The Other Kind of Roommate

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The Other Kind of Roommate

Post by Tartra on Sat Jul 10, 2010 4:24 am

"Just shut up..."

Definitely. Xander was definitely going to listen if Alex asked for the seventh time. But at least he'd stopped trying to kill him. He'd worn himself out, what with all the exhausting ass-kicking taking its toll. But that only went so far. His voice was still going strong, the little bastard. He'd screamed for twelve hours, fourteen minutes and six or seven seconds - not that Alex had been counting or anything - and he still had enough breath to bitch at him for another three. Days, that was. Xander bitched for days. And for what? Coffee?

It's not just fucking coffee, you asshole. It's Starbucks. Alex's mistake. Again. The only fucking thing I ever ask you for, you cheap son of a bitch.

He'd seriously considered just handing himself in. Sure, the Agents had already more or less explained that getting the guy out would involve a saw, a drill, a chisel, his left temple and a grave, but it was starting to sound pretty good given the alternative.

I swear to God, the first chance I get, I'm grabbing a knife and stabbing you in the throat. You owe me.

Yeah, Alex owed him a coffee and a soul. They were in the mail, or something.

You think I won't wait? I can wait, you bastard - I can wait all fucking night.

Of course he could. Xander didn't sleep. Yet another surprise Alex had stumbled on.

I want my latte!

"Shut up," Alex said again.

The screaming started. At least the neighbours couldn't hear that.

His place was a mess. It usually was, but now it was dangerous to walk around. Glass was everywhere. Alex had told himself he should've never bought that mirror. Now there were shards of it stuck under his skin from when Xander had thrown his fist against it. He would've taken them out by now, except that his 'friend' was watching. Halfway through picking it out with tweezers, his hand would magically spasm, and then he'd have a field day trying to stitch his finger back on instead of just slapping a band-aid on it. That was fine. It barely hurt now. He was just worried about the mess.

The table? Smashed in two. Alex had landed on it with his hip. The chairs? Shattered. He'd been thrown against them, taking the blow with the exact center of his gut. The desk was gone, the shelves had cracked, the dresser was busted... He'd be picking splinters out of his clothes for weeks, if he was given that kind of privilege. Sometimes, it was easier to take a few pricks than try to dodge any of Xander's attacks.

You got lucky.

Alex agreed. There was a certain threshold of control Xander couldn't cross, and he'd made it halfway there simply trying to get back to Starbucks. That'd kept him from doing any permanent damage. It hadn't stopped him completely. Alex had overpowered him - it was his body anyway - it's shared - and, for some reason, he'd thought that was a good thing. He should've drawn it out, made sure the guy was too tired to take control of his arm and start beating him with it. He felt bruises along the side of his jaw. They were the least of his worries. His toe might've been broken.

Don't forget the bottles. There's bottles fuckin' everywhere.

If Alex drank, Xander went away. Or something. He shut up, at least. It was practically the only time he'd get any sleep, but he had to fight for that, too. Whatever it was that happened, Xander hated it. He'd struggle almost as fiercely as he did for his coffee if it meant getting away from any form of alcohol that could've been around. Naturally, he'd been getting better at it. Alex hadn't had a drop in days. It also meant he hadn't slept in days.

You wanna sleep?

Caffeine would keep him awake.

One thing, Xander spat. One fucking thing is all I'm asking for.

His jaw really did hurt. He must look terrible by now.

"Shut up, Xander."

He got up. His feet responded. That was a relief. That meant he didn't have to stab himself on the bottles that'd been smashed just to make his life more difficult. He hunched over what was left of the mirror, over the one piece that hadn't exploded when it'd been ripped from the wall and slammed to the ground. It worked, mostly. He had to keep turning his head if he wanted to see another part of it, but it worked. He counted that as a point for his side.

Alex's face was mostly intact. His head was roughly oval and the punches had been at the side of it, so for the most part, he looked alive. There were circles under his eyes, though. His skin should've been darker, more olive. That probably had to do with the fact that he hadn't gone out since the Starbucks incident. He could barely remember what the sun looked like.

It's yellow, it's round -

"It's a figure of speech."

It's bullshit, is what it is.

Brown eyes, brown hair, cut short and kind'f choppy. He'd done it himself. He didn't trust Xander around barbers. Around anyone, frankly, but especially not people with shit that went snip-snip. It was fine. It was acceptable. He'd learned not to be picky about a lot of things anymore, especially not about how he looked. So long as he didn't come off as deranged, half-starved or completely insane, he was great. Plus, he was in good shape. Xander wanted to make sure whatever punch he threw hit hard, so Alex was on a very strict work-out schedule that, to this day, he'd never missed out on. That was the only thing Xander was good for, keeping him alive.

