Log:Too Much Information
The Confidant has been drinking coffee. He's only ever drank water or, occasionally, cola or something with -aid at the end. He stays out of his room and if sleep takes him back, he is out like a bullet. Usually, he winds up knocking on Martyr's door, sheepishly. But now, he sits in the parlour, writing letters. He has a few folded up and labeled. To: Penny. For: Ashley. Dearest Sunshine. Your Eyes Only: Cheer. The names written in his typical florid lefty slant. He reaches for his coffee, finds it empty and gets up for more.
The Martyr has been there for Cash. His door is always open. He's happy to talk or distract Cash, happy to keep him away from that terrible room. This 'afternoon' he's been giving Cash space, playing the flute with his door open, so that cash can have space while still having a reminder that he's not alone. Earlier, he was playing familiar songs for when they were out there, but the last hour or so, he's been playing like he's composing, but the song might be vaguely familiar. He's trying to reconstruct a song he heard exactly once, back when he was Finn, and it's difficult. Lots of false starts and experimenting. There is a very long pause and a sheepish dare emerges in search of liquids and possibly sustenance. He's dressed as he was the day they woke up, as he has no idea when the others might return and he means to be dressed like this for Briar. He comes up and hugs Chance from behind at the food dispenser. "How's it going?"
Chance actually startles. Not the way Cash would so much as he didn't hear Dare come up. He snorts and relaxes. "Writing letters of apology. Sometimes, people doesn't come out much or at all so, I can slip it under the door when they come back. Or...or not. Part of it may be for me." He turns. "You are looking to welcome them back fancy, huh?" Chance has changed into jeans and a plain black t-shirt. "My old closet had nice things but...I like being pretty casual here." He glances to the parlour's magic doors. "Have you been to 2018? The island was beautiful and it had great surfing if you headed down the beach a ways from the crowd. So I was told. Chance Reed was too professional to ever take a break to play in the water. He also had pretty terrible balance." He shrugs a little. "We can go. I can't go back to the nineties. Not yet." He checks his coffee. Too hot. "I keep my...flaws when I go to those places and times. Cash and Derek have minds I do not want to revisit. I'd rather be deaf. I'm used to that, honestly. I visit once or twice since the doors appeared." He glances away. "Helena'll be there. And William, my best friend at the time."
The Martyr kisses his shoulder, "Both is just fine. You've got stuff to work through; so will they." He smiles up at Cash and kisses his chin, "I have a lot to make up for to Briar. I plan to go all out on the Courting." He smiles crookedly, "You took Briar and Ionce, to show us what smart phones were because we were from 1989 at the latest. I played in the waves. You... found William and were preoccupied. We could surf if you like? You know how now."
"That was my thought. Surfing. /I/ know how. It'll be a matter of, uh, making Chance Reed's body work for me. Meningitis fucked up his skin, his hearing and balance. Compensating will come back to me, probably. Chance had a million tricks to appear...." He trails off and looks into his coffee cup. "I don't know how I'm supposed to make it up to Briar." He blinks and a few tears roll down his cheek. "You can have first dibs though. Soften her up for me." He coughs wetly and steps back towards the parlour. "I intend to tackle the easy one first. Senni. The only one I didn't burn." He has a roll of toilet paper and wet wads scattered around his place in the parlour. He cleans this up and straightens the letters as he talks. "She's an been around long enough to not...put too much stock in what happens there." Tissue is trashed. "But she sometimes holes up for a while. So, I am prepared to tend to Felicity. She's new. She /needs/ me." He trying to shake his head, shake off the bad feelings. "Ashley hasn't been here long either and the fuck knows who will reappear or, or..." He's riding off the rails.
The Martyr's fingers delicately brush the tears. He follows after, listening. Finally he stops the fidgeting and worried babble with a long kiss, "Fretting doesn't really help. Let's surf now and think later. Sometimes relaxing helps ideas come.
Chance withers under that kiss. He was weak to begin with. He nods a little as he pulls away. "I hope so. Before we went to Sleep, I wondered if she would like a fancy 2018 wedding. Virginia has beautiful places...but, uh, nevermind that. I'm willing to bet money she'll lean femme this time but I can't do that. I have two other lovely ladies and you now and...I'm such a slut." He laughs through a few fresh tears. "To the beach. My trunks and sunscreen are there. You better change fancy pants."
The Martyr is older this time, the wrinkles at the corners of his eyes a little more pronounced, but not a lot older by his guess. He's dressed in the black trousers with the deep pleats, a black dress shirt, a purple tie, and a waistcoat in a matching purple with black musical notation on it. His hair is perfectly combed with citrus pomade he combs the citrus pomade. His aftershave is fougere based with a hint of clove. He is gazing up at cash in the middle of the parlour, fingers just lowering from the taller man's cheek. "I do not need to change. Clothes morph when we enter." he snorts, "Stop calling yourself that. We've talked about this." His accent is mostly a Northern California/Oregonian mix, though now and then a hint of Spain or North Africa pokes out. "Love is love is love."
The Thrill-Seeker had woken only minutes earlier. In her room. Staring at a ceiling that was strange and yet familiar for a brief second. Then memories and self came flooding back. This time wasn't nearly as unpleasant as the last. But it hurt in different ways and she mades a soft sound in the dark of her room. Pained and angry.
The light came on as she rolled to her feet sucking in a deep breath. Quickly she looked down at herself. Dark skin still. Hair still long and bound back. Wearing a pair of her soft and fluffy pjs. And as she looked her eyes fell on something new. A black and silver shape that was intimately familiar. Cheer reached out and picked up the camera, with it's skull and crossbones neck piece, almost hugging it to her chest.
Then she turned and stalked from her room. She wasn't trying to stomp, but her feet were falling pretty hard as she pulled her door open and steps out. She is older than Silver was too and her eyes are dark, not that odd green. Her door has always been close to the parlor, that hasn't changed. "Guys..." She barely whispers it, her face going through a hurricane of emotion. But mostly relief. And then? Then she is moving to cross the distance and sweep them both into a tight hug.
