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Mayfield Mods ([personal profile] mayfield_mods) wrote in [community profile] welcome_rpg2012-07-05 12:36 am
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welcome to mayfield: day 4



[This carnival seems to be getting less and less maintained by the day. Your nerves aren't the only thing fallen apart: what were previously holes in the sky have expanded to cracks. What parts of the sky that haven't fallen into that strange, warping nothingness are full of brown smog-like clouds.

The carnival itself has become filthy, with trash and grease spots littered everywhere. The walls of the tents, wooden stands, and houses seem to be slightly melted, for lack of a better term. The holes of corrupted nothingness aren't confined to the sky anymore: pockets of nothing litter the carnival, shifting tears in the fabric of reality that hurt your eyes to look at.

A faint buzzing noise fills the air, making it difficult to concentrate. If you listen long enough, it starts to sound like voices. For your own sake, it's probably best not to listen to what they have to say.

You're also not alone here anymore, for those of you operating under the assumption that you ever really were. If you've been missing the friendly drones of Mayfield, fear no more, because scattered throughout the carnival are a few drone families seeing the sights, riding the rides and playing the games. Curiously, unlike the drones back home, these ones don't seem to notice you at all, acting as if you're not even there.

Also curiously: their features are warped nearly beyond recognition. Some are missing limbs or facial features; others appear to have had those features scrambled by Picasso's paintbrush, with mouths on their scalps or teeth on their fingers. Still other drones appear to be fused together at the wrist, or waist, or face. None of them seem to be any more aware of their deformity than they are of you.

...and yet, somehow, you can't shake the feeling that when you're not looking at them, they're looking at you.

New here? That's alright; your missing friends have had plenty of time to get acquainted, and they'll be happy to show you around. Just watch your step, because some of these old rides need some maintenance...]


OOC: If your character damages or affects the carnival or town in a noticeable and normally permanent way, please comment here.
bloodsugar: (✧ shouldered.)

[personal profile] bloodsugar 2012-07-12 01:50 pm (UTC)(link)
[the fact that she is so calm... that she doesn't respond to any of this at all -- it digs at him, deep and hard. he doesn't like this. it isn't how it's supposed to go, how ANY of this is supposed to be. she wasn't supposed to be here...

Cain wasn't supposed to be here.

none of this was ever supposed to happen. but it had.

--so what is he supposed to do...?

the manic edge of desperation grows with that sensation of being lost -- floundering. being cornered, trapped... pinned against a rock and a hard place. she will follow him if he goes down this road. it's halting his feet, barring his way. but he absolutely can't turn back now under any circumstance.

so-- what do you want of him, Ciel--? can't you see this isn't the way it's meant to be? he has to fix it. he HAS to fix it, and if he can't protect anything or anyone -- if all he can do is fail those he loves like history is repeating itself all over again, then--

he can fall back on the one thing he was always good at, instead. he can make it all disappear. all the things that go bump in the night... all the things that will take away his precious people -- he'll...

...he should just...
]

...

[there's a clenching of his jaw. hurt her--? no. he'd never so much as touch upon the thought, no matter how frustrating and threatening he finds her presence to be right now. so, he shoves her back instead, turning right around and carrying off in the direction he'd been traveling before he'd acknowledged her at all. his bravado is false and they both know it; he doesn't want to put her in danger. the mere thought has his chest tight after what's already happened in this terrible hellhole.

but he doesn't know what else to do. if he doesn't move forward and burn it away... then there's really no option left but to accept it. and that's one thing he absolutely refuses to do.
]
expiatrice: ({vii} judgment.)

[personal profile] expiatrice 2012-07-12 02:55 pm (UTC)(link)
[...Brazened fool. Is he so tormented and overcome with guilt and helplessness that he can't even see the one simple and predictable fact that lays ahead?

She can understand the self-loathing that results from failure. Mistakes happen. Sometimes, they're caused by negligence that could be avoided. Other times, they're unavoidable no matter how hard you tried planning otherwise - a cruel twist of fate, as it may be deplored. Things also break. Sometimes, they can be fixed. Other times, you just can't no matter how much you want to and how resourceful you are. Rarity and frailness are among what makes some of the things encountered in life so priceless. 'Mistake' and 'break' may sound so simple, but in both cases, the circumstances of how things came to be can be extremely complicated. There are so many ways to err and destroy, so reversely, why would there be only one way to correct, fix, and recreate? Firmly believing in 'that's the only way' is just stubborn and foolish refusal to look at the other possibilities, which admittedly may take some reminiscing back or speculating ahead to plan out. Still, there's never only one option. People just pick the ones they relate most to according to their temperament and commit themselves to it, again, based on personality and experience. She knows a decent deal about that too, let's say.

It's based on such that she reasoned: he can't go ahead and make himself disappear along with whatever else he can take with him because there's something he needs to know that he must do. She's got a clear message in mind, and before she drags him out of here, she'll make sure that he comes to know and fully understand it first. That's why...

She didn't act before because there was nothing to react to. Now however, he's the one threatening what she came down to accomplish. Under the blink of an eye, two Black Keys will zoom past him, one from each side of the water bank to land half a dozen feet ahead of him. They make a literal line, for a thin white border will draw itself before it gives a dull flicker in the air ahead of him. She's not going to stop at a mere barrier to block his way though, no. They've already made deeper progress inside the tunnel than she would've liked. There's no catching any glimmer of the daylight outside if they turned around now, she's lost track of the outside breeze and air current even if she focused. So in addition to that with one hand outstretched, Abel will find something span out below his feet while the air grows oppressive and his limbs suddenly gain weight - enough to make even raising an arm difficult, never mind taking a step that'd now be a big chore.

She's not using the holy charms and falling on the sacraments of the Church this time. There's not enough light down here to capture his shadow anyway. No, this is a full-blown thaumaturgical binding spell designed to neutralize another completely. A normal human subjected to the current amount of power she's exerting will definitely start to experience difficulty breathing, chancing passing out within the next few minutes even if they're perfectly healthy. ...Ah, there are good odds that he'd be able to break out of it. She's not giving her all, but it ought to be enough to let him know that she's dead serious about this and doesn't intend to follow him like a dog. (After all, she's not the one who's lost.) She's not there to keep him company and face whatever that's here by his side. She's there to take him back, up and out.]
bloodsugar: (✞ food chains.)

