11077/Shrink Time!

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Shrink Time!
Date of Scene: 08 May 2022
Location: Level 4 - Recreation - The Roost
Synopsis: Gabby and Jon have a sit down chat about relationships, the future, and new teams.
Cast of Characters: Gabby Kinney, Jonathan Sims

Gabby Kinney has posed:
It wasn't like Gabby to study a often. She did, of course, she was still in school. It was just rare that she did so in the rec room. If anything the pile of books she's currently sat beside is more reminsicent of the many times Phoebe had been studying her head off as opposed to Gabby. Yet here she is, seated on the floor with her back against the couch for support, with a large book open to be read the old fashioned way instead of via a digital copy. Amusingly the title is 'Sun Tsu In Modern Times' which likely is about using old theories in modern applications.

Gabby herself has a few large cans of Red Bull nearby that have already been drunk, and one she was currently sipping on. There's music playing from her phone quietly to add as a distration. And snacks. Whatever had her reading such non-school-related books had her looking quite serious indeed.

Jonathan Sims has posed:
    Jon has come around to the Roost on one of his periodic visits to check in and make sure the Outsiders are doing alright. He likes to check in from time to time, see if anyone needs help or an ear. To talk to, not for anything else. Nobody's really taken him up on offers to help with things like 'how to do paperwork' or 'how to actually cook' but having a semi-regular actual adult presence around the place is most of what Tim was going for, really.

    He usually brings food, and today he's brought pizza, which he knows Bart will eat if nobody else does. Pizza directly from New York, which means the slices are enormous. He comes into the rec room carrying one folded up and peers at Gabby's stack of books, peering at the cover of the one she's reading, curiously.

    "Excellent choice," he comments. "I hate to be the cliche guy that keeps a copy of The Art of War around but it /is/ full of very good advice."

Gabby Kinney has posed:
Gabby Kinney sniffs the air a single time drawing in the scent of that delicious pizza. Along with the smell of Jon himself, but that wasn't really ingrained in her memory yet. Which is why she half-turns toward Jon when he steps in, a fraction of a moment before he speaks, just to see who it is exactly. A grin creeps over her in response as she shuts the book to nudge it aside with a chuckle.

"I tried to read 'Art of War' and I couldn't. This is the alternative reading on Tim's book list he gave me." It's here she pauses to reach up and rub her hands over her face vigorously a time or two with a groan. "Actually you got a few? I could use to chat some," she admits as her hands drop away leaving her looking... tired. Pensive. Thoughtful.

There is a pause before she pushes up to her feet with a hand raising. "But I think I want to snag a slice of that first. Popcorn only goes so far."

Jonathan Sims has posed:
    "That's why I'm here," Jon replies with a grin. Someone turning to see who's there is entirely normal to him; he's still not used to the idea that he just /knows/ who's in the area telepathically, himself. "To bring food and have chats, and pretend I know much of anything about being an actual adult."

    He settles himself down on the couch while Gabby gets up to get herself some pizza and goes on, "Martin--my husband--is very interested in military history in general. He made me read 'The Art of War' back in uni. Ahh... university. We met at Oxford, in pre-med." He shakes his head. "I didn't find it immediately applicable, unlike some people who declare it's useful in every situation--when would a /doctor/ need advice about war? But it's turned out to be /very/ useful now that I'm actually... fighting people. It was invaluable during the siege."

Gabby Kinney has posed:
"I'm beginning to think all adults PRETEND to know how to be adults. Just some better than others," Gabby responds with a grin while she ducks into the other room to grab a slice. On a paper plate, no less, so it's not as if she isn't watching her manners a little. She does pause to grab a napkin as well before heading back through. It was still easy to hear him though so by the time she's back she's regarding him thoughtfully once again.

"That... does bring up something I wanted to ask you. I mean it's not really related to what I wanted to talk about, but I was curious." And curious Gabby meant questioning Gabby. At least she wasn't her usual hyperactive self. It was an attempt to be more reserved and serious... Or perhaps she'd just had her head stuck in a book a bit too long. Settling down to sit cross-legged on the other end of the couch she carefully grasps her slice to fold (as you should), while looking over to Jon.