I'm taking this body once you're fuckin' out.

That meant Xander had to keep him away from the Agents. At a very early age, Alex had learned to run. As equally early, he'd found out about his special talent. Aside from the crazy demon in his head, he meant.

Someone's coming. About the noise. I'll scream.

"I'll make you coffee."

I don't want it.

"Just shut up. Please? For once."

Bitch, let's see you make me.

Alex's arms twitched again. Xander was still too tired. He could feel the little guy get even angrier and sink deeper into the back of his mind - or wherever he was - and sulk. Good. That was something that'd keep him quiet. He'd need the silence to come up with another excuse for why the sounds of the apocalypse had been streaming out of his apartment for the last hour and a half.

"Xander, I'm serious."

Xander didn't say anything.

The third and final thing Alex had learned when he was young: no answer was almost as horrible as getting one.

Fantastic. Just... fantastic.


Last edited by Tartra on Tue Nov 30, 2010 3:22 am; edited 2 times in total
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Re: The Other Kind of Roommate

Post by Guest on Sat Jul 10, 2010 3:12 pm

Gwen sat down smoothly at her computer with the nice warm cup of coffee she'd just finished brewing, breathing out a pleasant sigh as the warm aroma filled her nose. Gently, she swiped away the dust on the keyboard of her laptop, the black squares and white letters gleaming up at her like new through the cloud of gray particles. The screen shone at her with it's own inner light, a stark, mechanical brightness compared to the warm glow of the sun drifting through her window. Upon it there was a blank document, the small cursor blinking and waiting for her hands to fill the page with words.

Excitement coursed through her veins as her bright blue eyes regarded the screen with a familiar look of determination, her hands settling upon the keyboard like spiders poised and ready to attack. A romance novelist, Gwen Stewart had experienced success not only in the small circles of the genre but beyond to the mainstream. Not the typical trash that others wrote, there was something unique about her series of books that touched the hearts of not only romantics but those who were more interested in more cerebral plots. The Nightshade series of books were her first books ever published and had instantly boosted her to higher status within the written world. Of course, there were those who didn't like her writing and she wasn't exactly famous at all, compared to others who had become household names, but she'd reached success and gone beyond the expected formula of the genre she had chosen, touching in the fantasy and the horror as well.

It had been several months since she'd published the last book of the series and now her editor was looking at her, expecting her to dish out something just as fantastic. For 6 months after however, Gwen found herself sort of burnt out on the old success. After staying with the series for 5 long novels, she found it hard to break away from those familiar characters and the world they called home. But it was done and the story had reached a final conclusion. If she continued it, it would only be dragging it on needlessly. And besides that, she was a bit tired with it and needed something new to focus on now. Something fresh.

It was easier said than done however and she struggled to find the Muse that would vault her into that pleasurable world of writing again. Part of it was the shadow of Nightshade hanging over her still, but it was also the pressure of her publicist waiting with open arms and a "Gimme! Gimme!" expression on his face. For months she remained silent, sidestepping his calls politely with promises that the idea would come to her eventually and finally it had. At the beginning of this week, she'd felt a tickling inside of her, an idea that started to form. For the past few days, she'd avoided her computer or even thinking about it as she played with the idea and let the story develop, characters fleshing out in her mind and growing more solid. Now, she was ready to start, unable to hold it off any longer.

With her hands on the keyboard like this, it felt so good, like shaking hands or greeting an old friend. Her fingers tapped upon the keys wildly, the spiders' legs dancing with a light mechanical clicking sound, only pausing once or twice in the frantic beat to press the backspace when she wanted to alter a path. She didn't even stop when she took a sip of her coffee, working with one hand busily flying across the keyboard making up for the lost companion but unable to stop the flow.

"His heart pounded heavily in his chest as he watched her she jogging along the winding path. Sunlight glistened upon her blonde hair turning it into burnished gold that flickered and winked as she passed in and out of the shade of the trees that lined the path. Her muscles bunched within her calves and shoulders as she bounded upon the crumbling asphalt, her sneakers barely making a sound except for a light tap to account for her lithe frame. Other runners and bikers had passed by every day as he read upon the bench, but he'd paid them no mind. Nothing but shadows surrounded him, vague concepts of flesh and bone and blood. But she'd been different. She'd--"

Gwen jumped in her seat as a loud and heavy crash came from next door, her heart trying to break through her chest with a battering ram as her bright blue gaze stared wide eyed at the wall to her right, her body rigid and frozen as she stared and waited for another sound. Slowly she calmed herself and shook her head in distaste and turned back to her computer, biting her plush full lips for a moment before settling back into the groove. Several moments later however she was interrupted again by the sounds from her neighbors house, breaking glass heard muffled through the walls and the voice of her neighbor saying something unintelligible in an angry tone.

