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    A Little Help Here?

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    Queenofinsanity6
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    A Little Help Here?

    Post by Queenofinsanity6 on 29/03/10, 05:06 pm

    Nils was in a bad way when he woke up Monday morning. They'd all been up fairly late with talking to Steve and going to the warehouse, and then Nils and Connie had been together for hours drinking way too much of Nils' wine. The sympathy had been nice, but there's nothing worse for an unpleasant fact than spending a night being drunkenly reminded of it on a constant basis.
    Thus when he knocked on Esperanza's door at around 9:30 in the morning, he looked like absolute shit. He was hung over even for him, pale, red eyed, and vaguely ashen. "Esperanza? I know it's early, but I need to talk to you, and I don't know when I'll get another chance.
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    Re: A Little Help Here?

    Post by tuck on 29/03/10, 05:39 pm

    The ppehole went dark for a moment as Esperanza looked through it, and a moment later the door swung open.

    She looked tired. She was wearing her baby blue nightgown and fuzzy slippers that she had hastily grabbed from home, and her hair was uncombed. The bags under her ussually perfect eyes attested to how little she had been sleeping the past week.

    "Nils..." she said, managing a smile, "Are you okay? You don't look so good. Come on in. I think Bea already left for a run. I'm sorry, I'm not used to being up this early."

    She gestured for him to have a seat on the room's one chair.

    "Can I get you anything? Coffee, tea... aspirin?"
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    Re: A Little Help Here?

    Post by Queenofinsanity6 on 29/03/10, 05:48 pm

    Nils felt a bit guilty at seeing her look so tired. Everyone was worn out, he shouldn't have bothered her. He didn't really have a choice at this point, and so he returned the smile the best he could and sat down. "I'm really sorry to wake you, but I'm about to go crazy and honestly I don't know who else can help me."
    He shook his head at her offer, not wanting to delay for fear he'd lose his nerve. "Look, Esperanza, I..." he turned vaguely green as he tried to force out the truth he'd been running from for weeks. "I can't deal with this anymore. I lived her death, and I can't hear her name or think of her or even see something that reminds me of her without wanting to run away screaming. And I know that makes me a horrible friend and I feel guilty as hell and I've been trying to ignore it, because let's face it, you guys were all freaked out enough by me having the ability, I didn't want to make you guys think I was any more of a freak, but I just can't deal with it anymore, it's starting to effect my ability to work with you guys on this."
    He spoke perhaps a little too quickly, as though even a normal pause would cause him to lose his nerve and never be able to mention it again. He couldn't quite meet her eyes as he talked, and he shrunk in on himself as much as possible for someone so tall and lanky.
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    Re: A Little Help Here?

    Post by tuck on 29/03/10, 06:26 pm

    Esperanza put her hand on Nils' shoulder.

    "It's ok. Try to relax. Take a deep breathe."

    She reached over with her other hand and picked up the glass of water she always kept on the bedside table and handed it to Nils.

    "Here... drink this." she said.

    "God, I'm so sorry Mijo." she said after he seemed to calm down a little, "I'm sorry I didn't believe you earlier. I'm sorry I didn't see how hard this was affecting you."

    "I know this is painful. For you, probably more than any of us. I can't imagine what you must be feeling right now. It'll take time, but things will be okay again. I promise. We'll get through this, but we have to stick together."
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    Re: A Little Help Here?

    Post by Queenofinsanity6 on 29/03/10, 08:29 pm

    Nils reached out to take the water with a hand that shook. He drank it slowly, leaning into her a bit as he relaxed. It felt good to be having a heart to heart with Esperanza again. They hadn't really been able to talk without tension between them since Chrys' death.
    "I know, I just... All that ability was wasted. Maybe if I'd... maybe if I hadn't been so scared of my power, I might have picked up on something that would have helped. Maybe I could have prevented it. Maybe having to live with that vision is right, since I didn't prevent it, that I know exactly what it felt like." He was startled to find, when he reached up to scratch his nose, that he was crying.


    Last edited by Queenofinsanity6 on 30/03/10, 03:51 pm; edited 1 time in total
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    Re: A Little Help Here?

    Post by tuck on 30/03/10, 03:50 pm

    Esperanza put her hand on Nils' chin, lifting his eyes to look into hers.

    "It wasn't your fault." she said, her voice clear and steady.

