Timelined for after [Instance]PTSD.
<Jessica> After staying to see Shinobi shake off his pain medication and tell him she'd be back again later so they could finish their talk, Jess had taken to wandering the base again. She assumed it must be late as personnel levels were dropping off but she'd lost all sense of time because she still hadn't slept.
<Jessica> Having found an empty gym to occupy herself, she'd tested out various pieces of equipment before lying down on one of the mats to stare at the ceiling and let her mind wander. If she fell asleep in here, at least she wouldn't have any witnesses to her freakout when the nightmares came.
<David> David had finally made his way back to base after all the work he had put in off base. Staff secured, guard doubled, reports made, and new phone acquired were just some of the tasks he had accomplished. What he hadn't expected, however, was to come back to an upset redhead. He had listened to her for a long time before heading off in search of one Shaw or both.
<David> He'd had to ask around, which was next to useless, but he finally found a halfway decent agent who had seen the Mrs. Shaw pass by and go into the gym. He set his jaw and headed in that direction.
<Jessica> Jess heard the footsteps but didn't even bother to turn her head, assuming it was some agent or other that would just return the favour and ignore her too.
<David> He watched her for a bit, leaning back against a wall. Finally, he spoke. "Good evening, Mrs. Shaw."
<Jessica> The voice startled her a little bit and damn it if she hadn't been dropping off too. She turned her head, blinking to force her eyes to focus, "Oh, hello... everything okay?"
<David> David gave her a bit of a smile, then shook his head. "I don't think you or Mr. Shaw fully grasp the severity of what has happened."
<Jessica> She raised an eyebrow, "You don't?"
<David> "To be fair," he started, moving toward some of the free weights. His fingers lingered over them, toying with them as he spoke. "She hasn't spoken about what happened. To his credit, neither has the kid. But unfortunately, that means that you and Mr. Shaw only see what is on the outside. That she is physically well. Whole. Healed."
<David> "As an empath, however, and as a telepath for Mr. Shaw, both of you have the ability to see what she is trying desperately to bury. That she isn't alright. That she isn't whole. She isn't healed. I don't know everything that was said in that fight. I don't need to. I know she wasn't tactful." His eyes landed on Jess finally as he paused any movement. "But that damage is done."
<Jessica> "She yelled at me about not keeping my new power to myself... I don't know how... I'm fairly sure she wouldn't thank either Sebastian or me using our abilities to find out how she's really feeling when she's trying so hard to hide it." She sat up, pushing a hand through her hair and rubbing her face with her palms.
<David> "That didn't stop you from using it against her when it suited you, now did it?" He asked her calmly. "She's figured that one out, by the way. But that isn't the real issue. The real issue is much deeper. You, of all people, know what it's like to be alone, do you not?"
<Jessica> "I figured using it to calm her down was the lesser of two evils... she's going to be angry with me for one reason or another, may as well be that." She sighed, drawing her knees to her chest. "Yes, I know what that's like."
<David> "She asked you to leave. That would have allowed her to calm down. Instead, you chose a sleeping, sedated Shinobi over her. Over a need that would have calmed her down and him both." He leaned back against the wall again. "Mrs. Shaw... you chose him over her, not meaning to. And she noticed. She noticed."
<Jessica> "I made a promise... I didn't want to leave and then feel like I couldn't come back until she gave me permission. She put me in a bad position. If she doesn't want to make it into a choice, maybe she should stop handing out ultimatums." She was too tired to have this kind of conversation, her fuse was short and she couldn't afford too much time to think about answers or she'd lose the thread of the conversation.
<David> "That is exactly what I'm talking about. That attitude right there. You have no idea what she just went through! She won't tell you, so I will. First, we got to listen to Shinobi scream. And scream. And scream. We tried to escape and she had that damn tracker sliced out of her arm by the lovely gentleman you killed." David took a minute to calm himself again.
<David> "Then we got to listen to her screams for hours. Hours. So I don't care if she told you to go fuck a damn duck in the rain. You should have left. You should have put her first. But you didn't. Shinobi has you and Mr. Shaw and an entire team of doctors looking out for him. Who does she have now? Me. And only me."
<Jessica> "She has me. And she has Sebastian. She knows that. She always has me and she always tells me to leave. What do you want me to do? Expect her to mean it every time she says it? I've done that before and she made me feel like crap for doing it - her and everyone else. Now I have these powers and sleep deprivation to add into the mess and I can't decipher every little thing in the heat of the moment."
<Jessica> She pushed herself to her feet with some effort, "I know you've all been through hell... I know... but what can I do? We turned to Viper for help to get you back as soon as we could and she's mad at us for that. I went to see if Shinobi was alright because I'm having nightmares that it was him I killed and she's mad at me for that. I stayed because I made a promise..."
