Log:Existentialism and Ice Cream
The Addict is in jeans today, and a pink t-shirt with a unicorn on it. The unicorn is puking up a rainbow. Their hair is loose, and in their unshaven state, they look so much like Danny did. Some tasteful eyeliner makes their eyes pop. They're sitting at the end of one of the tables with a bowl of rich, vanilla ice cream. Full fat, the real deal. It's not like their figure is going to change with the constant resets.
The Martyr is in jeans today too. His are tight and black faded a tad gray. He has made an attempt to spike his hair with citrusey pomade, but the hair cut is not quite right, so the effect is just a little off. He is wearing an atrfully torn Sex Pistols tee shirt, and the prple high tops he seems fond of. The outfit looks like it might have been borrowed from College Age Finn's closet. He too, appears to be wearing eyeliner, though less expertly applied. On seeing the ever alluring Briar, he skips the dispenser ans beelines there in hopes of a long kiss of vanilla tinged greeting. Whatever eotional storms have been tossing his dingy, he is a subdued sort of hopeful today.
The Addict rises to their feet so that they can meet Dare with the kiss he desires. They wrap their arms around him for a long hug. "You look so cute today," they say. "Is it strange, that we fell asleep together last night, and I already missed you?" They then gesture to their ice cream and sit down again. "I'm enjoying the fact that I can eat pretty much whatever I want, and it's not going to do any long term damage."
The Martyr gazes at them as if they are they are a deity come to earth, and tangles his fingers in their hair, "Not strange at all, I miss you the moment I wake every morning." His hand strays to their shoulder to squeeze it gently when they sit, "I am still ridiculousy happy to never be hungry. I'll be right back, Love." He returns with a decadent sundae with three flavours of ice cream, sprinkles, stars, whipped cream, cherries, and three types od toping for each scoop. He has secured an eztra spoon just in case. He settles in next to Briar, "I wanted to thank youfor being there and being amazingly, gloriously you."
The Addict regards the sundae with amusement, in all its splendor next to their simple dish of vanilla. There's still enough of Martin in Briar that even plain old vanilla is pretty decadent. As Dare settles next to them, they shoulder-nudge him and say, "I'm happy to be me. I'm glad you like it. I'm never sure how people are going to take me, but you embraced me immediately. It's made being here really nice."
The Martyr hunches to breifly rest his cheek on their shoulder, "I was really scared about who you would be when you came through that door. I had no idea what you'd be like or if you'd still like me, but what I saw you it was like you'd become whole, like this was who you were meant to be. How could I not love that? And once youshowed me Martin I could see the way you fit together: danny and Martin and the mortar underneath that comes from being whatever it is we are and you were only more beautiful to me then, body and soul." He kisses there shoulder nd spoons cherry and whip cream and ice cream condiments into his mouth. "I only hope I'm as beautiful to you when I transform as you are to me now. I know the second time is the really make or break one."
"Martin was a sweet man," Briar says, somewhat wistful as they dip their spoon into their ice cream. "You saw him at his lowest, wracked by fear and the horror of realizing just what his family had done. It's a hard thing, to see what the true cost of a life of privilege is." They lick the ice cream off the spoon, unconscious of their idle sensuality. Their eyes lid in bliss at the sweet treat. "Our lives teach us, if we're willing to learn."
The Martyr still eats the way he did at Beaver Lake, with real enjoyment, but also as if he'd skimmed his last few meals, which was so often the case there. He is watching his lover instead of his food, his fingers finding their hair again, as they speak of who they were. He is not imune to the sight of them licking anything, but he is mostly bound up in his compassion for the Martin they were. "I am glad he had Arthur to hold him and help him in that place. It looked like a lonely way to liveevven without the generational horror and abuse."
The Addict leans into the touch to their hair. "Fleur was a big help, too. So was Issac and Sebastian, and Jody. Lots of people were. That was the part about Prosperity that's important to understand. It was a lonely place, and there was the generational horror and abuse, but we came together. We fixed it. It cost us, and I don't think anyone walked away without damage of some kind." They look deeply into Dare's eyes. "But we did it. We looked after one another, and we rose above our own personal demons, figurative and literal. That's why no matter what nonsense they get up to with breaking stuff and wrecking things, I love these people, and I always will. I know what we're capable of."
The Martyr whispers, "You are so strong, Love." He smiles crookedly, "I love them too. every last one of them, even when they are so jagged they can cut." He looks away then, "We are capable of terrible things sometimes, but we look after each other in the end."
