Log:Are You Okay, Chance?
The Confidant has only died twice. One he recalls. One he doesn't. One where he was torn to shreds and one where he took a shot to the head.
Two now. Two shots to the head. He doesn't wake up screaming this time. His eye open to a moment of darkness. The moment before the lights come on. He's confused and he moves to sit up. Lights come on to a room he doesn't recognize. The bed is narrow. The floor is cold. There isn't a cozy place to sit. He looks over to the nightstand and a shiny black acoustic guitar is leaning against it. And it all comes rushing back. From postcard memories of playing with his sister and learning to surf all the way through the last months of high school.When was he that happy? He speaks the answer out loud. "Too many times."
Memories rush back. All of them. Seven times in. Seven out. Happiness, sorrow, fear, longing, misunderstanding. He gets up and rushes to the bathroom. He dry heaves over the sink. At least that hasn't changed. But when he looks up at his face. The same face he just left if you add ten or fifteen years. His face twists in anger. He scream. They are primal, raw, wounded and enraged. This is the noise that anyone coming in would hear. Hurricane Chance, Cat 5. He twists his mirror off the bathroom wall and turns his rage to the shower curtain. Metal rings bounce across the white tile floor. He passes through the closet and the rods come crashing down. The desk is next to be flipped and now? He's wielding the chair and banging it against the wall. He can't stay here anymore. He needs out.
Last return was a bad one for Martyr. This time? By the end of it the things that were damaged were healed. He died loving and loved, wanting to live, but ready to put himself between people and trouble. It was a surprise, but it was fast, so very fast, and this time he wasn't electrocuted, so that was good. he feels for his ring, but it's gone. Instead his flute is beside him on the bed, which puzzles him slightly.
While he'd rather be with his husband and wife fighting monsters, he has reasonable hopes that the people he love with find him here, and so he tokk a quick shower, examining his face in the mirror as he combs the citrus pomade into his hair and applies aftershave that smells of fougere with a hint of clove so he will smell familiar to the other returners. He's older this time, the wrinkles at the corners of his eyes a little more pronounced, but not a lot older by his guess. He dresses in the black trousers with the deep pleats, a black dress shirt, a purple tie, and a waistcoat in a matching purple with black musical notation on it, in a hurry in case the other follow soon, given the givens.
He scoops up the flute on the way out, playing Hector's variation on "Wish you were Here" as he walks the corridor checking for familiar sigils. It's the ruckus that stops the muffled, familiar music playing. There is a long pause, and a knock. A familiar voice calls, "Chance? You in there?"
The rages stops cold. The eye of the storm? There is a long bit of silence and then the door swings open. He's soaked in sweat, damp curls in his eyes. He's winded and flushed and he's made quite the mess of him newly stripped room. "Da--Dare." His voice wobbles, lip quivers as he looks him down and then back up to meet his eyes. "Why did it have to be you? You, the self-sacrificing piece of shit. Mister Run INTO the fucking bullet! It was cursed for the moment we met. This...is a curse. Why you?" By the end of that, he's in tears. He turns away and walks back to his narrow, but long, bed. He sits, since it's all that's left of sitting areas, and weeps into his hands. Another moments and he just slides to the floor. "You smell like him!" He wails before covering his mouth again. "Oh, Briar. Oh, Senni. What have I done?"
The Martyr looks worried, "what happened? Was there an ambush?" He looks really distressed, "Shit! Poor Felicity!" His dark eyes are still innocent of the wait of it all he looks alarmed by the room, "This... What happened to your room? It looks like Amy's place sort of." his eyes flick up to the Confidant's, "Are you all right?" He follows after all empathy and settles next to him rubbing his back while he cries, "I'm so sorry, Angel Love. I can't help it. It's my nature. The place where all of my impulses meet." he closes his eyes and says gently, "I think... if there is an original of me. Someone Finn was based on he liked citrus and fougere. I just.... gravitate towards scents based on it. Every incarnation. Here, there." He closes his eyes, "You and I have a lot of apologizing to do after this one, I think. If... if you want me to stay away from you I will. We don't have to... be together."
Chance looks up and looks Dare in the eye. It's a novel gaze for the moment. "You went down and...I was right behind you. I killed him and I tried to make the bleeding stop but it was flowing through my fingers." He pauses. "Cash was a selfish piece of shit to the end. The gun was right there. He planned to take it with him to fight. I called to Felicity. She--she didn't come. Cash's...mind was so different. In that moment, he made a bad decision." He takes a breath, ragged and shaky. "The gun was right there so, he put it in...in his mouth and pulled the trigger. Stupid, stupid kid. I loved Felicity too and I left her." He sobs. "Like it matters. She's a fucking Doorless." He coughs, wetly and groans.
"As for you? Us? I never want you to leave my side again. And...that's so fucked up. I want Briar and Senni too. It isn't fair. I can't be so fucking selfish..." He just breaks down again, pulling himself into a ball.
