diana + total control <3
36. total control + diana.
warnings: narcissistic behaviour, past cheating, somewhat graphic violent thoughts, insecurity, body image, chronic illness, mention of omnicide, indoctrination, flogging (for the quote at the end, not the actual fic)
[read on ao3]
All he wanted was to go to bed, to finally do his routine properly for the first time in a good while then get some rest. He didn’t even have to sleep – though a few hours would be nice, even if he didn’t need as much as humans anymore – he just needed to get away from all the incessant nagging and have some time to himself.
Wesker had been working non-stop as of late, spending almost all of his time in the lab he usually shared with Diana, or in his office, and he had finally run out of steam. The last few days seemed to exhaust him, and that old friend was almost unrecognisable after so many years of vigour. But he couldn’t stay another night in his office, reminders of all the things he wished to perfect only enticing him to give up rest entirely, even if that meant he had to sit through reading another one of these imbecile’s reports.
Navigating through the facility with ease, even with fatigue threatening to dull his senses, he broke his stride when the shrill clicking of heels sounded in the next corridor. It seemed to reach behind Wesker’s eyes and make his brain bash against his skull, much like the way it used to with his migraines. But it wasn’t so much the noise as it was the cause of them, and he almost turned around to head back to his office, not wanting to deal with that annoyance at the moment.
That is, until he realised she was heading away from his destination, footsteps growing distant with each passing second, and the relief he felt from that was absurd. He rounded the corner and reached the door she had been in front of, swiping his keycard and entering the code to his room as if on autopilot; the slow hiss as it slid open was almost comforting, the promise of peace and quiet so close within reach.
But once he caught sight of Diana already in bed with her back to the door, his stomach twisted into a knot. He hadn’t seen her since she had made those unfounded claims against him the day prior, meaning he’d fumbled to give himself the last two doses of his medication, but the thought of looking for her hadn’t even crossed his mind, far too busy with more important matters than the ridiculous train of thought she had surmised.
He would have thought she was already asleep considering the way she was lying perfectly still with the covers up to her shoulders, the lights out and the scent of her moisturiser lingering in the air, but the moment he began taking off his coat, he noticed how her heart rate increased.
Then she took a deep breath.
“I think we need some time apart.”
Wesker paused in the middle of hanging up his coat when her quiet words reached him, wrapping themselves around every one of his muscles and pulling them taut. He could only look down at his hand balled into a fist around material as he slowly nodded in response, even though she couldn’t see it. He almost thought he could hear the blood rushing through his arteries and up to his head, making him feel like he was burning from the inside out.
The simple statement echoed in his mind, the words overlapping and varying in volume, taunting him at every turn alongside his own thoughts. Mocking him.
…time apart. She’s leaving. She won’t come back. Not coming back. Like Mirjana. We need some time apart. It’s always been like this, me against them. We need some time apart.
But Diana didn’t stop there.
“I can’t be here at the moment. I’m going to stay with Alex for a while.” The slight waver in her voice was betraying the composure he knew she was desperately trying to keep, and he shouldn’t have felt guilty for it. He had nothing to feel guilty for.
“How long?” The words felt heavy leaving his throat, and Wesker swallowed in a futile attempt to try and fight off the lump that had taken up residence there.
The small sniffle he heard made him glance back over at Diana; she shifted beneath the covers, one of her hands coming up to her face, and he could only assume that she was rubbing her nose. Whatever anger he may have felt towards her for causing this mess, for hurting him with her accusations, it seemed to be fighting a losing battle against his love for her. Why a small sound such as that could tug at his heart, he would never understand. No one else could elicit such a reaction from him.
“I don’t know.” It was barely audible, only a whisper, and yet he heard it clear as day, as though she had spoken the words directly into his ear.
Diana pulled the covers closer around herself then stilled once more, only listening to the way his heart was pounding in his chest. Or was that hers? She couldn’t tell, but it made her feel sick to her stomach. It was foolish of her to think that he’d understand her decision, but she had hoped he’d calmed down enough from yesterday to at least see it from her perspective.
Perhaps he had simply left her alone with her thoughts for too long.
