The Crucible

Stuff goes well.

It's early in Denver. Lil's already up, though, dressed down to a sports bra and a loose pair of black cotton shorts, feet bare. She's also hand standing in front of the fireplace, eyes closed, breathing slow and deep, and then her legs part, spreading in an impressive leg split. Dancer has to keep in shape.

The door will open, exposing Aladriel and Kassandra. The pair will step inside, the door closing softly behind them.

Kass is clearly following Ally in this regard, her longcoat wrapped around her like a great dark wing, her expression a faint mix of obedience and sullenness. Still, she does follow Ally in, so no telling what the pair have discussed. Kass's eyes measure the room as they enter, flicking to the high points, the likely escape routes, covering each angle with precision and care. She doesn't speak, however, letting her mate do the talking this morning.

Lilith leaves her legs stretched, then pulls them up again in a straight line. She continues her steady breathing, her poise. "Good morning, ladies."

Aladriel is the counter to Kass: She looks as bright and cheery as ever and as she comes inside to see Lili in a splits like that, she almost goes right in to emulate her. "Ooooh, now I've got to know if you're able to use that stance for work, Lili," she says with a little grin.

Lilith expression almost immediately softens she she peers through her arms at the pair. She smiles at Ally. "I'm just doing my morning exercises, Ally. I'm very glad to see you again, and Kass. I've missed having you around." With painstaking care she begins to arch her body, legs and all, backwards, moving to put her feet on the ground and do a backwards arch.

"I .. thank you, Lilith." Kass remarks quietly, losing some of her irritation but still milling around in the background. She considers the pair, just watching from over near the doorway, toying with the hem of her coat.

Lilith grunts as her feet touch the floor, straining her torso. But she still smiles. "You're welcome. There's coffee ready, if you want any, and if you give me a moment I'll get a fruit tray together for lunch."

Ally looks just slightly caught off guard by what Lilith says, but she doesn't let that surprise linger on her face very long. "Ohhh, well glad to see you too, Lili. It's nice to be missed," she says warmly as she looks at the upside down woman for a moment before to Kass. Hmm. Sliding her arm through Kass's, Ally pulls the elf gently towards Lili's lazyboy and pretty much just flops down onto it, pulling Kass down atop her. Yep, Kassie needs to be held.

Lilith chuckles, catching a glimpse of the two out the corner of her eye. "Indeed it is." She pauses for a moment, and with a heave, flips herself upright, thumping the floor. She raises her hands above her head and stretches her back, eyes bright. "You make a lovely pair, you know."

Kass is pulled along, eyes tracking where Ally is taking her. Along the way she ditches the armoured jacket, losing protection both physical and emotional. She smiles happily, her expression clearing almost immediately when Ally pulls her down atop her. Yes, she does need to be held it seems, eyes closing as she wraps herself into Ally.

"Aww, thanks Lili," Ally says as she settles easily into the couch and then goes about settling Kass atop her. It takes just a little bit of adjustment to where Ally can touch Kass about anywhere she wants to and there aren't any uncomfortable hard parts poking into soft spots. A little happy sound ensues once such positioning has been reached. One hand immediately disappears into Kassie's wavy hair. Her other hand goes to Kass's stomach and boldly goes right beneath her shirt, though Lili will be able to see quite clearly that the elf's tummy is where Ally's hand stays. "How are you doing, Lili? There's…..mm. Hm. Something new or different."

Kass doesn't open her eyes, listening to the pair talk with an expression of unmistakable joy. She lets Ally situate them, clearly quite comfortable with the arrangement. She giggles quietly a bit when Ally's hand slips along under her shirt but doesn't seem inclined to do anything about it; rather, she makes a little purr of delight, one eye finally, lazily, opening to look towards Lil to see what Ally means.

"No, no, not me. You, Lili." Ally replies, using Kass's giggle as a time to give her a slight tickle. Just a brief one, careful not to start a tickle war that she would have no hope of winning. Then her hand is still, just enjoying the skin contact with the elf while her other hand lazily makes its way through the silky strands of Kassandra's hair. "I don't know what it is, though. But um, tell me whatcha been up too?"

Lilith blinks, giving Ally a close look. She then laughs a little, plopping down on a chair opposite them. "Oh, you're a dear Ally. I've not been doing anything special, working on myself, working out more, that sort of thing. Running the house." She tilts her head, smiling softly as she watches you two. "Ye gods. You two, tho."

Both eyes open as Ally gives her a tickle, another little giggle issuing forth. She turns her head just a little to look at Ally, wrinkling her nose and murmuring, "I'll get you for that." She keeps mostly quiet, letting the other two talk while just enjoying having Ally's hands on her. Any traces of a bad mood are gone like ice on a hot grill.

Ally cutely cringes from Kass, "oooho no," she giggles, at the woman before she peeks up at Lilith, smiling mischievously. "What? I'm trying to be good! Her tummy is only one of her fun places," she murmurs.

Lilith rolls her eyes. "I dare not comment. Would you two like some refreshments or not?" She grins then, rising to her feet.

"You don't have to *try* to be good, love, you *are* good." Kass murmurs softly, nodding to Lilith now, "That would be lovely, yes please." She turns her head again to look at Ally, just looking at her as if trying to drink in her expression.

Ally nodnods her head to Lilith but she doesn't look at the woman. Her eyes are on Kass's and it looks like its going to take a moment. "You're better, though," she murmurs, leaning in to rub her nose against Kass while her hand in the elf's hair stretches over towards a pointed ear.

