Log:Love is a Chain

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Love is a Chain
Characters  •   The Scholar  •  The Caregiver  •  The Coward  •  The Penitent  •  The Bravo  •  The Capitalist  •
Location  •  Facility- Parlor
Date  •  2018-12-19
Summary  •  Caregiver and Scholar have an emotional reunion. The parlor grows with more reacquaintance, but not everything is smooth sailing.

The Scholar is still getting his bearings in the Facility, this strange space he's found himself in after the life he remembers in Nevada and Arizona. (Not that he properly remembers Arizona, but he knows it, a sort of bone deep knowledge he can't shake but also can't bring into focus.) It's helped that the Coward has been through all of this before and so can explain some things, though he's having his own struggles. The Scholar isn't really sure what he can do to help with those.

Today he's decided to start with something he'd previously suggested to the Coward: he's trying to figure out who he is. Step one, the piano in the parlor. It's a lovely instrument, much bigger than anything Sebastian had ever played on. He's not sure how well he'll be able to play vs. how well Sebastian could, so here's brought some sheet music he found in his room; learning pieces by Bartok, and a sample of some JS Bach exercises. He's making solid headway through the Bach, so maybe it's like riding a bicycle, at least for him.

The woman once known as Eilis McTavish wanders along the hallways in a white button down man's shirt that probably isn't hers-- she's wearing the crisp professional piece like a partially buttoned nightshirt over pretty dark undergarments that makes them stand immodestly out from underneath-- definitely not frontier modest. But then again, with as little clothing as she's seen people wearing in the picture box as example, and everything all upside down, what exactly was a little concern like modesty? Barefoot and leggy and dark-haired with ridiculously blossoming vitality, she's a far cry from how Sebastian probably remembers the last image of her.

On her way to the dispensary to push buttons, no doubt, she seems to just be stepping out to nab something to bring back to a room. But the television not playing music in favor of allowing The Scholar to tinker properly on the piano kind of catches her eye with an air of disappointment. At least until she sees who is seated at the piano. She freezes, clutching the silver cross on the leather cord around her neck. Then she finally speaks after holding her breath, paused mid-stride, "... Bastian, darling." The familiar greeting comes from snapshot time as family, rough months they were.

The Scholar starts at the sound of Eilis' voice, fingers tripping over the keys in an awkward jangle of sound as he turns to look at her. He stares in shock, not the least because Eilis is quite alive and healthy; she's *here*, in this place. He blinks a handful of times.

How different yet the same he is; those mismatched green and brown eyes and that head of unruly, curly black hair with its bold white streak remain, yet he's older by a good decade or more. There's additional hints white throughout his hair, crow's feet at his eyes, and his once angular, smooth face has softer edges complimented by the roughness of a man in his prime. The lankiness of his late youth is gone as well, replaced by a solidness that might almost make him seem imposing.

"Eilis," he says, when he can finally find his voice. He doesn't dare get up from the piano bench, afraid he's just imagining her.

Eilis McTavish Colton showed up at the Colton Ranch with a large travel trunk of belongings a few hours after the banishing was done and Pierce took that fateful drink. He had conspired with Cillian to keep her safe, unbeknowst to her. If she had shown that last fight, things could and probably would have been very, very different. Pierce's resolve would have crumbled with her as a heart trigger. Addie might have shot Jody before he could name Caleb. Eilis might have died. Maybe it would have all gone on another year.

Those were things she'd think of later, aloud to Sebastian, desperately trying to reason with broken promises and personal betrayal in the complex face of grief and pride and love. Right now, she remembers how much she missed those talks, even though they're context, not word for word memories.

Eilis had arrived absolutely silent and desolate with only theatre in her spine. The first day, she merely sat on Pierce in silence and bound their two fingers with sentimental engagement string, refusing to eat or drink or sleep or move. The last of the six days were full of begging and screaming and pleading from behind closed door.

