the goddess of discord and strife

Feeling:
indescribable

Who: Brett and Eris
When: all damn day
Where: PMs

Brett was still looking around wherever they'd put him when the first notification came through.  At least, that's what he figured as he made his way to the south terminal down what was clearly a forest fucking path.  The place even had little birdies singing - he was waiting for one of them to crap on his head.  Honestly.

Eris had noticed the computers. Really she had. they were fairly obvious, after she'd checked out her space. Not that she was terribly keen on her space. But then again, right now the room could be full of jewels, unicorns and fairy fucking godmothers and she wouldn't be happy about it. As it was, it was nice, she just...didn't especially care. She'd been taken away again. And she wasn't in any way handling that in a good way. She kept thinking about Brett, and on some level, Everett. Fuck. She'd take the house again--really she would. She'd go back. Just so long as she wasn't stuck there alone.

She was wondering if he was going to miss her, or was worried when the first weird little chimey sound came through. wandering over, her bare feet sinking into the ridiculously plush carpet beneath her, she saw a little blink on one of the computers. Sighing, she dropped down into the comfortable overstuffed chair, and tugged the keyboard down to sit on her lap, reading the message. Rolling her eyes, she typed in a quick response. How the fuck am I supposed to know? was her terribly diplomatic response.

Brett read the message which had come through.  Right, well - how spectacularly helpful, but at least there was someone there.  Assuming this wasn't a game of 'see how long until you realise you're talking to a computer' or some shit.  The swearing helped there though.  he settled himself down in front of the terminal and typed out a response: Divine providence?  You being one of the scientists?  Pure blind luck?  Pick one.

She waited, and when another response came through she was a little relieved. Just a little. Not a ton, and she wasn't going to own up to it anyhow, but...it was there. she felt slightly less alone. Just...not enough. I've been called divine before, but I don't think he was referencing my prophetic, magical abilities to understand the greater picture. Which I lack. The Dead Zone was full of shit. If we're going for 'pure blind luck', I'd wager a guess that we're being fucked with. But really, you probably came up with that one on your own, now didn't you? Unless they were a total idiot. Eris paused, clicking around on the computer screen, and she saw a music player. Pulling it up, she saw...well, it was shit she liked. Welcome to solitary. At least there's music.

Brett hadn't got as far as music - he'd hardly investigated the computers at all.  They were weird, out in the woods like this - though he'd clued into the fact that this was, well, weird all over.  He had a glade with four paths which led to a computer.  A computer in an area surrounded by trees and undergrowth.  He couldn't get any further than that.  At least, not in the chair.  He didn't know how far the trees went on for.  It was just, well, weird.  You missed out the second option, darling.  Should I be concerned about that? he typed back.  Like it would make any difference if this person - he was assuming a 'she', considering they'd referred to being called 'divine' by a guy - was a scientist or not.  At least if she was, Brett could vent his anger at her.

Eris smirked faintly. Darling, huh? Brett called her that. But then he usually called her that when he was being a bitch. It was generally 'princess' when he was being nicer. But then again, she didn't actually think she'd luck out enough to be put in contact with him. Yes. I'm an evil scientist. You got me. Your brilliant detective skills astound me. You're too smart for me. I give, you caught me. My diabolical laughter is faltering even now. I knew I should have decided long ago whether I was a 'mwa haha' girl or a 'bwa haha' one. Now it's just all fucked. Thanks a lot. she sent first. It was possible she was in an odd frame of mind. Her migraine had gone away during the night, though she also had noted a sore spot on the back of her hip. She half wondered if she'd gotten an injection when they'd moved her. Sometimes they'd done that when she'd been locked up before the 'rescue'. She found a song she wanted to hear, and cautiously hit play, not sure where the sound was going to come from, or if it was even going to be the song she wanted. So, what now?

Brett could practically feel the sarcasm coming off that post and he didn't know whether he felt better that he was clearly dealing with someone who could hit back, or whether  it was just fucking irritating.  Still on: wtf, actually He typed, in reponse.  Out in the middle of the fucking woods with four fucking computers.  New one for me.

She read the response, listening to the actual song. She didn't know where the music was coming from, but it was playing. And someone had put in a good damn sound system. Hm. She curled her legs beneath her, and arched a brow at her screen. You're in the woods? That's...special. It'd be new to me too. I'm in a room that looks like they pulled out all the stops on 'posh'. I could probably lose a corpse in the shag rug here. she sent back. The woods? Yeah that was fucked up.

Brett frowned as he read that.  Yeah, woods - outside, trees, fucking waterfall and pool, little birds singing, middle of fucking nowhere.  Only thing not realistic is the damn computers.  Kind of take the edge off the realism.  Screams 'set up' - not that being moved from my bed and deposited in the middle of the fucking woods doesn't already scream set up.  You mentioned solitary - I assume there's nobody else with you? he typed, wondering if he'd get responses from the other computers.  At least there were sounds to tell him when things came through.

She was humming faintly, waiting for the response, and when she got it, she thought of something else. Well, if you were really outside, princess, there would probably be a lot more snow, too. But a waterfall and pool, huh? That's interesting. So you not only get outdoors, but magic sudden summertime too? What, did you get dropped onto the set of Lost while no one was looking? Is it a disney flick with little furry creatures that want to come up and snuggle you while you sing heartfelt ballads about handsome princes coming to sweep you off of your feet and take you away to a better life? And if there was anyone here with me, they're a fucking ninja. But then I didn't look around all that well, either, so option B is there is, but they're hiding under the bed. I'm willing to bet with an axe. And she had to look behind her, just because. She eyed the bed, and after hitting send, she went to peek under it--just in case. And, seeing no one, and nothing, she felt like a moron, but...at least no one was there. Which only helped her somewhat. She wanted people there. She wanted a specific someone, more accurately. Though really, he might not do well with this environment. She didn't know for sure. She'd probably have to drug and distract him again. No doors, and all.

Brett read the response - and was insulted that apparently he came across as female.  He bent forward to quickly type a response.  Hey, less of the 'princess', darling.  'Princess' - fuck that noise.

She walked back over when she heard the sound of another incoming message, and read it, laughing lightly. Why? Not really into the princess scene? Allergic to pink and shiny diamonds? Or are you a guy, and you're not a drag queen? she sent. Just keep in mind, if you did play the princess card, you'd probably have a more promising outcome headed your way. Men in the woods have grisly endings, females in the woods get saved at the last minute. Or so popular culture has taught me.

Brett hadn't left the computer since he'd left his last message, so he was able to reply straight away - though he really didn't appreciate being fucking laughed at.  Yeah, guy.  And I can take care of myself.  So fuck you - go joke with someone else.  Not fucking interested. he typed, before turning resolutely away from the console, deciding to check the others.

Eris read the response, and laughed again. Touchy, aren't you? You remind me of someone. Who are you, anyhow? she typed in. She didn't know a lot of people in town, and sure, all of them could be short and snappy for all she knew. But she might as well find out.

Brett didn't return to the computer straight away, though he heard it ping.  He rolled back to the campsite and started moving wood from the pile at the edge of the clearing.  They given him a choice - there was a camping stove, set up at a height that meant he wouldn't have problems cooking, but there was also the facility for an open fire, a firepit already dug and edged.  He was going to go with the open fire, he liked them - for found watching the flames soothing, he always had. 

It was a good ten, fifteen minutes before he returned to the computer, curiosity finally getting the best of him, and the fire going well - the smoke rising upwards and disappearing into the blue that was above him.  He considered the message and ended up sending a one word reply.  Brett.

Eris had wandered away from her computer by then, doing a more thorough search of her room. Which...she still couldn't quite figure out. Paranoia had her not wanting to trust things, but she couldn't find anything actually wrong with anything. When the ping came finally, she glanced back at the computer and smirked faintly, going back over. When she read the name, though, she dropped right back down in her seat and typed quickly. Just the man I wanted to see. she sent. Then paused, and sent another message. figuratively speaking.

Brett had waited for an answer this time, though he wouldn't have been surprised if one didn't come.  There were a few people in town who would have read the name and given up right then and there.  At least, he hoped that would have been the case.  He would have been disappointed if it wasn't.  But to get a response in such an affirmative was - well, it was just plain surprising.  And it took him a minute and several sessions of typing and erasing to actually put together a reply.  Why?  Okay, so it wasn't particularly eloquent...
 
Reading his reply once it came through made her sit back and shake her head. I'll take it you don't miss me yet then. she sent back to him. and for those of you in our studio audience...it's Julia. she tacked on after another moment or two of thought. It had been weird telling him in the first place, it had been jarring to hear Everett use it, and seeing it in print was nothing short of hugely strange for her. But...what was there she could do? She'd stuck with the Julia thing with him and she didn't think going back would help matters any. There'd been a reason she'd told him in the first place. 
 
Brett paused again as he read her messages, and then turned away from the computer and returned to his fire, staring into the flames.  He needed a few minutes - he didn't know how to react to that.  He didn't know how to react to the way she'd put that question, to the way she seemed to be opening the way for him to tell her that he missed her.  He didn't know what they were playing at - was she there because they knew that he worried, or in preparation for some fucked up event that he could do nothing about.  There were too many things, he didn't know what to do about any of them.  And she was going to be pissed that her telling him it was her had been greeted with silence.

Eventually, after a few minutes, he went back, though it took him a minute or two more to put together a message.  Where have they got you?  You okay?  He paused, then added on You still got that damn watch thing?

Time was a funny thing. It could fly by like it wasn't happening at all, and it could drag by where every second felt like a minute. Eris was having a slow-time experience as she waited. And after about three minutes she'd dropped the keyboard down to the floor, and walked away, not at all sure how she was feeling at the moment. There were emotions there, she just wasn't really good with identifying them. When the message came through, she didn't go look right away. She gave it a few minutes of her own, until she felt more stable, then she walked back over. It still took her a few minutes to reply again as well, though. In a room that's decked out like I'm royalty. I'm okay. I think I got an injection last night, but my migraine is gone, so I assume that's what it was about. Yes, I still have my watch. she wrote back to him. It was over on the nightstand. The face of it was a little cracked, but it was still working, in theory. She looked down at her wrist, where she'd bruised herself ripping the damn thing off, and she rubbed it lightly. 
 
Brett had waited for the reply to come through, again not sure if one was even coming.  He read it when he did, read the way she'd succinctly answered his questions, added nothing of her own.  Right.  She was pissed.  He just didn't know what to do with that.  He was good at making people pissed - he wasn't used to wanting to stop them being pissed.  Sounds better than the creepy fucking house.  Nice for you. He finally typed - that reply beating out a simple request that she check in occasionally to let him know she was still alright, which had been his initial urge - to leave whatever damage and just get the hell out of there.
 
She drew in a breath and let it out in a rush when she got his next response. I didn't mind the creepy house. The company could have been better. Could have done without the majority of people there, but it wasn't bad. Messed with my head with the layout, but I would have got it eventually. she typed back to him. So the woods. So you're happy and safe then? she sent, hating herself just a little for asking. He would have said if that wasn't the case, but still. They had also replaced his wheelchair with a rusty piece of shit that he could barely get around in for a few days, so...
 
Brett considered the responses before replying.  At least you're away from him.  And the layout: you were sick.  That's disorientating.  Yes, the woods.  Clearing, stream, waterfall, pool, weird fucking bower/bed thing.  Got a fire going.  And then five random computers.  You're the first person to get back to me.  Trying to figure out whether it's good or bad they left us in contact.
 
Reading over his response several times, she got stuck on that last line. She wanted to know what he meant by that. What exactly he was getting at. Or if he was getting at anything. It made her want to ask if he would have cared if they hadn't. But there wasn't a real way to put that without using the c word. He came in and helped me with my pills. I don't remember much though. and there were too many doors. and a ladder, it was hard for me to keep track of what led where. What's a bower? she sent. Then, before he could think better of it, she sent another one. you know that at any point, one of us could just disappear forever. what are the pros or cons of us being in contact?
 
Brett didn't know what to think about the fact that Everett had apparently helped her with her pills.  He didn't trust the guy when it came to her and he could feel himself bristling slightly that that situation had ever come up in the first place.  As a result, his reply to her was very to the point as he tried to counterbalance that.  Bower: like a lean to, only with more effort.  Like someone's tried to make it pretty or some shit. he replied to her first message, before turning to the second one and typing a response to that quickly.  Pros: Know safe.  Can keep in contact.  No questions.  Cons: Know if become not safe.  Not be able to do anything.

She probably would have had something a little wittier to day about the pretty lean-to, but that kind of died when she read the second message. She stared at it for a long time. Again, the last bit, really. Not be able to do anything. Yeah, that would probably bother him. Like he'd said that it bothered him to know that Everett was upstairs with her, and he couldn't do anything about that. Though, she'd told him that Everett had been in her room, more or less, and he hadn't said anything, so maybe he was over it. the i guess I'll promise not to tell you if I'm not safe anymore. she typed back, because she didn't know what else to say.

Brett read the message and scowled, bending straight to a reply.  Gee, that makes me feel so much fucking better - don't do me any favors, Princess.
 
Rolling her eyes, she didn't reply for a few minutes, scrolling through the music available, and she chose something a little more melodic. Softer. Something that wasn't going to be jarring, because with the current conversation, she half wondered if she'd be getting another headache. You're the one who implied being in contact could be a bad thing. I'm trying to alleviate the problem. besides. really, if I did become unsafe, i doubt they'd let me message you before finishing me off, or dropping me down a deep dark hole never to be heard from again. I'd just be gone. And I don't think i still have the shotgun.

Didn't imply - said.  It could be bad.  If they start a slow 'things are getting weird' thing.  Enough that things could be said.  Just saying.  You asked for the pros and cons.  I gave them. Brett sent.  She was so fucking difficult to deal with at times.  She just didn't get it at all - and he wasn't going to fucking explain things to her.
 
Eris had a little surge of frustration as well, giving her computer screen a Look. Fine. It could be bad. she typed back, and that was all. She started and stopped writing a few more additions onto it, but in the end, she deleted them and didn't send them at all. She curled up more on the chair, and told herself she wasn't waiting for him to reply again. That she wouldn't answer him anyways. That if he wanted to go on about how bad it was being in contact with her was, she could just not be in contact. She was also aware she was pouting, but couldn't actually stop herself from it for the moment.

Brett had thought for a while that she'd stopped being mad at him - that simply by ignoring the problem, it had gone away.  But - that never really worked, did it?  Now she was mad and difficult.   There really didn't seem much else to say to that, and so he waited, wondering if that was it - or if she was going to send through anything more.  She seemed to have been being a fan of two messages at a time this morning.  And if she did send a second message, he wouldn't have to think what he was going to do if she didn't.
 
 She kept waiting, and waiting, and finally she made a little frustrated sound, reached out to turn the music up, and she went to go drop down onto the bed, pointedly not looking over at the screen. Or, that was the working theory. She kept glancing over every now and then anyhow. She should go have a bath or something. There was a ridiculously large tub in the bathroom. With perfumed bubblebath and everything. She could feel pampered again. And while once upon a time in her life she would have wanted that, it just didn't have that much honest appeal anymore. Sure, it'd be nice, but...whatever. She was still stuck in a room with no doors, and the only person she wanted to talk to was pissing her off, as per usual. Which said something, really.

Brett gave it a couple of minutes before he had to face the fact that she wasn't getting back to him.  Right.  That meant that he had to decide what to do - he had to work out what was what and what he wanted to do about it.  And if he wanted to do anything about it.

That first point was the easiest one to answer, though it wasn't the easiest or most acceptable answer in the world to take.  Yes, he wanted to do something about it.  He didn't actually like her being mad at him.  But he didn't want her to know that - that would be exposing himself too much.  He didn't do 'vulnerable'.  He was too obvious a target to actually encourage that sort of shit.  She'd be mad at him for not replying back to her, she'd be pissed because he didn't take her easy way out.  There was probably more that he wasn't even getting. She was a woman - there was always more to it than that.  He left it for a while, before typing in a simple, you still there?

 While not at all listening for that stupid little chime sound, she heard it anyways. Because it didn't fit with the song that was playing, so it was really obvious. Or, that was her story, and she was sticking to it. And she was going to ignore it. So she busied herself with finding a book on the shelf that had a ton of them, though when she opened it up, it appeared to be a journal of some description, and not even in a language she knew, so that didn't work out so well. And she kept looking back over at the computer, where there was this faint little blue blink. Eventually, in a much shorter time than she would have clocked it as, she marched over and read the stupid message. Was she still here? What kind of a question was that? She hadn't bloody evaporated. She sat down again and left the keyboard where it sat, until eventually, again, a shorter time than she would have thought, she picked it back up. yes. why? she typed in the simple, short message, and she hit the enter key hard, before looking away again.

He'd left for a while, deciding that she wasn't there.  So he'd gone to check the other computers, check the fire, check, well, almost anything else, before he heard the ping and headed back to see what she'd decided to put.  Brett considered and rejected several approaches, before taking the cowards way out and going back to ignoring everything.  Do you like being royalty? he typed in and sent.

She stared at the words for a few long moments, sighing. She dragged her fingers through her hair, and wondered why she'd even for a moment thought she might get something different. She typed in her answer, and it was slightly more poetic than she usually was with him, but the sentiment behind it was dead on. a gilded cage is still a cage. she sent.
 
We were already in a cage. Brett sent straight back, without pausing for thought.  He hadn't really given that much thought to the fact that, wherever he was, there was no way out.  He hadn't been thinking of it like that - he couldn't get out, because of the trees, but there was a difference between that and there truly being no way out.  He'd have to see if he could find a way back into the trees.  Maybe he had what she didn't - but rationally, he knew he highly doubted that.
 
 at least the last one i could escape occasionally, even if it was on a leash. i'm in a room, Brett. like the one they kept me in for months. Just because this one is nicer doesn't mean i'm not--nevermind. Eris sent back to him, wishing she hadn't' hit send. Couldn't you take things back?
 
Brett read her reply,  noting what she said at the end.  She didn't want to talk about it, or so he assumed.  They both knew how that ended, he got that.  He understood about places with no way out.  Maybe that was why he was in a forest, rather than a room-for-royalty.  Because he knew that if he was in a room, if he couldn't get out... That would end badly for him.  But if she didn't want to talk about it, he could take that.  I know. he replied, simply, before giving her some time and heading off again.  If she didn't want to talk at all, well - he wouldn't be surprised.

Yeah, you do, don't you. she thought when she got her message. The little sonata went off behind her, and she found her pills to take them, not putting the watch back on, but she turned the blinking and the alarm off. It was a while before she went back to the computer, looking at the screen again. She thought she heard other chime sounds, but she ignored them for now. She was calmer than earlier. maybe it was the medication. Eventually, she typed a new message for him. if you could be anywhere in the entire world right now, doing anything, what would it be? she asked him, even if she didn't actually expect him to answer her.

It was a while before he got back to her computer again, but when he did, he shot off an initial message straight away.  Not going up and down paths from computer to computer typing messages to people. You have any others?  I have you and four others - one in the middle, then one in each main direction.  Sure, he knew that that wasn't the answer she'd been looking for, but it was an answer, and a valid one at that, as far as he was concerned.

every once in a while, you should allow yourself to play, brett. might make you smile more. it's been a while since i've seen it. she typed first. Not that she could see it now, either, but that wasn't the point. She figured he'd ignore the comment anyhow, like she'd expected him to ignore the comment about missing her. There are four computers on the walls, one by my ridiculously large bed. I could have a party just on the surface of that bed. Now that you have that stunningly interesting information that I'm sure was vital...c'mon. Answer.

