Log:Death of an Archetype
The Pedagogue is in his room, at his desk, copying down notes from his blackboard into a notebook. He's still trying to parse through all the possibilities of what the Facility is, and who they may be. His predominant theory at the moment, is that they are all in some sort of simulation, even here, which might be some sort of rest and rehab program within a larger program that is the individual scenarios. It would explain the resets, being unable to permanently die here, the instantly generated food of any type from the dispensers. The notes compare it to the Matrix movies, and to the Assassin's Creed games, all of which he has vague ideas of from being Ethan Drake on Grey Island. Are they all plugged into machines? Individual AIs trapped in a program structure? In some kind of simulator pods somewhere in the future?
The former Ethan Drake is in dress slacks, a button down, and a sports coat with patches on the elbows. Very professorly today. His hair is short and tidy, as it is every day in this place. No need for Aquanet in the facility.
A quiet but insistent, sharp little knock comes at his door.
"It's unlocked!" the Pedagogue calls from his seat. He doesn't look up, figuring it's Rogue or Scholar or Coward or one of the usual visitors that eventually stop by in the Facility after a life.
In comes Creepy, dressed as Max might - a tent-shirt band tee, black leggings and bare feet. She even has found a wig that matches Max's dark-bleached-out hair from the lodge, a bit longer and wavier than her typical straight wedge. One hand is behind her back as she enters, bumping the door closed behind her witth a hip.
"You said you love me," she says quietly. "You mean that, yeah?"
The voice is not one he was anticipating, so Pedagogue looks up from his work and his pale eyes fix on Creepy curiously. "Nolan certainly loved Bella. He's part of me, and she's part of you so, yes, I'd say so." He smiles a little, unsure about the questions now. He's comforted her several times between lives, but she never rebuked him like she did yesterday.
"I can't keep doing this," Creepy says, slowly padding closer. "I can't keep living lives as good, decent people and waking up a monster. At first I tried letting go of my lives in the stories and just being me, here, but that person is horrible. She's cruel and impulsive and self-destructive. The more lives I live and the more of you I care about, the harder it is to take being the monster. Esme never really befriended anyone. You and I died together, so it was a connection of a sort, but nothing strong. Then Ramona, who was kind and sweet and just wanted to be wanted, died at your side. There was a stronger connection. Ramona made friends, too. That made it harder here. Then Bella... The monster was in her, but she was just a lonely, abandoned girl trying to do right. She loved you and you loved her. She had siblings. All these new connections, MORE connections. I barely left my room. And now Max. I want to BE Max. She was everything I wish I was. But I'm not, and I can't be. I'm the monster, and just trying to be gentle and kind for those I care about has made the monster so restless she almost murdered a friend."
She pulls her hand out from behind her back, holding a steak knife she's sharpened on her concrete floor. "I can't do it anymore. Maybe if someone who loves me sets me free, I won't wake up here again."
The Pedagogue listens, intently, setting aside the notebook and pen and folding his hands on the desktop. "What makes you think that would even work?" he asks, quietly. The idea is intriguing, but it wouldn't fit with his theories unless whomever is overseeing their simulation chooses to pull her out of it. "Technically, Declan killed Ramona. It didn't free you then."
"In the story," Creepy notes. "And she chose to stay. He wasn't killing her, but the aliens. She stayed so he wouldn't be alone." She shakes her head and rubs her face with her free hand.
"There's... something. I don't know what, or why, but I know I can't be her and me anymore. This will bring change. I know it will. I don't know how, but it will. I believe it with every fiber of my being. This needs to happen. Maybe you're right. Maybe I will just wake up here again, but... I can't explain it."
The Pedagogue ponders it long and hard, he rises and rounds the desk, to perch partly on it, folding his arms. "It would test some of my theories but," and this is a large but, "say it worked. Say you did change somehow, into someone else, or were freed from this place. What then? What happens to Roen? Do you leave him here, wondering what happened? Do you leave me here to be blamed for killing you?"
