Mile High Musings

Johny pulls in to the driveway of thistlewood, headlights sweeping over the house the instant before the roll-away lamps do what they are called. The corvette pulls to a stop, quietly, in front of the house. He knows the house has alerted Kassandra to his presence, so he just gets out of the car, lighting a cigarette.

Kass is quietly leaning against the house, looking up at the sky. She has managed to change, shucking all the armor and guns and blades for simple clothing. She watches the stars until the 'vette gets closer, her gaze shifting to the car.

He steps over nearer to her, his hands held at his side, palms open. "Wanna talk?" he asks, chin nodding to the canyon itself. "I know a good deer path up in to the ridge line."

Kass considers, looking to the house for a moment with a hint of concentration on her face. She turns back, nodding, and retrieves a pair of shoes from the doorway and slips them on. "Sure."

Johny takes his jacket off, so she can see he's not armed. He lays that over the hood of the vette. "You've been a good friend to me, Kassandra. Better than most." He says quietly. "And I've been trampling all over it. I didn't mean to scare you tonight."

Blinking a few times, Kass will produce a tiny pistol from her back pocket. "Coyotes," she remarks quietly, "You didn't scare me so much as I overreacted and scared myself. You were angry earlier and then you apologized and then Aladriel cast a spell. I thought perhaps you were angry with her over that. I should not have .. I mistook the action. It was wrong." She sighs.

Johny pauses, looking to Kassandra. "I can understand that. You've got worries. I havn't been stable. You're concerned that I'm destablizing in some fashion… like a normal person." He says, turning to her. He steps closer to her, his hands raising up to touch her shoulders lightly, hands resting just on the skin, not gripping or holding. "I'm okay. Here, in my head, I'm okay. It's only in my heart, that I'm not… but even there… I won't ever hurt her.. it would take an act of god… for her to be in danger from me."

"She wasn't scared." Kass says quietly, looking up at you. "She wasn't scared at all. She .. we have a spell going right now." She taps her forehead, "A .. spell that lets us talk mentally. She wasn't scared at all and that is what snapped me out of it."

"I was just so worried for her, and it isn't necessarily you I am worried about .. destabilizing." She shrugs, "The curse of augmented reflexes. I saw you move, I saw a threat, I reacted before I thought. I haven't done that in .. years."

Johny nods to her then, letting her shoulders go. "I know what you mean. When I was younger, I had a prototypical Movebywire… it was buggy as all hell. Had to have it removed after 18 months. I almost shot my controller." He says quietly, turning to walk in to the woods, ominous, wiht Kassandra.

Kass moves along, eyes flicking to the woods, "I'm pretty sure that the only bugs are in my head." She shrugs, "I apologize, however, and I did so to Ally as well. She told me I was silly, but .." Kass doesn't sound very convinced.

"What did you have in the chamber?" He asks, moving in to the trees. If she's a read of people, he's not angry, not hostile, not looking to pin her to a tree and have his way with her. "I'm not bulletproof, but I'm not bad. Point blank and to the head… well.. that would have hurt. A lot. But." He glances over to her. "I trust you. More than anyone who's not alex." A pause. "And he doens't know half the faces you do."

"That gun had Ares Mark VI Stun Rounds; Aladriel was unclear on the nature of the bad feeling she had, so I loaded one gun lethal and one not." Kassandra shrugs, "Maybe my subconscious knew better than I did." She sighs, nodding, "I trust you, Samuel, more than just about anyone in this world. But for one brief moment, I was afraid for Aladriel for reasons I can't even put into words. I don't know why, I've been thinking on it since we got home. Maybe the tension in the room."

Johny steps over a fallen log, and then around a small corpse of woods. There, in the moonlight, is the deer trail. "THis goes all the way up to the ridge line… theres a switch back up there where you can look in and see Denver, and all its worries, in the far distance. Small, insignificant." he glances over to her as he steps on to the path. "It's always been incredibly relaxing for me. Come on. It's only about a mile."

