Hialao is the nucleus, a modern, sunny and hospitable seaside realm; Wildewall is steeped in tradition, good for those with archaic roots and a taste for wilderness; Elestis is the fantasy land of ever-tumbling magic and whimsical imagination; Parse whirs like the massive digital machine that it is, advanced and technological.
Barrows is the breeding ground of chaos, with refrains of grunge and anachronistic crime; Tethya is the small but glorious underwater world reminiscent of Victorian times; and those who don't feel at home in any of these places, or simply like to wander, are known as Drifters.
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PERMALINK // POSTED ON: Oct 1 2016, 08:49 AM
She hated...she really hated waiting. Especially for a boring reason, just so she could be escorted along to talk to boring people in a boring place. People were stupid, especially people in suits. People in gray suits with ties and combed down hair and shiny black shoes and seamless spotless black pants - they were all just a bunch of mannequins really. Dolls. They had no energy, not really, no life and they just did their job like they were on strings and expected her to do the same and yap yap yap it was all business, reports, brief this, file that, send it to the archives. Boring. But this was even worse because the stupid white-collar wasn’t here yet.
Ugh. Why the hell did she need to go through processing anyway? She worked for the dumb people. She could just prove it. She could call her stupid handler, put her on the stupid phone, and she could tell the stupid people and all of this could be over and done with and she could just go do her stupid job. But no, because this wasn’t her building, and because the government was a bunch of stuffy by-the-book idiots that couldn’t put two and two together without a ten step manual, she had to be processed the normal way. Which meant waiting in this sickeningly cozy and mostly empty very gray, very bland room. There were twelve chairs in total, scattered along the walls. Between a few of them there were little tables with zines. You could pick one up, tap the zine you wanted to read and swipe through it to pass the time. On the far side of the room was the front desk where they were supposed to get processed through. But, the dumbass wasn’t in yet. And worse, Anemone’s handler had left the building to see if she could call the guy and get him in - so she didn’t even have anyone to pester.
Anemone sat in one of the disgustingly cozy black chairs, arms on either armrest, one leg crossed over the other. She wore a navy blue dress that went down to about her knees - because apparently, her usual pink and white one wasn’t professional enough. They won that battle, fine. But there was no way they were gonna dye her hair - her handler suggested it and nearly got her index finger bitten off for trying to make a point. That dumb bitch wasn’t allowed to touch her hair. She also traded out her usual red heels for black flats….which she was okay with actually. She liked the height her heels gave her but people in the government gave her weird looks and then pretended like they weren’t staring. And she hated looking at their stupid, lying faces.
Anemone sat back, letting out a huff, head lolled backward as she stared at the white ceiling. There was a crack in the corner by the door, they really ought to work on getting that fixed. Sh followed it until it ended, then let her gaze slip down, down toward the door. Violet eyes narrowed when she saw someone coming in, though she made no effort to sit up straighter; she didn’t need to respect the dumb officer if he was late after all. Still, she stared him down from her tilted gaze, waiting. If this was the guy, he better have a damn good explanation for being so late.
PERMALINK // POSTED ON: Nov 26 2016, 02:23 PM
PERMALINK // POSTED ON: Dec 10 2016, 06:16 PM
Waiting, waiting….and watching. Watching the people she hated wear their stupid, ugly smiles and their perfect, shiny shoes and pressed clothes free of wrinkles. A room full of liars. A building full of fakes. Just a bunch of masks over their faces, in the end they were nothing and no one - just more idiots pretending to be something more than they really were, because somehow they got lucky and wound up on top. And it was people like them she hated the most, because they seemed to like pretending. They liked to smile as if they cared when really on the inside they didn’t give two shits about anyone except themselves. But then, she enjoyed it, watching them. Because she got to see those pretend smiles and prove herself right. She got to see for herself, time and again, just how pretentious and stupid people really were. It made her happy.
