Hayley drags Janus to her cottage in Ireland

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  • Hayley and Janus condense out of a swirl of autumn leaves in a small wooded area. It's quite pretty, and very green. A small dark-coloured stream tumbles over tannin-stained rocks. Nearby, waves can be heard lapping on the shore.
  • Hayley lets Janus go.

<Hayley> So- here we are.

  • Janus looks around disinterestedly.

<Hayley> It's just a short walk to my cottage... I come out here where there's some cover in case anybody happens to be walking by... <Hayley> Not likely...

  • Hayley rolls her shoulders and looks up at Janus.

<Hayley> So, anyway, do you want to see the cottage? <Janus> That is why you brought me here.

  • Hayley asks a bit awkwardly... she's picking up on Janus' lack of interest.
  • Hayley nods and looks down.

<Janus> (it isn't so much that he isn't interested I guess... but that he doesn't see the point) <Hayley> (ah, ok... well she's picking up on his negativity then.  ;^) ) <Janus> (yes... his... fatalism, even) <Hayley> (heheh) <Janus> (;) <Hayley> (what a pair...)

  • Hayley takes his hand briefly, then lets go... it would be nice to hold his hand but the trail's too narrow...

<Hayley> . o O (And I don't think he wants me to touch him, anyway.) <Hayley> It's, um, this way. <Janus> . o O (I wish she wouldn't touch me...)

  • Hayley heads off down a little, winding trail.

<Janus> . o O (And I dearly wish she would...)

  • Janus follows her quietly.

<Hayley> I get my water from that stream. I never saw so much water in all my life until you came for me the first time... <Janus> You shouldn't drink water from just some stream

  • Hayley tries to make cheerful conversation.
  • Janus says negatively.

<Hayley> Why not? Animals do. <Janus> You could get sick.

  • Hayley shrugs.

<Janus> Animals are full of parasites. <Hayley> Back home we hauled water up from the lake. <Hayley> So are humans, nowadays, I daresay.

  • Janus frowns.

<Janus> . o O (I'm not a human.) <Hayley> (The trail starts getting rocky and opens up as it nears the beach.) <Hayley> I boil it, anyway... <Janus> . o O (And *I* do not have worms.) <Hayley> That's what we always did at home. <Janus> (I forget if I brought my scythe...I don't think I did) <Hayley> (I don't think you did, either.)

  • Hayley climbs nimbly up a pile of beach rock and turns back to look at Janus.

<Hayley> Come on up here.

  • Hayley invites.

<Janus> Why? <Hayley> My cottage is just down there-

  • Hayley points.

<Hayley> You can see it from here.

  • Hayley smiles. She's awfully proud of her cottage. ;^)

<Janus> I'll see it soon enough, without climbing a rock.

  • Janus says tiredly.

<Hayley> You have to climb over the pile anyway to get to the cottage... <Janus> Fine.

  • Janus starts climbing.

<Hayley> It's a beach, and the waves pushed the rocks up. It's amazing how much power the waves have!

  • Hayley says, much respect for the forces of nature evident in her tone.
  • Hayley teeters on a rock as she waits for Janus to join her.
  • Janus gets to the top and sits down, picking bits of gravel out of his palms.

<Hayley> (it's not very high)

  • Hayley crouches next to him.

<Hayley> See? That's my cottage. <Janus> WHere?

  • Hayley indicates a tiny little stone house about halfway down the beach; it was once whitewashed but most of that has worn away with time. It has a thatched roof; some of the thatch old and grey and some new and yellow, evidence that she's been patching.

<Janus> That?!

  • Janus frowns again.
  • Hayley smiles proudly.

<Hayley> (;^D) <Hayley> Yeah.

  • Hayley turns to Janus. Her small smile fades.

<Janus> . o O (That barely rates as a hovel.) <Hayley> You don't like it... <Janus> You cannot seriously plan on living in that ... <Hayley> I know it's nothing like your house... but it reminds me of my parents' house... <Janus> What about winter? <Janus> What about storms? <Hayley> I'm comfortable in it. I have a hearth. <Janus> It's going to get worse. <Hayley> As for storms, it's been there hundreds of years and made it through hundreds of storms. <Janus> And what are you going to eat? These rocks won't grow anything. <Janus> There's a *reason* this place was abandoned...

