Chapter 9

Henry

As soon as I'd woken up all of my brothers, I returned to Andrew's room.

I arrived to see him sat on his bed, one hand covering his face. He looked so exhausted that he might expire at any moment.

"Hi," I said coolly, not feeling sorry for him at all. For my entire careers as a Captivator, he had terrorised us: his powerless siblings, guilty of nothing other than developing hypnotic characteristics.

Andrew looked up and wearily said "What do you want, Henry?"

"I want to know what accepting the role of the strongest hypnotist in the household is going to do to me."

Andrew smiled, despite himself. "You'll absolutely hate it."

"Try me," I said, shrugging. "There's nothing I could despise as much as you."

"Oh believe me there is."

I resisted the temptation to punch him, reminding himself that he wasn't worth it.

"Just get on with it," I said, through clenched teeth. It was strange how quickly my feelings towards him had changed. About a quarter of an hour ago, I had been scared of him and now I was annoyed, finding him as annoying as he found me.

Andrew grinned. "You become more hypnotic. If you're the first Captivator a normal person meets, they'll be fascinated by you."

"I thought suggestible and sociable people already were," I said, confused.

"Yeah: they'll find your company irresistible. But now, everyone will have some degree of inexplicable admiration for you. Including teachers. Get ready to be all your teachers' pet."

"Oh, great," I muttered.

"Told you you'd hate it. Although... it does mean that it's easier to ask favours of people. You'll become top rank of the social hierarchy - whether you want to or not I might add - and so, people will be willing to be your slaves."

"Okay, I don't even want to know how you found that out," I said, disgusted.

"Another thing that will change," Andrew continued, grinning more widely, "is your personality."

"What?!" I yelled.

Andrew rolled his eyes. "Calm down, will you? The core aspects will remain the same."

"Oh," I said, relief sweeping over me.

"Your self-confidence will grow, you'll find yourself better equipped to deal with problems and you'll find greater ease in standing up for what you believe in. In fact, you'll unwittingly inspire others to see the world as you do."

"Oh no," I groaned. "I'm going to have to be so careful."

"You didn't realise that before? Gee, Henry, you might not be right for the job." His tone was one of mock concern as he continued to grin.

"Go away," I muttered.

"You're currently demonstrating another of the changes. It's easier to lose your temper when you're a stronger Captivator."

"Oh, that's just what I need. What a thing to top it off."

"Hang on a minute!" Andrew exclaimed, laughing. "I haven't told you about the extraordinary talents yet."

"Oh, you are kidding me."

"Henry, mate, if you can't deal with it, don't even try this. I'm serious. A powerful Captivator needs to acknowledge his new qualities. Otherwise, there'll be disastrous consequences."

"Like what?" I asked warily.

"Like a total loss of control."

The words hung threateningly in the air, almost foreshadowing a great crime. Andrew looked serious as he asked "Are you sure you're ready, Henry? 'Cause if you're not, you have to think about the impact the wrong decision would have on people's lives."

"We're not just talking about family here, are we?" I asked quietly.

"No. You won't always have your brothers around to help you."

"It's a huge responsibility," I murmured. I suddenly looked up from the floor, straight at Andrew. "But I have to do this. I have to stop you controlling everyone under this roof. If I don't, what right will I have to hate you or protest against your actions again? I shall have to act as if I respect or admire you, since that's what the gesture of me letting your reign continue would appear to indicate. No. I can't let that happen. I don't care how difficult this is, what sacrifices I'll have to make: this is my decision. And I'm sticking by it."

"You have courage," Andrew admitted grudgingly. "And it seems like you know exactly what you're doing. I guess all that's left is to tell you what your extraordinary talents are."

"I guess so," I sighed, deflating as the passion left me. I walked over to sit at Andrew's desk, quite seriously worn out.

"Well, I'll start off talking about proprii."

"What about them? Wait, let me guess: it's easier to get one."

"Well, there's that but I was actually going to tell you about other Captivators' proprii. You can reverse the process."

"Oh really?" I asked, suddenly interested.

Andrew nodded. "You steal the proprius' heart."

"Oh, heck," I groaned. The proprius I had been thinking of was of course Harriet.

"Hey, mate: this can be done after they've surrendered their will to the master. They'd probably be relieved. And you could always stop their feelings for you once they're safe."

"Yeah, but what if I don't want to let go?"

Andrew's brow furrowed. "Oh. I thought you were talking about Anna."

"If only." Michael's proprius had barely crossed my mind. In fact, I'd barely thought of her since their disastrous visit last month which could well have ended with the abduction of my brothers' girlfriends. I dreaded to think Matt and Ryan would be treating me now if Zara and Sophia had been enchanted by that demonic monster. I don't think I could bear to see Jack hurt and angry either, so it was good that Mia was safe and more importantly still Jack's.

"Who are you thinking about then?" Andrew was asking.

"Harriet," I murmured disconsolately.

Andrew looked even more confused. "But she has free will."

"Arthur wants to make her his proprius."

"Ah, poor girl. At least she'll be in safe hands."

I glared at him. "I'm not going to let it happen."

Andrew shrugged. "Arthur's strong-willed. Stubborn. And, when he wants to, he can induce a very deep trance."

"Surely he'll be no match for me?"

"Well, no, but I'm just saying. The second you steal her, he'll try his very hardest to get her back. He's a pretty formidable enemy."

"Oh fantastic. Opposition will be so useful (!)."

"Well, it's your choice whether you interfere or not. I tend to stay out of your business - you might want to do the same as you adjust to the role."

"I can't let that happen to Harriet. What would she think?"

"Well, she'd be unaware of everything which didn't involve Arthur," Andrew pointed out.

I looked at him frostily, before standing up.

"Well, if that's all..."

"It's not," Andrew interrupted. "I'd sit back down if I were you,"

I sat. "There's not more, is there? I should've taken notes."

"Well, you didn't expect it to be easy, did you?"

"Well, actually, I did," I confessed. "I thought with your level of complacency..."

"Shut up," Andrew said angrily. "You're being very ungrateful when there was no actual reason for me to tell you these things."

"You knew I could make you with a nod of my head," I said, shrugging indifferently.

"Oh, you do not want to challenge me, Henry."

"Why not? It's time you got a healthy taste of your own medicine."

"I can guarantee you'll regret this."

"I can guarantee I won't."

Andrew glared at me, but a few seconds later breathed out heavily. "You're not worth it," he murmured.

"Ah, I forgot: that's what I think of you."

"You have a lot more in common with me than you think, Henry. I look at you and am reminded of myself when I was your age."

"Oh, spare me the reminiscing. I will never empathise with you. We will never be the same."

"We'll see."

"Was there something you were going to tell me or not?"

"Yes, there was." Andrew took a deep breath, recovering his calm. "You'll become a stronger hypnotist than you ever imagined."

The End

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