Log:Winter Cottage

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Winter Cottage
Characters  •   The Beast  •  The Loner  •
Location  •  Anywhere Room
Date  •  2018-12-23
Summary  •  A visit to a winter memory from a first life.

The room has become a scene right out of the snapshot memories of Andrew McInverness, something of enough importance to him that it stuck in Loner's mind. Though Beast might recognize it from Connor's own memories, afterall he was here. A winter where Andrew secluded himself away in a cottage on the Scottish coast to work on his music. The door opens up into the kitchen of the cottage, simple and pleasant, with a snow falling outside as some classical music plays on the radio. It's peaceful and still, the type of place where Andrew felt comfortable.

Loner sits at the kitchen table staring out the window, a thick blanket wrapped around his shoulders and a mug of steaming tea in his hands. Add a few years to Loner and it would have been exactly a moment from those memories. Though Loner is not coming down off of the drug-fuelled bender that Andrew had been in this moment. One of the handful that likely would have killed him if not for Connor's presence to keep him under control. Maybe a strange memory to revisit.


Stepping through the door into that familiar kitchen and familiar memory takes Beast a bit by surprise. He'd managed to get Andrew to stop just short of killing himself, dragged him home, and made him get some sleep. He'd spent the night checking on him occasionally to make sure that he was still breathing. It wasn't the first time nor would it be the last. He stands there for a moment in the kitchen, and leans against the wall just inside the doorway, looking around. It's as he remembers it, himself. Right down to the slight crack in the frame of the window where he'd slammed it too hard one afternoon when they'd been arguing over something, though what the argument was about -- he can't remember. He doesn't say anything for a while, just standing there, eventually looking over toward Loner. "I remember this kitchen."


Loner doesn't look over his shoulder at the voice, he recognizes it well enough not to have to tear his eyes off the snow outside. "You should, I spent three hours sicking up in that sink. Andrew did. Hell, did he?" He does turn his head a fraction towards Connor. "I know he did, because it's a fact in my head, but I can't.." He sighs vexedly and his eyes flick back towards the window, raising his mug for a sip with one hand as he pulls the blanket tight around him with the other. "Those memories feel so faked and yet I can pull this out of them." In his reflection in the window his brows draw down in annoyance.


"I remember," Beast says. "He fought Connor the whole way home, cussing a blue streak, even for Andrew, and even less coherent than usual." He shrugs, "Maybe it never happened. The snow is nice, though." Maybe he is giving up. "This is a lot nicer than the morgue I ended up in the other day." He wanders over to the counter and folds his arms on top of it, no blocking the window, but looking out through it.


"It was the first time Andrew figured out someone actually gave a damn about him, so yeah, it made him mad." Loner shakes his head and lets out a long, heavy sigh. "Don't ask me to explain why that made him angry, he was complicated." He shrugs uncomfortably. "I share that with him I think. Or he got it from me. I don't know at this point. It's easier the other way." He looks over his shoulder at Connor, then nods to the teapot on the stove. "It should still be warm, help yourself."


"It made him angry because it's easier to think nobody cares, and to do whatever you want when you don't think it matters to anyone else, that it might hurt somebody else," Beast says as he makes his way over to the stove, reaching for the cabinet that contains the mug and pulling one down as though he'd done so a hundred times before, beacuse he had. He pours himself a cup of tea and turns around to lean back against the counter, lifting it and taking a sip. He shrugs his shoulders, offering no opinion on the chicken or the egg theory.


"Okay, so maybe you do understand." Loner snorts softly. "Sorry, some of the bleeding hearts out there get to me." He jerks his head towards the door that should lead to one of the bathrooms if this was the real cottage but would currently open up back into the parlor in the facility. "I swear if I get complimented for Glenn killing himself one more time I'm going to throw a bloody shoe at them." Not that he's ever even worn a shoe once in the facility so who knows where he'd get one. "You're getting restless, aren't you?"