However, the second day Sebastian and Colorado by extension were brought in for an announcement.. One that would change the course of their own lives, there as an unorthodox pair.

All of that snaps back to Eilis now, fragment pieces of poignancy. And her eyes mist on slow approach, quietly coming to wrap her arms about his neck and shoulders from behind with lean. Somehow she still smells somewhat the same. Lavender soap and honey. Memories catch like that.

The Scholar forces back tears, holds himself rigid a handful of seconds, certain that at any moment he'll discover he was just wandering in thought. It doesn't happen, though, and he leans into the hug, lets out a shaddering breath. "Oh, you're here, with us." He sounds simultaneously relieved and unhappy. Six hundred things come to mind to say. He ignores all of them, instead wrapping his arms around hers.

He's not the man possessed by a ghost who helped deliver her sons and stayed by her bedside as she passed, or the strange, dual uncle who raised them (he doesn't remember that but knows he happened, won't accept the idea that it didn't), yet he also is, at least in part. Here he is in front of a piano, after all.

"I'm so sorry," he says, finally, and covers his face with one of his hands.

"No." The Caregiver shakes her head a little bit in against The Scholar while leaning in and keeping contact with bare rocking back and forth of love and comfort. Her voice is a whisper, just like it was there on her deathbed, trying to get out something to Pierce about the way things were meant to be, him withered and trapped inside himself at her bedside as she laid there bloodless and fragile pale, hair and skin and lips. It was a sentence she never finished. This one, she finishes, and it's not breathless with fade, it's firm this time. Her face turns as he hugs at her arms, speaking and kissing at one side of this man's temple. The godfather of her children, no matter what he is here, "It's how we won in the end. Those two. Free. Love is a chain to pass on. Pierce and I couldn't have chosen better. You wouldn't break the chain."

The Scholar half-laughs, half-cries at that, almost a hiccup of emotion. It takes him a second to get ahold of himself, but he manages. "Robert and Pierce." He sees their names written down on a piece of paper, in his (Sebastian's) own handwriting. It's almost the same as remembering it. "They were beautiful. And, terrible handfuls." He doesn't know that, but he knows it. "God I wish I could remember raising them and, watching them grow up. Making mistakes and learning from them." He takes in a steadying breath, lets it out. "Unfortunately most of my...memories, if you want to call them that, are of those first few sleepless months. And of diapers. A lot of diapers." He clears his throat, sighs, leans his head against hers. "I'm so sorry you don't even get to have that." As factual and unlived as these events are in his mind, he still treasures them. Sebastian and Colorado had raised children, two boys, just like they'd wanted. He would die before he'd consider *that* an afterthought of fiction.

"You know..." This woman here that looks like Eilis, she doesn't seem all that different, not from initial impressions. Like him, it's her first go-round as far as these matters of current uncertainty go, so she has what she knows and the other things she feels are off-kilter to pace through. She's maybe more subdued, but it's hard to gauge given their reunion and the context. And you know, perhaps unbeknownst to her, her soft habit of occasional slipping accent between more common direct grace of elocution, it's more Southern than it is a Western drawl or twang, vowels softened to run into the consonants with a gentle tumble. But she doesn't have a large frame of reference for that. He might not either.

Her breath draws in deep before it continues, hugging who she knows as Sebastian longer with another kiss to the head, this time at his hair. Her hand slips to one of his to squeeze as she slings a bare leg in straddling sit on the bench to face where he sits, hale features thoughtful, "If I try very hard, I can remember what they smelled like, warm and washed and close. Outwardly, it doesn't seem fair to not have more pieces of them. But inside? It's enough in a way I can't explain. I don't feel like anything was taken from me. They lived. They loved. They were loved. They mattered. And that's all a mother ever really wants. I assume it's not so different for you, deep down." She pauses, lips twitching up with utterly Eilis dry humor, "Besides. Twenty diapers a day sounds like a lot of buffalo shit. I'm not a saint. Maybe I'll take the trade."

