484/The Night We Met (Again)

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The Night We Met (Again)
Date of Scene: 13 March 2020
Location: Secluded Cabin, Maine
Synopsis: A bad day gets a little brighter, after scaring the living bejesus out of a sleeping mutant.
Cast of Characters: Illyana Rasputina, Douglas Ramsey

Illyana Rasputina has posed:
<Scene Theme Song> Lord Huron - The Night We Met
Link to said song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KtlgYxa6BMU

I am not the only traveler
Who has not repaid his debt;
I've been searching for a trail to follow again,
Take me back to the night we met.

Illyana Rasputina has posed:
She's been through the winter and she's been trapped in the city.

She has been spat on and shot at and punched.

When the latte ends up made wrong, her last consolation finally pushes Illyana a step too far. Taking the bus all the way to Salem Center proves a miserable affair with someone able-bodied yelling at her for taking up a seat near the back, then the driver completely missing her stop. The bus lurching away at top speeds to make up for lost time almost sends her stumbling into the street, only a hasty run for the safety of the sidewalk saving her.

Illyana has no fucks left to give, and her eyes might show it, narrowed. She hurts. She is bloody. Hungry, perhaps, for something not easily acquired from black bread and tea hours ago. Consolation trudges her in some direction, an uncertain destination in mind, which is always dangerous where a teleporter is involved. Wandering through the trees for him, she leaves behind someone's yard and the scraps of ancient boreal wilderness.

"Where could he have gone,
I have wandered too far,
Where could he have gone,
He lit a fire for me,
When everything is wrong."

A chant murmured twice as she stalks down a trail and flings out her hand to make the connection. The mind may not know, the body does, and the burning wave of Limbo's heat washes over her as she falls through. A brave move considering the other side could be anywhere. Anything. If Doug is skydiving, they have a problem. He at least gets a warning, the filaments forming into a glimmering portal beside him.

Douglas Ramsey has posed:
When Doug bought the house on the coast of Maine near New Brunswick, the realtor said 'It's chilly, it's foggy, it's five miles to the nearest town and the coastline is so rocky that your closest neighbor is a lighthouse.'

And indeed, it's got a spectacular view of the... gray, foggy North Atlantic. This particular stretch of coast is so rocky that any charm it might have is... 'austere' is a good way to put it, and the exterior of the house is gray and weathered from the salt sea spray.

Inside, Doug has turned it into his own veritable sanctum sanctorum, with his computer setup, books, most of his things scavenged from his parents' home (they don't speak, and he doesn't like to talk about it) - as modern inside as it is rustic outside.

At the moment, he's asleep, actually dressed in a pair of pajamas (he turns the heat down at night and puts on layers) and sitting up, jolted out of a rare dead sleep by the portal that opens in front of his bed. He reaches over to turn on the light - his arm might stretch just a bit to do that before it snaps back into place.

Illyana Rasputina has posed:
If anyone asked her, Illyana might have advised buying the lighthouse instead. Never mind their rather limited space and most people living in a house at the bottom of a tower, or across the grass. Exposure to the open sea and elements can also be rather forbidding. A decommissioned lighthouse is exactly the sort of place singing to her fragmented soul, though.

One can feel an instant of guilt even when three-fifths of her soul currently balances towards the infernal plane and those Bloodstone deprive her of the empathic connection other well-rounded, happy people their age have. All it takes is seeing where her footsteps bring her, and she almost reflexively holds the portal intact before stepping through. Face downturned, shadows sketch their course over the weariness in a brief mantle.

Even so, the thick mist pushed up against the cabin smells wonderfully pure and nothing like asphalt, blood or detritus. Doug's startled reaction in the dark -- another X on the tally here -- further drags her back into Limbo. "Go back to sleep," she says to him quietly. In the perfect darkness, the lapis frame dipping to ultraviolet glow of the portal's pretty much impossible to miss. Her silhouette is outlined by it, and shrinking back. Bad ideas. History of bad ideas.