Lilith doesn't seem to mind the two women at all, turning her back to begin fussing qietly in the kitchen nook. Coffee starts brewing, tea, the sounds of chopping.

"Am not." Kass murmurs softly, giggling. "I have to *try* love, you do not. And did I mention this morning that I love you?" Her eyes close again as Ally reaches for her ear, just letting out a little sigh of contentment.

Ally shakes her head, "Nope, not today," she murmurs, and the moment Lili turns her back, Ally stops behaving. The hand that was on Kassandra's stomach doesn't stay there, it moves upwards quickly, and Ally darts in to kiss her.

Lilith place fruit in neat, perfectly presented layers and circles on the plate. Strawberries, blueberries, slices of melon and tangerines, a garnish or two or lemon and lime, cheese in the centre. Pouring the coffee into three mugs, getting the old English tea service ready for later. She puts the fruit tray, mugs, and a cream and sugar bowl on a broad tray, preparing to bring it into the main room. "Ladies. Are you quite finished?"

Kass lets out a little whimper of exasperation and frustration as Lilith returns with other forms of refreshment. She says, "No, but we can stop for the moment?" She giggles and blushes, burying her head against Aladriel for a moment.

Lilith arches an eyebrow, setting the tray down. She speaks quietly, looking to the bathroom. "Finish if you must. I probably should shower anyways…I can give you two some alone time."

Ally doesn't move…she kinda freezes as Lilith's voice floats out of the kitchen, and she awwws a little bit. "Oh no, Lili, it's okay. We're not going to be quick, so," she chuckles a little bit and straightens up, her cheeks a little bit flushed. "We could….mmm, enjoy fruit in your big old tub and talk you know?" she suggests, trying to sound very innocent.

Kass raises her head from Ally, looking questioningly at her before looking quickly to Lilith. "Oooh, that sounds heavenly!" She smiles, moving to start removing her bracers as the ladies speak.

Lilith thinks for a moment. "Sure, if you want. If you don't mind me showering first, I'm all sweaty." She speaks with complete disconcern for modesty. Not much point, really. "You can even pick what bath salts you want, I've got a large selection."

"Nope, don't mind at all," Ally says with a radiant smile. Wiggling out from beneath Kass, Ally gives the elf a tug, "Come on, we can bring the fruit and drinks and she can get all clean. We'll try not to flood the tub, Lil."

Kass is easily tugged; by the look on her face, she'd follow Ally right now if she said there were live sharks in the tub and they had to battle them to get in.

Lilith is already tossing her sports bra off as she makes her way to the shower stall, pulling out her ponytail. "Salts should be in the cupboard there. Help yourself."

Kass follows Ally and Lil into the bathroom, carrying the tray of drinks and fruit and other goodness in. She eyes the tub and the relative depth therein, setting down the tray and moving to start the water running. With a glance to Ally, she remarks, "You need to research useful magicks! Like 'Tub Fill!'" The elf giggles, settling down on the floor to pull off her boots, muttering under her breath, "I wear entirely too many clothes."

Ally would peek at Lilith, but she's got Kass behind her so really her eyes don't wander. Especially because Kass suggested an interesting spell for her. Throwing on the hot water to let it start to fill the tub, "Hmmm. That's an interesting idea. However… I don't think it'll work. Um… yeah, I don't think I can just create water from nothing. If we were outside, though, I could make it rain," she points out rather of factly. Without ceremony she peels her top off, tossing it unceremoniously to the floor before she unbuckles her belt. "Oooh the salts!" She goes to the cabinet and rummages around.

Kass starts disrobing quickly, watching Aladriel with a smile. She drags her brain back to the conversation, nodding, "Well, it wouldn't be from nothing, love, there is already water in the air, albeit at smaller amounts. You'd just have to … drag it all to once place? I mean, you can make fire, right? Water shouldn't be that much harder; I'd think it would be easier." She tosses a sock at Ally.

Lilith snorts, stepping naked and freely into the wide shower stall. A few seconds later the water starts and she's seen, blurred, through the glass wall. "You know." She calls over the glass. "You could just exercise patience and fill the tub normally."

Ally finds some salt to her liking and sprinkles it into the tub. A little bit. And then a little bit more, And then a little bit more still before she shrugs, throws the salt back into the cabinet and throws in some bubbles for good measure. "Done and done," she announces before she turns to Kass just in time to get hit in the stomach with a sock.
"Ow!" she protests, flinging the sock right back before Ally throws a look to the shower and raspberries at Lili. "Yeah yeah. That works just fine. Kass, you're right. I'm going to look into a spell to create water for…hm. I'll have to think about it some." While she's thinking about that, she reaches down, finds her belt already unbuckled, shrugs, unbuttons her pants and wiggles them down from her hips. It takes her a moment to realize that Kass is watching her. From that moment on she finishes undressing in a manner more for the elf's benefit than practicality or speed.

Lilith scrubs down in the shower, her own form just a shadow to the rest of the room. "You might as well hop in now, it'll take me a few minutes to get my hair done."

Kass giggles, batting the sock aside as Ally returns fire. She doesn't address the spell issue but rather watches Aladriel with interest, giving the woman her full attention as she continues undressing. Only once Ally is done does she rises from the floor with one graceful motion, slowly removing her jeans.

The elf drops them onto the floor, glancing towards the sound of Lilith's voice. She starts towards the tub, crooking a finger to beckon Ally to join her.