His footsteps as he made his way further into their room seemed deafening in her ears, and she wasn’t prepared for the panic that set in behind her sternum when she heard him round the bed. She had no reason to panic around him; she never had before, but the moment she saw movement out of the corner of her eye, she took another long inhale through her nose.
Wesker slowly crouched down in front of her, one hand reaching up to pull his sunglasses off while the other settled on the bed by her hip, but Diana only rolled onto her back and looked up at the ceiling, avoiding him as best she could. The heavy sigh he let out at that had her eyes stinging and she wanted to hate him for it. She wished she could hate him.
Her name barely left his lips before Diana muttered, “I can’t look at you right now.”
“I apologise for raising my voice.”
It sounded so rehearsed. So hollow. Or maybe she was too upset to even notice how his tone had changed. But she knew for a fact that he wasn’t sorry for how he’d spoken to her. She knew. If they had a chance to redo that argument, it would all play out the exact same way as it had. She was sure of it.
Diana turned her head and looked him in the eyes. Those gorgeous scarlet eyes. “Raising your voice?” Her own mutated ones darted between his, searching for something, anything. “You roared at me, Albert. That wasn’t…” She averted her gaze when her voice cracked, and she tried to swallow the lump in her throat. “That was more than yelling. I have never heard such anger in your voice directed at me.”
“You have never questioned my loyalty to you before,” Wesker stated matter-of-factly, and her gaze landed on his face once more. Was he seriously trying to justify it?
She scoffed and shook her head. “So that makes it okay for you to speak to me that way?”
He tilted his head to the side and simply stared at her, one of his brows raised and the corner of his lips pulled upward ever so slightly. She could have punched him for that. This wasn’t like the times where they would laugh off what they both considered inane bickering; he had hurt her. And he hadn’t even bothered to check on her afterwards. Diana knew it was wrong to be as upset as she was when she had caused him to react in such a way, and he had every right to be furious with her for her line of questioning, but she still couldn’t believe the manner in which he had spoken to her.
Turning her head away from him again, she focused on the ceiling once more, preferring the simplicity of it as opposed to whatever look was strewn about his face. Why did he have to come to bed tonight?
The stinging in her eyes and how constricted her throat felt only served to make her feel more pathetic. She wasn’t going to cry over this. That was the last thing she wished to do.
Diana’s hands hesitantly came up to gather some of her hair and she began playing with the ends, a habit Wesker was well-acquainted with whenever she was trying to distract herself from whatever she was feeling. But he didn’t know what to do this time around. It was tough enough dealing with her emotions when he wasn’t trying to keep his temper under control, and the way she was acting like she hadn’t hurt him with her asinine remarks wasn’t helping matters.
A moment passed of neither of them speaking up, and Wesker knew there was little he could do to coax some kind of response from her when she was like this. Instead, he busied himself with unclasping his watch, the one she had bought him on their last anniversary, and he carefully set it aside before he worked on removing his gloves.
“You…” He lifted his head to look over at her due to the tremble in her voice, and he watched as she hurriedly blinked a few times, trying to fight off oncoming tears. “You humiliated me.”
Diana didn’t need to see his face to know what kind of reaction that had caused, judging by the way his hands paused in her peripheral vision, and she could have sworn she heard his jaw clench, teeth grinding together. However, the one thing she was certain of was that he was staring directly at her; she could feel his eyes practically boring a hole into the side of her head. If there had been a flash of that vivid red, she couldn’t tell, and honestly, she didn’t care. Yelling at her like that in their lab, where any passersby could have heard him – and she had no doubt some of the researchers had with the looks she had gotten last night – hurt her more than what he had even said to her.
Wesker rose from his position next to her and picked up his things, walking away from the bed, and there was no doubt in her mind that he needed to get away from her lest he say something nasty.
Diana only watched as he tossed his watch and gloves on the counter in the small kitchen in their room as he passed by it, and she chewed on her lip in an attempt to prevent a shaky breath from leaving her. The way his shoulders were tensed up to his ears and how he rubbed at his eyes as he made his way to the bathroom actually made her feel a bit sick. Why did she have to say anything in the first place?
