New Sheets

Kass is alone as Johny enters, fitting her cowboy hat to her head. She arches an eyebrow as you enter, "Afternoon, Johny. And what an interesting afternoon it has been, neh?"

Johny glances at his watch. "Barely after noon." He says, one hand stroking back through his hair. "I just wanted some coffee. Some drama free chat. Some… " he's furious under his skin as he breaks off his line of discussion. You can almost see his skin distending, shaping and pressing as the frustrating he's got from the past few weeks starts to chew its way out. "I just wanted to talk to Ally. Did she leave already?"

"She did. I decided she should disengage from here and let me and the lawyer do what we do best: sell ice to eskimos. She is sorry that she .. startled you." Kass watches you carefully, keeping her voice quiet, non-threatening, but at the same time riding the line of not trying any verbal 'tricks' on you. Just keeping things mellow, as it were.

Johny slumps down in to a chair, his hands coming up to rub his face. He does so for a moment, before he exhales deeply, a sort of soul emptying kind of expulsion. "Everything's starting to come apart." He says then, closing his eyes and tilting his head back, so that his features point to the ceiling. "I have limits and I am approaching them. Alex kept telling me I needed to be more human. Needed to be more flexable. Needed to be this, needed to be that… and I wanted to please him. Please ally. Please you. Be human. I wanted those things…" He just starts talking.

"And now I can't turn them off, and I still can't have them. I've been infected with the ridiculous idea that I can be more than I am, and still do what I do, but every time I fucking try to reach out and BE that…" He stops talking then… "Sorry…"

He moves to rise. "You're not my psych… sorry."

Pointing at the chair, Kass remarks, "Sit down." The elf sinks back and hops onto the desk, booted feet dangling. She considers you for a moment before speaking.

"How is it a rediculous idea to .. be whatever this idea is? Alex may be right on the broad strokes, but you still have to be who you are, you know? At the core, who are you and what do you want to be?"

She frowns, trying to reach for the right words, "I know a little of what you might be going through. I spent .. a very long time shutting down, shutting out everyone. And once you open up again, it's like .. a dam breaking, or suddenly being able to hear in the middle of a crowded room. You are just deluged and cannot think straight."

Johny swallows, sitting the hell back down at the pointed finger. "The idea that I can be… open. Engaged. Human. That I can care about the people around me in an" He struggles for the right words, one hand making a circular gesture in the air as if to help his thoughts. He's usually so very -on- with his speech, with the exact right words, the exact right phrase. "In an… unrestricted. Unfiltered… way. That I can love, and be loved, that I can not always be the hardass. That I can do these things and still be as effective at what I do."

He closes his eyes again. "He grinds in to me that I don't have to be the Handler. And do not take this as a commentary on you and ally, but last night you saw such a clear example of why I have -problems-… issues… with team mates 'being involved'. It's so… draining."

Kass pulls one leg up and then the other, sitting crosslegged on the desk. She fidgets with her ring for the moment, musing on how to start, what to say. "I don't take it as a commentary on Aladriel and myself .. we are an exception to the rule I think." She dismisses that with a slice of her hand through the air, reflecting, "I think this still circles back to the dynamic you have with Alexander. I can't presume to know what you to went through in the Machine for all those years, but you have a very close relationship, and so his words might .. impact you a bit more than most. He wants you to relinquish a bit of control, maybe 'loosen up' in his eyes, maybe because it makes him reflect on his on stances on things?"

"It is a lot harder with what we are doing to .. be the Boss. To be the one to make the hard calls and not care anymore if Annie catches a round through the head or Alex loses both legs to some gothic horror. Because .. once you care .. you lose some objectivity."

"On the other hand, being the Boss all the time effectively closes you off from the rest of the team, and makes you lose the reason that you are fighting, of what this all means. It isn't a matter of National Security in that sense, or a military or Shadow op. We are looking at something that has never been done before, never even attempted as far as I know. Unwritten territory."

She sighs, shaking her head, "I am just rambling, I guess. I just .." She breaks off, shaking her head, "I don't know the right words."

"You may be rambling." Says Johan then, opening his eyes to look at Kassandra. He does his best to step outside himself in that moment, to actually be in the room as a person… "But you're rambling down my back roads… and it helps. A lot. It helps to talk." He says quietly. "It's not a shadowop. We are not an Agency. We are not… we are not anything I or anyone else has experience with." he rubs the back of his neck.

"All around me, I see the glory and the majesty and the beauty of something as simple as being able to wake up with someone in the morning. TO smell them on the sheets. It's like I'm a teenager all over again, petty crushes, momentary obsessions. Fixations. Every time I feel confident enough to reach out and touch, something -happens-… and my hand pulls back, burned, bloody, what have you… and I wake up wiht my sheets smelling like borox."