"Who would blame him for it?" Creepshow asks. "You make it sound like a mob would seek justice. I'll write a note explaining it was me, my choice."
"No one trusts the Facility. Why do you think a note would even stay after you disappeared? The symbols on people's doors vanished when they did," Pedagogue points out. "All their stuff did too."
Creepshow rolls her eyes. "Bastian won't get lynched for killing me," she says. "Neither will you."
"If you want me to do this, really want it done, then everyone has to be in on it. Everyone here has to be aware, and there have to be witnesses to it. If anyone protests it, I can't do it, Bella. But if everyone agrees that it's worth trying, to see if it works? I'll do it." Pedagogue looks sincere.
"Everyone," Creepshow snorts. "What, I have to fucking poll every fucking person in here? How the fuck will THAT work? I can tell those I consider friends. I can have another person or two witness. Good enough?"
"The people who care about you," Pedagogue agrees. He doesn't think they'll be ok with it. "Kylie, Roen, Colorado, Lyle, Bella's sisters..."
"I'll tell them," says Creepy. "But I'm not asking their permission."
The Pedagogue nods. "All right then."
"Fine. Back in five minutes." Creepshow sets the knife down on his desk a bit firmly, then stalks out.
The Pedagogue looks warily at the knife, and shakes his head. He's pretty sure at least a few will protest.
Five minutes is plenty of time to scribble some post-it notes, stick them on doors, and knock on them quickly before running. Then Creepshow is back in Ethan's room.
"Done. Cue mass hysteria."
While Creepy was out gathering her witnesses, Ethan did some prep. He's put blankets and pillows in the bottom of his shower, lit some lavender-scented candles, put on some soothing music, and lowered the bathroom lights to a dim setting. He remembers his first death and how relatively painless it was, and he's decided that is the best way to give Bella her requested murder. In a nice warm shower, wrapped in warmth, it will be impossible to even feel the blood really, or feel herself get cold. He is back in the main room of his suite, where he sits on his desk, arms folded, beside the knife she provided, and smiles wanly when she returns. "I expect to hear the shrieking in short order."
Creepshow blinks at the setup. "...Are we fucking? If so, maybe I shoulda sent out more invites. You realize this is about killing me, right? What the actual fuck?"
"Well, when you ask someone who loves you to kill you, they're going to try to make it as painless for you as possible," Pedagogue notes with a shrug.
The Coward shows up, nervously rubbing his hands together the way Rado Colton used to, his lip trembly. His eyes are too wide, the blue too stark. He holds his arms out to Creepshow--but unlike the Fool, he doesn't just grab her.
The Scholar arrives with the Coward, quiet and a bit withdrawn, sticky note still in hand. He gives the Pedagogue a long, sad and sympathetic look, lets Rado be the one to test Creepshow's hugability first.
"...If your plan here is that if you make it sweet, supportive and painless I'll back out..." Creepshow doesn't finish. She's actually not sure how she feels about it. She waves off Rado's offered hug. More people file in and she looks more annoyed. "Getting what you wanted?" she asks Ethan.
The Pedagogue looks sad but also resigned. He nods to those who arrive for the grim occasion. "This is about what you want, Bella. If I have to do this thing for you, it's going to be on my terms. And I want you to go knowing you're loved and cared for, and will be missed."
Penitent was in the parlour, and had returned to her room just to get something when she found a particular note. What timing. SO it is that she ends up here, slinking in after the Scholar and the Coward. Dressed in her usual loose fitting black sweatpants and a grey singlet top, she's quiet for a moment as she glances around, catching up with the threat of conversation. She's quiet for the moment, her face a carefully neutral expression rather than her usual serene smile.
One hug waved away, the Coward hugs Ethan instead. "You're a better man than me, brother." He retreats to the Scholar, pressing up against him. "If this is what you got to do, Max, then I'm with Ethan. You got to go knowin' you're loved."
