Log:Understanding

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Understanding
Characters  •   The Penitent  •  The Capitalist  •
Location  •  The Penitent's Room
Date  •  2019-01-03
Summary  •  The Capitalist visits the Penitent shortly after speaking to others about it. The conversation is confused and heated, but eventually they seem to come to an understanding once more.

Something is going on in the Penitent's room. In that plain room with the light sky-blue walls and the lino floor that Penny calls her jail cell, the pictures of landscapes up, it truly does sooth her to just be here. Even though the door doesn't lock, making for a pretty poor cell in the grand scheme of things. Furnishings are sparse and plain. The bed, the night stand. A vanity. And to one side, a small desk, up against the wall. Barely more than a table with a single drawer in it.

It's there that Penny sits, dressed still in the black pants and maroon tank top. There's a sharp crack that sounds like something plastic breaking or snapping. It's not especially loud, but outside the door, it can be heard. Because the Penitent is currently taking apart Madison's cellphone. With Kylie's multitool. It's not the right tool for the job, which means things are breaking in the effort. The woman's tinkering, something Kylie always did to keep her mind away from the thoughts of her past. But there's a certain kind of focus to it; perhaps destroying something - the only thing she has - of Madison's hold some meaning for her.


It's been a long day for the Capitalist, having just been audience to not one, but two private conversations which have all led him to what he's doing now. Still dressed in that oversized gray sweater, jeans and combat boots get-up, his hair also remains slightly mussed, having done nothing at all since he left the parlor just moments ago.

Her room was directly across the way from his, so the journey doesn't take long. With a raised hand, he raps his knuckles against the door at a spot just below her symbol, his eyes looking the image over in a studious manner. He's seen the image on her door many times before and has even looked at in in full in order to make out every detail presented to the viewer. This is what he's doing now, taking the time to just focus in on that woman weeping. When no response is given, he gives the door another knock, before calling out, "It's me. I'm coming in." The sounds of tinkering tells him what he needs to know: This room was not empty.

The door is pushed slowly forward, there's no rush in his pace as he passes over the threshold. The first thing that his eyes seek out it to locate the Penitent, though as she's not hidden away in the privacy of her closet or bathroom, this was a task easily accomplished. He doesn't come bearing gifts, there's no bottle of alcohol in hand, even if he has a feeling that they might need a drink after what they are about to discuss.

There's a curious look on his face now, something mild, the way that his brow arches subtly when realizing what the room's occupant was doing currently. "I tried that once. The night of my second awakening," Driscolls. And he means his attempt of destroying any part of him that reminded him of Conrad Wellson. "It didn't work out." Here, he pauses, considering his next words as he continues in that slow approach, "I. I know that we need to talk. Others have told me as much, but I know that we need to finally get this resolved."


One might wonder if she even heard the knock upon her door. There's no real response to it at all, it doesn't slow her down in what she's doing. Prying the faceplate off the iPhone, setting the case aside and starting to examine the electronics within. It's not until his voice accompanies the next knock does her tinkering pause, the sound suddenly going quiet, but for a soft sigh escaping her. She turns in the chair. It's a basic chair, it doesn't swivel. So she turns it, to stare blankly at the door and the Capitalist enters.

By now she's got the battery of the phone pried loose and the main board out. "Kylie took things apart all the time. Figured out how they worked. I'm trying to ... figure out how it works. A phone with no signal and no adjustable settings, only a stack of emails? Maybe it could ..." she shrugs. She doesn't know really. "But nothing in Kylie's memories gives me a point of reference on how to handle a cell phone from 2018."

She glances away slightly, setting the pieces and the tool down, licking at her lips. "Have they?" She says on the others. "Maybe some people shouldn't be so invested in us."


He looks terribly intrigued when told of the Penitent's plans or what she had considered doing for the reason as to her tinkering. He has a passing knowledge of general electronics, most likely from Driscoll, of course, but not to the same familiarity that Shorley would have had. "It would be interesting if we could find a way to get a signal out of here. Or to receive one." His gaze pulls away from her for a brief moment to take in her room once again, eyes scanning the various serene images on her walls, "Or if there's a way to disrupt any of their signals, whoever they are. Who knows what will happen if their machinery began to malfunction." He then adds, making his way over to the woman's bed, looking to settle down on it, but not without asking first, "May I?" Even before the respons is given, he continues with his train of thought, "With all of those books on the shelves, we should be able to find instructions on how to do just about anything. As long as we have the tools to do so and.." His chin lifts at the multitool, "That's a good start."

"Yeah, Eilis and the... actress both spoke with me about our relationship." Here, his hand gestures between the both of them in this room. "It's something that's been on my mind for a while." Finally, he allows his eyes to light on the Penitent directly, a concerned expression on his face, "How have you been holding up?"


