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    The Responsible One

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    Curtana
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    Re: The Responsible One

    Post by Curtana on 16/04/12, 07:08 pm

    Aleyn frowned, picking up on the undercurrent of tension in the conversation. He worried that it was his fault, that he had made Vedran uncomfortable. "It's kind of hot, yeah," he said. "Listen... is everything OK? Do you want to go get some air, maybe?"
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    elanya
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    Re: The Responsible One

    Post by elanya on 16/04/12, 07:22 pm

    Air - air sounded heavenly, crisp and sweet, but he could imagine what people would think, and of course that mattered, really, even when he was surrounded by friends and people who only wanted to see him happy. He struggled to get himself back under control, and shrugged with an apologetic smile.

    "Oh... Too many long days, too much excitement, too much shit still left to do. Thanks, but I'll be okay."
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    Re: The Responsible One

    Post by Curtana on 16/04/12, 07:29 pm

    Aleyn forced down a visceral reaction telling him to hug Vedran, who looked as if he was struggling to carry the weight of the world on his shoulders. It would only make things worse for both of them, even if he only meant it in a friendly way. "Anything I could do to help?" he asked instead, not really expecting the half-elf to accept the offer.
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    Re: The Responsible One

    Post by elanya on 16/04/12, 07:39 pm

    Brenn's words from their earlier conversation came to mind, but then as now, he couldn't really figure out how to actually organize any help he was offered, in practice or in theory. Besides, even if Aleyn was as sincere as he seemed, it would be asking quite a lot from a guy he barely knew to become involved in what no doubt amounted, at this stage, to some variety of treason. Instead he sighed and shook his head. "Wish I knew - thanks though."
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    Re: The Responsible One

    Post by Curtana on 16/04/12, 07:49 pm

    "Of course," Aleyn said. "If you think of anything, just let me know." He reached out, only meaning to give Vedran a friendly pat on the shoulder, but before he could think about it too hard, or tell himself yet again what a bad idea it was, he was pulling Vedran close for a hug.
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    Re: The Responsible One

    Post by elanya on 16/04/12, 08:08 pm

    Waves of conflicting emotions clashed in his mind, but his body didn't wait for them to resolve and chose to half melt into the embrace of someone who was nice, and kind, and interested in him, and oh, actually appeared to want to touch him. And smelled nice. And cleaned up well. He managed to stave off a completely embarrassing collapse before the guilt and shame at his weakness and desperation caught up. 'Way to send mixed-signals,' whispered the bitter voice in his brain. Things were already awkward enough. He managed to recover enough to extricate himself, breaking off with a friendly clap on the shoulder and hoping that Aleyn would just let him escape with some dignity still intact. "Thanks man," he managed. "Maybe I will go get some air."
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    Re: The Responsible One

    Post by Curtana on 16/04/12, 08:23 pm

    Aleyn was awash with confusion. Vedran had felt so right in his arms, just for a moment, leaning into him, warm and close and yielding, before he pulled away. He didn't think he had imagined that, as much as it seemed like wish fulfillment. "Good idea," he choked out. It felt like something was caught in his throat - he swallowed hard, but to no avail. "See you later." He made his getaway, trying not to look back.
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    Re: The Responsible One

    Post by elanya on 16/04/12, 10:21 pm

    Vedran did manage to find some air out on a veranda with a complicated sliding door that some idiot had managed to half jam shut. Fortunately, he was sober and intent enough to get it open and step out into the cool night air, overlooking the street below. It helped him clear out his head - maybe not to let go of his stress, but at least to clear the haze, and refocus on his priorities. Really, he thought, if they went after Sorrow Makarta, he was going to have bigger concerns than whether people might think he was inappropriately involved with lanky sorcerers with expressive green eyes...
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    Re: The Responsible One

    Post by Josh on 17/04/12, 10:27 pm

    Lost in his troubles, Vedran didn't notice as Beryl followed him out to the veranda. She paused a moment to consider her friend, worried about the myriad pressures which even on this day of triumph apparently weighed on his shoulders. Knowing a forced smile wouldn't be honest, her face remained obviously concerned.

    "Copper for you thoughts, Ved?"
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    Re: The Responsible One

    Post by elanya on 17/04/12, 10:42 pm

    Startled out of his depressing reverie, he blinked and turned, managing a weak - very weak - smile. "Oh I dunno about the exchange rate on that one..."
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    Re: The Responsible One

    Post by Josh on 17/04/12, 10:47 pm

    Beryl shrugged.

    "Eh, I think I'm under-selling you. I've always valued them pretty highly."

    The druid gave him a friendly bump with her elbow as she walked to the railing, leaning to look out across the city.

    "You've been off since you got back from taking Jacinthe home. Did something happen?
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    Re: The Responsible One

    Post by elanya on 17/04/12, 11:01 pm

    He sighed. It was probably the obvious conclusion to draw, and he wondered if anyone else had made it... if Aleyn had, and that's why he'd asked... No amount of forehead rubbing seemed to have any effect in his headache, but it didn't stop him trying.

    "No. Well, no, I mean, yes, but... not with her."

    He sighed again. "Just... Other things. Fate, apparently, did not hear or does not care that we had a huge victory today and should be celebrating. The world has not in fact stopped for me."
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    Re: The Responsible One

    Post by Josh on 17/04/12, 11:08 pm

    Beryl turned around, leaning her back against the railing so she could face her friend.

    "Vedran, you're worrying me. I'm sorry that something bad has happened, and doubly so that it picked today of all days."