Ally's looking pretty comfortable in naught but her own skin, but that confidence slowly unravels when Kassandra begins undressing. It's not that she looks nervous, but rather…well, Ally has a hard time thinking when looking at her fiancée in nothing but her beautiful skin. She about trips over her own pants in following Kass when beckoned.

Lilith hums softly to herself as she washes her hair, unaware of the gazing and drooling going on around her.

Kass giggles, "Silly." She steps into the rapidly filling tub, sinking down with a little sigh. She reaches out a hand to Ally, "Come here!", motioning to the spot before her in the tub.

Ally considers sitting down next to Kass, but oh no, she takes the spot motioned, right before Kassandra. Wincing a little bit as she sinks into the hot water, her body adjusts to it soon enough and she settles into the water where she can look at Kass.

Aladriel says in Arabic, "* love you, * Kassie"

Lilith rinses off and emerges from the shower, grabbing a towel to rub at her hair while she walks. She yawns, water running over her like Venus from the sea, bright eyes darting over to the pair in the tub. She moves quietly, not interrupting them.

Kassie brightens at the words, one hand moving up to just barely touch Ally's cheek, murmuring quietly as Lilith moves to join them. She wiggles a bit, getting situated, moving to pull Ally closer. "You can lean on me, love."

Kassandra says in Arabic, "I love you soooo much, Ally. You are my life."

Ally furrows her brows, "I didn't get all of that. I need to keep practicing. But I got the important part," she murmurs to Kass as she gets pulled in, and at the invitation she leans against Kass, making herself very comfortable as Lilith comes to join them. "Wouldn't it be nice to just be able to sit in the tub all day for like a week, Lili?"

Lilith pauses, crossing her arms over her chest as she watches them. She smiles a bit. "I'm just wondering why you two came to visit. You're obviously happy with each other and quite distracted, I'm debating why I'm even here at the moment."

Kass leans in to murmur softly to Ally, wrapping her arms around her the other gets comfortable. She gazes up to Lilith lazily, "Because we like you, Lil, and thus we are going to visit you every chance we get until you can't stand it anymore. Deal." She kisses Ally's neck as the water laps around them, "And we are always happy and distracted around each other, but that doesn't mean we can't see our friend, neh?"

You whisper "I said I love you very very much, and that you are my light and my life." to Aladriel.

Ally's cheeks warm in a most delightful way at what Kass murmurs. And it's a delightful thing, just pure happiness. Reaching out to draw some bubbles near her, Ally drifts her eyes up to Lili, her eyes closing momentarily at the kiss at her neck. "And we're friends, Lili. Don't always have to be over to talk about something, do we? We can just enjoy each other's companies. Where's your big bull?" she asks. "He could join us as long as he keeps his eyes on the right lady," she chuckles.

Lilith just shrugs. Her face is calm as ever, even light. "I don't know where he is. Work." She says simply. "Anyways, as nice as it is to see you, and I *mean* that, and to not talk and just enjoy your company…well, I'll reiterate. I've only got one quarter of your conversation or attention as it stands, what kind of company is it if I'm sitting there and you two are making out?" Her eyes sparkle a bit as she jokes, moving to sit on the edge of the tub.

As she chuckles, Ally tilts her head into Kass to say something softly to her before her eyes focus back on Lili. "Ohh…we won't make out anymore and we'll stop whispering Lili, promise."

Lilith shrugs again, chuckling a little. "Oh, I sound like such a whiny brat, I know. I'm not jumping up and down demanding your time, I'm just not sure what to do when you lot are all cuddly and such."

Kass looks around Ally's head and murmurs, "We'll be good, we promise." She smiles a bit and says, "You can just talk to us, Lil. We are always like this except when we are sleeping or working." She grins at that.

Lilith waves her hand. "No, no, it's fine." She suddenly seems a bit discomfited, if only for a moment. "You know what? Enjoy yourselves here. Really, I mean it. I'm sure you've got a tub at Sam's but I doubt it's as pretty as mine." She grins slightly. "I'm all clean now anyways. I'll go read in the other room, maybe call Nerissa up. You two can join me when you're…done." A faint wink.

Stuff goes not so well.

Ally slowly nods her head as she gets herself looking very contented on Kass's shoulder. "It's still just us. We're just appreciating your…." she furrows her brows as Lili gets in the making to leave. "Lili no! Stay here with us! If we go to the other room we're just going to lay with each other on the couch. Talk with us. Something's wrong, and I don't even need to assense you to know that."

Kass looks a little frustrated as well, "Lilith! Stay and talk with us, please?" She nods to what Aladriel said, "We really will. We are just .. like this, you know? Please stay?"

Lilith stands again, hesitating. She sighs, shakes her head. "Seriously, Ally, Kass, I'm all right. There's nothing wrong." She looks at them, crooking an honest, if weary smile. "I know you two are worried, but let me explain. Yes, I might seem a little closed off…well, I'm trying not to be. I've been practicing meditation and such because I want to control my temper and not have another episode. It's disprutive to the team, and obviously I don't much like Sam, Alex, or anyone else thinking me the fool." She chuckles dryly. "It's a difficult process. It's taking all my energy to not snap at every little think like I'm wont to do, and I don't know if I'm ready to be…open…like you want. Please. Give me time." At this, a bit of that veneer slips, and she looks uncomfortable. Akward again.

"Lili," Ally says softly as she looks up at the naked Lilith. "I don't know if its true. But I do think you want to talk. You're just assuming that we want to poke at all your secrets and stuff, but we haven't. We just asked you to talk, you know? You could just talk about the weather with us if you wanted to. Unless there's something bothering you that's trying to get out and you're trying not to let out."