"I'm not sure 'they', if there is a 'they', would really give us the means to do something like this. I'm not even sure this is a real iphone. I can't figure out how to ... factory reset it. Maybe it can't be done." She peers down at the pieces of it, her head tilting this way and that, one elbow on the desk, the other just at her side. She glances back over at him at the request to sit, a moment's delay before she gives a slight nod, her gaze lowering. "Anyway, it's broken now. It'll have to wait until tomorrow at least."

She's quiet in those moments after that brief explanation, her face betraying very little. "I didn't know about Eilis, but that makes sense I guess. The 'actress' isn't surprising though. She was very ... strangely intense about us. I guess she was kind of living through us, or something, or hoping to. She had a big talk to me about it all, you know." Her tone is soft, and kind of glum. "Like we should just get over it, and love. Others have said the same thing ... but they don't know. They can't."

She does glance up then, eyeing him for a moment. "I've been okay. You know me. I've always been more comfortable here than most." There's a lingering 'but' that deserves to be there on that sentence. It's clearly in her tone and her gaze, but she doesn't speak it.


"You're probably right." He says about their overseers most likely not providing them with the tools nor means of thwarting whatever this project or task it is that they are working on, involving everyone within the Facility. "But the more we test things out, the more we might learn. Or so I'm hoping." The nod given him, he sits himself down at the edge of his bed, hunched forward so that his elbows either rest upon his thighs or hover slightly above them whenever he makes a gesture.

"Eilis was trying," The Capitalist starts off, taking pause in his words, before correcting himself somewhat, "Eilis was missing Cillian, but in here, I wouldn't feel right about babying her the way she's used to. If that makes sense." One of his hands now reaches up to rub at the bristles at his chin, "She was curious about our life after Prosperity and wanted to know the name of our child." He remembers that exact moment when the request was given him and how difficult it was to comb through those footnotes in his life before finding his answer, "It took me a while to recall what it was, so I took the time to jot it down in my notes so that I'll never forget it again, when I was back in my room."


Turning the chair around to face him proper now, the Penitent just gives a vague nod towards the ideas of what they might learn. Enough to confirm that she's thinking along the same lines at least. Small steps first, to figure out how things might work, or not work, before anything really tangible can be gained from it all.

"I ... yes, it makes sense. But remember, she only has that one set of memories to base anything off. Imagine if when you were first here, as Conrad, someone told you about what awaits, that they've lived several different lives, and you'll be someone other than Conrad soon enough. We didn't have something like that." The mention of that child, their child, does give her pause, a soft little sound coming from her. It takes her a moment to pull the thoughts together. "Maria," she whispers. "I remember. Mostly because it's Lupe's actual name, and I can remember her vividly enough to find the connection." Another sigh, and she looks up. "What do you want?" That question is left completely open ended.


Conrad's name mentioned and the scenario described to him by the Penitent makes him think back on those first days in this place. It seems so long ago. "I hadn't really thought about that. She was still clinging onto that life and those memories the way I had when I only knew myself as Wellson." His eyes slowly lift though stops before his gaze meets with hers, deciding to focus on her lips instead of anywhere else for the few seconds it takes to make his statement, "The way I'd felt when you told me that you didn't feel like Madison or you didn't want to be Madison." Now, his gaze makes the final journey to look into her eyes. It's short-lived and there's nothing confrontational about the look given her. "But I wasn't denouncing McTavish. In fact, I told her that I envied him."

He remembers now, when Anette first told him why she wanted to name their daughter Maria, when he had asked about her choice. That surprise and confusion on Cillian's face at the time when learning that neither Bella nor Lupe was the youngest of the Hargreave-blooded sisters's birth name, his expression fading away into one of amusement, something that is mirrored on his features now, before it quickly disappears. "What I want is to hold our daughter in my hands and stare into that cherubic little face of hers. That was one of the happiest moments of my life."


"I don't think she's quite clinging the way you did. She's noticed how different we all are. She's awoken in a strange place to find the people closest to her are also different people that she never knew. You, me. Pierce. It's not quite the same as the way I hid from Madison. I didn't have someone else to retreat into or argue as, if you get what I mean. Not like we do now." Penitent says quietly, matching that gaze for those few moments.

That look of amusement, echoed by a half remembered life, does have her repeat the same explanation as she did then. "Maria de Guadalupe," emphasis on the 'Lupe', "Hargreave y Orzibal. Bella Muerta was what she called herself. She'd probably be horrified we chose Maria, the one name she always avoided." But following that, she's quiet again. Pensive as his explanation comes, and her eyes close just a moment.

"I know. Me too. But I can't help but think," she ventures quietly, "that if we get lost in what we can't have, we'll never be able to appreciate what we can. Didn't we agree to try and just be happy?"


"The circumstances were different and, at the time, no one else had memories of anything other than the Island." The Capitalist is quick to counter with, his posture straightening so that he's no longer hunched forward. "No one was discussing other lifetimes, because there were none. Not to our memory anyway. But she found the best way to get me to remember Cillian." His chin lifts in an idle manner, the hand that was rubbing at it, travels lower to scratch at a spot on his exposed neck. "She was always crafty."

