Log:Home on Deranged
The door to the anywhere room opens up as if it were the front door of Ethan and Colorado's little house in Eugene, Oregon, a few blocks from campus, in the summer of 1990. The house is a small one, and one of the three bedrooms has been converted into Bella and Saiph's own room for all their toys and gear and dog beds for when neither of the boys is home. It's homey, with 1970s cabinetry in the kitchen, mismatched appliances, and bachelor dcor here and there.
As the door opens and Pedagogue walks over the threshold, he turns into Ethan Drake again, long hair, about 22 years of age, the age he would be in the current timeline. There are no scars on his chest, no missing lobe of lung, no thrice broken hand that aches when it rains. He is as whole as he was the moment he entered the last scenario.
He is immediately greeted by Saiph and Bella who bound out of 'their' room to greet him and whoever is behind him, with wagging tails. "Hey girls," he quips, ruffling fur and patting sides.
The Coward somehow, weirdly, kept being Colorado Jones physically when the scenario ended. Normally he's in his early 40s, like Colton and Bates. Now he's the ridiculous and stunning specimen of a man that Jonesy was. As he walks into the house, his clothes become Jones': tiny little crop top reading 'I Know What Boys Like', extra-tight Wranglers, and Jones' signature violently magenta cowboy boots.
He drops to his knees to fling his arms around the dogs. "Girls! I missed you fierce, my babies." The Coward presses his face to fur. Said face gets madly licked by Bella.
The Rogue stops at the threshold of the door. He can see the change and... honestly? he looks a might bit concerned. Is he going to turn into a ghost or what?! Well, at worst what happens is he knows and tomorrow after reset Ethan'll likely greet him with the good booze in his coffee. Right. He nods a few times to himself and miters "Aww what the hell." And with that walks through the door and lands. Vans on his feet and baggy shorts, a RUN DMC t-shirt on under a short sleeved unbuttoned shirt, and a number of o-rings on his arms in lieu of real jewelry. Ethan's still left with his watch. His eye is-- oh shit! His hand immediately goes to reach for it and, well it's not bandaged but it feels alright. Talk about a second chance at life there. The dimpled half-grin widens and his self-check he gives two whistles. "Saiph!" He laughs looking around at the place from the lawn in a wonder, "Where's m'girl at?"
Ethan straightens and moves further in, turning around to spread his arms and gesture grandly. "Welcome to Casa Bedlam, Lyle. Where your money was invested, and where we found a new home." He pats the back of a second hand sofa. "Paid for the house in cash, so no one could ever take it from us. No one was going to take this home away. He beams when the Rogue clearly has two eyes, and he grabs the youth's face to smooch it hard. "And you're whole. Hot damn. Oh, and I learned how to cook a little." If cooking means boiling water for pasta and heating up some ragu in a pot. "I'll put some dinner on!" He heads into the kitchen, giddy at being back here, a happy place, made possible by the person he loved.
The Coward gets up, wiping dog slobber from his face and grinning stupidly. He grabs the Rogue in a fierce hug, too, and smooches his forehead. Dog slobber notwithstanding. "Great to see you in good shape again. God, we missed you. All the time."
Lyle's hands cover his mouth just taking it in and push back through his hair. Amazed? Yeah yeah he is. "I never thought that plan would pan out this well, or, I mean need to but I-" And words are cut off as his face is grabbed. There's the conflict for the Rogue whom nothing is real enough for except this. The purpose is real, the affection is real, and that kiss is very fucking real. Just a moment, folks, be right with you-- Lyle is busy a second here.
Breaking that off ends with him tapping his forehead to Ethan's with a laugh, "Yeah? Good. That was the plan in '87: no one gets to take shit from you again. I...sorta messed it up a lil." The look is still a bit apologetic when he gives Colorado a fierce hug. "God I was so fuckin scared for you guys, dude. I mondo screwed some stuff up but I think we all kinda did alright. I just-" have been beating himself up relentlessly about it for the better part of a week? Just used the word mondo as a modifier? Have a puppy coming to greet him like Where ya been, little boss? He nods to Ethan and says "Grub sounds good. He crouches down and just lights up hugging Siaph on the ground and letting her tackle him to the ground licking him. Boy and dog. Reunited. "Yeah I know I know! I upset ya, I'm sorry Saiph. I got a lil lost."