"I know you're married, and know you have a husband, but the other day you mentioned your girlfriend?" It's here she lifts the slice to bite while watching him.

Jonathan Sims has posed:
    Jon chuckles. "I think most do. Most of the ones I've met do, anyway, at least some of the time. Everyone's figuring things out as they go, which is good reason to ask for help on whatever you're not confident about in life." He's got his own paper plate, but takes a moment to take a bite of pizza and consider Gabby's question.

    "I do indeed have both a husband and a girlfriend," he says after a moment. "I talked to Martin before I started dating Cael, and they're friends. We, ahh... Martin and I... I wouldn't say we have an 'open' marriage? That has implications we don't really... the term I prefer is that we're polyamorous. Which is to say, we both recognize we might fall in love with other people."

    A pause, and a brief smile. "We went on a family vacation last week, me and Martin and Cael and my daughter. I'm not certain what the people at the hotel thought, but honestly I don't really care. We all had a good time together. I love them both, in different-but-similar ways. I do wish there was a better term than 'girlfriend' but we've already been over that and there doesn't seem to be."

Gabby Kinney has posed:
Gabby Kinney opens her mouth. It then shuts. There's no pizza in it as the slice is still held aloft while she listens intently to the explanation. The first seems to go over well, as if she were at least recognizing the situation, somewhat. It's the end part that has her staring more openly.

"Oh." It's all she says a moment, blinking several times. The pizza becomes a rather nice thing to stare at as she contemplates that for a few, very long moments. "That... that sounds really nice, actually."

The slice of pizza is set back on her plate as she puts it aside a moment forgetting her hunger for now. "I had some friends that were all together, but I guess I never thought about it much back then." A little crinkle of her nose comes along with an apologetic shrug offered up. "Sorry if I'm prying. I've been thinking a lot about relationships lately. A lot." Running a hand back through her hair she lets out a sigh.

"I had a crush on a guy I met. We spoke several times. He helped me out in a fight once. I liked him. Like. Really liked him for the first time in awhile that I've liked someone." Here she pauses to fidget a bit. "Rien was encouraging me to, you know, go after him. A bit. But uh... Then..." Here she pauses again looking conflicted in more ways than one.

"They worked together helping with the Michael situation. I guess they built a bit of a connection, and ..." Here her shoulders sag letting out a long sigh. "She didn't tell me. She was afraid how it would affect our relationship, and I found out the hard way... Through him. When we were out together one night."

Jonathan Sims has posed:
    Jon blinks a few times at that, gears shifting in his head. Gabby and... Robbie? Well, no, actually, he can see it now that he thinks about it. Hunh. "Well," he says slowly, "not everyone is okay with polyamory. It only really works if everyone's on board, and being very open and communicative. And... it's not a /new/ concept, but it's new as a... mmm. As a societally-accepted thing outside the confines of very particular arrangements like the old Kings of France had, for instance." He smirks, shakes his head.

    "It's not prying, though, really. I mean, it's part of the same... general thing I'm around for anyway. I have a relatively functional pair of romantic relationships, I have a husband and a girlfriend, they live in separate places, I spend nights with both. So I'm willing to help people figure out... well, that it's even possible. And it is! Ethically. But there has to be... mmm. People still get jealous. Martin can get /very/ jealous, if he's not in the loop, which is funny because Cael's the only other person I've dated in over a decade." He smiles and shakes his head.

    Then his expression grows more serious. "But regardless of what sort of relationship arrangements anyone might have... Rien should have told you. Communication is probably the most important thing you can do to make relationships work, period, let alone romantic ones. So I'm sorry to hear... well, I can guess who it was, I know Robbie. Sounds like a difficult time all around."

Gabby Kinney has posed:
"Yeah. It was awkward as hell," Gabby affirms with a quick nod. Apparently it was enough discussion for the moment that she got her appetite back though. The pizza is picked up again to take a quick bite mulling it all over. "Honestly I got the feeling he was flirting back with me, even then, but once I found out I put an end to it. I made them both sit down and talk to me. It hurt, but I figured it was better to pull the bandage off rather than let things fester." Pausing she mumbles, "Well not the best analogy there I guess."