    "Listen Nils, there's nothing you could have done to prevent any of this. You loved Chrys. We all did. You have an incredible gift, but you're not all powerful. You can't blame yourself for what happened."
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    Re: A Little Help Here?

    Post by Queenofinsanity6 on 30/03/10, 04:03 pm

    Nils barely met her eyes before collapsing onto her shoulder. "I know, I know. I just feel so... disloyal. She was my friend, and I can't even say her fucking name anymore. How stupid is that?"
    He moved away, reaching into his jacket pocket and pulling out the everpresent bottle of wine, which he uncorked and took a swig from. "Look at me, Esperanza, even for me, I'm a mess. I can't stop doing, or if I do, I can't think, because otherwise every time I close my eyes or sit quietly I see those green eyes staring into mine and feel that knife biting into my arms, and I can't stop it anymore than she could."
    The bottle once again went into his coat, and he sighed. "I'm more or less screwed, aren't I?"
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    Re: A Little Help Here?

    Post by tuck on 30/03/10, 04:19 pm

    As Nils reached to put the bottle back into his coat, Esperanza put her hand on his, stopping him.

    "Mijo... Nils... My god... You have to stop this. I... I've seen this. I know what you're going through. But this isn't the answer..."

    As she spoke, her eyes also began to tear up. She blinked hard, trying to force the tears back inside. She paused for a moment, taking a deep breathe and collecting herself.

    "When I was a child, my uncle Julio and Aunt Sylvia used to come over to our house every Christmas. Uncle Julio was a great guy. Funny, you know? He always made us laugh. Then one year, Aunt Sylvia got cancer. She was dead in three months. She was gone just like that. After that he started drinking. When I saw him next Christmas he was so different. It was like he had lost la vida... like the life had gone out of him. I never saw him again after that."

    The tears returned with a vengeance as Ronnie spoke, rolling down her cheeks in a slow river.

    "I can't go through this again, Nils. I won't lose you, too. Not after Chrys. You need help. I'm here for you, mijo. We all are. Please. Don't do this."
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    Re: A Little Help Here?

    Post by Queenofinsanity6 on 30/03/10, 04:29 pm

    Nils teared up, fresh guilt tearing at him. "I'm sorry, Esperanza. I didn't want... I never wanted this. But please don't ask me to deal with this sober. I can't. You won't lose me, I promise. I'm here." He hugged her suddenly.
    "I just don't know what else to do. I can't handle this, I just can't. Some things are just too much for a body to bear."
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    Re: A Little Help Here?

    Post by tuck on 30/03/10, 04:40 pm

    Esperanza held Nils close, the smell of wine surrounding him.

    "She's gone..." she said, softly, "Hurting yourself... piunishing yourself for something that wasn't your fault... that isn't going to bring her back. We need you right now. I need you."

    She pulled away from him slightly and put her hand on top of his hand, which was still gripping the neck of the small bottle.

    "But we need YOU, Nils. If we're going to stop this hija de puta, we need to be together on this."

    She moved her hand up to his cheek, pressing it lightly against his rough stubble.

    "Please..."
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    Re: A Little Help Here?

    Post by Queenofinsanity6 on 30/03/10, 04:48 pm

    Nils sighed and shook his head. "No, I'm not trying to punish myself, not really." He told her, stepping back and stowing the bottle in his jacket. His eyes pleaded with his friend to understand, his heart aching from what the situation was doing to the both of them. He'd known for a long time that she had a crush on him, but there'd never been a good way to bring it up, and it would have only served to make things awkward. They both knew nothing would ever come of it.
    "I need to be able to close my eyes without seeing those vibrant green ones. I need to be able to sit in silence without feeling myself drawn forward, feeling the knives slice into my skin and the odd draining sensation as all the blood leaves my veins. This is all that I can think about when I'm sober, and I can't handle it. I need to be a little fuzzed just so that I can live!"
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    Re: A Little Help Here?

    Post by tuck on 30/03/10, 04:54 pm

    Esperanza pulled her hand back as he stepped away from her. She felt helpless, lost. She wanted so badly for him to be able to forget what he'd seen. But this wasn't the way. Her eyes followed the bottle as he stowed it back in his coat.

    She sighed.

    "You think that's what you're doing?" She asked resignedly, "Living?"
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    Re: A Little Help Here?

