Has the Explorer been the soul of amiability this Facility cycle? No. No, she hasn't. Can anyone truly blame her? Well, one supposes they could, but then she'd probably try to punch them in the crotch. She seemed to be doing much better the night before , after her jaunt through the Anywhere Room as the Huntress.. until she wasn't. At least she removed herself from the situation cleanly and without fuss.
Now, she's simply lounging in her room, belly to mattress, bare feet raised into the air behind her. Before her on the bed, open to somewhere about a third of the way through, is a well-worn copy of Catcher in the Rye -- her most recent souvenir. The door's been left open a crack, though it's possible that's meant more to keep 'fresh' air flowing than as an open invitation to just anyone.
Luckily, Briar isn't 'just anyone.'
Briar knocks on the door frame and says, "It's me." Always good to let the Huntress know who's there before approaching. They're boyish today, though not Danny-boyish. Their hair is long, pulled back in a loose tail. They're clean-shaven, no makeup. They're in comfortable jeans and a black t-shirt that says Woodface on it. They've got a bottle of whiskey on a tray with two glasses, and there are some more of those Greek donuts with honey drizzled on them. "Can I come in, Senni?"
Awww. Loukouwhatsis. They took note, even if they hadn't swiped any off her plate the evening before. She smells them before she sees them, and it's with a sniff-sniiiiiff that her head comes up, a grin rising to splay itself lazily across her lips. "Long as those are for sharing," she replies, unnecessarily. Who would bring in a tray with two glasses, if they were planning on drinking (and eating) alone? "Come on up. Plenty of room." She's not kidding. The bed, most easily accessible due to its elevated state by a few steps leading up along either side, is king-sized. All for her little bitty lonesome.
Briar smiles and wanders over. "You don't even have to share if you don't want to." They come up to the bed and set the tray down carefully. "I love your room," they say. "Mine is a lot more like Jade's was now. Lots of red." They pour out two glasses of whiskey, neat, and they offer one over. "We need to drink," they say. "To surviving another lifetime, and to stupid men being idiots."
"I will always happily raise a glass to that," she offers in wry response, closing her book and setting it aside. Their belongings have a tendency to come back fresh and good as new the next morning, just like they do, but even so. A spill would be a sad thing. Also, prevent her from continuing reading until tomorrow. Glass in hand, she does indeed raise it upward by several inches. "To surviving stupid men being hypocridiots."
The Addict raises their glass and says, "Amen, sister." Then they take a swallow. They shiver with pleasure at the burn of it. "I told him, he had to talk to you. Because there was a promise, and even though it didn't bother me all that much, I knew it would hurt you." They frown faintly. "He doesn't mean to hurt anyone, but... but this is why you don't make promises." They top off each of their glasses and says, "Except this one: I love you."
"Mm. It wasn't just the broken promise," Senni admits. "It's.. well, like I just said -- the hypocrisy of it all. Everyone gleefully spouts the community mantra, 'what happens outside the Facility, stays outside the Facility.' And that's all well and good when someone fucked up in one of their lifetimes, and wants to make themselves feel better about it, or someone else decides to be magnanimous and reassure them that it's all good, nothing to forgive, blah yadda blah."
She lowers her gaze to the contents of her glass, giving her wrist a minute flick, to send the amber liquid swirling lightly. "So where'd 'what happens outside stays outside' go, in this instance? It's perfectly fine and dandy for him to throw that out the window when he'd benefit by ignoring it?" Shaking her head, she takes another long swallow of the whiskey, savoring the heat that surges through her just as Briar did. And falling quiet for a few long moments.
"You know me. I'm not the petty sort. And you know I adore the hell out of Dare -- especially when we were all on Icarus, he became like family. But this.." She sighs, shakes her head. "Yeah, I'm not down for this. I deserve better than to be expected to just smile and accept it when trust is shattered. I love you, Briar. That hasn't changed any. But I can barely stand to look at him, right now."
Briar's brow knits, and they say earnestly, "You absolutely deserve better, sweetheart. He made a promise and he broke it, and while I know he's on this self-discovery thing, he hurt you, and I'm not... I love him, but I'm not making excuses. You are absolutely not wrong here." They take another drink. "I can't blame you, honey. Feel your feelings. Harm doesn't need to be intended for harm to be done."
"I love him too," she points out, flinching with the admission slightly. "That kind of thing isn't like a light switch that I can just flip on and off, on a whim. Which is why it hurts, and why I'm angry, and why I'm.." She grits her teeth for a long moment, swallows hard, then grates out, "Why I'm stupidly hoping he wakes up and changes course before his 'path of self-discovery' leads him to the realization that he's a selfish assface."
