The Addict is trusting Cheer not to get them killed, which may be their first mistake. Ah, well. Worst case scenario, they'll be dead for a day. They're dressed for the cold in the mountains in jeans and a long-sleeved Henley shirt, along with a helmet and the safety harness that's supposed to help one not die.
They both stand on a mountain trail overlooking a lush valley with a lazy river flowing through it far below. The sun is shining, but the air is cool in an early spring. "Okay, so what do we do?"
The Thrill-Seeker has her hair braided and coiled under a cap as well as a pair of goggles. Around her neck is a scarf too for high up in the air. Her eyes scan the vista before them with a pleased smile, hands on her hips, right on the edge. "This'll do nicely!" She says as the wind blows strong. Then she turns and trots over to the hang gliders set up out of where the wind can easily toss them and weighted down. "Well for the first time, we'll buddy up so you have me there in case things get hairy. Soooo..." She ducks under one wing and crooks a finger. "Let's get you hooked in to the buddy harness first."
"Ooh, a buddy harness," Briar says as they come over to get hooked in. "I feel safer already." They don't seem terribly nervous, at least. "If we survive, I packed us a lunch. So there's your incentive not to run us nose-first into the river." They inspect the hang glider from being within its structure, just getting familiar. "Man, this is cool."
The Thrill-Seeker chuckles and says, "River is very unlikely. I'd be more worried about the side of the mountaint." Her tone is far too chipper to go with her words. And that smile is big enough to show dimples as she begins to secure them in. "Tighten that to your comfort," She points out as she goes about it. "Strap between the legs, hand it to me?" Being polite she is!
Once Briar is all strapped in she goes through and tugs hard on ever strap. "Anything feel loose?" She asks, adjusting anything that seems off before she begins to secure herself in as well. "We will both run towards the cliff and jump off. After that just focus on trying to get your feet into the sling behind you," She instructs as she goes. "Those are your guide bars to hold onto. They're locked at the moment for steering, but once you're comfortable we'll unlock it." Pointing out all the bits and pieces.
The Addict tightens the one strap, then hands over the other after passing it between their legs. "Nope, I feel pretty snug," they say. With a laugh, they add, "I don't know if 'comfortable' is something I'm going to feel today, but that's all right. I don't mind you taking charge." They glance at the sling behind them, to know where to aim their feet. "Okay, I think I'm ready. Just say when."
The Thrill-Seeker finishes getting herself strapped in. Then she lets the frame hold her for a minute, testing her own straps. "All right. Grab and lift your bar, the glider isn't very heavy. Made of aluminum," She explains as she stands up and the whole thing lifts with her easily. "If it helps running towards the cliff you can just close your eyes. Ready? Let's go!" And she begins to move for the edge without any hint of fear.
The Addict lifts the bar, and then runs along with Cheer. They keep their eyes open, but they do yell loudly as they draw nearer to the edge. It's not fear so much as an adrenalin rush drawing the sound out of them. The yell because a near-hysterical laugh, every instinct saying 'do not do this' while they do it anyway.
The Thrill-Seeker gives a powerful leap as she gets to the edge first, trusting Briar to take that same leap. And then they are falling for a few brief seconds before the wind fills the glider wings. With a sudden rush they are thrown upwards and they might hear, "WHOOA!" From Cheer as she fights with her bar to level out at the same time as she sticks her feet in her own harness. As the glider levels out she quickly glances over a shoulder to check on Briar, a big grin across her face.
The Addict leaps! And tucks their feet in the foot harness. "Oh my god!" they cry out. "This is amazing!" They're content to hang onto the bar and let Cheer do the steering. The look on their face is almost childilke in its wonder. The view is admittedly uncomparable, with the valley far below. "You can see forever!"
"You can actually let go of the bar since I'm steering. Pretend you're flying. That's the nice thing about being the buddy," Cheer shouts over her shoulder. With care she veers away from the mountain side and the more chaotic winds there. "Landing will be fun!" She says with excitement as she pulls up and around for a better view of where they took off from. The bright pink and red glider is obvious to spot in the sunny sky.