Cash. Chance. The Confidant is barefoot in jeans and a plain black t-shirt. "Yeah, they do morph. I forgot how I always end up in my uniform there. And I'm the sluttiest guy here. It's best to embrace it." He's...himself. Older than Cash and thus built as such. Awkward features are refined. His height remains but he's built for it. All broad shouldered and long legged. Hair is red as a fireplug but longer and wavy. It brushes his shoulders. Cash was freckled and a little tan but The Confidant is none of those things. He's so fair, he draws the eye. When Silver, The Thrill-Seeker, Cheer comes barreling at them, he uses his actual strength to lift her up and squeeze her. He pays attention to the camera, pulling it away from her after he puts her down. "You'll hurt it. You can hug Dare now." Cash's accent has been a blend of the south, the mid-west and sometimes, the old west for a while. He sounds different than Cash, that's for sure. And best part? He looks people in the eye.
The Martyr doesn't care about bruises as he sweeps Cheer into a hug, "You made it home! Are you all right? Did we win or are we still fighting?" Unspoken: Is everyone about to flood home or will it be ones and twos as the casualties poor in. "you okay, Doll?"
It takes a moment for the Penitent to emerge. She's never been one to wake up with the memories. For her, it takes time. About the time to have a shower and get changed, before the memories come back. A blank slate every time, for at least twenty minutes or so. Now that she's coming out, padding down the hallway in her bare feet and her black sweatpants and purple singlet top. "Hello," she greets in that vague, innocent and child-like tone that Zen-mode Penitent can manage.
New Activity ---------
The Thrill-Seeker is maybe a bit startled to find she tops six feet now. When she pulls back from Ca-Chance she has a lopsided smile. Her eyes darting from camera to her friend to Dare. Dare gets a toothier smile and her eyes are wet before she hugs him too. Holding on and breathing in deeply as she does. "We...we won," She says softly. Right on cue as Penitent emerges. This has her looking up, but oh no she doesn't let go yet, to peer at Penitent. She blinks. She's never been around when the other woman has woken up. So the demeanor makes her blink. "Uh...hey." There's tear streaks on her cheeks and her eyes are red.
Chance's eyes are red too but that was from before Cheer appeared. It's Penny's appearance that gives him pause. He takes a breath and says, "Seven times now, huh?" He tries to sound relaxed, cool, chill. But his voice just wobbles and he just wells up. "Sorry! Sorry. This was a ba--bad return for me. I-I've been fortunate, you know." He says, addressing everyone. "Dare's taken good care of me though." He wipes his eyes. On one of the parlor tables is a notebook, pen and several letters, folded and addressed. Chance scoops all of that up and turns to head back to his room. "Writing...uh, therapeutic. Mmhm. I'll be back." There is no message written on his door. No welcome to all. It was shut tight. "Dare! My walls are green now! Dude! And my bed has fucking posts now! Holy--crap!"
The Martyr smiles and waves, "Hey, Penny." He gazes up at Silver, "I'm glad. I'm glad we won. I hope Fran died in fire. You still feeling sisterly or would you like a kiss, Doll?" he leans in and murmurs, "It's normal for her. Nothing's wrong."
He is reaching for Chance's hand as he moves away, but then let's it drop, given the importance of Chance's mission. He looks between the two women, "How angry are you? How... how did Ashley and Felicity take it. What... What happened." He's not letting go of Silver, "sorry about dying on you. I can't seem to help it." He looks pleased, and yells, "Well that's progress, isn't it?"
"I think scrambled eggs to start things off," Penny says vaguely, taking a step as she shifts towards the mess hall and the dispensary, though she pauses when Chance looks at her. "Seven. Yeah. Why are you sorry? I am the one who was violent, angry and hit basically everyone." She frowns a little at that. "Honestly I'm just glad that I don't have that anger. A werewolf descendant! I wonder what I'll be next."
She shifts a little, glancing at Dare and offering a half smile. "If anyone should be apologizing, it's me." Because of course it is. "Fran died." She says quietly, glancing away. "I cut her head off myself. Ashley and Felicity struggled. Felicity more, I think." That zen washes away as she begins talking about things, her facade dropping as her shoulders drop too. "I don't really know ... you know how vague it can get. Why would I be angry though? Sometimes we die in these things. It happens."
The Thrill-Seeker leans in to briefly rest her forehead against Dare's. Being taller is...a little weird and makes her smile faintly. "Uhh...I...yeah, I'd like a kiss," She decides. Leaning in to snag one before Chance moves off. That has her lifting her head to peer after him in puzzlement. "Wait...what? Why would I be angry? You guys died fighting," She says, brow furrowed as she glances between the two of them.
"Fran -did- die in a fire. -She-," And she stabs a finger at Penitent and her smile turns proud. "Lopped the bitches head off with that damned machete. And she exploded in fire and started burning the place down. We all got out, but we...couldn't get the bodies. Arthur was turned, but he turned on Fran in the end. Helped bring her down...I guess only you two died?" She glances after Chance worriedly again, giving Dare another little squeeze. Taking comfort in that embrace.
Chance is lingering at the edge of the parlor, back in time to hear the story. "Died fighting...yeah. That's why it seemed so, so fast.//" He glances away. "I wrote reams of apology letters. Cash was...an impulsive, stupid kid with a heart too big and too soft for the world he landed in. I'm sorry I was an asshole sometimes. He was so disconnected from people. His understanding of others was academic. He had no idea how to socialize. He just was. I was lucky I was liked, much less loved." A moment passes. "Guys? Do you think Felicity was...real? Like, she'll land back here? It's fuzzy because I was blind ninety-nine percent of the time but she looks a lot like Holden's target girl. I'm not sure if she was doorless or not. But there's a new symbol on an old door so..." He looks scared, hopeful.
The Martyr smiles at Penny, "I didn't hold it against you once you stopped trying to repeat the performance. I'm glad you got her." He looks a little confused by the end of what Penny is saying, but he hasn't caught on yet. He enjoys the kiss, but it's Silver's comment that enlightens him, "I was killed in the fighting. Cash...Oh fuck! How do you not all know?" His eyes dart quickly between the women, but then he takes a breath, "I hope Red was one of us. That we'll see her again. I just don't want to get my hopes up."
Smiling a little uncertainly at Dare, Penny lifts one hand to rub at her lift shoulder, across her body. "That kind of undirected anger was ... a struggle to live with," she confesses a little, shrugging at Cash. "We all do things. Sometimes it's bad. I'll always be sorry for it, so I get it. But I don't really hold it against anyone else." She blinks a little. "We know you were both killed in the fighting. If it wasn't for you guys then those guys would have probably come up the stairs behind us and then we'd all have been fucked." She glances at Silver uncertainly before drifting her gaze onwards to Chance again. "Maybe. I don't know. Could be anyone that's new, really. Maybe not even someone we know yet. We've all seen people get involved with someone who vanished though. So. Be prepared for either way, I guess."
