|Cristobal Rodriguez ♦ Coyote (coyoti) wrote in paxletalelogs,|
@ 2017-12-18 15:56:00
|Entry tags:||coyote, loki|
where should I start
Who: Nish & Chris.
What: Two trickster gods catch up.
Where: Pax lobby and then Nish's apartment.
When: Late afternoon.
Chris puttered by the mailboxes, taking overly long to sort between discards and keepers, his eyes forever darting back to the front doors. How was this happening, after everything that had transpired? The building's owner was gone, instead replaced by someone who hadn't yet been named (evidenced by the fact that the front walk was shoveled, the concrete neatly salted against the unusual weather). He'd kept to himself ever since the 31st, unsure where he stood with the majority of the building's populace. The bruising and swelling around his broken nose, a parting gift from his best friend for his lies, had mostly subsided; he still looked a little off, especially to anyone who knew him even in passing, but that was another plus to remaining alone—no one to comment on his appearance.
So when he heard footsteps approaching, he tensed, keeping his back to the doorway in the hope that whoever it was would leave him be, and he could escape without having to make eye contact.
Nish didn’t break her stride on the way into the building, heading directly over to the mail. Despite the attitudes of most of the other Pax residents, she was absolutely loving the snow and the cold weather enveloping their building; her only complaint was the drastic change as soon as she crossed the property line. Dressing for two completely different weather conditions just to leave for work every day was a little annoying.
She noticed Chris by the mailboxes and dropped her shopping in front of it, pulling out her keys to open her own box. She hadn’t seen him at all since Halloween, and while she hadn’t been actively thinking about him, now that she saw him she was suddenly concerned about that absence. “Hey,” she greeted carefully, eyeing him while trying not to stare. There was a slight shadow of old bruising on his face that looked far too familiar to her, and she winced. “You okay?”
The tone and content of Nish's voice dispelled a little of the tension along his shoulders and back. Holding his mail between both hands, his keys tucked readily into his right for easy reach should a fight ensue (old habits died hard), he turned, meeting her gaze from a sidelong view.
"Been better," he replied. Honesty was the new policy, supposedly, though he still found it hard to comply with. A long moment drew out between them, Chris carefully studying her bags, her movements, trying to figure out where they stood. "You make it out of the party all right?"
She couldn’t help the instant reaction of embarrassment coupled with a bit of amusement, and nodded. “Yeah, uhhm, sort of,” she explained terribly, “though it’s still a bit of a blur. I was very drunk that night,” she said, a fact that still stung. James had forgiven her, but she still needed to. “Nothing big, just flesh wounds,” she said, rubbing her stomach as if she could still feel the long-healed marks left by those dog-things. There was still slight scars, reminding her that it had, in fact, been real. “Good thing I’m dating a doctor, right?” she joked, but it seemed to fall flat, as did her smile.
“Look…” she said quietly, stepping towards him a pace, “I don’t...really remember exactly what happened, but…” she frowned a little in sympathy. “I’m sorry,” she said, putting a hand on his arm. “It’s not every day you find out that your boss is a literal monster.” She tried to smile at that, bring a little levity to something that seemed to just royally suck, in her opinion. “If you need anything, while you look for something else...you’ve helped me so much, now it’s my turn.”
He tensed and then relaxed under her touch, eyes trained down on the taken liberty before trailing back up to Nish's face.
"Thanks," he finally said, repositioning himself to better face her. Her hand fell away from his arm, but he could still feel it like a burn. "That's... That's a lot better than what I was expecting from most people here. To be perfectly honest, I'm surprised no one's tried to burn me out yet, or something equally destructive. I guess there's still time." He needed to reach out to his other people, find out where things stood with the others he'd been trying to get away from. Beside that, he needed to simply busy himself so he could find some idea of what to do with Kal and Daniel, the two presenting a puzzle he wasn't sure he'd be able to figure out.
"So, a doctor, huh?" He turned the conversation, craving some sense of normalcy, or at least the comfort of some familiar conversation.
Nish frowned at his words, not quite understanding why anyone would be mad at him. From her perspective, he was the only victim here. Shouldn’t his friends be supporting him after such a horrible revelation? She had been sure she’d been woefully last in a long line of people willing to help him out. Maybe she’d missed something horrible in the jumble of already horrible memories from that night? But honestly, she’d just rather forget the whole thing ever happened.
She allowed the change in subject, but kept her questions in the back of her mind. “Yeah,” she said with a little, almost embarrassed, smile. “A psychiatrist, actually,” she added, “and no, the irony of that isn’t lost on me.” She looked down at the mail in her hands, crouching to pick up her groceries. She didn’t have anything else pressing, and she hadn’t seen Chris in quite a while. “Coffee?” she asked, nodding to the elevators.