Douglas Ramsey has posed:
There is a pause, a sleepy yawn and then Doug stretches his arms over his head. "WhAt...?" he says, still a bit underwater, before he blinks, slowly, and then mutters, "You had a bad day." He says, before he drops his hands into his lap, and sits there. Staring.

"...Want to tell me about it?" There it is. She can if she wants to. Or she can't. No strings.

Illyana Rasputina has posed:
The portal snaps shut behind the pale blonde, and she makes it a few steps inside. He has the advantage of a rather gorgeous piece of property, landscape walled off behind those dark barriers and the appeal too much to resist perhaps. Moaning waves dance against the broken shore, a lamentation gurgling in the night air. Illyana approaches one step at a time, shedding the battered grey and black hoodie with its fair share of bulletholes, a few gouges, and one suspicious cascade of blood that's probably not hers.

She quietly approaches him, almost like a wild animal being considered. Still asleep. "This isn't fair of me," she says. "Sorry. Was not thinking. But after that thief hit me, the muggers got me with the semi... the temptation is too strong." Temptation for violence, temptation for what else? In the end, she sort of drops down beside him and gingerly slopes her way in. "To make them pay for it. I do not want to be that."

Douglas Ramsey has posed:
Doug casts Illyana a slanted look, and then says, "It's not any different than it was when we were kids. Except then you'd be more likely to go to Kitty, but she has her own things goin' on. You bent my ear back then often enough. I tried to listen."

He drapes an arm across her shoulders, and then says, "The telepathic therapy creates distance between my memories and Genosha... so it's more like a movie I watched than something I lived through. But it's not a perfect patch. Things get through. So I come out here. I can work... I can think. I can breathe, you know? Sometimes that big pile of a mansion feels so small."

Then Doug glances down at Illyana. "In the end nobody will make you do something you don't *really* want to do. Not even you."

Illyana Rasputina has posed:
Sometimes, in rare moments, Russian is simply easier. Simpler. It comes to the fore with the nuances of childhood and youth. Even though English is next to her native tongue, it doesn't always line up just right. Not in the same smoothed way. "Trust an omnilinguist to listen. Sometimes, the others were so hot-headed or rushed. Not so much you. Maybe it was Warlock going so fast for you, or you slowed down." Her elbow nudges him, careful. The gunshot she took is to her side, already a mess of cloth and healing skin. Stepping into Limbo might fix it, but she hasn't. "You the bard. Me the knight in shining armour."

Black shining, sometimes. Until it turns silver and encloses her fully. Blonde hair dusts his shoulder as she leans in, hands still in her lap. What is she supposed to do with it? "Which telepath? Jean? Hard to imagine Emma. Betsy, maybe." Her thumb slides over her forearm, and she breaks the clasp, nudging him again and sort of resting her palm atop his thigh. It's a comfy enough spot. A strange spot. "Breathing. That's a good word for it. It's cozy but spacious. Very you. Masculine and ordered, but comfortable."

She looks back at him, tilting her head, the fall of her lashes. Far from coy or flirtatious, she has the uncertain approach of a skittish predator trying to assess if a clearing is safe. "I think I like you. We match, with this. Fewer skulls and pentacles than I might have." Her half-smile rises, dimmed by hurt put off, tarnished utterly by the fugue of the day. "I still want to hurt someone. For the disrespect, for hurting other people. It's an ugly thought and disrespectful of everything Ororo taught me. I couldn't breathe. The world felt so small, so confined. So I get that. Sometimes..."

God, this feeling thing sucks. Not being good at it translates into the awkward pauses, the squeeze to his leg, painting circles with her thumb out of habit. Fidgeting is something she never does, so it's different. "I am all of Limbo. I feel all of it, every moment. Concentrate and a whole vast world is there at my feet. Is it like that with the networks, the circuitry, everything else? You can reach out and touch all there is? I get the data, though differently, a constant stream the moment I step there. Plunging back into the mystery of it all. I could show, if you ever wanted to see it. It's not terrible. The living ebb and flow of life, of creation, is..."

There really are no words.

