In the Steel Steeds Heart
Chapter 26: Sealed Lips, Heavy Hearts
Warnings: strong language, sexual themes, blood/gore, angst, vomit/sick
Summary: After finding out what is really wrong with her body, Juniper makes the fear induced decision to keep it a secret. Straining her already declining mental state and her relationship in the process.
Feedback appreciated, 18+.
Juniper stood, leaning over the edge of the balcony. Her knees wobbled as tears ran down her freckled face.
Her stomach clenched in painful knots as she leaned forward more, retching over the edge.
Confusion and worry buzzed around her head like angry bees. She watched the thick string of saliva trail from her lips as she let out ragged huffs.
Fuck, she was a mess.
She couldn’t let Heisenberg see her like this, she’d wasted too much time as it was. She made her way back to the bathroom.
Juniper washed her face in cool water, pressing her cold fingers to her eyelids in an attempt to relieve some of their puffiness.
I can’t tell him…
She thought fearfully. She took a deep breath, resisting the urge to cry afresh.
When she entered the workshop she was still shaky and pale. Heisenberg looked up from his work, his mouth a thin line.
“You don’t look good Doll.” He spoke frankly.
“Oh…I still feel a bit off.” She tried to shrug.
“Hmmm.” He murmured, putting down the core he was working on.
“You want to go rest?” He walked closer to her.
“I’ll be ok.” She tried to smile.
He scanned her face, “I don’t need the extra hands today, go back to the apartment.”
“…Alright.” She gave him a small nod, padding back out of the workshop almost as quickly as she’d entered.
Heisenberg stood, mulling over the interaction. It was odd for her to be so agreeable with the idea of being apartment-bound, relenting with no effort on his part. She must really be feeling unwell…he concluded.
He returned to his work, resisting the urge to check on her through the camera system.
Juniper was curled into a ball under the covers on their bed. She cried afresh, tears staining the pillowcase. She pressed her hands over her stomach, it felt different.
Or did it?
She didn’t know if it was just her anxiety finding differences or it was truly already starting to change. Her body felt foreign to her, her heart twisting with guilt and fear.
Heisenberg deserved to know, but she couldn’t find the words for him. The fear of rejection poisoned her thoughts.
Where would she go? Could she even escape the village if he threw her out?
Juniper thought. She curled in on herself more.
But what if she stays? Could she even carry a baby safely with the cadou in her? Would it even be a human baby?
Everything caused her to cry harder.
Things didn’t fare better the following days. Juniper was constantly wracked with a mixture of poisonous emotions, making her thoughts garbled.
Worried about his current project, Heisenberg didn’t take as much notice of her shifting state, giving her time to think over her options.
Escape wasn’t an option…but maybe she could learn enough skills to be more useful to herself and future child.
Knowing a monthly meeting was ticking ever closer she made a decision. Heisenberg was very distrusting of his ‘siblings’, rightfully so, but they were very skilled in their respective professions.
Juniper was lost in thought as she descended the stairs. Her boots were starting to wear, long losing their shine.
How long had she been here?
She couldn’t remember. The winters felt unnaturally long, her wondering if it was the dark God’s influence. Another way to choke the village and make them more vulnerable to its influence and dependent on Mother Miranda’s help.
The odor of death sobered her from her imaginings. Her heart dropped.
Heisenberg had started gutting a new body.
Taking a deep breath, Juniper pushed her way into the workshop. She silently hoped her body would work with her. The feeling of sickness was definitely improving but very pungent smells still pushed her off the edge.
Heisenberg had just started pulling the small intestines free, taking fistfuls of organs to add to a tray already half full.
The smell of the body instantly made her stomach flip. Juniper rushed to the organ shoot, throwing up down it.
“Loosing your touch Sweetheart?” Heisenberg jested, “Can’t hold your lunch with the bodies anymore?”
Juniper was taut, wound tightly from constant nervousness, she snapped at him, “I just don’t feel good, fuck!”
She pushed past him towards the door to the operating room, leaving him staggered.
“I’m sorry.” He called after her, guiltily.
After the door slammed behind her he added softly, “I didn’t mean anything by it…”
He went back into the body, knowing he had to finish his current task. He busied himself with the body, pushing away his concern for Juniper from his mind.