  • Janus looks out over the grey, grey ocean

<Hayley> I collect these little snails- I think they're called periwinkles... that's what- I remember them being, any way... And I get paid for shepherding with staples and building supplies... <Hayley> And sometimes I'm lucky and I catch a fish. <Janus> You eat *snails*? <Hayley> Periwinkles. <Janus> You can't just eat shellfish that you pick up off the rocks! <Hayley> And at low tide I can get mussels. <Hayley> Where do you *think* they used to get periwinkles from? At, like Sobeys and stuff?

  • Hayley says, obviously drawing on her Debbie memories. ^-^

<Janus> at what? <Hayley> Safeway then, if you don't remember Sobeys. <Janus> They *used* to test them to make sure they weren't poisonous <Hayley> I also have some snares in the woods... I caught a rabbit once already. <Janus> Potentially toxic mollusks aren't sufficient, anyway

  • Hayley stands up and pulls on Janus' arm.

<Hayley> Come look at it closely... it's small and snug. I like it. <Hayley> It's mine.

  • Janus frowns some more, as he gets to his feet.

<Janus> I doubt that.

  • Hayley almost pleads with Janus.

<Janus> About 95 percent of England is private property, you know. <Hayley> This is Ireland. <Janus> Ireland too.

  • Janus says, annoyed at being corrected

<Janus> *mutter* It's all part of the same thing... <Hayley> Well... Everyone's dead. So this house has been empty for years. <Janus> How do you know the landowner is dead? <Hayley> I don't, I guess.

  • Hayley frowns.

<Janus> Just because someone had the common sense to move out of this shack hundreds of years ago <Janus> Doesn't make it public domain <Janus> (pick, pick, pick) <Hayley> That's totally stupid.

  • Hayley says, getting frustrated.

<Hayley> I mean, *your* land is being used, so if someone like me came and settled without your permission, I could see you getting upset. <Hayley> But no one's *using* this. <Hayley> And anyway, maybe no one does own it. <Janus> And no-one is using it, because it's practically inhabitable by civilized persons... <Janus> (someone *does* own it though... ;D) <Hayley> It's perfectly habitable! <Hayley> And I want it far away and remote.

  • Janus lapses back into silence.

<Hayley> Anastasius expected me to settle in his dreary little town where he could keep his eye on me. But I'm not stupid. <Janus> . o O (Of course you do.) <Hayley> I don't want him watching my comings and goings. <Janus> So you think you've outsmarted him, hm. <Hayley> For a little while. <Janus> I wouldn't count on it.

  • Hayley is getting rather upset with all of Janus' objections.

<Hayley> Well- if he finds out where I live, he finds out where I live. <Hayley> I'll just have to move again. <Janus> . o O (One can only do so much, short of using magic ... She's never going to listen to me. What I say doesn't matter.)

  • Hayley jumps from rock to rock down to the beach, trying to keep from yelling at Janus or breaking down into angry tears.
  • Janus looks out at the ocean.
  • Hayley glances back up at Janus when she reaches the beach and follows his gaze.
  • Janus looks back away from the sea and walks slowly down toward the beach.

<Hayley> At sunset, it's so beautiful... <Janus> It only looks grey to me. <Hayley> Especially on calm nights... it gets reflected in the water and everything's quiet except for the lapping of the waves and the seabirds crying... <Janus> Grey and unforgiving.

  • Hayley turns to look sadly at Janus.
  • Janus has his eyes on the ground, so as not to trip on loose rocks.

<Hayley> It's only grey on cloudy days. <Janus> . o O (Every day is a sunless one for me.)

  • Janus says nothing.
  • Hayley watches him make his way down.

<Hayley> You don't have to come see it if you don't want to.

  • Janus gets to the beach.

<Janus> I said I would. <Janus> I keep my word. <Hayley> You know where I am now. That's all I asked.

  • Janus looks around.
  • Hayley runs her hand through her short hair.

<Hayley> . o O (I bet he'll go.) <Hayley> Why do you hate it so much? <Janus> It's a shack, Hayley. <Janus> You shouldn't be living in squalor.