"Anyway, I just let them do their thing. I'm not going to try to chase after someone who apparently had no real interest in me. That's kind of defeating the purpose isn't it? ... I just hadn't really spoken to anyone about it." Not even Tim who had seen how down she was feeling around that time."I've had a lot going on since then, too. Tim asked me if I wanted to step up to bein a team leader because of how I handled things while he was gone." A gesture is given to the pile of books. Apparently she had said yes, and was now 'in training' which meant a ton of reading. "And one of his brothers has started to show interest in me. Not against that. Just I don't want to do a rebound thing, either?" Her nose scrunches a bit looking lost. "Does that make sense? He's been really sweet even if everyone else says he isn't."

Jonathan Sims has posed:
    Jon nods thoughtfully. "That all makes complete sense, yes. I'm not going to pull any kind of 'oh you're young, it doesn't mean what it might later' because I married someone I met when I was 18. It might be good to go slow, and see whether Tim's brother is... whether you're truly interested, or whether it's a rebound thing. Only fair to him, right?" He smiles.

    "It's awkward, it's /all/ awkward, though. Cael kissed me before I even realized I had feelings for her... and then she was /convinced/ that she was 'ruining my marriage.'" He snorts. "Martin and I talked her out of that, thankfully. But as awkward as it may feel, it's good to talk things through with other people. Relationships can be confusing, and it's good to have outside opinions."

    He looks over, then, and adds, "Team leader, hmm? Well, congratulations. I thought you did quite well, while Tim was gone. Kept my head level, which is no mean feat in such a situation." He snorts. "Kept your eye on the ball."

Gabby Kinney has posed:
Gabby Kinney considers all of that while she's polishing of another bite of the pizza. It's set aside again in favor of grabbing her Red Bull and a napkin to clean up just a tad from the greasy slice. "Yeah, that's kind of what I was thinking. I've only been in one relationship beforehand to begin with, and it probably wasn't the most ideal one. I know I'm young, but I'm trying not to be 'young and dumb'," she adds with a little grin. "At least not dumb about people's emotions. I know there's plenty I'm unfamiliar with or otherwise that I talk too much and act silly and stuff." Lightly clearing her throat she adds, "Thanks. For talking, and for explaining, and everything. I know that's what you're here for but still. Thanks."

"I'm trying not to be like most of my family. Seems they have issues asking for help when they need it. And I do feel a bit betrayed by Rien's actions, but I'm mostly over that. She's still my sister, and if she found someone that makes her happy then that's a good thing."

Jonathan Sims has posed:
    Jon nods in response. "The things they went through together, they were... intense. 'Dying' several times over," he gives air quotes to 'dying,' "getting the entire history of the unvierse crammed into their heads. That sort of thing can forge intense relationships very quickly. It remains to be seen if that pans out into something longer lasting, but... that's partly up to them. I hope I can help Rien if she needs it, but I suppose we'll see, hmm?"

    He's finished off his own slices, wiping his fingers on his napkin. One wouldn't take him for the type to enjoy greasy New York pizza quite so much, but... he does. Then again, when he first came around one might not have taken him for the type to dye his hair, and now it's done in teal and gold and blue streaks, like some kind of colorful bird plumage.

    "So... what was the other thing you wanted to talk to me about?" He looks at Gabby, curiously.

Gabby Kinney has posed:
"I know. I know how going through something tough together can build bonds that are strong, as well." Gabby allows herself a small, wistful smile as she recalls some things. "That's partly why I'm so attached to my sisters. We went through everything together. Now it's just me and Bellona." Looking up quickly she adds, "I mean I have more family but those sisters were the ones I grew up with. It's a different kind of feeling. And even when I was at the school--" She doesn't say which. She'd attended a few, but the Xavier School was the one that had the most impact on her. "When I was kidnapped along with some others. I'd trust them with my lives after all we've been through. I can understand it, is what I'm saying. I just would have really prefered she told me herself. I would have understood."

