Log:Kissy's Freaking Out
KissThisThen is at the edge of the mess hall with SKIDMARXXX. The two of them are eating - the mouse-head costume that the War Child wears is pushed up, to expose a severely scarred mouth. The sort of injuries that come from a fuel explosion - probably some years ago. SKIDMARXXX has an arm around KissThisThen, who has some rather trembly fingers, hanging onto the table, frowning, muttering to himself.
Kitten is in leather riding trousers and stompy boots, no shirt, and instead of pigtails their hair is pulled back at the base of their neck. There are bruises on their pale chest. "Hey, Skids," they say as they sit down with their food. "Hey, Kissy." They glance at each in turn. "Trouble in paradise?"
"HE'S FREAKING OUT," yells Skids, which is at least par for the course. He pulls his mask down to hide his ruin of a face and then slaps Kitten on the shoulder "WHY YOU ALL MARKED UP, KITTY CAT?" For his part, KTT does look as if he is freaking out, his eyes wide as he tries to focus on his plate "...I'm gonna throw up."
"Don't puke in the mess hall," Kitten tells KissThisThen. They erf a little as they're slapped, but they bear it with good nature. "I got bitten," Kitten says, then grins. "It was great." They knock on Skids' mask amiably. "I know what your face looks like. You don't have to hide it." Then they say to KissThisThen, "Why are you freaking out?"
"I LIKE THE MASK, I LIKE LOOKING PRETTY," says Skids, who is yet to achieve such a state. And then he says "HE SAID SOME WEIRD STUFF BEFORE." KissThisThen puts his head in his hands and he breathes rapidly, and then he says thickly "Trying a - new thing. Out. Thought. Most of the - flickers would go away after boiling, change water, then, ahhhhh, I feel. High Sign. You read?"
Kitten ahs softly. Yeah, Kitten gets it now. "Bad trip," they tell Skids. They munch on the fruit portion of their meal, picking at each piece with their fingers. "Yeah, I know how to read. They taught me back when I was brainy." They pause, then ask, "You didn't lose your ability to read, did you?"
"YOU'RE STILL SMART," bellows Skids, who gives Kitten another punch "WHO BIT YA." KissThisThen says to Kitten "Can't see right now." He clearly can. He possibly is, however, not aware that he can. He slides a notebook across to Kitten, that has had new pages from old books sewn into it - this one on Amanita Muscaria. 'Amanita muscaria contains muscimol that produces feelings of euphoria, hallucinations, muscle jerks, drowsiness, sweating, pupil dilation, and increased body temperature. Symptoms appear 30 to 90 minutes after eating this mushroom and are most intense after two or three hours. People who eat these mushrooms usually fall into a deep sleep. Some people describe the effects of eating Amanita muscaria as similar to being intoxicated by alcohol.'
"Xavier bit me," Kitten says. They read the pages to themselves, then they read them aloud. To KissThisThen, they say, "You're just going to be messed up for a few hours, then you'll fall asleep. Skids can carry you to your house if you need someone to help you get to bed." They set the notebook before KissThisThen, then go back to picking at their food piece by piece. "Just try breathing, and tell yourself you're okay. That's what I do when I start to freak out."
Skids listens, and turns back to heavily pat KTT's shoulder. PAT PAT PAT with his big paw of a hand. Or, well, her? Hard to tell with the body armour, and that voice always distorted from screaming. "SEE LIL' BUDDY? IT'S ALL GONNA BE FINE!"
KissThisThen says "...should I beat Xavier up?" He pauses, and he says "I don't want to beat them up, because I owe them, but I owe you tooooooo." He tries to breathe regularly, but it does seem to be causing him trouble. Skids croons and rocks him, and KissThisThen struggles ineffectually, like an irritated cat.
Kitten pats Skids' shoulder to encourage the rocking. Yes, yes, comfort KTT, big guy(?). "Nah, you don't have to beat Xavier up. I like being bitten. And pierced with needles, but they didn't stick me with needles, they just bit me." They eat each leaf of their greens one at a time. Munch munch munch. "I guess you could bite Xavier if you wanted to do something about it, but ask their permission first."