  • Janus tries not to think of the hygiene aspects...
  • Hayley 's face clouds over briefly with anger but she fights down the urge to yell at him. Angry tears spring to her eyes instead.

<Hayley> Is that it? I grew up in conditions like this. <Hayley> Is that what it is or are you angry because I have some independence? <Hayley> I may have grown up poor, but I certainly wasn't squalid! <Janus> I like the way you phrased that... multiple choice...

  • Janus mutters

<Hayley> You haven't even seen the inside. I've been fixing it up... <Hayley> It takes time but it's mine. I'm doing it all with my bare hands and hard work... <Janus> Why? <Janus> It isn't necessary. <Hayley> Because... <Hayley> It gives me time to *think* and to sort things out. <Janus> ... <Hayley> I told you that already. <Hayley> I'm trying to get better. <Janus> I'm sure you will, soon. <Janus> And then you can get on with your life. <Janus> Hopefully in a nicer place than this... <Hayley> . o O (He *does* understand?) <Hayley> (she's looking at Janus as if trying to see whether he really does understand, maybe... you know, with a sort of inquisitive beetling to her eyebrows... but I can't think of the right words...) <Hayley> (Do you sort of get the idea?) <Janus> (I don't know what you think I understand) <Hayley> (And what was the tone of his voice? sarcastic?  ;^D ) <Janus> (no... distant, sad) <Hayley> (what she's doing this for...) <Hayley> (basically, to be able to live a happy, normal sort of life with him.) <Janus> (I don't see how his statement has specific relevance to that topic) <Janus> (the subtext of his last line would be ... that she would be getting on with her life without Janus.) <Hayley> (ok, still that fundamental misunderstanding.  ;^D )

  • Hayley frowns.

<Hayley> . o O (He doesn't understand...) <Hayley> Yes... if you still want to have anything to do with me by then...

  • Janus says nothing.

<Janus> You will always be important to me.

  • Janus says finally.
  • Hayley looks up at Janus, a queer sort f expression on her face.

<Hayley> . o O (Is that a yes or a no?)

  • Janus avoids looking at Hayley.

<Hayley> <w> Janus- I-

  • Hayley casts about; he's obviously on a completely different plane of thought...

<Hayley> I don't understand what you're saying...

  • Hayley says finally.

<Janus> I am certain that once this is over you will have a wonderful life. <Janus> . o O (What do you want me to say... sigh...)

  • Hayley looks kind of dumbfounded, at a loss for words.

<Hayley> I- <Hayley> I should hope so, if you still want me. <Janus> Do not say such things. <Janus> ... <Janus> . o O (You don't even understand what you're doing...)

  • Janus looks away.
  • Hayley takes a step towards him, completely confused.

<Hayley> . o O (Is he saying good-bye?) <Hayley> Janus-

  • Hayley halts in her tracks.

<Hayley> Are you- are you trying to tell me I shouldn't have gone back to see you? <Janus> ... <Hayley> That's ok... I understand. <Hayley> . o O (No, I don't.)

  • Hayley touches a hand to her temple.

<Janus> I won't say... <Janus> I won't say that I did not wish for you to come back.

  • Janus says sadly.

<Hayley> I- I'm sorry if I disturbed you... <Janus> . o O (But what's the point?)

  • Hayley takes a backwards step.

<Hayley> I- I should have known... <Janus> Known what? <Hayley> That you - I don't know!

  • Hayley 's eyes well up again.

<Hayley> I guess- that the last thing on earth you needed was for me to come see how you were doing. <Janus> ... <Hayley> Me, oathbroken, a little girl, who can only bring you unhappiness. <Hayley> It's good that you're moving on... <Hayley> It's good. <Janus> (Moving on??? She calls drug addiction moving on?? O_o) <Hayley> (she didn't really recognize absinthe for what it was...) <Janus> (I thought she was all smart and stuff) <Hayley> (she is but so am I and I don't exactly know what it does. ^-^) <Janus> (not to mention the self-mutilation :D) <Janus> . o O (I can't stand here much longer.) <Janus> Moving... on?

  • Hayley remembers the poems.

<Hayley> . o O (What the hell is going on?) <Hayley> . o O (I don't understand!)

  • Hayley lifts her arms up to shoulder-level in a gesture of utter exasperation and confusion.