Or maybe happy wasn’t the right word, pleased was better. It made her pleased to see them and their crystal clear facades. Look at you~ How fake you all are! Isn’t that cute, you think I believe your shit? You think I don’t know? I do...I know. I know better than anyone. I see it all the time~ People hate each other. That’s the truth. You can smile and pretend all you want but I know. You wear those masks but they have cracks. Don’t try to fool me. You can’t. Perhaps it was strange, but she passed her time that way. Watching. Watching them hate and hate while they smiled. Laughing at their fallacies. And sometimes, if she was allowed, she’d pick and pry at their imperfections and watch them squirm. It passed the time.
Then he walked through the doors.
When she saw him, when she first saw him, she thought two things. First, that he was wearing the most god awfully pretentious outfit the world could offer. Second, that his mask was different. He was wearing a mask, same as everyone, same as me but his was sculpted differently. She saw her own eyes looking back at her - not the colour, the look. The kind of eyes that judged and watched and picked apart the insides of minds. But they were sharper and colder, and distant. There was a moment, though, that something like familiarity reached those royally purple eyes - not that she understood why. Perhaps he thought she was someone else. But as he stepped inside, Anemone pulled from her casual slouch. Her gaze didn’t leave him, in fact she stared - all through the motion of sitting upright, draping one leg slowly over the other, placing her hands in her lap - she simply stared, her expression neutral, unchanged. She didn’t break eye contact until he himself looked about the room, to which end she turned her head just slightly upward, and then to the side, away from him. She could hear his heels, clip clip clipping on the ground. She wondered how he could go out in public like that.
Well, his face was handsome, she supposed. Most likely people let him go about like that because of it.
She didn’t turn to look as he moved to sit himself down. Her gaze was kept in the opposite direction, her posture straight and tall for now. But oh, she was paying him every second of her mind’s attention in every way but sight. He chose to sit away from her - was he uncomfortable? He’d looked like he’d seen a ghost when he watched her that first time, maybe he was disconcerted by her. Maybe he, too, saw the eyes of judgement and opted to stay away from them, from her. She could start to paint his mask now, to imagine it as it was. His mask wasn’t like most of these white-coats, but it certainly wasn’t hers either. She still didn’t know enough, not to pick it apart, or pick him apart. She wondered if she’d get there while they both waited. She also wondered why he was here. Briefly she turned - ever so slightly, not enough that she was facing him, but enough that her eyes captured him again -
And she saw a second mask on top of the first.
This mask was the one she knew too well. The most boring of all masks, the mask of diplomats and scientists, the mask her own handlers wore most days, the mask of important people. The smile she wanted to rip from their faces with her fingers and teeth because it wasn’t real. She was now looking at a faceless man. He spoke, but it was pointless. What he said was redundant. She had no time or interest in something so boring and pretentious. But he was looking at her, watching her. Rather than that archaic museum piece, he was looking at her, with eyes that weren’t really seeking an answer to his statement. His lips filled the air with pointless verbal bile while he himself sought something else. The mask beneath was peeking. And maybe the man underneath both was as well.
She didn’t grace the statement with a verbal answer. Instead, she simply tilted her head, giving him a bored, half-lidded look. She had yet to crack a smile. He spoke again, more pointless garbage she had little need to answer, but again she found herself looking, even absentmindedly, at those eyes. At that mask. At the one underneath. She bore her own mask as she turned slowly, finally daring to face him - but still, not fully. Her head was turned just slightly outward, just slightly away from him. He wasn’t worthy of a full-facing conversation just yet.
”That’s a boring question.” she breezed finally, her voice airy and light, but with the slightest sharpness of tongue. ”And it has a boring answer. No one comes here for anything worth talking about. Unless you’re really as stale as you sound.”
There. How would he take that? It wasn’t an answer, but it paved the opportunity for one if he could but convince her to relent. This was her first move, a line drawn, the shape of his face. Whatever he said, did, any actions taken hereafter, would paint that mask.
Just who are you?
PERMALINK // POSTED ON: Jan 4 2017, 12:46 AM
PERMALINK // POSTED ON: Jan 7 2017, 07:09 PM
What are you? Who are you? How deep down do you hide your face?
