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Spirits' Edge

unrepentantAuthor

A cat that writes stories.
Location
UK
Pronouns
they/she
Partners
  1. custom/purrloin-salem
  2. custom/sneasel-dusk
Bet everyone loves you back home.

Sure they did. Drinks are always on the house for Jesse! Key to the city for Jesse! You’re a goddamn hero, Delphox Stranger! But he could see what they really thought of him.

He could see what they really thought of his family.

Right. Fuck this fuckin’ guy. Let’s fuckin’ go.

“You’ve got some fuckin’ balls, mutt,” said Jesse, his voice like a gas flame. “I have to bear hearin' everyone’s fucked up thoughts each goddamn day, and you claim to be a miracle exception, the guy who never gets it wrong, ‘cause if you keep lyin’ about what’s in your head I won’t know any different what with you bein' dark-type. Well that’s about to change. I told you not to say I don’t love my goddamn daughter, you fuckin’ creep.”

Jesse dug deep. He’d never had to deep-read a dark type. There’d always been his words, his wands, his reputation. Hell, he didn’t have to do this now. But he wanted to.

“Miracle Eye,” he growled, and reached out for Dave’s mind.

The technique was intuitive. It was just prognostication, but for mental obfuscation. Scrying past a person’s doublethink, that’s all. Not so hard when you had enough motivation, and he had plenty. Jesse turned his mind to burning away the concealing dark-type energy like so much wastepaper. Gradually at first, like damp wood catching alight, but soon a mental conflagration as defences peeled away from Dave’s mind, both elemental and psychological.

“Let’s see if you’ve never had a violent thought about your kid, you arrogant motherfucker.”
 

Dragonfree

Ace Trainer
Staff
Location
Iceland
Pronouns
she/her/hers
Partners
  1. butterfree
((OOC: some disturbing violent/briefly suicidal ideation in here))

What… what was he doing. Dave’s ears flattened back against his head. Miracle Eye? What was that? Was he supposed to have any fucking idea what–

Everything fell in on itself, the Delphox’s mind pressing against his own, finding faults, piercing them. He yelled out a panicked string of curses he couldn’t hear. Fuck, fuck, what was happening–

–and then, suddenly, a memory. The echoing slam of a door, the unbearable screeching cry of an infant in his arms. (she was gone, for good this time, and he knew it, fuck, he fucked it up every time, of course he fucking did) Blinking rapidly and standing there and listening to the fucking interminable howls of this freak he never wanted and was somehow stuck with, thanks to these clownish fucking abortion activists. (because he’d gotten drunk and fucking bragged about it at a bar, what the fuck was wrong with him) A fleeting, angry thought as he looked at the baby, this flailing little bundle: Maybe Jane had the right idea. The mental image of just grabbing her by the ankle and tossing her off the balcony, watching her sail over the trees as the wailing receded into the night, or even just slamming her into the wall, a crack followed by heavenly silence. (he didn’t want this, he didn’t want this, how was he supposed to take care of a fucking baby alone, he couldn’t do this, fuck, maybe the police wouldn’t even care when the baby wasn’t fucking human, or he could just jump after her and get it over with)

His stomach clenched in revulsion, nausea crawling up his throat. What the fuck was this? He barely even remembered that night, hadn’t thought of it in fucking years. He wanted to reach out and tear Jean away from this creep, just hold her and keep her safe and make sure nobody could hurt her, ever. Fuck, he just wanted to go home.

–and then a sudden unexpected yank into a series of other memories. Mia, four years old, no idea why she shouldn’t hurt people; the abstract realization she was disturbed, weird, but also fascinating. She wasn’t a monster; she was just different. Smart. She could figure it out, if he just explained in the right way (if he failed that was a problem for later)

–watching the new game Mia and Lucy had invented for the first time a year later, the predatory glint in Mia’s eyes as she pounced: it’s a game, honestly it’s just pretty cute, it’s just the same as the little violent impulses they all have (this might be more concerning when she has scythes but it’s nothing to worry about)

–Mia, seven years old, little scythes beginning to poke out of her arms. Feeling almost giddy analyzing the X-rays: he’d been right, they were growing exactly as he’d predicted. Cheryl taking him aside, asking if she should be worried. No, of course not, she won’t do anything, Lucy can stay insubstantial (what if – she won’t, she’s brilliant, she gets it)