There's the sound of clattering pots and pans from the kitchen as Ethan gets some water on to boil, and some Ragu into a pot. "Lyle, look out the front window at the driveway!" he hollers from the kitchen. There in the driveway is the car the Rogue left him. Milano. After Alyssa. He leans in the kitchen doorway, wiping his hands on a dishtowel, and watching the dogs reuniting with their boys. His smile is like the sunrise.
"I was scared shitless," the Coward says. "Scared I was gonna lose Ethan, too. Scared, hell, of everything. Scared, scared, scared." Saiph knocks the Rogue down and the Coward laughs. "She was never quite the same after losin' you and Bastian. Good to see her happy again, too." His voice thickens up, and he swallows. Then, like Jonesy would, covers it up by declaring, "Garlic bread, and don't you touch it, Drake. If you scorch it I will wear your behind out!" He saunters into the kitchen. Jonesy only knew two methods of locomotion: sauntering and fleeing in terror.
The Rogue starts in with the terrible humor because that's how Lyle copes: poke at it until it doesn't hurt no more. "Hey, be nice t'Drake. It was one car. One. If anyone should get yelled at for burnin food it's me. Think there was still one pop tart in my side pocket when I fuckin torched up lakeview." He'll be up in a moment, he is being mercilessly licked. He just flops on the floor in defeat. Oof! "God I missed you girls. Guys... can I say," from the floor looking at Rado's knees and to Drake's ankles in the kitchen further away, "Guys I'm sorry I kinda fucked shit up. I'm really glad this happened though." Pulling his knees to his chest, once Saiph is cleared he does a kip up back to his feet like a jumping bean. Squirley lil shit he is. He does wander to the window and grins just as Bella joins and he's bowled over from the side. "That T-bird is one my granddad had. He taught my dad how to fix up cars with it. Never gave it to him though." Those eyes squint with some pride in that. "He told me some great stories about when he got it though. Told my dad he had enough, that was gonna be mine...He passed when I was young. Details are gone but that was the gist." Looking over his shoulder he says resolutely, "My old man had enough shit. I'm glad she wound up with someone who really appreciates her."
Ethan barks a laugh back at Colorado's threat. "I put out the stuff for you to make it! I know better, man!" He watches Lyle and the dogs with a wistful look on his face. "This is how it should have been, you know? This feels right." Better maybe, if Max and Bastian and Candice were alive and able to visit. Granted, the first two can, if they choose to. But their experience may have been less pleasant for them in the long run so he isn't sure they'd want to be here. He still needs to talk to Max, Bella, Ramona. SO much has transpired between them before this last scenario flipped everything on its ear.
There are textbooks and notebooks scattered across the coffee table. Clearly even over the summer Ethan was studying, intent on maintaining his perfect 4.0. They are mostly history and anthropology books, having gotten his pre-reqs done the first two semesters. There is also a Nu Mu Beta banner hanging on one wall. Clearly he is a frat member, again keeping to his promise. There are some D&D books on a shelf, so he is likely still playing with Julian too.
A glorious scent of butter and garlic floats out from the kitchen as the Coward gets to mixing up the garlic spread. He's dancing in place, shakin' those hips, singing under his breath. He hushes up when the Rogue begins to talk, and listens. "Fuck shit up?" he calls, frowning. "The hell you talkin' about, Lucas? You took point for so much of that nonsense. You got the radio operational. You got Freak taken care of." He cleans his hands and comes out to just grab the Rogue by the face. "Wasn't your fault that you died. We were so goddamn proud of you. You died a hero. You hear me? I died in Prosperity, so I know of what I speak, 'mano."
The Rogue is face smooshed as Rado grabs him by the cheeks making him look a bit like a fish. Blink blink. Something about the neon cowboy calling him hermanito again, little brother, seems to put the entire ordeal in perspective. Yes Ethan forgave him, but... well it's his nature to carry things with him, and not just the ones he steals from front desk.
Looking back to the kitchen and Ethan just so proud of everything they all brought into fruition makes him smile at the guys. Hand falls to Saiph's head where she's nudging him. Even in the simulation he's got to admit he really missed that. "Feels like home. Yeah it shouda been this way but, eh, maybe it is and I'm just late catching up." He laughs, "Hey it takes ghosts a lil while to catch onto hist okay? Yeah I'm using that as a fallback excuse." Still, quietly, he was proud of the work that was pointed out. "Couldn't have done it alone. Who knew I'd be work cheerleader I guess." He looks back to them and says "Next time we come back," yes next time, "I'll have to frame Tawny's title. All that's missing. I mean... I promised you man."
