Log:The Sanctuary Within
It's been nearly a full year since Eden first tangled with Locke-- not their first meeting, but the first time that she believed she had a better grasp on what makes the man tick. Locke is not entirely a difficult man to read, but what's difficult about him is the understanding on how to handle that insecurity and rage.
Now that she's a Patron, Eden's new life is filled with countless responsibilities and yet, for some reason, she always makes time for Locke. Of course, there are evenings when she assigns a musician or entertainer to amuse him, one of her choosing, but for most nights that he visits, she handles Locke herself, having a far better understanding of the man than anyone else in Sanctuary.
Locke, too, was promoted to Copper recently. His hard work had finally paid off and a large part of this decision to promote him is his handling of the Copper, Rand. Rand's downfall and the evidence provided is what impressed the Triumvirate, elevating Locke's standing despite his prior disappointment. And yet, he still bore those scars to remind everyone, but especially, himself of what Rand had done to him.
By now, the newly appointed Copper had grown slightly more comfortable in Eden's presence, or at least, in the closeness that she offers him. Yet, it's a slow process to fully make him feel complete. Perhaps, in part, it's due to his Monitor training, leaving him and the rest of the Monitors so detached from everyone else, including themselves at times.
Stepping into the designated private area, he awaited his next session to begin. Last year, when the man who ruined him, was tried and exiled, Locke never showed the exhilaration he must have felt inside for this accomplishment. Now that he was slowly opening up, having this freedom to express his emotions, or at least, his promotion wasn't something so... dangerous as Rand's exile, there was a lightness to his demeanor, those usually hardened eyes had softened somewhat, yet the intensity remained.
The past year has been a gradual process with Locke, but life is not a race and he is a man, not a conquest. Eden tells Locke stories sometimes in various states of dress or undress, leisure and recline. She tells him about Tristan and Isolde, she tells him about Samson and Delilah. She tells him about Julius Caesar, his power, his betrayal and downfall. She tells him stories of conquerers and those that once sailed vast seas they'll never see in this world. She sings to him and hums songs from the lost operatics that were poignant and withstanding enough to survive oral tradition. Fortunates have accesses to education from a collective of materials that have been long salvaged and accumulated over time. She tells him about the human condition and talks about intrinsic nature and the effects of nurture.
Eden helps Locke know what makes other people tick. It's not that he doesn't know, but Monitors are always watching, always waiting, always anticipating to take control before they lose control of a situation. Eden knows people. And people are the root of all problems. It's informative. But more importantly, in small ways, it might help him understand more about why he feels as he feels sometimes. The companion in her wants to know him, to care for his burdens, yes, but //she// knows at the end of the day, //he// has to know himself.
Little by little they find the things he needs to sate turbulence inside. They do it together, as planned, just that year ago. He has bad days, she doesn't push, he has good days, she doesn't take advantage. When he steps in this day for their private time, she's close behind and closing out the very world behind her in favor of coming to take his hand. And she waits to know if it's a good day or a bad day before setting the pace. Sometimes, she can feel how open he's going to be with one small question and immediate touch to kickstart his response, "Drink?"
She used to get him a drink like routine each time before even saying a word. But now she knows sometimes she //is// the drink he needs to unwind.
With the Fortunates being one of the most well-educated castes in all of Sanctuary, Locke is rather grateful to listen to Eden read about various historical figures, whether they truly lived or not, it all seemed lost in myth right now. Yet, whether truth or fiction, they were interesting tales to enjoy, if not learn from. Not to mention, that her voice was of a sensual nature mixed with this mature confidence.
There was a time that those who saw him at his 'happiest' were other Monitors. He could boast with them, compare arrests and the like. It was all some form of one upsmanship. This was different. Locke had yet to truly discuss his work with her. There was not dick waving, the way he might act among others like him, possibly even with War Children if he's feeling so competitive. Here, he may sometimes talk about his feelings, they way one would when in counseling. He doesn't always go into details and he may repeat his annoyances from session to session, but that's the extent that their relationship has gone to and that's more than anyone else has gotten out of him.