"Uh, sure." He followed her lead, moving in his usual slow gait toward the elevators.
"Was he at the party? I don't think I've met him yet." Of course, he'd also been nearly dead drunk at the party, and then hiding himself away after, making meeting new tenants all but impossible. At least it was no longer a requirement of his job description. He folded the few envelopes in his hand into a tight square, tucking it and his apartment keys into his pockets. "How'd... How'd he take all of... that?" Chris' hand wound into the air, circulating in a gesture implying 'everything': everything being the dog-like creatures, the giant snake, and the skeleton he thought he'd seen out of the corner of his eye. Didn't the food suddenly come alive?
Nish hit the button to call the elevator and grinned humourlessly. “He’s...adapting,” she said, “it’s obviously not what he signed up for, but he’s dealing with it,” she said, stepping into the elevator when it arrived and pushing the ‘5’ button. “After all,” she added once the doors closed, “it’s not every day you learn you’re harbouring a Norse god inside you,” she said casually. She and Chris hadn’t actually openly discussed the existence of those gods before, beyond that dream they had months ago, but after everything that’s happened, especially Halloween, she assumed it was safe to say it was something they were all dealing with now. She glanced over at him, studying his reaction to that information.
He did his best to bite back the smile, but Chris found himself rolling his eyes.
"Just went straight for the jugular, huh? I guess you kinda had to. Not sure how else to explain the insanity that was that party." One hand rose up to rub at his nape, his lean form going to the wall for some relief from being on his leg overly long. He looked a bit like he was dancing in place, shifting his weight from one to the other.
"Yeah, I don't... I don't really know how that worked out. It explains a lot, though. Can't say I'm super happy with becoming a goddamn furry but... Not like we had a whole lot of say in any of that, huh?"
Nish laughed, “a furry? What, did you turn I to a bear or something?” She must have been awfully drunk if she had missed that. Then again, the room had been quite full of other strange creatures, so a bear might have gone unnoticed.
“I didn't actually turn into anything,” she said, sounding almost disappointed, “though I apparently froze some sort of dog-thing with my hands, which is...weird.” Also the fact that inner self was male, though she'd long since made peace with that.
"Hah, no... not a bear," he replied, wondering why her mind had gone directly to that particular animal. "A coyote." Which, in the end, wasn't much of a surprise. All the dreams leading up to it, especially the one-on-one with the deity himself telling him to stop being such a goddamn idiot. If only he'd listened.
"You know, I don't have any evidence to support it, but I wouldn't be surprised if... I guess management was responsible for everything. How, I couldn't begin to say, but..." Chris shrugged. "He's had access, he had time and funds... Nothing else makes much sense." The elevator dinged onto the fifth floor, opening wide. Chris waited a beat, for Nish to take the lead.
Nish’s eyebrows rose as she stepped out of the elevator, leading him towards her door and opening it for him. Bear was on the other side of it, as if he’d been waiting for them, meowing in greeting and then turning, as if leading them into the living room. “How could they be responsible?” she asked curiously, “and why?” she asked, feeling that was the most important question. What possible motivation would anyone have to cause that kind of thing? Transformations and monsters?
Chris remained silent, having no answers for those particular questions. He'd been turning his interactions with the man—sparse and distant as they were—over and over in his mind.
She let her keys fall in the dish by the door and carried her groceries into the kitchen. “So you worked for him, right? What sort of stuff did he have you do?” she asked casually. She’d never actually discussed his work with him, beyond what he’d needed her help with which, on the record, she didn’t know anything about.
"Not...much," he replied, uneasy suddenly. He followed her into her living space, familiar enough that he beelined for the couch to take the weight off of his bad leg. "He wanted reports. To know what was going on inside the building, I guess without installing more than the usual security cameras." He shivered internally, remembering the toy mic he'd received in April. It was obviously a gag gift, nonoperable, but it had always left him feeling uneasy. He'd thoroughly checked his apartment though and had never found a working bug.
"Haven't heard from him since the Halloween party, though," he quickly supplied, as though to reassure that he was no longer in that line of work.
Nish flicked the kettle on, unpacking various things from her grocery bags. “That actually makes me feel a little better,” she said, folding the empty cloth bags and stowing them away. “If he wanted you to report on us, that means there’s no cameras in our apartments,” she explained. And there was an awful lot that she didn’t exactly want wolfman to see from her apartment.