"As to Ally… you feel so intensely for her, -I- can feel it. It's not the mellow, stable love that comes after a half year or so, but the ragged, jagged, jarring love that comes in the first few days and weeks." He looks over to her. "I'm not… unknown to love, Kassandra. I'm just far removed from it, and like any muscle, the heart atrophies."

Kass hikes along, glancing in the direction the trail goes. "I don't think we've gone this way before. We've only been around a few of the little trails." She moves along, stepping carefully and speaking again after a moment, "I didn't think you were unknown to love, or that you couldn't love."

She shrugs, "And yes, we're raw, we're crazy about each other and then we are in the middle of .. all sorts of chaos, not the least of which is saving the world, although that part hasn't been a real problem lately. But first I talk to you, and then Lil shows up atwitter and I send her off with some advice, and then you come back and that was the wrong advice and then *she* calls and says come over right now it's important and we show and Alex tells us to fuck off…"

Johny chuckles quietly, not a mocking kind of a chuckle, but an understanding chuckle. "I know you may not have watched much trid or flatvid as a child, but the comedy sitcoms used to be very good. This whole situation, if you step out of it, looking in from the flat glass… it's very funny." he says, looking over to her as they climb.

"It's got the timing, the romantic content, and if you are outside looking in with the omniscience of perspective that grants… well, I think you'd be laughing so hard you'd wet yourself. These -poor saps-, if only they knew!"

"Not as a child, but Ally has me watching trid nowdays, as does Maya. I'll have to check out some more of the stories .. but yes, it's all a big joke if you can see it from the top down, but having people rushing around and being in the middle of it? It's not quite as fun."

"We weren't trying to be busybodies. Lil confessed her desires and I told her to do something about it instead of whining."

Johny nods, moving around a brambleberry bush. It's far to early in the season to have fruit. "This, is a Rubus Sstrigosus bush…" He says, gesturing to the sprawling plant. "It's got thorns, but you will notice something in the plant world. Those things with thorns, have something worth protecting." he gives a meaningful glance to Kassandra at that.

"Bring Maya out here in… 3 months. ANd you will find this plant in full bloom with fresh, tart and juice wild Raspberries. The wetter the season, the sweeter the fruit."

"As to Lilith. I know… I KNOW that… but… it's easy to get caught up in the narrow vision of what we can see. I was put in a bad position, and… I don't know. I don't know what to do, but I'll -do- something. The sheets will be changed." he says, now moving around the bush.

Kass looks at the plant for a moment and then the trail, the sky, the area around. She goes through the quick motions of memorizing where it is, "I'll have to bring her out here, and we'll pick them, make some juice, have some lunch. Thank you."

"Lilith .. doesn't know what she wants. She says she is in love with Alex. She says she is in love with you. She claims she is burning with some internal fire, but .. she doesn't say about who, or what. She sleeps with some flat case that is under her bed, and acts strange part of the time. She said she had to see you and had to be with you, so … I told her to do it and stop babbling."

"She's young." Says Samuel then, stepping over a few rocks that make a bridge over a tributary of the Thistlewood creek. "I don't mean chronologically. I mean…" he looks back to Kassandra. "As 'bad' as her orphanage upbringing is to her… she doesn't seem… tested. Hardened. Never had to struggle."

"I mean, look at her coming to Denver. She sets her goal on a house. 3 months later, she has a prostituion palace. Now, she'll tell you she worked hard for it, but thats a mighty big pay off in a short term. I worked for years for the things I have." He says, looking over to her. "I'm babbling. I know. But what I mean to say is, in a light breeze, the weathervane spins and spins and spins… but in a strong gale, a powerful wind, the kind that rips cities to their foundations, the weathervane points in one direction."

"It takes stress, testing and trial, to strip away perception and desire and get down to -need-. People say they need a new this or that. No, they don't. They say they LOVE Fizzyglug, but they don't -love- it. They prefer it."