The Scholar returns the hug, shudders at the reminder that this is real, at least for now. He properly turns to face the Caregiver, whom he knew (and still knows, really) as Eilis, when she sits on the bench. His mismatched eyes flit to a distant point in the parlor as he considers what she's said. "The--for those of us who lived. The memories of what came after the final banishment, they're..." His mouth flattens as he tries to think of how to explain it. "It's more like looking through a picturebook of illustrated events. Things written down, an image in your head. Like you were given someone's biography, instead of living it." He rubs at his eyes with one hand. "I refuse to think that's what it is, though. Colorado and I didn't have the life we'd entirely hoped for, but we had one. What Igor did to me would have left me broken and suffering, and he made sure it didn't. I *know* that. Even if I can't properly...remember it." And maybe, in some respects, it's better if he doesn't. It might be painful to reconcile themselves as separate people again, after a lifetime bound together, if those shared memories were fresh and real in their minds.

He ducks his head and laughs about the diapers. "It, ah, well. It *was* a lot." He smiles, in earnest now. "Colorado was generous enough to not always make me do them." Of course, it was still his body doing the work, but it was amazing, how big a difference it made to be the mind which was contemplating anything but Robert and/or Pierce's latest disaster. He turns that smile to her, sighs. "It's so good to see you," he says.

"And it's good to see you. I admit, I've hidden away more than I've come out, but I am starting to understand enough to know none of you are likely demons or ghosts as I initially believed. I haven't seen many. I'm sure now that I feel a little more unshelled, I'll be ready for them when they come, though. Them and that -look-." Caregiver clicks her tongue ones with fond 'tch' of irritation, carrying on with memory as she settles back some with lean to regard The Scholar more closely, his differences, his vitality. And looking with Eilis, it was never just eyes, that translates here too, her hands coming up to either side of his face to frame it affectionately in brief with the sweeping study as she speaks, "Same damned look I got returning to Prosperity from every single brother and cousin. Adoration and dread for my presence. The one that wishes I wasn't here at all. Kind of makes me feel like I'm in trouble for existing. Parallels, mm?"

"No, not demons or ghosts, though," the Scholar's expression turns wry and a little sad as he thinks of the Coward, "some of us think we are." His mouth twitches in an almost smile. "You can't be blamed for isolating yourself. Many do--some never come out. I guess I'm too curious, too determined to unravel this puzzle, to stay in my room, as comfortable as it is." Another twinge of sadness, fleeting but noticeable.

He huffs in exasperated fondness, glances around at their surroundings. "Can you really blame us? Based on what the other have been saying we'll go through this again and again. I can't wish that on anyone." He doesn't qualify that with a 'not even' or 'especially', since he would do anything to take the Coward away from this awful place. Eilis, in her way, might be better suited to endure what was going on. The Coward was being chewed up by it.

He sighs, takes one of her hands in his and squeezes it. "Is...is Pierce here, too?"

There's a lift of one shoulder from Caregiver in that men's shirt, considering for a spell during Scholar's ruminating on the state of affairs, but for some reason, while she was no doubt scared and harbors certain fears still, she's not... bothered. If she is, she's hiding it very well, but honestly, it seems like that state of grace and acceptance she had while times were awful too, it's right here with her. Maybe the glance down at the cross on the leather cord she's wearing hints as to why before she explains with lead up, "Jody DeWitt was the first ghost I ran into. I didn't like what he had to say. He told me Pierce had other lives, that things weren't real. That this right here is what's real to hold onto. He meant well, he expressed our feelings were real once he saw my face, but it devastated me. The possibility that I'm just another passing lifetime to the man that fathered my children, who I went to hell and back with? It was like watching us die a different death. But..."