Groaning, she ran her hands through her long, wavy brown hair trying to return to her work while the Muse still tickled inside her mind and the words still flowed from her fingers. But ignoring the racket from next door was a lot harder than she thought and she found herself slowing until her fingers were no longer moving, just waiting for the damned idiot to shut up. Finally, she just sat supporting her chin in her palm staring at the words upon the screen and occasionally casting an annoyed glare at the wall separating her apartment from the man who lived next door. With a bitter sigh, she picked up her coffee cup and started to drink the still heated liquid when another large bang and a yell startled her. Except this time when she jumped, she was holding something and hot coffee splashed upon her keyboard and laptop screen.

"Shit!" she said in dismay as she set the coffee mug aside and hurriedly tried to clean it up, her hands moving frantically to pick up an old sweater close by and starting to dab the keys to pick up the moisture. It was only a few seconds later when the liquid seeped below the keys and deeper into the computer, that the screen suddenly went blank before her eyes. "No! Nonononononononono!" her efforts became more frantic as she tried to restore the computer to health and failed miserably. With an exasperated breath she sat back in her seat and looked at the darkened screen in despair. It was only then that she became aware that the sounds from next door had died down and she gritted her straight teeth angrily. Now? NOW he decided to be quiet? After it didn't matter any more and a whole 6 pages were lost???

Rising from her seat, she walked into her bedroom and put on a blue, close-fitting sweatshirt over her white tank top, and then with determination in her eyes and her chin set stubbornly she left her own apartment and stalked over to the door next to hers in the dimly lit hallway. Pounding against it as hard as she could with the side of her fist, she waited for him to answer. After several moments of silence she pounded some more even harder this time, muttering under her breath. "Come on, you fucker," she whispered through gritted teeth before pounding impatiently again, seemingly taking some of her anger out upon his door.

When the door opened, she didn't even wait to look at him before vaulting right into her rant. "Listen, I don't know what problem you're having and I'm sure they have medication for it but you need to..." Her voice dwindled and the rage blazing within her eyes faded as she got a look at his face. "Jesus..." she murmured, her gaze fluttering over the swollen bruises. It only occurred to her then that the sounds she heard could have been from a struggle. "What happened?" Casting a furtive look beyond him to the room she couldn't see because of his body obscuring her vision, she whispered, "Do you want me to call the police?"

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Re: The Other Kind of Roommate

Post by Tartra on Sat Jul 10, 2010 4:16 pm

"Uh..."

Yeah. That about summed it up.

Rrrrrrr...

Alex felt his mouth twitching. Xander, stop.

I'm sorry, I can't hear when you say it in your head. Wanna talk a little louder and share it with the class?

Alex ignored him. He'd pay for it later. RIght now, it was time to focus.

"Ah... No. No, it's fine. Everything's fine. I was just - uh..."

Renovating.

"Yeah. I mean - I was renovating."

Like a fag.

"Parents... coming... stopping by... You know how it is," Alex said. "Gotta keep the place clean, right?"

I bought it, at least.

Had he seen this girl - woman, sorry - before? Just about everyone in this building had come by to scream at him at one point or another. Their faces blurred together after a while and he couldn't guess at anyone's name on this floor. She could've moved in yesterday or been here for years. Well - if it was years, that wouldn't make much of a difference. He'd only been in this room for two months, and he was lucky if he got to stay another week. Paying extra on his rent (minus the deposits, which were gone by now) was only going to take him so far. He'd started looking for a new place. He'd put in a few offers, too. Based on their proximity to Starbucks, he'd done a pretty good job of narrowing his choices down. It was a tie between two a few blocks apart.

Rrrrrrrrrrr...

Stop it.

Should he say something else? It wasn't like he'd been expecting her to vanish, but she wasn't moving yet. Not that he'd given her time to reply. People didn't go away half a second after a lame-ass answer, especially not when they were freaked enough to want to call the cops. So, what? More explanation? Yeah, that'd work. 'Hi, thanks for coming over to make sure I wasn't getting killed. Sorry for making so much noise, but I'll be sure to keep it down the next time my psychopathic brain-buddy decides to beat the shit out'f me. No, don't call the cops and don't call the nuthouse. I'm great. I'm golden. Go away.'

Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrraaaa -

Alex knew what Xander was trying to do. Seriously, stop it.

Starbucks?

Great. He wanted to negotiate. Well, at least this meant he wasn't in such a pissy mood anymore. Maybe Alex'd get the mirror chips out of his hand after all. But he wanted to do it now? Right now?

Xander sensed the panic. He very smoothly replied, Fuck yes.

He'd been putting up with this for years. He knew almost everything there was to know about what Xander could or couldn't do. The only thing he had never been sure of was whether the guy could read Alex's thoughts or not. Emotions, definitely. If Alex started thinking about how much his toe hurt -

Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.

Or if he started thinking about how long it'd been since he'd seen the sky -

Holy shit, man. The sun's not that great. Stop crying about it.

Or if he remembered how long it'd been since he'd had a civil conversation -

Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrraaaaaaaa--

He didn't know. Maybe Xander could hear his thoughts or maybe it really was only feelings he picked up on. The fact of the matter was that, when Alex needed to directly, clearly communicate with the guy, the only thing he'd ever respond to were spoken words.

"I'll be right back," Alex said. Then he pulled his head back into his room and closed the door.

No, he wasn't being creepy. It was all his head. His crazy, crowded head.

So - that's a 'yes' to Starbucks?

"Are you gonna shut the fuck up?"

Oooh. That's gonna cost you a Swiss Chalet.

"Swiss Chalet is garbage," Alex muttered. "I'm not -"

Rrrrrrrr--

"Just shut up," Alex hissed. "Five minutes - five tiny minutes - is all I need."

Two minutes.

"Just keep it together until she's gone," Alex said. "You think you can manage that?"

Don't get that shitty chicken sauce. Get the gravy. Mmm, gravy.

There was not going to be any Swiss Chalet.

Okay.

"Let's call it a 'maybe'," Alex mumbled. He opened the door again, casually smiling, which he already knew had come out as a wince. "Hi. I'm fine. I'll keep it down. Is that it?"
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Re: The Other Kind of Roommate

Post by Guest on Sat Jul 10, 2010 9:24 pm

Immediately something tingled on her skin as the man, her neighbor, began to speak, the words coming out in a broken uneven mess as if he were using them for the first time with another person around and searching frantically for the appropriate tone. What would otherwise seem like a man caught off guard by her beauty and thus been amusing to watch, instead made her feel suspicious, especially with the excuse he came up with. Something just didn't feel right here but she couldn't put her finger on what exactly was wrong with the situation.

Even as she waited patiently and more of his story was revealed, her eyes widened and then narrowed at different parts, skepticism painted upon every smooth feature as it bloomed into being upon her face. Thinking over the noises she'd heard, she was still trying to search her memory for any other voices because she was almost certain now that he wasn't in there alone and was covering someone else's ass. This suspicion was confirmed a moment later when he excused himself for a moment and then retreated back into his room, quickly closing the door behind himself. Nosy as she was, Gwen moved her head closer to the door and heard his voice, muffled through the wood, whispering angrily at someone. The other person might have been too quiet for her to hear, but the tingling started up in the silence between his words, so bad that she scratched her forearm light and quick to get rid of the vibrational itch.

As she heard the door knob turn she stepped back into her spot about a foot or so from the door as his face reappeared in the space between door and frame and he uttered a curt, succinct explanation that urged her to leave. However, despite how weird this was and the feeling in her gut, Gwen was still pissed off by what he'd made her do to her computer. He'd basically stolen a blissful 90 minutes of her morning and destroyed her laptop. The least she could do was return a bit of the favor and waste some of his time. If there were people in there beating on him who might be angered by the delay she was creating, all the better.

Folding her arms and lightly scratching her arm again, she gave him a level look. "Renovating, huh?" she said with doubt dripping from her voice. "Is that how you got that black eye? Or did that happen before you decided to break shit and knock down walls for mommy and daddy's visit? Does Arthur Crags know about this? If you haven't told the landlord what you're doing, you can get your ass sued. I'm not saying I'm a snitch, but just letting you know, it means more than a simple eviction if you're caught doing work on these apartments without permission." A light shown in her eye then, hinting at her plan to give the landlord a call after she was done here, even though she doubted her neighbor was really renovating at all. Even if he was, Mr. Crags was not the type of man to allow that in his building and it filled her with a sense of delight to imagine him coming up here blustering and angry, shouting abuse at this man who'd wrecked her morning.