"That may be. She is definately swinging wildly back and forth." Kassandra steps carefully, following along. "She couldn't articulate to me why or what she wanted. She and you apparently had some sort of *thing* when she first came to town," and with that she'll glance over, then back to the trail.

"So she still has a special place for you in her heart. According to her, Alex convinced her that it wouldn't work, or that he was for her, or some such. She didn't really make much sense, and I couldn't be bothered to put together the fragments of Cockney to make heads or tales of it."

"So does she love you? Does she love him? Does she *need* either of you, or Elvis, or the next guy to walk in the room?" Kass makes a so-so gesture, "She is incredibly possessive and *wants* things. She wants you because she used to have you, likly. Hell, she still keeps trying to control Aladriel."

Coming up to the steeper part of the climb, the trail starts to switchback, heading up the steep side of the canyon. He walks it carefully, slowly, not moving fast, not rushing. Life is short; enjoy the walk. "I… I don't want to be part of her collection of conquests. I'm old-fashioned, in a way, Kassandra. Sex means something to me. Even in my youth, I never just slept around for no reason. And tonight really drove that home for me. I stood in a room with half my team. She had slept with every member in the room who matched her sexual orientation."

"I don't begrudge her her profession. Don't mistake me. I just don't want to be part of the crowd. I mean, I don't want to live with her and make children, even were I still capable of such, but meh. I don't want to be in her -collection-. Her hoard. Part of my mystique?" He says, looking to Kassandra with a wry grin…

"Being unknown. And I feel like my ass is hanging out recently."

"A collection, a horde. Huh. That sounds fairly familiar. She .. she tries very hard to be a hard person, our Lilith does. She wants you, she wants Elvis, Jase, Alexander, anyone else that strikes her fancy. That is fine, if that is what she wants and if that is what the others want. I can certainly understand not wanting to be pinned in her little collection file with your name carefully engraved under you."

"It's an interesting problem, because even with all that happened tonight, I don't think she really will stop. I am not sure if you'll have to be firm with her or not. She isn't being reasonable in my estimation."

A glance is given to you, and your ass, "It has been a bit, yes. You've about as raw as I am some days, and that is saying a lot. And having Lil trying to hump your leg isn't helping."

Johny nods. "Let me pose a question, Kassandra." He says, looking back to her as they come about halfway up the hillside. "If she wants everything, what -makes- them different? Why are does she want them? What makes them different from each other?" He asks, pausing to look down to the massive heat signature of the house below… and the deep deep blue of the cold river.

"Anyway. You know the answer to that. Nothing. There's no higher level of qualification. Penis, heartbeat, rigidity." He shrugs.

"At least my ass is firm and toned. Best ass money can buy, this is. I may have let the jeanie out of the bottle with this shit though. I may have to fuck her just to shut her up. And that disquiets me. That I would have to and that I'm willing to."

Kass glances back to the house as well before answering, "I imagine the penis part helps. She takes great pains to tell me how straight she is, and often. I imagine the other part of it is what they will do to her. She tells me she likes pain, she likes control. She isn't getting that with Alex given his problems with that, as he said tonight."

"You'll probably have to do *something* with her. Sex, beating, letting her beat you, letting her control you, something. She is going to be a pest until she gets what she wants." The elf shrugs, "It's up to you, really. She and you and Alex need to have a better talk, and without Elvis in the room, and with Aladriel and I far away. We've interfered too much already."

Johny nods. "Jester.. lives up to his name." He says, grudgingly. "I like the boy, but sometimes, you need to shut the fuck up and let the adults talk." Says Sam as he continues up the mountainside. "And yes. I'll have to chat with them each seperately. I won't be… whats the term. Justifying… the issue further by having a 'serious discussion' about the 'future of our relationships'." He uses 'quote marks' in the air with his fingers.

"And you, you've not interfeared so much as you've provided council to those who came to you for council. I… I really appreciate being able to talk to you. Talk to someone. I can't really talk to Alex about some of the things in my head. I get an understanding grunt and then we talk about beer or tits. OR he goes quiet. It's… a guy thing."

