The Confidant wrote less today. Only a few instructions meant probably for the blond woman he recently met, just in case she didn't know how to work the dispensary or somesuch. The rest is the usual hopeful fluff but the heart isn't all there. Now, he is found standing in from of the new doors. The Anywhere Rooms. He stares at the doors, as he bobs his head back and forth in thought. His hands seem to weigh the options. This? That? All in silence. He reaches for a door but stops, pulling all the way back. He crosses his arms and begins a little pacing circle.
The Addict comes into the parlor from the hallway. He's in a simple yellow sundress with a lacy cream-colored shawl. His hair is loose and wavy, and his only makeup is a light lipgloss. He pads barefoot toward the dispensary, but he pauses as he sees the Confidant. Clasping his shawl in both hands, he walks over and says, "Can't decide what you want it to be?" He considers the door for a moment. "I've never given it a try."
First, The Confidant is startled, looking back at The Addict as if really didn't expect someone to pass through. Then he stares Addict, brows furrowed. He stammers a bit but then exclaims, "Genderqueer!" He exhales, relieved. "That was hard. I had never heard the word so I just kept thinking about it but I couldn't spit it out." Beat. "You. That's what you are. Or..maybe, I'm pulling from 2018 knowledge who knows what year it is now. That's assuming we are on earth."
The door with the woman running towards a cliff opens. From it steps, once again in pink and white heart pajamas, Thrill-Seeker. The writing on the wall across from her door makes her pause and then she smirks. "Heh..." Turning she pads into the parlor, but her eyes turn towards the voices. "Can't decide what?" She asks with a cheerful smile. There is still that touch of hesitancy around her movements as she moves. Then Chance spews a whole bunch that doesn't make sense and she frowns at him. "Why couldn't he just wear what he wants? I wear pants..."
The Addict tucks a lock of hair behind his ear and regards the Confidant with a politely puzzled look as he stammers. "Genderqueer," he says, trying the word out on his tongue. He nods slowly. "That sounds a lot nicer than what they would have called me back in Prosperity." He smiles softly and gives the Confidant a hug. "Thank you for thinking of me," he says.
He turns then to the woman he's never met before. "Hello," he says. "I'm still trying to figure out a few things. The only frame of reference I have is a time period where, well, chances are I wouldn't have survived." He smiles a little, like the thought isn't horrifying. To Chance, he says, "I think that's why my father kept such a tight rein on me. God knows what I might've become without the fear of damnation."
The Confidant comes away from that hug, smiling and blushing. "You're welcome. I knew that there was a name for you and it had me scratching at the walls in my memory. It was in that floaty place where, things don't quite feel too real. But it was a part of my training. I was a paramedic in the south, we needed sensitivity training." He laughs but it's a little hollow. "Anyway, now that I remember it's all coming back. Genderqueer is basically you are...both and neither at the same time. Or, as I called it in class, 'Wearing whatever the fuck you want.'" He grins big now and winks. He knows how Addict feels about his potty mouth. I can't saw you would have fared much better in 2018. It was new. Now in 2149, I married a woman, we divorced amicably, and the I dated whoever and didn't think one way or another about it. Progress." He shrugs a little. "Martin, meet the newest new girl. That's an old door, new face." He turns back to the doors. "I've had Christmas on my mind. Or, rather, the weird papery memories of the holiday. Like...flashes of photographs. I managed to remember one clearly though, because my sister and I talked about it. Our best Christmas. Now I'm wondering if I could...remember it into one of these rooms."
The Thrill-Seeker smiles at The Addict and lifts a hand to wave. "Hi," She says pleasantly. "I...see. Things are still really...confusing. I don't...remember or really know anything. I mean...I know how to talk and stuff. It's really, well I'm trying to -not- think of it and just enjoy learning about things," There is a pause for breath and then something seems to cross her mind. "Oh! What do you both like to eat? I was told to ask. I want to try -everything-! Except fois grais. I tried that, it was disgusting." She pauses as Confidant introduces her. "It is nice to meet you. I suppose I should choose a name, but nothing feels right..." Her nose wrinkles vaguely before her face falls to curiousity. "What is Christmas?"
The Addict shoots Chance a look at the f-bomb, but he can't help but grin a little. "It's good to know that, as time goes on, things get a little fairer for some of us." He considers the door. "No memory is perfect," he says, "but I'm sure you could create an image of what you think that Christmas should have been, and it'll be just as good." He regards the Thrill-Seeker oddly. "Fois gras is fantastic if it's prepared properly. You must have gotten a bad batch." As for Christmas, he considers the question. "Hmm. It's a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, but it's a bit more complicated than that. There are a lot of pagan traditions that thrive under the mantle of Christmas, such as the tree. People celebrate with feasting and giving each other presents."
Chance looks back at T-S, wide eyed and incredulous. "Wow. I didn't even realize that...well, with no memories or a different frame of reference, so much can change. And yeah, what he said. It's a lot of things to a lot of people. Each one different." He points at the bookshelves. "Every book is there. I know that doesn't make sense. But kinda think about what you want to learn about and pull down a book. It's usually what you are looking for." He regards Addict. "If we end up in the 1980s...nevermind. I was going to warn you but you won't remember so..." He turns back to the doors. "You wanna try it? It's...a clearish memory of my last family Christmas as Chance. Best part about it? You won't have to suffer the issues that made it my last one. No people are in there, I hear."
The Thrill-Seeker continues to look vaguely puzzled as The Addict explains Christmas. But while she understands the words much of it goes over her head and that much is obvious. "So...it's a big party? I'm down with a party!" And suddenly there is a toothy grin and dimples shot at both of them. "That sounds like a lot of fun! And...I'll give the fois grais another try, but..." The grin falters and one eye squints slightly. Clearly she is doubtful. Then Chance offers a new experience and the grin is back. "Sure! What do you normally eat?"
The Addict tells Chance, "I'm sure my 1980 counterpart won't have had the luxury of ignorance. I suppose we'll see. I've survived being repressed once, I can do it again." If only he had any idea what he had to look forward to. "I don't have any clear Christmas memories. I spent them with my father, just the two of us. We were comfortable, but he wasn't a festive man." He inclines his head to the Thrill-Seeker when she says she'll try fois grais again, but then she asks Chance what he eats, and the Addict keeps quiet.
"You...do know you might be straight, right? Like, a totally, boring, straight guy. Chance was straight. Very, very straight." The Confidant says, seriously. "Only Henry and Jody had any kind of romantic or sexual feelings towards men and none of them wanted to wear dresses." He laughs suddenly. "That was another reason I didn't do so well after The Noc." He reaches for the door. "You are supposed to eat turkey or some roast bird. And a lot of sides. It's really, really varied but this memory had pizza. I wonder if it still will. Okay. Ready?"
The Thrill-Seeker is obviously more than ready for she moves over to Chance and the strange door on the balls of her feet. As she comes to a stop next to him she rocks back and forth and then glances from him to the door. "What do we do? Just walk in?" She asks. "And roasted turkey huh? Do you think the dispensary will work if I just think Christmas feast?"
The Addict arches a brow. Straight? He readjusts the way the shawl drapes over his bare shoulders. "I doubt it," he says. "I can't imagine. Don't get me wrong, women are lovely and desirable. I just can't fathom picking one or the other when you don't have to." He wrinkles his nose. "I hope I'm not straight next time. I'll have to spend a week in my room with Arthur just to get it out of my system when we get back." When pizza is mentioned as the Christmas meal, he just shakes his head. Pizza. "It might," he says to the Thrill-Seeker. "It can't hurt to try." He nods to Chance. He's ready. Even if there's pizza in there.
Chance is about to turn the knob but he snatches back his hand. "No people. No. I can't. My sister and...and seeing her stuff but not her. And it's not even like I know what my mother looks like. Fuck!" Chance claps his hand over his mouth. "I've never had a mom. Oh...oh, fuck, man..." The Confidant's losing his color. What little there is. "I should take this existential crisis elsewhere. Uh..." He chuckles a bit. "Martin, I hope you end up straight. Just to see your face when we get back." With that, The Confidant rushes off to his room. He closes the door behind him.