"I know they do. Some of them get to me, too," Beast says with a bit of a smirk. There are a few individuals in particular that get under his skin. "I have found that most of them are very fixated on their own ideas of how things are, how they should be, and how others should feel about them, that they don't bother much to try to understand that others might perceive things differently." He doesn't wear shoes in the facility either, never has. He has them. There are shoes in his closet. He just doesn't bother with them. "It was only a matter of time," he says, and then glances around. "These places help. Keep me from staring at the same four walls and getting lost in my head."


"Too bad I can't make a bar full of rowdy football hooligans for you to drag me out of and break some arms in the process. Like old times." Loner sets his mug down on the table and grabs the edge of the blanket to pull it around him as tight as possible. When his gaze settles back on the window he looks almost forlorn. "Is it sad I want to go back out there? To let this me go and be someone else for a bit? I think in a way I actually enjoy this. Parts of it anyway. That last one.." He wrinkles his nose and shakes his head. "Andrew had you, Callum had no one, but Glenn.. A family was too much."


"You can go get drunk in the dispensary and shout obscenities until I come drag you back to your room. Bonus points if Chance is there so I can break his nose if he gets in the way," Beast says, and though it's fairly dry, there's his own brand of humor in it. He lifts his mug and takes another swallow from it and then says, "Connor had Andrew, Aaron had his crew, but Evan, even with a whole family, had no one. In the end, he wanted to die." He shrugs his shoulders. Then he looks back over toward Loner and says, "Nah. I mean.. in there.. you are absolutely ceratin who you are. You know where you came from and where you are, and you have an idea of where you're going. There?" he gestures back toward the Facility and shrugs his shoulders. "Everyone's got their ideas. No one knows. So why wouldn't you want to go somewhere where you had answers for a while?"


Loner reaches out from his blanket for his mug, mumbling into it as he raises it to his lips. "I'd like to break more than his nose." Unfortunately, Chance is over half again as big as Loner, leaving it to just mumbles. "Wouldn't be the same. You know Andrew started fights on purpose because he enjoyed having you fight to drag him to safety. Bloody madman." And yet, there's a small smile on his lips at that admission. "Maybe that's it." He says to Connor's assesment, only sounding half convinced of that answer himself. Then his accent changes, the differences between Andrew and him thinning for a moment as he sounds like the rocker when he next speaks. "And don't you ever make me wake up here with your door blank or I'll hunt you down and break more than your nose."


The Beast actually chuckles at that mumble, a smile flickering over his features before he lifts his mug to hide it, taking another swallow. He then raises is brows and says, "His craziness was part of his charm. Besides, Connor whould have been dead on the streets at a pretty young age if Andrew hadn't given him a job. The madman was hardly all bad." That sudden shift in his speech makes Beast chuckle, but then he draws in a deep breath and lets it out again. "Not if I have anything to say about it. Yours ever goes blank and I'll find you and haul you back kicking and cussing.. unless you're somewhere better than here. Then, well, then I think I'd just be glad that you got out."


"I can tell you, if my door blanks it's not because I'm somewhere better." Loner sounds almost convinced of that fact. And annoyed with himself for that. He stands up out of his chair and walks over to the fridge, tugging the door open. "You know, you can't carry anything out of this place but I haven't figured out if the food it just like what's in the dispensers." He reaches inside and pulls out a half a cake on a plate, giving it an experimental sniff before setting it on the counter to dig in one of the drawers for forks.


"Then it better never go blank," Beast says. He watches Loner go to the fridge and open it up. "I'd figure so. The food just appears with the room the same way as the dispensary." He watches the half cake come out of the fridge and then turns to add some more water and tea to the kettle, getting it heated up again while Loner roots around for forks. Once the fire is under it again, he wanders over to the table and sits down, sprawling a bit in his chair. "I walked into that guy Dirk's.. room like this? He was in a morgue.. elbows deep in a body... and off the morgue there was a bar, with a glass top where you could look down and inside there were more bodies.. preserved. And around the edge of the room was like this.. drainage channel. And I thought Prosperity got creepy. That guy makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up."