With a sigh her eyes left him and she looked at the floor for a moment before training her eyes upon him again. "Look, if you're going to be doing any more "renovating" I'd appreciate you letting me know so that I don't end up wasting my time. I'm very busy and I don't have the patience to come over here to reprimand you every time I need to get something done. So just cut the shit out and let people know before you decide it's "hammer time" or to give yourself punching lessons or whatever. Other people live here besides you."

She took a breath and from the look on his face she could tell he was practically dying for her to leave and she'd finally run out of things to say. Gwen gave him one more warning look and turned to walk back to her apartment.

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Re: The Other Kind of Roommate

Post by Tartra on Sat Jul 10, 2010 9:55 pm

"Yeah." She'd already turned away. "I'll remember that."

Bitch.

She was leaving. Unbelievable. Alex didn't have to fight her.

You'd've lost, pussy.

Problem solved. Crisis averted. Okay. Wow. This was the first time in a long time he'd thought 'fantastic' and actually meant it. Now if he could fix up his apartment, maybe glue his face back together - her voice had changed completely when she'd taken a good look at him - then figure out what he was going to do about this mess...

Crags' is gonna kill you. Xander started gloating. I can't feel pain.

'Renovating' or not, this place looked like a bomb had gone off. He was up shit's creek if anyone came in here, let alone the man who'd already expressed his severe disinterest in putting up with anymore complaints.

We wouldn't have that problem if you'd let me split his head in two.

That was enough of that. If nothing else, Alex was getting some sleep.

"He's hurting me!"

His eyes popped open. He immediately jumped back and threw himself against the door, slamming it shut.

"You're an asshole," he spat when he was inside. "You're an incredible asshole and I can't believe -"

You gettin' take-out again tonight? I'm off Chinese for a little while. Swiss Chalet?

"You're out of your mind!"

That's the plan, Xander said. Once I get rid of you, anyway.

"This is my body and I am not going to tell you again," Alex snapped. "Shut up, stop taking over, and - I am not joking - I'll run outside and drown myself in vodka if you don't... just..."

Behave myself?

First she wanted to call the cops. Then she wanted to call the landlord. Now it sounded like she was going to be keeping an eye on him - or ear or whatever - and what had just come out of his mouth, with a special thanks to Xander, you're welcome, was about as high on the worst possible things that could've been said on any list anywhere.

Rrrrrrrrrrr -

"If you get me killed, you die, too! You ever think of that, genius?"

You don't know that for sure, Xander sang. But then, at once, the voice in his head grew serious. Well - as serious as it got, anyway. You think she's an Agent?

"Of course not," Alex said. "She's just pissed that you attacked me over coffee."

So, about dinner...

"... Well..." He wasn't paranoid. He knew what an Agent was like. They were meaner. Fiercer. They didn't check up on people and then walk away. "You don't... think...?"

Gettin' hungry.

"If you can't feel pain, you can't feel hunger. Is she an Agent or not?"

He hated depending on the guy, but Xander was much more perceptive than he'd ever be. The last few times he'd run into them, he'd thought they were cops or detectives or private eyes or something. He'd recognized them and he was proud of that, but the threat of who they were hadn't dawned on him until Xander took over and attacked. He'd saved Alex's life twice that way. It was stuff like that that made Alex think he wasn't hated as much as a certain someone insisted.

Are you being sentimental again?

"Just tell me what you think."

No.

No. He would've been edgier if she was. Alex was safe. There was no reason for him to panic.

"Rrrrraaaaaaaape!"

Oh - for fuck's sake, Xander!

AH, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA! Let's get Italian.
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Re: The Other Kind of Roommate

Post by Guest on Sun Jul 11, 2010 4:32 pm

Back in her apartment, Gwen closed the door with a silent sigh and stood for a few moments just staring into space, her mind still thinking over the strange meeting. Shaking herself out of it, she walked straight to her phone and picked it up, starting to dial the landlord's number to tattle on the freak that lived next door. She stopped mid-button push when she heard the man next door yelp about someone hurting him, her eyes going wide as she looked at the wall that separated them. As his door slammed shut, her finger moved of it's own accord to turn the phone off. Moving quickly and silently, she walked over to the wall and bit her lip as she pressed her face against it, listening intently to the muffled conversation. Again, she thought she could hear him talking angrily to someone, but she could not hear the other person. Where there should have been a response, there was silence and it made her shiver involuntarily every time he paused.