The Thrill-Seeker watches Chance's sudden change with obvious fascination. Staring at him with her mouth slightly open. A few blinks of her eyes follow him as he trails off to his room. "I...do -not- understand half of what he said," She finally says and looks at The Addict hopefully for answers. "And...you are far too curvy to be straight. Or...wait..." Her eyes narrow in obvious confusion and with a sigh moves away from the door towards the dispensary. "Want to see what asking for a Christmas feast yields with me, since he ran off?" Her nose wrinkles slightly as she says it.
The Addict's features soften in sympathy for Chance, only to furrow when Chance tells him he hopes he turns out straight. Hmph. In the end, sympathy wins out over annoyance, and he says, "I hope he feels better. These revelations can hit any time, and it's hard. My persona never had a mother either, so it wasn't such a big deal." He shakes his head, then sweeps his hair from his eyes with a flick of his hand. He smiles a little at the Thrill-Seeker and says, "Thank you. I'd like to think so." Then he gestures to the diespeners and heads that way. "We might as well find out what happens."
The Thrill-Seeker comes into the Dispensary with Addict and as they move to the odd area she asks, "So what was Prosperity like for you? From what Chance and others said, he feels he was a right royal, ah, asshole I think was one word. Fucker was another he used." She eyes the dispensary with anticipation and her pace increases to move over to it. "Ummmm...I want a Christmas feast...please?" The memo of not needing to ask for it hasn't been given yet.
The Addict shakes his head and murmurs, "Chance. Language." He regards the dispenser curiously. "I was just a repressed librarian in Prosperity, who was hoping to not have to work anymore once I met my rich relatives. It didn't quite work out that way. I don't think I was all that terrible. I was just trying to do the right thing. I only knew Chance for a little while back there. He was quite decent to me, I thought."
The Thrill-Seeker opens the compartment and pulls out a tray with a roasted turkey on it. "Oof, this is heavy!" She says is surprise, but she moves to set it down on the counter beside her. Because another tray is pulled out and she tries to peer inside, but it just...doesn't show her anything helpful. This tray appears to have about five different bowls of potatoes. This, too, is set down. "Uhhh...how do you eat all of this?" She asks as she moves to pull ANOTHER tray out. It appears to have veggies of various sorts. Sweet potatoes, collard greens, and so on. Her eyes are hude as she turns to stare at The Addict.
The Addict's eyes widen. "That's so much food," he says, and he helps move trays as more keep coming. "We should've done this when there were more people around. Here, let's just, um, set it out and if people come in we can direct them to it." He looks around at the spread, and he laughs a little. "I don't even recognize some of this food," he admits. "It must have become traditional after my time." He thinks for a moment, then nods to himself and moves the food to one of the tables, all spread out like a feast should be. "Are you hungry?" he asks. "I feel like we should at least try it."
The Coward comes from the parlor.
The Caregiver comes from the parlor.
The Coward ambles in. He looks a lot healthier physically than he did in Prosperity, with muscle on him and a general air of health, and he walks with his back straight. Still in cowboy boots and jeans, though. Maybe he just dresses like that? His blonde eyebrows go up in bemusement; all the food is the first thing he notices. "Who made all this?" Only then does he look up at the other two, and his eyes widen. "January! Martin!"
"Of course I'm hungry! Oh this smells goooood," The Thrill-Seeker has just pulled a tray of pies and desserts from the dispensor and is handing it to The Addict to take to the table. "I'm going to try everything!" She says with enthusiasm. The last tray appears to be condiments. Gravy, salt and pepper, cranberry sauce, and other things that are weird like A1 and marsala and a thing of soy sauce? Because the next tray is full of various Chinese foods. "Should I try and make it stop??"
The Addict takes the pies, looking a little disconcerted as more trays keep appearing. "Yes, try to make it stop," he says. "We're going to run out of table." Which isn't a real worry, since the tables are pretty big, but allow the Addict his hyperbole. He's in a pretty yellow sundress today with a cream-colored lacy shawl. His shoulder-length hair is loose, and he's got on a thin sheen of lipgloss. Martin certainly has switched it up a bit since leaving Prosperity. He moves with so much more ease, though, his awkwardness gone. Once he sets down the pies, he looks up, and his expression brightens. "Colorado!" he says. "You're here! And alive!" He moves quickly toward the Coward, who's going to get hugged if he's not careful.
The Scholar comes from the parlor.
The Caregiver, Eilis to most, she's on her way through the parlor to the dispensary to go poke buttons herself, so it would seem. She's wearing a lengthy wine red dress with uneven flutter of butterfly hem, draped in a lazily daring v-neck, strappy little chic black heels to go with. Of course, when she notices the sheer abundance of things laid out in way of foodstuffs, her steps on those heels stop from click on the floor to full stop with a quick blink. After a quick grin for company, she comments, "... I am -so- glad I'm not the only one that made the machine spit out a whole lot of things at once." A pause, "I thought it was going to explode til JoeJoe fixed it."
The Thrill-Seeker stares at the dispensary display and says, "How do I stop it?" In an only slightly concerned voice. She pushes at a button and a then several cakes are presented. "Not that one..." New voices distract her and she turns to look after pressing a button. There is Chance's pizza apparently. Thrills takes the pepperoni and hands it to The Addict looking bewildered.
The Coward recognized Martin's face, but as the young man starts moving towards him he realizes he's wearing a dress. The Coward's forehead does something complicated, but he doesn't hesitate in hugging the Addict. "You dress kinda different now, hmm?" He lets him go, holding him by the upper arms, studying his face as if trying to figure out what are the parts of the Martin that he knew. Caregiver comes in and he glances at her, taking in her new look too. "Been busy, you two," he says, mild and amused.
The Scholar comes in from the parlor, stopping in the archway a few feet behind Eilis and blinking when he sees the enormous display of food. He's older than he was in Prosperity by a good ten or more years, and solidly built where Sebastian was still lanky, yet otherwise he's clearly Sebastian: broad white streak through his black, unruly hair, mismatched green and brown eyes, angular face. He's dressed a little like he used to then, in a crisp white dress shirt, dark gray slacks, matching vest, and red and gold tie. Perhaps he was feeling nostalgic.
He glances at Thrill-Seeker, who he doesn't recognize, then Coward, who he does, smiles a hello. His eyes cut to Martin, and he smiles in a mix of relief and regret. "Oh, Martin. You're here." He thinks what he's just said over, carefully asks, "Did you want me to call you Martin?" If he's noticed Martin's outfit, it's not clear.
It takes Caregiver a moment to take in exactly who she knows as Martin is wearing. She does a double take after her humored comment, watching him and Colorado there for a few beats. Her lips twitch with slight grin after that moment of absorbing pause, then her eyes take a sweep over the growing accumulation of food. Though it's bulk variety, there's an assortment of things together that kind of seem to trigger her, spread out like holiday feast. Features reflective, she moves to one of the machines beyond the dining room that isn't currently spitting anything out to claim a bounty that isn't laid out yet-- wine. She doesn't come straight back into the dining room with it before popping it open either. She stands in there, pours, drinks and watches with distraction from afar for a spell.
The Addict draws back and bows his head as he says to Colorado, "I'm finding myself. Turns out I've been in some interesting places." He tucks a lock of hair behind his ear and says, "I'm glad you're well, or about as well as any of us get, I suppose." He gestures to the table. "We've got all this food if you want to join us." Then the Thrill-Seeker is handing him pizza, and he stares at it. He shakes his head and puts it aside. "No, no, no pizza is not Christmas food. What has that man's tastebuds done to him that he retaliates so mercilessly?"
Martin gives the pizza a hard look, which softens when he looks to the Scholar. He looks between him and Colorado, and he smiles all sappy-like. "You both look great. Yes, please, call me Martin." Then, to Eilis, "You look so beautiful."