X steps very carefully as they carry their food. It's as if they think the ground is unstable, but they are very non-chalant about it. Their wrap is looped below their chin. They sile a huge, delighted smile to see kitten and KTT and pick their way carefully ver nvisible obstacles to settle next to Kitten. "Sparkles. Kitten."
The Comfornenting Happens whether KTT wills it or not. The big War Child is rocking KissThisThen back and forth, and KissThisThen is struggling, but eventually he gives in as SKIDMARXXX shushes him and pets on his hair. He stares out across the area, blinking, high as a kite. Skids kisses the top of his head, and KissThisThen wails "I don't get it!"
Kitten looks up and smiles warmly at Xavier. "Hey, they're here so you can ask," they tell KTT. Then they tilt their head seriously. "What's confusing you?" they say. "You just need to sleep it off, then you'll feel normal again." They then ask Skids, "Are you and Kissy, you know, biting?"
X is in their light brown work clothes, but it's late enugh their gloves are off. "You look radient, Sparkles." Spotting the bite marks they blush bright red. They eye the other couple. Leaning forward they ask with scientific interest "What'd you take, Kissses?"
For whatever 'normal' is, though chances are that it is _way_ more normal than any of the other three here. KissThisThen says "Amanita Muscaria." Sure, he cannot see straight, and he is super confused, but linean latin? That never changes. Skidmarxxx says "Oh, yeah, I've BITTEN HIM A TONNE before, but NOT TOO RECENTLY BECAUSE HE GETS all weird about it." He bellows "HELLO PROFESSOR X WHAT'S GOING ON HERE?" And then he says "WAIT, DO you mean am I -" His voice drops to a low scream "-fucking him or sleeping with him? We sleep together sometimes."
"You shouldn't bite people who don't want bitten," Kitten tells Skids. "Unless it's in combat. I bit a bloke's ear off once." They tuck into their cake, eating it slowly to make it last. "Sleeping is nice. Gets cold sometimes all alone." Then, very seriously, they say, "Skids, Kissy is a special person who needs to be treated well. If he says you can't do something, you can't do it." They aside to Xavier, "Kissy needs to sleep it off once this bad trip knocks him over."
X's eyes go wide, "Oh wow! can i have some soon? I've never had it, but I love the really strong hallucingens. How long are you going to be twisted on it? Are you experiencing any side effects?" They stare at their spoon as they lift some vegetable soup towards their mouth. They giggle at Skidmarxxx, "I know you are sleeping with him, but Kitten is right: biting should always bbe with permission." They gaze at Kitten with obvious facination, "That's so... the ear biting thing. I mean wow!" They are staring hungrily at one of Kiten's neck bruises. The bad trip part has him studying KTT with concern, "After we eat, you should show us your roof mushrooms. They are very pretty and I bet Kitten and Skidmarxxx would like to see how pretty they are and you can tell us all about them."
That is the problem with protein cakes. They never _quite_ last long enough. Also, they taste like chicken, and who even knows what chicken is now? Skids nods at 'gets cold all alone' "TOTALLY," he says, and he hooks KTT under one arm while he finishes his meal "I CAN SHOOT PEOPLE WHEN I BITE 'EM!" he boasts, and then he looks a little nervous - Kitten is known to be unpredictable "ALright, alRIGHT," he says, awkwardly, and KissThisThen says "Where are my feet?" to him. Skids snorts, pats him, and then he says "YOU want KITTEN to BITE OFF your EAR?" to Xavier, and he shrugs. Yep. Kitten can probably do that "Oh, yes, my lights," KissThisThen says dizzily "They are a mutant form of Agaricales. Brighter than usual. They are my pride and joy."
Kitten nods to Skids. As long as they are understood. "Someone like Kissy, you need to romance," they say. They give Xavier's shoulder a squeeze and smile at them fondly. "We've decided that it's okay for other people to bite us, but if someone bites off Xavier's ear, I'm going to take Piper to them. No one gets to mangle Xavier." They tell KTT, "You should try to eat if you can. Won't be another portion til tonight."