This talk of just being happy is brought up, something which he recalled they had both agreed to do. "Right. Define happy. There's not much happiness to be found in this place, but I went through one of those doors one day to find the ideal setting for me. I can't say I was disappointed, other than the place was empty, as they tend to be. Observing an empty city-scape from the window of your highrise office didn't have the same satisfaction that I would've liked."

He sort of has a feeling that this may not be exactly what she was talking about, so rather than continue on with his complaints about this place, he simply states, flat out, a repeat of what he has originally said, "It's hard to find happiness here, but we're all going through our lives... whatever that means in this place, as we want." That's when he looks to her again, "Or are we?"


"The were different." Penny agrees with that simple statement, listening and watching him, those little motions and reading all the body language she can. "The actress wanted me to make you remember that too. Though her idea was to have me march into your room and just kiss you. But then, she's very direct at the moment." She says this like she expects the Bravo's behaviour is going to change sooner or later. "But ..." she just rails off, shaking her head.

"Maybe there isn't, but I've been happy. Perhaps as happy as I can be in a place like this. Happy enough to actually feel the boredom and tedium set in; which is a first for me." She looks up again, meeting his gaze. "You found an office with a view of an entire city? That sounds very like you."

Once again she glances away, clearly debating. "Are we?" She echoes, staring across the way, at the door. But her gaze is unfocused and distant. "Whatever we have, whatever happiness we aspired to try and find, this isn't how I imagined it going. I don't know what I expected, really. I thought we'd figure it out together, but you're more distant than ever." Previously, the Penitent would likely have never gone into detail. Her need to be unselfish, her need to not upset other people, all driven by her need to limit her own feelings of guilt would have stopped her. But the newfound determination that is all thanks to Anette Hargreave surfaces proper. "You retreat within yourself when I'm the only person her who truly has some understanding of what you're going through. Maybe you forget that I'm one of the few people here who knows you, or parts of you at least -- twice over now. We can be together out there, talking, swimming at the beach, and the distance between us seems vast. I don't know how to cross it. Worse, I get the impression you don't want me to cross it. You keep me at an arms length just like --" She cuts off a moment, her voice heating a little and she shakes her head, glancing away. "It wouldn't be so bad if there weren't moments where you just looked at me like ... like Cillian might have. But honestly? This is harder for me than when you were trying to forget all about Conrad and were just ignoring me."


The Bravo's techniques and tactics always has him questioning the woman's motives, so when the Penitent tells him of the actress' suggestion of what she should do, the Capitalist can only cast his gaze out to her, gauging her expression. "I can't say that it's the most terrible idea anyone's ever given." Sometimes it's difficult to tell if his words are all said in jest, as a joke.

"If you're feeling boredom, then that's not happiness." He then says with a shrug of his shoulders, "I feel bored all the time here. But I have a need to do something with myself and I can't say that I was... " Eyes lowered, a small grin spreading across his lips, but the words that comes out have that wry edge to it, "There were times where I was happy, if you can call it that. But it wasn't a constant state of bliss. You were just happy to be in someone's company as you both struggled to find a way out of this damn place."

Eyes lifting again, he then adds, "I didn't forget that you were with me from the beginning, but we weren't always on the same page. You had your own ideas on what this place meant for you and unlike some of us..." Himself and Maata, "You seemed content to deal with this place as it is. Without someone who shared my goals to bounce ideas off of, or even to try these ideas out, I mainly tried to work out plans on my own."

To the rest of what she says, there is some confusion that can be heard in his voice, "I didn't feel any distance between us, but the Island wasn't the best place to be. Not for either of us. It was filled with too many memories, both good and bad, then the good turning bad." He then adds, "If you're looking for Cillian, you won't find him there." On the Island. It's as if Eilis were right and he had this need to compartmentalize each of his personas as best he could, even if it didn't always work out that way. "You looked to be," cozying up to "getting close to the actress that I didn't want to interfere with your happiness."


"I didn't think you'd welcome that kind of gesture." Penitent replies, clasping her hands together. "I maybe kind of let her get into her head that she should just reach out and grab whatever is there, rather than overthink things. Perhaps I can't take my own advice." She admits this, shifting in the chair, leaning back and stretching out her legs, shaking her head.

"Maybe it's not happiness, exactly, but for once I wasn't constantly living my mistakes of my previous lives, worrying about the things I'd done. For once I was actually happy to be myself, and I didn't have to ... pretend to not care about anything. I could care, and it was okay. I found myself actually having ... fun." She rises up to her feet then, watching him briefly and she moves past him, towards the nightstand. "It's not the best, being in here. I agree with that. But how else can I describe these things? Hapiness is relative."