The Thrill-Seeker turns back as there is a last clunking. From it she pulls a tray with sparkling cider, eggnog, brandy, and cocoa in various jugs, bottles, and pitchers. "Please stop!" She says forcefully as she takes the tray and steps away. As everyone seems familiar with each other her eyes take in new faces. She herself smiling pleasantly at the group. "I asked for a Christmas feast...I...at least there are more of us now."
The Coward smiles at the Scholar, head lifting. "Howdy, sweetheart." For a moment, nobody else exists. Not in the room. Not in the facility. Not in the universe. Then the Coward nods, in an interested manner, to the Addict. "You've got an honest gift, if you can know who you are. If that means wearin' dresses, I say, wear the dress. Ain't doing anybody any harm." He steps back hurriedly as yet more things come out of the dispenser. This tray, he takes an eggnog off.
"Martin," the Scholar says, nods. "Call me Bastian." He includes the Thrill-Seeker in this introduction with a glance, adds, "I don't remember seeing you in Prosperity." As he did when asking the Addict what to call him, he says this with care, like he's not sure if mentioning it will be rude.
He catches that look from the Coward, smiles, a small, secretive sort of smile. He grabs an eggnog from the tray as well, goes over to another dispenser and murmurs to it. He pulls a small bottle of something golden brown from it, adds a small dollop to his eggnog, offers the bottle to the Coward. "Rum," he says, bobs his eyebrows.
There's a tilt of the Caregiver's dark head to play with some of her hair in glossy spill over her shoulder, fingers at rake and catch and twist as her other hand nurses the wine glass to gradually drain there at a bit of an observing distance. Her eyes fall with drop of lashes and turn of profile away after the Thrill-Seeker calls the spread a legitimate Christmas feast. She might be lost in a spell of unpleasant reverie, but her features are calm.
The compliment from the currently flashy Addict brings her back about and she tops off her glass before carrying the bottle and more glasses in with a smile, "Thank you, Martin. I admit, you look rather fetching yourself. It's different to see, but on the same hand, it seems to suit. I'm not entirely sure why. Free spirit mentality, I suppose." On her way back near to prepare to sit, she goes out of her way to kiss both the Scholar and the Coward on their respective cheeks with utter fondness that radiates. Then her eyes switch to the other woman present with a beat of curious study.
"Thank you," Martin says to Colorado. "It's been helpful, how nice everyone has been about it. I wonder sometimes if Martin of Prosperity would've been happier if he'd had a chance to be more genuine." He smiles, a little sadly for the no-longer-existent awkward youth. He nods to Bastian as he gives his name. "Bastian," he echoes. "Please, come eat with us." He gestures to all the food. "We were just wondering what would happen if you ask for a Christmas feast." And there it is, the answer, spread out on the table and smelling delicious. Has he heads over to the food, he casts a glance back at Eilis and grins. "It was in my closet. I think somehow it knows."
The Thrill-Seeker gives Bastion a dimpled and cheerful smile. "I'm new and don't have any memories like you lot. Not even a name yet..." Briefly she wrinkles her nose before she gets two plates and begins to load them up. "I think I will need more plates. And a bigger stomach. But most of it smells wonderful! And I really do not get why everyone is making a fuss over what you are wearing. It's so pretty!"
The Coward bends down for his kiss from the Caregiver, smiling at her with a murmured, "Little sister." The Colton family bonds were iron, forged in fire. Those bonds don't give just because some of them died and are living some bizarre afterlife. "Expect he would," he says to Martin, sipping at the eggnog. "Rado would have been, too." He moseys over to Bastian to put an arm around his shoulder. And glances curiously at Thrill-Seeker. "...Pardon me, miss. You're new? I thought you looked an awful lot like someone I knew."
Settling into a seat at the table with her wine glass, the Caregiver takes a huge swallow to hold in her mouth for a spell before letting it go down, listening to the others and letting them segway introduction with new company before piping in. She still seems a touch distracted, honestly, but the oddity of some of the other food around starts to poke at her visibly. It drives her to stand back up to take a walking meander around with a vaguely odd expression for some of the dishes-- Chinese food and pizza, especially. Those, she looks pretty dubious about. On returning to her chair, she starts to hum a sweet and clear, if soft rendition of "O Holy Night" to herself. Then abruptly she stops and drinks instead.
The Scholar dips his head for the kiss from the Caregiver. "Eilis, you look lovely," he says. Another smile, this one warm and genuine. He leans into the Coward, sips from his rum-spiced eggnog, blinks at the Thrill-Seeker. "No memories and no name?" His expression tightens. "Sorry, that sounds like it must be difficult. Do you have a name you want us to call you?"
He tilts his head, considers Martin's dress with some thought. "That looks very nice on you," he decides, and nods. He surveys the feast, eyeing it critically. His gaze pauses on the pizza, and he frowns, his confusion over its presense plain.
The Addict smiles and ducks his head. "Thank you. You're all so kind." Even bashful, he's still not awkward like he was in Prosperity, like he wasn't comfortable in his own skin. Here, he is. He takes a plate and starts to put a little of this and that on it from around the table, though he draws a line at the unfamiliar Chinese and pizza. He glances to Scholar, then the pizza, then he says, "Chance, who used to be Jody, had a Christmas with pizza. We were just talking about it. He eats the strangest stuff. One of these days, I'm going to bring him real food."
"Oh, what was that?" Thrills asks as Caregiver gives way to humming. The forkful of cheesy potatoes hovers halfway to her mouth. But Bastion asks her a question. A troubling one. And the blond purses her lips and takes a bite before she answers. "Mmmmm..." She pauses to stare at the cheesy potatoes with obvious appeal. "Mmm!" She swallows and stabs another forkful. "I've been thinking about that...but nothing stands out. Do you have any suggestions?" And she takes an enthusiastic bite of potatoes again.
The Coward seems, actually, kind of relieved that the Thrill Seeker doesn't recognize him. Or at least, acts like she doesn't recognize him. He clears his throat. "Want me to make you up a plate?" he asks Bastian, like this is a totally normal Christmas gathering with totally normal family.
"It..." There's a genuine glow of smile for Bastian's compliment with gratitude, but the question seems to pause her. Again, the Caregiver gains some distance in her eyes as she starts to answer the Thrill-Seeker, but she lulls and looks into her glass. After rimming her fingertip around the edge of the glass, she finally speaks in full, "Just a Christmas song." She has yet to touch anything to eat, eyes now focused between new company and old, introducing as a sudden after-thought with a self-chastising noise in her throat right before, "You can call me Eilis. I can't decide how I feel about meat coming out of air instead of from a cow directly, but ah. That's the Ranch in me, mm?" She cuts her eyes aside to other particular ranch company with a twitch of a smile.
"I'm sure it's real food," the Scholar allows in an attempt to be generous, giving the Chinese an uncertain glance as well. "Just nothing I'm familiar with." Certainly nothing like he's used to having at Christmas; goose had been Sebastian's norm on the Estate, or a rib roast of some variety, depending on grandmother's mood.
Overwhelmed by the choices and with no idea where to start, the Scholar says, "Yes, thank you," to the Coward. "I'm not afraid to try anything different, so feel free to pick out things you think might be interesting."
He considers the Thrill-Seeker, the feast around them. "Charity? Or Hestia, maybe?" He nods at Eilis; raises his eggnog at her. "Eilis it is."
The Addict takes a seat at the table with a full plate in front of him. He regards it uncertainly. It's a rather ambitious pile of food. "I prefer the dispenser for fois gras," he says. "It can't be pleasant for the goose. Removing the goose from the equation seems kinder. We used to have that a lot, my father and I." His brow furrows as he mentions his father, not in quite the glowing terms he used back in Prosperity. "We spent the holidays alone, but we ate well." He wrinkles his nose, then shakes his head. "Anyway, I'd rather be here with all of you." He offers the Thrill-Seeker a smile. "Hestia's a good name."