Even as thin as the walls were, she could only hear an occasional word and couldn't make much sense of the half-heard conversation he was having with himself. What she did happen to hear was a tad unsettling and she began to think that maybe he was in there by himself. That the reason she couldn't hear anybody else was because nobody else was talking. At least not for her ears. Her mind started to buzz with the possibilities, even as her body shivered at every silence and she strained to catch every word of his lonely conversation.

"Rrrrraaaaaaaape!" his voice yelled clear as day through the wall, making Gwen's eyebrows furrow in irritation. Ugh! The stupid asshole! He was obviously messing with her. With an angry thump of her wrist on the wall, she shook her head and walked away, washing her hands of the incident and the man's continued insanity.

Washing out her dishes from this morning's coffee, she tried to forget about the stupid man and his "renovating", eventually needing to turn on her television to distract herself and stop eavesdropping. Making herself up some homemade fried rice and chicken for dinner, she sat down to eat and watch mind-numbing reality shows. After a while, she looked forlornly at her dead laptop and realized she really should be getting back to work on her new book. But she dragged her feet about it, still feeling disheartened from losing the brilliance she'd typed up this morning, and began washing the dishes from dinner and cleaning the kitchen before she finally sat down at her desk with a notepad and a pencil.

After a few moments of sitting in silence, staring at the thin blue lines on white background, she glanced over at the wall between her and her neighbor. Walking over, she put her head against the wall briefly, before shaking her head and mumbling to herself, walking back towards her desk. But instead of sitting down, she walked over to her easy chair and began to scoot it near the wall, struggling to keep it quiet as she set it in front of the windows on the adjacent wall. She sat in it for several moments, tapping her pencil on the notepad in her lap and finally got up to scoot it over to the wall of her neighbor's apartment, pressing the back of the chair against it.

Settling down in her seat, she listened quietly for anything, but after a few moments, began to scrawl quickly upon the page in front of her.

"Was it mental illness? Were there really two people over there, but only physically one? Had her neighbor been possessed by demons? She didn't know, but could not shake the feeling that something terrible was happening to Mr.--"

It was only then that she paused and realized that she didn't know the man's name and had failed to give him hers. Late into the night, she continued to write, occasionally looking at the wall or stopping her busy hand when she thought she heard something. Every small sound caused her to pause, her ears hanging over the stillness, drinking it all in, waiting for more to be said and more ideas for her new plot to be revealed.

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Re: The Other Kind of Roommate

Post by Tartra on Sun Jul 11, 2010 5:30 pm

Alex finally admitted it: he was paranoid. For the next several hours, he'd been quietly pulling the remains of his room into order again, dragging everything that was broken, which was all of it, into a pile that he'd let Xander throw out the window. He'd moved the dumpster under the window for that specific reason. He'd also moved onto one of the higher floors for it, too. If he was perfectly honest with himself, he'd realize he got as much a kick out of throwing giant hunks of table, dresser, shelf and whatever else that'd been destroyed out the window to explode as it hit the ground as Xander did, but that'd mean pointing out a common interest between them. No thank you. It was needlessly destructive anyway, and someone could get hurt.

More.

So Alex stopped dragging things around - quietly, which was another concept the other guy couldn't grasp - and went back over to his bed, where he'd left the box of pizza they'd eventually agreed on. Half pepperoni, half Hawaiian, as usual. As he picked up the nasty fruit-covered slice, he felt his mouth start reaching for it. Good. Let Xander have it. So long as he didn't have to taste it, Alex didn't care.

Back to being paranoid.

He'd done everything in his power to stay silent since that woman'd left. He -

More.

Anyway, he'd kept every answer he said out loud short, frank, and under his breath. For a while, he'd almost considered duct taping his mouth, but he thought better of it at the last second, especially when Xander started getting giddy.

Should've done it. Should still do it. More.

Xander could talk and chew. It was one more piece of evidence that this was not his body.

What's-her-face. What'd'ya think?

Alex couldn't talk and chew. This was his body and his mouth was full. The most he could manage was a bland, "Huh."

Interesting.

"Huh?"

Her.

Paranoid again. Very, very paranoid.

"Whuh -" He started choking. Xander was delighted to punch him in the chest. "Thanks. I guess."

More.

"Hold on," Alex whispered. "She's 'interesting'?"

Sure. More.

"You've never said that before."

More.

"Can you make up your mind? Should I worried about her or not? I'm being hunted, Xander. I need to know when there's something wrong."