[personal profile] bloodsugar 2012-07-12 04:36 pm (UTC)(link)
[he doesn't flinch when he hears the sound of projectiles hitting the air; though he could predict their trajectory and inevitable destination, he makes no movement to stop them. his eyes settle on the Keys before him-- watching this glimmer of something not unfamiliar in the air. he could have fought back. he could have done any number of things in avoidance, but -- in the end... all he does is stand perfectly still and observe this change to his surroundings.

...

the oppressive -push- downward, weight, would definitely have a 'normal' man beginning to falter if not completely caving entirely. he gets the message behind this display of 'force,' because of it.

but she knows, already. doesnt she?

she knows he isn't the 'average'.

he tilts half-way to look at her over his shoulder. nothing in his posture has changed; his breathing remains steady and even, body relaxed and showing no signs of retaliation or strain. the only true alteration is something in blue eyes... something detached and-- strange. strange...
]

...You're going to stop me?

[make herself his enemy? is this what Ciel truly wants...?

...are these the lengths she would go...
]
expiatrice: dana is a goddess | pixiv id: 12033790 († mary of may)

[personal profile] expiatrice 2012-07-12 06:56 pm (UTC)(link)
[She does know. It's the factor that gave her slight hesitation before she finalized the degree of strength that the spell is going to have. But it didn't really matter in the end, did it? He understood the message.

In response to his foreboding inquiry, and of course she hasn't missed the change in his eyes, she simply sets on walking forward towards him with clear intent and purpose in her steps. She'll be retrieving a folded piece of paper from her left sleeve on the way, not bothering to nod at his question because the answer to that is already blatantly obvious. He just needs to read what she has, and yes, she's got something written up in advance. ...A number of things, actually. She couldn't picture it playing out exactly like this, but it wasn't hard to predict the type of things she would want to say no matter how he reacted to her intervention.

(What a notion. Don't they both know too, that all's going on here is him making an enemy out of himself?)

If he doesn't react towards her approach, she'll stop at a distance of two feet or so in front of him and hold out the folded note for him to take. Her expression is steely. Would he allow that much, or is this going to become even more difficult than it already is?]
bloodsugar: (✞ silver tongue.)

[personal profile] bloodsugar 2012-07-13 01:23 pm (UTC)(link)
[making an enemy of himself...

...

she's eerily on the mark. one can't make themselves an enemy of the world without first making an enemy of themselves... right?

even if Abel couldn't ever truly become that person, ever again.

he watches her in favor of regarding the extended note in her hand. those blue eyes with all the intensity of someone who had replaced the smiling priest were... not right. there is an old, still-familiar guard up in him making a great show of keeping that emptiness glossing over everything underneath. but...

...but.

a hasty wall built over something cannot hold what lies on the other side away, back... cannot hide it. there is something terrible seeping through the cracks... something deep. a centuries-old bleed. something that had never left the dark places he had retreated to once upon a time, after he had lost it all -- everyone he loved. 'family.' everything.

he can't stand to watch history repeat itself. no-- it's more like he has yet to learn how to move past losing it all the first time around. he is trapped -- stuck in that part of himself, that part of his past, unable to let go...

he reaches out for the note in her fingers, but instead of taking it -- his fingers close over hers, crushing the piece of paper and forcing her hand into a fist over it. there's a single step forward... it doesn't take much to bridge the distance between them, and he's tilting his face slightly downward to lean lips by her ear. the words are quiet... but in this eerily silent tunnel -- with her astute sense of hearing -- he knows she won't miss it.
]

...This is end of the line. Playing games with you was... nice, Ciel.

[pretending they could be something simple -- 'man' and a 'woman,' if just for a little while...

...
]

But that's all it will ever be. It's time to wake up.

[all he'll ever be is a monster, and monsters belong with each other. trying to follow him here -- stop him... it's as wasted an effort as there could be. he isn't an innocent victim, or some... gentle soul misguided and needing her protection before he takes himself somewhere unpleasant and scary.

he's no better than them. they deserve to destroy each other.

...but she...

Ciel is better than that... and he will never let someone he loves follow him down to dark places ever again. there is no saving his soul. there's only losing yours in the pursuit.
]
expiatrice: († where will you be on judgment day)

[personal profile] expiatrice 2012-07-13 02:47 pm (UTC)(link)
[...

Her frame slightly stiffens, the only sign of any change in her demeanor. ...Oh, she can hear him loud and clear.

Yet all she could feel was the growing sense of mild exasperation. He's still deluded and trapping himself, and without being able to react quickly by saying anything, she can't reach him. The budding frustration is entirely drawn from the unfortunate circumstances of both their current situations. But.

This isn't about games. (She knew just as well as him that these small indulgences were never meant to last outside of when they happened.) He's got no right to alienate himself with his ridiculous concept of what constitutes a 'monster' either. (She got used to being referred to as one back home also - a claim no one within the Burial Agency would ever seek contesting, much less refute.) This isn't about bonds, either. It's likely that they knew each other far better than most other friends and acquaintances they've made through this town, but she's not so weak-hearted and sentimental to let one relationship get both of them killed when there's so much she can still do, even if he's already given up.

No. This is about taking responsibility for what SHOULD matter to him and the one person here that is supposedly dearest to him. Ciel's used to cleaning up messes and picking up the pieces after all manners of people following all sorts of events, true, but this is one case she will not take it upon herself to touch.

Yes, Cain's dead.

But he will come back.

For however long this hellhole is going to last, once it ends, the boy is going to wake back up in his room. When that happens, he'll need someone by his side to help him regain his footing and watch over his recovery.

That can only be one person.

It's why when that time comes, she's not going to have to be the one to tell him that the one who should have waited for him isn't well enough to be there. Because the idiot was so tormented by his own nightmares that he's lost sight of his own promise that never grew invalid no matter how worse things got. ...Ah, it's not to say that she'd hold it against him for falling back into old and unhealthy habits. Who's she to talk, when she's kept avoiding her phantoms just as much? She's simply lucky that she's got no direct, constant, and personal reminder of her misdoings to bless and curse her every step, but this isn't about her anyway. It's about him.

