Fandom: Hemlock Grove
Series: On the Outside Looking In
Pairings: Peter/Roman, Peter/Letha
Warnings: minor angst, jealousy
Word Count: 968
Disclaimer: If I owned it, Peter and Roman would make out.
Summary: Letha's cousin has always gotten everything he wants.
Letha is used to being second-best. People think that she has everything since she was born a Godfrey and that's true up to a point. But that point is Roman. In the structure of their family, Letha's never on the top. Whatever her cousin wants, her cousin gets. He's taken her favorite toys, her favorite people, and her brand-new Christmas presents, and none of her objections ever make the thievery stop.
Sometimes she hates him for it but over the years, Letha learns to hate his mother more. Roman is not malicious. He doesn't mean to hurt her by taking her possessions; he simply doesn't realize that there are lines he should respect. Roman believes that everything and everyone in Hemlock Grove are his to use and play with and while he usually shares with Letha, it's pure selfishness at heart.
But that's his mother's fault.
Letha blames Olivia for her son's shortcomings. Olivia who simply smiled when Roman stole her toys. Olivia who tells her son that this town is his small kingdom and teaches him to act accordingly. Parents are supposed to make their children better, not make them narcissists.
Of course, as much as Letha wants to, she would never dare to say this to Olivia aloud. Her aunt has always been terrifying, cold and stern instead of warm, and her fingers leave dark bruises when she grabs Letha by the wrist.
No one stands against that woman. Letha's own parents simply look away when she comes to them crying, yet another beloved toy lost to Roman's greed or fits of temper. They tell her not to cry and buy her fancier replacements but they never tell her that her cousin isn't right.
Thus, Letha learns a lesson that she doesn't think her dad intended but one that seems true nonetheless. She learns not to complain. She learns that girls should be quiet, pretty, and compliant, and she learns that she isn't the most important Godfrey in the eyes of anyone.
It stings at first, the day that she realizes her place within the world. But Letha cannot change it; she must learn to live with it and that's exactly what she does.
As the years pass, Letha becomes a master at submitting gracefully. She wraps Roman around her finger with every charm that she possesses, even the cheapest of concessions repaid with loyalty. Letha is one of the few people who shows her cousin kindness instead of fear or expectations and in turn he loves her for it, as much as he can love.
Even Letha cannot stop Roman from taking what he wants, but she can sometimes turn his gaze aside from that which she most desires and when she can't, she tries her best to get a share. She winks and flirts because those are the only tricks she has available and her looks affect her cousin just like all the other boys.
She thinks they're not supposed to, that family should be different, but it's hard for Letha to be certain when Olivia watches all of them with such possessive eyes. The woman only smiles when she and Roman sit too close together or their touches linger just a bit too long.
However, while Olivia is the true ruler of the Godfreys, Letha doesn't care about her opinion. Not in this. Her family may be strange, perhaps a little twisted, but there are lines she will not cross. Because Letha loves her cousin like a brother and she can live with the self-centeredness to make sure that he's happy. To ensure that both of them are happy as much as possible.
Things change after the angel. Letha thinks it was a dream at first, a strangely vivid dream. And yet, that morning when she showers, she scrubs and scrubs and never quite feels clean.
She's strangely unsurprised to discover that she's pregnant, though her father cries and shouts. Her mind says it's a gift from heaven but her body flinches whenever Roman walks nearby. Letha doesn't know why her cousin makes her nervous now.
Perhaps it's the contrast with her angel, that night still burned within her mind months later. He had been grace and beauty, a selfless gift in human form, not this cold possessiveness. Indeed, as Letha's child grows, her patience with Roman's flaws decreases; both of them are Godfreys, why should she always have to be the one who bends?
And then the gypsy comes to town.
She doesn't notice him at first. He's just another boy, poor and rather scruffy, and she might as well be Hemlock Grove's royalty. They'll be lucky to exchange two words by graduation and that's the simple truth. If Letha spends any thought on Peter, it's only to muse that taking such a boyfriend would make her father cringe. An idle thought and not one she intended to pursue.
Not until the day that Letha sees the gypsy with her cousin and she recognizes the hungry look in Roman's eyes. Her cousin wants this boy – he wants Peter badly – and Letha…. Letha wants to take instead of give.
She is tired of surrender. She's sick of second best and this? This is a battle she can win.
So Letha inserts herself between them with a giggle and a grin, flirting like she never has before. Every trick she learned for Roman, she turns up to eleven, and the gypsy is quickly starstruck, putty in her hands.
She'll learn to care about him. She'll even learn to love him. But both those things come later. For now what makes her smile is the sudden burst of hurt in Roman's eyes. This time her cousin will be the one left wanting. This time Letha will walk home with the prize.