As night set in and he wheeled the prepped cadaver away for storage, giving the body time to take to the cadou, he prepared himself to return to the apartment.
When he entered it was very quiet, the only light on over the kitchen. Heisenberg saw Juniper’s form in the bed, balled up under the covers. He gave a heavy sigh, removing his boots and coat. He placed his hat, shades, and charms on a nearby desk before making his way over to the stove. There was a pot placed over a cold burner.
He lifted the lid to find soup inside. He turned the knob, the burner coming to life with a clicking pop. As the soup started to rewarm he made his way over to the bed.
He paused before placing a hand over the covered mass.
“Buttercup?” He ventured, when no answer came he added, “Still pissed with me?”
“No.” A muffled voice came.
“You’re a lyin’ bitch.” Heisenberg gave a weak smile, “Making me eat alone.”
“I made you the soup.” She says up a bit, meeting his gaze.
Her eyes looked puffy in the low light.
“Are you ok?” He asked with a note of seriousness.
She looked away giving a little nod.
“No!” She snapped, “I just don’t feel well.” It wasn’t a complete lie, but it did make her heart ache.
“Hmm.” He finally conceded, not in a mood to argue. He went back to the stove, stirring the soup.
When it was hot enough for his liking he used his powers to lift and tip the pot into a bowl. He heard a muffled giggle behind him.
“What?!” He picked up his bowl, turning to give her a narrow look.
“Using your powers to pour soup.” Juniper giggled.
“You could use an oven mitt.”
“Could.” He shrugged sitting down at the table.
He tucked into his soup, eating quietly for many moments. He looked up, swallowing before speaking again, “Family meeting tomorrow.”
“Want to stay here since you are feeling shitty?”
“No!” Juniper sat up again, worry pricking her tone.
He gave her an accusing look, eating another spoonful before questioning her, “Why so eager?”
“Oh…” She reeled back thinking quickly, “ I think the fresh air will be really good for me.” She lied.
Juniper forced a sweet smile, hoping it worked.
“Fine.” Heisenberg shrugged, “But if you puke on the church floor I won’t let you live it down.”
The next day they made their way into the village. This meeting was to take place much earlier than normal, so the town was alive with people going about their day.
Even with the warming weather Heisenberg had insisted she wear her coat, a symbol of her connection to him.
Their boots stuck in the mud as they pushed onwards, villagers moving to avoid the two. Heisenberg walked with an air of authority, hard and steely as he brandished his hammer. It was no wonder why they gave him a wide berth.
Juniper kept close, remembering the last time she strayed away from his protective vicinity.
A sound found her ears, a warbling cry that split the air. Juniper’s body instantly froze, her boots sticking fast as if in cement. She turned to see a young mother, coddling a crying bundle. The sound she’d heard was the calling wails of a newborn. She felt like she couldn’t breath, the cries piercing her very heart.
Why did it affect her so? Instinct bubbling up? Or just her tightly wound nerves?
She didn’t know. She worried her hands, eyes fixed on the new mother. How the woman calmed the small child with soft humming, holding the precious bundle to her chest.
Realizing Juniper had stopped, Heisenberg turned to see what happened. He saw her frozen in place, following her line of sight. Watching how she was fixated on the mother and child, and not realizing the true reason why, his heart fell a bit. To him, he thought he was unable to provide her with a life she seemingly craved, an expected normality of married couples he would never be able to fulfill.
He went back, taking Juniper's hand in his own, breaking her from her trance. Her green eyes were glassy as she looked at her boots almost guilty. Heisenberg gave her hand a soft squeeze of comfort, “Come on, love.”
Juniper nodded, following him once more.
They were the last Lords to enter the church, not unusual given the distance the factory was from this location.
Heisenberg strode to his normal spot in the pew, Juniper following close behind.
The cat was out of the metaphorical bag with their relationship. Whatever safety he was trying to guarantee Juniper by acting disinterested was washed away like grime after a heavy rain when he begged like a desperate fool to Mother Miranda on the church floor.
So with nothing more to salvage or gain by acting in-particular he would do the opposite. The whole damn village would know Juniper was, in every sense of the word besides on paper, his wife.
Heisenberg pulled Juniper into his lap, keeping a strong hand on her thigh.