Kass stays quiet, letting Ally do the talking. She watches, letting her eyelids half-close as the hot water sinks into tired muscles, her arms wrapped loosely around Ally, just holding her and nothing more than that.

Lilith forehead wrinkles. "Well, yes, of course I want to talk. I just wasn't sure how to, with you always together." She gives another weary smile. "Perhaps I will join you in the tub, if that'll ease your worries. Believe me, there's nothing bothering me that much at the moment that I'd let it spoil a soak."

Ally's eyes Lil a little bit. "Lilibean, Kassie is mine. We're together. It shouldn't be different cause its both of us here y'know. We both care about you a lot. We're both your friends, y'know. Talk with us the way you'd talk to me."

Lilith speaks wryly. "And Kass would shoot me if I did otherwise." She slips easily into the tub, sighing a bit with relief. "Ahh…I see you picked the morning glory and pine. Pleasant mix."

Eyes opening, Kass regards Lil a moment. She starts to speak, the faintest downturn of her lips indicating a frown before Ally cuts in. She stills then, laying back and closing her eyes. "I would not shoot you, Lilith. I don't have a gun on me." Her voice is very soft, almost a whisper. "I don't want to be in the way." She tightens her grip on Ally for just a second after the comment.

"You are not in the way," Ally tells Kassandra firmly, her eyes opening fully at hearing the elf say that. A moment and then Ally gives Lilith a bit of a hard look. "Lil, we're all on the same team. We all have many of the same friends. We all care for each other. And Kass is my fiance and we're getting married. You need to be able to talk to her like you would to me…she's mine. We're each other. We're not secretive. We work together," she says, keeping her voice gentle.

Lilith watches them, expression now blank. "I never said I wouldn't talk to her. I was making a joke, Ally. I do indulge in those now and then. I'm glad you're together, I'm glad you love each other, and I'm more then willing to talk freely with either of you."

Kass relaxes her too-possessive grip on Ally, simply holding her again. She doesn't speak but instead lets her eyes close again, letting the other women talk while she relaxes in the tub. Her breathing slows as she lounges there, wrapped partially around Aladriel while they talk.

"Sorry," Ally says quickly, aware of the change that's gone through Lili. "It seemed as though you were saying that. I'm glad you don't have any problem talking to the two of us together. Thats important to us," she murmurs softly. "Just like its important that you're well. And…well, I know you don't like if you think we're prying. So…I just won't. We'll just you know, be here, if you decide to share. But beyond that…um. Hm. I never really talked with you since that uh…stuff in the kitchen. Did you and Alex get back to normal? Calmed and content?"

Lilith idly examines a glass candle holder as Ally speaks. She turns her head, paying attention…unintentionally, it seems, the glass abruptly shatters. Fortunately outside of the tub, and Lilith looks bemusedly at her hand. "Oh, dammit." Just a few nicks and scratches, it seems, with some droplets of vivid scarlet welling up.

Kass's eyes open at the sound of breaking glass. She tenses, letting out a little gasp and then looks at Lil curiously.

Ally's gasp is practically an echo of Kassandra's. She looks intently at Lilith's hand, the nurse within her taking over for a moment as she does a visual inspection. Seeing as how Lilith's not gushing blood, she doesn't dive out of the tub to help her. No, the woman seems like she'll be all right. "I'm…going to take that as a no."

Lilith blinks and then very calmly looks back at Ally. "No? Everything's fine, Ally. Just fine." Expression like blank stone, eyes like two ice covered pools…frozen, cold, hard, but hiding tumultuous shadows underneath. "Minos comes over almost every night, we fuck, we talk. What's there to be worried about?"

Kass frowns slightly, eyes scanning over Lilith and then the blood, the broken glass. She doesn't remark, doesn't say anything. She looks worried, slightly flushed from the heat of the tub, her arms still loosely around Ally, occasionally pulling her back against her as she drifts away.

Aladriel looks at Lilith, a concrete tower in the storm. While trees and less sturdy things bend and sway at the force of the storm behind Lili's eyes, Ally does not. "I don't know, it's what I'm waiting for you to tell me. I won't have to guess when you do."

Lilith eyes narrow, frighteningly cold. Harder then she's ever been before, angrier, with a roaring wave of pain crashing behind them. "Tell me, Aladriel. Do you know what Sam is like? You've seen Kassandra's innerself, no doubt…and what about Alexander?" In the water, her tail is starting to thrash back and forth. "But how much does any one person reveal, really? How much do you really want to know? How much do you want to see? Do you want everything, or do you just want the bits that won't hurt as much? Do you really care, or do you just want me to show you enough so you can feel better?"

Kass's eyes open, her attention now on Lilith as the tenor of her voice changes, "What do *you* want, Lilith? You pine and go back and forth from sweet to cold as ice. You want to open up, but you want to suddenly change your tune and snap out when people try to reach for you." Her arms go off of Aladriel, her brown eyes flickering with more than irritation. She growls something under her breath, all the stress from before back with friends this time.