X nods, expression serious, "That's very impressive Mr. Marxxx. We are very lucky to have you keeping us safe... No. I think the biting is going very much in the other direction at the moment." They lean aross to lightly tap KTT's wrist with a single finger tip, "Have you tried checking the ends of your legs? I'm fairly sure I saw them there when came in. Maybe hold one up and wiggle it to be sure." There is nothing at all condescending in their tone. They have themselves experienced his problem and understand how ddistressing it can be to misplace important body parts. "They are certainly the loveliest specimens i've ever seen. Tell them what colour the glow is?" They give Kitten a goofy smile, "I love that about you. That you'd beat up anyone who hurt me."
"Need to WHAT now?" says Skids, and it might actually be the definition he is struggling with rather than the actual concept. Not highly literate, this guy. Plus, well. Missing bits of his face, and thus the mask "WHY ALL THE BITING?" he asks, wondering. KissThisThen blinks, sharply, as he is tapped, and he then ducks his head under the table to check on his feet, which are still there "Green and blue," he says as he leans back up "Green and blue. AHhhhHHH you're _HERE_!"
"Biting is a euphemism for fucking," Kitten says, "but also biting. It's a turn of phrase, mate. You know, when you take words and turn them around?" They shake their head, not expecting Skids to get it. "Don't worry about it. Just make sure Kissy gets his water rations today." They smile at KTT. "Green and blue sounds pretty nice. I'd like to see that sometime." They smile at Xavier. "They'd never find all of their teeth."
X beams at KTT, "See? Everything is fine. I am here, yes. So are you. I am happy to help with all your foot finding needs." They turn their gaze on the big war kid. "If you want to do something to or with Kisses here, you should ask him first, nicely, and only do it if you get a clear yes." Then they are staring all wide eyed at Kitten, "That is so hot!" A little nervously, they lean in and kiss them.
"OHHHHH. Yes. OKAY YES. WE DO THAT TOO," says Skid "BUT THE WORDS -" Yep. He is not bright. But then, severe blows to the head over time do that. He puts his elbows on the table "BUT HE's not mine ANYMORE." A shake of his head and he hugs KissThisThen, who squeaks. "I STILL DON'T WANT A MOTHERFUCKER TO HuRT HIM." And he picks up the cup of water, and offers it to KTT, who pushes at it - and then gives up and drinks it "HE AIN'T CLEAR ABOUT ANYTHIN'," Skids warns Xavier "HIS HEARING'S SHIT." KissThisThen says "I mostly see Companions when I want to do sex." Yeah. High. He adds "Humans are messy."
"Especially when you bite parts off of them," Kitten says. They kiss Xavier without any self-consciousness. They nod then to Skids and says, "I get it, mate. I do." Then the pair finish their meal, and Skids takes KTT off, hopefully to get some rest. Kitten looks at Xavier. "I hope he's going to be okay. You guys have to be careful. You could poison yourselves."
X nods, taking Skidmarxxx seriously, "He's fragile and important. I plan to keep him as safe as I can. So will my sister, I think. She understands about the mushrooms." They nod agreeably, "Humans are messy, yes." They simply melt up against them, eyes wide, too happy to remember there is an audience. They lean slightly against Kitten as they resume eating, "I love your gift." They look sheepish, "I... mostly have all the dosages for my synthetics worked out. Odds are if I was ging to hurt myself by accident I'd have done it by now. When he's rational I'll talk to him about mushroom doses though, I promise." they kiss their cheek, "You coming over tonight?
"I had some of that stuff you brought me, before I went ot sleep. It was really nice. I'm going to bring the other one over tonight and have it at your place," Kitten says. They're careful not to identify the drinks X brought them the other night. There are people around, after all. With a grin, they tell Xavier, "I'm going to come after I finish building an engine. It's going to be super fast."
X ducks their head, delighted, "I want you to keep all your teeth and lie a really long time, sparkles." They lean their head on Kitten's shoulder, closing their eyes, "I think... maybe I'll cut back on things. If it worries you."