It made her cheeks rosy, unused to public displays of affection.
“Do you have to perform your distasteful displays in front of everyone, Heisenberg?” Lady Dimitrescu sneered down at them.
Holding Juniper in place he snapped, “Oh you should see what I do to her in private.” He blew a plume of smoke from his nose as his lips curled into a smirk.
He locked eyes with the much taller woman over his dark shades, in a challenging manner.
“…Karl.” Juniper tried to hush him under her breath but he pretended not to hear.
“So gauche!” Lady D rolled her eyes, looking away.
Seeing he was getting under her skin spurred him on. “Oh but I guess I’m just in a good mood,” Heisenberg squeezed Juniper showily, “Getting to bust in a gorgeous woman damn near daily and all that jazz!”
Juniper’s face was crimson.
Lady Dimitrescu’s yellow eyes snapped back towards him, “You disgusting pig!”
“Mad?” He let out a bark of laughter, “How long as it been for you, hm? Your little maids not into old cows!”
Juniper cringed, closing her eyes tightly against the storm. Lady Dimitrescu stood, bellowing at Heisenberg, while the man just burst into evil laughter.
“That is quite enough!” Came Miranda’s voice.
The two instantly silenced, and Juniper gave mental thanks.
The clicking of her dark heels sent the room in an air of seriousness, with every soft clink the Lords found their way further into their seats.
Juniper just caught Mother Miranda’s steely eyes looking her and Heisenberg over. Her gaze was a predatory cocktail of curiosity and ambitious wanting.
Juniper looked away, unable to hold that gaze very long. Heisenberg gave her thigh a little squeeze, a gesture of reassurance.
She settled down as the meeting commenced. Most was completely useless to them, the only tidbit that concerned Heisenberg at all was Miranda instructing him to look over the village's tractors before it was time to set the fields. He tightly agreed, knowing the job would be rudimentary for him, the trip to the village more of a hassle then the machinery.
Mother Miranda made her leave after announcing the conclusion of the meeting. As the other lords stood and gathered their things, Juniper tried to ease her nerves.
Heisenberg turned to get his hammer, not noticing Juniper making her way across the stone church.
“Miss Donna?” Juniper spoke once she was close. She saw the other woman’s veiled head lift curiously as Angie hopped to her feet.
“If it wouldn’t be much trouble, would you be willing to teach me how to sew?” Juniper asked nervously.
Donna flinched with surprise, as if the question was a blow. Without giving it much though she eagerly nodded, as Angie practically jumped, “Are you kidding?! We’d love to!”
Their enthusiasm was a relief to Juniper, “T-Thank you.”
“We never have friends over!” Angie continued, “Well make tea and show you all our fabrics! It’ll be so fun, I can’t wait!”
Juniper nodded, feeling Heisenberg’s eyes boring into her back.
“Would tomorrow be alright?” She asked.
Donna gave another nod, hugging the overjoyed Angie to her chest.
Juniper felt Heisenberg’s hand on her wrist, pulling her towards the door. She gave a quick goodbye, seeing the pair wave before being forced through the threshold.
He looked livid, a mixture of confusion thrown in to boot. Once outside, Heisenberg asked through clenched teeth, “What the fuck do you think you’re doing?”
His tone sent a shot of annoyance through her, but she’d already thought of things to say in this exact situation.
“I want to learn a new skill.” Juniper answered frankly, “A skill you can’t teach me. And Donna is the best seamstress in the whole village.”
She watched him simmer a bit, realizing she had a point.
Clenching and unclenching his fists he relented slightly, “Fine…but you could’a warned me first.”
“And have you talk me out of it?”
“Like I could, stubborn brat.” He rolled his eyes before becoming more serious, “Her manor isn’t the safest place.”
“The factory is?” She scoffed, starting to walk.
“No, but I don’t have hallucinogens fucking everywhere.”
“I don’t think she means me harm.”
“That’s the thing,” Heisenberg pressed, “She never does…but the plants fuck with your head, so many people go fucking mad there.”
“I’m not a human anymore.” Juniper pointed out.
“Let’s hope that matters.” Heisenberg huffed, seeing he was getting nowhere, “If you’re late coming back, I’ll send the whole damn pack of Lycans to bring your ass home.” He threatened.