The Martyr strokes his hair gently as he starts to explain, all sympathy right up until the suicide. He freezes for a long moment, then cuffs him hard on the shoulder, "You idiot! Felicity... Ashley! It hurt them! And we don't know if the doorless go to some other Facility somewhere." Then his face grows very still and blank. When he can speak again, he says in a small voice, "Fuck! I really loved her. I never... lost anyone I loved like that forever before." He looks away fast.
Chance takes his blow and curls up tighter. He doesn't say anything for a while. Eventually, he looks over and says, "I loved her too. And I'll have to answer to Ashley when she comes back. Briar. Senni, maybe." He sniffs. "I had a girl the first time who never came back after the second. And I have a sister I miss, an actual Doorless..." He pauses, eyelashes flutter as he blinks. "Felicity looked a lot like Holden's target girl. Not exactly but so close that...she can't be real." He sniffles and blows his nose on his tan blanket. Mmm. An Act of Chance. "My room is breaking my heart." He looks around. "It used to change as people came in and out of my life. My bed got bigger. My sitting area got cozier. My closet had colorful clothes. It looks like it did when I woke up the very first time. When I had no connections. I /feel/ disconnected. Cut off from everyone."
The Martyr says, “I remember Helena. I'm sorry. Also about your wife. Jesus, Felicity..." He's red eyed from barely shed tears, but Cash is hurting and he is who he is. He reaches out, hand gently to touch his cheek, "You aren't cut off. What you did... a lot of people are going to be angry I think, but we aren't in our right minds out there. I didn't blame derek for spitting once I understood out there. I never blamed you for spitting once we're in here. Hell Hector never blamed you for the Taco Bell parking lot, not even when you were doing it. Once I care about someone, I don't stop. The relationships change when we're out there and sometimes in here and we do stupid and sometimes terrible things. We don't stop loving in here though. friend or lover or sibling, we keep the connections we chose. I chose cash so damned hard Chance. Truly and emphatically. We don't have to be lovers anymore if you don't want. Arcade and I fucked like bunnies out there before we were brothers, but in here we're platonic friends. Love can change shape, but it's still love.”
"I still see Helena. The doors in the parlour. Briar's met her." Chance says. "The other? The woman Chance Reed loved? I don't remember her name anymore. The people behind her door have changed and she's lost to me. When those doors change, sometimes, I don't retain it." Chance admits. "Being Hodr messed up my name and face recognition. Cash's too, now that I think about it. He.." Sniff. "He so rarely looked at people full on in the face. I'm more likely to remember someone's hair or shoulders. Fucking Cash. His mind was so alien to me. He described it well. It was like being chained up. No matter how hard he tried to be normal, he couldn't go but so far. Hector? It was like he owned a skeleton key. He felt so /free/ with Hector. As much as he loved Felicity, it wasn't her skill. We were too alike that way. He could be himself, yes. Invaluable. But Hector was freedom."
He coughs again and spits into the blanket this time. "The problem with me is I always keep loving. So, as much as I fucking hate the thing that drives you. You're...in my heart and I never want to let you go. I can't be friends. I just keep loving."
The Martyr strokes his hair, "I make sure I smell the same so that no matter what face i wear or what age I am, the ones I love can find me. You don't need to recognize my face. Hector... was very young, but he's so very, very me. I know being Derek really messed you up, even though I didn't know you before. I remember how hard it was for you to come to terms with... having your brain messed with like that. Cash was...unique really. I think when your brain changes so dramatically.... The whiplash from Osiris to Angel was so bad it nearly broke me, and that wasn't anywhere near as big a shift as this. You were there for me then; let me be hear for you now."
Dare closes his eyes, "I know I am terrible cross to bear. I am incredibly selfish, always dyng on people like that and when I'm out there I can't see how selfish it is. If you love me like that, I will hurt you again and again and again." he takes a slow breath, "Briar and I have a pact, that whatever horrible things we do to each other out there, we forgive each other in here. It doesn't mean we can't be angry, just... in here, we talk it through until we forgive each other and find each other again. He's always going to be an addict. I'm always going to throw myself in front of bullets and when things get bad, I push the people I love the most away. We hurt people and each other. Still? We work at it every damned time because it's important." His fingers still move in Chance's hair: characteristic gestures of this Martyr whoever he wakes up as. "Do you want to try something like that, you and I. To try to forgive each other and work things out?"
Chance listens, looking at Dare's face. His expression is hard to read save for the occasional quiver of the lip. When those fingers are in his hair, he leans into that touch. No flinching. He takes a deep breath at the end and says, "I should have made a pact with Briar too. But...I didn't know I was so capable of causing so much pain. Cash was an emotional...tornado. He'd drop in, leave a path of broken hearts and destruction and disappear. He understood people enough to wound or love and...he wounded. Part of that was...well, I know what his deal was. The, uh, 2018 part of me. Chance Reed. But uh, the other part was being a kid. Being young. God, I never want to be that young again."
