As I mentioned in the earlier post, I realized I still owed some people a few stories, which unfortunately took me two(!) years to finally complete. Really, really sorry for this. I could say I was busy, or reeling from not one, but two heartbreaks in succession (ahaha), but really, it's no excuse. But I guess, better late than never?
Anyway, this fic is for books2thesky who donated to the Typhoon Haiyan Fandom Aid for a 1000-word fic about the Kambal from the comic Trese by Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo. I was supposed to write something a little bit more goofy, but somehow ended up writing this instead. I am still writing the more lighthearted story, but I decided to post this now in case something happens again and life sucks me in again before I ever to finishing it, ehehe.
This fic is set after the first case in Volume 3, where Trese and her father first battled the Talagbusao and rescued the twins.
Hope you enjoy! Comments, again, will be appreciated.
Title: Lost Boys
Word Count: 1253 words
Warnings: character deaths, implications of a murder attempt
Alexandra Trese did not always agree with her father. There were many times in her life when she found his rules too rigid, like how he forbid her to play with the Santelmo, or how he thought it was too dangerous to actually bring her with him to work on any of his cases. As she grew older she found ways to get around his rules. She did not play with the Santelmo anymore but she didn’t stop talking to it, because her father had never expressly prohibited that, didn’t he? And though he never took her to his cases, she looked at all his case files and gave her opinion on all of them and told him what she would have done differently (and if she could say so herself, more efficiently) had she been with him, until he finally grew tired of all her nagging and finally brought her with him on the investigation of the Talagbusao case.
Alexandra did not always agree with her father, but she had never, ever disobeyed him.
This time, she wanted to.
After speaking to her father, who was still bedridden from his injuries after their battle with the Talagbusao, she went down to Hank’s kitchen, still deep in thought. Hank gave her a little nod from over the stove, where he was stirring soup rapidly, his lips pursed into a single thin, angry line.
“You’re not done yet?” Alexandra said.
“Those boys still want more,” Hank said. “Seriously, Alexandra. I think I’ve cooked enough to feed the entire city at this point.”
“They’re not exactly human, Hank,” Alexandra murmured.
Hank’s expression darkened further. “I know.” He looked at the box of rat poison on the floor. “So what did Anton say? Just say the word, Alexandra.”
Alexandra said nothing. She knew she should tell Hank about her father’s decision to keep the Kambal around, because he hoped they could use their talents in their never-ending battle between the evil that sprung from the underworld. Anton Trese thought that he could control their thirst of blood, which they had inherited from their father, the Talagbusao, a deity of war, and the son of a bitch responsible for this entire sorry mess they were now in, Alexandra thought bitterly. So many dead, now, because of the Talagbusao. She thought of Puti and Bantay and their pack, and how they were not just killed in battle, but mutilated, torn limb from limb, body parts scattered all over the cold, hard ground. Her father did not take her to the crime scene, but she had seen the photographs, and she knew that whoever had killed Puti and Bantay did it not out of any form of survival instinct, or an ideal worth fighting for, which she could have understood.
No, whoever had killed them did it because it was fun.
And those two little boys now sitting in Hank’s kitchen were the ones who killed Puti and Bantay.
She nodded, once. Hank also nodded, grimly.
She went out into the dining area, holding two soup bowls in her hands. In the room the two boys were wolfing down everything in sight. She tread lightly on the wooden floor, her feet not making any sound. The children did not hear her, and only kept on eating.
Her father was wrong. She had read about all those accounts of humans foolish enough to think that they could get powerful demons under their control, to use their power to serve their own motives, some of which were even very noble. There were some who even tried to get deities like the Talagbusao to bend to their will. But all these stories ended in death, not only of the person who had tried to take control of these beings, but also all the ones they loved, and many, many more.
Alexandra did not want any more deaths.
This had to end, once and for all.
The younger of the two boys stopped eating, suddenly, and Alexandra froze. But the boy did not turn, and only sat, unmoving.
“Mama’s dead, isn’t she, Kuya?” the boy said to his brother.
The other boy nodded.
“Do you think she’s still angry?”
“What do you mean, Basilio?” The older boy’s voice sounded a bit hoarse, like there was something caught in his throat.
“Mama was always angry. I really wished she would smile more.”
“I don’t think there was a lot to smile about.”
“But I think she’s smiling now, wherever she is.” A small sound escaped from him, and he buried his face in his hands. “I’m sorry. I should be happy for her, but I…”
He did not speak anymore, and Alexandra realized, to her surprise, that the little boy was crying.
The other boy had stopped eating too. “I know, Basilio. I do too.”
“What’s going to happen to us, now, Kuya?”
Alexandra stood immobile, watching the two boys. She had never heard any of these children speak like this before. So lost. So sad.
So very, very human.
The older boy grasped his father’s hand. “Whatever happens, whatever they’re going to do to us now, we’re facing it together. I’m not leaving you.” But his other hand, the one not holding his brother, was shaking.
Alexandra finally moved, and one of the bowls she was holding rattled in the saucer she had placed beneath it. The two boys whirled toward her.
“Oh wow, more soup!” the younger boy squealed. A wide grin spread over his face, though the tears were still streaming from his eyes. He ran towards Alexandra, but she held the bowls out of his reach and she barked, “No!”
The little boy stopped in his tracks, his eyes wide. His brother leaped to his side, fists clenched.
“Look, lady,” the older boy said. “We get it, you hate us. We don’t want to trouble you any more. We’ll just finish this meal and we’ll get out of this place, and you’ll never hear from us again.”
“Can’t I have just one more soup, Kuya?” the younger boy pleaded. The older boy kept glaring at Alexandra, his eyes narrowed.
“You can’t have this because this is already cold,” Alexandra said. “I’ll get Hank to cook you a fresh batch.” She turned to return to the kitchen.
She stopped and lingered, right before the door. “You don’t need to leave,” she said. “In fact, we’d really like you to stay here with us.”
Hank looked up at her in surprise when she entered the kitchen. Without a word she dumped the contents of the bowls into the sink, and she turned on the faucet to wash away remains of the soup. She looked at him, her eyes meeting his, challenging him to object.
“I just wanted to say, Alexandra,” Hank said, “that you’re contributing to polluting our seas by throwing that into the sink. There’s a proper means of disposing that, you know.” He smiled. “Please don’t do it again.”
“Sorry, Hank. I won't, I promise.” Alexandra allowed a small smile to appear on her lips.
“Are you sure this is the right decision?”
“We may still regret it,” Alexandra said. “But right now, it’s the only decision we can make.”
She closed her eyes, listening to the sound of the two boys chatting again outside. The younger boy was laughing, and eventually, his brother laughed, too; not maniacally, like the cruel murderers she had feared them to be, but openly, freely, like the children they really were, but never had the chance to be, until now.