PHD #437: Better The Heart
Better The Heart
Summary: Bunny and Sweet Pea finally have that talk they've been putting off since the Areion.
Date: 09 May 2042 AE
Related Logs: Probably more, but From Hell's Heart for sure.
Evandreus Leyla 
Deck 9 - Hallway
The floorplating along the corridors of the Cerberus are standard military. Their forged steel plates are welded seamlessly together to run nearly the entire length of each hallway. The hallways themselves are the typical load-bearing structural design of the angled quadrilateral. Oxygen scrubbers and lighting recesses are found at nearly perfect intervals throughout the angled passageways.
Post-Holocaust Day: #437

A somewhat off-kilter hour hour serves to discover the Bunny emerging from the chapel looking as though he'd just caught a nap in there, lidded-eyed and off-duties comfortably arrayed, fingers hooked underneath bootlaces as he places foot after foot, peaceful, like one hypnotized, set in a trance, a somnambulist molded after a curly-haired Endymion, his other hand reaching toward the memorial wall, not quite touching a photo here and there, but training his eye along it.

Nothing so soul-worthy for Leyla, as she makes her way along the corridor, working her way through the corridor from the stairs. Her final destination not readily apparent, but there must be one, for her to be on the deck at all, at this hour, when she should be heading back down to four for some sleep, or to the sims. The approaching man's noticed, offered a nod, a quiet, "Bunny."

Evandreus lifts his hand, bringing the boots around behind his back, pinning hand to his shoulder as he meets Leyla's eyes with a warm but tired smile. "Hey, guy," he tells her, voice wavering in the higher registers, kept light, not unlike a whisper. His other hand's held out at a sort of awkward angle, as if for a handshake with the wrong hand. "Do you got a sec?"

Though being left-handed, rather than right, it's not really the wrong hand for Leyla, and a glove is slipped off, and the hand offered, if the taller pilot has the desire to take it, the small travel pack shifted onto her right shoulder, "Of course I do, for you. What did you need?" She does come to a halt, not close enough to invade the man's personal space, but not far enough for it to be a struggle to bridge the distance either.

Evandreus easily slides the hand into Leyla's hand, fitting there as had always, bits of a puzzle locking into place. "I just wanted to talk. I feel like I've had a lot of anger in me, recently — ever since Areion — stored up and… I've been pushing a lot of people away. Including you. I hate what anger does to a person, Leyla. And I hate what it does to me, most of all. And I miss you, a lot."

"I wasn't sure you were ever going to speak to me again, after what happened with the Areion," is the smaller woman's soft answer, fingers intertwining with Bunny's, keeping him close, without making it impossible for him to break away. "So I gave you space. Let you have your wings, just in case you needed to fly away. But there hasn't been a day when I haven't missed you, BunBun."

Evandreus' eyes start up their customary leaking— it wouldn't be a tender scene unless the Bunny was crying, after all. "It's true, then," he reasons softly. "I never even…" he shakes his head, "I never even asked you about it," he finally manages out, sounding most regretful on that point.

"Most people haven't. Even less have been inclined to talk about it. It wasn't something to brag about. A notch to put on the proverbial bedpost. In the end it wasn't just Kepner, Bunny, it was all of them, on that deck, or nearly so. They were as mad as he was. Most of them determined to fight to the last man, even after he fell, to kill us all. And we followed orders. Even that one, to put down resistance. And I followed my orders. And it was bloody and brutal and terrible." Unlike the Bunny, Leyla does have a hand free, and light fingertips brush away the first fall of tears.

Evandreus has more where those came from, and they spring out after Leyla's fingers as if trying to catch up to them even as the Bunny turns his head in toward Leyla, bent in something more shame than grief. "I'm so sorry, Lala. You shouldn't have had to…" jaws clench shut over whatever was coming out next, and he draws in a deep breath through clogged nostrils in a deep sniff.

"None of us should have had to, but it was done." Leyla doesn't try to stop the rest of the tears, instead shifting to draw the man down to one of the benches set out across from the wall for the use of the visitors. There are some she knows there, most that she doesn't, but it isn't the honoured dead that have her attention, but the cherished living, "Sit a while, BunBun. I'm here."

