Log:You Can Go Home Again
After Derek Bloom is torn to bits by the fishpeople on the television, the silence down the halls is shattered by that very same scream. That same primal cry of death coming from The Confidant's room, only shorter. Now, screaming returns are not unusual but any old timer may know that The Confidant has always awoken peacefully.
She hasn't been here as many times as he has, granted. Still, she has a little experience under her belt, enough to have fashioned an idea of how things work. A rough idea. More often than not, those whose awakenings she's been around to witness have been.. on something of a delay. That is, they don't necessarily die, then wake in their beds in the Facility in the next moment.
So this? This catches her off guard.
The Explorer lunges to her feet, eyes already fairly wide after what she just witnessed on-screen, but flaring wider still at the sound of that scream. The tears that had been welling up are forgotten, at least for the moment. Uncertainty wrenches through her, and she starts to take a step toward the hall, but something stops her.
It's also very common for some to keep to themselves. The Confidant, on the other hand, strides right out of his room, in search of others. Not now. The door opens but there is no marching out. It's a tentative peering down the hall. A quick left and right before getting in position to write on the door. If Explorer was in view, he missed her. He writes quickly. Broad, simple, easy to read.
And now The Confidant steps back to read his words. He looks sick. Pale and trembling. Like one who wakes up from a bad dream. He's damp too, his hair wet and slicked back and his white t-shirt is splattered with water on the front.
Whatever reason she had for hesitating, the Explorer pushes herself past it, though she looks a little pale herself when she tentatively steps around the corner to enter the hallway. Spotting him isn't difficult -- he tends to stand out, even before one factors in his current state. Her movement halts, hands coming up before herself to wring lightly. Deep breath, and.. "Chance...?"
The Confidant looks over, startled, at first. He drops his pen. "Senni." He whispers, nodding a little. He smiles and sighs. "We make terrible blondes. Just...keep the peroxide /away/ from us, right?" The Confidant doesn't sound different, so much as he sounds a bit like Derek. Well, when Derek wasn't pretending to be from California. The generic newscaster quality has given way to something more...warm and comfortable and vaguely American Midwest. "Oh, man...that one really sucked." He sighs and looks at Explorer, hopefully. He opens an arm, the invitation.
See, like, he's not reaching for her throat, just for her. This is a definite improvement on past experiences, and the rest of the Explorer's trepidation just.. melts away. A smile trembles into existence upon her lips, and she steps toward him. Then walks. Then runs. The impact may actually be a trifle jarring, when she essentially throws herself into his arms and takes fierce hold, herself. "I'm sorry." The sentiment is genuine, especially since she just went through her own violent demise, not too long before. Only difference is, she's had longer to process.
The Confidant catches her but, the force caught him off-guard and sent him into the wall. All this means for his lady love is a tighter grip. Her words catch him even more off-guard and he lets out a trembling sigh. "Me too." He just holds her for a few moments more before slipping out of her grip. He turns away to wipe his eyes. "Interesting note. I remember. I remember everything. Everything Derek did not." He sniffles and laughs. "How did anyone deal with me repeating myself so much? Christ. And...my, ugh, souvenir. It's...well..." He opens his door and makes a gesture for her to look inside. Sitting on one of his couches by the door is a black boombox, circa 1989. "Usually, it has more to do with my fucking...weirdo whatever. I would have expected a scarf. Maybe a notepad...:
It's not the boom box, actually, but his following comments that inspire a watery laugh to arise, her eyes shining with those tears she'd temporarily put on hold when she'd first heard his scream. Looking up at him, she manages to summon up a wobbly smile, and there's just a pinch of wryness to its flavor as she replies, "Actually, um.." One of her arms retreats from around his waist, so that her hand can dip into the pocket of the robe she wears for comfort over her pajamas. From within it, she draws out a scarf, which dangles down from her fingers lazily. Green. The one he'd tucked into the bedding he'd wrapped her corpse with, oddly.
The Confidant gasps and covers his mouth in shock. And that's when the tears he's been holding back break through. He drops to the floor, right in the hall. "I don't know...if I can keep doing this." He says after a few deep breathes. "He was hurting. Hurting so, so much when he left you. He promised himself to live as he was, whatever that was and then, the next morning, Paige had to explain to him, before he starting flipping out that someone stole you, that he made the choice himself." He blows his nose on his t-shirt's hem. "But, then he remembered...you came to him. He didn't tell Paige." Beat. "Forgot about that though, the green. We all like green."
