Log:Lost and Found
The Optimist is in the parlour. He is wearing a set of pyjama bottoms, and nothing else, and is snoring - loudly - on a chair. SO LOUDLY. His mouth is open, and he sounds like a fair attempt at a buzz saw, with a plate balanced precariously on his belly. On the plate is a glass of water. Also. Precariously balanced.
Okay, so being wrapped up in a hug does make getting the whiskey flowing a little more complicated, but Senni doesn't resist the embrace. Barely seems cognizant of it at first, truth told. She simply stares into space, though given that her face is turned in the general direction of where Arcade is sleeping, it may well seem as though she's staring at him. After several moments of this, one of those deep, wrenchingly shuddery breaths is sucked into her lungs, the sort that only happen organically when one is overwhelmed by the sads. So, uh.. what she says next is, very obviously, a bald-faced lie. "I'm fine. I'll be fine."
The Visionary's door slams open at the end of the hall, just before the hallway ends to spill into the parlor. She doesn't look like Mona any longer, but the same bones are there: she's Nyka again, for all visual intents and purposes. She seems oblivious as hell to anything going on around her, to the extent that she's holding her sari silk quilt up to her chest and stalking down the hall toward it's opposite end with a look of utter consternation. This means anyone not facing her gets a full view of her ass, not that she seems inclined to care right now.
Relief floods her features as she finds one door unchanged, and she takes the one thing she's holding -- a sky blue oil pastel that looks like a giant crayon -- and draws an infinity symbol on the door in front of her. The Fool's door. Rafe's door. She then proceeds on down the hall further still to another, and draws a heart on it, adding a single 'C' right after. It's Fizz' door. Wheeling, making her way back down with purposeful strides as if she's a goddamned queen on a mission from God, she scans the doors only to scrawl a trio of exclamation points on Crusader's door, as if to say, 'where the hell were you?!' in Cass-speak.
Only then does she head toward the parlor, pausing to scrawl 'back soon' on her own door with the oil pastel before tossing it to the floor in front of her room. Hmph! There. Now she needs a goddamned cigarette.
But that word 'fine' pings off her consciousness, and before she can blunder into the dispensary, she stops. Luckily for them, with the not-naked side of her facing the crowd. "Who do I need to fuck up?" is all she asks. She looks like a woman in need of someone to fuck up.
"Here here, I know exactly how... to help..." The Crusader is mumbling as he reaches up almost as far as he can to tap at some buttons on the food replicator. As it bubbles, jerks and works spasmodically he continues, "...that whiskey go down /smooooth/." Yup. It's coffee. Assumedly. It's certainly dark and hot and in a mug that's only three quarters full. The Crusader is making attempts at getting the whiskey into the mug and using the spoon that was standing up in it to start to stir. He nods to Thea, "Mhmm, mhmm... it's fine, fine, we're fine. Everything's fine. Coolcoolcool." Then just firms up that hug once more as he guides The Explorer's hands, if he can, to the mug of coffee-whiskey, if it came to pass, and then to guide therein to her lips for a sip.
He snaps eyes on Nyka, his sister, and he squints and seems to generally wince, and cringe, and smile all at once. He nods, though. No matter how long it's been. What's gone on, who they were or what they did or what happened to them. It seems the trio from Providence is once again suited for battle. At least, the momma bear and the papa bear are. "Honestly, I can murder anyone here and it's like... a slap on the wrist. Who we gotta fuck up?"
The noise causes the Optimist to wake, and he smecks his lips a few times before standing up gradually. He takes the glass before it drops with a casual gesture, and then he stretches. A big yawn, another smeck of lips, and he grinds the palm of his hand into his eye "...slap on the ass? Who's slapping who on the ass?"
It's impossible to determine whether it's the Heck coffee or the liberal dose of added whiskey that makes Senni gack, but either way, the result is the same: her features screw up, she makes an odd choking noise, goes into a brief coughing fit, then wheezes in a breath as she pushes the cup away. "Thanks," she rasps, her voice sounding a bit like a corpse being dragged over a bed of rough-cut gravel.