He's the one who needs to wake up.

He's scrunched up her fist and the piece of paper with it, but not a beat after his comment, he'll find the hand that he's clutched close opening itself up. Having clipped the paper between her fingers so that it doesn't fall, she has no qualms this time resorting to her full strength to break open his hold - or at least, legitimately try to with all she's got. He's inhuman, yes, but so is she, when she packs sufficient strength in one arm to lift twice her own weight with ease. He might overpower her anyway, but she should have enough to pry open his hold by a bit, if nothing else.

She won't strike the first blow. She's not eager to take this further either, but if this escalates...

Then the ends will have to justify the means, today. (They often did in her line of work, anyway.)]
Edited 2012-07-13 14:51 (UTC)
bloodsugar: (✞ monster.)

[personal profile] bloodsugar 2012-07-13 03:18 pm (UTC)(link)
[...

he doesn't fight her. should she wish to open her hand, then he won't stop her. but he'll make no moves to collect the paper inside, either. he has no intention in humoring her, this time.

there's nothing she could say to deter him. Cain is... gone. and soon-- maybe even she would be suffering a similar fate. words won't change that reality -- and long as that's the case...

...he instead withdraws from her, fingers uncurling from hers as he steps back. there's nothing more he can say.

if she continues to stand in his way, then... he'll do what he has to in order to ensure that's no longer possible.
]

This is the last time I'll ask.

[turn away. just turn away. please. please, don't do this. he can't go with you and he can't watch you and Esther and Charles and-- everyone he cares for just-- disappear, it's--]

...Go back, Ciel.
expiatrice: ({vii} repent.)

[personal profile] expiatrice 2012-07-13 04:04 pm (UTC)(link)
[--so there was no resistance.

It reaffirms his humanity, but in doing so, he also just ends up trapping himself further inside the paradox that he's made out of his own existence. Enough has also happened for her to know that even if she's to unfold the crumbled page herself and hold it out in front of him, he'll ignore it. Reading is a choice. Hearing isn't. She can only be reminded once more, of how bad a time this is for her to be unable to speak.

The note is tucked away. She lacks the idealism to keep trying. With that, she's no means of getting through the walls that he's encased himself within. Even if she succeeds in dragging him out of here by force somehow, it's highly likely that she would just be taking an empty body devoid of purpose and will. She'd need to stay by him until all this ends, something that'll likely become even more trying than trying to hold back the grim helplessness seeping through her now.

The lowered hand forms a fist inside the sleeve of her robe, out of sight. Her chest heaves slightly, along with her shoulders. She can't even thank him for his consideration, realizing full well that there were a million chances he could've snapped during the few short minutes that have just passed - but didn't. So without further ado, she'll start to walk too, sauntering past him even after he's stepped back without rush or urgency in her steps.

She stops a few feet away at exactly where the barrier she's erected still stands. When she turns around again, she's got one Black Key in hand, and looking back at him with unwavering eyes, draws one single line on the ground to clearly mark the limit. The Key is then dispelled, and the air around them -- not coagulate per se, but is definitely changing, thickening. The message couldn't be clearer even if she was to shout it out loud: she's not going back, and she doesn't intend on letting him pass. She's painfully aware that it may only result in the worst possible outcome for all of them, but this is nevertheless one thing that she will firmly stand by. Her stance may look open, but her focus is sharp and keenly wired. He's not going to be able to make one move without her noticing, and he damn well knows that she'll follow it up to the best of her ability and give it her all to stop him. He may have some aces up his sleeves yet, but he won't be the only one in that regard either.]
bloodsugar: (✞ gunpoint.)

[personal profile] bloodsugar 2012-07-13 05:04 pm (UTC)(link)
[he knows better than to think she would simply allow him the passage he wants. it's clear that she doesn't intend to give him what he's asking for -- to leave him here, and to go back where she came from, to the Church where there are truly lost souls, ones not beyond saving, she could be tending to. Esther... watching over what's left of--

...his eyes are settled absently on some point in the water, but he's aware of her movements through peripheral vision as she settles herself in a direct path of obvious obstacle. there is no need for words, is there? with a stance like this, even if there is none of the battle lust or anger an enemy might radiate -- the message is loud, spoken with determination despite the lack of spoken tongue.

she's drawn a line in the sand, so to speak.

his gaze remains detached, elsewhere. she'll stand in his way no matter what -- is that it? the sense of that bubbling fear boiling toward panic is rising with a pang of tightness in his chest. --he doesn't understand. he can't understand why this is happening, again. is this cycle meant to repeat endlessly, forever--? is he truly helpless to stop any of this from coming to pass?

...desperation can bring men to the brink. and even if he wouldn't consider himself 'human' any longer -- even if he believes himself beyond redemption and far below whatever creatures might deserve her mercy and concern, it pushes him, too. he doesn't want to lose her. he doesn't-- want to lose anyone anymore. he's... tired. he's tired, and scared -- of himself, of them... of failing and failing and failing, again and again, making the same mistakes, faltering in the most dire hour... watching those he loved pay the ultimate price.

sometimes, there is no coming back.

he has to test her resolve. ...there's only one real way. one last stitch effort.

so... though many long moments of a heavy, pervasive silence have passed... the next one is the one in which he'll finally act, his mind and heart having settled on the final option. the only path toward seeing his goal to fruition. if she can't see how it is-- what he is--

then he'll simply have to make her.

the modified revolver is pulled from where it's been safely tucked away at the back of his waistband in holster under his shirt, cocked and safety released, in less than a fraction of a second. the barrel is immediately pointed directly between her eyes, and his finger is on the trigger without any semblance of hesitation or regret. the oppressive nature of the air between them has grown -- but not only from Ciel's doing.
]

I'm in a very bad mood, Sister.

[the words are spoken with the same lack of emotion, a distinctly empty and vacant tone that matches his eyes; resolved, there's nothing left to bleed into his gaze but the manic edge of what's clearly motivating him now.]

I warned you that I wouldn't ask again.
expiatrice: († if you could only hear me say)

[personal profile] expiatrice 2012-07-13 05:47 pm (UTC)(link)
[A revolver.

