’d forgotten about his size.
“I know you don’t understand, and I can’t imagine how confusing and scary everything must be right now. It’s all very complicated, but for now let me just assure you that you aren’t in any danger. You don’t need to be scared, because nobody is going to hurt you,” she replied soothingly. Suddenly, a harsh voice called out.
“No!” Brian exclaimed. “That woman was going to hurt me!”
Elizabeth was stunned into silence.
“She- what?” she stammered, before getting herself under control. “No, Brian, she would never try to hurt you. Why do you think that she was going to?” she asked calmly.
“She said it! She said I couldn’t get away from her if I tried! She said that I was helpless, and that she could do whatever she wanted to me! She said she wanted to fuck me! She was going to hurt me!” Brian continued, his thoughts spilling out all at once. Once more, Elizabeth was stunned. This time, though, her surprise was laced with anger.
“She said what?” she asked lowly. Brian flinched at the sound of her angry voice, and Elizabeth internally scolded herself.
“I’m so scared… I don’t understand what’s happening… What’s going on?! Where am I?!” Brian shouted, clearly starting to panic again. Elizabeth quickly threw her anger aside.
“Brian, listen to the sound of my voice…” Elizabeth started. Before she could continue, though, he cried out again.
“No! Your voice is too big! Everything is too big! I don’t understand!!”
At that, he curled into an even tighter position. His shoulders began to lightly shake, indicating that he was crying. Elizabeth’s face dropped even more, as she began to feel something that had not plagued her for a very long time: doubt.
What am I supposed to do? she wondered, tears of frustration forming in her eyes. She then closed her eyes and took a deep breath internally, which stabled out her mental state.
“I know that you have no reason to believe me, but I’m sure that whatever she said was not meant maliciously. That woman loves you, and would never hurt you. She loves you, just like I do. I love you like you’re my own family, and I promise you with everything I have that I will never hurt you, and I won’t let anybody else hurt you. You are completely safe, sweetheart, and there is no reason to be afraid around me,” she said. Her voice was as light and fluttery as a butterfly, but her conviction was radiating out like starlight. She managed to pierce Brian’s tattered psyche, and he was miraculously reassured.
He slowly stopped crying, much to Elizabeth’s relief. After a moment, he turned his head and peeked out in her direction. His microscopic green eyes were more afraid and vulnerable than she had ever seen before, and it broke her heart. There was absolutely no trace of the infamous robot child murderer named Brian Bentley within his eyes, only a confused and terrified young man named Brian. Once more, his brain was overwhelmed at the sheer enormity of the woman before him, though, and he tore his eyes away immediately before burying his head back in his knees. He was still trembling, but decidedly not as much as before.
“Who are you…?” he weakly asked.
“I’m Elizabeth. Elizabeth Dawson. Does that name sound familiar?” she replied.
“No…” Brian answered.
“That’s okay, Brian. Can you tell me what the last thing you remember is? Before you woke up here?” she continued. Now that his memory loss had been established, Elizabeth needed to figure out how much he had forgotten.
“I was in my house… I’d just had a fight with my mother, and I was going to walk around the city to clear my head…” he replied quietly. Suddenly, these details resonated within Elizabeth’s mind.
That sounds like… is he talking about right before the murder? Does he have no memory of the last three years? she wondered. Brian wasn’t done, though.
“It was just before I left, and I was talking to… to… wait, where’s Jen?!” he exclaimed, suddenly uncurling himself and sitting up. It was as if all his fear had evaporated, and he was momentarily possessed by fierce determination. The enormity of his new environment crashed down on him all at once, however, and the fear came rushing back. He pushed himself backwards into the pillow and closed his eyes, his face twisting into a grimace. Still, Elizabeth was glad that he was at least no longer curled up in a ball.
“W-Where’s Jen?” Brian repeated. “I need to make sure she’s okay. Where is she?!”
“Jen is fine, Brian, I promise. She’s not here, but she’s completely fine,” Elizabeth replied reassuringly, and Brian sighed in relief. After a moment, though, he furrowed his brow.
“Why did you ask me that? What’s going on?” he asked.
“Right… Brian, some time has passed since that happened. I’m not entirely sure what’s going on, but you’re having some kind of episode that has caused you to forget some things,” she answered unsuredly. She didn’t want to overwhelm him with information, and she didn’t want to phrase it in a way that might cause him to panic again. As such, she tried to frame it as gently as possible. Brian finally opened his eyes in response, and he hesitantly looked at her. Elizabeth could tell that it was taking a lot of effort to maintain eye contact, and she smiled reassuringly.
“What are you talking about? You’re saying I have some kind of amnesia? Well… how much time has passed?” he asked incredulously.
“Listen… obviously a lot has happened that you’re not remembering right now, and I really don’t want to overwhelm you. I think, right now, your focus should be on calming down. Maybe, if you do that, you’ll start to remember things on your own, yeah?” Elizabeth suggested, maintaining her gentle smile. Brian’s eyes softened in response to her reassuring tone.
“Okay… but, if I don’t, you’ll tell me more, right?” he asked.
“Of course, sweetheart. I just want to move slowly. I need to make sure you understand that you’re completely safe, first and foremost. I’m sure you’re still awfully scared, but are you feeling any better?” she asked kindly. Brian thought for a moment.
“Yeah…” he replied hesitantly. “It’s just… everything is so big. I’ve never seen anything like this.”
Elizabeth nodded sympathetically.
“Very few have, I’m sure. But, once again, I promise that nothing is going to hurt you. I’ll keep you safe. You believe me when I say that, right?”
After a moment, Brian nodded.
“I believe you,” he answered softly. Elizabeth’s heart was soaring, but she was careful to keep her expression muted. Still, she couldn’t stop herself from smiling a little wider.
“Um… is it okay if I come a little closer? I’d like to make sure you’re not injured,” she asked. At this, Brian visibly stiffened in fear, so she changed her tune.
“Actually, how about I leave you alone for a little while? Now that you’ve calmed down a bit, maybe you should just take a moment to breathe and get used to your surroundings. How does that sound?” she hurriedly asked again, which caused Brian to relax somewhat.
“Okay,” he said. “Thanks.”
“Of course. Is there anything I can get for you before I go, though?” she asked. Suddenly, she went into “mom” mode. “I’d have to bring it to you, but I could get you some water, if you like. I could also get you a small blanket or something, in case you’re cold. I could also grab some food for you, if you want. We have-”
“I’m okay,” Brian cut in. Although she pretended not to notice, Elizabeth could tell that he had the smallest hint of a smile.
“If you say so, sweetie,” she said, with a small wink. “Oh! We also have some red velvet cake, if that sounds good.”
Brian slightly perked up.
“…you do?” he asked quietly, which caused Elizabeth to grin.
“We sure do. Maybe a little later, huh? For now, though, how about I come back in half an hour?” she suggested. Brian nodded.
“Okay. We’ll talk soon. And just so you know, the woman who was in here before is extremely worried about you, and I know she’d love to come and say hi. I completely understand if you don’t want to see her, at least right now, but maybe just give it some thought. I promise that she means you no harm.”
With that, Elizabeth left the room, not wanting to make Brian feel like he had to respond.
Once she closed the door behind her, she leaned against it as she let out a huge sigh. Then, after a moment, her face hardened. Brian’s earlier words flashed through her mind, and she decided it was time to get some answers.
Allison hurriedly rose to her feet.
“Is he okay?!” she asked frantically. Her extreme worry caused her to not notice Elizabeth’s expression, which was as cold as ice.
“He’s okay, but he has no memory of the last three years. Like we thought, he forgot that he was small. He’s slightly calmer now, and I’m going to leave him alone for half an hour before going back in,” she explained. Allison closed her eyes and let out a sigh, part relieved that he was calming down, and part distressed at the confirmation of his memory loss.
“What the hell is going on…?” she whispered. Suddenly, a hand on her shoulder snapped her out of it.
“Allison, what was the last thing you said to Brian before he entered his trance?” Elizabeth asked slowly. Allison looked up at her, and saw that her eyes were fierce. She couldn’t help but feel a little nervous.
“Uh… l-like I said, I was trying to get him, well, aroused…” she replied quietly. Elizabeth retracted her hand and sighed angrily.
“Enough of this,” she said frustratedly. “Apparently, Brian has some memory of what happened, because he’s convinced that you were going to hurt him. He said that… did you actually tell him that he couldn’t get away from you? That he was helpless, and you could do whatever you wanted to him? That you wanted to fuck him?! Please tell me you didn’t actually say those things!”
Allison was shocked, and took a few steps back subconsciously.
“He remembers that…?” she whispered fearfully, her face darkening in guilt.
“Allison!” Elizabeth exclaimed, causing her former student to flinch.
“Look, look, I didn’t mean anything bad!” Allison hastily replied. “I was just playing around! He obviously knows that I would never hurt him, a-and…”
“Apparently not!” Elizabeth interrupted. “Did he ask you to play around like that, or were you doing it because that’s what you enjoy?”
Allison took a breath, looking like she had just been caught committing a crime.
“Uh… i-it’s what I enjoy, kinda… but, but, it’s because we don’t know what he enjoys! So I was just trying a few different things, to see if he had any reactions!” she explained, trying not to crumble under the pressure.
“You were trying? You were trying?!” Elizabeth asked angrily. “This was supposed to be Brian’s first sexual experience, right?”
“Tell me, then, at any point did you try asking what Brian wanted to do? Did you ever let him take the lead? Because it sounds to me like you were using him to get off, and just hoping that he would enjoy it too!” she continued.
“No, no!” Allison cried. “I was only… I just didn’t think he would know what he wanted to do, so I was trying to help! But I didn’t… I didn’t mean to…,” she stammered, as she started to realize the error of her approach.
“Well, congratulations,” Elizabeth said bitterly, "your actions apparently reminded him of a time he got raped. Do you understand that? I’m going to say it again, because I don’t think you understand.”
She took a step closer.
“You reminded him of his rapist. You did, Allison.”
Allison was pale, and slightly trembling. All of a sudden, she understood what it felt like to be one-inch tall.
“I didn’t mean to…” she whimpered.
“I just can’t fucking believe this,” Elizabeth said, turning away in anger. “I warned you about this! I told you about the power dynamic in your relationship, and you promised to tread carefully! And now I find that not only did you lie to me, you exploited that power dynamic to get off sexually!”
Allison sat down on the couch, as the full weight of her actions crashed down on her. Elizabeth wasn’t done, though.
“You know what, Allison? You were exactly right. He couldn’t get away from you if he tried. He is helpless, and you can do whatever you want to him. If you wanted to fuck him, there is absolutely nothing he could do to stop you. But, instead of realizing this and taking 10,000 extra steps to make sure that he doesn’t feel pressured into sex, you brag about it during sex! Do you not realize how fucked up that is?!” she shouted, suppressing the urge to slap her.
Allison was now staring at the floor, her face overtaken by pure and overwhelming shame. There were no words to describe how horribly she felt at that moment.
I’m just like him…
Suddenly, Elizabeth stormed back over to her.
“You don’t deserve to be in a relationship with him,” she said. “From everything I have seen and heard, you are nowhere near as careful as you should be. Allison, I understand that you’ve been through a lot. You’re obviously still feeling the effects of your previous relationship, and you spent six months as an executioner. There must be some things that you need to work through right now, and that’s okay! You can do that, and I can help you find the resources. But you cannot, you absolutely cannot, be taking those things out on Brian. If you can’t separate that part of yourself from your relationship right now, then you need to walk away until you’re confident that something like this will NEVER happen again. Do you understand?”
Allison’s shame had transformed into a deep, refined sadness. Every word had pierced her psyche like a javelin, and she was completely defeated.
“I understand…” she said weakly. Elizabeth closed her eyes and let out a deep, angry sigh.
“Half an hour. That’s when I’m going back in. For now, I need to clear my head. I told him to think about letting you in, but I wouldn’t count on it,” she said, before walking away.
Allison heard the sound of the other bedroom door closing, and silence overtook the room. She fell to her side on the couch. She wanted to cry, but there were no tears left. There was only shame, guilt, sadness, and an unbearable sense of dread. Faced with all these destructive emotions, her mind shut down as she came to a terrible decision.
The silence continued.
That wasn't fun to write. Probably wasn't fun to read either, and I apologize. It's just... there have to be consequences for actions, you know? Even if they suck. Oh well, I promise it won't stay bad forever. Until next time.
Crisis Response, Part 2 by Pluto Pendragon
My spring break was two days long. Two. Days. Long.
Elizabeth lightly knocked on the door, letting the inhabitant know that somebody was about to come in. After a moment, she took a deep breath and walked into the bedroom. Trying to move as quietly as possible, she closed the door behind her and stood in front of it. She then looked towards the front of the bed. What she saw shocked her into silence.
He was fine.
While she expected him to still be tightly pressed against the pillow, trembling in fear, what she found instead was him calmly walking along the edge of the bed, looking all around the room. Even more surprising was the fact that he was wearing his new shirt again. While his face still carried traces of his previous stress, he otherwise looked relatively neutral.
“B-Brian?” Elizabeth stammered. “Are you okay? Did you remember anything?”
Brian slightly flinched at the sound of her booming voice, and Elizabeth internally scolded herself for forgetting to lower her tone.
“Sorry, no,” he replied calmly. Elizabeth let out a small sigh.
“That’s too bad. How are you doing, then, sweetie? I’m surprised to see you up and about,” she asked, smiling reassuringly. Brian shrugged.
“I’m fine, I just needed some time to get used to my surroundings, as you said. It also helped to know that nobody was planning on hurting me,” he replied plainly.
Elizabeth was shocked by his casual attitude.
“J-Just like that? You were so scared, though…” she said. Once more, Brian shrugged.
“I’m over it. Now, I’m just confused,” he replied.
He really just rolls with things, doesn’t he? Memories or not... Elizabeth thought.
“Huh. You’re a pretty incredible guy, you know that?” she said appreciatively. “So, is it okay if I come a little closer then?”
Brian paused for a moment, before nervously scratching his neck.
“Er… yeah, it’s okay. Just move slowly, okay? I feel like I’ll get dizzy if you move really quickly,” he answered sheepishly.
“Of course,” Elizabeth said softly, before slowly and carefully moving towards the bed.
Brian watched as this titanic woman grew even larger in his field of view, and he unconsciously took a few steps back. Although his primal terror had mostly faded, he was still vulnerable to the intimidation that came with being one-inch tall in a world of giants. Elizabeth’s truly gentle demeanor reassured him that he wasn’t in any danger, though, so he was able to push back the fear.
Elizabeth reached the edge of the bed, and kneeled down so her face was roughly at his level. At his size, Brian was able to see every small detail of her face, and he couldn’t help but appreciate the beauty of the mature giant before him. Her age was apparent, but it in no way detracted from her overall charm. Her dark brown eyes glowed with reassuring tenderness, and her inviting pink lips were showing a smile so warm it could melt an iceberg. If forced to choose a word, Brian would have described her overall aura as comforting, and…
Wait… Brian thought. Comforting… when did I…?
“Sorry, this is gonna sound weird, but could you show me your hand?” Brian asked. Elizabeth raised an eyebrow.
“My hand?” she asked quizzically.
“Yeah, sorry, but could you?” he asked again. Elizabeth decided to roll with it, and held one of her hands out towards him. Brian stared at it for a minute, taking in the minutiae of her wrinkles and crevices. After a moment, something clicked in his mind.
“Have you held me in your hand recently?” he asked, causing Elizabeth’s eyes to widen.
“Yes, I held you for the very first time just yesterday. Are you starting to remember something?” she replied hopefully.
“Not exactly… It’s just… this is kinda embarrassing, but I was just thinking to myself that you seem like a very comforting person. It felt familiar when I thought that, and your hand came to mind for some reason. So, I must have been thinking the exact same thing when you held me the other day!” Brian exclaimed, his eyes lighting up. He felt like a detective who had just discovered a clue.
Elizabeth was blushing heavily from the unexpected compliment, thoroughly caught off-guard. After a moment, she broke out into a delighted smile.
“That makes me so happy!” she said jovially, before drawing one hand to her mouth. “Oops, I forgot to lower my voice.”
Brian lightly chuckled at her apologetic expression.
“It’s fine, you really don’t need to do that. It’s not like the volume is painful or anything, it was just surprising at first,” he replied reassuringly. Once more, Elizabeth smiled widely. Her eyes were sparkling with loving appreciation.
“You’re such a sweetheart…” she sighed, causing Brian to slightly blush. This snapped her out of it.
“Er, anyway, I assume you’re not injured? You’ve been able to walk around okay, and you’re not in any pain?” she quickly asked. Brian nodded.
“Yeah, I’m fine.”
“That’s a huge relief, honey. I’m surprised to see you wearing that shirt, as well. Where did you find it?” she asked.
“Yeah, I was going to ask about this. I just found it on the bed over there, like it had been tossed aside,” he answered, pointing to an area in the distance. Elizabeth’s eyebrow twitched in annoyance.
Seriously, Allie? You couldn’t even put it on the nightstand? What if it had gotten ripped?! she thought.
“I see…” she muttered.
“So anyway, yeah. It’s a little big, but it’s really comfortable. Where did it come from? I assume you can’t just order clothes for tiny people,” Brian continued.
“Oh, um… well, I actually made that for you,” Elizabeth answered, somewhat bashfully. “It was a gift, since before that you were just tying pieces of cloth around your waist.”
Brian’s eyes widened in appreciation.
“Really? You made this, for me?” he asked. “That’s really impressive! I might not remember how we met, but it's safe to say I’m really glad that we did.”
Once more, Elizabeth blushed at his kind words.
“If you’re trying to sweet-talk me, young man, it’s definitely working,” she replied teasingly with a huge grin, which Brian reciprocated.
Elizabeth took note of how quickly he was letting his guard down, as compared to when they first met. After a moment, though, a realization broke her heart. Brian was more trusting because he had no memory of the previous three years. He had no memory of the murder, his arrest, or his wrongful conviction. He had no memory of his mother’s betrayal, or of the three years in which he was despised by the whole world. He had no memory of being abused, harassed, or tortured. Simply put, the Brian in front of her had not had his heart broken by the world yet.
“Is something wrong?” asked Brian, looking concerned. Elizabeth’s face had saddened without her realizing, and his voice snapped her out of it.
“Oh, I’m sorry. I’m just worried about you, that’s all,” she hurriedly replied, adopting a fake smile. Brian nodded appreciatively.
“Yeah. Well, calming down didn’t seem to bring anything back, so why don’t you fill me in on what I’m forgetting? Maybe the details will register in my mind,” he suggested. Elizabeth sighed, as she didn’t want to be the bearer of bad news. Still, she couldn’t keep him in the dark anymore.
“That’s fair. I suppose question one would be how much time has passed, right?” she asked. Brian nodded in affirmation.
“Um… it’s been three years, honey,” she continued, making her voice as gentle as humanly possible. Brian’s eyes widened slightly.
“Three years?” he repeated incredulously, before taking a breath. “Well, I don’t know what I expected. Alright. Three years. Three years, it’s fine. Not one, not two, but three. Got it.”
With that, he gave a brisk nod to himself, cementing the realization in his mind. Just like that, he was ready to move on. Once again, Elizabeth was impressed.
“Alright, then, why am I small?” he asked, gesturing to his one-inch body. Elizabeth fidgeted for a moment, wondering how best to phrase it.
“Just give it to me straight, I can take it,” Brian said resolutely.
“Oh fine,” Elizabeth sighed. “You got the Shrink Penalty, Brian. You’re one-inch tall.”
Brian was stunned speechless for a moment. Then, his face twisted in confusion as he processed the information. Suddenly, he adopted an expression of dread.
“Shit!” he exclaimed. “Are you telling me that future-me is an uber-criminal?!”
“No no no!” Elizabeth quickly assured. “You were framed, sweetie! You never did anything wrong, you were just in the wrong place at the wrong time!”
Brian held his head in his hands, letting out a frustrated groan.
“So, you’re telling me that I wake up three years in the future, and I’ve been permanently shrunken to one-inch tall for a crime I didn’t commit? What kind of shitty-ass time travel is this?!” he lamented. Elizabeth gazed at him with sympathetic eyes, waiting for him to regain himself. Her overwhelming concern even caused her to forget to mention that the shrinking wasn’t permanent. After a moment, Brian let out a huff and looked back up at her.