Which is why the Optimist's awakening is so opportune, actually. Lurching forward out of her seat just long enough, she swipes the glass of water out of his stretched-outward hand, and downs a good couple of swallows of the room-temperature but crystal-clean liquid. It helps. The "Jesus" that she spouts like an accusation at Heck sounds much more normal in tone. Then she looks to her sister, takes in a shaky breath, and shakes her head. "Nobody. Just.. fucking hate this place."
"Heck!" The Visionary's smile surfaces cheerfully, all the more so when he suggests tag-teaming some hapless soul in a completely different way than anyone would likely predict they'd ever attempt. "Yes, who are we murdering. Let's get some murdering going." That really just doesn't sound like her at all, particularly the chipper way she talks about murder. Dropping herself to a seat on the side of Crusader opposite the Explorer -- probably just to torture him with the proximity of 'looks just like my sister' butt -- she eyes the cup. "Let's maybe not murder Senni."
She clears her throat delicately, and with purpose. "So who are we murdering, and should we be asking why, or would that just make it awkward? I could do with the practice." ...at murdering, apparently. At the insistence that it is nobody at all, her shoulders slump. "Not just you."
"What's-" Heck starts as he sniffs at the mug that Thea denies, he sniffs at it. Takes a testing sip. His eyes water immediately, the veins in his neck and forehead pulse and he just freezes. After a moment he's swallowing. Many times, it seems, as if something were stuck to the inside of his throat. "Is there a Nobody? Because, I mean... we get some weird nicknames..." These thoughts, and subsequently their words, are out haphazardly before he's beaming a smile at the Visionary, "It is SO WEIRD that Nyka is the sister of... and... just..." He inhales deeply, shakes his head, shrugs and smiles once more as he rubs Thea's far arm even as his other abandons the mug of cofwhisknopenopenope and slides it away a bit. First with this hand, then his knee, then his toes. Then he stretches his leg out a bit to push the mug just a liiiiittle further away. Then he's attempting to use his other arm for a big hug on the Visionary with a kiss to her temple incoming. If not avoided, those kisses multiply. Eyebrow. Cheek. Ear. Neck. Rapidly and short lived but affectionate and not at all how one should treat one's sister.
"I mean. Whatever it is. It hurts you, and that sucks, and we love you. In all the weird ways we can." He's speaking to the Explorer now, giving her another bulky armed squeeze as he goes to rest his lips against her hair in some sort of forever-kiss-snuggle.
"Oh, hey, I'm not sure...we've met here before," says the Optimist, peering across at the Explorer "I haven't been too long in the Faculty here at any point. I seem to spend most of my time out there, y'know man? Fuckin' A. Whoa? You do? But I love this place - it's the only time I can be who I really am. I mean, I don't think. That who I was recently is really 'me'. Who's Senni?" He watches his drink go down. Only water. And then he says "I don't have a nickname. My name is 'Arcade'. Hi! I don't think I know you? I hope you liked the water. Er...gosh." He stares at all of the kisses "Wow."
Finding herself quite suddenly in the middle of an affection tsunami, Senni tenses and clutches the glass of water a bit more tightly with both hands, and then a little tighter still, until the water starts to do this weird rippling thing because her fingers are shaking. Eventually finding an opening, she jumps to her feet and starts pacing, which strangely seems to calm her despite being a classically stressy thing to do. Looking to the Optimist after a number of steps, she shakes her head. "We've met. After the Carnival." Though, given that that was his first Facility awakening, it's entirely understandable that she was lost in the blur of confusion. Back she walks, then forth again, then she sighs. "Chance, it seems, is entirely incapable of separating those alternative lifetimes from this place. And, despite a promise he made to Briar and I, he's now informed me that he's also in love with Dare, and that new girl. Felicity. And I didn't sign up to be part of a harem, nor do I take it lightly when promises made by loved ones are broken. So. That's done." Well, at least they have a name, now.
At least she isn't his sister any more. "I was a Mona, last, when neither you nor Rafe bothered to show up to meet her," the Visionary notes to the Crusader with a tiny huff. "She was adorable and well-intentioned and pretty much pissed off 24/7 for the last few months of her existence I can remember. I'm surprised she didn't grind her teeth to powder." And then, smothered in kisses, she loops an arm around his back to try to tug him in closer for a one-armed hug. She still needs the one to hold up the quilt.