MartyrMcFly arrives from Temporary Room Nexus.
Dare pads right up to the edge of the cliff and simply watches, grinning as they glide away.
The Martyr leaves back to Temporary Room Nexus
The Addict spreads their arms and laughs with delight. "This would be entirely unproblematic if we didn't have to figure out how to land," they call out. "Look! I think I see Dare." They have to look over their shoulder to see him, and they give him a little wave.
The Thrill-Seeker turns the glider at Briar's call, turning to look in that direction. "I think you're right!" She calls back. "I can land. Just be bumpy and rough. Like I said, FUN!" There's a bit of a cackle then as she turns into the wind. Letting it slow them down so that Briar can wave closer and more properly at their amore below. "I love doing this. Flying is amazing."
Dare gives them a big wave, entirely unconcerned at just how far he'll fall if his balance wavers even a little. This is the thing the three of them have in common underneath. This particular delight in exactly this sort of advanture. He is content to watch them, their delight his delight.
The Addict waves more. "Let's go say hi," they say. "We can have some lunch and decide what we want to do today." There's a picnic basket amidst all the gear, resting atop a ground blanket all folded up neatly. "Then we can go back up. It'll be fun!"
"That sounds like a great plan," Cheer says and she makes a shooing gesture with her hand at Dare. Then turns the glider around. An updraft carries them suddenly high into the air and her response is to go, "WEeeeeEEEEeeeeeee!" And then try to gain control again. "Get ready to pull your legs out. I'll tell you when," She shouts as the wind roars around them. Then she turns and has to make a small dive before she can straighten in to the landing area chosen. It's a tricky landing too. Against a mountain with a narrow margin for error. But guess who is grinning like a maniac?
Dare takes a moment to catch on and tries making swooping motions with his hands to encourage them to keep gliding, but he does move out well out of the way in case they really do land. He hasn't the sense to be worried about the landing, but then when he was in danny's place he didn't either, so....
"Okay," Briar says to Cheer. They're adventurous enough that these updrafts and promises of a rough landing don't worry them overmuch. Maybe they just have faith in Cheer to know what she's doing. "I'm ready!" They call to Dare, not that he can hear them from this distance, "Hello!"
They come in fast and Cheer is fighting the wind trying to throw them off course and up into the air. "MMmmm...now," She says and yanks her own legs out. The wind almost ruins it and her boot slips slightly, yet she throws herself forward and hops and skips and manages to not biff it though when they do come to a stop she's favoring an ankle. "WOOO!" She shouts, reaching up to unbuckle her straps. "That was fun. And now we have company!"
Dare cheers as they land. Once they are on the ground he trots over, "Isn't that the most amazing sensation? But you didn't have to stop just for me."
The Addict careens into Cheer as they hop and skip as well, but they get off easy this time. Beginner's luck. No favored limbs. "I packed enough food for everyone," they say. "I hope you don't mind, I stole some of your cookies to put in the basket, Cheer." They work on getting unbuckled. "It's time to eat," Briar tells Dare. "Don't worry your pretty head about it."
The Thrill-Seeker is grinning as she unbuckles herself from the harness. "Mind? I make them for eating and enjoyment!" She says cheerfully as she moves to sit on a nearby rock, rubbing her ankle absently. "And food sounds good. Give me time to wrap this." So non-chalant.
Dare grins and ruffles Briar's hair, not minding the teasing. He eyes Cheer's limp, "You want a hand at all?"
"I'm going to be honest. That looked terrifying." There's the Confidant, dressed for outdoors in khaki shorts and a gray t-shirt that features a four leaf clover on the chest. His hair is damp and wavy and loose and he has a fresh cut across his nose of mysterious origin. "Also, I found out that I am not a natural outdoor person."
The Addict gets unbuckled and hugs Dare, then Cheer, then they bound over to Chance, wrapping their arms around him. "It was so cool," they say. "The world looks so small up there, and you're just, like, thinking okay now what? Because if you make the wrong decision, you're going to die." Which, oddly, seems to thrill Briar? They calm though to regard the new cut. "Aw, poor sweetheart. We'll have to go on an urban adventure next time."