"I'm not too worried," Kitten says. "You know your dosages. Kissy's trying stuff out on himself, though. He's too smart. We need him too much. You're smart, too, but you're not experimenting on yourself. I mean, if you are, then maybe find someone else to experiment on? Maybe you could trade Lux for people to experiment on."
X blushes, "Sparkles, my sweet, I was experimenting on myself the night we first... um... It might be seen as a waste of respources, though I think I've found some clinical uses. I'm doing some experiments on others to that effect, but... I mean I can't ask people to take a risk I won't take myself."
"Of course you can," Kitten says. "For Lux, it's fair." Ethical implications are lost on Kitten. "What are you going to use sparkle on? Maybe for people in pain? Sometimes, when the sickness is taking them, the War Children can get to hurting pretty badly. Seems senseless, if they're gonna die anyway, that they have to die in pain. If I ever get to that point..." They purse their lips, then they shake their head and says, "Send me to the Wasteland. Let me find Valhalla."
X strokes their hair, "I have a bunch of oneslike Sparkle that I think might be kindness for the... very sick. I have stronger ones where you don't really know where you are or where you body is. I was thinking of that, the ones who are sick but not... or for maybe when their are no bttles to fight, or midlevel ones that I can dose so they can still drive the chariot reasonably well, but where nothing is real and everything is beauiful. It might make the end kinder. i have a promising one the ancients called MDMA which is short for... a more complicated chemical name. I'm calling it Adam, because it works if you rearrange the letters. I think it's promising for people who... are struggling with... a bunch of thngs. fear, sadaness, bad dreams and memories." They keep touching kitten's hair, "You mentioned a friend who was very sick. Do you think he'd like to try some of my chemicals to see if they help him?" A gentle kiss, "I do not want to loose you so soon, Sparkles."
Kitten leans into the kiss. "The problem with Rebar is he won't admit when he's in pain," Kitten says. "Doesn't want to appear weak in front of the others. Doesn't want them to think he can't drive. I hear him, though. In the night, sometimes. His cubby's next to mine, just under. I bet if I punch him in the head a lot, he'll take something for the pain." They look at Xavier and smile. "You won't lose me any time soon."
X is gazing into Kitten's eyes, half eaten food forgotten, "But what if we frame it as a favor to me? Rebar would be helping me test medications for the good of the sanctuary. I'll... want to try mixing some compounds in.... Maybe a synthetic opiod. I'll need aterminal test subject so if I mess up, it... won; be as tragic as it would be if i were working with someone needing, say a bullet removed. I have no idea how the psychoactive compounds would mix with painkillers, so it really would be an important experiment." They can't stp playing with Kitten's hair, "It could dramatically cchange end of life protocols hear at the sanctuary if I could get something that would make the days before the Last Ride a little easier forwar Kids."
"Only if there's no risk of death," Kitten tells Xavier. "Rebar can't die from an overdose or some experiment. He would never be awaited in Valhalla. It wouldn't be a huge tragedy to you lot, but for him? It'd be the only tragedy." They shake their head. "Let me beat him up. That he'll understand. Once he sees the drugs will let him fight even if he's in pain, he'll be on board." They smile at the hair play, then nudge Xavier's food in front of them. "Eat up. You need your strength."
Faustina comes into the mess hall, lost in thought and nearly trips over the leg of a War Child who's sprawling on their bench, stretching into the aisle between tables. She catches herself before quite going over and blinks several times, looking around and reorienting herself before heading for the food line to claim her meal. Then she stops again, looking around to consider where to sit.
X sighs and not to reluctantly goes back to their veggie stew, but insists on twining their fingers with Kittens, "Okay. I'll keep the doses low for safety and I can tweak once we see what they do in combination. Would it be safer to do it in the garage?" They blush with excitement, "I've never seen you fight, Sparkles." They giggle, "Meow, Motherfucker!" More giggling. They wave an empty spoon, "Hey, Fausty!"
Kitten looks up and waves to Faustina. "Maybe safer to do it in the Garage." They give the back of Xavier's hand a kiss. "But this is just pain treatment, no experimenting. Not on Rebar. He doesn't want to die of an overdose. I just want him to be able to ride out next time. If you need to test it first, test it on me. I'm not so sick. I can take it."
