CERES Those Returned

Discussion in 'Private Roleplay' started by Alric, Jul 26, 2019.

  1. Alric

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    He nodded slowly.

    Not a burden, not yet.

    For a few more seconds he remained silent, not looking at Chloe, never daring to. His gaze wandered to his hands, watching as his fingers slowly curled in on themselves. His palms shook, not violently, but enough that he could watch them constantly shutter and move from side to side.

    A breath slowly filled his lungs. "I know I'm broken."

    He said softly.

    Alric was not a fool. He had imagined this moment as often as Chloe had. He had thought about her as often as she had him. He knew what this moment was supposed to have been, what their reunion should have been like. What he had endured had not chipped away pieces of his love for her.

    It was still there. Still underneath.

    "They took...p-pieces." He fumbled his words for a second, his tongue skipping over itself as he tried to speak. "I know I'm not what I'm supposed to be."

    His hands formed into fists, forcing them to stop shaking. "I-I-I'm sorry."
     
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  2. Chloe Emerson

    Chloe Emerson "Wren"

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    Chloe's soft hand came to rest on top of Alric's balled fist, tenderly curling her fingers around his hand. Her smile was filled with nothing but warmth, love, and understanding. While Alric had always been the one to act brashly, Chloe was a patient woman. She thought ahead and kept her eyes forward.

    Carefully, she crouched down at the side of the bed, keeping her hand over his as she looked up into his face.

    Her voice was soft and reassuring when she spoke to him. "I told you... many years ago, that you never have to apologize to me, Alric. I meant it. You're not broken, a little bent and battered perhaps, but you're not lost."

    He may not have been the same man that vanished from her life all those years before, but she could see the core of his soul still buried away beneath his rage and pain. It reminded her of when they first met, when she mended the scar on his face. She'd known there was more to him then, and she knew that part of him was still there.

    He just needed to find it for himself.
     
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  3. Alric

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    For a time he did not say anything at all.

    He wasn't sure if what she said was true, if it was just placating him, or if it was just another UN lie. It was so hard to tell, so hard to figure out what was real and what wasn't.

    Alric felt as though he had gone through a revelation more than once, felt as though he'd 'found' himself home a dozen times. Yet there was always still a quesiton in the back of his mind, always still a concern of if all of this was real...or a lie. It felt real, he hoped it was real. It had to be real.

    Finally, a breath seemed to fill him. "I need to fix this."

    He said cryptically.

    "This." The man gestured to himeslf. "what they did to me."

    It seemed as though his mind could not concentrate on any one thing for too long. His thoughts jumping from topic to topic, mood to mood. Rage turned to anguish, anguish to desire, then to love, then to pain again.

    All stability had left him.

    She must have seen it.
     
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  4. Chloe Emerson

    Chloe Emerson "Wren"

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    It nearly shattered Chloe's heart to see Alric struggle to hold onto one train of thought. He was grasping desperately at any straw that was available to him, clinging to them all as if they were a life raft. From Chloe's perspective, it was as if those rafts vanished without warning in a puff of smoke and he had to frantically find another thought to hold on to.

    Even she couldn't keep him grounded anymore.

    For the first time since his return, she felt as if he was beyond her reach entirely. How could she help someone who'd endured so much trauma? She was a glorified field medic, not a psychologist. Stitching wounds, setting broken bounds, running a shipping company, those were things that she knew she was physically capable of doing.

    But with Alric... she felt entirely hopeless.

    Useless.

    There were few things in life that Chloe loathed more than feeling powerless. It reminded her of when he'd first been stolen away.

    Her jaw set and she slowly stood back up.

    "Can I get you anything else?" She asked him, hoping to at least get him to respond to those words.
     
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  5. Alric

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    Alric slowly shook his head, then stopped for a second. "I need to..."

    What was he looking for?

    The words seemed lost to him, though the concept was there all the same. His eyes shut, his hands coming up to run through the thin wisps of hair that were now tinged with a deep gray. A moment passed, his fingers scrunched in frustration. A low growl left his throat, followed by a deep almost depressing sigh.

    "I need to get out." He said quietly. "No more small rooms."

    Alric's gaze traveled over the hospital room.

    It was bigger than the cell, bigger than any of the cells that they had kept him in, but it still wasn't enough. Alric was a belter, he was used to small spaces, but now...right now, he wanted something more, he wanted out, he wanted to be rid of enclosure and tight spaces. "I need to get out."

