Log:But I Won't Do That
The Scholar knocks on the Creepshow's door, a small box, the sort pastries or confections might come in, maybe a half a foot long and few inches wide and tall, in one hand. He's dressed in in Bastian-type attire; plaid flannel in red, brown, and white, denim jeans, hiking shoes. "Max?" he asks, voice low. He's not sure if she'll be in her room, or elsewhere.
No immediate answer. Eventually he hears the lock pop, and the door opens a crack. It had been locked. One eye peers out through the crack, puffy and red.
Whatever the Scholar had been about to say dies on his lips. He studies that one red eye, and his entire demeanor shifts. He murmurs, "Can I come in?"
"I'm not really in a good place right now," Creepy answers quietly, her voice thin. "Did you need something?"
"I wanted to see you," the Scholar says of what he wants. He licks his lips. "And, I think maybe you're the one who needs something right now." He pauses, seems to be trying to decide if he should say anything else. "I understand if you'd rather I left, but it seems like you could use someone right now."
"Almost murdered the last guy that thought he fucking knew what I needed," Creepshow growls. "What, you're going to make it all better? All I need is a fucking hug?"
The Scholar arches an eyebrow, not in amusement or mockery but in acceptance of her warning. "It's not been my experience with you that hugs fix things. Talking, and," he holds up the box, "rum might help though."
A pause. "...I don't guarantee safety," Creepy says. "I almost killed Oz - uh, your Zorro brother from Prosperity? Isaac? - yesterday in the parlor a few hours after fucking Rado."
"Rado told you, yeah?"
"He did," the Scholar says with equanimity. "I believe the phrase 'Roen was a hero' was involved." A brief smile, then he sobers just as fast and acknowledges her warning with a nod. "That's alright. It's part of what I thought we could talk about, while having rum and chocolate."
A snort. She turns away from the door, letting him come in or not, and heads for her bed. There's a lot of new blood staining her floor. "Why a hero? What did he say?"
The Scholar comes in, shuts the door behind him and studies the floor. "Something to do with fortitude, I think," he says, tone mild. He holds the plain box up, sets it aside on a dresser. "I convinced the dispenser to make you something I thought you might like. Rum balls. Took a few tries to get it to use the kind of rum you like to drink, but Bastian's time learning how to cook went to good use there." He follows her to the bed, but doesn't join her on it, giving her some space.
"You think?" Creepy asks, moving to the bed and flopping onto it. "Or you're just being bashful and not telling me what he said because it's guy stuff? You're being fucking inscrutible." She doesn't address the rum balls just yet.
It's an interesting question, and the Scholar considers if he is bashful about it or not. "No, not bashful," he decides. "He didn't get detailed, nothing like that. We're not the sorts to do that." He pauses, frowns. "I don't think." It's all new to him, at least in terms of this place. He shrugs that aside, clarifies, "He indicated that fucking you was a singularly awe-inspiring experience," and folds his arms. "Sorry, not trying to be coy or anything."
Creepshow rolls her eyes at the 'awe-inspiring' bit. "Fuck it. Forget I fucking asked. Whatever." She lifts her hands to rub her face. "Careful of the new blood there. It's from last night."
The Scholar gives Creepshow an apologetic smile. 'Guy stuff' indeed. He glances at the floor again, back at her. "Did something happen or did you..." She's mentioned it before and now he's wondering if this is part of what she meant, about how she functions in the Facility.
"I didn't kill Oz," says Creepshow. "But someone died last night."
The Scholar tilts his head, brows furrowed. He looks Creepshow over, clearly checking for signs of injury, though of course there wouldn't be any, because... "He fought back?" he asks, carefully.
"Not at all," says Creepshow. "He never touched me, beyond the whole trying to hug me out of nowhere when I was ready to snap. I broke a bottle of rum on his face and stabbed him repeatedly with the broken handle. Some words were exchanged. Then I came back here, locked the door, and did what hee should have."
"Ah," the Scholar says, rubs the back of his neck. He sighs and ducks his head. "I'd say that's a foolish thing for him to do, inflict a hug on you when you're in a mood, but it is Isaac. As my cousin he wasn't prone to thinking much of anything through." He grimaces, nods at the box. "Want one of those? Sugar, chocolate, alcohol--the ideal combination."
"I keep hoping that one of these times I won't wake up," says Creepshow, sprawled on her back on the bed, staring up at the black ceiling. "Eight times, now, and I get up and see this fucking face again, in this fucking place."