<Hayley> Janus, I'm here to get better so someday I can actually have a healthy, worthwhile relationship with you. <Hayley> What are you doing here? <Max> (Being irritating! ;) ) <Janus> (ha ha) <Hayley> Because I'm completely and utterly lost! <Janus> I'm here because.. <Janus> Because you asked me to come...¬_¬ <Hayley> Ok....

  • Hayley sits down on a rock, defeated.

<Janus> I am beholden to you... <Hayley> What?! <Janus> I.. <Janus> You know I cannot refuse you. <Janus> ... <Janus> . o O (Despite the futility...)

  • Hayley looks at Janus with an expression as if to say "What *are* you on?" ;^D

<Hayley> Janus... have you ever heard of the word "communication"? I don't think you have, because you certainly aren't doing it. <Janus> . o O (Don't make me say it. It is too cruel.) <Janus> ¬_¬ <Janus> What is it that you wish to hear? <Hayley> I don't want to hear anything. I'd like to know what the hell you've been *thinking*... <Hayley> Because obviously, we're coming from two *completely* different planets. <Janus> I think that all of this is futile. You do not understand what you are doing, merely following the instincts of your past lives... <Janus> Nevertheless... here I am... <Hayley> Right...

  • Hayley sighs.

<Hayley> Here you are. <Hayley> Do you mind backing up a bit? <Janus> I came in order to be with you, a few moments longer... <Janus> . o O (Mother is right... it is shameful.)

  • Hayley rubs her temples.
  • Janus wishes he had something to lean on.

<Hayley> Janus... <Hayley> (there's some big pieces of driftwood you could sit on)

  • Janus sits down on a big piece of driftwood.

<Janus> (;D) <Hayley> I don't think it's instincts. <Janus> . o O (Of course you don't.)

  • Janus looks unconvinced.
  • Hayley looks up at Janus again, angry tears in her eyes once more.

<Hayley> I won't believe that! <Janus> (she's that short that she has to look up to me when I'm sitting down? ;D) <Janus> (-that +so) <Hayley> (you're slightly higher up on the beach, and she herself has been sitting on a rock for a while.) <Janus> (suuure) <Hayley> (you're a big meanie; making her doubt herself so she'll go Fatalistic again) <Janus> (oh PLEASE. :P She started it) <Hayley> (heehee) <Hayley> (scroll up; she sat down on a rock just before you said you were beholden to her) <Janus> (I really don't care, you know :P) <Hayley> (;^D ) <Hayley> (Ok...)

  • Hayley stands up and starts striding back and forth angrily.

<Janus> I knew you'd get upset... <Janus> ¬_¬ <Hayley> If I'm just acting on instincts, then everything I remember is false! <Janus> . o O (this is where she tells me what an ass I am)

  • Janus rests his head in his hands for a moment.

<Hayley> I feel the same for you now as I did last time, the same I felt for Smith, and for Zane, and Sernan, and Beaumains, and my general, and Parthalan, and Diar! <Hayley> And if none of that is real... then what is the point? <Janus> ... <Janus> Calm down...

  • Janus asks tiredly.

<Hayley> I can't believe that; I won't! <Janus> Sit...?

  • Hayley glares at Janus, an angry, very hurt expression on her face. There are, once more, tears brimming in her eyes. (Satyrs have so much trouble keeping their emotions in check... :^P )
  • Hayley relents when she hears the tired tone in Janus voice...
  • Janus is further saddened by how upset he's made her...

<Hayley> <w> How could you even think that...? <Janus> <w> You don't want an answer... <Janus> <w> I don't want to upset you any more.

  • Hayley stops pacing.

<Hayley> Janus...?

  • Hayley asks in a quavering tone.
  • Janus looks up.

<Hayley> What if none of it *was* real?

  • Hayley cries finally.

<Janus> You can't think that... <Janus> Certainly not...

  • Janus stands up.
  • Hayley looks at Janus pleadingly.

<Hayley> What if it was all the curse? What if no one would have loved me if it weren't for the curse? <Janus> . o O (Don't look at me like that... I can't stand it..) <Janus> That is ridiculous. <Hayley> What if when it's broken, everything evaporates?