"Ummm..." Cheer looks really confused for a moment at Dare's comment. So she is doing a lot of looking between people. But as the conversation get detoured to talking about Felicity she looks sad. "She was so...lost after you guys died. I...she...uhhhgggg," She wrinkles her nose. "I did what I could. We went to Vegas really shortly after. I had a fake id and wound up winning five grand..." A pause. "There was a magic show and some other stuff...but it blurs. Or isn't all there? I dunno." She gives herself a shake and then turns back to focus on Dare. A hand moves to stroke his cheek and she bends down to snag another small, sweet kiss from him. Grounding her to the here. To the real reality? Where she is Cheer and remembers and chooses and doesn't almost die to vampires or fire.
"Felicity...deserves the biggest apology I can muster." Chance says, jaw tightening. He swallows. "She was protecting me. Or...herself. I did something so impulsive and selfish--not to say that it is, as a rule, a selfish act. I've been a psychologist twice and an EMT once and I know better here. Now. But I put a hurt on Felicity she didn't deserve." Chance wipes his eyes. "Hector was shot. I was behind him and I nearly took the shooter's head off with that saw blade bat I made. And, then, I looked at Hector. He was almost gone. Just this huge hole in his chest but I tried. When the life left him, all I could think to do was pick up that Glock..." He can't finish, he's too ashamed. He leans against the wall first and then slides to the floor. "Whatever Felicity told you? Know that it was my own hand..." He says, softly.
The Martyr studies Penny, "Morrison and I talked about it. Once the yelling was over and things were calmer. I understood you better then. I really didn't hold it against you once I understood what you were dealing with.... Jesus, I hope Morrison got the happily ever after he was planning. Someone deserved to." He decides to let the confusion about Cash's death die for the moment. How did no one check?
He winces, "I even told felicity if anything happened to me she should marry the big lug. It is horrible she was alone. It never occurred to me she would be while I was alive." He keeps an arm around Cheer's waist, always a bit of a cuddler. Wistfully, "I'm sorry we didn't get to go to Circus Circus. We were planning it right before we died." his eyes go wide as cash fills in the last puzzle piece, "Jesus! She carried all that alone? Without... Jesus! Poor Red! And you claim I'm a martyr!"
Penitent tilts her head slightly at Chance, considering. "Lingering traces of Amy aren't happy, you know. If I was still her I think I'd hit you right now." She says, so matter of fact. "But I know what it's like. Especially that weird moment from shooting yourself and then waking up here -- I've done that. Felicity said there was another guy that stabbed you, and you were so focused on Hector you didn't notice. And you managed to shot him at the last minute but it was too late. The place caught on fire. We all had to run, immediately."
She shifts aside a little and glances at Silver, seeing how she's taking this whole thing. It's a bit uncomfortable. So she focuses on Dare. "That kind of anger was useful, I guess when like. I dunno. Vampires attacked. But for every day life, Amy was getting more and more worried she'd really hurt someone, you know?" There's a soft sigh. "I'm going to get my eggs," and she sets off to the dispensary with far less enthusiasm than her original trek there started.
The Thrill-Seeker's eyes go wide and then her mouth. Those same hands come up to cover her mouth, finally letting Dare go though staying within that grasp, and there is a soft whimper from her. "The house was burning down around us. We didn't have time to do anything but run out of there," She says softly after a few seconds pause. Hands dropping to rest on Dare's shoulders. She looks down and closes her eyes. "No wonder she was so broken and did everything she could to avoid us after going to Cal-Tech."
The parlor. Penitent, Amy, leaves and Chance, The Confidant, sits on the floor near the opening to a hallway. "Felicity was protecting...us. I guess. Cash would have told the truth. /I/ would have did so but with, you know, tact." He chuckles, dry and without mirth. "Yeah. Because I fucking broke her. I broke her. He draws up, knees to his chest. "I took it all from her and died with it. I don't know if I want her to come out of one of these door or not. She deserves an--anything. She deserves whatever she wants from me." He looks to Martyr and Thrill-Seeker, towards the center of the parlor. "I loved her. Love. Still. It was like a reflex. I...don't know if I could have even--" He just stops and buries his head in his knees.
The Martyr says gently, "I'd guessed. I think I was hoping that you'd be okay while there was an outside threat to point your nger at, and that maybe the training and... and Ashley would help even you out. Morrison said it git better wih a little more time for him, that it was worst at that age, and that it could be controlled with discipline. I was hoping you'd live long enough to get there."
He leans against Cheer, "Jesus, Poor Red, carrying it all herself." Then he's curling his arms around her, "Were you, okay? After? Did you go to Virginia?"
He glares at Chance and says fiercely, "How can you say that? I want her here. I love her. She deserves a chance to heal and to be loved and to... Gah!" He takes a breath, "You hurt her. Bou hurt her a lot. Better to deal with the repercussions of that. For you. For her."
Timing is everything, as they say. From down the hall comes a soft shh-shh-shh of cards being shuffled. It might be easy to miss, but it's getting closer. And then there's a pause and... well, she's a little older than Felicity. Mid-twenties-ish, but... her, definitely her. And she's not quite running by the time she hits the parlour. She stops and looks around, like she's matching faces and then she looks down. And freezes, the cards she was holding falling from her hand to scatter across the floor like fallen leaves. "You... You selfish complete unmitigated... prick'. You don't... you..." And she's crumpling to the ground next to Chance.
And then comes Penitent, Amy Lester, back into the parlour. With a plate full of scrambled eggs. She's wearing her purple singlet top and black sweat pants. No shoes. A fork in amongst the eggs as she just sort of stares open mouthed as the Gambler comes in with those cards, and they scatter everywhere. "Why would you want anyone you care about to be stuck in here," she wonders sadly, glancing at Dare. "In this ... whatever this is. This is not a good place."
"This place is _great_!" contradicts someone coming a little behind 'Felicity'. Apparently, it is 'Spear' - though he is in his mid thirties here, and heavier. Definitely more muscular. He is wearing a pair of loose exercise pants, and nothing else, and bouncing an extremely lifelike looking mechanical eye in one hand.