“Alright, fine. What was the crime?” he asked exasperatedly. This was the question that Elizabeth had been dreading, and her face darkened. She opened and closed her mouth a few times, before closing her eyes and lightly shaking her head. She couldn’t bring herself to go there.
“Bad news, huh?” Brian said softly, as he looked down at the bed. “Maybe another time, then.”
Elizabeth sighed in relief.
“That’s a good call, for now. Like I said before, I don’t want to overwhelm you. On that note, how are you feeling? Do you want to take a little break?” she asked kindly.
“I don’t know, my head is kinda buzzing…” Brian muttered. “Feels like my neurons are firing faster than my brain can process the information…”
“I see… well, how about you take a minute to rest, then? Maybe I could get you some of that red velvet cake I mentioned earlier?” Elizabeth suggested, adopting a reassuring smile. Suddenly, though, Brian held one hand up to stop her.
“Wait, I need to know one more thing,” he said. “If I got the SP, then why am I still alive?”
Elizabeth approached Allison, who was still laying on the sofa. Her expression was completely empty, as if her life force had evaporated. Very few thoughts of substance had passed through her mind since Elizabeth’s scolding, but her feelings of guilt and shame were no less intense. At the sound of approaching footsteps, though, her awareness was rebooted. She looked at her former mentor with tired, defeated eyes. Oddly, Elizabeth was holding a pair of pants.
“He wants to see you,” she said flatly. This was the last thing Allison had expected to hear, and she perked up instantly.
“Really?” she asked quietly. She was still afraid of Elizabeth’s fury, and thus adopted a quite meager tone.
“Yeah. He’s adjusting to all this extremely quickly, and he’s more or less normal now. He still hasn’t remembered anything specific, though. I told him that three years have passed, and that he was given the SP for a crime he didn’t commit. I haven’t told him what the actual crime was yet, or the fact that his family abandoned him. I also haven’t told him that he was assaulted in prison, so be absolutely sure that you don’t bring up any of those things,” Elizabeth explained.
“Okay. Did he… did he ask any more about what I said to him?” Allison asked nervously. Elizabeth’s eyes darkened slightly.
“Yes. I told him that it was a very bad, poorly timed, inappropriate, inconsiderate, insensitive, and completely distasteful joke. I didn’t tell him all the details, though, in case it would trigger something again,” she answered coldly.
“I see. Is he still afraid of me?” Allison asked, averting her eyes.
“I don’t think so. He seemed to buy what I told him, and I was very clear about how you meant no harm. He also heard me yelling at you, so he knows that we’re taking it seriously,” she replied. “Be sure to apologize, though.”
“Okay. Thank you for telling him that. So, why does he want to see me, then?” she said.
“I told him that you saved his life,” Elizabeth replied, her eyes softening. Allison looked up at her in surprise.
“I told him how you were his Chevalier, and you realized his innocence and smuggled him out. I told him how you quit your job to take care of him, and that we’ve all been working together to clear his name. I simply told him the truth, Allie,” she continued. Despite her vehement disgust over what Allison had done to Brian, Elizabeth still had to give her some credit. At these unexpected words of kindness, Allison got slightly emotional.
“Anyway, let’s go in. I’m sure you’re dying to see him,” Elizabeth said. Allison nodded, and stood from the sofa. Elizabeth then handed her the pair of pants she had been holding, and Allison looked at them quizzically. After a moment, though, she slowly looked down at her legs, and a realization stopped her heart. Throughout this whole ordeal, she hadn’t been wearing any pants. She had grabbed a shirt in her haste to reach Elizabeth, but her lower half hadn’t been quite so lucky. As such, all she was wearing down there was black, lacy, and very racy lingerie, which had been on display to Elizabeth the whole time. Allison yelped, completely mortified, and frantically put on the pair of pants. Elizabeth let out a small sigh, before motioning her to follow. Just before they reached the hallway, though, Allison spoke up with one final question.
“Wait. If you told him about what I said, and he heard you yelling… does that mean he knows that I’m his girlfriend?” she asked hesitantly. Elizabeth stopped in her tracks, before slowly turning back with a stern expression.
“No. He remembers what you said, but not the sexual context. And he couldn’t hear what I was actually saying, only that I was yelling. He doesn’t know about your relationship. And Allie…” she said, before taking one step closer and lowering her voice. “I would encourage you to keep it that way.”
At that, they finally moved into the bedroom. Allison had a conflicted expression on her face, and an even more conflicted heart.
Brian could tell that the somewhat tall woman with medium-long auburn hair standing before him was petrified, so he decided to make the first move.
“So, you’re Allison?” he asked. She flinched at the sound of his voice.
He didn’t say “Allie,” she thought sadly. Hearing him talk as if they were strangers broke her heart. Already, this was harder than she thought it was going to be. Unable to speak just yet, she simply nodded. Brian smiled warmly.
“This probably sounds weird, but it’s nice to meet you,” he said.
“Y-You too,” Allison squeaked, trying not to cry.
“So… I hear you saved my life,” Brian said, somewhat bashfully.
“I also hear you risked a heavy price,” he continued.
Once again, Allison nodded.
“Thank you. Thank you so much. I don’t know what crime I was accused of, and a part of me doesn’t want to know, but I’m sure it wasn’t easy for a Chev to make the kind of decision that you did. You’re really brave.”
His kind words reached Allison’s troubled heart, and she managed to reciprocate his smile. Memory loss or not, he was still her Brian. Now that she was able to think clearly, there was important business to take care of.
“Um… u-um…” she stammered. “I’m, um… I’m really, really sorry about what I said. It was awful, and couldn’t have been at a worse time, and I’m really sorry.”
“Don’t worry about it,” Brian said, waving his hand dismissively. “I’m sure there was some context I’m forgetting. I’ve said stupid stuff that’s been taken out of context before.”
“There really wasn’t an excuse… but thank you for saying that. How… how are you feeling?” she asked.
“Oh, you know. Physically fine, but this is all pretty disorienting. An hour ago I was talking to my sister, and now…”
His face darkened. Elizabeth and Allison grew concerned.
“What is it?” Elizabeth asked.
“Jen… I promised I was going to read to her before bed. I promised her I was going to come back from my walk…” he said, before tearing up. He drew one hand to his mouth.
“I never came back… that was three years ago… does she think I abandoned her? Does she think I’m a criminal? Does she think I’m dead? Oh, god…”
He fell to his knees. He looked utterly and absolutely devastated. Both women began to panic, as they didn’t want him to break down again. They exchanged a few panicked looks, before Allison suddenly spoke up.
“W-We’re going to prove your innocence!” she exclaimed. Her sudden outburst caused Brian to flinch, and he looked up at her with teary eyes.
“We’re going to prove it! And you’re going to see her again. It’s not your fault what happened, and I’m sure she knows that! I promise, Brian, we’re going to prove it!”
Brian closed his eyes and took a deep breath. He wiped his face, before standing back to his feet. He was obviously still distressed, but he got it under control.
“You’re… right. You’re right. I have faith in her. I’ll see her again,” he said firmly. Just like Elizabeth had, Allison took note of the fact that he was more trusting and optimistic than the Brian she was used to. And just like Elizabeth, her heart broke when she realized why that was.
“Whew. God, this sucks,” Brian muttered. Both women nodded in agreement.
“Anyway… Allison, I have a question,” he said. She snapped to attention.
“Elizabeth said that it wasn’t until two weeks after you rescued me that we brought her into this. So… what did we do during that time? Maybe some details will bring stuff back,” he asked. Allison was caught off-guard, and she went silent for a moment.
“Oh… oh, okay,” she said quietly. “Um… do you mind if I go sit down over there first?”
She pointed to the space in between the bed and the nightstand.
“No, of course not,” he answered. “I’ll go over to that side of the bed. And Elizabeth, feel free to sit on the bed. I’ll be fine.”
With that, all three parties got comfortable. Allison sat down on the floor, Brian reclined into one of the pillows near Allison’s position, and Elizabeth sat down on the far side of the bed. It was story time.
“The first day I brought you home, you slept from the morning to the evening. You obviously needed it, so I just let you sleep. When you woke up, we just had some food and eventually went to bed. Not much happened, since you were still apprehensive about the whole thing,” she began, leaving out the little detail that they had overheard his mother say that she didn’t care about his execution.
“The next day, we decided to just have a wasteful, lazy day. I thought you needed a day off, and I thought it would help you get used to being small, as well as being around me,” she continued.
“Wow, that was really considerate of you,” Brian said appreciatively, with a big smile.
“That’s for sure,” Elizabeth agreed. This was the first time she was hearing these details as well. Allison lightly blushed at their compliments.
“A-Anyway, we just kinda continued like that. I had taken a few days off from work, and we spent that time…”
She trailed off. An unexpected pang of emotion surged throughout her body.
“We, um… we spent that time having fun. Lots of fun,” she choked out, smiling warmly at the memories.
“We watched Lord of the Rings in one sitting,” she said, causing Brian’s eyes to light up.
“Really? In one sitting?! And was it your first time watching them?” he asked excitedly. Allison nodded, grinning widely.
“Did you like them?” Brian continued, his eyes sparkling like a kid’s.
“Loved them,” Allison replied. Brian did a small fist pump, which she found adorable.
“Ah, that’s awesome. Score one for future me,” he said, causing both women to giggle at his excitement. Continuing her story, Allison’s eyes slightly clouded over.
“We did stuff like that, you know? You got to experience some of your favorite stuff again after three years, and I got to learn about all kinds of new stuff,” she said. Once more, a flood of emotions washed over her.
“You told me about some of your favorite musicals, which I found surprising… I also learned a lot about astronomy, like black holes, and stuff like that… I ended up quitting my job, just under a week after I rescued you. You can probably imagine why, but I became a Chev for… complicated reasons, anyway, so it was a long time coming.”
Brian nodded appreciatively, completely captured by the story. Elizabeth averted her eyes at the mention of why Allison became a Chev. Ignoring this, Allison continued, as if a dam had broken.
“After that, we just, um… we spent a lot of time together, you know? We actually weren’t planning on trying to prove your innocence before we told Elizabeth, since we didn’t know how. So, we were just planning on moving forward with our lives, together. My family abandoned me because I became a Chev, so we only had each other. And that was okay, you know? We were fine with that. We watched a lot of movies together, stuff both you and I liked… we got a 3D printer, and we were both enjoying learning how to program it. We used it to make cutlery, which allowed you to eat regular food again, so we started trying different kinds of food. We were in the middle of trying to find the perfect pad thai before Elizabeth came over. And, um… it was just fun, y-you know? We had lots, and lots… and lots of fun.”
Without even realizing it, Allison had begun to cry. Small tears were running down her face, and it became increasingly hard to form her words. Elizabeth had a suspicion as to why she was crying, but Brian was completely confused.
“Are you okay?” he asked softly, looking extremely concerned. At that, Allison regained her awareness, and hurriedly wiped her face before putting on a fake smile.
“I’m fine. They’re just really good memories, and it makes me sad that you don’t remember them,” she replied. Brian nodded.
“I understand. Hopefully soon,” he said quietly, before slightly blushing. Despite his nerves, he simply had to ask something.
“Uh… this is really embarrassing, but can I ask you a question that has the potential to be extremely awkward?” he asked nervously.
“Sure…?” Allison replied, raising an eyebrow.
“Well… w-what… what am I to you?” he asked, averting his eyes in embarrassment. Allison’s heart stopped, and Elizabeth grew nervous. Instinctively, Allison began to respond.
“You don’t deserve to be in a relationship with him.”
“…you’re my friend. My best friend,” she answered quietly, looking down at the floor.
Elizabeth closed her eyes, internally relieved.
“I see… sorry for the awkward question,” Brian muttered, clearly embarrassed. Allison also detected a hint of disappointment in his voice, which further strained her broken heart.
“It’s completely fine,” Allison replied softly.
“On that note, how about we go to bed?” Elizabeth hurriedly suggested. “Maybe if you get some rest, Brian, you’ll remember more stuff tomorrow. You can have some cake for breakfast instead.”
“Yeah, okay,” Brian replied, looking back up. “Uh… how does that work?”
“You see that pet carrier on the nightstand? We use that as your ‘room.’ You like using a towel-and-shirt combo for your bed, and you use the shirt pocket as your blanket,” Allison explained. Brian peered over at the carrier, before nodding appreciatively.
“I see, that’s pretty clever,” he said.
“How about you sleep in the spare bedroom with Elizabeth?” Allison suggested. “If you need help in the night, she’s the right person to ask.”
Truthfully, she had suggested this simply because it would be too painful otherwise.
“Whatever works with you both,” Brian replied with a shrug.
“Excellent,” Elizabeth said jovially. “I’ll take the carrier and set it up in the guest room. Be right back.”
With that, she collected the carrier and exited the room, leaving Allison and Brian alone. An awkward silence overtook the room, as neither one had any clue what to say to the other. At that moment, though, a realization struck Allison like a bolt of lightning.
“Oh, fuck, I’m such a goddamn idiot,” she muttered, rolling her eyes and bringing one hand to her forehead. “I forgot to do this the first time, too.”
Brian turned towards her, an eyebrow raised. Allison calmed herself, straightened her shirt, and extended one finger to her tiny roommate.
“I never properly introduced myself. My name is Allison Starr. It is very nice to meet you.”
“Star?” Brian asked.
“It has two ‘r’s, but yes. Starr,” she replied.
Brian had the smallest hint of a smile for a moment, before extending his fist out to the gigantic finger before him.
“My name is Brian Bentley. Like the c-”
He stopped. He narrowed his eyes, as a look of extreme confusion overtook his face.
“Brian?” Allison asked concernedly.
“Star… Starr… Star…” he repeated quietly, before looking back up.
“Um, Star! Has anything happened with that word, like, ever? Involving you and me? Have I ever said the word ‘star’ since you rescued me?” he asked earnestly. Something was on the tippiest-tip of his tiny brain, and he knew it had something to do with the word “star.”
Allison could tell that this was a crucial moment, and searched her brain as hard as she could. After a second, a particular memory flashed into her consciousness, and the tears instantly returned.
“You were sleeping on my shoulder…” she began quietly, her gaze distant. Brian listened with rapt attention.
“Once I was sure you were asleep, I transferred you to my palm. I loved watching you sleep. You looked so innocent, nobody would have been able to tell that you had been through so much pain. The fact that you were so comfortable around me… it made me realize how much we had grown to care for each other.”
As if in a trance, Allison held her palm out to the one-inch man on her bed. As if in a trance of his own, Brian instinctively climbed on. She drew her hand to her lap, and gazed down at him lovingly.
“After a moment, you half-woke up. You were still dreaming, and you asked where you were. You then looked up at me and asked who I was. When I said my full name, you relaxed and laid your head back down on my thumb.”
A tear raced down her cheek.
“A-And then, you said… you said ‘Starr… my shooting star.’”
She smiled through her tears.
“And I said, ‘that’s right, Brian, your shooting star.’”
Brian began to tear up himself. It felt like a door was opening in his mind.
“And you fell back asleep in my hand. And… a-and that’s when…”
She took a deep breath. Nothing else mattered.
“And that’s when I knew that I loved you.”
Allison was showing the most beautiful smile that Brian had ever seen. Something clicked, and his eyes widened in overwhelming realization.
“Allie?” he whispered.
"That's right, Brian. Your Allie," she replied, with a loving smile.
He was back.
Success! The power of mushy never fails. Until next time.
Moving Forward by Pluto Pendragon
Let me be clear: this is not the final chapter of this story. However, it is the final chapter of this section of the story. The chapters after this will be like an extended epilogue. It'll all make sense eventually. Maybe. I hope.
Brian fell over in Allison’s palm, completely passed out.
“Brian!” she cried, bringing him closer to her face. She inspected his body, looking for any sign of pain or distress. Thankfully, he looked completely peaceful. She sighed in relief, and wiped a tear from her eye.
“He must be exhausted,” came a soft voice from the doorway. Allison turned, and saw that Elizabeth was standing there with teary eyes, showing an enormous smile.
“You brought him back, Allie,” she continued softly, looking adoringly at her former student.
“I’m also the one who made him leave,” Allison replied quietly. Her heart was still plagued with unbearable guilt, and she wasn’t about to accept any praise.
“Oh, stop that,” Elizabeth chided. “One thing at a time, honey.”
She walked over and sat down right in front of Allison on the floor. She gently took her hands in her own, providing extra support to the hand that held their precious one-inch companion. Elizabeth gazed lovingly down at him, before closing her eyes and letting out a colossal sigh of relief.
“He really loves you,” she said. Allison nodded, adopting a sad smile.
“I know. And I love him,” she replied. “But… I keep screwing up, and he seems to always get hurt because of me. I know what I need to do, but… I don’t fucking want to!”
“Allie, you have to do what’s best for you both. Even if it’s unbearably painful right now, I promise that it’s the right move in the long run,” Elizabeth replied softly, rubbing Allison’s hands with her thumbs.
“I know…” Allison whispered sadly, looking back down at Brian.
“And I am so proud of you for realizing that. You need to take some time to heal. We’ve talked a lot about Brian’s past, but let’s not forget that you’ve been through quite a lot too, yeah? Much more than any wonderful young woman should,” Elizabeth continued, gently teasing Allison’s head towards her with her hand. Allison locked eyes with her, and her face darkened. She decided that something needed to be said out loud.
"You’re right. I’m still dealing with my previous relationship. And… I’m still dealing with the fact that I’ve… that I’ve murdered…”
She took a shaky breath, drawing her free hand to her mouth. What she was about to say was something that she usually kept hidden in the darkest corner of her mind.
“I’ve murdered 256 people,” she whispered, barely able to say it out loud. Elizabeth softly gasped, as Allison looked away in shame.
“Oh, sweetheart,” Elizabeth breathed. Noticing that Allison’s hands were becoming less and less stable, she gently removed Brian from her grasp. With extreme care, she moved him to the bed, tucking him in under the covers. Once she confirmed that he was safe, she turned her attention back to Allison. She scooted closer, and gently enveloped her in a soft embrace. Allison leaned into her warmth, desperate for comfort.
“I counted,” she choked out. “I counted, and I remember every last one. I tried to tune it out, but I can’t. I’ve murdered more people than any serial killer. I’m a monster, and I don’t deserve to be happy. Sometimes, I feel like… I don’t… d-deserve to live…”
“Oh no, honey!” Elizabeth exclaimed, gently pulling away and taking Allison’s face in her hands. “That is not true! Please don’t say that, Allie, that is not true! You are a kind, intelligent, caring, and wonderful person. You deserve to be happy, and you absolutely deserve to live. Please don’t say that!”
Allison couldn’t make eye contact, and weakly shook her head in Elizabeth’s grasp.
“No, I don’t. I keep screwing everything up. I’m the one who chose to ignore what everybody was telling me. Regardless of how I was offered the job, I’m the one who chose to become a Chevalier. I’m the one who disregarded Brian’s safety. Brian is the only thing that makes me happy, and I keep hurting him. I’m so fucked up… Elizabeth, I… I n-need…”
She looked into Elizabeth’s eyes.
“I need help,” she whimpered, before breaking down crying. Elizabeth embraced her once more, squeezing her with all her might. Allison desperately clung to her, as she was completely overwhelmed. Saying those words out loud was one of the hardest things she had ever done.
“Oh, Allie,” Elizabeth whispered, overcome with emotion. “It’s okay, we’re going to get you help. You’re going to get all the help you need, I promise. Everything is going to be okay…”
Allison could barely think through her unbearable sorrow, but she somehow managed to nod in affirmation.
“Okay… okay… okay…”
“You promise, Bean?”
Brian opened his eyes. He was instantly comforted by an all-encompassing sensation of softness and warmth, and his confusion was quickly soothed.
“Rise and shine,” came a soothing voice in the distance. Brian sat up, resting his hands on the soft skin below him, and looked up at the person holding him. To his modest surprise, it was Elizabeth.
“Elizabeth…?” he muttered, rubbing his eyes. His whole body was sore, which made even talking somewhat difficult. At the sound of his voice, Elizabeth beamed.
“I’m glad to see that you recognize me,” she said, barely able to contain her overwhelming relief. Brian was slightly confused.
“Huh? Why wouldn’t I…?”
Suddenly, it all came flooding back to him. He had tried to be sexual with Allison, it went horribly wrong, and he spent the better part of an hour having forgotten the last three years. His recollection of that hour was somewhat fuzzy, but it wasn’t completely gone either. At that moment, he suddenly became aware of a mild headache above his eyes, and he drew one hand to the location.
“My head hurts…” he muttered, narrowing his eyes in confusion.