The Addict shrugs and says, "That goes hand in hand with being capable of wonderful things. You can't have a rose without thorns. I mean, you can, but not without hurting it, stripping it of something essential to it. We have to have a dark side. I think darkness can teach us, too. But, I mean, I hope I'm never really bad. If I am, I hope my friends would forgive me, which is why I plan on forgiving my friends. There are circumstances of our lives we can't really control, you know? Like cheating on Misty. I only vaguely remember that, like I know it happened but I don't really remember doing it. It hurt her so much, but I couldn't control it. I hope she forgives me."
The Martyr kisses his shoulder, "I know she wanted to see you when we met after we died. I'm sure she does. I'm pretty sure there is nothing you could do to me in there that would make be stop loving you here. You could care me up with knives out there and I would still love you here. I would hold you while we worked through it after. I believe you'd do the same for me. It might take a little time, but I believe in you and in us."
The Addict says quietly, "I feel the same way. Even if you murdered me, I'd forgive you. We have to forgive each other, Dare. Our willingness to work together is the one damn advantage we have. Look what isolating has done to poor Max. She carries so much pain, and I'm glad she has people who love her and can take care of her. I would if she gave me the time of day, but I understand she's a tough nut to crack. I'd still die for her in a heartbeat."
The Martyr is nodding along emphatically until the mention of Max. he freezes with his spoon half way to his mouth full of marshmallow fudge butterscotch pistacio goodness. After several beats, he slowly lowers it. In a quiet, flat voice he confesses. "I would have told you. If she'd accepted, I would have told you. In the end it was better it was Ethan for a whole lot of reasons, but I really was ready to do it, I think. It's why I was such a mess. I found my darkness and realized what I was capable of under the right circumstances. Or the wrong ones."
The Addict eyes Dare. They clear their throat, lower their spoon, and take Dare's hand. "Darling," they say, "I love you. I'm crazy for you. You're the best. But you do this thing where you allude to something, and I have no idea what you're talking about. I need context, babe. I need to know what 'it' is. I haven't seen Max since she shanked Oz with a rum bottle."
The Martyr holds on to that hand, not tight enough to hurt. He doesn't look up from his ice cream. "Max asked some of us to kill her. For real. Individually. My guess is she asked Bastian first and me last. I could tell she'd asked him when I saw him at lunch before Ethan killed her. I wasn't there when it happened, but she's Wendy now."
The Addict nods slowly. "So Ethan killed Max, who's going by Wendy now. And it was harrowing for you to find out that, if pushed, you could kill." They stroke Dare's cheek. "But she's okay. Wendy is, I mean. We always come back, same as ever. I'd probably kill her if she asked, because it's not like she'll really be dead."
The Martyr leans into the hand, closing his eyes, "It worked. Max is in there, but it's more like how you used to be Martin. He's got a different body. She likes foods she'd never tried before. She's Wendy like you are Briar. I didn't kknow for sure if it would really help her the way she thought it would when I decided I could. I ddn't know she'd asked other people. I thought I was going to be saving Bastian fromwhat doing it would cost him. I had a good idea of what it would cost me. I don't know this Ethan at all, but I know this Caleb and he's looking after him, so I'm trying to look after Caleb." He is shivering now, "I was ready to cut out a peice of myself. In the end I didn't have to and it was better one of the Elders who loved her longest did it, but the knowledge of what i could do when asked the right way changed me forever."
The Addict sets the spoon down and pulls Dare into their arms. "It's good to know," they murmur, "where your limits lie, and where that line is. I know I should take this stuff more seriously, but knowing that -- no matter what we do today -- tomorrow we'll be exactly the same, it's hard to see anything as permanent. Death is just something that happens sometimes." They're very quiet for a moment, just hugging Dare. Then they say in a low tone, "Before Beaver Lake, Addison and I slept together. He went by Dirk then. He cut me up pretty badly, and I consented. I even told him next time he could kill me. That was the last night we were here before Beaver Lake. He... he didn't come back."
The Martyr clings to them, eyes still closed, burying her face in his hair. Softly he says, "It's not a thing I could enjoy the way he did, but if it were something you really needed, I could. I would rather it were me." He presses his nose to their ear, "I am sorry he didn't make it back. I know that sounds like a lie, but it's not."
