Someone was in the Anywhere Room. Again. If you're one to notice such things, The Confidant's been a frequent visitor since his day on the beach. He's always a little disoriented when he returns and while the open door policy is still in effect, he asks that one knocks. And now he's back in the parlor from behind an Anywhere door and startles as the radio plays. "Oh fuck! Christ, shit!" He exclaims, as if the object scared the crap out of him. Also, is he...sunburned? He seems like he have been. His forearms are peeling and red.
The Penitent certainly misses the television. The radio is nice and all, but there's something about having something to watch. So she's curled up in her spot on the couch, in her sweatpants and singlet top, all loose-fitting casual, with a cup of tea and the remnants of a plate of scrambled eggs as she just sort of stares at the radio, willing it to somehow provide some visual entertainment. It's a kind of serene setting really. And then there's a cursing confidant! She shifts her glance aside lazily, offering that pleasant little smile of hers. "Getting a bit lost in there?" She wonders in a light voice, seemingly distracted, though her gaze is focused. Apparently she's in zen mode.
The Addict emerges from the dining hall with a bag of black licorice from the dispesner. Their hair is down, and they're in flannel pajama bottoms with a lace-trimmed singlet. "You didn't use sunscreen," they say. They offer Penny a warm smile, then meander to a chair to curl up in. They chew on a black licorice vine thoughtfully and eye the radio. "What do you think we'll be doing? It'll be the Great Depression. That can't be good."
Now The Confidant's face is red. "They let me fall asleep." He says distantly. To Penitent, he just nods a little. "Lost is a way to put it, yeah." He crosses over to take a seat on the other end of her couch. "You're right, Briar. The 1930s would be the Great Depression. That is not good at all." He idly picks at the peeling skin as he talks. "What is going to be wrong with me there? The possibilities are a great depression." He pouts, sulks and then jumps up towards the dining room. "This calls for mac and cheese, fuck it." He mutters.
"Pick any period of time that we know about and there'll always be something wrong with it," Penny says mildly, shrugging her shoulders. "I'm not really going to sweat where we're going to end up. When we're there it'll be all we know anyway." She shifts a little at her spot on the couch, glancing between the two of them and taking a big sip from her mug of tea. "But it's likely just the smallest of hints. The television playing all the eighties hits didn't make any suggestions about college students and massacres and ghosts and lake creatures that might end the world, so."
The Addict says, "I just hate going backward. Am I going to die this time because I get strung up for being gay? Or will I be able to fake it enough to get by, like Martin sort-of tried to do." They have no illusions that not everyone knew Martin was queer as a three dollar bill." They glance at the radio. "I guess it doesn't really matter. It's gonna suck." They don't sound all that down about it, though. They just keep merrily munching on licorice.
"Dude, you could end up straight. Like Chance. I wasn't Bi until the /next/ Encounter and the one after..." The Confidant says upon return with a bowl of boxed mac and cheese. "Derek was straight too. I..." He seems to ponder that while chewing before spitting out, "Pansexual! That's the one for me." And then he moves on a beat, looking to Penny. "I didn't fret it until this last one. Derek's memory was like my nightmare. I remember people here. That's who I am. Something about his...issue is going to haunt me. Now, I'm a little scared of what comes next, even if in the moment, it'll be all I know. Because /here/ is where you unpack it."
Penny nods in agreement with the Confidant. "Yeah, you might not even be. I've been asexual, gay, straight as a ruler and then a lesbian trying to convince herself she wasn't gay. I'm a bit miffed about that last one, actually." She shakes her head and shifts up to her feet, emptying her tea. "But it's fine. I think there's a lesson to be learned anyway. It seems things work out different for different people. Like how some seem to always have the same name, like Colorado." SHe shrugs a little. "I need to get something," she suddenly announces, smiling briefly at the two of them, somewhat apologetically, as she slinks down the hallway.
The Addict complains, "Danny was such a boy, I feel like part of me was... I don't know the word I'm looking for. Not quite stifled, but missing. Like, it's alien to me. It's not horrible. I had a good time when I wasn't being chased or stalked or killed. But when I woke up here, I felt like I needed to re-femme everything to reclaim myself." They nod to Penny as she makes her way back down the hallway, and they offer licorice to Chance. "Was it ever weird, coming back from something like that? Being straight or gay?"