"Which makes you less likely to want to reach out again." Kass nods, toying with a lenght of hair, winding it around a finger. "We spend all our time reeling from one crisis to the next, and then when there is relative peace, we have to find something to fill that space. And so .. Lil finds comfort how she can, and we .. I , you, Ally, Alex .. we all overreact to what to her is as simple as going to the range for you. Would we burn down the range if you accidentally shot yourself in the foot or pinched your finger in the action?"

"We're just a raw nerve right now, I guess. Ally and I are fumbling to find our way in something that isn't what either of us have expected. You are trying to .." she makes a nebulous gesture with both hands, "trying to find a way to be who you have to be and who you need to be. Alex is dealing with problems back home, Lilith with her desires."

"You have other problems on the horizon, I think." She forestalls any concernes with a wave of her hand, "Not bad ones .. just .. feelings. Regrets. Adolescent crushes, as you say. Take Hitomi for instance. She is dealing not only with puberty but hero worship, crushes, her .. otakuness … She wants so bad to fit in with the 'grown ups'," she says with a faint sense of irony, "that she can't stand it."

"Maybe someone spiked the water with something that is making us crazy. Maybe it is the sudden Springlike days after the snow. We're all just wound up."

Johny watches the winding of the hair, the dark filaments around the lighter skin. The way it shines, the way it depresses (and thus pales) the skin around it. He listens to her words, the text of the incoming audio data scrolling across his image link. When she abandons the locke during her talking, he looks back to her features. "I have many regrets, I know." He says quietly, as though that was a very personal statement. "I regret, so very much, Kassandra. I keep worrying that one day someone will link me to many of the actions I have taken and not understand the greater context."

"I regret… more personal things, like how I have treated my friends. Like how I have acted with my family. How I have managed my affairs." He shrugs then… "Hitomi… will find a nice boy her age and discover the joys of physical activity beyond the computer. She only has so much time before she's no longer an effective Otaku, so we need to build her in to an effective -decker- in that time… without reminding her overmuch that her specialness is going to fade."

"Regrets." Kass tastes the word, rolling it around in her head. "Regrets happen as part of life. You regret taking the car instead of the bus when you get in a wreck. I think .. maybe that regrets are reminders of lessons that we have learned, or should have learned. The brains way of forcing you to pay attention to what is important."

"This group .. the Watchers, whatever we want to call ourselves .. we're not a 'team' in the gung ho let's get it done sort of way. We are a very disfunctional family-unit, a bunch of friends who have decided to take a stand. We may not have started out that way, but that is quickly what this is turning into, at least for those of us that, um, interact together most frequently. The others are .. not that they aren't important, but I don't think they understand. It's sort of an inside joke?"

"Anyway. We are going to make mistakes. We are going to infuriate each other and have misunderstandings and argue. It's what I hear families do." She considers that for a long moment and then shrugs, "I've never really .. I don't have any basis of comparisson, not really." She is quiet again, eyes dark for a moment as she carefully walls those thoughts back up, covering finally with, "But .. this is all part of what we will have to go through to get stronger?" She shrugs, "If we can go through this sort of crucible, we should be stronger and more able to endure whatever they throw at us."

He nods then, drawing one hand across his features, hiding his mouth for a moment and then rubbing his chin. "I think we've established that we are doing nothing like has bene done before, so basis's of comparison would all be inaccurate and unhelpful, creating false expectations." He admits, sitting forward then, and looking to Kassandra. "You can't have preconceived notions of how this is going to go… because I don't know. I know it hurts like hell, I know that everyone around me seems to be so blindingly happy when they are not emotionally smashing each others faces in. I know I get to wander through it, watching from outside the window. I try not to fog it up or be creepy, but thats sort of my position."

"No. You can't rely on expecations or comparisons. What you and Ally have is -unique-. Our relationship…" A pause as he considers that. "Is unique. The watchers… are… unique."

Kass nods slowly, mulling that over. "Everything hurts. I get that, somewhat. I spend most of my time wrapped up with Maya, with Aladriel, because things *hurt* too much. The wrong look, the wrong turn of a phrase and I just .. I just lose my place in things." She sighs, absently rubbing a smudge off her boot with her thumb.

"I wish .. I wish I could tell you some way, some magic bullet to be happy with all this, or a way to make it less painful. I wish I knew it for myself. I wouldn't give up Aladriel or Maya for the world, and yet I think everyone would be a little happier if I went back to being closed off, to stop being so damned sensitive to every nuance of conversation and taking things the wrong way."
Johny holds his hand up, palm down and level with the ground. He tips it one way, then the other.. then the other again. "Emotions are… fickle things. Moderation. Balence. Those are the keys, I know." He says with a slight chuckle. "I just lost the keyring. All skills are muscles, and muscles unused, atrophy." He admits.