He glances at Dare and then leans on him. As soon as he does, he tears up again. "I could forgive you. I would. Without question. I always say this is reality and here is where it matters. I'm getting ideas about where /here/ is but nonetheless, this is the only place that matters. Everyone is going to be so mad at me." He whimpers and turns to cling to Martyr. "People are supposed to...to be able to trust me. To need me. But after this one, Dare, I don't know anymore. Who am I?"
The Martyr rubs his thumb along Cash's cheekbone, fingers still threaded in his hair. Hi hands are still somewhat calloused, but not with the thick musician's pads at fingers ends. He smiles sadly, "I feel the same. The youngest I remember being before this was twenty seven. If I'm never young again will be too soon.... Jesus I was an idiot sometimes."
When Chance leans, he curls an arm around him. He smiles crookedly, "I'm still getting used to you looking me in the eyes." His other hand finds cash's hair again, so delicate and fundamentally intimate. "Arcade thought we'd all hate him after he was Harkaway. I think... They are going to be very angry, particularly about the suicide, but if we can't forgive each other, we can't forgive ourselves." His accent is mostly Hector still, though bits of the others slide in and out. That last, had a touch of north Africa mingling with California, but really? Mostly he sounds like Hector, smells like Hector, feels like Hector all grown up. Here though? There is a mingling of all of their accents, rich and subtle, his belief firm and from his foundation, "Chance, Love? Here we get to decide who we are. If that takes you a little while to figure out? That's okay. I'll be with you to help you through it. The way you were... I think It wasn't sustainable. I could see the cracks he first time we spoke in this place. I've been trying to help you all along." He peers at the alarming room, "This is... scary, just like building again after everything is scary, and figuring you who you really are without... everything is going to be scary, but it might be necessary, like Wendy changing bodies. This might be... something equivalent. The Lightning Struck Tower. It's hurts, but it's also an opportunity."
He eyes him, lips curling up, "Look, why don't we go to my place where it's comfortable and you can have a nice hot bath and a comfy robe after. I could get you kraft mac and cheese or cocoa or whatever you want and you can curl up under the quilt and just.... rest."
"It's so quiet." Chance remarks, sitting up to look at Dare. "When I was Jody, I came back feeling similar but I had gained, overall. This time? I could lose everything...I have." He glances at his mess of a room. "Except the things I brought back." His black guitar is beside him, somehow unharmed. It shines like a new penny. "I hated Jody and his flaws. Petty. Jody was petty but he was deeply wounded in a time where being wounded made you weak. Cash...was, uh, d-different. Like he came at the world from another direction. And the end of him? Jody did the same."
Chance admits this at some great pain. "Different reasons but, the same way. Point is, if I can get Senni and Briar to forgive me. Make amends with Ashley and probably...Penny. Amy was Penny. Old timer. /IF/ I can manage those things, maybe I can...move again. But it's quiet and that's good news. They won. So, we have time for...ourselves. Odd. I've never been here when it was really empty." He gets up and grabs the guitar by habit. He doesn't even notice. "We can discuss Briar strategies." He smiles and laughs suddenly. "I don't miss those braces. Let me tell you." Chance and Cash couldn't be more different. From posture to voice. Chance's accent shifts but generally carries a southern-like cadence with a little mid-west sprinkled in. And he stands straight and tall and open.
The Martyr nods, "It was pretty quiet my first night here. There were others dead, but I only saw Cheer, who was sweet about making sure she was right there so I wouldn't be alone. It haunts me that she was here alone for a couple of weeks after being Kimmy..." He collects his flute, "I am planning so much chocolate. And apologies. And foot rubs. They'll need a lot of courting this time, I think, and I was not a good partner to them last time." He's enough of a veteran ow that Chance being Chance and not Cashlike doesn't bother him. "Lots of one on one time with each of us."
"Yeah. Yeah..." Chance shakes his head a little. "One time, I made sugar flowers for Senni. I saw them in a book and poked at the screen until I had a plateful. I have to think of something better than that." He heads out quickly then, wanting to put this barren room behind him. He looks up and down the hall. Something catches his eye. "That's a new symbol on an old door. Oh." His eyes grow wide and he takes off down the hall to stand before a door featuring a roulette wheel, dice, and playing cards. "Oh, Dare. Come here, man!"
The Martyr follows along, rather happy to be out of the prison like room himself. He blinks at it slowly, "Maybe." He gazes up at Chance, "I hope it is, but let's not get our hopes to high until we see for sure who lives there."
"It's her. Think. She was too involved to be Doorless. She's new and she looks like someone I knew but..." Chance places his hand on the door, his eyes welling up again. "If there is any kindness in this place..." His voice cracks and breaks until he's whispering. "It will let me apologize to her. She wasn't less. Cash was fucking stupid and young and I'm not. I...I am very, very old now. Seven times." He takes a deep breath. "Meet you in your room? I need kraft. And nuggets."
The Martyr places his hand by Cash's then goes up on tippy toes to kiss his cheek, "I'll draw a hot bath. Wait until you see what the choices are for scented bubbles and oils and things. Tonight we take care of you and let tomorrow take care of itself.
A strong wind blows in ... and everybody out!