The brunette turns her head to steal a glance at the hallway beyond the parlor with a small tick of smile, "We haven't had long together. He's here. He's asleep. Peacefully, with this unwitting smile tugging his lips and a little bit of residual worry on his brow. That's my normal. He doesn't know he looks like that when he sleeps near me." She pauses, "I fainted when I saw him. He smelled different. He looked different. I was afraid we were strangers. He promised we aren't, of course, but what I needed was to feel it. And I did."

Suddenly her brow twitches with worry and unspoken inquiry to Sebastian, the first real beat that's stabbed through her affectionate zen. Colorado.

The Scholar studies the cross a moment, lifts his left hand, on which the silver and copper ring which previously belonged to Roger Colton still sits. They're seated at the piano bench, some JS Bach and Bartok beginners sheet music spread in front of them. The Scholar's dressed *very* casually today, in a forest green, pull-over fleece sweater and black jeans. "Well I'm glad Jody's not the first person I came across. I think I might have had some trouble with that." Trouble might have involved numerous things, since unlike Sebastian, the Scholar isn't clumsy and is easily twenty pounds heavier.

He sighs, nods in agreement. "I...that's about how I felt. Feel. Realizing that, maybe, given enough of these lives, we--what we had won't mean anything. I'll just be another familiar face in here, and not someone in particular to him." He rubs at his eyes, clears his throat. "But there's probably nothing we can do about that, now or, ever, so." He shrugs with a nonchalance he doesn't feel. "Like you said. It means something to us. Maybe that's enough."

He smiles to hear her speak of Pierce that way; his eyebrows go down, then up in understanding. "He's here. Not, ah, doing well. But here." A helpless, rueful smile for that state of affairs. "So that's something." It's better than something, but he's feeling a little raw at the moment.

Speak of the Coward--he comes ambling along. Tall and rangy as ever, but here he's not consumptive, hasn't spent a lifetime sick and terrified. He's lean but well-muscled, moving with ease. There's a sheen of health on him like a fine horse, practically makes him glow. A tumbler of ice and something golden swings from one hand; he's starting early. Earlier every day.

"Heard the piano," he says, walking up. Then he rears back, eyes popping wide. Then he's set the drink down to wrap his long arms around the woman he knew as Eilis, catching her up in a ferocious hug. "Little sister," he mumbles into her hair, his voice swelling with emotion.

Padding down the hallway shortly after the Coward, comes another. Dressed in simple dark blue sweat pants and a simple gray tank top, barefoot, the Penitent was also drawn by the music, it seems. A serene smile plastered on her face, the woman that was most recently known as Nettie Hargreave carries herself rather differently now. The burden of guilt and duty that was constant around the outlaw seems to be mostly gone. She spies everyone at the piano and beams a guileless smile.

"Hello," she greets in a simple, serene tone, dipping her head a little. She's apparently not pausing though. "I'll just be a moment," she announces as she makes her way through the parlour and towards the dining hall. Apparently she's decided to get something to eat!

There's a slip of Caregiver's calm peaceful expression on listening to who she knows as Sebastian, the weight of -knowing- a shared fear in her big blue eyes. It's clear there for vulnerable moment, whatever constant ease she has by knowing Defender's presence once more isn't entirely wholly seated and settled, despite the conversation and her demeanor. She'd been seeded with new fears with the best intentions and they're hard to undo with the best of assurances. But after perceived months of suffering with Pierce at her side and lost to her at the same time, it's bottled for now.

"We're both logical people, Bastian-darling. Life does that to people when it's just the one. Sometimes, some things are just meant to be for as long as we can keep them. Doesn't make them any less or--"

Colorado stepping into the room and speaking widens her eyes where she sits straddling that piano bench in a crisp white men's button up as oversized nightshirt, talking to The Scholar. She barely has time to get out exclamation before she's grabbed, so it kind of turns into a squeak of 'holy shit' nature as she's lifted right up into a ferocious, strong, unailing hug from a walking piece of manliness. Then she clings and starts to babble with shocked overwhelm on his shoulder, complete with delightful curses, "Sweet merciful fuck!" Now. That's not very Eilis. But she did have a lot of brothers. And maybe she has less ladylike filter on her these days.

