Log:She I was Seeking
The Scholar sits on the floor of his room, a pad of graph paper in hand, writing very carefully in cursive while referring to a large book open in front of him. He's trying to master an old French writing style, and his efforts, thus far, as so so. There's several other books around him, all related to calligraphy and handwriting in some way or another. Little colorful sticky tabs poke out of them, and he has a pile of discarded pages sitting next to him with previous (apparently, failed) attempts scribbled on it. He's using a fine point Sharpie to write with, for now.
There's a tap-tap-tap at the door, then it opens, Creepshow slipping in quietly. She's dressed like Max - Sisters tee, boxers, nothing else. What was a tent on Max is a bit less so in her new form, her curves filling it out a bit more, though it's still rather big on her.
"Hey," she says. "Whatcha doing? If I'm interrupting, I can come back later."
"Come in," the Scholar says absently as he keeps trying to follow the ornate pattern of an especially fancy S in the book before him. He glances up, stops writing when he sees who it is (and, what she's wearing). "No, it's fine, I was just," he waves a hand at the chaos on the floor around him, "amusing myself," he says, capping his pen and setting it down. He sits there on the floor for a few seconds, taking the sight of her in, then gets up. "How are you doing? Since," he gestures at her, wordlessly indicating her transformation. The hoodie he's wearing is zipped a little lower, allowing Creepshow to see that he's also wearing a Sisters of Mercy shirt. One of Max's, from the Lodge.
"Aw," says Creepshow, padding closer, as she sees the same shirt under his hoodie. "I guess we're both trying to keep her close. I thought that maybe if I dressed like her, it might help. Help you get used to me. Help me be like her. Maybe both." A shrug.
She gently flops to sit across from him on the floor. "I'm not sure if I'm trying too hard or not. I... feel less like her as time passes. Things are changing in me, shifting. I felt exactly the same right after the change, except that the pain was gone. And it still is. But I'm starting to realize that, no, I'm not the same. All the memories are still there. All the feelings... may be in flux. Maybe that's the price for what I needed."
The Scholar glances down at the shirt, smiles and tugs at it under the hoodie. It barely fits; if he takes the hoodie off it will no doubt prove to be skin tight. "It reminds me of waht she meant to him. How she changed him, and me." He turns that same smile on Creepshow now.
"I don't think you're trying too hard. Maybe it's natural that you'll feel less like her, and more like whomever you're going to become now." He raises his eyebrows. "In a way, she was tied to that form. What she was came from that. It's natural that with that gone, the connection might fade too." His expression becomes pained for a second, he wills it away the next, back to a Bastian-like calm acceptance. "It's a price worth paying, if you're not in that kind of pain anytmore."
"I think I knew pretty fast," Creepy says with a nod. "Changing my body wouldn't fix my mind, my soul. I knew the feelings would have to change, too, or nothing really would. Before... I felt everything in the most intense way. Everything. Nothing was subtle, nothing had degrees. Max was the most me I'd ever been. Things feel dialed back now. Or they're gradually getting there."
She reaches out a hand to take his. "I do still love you. I still feel everything she felt, just not as much. But I'd like for whatever we are or have to be built around more than Max and Bastian. For us to make it work here, it needs to be rooted here, too. Otherwise it just becomes one of the things we went through in one life. Y'know?"
"Our minds can only take so much," the Scholar says, gaze distant for a moment. "I read about that, when I was," he points up among his shelves, "reading up on what Bastian was going through. I don't feel his memories of all those horrible things he went through, but I feel what they did to him, and I was wondering what I could do for myself. There's a lot about how things which are too intense for too long--like the war, like all the pain--they injure you in ways that are difficult to recover from. So it's not a surprise she struck a chord with him the way she did."
He takes her hand in turn, covers it with his other hand. He studies her for a time, ducks his head and nods. "Yes. I think that since their time together was so short, there's a lot about one another we don't really know. Not the least because of how we're more than one person." He looks up again, gives her a small, wry smile. "And, the more lives we lead, the more diluted they'll be, but this place remains constant." He sighs, watches her dark eyes with his mismatched brown and green. Finally, he says, "I'm so sorry I couldn't do what you needed."
Creepshow shakes her head, squeezing his hand, a sad smile on her lips. "I'm sorry I asked you to. It wasn't fair. But I'm glad you held onto me for it. That you were there. And I'm glad you're still here with me."
She leans forward to kiss him, the first kiss with new lips, full and soft.
"Don't be sorry for asking. You were right--it did need to be someone who loved you, someone who knew you. I just knew he...I, couldn't do it and come out of it the same, and I didn't want to do that to you." The Scholar clears his throat, rubs at his eyes. "Fortunately Ethan's made of much sterner stuff than me." He tightens his hold on her hand. "I'm glad I could be there for that much. And I will," he glances around them, winces, "this place's capriciousness not-withstanding, always be here for you, when you need me."
He lets go of her hand when she leans forward, cupping her face as he kisses her back. "I love you, and I want to know you, for your own sake. Not just hers, or theirs. For ours."