  • Hayley sobs.

<Janus> I would have... <Janus> I would love you even if the Tuatha never existed, and Eros can go to the devil! <Hayley> Are you sure?

  • Janus says with conviction.

<Hayley> How can you be sure? <Hayley> You've never known me outside of the curse's influence... <Janus> Because they don't have that much power. <Janus> ... <Janus> . o O (I've seen you...) <Janus> I know enough.

  • Hayley stands teetering precariously on some beach rocks, looking quite small and desolate.

<Janus> It is perhaps only through the influence of this curse that *only* two people fall in love with you...

  • Janus feels a surge of concern, seeing her standing there... recalling what she's tried to do to herself in the past...

<Hayley> <w> Janus- look what's happened to you, though... <Janus> Don't worry about me... <Hayley> <w> I did that to you. How could anyone do what I did, if they really loved you? That's what you were thinking, isn't it? <Janus> ... <Janus> <w> Come down from those rocks, Hayley.

  • Janus approaches her slowly.
  • Hayley climbs down slowly; they're not really high but if she did fall, she could easily break a leg or crack her head open.
  • Janus offers her a hand to steady her descent...
  • Hayley takes it to help her make one last jump.
  • Hayley looks up at Janus, straight in the eye.
  • Janus looks back at her.

<Hayley> Janus- I came here because I want to get better. I want to make things better. <Janus> Yes. <Janus> I know why you came here. <Janus> . o O (But why did you have to leave *me*?) <Hayley> I- want to be able to offer you comfort when you need it... and strength when you need it... and love, all the time. <Janus> <w>I needed you... then... <Janus> -_-

  • Janus is still holding onto her hand, unless she's withdrawn it.

<Hayley> <raw, pained tone> I know... And I wanted to give you what you needed, but I couldn't... I couldn't remember how. I was paralyzed...

  • Hayley looks away.

<Hayley> It must sound stupid... a pathetic excuse. <Janus> <w> I only wanted you to stay.

  • Hayley looks back at Janus.

<Hayley> <w> You needed me so much- I didn't know how to give it all when there was so little of me to give.

  • Hayley swallows.

<Hayley> I don't know how to say what I mean... you're so much better with words.

  • Hayley looks down and then up at Janus again.

<Janus> . o O (Not right now...) <Janus> <w> I don't know what to say, anymore.

  • Hayley looks down.

<Hayley> <w> I'm sorry. I've let you down again.

  • Hayley laughs bitterly.

<Hayley> In the old days, it would be so easy to explain... <Hayley> We never used to use words; only thought... <Janus> . o O (Was it wrong... for me to ask that? I don't think it was so much to ask...)

  • Hayley drags herself back to the present.

<Janus> That must have been very... dull... <Hayley> In some ways, maybe... <Hayley> But I'm trying to dodge the issue. <Hayley> Janus-

  • Hayley tries again.
  • Hayley looks like she's trying to think of another way to explain it but gives up.

<Janus> . o O (I only wanted her to stay...) <Janus> ...

  • Hayley realizes her hand is still in Janus'. Her gaze falls on their interlocked hands and she smiles slightly. She shifts from one hoof to another.
  • Hayley glances back at Janus and, feeling guilty for some strange, unaccountable reason, she withdraws her hand from his. She takes a backwards step away from Janus, into the rock which she forgot was there, and hangs her head in shame.
  • Janus is sadly surprised...

<Hayley> I can't give you any reason that could make you forgive me for leaving you. <Hayley> I don't understand it all myself... <Janus> Hayley...

  • Janus says dumbly.

<Hayley> Yes? <Janus> I ... I miss you...

  • Hayley 's eyes well up again.

<Hayley> I miss you, too, Janus... <Hayley> But- this is for the best, I'm sure. I'm a shattered mess of lives right now, and I have nothing to offer you... but I'm slowly putting myself back together.

  • Janus looks aggrieved.

<Janus> <w> You're wrong. <Janus> ... <Hayley> Janus...

  • Hayley starts crying once more.
  • Janus turns his face away, eyes brimming.

<Hayley> If I go back with you now- I'll still crumble when you need me most... <Janus> Now *is* when I need you...

  • Janus sobs.

<Hayley> Oh, Janus...