Locke will always accept a drink, it was a luxury after all and something that he always believed he deserved. "Yes." Like always, he's dressed in his dark hues and the mask which he once wore seems to be long gone, though it's more than likely hanging on his wall in his bunker somewhere. Taking a seat on the couch, as always, his posture remains rigid whenever he first enters this place, he allows his dark eyes to look Eden over, before uttering the words that had been first popped into his mind several minute prior, but he'd withheld saying them until now, "You look stunning."
A small portion of Eden's fine and thick dark hair has been intricately braided to one side in the front to keep it up and away from her face, but other than that, it's a free riot of wave and curl, no extra adornments in way of feathers, beads, or netting mesh accents today. Her dress is a shade of amethyst that leans the vibrancy of her blue eyes to near violet gems, she knows what flatters and she always wears it well. The dress itself is a tied halter piece that's made of mesh overlay with figure-skimming cling of opaque thin fabric beneath, the hemline long and floor sliding in the back to trail with rise and split up the legs in the front. Shined and decoratively twisted chrome armbands decorate her upper bare arms and ankles, and her earrings are just as shiny, twisted with the same pattern to fall in chandelier dangle.
It's edgy and elegant, revealing and concealing, beauty and sex. It's bearing carried by the posture and presence that's both passively and tactically magnetic. It's Eden. It's every facet of who and what she is. And Locke lets her know how stunning that is. She can't quite explain why she feels it more than the other comments she often gets in passing or private.
Moving across to the decanter, Eden speaks with grace and gratitude and signature calm while she pours, but with her profile to him, he can see the gentle curve of her lips after compliment is paid, "Thank you."
Then, putting the amber distilled spirit into the man's hand, she seats herself on the couch next to him, reaching to touch her fingers to the back of his head in stroke through short hairs, "I confess, I was disappointed to have to arrange entertainment for you while engaged in a teaching circle. Phoenix is a wonder with the fire, isn't he? That was his new display you saw, I believe. I do not have that kind of daring."
Locke watches people every single day. That's part of his job description. He seemingly does the same there here now, seated forward in his seat, bent forward slightly, to rest his elbows on his thighs as he quietly observes the young Patron as he carries about the simple task of pouring out his drink. As simple as it may seem, in his eyes, she carries herself with a fluid grace that's difficult to ignore.
"I do not fault you for your duties, but yes, Phoenix's performance was an agreeable one. The years he had put into his training clearly showed in his performance." Even as they discuss the fire-entertainer, Phoenix, she may still feel the weight of his eyes on her. "I do not expect to be catered to by a Patron for as often as you allow and for that I am grateful."
Eden rarely asks questions of Locke. He's not one of the men that likes to talk about themselves, and that's an understatement. She does make inquiries here and there, but the way she does it doesn't work in question form. She tends to listen, then seize on what's said or what's carried between the lines, then guides the verbal exchange to hear what elaborations comes out in a way that generally answers any questions she has.
So, when he speaks of his own gratitude after her small confession of disappointment over lost opportunity to fill his time in a way the man finds satiation from, she seizes on it in that way. It's not that the other companions aren't good at what they do, but she's gathered that distractions and fillers and vents just simply aren't //enough// sometimes. His gratitude for her time and presence is cordial, but to her, knowing Locke as she does, she knows the weight behind that simple expressing, too.
The woman's fingers slide along the back of the man's neck from his hair, and she lets silence reign for longer than another might before speaking again, turned a bit in her seated position to drop her face with tip of nose and dust of lips at Locke's shoulder. With lashes downcast, she comments modestly, then makes an opening for the man to take or leave, "I intend to make time for you at every turn, should you need it. Lux is not important to me when I decide who gets my time." It is for a lot of companions who aren't as innately suited to Fortunate life, "It is important you have what it is that makes you feel grateful. It satisfies me when you're satisfied. Your life has been eventful, as late."
With just how cordial Eden had been over the course of the year, the way she took care of him as best she could, all mind, body and soul, there is one thing that's been prevalent on Locke's mind regarding all of this. This is why he observes her so closely, watching her every expression, listening to her every word, her ever sigh, even if from out of the corner of his eyes as she seats next to him.
His thoughts are soon broken, feeling her fingers trace along the flesh of his neck to touch on the bristles of his buzzcut style of his hair. Then to feel her lips pressing against his shoulder, making him turn slightly in her direction, which would in turn expose her to some of that scarring on his face. But he's been seeing her for a year now, you would expect that he would be used to this by now, but even she knows that this strong feeling of self-consciousness sometimes rears it's ugly head and overwhelms him.