The moment he was out of sight, she finally let out a deep breath, looking up to try and stop the tears that were welling up in her eyes again. The sound of him beginning to mutter to himself caught her attention, but he turned the shower on before she could make sense of what he was saying, the running water drowning out whatever thoughts he was angry enough that he felt the need to verbalise. The notion that she had ruined everything between them crossed her mind, that their marriage was irreparable after claims such as this, but she refused to believe it.
Time. She simply needed time away.
She rolled onto her side, returning to the position she had been lying in before he had walked over. The photo from their wedding – well, technically, their vow renewal ceremony – that was sitting on her nightstand drew her gaze, and no matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t seem to look away, even though it was only making her feel worse. The miniature versions of the two of them seemed almost unrecognisable. Ten years shouldn’t have felt like a lifetime ago.
Diana didn’t know when she had tucked her knees up to her chest, but staring at that old picture of them only made her tighten her arms around her legs. They stood close, bodies pressed together while they were hand-in-hand, his other arm wrapped around her waist in a possessive gesture, but it was the indistinct smiles on both of their faces, and her loving gaze while his was obscured by his glasses, that really made her chest hurt. Why weren’t they like that anymore? What changed?
Are you done? Wesker had asked far too harshly after she made a few comments about his whereabouts or why he never came to bed anymore, implying he was occupying himself with someone else. She couldn’t even remember what she had said next, something about how it was probably Excella, or maybe even Jill, considering she was around the same age Diana had been when she had met him, but it had set him off. How dare you accuse me of this!
The venom in his voice had rendered her immobile, and she had no time to regain herself and respond before the yelling started. Most of what he had said went in one ear and out the other; she was far too stunned by his reaction for it to sink in. The promises of devotion to her, the reiteration that in over ten years his mind had never wandered, the preaching of how no one on the planet could ever compare to her; none of it seemed to matter with the questions he bellowed.
Would you like to compare me to that poor excuse of an ex-husband in another way? Do you have a plan to kill me next? Diana had only felt betrayed in that moment, negating his reverent monologue. How could he yell something so personal, something she had told him in confidence, for anyone to hear? The way he had tugged on her arm following that, pulling her close to look down into her eyes – luminescence never subsiding – didn’t make her feel nearly as small as what he had spat next. When did you become so insecure?
He had a point. He didn’t have to yell at her, or say it like that, but he had a point. When did she fall back into this behaviour? It had been decades since she needed reassurance from anyone. But this wasn’t for admiration or for her work and abilities to be recognised, it was… different. She had never questioned this before, even when that bastard had slept around for months before she had found out. She had never felt undesirable.
Diana hadn’t heard the water stop, too lost in thought to even notice, but the sound of Wesker’s feet padding across the floor seemed to pull her back to the present. Her breath caught in her throat when the mattress dipped behind her under his weight, and the small tap of his glasses when he placed them down on the nightstand made her heart feel like it was going to break its way out from under her rib cage.
She heard him shift to lie down, getting more comfortable, and her vision clouded once more. He didn’t even lean over to press a kiss into her hair or wrap an arm around her waist. Like most nights these days. Though that was a rather foolish thing to wish for at the minute.
Then he finally spoke up. “When are you leaving?”
She squeezed her eyes shut, but it was too late, a tear had already escaped and rolled down her cheek, catching behind the angle of her jaw.
“Tomorrow,” Diana replied, then she cleared her throat as quietly as she could to rid the rasp in her voice. “I spoke with Alex this morning and she could use some help around the island.”
Wesker glared at the door to their room opposite the bed, trying to focus on anything other than the way the knife twisted in his heart. The fact that she had spoken to Alex about taking some time away before ever discussing it with him made him… not angry per se, but it almost felt like a betrayal in and of itself.
He couldn’t believe her. After everything they had been through together, everything he had done for her, he couldn’t understand where she got this foolish idea in her head that he was cheating on her with that irritant. It went against everything he had ever said to her, every way he had worshipped her. Surely he hadn’t done something without his knowledge to make her feel this way.
Rolling onto his back, Wesker ran his hands down his face. He shouldn’t have yelled at her. Why did he yell at her? They have always spoken about their issues, explained how one of them had upset the other, then they’d apologise and move on. Why did he yell? What had he even said to her? All he could remember was red. Everything had been red.
