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Messages - van

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1
General OOC / Re: the real tea ????
« on: Yesterday at 11:53:44 PM »
honestly? valid
i don't think i know anyone in MT
most people i know are on the coast, with a few in central

2
Announcements / Re: STAFF MOD APPLICATIONS AND PROMOTION ANNOUNCEMENTS
« on: January 13, 2020, 03:23:43 PM »
OH WOW ITS ALIVE

3
monroe didn't understand many things in life. she didn't understand algebra, or why female deer didn't have antlers, or why life was so short and shitty and fleeting. she didn't understand why people had to die, and she most certainly couldn't comprehend how the hell someone could be there one minute, and the next just... just not be. the idea that one minute could suddenly be your last minute blew her mind, the idea that your brother could be your brother one minute, and a corpse the next. her chest ached at the memories of the night it had all happened, all those weeks ago, when her parents and hendrix were fine right up until they weren't, and yet she'd hardly cried. she'd hardly grieved. she'd hardly mourned. she'd simply moved on, ignored the problem with the hopes it would go away, and instead focused on the then and there. her, eddie, and this weird ass lodge with these weird ass people. (seriously, who the fuck willingly lived in this weather?)

but now nik was gone. she didn't know him well when they were younger; she'd been sixteen and smitten with eddie, occasionally sneaking off to rope alfie into their antics, and nik had simply been their brooding older brother, but there was still something sore about losing him. even if they hadn't been best friends, he was a piece of a life from long, long ago, and the realization that he was gone hit her like a ton of bricks.

she didn't speak, but stood closer to the front, near the brothers. partially because she didn't exactly know anyone else, and partially because it felt right to be close to him in these last moments, as eddie gave some brooding speech about the dearly departed man. when his words concluded and he returned to the group, monroe was quick and quiet to step towards him, pulling him into the tightest hug she could manage with her stature. at first, it might have seemed like she was trying to comfort him, but anyone who inspected closer could tell that she was more or less seeking it (and maybe offering it to a degree as well). she simply stood there, seconds ticking by, face buried in his shirt, one of the few people present who understood the fresh pain of losing a brother, but more so upset that another person she knew was gone yet again.

4
Flintlock Lodge / Re: BLEW THINGS OUT OF PROPORTION » open, joining
« on: October 16, 2019, 12:08:26 PM »
it'd been too long. six years or so since she'd been roused by her father in the middle of the night, told in hushed whispers to pack her things. ❝we have to go,❞ he'd told her, panic and anxiety in his eyes, and though it'd broken her heart, monroe understood she couldn't question him. her father, her mother, they'd done everything for her and hendrix, and if they asked her to give up some teenage romance and the place she'd called home for a few years, she'd been alright with that.

exactly why they'd gone, she still didn't quite know. her father had only told her that that family was dangerous, and they were safer away from them. she didn't probe more, not because she'd been tamed and made docile, but because that was all she had to know. her parents would have done anything for her and hendrix's safety, and they'd left a good business venture for that very reason.

but there he stood. edmund stirling-moray, looking a little more grown and jaded, but still the boy she'd known and loved. the boy she'd snuck out with nearly every night, the boy she'd crossed off most first's with, her first love. sure, she'd had flings in the last six years, but it was only people who came and went. there'd always been an understanding that it would be temporary with them, but with eddie? she'd really, genuinely loved him, and truth be told, there hadn't been any closure. there was no break up, no goodbye, no i-never-want-to-see-you's or i-hate-you's. it'd ended without resolution, and even after all these years, seeing those blue eyes made her chest tighten.

he slung his coat around her shoulders, but just as soon as he did as much, she was moving forward. arms wrapped around his chest, she squeezed tightly, stronger than one might think a five-foot-four botanist might be. she didn't move for a long moment, squeezing him firmly and burying her face in his chest, and when she did finally step back, once cool golden eyes were now growing red around the outside, tears lining up but not falling.