Reaching up she scratches at her hairline a moment, itching at something that wasn't really there while frowning. "It was about the team leader thing. I was feeling really stressed about it. I think it might have been the other thing I was stressing over though and didn't really realize it completely."

Jonathan Sims has posed:
    Jon chuckles softly. "Ahh. That makes sense. Well... stressing about both makes sense. Doesn't have to be one or the other. You're embarking on new things, and trying to figure out new relationships. Being a team leader's going to mean you're interacting with the other Outsiders differently, and you're seeing Rien in a new light... and we /did/ recently rescue Bellona, and you've been learning new things about yourself and your past."

    He frowns. "I am rather biased toward being forthright and honest, myself, these days, because of who and what I am. Being an Avatar of Truth kind of... forces that. Some people..." He huffs out a breath. "Some people seem to think that it's better to spare someone's feelings. Or--and this one I'm all too well aware of myself--they're afraid of how someone might react. I can't say whether Rien was worried about sparing your feelings, or worried that you'd be mad at her. I would guess a little bit of both because it's usually a little bit of both. A combination of guilt and fear and whatever ingrained 'don't talk about it' might be going on."

    He considers something for a long moment, then says, "You say you feel a bit betrayed by Rien... but mostly over it. But it's been stressing you, hmm? Does it bother you more than you thought? Or did you just need to... express the feelings? Get it out there and... hmm... sorted out in your head?"

Gabby Kinney has posed:
That was a very good question that Gabby's forced to mull over. Rubbing at her arm a time or two she frowns staring off at a point on the wall while the different options are turned over in her head to see which one 'feels' right for her. Or more accurate.

"It's complicated I guess. At first I was upset because I felt like I'd missed an opportunity with Robbie. Then I was upset that Rien hadn't told me. They both apologized, and Rien has continued to apologize and I feel she's sincere. It still stung though. I just couldn't be upset at her anymore. I accepted her apology, I assured her that she was still my sister and I cared for her."

Exhaling a puff of breath she finally allows herself a firm nod. "I didn't get a chance to *feel* it either way. As soon as I started feeling bad or upset she'd start apologizing again and I had to worry about making her feel bad. So I guess that... yeah I did feel betrayed and upset. I want to get past that, and I mostly am, but I didn't really have a chance to just sort it out like you said. Process it."

A reassuring smile is given to Jon when she looks back his way. "I do feel better in general and don't feel so touchy about it anymore. I think the worst part, was that she's the one I would have gone to about how I felt regarding the entire thing. But I *couldn't* in this case."

Jonathan Sims has posed:
    Jon nods, brow slightly furrowed as he listens to this. "Do you... /usually/ feel like someone apologizing means you should forgive them, lest they feel bad? Or is it just Rien?" A pause, and he adds, "I mean... you never need accept an apology. Even if someone is entirely sincere, if they've hurt you, you're under no obligation to forgive them, nor to reconcile. And those aren't the same thing. Forgiveness means you've chosen to stop being angry, to let go of the pain--but you may never speak to someone again. Reconciliation is possible with or without forgiveness. And you don't owe either to someone that's hurt you, regardless of how bad they feel."

    He tilts his head. "I suppose I'm saying... it's okay, and in fact it's good, to go ahead and sit in the space of 'I am hurt and betrayed and upset.' Let yourself feel that, at least a little. Sort it out, talk about it. And /then/ move on, however you want to move on. Holding onto those feelings isn't great, but trying to just fly on past them rarely works--it usually just leaves one feeling resentful."

    A grin. "And I'm glad to have helped. It's good to have more than one person to talk to, obviously! And that's... well, that's my job around here. Not so much professionaly, anymore."

Gabby Kinney has posed:
Gabby Kinney grins ruefully at the explanation with a slow nod. It's things she'd been thinking about herself after all. "Sometimes it's just good to get an 'okay' from someone else to know you're not running around in circles in your head, I guess. I try not to. Just never had this situation before. As for apologies..."

