Log:Two Dead Boys

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Two Dead Boys
Characters  •   The Beast  •  The Loner  •
Location  •  Loner's Room
Date  •  2018-12-15
Summary  •  Beast and Loner catch up once more after yet another life.

Wonder of wonders, one of the doors in the hallway for once stands open. Not that there are never doors standing open in the hallway, but it's the particular door that stands open, the image of a man huddled alone in darkness on its surface. That door is almost always closed unless the occupant himself is passing through it. But today, it's open and the Loner reclines on his bed, one leg bent up with a book propped against his knee. The smell of freshly brewed tea wafting from the room and something else that smells strongly of cinnamon and nutmeg.


The Beast woke up sometime during the current cycle, back in the room that he's grown familiar with, and with his head swimming with a whole new set of memories and a new person contending with the others in his head. He took some time, just to lay there staring at the ceiling, sorting out this new set of information, and then went to look in the mirror. Sure enough, he was no longer aged to his 60s, and was back to his more familiar appearance. Dressed in a pair of jeans and a grey sweater, he came out of his room and began to meander down the hall.

He makes his way along, expecting to see some faces, and perhaps not others. When he reaches the familiar door of the loner, he pauses there, and then he knocks with the back of his knuckles, two quick raps before he asks, "How are you holding up?"


Loner looks up from his book at the knock on his door. He doesn't say anything at first, instead just motioning Beast to come in with a mild gesture. He turns the book over, setting it on the bed next to him. "I'm holding up fine. Apparently, it's easier coming back when you kill yourself. At least for me it is." His smile is mild, but it's there, which for him actually means something. It's not one of his blander smiles he gives people because he's supposed to, Connor seems to pull the normal ones out of him. Ever since Andrew. "I'm guessing you just got back?"


The Beast comes into the room when Loner motions him in, and wanders over to a spot where the wall is clean and leans against it, folding his arms in front of him. He considers that answer for a moment or two, and then nods, supposing he can't refute it. "Yeah," he says after a moment or two, that British accent back where it was replaced with something more western back in Prosperity. "Belphagor got me in the banishing. Aged me to sixty then gave me another good push over the edge. Pretty sure he went down as I did," he says, though there's a sort of detachment about it, or at least a seeming peace about it. "I killed a lot of people back there.." It's said as a note of contemplation more than anything else. He looks over at Loner. "Always seem to find you there."


There's the new item on the wall clearly in Beast's view. Right alongside the pistol and the guitar hangs Glenn's ethermask, all black and ominous looking. Loner's eyes shift towards it for a moment before glancing back at the other man with a nod. "Well, you find me once." He mutters with another of those mild grins. "Maybe next time." He says with a bit of a shrug, he reaches over onto the nightstand where sits a cup of tea he takes in hand to sip. Though after setting it down he takes up the plate sitting next to it and holds it out. "Fresh baked gingerbread? I was craving something sweet. It's actually not bad."


The Beast glances toward the mask and seems to think about that for a moment or two, but doesn't say anything more, just giving a slight nod. He glances up to the gingerbread as it's offered, and reaches out to take a piece, not seeming inclined to turn down food. Holding it in one hand, he's careful not to make crumbs everywhere as he breaks a piece off and eats it slowly. Once the bite is done he nods and says, "It's not bad, really. Nothing I've eaten here is bad. I wouldn't write home and rave about it as the best thing I ever ate, but then I don't know where home is to write -- so I suppose it's moot all 'round." He takes a deep breath in and lets it out then. "Is anything different this time around? Or is it the same?"


"Those two doors in the parlor now open. I went through one and ended up in Shetland. At least I think it was Shetland. A very empty Shetland." Loner sniffs softly and picks up his tea again. "And I only know from Andrew's memories, though who the fuck knows why I thought of that. Seems our overlords want us to have more entertainment." His lips compress tightly, looking like he bit a lemon before turning his eyes back on Beast. "Maybe next we'll get a gladiator pit. If those doors can't make one..." His brows pull down and he shakes his head.


The Beast glances toward the hall for a moment and looks thoughtful. "I wonder if it takes us home.. or maybe where home would be if it wasn't empty." Though, he doesn't immediately pull away from the wall and go and look. Instead he remains there, slowly eating the gingerbread between bits of conversation. Both brows raise a bit at the idea of a gladiator pit. "What, so we can kill one another more than we already endure in these little plays from Hell?"


"'Cept I'm no Shetlander. Least my accent's not, it's Edinburgh." Loner taps his lips with a finger. "I was just hoping for somewhere secluded to get away from people. And well.. it's Shetland." He shrugs as if that explains anything. Even if his memories of what that island is like are all fabricated and more like snapshots than actual memories. "Andrew was fond of it though. I remember that much." He winces at the question. "It was a joke. A bad joke."


"True," Beast says, finishing off the last of the ginerbread and sliding his hands into his pockets, leaning comfortably against the wall. "I guess if you're going for secluded, it's a place to go." He says, "Connor wanted to go find a nice quiet house on an island somewhere, even after the island. He still held onto everything. Evan was the opposite. He let go of all of his dreams." He glances over at the wince and says, "Sorry."


