All people want is someone to listen.
It's something I've known for a very long time. A sympathetic ear can earn you so much; it can bind someone to you, it can reveal lost truths, it can turn many a situation in your favour.
This boy, I know already, is ripe for such a thing. He is not accustomed to empathy, he doesn't trust it, but he's no choice but to listen, not with his weapon knocked away and my hand curled in his tie.
"Which of the Guardians was it?" He didn't expect such a mild tone; his eyes widen slightly, meeting mine only for an instant before darting away. When he speaks, his voice is sullen.
"Both, I think." His gaze snaps back like a slipshod slingshot when I chuckle softly.
"I may be the only thing they agree on — for different reasons, of course. The White Guardian is too responsible for his own good, and the Black afraid of my progress." I did, of course, stop him killing Koschei and getting his hands on the Key of Time, but surely he wouldn't hold such a petty grudge. For one, I didn't get it either.
"He said you were a megalomaniac," the boy says flatly. A faint smirk is his first answer.
"No, megalomania is an illness of delusions. I've none of those." His stare is sceptical, but he's intrigued.
He still plans on killing me. Yes, he's quite a dedicated little assassin, he's been at it for a while now, thinking I never noticed him. I wonder what they promised him.
"You are not going to try to retrieve your weapon. It will end in pain and embarrassment, and I think you've had enough of that for one day. You can bide your time." I release the tie abruptly, and he stumbles back a bit, but doesn't move otherwise.
Smart enough, then. Far smarter than an English schoolboy of this time period should be, in fact, and stealthier at that, if not enough.
"Now, let's have a civilised discussion." He looks suspicious; he never relaxes. That was his first mistake — he won't make it again.
The smile sets him off balance. I'm not meant to be amused.
"I must say, I'm appalled at the White Guardian, sending children to kill — "
"I am not a child." Obviously.
His voice is stiff, aggravated, and he only scowls when my gaze sweeps his uniform.
"No." My voice is soft, any mirth fading from my features. "You're not."
I receive a slight, slow nod in return. Pale, long fingers curl harshly into the fabric of his trousers.
"An odd guise to choose, then."
"I didn't choose it," he snaps, immediately looking quite exasperated with himself. He knows what I'm doing, of course; he doesn't know why it's working.
"Earth is your prison, then?" Another nod. Oh, yes, this is going quite well.
"It was mine as well, once."
His head snaps up, eyes wide; I step closer, just a bit. "I was exiled by my people."
"For megalomania?" A flinch, as soon as the words leave his mouth, but of course I do nothing but give him a sad, tired smile.
"For trying to make a difference. They quite enjoy the status quo." I close my eyes; a gesture of trust, or so he would think. I don't need sight to defend myself from this one.
He doesn’t take the opportunity. He's curious.
And oh, how he yearns for someone who can understand.
"I was trapped there for some time. Eventually…" And I shake my head, and open my eyes, and he looks so very lost. "They enlisted my help, the people who exiled me; they hadn't much choice, really. Now I do my best to avoid them."
"So you helped these people to gain your freedom."
"And to save the universe. They do, on occasion, do good things." Softly, "And I, on occasion, do bad things."
"Who doesn't?" The words flee his lips before he can catch himself, and I smile again.
The boy sighs, and turns away, his hands trembling. A return of the gesture.
"This was supposed to be very simple. Straight-forward. I kill a vile murderer, and I'm free of that dreary planet with its dreary people and its dreary rules."
I take a step closer; his head jerks around, but I think he knows I'm not a threat, not at the moment.
"You still can be." My voice is gentle, hopeful, as I offer my hand. His eyes are wide, but there is more longing than suspicion within.
"I've been alone for some time now. I'd appreciate the company."
After a moment, he accepts it.
I'll need to thank them, later.