The Thrill-Seeker beams at the Coward and says, belatedly, "I woke up yesterday and met Chance and another man whose name is on the tip of my tongue..." She sighs and momentarily frowns in annoyance. "Anyway...yeah. I'm new. At least I don't remember anything. You're the first one to recognize me." She seems to consider Bastion's suggestions are considered but she shakes her head. "No...those don't feel right," She says as she moves to take a bite of turkey. "Close...Ch...Ch...Cheer? I feel cheerful..." She considers again around a bite of broccoli beef. Then stops chewing and frowns a moment. Then finishes the bite. "This does not go with that," She says with slight disdain, as the gravy apparently did not go on top the broccoli beef.
"S'for the best," the Coward murmurs in reply to the Thrill Seeker. He gets a little of several things he thinks Bastian might like: panang curry, a tamale, crispy duck, other exotic goodies the dispenser has provided them with. "Ah, no, miss, it don't go with that," he adds on a half-laugh. He clasps the Addict on the shoulder. "We're the oddest family ever was, but I reckon that doesn't matter."
"Hestia was a Greek goddess, the one of the hearth, which was an important symbol in part because it's where food is prepared. Like the fire in it, it brings people together for life. And Family." The Caregiver explains to the Thrill Seeker after a small approving noise at the suggestion with her lips at slant. Then she ticks her head toward the parlor area in brief, explaining to those present with fascination on remembering, "Cil-- i was invited and some people took me and showed me a ship called the Hephaestus. It was inside this huge place that had access to the stars and they were talking about mining, all while floating in space. And I could see -all- the stars around." She pauses, shakes her head, then confesses with a more natural smile and a deep drink of her wine, "Anyway, the way they were talking, I couldn't make heads or tails, but then I remembered Hephaestus was a Greek god that had automatons in this Palace in the realm of the gods, Olympus. And you know. Somehow it just kind of made sense."
Then she adds to the Thrill-Seeker after that byline with a partial breath of humor and ease, "No pressure on the nickname, though, of course."
The Scholar eyes the selection of food the Coward fetches. The tamale, at least, is familiar enough, so he knows he has a fall-back if nothing else agrees with him. He's unconcerned by the rejection of his suggestions, in fact looks somewhat apologetic. "I'm not good at naming anything. I immediately think of classical names, or mythological ones. Maybe not anything someone would want to be called. The Charities are daughters of Dionysus. Well, in some tellings. Pandaisia is a patroness of banquets, but that seems like a mouthful." Like he can talk; Sebastian isn't exactly a short name. But he's used to that one, or was.
He stares at Eilis' description of the Hephaestus. "A ship that sailed in the stars?" Now she's done it; he's either going to go digging in his room's library, the parlor library, or both, for proper descriptions of these things. Or he might cut to the chase and use one of the rooms to make it show up again.
The Caregiver grins some at the Scholar after listening, charmed, at the sourcing of other potential suggestions of name. Then her head nods a couple of times quick before she takes another drink of wine. She's still not eating. But this particular telling of what else she saw perks her posture upright with excited squirm of fidget that has her recrossing legs at the opposite side.
"Uh huh. They said up in the stars became the new frontier somewhere and sometime, like the West was seen. I don't know how I feel about the actual ship parked in that floating station, but I like all the stars up top, then when you're walking through there to go down and look at the ship, there's these flashy things with buttons on them and pictures and noise. But they won't work for me. I apparently needed money to make them go. But I didn't have that. Also no one else was really that into them, so I stuck with people."
The Addict grins at Colorado and leans into the clasp. "The best family a guy like me could ask for," he says. "Even though I know we're not the same people we were back in Prosperity, you all mean so much to me. I like to think certian truths come through. Maybe not all of them universal, but some." He starts in on dinner, eating rather delicately for the sheer volume of food there is to get through.
"It scares me a little," he admits. "The space station. I walked in on it, and the idea of being up with the stars was too much. I kept thinking we're going to fall out of the sky and into the suns. How would we stay up there? So I spent some time reading a few books about astrophysics. I don't think I understood very much, but at least I know if we //are// in space, it's not necessarily that bad."
The Coward tries the thick, creamy curry, nods in satisfaction and offers the Scholar a sip of it off his spoon. "I was there. Not on the Heph. I came in on the Lud, the Company's state-of-the-art research ship. We were frozen for the trip in, of course..." he hesitates, gaze going blank. "...Don't think I'll talk about what happened next. So, yes, we were on spaceships, and a space station, that's like a town orbiting a planet. Like if you dug up Prosperity and installed 'er on an orbital platform. Cale was there, too, but I didn't know him." He adds in a casual tone, to Addict, "S'just as if you held a string with a ball on the end and spun in place. The ball will hover straight out and spin with you. That's orbiting. Gravity changes, further you get from the major gravitional body. At a certain point, you can hang in place like a ship on a wave."
The Thrill-Seeker listens to Eilis explain Hestia's origin. Then she smiles again and says, "That actually a neat story. Hmmm..." Her eyes scan her two plates and she picks up a lambchop, taking a bite. "Floating in the Stars sounds amazing! Will you show me later? All these fascinating and amazing things to do and try! And we could fall asleep and forget any time, right?" She pauses to consider. "So we better enjoy things as much as possible while we can right?" Her eyes sweep the gathered group.
The Scholar tries the curry, brightens. "Oh, that's good. It tastes like it has coconut in it, maybe?" He'll probably take extra of that. He tries a bite of crispy duck, mmmms in appreciation. Asian cuisine is officially something he'll have more of. Nodding in agreement with the Addict, the Scholar says, "Some of it will always be with us." He raises his rum-laced eggnog in a small toast, has a sip.
He studies the Coward and Cargiver by turns, soaking up these descriptions in the manner of someone using them to map out the books he's going to read until he's forced to fall asleep. (If he were able to he'd stay up the entire night.) "We won't forget," the Scholar assures the Thrill-Seeker. "Our memories we keep. Everything else..." He looks around them, winces. "I haven't seen a permanent change we can make in our surroundings." His brow creases as he puzzles over that for a second, then he dismisses it with a shrug. Now is for feasting with friends and family and loves old and new, not trying to figure out where they are.
Eventually, the Caregiver picks up a cookie to eat off of a tray with brief rise and lean over the spread on the table. She listens to the others while alternating bites with drowning swishes of drink from her wine glass, taking a moment to refill when it's gone. She seems a bit watchful with catch of her eyes between who she knows as Colorado and Sebastian there for a moment. It's like a reflex. Checking them after both of their speaking bits. Then to the Thrill-Seeker, she refocuses and says a bit hesitantly, "I would take you, but I don't know how. It's hard to explain. And do maybe. Especially since I don't really -know- the place. But I'm sure others can."
The Addict nods to Colorado. "Like a ship on a wave, that's a comforting way to think about it. I kept finding myself holding my breath when I was in the space station, in the anywhere room. I was sure I felt the floor falling." He smiles crookedly and shakes his head. "The time I remember seems primitive now." He samples the cheesy potatoes and looks pleasantly surprised. More starches and fat, please! "It's moments like these that make me so happy," he says. "Just... just being with family and not thinking too hard. Martin thought too hard. It's amazing he didn't give himself headaches." Well, at least he's pretty.
The Thrill-Seeker is only momentarily disappointed by Eilis' answer. "Well, I'll ask one of the others who do then. It sounds amazing, but I think I said that already..." The blond chuckles at her own repetitiveness and picks up a cornbread muffin, nibbling at it. Her brows shoot up in pleasure and she takes another bite. "So do we remember our memories from here in the encounters? Chance said you remember after, but...now you say you keep your memories?" There is obvious confusion on her face, but it doesn't stop her appetite in the least. As the chatter goes on she makes her way through her plate. But soon it becomes obvious she is getting full. The way she pushes food around. "Oooof...I ate too much last night and threw up. Don't want to do that again," She says with a grin, sitting back. "Once was enough." She picks up the eggnog that she had poured and forgotten, taking a sip. The startled look and then gulp says she likes it. "What was it that you put in yours? Rum did you say?" She asks of Bastion. "That's alcohol. I know that. There's a whole bar in my room."