Laughs. Kassandra laughs for a good thirty seconds about that, "I don't mind listening, I just have this bad habit of wanting to do things about it. It's .. sort of what I do. People come to me with problems and my first instinct it to fix it .. and some things can't be fixed. In my own way, I am as bad as Ally." She reflects, "That is probably why we get along so well. As you said, we compliment the broken parts in each other."

"Hopefully I can talk to the big guy about things .. we need to work things out. I'm sorry for his losses, but .. I dunno. Sometimes he seems to go out of his way to try to hurt." She reflects on that with a quick shrug, "Jester .. I don't know his story. He just seems to hang around, and yes, he needs to be quieter and listen more. The funny stuff isn't always helping."

Johny quirks a brow, enjoying the of the womans laughter as it rebounds off the trees and down in to the valley. A small sound, it can fill so much. He smiles, leaning to put his back to a tree about 30 feet below the ridge line. "Jester is a hanger-on. We will have them, yes. He lacks substance so he tries to make do with style. And you know?" He pauses a moment, a hand coming to hsi chin.

"We sort of need that some times. But. Sometimes yes, he needs to shut the fuck up." He looks back to Kassandra, smiling for the moment. A sort of facial thing, not a mouth thing. "You and ally are a good match. Really."

"We try. We're working on it, and she has done a good job keeping me together, and hopefully I am doing a good job making her more stable as well. We just .. I don't know. We seem to mesh well." She chuckles a bit, "Of course, hopefully we'll not cause people to go too crazy, we are .. bothersome, I know. It's just hard to contain ourselves."

"Maybe we've just needed whatever this is for so long that it is hard to remember not to shove it in everyone's face." Kass looks up to the sky, hands folded in front of her. She says quietly, after a moment, "But yes, we need hangers on, we need reminders that things are not always dismal."

Johny shakes his head, shifting off the tree to continue on up to the top. He offers a hand down to help her with the last few feet, a steep rocky traverse that he seems to have no problem with himself. "No. You're never bothersome. It's an irony to me that I have been the most at ease when I am around the pair of you, the most comfortable, and yet the most pained. It's a curious blending." He admits, taking the ridgeline now.

Off in the distance, a good 30 miles distant (But lower elevation than here) visable as a glow and a few down town supertowers, because we are ignoring the current visibility such and suchs in the +weather, is Denver… "I honestly don't think you're bothersome at all. Ally's Impetiousness needs to temper some, but its also part of who she is. It's murkey."

"We're young. I like her impetuousness, it makes me laugh." Kass chuckles a bit, taking the assistance down, "But I have it on good authority I am somewhat crazy too." Kass looks out to the glow of the city for a moment, "Maybe we put you at ease because we aren't asking anything of you? Lilith wants you in so many ways and that has to be a bit of pressure. Alexander is a reminder of duty, and while a brother he is .. I dunno. A walking reminder of stuff that needs to be done, talks that are need to be had."

"I am sorry there is pain." She glances over, hmming, "We are maybe reminders of other times in your life when there wasn't as much .. duty. As much of what needs to be done right now and you could just be happy."

Johny waves that off (we are maybe…), gesturing to the distance. "You can see the FTL pyrimid there… the neon blue one… and there, if you can see the detail, is the Midevio. It's the garish one off to the side."

He exhales, the cool night air making his breath turn to steam. "Everyone wants something. You are right though… you and ally don't. You've never, either of you, asked me for anything. Not a time. Not a scrap. Not a moment. I think thats why it's so easy for me to give you everything."

Kass looks off into the distance, shaking her head, "I can see them, but no detail. They seem pretty enough from here though, a lot nicer than up close. From here, I don't have to worry about traffic or the crush of people."