And it's vital that you have the answer to where I'd want to be? Brett typed in response, still dodging the question.  He didn't address the issue of him playing.  He didn't 'play' - and anyway, he didn't consider that question as qualifying as a game in any event.

More vital than knowing how many computers you happen to have in magic woods land. So yes. Where you would want to be, and what you would want to be doing. If the sky was the limit, and you could be anywhere, doing anything. Eris typed back, wondering why she bothered. But she knew why. or, she had her own reasons, but she had a more solid one that he'd handed to her. He'd mentioned that she hadn't gone away. She should probably not start now.

Brett read the message and thought about it, trying to figure out what to say to that and, in the end, she got the truth.  I don't do dreams and fantasies, Princess.  Not much fucking point, is there.  So, I don't know.  Where would you be?  All the places he'd want to be, he'd just be miserable when he got there, because he wasn't the guy he'd want to be in them anymore.  No matter where he was, he'd still be who he was, right now, and he didn't know how to be happy with that.

Well, she gave him points for honesty. She supposed. There isn't a point to a lot of things, that doesn't mean you don't do them. I say dream. Or at least try. But fine, I'll give you my answer anyways. I'd be in California, on a private beach. And there would be one of those ridiculously huge beach umbrellas, and I'd have drinks with umbrellas for them too. And I'd be getting a tan, and listening to the waves. Oh and I'd just have a beach blanket, not one of those uncomfortable no matter what people say beach chairs. I'd want to reach out and feel the sand. You know where it gets so hot that it burns a bit? Like that. she typed out, curling her feet under herself again.

Never been to California. Brett typed back.  Ever the killjoy, but he knew she was pushing just to see what the reaction would be, and that tended to make him dig his heels in.  Anyway, she'd had her honesty, and, apparently, it wasn't good enough for her.  According to her, he was doing it wrong.  As usual.

Eris didn't answer for a long time. Heading on towards ten minutes, anyhow. Then she typed in a response to him. just because you don't have any of your own dreams, does that mean you have to kill mine? is that really what you're after? are you happier now that you've stepped all over this? when it's just something simple that we could talk about for a little while that wasn't 'hey we're locked up in fucking rooms we can't leave and who knows if we'll ever even see each other again'? well, good job. mission accomplished, sweetheart. mission accomplished. With that she walked away again. She went into the bathroom, and drew herself a bath. She shut the door, after making sure the music was up high, and tried to shut out the world.

Brett read the reply when it eventually came through, and hammered out of response of his own.  I'm killing your dreams by telling you a fact about me?  I've never been to California - fact.  In fact, until I was on the plane over here I'd hardly ever even seen the fucking ocean.  I grew up in the fucking mountains, Princess.  Far away from private beaches and fucking blankets and sand so hot it burns your feet.  So, no, I don't know 'like that'.  Apologies for interrupting your little dreamland.  I just don't fit. He sent it and turned himself round, wheeling himself back down the path as quickly as he could.  He refused to wait to see if she would actually reply to that. 

She did answer--but it was about two and a half hours later. After she'd had her bath, and had time to calm down, and then get riled back up by his response, and walk away again for a time. She checked other computers. She listened to music, and tried to figure out what to say. Because she was aware she should say something, but was at a loss. If she went with her instincts, it wasn't going to be pretty. So, she didn't let herself. She waited. She tried to sleep for a while, and managed fitful sleep, which didn't help her state of mind at all. Eventually, she walked back over to the computer. and basically, she did what he had earlier. Ignored everything else. I hate nightmares. was all she put in, and she walked away again, with that little internal belief that made people send someone to the restroom at a restaurant to make the food arrive faster. like if she proved she wasn't waiting for him to answer...maybe he would.

Brett had gone through similar things.  He'd gone and cooked up some coffee - unsurprised to find food enough in the campsite - nothing special, but everything he would have wanted, all the brands he used to have back in the day.  Once he'd had that, he'd ended up in the pool - which was, of course, warm enough to be pleasant.  The stream and waterfall kept the water in the pool constantly changing and clean and whilst the whole set up made it look naturally occurring, Brett would have laid money on the fact it wasn't.  Plus he would have said they'd added something to the water to make it not only warm, but soothing as well.  Salts or some shit - nothing girlie smelling, but it eased him.  It was like bathing in a mountain hot pool and for once the aches and pains that plagued his lower body soothed away.  He'd stayed there for some time, having to admit to actually enjoying it before he pulled himself out and dressed once more.

He'd given up on hearing back from her when he finally caught the sound of the blip through the trees and he almost didn't go.  She'd only be bitching again.  But - it had been a while.  Maybe she'd had time to calm down, so he headed back.  And stared at the message for a long time, puzzled by that.  don't know anyone who does He pointed out.

I used to know someone who did. He kind of got off on them. But then, he fancied himself the next stephen king. Wrote all the time, wanted it all fueled by nightmares. But to say he was fucked in the head would be stating it mildly. I hate when I have them. It's not all the time. Used to be more frequent. But they make me uneasy for a while. That lasting kind of cling a dream can have. Even if I don't remember them. She sent back to him. She wondered if he had nightmares, but didn't ask. Because he wouldn't tell her. She'd get some stupid, dismissive comment back, and she'd just get angry again. So, she didn't set herself up for the slap down.

Brett read the message and addressed the most accessible part of it in return, still wondering what this was all about.  Or, maybe, it didn't relate to their previous conversation at all.  It had been hours, after all.  Maybe this was something new, so he added in a little extra.  Sounds like a sick fuck.  Did he get anywhere?  Did you sleep while you were gone?

She read the response, and thought that at least this time he seemed less dismissive. She was still sore over things, but not as much. No. He OD'd at some point. Bad black tar heroin habit. By the time I wasn't around him anymore, all he'd write was gibberish anyhow, that I'm sure he thought was brilliant, but really was just the literary version of a dying mind's last echoes. She was just...poetic today. She hadn't had a reason to be in a long time. Weird, that it was coming out now. I tried to. Didn't work out so well for me.

Brett read that and shook his head.  You sure have led an interesting life, Princess.  Did you have nightmares? he asked her, checking that.  Was that where this all came from - had she tried to sleep and had bad dreams?

you know what they say about interesting times. I think that works for interesting lives, too. And yes. I can't really remember much. I know I couldn't breathe. she typed back to him. And she recognized in the back of her mind that she really probably wouldn't have had this conversation in person. But because she couldn't see him, couldn't see him roll his eyes at her, or look at her like she was stupid, it was easier. And right now, she was kind of recognizing her own problem. She didn't want to be here. Definitely not alone, but she didn't want this to happen again. She didn't want to be lost in some stupid room and forgotten about for months again. It had sucked the first fucking time.

Brett nodded as he read her message.  He knew all about nightmares where you couldn't breathe, where the world was closing in.  God, but he knew about them.  It wasn't even like he could say anything reassuring to her, though right now he actually wished he could.  He couldn't face even thinking of the one thing that she was likely to shoot back to him if he tried.  And he needed to keep himself together, which meant avoiding certain subjects.  But he also knew he had to actually reply to her, though it took him some time to come up with something appropriate.  That was one thing, at least, with this.  It was really fucking weird doing this, but at least he could edit himself.  Not remembering is probably good.  What was the beach like? he asked, trying to divert her back onto a subject that was happier for her, even if he'd cut her off last time.

She noticed that. What he did there. Hard to miss, really. And some part of her appreciated it. She deleted what she'd been typing while waiting for him to respond, which was i don't want to be here several times over. It was far too vulnerable of her, and smacked way too much of all work and no play makes jacky a dull boy. It took her a few minutes to answer him, but that was less to do with anything but her own sense of dread crushing down on her. She didn't want to be here. She was going to get forgotten again. She'd found a person in the world she actually liked, even if he did piss her off ninety percent of the time, and she wasn't ever going to see him again. And he probably wouldn't care anyways, or he'd better fucking not, because she couldn't handle it if he did, not that she'd even know. Drawing in deep breaths and letting them out slowly, she tried to get herself to settle more. Or at the very least, for the sick feeling to ease from her stomach. quiet. not many piopel there. privae, but all that meansi s there's a stretch of the larger beach that other people walk around. i liked colorado too. and seeing ruins in mexico. random things that came to mind, and she didn't notice typos to fix them.

Brett paused as he read her note, more concerned with the typos than anything.  She'd been pretty constant so far.  You been drinking? he shot back, bracing himself to get his head ripped off over that one.

She was confused over the question. It took her a minute to figure out what he was even talking about, but then re reread her own last post, and sighed. Right. Her typing had gone to hell for a minute there. No. There are a few bottles against the back wall, but my stomach still isn't up to full par after being sick. I'm just not having a good time right now. Don't worry, if I start drinking, I'll not drunk-message you and ask why you never call. she sent back, with a weak attempt at humor there, but she figured it wouldn't fly well. It never did.

Brett raised an eyebrow at that and had a thought for a minute before dismissing that out of hand.  It was just her humour, that was all.  Well, I'll be grateful for that then.  You shouldn't drink, some of your pills can react with it.  Screw you up. Because, yes, in fact, he knew her meds and he'd looked up the side effects and he had that shit memorised.

That actually earned the ghost of a smile from her. Yeah. He knew her medications better than she did, probably. She knew she didn't remember what they were called. He probably did. I'm pretty sure that it's far too late for that, sweetheart. I'm already screwed up. No fixing that, might as well have fun with substances. if I do drink, I might be able to sleep again later. Which she would need, eventually. She didn't especially want to think about it though. She also paid attention to her typing, so he didn't worry again. If that was what he was doing. He might just be wondering.

Brett scowled at the screen and bent to hammer out a message.  And you might not wake up.  reactions=bad.  no doctor, nobody to check on you.  no way of getting help.  stay off the fucking alcohol.  He wasn't even prepared to joke in the least about that one.

She read the message and sighed, leaning farther back in the chair as she shook her head. baby, which is worse? me drinking myself a little less apt to have a breakdown, or not, and possibly having that breakdown, where you just mentioned there isn't anyone that could help me, or check on me? she posed, because at the moment she was thinking those were her options. Sitting around talking to him was helping, but she knew it was only a matter of time before they got pissed at each other again and stormed away from the computers like five year olds.

Which is more likely to end up with you choking on your own vomit? Brett hit back, mad that she couldn't see the potential danger here.  A breakdown was more likely to end up with damage to her environment that her herself, unless she was really serious. 

Eris read the message, and the little bit of connection she'd been feeling there with him severed again. She knew they kept doing that. Or, more it was all in her head. She imagined sometimes it was there, and then he'd remind her otherwise. That was really the much more likely answer. She erased what she'd originally written. which one will get me out of here faster? That would probably just have pissed him off. So...she didn't send that. It meant it took her longer to answer, but he didn't get the potentially suicidal sounding response, so she called it good. I didn't last time. You know that. because he'd been there. if you're worrying, don't worry. she tacked onto the end.

Brett did know that - like he also knew that he'd stayed with her to make sure that that didn't happen.  Don't tell me what I can and can't do.  Just because you got lucky once. He typed back quickly, then turned and left, needing some space.  She wasn't going to actually change - she was always going to make light of fucking everything.  Stupid fucking bitch.

She sighed. More than once, honey. You know I was drinking when we met. And when we went for a drive. And the night you stumbled over me again. And the night you kicked me out of your room in the first place. I haven't lately because I've had other things I needed to do. and fine, I won't tell you what to do. I request that you not worry, if you should happen to be so. and now she didn't. So her foray into alcoholism could continue, and in her opinion, should. She heard her watch go off again, and she stood up to go take her medication, shutting the alarm off and the light.

Brett didn't get the message for some time, but he did, eventually - draw back to the console by the fact he knew there was something there.  It was over an hour later, and he'd calmed down a little.  Not that reading her message helped.  He almost didn't reply, but did in the end.  Would it make a difference whether I did or not?

She'd wandered off, and had a bottle open and had been nursing it in his time away. She'd been curled up on the floor, on the plush rug, looking up at the paintings on the ceiling. All intricate, beautiful type things. When she propped herself up to look around, she saw it was him again. So, she pushed herself to her feet, wandered back over, and stared at his message for a few long moments. Setting the bottle down, she typed in two words. it might

Brett read it and simply replied how?  He sent it before he could change his mind, telling himself that if any reaction could mean that she'd not end up drinking herself into an alcohol and drug induced coma, then that would be worth it.

She sat down, flopping into the chair, really. She pulled the keyboard into her lap again, and tried to figure out what to say. It was probably a valid question. She'd want to know, if the situation was reversed, which it really never would be and all, but still. what goes on with you carries some weight with me. was as vague as she could word it without directly coming out with the fact that he had an impact on her decision making processes.

Brett wondered how much he believed that.  What goes on with me does, but my opinion and advice doesn't. he pointed out.  She always made light of it.  Or told him to lighten up.  He was too fucking serious for her.  So, he didn't know how much he bought what she had to say.

I don't like being told what to do either. But that's how you talk to me. Eris pointed out in return, though she wasn't actually annoyed with him at that point. What she'd drank had taken the edge off. ...a lot of the edge. Kind of more than she would have thought by this point, considering she hadn't drank that much. Hm. OH well. Maybe she was accidentally drinking evarclear or something. Sometimes you sound like him, you know. barking orders, bark bakr bark. I'm just supposed to be a good little girl and follow along. You don't make them sound like opinions or advice. You make it sound like you're just yelling at me. more flies with sugar. if you were into flies, which, i'm guessing not. can't see you as a fly-man. unless it was hang gliding. Then I could see it. I lost my point here. I was meaning to say that I wouldn't want you to be worrying about me. but if you are, or if you were or something, it might make me not do something. i don't like the idea of my behavior impacting your mental state. she typed out, not overly attentive about what it was she was putting down in writing.

Brett read the message. Then read it again.  She was drinking - if she hadn't been before, he was sure she was now, though her typing had improved.  He'd have to see how long it took her to reply next time - was she being careful with that?  But what she was saying - it was all over the place.  Bark bark bark?  He guessed she meant Everett - 'him' was generally Everett. Well, you act like a little girl at times.  Like you don't care about consequences.  Like you can't look after yourself.  So yes, I worry.  The admission was because she'd near enough said that if he worried, she'd stop.  It also happened to be true.

She read his message, though the 'I worry.' stood out most to her. That...she got, but she also kind of didn't. She almost wanted to ask when that had happened. But that was hardly the point, right? Plus, he could just easily say 'five minutes ago'. sometimes I don't care about the consequences. sometimes Im just waiting for the next shit to hit, for my head to be knocked for more of a loop, and then I'll just be gone. only there, but not. someone else with my skin. she typed. that was depressing, wasn't it. ignore me. i think this stuff wasn't what it says it is. And, after a minute, she added a third message. i'm not any more apt to do things when people are ordering me around. you like to do the opposite. i do too. I can look after myself. sort of. most of the time. the meds are an issue. i never had to remember them before.

What stuff Brett asked when she put that in there.  And then he checked his watch.  And you're probably due meds again around now.  But you have your watch.  And it's only the ones in the brown bottles.  The ones in the white bottles are morning and evening only.  They're still in the same bottles, right? he checked.

This bottle of clear alcohol. I thought it was vodka, but I haven't drank that much and it's hitting me hard. And I think I took my meds. I think the watch went off. I think it's a sonata. she typed into the computer, then she went to check the bottles. Bringing them back over to the computer with her, she lined them up next to the glass bottle. brown bottles, white bottles. They're the same. I think. Stupid child safety lids. She didn't like those. No toddlers were wandering through chowing down on her meds.

Brett started typing and then took a breath, scowling as he erased it and put instead, Julia - please will you stop drinking.  I would appreciate it.  You're worrying me.  I don't like it.  Especially not since you're sounding drunk.  And because you're using 'think' instead of 'know'.  He hit send and waited for a response.

When the chime sounded again, she looked up, and saw her name again. She considered for a few long moments, and then typed back to him. okay. she hit send on that, because she wasn't sure what else to say. She also exhaled audibly, and capped the bottle of unidentified supa-alkieness. Or whatever the fuck it was. Then she set the bottle far back on the desktop so she couldn't easily reach it, if she forgot she'd said she was going to stop drinking. Because he'd asked so nicely.

Brett stared at the one word answer, his fingers actually hovering over the keyboard to ask her whether that was it?  Or whether she was joking right now.  Because - well, nothing was ever that easy.  He was waiting for the other shoe to fall.  It made him nervous.  On edge.  Okay  he typed back, after a monumentally long pause.

It was a few moments before Eris typed back again. I have -bonbons-. Because that was relevant information. And she'd found some in one of the computer desk drawers. Which really wasn't a good place to keep bonbons. But she'd take it. She also hadn't had any in...fuck, however long. Ages. Years, maybe. This entire room is a cliche. I think I'm waiting for some fabio-looking motherfucker to come in and try to rip my bodice.

You know, you're not helping with the 'worry' thing, Brett thought to himself, though he didn't tell her that - she might follow through with her threat to just stop telling him things.  Well, at least then you'd find a way out.  Jump him soon enough and the xit may still be clear he put instead.  What flavor bonbons?

Jump him? I don't think so. Fabio looks like a fag. I'm not into overly muscled long hairs. The only real men who could pull off the long hair properly was the guy from the Highlander tv series, and anyone playing metal in the late eighties, early nineties. And that's a stretch. Plus, I've thought about it, and if I see any action ever again in my entire life, I'm going to at least make sure it's with someone I want to be having sex with. It's a thing. And i dunno. Good flavor? The box is all in french. They're fucking -awesome-, though. Eris typed back to him, still half in her stream of consciousness frame of mind. yeah, whatever the fuck was in that bottle was hitting her way harder than it should have been. She of course didn't know she'd already taken two rounds of her medication. Hadn't noticed in the slightest that the watch had gone off twice.

Brett rolled his eyes at what she'd written.  I meant jump as in attack, not try to screw, Princess.  It's not always about sex you know, he pointed out to her.  He knew that if anyone turned up here, then he'd be looking to use them to get the hell out.  Course, he wasn't exactly a great physical threat these days now, was he. 

Yeah but I don't have the shotgun, it'd be the only weapon I had. Unless I used the bottle. But that -really- only works in the movies. Eris typed back, not actually pausing to think over her answers anymore, apparently. But i doubt I'll be interrupted by people to fuck or otherwise. I'm just going to be stuck here. she did manage to stop herself from the rest of what she was going to type before she sent it.

Brett raised an eyebrow.  I don't know, I've seen bottles do so major fucking damage in the past - if you know how to use them Brett sent back to her.  Enough to give a good concussion, anyway.  He'd been in a bar fight or two in the past - he'd learned how to duck early on in life.

That caught Eris' interest, and she sat up slightly better, munching on another bonbon. You have, have you? That doesn't surprise me. Were you a scrapper, my sweet? lemme guess. bar brawls, right? I could -definitely- see that. bet you made it look good and everything. so how do you use one properly? she typed to him, not remembering to edit a little of that out, even if she really really wouldn't have said some of that to his face. Ever.