"We'll see if Caleb or Rado can take us," the Scholar assures the Caregiver. "Since they've been there and know about it." He's probably also going to ask the Coward a relentless list of questions first chance he gets. He sighs, nods at the Addict. "It does, doesn't it? Every day I read another book that leaves me wondering what else I have to find out."
He shakes his at the Thrill-Seeker. "In the...lives we lead, no, we have no memories of this place, or our other lives. Here, though, we remember everything." He pulls a face. "It's part of what makes coming back here hard. We have to reconcile the things we did to one another with what we know from our other lives, and what we know of one another here." He prods at his food a moment, wrestling with that internally, leaves off when asked about the eggnog. "Yes, just a litte dollop of rum."
"Okay." There's a quick bob of the head from the Caregiver at the Scholar's suggestion, tilting her head a bit at the Addict's perception and explanation of the star-filled place in his own experiencing. She's a thoughtful little bird tonight, spells of deeper quiets coming between bursts of conversation. And she's very taken with her wine. Though she does at least finish the cookie she commandeered from the table. She doesn't seem to have anything else to add to the Thrill-Seeker's question once her Bastian-darling has answered.
"I've been reading books about technology, so at least I know what the television is," the Addict says. "Thank goodness for the books." He continues to pick at his food, slowly but surely trying everything. "Arthur and I were talking about it, and we made a promise to each other to forgive what happens in those lives, because we don't know any better. I know it's easier said than done, but we're going to try. I told him once I'd forgive him anything, and I still think that's true."
"May I try that?" The Thrill-Seeker asks as she holds her glass out towards him and the little brown bottle of rum. "I suppose I better start reading more I guess. Even if it won't help me whenever the next thing happens. At least I won't feel so...well...dumb," She says with a laugh and smile. "Is it bad that I'm kind of excited to see what happens? Chance said horrible things happen...but seems like good things too," And her eyes drift between those gathered.
"Certainly," the Scholar says, offers the last of the little bottle. There wasn't much in it; he's not looking to get drunk. "It's a nice golden rum. I like it." He sips from his eggnog, nods at the Addict as he tries out everything the Coward picked out for him. "I have been too. It feels like I'll never get there. I wish we didn't have to fall asleep, I could easily go without sleep for a few days to read for a while." On the other hand, it was nice how his room would suddenly be straightened up and all the books put back, so maybe this was an even trade.
He hitches a shoulder at the Thrill-Seeker, looking uneasy. "I'm terrified," he admits, cuts a glance at the Addict which indicates what he's just said is why--the need to possibly forgive one another for what happens when they can't control it. "Good things happen, horrible things..." He sighs, sets down his fork. "Horrible things," he says, has a proper drink of his eggnog.
"I'm sorry, I think I'm going to take the rest of this along the hallway here." The Caregiver makes announcement with a sudden flutter of motion, legs uncrossing to rise. She takes the bottle with her glass and sucks in a rather big breath of air before turning a quick flash of smile between company. It seems genuine enough, "Thank you, though. I didn't really... my last Christmas was..." Likely spent in a motionless Pierce Colton lap. But she doesn't say that. Her head shakes, starting anew, "I mean, this meant it wasn't really my last afterall." Again with the slant of smile before she's trailing through the parlor with a little wave of hand in brief turn to walk backwards and look with the farewell, "Enjoy. I'll see you."
The Addict's brow knits as Eilis takes her leave. He rises to his feet, an old habit for when a lady leaves the room. "I'll see you," he tells Eilis. "If you ever want to visit, my door has, um." He can't quite muster a smile. "It's go the image of a man in chains hung over a broken scale. It's strange, how random those images seem to be. I don't mind company, especially the present company." He takes his seat again, and he pours himself a glass of wine. "I think Chance is planning something for us, for a proper holiday. This was rather spontaneous."
The Thrill-Seeker takes a sip of the rum eggnog and MMmmmms in delight. But then Bastion's demeanor changes. "I'm sorry. No one is being very specific and I...have nothing to really based 'horrible' on beyond throwing up last night," She looks actually apologetic, even as she takes a bite of a gingerbread cookie. "Oh. Have a good night. I'm sorry that I brought up something distrssing. Just...trying to understand." Another bite and she nods to Martin. "Mmmhmmm. Very spontaneous. Me just wanting to try everything. And, well, Chance skipped out having a 'moment' so had to figure out what a Christmas feast was for myself." Her eyes sweep the still huge amounts of food. "I am so full," She says with a groan as she leans back in her seat. "So you like to read. And so do you. What else is there to do besides read, watch the television, and eat? Well, and talk too. I like talking. Much more interesting than a conversation with a book."
The Scholar's expression softens, and he nods at the Caregiver. Likely he's remembering her last Christmas as well. (Technically his too, except he has a vague idea of subsequent ones with the boys.) "It was good to see you," he says to her, smiles gently.
He raises his eyebrows at the Addict's description of his door symbol, rubs at his chin. He's been puzzling over them and what they might mean, and the Addict's has him stumped. "There's a Tarot card like that," he says, remembering something Sebastian became familiar with during his possession by Colorado. "The Hanged Man." How that might fit, he has no idea; the Tarot was Colorado's forte, not Sebastian's.
He shakes his head at the Caregiver. "It's okay--you couldn't have known." He looks down at his left hand, on which there's a silver and copper ring on his ring finger. "Some truly lovely and beautiful things did happen. And...we lost a great deal too. Suffered." He rubs at his eyes, lets out a breath. He can't actually bring himself to describe Colorado turning into a pillar of salt, or Pierce's fate, or what happened to Nolan and Bella. It's there in those mismatched eyes of his, though. "I suppose what's hard is the suffering keeps happening. Again and again. And the thought of doing something awful to someone you love, because you don't know one another in these lives..." He shakes his head. "It's a lityle nauseating." His eyes shift to the Addict. "What you and Arthur agreed to--I hoe that works. I don't know what other options we have, those of us who might want to...stay together, in here."
He sighs, nods at the Thrill-Seeker. "That's what's on my door--a man reading at a table, with books all around him." He shrugs; who knows what that means. "There's the rooms they've mentioned--if you haven't seen those, they become whatever you want."
The Addict nods to Bastian. "The Hanged Man, I remember reading about it, but I would have to refresh myself as to what it means." He hesitates, then says, "I want to believe it's a commentary on feeling helpless in the face of injustice. I think that's normal sometimes." He nods to himself. Okay, that's not as terrible as other meanings, he'll stick with that. He considers the Thrill-Seeker's question. He smiles a little and says, "I spend a lot of time with Arthur, but I realize not everyone has that privilege. Sometimes your room might provide entertainment. Mine has some interesting stuff in it."
He smiles at the Scholar. "I hope it works, too. We all fought so hard for what we wanted. It would be a shame to just lose it. Do you know, my first thought when I saw someone here who had died in Prosperity? I thought 'I hope my cousin finds Colorado here.' I wanted you both to be real. My wife, Fleur, she wasn't-- no, I prefer to think she's in another place like this wondering where I am but very much alive."
The Thrill-Seeker seems to consider The Scholar's words with great care. He has her attention as she sips at her nog and nibbles half-heartedly on the head of her gingerbread. A bit more comprehension seems to settle over her features as he goes on.
"That is a bit more put together an explanation than Chance gave me. And my door is a woman running towards a cliff overlook the sea. And she looks happy to boot," There is a momentary bright smile for the two that settles into her background cheerful one. "I want to try out the rooms, but I...haven't any clue what to start with. Will you guys take me anywhere you go, if you can that is? I...feel empty. Like something is missing. It comes in spurts. Like trying all these new foods. That was wonderfully exciting. Seeing what the dispensor would spit out next..." She reaches up and rubs at one bare shoulder absently. Not out of cold. She seems quite comfortable in her pink heart pajamas with their spaghetti straps. As Martin speaks of his experience he gets the same attentive look. "Maybe that is the case. We don't know anything. And apparently anything is possible in those rooms. So...why not that?"