Uh oh. Ally's a warm, affectionate person. When she gets upset, that anger makes her hotter. That anger is a heat, fueled with passion and emotion rather than a cold and calculating precision. Oh, it can get there. But it's not often. Which is why she doesn't end up killing a lot of people. Cold Ally is the really dangerous one, the Ally that appears when she's *more* than upset. Now, thankfully, she is just upset.
"I do know. Some. Not everything. I know what he tells me and what I'm smart enough to learn." She unwraps herself from Kassandra. "What do I want to know? Everything. Because I do care, and I want to help. But I can't force you to…." she growls at Lilith a little bit. "I am giving you the choice to tell me, Lilith. Because its what a friend does. And I feel better because I've tried and frustrated because you hold back and I think you should let go. But I'm not going to make you. Because if I did, I wouldn't be your friend. And I can -assure- you that if I wanted to know everything and I *wasn't* your friend and cared only for what *I* wanted, I could rip it out of your head and you couldn't do a thing to stop it. Does that answer your question?"

Stuff goes really not so well.

Kassandra mutters to Aladriel, "I need to get out of here before I hit her."

Lilith rises from the tub in a torrent of anger, water falling around her. Naked, unashamed, fists clenched, eyes seeming to shift and glow like the devil's own, tail whipping the air behind her. "ALL RIGHT, then! ALL RIGHT! You want to know me, girl? You want to see every part of me? Then take it and be damned." She shouts, almost screams, spinning away to leap from the tub, turning again to shout at them. "I was used by a man 20 or 30 years my senior when I was 15 years old and then sold off to be the prize virgin at a gentleman's suction. I was RAPED. Twice. I was beaten, I was humiliated, I was robbed. I was mocked and cursed in the street. I had my home vandalized. I had every man I ever knew look at me like a piece of meat!!"

She turns and violently kicks over a stool. "I come to Denver, and it gets worse. The first man I fall in love with can't have me, doesn't want me, and loses me to a wife he divorces. The next man forces me to abandon hope and stay with him, and heals my heart…and then breaks it, over and over again. Calls me out on what is a part of me. Disapproves. Judges. Never holds me, never…." She turns again, glaring hotly at them, fires raging where glaciers cooled. "Friends who tear my heart apart every time I see them because I'll never know, have, what they do."

Kassandra rises from the tub the same time Lilith does, her right hand balling into a fist as Lil lashes around. Her anger is a darker thing, the dark clouds before a storm. She simply watches Lilith, letting her scream as the elf climbs out of the tub. Her entire body language is different now, the angle of her form and the way she watches the madam clearly indicating that she is waiting for any sort of hostile movement to react on.

She simply spares Aladriel a look, Kass long gone as Silk watches and waits, keeping her words to herself for a second before remarking to Aladriel. "I need to leave this place, right now."

Ally's the last one to rise up. Because she's the one who doesn't need to be on her feet to defend herself. So she can weather the storm of anger on her back. It's not the physical attack that she's worried about defending against anyways. The shell of Lilith DeWinter has cracked right before her and now it all comes spilling out in a torrent. Goddess.
Slowly getting up, Ally looks at Lilith, and then to Kassandra. It is Kassandra who the mage goes to, for in this moment there may be two people who need her, but one will accept it and one may not. And in this choice, there really isn't one. A simple nod is given to Kassandra, "I know," she says softly, and with a quick bend she picks up her clothes. She can get dressed pretty fast, even wet. Once she has her shirt on and her pants mostly on, Ally looks at Lilith. "I am sorry for your pain, Lilith. It's been long in the making and you've kept it in for so long. Getting it out isn't a remedy in and of itself… but it is out now. And now, you don't have to hold it alone if you don't want to. Because we'll help, even if its just to be a pair of shoulders to lean on."

Lilith fists clench into two knots. White knuckled, and drops of red falling to smooth white marble as her nails cut into her own tender skin. Looking at her, for an instant, is to look at deep, intense pain, sorrow, loneliness, confusion. Wild, wild pain and grief let loose with the walls down, broken and shattered to pieces. "You…you just…." she lets out a wild moan, shaking. "I have no love. No life. Everything, everything that's….gods save me!" Another cry of pain and she runs from the room, away from Kass, away from Ally, screaming for Nerissa as she flees to the bedroom.

Lilith is running to the other side of the bed, raising her arms, and Nerissa is sliding her massive body out of her tunnel. The snake, rather then angry, protective, seems to react to something deeper in Lil, some animal instinct sensing what perhaps her friends cannot, and curls gently around the woman. Lil lets out a terrible, aching scream, clutching Nerissa and muffling the cry into her warm, smooth scales.

Kassandra follows Lilith, tossing her boots across the room, the footwear slamming into the door. As Aladriel can attest to, she is frightfully fast when needs be. "Lilith!" Her voice tears across the distance as she strides after the woman, lashing out at her. She stares at the woman and the snake, rolling her eyes.

"You know. I've about enough of all this." She stalks towards the woman, giving the animal a look that clearly indicates she will tear its snaky head off if it blinks at her wrong. She uses her voice like a prod, snarling at the woman, "What do you want from me, from us Lilith? You slap me around last night, then this morning you act like everything is alright. You scream and carry on and expect us to care after you blithely tell us that everything is all right. You tell us how we are breaking your heart, well what about what you do to us?"

She stands there, fists balled, eyes full of anger, and hurt, and a storm of emotions that threaten to unleash.

Lilith shivers and shudders, finally peering out at Kass from where her arms are wrapped protectively around the snake's body. Nerissa seems content to be held, meekly holding her head away from Kass's gaze. "What? What could I do to you? What am I supposed to say? I…I don't know what to say, I don't know what to do. I DON'T KNOW!" She shouts again, face heartbroken and confused.

"I have caused nothing but hurt and pain to all around me. I am a worthless. I have deserved everything that has happened to me, and I deserve every word you say to me! I've got everything inside me shattered and broken, and I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO, WHAT TO SAY, what to do to make it right, as much as I want to! I want…" she cries out, shaking with rage and pain. "What could I, could I possibly do to you?"