"We almost got married before we were siblings," the Visionary offers by way of explanation. "But, you know, like literally every relationship I've ever had in these fucked up encounters, it went ten kinds of sideways." She turns her head to look at the Crusader, and there's a distinct awkwardness on her face. "Seriously, I'm cursed. Fucking cursed. Doesn't matter if me and whoever are perfectly happy, somebody's gotta make it all about them and act like a giant bag of assholes about it to fuck things up. I'm hoping in my next life I'm a robot again." Pause. "Just one without genitals. Maybe a calculator."
There is another pause, and her brows raise. "Felicity's here?" She sucks in a quick breath. "Yeah, that... is complicated." Her lips twist unpleasantly, and she insists, "OK, that sucks much more than someone being a snarky perpetual victim at me for the last few months."
"Oof, yeah..." Heck states with a look of full understanding. He flicks his gaze over the Explorer with a half frown. "I'm all for love, but, love as thou wilt, you know? Love without shame and guilt. If you can't do that honestly and well then ya know, don't, I guess. I'm sorry you weren't... I'm sorry the love you had changed. Things change and it's terrible because they become not the same and we have to do something about it... changing with or against or elsewise." Not your typical fac-crusader at the moment. He seeks to lift the quilt laden hugger of his to his lap to curl up a knees and arms hug on the human. "I'm not knocking the curse..." He says as he studies the Visionary as if for the first... or perhaps the last... time. "...I'm just ashamed you think it's only yours." The tone has a faux chastisement to it, and his eyes have a real empathy and he sighs a bit and one way or another hugs the Visionary tighter still as he looks up to the Explorer with some tears hinting at his eyes. "I... know... I know. I know how it can be. I know how it is. Yet, I can't... because it's your journey and you walk it alone... with us. Alongside us. We'll always be alongside you. I will always be alongside you."
"I wasn't well after the Carnival, I kept killing myself," says the Optimist "I still find it hard being here sometimes, but when I do, I go to one of the rooms where you can be your true self, and I did that." He tilts his head, and he says "Oh...man. I see. Er. Erf. Look, I don't really think I have a hell of a lot of sense to contribute to that. I'm still mad about the whole thing that happened there, even though it didn't _really_ happen?" He scritches his hair "That's difficult. I'm a bit errrr. I'm a bit weirded out by that last one. All that _drama_."
The man sits up, rearranging his long legs, and he says "Maybe most relationships go pretty weird? I proposed to...it's Briar, I guess. Jade. Oh man. I'm not even gay. How does all of this work. Well. I'm sorry about all of that," he adds to Mona "I don't think, erf, having genitals or not would really assist things? I think it's more being oriented completely differently helps." He sidles up and begins to look around for another glass of water "Sooooo...who are you?" the man asks Heck directly "Or who were you? I don't recognise you at all. And you seem to know everyone. I'm considered relatively new, I guess?"
"No matter what, you always have Rafe," Senni points out quietly to Cass, following it with the more significant tidbit, "And you have him here, where.. where it counts, you know? This place is the one constant we all have, and to have a love that's constant, that's..." and that's where her voice breaks, and she looks away, swallowing convulsively against the lump that's formed in her throat. Damn lump. She grabs for the whiskey bottle again, because that's needed more now than the water.
"I thought he was gone, this time," the Visionary notes to Senni. "He wasn't in at the moment, but the door's the same. So." She's still cautious. People disappear all the time. At least she's managed to track down one of the missing, which probably explains the lean that persists against Crusader's side. "You know we love you, even though... I know that's not the same," she says more quietly, her brows knitting together in her sincerity.
As the Optimist mentions drama, the Visionary nods emphatically as she groans. "It was high school, which I am now firmly convinced is a bureaucratic euphemism for 'hell'."
"Oof baboof... my bro." Heck states in greeting to the Optimist after listening and being spoken to directly there. "/I/ killed myself on the daily... or tried... when I first got to the facility... well the first couple times at least... this lady here either died with me or saved my life countless times..." He stares off for a brief moment and repeats, "Countless." Then clues back in and half smiles to Arcade, "I'm just another hot mess of a dumpster fire... always trying to find my better self... even in an existence where that seems impossible, right? Maybe... that's why it always feels like the most hope driven ones out there are the most broken ones in here, at first. Hell if I know... I just make the coffee." The surge of color on his cheeks as he began to carry on with his philosophies is quickly squelched with talk of his barista crusade.