Loner shifts around to pull his feet under himself, frowning down at the grey sheet covering his bed. "Andrew was like that. He really didn't care about anything." There's another flick of his eyes in the other man's directions. "Well.. almost anything. Callum still feels so alien in my head, he wanted things but.. not in the way most people do. Glenn is the first time I actually cared what happened to everyone." He frowns again, gripping his feet in his hands. "His feelings were so strong by the end, he feels like he's pushing the other two out of the way." He snorts. "I still wake up feeling guilty."


"Evan cared about his siblings more than anything else, and then no matter what he did for them, it didn't matter. It didn't change anything. In the end, even after killing twenty men for the Coltons, he was so angry with Jody for trying to call in a favor that was owed to him, not Jody," he says as he remembers all of those memories so fresh in his mind. "At the end, Evan didn't care about anyone. He did his duty to his family, and to his sister and her fiance. But he was glad to die and be free of it all. He had nothing that was his." He tilts his head a little to one side and says, "Aaron cared about his crew and his ship. If he hadn't taken a spike to the head, he would have gone down with that ship. But it's Connor that still feels the strongest, whose memories are the most vivid, who still feels the most like me when I wake up." His expression is a little distant, thoughtful, as he mulls it over.


Loner is playing with his toes, as much as to distract himself as to help him go through his memories. Though he does look towards Beast as he mentions Connor, then back down. "None of them feel real. Glenn's just overwhelming everything else, him and his guilt." There's a sour twist to his mouth at the word guilt as if he can taste it. "I'm sorry Evan was rough on you. Sorry I couldn't talk to him more. I miss our talks on the beach." He sighs and speaks softly. "I'm already dreading this next one. Whatever it's going to be."


The Beast is mostly still. He's always been able to mostly go still and quiet while he thinks, the wall holding him up, hands in his pockets, his gaze on some midpoint in the air between him and whatever wall might block his view into the distance. He smiles faintly and shrugs his shoulders when Loner looks over toward him, the expression brief but genuine. Then he nods, asking, "What'd Glen have to feel guilty about?" He then says, "Evan had a hard life, and was a lonely, resigned person. I don't know. Part of me is just glad that he found peace in the end, even if he wasn't real." There's another small smile as he says, "It's alright. We don't even know we're us when we're in these things. It's only coincidence we run into each other at all. But I do miss the talks on the beach." As for the next one, he just nods a bit grimly at that. "They sure don't seem to be getting better."


"I.. He was sick, probably dying, so he made a deal with one of those demons for health. Then the demon possessed him and made him kill his father." Loner wrinkles he nose as he slips with the I, only barely catching himself. "He wanted to die but he just couldn't kill himself, he wanted to die being useful." He shakes his head, almost disbelieving the words coming out of his mouth. "I kind of admire him for that. Not just ending it." He looks over to his wall of mementos, eyes hovering somewhere between the mask and the gun. Of course, both are useless here. "Not knowing while we're there doesn't make coming back any easier."


The Beast listens to Glenn's story, studying some point on the floor in front of him, and then he nods after a while. "He died saving someone else, and she came back to fight again against the next demon, and I'm pretty sure she lived, because I didn't see her go down, and I don't think she's here, so.. I guess he got his peace doing something good in the end, too. Redemption, of a sort, maybe?" He glances over toward the wall of mementos, "I've got the Colton family gun that Caleb gave Evan to fight the Delgados with." It's just a prop, but it's there, beautifully crafted and carved, in his room.


And after a moment's pause he adds, "No.. it doesn't."


"For now." Loner mutters almost angrily. "I remember her from the Noc. So she'll end up coming right back when the rest of them do." He sticks his legs out and leans back against the headboard. "It was a meaningless gesture in the end. Worse. I sent her back for more torture in that bloody town and I got to take it easy here. Just like this damned place. Take something that was meant to help and twist it all around so it's wrong."


"You can only do what is best in the situation that you are in at the time with the knowledge that you have at the time. If Glenn had known that her death would have sent her on to peace and a comfortable room with modern conveniences then maybe he'd have done something differently, but you can't frame those choices in the here and now with knowledge you didn't have," Beast says with a shake of his head. "I don't feel guilty for a damn thing that Evan did, or Aaron, or Connor. All that I can control is the choices that I make while I'm here."


The Loner just stares at the other man for a moment then sighs and shrugs. "I guess it doesn't matter, other than to rile me up." He looks from the Beast to the wall and back again. "Doesn't mean their emotions aren't overwhelming sometimes. Other times I just want one to take over so I can actually feel like someone."


"It's not that it doesn't matter.." Beast starts and then stops and shrugs his shoulders slightly. "And I'm not trying to downplay what it's like to have all those emotions in your head. Nor can I honestly say that I don't struggle with them when they pull at me. I just.. if I took on all the guilt, particularly all of Aaron's, over all the things that he did and sacrificed and cut out of his life to keep that ship going.. or longed for all the things that Evan never had, or for the things that Connor wanted.." He shakes his head, "I feel like an animal in a cage, and it's all I can do to just hold it all at bay, and hope the next thing doesn't break me." He then pauses for another long moment or two, "I'm trying to feel like someone.. here. A someone that I'm building on my own at this point."