The first prick was hers. But it didn’t make him bleed. Her tongue was sharp, but he was steely; no, he didn’t bleed, he didn’t show his innermost colours. She wondered what he truly looked like. Not white and black and gray - not the blandness he portrayed on the surface. There was a myriad of colours underneath that she could only see the faintest traces of swimming in those bland looking eyes of his. She said bland not for the colour - nor for the expression he affixed her with; both were as alive as her own. She said bland because he gave the air of one who was so bored with life. But was that a facade too? He painted black and gray over - boring, bland. A colourless mask, a lifeless man like everyone else. Except that piercing look, it was…
It was like she was looking into a mirror at her own eyes. She found that she liked it in one sense. But in another she wanted to gauge them out. Show me what’s inside. She wanted to pry it out of him. But don’t look at me like that, don’t analyze me like that, I’m not a thing. Anemone worked in contradictions. That was just her way, her mind. But this time she was intrigued. Those eyes, that penetrating stare. There was something - just scratching the surface, just beneath the cloud of gloom and disinterest. It wasn’t an emotion exactly - whoever this person was he knew how to keep those under wraps. That was dangerous. No it was something else - something else she’d picked up on. It was his attention. Was he looking at her? Yes, physically, they were in the same space and his eyes were meeting hers. But she saw something else that was almost distant. She was a ghost. She was his ghost. Something familiar. He saw something familiar in her. But then, just as quickly as she’d noticed - just then it was gone. She had to wonder if she’d imagined it - but for someone as sharp as he looked to be, someone with the same eyes as her, no...she believed in what she saw.
What ghost do I resemble? Who do you see?
Questions to pass the time. Questions to relieve her boredom.
A fake laugh. A boring laugh. There was no mirth to it and no soul; right now, he had no soul. His words hinted at humour but it didn’t run deep enough - it was superficial; calculated words, not honest ones. She just raised her head further, turning slightly to the side with a quiet hmph. Those words hardly deserved an answer; her action was response enough - turning away, not even gracing him with a sound but for one of indignance. What do you think? She wondered what he might have said without the puppet’s strings attached. Without the mask to cover his face and muffle true laughter. Part of her was tempted to turn back and look him in the eye again, to see if anything had changed - by turning away from one who was clearly so high in power did he perhaps split at the seams? But that would make it too easy for him to know what she was doing. She didn’t want it known. The best part was peeling layers away without her victims knowing. And then before they knew it she exposed their core.
And at their core, they were always filled with ugly black, mottled things, twisted feelings suppressed but nonetheless felt. “Society” told them to hide it so they did. But deep inside everyone was ugly. Society as an entity was ugly.
Slowly, she did turn - but only once she heard that condescending tone. It sounded like a voice she knew, like her own voice mirrored back. A small smirk curled at her lips as he started to speak of her. Not boring, but bored. She almost might have said his intent was a small flirtation - but no, she was certain of it. Those words, he was inviting something out of her. She swallowed it, catching his eye and staring deep into the small break in the facade. Then she watched his lips. More words, this time a question for her. And oh, what ignorance. What an ugly little splotch on that pristine form. He’d exposed something she could tear into the open. Something to smear.
She started by uncrossing her legs and then crossing the other over the first. Half-lidded eyes filled with boredom fully closed and she let out a soft little giggle, hands clasped in her lap. ”You shouldn’t say anything unless you know what you’re talking about. It makes you look like an idiot. Makes you sound like one too.” One eye opened, then the other, smirk widening into a small grin. Just a small one, she had some subtlety to her yet. She had to hold back. She knew she could go all in now - but it was better to make it subtle. But, she’d taken the knife to his tongue and rent open his words. Of course, she had no doubt he wasn’t an idiot, but the question remained, why would he ask her that? What was he really trying to learn? It was becoming clear to her that she was in a room with a dangerous man, or someone with the capacity to be dangerous if his mind were twisted just right. But she didn’t mind danger. She was used to it.