The elf is quiet for many seconds, just staring at Lilith. She considers her words very carefully. "If it were true, Lilith, if you were worth nothing, would we be having this conversation? I can weigh the worth of a person within the tenth of a nuyen, Lil. Ally is a good judge of character, as is Alexander, as is Samuel."

Kass sighs, still very, very angry, but keeping her voice surprisingly level although tension still shows in her form. "I've been where you are. I have been used and broken and battered and wanted to die. I've tried very, very hard. If you want to believe you are worthless, if you want to have pain and suffering to somehow repent for your supposed sins, then there is nothing I can say or do to you that would be worse, and I'll not give you the satisfaction of wallowing in self-pity and guilt, using pain and punishment as a way to somehow make yourself feel better."

"A very wise young lady told me that it wasn't my fault all the things that were done to me." She stares at Lilith, her words almost neutral, as if discussing the weather, "And it isn't your fault either Lil, as much as you want to believe it was. As much as you lash out at your friends to drive them off and prove your self-fulfilling prophecy of being worthless and unloved."

Lilith cries out again, each word slapping at her. "I…what do I do, Kassandra? What else can I feel? My whole I've had no past, no connection to anything. I've no parents. I've no family. I look at the world and I don't understand why everyone seems so distant. So far off. It was better to build the walls because it hurt too fucking much to care!!" She stares at the woman, torn to pieces. "I…and now, here I am, completely broken, trying to expose myself, because I don't know what else to do. The walls are gone and I don't know who I am or what to feel anymore."

Lilith is wrapped up with the giant snake, while Aladriel is nowhere in sight, having ducked out invisibly. Kass is wearing clothes that look like they have been put on a wet body, her hair still dripping, and is shoe less.

Stuff goes well so not well Johnny comes in.

Johny doesn't kick the door in. That's a bonus. A real bonus. Locks are expensive. Well, not comparatively speaking, but its also rude. Rude and expensive. He pauses outside the door, having heard Kassandra's tirade and then Lilith's rejoined.

Opening the door and stepping in, Samuel looks decidedly unamused. No cigar. No cigarette. No jaunty smile and no flippant phrase. He folds his arms across his chest, looking at the two women, with something akin to annoyance.

"You stand up, stop sniveling, and get back to living. Or you die." Kass's words are not kind, but they are not said in any angry tone either, simply matter of fact. "You pick, Lilith. Life with pain, or death." The elf watches Lilith cry, not closing because of the *big fucking snake* and remarks, "Walls are only so good, and they can't stand up against assault from without and within. You will eventually destroy yourself if you keep hiding, keep pushing everyone away."

She looks over her shoulder at Samuel, not particularly surprised to see him here. Then again, her soon-to-be spouse is telepathic and keeps her informed.

Lilith clutches onto the snake like it's a lifeline. Her eyes widen, washed with tears and then stark terror as she spots Samuel. Frozen now while the fires still rage inside her. Speaking to Kass, but unable to look away. "I don't…I don't want to hide anymore. Gods. I don't want to hide. I want to…to know people like a normal person. I want to feel like i belong. I want to be wanted. I want to live. I just don't know how."

Lilith says "I can live with pain. I always have."

Johny opines then… "Life sucks. Buy a hat."

He steps further in to the room then, arms coming off his chest, one going to his hip, the other to his neck as if to rub out the stress of this-shit-again-ness. "Not to be flippant, Lilith." Says he, stepping closer, unafraid of the snake. It's a constrictor, not a striker. "Let me talk to you about 'don't know how'." He reaches out, one hand tapping the snake on its head. The snake is unamused.

"There is no one in this group who had an easy life. Ally comes closest, but I assure you, in her closet demons lie." he says, looking back to Kass, then to Lilith. "You're not going to get any fucking pity or kudos from any one of us. Not me. Not Kassandra. We are who we are. Horror and pain are part of life, and thats sort of what the watchers are about; Being the first line of defense against that happening to others. Thats why I brought you in, Lilith, not because I wanted to look at your ass or fuck you. Frictions friction, baby.

Nerissa blinks and then slinks down and behind Lilith, peering sulkily up at Sam, leaving Lilith naked and exposed, both figuratively and literally.

Kass quiets again, taking the backseat for a moment. She sidesteps, letting Sam speak to the woman. She breaths quietly, working to maintain the tenuous hold on her temper and mouth.

Lilith doesn't seem to be much aware of herself, merely shaking in an unseen breeze, meeting his gaze frankly. "I know. I know everyone's felt pain. I just…I can handle what we do. I don't expect pity. I don't know what to expect now, though. Gods, Samuel, I've just admitted to people who are the first and closest friends I've ever had things I've not spoken of to any human creature before…and…" she takes a breath, closes her eyes. "I've got to move beyond that. Say I'm sorry to you, Kass, from the bottom of my heart, admit to that, ask for forgiveness I don't deserve. And then…rebuild…or try to…" she trails off, unsure of what to say next.

"Fuck Forgiveness. Fuck it in the ass, Lilith." Says Sam, putting one foot up on a chair to lean over his knee, supported by his elbows. "I don't ask forgiveness for ANYTHING I do. And I won't forgive you for a goddamn thing either. If I fuck up, I accept I fucked up, I apologize to the person I fucked up too, and I -move the fuck on-." He says, his accent sliding around rapidly. There are some hints of Russian, a large amount of Midwest America, some southern. "Forgiveness isn't worth the paper it takes to wipe your ass." He watches her. Carefully.