–getting a call from the school, about how Mia, nine, had swiped and cut a girl’s hair. Showing up to the principal’s office, trying to placate the horrified parents. “She could’ve killed her!” “Of course she wouldn’t have. She knows her own limits. It was just a game, like the games she plays with her sister. We’ll talk to her about why she can’t do that and that’ll be the end of it.” (the hair’s very close to the neck, fuck, Mia, what)

–looking at her in his car one day after one of their weird talks to offer her hotdogs, only to find her staring at him in the sort of way she stared at Lucy during their games, and when he asked what she was thinking she said she was hungry. “Just so we’re clear here, when you say 'hungry’ you mean 'let’s get hotdogs’, not 'I want to tear Dave’s throat out and eat him’, right?” “Both.” Fear congealing in his stomach, blood running cold in his veins. She wasn’t actually going to, and he knew it – she was annoyed to even have to explain: “I like talking to you more than I’d like eating you.” “That’s great, but you can’t eat people you don’t like either.” “I know.” “Tell me why.” – but in his mind’s eye he saw her lashing out, scythe through his throat, her sharpened fangs tearing at his windpipe, and felt so sick he couldn’t breathe. Telling her to please not let him down (please) before exiting the car, extending his hand towards her and imagining her lunging again and every primal instinct in his brain telling him to get away, but no, she wouldn’t, he knew that, and instead holding his hand firm until she took it (if she ever did attack, it'd be on him anyway)

–another call. She’d attacked a boy, put a pretty deep cut in his arm. His heart pounding in the office. (Mia please don’t fucking do this) Somehow persuading the principal and the parents that it’s a matter of childish impulse control, it’s not like she wants to hurt anyone, she knows she shouldn’t, they were thinking about making some sheaths for her scythes anyway (kind of, maybe, he’d thought about it once) and once that happened it wouldn’t be a problem. Asking her about it in the car afterwards. Apparently it was this group of kids that kept harassing her about religion, of course it all came down to fucking religion, and she was just defending herself. Like she didn’t have that fucking right – but they talked about it anyway and it’d be fine and they’d make the sheaths (Mia please)

–a pang of dread every time he got a call for a while, until at last the third one, when it was clear the principal had already made up his mind when he arrived at the office, and he argued fiercely anyway, they were provoking her, who even does that – but then she expertly executed a fly on the wall and he couldn’t even disagree anymore, she was probably better off homeschooled, and he took her home and they talked about religion on the way and he was glad he’d not have to get any more of these fucking phone calls, and then even fucking Howard was acting like it was all her fucking fault but it wasn’t, she wasn’t a monster, she was just Mia and she was weird but she was a fucking person (and she was his best friend, taking her for hotdogs was like the best part of his week, he couldn’t fucking lose her and it wasn’t her fault, he’d made her this way and he’d figure it out)

–that horrible day of waking up to all of them gone but Lucy, off on a fucking suicide mission to rescue Gabriel, begging Jean to come home, realizing he’d fucking told them about the trap laid out for them, pacing around the house drinking whatever he could get his hands on trying to imagine they’d all be all right only all he could think was that no, they were all going to die and he should go out there and do something except there was nothing he could do, he’d just be getting himself killed, and fuck, that was fine, fucking bring it, but they’d kill Gabriel too. The utilitarian calculus that rationally they should have just let them kill Gabriel so nobody else would die, they’d all fucking hate him forever but at least they’d be okay, but even then he just fucking couldn’t, Dave was pretty sure Gabriel hated him already but his heart still sank into a bottomless pit at the thought, and all he could do was cling to the fantasy that somehow everyone would be okay and try to drink enough to not remember the rest (it’d be his fault, his fucking fault, he told them where to go)

–learning, from Jack’s strained recollection of that day, that Mia had died with some kind of psycho fucking grin on her face after slitting somebody’s throat, and feeling sick and pressing his lips together as he sat there, but it wasn’t her fault, it wasn’t her fault, it wasn’t her fault, she was fucking unique and he loved her and if they hadn’t shot her three times in the head he’d be fucking taking her and driving off, getting her out of the country, he didn’t care, they couldn’t take Mia (he’d made her that way and he hadn’t said the right things to her and he’d fucking told them where to go like a fucking idiot)

See, Dave thought, fiercely, in the middle of it, she wasn’t a fucking monster, I never thought she was a fucking monster, all I ever wanted was to keep her fucking safe.
 

unrepentantAuthor

A cat that writes stories.
Location
UK
Pronouns
they/she
Partners
  1. custom/purrloin-salem
  2. custom/sneasel-dusk
((Momentary blood mention at the end.))