Evandreus gets led like a little bootless lamb, settling down onto the bench and settling his face into Leyla's shoulder, his own shoulders rising shakily and then falling as he endeavors to calm himself with a deep breath, letting his boots down on the bench at his other side and freeing up his other hand to use as a tissue in preference to Leyla's tanks. "I don't get it. I don't get any reason for any of it at all, and it's -so frustrating- to just… watch what's left of people everywhere falling apart on one another."

With the man now settled beside her, Leyla reaches around, arms encircling the bigger man, settling him against her side, his head on her shoulder, gentle and careful as if he were made of something precious and fragile, which, in many ways, he just might be, "People hate, Bunny. You've seen it here, you've seen how it can warp you, twist you. Destroy you, until nothing is left inside of you that used to be human. That was the Areion, almost to the man. And certainly Baer and Kepner. You don't understand, because I think you lack the ability to hate so deeply and so darkly that it destroys everything inside of you. And I hope you never learn."

"I need to get over it. It's done, now," Bunny breathes. "It's over. If I could get over the end of the world, I should be able to get over this. It gets harder, though," he sniffs, huddling tremorishly into Leyla's arms. "It seems like every time something happens it's just that much harder to cope. I keep saying… this is just how things are. This is how people have always been. Nothing new under the sun," he whispers to himself and to Leyla, as if a sort of prayer he's been clutching at fruitlessly for weeks.

"You can't flip a switch and not care, Bunny. Not you. You are too good, to kind, too gentle, not to feel so deeply. Your mourn in a way most of us can't, anymore. And there's goodness in that. You remind us of what it means to live and love and hope, for the good things in this life. You remind us that all is not darkness and death. perhaps, in the end, you do what most of us can't. And there's no shame in that, my dear." Soft rocking, as leyla cradles the man, easing what she can of his pain, little as that might be.

Evandreus does begin to relax, that rigid shuddering of his shoulders easing into something more restful as he's held and rocked, the inner child in him tapped into and soothed by the warmth and closeness he's missed for weeks now, having pushed Leyla away, having pushed Vandy away, having pushed Solstice away, his whole herd of cuddlebuddies lost one at a time. "Wish I could, sometimes, though. It hurts so much," he whispers, but more calmly. "I went back to my stash, right after," he admits, even more quietly. "But only once. I had a couple more acupuncture appointments, and those are… calming. Been at the chapel a lot. And Short Kal puts me in baby coma almost every time I sit."

A light hand, fingercombing through curly locks, as Leyla settles, allowing Bunny to rest against her, to feel comfortable sharing his weight and his burden, "Because you fight against it, my dear. You don't want to feel angry, or hateful or uncertain, so you try not to be. But those feelings fester, and linger. And they can grow so dark and so large they shut out everything else. It's alright to feel them, Bunny, and once you do, let them fade, let them fill your river and flow away."

"You're so good, Lala," Bunny whispers, "You're so…" silence claims his voice again. "I never wanted to believe that you could do that. I was so mad at you for… not being the way I wanted you to be. But it wasn't fair of me to ask that of you. You just did what you had to do."

"I try to be the best that I can be, Bunny. I don't know if that qualifies as good. I know that I would have gone to whatever end to save Mark, and Toast, and every one of our people who were taken. Same as I would have if it had been you, or Flasher, or Maggie or any of the people I care about. Now it's gone, over, done with, and I want to think that I would never go to those lengths again, but I know that isn't true." Leyla remains in that slow, easy position, seeming to take as much comfort from holding as Bunny seems to from being held.

Evandreus doesn't honestly know how he feels over Lala's profession that she'd have done the same for him. It just sits there, uncomfortable, in his innards, a strange morbid see-saw of life versus life. His face, rosy-cheeked from tears, goes pallid, otherwise, almost green, as if ill, but he doesn't vomit anything but a querulous quiet, re-adjusting his head on Leyla's shoulder. "Can I stay with you tonight?" he asks of her, the only thing he can think to ask.

She did promise him, once, a long time ago, to be honest. And honesty can sometimes be the cruelest gift of all. But she doesn't shy away from it. This is Leyla, with all of the good, and all of the bad pieces, laid bare for Bunny's eyes. "Of course, Bunny, of course. You're always welcome to stay with me. You always were." Whatever he might now think of her, to Leyla, Bunny is still Bunny, and she takes comfort in that.