  • Hayley envelops him in a comforting embrace.

<Hayley> I'm here for you, whenever you need me... <Hayley> That's why I had to show you where I am... <Janus> No-one understands... <Janus> They just make me eat all the time...

  • Janus says incoherently

<Hayley> I know what you want is for me to go home with you... but I just can't do that right now. I need to be here for myself. I need to get better. If I don't, then I'm afraid I'll never be able to give you all of what you need. Not the way it should be given to you- not with all my heart. <Janus> And how can I come here, when most days I don't even want to get up? <Janus> ... <Hayley> You'll just have to find some strength within yourself. I know it's in you. I know you can be strong, for us.

  • Hayley hasn't released him from the hug, and is stroking his back comfortingly.

<Janus> <sob> I can't! <Janus> I have none left <Janus> Rachel is coming and I don't know what I'm going to do... <Janus> I've completely lost it... <Hayley> Why does seeing Rachel upset you? <Hayley> She's your daughter, and she loves you... <Janus> I'm a disappointment to her... <Janus> She wants me to be something I'm not.

  • Hayley isn't sure what to say to him about that...

<Janus> And I haven't spoken to my mother since you left...

  • Hayley stops stroking his back abruptly (but she still has her arms around him).

<Hayley> Oh... <Hayley> She's so proud... you both are.

  • Hayley says sadly.
  • Hayley gives Janus a little squeeze.

<Janus> She'd be sure to remark on how low I've sunk... <Hayley> Janus... how could you believe such a thing? <Janus> I don't know... <Hayley> They love you. I think they're much more likely to be concerned about you, than to make you feel worse. <Janus> I'd never seen her so angry with me...

  • Hayley 's arms slip back to her sides.

<Hayley> All because of me... <Janus> It's my decision,

  • Janus says miserably.
  • Hayley shivers involuntarily and hugs herself. A cold wind is picking up.

<Janus> You're cold... <Janus> Here...

  • Janus takes off his jacket.

<Hayley> Oh, no, Janus... you should keep it. <Hayley> You'll get cold.

  • Janus drapes it around her small shoulders.

<Janus> I'll be fine...

  • Hayley looks as if she's about to take it off and give it back to him.
  • Hayley keeps it, and takes his hand instead.

<Janus> . o O (Don't take it off... :() <Hayley> Come on- we can go into the cottage where we'll be out of the wind. <Hayley> And I can build a fire.

  • Hayley starts leading Janus off towards the cottage.

<Hayley> (It's small even up close...) <Janus> (afk one sec)

  • Hayley leads Janus into the cottage. It's very small, a single room, basically. In one end there's a platform Hayley has rigged up for sleeping, neatly made with some blankets, with a rolled-up blanket serving as a pillow. There is a hearth in the middle of the back wall surrounded by a few pots and other cooking implements. A sheet of scrapwood propped up on some driftwood serves as a makeshift kitchen counter;

<Hayley> (above the counter there are some weathered shelves bearing some wooden bowls, and some stoneware dishes. There's bags of carrots and onions and things under the counter, as well as a bucket of water.) <Janus> ...

  • Janus is being quiet-sad again.

<Hayley> (There's a small table made with more driftwood and stuff, with a glass containing a bouquet of spring wildflowers. Two battered old chairs flank the table. The rest of the cottage seems to be left for working; there is a saw, a hammer and some nails, etc. arranged on a low counter made with a plank of driftwood set on some rocks. There are 6 windows total; most of them have glass in the panes still ) <Hayley> (But one or two have squares of cardboard to keep out the weather) <Hayley> (They all have little curtains Hayley must have gotten second hand from a farm or something. ) <Hayley> (it's actually pretty cozy... though extremely humble) <Hayley> Won't you have a seat?

  • Hayley indicates one of the chairs at the table.
  • Janus is afraid the chairs would break...
  • Janus glances over them sceptically.

<Hayley> (he's been starving himself. He probably couldn't break them) <Hayley> (;^D) <Hayley> They're sturdy. They've had a rough life, is all.

  • Janus sits down, then.
  • Hayley takes Janus' beautiful coat off and puts it over the back of one of the chairs. She goes over to her bed and pulls out a worn chest from under it, opens it, and pulls out a thick wool sweater, puts it on.