The thumping of her heart was overwhelming his senses, and for a moment he thought she might actually be scared of him. She had never been scared of him. The pit in his stomach only grew at that, and he clawed through the mess that were his memories to try and remember what had even happened. He couldn’t lose her because of this nonsense. He couldn’t lose her.
Wesker moved over to her side of the bed, suddenly feeling the need to hold her, and he pressed his chest to her back and wrapped an arm around her waist. But the way she tensed up against him felt like a punch in the gut. She used to love being held like this, craved it even, and he couldn’t imagine her not wanting his comfort. Perhaps it had simply been too long since he’d done it.
“Talk to me, dear,” he whispered near her ear, causing the hairs on the back of her neck to stand up on end. Then Diana felt the press of his lips behind her ear, then to the side of her neck, then at her nape. “I’m sorry.”
He needed to stop whispering that in between his fleeting kisses across her shoulders and back, because she wasn’t that far off from kicking him right where she could guarantee it would hurt. He should be glad she hadn’t elbowed him and perhaps cracked a rib or two the moment he had moved closer towards her.
“Stop it,” Diana finally muttered.
Wesker immediately paused in leaving a trail of kisses down her spine and propped himself up on one forearm, his other hand reaching for her cheek as he hovered over her. She turned in his arms, rolling onto her back to look up at him, but that was all she did, golden eyes scanning over his features.
Diana’s heart sank once she saw the pained expression on his face; what she had caused. She wished she could swallow her pride and apologise to him for being so selfish, doubting his loyalty to her because of her own issues. She believed she deserved it then if the hand on her cheek decided to travel lower to close around her throat. He could easily snap it in one fluid motion, or perhaps he would like to crush her trachea instead, just to watch her struggle as her body realised it was being deprived of oxygen.
His hand moved higher instead, fingertips gently brushing her hair away from her face, then Wesker leaned in and rested his forehead against hers, taking her by surprise; she had no doubt her eyes had gone comically wide at that.
“I love you,” he whispered against her lips, his hot breath warming her skin, before he leaned over to kiss her cheek. “I haven’t said it enough, but I do, I love you.”
Diana almost rolled her eyes at that. The last thing she needed was for him to pity her and shower her in affection. Her hand came between them before she pushed on his chest, making him pull back, and she took note of the look of… desperation in his eyes and the way his brows were knit together. His thought process suddenly dawned on her then.
“I’m not leaving you, Al, I just need time to think,” she said while holding his gaze, one of her hands hesitating at her side as she itched to reach up and cup his cheek, but she refrained from doing so. “So please, stop doing… this.”
Wesker visibly relaxed above her, his features softening and the tension in his shoulders seeming to melt away, but his eyes remained locked on hers. She felt awfully exposed beneath him like this, and the way he was shifting to lie more comfortably against her, his warm body pressing against her side with one of his knees settling between her own, it didn’t help at all. Diana cursed the way her gaze drifted down to his lips.
He wasn’t getting a kiss tonight.
She wished he wasn’t even lying this close to her, but something within her wanted to cling to him and revel in his warmth, savouring every touch as though that was somehow a measure of her worth.
He opened his mouth to speak but Diana already knew what he was going to say, and she cut him off, “I don’t want to talk about it until I get back.”
“We always talk.” He searched her eyes as he slowly traced a line down the side of her neck then across the length of one of her sharp collarbones. “Help me understand why this is any different.”
“Because it’s not about you,” Diana snapped, and the way his eyes widened slightly only mirrored the shock she felt at herself for how the words had unintentionally left her lips. “It’s…” She looked away from him then, but once she felt his hand find her own beneath the covers, his fingers lacing with hers, she sighed. “You haven’t done anything to make me question your fidelity.”
“I obviously have, dear, or you would not have accused me of doing such a thing.” Wesker squeezed her hand, brushing his thumb over the back of it.
“I don’t want to talk about it,” Diana only muttered in response.
“Okay,” he whispered, then pressed a kiss to her shoulder. “But I must know if you’re having doubts about us.”
Diana slowly met his gaze and it really hit her then how much she had hurt him with all of this nonsense. Why the looks he’d given her or the yelling hadn’t, she had no idea, perhaps because she was far too preoccupied with her damaged pride to really consider how her accusation must have made him feel.