"That's the problem." Loner says with a mild tone. "Every time I feel like I'm getting a grip on myself we get shucked off into one of those... things, and I end up with a new set of memories rattling around in my skull. Not that I have to tell you what that's like, but it does make things a bit hard to settle." He sighs softly. "I'm sure I'll break long before you do. Between Andrew and Glenn, I'm not sure if that was them or me that breaks down into a jibbering mess."


"You're not allowed to," Beast says, quickly, and perhaps with a little more force behind the words than he'd really intended. He stares at Loner for a long moment, and then he sighs and says, "You're the only person in here that I really talk to."


The Loner actually jumps a little at the force of those words, staring at the other man with more than a little startlement on his face. Though he recovers his composure quickly, even if a bit of red suffuses his cheeks for a moment. "Fine, I'll try not to break down. But I think you might need to get yourself some friends that don't mope."


"Sorry," Beast apologizes, seeing that startlement. "I just meant.." He shakes his head and trails off. He pulls away from the wall then and says, "Maybe you're right. You've got enough to deal with; you don't need me putting pressure on you on top of it. It's unfair on my part." His brow knits a little bit before he does actually cast an apologetic look toward Loner.


"It's fine, I just.." Loner shakes his head. "Glenn still has me a bit jumpy." He sighs and slumps a little. "I do mope too much, I need you to come by and snap me out of it once in a while. Most of the others here just seem to get under my skin. Most." He looks at the door, still open for now and shakes his head.


"I can if you want me to," Beast says, just sort of idly pacing, one slow step after the other in a sort of figure-eight pattern in the middle of the floor. "I used to talk to Cameron a bit, or well, he was Cameron on the island. But I didn't see him in Prosperity, and I didn't see him before we left here. I wonder if once we stop seeing them in there.. if they stop coming back here."


"Jeremiah isn't here either, neither is Maata." Loner names the two, using their names for Prosperity and the Island respectively. "That worries me more, the ones who die there and never come back to the facility. It scares me more. I'd rather come here and face a hundred cycles than have that happen to me. But maybe they went free, met some requirement, paid some debt.." He shakes his head.


The Beast nods his head a bit, recognizing the names, and those who belong to them. "I don't know. Part of me wonders if where we are now, is like how Prosperity was while we were there -- we think disappearing and dying is a terrible thing, but maybe it's just.. freedom from here, and in to a whole other world where we are.. whoever we are." He shakes his head, "Or maybe there's just nothing. Or maybe we aren't even real. I just end up in a spiral the longer I think about it. For now.. I am content to be at least in this cage."


The Loner nods his head in agreement with the last sentiment. "I.. I was actually telling one of the new arrivals that myself. That if it weren't for all the greusome dying on the other side I might actually enjoy living these other lives. Maybe someday we'll have a more peaceful experience. I'm not holding my breath though."


"I almost wouldn't mind it either if it was more like the Island started off being. I didn't even mind the hard life of a mining crew chief. I didn't even mind being a bounty hunter. But everything going to terrifying shit.. I could do without," Beast says with a bit of a sigh, followed with a faint smile. "I'm not holding mine, either."


"Two's a coincidence, three's a pattern. That's the saying, right?" Loner nods whether he gets confirmation or not. "Well, we've had our three. Someone out there has a sadistic streak." He rubs the back of his neck and goes for his tea cup again, wrinkling his nose as he finds the drink to have gone cold. "We should experiment, see if we think about it hard enough over this interlude if we can make ourselves find each other in the next go around."


The Beast glances over toward the tea cup and then says, "I could use a drink after that gingerbread. Want me to get you some more tea?" He nods toward the doorway, offering to go get drinks for the both of them. He then says, "Yeah, it's definitely more than a coincidence," whether confirmation was required of him or not. He considers the experiment and says "I wonder if that would work.. if it's even possible to carry over anything from here to there.. not physically but.. mentally. It's worth a try."


Loner nods slowly and sets the tea cup aside. "And maybe snag a bottle of scotch while you're there." He smirks slightly, some of the good humor that Beast manages to pull out of him for some reason returning. "Yeah, but we'd have to attempt it a few times to see if it manages to stick or was just luck." He tosses his legs over the side of the bed but doesn't seem about to get up, resting elbows on knees. "Thanks." He says, but doesn't elaborate for what.


"Then let's try it," Beast says, studying him for a moment or two. "What have we got to lose in the effort?" He then says, "Scotch, and two glasses, and more hot tea." He drifts toward the doorway but pauses there to turn back and look at Loner for a moment. He doesn't ask for what. He just smiles, a little bit, and gives a nod of his head, before he heads off down the hall, to return in not too long with the bottle, glasses, and tea, to be consumed in whatever order they seem to feel inclined toward.