30 May, 2017
People talk. Bug breaks.
"No, you can't have too many friends. Kip and I began as friends," Paige points out with a quick grin before she gives Rorschach an even more confused look. "I don't make brews? If I tried it'd probably be completely undrinkable. I might buy more beer for downstairs, but that's about it. I can barely make chocolate mix with the powder," she admits.
Haruki looks between Rorschach and Paige. He nods. Um. Change of subject.
Rorschach grinned wryly to Paige and signed << I'd drink your chocolate milk>> He eyebrow waggled and meant it as a compliment and a euphamism for... well really absolutely zero, but hey it was fun to make things sound more exciting than 'I'll eat your terrible cooking so you don't feel like a kitchen failure'. MUCH nicer.
"You could make cauliflower pizza!" Haruki says to Paige. "I'm sure you could manage it the true way it's meant to be. And with Rorschach here, nothing would go to waste."
Paige laughs. "It's more chocolate than milk, but I can make you some if you want that instead of beer." And she opens her own, taking a sip. "I thought you said that was actually a horrible idea," she teases Haruki. "Or was that just straight vegan pizza? Besides, I have a kitchen a cook downstairs, and Eden cooks sometimes, too. Better to let them do it. Less chance of accidental poisoning!"
"Yep horrid idea," Haruki smiles. "But at least that way if it fails it's not your fault." He smiles. "You really have your own cook? Wow. That's fancy. Do they do gluten free vegan things?"
There's a knock at the door the loft, Damion returning from mysterious gym owner errands. Maybe he was odering new sweatbands or something. He stands outside, leaning against the frame as he waits for somebody to answer. He's not wearing a shirt, a dark gray one, and jeans.
Rorschach was STILL texting on the phone in his hand. Wait. Rorsch didn't HAVE a phone. He answered the door and signed <<Ears must have been burning. Hey ZIllah wants to know if we need anything from Chicago?>> He boggled and looked to Damion being the most traveled in teh US <<What's in Chicago?>>
Paige grins. "Not so fancy," she says, shaking her head. "Someone has to make food for the people who come into the bar. I get hungry, I can just go downstairs, you know?" Then there's the door and she blinks at it. "No one ever comes by except for you two." She puts her beer down and gets to her feet, moving to open the door, and she blinks again. "Damion? Come on in," she says, glancing back to Rorschach and shaking her head. "I don't? I don't know what's in Chicago that isn't here."
"Pizza," Haruki says not too helpfully. He smiles at Damion. "Hey there." He looks back at Paige. "Doesn't Kip come by too? What happens if you mix the chocolate powder into beer?"
Damion thinks about that for a while. "Well. They have good pizza I don't know how well that would travel all the way to vermont though. Hey Ror, Haruki, Paige." He waves to all of them, then ruffles Rorschach's head. "Still talking with your shadow, huh? Guess yo missed her." He steps inside. "Nice to see you again, Paige. Like the loft." He gives her a smile, then glances around. "I guess Kip is still at the bookstore, huh?"
Rorschach swung around on heel still looking leagues better than he had been last three days. What DOES happen putting chocolate powder into beer? And there goes the bug helping himself into Paige's pantry. (Also not a euphamism).
Rorschach wobbled his head with aboyish grin that made him look 10 years younger again . his antenna twitched withthe ruffling of his head and he glanced to the side finally admitting yes with aseries of small nods. typeytypeytypey
Paige shakes her head at Haruki. "No, he's never been here. I've only been in his apartment once." And she pauses, lips curving for a moment. Then she shakes her head and gives Damion a curious look. "Why wouldn't he be at the bookstore?" she asks before glancing over to Rorschach, grinning. "Second cabinet to the left of the fridge," she offers helpfully as she returns to the couch.
"Really?" Haruki says to Paige. "You could invite him over for a meal maybe? Or is he good at cooking? And just tell me to shut up and keep my nose out of it. I'm worst person to give advice on that." He pats the couch next to him and says to Damion. "Take a seat."
Damion looks for a place to sit as well, settling down. "Well, for some reason I figured he'd be spending his evenings at your place. Or vice versa." He shifts in place in place, watching the roach doing his typing and mixing of beer and chocolate powder. Which doesn't sound very appealing to him, but hey. At least it's not something off the floor or out of the trash. Then pats Haruki on the knee. "Hey, dating somebody tunring out to be an asshole is a mistake we've all made at some point in our lives." He glances at Paige. "Well, most of us. I somehow doubt that Kip is going to turn out to have some dark side."