❝everybody's dead, eddie.❞ she said quietly, small frame seemingly sinking into the coat, leaving her swallowed whole. ❝mom, dad, hendrix,❞ her voice cracked a bit at the mention of her twin brother's name, ❝they're all dead. i-i heard people talking about how the whole pack of stirling-moray goons had turned up here, flintlock-something, and i-❞ she took deep breaths, wiped her eyes carefully, tried to compose herself. hendrix, the big-burly-man he was, had always been more of the emotional one; monroe had always been good at staying calm under pressure. ❝i know it's been years, but i could always trust you, eddie, and right now i just- i just need someone i can trust.❞ she said quietly, teeth sinking into the flesh of her lower lip as she offered him a pleading gaze, desperate for him to take her in, or back, or... anything.

5
Flintlock Lodge / BLEW THINGS OUT OF PROPORTION » open, joining
« on: October 16, 2019, 12:03:01 AM »
tw for mentions of loss, fire, and drugs.

a ghost of smoke followed her. she was was gretel without her hansel, leaving a trail to tell her how to go home. except, there was no home, and her version of breadcrumbs dissipated within a few steps. the home she'd always known, the place she'd had as a symbol of safety to return to when the world was on fire, had ironically gone down in the same manner. some fuckers had thought it was sweet, sweet justice to burn the farm down. maybe it was, in fact, justice or irony or some other shitty word for deserving that the farm would go down in flames, considering what they grew there. all monroe could think it was anymore was shitty.

the brunette looked about as put together as ever. loose waves hanging down about her shoulders, brushed but still casual, a tee shirt and hoodie adorning her shoulders, jeans frayed at the knees from years of working in them. her only makeup consisting of chapstick and mascara, though she could have certainly made use of some concealer to cover the bruise on her cheek. anyone who knew monroe carter understood that the young woman wasn't much of a fighter; she'd been raised on a goddamn pot farm by a pair of hippies. she and her late brother had been named after marilyn monroe and jimi hendrix, and she really only knew the basics, considering her family's business. she could aim a gun and pull the trigger, she could throw a punch, and that was about it. her brother, ten minutes older and as many inches taller, had gotten more rigorous training, but monroe had always been content with her plants.

and now she had none of it. the farm was gone, her family was gone, her friends were gone. in a night, her world had quite literally gone down in flames, and she was the only survivor, smelling like smoke and rivers and weed. still, even as she stopped by the border, dropping what was left of her blunt on the ground and stomping the small embers out, she didn't grovel. she didn't cry over what she'd lost (she'd done plenty in the last two weeks), nor did she worry for her dwindling supply of drugs. she only stood, holding herself to conserve warmth, waiting in hopes that the last living people she knew were, in fact, on this shitty mountain, while the weed carried the skunk-y scent of her hobby and career upwind.

( shitty but sis is here )

6
Los Santos / Re: fuck this [open, morning sickness]
« on: August 23, 2019, 10:38:19 PM »
pregnancy was something carter probably ought to be... more concerned about. she was, after all, a married woman, and there was always a risk of pregnancy in her particular situation. luckily, she was the daughter of a doctor, well trained in medicine herself, and though she couldn't entirely prevent it, she understood the precautions to take. and thus far, she'd survived to twenty-nine without a child, and hadn't considered ever having one. she wasn't opposed to the idea, but instead simply hadn't thought of it. their lives, for so long, had been about survival, and living felt foreign to carter.

❝are you alright?❞ the words tumbled from carters mouth as she eyed selena and the plant, having just unintentionally witnessed the scene. it was fairly common knowledge among most people that carter was well trained in medicine, though the precise details and formality were generally not mentioned. ❝please tell me it's a hangover and not sickness.❞ she said with a halfhearted sigh, not wanting to deal with some flu spreading around.

7
Los Santos / Re: ◤ — LEARNING TO WALK AGAIN / INTRO.
« on: August 19, 2019, 08:59:42 PM »
carters scars weren't physical, and truth be told, she was grateful for it. not for vanity, she didn't have the spirit to be vain, but because scars told a story. the bigger the scars, the louder the story. they talked about pain and sin, about the things you'd chosen to do and the choices you'd been forced to make. even in perfect silence, they spoke volumes. everyone had a story, but scars were putting the text in bold and upping the font to thirty-six.

no, her scars were beneath the flesh. lines and holes, telling a story in the more subtle ways. in the way she struggled with eye contact, in the way that they hardly had mirrors in their home, in the way that she clenched her jaw around people. the text was small, a dark grey, less easily read. she didn't ever want her story to be easily deciphered, she didn't want people to read it like a slash across the throat or a wounded eye. but, hypocritical as it was, as much as the blonde didn't want people to read the words on her page, looking at charlie, she was curious what his story was.