Elizabeth made a sympathetic noise, and began to rub his back with her free hand.
“You’ve been through a lot. Your brain is probably a little overloaded,” she softly replied.
“Yeah. I don’t think the human mind is built to remember three years all at once,” Brian sighed.
“That means you remember everything, then?” Elizabeth asked hopefully, to which Brian nodded.
“More or less. Some of the finer details are still hazy, but I remember everything important,” he answered, before his face darkened slightly.
“And, look…” he began quietly. “Let’s just get this out of the way. I was sexually assaulted in prison, okay? It all came back to me at once, and that’s what caused the whole… thing.”
Elizabeth closed her eyes, and sighed deeply.
“We figured it was something like that,” she said softly, her voice dripping in empathetic concern. “But, you’re aware of it now? And it’s not causing you any, um, distress?”
“I’m not going to freak out about it again, if that’s what you mean,” Brian replied dryly. “Yes, though, I remember now. Six months in, some guys were harassing me. I stupidly told them that I was asexual, and… well, they didn’t believe me. Tried to prove me wrong.”
“I’m so sorry…” Elizabeth whispered. Brian shrugged, but it was apparent that he was forcing himself not to react. Even she could tell that he was more upset about it than he was letting on, but she decided not to press him. At least not right away.
“Well, maybe now that it’s out there, I can begin to move on. Somehow,” he replied, lowering his eyes.
“That’s right,” Elizabeth said firmly. “And don’t worry, Allie and I will support you as best we can. I can also assure you that she will never try something like that ag-”
She stopped, before clearing her throat.
“Er, anyway. Thank you for telling me. You’re one of the strongest people I’ve ever known, sweetie, so I’m confident that you’re gonna be okay,” she continued, with a reassuring smile.
Brian looked back up at her with grateful eyes.
“Thanks,” he said quietly. “Anyway, where is she? Is she okay?”
“Oh, she’s fine,” Elizabeth assured. “She insisted on staying awake for you, but she was practically falling over. I could tell that you weren’t going to wake up any time soon, so I convinced her that we all needed to get some rest. When we woke up, we agreed to take shifts in watching you.”
“Huh, I’m surprised she agreed to that,” Brian muttered. “Well, thank you. She sometimes forgets to look after herself when she’s looking after me. What time is it, then?”
“About ten in the morning,” Elizabeth answered softly, gently stroking Brian’s hair as she gazed at him with a tender expression. Brian closed his eyes, and allowed himself to enjoy the comforting sensation.
“Well, can I go see her? I don’t want her to worry,” he asked.
“Of course. Oh, and I don’t know if you remember, but I told you last night that you could have some cake for breakfast, so we can go do that as well,” she replied. Brian slightly perked up in response.
“Oh yeah, I suppose you did. Well, if you insist,” he responded with a sly grin, which Elizabeth reciprocated.
“That’s what I thought,” she said smugly. “Let’s go, then. There’s also something that I eventually want to ask you both about.”
With that, she rose from her sitting position on the bed and made her way towards the living room, carefully and lovingly cradling the tiny man in her palm.
“Ta-da,” Elizabeth said softly, before uncovering her hand to the anxious woman in front of her. Allison rested her eyes upon the one-inch man contained within, and her eyes softened in relief as she adopted a huge smile.
“Hey, Allie,” Brian said quietly, lightly blushing.
“Hey, Brian,” Allison replied, matching his tone.
He said “Allie,” she thought, as a wave of comfort washed over her. Elizabeth saw that her hands were fidgeting, and she had the sneaking suspicion that Brian was glancing in their direction.
“Oh, just take him already,” she said exasperatedly, holding her hand out while smirking. With a quick nonverbal confirmation of permission, Allison gently pinched Brian between her fingers and transferred him to her own palm. Brian relaxed into her soft skin as he closed his eyes and let out a deep sigh. He felt like he had finally returned home after a long journey into darkness. Allison and Elizabeth made their way over to the couch and sat down.
“How are you feeling?” Allison asked.
“My head hurts,” Brian answered. “They probably don’t make any painkillers for one-inch convicts, do they?”
“Afraid not,” Allison replied, with a sympathetic smile. “Just one more reason to get you back to normal, right? But I’m sure we can figure something out if it doesn’t go away.”
“I guess,” Brian sighed. “Other than that, though, I’m fine. I remember all the important stuff. And, um…”
He stopped for a moment.
“Elizabeth told me that you both had an idea as to what caused the whole thing, and, well… you were right. I don’t really want to talk about it any more, but that did happen to me. I remember now,” he said quietly, averting his eyes. Allison’s face darkened, and the guilt came flooding back.
“I see,” she whispered. “I’m so sorry, Brian. But don’t worry, you don’t have to talk about it with me unless you want to. I won’t push it.”
Brian nodded gratefully.
“But yeah, it’s all back now. You brought me back, Allie. I love you,” he said, looking back up at her with a loving smile. However, despite the happiness that those words brought her, Allison couldn’t bring herself to meet his eyes.
“I love you too,” she replied quietly. Brian noticed her odd expression and tone, and he cocked his head in confusion. At that moment, though, Elizabeth cut in.
“Well, enough of that,” she said comfortingly. “Brian, honey, you need some cake.”
The mention of cake snapped Brian out of it, and he turned to her with sparkling eyes.
“Agreed,” he replied, which caused both women to smile. With that, they all stood up and made their way to the kitchen, ready to unwind and relax for a little while.
Some time had passed. Brian had gorged himself on cake, and was currently flopped over on the armrest of the sofa with his eyes closed. Allison was sitting next to him, and Elizabeth was sitting opposite them on a chair she had brought from the dining table. As she had told Brian earlier, she was wanting to ask them something.
“So,” she began, “I’ve been doing some thinking about the future.”
“What, like with Brian’s case?” asked Allison.
“Not exactly, more like with us three,” Elizabeth replied. “We’re obviously going to be working together a lot from now on, and I’ve been thinking about how best to make that work. My classes start up again tomorrow, and I can’t exactly ignore my other responsibilities while I’m helping with the case.”
“Makes sense,” Brian murmured, practically in a food coma.
“It also isn’t practical for me to come over every day, since that would make it hard for me to do other things. None of my stuff is here, after all,” she continued. “Lastly, Allie, I remember you telling me that you were looking for a new place to live, right? Since you lost your source of income, and you don’t need this much space.”
“Yeah, that’s right,” Allison replied, before her eyes widened in realization. “Wait, are you saying…?”
“That’s right. How would you two like to move in with me?” she asked. Brian’s head shot up, and he looked at her with questioning eyes. Allison, on the other hand, was shocked into silence.
“How would we like to what?” he asked incredulously.
“How would you like to come live with me? That would solve all of our problems. And frankly, I could use the company,” she replied, averting her eyes in slight embarrassment. Brian’s confusion only increased.
“You live alone? You’re not… married, or something?” he continued, to which Elizabeth shook her head softly. Brian sat up, raising an eyebrow.
“I find that hard to believe,” he said, before instantly blushing once he realized how that sounded. Elizabeth reciprocated his blush at the unexpected compliment, but quickly got herself under control.
“Oh, I was at one point, but… well, it’s a long and sad story, so I’ll tell you another time,” she replied, her expression slightly saddening. Brian looked towards Allison, and saw that her face had also darkened.
Only one out of the loop, huh? he thought, before mentally shrugging it off.
“I see. Well, I’m certainly not against it, but are you sure we won’t be a burden?” he asked, causing Elizabeth to wave her hand dismissively.
“Nonsense, honey, I have more than enough room. Besides, it’s not like one of you will take up much space to begin with,” she replied with a wink. Brian nodded appreciatively, before turning to the giant woman next to him.
“What do you think, Allie?” he asked, which snapped her out of her haze.
“Um, well, I’d feel bad if we just freeloaded off you. Can I at least pay rent, or something?” she questioned.
“Allie,” Elizabeth replied in a scolding tone,” the whole point is that you’re running out of money!”
“I know, but-”
“Look, I never said that I won’t expect anything of you,” she continued, raising one finger for emphasis. “More people means more mess, so I’d appreciate it if you helped out with the chores, and maintained the place while I’m away.”
“Yes, of course,” Allison hurriedly replied. She started to feel a tinge of excitement at the prospect.
“Also, I assume you’re still quite the capable cook, right?” Elizabeth asked.
“She sure is,” Brian answered appreciatively, to which Allison lightly blushed.
“Excellent! Then we can split up the cooking duties. I promise, honey, you wouldn’t be imposing. Like I said, I could really use the company. Especially from such an amazing couple of kids,” Elizabeth continued, smiling brightly. She herself was quite excited about the idea, and it showed through her face and tone. In the face of such excitement, Allison found it impossible to keep protesting. One last person had a concern, though.
“That’s great and all, but what can I do to contribute?” Brian asked nervously. “My skill set is somewhat limited at the moment.”
Elizabeth leaned towards him, with an ever-so-slightly flirtatious smile.
“You can just sit there and be handsome, handsome,” she replied teasingly.
“Done,” Brian instantly replied, shooting her a thumbs-up. Elizabeth leaned back and let out a hearty chuckle, and even Allison smiled at their amusing display.
“Seriously, though, don’t worry about it. I’ll love having you around, and you take up hardly any resources,” Elizabeth continued reassuringly. Brian nodded, satisfied with her rationale.
“So, is that it, then? Are we ready to do this?” she asked expectantly, already knowing the answer. Brian and Allison shared a glance, before turning back towards her with extremely grateful expressions.
“We’ll gladly accept your generosity. Thank you for having us,” Allison answered firmly. At that, they all broke out in enormous smiles. Elizabeth’s was the widest of all.
“I’m so excited!” she squealed, lightly clapping her hands a few times. “I’ve already figured out a plan. First, Allie, you’ll need to pack some necessities. Clothes and the like, anything you need to get by for a few days. We’ll also need to be sure to clear every trace of Brian’s stuff, little as they may be.”
Allison and Brian nodded in agreement.
“Then, we move all that stuff, along with our precious little companion here, to my house first. Once he’s settled and safe, we can move everything else out of here. It would be safe to hire a moving company once Brian is gone. How does that sound?” she continued.
“Do you have room for that obnoxiously large TV?” Brian asked hopefully, causing Elizabeth to giggle.
“I surely do. I hate to say it, but the selfish side of me has to admit that I might be getting some nice upgrades out of this whole arrangement,” she admitted, to which Allison smiled.
“Happy to contribute,” she said.
“Now, here’s the important question: how do we safely transfer Brian to my place?” Elizabeth asked. Allison nodded thoughtfully, her eyes narrowing in contemplation.
“That’s a good question. It might be a little tough, since we need to conceal him while keeping him safe in the car,” she replied. Elizabeth raised an eyebrow.
“Well… what did you do the first time, when you smuggled him out?” she asked. Allison’s eyes widened, and Brian sensed an opportunity to mess with her.
“Oh geez, it seems like parts of my memory are still missing,” he said jokingly. “I wonder, how did you smuggle me out of there, Allie?”
He looked up at her with a mockingly-confused expression, and she went beet-red.
“You are the actual worst,” she grumbled down at him.
“And proud of it,” he whispered, with a small wink.
Allison took a deep breath, closed her eyes, and reluctantly pointed to her breasts. Elizabeth looked at her questioningly for a moment.
“Oh…? Oh!” she exclaimed, suddenly understanding. It was her turn to blush heavily, while Brian watched on smugly at the chaos he had created.
“Well, that’s, um… p-practical, I suppose,” Elizabeth stammered, averting her eyes. “We can keep that as an option… but, um, perhaps we can think of something more, well, delicate.”
“Agreed,” Allison mumbled, while Brian simply nodded.
“W-Why don’t we think about it while you get packed,” Elizabeth said firmly, before clearing her throat. “We might as well get started.”
Suddenly, Allison’s expression dropped off a cliff. Before they could continue, she had to do something she had been dreading more than anything else in the world.
“Wait,” she said softly. Elizabeth noticed her expression, and instantly knew what was coming.
“What’s up?” Brian said, looking up at her. Allison quickly changed her expression, and steeled her resolve.
I have to do this.
“Brian, can we go talk in private for a little bit? There’s something I need to tell you,” she asked, adopting a small, sad smile. Brian was confused, and a little nervous, but decided to roll with it.
“Sure,” he gently replied. Allison beckoned him into her palm and stood up, ready to move into the bedroom. At that moment, though, a tidal wave of uncertainty and fear overtook her consciousness, and she looked to Elizabeth with panicked eyes. Elizabeth gave her a reassuring nod, along with a sympathetic smile. With that, Allison closed her eyes in quiet resignation and began to walk towards her bedroom.
“What did you want to talk about?” Brian asked, somewhat hesitantly. He’d seen enough movies to know that “we need to talk” scenes never ended well. Allison took a breath.
“For one thing, I wanted to apologize for causing your episode,” she started, her voice dripping with guilt. Brian’s eyes softened, and he adopted a gentle tone.
“Didn’t I already forgive you for that?” he asked, to which Allison shook her head.
“That was amnesia-you, when you didn’t remember the context. It didn’t count,” she replied, causing Brian to frown.
“Brian, I am so sorry for how I acted. It was supposed to be your first sexual experience, and I never let you take the lead. I was just doing what I wanted to do, and I wasn’t nearly as careful as I should have been. I didn’t check on you enough, I didn’t make sure you were always comfortable, and I didn’t confirm that you wanted to do what we were doing. My actions reminded you of the time you were r… that something really bad happened, and I feel so fucking badly that I did that to you. I am so, so, sorry,” she continued.
“Thank you for saying so, but it’s fine,” Brian replied softly. “It was an honest mistake, and-”
“No it wasn’t,” Allison interrupted. “At every step of the way, I made the worst possible choice. I was a little drunk, but nowhere near enough to excuse what I did. I was disregarding your safety to satisfy my own urges, and there’s no excuse for that.”
Once again, Brian frowned.
“It wasn’t like that…” he replied, somewhat confusedly. “I agreed to it, and I’m the one who kept ignoring my alarm bells. I was too eager as well, and I should have called it off earlier. That isn’t your fault.”
“No, no!” Allison said, her voice rising slightly. “I should have taken your warning signs more seriously. You fucking said that sexual stuff makes you panic and forget where you are, but I still thought it was a good idea to fucking jump you in lingerie. It’s not your fault that I pressured you into all this!”
“Why are you getting upset?” Brian asked concernedly. “I’m trying to tell you that I forgive you.”
“Maybe you shouldn’t!” Allison exclaimed, causing Brian to flinch. Allison internally scolded herself for not controlling her emotions, which only further convinced her that she was doing the right thing.
“Brian, I have some experience of my own with bad sexual experiences,” she started. “I was never held down or anything, and I never explicitly said ‘no,’ but I was pressured into it more than once. I was ‘convinced’ more than once, and I definitely had sex when I really didn’t want to more than once.”
Brian’s eyes darkened in concern.
“I felt like, when it came to sex, I had no power. So… looking back, I can see that the way I acted with you was me trying to take some of that power back. I told you how helpless you were because I wanted to feel like I had complete control,” she continued, before letting out a huff.
“Don’t you see? I was using you to get back at a guy who’s in prison! I had no concern for your safety or enjoyment, I was just using you to get off! Doesn’t that make you mad?! That’s not something you can forgive, just like that!”
“Allie, I’m not mad at you for having trauma that you need to work through…” Brian said, slightly intimidated by her unexpected anger. “You’ve always been there for me through my cacophony of issues, so why can’t I be there for you?”
“This isn’t like that,” Allison replied dismissively. “I wasn’t leaning on you during a time of crisis, I was using you to get over my issues. That’s not your responsibility, and that’s not something you can even do in the first place.”
Brian had nothing to say to that. He understood the logic to what she was saying, but he was having a hard time accepting it emotionally. More than anything else, though, he was just confused at how the conversation had ended up there. Allison sensed that she was scaring him a little bit, and softened her approach.
“I have issues that you can’t fix, and I shouldn’t put that on you. So… I’m going to seek out some help, from people who are qualified to give it,” she said.
“Like, therapy?” Brian asked, to which Allison nodded.
“Elizabeth is going to help me find something. And, um… I feel a little guilty about it, if I’m being honest,” she muttered. Brian’s eyes narrowed in confusion once again.
“Wait, what? Why?” he asked, causing Allison to avert her eyes.
“Well… because you can’t get help, too,” she admitted. “I feel guilty that I’m getting something that you need, but can’t get.”
“Wha- me? I mean, I don’t necessarily feel like I need therapy that badly,” he replied with a shrug. Allison looked back at him skeptically.
“Brian, you grew up with a negligent mother. You took on a parental role to your sister, which was a lot of responsibility for someone so young. You witnessed a child being stabbed, and he died in your arms. You were assaulted by a police officer, and arrested for a crime you didn’t commit. Your trial was covered up, and none of the evidence was released all so they could pin the blame on you. Your own mother betrayed you, was unbelievably cruel, and even said that she would squish you. You were sentenced to life in prison. You spent three years with the entire world despising you. In prison, you were treated like a child murderer. You were harassed and assaulted, physically, mentally, and sexually. You were ‘re-sentenced’ to death via shrinking and torturing. You thought I was going to torture and kill you, even by tricking you into thinking that I believed in your innocence. You were under the impression that you were going to be one-inch tall for the rest of your life, and that you were going to have to live in hiding. You saw your mother say that she didn’t care about your death. You were tortured by me and Cathy, and it brought back one of your worst memories, which led to a mental breakdown. And now, you had a mental episode which gave you amnesia. You were saying?” she asked, in a slightly scolding tone.
Brian stared at her suspiciously for a moment, his eyes narrowed.
“…okay, perhaps I could benefit from some therapy,” he admitted. “But listen, don’t feel guilty about seeking it out yourself. Better that at least one of us is getting it, and we can look into it for myself if we prove my innocence. Okay?”
Allison nodded gratefully.
“Okay. Thank you. So, here’s the last thing…” she replied, her voice trailing off at the end. Suddenly, she felt like she was about to jump off a cliff.
“Moving forward, a lot of stuff is going to be happening. We’re going to start really working on your case, I’m going to start therapy, and you’re going to have to deal with the effects of what happened to you in prison. Safe to say you won’t want to try being sexual again for a long time,” she started.
“Not necessarily true…” Brian cut in.
“Regardless. We both need to heal, and we need to do what is best for both of us in that regard. So, after last night, I came to a really hard decision.”
She steeled her spine and closed her heart, for she knew what needed to be done.
“I'm going to stop being your girlfriend.”
Brian stared at her blankly for a few moments, as the words slowly registered in his mind. His expression strained Allison’s heart, but she was fully convinced that she was doing the right thing.
“What…?” he finally asked, barely audible. At that, Allison leaned into her rehearsed justifications.
“Brian, I haven’t been a good partner to you. I have been way too careless, and I haven’t treated you with the consideration that you deserve. My actions have consistently led to you getting extremely hurt. My carelessness caused Cathy to discover you, and my selfishness caused you to have a mental break. As I am now, I don’t deserve to be your girlfriend,” she explained firmly. She was working extremely hard to contain her emotions, so as to not make it any more difficult than it had to be.
“But… I forgave you for those things…” Brian replied weakly, his face still clouded over.
“Well, like I said, maybe you shouldn't have. And I certainly haven’t forgiven myself,” Allison responded. Her words snapped Brian out of his haze, and he slightly narrowed his eyes.
“So, what, you’re doing this to punish yourself?” he asked lowly, to which Allison shook her head.
“I’m doing this so I won’t keep hurting you. I can’t put you in harm’s way again due to my issues. Until I move past them, I don’t trust myself to be in a relationship with you,” she replied.
“You don’t need to do this,” Brian said, trying to keep his own emotions in check. “You don’t have to break up with me in order to work on your issues. You don’t need to do this.”
“I do. I caused you to have one mental breakdown already, and it didn’t stop me from doing it again. Why would it be any different moving forward?” she asked.
“Because you’re finally aware of your issues, and you’re actively trying to work through them,” Brian replied calmly. “Now that you have an awareness of what caused those things, you won’t repeat that behavior. You don’t need to do this.”
Allison shook her head.
“We have no way of knowing that. I simply don’t trust myself right now, and it wouldn’t be fair to make you deal with the consequences of that. I’m sorry, but this is what’s best for you,” she said firmly. Brian closed his eyes in frustration, as he fought back tears.