As she throws legs around in bare state to shamelessly cling to who she knows as Colorado like a spider monkey, she hears Nettie and blinks with confusion to look around in her state of overwhelm.

The Scholar smiles to see the Coward, right until he spots the tumbler in his hand. His expression falters, recovers some when the Coward sweeps the Caregiver up in a hug. It's a brief recovery; he takes to staring at the glass the Coward has set down for several seconds, ugly realization sweeping through him. Fortunately the woman he knew as Nettie Hargreave passes through just then, and he he leaves off his unhappy examination of the tumbler to blink at her. It's a welcome distraction from memories that might not really be his.

"Not less, but possibly not bearable either," he says to no one in particular.

The Coward laughs in rare, unrestrained joy and twirls the Caregiver around, which is a hazard to everyone and everything nearby. "Eilis! Love, I didn't know if I was ever gonna see you again!" He lets her down careful like and kisses her forehead. "We had too little time as a family. Too little time. Your boys grew up fine young men. Turned our hair whiter every year, the scamps." He hesitates, the memory of him and Sebastian tending her in childbed flooding back. The stench of blood, the way she grew paler with every moment, the way she could barely lift her arms to hold her new sons before she died. "I'm sorry we couldn't save you," he says, softer, and cradles her face to kiss her cheek.

Returning after a few moments with the dispenser, the Penitent has herself a hot cup of black tea, and a plate with a toasted sandwich on it. Ham and cheese, by the looks of it! She pads over to one of the couches, settling in the corner after placing her things down on the coffee table. Her feet curl beneath her as she leans on the arm of the couch, peering at those by the piano, watching with that almost vacant expression as she eats. "I didn't know you would be here too, Eilis. Do you want to be called Eilis?" She voices across the way.

"Oh. You. Don't... you're going to make me... again..." Caregiver sputters some after she stops looking for the source of what she -knows- as Nettie's voice, but with the woman taking a skip into the dispensary for a moment, she seems briefly concerned she's seeing or hearing things. The joyful surprise of reunion and shock of seeing The Coward hale and healthy and twirling her without a single hitch for breath takes a turn for misty-eyed threatening spill of tears as her face is stroked with the kiss at the cheek, explaining to him just as she did the man she knows as Sebastian, "It's what we fought for and won. Me and him. He gave them safety. I gave them life. It was enough. I was tired. I gave them -everything- I had left and then... then, It was your turn. Love's a chain. I told Bastian that. You were the ones meant to keep it going."

When Nettie comes back in to speak again, though, she just kind of laughs with helpless defeat and likewise relief as those tears she was holding back start to fall, "... It's all I know. For now." Something about the Penitent's easy semi-vacant demeanor with familiar face and kind of different form sort of jars her there for a second. It's a bit different than it happened with The Coward and it has her looking at the other woman more closely. But it passes and she says softly, "Do I... call you something different?" Huh. She's suddenly shy. Funny that.

The blonde that wanders into the parlor is not part of the previous story, she is entirely new! Which means that she doesn't greet a single person as she moves into the room, wearing a blue party dress, heels, and looking like she's in too much of a good mood. Despite things. Bravo doesn't ignore those that are present, she looks, she smiles in passing, but then she moves through to the dispensary for a quick second or three before she returns with a cup of coffee in her hand. Only when she's come back into the parlor does she give everyone there a really, really good look, "Hi." She greets, her empty hand lifting up and giving a broad wave to the group before she goes to find herself a place to sit. "Hope I'm not intruding."

The Scholar rubs the back of his neck, eases off the piano bench. "It's very good to see you again, Eilis." He gives Nettie and the Bravo a polite nod of greeting and heads for the hall of rooms.

