A continuation of their story. Originally posted Posted Sep 4, 15 from a roleplay scene with Medrina and Alex.
'Here I am expecting / Just a little bit too much from the wounded / but I see, see through it all / See through, see you
'Cause I threw you the obvious / to see what occurs behind / the Eyes of a fallen angel / Eyes of a tragedy
Oh well, oh well / Apparently nothing / Apparently nothing at all
You don't see me / You don't see me at all'
A Perfect Circle - Three Angels
When Medrina steps through the Brooklyn portal, there's already a text message waiting for her with an address. Following it, she'd soon arrive at an underground parking complex in a run-down industrial area; old buildings in various states of disrepair line the streets, and it's been some time since anyone's used that structure for parking. A maintenance door is thrown wide open, and there's a chalked arrow on the concrete right in front of it, pointing inside.
She's pretty good at navigation, and it doesn't take her long to find the location. Her gaze drifts to the chalk arrow and she can't help but smirk, mumbling, "...subtle."
She's got the casual New York hipster look going right now... Fitted vintage hoodie, skinny jeans tucked into a pair of old combat boots... Her hair is pulled back into a low bun that peeks out from the back of a navy blue snapback cap, a colorful embroidered butterfly on its brim.
There's a moment or two of hesitation. She can feel her heart pounding in her chest, the rhythm so intense and heavy she's sure it's echoing in the air around her. She inhales a breath, holding it in her lungs as she finally steps inside.
Alex is lingering in the low light a ways inside, leaning against the wall, arms folded across his chest. His eyes are uncovered, goggles hanging around his neck, and there are no visible weapons on his person - not that that really means anything considering what he can do. Alex's eyes linger on her for a while as she steps through the doorway, but he forces them away, looking to the ground in front of him. He's thinner and paler than she's ever seen him, and more than a week out from shaving.
The first thing he says when Medrina approaches is, "Can I have that phone?"
Her eyes adjust to the light change fairly quickly, pupils simply growing to let in more light, irises staying that tranquil gold. Until she sees him. In that instant, there's an intense flash of yellow. She wants to run to him, throw her arms around him, press herself into him, meld with him... and yet... she also wants to lunge at him, throw him to the ground, pound her fists into his face until it becomes pulp, rip his flesh from bone and make him bleed.
She does neither. Instead, she gives a quick nod and, standing exactly as she is, rigid, tense, trying to will her heart to stop pounding. She thrusts the phone out, holding it with a gloved hand--not the skeleton gloves. These are green and seem slightly over-sized for her hands.
His thin, strong fingers tear the back cover off the Nokia burner and he plucks out the SIM card, his face straining some as he snaps the card in half and pockets it. He drops the phone itself on the concrete floor and stomps it into a dozen pieces under the thick heel of his tactical boot.
After he destroys the phone, Alex clasps his hands behind his back and stands in that way he always does. Fingers clamp painfully tight around the other wrist to kill his instincts to reach out for her.
"I don't know that there was another way," he explains quietly. "I tried and tried, but I couldn't think of one. I'm sorry."
She remains frozen, though the first stomp causes her to flinch. She lets her eyes drop, fixing on the phone as it shatters more and more, watching little pieces of plastic and metal and chips fly.
She dismisses his words with a shrug of slim shoulders, gaze staying down, eyes not quite ready to search his out.
She's certain his words mean something else, but she's not taking the bait.
"It's primitive," half a motion toward the shattered remnants of the phone, "But it works."
Alex's mouth hangs open after she says that. He wants to clarify, to explain that he did what he thought he had to, to protect the people he loves. But he doesn't say a word about that.
"You know what we've been doing?"
Her hand raises and she absently fidgets with one of the hoodie's pullstrings, gloved finger and thumb rolling the cord between them.
"...I have some ideas, yeah."
Alex watches Medrina's fingers twist at the strings of her hooded sweatshirt. He starts a slow nod in reply, chewing at the corner of his bottom lip as he considers his words.
"I don't want your help. I want you to stay far away from me. To move on and be safe."
He swallows hard, shifting in his place.
"But I don't always get what I want. This is about need. About doing what's right and necessary."