one foot in front of the other as she moved along a few yards behind her husband, arms crossed and eyes trained on the canine, occasionally shifting up to the man, she paused a few feet away, lowering herself to a crouch as she peered at the dog. ❝gotta wonder how the hell he survived that, though.❞ she mumbled, a sympathetic crease in her brow. ❝i mean, medically speaking. he's gotta be pretty damn tough to get through it, no pain medications, no way to deal with infection.❞ she didn't look at charlie, to her credit. just kept her gaze trained on the dog. ❝any ideas as to what you'll call him?❞

8
Los Santos /  bruises on both my knees \\ open, meet and greet 
« on: August 16, 2019, 02:32:58 PM »
carter had a quiet, unassuming sort of presence. she moved with ease, with confidence, but nothing about her really suggested anything about her as a person. there was no charm twinkling in her smile, no mischief in her eyes, no danger in her step. she might be a timid wife, the calm to her husbands storm, just as easily as she could have been a crazed killer, discretely hidden behind walls she'd put up long ago. maybe she was a little of both, or something else entirely.

all anyone could really tell, as the blonde stood with arms crossed in front of her frame, lips pursed, eyes attentive, was that whoever, whatever carter was, she kept it hidden very, very well. a year or so, they'd lived in this city, and the only person who knew any shade of her was the man she'd known for the last decade-and-a-half. and anyone who thought that this wasn't intentional, that she hadn't build those walls on purpose, was simply dense.

❝okay everyone, lets have another go at this meet and greet thing.❞ she called out, eyes searching the small group before herself, figuring the least she could do was let them think they knew her. ❝share your name, and a little bit about yourself.❞ most facts, in general, tended to be quite boring, but it felt kind of strange to only share your name. too short, too routine. ❝i'll start us off: i'm carter montgomery, i've lived here almost a year now, i'm almost thirty, i have a twin sister somewhere, and i'm afraid of heights.❞ it was as personal as carter ever really got, and that, in itself, was progress.

9
TNW Plotting / Re: MEMBER-LED SITEWIDE PLOTTING?
« on: August 16, 2019, 01:25:21 PM »

10
Los Santos /  heaven won't let me in \\ open 
« on: August 13, 2019, 10:51:05 PM »
if you asked carter montgomery if she believed in god, you might receive a blank stare, a long moment of silence, then witness a feeble shrug of her shoulders, hear her mumble ❝probably❞ under her breath. she'd been raised by doctors, by people of science. she, herself, hadn't been spared from years of textbooks and charts and all the other dreadful things that came with education. but believing in science didn't mean not believing in god. her parents, though never devout, were certainly believers.

the truth was, after twenty-nine years of living, carter hadn't ever seen evidence. she wasn't searching for proof of a god, she didn't look for men walking on water and turning water into booze. rather, she searched for proof that there was someone beyond this plane of existence who hadn't given up on them all. twenty-nine years, and so far, she hadn't found anything.

and yet, carter found herself seated in a booth. the wood behind her back, beneath her thighs, was well worn but still sturdy. the church the booth resided in was in good condition, all things considered. a little worn, a little weathered, but it stood strong and someone had kept the place clean enough. bibles, the pages flimsy and yellowed from time, were all about. some had been vandalized, pages torn out and crumbled on the floor, but others had been respected. names were jotted inside of many, and whether they were the names of previous owners, or the names of those someone was praying for, it wasn't clear.

but carter sat there, a book open on her lap, staring down at one of the aged pages, a mixture of emotions on her features that left them impossible to read. highlighted on the page, done long before, and underlined, was one verse in particular. ❝do not murder,❞ she read aloud, her voice hardly above a whisper, but carrying through the empty building in the silence, ❝and anyone who murders will be subject to judgement. matthew, nineteen-eighteen.❞ she let out a long breath of air, staring down at them for a moment in the silence, before her gaze shifted upwards, focusing on the statue in the front of the building, which had seen better days, and slumped a bit in her seat, as though whithering beneath the weight of it. ❝damn, man, i'm thinking i might be too hard of a case for saint jude thaddeus.❞ she murmured, head craning backwards in a tired bit of defeat.

