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looking away/to the side/upset

yes_miss_potts in dauphinmare

Day Twenty-Three: Loss of Life

Who: Pepper, open
Where: Outside, grassy area
When: Mid morning
Rating: A? Q? I'unno
Invasion: Please

Status: Open, ongoing
Summary: Angst, angst and woe

Waking up with an empty bed wasn’t really odd - Chase often went out in the night – and at first, it didn’t click that he wasn’t there. Pepper went about her business; got up, showered, got dressed and went down to breakfast. It was about that time that she had a sinking feeling. Surely he would have found her by now, right? She frowned at her breakfast, picking up the tray and putting it away, tossing half of her food uneaten. Her stomach was nursing a vaguely queasy feeling that told her something was wrong.

Flying from the cafeteria, she made her way back to their room, hoping he was there now and she was wrong. Her heart caught in her throat, the sound of it thunderous in her ears. Calling his name to the empty room produced mocking echoes and she could feel tears welling in her eyes. She tried to tell herself it was fine; he was just out and about somewhere. Busy. Chase was always busy. But the more she thought it, the more things she saw that were wrong.

The queasy, sinking feeling only intensified as she continued outside and she peered around anxiously, licking her lips. Still nothing. Sinking to her knees, she sat in the middle of the grass, looking around helplessly as tears slid down her cheeks. Words wouldn’t come and it was all she could do to sit, one hand covering her face, the other clenched in a fist in her lap.


He'd determined early on that his sib was gone. That was more annoying than distressing - he knew Belle could handle herself on the other side. Still, it was irritating because they lost the mental network they'd established.

Sure, Edward could hear everyone, but projecting? Not so much. Tris had already established that Jaime was gone, as well as Trinity, Laurel, Katrina, Jacob, Sirius, River, and the crude doctor who's name he hadn't gotten. As for who else, he wasn't sure. They either hadn't had significant others to miss them, or their SOs had gone with.

Though from the looks of Pepper, Chase was among the missing.

Oh, boy.

Striding over to her, he offered her a light smile before he crouched down beside her. Not for the first time today, he wished Sage was here. Or Jasper was around. He thought maybe he'd hit up Jan and see if she could talk her boyfriend into a calming song for the town ... it wouldn't go amiss.

"Hey," he said gently as he reached a hand to rub her back. "You know they'll be back, right?" he continued with no other preamble.
She took a long shuddering breath before answering, reddened eyes turning on Tristan.

"You can't know that," she whispered, "I mean, that's what usually happens, but what if ... what if they didn't?"

It had occurred to her already the many times it had been insinuated that Chase belonged on the other side and she wasn't exactly taking it lightly. She wasn't worried about him over there; he could take care of himself in that respect. But what if they kept him somehow? Or he chose to stay? She stifled another sob and wiped the tears off her cheeks like smuts from a fire.
"You have to have faith that they will," Tris murmured, gathering up her hair and pushing it lightly over her shoulder to rub higher up on her back. "That he will. He wouldn't leave you alone," he continued in what he hoped was a soothing voice.

He glanced around before shifting to make himself a little more comfortable. "There are a lot of of people gone," he murmured. "My twin among them. But it'll play out like it always does, and they'll come back to us," he promised her.
She closed her eyes, willing herself to believe that, to relax and accept that she could get through this and that he'd come back. His soothing touch helped, though she remained suitably tense.

"Right," she agreed quietly, "Right, of course it will." She shook her head. "I just ... there's been enough speculation that he doesn't belong here, you know? I don't want to think ..."

She just let that trail off again, unwilling to actually say it out loud.
"I know," Tristan agreed quietly. "There are a fair few missing who it could be argued belong on the other side. Isabelle is ... unpredictable and a bit of a wild card on occasion. The same with Trinity, and they're both gone. I don't think they'll be stuck forever though."

He rubbed the back of her neck tenderly. "Besides that, I'm sure there'll come a time when Laurel can rig up a portal to let everyone back home. I'm sure he'll be first in line."
She sniffled and shifted to rest her head on his shoulder, a hand once again raising to wipe away tears.

"I hope so," she replied, "I feel kind of lost without him. I mean, he's been with me ... well, not necessarily with me with me ... but around since before we arrived here. I don't even know what to do with myself now."

Had he been grounding her as much as she had been him? At this point, she did wonder.
He rested his arm over her shoulders, rubbing her arm lightly as he held her gently against him. "We can find something to do," he promised her. "People to hang out with. I'm sure there are others who need comfort. Or someone to bitch to about Riverfell." He grinned lightly.

"Have you eaten anything yet? We can start with that," he offered softly as he started to stand, hopefully drawing her along with him. Even if she had eaten, she could probably sit somewhere more comfortable than where she was.
She let him guide her into standing though she didn't much feel like it and she pressed back the hair that had matted to her face, curling it behind her ears.

"I had breakfast," she replied, "Well. Some of it. Before I realized what had happened."

She blew out a breath and nodded.

"I guess it's better than sitting here wallowing," she ventured.
He smiled encouragingly to her. "Who do you hang out with, when you aren't with Chase? Maybe we'll go find them, and ... see if they've got anything going on," he murmured. "Hang around the lounge for a bit, maybe. Keep your mind off of things."

Tristan glanced around, but didn't start moving yet. He would, if she had a different destination other than the ones he'd suggested; for all he knew, the lounge and whatnot held bad memories for her.
"I usually hang out by myself," she admitted, "I've made a few friends, I suppose. But mostly ... well, there's Jake. He's the one I'd probably want to see most. Or ... Tony, but ..."