She pauses in her path, standing before him, considering his words. "Different pages, sure, but wasn't I there with you all the same? When you were learning, I was there; when you emptied the bookshelves, I was there. When Maata wanted to set her fire, I was there. Hell, even when she wanted to confirm Esme's story about dying, I was right there with you, in her horror show of a room. You don't have to do these things alone."

"I'm not expecting you to be Cillian McTavish. I know you can't just be that now, much as you might wish you could. You're always so guarded. Once, I thought you might be able to relax in my presence. But now? I don't see that much anymore. And when you're hurting, I don't know how to comfort you because you won't let me in. That's what I feel, that's what I see. When someone mentions the name 'Nahimana' just once and you end up storming off to your room. I know you." She doesn't offer a comment on her closeness to the actress just yet. It can wait.


There is this arch of his brow, an inquiring look blended with this hint of bemusement in his eyes at this mention of how he might react if she had kissed him, "I'm not a man to turn down a kiss from a pretty face." Though he now remembers the way he acted with the Bravo had kissed him as his consolation prize in the warm, blue ocean. Even then, while he didn't return anything in kind, he had accepted it as platonically as a man could in that circumstance. "Don't get me wrong, there's conflicting emotions that exist, but I'd do what I could to make you happy."

He takes note when she stands, his head turning to mildly observe what she'll do next as he responds to one of her statements, "You really are growing as a person. I don't know if it because you lived your life as someone so strong as Anette Hargreave or that you're adapting. And I won't say that it's wrong to feel happy, no matter how I complain about the frivolous things that people do here as if they had no care in the world. It's fine to be happy or content or... to have those warm feelings that make you glad to get out of bed in the morning. Even I had those here," His brow furrows as he recalls why he had those feelings. "For me, it's because I believed that I was in love." At least for his first time in this place.

"I know that you were there for me, even if you didn't believe in what we were doing." The Capitalist does have to remind her about that, but he doesn't push it. "Guarded? I don't see how anyone can relax here and sometimes I feel like this only get worse the more new faces that show up. That girl who rollerskates and bakes? It's a good thing that people don't die here, permanently. Good for her, at least." Drawing in a deep breath, he leans back, supporting himself up with his arms, both hands planted in a space behind him on the mattress. "Just being around some of these people are maddening, listening to some of their conversations. To be truthful, I felt far more engaged than ever to hear of people's theories on this place. That's what's been missing in the drivel going on here for a long time now." Nahimana was always an odd name and he would only truly remember her as Maata or Thorne, even. "Yes, hearing her name brought out a lot of anger in me. One, I didn't know where she was or if she was looking for me. Or whether she felt lost. And two, was she with Victor? If anything, I'd just like to know what happened. Their disappearance could happen to any one of us at any time."


"I know. That's the problem." Penny says quietly at that bemusement. "You know I'm quite familiar with how often Conrad was with another woman. I'm not sure I could take just being another pretty face. Not from you. And on the chance those conflicting emotions upset you, I'd hate myself more than ever." Her shoulders slump a little, her eyes close, and she takes a moment to compose herself.

"It's both. Anette taught me a lot on how to carry myself and deal with some of these things that I always feel. And I'm adapting. Every morning I wake up, and I feel like her. It doesn't help that the ring is always on the nightstand, and is the first thing I often see." It's not there right now, however. Her eyes open again, and there's a sympathy in her gaze. "I've never had those feelings before. Not until Prosperity."

Her hands remain at her sides, and she just kind of stands there. "I didn't believe in it, but I was curious," she says softly, shaking her head. "They are figuring out who they are as much as they are figuring out where they are. And those magical rooms give them everything could could desire to test out every impulse or idea that springs to mind. They don't know what it is to live but this. Why question it when you can literally go anywhere and do anything? I can't blame them for their innocence. They're children. Literally. The actress became more than that, I think, because she actually paid attention to those of us that were feeling so much more than ... youthful exuberance." It doesn't really explain Dirk, though. But that's a whole different thing.

His explanation about Maata's disappearance, and Victor, and wanting to know what actually happened does get a look of frustration from her. "I know. I know the anger you feel, the worry, the wondering. But you run off and hide, and it makes me feel like you're just slipping away from me. I can help you with these burdens, if you'll let me."


"That's not what I meant." The Capitalist speaks up for himself, but he really has no better explanation for his words. "We had something special. You and I or... Anette and Cillian. So if you had done it, if you had kissed me, it would be something that I were more comfortable with. Unless that's not the emotion you want to stir up within me."

Their relationship was truly different, but would certain memories start to fade or can they all be dimissed altogether? He can't help it, his eyes immediately look to the dresser when the ring is mentioned, but he notices that it's no longer there. He has a thought to look for it, but more as a subtle gesture rather than rifling through her drawers. So his gaze will look to her, seeking out that piece of jewelry. Cillian held onto it for so long that he, himself, has its very image set to memory.