Jesse let go of Dave’s mind with a strained yelp and a good deal of colourful swearing. His jaw ached from gritting his teeth and his cheek fur was fucking damp and he just missed Brisa oh god he fucking missed them both, that’s all, that’s all, that’s all.

Only, that wasn’t all. It was worse, naturally. Because in Dave’s head, he’d seen humans.

Dave stared at him, panting. “What?” he snarled after a moment. “What? Got what you wanted? You fucking satisfied? Creepy fuck.”

“Gods, no,” Jesse muttered.

Where to begin? That it was the first time he’d seen humans and their world outside of his own memories in twenty-five years? That all he wanted was his family to be safe? That yes, yes, goddamnit yes he was a terrible fucking person, but you. You failed your daughter and you want to try lecturing me.

“I’ve seen enough,” he breathed. “What the fuck is wrong with you?”

He started in on the voicing-aloud of Dave’s feelings. It was almost instinctive by now. Automatic. Like scratching an itch, or shading your eyes from the sun. He hardly meant it. But he did it anyway, squeezing the sonofabitch’s brain like a fuckin’ fistful of berries to stay tethered. To stay in control. As long as he was in control, things would go okay.

“You’d love if I put you out of your fuckin’ misery,” he whispered. “You understand that I could. You even believe I would, because you’re a fuckin’ reprobate who doesn’t understand people. You barely know yourself better than a stranger.”

Dave was resisting, of course. The tether grew taut. Strained. But Miracle Eye was enough to keep winning. For now.

“You were complacent. You treated everything as a problem for later. A problem to address when your hand was forced. Well death ain’t a problem you ever fix… or make up for. You sorry bastard, you deserve to remember that it was your fault every day of your wretched life.”

He wasn’t speaking to Dave any more. The tether creaked.

“You made her the way she turned out, you said the wrong fuckin’ things to her, you let her down like a fuckin’ moron—”

The tether snapped, and Jesse clutched at his eye, whimpering like a goddamn animal. His paw came away bloody. Fuck. God fucking damn it.

“You’re a fuckin’ worthless father,” he spat. “She would have been better off without you.”
 

Dragonfree

Ace Trainer
Staff
Location
Iceland
Pronouns
she/her/hers
Partners
  1. butterfree
((brief blood/violent ideation mention))

Dave was shaking as the awful invasive force in his head abruptly snapped back and left him. "Fuck," he snarled, rubbing at his head with a paw.

Jesse's eye seemed to be bleeding as he recoiled from the psychic rebound. Dave tried to find some grim satisfaction in it, in this motherfucker suffering a little for what he'd just done, but all he managed to feel was increasingly ill.

That... that fucking thought about Jean. He'd successfully buried that memory a long time ago, lost to alcohol and motivated avoidance, but the fucking Delphox had dragged it out from whatever mental tar pit he'd left it in, and now there it sat, vivid as the day it happened, and his stomach twisted every time the wretched thing replayed itself.

And...

Mia.

She wasn't a fucking monster. She'd killed a man, she'd died thrilled about it, she probably hadn't actually given all that much of a shit about rescuing Gabriel because she just didn't work that way. But she wasn't, and it would never have even fucking happened if--

God fucking damn it.

"I wasn't even her fucking father," he said.

He tried to gather the willpower to respond to the rest of his bullshit, but none of the words seemed to make it past the looping mental image of slamming his infant daughter into a wall.

"I can see why Brisa hates you and your fucking mindreading," he said instead.
 

unrepentantAuthor

A cat that writes stories.
Location
UK
Pronouns
they/she
Partners
  1. custom/purrloin-salem
  2. custom/sneasel-dusk
((Some blood mention.))

Jesse cradled his eye, swearing under his breath about how much this would fuck up his fur and how he'd have to deal with that somehow. And probably the headache he'd get from putting so much into the read would be unprecedented. Why had he done this? This poor son of a bitch already hated himself. Why had Jesse gone that fucking hard anyway? What the fuck...

"Yeah, well, I don't fuckin' like it either," he bit back, half heartedly.