The sudden emotional break wasn't really anticipated, as evidenced by the way that the Explorer immediately stuffs that scarf back into her pocket and out of sight, her eyes widening again as she sinks swiftly to her knees beside him. She maaaybe doesn't hug him, given that there's probably some boog on his shirt now, but she does reach up to stroke her fingertips along the line of his jaw in a soothing gesture. She hopes. "It's all fine now," she reassures him quietly. She doesn't comment on his claim that she'd come to him, after her death -- she doesn't know about it. It wasn't her. So that part has her looking a touch confused, but dominant is her desire to make him feel better. "That whole mess is over, and we're here, and we can put it behind us."
Some time ago, shortly after Derek Bloom died horribly, a scream came from The Confidant's room. Now, he and the Explorer are sitting on the floor in front of his door. He's got the sobbing mess look all over him but he's pulling it together. "Sorry, sorry...I didn't expect to see it again." He looks at Explorer with softened eyes. "So...I bet the rest of the family isn't far behind, huh?" He sighs and gets up to his feet. "I don't miss being so fucking tall..Oh, I gotta watch my mouth before he comes back--is that food, I smell?" Now, The Confidant is lead by his nose, wandering out into the parlour. "Home, sweet home..."
The scent of assorted warm pies and comfort food wafts in from the parlor. The Martyr is wearing a purple and black striped silk shirt and black parachute pants with purple high top sneakers. The differences between the Martyr and Finn are subtle. He is the same age, with very similar hair, and is long limbed and gangly. Though he is still very thin, he is wiry with it instead of borderline emaciated.
The Martyr is carrying a warm cherry pie from the dispenser into the livingroom, where a ridiculous amount of comfort food and high quality alcohol has been arrayed for the benefit of any returners. There is no pork of any kind on offer, but there are things like tiny burgers, fried chicken, and mac and cheese laid out.
"Yeah, um.. well, Max is already here," the Explorer says quietly, after biting her lip some and rising again herself. He undoubtedly already knew about Creepy, even if Derek might've forgotten it. "Danica and Oz should be waking up any time, too." She's using their... 'outside' names. Outside of here, at least. It's often easiest for people, when they first arrive and their minds are still somewhat buried in the persona they just inhabited. Glancing over the array of food as they emerge into the parlor, she casts a smile toward Martyr. "Oohh. Is that pie?"
The Confidant chirps at the sight of The Martyr, "Finn. The lawyer. You took my film and...I don't think I thought about it much after that." The Confidant and Derek have about a ten year gap in age or so, it seems. And a few inches less for the red haired man. "I mean, Derek didn't remember shit. I do though. I remember everything..." He spots the burgers and mac and cheese and beelines. "But I've been here for a while...how many now? Four. This was four." Beat. "What's your door, Finn? New face...usually an old door." He chatters. "Oh! Call me, Chance, yeah? Please? None of them...ugh." He looks to Explorer. "You have a preference yet?"
The Martyr ducks his head, a little shy, "I made all the pies I could think of. The feast was Caleb's idea. I thought pies for comfort seeing as how... Anyway, yes, pie." He gives The Confident a hesitant smile, "I'm sorry we didn't get along so well early on. I didn't know about... I didn't know until later. We fought together often, back there. You were incredibly brave. I'm calling myself Dare now. I'm the anatomically correct heart with the blood drop." He sets his pie down with the others and offers his hand to shake. "Bastian made it. And Lyle and Kimmy and Roxie. And there's a new guy. He's decided to call himself Boots."
To Confidant's query, the Explorer shakes her head. "I just let people call me what's most comfortable for them," she notes with a half-shrug. "I mean, in the back of my mind, I still identify with all of them, so." Her eyes take on a mildly playful glint as she looks up at Chance. "Besides, I could no more renounce my life as Maya, as I could cast off Senni, who was the woman who first caught your eye." There's a wink, before she turns and heads straight for one of the pies. Especially if there's an apple. "Excellent call on the pies, Dare. After our last go-round, I made apple empanadas for people, since that's what I'd often done in life."
