Log:Tug O War Nah
While The Confidant's door's been marked and open, he's not leaving much. One quick trip for a supply of food every so often and a few novels under his arm and back he'd go. But he'd always, /always/ check the Explorer's door. He'd heard the symbol hadn't changed and he was always confirming it. But he just couldn't or wouldn't knock. Until he crept out to exchange a book and the courage finally came to him. Reading classic romance probably helped a little. So he finally steps up to her door. Check the symbol. Yep. Deep breath and a firm knock. He regrets it immediately but fear has him planted. He came this far.
No, the symbol on the door for The Explorer hasn't changed. It's still a somewhat stylized, abstract compass rose. But the door has, for the most part, remained closed since they all found themselves abruptly and unexpectedly waking in the Facility again.
Er. Not that it's ever expected, waking up here. While whatever masterfully woven tale they're all participating is still going on, they all genuinely believe that that is reality. So why would they expect to suddenly wake up somewhere else?
Right. Anyway. It's not uncommon for the Explorer to take some time to herself, once each story has wound to a close and she's awoken.. here. This time would seem to be no different. Either that, or..
Maybe she didn't return.
It's probably that fear that finally granted him the courage to rap his knuckles against her door. And the silence that follows those sharp beats stretches on well past the point of comfort. He may actually start to resign herself to the idea that she really isn't in there, until.. the knob slowly turns. The door creeps open an inch at a time, until finally, she's visible in the gap created. Gazing up at him.
The relief on The Confidant's face, in his body and the slight tearing in his blue eyes says a lot right away. "Oh. Oh, fuck. I've been fucking terrified. And then, jeez, did you take an hour to come to the door? Oh shit. Did I interrupt you?" He's still the same old big, tall, broad redhead from before. Well, before the Carnival of Wonders, at least. He's wearing his usual plain t-shirt in gray and plaid PJ bottoms. He stand there for a moment, just peering into the gap. He blurts out, suddenly. "I still love you, Senni!" He looks surprised at himself and glances around for anyone else. "Or...Hi. Can I come in?"
As she opens the door just a little further, allowing more of the light from the hallway to spill through and illuminate her a touch better, it becomes clear that her hair is damp. Or maybe a bit more than damp. Also immediately apparent? The fact that she's wrapped in a towel.
So that would explain, then, why it took her a minute to get to the door.
The blurted admission of his feelings has her blinking, and she steps back, waving him inside the room. "You okay? I mean, I get the whole 'worried that someone didn't come back' thing, but.. terrified?"
The Confidant slips into the room, upon noting her state of undress. He turns around and faces the door once inside. "Yes. Terrified. Filled with terror. My sister is Prosperity never came back. Addie, you know? I never got a chance to apologize to her for being a dickbag to her. I mean, I settled with Caleb. He's a friend here. I also lost my first...girlfriend too after, uh, the second encounter. Poof. So. So. By now, feelings are stronger. I chased you twice. My heart was broken twice by your loss in the encounter, yeah? So, so...I swore I would never, ever hold these feelings in here. I can't--can't control what I do within. But I can here."
He takes a breath and rubs his face. "So, we were snapshots in the Carnival. An ex who couldn't sit still. Holden wasn't adventurous /at all/ and being blind and...I think he was fearful. It was an old relationship. I woke up and...Well, he loved Dia there but Holden had a soft place for his Huntress. Here, I woke up feeling like my heart was now in...two. And yes, I was scared that I would never get to tell you how I feel. Again." He sniffles.
"I... yeeeahh." The Explorer starts to reach up to drag her fingers through her hair, but then the towel begins to slip. Letting out a tiny squeak, she makes a quick grab for the thing.
And then she just.. lets it go. Because for fuck's sake, it's not as if he's never seen her naked before. Turning, she heads over to the bed, where she'd laid out pajamas prior to stepping into the lengthy bath she'd been indulging in when he showed up and knocked. "I'm still trying to process everything," she admits, as she shakes open the soft jersey cotton pants covered with snoozing grey kittens on a backdrop of dreamy blue. "I don't think I really like who I was, this time around. Artemis was kind of a bitch," she adds, with a smirk.