After a moment she shrugs, pushing wind-tossed hair from her face, "We just want each other. I have a bit of stuff, she has .. well, a lot more now, not that it matters. We just want enough to be happy, to move on with our lives as much as we can." She glances over, "And we do appreciate all that you've done for us." She hesitates, measuring the next few words, "I think that is some of what irritates Lilith with us. She is, for lack of a better word, jealous. She seems to take great pleasure in all the material things in life. She came by yesterday and I could hear the calculator in her head spinning."

Johny chuckles quietly. "Don't show her the garage. The vehicles in there total to over a million on their own." He says, looking back to Kassandra. "She thinks she wants the finer things. She doesn't. She wants to be the finest thing, but she doesn't yet udnerstand that it doesn't come from possessions, but from what possesses you. I know, it's a platitude. But when I met you? You were -gorgeous-. Physically you were the most beautiful woman I had seen in decades. But since you've been with Ally? You've become -radiant-. Physical beauty is… a surface level thing. Radiance is all around you."

Kass blushes, readily apparent on thermographics and probably even to normal sight. "She makes me happy," she says simply. Going back to the topic at hand, "Lil wants to remove the reminders of a bad life, she wants the things to make her happy, to show everyone how successful she is. Rich men, rich foods, expensive liquours, gold coins. It's just a way of saying, "I am important, look at me."

"I have .. things. I have more money than most people see in their entire lives .. you know what I buy? People would expect clothing, or cars, or jewelry .. I buy food." She laughs a bit at that, shaking her head, "It's sad, but the very first paycheck I got for running, I ate so much I thought I was going to die."

Johny grins, settling down on a rock to look down in to the valley. "My first run. My first -shadowrun-. Not a government operative. I'd hit bottom. Utter bottom. Nothing left to my name. No money, a gun, some bullets, a jacket and whatever skills I could shake in to operation that day. A decade ago. Broken half man, I was. I hadn't had a proper meal that didn't come out of a bottle in… months."

He looks over to Kassandra. "It was for this guy who called himself Tezla. He did taser work. Just… killing gangers with his toys. 5,000 nuyen for 2 hours work. My god, Kassandra. I checked in to a hotel, got a shower, a shave… bought some vending-machine jeans and a tee-shirt… and I swear to god I had a steak so large they just broiled a goddamn cow and cut off the head." He looks back to her. "Then I slept for a week."

Johny then gestures to the valley.. then to the general direction of Denver. "I'm not my goods. I'm not my tools. I'm not my guns. I'm not even my Cyber. Take it all away. Disapear it tonight, Kassandra, and I'm still the richest damn man in the world. You know why?"

Kass looks over, hands moving to secure her hair in a quick ponytail. She shakes her head no, her voice quiet, "Why?" She sinks down to the ground, sitting crosslegged and looking over.

Johny looks off at Denver for a long, silent moment. He turns back to Kassandra, offering a nod to some unheard question. "Because I have you." A slight pause. "And I have Ally… and Alexander. You three? You make me wealthy beyond measure."

"Now see, that is nice." She smiles, fingers playing in the ground, "And it is true .. friendships, relationships .. they are the real measure of wealth. If you are all alone, if you can't be around people without trust, .. there's no point in having the 'things.'"

Johny nods then. "Just so." He says, standing up and stretching his arm. "I love you." It's a simple enough statement. "All of you."

"I love you too, Samuel." She rises carefully, "I even love Alexander, although he is a meaniehead." She chuckles faintly, "And I love Aladriel, who is currently sleeping peacefully and stealing all the covers."

Johny nods to her. "Go be in bed with her, Kassandra. Smell her in the sheets." He says, turning to the darker territory that is further from the city, further in to the wilderness. "I don't think you need an escort back, but if you wish, I'll walk with you."

"There is nothing out here to be afraid of." Kass smiles, starting to head back the way they came, "Take care, Samuel, and don't worry. The sun is going to rise and it will be a beautiful day." She raises a hand to wave and then starts back towards the house.

«Auto-Judge[]» Johny (#799) rolls Stealth (Sneaking):
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Johny is like batman. Yeah. THats it. Just gone. Ninja; vanish.

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