Put food in my face or I'll kick your ass again. Fair enough. Alex ended up taking another bite of the... ugh... pineapple. She's interesting. Yeah, he got that. Let's go talk to her.

"No."

Okay.

Xander's sudden silence immediately began gnawing at him. He tried holding off for a minute, failed miserably, then asked as softly as he possibly good, "Alright, fine. Why do you want to talk to her?"

She's hot.

"Right, well, that's not good enough."

Is for me.

And before Alex could get another word out, Xander took over completely, restraining himself just long enough to finish his slice, jam another in his mouth, pick up the half-empty pizza box and run out the door. And, of course, he left it wide open, because apparently he couldn't wait to get Alex kicked out on his ass -

You wouldn't have this problem if you'd just gotten me a latte.

Alex started fighting back. He forced himself to feel his fingers, forced them to do what he - and only he - told them, but the only thing that got him was another slap on the side of his throat.

Trust me, Xander said, less than reassuringly. She digs us anyway. You hear her bangin' on the walls earlier?

"Banging on the walls after you screamed 'rape'? Nice job, by the way," Alex said.

He was in front of her door, now. He was in front of the door with a crazy guy in his head and a pizza box in his hand. He couldn't stress enough what a bad situation this was. And then Xander started knocking.

"She's not answering."

Yeah - probably 'cause she's not the Flash. Give her more than a second to figure out I'm here.

"You're - you - you wanna talk to her? You? With your mouth - with my mouth?" This had never once been a good thing. "What... What're you even gonna say?"

"I'm gonna give her pizza," Xander said with Alex's voice. "Bitches love pizza."

"'Bitches' do not like pizza," Alex spat. "And don't say that -"

"Shhhhhh. Relax."

Despite himself, he did. For a moment. Then he panicked again and demanded, "You're really doing this because you think she's hot? This is really necessary?"

"Maybe I'm just making friends with my neighbours."

"You don't make friends -"

"Yeah, and whose fault is that?" Alex could feel himself frowning. "Just stay out of this. 'You think you can manage that?'"

... He didn't really have a choice.

"Big smile, bitch-boy," Xander said. "We've gotta make a good impression."
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Re: The Other Kind of Roommate

Post by Guest on Sun Jul 11, 2010 6:24 pm

"He sat alone in his dark and wrecked apartment, filled with grief after she'd gone, yearning for human contact but afraid of what his other side might do. He'd barely restrained it and kept it in check as it was. And if she knew, she would no doubt shun him and deny him the desires of his heart. He couldn't take that kind of rejection, and it was quite possible it would send the other personality into a rage. So, he stayed, in the dark alone, pining for her from afar never to let her know his true feelings lest he reveal his other side. Little did he realize that she had noticed him and was hanging on his every whispered word through the barrier that separated them, eager to be let into his world, to be shown his true and dark side. If only she knew that the darkness that possessed his soul would consume..."

Gwen's hand slowed as she heard his voice beyond the wall and her body froze to listen, needlessly shushing the dripping of her faucet as she tried to hang on his every word, only hearing about half of them. What was he talking about now? She stayed perfectly still, finding that it worked better than wasting her time getting up and pressing herself to the wall every time, usually causing her to miss something by the time her ear was in place and it didn't make much difference with the sound anyways.

"... you make up your mind? Should I be worried about...? I'm being hunted...." She leaned back inch by inch getting as close to the wall as she could without moving too much or making too much soft noises with her clothes to cover his voice. And her eyes widened at that last part. Hunted? Was he an escaped mental patient? Who was after him? Already her mind was working on ways to incorporate this into the character she'd created, Mr. Steven Diaz and his other, evil side Mordeth. She was busily writing down the ideas before they left her, hearing even less of the conversation above the scratching of her pencil across the paper.

So, you're being hunted by...an evil doctor who works at the insane asylum you were admitted to. But instead of helping patients, he's actually into the occult and using the bodies of his patients to house demons. All of them have died because of the stress the other worldly spirits put upon their bodies. Except you, Mr. Diaz.
Her internal dialogue intoned as she wrote, a small smile curving on her lips as the ideas flowed from her fingers.

When she heard the door in the next apartment open, she stopped, at first unsure of what exactly that noise had been having not heard the door shut behind him. Breaking her rule, she got up on her knees on the chair's cushion, facing the wall, her cheek pressed against it and listening intently. But she couldn't hear anything. Had he fallen? Had he left? What was going on? Where had her Muse gone?