The Bon-Vivant comes from the parlor.
The Scholar's expression falters and he ducks his head. "I'm sorry, about Fleur. I hadn't realized..." Well, he's been a little antisocial, wrestling with his growing concern over what will happen the next time they live another life. He gives the Addict a deeply sympathetic look. "I was lucky, because Rado had been here before, and Colorado possessed Sebastian, so he...knew, I think, when I came back. He was waiting for me." He swallows. "If I'd died before him it would have been much worse." He huffs a laugh, shakes his head. "I'd have hidden in my room, probably." He covers some of his reaction to even thinking about that by taking one of the cocoas from the tray of drinks and sipping from it. "But, thank you. If he wasn't here, I..." He thinks of Caleb, searching for Addie, who didn't seem to be present. "It would be much worse," he concludes.
He turns back to the discussion of the doors and their symbols, bites his lip. "Running off a cliff?" He mmmmms, toys with the mug of cocoa. "Someone looking for excitement, that sounds like." A nod for Martin's guess. "Or maybe something about, being in a state of uncertainty." Which was a little better than helpless, maybe. "I suspect after you live your first life you'll have a good point of reference. Something to build on. Even if," he looks askance at Martin, "it's a primitive one, it'll be something."
The Addict nods to the Scholar solemnly and says, "Thank you. It's still so surreal sometimes waking up without her. But at least Arthur is here, and we're doing all right. She always understood me, and she understood why I needed him. I don't think I'll ever find another woman like her again." He smiles a little, though saddened. He takes a drink of his wine. Perhaps his thoughts turn to Caleb as well, because his expression dims. "It could be worse," he agrees.
The Thrill-Seeker glances at Martin in puzzlement. "Needing company seems natural. You guys hugging like that made me want to join in, but at the same time it didn't seem right," There is a faint tinge of pink to her cheeks as she admits this. "And you may be right, Bastion, about excitement. Honestly all these talks just make me want to enjoy the moment and discover everything I can more. Even if I don't remember it when there is an encounter," She finishes off her egg nog and sets it down along with the half-eaten cookie. "Keeping someone from comfort and enjoyment seems...ridiculous. Yes. That's a good word." She smiles in that cheerful, dimpled way at Martin. "Enjoy and be who and with who you want, I say. If it makes you happy it can't be that bad, right?" Oh she is so innocent yet...
"I wish it was that easy," the Scholar says into a sip of his cocoa. He thinks over how to reply to the the Thrill-Seeker before diving right into it. "Ultimately the problem becomes one of conflicting wants and needs. If I was married to someone in one life, and then bitter enemies with them in another, or their sibling--what then?" He raises an eyebrow at the Thrill-Seeker. "What if in one life I'm everything to that person, and in the next, they're doing the utmost to hurt me? How do I reconcile that here, where I remember both?" He sighs, glances down into his cocoa. "I'm worried about that, that this place was designed to rip us up and force us to do things we otherwise wouldn't, all because we're living with the lives of multiple people with conflicting histories." He taps his mug shakes his head. "Not sure how to deal with that, though."
He tilts his head at the Addict's explanation of his relationship with both Arthur and Fleur, thoughtful. The things Sebastian had experienced in college were very different than what Martin is describing, and it has the Scholar curious, though he doesn't ask anything just yet.
No one could legitimately claim the Bon-Vivant is trying to sneak up on anyone. Not right now, anyway. There's a strange quiet sort of rumble, first, from the direction of the hall, but that might well not be noticed by people already chatting. The fact that the music in the parlor suddenly gains a less-than-professional (though at least not objectionable) extra singer is harder to miss, a cheerful, "--and if they don't dance then they're no friends of mine!" breaking the air as the man makes his way into the dining room.
Rolls his way in, actually. He's riding a skateboard, with just a slight wobble in the balance suggesting this is a newish thing. It goes oddly with the light-cream suit over what appears to be a wide-collared, python-skin button-up shirt, not to mention the cognac ombre snakeskin shows, but he seems happy enough with the ensemble. It does fit well. "Hey!" he greets the assembled, "...been testing the dispenser things?" A glance around, taking in the expressions as though trying to suss out what might be being discussed. Though there's definitely a 'usual' around this place. Addict gets a grin of recognition; the other two get a more curious one. "I haven't met you all yet. Hi."
"I worry about losing myself," the Addict says. "When the time comes, and I'm this other person in this other place and time, I won't be the same. Whatever promises we make to each other, we'll change." He sighs softly, bows his head, then says, "So I'm going to live every moment for the moment. When they're gone, they're gone." He finishes off his wine, then gets to his feet. He takes a fresh plate and starts to put together another meal from the various dishes. "I'm going to bring Arthur something to eat. He forgets sometimes."
"Hello," he says amiably to the Bon-Vivant. "We found out it'll make a Christmas feast." He gestures to the Scholar and says, "This is Bastian, and I'm not sure if we decided on a name for our ladyfriend here." He nods toward the Thrill-Seeker. "I'm on my way out. I've got an artist to feed."
"I suppose when you put it like that it isn't as easy," Thrill-Seeker says after a moment with a slow nod. "Guess you are right that I really won't understand until I experience it. Hopefully I'm not trying to kill anyone. Everyone has been so pleasant and that would probably some kind of apology later if so..." She wrinkles her nose as she tries to think about it.
Then there is music and a skateboard and those blue eyes go wide. Her mouth forms a little 'O' of delight as she watches the Bon-Vivant makes his musical enterance. Torn between Martin's preparing to leave and the fascinating new face she manages to turn to the former. "Okay. Enjoy yourselves. Thanks for joining me in the experiment," She says with a wave.
"It finally stopped, but it gave us way more than even five of us could eat. I recommend the cheesy potato stuff," Thrill-Seeker says as she turns back to Bon-Vivant. "Oh, name...still working on that. But right now Hestia and Cheer are on the table. I don't remember a thing so..." She shrugs one shoulder. "I guess I get to choose. Lucky me!" And then she is beaming a toothy grin with dimples.
"I worry about losing myself too," the Scholar admits, eyes meeting the Addict's for a moment. He has a more proper drink of his cocoa now. "I don't know how well I'm going to handle it, when I come out next time. I can only hope Rado and I can be there for each other." He toys with the ring on his left hand.
The Scholar is jolted out of this otherwise downer of a conversation by the arrival of the Bon-Vivant. He blinks at the skateboard, then the outfit, amazed and horrified at the same time. By contrast, the Scholar is in a dark gray vest and slacks (probably part of a three piece suit, and he's left the jacket off), a white dress shirt, and a red and gold tie. More notable are his hair and eyes--there's a big white streak in his black, curly hair, and his eyes are different colors, one green and one brown.
He smiles as the Addict takes his leave, saying, "Say hello to Arthur for us. I'm glad you're here with each other."
He considers the Bon-Vivant again. "Are you new, then? You haven't been through one of these...lives?" He looks askance at the Thrill-Seeker. "Sounds like there's a handful of you now."
The Artist comes from the parlor.
"Awesome outfit, you look like sunshine," the Bon-Vivant says to the Addict, "Feed well!" He lifts a hand in farewell, and glances over the array of food again; there's a lot, after all, but there's something else in it also. Some suggestion what might be found in his nod to Bastian's question, and remark to the Thrill-Seeker: "I don't remember anything either. I'm not sure if those of us who haven't been through the Encounter-life things /have/ anything to remember, except since we showed up." He gives a light shrug; if it bothers him, he's apparently not inclined to let it right now.