It's here she hesitates again contemplating. "It's always been my job to keep my sisters happy. Not like saying that I have to no matter what, just they did so much for me. I want to offer them some happiness where I can. I like making them smile or laugh or feel better. I don't want to hurt them." A pause, and she murmers, "I haven't talked to Robbie again even after his apology. So it's not just a 'I do this for everyone' kind of thing."

"Thanks, again," she adds with a chuckle. "I figure it's good to talk though, especially if I start to help out in other areas you're involved in, too. I've had my share of experience with demons and stuff. Hell, I gave up a part of my soul to save someone from one once."

Jonathan Sims has posed:
    "You might consider working on that. I mean... I can't be your therapist, but if I were I'd suggest letting them try to make /you/ happy, some. It's usually better for relationships, in the long run, to be reciprocal like that." Jon smiles. "But you're welcome, certainly."

    He drums his fingers on his leg for a moment, considering. "Gave up part of your soul? Hunh." He considers for a moment. "We're, ahh... we're sort of re-constituting the Justice League Dark right now. New leadership, new base, we're going through the roster seeing who is actually around and willing to help. So I've been on the lookout for people who..."

    A hesitation, and then they adjust their stance a bit to face Gabby. "The Dark League, we aren't really made up of people who /use/ magic. If that's all we were, then we'd just as well join the Justice League proper. The Dark is defined more by a willingness and ability to fight supernatural threats than... being supernatural oneself. So experience with demons, well. That stands out."

Gabby Kinney has posed:
Gabby Kinney smiles softly at the explanation of what their group is. Nevermind she'll dwell on his earlier advice later. For now she was quite welcoming the slight change in topic if only for a little bit. There were things she had to work through but was well on her way to doing so. For now? A distraction was nice.

"My first boyfriend. His parents sold his soul to a demon known as The Kingmaker when he was born so they could be rich. When he turned 21, it came time for collection on the deal. Illyana, myself, and several of our friends worked together to trick the Kingmaker to trade his soul back."R
Lifting her hand up to gesture at herself vaguely she continues with the explanation. "We traveled to Limbo disguised as demons ourselves. One of our number started to lose himself to the deception a bit... but we managed to pull him back. Limbo as it was explained to me is a place of magical potential. It becomes what it is willed to be. So faking being something else could become true there if you aren't careful." Lightly clearing her throat, she continues, "We all gave up a sliver of our souls to create a 'fake' whole soul. New, pure, fresh. That's what we traded to get his back. It worked. And our souls regrow if they're not totally ripped apart, apparently. Which is good."

"Uh, then there's the fact that a friend of mine was dating a succubus and I house sat for him keeping the imps and demons in the basement in line. I mean. Not really fighting in that case, usually, but experience." Here she looks a bit guilty. "I never told Rien that, she might be upset at me."

Jonathan Sims has posed:
    Jon chuckles. "Well, ahh, given some of the... proclivities of some of those in the JLD, Rien is having to make peace with working with demons. Or at least... demons on a mortal leash. From my point of view, personally, a demon's just an agent of chaos. Mostly needs to be kept away from the world, but they can be useful in their way, if properly kept in line."

    They consider the story for a long moment. "That's a rather ingenious solution, actually, to the whole 'owe a soul to a demon' business. And it was good of you to do. Moreover... well..." They sigh. "Too many people, when faced with magical threats, immediately go for 'how do I kill it?' It may not be the best option, letting the Kingmaker continue to exist, continue to gather souls... but wiping it out entirely might be too much of a lift. So you find another solution to the actual problem you're trying to solve. Or you... pet-sit for a succubus." A smirk.

    "My point being... we can use that kind of thinking. With the archangels, in the end... well, Michael died in the end, but he did so willingly. In the end, we defeated him by changing his mind. Convincing him that his methods were wrong, that he needed to give up his power and allow himself to be re-made. Every person whose solution was simply 'fight him, kill him' just... made things harder, especially because we knew from the /start/ that the solution wasn't going to be simply violence."