The Thrill-Seeker is taller. A tic over six feet actually. Dressed in fuzzy pink pjs. Dare is holding her and she goes back to holding him at the question. Pressing a kiss into his hair, "I stayed behind to clean up the pieces...and no. I went to Yale..." She says softly.
"Oh," It's a soft sound from Cheer's lips when Felicity appears. Her eyes going wide and she bites her lip. She looks down at Dare and gives his shoulders a squeeze, "Go. Go on," She whispers to him just as Spear appears. Arcade. The memories war and for the moment that strong familiar tie wins. "Sp-," She starts and then stops as current brain kicks her in the mouth. Instead she moves towards the hallway, arms opened for a hug. "Hi," She goes for instead.
"I want her too! I loved her...shit, probably my whole life. But what can I say? What can I do? How can I fucking fix this shit? How do I begin to repair this?!" Chance spits back and then shakes his head a little. "Sorry. Didn't mean to curse. Cash had a sailor inside of him. This place, Penny? I decided. It's purgatory. It's limbo. It's a curse and a bane and..." He stops when he hears the shuffling of cards. He knows that is the owner of the new door but can he dare to dream? He can. He looks up at her with familiar blue eyes, wide, expressive that actually meet hers. "God damn..." He whispers before she begins to speak.
The Confidant is very Cash-like. Tall, even sitting, one can tell but his long legs. He's probably pushing closer to thirty in age, as he always has. So the gawky teenaged features have matured. Thick curls of red hair that fall short of broad shoulders. He's paler than Cash without a single freckle to speak of. He's hard to miss, even as a miserable ball on the floor. When Felicity falls, he's right there, breaking said fall and pulling her towards his chest. "I'm sorry, Venus. It was an impulse. Reflex. Stupid, stupid act of a hurt child. I will spend all of my lifetimes worth regretting that pain I left you with." He smiles a little, a flicker. Arcade's happy arrival did it. But his focus is clearly on the redhead in his arms.
The Martyr kisses Cheer lightly, "I'm sorry we left you so much mess, Doll." He flashes the Optimist a quick smile, "Hey! You made it, Arcade!" His accent is mingled Bay Area and Oregon, slightly different than Hector's but the cadence is the same and thoroughly recognizable, though now and then a touch of Africa or Spain will creep into it without his noticing.
Dare's eyes go wide when he sees Felicity. So many emotions all at once. He's older. Nearly two decades older than when felicity last saw him. Adulthood suits him, the youthful softness has melted away leaving strong, masculine bone structure, as if some master sculptor carved away the excess and revealed the truest version of himself. Still, he's so clearly him, despite the tiny lines around his eyes, so many of the small gestures the same. An adult Hector might easily have picked the outfit of black and purple, more formal with the tie and waistcoat, but so clearly Goth grown up. He rasps, "Red? I was so scared we'd lost you." He approaches her carefully, "Don't be frightened. We'll try to explain. It's sort of good news bad news here." The agony creeps into his voice, "I never meant to abandon you, I couldn't help it, but I'm so damned sorry red to leave you wih so much to carry." He gazes at Chance with a deep sorrow, "Oh Love, there is no way out except through, but it's not purgatory, not while the ones who matter most to us still have doors." His eyes are the same shape, the same brown, but there is a timeless quality to them, something behind the eyes has a weight and a depth the teen he was never lived to develop.
The Gambler is easy to pull into his arms, though she balls up her fist and hits Chance in the chest. "You made me walk into that! I was thirty feet down the hall! You couldn't tell me what was happening? You couldn't wait five minutes?! I hate you!" Sob. "I want to hate you. It would be so much easier if I hated you." That last is the most broken, half a whisper and she begins to sob in earnest like her heart is broken all over again. She hits Chance again, but it's weak, like she can't even muster up enough actual hate for that.
There's a deep breath and sniffle. "I'm not worrying about that now. That's... fuck, now I have to worry about that." She looks up at Dare and studies him through tear-filled eyes. "I missed you. And... Okay... this may actually be weirder than vampire motor cycles gangs. The hell? Why are we all different ages? Where are we? Why... does most of the last year or whatever of my life feel like water colors in the rain?"
Penitent very quietly and gingerly finds a couch for herself. She sits cross legged on it, her feet tucked beneath her, as she eats her eggs, just watching the reunion without disguising it. "I decided what this place was like five or six lives ago, you don't get to change that for me now," she says quietly. Arcade gets a brief look, and the innocent, almost child like smile there beams at him despite his complete contradiction of her statement. "Hello," she says plainly. Her voice sounds similar to Amy, and yet the tones are very foreign to the way Amy would speak. For one, she hasn't said 'fuck' a single time.
When the Gambler starts to question her surroundings she shakes her head. "Here we go again," she murmurs quietly, and then starts to just eat her eggs.
"Hey!" says Arcade, and he scoops up Silver in his arms, giving her a spin "Hey Cheer. That one was like, much better than previous ones! Hardly anyone died." Not as sweet as Spear, by far, slightly distant from humanity once more. "Oh my God, what even," he says, as he spots Chance, and then he pauses, and he stares at him. Memories start to swirl, and he pauses "I...oh. Poor you. I'm sorry about that - man, it's weird how I never die, right? I wonder why?" He claps his hands together and then he says "Heyyyy Dare. I'm still here. I got married! I've never been married before. Well, not quite married. But. Sort of. We couldn't get married. Look, things happened in Vegas." He lifts his hands, and then he pauses, and he says "Felicity is here! Oh, wow! She's not gone!" And then he says to Penny "You, oh man."
The Thrill-Seeker finds herself giggling. Who wouldn't when hugged and spun by The Optimist? Probably The Melancholic, but he isn't here. She returns the hug tightly, cheek to cheek, until he sets her down. "Yeah, true. But..." She leans in and whispers something to Spear. A glance at Chance might indicate what it entails. But then she is stepping back and over towards Dare. Not wanting to get in the way of him and Amy and whatever is going to happen there. But she's smiling even if it's a small one.