She hears him, though she's finished analyzing the small arm he's pulled before he was done talking. She could determine the type and specs from the sight and sound the cocking's made alone. Modified as a gun may be, they generally deviate from a common basic frame, and she's exceedingly familiar with every part Mayfield's hardware store has to offer. With that in mind, it was easy to draw up an accurate estimation of that specific revolver's capacities. Guns are her specialty, she just doesn't ever get a chance to use them often, given that all her abilities generally surpass in utility and destructive power what a man-made firearm has to offer.

...Still.

Something that small isn't going to affect her. Ah, she'll bleed if he pulls the trigger and getting the bullet out would be a hassle, not to mention that the brain'll take more time to regenerate compared to anywhere else, but there's no way a simple revolver can kill her. Her tongue was this carnival's doing, but her immortality wouldn't fail facing such a simple and basic physical threat like getting shot anywhere on the body through an ordinary gun. And at that, by the hands of a man - just like her.

She doesn't so much as flinch. Her gaze doesn't bother giving the barrel a single glance either, still completely focused on his. The resolve in her eyes doesn't weaken. If anything, there's something subtle and sad behind that ironclad composure. She can't hope to express the sentiment adequately as things are now, but...

She's gambled on people's good nature and their fear of truly 'killing' before. (Granted, her immortal edge helped.) It's worked in the past. She wouldn't mind doing it again, but with how convoluted things are now, this may just be the hardest time yet. She's fairly certain he lacks the strength, but with all that's happened and his unstable state of mind, who's to speak in absolutes? She's got to consider the worst case scenarios anyway, which in this case...

Mm. That's why. Without doubt, with absolute certainty.

If Abel pulls that trigger, he'll be hurting himself far more than he'll ever manage to hurt her.

And that's the most sorrowful outcome. She shouldn't let herself be hit. Not for her sake, but for his. But she can't move or turn away either. Her actions are all she's got, when she has no words to fall back on.

So she waits. It's all she can do - that, and look back at him as if the revolver didn't exist. Eyes devoid of fear or hesitation, only harboring a faint hint of regret.

She can't save him...]
bloodsugar: red-yourself @ lj (✖ feel a rampage coming on.)

[personal profile] bloodsugar 2012-07-13 06:11 pm (UTC)(link)
[her analysis of his weaponry would likely be accurate -- aside from being modified to pack a punch with specialized ammunition... there was nothing outstanding or remarkable about it. the power of the gun came more in what he did with it, rather than its constitution itself. 'Agent Crusnik' was a rather adept marksman, though that was hardly why he was a member of the AX.

...

but though he brandishes the Peacekeeper and there's intent in his eyes -- though he's staring her down as though she were less than nothing... it's completely hollow. a falsehood. it's a show of smoke and mirrors to deflect from the real truth at hand.

he was that man who was capable of pulling the trigger without regret, once. he's betting all his chips on the hope that he could convince her he still might be, so she'll retreat rather then continue to stand in his way now. the fact she remains directly where she is-- no... not just staying there, but...

with that
look in her eyes...

...

stop.

his jaw tightens some minuscule degree. stop it. --you have to turn back now, before it's truly too late!! don't you understand--?!

his finger closes some hairline tighter over that trigger.
]

--Don't.

[there's a slightly hoarse edge to that word -- it's even more a warning than anything he could say. but it isn't a warning of potential violence; rather, it's a signal that the opposite is inevitable. he couldn't hurt her... does she believe he could? no. Ciel was never in any danger from the start.

...but if she won't take the bait... if she won't turn away -- if she won't accept this...
]

Don't.

[it's a plea disguised as warning. please don't do this.

look the other way.

just turn around... and go back where you came. please... please. go back. GO BACK.
]
expiatrice: († i beg of you)

[personal profile] expiatrice 2012-07-13 10:35 pm (UTC)(link)
[It doesn't matter how special the ammunition is or how he tweaks the shot. End of the line is, unless he possesses a gun capable of erasing one's soul, very essence of existence, she won't die no matter how she's shot. The details aren't important, all one needs to know is the end result. It's also why whether she'd be shot or not isn't a concern to her. After all, whatever happens, she'll live. In fact...

It's the same for him. Whether he's capable of pulling the trigger or not, just the mere fact that he's pointing the barrel at her is already painfully trying for him. She knows that dismissive and empty look. She knows it well because she's worn it too before. That one time she had to shut down, not to dismiss anyone else but to protect herself--

--He's the one who panicked and reached out, even if it was completely unnecessary, even if she ran no risks whatsoever, even if she could snap in and out of it practically at will. He has no idea how often she's put on that cold and hollow look before, how it grew downright icy and ruthless at times without bearing an inkling of hatred or anger, the last thing that many Dead Apostles saw before being reduced to dust.

That's why his attempts are so transparent. He hasn't perfected it, or if he has once, he's lost his edge now. He's dragging this on and repeating himself. It's already turned from warning to plea the moment he showed the briefest hint of hesitation.

And so, she stands her ground.

She won't accept it because he still has things left that he must do, and she'll see to it that he's there where he needs to be when the time comes. Besides, there was also a promise.

She'll look at him in the eyes no matter what, and she'll continue to keep faith.]
bloodsugar: (✞ i dropped... my ice cream.)

[personal profile] bloodsugar 2012-07-13 11:04 pm (UTC)(link)
[once upon a time, there would have been no gouging holes in his armor, no chinks in that wall. no cracks to exploit. no hesitation.

...he wouldn't have pulled a gun.

and what he would've done instead would have left no doubts about the nature of the creature that he had been. none whatsoever.

it's exactly why all of this is wrong. all of this... these situations, these-- losses... he doesn't know what to do with himself. he doesn't understand how to deal. despite the long life he's lived, he learned very little about
living it at all. he'd gone about it all wrong, the first time around... and it had taken losing it all for him to realize he had to erase it all, and start from scratch. burn away the old... leave all he knew behind.

what do I do, Ciel--?

it doesn't matter who he had been. it doesn't matter at all... none of that was helping him, now.

...how does anything just... keep going, after...

ah.

the barrel is shaking. the facade was over as soon as it had started in the face of her resolve. unlike his... hers hadn't cracked in the least...