The Addict hugs Dare tightly, then draws back enough to give him a long, lingering kiss. "I don't need it," they murmur. "Not from you. With him, it was different. I wanted to free him. I wanted him to not be alone in his darkness. That's part of what I got out of it. The other part was a kind of release of fear and worry. If the worst happened, then it happened. I would wake up again, and that would mean there's nothing to be afraid of."
The Martyr kisses her back, gentle and sweet, eyes open. "That makes sense, Love. It really does. I am sorry for my behavior when I was Finn. Iunderstand both him and you in a way that I couldn't then."
"No one understood him," Briar says. "I think Danny was a lot like me in that regard. He cared about Addison, and he saw him in a way not very many people did. Their time alone was... it's hard to describe. They had a vibe, and it was dark and scary, and it worked. I don't imagine anyone would've understood it." They sigh softly, then hug Dare again. "We've both learned," they murmurs. "You and I. It's important that we take the lessons we can from all this stuff. That's the only thing that keeps it from being meaningless torment."
The Martyr strokes their hair as they hold each other. "He was good to you. When I was Finn I couldn't see it or trust him because of how he treated me and because I could intuit how scary and dangerous it could get, but I was so glad he was there for you after I died. I did learn and I would have apologised if he'd come back, even knowing how little he'd want it from the likes of me."
The Addict sniffles a little and takes a paper napkin off the table to dab at their eyes. It's hitting them that Addison really isn't coming back. "I'll never forget him," they say. "No illusions, no fantasies about if he'd been like this or that. I'll always remember him the way he was. I think that's the right thing to do. He had a beauty about him. He was dangerous, but it was worth the risk." They dab away a few tears, then smile a little. "I guess I was carrying that around inside me."
The Martyr kisses their cheek and keeps his arms around them, "You can always talk to me bout these things, Love. You never need to worry about me not listening. There was a beauty to him. Even Finn saw that, and he really did die a hero."
"Maybe there are a lot of different facilities, and he woke up in one of those," Briar says. They don't sound like they believe it, but it's a nice thought. "I do wonder what all of this is," they admit quietly. "I am curious, and if there is a way out, I would be interested in finding it. It's just that I don't have that urgency to escape. I have no guarantee 'out there' is better than 'in here.' And I don't know where to start investigating. I don't think breaking things over and over is yielding any new data. And I feel safe here. I don't know. I feel like... there's something familiar about it that I've never experienced before."
The Martyr nods, "I've heard that theory." He's non-comittal, but willling to be supportive if it comforts her. "I would really like to understand the why of all tthis, but I am happy here with you and not in any hurray for escape right now. This really does feel like home to me, or maybe like 've never had a hme before that I really...connected to. Maybe that s why Finn got so attatched to the idea of Tommy the cat and everything he represented. It's more a not wanting to lose people and uncertainty about what will happen to my mind, my sense of self. I loved being Finn. I love being this me. I know I will likely adjust to whatever comes next, likely after a freaking out a bit at the change, but it does leave me uneasy. I've seen how weird and fragmented some of the Elders get."
"We shouldn't think of each other as Elders and Other," Brira says quietly. "There are some of us with more experience, sure, but that's all it is. I won't treat them any differently or call them something that make sthem 'other' from me." They study Dare carefully. "It's really dangerous, Dare, this 'Elder' thinking. The only thing we've got going for us is our unity. We can't have a 'them.' We've got to be a unified 'us.'"
The Martyr takes her seriously and thinks it over properly before nodding his agreement, "All right, Love. That makes sense." He kisses ttheir nose, "What would you like to do this 'afternoon?'"
The Addict glances back at their melting ice cream. "I'd like to finish as much of this as possible," they say. "I didn't have plans aside from eating ice cream. Maybe a bubble bath if nothing interesting was happening today. It's kind of nice being able to drift. I think the part of existentialism Danny liked the most was Sartre's notion of radical freedom. Despite its flaws, there's something to be said for having the ability to choose to do nothing."
The Martyr sppons up some of his ice cream and eats it, "May I scrubb your back, Love? Your tub looks amazing.... Have you seen fizz's room? He has a Swing!"
"Of course," Briar says. They take up their spoon again and set about dealing with this ice cream before it melts. "I've never been to Fizz's room," they say. "I only saw him once since we got back. People seem to stay in their rooms a lot. Though, I guess if I had a swing, I'd stay in my room a lot, too. Mostly, I've been reading. I read about Cattulus."