She shook her head; she didn't really think seeing Tony right now. Assuming he was even still here. Hell, assuming either of them were still here. She frowned.
"Well, you can see about making new friends today," he suggested. "Or we can go visit with Jake?" He was mostly interested in getting her to a place where she felt better, and was distracted.

He ... mostly wanted that for anyone else who was missing someone, but there were certain cases - like hers - that he knew were cause for worry. Some of the people here likely were good candidates for the other side.

"If they didn't leave with Damion before," he murmured to her, "they aren't going to stay this time."
"I think I'd feel better with the familiar today," she replied, "For now, at least. Maybe I'll feel more adventurous later."

She fidgeted lightly, wringing her hands before her. Even her attempts to calm down and relax were in vain; her mind wouldn't stop going and she still felt vaguely weak in the knees.

"I hope you're right," she murmured, mostly to herself.
"Well," Tris murmured. "He loves you, right? Has fought for you, come to rescue you, done ... insane things to keep you safe, right? He won't stay, Pepper. Not while you're here."

Tris didn't know for certain, of course, but he'd picked up enough from Belle when she prowled their minds to have a very good idea.

And he thought focusing on the positive was the way to go here.
She closed her eyes and let out a long breath through semi pursed lips. Tristan had a good point and she felt almost guilty for her lack of faith. Arms wrapped to hug around herself and she nodded.

"Right," she replied, "He loves me. I just have to remember that."

He loved her and he'd come back and ... in all likelihood, it was just until midnight. Not that long at all.

The thoughts were only mildly comforting, though. The feeling of displacement remained, and she shivered unconsciously.
He nodded, smiling encouragingly. "Besides, it's not so long 'til midnight." He assumed - likely most everyone else likely had - that it was another midnight deadline game. They'd survive each other, and things would be righted when the clock struck, such as it was.

He did wonder if it would be different this time, but couldn't think of a reason that it might be.

Which wasn't saying anything ... lately, there didn't seem to be rhyme or reason to the tasks.
"No, not that long," she agreed, "Makes me wonder how long I slept without him there, though." She shivered a little before waving it off. "Probably better I didn't realize in the middle of the night, really."

She pressed her hands to her cheeks as if she could stop them from puffing up like they had and she sniffled despite her best efforts to contain herself.

"Ridiculous, right?" she managed after a moment, "I shouldn't be so ... I mean, I shouldn't let it get to me like this. That's what they want, isn't it?"
"It isn't ridiculous," he said quietly. For a moment, he battled with himself, but nothing good would come of telling her this probably wasn't a scheduled task.

"You can't help that it gets to you," he pointed out. "And they'll never know." He paused. "Well, unless someone from Riverfell goes over and tells them."

He grinned slightly before he glanced around. "So, where were we headed?"
"Jake, I think," she decided after a moment, "He's familiar. And ... well. Even Chase trusts him to some degree, I think."

Not that she thought he'd ever admit it. But they shared the commonality of all having been in the oasis. Maybe that was worth something.

"How many do you think are gone?" she asked quietly.
Tris licked his lips, then shrugged lightly. "A lot. About a third, I think, from what I've seen so far, but... I've been around most of the morning to find things out. I think ... I think that's about it."

He wasn't really inclined to mention that a lot of their power houses had been the ones drawn over to the other side. That a lot of pairs had been halved.

That they might not come back tonight.

It did feel to him a little like a line redraw ... and with no task instructions to accompany this, he had to wonder. Not that he'd voice those thoughts.

Resting a hand on her back, he started to guide her toward Jake's place.
"That is a lot," she mused, "And we got some in exchange. That's ..."

She'd seen the semi-familiar faces and it did make her wonder. She suppressed that line of thinking, though; it wasn't getting her anywhere good.

"... interesting," she finished, "Another twist. I think they like fucking with us like this."

She wasn't usually one to curse, but somehow this seemed to warrant it.
"It could be they're warring among themselves, and this is simply the fallout of their powers," he offered. "Maybe they've given up on the idea of pawns for a bit."

He sighed. "Maybe they'll forget about us for a bit," he mused, though he wasn't sure if that would be a good or a bad thing.

Running his free hand through his hair, Tristan sighed softly. "I wish I had more answers for you."
"We'll never really know what goes with them," she mused, "All we can do is weather the storm, I suppose."

She pushed a stray lock of hair behind her ear, ginger strands having escaped once more. Shivering with the excitement of the morning, she pressed her arms around herself once more.

"I don't think anyone really has any answers here. Not ... not really."
"No, not really. We have sound guesses, theories based on past experiences, and occasional flashes of intuition - or visions."

Which reminded him. They didn't have a Belle, but they had a Panda. Maybe he'd go see what she had to say. If she'd seen anything.

Maybe he'd get her to work with Alice and ... maybe they could pick out a picture of things.

Once they reached Jake's house, Tris glanced to Pepper. "Going to finish my damage patrols. You'll be all right?"
She blew out another hot breath and nodded.

"I think so," she replied, "I mean, it can't possibly get any worse, right?"

Light footsteps took her to Jake's door, and she rapped lightly on it with her knuckles before glancing back to Tristan.

"Thank you," she murmured, "I'd probably still be sitting there."
Can't possibly get worse. Oh, Tris could think of a lot of ways it could get worse, but he nodded to her.

"Take care," he said softly before he waved.

Jake drew the door open, peering out curiously. "Hey," he said quietly as he stepped back to let Pepper in.

"'epper," Oy greeted her solemnly.
dragon goblet

May 2009



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