Douglas Ramsey has posed:
"It's hard to talk about." Doug says. "People can be so ugly. And so... not. Some would ask why I'm not a giant cynic and it's because as broken as so many of us are we're also -- not, I guess?" He thinks about that, and says, "Like you. You're convinced that you're an evil person pretending to be good, and I'm convinced that's not the case at all, and I imagine it's a disagreement we'll have for the rest of our lives."

He leans back into his pillow, and then says, "I'd like to see that. I'd be afraid to see it, but I'd like to just the same."

"But not right now? I'm in my jimjams and generally prefer an hour to prepare for adventures if I can get it." He strokes Illyana's hair, lightly, and adds, "Why don't we -- just lie here quietly? I won't talk, nobody will talk to you, and the feeling'll *probably* pass. Or change into something else."

Illyana Rasputina has posed:
The sharp slant of those pale, icy blue eyes catches his face in profile, symmetries admired. The corner of her mouth lifts in a smile not in any way dulcet, adjourning from the norm. "Years and years ahead of disagreeing on me being trustworthy? My soul in shards? The sword reminds me I haven't fallen utterly."

He reclines back and the interloper trespassing on his space that she is, she sits next to Doug and half-turns to see whether space exists at all. Is that an invitation? Only one way to know, carefully reclining beside him while lying herself on her side. "Lucky, you have a girl who can get coffee at a moment's notice." The space is mostly his, but she puts her palm under her cheek, arm resting on the bed. "Your... 'jimjams.'" The last, in English, and she radically laughs. A single pang, but still. "Jammies. They are cozy jammies." She is being petted like a cat, his fingers certain, so she sinks down to slowly, slowly put her head on Doug's chest. "I would like that. Certainly, I like this, and you feel better right now."

Douglas Ramsey has posed:
    Doug raises his eyebrows and then says, "See, here's the thing, Illyana. If there's one thing Gary Gygax told me, it's that every devil is a grifter, a hustler, a con-artist. Every demon only respects strength, and will turn on you at the slightest hint of weakness. ...Life experience bears that out." He shrugs one shoulder, and shifts so that Illyana can settle in against his side.

"You don't act like either of those, so what are you? Yes. My jammies. I have a pair of tyrannosaurus slippers just under the bed. I don't apologize for being comfortable."

He raises his eyebrows, tilts his head to the side, and shrugs. "What you *are*, in terms of how I interpret you, is a girl. A girl who's been abused, who was raised among creatures who only take -- they cannot give. And who *could* walk away from all of it, no matter what she thinks -- except that she knows that if she did someone less responsible than her would come along."

He considers that, and then says, from memory, "The trouble is, you see, that if you do know Right from Wrong, you can't choose Wrong. You just can't do it and live. So... if I was a bad witch I could make Mister Salzella's muscles turn against his bones and break them where he stood... if I was bad. I could do things inside his head, change the shape he thinks he is, and he'd be down on what had been his knees and begging to be turned into a frog... if I was bad. I could leave him with a mind like a scrambled egg, listening to colors and hearing smells...if I was bad. Oh yes." There was another sigh, deeper and more heartfelt. "But I can't do none of that stuff. That wouldn't be Right."

Illyana Rasputina has posed:
"I have better stats than most of them, anyway. Not so much the acid resistance. At least he could have got that right." Her teeth grind at the indignity of being forced to adopt inferior stats. "Berto is broken as a template, too. I tried doing the numbers. Clearly adjusted wrong. Don't even talk about Emma." Right, and no one talk about the wizard/anti-paladin over there. "I am not pitying myself or feeling sorry for myself. But I know at the core, until I get the stones back, I am corrupted. Closer to them than anyone else on the street, no matter how much I want to fight it. Someone could come along and bring out the demon. Will recovering the stones recover me? The person I should be? With none of the temptation that coils at the back of my mind, venom on my tongue?"

Shrugging against him, the small gesture shifts against his shirt and tugs a little. Doug's shirt is straightened out some, since she is laid out there, long blonde hair fanning in a sunny halo. "Are you quoting Granny Weatherwax at me?"

