The Caregiver was a fair bit brandy soaked after the first foray into the parlor on this second ride around the Facility, and therefore, when she helped a bleeding man through one of those magical doorways, the jarring surprise was too much. Because not only the setting was different, like before, but she looked a little different too, and the others, some of them looked very, very different. And unnerved for some reason she didn't have the wits to try and figure out at that moment. After the warning from the Visionary about taking the chance to leave, she did, but after hanging around a little while the others talked or ventured wherever, she knits her brows.
She goes to get hot chocolate from the dispenser and she carries it along the hallway over-carefully because she's been drinking and it's hot and sloshing around. Then pausing, she drops it off outside one of the hallway doors where wolves encroach on a lone figure. After standing there a moment, she doesn't knock, she turns and goes to her own room to change out of now bloody clothing.
When she comes padding back into the parlor from the hall to see what's going on with the door, she only stopped long enough in changing to throw on a lovely silken oriental flower robe with trailing sleeves and drag drape.
Stepping back out of the sudden clinic, and her outfit returning back to her simple slacks and singlet top, Penitent looks down at herself, wide eyed and breathing heavy. "Oh my," she murmurs to herself, just leaning against the wall for a few long moments, staying where it's quiet. "I'm not her. I'm not Madison, I'm not," she mutters to herself, several times, as though some kind of chant. Shaken by the sudden change, especially into that particular person, she blinks a few times. It's all those moments before she even really notices that Laine is still here. Or just got back here? She wasn't paying attention, honestly.
She's moved back towards the couch, settling down near where she put Emily's sunglasses, and that glass of brandy so thoughtfully poured for her earlier. She takes up the glass, staring at it. "I ... how's it going?" She says, her voice lacking in confidence, full of uncertainty, clearly directed at Caregiver even as she stares at that glass with a whole lot of distaste.
"Uh. I don't know. Why did that get all weird, not just like people inside, but-- weird?" The Caregiver is very articulate when drinking, it seems! She's not real specific about what she's trying to explain in her question as she looks with unease at the doorway where they had popped in and out in different degrees of time before. And she'd taken a moment there to watch the Penitent react while raking fingers through some of her curled length of hair pulled over a shoulder. Then she takes up small back and forth pace of agitation behind the couch, even if she can't quite get out what's bothering her entirely at the moment. Then she has to stop because she's starting to look a little dizzy from going back and forth like that.
"I don't know," Penitent answers quickly, looking for a moment like she's going to throw that glass across the room. Instead she takes a deep breath, and then another, and then downs the whole thing. Leaning back, she sighs afterwards, looking rather uncertain. "I don't know if I just won or lost," she confesses in a small voice, shaking her head. "Lupe told me that when she went somewhere, she was that person again ... like she went back to the Noc and she was a robot again." She peers at Laine, tilting her head slightly as she watches the woman pacing now, blinking a little in surprise. "And Dahlia ... Angeline, that is, took us to a place where she was Dahlia. I guess those of us in that story changed to fit the setting as well, and suddenly I was Madison again. I wasn't expecting it ... I knew there were people though. Those rooms are fully populated now."
The Capitalist arrives from off the beaten path.
The Martyr arrives from off the beaten path.
"I know that people were saying there was real life in-- but that-- mm. Why did she pick a place like that when she could just have... good gracious.." The Caregiver just kind of blusters some like she's not sure what to say after stopping her pace there in the trailing silk floral robe she's now wrapped in. Her hands continue to rake through the curls of hair pulled over her shoulder, separating them and playing with them to occupy, brows knit with consternation. Then she glowers at the radio, turning afterwards as if to glare back at the door too, but then someone else is coming out of it. It turns into a few blinks then gauging watch.
Calming down now, after draining that glass of brandy, she's back at her spot in the couch, back in her typical facility outfit, and somewhat less rattled as she watches Laine, inclining her head. "I guess because it was a place she 'knew' and one of the first places she could think of." Penitent offers quietly, shaking her head. "I don't know." She watches the Caregiver in silence for a moment, licking her lips and pondering. "What's got you all wound up? You're preoccupied with something, and I think I maybe have an idea but I'm probably just projecting things here. Talk to me. We've been pretty decent friends twice now, haven't we?"
The Capitalist emerges from the door of that particular mystery room looking conflicted by somethng or other. The teenage boy was no longer there, even if he was still soaked in the Fool's blood. He even pauses for a brief moment to turn back and view the doorway in which he just exited. There was this strong urge to go back there now that this portal was open and that's what where the conflict is. The longer he remained there, the most Conrad's concerns became his own once again. And they both had some unfinished business.
It's only then that he notices both the Caregiver and the Penitent were still here in the parlor. He looks to the woman who, for a very brief moment, was his sister once more. Maybe she can see it on his features, that look of slight frustration there. Whatever it was, being in that particular world had sparked something in him. He then looks to the Caregiver and in his own awe and confusion, he didn't realize that she wasn't there with them.