"You're dramatic. You're young. You think that your hurt, your pain, your path, are core and central to who you are and they define you. Thats not true at all and you know it, you see it around you." He gestures to Kassandra then, pointing with two fingers. "That girls a survivor of more -shit- than you can comprehend, Lilith. More than an orphanage, more than an early, unenviable deflowering. More than a life of prostitution." He points back to himself. "I'm a survivor of being the kind of guy who DID those kinds of things to her, to you, to the whole fucking world. But I am not asking your forgiveness, Lilith. I don't ask for your understanding. All I want, is your acceptance for who I am -making myself to be- with my every action, movement and idea as we move FORWARD in to life."

He stands up then, shaking his head. "Let the past go. It's gone. While your bent over, scrabbling for it, reaching for it, trying for it?" He looks back over his shoulder to Lilith. "The future's fucking you in the ass cause you don't see it coming."

Kass stays quiet for another moment, freezing as Samuel points to her and mentions things that she'd probably rather not have mentioned, much less think about. She listens, quietly moving to retrieve her discarded longcoat off the floor, absently brushing it off and sliding it over her damp shirt and jeans. The elf stays completely out of the conversation, as quiet as she can be.

Lilith eyes widen and she nods, just nods, shocked into silence.

"I accept you as you are. As Kassandra is, as Ally." Pain once again filters through her eyes. "As Alex is." Then dismissed, and she sags a bit, tired now. "The past is gone, as you say. The future is coming."

Johny looks back to Kassandra, offering her a nod. "I apologize." He says then, quieter. He looks to the door, closing his eyes, then back to Lilith. "You are clutching at the past, using it to justify the now." His voice stabilizes in to a single, monotone vocal pattern. "Most people do. It's human nature. But that needs to end. Because you are at the precipice of a chasm, and that chasm leads to self-destruction as you try to fill the round holes of the past with the square pegs of the now. You want to talk? You come find me. I'm willing to talk. You want drama, I'm a bad man to see for it because I'll pin you to the wall and remove your illusions like a flies wings."

Lilith shakes her head. "I don't want drama. I don't. I just don't know what to talk about." She says simply, rubbing her hands.

Kass shakes her head, moving to retrieve her boots from where they bounced off the door, the scuff marks visible from the inside. She searches and finds socks, bra, and panties as well, the underthings having scattered when she gave chase. She tucks two of the items into her pockets, finding a perch to pull on her socks. "It is of no matter, Sam."

Lilith looks to Kass next. Tries to think of what to say. "I'd want to talk to you too, Kass, if you want to."

The elf shrugs, pulling on one short black boot on and going to work on the laces. Kass remarks, "When you feel better." She doesn't look over to the pair, simply working on getting redressed.

Johny shakes his head to Lilith. "Let her go. Sometimes, the best thing you can do for a situation, is let it end, Lilith. Now, I got a call from Ally. Thats why I'm here. I'm assuming, just for the sake of argument, that things went poorly in some social setting you three were having. So that means Kassandra, usually such a font of patience, has reached her tolerance level. Let her go and focus on me. I'm the reserve line, the second string." He rolls his neck, glancing back to Kassandra.

Then back to Lilith. "So. Right now, this is the present. The only thing coming is the future. We can hold our hurts and our wounds to our hearts, making them fresh and a new every day, worrying at them, picking at them like a scab until they bleed, fester or otherwise ruin our fine dresses. Or we can let them go. Ain't easy. Ain't fast. But it works."

Lilith nods, nodding to Kassandra with a sad look, then looking back up to Samuel. She nods, takes a soft breath and sighs.

Kass tugs on the second boot, tying it with quick movements that virtually screams of time in the military or a more militant version of the Girl Scouts. Her voice is quiet to most, but more than audible to someone with Samuel's hearing range, "You are not the second string. Aladriel believed that Lilith might self-harm and was trying to get me out of here before there was an incident between us. That is all. We are sorry to have disrupted your day."

She adjusts the hem of her pants, looking to the other two as she rises, hands moving in her hair to quickly twine the wet and tangled mass into something resembling a single braid, a length of black ribbon held between two fingers. "I am not certain what to say at this point, Lilith, that will matter much. Samuel seems to be helping, or is at least some comfort to you in this matter."

Lilith speaks quietly. "I…I need friends, Kassandra, and I've not had many before. I'd like to keep the ones I've got." She looks at the other woman. "You are, and have been a comfort to me, even if I never showed it."

Johny stays silent now, letting them have the dialog they are having. He straightens up, one hand raises to inspect the fingernails. He needs a manicure.

"I am still your friend, Lilith, or at least trying to be. But this is not a good place for me at the moment, and there are conversations you should have with someone who can be more sympathetic than I, or can deflect your .. issues .. with banter more soothing to your ears. I fear I do not have the patience nor the self-control at the moment." Kass glances at Samuel, "I am sorry for that. I would not add to your burden."

Johny glances to Kassandra, about to say something, but the muscles at the edge of his jaw relax. He thinks for a moment then says… "You present no burden I do not gladly take upon myself. Go. Relax. Swim in the river. It helps." (Arabic)

Lilith stops when she sees Johnny speaking. She just nods and quietly moves back a step.

Kassandra nods once and moves for the door, retrieving her bracelet where it fell. She slides it on and escapes the room, heading for parts unknown.

Exit Kassandra.

Kassandra has left.