Douglas Ramsey has posed:
"Maybe a little." Doug admits, before he gives a sheepish shrug, and then he leans in to kiss her -- on the forehead. "Nobody's all good. I know I'm not." He settles into his pillow and then says, "If I was bad, I'd leave modern society in ruins. If I was bad. If I was bad, I'd kick all the pillars of Sapes society out from under them. Systems would crash. People would starve. Weapons would turn against their masters."

"...If I was bad." He may have thought about this, in his darker moods. "But if you're coming from the same place I am, then you think about the consequences of if what would happen if you were bad -- and you can't do those things. You can't pull the trigger, even if you're tempted."

Illyana Rasputina has posed:
Sheepish shrugging? Doug does that and she rises above him, not quite resting on his chest, looming over him like a particularly small sun without the natural radiance. "You were!" It isn't accusatory. "I read Pratchett too. Not all of the books, but some of them." A guilty pleasure that may be. "You did quote Granny at me! Or one of the other witches. Not the chalk witch, the older ones. They help out the chalk witch one, she has the magic hat. Tiffany. Her Nac Mac Feegle are slightly less destructive than my demons. Mostly because they fear contracts and reading, whereas it's a fine way to bind my unruly subjects." He earns a poke of a slender finger to the middle of his chest. "I still cannot believe you read Sir Terry to me. I would have guessed, but maybe not. Does any book stay on your bed for longer than a day?" It's an honest question, genuinely curious.

Sitting back down isn't an option, so flopping beside him is, bouncing the bed a little to nestle back against his side. A tempting stretch like the white beaches tucked away beyond Acadia National Park, lapped by the sea she embodies with that restless current. A few moments of arranging herself and she tucks herself right against his ribs, poured into the hollows but for her head resting halfway between shoulder and chest in that convenient basin suited.

"We would have to stop you if you tried. It would not save everyone. Contingency plans against /me/ are another matter." Her voice softens slightly. "Logan probably has them for everyone, and they involve those claws of his. Not much stands against a foot of adamantium spring-loaded to the head or chest. Scott and Piotr likely have a file put away for me. I do not think about it often. If I were responsible for security like that, I would too. All of us are dangerous. Even omniglots who can talk to the stock exchange or take down the power grid, wipe out banks, and convince the world to revert to the 800s or so. Famine. Death. War. The horsemen come riding in your wake. Who fells them?"

Her finger circles around his ribs, following the arc to his heart, beckoning a space to rest her palm for a moment. "You are not bad. Between you and Rahne, a toss-up for who is the purest of heart. Yes, quite obnoxious to have someone so good and wholesome about when I want to wallow in the darkest shadows of my splintered soul. Lucky it's something about you I love enough to keep from pulling a trigger or playing pranks." Russian gallows humour goes with the Russian language.

Douglas Ramsey has posed:
Doug considers that, and then his arm tightens around Illyana, slowly, as his chest rises and falls. "My heart's not that pure, and neither is Rahne's. But. You know. I've chosen my side, I see no reason to change it now." He sighs. "Well I don't have as much time to read as I used to, but... no, I still read pretty fast." He closes one eye, but leaves the other open. Then he sticks out his tongue. "Thbffft."

"Listen. You had a bad day. And you're dealing with it... pretty much the same way everybody does, if maybe writ a bit bigger. Seems pretty, well, human to me."

Illyana Rasputina has posed:
Her reflexes are damn fast, though he can probably read the fact he's about to get a finger put to his lips. Not pincered to grab said tongue; she might only try that with someone slower. Less toothsome. "Put that up against Jean's empathy and we can see the truth of it. You forget, I -see- you, Douglas Ramsey. Looking into the balance is a bit cheat-codey; nonetheless, you have much less darkness than the norm. You always did see the good in things better than some of us." Notably, her. Or Empath. Though Empath deserves to be kicked in the pants and stuffed down a well for constantly invading the girls' changing rooms, so he hardly counts. "Mazunikay'ske-yo va to you too." Which is just another variant of the Black Speech of the Dire Wraiths, amounting to phbbbt. It sounds much more ominous.