...

it isn't long before the weapon drops completely before slipping from his fingers with a useless clatter. ...he can't stop her. she'll stand in his path with those patient eyes, the eyes she promised would always forgive him -- even if it was undeserved. there is nothing he can do to dissuade her. absolutely nothing.

...there is nothing he can do about any of this at all.
]
expiatrice: († vows made to be broken)

[personal profile] expiatrice 2012-07-14 12:30 am (UTC)(link)
[She's not facing a monster. Only a former shadow who cowardly wished for the fangs because driving away others against him was easier than confronting problems alongside them, because losing oneself was easier than self-examination. It's a simple concept to understand. Either way, it's not very different from a child throwing a tantrum: getting angry is just the simplest way to avoid responsibility. Even just asking questions like 'why' and 'how', it's refusal to face reality at all.

Living can be... unimaginably difficult, that she's aware also. She's done nothing but 'staying alive' as opposed to 'living' herself for some time, though that's also a thing of the past now. All that matters is that she found the way again, even if she willingly chose to continue following a path that doesn't seem like 'living' at all. Still, she knew better, maybe because as opposed to several of her acquaintances who out-age her many times over, she's spent over three quarters of her own life doing just that: living, a priceless luxury that people tend to not realize until they've lost it all. For as brief and fleeting as these 16 years might seem to her today, it's been everything anyone could've ever wanted, as mundane and unexciting as all the little things were. It came with losses and gains, laughter and tears, successes and mistakes, but at the end of the day, everything worked out okay. That all vanished quickly one day, but these experiences that shaped the basis of who she is can't be tossed away by just some name change. No matter how hard she tries to bury it, that much will always remain. Is it to her advantage? ...That's hard to determine. They do say that the more you possess, the more you have to lose. But...

She can understand, and it's all the more reason she doesn't want to witness any of this befall anyone else. Even if their circumstances are just as unfortunate, if not more, even if it's already happened, because as long as one keeps drawing breath, it will not be too late.

It's not over until the end.

That's why you have to keep going. Because once the end comes, there won't be anything else after that. If there's anything left you still wanted to make up for, anything at all, never stop pushing, never stop searching. It can be very hard by oneself, but...

He's not alone here, is he?

...

She doesn't look away when the firearm drops harmlessly onto the floor. The tension doesn't drop, there's no relief or anything like that either. Just because he's let go of the gun doesn't mean that this is over. After all...

Taking a step forward to close the distance between them while maintaining vigilance and calm, she raises her left hand to gnetly rest it against his chest. To her right, to his left - directly over his beating heart. Only then will her demeanor soften, unrelenting resolve dissipating into concern as she gets a read of his pulse.

"Does it ache?"]
bloodsugar: (✞ begrieved.)

[personal profile] bloodsugar 2012-07-14 01:04 am (UTC)(link)
[this truly is the worst time to lose a crucial means of communication, isn't it...? Ciel has always had poor luck, and it would seem that now is no exception.

Ciel's memories as 'Elesia' are ones she should treasure, and she's well aware of this fact. perhaps it truly is more cruel this way -- possessing the memory of what she wanted so badly to have again and knowing that she would never attain it... not ever as it was. perhaps, not even close, however much she might yearn and repent and move forward on the road she's chosen.

even though it hadn't been her fault it was taken away at all. even if losing it all had done terrible things to her she never deserved in Elesia's child-like innocence...

...

the fact that despite this reality -- despite everything that she's endured, everything she's suffered and lost and yearned for -- she can still face the future unfaltering and with true steel in her spine says a great deal about the woman in front of him, now. the compassion in her eyes alongside it says even more, even if he isn't watching the way her expression softens once he's dropped a pathetic last effort to chase her away from him. Ciel...

he's deflated, the rigidity of his posture completely leaked right out of him. his eyes facing the future are not as clear as hers. everything has grown terribly clouded, his vision obscured by doubt and fear like a pitiful child. no matter what he does -- how hard he tries, how hard he fights and struggles and rages against the tide, in the end--

the result is always the same.

...they all suffer. every single one of them will be hurt, taken apart bit by bit... and that's if fate is kind. if not...

perhaps they'd simply disappear forever. one of these days, the natural order will not be bastardized... one of these days...

it'll all go back to the way it should be, and everything along the way will be completely lost...

...his purpose had been so clear. it was whole-hearted and perhaps even
pure-hearted; he wanted to protect them. that's all. that is the only thing he intended, the only thing he had to see through no matter what it cost him -- protect them. his promise to -her- had been so simple in theory. he had promised her -- the day he left Lilith's crypt, he swore that he would protect the humans, that he would never let anyone he loved suffer like she had. like Cain had. he would never let anyone suffer in front of him again. he would do -everything- in his power to keep them safe, to preserve their life, to hold them upright when their knees were weak and to spill his blood if it saved them theirs.

so...

now...

his heart is panging hard, flighty under her hand -- chest rising and falling more quickly than it should. he is afraid like the coward he is. he's afraid...

if he can't fulfill his promise to her-- if he can do
nothing but watch them all die, watch them suffer and grieve and be erased, even if they might return again -- to expire in new and different ways, terrible and heartless ways -- h... ow, is he...

...how is... he supposed to--?

Cain is gone, Ciel. he promised he would always be safe with him... he had been right in reach-- he just...
]
expiatrice: († lost eden)

[personal profile] expiatrice 2012-07-14 03:12 am (UTC)(link)
[They all have bad luck, honestly. Awful, even, but she's not gonna dwell on what she can't change. She's not entirely helpless, so she'll just keep on pushing to make do with what's still available, for as long as there's still some way to continue.

"Living", hm?

She's got a vague idea of what he's set himself to do, she just might've... underestimated his level of commitment, or understanding. Not in the sense of his resolve, but more like he doesn't realize realistically how heavy and impossible it would be to keep such a lofty and idealistic promise within the harsh world that doesn't wait for anyone. What he holds is the dreams of a child. To be a superhero capable of saving everyone...