"I'm heading to my room for a shower and to..." His arms lift as some sort of gesture to the blood on him still, "change into something less-bloody."
"Is that a serious question? What do I have to -not- be worked up about?" The Caregiver asks the Penitent back over her shoulder with a sudden close of her eyes and a partial laugh that's breathed out and somewhat brandy soaked. It's entirely lacking humor, though. Then after watching the Capitalist from a distance for a moment when her eyes re-open, she breathes out a sigh and shakes her head, "But that's the gameboard, now isn't it. As much as anywhere else."
It dawns on her she left her glass in her room so she goes to fill another empty she brought out, the last one, taking the tumbler to half-full, stepping around the couch to the table with a nod at the Capitalist's announcement in passing by her to the hall, "Sure thing, lovely."
Glancing over as the door opens, and catching that look from Capitalist, she just tilts her head, meeting it with a blank look of her own. "Good idea," she says quietly to his announcement, nodding a little. With her wardrobe change being rather more dramatic, no blood seemed to follow her through the door, and what little remains now doesn't seem to bother her much.
She watches him depart, and then just offers a rather sad, "I don't understand," to the Caregiver's comments, sinking down into the spot on the couch and bringing her feet up to draw her knees against her chest, looping her arms around them as she just stares at the spot where the television used to be.
The Caregiver hitches one of her robed shoulders up some at the not understanding bit, either holding back a whole lot of explanation or sitting on not knowing how else to explain with her thoughts coming somewhat more sluggish than usual. Hell, maybe even being sober wouldn't help much in this regard. After breathing out a sigh in gust, she drains the glass with one shot, then wanders up to lean with a hand against the radio framing, head tilted to listen to what's coming out of the thing.
After a time, she murmurs, "It'd be prettier if... I didn't imagine all of us dying to it like a soundtrack at some point in some unknown life."
A small, upset and frustrated noise escapes the Penitent, and it's followed by a sigh as she just sits there in the quiet for those few long moments, shaking her head. She might as well be a statue, sitting there and listening to that music, but for her steady breathing. A shift, as she picks up those sunglasses again, setting them in her hand and shifting her gaze to them as she thoughtfully speaks after Caregiver voices a problem with the offered entertainment.
"That's the best part," she says simply. "I used to think it too, but now, I'm very confident that living and waking up here is far crueler than dying. I pray that in the next unknown life this will be the soundtrack to death. Living is too hard."
"Mm. Surviving wasn't pleasant for me either time. No matter what Eilis has to say about making it work and winning in the end. She even hid her misery from Sebastian and Caleb. And it's not like Pierce could ever hear or say a damn thing about it. Elaine lived deliberately alone and suffered constant nightmares with Christian's money as a constant reminder of what she lost. But maybe it got better over time. I don't know." The Caregiver makes a lift of hand in small addled gesture next to her head, as if she doesn't have to explain. Then it drops and she turns back around to go nudge her glass around the tabletop in scoot with flicks of her fingertips instead of refilling it, idle drunk fidget.
"Maybe I'll get to die instead of watching and losing them next time. S'what I woke up pretty mad about off my little puppet strings."
"Well. I couldn't say," Penitent replies quietly, shaking her head. "Perhaps a tragic ending would be easier to get back into things here, I would think. I've been relieved before upon waking up here. Emily was much easier to shake, for example. I'm very glad that I'm not actually Emily, Much to Christine's dismay -- she's here too, did you know?" Looking up then, she inclines her head slightly. "At least you get to be back here with them. Even though it was horrible, I think there's something nice in the fact that we can still all find each other in the end. I'll treasure it for as long as it lasts. But I'm more worried about you."
Tipping her head as she watches the Caregiver quietly, she pauses a moment, considering her words. "You changed very suddenly, it seemed to me, while we were here and talking. That's what I meant, when I asked what was bothering you."
"Mm, everything is bothering me. Eilis is bothering the Elaine in me with nag and when it's not general horror or shame at the things I had to do, it's that irritating self-empathy when that's not what I need, I -need- to be -angry- and I need to -feel- because it is just... it's just not okay. To be this. Whatever this is, it's not okay. And I can't fight it and I can't be complacent with it either, so all I can do is burn inside." The Caregiver finally starts to spill to the Penitent with a bat at the empty glass to watch it shatter on the floor for the sake of shattering. It's a little like watching a drunk cat moreso than someone in a hissy fit, though, due to brandy working some on her agitation instead of flaring it.
There's a tilt of her head and she pulls her bare foot up to toe delicately at some of the bigger chunks of glass. She's not cutting herself, but it's a dangerous way to make path as she kicks a chunk, then another of broken glass under the table. Then she finally gets the sense to just step away in wander, "The first time, I didn't know to think anything else but afterlife or demon tricks, I was torn, you know. Turn of the century at work. This time, though, I feel so used. By something, someone, doesn't matter, it's... and I-- I knew I was going to lose their smell. It's all I had of the boys and I -knew- it was going to happen because I died too soon to have anything else. And-- then they... were talking about-- then..."