The Thrill-Seeker turns that sunny smile on Dare and says, "Grab me the first aiad kit from over there," She says and points to the little pile of gear. There's two tubs in addition to what Addict desired. Within them camping supplies. "I'll be fine. Do you know how many twisted ankles Kim performed on? Eesh! This is nothing. Being wounded on an outing only makes it better!" Cheer has a strange idea of fun, but that is nothing new.
Dare grins at Chance, "It's incredibly fun! Hang glider, manticore, I just love being up in the air." He eyes Chance's nose, "What did you do to yourself?" He's in purple and black board shorts and his old Shriekback evolutions tee shirt, which is shretch tight across a wider, more muscular chest than when he wore it last. He hugs Briar back, and then offers the same to the other two. "I think the chance of death is part of why it's so fun." he hands cheer the first aid kit to Cheer, kissing the top of her head.
"Holden loved to fly. Chance hated it because it was painful...something about the pressure. Me? Hard pass." The Confidant explains. "Do you want me to look at your ankle, Cheer? Chance was an EM--Paramedic. Paramedic." He smiles at Addict. "Remember how many times Helena corrected people before I noticed? Chance was very picky about that. He worked hard for that certification." He says primly. "Anyway, I'll keep my feet on the ground."
The Addict gives Chance a kiss on the corner of his lips, then says, "Yeah, you don't have to go up if you don't want to." They then go to grab the picnic blanket and spread it out close enough to the edge to enjoy the view, but far enough away no one will accidentally plummet. Then they get the picnic basket and start going through it. "I got a ham and swiis sandwich for Cheer, balogna and American cheese for Chance, and cheese and veggie for me and Dare. There's a thermos of tomato soup, and some chocolate chip cookies." Also little bottles of red wine in individual servings. Because picnics need tiny wine bottles.
The Thrill-Seeker preens for a moment under the kiss as she takes the kit and opens it up. Pulling out the ace bandage and then pulling off her hiking boot to apply it. "Did you walk into a tree?" Is her ever so helpful quip. "Oh, that's right. Sure. I just twisted it, but an expert wrap never hurt nothing." And so she presents him with ace bandage and foot with only a little swelling around the ankle. Turning her smile on Briar, "You know me so well!" It delights her and she reaches for her sandwich and the tiny wine bottle. "Awww, it's so cute."
Dare smiles, "More air time for the rest of us! Oh look! Tiny bottles! That suits the flying theme!"
The Confidant is more than happy to reuse his old skills. And he is very particular about wrapping that ankle. "Yeah. A branch smacked the shit outta me. I'm surprised it only cut me and didn't bruise. But...I'm not sure if I bruise easily. So odd when you change bodies. Some tan. Some don't. Some bruise. Some scar. Ask Briar. Chance is ghostly. He'll burn on a cloudy day. Jody tanned and freckled." He finishes up, double checks her ankle and toes. "All set. Pass the red drink, please? And a cookie. Wait...is that bologna with yellow cheese?" He sounds excited about this.
The Thrill-Seeker pops open her bottle and takes a sip before taking a bite of her sandwich. Head bobbing slightly in delight as she chews. "Mmmmm, just the right balance of mustard and mayo!" She praises Briar before turning to watch Chance do his thing. Wiggling her toes when he is done and passing food along to him. "Smells like it," She says around her bite.
"It's true, Chance is a pale boy," Briar says. The bologna sandwich is offered to Chance along with a cookie. "Double bologna, double cheese," they say. On white Wonder bread, of course. She grins at Cheer and says, "Hey, I know how to tell the dispenser what's what." Like that's some kind of life skill. They settle on the blanket and take mugs out of the picnic basket, along with the soup thermos. "I love this," they say. "Going new places and just being together."
Dare eyes The Confident, "I have deffinately noticed a difference between my bodies. I am still trying to adjust to the dramatic change in height. And other things.... Speaking of which, if I ask you something personal, would you all be willing to give me an honest opinion? I won't be offended." he tries his sandwich and grins at Briar, "You really do know me. The more grains the better. I love this too."