( idk what this is really, but uh, it's? something? )

11
Los Santos / Re: * it ain't easy // OPEN: PIANO
« on: August 13, 2019, 10:07:48 PM »
carter was always made weak by the sound of something beautiful.

her eyes were trained forward, arms crossed in front of her body, one leg landing in front of the other as she walked towards the low hum of music. sure, over the years she'd heard people play, but every time it still enticed her. there was something beautiful, something magical about the high notes that escaped with every tap of fingers atop keys. she'd never learned piano, or any other instrument, for that matter. in elementary school, before the world went and ended, she'd played a plastic recorder, but even with some vague "training", it'd been ear piercing. she'd never learned how to make noises that beautiful, didn't really have too much of an interest in learning, but listening? she always loved listening.

dogs had gathered, and among them stood the blonde, shifting through the bodies of the canines who largely ignored her. though she was tempted to comment on the sounds, call it beautiful, she didn't want to disrupt the noise, disrupt the stream of sound. instead, she stood there, quiet and observing, listening with lips pressed together in the slightest bit of a smile.

( wow carter, you contribute so much to this thread )

12
Los Santos /  the prejudice of pride \\ weekly tasks 
« on: August 13, 2019, 04:49:58 PM »
there were dark circles beneath her eyes, most days, and today was no different. the blonde stood in the same position she had during her husband's meeting the prior day, feet planted in the same place his own had been, though she carried a different air to herself. not so much authoritative or commanding, more so a silent confidence. one of a woman, nearly thirty years old, who'd lived a life twice as long as that. her soul, it seemed, was old enough to have gone gray.

❝alright, tasks time,❞ carter called out, voice steady, revealing nothing, ❝c'mon, there's shit to do.❞ as it turned out, from her recent surveying of shit-to-do, there was a whole lot of aforementioned shit, and a limited population of do-ers.

13
Los Santos / Re: ACQUAINTED | MEETING 8/12
« on: August 12, 2019, 11:01:31 PM »
leadership, the very thought of it, made a bile form in the back of her throat. it was a plague in her family, a curse. you put a greene in charge, and the whole goddamn castle crumbles to the ground. they were lit matches in a dehydrated forest, a wounded swimmer in sharks territory, a herd of bulls in a china shop. they were dangerous, every one of them in their own right. her father disobeyed direct orders in an attempt to do the right thing. her mother valued those orders too deeply to save her husband's life. her sister solved every issue with the wrong end of her fist.

and carter? where carter went, shallow graves and too many bodies to count followed. she felt like a horseman of the apocalypse, the harbinger of death. she'd never even needed to be in charge for it to happen, she didn't need to be told to do the things she'd done. she'd simply done them, understanding the cost and the reward, understanding the weight of every decision she'd ever made. carter acted with the thoughts of the many in her mind, she tried to do the right thing, but it seemed as though her life was one impossible choice after another. time and time again, she did the difficult thing so others didn't have to. she bled and she ached and she burned at the stake so they didn't have to.

and in the end, she'd been left alone. fifteen years old, a child abandoned with nothing, with no one. exiled at her own mothers command, and exile had been the decision of pity. she wasn't the one who should have gone, at least not alone, but she took credit for the sins of her family because someone had to, and who better than the blue-eyed martyr everyone had already designated the villain?

she accepted that with ease. she'd trained her eyes forward, kept her chin up, and walked away from the only world she'd ever remembered, into the expanse of nothingness beyond. odds of survival weren't good, but she'd done it. she'd found a boy with dark eyes and a bleeding wound, and she'd told herself that maybe, just maybe, she could save him. and if she did that, maybe he could save her. all the things she'd done in her life, maybe he could keep her from a cold little corner of hell. and if you asked her, she'd say he had saved her. not in any one instance, no moment of playing knight-in-shining-armor, but in the small moments. he kept her going, kept her breathing, kept her standing. when she had days where she couldn't look herself in the mirror, he was a steady hand to guide her. in turn, she kept him from being stupid, kept him from getting himself killed. he'd been her best friend for a decade, and then he'd been more. as of even more recently, he'd gotten himself a wedding ring and a shiny new title to match it; husband.