Rorschach held the phone in his teeth using mandibles to keep it in place. The author apologizes for this Damion. He signed back to Haruki <<As a professional terrible thing to date? It's true. Wwe have all been there. Promise>> With a pthoo! he spat the phone back out and wiped it off and went back to texting. Paige directed him and his antennae bent in a heart shape grabbing cocoa and the beer from teh fridge. More disturbing he just gnawed at the capuntil it came loose and just chewed on that a while while trying to figure out how he wanted to mix those two exactly=. Decisions decisions.
Paige smiles and shakes her head to Haruki. "You don't need to keep your nose out of it. It's not like you're making suggestions for any bad reason. And he'll come visit me. I'm not worried about that. Things are going really well between us. But we do spend time together. So not worried there. And no, Kip isn't an asshole. He's one of the sweetest people I've ever met and I seriously adore that man." Her lips twitch as she watches the buggy, shaking her head.
"Kip's sweet and nice," Haruki says. "Paige you might be lucky in the no dating of assholes." He smiles at Damion all warm and friendly. "Yeah. Can't help but feel most assholes don't completely destroy your understanding of the world as you know it, and... well never mind, we're not speaking about Sugardick anymore." He smiles at Paige. "At least I didn't suggest, what was it, nipple clamps? Jumper cables?"
Damion shakes his head at Rorschach. "You're not that bad, buggy. You're a good guy in fact. You just had really bad luck. Which hopefully is turning around." He smiles over at Paige. "I'm glad for you, too. Glad you found somebody." Then he gives Haruki's knee a squeeze. "Yeah. No need to talk about that guy. You'll find somebody good too. Just wait." He himself doesn't seem to be in any hurry to settle down with anyone, for whatever reason. He adds to Paige, "Jumper cables and straight pins I believe." A pause. "Man. We all talk about relationships and sex a lot, huh?"
"Not looking," Haruki says. "I got friends. That's good enough. Maybe we need to go do something so we can stop talking about what we're not getting? And I speak just for myself there. What do you do for fun? Don't suppose you like dancing?" He then looks to Rorschach. "We never did get a chance to go bowling."
Rorschach looked to Damion and signed drily << I'm responsible for my last lover getting Taken. I'm not a stellar pick. I'm not reliable.>> He worked on digging out a funnel and matter of factly offered << I can get you both. I'd recommend holding off on body mods though until you really know what you wnat.>> He nodded sagely and went back to find a funnel, a pilsner glass, and working on a beer/chocolate ratio.
Annnnd there's the blush back at the mention of nipple clamps and jumper cables. "I don't think either Kip or I want to explore the uses of those...um..items. Our date was just getting ice cream and talking. We've only kissed." Her expression sobers at Rorschach's signing, then the blush deepens. "Sweetie, you're a good man. And we've all got issues. I've never had a boyfriend before. And I'm not prepared to guess Damion and Haruki's issues. Besides, Zillah doesn't seem to mind. And as friends, the three of us here sure seem to love you to pieces."
Damion shrugs at Haruki, "Sometimes. I like music, but it's not like... something I purposefully seek out a lot. Clubs can be okay. Though they can also be too damn loud and crowded." He glances over at Rorschach, and his lips twitch. "I'm good on body mods." He has an ear piercing. That's good enough. He looks over at Rorschach, and frowns a bit. "Ror....look. We've all done things over there that we regret. I...well. I can't say what happenned was right, but I can understand it. I don't know that I wouldn't have made the same choice. And...from what you've said, I'd have to wonder if that actually happenned at all. But that's me." He sighs, then says to Paige, "I dunno that I'd say I have issues. Just....don't want a romantic relationship right now."
Haruki looks at Rorschach, surprised by this revelation. But he just doesn't know enough to comment on it. He's not going to offer platitudes. He does smile and nod and echo Paige's words though. "Yeah, we love you." He nods at Damion. "Yeah, I get that."
Rorschach pages: avoided perminant derrangement?