The Martyr says, “Oh! Catullus is good! Finn liked him, though he had to read him in translation. I've been reading Satre. This place has me in an Existentiallist mood. I admit, Radical freedom appealed to me as well. It still does, though I'm not sure it's quite enough for me. I've got this... sense of purpose that comes from somewhere deep that i don't know what to do with here." He's making quick work of his own treat, "I was just stoppig by to see how he was doing. Did you know he has your demo tape in there?"”
The Addict smiles broadly. "He does? That's awesome. I should go say hi." They start with all the melted bits of ice cream, so that soon they're left with a smaller but still frozen portion in front of them. "Radical freedom and a sense of purpose aren't mutually exclusive. You just have to realize that you choose your actions, even when acting out of a sense of purpose. There's freedom in the choice, but also personal responsibility. No one gets to say 'I had no choice,' because they do. They always do."
The Martyr considers this as he polishes off the buttercrunch scope, "How do you think freedom of choice and responsability apply when we are sent out there. we definately choose our actions and bare responsability for what we do there, but I was thinking of cases where people start out the senario coupled to people they had no interest in previously or situations like chance becoming Derek."
"That's an interesting question," Briar says. "There are aspects of our lives that seem to be written for us, as it were. Martin had an emotionally manipulative father who caused him to be scared of other people. Danny grew up with Jewish anarchist hippies, which certainly influenced his drug use and free love ideology. They were both me, but they were versions of me I was thrust into. I didn't voluntarily go." They lick ice cream off their spoon again. "Then again, all reality is subjective, isn't it? Our choices are influenced by the lives we've had up to the point of decision." They sigh quietly. "It's a little weird. Danny had amorous feelings for Misty, but Martin adored her like you would your sister."
The Martyr nods, "And I've seen cases where people were married in one life and siblings in another. That has to be weird afterwards. I think of Star like almost a sister still, but I am fully aware that one day I might return with an entirely different sort of love for her." He watches briar from the corner of his eyes as he makes serious inroads on his rocky road, "It turns out I am really bad with cupcakes, by the way. Christine and I were shown a demonstration and I fear I've been practicing by myself."
The Addict arches a brow. "How exactly are you misusing cupcakes?" they ask. "Or is this a euphemism for oral sex." Since that's what the whole cupcakes thing was back at Beaver Lake. "And if you've been practicing by yourself, my hat goes off to your chiropractor." They spoon some ice cream into their mouth and lick the spoon clean, then grin.
The Martyr nearly chokes on a cherry, and needs time to recover at laughing, "I believe in this case it's a metaphor, and I haven't had any offers from the possessors of cupcakes of their own in this case. I meant metaphorical ones... Or at least stand ins from the bakery, but now that you mention it, I did make a discovery of a new talent that I did not previously posess that there is zero chance of me showing you in the dining hall or anywhere else public." he is watching them lick their spoon.
The Addict's smile broadens. "Maybe you'll show me in the bath," they say. "I'm sure the others will appreciate your discretion." They lick more ice cream off the spoon, not even hiding the fact that they're being sensual about it. "So tell me about the metaphorical cupcakes. I feel like I'm missing some pieces here."
The Martyr grins back, all wickedness, "Your wish is my pleasure, Love. I'm really coming to like this body." He can't think about ice cream when they are doing that, so he just watches them eat. "I couldn't figure out how you and nettie were flirting, so I asked Fizz at luncha few days ago and Star was interested too, so he, uh, demonstrated. Extensively."
The Addict laughs softly and says, "Good for him. That man is a flirting machine." This is said with nothing but admiration in their tone. They continue to slowly work their way through the ice cream, 'accidentally' letting some dribble down their chin, which they're quick to lick up. "We could go back to the lake, you know," they say. "With no ghosts, nothing after us. Just you, me, and that pool in the deep woods."
The Martyr says, “Oh we were both very impressed." He visibly shivers as the Addict licks his chin. He rasps, "Yes please. Anywhere. You like.”
The Addict says mildly, "If I didn't know better, Dare, I would think your interests were prurient." They scoop up the last bit of ice cream, then suck it off the spoon, which they lick clean. Then they get to their feet, take up the dish, and walk over to set it out of the way so as not to leave a mess for someone else. Then they glance over their shoulder at Dare and say, "Well, come on."
The Martyr does this quivery thing with his lower lip as the Addict finishes. It takes him a little while to be ready to stand as these jeans are very tight and a bit of discreet adjustment required, but soon enough he has set his bowl next to theirs and is following Briar in a half dazed state.