After another moment, he looks back to Kassandra "Magic bullets. Even if there was one." A pause as he considers that. "Even though there is one… it's only a… placebo. It does not heal. It only covers. That is the problem with instant solutions, no one grows to come to their own solutions. it's always magic this or instant that. Cash wanted to use a PAB to rearrange his memories, edit them and get rid of some things. But that doesn't -grow- anything… it doesn't make you more stable. It just… removes the impetus to -find- stability."

"Getting rid of things, as nice as that may sound, .. that doesn't, as you say, fix anything. There are parts of my life I'd love to forget, but it is also what made me what and who I am. If I remove it, what is left?" Kass shakes her head, "I know I am broken and I know I have my .. issues."

"But they are what make me me. No magic bullet or machine or spell is going to fix that, and it will just leave .. someone else there." She glances to Samuel/Johan/Johny/etc, her look suggesting he may know a bit about that. "So we find the keyring, we find balance. Things always even themselves out …"

Johny nods to Kassandra, listening to her. "Issues make us who we are." He says, holding his hands up now, fingers twords each other, held vertical to the ground, displayed to Kassandra. "No one can be perfect. Perfection… is boring. The trick, I think, is to find someone who's breaks -fit- with your own." He slides his fingers together… "To create stability. Durability."

He shrugs then… "NO magic bullet. The only thing I, we, can do, is try to find that moderation, that stability, before I, we, do something stupid."

She nods, "Well, I do enough stupid things in any given day for all of us combined." Kass snickers a bit at that, "It just takes time, and really, things have only been out of wack for a matter of weeks, maybe months. That is a drop in the well in the grand scheme of things."

She is silent a moment before asking, "Have you heard from Lilith or Alexander?"

Johny quirks a brow. "Have you ever known me to do anything small or half assed, Kassandra?" He asks, a grin coming to his lips. "No. When I do something stupid, it will be the stupidest thing I can possibly do. It's right there in front of me." he says, turning a bit more somber. "And… as to they, no. I have not. I am staying away until they contact me. Alexander has a lot of crow to eat…"

Laughing, Kass nods. "True. If you are going to fuck around, you will definately make a spectacle of it." She keeps her tone light, teasing, nodding about the minotaur. "Maybe so. I need to talk to him at some point, we've not seen eye to eye, were that even physically possible, in a while now. Which, as you said, bled into last night's debacle."

Johny nods then, glad for the distraction. "Lance it, or it will fester and spread to the blood. When that comes, death follows quickly, for relationships or biologics."

"I'll do what I can. He isn't a bad guy, just .." Kass trails off, waving a hand, "Differences, I guess."

Johny nods. "He… He lives right here." He says, gesturing right in front of himself. "He has long range plans, and don't for a moment think he's incapable. He just… Sometimes, I think his immediate emotions overide his good sense."

"Maybe so. We should talk to Breeze about the tattoo she put on him, however. I think she suppressed some of his .. good sense, maybe .. when she boosted his eye que. Just some of the things he has said to me recently, even discounting last night, aren't exactly like he is thinking it through." She shrugs a bit, tapping her chest with a finger, "Although, I have been hypersensitive lately, so it might be me. Or a combination thereof."

Johny nods to Kassandra. "You've been very raw, a bleeding edge of a wound for the last few weeks, Kassandra. It's painful to watch, but beautiful in its own way. I wish I could help you grow the skin needed… but its not something I'm exactly adept at myself."

The elf is quiet for a second, "Well .. it hasn't been all bad, I must admit, but probably better than what might have been." Kass considers her boot for a moment before looking up with a faint smile, "But raw nerve or no, I am relatively positive that the first remark out of your mouth when told someone is in a new relationship should not be, "That is marvellous, how about a four way with me and the Mrs.?"

Johny blinks.

Yeah. Thats the whole of his pose.

She laughs, "Exactly. I know I am mildly attractive," she says without a trace of pandering for compliments or any of that nonsense, "but it came across as somewhat callus at best. Even if I were interested in men, and even if I were interested in *Alex*, that sort of thing? A real big turn off."

«Auto-Judge[]» Johny (#799) rolls Intelligence:
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He starts to say something, his vocal cords tightening and lips moving, but he catches it. Whatever it was, is swallowed as he sits forward. "I can.. understand that. I'm surprised ally didn't try and onion-knife his chest."

"I didn't mention it to her. There have been other, more important things going on than Alex's libido." Kass shrugs, flipping hair from her face, "She'd just laugh and wrinkle her nose anyway, so there isn't any need to worry her about it. She's not interested, I'm not interested, and hell, Lil isn't interested."

"A great deal of his .. indiscretions .. are what irritate me about the man and what led me to the little fit last night. He gets onto her about her dalliances, but I've seen and heard of him with any number of women. It isn't right."