Rorschach stopped moving and looked to Damion and froze. He jsut stood very, very still for a long time letting that process over and over. That was... frighteningly close to many absolutel possibilities. I mean no one really knwos what happened and sure his mom was in psychiatric care and never heard of any person going missing btu she ALSO didn't remember having a son either. Either she was wrong and he was right, or he was entirely wrong and she was half right. The bug just watched him confused and unmovingeven when the bottle withthe beer and the chocolate slipped from his fingers and shattered into the floor getting glass and bubbles everywhere. He stopped glowing. His brow creased just faintly. Too. much. processing.
Paige jumps up when Rorschach goes into freeze mode, moving over toward him. "Rorschach, honey, it's okay," she says, stepping carefully around the glass to try to give Rorschach a hug, rubbing a hand soothingly over his back. "Hey, it's okay. Here, why don't you come sit down over there, I'll fix you some beer and chocolate and bring it to you," she says, voice careful, soothing.
Ah crap. Damion recognizes that look on Rorschachs face. He raises to his feet, and moves over to the bug as well. "Hey man. It's alright." He gives one of the bugs cheeks a light smack with the palm of one hand. Not enough to really hut him or even leave a mark that'll last longer than a minute or two. Just enough to maybe jolt his brain a bit. "We're here. You're here. This is all real. We're all your friends, and your shadow is just a text away."
Haruki's up on his feet and going over to Rorschach. But he's never been the one good at dealing with this sort of thing. He knows it from the inside sure, but not from outside. And both Damion and Paige seem to be doing a better job of helping.
Rorschach was great in the hedge. He was hell on wheels in teh Dream. In teh dark he was Bane. But when confronting the voracity of reality? Eveyrone had an achilles heel, and his was very, very fragile. Paige's hand to his back reminded him to breathe. The slap to his cheek locked his eyes on the one and he swallowed hard and hoarsly screamed trying very much to be heard at all, which came out as a dry rasp that was more of the sound of a gas leak froma rusted pipe. It wasn't even the volumeof a whisper and the sound hurt to mak forcing scar tissue to act in accordance with will. "Can't... even remember... their name...Dee..."
Paige keeps hugging Rorschach, though she shifts so the bug can see the men without short stuff getting in the way. "It's okay, sweetie. You don't have to talk. I know they say use your words, but don't strain your throat, okay?" she murmurs, still rubbing his back, looking to Damion with a wide eyed look.
Damion rests his forehead against that of the bug, staring into his eyes. He raises a hand, and cups his cheek. "It's okay, Ror. It's okay." He's never actually heard him talk before. It was somehow more shaking than hearing his hellchittering, though for different reasons. "You might not remember now. But you will eventually. And if not...well. That's just one more reason to tell the Gentry to fuck themselves and keep on living despite their best efforts to break us, right? Never keep fighting that battle. Zillah needs you around. I need you around. You're not going to let them take you away from us, are you?"
"I need you, Rorschach. Robbie." Haruki says. "You saved my life. Saved my soul. Keep stopping me from making stupid mistakes. You're all sorts of amazing. This is real. We are real. You do so much good. You protected me."
Rorschach sat still and there was just something... black and viscous that leaked down his cheeks. It hurt. The entire problem was Damion didn't discount that from being reality, or a hole in it and it kept the door open. There was a gap. A big yawning gap which... might be a real thing. He didn't know and he had NO proof. His eyes squeezed shut and finally he just went lax shuddering trying to scream into just... yeah almost really still not audible at all. "Everything... I am... based... on... a lie?" That hurt. That... was probably terrifying as shit for Haruki given the circumstances. Note kids: remember when we said why selling your memories and gentry screwing with your head is bad? Heeeere ya go. When you ahve perception issues don't do drugs. Stay in school. Just... don't get taken by teh Fae I guess. It wa a disbelief that was too much to shoulder but it was a good question and... o... he shook his head no and pointed to himself and made a weak 'go-back' gesture shaking his head no. Absolutely not. He swallowed and hit hurt and his bulack bug eyes looked up to Damion then paige, Dragon, and Haruki was behind them but he seemed to be awayre he was here, not alone and...safe? Out. He wasn't falling into that hole too because that was a mess of a chain of events that would have a shadow stabbing everyone in Vermont. Words formed tightly, silently "Fight...for the hive..." And that was the last that was going to come out of his face for a time. He winced and let his friends guide him to where he out to be.