The Rogue has been up drinking apparently which stopped when the knock came. It takes no effort to cross the hall. He doesn't try to hug Max, but he does hug the wall with a shoulder. He watches the room confused, "You're goin?" It's a blunt question but not one without his own concerns which are, apparently, kept to himself. His jaw tightens and hands find a place to rest on teh back of his hips.
The Explorer's been keeping to herself a bit more, lately. No particular reason is widely-known, she's just spent a majority of her time in her room. The sticky note, however, lured her out. Slinking in and easing off to the side, she leans against the nearest stretch of open wall, and arches a brow as her gaze flicks from Pedagogue to Coward, then to Creepy herself. "Why, precisely, is this happening? Are you testing some theory?"
The Pedagogue returns Colorado's hug tightly. "Do any of you have anything you'd like to say to our friend here? Please know that I do this reluctantly, as I'd much rather have her in my numerous lives, than lose her to this despair that is eating away at her. I think we are stronger, and better, for her presence in this prison, or purgatory, or program, which holds us against our will. I also realize that keeping her here for that is selfish, and I respect her wishes. I also realize that one way or another, the next reset will present us with answers. Either she comes back again like always, or she doesn't, and we perhaps find a way out of this situation when we can't take it any longer."
The Scholar stays where he is, eyes flitting about as people enter. He fingers the sticky note, slips it into one of his pockets. His eyes shift to Creepshow and settle there, unhappy but collected. Bastian's unreadability and Sebastian's icy calm.
Ethan wanted a crowd? He got one. Creepshow looks both utterly unhappy and, deep down, utterly touched. Wiping at her face, she addresses everyone.
"So, yeah. Look. I know this place is different for each of us, but we all have urges and impulses here that are a part of whatever we are. Our rooms reflect it. Our door symbols. Me? I'm... I dunno. I'm not good. My instincts and impulses are to hurt everyone, including myself. To make you all suffer, to make you all squirm. It's what I am here. A monster. It's not who I am in the stories, though the monster pops up in different ways. Bella was the monster, but it protected Lupe, the girl. Max could be a monster to keep others at bay." A sigh. "I guess what I'm saying is, the more lives I live, the more of you I come to care about, and the more of you care about me, which makes being the monster unbearable. Being gentle and kind for some of you made the monster in me so restless I nearly killed Oz, a friend. I can't do this anymore. I've tried locking myself in my room and not coming out, but this is the only real life we have. I can't spend it in isolation."
More tears and she wipes at her eyes again. "I keep having dreams that if I can let go, be set free by someone who cares about me, that I'll find peace. Maybe I'll go wherever the others who have moved on go. Or maybe I'll just wake up here again, but feel different. It's crazy, and I can't explain it, but something is telling me that, for my sanity, I need to let go."
The Penitent glances at Explorer, her eyes lighting up in just a moment. But any excited outburst at seeing the woman is held off for now, due to current situations. Instead she shifts, stepping forward after Pedagogue says what he has to say. Then she shifts her gaze to Max. "When we were first here, after the Island, it was you, Lupe, who made me feel safe, believe it or not. You always stood up for me. It wasn't any of the lives you lived that made me like you. It was you, here. And then I just stood there and let Maata and Conrad talk you into dying for their own curiosity. I've never really forgiven myself for that. And then of course, Ramona and Lupe reinforced that friendship, for me. But you know, bearing a burden of guilt is kind of what I do, and I spent a life as Anette more than prepared to kill you if it came down to it. So in a way, I actually get it. Because that was much the same thing, wasn't? To be set free after those guns took too much out of you." A pause.
"I was wondering how this would be any different to that time after the Island, but I guess I didn't know about the dreams, or how bad it was." She nods just the once, looking at the Pedagogue again, and offering lightly, "Not to undercut your moment of caring, but like I said. I was prepared to do this for a long time, and I can shoulder this sort of burden, if you'd prefer."