<Jessica> She sighed, "I can't please everyone all of the time... or any of the time... I'm not perfect... and I'm exhausted."
<David> "She's mad at the world because of what happened. She has few coping skills on a good day, and you're expecting her to be great at it all of a sudden? You made a promise to somebody who wouldn't know the difference if you were in the room or not and made the one who did know feel abandoned. Honestly... you could lose them both now."
<Jessica> "She's always mad at me. Don't you get it? If there's ever any reason for her to be angry, she finds a way for it to be my fault... I don't even know how to tell whether it is or isn't because I'm so used to taking the blame. Shinobi was stirring because of all the yelling, he wasn't sedated so he could have woken up any time."
<Jessica> Jess looked down at the floor, "I can't wave a magic wand and make this better, I wish I could... or I wish there was an instruction book... I'm not their bloody mother! Why does it always feel like I have to be? I'm hardly any older than Hope is! She doesn't treat Sebastian like this..."
<David> "Stop making this about you!" David snapped. "Were you the one kidnapped from somewhere you felt safe? No. Did you have to listen to the love of your life's screams? No. Were you tortured? No. Cut her some damn slack and do what she needs for once before you drive her out and him with her!"
<Jessica> "I have been kidnapped actually... twice, while we're on the subject - Viper was one of those times." She started pacing back and forth across the mat in another attempt to wake up her brain. "I am cutting her slack. I waited in the hall until Shinobi woke up and told him I'd come back later. I don't know what else to do."
<Jessica> She paused and looked at him, "You seem to think you know everything, so you tell me. What the fuck should I do? Give me instructions and I will follow them."
<David> "I don't know what the hell to tell you now. You had a chance to show her that she wasn't alone. That she was important. She may or may not think the only reason she's saved is because of the kid. I'm not saying it's rational or logical. I'm saying... do whatever the hell she says to right now. Being kidnapped and being tortured are different and you know it."
<Jessica> "How is leaving showing that she's not alone? That I don't get... and no, I don't know that. Someone has to tell me these things... and I'm not being sarcastic."
<David> "It's completely different. They cloned her, Mrs. Shaw. They cloned her. How the hell do you think they got the DNA to do that? Do you think she was willing? Do you think she sat quietly while they did God knows what to her? It was traumatic. We don't know how bad because she won't tell anyone."
<David> He crossed the room to Jess, placing a hand on her shoulder. "It doesn't have to make sense to you. This isn't about you. Right now? This is about her and what she needs. Helping her will in turn help him. It only has to make sense to her."
<Jessica> "Well if she would hand someone a list of translations that would help..." Though it was usually a lot easier to translate Hope. Apparently you needed sleep for this. "I want to help her... both of them. They're my family... I'm not their mother but I try to help them like one... even though I've had absolutely no example to follow... but I need help."
<Jessica> She sighed and looked away, "I can't focus right now... I've barely had any sleep since before we came to get you and then I killed someone and now I'm having nightmares so, forgive me if I'm a little bit hung up on that right now... I feel sort of spaced out most of the time and I'm on a short fuse.... I can't help it..."
<David> "Then for the sake of your family? Just listen to her. You aren't in any place to tell her otherwise. If she wants left alone, leave her alone. If she wants you, or Mr. Shaw, or the Stay Puff Marshamllow man, make it happen. Just listen. That's all you have to do. Don't argue. Don't make her needs feel unimportant."
<Jessica> "She'll want Sebastian... not me... but I can't be there for Shinobi if she doesn't want me around and I don't know if he's ready to deal with Sebastian right now..." She hid her face in her hands, feeling that now familiar dizzy sensation.
<David> "Then go find a way to get yourself under control," he shrugged, putting his hands behind his back. "You're no good to either of them if you're a wreck."
<Jessica> "I need to sleep... but I can't...." She pressed the heels of her palms against her closed eyes and tried to will the shaking to stop. The images came back to her again and she tried to push them back unsuccessfully.
<David> "I don't know what to tell you. I've given all the advice I have. My job is looking after her well being. That's what I'm doing."
<Jessica> She nodded, "I know... thank you... God, I wish Sebastian could just let his hatred of Viper go for long enough for me to have a sensible conversation with him... then I could get some sleep..." sure, it'd be drug induced but that was better than nothing.
<David> David smiled a little at her. "Well. She isn't the easiest person to get to know."
<Jessica> "Not for most people..." she lowered her hands, something in his tone made her look at him curiously. "She's not the same with my brother and I... I wouldn't say she cares because... especially with my powers now, I know she can't and it's not her fault... but she makes more of an effort..."
<David> He nodded. "She cares as much as she is able," he clarified.
