Johny knocks on the door leading to Private Apartment.

Lilith pages: You hear Lil saying, "Who is it?"

Johny says, "Johny." (To Private Apartment).

Lilith pages: …oh. Please, come in."

You push open the door to the private apartment and enter

Lilith is sitting at her desk when the man enters, just now laying her pen down and rising to her feet. She looks in considerably better shape then before. Happy, even. Her cheeks are slightly flushed, eyes bright, a smile that's only partially fading on her face, being replaced with a slow wariness. She slides the gun that was in her hand back under it's hiding place of papers. "Nice to see you again, sir."

He steps inside, then closes the door behind himself, making sure it latches. "I want to talk to you. I want to talk to you seriously. I want you to be free, and speak frankly. Nothing you say in this room, right now, is going to make me angry and I left my jell rounds in the truck." A slight smile. "I should not have shot your hand this morning. I did that from frustration, from anger. it wasn't right."

Lilith watches with more wariness, nodding slowly. "It's…all right. Well, it still *hurts*, but I'm a mouthy bitch and I asked for it. I'm not learning my lesson and keeping my big mouth shut." She nods to sitting area, moving to the kitchen. "Can I get you anything?"

Johny shakes his head. "I want to discuss why it happened. Not just my action, but why in the moment, I felt that it was a justified action. This is not an isolated issue, but a frustration I feel reflected in the team as a whole. And I need to talk to you about it."

Lilith pauses, and then moves back into the main room. "What's wrong?" The good mood she was in keeps her up, but it's fading fast. She speaks quietly. "You maybe worry we don't work together well enough? Lack of discipline?"

Johny shakes his head as he moves after her, putting a hand to her shoulder. "Lil." he says simply. "It's not a lack of discipline. I have no doubt you can follow orders. It's a lack of forethought. The Mask. The Trees. Other little things. They are very very frustrating, because it makes us, and I use this term to reflect an opinion greater than my own, feel like you don't think about what you do, or care about what happens. We, and I use this term to reflect an opinion greater than my own… love you. But we are concerned."

Lilith eyes widen, marginally, at the touch and the words. She looks like she's ready to take a step back, surprised at the words but not really, her face smoothing over as best she's able. "I'm not sure what to say to that." She murmurs. "The only rationale…"

He cuts her off… "Don't do that. Don't do that to me, Lilith. Don't you shut down, don't you hide yourself. Be here, be now, and be what you feel."'.

Lilith is shocked, this time. The soft, happy, new emotions she felt earlier were still bubbling below the surface, causing trouble, causing confusion with the shock and wariness. "I am here, I'm very much now, and…" she does step back, face losing some of her composure with a flash of anger. "I was trying to find a sensible way to speak, instead of being that raving fool I've so often slipped into. Quite frankly? No, I don't care for myself very often. I simply don't. I'm not suicidal, nor am I depressed. I'm not bloody used to being cared for and quite frankly, if today is any bloody indication you've got a bloody funny way of showing that…loving concern you speak of." She snaps her mouth shut, keeping her short temper under wraps. "I barely know how to care about others as it is. It's new, it's weird, it's shocking, and while I try and try it always goes bloody bollix up."

Johny draws down to sit on the floor. Just right there in the middle of it. "Come on down here, Kiddo." he says quietly. "We're… a group of misfits. Losers. The Psychologically fragile. Weirdos. People who just dont' fit in, in our real lives. Orphans, ghosts, the emotionally damaged. We're not perfect, and despite my protestations otherwise, Lil.. I'm not either."

Lilith crosses her arms. Kiddo? She looks like a sulk is threatening, before she gracefully sinks down, modestly holding her skirt in place with her good hand. "I knew *that*."

"What can I do." Asks Johny… "To help you? I know what its like to look down at a child in your arms and -know-… that you helped make it… but feel absolutely nothing for it. To see it as just another alien thing… another prop in a strange play."

Lilith face goes very, very carefully blank at that point. "I…" She closes her eyes, her jaw tightens. "I don't know, Samuel. I don't. I don't know what's wrong with me, if anything. I don't know that you've done anything wrong, to this point it's been the way I am." She opens her eyes again and they're gleaming, but she's doing her best.

Lilith says "I…don't know what I need. I simply amble along in life. With my collections, with my books, learning as I go and enjoying the work I do, quite often. I've never thought I needed more then that. And now…now someone offers to help and I can't think of the first bloody place to start.""