The Confidant takes his blows and almost looks relieved. Someone is beating him and it isn't himself. He holds on to her and when all is quiet and settles, he begins, "I can't explain this place. I cannot explain the experience before. I call the latter, Encounters. And you can talk to everyone here and get a different answer on the former. In the shortest way possible, we all have a role to play in the Encounters. They tend to be horrific. You come here if you live or, if you die. Da--Hector and Cash died. And we woke up here. This is my seventh time. Third time dying. Second by gunshot to the head. Or third, but that brings me to the Before and After of the Encounters. I call them postcards or polaroids. They don't feel real. Meeting Hector is...like it happen to someone else. But later, in the Spring? It's in focus. So, that's the cycle. Postcards, Hellish Encounters of blood and death, Postcards or you died. Either way, here we are. Before I decided on purgatory, I considered it a resting place where there is only reality. This is real. Everything else is false but...feelings, emotions, memories stay. Remember when I said it was my seventh? I've lived seven lifetimes. So has Amy, who we call Penny."
He goes around the room. "Spear is Arcade, that's Cheer, giantess to my giant." He smiles a little. "Hector is Dare and I go by Chance. Please, call me Chance. I have a way of hating names when I've been an asshole for a while." He hugs her, kisses her head. "I'm glad you are here. I'm sorry you are here. The Encounter is over so people are starting to return. You'll meet Briar, Jade. Thea...I call her Senni or Misty. Uh...fuck, I call him Caleb. You know him as Lucas. It'll come with time. Keep talking to people. Rest. Recover. Because before we know it, we'll fall asleep and be within another Encounter. We won't know it. Not until it's over. Or we are." He swallows. "I'm sorry, Vee. I can be kind of a shitstain from time to time."
The Martyr squats next to Felicity and Chance and starts rubbing her back in a familiar, soothing rhythm. His tone stays gently, but not condescending, "We aren't who we thought we were out there. There are a lot of theories about who and what we are and what this place is and why all of... that out there. We'll get to that later. Like he said with the names... we quire a bunch of them over time. Some people go by all of them indiscriminately or pick one they like. Some of us take use names like my Dare or silver's Cheer. It's confusing at first, but you'll get used to it." He takes a breath. "When we're here, we remember all the other people we've been, but out there we only know there. Every day, we wake up in our rooms regardless of wear we fell asleep, all wounds healed. Until one day we wake up someone else out there. The dispensary gives us food and drink to taste. Those two rooms over there can take you anywhere, any when. If it was a time and place you were you sort of... physically change back to who you were then. Some people show up here briefly, then are gone, some we see over and over out there, but never here."
He looks over his shoulder at arcade and Cheer, "I was going to propose that one time. I even made you a ri-Oh! Oh man. I braided Cash a wire ring when I proposed to him too. Is it creepy i made Harkaway and cash the same ring? I'm so fucking predictable.... You made it to Vegas? Cool. I wish we could have been with you... Oh Jesus I owe Briar so many apologies."
The Gambler shifts a little so she's leaning back against Chance, not pulling away, still cuddled in against him, but more facing the room. Spear...Arcade gets a watery smile. "Thank you." She doesn't say for what. Penny gets a glance and Cheer gets a sad smile. "I'm sorry." And then she's closing her eyes and resting for a moment in the petting and the cuddle. "I'm still mad at you." This to Chance. Deep breath. "I... This is going to take a bit. I..." Frown. "Yeah... nothing really seems real before that day by the lake." Another tiny pause and then "Hec.. Dare? Can I have a hug? From you?" It's a little lost sounding.
"Me. Yes." Penny beams further at Arcade, inclining her head as she eats her eggs. It takes her a moment to keep speaking. They're perfect scrambled eggs. "I didn't even do anything to you. Oh there was all that history but that's vague now. Besides, you try living with werewolf-anger for eighteen years and see how you shape up." She grins a little. "But I am sorry. Of course. Especially that whole 'revenge plan' thing with Prom. Geeze. But still: Amy was better than Lorraine." She shrugs, glancing back at the others only briefly, letting them sort their moment out.
"Briar isn't male here, but is sometimes over in a...thing. Event?" says Arcade - Spear. "Last time they were female, in the event, I mean. So far, I'm always male, even if I have really weird. Views on a lot of things." He nods at 'starting to return' "We all come back roughly at the same time, but sometimes people sit in their rooms for a bit. I mean. Often I do as well? Or I did for a little, but then I wanted to, erm. See people. And tell Chance that he was right, and we did end up kind of together. Sort of. I mean. With a tonne of stupidity on my part."
When Dare says he made Harkaway and Cash the same ring? Arcade pales "Whoa man. Heavy," he says "Creepy-heavy. Sorry, Chance. Er, _really_ sorry about that Chance, Dare." He releases and then he says "Oh! No worried Felic...ity? Erm. Pennnnny! Come on, I wanna see that big toughness. You're always such a cutie-pie, it was awesome." He waves his hands this way and that and then he says "I miss being Oh."
The Thrill-Seeker shifts when Chance gets to her, "It's a new thing...we change between encounters sometimes too. You look older too," She chimes in. Almost subconsciously she is returning to circle her arms around Dare from behind loosely as he leans over Felicity. Her expression continues to hold a gentle smile. Leaning against him and, given her knew height, enjoying the smell of his hair and feel of the curls against her cheek. Tall has perks. "Yeah, you're predictable. But that's just one of the things I love about you," She tells Dare tenderly. When Felicity apologizes she smiles and says, "You got nothing to apologize for. I think I get it." And then she is drawing back to let Dare go in for that requested hug. A last little kiss to the top of those orange pomade curls. "I'm gonna go bake cookies while you talk and help her adjust," She says, straightening and turning to head off in another direction. "I miss being Sekhmet," She leans in to murmurs to her recently-triplet on the way to the dispensary. Not a minute later she returns with a tray laden with baking good and slips into an open door just two doors down in the hallway from the parlor. "Cookies in 40," She lets everyone know, leaving her door cracked when she slips inside.
"Oh, darling. Get in line." Chance croons, softly, to Gambler. "Last two Encounters, I was married to Jade...Briar here. Married. And this time? We fought. I was so mean. So mean. All the time. Felicity showed past peak dickery. But, I managed to top myself in the end." He gives her another squeeze before releasing her to Dare. "One thing about being here, if you choose to continue relationships...and some do and some don't. Only you can make that choice. I've been straight in Encounters more often than anything else. I'm not straight here. I love anyone and--wait, I had a point." He pauses and smiles a touch. "Like the, uh, wire ring? I /could/ be jealous. I...think it's sweet. Relationships shuffle. Jade and Thea were both my spouses last time. Married to both. It was the future so that was a possible thing. Time changes in Encounters. I've been from 1900 to 22--something. Off track. I do that. My desire to help overwhelms. Relationships can change in there. Briar and Senni gotta deal with being husband and wife for one lifetime and sister and brother the next. We both have red hair so, I can feel siblings in our future."
