Creepshow is in her room, sitting in bed with a book. Her room is insane. Discuss!
Not that the Scholar thinks the Coward is going to particularly like the Creepshow's room, but this is no doubt where they can find her. He might not be able to get him through the door, but maybe they can coax her out. ...it's worth a shot, anyways.
"It's okay if you don't want to come in," he tells the Coward, and knocks. "Max?"
"Abierto!" Creepshow calls from the bed.
The Coward, having heard about the unique ambiance of the Creepshow's room, is kinda nervous. "I'll be fine," he tries to lie, unconvincingly.
With a look that says the Scholar wants to believe the Coward but is ready for, well, anything, he opens the door and steps in. "Hey," he says, eyes on Max and not on the decor. He's dressed a little Bastian-like today, in a black and green plaid flannel and denim jeans.
Creepy's usual wake up attire is a gray tank and boxers. She's not wearing that. Instead she's wearing a giant Cure tee as a tent dress, much like Max would. She doesn't have Max's hair and seems a few years older, though.
She looks up, sees Scholar brought company, and sits up a bit, more attentive. The book is set on the pillow beside her.
The Coward gets only the briefest glimpse of the creepy room and reels backwards, eyes wide. "There's--there's--blood!" He goes pale and grabs the doorframe, squeezing his eyes shut. "Oh Jesus, I might pass out." Well, he still looks like Colorado Jones, maybe it makes sense he has some of his quirks, too. Like fainting at the sight of gore.
The Coward isn't the only one who seems to be retaining a few characteristics from the last life. The Scholar reaches out to grab him immediately, steadying him. "It's alright," he assures him. "Think of it as a movie set." Even though it might really be blood.
There's a gentle, thoughtful frown from Creepshow when Coward reels. It's not anger or even disappointment, though. Not even annoyance.
She slips off of the bed and pads over to the two men in her doorway. As she approaches Coward, she reaches out and gently takes his hand in her own small one.
"You trusted Bella," she says to him in a calm tone. "And Max. Yes? I'm them. My room is me. Trust me, and I won't let anything hurt you." Another squeeze.
The Coward grabs the Scholar back, holding on. Creepshow takes his hand and talks to him calmly, and he wraps his long fingers around hers. He's breathing fast, heart hammering, but as Creepy and Scholar both reassure him, he's able to relax. A little. He swallows and nods. "Okay. Okay. Bella fought for my family. Max was a darlin' who didn't want anybody to know. I did trust 'em. I...I trust you." Coward opens his eyes, squinty, blinking rapidly.
The Scholar reaches back to take the Coward's other hand, gives Creepshow a grateful smile. "Just like my bookcases and your blanket fort," he tells the Coward. Of course, it's a bit different in Creepshow's room than either of those things, but as she says, it's still her. If he's safe with her, he's safe with her room. He takes a step in, encourages the Coward to join him.
Creepshow helps guide him over to her bed, and encourages him to sit. It's very soft and comfy.
"See? You made it. Thank you for trusting me."
The Coward sits. It is comfy. He looks at the Scholar, then at Creepy, and only at them. The pictures are easier to take if he tunes them out into funny-looking wallpaper. "I'm sorry, Miss Max. Just a craven at heart, I guess," he says, embarrassed now, looking down at the bed. "I wanted to come talk to you 'bout Bastian."
The Scholar sits next to the Coward, takes one of his hands and holds it in his. "Craven, and yet, here you sit." He smiles at Creepshow, thanks for helping guide the Coward in and encouragement for their pending talk.
"Don't you dare apologize," Creepy says, but it's still gentle. "We're what this place makes us. With effort, some of us manage to be better. You? Are one of the strongest people in here, because you try. My instinct at seeing your reaction to my room was... unhealthy. I pushed it down and came to help you rather than be what I am. I'm trying, too."
A nod. "So. Let's talk."
The Coward doesn't let go of either Creepy nor the Scholar. He nods and sniffles anxiously. "A-all right. Uhm. Bastian told me about you, and obviously, I know, from Beaver Lake, that you and him was involved. And now you," he looks at the Scholar, addressing him, "want to have us both. I, well, hell, I don't rightly know how to talk about it." The Coward winces. "I wouldn't want to take you away from him, Miss Max. Or, him away from you."
The Scholar says, "I'm selfish enough to want to be with both of you," looking at each of them in turn. "But I know not everyone's comfortable with that. You've," he looks at the Creepshow, "indicated you are, and," now the Coward, "it seemed like a good idea for you to have a chance to talk." He grips the Coward's hand. "I don't want this to be something where you're only with me and not one another. Even if it's just as friends. I think you have a good deal in common.
"We... had something," Creepshow confirms. "Something different than my previous lives. Maybe it's because it happened on its own within the story rather than as something we started with, written for us. Just like you and Sebastian found each other in Prosperity rather than it already being a thing. I think that matters. Makes it more real."
She nods quietly at Scholar's words. "I don't want to replace you, and I never could if I tried. I don't have a cock, for starters. But you were together much longer there, got married. I only had ten days or so. It's not even close."
The Coward's golden eyebrows go up, startled. He looks at the Scholar, furrowing his brow at him now. "You'd like that? Oh, Bastian." Genuinely touched, his tone. "I guess I wouldn't think she'd be interested." There's a dissonance between how he looks (muscular and sleek and young) and the words. Then Creepy surprises him into half of a laugh with that remark about the cock. "Ah, well, Candi didn't have one either. You miss it some, but you get over it."
He nods, listening, contemplative. "It's different. Least, seems that way. I ain't started with a history with anyone, so far. But knowing what I felt, what I feel, for Bastian...yeah. I know it's powerful. Maybe more than anything else that happens in there."
"Ten very...intense days," the Scholar says, eyes on the Creepshow for a long handful of seconds. The shadow of those memories lies on his features, and he looks very much like Bastian despite the longer hair. He blinks, and now he's that combination of Sebastian and Bastian and the person he is here, whomever that is.
He smiles and laughs at the mention of her lack of a cock, much like he did the last time she said about the same thing to him. Sobering, he tells the Coward, "Of course I'd like that." He releases his hand and sets it on the Coward's cheek. "I don't think this should just be for me."
He thinks over both of his lives, expression distant as he sorts the memories. "Maybe it's that...when we find one another in there," he reaches to take a hand from each of them, "we are finding one another. We're not being told who we are. We're choosing, for ourselves." He grips each of them, tightly, like he's afraid to let go. "So out here, the connection remains." He takes in a shaky breath, lets it out. "And I'd like that to continue to be the case. If you're both willing."
"I like you," Creepy tells Coward. "And I can't deny that you're fucking hot. At the very least I'd like to be friends. And yes, I'd like to continue with Bastian what Max started. He's helped me a lot in here in the time since we died, and he means a lot to me. I'll accept your decision, whatever it ends up being, but know that he means a fuck of a lot to me. I can't promise I won't hurt him, or that what this place makes me won't hurt him, but I'm trying so hard."
Ruefully, the Coward mutters, "Feels like I'm wearin' a costume," looking down at himself. Then smiles at Creepy. "Thank you just the same." He nods. "You're not the only one who might hurt him in there, I reckon. I pray I don't have to be someone like Bates again. Him, or worse. Don't think any of us can promise not to hurt each other, in or out." He looks between them again. "It's all right with me. I'd like to be friends."
With a sly smile for the Coward, the Scholar says to Creepshow, "He is, it's true." He sobers, clears his throat. "None of us can promise that. And," he raises the Creepshow's hand and kisses her knuckles, "don't think your efforts are going unappreciated. I'll give you whatever support you need." He does the same for the Coward. "Both of you."