He rolled his eyes at that - he could almost imagine the glee on her face.  That look she got when she thought that she was going to be getting some kind of an insight into his past.  But, she'd done what he wanted, hadn't she?  So he could play nice - he was afraid that if he pissed her off, she'd start drinking again just to spite him.  That would be like her, since apparently she gave a damn about what he thought, but not about her own wellbeing.  Perverse fucking bitch.  It's a talent - and not one that translates well into text.  And I wouldn't say I was a scrapper but I've been in my fair share of fights and, yes, some of them were in bars.  He used to spend a lot of time in bars.  He'd used to drink a lot.  He did neither anymore.

Eris read his response, and thought about it for a few moments. Would you teach me if I was around again? Just in case I find myself fending off a fabio clone in a princess' room in the future. she sent to him. And, since it was really becoming habit, she sent another message too. so what did you fight about? women? who hustled who at pool? did you play pool, or were you a darts man? Or a sit at the bar having to make the difficult decision which cutie you were going to buy a drink for? I could kinda see any of those, actually. least darts though. I'd guess pool before darts. Did you ever play anything on the jukebox?

Brett read through her message and didn't reply with the absolute truth which was 'all of the above'.  Instead, he picked at it - completely ignoring her request for instruction.  There were too many traps to fall into there.  I played pool.  Never got into darts.  And most of the fights I didn't start.  Mostly, I helped finish them, he told her, more satisfied with that answer.

That had her smiling. She nodded, if only to herself. Yeah, she could imagine that. That makes sense to me. I figured. I bet you were good at pool, too. Could pick up fifty bucks here and there at it. as for the finishing the fights thing that I really could see. Other people getting into them, maybe a buddy, and you getting involved to end it pretty fast. I asked about music. I don't have a concept of what you listen to. she sent, as if this were for some reason suddenly important to her.

Is it important what I listen to? Brett sent back.  He'd given his insight, but he knew her - she'd keep on pushing until he said stop, and then she'd sulk about him not wanting to give any more.  She even knew he was uncomfortable talking about the past, yet still she insisted on pushing.  Whatever happened to be playing. he added, giving her that as an answer.

I'm curious. So, yes. It's important what you listen to. Now, anyhow. I imagine then it was country and some genuine honkey-tonk going on on the jukes in the bars you would go to. because she pictured him at smaller bars. Not the big clubs, things that had a little bit more intimate feel, a little more rustic flavor, something run by a guy in his seventies that's smoked three packs a day since he was fourteen, and was still kicking. Someplace that was full up of people like him. Like minded, similar temperaments. Laid back, nothing like techno or rave scenes.

It's important just because you're curious? Brett challenged.  But he didn't mean it with that much bite.  He hadn't got back to full on bitch yet.  Okay, mostly rock, not much country, though I can take some.  You had to be able to.  He didn't even mention dance or techno, anything like that - it hadn't featured at all really in his life.

Yes. It's important because I'm curious. And all I have right now is bonbons and curiosity. You took away my alcohol. So I'm hoping you humor me. Rock, I could see. Country I never got behind much myself. I can listen to some, but generally I did it when I had to, as opposed to when I wanted to. But then a lot of her life had been spent doing things out of necessity for whatever she was pulling at the time, and not pleasure. like her decision about intimacy. Sex in her life had been something she used because she could, not really something she did because she desired it. Or, not often. Everyone had needs. Which had her wondering about his needs, and what exactly the paralysis effected. She knew that he had control of his bodily functions, so that probably meant that he had at least some sensation...and she should probably quit thinking about that.

How about you then?  Since I'm humoring you and all.  What kind of music do you like - aside not being much behind country? he asked.  Because, yes, he was in fact humouring her right now.  And he wanted to keep her talking until he was sure that she was going to be alright.

She thought about it for a moment before she started typing. I like things with a mood. Rock, a lot, harder rock. Music with guitar tracks laid into it that you feel more than you hear. Music that sparks things up in people, that's heavy and heated. I'm sure you get what I mean. That. I like that. I like some softer things too but most of the time the soft sweet kind of music just annoys me. chick singers with all their flowery sentiments and waa, you hurt me. But then I have to admit that most love songs in general make me roll my eyes. I never really understood them, or they came off as false or pretentious. Overblown, sugarcoated. I don't like the sugarcoat. I like the scratches beneath the surface. There I go again. Poetry.

He could imagine that.  In fact, he could probably imagine that a little too well.  It was best not to go imagining that.  Fair enough.  I never really had time for working out what I liked.  Mostly, I'd listen to something and be like 'that's good' and 'that's fucking terrible', but never followed bands or anything. he put instead.

So you're eclectic. Not shoving yourself into one genre, or one sound, you like to pick it out as it flows? She asked, thinking that suited him as well. Kind of doing his own thing, in his own way. Do you have a favorite song? I don't. I couldn't choose one. I have top ones, but nothing thats a clear, outright winner. she sent to him, shifting in her chair because her head was feeling slightly woozy. Or a little floaty. Whatever. There was a y at the end of whatever word fit best.

Favorite song?  ou know the one that goes dumdididum dumdumdumdum?  Because that's the kind of level I am with music.  I don't know what things are called... Brett told her, wondering if humor translated to the written word.  He really wanted to keep her at the computer and so far this seemed to be working.

She laughed. it was a nearly girlish sounding giggle, really. Oh -that- one! Sure I--wait no, no I don't know it. Do you remember any lyrics? if you hummed it for a while and started to sing, would you be able to recall it? Can you sing? Something tells me you weren't the first in line for karaoke night. I could occasionally, but we're talking throaty, slower renditions of music that had a nice sway to it. Think Jessica Rabbit. ...okay I know I've got to be high. Seriously, sweetie. I just compared myself to a cartoon character. Something was seriously fucked in that bottle. Or I'm just in a better mood and overly medicated.

No man should have to think of a woman as Jessica Rabbit unless they really wanted to, Brett decided.  It was bad for the health.  He'd always been a big fan of Jessica.  It was the dress.  Or maybe the hair.  The lips, the... who the fuck cared, she was fucking Jessica Rabbit for fuck's sake - cartoon or no.  There was a reason she'd been drawn that way.  He coughed a little before answering.  I'm not good at lyrics.  And I don't generally sing, no.  Of course, that didn't cover whether he could or not, but he wasn't giving up that information so easily.  So, I guess you don't get to know what my favorite song is.  Sorry, Princess.

Eris wasn't on top of her game at the moment, being overly medicated, so she didn't even catch where he didn't necessarily answer her question there. Normally she might have, but not at the moment. I'm not sure I'll be able to go on without this vital piece of information, but I'll try. I'll just make it my goal in life to eventually find out. It's at least a likely attainable goal. or it should be more attainable than say, getting out of here then trying to figure out what I'm capable of doing for work since I never got the paycheck I was supposed to get. You'd be set for life though. Which...if we got out of here tomorrow, where would you go? she sent to him, not at all sure he'd entertain her with an answer.

Well, she was sounding more stable now, less all over the fucking place, which appeased Brett somewhat - though he knew it was too early to tell.  At least she wasn't getting worse.  Isn't that just a rephrased question along the same lines as the one you asked before? He asked her.  It wasn't a refusal to answer, exactly, it was just pointing something out.

Eris smiled faintly. No. You could opt to go someplace entirely different with the idea that you were free of this hell hole finally, with enough money to do whatever you wanted. The other question was just a fantasy-dream. This is more reality based. Which also has me wondering why you joined the experiment to begin with, if you needed the money, or just had nothing better to do, or needed to disappear for a while, but somehow I don't think I'd get that answer, so I won't actually ask. she wrote back to him. She wanted to know, but at the moment he was humoring her better than usual, so she wasn't going to push it too far.
 
I did it for the money, sweetheart. Brett typed back, deciding to be contrary.  Rehab costs, you know.  More than my insurance would cover.  Somehow, also, that was a much easier admission than talking about his life before the accident.  After the accident, well, it had just been one big ball of shit, hadn't it.  Though, he didn't mention the legal bills he had on top of the medical ones, from his failed attempt to sue the family of the kid that ruined his life.  He didn't answer her question about the future either - talking about his future was just as hard as talking about his past.  All he could see in it was more of the same.  Wherever he would be.  There was no light at the end of his tunnel.

Oh sure. She let him off the hook on something and he decides to answer that, but left her actual question untouched. Rolling her eyes, Eris shook her head. "Brett, sweetheart, make up your mind." she murmured to herself. Well, that'll definitely be covered now, at least. And then some. A lot some, if I have that figured right. But you skipped the question and answered the one I let you off on. Did you do that just to mess with my head? it worked, if you're curious. she sent back to him. And in her fuzzy state, that really wouldn't be hard to do. In fact, he could probably manage to mess with her head without putting any effort in at all.
  
  Brett read that and rolled his eyes.  Of course.  Oh, sure - it's always about you, isn't it Princess?  No - not to mess with your head.  You just assume I'll never tell you anything and occasionally you're wrong.  Yet, he still didn't answer her question either.

 She definitely caught that. Well, any time I try to make it about you, you give me hell for it. Or refuse to answer. Or blow me off entirely. Or ignore me outright. Kinda like you just did there, what with not answering -again-. I'm fuzzyheaded and brain damaged, but I don't miss -everything-. I'll start assuming you'll share anything with me ever when you start doing so voluntarily, and I don't have to specifically ask for every little detail I know about you. But, really, you don't talk to me. You don't really want to. Not that I necessarily blame you for that. I probably wouldn't want to talk to me either. she sent to him.
 
Brett read her message over and over, his fingers resting on the keyboard for a while, before he finally typed his response.  Trust me, you don't want my answer to that question. he finally sent back to her.

An answer like that was a tease. Because of course it made her all the more curious, wondering why that was. What was going to happen that she wouldn't want to know. Or actually, that hadn't been what he said. He'd said she wouldn't want his answer. But she couldn't think of why she wouldn't want his answer. She took 'the hell away from everyone and everything to do with this experiment' as a given. Some people bonded during times of crisis, others just wanted everyone the hell away. Which seemed to be the route Brett had opted for. So she couldn't see him being all sentimental or fuzzy about it later. It took her a while to answer, but when she did, she went for what was going through her mind. That kind of answer is scary. Because I can't think of a real reason why you think I wouldn't want your answer. I assume that you're going to want to leave all of this behind. Everyone, everything, and probably find someplace to disappear. You wouldn't want to be that guy. That guy that the media chases to get statements about everything they did to you, and how 'in spite of your disability, you pulled through'. You wouldn't want to be anyone's poster child. Tack on there that wanting to go to disneyland or see hollywood or something wouldn't be something I wouldn't want to hear. Or anywhere else. I could see you wanting to disappear off the face of the planet, and you not wanting to tell me because the fewer people who know, the less chance there is that anyone could find you later. And you can keep a secret just fine. But your wording there wasn't like that. So, it's scary. I don't like it. As she hit send she wondered how coherent she'd even been there.

Brett read her answer, surprised at the length of it, before he'd got all the way through and had to smile a little at the fact that she was second guessing him again.  She did that a lot.  He didn't really want to send anything back, he shouldn't have even come this far.  He'd bring the whole thing down.  She get mad.  or upset.  And he'd have to deal with that.  But she'd get mad and upset anyway.  And he wasn't meant to care.  And he'd already warned her he didn't do fantasy.  Princess, you and I both know that the only way they're going to let us out of here is in a bodybag he finally sent, feeling like shit as he did so.  He turned and headed back to the campsite again, needing some time away.

It was hard to read. Mostly because he was the one who had kept the open mind about getting out. She'd just been along for the ride, because it was better to try than sit there an wait. But she'd never entertained the idea that there might actually be hope. But he was supposed to. So reading that was a little like a kick to the gut. Not having the heart to answer back, she put the keyboard back on the desk, along with the box of bonbons. She let her eyes fall on the bottle, and after a few long minutes of deliberation, she decided that it wasn't like he would ever know. So she picked it back up, wandered back over to her stupid canopy princess-like bed, and curled up with it.

It was later that afternoon that Brett finally made his way back to the computer.  She hadn't replied.  He'd figured she wouldn't.  He'd said she didn't want to know.  He'd warned her.  But, of course, warning that girl was like a red rag to a bull, wasn't it.  Her and her fucking insatiable curiosity.  he closed his eyes for a minute, then opened them and simply typed, Princess?
 
Eris had half fallen asleep again. It was another fitful one, where she kept slipping under, but not completely. Her dreams were filled with hallways, crooked ones that shifted beneath her feet like she was at a funhouse. She knew she'd been being chased. That she had to keep running, but she never got anywhere. The sheets were twisted around her and when the chime roused her, she sat upright abruptly, the bottle she'd had with her rolling off the end of the bed with a soft thud on the floor. Her heart was racing, she'd been sweating, and she looked around wildly for a few moments before she oriented herself to her situation. Curling up for a minute, she tried to get herself to stop shaking, to get the room to stop feeling like it was shifting just like her dream. It took her a good few minutes. Eventually, still feeling shakey and not at all like she was okay, she stumbled her way over to the computer, where she accidentally put her hand down on the numberpad of the keyboard to catch herself. So Brett got an accidental message of: 89456.03. The keyboard dropped to the floor, and she stared down at it, still disoriented. 
 
 Brett stared at the message as it came through, not sure what to make of that.  At least it was some kind of a reply, but still.  We talking sums now, sweetheart? he typed back.

She winced faintly when the chime came again, it jarring in her ears a little. Not enough to cause a headache or anything, but just not a sound she was liking at the moment. Instead of looking at the screen yet, she dropped down into the chair again and gave herself a second.
The room still vaguely felt like it was unsteady. Fumbling for they keyboard, she pulled it up and deleted the random letters she'd hit. Then she read his messages. Blinking a little slowly, she tried to come up with a semi-coherent response. dropped keyboard. That was coherent. Not a full sentence, but it wasn't gibberish.
 
That'll do it - I disturb you? he sent, not wanting to bring anything up from before.  Maybe she'd just been asleep - though, of course, that raised issues about her nightmares, didn't it?

 Yes, you did. You did with what you said. Color me disturbed. You weren't meant to do that. You were supposed to be a stubborn son of a bitch who just blew off my nihilism. It's not fair. You changed the rules. went through her head, but she didn't say that back to him. She also didn't put down the second answer that came to mind, which was 'would it matter to you if you had'. That was needlessly confrontational, and she didn't really think she could handle another argument with Brett today, when they weren't even in the same room. At least if they were physically together, they could shout and be done with it. Of course, she could just say it and leave the computer entirely. See if the sound could be shut off, or turn the monitor off or something. She realized she was taking too long to answer, in a distant sort of fashion, so she looked back down a the keys, and wished she didn't feel so slow and off. no she sent back, thinking that was a big fat load of crap. She just didn't know if he'd buy it or not. Or if he'd call her on it if he didn't.
 
Good Brett typed back, though it did raise issues for him about why she'd dropped the keyboard.  Before he sent the message, he added onto it, I wondered if you'd been sleeping.  If I'd woken you up.  It was itching at him, why she'd dropped the keyboard.  And, okay, things like that happened sometimes, but - he couldn't see.  He didn't know.
 
She read the message, and was confused for a second. Which she shouldn't have been, because it made sense, but it just...her mind wasn't on top of things. Because for a second, she was thinking that he should know he woke her up. But he couldn't, because a) he wasn't in the room b) according to the little clock on the monitor, it wasn't even evening yet, and c) it wasn't like she'd told him. She looked back down at her keyboard again, not typing normally, instead hunting and pecking, so she didn't spell anything wrong. He'd been mad at her when she hadn't been typing well. Or something. There'd been mention. sleeping. it's ok she sent. And part of her realized she was being really short, and she'd been in a poetic mood earlier. Maybe he wouldn't notice.
 
Brett noticed.  He was, in fact, an observant little bunny and six words over three messages caught his attention.  Did you dream? he asked back, posing questions because hopefully it would make her answer them, and what he got back would help him judge what was going on.  She wasn't normally like this - maybe he should have checked in earlier.  Or maybe she's just still half asleep...
 
Her eyes had drooped shut again but she flinched slightly when the chime came. They sounded like windchimes. Like ones she'd had outside her window when she was a child. There had been crystal birds on it. All different colors... Her eyes focused on the words and she made a little face. She wouldn't exactly call it a dream. A disjointed nightmare, maybe. But she answered the question in the basic sense. yes She hit enter. Then realized she had skipped punctuation. Twice, even, if she looked at her other message. Oops.
 
Great - eight words over five messages.  Want to try for whole sentences, darling? Brett typed - though he actually wrote a whole lot more, then erased half of it before the message was sent through.  No point jumping the gun, and if it was just that she was pissed at him, the rest wouldn't really have helped matters.  He was still thinking about that dropped keyboard though.

Eris made a little sigh sound. She thought she was doing full sentences. They were just very short sentences. She rubbed at her eyes and tried to get them to clear more. She let her eyes shut for another few long moments, before telling herself the longer she didn't answer him the more likely it was that he was going to call her on things. She tried to think of a good message to send back to him, that was a full sentence and everything, but was having trouble. fuzzy headed. sorry. she sent to him. Then she went back and fixed the capitalization on it, so they looked more like real sentences. Which they really weren't. 
 
Brett raised an eyebrow, looking at the computer with a look which, had she been able to see it, she would have been able to read it perfectly.  As it was, she couldn't, so he typed it out instead.  That'll be a no then.  What made you fuzzy headed? he asked, because he couldn't not check.  But hey, she didn't get a lecture about sentence structure - which was good, because he could never remember the names of all the bits that were meant to go in there - but for a moment there he'd wished he did.

She half curled up on her chair, which made typing really awkward, so it was lucky she was still only hunting and pecking. Don't know. Just feel fuzzy. She didn't exactly feel sick or anything, and that was a plus. She paused, then started the process of typing up a second response. feels like when you know you are sick but have taken meds. fake-well where nothing hurts but you're still sick. she sent, after quite a while of hunting, and she hoped it made sense.

Brett waited patiently for her answer.  Answers, since the first was followed by another message whilst he was typing up his reply.  He checked the second before finishing the reply, so he could address both in one shot.  Yeah, Princess, I know what that feels like - you're sick, but you don't give a damn.  I hate that feeling.

She figured yeah, he probably did know about that. That half numb sensation that you knew everything was just waiting to rush back in and knock you flat again. It was a suckass feeling and she didn't like it. She just didn't really know why it was happening to her. Absently, she noticed that he kept calling her princess. It was still her association with him being 'nice' to her. me too. I'm a little dizzy. Wish I knew why. she sent. Then she smiled faintly, rubbing one eye and she added in a second one. see? sentences!
 
Brett laughed a little at the second comment and shook his head.  Yeah, sentences - can you try for words of more than one syllable?  Or has your nap lowered your IQ?  You haven't had an adventure with a bottle of hair dye, have you? He sent, still looking for things that would get her properly replying, whilst not completely piss her off.  He was fairly sure that he could get her back up enough to send her into a rant - but he'd be running the risk that she'd just ignore him and fuck off entirely.  After all, there were three other people for her to talk to.  Which reminded him... Who else do you have, anyway? he sent.
 
 isn't sentences a word with more than one syllable? lemme check. she sent, then she paused, and actually used the first grade clap-it-out trick. Which she was vaguely surprised she even remembered. It's 3, i win! she told him proudly. She managed a half smile and everything. She rubbed at her head a moment, then had to think about the computers. Everett, she definitely had. He'd been...being weird at her earlier. The other two though she thought had remained silent. Everett. No idea who else
 
He eyed the computer.  You had to test that out, didn't you?  Did you count on your fingers?  I'm disappointed - and one word does not make a plural.  I believe I asked for more than one there. he sent, before looking at the other message.  Everett.  Of course.  He got Hannah - she got Everett.

 clapped. Eris sent to him, admitting she'd had to test it. She was fuzzy headed, she couldn't be expected to just know this stuff off the top of her head. Then she started typing again. supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. bonbons. medication. sonata. Is the ring on my watch a sonata? I think it is. she sent to him. Which still wasn't really up to par, but she was trying. Kind of.