The Coward swallows hard, flushing in misery, and says to Creepy, "I'm...I'm sorry. That's part because of me. You do what you got to do, darlin'. If you don't come back, I'll miss you like hell. Wish it didn't have to be this way." The Coward spots the Rogue and reaches out to clasp his shoulder. The Explorer and Penitent, he tries to smile at, with only marginal success. His other hand is clasped around the Scholar's.
"I apologize for my part in that as well," the Scholar says, voice low. "And I'm sorry I couldn't be of more help." He seems to be thinking of saying more, decides not to.
The Explorer's focus drifts momentarily to Penitent, lured there by the woman's smile. Which is, to some small extent, reciprocated. The same goes for Coward, really, but the occasion isn't really such that smiling seems at all appropriate, particularly after Creepy's said her piece. Breathing out a low sigh, she looks back to the woman for whom they're all here. "You reminded me last week that you're not Lupe. Thing is, to me, that's how I'll always see you. Not who she was, what. To me. My sister. And, honestly, one of the only things in the whole world that made me feel safe." Her arms rise, curling around herself. "Prickly cactus or not, you're loved. And if you don't come back, I'm gonna miss the fuck out of you."
The Rogue stays ghostly silent listening to Max. Bella. Friend-girl. His eyes betray him thouh as they always do. He looks from Creepy to the room taking stock and back. Of course he has the solution from the side, "Can't we just burn this whole place down and leave together?" His jaw tightes and his head tilts with a flinch trying to wrap his brain around it and, well he's a selfish creature not one to give up so damn easily. "We got no right to tell you what choices to make. Not then, and not now. We do things that hurt the people around us. It's jsut how... things are sometimes. I'm... sorry I don't wanna see you go like Addie."
The Pedagogue shakes his head at the Penitent. "Thank you, for that offer, but I've committed to this, as someone who loves her." He looks around at those assembled. "All right then. We're here to serve as witnesses to the passing of someone we care about. My first death, before I woke up here, was on Grey Island, the disaster that was Wyred Fest. I slit my own throat, a self-sacrifice, to stop a curse, and try to save a lost tribe. It was painless, and Esme died beside me, another willing hero to save the children who had been abandoned. So I'm giving her a death as painless as I can think of." He picks up the knife and gestures everyone into the bathroom. He turns the large shower with its fancy rain shower head on, warm but not too hot. "Roen, Rado, can you join her in there, and hold her hands?
Creepshow covers her face and shakes her head quickly. "It's not you. Any of you. Seriously. I need a reset. If you love me, if you care, I need this. Please. The pain I'm in isn't going away. I have no idea what this will do, or if it will do anything at all, but maybe just... you all loving me and letting me go will be enough, even if I just wake back up. I'll have this moment to hold onto."
She follows Ethan into his bathroom, tugging off her giant Cure t-shirt and the black leggings she wears, leaving her only in the trademark gray boxers. Most of them have seen her naked or partly so before, and she's not shy. She also removes the Max wig she found in her wardrobe, no longer looking much like Max at all, but entirely Creepshow. She steps into the shower.
Bowing her head briefly at the Pedagogue, Penny seems to accept his decision without argument, stepping back after a moment. "You have no arguments from me, Lupe." She says quietly, resuming her place with the rest of the group, falling quiet. There is another glance at Explorer, and she shifts to linger by her other once-sister.
Fear flits across the Coward's face. He shakes his head first, then stops. His chest jerks with half a sob. "O-okay." So he gets in, warm water spattering his shirt to transparency. "I know," he says to Creepshow softly, "I didn't mean that. I hope this works. For you, I hope that."
The Scholar winces at the mention of Addie, reaches out with his free hand to grip the Rogue's shoulder. He nods at the Pedagogue's request, gives the Coward's hand a squeeze and follows it with a reassuring look. "I think we can manage that," he says. He trails after the other two into the bathroom, joining them at the shower. His plaid shirt and jeans soak almost immediately, making him look not unlike a hiker who misjudged the weather.