The Confidant cuts his eyes at Explorer with a smile. "I'm not renouncing--okay, I am." He waves a hand and fills two plates before settling into a seat. "Dare is a good name. Cool name. Bastian, huh, same name again. Interesting. Lyle and Roxie. Point their doors out? I met like, no one. Same happened in space. People keeping me confined under a guise of protection. Same shit with that fucking brunette." He grunts. "Kimmy...and I fucked. Wow, Derek. Wow. More awkwardness." Beat. "And all those snapshots with Danica. Cassie's gonna love that." He just eats and chatters away, mouth full half the time. Food has him in better spirit. "And a new guy named Boots. Lot to take in." He scoots over and waves Explorer over. "I like Senni. You look more like her."
The Martyr smiles at the Explorer, "Oh there is definitely apple. I did both crumble top with tart green and crust top with sweeter red. I'm not renouncing Finn, I just... It's really obvious I'm not quite him, which was honestly dramatically more disturbing than the afterlife or whatever this is thing. Plus, I've already scene how different Caleb is from Lyle. Even if I'm almost Finn now, I can tell someday I won't be if I last. So calling myself Finn feels a little too much like a lie and I'm tired of lies. Caleb's is the looking around the corner one. Roxie's is the on with a woman walking past awed onlookers. She's very not Roxie, but isn't going by something particular last I checked." He settles in and helps himself to peach pie. "Boots seems really nice. unfortunately I wasn't exactly the best person to orient him since I don't have a lot of answers. His door is the tsunami warning and the guy with the surfboard."
Cue the double-take. The Explorer stares up at Chance, mouth opening and closing like a fish underwater, for a few moments. Eventually, she manages to sputter out, "You and.. Kimmy?" There's a fairly pronounced blink, and then she just laughs, and waggles her hand in the air as if to dismiss the matter. "Agh, I'm not one to talk. Danny and I hooked up.. well, more than once. And there was Kirk." It actually looks, as she voices that, as if she's only just _now_ recalling her tryst with the Crusader. "Oh, man. Cassandra's gonna smack me so hard. Beat. "I should smack me. Man, was I a slut."
At Martyr's confirmation of not just one but two apple pie options, she considers, then digs into the Dutch with the tarter fruit. Scooping out a slice onto a plate, she sidesteps toward the sofa, and sinks down comfortably with her treat. "Tsunami warning? And a surfboard? Maybe he's like.. a daredevil type. And no worries, Dare. It's pretty rare that we're precisely the same here as we were in one of our lives. I mean, Misty was worlds apart from Llesenia, the bastard half-gypsy daughter of a wine-maker in.." She glances toward Confidant again. "What was it? 1902?"
"1902." Confidant says with a grin. A grin that fades as he seems to realize something else. He looks at Explorer, head tilted. "Danny more than once? I knew about once. Kirk is news but not unexpected. He wanted you bad I as did." Beat. "Do." He winks at her and turns his attention back to the newly minted Dare. "Lyle is Caleb and I know Caleb. And Roxie, I know too. Just...missed them." He sighs. "As for...who we are and become? Chance was my first name. Chance was deaf. Last go, I had...complex issues but mostly my leg was busted. I was delusional once too. There is /always/ something fucked up about me." He chuckles. "It's disorienting when I wake up but I'm usually kinda glad. And I like it here. Lots of people and I like people." He blinks a few times, an epiphany. "That's something I know...is me. I like people and I want to help them. Us. We're practically a family and they need--We all need-someone, you know..." Double epiphany. Confidant points towards his door. "Dude. Lean on me. That's me."
The Martyr shrugs, "I was very, very gay and somehow even I sort of...As much as I could at the time. Kimmy had her ways." He looks at Misty with real distress, "Please don't talk about yourself that way. Desire is nothing to be ashamed of." He gives her a sheepish smile, "I owe you an apology for being such a mess my first night. It was a lot to adjust to all at once." He blushes faintly at the whole misty and danny thing, a drama Finn had tried to stay out of so hard. Chance self revelation has him studying the other man, "I think I might have a handle on something deeper in me too though I'll know better if I come back agan. It... fits my door. Everything I did back there, even the more terrible bits I did for a kind of love, not for one person, but for everyone. It's underneath how I remember being a lawyer even though the being a lawyer part doesn't feel real anymore, and it's still under everthing now even though things I thought were fundamental to who I was turned out not to be. When I woke up it was like the ground was shifting under me all the time unpredictably, but once I dug deep enough I found that love and suddenly I had something to hold onto." He cocks his head, "Even when you didn't know what the hell was going on, you showed up. Every damned time, and you tried so damned hard. It was beautiful and valiant."