For a microsecond, he thought about apologising. What would be the point? Asshole wouldn't accept it, and they'd never see each other again and...

"I shouldn't have done that," said Jesse.

He sat down on his office floor in a slump, and pressed against his throbbing eye, wondering whether his real body was leaking blood everywhere as they spoke. Whatever. Who cared.
 
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Dragonfree

Ace Trainer
Staff
Location
Iceland
Pronouns
she/her/hers
Partners
  1. butterfree
"Yeah, no shit," Dave said. He wanted to say more, but didn't.

He sat down too, looking around the room. Everything was weirdly silent, save for the sounds of their breathing as they recovered. That memory was still there, his legs were still shaking, but it was beginning to lose a bit of its power.

The fragile calm that'd descended over the room shattered when abruptly the door creaked as it opened again. Dave turned his head, had no energy to move otherwise. It was Brisa.
 

unrepentantAuthor

A cat that writes stories.
Location
UK
Pronouns
they/she
Partners
  1. custom/purrloin-salem
  2. custom/sneasel-dusk
Brisa held herself as if she felt as bad as the two other mon looked. Buffet's reduced form perched in her mane, one head pressed comfortingly against her. How much had she heard...?

"I'll save ya the suspense," she said, thickly. "I overheard damn near all of that. Saw some of the memories, too."

When neither man roused enough from pained misery to respond, she added, "I don't rightly know what I expected, but it weren't this."

Jesse averted his gaze. "Fuck," he said, his exhaustion evident in his voice.
 

Dragonfree

Ace Trainer
Staff
Location
Iceland
Pronouns
she/her/hers
Partners
  1. butterfree
"Shit."

Brisa'd seen -- goddamn it. Something clenched in his chest, a heaving shred of willpower reviving to explain -- what? What exactly?

He grimaced and waited for her to say something, a bitter taste in his mouth.
 

unrepentantAuthor

A cat that writes stories.
Location
UK
Pronouns
they/she
Partners
  1. custom/purrloin-salem
  2. custom/sneasel-dusk
"I can't believe I actually thought that I might be able to get some answers if I had some moral support, and instead I had to listen to the two of you mentally bloody each other over who's the least terrible goddamn father."

The scorn in Brisa's voice didn't sound natural coming from her. She walked straight past Dave and up to her father, who looked up at her from the floor with his uninjured eye and an uncertain expression.

"Where have you been?" she said.

A moment passed as Jesse weighed up his response. There was no psychic prickling in the air. Possibly the delphox had burnt out his mental scrying for the time being.

"I went east," he said, at last. "I don't want you to know where east. Far away."

"Why?"

The delphox looked away as Brisa's growl rose. "To put a stop to somethin' dangerous. To protect you 'n' yer Ma. And I ain't finished."

The luxio's muzzle twitched in contained anger. "Y'should've taken us with you. I waited fer you. Sierra didn't."

Jesse flinched, but couldn't find it in himself to say anything. Brisa seemed to struggle for a moment with what she wanted to say. Then:

"I'm not a violent animal, Pa. Never was."

Brisa

"I'm not a violent animal, Pa. Never was."

It felt good to say. Her chest tightened horribly to say it, but the satisfaction was worth it. Her father, slumped back against the wall with blood still weeping from his eye, didn't have any of his usual retorts. She thought about drilling in the point, about explaining what really happened with Cathy, about telling him what happened since he left. None of it would actually help, so why bother?

At least now she knew why, more or less, he'd gone. He'd decided to take responsibility for a problem and solve it himself rather than ask for help, and left everyone else out of his decisions rather than talk to them. It tracked perfectly. That was Jesse all over.

"Take care, Jesse," she said, then turned to leave. "Dave, we're done here. Let's go."

She wondered if her father would remember any of this, or if he'd just wake up with a headache and a bloodstained cheek, confused. Did it even matter? She took a deep breath, and walked out of Jesse's study. He didn't call out to her.
 

Dragonfree

Ace Trainer
Staff
Location
Iceland
Pronouns
she/her/hers
Partners
  1. butterfree
What? That was all? Wasn’t she at least going to...

...Fuck it. If she wanted to go, he was all too happy to leave this place behind.

Dave stood up, threw a glance at the Delphox, and followed Brisa out.
 

unrepentantAuthor

A cat that writes stories.
Location
UK
Pronouns
they/she
Partners
  1. custom/purrloin-salem
  2. custom/sneasel-dusk
Brisa took a long breath.