The Explorer doesn't seem particularly keen on abandoning her place against the wall. She sure as hell doesn't look like she's disappointed that she wasn't one of the ones chosen to hold Creepshow's hand. Not for this, at least. As Penitent settles in beside her, she shifts just slightly enough to lean against her 'sister,' swallowing lightly as she watches. "This is.. beyond," she murmurs under her breath.
Once everyone is in position, the Pedagogue steps into the shower and crouches in front of Creepshow. He seems to ignore the water pelting him, making his hair and clothing stick to him. "I hope you find the peace you're looking for. Close your eyes. Remember you're in the presence of those who love you. Just let go of all the fear, the anger, the negative. We love you." When she indicates she's ready, the cut is quick and smooth. He meets Colorado's eyes, points to his own, holding them there, getting him not to look at the blood.
The Creepshow closes her eyes, making no resistance or struggle, and her expression actually relaxes as it happens. It's peaceful, willing. Accepting. It's clear in that moment how much pain she's been carrying because they can see it fade away, like her blood, like her life. She starts to go slack in their grip, sinking down, the last of her strength draining away with her blood.
And then she bolts upright and rigid, gasping, and light glows from within her. In seconds that light is almost blinding, and they can no longer see her within it, though Scholar and Coward still feel her as they hold her. There's no heat or fire, just light.
"I get it," Penitent murmurs back quietly to Explorer, though her eyes remain on the room beyond, watching the goings on in the shower. She doesn't look away. "In a different way, I understand. I often feel like I deserve to be punished for my sins. That burden of guilt thing ... it's not what she's going through, I think, but I still get it in my own way ..." she trains off though, because something different really does happen. What. Her eyes widen and there's a gasp as her hand clasps up over her mouth.
The Rogue looks to Scholar's hand and then his face letting those walls go up a bit. His heart is heavy with mixed feelings on this one. He gives Scholar a small nod glancing to the sisters to his left as he hangs back in the doorway letting them have the most immediate space. Those blue-grey eyes pass back to Ethan with a short heavy conversation left unspoken. Looking to Creepy he finally just puts his thoughts into check working on sounding as casual as he can and only falling just beyond the line for that one. "Hey, Friend-girl, if you get there come back and get us out. We're still with ya." As she slacks his carefully constructed stoicism goes damp as his eyes, betray him. He expected it to hurt. He didn't expect to get a JJ Abrams lens flare shooting from her. He gasps, "da fuck, bru?"
The Coward goes pale and green as whey, while the Creepshow's blood swirls down the drain. He stares into Ethan's eyes with terrified determination. Tears are flowing freely but he can't feel them through the warm water.
Then Creepy bursts into light and the Coward promptly passes out. His eyes roll back in his head and he sags bonelessly against the shower wall.
The Pedagogue expected one of several outcomes from this experiment and release. All of them involved sleeping elsewhere tonight to wait for the Facility to reset his bloody shower. None of them involved the Creepshow bursting into a being of light in said shower. He falls back onto his ass, staring, there are no calculations for what is happening right now. Purgatory edges a step higher on his list of theories though, you can count on that.
That was not what the Scholar was expecting. Not at all. The blood was, also the part where the Coward was probably going to pass out if he saw any, or saw the Pedagogue make the cut. He's holding the Creepshow's hand, his thumb making slow, small circles over the back of it, eyes on her face and not the blood. Bastian can't really see all that blood again and not freak out.
But the part where the Creepshow turns into a great big ball of light, and that makes Coward pass out, that was not on his list of possibles to prepare for. rHe squints against the light, laces his fingers through hers to hold on, on the off chance she moves somehow.
And then it's gone, and so is the one they knew as Max, or Bella, or Lupe, or... Someone else entirely stands there, wet and nude except for gray boxers.
She's short, too, about the same height as before, but she's never going to be mistaken for an adolescent boy in any outfit. She's all woman, with full, feminine curves, compact and thick. Her skin is a bit darker, but not dark, and her hair is an explosion of frizzy black afro that's quickly getting soaked. Big, feline eyes, plump lips, and a slightly wide nose that sports a septum ring round out her features. She looks around, wide-eyed.