She pulls her hand away and lightly tweaks his hair instead, since there's enough to make Thor jealous as the spokesperson of Thoreal. "Going violent is easy. Lately, the options boil down more to using the sword and wading into battle than trying to reason with anyone. Because, it seems, no one wants to talk. Why is cold-clocking everyone an easier answer than talking?" Her frown screws up her lips into a moue, a rose flower pinched around the edges. "We can talk about something else, if you want. Maybe going into space and checking out moon rocks. Or finding some hidden sea people that never knew land dwellers existed, much less understood them."

Douglas Ramsey has posed:
"Uuuuuuh, Deep Ones." Doug says, before he gives Illyana a look. Dire Wraiths. He sighs, and settles in against her, less an imp tonight than somebody who is both very thoughtful and very tired. "Don't bring up de la Cockaroacha when we were having such a nice talk." He says, with finality. He sighs, and says, "It's just the age we live in. Sometimes the pot boils over I guess--"

He curls his fingers, and then says, lightly, "Because sometimes... people are idiots. But the moon rocks might be nice. I can't breathe in space, though."

Illyana Rasputina has posed:
Illyana smirks very slightly, leaving that subject mostly alone. Mostly. "Deep Ones talk with tentacle-faces. Dire Wraiths have the tentacles mostly on their heads. Breathing in space isn't so hard, we bring along a containment suit or I bewitch you." She dots Doug's shoulder with her fingers, getting a little more comfortable resting on her side. Both of them are weary; hers is bone-deep, pain shunted around, but certainly there eroding her moods to that strange, makeshift accumulation of opinions and curious flights of untoward fancy. It suits for having jarred him awake and jarred herself from her usual show of composure.

Her smirk is still there for a little longer. "Thank you for not being an idiot. I did see Hope out there, and an archer woman. 'Wannabe Hawkeye.' They were both plenty willing to let me kick the thief who spat blood on me. Not everyone is an idiot, though I doubt any of them punted him. He deserved it." Heat has a way of lulling even most savage beasts, and her irritation seeps away, leaking through a dozen wounds he keeps poking in the beast's swelling red irritation. Taking his fingers in hers, she pulls Doug's hand over to her side of, well, him, since she takes up so little of the bed. Assuming he doesn't protest. "Were you working on something here? It's a good place to hole yourself up. Far from New York."

Douglas Ramsey has posed:
"I'm trying to save all my idiocy up to spend it all at once." Doug says, before he turns, draping his arm across Illyana -- then he kisses her on the forehead again. "Sometimes the noise gets to me. I'm talking about at the house. And, well... I like the ocean. There's just so much of it." His mouth quirks to the side. "Get some sleep." he says. "...I mostly just buy TV dinners for out here, since my ability to cook stops at hard-boiling an egg, for some reason. Also I hope you like hard boiled eggs."

Hey, something has to give. The food's lousy. But there's great lobster rolls in town, to be sure.

Illyana Rasputina has posed:
"I can set the table." Right. With candles and pentagrams; maybe a bowl of pomegranates to see if she can bind him to the Underworld. Her underworld, anyway. The one ruled by Hades is another matter Doug has to assign on his own. "Takeaway is a bit rare somewhere so small, da? No good Chinese place hidden in the woods or a Thai one where we could get noodles. I can do a little better than that, if you need." She drags her fingers through her hair and sighs somewhat quietly. "I like whatever you choose to give. It is being gracious. 'Ro and Piotr taught me that much, promise."

The war isn't one worth fighting. Hard as it is to close her eyes, and trust in the fact sleep is a good idea, she slides further into it while Doug speaks, his breathing a familiar enough sound to the sea churning on the rocks outside. Given a little nudge, freefalling into dreams follows suit.

Pillowing the demon queen, he has a perfect vantage to see she lacks horns, and instinctively curls into him.