He rolled his eyes.  Now she was just being silly.  And it wasn't at all helping his concern about her.  Because she was acting drunk, and she was saying she was fuzzy and all in all, it added up to potentially not good.  Tell me something about you. He typed in, in the end.  She'd been all waxing lyrical earlier on, couldn't she just do that now?

When that question came through, the little almost smile that had been hovering on her lips died. A thread of suspicion curled up in the back of her mind, wondering why he was asking that. The information he had about her had been because she'd just happened to tell him, not because he wanted to know. He didn't ask things like that. He didn't care. So, she kept looking at her screen for a few long minutes, not at all sure what to do. Or what she would say. Something about her? Was there even anything to tell? She typed in a few responses, but deleted them. She sat there, at a loss.
 
He waited - and waited - for the reply to come through.  He didn't know whether there just wasn't going to be one forthcoming, or whether she was writing him a small novel.  He wasn't sure whether he should ask, so, he just sat there, still waiting.

Another few minutes went by, and when it was getting on towards then, she typed back a short response, because it appeared he was waiting for one. you don't really want to know. she sent him. She didn't know how it came off tone-wise. She didn't mean it in an accusatory manner, even if she was still thrown by the question in the first place. But for her, and particularly in her rather vulnerable state, which made everything closer to the surface anyhow, it was like her name. She didn't tell him til he wanted to know, and even then, that had only been a portion of why he had wanted it. It had probably been more because he was tired of coming up with new nicknames. 
 
Brett considered her response to that and leaned in to reply back.  I don't want to know as in the way I'd meant it earlier, or that you think I'm just asking for the sake of asking? he questioned, because he could see both being applicable here.

She looked at his response and didn't reply back for a few minutes. Then she answered, hitting each key deliberately. You don't ask me about me. You don't want to know me. I don't understand why you're asking. she sent to him. She deleted the addition to that, which had read 'don't pretend you're interested'. She was still trying not to be confrontational with him, and she thought that no matter how you read it, it wouldn't have come off well. Then she curled up a little more again, head pillowed against the chair's armrest and she shut her eyes, waiting.

Brett read her reply and considered how to answer.  There were actually two points there that he could address, if he chose to.  Why he was asking.  And whether or not he wanted to know.  They weren't, in fact, the same answer.  I don't usually ask because it would be hypocritical of me to expect you to answer questions about yourself when I'm really uncomfortable answering questions about myself.  I don't want to tell, so I don't ask.  And I don't generally tell - you know more about me now than anyone has in the last couple of years.  And I know about you because, generally, you don't need me to ask to tell me things about you.  He hesitated about whether or not to answer the second question and decided against it, for now anyhow.

When she opened her eyes again, it was a minute or two after he'd sent his message. She'd heard the chime, she just wasn't moving super fast at the moment, and she was kind of dreading whatever he was going to have sent her. She read it over, and still didn't thing that actually cleared up why he was asking in the first place. Nope. He didn't in fact, usually have to ask her things, because she didn't like things to be sullen silence all the time. And he didn't talk unless he was pushed to. Which, really, covered his other point, about her knowing more about him than other people. That was only because she could annoy him long enough to get it. It wasn't as if it was voluntary. Things came to mind to put down, but in the end she didn't think she had the energy to type them. She could say that he never seemed overly bothered about learning anything about her before, so why now? That there wasn't anything to tell. That his don't ask, don't tell policy on human interaction seemed to be the way he liked it, so why was he rocking his own boat on the matter. She shut her eyes again, and vaguely tried to think of something to say in return, but didn't wind up typing anything.

When she didn't reply, he decided that that was his answer as to whether or not he should reply to that second point and he typed up a response he was vaguely okay with.  I'm worried about you.  You don't sound good, you're acting oddly.  As much as you might be able to tell that from writing to someone you've never seen really write before.  But you seema ll over the place, and now you're not writing enough for me to tell anything more than that.  This morning, you admitted you were drinking.  I wanted to give you something you wanted to talk about, maybe.
 
 There were a few parts of that Eris didn't really didn't react particularly well to. One was that she was right. That he didn't really want to know. Didn't care, whatever. It all boiled down to the same thing. Not giving a damn, not really. And that hurt her feelings. Even if she knew it had been coming? It still stung. She didn't want it to. She hated that it did, even. But she wasn't exactly on top of her game at the moment either, which made her vulnerable. At least he wasn't there to see it. Another thing that bothered her was that he thought getting her to talk about herself was something she wanted to talk about. Generally speaking, she would rather hear about him, which, he probably knew, but that played back into the fact that he didn't want to. She stared at the computer screen for a long stretch of minutes, heading towards ten before she typed out a short reply. don't worry. i'm going now. She could have addressed the other things, but she was at a nihilistic point where she just...didn't know why she should bother. She didn't really want him to worry, but what had he told her before? He didn't want to have to clean up the corpse? Yeah. Something like that. She set the keyboard back on the desk, and curled up in a little ball on the seat of the chair, closing her eyes.
 
Brett had sat and waited for her answer to come in and, when it finally did, it surprised the hell out of him.  What?  No.  Did she really think that her going was going to make him worry less - after what he'd just told her?  See, this was when not being able to talk face to face was fucking annoying, frustrating as all hell.  What the hell part of this makes you think you should go away? he added.  Text meant he could pick his words with care, but it also meant he could edit himself when possibly he probably shouldn't - he couldn't help it though.

She made a little childish whine sound when the two chimes came in. She curled up farther, and kept her eyes shut, like maybe if she pretended really really hard, it would mean he hadn't messaged her. And that it wasn't bothering her that she didn't know what he'd said. He'd give up if she didn't answer him. She'd said she was going away. She...could be in the bath. Or in another room that she didn't actually have, but he didn't know that. She could be having a solo naked dance party in the corner for all he knew, and could therefore be far too fucking busy to worry about what he was saying to her. He was probably just yelling anyways. Maybe. She opened her eyes and watched the blue light blink.

She wasn't answering.  Great.  And she probably wasn't going to.  He glared at the computer.  Fine - if she was going to be like that, he'd leave it.  He'd go and... do something else.  Just - after he'd got the last word.  How do you reach your conclusions?  Really now.  I asked you to tell me somethign about yourself, because I wanted you to talk to me.  because I was concerned that you couldn't - not really.  i wanted to give you an open topic to talk about, something that would mean that you could choose the subject.  Would it have been better if I'd have said 'tell me a story', or 'write about what you did last summer' like some school kid?  But no, you have to turn that round into being my not wanting to know, because I've never asked before, which, okay - I don't ask.  but I explained why I don't ask.  Because if I asked, then I'd have to tell.  Or people - Okay, fine.  Most peopel I don't want to know, because I don't get to know people.  I don't want people hanging around.  I think we're passed that stage now, aren't we?  Most people, I don't ask because I don't want to know.  You - I don't ask because what I'd be asking about is things that reciprocating would make me uncomfortable with.  Doesn't mean I'm not interested.  I just won't expect things from you I'm not willing to give myself.   He stopped typing and hit send, not even reading it through for errors, or to see whether it made sense.  he felt like he should have signed the damn thing.  It felt formal, final, and he turned and started to head back down the path again.

She winced faintly at the chime again, in that sort of stage where she was listening for it, yet not expecting it at the same time. And, after a good five minutes of letting it eat at her, she sat up and went to read over what he had written. Which...was more than she would have expected from him. It took her a long time to think of how to answer. There was quite a lot there to take in. A lot of things she could take more than one way, and she was confused as to which way she should. Like, he said that it didn't mean he wasn't interested, but that didn't really say he was. Just that it might not be disinterest. And most people he didn't ask about because he didn't want to know, but he put her in a different kind of light. Or, that's what it read like. She could have been reading in. She didn't necessarily trust herself to be making very clear judgments on whether or not she was right now. The rest of it...she didn't know how to make sense of it. Especially with her head still heavy feeling. Slow. Really, right now wasn't the time to be dealing with this, but she'd never been a girl who made the wisest decisions all the time. When she started replying, it was halting, and it was probably about fortyfive minutes before she hit 'send'. i don't know how to read this. it reads like you might want to know me, but you don't want me to know you. So you don't bother knowing me. But then you're mad, because I'm not giving you what you want. I'm always giving. you don't give back though. i listen to you, i'm around. i don't go away for long. i thought it was suspicious. you don't ask me, and if you don't want to know something, i don't want to give it to you. you just wanted to know how coherent I could be. And, a little after that, she added one more bit. i don't want to be here though whether she meant the place she was physically located, her own mental state, or where they were as people and how they related to one another, it was impossible to tell. She didn't even know the answer there.

He'd put food on to cook.  His first proper meal in far too long.  They'd given him meat, vegetables, everything he'd need.  Sure, they'd given him things that he could just heat up, but they'd also given him things to make something proper with, so he'd distracted himself with doing that.  Got everything simmering away.  Nothing special - just one pot, meat and vegetable stew.  Smelled good though, especially with the fire.  Wouldn't be ready for a long time though - and it didn't need very much attention now it was going.  So he didn't really have any reason to ignore her message any longer once he'd done that, so he ended up heading back over to her computer, reading the message.  I don't give back?  When you know I don't like talking about myself, or my past, or any of that, yet you still know more about me than anyone else.  Just because I don't give you what you want 100% of the time, that means I don't give at all?  And because I don't generally ask, that means I never can.  Or that I have to have one reason and one reason only for wanting to know?  You say you're always giving.  That you listen to me - which is something that I never asked you to do.  The way that you never asked me to take care of you, but I did that anyway because you needed it.  I'm still doing that anyway.  I just never expect you to like me for it, or ask anything in return.  He sent the message before he could think better of it and pushed back from the console.  He should go and check the other computers, make sure his food wasn't burning.  He wasn't at all concerned about what she'd say to that.  Honestly.

She read the message, and sighed. Why was she doing this again? Why hadn't she gone and laid down properly when she'd said she was going to? Nevermind she didn't want to sleep again because if she was already in nightmare mode, she'd probably have dreams so bad she'd wake up crying. That would be awesome. She wasn't already emotional enough right now or anything. Fuck. She took her time typing again, trying to type normally for a minute, but she kept flubbing it up so she went back to hunting the keys one by one. you -said- you were asking me because you didn't think i could answer you right. most of what i know about you is because i read people well. i can fill in blanks, but not because you tell me. because i catch it. so maybe i know you better, but it isn't because you've volunteered anything. if we talk it's because i've started the conversation. and you don't ask me to listen--you just won't quit riding me until i do. i don't know how things look from your end? but all you do is bitch at me, brett. you order me around, and if I try to start up anything remotely friendly, i get shit for it. hell, half the time, the only time you've said anything is because occasionally i get sick of it and quit talking to you. I do things for you too, that you don't ask me to, that I do anyways. i just get hell on that a lot of the time too. she sent. Then she heard her watch go off again and she twitched. wasn't it early for them? Maybe not. Maybe it was later than she thought. Her sense of time wasn't what it could be. i'm going to take my meds and rest. she typed in, setting the keyboard down again before she started to push herself up to a sitting position--which had her recalling why she'd been laying down in the first place.

Brett was trying to think of how to reply to her first message when the second came through, and he frowned as he read it.  Princess, it's not time for your meds for another few hours yet. he sent back, before going back to her first message and trying to think about what to say to that again.

She heard the fast reply and looked up, since she hadn't got so far as to stand up yet. She frowned, the sonata she couldn't remember the name of still playing in the background. It was confusing her enough to answer him back. but my watch is going off.

Brett gave up on his reply once again as her message came through - and then gave up on it altogether as he read it.  It's not time.  It's early.  You're not due meds again until evening - then you're not due any more until morning.  He didn't like this.  He didn't like this at all.  Princess, do you know how many times you've taken your meds today? he asked her.

She tried to think about it. It was just hard to. So, in the end she gave him an honest answer, feeling stupid. there was a touch of humiliation to it too, which she blamed already being fucked up right now. i don't know She couldn't remember. Though, if she had taken more than one round, that would explain why she hadn't even drank very much before she'd felt massively fucked up. The song was still going off, and she pushed herself up, making her way to the edge of the bed to turn it off. she leaned heavily there for a few moments, feeling like the world was a bit tilty again. She didn't like Tilty World Syndrome.

Brett stared at the words until he felt like they were burning their way through the back of his eyeballs.  That would explain a lot.  Except for the obvious - why would they do that?  Of course, why wouldn't they as well.  But it hadn't seemed they were being fucked with any more than being separated.  But hadn't he started off today thinking on the downsides, the way they could be fucked with with a set up like this?  He tried to tell himself that maybe it wasn't anything to do with the scientists.  Maybe her watch had just malfunctioned.  Or something.  Maybe it didn't matter what the cause was, they had the result.  Hot on the heels of her accusing him of being authoritarian and overbearing.  Great.  I don't think you can trust that watch. he wrote, carefully.

It took her a minute to get back and reply to him. She set the watch on the desk next to her meds, and she stared at the words for a long few moments. would explain tilty world syndrome. i didn't drink that much. i threw it yesterday. That she remembered. It was probably her own damn fault. She just hadn't been thinking about anything like this. Then, because she didn't know, she asked. can i od on this stuff? he might now. He knew her meds better than she did.

He closed his eyes for a moment as that last message came through.  I'm sorry.  Yes.  Especially if you're mixing with alcohol.  I don't know how much you'd have to take.  I'm not a doctor - I just read the leaflets.  he wished he'd known.  Maybe it'd be alright, maybe it'd just knock her silly for a bit.  He just didn't know.

Oh. That was...really fabulous. She wanted to ask him if this could make her worse, but if he didn't know how much she'd have to take to OD, he really probably wasn't going to know that either. And really, sharing that fear with him probably wouldn't help. She'd done it before though, right? She'd killed a lot more alcohol and had possibly taken more than one round of medication when he'd seen her the one day. So...maybe it was fine. Maybe. Fuck. Well, that whole not worrying thing was probably out the window. okay. she sent to him. Then, before she could think better of it, she sent something else. i'm sorry.

Brett swallowed.  Not your fault.  But will you keep talking to me?  Please. he asked, wanting to demand there.  Wanting to tell her what to do, except she'd just pulled him up on that, hadn't she?  So, he swallowed it and tried to be nice about things, gentle.  Careful.

She read that and sighed. she couldn't say no to that. and she was a little afraid to. Just a tiny bit. She was much more okay with freezing to death in a car she'd driven out in the middle of nowhere deliberately. This? Was accidental. This she hadn't been trying for at all, it had just happened. So, it had a different impact on her. okay. think i kind of killed our conversation, though. which might have been for the best, really. read any good books lately? there's journals in here but they aren't in english. or one isn't. i wasn't much in the mood for reading. she slowly typed out for him. What else was occurring to her was she'd had a shot for her migraine. Would that play in too, or was it out of her system by now? How long did that shit take anyways?

This had definitely killed the mood - if there was a mood to kill.  Whether good or bad, it was gone now.  This was serious.  This could be more than serious.  Never been much of a reader, Princess.  And no, no books in here.  Got dinner going though - first proper meal for a while.  No offense to your grilled cheese or anything... he offered, feeling weird about this all.  Everything had kinda been put on hold for now.  Until they knew.

She had the weirdest thought process going on as she read his reply. That morbid little part of her mind wondering what it might be like for this to be the last conversation they had. Talking about the fact that she really was not in any way a decent cook. she was barely competent at simple things. And if posed that, what he might say. Like, if he had anything he wanted to say to her, considering she might go to sleep and not wake back up, did he have anything important to put out there? It was kind of a unique opportunity. But then again, it probably would only be that if she actually did die, and she didn't want to do that.

 She didn't think it would happen, but there was part of her that was nervous. Because since she'd been dropped into this town she'd done a lot of drinking. And she'd been taking the medication whenever they gave it to her since Everett had put the lights out. Didn't that eat at your liver? Did normal medication do that, or just shit you took too much? She didn't know enough about medicine. Where the fuck was Dave when you needed him? Not that he would have been overly happy to be giving her advice. Though if Brett or Everett asked him, and didn't say who it was for, he'd say. Dave was a helper. He'd even helped her, when she knew he didn't want to. Wouldn't let himself not. She tried to imagine what he might tell her to do. Maybe go take a cold shower to wake herself up better. But if she did that, she'd not be talking to Brett anymore, and he'd said please. Plus, she was too tired to go. And if she did, then she'd just be wet and cold. She'd had more than enough of that in the past few days, thanks. And, maybe she just wanted to stay there and talk to him. even if she had spent a lot of her day being pissy with him, she still kinda missed him. Don't let it burn. There's a kitchenette thing here...not hungry though. Plus no one wants me cooking anything right now, my non-aptitude with cooking aside. She didn't want to set the fucking place on fire. She didn't even know if there were sprinklers, or a fire extinguisher, or if she'd even be fast enough in her slow, wobbly state to get back or deal with anything like that. So how about not. no offense taken. there are many things i'm good at in life, cooking isn't one of them. And never would be, now. She wouldn't be able to follow it correctly.

Brett had wheeled himself away quickly as soon as he'd sent the message, going to computer connected to Camber and shooting off a quick message to her.  Maybe it would come up with something - she seemed to be an organisational type.  He quickly stirred his stew on the way back and got back to Eris' message just as it arrived.  He typed in a response as soon as he'd finished reading it, wanting her to know he was still there.  Not going to burn - it can look after itself.  I've sent word out to see if anyone can get hold of either doctor, but I'm not holding my breath.  Leah never did get back to me - makes a guy wonder if she's still even in town.

She was surprised a little by him trying to get word to a doctor. She'd been thinking about Dave, but...weird. And hey, he was pro-active about it. She wondered if he wanted her to ask Everett to as well. She couldn't decide if she thought Everett would actually do it, or if he'd take the opportunity not to. Do you want me to ask Everett to do that too? I'd been thinking about Dave. He probably wouldn't want to help me, though. You didn't happen to keep my name out of it, did you? she typed back. Just...really slowly. She never showed up, did she? I'm kinda half remembering you said she was going to.

Brett rolled his eyes as he read that.  YES - I kept your name out of it.  You're now officially 'some woman' - happy?  And I think asking whoever you can would be good.  You have three other computers, right?  Me, Everett and two others?  You might be next door to Leah or Dave.  And no, she never turned up.  Never said why she didn't.  Never responded to my PM the other day pointing out that she didn't and that you were better.  You could say I was not impressed, but that might be quite a bit of an understatement.  But then I knew her from my experiment and she wasn't the most stable cookie in the world.  But it was a toss up between the guy you said would probably try and kill you and you flat out refused to see and the girl who'd be bouncing off the walls half the time and talking to fucking fairies or some shit the rest of the time.

Eris read that and smirked faintly. with those as my choices, maybe I was better off with just you hounding me. My other computers have been silent. I guess I could go try to message, but they're pretty far away, and I'm not that steady on my feet just now. If you don't mind waiting while I do it, I can do that, just don't yell at me if I take a long time. How's your dinner coming? She remembered he'd said something about it. She supposed she could scroll up, but whatever. She'd probably confuse herself at this point, having to reread things and keep up with what he was saying to her. She wondered just how pissed he'd been that apparently nutcase doctor chick hadn't come by at all. She hadn't realized he had been.