The Confidant gives The Martyr his rapt attention. He even stops stuffing his face. "Aww, man. That's beautiful. Everything up until complimenting me." He says, with a sheepish shrug. "I...I remember his motives even if he was oblivious. Derek...wanted people to like him and be comfortable with him...the last part is the uphill. The deaf EMT. The moody and drugged up deputy. The model with the memory loss. Can you trust them? Can you get close? I digress." He shifts a bit. "Derek was smart enough to know that he wasn't getting it. It wasn't sticking. And it made him feel stupid. So he compensated by what came natural. Getting close to people and having their back. Being The Guy, you know?" He shrugs. "I don't know, really..."
Misty can't help but to smirk at Chance's agreement that she should indulge in self-punishment for her sluttishness, and ultimately, no smacking occurs. She's too busy nomming pie. There comes a point, though, in listening to the two men discussing aspects of their own underlying natures, that she lets out a quiet 'hmm'ing sound. "Maybe I cant figure out a name for myself here for the same reason I can never seem to stay still for too long. I can't settle. And every time I think I've zeroed in on a name, or some lingering motivation, or even what I like best for breakfast, I wind up digging deeper and revising as I explore and discover more. I mean, in Prosperity," she muses, looking toward Confidant, "I didn't have much choice. I had to stay put, Gitano blood be damned. But even so, I found ways to fulfill that restlessness in me. Learning new things. Trying something I hadn't before."
The Martyr blushes again, "I honestly thought Derek was an asshole, right up until after I spit back and it became obvious.... I am sorry about the spitting. I really did like Derek after that. I could see how hard everything was and how frustrating. It mattered. Derek mattered. I'm sorry there wasn't more time in the midst of everything to try to be a proper friend, but I would have liked to be. There are so many people I wanted to know better and I didn't get a chance too with all the constant running around and trying to... be at least a little useful where I could. I hadn't that much to offer as it turned out. Derek at least could fight." He studies Misty, "So maybe that restlesness is at your core?"
"Dare's on to something. I mean, you and me talked about rock climbing and hiking and adventures..." Confidant begins but his breath hitches. "Sorry, uh, we talked about it a billion times because I never remembered but you...had a spirit. Misty. And Senni. You have to be on the move. And I'd follow you anywhere..." He trails off and his pale complexion pinks all over. He turns Martyr. "All is forgiven. All should be forgiven here. I mean, here, in this place. Whatever it is. It's a place of rest and forgiveness and friends and love. You will see all of us land back here soon and...it'll be nice. We have a few awkward sleep cycles worth of trauma and drama but at the end, we're all in this together. So, while we have one another. We need to be kind. Because we'll forget again. And again. And again..." And suddenly, he turns to the Explorer and kisses her. Full on, hands in her hair, passionate and charged with fire. When he parts, he just says, "If I can't have you there. Here will do."
"Might explain why the symbol on my door's a compass, albeit a weirdly artsy, abstract one," Explorer replies to Martyr with a wry little grin. "Though, where most people might think that giving in to wanderlust without one would be idiotic, I think it sounds kind of fun. What's gonna be around that next bend? Who, or what, lives in that cave over there? If I keep walking, am I gonna wind up in Acapulco? Or Seattle?" Still thinking from the perspective of a West coast girl, it seems.
And then she's being kissed, by the Confidant. The sort of searching, hungry, smoldering kiss that makes your toes curl and your heart go all flippy-flop in your chest. Takes her a moment or two when he pulls back to lose the dreamy-eyed look, and remember to breathe. Once she does, though, she gives him a look and murmurs, "You keep that up, I'm gonna wind up trying to throw you over my shoulder this time, and cart you off to your room." Which would be countless levels of hilarious to watch, admittedly.
The Martyr nods, "I intend to try to be. Even with... I really will try. I think I like this you, Chance." He looks away very quickly at the kiss. "So maybe something about travel would suit? Uh... maybe i should go get some ice cream."
A ridiculous amount of comfort food and high quality alocohol has been arrayed in the parlor for the benefit of any Returners. There is no pork of any kind on offer, but there are things like tiny burgers, fried chicken, and mac and cheese laid out. And pies. So many types of pie.