The Confidant takes the licorice, smelling it first. "Well, I've also woken up able to hear. My first, mind you. I heard voices on The Noc so I woke up without them. Ah, and my leg. I had it amputated after New Orleans so that was a thing. And then this time, I woke up with memories of being so fucking clueless. Memories Derek was missing. So. I'm really used to being disoriented. You get to come here and unload it all. And you are femming it up here so you are already on the road back to readjustment. Whatever happens next, you'll wake up being able to handle it. I'll help in anyway I can." Now he tries the licorice. "This is good. Never had the black before. Now that I think about it, going from straight to being in a gay relationship and then coming back was really--I kept to myself after The Noc. Not proud of that."
It's the real stuff. Not licorice-flavored, but real licorice, because the dispenser can do that. No plastic aftertaste. "I'm starting to feel balanced again," they say. "There's nothing a bubble bath can't make better." They smile softly at Chance. "You're so sweet. You've always been so good to me. Even in Prosperity, you were nice to me, and even though you punched Danny, we made up all right." They hold out a hand to Chance. "You did what you had to do."
The Confidant takes The Addict's hand and gives it a squeeze. "You say that but it feels completely unnatural to me. It's weird. Like the guy on my door. Others are leaning on him and I understand that. People need me and having a higher purpose seems like it'd be a good thing but in practice, it's a little crazy making." He returns to his cheap mac and cheese. "Jody had this gut instinct. He knew what a person needed, when they needed it. It made him a good detective on the human front. He was good at getting confessions without violence or outrageous scare tactics. He'd sit across from a guy, look at them and know. And with Martin? He just knew. He knew Martin needed a friend. As for Derek, well, cocaine was not his friend." The Confidant chuckles. "Derek just got tired of faking it. He wanted to be someone he wasn't."
The Addict rises to their feet and switches out the chair for a couch, drawing Chance with them, with the idea of sitting beside him. "Martin was so lost," they say with a sad downturn of their lips. "His dad did such a number on him. Kept him drugged, convinced him everyone around him was gonna hurt him. Jody cemented for him that these were his people and they were worth fighting for." As for Derek, Briar smiles faintly. "Danny wanted to help Derek. He just didn't know how."
The Confidant is glad for the closer company it seems as he smiles in response to the move. "His dad kept him drugged? Whoa. That's fucked up." He thinks for a moment and it's like a lightbulb goes off in his head. "Kaspar controlled Derek by way of information. He would tell lies, omit, add...whatever he wanted. When Derek woke up, he was always really confused. It took him a while to figure out what had happened the day before and now I can see how Kas did it. Controlled the flow of information and controlled him. Derek didn't remember that he'd sold his story to the tabloids when he died. Kas never let him retain that." And then Chance leans on The Addict, pouting again. "Who do I get to lean on, I wonder?"
The Addict leans lightly, shoulder to shoulder. Briar is a big believer in the healing power of human contact. "Yeah, he originally took the laudanum for an injured shoulder, and his father kept telling him to take it for the pain, and Martin believed him, but looking at it from Danny's perspective, yeah, he was controling his drug supply to control him." They shake their head. "That's cold, Kas," they say. "Poor Derek." They smile up at Chance. "You got me, sugar."
The Confidant smirks and quips, "Reckon it's better than no one." Still, he ventures a chaste kiss on The Addict's head. The Confidant is also a believer in human contact but it seems like you have to touch him first. But then he's all over you. "Poor me. I feel like I hear that a lot. The fortunate thing is I never feel that way. Poor. Pitiable. I mean, within the Encounters. Even moody Jody didn't feel sorry for himself so much as he felt...numb. I mean, yeah, he had a wallow or two. Tried and failed to hang hisself and eventually did himself in but it was about feeling. He wasn't alive inside. Poor guy." Then, he laughs. "Now I'm saying it."
The Addict beams at the kiss. "I'm way better than no one," they say. At least some of Danny's confidence followed them back from Beaver Lake. "I think you are pretty well put together," they say, "just that your lifetimes are challenging in ways the rest of us rarely have to worry about." They shoulder-nudge Chance companionably. "I mean, we're all kind of pathetic if you think about it. Stuck here, living these lives. But we're also blessed, because we have each other to see us through it."