Chapter 8 : Xenon
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He was extremely infuriated with the lack of response of the wand but anybody who knew him would know that he wouldn’t show that emotion as he had learnt to keep his emotions in check a long time ago. He knew that letting it all out was pointless as nobody else cared in the least. That had been his belief his entire life and he had been independent from the start, convinced that no one cared. And, according to him, it was because of this fact that he had gotten so far in so less time.
Sighing in exasperation, yet not in defeat, he lowered himself into a chair. The lawn in front of him outstretched for half a mile before it met the boundary fence constructed by him and his father all those years ago. That time seemed like it had been another lifetime, when he had been ignorant of his mother’s actions and the other boy. Rudolph’s lip curled in disgust. Those memories were always unwelcome in his mind but the fact was that ever since his mother’s death, they had been the only thing that he could think of whenever he thought of her. She had been his entire life; his ideal, the perfect mother, who could do nothing wrong and who loved her family so much that she barely noticed anybody else. She had been the light in his dark childhood; a childhood which had been dominated by bullies; comforting him when he needed it; always there for him when he thought he was alone.
He smiled, his expression bitter. His mother’s face swam before his eyes and the surge of hatred he suddenly felt made his smile morph into a scowl. His grip on the wand tightened, his mind willing it to break and to crumble into pieces, just to channel his fury. However, his hold relaxed as he gained control of himself once again. Deal with it. It’s the only way you’ll ever get over the entire issue, move on and forget that woman. The mental instruction always worked. It had worked ever since he had started to use his brain and plot; plot against everyone whom he hated and had vowed to take revenge from. They all deserved it.
It had begun when one day, he had come home from school, beaten ruthlessly by the bullies for not sharing his peanut butter sandwiches his mother had made for him. It had been the first time he had actually been beaten and there she had been, her arms opened, her expression warm and understanding; to hug him and console him; to make him forget. She had put First Aid on the countless bruises he had and had cleaned the blood dripping from his nose. Little did she know that her embrace and her care had another effect on him; an everlasting effect. His brain found peace in her arms and his mind relaxed, now able to think about what to do with the boys who had tried to snatch his lunch from. The soothing touch of his mother allowed him to formulate a plan; a plan of vengeance.
Rudolph laughed suddenly. He couldn’t fathom how the seven-year-old brain of his had thought that stealing the valuables of those seniors would actually be called revenge. He’d still done it and had gained the satisfaction of retaliating, a feeling that gave him more pleasure than anything else. That feeling stuck with him and since then, he had vowed to take revenge from everyone who came in his way.
A light breeze ruffled his hair as he closed his eyes and relaxed into the chair. The wand slipped from his hand and fell to the floor, not breaking. He barely registered as he went down his memory lane, almost dozing off. The smile that lit up his face would have been an indication to anyone watching him that he was recalling good days. And indeed, he was.
His O’levels had begun and he was having the best time of his life. Having been good in studies since forever, he had naturally chosen the subjects that most people found challenging: Chemistry, Physics and Biology. The combination was typical, yet he only liked one particular subject. Chemistry. Everything about chemistry was different - almost magical. The way the chemicals reacted, the metals and non-metals combining to make an entirely different substance and the indicators suddenly changing colour during chemical reactions; it was like he was in a magical land when he studied chemistry. Due to this subject, his fascination with fantasy increased. He became increasingly obsessed with books about magic, dragons, vampires, fairies and the magical lands and always imagined himself to be part of that other world.
A dog barked in the distance and he was jolted back to reality and just in time too. The unwanted parade of memories had been about to begin. He knew that he won’t be able to rest until he had relived it all all over again, like he had been reliving it since the past four years when his mother had betrayed him, but he still delayed those scenes from coming back into his mind.
The sky was getting dark. Getting up from the chair, he turned to go inside the house when his foot stepped on something. Glancing down, he realised what it was: the wand. He bent down and picked it up. Knowing he was being too nonchalant about such a powerful wand, he threw it down on the sofa in his living room; he couldn’t care less at that moment in time. Of course, the other boy, who had helped him steal the wand, would have reprimanded him for being so careless with the wand. But what was Rudolph supposed to do? Sit and worship the useless thing when it did not even work for him? He snorted. Yeah, right.
Deciding that he needed a mug of coffee he moved to the kitchen and poured himself some from the coffee pot. His father had made coffee in the morning which had remained untouched till now. Standing by the counter and sipping it, he wondered where the old man was; surely not at his wife’s grave. Seriously, that man was beyond his comprehension. He had not stopped grieving the woman who had, so heartlessly, betrayed him and still visited her grave every day, mourning her loss like she had died only the previous day and not four years ago.
Four years ago. Rudolph remembered how his mother had been doing so well initially. She had been so happy that he had made it through his first year of Ordinary Level with such good grades. However, her happiness and his euphoria had been short-lived as she had been stabbed by an insane thief trying to snatch her purse. Her resistance had made him angry and he had stabbed her thoughtlessly, and run away before anyone realised what had happened. Rudolph had been there, immobilised and staring helplessly, and he had been the one to take her to the hospital. She had been in surgery for over two hours before the doctor had come out to tell them that she had lost too much blood and her wound had been infected, giving her only a few hours.
A tear escaped his eyes as he realised that he had consciously begun to think about the things he had not wanted to reflect on. The coffee mug lay on the kitchen counter, already finished and he stood there, unable to control his emotions this time. He felt mortified and wanted to ignore it all before they made him get carried away. The control that he had learnt to so long ago suddenly seemed unable to come. He couldn’t stop himself from remembering. He still remembered the painful cry he had heard that night. The cry that he should have emitted, the pain that he should have let out had been let out by somebody else.