"If you fucked things up, why am I standing in a house I own, with my school books, my frat stuff, my dogs, my car in the driveway, my best bud making us garlic bread, and the scent of dinner on the wind? Think about that, Lyle." Ethan smiles gently at the Rogue, that quirk charismatic grin that melted hearts at the Lodge. He moves back into the kitchen to stir the sauce and add the pasta to the boiling water. Spaghetti, because they are such bachelors.
The Coward kisses the Rogue's forehead again. "Every time we come home, we remember you and how you made all this possible. And we wish you were here to enjoy it with us. I promise you never once did we think, 'gee, Lyle sure messed up by sacrificing himself for us.' Never. Once." He hugs him tight, then. "You know you saved Ethan, right?" The Coward looks searchingly into the Rogue's eyes.
The Rogue tightens his jaw and stops arguing accepting things for what they are instead of being that guy. When it's all laid out he has to laugh, hand rubbing the back of his neck, "Well when you put it that way, I guess not. Colorado gets a tight hug with a squeeze before he goes and hops up to a sit on the counter. Why not? He paid for it he gets to. And somewhere his mom gets to say jack and shit about it. "Alright, I'm being an asshole. I relent." The heel of his palm rubs at his eye , now repaired. A quiet chuckle, "Yeah I mean seeing the day after on the screen I figured it out. Just... god let's just... can we not talk about that? That was fuckin scary as hell." The ghost of a shadow crosses his face and while he can hoot and holler about it and yell witness me! into the wind it was still not the go-back he wanted to revisit. "Can we stop carrying on like little old women about it?" That dimpled half grin hangs really saying, thanks guys. "Just tell me one thing, was my family good and fucking pissed and get the reality check they had coming?"
Ethan snorts as he stirs the sauce but agrees not to talk about the BAD DAY. He shoulder bumps Colorado when the oven dings as preheated. "Your funeral was lovely, until your father opened his fat, entitled, smarmy mouth. So I put my fist in it. Knocked him out flat. Think he was gonna need some dental work. Then I told your mother what I really thought of her too. So I'd say yeah, they got what was coming to them."
There's a knock on the door to the house, which is also the door back into the Facility, then it opens. The Scholar hesitates on the threshold, still his curly-haired, Facility-self, peering in. Though he just spent a few minutes psyching himself up to enter he remains reluctant to pull the trigger. He witnessed the change that came over Creepshow when she stepped out into the Noc, and it's been sitting in the back of his mind ever since. Does he want to experience being Bastian again?
Maybe he already is, because he can feel that part of him say, 'Suck it up, Roen'. He sighs, steps in, and just like that, his hair is short again, he's a bit harder around the edges, and the unhappy knowledge that always lurks in the Scholar's eyes is echoed in the lines on his face. He's alive, though, and there's no evidence of the mortal wound he took at Nails' ghostly hands, so, there's that. OSU hoodie in dark blue over a Linnaeus Flower Clock shirt, denim jeans, and hiking boots. "Hey," he says, shutting the door behind him.
"Don't blame yourself, and I don't see a need to carry on," the Coward says, simultaneously brisk and smug, like yeah he wins this round. He thwaps Ethan fondly on the back. "You should've seen that, Lyle! Oh Lordy I thought the priest was going to faint right on your grave!" He laughs while he pops in the french bread thickly smeared with garlic butter. "Absolutely glorious."
The Coward looks up, a smile blooming, when the Scholar vis a vis Roen comes in. "Come on in, we're in the kitchen!" he hollers, all casual Texan hospitality.
The Rogue watches as the dogs tear away from there and DAD! They found dad! The laugh from Lyle is just warm like summer and the squint with way too much amusement, "Awww shit! While the preacher was there fuck YES! You can pass that off as like... retribution or something. I think it'd sell. Man... good." He wipes his eye with the back of his wrist. "Man, I didn't think anyone would ever love me enough to start a brawl in a cemetery in front of a damn preacher. You really put everything on the line and came through for me." His hand finds Ethan's shoulder to just hold onto it where he's sitting on the counter. "Sup, SeaBass. Glad you could make it." Yes he's calling him Caleb's nickname for him. Maybe it'll help a little.