Gabby Kinney has posed:
"Oh, right," Gabby snaps her fingers as she recalls meeting Lydia, and nodding emphatically. "One of the girls at my school got turned into a vampire, too. So I'm familiar with that. She's managing and not harmful. I mean. Mostly." Still she had been away for awhile so couldn't speak to that too much. "Most of my family is on the 'angry and dangerous' list so I think I'm fairly patient and accepting of those with uh... Issues."

"And," she adds sitting up a bit straighter with a deep breath drawn. "I'm effectively immortal. I know I'm not fully, but with my powers and the history of my family I'm going to be around a long, long time unless someone changes that. So while I've got immediate pressing things to take care of here," she adds gesturing around the Roost in general. "I feel like I could continue to get a whole lot of experience to help with things like that, too. And sometimes people just need a chance to be good, or mostly good. I think the same might go for demons."

Jonathan Sims has posed:
    "I've known a couple of good vampires, yes. A lot of it comes down to choice--where one /has/ a choice. Some beings don't, in various ways. I cannot lie, for instance, whether or not I /want/ to. So my being honest isn't really a matter of being 'good.' I /can/ hold things back, though, and those choices are what matter."

    Jon smiles. "Well, if you'd like to join us... I'm fairly certain Rien would agree. That's the general rule, two of the leadership need to agree, at least for /full/ membership. We could take you to see our new base sometime. It's a castle up in the clouds of the Astral Plane. Quite lovely, really, though... dangerous, in some ways. And, ahh..." He coughs. "Not that I want to /encourage/ you to have to use your healing factor, but it's definitely a helpful thing."

Gabby Kinney has posed:
Gabby Kinney slowly stares at Jon with eyes widening. She'd been doing so well at this 'responsbile, mature' thing for most of this conversation. It's hearing that the base is a castle. In the clouds. In the astral plane. Well that pushes her over the edge just a bit and she claps her hands together sharply. "Oh hell yes you guys gotta show me that yes!" There's a giddy bit of excitement in her voice at that, and she grins broadly quite eager at the thought.

"Oh, right I know, don't depend on it but it's sure nice to have don't worry," she assures about the healing factor with a wave to dismiss such a topic. "We all have our strengths and that's one of mine. I just don't want to make it the ONLY one."

Jonathan Sims has posed:
    Jon laughs at the response. "Honestly that's... about my own response. Magic is /cool/. We have a library that has every book anyone who's visited the castle has ever read! A training room that can be anything we need! A garden that blooms regardless of the weather! It's brilliant."

    A nod to the comment about healing factor. "I understand that. I hardly want to be only the guy who gets weird stories from people. You've got a lot more going for you, for certain, though. I think you'll be a great addition to the team."

Gabby Kinney has posed:
"So cool," Gabby agrees with an emphatic nod at the remark that magic is cool. "So very. Rien's going to be carving magic into my claws so I can use them against magical threats. Plus they're gonna glow like little lightsabers so I can see in the dark better when I need." Bonus.

Jonathan Sims has posed:
    Jon chuckles. "/That/ will be cool. Everything's better with lightsabers." It's a simple fact of life.

    His phone buzzes and he pulls it out, frowning at the screen. "I... really ought to take this." Not a call, evidently, a text, but presumably something important. "Are you feeling better? I can put you in touch with people about the JLD."

Gabby Kinney has posed:
Gabby Kinney smiles reassuringly toward Jon at the question about feeling better. Her response is the best one she knows how to give. Leaning over she wraps her arms around him in a quick, tight hug, while nodding emphatically. "Yeah. Much better, thank you. Thanks for listening and the advice and everything. I really appreciate it." Then she lets him go with a little laugh. "And for the pizza. Go take care of your stuff, I get it."

Jonathan Sims has posed:
    Jon blinks for a moment, stiffening, but pushes away his aversion to return the hug, if briefly. He knows Gabby means well. He smiles, and says, "You're quite welcome. Thank you for listening. Not everyone does."

    Then he stands, pocketing his phone. "Hopefully other people can get some pizza before the speedsters arrive, yeah?" A chuckle, and then he heads on out.