Brett considered that.  He'd prefer for her to stay, so he knew she was alright, but hate if there was a doctor next to her on one of the other computers?  He couldn't justify that.  Go.  I won't yell at you.  And my dinner's fine - I'll go check on it while you're gone. he sent back, leaving the message simple and middle of the road.

I was hoping you'd say no, I'm comfy. But okay. I'll be back in a bit. Eris sent back, then made the long, drawn out process of going to ping the people around her, along with Everett. It took her a while, and she didn't know what she'd do if people pinged back. It wasn't like she was moving terribly fast right now. And she didn't really figure that was going to change, either. But she did it.

Brett gave it a moment or two after her last message before moving off to do the same, checking his messages, looking for word on medical help - and finding out there was a new doctor in town.  Okay, well, hopefully this one would be less potentially homicidal and more stable and realiable than the previous ones.  He checked his dinner and added a few bits, balancing the flavours before heading back and waiting.

Eris typed up short messages to the other two computers, answered Everett back who apparently already knew about her condition anyways, and then got back to Brett. Dropping down into the chair, she waited for the world to stop tilting crazily before she grabbed the keyboard once more. guess Everett earned that detective rank or something. When I got to that computer, he'd already messaged me to ask me what the hell was going on. It was weird, he almost sounded concerned. she typed to him, making sure she spelled things right, even if it took her longer. She'd almost typed 'miss me?' first, but skipped it.

Brett let out some tension as the message came through, unable to deny to himself he'd been waiting for that and fearing it wasn't coming.  He officially hated this.  I didn't tell anyone it was you, but then again, I guess there's only 4 people I can talk to, 3 if you consider that Camber knew it wasn't her. he sent back.

Eris read that, and wondered who the hell Camber was. And who else was around, and...she should just stop thinking about it, it was starting to give her a headache. Or maybe just the whole over dosing herself was doing that. That was a big old possibility as well. He figured it out, either way. Doesn't matter, just thought i would say. No word from the other computers. she sent back.

How you feeling now anyway? Brett sent through, wanting to get that done with, since he wanted to know.  She was sounding better, but like he'd said to Camber, that didn't necessarily mean anything.  And apparently we have a new doc - Stan.  Don't know anything else about him.  Not from my experiment.

Stan? Nope. Not ringing any bells, though that wasn't really anything she should be concerned with. She could possibly have even met the guy and not remember him. It was possible she was being a little hard on herself there. Then she contemplated her answer. So it took her a little longer to answer than it might otherwise have. Did she tell him the truth? It wasn't like he could do anything. Would telling him she felt better make him worry less? There was a part of her that twitched at the thought of lying to him at all, even if it was for a good cause. She'd had a fairly strict policy of truth with him, and didn't want to break it. In the end, she gave him the truth, she just didn't make it sound as bad as she felt. Feeling tired. Still a little dizzy. Still a little fuzzy. I'll be okay. she sent to him, even if she still had no idea if that was the case. Again she wondered about the whole last conversation thing. What did you say to someone that you didn't know if you'd ever speak to them again?

Brett wondered if she was playing that down.  If she'd do that.  He'd do that, he knew.  In her position, he wouldn't want to say how he felt - he never did anyhow.  But, she'd not given him a standard 'everything's fine, don't worry about me' answer, so hopefully there was some truth there.  At least you're managing sentences. he sent back.

Kind of funny, that. You, wanting me talking -more-. she typed to him, smiling faintly as she laid back down on the chair again. It made typing tedious, but it already was with her whole pecking typing thing. most of the time I think you're happier if I keep my mouth shut. she just never did. Keeping quiet wasn't ever her strong suit. And if she kept quiet, he wouldn't have to answer her questions. The ones that he didn't want to answer in the first place, and she had to drag out of him. Right now she wasn't trying to be pointed, though. and thought maybe she should tell him that. In my head, I'm amused over here. Not sure how it's coming across. she admitted.

Brett had needed the clarification, that she was being funny, because he hadn't been sure.  Don't get used to it, Princess - special times.  I'm sure I'll revert tomorrow.  I'm being more chatty myself really aren't I?  I wouldn't encourage this as a future tactic though... he typed back, trying to make a joke himself.  Would she get his humour in text, or did he have to point that out as well?  Shit.  (joke, by the way).

She read the words on the screen. You're calling me princess a lot today, darling. she thought to herself. Which to her just said that he must really be worried. It twisted anxiety in her stomach. If he was, maybe he had reason. Fuck, he probably did. The fact that the was also joking with her smacked of worry too. But she didn't want to break it down. You are! You even told me some things about yourself. I'm thinking though, that you're right. This probably isn't the right way to go to get that to happen again. I'll have to go a different route. any suggestions?

Brett smiled a little at that, feeling better that they were going with lighthearted right now.  he really didn't want to argue with her.  He didn't know if the stress would make her worse.  What?  You want me to give you ideas for things you can do to get me talking to you more?  Don't you think that's, well, since you needed to ask because I don't voluntarily talk, you honestly don't reckon I'll help you out with that, do you? 

She quirked her own little smile. a girl can dream, right? she sent to him. Then worked on her longer reply, she'd just wanted to get something in straight away before she took her time typing out the rest of her thoughts. I never claimed to be fair, nor that I make sense. Or that I have reasonable expectations. It might be Unreasonable Demands day. so that's my unreasonable demand. give me a key to you. gimme. gimmegimme. pleeeeeaaaaaassssssseeeee?

A key to him?  He didn't know if there was any such thing.  If there was, he was sure he didn't have it.  I'm not sure I have a key, Princess.  And I forgot my locker combination. he sent back instead.

She laughed a little bit at that. i actually think you don't have one. no one, specific thing that would magically unlock all of your secrets. so, i guess it's unreasonable, impossible demands day. It was worth a shot, though. Can't blame me for asking. I put a lot of hard work into getting to know you. I was just looking for a little bit of a shortcut. she sent. Then, in her traditional fashion, there was another one. I like this song. tori amos song. if you're curious. I can't remember the title though.

Brett had been wondering if she'd take that badly - if she'd see that as him sidestepping again, rather than it actually being the truth.  He didn't know if there was anything she could do to magically make him want to open up to her.  He couldn't think of anything which would do that.  He was just him, some things he just felt very uncomfortable with.  It was nothing personal - she already did better than most of the entire world anyhow, but he doubted she could see it like that.  I know you do.  I don't know why.  Do you just like a challenge?  Or are you some kind of masochist?  And I don't know about the song, even with the title, I probably wouldn't know what it was without hearing it.  Does it go dumdidumdidumdum or something?

Eris had to think about what she was going to reply back to him with. It was kind of a main question, really. Like she could ask him the same thing. Why he bothered with her, when he had better options around, and probably even people who wouldn't bother him every day about personal shit he didn't especially want to talk about. So it took her a little while to get him his reply. She just needed to answer him without the first thing that came to her mind, which she understood as truth, but didn't especially think she wanted him to know. Hell. Thinking about it in those terms made her think she needed to examine it for a while. Not masochistic. Not about you, anyways. And I can deal with you because while there's vast amounts of bullshit--there isn't any -actual- bullshit. I'm honest with you, you most of the time accept that about me. Take me at face value. and I don't -think- you lie to me. You're evasive as all hell, but not -dishonest-. if you do lie to me, you do it well enough that I haven't caught it. Maybe I want to keep the only relationship in my life that's been based on truth. everyone/thing in my life up until you has all been based on illusion of some description. This is hard for me, but i couldn'thandle anything else rightnnow. she sent it before she checked her typing on it, and winced faintly when she saw some errors at the end. So she tried to type up the last bit more quickly but with less error. She thought he would ignore the first part anyways. it goes DUMduduDIdidum duduDdidum duduDUdu DUDUM! ...yeah i don't know. She talks about addiction in the first line. nicotine patches or something. Which was probably way easier than me figuring out how to do that first part in dumdum-speak.

Brett was rereading the first message when the second came through and he didn't get to it - what with the reading and rereading.  He noted the errors at the end, but mostly, he was focusing on the content.  It was a fucked up world when he was all she could handle.  But, then again, it was definitely a fucked up world.  I wouldn't lie to you, Princess.  He wanted to ask what she was masochistic about, given that the way she'd phrased it suggested she was about some things, but then he wondered if he even wanted to know, given that the answer to that could potentially take him well out of his comfort zone.  So, he left it at that, simple and succinct, turning to the other message and laughing slightly as he did try and sound it out in his head, with no luck, of course.  Sorry - I'll just have to leave it.  I'm not a big Tori Amos fan.  So, I'll take your word for that.

Actually, now that she was paying more attention to the lyrics as the song went on, she thought it was weirdly appropriate. You say you don't want it again, and again but you don't really mean it, You say you don't want it, This circus were in, but you don't you don't really mean it you don't really mean it, how many fates turn around in the overtime? ---from the song. he got sent first, because she'd been working on typing it up for him when she got struck with that odd 'hey this is weird it kinda fits' sensation. Then she got to his message in return. And in the end she typed up a simple reply to what he'd said back to her. I appreciate that.

Brett was confused when he got the first message - it took him until the end of the message and her words there to realise that they were  lyrics, by which time he was wondering about what they meant.  And wondering if she was saying something.  The fact that they were lyrics both helped and didn't help at all there.  Helped, because she'd got them from somewhere and it wasn't her just being poetic again.  And didn't help because clearly they'd stood out to her, spoken to her, which meant probably that they'd meant something to her.  So, in the end, he did what was best for him - which was to turn to the second message and ignore the first one altogether.  Appreciate?  Me trusting you with the song, or me not lying to you? he asked her.

I appreciate you not lying to me. I mean, I could be happy that you trust me with the song, but really, it doesn't matter much in the grand scheme if you can appreciate Tori Amos or not. she sent to him. Just be happy I didn't pick some other songs of hers, where the lyrics make much less sense. Why is it you bother with me? There are people with a lot less bullshit to deal with. Probably even ones who might -not- bother you for personal details on a constant basis. I keep trying to figure it out, but never get anywhere. she added, though that was more stream of consciousness, as her mind came back around to his saying he didn't know why she tried so hard with him.

Brett considered the question, and whether he wanted to answer it at all - and he actually took a break whilst he was thinking about that.  Call it distraction, but he went and stirred his meal, and checked and responded to his other PMs.  That all took about five minutes before he got back and settled down to actually replying, not wanting to put it off any longer.  You don't treat me like a cripple in a wheelchair.  Like I can't do anything and need looking after.  Most people do that and I can't fucking stand it.  So most people can fuck off.  It was some of it, anyway.  The middle bit, maybe.  He figured that she knew the start, even if she didn't like being told it.  And the rest, well, he'd just leave it at that for now.

In the meantime, Eris had closed her eyes, letting herself rest while she waited for him. Though at least this time she owned up to waiting for him. It was a little bit before she got a reply back, and when she did it roused her from where she'd been drifting already. Blinking at the screen a few times to get her eyes to clear, she read his message. Which basically, she read as being the fact that she wasn't an ignorant, dismissive bitch. Right. Which, considering herself, and the source, was kind of amusing. So, if you could edit me, so I would be the person that would be your ideal to be wandering through this situation with, what would you change? she sent to him. Then added on a disclaimer. And just fyi, you're shit out of luck on me changing anything, it's just curiosity on my part.

He read her message and decided that the best way of answering that was probably to keep it lighthearted, nothing too serious - she'd get a step up from him ignoring things altogether, an answer without him having to take things to where they could get difficult.  I'd make you a better cook, given your habit of 'happening' to leave things out for me in convenient locations where I'm likely to find them...  Because no, he hadn't missed that.  He figured that they'd both known exactly what had been going on there.

She laughed a touch. Didn't I tell you before I wasn't cooking for you? Even if she had. Twice. And I have brain damage. I'm forgetful, and given to weirdnesses. I merely forgot those things that I put out where you could find them. Lucky that you did, huh? And that it hasn't graduated to other weird things, like starting to dress in costume and insisting everyone refer to me as Scarlet. I'm sure I could get even weirder. I'm sure becoming eccentric at an already young age means by the time you get to much later, you're off the rails with it.

Brett twitched a smile at that and sent her back a one word answer at first.  Bullshit.  He sat back, then leaned forward to follow it up.  So, when they moved you, did they move your dolls?  Or did they stay behind?  And, just for reference, my eyes and my arm are still absolutely fine, Scarlet.  And yes, you said you weren't cooking for me.  I still call bullshit.

She smiled and laughed again when she got the one word reply, and was already working on her one in return when she got a second one. Which also made her laugh. You can prove nothing! It was all accidental, that's my story and I'm sticking to it! I'm just really really forgetful about leaving out food! And...stuff! Just wait til I start leaving out other things. Then you'll see. When she got the bit about the dolls and such, she looked around. There are dolls in here, but not the ones from the house. One kinda looks like me though. And good. You'd be typing a lot slower with only one arm. And good. You need to keep your eyes. Still got that other leg too then?

Brett shook his head slightly as he read the replies, hesitating about whether to send what he though on the subject, but then he figured fuck it and leaned in to type.  This was easier, in ways, than talking face to face and she seemed to be into the conversation, which was good.  Hopefully it'd keep her focused.  He wanted to encourage that - which was his excuse and he was sticking to it.  I'm less concerned about my legs, Princess.  They can take one and it'd make absolutely no difference, would it now?  Hell, it might make it easier for me to get around.  And I'm glad you don't have those dolls.  You let them get to you too much.  What else would you leave out? he sent, adding that last on a whim out of pure curiosity.

She read his response, and shook her head. Well -I'm- still concerned about your body parts remaining intact. Though, she had to admit, it was especially his eyes. And I know. I just didn't like what they'd done to you. And I know--I heard you the first time, they didn't to you, and you're fine, and everything. I know. And I know it's stupid to let it get to me too. What bothered me was everyone else was fine. Everyone else was as-is, with the appropriate markings and scars, etc, but they just decided to mess -you- up, and I didn't like that. I'd've felt better if Scarlet had a big bullet wound through her chest or something too. Then at least you wouldn't have been singled out. she sent. Then she sent a second message as well, thinking about it a second. You never know what I could leave out. I could start being a collector of other people's things, and leaving them out for you to find. I could start leaving out stolen fingernail clippings set into hand made voodoo dolls. Though really, they probably wouldn't be very good. I don't have enough things with matching buttons for eyes, so they'd look weird and deformed. So you'd get weird, deformed voodoo dolls lying around all over the place. Though for reference, if you found one with no buttons for eyes, that'd be Hannah. She'll be the one with the big letter opened jammed into her forehead.

Brett ignored the second message when it came through, because he was already answering her first - that one had taken long enough in itself, so he'd pounced on it as soon as, again, clutching at the excuse he wanted to keep her talking.  Maybe they did it because they knew it'd bug you.  Because you've shown you take things seriously and they knew that anyone else in that house and you wouldn't have noticed so much. he sent through, rewording that note as he noticed the way the sentence was going and felt the need to veer right the hell away from that one.  He turned to the second message and just laughed out loud as he read it.  It took him a few to stop laughing before he could answer it.  For that, I wouldn't mind you randomly leaving it around.  Did I say I have her on the other side?  Joy of fucking joys.

She read over the message, and pretty much got the unspoken bit of it. That yeah, if it had been someone else? She wouldn't have given a shit. I know you're right. That just doesn't help the actual reaction. She nixed the word 'emotional' from that statement before she sent it, even if that's what it was. Maybe I should take up voodoo doll making just to throw that whole thing off. Make my own fucked up dolls, to counterbalance any they leave lying around. It can be cryptic and we can blame it on my brain damage. I could claim I don't remember a thing about any weird dolls. And so long as you don't mind! and I think you mentioned. Have you been rushing over to reply to her likely needlessly bitchy comments to you? Or did she give up after 'fuckity fuck fuck grr grr imma bitch! BIIITCH! bitch i say! and fuck! i have a dog!' statements that usually encompass her entire conversational agenda?

You shouldn't let them get to you so much, they're just fucking with you.  Pressing buttons and waiting for a response so they know which ones get the best reactions.  Which meant, he realised, that they knew which ones to push to get the best reaction out of her.  Which probably wasn't good for his general welfare, though he doubted they needed dolls to realise that.  No, the dolls had been once they already knew which buttons to press, just adding another layer in there.  He shook his head, shrugging those thoughts off as he turned to reply to her other message.  And Hannah bitched - but in the same way you did when you got my first message.  Mostly, I haven't talked to her.  Great thing about these things, getting out of conversation is really fucking easy.

She sighed a light bit. I know. I already said that I get that it's stupid and I know why they do it, that just doesn't help the knee jerk reaction I get. And I have less of a grasp on things than I used to. Which I'm sure is damn amusing to them. And yes, ignoring Hannah would probably be a good thing. Unless you really really wanted to get in a higher quota of being bitched at today, but I probably have covered quite a lot of it on my own. she sent to him, not wanting to think about the dolls anymore, or what they'd done to his, or the fact that it still bothered her.
 
Brett rolled his eyes as he replied to that.  Amazingly, Princess, I don't like being bitched at all all.  I realise this comes as news, given I'm so good at getting people to do it.  Have to admit, it makes things a lot easier sometimes, but call it a means to an end more than actual enjoyment.  He sent it, then wondered if he should have done.  He'd not actually told anyone that, but then again, she was so fucking observant at times, she'd probably worked that one out already.

She had, really, and when she read it, she was mostly just a little surprised he was owning up. Yeah, I know. she sent to him. If you evoke a bad reaction from people, most of them will avoid you. Means you don't have to deal with them. Well. Til you met me. I'm just that special. We'll save ourselves trouble and not define what 'special' might entail. Though I'm sure you have a few choice, colorful words that could fill in the blank. she added, thinking 'stupid' might top the list.
 
He was really, really glad that she was giving him that out and not expecting any reply to that, because he did, in fact, have a few choice words to put in there, but he really didn't much want to.  Basically.  Don't want to spend my entire life explaining myself.  Don't like the looks people give me.  I can see it in their eyes.  They can pity someone else, I'm not interested in the job.  I don't want to fill the role of someone people can look at and think 'well, it could be worse'.

Eris was quiet for a while. She read his reply, she just didn't want to respond back with something that was going to get his back up--and really, this was a touchy subject in the first place. Things came to mind for her, things she wanted to know but knew he wouldn't answer. Like who was in his life at the time of the accident, and did he shove everyone away deliberately, or did they drift on their own. Possibly both. If his family spoke to him anymore, or if he'd pushed them away as well. She didn't really think he had much of an accurate view of the world on that score. There had to be someone else out there who hadn't looked at him the way he assumed they did. Someone other than her. So, it was a while before she formulated a response for him, and she took care in her typing as well. You have to explain yourself to me a lot of the time. Or, that's what I want. Just not about -that-. Is there a difference? Is it because when I want to get answers from you, it has nothing to do with the chair, and just who you are as a person? What goes on in your mind? How you view the world? I guess when you mentioned that last bit, the 'well it could be worse' thing, I had to wonder which of us does have it worse. I don't think I ever directly thought about a comparison. She wondered if he had. And if he'd reached a conclusion. She knew she hadn't. 
 