She scratched the tail end of one of her brows then let out a short exhale through her nose in way of a weak chuckle.
“I think we are spending too much time working in the lab, together, and it’s making us… at each other’s throats for no reason.” Wesker wanted to interrupt her and tell her that he’d never thought that way, that whenever they disagreed on a method he valued her input, even if her questioning irritated him at times. “We’ve been bickering too much over little things; could use a reset, I suppose. But no. I need to figure this”—she gestured vaguely at the side of her head—“out.”
“And I cannot help?” Wesker raised a curious brow, accompanied by the slight tilt of his head as his eyes slowly wandered over her face.
Diana pushed him away from her side with ease then, something she would have struggled pathetically to do before she transcended humanity. She pointed towards his side of the bed in some attempt to establish some distance between them, only until she sorted out whatever this insecurity was that had her turning their time apart from one another into some notion that he thought her abhorrent or something of the like, but that arrogant smirk on his face was testing her something fierce.
“On my own,” she added to her past statement, rather dramatically at that, a treacherous smile threatening to pull on her lips. He only chuckled in response, sending a knowing glance her way, and she did actually kick him then.
“So,” Alex began as she walked over to the large leather couch with a cup of tea in each hand, “what did my dear brother do this time?”
The term of endearment said in such a mocking tone drew a chuckle from Diana, and she watched as the uncanny resemblance of her husband placed the two teacups down on the table before she sat beside her, crossing one leg over the other.
It was odd to Diana, finding out that Spencer had stolen hundreds of children from families all across the globe, and yet the idea that Albert and Alex were twins could never quite leave her mind. They looked too similar for that not to be the case, they had the same birthday – though that could have also been a lie – and he had never questioned their relations. Surely tests would have revealed to him that they weren’t biologically related. They have to be.
The question she had asked, on the other hand, was not something Diana wished to think too much on at the moment. “It’s nothing, just a small spat is all.”
Alex hummed, though she knew for a fact that the younger woman was lying. Usually she was quite good at that, but the way she failed to hide the corners of her lips pulling into a frown and how she turned her head away to look off into the distance deceived her none. What really fascinated Alex was that she could’ve sworn she had seen her eyes start to water.
“Diana?” She lightly tapped her foot against Diana’s shin, and the other woman looked down at her lap for a second before turning back to her.
“We’re fine.” The small, forced smile she sent Alex’s way did little to convince her, and Alex almost laughed in response. “Simply taking some time apart, too much arguing with work.”
Alex’s eyes narrowed at that and she tilted her head to the side. “You two do not argue.”
“Yes, well, we don’t yell either,” Diana countered, far more harshly than she had meant to.
Touchy, Alex thought to herself, however, the statement did take her by surprise. She had never seen them fight, or even disagree much for that matter, though she knew when they had misunderstandings they were resolved through discussion, not something as childish as yelling at one another. What have you done, brother?
Diana absent-mindedly waved a hand in a dismissive gesture before scoffing. “It doesn’t help how much I was reflecting on the trip over here.”
“That doesn’t sound good.” The blonde tried to keep her tone plain, but she couldn’t help the hint of curiosity that shone through her words.
Perhaps she hadn’t checked in with Albert enough if his mental state was affecting his relationship this much. He had always struggled to form long-lasting bonds, save for a few exceptions, and Alex quite liked the little viper – she had once joked he better treat her well or she might just have to steal her for herself – so it would be quite a shame if this fell apart, and she had no idea what that would do to him. Although she knew it wouldn’t be a pretty site, judging by how hard only a few months dalliance had hit him.
Thirteen years down the drain, she mused. Their long gazes and sweet smiles that she often called “disgusting” were more tolerable than whatever this was.
“I don’t know what’s happened to him,” Diana whispered, voice trembling like Alex had never heard before.
She paused in reaching out to pick up her cup of tea and simply stared at Diana. She was looking down at her lap, toying with the hem of her skirt. Trying to keep herself preoccupied so as to not cry, Alex supposed. Then she caught sight of the tear rolling down her cheek and that made her sigh, a bit too loudly.
