Log:A Tearful Reunion
The Confidant woke up rough from Beaver Lake. A screaming return of pain and horror. The sound he makes this time is more of a wail. Something pained and grieved. This is followed by another outburst. A throaty scream. Frustration and anger. Those who know Confidant might be waiting for him to calm down and come out and write on his door. But this does not happen. The Confidant's door remains closed but if you happen to pass by, he can be heard in there. Alive and weeping and gasping like he can barely breath.
The Addict happens to be walking by, and they hear the weeping. While their heart quietly breaks, they hurry toward the dispensery and gets a bowl of chicken nuggets and blue raspberry Kool Aid. Because of course Briar pays attention to those sorts of details. They knock on the door before trying it to see if it's locked. "It's me," they say gently.
There is the sound of scrambling and then nothing for a beat. When the door opens, there stands the same old broad and tall redhead Briar would know anywhere. His eyes are red and tearful and he's wiping his nose on his t-shirt. He opens his mouth to speak but he just shakes his head and steps aside for Briar to come in. Once they cross the threshold, he heads back to his bed. Large and pushed against the wall, he almost seems small as he crawls into the corner and pulls his knees up into one big ball. He opens his mouth but...he's got nothing. Nothing but more tears that he hides by planting his face into his knees.
The Addict sets the nuggets and Kool-Aid nearby, then sits on the edge of the bed and gently strokes Chance's hair. Their own eyes tear up, but they blink them away and just keep stroking with soft, gentle touches. It's not Dia, but there is something of Dia that lives in them. In particular, that gift for just being present. There's no shushing, no attempts to stop the crying. Just those light, loving touches.
The Confidant leans into that gentle touch. Same way Holden would but Holden wasn't hurting. Holden was happy. Happy as one could be there. The Confidant...Chance is hurting. Briar seems to have a calming effect. He stops crying first and just breathes until the shuddering stops. Finally, he says in a whisper, "That one was really weird and really, really cruel." He coughs wetly into his elbow. "Did you bring anything back? I don't think I did but I am really disoriented after being blind for so long. I-I don't know if I would recognize something I brought back."
The Addict's hand trembles as they stroke Chance's hair. To see him hurting is heartbreaking. "I didn't," they say. "Not that I could see. There's, um. I brought you something to eat." Then they can't help themselves, and they pull Chance into a hug. There is no scent of honey, but that's not to say Briar doesn't smell good in their own right. There's the lingering floral notes of their bubble bath, and a hint of lavender layered atop it.
The Confidant isn't one to turn down a hug. He almost starts the tears up again but he pulls away before and reaches for the Kool-Aid. He chugs that and is left with blue dye on his mouth. "You smell nice." He says, quietly. "Clean and...flowers. I don't have his nose." He chuckles and then the words spill. "At least he was a good person, Holden. He was /good/. And he was sincere. And his love was as big as the ocean." He coughs again. "He loved Dia so fucking much. Fuck!" He freezes, mouth open slightly. "I'm going to puke." He tumbles off the bed and barely makes it to his sink before he does just that. Vomit blue liquid.
"She loved him, too," Briar says, and they're not very good at keeping the emotion out of their voice, the longing. They watch him slug down the Kool Aid, then wince as he goes to throw up in the sink. Getting to their feet, they come over to rub his shoulders gently. They were married for two years, Briar's not going to be put off by a little blue vomit. "Deep breaths," they murmur. "Go easy on yourself, it's going to be a rough adjustment."
Once he's breathing normally and he quits spitting, he says, "Two years of blissful marriage. Like newlyweds every day." He dry heaves a few times. "I usually puke every time." He admits after catching his breath again. "The transition makes me sick. I freak out. I dry heave usually because it's always when I first wake. T-T-Then I calm down and go out and write on the door. But right now, I can't move. Or, um, I can't write on the door. I can't be anything to anyone. Not right now, at least. This...it keeps getting harder. It piles up. I better brush my teeth." He mutters and does just that.
The Addict leans against the sink lightly as Chance brushes his teeth. "You don't have to be anyone to anyone just now," Briar says. "I'm here for you." They look around the room, taking it all in as a way of affording Chance a little privacy while he brushes. "Like newlyweds every day," they murmur. Now their eyes tear up again, but they blink them away. They're not here to cry, damn it. "Do you need me to get you anything?"
The Confidant shakes his head. Spit, rinse, check. Clean. He pushes off the sink and wanders back towards the bed, sitting on the edge. "They need me." He says. "That's...everything here. Being there for them. Available. To help them deal with this mystery and all the feelings and baggage and burdens that weigh on our souls. That is who I am. That is what I do. I can't change it. It's branded on my soul." He pauses and pushes a bit of hair out of his eyes. He looks at Briar. "Maybe though...they can wait. Just a little while. I just, I just, I just....need to recover. Recover." He swallows. "My door. People lean on me and every time I see it I wonder...who do I get to lean on? Who will carry my burdens? I must be strong enough or else it wouldn't be me, right? Right?"
The Addict follows after Chance and sits down beside him. Gently, they take his hand in both of theirs, and they say, "If you were to believe what it says on my door, I'm just a junkie. No real good to anyone. But you can lay them on me. I'll carry them. You need to recover if you're going to be any good to them." They bring Chance's hand to their lips for a soft kiss. It's different, without the beard. "Please take some time to recover. It doesn't matter if you lay it on me. I can go sleep it off. No one needs me."