"I'm sorry I brought you here," she told Dave, quietly. "That can't have been pleasant."

Fuck, what had she been thinking? That Dave would somehow run rhetorical rings around Jesse, and everything would go smoothly? She was so stupid.

She loped across the living room to where the door to her own room lay open. Inside, her things lay much as they had back when Jesse had still lived at home. No serious ranger gear and fewer books, but more toys and trophies. And what looked a little like a family portrait, standing on her desk. Herself, as a younger luxio, with Sierra and Jesse to either side of her. Sierra's face shadowed, looking away. Jesse's more anxious and tired than he ever allowed in person. And hers. Bloodstained.

"I wanted to show you this," she said. "I've been starin' at it the whole time the two of ya were goin' at it."

Jesse's inner feelings, huh? He might've stood to talk about them once in a while.
 
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Namohysip

Dragon Enthusiast
Staff
Partners
  1. charizard
Buffet rose from Brisa's head, then looked back at the door that she had closed, then back at Brisa, then to Dave. Three people, each with their own sins one way or another, each one so sure of themselves, and yet the answer was not with any. This was the painful side of Life.

Buffet imagined that the mere act of opening the door again would be enough to get everyone's attention, no matter how silently he did so.

He knew that Dave and Brisa were waiting for them to go, and yet Buffet hovered between them in silence. "Sometimes," Buffet said, growing to his normal size, "we do things that we all regret, time passes, and it festers in our memories, reshaping and warping and becoming new realities that we had lived. The context only you know, and the context only they knew, will never cross without talking. And it seems that, now, a little bit of that opened."

Buffet looked to Jesse, then to Brisa.

"I see a father who was put into a situation he simply was not ready for, and then tried to take it upon himself to fix it... as it is a very human thing to accumulate burdens." Buffet chuckled, softly, sadly. "And once again, he wishes to take on another burden, so that he may not burden others. It is not his problem to share, whatever it may be...

"But in his own strength, his weakness forced him into isolation. Brisa, you feared that Jesse left because he no longer cared for you. He tried to retract the words he had sent to you in error. He tried to override his own very eyes, his mind's eye, of what he saw, just to make sure you were his daughter first. And now, it was true: Jesse did not leave you because he no longer loved you. He leaved to protect you... But that is not a satisfying answer, is it?"

Buffet turned, facing Jesse. "It is doubtful that Brisa will remember this when her spirit returns to your world. For you, I am also unsure, but there is a chance you will remember this like a dream, or a vision. You are Psychic, after all." He smiled a little. "You now see, without your intention, the pain you caused your daughter for leaving without an explanation. Even if it is for now, even if she may not remember, do you truly believe that keeping it hidden would be satisfying?"

Buffet looked to Dave, then Brisa, and finally Jesse. "Sometimes, the path to mending a relationship is at a point when you may no longer meet. Wherever you are, Brisa may want to know. The truth, I think, is better than the unknown. This may be the last time you get to see her, but it doesn't have to be that way if you truly improve, and truly communicate. As a Psychic, you rely too much on reading the chaotic minds of mortals. It dampens, not strengthens, your perception of others. Thoughts are hidden for a reason; we all have those impulses. It is how we act on them, what we choose to accept and discard, that matters. To judge someone for every thought... is a folly of a Psychic.

"But there is always room for change."
 
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Dragonfree

Ace Trainer
Staff
Location
Iceland
Pronouns
she/her/hers
Partners
  1. butterfree
"I'm sorry I brought you here," she told Dave, quietly. "That can't have been pleasant."
"I mean, I see what you mean about the fucking mind-reading." This was what he'd been doing to Brisa constantly, whenever he pleased? What a prick.

He squinted at the photograph she showed him. Christ. Some kind of mental manifestation? Well, whatever else he could say about the fucker, and there was a lot, he actually believed that Brisa was dangerous and he was the only fucking thing standing between her and accidentally murdering someone. (When... he'd accidentally murdered someone himself. Of course.) Must be an exhausting fucking existence.

(And on top of that he had real problems, too. Jesus Christ, his world might have homophobia but at least it didn't have commonplace fucking lynchings.)

"You sure you didn't want to just tell him about how he misinterpreted your gay crush?" he said, sighing.