    He repeated himself.
     
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  6. Chloe Emerson

    Chloe Emerson "Wren"

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    "No more small rooms..." Chloe repeated his request and glanced over to the trash bin where her broken terminal had been discarded.

    She quirked her mouth slightly to the side in thought, then looked back to Alric.

    "Let's go for a walk then."
     
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  7. Alric

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    For a moment the possibility of leaving the small room seemed like a trick.

    Somehow it would lead to him being locked up again, put in a box so small that he could not even breath. They had done that before, though he couldn't remember how long ago it had been.

    The expression Chloe gave him though was not like those who had put him in a box, and after a few moments of consideration Alric nodded slightly. His fingers reached up and curled around the side of the bed, his lean muscles flexing as he attempted to pull himself up and out.

    He needed out of here.
     
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  8. Chloe Emerson

    Chloe Emerson "Wren"

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    Even though Chloe wanted to reach out and help Alric out of the bed, she suspected that this was something he needed to do on his own. She could mend his physical wounds and help him regain his strength; but he would have to be the one to overcome the demons that haunted his mind.

    It took a considerable amount of restraint to keep herself from offering her hand or helping him outright.

    She turned and walked to the small closet on the far side of the room. Inside was a bag of new clothes that she'd bought while Alric had been unconscious. They didn't carry the stench of his cell back on Luna, nor were the weighed down by any of the traumatic memories that his old rags lugged with them.

    "You may want to put these on, instead of what you're wearing. Only if you want though." She offered, setting the bag down on the foot of the bed.

    "I'll be right outside." She added a moment later, then stepped out the door.
     
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  9. Alric

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    It took him an inordinary amount of time to actually pull himself out of bed. Perhaps it was his lack of muscle, or the sensation of being tricked. Either way, it seemed that by the time Alric made his way out of the hospital bed almost half an hour had passed.

    His face was even more weary as he changed.

    A part of himself still clung to that cell. Not willingly of course, never willingly, but he simply had no other way of thinking. Lips thinned as he pulled off his hospital gown.

    If Chloe peered through the small window in the hospital door she would see him then.

    His body was thin, emaciated. Ribs showed, his collarbone prominent. Alric had always been lean, but his frame without a single article of clothing was downright disturbing. He appeared almost a walking skeleton decorated only by thin strips of tattooed skin.

    Eventually he pulled the clothing on that she had provided, a hand running over his hair to slowly slick it back.

    It was still long and uncut, his beard a scraggly mess.

    Alric caught a reflection of himself in the door as he stepped towards it, lips thinning. "I need a barber."

    He said quietly.
     
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  10. Chloe Emerson

    Chloe Emerson "Wren"

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    By the time Alric made it out into the hallway, Chloe was talking with a young man who looked to be in his early twenties. He had that wide-eyed enthusiasm that only came to those who were still eager for what was to come in life. It brought a small amount of satisfaction to Chloe to know that even young Belters could have that excitement -- that she was contributing and enabling that mindset.

    Since Alric had smashed her terminal, no one from her company had been able to reach her and there were a few matters that required her approval. Life continued on, as always.

    "Also, Mr. Petrov has requested that you personally oversee the next expedition." The young man spoke, not noticing Alric step out of the hospital room, too engrossed in his own work. "He was rather tight lipped about his reasoning, but judging from the supplies he's requesting, he might be expecting it to be rather lucrative. For both his interests and ours. Should I--"

    Chloe held up a hand to interrupt the young man, presumably her assistant. "Stuart, I'll get to Petrov's messages when I can. For now, I have other matters to attend to."

    Stuart, the young blonde man, blinked as he was interrupted mid-sentence and he looked up from the terminal in his hand. Hazel eyes went wide when he caught sight of the tall, haggard form of Alric. "O-oh. Right. I'll tell Petrov the matter is still under consideration. Excuse me..."

    The young belter shuffled off before Chloe could respond.

    She took a breath and slowly exhaled. The clothes she'd picked out were still a little too large for Alric -- even though she'd sized down from what he used to wear all those years ago. Seeing him in such a fragile state was heart breaking. It was different than when they'd been kidnapped by a bunch of thugs and nearly been killed in the process.

    Back then, Alric could defend himself.

    Now he looked like a walking skeleton, like a half-starved bird.
     