He's also now reaching out a leg to nudge the mug towards Senni as the woman seeks the whiskey bottle, as if only in that mug can the one true liquor be found. The nectar of the gods. The spring of life itself. Also, arguably, alcoholic mud. He nods to the Visionary a bit and looks back to the Explorer, "I mean, I love you. Obviously. Since the start. I know I've never been any good at saying that, or knowing what I meant when I did. It's a bit simple, but it's true. Romance, is... romance is a burden. A beautiful, beautiful burden and I think you just found out the big rule about love and romance... we can feel all the love we can feel... but there is only so much of us to give and only so much we can take in. The energy, emotion, the everything of real romantic love is encompassing. Love can stay its fever pitched self when shined in all directions, pretty much... but romance... that partnership and teamwork and unity and trust and choice..." He shakes his head a little and watches the Explorer with concern, but not pity. "We have to be careful. Some people can't romantically unite with anyone, most not more than one probably... four? Yeesh."
The Optimist gives Senni a worried look - the reaction, everything. He clears his throat and he puts his hands together and he says "I don't think. Our relationships are constant, you know? Fuck it, I think. Your inner _self_ is. You have to value yourself for who you are. I know it's really hard. And I know, erm, that someone like me probably seems like, _ridiculously_ naive or something. But as long as we recall our inner selves, and stay true to that - that's the thing we have. It probably sounds like nuff, right? But it ain't no gonzo thing. It's maybe, like, the only thing."
He keeps pacing around, trying to work out where his water is gone "Man, shit around here, it motherfuckin' disappears, right? _Crazy_." A flick to the Visionary, and he says "Man, I know. Spear was like. The most dramatic. He had all this angst built up a hundred percent of the time about relationships, with a smile on top. I'm glad I'm not like that now. It was just so stressful, balancing it." He waggles his hand, and then he peers at the Crusader "Oh, yeah, I get that. It's - like the last thing you can do to escape phenomenal stress. Only it doesn't work here. Crazy beans." He holds a finger up "Yeah, romance. I'm basically not cut out for that department. I'm only gonna disappoint or upset my partners. Except _there_ I go with it, because, erf, never mind - boring details. But eeeesh. Cash, man. I keep thinking some of us are gettin' more messed up than others by this circular existance."
Senni inch-inches away from the mug even as Heck nudges it closer, eyeing the thing with so much unbridled horror that one might think it was actually the beautifully patterned shell of a deadly cone snail, and not the simple ceramic container it actually is. One could, of course, argue that what it contains is just as deadly as the snail. One really, really could.
"Well, at least you know he's still here," she voices to Visionary, once she's fairly certain she's well out of toe's reach of the man who's apparently trying to kill her. "I lost Rod that way, you recall." She frowns, a shadow passing through her eyes as she muses, "Somehow, I think now that that might've been easier. Than this, I mean." The whiskey bottle is raised to her lips, and she takes a healthy (but not really) swallow of the stuff.
As she lowers it again, it's with index finger extended, which she uses to point first at Heck, then Arcade. "That. Yes. It's a stressful, disappointing burden. And I could tell, I could tell it would just happen over, and over, and over again -- he admitted to me that he 'can't let go' of people when he wakes back up here. So.. what, next lifetime we all wind up in, he dives into bed with Cheer, or Lupe, or god only knows who, and when he gets back here, he wants to add them to the mix, too? No. I'm not down for that. Nothing against Dare, I adore the guy. Felicity, I don't really know. But either way, I can't deal with breaking promises and expecting me to just accept being just another face in the throng."
"We really are pretty much the very worst support group ever," the Visionary finally says aloud after thinking precisely that since the first time any of them arrived in the Facility. There's a tiny squeeze of the Crusader's shoulder, and she bonks her skull lightly against his. "We have some of it figured out, at least. Some. Not all. But enough to not... want to run off and die or weep all hours of the day and night, which is definitely an improvement."
