Portal Breach: The Collision of Worlds :: v.4.0


    A Soak and a Smoke

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    Kev
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    A Soak and a Smoke

    Post by Kev on Mon Jan 25, 2016 3:46 pm

    Time: Night
    Date: January 22, 0006

    When the evening began, it seemed to be a promising one. As suggested by Fear, Kev made a stop after work to buy bath salts and candles. Work had been challenging, with lots of stock and boxes to stack and move. The cold weather wasn't exactly great for his body either...and so, the previous night, Fear had a wonderful idea. Scented bath salts and an assortment of candles, to make for a relaxing atmosphere. A glass jar of pale colored crystals and unscented, white candles were purchased at the mall, and Kev bundled his wares inside the plastic bag as he carried it home. Of course, upon returning home, he didn't immediately hop in the bath. Time was spent with the animals, and with Fear. Getting caught up on affairs throughout the day, a chore or two along with some relaxing together on the couch. As great as it had been to curl up on the couch, that bathtub upstairs began to sing a sweet siren song. Come in, take a soak, wash off the dirt of the day! With a peck to the helm, Kev excused himself and ascended up the stairs. Plastic bag held firmly in hand, Kev took it with him into the master bathroom. He disrobed, pulling off every layer of clothing from his hat, to his shirts, to his socks. He didn't stand naked in the bathroom for long, grabbing a powder blue bathrobe off of a hook and pulling it on to cover his body until he was ready, tying a rope around his waist.

    Dirty clothes were deposited in the hamper, candles were set around the edges of the tub and along the counters. There were even a few lighting up the corners of the bathroom, for when Kev finally turned the light off. For now, he needed the light to get the tub filled up with warm water, scooping the salt into the water. Mmm... Kev sniffed the air lightly. Rose, if he was not mistaken. Particularly from little red bits that looked to be rose petals. There was another floral scent, however! One he was not familiar with. Nostrils twitched lightly as Kev continued to sniff, peering over the side of the tub. A very strong scent, and even a bit fruity? But different from the grapefruit smell that Kev could detect. The air above the water smelled quite sweet, and delectable. Now he was really excited for this bath...! He set the jar aside, making a note to use it again in the future, and he reached for a package of matches--

    Don't come out, Kev, don't come out.

    Kev stiffened, hands grasping the box of matches tightly, arms pressed tightly against his chest as his gaze moved downwards. Down to Fear, and down at the front door, where... The rumbled warning was not ignored, and the lean alien took a deep breath to steady himself, concentrating so as to not cling onto Fear, mentally. It was his first instinct, to reach out with gentle psychic hands and draw the ghoul close. Press the helm to his chest and stroke it, whispering and soothing the man. Protect him, keep him hidden from...him. Alas, Kev knew this was not to be. This could not happen... Not now. With a hesitant nod, Kev directed his gaze back to the bathtub that still called to him, though the call was not so enticing now. Stay inside. Stay upstairs. Stay in the bathroom. One of them had to be happy, feel good. Feel relaxed. It was the best Kev could do right now.

    His heart much heavier than it was when he first began this ritual, he finished the last steps. The match was struck against the side of the box, each and every single candle lit up. Chucking the spent matches into the trash, he flicked the light switch off and admired the mood lighting. Soft, yellow glows around the room, surrounded by shadows. As his eyes adjusted to the lighting, Kev stepped forward to the tub and untied his sash, shrugging the robe off. Folding it in his arms, he set it down next to the tub and finally began to climb in, first one foot and then the other. His body settled against the firm plaster of the tub, stretching his limbs out in the water. Warmth seemed to encase him like a cocoon, water coating his scales. Some of the bath salts rubbed against the soles of his feet as he adjusted position. From here, the fragrance was strong and yet still comfortable. It was not too overbearing. His scaly dome tilted back to rest against the side of the tub, arms floating lightly in the water as he kept his eyes closed and soaked in the experience. The warm, the soothing smells. Physically, he felt relaxed. His muscles were already beginning to cry out with relief and joy, tingling at the warmth. Tight spots in his shoulders and back unraveled like pulled taffy, and his body settled into the tub comfortably.

    As great as he felt physically, mentally was...another matter. Like a constant worry in the back of his mind, bobbing about like a buoy in the ocean, Kev was still aware of the conversation downstairs. No matter how much he kept his gaze to the roof, closing his eyes and pretending to be basking in the sun. A hand made small circles in the water, creating a little water spout as the talk downstairs continued. Mortis' demeanor was...strange, like one who had left to go to the store only to return a year later. He was curious about what had happened to his brother in his absence. A tired sigh escaped the alien, lids opening to stare up at the stucco along the ceiling. With such dark lighting, the stucco almost looked like little stars...

    ...Upset. Fear was upset. Kev's fingers twitched in the water as he felt Fear's emotions through the bond, heard his voice through the walls. With his brother back, Fear was getting his chance to talk, to let out his feelings. A month had gone by. Over a month, and so much...had happened. Idly, Kev remembered a box from Miss Lunette and wondered if he should ask Fear to give it to Mortis... Though perhaps, whatever was inside, the Judge didn't deserve it. Kev owed it to her to try though, right? Kev pushed against the tub, beginning to rise up--

    Fear wrote:"You abandoned me."

    --Only to sink back down until the water splashed against the bottom of his chin. Oh...oh Fear... Kikiri... Three hundred years together, and all it took was Kev to splinter the Judges apart...? One idle fascination, undoing years of brotherhood and work? He didn't want this...he never wanted this for Fear. This gnawing, burning feeling in one's heart, the pain of putting faith and trust in a relationship that would eventually become one-sided. Feeling as though something had been torn from one's very soul. Even the guilt was familiar... "N-nn..." Stay in the tub, don't leave it. It was not yet safe. Where once had been anger, was only...sadness. A deep weariness. This year was supposed to be better... Kev sighed again, and wrapped his arms snugly around his own knees, lifting himself up to rest his chin atop his kneecaps. His forearms made a pillow for his head, eyes focused on nothing in particular as he merely...listened. On some level, he was still admiring the bath. It smelled lovely, his body was still relaxed and limp. In his mind though, Kev was...disappointed. With words of parting, the door was shut upon their guest.