To the rest, when the Penitent tries to defend the other new faces from his criticism, he doesn't seem to agree with her on this. "I just can't wait for their minds to be blown by their first memory." And he'll leave it at that. He's always had a memory. And this desire to free himself from this prison.

"Then come with me." The Capitalist says, when told that she has no idea how to help him. "My mood isn't going to change in the company of...." There's a dimissive wave of his hand again. He truly is not a man happy to be here, surrounded by most of these people. "I do all of my best coping alone, in my room. Outside of everyone's attentive eyes. The longer I linger, the worse things can get." And he's talking about his own dark moods.


"I know it isn't what you meant." Penitent replies quietly. "But I'm not without my own concerns and conflicts. I know the part of you that's still Cillian wouldn't do that to me." It's the rest of him she's not so sure about. A shake of her head. "I ... don't know what I want to stir up in you, really. That's why it's easier to just get closer to someone like our actress. There's no memories, no ... expectations that I put on myself. It truly is meeting someone new, probably in the only real chances we'll get to."

She shrugs a little, and then shifts, moving to sit down on the edge of the bed just nearby, lifting her hands to run them through her hair. There's no sign of that ring upon her person, not right now. It's clearly been secreted away somewhere. "She takes chances, she craves new experiences, and she's remarkably invested in our happiness for some reason I can't quite work out. She feels like one of the most real people I've ever known." A sidelong glance, a vague smile at his comment on the new faces. "Yeah. And it's probably going to change her too, and then she'll be like the rest of us."

The laugh that comes next is a dry thing, and there's a shake of her head. "Get up and follow you? That's not such a simple thing, though it sounds it. As you say, you do your coping alone. I can relate, but this time, I don't know, it's not enough for me. And I'm left feeling like you don't want me around when you get into your moods. Maybe I'm reading you all wrong, but that's how it seems to me. I don't think it's unreasonable, after the way you were before Prosperity."


The Capitalist was always interested in this budding friendship that Penny and the actress had between them. It was no secret that they were close and in a sense, if Penitent were happy, then he would be happy for her. Even if there was still some distrust thrown to the unknown factor that was any blank slate. So he quiets down to listen to her, hearing her out about this relationship with the new face. "And you're the one who told her to be... spontaneous? That's not just how she naturally is? She's... the flirtatious sort, but it's hard to take someone seriously when they are acting that way with everyone they meet." There's no harshness in his voice when this is spoken, just that neutral tone."I'd asked her if she were a mole before." He's not afraid to admit, "Of course, she wasn't going to admit it if she were."

With her taking a place on the bed near him, he shifts in his seat to get a better look at her when they speak. "Why do you think I don't want you around? There are times where, sure, I'd rather not face anyone due to whatever I'm going through at the time, but even I've found that it's best to talk to someone when they, themselves, are going through those moments." Leaning back further, still being propped up by his hands behind him, he looks up at the ceiling, "I'm going to regret even suggesting this, aren't I?"


"Well. No. It probably is how she naturally is. I just encouraged it." Penny says, thinking back to those moments in that stage the Bravo conjured up for herself. "I guess I put the idea in her head when I took her to the Noc. We went to the Afterburner, drank that awful booze they asked good money for in there, and you know how it goes. I was in the 'burner, drinking with a pleasing looking woman. Kylie kind of just happened. She was never afraid to flirt, I didn't even mean to. It just ... yeah, happened." She repeats. "It wasn't even an especially good line. When she took me to show me how she'd been going practicing Merchant of Venice, at that stage she found in the rooms, we were talking afterwards and she just kissed me. She worried she'd ruined everything, I kind of let her know it was okay to just act without thinking sometimes. I can't say I minded, and well ... she's keen for new experiences. Rather than just reading about them." She does watch him as she speaks, guaging his reaction. There's a slight quirk to her lips. "A mole? To what end, for what purpose? Why would they need to put someone here with us? What could she possibly do to us that's worse than what we've already been through? Besides, if she is, wouldn't it be better to keep her close?"

At his question, she just sort of spreads her hands. It's not something she can easily articulate, apparently. It means she spends a moment choosing her words. "Because if you wanted me around, you'd come to me. You're hard to feel close to, and I don't feel like I have the right, especially where Maata is concerned." She pauses a moment, glancing at him proper. "Regret? It's not like I'm going to follow you everywhere like some ... smitten woman incapable of thinking for herself." This comes out with a bit of a hard edge to her tone there, a frown settling on her features. "You come out into the parlor when we're talking about who knows what, drop down some snippy comments at someone you've decided will irritate you today, maybe you hang around for a bit and talk until someone invariably says something that makes you all upset all over again and storm off and there have been times you've barely even said two words to me during that whole thing. And what, I'm supposed to follow you about like a puppy waiting to be acknowledged? No. I'm better than that." She opens her mouth further, that frustration and anger clear in her, but lifts a hand, sucking in a breath and trying to calm herself.