Johny nods slowly. He settles back on his ass, pulling the knees up to lean on them. "Thats the problem a lot of people have." A pause. You don't have any goals. You don't know what you want. You see something shiney… and you want it. you see something compelling and you make it part of yourself until you see something else compelling, where in you abandon what you had… and become someone new."

Lilith watches him, eyes tight. "Maybe." She croaks, then coughs and looks away to catch her breath. "Perhaps. One could say that of course I have a goal to live for now. That I have friends and family and loved ones to give my life added meaning and purpose." She looks back to him. "I've been meandering, and this is the first time I've found myself with some kind of purpose, with this Mission I've become a part of. What I do in it…seems less important then just doing it, right now."

"The Mission… cannot consume you. You cannot live your life in fear of the Mission. Kassandra and Ally grounded me recently, doing for me much what I'm doing now for you. Slapping you in the face with the reality that you're human, and so is everyone else. We love you, and we care about you, but you are making that exceedingly hard with attitudes and actions you are taking as a result of your -fear-."

Lilith looses that gleam in her eyes. For anger, again. "Fear? I'm not bloody afraid of it." She says this very calmly. "Since when does it seem that I'm afraid?"

He quirks an eyebrow, just looking at her.

Lilith looks back. "What?" She shrugs. "I might be afraid of something, but it's not the Mission itself."

"And thats why I think you're terrified of it." He leans forward, to be only a few inches from her. "Because I've seen the worst humanity can do to itself. I've been the worst humanity can do to itself. I've been in the maw of the beast. And that? Doesnt' scare me. The mission.. terrifies me."

Lilith tries to keep from leaning back, and succeeds, but barely. She takes a slow breath. "Why?"

"Why? You've seen whats out there. What wants to come across. I've been to a place where the entire world is fixated on it. I've seen what happens when they come, and I sit here, in my home, every day, trying to figure out how to delay them. A minute. AN hour. A day. So that every man woman and child on this damn planet, and possibly beyond, can draw one more breath of freedom, of an existence that is not defined by pain, by hiding, and by watching every mote of the world they and eleven thousand years of their ancestors worked to build."

Now things start to sink in. Lilith draws back from him, legs curling up under herself in an almost protective motion. "I didn't know. Not at first. Then I saw pictures…of Chicago. Then I saw that…thing, so many months ago." She looks up, tenously, desperately, holding on to herself. "It's easier to turn off then to let that affect you. It's easier to pretend something isn't that bad because then you can cope. And humans are so very, very could at pretending." She clenches a fist. "If something doesn't exist, it can't hurt you…or if it doesn't exist, it can't be hurt."

"I know. But you can't pretend with us." Says the man then, settling back now. He looks up at the ceiling, staring at light fixtures. "You can't. Even I can't, and honey.. I've been pretending longer than your mother has been alive." A pause. "In the end, it pushes away those who want to care about you, and it alienates you from those who need to work with you. It makes you an alien in the world, and we can't afford that. Everything you do seems geared to attracting, or repelling. I would lay good money the mask thing… was designed subconsciosuly to provoke a response from me. That the Rabbit thing was to provoke a response from Kassandra and Ally, whom you knew would respond poorly and be unable to directly address it. The Tree thing was to provoke another response from those around you. You may not be consciously doing it, But you are provoking responses."

"Just not the ones you consciously want."

Lilith blinks at that. "I don't *have* a mother." She shakes her head. "And honestly, I wasn't trying to provoke anyone. Unconciously or not, I *know* that. The Mask…it just didn't…that was just a mistake, and I *was* afraid when I found out what I had done. Which is the last thing I would've wanted. The rabbit…I didn't realize they'd take offense at first, and yes, I was teasing them a little after, but I didn't know they took it so seriously." She settles back on her haunches with a shaky sigh. "And the tree? I regret to say I didn't think twice about it. A tree is just…a tree to some people. But I'm still sorry about it."

"You say that. But your track record is one of provoking responses from others. This is your modus operandi. You get bored, you lack something, you want something… and then you -do- something. Like go on a mission and recover an artifact you know is affecting you and not report it immediately. You bring Kassandr anad Ally and you force THEM to respond to YOU."

Lilith clenches her fist. "Could it be that it was simply I didn't think? I don't *like* provoking people. I don't *like* getting yelled at or shot or having my friends shake their heads and get so worried. Why the hell would I do that deliberately. I never forced the ladies to anything" She scowls, pointing at the door. "I've got a world of people in this house to keep me busy. Men. Women. The girls. If I'm *bored*, I go trawling for punters or seduce some sorry corp boy downstairs. I wouldn't do that to my friends."