The Confidant? Well, he's making moon eyes at Explorer while balancing two half full plates of food on his lap. There was some screaming a while ago. Seeing as he's the new guy, it was probably him.
There always seems to be a tonne of food laid out, which is a bit puzzling for the man who steps into the area next. Wearing yet another brightly coloured vest (red), in he comes, and he squints sideways at the romance. But then he moves to untuck the book under his arm and find a seat "Hello. So there _are_ other people here."
Eventually, the Explorer likewise reawakens to her surroundings, blinking as she turns her gaze outward and spots Optimist. "Oh!" Squinty-eyed for a moment, she studies him. "Huh. You're new," she declares, her smile dawning bright, if a little sheepish over her public display with Chance. "Hi there."
The Martyr gives the Optimist a friendly wave, "See? I'm not a raving lunatic after all. This is Chance and Misty, Boots. Chance just died and we expect a lot more soon so caleb and I set out awelcome feast. Caleb isn't here just now, but he's really looking forward meeting you and he says the tattooing won't work. Want anything to eat?"
"I am new," agrees the dark skinned man. His accent is...well, not really an accent at all. He could possibly come from just about anywhere. He offers his hand "Hello. Er, I don't...really know what my name is, but I am using 'Boots' for the moment. It sounds friendly?" He eyes the food, and Finn, and then he says "I...see. I'm still coming to terms with this, I think. It sounds bizarre. Oh - it won't?" Boots rubs his chin "I should stop making the lampblack then? Damn. I was going to give it a try tonight - I suppose if that does not work, hair cutting will not either."
"Boots." The Explorer echoes, green eyes taking on a helpless twinkling of amusement. "It sounds like an adorable kitten. Kinda makes me want to scritch you behind the ears." Someone, apparently, is feeling a bit playful in the wake of that kiss. Confidant still seems caught up in it too, given the way he's fallen quiet and is grinning off into empty space. "And, eh?" She glances over to Martyr. "Yeah, no, tattoos wouldn't work here, I don't think. I mean, you could theoretically swan-dive into a woodchipper here, and you'd wake up just like normal the next morning, healthy and whole."
The Martyr nods, "He and Scott tried the hair too. I'm sorry. It was an interesting idea though." He eyes Misty, "People die here?" He selects strawberry rhubarb pie next and takes a bite.
"I was trying to work out how to retain information," says the Optimist, gesturing as he sits down "But since both living and non-living entities revert, I'm not sure how to do it. If there was an entity that persisted over time and didn't shift, we could utalise it somehow, I suppose." He looks at the food, reaching out to try a slice of pie, picking banana cream "Hmm. I don't think I want to go into a woodchipper. I mean, I know this is unpleasant, but I'm sure we can find a solution." He side-eyes the Explorer, then says "Er, mmm. Well, in case you need to speak to me, I seem to be the door with the Tsunami warning symbol and the guy carrying a surfboard to it."
"I said it kinda made me want to, not that I would," the Explorer reassures Boots with a soft laugh. "No worries, there. I promise I won't subject you to that indignity." Her slice of pie essentially gone, she plucks up a piece of crumbly streusel topping and pops it into her mouth, then winks over at Dare. "Amazing. We may just have to designate you the afterlife's official patissier," she says, the accent on that singular word flawless enough to make her blink. "Wait, I know French? Rad."
The Martyr mulls as he eats, "I think Caleb wanted to try smaller changes next, but I'm not sanguine we'll succeed from what he's said." He gives the Optimist a gentle smile, "It's all right, really. No one is going to throw you into a wood chipper. Do we even have a wood chipper? Anyway, Misty is really kind. Apparently i know some, but am not that good at it. My copy of Huis Clos has French on one side and english on the other and trust me, if I try to read the french side, I spend half the time rooting through the dictionary." He blushes a little, "I was always hungry back there on the island. There was hardly anytime to eat or sleep. I kept thinking about food a lot and it sort of stuck."
"I'm finding it hard to work out what...languages I know. And what ones I don't. I thought everyone was speaking Cape Verdean Creole...then Portuguese. But now I know it's English. But instead of, I don't know, pop? I prefer coladeira, followed by funaná and batuque music." He shrugs, spreading his hands "I know the words." And then he says "Who's Caleb? Well, I'm glad I am getting to meet more people. I prefer to be around people. Ah - Finn. I found the showers. Mine has apricot oil in it, so I guess it's for me? For my hair type, I mean." He shrugs "It's weird. The clothes are exactly what I like. There are a lot of books..."