"That isn't true." Confidant says without missing a beat. "You are needed. Whatever is happening here is happening for a reason. All the pieces. All the cogs and gears. All needed." He blushes and averts his eyes. "Big picture aside..." He sighs. "I need you. One thing I know from...five of these? Is that the heart doesn't stop beating. Love transcends the Encounters. You've been my friend, my rival and then, my lover--No, my wife." He sniffs. "You've made me very happy. L-Like Senni. Like Senni too. I love you both very much. And Senni was...snapshots this time. Cruel but you were there. And if anyone here can make room in their heart to love, it's me. All I do. All I am. It comes from love. Love of my fellow man. The desire to comfort and ease and explain. To be a soft place to fall and the shoulder to cry on and the pillar to lean. All love."
He wipes his eyes. "Dia was my world. She made me brave and strong and confident. I-I-I don't need those things here but I still need love. And...Senni's gonna leap on me the moment she sees me. And...and...I want that. And I want you too, Briar. I have the space. W-w-we all learned lessons about jealousy early here. Senni's...she likes you too." What he says next has a different tone. Before was plodding and slow, figuring things out as he spoke. These words are desperate. He speaks them quickly and in a whisper. "Don't leave me."
Now Briar's tears start to flow despite their best efforts, and they nod, dumbly at first as they take deep, shuddering breaths to calm down. They swallow, then say in a somewhat raspy voice, "My love for you began in Prosperity." They let that hang there for a moment, then adds, "It hasn't changed, except to grow deeper." They sniffle, then adds, "I won't leave you. I still love Dare and Arthur, but they've both made it more than clear that they've got no ownership over me."
The Confidant laughs and he blushes deeper. His fair skin doesn't allow him to hide that. "Prosperity? Yeah. Looking back, I see it." He nods a little, a smile slowly spreading across his face. He looks at Briar and reaches over to thumb away a tear. "No ownership. Not when our lives are flipped over so often. We could be anything next time. Like me and Senni this time. Or hell, her first encounter? I don't think we even met. Maybe once?" He stammers a bit and then spits out. "I...fuck. You didn't like when I cursed. It's funny. My potty mouth only exists here. Anyway, uh, uh...like I always say: We only /really/ have this place. This is the constant. This is the reality as best I figure. That's why I like it. I'm here. I'm whole. I am surrounded by people I love. People I can help. So...assuming Senni m-made it back. Think you two can share? Because I love her." His eyes well up. "And I love you too. And I don't mean to be greedy but...my heart is very big. Very, very big. I need you both for different but equal reasons." He deflates a little. "I want to kiss you. May I?" Beat. "Consent was a big deal in 2018."
The Addict grins despite themselves when Chance curses, and they admit, "I kind of like it now." They lean in and kiss Chance rather suddenly. It's such a tender thing, but there's an underlying urgency to it. Their fingers curl in his red hair, and when they draw away from the kiss, they press their forehead to Chance's. "I love you," they whisper. "So much, Chance. Of course I don't mind that you love Senni. She's wonderful, and I adore her, and I'm not jealous. Is it all right that I have my other loves? They don't diminish how I feel about you. I was your wife for two years. That doesn't just go away." With a little laugh, they add, "Kiss me whenever you want."
The relief that washes over The Confidant is apparent. He kisses Briar back, a quick peck, as if trying it out. "It's a little different minus the beard but I am not complaining. My beautiful Briar, most beguiling, most bewitching. Most brave." Another kiss, longer, deeper. "Holden had a way with alliteration, glad he passed it on." He keeps close and reaches to curl a finger in their hair. "You are free with your love too. I have just...one request. It's little. But I...I suppose I got used to it and my heart still craves it."
He's embarrassed, he goes red up to his ears. "I d-d-don't want to sleep alone anymore. I know we'll just wake up apart but...if Senni's still here, I'll ask her the same so...not always you but sometimes. Maybe a lot. I don't know..." He trails off and his eyes dart away.
The Addict slips their arms around Chance and holds him close. "Between Senni and I, we'll keep your bed warm," they say. "I wish I could wake up with you. It was one of my favorite things. But falling asleep with you was a close second." They look up at Chance. "I'll stay with you tonight. And if you ever just want some time with Senni, I hope you know that it's not just something I'm willing to endure. If she makes you happy, I want you to have her."
Chance snugs up close. "Same for you. Be happy. Be happy and all I want is to be a part of your happiness." He slowly pulls away. He takes a deep breath. "I suppose I can take some time before my door is open again. No one will punish me for that, I think." He sniffs. "Gosh, I was blind for a long time. Stack that with all the other flaws or...whatever? I'm tired." He chuckles. "I'll be okay. I'm always okay eventually. Having all of you guys...this fucked up little family of ours helps." He slides back on the bed. Did the bed get bigger? Seems like it might've. "Lay with me. I will...tell you more about 2018 and how well you'd fit into the future--Oh! I can take you. I will. Soon. Just lay with me now, please?"
The Addict climbs into bed with Chance and curls up closely. Not that Diamanto was bad at snuggling, not at all, but it's like Briar's made for it. They rest their head against Confidant's shoulder. "I'm right here," they say, "and I love you so much." They stroke his hair and plant a small kiss on his lips. "You make me happy. You can take me anywhere you want, I'll follow." With a little laugh, they add, "One of these days, I'll be somewhere it's safe to be me."
"Oh yeah. I mean...we gotta land some place in time that isn't...awful. Or dangerous." Chance says, holding Briar close. He was made for this. He's broad and soft and warm. "Oh, we'll find a place in 2018 and stay...a while. And be ourselves." Beat. "Eh. I'm deaf in 2018 but that's no big deal." He chuckles and then falls silent, allowing naught but the sounds of two hearts, beating in time.