"...Did it work? What are you all--" Down goes Rado! "Fuck. Rado? Get up, dude." She doesn't sound like her, or look like her, but in some way it's still her. "Bas? A hand?"
What was that she was just saying about this being 'beyond'? Well. Shit just went a good three steps further than that. Eyes wide, the Explorer stares as Creepy doesn't exactly go into the light, but rather becomes the light. Curiosity, one of her core traits, prompts her to finally push forward away from the wall, and she's just starting to step toward the shower when..
Okay, who the fuck is that?! Blinking, she freezes, gaze whipping between Scholar and Pedagogue.
"B-Bella?" Pedagogue stares for a few moments too long at the sudden...voluptuousness. He told Max her boobs were perfect. He had not seen these before. Jeebus. Then he seems to catch himself doing it. He points a shaky hand out of the shower, at the mirror over the sink. Boo go look at yo damn self!
The Scholar stares at the person whose hand he's holding now. His shuts and opens his eyes again, very slowly. Nope, still a completely different body. Yet... "Is it--are you still...you?" He's not entirely sure what to make of her transformation; unlike Colorado, who's the same man but younger, she's become someone else entirely.
Her comment about Colorado draws the Scholar's attention off plainly looking her over. He lets go of her hand and goes to check on him. "Rado," he murmurs, pushing the Coward's hair back from his face. "It's alright."
Penny likewise is stepping foward after Explorer, peering through the doorway at this new woman who is still somehow the woman she knows. She's seen some transformations -- Pedagogue and Colorado are walking evidence of age changes, at the very least. But this is something entirely new and entirely different. And if she hadn't seen it with her own eyes she wouldn't believe it. All she can manage to say is, "Wow."
"What? What's everyone--" She looks up and around at everyone staring at her as she kneels beside Coward. Blink.
She looks down at herself and flails backwards.
"HOLY FUCKING TITS!" Yep, it's still her. "I'm... I..." She looks herself over, tugs some hair down to study, just as fascinated by the change as they are. "It's still me, but... not? What the fucking fuck?" Seeing Scholar is taking care of Coward, she gets up and steps out of the shower to go look in the mirror.
"I'm..." Black? Curvy? Alive? "Fucking HOT!"
The Coward comes around, groaning. "Aw, hell, what happened?" He opens his eyes on the Scholar, and on a curvy beautiful unfamiliar woman. Who must have magnets in her breasts because that's where his attention goes. "Whu--who are you?" Then he tries to look behind her, like she might be hiding the Creepshow's body. "Where's Max?" Then Creepy has things to say about her tits and he nods dumb agreement. Yep. Holy fucking tits. And, as she gets out of the shower, holy fucking ass. The Coward is staring.
"Okay I don't see the family resemblance anymore," the Explorer can't help but quip, her lips quivering for a moment before finally spilling over into a grin. If she was uncertain before, the 'new' Creepshow's outburst settled any doubts she'd had. It's her.
The Rogue just stares, but it's not at MAx's tits. They're great but the woman just hatched. And from his most pragmatic core warns, "Careful, you could slip in teh blood and get hurt." You know trying to die? Dammit, Lyle. It's an entire moment later before he looks to Ethan, the shower, Ethan and both eyebrows go up. "Uhhhhh Friend-girl, you... aren't going to hatch again are you? No chest bursters? ..." Woah. Just fucking...woah. Though a quizzical look follows and he asks, "Does it hurt?"
Definitely still her. "That is Max," the Scholar says to the Coward, voice low and reverent. He gives the Coward a Significant Look, helps him to his feet. "Do you feel...better?" he hazards.
The Pedagogue lets out a bark of a startled laugh, because this is crazy right? CRAZY! He gets to his feet and moves over to Lyle, wrapping him up in a very wet hug and lifting him off the ground. "BATHROOM MAGIC!" he declares, in his best Ethan Drake voice.