"Shh...no, sweetie. You're just you. But come on, let's sit down," Paige says, continuing with that soft, soothing voice as she guides him over to the couch, sticking close. "One of you want to grab a glass of water? Maybe a shot of something? Liquor's third cabinet to the left," she adds to the others, not raising her voice a single notch. "And yes, fighting for your friends, your family, that's important. But you're not fighting alone. All of us are right here with you. Remember the turtle and the roc? We got through it. We'll get through the next whatever."
Haruki shudders at what Rorschach says, and his hands start trembling. But this isn't about him and he finds words. "We know who you are. The past, well fuck that. But now, who you are, that's the most amazing guy I've ever met. You are true. You're one of the realest things I know. The things that make you you. Those are real. We see you. We love you. We're real. You're real. You are not a lie. Don't poke at the holes too much." He'll lead ROrschach to the couch, sit down next to him. "It's like cheese. Cheese is real, even with holes."
Damion thinks about that for a time. His whole life built on a lie. "Look, Ror. Our pasts might shape who we are. But they don't control it. We can make our own choices. Try to become who we want to be." He kisses the forehead of the bug. "I'm sure that they existed." It would honestly be better for Rorschach if they didn't considering what he remembers doing to them, but he can't exactly say that out loud. "And I'll find a way to make it so you can remember for sure. In the meantime....the only truth that matters is that you're loved. You're safe. And we'll make sure it stays that way, no matter what it takes." He guides the bug towards the couch with the others, then considers the booze. Will that do more harm than help in this situation? He's not sure. But he'll let the bug decide. He moves to fetch whatever is strongest out of the cabinet, along with a glass. Then he returns and offers it to Rorschach. "Fighting for your family. And your family is going to fight for you. Believe that." He moves to sit on the other side of him, curling an arm around the roachman.
Rorschach was moved and sat. The take away? He signed to Haruki << I like cheese" well it was a start. <<Damion got this Havarti dill... lots of holes. Super tasty.>> Well it was a concrete thing and at elat not scary. There were few scary cheeses and frankly they didn't wind up in Damion's kitchen. Well his reality had a split but on the good nte, and we'll give his 'framily' credit for good triage on this one, he didn't seem to be spiraling into any new neurosis. It was a really good start. He signed looking at all of tem , slouched into teh dragon and stilled by the tabgible affection of the trip <<You know I relaly can't get drunk. Or stoned. Not for long. Radition? Metabolism? Too high.>> Well wasn't that a bitch!
Paige smiles a touch. "Do you want some cheese? Sadly, I only have American, but it's still cheese. Sorta. And no, I wasn't trying to get you drunk, hon. But a shot or two might help settle you, that's all. I just want to make you feel better. Because like Haruki said, we love you. We want you happy."
Damion considers the bug for a time, then fishes a handkerchief out of a pocket. Is it weird that he carries one of those in this day and age? Probably. But, he does anyway. He dips the end of it in the glass of booze, and then bends down to stare wiping the bloody tears off of Robbie's face. "It's okay man. We'll stop by that one good Mexican place on the way home. Get some chips and guacamole. Sound good, man?"
Rorschach nodded to Damion and looked to Paige and signed to her <<Shot whiskey for throat?>> Because that would really take a lot of the bite out of it or at least hurt like hell and then nothing. He still had Damion's phone and texted back to Zillah: **love you too. Don't bite anyone. Miss you** There was a little <3 that was texted back and he sighed dropping the phone on his chest and informed them <<She's here. She's real too> He looked at them,a nd was being cleaned up. he hated being a mess but the reality was that's just not something that could be helped. so he offered them what little he could. < I'm here. I'm here.>> He was still fighting. He was still with his colony.
Paige motions to the glass Damion's carrying. "There you go. And yeah, it should help with your throat, too," she agrees, rubbing his back still. "I know you're still here. You're too strong to give up. Maybe even too stubborn, but stubborn isn't a bad thing. But what do you need from us? Name it and it's yours."
Damion gives Rorschach a squeeze. "Yeah. You're here." He sighs and kisses him just below the base of one antennea. "I am going to figure out a way to fix your head, man. Just wait." Sure, sure. He says that. But will he actually do anything to follow through? Pfft. "You want to head back, Ror?"
Rorschach nodded and agrees and was swimming a bit on auto pilot. He people were here. This... this was real. Guacamole was more real. His antenna twitches as its reception wnt a tad fuzzy and he looked back to Damion. The guy was doomed , but man he was in some excellent company.