    ...So this is how a partnership of three hundred years ends. Quiet urging to leave, and a locked door. Brotherhood. Judges. Brothers in arms. Three hundred years. In the end, it meant nothing. It meant nothing, because Kev got in the way. Fell in love... People had been hurt, were still recovering. Another sigh escaped the alien. Even in undeath...not all things lasted forever...




    The rest of his bath had been spent in silence, attempting to salvage the bath for himself and for Fear. They both needed to feel good, to feel relaxed. To feel soothed. Feel the scrub of mesh against his scales, scrubbing away dirt and grime. Once he ran out of scales to clean, and he had absorbed enough water to carry a floral scent about his scales, the alien crawled out of the tub. Draining the water and drying himself off, he slipped the bathrobe back on as he entered into his bathroom to get dressed. Due to the...events of the night, he doubted that they would be going to the Sanctuary tonight... Kev decided to dress as if he were going to bed. Dark grey thermal pants and long sleeved shirt, a pair of black boxers beneath the thermal pants. Dark purple pajama pants with black paw print patterns all around, matching purple socks for his feet, and a baggy, light gray shirt. Kev practically swam in it, with how baggy the shirt was and the way it seemed to drape across his shoulders. The baggy nature helped keep in warmth, though. The final touch was a pair of dark brown slippers that he pulled over his socks. The fabric all felt plush, comfortable against his scales. Kev tugged at a sleeve, straightening it out and smoothing the crinkles before he left the room and began to step down the stairs, one step at a time.

    Fear had been given some time, distance. Just in case...he was not doing so well. Fear had warned him in the past to stay away during times of emotional duress...but Kev could keep away no longer. As soon as his slippers set foot on the first floor, every step to the kitchen was soft and careful. Soon, he moved past the kitchen and into the laundry room, where the door to the basement seemed to loom. Fear's private area, his room... The ghoul was definitely inside, Kev could feel the psychic energy beneath the carpet under his feet. A hand reached out, twisting the knob steadily and slowly, opening the door with a gentle creak. "Fear..." Kev called out, one dark blue eye peeking down the basement stairs through the crack. "How...how are you feeling? Can I...come down there and see you?" He asked permission, not wanting to charge down the stairs and barge in on Fear's special space. Tonight had gone from promising, to...saddening. It had not gone as Kev hoped it would, but that wasn't new... Not for them.


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    Re: A Soak and a Smoke

    Post by Fear on Mon Jan 25, 2016 8:02 pm

    Things had more or less gone as... expected. Not great, but expected. By the time Kev had finished with his soak upstairs and was feeling twenty years younger, roughly fifteen minutes had passed since the... the confrontation, yes. That was a polite word of putting it. Funny how fifteen minutes could feel like an eternity.  

    "Fear... How...how are you feeling? Can I...come down there and see you?"

    Right.

    The night was far from over, eternity or not.

    There was a muted shuffling from downstairs, metal jingling against metal. "You may enter, yesss," permitted a voice. Kev would have little difficulty opening the basement door; it was unlocked, a fairly unusual deviance from the norm, but it could be reasoned that the alien's presence had been expected. As for the basement itself? He would find it exactly as he imagined: tidy, clean, and everything placed and arranged into their proper places. There wasn't an ounce of disorder to be seen. The aroma could be a tad more pleasant, but... you can't everything, now, can you? At the far back, messing with the room's only storage area, towered yours truly. Several cardboard boxes were spread around him, some filled with innocuous things such as notebooks and various papers, while others had yet to be used. A gangrenous hand reached upward for the chain around his frail neck and unhooked it with a metallic clip; the imposing mantraps proudly adorned upon his bony shoulders noticeably sagged.

    "Did you enjoy your bath?" he asked. Small talk, surely. But even small talk had its place within conversation. "It felt nice," the fiend continued, "and you made a tasssteful choice in fragrance. Ssstrange, though... I wasssn't expecting to sssample anything through your ssskin." Just one of the many little details so commonly forgotten in the bigger scheme of things. At least roses, even if muddied by salt and bathwater, weren't too offensive on the palette.
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    Re: A Soak and a Smoke

    Post by Kev on Tue Jan 26, 2016 2:46 am

    There was movement downstairs, the sound of metal rattling about. The corpse did not lumber up the stairs, giving verbal permission for the alien to enter. Nodding lightly to himself, Kev opened the door completely and entered, stepping down the first few stairs hesitantly. The door was closed shut behind him, quiet yet firm. Nothing else should enter right now. No animals, no robots...no young ladies. This was private. Kev kept his footsteps light as he made his way down the stairs, one hand grasping the banister. The basement was cleaner and more organized than the cellar, though that wasn't all Fear's fault... The cellar doubled as a storage area after all. The cellar hadn't been converted into much of a room, though Fear had never complained about it. Here though, it was tidier. It was roomy too, looking like a normal bedroom that just happened to be under the first floor. The smell was to be expected, though it wasn't as noticeable to him. The smell of the bath salts was still present on his scales and in his nose, so the lingering smell of rot and decay could be ignored. It was not important right now.

    Fear's room seemed to have more boxes in here than usual... Kev stepped closer to Fear's corner, head tilted to the side as he peered down at the open boxes. Some were still empty, waiting to be used, others were filled with notebooks and papers of some kind. Kev's gaze returned to the corpse when he heard a slight jingle of metal. Fear had unhooked a metallic chain that was usually attached to his neck, and the mantraps were sagging on the corpse's bony shoulders. Was he removing his mantraps and chains...? Even now, with Fear being a retired Judge, he seldom removed his mantraps and chains... Giving one of the mantraps a cursory glance, Kev looked back at Fear's helm and nodded his head in response. "I did. You were right, it felt great. My body feels rubbery, like I just got a massage. I'm glad it felt nice for you." The alien tugged lightly on the sleeve of his thermal shirt, keeping his hands busy as they made small talk. "Thank you. They had a lot of choices but that one seemed to be the most relaxing blend. I still have some left, so I can take another bath like that in the future." He chuckled lightly. "I wasn't expecting to taste so much of it either. I hope it didn't taste bad for you." It probably tasted better than bath soap.