Faustina's attention is drawn my the waving and she moves in that direction, claiming a seat at their table with a slight frown. "What are you testing, now?" Still she settles in to eat some of her stew.
X thinks that over, "Would you feel better if I tried it on myself first and you and Rebar could see that it's not dangerous? I'm pretty sure low dosages should be okay. I mean, I'm really healthy, contamination aside." They wince and stop eating to better study Kitten, "I was tryig not to ask, but... um... are you? I mean, you don't look sick. Either way, it doesn't change how I feel about you." They glance at their sister, "I'm thinking I might be at the point of putting some of the things I've been working on as a... side interest to clinical use. I've been, um, toying with a couple different protocals, inluding one for... people who are very sick designed to make things a little easier toward the end."
"All sorts of things," Kitten tells Faustina amiably. "I was just thinking about how it would be good for the sick War Kids to have something to take away the pain. Rebar was tossing and turning all night. I could hear him. I just want to make sure what Xavier gives him is tried and true, not some experiment." To Xavier, they say, "I trust you to know your stuff. We're just establishing that Rebar isn't for experimenting. He's only for known treatments."
Faustina nods slightly. "Ah. Yes. Substances which alleviate pain would be invaluable. Better if they can alleviate pain with minimal impairment." She considers, "Perhaps speak with some of the Organic Mechanics about if they have patients who would be willing to help test." And then she goes back to eating.
X nods, "Um... what are his symptoms? Rebar, I mean? Exactly? What would help mst besides a dulling of pain?" You can almost see X flipping through their notes in their head, revising medication combinations, calculating dosages of various synthetics. "Who would you suggest I talk to amoung the organic mechanics? This should definately be a collaboration... I'm also trying out some protocols for less... physical distress on a small scale. i think there's a lot we can do to make things easier for people with alittle more testing."
"The problem is getting Rebar to admit he's hurting," Kitten says. "I don't know what he's not telling me. I can just tell he's hurting because I hear him groaning at night. He's not so bad he needs a blood bag, but he will soon enough." They shrug. "We're used to pain. I don't care about hurting, but I hate to see him so bad off."
Faustina considers. "Arachne, Kat, maybe Catch or JunkWonderful. You could talk to Cade, see if he's been doing any experiments or has potential patients who aren't responding well to other treatments." She lists off a few more Savvy who work more on the medical side of things. "If pain interferes with function, then reducing the pain is of use."
X says, “That's why we'd say it was an experiment even if it isn't. That way he's helping us, not us helping him." They nod, "I'll see if they'll meet with me. "I haven't the power to reverse Sickness, but I might be able to make the last few months alittle easier. If I mix things right it should enhance function, rather than diminish it."”
"I don't think he'd go for that," Kitten tells Xavier. "Listen, let me punch him. I know Rebar. I trust you to know your stuff, trust me to know mine." They give Xavier's hand a squeeze. "No subterfuge, just a wallop." They pluck the last loose green leaf off their tray and pop it into their mouth. After they munch it down, they say, "Definitely tell the Organic Mechanics if you discover something new that'll ease their patients' pain. Maybe they have patients you can test stuff out on."
Faustina eats a few more bites. "Does anyone have the power to reverse Sickness?" She gives a little nod at what Kitten says. "Enhancing function would be good."
X giggles and lifts kitten's hand to their lips, "I defer to you in all things, sparkles." They nod, "I'll see if they'd like to consult... The ancients might have. They knew so manythings we've forgotten." They offer Kitten their last green leaf, "I like... combining kindness with prcticality."
Kitten takes the leaf and munches on it, giving Xavier a grin. "Thank you," they say. "You should've been an Organic Mechanic. Though I guess a chemist makes more than drugs. There was a chemist once who made a degreaser that was lifechanging." They speak with quiet awe. "It's part of our life's blood. Some of the elders speak of trying to fix engines in the dark days before this stuff."
X nods, "I do a lot with chemical fertilizer and soil chemistry. It's just not flashy is all." They kiss Kitten's nose, "I don't know about enhines really, but I can imagine. I know we mix up big batches of lube for the garage. I stand on the shoulders of giants really."