She ends with a gusting sigh and just kind of drunk flings her arms with frustration at all the other things that are no doubt eating her too she hasn't even touched on, "I feel -so- damn much, I care so much, it sticks -so- hard to me. I don't have any walls inside and it's... it's -stupid-!"
Yeah, she's pretty drunk.
"Right. Your first time being two people. I guess I found a sort of natural progression from Madison to Kylie, and the two settled into some middle ground after a while. Ramona -- Lupe -- even called me Madlie at one point, as a joke." She attempts a little smile at that, and nods with a touch of understanding. Not that she really understands, exactly. The Penitent is a whole different collection of urges and needs than the Caregiver, after all. But she does nod slowly in thought. She watches the glass shatter with barely a flutter of her eyelashes. Let it break.
"It might be a little bit my fault," she says immediately as the Caregiver talks of feeling used. "I can't say Emily was really that good of a friend to you, though she certainly thought she was, at times. She was all ... manipulative and gossipy and more than a little jealous, truth be told. But ..." she nods again, her eyes closing. "Yeah." She says softly at the moment where she noticed Caregiver's change. "I don't think it's stupid. I don't know how to help with it ... all feeling so heavy on you, like that. I guess that's not me -- some things certainly stick more than others, of course and some have been very hard to shake."
"No, that's not... your... it's the whole everything. Ev-errrry-thingamading." The Caregiver sighs out and embellishes the everything pretty needlessly, but again, brandy. She goes to drop into a sit on the arm of the couch near where the Penitent is seated, rubbing at her brows with pinch and working rub of fingertips in brief, "But I-- I guess the two of them in my head will see eye to eye eventually, just notfuckingrightnow and it's making the gal here in the middle a bit of a cuckoo clock." Her hand drops away from her brows and she looks at the other female with a hazy, drunk and thoughtful gaze.
"You said Christine was here? How's she taking it? She trying to tunnel out of the walls to win yet?"
"I know it's more than just that. But you remember my picture right? Door picture I mean?" Penitent gives a soft sigh, a tired sort of smile. "I always feel like I'm to be blamed somehow. I'm not naive, I know it's not my fault, but I contributed to it all the same. You care to much, okay then. I take a little bit of responsibility on to counter it." Pentitent's smile flickers a little. "That's why I'm always trying to put up that image of being calm and relaxed and not thinking on any great thing. I admit, it's slipping. It has been for a while now. And with the smokescreens Emily always put up around her, I think there's a lesson to be learned, you know? You just need some time. I'm sorry I pushed you on that."
There's a slow nod. "Good. She's taking it better than I would have thought. We had a big long talk, worked things out. She has been talking about this just being another place she has to beat, but I think she's smart enough to realize it's not going to be as simple as that. We don't even know what winning looks like, here."
"Sounds like her. But you know, it's weird for me... both times around, like yes, I had the end goal, the thing to do, the curse to break, the world to save, but that wasn't... the struggle was the real challenge and all the inbetween, the way I had to think to... worry about everyone else. So here, I-- oh, fuck me running, thinking is so hard right now." The Caregiver nods a couple of times to the first pieces of the Penitent's words with understanding despite her drink haze, but there's a tiny, dismissive drift of her head in shake at the apology, reaching in brief to the other female's head and hair, "I woke up... badly... at least at first. It's still... on me, kind of. I can't get things out or maybe it's a'cause I just don't know things myself... 'cause I gotta feel through 'em instead of think them. I just-- um. I'm going to go to lie down for a bit."
Caregiver is also starting to do that drunk cry thing where she doesn't quite realize she's doing it, then when she wipes her face with instinct on rising up, she curses at herself under her breath, "Oh come -on- how are there even any -left- at this point?" She's drunkbitching about her tears with sudden turn toward the hallway to get somewhere for them to come out the rest of the way.
"I don't think it'll get less weird," Penny says softly, her tone apologetic. "They just cram more and more in, it seems." There's even a little laugh from her though at the idea of thinking being too hard. "Remind me when I wanna have a deep and meaningful to get you before you've put down so much brandy." There's even a little grin, and she's getting up to her feet as well, because hanging around out here with the radio and her thoughts isn't all that much fun.
Which means, she's going to see Cargiver to her room. They're right near each other anyway, Penny just being across the hall. "I really don't know," she answers that question quietly. She knows it pretty well. This time around has somehow been easier for her, thought there's still plenty that likely needs to be said at some point, especially with her brief reversion into Madison proper. "Good night," she says quietly once the other woman is tucked away in her room, and turns to study that weeping woman on her door. With a soft sigh afterwards, she pushes the door open to slip within herself.