The Coward isn't nearly so effusive with the Penitent; he nods to her and gestures as if he's touching the brim of the hat he's not wearing. "Miss Nettie." She's not looking so good, and he's not sure what to do. The Scholar gets up and Coward watches him go with a worried frown. He doesn't follow him immediately, instead turning those blue eyes to the Bravo. "Miss. Don't remember you. What ought we call you?"

Curled up on her familiar couch spot, with her sandwich and her tea, the Penitent seems more or less content for a moment, beaming a smile at the Coward. "Colorado," she says in a warm greeting, far more familiar than the way Anette might've addressed the man. Her eyes do widen though, at the Caregiver's demeanor, and she sets that sandwich down to rise up to her feet again, wandering over to the woman. "There now, don't take on so," she says, her voice attempting to be reassuring. "I'm not sure really, what you should call me. I'll answer to Anette, or to Kylie. Or even Madison. But I don't think you knew the other two, so that makes it simple, hmm?"

She does glance curiously at the Bravo, both on the way through and once the woman settles back into the parlour. "Oh no, no intrusion. Hello." She beams a bright smile, there.

"I don't know you, either." Bravo points out to Coward, offering him another smile that is a fraction wider before she crosses her legs, balancing her coffee cup on her knee. The question of what to call her causes her to shake her head, the smile fading away to something less cheerful, "Anything you want, really. Doesn't make any difference to me right now." She shrugs her shoulders just a fraction before she turns her attention towards Penitent, offering her the same smile of greeting, "Fabulous. It'd be really awkward if I was intruding, and then I'd have to find a not crappy way to make an exit, and then...it'd snowball from there."

"Well, then, we're startin' out even," the Coward replies to the Bravo with an answering smile that does a bang-up job of not looking fake. He hugs Eilis again, one-armed, and sits on the piano bench himself. Picking up his drink, he has a long swallow. "I've been named Colorado. Other people, their names change. Mine hasn't. You're welcome to call me that."

"I... suppose some things are still simple enough. Kind of hard not to respond to a name you're known by or call someone different, but people um. Seem to have preferences as far as I've seen." Caregiver, once-Eilis stands a little awkwardly with one of her hands still laced through one of Colorado's before his sit on the piano bench has her dropping straight down onto him in that button-down men's shirt she's serving as half-assed, half-buttoned nightgown. And despite her wide eyed semi-shyness that's creeping up in spells with sudden bursts of unfamiliar among the familiar, she's ridiculously vibrant compared to how she was last seen. She's just a little more shelled. Understandable.

Penitent's assurances don't really settle her, she keeps her distance some. For whatever reason, it seems like she's sparing the other woman what would usually be a launching hug and giving a testing smile instead, bare foot swinging from her perch on the former-Colton's lap. Then suddenly with a few quick blinks and a pull of breath, she looks at The Bravo and makes introduction, manners kicking in, "You can call me Eilis. I think everyone's kind of on the same page with me on that, at least."

Having kept to himself for the good part of, oh, how many days it's been since his third awakening in this place, the Capitalist finally emerges into the somewhat crowded parlor. Usually, even after his past stints in the Facility, he wasn't there to linger and do small talk, so with that in mind, he's making his past the group gathered to wander towards the dispensary in all its glory.

He's dressed in business attire, though sans the suit jacket, wearing a crisp white buttoned down shirt, a black tie and black business slacks. There are dressy Italian shoes on his feet, no going around barefoot for him. His dark bangs are slicked back, looking as if he spent some time on himself after he'd woken up for the day.

Catching sight of the Penitent, he at least, flashes her a knowing smile, before taking in the faces of all of the others. The Coward he recognized, of course and also the Bravo, but only from this god forsaken place. Then he spots Eilis and he has to do a double-take. "For Christ's sake..." He mutters in dark annoyance beneath his breath, a tone which matches the expression he now wears. And what is she wearing?? It doesn't stop his casual momentum, however, because he's in need of some good coffee, if not something much stronger.