”You’ve obviously never seen me before. But you look and talk like someone important, so I’m sure you’ve seen places like this much much more than me. Do I look like someone who gets to have special meetings with important people often? I’m just unlucky today. See they don’t really want to talk to me. They just have to. But if we’re both miserable I guess it’s okay.” She smirked, uncrossing her legs and sitting upright, swinging herself forward. She’d told the truth, without revealing too much. They wanted to talk to her handler, the woman who kept her under wraps, the woman who told her when she was allowed to leave Parse and when she had to say and what her next job was and when she was allowed to talk to theEND. But the stingy bitch was sick for the last two weeks and they already had to reschedule twice; so, it was Anemone herself they got to deal with. Not as though they were leaving it all up to her though - it was made very clear that if she misstepped and it got back to her handler, there...oh, what were her words? “There would be consequences”. Fortunately for her Anemone didn’t have any reason to start a scene with these people. She wasn’t stupid. The sooner she could be done the sooner she could get to work and then get back to visit theEND. She rarely got to see him now. She sort of wished that those idiot scientists were here for once - they could explain everything about the Nirvash and what it was, how it operated, where theEND came from. She hated having to wait for these idiots to try and figure out what he was; at this rate she’d never get to pilot him again.
Anemone leaned forward, staring at her slightly less boring…..companion. So far it had all been about her - deliberately, she’d bet. He didn’t want to share. But that was really too bad, because she wanted to know more. Anemone’s smile, then, almost looked genuine. ”What’re you stuck here for anyway?” She hated the words that came out of her mouth - they sounded like what every other boring puppet asked. Simple things that meant nothing in the end, changed nothing. She’d forget about even saying it the next day. No, she needed something better. ”You sound like someone who has better things to do than wait around for stingy half asleep idiots.”
PERMALINK // POSTED ON: Feb 7 2017, 12:22 PM
PERMALINK // POSTED ON: Feb 11 2017, 05:02 PM
He was a game, his whole self a puzzle. Locked doors, and he dangled keys in front of her, yet as she ventured to take one, there was just another door behind it. The question then became whether she would become lost inside. Would she lose herself in his elaborate facade? To dive so deep she forgot to breathe, forgot to resurface for her own mind, to become so focused on what she couldn’t reach as to lose herself to it...but did she mind? Such a thrill she hadn’t felt in so long. This was exciting. This was no porcelain doll, plain and fragile, that she could prick and pry into, make hairline fractures to reveal the ugly within. He was something stronger, something more, but a doll nonetheless if his clothes had any say. He looked important. Important people were all held on strings, knowingly or not. Everyone had a string that bound them somehow; only those at the very top were the puppeteers, and the simple fact that this puzzle was here in this very room told her that he was not.
In some ways, he reminded her of Colonel Dewey. That smile. The words, how he spoke them. It made her all the more excited to sink something sharp into that mind, to find the ugly truths that he had buried. Colonel Dewey was the people's’ savior, but he was the ugliest of them all. No one knew what he looked like underneath that smile of his. Was he the same? Was he like Dewey? He was dangerous…oh, she knew he was dangerous. But what remained to be seen was to whom. Where did that deadly mind point, who was the target of his cunning? She might know if she could but find the right key, the right door, the right way in that would open up his heart. She wanted to carve it open, make red spill onto that pristine white, she wanted to tear into it and see those secrets unravel in front of her eyes. And oh, he tempted her so. He was feeding her cues, feeding her clues, giving her fragments of individual pieces, just enough for a taste, but she wanted to dive in. She wanted to dive in and pull those pieces together, to shatter the steel that guarded him. She wanted to see him. Not the mask, but the man.
And then he gave her something to latch onto. Words. A chance to spy the man underneath. Spoken through the lips of the mask, very few would have picked up on the change - the intonation of his voice, the slight lilt with which he spoke, they seemed to subtle but oh no, those changes were everything. They revealed what he was hiding in such a tasteful little splash that brightened his dull face with colour, if only the faintest shimmer. But it was also a tease, something cruel; what an uninteresting question to have asked her. So, she chose to bite. To claw. To hit where it hurt, to strike him where she knew it would leave a mark. The mind, his mind, his intelligence - oh she could tell he was more than what he made himself out to be, but...it was the greatest opportunity to dig deep the blade. And this time she saw the briefest flow of blood from the wound. She knew she’d found a weakness, twisted the blade, and it had given her exactly what she wanted.