"Oh right, the Shakespeare." He says waving a dismissive hand, forcing him to put all of his weight on the one arm until the other returns to its place. "I wonder if any of these folks are interested in reading about mechanics or electronics or anything that can actually be useful in this place." The Capitalist isn't overly surprised by what goes on during the rest of the story, for each setting seems to draw out a part of them that lived it at the time, or at least in his experience. "It also depends on what you say to her when you keep her close. A mole could be placed in our midst to gather information, speak to us one-on-one to learn more about us. Conducting social experiments by trying to influence our thoughts in one way or another. Or pit some of us together, I could go on..." But he's most likely not going to.

Then listening to her words, the tone of the conversation shifting to something more heartfelt and serious, he finally pulls himself up to an upright position and quickly shakes his head, "Have you ever known me to come to you with problems? If anything, I'd bottle it up and deal with it on my own rather than seek out someone for comfort -- In most situations." He remembrs how Cillian McTavish was at his lowest, where he was crumbling along with the world around him. "But no, I don't expect you to follow me around, but nor do I expect you to worry about me if you don't have to. I'm used to dealing with things on my own," Or when Maata was here, he'd have her to talk to... "And what do you mean, that I've barely said a word to you? If there's something to say, I'd say it. And I'd rather talk to you than most of the others in this wretched place." He can sense her anger and it's more than clear to him. So with that, he pulls himself up to stand, one hand slipped into his pocket. "And I know you're better than that. I don't expect you to do anything."


Penny remembers Cillian at his lowest too, and she would be there, supporting and loving, and somehow, things would be okay. He had a certain ease around her. Something she can't seem to replicate here in this place. She knows the reasons why, but is hurt and confused all the same. Now, she just stares at the man as he stands up. All the thoughts of the Bravo are pushed aside as he speaks those words. There's almost a wince to her, and a tilt of her head to glance over at her desk. "So that's it. You have nothing to say. After everything. This is how you'd reassure me? How can you be so cruel to me?" She glances away proper then, a shakey hand lifting up to her face. "Just go then."


At this point, growing frustration begins to consume the Capitalist as well, but his is a far more contained emotion than what she is displaying currently. Yes, he has stood up and very well may look as if he were about to depart, but instead, he lingers. He came here for a reason after all. "I don't know what you want from me. I've explained things to you on how /I/ operate, but if you really want me to go to you with all of my problems. Drag you with me when I'm feeling an irrational urge to seek out solitude or, at least, space away from the others, then I'll do it. You want to live your life and I want you to live your life. I just want you to be happy, but me? Until we get the hell out of this place," There's this shake of his head, a kind of smirk on his lips, "There are going to be moments and some of it won't be pleasant. I don't expect you to do anything for me, but if I know that there's something that I believe you could help me with, I'd turn to you. Believe me, I would. But then again, maybe I don't know myself as well as you know me."


"Maybe I never even knew you at all and deluded myself into thinking I did." Penny replies after a moment, glancing back at him, brows arching up. "I've loved you more than I've loved anything in this world. Can you not see that I still feel that? Any life I want to live includes you. How can I consider it otherwise? All we truly have in here, is each other. All of us. Even those you don't think much of. All we have are our feelings. I know the shadow of Maata lingers over you, and I'm so, so sorry that she's gone, and I know it's not something you can just get over so simply, but you're cutting me out, and you're breaking my heart. If this is what you trying to be happy with what little happiness we can find here is, then yes. I never really did know you at all." She's managing a surprising calm, as she puts these thoughts into words now, that steel that Anette could draw on there; keeping her emotions at bay for the most part. "I don't need you to come to me if you don't want to. I want you to want to. Do you understand? I want to feel close to you. I know it can't ever be the same as Anette and Cillian, but ..." she shakes her head, uncertain. "When you finally held me after our first few days here this time, I thought things were going to be okay. Not easy, certainly. But I thought we'd gotten to a good place. Was I wrong?"


"You're not losing me." The Capitalist says in a quieter tone, having heard everything that just needed to get off her chest, giving her this time to speak. "And I don't know how to make you realize that. I have never stopped loving you. Not even when I turn inwards to resolve my own problems. Those are my problems to deal with and I don't expect anyone to be able to make them go away." He starts out quiet, but at times he adds emphasis to what is spoken, but he tries his hardest to not come off as sound overly stern. "Maybe time will fix things. Maybe new memories. Maybe Getting. Out. Of. This. Place." Every word is enunciated and emphasized. "It's hard to want to feel weak in front of everyone and I'm sorry if it feels like I'm cutting you out of.... tryin to comfort me, I don't know. But it's not something that we'd done often in the past, so it feels strange to me that you want us to start now."

The last part has him curious as he's never questioned anything that was going on so far, "I thought we were in a good place. You seemed happy with your new companion, so I never questioned any of it. I didn't realize that you weren't in a good place. We are both coping with all of this as best we can and perhaps I'm blind to your misery because of everything going on in my own life, but If I knew that you were upset, I would have done something about it."