if any of them knew a thing about carter, they'd understand that she was nervous. anxious. terrified. she didn't want more lives on her hands, and yet when josiah had offered her to stand beside him, she'd said yes without hesitation. it wasn't a desire for power, for respect; rather, it was a desire to prove to herself that she wasn't her mother, nor her father. she wasn't blindly loyal to an idea, to a definition of right. she didn't need to lead an army of priests to be a good person, and she didn't need an army of killers to be bad. she was firmly somewhere in the middle, somewhere comfortable and familiar.

she accepted this with ease. she'd trained her eyes forward, kept her chin up, and walked away from the comfort of insignificance, moving through the room with ease as she moved closer to her husband. golden curls framing an ivory face, shiny ring on her left hand, blue eyes saying nothing, she looked like the picture of sainthood, though she was anything but. if any of them knew a thing about carter, they'd understand that she was on the edge of her seat, waiting for something to go wrong. luckily, conveniently, none of them did. the only one who knew the blonde was the man she stopped beside, arms crossing and eyes shifting to his face, taking comfort in the familiar lines and slopes of the man she knew better than herself sometimes. her eyes rested on him, silently informing him that this would be his stead, not hers.

14
oh worm hayley's hyped
she'll get the boys little tiny tux's
and cat can finally meet the little shits

15
Flintlock Lodge /  beautiful people \\ oneshot 
« on: August 07, 2019, 04:46:45 PM »
there was comfort in familiarity. there was comfort in the things you knew, particularly for anton. one look at the man, at his life, and you could tell that change wasn't exactly his forte. he'd wanted to be a doctor since he was a toddler, and that never changed. he went to college, to medical school, but inevitably came back to the same town he'd been born and raised in. even when hellfire rained down from the heavens and the world drew to a close, he stayed. when almost every nurse, every doctor, everyone ran, he still stayed. he didn't like change, even when the change was for the good.

and now everything was changing. springfield, the entire hospital, had been leveled. most of those he knew and loved were dead. fletcher was an adult now, no longer a preteen who hung on every word her uncle said. he was a surgeon without much use; the vast majority of his supplies were destroyed, and while the lodge had a hefty stock, there was only so much it could do. anesthesia, proper hospital beds, rubbing alcohol, clean needles; they were in short supply.

he finally understood how hanna had felt all those years ago. empty and aimless, such a vital piece of their identities wiped away. there was still plenty he could do, he was a fully trained doctor, but it was different. his instincts told him over and over again to cut things open, cut things out, and that was near impossible. hayley had nearly died in her labor, and he wasn't sure she understood how close it had been. ellie, too; he'd worked side by side with mickey, nearly stuck a needle in his own arm to transfuse blood to the blonde, but his hands had been needed elsewhere. both the women had survived, and he knew he should be grateful. he should be grateful for his training, for the things he could do, but he was only reminded of all the things he couldn't. all the while his fiance sighed and rolled her eyes and welcomed him to her world. she was a neurosurgeon, a brain surgeon. while you could do plenty of normal surgeries in their world, cutting someone's head open and operating on their brain proved to be impossible in this world.

they were in unfamiliar territory. a new home they didn't really know, with new people, with useless skills. all they had were one another, the familiarity within each other. though they didn't get along much, or at all, they knew one another inside out. they'd known one another for fifteen years, since they were scrawny twenty year old's starting medical school. hanna had been a girl raised in the lap of luxury, angry with her very existence, searching for some meaning among it all. she'd been restless and impatient, trying to answer questions she couldn't even figure out how to ask. anton had been a boy born with nothing, a boy with too many traumas to list, with damage and abandonment issues, forced to grow up because no one else in his house could. he'd been raising his niece, raising his brothers, cleaning up the shit of everyone else.

they'd been nothing but kids. brilliant, high achieving kids, but kids none the less. they had been programmed with minds incapable of forgetting a single thing, they'd each had something to prove, and in the end, they'd fallen into one another. they were so different, but similar in the ways that mattered. they were yin and yang for so long complimenting one another's strengths and weaknesses. where hanna was strong and cutting, anton was soft and caring. where she shut down under pressure, he turned on. where he accepted things, she challenged them. they were a dynamic duo for much of their lives, and admittedly, they could have been forever.