What an ugly thing. What an ugly display, a marring splotch that contorted the pristine doll’s face he wore. Good, good, that was just what she was looking for. Bleed, bleed. Bleed for me. That one sliver she’d discovered, that one peice of him, that was...vanity, self-importance, pride. Fatal flaws, deadly things. But he...he had a strong hold over those emotions; no sooner than that flirtation with the grotesqueness beneath had begun did he reel it back in, putting back the facade, sealing almost perfectly the wound she had tried to gauge open. He spoke so softly now, pleasantly, airy. It was a false voice. She didn’t even need to know him to recognize it; that was the very same voice spoken by liars. Not by Dewey, Colonel Dewey had a special sort of voice that he owned all to himself - but Anemone reasoned it...rather simply; no one spoke that way. No one. It was too crisp and perfect. His lips said one thing but his mind, it was saying another, wasn’t it? But he held himself together too well for her to reach inside, to read those threads of thought. It made her hate him. It made her want more.
She raised her head, then, tilting it ever so slightly, engaging him as he spoke. His first meeting of importance? What she would say to that was that she didn’t believe it. There was no way that was possible. No one dressed like that was simply awarded their value - and oh, she could smell importance on him, he reeked of it - no they had to earn it, gradually. He had to prove himself first, prove that he could be a puppet for those that were really in charge. But she didn’t answer with words, instead she shrugged and gave an indignant huff, only briefly making eye contact, and only to smirk at him. He would probably recognize what it meant, a look of disbelief. But as for the second part of what he had to say, well…
She didn’t doubt it. For one dressed up so finely, he was still just a piece to be moved around as the true kings saw fit. A pawn on the board, but a self-aware one. Not unlike herself, even if their uses were under wholly different contexts. His next move was what she could only call….a blend between flattery and a threat. Oh, it did make her head turn - her gaze found him and she narrowed her eyes, violet to violet, but for a moment she remained quite silent. Special, was it? That was an implication. She could take a hand to her chest, flutter her eyes and whisper stuttered and bashful thanks - but no, that wasn’t his intention with those words, it wasn’t flattery. He knew. He knew something about her. That wasn’t entirely a surprise; Anemone had come into the multiverse on rather a frightful note. Records of theEND panicking the people of Hialao were most likely quite accessible to delegates of the dimensions. Very possibly she was on a list of dangerous persons. She was in Parse, it was why she had been relocated where she was now, why theEND was kept away from her. “Until we can ensure your safety” they said, but no, it was to keep her from causing trouble.
If only they knew how deep her connection to theEND ran. But they made no attempts to understand her, or to understand him. They went the easy route. The lazy route. Lock up the madness, put it away. Close the door, turn out the lights, and it doesn’t exist. Forget it.
Her lips curled upward as he continued on. So, then, he did have the balls to speak reality. Finally, she gave him a full-facing smile, raising her head, her shoulders squaring neatly, hands clasped in her lap. And then, she stood. Slowly, and with grace, she stood. ”Me? I’m just a puppet. I’m one of those ballerinas in a box. Open it up and play my tune and I’ll dance for you if you have the key.” She did a little spin - equally graceful, though the slightest glint of something else shimmered in her gaze as she halted once more, facing him. ”But only when you need me. Otherwise the lid is closed and-” an arm was thrown up in front of her face, the back of her hand braced lightly against her brow, eyes closing. ”-the darkness swallows me up.” She sat down again, then, any traces of that maddening light gone from her eyes as she settled pleasantly, once again with her hands clasped lightly in her lap. Ever proper, ever dainty, ever as expected. She gave him a moment to process her display, lips curling upward in the tiniest flirtation of a smirk. ”They know what they have in their hands. They just don’t know what to do with it when they don’t need it.” It. Well…..to their credit, they at least had the courtesy to refer to Anemone as her. So in some respects the shackles of this prison weren’t quite so choking.