Finding a pair of forks, Loner brings the cake and utensils over to the table and plops it down, setting one fork in front of Connor and holding the other for himself. He sits down and tears off a chunk of cake and pops it in his mouth. "Mm.. spice cake. Wasn't sure." He shrugs and gets another forkful. "I don't like him, he creeps me out. Even worse he's fresh. He hasn't had a life before so where did that shit come from." He motions with his fork, almost losing the piece of cake before it ends up in his mouth.


"His imagination, I guess," Beast says as he picks up the fork and stabs the cake, forking off a hunk of it and putting it into his mouth. He nods his head, not bad. "At first I thought he might be a bit odd, but he was an ass for no particular reason. He claimed that we were untouchable and immortal. I told him we're not untouchable. We can die -- in horrible messy ways, it just doesn't stick. He kept insisting that meant untouchable. I was ready to lean across the bar and punch him then ask him if he felt touched yet." He sighs, and then stabs the cake again, taking it out on the baked goods instead. "Then he was just a snot. His smug superiority is tiresome, particulary considering he's less even than we are. At least we've done something and have some memory of it. He has nothing but his creepy head."


"And my smug superiority is what? Endearing?" Loner smirks around another forkful of cake. "You should have punched him. With Maata gone we have a severe lack of people willing to beat the shit out of someone to put them back in their bloody place." He snorts. "Though if we killed him he'd probably just gloat about it the next day." He mouth twists into a sour grimace. "Sadly, I think the only thing to do with that one is ignore him or lock him in his room. And I don't think we can lock him in."


The Beast chuckles and says, "You wear it better." He reaches over and pokes at the cake some more, this time with perhaps a bit less violence. "I don't want to kill him. I plan just to ignore him entirely, like I do most of the people in here who irritate me, either that or treat them civilly, so that when I eventually bite them -- they won't see it coming." The kettle begins to whistle, and so he gets up and heads over to pour himself some more, and some for Loner as well if he seems to want more.


The Loner is already holding out his mug as soon as the kettle starts whistling. "I'm not sure. I think you just put up with it better." He leans an elbow on the table and peers once more out the window. It's still snowing but nothing more accumulates. It's made from a snapshot of a memory and the whole place seems frozen in that moment in time. "Well, we can always hope for a chance to kill him when we get shoved into our next selves. Not that we'll know it but it'll be satisfying once we get back."


The Beast takes a sip from the tea as he looks out and watches the snow fall but not accumulate. "Maybe it's just because I actually like you, and I don't like him." He rests his head back against the wall and glances up at the ceiling. Even the same cracks that were there before, with their abstract patterns that might be a giraffe if one looked at the right angle. "So violent," he says, but there's an amused smile when he says it.


"But would you if it wasn't for Connor and Andrew?" Loner's tone when he asks that question is as if the answer is of no consequence, though he watched Connor like a hawk as he waits for that answer. He pauses in the act of taking another bite of cake, his newly refilled mug left momentarily forgotten on the table. He's not even really blinking, every ounce of his attention focused on the other man.


"Yes," he says, without a pause, only lifting his mug to take a sip from it after he gives the answer. "You are one of the only people in this place, that doesn't seem, in part, putting on a show for someone else. I can talk to you. And that's not because of Connor and Andrew. It's because I, whoever I am, find myself comfortable with you, whoever you are, here, in this place," meaning the facility. "Do Connor and Andrew contribute something to it? Of course. But all that may well be meaningless." He studies the snow, ever falling but never accumulating. "I still wouldn't want to come back and find your door blank."


The Loner nods, satisfied with the answer. He doesn't smile, or seem pleased beyond simply accepting. His eyes instead focus once more on the window. "I just needed to get away from that place for a time. No windows, no sunlight, it starts to drive me crazy after a bit. It's like whoever is in charge awards us a little each time we finish one of those things. Congratulations, here's some movies. Good job, have a holodeck. Makes my teeth itch."