She laughs quietly at the words, her gaze finally lifting to his. Her gaze is tense, yellow flickering in the gold, "Move on... It's just that easy, isn't it? Maybe for you..."
"Y-you... You could have had my help all along, Alex..." a pause, "We could have... done this together. I always trusted you. I would have done whatever you wanted..."
Her eyes narrow slightly, expression staying tense, "Instead, you shoved me away and isolated yourself. You kept me doing work you thought was bad and kept me helping what you consider your enemy..."
Alex reaches up, closing his eyes as he rubs his forehead. He's tired and she's right. A defeated sigh escapes his lips as he straightens himself. He doesn't respond to the ease of moving on - because he hasn't. Alex used work, maybe even vengeance, to bury something that wasn't dead, for either of them, and now it's wounded beyond recognition.
He simply replies, "I know. What do you want to do?"
Her head tilts just slightly. Her eyes drift, moving to study his features... his lips, the gaunt, sunken look in his cheeks, the scruff along his jaw. And his eyes, wounded and intense, despite his guarded demeanor.
Alex wants to apologize, profess, promise, but instead he forces himself to say, "Right now? About helping. This cause. If you feel the same way I do," he stops, words getting stuck his dry, unwilling throat.
"I don't know what I feel yet," she says this quickly, head shaking, "It's all very sudden. I know the Dragon isn't the one who painted a target on my head, but it is the one that stalks me, blatantly. Every day since last Thursday. Then again it's not the only one..."
"I know what happened in Kaidan... I know that's a vengeful act against Gaia, but I know sometimes change isn't pleasant, either. I know a forest needs to burn down to give way for new life. I know a certain someone talked with me of the importance of fluidity... And yet, when I'm there, when I smell the smells, see the ruin, the bodies..." She frowns, looking away again, "That isn't the kind of change I want. And a filth bomb isn't a slow-moving current gently wearing away boulders."
"I saw her," this said after another thoughtful pause, her eyes darting back to Alex. For several moments, as she speaks, the facade is forgotten and it's just... Medrina to Alex, open and unprotected, confused, "When they escorted her away. It... It was like a coup. She was so confused and... and I don't even know how many drugs they had her on, what she remembered, what she didn't..."
Her expression darkens again, "Or what happened next. I still don't know."
Alex's jaw clenches tightly when Medrina's armor falls away. He wants to be tender and comforting, to hold her body against his own. Instead, he stands straight, tall, and unmoving. Behind his back, fingernails dig into his wrist so hard they might draw blood.
"There is always another way," he starts. "One that doesn't corrupt and destroy the lives of people who don't deserve that."
He's probably talking about Kaidan.
Another flash of yellow at those words. She looks ready to lunge for maybe half a second, but maintains that calm almost immediately after.
"Lives get destroyed either way."
A pause, and then, "You know a lot of people think you're crazy, right? Off the deep end from too much time breathing in Filth... That you've been corrupted by it and it's turned you against the only thing you've been loyal to."
"...There's also talk that you're hungry. For power. That you wanted a chance at being the Voice and this is simply a big, messy temper tantrum..."
She laughs a moment, and that facade again drops, "I can't imagine you wanting that sort of power..."
And up it goes again, a dismissive shrug, "Then again, I couldn't imagine lots of things, so..."
A smirk starts to corner on Alex's face as Medrina jests, but it fades quickly. "I told you a long time ago - and I know you haven't forgotten - my war is for Gaia's safe delivery from her corruptors. She is the reason I'm not buried in a grave in Nebraska," he says, gesturing to the west.
"Kaidan is an open wound. I don't want power. I only want to put those who had a hand in wounding her to the blade. If Gaia chooses to favor them - even Daimon himself - after I do so?"
"So be it."
"I know," at the first bit, and Medrina doesn't even need to mention her place with Gaia. That was always part of the deal, even with the Dragon.
Her head shakes quickly, "She won't. She can't."
And as he continues, there is a look of clarity as her expression again softens.
"I'll help you," and then, quickly, "For Gaia."
As Medrina speaks those words, Alex relaxes visibly, his rigidly held form slumping as he bows his head in gratitude - probably in relief and exhaustion, too.
"Good. Thank you."