"Holy fucking tits indeed," Penny says quietly. She's been looking too, and not even pretending otherwise! She, too, seems to be relatively okay with this, given the outburst. There's a little laugh at Explorer's comments about the family resemblance. It grows a little at Pedagogue's comment on bathroom magic, and she just shakes her head, grinning for a moment.
"It might be murder on my back if not for the reset every morning," answers Creepy, entirely serious. Then she tears her gaze away from the mirror and back to the gathered people who just watched her transform. "Oh! That? Uh. No? Not really? The knife was sharp, the water warm. It stung and burned a bit, then felt like going to sleep. Then... I'm not sure how to describe it. It was a warm buzzing all throughout me, then it was gone. I feel... the same, but different? It's too fizzy and fuzzy in my head to explain. I know who I am, still, who I've been, and how I felt. I think I feel better? It's kinda like the first wake-up. I know I'm not the lives I've been, but not who I'm going to be just yet. Like... me, 2.0."
"That's Max?! You're Max?" the Coward blurts. He leans on the Scholar, wobbly-kneed. "You're--! Different!" He looks at the Scholar, and at everyone else too, in that 'is everybody seeing the same thing' sort of way. Back at Creepy, and he starts grinning. "Max! Can I hug you yet or are you gonna shank me?"
"...Not Max, no. I was her, and I still feel her in there. I still feel what she felt. But..." Creepy looks down at her wet, mostly naked new self. "Not her. It's all still too new and vague. I'm sorry I can't explain better." She looks up at Rado, one 'brow lifting. "I don't have anything to shank you with, so you're probably safe. Though I could suffocate you with my cleavage, now." Back to the others. "Thank you. For being here, and doing this for me. I don't know who I'll be now, but I care about all of you, and always will. Remember that in the days to come. My old self was tired. She couldn't hold on. What you gave her was love and mercy. She's at peace now, I think. I hope I can be even half of what she was for you."
"Fuck it." Maybe she'll get lucky. Maybe Creepy's really 'refreshed,' and this won't get her killed. Maybe it won't be super extra weird considering that one of them, at least, is topless and tits-free. But Explorer just strides forward, and hugs the bejeezus out of Creepshow. "I'm glad you're here. And that you're you. And you're feeling better." Stepping back, she slinks back toward the door, or at least out of knife's reach.
Suffocate with cleavage. Penitent opens her mouth, pauses, and then closes her mouth again. Ahem. "I hope you feel better," she says in that serene, almost zen-like vibe that the Penitent manages much of the time. "I guess we need to give you some time to adjust to all this. Come see me if you want, when you're ready." And with that, and a smile for everyone else there, Penny turns to make her departure, smiling a little extra for Explorer, too!
Something the Creepshow says makes the Scholar adopt a careful, mildly happy expression. He smiles, says with raised eyebrows, "In that case, welcome back. And, hello."
The Coward has none of the Penitent's tact right now. "Promise?" His grin is dazed. But he takes all that in, and considers. "What d'you want to be called now?"
The Rogue adds dryly, "nah but if it gets much colder you could- oof" And there's an Ethan picking him up and yelling about magic bathrooms. It's enough to get the cagy thief to grin. "Yeah, maybe magic this- fuck." He hugs Ethan's head and looks to make sure Rado is okay. He's still not rushing in on the huggings, but he's not leaving. Looking to Penni he murmurs, "Well we can add this to teh list of weird shit that don't add up because I've bever seen a person glow and peel like fruit before." Sure NOW he looks at her tits asking with a curious squint, "How dod both of those fit inside old you? I'm glad you got a um... restart on this but," His head wobbles trying to figure out how to navigate it and decides eh fuck it "You got time to figure it out. If we cna help? I think it goes without saying you can have that from us free of expectation best we can."