"Lilith." Says Johny then. "I would prefer to think that you are doing these things with a purpose, than to think you are simply irresponsible and unable to change."

Lilith snaps her mouth shut for a moment. She glares at him, then looks away.

"If I have a purpose for it…then I wish I knew…"

"You vacillate. You move from here, to there. People call you on behavior, then you spend a week or so being overly apologetic and contrite, then you go back to acting in the fashions that frustrate. I want to break that cycle, and so I'm approaching you directly. I want you to be comfortable, and know that I'm your fucking -family-. Not just going to throw you out in the street."

Lilith crosses her arms again, hugging herself and not looking at him. She's struggling. Keep calm, keep cool, or crack, or do neither, or…or… "I wouldn't think you'd do that." She murmurs. "I…you've offered to help before. Advice. Training. But I'm stubborn as a mule and have the attention and common sense of a gnat. And it doesn't work, as you've said." She begins to work her gaze back to him. She takes a deep breath. She wavers. "This…this is really hard, Samuel. I want to say…something, but it's so very, very hard. And I don't know what…what it is I'm admitting to."

Johny puts one hand on her forearm, then gives it a squeeze. "Say it… and we'll figure out what it is.. later."

Lilith bites her lip, raising hesitant eyes to him. She's…opening, it seems, but her face is still guarded, letting him look through the window instead of opening the door. "I don't know what I am. Nothing. I awake at night, in the deep hours, or in my dreams, and I feel…conflicted. Torn, like somethings tugging me back and forth and I don't know why and it's so damn confusing!" She takes a deep, shaking breath. "In the past…I just though it was dreams. Trauma from bad times. It makes sense. But now it's getting worse, ever since I came to Denver. I used to be…it. I was a courtesan. I never made mistakes." She meets his eyes, and her own are…shaken. "Now you speak of me acting unconsciously or consciously, you all try to help me, and in those deep hours I start to wonder…maybe it's not the obvious answer. Maybe there's something wrong that I truly don't know about."

Johny thinks that over. "Unlikely, Lilith. And even if you have a genetic disposition to some behavior… -choice- is the halmark of humanity. You made mistakes; they just didn't matter enough. You didn't let people close. You had such a rotating cast of supporting characters in the Lilith show.. You never had the issue of people trying to know you and know you consistently, an act that your shift, your chameleon, makes impossible."

Lilith hugs herself again, looking unsure for once. "So am I lost, then? As much as I try to fit…to bend, to grow, to change, as much and as badly as I want to, I can never keep my footing on solid ground." She rubs the back of her neck. "More often then not I feel two people looking out. One is just there, looking, watching, unfeeling, doing what she must because that's what the second part of her tells her is the right thing. And the second one, the hidden one, is too guarded and too scared and doesn't want to come out." She murmurs, almost to herself. "How am I supposed to break that?"

"Honey." he says, looking over to her. "You're the only one who can. The only one who can choose to change. Trust me, I know all about this. It's about setting your sights on the distance, and consciously thinking about the actions you take; how do they fit in to it? We are today, the sum of all the choices we have made yesterday. Tomorrow, we will be the choices we make today."
"Who will you be, Lilith?"

Lilith looks back to the bossman. To Samuel. To Johny. To the first man she learned to respect. "Myself, if nothing else. A complete self." She sighs and hugs her knees. "Beyond that? I just want to…work. I want to stop wavering so much, acting like such a fool. I don't know what or how specifically I fit in this team…I just want to be able to do whatever I am told to do well, to be able to be the kind of fighter, runner, that this Mission needs."

"You know how you fit in?" He asks, standing up and moving over near her.

Lilith can't help it, and scoots back a little on her knees. "I…thought I…not really. I usually feel like I'm on the fringes. Everyone else has known each other for so long, is so much closer, feels so much more like this family you talk about, that I feel very much the outsider. Other then with work."

Johny kneels down next to Lilith. "I met Kassandra after you. Ally met her after you met her. I met Jamilih not long ago… It's nothing to do with lenght of time. It's to do with.. how close you let people. It's a matter of how you handle your relationships."

Lilith nods…slowly. But she's tensing, not permitting him that closeness. "I…don't understand them very well. I can feel things, yes, but I don't always understand you all. Why you act silly, why you don't, why certain things matter. I'm trying, but…it's taking so long."

Johny nods, not quite pressing. "Keep trying." he says then, settling back down. "One thing you can do is stop trying to dominate a situation to feel.. comfortable, in control. Try to actively relax and just -be-."