There is, in fact, another grin instead, aimed at the pair he hasn't run into before. "Nice meeting you both. 'Bastian', huh? I like how that sounds... /oh/, I think Eilis might've mentioned you," he says to the man, before looking to the woman again. "Hestia and Cheer? Colorado said he's going to call me Champagne, and Caleb calls me Champ. After my door." There's one in there with a laughing man, surrounded by other partygoers, spraying a fountain of champagne from a bottle in his hands; probably that one. "I'm kind of still working on it too, I think. And there's definitely a few of us, yeah. At least three. I get the impression that's a new thing." He rolls on over to take a closer look at the various foods, and starts gathering a bit of everything onto a plate.
The Addict pauses to clasp the Scholar's shoulder as he says, "You two will work it out, whatever happens. I believe in that sure as I breathe. There's a lot I haven't seen, but I've seen real evil, and I've seen real love. I only pray that one day my heart can hold as much devotion as you two have." He gives the Scholar's shoulder a squeeze.
The Bon-Vivant gets a smile from him. "Thank you. I feel like sunshine." He starts to head out, then comes back to the table to pour a glass of wine. "I almost forgot. I can't not bring him wine." He asides to the Thrill-Seeker, "It was a fun experiment. I call it a success."
The Artist arrives just as the Addict is departing, in a handy coincidence. Maybe multiple feedings have left him minded to actually take responsible for his own nutrition? He's dressed down in his usual jeans and paint-splattered shirt today, feet bare, white hair wild. "Bringing who what now?" he drawls pleasantly from the entry.
The Thrill-Seeker lounges back in her seat with two empty plates and a half finished gingerbread cookie before her. Dressed in pink heart pajamas with spaghetti straps she seems to have the cute thing going. "I like your skateboard," She says, finding the word for it now that she sees it. "Can I try it?" She finds herself rising even before agreement. At about that moment Arthur arrives and her eyes move to him and his paint splattered self with a smile. "Hi! I'm new. I think you can call me Hestia. Or Cheer. Both work I think. I can have two names right?" She glances around before moving to pick up a cup of luke-warm cocoa from the tray of holiday drinks. "Hmmmm...oh, Brandy." And she splashes -that- into her cocoa. Putting liquor in other drinks didn't seem to have crossed her mind till earlier.
The Scholar lets himself be assured by the Addict's words, in part because he wants to be, but also because it's nice to know someone else thinks that for those moments when he can't. "Thank you Martin," he says, giving his once-cousin a hopeful smile. He nods at the Bon-Vivant, smile growing warmer. "Eilis was my sister-in-law." He stops short of saying, 'mother of the boys we raised' because that was an emotional whirlpool he didn't feel like sailing into. He settles on, "Rado and I were close to her."
He blinks at Arthur's arrival, not for the paint or the state of his hair, but for his eyes, which are a color the Scholar hasn't seen before. For once, he doesn't feel like his own eyes and hair are the most surprising looking in the room. "It's good to see you, Arthut." He pauses, adds, "As it were," in gentle apology. He can't wish being here on anyone.
He considers the Bon-Vivant's skateboard now that the Thrill-Seeker has named it. "Is that what that's called," he says, sounding curious. He can't imagine how the Bon-Vivant is able to ride it, but that might just be Sebastian's old clumsiness making him wary.
"Sure," the Bon-Vivant says, and in what looks like a somewhat experimental fashion, hops off the board, the toe of his shoe flicking the slightly-raised back end of it along the way to propel it in the Thrill-Seeker's direction with a clack. It works, though it could be faster and the aim could be a bit better. Though given the latter, the former might be a benefit. "I found it in one of the drawers in my room."
The Artist gets one of the 'hey, cool, new person' grins of greeting Bastian and Hestia/Cheer did, along with a reiteration of the cheerful "Hey," and BV continues slightly over-filling his plate to get some of each bit of Christmas Feast on there. "That's the impression I got," he says to Bastian, "The family she needed." Less grin and more smile, there; might be more or less a quote. Also may be that he actually catches that the man's staying at the surface level of potential whirlpools, since he doesn't ask questions, or volunteer anything else that might have been context. Then again, he might just be distracted by trying the recommended cheesy potato stuff. "...okay, yeah, that's really good. Think it's in there under 'cheesy potato stuff', or do we have to get this whole feast if we want it again?"
The Addict finally gets ready to go just as Arthur comes in. It's sappy, the way Martin's expression softens, and he says, "I was just about to bring you some dinner." He sets the plate and wine down at the table, then comes to drape his arms around the Artist's neck. "Hello, beautiful. I'm just going to go grab something from my room, all right?" He always gets distracted by something in there. He always means to come back in a timely fashion, but...
"Well, Chance said we just have to think of something. Or ask it. And press the button?" Is Thrill-Seekers uncertain reply. As the board comes towards her she awkwardly stops it with her foot. Then she picks it up and looks it over before setting it down and moving to try and stand on it.
*CRASH* Down she goes with a shout of surprise. The board goes flying back in BV's general direction. Though it gets some air. Meanwhile Thirll's ass finds the ground with a grunt. "Whoa!" She says a moment later, not sounding hurt but impressed.
"Hello, hello," Arthur smiles to those assembled, both familiar faces and new. "Nice to see you," to the Scholar, "Too. I wondered who's made it." When Martin swoops in, he reaches up to gently ruffle that loose dark hair. "Lovely as usual. Yellow's perfect on you. I'll come find you later if you get distracted."
And then the Thrill-Seeker goes down, and his head snaps around at the crash, brilliant red eyes sharp and wary. The facility is what it is and he is laissez-faire about most things, but sudden movements-- he doesn't much like those, not these days. "
"Yes, if you can *describe* it and picture it, that's usually good enough." The Scholar's plate is empty, and his mug of cocoa nearly is as well. "I was able to get it to make me some proper horchata earlier, though I had to describe the recipe I wanted. Apparently there's a lot of ways to make it." He shrugs about that. "So be specific in what you want, is my suggestion."
He smiles at the Bon-Vivant and nods, possibly confirming much of this unspoken situation. That in particular was perhaps the perfect example, for the Scholar, of the 'terrible and beautiful' nature of the lives they were given. The smile broadens to see Arthur and Martin together for a moment--and then he starts, almost dropping his mug, when the Thrill-Seeker tries out the skateboard and does exactly what the Scholar had suspected would happen to Sebastian. He gets up immediately. "Are you okay?" he asks, leaning over to offer her a hand up.
The Bon-Vivant looks startled himself, though in his case a laugh escapes. He immediately looks a bit sheepish as he moves to head off the board, stamping a foot down on it to stop it in its path. Thankfully, he's had enough practice so far not to end up on the floor as well. "I did that the first time too," he tells the Thrill-Seeker, "Sorry, shoulda probably said how. Or helped. You okay?" He leaves the board where it is for the moment, a danger to all and sundry who might not be paying enough attention, in order to take a few more steps toward the woman to offer her a hand up -- presumably the one that's not still got a plateful of food in it -- but Bastian of course gets there first. BV waits just in case she needs /two/ hands up, but that seems unlikely.
"...and I guess you're right," he says, flicking a glance to the dispensers, "I got them making all sorts of crap my first couple days, and how much I knew about the stuff I was trying for did kind of vary. Some things I just had names in my head, some things I just wondered what you'd get if you mixed them..." Fair chance they weren't all unalloyed successes.
The Addict starts as the Thrill-Seeker goes down on her backside. He clings to Arthur just a little bit for a moment there, but then he relaxes. He tentatively smiles at Arthur. "Okay. I'll try to find it and come right back." But he won't. "Be careful, Hestia. Bastian, give Colorado my regards. It was good to see you again." That last is to the Bon-Vivant. Arthur gets one last sappy look, then Martin goes to his room and fails to emerge any time soon.
"That. Was. Awesome!" Says the Thrill-Seeker with a smile as she claps her hand into Bastion's. Letting him pull her up she begins to grin even as she is rubbing her backside. "It went out from under me and then there was this feeling in my stomach, and then I was flying. And falling. And it was just...wooo! Okay, I don't want to fall again, but that dropping feeling was...was..." She seems ot be searching for the word.