“Don’t tell me what’s best for me,” he replied quietly, before taking a breath. “Allie, answer me this: does being in a relationship with me make you happy?”
Despite herself, she smiled.
“Yes,” she whispered, causing Brian to nod.
“Okay then. Being in a relationship with you makes me happy, too. More than anything else in the world. How can you say that’s not what’s best for me?” he asked, to which Allison lightly shook her head.
“No, being in a relationship with me doesn’t make you happy, it makes you get hurt,” she replied. At that, Brian got angry.
“Don’t tell me what makes me happy!” he exclaimed, before getting himself under control. “I know what makes me happy. You make me happy. I love you. You don’t need to do this.”
“Brian, it’s because you love me that you don’t understand why this is the right call. You’ve been willing to immediately forgive me for things that absolutely should not have been forgiven. Clearly, you’re blinded when it comes to me, which is even more reason why you should separate yourself from me,” she responded, still keeping her tone level.
“So what, then? I’m supposed to just wait around until you decide it’s time for us to get back together again?” he asked angrily. Allison adopted a soft, sad smile.
“It’s not like that. I don’t know what the future holds, but I hope that I can get to the place where I can be the girlfriend you deserve. That’s all,” she said softly. Brian’s eyebrow twitched.
“That isn’t fair. You don’t get to do that. Stop acting like this is some foregone conclusion. If you’re so worried about not considering what I want, then why aren’t you doing that right now?! Aren’t you listening to what I’m saying?! You don’t need to do this!” Brian cried. Allison could tell that this would go on forever if she didn’t stop it.
“I’m sorry. I know you don’t understand, but this is the right decision,” she said firmly. At that, Brian exploded.
“Stop acting so fucking noble!” he shouted. “Stop acting like you’re some fucking martyr, making a sacrifice for the greater good! Don’t you see what you’re doing to me?! Allie, if you need to step away from this relationship to focus on your mental health, then I can accept that. But stop acting like this is solely for my benefit! The way you’re acting right now is not helping me at all! It’s fucking killing me! You’re the one good thing that’s happened to me in three years, and now you’re throwing everything away without even having a real discussion with me first! You don’t get to just turn this relationship on and off whenever you want, like it’s a light! Clearly, you don’t want to do it, so don’t fucking do it! Come the fuck on! You don’t need to do this!!”
He held his head in his hands for a moment, trying and failing to take deep breaths. Allison’s heart was being shredded, but she was firm in her conviction.
“You said that you would do whatever it takes,” he continued weakly. “You said that we were in the strangest relationship in the world, and we had to work harder to figure things out. But you said you would do whatever it takes, and so did I. This isn’t you doing whatever it takes. You don’t need to do this.”
“I’m sorry,” Allison choked out. Brian finally looked back up at her, and what she saw completely obliterated her already shredded heart.
He was crying.
Allison had seen many different types of tears from the one-inch man she had rescued from death. She had seen tears of fearful resignation, when he thought he was going to die. She had seen tears of frantic lamentation, when he had his breakdown. She had seen tears of devastating realization, when he remembered that he hadn’t returned to his little sister. She had seen tears of quiet desperation, when Elizabeth was comforting him about his mother. Now, though, she was seeing something completely different. In many ways, they were the least complicated of the tears he had shed. In other ways, though, they were the most impactful.
They were the simple tears of a broken heart.
At the sight of him, Allison’s stoic facade broke, and she herself began to tear up.
“See?” she whimpered. “No matter what I do, I end up hurting you. You deserve better than me.”
With that, she ran out of the room. Without saying a word to Elizabeth, who was waiting in the living room with an overwhelmingly concerned expression, she grabbed her things and fled to her car. Elizabeth sighed as she heard the sound of her car driving away. Although she had expected it to go badly, she was hoping it wouldn’t go that bad. Just like that, for the first time ever, she was alone with Brian.
After about fifteen minutes, Elizabeth moved inside the bedroom and slowly approached the sole inhabitant. He was sitting on his knees, and his eyes were closed while he took deep breaths.
“Hey, sweetheart,” she said gently. “I know you’re hurting right now, but-”
“This was partly your doing,” Brian interrupted, his voice neither high nor low pitched. He then opened his eyes in her direction, and a shiver went down her spine. He looked about as neutral as he ever had been, but there was an undeniable pressure radiating out from his striking green eyes. For the first time ever, Elizabeth was facing the infamous robot child murderer named Brian Bentley, and not the charming young man named Brian that she was so fond of.
“Don’t do that, Brian, don’t shut down,” she quietly pleaded.
“Don’t tell me how to deal with this,” he replied flatly.
“I know it doesn’t feel like it, but this is what’s-”
“Don’t tell me what’s best for me,” he interrupted flatly.
“Very well,” Elizabeth said solemnly, closing her eyes in resignation. “But what’s done is done, so we all just have to find a way to move on. I promise you, Allie is not the only thing that is worth living for.”
Brian lightly scoffed.
“You’re both missing the point,” he muttered, breaking his gaze away. Elizabeth furrowed her brow.
“You’re going to tell me to focus on my case, right?” he asked. Elizabeth was surprised into silence for a moment.
“Er, well, yes I was,” she stammered. “I just thought, um… we’re just starting, you know? We can give Allie the time she needs, and we can get to work on getting you back to normal.”
“I suppose,” Brian sighed, finally wiping the tears from his face. Elizabeth was surprised at how quickly he was adjusting, but she quickly realized that he was only doing so by completely suppressing what he didn’t want to feel. Although she wasn’t happy about this, she decided to simply work with what was available.
“With that being said, I’m really not sure where to start,” she admitted. “I plan to talk to my connections, but I don’t exactly know where to point them.”
“I do. I have a plan to prove my innocence,” Brian replied plainly, his eyes still pointed downwards. Elizabeth was completely stunned by this unexpected development.
“You- what?!” she exclaimed. “Since when?!”
“Since twenty minutes ago. Allison reminded me of something,” he answered.
“W-What did she say?” Elizabeth asked, to which Brian finally looked back towards her. To her great relief, there was the faintest trace of a spark in his eyes.
“That I was assaulted by a police officer.”
NOT FUN! The next chapter will be a bit of a jump, so I hope you'll bear with me. Until next time.
Skip Ahead, Part 1 by Pluto Pendragon
One Month Later
“Welcome home, Allie,” said Elizabeth, looking up from her papers. Allison lightly smiled in response.
“It’s still weird to hear you say that,” she admitted, causing Elizabeth to frown.
“What, you don’t think of this as your home?” she asked in mock-offense.
“Oh, I’m getting there,” Allison replied with a chuckle, “I just never thought I would be living with one of my professors.”
Elizabeth nodded thoughtfully.
“And I never thought I would be living with one of my students, but here we are. However, I have absolutely loved it so far,” she responded, smiling brightly. Allison blushed.
“Thanks,” she said quietly. “I’ve enjoyed it, too.”
Elizabeth nodded, and turned back towards the papers that were spread out on the table she was sitting at. There was a stack on either side of her, with a couple of papers strewn about in the middle. Noticing this, Allison made a noise of disapproval.
“You’re still grading?” she asked incredulously. “For one thing, it’s Sunday. For another, I was out for two hours!”
“Grading takes a long time!” Elizabeth replied defensively. “Never forget that professors also have tons of work to do, honey. On top of that, I keep getting distracted by the case.”
“I guess that makes sense,” Allison sighed, before her eyes lit up. “Any developments?”
“None,” Elizabeth replied, which elicited a frustrated groan. Allison moved towards the couch in the living room and plopped herself down.
“Allie, they only reopened the case yesterday, and it’s been three years. There’s no guarantee that they’ll be able to find anything that will completely exonerate him. You know this,” she continued, taking her glasses off and turning to her former student once more.
“I know…” Allison grumbled. “I just don’t like that it’s out of our hands now. I don’t like not being able to do anything.”
“It’s been out of our hands for weeks now,” Elizabeth said with a sigh. “It’s been out of our hands ever since we turned over the video. Now, we just have to sit back and watch the chaos.”
“I know…” Allison whispered sadly.
“Don’t worry. It may be out of our hands, but it’s absolutely in good hands. With Senator Day breathing down their necks, nobody is going to get away with anything shady. She’s really betting her entire political career on this. Brian sure did his research, she was absolutely the right person to contact,” Elizabeth assured, with an appreciative smile.
“Yeah,” Allison replied, reciprocating her smile. “What about public opinion?”
“All quiet on that front, too,” Elizabeth answered with a sigh. “Seems to still be about 50/50. As expected, those damn networks are still relentless in their attempts to discredit the investigation.”
“Scumbags,” she spat. “A bunch of hacks, protecting their own interests.”
“You said it, honey,” Elizabeth agreed, shaking her head in disapproval.
They were referring to a select group of media networks that had ties to the politicians who were especially vocal in their condemnation of Brian Bentley, back when he was arrested. As you could imagine, they would be pretty embarrassed to learn that he was innocent, and thus were abusing their connections to try and invalidate the investigation. Allison, Elizabeth, and Brian had done research into which media groups had such ties, so they could avoid them when they initially tried to spread the evidence they had found.
“At what point do we go public?” Allison wondered, staring up at the ceiling.
“No clue,” Elizabeth responded, her tone lowering slightly. ‘He’s pretty adamant that we don’t unless it’s a sure thing. I tried to talk to him about it earlier today, and his opinion hasn’t changed.”
At that, Allison’s expression darkened immensely.
“How is he?” she asked quietly, causing Elizabeth to sigh once more.
“The same,” she answered softly. “He’s just so… serious. I can’t get him to engage with me at all. He’s always either reading, researching, or resting, and he’s never interested in doing anything fun. When he thinks nobody is looking, he looks so sad. I don’t know how to get through to him anymore.”
Slightly overcome with frustration, she put her head in her hands. Allison was staring into the distance, a troubled yet faraway look on her face.
“And the headaches?” she asked quietly.
“Still frequent,” came Elizabeth’s slightly muffled voice. “Ice seems to help, but I really wish we could figure out how to make medicine work. We could try crushing it up into a powder, but then we would have no way of controlling the dosage. I just wish I could take all his pain away, but I can’t. It’s killing me, Allie.”
Allison lightly scoffed.
“I let someone discover him, and he gets chronic nightmares. I cause an episode of amnesia, and he gets chronic headaches,” she muttered.
“Stop that,” Elizabeth said sternly. “Continuously beating yourself up isn’t doing anyone any good. You saw a problem, and you took steps to fix that problem.”
“A whole lot of good it did for Brian, though,” Allison replied. “A month later, and he’s still in pain. He closed himself off, and now he feels completely alone.”
“A broken heart is an astounding thing, you know this. And for his first relationship, no less. Let me be clear, though, I still think you did the right thing. But the truth remains,” Elizabeth sighed. Allison nodded in agreement.
“Let’s not forget that this was for your benefit, too,” she continued. “You needed some time to work on yourself, right? And that’s been going pretty well, yeah?”
“I think so,” Allison replied, her expression finally brightening a bit. “I really like my therapist. She’s really smart, and she’s helping me work through my feelings.”
“That’s wonderful, Allie,” Elizabeth said, smiling warmly.
“I can also tell that she’s excited to have me as a client,” Allison continued with a chuckle. “I was in an abusive relationship, and then became a Chevalier of all things. In terms of issues, I probably have some of the most… unique.”
“Oh, stop that,” Elizabeth said, smiling exasperatedly. “The only thing that matters is if it’s helping you move on.”
“Yeah,” Allison replied, adopting a small smile of her own.
“On that note, since you have your next session tomorrow, don’t you think you should ask Brian about that thing?” Elizabeth asked. At that, Allison stiffened in fear. She turned to Elizabeth with panicked, pleading eyes.
“I’m not doing it for you,” she replied, shaking her head. “Look, you don’t need to be scared of him. Brian can tell that talking to him stresses you out, and he told me to tell you that it isn’t necessary.”
“I know, but…” Allison began. Before she could continue, though, she was stopped.
“Allie, go talk to him,” Elizabeth ordered, softly but firmly. Allison stared at her for a moment, before completely deflating.
“Fine…” she grumbled, before taking a deep breath and rising to her feet. Then, with an ever increasing amount of anxiety, she began to walk towards the bedroom that contained her ex-boyfriend- Brian Bentley.
Elizabeth’s home had three bedrooms. Although Brian slept in Elizabeth’s bedroom, despite his occasional protest, during the day he occupied another bedroom. This room contained all of his stuff, including the 3D printer. Incidentally, his collection of stuff had grown significantly since they had moved into Elizabeth’s house. Soon after the move, he developed a sudden desire to be more independent. As such, he designed furniture, housing, and even a rudimentary toilet that allowed him to function without assistance, for the most part. Although Allison and Elizabeth were concerned that he was doing this as a way to isolate himself, he insisted that he was simply tired of asking for help all the time. These things were spread out on a large table in the bedroom, with a bridge that connected the table to the bed. Brian could usually be found in one of the chairs they had built for him, but he sometimes moved to the bed whenever he needed to rest.
Allison lightly knocked on the door, letting the inhabitant know that someone was about to come in. Her heart was racing, but she tried not to let it show on her face. After a moment, she took a deep breath and opened the door. Moving inside, she turned her gaze towards the table. There, sitting in a tiny chair and intently watching his phone, was Brian.
Notably, he was wearing clothes. The green shirt he received on his “birthday” had been adjusted to fit properly, and he was wearing a pair of simple black pants. Elizabeth had kept her promise to continue making clothes for him, and his wardrobe was slowly expanding over time. His outfit wasn’t the only thing that had changed, however. His messy black hair had grown a bit during the previous month, but not to an extreme degree. Nobody was quite sure how to go about getting him a haircut, if need be, but they decided to cross that bridge when they got to it. His green eyes were still striking, but also steeled over. He carried a sense of polite professionalism, leaving little room for casual familiarity.
After Allison broke up with him, his entire demeanor changed. He never acted bitter, resentful, depressed, or any other emotion that one might associate with a painful breakup. As Elizabeth had said, he simply became serious. He chose to focus on the case, and began to treat Allison and Elizabeth more like colleagues than close friends. In many ways, though, this treatment was even worse for them.
Hearing the rustling of footsteps, Brian turned towards his visitor. He was somewhat surprised to see that it was Allison, unaccompanied by Elizabeth for a change. Ever since they had moved, despite his efforts to put her at ease, Allison rarely talked to Brian alone.
“Allison,” he acknowledged, standing to his feet. He then moved towards his phone and turned the volume down.
“What’s up?” he asked plainly, his voice neither high nor low pitched. His attitude of indifference caused Allison’s brain to short-circuit, and she went silent for a moment.
“H… HI,” she finally said. Brian raised an eyebrow.
“Hi,” he replied. “Something I can do for you?”
Allison snapped out of it, and moved slightly closer. She caught a glimpse of his phone screen, and saw that he was watching a livestream of the news. On closer inspection, she saw that it was one of the networks that was working against him.
“Why are you watching that?” she asked quietly. Brian looked back towards the screen with a shrug.
“I like to know what the other side is thinking. If we know what arguments they’re making, we’ll be better prepared to fight against them,” he answered.
“I see… and what arguments are they making?” Allison continued. Brian motioned for her to come sit on the bed, while he sat back down in his chair.
“Mainly, they’re saying that the investigation is a waste of time and money. It was three years ago, they’re not gonna uncover anything new, the jury said the evidence was ‘overwhelming,’ and so on. Standard stuff,” he replied, letting out a sigh.
“Doesn’t it… I don’t know, piss you off, though? To watch these assholes say such awful things about you?” she asked frustratedly. Personally, she couldn’t watch more than two minutes of those types of networks before wanting to throw a remote through the television. Once more, Brian shrugged.
“It’s nothing new,” he said softly. “And it’s not like I’m watching it all day, I only started about ten minutes ago. Anyway, do you need something?”
“Do… do I have to need something to come talk to you?” Allison replied, in an awkward attempt to be teasing. Brian gave her a doubtful expression.
“Are you saying you don’t?” he asked skeptically. After a moment, Allison deflated.
“I do,” she said sheepishly. “I wanted to ask your permission for something.”
Brian nodded, just a little disappointed.
“What is it?” he asked.
“I, um… I was wondering if you would be okay with me telling my therapist about you,” she answered nervously.
“Oh?” Brian replied, caught a little off-guard.
“Yeah… ever since your case started to blow up in the media again, I’ve tried to gauge her reaction to the whole thing. She’s really receptive to the idea that you could be innocent, so I’m confident that she wouldn’t try to get us in trouble. It’s just… you’re a really big part of my life, Brian. It’s hard for me to talk about everything that’s going on with me if I have to lie about you,” she explained. Brian thought for a moment, before his expression softened.
“Fine, go for it,” he replied casually, before turning back to the phone. Allison was shocked.
“Wha- just like that?” she stammered, causing Brian to nod.
“I trust your judgement. You were right about Elizabeth, after all. Plus, it’s a different environment out there now. More and more people are open to the idea that my case was covered up. So, if you feel like telling her will help you, then I’m fine with it,” he replied. Allison adopted an appreciative smile.
“T-Thank you,” she replied, which elicited another nod.
“No worries. Thanks for asking,” Brian said, before moving to turn the volume back up. Once he rose to his feet, though, he stopped and turned back towards Allison.
“Is that it?” he asked. Yet again, his neutral tone and expression pained her heart, and she was reminded why she had a hard time talking to him alone. Unable to audibly respond, she simply nodded. With that, she rose from the bed and moved towards the door. Just before she reached the handle, though, a strange feeling stopped her in her tracks.
“Do you want to watch a movie later?” she suddenly asked, looking back at Brian. Her heart was racing, but she was experiencing an overwhelming urge to try engaging with him. Brian froze, before looking at Allison with a raised eyebrow. This was completely unexpected.
“A movie?” he repeated. Allison nodded.
“Anything you want. It’s just, um… it’s been a while, and maybe it could be fun?” she continued, adopting a nervous smile. Brian looked away from her, a slightly conflicted expression on his face. He pondered for a moment, before his gaze hardened over.
“No thanks,” he said quietly. “Looking at a big screen like that for more than 30 minutes would give me a headache.”
Allison closed her eyes, and internally scolded herself for not considering that.
“Shit, you’re right,” she said quietly, a pang of guilt shooting throughout her body. “Well, then, what if we did something else? That doesn’t require a screen? Elizabeth has a few board games, maybe we could…”
Brian shot Allison a firm glance, which stopped her in her tracks. He lightly shook his head, before sitting back down in his chair. Allison got the message, and deflated in disappointment.
“Okay,” she whispered, as she began to turn away. However, just like the previous time, an unexpected urge caused her to speak up again. Elizabeth’s earlier words had reached her, and she felt like she simply had to say something.
“I never wanted us to stop being friends,” she said softly. Brian paused for a moment, thoroughly surprised at her unexpected confession. This was the first time she had so much as even obliquely referenced their breakup, and he needed a moment to adjust. After that moment, though, he narrowed his eyes as a twinge of annoyance manifested in his mind. He looked towards the giant woman standing before the door, and saw that she was averting her eyes.
“Seriously?” he asked lowly. Allison sheepishly nodded, misinterpreting his tone.
“Yeah. It makes me sad that we stopped talking. I know that I hurt you, and I never expected you to forgive me quickly, but… I don’t know, I guess I thought that we could still do stuff together,” she continued. Brian was staring at her, completely dumbfounded.
“Allison, you don’t get to say that to me,” he said quietly. Her eyes shot towards him in shock.
“What?” she asked softly.
“I have done nothing to stop us from talking. I never intentionally tried to make you uncomfortable, and I never tried to antagonize you over what happened. This is, like, the third time in the last month we have talked one-on-one, and this is the only time we’ve talked about what happened, so don’t act like our lack of a relationship is anything other than your fault,” he continued, his face darkening even more. Allison was stunned into silence, and she adopted an incredibly guilty expression.
“That’s fair,” she murmured. “But… to be fair to me, you haven’t been super approachable. And Elizabeth says that you aren’t really receptive to her when she tries to interact with you.”
“I might not be going out of my way to pick fights with anyone, but I’m still allowed to be hurt, Allison,” Brian replied coldly.
“O-Of course, I know…”
“And for that matter, what does us being friends even look like?” Brian asked. “We never had sex, so how exactly does our friendship differ from our relationship? What, were we just friends that kissed sometimes?”
Allison had no response.
“You don’t get to tell me that you broke my heart ‘for my own good’ because you’re hazardous to my health, then come around and tell me that you still wanted us to be friends afterwards. It doesn’t work that way,” he continued, his tone still low and steady.