    The scaly alien gave another glance to the boxes scattered about the floor. "Do you need any help packing anything away?" He did not want to put sand in the wound by asking what Fear was packing away, or why. Considering the conversation that had happened...Kev could wager a guess.


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    Re: A Soak and a Smoke

    Post by Fear on Tue Jan 26, 2016 3:17 am

    No, Fear didn't reckon bath soap had a very appetizing taste. He also didn't reckon that Kev was in his usual comfort zone. "You can sssit down on the bed," the fiend offered. "I made it thisss morning; clean sssheetsss and no creepy-crawliesss, I promissse." Much like the outlying basement around the alien, the room's single bed was kept simple and neat. There was nothing save for one pillow, a few plain sheets, and a thick comforter to ward off January's chill; everything felt soft to the touch and smelled strongly of fresh linens.

    "Do you need any help packing anything away?"

    One of the mantraps loosened to the point of sloping precariously off the ghoul's spindly arm, its steely jaw growing slack. "No, that will not be necessssary," Fear answered. And, to prove his point, he turned upon his calloused heels and gave his signature weapon a hearty - SNAP! The mantrap's jaw came crashing down almost as if to maliciously grin at the alien. Even when at rest and seemingly harmless, those sinister teeth were always craving the fresh taste of blood. "You might losssse a finger or two, ha ha. Pleassse, sssit down, sssit down. You make me nervousss ssstanding in the doorway." Not really, but any attempt at lightening up the mood was desperately wanted. Demonstration finished, the mantrap found its way snugly into one of the boxes and was soon joined by its identical kin. Bulky little buggers... They practically took up the entire box on their own!
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    Re: A Soak and a Smoke

    Post by Kev on Tue Jan 26, 2016 3:52 am

    Sit on the bed? Right... Fear didn't exactly have a sitting area in his basement. No chairs seated at the table, no couches... Kev nodded again, taking a step back and giving Fear a bit of space. "Alright!" He began to make his way over to the bed along the wall, the linens smelled quite fresh as he approached them. "I'll hold you to that. If I see any creepy-crawlies, I'll have to discipline you." The alien teased lightly, wiggling his eyebrows back at the corpse before he faced the bed. Kev leaned down, resting his palms against the comforter. He began to sweep his hands over the fabric, patting it down as he 'searched' for bugs. Peeling the comforter back, he gave the sheets a glance as well before he laid it all back down to rest as Fear had prepared it. He even grabbed the pillow and gave it a fluffing, patting it between his hands and creating a muffled noise. "Hm...no bugs. You are safe...for now." The bed definitely smelled fresh, as if it had just been in the washer and dryer. If it had been any other time, Kev would have slipped beneath the comforter and made himself comfortable, invited Fear to join him too. The situation being what it was though, he would admire it as it was.

    Fear declined help, and a sharp SNAP suddenly sounded! Kev's scales bristled up and he turned on his own heel! Thankfully, the noise was simply Fear's mantrap. A very dangerous little thing, if Kev were to help Fear pack it up, he might lose a finger, or worse. Suffice to say, the alien's feelings weren't hurt by the rejection of his offer. Nodding his head in understanding, Kev finally bent down and settled himself down upon the bed gently, springs barely squeaking as he sat. They were used to far heavier, he imagined. "Sorry, I know this is your special space...I didn't want to come in and throw my weight around. Spread myself across your bed, bring in all the animals for a party, eat some chips on here and get crumbs in your clean sheets... That'd drive you crazy, huh?" The alien clasped both hands upon his lap like a student ready for a lecture, staring back at the Judge attentively. Both mantraps had been shed, packed in a box. The corpse looked...thinner, without them. Smaller... Unspoken questions were now cropping up in his skull, yearning to be asked even though it surely wasn't the time to be asking questions. Kev settled on a more benign one. "How many things do you have left to pack?"


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    Re: A Soak and a Smoke

    Post by Fear on Tue Jan 26, 2016 6:44 am

    No chairs, for those were for sitting. And no couches, for those were for lounging. An animated corpse needn't bother with either, though it may be desired. If Fear so wanted, he could have simply declared a corner for himself and posed there like some macabre statue, radiating unpleasant energies from his wicked core while as lifeless as the grave. Of course, that was all very droll, wasn't it? He could do that at any time of day or night, be it within this house or another. Standing around in the exact same spot made existence dreary, trivial. The difference between a box and a room relied heavily upon personal touches and bothering to fiddle around with them. This was better for the mind, and so additional furniture would be requested. Not now, but... soon, yes. It would be nice to decorate and keep his thoughts relatively mundane.

    Fear almost didn't hear Kev speak, his leathery fingers too busy trailing over polished metal and jagged teeth. Oh how he was going to painfully miss these burdensome things... They had centuries of good memories together, with much blood and flesh violently torn from their countless victims and foes. Ah, but that was enough stalling. It was with a heavy heart that the fiend hefted up the crate and placed it onto a nearby shelf within the room's only closet. A sorrowful end for such fond, fond weapons... Guess everything was shelved at some point or another.

    "If it isss dissscipline you ssseek, then you will mossst asssuredly be disssappointed," he rasped, swiveling back around. Thinner between the shoulders was an apt observation, as Fear looked considerably less imposing. It smarted. Just a teensy bit. "I wassshed thossse sssheetsss thisss morning, and all the little blightersss that thought to nessst and multiply were promptly disssposssed."

    That hearty aroma from the fireplace earlier this morning wasn't a product of a few burning logs. Now, what's this about spreading weight around and throwing wild parties while simultaneously eating chips?

    It took a few seconds, but the fiend eventually understood what Kev had meant. "...Ah, you mean crissspsss." Because eating a handful of chips wouldn't be as messy as, say, a handful of greasy crisps. He shook a finger, once again turning his back to the alien. "I get it, I get it." A decent attempt at humour, Kev, a decent attempt. Fear tried his hardest not to think too much about the scaly bugger making a mess down here and instead began to remove the weighty cape off his shoulders. Easier said than done. It was detached with a forceful shake, layers of dust clouding the air, and held upright to better inspect and admire. Say... he had never gotten around to patching up those bullet holes, had he? "Hmm..." Ah well, no time for that now. After a second or two of saying his quiet goodbyes and farewells, the cape too was neatly folded into a thick square and set aside into an awaiting box. It was a wonderful accessory and one that stood him out from all the rest, but... The ghoul lightly sighed. But it ultimately had no place moving forward, the same with damn near everything else he used to proudly wear.