“Do not cry, I have never seen you cry.” Her words were stiff, almost mechanical, and it made Diana laugh as her hands came up to roughly wipe at her cheeks.
The sound of Alex shifting next to her reached her before she felt hands settle on either side of her face, lifting her head so that she was looking up at her. Alex’s thumbs brushed over Diana’s cheeks, only once, while cold blue eyes wandered over her face, seeming to inspect her as she tried to calm her heart.
Alex nodded with a slight smile. “That’s better.” She dropped her hands when she was satisfied that Diana wasn’t going to make some display and start sobbing – though that was unlikely – then she sat back. “Now, what do you mean?”
Diana took a deep breath, shaking her head slightly. “I don’t know when the plans changed.”
That was peculiar. Alex was under the impression they had begun working on Uroboros to bring about a new age, to create a new world order much like that decrepit old man had intended, where there would be no place for the foolish masses, but she was quite curious by what these original plans must have been.
She didn’t have to wait long because Diana only continued, “In the beginning, it was never about this… wish to remake the world, it was…” She trailed off with this look of utter disgust on her face, like she had trod on something and it had stuck to the bottom of her shoe.
“What was it?”
“To stabilise the mutant strain within him and you, for starters, but whatever happened to our goal of immortality? Though, I suppose he already had that, and I was weighing him down more than anything…” Diana looked down at her lap again, chewing on her bottom lip before she shook her head. “We were to be gods in our own right, having these abilities that others could only dream of.” A weak chuckle spilled from her lips then. “We used to laugh at those who weren’t as smart as us, they were like a source of entertainment at times”—the small smile faded from her lips—“but now it only seems like he is intent on driving some… mass extinction event.”
Alex’s jaw suddenly clenched at that, accompanied by a sharp inhale, however, that only made it as far as the bubble at the base of her throat, her body not ready for such a sudden reaction. Swallowing did nothing to facilitate its journey, only aggravating the irritation, and the air came right back out in the form of a rather violent cough.
Diana’s head snapped to look over at Alex before her eyes darted around the room, looking for her bag as the woman next to her dissolved into another one of her coughing fits. Then she remembered she usually kept what she needed on her at all times. When Diana moved closer to reach for her blazer pocket, Alex held up a hand to warn her off and did it herself, roughly pulling her inhaler out with her other hand before she took a few puffs, breathing slowly and putting her hand on the armrest to steady herself.
“This damned illness…” she muttered to herself, but she had no doubt Diana heard her with those now heightened senses of hers. It was getting worse, but she had work to do, and she wasn’t going to spend her days lying around doing nothing. Rest only made her feel worse.
Diana reached over towards the table and picked up Alex’s cup of tea, hoping it may ease her throat some. She carefully handed it to her, and Alex gave her a small smile with a slight nod of her head, patting her hand once she’d taken the cup from her. Diana had no idea what else to do besides that, and she simply sat there, wondering if she should continue with their previous topic, or simply drink her tea and abandon it completely.
Alex watched Diana as she took another sip, taking in the sight of the object of her brother’s affection. Obsession is more accurate, she thought to herself. She was a rather clueless thing when it came to assisting others, but Alex appreciated the gesture, nonetheless.
Her eyes wandered over her then; the golden eyes that were once blue weren’t nearly as jarring to her as her sinewy arms for some reason, despite those vertical slit pupils. They weren’t necessarily muscular, simply defined more than anything, but her veins seemed far more prominent than she remembered. It was an odd sight; Diana never really had much tone, her arms used to look quite similar to her own thin ones actually, so this was perhaps a sight that would take some time for her to get used to.
It still amused her that Diana had injected herself with Uroboros on a whim, almost giving poor Albert a heart attack; the dosage was far more than her slight body could handle, and yet here she was, sitting right in front of Alex. She supposed it was only fair though, seeing as he had done the same thing to her ten years ago. Made for each other, those two.
That made her mind drift back to what Diana had said before. They were all working towards that same goal, the greatest power man could ever wish to achieve: immortality. However, she was unaware of this unnecessarily destructive behaviour Diana had spouted. It seemed like pure nonsense, but she supposed she couldn’t write it off completely. He had always been quite extreme in his methods, sure, though he knew you must control those who are lesser than you, use fear to your advantage; that is the most powerful motivator, after all, but omnicide… That was rather imaginative of him.