Allison looked like a deer in headlights. Each word brought back the pain of her decision, and she was struggling not to crumble in the face of Brian’s intense gaze.
“So, what then? Do you want me to move out, and never talk to you again?” she asked weakly. Brian scoffed, and held one hand to his forehead as he closed his eyes.
“I never wanted any of this,” he replied quietly. “That’s the whole point. Do you at least understand that?”
“Of course I understand that,” Allison responded, finding her conviction. “But do you understand why I felt like it was necessary? Can you at least acknowledge that I was doing it for you?”
Brian looked up at the ceiling and let out an enormous sigh.
“See, you don’t understand. Neither of you do,” he said, trying not to get emotional. “What hurts me more than anything is that you’re acting like you made some noble sacrifice. You’re acting like what you did wasn’t completely selfish.”
Allison was taken aback.
“Wha- me? Selfish?” she stammered defensively. “How could you say that to me? I was trying to protect you!”
“Let me tell you how it appears to me, the person you were trying to protect,” Brian replied, turning his gaze back towards her.
“You made a judgment call about my happiness. You decided that, until you got help, you would inevitably make a mistake that would lead to me getting hurt again. So, you decided that as a result, whatever happiness staying in a relationship brought me did not outweigh the potential risks to my safety. Henceforth, the only option was to end the relationship, no matter how much it hurt me initially.”
Allison’s face twisted in confusion.
“Y-Yes, that’s exactly it! If you understand so well, then how can you say that what I did was selfish?!” she asked.
“Because you did it behind my back!” Brian shouted, causing Allison to flinch. “You can’t say that you only had my happiness in mind when you left me out of the fucking conversation! It was selfish because you refused to let me have a say!”
He took a breath, getting his anger under control. Allison couldn’t bring herself to reply.
“I have felt a lot of things since becoming small,” Brian said calmly. “Most of those feelings have been because of you, and they’re not all good. But, when you decided that I didn’t know what was best for me, you made me feel the worst thing yet.”
He looked up at her.
“You made me feel small. It was the first time you had ever completely disregarded my feelings. Minutes after I remembered one of the worst things that ever happened to me, you came in and informed me that the best thing that ever happened to me was now over. And then, once I started to cry, you ran away. That’s all this was- you running away. Our relationship was two weeks old, and at the first sign of real trouble you threw everything out the window and ran away.”
Despite his efforts, Brian was unable to stop a tear from running down his cheek.
“Our relationship was the most important thing that ever happened to me. After three years of literal torture, you gave me a reason to smile. There is nothing in the goddamn universe I wouldn’t have done for you, and I thought you felt the same way. But then I learned that you were capable of completely ignoring my feelings, and rather than working through our issues you were more likely to give up entirely. So, are you seriously going to look me in my eyes and still tell me that what you did was completely fucking selfless?!”
With that, Brian was done. He was angry and tearful, but he was done. He had finally been able to tell Allison how he felt, and now it was on her to respond. To his overwhelming frustration, though, she didn’t. She simply stared at him in shock, completely pale. Her brain was unable to form any meaningful responses, as it was completely overwhelmed with conflicting emotions. Brian began to breathe slightly harder as the silence dragged on and on.
“Come on,” he quietly pleaded. “Come on, please…”
He desperately wanted her to say something. Something that would make it right. He was silently begging her to apologize, admit to being wrong, and say that she still loved him. Because despite everything, he still madly loved her. But no apologies or admissions came from the trembling woman in front of him, and after a small eternity, Brian gave up.
“Fine,” he whispered, turning away and collapsing into his chair. “Just leave. If you have nothing to say… just leave me alone.”
“Brian?” Elizabeth softly called out, as she entered the room. She scanned the room until she saw the one-inch figure on the bed, laying down with an arm draped over his forehead. She made a sympathetic noise, and moved to kneel down in front of him.
“Another headache?” she asked, gently petting his side with one finger.
“Yeah,” he sighed.
“I’m so sorry, sweetheart. Let me go grab you some ice and a paper towel, okay? But I came in here to ask what you wanted for dinner. It’s my turn to cook,” she replied, still trying to physically comfort him.
“No preference,” he murmured, which elicited a small frown.
“That’s what you always say. It wouldn’t kill you to let me spoil you a little, would it?” Elizabeth asked, gently nudging him with her finger in an attempt to be playful.
“It’s been a bad day,” Brian replied, before removing his arm from his eyes and letting out a sigh.
“Even more reason, then,” she said, adopting a sad smile. “But I know what you’re saying. Allie’s been in her room all day. She won’t tell me what it was, but whatever you two talked about is really bothering her.”
“That makes two of us,” Brian muttered, rolling over so his back was facing Elizabeth.
“I’m assuming it was about what happened a month ago?” she softly asked. Brian made a small noise of acknowledgment.
“I see. Well, I suppose it had to happen at some point,” she sighed. Once again, Brian felt a hint of annoyance.
“Don’t act like this has nothing to do with you,” he said. Elizabeth was taken slightly aback.
“What do you mean?” she asked, pulling her finger away.
“I know you heavily influenced the decision,” Brian continued.
“Well, yes, I suppose that’s true,” Elizabeth replied sheepishly. She wasn’t used to being called out directly for her work behind the scenes.
“I don’t understand,” Brian said quietly. “Even if I vehemently disagree with literally everything about it, I can at least understand Allison’s line of logic. But what was in it for you?”
Elizabeth frowned, letting out a small noise of disapproval.
“It’s not like that…” she replied. “I just didn’t want to see you get hurt. Allison was letting her issues get in the way of being a good partner to you, and she clearly wasn’t ready to be in such a complicated relationship.”
“I don’t know if you noticed, but I’m pretty fucking hurt,” Brian responded dryly.
“I know that, sweetie, I know that…” Elizabeth soothed, resuming her petting on Brian’s back. “But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t the right decision.”
“It wasn’t the right decision because I didn’t help make it. You and Allison don’t get to decide what’s best for me behind my back,” Brian said, shaking Elizabeth’s finger off.
“Brian, love causes people to make stupid decisions, sometimes. I see this all the time with my students, and Allie knows this better than anybody. This was your first relationship, and you were extremely devoted to her. It’s impossible to think clearly when you love someone that much, and that’s why she decided to go about making that choice the way she did,” Elizabeth explained, keeping her tone soft.
“That might be true for some people, but it wasn’t fair for you to make that assumption about me. This is my happiness we’re talking about. How would you know if I wasn’t able to be rational about it if you never even gave me a chance?” Brian asked, causing Elizabeth to lightly sigh.
“I understand what you’re saying, I really do. But we were in a crisis, and Allie had to make a judgment call. And for my part, I hope you understand that I was just trying to protect you,” she said.
“Why?” Brian asked frustratedly, finally turning towards her. The pain made it difficult to open his eyes all the way, but he nonetheless made eye contact with her.
“Why are you so protective of me? I’m not some delicate thing that needs to be sheltered at all times. I deserve to have a say in what happens to me, even if it carries the risk of causing me pain. Why can’t you just treat me like a person?” he continued. His words completely rattled Elizabeth, and she needed a moment to collect her thoughts. She then began to speak, slowly and softly.
“I care about you. So, so much,” she started. “You are such an amazing young man, Brian, and I can’t help but love you like a son. And, um…”
She paused. An onslaught of emotion overtook her consciousness, and she brought one hand to her mouth as tears formed in her eyes.
“A-And… I know what it’s like to lose a son,” she choked out. Brian’s eyes softened in sympathy, and his anger dissipated as several things became clear to him.
“I saw the pain inside of you, and I committed myself to making up for some of the love you were cheated out of. As such, I refuse to lose you as well. I simply won’t allow it,” she said firmly, getting her emotions in check.
“Elizabeth,” Brian said gently, sitting upwards. “Whoever you’ve lost, I can’t replace him. It’s just not possible.”
Elizabeth adopted a teary smile.
“I know that, sweetheart. Just like I know that I can’t replace your mother, no matter how much I’d like to,” she replied, gently poking Brian in the stomach. He slightly smiled in response. “But that doesn’t mean we can’t lean on each other a bit. That doesn’t mean I can’t protect you to the fullest of my capability.”
“You can’t if it means disregarding my own autonomy,” Brian softly replied, placing one hand on Elizabeth’s finger. “You have to let me have a say in what happens to me. If you don’t, then I’ll never be happy.”
Elizabeth’s eyes softened, as her lip quivered a bit. After a moment, she closed her eyes and sighed deeply.
“I understand. I’m sorry if I’ve been too overbearing, Brian. I’ll try to do better,” she said quietly, finally acknowledging his feelings. Brian smiled in response, before he winced in pain from his headache. Elizabeth noticed this, and her concerns were renewed.
“Well, enough of this for now,” she said. “Let’s not forget about your head, honey. I’ll go get some ice, and I can think some more about dinner, okay?”
Brian nodded appreciatively. At that, Elizabeth leaned forward and lightly kissed the top of his head, before rising and making her way out the door. Silence overtook the room once more.
Brian was flopped over on the bed, holding one hand to his forehead. His expression was troubled, as he had a lot to think about.
Allison was curled into a ball on her bed, small tears running down her face. Her expression was troubled, as she had a lot to think about.
Elizabeth was rummaging around in the kitchen, getting some ice ready for Brian. Her expression was troubled, as she had a lot to think about.
Still, now that things were finally out in the open, they were finally ready to move on. Little did they know, that would be happening much sooner than any of them could have anticipated.
Took a bit of a risk with the timeskip, so I hope it turned out okay. We're ramping up towards the end here, so let me know what you're thinking! Until next time.
Skip Ahead, Part 0.5 by Pluto Pendragon
This wasn't supposed to be a full chapter, just the first part of one. But then it got too long, and it would have been distracting anyway. So, might as well just post it. Also, this chapter has absolutely no size content, so feel free to skip it if you want.
This takes place between chapter 15 and 16, so during the one month timeskip.
A man sat alone in a dirty living room. In his hand was a beer, and he was vacantly staring at the ceiling. His eyes were entirely glazed over, as if they were inhabited by a ghost. If not for the rhythmic motions of his breath, one would be hard pressed to find any signs of life coming from the melancholic figure slumped over on a ratty chair. After a moment, a knock on the door disturbed the silence, and the man slowly turned his head in the direction it came from. He wondered if he was hearing things again, but another knock confirmed to him that it was actually happening.
He set down his beer on the floor and wiped his face with his sleeve. Mustering his energy, he stood up and moved to open the door. His confusion as to who might be visiting him only increased once he opened the door, as he was suddenly faced with a beautiful woman.
She was about 5’7 and looked to be in her 40’s, although the man would be beleaguered to guess the specific number. She was dressed in a simple white blouse and jeans, both of which were being hugged tight by her impressive curves. Her thick, cascading brown hair fell past her shoulders, and framed a gorgeously mature face that was showing an indescribably warm expression. The man couldn’t help but gulp and stand a little taller at the sight of the beauty in front of him, and he was utterly perplexed as to why someone like her would be visiting someone like him.
“C-Can I help you?” he asked, unable to prevent a small stutter. The woman flashed him an inquisitive smile.
“Are you Steven Randolph?” she asked, which elicited an unsure nod.
“Steve. Who are you?” replied Steve.
“My name is Elizabeth Dawson,” she answered, smiling brightly and extending her hand. Steve nervously smiled back, before reaching out and shaking Elizabeth’s hand. He marvelled at how soft her skin was. It felt like she had been applying lotion nonstop for days. Moving past this, Steve’s confusion returned.
“Nice to meet you, Elizabeth,” he said. “Is there something I can do for you?”
At this, Elizabeth’s face darkened slightly. She furrowed her brow and looked away, as if in deliberation. After a moment, she let out a small sigh.
“Well, there’s no easy way to say this,” she said. “I wanted to talk to you about Brian Bentley.”
Steve’s eyes widened, and he took a step backwards in shock.
“W-What? Why?” he hurriedly asked, as his heart started to race.
“Well, um… because you’re the officer that arrested him, aren’t you?” Elizabeth replied, adopting a gentle smile. The blood drained from Steve’s face, and he looked down at the floor.
“No, no, no…” he muttered.
“Steve, it’s okay,” Elizabeth said softly.
“No, how do you know that?!” Steve asked angrily, as panic started to tug at his heart. “They told me that nobody would know that! They said… how do you know that?!”
“Steve, please listen to me,” Elizabeth soothed, raising both hands to show that she meant no harm. “I’m not here to cause you any trouble. I just wanted to ask you a few questions. I promise, that’s all.”
Her soft words reached his heart, and he got himself under control.
“How do you know that?” he asked again, still looking at her with fearful eyes.
“It’s complicated,” Elizabeth answered. “May I come in, Steve? We can talk a little more.”
Although Steve wanted to slam the door in her face and run away, something about her calm demeanor compelled him to accept her request. He motioned for her to follow, before walking back into the room he came from.
“Sorry about the mess,” he muttered, turning back to face Elizabeth once they were both inside.
“Don’t worry about it,” she replied with a smile.
“Anyway, what do you want? There’s nothing I can tell you about B… that kid, that you don’t already know,” he continued, his heart still racing.
“I’m not sure about that,” Elizabeth replied, before moving slightly closer. “I’m part of a group that is trying to reopen Brian Bentley’s case. We believe that his case was handled poorly, and we want to expose that fact to the public.”
Steve was stunned into silence for a moment. This woman was openly defending the Brian Bentley right in front of him? That was a first.
“You… why would you want to do that?” he asked incredulously. Elizabeth’s eyes softened slightly.
“Because we have good reason to believe that he was innocent,” she said gently.
Steve took a step back, as if he had been shot. Whatever blood was left in his face quickly evaporated.
“Y… You do?” he asked, after a long silence. Although he was too nervous to notice, Elizabeth developed a small twinkle in her eyes.
“You’re not dismissing the possibility,” she said slyly. Steve snapped out of it, and vigorously shook his head.
“N-No, that’s not possible,” he quickly said, before turning away.
“I don’t think you believe that,” Elizabeth replied, narrowing her eyes.
“Why?!” Steve asked angrily.
“Because I know what happened to you,” Elizabeth answered. “Two months after Brian Bentley was sentenced, you quit being a police officer. You got divorced, and lost custody of your son. You moved to this ratty location, and cut contact with everyone you knew. For all intents and purposes, you disappeared.”
Steve slowly turned back to face her. His look of panic had changed into one of dread.
“How do you know so much about me?” he asked quietly.
“Steve, we believe that there was a massive conspiracy to frame Brian Bentley for that terrible crime. The problem is, for a conspiracy like that to work, everybody involved needs to be high-up. Senators, judges, people who can’t be touched. This is true of Brian Bentley’s case, except for one person. One person was a simple police officer, who happened to be the first on the scene. One person who, after their unwitting involvement in such a conspiracy, completely ran away from their own life.”
Steve sat back down in his chair, completely defeated. He felt like his deepest and most shameful secret had been discovered, and was now being held up for the world to see.
“What do you want with me?” he whispered.
“I want your help,” Elizabeth replied firmly. “You saw him. You saw the blood. You saw that he was trying to stop the bleeding with his jacket, not strangle him. You saw that he didn’t have a weapon. You heard him scream and beg you to go look for the actual killer. This didn’t stop you from arresting him, but it obviously created so much doubt later on that you completely self-destructed. I want you to tell the world what you saw. I want you to give the world the same doubts you have.”
“What I did destroyed my life,” Steve replied, as if in a trance. “You’re asking me to publicly obliterate what I have left.”
“No, I’m asking you to fix your mistake,” Elizabeth said earnestly, moving closer and placing one hand on his arm. “Whatever guilt is eating at you, whatever guilt led to your life being destroyed, this is your chance to make it right.”
“You think I haven’t thought about going public?” he asked, letting out a sigh as his eyes clouded over again. “You think I haven’t debated whether I should try telling the world what I actually saw? But every time, I just come to the same conclusion: it wouldn’t do any good. Everybody is too stuck into the narrative they were told. The people in charge would just find a way to bury it again.”
“My group wouldn’t let that happen,” Elizabeth replied, kneeling down next to the chair. “We have some influence of our own, and we’ve already done research into what media groups have ties to the people who wouldn’t want his case to be reopened. We wouldn’t let this get buried again.”
“Even still, what’s the point?” Steve muttered. “The kid is dead. Tortured to death.”
Elizabeth paused for a moment, adopting a troubled expression. Steve glanced at her with a raised eyebrow, which snapped her out of it.
“Regardless,” she said quietly, “it’s worth honoring his memory. Think about his family. Think about his little sister. The world shouldn’t remember Brian Bentley as a robot child murderer. And besides, there could be other benefits.”
“Don't forget,” Elizabeth interrupted, “we would also be honoring Timmy Osment’s memory. Reopening Brian Bentley’s case means reopening Timmy’s as well.”
“It was three years ago. I doubt anything would-”
“Steve!” Elizabeth exclaimed. “Brian Bentley was an innocent eighteen year old kid. You saw what his mother was willing to say about him, you saw what the world was willing to say about him. He lived a life more terrifying and devastating than we could possibly imagine.”
She took a breath.
“Imagine your son going through what he did,” she whispered. Steve snapped to attention, and looked to her with wide eyes.
“Don’t bring up my son,” he said weakly.
“Your son is fourteen, right? That’s only four years younger than Brian Bentley was. Imagine your son, four years from now, with the entire world despising him. In jail for the rest of his life, where he would be treated like a child murderer by the other inmates. Believing that his own family gave up on him. Then, imagine him being re-sentenced to death via shrinking and torturing. You’ve read the stories of what Chevaliers do to convicts. Imagine that happening to your baby boy, when he did nothing wrong!”
Steve turned away, and began to quietly cry. He buried his face in one of his arms as his shoulders began to lightly shake. The thought was too terrible for him to imagine, and the guilt that he let it happen to somebody else was shredding his heart. Elizabeth wasn’t done, however.
“Now imagine that somebody out there had a chance to clear his name. And they were choosing not to, because your boy was already dead and they believed it didn’t matter anymore. Would you be okay with their reasoning?” she asked, her face darkening even more.
“N-No,” Steve choked out. “I would want to k-kill them.”
“This is your chance to make it right. Come with me. Tell the world what you saw.”
Steve let out an enormous sigh, as the last of his tears ran down his face. At that moment, he came to a decision.
“I’ll help you,” he whispered. Elizabeth’s face lit up, but she was interrupted before she could respond.
“But I’m not coming with you,” he continued, before standing up from his chair. Elizabeth rose from her kneeling position and looked at him quizzically.
“Once I realized the sneaky way they were handling the kid’s case, I pulled off a sneaky move of my own,” he started, walking over to a computer desk. He pulled open a drawer and began rummaging around inside.
“I don’t know why. Maybe I thought it would be of use some day. Maybe I just wanted a permanent reminder of what actually happened.”
He found what he was looking for, and pulled it out. It was a small, black flash drive, less than half the size of his little finger.
“I did end up finding a use for it,” he continued. “Every year, on the anniversary of his arrest, I watch the video that’s on this drive.”
He walked over to Elizabeth and placed the drive in her hand.
“I watch it, then debate killing myself,” he said plainly. Elizabeth’s eyes widened at his casual confession, and her heart began to race.
“But I’m a coward,” he whispered. “Regardless, it’s better off in your hands. With it, you don’t need me.”
“Wh… what’s on it?” Elizabeth asked, with tremendous trepidation.
“My bodycam footage,” Steve replied. Elizabeth’s heart stopped, and she instantly closed her hand around the drive and took a few steps backwards, as if to stop him from being able to take it back. Steve chuckled at her reaction.
“I’m afraid you’ll just have to take my word for it that it’s really there,” he said. “I can’t let you play it here.”
“Why not?” Elizabeth asked.
“Because once you watch it, you’ll despise me,” he answered, with a somber smile.
“I see,” she replied quietly.
“You better get going,” he sighed. “There’s nothing else I can do for you.”
Elizabeth nodded, before moving slightly closer.
“Thank you, Steve. You’re doing the right thing. And one day, you’ll understand why.”
With that, she reached out and wrapped her arms around him, pulling him into a soft embrace. After a moment of shock, Steve relaxed and closed his eyes. He knew that it might be the last time a woman ever hugged him.
Elizabeth released him, and with a small smile made her way to the door. Just before she reached the handle, though, she turned back.
“As a former police officer, what do you think the odds are that they find the actual killer?” she asked.