He'd regretted that message the moment he'd sent it, and if he could have clawed it back, he would have done.  He didn't do that - that self-pitying bullshit.  Not overtly like that.  He bitched, sure, but that was a step up, that was spelling it out.  But it was out there now.  Still, he didn't read her message as soon as it came in, though he was still in front of the computer.  He left it for a few minutes, before finally he opened it and read it.  It wasn't meant to be a comparison. was all he sent back.  He wasn't sure at the moment what to do with the rest.  He felt like he'd opened a can of worms and he wondered whether there was any way of closing it again.

His response didn't help much. Mostly it had her wondering. If maybe there was another reason why he was around her. Why he chose to spend his time with her and didn't find someone more capable. Maybe it was something along the lines of the fact that he could look at her and do the same thing he didn't want people doing to him. Thinking that it could be worse. She didn't feel like he pitied her, but maybe she just hadn't looked at it from the right angle before. The idea made her uncomfortable. Unsettled. And he didn't address anything else to distract her with, either, so in the end...she didn't reply back again, setting the keyboard back down. She just didn't know what to say.
 
He stared at the keyboard, thinking about what had been said, wondering if he even wanted to go there.   She'd asked a lot of questions and he knew he could probably get away with ignoring at least some of them.  She'd probably be entirely shocked if he answered all of them - it'd be a first for him, after all.  She didn't expect answers to her questions.  Or, at least, he doubted that she did.  But it was there, like an open wound.  He wanted to close it somehow, without ripping it open anymore.  Without doing any more damage.  Not to their relationship, but to himself.  So, he attempted something like an answer.  I don't have to explain myself to you.  Like you don't have to explain yourself to me.  We both have issues that would lead a lot of other people to treat us like helpless, moronic children.  You don't do that to me.  I don't do that to you.  I don't know who has it worse.  I don't really care.  He could have added more, but he judged it better to leave it there.  But there was, in fact, so much more he could have said, explained.

She'd wondered if he was going to leave it. Go find something else to do, maybe go eat his dinner. Answer pms from other people. Just not answer. When she got one, she was as a matter of fact, vaguely surprised. It took her a while to respond again, as she tried to figure out how she felt about what he'd said, and what she wanted to say in return. You had me wondering. If that was how you viewed me. Worse off than you. You might not be able to walk from point A to point B, but you remember what you did this morning. You wouldn't find yourself fighting to stay awake, because you couldn't even really remember that you'd already taken your meds today when the little timer went off. I'm kind of scared, you know. It was different when I left the house. Which was probably far more than she should have said, and it was her turn to wish she could take a message back before he read it.
 
Brett hated that when he read it.  That 'I'm scared'.  He closed his eyes for a minute, thinking of the times in the past he'd had people say that to him.  He remembered sitting through the night in a snow hole with a climber who'd shattered both legs.  The weather had been so bad that the helicopter hadn't been able to safely get out and the climber had been far too injured to take him down by hand, so they'd chosen to wait til morning, Brett and his partner.  Brett had sat up with the guy most of the night - he couldn't even really remember the guy's name now.  Sean?  Shane?  Scott?  Steve?  Something like that - it had been getting on for ten years ago now.  But he'd sat up with the guy all night, kept him as warm as possible, tried to reassure him that everything was going to be okay, but Steve-Sean-Shane had known it wasn't - the guy had tried to keep a brave face on it though.  The only thing he'd said had been a quiet 'I'm scared', just before dawn.  He died coming down off the mountain.  Internal bleeding they hadn't known about until it was too late.  Then again, it had probably been too late the moment that storm had set in.  Brett swallowed and took a breath and typed a reply to her.  I'm here. 

Two words, but they meant a lot to her. She bit at her lower lip, and didn't answer for a long while. She appreciated the fact that he was there. She just kind of wished he was in the same room. Then at least he could yell at her for a while, or something. And she would know if she did slip off to sleep, that he'd be listening for if she quit breathing, or whatever happened in situations like this, and she realized that she didn't know. Would she get sick first? Would that be it? He'd already mentioned the whole choking on her own vomit thing. So that had to be a possibility. And she half wanted to ask, but she didn't really want to put him through that, either. Talk about a bad position. He'd even said it before. Part of the bad thing about being in contact--he'd know something was wrong and she wasn't safe, but he couldn't do anything about it. Like right around now. She didn't know what to say back to him. She was a little on the verge of being emotional again, or maybe she'd already delved into that territory. Yeah, it was a little late, with her having admitted she was scared in the first place. Thank you. she typed back after too long a delay. Then she started typing again, too involved in her own head to really think better of it. When I went to sleep in the car, I figured it was poetic justice. And I'd done it on my own, driven out of town, everything, so, I didn't care so much. But I didn't try this. And it's probably still my fault, I threw it, it fucking...went off, and it hurt my head so bad with the stupid light, and the song, I just wanted it to stop. So I probably broke it. I didn't mean to.
 
Brett read that and typed another very short reply.  It's not your fault.  He sent it, then straight away started on another one.  I know you didn't mean to.  Things break.  Things happen.  The doctor wants to know how many of what you took, but I've already told him we don't know.  He hadn't mentioned that before.  He knew she didn't really keep a track of what she took when, but it seemed right now that maybe she'd want to know that.

She read that over and exhaled, shutting her eyes for a few moments, and she curled up a little on herself. She concentrated on breathing, but it was dragging her down, making her feel like she could just fall asleep right there. Which...she couldn't exactly do. So she opened up her eyes, focused on the screen, waited for her vision to clear, then started up a reply. I'm no help. she typed to him. But it was better than the nihilistic thoughts that accompanied that. How she wasn't any help, and anyhow, bothering a bunch of people to get medical advice when she couldn't even say how much she'd taken of what was pointless. She didn't like the idea of people playing telephone on her behalf. What if they found out later who she was? Would the information be tainted? What if Kales was in there somewhere, and he either didn't pass things on, or passed on the wrong things? 
 
He couldn't deny that, but the whole thing was that nobody was perfect, wasn't it?  That was what had got them here in the first place, because they could deal with each other's imperfections in a way that suited them.  He started typing a message, but then erased it firmly.  She didn't need to know any of that.  It was all things she already knew, she didn't need to be reminded that she was potentially fucked.  Do I get my story now?  I've been trying to be good... he sent back instead, because he couldn't think of anything upbeat and positive to write right now.

She read his message, and she was lost for a moment. A story? What story? Was she meant to be telling a story, and she didn't remember? Was she getting worse? Maybe if she just went and rested for a little while, she'd be better. In the end she wound up trying to scroll up through their conversation to find what he was talking about. And eventually, considering how much they'd been messaging, she thought she'd found it. But it took her a while. Do you mean you want me to tell you something about me? Or am I missing things? she had to ask. Because she didn't want to start in on the wrong thing

Brett had worried that he'd pissed her off again with that, given that she didn't reply at first, so he turned to her message the moment it came through - and only then realised that possibly he could have been clearer.  Yes, that's what I meant.  Sorry - wasn't clear.  You're not missing things. he sent back, hoping to reassure her.

 Thinking about things, she tried to think of something she would even really want to share. It wasn't as if her life was really something she looked back upon fondly. But then it could just be something about herself, right? But she didn't know what was acceptable there either. Not that she'd shied away from telling him horror stories about herself before. In the end she just felt really bad, and she didn't know what to say. I'ms orry, I need a starting point. she sent to him, not catching the small typo.
 
Brett thought about that.  What was a good starting point.  He knew her life hadn't exactly been the happiest, but he didn't want to push her towards telling him something she didn't want to.  Maybe something little.  What's you very first memory? he ended up sending back.  There - a starting point.  The starting point, it could be argued.

She didn't have to think about that, really. It was fairly clear in her mind. So, she started typing. I don't know how old I was. Little. I remember my parents were having another party. They had those all the time. Huge things, with expensive dresses, real jewels, hired catering, that sort of thing. And it was too loud for me to sleep. So, I was sneaking up the hallway. It was dark, the second floor was off limits, the party was all downstairs. And there were the doors that were left open, and the moonlight streaked across the hall in whiteish blue lines. My nanny was meant to make sure that I didn't wander downstairs, but she was in her room with her boyfriend. I remember hearing them. I don't really remember what I heard, just that I knew she was occupied. I remember trying to keep myself in the shadows, so no one would see me. So I'd jump over the patches of light, with a running jump to try and get it done. In the end, I got too close to the party, someone spotted me and I got dragged back to my room and locked in there. she sent. 
 
Brett frowned at that as he read the message.  Weren't kids at parties meant to be cute?  he would have imagined that in her world she'd be all primped and primed and brought out like some kind of china doll, not hidden away - though he wasn't sure which option there was worse.  What did you do?  Do you remember? he asked her.

Cried? Went back to bed? Continued to have trouble sleeping because the party was too loud, probably. I do know my nanny was fired after that and I got a new one. I had a lot of nannies. None of them lasted that long, some of that was my fault, other times I think it was because my father had a little trouble keeping his hands off of them. Eris typed back to him. I got to go to parties when I could entertain. Then I'd be woken up and brought down just to do that. I was a big hit, of course.

There it was - the china doll.  My parents never really had parties.  Maybe some family round during the holidays once or twice.  Definitely not with jewels and caterers. he offered, proving what he'd told her before - that turnabout really was fair play.  He'd asked for something, he'd give something in return.  His justification for never asking questions.

 So you had parents who actually cooked their own food once in a while? Or all the time? My parents never did. Holidays were excuses for more overly done parties. I got to go when I could entertain, and when they didn't want me around so much, it was boarding school. What were your parent's names? Did you have any siblings? she asked, kind of glad that he'd given her that little bit of his own life. She was clocking his background at middle class, possibly with a father who did manual labor of some description. Man's work. What she had trouble imagining was if he had siblings or not.
 
Brett stopped as the questions came back.  He should have known she'd have them.  They were innocent enough, really.  And talking about his childhood was easier than answering questions about his adult life.  But still, he took a break as he considered them, going and unhooking the stew, ladelling some into a bowl, though it was still like soup more than stew at the moment.  He grabbed a spoon and took it back, putting it off to one side to cool as he turned to answering her, deciding he could do that.  We always cooked - going out to eat was a treat.  Didn't happen very often.  My parents were Sam and Annaleigh.  I have an younger sister - Claire.

An younger sister, that was interesting. And two parents, so, probably not from a broken home. She wondered how the relationships had gone after his accident. If they were still waiting for him to come home. How his sister had taken it, if they were close. Annaleigh. That's pretty. she offered. She wondered if he missed them. She knew she didn't miss her own family, but they had really been family in name only. There hadn't been a whole lot of actual emotional attachment. Maybe with her father, though it was one sided. He'd doted on her. She still sometimes thought it was still for some reason all about him, though. That he got something out of it. She just didn't know what. She smiled faintly. You know I'm sitting here with about a dozen questions, but I'll be good. she sent.
 
He knew that - he could almost feel it.  She always had questions.  He thought about it, then shook his head at himself as he replied to her.  You can have three questions.  I can't promise to answer them, but if I don't, you get replacements, until you get three answers.  And you have to cut me some slack in future about not telling you anything. he offered to her.  At this rate, she'd OD again, just because it got her what she wanted, he thought to himself, then rolled his eyes at himself - he really wasn't that interesting.

Eris blinked at the words. really? she had to type back first. Wow. Again, she was struck with the fact that he had to be really worried, to be handing her things like that. So she sat there and thought about it. Three questions. And she'd even get to keep asking until she got three answers. This was...well. She liked this. This she could do. Thinking it all over, she tried to figure out what she wanted to ask first. Were you close to your family? she kind of wanted to narrow it down to know if he'd been close to Claire, but didn't narrow it too much. She figured the finer the point on the question, the less likely she was to get it answered.
 
Brett had sat, waiting for her question, wondering if he'd actually be sent anything he'd be willing to answer, or whether she'd jump right in to areas he didn't want to touch.  The question that came, could have fallen into either category, but he figured he could answer it avoiding the painful parts.  Mostly.  I was, growing up.  We'd spend time together when we could - wasn't always often, but when we could.  He didn't deal at all with their reaction to the accident, to just how supportive they'd tried to be - overly supportive, as far as Brett was concerned, trying to tell him how his life wasn't over and he could adapt and treating him like he couldn't do anything now.  Until he'd turned on them and chased them away.
 
Was. That was the word that stood out to her. So, in her estimation, taking what she knew of him, she figured after the accident, he'd pushed them away. Like he'd likely pushed any friends he had away, any girls if he'd had them at the time. Still, she wondered if they were worried sick about him somewhere. Wondering where he was, if he'd drank himself to death or something. Not knowing. But she didn't ask for clarification on any of that.  When did you decide you wanted to be a rescue worker? she sent to him. She also of course, wondered if it had anything to do with his own estimation of his father in one way or another. If it played in or if it was something else. An accident, a tragedy, or just a little boy who dreamed of growing up to be a hero and never let that dream die.
 
Apparently she was being careful with her questions, and he was grateful for that.  They were ones he could answer, because they predated enough.  I don't remember.  Young.  Always enjoyed being outside, grew up in WA, in the shadow of a mountain.  Started working in the park as a kid.  He'd started to add in 'never left', except he had, hadn't he?  He'd had to.  He knew he'd never go back.  He'd loved that place so much that he couldn't bare being there now, when he couldn't really live there, not the way he'd want to.  He reread his message after he'd sent it and wondered if she'd count that a proper reply.  SAR's just volunteer work.  But I always wanted to do it.  I remember hearing about the teams when I was a kid.  It was just something I always knew I'd do.

A volunteer hero. Yeah. That didn't surprise her. She wondered if he recognized that he was doing things with her. Rescuing her as it were. Right now, even. Just talking to her. Keeping her awake, talking her through it. Even if that entailed telling her about himself. Do you remember how many people you've saved? She couldn't decide what she thought on that one. He could either be the type to know exactly how many, and remembered faces, or the type who considered it all just something that happened in a day's work. She wondered how many letters he got a year, thanking him for saving lives. Someone's kid. Someone's father. She wondered if his family kept them for him, or if they got returned to sender now. All things she was dying to know...but knew he wouldn't answer.

Brett didn't know how many people he'd saved over the years.  Or how many he hadn't - it wasn't all glory.  Too many people went missing and weren't found.  It happened both ways.  And anyway, it wasn't all him - there was always a team, but answering that question properly would mean explaining that, and he wasn't willing to get into that subject.  He didn't want to talk about SAR.  Sorry - next question. he sent back.  It just skimmed too close to the bone.

That surprised her. She'd thought that one would have been easy, but obviously not. So, she sat back, and thought things over again. Absently, she swayed one foot back and forth over the arm of the chair. Or, did until the alarm on her watch went off again, the light blinking and the sonata going off. It probably shouldn't have, but it sent a shiver down her spine. If she hadn't told Brett a while back that she'd been going to take her meds and lay down, and he'd caught the discrepancy...would she be taking another round right now? Reaching out with a hand that wasn't the steadiest in the world, the keyboard clattered to the floor, and she picked up the watch, shutting off the alarm, and then the light. The smileyface was still there. Dropping it, she just sat there for a long few minutes, trying to calm down a little.

No answer.  Was she pissed with him?  he'd set the terms - he didn't have to answer anything, but if he didn't, she got another question.  And so he'd chosen not to answer - was she being pissy now?  Was she trying to think of another question?  It was too soon for him to worry she just wasn't there at all - there'd been long silences before, after all.  Hell, maybe she'd just had to go to the bathroom, but somehow he doubted that.  Not right now, not when she was getting what she wanted.  You have another question, Princess. he sent through.

The chime sound roused her from her thoughts, and she re-oriented herself. She picked the keyboard back up from the floor, deleted the random numbers she'd hit while she'd grasped it. Sorry. The watch went off again. she sent back to him. It's just creeped me out, to be honest. Because if you hadn't caught it earlier... she didn't finish the thought, he could fill in that blank well enough on his own. Just like she still was. And if it went off later than that, she'd have taken more...trusting it not to have fucked up. Right. Fuck. You know that feeling you get when you miss a stair?

Brett didn't like that, he didn't like it at all.  Yeah I know that feeling (and I'm not counting that as one of your questions, by the way.  I'm nice like that).  I want you to take that watch and find something heavy and bash the fuck out of it.  break the fucking thing, and thenthrow it away, or lock it somewhere it can't be heard.  We can go back to me reminding you - I'm more reliable. he sent through.  Considering how hurt he'd been the other day that he wasn't needed any more, he felt no relief now that he was again, only anger that this situation had arisen in the first place.  He didn't want to be needed like this, not because the other option was so unreliable it could possibly kill her.

She smiled faintly at the little bit about not counting that as a question. but she thought the idea of smashing the watch was a good one. Going to break it, I'll be back in a minute. she sent to him, then she fished the thing from where it had landed half beneath the chair, and she stood up, slowly making her way over to the little kitchenette. She still felt like the world wasn't steady beneath her feet. Like it was tilting, or her center of gravity kept penduluming back and forth. When she got there she leaned heavily on the counter for a moment, before she started looking for something heavy. What she came up with was a heavy frying pan, and she tried her best to smash the shit out of the watch. It took a few tries, but eventually the face cracked open properly, and she removed the glass, before taking a butter knife and jamming it down inside. Then she drew a glass of water, drank it, drew another, and dropped the damn thing into the water as well, hoping even if she hadn't broken it, if it went off now, she might not hear it so well. Then she headed back to the computer, dropping down and curling back up, though she felt overheated now. She shut her eyes for a few long minutes, almost dropping back off to sleep. Half slumping forward roused her enough, and she fumbled for the keyboard again. Done. she sent.

Brett had taken the opportunity - figuring that she was going to be a while, he'd gone to check to see whether there were any updates, anything back from the doctor, but there wasn't.  Then he'd come straight back again and, when the message came through, he was halfway through his bowl of stew.  He set it down to read the one word message.  Good - how're you feeling? he asked her.  May as well complete the check in circle.

Like Alice down the rabbit hole. Eris sent back to him honestly. Or, as honestly as she was going to get without getting into specifics. Which she figured he didn't really need. I'm okay, Brett. I'm just so -sleepy-. My eyes are heavy and I just want to curl up right here and go to sleep. And she was overheated, her heartrate felt thready to her, and she felt short of breath. But yeah, he'd just worry if he knew that. He was already worried. He was voluntarily answering fucking questions.

Sweetheart - you can't do that, okay?  Stay wit me.  When was the last tiem you ate anything?  What's the temperature like in there?  Have you got af an you can set blowing on you, or is it just still their?  Is that making you worse? he sent her, not bothering to stop to check spelling before he sent it, he was in such a hurry.  he tried to figure out if there was anything else that she could do, but ODs weren't really his area.  He had lots of first aid training, but it was all injuries.  You had a broken leg?  Brett was your guy.  Drugs?  Really not generally a problem where he came from.

She noticed that his typing was all over the place there. And she did look around to see if there was a fan. A fan would be nice right now anyways. She didn't see one, though. Oh. Wait. there was a ceiling fan. Wandering over towards her bed again, she crawled on top of it to stand up, fumbling with the pull cord to turn it on. She did it, and once it started turning, she dropped directly back down onto the mattress. Giving herself a few moments which she didn't gage correctly and wound up being a few more minutes, she caught her breath and then pushed herself back up onto her hands and knees, forcing herself to get back over to Brett. Or...the computer connected to him anyways.