Hah. She was well-acquainted with one thanks to Mayfield, from a time before the brothers came along. She saw the story of a selfless boy who did countless heroic deeds to save as many people as he could possibly set his sights on. He held onto the ideal that his adopted father couldn't, because he didn't want to see people cry anymore. He just wanted to see them smile. Yet at the end of that arduous road with no reward, he discovered the same merciless truth: saving one means leaving the ones who couldn't be saved to die. To save a young woman from a ruffian means condemning that thug. To save a helpless nation getting warred on means killing solders from the invading country. To save a city from a cruise carrying a passenger infected with a virulent and highly transmissible disease means sinking the entire ship before it hits port. As the scale of the population he tried saving grew, so did this vicious cycle of 'kill to save'. Protecting people became the same as watching those that he couldn't help die. But no matter how much strife, anger, and despair there still was despite his efforts, he relentlessly marched on, living up to the picture of the superhero of justice that he never turned his back on.

Eventually, the hero died. He didn't perish valiantly on a battlefield to safeguard another's future, but executed publicly by false accusations of treason. ...It didn't stop there, either. More happened even after his death, but to cut it short, the ending of that tale was that he was betrayed by the very promise he's made, by attempting to personify an ideal that no man should take upon. Saving others isn't bad by principle, but speaking in absolutes, trying to do everything, and hoping for happy endings...

A vow like that, as pure-hearted as it is, will only continue to collect hopeless and despair until the weight crushes the very one that took it up. That hero in question she met, as an adult, was realistic, practical, and cynical. She can't blame him. Humans have the power to create wonderful things, but they also have the power to lay the planet to waste. Put on a scale however, it's so much easier to take a life, to choke it out of the fragile envelope of flesh, than to protect it, from the newborn to the child to the adult until when the natural time of death comes.

...Can he realize that? Does he already? Will he be able to take it, if it's spelled out in front of him? She can't say. She doesn't know. He really is... just a child. Wielding his hopeful heart on his sleeve, holding out for happy endings no matter how bad things got - until they actually start to fall apart. He can't deal with death and loss. A gentle heart like that shouldn't have to suffer so terribly when it genuinely means well, but as much as it would pain her, that's his battle. All she can do is try to support him here, for however long this nightmarish miracle of a town will continue to keep them all.

The fluttering of his heart only reflects the miserable expression already so plain on his face. It hurts to just watch. As limited as her means are, she has to try calming him down before they set off. This place is still dangerous and it's the main reason why she hasn't dropped her guard, though she might just start to seriously believe in god's good grace if this keeps up; that they've managed to progress until now without any interruptions at all must be some miracle of its own, no doubt.

Reaching her free hand up to gingerly cusp his cheek, it's as much as an attempted gesture of comfort as alining his gaze into hers. She's tried something like this once before, to quieten whatever buzzing noise that plagued him which he never so much as dropped a single hint about. Is it 'cheating'? Maybe. But without access to words, Suggestion is her best shot to try soothing that erratic beat and stop the slow bleed behind these lost eyes.

Shhh. Stay steady. It's not over yet, we'll press on carefully. Don't lose hope. You're not alone. So... stay with me...

Really, what can she even command? She can't make any promises she risks breaking, though truthfully, if he's to depend on her, staying alive just gained that much more importance and meaning. She can't afford a single mistake now, regardless of how poor her luck may be. So all she can try is to inspire faith, having nothing but his trust in her to gamble with. A double-edged sword; it does occur to her that it'll just unsettle him further if the prospect of losing more overwhelms. Still, she has to give it a shot. It's not too different from that time. Even if it's superficial and temporary, he needs a reason to keep walking. Becoming scared of the unknown is natural, but that can't be allowed to paralyze thought process and cripple judgment. They can't, not now.

They will need time. She'll need a stronger rationale to give him a true and steady cause to not stop. But until they can afford these...

Please, stop hurting yourself and allow me to... guide.]
bloodsugar: (✞ saints and sinners.)

[personal profile] bloodsugar 2012-07-14 03:40 am (UTC)(link)
[she's right... he has no grasp of how 'impossible' the task he's set out to complete is, even after ten years of trying to see it through. even if he's lost, along the way -- faltered and made mistakes, already broken that promise he made to himself and to Lilith to ensure that no one else would die if he could help it.

...comrades had fallen. people he fought beside, people he loved like family. he had never taken any of it well, always blamed himself. but it was different at home. there was that purpose, and he made a difference -- he had a job to do, people relying on him... he didn't always let them down, even if his record was far from perfect, either. sometimes, he saved them. sometimes, the ending wasn't tragic and terrible...

sometimes is all he really needs, even if he has his heart set on
always. as long as there's someone by his side -- as long as there's someone left to fight for... as long as he is not useless, then... he can pick himself back up and convince himself it's worth carrying on. perhaps indefinitely.

because as long as there's the hope that there is still something he can do, he has absolutely no right to give up at all.

...the hope is dissolving. he's ineffective... he's worthless. he can't save anything or anyone. even right in arm's reach, his brother still--

...

the feeling of her hand at his cheek jars him from the downward spiral of his thoughts -- blue eyes snap up to meet hers in response. his guard, unlike hers, is completely lax. he truly couldn't care any less what were to happen to him in this miserable tunnel; perhaps it's a bad habit but it's an old one. he has little fear for the safety of his existence, though she must be in a similar vein to some degree. when nothing can kill you, or when you travel down a masochistic path toward your destination -- what happens to you along the way is truly little consequence.

but he couldn't let anything happen to her. not here... not anywhere.

she might not be able to speak, but -- the unspoken message reaches him if the slight furrow of something troubled creases his brow. not alone... no -- he isn't, and that's what terrifies him.

...he doesn't want to be. he can't watch the same fate befall her or anyone else, too. so, Ciel...

his frazzled thoughts are everywhere, jumping wildly in a disarrayed panic, but -- he's conceded defeat. he won't risk dragging her further into this tunnel, and he won't become her enemy to force her hand in letting him pass. he won't put Ciel in danger to satisfy his own masochistic desires. even Abel is not so selfish... or -- maybe it's more accurate to say that's exactly how selfish he is. he doesn't want to see her hurt, and that want will keep him from making the decision to oppose her. his eyes are still imploring...

tell him. tell him what to do, Ciel. if there's no moving down this path, then -- take him wherever it is you want him to be, but don't... don't you dare leave him now. don't let him fail you, too...
]
expiatrice: († tock tock you silly goose)

[personal profile] expiatrice 2012-07-14 05:56 am (UTC)(link)
[She also knows that feeling of helplessness, comparable to a slow drown in heavy waters. Her life mission was simply to follow the orders of the Church, a lost purpose here where no hunt mattered. So she tried to live on by helping others in any ways that she could, but after over a year and a half of watching some of the closest people she's known get hurt and become droned - and often enough, return without memories, she's been in the low ends of that slump. Ineffectiveness. Worthlessness. Uselessness. Pointlessness. Knowing that nothing here will likely matter once she returns home didn't help matters, when she's personally experienced 'going home' once and clearly recalls herself never having thought back a single time to a place called 'Mayfield' in America. Those new experiences from home weren't false either, she confirmed the memories with Merem, which leads to the conclusion that nothing here matters.