“I have no fucking idea,” Steve replied instantly. Elizabeth let out a small sigh, before nodding and finally making her way outside. Once she was gone, Steve collapsed into his chair, grabbing his beer and draining the rest of it. A small smile tugged at the corner of his lips. A moment later, it evaporated as he came to a terrifying realization.
“How did she know what happened at the crime scene?” he whispered, wondering who in the hell he had just given his flash drive to.
Elizabeth got inside her car, and examined the flash drive. She couldn’t help but smile widely, thoroughly excited that she was literally holding the most important piece of evidence. After a moment, though, her expression darkened. The image of Steve crying reentered her mind, and she suddenly felt extremely ashamed.
“When did I get this way?” she whispered, drawing one hand to her mouth. A second later, she steeled her resolve and let out a huff.
“I’m doing it for Brian,” she said resolutely. At that, she picked up her phone and gave someone a call.
“Allie?” she said eagerly, after a few moments of ringing. “Brian was right. I have the fucking bodycam footage!”
This also means that the next chapter might be slightly shorter as well, but we'll see. Regardless, until next time.
Skip Ahead, Part 2 by Pluto Pendragon
Like I thought, shorter chapter. It makes more sense for this to be separate, as well. Hope you enjoy!
“Hey, Allie,” Elizabeth said, giving her a quick glance before turning her eyes back towards the television.
“Hey,” Allison replied softly, while taking off her coat. Once she was done, she trotted over to the sofa and flopped down right next to her former mentor with a sigh. Elizabeth reached her arm around and rubbed Allison’s shoulder affectionately, to which she leaned in and closed her eyes. After a few minutes of peaceful relaxation, with the television serving as the only source of noise, Allison began to speak while keeping her eyes closed.
“Any developments?” she murmured, which elicited a small sigh.
“Nothing public,” Elizabeth answered.
“What about private?” asked Allison.
“One of my contacts says that they’re reviewing security camera footage around the financial square where Timmy died, as well as his last known location before he died,” Elizabeth replied. Allison opened her eyes and looked at her with a slightly confused eye.
“They didn’t do that when it first happened?” she asked incredulously.
“They didn’t do anything, honey,” came the reply. “No need to investigate when they thought they already caught the killer.”
“That’s dumb,” Allison muttered, to which Elizabeth nodded in agreement.
“What’s happening in the news, then?” she continued. Elizabeth’s face darkened.
“They showed the bodycam footage again,” she said quietly. “Edited, of course, but I still had to change the channel eventually.”
“Yeah…” Allison whispered.
“That footage keeps me up at night, Allie,” Elizabeth admitted.
“You know, when Steve gave it to me a few weeks ago, he told me that he couldn’t let me watch it with him. He said it was because once I did, I would despise him,” she continued.
“Really?” Allison asked. This was the first time she was hearing this.
“Yeah. And you know what? As unbelievably grateful as I am to him for giving us that footage, he was right,” Elizabeth replied, as her face twisted in anger. “I don’t care how angry he was that a child was dead, I simply can’t believe the way he kept kicking Brian like that! I could never forgive someone for violently and heartlessly abusing my sweet boy.”
She paused and took a breath, getting her anger under control. After a moment, her face dropped in unbearable sadness at the memory.
“His screams haunt me,” she continued quietly. “Moments after a child died in his arms…”
She stopped and lightly slapped her cheeks a few times, which also snapped Allison out of her own haze. She had been staring straight ahead while Elizabeth was talking, her eyes carrying an ocean of darkness.
“I’m sorry, I shouldn’t be talking about this,” Elizabeth hurriedly said. “I’ll just say that I’m glad Brian had no desire to watch the footage. If he had wanted to, I’m not sure if I would have let him.”
“Yeah…” Allison whispered. Personally, she had immensely regretted watching the footage, and was extremely relieved that Brian wouldn’t have to relive that memory.
“Anyway, enough about that,” Elizabeth said, turning the volume down on the news. “How was your session, honey? Did you tell her about Brian?”
Allison perked up slightly at the mention of her session.
“Yeah, I did,” she answered. “Before you ask, she’s not going to tell anybody. For one thing, she assured me that we have doctor-patient confidentiality. For another, she believed me when I told her that he was innocent, and she’s really happy that I’m part of the effort to prove it. She actually gave me a hug at the end of the session, saying that she was so proud of me for saving his life.”
“Oh, I think I love her,” she gushed. “That makes me so happy to hear. I’m really glad you have somebody else to talk to about all this.”
“Yeah,” Allison replied, reciprocating her smile. “Still, it’s crazy to think how many people are coming around to the possibility that Brian is innocent. A month ago, I never would have told her about him, but now it feels like we’re finally getting to the place where we don’t have to keep it a secret.”
“I know what you mean. And it’s all because of us,” Elizabeth replied jovially, before adopting a teasing grin. “You saved Brian, he came up with the idea to find the officer that arrested him, and I beat the bodycam footage out of him. We all had a part!”
“Professor!” Allison exclaimed jokingly, jabbing her with an elbow. “You did not beat it out of him!”
“…you didn’t, right?” she asked nervously, to which Elizabeth laughed out loud.
“Of course not. I simply charmed him with my loveliness, that’s all,” she replied with a wink.
“You’re killing me,” Allison groaned, before collapsing back onto Elizabeth’s side, resting her head on her shoulder. Elizabeth wrapped her arm around Allison and squeezed her tight. After a moment, though, she adopted a somewhat conflicted expression.
“I did manipulate him, though,” she said quietly, causing Allison to furrow her brow.
“What?” she asked.
“It’s not important. Anyway, you told your therapist. Did you have a productive session after that?”
“Yeah, but…” Allison started, trailing off at the end as she adopted a troubled expression.
“What is it, honey?” Elizabeth asked concernedly.
“Well, we spent most of the time talking about the breakup…” she continued, to which Elizabeth nodded knowingly.
“I see, I see,” she said softly. “I’m sure that wasn’t easy.”
“Yeah… but, it’s just…” Allison said, before letting out a huff. “She said that I’m still acting possessive of him.”
“What did she mean?” Elizabeth asked, raising an eyebrow.
“I don’t know…” Allison muttered. “Just, like, I broke up with him, but she said I’m acting like he’s not allowed to move on, or something…”
“I see,” Elizabeth replied softly, internally agreeing with the assessment.
“She told me, if I truly believe that breaking up with him was completely for his own good, then I have to accept the possibility that he might move on. She said that it would be selfish to expect him to wait around until I’m ready. And…”
“What is it?”
After a brief hesitation, Allison groaned in frustration as she adopted a sour expression.
“She asked me how I would feel if Brian found another girl,” she muttered. Elizabeth was slightly stunned, but she soon understood the value in such a question.
“Well, how would you feel?” she asked hesitantly. After another moment of uncomfortable silence, Allison’s expression transformed into one of rage.
“I’d feel fucking awful!” she exclaimed. “Are you kidding me?! My Brian with another girl?! I don’t want some weirdo to come snatch him up, I want him to stay with me forever!”
Allison huffed in anger once more, before looking down at the floor as she grinded her teeth. Elizabeth needed a moment to adjust after her unexpected outburst.
“I-I see…” she stammered, now completely understanding what her therapist meant by possessive.
“She’s just saying the same thing as Brian,” Allison angrily continued. “She’s saying that I was being selfish by breaking up with him. She doesn’t understand!”
“Is that what Brian said to you yesterday?” Elizabeth asked softly.
“Yeah…” Allison sighed. “It’s just… I didn’t want to do it. Of course I didn’t! I did it because I thought it was the right decision! But now… Brian isn’t happy, I’m not happy, and everybody is saying that I was being selfish. Maybe it wasn’t the right decision, after all…”
“Well, honey, I’m not saying you were selfish,” Elizabeth quickly assured. “I think you were scared. And don’t forget, I heavily influenced the decision.”
Allison nodded, still keeping her eyes on the floor. Elizabeth rubbed her shoulder comfortingly.
“I was scared, too. Brian, and your therapist, didn’t see what we saw. They didn’t see him scream and cry, terrified out of his mind because he didn’t know where he was or why he was small. It’s impossible to overstate how much I don’t want to see something like that happen ever again, and I made a judgement call in service of that desire.”
Allison nodded once again, glad that at least one person understood her point of view.
“With that being said, though… Elizabeth said, adopting a sad smile. “Perhaps I was misguided.”
Allison’s eyes shot up at her in modest shock.
“Maybe I was too concerned with his safety, and not enough with his happiness,” she continued.
“Where’s this coming from?” Allison asked in awe. After Elizabeth’s harsh scolding, this was the last thing she had expected to hear.
“Well, I had a talk of my own with Brian yesterday,” Elizabeth replied. “He made some good observations about the way I’ve been treating him, and it gave me a lot to think about.”
“What kind of observations?” Allison asked, gently pulling away from Elizabeth’s side so she could face her more fully.
“Oh, you know… just that I’m extremely protective of him, perhaps to the point that I’m overbearing,” Elizabeth said, averting her eyes in embarrassment.
“I see,” replied Allison, trying not to smile.
“It got me thinking about why I treat him like that, you know…” she said, before trailing off. Suddenly, Elizabeth’s adopted an expression of deep, refined sadness.
“I, um… I told him that I love him like a son, and… that I know what it’s like to lose a son,” she whispered, trying not to get emotional. Allison’s eyes softened in sympathy, and she scooted closer so she could hold Elizabeth’s hands.
“Brian is just so small, so fragile,” she continued, slightly gritting her teeth. “It would be so easy to lose him, too… Ever since I first saw him, and especially after I learned what his mother did to him… I committed myself to protecting him in the way that he should have been protected. If I were to let something happen to him… I don’t know what I would do.”
She couldn’t stop herself from tearing up a bit, which Allison noticed.
“I understand,” she softly replied, “I feel the same way. That’s why I broke up with him, because I kept hurting him. How could I forgive myself for that?”
“I do know this, though,” Elizabeth said firmly, pulling one hand away and wiping the tears away. “Loving someone means carrying the risk of hurting them, and being hurt by them.”
“What does that mean?” Allison asked. Elizabeth sighed in soft contemplation.
“Losing my boy was the worst thing that ever happened to me,” she said quietly. “It caused me, and still causes me, more pain than I ever thought was possible. It’s the kind of pain that I would never wish on anybody, no matter how terrible they are. Not a day goes by that I wish I didn’t have to feel this pain. But you know what I realized last night?”
She looked into Allison’s eyes, and adopted a warm smile.
“I would never give this pain up, if it meant never having had my son in the first place. The happiness that he brought me is worth every bit of sadness I feel now, because it’s simply a reminder of how much I loved him,” she said, positively glowing with emotion. Allison couldn’t prevent a few tears of her own, and she smiled back.
“Do you understand what I’m saying?” Elizabeth asked. “You might hurt Brian. He might hurt you. But the pain that might happen in the future is nothing compared to the happiness that you bring each other. That’s what I hadn’t realized when I encouraged you to step away from your relationship. You can’t let the fear of pain stop you from seeking happiness.”
“I understand,” Allison whispered emotionally, as she came to an epiphany. “You’re right. Thank you.”
“It is my absolute pleasure, sweetheart,” Elizabeth replied. “That’s what mentors are for.”
Allison smiled even wider, her eyes positively glowing with appreciation.
“I did learn another lesson from my chat with Brian, though,” Elizabeth continued, holding one finger up for emphasis. Allison made a questioning noise.
“We can’t leave him out of the conversation anymore,” she explained firmly. “If you’re going to make a decision about your relationship, you have to talk about it with him first.”
At that, Allison’s eyes widened slightly as her heart sped up.
“But… but… what if it’s too late? What if I hurt him too badly? My talk with him yesterday ended horribly, what if I pushed him too far?” she asked nervously.
“What did I just say about not letting fear stop you?” Elizabeth gently chided. “The only way to find out is by talking to him. Tell him what you’re feeling, and just be honest. You’re one of the strongest people I’ve ever met, Allie. You’ll be okay.”
“Okay,” Allison said firmly, closing her eyes and letting out a determined huff. She then rose to her feet and adopted a serious expression.
“I can do this. I want him back,” she continued, as if carving the goal into her soul.
“Good luck, honey,” Elizabeth said, unable to prevent herself from smiling.
Just like that, Allison was ready to try and repair her relationship with the one-inch man she had rescued from death.
We're back in business! We have two chapters left, so we're almost at the end. Until next time!
Skip Ahead, Part 3 by Pluto Pendragon
Oh, I'm so excited for this.
For the second time in two days, Allison Starr was standing outside Brian Bentley’s room, her heart pounding as she prepared to talk to him. What once felt like second nature had become a monumental undertaking, and Allison was determined to restore their relationship to what it used to be: loving partners. However, she knew that Brian was under no obligation to forgive her. She had broken his heart, then avoided him for a month. When they did finally have a proper conversation about what happened, Brian shouted and poured his heart out, and Allison was too stunned to respond. She knew there was a chance that he had been pushed too far, but she was still determined to try. Taking a moment to recommit herself to that goal, Allison then took a breath and knocked on the door, letting the inhabitant know that someone was about to come in.
“Brian?” she softly called out, scanning the room for his location. After a moment, she spotted him in the same chair he had been sitting in the previous day, once again watching something on his phone- a phone that was twice as tall as him, by the way. Brian flinched at the sound of his unexpected visitor, and turned to face her with slightly wide eyes. When she caught his gaze, Allison noticed that his eyes were slightly red, and his face glistened with the faintest trace of wetness. Immediately, her alarm bells began to ring as her heart quickened in concern. Her previous anxiety was replaced with a new anxiety for his well-being, and she quickly began making her way towards him on the table.
Once Brian realized who was visiting him, as well as what he had been caught doing, he let out a frustrated sigh as he looked away in embarrassment. Getting caught crying by Elizabeth was one thing, as it had already happened a couple times, but Allison was another story. He wasn’t exactly excited to see her, as he was still pretty raw from their encounter the day before. As such, being caught in a vulnerable moment stung a little harder.
“Brian?” W-What’s wrong?” Allison hurriedly asked, kneeling down by the table so her face was roughly at his level. Brian debated telling her to go away, but he knew that doing so would only elicit a similarly panicked visit from Elizabeth moments later, so he decided to just tell her the truth.
“I-I’m fine,” he muttered, a declaration that was slightly undercut by a sniffle.
“They just, um… on the news, they… they showed the b-bodycam footage…” he continued, still unable to turn back towards the extremely concerned woman before him. Allison’s heart dropped off a cliff as she realized what had happened.
“I wasn’t able to get up and turn it off in time, and… once it started, I… I c-couldn’t stop watching…” he whispered. This admission brought on a new wave of sadness, and he cursed himself for being so stupid.
“Oh, no, Brian…” Allison whispered, her voice breaking in pure concern. At the sound of her voice, Brian couldn’t help but be reminded of the time she had comforted him during his breakdown.
“Why didn’t you message Elizabeth? You shouldn’t go through these things alone,” she asked concernedly. Brian lightly shook his head in response.
“It’s stupid, and embarassing. I cry too much,” he answered softly, causing Allison to frown.
“There’s nothing wrong with crying, especially with how much you’ve been through,” she chided. “Shit, I cried when I watched that footage. How could you be expected not to?”
For some reason, this admission caught Brian by surprise, and he finally turned back towards Allison.
“You did?” he asked quietly, unable to prevent another sniffle.
“Of course I did,” she replied. “A person I care about was… well, you know. And there was so much bloo- well, you know. I seriously regretted watching it, and I was really happy that you decided not to. It breaks my heart that you just saw it accidentally.”
“I see,” Brian whispered, turning his eyes downwards. “Thanks.”
Allison smiled a bit at his genuine gratitude, relieved that their conversation was off to a non-confrontational start. Still, she was extremely unhappy that it came at the cost of Brian being exposed to one of his worst memories. She wanted to reach out and comfort him, but she wasn’t sure how he would react to being touched. As such, she simply let Brian rest for a moment as he calmed himself down.
“I really tried to save him, you know…” he whispered, barely audibly. Allison’s heart fractured.
“I know you did,” she replied, matching his whisper. “There was nothing you could have done.”
Brian nodded, his eyes darkening even more. At that, Allison decided to try changing the subject.
“Um… have there been any public statements from your family yet?” she asked, before immediately cursing her stupidity.
Change the subject to something lighter, you fucking idiot!
“No,” Brian answered softly. “No public appearances, either. My guess is that they’re hiding out somewhere. They’re probably getting a lot of hate from the people who believe in my innocence.”
“Do you think it’s deserved?” Allison asked hesitantly, to which Brian let out a big sigh. To her relief, the change of subject seemed to energize him a bit.
“I don’t know,” he admitted. “It’s not like I have any desire for my mom’s life to be ruined, even though she’s awful. Honestly, I just think the public needs to stop harassing people.”
“Agreed,” Allison muttered.
“I’ll tell you this, though,” Brian said firmly, turning his eyes back towards Allison. “My sister is completely blameless. She’s a victim just as much as me, and anybody throwing hate her way is a total fucking scumbag.”
Allison couldn’t help but smile appreciatively at his fervent declaration.
“You’re really protective of her, aren’t you?” she asked, to which Brian shrugged.
“She’s just a kid…” he replied.
“You’re not that much older, you know,” Allison said, raising an eyebrow.
“Look, that whole amnesia thing brought back some memories of her,” Brian continued, ignoring Allison’s comment. “Like, I had completely forgotten that I promised to read to her before I left for that walk. So, I guess… she’s been on my mind this last month. I miss her.”
Allison’s eyes softened at his soft admission, and the urge to physically comfort him returned in earnest. Just as she started to draw her hand upwards, though, Brian’s expression hardened as he came to a realization.
“Anyway, did you need something?” he quickly asked. His memory of the previous day came flooding back, and he remembered that he was mad at her. Allison noticed his change in attitude, and she internally sighed.
“Not exactly,” she answered. “I was just hoping we could talk a bit.”
Brian broke his gaze away as he let out a small sigh.
“I’d rather not…” he muttered. Allison was slightly discouraged by this, but she suddenly came up with an idea to break the ice.
“Aw, come on,” she replied teasingly. “Pretty peas?”
Brian’s eyes shot back towards her, and he narrowed them in suspicion.
“Was that a Dragon Ball…?”
“Yup,” Allison answered smugly. Brian couldn’t help but smile a bit at this unexpected reference, but he quickly returned to his standard neutral expression.
“Fine,” he grumbled. “About what?”
Allison smiled victoriously, before her expression softened.
“I wanted to apologize for yesterday,” she said quietly.
“Oh?” Brian replied, in mild shock. Allison nodded.
“Yeah. You were telling me how you felt, and you at least deserved a response. I’m sorry that I didn’t say anything. I guess… I was just surprised,” she continued.
“Well, what were you expecting?” Brian asked, trying not to get emotional again.
“I don’t know,” Allison admitted, with a small smile. “For some reason… I didn’t expect that you would still feel so hurt. I thought that maybe you had moved on from your anger.”
Brian scowled a bit, but he was cut off before he could respond.
“Which was completely stupid,” Allison hurriedly continued. “Of course you would still be upset. Especially after I avoided you for a month, which I’m also really sorry for.”
Brian’s expression softened a bit at her heartfelt admission of guilt.
“You know, it’s funny. After everything we’ve been through- after our first argument, after I told you why I was a Chev, after your breakdown… we decided that, no matter what, we just had to talk to each other. To just be honest, and work it out like two people who care about each other. Despite all this, I still chose to avoid you. And you know why?” she asked, to which Brian shook his head.
“Because I was only thinking about my own feelings. I was scared, and that’s all I cared about. I didn’t think about your feelings, and I made things even harder for you. I was selfish, and I truly, truly apologize,” she said, before closing her eyes and slightly lowering her head. In the face of such a sincere apology, even Brian was stunned speechless for a moment. He could feel a growing heaviness behind his eyes, but he worked hard to push it down.
“What… w-where is this coming from?” he choked out incredulously. Allison raised her head and flashed him a warm smile.
“You gave me a lot to think about yesterday, Brian. I also talked a bit with my therapist today, and she helped me realize some things about the way I’ve been acting. Lastly, I just had a long chat with Elizabeth. Your talk with her caused her to realize some stuff as well. Look, at a certain point I just have to take the hint!” she explained, chuckling lightly at the end. Despite himself, Brian smiled. This was everything he had wanted to hear, and his heart slightly sped up with excitement as he came to a decision.