She rubs at her face. "No, I don't want fucking chocolates, rum or otherwise!"
The Scholar bites his lip, sits on the edge of the bed. He's quiet a time, thinking over how he feels about that, picking apart his reaction to it. "Is there anything you do want? Aside from," he nods at her, "a permanent escape from all of this." He won't, can't fault her for wanting that. Isn't it what they all want, ultimately? Of course most of them might want to simply escape to a real life, but she's probably not the only one willing to settle for things just stopping.
"There's nothing you can do for me," Creepshow says, resigned. "It's not you. There's nothing wrong with you, nothing you aren't doing, or doing enough of."
"I can't keep doing this. I can't live another life as a decent person, happy or no, and then be me again. I was happy as Ramona. I had purpose as Bella. Max... Max was the hardest of all to let go of. Her life was just starting to have something good in it, and she gave it up to protect him. Without hesitation. And even that's taken away from me."
"Was it taken away? What I feel for you, it's still there. And I know what you did for me, even though neither of us survived it. Everyone else knows too. We might not be living those lives anymore, but we're still those people, in a way." The Scholar sounds a bit more like Bastian as he continues. "You saving him, that's here, making both of us what we are. So's Ramona, and Bella. You're all of them, at the same time as," he looks around her room, "this." He hesitates, risks reaching out to set a hand on Creepshow's arm. He figures he'll find out pretty quickly how bad of an idea that was, or wasn't. "And I know that's painful, and difficult."
"That life," Creepy answers. "That reality, where Max was just Max, and she died protecting someone who finally accepted her. Now it's just another part of all this shit."
She doesn't murder him for touching her, so... there's that?
The Scholar refrains from celebrating too quickly over the minor victory which is not being attacked for touching her. "Yeah, it's part of the rest now," he agrees in Bastian's plain, blunt manner. "But maybe it's not just part of it. Maybe none of them have to be only that." He keeps his hand where it is, doesn't attempt anything more than leaving it a warm presence on her arm. "At the very least, what you did for me, it's not just some part of a life I lived. It was, it is, more than that. Just like you are."
She's quiet for a time. Maybe she's thinking, or maybe she's trying to calm herself, to find a center.
Finally, "You care about me, yeah?"
"Yes," the Scholar says. "For what that's worth," he says, somewhat ruefully. "I don't know if Sebastian or Bastian are particularly good at this kind of thing. But I adore you. Just like he did."
"...I'm going to ask you to do something," Creepy says quietly, solemnly. "You're going to want to say no, but I want you to actually consider it. I've been thinking a lot about this place, who I am, who I've been, and I want to test a theory. You aren't going to like it."
The Scholar studies her for several long seconds, mismatched eyes solemn, expression neutral. "I'm willing to listen to what you have to ask," he says, finally. It's not a promise to do it, of course.
Creepshow finally looks over at him. "I want you to kill me." It's a simple request.
The Scholar sighs like someone who wishes they weren't right about things. He has probably not been Bastian since waking up more than he is at this moment. "Max I can't do that," he says to the floor, rubs at his eyes. "I'm sorry. That's, maybe one of the only things I can't do for you. Not after..." He clears his throat, thinking back to his second, somewhat painful conversation with Cassandra. "I'm sorry," he repeats.
The Scholar runs his free hand over his face. "I've already watched you die once," he says. "And before that, it was Colorado. I can't watch it happen again. Not--willingly, anyways."
"Even if it set me free?" Creepshow asks. "What if each of us has a way out, and we just don't know what it is? I keep dying for others, story after story. I sacrifice myself for someone I care about. What if all it takes to set me free is for someone who cares about me to do it?"
The Scholar's grip on her arm tightens a moment. He visibly wrestles with that, eyes on some bit of blood on the floor as he weighs her request against that and all the rest. For a moment he looks intensely nauseated, shuts his eyes and shakes his head. He sucks in a breath. "Sorry," he says. "I can't. I think about what that was like, back in there, and..." He takes a few steadying breaths. "Part of him died, when that happened. That's why he ran off and got killed by Nails. He felt dead inside already." He opens his eyes, gives her an apologetic look.
"It's not the same in here," Creepy says with a frown. "You know that. I just died last night, and here we are, having this discussion." She pulls away, sitting up. "What was it like? You never told me."
"It won't matter that it's not the same," the Scholar murmurs with utter certainty.