The mention of of changing between makes Chance nods. "Oh, oh yeah. I wasn't...well, after I was a former model in one trip, I came back with his body. Just the hot hard abs and shit. I'm still not quite used to it. My first time I was an average thirty-something. I think the second, I was a little older. So, yeah, Dare has not always looked like that. Cheer was blonde and white when I met her. I have a whole different shifting feature. I'll tell you about it later. Just imagine waking up here for the first time and realizing you can hear. Because I was deaf the first go 'round." He starts to get up, having let Felicity go.
The Martyr's expression os so soft, so loving. He opens his arms, "Any time, Red. I just didn't want to crowd you, or to presume." He eyes Amy a moment, "I think the Carnavale was rougher on you than us. I'm sorry for that too." He tells Arcade firmly, "I don't blame you for Harkaway, and I think... for all the unhealthiness of that relationship, it was probably the only reason I lived as long as I did. I was in a very bad place when I was Angel. It will tell you how bad a place when I tell you that the way we were together towards the end? That was the closest to anything good that happened to me the whole time we were on Icarus. Harkaway was holding my last thread of sanity." He gives Cheer's arm a squeeze, "I miss being Osris constantly. Even with.. the drawbacks. I felt so good, all the time. We should go be Osiris and Sekmet this time in the Anywhere Room. Be them together one last time."
He nods, "It's how I new I wasn't really Finn. He was gay and I woke up here bi. I couldn't... not notice I was someone else even if all my memories belonged to Finn O'Neil Attorney at Law. So much of who he was came from being a gay man in the time of Plague, and here I was having a... response to Cheer that proved I wasn't him. I lost my shit for a while, but I found my feet, the parts of me that are essential and unchanging, so that wass all right." He nods, "The wire ring, the original one in the car the night you ran from the blood drinking. I made one just like it for Arcade when he was Harkaway. I thought star could marry us if hark agreed. There wasn't time though. It all went to hell so fast. I slipped it in to Hark's gear before I went out to die." He closes his eyes, "Jesus, Hector was so young, the youngest i can remember by nine years. Older is better." He opens them again, "This is my third body. I was white and then African. I have a theory about why a few of us changed bodies so dramatically, but theories are for later. Hugs are for now."
"Brains. On the wall. I had to go through your pockets to get the car keys." Deep breath. "There was a sheet... and then... everything burned down and no one else needed to know or see." She shudders, frowning a little as Chance lets her go and starts discussing relationships and how they change. "Briar... was... Jade? Right? Okay. So, will try not to be surprised by that." She nods. "At the moment, I only have the one set of feelings, but... I... is that you saying I shouldn't be expecting you to want to be..." Frown. "We'll work that out later." And then Dare is giving her hugs and she clings to him so tightly.
"Oh, and don't forget, Felicity," Penny says, using that name for the Gambler as it's the only one she knows. "If you die here, you will wake up in your room again." There. That's out. There's a finger wiggle of a wave for those departing. She glances at the others and shrugs. "We prefer various people. Lorraine kind of loved who she was. I mean, she was happy, more or less. I just don't care for it afterwards. We've all got favorites, I think. I'd choose Nettie or Kylie or Samantha." A pause. "Maybe Kylie at the top of the list." There's a lifting of a brow at Arcade, a quirk of her lips and she sets the plate aside, and what comes out next is an Amy impression. It's rather perfect, because it's her. "What the fuck Thistle, did you just call me a fucking cutie-pie? What's fucking wrong with you."
"I always look like this here," says Optimist "Except when I first stepped out, I was speaking Swahili for a bit. We seem to keep the languages we knew - here, I mean, if we learned others. But I know a scattering of African ones, so if there is actually an earth? It looks like I came from, you know..." A little shrug "Not America. But a lot of other folks here are. Fuck me. What a crazy thing." He glances sideways at Chance "I'm not...relationship material. Which was weird to say at first, but Dare's right. I mean, he's right from when he first started talking to me, he told me I'd gradually stop caring if anyone knew. Though it's...super weird. To change orientation between things. Events. And confusing!"
Arcade sits down and he kicks his feet up, and then he says "Yes, cookies. That's really good -" Felicity is there talking about brains, and the Optimist frowns "That's fucked up man," he says, and he throws a pillow at Chance, without real aggression "I had to tell her about ghosts after that. I didn't even know about ghosts like that. Well. Oh! Yeah, it's hard at first. I have a few sets of feelings now. A lot of us miss this...one time when we were all gods? I was a giant snake. And that was _so nice_. Penny had it rough though." He sighs in reminiscence, and he says "Yep, no killing yourself, there isn't no point. Though you could kill someone else! Some of us have gone that." He adds "Not me!" And then he turns his head to the Penitent in utter delight "Ahhhh ohmygod. You are cute. Yes. Who is a cinnamon roll? It's you!" He beams at her. Spear's smile, still. Not Harkaway's sneer, malicious. Or Oh's hungry look.
There's the faint sound of laughter from Cheer's room at Penny's display. Then the bang and clang of pots and pans.
"I loved my time as Hodr. He was jealous of his brother and carried guilt. And had plucked out his eyes and was blind but...I miss helping my cult. I miss the little bit of power I had. I miss Dia." He admits, heading towards Thrill-Seeker's room. But then, he gets an emotional shank. Gambler. He turns towards her. "Daring, I'm a slut." Beat. "Shut up, Dare, let me finish. Ow! Arc!" He picks up the pillow and throws it back, missing by a mile. "I never meant to hurt you. Cash..." He has to find the words. "He couldn't see past that moment. He was very, very short-sighted. I blame his youth. I blame his...neurodiversity. 2018 word." He smiles a little. "All he saw was his dead husband and the world narrowed to a pin and I don't recall anything after he realized Hector was dead. He sang though. Mama Cass."
He takes a breath. "Wait. Slut. Right. I tend to fall in love with someone every fu--every time. It's part of my nature, an overactive part. I tend to get to know people very intimately and...if they we have me. If you will have me. You have to share." Beat. "I got Dare, Senni, and Briar. I love each of them down into the marrow of me. I love you, Vee, just like that. If you will have me along with them? I will have you. I'm a love slut. My heart just grows. So, you can think on it. We can talk, when you are ready. I...I am going to give Cheer a hand. My room is not home right now."