    Post by Queenofinsanity6 on 30/03/10, 05:00 pm

    Nils shrugged. "I know I'm doing better with it than I would without." He replied, forcing himself to sound lighthearted. He wished he had the luxury of hugging and crying and other pointless but comforting activities. Unfortunately, that led to moods like this one, and he had classes to deal with. He had to be strong and focused and above all, he had to act normal.
    "If you have any other ideas for how I can forget about it, I'm open to suggestions."
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    Re: A Little Help Here?

    Post by tuck on 30/03/10, 05:12 pm

    Esperanza stared up at Nils for a moment, shocked. She felt as though he had just slapped her.

    "I..." she started, but then stopped. What was there to say? She wanted so badly to help him. To say something, anything, that would bring him back. She felt so useless. With everything that had happened, with all the power she had gained, she felt more powerless than ever.

    She stood up and walked over to him slowly, leaning in and placing a single kiss lightly on his cheek.

    "I'm so sorry, Mijo... but I can't help you." she said, new tears forming in her already bloodshot eyes, "At least... not yet. But when you're ready... when you need me... I'll be here."
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    Re: A Little Help Here?

    Post by Queenofinsanity6 on 30/03/10, 10:26 pm

    Nils immediately wanted to take back what he'd said, seeing the hurt look on her face. He stopped himself, knowing it wouldn't change anything. This was what he had to do, and while he didn't want to hurt her, it was clear nothing he said would make her understand.
    "Ready for what, exactly? Esperanza, you've got it all wrong! I just don't have any other choice. Please try to understand." Despite his words, her sorrow was starting to cause him to doubt his position. But what other option did he have, really? He couldn't let himself remember, it would be the end of him for sure.
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    Re: A Little Help Here?

    Post by tuck on 30/03/10, 11:06 pm

    Ronnie stepped back and looked at Nils, her eyes still watering.

    "There's always a choice, Nils. Always. I want to help you, but I can't until you want me to. Until... until you're willing to admit you have a problem."
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    Re: A Little Help Here?

    Post by Queenofinsanity6 on 30/03/10, 11:11 pm

    Nils sighed. "Of COURSE I have a problem, Esperanza, I lived my friend's death. Don't you think that warrants a little problem?"
    He fought the urge to take another swig of the wine, realizing that would not help him prove his point. She was being so hard on him, and if he were thinking straight, he would probably be grateful, but right now he was so tired of it all and just wanted it to all go away. "For crap's sake, why on earth would I not want to be drunk?"
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    Re: A Little Help Here?

    Post by tuck on 30/03/10, 11:24 pm

    Esperanza sat down on the bed.

    "I don't know what you want me to tell, you, Mijo. Do you want me to say that it doesn't hurt watching you destroy yourself over something you can't change? Do you want me to say that it doesn't kill me a little every time you reach for that bottle instead of reaching out to your friends? Do you want me to tell you it's ok to crawl inside that wine bottle instead of dealing with things? I won't say that. I'm not going to give up on you."

    She wanted so badly to smash the fucking bottle in his coat; to take it from him by force if necessary. But she knew that would only make things worse.

    "Chrys' death hurt us all. But hiding from it isn't the answer. And neither is killing yourself one sip at a time."
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    Re: A Little Help Here?

    Post by Queenofinsanity6 on 30/03/10, 11:39 pm

    Nils recoiled like he'd been stabbed, and not just at the mention of Chrys. Her words hurt, more than he wanted to admit. He didn't want his own peace of mind to come at the expense of his friends. Connie had seemed to understand, but she and Aimee both had been trying to get the booze away from him. Even Chad had noticed at this point. Maybe she had a point. But it wasn't like he could just stop. He was far more terrified of the nightmares that waited just past the haze. "Please, don't. I-I'm trying. Why the fuck do you think I'm here, Esperanza?" Until this morning, he could count on one finger the times he'd resorted to cursing in anger within the past few years. Not that Nils would notice, but the booze and the stress was taking it's toll here, too.
    He turned and met her eyes squarely, not even realizing he was crying again. "I'm scared. I'm bloody terrified on what I'll see if I sober up. The nightmares are almost unbearable even when I'm so boozed up I can't remember anymore. I feel like one way or another, this is going to kill me, even without the wine."
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    Re: A Little Help Here?

    Post by tuck on 31/03/10, 08:45 am

    Esperanza stood up and put her arms around Nils' shoulders, hugging him tightly as he cried.