    "How many things do you have left to pack?"

    Ah, right. Kev was still here, wasn't he?

    The fiend lazily shrugged, hands currently unfastening his utility belt. "Oh, not much," Fear answered, undoing a few chains. Their melodious rattle was incredibly therapeutic. "Jussst a few more thingsss and I'll be finissshed. I never owned much of anything, really." Which made these far and few meager possessions all the more insufferable to part with.
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    Re: A Soak and a Smoke

    Post by Kev on Tue Jan 26, 2016 7:57 am

    Throughout his 'search' of Fear's bed, Kev glanced back at the corpse as if waiting for his reaction to the joke, especially the 'promise' of disciplinary actions. The alien wasn't being serious, of course, but it was his attempt to lighten the mood. A chuckle, a snort, something. Instead, however, Fear didn't seem to hear him at first, long fingers tracing the mantraps and all of his body language focused on putting them away in his closet. This wasn't just Fear taking them off for a couple of days...was it...? A bit of unease found its way into Kev's chest, though he ignored it with a small chuckle. "I can handle some disappointment." He had no need for disciplining Fear right now. "You did a great job, these sheets smell fresh. You wouldn't think there had ever been any little blighters on them!" Fear was rather meticulous when it came to cleaning, and Kev trusted him to know what to do with bugs and other unsavory things. The ghoul wasn't going to just leave them in the backyard to climb back in...

    Kev's second attempt at humor was better received, even if it was delayed. "Right, crisps! Sorry, I'm used to the yank word for them." Some of Fear's idioms and phrases came easy to him, such as 'diddums' and 'footy', but others were more difficult. Years of 'potato chips' still won out over 'crisps'. The alien perked up as Fear wagged a finger, perhaps the first time he ever got excited to have a finger wagging in his direction like that! Alas, no attempt at humor could erase any feeling from the past hour. Kev's body language sobered up when Fear shook the heavy cape off, kicking up some dust into the air. In the back of his mind, he made a note to himself to find a feather duster. He pulled both of his feet closer to himself, rather than letting his legs stretch out across the floor and take up space Fear may need. Kev joined Fear in admiring the cape, a bit tattered and very much used, but he knew there was comfort in it. Certain articles of clothes just seemed to...fit, sometimes. For Fear though...it seems the time had come to retire this cape, along with his mantraps. Folded and stashed away in a separate box... Kev sighed at the same time as Fear, turning his gaze down to the floor. This was really it, wasn't it...?

    Fear wrote:"Jussst a few more thingsss and I'll be finissshed. I never owned much of anything, really."

    He looked wrong, and sad, without his cape and mantraps. Without his chains. Fear had given up some much already, why did he have to depart with everything else as well? His badge, his clothes, the last remains of his home, his b--The train of thought was abruptly interrupted, the alien forcing himself to switch gears as his fingers grasped Fear's comforter tightly. Make him feel better, be a good guypal! Do for Fear what he had always done for you! "No rush, you can take as much time as you need to." Kev scooted further down the bed, moving next to the pillow as his other hand gave the spot beside him a welcoming pat. Whenever Fear was ready to sit, Kev had an open space ready for him. Though Fear didn't seem up for very much right now, did he...?

    Kev's fingers drummed along the fabric anxiously, eyes back down on the flooring of the basement. "When...when you're done packing, we can do whatever you want to do. I don't have work tomorrow until later in the day so...we can talk for as long as you need to."


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    Re: A Soak and a Smoke

    Post by Fear on Tue Jan 26, 2016 8:43 am

    B-word alert, B-word alert.

    "Mm..." Questions, racing thoughts, that dreaded anxiety - Fear was a good sport, but even his patience had its limits. He dropped his utility belt into the same box housing his cape, hissing, "You know, Kev, it would be easssier if you would jussst ssspit it out." No really, it would be. There was nothing worse than feeling mental constipation. Well, aside from soul-crushing despair and extreme loneliness. Another sigh escaped the ghoul's frail throat, this one more strained than the last, as he dumped several hefty pounds worth of padlocks, traps, and chains alongside his musty belt. "Time isss my enemy," Fear answered, his words terse. "I could take all the time I desssire, but thisss wound will not heal in the time it takesss for a mortal to be born and then die. I underssstand that you mean well, Kev, but time isss different in the grave." Sometimes, it was just so damn frustrating to comprehend the alien's shortsightedness. However, could that really be Kev's fault? The average mortal thought in years, decades. Seldom did they think to establish anything beyond the first century. But Fear...

    That's all Fear saw, that's all Fear knew. He didn't understand a second, let alone a week or a month. Days passed him by like an instinctual breath. Even something so mechanical as the rising and setting of the sun was at times lost upon him. His entire existence was simply one conscious thought to the next. No rest, no pauses, just... nothing.

    Nothing but the thoughts tumbling around in his abyssal dome.

    Time was his jailor, and his mind a prison. Still, the alien didn't mean any harm. Kev was merely... ignorant. Like the fiend was ignorant of the here and now. Fear reached up and snapped off his metal collar, eyes lost in thought, as he flipped it around within his rancid clutches. This was the last piece of his uniform that needed to be shelved. And yet... Click! And yet he couldn't stand to be without it, something so simple as a ring of thick, black metal secure against his throat. The last box was put away and the closet door was closed, Fear striding for the nightstand beside the room's bed. "I felt naked," was his basic excuse for keeping it.

    "When...when you're done packing, we can do whatever you want to do. I don't have work tomorrow until later in the day so...we can talk for as long as you need to."

    If there was anything deserving of a tired chuckle, it was this. A pack of European smokes was produced from the orderly confines of a drawer, Fear butting its soft bottom upon a rotted palm. "You're lucky I'm not a lawyer," he said, wedging a smoke between the cut metal of his helmet's visor. "If I wasss, you would learn to be more ssspecific with your wordsss." Alas, alas. He retrieved a lighter and shoved the nightstand closed with a skeletal knuckle, eyeing the alien with his usual wall-eyed stare. Actual eyes were a luxury with undeath. "I'm heading outssside for a sssmoke. If you want to join me, grab a blanket from upssstairsss and maybe a hot drink. Anything'sss better than ssstaying cooped down here and moping in my own ussselesss ssself-pity." Besides, Kev... wouldn't you prefer the fresh wintry air compared to the pungent, rancid stench of death?