“So, anyway. I’ve said my piece,” she said with a huff. “What do you think-”
“I forgive you.”
Back in the living room, Elizabeth was reclined into the couch. She was deep in thought, wondering how Brian and Allison’s talk was going. She truly wanted them to be happy, but she couldn’t help but feel a little nervous. Truthfully, she was still concerned about their relationship. She worried that Brian would be too dependent on her, and she worried that Allison wasn’t ready to navigate their complicated dynamic just yet. Still, she meant what she had said earlier about not letting fear stop the pursuit of happiness. She knew that they truly loved each other, and she wasn’t about to get in the way of that. With that being said, she couldn’t stop herself from letting out a small sigh.
“Can’t he just… not date, for a while?” she muttered exasperatedly. “I certainly didn’t miss this part of being a mother…”
Closing her eyes and groaning, she decided to distract herself with the news. Now that the bodycam footage was no longer being replayed, she felt safe in switching the channel back and turning up the volume. This particular media group was the one they had initially given the footage to, and Elizabeth cherished the memory of when she had gone in to meet with the editor. The look on his face when he realized the broader implications of that footage, as well as his excitement at the fact that they would be the ones to break the story, was truly something to behold.
What she found when she changed the channel was a press conference held by Cassandra Day, the senator who was spearheading the campaign to investigate Brian Bentley’s trial. After an extensive research campaign by the man himself, in which he carefully and thoroughly examined every senator’s history, policy standpoints, and political aspirations, he had settled on her as the one most likely to assist them. He was right, and she had instantly jumped on the opportunity to strike at the criminal justice system. Although she was not yet privy to the fact that Brian was actually alive, she was no less determined to discover the truth behind the murder of Timmy Osment. In their private correspondence, she had even admitted to Elizabeth that she was convinced of his innocence. She was undoubtedly their most important ally. Without her, there was no way that Brian’s case would have ever been reopened. As such, the trio had agreed that she would be the first one to know about Brian, should his innocence be revealed to the world. Excluding Allison’s therapist, of course.
“Look, it doesn’t matter how much time or money this investigation takes,” came her voice from the television. Her short-cut brown hair perfectly accentuated her no-nonsense features, which meshed with her age of 56 to create the visage of a driven woman who would do anything in the pursuit of justice, and perhaps advance her political career in the process. Still, she continued.
“If there’s even a chance, a teeny-tiny chance, that Brian Bentley was actually innocent… well, we owe it to his memory - his shrunken, tortured memory, might I add - to do everything in our power to discover the truth. There is absolutely no legal reason as to why that bodycam footage shouldn’t have been revealed to the American people, and that should be more than enough to inspire serious doubt in any rational person.”
“Absolutely,” Elizabeth muttered, nodding in affirmation.
“That footage did not show a robot child murderer. That footage showed a young man sobbing hysterically at the fact that a child just died in his arms. That footage showed a young man being viciously beaten by a police officer, as he screamed and begged for the officer to go look for the real killer. That footage showed a young man covered in blood, despite the fact that absolutely no weapons could be seen. To every skeptic, to every doubter, I say this: if you’re a parent, imagine that it was your child in that footage. Imagine that such a horrible thing was covered up, and your child was sentenced to death with absolutely zero transparency regarding why. Would you seriously, honestly, in the eyes of God, still say that an investigation into their case would be a waste of time and money?”
“Damn, she’s good!” Elizabeth exclaimed appreciatively, feeling the slightest twinge of jealousy at her rhetorical skills.
“Lastly, I’ll just say that, despite the fact that this investigation is only two days old, I can tell you that it has not been a waste of time. When we’re ready, which could even be today for all I know, the American people will understand why. Thank you for your time.”
With that, she was gone. Her visage was replaced with a news anchor, ready to provide commentary on her press conference, which had occurred a few hours prior. Elizabeth adopted a self-satisfied smile, once again taking comfort in the fact that they had such an influential ally. Before she could bask in the feeling for very long, though, the news anchor was interrupted by a flashing screen.
“You- what- huh?” Allison stammered, completely caught off guard by Brian’s immediate forgiveness. Brian nodded in response, just a little bashfully.
“I forgive you,” he repeated. “I can tell you meant what you said, and… it’s everything I wanted to hear. I forgive you, Allie.”
Allison drew one hand to her mouth at the sound of her nickname, and a stirring of warmth in her heart caused her to get emotional.
“R-Really?” she squeaked, to which Brian nodded again.
“I was never mad at you for what happened,” he explained. “I was mad because I didn’t feel like anyone was acknowledging my feelings. I was mad because nobody was listening to me. But now… you’re listening to me. I forgive you.”
Allison tearfully nodded as she adopted a huge smile.
“I’ll listen to you,” she replied, as a tear streaked down her beautiful face. “I promise, I’ll always listen to you from now on. I’m sorry I ever didn’t. I’ll listen to you.”
Brian reciprocated her smile, and he extended one hand. Allison brought her own hand up and extended one finger. When they made contact, an electric shock surged throughout their bodies, and they somehow managed to smile even wider.
“I… I missed you,” she choked out, leaning slightly closer.
“I missed you, too,” Brian replied softly.
“I’m so sorry for breaking up with you,” she continued. “I want to be your girlfriend again. I want it so fucking bad. Will you please be my boyfriend?”
She brought her lips right up to Brian’s body, and tried to avoid showering him in her tears.
“Yes,” Brian answered. “Nothing would make me happier. I love you.”
With that, for the first time in a long time, Allison Starr and Brian Bentley shared a kiss. It was the most tender and emotional kiss either of them had ever experienced, and it caused their souls to glow with warmth and happiness.
Just like that, they were back together.
Neither of them wanted the moment to end, but end it eventually did. They reluctantly pulled away from each other, both blushing heavily and grinning like idiots. With a quick nonverbal confirmation of permission, Allison gently plucked him up and placed him in her warm palm. She basked in the feeling of his delicate body as it rested in her hand, and he basked in the all-encompassing warmth that was rising from her soft skin. Both of them felt like they had finally come home after a long journey into darkness, and they were about as happy as they had ever been. After a small eternity of blissful relaxation, Allison brought her hand closer to her body, squeezing it to her chest in some form of a hug. Pulling it away, she gazed at her one-inch boyfriend with all the love in the world.
“I’m so happy,” she whispered. “I love you so much.”
Brian’s eyes softened, and he opened his mouth to reply. Before he could, though, a scream cut through the silence. Allison and Brian were instantly snapped out of their love-induced haze, and their eyes darted in the direction of the noise- the living room. Suddenly, another scream caused them to flinch. They recognized the voice as belonging to Elizabeth.
“BRIAN!!! ALLISON!!!” she screamed. They shared a quick glance, before Allison carefully closed her fist around Brian and dashed out of the room. Extremely careful not to jostle him around too much, she made her way into the living room to see what was wrong. Reaching the room, she saw that Elizabeth was crying as she held both hands to her mouth. Her eyes were wider than Allison had ever seen them.
“What is it?!” she exclaimed. She uncurled her fingers, and saw that Brian looked just as scared and confused as she did. Elizabeth saw them, and frantically pointed at the television.
“T-They- They found him!!” she shouted. “They fucking found him! LOOK!!!”
The duo hurriedly turned their gaze to the television, and what they saw stopped their hearts.
On one side of the screen was a news anchor, his eyes wild as he hurriedly read from a set of papers in front of him. On the other side was a video of police escorting a large, burly man into a cop car. What concerned them the most, though, was the bottom third of the screen. There, plastered in humongous letters that would draw the attention of anybody, were four simple words. Four simple words that completely changed the world.
BRIAN BENTLEY IS INNOCENT
Next chapter is the last one. Until next time!
The New World by Pluto Pendragon
Well, here we are. Thank you so much for reading, and I hope you enjoy the final chapter.
“I don’t understand…” whispered Brian. He was intensely scrutinizing every word, every letter, every pixel on the enormous television in front of him, desperately trying to make sure that his eyes weren’t deceiving him, or he wasn’t misinterpreting what he was seeing. Elizabeth was still crying with hysterical joy, but to Brian the world was silent. He heard nothing but the rapid beating of his own heart, as he slowly came to the realization that his innocence had actually been proven to the world.
Allison, on the other hand, was completely frozen. She wasn’t comprehending what she was seeing in the slightest, as her brain had shut down in the face of such an unexpected development. The information processed in her mind at a snail’s pace, but register it eventually did. At that exact moment, tears of joy formed in her eyes as well. She wanted to jump around and flail her arms in excitement, but she quickly remembered that she was holding her tiny boyfriend. As such, with an increasingly shaky hand, she slowly transferred him to a nearby table. This table rose to her waist, and was still in view of the television.
Just as she was about to check on him, she became aware of two arms that suddenly wrapped around her frame tightly. She recognized them as belonging to Elizabeth, and she turned her head to face her. She saw that Elizabeth’s eyes were extremely wide, and radiating pure and overwhelming joy. Her face glistened with tears, and she was showing one of the widest and most emotional smiles Allison had ever seen.
“T-They found him, Allie!” Elizabeth sobbed. “We did it! We did it! W-We proved it, Allie! We proved it! Brian is innocent!!”
At those words, the reality of the situation slammed into Allison like a speeding train, and she immediately broke down sobbing. She returned Elizabeth’s tight embrace, and they began to lightly jump up and down as they babbled incoherently over each other. It was impossible to accurately translate what they were feeling at that moment into words, and as such all that came out were a series of squeaks and shouts. Suddenly, every hardship they had gone through was worth it. Every risk, every ounce of stress, every little doubt- it had all paid off.
Brian was innocent. He did not commit that terrible crime. And now, the world knew.
At that, Allison realized that they were ignoring the man in question.
“E-Elizabeth!” she exclaimed, reigning in her emotions. “B-Brian! We n-need to…!”
Elizabeth immediately understood what she was getting at, and released her from her tight embrace. Allison dashed over to the table and kneeled down so her face was at Brian’s level. She saw that he was sitting down, his legs spread out in front of him as he stared at the television. He looked completely, positively, and overwhelmingly stunned. He looked like he was looking at everything and nothing at the same time, bringing back the memory of when he had entered his trance.
“Brian?” Allison asked softly, smiling warmly at him through her tears.
Brian did not respond, he only continued to stare in the direction of the television.
“Brian, baby, look at me,” she repeated, ever so gently teasing his chin towards her with the tip of her fingernail.
Brian locked eyes with her, and the sight of his loved one snapped him out of it. His eyes focused on her, and they immediately softened in pure emotion.
“We did it, baby,” Allison whispered. “We did it.”
Brian slowly adopted a small smile, and his bottom lip began to quiver. Before he succumbed to his emotions, though, his gaze hardened and his eyes steeled over. With renewed conviction, he looked to Elizabeth, who had been watching them intently with an emotional smile.
“What happened?” he asked firmly. His voice was deadly serious.
“Security camera footage?” he asked incredulously, to which both women nodded. Elizabeth was looking at her laptop, and Allison was staring at her phone. They had realized that looking it up would be quicker than watching the news, and as such were furiously examining the dozens of articles that had popped up regarding Brian’s innocence in the last ten minutes.
“It says here…” Elizabeth started, narrowing her eyes at the screen through her glasses. She had mostly calmed down, but the occasional tear was still clouding her vision, and her voice was still shaky with excitement.
“It says that… they saw him on a security camera near the hotel Timmy was staying at… and he was… dragging him away! Oh, no…” she continued, drawing one hand to her mouth.
“Yeah, and they also saw him on a few security cameras from stores in the financial square where Timmy died,” Allison chimed in, reading from another article. “They saw him entering the alley with Timmy, and leaving without him and covered with blood… and… he was carrying a knife! Holy shit, there’s no fucking doubt about it!”
“This is unbelievable…” Elizabeth replied. “Just like that, they identified him and arrested him. Oh, I don’t even know how to express what I’m feeling right now! Brian, isn’t this amazing?!”
“It hasn’t even been three full days…” he murmured. His eyes were narrowed, and his expression was extremely conflicted.
“What’s wrong, sweetie?” Elizabeth asked softly.
“It took only two days of investigation… to find him…” he repeated, as if in a trance. Allison and Elizabeth exchanged a concerned glance.
“If they had done any investigation at the time… anything at all… none of this would have happened,” he continued, in an angry strained whisper. Both women’s faces fell when they realized what he was getting at, and their hearts softened in sympathy. Allison pulled over a chair and sat down in front of his location on the table, before tenderly stroking his cheek with her finger.
“Brian, it’s okay,” she soothed, with a loving smile. “What matters is that they found him. You’re innocent, and everybody knows now. Everything is going to be okay.”
Brian nodded, although he was still clearly troubled. Elizabeth decided to change the subject a bit.
“U-Um, I’m having trouble finding information on why the murderer did it,” she cut in. Allison perked up a bit in response.
“Me too. They probably haven’t figured it out yet, if they only just arrested him. I wonder if-”
“I don’t want to know,” Brian said softly. Allison and Elizabeth looked to him with concerned eyes.
“When they find out… I don’t care if you two know, but… I don’t want to know.” he continued, darkening his tone and looking down at the table.
“Okay, sweetheart. You don’t have to know,” Elizabeth replied comfortingly, to which Allison nodded in affirmation. Elizabeth walked towards Brian and kneeled down next to him. Her eyes softened in loving adoration, and she gently rustled his hair a bit.
“We did it, Brian. The world isn’t going to remember you as a killer,” she whispered. Brian let out a deep sigh, before finally cheering up a bit. He allowed himself to be happy at that fact, and he smiled widely.
“You’re right. You’re both right. This isn’t the time for that. I’m innocent, and now everybody fucking knows it.”
“Fucking yes!” Allison cheered, raising one first in celebration. Elizabeth smiled warmly at their display, thoroughly relieved that Brian was no longer upset.
“Damn right,” she said. “Now, I know this is going to sound weird, but I actually have to go out for a bit.”
“Wait, what?” Allison asked, her fist frozen in midair.
“Brian, the campaign to prove your innocence just ended. But the campaign to take down the Shrink Penalty and return you to normal just began,” she explained. Brian and Allison made an appreciative noise in response.
“True…” Brian muttered.
“Shit, that’s right!” Allison exclaimed. “Now that the world knows, it’s time to get you back to normal!”
“Absolutely, and we need to strike while the iron is hot. Now, I need to go have a few very important talks with a few very important people, and I don’t have the time to stay here and make appointments. I’ll beat down their doors if I have to, but I have to go,” she continued. “I’ll be back in a couple hours, and then maybe we can do a bit of celebrating.”
She reached out and gave Brian a playful nudge to his side, to which he smiled again.
“Sound good to both of you?” she asked, turning her eyes to Allison as well. They both nodded vigorously, and she grinned widely.
“Excellent,” she purred. “Be right back, kids. Oh, but first…”
Suddenly, she leaned forward and laid on an enormous kiss to Brian’s whole body, nearly enveloping his entire left side with her thick, smothering lips. She let it hang for a moment, and he groaned in disapproval. Finally, she pulled away with an exaggerated smack.
“You’re innocent!” she squealed with delight. Brian examined his shirt and pants, and saw that they were now a little wet with her saliva.
“Elizabeth,” he whined, “you know I have to change my clothes now, right?”
“Good thing I made lots of clothes, then!” she replied with a wink. Still grinning widely, she turned to Allison, who had been watching the display with a slightly annoyed expression.
“Anyway, I’ll be back. Look after Brian for a bit, okay?” Elizabeth asked, before rising to her feet and giving Allison another huge hug. Once she was close enough, she moved her mouth a little closer to her ear.
“This is all because of you,” she whispered. “You saved his life, and now you’ve saved his memory. I’m so proud of you.”
She pulled away, and saw that Allison had slightly teared up as she smiled appreciatively at her kind words. She then mouthed the words “thank you.” Elizabeth gave a quick nod in response, before leaning in again to give her a gentle kiss on the cheek. With that, she made her way towards the closet to grab her coat. Once she was about to open the door, though, she remembered something and turned back towards them. Although she would normally treat it like a bigger deal, her brain was too scrambled to give it the proper energy.
“Oh, are you two…?” she asked.
“Yep, we’re back together,” Allison replied chipperly.
“Oh, good,” Elizabeth said plainly, with a small smile. “Well, see ya.”
She left. Just like that, Brian and Allison were alone.
“Um… what should we do now…?” Allison asked. Now that it came down to it, she had no idea where to go or what to do. She sat back down in her chair, and looked at Brian with questioning eyes. She saw that he also looked a little conflicted. However, there was a small spark in his eye that she couldn’t identify.
“Uh… well, what do you want to do?” he asked nervously, averting his eyes. His heart sped up a bit as he came to a terrifying decision. Allison thought carefully for a moment.
“Well, let’s see…” she started. “I want to… well, I definitely want to keep reading about what happened. I also want to go to every internet forum I can think of to see how people are reacting to this. Oh, and I really want to see how the fuckwads on those bad media groups are reacting to this. I bet they’re backpedaling so hard right now, or maybe trying to spin it. Either way, I want to see those worms squirm. Yeah, that about covers it. What do you want to do?”
Brian looked up at her, blushing heavily.
“I want to have sex.”
Brian was sitting atop a pillow on Allison’s bed, with the wall behind him. Allison was standing a few feet away, holding her hands in front of her as she fidgeted. Both of them were beet-red, and their hearts were racing. Composing herself a bit, Allison managed to speak.
“S-So, let’s run through this one more time,” she started anxiously. “Are you sure you want to do this?”
Brian nodded his head quickly, his eyes hiding a layer of frantic energy behind a mask of neutrality.
“Yes,” he said, reassuring himself just as much as his girlfriend. “I want to have sex. I’m innocent, and the world knows it, and I’m innocent, and I’m feeling pretty good, and I want to have sex. Or something.”
“Got it,” Allison replied firmly. “Are you sure that this won’t trigger another flashback?”
“I’m sure,” Brian answered. “For the last month, I’ve been doing research on how to deal with traumatic memories. It’s not the same as getting professional help, obviously, but I’ve gotten a lot better. Like, my stomach doesn’t hurt right now, and I don’t feel like I’m going to panic. I’m still nervous as shit, but, like, not in a bad way, you know?”
“Okay. Still, we’re going to take it really slow, and I’ll check on you every step of the way. If you even feel a trace of panic, let me know and we’ll stop,” Allison replied, to which Brian nodded. Then, an extremely awkward silence overtook the room. Eventually, Allison spoke up.
“S-Should… should we, um… d-do you want to start?” she squeaked. She was about as nervous as she had ever been, even rivalling the first and last time she ever approached the Silver Strip. Brian’s eyes widened a bit, and he couldn’t help but dry swallow.
“Y-Yeah…” he replied shakily. “Um… what do you want to-”
“No way, Brian,” Allison interrupted, holding one hand out towards him.
“I’m not doing a single thing unless you tell me to do it. As of right now, your wish is my command, and I’m not allowed to do anything else. Look, I’ll prove it to you. Tell me to do something,” she continued, flashing him a warm smile as she put her hands on her hips. Hips, by the way, that were still protected by a pair of jeans. Both of them were still fully clothed, but she had a feeling that would be changing soon.
Brian was silent for a moment as he processed this information. When he tried to think of a command, his brain short-circuited.
“Uh… lift your left arm up,” he meekly instructed. With no hesitation, Allison lifted her left arm until it was perpendicular to her body. Being given her first command made her extremely happy, and she somehow managed to smile even wider. Her nerves were fading by the second, and she committed herself to making this as fun for Brian as possible. Nothing else in the world mattered to her.
“Anything else?” she asked playfully. Once again, Brian blanked.
“Nope, that’s it,” he choked out, causing Allison to giggle. Now that her own anxiety was fading, she was able to appreciate just how cute Brian was acting.
“Might I make a suggestion?” she asked softly, to which Brian vigorously nodded.
“How about you tell me to come closer?” she said, trying to put him at ease through her tone. A quick pang of nervous energy shot throughout Brian’s body, but he took a deep breath and got it under control. A task that was surprisingly easy, as compared to their previous sexual encounter.
It’s just Allie… he thought, which quickly calmed him down.
“Okay, come closer,” he instructed, finding his conviction. Still, issuing straight demands made him feel mean, so he couldn’t help but add in a quiet “please” at the end, which made Allison want to squeal in delight at his bashfulness. Then, moving extremely slowly and carefully, she made her way closer to the bed. Soon, her thighs were pressed up against the edge, as she gazed down lovingly at her tiny boyfriend on the pillow.