Oh, Chance. Bless his heart. He keeps his back turned and eyes averted as she dresses. "Holden was a great guy." Chance says, laughing. "He had a few little issues that made him touchy or whatever but he was so...good. Good, kind, sweet, loving, fucking open minded. Didn't judge. Not even Artemis. He never wanted anyone to be anything else then who they were. And if Artemis was a bitch, he liked her anyway. They were snapshots. It's...hard to put a bead on why he liked her. If I had to guess after being Hodr, then Holden for what? An eternity? Or a little over two years after the fuzziness. He lusted. He probably admired Artemis. He loved those who were fearless. Because he wasn't." He snorts. "If you didn't like her, now you know how I felt after Beaver Lake and Prosperity. I've come to terms with them now though. But I woke up hating myself." He takes a peek to see if she's dressed.
Annnd side-boob. He does catch a glimpse, as she's in the midst of lifting the pajama top to slip it on over her head when he turns to check on her. "Of course I hate myself," she states simply, her tone somewhat hollow with the admission. Tugging the shirt down, which features a single, larger kitten curled upon a fluffy cloud at the center of her breast, she coaxes it into place before reaching up to tug her dark, damp hair out from beneath the collar. Not terribly comfortable, having it laying directly against her skin.
"She was horrid to you. When all you ever did was try to love her." She won't even refer to Artemis in first-person terms, it seems. It's all 'she,' and 'her.' As if she can't quite swallow the idea that she had any personal involvement in the way the goddess behaved, or treated those closest to her.
"Frankly, I don't blame you in the slightest for giving up on her and falling for Dia."
"Oh shit. Tits." Chance blurts out then covers his mouth to muffle his red-faced, embarrassed laughter. "Dia was transgendered. No tits. Holden didn't give any fucks because he gave no fucks about appearance. Zero. Even though he was sighted if he possessed one of his cultists? He didn't have enough reference to care." He laughs. "But I do and /I/ just realized I missed them." He laughs louder and covers his mouth again. "Not to take anything from Briar. Briar is dear to me. Like you are." Then he turns to face her. "You remind me of myself after Prosperity. Mister Don't Call Me Jody. The sad thing is they are some part of us. All of them. It can be shaped and molded by the circumstances but a little bit is...here. Inside. Come to terms with that and you'll feel better."
He steps closer. "You know...you know you are still my girl, right? I still want those legs around my waist. My fingers in your hair. May I ask...it-it's a request."
She quirks a brow, increasing the upward angle of her head as he draws closer, in order to keep her gaze on his. It's a necessity, when one is dealing with a height disparity as marked as theirs is. Her expression is one of curiosity, true, though there's an element of detachment as well that would probably remind him pretty starkly of Artemis, truth told. One of the lingering remnants of her most recent life that she hasn't yet shrugged off, perhaps.
"Ask what? To touch my tits?" she asks, bluntly. And with, maybe, the teensiest flicker of mirth in her eyes to combat that sense of distance, of ennui. She waits a beat before asking, "Help me out. So many names. Who's Briar?"
The Confidant smirks. "Dia. Danny. They go by Briar here." He shakes his head. "No. I-I-I would like to touch your tits, sure but that isn't my question. It's way, way...needier." He pivots. "Finn, from Beaver Lake? New face. Not even the one he had last Encounter. I didn't know him. His accent is the same but...part of me was scared that you'd be different too. This situation is getting more and more batshit by the second, I swear." He sighs. "Point is, I don't know names, faces and doors like I did. I hear, uh, that little blonde I fucked at the lake is a black woman now too. And I was blind so I have a whole fucking section of people I don't recognize by sight. I can't be relied upon for that information right now."
And then, he comes back to the request. "While I was Holden, I-I didn't sleep well. I never got to the bottom of why. It kinda carried on here. I'm not sleeping. At all. Unless...I want--I mean, you always wake up in your own but if I come and ask, will you come and lay down with me?"
Yep, cue the blink. No, she didn't really think that his intention was to ask if he could fondle her ta-tas, but judging by the surprise that flickers through her expression when he clarifies what he did want from her, she certainly wasn't expecting.. that.
After all, last either of them knew, he was married. To her ex. Who now goes by 'Briar,' it seems? Yeah. The situation's getting more and more batshit by the second, he's absolutely right on that score.
"You.. wouldn't prefer that, uh. Briar? Come and play teddy bear for you at night?" she asks, unable to help it.