Ethan grins to himself at Colorado's retelling of his magnificent moment and he sets a colander in the sink. The pasta should be ready right when the garlic bread comes out. They have this routine down. "Roen!" he calls out to Bastian as he enters the little house. "Just in time for dinner!" He covers Lyle's hand with his own. "Then we stole YOUR dad's car, and left it in MY dad's garage, and tipped off the police."
The Scholar doesn't make it far; Bellatrix and Saiph see to that. "Oh, hey girls, hey," he says, kneeling down and gathering them up. Unlike the Coward he goes out of his way to avoid face licking, craning his neck so the most they can do is get at his neck and bump him with their foreheads for affection. "Yeah, I missed you too," he murmurs, and sighs, staying like that a moment. It only occurs to him now that this had been one of the half dozen things he'd wanted to tell Colorado as he was dying, to take care of his girls. Not that he would have needed to say it, of course.
He gets up, and the dogs follow him towards the kitchen, pausing at the entryway. Oh yes, they know they're not allowed in there if dad's around. No dogs in the kitchen. He smiles a soul-tired hello his three surrogate family members, looks around. "Not a half-bad place," he says in Roen's trademark 'I'm judging it but too nice to call anything out' manner, chasing it with a small smile.
The Coward inflicts a tight hug on the Scholar, too. None will escape! He leans back, though, asking, "Can I kiss you? Would that be weird? I won't if you'll feel weird about it." He glances back at Ethan, grinning. "Ethan's a gen-u-wine genius at boostin' cars and makin' plans. Good thing, too, 'cause I sure ain't. I just did whatever he told me."
The Rogue lets them catch up watching Roen get re-acclimated to things. He spares a glance to his cohort with the bubbling pasta eyes wide, all both of them. "OH. FUCK!" This is a look of delight, pure distilled delight. The pasta can watch itself. He reaches over and pulls Ethan by the shirt and says, "You are my best everything." There might be something else murmured but for now he just enjoys the world fucking fixing itself. "I could scary get used to this. Also I think your pasta is bubbling at you...or it's possessed."
"The pups even have their own room with all their stuff in it," Ethan notes, gesturing to the spare bedroom that has been turned into a doggie haven, filled with toys and dog beds and pillows and blankets. "If we weren't home for whatever reason, they had all the comforts." School stuff mostly, and frat parties of course. Then he's kissing Lyle with a chuckle against the other guy's lips. A timer dings and he pulls away and grabs some dish towels (college kids don't know potholders exist) to drain the pasta into the colander in the sink. "Lyle, can you set the table? Dishes are in the far right cupboard, silverware in the drawer under your ass. Beer in the fridge."
The Scholar returns the Coward's hug, tight not just because it's the Coward. His conversations with the Soldier and the Creepshow about how Roen left Oregon continue to weigh heavy on his mind. He tangles a hand in the Coward's hair and gives him a Look. "Does it matter if it's weird? Nothing about this isn't weird," he says, and kisses him to cement the point. Post-Beaver Lake Bastian is over weird things like kissing Jack Jones' son, it would seem.
He draws back from the Coward, giving him a smug look, arches an eyebrow at the Pedagogue. "So you spoiled the hell out of them?" He sighs, looks back at the dogs, who pant and wag their tails. "I bet you even fed them people food." He shakes his head, moves to the Rogue to give him a hug as well, saying, "Two whole eyes again. Can you still not swim, though?"
The Coward mmms deep in his chest. "You know Jonesy couldn't think about his dad's old army buddy like this, but he did anyway." He's a little reluctant to let the Scholar go, but does, since he's practicing sharing him and all. He outright beams at the Rogue smooching on Ethan, and scoots past them to get salad fixings out of the fridge. As he does, though, his expression changes, going tense. "So why'm I afraid all of a sudden?" he murmurs, not really to anyone.
Lyle is just happy perched on the counter. "What it looks level enough!" Yeah. Funny guy. He hops down off the counter and looks at the place, "Uhhhh..." He waits to be pointed at the right cabinet before fetching plates that match as well as college-wear will and turns to Bastian with a bright, cocky dimpled grin and gives him a hug. "Oh yeah, you're hilarious. Don't you come rolling up in my Barbie Dream Home and attack me with water wings, dude." Which isn't a yes or a no. Looking to Rado he chuckles, "Beeecause- nope. Not gonna say it. I'm not reality busting this dinner. We fought too hard for this. Someday? Yeah shit will happen again but if he's Ethan Drake? Well, maybe that's our anchor point. Even if your'e living life out of order. I dunno, but ... it's good. This is a good thing."