The Martyr clings to Felicity just as tightly, burying his nose in her hair, "I was so scared you wouldn't make it here, Red." He takes a breath, "He's not saying that. He's saying that if you don't want to be with either or both of us we'll understand. The relationship thing is complicated here. "I'm always with Briar here as long as they'll have me, but we were only ever together out there at Beaver Lake. I'm also with Cheer and sometimes Fizz who was Zane here. I've been with Star who was Ashley once and adored her, but here she's with Penny. I've been wih Arcade out there twice, but we are definitely just friends here." He flashes a quick smile at Arcade, "I liked Snake you a lot." A wicked smile for Penny, and a chirped "Definitely a cute cinnamon roll!" I'm always poly anywhere and when, even though I don't always act on it. Most of us end up poly here if we've been around long enough. Also, there are things you need to know about who I am, what I'm really like before you can have informed consent with who I am here. I'm still Hector. He's inside me, but I'm not just Hector... we'll talk, but on my side? I love you. Of course I love you. And you've got a lot of things to work through with Chance, but a lot of what happens next is up to you."
He eyes Arcade and Chance, "I'm pretty sure no one would blame you if you stabbed Chance, probably even chance. Jesus, I'm so fucking sorry you had to see that, to carry that loss and to do it alone... I have no words for the bravery of that and what it must have cost you. Fuck!" after a pause he adds, "Dia is also Briar." He remembers how much he wished he had a handout with all the names his first time.
The Amy persona doesn't stick around, and Penny just laughs a little. "Oh, cinnamon roll. That'd go down terribly. Amy wouldn't be pleased." She shakes her head and finishes up her eggs. "Everything is kind of weird, is basically what you learn. Just. Take it slowly, and don't let these people overwhelm you with information." She smiles at that, putting her plate aside and pushing up to her feet. "Speaking of Star, I'm gonna see if she's lingering in her room or something." Another finger wiggle. "Bye." And that apparently, is Penny.
The Gambler clings to Dare, breathing in his scent and looks over his shoulder at Chance. The brief return to Amy and the cinnamon roll comment get a glance and smile. And then a brief frown. "I remember winning a teddy bear for Ashley, but giving it to her is... like not even a postcard, just a hazy plan of one." She looks back to Chance again and nods. "At the moment, I don't think I know how to not love you. But also, clearly, I'm not exactly the jealous type so... we'll talk." And then she kisses Dare's cheek. "Okay. We can do informed consent. But I need to get up off the floor, now, so couch?"
The Optimist watches the pillow sail past with a gay expression "Man, I tell you, Hodr could hit a fly at a hundred paces, what happened, man?" he says. Arcade puts his hands behind his head, listening "2018 still blows my mind. I'm from 2017. Creeps is from like...2200 or something...anyway, time's a big mess in here, and. I still don't have it right. Who could ever get it right." He does squint one eye shut at all the talk about love - and, for that matter, being a slut. "Slut's a judgemental word, you shouldn't use it about yourself. We all know we don't really know what's going on here. All we can do is try to be friends. I like to think this is a...a way of. Us all becoming better people."
Arcade does colour up - a little - as the Martyr mentions being with him twice "I'm really bad at being straight out there, I guess. Here I'm not either. I don't know if we end up poly so much as...we have to be. Kind to one another. Or it gets crazy and people start stabbing each other, or, I dunno. I did kill myself once here. I was upset. I missed being a God...bye Penny. Sleep well."
The Martyr smells exactly the way the Gambler will remember, his musky skin, citrus, fougere, clove. His body is older, in it's prime, but still square shouldered with swimmer's and sprinter's muscles. He rises at her prompting, "Can i get you anything to eat or drink or do you just want cuddles?" He smiles at Arcade, "I keep trying to tell him that." He sighs, "It's hard not to miss being a god."
The Gambler rises as well and looks at the cards scattered around on the ground for a moment, then sighs. "Just cuddles, I think. So many cuddles. Maybe food later. The last thing I remember clearly was funnel cakes and corndogs." She seems to decide collecting the cards isn't worth it and heads towards a couch. "I... don't want to stab Ca... chance. I..." Frown. "I don't know. Making him suffer doesn't feel like it would make anything better. Well, when someone asks you if you're a god, you say, 'yes'. Clearly if someone asks if you want to be a god, the answer should be the same. Unless you're near a volcano."
"I was a nice God. Okay, not nice. But alright. As Gods go." Arcade sits slightly apart from the others, and he frowns himself, putting his chin in his hand "I...hmm. Well, you'll have to work out who you are - and what you like - out here. I find relationships pretty hard out here..."
The Martyr curls up with her, arms around her, "I'm incredibly glad you're here." He laughs softly, "I was a nice god. I never heart anyone, I just made things grow and set them to the afterworld after they died. You? Ate people. and whole bulls and I wanted to hug you and protect you and keep you safe for the world, Arcade. We were always friends, whatever else we were and weren't doing." He kisses the top of her ear, "Don't worry about remembering everything, We old timers babble, but Arcade is right about this place. Remember however unsettled things are, there is a you deep down. Find those things that are essentially truly you and the rest... works out. Chance... is going through a rough patch. He's one of the oldest ones like Penny here and Wendy who was Star and a few others. The older we are....Sometimes it gets messy, though for most peoplesecond time can be really rough. Mine got.. eased because I had been at least as old as agriculture and was... a bunch of Gods compressed together a lt like people here end up integrating a lot of selves they've been. Sometimes we get a bad one, like I had when I was Angel, or sometimes a really messy one like Chance just had. Just remember that we're still us, still human, we've just got more layers and... as long as I still have a door I'll help you when things get rough just like people helped me through my rough patches. I'm fundamentally in favour of kindness, of helping each other, like Arcade was saying earlier. You can talk to me about anything and I'll listen and try to help."
The Gambler snuggles in against Dare, like a cat who has found her person. Or at least one of her people. Her feet get tucked up under her. "Okay." Tiny frown. "That makes sense. Well... if we start from the entire premise of this place and this isn't just a very messed up dream. But one, we can all handle. Two is much harder. Three gets easier again because you've learned how to integrate. Okay. Except sometimes it's bad and that's harder." She sighs a little closing her eyes. "I'm sure you were both nice gods in your ways." tiny pause. "Informed consent now or later?"