The Confidant idly pulls the crust off his bread. "Well, you've been through like...three bodies? So yeah, there are gonna be stark differences." He tosses the crusts away and starts eating. "Personal question?" He pauses a moment. "I'll give you an honest opinion, of course. I...My mind went right to dicks. Is that weird? That is weird. I'm sorry I even said it." He takes a breath. "So, what's wrong Dare?"
The Thrill-Seeker gives Dare a coy little side-eye and smile before taking another bite of her sandwich. Head bobbing in enthusiastic agreement with Briar. "Mmmmhmmm, I agree," She says before swallowing and taking another swig of wine. "You don't have to glide to have fun with us. We could also go river rafting on the river! Not too many rapids," Of course this is Thrill's opinion and not to be trusted by the faint of heart. "Not weird at all cause my mind went to that too, Chance. But it could just be we've been left with dirty minds from previous encounters." And she grins before taking another bite.
"It's not that weird," Briar says. "That's usually where my mind goes." They distribute mugs of tomato soup that has just a hint of oregano in it. Only when everyone is served do they dig into their own lunch. "We could also just be lazy somewhere," they suggest. "Though I do want to go river rafting. Danny went river rafting a few times." They dip the corner of their sandwich into their soup, then take a bite. "Mmm, roasted peppers."
Dare nods, "Three, yes." he laughs, "It's not as weird as it might be in other cirmustances. I've spent the last twoish years with everyone curious about my dick. I assume that curiousity persists.... Oh! river rafting! Let's!" He eyes Chance, "Yes, I have one. No, it's not the same one I used to have. Any other questions about my dick, Chance?"
He chews another bite of sandwich, trying to figure out how to word his question. "I am thinking about me and Cheer and the Wendy precident. Max became wedndy because she... couldn't go on as she was, right? But there is continuity of consciousness and the essential parts that make her her are all there. you could see what happened to her as a more dramatic version of whet happens to us when we wake up from one of out trips out there. Way more dramatic, but of a kind."
he dips his sandwich in imitation of Briarr and tries it, "Oooo! You're right! That's wonderful!" he takes a deep breath, meeting their eyes each in turn, "Most people have come back within the normal variation of different, for what counts as normal locally. Cheer and I didn't. Star got me wondering why. What if the ones in charge of all this needed us to be different for next time. More dramatically different than one normal there and back would make us. I can tell I'm different, but from inside, I can't tell how different. Is this a normal level of different given we came back from being deities or am I... more Max to wendy? Is Cheer?"
The Confidant raises a hand. "Max...Wendy?" He tilts his head. "I still kinda understand the question though. I've been disabled in five Encounters but I'm not in-between. That messes with my head a bit but for the most part, I'm still me. Whoever me is. I have changed physically, slightly after Beaver Lake. I got...cut. When I was kinda normal looking before. And my accent changed." He shifts a bit as he thinks. "I believe, personally, that I'm good looking because it attracts people. I have a odd set of features. Tall, red hair, fair skin, nice body, whatever, because it's easier to open up to nice looking people and people notice me. Which goes with the variety of issues. It draws attention. It draws people to me and then end up...leaning on me. Make sense?" Beat. "Can't speak on Max and Wendy. Because I don't know..." He trails off and shrugs
The Thrill-Seeker looks delighted at the soup and cannot seem to decide what to dig into. The soup is sipped and she makes a happy humming sound as she eats with relish. "If we're out here long enough I brought portabello mushrooms and veggie skewers to grill, and some hot dogs," There is a wink shared with Chance at that. "I may have even slipped a couple cans of Spaighetti O's in there just in case." And for nostalgia. Kimmy loved that shit.
"MMmm! I know. We can do to a different river and do a lazy float on tubes and inflatables." She quiets as Martyr speaks, looking at him thoughtfully. "I mean...I feel better. More right. I didn't know I didn't feel right in my old skin until I was aware in this skin. If that makes sense?" Thoughtfully she finishes off her sandwich and follows it up with a gulp of the soup. "MMmmmmMMMmm!"
