Ellen meets her two years into her stint of immortality on, of all things, a dark and stormy night. She’s slumped against the back door of Ellen’s small clinic, bleeding out and soaked and unconscious.
Perturbed, Ellen rushes over and feels for a pulse. She is a doctor first and foremost–it defines her above and beyond the curse that will plague her forever (and it’ll be a few decades before she becomes the leader in meta-human physiology)–the cardinal rule guides her still.
A steady rhythm, if weak and beneath cold clammy skin, but not for long with that wound.
The woman startles at the touch, eyes blearily blinking open and taking in Ellen’s face.
“You’ll be okay,” Ellen reassures her, “I’m a doctor.”
“Kaiza,” the woman breathes out, “You cold hearted bitch,” before her eyes fall shut and she goes unconscious once more.
It’s not exactly the smoothest beginning.
Then again, Leanne would argue that this wasn’t the beginning at all.
Ellen adapts to her occasional visitor the way a cat might become accustomed to a coyote that hangs around the opposite side of the backyard fence. Which is to say, poorly.
Better than cats and dogs, but not by much.
Later, she will have more than her fill of cat and dog jokes–jaguars and wolves as cooperative as their domesticated counterparts–herding a group of overly dramatic young adults with more power than sense, but for now they have not been spoiled for her yet.
Much, much later she will do it again and wonder why she didn’t learn, but that is for another time.
Everything, it seems, about Leanne is for another time.
For now it is just her and her clinic and her strangely hostile, but helpful guest.
“You won’t want to open that without Nyx,” Leanne says, hand overtop hers, keeping the aged grimoire shut.
Ellen pauses, asks, “Who is Nyx?”
Leanne raises an eyebrow, almost disbelieving, “She’s a devil’s advocate. The best and one of the least cutthroat at that, though you shouldn’t say as such to her face.”
“And I should ask her for help?”
The expression on Leanne’s face would make that a resounding, “No, are you kidding? She’ll eat you alive. And then swindle your soul out from under you.” She looks frankly perplexed, as if this is something Ellen should already know. “You have to make a deal with her, trade something she might want.”
Ellen considers, looks around. She doesn’t have much–she hasn’t lived long enough for her immortality to benefit her; the reason why she even has the grimoire in the first place is because one of her atypical patients gave it to her as payment–unless this Nyx might need medical services?
Leanne laughs, amused by the very idea, before humming, pondering, “Nyx won’t, she’s a demon, but she did have a daughter… Or, she will have one?” Leanne laughs again, “Well, I’m sure you’ll find out eventually.”
By the time Leanne meets her for the first time, she no longer thinks of herself as Ellen. She is Kaiza: a doctor, an immortal, and a cold hearted bitch.
She is sitting across the table from a woman with familiar features wrought in an unfamiliar expression. Kaiza has seen Leanne with resignation on her face, but not mixed with fear and fierce yet futile protectiveness. Then again, Leanne never was a mother–never will be, from what she knows of her–and the woman in front of Kaiza is a mother to three.
A mother who has been told she will lose one of her children.
“Not again,” says Leanne’s mother, hands over her face, “I can’t do this again.”
Kaiza lets her come to terms in silence, there’s nothing she can say to make this situation better.
Outside the house she hears a car pulling up, the sound of young voices talking and the slamming of doors. “Mom!” shouts the highest voice, the youngest child. Not Leanne. “We totally owned the other team, eleven to three, and I made four of the goals…”
She drifts into silence at the presence of a stranger in their house. A few steps behind the child are her older siblings, all of them with the same leafy green hair as their mother. Leanne looks so young. So painfully unknowing.
Kaiza is going to ruin her, just as cold hearted as Leanne once accused her of being
“Victor,” says Leanne’s mother, “take Faye upstairs.”
“Wha–but, Mom!” says the little girl, pulling shrugging off her brother’s hand, “What about Leanne?”
“Upstairs!” she snaps, before gentling herself, “Now, please.”
The boy guides his youngest sister, cowed and silent, leaving Leanne standing by herself.
Ah. So that’s what she looks like when she’s afraid.
A/N: Some elusive Doctor Kaiza POV. She doesn’t actually have a story of her own, but she does appear in many other characters’ stories as the wise, enigmatic, and–admittedly–cold hearted doctor. [So enigmatic that I apparently don’t have a character tag for her? Whoops.]
Thanks for the prompt, anon! I do love Counterclockwise very much, even if the majority of it is still a gigantic mystery to me.
[If anyone else wants to do a softer world prompt that isn’t on the list, you can just send the page id number for the original comic instead.]