Buffet launched into some kind of deep philosophical speech about regrets and Dave zoned out for most of it, but one way or another it ended up at imploring Jesse to just tell Brisa the truth for once, and at least he could agree with that.
 

unrepentantAuthor

A cat that writes stories.
Location
UK
Pronouns
they/she
Partners
  1. custom/purrloin-salem
  2. custom/sneasel-dusk
"You sure you didn't want to just tell him about how he misinterpreted your gay crush?"

"What's the point?" Brisa began, bitterly, but then Buffet began to speak. Something about his voice made it hard to interrupt...

"He left to protect you... but that is not a satisfying answer, is it?"

[...]

"This may be the last time you get to see her, but it doesn't have to be that way."

Brisa turned to face her father. He was standing in his office doorway, leaning heavily on the frame as if exhausted. What was the point if they were just going to forget? She'd had her closure for the duration of her struggle in Cibus. Everything else was just... dragging it out. Wasn't it?

"Go on, then," she said. "Spit it out if you're gonna."

Jesse stared at her with an expression she didn't recognise.

"Alright," he said, to her surprise. "Brisa... there're others like you 'n' me in our world. Humans, and their descendants. Folks strong enough to take on any regular pokémon. And some of 'em... ain't got the best of intentions. I feared what they'd do if they found you, and I had a duty to stop 'em, so I went alone. I didn't know I'd be gone so long. I've almost lost hope I'll ever get to come home. I'm sorry. I really, really am sorry."

Brisa didn't even have it in her to growl. Processing this news... That would have to come later. There was only the most concentrated spark of anger in her to motivate a reply.

"Pa, you could've had me by yer side the whole time if you'd only trusted me, d'you know that? That was yer problem. You never had faith in me. That was what the thing with Cathy was about, by the way. She was the only one who trusted me after you went harpin' on about my strength. She still felt safe around me. And she wanted to prove it by lettin' me put my teeth to her neck and feel that she still weren't scared of me. She was sweet on me, Pa. And I was sweet on her. And you fucked it up fer me. Forever."

Gods, she'd never hated anyone this much before. Not when she'd yelled at Starr, not when she'd snarled at bandits, not when she'd sunk her teeth into her own tail in moments of hopeless self-loathing. She was so angry she could die from it.

Jesse turned his head away, a potent collision of shame and confusion evident on his haggard muzzle.

Brisa just stood in place and shook with rage, waiting to feel okay again, somehow.
 

Namohysip

Dragon Enthusiast
Staff
Partners
  1. charizard
"It's interesting, in a way, how similar you two are," Buffet said sadly. "Both of you are very confident, filled with pride, of your abilities and your strength. So much so that one believes that he can do without the other."

He moved forward, looking between them. "I still see two individuals who have miscommunicated for so long that they can only see the other in bad faith. Jesse... so sure that he could have gone along with his mission, but mistaken by the scope and length of it all. He didn't trust his daughter to handle it...

"And now, his daughter has internalized all that mistrust, capped off by departing without a word. Even the truth cannot reconcile all the time that had been spent living without the answer." Buffet looked to Jesse, then Brisa. "So long as you two continue to hold onto the past, neither side can reconcile. I see potential... but only if both choose to move forward. Jesse... if this memory ever returns to you, you must get more help. You are clearly in over your head; you cannot do your mission alone. You do need help.

"Yet, Brisa... You cannot help him until he can recognize the error in his ways... and work past how to communicate with one another. And, of course... to not hate him over mistakes he is trying to repair. Look at him." Buffet gestured to Jesse. "This is not his body. This is his spirit. I do not believe someone could look so pained to their core over someone he did not truly care about."

Buffet lowered his head. "I only say this," he said, "because, Brisa, your mission with us relies on inner peace. That is one reason I came here. So you may find peace and understanding. It will not be immediate... It will take time... but I believe that above all, a spark of hope and understanding can one day cut through the darkness Cibus faces, so that it may not instead claim you with its madness.

"So, I ask... for the good of each other, and your respective worlds. What will you two do?"
 
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unrepentantAuthor

A cat that writes stories.
Location
UK
Pronouns
they/she
Partners
  1. custom/purrloin-salem
  2. custom/sneasel-dusk
"I still see two individuals who have miscommunicated for so long that they can only see the other in bad faith."

"So long as you two continue to hold onto the past, neither side can reconcile."

"Jesse... you must get more help. You are clearly in over your head; you cannot do your mission alone."