"When I feel this way, how can I not hurt, when I see you so unhappy?" Penny says, leaning back on her hands against the bed, gazing at him with those wide eyes. "Isn't that exactly what I did when we got here again? I came to you daily, to comfort you, to take comfort in you. We talked, we worked some things out. We never had a connection in the past like this before either. Is it really that odd? I told you, I have a whole lot of siblings running around here now. Everyone I've spoken too seems to think we're foolish for letting that get in our way. Maybe I started to believe them. And I don't know, I wasn't upset until it just hit me all of a sudden, just earlier. At least, I don't think I was ... Strange ... But it really felt like you were slipping away from me, and I couldn't even hold onto the people who are here, let alone worrying about who might disappear from us next."

Now a hand rises up to brush at her eyes as she glances away. "If you say I'm not losing you, then I believe you. It seems I need to work on this too, more than I realized, and really learn who you are all over again. And maybe getting out of here will help. But it's something that could take us a long, long time." She doesn't speak like it's something that's going to fail, or not worth trying, but she doesn't shy away from the reality of it either. "And I don't know. We have to be able to take time for ourselves sometimes."


"You came to me." The Capitalist says, repeating something that was spoken. "And I opened up to you. I don't see how this is any different, if that's what you wish to do." Still standing there, he observes her in this intense quiet. Their discussion had become more heated than he expected, but he knew that this wasn't going to be an easy topic to tackle. He then has to ask, "To get in the way of what exactly?" He asks about what her other 'siblings' have told her. "I don't think that you're making things clearly enough for me to act on." Though with everything said so far, he comes out and asks, "Do you want us to be a thing?" Eyes focused on her completely. "Is this what it's all about? Because... if that's what you want, who's to say that I don't want the same?" He then continues, "The Actress mentioned that you wanted something in between what we had as Cillian and Anette and what we had as Conrad and Madison and that is something that I have a hard time grasping. I can understand it being one or the other."

He doesn't mean to be harsh and now realizing how upset she'd been, when all this time, he thought she was doing well for herself after this second go, it all has got him thinking. Taking a few steps forward to close the distance between them, he extends a hand towards her, reaching to brush fingertips along the side of her face, before resting that hand on her shoulder. "I'm always here for /you/. You've been able to hide your distress far better this time around than ever before. So I don't often know that you need my help. Do I think that we can help sort each other's issues? I don't know. Not when our issues are friends and loved ones disappearing into the abyss and then not knowing when our next lives will come or what will become of all of us once it drops."


"I ... you're right." Penny says with a sigh, burying her face in her hands as she sits up properly again. "I don't know why this bothered me so much. I know you like your privacy, I got it in my head that you wouldn't appreciate me checking on you this time for some reason. I don't know how to handle ... your problem with Maata. Maybe I can't, and it's something you have to figure out on your own and I just need to accept that. I'm sorry." When he comes out and straight up asks the question, she does look up at him. "I don't know. I want us to figure out if we can be. If we want to be? Maybe you're right, and it'll just take time. But I don't think I'm as patient as Nettie. And the Actress kind of put me on the spot and maybe misread my intentions. All this is because I didn't think you really wanted to. Who's to say what you want? Only you can really say that. I can't just know these things. Except for when we first found each other in the hallway again, you've given me no more encouragement that such a thing would be welcome."

The touch upon her shoulder has her feeling foolish now. "Apparently I've been able to truly hide it from myself too. I just had this overwhelming sense of loss, that I would never find you again. And maybe we can't sort the issues. But we might be able to lessen the pain of them by sharing." Her hand reaches up to clasp over his, and she exhales a long and unsteady breath.


"We made a promise to one another before Prosperity." The Capitalist says, something which they had spoken about not long after this third awakening. "And I still plan to keep it. No matter where our lives take us next. No matter how muddled our relationship has become." Lowering himself into a crouch before her so that he can meet her gaze on an even level, he continues, "All this time I thought you were happy. You were making friends. There were moments where I wished you weren't being so open and friendly to all of these new faces, but that was colored by my own annoyance about everything about this place. But I decided to let you be and handle things the way you wanted to." Tilting his head to the side to observe her hand over his, he says in a gentler tone, "But if the only thing that's making you unhappy is because I'm not happy here... don't let it get to you. I know that there were times that I demanded support and from those closest to me to be on my side," He then hurries this up with some laughter in his voice and a smile cracking across his lips, "And I still expect this from you," He would have has said 'all of you', but it was just the Penitent now, "But... it's hard to let go of something that you'd relied on for so long. Even after the second time around, in the end, our relationships were mended enough, I thought. But I'd made her a promise the same as we both did for one another and it's just something that I'm trying to shake off." Even if, for all he knew, there could be a chance of her return. Along with everyone once this is all over.

