Part 12 HxCxV (Hero x Caretaker x Villain; referring to it as the other way from now on)
Alright, I posted this 15 hours ago, or at least tried. So here we are again. Be prepared, it’s quite adorable :)
Part 11 here
It was obvious that Hero was nervous. Her fingers twitched the entire car ride. She darted her eyes between road, sky, electric line, building, road, bird, road; Hero had no focus. Her breathing was heavy, and her chest rose with such ferocity that Villain was surprised nothing was busting out, like her heart or her entire ribcage.
On another hand, these things were also signs of Hero’s excitement. The only time she’d ever left Villain’s home was when he forced her into the garden, which was something he heavily regretted doing.
But it was okay because Villain was working on things. He was taking her to the cafe, wasn’t he? And he’d given Hero over a week before even trying to talk to her. Maybe he shouldn’t have talked to her at all, but he felt bad forgetting to give her the little ghosts from her apartment.
They were in the city now, buildings on either side of the road. Most were reflective and Villain watched as Hero watched the sky on said reflective panes. She smiled, just barely, with one side of her mouth- that Villain could see- lifted and tucked beneath a somewhat chubby cheek. Hero was kind of cute, he realized. He’d seen her smile before, but not so closely before. Not so genuine or sincere either.
The car pulled up beside the sidewalk and the driver eyed Villain in the rear view mirror. “What time is your shift over?”
He had to think about it. “There’s a song that helps me remember that…”
“9 to 5?” Villain turned his gaze on Hero who was smiling a little more than before. She looked like she could laugh.
“Yeah. Yeah, that’s it,” Villain said, then sang rather terribly, “Workin’ nine to five.” He had to stop a smile from forming on his own face. “Shift is over at five.”
“I’ll see you at five, then,” the driver said.
Hero opened the door, being the one closest to the sidewalk. She slid out and Villain followed, sliding across the entirety of the back seats before getting out of the car as well, shutting the car door behind him.
Hero waited, seemingly unsure what to do with herself. Villain was simply surprised she wasn’t trying to run away already. He wasn’t sure what he would do if she did start to run. He knew he wouldn’t use his powers to stop her, not as his powers were growing more and more untameable. Villain would never do anything that could potentially harm her again- not physically, that is, as physical harm was the only thing he could control. He wasn’t so great at maintaining a healthy mental state of Hero.
Waving goodbye to his driver, Villain walked to the entrance of The Milk Bowl, pulling the door open and stepping aside as he gestured for Hero to walk through. She did, tucking away a small smirk.
It wasn’t often that Villain was a gentleman, holding a door open for her. She still hated him, still despised his lying and harmful self. But, he didn’t have to hold the door open. And he certainly didn’t have to take her to the cafe. She was still shocked he agreed to take her to begin with. He would probably be afraid the whole time they were out that she’d run, but she didn’t plan on it. Hero couldn’t say exactly why she didn’t want to run. She only assumed it was because she knew she’d be caught again.
“So you really work here,” Hero said, turning to look at the villain who wore an apron instead of a cape. Not that he ever wore a cape, but that was at least more imaginable than the apron he wore now.
“For over a month now,” he replied, now fiddling with the strings behind his back trying to tie them. “Um. I doubt they’ll let you behind the counter, but no one’s gonna mind if you take a seat somewhere in the rest of the cafe.” He finished knotting the strings.
Before they fully departed for the next eight hours- minus Villain’s break time- Hero said, “You look different in this setting.”
“Just different, that’s all.”
Without another word, Hero strolled away to a corner table, one by the windows so that she could see the mirrored buildings outside. She always loved them, loved the way it gave a new perspective to the sky. Somehow the sky always looked more realistic through a reflection than in normal eyes; it was sharper in a mirror, more defined- even if it was stretched.
The opposite applied for Villain, who’d become human in the cafe’s atmosphere. He was as Hero said; he was different. He- well, he was always human, but he seemed more so now. Villain had a job. He worked behind a counter and he made teas and- and coffees. He handed out muffins and limited time cake pops. Villain was human. Not just a criminal or a captor- a kidnapper. He was human.
A piece of Hero despised him for it. How dare he provide her with a gentle image of himself? How dare he allow her to see a side of him that wasn’t evil when that’s all she wished to see of him? Then again, it was either Villain be kind and take her to the cafe with him, or keep her trapped in the house for the next eight hours. Hero thought she preferred the first, though she wasn’t one-hundred percent positive.
Even having not been sat for very long, Hero stood from her two person table and walked to the register where Villain stood looking bored out of his mind. He stared vacantly at nothing until Hero approached. It was then that he smiled, or at least hinted at one.
“You know, if I’m going to be here the whole eight hours…” She raised a brow, one corner of her mouth lifting with it. “You should at least treat me to a drink.” She took a look at the chalkboard menu behind Villain’s body.
“Ah,” he scolded. “No need to look at the menu. I already know what you’ll order.”
Before Hero could ask how he would know what she wanted, he said, “A cappuccino with whipped cream just brimming the edge of the cup, a chocolate ring on the whip.”
Hero’s mouth opened in an inaudible ‘Wow’.
Villain reminded her, “I was working as a barista before I was fighting you as a villain.” He added, “And I’ve been the one making your drink most of the time. And every Monday…” he trailed off, grabbing cups and tins and pulling levers, pushing buttons- overall dancing across the space behind his counter.
He owned the space behind the counter right now. Eventually, he stopped his twirling and astronaut-fashioned button-pushing. Villain walked to the pick-up counter, where Hero naturally walked to, waiting for him to finish her drink. For a minute she wondered if he wasn’t playing a trick, and that he might not drink it himself in front of her.
“Every Monday,” he said again, “I add rainbow sprinkles.” Villain gently set the cup down on the hard counter and pushed it softly towards Hero. A part of her expected him to say this next part, but it still shocked her nonetheless- “What better way to start the week than-” “-rainbow sprinkles.” They said it at the same time.
Hero took a shuddering breath.
In the next moment, the bell to the cafe door rang. Hero saw Villain’s face drop first. Then, as she turned, she watched Caretaker step in with his best friend. Her heart thundered and dropped at the same time.
I debated on whether or not to leave you guys on a cliff hanger. I decided I liked to live on this edge for a little bit, especially after such a cute scene :)