She points to the Crusader with a slow nod of her head, and holds up a single finger as if to say 'hold that thought' while she gets up to go fetch cloves from the dispensary. Suffer the sister butt. It's not that she actually goes quiet, however. "What I find is limited isn't the amount of time, especially with the holodeck or whatever rooms the way they are these days, or the lack of love -- I mean, love isn't a finite resource and time's pretty infinite around here these days, too." Her voice fades off a fraction as she prods away at the dispenser, but she still yammers on.
"It's what Arcade said. It's drama. It's the fucking drama. It's the amount of drama and bullshit a single body can tolerate without going on Godzilla on Tokyo. Love? Always plenty." When she reappears from around the frame of the door, she's holding a bottle of good vodka, a pack of clove cigarettes, and a small box of matches. And the quilt, pinned to her front by a forearm. "It's the drama. One can only tolerate so much bullshit drama before the urge to stab absolutely everything and everyone in a twenty mile radius wins."
"And some people dole out the drama like those evil perfume bitches at department stores, spraying it in your eyes before you even see them coming." She drops the cloves and lighter on the couch, then herself right where she was moments before, waggling the vodka bottle in the Explorer's direction. See? Sister loves you! "Then you spend the rest of the day wondering why the hell you reek like someone set a ferret orgy on fire."
Heck can't seem to stop agreeing with Arcade for much of the man's wisdom. Even if he has no idea who Spear was. "It's the things that keep appearing that have got me... less... weirded out?" He holds up a forearm before he and the Visionary's eyes, the tattoos of Fenrir still silvery there. "Like... when you think about it... this really is like reincarnation to become the best self... except we get the lucky perch to watch ourselves played out and able to remember. Able to cope and change and choose and really... really getting close to nailing the perfect cup of coffee." He looks at the mug twixt he and Senni as if it really were his child, and his greatest disappointment. It's a cold moment.
Thne he's looking up at Senni, and it is a very warm moment. "It sounds like maybe romance wasn't this person's goal with you... not that alliance style. You can have a lot of lovers and yet not be able to cope with one single romantic partner. And... just..." He grunts with emotional pain and holds a hand out to the pacing people, "...we're always going to be losing, guys. That's how you know we had something worth losing. Even if that's just us. Here. Now. Hurting and helpful and hoping. Getting drunk and talking. Being. I used to hate the facility... I used to hate it so much but I learned after being shown too many times and then having what felt like an eternity to ponder it all... I learned that here we are stripped to the bare bit of energy that makes the mind a different thing from the brain. We are only us. Each. Individually." He looks at Senni, Arcade, Mug, Mona each in turn and finishes with a return bonk to the Visionary. Full of affection, adoration and... actual happiness. Of course, he 'oofs' really hard when she plops her bony frame back on his unsuspecting puppy-in-an-adult-dog's-body. "We're isolated here to just ourselves. But luckily enough that somehow means we have each other, too. But, tonight?" He looks to Senni and smiles so truly it's as if he invented the expression. "Tonight romance sucks a bag of dicks and vodka, nudity, quilts and cuddles are the rule of the realm."
He does have the consideration to ask the Optimistic fella, "You do like vodka, right?"
"See, that's reasonable," says the Optimist to Senni, and then he eyes the mug. He pauses, shakes himself, and he says "Who's Lupe again? But yeah, I think, erm. Well, he's just that kind of guy. He's gonna be who he is, dog, right? Except in the 'real world' -" Air quotes there, since is there _actually_ a real world? "We could all part ways when shit doesn't work out, leave one another, and...you know? There is nothin' motherfuckin' wrong with that, is there? That's natural - humanity. But we're here, and so we brush up against each other all the time. Totally amazing that most of us aren't dead. Er. Again?" He tries to think through the repercussions, and then he puts his chin in his hand. An eyebrow kinks up at 'ferret orgy', and he looks amused. Then he says "If this is an experiment, well, that's probably why the drama. And maybe why some of us get it and some don't? I can't, er, be physically attracted to anyone out here. So I get to skip it. Bet I'm the control. It's probably not what's happening, but I dooooo like the idea of bein' special."
