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Rocky Road ~ House of Starr and Nate

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Chibi Pika

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  5. custom/incineroar-starr
Yeah. Figures she'd want to talk about that. That obviously the reason why Brisa kept going out of her way to make everything feel normal. And why shouldn't things have been normal? It wasn't like any of the heavy shit in her past was news to Brisa. Nothing had changed, not really. Aside from shouting a bunch of bullshit she couldn't remember (she did remember) and trying her damndest to beat the shit out of Brisa until she'd give up (big deal--like Dave said, Brisa fought gods for fun, it wasn't anything she couldn't bounce back from). There wasn't any reason to feel bad about any of it.

"I'm alright," Starr said, probably too late.
 

unrepentantAuthor

A cat that writes stories.
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  6. custom/delphox-jesse
"Sure y'are," said Brisa, with irony, but without much bite. "Better'n most of our teammates would be doin' in the same position, anyway."

And that was with how bad the shit in Starr's past was, to get brought to the fore by Blacklight and the parasite...

I don't give a shit about anyone but myself.

"It all must've felt true at the time," she continued, voice soft. "I wonder if . . . maybe it sometimes feels true other times. Maybe it even feels true now."

She kept her weight against Starr. She wasn't going anywhere.
 

Chibi Pika

Stay positive
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somewhere in spacetime
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  5. custom/incineroar-starr
"Mm," Starr replied noncommittally. Brisa was practically glued to her side. Obviously trying to make it clear that she wasn't leaving. Of course she wasn't. It would've been better if she'd just flinch or hesitate or something. Would it have, though?

'Felt true at the time.' Yeah. Was any of it even a lie, though? It wasn't like the Blacklight just spawned bullshit from the aether and turned you into a different person. It was all her. It always had been. She could bury it as deep as she wanted but it was still there.

You never stopped being me.

"Hard for it not to feel true when it is," she said finally, bitterly. "I don't think Shadows even can lie." The only part of her that wouldn't, really.
 

unrepentantAuthor

A cat that writes stories.
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  6. custom/delphox-jesse
Brisa nodded. Sombra never lied, either. But then, what of all the other Shadows she'd heard speak? Wishkeeper, speaking of how everyone is going to use you. Cynthian's darkness, shrieking about her worthlessness. Dave's inner self, so sure he was unloved.

I don't give a shit about anyone but myself.

"Shadows don't lie," she said, carefully, "but they can be wrong. Hell, they can even be right, without having the full picture right clear."

She looked at Starr. It was okay if she didn't look back. It was okay if she didn't reply. She didn't need to do anything at all, so long as she listened.

"When I said all that shit 'bout bein' a danger t'folks, or 'bout how I owed it to others t'work myself senseless, it felt true. Hell, I still think that shit's kinda true. It's just that . . . it ain't all that's true. I sure could hurt people, an' I even have, but I fight t'protect 'em, too. And while it's good of me to go outta my way fer others, I can't do nothin' but that fer ever."

You taught me that, she thought. Because you care about me.
 

Chibi Pika

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Starr exhaled slowly through her nose, mouth dry. "Those things felt true because you'd been told them how many times? How many assholes acted like you were some kind of loose cannon ready to go off, or like you owed them your power just to be allowed to exist?" God, just talking about it was making her blood boil.

She swallowed hard, struggling to get the words out. "I don't need the shadows to tell me it's a fucking lie that I never enjoyed hurting people."
 

unrepentantAuthor

A cat that writes stories.
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  1. custom/purrloin-salem
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  6. custom/delphox-jesse
Brisa couldn't help but thrash her tail and pin her ears at the reminder of how she'd been treated before, for the same things she was celebrated for now. Starr, as usual, had a point.

"I'm not tryin' t'say ya never did," she replied, a hard edge creeping in, softened immediately as she continued. "Just that it don't mean there ain't plenty good in you, or that it was the only thing that mattered."
 

Chibi Pika

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  5. custom/incineroar-starr
God, why was Brisa so quick to act like any of this was even remotely okay? What the hell did Starr need to do before Brisa would admit that she was scum.

"You keep talking like I've changed. Like I'd somehow choose better if I could do it all again, knowing what I know now. But you don't know that. I don't know that." Her teeth were clenched, eyes desperate. "I go off telling people that I'd rather die than do that shit again, but that's another goddamn lie. I don't want to die, I... fuck." Her voice broke, and it took every ounce of willpower not to bury her claws in her arms.

She was so, so tired of being in pain.
 

unrepentantAuthor

A cat that writes stories.
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  6. custom/delphox-jesse
"I don't want you to die either," said Brisa, her voice breaking a little.

She took a sharp breath, steadied herself. "You don't have to be willin' to die rather than live under duress, Starr. An' y'can be better than y'were, without sacrificin' yerself."

Brisa chewed her cheek and imagined a younger Starr, scared for her life, not having any allies, any hope, any escape.

"Would it even have helped anyone, if you had?"
 

Chibi Pika

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It felt like an invisible hand was squeezing her chest. "...No, I know it wouldn't," Starr muttered. She'd already been told something like that before, hadn't she? Back in her own world. It was just the same same thing over and over. Why couldn't she just forget it all. It'd be so much easier.

In her mind's eye, she could practically feel the shadow glaring daggers at her. But it hadn't appeared this time.
 

unrepentantAuthor

A cat that writes stories.
Location
UK
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they/she
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  1. custom/purrloin-salem
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  4. custom/brisa-companion
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  6. custom/delphox-jesse
Brisa allowed herself a shuddering exhalation of relief. At least Starr would concede that.

"D'you just... D'you feel like what you did is so goddamn terrible, only dyin' can make up fer it? That you'll never wash the blood off?"
 