"Of course we did!" Ethan replies to Bastian. "They sure as hell deserved spoiling. They got us through some of the worst things in our lives. I'm surprised Saiph ever fully dried out from all the tears she soaked up from me," he explains with a small smile. He grabs a trivet, something no doubt someone else pushed on them to have. Maybe Candice or Dash's moms in a care package. It gets tossed to Lyle to set on the table so the pot of sauce can go on it. The spaghetti gets poured into a big old plastic bowl with tongs for serving and he pats Rado on the shoulder gently before he brings that to the table as well.
The Scholar can't entirely argue that the dogs have earned their spoiling after the events at the Lodge. He was just relieved to hear they made it out alive, in all truth; he won't begrudge Ethan and Colorado spoiling them in the wake of all they went through.
He pats the side of the Rogue's head. It's a Bastian and Lyle type of interaction; as the Rogue himself said previously, now they're somewhat reversed. "I bet I can get this room to conjure up a life vest," he says, the picture of faux innocence. "You know, in case you need one."
In response to the Coward's question the Scholar moves next to him and runs a hand down his back, settling it at his hip. "It's okay. We're here," he says, voice low, and rests his forehead against the back of the Coward's golden blond head for a moment.
The Coward breaths in deep. "Right." He sets to chopping up the lettuce. Like a savage. He pauses in this to tip his head back against the Scholar's. "Thanks, fellas." Salad made, he brings the bowl for that on over to the table. "Grub's on!"
The Rogue laughs "Aaaaah, fuck you buddy." Said with all the love in the world. He might go ape shit attacking a life vest, or put it on in case, who knows. "Caleb could swim just fine functionally, thanks." I learned from him retroactively." He catches the trivet like a Frisbee and gives it a pin and sets it down before heading back in the front room now that plates are there. Yeah, he's going to wrestle with the dog. "If our computer overlords are listening if you could stop resetting our damn rooms and let us have a dog I'd stop trying to break your damn place so much... just saying." He looks up and stops fighting the irrealis of the place. "Best seeing eye dog ever, aren't ya." there is a deep sigh and there is peace. "Thanks for not letting me down. I know it was for all of us, but, I'm really glad Casa Bedlam worked out." He laughs and tells Saiph, "They punched the old man. Best birthday present ever."
Ethan dishes out pasta on everyone's plates, then sauce, then passes them around. He looks genuinely happy, like this is what the world was supposed to be. The family together, sharing a meal, with the dogs nearby, in a real home no one could take from them. Only Lyle's address to whomever is running the Facility breaks down the illusion and the smile fades a little. "This might all be pretend? But what we feel isn't. So let's have the real family dinner we never got to at the Lodge." He settles in for the meal.
Settling himself at the table, the Scholar nods in agreement with the Pedagogue. "If what we feel is real, then it's not pretend." He dishes himself plenty of salad, a little less of the pasta and sauce. "We'll have another of these, maybe bring Cassandra and Max. I think someone said Mallory's here too."
"Shit, we'll have to get a bigger table," the Coward says to Ethan, grinning. Deliberately he's turning away from his fear and towards this moment. "More chairs. We'll hit the Goodwill tomorrow, what do you say?" He looks at the others in turn. "Everybody's welcome. Everybody."
The Rogue looks to Ethan and flinches with some apology, "Who said it isn't real? We can't prove anything else is. Just us right? I'm just..." he pushes himself up and walks over squeezing his jaw tight for a moment before murmuring, "I got a lot to reconcile." His hand slides around Ethan's waist giving him a half hug, resting his chin over his shoulder to see Bastian and Rado, "Just tell me to shut up sit down and look pretty and stop being angry at every damn thing for five minutes." Man that anger of his tracks though don't it? "Love to see Cass and Mallory again. I'll be honest, I miss em."
Even he has to poke fun at his own vanity and getting hung up on a tear. "Sides, this is our house. Like you said, real family dinner. Fucking love you guys and..." He contains the snicker but knows Sebastian and Colorado will get it when he looks to Ethan adding sincerely, "Welcome to the weird lil family, Ethan Drake. We're keeping you." Colton Crew by assimilation apparently. "And I'm keeping you. Now make good with the pasta."