    "Shhhh..." she whispered to him, "It's ok... Your friends are here for you, Nils. We won't let anything happen to you. I... we'll do anything we can for you, Mijo. You know that."
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    Re: A Little Help Here?

    Post by Queenofinsanity6 on 31/03/10, 01:59 pm

    Nils wasn't exactly a stranger to fear, it had more or less always defined his life. Too afraid to go over to a friend's house, too afraid to touch things, to afraid to explain to anyone why he wore gloves and wouldn't walk around barefoot anywhere. Too afraid of getting mugged for being gay in College Station, or of taking someone home that would give him something or just break his heart.
    Maybe it was just natural for someone with this much fear to take refuge in wine. It was sure natural now for him to crave it even as he realized the depth of his problem. He knew he wouldn't actually give it up, it was far too engrained in him now. It took every ounce of willpower to hold off even for the moment, as he felt all too clearly the bottle pressed into him by the hug.
    He clung to her tightly, needing the comfort more than even he had realized. For a good length of time he just hugged her, crying. He didn't quite have the resources to do anything else.
    "I... I know, but I don't know that you can protect me from my own mind. For years I've been fighting to tune out rapes and abuse and murder, heartbreak and desperation, all as I've seen it just by being unlucky enough to touch the wrong thing. I couldn't even hold all that back without a little help, and now it's much worse. What am I going to do?"
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    Re: A Little Help Here?

    Post by tuck on 31/03/10, 02:31 pm

    "I don't know..." Esperanza said, still hugging him tightly, "But you have to be strong."

    She pulled back slightly and reached up with her hand, putting it lightly on his cheek.

    "We're here to help you through this, Nils. All of us. If you ever need me... I'll be there."

    As she spoke these words it seemed as though a yellow light began to emanate from her fignertips where they touched Nils' cheek. For a moment she thought it was a trick of the light or a reflection from the window, but in a split second the light grew brighter, and for a brief moment there was a bright flash as she pulled her hand away from his face, surprise and fear covering her face.

    It was over in an instant, but for several seconds, a mark remained on Nils' cheek, a bright yellow sigil in the shape of a circle with lines of various sizes eminating from it.

    Esperanza gasped and covered her mouth with her hands.

    "Ay dios mio!" she mumbled, "Oh god... what... what did I just do? Are you okay?"


    -----------

    In case this wasn't obvious, Ella, Ronnie just accidentally used her Guardian level 1 power (vigil brand) on Nils. It places a mark on him that lets her know if he's ever in trouble.
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    Re: A Little Help Here?

    Post by Queenofinsanity6 on 31/03/10, 02:39 pm

    Nils was more than a little confused by Esperanza's bright glowing fingertips. This was definitely new, and he had a fleeting worry he might end up like Steve. Luckily, no such thing happened, and the worst effect he could determine was being a little light dazzled.
    "I'm fine, Esperanza, at least as far as I can tell. You-you didn't leave a mark, did you? That would be a little hard to explain away at work."
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    Re: A Little Help Here?

    Post by tuck on 31/03/10, 02:44 pm

    As she watched, Esperanza saw the sigil begin to fade and disappear. Within a few seconds it was gone, with not even so much as a red mark to show that it had ever been there.

    "No... no, I... I think it's gone." she said, her hand shaking visibly, "Oh god... I can't take much more of this. I don't even know what just happened. I keep... doing things... accidentally. That thing with Steve... the healing... now this. Jesus, I kind of wish my... father... had left an instruction manual or something."
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    Re: A Little Help Here?

    Post by Queenofinsanity6 on 31/03/10, 02:54 pm

    Nils nodded vigorously. "Oh, me too. It's a little ridiculous. At least Loki had the courtesy to tell me what my stuff does, more or less, but these random abilities we're sprouting? A little bizarre."
    He sighed. "At least I can touch things now, though." He grinned and glanced down at his hands, where he was not wearing gloves for the first time outside of private intimate moments or grooming in years. "It's almost worth it just for that! I'm still not sure if things can randomly start talking to me, but they haven't yet, so..." His grin was huge as he contemplated all the things that were now possible. "I can touch things, I can sit down and not worry, I can sleep on couches or hotel beds, I can do normal things for once!"
    Whether it was the booze he'd earlier drunk kicking in, or simple pleasure at some future peace of mind, he was almost euphoric.

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