"And they're exactly the sort you enjoy, or titles you always wanted to read but never got around to," the Explorer theorizes, her lips quiveirng with the stirrings of a laugh as she observes Boots. "Not that you can look back on a time and recall thinking to yourself that you wanted to read them. The decor in your room.. you know the furnishings and trappings aren't yours" -- you certainly didn't choose them, at least. But they're very much the kinds of things that you would chose, if given the option. Sound about right?" She winks, and though she seems amused, it doesn't come across the least bit derisive in nature. Looking over to Martyr again, she nods. "That, I think, is one of the most disorienting aspects of this whole... experience. Here, we remember everything from the lives -- yes, that's plural -- we lived. But when we take on a new persona, as I became Misty or you became Finn, everything from before is just.. gone. For the duration of our stay in those lifetimes, we know only the person that we are there, remember only their experiences." Setting aside her cleaned plate, she quirks a brow faintly, grins. "I sort of wonder what it might be like, after a dozen more lifetimes. Will our brains still be able to hold onto all those memories, once we wake up here?"
The Martyr says, “Caleb has an accent and uses a lot of slang I had to get used to. It's not Australia or New Zealand, but a little like those. He's very interested in figuring things out. He got electrocuted when I did, also in front of his boyfriend. He's been dead and back a lot of times." He looks at Misty with real interest. Apparently the information about the why's of the decor are new to him, "That explains Caleb's bunker. And mine is... a little weird, but I can kid of see what you mean." He nods, suddenly busy with his pie, "I've been thinking about it like a sort of mosaic. Looking at those of you who've been back more than once. Like the peices of the people I know are... sort of like tiles, and the people we are here sort of underneath, that's the mortar, and the more people someone's been the more tiles they have, and all the bits are mixed up to make a bigger design. I'm just Finn bits making an almost Finn mosaic embedded in underlying morter to make Dare, but Caleb is made up of a whole lot of tiles from people I don't know as well as the one I sort of did. It was dizzying at first." He stares down at his plate to hide his expression, "I don't know who will walk out of Danny's door at all."”
"I believe so," says Boots "I mean, humans have a vast amount of redundancy built in. But I'm guessing no one here can become pregnant, right? Pregnancy without, I don't know, good doctors, midwives - that's dangerous. So I'm guessing that for some reason it can't happen?" He is content to work on his pie quite slowly, without having to rush through it at all "Yes, my room is like that. There's wave sailing and kite boarding posters up. I remember there being...leagues for those. I think? But nothing about where from." He shrugs a bit. He raises an eyebrow at Finn's reaction to 'a little weird', and then he says "Well, I guess, maybe Danny? If not, you'll have to get used to the new name. Hey. Do the _signs_ on our doors ever change? Like, for the person?"
The Explorer chokes back a little sound in her throat. As such, it's rather difficult to determine whether it might've ultimately evolved into a laugh, or a yelp, or some other reactive noise. Her gaze lingers on Martyr for a time, hand partially covering her mouth, as if to keep whatever response had initially leapt to her tongue at bay. When she finally does speak, it's decidedly... careful. "Do not set any expectations or even hopes, as to who might eventually step out of someone's door. For your own sake. The potential shock might kill you." There. Yes, she's got it under control, now. Mostly. "I haven't seen the door symbols change, personally, but I suppose it's possible. And I would tend to agree with you that pregnancy isn't possible, here. Even a tiny cluster of splitting cells at the very beginnings of a pregnancy would be wiped out overnight, while the mother slept."
The Martyr shakes his head in response to the Optimist, "Sort of Danny, but also not. If he's as different from Danny as caleb is from Lyle... Fuck! I've no idea what to expect and it makes me a little... nevermind." he looks at misty from the corner of his eyes, "He may not want anything to do with me or may be so different we don't... like each other anymore, or he might lose it and get.... Consider me warned. I've had trouble not thinking about it, to be honest." He takes a deep breath, "Caleb says sometimes the signs disappear or change and that we should count the doors to see if the number changes for next time. He thought Derek would come back because the sign was the same and he did, so..." A sheepish smile for the Optimist, "Chance was Derek when I met him."