She believed him when he said that he had no interest in this part of his job. He didn’t look like he enjoyed this, any of it. He was dancing for Tethya, he was their ballerina right now, waiting to be done, to cut the strings and get away. But, he was also using those words to deflect her - to keep talk away from him, to keep his face, his purpose, in shadow. There was nothing more obvious than to deny information because it was boring...so his primary purpose had genuinely been his lack of interest - he would have been cleverer if he truly wished to deflect her. Once again, she chose not to grace that with verbal response - he would learn quite quickly that if displeased or unimpressed, her response was simple silence. At least, with him; he had earned her respect in some regard - enough that she chose not to jeer and throw obnoxious pettiness in his face. Silence, he was graced with silence instead. But…
...ah, no, he had rather piqued her interest again, so soon after. The very next words, that final statement. Respected or feared. Respected or feared. That was a….rather interesting way to say it, no? Feared. Feared….he wasn’t even hiding it, he wasn’t hiding behind lies or pretty smiles with that. He was trying to tell her something. And, very possibly he was looking for the right answer from her. Anemone tilted her head just slightly, lips quirked a little more widely now, the gleeful gleam back in her eye. ”You believe that you - that people like us - that we should be feared? Is that what you believe?” She sat back, giggling lightly, almost….childish now, but, ah, she had at least some control over herself now. Her handlers wouldn’t like it if she let herself go. ”Fear is for world leaders, tyrants, and war criminals isn’t it?” She gave an innocent bat of her lashes then. ”But I suppose it’s hard to have respect without fear, isn’t it? Not true respect. They just tell you they hold you at a high regard, but they never really do, not unless you’ve given them reason. Fear is the fastest way, isn’t it?”
She spoke so thinly, calmly. But her mind was working, was trying once more to reach inside his. What are you?
PERMALINK // POSTED ON: Apr 9 2017, 12:37 AM
PERMALINK // POSTED ON: Apr 20 2017, 06:42 AM
Analysis was a game. This was a game, for them both. And for once, Anemone was faced with a real intellectual partner, someone shoe could face against. This was new, this experience was rare - for despite how trussed and pretty he was made to be, a perfect doll, there was a sharpness that cut through the porcelain facade. Danger. Behind the veil was something poisonous, deadly. He kept it carefully hidden, close to the surface but far enough that most wouldn’t see it. But she did, she saw it, because she herself was dangerous. She recognized it well, saw it in his eyes. She was being pried open, parts were being examined under a careful eye. What do you see? She gave him a show. Something dangerous with sharp teeth and a pretty face. She bared her mind for him, just to see what he would make of it. The monster, the girl, the pretty parts, the ugly parts. What do you see?
She of course returned the favour. Needles pricked, she found little holes in the veil and pried her way inside, removing the layered lie slowly, slowly. She knew one thing of politicians; one thing that was true of all of them, without fail: they were actors. Not very good, most of them, but this appeared to be an exception. He had such a perfect porcelain face, right down to his expression, he knew how to make himself seem pleasant. But it was still just a mask. The smile underneath it was grotesque and wide with keenness. For what, she wasn’t sure. She didn’t know. Danger, all she knew was that there was danger in this man, danger that he kept well-hidden. If his true nature was known, he would probably be as shackled as she was. That was the feeling that she got, looking into those sharp eyes. Those mirrors. But she had to wonder, just what was it that he was after? Why was he here, and what was his goal? He was situated perfectly to do so much - either damage or good, or perhaps both. After all, no true good could be done without making sacrifices. In truth there really was no “good”. Everyone ended up covered with red and regrets, nightmares and twisted realizations. What was “good” to one person, one group, was hell for another. The Coralians were bad, that was what the world was led to believe. Thanks to Dewey, that was what they saw. “Good”, then, was destroying them. But if they knew the truth, then killing Dewey would be “good” wouldn’t it?
The very idea that anyone represented good or bad was far too simplistic and naive. Instead, they represented action and inaction. She wasn’t sure what form it would take yet, but the danger in front of her represented action. He was the kind that wasn’t afraid of consequences. It was that realization that - to her own surprise and...shame - brought a brief flicker of fear, a spark of envy. He was more than she was. He did not fear the consequences his actions - whatever they may be - might hold. That fear didn’t exist within him. He had...a scheming mind, one that...was surveying the board before him. It was why he dared engage their game, why he was willing to press for more, to peel at her mind and to let her in. The question was what he saw in her; a pawn, she hoped not. No, she was sure not - if he was any good at picking her apart he’d see more than that. She knew he saw more than that. A bishop, perhaps? Or a rook? A Queen….