Julia?  The single word question was waiting for her on her return as Brett received no reply and threw that whole 'it's not been long enough' thing out of the window.  Given the contents of her last message, he was now officially scared.

She dropped back down to the chair, and got the keyboard up, fumbling with it a little bit to get him a reply quickly. dksrry. I didnt meant oa make you wait. cielting fan on now. rested a second. sorry sorry. She wondered vaguely just how many times today she'd apologized to him. Probably more than in their history to date.

Her reply didn't help his state of mind at all.  If he could, he would have been pacing right now, but he couldn't - all he could do was to sit there, feeling completely fucking useless.  It took him a few minutes to actually get a reply to her as he stared at what she'd written.  Don't be sorry was all he could manage.

She looked at the reply, then settled herself sitting up, scooting the chair closer and she propped her feet up on the desk--mostly because it was vaguely uncomfortable. it might help her stay more alert. Then she settled the keyboard on her lap again and started a better reply. I thought of going to take a cold shower but thought that would just mean I was wet and cold. Do you think I should anyways? she asked him, since it was the only thing she'd really come up with for helping out her staying awake thing, that wasn't talking to him. Though she wanted to be talking to him.

Brett stared at the screen, then pushed himself away, heading for Camber's console to shoot her off another message, since there was still no reply.  He didn't know - he just didn't know.  I don't know.  I've sent another question off, but I don't know.  I'm sorry.

When he didn't answer her fast, she typed up Brett? but then he came back and answered. Not your fault. At all. So don't worry about that, okay? I know you said before it wasn't my fault, but it is. All of it is. I know that. she typed to him in a moment of harsh self examination. It was the truth, though. Sure, Everett had been the one who had choked her and all, but he had his reasons. They were handed to him and some of them were purely fabricated, she was sure, but that didn't change the fact that who she had been as a person had led her here. So yeah. It was her fault.

He frowned at her response.  "What the hell are you going on about, Princess?" he muttered as he leaned in to type a response.  No, it's not.  So you dropped the damn watch.  That could happen to anyone.  You didn't do it on purpose.  You didn't take more meds than you shoudl on purpose.  THis isn't your fault. It's an accident.  And I'm sorry because I don't know enought o deal with this.  I'm not a fucking doctor and I don't know enough about this to be able to do anything for you.  And I wish I could.  I wish I could help more.  But right now, I don't know what to do about this.  I don't know what's good for you and what's the worst thing you could do.  I don't think you shoudl go to sleep, but what if I'm wrong there?  What if that woudl eb the best things for you?  What if that's what you need?  I don't know anything, and anything I get has to be past from person to person like some fuckign game of telephone which means that simple questions take fucking hours, so I amy as well not ask them at all. he ranted back at her.

She read his response and had to re-read it. Blinking, she wondered where that had come from. So, in her first reply, she told him something she probably otherwise wouldn't have. Brett, you're helping. You're keeping me up, you're keeping me alert, you're keeping me -company-, and right now I really need that. I really need -you- right now, because I know I couldn't handle anyone else, and I just... Just shut up. You're helping. I say so. I'm sure you never figured you'd wind up in the woods typing on a computer to someone who accidentally od'd on her prescription meds, so you're in the clear for that too. She had to wait a few moments before she started to clarify herself. And in the end, her clarification wound up being shorter than the initial message. my life has led me to this point. I'm here because of my choices, who I am = my fault. She sent to him. She erased the last bit 'You know I probably deserve it, don't you?'.

Brett read her response.  Then went back and read their last few messages and didn't reply straight away.  Because they were flipping.  He was meant to be the one helping her here, and he was starting to lose it, and he couldn't do that - that never ended well.  And he knew why it was.  He'd never reacted well to being helpless.  It was why his current life felt like a death sentence some days - because he considered himself helpless.  But it was all perspective, wasn't it?  Because now - this was helpless.  This, right here.  Right now.  He had a new fucking definition.  He really wished he didn't.  Shut up yourself.  You're here because a watch malfunctioned.  And you still have another question. he sent back, once he'd got himself together again, almost glad she couldn't actually see him in person right now, though from her last message, it was clear she'd cottoned on to just how worried he was right now.

She read his response, and sighed lightly. She almost wanted to go over to Everett's computer and ask him. He'd tell her she deserved it. Or that she was in the position she was now because of her own actions and choices in life. He'd agree with her. She had another question. Yes, she did, but all the ones she could come up with right now, she didn't think he'd answer, and she wasn't sure she could handle an answer if he gave her one. Eris kept re-reading what he'd said back, and as having that drive again. That drive to crash the illusions down. the ones she'd come to rely on, without realizing she had, and when they'd failed on her, she'd crashed down pretty hard. It was masochistic. The whole thing was. But in those moments, she really just wanted to lay it out for him, like she did sometimes. Tell him about the shit she'd done. How she'd been hired, what she'd done while in the house, even if he knew a lot of it. And all of that was because she'd been so goddamn good at what she did. And then it all crashed. And that was really probably karma. Poetic justice. And she was sitting there, in a cage fit for a princess, system feeling slow and run down, because it hadn't been hard to tip someone into attempted murder. That right there said one hell of a lot. Fuck. It had even been a fucking cop.

And there was Brett, a broken hero, and he was trying his best. Even if this shit was hard for him--and she knew it was. He was trying. And part of her just...didn't want to disappoint him someday. The name thing, that had been a misunderstanding, but he'd thought that she'd disappointed him. And she didn't trust herself not to do it someday. Her eyes landed on the bottle again, and she took a long moment to honestly consider it, realizing she was taking too long to answer him. In the end she typed back I know. just because she knew she needed to answer him. Because he was worrying about her right now, and didn't really have time for her internal tempest bullshit.

He hadn't thought she was going to reply.  He really hadn't thought that and he was already thinking options.  Was there any way of getting through to the scientists?  If he just put a message up somewhere, a journal entry something - they'd see it, right?  hell - he could probably just start screaming and shouting right here and they'd see it, they had to have this place rigged, right?  So if he did that - if he begged enough - would they do something?  And if they did - would he even know?  What had happened to those fucking people who'd gone out into those fucking tunnels?  He'd always said they were dead, but he didn't really know.  He'd always said they were stupid bastards and that he didn't care, that they should have known better, but right now, that was all pressing down on him.  He'd done nothing, and now he could do nothing.  Was this some kind of poetic justice bullshit? 

Except, then the computer bleeped again and he was fumbling for the message.  The two word message.  Stay with me, Princess.  he whispered it aloud as well, as he pressed 'send'.  God, this was fucked up.

It was so strange, reading those words. Almost like he'd been privy to her thoughts. Followed along with her while she'd been considering Bad Things. She closed her eyes for a long moment, and tried to shove back emotion, though it wasn't the easiest thing in the world for her anymore. she just didn't have the same grip on them other people did a lot of the time. And really? Since her little breakdown at the house, her subsequent near death and brain damage? She felt things again. She had no idea what fucking wire had gotten knocked loose in her brain, but she'd gone from being mostly shut off to being a little too dialed on. She rubbed at her eyes, which she was steadfastly insisting hadn't gotten misty at all. And she needed to answer him faster than she was. I'm here. I'm staying. Just don't leave me. It occurred to her that she didn't know what she'd do if the computers were shut off. If they decided to be cruel, and just...turn it off. Which she wouldn't put past them. I'm okay. Even if she was so fucking far from alright it wasn't even funny.

He didn't believe her.  He didn't fucking believe her with that message.  He'd been going downhill for a while now, and he'd hit bottom - he just didn't believe her.  She was just saying that and he didn't know what was going on because she wasn't telling him.  But that was all there was, wasn't it?  That was all she had, that was all she'd given him.  Was that what she wanted him to believe?  Okay he sent back.  He didn't know what else to say right now.

She gave him a few minutes after the one message, then started typing again, because if she didn't, she was going to curl up and probably do something stupid like cry herself to sleep. Which just...wasn't her best option right now. So she typed to him instead. I can't think of a good question right now, can I save it? she asked. She didn't know if he'd give her that. Or, he might, just because he was worried about her right now, and might want to give her what she wanted to placate her. That and he might never have to have it cashed in... the back of her mind put in.

Brett answered her right back, not wanting to leave things, not right now.  Can't think of one, or can't think of one I'd answer? he asked, checking that.  And also, it was something to say - because thinking of conversation pieces right now was hard.  Especially when he knew that this could be their last conversation.  That every message he sent her might be one which didn't get a reply.

She considered how to answer him, and in the end was too tired to come up with something that wasn't plain truth. I can't think of one that you'd answer, and I don't know if I'd want your answers to them anyways. Don't think I can handle much right now. which wasn't exactly taking back her statement of being 'okay', but came close. She only just realized it after she'd already replied to him.

He considered that, then got straight back to her.  Okay - you can postpone your question.  But you know you're more likely to get an answer now, right?  Just saying.  You've kind of got my full and undivided right now.  In case you didn't notice.

That made her smile the tiniest bit. I know. and I noticed. I appreciate it. you know that too,r ight? That you doing this means a lot to me? she sent to him, mind actually running back along the lines she'd started when she'd thought that he might never have to own up on the promise of a question at a later time. She also sort of half wondered just what she was going to do with it. what she was going to say. She'd already said a ton of things that she couldn't take back.

He knew what his stock response to that would be - that he didn't want her gratitude.  But it felt that, right now, something like that would cheapen things. They didn't know what would happen here.  He wouldn't do that.  Not today.  I know, Princess.  I know.

Eris smiled a touch. He knew. Well...that was good. Plus she wondered how much he had to swallow down twitching at her over that. She waited for a few moments, then typed up a new response to him. You got any questions? Now might be the time to ask. I realize you might not actually want to know anything, but figured I'd offer. she sent. Wouldn't seem fair otherwise.

Brett considered that.  He actually had a variety of questions he'd never asked, but wouldn't admit to it.  And he wouldn't ask the ones which she'd find hard to answer now anyhow.  Not when she'd already admitted to not wanting to ask him things because she didn't want to hear the answers.  He could imagine how much worse having to actually give the answers would be.  Tell me about a time when you were happy. he sent through in the end.

Eris stared at the screen, and she actually had to wince faintly at that. When she was happy? God. She didn't know. She didn't think her definition really matched up. And, after a few long minutes of debating that, she just started typing what was on her mind. I don't know if I can think of one. I know I've always been manipulative. Always. So I guess there isn't really like a...'and then I smiled a lot and felt all warm and fuzzy'. I was more degrees of satisfaction when something worked. Not really...-happy- in so many words. I was thinking just a bit ago that it kind of feels like I was set to 'off' and then everything happened at the house, and the lights went out, and it flipped the switch. Maybe not to 'on' so much as I'm just...malfunctioning. she sent back, thinking that was a whole lot of information that he probably didn't want.

That made him sad, actually.  There were no other words for it - it was just...  yeah, sad.  He wanted to ask her how old she was, but it seemed a blunt, pointed question.  Probably a bit younger than him.  No, definitely - at least he thought.  In her twenties, maybe.  Long enough, though, that not having any happy memories was shocking - even to him.  Even he had happy memories.  They might have been painful to think back on, but they were thereMalfunctioning? was all he sent back in the end. That was the part that he didn't really understand.

She didn't figure he'd get it, because it was such a fucked perspective in the first place. She had to think over how to put it that it might make sense. I'm not used to being as emotional as I have been. I'd never really been scared before, not until Everett. I'd never...I say I wasn't really happy in the way that you're thinking about it but I wasn't unhappy either. And it still just feels like my emotions weren't quite present, but the sure as fuck are now, and half the time I don't know how to deal with them. I'm not used to them in the first place, and then they hit really hard, and I know I'm not supposed to have the best control--part of the damage. Doesn't make it easier though. she explained. And I'd appreciate it if you didn't tell anyone any of this. Y'know, if I do or don't make it. she thought at the end before she sent it.

Princess, I went for a while pretending I didn't even know you.  I think you can trust me to keep your secrets. Brett sent through, reading her request.  Maybe getting emotions back is a good thing.  They're a generally accepted part of life. he added as a second message, not knowing how that one would be received.

She quirked a faint half smile at the first one. Yes, he did. I know. I trust you. she sent back to him. Which, right now she sure as hell did. She had trust issues with him, but right now? He was all she really had. And she really dreaded when he was going to need to go to sleep. And she was. Because he couldn't keep at this all day. He was going to have to do other things eventually, right? It wasn't like the one day, when he'd just refused to leave that house. Where he just hung there, in the background, doing his thing. She still kind of didn't understand why he'd done that the first time. But there were a lot of things she didn't understand. Maybe. All I know is right now? They're making this whole thing -really really hard-. she sent to him, rueful little laugh given as she sent it. This would be a lot easier to deal with if I didn't care.

"Right, Princess - if you didn't care, you would have just curled up and let it come by now.  Which would have been so much fucking better, of course," Brett muttered to himself.  It was strange, talking to himself right now - but there was nobody to hear, was there?  Better to care, or we wouldn't still be here. he pointed out to her.

No, you'd probably still be off happily ignoring me, and wouldn't be any the wiser. And I'd have not stopped drinking when you asked me to. Which really, probably means I could have been comatose by now. And possibly dead later, and you wouldn't know til tomorrow. She refused to think about the rest of it. That if she truly didn't care about anything anymore, they wouldn't still be speaking to begin with. Nope. Irrelevant, that. I know. Cut me some slack, I'm not used to this. It's rough going from not giving a shit for so long then suddenly being faced with it. It's new for me! Plus, sitting here for a while now vaguely wondering if this is going to be the last time I talk to you's fucking with my head. To put it mildly. It made everything feel so dire. It put those questions into her head. Like if he had anything he'd want to say to her if that was the case. Or if there was anything she wanted to say to him. That possibility of 'final words' was too much for her. You couldn't take that shit back. Which had her sending another message. I'd appreciate it if you ignored that last bit. she sent. She didn't want him addressing that at all.

He'd been thinking along the same lines.  Wondering whether this would be their last conversation, not wanting to wonder that.  Things couldn't end like this - it wasn't fair.  But then again, when had anything in life been fucking fairWell, here's to new experiences then. Brett typed back, having sat and thought about how best to fill her request that he ignored shit.
Yeah. It appears I'm not very good at it. Eris typed back, relieved that he'd ignored what she asked him to. Though in the back of her mind, she kept coming back to one question. If he'd miss her when she was gone. Which she just didn't want to know the answer to. She knew her own answer, and she didn't especially like it. Because if the situation were reversed, she'd miss him. She didn't really want to think about it at all, though.
 
  "Practice makes perfect, Princess," Brett told the woods at large, but he hesitated over actually sending that.  Would she take it as encouragement?  Would it be encouragement?  Did he want to encourage her?  Would she be encouraged?  Or would it just be a throwaway comment that she'd either ignore, or roll her eyes at when she thought back on it.  Assuming that they got through this and she could think back on things.  Can't be good at everything. he sent back in the end, deciding to cut through the thoughts by rejecting them completely.

Well, that was true. She couldn't be good at everything. Just everything she was good at, she no longer cared to do. Which really left her lost. She wasn't sure what to say back to him there either, and she drew in a breath, and shut her eyes for a few long minutes, trying to come up with some kind of reply...while sort of fighting drifting again as well.

Brett waited for a reply, getting twitchy when one didn't come back through.  You still there, Princess? he sent, checking that.  He knew he was paranoid, but really, when else was he meant to be?  He didn't even want to leave it for a long enough period for it to be 'thinking time' now.
 
She'd drifted slightly, and the chime roused her back. Wincing faintly, she rubbed at her eyes, and typed back a slow reply. Sorry. Didn't know what to say, was thinking about it, drifted a little. My eyes are really heavy. Maybe I need better music. Like something jarring. Nothing too melodic, was there any punk on there? Hard metal, maybe? She started to look through the song list, to find something that might be just annoying enough that if she shut her eyes, it would discourage her mind from slipping under the haze.
 
Good she was still there, he could stop starting to panic again.  Do me a favor - send me some bullshit response if you're not knowing what to say.  Don't care what it is, but I'm clockwatching your replies here. he told her, figuring that he should be honest about that.  Maybe then she'd stop not replying, and he could stop thinking that this was it. Maybe you should throw some water over your face - cold.  Not a shower, but just cold water.  And I can go check the messages again, see if the doctor got back yet. he suggested.

How long was I out? How long are you giving me? But okay, I'll do that. Bullshit responses thing. And the water thing, if you want to go check. Not that I think there's much that can be done. Either my system will handle it, or it won't. There's nothing I can really do. I was thinking that there was something else too though. Remember I said I thought I'd been given an injection? Do you know how long those take to work out of the system? Going to play in the water for a second. she sent to him, figuring he could answer her while she went to do that. She didn't really find anything that jarring for her to listen to. Mostly because she didn't listen to things that were that jarring. Punk would be good, but it wasn't like it was on her list of top genres to listen to, so it wasn't there in her list.
 
Giving you a couple of minutes, tops.  Now you have five.  be right back. he sent, before heading off to check his messages.  If he had any.  there was one from Camber, with sensible advice, but nothing really stellar - nothing from the doctor.  He'd have to check back again in a little while.  But at least it was something, and he headed back to Eris' computer to wait her next message.

She got over to the sink in the kitchenette, and she ran the cold tap. Which, since she still felt overheated, wasn't that bad. She splashed her face, and then went one step farther, and ducked her head beneath the spray, wetting her mass of hair down. That seemed to wake her up some, considering it was also giving her the shivers. Awesome. Grabbing a cloth, she looked in the freezer, and took out ice. Wrapping it in the cloth, she headed to grab a brush, and then head back to the computer. The shivering and everything made her start to feel achey, but she felt slightly less fuzzy. She was moving slightly faster too, just not a whole lot. Wet and cold now. Think I liked warm and fuzzy better. she sent to him when she sat down.

Brett let out a breath as the message pinged through.  Welcome back.  No word from the doctor, but Camber suggests drinking water.  And her vote is no to the shower - too easy to hit your head on the tub, which is sensible. he sent through.  He'd give it thirty minutes or so, then go back and check for updates again.  he just wished he could hear the other chimes from this computer.  Fucking typical that he couldn't.

She started to brush her hair, goosebumps rising up on her skin, and she shivered again. You know, after the nearly freezing to death thing, I really hadn't wanted to feel like this again. she sent to him, since she'd promised him she'd send him something from time to time, even if it was a bullshit response. Did she have a blanket? One she could drag over? Would that be completely counteracting what she'd done in the first place? Probably.
 
Go put a sweater on or something - don't let yourself get too cold.  Last thing we need is to get through this and for you to get sick again.  You might not be entirely over your illness.  No relapsing on me now. he sent back, trying to keep things lighthearted.

She smiled faintly. We've got two choices, love. I can be cold and more alert, shivery and kinda tense, or I can be warm, fuzzy, and sleepy. she sent to him. Though relapsing would suck, because you wouldn't be here to get me my meds and make me drink water. Even if it was icky water. She'd complained about the water. Sometimes the stuff he'd given her just tasted off. But he bitched, and she'd drink it anyways. She just hadn't liked it. 
 
Sorry about the water.  It was from the bathroom.  I won't miss that kitchen.  He doubted that was news to her, so he could put that down.  She'd seen him freak out about being trapped before.  If he would let himself even think about it, he might have been able to appreciate the design of where he was right now.  He was in an enclosed space, but it seemed to have been specifically designed to not push any of his claustrophobia buttons.  To allow him to cope with being confined.
 