The Artist drifts toward the plate and glass that the Addict's left for him. "If you dropped from a lot higher," he suggests warmly to the Thrill-Seeker, "You'd fall for a lot longer." Isn't he helpful? His smile at her is downright radiant. "It'd /really/ be like flying."
The Scholar helps the Thrill-Seeker back to her feet, surprised into a laugh by her joy at...falling, if not the landing at the end. He gives the Artist a sidelong look as if to say, Oh, Arthur, do you really want to give her ideas? He eyes the skateboard with concern. He's not getting on it any time soon, that's for sure.
He drains the last of his cocoa. "I'm going to go get back to my reading. Thank you very much for the feast." The later he says to the Thrill-Seeker, includes the Bon-Vivant with a glance as he continues, "It was good to meet you two. Good to see you, Arthur." He gets a glass of the previously-mentioned horchata for himself from a dispenser, and heads back down the hall.
The Bon-Vivant gives the Addict a little up-nod of further farewell, and the grin's back at Hestia's initial reaction -- widening further as she goes on. "You," he says, pointing his free hand at her, "need to come to the anything-rooms with me sometime. It's awesome, Caleb and I went skydiving. You can fall for basically ever in there. You can mess around with the gravity, too, and just float and stuff." He turns the grin on the Artist, adding, "Wanna come too? It kind of is like flying, except I think it's harder to direct yourself. But it's fun."
Sebastian gets a farewell wave as the man excuses himself, and then BV settles lightly against a wall -- bringing the board with him, so at least it's not just sitting there waiting for slapstick to happen -- to munch on his feast-bits. "You're Arthur, then?" he asks the pale man, "Nice meeting you."
The Thrill-Seeker beams when Bastian laughs and then pulls the strap of her top back into place. The only really adjustment needed. Arthur's suggestion has those blue eyes going wide. "OOooooooo. Maybe that is what the symbol on my door is trying to tell me? Go and fly?" She glances between BV and the Artist, her eyes dancing with all sorts of ideas it seems. "I bet I could come up with a place. An ocean and a cliff. But it couldn't be too high. But I could then jump and fall into the ocean and it will...hmmm...I don't know if I can swim..." She purses her lips thoughtfully and then shrugs. "Guess I'll find out! I feel like I should know how to swim...What happens if we die outside a story? Does anyone know? Can we?" She looks between the two as if maybe they have an answer. "This place is very confusing, and strange, and I don't like knowing all the rules. But it's also kind of scary-exciting not knowing everything at the same time." And she wrinkles her nose while still smiling.
Then Scott drops his bombshell and her mouth falls open again. Can those blue eyes get bright or bigger? Why yes they can. She is moving over to him excitedly to take his free hand and bounces eagerly. It makes her seem younger than her forever-twenty appearance. "Oh that sounds amazing! Yes! Yes. You eat and then we'll all go fly!"
"We come back." The Artist sounds quite careless about it. "So it doesn't really seem to matter if we die. I'll probably try it soon, just to see what it's like. I've never died before... I've always been afraid of it, so it seems like as good a time as any to get over it. What's skydiving?" That last, he's asking the Bon-Vivant. "And yes, I am and I will." Turn down a new experience, him? "Who are you? Did you decide on a name, too?" His bright gaze flicks from one face to the other, as intent as his voice, by contrast, is soft.
The Bon-Vivant seems pleased with the enthusiasm, though you can just about see in the next glance at his plate the moment he realises he no longer has any hands to eat with. Oh well, it's not going anywhere -- though it might get in the way of the Thrill-Seeker's stated plan of events. "I can swim," he tells her, "I don't know why, but I can. You could make the room make a cliff over an ocean, definitely. And," he nods at Arthur, agreeing with his reply, "that's what I was told. That if we die we just wake up like when we fall asleep. I figure it probably doesn't feel great, but I haven't tried it yet so who knows?"
It's the pale man he answers then -- and he looks just as pleased at his agreement to join in as he did with hers "Cool. Sky-diving's basically falling out of the sky. Or through the sky, I guess. It seemed like the right thing to call it, I don't know why. And I don't have a name yet, exactly. My door's the one with the guy with the champagne bottle, so Colorado said he'd call me Champagne. Caleb calls me Champ. But I'm still kind of looking for what feels like it's my name." A glance to the woman again, "How'd you end up with Hestia and Cheer?"
The Thrill-Seeker considers the Bon-Vivant and Artist's questions. It seems she realizes BV needs a hand to eat and so releases it and instead sips at her cocoa once more. "Oh...well...I was asking people for suggestions. And Bastion suggested Hestia because apparently she was a Greek goddess of feast and hearth. And since their first experience with me was this," And she waves to the spread. "And Cheer was something that came to my mind after Charity was mentioned. And, well, I find that I am pretty cheerful. So, it seemed more fitting than anything else so far."
"Champ and Cheer, then, until better alternatives come to light." Arthur inclines his head in a sort of regally, well, cheerful way, and raises his wineglass in a toast to them. "To self-discovery!" And then he's back to asking questions. "How do you fall out of the sky? Do you climb very high, a mountain, like you mentioned?" He's never even seen a plane, for aviation wasn't really a thing back in Prosperity's time; the Wright Brothers hadn't even flown a plane until 1903.
The Bon-Vivant inclines his head in return, and since he lacks a drink (major oversight, surely), he lifts a piece of the chicken in response to the toast instead. "To self-discovery," he echoes, grinning again, and takes a bite.
He chews and swallows, looking thoughtful, as though the question requires some considering. "Well, the first time I went in there, Caleb had made a... space deck. A platform, surrounded by night sky, all by itself. Aside from him, Colorado, and a cooler of drinks, anyway. So, when we went in -- the room's basically whatever you decided you wanted it to be when you opened the door, as far as I can tell, so when I went in, I decided that I wanted it to look like that, and to be a place that would listen to me if I told it to change something. So I told it to take away the platform and let us fall, and we did."
The Thrill-Seeker lifts her cup of cocoa in turn and her dimples show once more as she smiles. "Yeah...Cheer works good. I am coming to like it," She says with a nod of her blond head. "Well...that is a good question. How -do- you fall out of the sky?" And then she realizes that her new and exciting companion doesn't have a drink. So she fetches him egg nog and splashes brandy into it, filling the cup to the brim. "There. Better right?" She asks of him with a grin, not expecting an answer as she sits back down and listens to his tale of the special rooms. "Oohhh. Sounds pretty simple."
The Artist is so enraptured by this idea, "A 'space deck'," that he sets his glass down and wanders off, dreamy eyed. "A deck in space." It doesn't seem to occur to him to keep talking or say goodbye or take his food with him or anything else: his artist's brain is now fixated on the image and will not let go, and thus he drifts out, ghostlike, in search of space decks and canvases with which to paint them. "...Space deck..."
Expected or not, the Thrill-Seeker does get an answer: "Definitely. Thanks!" The Bon-Vivant takes a sip of the eggnog, looking slightly surprised by it, but apparently in a good enough way, since he immediately takes another. The Artist gets watched as the man fixates on that image and drifts away; that too doesn't disapproving, if maybe slightly puzzled. But there's a lot that's puzzling here, especially if one lets oneself really start thinking about it.
"I think," he says slowly a moment or so after Arthur's wandered out of view, "maybe we lost him for now." A small furrow of his brow; they can't all go to the anywhere room if one of them's elsewhere, after all. It doesn't last long, though. "If you want, I could show you how to do the skateboard while we see if he comes back. I've gotta finish eating, anyhow." And while he certainly hasn't mastered the thing yet, he has got it down well enough that he can (just barely) manage to keep drink in glass and food on plate as he sets one foot on the board again and demonstrates, keeping the movement slow, "You put your foot on it about like that, and push with the other one like this, and then kinda set it here..."