<Janus> ... <Janus> -_-

  • Hayley sets about making a fire. She lays the wood properly and all but rather than use matches, she just uses Pyretics to get a cheerful blaze glowing.

<Janus> (Silly girl, you forget I take *everything* personally when I'm depressed) <Hayley> (heheh... she didn't think she was meant to *keep* the coat. Besides which, she's grubbing about in the cinders.)

  • Hayley dips out some water from the bucket and opens the door again, washing her hands outside the house.

<Hayley> I'm going to make some tea for myself. Would you like some? <Janus> Okay... <Hayley> It's not real black tea... it's herbal. <Hayley> I collected it myself.

  • Hayley boils water, etc. and pours some into two mugs containing tea leaves.
  • Hayley sets one down in front of Janus and pulls the other chair up close to his, sitting herself.
  • Hayley leans an elbow on the table and props her head up on it.

<Hayley> Rude, I know, but so are the surroundings...

  • Hayley sips tea with her free hand.

<Hayley> So...

  • Hayley looks at Janus with concern.

<Janus> . o O (This is like... a slum) <Janus> so... <Hayley> The Countess *and* Rachel are visiting you? <Janus> No... just Rachel... <Janus> My mother isn't speaking to me... <Hayley> She will again... <Hayley> To you, anyway...

  • Janus spins the cup around

<Hayley> You could go talk to her. <Janus> No. <Janus> I know what she'll say... <Janus> -_- <Hayley> What will she say? <Janus> She thinks that I am... debasing the family name... <Janus> ¬_¬ <Hayley> Because of me...

  • Hayley sighs.

<Hayley> Janus... if I'd stayed there much longer... I don't know what would have happened... <Janus> What do you mean? <Hayley> Just- the same sort of thing that happened at your Freehold... <Hayley> I was getting lost. <Hayley> And I was surrounded by people... <Hayley> I might have ended up hurting someone unintentionally. <Hayley> Do you remember when you came for me in Australia after I left Aberystwyth? I was so angry and frightened that I used Starbody... <Hayley> And if you had pushed me just a bit more, I probably would have started trying to hurt you. <Janus> No... <Janus> You wouldn't have.. <Hayley> Yes. <Hayley> I would have.

  • Hayley says quietly and seriously.
  • Janus looks away...

<Hayley> I still sometimes get so angry that I have to fight to keep control of myself... sometimes I just want other people to suffer like me... <Hayley> But it's getting better... <Hayley> I think being away from a Freehold helps... <Janus> . o O (Being away from me...) <Hayley> It's completely unreasoning, Janus... and the strength of it frightens me. <Hayley> I wish I didn't remember all these cantrips... I'd feel safer.

  • Hayley finishes her tea and sets the mug down on the table. She sits up again and lays a gentle hand on Janus' shoulder.
  • Janus has been staring numbly into the cup.

<Hayley> It's getting better... I'm sure it is. I have to believe it is. <Hayley> So... I take it Rachel doesn't like me very much at all. <Hayley> She didn't at Aberystwyth, anyway... <Janus> She expected you to be Debbie.

  • Hayley doesn't look surprised.

<Hayley> And... she's taking her disappointment out on you? <Janus> ... <Janus> I guess... <Hayley> I wish I knew her better... then I might know what sort of advice to give you... <Hayley> I still don't understand why you're so worried about her visit. <Janus> It doesn't matter... she never listens to me anyway. <Hayley> She's a Wilder herself... we tend to have our own ideas, don't we? <Janus> She used to look up to me... <Janus> But now... <Janus> Her and her brother... they're like aliens <Hayley> I really don't know them very well... it's so strange, seeing them as young adults. <Hayley> But maybe that's the problem? They *are* young adults now...

  • Hayley shrugs.

<Hayley> I'm probably not helping very much... <Hayley> . o O (What do I know about anything?) <Janus> Aidan isn't so... <Janus> so... <Janus> distant..

  • Hayley looks glum.

<Hayley> I really don't know what to tell you, not knowing any of them very well... <Hayley> But I'm sure they all love you very much, in their own way... you were a good father, and children never forget the love they receive from their parents. <Janus> ...