Listening to her tell him that his spiritual well-being was important to her further adds to some of the questions on his mind. Perhaps, today is not the day to ask them and instead he addresses the final thing which she speaks. "So you've heard. At one time, I thought it was an impossibility to reach as far as I have." Just her inquiry of his promotion sparks something within him: His sense of pride.
Shifting in his seat, he eases himself down, to rest his head on the wispy thin fabric covering her lap, the rest of his body outstretched along the couch, playing the part of a patient in therapy. His eyes stare up at the ceiling, though he does catch glimpses of her features when his gaze flickers her way. He won't deny that he enjoys the physical bond in this position. It brought him comfort, though at times, it can easily raise his paranoia, for his scarred features are far from being hidden from view. "They are still out there." He's spoken of 'Them' before, though he never lists them by name. Rand's associates, some of who had been displaced after their favorite Copper was punished. "I always feel like I'm waiting for them to retaliate." A quiet pause, "Despite it all, despite the promotion, I know that it ain't over yet."
"What we see as impossibility is sometimes just a kiss away from reality, though we'd never know it at the time." Eden says to Locke with a sudden vague smile crossing her lips with the accidental reference to how this, this man right here laying out to rest at her lap, might have seemed like an impossibility once. And it all started with a very singular kiss that only took a moment to start changing the moments that followed up to this point and place, "Life kicks, it kisses, it blows through, and then we're gone. But while we're here, we have opportunities, we can make marks to leave behind. You will make marks. You have already started."
Eden doesn't look down directly at Locke's face much while he's turned to look up toward her and the ceiling at recline and rest against her, but when she does, it's the eyes. She likes that they're so deeply and intensely hued, the way the color blends and blurs into the middle darkness to amplify the natural intensity of his gaze to whatever ends, "You have purged a poison from our haven. The snakes will writhe. And you will catch them by the tail."
The woman's hands drop to do something she'd never do until relatively recently after she's spoken. She sets her fingertips to his temples, starting with brush of thumb before setting slow, circular pressure into motion. She's not touching his scars or his face precisely, but like any stroke at his jaw, any brushing dust of their noses, there's always the risk of being too close. But that risk factor has slowly been mitigated at these proxy areas, she's conditioned him to trust her in knowing his boundaries, he knows where her hands won't go and it feels nice.
Quietly, Eden makes an offer without making an offer at all, "You know many Monitors favor me. They are not all so quiet as you, not when the door is closed."
Breathing in the soft scent of the fragrant oils which she wears and listening to her speak in a voice that he'd come to associate with a soothing calm, Locke's eye lids begin to grow heavy and while he does not shut them just yet, he watches her through half-lidded eyes. With each phase of life mentioned, though he's sure that they are no particular order, Locke tries to piece together the fragments of his life: The good, the bad and what's to come, before even he, blows away as dust.
Just as Eden had mentioned these snakes, Locke cannot help but wonder if he should start taking action now to shut down anything they might throw at him before they get the chance. Bringing Rand down was a huge risk that he'd taken, for several reasons. Rand wasn't the only one punished, though most of his cohorts and partners came away with a lesser penalty.
The touch to his temples has his eyes flash open, something which she would have expected to happen. His breathing begins to pick up, his heart rate accelerating. One of his scars on the left side of his face carved into his flesh close to where her fingers work to soothe him. Through out the year, however, she was slowly earning his trust and after the initial start, his eyes begin to close once more, this time in full.
Her lap was soft and warm, his tension in his head was slowly being massaged away and he was reaching some semblance of peace. When he's told that many Monitors favored Eden, there is this quick flare up of possible jealousy, though as is human nature, he is now curious about the who. "I would be lying if I said that I was surprised. Even amongst ourselves, we live such solitary lives." Though he will state, "Only a foolish Monitor is careless with his words." Maybe he'll live to regret these words, foolishly making a similar mistake.
"Perhaps. It is not typical that I engage those flawed moments of boast or bluster, nor is overt breach of details common, in truth." Eden says to Locke somewhat passively before elaborating, "But more than anything, I hear what they're not saying at all when they speak and I can deduce enough from time to time. Perhaps the flaw is in me. I should turn a better blind ear and eye."