Faustina blinks slowly at Kitten and then nods, eating quietly and letting the other two talk while she listens, her gaze drifting towards the other nearby tables.
"We all do," Kitten tells Xavier. "Everything I know, I learned from legends." They sling an arm around Xavier's shoulders. "Soil and fertilizer is important, though. Gotta keep us fed. None of this matters if we've got nothing to eat."
X sighs happily and cuddles up against them, just as if they hadn't spent the last twenty years mostly avoiding being touched. "Even marginal yeild increases add up over time." They look sideways at their sister, "You talk to cin recently?"
A tiny frown flickers across Faustina's expression. "Cinder? Not much. I saw him in the Bazaar recently. He seemed largely recovered from the attack on the expedition in the wastes." Pause. "He does not enjoy speaking with me."
"Why not?" Kitten says. "You're always nice when I talk to you." They hold Xavier at their side like it were the most natural thing in the world. Sure, it's a doomed romance and Kitten will likely die young, but in the moment? It's fine. Everything's fine.
X nods, taking that in, "He might have softened towards you, now he's had time to think and see the good influence you've been on Lara." They study their sister, then explain to Kitten, "You must know that... not all monitors live up to my sister' very high standards. Some people are wary f Monitors because it's hard to guess in advance which are like my sister and which aren't." Xavier knows on some level that their romance will end in blood and tears, but the rest of them is chanting 'Lalala! very loudly to drown out the qualms.
Faustina considers for a few moments. "He was originally assigned as a tattler, but he was deeply upset by some of the duties, so he was reassigned as a companion and breeder. I believe he does not enjoy time spent with any Monitors. And he does not like that one of the children he sired is now a tattler and is in the part of her training in which she is not supposed to speak with anyone but the Coppers and the triumvirate. It will pass, but he misses her. And does not understand how she can enjoy the work when he did not."
"It has to be done," Kitten says. "I know it was the Monitors that noticed I wasn't okay to be Savvy anymore. Imagine if they hadn't. I could've made a mistake. Someone could've gotten hurt. And now, I'm where I belong, fixing engines. It was hard at first. The other War Kids didn't really like me much til I proved myself. But I did." They frown as they try to muddle through their thoughts. "My point is, it's important work."
X says quietly, "I think he's coming to accept it. That she's found her place, even if it's one thatnever would have suited him. I'd not... advise you to hire him. I'd never do that. I'm just suggesting that he might be more open to your aquaintance." They look at Kitten, expression softening and they lightly run a thumb along their cheekbone. "It is. both engine repair and monitoring."
Faustina blinks slowly at Xavier, actually looking slightly confused. "Hire him for..." And then she seems to realize what he means. "I don't." Pause. "Claim anyone." Pause. "Like that. I ask for things which help me work or are necessary to function."
Kitten nips at Xavier's fingertips. "I don't know, I think I work better after I've gotten the old pipes cleaned out. Helps me focus. Especially before you ride out if you get enough warning. Makes sure you get to Valhalla with a smile on your face." Such class, is Kitten.
X nods, "I know you don't. I think... that actually helps. With him I mean. That you don't... that you wouldn't." They grin at the nipping, the comments mostly flying over their head, "Vehicle maintenance is imprtant!"
Faustina looks towards Kitten for a moment. "I do not deny that some people seem to need such things to function properly." Pause. "Most people. I do not." There's a small nod to Xavier. "Ah. Still. I believe that makes me tolerable to him, but still not someone whose presence he enjoys."
"Well, I enjoy your presence, even if we aren't bumping uglies," Kitten says. They grin at Xavier. "Yeah, it is. You should come sometime to look at my engines and listen to them purr. Sometimes bark, and sometimes they just explode. I'm working on a weapon right now that you fire, and shoots out a net on a cord, and the net has barbed hooks all over it. You can either detach the cord or drag your catch."