    She frowned reproachfully.

    "But you and I both know drunken brooding isn't going to help."

    She smiled to take the sting out of the rebuke.

    "Instead, I can offer you friendly a pair of ears and reasonably useful brain between them. What's going on?"
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    Re: The Responsible One

    Post by elanya on 17/04/12, 11:10 pm

    The look he gave her was somewhat desperate - ceretainly more than he'd intended. "Gods, Beryl, I'm not even drunk! How scary is that!?"
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    Re: The Responsible One

    Post by Josh on 17/04/12, 11:15 pm

    Beryl made a genuinely shocked expression at Vedran's reply.

    "Oh, wow, this is worse than I thought. Vedran, whatever it is, I'm sure there's a solution."

    The awkward look she gave him belied the seeming confidence of her tone.
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    Re: The Responsible One

    Post by elanya on 17/04/12, 11:30 pm

    He slumped guiltily against the railing - one more person's mood spoiled on his account. "Oh there's a solution, it's just ... fuck, why can't anything ever *ever* be simple anymore? And, its never just one thing. Its all the things - everying all at once. And they *can't* all be solved. And..." He stopped himself before the rant picked up speed. "Look, I'm sorry. I was hoping everyone *else* at least would be able to enjoy themselves tonight."
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    Re: The Responsible One

    Post by Josh on 17/04/12, 11:37 pm

    "Well, I've actually had a perfectly fine time most of the night, and that's enough for me. I think Kallista's having a good enough time for all of us."

    The dwarf gave a half-smile, trying to lighten her friend's mood somewhat. She knew what it was like to try to keep your problems your problems, but she couldn't let Vedran bury himself in despair.

    "In any event, that sounds like the absolute least of your worries. Also, you're dodging the subject, sir, and however high your verbal reflex defense may be, you're going to need to tell someone eventually."
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    Re: The Responsible One

    Post by elanya on 17/04/12, 11:49 pm

    "Oh I don't know," he said sourly "I scored pretty high on bluff this go round, I could probably get by.... with most people anyway. Brenn's already been at me." And there was no more use, really, hiding things from Beryl than from him, but the same problems applied - the political stuff was dangerous. "And I just... I don't know. People are relying on me for some pretty important things right now, but I can't even keep my own shit together."
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    Re: The Responsible One

    Post by Josh on 17/04/12, 11:56 pm

    "That's quite the generalization there. Care to specific up either "pretty important things" or your "own shit"? I can't help if I can only offer platitudes."

    She slid along the railing to lean against her friend affectionately.
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    Re: The Responsible One

    Post by elanya on 18/04/12, 12:21 am

    This was Beryl - Beryl of all people. But after the incident with Aleyn earlier he was too on guard against his own weakness, and felt himself tensing up, whether despite or because of how much he craved the casual affection. His heart raced with an unfamiliar panic, and it pounded in his head. "I... I don't even know what's wrong with me," he stammered, half apology, half answer, as he tried to force himself to relax, to let go of the confusion, not to lean away from her touch.
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    Re: The Responsible One

    Post by Josh on 18/04/12, 12:36 am

    Beryl could feel her friend seize up, obviously uncomfortable. Frowning, and a little hurt, she drew back. This wasn't about her feelings though. The fact that Vedran was this resistant to even a gesture bothered her more than she was ready to process.

    "Vedran..." she began, searching for words.

    "Forget worrying me, sweetie, you're genuinely scaring me. What's going on?"
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    Re: The Responsible One

    Post by elanya on 18/04/12, 12:57 am

    "I-I don't know. I just don't feel like *myself*. Like I'm..." he shook his head, words failing him, scared and confused himself. Why should he feel ashamed of wanting even the simplest of comforts? And from Beryl, of all people. Was he really that bad? No - he knew, rationally, that it was absurd, a mad thought, but he still couldn't shake the guilty feeling. He took a deep breath, and sat down, back to the railing, and crossed his arms over his knees, looking up to Beryl with a desperate plea on his face, if only he knew for what.
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    Re: The Responsible One

    Post by Josh on 18/04/12, 01:06 am

    Slowly, Beryl lowered herself to sit cross-legged facing her friend, careful to leave some space between them. She was concerned by Vedran's defensiveness, but she wanted to make sure he knew she respected his feelings.

    "Well, I said I wouldn't offer platitudes, but, as the saying goes, 'If you can't recognize the man in the mirror, its time to step back and see when you stopped being yourself."

    The wary ghost of a smile formed on Beryl's face, trying to look encouraging.

    "How long have you felt like this?"
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    Re: The Responsible One

    Post by elanya on 18/04/12, 01:32 am

    "Like this?" Not like himself? That was all too easy to pin down, and he could feel that embarrassed, shamed, flush rising again, and he couldn't look her in the eye, watching past to the party continuing on inside without them. But what could he say? he shook his head, knowing he couldn't lie to her, whatever he might say about his bluff score. "Look, its not... I mean, I could handle it, really, if it wasn't for everything else, and before Aleyn hugged me I don't really think it was anything *so* bad, I'm just having a really *really* off night. I'll be okay."
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    Re: The Responsible One

    Post by Josh on 18/04/12, 01:50 am

    "You don't sound like you've been okay, and that almost concerns me more. Its more than just tonight, isn't it?"

    Beryl frowned in concentration, having to force herself to maintain an at least neutral face.

    "Just...tell me something. One thing that's adding to all this. Anything. Let's...find a place to start, and see where we can go from there."

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