“It is a foolish plan,” Alex said, and Diana’s head snapped to look at her. “Albert is going to get himself killed.”
Diana let out an exhale in place of a laugh, nodding in agreement as she settled back against the couch. “He has been making many errors.” She rested her head on the top of the backrest. “He’s so… full of hatred, become so obsessed with this ideal, that he’s not—”
Alex’s eyes narrowed at the way she cut herself off. She wanted to hear this train of thought though. “What?”
He's not thinking clearly. He’s only digging himself into an early grave, and he wants to take everyone down with him. But she didn’t dare say that.
“He’s being reckless more often, and I don’t care much for it,” Diana said in a low voice, as though she didn’t really want anyone to hear what she was saying. “And this plan. I don’t understand his motive, I suppose. Perhaps Spencer still has total control over him, even after death.”
“Have you said this to him?” Alex asked as she sat up straight, quickly placing her cup of tea back down onto the coaster.
“Gods, no. We fought over an accusation I made regarding us, not work—”
“Good. You will not mention this, Diana.” Alex cut her off, and the moment Diana opened her mouth to speak once more, she beat her to it. “No, this is an unreasonable train of thought. ‘Of his own volition…he turned and shunned the world,’ just as the world did to us when we vanished as children. How do you think he would feel if he knew you were questioning his actions as simply an extension of that idiot?”
Diana’s eyes went wide at that. “That’s not what I—”
“Is it not?” Alex asked, her voice a touch louder than before and her tone resolute as she tilted her head to the side. Her piercing gaze cut right through Diana, but she didn’t avert her own eyes. “We are taking advantage of the resources he supplied us, continuing his research for our own purposes. If you believe that we were ever loyal—”
“Alex, that is not what I’m saying!” Diana abruptly stood up and clasped her hands behind her head as she began to pace.
The frustration in her voice was more at herself rather than Alex; she had always had trouble articulating what she was feeling and after the last few days, nothing seemed to be making much sense anymore. She shouldn’t have said anything at all.
The plan was almost in its final stage anyway, there was no point in worrying about such things, especially not when she knew she wouldn’t be able to convince Albert otherwise; it would only come off as though she was “against” him. But she was concerned. Even though it wouldn’t change their rate of survival when she had already adapted, and he would as well, it was simply that she wasn’t sure if this was something he really wanted, or if it was Spencer’s influence on him that was driving him to do this.
“Diana.” Alex’s voice pulled her out of her thoughts and Diana turned around to look at her once more, only to be met with a tired looking smile. “This world needs changing, surely you can see that.” She stood up from the couch and walked over to where Diana was standing by the windows. “And although I must admit, there are better methods, Albert is not in the wrong.”
Diana sighed, looking out at the elevator in the centre of the Monument, before she nodded. There was no use in fighting over this. “You’re right.”
“Of course I am. But perhaps you need some rest, yes?” Alex’s eyes wandered over Diana’s face for a moment, taking in how distressed she looked. The topic of whatever she and Albert had argued over was still intriguing to her, but now was not the time. “Come, I will show you to your room.”
She began walking towards the door, turning her head to look back at Diana as a cue for her to follow, and that’s exactly what she did once she retrieved her bag, their cups of tea forgotten and left for someone else to clean up. Alex opened the door and held it open for her before locking it behind them.
“How long will you be staying?” she asked as they began walking down the stairs, the sound of both of their heels resounding off the high walls and seemingly endless ceiling of the Monument.
“I’m not sure yet.” Diana gave her a small smile, but it was only met with a raised brow and narrowed eyes, though the expression passed almost as soon as it appeared as Alex shook her head once.
“Well, no matter. It will be nice to have you around. I would like your opinion on the trials with the new batch of guinea pigs,” Alex said, the smile on her lips rather wicked, and the glint in her eyes shouldn’t have intrigued Diana.
‘The animal wrests the whip from its master and whips itself in order to become master, not knowing that this is only a fantasy produced by a new knot in the master’s whiplash.’ — Franz Kafka