"I thought about choosing a new name for myself, once, but I never found one that fit," The Penitent says quietly. She notices that 'Eilis' is keeping her distance, and gives a sad, yet understanding smile, nodding her head. "Oh, you were on the Noc?" She wonders of the Coward, having not really seen him before except in Prosperity.

Settling herself back on the couch and resuming her meal, she stares thoughtfully at the TV for a moment, occasionally glancing from person to person. She does look up at the Capitalist's arrival, offering a similar smile in response. She's pleased really, to see him finally venturing out! Though there is a falter to it when he spies Eilis, glancing at the woman in turn.

"Colorado, then." Bravo replies to the man, lifting her cup up towards him in a greeting before she takes a seat, eyes flicking towards Eilis for a little while, pondering. "I tried out a name. Not sure I liked it though." She gestures towards Penitent, "Like she said, it didn't really fit...But it's really nice to meet you all just the same. For now I'll just answer to hey you, and hope that you're not meaning a dozen of others that don't have names, or can't decide. Hey, C." The last part is shot towards Capitalist on his way through.

The coffee is set down, and then Bravo shifts forward, resting her elbows on her knees, looking from new (to her) face to new face, "So, what is your stories? I heard about this Noc thing...space, right?" She glances towards Penitent at that, pale brows lifting in hopeful question.

The Coward blinks in surprise as the Caregiver climbs in his lap. He's not sure what to make of this development, but winds an arm around her waist anyway, as he might do to a wiggly puppy to keep it from falling off. "You're gonna make Pierce punch me," he says to her, wry. Then nods to the Bravo. "It's a pleasure to meet you." Unspoken: I hope.

Coward glances up at formerly-Cillian, and hitches half a smile at him. "McTavish. Sorry I went and got turned into salt before I could pay you back."

Working her bottom lip between her teeth, Caregiver starts to speak to who she knows as Nettie again, still very much in that mode of feeling the other woman out in backhanded fashion. Maybe people have told her some things to change her approach some. Viable. But when she sees Cillian stroll in and through in his suit and a gasp sucks in... it doesn't really come back out. Because she's also Eilis enough to know that dark look on his face. Her lips press as he keeps walking and it has her withdrawing a little more, in against The Coward and his looped arm, "... naw." She murmurs to the wry commentary, "Not with you lookin' like you'd give it right back. Do you um. Can we... I want to ask you something. Do you have whiskey in your room?"

Honestly, she's running. Some reunions have been easier than others.

The Capitalist sure is taking a rather long time sorting through the kitchen monitors, almost as if he's looking for something very particular among the many types of coffees on the menu, though he's probably just thinking. It's been a long while since he'd been able to taste anything until yesterday, so this is a very special moment for him. Without yet stepping foot back into the parlor, the Coward can hear the man's response from the other room, "Don't worry about it. It happens." No, turning into a pillar salt is not something that usually happens. "Both Caleb and Pierce said they'd honor your word and look what happened there." There's a sharp wryness to his tone, when he partially re-emerges with a venti-sized cup of caramel iced macchiatto, triple shot of espresso, in hand complete with a straw to drink from. His tall frame leans against the archway between the dispensary and the parlor. He does follow up with a far more reassuring, "You all fought bravely. Without any of you, who knows how that whole mess would've ended."

There's no western drawl to his voice, sounding rather professional in tone. In fact, his is a generic American accent as if spoken by a Brit pretending to be American.

From where he's standing it's evident to him that the woman who was his young cousin looks a little panicked, but he's not clear why. Calling out to her in a not-overly demanding tone, he says, "Sit. I only just got here." Another sip from his straw, "I wasn't expecting to see you in this place, El."