The Optimist now looks quite puzzled as he looks between Misty and Finn. He pushes his glasses up on his nose, and puts down his fork - while there does seem to be a near infinite supply of food, he has not been starving. So he is done, right now. And then he says "I see. Yes, well, we could attempt to maintain a list of doors...again, the inability to make differences anywhere except one's own head seems a pain." He squints, and shrugs "Maybe everyone changes orientation. Or name. Or _everything_. I still don't see how any of this makes any sense unless it's a giant, weird experiment."
"When I first knew Danny," the Explorer says, seemingly having decided that taking the vagueness out of her previous response to some degree is the kinder thing to do, "His name was Martin Munson. Something of a dandy, terribly sweet, and though such things were often.. frowned on, in that era, I'm pretty sure that he swung both ways. He grew to be very dear to me, and several others. Like this time around, I died well in advance of him -- but then, we didn't have that thing," she notes, gesturing with a wave toward the television. "So we had no idea who would show up, or when, or whether they'd even emerge from a door at all. Sometimes, people just.. don't. He, however did. Wearing a rather gorgeous gown, teetering on high heels, coiffed and made up to the nines, no doubt by the man he emerged with, Arthur. The contrast between that and how I'd known him in 1902 was astonishing, though he seemed to thrive in his new aesthetic, and was obviously happy. And I was thrilled for him." Leaning forward, she snags a bottle of water from the coffee table, twisting off its lid as she concludes, "So, moral of the story.. expect the unexpected. But," she's sure to add, "Our feelings from the lives we wake from tend to linger. He adored you, Dare. He'll adore you still, here."
The Martyr looks sad, "I'm not sure any of it makes sense at all. Who would do this? Why?" He stills as Misty talks, watching her with his head turned slightly away, a very Finn-ish guesture. Though he doesn't move there is something terribly vulnerable in his face. Finally, in voice rough with unshed tears he says, "Alive, I couldn't tell if he loved me or not. He loved you so much and I thought I might be a sort of... rebound. Watching him grieve, I have no doubt t all. It hurts... a lot, but I'd rather see. I'd rather know he's alive and not missing." He turns a small, sad on Misty, "I may have... said things about Addison I shouldn't have the other night. Please forget them. As horrible as he was too me, he really has been kind to danny and helped him."
The thing that the Optimist picks up from this is...well. Very him. "Wait, the television is _new_? So this place _can_ change?" He chews his lip, and then he says "Well, we'll work it out, I'm certain. If things can change in here, that's interesting. I wonder if it's like a living time capsule? Or look at human behaviour." He notes Misty has water, and moves around to find his own bottle, and he says "Who's Addison, then? I need to catch up with who everyone is."
"Well. The television itself isn't new," the Explorer amends, with an apologetic look toward Boots. "But this is the first time we were ever able to see what was happening to the others who hadn't yet died. Before the Lodge, it played MTV non-stop, focusing on music videos from the 1980s. Before Prosperity, it was old Westerns, twenty-four hours a day." Her focus shifts back toward Martyr, and she reaches out with her free hand, laying it upon his knee and offering a supportive, sympathetic squeeze. "He did love me," she says quietly. Lying would be pointless. "And I loved him. But that was.. 'first love,' you know? Full of youthful idealism and unrealistic dreams and precarious balancing acts on pedestals neither of us had done anything to earn. I think anyone would grieve the loss of that, Dare. That doesn't mean that what he felt for you was any less real, though."
The Martyr is too caught up in the whole danny thing to really engage with what the Optimist is saying. Instead he's looking at Misty now and saying softly, "I wasn't jealous, you know. Danny and I weren't the sort of people who minded the other having partners past or present. It's good that Danny had loved like that and it was good Derek had someone who loved him the way you loved him. Right before you died... It was the wrong time for that arguement ith Paige, ut I really liked you for standing up for Derek's... adulthood and autonomy the way you did. I really am sorry there wasn't time to know you better. I was always trying to.. get out of the way when you and Danny were working things out, but I did like you and I'm glad you made them both happy."
The Optimist gives Misty a mild smile, his white teeth quite visible, and he says "Oh! Man, I don't know what's worse. That or...wait, what's MTV?" He runs his fingers through his short hair, and he says "...everyone I talk to here, uh, has these huge romantic entanglements? Is anyone, um. Aromantic?"