Suddenly, Brian’s entire field of view was overtaken by nothing but Allison.
If he looked to the left- he saw Allison.
If he looked to the right- he saw Allison.
If he looked up- he saw Allison.
If he looked anywhere- he saw Allison.
However, unlike the previous time this happened, it did not make him feel small. He simply felt loved, completely amazed that such an enormous being was singularly focused on his happiness.
“How do you feel?” Allison asked kindly, completely prioritizing Brian’s comfort over her own arousal. Arousal that existed in earnest, mind you, but was nowhere near as controlling.
“Pretty good…” Brian muttered, as if in a trance in the face of her mountainous beauty.
“Excellent,” Allison purred. “Alright, what would you like me to do next?”
“U-Um… um… suggestion, please,” Brian muttered in embarrassment.
“I’ll tell you what,” Allison replied with a grin, “how about I ask you some yes or no questions, and you just let me know if you get any separate ideas on the way, okay?”
“Okay,” Brian replied, letting out a sigh of relief.
“Perfect. How would you… like me to take my clothes off?” she asked, just a little scared that he might start to panic again. Brian’s eyes did widen a bit, but it was only in surprise at her boldness. However, he quickly grew a little uncomfortable.
“Uh… I don’t…” he murmured while averting his eyes. Allison lightly frowned in sympathy.
“Brian, don’t forget that I won’t do anything unless you’ve approved it. I don’t have to get naked if it makes you nervous. What if…”
Suddenly, she felt a little bashful. Surprising, since she had offered to get naked only moments prior.
“What if I, um… kept my underwear on?” she asked nervously. Brian resumed eye contact with her, and let out another small sigh of relief.
“T-That’s… that would be okay,” he replied quietly, somehow managing to blush even harder.
“Okay,” Allison said resolutely, as she closed her eyes and let out a determined huff. Suddenly, though, she came to a crushing realization.
WAIT! Did I pick out cute underwear today?! she thought, frantically searching through her memories. To her enormous relief, she remembered that she was wearing one of her favorite pairs. With that important confirmation, she began to remove her shirt and pants. Brian instinctively began to look away to give her some privacy, but he quickly realized that doing so would defeat the point. Soon enough, his girlfriend was standing before him once again, but this time clad only in her underwear.
As Allison had confirmed, it was an extremely cute set. Her ample chest was covered by a lacy purple bra, which wasn’t quite as aggressive as what she was wearing during Brian’s “birthday,” but no less inviting. Her bottom half sported a garment of similar color, just simple enough to not draw attention away from her naturally suggestive curves. She stood by the bed for a moment, her heart pounding as she gave her beloved a moment to adjust.
“H-How are you feeling?” she asked. Brian had been staring at her dumbfoundedly, as his eyes traveled up and down the vast expanse of her scantily clad body. Her voice snapped him out of it, and he lightly cleared his dry throat.
“You’re, um… you’re really pretty,” he admitted, before closing his eyes in embarrassment. His kind words caused Allison’s heart to explode, and she became even more committed to making this a positive experience for him.
“Awww~” she gushed. “You’re so sweet, baby. Thank you. What I meant, though, is… well, how are you feeling down there?”
“Oh,” Brian sheepishly replied, before channeling his mental energy into checking.
“I-I don’t know,” he said, slightly fidgeting in his lower half. “I might feel something… but, it’s hard to tell, and I’m kinda nervous…”
“Hey, hey, don’t worry about it,” Allison reassured. “Is it okay if I lay down on the bed right next to you?”
Brian nodded, and she carefully crawled onto the bed, making sure not to bounce the area around her pillow too much. Soon, she was laying on her side, with her head resting right next to her tiny boyfriend. Knowing that her mouth was so close to him, she kept her voice extremely soft as she began to speak.
“Do you want to try taking your clothes off?” she asked lightly. Luckily, Brian had already prepared himself for this question. As such, he was ready to try something he had never truly done before: flirting.
“Only if you help me,” he replied playfully. Allison was slightly stunned at this unexpected development, but the surprise was soon replaced with gleeful anticipation.
“My pleasure,” she cooed, before drawing one hand closer to him. “Arms up, please.”
Brian complied, and Allison pinched the bottom of his shirt with her fingers. Then, with extreme care, she pulled it up until it was off. Suddenly, for the first time in a month, Allison was seeing Brian without his shirt off. Thanks to some 3D printed weights, his body had in no way softened over the past month- a fact that his girlfriend was now seriously appreciating. She simply had to say something.
“You’re really handsome, you know that?” she breathed, while biting her lip. Whereas such a straightforward compliment like that would have previously made his stomach turn, it now made Brian feel nothing but happiness, along with a little bashfulness. As he had predicted when he regained his memories, moving on from his assault became a lot easier once he became aware of it.
“Thanks…” he muttered. “I’ll, um… I’ll do the pants…”
Allison nodded, trying not to let her excitement outwardly show too much. With that, Brian took a deep breath and removed his pants. Elizabeth hadn’t quite figured out underwear yet, so that was all it took. Just like that, for the first time since the night she and Cathy had tortured him, Allison was seeing Brian with no clothes on. Additionally, for the first time ever, she felt safe in admiring his lower half. To her mild surprise, and her tremendous excitement, it was pretty big.
Oh, just you wait until we get you back to normal, and… not the time, Allie.
“Well, well, well,” she purred, to which Brian rolled his eyes.
“If you make a ‘size’ joke, we’re breaking up again,” he said plainly. Allison had a small giggle fit, although she was careful not to overwhelm him with the noise. That was enough to break the ice, and they both suddenly felt comfortable with their choice, or lack, of clothes.
“Alright, I think it’s time to pass the torch to you, baby,” Allison said. “What would you like to do now?”
Pushing down his embarrassment, Brian reached into the part of his brain that Allison had awoken.
“Could you, um… could you t-touch me again? Like you did that one time, when I was on the pillow in your lap?” he asked, once more averting his eyes shyly.
Allison thought carefully for a moment, before she recalled what he was talking about. It was on their day off, when she had unexpectedly attacked him with her fingers.
“You want a nice massage, darling?” she asked teasingly, causing Brian to blush even harder.
“You’re the actual worst, Starr,” he mumbled.
“And proud of it,” Allison replied, before rolling onto her belly and propping herself up on her elbows. She carefully placed her hands on either side of the blushing, naked one-inch man on her pillow, then paused for a moment.
“Is this still okay?” she softly asked.
“Yeah,” Brian answered.
With that, Allison moved her hands inwards and began to gently poke, prod, stroke, caress, and massage the tiny body of her tiny boyfriend. She lovingly moved her fingers up and down his frame- fondling his chest with a couple while stroking his arm with a few others. Her warm and gentle touch quickly washed away Brian’s embarrassment and anxiety, as he came to the realization that he was simply having fun with a girl he loved. There was absolutely nothing to be afraid of. At that realization, he allowed himself to completely relax and enjoy the soothing sensations coming from Allison’s loving digits. Eventually, something peculiar happened.
Is that…? Allison thought, as she began to notice it.
“Baby?” she asked, keeping up her impromptu massage. Brian was too relaxed to respond, so he simply grunted in acknowledgement.
“How are you, um… feeling, down there?” she continued. She slowed her movements, so he could evaluate. Once he did, his eyes shot open as he looked down at his nether regions.
“Do I have an…?” he asked, slowly and carefully. Allison smiled extremely widely, and her eyes positively sparkled.
“You do,” she replied jovially. “This confirms it, Brian. You’re demisexual.”
Brian drew one hand to his mouth, and he couldn’t help but get a little emotional. Suddenly, one of his greatest desires had been fulfilled. He finally knew what it felt like to be aroused, and he absolutely loved it.
“You know what else that means?” Allison continued eagerly, to which Brian shook his head.
“That means that I am the singular person in the entire universe that can get you excited,” she purred, before leaning in a little closer. “Way to make a girl feel special.”
“That’s because you are special, Allie,” Brian replied. “You’re the most amazing person I’ve ever met. I love you.”
Allison’s eyes softened in pure, overwhelming love for the one-inch man in front of her. She reaffirmed herself to the belief that rescuing him from death was the best thing she had ever done.
“And I love you, Brian Bentley,” she cooed, before activating an extremely muted version of her predator mode.
“So, now that we know it works, what would you like me to do with it?” she asked seductively, causing Brian to lightly gulp.
“Um… could you give me a kiss…?” he asked, somewhat losing his confidence.
“I was hoping you’d say that,” Allison replied, as she grinned widely. “Would you like me to make it a special kiss?”
Brian’s eyes widened slightly, and his blush somehow deepened. At that, Allison decided it was time to check in.
“Hey, how are you feeling?” she asked kindly. “We’ve already made a lot of progress today, we can stop if you want to.”
Brian stopped, and took a breath. He pondered carefully for a moment, before deciding to screw it and just go all in.
“T-Tell me that I’m yours!” he exclaimed, causing Allison to flinch.
“H-Huh?” she asked incredulously, as this was the last thing she was expecting. Brian vigorously nodded in response.
“It always made me feel nice when you said shit like ‘you’re mine’ and ‘you belong to me,’ s-so go ahead and do that and give me a special kiss, please!” he shouted, closing his eyes and just throwing it all out there. Allison needed a moment to adjust in the face of his sudden honesty, but once she did her own excitement returned with a vengeance.
“I-I see,” she replied, not wanting to embarrass him any more than he already was. “Well, I’m happy to oblige. You know why?”
Brian shook his head, slowly opening his eyes as he continued to blush.
Suddenly, Allison leaned forward and gave him a gentle peck on his face. She pulled away only slightly, so his view was of her smiling mouth.
“Because I simply love reminding you that you’re mine,” she whispered, keeping her voice incredibly soft. Still, her words caused Brian’s body to vibrate from the intense sound waves they were creating.
“Nothing makes me happier than telling my boyfriend that he belongs to me, and nobody else. You hear that, baby? You’re mine, and mine alone.”
She finally pulled away, and eagerly examined her tiny boyfriend. She saw that he was extremely red, and borderline panting. Most importantly, though, she realized that her words had gotten him incredibly excited. She grinned victoriously, extremely happy that she had discovered another one of his weaknesses. Taking another moment to confirm that he was not distressed, or even remotely conveying anything other than “keep going,” she finally moved in for her special kiss.
She engulfed his body in the squishy folds of her plump lips, and began to lightly move them around as she gave him repeated kisses. This became increasingly easy, as his body was becoming slicker and wetter with every new smooch. Every time she pulled away, she could hear that Brian was panting and moaning, completely lost in the sensations. The knowledge that she was introducing him to an entire new world of pleasure got Allison extremely excited, and she couldn’t help but let one hand drift down to her waist. Still, she continued.
Eventually, she decided that it was time to get serious. She pulled away once more, letting Brian catch his breath. She then leaned back in for another kiss, only this time she was much more deliberate in where she was aiming. With precision and skill that should have been impossible for such a large creature, she directed Brian’s member into the gap between her lips. She began to lightly suck inwards, creating a comfortable pressure that pulled Brian’s hips upwards into her soft skin. She then began to move her lips all around, creating movement and sensation from every possible angle. Brian’s eyes were shut tight, and he felt like his mind was going to explode as his body undulated in every direction. Just when he felt like he was going to go crazy, something even crazier happened.
She herself had succumbed to her pleasure a bit, and she couldn’t stop a soft purr from reverberating throughout her body. To Brian, this created an all-encompassing noise that was accompanied by an all-encompassing vibration, and he instinctively gasped with pleasure. Allison miraculously sensed this, and just to be safe pulled away to check on him. What she found was that her one-inch boyfriend had turned into a quietly moaning mess, as his body begged for release. Her pulling away was unintentionally the meanest thing she had ever done to him, and he was desperate for the sensation to resume. As such, he managed to force out a few words.
“D-Do… that… a-again…” he panted. Allison got the picture, and she smiled widely as she leaned back in. She resumed assaulting him with her lips, but this time she added the mind-blowing sensation of a continuous moan. It proved too much, and within seconds it was over. Brian bucked his hips and let out a pleasured exclamation, as he experienced something completely, overwhelmingly, and amazingly new. Just like that, he knew what it felt like to have an orgasm, and he fucking loved it.
A small amount of time had passed. Brian, understandably, was unable to talk for a few minutes, so he had been laying on Allison’s pillow, panting heavily, as she softly and lovingly stroked his hair. Grabbing a tissue from her nightstand, she began to dry his sweat-and-saliva drenched body. Through it all, Brian had been staring at her. His eyes were half-closed, yet hyperfocused on her, in a primal expression of overwhelming love. There was nothing in the universe he wouldn’t have done for her at that moment, and she knew it. As such, she had adopted a smug and satisfied smile as she gently tended to his exhausted body. Eventually, Brian was able to think coherently again, and the reality of the situation crashed down on him. Immediately, he got emotional.
“What’s wrong?” Allison whispered, as she resumed stroking his hair.
“I thought… I thought I was going to die…” he replied, matching her tone.
“When?” she asked, a little concerned.
“In prison…” he answered, as a tear raced down his cheek. Allison’s eyes softened as she realized what he was getting at, and her heart melted.
“I thought… I was going to die… with the world hating me,” he said, finding it increasingly difficult to speak.
“I thought I was going to die… without knowing what it felt like to love someone…”
“Oh, Brian…” Allison whispered, as a tear of her own fell down her face.
“Everything good in my life is because of you, Allie,” he said, with all the love in the world.
“Thank you. I love you.”
“I love you, too.”
Everything was perfect.
Some time later, they were back in the living room and watching television. It was one of the bad networks, and they were relishing the frantic backpedaling that was occurring in the face of Brian’s innocence. As more details were released throughout the day, it became harder and harder to spin the story, until everybody was forced to confront the truth that Brian Bentley was indeed innocent. They loved it.
Suddenly, they heard the sound of keys interacting with the front door. Exchanging a quick glance, Allison rose from the couch before carefully scooping Brian up in her palms. Once he was secure, she moved towards the door to greet the individual who had returned. The door swung open, and they were once again faced with Elizabeth Dawson. Once she caught sight of them, her face lit up.
“There’s my darling innocent man,” she cooed, while stepping inside. She then glanced up at the woman holding him.
“Oh, hey Allie,” she said plainly, as if only just noticing her.
“Wooooooooooow,” Allison groaned, rolling her eyes. At that, both Elizabeth and Brian cracked up.
“Kidding! I’m so happy to see both of-”
She stopped, before narrowing her eyes suspiciously.
“You both look different,” she said accusingly. “Did something happen while I was gone?”
Brian averted his eyes in embarrassment, while Allison widened hers in shock.
“How did you…?!” she stammered, before clearing your throat.
“A-Anyway, how were your meetings?” she hurriedly asked. Elizabeth let the awkward silence hang for a moment, before closing her eyes and sighing in defeat.
“Oh, whatever,” she muttered. Now that her shoes and coat were removed, she beckoned them to follow her to the couch. She sat down at the edge, and Allison sat down next to her while still holding Brian.
“Okay, there are a lot of moving parts right now,” she started. “I’m obviously going to tell you about all of them, but I need to know one thing first.”
“What is it?” replied Allison.
“When are we going to go public?” Elizabeth asked, her voice deadly serious. Allison and Brian were stunned speechless for a moment, as they had completely forgotten about that in the face of their sexual exploits.
“Now, I think we should go public right away,” Elizabeth continued. “The media fever is at its greatest intensity right now. Brian, if we want to use you to illustrate the danger of the SP, then revealing that you’re actually alive will make the public outrage that much greater. If we really play into the ‘fact’ that you’re permanently shrunken to one-inch tall for a crime you didn’t commit, it’ll hit way harder with the public. What do you both think?”
Allison nodded appreciatively, while Brian frowned.
“I’m against it,” he said. “Don’t forget, telling the world about me also means putting Allie in danger, since she broke the law.”
Allison smiled at his concern for her, although she didn’t think it was necessary. Just when she was about to respond, though, something on the television caught her eye.
“True, but remember what I said about how public perception would protect her?” Elizabeth asked. “There’s no way that there wouldn’t be outrage if she was punished for saving your life.”
“I know, I know, and I’m 90% sure that’d be the case, but unless it’s guaranteed I just don’t feel comfortable putting her at-”
“Guys!” Allison exclaimed. Looking towards her, Brian and Elizabeth saw that she was staring at the television with extremely wide eyes. They turned to the screen, and what they saw shocked them into silence. Brian felt like his heart was going to explode.
There, on the screen, was Jennifer Bentley. It looked like a recorded video that the news was replaying, as she was in a room while clearly filming herself with her phone. Her long, black hair reached down past the frame, and her striking green eyes were sunken and lifeless. Brian had never seen her look so sad, and it broke his heart. After a moment of unbearable silence, she began to speak into the camera.
“I failed my brother,” she said quietly. Her voice, neither high nor low pitched, was dripping with sadness.
“When they… when she first told me what my brother was accused of, I obviously didn’t believe them,” she continued. “I screamed, I cried, I threw things, because I simply knew that my brother couldn’t have done that.”
She took a deep breath.
“The truth is that I’ve always known that. I never stopped believing in him. But I still failed him, because I was too much of a coward to say so,” she whispered, averting her eyes in shame. “Now, I could take the easy way out and say that it’s because my mother wouldn’t let me. Because it’s true- she kept the spotlight off me, and threatened me with punishment if I ever shared my thoughts publicly. She didn't even let me visit him in prison, before he was permanently moved. She said it was for my safety, my future, and all this other stuff that I told myself I didn’t care about. But that isn’t the whole truth.”
“The truth is that, when it came down to it, I was scared to talk,” she admitted, darkening her tone even more. “I could have found someone with a camera if I really wanted to. I’ve had thousands of opportunities to defend my brother in the last three years, but I never took them. Whenever I would get close, this awful voice would start ringing in my ears. The voice would say ‘the world will hate you’ and ‘he wouldn’t even hear about it anyway.’ And that was enough. I backed down, every time. I was a coward.”
“You were just a kid, Jen…” Brian whispered, gritting his teeth. “You were just a kid!”
Allison and Elizabeth’s hearts fractured at what was going on, and Allison began to softly stroke his back with her finger. Still, Jennifer continued.
“But you know what I realize now? None of it mattered. Even if the world would have hated me, and even if there was no guarantee that he would find out, I still should have said something. If there was even a chance - a tiny, infinitesimal chance - that my words, my love would have reached him, then it would’ve been worth it. He deserved to know that at least one person believed in him. He deserved to know that his baby sister hadn’t given up on him.”
Her voice cracked at the end, as she was clearly getting emotional. After taking a breath, she continued.
“But I didn’t,” she said resolutely. “I didn’t, and now it’s too late. At least now, you all know what I knew. You know that my brother is innocent, and we killed him anyway.”
She paused, trying not to get angry.
“Anyway. I just want to speak to my brother for a moment,” she said softly, causing her brother’s eyes to widen. She looked up and stared resolutely into the camera. After a moment, her expression softened.
“Hey, Bean,” she started, adopting a small smile. “I just wanted to say… thank you for everything. Thank you for making me dinner every day. Thank you for helping me with my homework. Thank you for praising me when I did well in school. Thank you for reading to me before bed. Thank you for reading to me before bed, even when I got way too old for it. Thank you for hugging me, and telling me that everything was going to be alright. Thank you for loving me, when it felt like nobody else would. Just… thank you for being my big brother. I love you, Bean. And, um… I’m s-sorry you died thinking I didn’t.”
With that, just as she began to cry, she stopped recording. The screen flashed back to a news anchor, who looked like they were trying not to cry themselves. Before they could speak, Elizabeth reached forward and turned the television off. The room was overtaken by silence, except for the occasional sniffle coming from Allison and Elizabeth, as small tears were streaming down their faces. After a moment, though, they realized that no such noises were coming from Brian. No, his eyes were anything but wet. They were intense. Focused. Determined. Even a little angry. Elizabeth noticed this, and grew a little concerned.
“Brian?” she softly asked. “Sweetheart, what’s wrong?”
Coming to a decision, Brian turned around. Soon, he was facing them. Then, without any warning, he spoke.
“Fuck it. Let’s tell the world.”
To Be Continued!
That's right, this series is a trilogy! Now, I 2000% need a long break from writing, but I'm definitely going to see this thing through. Regardless, I hope you enjoyed this story! Please let me know what you thought, as I'd love to hear it. I'll see you next time!!
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters and settings are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.