Lilith looks down at her hands, at her pet snake, and then again to Samuel. She's…terrified, still, and looks very lonely, very much still in pain, and very confused. Worried, because she hurt Kassandra and might lose a friend, too distraught still to think clearly.

Johny sits down then, on the chair, eying the woman. "So what now, DeWinter?" he asks, looking her over in detail. "First thing, is -get dressed-. Please."

Lilith blinks, finally registering the cold air and her damp hair…she gasps and blushes vibrantly, then turns and flees for her cupboard, quickly grabbing and frantically throwing on a large robe, tying it, then spinning on her feet and clutching it close around her. She stares at Sam for a moment, shaking, while Nerissa slides under the bed. "I…I'm sorry. I didn't realize."

Johny watches Lilith as she moves. "What are you sorry for? What didn't you realize?"

Lilith takes a few hesitant steps forward, seeking the warmth of the fire. "I…I didn't even know I was naked. I was standing there, shivering, bawling like a child, and I didn't even know I was naked."

"Some of the best parties I ever went to ended like that."

Lilith blinks again and then moves past him, to sit in front of the fire, craving it, beginning to dry off. "I…oh. Heh." A faint, weak smile as she looks at him, curling her arms around her knees.

Johny watches Lilith, not with critical eyes, but curious eyes. "So. What happened to set them off so bad?"

Lilith rubs her knees, looking away again. "Set who off?" Her voice a little vague, odd. "Aladriel and Kassandra? Do you mean that they came here, or what happened after?"

Johny exhales. "Given that you were all naked at some point in your conversation and Kassandra left here with no underwear on, I'm going to assume the begining of the situation was more pleasent than the end of it.":

Lilith nods slowly. "They came over to talk. We went into the hottub. Ally…Ally was for more tolerant of me then I deserved. I cracked, broke, screamed, and am as you see me now." She hugs herself again, still unable to shake off the shivering. "I screamed too much. Ally…Kass…they wanted me to open up, and I did…and I couldn't stop."

Lilith nods slowly. "They came over to talk. We went into the hottub. Ally…Ally was for more tolerant of me then I deserved. I cracked, broke, screamed, and am as you see me now." She hugs herself again, still unable to shake off the shivering. "I screamed too much. Ally…Kass…they wanted me to open up, and I did…and I couldn't stop."

Johny looks to Lilith, thinking that over. "Theres a difference between… opening up, Lily… and screaming at people. They, Ally and Kassandra, have put a lot of time and effort in to you. Screaming, probably came off as some kind of overdramatic show of some sort… and it probably scared them."

Lilith shivers, looking into the fire for a moment. "I…I couldn't think. I don't know what happened…there was all this pain inside of me. Lonlieness, confusion. I didn't know what to do with it all and when they broke through it just fell out."

Johny watches the woman now, eyeing her. "I won't deny that there are times I want to scream. Want to yell. Want to break things and kill people, Lilith. But its the bad road. Non-constructive. You've possibly alienated two women who care very deeply fro you."

Lilith groans and puts her face in her hands. "Oh gods, Samuel….what have I done? I wasn't…I didn't mean…not at them. At life, perhaps. At myself."

"What you did was scare them. What you did was… dropped a bomb on them. It wasn't fair of you. It wouldn't be fair of me to suddenly start screaming at you about the horrible things in my life, lily… talk about them, sure. To tell you how I feel, yes. To explain, sure. But to scream and shout… it takes it out of a comforting, loving environment and in to something more. SOmething more -adversarial-."

Lilith finally looks back at him, eyes watering with grief and pain. "I…I don't know what happened. A dam burst. I've never…never…been shown, seen, felt, that kind of love and understanding. I didn't know what they wanted. I didn't know what *I* wanted. It made me even more confused. I knew I had to do something, but I didn't know what!"

"Thats the human nature. Give the ladies a few hours, maybe a day or so… and then try to appologize. And then, yuou know what you need to do?"

Lilith looks at him shakily, clutching her hands into her robe. "What?"

"Stop those things for which you are consistently apologizing. Start thinking about whats going on, seperating that reptilian hind brain we all have, from your mouth. Above all, remember that we care about you. Not as a fleshhole, not as a moneymaker, but as a woman."

Lilith blushes again, lowering her head and nodding. "I…I've been trying already. Meditating, yoga, that sort of thing." She whispers. "I know that…that you care…it's just hard getting used to."

He nods then. "I know. It's been hard for me, too, Lilith. Dealing with the two-way street of emotions and affections. It's hard to handle, but I still do. You need to as well. It comes down to making the choice to open your mouth and expell air at high volumes and at high volume."

Lilith sniffles almost childishly, wiping her nose on her sleeve. "I…I will try, Samuel. I'll go to the gym…to the firing range more often…work off the steam. Learn. Grow in time."

Johny nods, standing up to go. "Sounds like a plan, Lily." He offers her, giving her a nod. "Look at it this way. When it comes to letting go of the past, letting go of things you want… I'm an expert. I'm always here to talk. You've just got to want to talk."

Lilith nods, and shakily stands, trying to pull some of her old composure together. Be the gracious hostess…be grateful. "Th-thankee, Samuel." Her voice once again slips into it's old Cockney, she's too tired emotionally to make the effort now. "You offer more then I deserve to, but I will always take ye words to heart."

Johny nods as he heads for the door. "Good. Take them to mind as well. The heart leads, but the mind must follow."

Lilith nods slowly, watching him go with a forlorn expression. "Aye, sir."

March 05, 2009

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