X has become mesmerized by Kitten's face again. "Still.... I wish you could be friends. I think... it would be a good friendship for both of you if you could get past the surface differences." They are tracing Kitten's bone structure with the tip of their finger. It's almost as if X is trying to subtly verify the reality of kitten's surfaces. "I'd love to watch!" They glance at their sister, "From a safe distance of course."
An odd look flickers across Faustina's face, like she's not quite sure how to react. "I do not have friends. No monitor is supposed to have friends. Except other monitors. And even that is... not precisely encouraged. Friends lead to bias, and bias leads to corruption." She glances around again at the other tables and then says. "The net sounds useful. KissThisThen was wanting a way to trap and drag things. I believe he suggested harpoons attached to long ropes."
"Harpoons would be okay, I guess," Kitten says, "but a hook net has hooks. I'll talk to Kissy about it and see what he prefers. I was just thinking of how to mangle someone real bad." To Xavier, they say, "Maybe I'll start with showing you the engines. The hook net doesn't really have a safe distance. Not inside these walls."
sadness flickers across the chemists face, "I shouldn't have suggested it. a Sibling is prone to worrying about a siter's happiness is all." They look between them, "Could we go now and look maybe? At the appartus at least. The three of us. I'd like to see you work.""
Faustina's eyes narrow a little. "The rules for others are different. It is not a problem that you forgot. Those rules are not for you. You do not need to remember them most of the time." And, of course, they're not really strictly obeyed by most Monitors, because humans bond with things; it's what they do. Faustina would never call it being friends. Because Monitors don't have friends. She just checks on her siblings, returns Kitten's tools when they go astray, makes sure KTT gets the resources he needs, checks that Cinder isn't being abused, and assures Maylis that Lara is healthy. But that's not friendship, that's making sure that Sanctuary continues to function properly.
Kitten makes a sad face as they tell Xavier, "I have to get to work soon, but maybe later? I'll give you both the grand tour, but later." They give Xavier a kiss. Then they tell Faustina, "If they ever say it's okay for you to have friends, I'd like to be. If there's a place to sign up for that."
X nods and says earnetly, "You really are the best of them Fausty. I know that." When they kiss Kitten, they gently tug their hair, "Afterwork then." They look very much as if they'd much rather not let the war kid go, but they do.
Faustina blinks at Kitten, like she's entirely confused by the concept of someone wanting to be her friend. "Oh." Pause. "I do not have friends, but you are one of our best mechanics and you seem to make my brother happy. I will do what I may to assist you, if you should need it." And then she is blinking at her brother. "I am not. We all have different skill sets, each of which is valuable to Sanctuary. The other Monitors are much better in some areas than I am."
Kitten rises to their feet, strokes Xavier's cheek, then tells Faustina, "And if I can help you out, all you have to do is ask." They don't always remember why they feel a debt to Faustina, but they always know they want to help her. Speaking of the tool that keeps getting lost, Piper is wedged in Kitten's belt, for now right where it should be. "I'll see you later," they say, and they head out.
X smiles crookedly at their sister, "I didn't mean just skills, I meant... you're double distilled ethically. i feel very safe knowing you are watching over people." Their fingertips disentagle from Kitten's hair and take a slow slidedown the war kid's arm as Kitten stands up. Their face turns towards them like a sunflower's does the sun until Kitten is entirely out of view. after a few slow breathes they turn back to their sister, "I didn't quite realise... how bad things get in the garage. Until Kitten and Kisses. I'm going to try to do better for them all." Their pupils are normal for this lighting and they seem sober, though there is a very slight tendancy to touch the table as if for reassurance now thatKitten isn't there.
"Oh." Faustina blinks a few times and blushes slightly. "I... but everyone should be ethical. Are other people being unethical? You would tell me if someone else were being unethical." That last is almost a question. Like she's pretty sure of it, but now doubting slightly. "The lives of the War Children are hard, yes. They are short, but they serve a greater purpose."
X says gently, "How would I see people being unethical, Sis? I live... a very contained life. I study my scavanged scraps and the journals of the Proffessors before me. I supervise the students in the making of necessary rutine compounds. I do my experiments." Absently they rub the table top with the palm of their left hand, "I... was a monk before Kitten and mostly still am. If you really want to know which of your collegues aren't properly distilled, it's people like Cinder and Phoenix you need to talk to, because they'd know. Only they'd need to trust you first. That you won't hurt them or take advantage, or side with monitors against people like them." They cock their head, seeing if Faustina gets what they've been clumsily trying to say.