Finally he sits back down and he rubs his temples again. Then he asks "So what are you guys drinking? And what do you think about it all? I want to know!" And he beams, a shadow of Spear's delighted interest in everything else. Arcade adds "Someone could make coffee for me, I wouldn't complain. Oh, yes, I think that too. Heck, Chance had a theory on it, but who knows. That we're down to ourselves, and almost nothing else. And it's nice to have friends. I don't think I would have had them normally." Then he nods to the Crusader "Oh yes. I do."
"That's... kind of the problem, though," Senni grumps, sidestepping around the mug on the floor in order to find a place to curl on a cushioned surface, beyond striking distance of its deadly, insidious contents. "To me, to us -- Chance and Briar and I -- this is the real world. Which is why that promise mattered, and why I never hold what happens outside of this place against anyone. We don't get to choose who we are, out there. We don't even necessarily get to choose what our relationship to one another is -- I mean, look at Briar and me. One lifetime, we're married, and the next, he's my gay little brother. In Prosperity, you two," she goes on, gesturing with a waggle of free hand between Visionary and Crusader, "Were ga-ga for each other, no matter how much you might've tried to want to resist it. On Icarus, you were siblings. And you," she looks to Arcade, then. "Weren't you just saying you aren't gay? Yet you were romantically entwined with my once-husband, then brother, and for all the world seemed blissfully happy."
"So, no. We can cope, here, with whatever happens out there. But any change is out of our hands, and in those of whomever created this place and brought us all here. The choice is theirs, and we all just play our roles." Sniff. Driiiink. "Lupe was our sister in Prosperity. You'd know her most recently as your sister, Star."
There is a deeply emphatic nod to the mention of romance sucking in every possible way from the Visionary, who lets her eyes dart from face to face in a slow circle before she murmurs the most dangerous of words: "Idea." Her eyes narrow speculatively, and she says, utterly serious, her tone as imperious as Mona's ever was: "I propose a jaunt to the land of blanket forts, in which there is a stocked bar, lots of weed, at least one hot tub, enough stuffed animals to start a zoo, and the ugly quilts and Star Wars sheets from a hundred suburban yard sales."
"Also, really good nachos." This is important. "And a dart board that magically forms the face you want to throw darts into at that very moment in the middle of the bullseye." Her idea of therapy is certainly not sanctioned by anyone.
More seriously, she insists, "Connections matter. They might change sometimes, but they matter." Her brow furrows, and she cants her head, glancing to the Explorer to ask, "How's Briar feeling about all of this? I can't believe it isn't throwing them for a bit of a loop as well. This change of circumstances affects them, too." There's concern on her face on this particular point, even if she does chase it with, "Some day, we're going to be the best lesbians ever, it's inevitable."
The Crusader is trying with all his might to stay awake even as the others carry on. Truly. He is clearly the one who knows he's about to be the first one at the party to pass out and just... can't... fff... mhmmm... soft warm naked people cuddled on couches with quilts and nearby, not-so-naked ones just POISED for a cuddle-puddle of nihilistically bacchanal behavior. He makes small grunts of agreement with emphatic points being made, inviting in anyone of warmth and being the congenial glue to any and all who seek comfort. Little tiny muffled hums of happy or sad accompany the light snores that accomodate the Crusader's sleepy time.
"Ohhh, Star!" clicks the Optimist's fingers, and then he says "Seperating things is hard, though - I mean, it might be the real world, but that doesn't mean other things don't affect us. I came in during the Carnival. I am...Oh. For me, I guess. It just feels like I should be him. I was him for four years. It really feels like this is some weird ass experiment - 'what will they do if we...'." He wrinkles his nose, and then he says "Weird. Second hand sheets. I prefer raves. But...I'd probably chill just about anywhere. It's always good, right?"
The man says "I do get that they matter. I'm not sure how to. Erm. I'm not sure what to say to Briar. Dare was _such a freak_ last time and it made me nervous. He was all 'I'm soooo sorryrrryyryryry'. It gave me the heebies. Just because I'm not into someone here doesn't mean I think they did something wrong over there." He shudders. And then he gets up. He is happy to accompany folks, but the Optimist will not be getting naked - and while he does hugs, he does not do prolonged cuddles. He is friendly, but his own, innate self. Cheerily so.