    Fear didn't stay much longer after extending the invitation. He flipped the lighter between his fingers and headed for the stairs, his spine as rigid as a book's and his feet as light as a cat's. There was a smoke begging to be savoured and by Jove he was going to enjoy every carcinogenic puff.
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    Re: A Soak and a Smoke

    Post by Kev on Tue Jan 26, 2016 9:52 am

    It took no time for Fear to cut to the chase, depositing his belt now as he showed off some of that Fear brand bluntness. Kev flinched, his chest feeling rather tight and uncomfortable as he forced himself to breath. In and out, calmly, slowly... "It would be easier if I knew what to say..." He replied, not nearly as tired as Fear and yet... And yet he felt tired and saddened all the same. Guilty, too. Some small part of him wanted to dig a hole in the ground and climb in, hide from Fear, and work, and everything else and just stay hidden in the crust of the planet. Yet the alien made no move to actually dig into the dirt like a dog. What do you say, when your boyfriend has given up everything he ever had for you? His job, his un-life, his brother? His badge? How do you comfort him, when you are the reason he suffers? If Kev apologized, it'd seem as if he were apologizing for his emotions, for...well, them. And how many times had Kev already done that, only to be assured that it was worth it? Not to regret what they had? If Kev came right out and made some 'clever' observation of what had clearly just happened...he'd probably make Fear upset, or just rub salt in the wound. Even worse, even the most innocuous sentence seemed to only upset him more.

    His fingers began to play with the edges of his shirt, grasping the cotton. "I-I didn't mean--I just meant...you c-could take your time packing your things." The alien took a shaky breath in, confused. He knew Fear perceived time differently, saw things differently. He was a much slower creature, taking time to cultivate feelings. Taking time to sort through them. Taking time to heal. Kev understood all of this and tried to be patient through every step of Fear's healing. When the alien had told Fear to take all the time he needed, it was with regards to packing, not his emotions for his brother. Kev knew, perhaps better than anyone, that the pain of cutting someone off like this wasn't something to get over in a night. This was going to sting for a long, long time... Longer for Fear than it had for Kev.

    The Kryptonistanian remained respectfully quiet, barely lifting his gaze from the floor aside from a few glances at Fear as he made some noise in his packing and moving. Chains and padlocks had been stowed away, the belt with shrunken heads and all sorts of doo-dads also hidden in boxes with his cape and mantraps. All that was left that made him Fear were his uniform, his helm, and the metal collar. When Fear found it unbearable to remove the collar, Kev could hardly blame him. Fear already looked strange, if he were to take that collar off too... "It looks better on you, anyway." It really did, in an odd way. The ghoul's neck felt...better, with that cold metal thing hitched around it. Fear came close now, but he did not sit down on the bed. He moved to the nightstand instead. The scaly alien looked up at him, head tilted as Fear let out a fatigued chuckle, and pulled a pack of cigarettes out of the stand. "..." He let out a tired sigh of his own. He wasn't even sure what he'd done wrong that time. It had been left open-ended for Fear to complete, for Fear to decide. If he had to, Kev was completely willing to call in a sick day so he could take care of Fear and give him support. He wasn't specific because he didn't know what, specifically, Fear wanted him to do, or say. Every choice seemed to carry an unintended edge to it. As if he were walking on a razor's edge. Being considerate made him too cautious, if he were too reckless he may hurt Fear further. If he were blase about what happened, he'd push Fear away. If he broke down crying he'd only make Fear feel awful. What to do, what to do...

    Kev seemed to sink into the bed, allowing the ghoul to eye him all he wished, head bowed low. When Fear spoke again it was to tell Kev that he wished to go outside and smoke. He invited Kev to join him, urging him to bring a blanket and perhaps a drink if he did. Kev nodded to show he heard the ghoul's deep voice, but otherwise remained quiet. Fear should go outside, have a smoke, get some air. Get far away from these packed boxes for a little bit. The ghoul left the basement, leaving up the steps. Kev remained on the bed for several minutes after Fear left, before he flopped suddenly onto his side on Fear's bed, both arms grasping for the lone pillow and pulling it into a crushing grip against his chest. His eyes felt tight, a deep pressure behind the sockets as if he was going to cry. No tears flowed out though, and he merely pinned the pillow tighter to his chest. His breathing came out in quick, heaving little gasps that almost sounded like hiccups.

    A minute ticked by, and then two minutes. His breathing steadily slowed, and the tight pressure behind his eyes lessened. His body relaxed, and the pillow was freed from the death grip, fluffed as if in apology to the poor thing. Kev sat back up, and placed the pillow back down upon the bed. He stood and straightened the comforter and sheets out from where his movement had ruffled to military neatness Fear had imposed on the bed linens. Once the bed looked undisturbed, he followed Fear's path up the stairs, even though his feet were more like a couple of Percys than cats. Before Kev could come outside with Fear though, he made a detour upstairs. The green comforter was pulled off of his bed and bundled about himself like a makeshift robe, draped about his shoulders and wrapped around his arms. No bit of the soft fabric was left to touch the ground, and he returned on his path to the back yard. Through the set of white doors in the family room, Kev was careful to shut the doors silently before he stepped out onto the patio and began to look for Fear. All he had to do was follow the puffs of smoke, right?


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    Re: A Soak and a Smoke

    Post by Fear on Tue Jan 26, 2016 10:20 am

    "It would be easier if I knew what to say..."

    You know how it is, Kev - life is just full of disappointments and uncertainty.

    Whether it was out of mercy or because the old ghoul was just plain exhausted, Fear decided to grant Kev some alone time of his own. Hell, the little bugger needed it. As much as the alien tried his hardest to act rough around the edges and show grit, Kev was at his very core a sensitive and caring individual. Poor sod... He was probably taking this just as hard, if not even harder solely because he felt that he had failed in some way. They'll have to get it all out of Kev's system before sending him off to bed.