Going back to what was spoken earlier, however, it takes him a moment to ponder on this, before remarking, "I'd say to follow your urges, like the advice you'd give the actress -- not that I think she needed any advice on that at all, but then again, if we don't know what those urges are or what we desire, then all of this is hard to act on. And I don't want to upset yo in any way."


Listening attentively, the Penitent remembers the promise. In some ways, it sounds so naive now. Not that she means to dismiss the intent of the promise. She nods numbly. "More flies with honey, or something. It's interesting to know people who you don't remember as being someone else, like I said. And I was hoping, untouched by these alternate lives, they might be able to reveal something we hadn't thought of, if we gave them time." She does manage to let something of a smile slip, curving at her lips at that laughter in his voice, nodding her head. "Oh. Of course you did, I didn't even consider ..." she says in regards to other promises made. Another little sigh escapes her, but this one is more frustration at their situation in general than any personal upset. "It's hard, isn't it?" She asks quietly.

Then there's a small smile that creeps onto her face at his latter words. "Mmm, that leaves my options open now, doesn't it?" It's something of a playful tone, reminiscent of Kylie, a part of Kylie that the Capitalist likely never saw. It's very similar to Anette too, at least Anette after the Last Reaping was finally over, and she was free of the blood curse. "I think we've both been so worried about upsetting each other more than anything." She continues, a touch more serious. "I'm sorry I made a whole thing about it." And then she just leans foward to wrap her arms around him and hug him for a good, long, moment.


"If only the rest of them were half as interesting as your friend." The Capitalist says, speaking of Bravo. "You have people selecting their names. Not that most of us are going to call them by their chosen names, not if there's something else that we know them better as. Then you have that strange one, the one who looks like he's attempting to corrupt Martin, for whatever reason, out of the rest of us. Then again, maybe he looks to be the most corruptable. I don't know. Nor am I his babysitter, but it is what it is." His eyes then narrow a touch, when he adds, "Then the rollerskater. It's almost as if she raided Alexis' closet for tho--..." He tries to recall which door belonged to January. It's difficult to think that some of the more interesting souls within this place could have been replaced by.... No, he puts that out of his mind.

Seeing the Penitent smile puts him at ease, even if before today, he thought things were going fine where she's concerned. Aside from Driscoll, who didn't seem to care a lick either way, his other personas never wanted to see their version of Penny hurt, Cillian especially. So that smile fills him with warmth as this heavy weight is lifted off his shoulders. Sensing her reaching out for him, he wraps his arms around her as well, pressing his bristled cheek against hers. "Don't apologize. It was a misunderstanding of sorts on both of our parts and if.. I'd been more attentive, no, I should have been able to read you better." That was a failing on his part, but it does remind him of words January had spoken to him before she disappeared, reminding him of his own selfishness.


"Let them have their names until they suddenly have other ones. It's easier than 'that guy with the good hair' or 'that girl who can do that thing with her tongue.' Plus there's the theory that this place knows so much about us, with the rooms and the door symbols, that a random selection in book might not be quite so random, if you take my meaning. "I agree though, there's something different about the actress. And about 'Dirk' too, for that matter. Eilis flat out asked him what he wanted and if he was going to kill someone, he responded about as you expect. But then assured us he just wanted to be of service. The thing is the rest of them, just keep on bouncing off each other I guess. So they go nowhere fast."

Clutching tightly to him there, crouched on the floor near him, she has questioned that new woman on the location of her door. She's knows it's replaced the room of the woman they knew as Alexis January. But she lets it go, for now. "Don't worry yourself. To be fair, I was off having fun and flirting with the hot girl I'd met."


"Because, as the actress had said, she tried out a few names. None of the stuck." The Capitalist is quick to point out, "If this place knew anything more about her, then those books would have opened up and given her an actual name." He definitely is not going to back down about this name business. Nor does he say anything more about what to call them, as he's fine calling the new girl 'The Actress' and the Thrill-Seeker 'The annoying girl on those rollerskates who bakes' and so forth.

Keeping to this closeness, the edge of his lips lift into a smirk, "See. That's why I didn't think I had to worry about you. Except for the fact that I still don't know if I can trust her. And the last thing I'd want is for her to hurt you in anyway." But he knows well enough now to add, "But you can take care of yourself. And I trust your instincts."


"It's a thing worth testing a few times just to be sure. If one person says it works for them and another doesn't, then what does that mean? Another question that's worth asking, I think." Penny replies in a soft tone. It's all something of a 'try and see' thing for her, and perhaps less about the actual naming of people.

With that last comment, she settles back against the bed, here on the floor, drawing him close and just relaxing in the nearness. "My instincts tell me everyone in here with us is just like we are, and that you worry too much about people." And while idle chatter may continue a while more, for now she's content to just relax with him there for as long as possible, likely until they find themselves waking up again.