Johny shrugs. "Theres a lot in the world that isn't right, for example, having ones privates wounded by a man rutting without care." He exhales. "But she was… for better or worse, consensual to the act and I have to respect her choices. If he goes near her again, I'll remove just the part of his brain that controls his bladder. THe point remains; She and he have an at-will relationship that is defined by the loose nature of their bonds."

"Seems to be a rather healthy disagreement between them about it. She's mad because he isn't around, he's mad because she's doing whatever .." Kass shrugs, "It's their life and only my concern when she makes it my concern. Having to bring in an outside healer because she is *soaking* sheets with blood? That makes it my concern. She is a friend. She is a team mate."

"I can respect her need to .. do whatever she needs to be happy. But .. there are some things that are sort of hard for me to deal with. In retrospect I probably let those .. feelings .. get in the way of my judgement."

Johny nods to that. "I don't know the extent, to be fair… and I Don't want to. I tend to make snap decisions when someone hurts or threatens my friends, and I'm just tired of killing the Mafia."

"I'll talk to her about having sex with the Yakuza members." Kass drawls in a deadpan tone. "Which is why stopping Alex last night was my concern, because I don't need another battle with the Luccianos over killing one of their bullyboys for a bit of slap and tickle. Maybe I can convince Lilith to only sleep with .. like humans or something."

Johny chuckles. "How about people who fit or come in under the humanoform frametype? I don't want to limit her, or nything like that… but the little dramas are… as I said. Exhausting. I had… such a wonderful time on the way over. I felt almost human, like a real boy, if you will. Then cooking with my family… My -family-." He repeats quietly. "And then… yanked.

Kass's eyes dart to the ring on her finger, carefully turning it before speaking, "It was a nice night. I didn't expect, even from the off the cuff commentary and descriptions, for the sort of reaction we got. Maybe some tears, some profanity and broken furniture. Not that sort of .. " She shakes her head, "Still, it started as a good night. We should try again with less .. excitement?"

"We can naught but try, Kassandra. I… I will find a new way to try and feel outside my own skin. I don't know… Maybe I'll put on a new face and…" HE shakes his head then. "No. I won't. It's just not me."

"I like this face." Kass remarks, "Just .. it takes time. You have a lot of time, you know? We all do. We'll work on it."

Johny looks to Kassandra. "Do you know what Borox smells like, Kassandra?" He asks curiously.

"Borox? I cannot say that I can remember smelling it."

Johny nods. "It is a laundry detergent. It smells like… forever. It smells like anticeptic. It smells like the state of being -alone-. And I am not talking 'I need someone to love or I'm incomplete'. It's not like that. It's… Alone. Standing in a library full of stories about people talking to people, but never seeing a another living person."

The elven woman considers that for a moment. "As simplistic as it sounds .. change it." She slides off the desk as she speaks, booted feet hitting the ground quietly. "Change your enviroment, change your mindset. You already moved to the Castle." Kass tilts her head, "Change your sheets. Change your soap. Get out, do things, take chances, drive fast, see things. Just .. " She waves a hand in the air, "You are already doing a lot of it. The car, the pool parties, dinner. Even Lilith. I think you are being hard on yourself. Go buy some new sheets and new detergent."

Johny closes his eyes. He is silent for a pregnantly long pause, the sort of pause that is usually ended by someone pulling a gun. And its a fair bet that Sam would have his out first. Of course, its a fair bet that both of them know a lot of guns within a few feet of their current locations.

When the moment is over, his eyes open and he laughs. He just… laughs. A sort of belly-laugh that comes from somewhere down near the toes and reverberates its way back out the top. It's loud. It's sudden, and its real. It echo's in the room for a long moment, bouncing off the walls.

He stands then, stepping over to Kassandra. With swift, but non-aggressive moment, he takes her cheeks, where she sits on the desk, in his hands and plants a kiss to each side of her mouth. Closed mouth, nothing -odd-. "You are wonderful." He says simply, a smile on his features as he turns for the door.

Blink. Blink. Kass is taken off guard by the sudden laughter and even more by the sudden kisses. She stammers, "I .. what??" Her mental record of her last few statements plays over in her head as she tries to figure out what provoked all of that, her confusion growing as Johny turns to head out the door.

Johny glances over his shoulder, the grin wide. "The sheets smell. So change the sheets. It's so… brilliantly obvious. Not in the obvious, but… stop -worrying- about a thing and -do- a thing. Don't be stupid…" A wicked smile, probably the third most deadly in his arsenal… "But -do- a thing."

"Er … Right!" Kass will take credit for that, sure. "Exactly." She blinks a few times, chuckling at the drive in Johny.

Johny chuckles now, turning for the door. He pauses then, one hand on the door… "THanks Kassandra. I listen to a lot of people. Thanks for listening -to me-."

Kass tilts her head, "You are my friend, Sam. It is the least I can do." She smiles, looking around for her hat.

February 26, 2009

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