    Outside, things were more or less as one would expect on a cold, quiet January night. The city lights drowned out the twinkling of stars above, and the coarse sound of rubber pressing against hard asphalt belied the coming and going of cars and transports. It was late but not late enough for a few stragglers or night owls. Fear paid them no mind, however. Whereas it was usually implied that one would have a seat at the patio table, enjoying soft cushions and smooth wood, the fiend would much rather rest his carcass against the giant oak tree in the far back right corner of the yard. He remained seated upon the earth itself, idly puffing away on his first smoke of the evening. With both gangly arms crossed behind his helmet and a leg stretched over the other, Fear had become the epitome of rest and relaxation; ironic, that. He noticed a familiar set of large eyes emerge from the house's dark interior and cracked his knobby toes.

    "Over here," he hailed the alien, voice effortlessly carrying across the grass. "I sssee you brought the upssstairsss comforter - good. They sssay it'sss going to be a cold night. Wouldn't want you to get sssick or anything, ha ha." Because that would just be the cherry on this shit-sundae, wouldn't it?
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    Re: A Soak and a Smoke

    Post by Kev on Tue Jan 26, 2016 11:24 am

    Once Kev had left the warmth of the house, the french door shutting behind his back, the alien could feel a stark difference in the air. Though he had been out and about in this weather before, it only seemed to have gotten colder since he walked in the front door. The chilly air bit at his face, and the alien grimaced as best he could at the sensation. Thankfully, his clothes and the comforter did a good job of keeping the cold air from invading his personal space and giving him hypothermia. His face was still quite exposed though... Jerking the comforter up a few notches, Kev made a little makeshift hood to cover the majority of his head and he began to step out onto the cement. His eyes first found the patio table and matching chairs, squinting at them to discern any tall, dark figures lurking there. Nope, not there... Kev ventured further out onto the patio, resting a hand on the top of one chair as he looked out across the yard. It was not so dark out here, with the lights of the city in the distance. The night was rather quiet too, almost still. The backyard here could not compare to the backyard at the cottage, not only in size but also in sheer presence. This yard was bound by a fence, very useful and a necessity. But the fence made it look so...small. The front yard was smaller still, and sometimes it still took him by surprise.

    A voice called out from the dark corners of the yard, and the alien leaned forward on his toes to squint into the distance. Even with the distance, the voice sounded as if it were spoken right beside Kev's ear. Ah, there he was... Kev could see the soft light of his lit cigarette. "Yeah, I figured this would be the best blanket to keep me warm." The warm drink Fear had suggested was tempting, but in the end he just wanted a blanket. If it got too cold, he may run in and make some tea. Thankful for his slippers, the scaly alien stepped out onto the lawn and kept to the right as he walked down the wooden fencing. Each step was deliberate and careful, avoiding any animal droppings that may have been dropped since the last time the yard was picked up after. Eventually he made it to the oak tree Fear was leaning on, looking rather relaxed. Hiking the comforter up so that he wouldn't sit on it and get it dirty, Kev settled himself down upon the grass to the left of Fear. His legs crossed, he draped the length of the comforter along his lap to keep it clean yet still keep him warm. His arms crossed over his lap and he leaned forward onto them, staring down at the grass for a moment as he pondered what to say.

    "..." Ugh...why did this have to be so complicated? Why did any of it have to be so complicated? His head lolled forward, though his emotions did not feel so desperate and saddened as they did before he had his moment alone. Kev sighed and turned his head to look back at Fear. "I'm so sorry, that you had to do that... I know it is what's best for you, but... I know it's hard. And I'm...I'm sorry it had to come to that." Perhaps it was a long time coming, after what happened in August. But if Fear was willing to forgive and forget... Mortis' refusal to do the same made it difficult to continue their relationship. And Fear wasn't a fan of vicious, unproductive cycles...


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    Re: A Soak and a Smoke

    Post by Fear on Tue Jan 26, 2016 11:51 am

    Oh right, animal droppings were a thing, weren't they? Name one thing Fear didn't bother checking as he walked onto the grass. Here's a hint: it rhymes with 'boo'. "It'sss a sssmart choice in outerwear," the ghoul nodded, keeping a couple of eyes fastened on the alien. The rest were far too busy swiveling around in their pulsating sockets or gazing sleepily ahead. "I reckon you won't freeze nearly asss fassst asss you would in your jimjamsss." It must be awful being coldblooded, but Fear figured it couldn't be any worse than being an undead. At least Kev could physically feel what it meant to be freezing. Anyway...

    "I'm so sorry, that you had to do that... I know it is what's best for you, but... I know it's hard. And I'm...I'm sorry it had to come to that."

    There it was.

    There was that sensitive, caring Kev he knew. An admonishing finger at once whacked itself against the alien's head. Not strongly or anything upsetting, but the gesture was bound to ruffle a few scales. "Ah, ah!" Fear chided, wagging the same finger before Kev's round eyes. "Don't you dare, Kev-Mak-Tarr. Don't you dare apologize for what happened back there. It wasssn't your bloody fault and you know it." The absolutely last thing they needed on their shared plate was for Kev to suffer a bout of self-loathing and guilt! A muted grunt left the fiend's helmet as he resumed lounging, hands resting over his abdomen. "I did what had to be done. I did what wasss bessst for usss," he hissed sternly. "And it'sss difficult to ssstomach, yesss. But nothing - and I mean nothing - wasss your fault, Kev. My brother made hisss choicesss and he wissshesss to remain a Judge. Therefore, he needsss to hold himssself to a higher, objective ssstandard; hisss jealousssy and incompetence in dealing with hisss emotionsss liesss sssolely on hisss ssshoulders, not yoursss." And that was that, you understand?

    For a good while nothing but the sweet, earthy aroma of tobacco filled the air, Fear quietly blowing cloudy wisps of smoke with every fictitious breath. Well... that had certainly been one helluva opening to their discussion, hadn't it? Probably a bit too firm, but the ghoul knew when to put his foot down. Nevertheless, he soon reached over and made certain that Kev was bundled up nice and tight, leathery hands every now and then smoothing the emerald scales atop Kev's head and face gently.