But you must move on. Whatever she does here will still impact others who are also present for as long as their stay will permit. No matter how many she knew and held close were to be lost, she can't let it get to her again, because there will always be others to take their place - even if they won't be quite as dear. As long as she's still here, her actions will affect the people around her trapped in the same way. Charles harbored severe issues dealing with loss, too. He takes it extremely hard and can only express it through violent ways. The whole reason why she came the closest to kill anyone in this town without the influence of a city-wide irregularity was to calm him down and drag him back in line. For Abel, though...

He couldn't pull the trigger. She needed no other flaring neon sign to indicate just how capital it may be for her to stay well and alive near him. She already had to reach to pull him back from self-destruction. It doesn't matter if someone else can do it too if she's to 'step out', he shouldn't be permitted to lose himself again in the first place anyhow. They may not care about lethal injuries individually, but she well realizes how this changes when they're not on their own. That's why she has to be alert, for both their sakes. ...Hah. How ironic, that the one who acts alone is capable of being just as collected and functional in company of others. She's no leader either, far preferring to follow. But when she must step up... she supposes that she will.

The palm on his heart is withdrawn, and the fingers that held his face are slipping off his jawline. There's a very faint sound of scrunching as a piece of paper is unfolded. Still watching him patiently with care and concern, she holds the slip out for him to get a clear read:


Be there for him when he wakes up.

Short, simple, and to the point. She opted to not specify because there's no way he can not know whom this is referring to. That's his task. Go back to Mayfield and wait, so that he'll be at Cain's side when the boy stirs from revival. He's berating himself now? She'd berate him further personally once she recovers speech if he's so insecure that he can't even be present to say 'good morning' to his own family after a rough week, him who wears his doofus smile so effortlessly any other time of the week. Because it'd matter then, the small things add up, and it's the least that he can do to keep his promise alive. Honestly, that never died - to protect someone isn't just about keeping them breathing, it's also to always be ready to help and support them by any means possible whenever it's needed. That's why he has to live and go back: Cain will need him once he opens his eyes, and Abel isn't going to have a shred of an excuse to his name if he's absent when that time comes. Her eyes would have turned eerily sober too by then, complete with a tiny frown of reproach. That'll be one morning that he's not allowed to skip out on, this is what he must do after following her out. Is that clear, now?]
bloodsugar: (✞ self-worth.)

[personal profile] bloodsugar 2012-07-14 02:18 pm (UTC)(link)
[his eyes flicker jerkily over the simple words in front of him. there's no avoiding reading it when it's presented like this, but -- he probably wouldn't have tried aversion anyway. that knit at his brow creases further in response.

...be there for him?

it's true he might have selfishly pursued whatever he sought out in this dark place if he believed he wouldn't have made it back, but -- it stood to reason that even if he managed to befall the same 'fate,' that he would return just as his brother did. he would be there when Cain came back; they'd return together, right--? no matter what happens to him, he would be there for his time-stalled twin. it was easy to rationalize his recklessness when that was sure to be the case.

but there is that fear in him... that fear, deep in his gut. that pit of cold ice that worried if there might not BE returning. this was not the same as Mayfield -- what... was left behind of his brother had... remained, in its unnatural state. his 'death' was not...

...

this train of thought has him feeling sick, and he's quick to shift his attention elsewhere. no... of course-- Ciel. of course he would be there for his brother... it seems that's all he's capable of in this wretched town. if-- ...when... he returns...

Abel will pick up the pieces... even if he never should have been broken apart to begin with. even if he had failed to prevent that terrible thing from happening as he'd promised. Mayfield loves to make him a liar, and yet -- he keeps on promising anyway, whole-heartedly desiring to keep his word and falling short over and over again regardless.

he draws the note down with his hands over hers, head falling in unison. it's the only thing he can do. this is all he's good for...? is this all he will ever truly be able to do for them?

...uselessly hold them when it's over through their pain, until... one day, that pain takes them away from him forever? the human spirit can only take so much before becoming broken in a way he's at a loss to fix...
]
expiatrice: († yeah well who cares about popularity)

[personal profile] expiatrice 2012-07-14 11:21 pm (UTC)(link)
[At which point he's going to

receive a soft poke on his forehead. Enough to cause a small flinch maybe, but definitely not enough for anything more. Her expression isn't just mildly reproachful anymore either, it's downright scolding with an open scowl (and... a pout?). Someone's taking her words in the wrong way again, and she lacks the means to clarify. Gosh stop mercilessly beating yourself for one second and look back at her, dummy!! Emotional and mental support here is priceless partially for the very reason because death is meaningless. The latter is a sad truth, but in order to stay whole while continuing to struggle on in such a tenuous environment, conceding and compromising some of one's own values has to be done - even at the cost of belittling the true worth of a life. Not an easy change to make by far, but if one is to stay firm and strong...

That he's got his head lowered and is holding a generally poor posture means she doesn't need to get on tip-toes to reach his eye level, but she will stand up straighter anyway to be in his face better- he does have a full foot over her. ...Geez. It's not the end of the line, and he's misunderstanding or underestimating just how important the act of 'picking up the pieces' can be. It's a hard and draining task, but that's just it: in standing back up and straightening out what remains, that's how people will then be able to move forward once more. Hnng. She can't explain this to him now, but she definitely doesn't want to keep seeing him so dejected and anguished. It blows just as hard to know that she might not be able to do anything about it, but...