Turning around, he had seen another young boy, looking only two years younger than him, standing there appearing horrified. The horrible memory was burnt into his brain.
“No! MOTHER!” The boy yelled, running towards her room.
Rudolph watched him move past him in slow motion. His brain barely comprehended what was happening. That boy had addressed his mother as his own. Why? Was he delusional? She wasn’t that boy’s mother! She was Rudolph’s mother!
His insides screamed at him to move faster when he finally did. Following the boy, he entered the room his mother had been transferred to and what he saw made him feel as if he had been slapped the mother he loved and respected so much. There she was, hugging the boy who had shouted outside; hugging him like she had always hugged Rudolph, caressing his hair and crying in his shoulder at the same time. He gripped her neck fiercely; hanging onto her as if he could hold her and prevent her from dying. Rudolph’s father had not been there even then; he had been away for work and when he needed him most, he had been absent. Later, when he had confronted his father, he had been in extreme shock and had not answered his questions. He never would.
Finally understanding who the boy was, Rudolph stepped backwards. His mother looked up at him and she visibly blanched at the hatred and the expression of betrayal on his visage. He could see her feeling his hatred and he felt a pleasure at it. She deserved it. She deserved it for betraying him and for having another son.
“Son,” she called him towards her, “Come here, my boy, I will explain everything.”
He cocked his head to one side; hearing but not believing.
“What will you explain, mother?” He spat out the word. “How you betrayed your husband and your only son? How you slept with another man and had another child? A bastard?”
“No!” She looked aghast, “I did not betray you, son. You need to understand that. And he is not a bastard. He’s your brother.”
“NEVER!” He screamed, unable to hide his anguish. “He’ll never be my brother! He’s an abomination! I hate him! I hate him and I HATE YOU!” He shouted the last three words even louder than the others. He wanted her to feel what he was feeling.
“Son,” she whispered. It had always been ‘Son’. Never ‘Rudolph’; she had called him ‘Son’ and he knew that she put all her love for him in that word. Now, he wasn’t so sure anymore. “I’m dying, son. Please, you have to listen to me.”
She seemed to not have the energy to try anymore. He stood there, staring away at the wall fixedly, yet not leaving. She turned to the other boy and addressed him.
“Sweetie, I want you to promise me something,” she said, her voice filled with love and her eyes filled with unshed tears, “Will you do it?”
The boy was sobbing now. “Yes, mother,” he said, “I will do anything you say. Just please don’t die.” His voice broke at the end.
The request was so bittersweet that even Rudolph had difficulty in maintaining his rigid expression. HE wanted to be the one requesting her that! HE wanted to be the one to sit by her bed and cry all night, sit with her and talk and recall all those moments where he had realised over and over again how much he loved her. But no; it had to be the other boy; the one who had now taken his place and was shedding the tears Rudolph was supposed to be shedding and making promises he was supposed to be making.
“Will you promise to look after you older brother?” His mother was saying, “Will you promise me to keep him safe and do whatever he says, help him with whatever he wants?”
The boy’s frame stopped moving for a few seconds as her request registered in his brain. He met her eyes and there seemed to be a silent conversation going on between them. Then, grabbing her hand in both of his, he said: “I promise you mother that I will do whatever you ask me to in order to keep you happy.” He smiled at her as she smiled in return.
Her smile was stuck in his head. It had not been for him! It had been for the other boy but still, the sweet, unbiased and lovely smile had stuck in his head. And he hated her for it! He hated her SO much! And he hated her “son”!
His hand automatically found the mug he had placed on the kitchen counter and before he knew it, he had yelled in fury and had slammed the mug against the kitchen wall, where it smashed with a loud sound and then felt to the ground in a million pieces. Shattered. Just like his love for his mother had shattered.
Breathing heavily, he went out to the living room, leaving the broken mug behind. The wand on the sofa did not even get a glance as he strode to a table in the corner where a cage had been placed. The owl inside was awake, gazing at him as he attempted to write on the paper.
We need to talk. Meet me at my house whenever you can and make sure you have a bloody solution with you!
Without signing it, he tied it to the owl’s leg and let it out through the window. All of a sudden, his temper was gone and he felt beyond calm. The other boy was coming.
He had never left Rudolph alone after his promise. That was how Rudolph had found about magic. The other boy had thought that he could trust his “older brother” and had told him everything. Little did he know that Rudolph had been looking for a way to get back at his dear mother. Now he had found the perfect solution. He had forced the other boy to help him, taking advantage of his promise bound hands and had learnt everything he could about the magical world. Slowly he had learnt to intimidate the other boy and had forced him to help him to do illegal stuff. It had begun with robbery but then he had discovered that they were risking exposure. So, now, his new mission was to make himself magical. He had forced the other boy to look for a way to turn a muggle into a wizard and that was when he had shunned his surname and had adopted the name of Xenon. Xenon: a noble gas that existed on its own and did not need the help of another element to complete itself. He would become like that one day. Exist on his own, with his magic that the other boy would find. Rudolph was sure that the other boy would find it unless he wanted to disappoint his mother and break his promise.
The mess in the kitchen was forgotten as he sat back on the sofa, next to the wand, and inhaled deeply. He was completely content now. Let the other boy worry; everything was going to be alright for Rudolph Xenon.
A/N: Here it is! The most awaited chapter! Or I think it was! I really have wanted to upload this since forever! I've worked really hard on Xenon's character and I hope I did justice to him. Please please please DO tell me what you think! I want to know if how I've made him feels right or not. Please review! =) And thank you to all those readers who have reading, reviewing and loving my story! I love you guys! =D
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