She turned and pulled two mugs down from the cupboard, spooning hot chocolate mix in both of them. “Maybe since he outed himself, he got fired, or had to disappear,” she mused, putting the cocoa away. “I wonder if he always looks like that. I mean...we didn’t...change...until after he did whatever with the masks…” she paused, thinking about that. “I bet Stephan knows all about this, he was so insistent we keep those on that night.” More and more lately, her suspicion and downright mistrust of their concierge had been growing. Maybe it was time for her to think about some sort of class action suit on behalf of the residents...
Stephan probably knew a lot more than he was letting on; the man's disappearance in the following weeks had spoken volumes. Silence always did. Chris had seen him back at his post, which was especially odd since he had to believe the building was no longer under management's possession. Nish's belief that the man had been 'fired' felt wrong, but Chris couldn't dispute it.
"Well, he could've also just been following orders," he replied, feeling a pulse of sympathy for the man. If he was anything like Chris, Stephan was likely in the dark, fed only what his superior felt he needed to know. Conspiracies were tricky like that. Cut off one head, the hydra just grew back three more.
Nish grimaced, “lots of horrible people throughout history were just ‘following orders’,” she mused bitterly, setting down the two mugs of cocoa on the coffee table. “And that never ends well for anyone involved.”
"And as for the guy, the..." Werewolf seemed such an awkward term since he'd turned into a dog himself. Coyote, a voice insisted in his mind. Chris frowned, shaking his head. "The furry guy, did you see Obed and his girlfriend follow him out? They looked pretty cut up after. Obed did, anyway." Between that sight and Daniel's friend BB, Chris had a lot to feel guilty for. He didn't really feel up to feeling anything right then. One hand rubbed at the arm of the couch, the rest of him shifting in place to get more comfortable.
"This is probably outta line, but do you have any beer?"
Nish smiled softly and shook her head. “No, not for a while,” she said, “and after my little...episode...at Halloween, well, alcohol and I aren’t on speaking terms anymore.” Despite James forgiving her for being an angry drunk, she didn’t want to ever have a repeat of that. Especially around him. “I have tea and coffee though, if you’re not into cocoa,” she offered with a shrug.
“And no, I was too focused on trying to get the hell out of there to notice where Obed and Isobel went,” she said with a bit of a frown, “I wasn’t really myself at the time, and well, Loki had other plans.”
"Cocoa's good," he said, not wanting to put her out any more than he already had with the lone comment. His fingers rapped against the arm rest, and he quieted them. "Yeah, Coyote... well, I guess I'm glad he didn't really have other plans. I know that BB chick is a good friend of Daniel's, and they all seemed pretty intent on getting her out of there. I'm just glad no one else got hurt, really." At least, not that he'd heard of. He could barely remember the shapes and colors of that evening and everything that had happened between the rec rooms' walls.
Nish found herself idly rubbing her stomach that still bore scars from those dog things at the party. “Yeah,” she said, though didn’t make a comment about her own injuries. They had been relatively minor, and she’d been fortunate to have her own personal doctor with her at the time.
"So I guess you're staying, then? Instead of rushing to pack up and get the fuck out? Because I wouldn't be surprised if anyone did."
She smirked a little, sipping her cocoa. “Yeah, well...I have a life here now,” she said with a half-shrug. “Friends and…” what exactly was she supposed to call James now? The term ‘boyfriend’ didn’t seem to apply to him, in her mind. It didn’t mean enough. To her, it made it sound like they were teenagers who would break up and find someone else in a week. So she didn’t fill in that blank, instead she shrugged with a ‘you know’ look. “What about you?” she asked, settling into the couch, “are you sticking around, even after everything that’s happened?” Of all of them, she felt he had the most reason to leave, but she hoped he wouldn’t. He was a friend, and she would definitely miss him if he left.
He nodded, leaning forward to grab his own mug. The warmth of it immediately made it appealing, juxtaposed to the cold air that seemed to seep through the very walls.
"We're in the thick of it now, aren't we? Seems like a dumb idea to just cut and run," he said, blowing over the liquid chocolate before taking a tentative sip. It would certainly be easier to just leave, to pretend that his relationships with Kal and Daniel didn't matter. But they did, and he'd dug himself a very deep hole—besides, he wanted to be certain his former employer was no longer a threat, not to mention the various threads the man had been holding over his head. Chris swallowed, looking back at Nish.
"No point in leaving the party just as it got interesting. So. Tell me about this James guy. You just meet him?" His brows lifted, curiosity lining their curve.
Nish’s brows rose slightly and then she smiled fondly. “Uhhm, not really,” she said, shifting on the couch a little, getting more comfortable. “We were pretty serious for a few years a while back, and...well, It’s kind of a long story…”