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  11. Alric

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    He certainly felt like a half starved bird.

    Moving was easier now than it had been back on that transport, but the strain to his system had been harder than he wanted to admit. Whatever meds they had given him had likely, and perhaps ironically, been from earth. He knew it had to be so, otherwise he would be laying in the morgue instead of walking.

    It was funny, in a way. "The park maybe?"

    There had been one in Ceres once, before he'd been imprisoned. It had belonged to the Inners that lived on the station, and of course those Belters wealthy enough to buy their way in. Alric had been one of those Belters, though likely not anymore.

    "If it still exists." He added bitterly.

    So much had changed, he wasn't sure what was left.
     
  12. Chloe Emerson

    Chloe Emerson "Wren"

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    Chloe could see the hesitation in his eyes, the doubt that anything from the world he once knew remained. For him, it must have been like waking up from a coma. Time for him had been frozen in place, unchanging; but for the rest of the system... things kept moving. It couldn't have been easy to come to terms with.

    "It still exists." She murmured reassuringly with a slight smile.

    "There's been a few additions -- specimens from different systems beyond the gate." She amended as she walked through the corridor, guiding Alric along.

    The walk to the park from the hospital was not a long one. Chloe had pulled every string she could get her hands on to have Alric admitted to the best hospital on the station. It'd been something of a relief to see that she still had enough influence to manage something like that -- small feat as a it was.

    Considering it was the middle of the 'day' shift on Ceres, the park was relatively empty. The carefully replicated little hills of grass lay untouched. There were trees growing tall in the atrium, some of which Alric would have never seen before. The air was cleaner here, and the clinical scent of the hospital fell away, drowned out by the richness of soil and grass.

    Chloe stood quietly at Alric's side, letting him take in the sight at his own pace.
     
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  13. Alric

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    "The gate." Alric said quietly, wonderingly.

    There was something about that, the idea of starting over, the thought of a world...no, more than just a world, of an entire universe out there just for the taking. It was something he could only have dreamed of as a child, away from the misery. From the Inners, from everyone who wanted to hurt his people.

    He could hardly believe it was true.

    It still felt like a lie. Some great conspiracy created and crafted by the the Dusters and Earthers in an attempted to lure the Belters into peace. Yet here was Chloe, mentioning plants from beyond.

    It was surreal, and Alric knew the inners would take it away somehow.

    Just as they had taken him, just as they had slowly taken his humanity, just as they had slowly taken every single ounce of who he had once been. His fingers tightened, knuckles turning white as his fists began to shake almost violently. His chest rose and fell, eyes falling into an unfocused haze.

    He wanted to kill them so badly.

    So very badly.
     
  14. Chloe Emerson

    Chloe Emerson "Wren"

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    Chloe saw him tighten his fists, watched his breath grow labored, and his eyes glaze over. It was a painful thing for her to see unfold in front of her. Alric was here, right beside her, but mentally he was still trapped.

    He wasn't with her.

    She wondered if he ever would be again. If there was a way for her to get through to him.

    Carefully, she reached out and placed a reassuring hand against his forearm. It was impossible for her to know the direction his thoughts had wandered; with out fractured his mind was, she doubted that it would make any sense to anyone but him.

    Her fingers gently squeezed, trying to coax his thoughts back to the present, to the park before him.

    "Alric." She said softly in his ear.
     
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  15. Alric

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    A breath filled his lungs, as if he'd suddenly been pulled from the deepest depths of water. His eyes shut immediately, pupils thinning to tiny pinpricks as he pulled himself back into reality. "I'm fine."

    Furthest thing from it.

    Alric knew that he was weak, knew that he was a long way from the man that he had once been. It was a consequence of the actions of others, but in his depth he knew...he knew that just as much as the Earthers, it had been his fault. For a moment his lips sunk into a scowl, his eyes opening slowly.

    "I tried to kill myself." He could not remember if he had told her before, if they'd talked about it already. His mind was a jumbled mess. "More than once."

    Slowly his chest fell. "They stopped me every time."

    His fingers shook, though they were no longer folded into a fist.

    "The last time they put me in a garden. Just a garden. Flowers. Trees. It even had vines." He chuckled to himself. "I don't know why, maybe they thought it would help, maybe taunting me." Alric looked away from the park. "I stopped trying after that."

    He didn't know why.
     
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