Faustina's expression is one which most people would not recognize as a frown, but to Xavier is clearly her trying to think through something very complex. "I am not good at getting people to trust me. Those who know me well, know I do not lie, but I am not certain that they trust me." There's a pause. "I think Maylis trusts me. She sometimes tells me when another Monitor tends to walk up to the edge of what is allowed, but does not step over. I add them to people to watch for corruption, because that may mean that they would step over if they thought no one would see. I do not trust people who skirt propriety."
X nods, "That somehow doesn't surprise me. Either Maylis trusting you or that those are people to watch. I think cinder and I are becoming friends. At least I feel like we are. I'll let you know if he says anything specific, but... it might be worth, I don't know, hanging out. Seeing how things go. If he knows you won't skirt propriety, it might... make you seem safer to tell things too."
Faustina's frown deepens. Other people might actually notice the expression. "Or make it harder, because he would know that I would not gloss over it or let it go." Pause. "He did not like being the cause of other people being in trouble. It is a fault in a tattler. It is sometimes important in a companion."
X bows their head, "Ah. I didn't think of it like that. You are wise, sister. I guess I just... likedthe thought of the two of you getting along little too much."
Faustina nods a tiny bit. "You should be his friend. You are allowed friends. And if he reveals to you that someone is a problem, then you should let me know. And it will not be his fault."
X leans forward, so very, very ernest, "I'm doing that anyway. Being his friend for the sake of being friends and if anything actionable comes up I'll coe to you. I just... Thought it'd be good for you both. To talk to each other."
There is a small pause, then Faustina says, "I am almost always willing to talk to anyone, as long as it is not interrupting my work." Another tiny pause. "Sometimes even when it is, if it seems to be more important. I do not mind talking. That is how I learn about problems or potentially efficiencies which may be enacted."
X thinks that over, watching her face, then says quietly, "It's importnt nnot to forget that people... often perform their functions better orworse for irrational reasons."
Faustina sighs softly. "I know. But I do not always understand it and have a harder time predicting it. I am aware, but I have to think about it and can not guess well about it. It is responsible for most of my errors." There's a small pause. "That is part of why Mark comes with me on duty. He is better at guessing how normal people will react."
X nods, and eyes staring at his remaining protein cake, "I...I'm notnatural at it either. It helps me to think of it like chemistry. There are rules that tend to govern interactions. There are known reations and unknown reactions. When doing experiments, caustion is particularly important. still, one gets a feel for how certain things are likely to...work. There is so much to learn in both feilds, but the journey from hypotheses to theires are generally educational in themselves." Then they look up at her, eyes sad, " which I were better at it. sometimes I think I'm clever in all the wrong ways."
"You are clever in very important ways. You are valuable. You help with so many things. It is not part of your duty to understand people." Faustina looks down at her own half-eaten cake and takes another bite. "Finish your food. It should not be wasted." She sets to following her own advice, apparently trying to finish her food as efficiently as possible, now.
X dutifully picks up his cake and nibbles a bit. "There are too many things I don't know. Maybe if we hadd more unburned books like they did in the Olden days...." They say suddenly, "I'm doing a lot better. I know I might... look a little messy, but I'm doing better. I guess... I want to make sure you're all right too."
"I am functional." Faustina eats more. "We work with what resources we have. So many things would be better if we had access to things they had in the olden days, but we do not. So we must be better and more efficient and more clever." She finishes off the last bite of her cake and stands. "I must go back to work."
X finishes theirs off mechnically and stands, "I certainly am tryng in my way. I'm sure we all are. I'm glad you're my Sister, you know."
Faustina freezes for a moment and nods once. "I am glad that you are my brother." And a little of her agitation ebbs, but she still walks off, back towards her duty.
X waits until he's out of sight to start gingerly walking back to the lab, testing each step carefully to make sure the floor is still where they think it is.