but then there was david. there was the man that anton idolized for too long, when the world fell and he clung to the man and the ideals he represented. you left me for him first, hanna had said, and in reflection, anton could admit it was true. he'd never loved david the way he'd loved hanna, he'd never been attracted to the man like that, but there was an emotional attachment he'd formed to the man. david gave anton a purpose in his life when he'd had none, david taught anton everything he'd ever known. anton, in turn, worshipped the ground the man walked on. hanna had been left alone too many nights while anton followed david around, desperate to soak up his knowledge and gain his approval. somewhere along the line, anton had cared more about what david thought of him then what hanna thought of him.

and in the end, after it was all said and done, he couldn't blame hanna for what she'd done. beyond the anger and resentment, he knew it wasn't her fault. it was just david, it was who the man was. he was magnetic and charming, everyone wanted to either be him or be with him.

when david died, it'd broken them both, but instead of breaking together, they'd broken apart. they'd broken with edges that couldn't be mended, they couldn't be glued back together. five years later, when she'd returned and they'd picked up where they'd left off, they'd found that they couldn't do it. they couldn't go back to what they'd once had. they hadn't changed, but their feelings had, their standards had. anton no longer found her sharp demeanor enticing, only unkind. hanna no longer found his mild, kind disposition charming, only weak. she was no longer assertive in his eyes, but harsh; he was no longer empathetic in her eyes, but spineless.

still, there was comfort in the familiar evils.


anton sat in their room, at the little table in the corner. he wore a suit, a little fake rose on the lapel of his coat. his hair was combed and easy on the eyes, face cleanly shaven, and he looked especially nice. it was his wedding day, after all. except, he didn't look like a man about to wed the love of his life. there was a dark, heavy look to his blue eyes. a look of dread and discomfort, like he only wanted to get it all over with. the glass of amber fluid in his hand attested to as much, liquid courage to endure the day. to endure a life with a woman who hated him, a woman he'd lost love for but didn't have it in him to leave. hanna was comfortable, familiar. faced with a life with her, or a life alone, he found himself choosing the evil he knew.

he sat there, tired eyes staring at an empty wall, lost in thoughts of mistakes. how had his life come to this? he could blame anyone else, point fingers and swear it was all out of his control, but the truth was, he was the only one at fault in the end. if he'd tried harder, if he'd fought harder, maybe some piece of this could have changed. maybe he'd be a man who wasn't willing to resign himself to unhappiness.

the door moaned as it opened, and he didn't look to see who it was, he knew without question. ❝hey.❞ he uttered the word like he was twenty again, though the tone was different. the first word he'd ever said to her, hey, had come with sweaty palms and a nervous smile. this one, this reiteration, lacked the same dissonance. it was laced with... nothing. tiredness, maybe. emptiness.

❝hey.❞ she repeated, and this, too, was different. the first word she'd spoken to him, that hey nearly fifteen years ago to the day, had been laced with amusement. she'd had that easy half smile when she'd uttered it, a pretty girl eyeing up a man who didn't realize he was entirely in her league. no, this, too, was empty. she moved with that same tiredness as she approached the table, sat down across from him. grasped the bottle, grasped a glass, poured one into the other and took a sip.

his eyes landed on her, and she, too, was ravishing. she always was, always had been. it'd never been a lack of anything physical between them, but the emotional. still, he nodded to her as he lifted his glass back up. ❝you look just as beautiful as the day i met you.❞ he mused, but words that might have made most women smile and swoon had no effect on her. it was the words that were unsaid that lingered between them: you look just as beautiful as the day i met you, but it wasn't ever your beauty i loved.

❝i'd say the same, but you were a scrawny kid.❞ hanna returned just as lightly, sipping from her own glass. ❝you've gotten a hell of a lot hotter with age.❞ they both laughed a little at that, but neither said what she meant, either. it wasn't physically that she'd cared about him, either. it was the little things she'd loved that she'd now grown out of. things she'd found charming and endearing had become exhausting, had become too much.

the difference between anton and hanna, between the things they said and didn't say, was that hanna hadn't ever been afraid of the unknown. she'd moved far from her family to be with anton, she'd pursued medicine in a family of law, she'd walked away from him once before.