"Brisa... You cannot help him until you can work past how to communicate with one another. And, of course... to not hate him over mistakes he is trying to repair."

"Brisa, your mission with us relies on inner peace."

"So, I ask... for the good of each other, and your respective worlds. What will you two do?"

Gods, this guy was one hell of a talker. And three whiskers shy of being a condescending bastard. How the fuck could she respond to all that? How could Jesse?

Brisa broke the silence first.

"My pa's mistakes ain't just things from my past. They're in my head. Maybe fer the rest of my life. I don't even know if he knows why he was wrong."

Jesse stepped forward, grief written on his face. "No, I get it, kid. I'm tryin' to cling to it so's I might remember it when I wake up."

"Yeah?" barked Brisa, tail thrashing. "What is it you get?"

"That I was so afraid of anyone makin' the wrong decisions, I tried to make all of yours for you."

Brisa rolled her eyes. Very poetic. Certainly one way of putting it.

Jesse looked down and scratched the back of his head. "I've known fer years I got it wrong, but I thought I'd done too little. Now I'm realisin' I was only holdin' you back. I fucked up. I fucked up good 'n' hard." He found the strength to meet her gaze again. "Listen, kid... My mountain breeze. I'm sorry I let you down. But look... You go save that world yer in, and when you get home... If you remember this... Come find me. I... I could use... Brisa, I want your help."

It wasn't that Brisa didn't believe him. She believed him. She did. It was just... not nearly enough. She wanted him to beg. To get down on his fucking knees, in tears, pleading. To say a thousand sorries and admit what he'd done. To be someone who wasn't Jesse Stranger.

But the delphox in front of her already wasn't the Jesse Stranger she knew. Her father would never have admitted that he'd fucked up.

He'd never have asked for her help.

"Alright," she said, stiffly. "If I survive, and I remember, and you ain't fuckin' dead. Yeah. I'll come find you."

Jesse nodded, and closed his eyes tight.
 

Namohysip

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Buffet sighed, looking a little relieved. "Life is all about little steps forward," he said gently, and after that long speech that he'd probably been holding back. Their time at the edge, however, was finally at its conclusion, and Buffet helped Dave and Brisa onto his back once more. He left Jesse behind--after all, he had his own way back--and he drifted into the cosmos once again. His body became celestial, a collection of stars and outlines.

"It won't be long," Buffet said softly.
 

unrepentantAuthor

A cat that writes stories.
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Jesse

He watched his daughter go, with the Voice of Life from another world and the human in poochyena form who somehow had an answer for everything. He took a step towards them, as if a path existed for him between this dream and the place from which they'd contacted him. But such a path did not exist. Soon he would wake, and he would be back in that place, and all he could hope for was the chance he'd remember a speck of this encounter.

What to remember... The hatred on his daughter's face? The gut-freezing knowledge that he'd got it wrong? The words from those two strangers who knew only how he'd failed his daughter?

You do need help.

"I need help," he whispered to himself, and then clutched at his mouth, unwilling to let anything resembling fear or sorrow escape his lips, not while Brisa was still in his line of sight.

You need help, Jesse Stranger.

He couldn't do this alone any more. Maybe he never could. He didn't save the world alone, he'd done it with Sierra. He tried to hold onto the thoughts, and as he slipped back into unconsciousness and the illusions around him faded, he clung to the realisation.

I can't do it all alone.


XxX​

Brisa

Well, that was that.

Her father was alive, on her world, making a whole slew of problems his responsibility in total secrecy rather than talk to his family and try to fix things, or ask their help in his mission. Whatever it was he was fighting, if they'd taken it on together, they'd be home by now for sure. The fucking idiot bastard had left her to be alone, confused, and longing for years, rather than deal with things sensibly. Goddamnit.

Dave didn't say much on the trip back. Neither did Brisa. He hadn't been the support she'd hoped for but... She'd got to see someone tear into Jesse Stranger, as hideously uncomfortable as it had been, and surely no person in all the worlds could have done it like Dave Ambrose. That... That had been worth it, she thought.

"Thank you," she whispered to him.

When they returned home, she'd undoubtedly have to face more daunting Cibus bullshit, too much for any person to get a handle on. If she was like her father in one way, it was that urge, that feeling of responsibility, that duty to sort it out. But at least she'd be facing it unalone.

<><><><><>​
 
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