He knows she's keen and probably picking up on small details with others, the way she does with him, more than anything in that uncanny way of hers. Naturally, the woman isn't going to tell Locke who she's commonly seen in the past and present, the same way he won't name associates in this matter. (But he can find out. Is that why she said it?) For her, while sharing these details is not forbidden, it's not appropriate, and Eden is quite appropriate in practice and service... except, of course, in the way she tends to time favor Locke. Even that semi-inappropriate dalliance with personal preference of her own isn't a thing that's overt to the outside world, it's barely even witting on her part. He needs, so she gives.
But sometimes, Eden thinks about the way it feels when he's gone from the room, or when he walks in. Sometimes she feels less lonely and whole too when they're finished. Eden isn't accustomed to wanting or feeling things for herself, so much. Her desires are not something she can indulge in like the larger populace. She serves, just like he does, she's kept aloof from the freedoms that come with living life, just like he is. Everything is relative. He was taught to keep himself apart with personal solitude. Meanwhile, Eden has been immersed with personal interactions that still have the limits of duty. She will never be allowed to get too close.
Maybe that's her tragedy, behind all the perfect and picturesque presentation, the calm and dignified Eden everyone seems to get. She's made to love and be loved, but that's a luxury that can't be bought and sold, nor is it anything that can be done living inside a cage.
Most of the time, though, she doesn't think about it. She tries to make her marks in other ways because it has to be enough. Blessed are the Fortunate.
Her fingers continue to dote, slow knead of circular motion, and for a time, she closes her own eyes too while melding away physical tension and giving this release of connection and comfort for Locke. Then she says another thing that makes her mention of monitor favor stick, "... I can set aside time for a referral, if you deem it worthwhile."
It's all so meticulous and subtle, guised behind proper exchange, but at this point, Locke might be hearing a little click noise in his head. If she can help him find and catch a snake... she will.
With his eyes slowly opening and from his lowered position with his head on her lap, Locke seemingly studies Eden's face from this lower perspective to listen while she speaks. Of course, he had a lot of questions, he is a Monitor, after all, lurking about Sanctuary like spies. Though some have a few they can trust to act as their eyes and ears in their absence.
Then they both are lost in this moment of thoughtful silence once more and his eyes slowly come to a close again. He thinks over what she had said, enjoying his time beneath her touch as she massages the tension away from his mind. He was vulnerable to her here with his face unhidden, but during this brief respite from his duties and perhaps the negative thoughts racing within his mind, he is at peace.
When she does speak next, alluding to him in her subtle way that she may be of some assistance to him, she can feel his head shifting against her thighs. It's a brief movement which may hint that he's thinking on this offer, but eventually he relays, "That's very kind of you... and I'm sure that they will appreciate the gesture. If one comes to mind, one 'worthy' enough for your time, I'll let you know." There's danger laced in his words when he says this, adding subtle emphasis here and there to turn what may be an innocent statement to something more.
Eden doesn't say anything more about it, she doesn't press, persuade or offer in any other way. Even this small break from the norm is considerate, despite the appropriate and careful phrasing they've both ensured. He'll either find a way to take the potential opening or he won't and either way is quite fine with her. Afterall, while she does care for the collective and the system of Sanctuary itself, these things, they aren't her duty. But she does wonder if any of his problem associates on the fringes and peripheral are any acquaintances they have in common. It's not fitting to compare a list of names, though. She leaves it be. He's her duty and she's already overstepped.
In fact, Eden has to sit and think for a moment about what she's just offered and why she offered it. She knows to a degree, but... she's not one to go out of bounds lightly, and it's a rare deviance for her.
"Of course." The response is agreeable and passive, conveying with tone indicative of the idea that he knows best when it comes to such matters of intrigue. After the woman keeps up the temple massage for a time in silence, she tells Locke, "I am proud of your elevation in rank and duty. It suits. You are allowed to be proud too. Indulge it." Drawing in a slow breath, her hands skip down to rest with drag and gentle dote at the man's chest, his midsection, his shoulder, the kind of tactile appreciation that works in a backhanded way to make him feel physically appreciated. Her eyes follow her hands over his body, she likes his body, the way his stalwart being comes through in solid form. But when she speaks again, Eden's eyes move straight to Locke's and her voice is genteel assuredness, "Know that you are capable. They cannot blindside you if you keep abreast of what's to come. And you will. It is your way."