Evandreus squeezes his eyes shut, wobbling his head in a vague nod. "I need to stop by sickbay before that, though. I've got… my head hurts, it just feels… you know, sinuses hurt," he warbles plaintively. The stress is in his head… or his sinuses are filled with snot.

"I can walk you down, if you like. Or if you prefer, I can go get the bunk ready, if you were on your way to a nap now." There's only so much, or so far she's willing to push him. Anymore might break what fragile connection they've managed to rebuild, it if indeed currently exists. "Someone needs to take care of you for a while."

"Just a pill or two," Evan murmurs, "Thanks, Lala," he tells her, not seeming apt to move, just yet, despite his fussing about going by the bay. "You'll be a great mum." Where did that come from? Who knows. Presumably Evan simply considers it the next logical step after marriage.

A smile, soft and perhaps a bit sad, but tucked as her head is on his shoulder, her face looking back over his back, that's mostly hidden from the Bunny, "Perhaps one day, when the world has changed, and if Mark still seems amiable." Leyla, as seems the norm, allows Bunny to set the pace.

Evandreus gives a soft groan, as if pained, eyes, already shut, squeezing tighter shut. "Mark," he murmurs. "I yelled at him, too, right after the thing. I think," he amends. Those few days were kind of a blur. He sort of remembers uncomfortable words exchanged, which tend to be amplified in his memory into yelling. "Will you tell him I'm sorry, for me?"

"You don't need to worry about Mark. He doesn't let anything get under his skin, not like that. I'll send on the apologies, but I doubt very highly that he will even remember that it happened. And he never holds grudges. So don't worry on his account." There's a softness, in Leyyla's voice, at the mention of the ChEng, a wistfulness, for the levity with which he seems to view the world.

Evandreus lets a deep breath pass him by, wordless, accepting the information and distilling it into a droplet of relief to soothe the troubled twisting in his mind. "You're getting on, well, then?" It might seem an odd question to ask of a married couple, but, given the proximity between first meeting and the wedlock, maybe not entirely out of place.

But then, the right things don't always take time. "We're good, you know? We don't get to see each other as often as we would like. But we make up for it when we do. we try to get as much into a few hours as most people probably would in a few days. I like to think he's good for me, and I'm good for him. I don't really know what else there is. Just to try to be good to each other, love and care for each other. We're happy."

"That's good. You should have that," Bunny goes on, sounding content enough with the explanation. "I kind of started dating someone," he admits softly— and, well, maybe it's just the headache, but it seems to sound more disappointed than thrilled. "I mean. It's nice," he goes on, as if even he could hear that in his tone of voice. "It's just not… that. Y'know." After being madly, deeply, heart-shatteringly in love for most of his adult life, the second time around has a hard time measuring up, presumably. "But we're still just kind of getting to know one another. Hanging out, sometimes, is all."

"Some things take time, Bunny. And everyone is different. Not better or worse. It's good that you're taking it slow, giving yourself time to learn about them, about yourself, and how you re together." Like she once did for a certain Marine, Leyla doesn't pry, or try to ask for more information than is being given. She simply accepts what's offered and tries to offer what she can in repayment.

Evandreus headwobbles again, and even makes to stand up, keeping his hand clutched in Leyla's as though to take her with him, boots dangling at his leg as he stretches his back. "It's not like I remember it feeling, that's all. I guess it's never the first time all over again, though. It doesn't help much that he's so far back in the closet I think I found a couple of my old sweater vests the last time we got together," he adds, summoning up a cheeky little smile after his usual fashion, though it fades into something more fond. "I guess if nothing else ensues, I can at least help him try to feel a little more okay with who he is, at least."

Leyla rises, easily enough, unfolding herself from the couch, allowing Bunny to lead now, rather than herself, "I don't have much experience with love, to tell you the truth, not like that. Mark was the first." And obviously, he's now the only, "But I would imagine, that like all memories, which are always selective, seeing more of the good than the bad, that it's hard to separate the nostalgia for what you had with the newness of what you have. The past was a known quantity, this is new and untried. But maybe it's what you need, you know? Even if it is new and he's still hiding. Maybe you both need to discover each other in your own time." And as they make their way up to medical, she offers, "And you might look good in a sweater vest."

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