Chibi Pika

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Starr dragged her hands down her face, exhaling slowly. "No, I know that's stupid. I know that wouldn't fix anything, I just..." She expected the shadow to call her a coward again. It didn't.

"I just want there to be some way to fix it. But there's nothing. No way to take any of it back." As if it could really be that easy.
 

unrepentantAuthor

A cat that writes stories.
Location
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they/she
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  6. custom/delphox-jesse
Brisa nodded sadly, internally a little glad Starr was finally saying these things to someone, to anyone. Perhaps Brisa was the right person to tell, but that just made her heart break all the more.

"Y'can't take a thing like that back, but y'can do what else is right and good. And didn't ya tell me you've been protectin' the same friends you wronged? It won't make it to you never hurt 'em, but y'can still look out for 'em an' spare 'em other hurts."
 

Chibi Pika

Stay positive
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Starr's brow furrowed, and she sank back against the couch a bit. "Yeah, I guess. Someone's gotta keep them from getting themselves killed." She couldn't help thinking back to just how outraged Dave had been that they were still doing it in the first place.

"I just... I know Jade's still afraid of me. I know she still sees it sometimes, gets nightmares about it. I... see it too, sometimes." She gripped her knees tightly.
 

unrepentantAuthor

A cat that writes stories.
Location
UK
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they/she
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  1. custom/purrloin-salem
  2. custom/sneasel-dusk
  3. custom/luz-companion
  4. custom/brisa-companion
  5. custom/meowth-laura
  6. custom/delphox-jesse
Brisa swallowed, and thought of how intimidated Cynthian had been of Starr when they first arrived. Several others, too. Starr... Starr didn't want people to think of her as dangerous. Well, Brisa could relate to that.

"Sounds t'me like you're afraid of yerself," said Brisa, quietly. "Afraid of hurtin' folks again, most of all."

It wasn't hard to picture Starr, looming over her, fists ablaze. I don't give a shit. Had anyone but Brisa seen how much goddamn pain she'd been in as she said that? She was hurting so bad now for having done something like that again.

'Cause the first time she'd hurt a friend, there had been no parasite to make her do it.

"You weren't lyin' when y'said y'did it deliberately," Brisa continued, keeping that softness in her voice, even as she talked about Starr in pain, and felt pain as she did so. "Nor about how cruel yer actions were. Those thoughts weren't falsehoods. I know better'n to think it was any less awful than y'say. I know you made those choices."

She reached out with a paw and placed it on Starr's own, and hoped that Starr wouldn't pull away.

"I understand all that. But it still don't mean you've done nothin' t'redeem yerself. I've seen how you take care of folks. I've seen what you put yerself through fer the team. I've seen everythin' yer capable of. You're more than yer worst choices, Starr. You're also yer best. And yer best is brighter than you know. I promise."

Oh, if only loving a person could salve their pain, Starr would never feel pain again.

"Maybe you can't see that. But I can. Sure sounds like Jade can. An' if the friends you trust most wanna give you a second chance, you oughta give yerself one, too."
 

Chibi Pika

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Always with the second chances. Back home. Here. How many were people going to keep giving her? 'You oughta give yerself one, too.'

It wasn't quite the same this time. Brisa hadn't exactly been trapped, powerless, unable to fight back. She'd been able to fight willingly. But still...

"I still remember what it felt like," Starr said, her voice dead. "Wanting to hurt you."
 

unrepentantAuthor

A cat that writes stories.
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  6. custom/delphox-jesse
It had hurt. But so did any rough enough fight... Hell, so had that fight, in the Dojo, so many months ago.

Brisa gave Starr a dry smile. "Sure. An' I remember wantin' t'kick yer teeth in a while back. Did a pretty good job of it too, as I recall."

She squeezed Starr's paw in her own.

"Y'ain't holdin' that against me, are ya?"
 

Chibi Pika

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Starr couldn't resist letting out a snort. Thinking back on all that now, after everything... it felt so damn stupid. It was hard to focus on heavy shit when you felt like a dumbass.

"Nah. Unfortunately you're just too damn earnest to hate." She folded her arms behind her head and leaned her weight against Brisa. It was nice. It made things feel okay for a bit. It also made her think about the way Brisa so obviously felt, and the things that'd been said in the Void, and...

"Hey, so. I didn't... mean it when I said you were just desperate and lonely," Starr muttered, glancing away.
 

unrepentantAuthor

A cat that writes stories.
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  1. custom/purrloin-salem
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  6. custom/delphox-jesse
Brisa chuckled. She hadn't even been hung up on that.

"It was fair enough t'be honest. I told ya way back in the pit that I always felt alone."

She shook her head, and her smile warmed.

"Haven't felt that way fer a while now."
 

Chibi Pika

Stay positive
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  5. custom/incineroar-starr
Starr elbowed her lightly in the side. "Good. I was worried I'd have to fight you until you stopped feeling alone."
 

unrepentantAuthor

A cat that writes stories.
Location
UK
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they/she
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  1. custom/purrloin-salem
  2. custom/sneasel-dusk
  3. custom/luz-companion
  4. custom/brisa-companion
  5. custom/meowth-laura
  6. custom/delphox-jesse
"Ain't that more or less what ya did?" Brisa laughed, and she shoved Starr back, but her ears were heating up again and she dropped her gaze.

She could almost hear Starr's knowing smirk, goddamnit. Brisa really wasn't subtle, was she?

She sighed with catharsis, made herself meet Starr's eyes again, grinned sheepishly, and let go of her paw. Starr probably had pins and needles in all her digits by now.

"You . . . already know how I feel about you. Don't you?"
 
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