<Jessica> Jess smiled a little, "How is it you get it? No one else does..."
<David> "I've been around for a long time. I've seen a lot of things. I've met a lot of people. That's how I'm able to peg certain ones. Not all people... but a lot of them. Hope is desperate for control because she never had any. Control over herself is the only form she ever had. Taking that away from her gets a fight reaction."
<David> "Viper... I don't know her very well, of course, but as you just said, she can't help the way she is."
<Jessica> "Mmhmm... keep your secrets, everyone's entitled... but, for future reference, I can spot lies a mile off." She tapped her ear and sighed, "I have a lot in common with Hope... neither of us had control over our lives for a very long time... but she's willful... and I'm not... I'd rather be given instructions... I make poor decisions."
<David> "So does she," he laughed at Jess. "But that's why a support network is so important. She learns by doing. It's up to her family," he gave Jess a look, "to be there when it all goes wrong."
<Jessica> "Well, like I said... I'm always here... she just doesn't always want me. I'm not going to give up... I told Shinobi the same. They can say all the worst things they can think of to me and it'll hurt like hell, I'm sure... but I'll keep coming back. I'm obviously a sucker for punishment."
<David> "No... it means you do get that they need you. They will appreciate it in time. She may take a lot of time," he joked with a grin. "If you see she's already agitated, find out what she wants and give it. Then back away. She can calm herself if no other stimulus is thrown at her. That should help you out."
<Jessica> "I need to work on not soaking up everyone else's feelings like a sponge... it's easier here... but when we go home... can't take Viper with us." She yawned, "We can never catch a break... any of us..."
<David> "No... no you can't," he sighed. "I don't really know how empathy works either, but... I'm able to block my own emotions by picturing a wall... or like a suit of armour on me. I have to keep in control, block out my own a lot. Don't know if it will help you or not, but that's what I do for me."
<Jessica> "I've been trying all kinds of things... I think I'm just too tired for it to work properly... that and I'm not the most stable person to start with." She offered him a half smile.
<David> He shrugged "You'll get the hang of it."
<Jessica> "I hope so... but, jeez, the timing couldn't have been worse," she rolled her eyes, "I can get why it would be useful, I can... and it has it's moments... but whatever higher power is responsible for dealing these out and choosing how and when they reveal themselves is one sick bastard."
<David> "Or it's the perfect time because you, more than anyone except the kid, actually knows how she feels. So even if she can't or won't say it... you can intervene."
<Jessica> "And she'll resent it..." Jess pointed out, "You know she will.... but I'll do it anyway, like I have been doing.... I've worked far too hard for their happiness to stop now."
<David> "Don't be so forward about it. Do little things. Bring her junior mints and coffee. Peppermint mocha. Ask if she needs anything. Ask if it's ok if you stay. She'll say yes. It's a small thing on your part. I know you don't want to ask her for permission. But as I said. Right now? While we're here especially? It's about their recovery."
<Jessica> "I did ask... when she was in there before me I asked... she just came in yelling when I was already there and hit all my buttons... I'm too tired to modify my reactions to that at the moment... I'm working on it...."
<David> "We're back to the very simple... could have just left. She's going to yell. That's who she is... and after what they did to her? She's going to yell. Stop taking it personally and just do what she needs."
<Jessica> "I'm trying not to take it personally... really." She offered a small smile and patted his upper arm, "Just on a short fuse, like I said... sleep deprivation does that to people without healing to compensate."
<David> "You poor, pitiful humans," David teased her with a grin.
<Jessica> She laughed and gave him a shove, "Less of the pitiful, you. I bet I could kick your ass."
<David> "You could try, princess," he grinned. "But only when you are rested. Wouldn't be a fair fight otherwise."
<Jessica> She smiled, "It's a date. And I will hand your ass to you with relish."
<David> Laughing, David shoved her a little. "We'll see."
<Jessica> "We will." She laughed, "Keep that up, I'll zap you."
<David> "I'll tell.... um... someone! On you. You zapper, you."
<Jessica> She giggled, giving him a small zap just for that.
<David> "HEY!" He rubbed his arm, glaring. He was so telling Viper.
<Jessica> "Oh come on! That didn't hurt! I thought you were some kind of badass bodyguard?"
<David> "Bully!" He pouted at her.
<Jessica> "Oh my God, what would you do if I was wearing socks on a carpet? Run and hide?" She let the static sparks flicker across her hand again, but didn't send them at him this time.
<David> "I might!" He made for the door quickly. "Run... and hide!"
<Jessica> "If I wasn't so tired, I would totally chase you right now... but I think I'll just lie back down... maybe venomblast myself... why didn't I think of that before? I have awesome ideas when I'm tired."
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