Briar rubs Senni's back and says, "Maybe he needs to realize that. Maybe he needs to realize that just wanting something doesn't mean he should have it. I'm poly as they come, I guess, but you still need to communicate and prioritize. He's my husband, and you're my wife, and that... that means something. I talked to Dare, because neither of us want to hurt you, and in public spaces, if you're there, we cool it with the PDAs. He was there first, but you're my wife."
"I.. I'd understand, though, if you shifted my priority down some. I mean, I was your wife when I was Mira, and you were my Bae. This is.. out here, you know? That's not to say I don't feel it too, but I'd get it," Senni manages, albeit with some difficulty that makes itself known in a thickening of her voice, and a slight pallor to her features.
Briar slips an arm around Senni and draws them closer. "I want to put you first, I mean at least for awhile, and even then, to keep you equal, not below. They have each other, and right now you're going through a tough time, and I love you. I want to be close to you. I want to cuddle with you on the couch." They smile softly. "We feel it, so let's just feel it."
Senni curls herself in against them, letting out a slow breath as she does her best to release some of those tension-inducing, toxic feels that had started to creep in. Her eyes drift closed, and she nods faintly. "I want that too. Just.. please, don't take it personally if I have to get up and excuse myself, sometimes. I'm doing my best, but when things happen that push me too far, or I feel my resolve starting to fracture, it's healthiest for me.. and safest for the people around me."
Briar holds them close. "I won't take it personally, love. I know you're doing the best you can, and I know you can take care of yourself without me hovering. If you need to leave, or go hunting, or whatever else, I know you'll come back to me when you're ready, and I can go check on you. One thing I don't want you to worry about right now is me, okay? I love you if you're around, I love you if you're not. I love you if you feel good, I love you if you feel bad, or angry, or grief. You do what you need to do."
"Even if what I need to do is dip your husband's dangly bits in ambrosia and unleash a bear on him?" she asks, her voice an odd mix of meek and mischievous, with a look to her eyes that matches when she peeks up at them.
Briar smiles, then laughs a little at the mental image. "Even so," they say. "And please don't mistake my friendship for Flick as anything other than just that. She's new, she's still getting her footing, and it's not her fault Chance is being an idiot. She's a friend, that's all, and I'm trying to help her adjust. It's not... you know. Like that."
Her eyes flicker-flash with a sudden surge of emotion, and not the altogether pleasant sort, but she listens, breathes, and ultimately nods quietly. "I get that. And I don't.. I mean, it's not as if I hate the woman. This isn't her fault, I know that. But sometimes seeing her -- and even Dare, to some extent -- is like having salt ground viciously into a still-gaping wound."
Briar sets their glass aside so they can wrap both arms around Senni. "I know," they say quietly. "He picked them over there being an us. I'm not unaffected. Hell, I'm jealous of him stealing my boyfriend. Neither of them asked me how I felt about it, though Dare has since sounded me out. If you need to step away for your own sake, then Senni, do it."
"Moment to moment, yes, I may need to step away. But I'm not stepping away from you entirely," she's sure to clarify, burrowing into the comfort offered by Briar's arms. "And, yes. I feel replaced." She sniffs, crinkles her nose as if she smelled something foul. "We've loved each other through how many lifetimes, in one fashion or another, and in between as well.. and then he spends a brief time in Lake Havasu with those two, and suddenly he's willing to throw 'us' away? Assface."
Briar presses their nose to Senni's hair, and they kiss her head, holding her to their chest. "I know you aren't. I have faith in you, Senni. Don't worry about me while you're mending. Just know that I love you, and I get it. I really do. He doesn't think. He doesn't think about how his actions affect people. He thinks with his heart, not his head. And if he's going through this transformation... fine, but what you do affects other people, and he's responsible for that."
Senni grumbles something under her breath, though given proximity, it's a fair bet that Briar would pick up on most of it. Has to do with luring Chance into an Anywhere Room, something something cock masquerading as a brain, something hungry bear something. Ahem. Another cleansing breath is drawn, and her arms slip in around their waist. "Sleep here, tonight? Even if you need to head out and do other things for a while first, come sleep in my bed? Heck crashed here last night and it helped more than I think I'm ready to admit, just.. not being alone."
There is no judgment of bear plans. Eh, it won't kill Chance, not permanently. They give Senni a squeeze. "You've got me all night, gorgeous. We can cuddle, or we can do more than cuddling. We can do whatever you want." Quietly, they admit, "I've wanted some Senni time. I, um. I tend to like guys more, but you make me crazy in a good way. Definitely the most important woman in my life."
"Yeah?" Tipping her head up to bring her gaze to theirs, she tightens the circle of her arms around Briar's waist, just slightly. "I have to admit, you're pretty vital to me, too. Everything just feels.. easy, when I'm with you. Everything flows naturally, and I don't have to worry about anything, I can just want, and feel, and do, and be. I'd be lost without you."