    "There wasss nothing either of usss could have done," Fear continued quietly, calmer than before. "My brother isss a ssstubborn, ssstubborn sssoul. Asss much asss I care for him and wisssh thingsss were not asss they are, hisss choicesss are ultimately hisss own. Removing his toxicity from my exissstence wasss the only way." And that did not come easy to admit.

    Another tired sigh, another lengthy puff. "How are you feeling? Better? You had a tenssse moment down there, in the basssement."
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    Re: A Soak and a Smoke

    Post by Kev on Tue Jan 26, 2016 1:57 pm

    Haha, jimjams... "Yeah, a comforter this thick should offer a good buffer against the cold." In a way, it was even better than a jacket. Those could only cover arms and torso, after all. The thermals he wore alongside his pajamas were also useful against the cold, but they couldn't do much on their own. They were good insulators but since Kev couldn't create his own warmth...they couldn't exactly help him generate any. Indeed, the comforter was a much better alternative. Sitting down with it now, it made for a nice little tent of warmth and security.

    BOINK

    Too bad comforters were defenseless against skeletal fingers. "..." The alien blinked, little brain whirring for a moment as he had to sit there and think for a moment; did Fear really bap him on the head? With a finger, no less? The gesture was confusing, and Kev gave the ghoul a little squint as that same finger began to wag. The gesture seemed more scolding this time, and so the scales began to bristle. What was all this, eh?

    "Don't you dare, Kev-Mak-Tarr. Don't you dare apologize for what happened back there. It wasssn't your bloody fault and you know it."

    The words were like a salve. Logically, Kev knew he wasn't exactly to blame... It was a hard situation, and even thinking logically, there was still a feeling that this would never have happened if it wasn't for him. Kev squashed that feeling down and held onto what Fear was saying, closing his eyes. It... wasn't his fault. The words were stern, but they were exactly what the alien needed to hear. His body language relaxed considerably, letting out a small puff of air. Both Fear and Kev had offered help and assistance to Mortis, both had offered council and chances. Both had been met with skepticism, distrust, and paranoia. Mortis had been good for a moment there...and then he came rolling right back into the same corner. It was...sad. As if the Judge was trapped. But...it wasn't their fault. It wasn't their fault. Uttering a small "Yes sir.", Kev sat in a contemplative silence. Opening his eyes, he observed the backyard. Wind blew through the trees and through Fear's wispy smoke trails. Grass rustled along the ground, and aside from the odd snort and snore, the animals that were in the shed seemed fast asleep. As cold as the air was, it did feel...better, now. It was nice, getting some air...

    A hand reached over and Kev glanced at the corpse with an arched brow. The large hand moved his comforter around, pushing it up and wrapping it around his body snugly. The gesture was already rather sweet, but then the ghoul's hand began to smooth its way over the scales of his scalp and face, rubbing with the grain. His eyes widened, openly staring at Fear and genuinely touched. It didn't matter that the hands were that of a corpse, decayed and used to murder many in the past. Though once used to strangle, now the hands were a comfort. A relaxing comfort... Kev leaned his head into the movement and scooted himself closer to Fear with a new-found assurance. Both arms snaked their way around Fear's chest, draping the comforter across, and his head nestled against the corpse. One hand reached around to Fear's side, stroking up and down his side as Fear spoke again. The lean alien nodded into him, beginning to trill. "Rrrr...We did as much as either of us could do," He agreed. "You were very brave, and I'm proud of you... I'm not happy that you had to do that in the first place, but...I'm proud you had the strength to." The strength, the determination, the resolve...whatever you wanted to call it. Removing Mortis like this was hard but...honestly, would it be any different from the past month they had endured? At least this way, Fear knew where he stood with Mortis. Before...the Judge was as likely to one day come back as he was to suddenly disappear without another word to Fear.

    He could feel the light movement of Fear sighing, and then breathing in his puff of cigarette, and his hand continued to trace the side of the ghoul's torso. "I feel better now... You're very good at knowing just what to say." The physical contact was also doing wonders... And of course, Fear was away of his moment downstairs. Of course, it was hard to lie to a psychic, especially one mentally bonded to you. "Yeah..." He sighed, and pressed his face against Fear's leathers. "I'm sorry about that. I just...got a little overwhelmed. Not by you, just...myself. I got upset, I felt like I was screwing everything up and...and I felt so..." Lean arms squeezed around Fear's slim chest tightly.

    "I never wanted this to happen to you...I never wanted for you to feel this sort of pain. I never wanted...to get between the two of you. I love you, and I wanted to help, but... I felt like I couldn't..."


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    Re: A Soak and a Smoke

    Post by Fear on Wed Jan 27, 2016 3:40 am

    My, what big eyes you have, Kev! The ghoul loudly snorted. "Honessstly..." he remarked, clicking his tongue. "You act asss if everything tonight hasss made me a cold, barren man." Even if he couldn't feel physical contact, Fear wasn't so far up his own rotten ass that he would suddenly forget about his little buddy's needs. Besides... it was nice to be held and caressed. Too bad the fiend had a perpetual chill around these creaky joints. A hand gingerly stroked up and down Kev's back, at times cupping the alien's head to better give a few affectionate scratches. "Proud... I sssure do not feel proud." What pride was to be taken for removing one's own brother due to his toxic, self-destructive nature? If there was anything to feel, it was... sadness.

    Fear was a flawed man, and at times insensitive, but he was not petty. What transpired on this eve should have never, never happened. And yet... it did. For whatever reason known only to God, it did.

    "I never wanted this to happen to you...I never wanted for you to feel this sort of pain. I never wanted...to get between the two of you. I love you, and I wanted to help, but... I felt like I couldn't..."

    Hmm... A rumble of deliberation wavered about in the air.

    "I am afraid, Kev, that all of thisss wasss beyond your control, even my own," Fear answered. Sometimes the truth could be so simple and yet frustratingly difficult to accept. Hidden teeth chewed on the filter of his smoke thoughtfully before the fiend inhaled it, munching quietly. "Although I grew furiousss at my brother during our confrontation, that wasss wrong of me. We ssshould not be angry with Mortisss; he isss a good man and a good Judge. No grudgesss, Kev. Even if my brother decidesss to make a right assss of himssself and thinksss to put you at the top of hisss purging lissst, you are better than that. I know you are better than that." Let him deal with Mortis if it ever came to a fight, understand? In any event, that was all some very heavy, heavy stuff. Fear was tired, Mortis was currently lost to him, and an unfortunate Kev was left coasting helplessly along turbulent waters. There was only one remedy the fiend could think of, and the solution to all of their woes lay hidden within Fear's pack of smokes.