and neither were surprised when it was hanna who sighed and shook her head, almost laughed a little. ❝anton, what the hell are we doing?❞ she said, and the laugh finally escaped, but a look at her face said she didn't find any of it funny. a look at her face told him that it pained her, it killed her, what they were doing to themselves. ❝what the fuck happened to us? to the kids we used to be, the people who respected themselves enough to be happy?❞ with every word she spoke, the laughter in her tone grew, and so did the tears in her eyes. everything she'd held in for too long was falling out in sync with the water that now trailed down her face, smudging well done makeup.

anton's own eyes teared up, and he laughed right along with her. a man and a woman sat at a table, dressed for a wedding they both know couldn't happen, laughing and crying and falling apart. ❝i wish i could tell you, han.❞ he said, his voice cracking a bit as he glanced down, tears falling freely as he shrugged shoulders in defeat. ❝i think we just grew up.❞

❝i wish we didn't,❞ she murmured, slumping over a bit in her seat, ❝i wish we could go back and do it all over again. i'd never have hurt you like i did.❞ her voice cracked a bit as she spoke, and those words in themselves showed a change in character. hanna could admit she was proud, admitting she was wrong was never one of her strong points. but for this, for him, she could admit it. after it was all said and done, she still loved him. fifteen years of her life with anton, even if she couldn't be with him, she still loved him.

anton smiled a little bit as he wiped his face, though the tears didn't really stop. his head bobbed in a small nod, eyes trained on the glass in front of him for a long moment, before he glanced back up to her, smile still there. ❝yeah, i know. i know you never meant for any of this.❞ he mumbled, leaning back with a sigh. ❝i should have loved you better, hanna. you deserved more than what i gave you, i know that. the world ended, our lives fell apart, and i wasn't there for you like i should have been.❞ anton, too, could be proud. in a different way, in the quiet way of a man who had a bad habit of being right too might, but it was a habit none the less. the admission was evidence of the change in character he, too, had had. he'd given up the anger, the resentment, the pain. he'd stopped blaming himself for his own misery.

they sat there for another minute. then another. any second now, they should be down there. he should be at one end of the aisle, hanna at the other. people were no doubt dressed nicely, sitting in chairs and waiting for their happy moment. even hayley had shown up, tired and teary eyed at the word wedding, but trying to move beyond it. and yet they sat up there in the room, without a single intention of going down and becoming husband and wife.

❝what are you going to tell them?❞ she asked finally, glancing back up at him. their tears had stopped, begun to dry, left in this comfortable place of resolution, of conclusion. they'd finally put the period on their relationship, finally concluded a fifteen year tragedy, and they needed to figure out how to start a page of a new story.

anton shrugged again, lifting his glass to draw in a sip. ❝we couldn't do it.❞ he said simply, lowering his glass before glancing back to her. ❝where are you going to go?❞ he wasn't kicking her out, flintlock wasn't his, but he understood hanna. he understood she couldn't stay somewhere with memories like these. she had no problem with change, no problem with picking up and walking away. she'd done it a hundred times before, and she'd probably do it a hundred times more.

❝wherever my feet take me.❞ she said with a shrug, slowly rising to her feet. she smoothed down the fabric of her dress, a strappy, silken sort of gown.

he rose as well, and with only a look, she stepped in to close the space between him. she wrapped her arms around his body and squeezed him firmly, half his size but holding him tight enough to leaving him struggling for hair. cheek against his chest, his chin resting atop her head, their eyes were both closed as they whispered to one another.

❝take care of yourself anton,❞ she murmured, ❝let yourself be happy. demand it, demand happiness for yourself. stop settling for less.❞

he smiled against her, giving her a squeeze of his own. ❝you too, hanna. find some kind of happiness, find someone who will love you like i should have.❞ and they stood there for another minute, locked in one another's arms, until they broke apart. except, this time they broke apart together, in tact as their own people. ❝and if you ever need anything, han, you know i'm always here for you.❞

she smiled a little, bobbed her head in a nod. ❝yeah, anton, i know.❞ she mused, arms crossing low on her waist. ❝same here. i'll always love you, even if i'll never be able to love you the same way again.❞

and in that afternoon, as the sun was setting behind the lodge and the room was cast in a warm, rose gold glow, a man and a woman gave it all up. they gave up the anger, the resentment, the blame. they gave up a broken romance and they gave up their familiarity. they gave it up, and when the left room, theym somehow loved one another more for it.


[ 2610 words, now i'm gonna go eat. don't respond here; there will be a second thread with the aftermath soon. ]

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