Creepshow doesn't have the knife! She blinks and returns the hug, and while it might not be AS enthusiastic as the one Explorer gives her, it's far more of an actual hug than Creepy previously gave. "Thanks," she says to her, then again to her other 'sister'. "And thank you. I will. Promise."
The boys get her attention, then. "And thank you guys. She-- I. I needed that. Needed this. Thank you for being here for me, and helping me through it." She nods. "I will, and hello. Name? Uh. You can call me what you always have, if you want. I'm still them. But maybe it's too strange now, since I don't look like her. Would you rather call me something new?"
"I'm guessing Tits McGee will get me punched," Pedagogue calls out with a grin.
On her way past, Explorer reaches out to give Penitent's hand a fond squeeze, but then she's slipping out into the hall on a murmured, "'Dolly' comes to mind." Penny had a point. If she'd been the one to go through what Creepy just did, she'd sure as hell need some time to adjust, and she probably wouldn't want a crowd to do it in.
Grinning a little, "Ooh, I like that one," she comments to Pedagogue, squeezing back at Explorers hand and chuckling to herself. She doesn't say much else though, as she slinks off down the hallway. Probably to go tell someone what just happened!
The Penitent leaves back to The Facility - Hall of Rooms
"'Max' is fine by me. When you want a new one, be happy to use that." The Coward hangs on the Scholar, a little drunkenly. "I can't believe it," he says, eyes still huge. "...Shit, I'm so happy you're not dead!"
The Scholar shakes his head at the idea of having a preference of his own. The Coward's laugh gets one from him as well, more than a little giddy with relief. "Max, for now, I guess."
A smirk. "You'll WISH I'd just punched you," Creepy says to Pedagogue. "I don't feel quite so... violent? Anymore. But I think I'm still fucking dangerous. Be warned." She gives each of the guys a wet, topless hug in turn, then leans down to grab her Cure tee and pull it on. Wait. It was a Cure shirt, right? Now it's Concrete Blonde. "And they say," she sings, and she can sing in this form. "Goodbye. Tomorrow Wendy you're goin' to die." A smile.
"Wendy. If you'd rather something new, Wendy works." She pulls the shirt on, more snug now given her build.
The Rogue slugs Ethan in the shoulder which might be more noble if he wasn't grinning and trying not to laugh at the suggestion...and failing. "Ja ja, Shit I'm still callin you friend-girl cause I only got one. For what it's worth it looks damn fine on ya." Looking back to Bastian he asks, "You alright there?"
Topless wet hug? Accepted. "Ok, now all of you get out of my room, except Lyle, because I need some goddamned cuddles after all of that!" Pedagogue declares with a laugh, ushering people the hell out.
The Coward squeezes Creepy enthusiastically. Naked wet bosomy hugs! "Hi, Wendy. Okay, okay, I'm goin'!" And he drips on out.
The Scholar clears his throat, runs a hand over his face. "I'm fine," he says to the Rogue, which is pretty obviously a bald-faced lie. He accepts the hug without hesitation, murmuring, "Wendy it is." So told to quit the room, he does, intent on a long, drunken bath.
Creepshow murmurs something quietly to Scholar during his hug. Then, dressed again, she heads out. Pedagogue wants his space back, and she needs to go think.
The Rogue does actually hug her when the hug is give. He isn't one to hug-hunt but he's happy to offer it and the admitting, "Am really glad you're not gone. Look whatever happens, at risk of sounding like a goddamn greeting card? You have the leeway to figure it out, Wendy." Looking to Ethan his hand wipes his face and his head tilts to the side, "Well I guess I'm told." And stay he will. Colorado and Misty gets a squeeze on the shoulder, but it's Scholar he turns his focus back to with a nod of agreement. "Over time." Yeah you're a liar, but we'll make fine a goal seems to be the underlying tone of support on that. Walking back over to the tub he plunges his hand into the soiled water and pops the drain and opens the tap to at least try to get some of this cleaned.
The Coward leaves back to The Facility - Hall of Rooms
The Rogue leaves back to The Facility - Hall of Rooms