"It's why I wanted to look at the stars. I missed the sky," Beast says, and then chuckles, "Not that I know if I've ever actually seen the sky, or if it's just another memory implanted like the rest." He pulls himself up from the table and walks to the back door the kitchen that leads out into the yard. He sets the cup down on the counter and opens the door to step out into the snow in his socks. He won't have time to get frostbite before the reset would take it away, anyway, and strolls out into it, slowly turning and looking up into the white flakes as they fall. "I think the movies, the videos, they're warnings of what is coming next. The first time we only had a countdown, now it's as though they're showing us what to expect."


The Loner stands and follows. He doesn't leave the house, instead standing, leaning against the door frame with his cup of tea in hand. He just stares out into the snow with a look of calm that rarely adorns his face. "I thought as much. The westerns leading to Prosperity, but 1980's MTV? So, okay, maybe we end up in the eighties but that doesn't tell us much more beyond that. Not that we'd remember anyway."


"Maybe we're going to end up in a series of terrible music videos with enormous hair and wearing pastel colors," Beast says as he slides his hands into his pockets, letting the snow accumulate on his lashes and in his hair and on his shoulders, and not seeming to mind the cold at all. "And no, we won't remember while we're there. But we can always judge one anothers questionable fashion choices when we get back."


"I've done the whole drug-fuelled rocker and music video thing. Didn't turn out all that great." Loner presses his lips together in a slight frown that lasts only a second. "Though if it's the eighties, I'm sure we'll have plenty of fashion to tease each other about." He snorts. "Oh, any that we bring back with us from that trip will probably still think that's fashion in the facility. That might not be a good thing."


"Oh, I don't know. That could be an entertaining thing," Beast says, "But then, when you're starved for entertainment -- you eventually have to find a way to make your own." He then glances over toward Loner and says, "I don't know.. you were going to work on solo stuff when you got back, find a place, not unlike this but maybe with a bit more land. The rocker you didn't seem to have that bad an ending. Andrew probably would have gone on to have a great solo career and retired to his secluded retreat where everyone would write about him as the recluse that no one knew anything about but everyone wanted to meet, and he'd probably have had some peace and quiet. All things considered, that's not that bad an ending."


"No." Loner says after a long moment of silence. "Not a bad ending for him at all. If I ever got to experience it." After a moment's pause he amends. "If we ever got to experience it. I know you'd have been right there beside me the whole time. But yeah, somewhere a lot like this. With a better recording studio. The one here had crap acoustics." He laughs softly. "Maybe some day we'll get a story a bit after the island and I'll happen to learn what became of him."


The Beast nods at the amendment and says, "Connor would have been there, for as long as Andrew wanted him around." He does chuckle a little at the crap acoustics and says, "Yeah well, there were a lot of studios, and a lot of varying degrees of crapness to them. It was nice here, though, for a while." He begins to drift back inside, then, the cold and the damp finally sinking into him as he makes his way back to the door, pausing when he realizes that Loner's standing in it.


The Loner steps out of the way to let Connor pass, eyes still locked on him with his face mostly unreadable for the moment. "That pub in town wasn't terrible either, what was it?" He tilts his head to the side. "The Whistling Pig?" He scrunches his brows and shrugs, heading back over to his window watchpost with a shake of his head.


The Beast is used to Loner's unreadable expressions, he merely stands there for a moment, studying his eyes in silence, and then he moves past him back into the cottage. "No, the pub in town was pretty good. Though if we're going to the pub, I might put on shoes. Even imaginary snow is actually cold." He picks up his cup of tea as he passes it, and wraps his fingers around it to warm them.


The Loner continues to stare out into the snow. "Why bother? There's not going to be anyone there anyway. An empty pub is a shit pub." He actually barks out a short little burst of laughter as he meets Connor's eyes for a moment, before diverting them back to the scenery. "Well, I'd go there and take a nap on the bar if I didn't think I'd just wake up back in my room." He chuckles again, though it's got a bit of a sour note to it.