"Yep, I ate people," admits Arcade "Ouroboras wasn't evil. He wanted everything to be renewed. He wanted to help, but when he got hungry, he was the world-devourer as well as the world-creator. Balance - but mostly? Hope for the future." He adds "Remember how Sekmet would take the horns off the bulls so I wouldn't choke?" He pauses, and he mutters "It's weird. Even when I was Harkaway, people wanted to protect me. I don't know why. It's weird." A shake of his head.
Then he says "That's right, we can only sort of focus on what's really us - how we feel, and how we react. I've been lucky - I've never really had a nasty, messy time. Er. Sometimes I worry people here might grow to dislike me. Because I always find everything...okay. Not _easy_. But okay. As if it'll always be alright." He shakes his head "This _is_ messed up, and it's okay to have a breakdown. I kept killing myself when I came back from being a God - I'd been a god for two years. And me _here_ like...two days. I couldn't deal. But now. I'm learning to. And we can help. Er. Consent?" He flushes "Erm, well, I can go. I'm, ah. Celibate."
The Martyr smiles softly, "It's not a dream or mental asylum. Those are common first guesses. Also hell or Purgatory or virtual reality or an experiment or some sort of sadist fucking with us. I'm an optimist, so I keep hoping this is some sort of Alternate universe Time Bandits scenario where they are sending us out to save the world or a portion there of and this is our place of rest, a cosmic breakroom where we can heal before the next round of trauma and world saving." his eyes brows go up, "My room is at the sign of the anatomically correct bleeding heart. Want to see it?"
Dare pauses, "There are things I should tell you... Fuck! I die a lot. That thing that happened to Hector? Here, I know it's selfish, but out there? I can't stop myself. I step between people and fists, I step between people and loaded guns. One time, I blew myself up with an eldritch horror inside an asteroid to save the entire human race. If you want to be with me, I will hurt you over and over and over, leave you mourning me. I can't not. The other thing? When things are bad? When I hurt? I try to sacrifice what matters most. I will push you away. If you do this. If you still want me, with my baggage and my lovers and my... essence. If you still want me? Don't let me push you away."
He takes a breath, "At my heart, the very core of me is a duality. Love and sacrifice. I never stop loving. It's my fundamental nature. That love can change flavours, but it is always love. But it drives me to sacrifice and I can't stop. Flip the right switch in my head and I have no limits. I will mutilate my soul. I will do monstrous things for all the right reasons. It's not something I can stop. I am warning you, Love. You need to know what you're getting into. I'm not just a former God who spent six thousand or so years learning to please a woman with very little in the way of genitals."
He flashes Arcade a very fond smile, "Oh, how I loved to watch you each them. No blood. No Dismemberment. you'd stretch your mouth wide and swallow them whole.... And you scales, so beautiful. Oh and Harkaway. I suppose I have a thing for other monsters." He smiles softly at Arcade, "I think I will always like you. If Harkaway couldn't drive me away, nothing will. Four years. we were Gods four years, but you were so sleepy in the winters I think time compressed for you. Don't go, I think we should be the ones to leave."
The Gambler blinks at Arcade. "Huh? No.. I... I got that. I mean, he said I should know things. Before I made decisions. So... like the informing part of... not the anything else. But now might not be good." Another frown. "I want cuddles more than anything else, just now. Not sex. Maybe later. Not now. But I like being touched. I just want to know what I'm supposed to be considering. Other than who I really am and whether I'm a butterfly dreaming of being a girl or a girl who dreamed of being a butterfly." She considers a moment. "Well, the only version of you I've known was incredibly sweet. So... I can see why people would want to protect that."
And then there is... so much information. She listens, frowning and nods slowly. "O...kay. I... I wasn't mad at you. I mourned you. I missed you, but... I understood. Not like..." There's a glance down the hall and she sighs. "I was so angry. And I couldn't explain without making everyone else know, too. But we were in the car and driving back and they asked me what happened and I realized... no one else knew, no one else had seen, everything had burned and people were too busy running to look and... I couldn't tell Spear or Ashley or even Jade. I couldn't do that to them." There's a deep breath in and out. "Why does that image have to stay? Why couldn't it get all postcardy?" She closes her eyes and snuggles in again. "I'm... pretty sure I'm stubborn. And not easily dissuaded from loving someone because they're broken. I... sure, I could go see your room."
The Optimist gives Dare a peace symbol, flashing it easily "Yep. I was. A freak." He pauses, and says "And nowwww I'm going to go to an Anywhere Room and be a giant snake for a while. Just lie in the sun. Bask. Or I should. Thanks for loving me, Dare. I don't know how weird I'd be if people here all hated me or something. _Super_ weird. But I think we are...I think whatever we're here to do? That it's an important, good thing. I think when we stop being here? We've been sent to rest."
He claps his hands together, and then he says "Oh, the whole Solomon thing? Well. Ouroboras would have opinions on that. He'd say in the end: It doesn't matter, you can't be anything other than what you are. And there? You're the expert. So you do you!" He claps his hands together, now, and then he says "It's okay to be angry! Aww. Well. I'm glad you didn't tell Spear. He'd have been all weird and treated you badly - suffocated you trying to pet you better." Then he says "Because everything after is the...bit that wasn't important. It's like when I woke up. And realized Angel had killed himself, and that I was going to be alone. That bit became...postcardy. I was lucky, but...never mind. Go check his room out. I'm going to go pretend I'm the World Serpent again, guys."
The Martyr holds her close, "We don't have to do anything, but I have pillows and blankets and a fine quilt if you want quiet time." He looks in her eyes, "It's something I would do, take the hurt and carry it alone to spare others." He kisses the top of her head, "I love you so very, very much Red. You know that right?"
He gives Arcade a soft smile, "One way or another, I'll always love you Arcade: Friend, Lover, Brother. I like being around you and as long as i have a door I'll always want to be your friend.... You'll always be the World Serpent, or at least he's a part of you and you're a part of him."
The Gambler blinks up at Martyr, tears starting to fall again, but at least she's smiling, so brightly. "I think I love you, too. I only doubted a little." And she stretches up and kisses him softly on the lips. "Let's go see your room. Though maybe just cuddles." She flashes Arcade a smile and a wave. "Rest well"