"I wonder if it's one of the ways they correct for, whatever, sanity," Briar says. "If there's someone doing this to us. When we get too broken, they change something to alleviate the tension. Sometimes it's biological change. Max was pretty messed up, and let's face it, we can't have someone walking around shiving us to death with a broken bottle. So something had to change, and it did."
Dare explains to Chance, "Max transformed into a completely different body with a different taste in food. The transformation... stabilized her. Max was coming apart, and then she wasn't. Like someone who goes on anti-depressents. They're still them, but functional."
He looks sharply at Cheer, surprised, "I hadn't... I didn't think there was anything... not right about you, but now tht you say that... You are different. More grounded, while still... all the things that attracted me to you in the first place. I really was coping oay before, but I'm... really steady now. Like butressed cathedral vs. a pyramid."
"Oh! Right. I didn't know she went by Wendy now." Chance smiles a little. "I'm really glad she's feeling better. I couldn't reach Max. I knew before I ever even tried but Wendy, maybe. If they need me." Now he tries the soup and gives it a hungry grunt of approval. After a thoughtful moment, he says, "After I was blind for so long...or what felt like a millennia or..." He sighs. "I'm tired of wearing my brokenness on my sleeve. Everyone can see that I'm...different. I imagine that can be a draw to certain people. Make me easier to trust or whatever but I deeply dread the Encounters. I never know what will be wrong with me and I don't know yet how to process it properly afterwards. Dare helped me a lot with that but I know it's going to happen again. That is probably why I haven't changed too much. A familiar face is always easier to trust. Holden aside."
The Thrill-Seeker lowers her mug and licks a bit of soup from her lips. "Yeah. I was struggling before. Everything felt...so much. Not anymore," She says with a shrug of her shoulders. The soup is swirled and then she sets it down to pull sock and boots back on. A lot looser than it was before, but comfortable. While she does it she gives Chance a thoughtful look. "Honestly...your disabilities really weren't. They all made you more perceptive in other ways. And that's carried over now. Like, I bet you can hear the skip in someones voice if they were lying." She's trying to help too. "Or hear someone whispering in a loud room."
The Addict smiles a little at Chance's grunt of approval at the soup. Years of being Holden's wife has engendered a certain pleasure in them when he's satisfied with his meal. In some ways, Dia was very much a housewife. "I haven't thought very much about my role in anything," they admit. "I'm different every time I come back, but it's because I've absorbed something of my last life into my psyche. At first, I very much thought like Martin. Danny taught me to relax and enjoy life. Diamanto has made me feel things deeply, and there's a temper I never had before. I don't know what any of it's supposed to mean though."
Dare nods, "I haven't seen her since she got back, but that's what she'd decided last time." he touches chances arm, "Not broken, just a little battered, and I'm always willing to listen if you want to talk about it some more." He offers Cheer a hug, "I'm glad you feel better. I'm sorry I didn't notice you were struggling."
He blushes watching Briar's look in response to Chance's grunt, remembering his wedding present to them, "I can't tell if this about of shift is normal from having been Osiris, or if it's... magnified by the shift in body." He takes a drink of wine, "I've just had a horrible thought. I'm not sure if I should voice it."
"Thanks, guys." Chance mutters, eyes averted slightly. "I do know ASL and I didn't get Holden's nose but...voices, I notice more. Recognize. Jody carried the most pain and I came out wondering why. But, I learned that there is no joy without pain. And Briar can tell you, a lot of us who came out of Prosperity became closer. I didn't fully understand love like that until then." He shifts a little. "Jody was smart too. Perceptive when it came to people. I carried that out too. Holden prepared me for change. His life felt small before Dia. Small and repetitive. Then he began change, as she did. I mean, it wasn't obvious, I don't think. But he was bolder and braver...than me, even." He looks to Dare as he finishes his soup. "You gotta spit it out now. Here is better than out there. Maybe it'll disappear like this place, when we leave."