She says things so poignantly, it's often a bolster that sinks into paranoias and fears.
This was slowly becoming Locke's sanctuary within Sanctuary, no matter how intense his paranoia can sometimes rise to become. While the Monitors don't tend to judge you on appearance, his scars were a badge of scandal, his failure among their ranks. It also ruined what confidence he had within himself, turning the far more charismatic young Keeper into the man he is today, laying here on a Patron's therapy couch and relishing in this shared quiet moment where they both can sort their thoughts. Very often, he would dwell on his past here, even in current visits. Today, while her suggestion makes him look back on his turbulent past, it's not as troubling to his mind, to go through the various faces of any possible threats.
The quiet is eventually broken, but Eden does well as to not disturb the calmness of the moment. Without opening his eyes, allowing them to rest for a near meditative few minutes longer, the edges of his lips pull up into what starts as a faint smile. Smiles from Locke are a rarity, but he had overcome the hurdles that would see others fail to achieve what he had, especially when crawling up from the shadowy depths of his earlier carelessness. "I can feel as proud as I want. Send fear or discomfort through others with my presence within a space, alone," She can tell that there's a 'but' coming up shortly, even if that wry smile does not falter, "But I can never shed the failures of my past." *Not with these scars on my face* Those words are thought and not spoken. Still, he will say, for her sake, and perhaps believing in his word to some extent, "But do not let my contempt make you believe that I am not proud at what I was able to do." A pause, "Thank the Three for giving me the chance to exceed their expectations."
Only when he feels her sensuous touch against his chest, moving over his torso with a soothing caress does his eyes slowly open to stare up into hers as she looks down upon him. Despite this or perhaps being encouraged by both her touch and her words, the man may not nod his agreement or understanding in any vocal or physical way, that fire within his eyes may tell her that he is listening and he does understand.
Finally, one of his own hands lift to press down upon hers in a rough, calloused hold. From here he brings her hand up to merely brush against his lips in an incredibly subtle kiss. This fire that she'd sparked within him is enough to drive his own passions. Something about her determination to aid him further entices.
Locke leaves back to Temporary Room Nexus
There's a lot of things Eden could say about Locke's viewpoint of his failings. She could try to balm them, she could try to justify them, she could tell him that failings mean growth. She could explain the psychology behind his insecurities that come from these personal feelings, she could try to make him perceieve the whole situation differently. She could tell him very simply and truly that failings and scars, in whatever fashion, are often a very core part of life. As a companion, she thinks about these things automatically, of course, any other companion none the wiser would say something of the ilk with the best intentions at hand.
But none of it is for Locke, she knows that too. The best balm she can give him when it comes to his perceived failures is to give them nothing, no air, no acknowledging, no power of existance with words. She operates under the same principle when it comes to his visible scars. Eden is a fair hand at what feels right for Locke and she feels no necessity to fill the air with nice trivialities.
Instead, she watches him smile while her hands roam his body slowly, such a rare and treasured expression for Eden to secretly relish while the man's laid out against her lap. "Thank the Three..." she echoes respectfully when it's time, and the woman meets the fire in Locke's eyes with her own vibrant blue eyes, the depths laced with pride and faith that's clearly roused on his behalf. But then she's watching the captive hold on one of her hands at squeeze too, pathing the grasped motion bringing her skin in brush against his lips, and...
For just a moment, a helpless flicker of time, he's allowed to see her //want// too. She doesn't mean for him to see, but at the end of the day, just like he's a man with needs and desires, she's a woman made of these things too, no matter how disallowed they tend to be. And her eyes are so expressive once she's lifted the veil of genteel calm composure away to share with him.
She has secret prides and relishes when it comes to Locke. Perhaps he has some when it comes to Eden, too.
The gesture is gentle, quiet and weighted and she knows well what it means. Locke is finished talking. Her free hand drags down his clothed hipbone and the top of his thigh from the torso with glide and catch while she leaves her hand so very delicate and still at his lips. They have so many reigning quiet moments that draw them together like magnets.
But eventually, they're not still and quiet at all.