He'll follow her out, right? So pull his focus back on the present and what's directly in front of him, if he would please! --Oh, we are totally going to revisit the subject again later, but once this chaos is behind us and everyone rests up to be in better shape. So will he able to snap out of it for even just a little bit, at least long enough for them to leave this place?]
bloodsugar: gift from <user name=ena>; please don't take! (♬ bossed by small women everywhere.)

[personal profile] bloodsugar 2012-07-14 11:43 pm (UTC)(link)
[a-- ah. he looks mildly bewildered through the gloom as her finger touches his forehead; he's getting used to the gesture by now... his eyes lifting to find hers again perplexedly. --hm, he's... missing something?

she's right again, but that isn't surprising, is it? he doesn't grasp things as he should. he never has. his view of the world and the things in it is both extremely expansive and terribly narrow both at once... he's had a great deal of exposure to it, but in all the wrong ways. he took things in differently than others, and his lifespan has made things... odd, at best. it was partially the experiences he's lived, and partially the hands that guided him along the way... but...

...

he looks truly lost, and not simply in a dejected way. Abel is confused...

so, it's absolutely true. if she were to leave, then... he'd follow her. for now, she's inherited the mantle of 'keeper.' much as she likes picking up the strays, this time -- well. it's a little too accurate, isn't it? whether she likes it or not, where he goes and what he'll do from here on out until they find their way out of this hellhole is up to her. she's in his hands.

he'll be right behind her.
]
expiatrice: († my horse loli and i)

[personal profile] expiatrice 2012-07-15 02:08 am (UTC)(link)
[She knew Cain's death was synonymous to taking away the first and foremost reason Abel had for carrying on (though if she doubted before, it certainly was clear now), and one needs a drive to motivate them in pushing forward. It's why she had to draft up a cause, though she knew it was going to be difficult from the start. Weak and artificial as it is, he needed some form of reason to not give up. A direction, as vague as it may be, until they leave this forsaken carnival behind and Cain returns.

His eyes are still clouded, but they're also on her now. She couldn't come up with any other recourse, not on such a short notice. So...

Lean on her for now, if he's become unable to walk for himself. Keep moving... for her, whatever that may be worth, if there really is absolutely nothing else.

She quietly breathes out and pulls back, but doesn't break eye contact. The very idea of looking away feels worrisome right now, somehow. Not when she takes a brief second to bend over either, to pick up the revolver that he's previously dropped. (She'll be holding it by the barrel.) After that however, the atmosphere loosens, the dull glow of the barrier disappears, and the Keys behind them are dispelled. She tilts sideways, ready to fall in step at his side this time, and reaches her free hand out to grasp onto his. Eyes soft but still gently urging, she gives the hold a small squeeze as she takes one step forward. It's not much, but any action will have to speak for her support. Mm, the small things can add up...

Ready to go, now? He may be following her, but she won't have him walk behind her. At least like that, he won't get lost again either?]
bloodsugar: (✞ wield the sword with me.)

[personal profile] bloodsugar 2012-07-15 03:13 am (UTC)(link)
[being led off like a child, out of the dark... hm.

...it isn't the first time.

he remained still as she dispelled the barrier... retrieved the Peacekeeper and let the Keys dissolve. there's no threat of him running off any longer. but--

his eyes shift downward when her hand slides into his. it truly... is strange, isn't it--? in the end, when he loses these precious and invaluable things... he is surprised by what unexpectedly new, and decidedly precious things come in the darkest hours. the very first taught him purpose, how to be a human. how to love unconditionally, and whole-heartedly. how to trust in others, and...

...

what... is he going to learn this time? when the smoke clears... there will be a new lesson learned. right--? it might not feel like it now, but... surely...

she takes a step forward, goading him with her -- and he goes. trailing behind is in his nature... but -- walking side by side...

...he can fall into step like this, too. if she's here... if he puts it all in her hands, then-- there's nowhere else to go but 'forward' from here.
]
expiatrice: dana is a goddess († breathe the light)

[personal profile] expiatrice 2012-07-15 05:31 am (UTC)(link)
[She's not expecting to teach him anything. Honestly, it can even be argued that she's got no right to even entertain the notion. She just... got to understand that frail and broken psyche he truly held today, one he always hid so well at any other time, and witnessed just how deeply his own kindness and innocence hurt him most in the end. She already sees the problems, but can she really do anything for him about that? She's been in that position. She has ample experience with loss of purpose and loss of self. She knows all too well how nigh impossible it was to recover the gleam of a cause and obtain the will to continue pushing forward no matter how many more losses one will have to continue experiencing on the road. ...He's stubborn, too. So is she, but...

But.

Trying. Falling. Being hurt. Standing back up. Healing. Learning. Growing. Trying again.

That's what living is about, isn't it? Humans... are resilient. In abandoning himself to hopelessness, he'd be completely overlooking the astounding amount of strength from the heart and spirit that can exist within the very ones he's sworn to protect. If this is something he ignores, then he can definitely learn about it. It won't be easy by far, but that could probably do, as good as any of a starting point.

They walk.

She'll give him his gun back later. May toss him a small hand towel and chide him to wipe his face too, redo his hair while he's at it, that sort of thing. He looks like a mess right now. Times are still hectic, but these small things ought to take no time at all.

'Forward'.

...Small miracles, hm?]
bloodsugar: (✞ beaten dogs.)

[personal profile] bloodsugar 2012-07-15 03:50 pm (UTC)(link)
[mm... 'small miracles,' right...?

for someone who had her ability to speak stolen from her, Ciel has impressively managed to 'talk' regardless. she said what she needed to, all without ever really saying a word. she truly is an amazing person, however much she might contest as much herself. when his head has cleared -- whenever that will be, Abel will surely think as much himself.

setting aside that he... already does. she's only ever able to reinforce his high opinions of her, over and over again.

he's fallen into step easily beside her, his hand gripped in hers; it's a pathetic sight, isn't it? but it is what it is and neither of them can change it. he's let everything trickle away into a particular state where he won't think a thing at all, everything 'out of his hands' so to speak. given up permission to her to decide where they go from here when there's nothing left to do but wait, in his eyes. wait for what happens next.

...and pray it will be Cain's return, instead of losing -her- and Esther and everyone else, as well.
]