"Honey, I didn't notice I was struggling," Cheers says as she loops her arm briefly around Dare, hugging him in turn. A kiss pressed to his cheek when he pulls back to regard the other two. "Horrible in a good way?" Comes the cheery and hopeful query.
The Addict gives Chance's hand a squeeze. "Prosperity did bring us together. I was lucky that was my first life. I was such a frightened child, and you guys were all I had." They smile softly, then hide their emotional expression behind their soup mug. "Yeah, tell us," they say to Dare. "No fair to leave us wondering."
Dare kisses Cheer's cheek. Then he looks them each in the eyes again and whispers his fear, "What if what's coming next is so bad that they needed to... give some of us extra stability. For the sake of the group?"
The Confidant laughs. One of those sputtering types that leaves his face red. "I'm not laughing at you!" He says quickly, as soon as he catches his breath. "I promise. I promise. I'm laughing at the idea that it could be worse, first. And then, I think...of course it can be worse. Prosperity was the worse for me. Because we were a small town with deep roots in our family. We'd all grown up together and then we got to watch one another suffer. Martin was an outsider but Jody grew up there. He knew /everyone/. He was a deputy and felt responsible for everyone's wellbeing. So, to me, if we sleep and we are all related or close in some other way? It's going to be really, really bad. But...only when we return. Because you don't know in the moment, of course."
"But, I really feel like something has shifted. A corner has been turned. Something is different. I don't what but coming out of an Encounter early. And 'early' is /my theory/...it means something. Also, we don't have any clues this time. Anyone seen a thing to indicate where we might end up? No. Something is waiting out there and it's..." He takes a deep breath. "It doesn't matter. When its over, we come home. To the ones we love." He smiles at Briar and steals a double kiss. Corner, then lips.
The Addict returns the kisses sweetly. "To the ones we love," they murmur. They give Dare's hand a squeeze, and Cheer's as well. "I don't know if it's going to be worse, whatever's coming. I wonder if we caught them unaware somehow. Maybe that's why they didn't kill us all before bringing us back. Though, to be honest, for all we know the bomb could have gone off and it ended us." They stretch, then get to their feet. "I'm going to take a little walk," they say. "I need to think about some stuff."
The Thrill-Seeker tilts her cheek into that kiss and reaches out to take his hand. Then she makes a face at Dare, "Oh, not good horrible," She says with only mild disappointment. "Well, if that is the case then I hope I give them hell with that extra stability. I won't let it ruin this time with my people as me." And she raises and takes a drink from her tiny wine bottle in Chance's direction. On impulse she turns to give Dare a more solid kiss on the lips. It's similar to Chance's own with Briar, but she's right on target. Turning back to watch Briar head off she smiles and nods. "We might go down to the river, or just hang here," She calls after them. "I'm easy."
Dare nods, "A bunch of us think this was early. No momentos. No...obvious ending, just build for something we didn't do and a terrible event that was still in the future. All of us being yanked out at once before the dying proper started." He squeezes Briar and Cheer's hands, "To the ones we love." He smiles at Briar, "Kiss before you go, Love?" Then he's laughing as he catces up with Cheer's thought, "I think that sort of horrible is Briar's to suggest or veto." He returns Cheer's kiss. "So am I, Lovely. Possibly notoriously so after Carnival."
The Addict leans in to give Dare a lingering kiss. Then they kiss Cheer on the cheek and step onto the trail. They give Chance a glance over their shoulder that seems to say, 'well?' And they head down the path aways. "We'll be back in a bit," they say.
Dare's comment makes Cheer laugh and grin brightly. "I don't mind as long as you don't," She says, reaching out to boop him on the nose playfully. As the other two head off she watches them for a moment before leaning back to sneak another kiss from Dare. "Want to go fly babe? Or shall we go find the hot springs I wanted to add in?" She asks coyly as she reaches out to adjust the collar of his shirt. When he helps her to her feet a whispered answer is given. With a giggle she moves to grab something from one of the tubs. It appears to be two large towels. With these over one shoulder she trots back over and links arms with Dare. The two wandering off in another direction from Briar and Chance. "They should be close," She says with her usual enthusiasm.