The Confidant leans back against her closed door. "I woke up loving someone I didn't expect to love. While, at the same time, still being crazy about you." He looks away, blinking. His breathing shudders. "If you don't feel the same way anymore or...if you never did. That's okay." It's not okay. You can see it all over him. Chance is always expressive. Easy to read unless you know nothing about humans and empathy. He won't look at her now as he continues. "In a way, I love everyone here. Of course, not romantically. But I've loved you. Briar. Fuck, I even spent some time with Jonah after we left Prosperity, before he passed. So...romantic love, for me, is as bottomless as my platonic. I went to sleep before the Carnival with your name across my heart. I woke up and two names are there. Equal. Very different. Briar takes care of me. Sweet, loving, dear. You make me feel alive and charged and invincible. Adventurous. Fearless. Sexy. There is no one better than the other in my mind. It's two halves of my heart. One for you. One for Briar. So. No. There is no preference. I want to lay down with the people I love. Simple."
She's silent. For quite a long while, in fact. Agonizingly long. So long that, were his breath being held throughout, his lungs would be burning by the time she finally parts her lips again, to speak.
A deep breath is drawn, released again moments later in a soft sigh. And, perhaps for the first time since he entered her room, he'd recognize her again. Truly, spiritually recognize her. Not that her overall appearance has changed at all, but.. those little things, soul-deep qualities and personal quirks that make her who she is. That make her the woman he loves.
There's the sunny warmth of Misty's smile, setting its glow over the soft contours of her lips. The aching tenderness that welled within Senni's eyes, whenever she looked at him, toward the end. The stubborn, determined set of Elene's chin, in that moment when a decision's been made, and she's gearing up to see it through.
"Then I suppose we should probably grab hold of Briar and go see if your bed will even fit all three of us."
The Confidant wasn't holding his breath so much as making little panicked panting sounds. He looks at her just in time to see that woman he loves and adores reappear and he's just finished. He sits down on the floor, knees up and covers his face. It's another crash of relief that just knocks him off his feet. He looks up and wipes away a stray tear. "My room changes. Subtly. My first wake up it looked like a hospital room. Sterile. Barren. And I left and talked to others and when I returned, it looked like it does now. Big bed, comfy and cozy and warm. Welcoming. This time, after debriefing with Briar. The bed went up a size. It's a King. A long one because I'm tall. So...yeah, we'll fit. If we want. But right now, I only want you. My Senni."
His wish is fulfilled, maybe even a little sooner than he'd meant. He said he wanted his Senni, and she doesn't make him wait more than a beat or two once he's finished talking before she crosses the distance that separates them with a smattering of silent, bare-footed steps.
Of course, the fact that his knees are drawn up poses something of an obstacle, but she's always been fairly quick on her feet. In a creative sense, as well, obviously. So, in this particular instance, she solves the problem by swinging a leg across and perching her pert little ass right atop his knees. And then scooting forward, to sliiiide down the fronts of his thighs, into the gap between them and his upper body.
"How does Briar feel about all of this?" she asks, even as she slips her arms up to curl them about his neck.
Another exhale, another wave of relief and now, he relaxes, letting her get in close. "Briar said, when I mentioned this fucked up sleep problem, 'Between me and Senni, we'll keep your bed warm.' and now, looking down the barrel of being a lover to two wonderful, amazing creatures of beauty and grace. I wonder if I am not the luckiest motherfucker in this place." He laughs and then, he kisses her. A kiss deferred by what felt like years. A kiss filled with love and a heat that only she can bring out of the mild mannered Confidant. He parts. "I think Briar feels like Danny did Misty dirty in Beaver Lake. They have a bit of guilt. Otherwise, they have no problem with sharing. Because...my heart will always make room. I love you and Briar very, very much. I am so fortunate to be able to have you both love me back." He pauses a moment. "And...if we keep heading into encounters, we will...eventually find ourselves apart. With others. Like Carnival. So...we love today. Enjoy one another until the next go round." He wraps his arms around her in a quick hug. "I missed you." He whispers.
"I missed you, too," she offers in return, before leaning in to plant a playfully light kiss on the very tip of his nose. And she did. Regardless of how much time actually passed, in her mind, as Artemis, she spent centuries apart from him. Followed, yes, by a few years of on-again, off-again involvement, true, but even that was.. 'casual,' on her end. Artemis simply wasn't wired to develop that kind of emotional, romantic attachment. So in a very real sense, to her, they've got a whole lot of lost time to make up for. Like, loads of it.
"And I'm not going to lie to you. There's part of me that still loves Danny-Briar, too. Just like there's part of me that will always have Rod's name etched on it. But.. like you said," she says softly, as her fingers begin to play through the hair at his nape, "Love isn't a finite thing."
"Also, for the record? Yes, you absolutely are the luckiest motherfucker in this place."