"You have me," Briar says warmly. They're in full-on cuddle mode now, hugging Senni close. "You're still the prettiest girl I've ever seen, and you're tough as nails, talented, kind." They huff that hair shamelessly. "You smell amazing. And everything is comfortable with you. I fell for you on the dance floor that night, in Prosperity."
"We should go back there," she muses, rubbing her cheek against their chest as a smile eases into place over her lips. "Not just for Nettie's proposed train robbery, which sounds like it'd be incredibly fun, but to revive that night. Have our little town gathering and dance, all over again."
"I would like that," Briar says. "After the train robbery, let's celebrate with a dance. I'll come in my best Sunday suit, and I'll have the prettiest girl in Propserity on my arm. I never would've let you dance with anyone else if I'd known what was going to happen." They hug Senni tighter. "Watching you fall was like watching the sun getting put out."
There's definitely an 'awww!' quality to the sound that arises in Senni's throat, and leaning up, she seals that emotive expression with a kiss. "If it helps any, I didn't really feel a thing. And I felt awful for all of you who had to see that, and take care of my empty shell afterwards."
"I stayed by your side as much as they'd let me," Briar admits. "Which wasn't much, I'm afraid. When I heard you'd died, I was heartbroken, and I felt guilty, because I had a soon-to-be wife, but I missed you." They sigh quietly, and they give Senni a kiss. "Then I had you at the lake, but I lost you. Whatever happens out there, in here, I love you, and I'm so glad every time I get to be with you."
"Even when you're my admittedly sexy as fuck but obviously off-limits brother?" she teases, grinning up at them and slipping one hand up to coax a stray tendril of dark hair back from their features with a whisper-soft touch. "If ever there comes a lifetime when we're not in each other's lives in some way, I'm going to be seriously ticked when we wake back up here. I'll be the lunatic stalking around yelling vile insults and threats at the ceiling, as if the responsible party's up there and can hear me."
Briar laughs softly, hiding theire face against Senni's shoulder briefly. Then they say, "Even then. At least now we know you can be my sister and, when we get back, it's not weird. I think it's better we were a couple first." They lean in to claim a tender kiss, then murmur, "If I hear you yelling vile insults at the ceiling, I'll know that's my cue to come find you and bring booze."
"Oh, skip the booze.. just toss me over your shoulder and carry me off to do all the unspeakable things to me that you weren't able to during the offending lifetime," Senni replies, an impish glitter lighting her eyes in the scant heartbeat before her teeth take playful hold of Briar's lower lip and tug, gently, before releasing it again. "And then all the cuddles, of course. Those are more speakable."
"Definitely the unspeakable stuff," Briar says in a low tone, "and then the speakable stuff. Lots of that." They smiles at Senni, then say, "Listen, I just want you to know, that if you, like... if you want to get it on with someone, and the moment comes up, and you're wondering what to do? I would never ask you not to. I don't feel threatened, and I just want you to be happy."
"Yeah? 'Cause a certain Sheriff tried to get me out of my hunting tunic last night, but I put a stop to it," she murmurs, amusement an undercurrent in those green eyes now. "Partially because I wasn't.. really wanting to be close like that, with anyone just then, but I admit, there was a sliver of 'not sure how Briar would feel' in there, too."
Briar grins and ducks their head. "Well, I can't begrudge the sheriff wanting the prettiest girl in the room." They stroke Senni's cheek with the pad of their thumb, and they look deep in to her eyes. "I want you to be happy, and if that means riding the sheriff like Trigger, then make him your pony and wear him out. Just hang a scarf on your door or something so I don't intrude. You're not just my wife, Senni, you're my friend. I'll high-five you just like Jade would have."
Senni can't help but laugh a little at the mental imagery evoked, on multiple levels. Still, she sobers some after a few moments and hesitates briefly before responding to their trust and selflessness with.. okay, maybe not quite as much of those things. "Um.. for a while, at least, would it be awful if I asked you not to make it.. er.. glaringly apparent that you were with Chance, like that? It's messed up, I know, especially since I'm weirdly comfortable with you and Dare, but.." She scrunches her nose, and peers up at Briar apologetically.
Briar presses a kiss to Senni's forehead. "I will keep my time with Chance private," they murmur. "You're finding your way right now, Senni, and I want to make it easier. If he's any kind of gentleman, he will, too. Either way, it's kind of up to me, and I'm going to try to be cool."
"Like you have to try," she quips, her grin quavering briefly but coming back to prominence swiftly enough. "I love you. And I'm going to try to be cool, too."
Briar says gently, "Let's face it, we're the coolest people in this shit shack." They wink. "Do what you need to, love. And when you start feeling that anger, just think: maybe our next lives, we'll be cannibals and you'll get to eat him."