    He chuckled a mischievous chuckle and gave the flimsy thing a playful shake. "You know what, it'sss been a rough night," he began innocently enough. Talons flipped the pack open and dug around for something concealed from the alien's eyes. "I know I ssshouldn't be doing thisss, but honessstly? Fuck it." Such language! But vulgarity will quickly be the least of Fear's offenses as he withdrew two oddly-wrapped... cigarettes?

    Bless you, Kev, for you weren't very savvy when it came to blunts.

    "Hu hu hu... I know a guy." The ghoul laughed as he retrieved his lighter, a petite flame casting its cheery glow. "Me and him go waaaay back, and I decided to call in a favour. You ready for thisss, Kev? I think you're ready for thisss." And without so much as waiting for the alien utter even a word, Fear took a long... long hit of his dubious goods. Whatever was in that rolled up joint smelled heavily of dank. That's right, dank. There was no other word to describe such a powerful smell. "Ahhhhhhha ha ha ha... I don't know where Larry getsss thisss ssshit, but I gotta hand it to him," the fiend grinned. "He can find sssome good ssstuff. I'd offer you a hit, Kev, but... you know, evolution gave you the ssshaft." So take this second-hand high instead.
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    Re: A Soak and a Smoke

    Post by Kev on Wed Jan 27, 2016 6:41 am

    All the better to see you with, my dear! The alien cocked his head to the side, confused by the snort before Fear continued to speak. A cold, barren man...? With one hand firmly attached to the side of Fear's chest, the other reached up to cusp the bottom of Fear's helm. His scales brushed against the metal, scratching against it lightly. "No, no...I don't think you are cold and barren...far from it, really." Kev had lived through the times when Fear had been cold and barren, when affection was sparingly given and with much complaining. His eyes softened as he looked up at the ghoul, both hands now rubbing firmly against him. "I just wasn't sure...if you wanted to be touched. If you'd want me to hold on to you like this or if you might not have been in the mood..." He didn't want Fear to feel coddled, after all. "And the way you did it, almost like you were doting on me... It felt nice." It felt great honestly, even though a little shiver wove its way down his spine in reaction to Fear's supernatural chill. Kev seemed not to notice it though, focusing instead on the feeling of hands roaming up and down his back. The alien's back leaned into the touches, arching into them, and when a hand would find its way to his head, the alien nestled his head against those touches too. Like a sponge, Kev was receptive to the affection and openly accepting of it, almost begging for more. Hold me, hug me, I need you right now. Kev needed his guypal, and his guypal needed him. Arms kept tight to Fear, one hand still clutching Fear's helm, fingers rubbing against the cool metal. "I know...I know... I'm not proud of what you had to do, but... I'm proud of the way you did it. You were open, and honest... I wish I had been as direct as you were."  Fear didn't pussyfoot or chicken out. Fear didn't dangle any baits over Mortis' head. Fear was honest, concise. He did it...the right way.

    Fear's chest vibrated with the rumbling, Kev reciprocating with a small trill of his own, the best rumble he could do. "Mmm..." Despite their best efforts, Mortis' reactions were out of their hands. They could offer solutions, guidance, words... You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make it drink. If the horse dies of thirst, can you really blame yourself? Short of prying the mouth open and funneling water into the horse, there was nothing you could do. The horse simply refused to drink... "We really did try..." He reasserted, both for himself and for Fear. As for anger... Kev leaned his temple against Fear's broad chest, brows furrowed. No grudges, no anger, remain better, no matter what may come. He sighed. "Alright... I won't hold any grudges..." Any grudges would have been for Fear anyway. Any anger, for Fear. Though Mortis had mistreated Kev in certain ways, and it certainly stung, none of it permeated his defenses and created a grudge. Fear had been mistreated, Fear had been betrayed, Fear had been stung most and it made the alien want to shield Fear's body. Made him want to snarl at any threat, bid them away. Protect. But if Fear did not wish for Kev to hold a grudge, Kev would honor his wishes. "I will give Mortis his space, stay in the city, and I won't get in the way or say anything that might make things worse." Staying away from the sheep skull Judge might be the best alternative. The last thing they needed was for Kev's big mouth to set off that powder keg.

    ... "Hm?" Kev peered up at Fear, perplexed as he began to dig around in his pack. Apparently Fear had dubbed this night rough enough to give him clearance for...something. But what? "Aren't you already smoking...?" Why would it be such a big deal for Fear to smoke if he had already been smoking? And that language! Kev gave a quick, shocked gasp, though he was only joking around. The lewd language wasn't that surprising... Kev narrowed his eyes, leaning in a bit more to inspect...cigarettes. Cheap cigarettes, to Kev's eyes. They didn't even look professionally wrapped! He gave Fear his best skeptical squint. "I think your favor is a dud, Fear. Looks like this guy cheated you..." Just look at it! It looked like the most half-assed cigarette in existence! Though the smell was rather...different. Much more pungent than a normal unlit cigarette. Kev's nostrils crinkled, pulling his face away from it and settling back against the corpse. "Ready when you are...?" Fear took a long inhale of it, the smell only increasing around them. A deep, engulfing smell that seemed to make the air itself heavier. Larry, eh? Kev's hands resumed their rubbing. "No no, you go ahead and smoke it for me." Even if Kev didn't understand it, it seemed to be cheering Fear up something fierce! Maybe it was just special tobacco. Something he was saving for a special occasion. Though Kev was rather dubious about how good it was... "Besides, I'm not much of a smoker. But hey, maybe next time I'm human...?" Maybe it felt better with a proper mouth, instead of a dream one?


    _________________
    "I'm Kev, and I speak through the power of telepathy. It is represented by italics and the color code #33CC66."

      Current date/time is Sun Nov 19, 2017 7:34 am