Wouldn’t that be something.
Whatever he did see, it was enough for him to willingly give her pieces of himself. It was by no accident, that sudden sharpness showing through, he had shown her the dagger he wielded - a brief glimpse, something for her to look into. She clung to it - even if her fingers would bleed, she would cling to that small glimpse, because it gave her so much more to work with, so much more to uncover and read and dive deep into. She could get lost, she was almost sure of it, inside his psyche. He had such an excellently crafted mask, he’d...been crafting it for a long time, she was sure. That was why it was so perfect.
But she was just as much an expert at breaking masks. His was harder, she would admit, it was taking much longer to find a way inside. Why he’d revealed a part of himself to her….it was an invitation. But an invitation for what, she wasn’t sure yet. Maybe she would learn. The information itself, while valuable in its own right, exposing the blotches of ink on that perfect form, was of lesser importance - what became apparent to her was the intent, the question was why he had revealed his face.
Information for later. She would learn. She had a feeling.
He asked her, then, he asked her if she was special. He asked….if she was special. Her response….well, she wondered what he would make of it. She took a risk, announcing quite blatantly her state of being, displaying her shackles in a practiced little dance. And she could see that he was enamoured with it, had swallowed the little performance wholly. Though exactly what he’d gained from it, that was yet to be learned. She had given him as much as he had offered her, honest truths spoken in pretty metaphors. She gave the expected response, bowing as he spoke praise to her little show. The smile on her lips was catlike and wide with sharp teeth and a quiet, deadly excitement. The tone he’d used was so gentle and sweet, she might snap it in half with her teeth if she tried. It was a pure sound, an innocent sound, the kind that belonged to one who hadn’t yet been drenched in blood. It was not his voice.
She was almost sure of it, that he knew the colour red as well as she did. Perhaps not in the same manner, but she was sure of it, that he…
It was a struggle, a genuine battle with herself to keep the grin from growing wider, the blood from pumping faster, the excitement from boiling over. She’d entered a dangerous place in her mind, one that teetered on the edge. He was deadly in more ways than one, exciting the dark things inside her to the surface. She was good for them, for the whitecoats. She kept those parts in check and acted as expected - a good girl, for them. But here, now, she was flirting with danger and he….enticed it forth. For her own dignity she...kept the excitement to herself, visible only in her eyes. She’d let him see, at least. Her lips did curl into a smile of sorts but it was far more modest, a simpler expression that didn’t match those eyes at all. She gave a little nod, bouncing ever so slightly in her seat, kicking her legs outward. ”Ding ding ding~” she breathed airily, clasping her hands in her lap with a soft, equally airy little giggle. ”They don’t deserve a dancer like me. They really don’t know the first thing about me. But a girl has to make do with what she’s got….” She gave a heavy, woeful sigh. Overdramatized, of course - it was all a show, but the words were true nonetheless. They didn’t know who, or what, she was. They didn’t understand theEND. And because they didn’t understand, they were truly wasting her potential. And theEND’s, too. Idiots, all of them.
Was he wasting his potential, coming here? Absolutely.
Her gaze flickered once, flickered back to him. He was continuing the metaphor, this little game of theirs; she really was impressed at that, usually people - even the intelligent ones - told her to cut it out, to stop being so dramatic. But then again...he’d had an understanding for that show of hers. He was more like her. He was a showman too. She gave a slight incline of her head, a slight notch up of her smile, fingers lacing together now as she crossed one leg over the other. She liked how he talked now. He knew, he understood. That was the irony then, that one in a position of visible wealth and power was...just as much caged as she. If not perhaps more, because he was in the public eye, no? ”The world never stops. It just becomes darker when they close the lid. They can’t see it so they don’t understand that her world exists, or what it means. And…” She turned her gaze away for a moment, up toward seemingly nothing at all. ”...they won’t notice, but those toy boxes wear slowly, don’t they? One day...it won’t close all the way. And that’s when they’ll see.”