She was willing to bet if he never had to see that kitchen again, he'd be happy. If they went back at some point... Yeah, that's going to happen. Don't even start. she thought to herself. I know you won't. And I know you just got it where you could. I lived. As far as things that sucked went, it's fairly low on the list, really. Oddly enough, other things are topping out the list at current. she sent. Then she paused, and thought for a few more moments, adding another one. assuming I make it to later, when are you going to cut me loose to sleep? You need sleep too. She was the idiot who had overdosed, he shouldn't have to be up the whole night with her because of it. Even if she wanted him to be.
 
Sleep?  Sleep was the last thing on Brett's mind right now - and he doubted that he could if he tried.  No, he wasn't going to be sleeping any time soon.  I'm not tired. was all he sent back though, deleting his demand that she stay right where she fucking was for the duration.  He was trying, at her request, to be less authoritarian at her.
She read that, then smirked very faintly. So does that mean you're not cutting me loose at any time? I've got to stay up and talk to you? Not that I mind talking to you. But eventually I'm going to have to go crash. I'm already having trouble, so, not sure how long I can actually realistically fight it. I'll try for as long as I can, though. she sent back to him. she kind of wondered what he was thinking about right now. What was going through his head. How he was dealing, as it were.

I'm here as long as you're here. Brett sent back.  Probably longer, in fact.  He knew he could hear the ping from the campsite, but he doubted he'd risk that, in case him sleeping was enough to make him miss something.  And that was assuming he'd even be able to get to sleep.  Which he very much doubted.  Not here and now, not like this.  He knew he'd probably end up sending her drabble messages, wondering all the time whether the pings would wake her up, whether she'd get back to him, whether she was just sleeping.  Or if this was it.

 She read the message, and set her brush down, since she was finally done brushing her hair. It had taken a while, considering she hadn't used conditioner or shampoo, and she had a lot of hair. So it had gotten tangled. Okay. then talk to me. I liked it better when you weren't giving one line replies. she sent back to him. she'd kind of liked when they'd been talking. Or at least, having something slightly more in depth than they were now. Even if they'd gotten onto touchy subjects, and she'd gotten stupidly all emotional and everything. At least it had her mind spinning on things that were less pointed, or too sterile. It had been messy, but it had been engaging.
 
Talk to her?  And about things that weren't just one word replies.  Brett tried to think of something, but the first few ideas were rejected out of hand.  She didn't want to know about him, because she'd already said she couldn't handle the answers.  She wanted him to talk, so it couldn't be about her.  And he didn't actually know that much about her anyway.  he wasn't sure what would be a 'safe' subject here.  Not a problem:  What do you want to talk about? he sent in the end, knowing it was a cop out question, but there was so much to avoid there.

She actually laughed a little bit, because she knew a cop out when she read it. Dry on subjects? Or nothing you have you think is alright to bring up? she asked him honestly. She curled up on the chair again, shivering a little, and she wondered just how long she was going to let that go on. The ceiling fan wasn't helping. But it was keeping her awake, so...whatever. C'mon, go with the first thing that comes to mind, whatever it is. Promise I won't be mad or anything. Or, you won't get shit for it, regardless. she sent back, absolving him of any responsibility there.
 
He wondered how much she actually meant that.  She hadn't liked what he'd said earlier on, after all, when he'd warned her she didn't want to know, but she'd pressed anyhow.  Careful about bringing things up.  You've vetoed a few things, others are just depressing as fuck.  And you regretted getting me to tell you shit this morning. he sent back in the end.

I know. But if we're talking about things, actually talking, having discussions or conversations, I'm more involved in it, which means I'm less likely to drift, or just stare at my screen and wonder what to say now. she told him, so he'd at least get her reason for wanting to possibly delve into things that might very well upset her. You're blame free here. I asked for it. You can even quote me on it if you really want to. Just...humor me. she sent. Then, at the end of it, please.
 
He read those and closed his eyes for a moment.  Still, he tried to think of something that she wouldn't be able to have difficulty with.  When I was a kid, I always wanted a puppy.  I guess that's probably really standard, right?  Clichéd or whatever - the boy wants a puppy.  But I did.  Never got one though.  So i used to walk my neighbor's instead.  It wasn't the same though. he wrote.  That had taken far too long to pick a subject, and he wasn't actually convinced it was a good one - there wasn't all that much room for 'discussion' in there.  But, it seemed a fairly safe subject.  For her, anyway.  He was less concerned about himself right now.

What was the dog's name? And if you could have a dog, what kind of breed would you want? i never had pets. Not like that, anyways. There were horses, stables and such, but not anything cuddly that was happy to see you or wanted to snuggle. Eris replied back to him, thinking that it didn't surprise her that Brett was a dog person. She wondered if he wouldn't do well with one now. Something to take care of that he could expend his energy on. Well that's what he's got you for, isn't it? He has to take care of you and everything. Seems to want to. You're the puppy. she thought. 
 
He was a little surprised when she came back with questions, but then he knew he shouldn't be.  She always seemed to have questions.  But at least it had captured her attention, or she was forcing it - he doubted it mattered which.   My neighbor's dog?  Harvey - spaniel-sheepdog cross.  Weirdest looking thing, and damn, could that dog run.  All fucking day, it seemed.  Which was why my neighbor was probably glad to be shut of him on me half the time.  And I don't think I'd do well with a dog now.  Wouldn't want one.  It wouldn't be fair on the dog, as far as he was concerned. 
 
I think you'd do okay with a dog. You'd just need someplace with a big back yard and a fence. Or a dog that would come home at night if it was left to wander around for a while. If I had a dog...not sure. I'd probably want a husky. Huskie? whichever. Big dogs with the pretty blue eyes. She sent back to him. She did happen to not send what else she thought in there. That he'd do well with a dog, he did well with her, and she gave him far more hell than a dog would. At least a dog would listen when he got all commanding.
 
I'm not getting a dog just to abandon it to look after itself.  But I could see you going for a pretty dog - but I kinda saw you as a small dog person.  A husky wouldn't be bad.  Working dog though - takes a lot of caring for.  Challenging. he replied to her.  he'd want a dog like that, but he couldn't look after one now, not the way he'd want to.  He'd used to take Harvey on day-long walks in the mountains - now, any dog of his would be restricted to the levels, to a guy who could only go where his chair could go.  Who couldn't run with him, couldn't really play either.  he had half a life, he wouldn't condemn an animal to that as well.

I'd want a dog who could help protect me. I woke up to a guy who was trying to kill me, if I'd had, say, a rotweiler, I would have had at least half a chance. But maybe not, who knows. Everett could have figured out a way around a dog. Still...a small dog wouldn't be able to hamstring someone trying to hurt me. But I suppose it's all a moot point. If either one of us wanted a dog, we'd have to have one together. Because she wouldn't be able to remember to feed it. She thought Brett was selling himself short, though. He wouldn't really have to abandon a dog to look after itself, and she knew that there were some people more paralyzed than he was that did marathons. It was doable. She just didn't want to get into that conversation now. It wouldn't help matters, and would likely just get his back up. That was no good.

Brett stopped as he read her message.  Then he went back and reread it.  And then he paused in replying, because he was trying to figure that one the hell out.  he wasn't even sure he wanted to ask there.  Because there was that word in there.  The 'together' word - and what the hell did she mean by that?  It had him freaking a little - which actually made a nice change from freaking and worrying over what was happening to her in there.  It was a different kind of freaking.  Hannah has a rotweiler.  I think.  Vicious fucking thing. he sent in the end, going for his usual tactic of ignoring everything.

 And she's brain damage free, theoretically speaking. But either way, I wouldn't be able to take care of a dog. I'd forget to feed it. I wouldn't mean to, but I would. I wouldn't even be able to take care of a cat, and they mostly take care of themselves. you still didn't say what breed you would want if you did want a dog. Unless you wanted like, a mutt or something, which I think I could see. Eris typed back, not even thinking about the context she'd put on things. Mostly because she'd just been thinking hypothetical logic, not actually suggesting anything. She didn't even catch what she'd done there.

I think if you forgot to feed a dog, he'd soon let you know about it.  You could get one of those dogs that pick up their bowls and dump it in your lap when they want feeding.  And I didn't say what breed, because I don't want a dog.  So it's irrelevant.  And when I was a kid, as long as it had four legs, a tail and barked, I would have been happy.  Or, no, scrub that.  I wanted a working dog - something that could keep up.  Which was exactly why he didn't want a dog now, because he'd want the same kind of dog.  Only now he couldn't keep up.

She read that as him shutting down the subject on her. It was use of the word 'irrelevant'. So, she sat back again, and sighed a touch, reaching up to thread her fingers through her hair, to loosen it from how she'd had it brushed back. She was still cold, and still had goosebumps lining her arms, but she was also still feeling more alert. She realized she needed to send him something, because she was keeping up with what he'd said, so she typed in: This Is A Bullshit Response.

Brett read the message and didn't know whether to smile or sigh.  So, she couldn't think of anything to say to that then.  He wondered which part had caused that - his semi joke about the dog and the bowl, or him not wanting to talk about dog breeds.  He took a moment, then decided to try and give her something.  When I would take harvey, I'd take him all day.  I lived near the foot of Mt Baker, near as dammit grew up on that mountain.  Would go hiking as a kid.  Take the dog with me.  I wanted one of my own to do that with.  he left the rest off there, figuring she could manage to work that out for herself.

She could work that out. And she hesitated for a few long moments, but then decided if she was going to say it, she might as well now. You underestimate yourself. I think you could still do a hell of a lot more than you give yourself credit for. No, you can't do everything you used to be able to do. But you're capable. There's a reason I don't pity you, Brett. There's a reason I don't treat you like you can't handle shit. It's because you don't require or deserve pity, and you can handle shit. You haven't let yourself go, you're still strong, and sure, there are obstacles occasionally that you hit. But you're not nearly as incapable as you think you are. Like this? Just having a dog? You could do that. I really don't think if you did have one that you'd let the fact that you're in a wheelchair stop you from taking him out all day to run around. You could still play with it. You could still do all of that. I think you'd be a better dog owner than most people around who really are fully 'capable'. And I know this is going to piss you off, and no, it's none of my business, and no, you didn't ask me for my opinion, and your response to me is probably 'fuck you', but hey. If this is the last time I speak to you? I'm at least telling you that. I don't know if you've never heard it before or just never listened before, but you're hearing it from me. I'll understand if you want to ignore me for the duration, here. Just don't blow it off entirely, please. she took her time to type up to him, and she stared at her enter key for a good few long minutes before she hit it, and then set her keyboard back down on the desk. She took up the cloth she'd filled with ice cubes, and held it over her eyes, feeling just a little sick to her stomach--and that had nothing to do with her physical condition.

Brett felt the anger rising as he read through her message and he knew that, if had been a normal day, any other circumstance, he would have just left at that point.  And clearly she knew that.  So he figured that she'd said that right now because she knew full fucking well that she had a captive audience and that just pissed him off all the more.  You just don't fucking get it.  Don't try and talk about something you don't know shit about.  You don't understand. he sent back, hammering the words out hard enough to wonder if he was going to break the keyboard.

Yes, she was sick to her stomach. And she was absolutely shocked when she heard she had a message back. Then, she stared at the blink on her computer screen for a full minute, before she was brave enough to actually open it up and look at what he had to say. Upon reading it, it was about what she expected from a response from him. She half wondered if she shouldn't tell him she was going to lie down. Or...something. She didn't want to, but she'd kind of expected him to never speak to her again after that. Either way, she replied back, keeping up with being honest. because she wasn't going to take it back. She'd said what she felt. i'm just telling you what I see. was all she sent. It wasn't like she was trying to piss him off, or hurt his feelings, or anything of the kind. what she wished was he could stop with the cycle. As far as she could see, he hated being viewed as helpless. But he viewed himself like that. Or at the very least, he viewed himself as being a lot less capable than he was. He sold himself short. Very short, as far as she was concerned, because he had the fire and determination he could call on to back shit up, if he went for it. He just...didn't. It was twisted. and that's what she saw, and she kind of wanted better for him. Which was new for her. It wasn't like she was a beacon of light and inspiration or anything. Sick, sick, sick. Her stomach hated her right now, anxieties kicked up really, really high. I know you want to leave right now. You're absolved. You don't have to stay here, or talk to me. though, I said what I wanted to say to you. now would be your time if you had anything to say to me. Like 'fuck you, go lie down and die now'. Eris thought to herself. She set her keyboard down again, and rubbed at her eyes, staring off into the corner without seeing anything in front of her. She was tired. She wanted to go lay down. she just...wouldn't. Not yet.

Stop fucking absolving me for things.  You're not the fucking pope.  And you're not someone who can tell me what to do anyhow, so just stop with the bullshit. Brett sent through, still angry with that.  Because, no - he wasn't going anywhere right now, no matter what she said.  And he told himself it wasn't to do with her, that it would be the same no matter how much she pissed him off, or didn't piss him off at all, that he was simply beholden to his conscience.  he did, however, leave it for a few minutes, backing off and taking a few breaths.   he headed out, checked for other messages - of which there were none - before coming back and typing in another message without stopping to check whether there'd been one from her first.  This isn't about meeting some kind of minimum standards.  It's not about what I can and can't get done.  It's about having wanted something and knowing that you can never have it.  A shadow of that isn't enough.  It'd be like a fucking joke. Like the rest of my life. - but he took that out before he sent the message.  The rest of it had managed to seem reasonably calm, rational.

She had thought about answering the first part, but hadn't gotten much of a reply in before the second one came through. She was still surprised that he was responding at all. Again, she was reminded about how he had to be insanely worried about her, to not have taken the out. To have come back with anything at all. She read it, and could understand it, but at the same time, it didn't make sense to her. Brett, it's only a shadow of something if you decide it's a shadow. and if you're going the route of having wanted something and knowing you can never have it, why aren't you as suicidal as I am? she thought towards him, but didn't type up. She didn't want to show him that mirror. She didn't want him seeing things in that light, even if he probably already was. She didn't want to give it any weight. She typed in a beginning of a response, but deleted it. And another, but she deleted that too. doesn't anything mean enough to you? sat there typed up for a long time. She didn't know if she could send it or not. In the end she typed a period for him, and sent that, because she knew she was over her time limit. Probably well over, not that she thought he was going to mind the time extension. Then she just typed up her message again, and continued to contemplate whether or not she could send it.

He looked at the dot, sneering at himself and the fact he was grateful for it, teetering on the edge of a full blown act of self loathing.  He didn't send anything back.  There wasn't anything else for him to say.  He wouldn't keep adding to it.  He hated this, he hated all of it.  This life, this existence, being here.  Day after day.  Having to keep on going, but he did.  He always fucking did.  He just kept on going.

You see, sweetheart, this is why I don't trust myself. Because right now? I'm trying to do something good for you. And I'm pretty sure that all it's done is piss you off, maybe hurt your feelings, and if I do wind up a corpse tomorrow, that'll be it. That'll be what you remember of me. Guess it's fitting. Poetic justice, take two. Knew I'd fuck this up. Guess all I really had to do to push you away really thoroughly was attempt to help. I'm not any good at it. I am Eris. I destroy things. I cause strife, and I cause grief. And I didn't even fucking try it this time. she thought to herself, leaning back in her chair as she scrubbed her hands over her face. She deleted her response again. It wasn't getting sent. She sent him another period. And, about five minutes after that, she sent him two words. I'm sorry. She almost added on there that she was going again. But that hadn't worked so well last time. She wondered if she promised him she'd check in with Everett if he'd go. She could try ignoring him, but...she didn't think she'd be very good at that. She wasn't even when she wanted to be. That had been proven earlier. She just didn't want him sitting there, doing...whatever it was he was doing. He could be angry with her all he wanted, she didn't want him being angry with her but still being there for her. It wasn't fair. Not to him, anyways. Not in her estimation.

No you're not, you're not fucking sorry, Brett thought with no rational grounds whatsoever as he read that message when it finally came through.  He knew he had to send something back.  He didn't want her thinking he wasn't there and fucking off on that basis.  he'd come down from this sooner or later, and he'd hate himself even more if he'd chased her away in the meantime. You must be used to pissing me off by now.  This isn't anything new, Princess.

"Yes it is." She said quietly to herself when she read the message. The late message, as it were. She already had an idea in her mind, a course of action she could take. It would require a favor from Everett...but she thought she could get him to agree to it. And she would trust him to follow through. She let the time tick down. Her little, Brett-imposed timer. She kept watching the minutes flip past on the little digital clock on the bottom of her screen. She typed in a message, and erased it. Then started a new one. feels different. Brett, I'm going to go. I'll check in with Everett, and he can get word to you. People seem to be passing things along well. He already came at me asking how I was, so obviously he knew something was up.

"No!"  Brett said the word aloud as he read that.  No - that wasn't acceptable.  That he'd pissed her off, so she was taking the way that involved the guy who tried to kill her?  In so many ways that wasn't acceptable.  Don't.  That was all he sent in the end, though he'd typed up several other replies.  he just couldn't do it.  Even now, he couldn't truly bring himself to beg.

She read it and squeezed her eyes shut for a long minute, pressing the heels of her hands into them. God, this was hard. This whole fucking thing. She just wanted to go lie down now. Seriously. Just go, lie down, after she set up Everett to give him 'updates'. then she could feel better that at least he'd be getting them, he could tell she was okay, and...she could stop feeling emotionally sick. That would be really, really good right now. And if she died, she died, and if she didn't...she'd figure out if he hated her in the morning. Eventually she had to respond, so she did, though it wasn't the first version that she typed. right now, all I'm doing is upsetting you. and i'm not doing my best right now either. i really don't trust myself to keep talking to you right now, and you don't need this bullshit. you'll get word. i'll check in with people. it'll be okay. i'll stay up, and...you'll know if something happens. "Brett, just...do this. Okay? Please?"

He stared, stubbornly at the computer.  I can't stop you. That was all he put.  The truth.  But she couldn't stop him sending her messages either and part of him wanted to stubbornly keep doing that, just because she didn't want to talk to him.  A big ole 'fuck you' and to remind her that she was the one that walked away.

She read his message, and the first thought that came to her was 'yes, you can'. But, he probably didn't know that. But he'd stopped her from drinking, earlier, and while she'd brought the bottle back to the bed with her, she hadn't actually drank a drop more since she'd agreed not to. Since he'd said 'please'. And she wasn't going to tell him that right now, either, because it would really defeat her purposes. I didn't mean to hurt your feelings, or piss you off, or whatever I did. i'll talk to you tomorrow. you'll get word. I promise. Because she didn't want him just...worrying. And she knew it would weigh on his mind.

It would, but he knew that he couldn't say anything to that to change her mind, so he left it, backing away, and then turning and heading off.  He didn't know whether she'd follow through with what she'd promised, but he'd do what he could.  He'd just have to put up with secondhand information.

She waited, to see if he was going to respond again, then shut her eyes and let them stay that way for a good ten, fifteen minutes. Long enough to be sure. She also really, really had to talk herself out of sending the last message she typed up, which read 'goodnight, sweetheart'. It might call him back, and it was a little too final sounding for her. So she saved that. She hesitated over turning her monitor off, so she couldn't hear it if he messaged her again. In the end she left it on, because she didn't want to silence him. Not really. Then she headed over to the computer that Everett was connected to, sat down, and hoped to christ that he actually did what she thought he would. If he didn't...this was just going to get worse.