He fishes something out of his pocket, offering it to her. It's a small device with a no buttons - just a digital numeric display. After, he hands her a note, written in his hand; it's the address of a nearby warehouse.
"This is where we've been. Where we work from."
She steps a little closer, still keeping as much distance as she can between them, as if some magnetic force might bind them if she doesn't. She reaches for the device, examining it curiously. The note is taken as well, though given much less attention. A single word registers in her head, resonating.
"We," she repeats.
"I'm still just the claws and fire," Alex explains, once more clasping his hands behind his back. "There are others who feel the way we do. A monk who shed his vows. Theorists. I was picked to help breathe life into this thing - quickly, quietly."
He nods to her. "And now I pick the person I trust most to help me keep it alive."
She nods with his words, and has to briefly bite her tongue as he continues, tasting her own blood in her saliva. She doesn't linger on the sentiment of those words, quickly propelling the conversation.
"I met a man. Manson Pledge. Claims he was a silent monk who was blessed by Gaia. The bee changed his course. He carries a magic briefcase full of all sorts of things. He wasn't very friendly..." an intentional pause, "At first. But then he found out who I was, and my, ah... previous... connection to you and his demeanor changed immediately. He was receptive, curious, and he gave me a gift... something just minutes prior he'd said I couldn't afford."
"I don't think his intentions toward you are friendly... and he's worth keeping an eye on, getting more out of... If he... assumes I'm still not in touch with you, he might be useful."
Alex nods slowly as Medrina explains the situation with Manson, his brows furrowing deeply with worry. The wheels turn in his head for a minute after she's finished and he finally nods.
"I've never heard of him. But you're right," he says, studying Medrina for a moment. "It's better if you maintain that we've had no contact. I'll give them reason to keep a target painted on me. You use your skills to fight a softer war out in the open; information, influence, finding others to help us."
He pauses a moment to consider. "Bring in other people you trust as you see fit."
She nods, "I... I can do more, obviously. It's just that anything I do should probably be shrouded... Just, you know, so people continue to trust me?"
"And that way I can get you--or... Us? Information as I get it. I know there are others who don't trust what's happened. I'll test the waters with them. See where things go. And if anybody seems useful...?"
A pause, and then she continues as thoughts surface in her head.
"Evelyn thinks you need swaying," she cants her head as she watches, "Need to... Come to your senses, I think she said? I've been putting feelers out, though. I'll continue to do so."
Nodding along with Medrina, Alex seems pleased with both her plans and her focus. "People do trust you," he agrees. "I don't want that to change. For any fighting out in the open you have to do? Ski masks are cheap. It will be fine," Alex jokes, offering a small smile.
Alex shakes his head when Evelyn is mentioned. "There is no way to spin this, to rationalize it in a way that will sway me from this purpose. I was stung in my dying throat years before the bomb. Daimon's inaction didn't save me."
He shoots his eyes to the doorway and the look on his face is one Medrina is painfully familiar with; the pull of duty that doesn't allow him to simply be.
"But his inaction is the catalyst for what I've become, here and now. When you throw a boulder into a pond, don't complain that your shoes got wet."
She gives the smallest of smiles at the mention of ski masks. Does he really think, after all these years, she doesn't know how to protect her own identity? She doesn't comment. Instead she continues to listen quietly, letting him speak and watching, nodding. She sees the shift of his features as he glances toward the door and for a moment it's just too big of a reminder of what was and what isn't. Her features drop and she glances in the same direction, if only to mask her face.
"I guess I should be the one to go this time," she hesitates a moment or two, then takes a couple careful steps backwards.
Another pause, and she fishes something out of her hoodie, tossing it to him.
It's a plastic baggy of dried meat of some kind. She doesn't go into details.
She raises one hand, fingers barely curling to wave, then starts to turn, eyes squeezing shut to stop an unexpected wave of emotion.
"I-I'll be seeing you, Alex."
And she leaves, heading back into the sunlight and skulking off, pace quickening with each step she takes as she tries to distance herself from the overwhelming amount of feelings suddenly flooding in. She told Andjela she wasn't sure she'd be able to handle it. Andj, reassuring, had said she could. Medrina is still not sure, but she knows one thing: even if she can't, she must.