Lilith nods slowly again, watching him. "All right." She begins to loosen as he backs away, and also looks decently embarrassed. "That's a very…naughty habit I never realized extended into my social reactions so obviously."

Johny watches her. "No. It's pretty obvious to every one. It can be very frustrating. That doesn't mean go visit someone tomorrow then sit there; but just try… -being-. Spend some time out at the vault enjoying it. I'll teach you how to ride, if you want."

Lilith looks embarrassed again. "I…yes. I know." She sighs and pinches the bridge of her nose. "How can I be like this…" She looks back at him, with the offer, and…no. No, it's too obvious and it's too late and this is entirely the wrong time for a pun. "That would be nice. I'

Lilith looks embarrassed again. "I…yes. I know." She sighs and pinches the bridge of her nose. "How can I be like this…" She looks back at him, with the offer, and…no. No, it's too obvious and it's too late and this is entirely the wrong time for a pun. "That would be nice. I'm something of a natural."

Too late.

Johny just utterly misses the ennuendo. "Well. Lets do that. Remember that you don't need to be -in control- with your family,
Lilith." he says quietly. "I do have a question."

Lilith nods. "Yes?"

"Is that your real name?"

Well. That was unexpected.

She looks up at him. Her face isn't blank, it's just…she's just not sure what to feel at this point. "No." For starters. "Teresa. Abbey gave it."

Johny nods to the woman. "Hi. I'm Samuel. Samuel Thayer." He says, offering a bit of a smile. "At least, I think. But for all that matters; thats who I am."

Lilith nods. She doesn't smile. That name…that name was not, has not been a part of her for the better part of 13 years. "Teresa, of Buckfast Abbey." Again, a distant, but not cold look. Maybe a ghost of a smile. "I think. It was a start."

He nods then. "You need to find out who you are, Lilith, before you can be someone who you want to be. For me, it became a challenge of -making- who I was, then becoming who I wanted to be."

Lilith stretches out her legs. "And how'm I supposed to do that?" She finally chuckles, sadly at that. "My whole life I've known precisely where I was and what I was doing, with no mysteries, no secrets. How can I create something from nothing?"

"Because there's not nothing there." He says simply. "Everyone has a story. It's clear from your lack of direction, that you havn't read yours yet."

Lilith frowns slightly, brow wrinkling with concentration. "I…" She stops, thinks again, then shakes her head. "I don't understand."

"Have you ever read a book where the Author doesn't know their own characters?"

Lilith wrinkles her brow again, looking curious. "One, I think. Why?"

"Book sucked, didn't it?"

Lilith eyes widen a bit as something clicks. "Ohhhh." She snaps her fingers. "I've read more then one, I think. The characters get away from the author."

Johny nods…. "Character wanders all over, latching on to whatever the author was thinking about or reading when that chapter was written. One paragraph is noir… one is pulp, another still is Jane Austin."

Lilith nods, watching him. "It could get a little odd…" She shifts, looking vaguely uncomfortable. "Are you comparing my life to a poorly written novella?"

He shakes his head. "Of course not; we are real people, not just characters on the page. At least, I hope to god not. I'd like to strangle the author."

Lilith bites back a sudden laugh. She nods. "So, what's the point, aside from some esoteric, existential murderous desire to slaughter some form of creator?"

"That you are your own author. And you don't know your character."

Lilith frowns, and then rubs her temples again. "I just…I'm sorry! I don't quite understand. But I think…I think I've got to find myself, yes, I'm not sure how. And I've got to write my own story."

Johny nods. "Choose who you want to be Lilith." He says, standing up and stretching. "It's important to know who you want to be."

Lilith nods slowly, still frowning, but not precisely in a bad way. "Aye, Samuel." She rises as well, working out the kinks as she goes from kneeling in one spot for so long. And she sighs. "What the hell. Maybe I'll tackle the practical side of the matter and try to find the bastard who'd thought it'd be good to dump a 3 to 5 month old baby on the steps of a orphanage in the middle of October in bleedin' Dartmoor." She sighs again, looks at him, and smiles. "Thank you, all the same."

Johny offers a hand to Lilith, held forward.

Lilith reaches out and takes it, smiling still, a bit. "You've…there are no words, Samuel."

Johny takes her hand, pulling her in to a hug, his arms siding around her. "Shush." he says, pressing a kiss to her forehead. "Just shush."

Lilith stiffens immediately at the sudden movement. Without warning, her eyes well up, her fists clench. She mumbles something…nothing…and then slowly, slowly relaxes. Closing her eyes, resting her head, and accepting it.

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