That was flowery even for her. What was meant by it...well, there were a few angles, she wanted to know which he would take. Would he see the cry for release, a blatant desire to leave? Perhaps would he see the threat - that’s when they’ll see - against those who made her confines? There was more, but that part she kept to herself. The box wearing down, wearing with exhaustion. Routine was bad for the mind, for her mind. It was a slow poison, a slower death. She clung to what she could within herself so as to stay Anemone, so as not to fade into the bleak monotony that they placed her in. She couldn’t let go. And perhaps he…he was the key. His danger was just beneath the surface.
And he’d given her something, something that might tell her more. Who are you? What are you? The things she had found inside his mind begged those questions and….the particular words he spoke just now, of fear...to be properly feared...he painted himself onto a canvas for her, in bold colours. She still needed to paint in the details herself, but he was giving her more, giving her pieces. She chased the angle hungrily, she wanted to know more. She tilted her head, letting her hair fall over her eyes for a moment, raising one hand slowly to pull the curtain aside with a little smile that grew across her lips ever more. She didn’t answer with words, there was no need. If she feared him, would she not cower? There was only a bright and dangerous gleam in her eyes. For a while that was all she gave him, that gleaming little stare and a smile. Finally, though, she sat upright, hands clasped in her lap, head raising high, eyes closing lightly - she was uncharacteristically proper now, her voice pitched high and airy. ”You shouldn’t say such things. You almost sound like you want to be feared. That’s dangerous talk, you know.”
The facade broke almost instantly, the smile was back, her posture resuming a slight slouch. She leaned forward slowly, eyeing him up and down as she whispered her next words. ”There’s something ugly inside you. But there’s something ugly inside us all.” She did not deny fear, but she did not proclaim it, either. Only that there was...something to be feared. That no one was true and pure. Such a human being didn’t exist. She proclaimed it herself, that there was hatred in the world, so much hatred, without reason, without purpose. But he was speaking again, and she listened, soaked his words. He had her undivided attention, something incredibly rare. Not even D..he ever earned that from her. He spoke wise and strategic words, strategic more than wise. Fear, a quick solution - he wasn’t wrong. But she had seen fear used to take a world into the palm of one man’s hand. But just then, just as soon as she thought she’d grasped something, he pulled it away, doubled back. It was real, she knew it was real - he was a strategist of a kind, had seen a war, she was sure of it. He had given her enough for now, she supposed, enough to work with.
Then perhaps it was time for her to offer something to him. Not because she felt it was owed, she simply wanted to know what he would do with it.
Anemone - the true, inside Anemone - sat up. She didn’t sit with regal posture, nor the catlike posture that was ready to pounce. She simply...sat, head lowered, a small frown in place, eyes staring forward, staring into the past. The voice that came forward was lower than the one she’d been using before, was smaller. It was the voice of a teenage girl. And she only spoke two words-
Oh, she knew. She had known that Dewey was going to fail. Because the Gekkostate had something that he didn’t. They had Eureka, and she had something that Anemone didn’t. ...No, that was a lie. She’d had it, and maybe...if she’d kept it alive, then Dewey could have won. But she’d killed that thing, the one thing that could have made them victorious. Not that she’d cared then, she was just going through the motions. It didn’t matter who won. But she knew...all it took was a push. An emotion. A feeling. And an empire could, and would, fall with ease. She turned her head to look at him, the mask of the cat returning. Who would she rather fight for…? She sat back, bouncing just slightly, that smile returning to her face.
”If I had to choose to fight for anyone, it would be someone I love. So I guess that means respect, doesn’t it?” Perhaps too honest, but he deserved that at least. It didn’t tell him much. Not really. She leaned forward, tilting her head. ”Or, I suppose, if the one I love were gone, then I would fight for whoever can get me revenge. Maybe, then, it’s fear.” In the end, the intent was what mattered. Why she fought, that was the deciding factor. She leaned back, eyeing him with a curious little gaze. ”And what about-”
The sentence never did finish. It was then that she heard the loud blaring of alarms.