Finishing up her sandwich, the Penitent watches Eilis quietly for a few long moments, apparently uncertain of what to say. "When you're ready," she offers, "My room is the one with the woman crying on it." Well, what's that supposed to mean?! "If you want to talk, that is." She offers another beaming smile, before glancing towards the Bravo, nodding.

"Yes, the space station. I was a dock worker there. Kylie Shorley. Somehow I still feel like I know how to operate a Caterpillar P-5000 Powered Loading Vehicle. Hah, operate nothin', I can make that fucker dance." She grins a little, and shrugs her shoulders. "Most recently I was Anette Hargreave. Feared outlaw and defender of Prosperity."

"Damn right it is. I'm amazing." Bravo agrees, smiling once at the Coward before her eyes shift from Eilis, to where Capitalist went, then back. There is a moment where she just watches, expression turning briefly uncomfortable before Penitent throws out a life-line of sorts.

Attention then shifts that way, then she gets up from her seat, picks up her coffee and moves over to drop down on the couch next to her, "I'm going to nod at that, and act like I totally know what any of that is." She gets comfortable, crossing her legs again, heel dangling from her toes as she kicks her foot, trying to block out the little bubble of awkward in the room, "So what's a Caterpillar P-5000 Powered Loading Vehicle?"

The Coward grimaces at the sharpness in Capitalist's tone. He locks eyes with him when he turns back around, but then Cillian eases up and he nods, dropping his gaze. The Coward's own accent is identical to how he spoke as Bates and in Prosperity; drawly and Texan. "We did the best we could. Coltons always do." Unconsciously he falls back into thinking of himself as a Colton, at least for a moment.

He gives Eilis a funny look indeed. Replying, "Sure, honey," he eases her off his lap to stand up. He nods to the others. "Folks. I'm sure we'll see each other around." The Coward considers the Bravo a long moment. He's going to need to figure her out. For now, his little cousin-in-law and the mother of the boys he and his husband raised needs him, so he heads back to the hallway of rooms with her.

So. What Caregiver knows as Nettie Hargreave just -beamed- a smile at her. Naturally, she automatically starts to brighten and respond, but then she pauses as she's shifted up off of The Coward into standing and talking preparation to move. It's a little wrong inside, it's written all over her, expressive bird she still seems to be. And what she knows as her stand in father/brother figure with cousin Cillian in Capitalist there, he's drinking out of a straw and that's weird in general for her turn of the century Western acclimation. Also it's fancy coffee, not whiskey in his hands, or even a fine brandy. Something's wrong with this woman that used to be Eilis in a disintegrating hurry and it seems to be surprising her as much as anyone else.

Murmuring excuses in earnest, she scampers in bare feet after the former-Colton like a lifeline, "I'll find you both... I'm sorry, I'm... I can only do so much at once."

Maybe her parting words cinch it, exactly what's wrong with her. Absolutely nothing is the same and it hit her like a truck. Obvious from the get-go, maybe, given the situation, but this one, she operates in people spaces of feeling. Again, she promises with fervor that drifts behind her and sounds a little more solid, "I promise."

The Capitalist practically lived on coffee, though he drank so little of it back in Prosperity. This would be the first cup that he'll have for the day to be followed by many more. All he could do was savor that bitter-sweetness of the layers of milk foam, espresso and caramel syrup with a light drizzle of caramel syrup up top. This was heavenly.

Normally, Cillian would be concerned seeing Eilis in this frazzled state, but would he actually go after her to comfort her? Even back in Prosperity, he may have let her alone for some time, because woman things. And this time The Coward was with her, so it's not that she was alone. That doesn't mean the pair don't get a wary look from him, but it passes. With his iced drink in hand, he saunters over to where the Penitent is seated, taking a seat beside her. "Has anyone even been the space station yet?" He asks aloud, though at the moment, there's now only two others with him. "That will be mind blowing."

The parlor is left to its conversation by the quick departing pair. Sometimes too much is just too much. It happens.