He blinks. "What was it like seeing you die?" He's reluctant to recount it in any detail, but well, if he won't kill her, maybe at least he can do this much. He swallows, stares at a spot on the comforter. "He'd...I'd been through it before--watching someone I loved die violently, I mean. So it wasn't new, wasn't even different, really. Bullets, rebar, it tore you up the same, basically, except you were dying to save me. But..." He lets out a breath slowly. "For a second all I could think about was how I'd found somebody in the place I came to avoid everyone, and even that, I didn't get to hold on to. You were torn apart and bleeding to death and all I could do is stare and say yes to whatever you wanted because absolutely...nothing mattered at that point." He huffs a soft laugh, wipes at his eyes. "Fucking selfish of me, Ethan and Lyle and Colorado and everyone else was still there. And I just...couldn't see them. All I could see was blood, all over."
"You said yes to whatever she wanted," says Creepshow, "but she's here, now, and you're saying no. Even knowing I want it, maybe need it, and it could be a way for me to end this. A potential way to release."
The Scholar snorts. "Bastian wouldn't be calmly telling you no to a request like this. He'd..." He stops, laughs, bitter and unhappy. "He'd be asking you what you were high on, to think he'd ever say yes to something like that. Sebastian would be testing the capacity of his lungs." He sighs. "I'm sorry. I can't. I won't survive it. Something, some part of me will die, doing that. If you want to kill me, that's one thing. But I can't kill you."
"That's not what I asked for," Creepshow says, looking away. "Not what I want, or need. Fine. Fuck it. Forget I ever said anything."
She gets up from the bed and stalks to the door, opening it. "This is me. This is who I am. It's not for everyone - or maybe anyone. I get that. So here's the door. Give Rado the chocolates, I'm sure he'll love them."
The Scholar watches Creepshow as she gets up and heads to the door. He gives her a long, steady look. "Is this what you want? Me to agree to kill you and so some part of myself, or, have nothing to do with you?"
"Did you miss the part where I fucking told you what I am?" asks Creepshow. "Where I told you what drives me in this place? Did that somehow make you think I'm the girl who likes fucking chocolates? I almost murdered a friend last night because he tried hugging me when I didn't want to be hugged. Why didn't I want to be hugged? Because I've been pushing down the monster inside me to be gentle and safe for Rado, and to be Max for you. I've been keeping her in check so I don't fuck either of you or this up. I have limits, Bastian. The things that drive me can't be kept in line indefinitely, or I start randomly murdering friends who hug me. I'm being safe and gentle because Rado needs that. I'm being patient and understanding with you and your relationship with him because you need that. What things are being adjusted for me? Okay, so Rado managed to enter my room. Twice. Good for him. He's trying. How about you?"
"I didn't miss that part, but I can't help but notice I'm the one being asked to kill someone I love," the Scholar says with carefully composed calm. It's Sebastian's calm, cultivated among a family who did truly horrible things. He seems about to go on, stops himself. He spends some time thinking, expressions flirting over his features as he does.
Finally, he swallows, hesitantly asks, "And this is what you think will help you?"
"No," says Creepshow. "It's what I wanted - past tense. I asked you to at least think about it, and you just flat said no. Fine. I accept your answer. Now? I'm asking for alone time. I told you I wasn't good company right now, but you wanted to come in and try talking anyway. Now you don't like how that went. Next time? Take my word for it when I say I'm not feeling very human. Don't think that a sympathetic ear and some candy will make me feel better. I'm not that girl. I want to destroy myself. I want to tear apart everything I hate that's inside me. I want to hurt, and to suffer, and to die and never wake up again. THAT'S what would help me. Not hurting you, or Colorado. Not killing Oz. You aren't the problems right now. Yeah, sometimes I want to hurt others and make them squirm, but right now isn't one of those times. So please, if you actually mean it when you say you love me? Get that this is me. Believe me when I say I'm not up for talking. Understand that I'm self-destructive. And for this moment? Go. Be with him. You can't help me right now."
The Scholar makes a low sound, gets up and moves towards the door. "I do get that this is you. Or, I'm trying to. And I appreciate that you're trying incredibly hard to be careful with us." He stops at the door to look down at her. "Thank you for feeling like you could ask me that. It means something to me, that you're willing to do that." He glances away. "I'm sorry I couldn't do what you needed." He seems inclined to lean down and kiss her, decides she won't like that just now. "And, thank you for letting me talk to you."
He doesn't head towards Colorado's room, though; he goes towards the parlor, and into one of the Anywhere Rooms. He leaves the small box.