The Beast shrugs his shoulders and says, "I don't know, just to go somewhere, I suppose." He settles back at the table then, and reaches for his fork to grab another bite of the cake. "At least I don't have to worry about getting fat from eating an entire cake." Even if it's technically only half a cake, and not even a full half at that since they've been sharing it.


"Too bad I'll never get to be the bad ass." Loner chuckles again as he settles into his chair. "Not with us always kind of being ourselves. Stuck short and small. Well, at least compared to some of the meat heads in the facility." He smiles softly though, then picks up the fork. "But yeah, being able to just eat as much as I bloody well want is a bonus." He pauses for a moment then points his fork at Beast. "I take that back. Callum was a bad ass. YOu should have seen me on my alien murdering kill spree."


"Hey," Beast says at the mention of the meatheads in the facility. He smirks just a little bit and says, "You don't need to be a meathead to be a badass." He then points his fork, "Case in point.. Callum the alien murdering badass." Then he says, "I would have liked to have seen it. Aaron sent a message to Callum. Don't know if he ever got it, telling him to get to the Hephaestus to get off the ship. He knew that as a Marshall, he probably wouldn't come -- but he sent it."


"Well, he was a synth, so he was strong enough to grapple one of those alien fuckers, so you know. And there's nothing wrong with being a meathead. You happen to make a very good meathead." He's actually restraining a laugh as he sips at his tea. "I got it, but it was too late by the time I did, after everyone got vented and I had to get dragged back onto the Noc. And no, he wouldn't have left. His programming alone forced him to stay."


"There's nothing wrong with being a short badass," Beast counters, finishing up his cup of tea and taking it to the sink. He leaves it there. There's no need to wash it, and then he wanders a little bit down the short hall, looking to see if his room was there. It is, of course, as is the rest of the little cottage, and for a moment he stands in the doorway just looking into the tiny space and remembering the time spent in it as though they were snapshots of a long time ago. "Yeah, that makes sense," he says.


"Except I'm not usually a badass. I just end up getting in the way then having a breakdown somewhere along the line." Loner shakes his head. "Well, at least I did two out of three times, so it seems more likely than not." He drops down into the chair careful not to splash any tea over his hand. "Hey, check under the middle couch cushion, I had some shrooms hidden under there. Maybe they're there."


The Beast pulls back into the hall and then turns toward the livingroom area, wandering in and rooting around in the couch until he comes up with a plastic bag filled with dried shrooms. "Yep, they're here," he says as he wiggles the plastic bag a bit between his fingers. He flops down on the couch then and tosses them onto the coffee table. "You didn't murder a whole bunch of people, though, or comfortably condemn a whole ship full of people to death without another thought, or plan to kill six people, regardless of innocence, just to make sure that the man that.. just to make sure that you got off the island alive."


"I was right there with you planning on murdering six people to get off that island." Loner stands up and walks into the living room. His eyes settle on the bag of shrooms but he makes no move towards them as he sits down into a chair and puts his feet up on the table. "In fact, I had a few names picked out. Just because I'd be asking you to do the killing doesn't make me less at fault. And Callum, well, he shot two people but they were infected so I doubt anyone would blame him for that."


"So I guess we're both terrible people," Beast says, though there's a little smile on his lips when he says it, glancing over at Loner as he settles into the chair. He shifts then and lays down on the couch, stretching out on it and folding his arms behind his head as he stares up at the ceiling. "We figured the Heph was clean. So long as we could break the clamps and take off, then we could leave whatever was on the Noc behind, at least save those who we knew weren't infected."


"I would have been for that plan myself." Loner looks right at Beast as he considers for a moment. "Hell, the only reason Glenn did anything decent was completely out of guilt for killing his father. Well, I guess guilt means he wasn't all awful. I know he wanted to die and giving the demons a middle finger in the process seemed the right way to do it. Angeline didn't matter, fucking over the demons by snatching her away did."


"Evan was loyal to his siblings. He did everything for that family. They were the law, and yet they still looked down on him for being a bounty hunter. He was bringing in criminals that the law wasn't. He was seeing them into the hands of the sheriff, mostly alive, some otherwise, but he didn't do anything bad or wrong in his life, yet his father treated him like shit. His younger brother had his name written in the ledger and the first thing he did was tell them to write his name instead. Then he made a deal with the Coltons to end this curse forever so no more names would have to be written. And what did his coward brother do? Turned around, shot their father, didn't say a damn thing to him, and hid. Then tried to call in Evan's favor with the Colton's, then tried to blackmail Addie and Caleb. And Addie? She was about as distant as they come. That family he tried to protect -- Caleb was more a brother to him than any of them. In the end, he was happy to go off to fight 20 men. He figured he'd get it done, but he didn't figure he'd get out of it alive. He just wanted to die for a reason."


"And that was Jody? Chance?" Loner otherwise listens to the recitation in silence, eyes fixed on Beast. He's being attentive, even if his face mostly remains blanked. He looks over towards the kitchen, and beyond that the door back to the facility. "Caleb's pretty torn up about Addie's door being blank though. Maybe that was just how she was in that story. Chance on the other hand needs to have his neck adjusted, quickly and sharply to the side." He makes a litle neck snapping motion with his hands. "Just once.. He'll be fine."


The Beast nods, and says, "Yeah.. Chance was Jody." He just studies the ceiling as he talks, his own expression is fairly neutral most of the time, though with flickers here and there. "Caleb and Addie had something. Whatever it as, he was able to get close to her when others weren't. He loved her. Caleb, he loved Addie, and he's having a real hard time with that, being here, her door being blank, not knowing what happened to her. I can't blame him." He then says, "Jody was just an ass to everyone, a whining, snivveling, selfish coward, who jumped at the chance for Evan to take his place, then took every opportunity to fuck him over." He shakes his head, "Then, I hear, as I lay dead on the ground, he came over and wished me a Merry fucking Christmas. I'd ask him what that bullshit was all about but I might end up re-aligning his spine. Better to just.. not dwell on it."


"From what I hear he's been a bit of a prick in all his incarnations. And I almost threw something at his head the last time I was in the facility before Prosperity." Loner sighs. "I'm just trying to put up with his optimistic, we need rules and affirmations bullshit." He doesn't sound angry as much as his language starts to slide slowly downhill as his accent gets noticably stronger. "He'll probably be insufferable in the next life too."


"As long as he doesn't start scribbling on my things, he can draw on the walls all he likes. He's an idiot, and he just looks like an idiot when he keeps scrawling the same things over and over," Beast says with a shake of his head. He then chuckles and says, "Probably. It does seem to be a trend."


Loner gets to his feet, shrugging the blanket back across his shoulders. "I think I'm going to do up to my old room and lay down for a nap. I don't feel like doing back to the other place quite yet, but I am getting tired." He does look back towards the kitchen with a tilt of his head, considering the door back to the facility for a few quiet moments. "And this room I can actually lock the door."


The Beast studies Loner for a moment or two, and then he nods, pulling himself up and off the couch. He slides his hands into his pockets and says, "Alright. Guess I'll leave you to it." He then turns and heads back in the direction of the kitchen, and the facility beyond.


"Stay if you want. I know you like privacy as much as me sometimes." The Loner stares at the other man's back for a moment. "And if I'm going to be selfish and hog this place someone else might as well enjoy it." Either way, he doesn't actually try to stop Beast, instead picking up his tea and heading for the stairs.


The Beast's steps slow as he moves into the hall and then turns around. "Sure," he says, "May as well enjoy the memory a little longer." He then turns and heads into his own room, tucked between the kitchen and the livingroom. "Sleep well," he says, and then heads into the room and closes the door behind him.