When the knock came against her door, she jumped and stared at it as if it were an alien creature she'd never seen before. Shaking her head she quickly jumped up and ran to the door, her eye instantly fitting snugly against the peep hole. Seeing the distorted form of her neighbor standing before it, she quickly ducked her head below the tiny hole, her hand covering her mouth to stop her from choking aloud. She stood like that, huddled against her door for several moments, hearing his characteristic murmuring on the other side, before she peeked up into the hole again, pressing her lips together anxiously.

For several moments, she contemplated pretending she wasn't here, but there was another part of her that was eager to figure out why he was here. She'd already decided when she'd started writing that if he didn't leave his apartment by tomorrow night, she was going to go over there again and introduce herself. Possibly follow him if he ever did leave and stalk him for a bit. For her writing of course. Now, it would seem he was making the first move and she wouldn't have to. To deny the opportunity to speak with him face to face again, after the inspiration he'd given her the first time would be foolish.

Clearing her throat, she stepped back from the door and adjusted herself, considering putting on her sweatshirt again, but decided against it. She didn't look too bad, just sort of casual in her white tank top and weathered jeans, both snugly fitting her thin curves. Adjusting her long, wavy hair on her shoulders, she stepped forward and opened the door. Blue eyes blinked in a bit of surprise as her gaze took him in for a third time and she got a better look at his full body this time. Trailing down, she quirked an eyebrow as she saw the pizza box, her eyes zooming back up to his face in a bored fashion. "More renovating?" she asked with a quirk of her lips, referring to her previous rant where she'd asked him to tell her when he'd be banging around in the future.

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Re: The Other Kind of Roommate

Post by Tartra on Sun Jul 11, 2010 9:17 pm

Ha, ha. That's cute.

Yeah. She'd make a great neighbour. He'd be sure -

"I'm on break," Xander said, practically glowing. "Plus, I felt like there was something more important I needed to do than fix my justifiably smashed apartment."

"Smashed because I'm renovating it," Alex added.

No, no, no, no, no. I told you specifically that we were gonna talk to her and you said no. Keep your trap shut before I break it in two.

What was he going for? What was playing at now? There was no way Xander was actually interested in this girl - well, not no way, because she was pretty - smokin' hot - but Alex feared for her life if he was. And if he wasn't, that was even worse, because it meant he'd got the scent of something and wasn't sharing. If Xander would just let him into his head - don't try to be witty, 'cause I can tell when you're trying and it's fucking annoying - then maybe Alex could reasonably or rationally or convincingly explain that not everyone needed to die and maybe, if there really was a threat, all they had to do was leave.

Pshht. Fuck that.

So he was trying to kill her? Something was wrong? Was she -

Calm down, pennywhistle. How the hell was that an insult? I got this. Just be nice.

Of course. Because it was Alex who had that problem with people.

"Anyway, I was thinking about earlier, about how noisy I was this morning... Well - most mornings," Xander said, "and I realized I haven't been an easy person to live beside." He stopped, winced, then gave a small shrug. "I don't normally do this. Hell - I'm yelled at all the time and I never care, but I felt like today was... too much. It was a stupid argument, I should've gotten my latte and this would've all been avoided, and it wasn't fair that I made you put up with the very, very frequent mistakes of my roommate."

HO. LEE. SHIT. Xander! Dammit! He didn't live with anyone, remember?

Not for long, anyway.

"My roommate -"

"- left a little while ago," Xander cut in. "He's pissy about something - yet again - so now was the only chance I've had to come over here. Believe me. I've killing myself realizing how bad I've been. All because of a latte. One simple latte that could've easily been picked up."

Okay, that was enough.

"In fact, I came down here to bring you a peace-offering." Xander somehow drew attention to the box without moving an inch. "But you know what? That's not good enough. I can't honestly believe a simple slice of - do you like Hawaiian? Stupid question, everyone does. Anyway, I think I can do a little more than that."

NO. HE. COULD. NOT.

"Tomorrow morning, let's head over to Starbucks -"

NO.

"- it's not a date. I'm not trying to flirt with you or make you uncomfortable -"

He was making Alex uncomfortable!

"I swear to you, I'll remove my roommate's ass from his body if he decides to try something stupid - like... I don't know, somehow keep me from showing up, but I'm right beside you so feel free to come over and make sure he's not messing around." Xander smiled again, less brilliantly, more sincerely. "I'd honoured if you'd join me at Starbucks."

Oh. OH. Do you see that? Do you see what that is? It's a silver platter, you son of a bitch, and I am handing her to you on it. Don't fuck this up. This is impossible to fuck up, but I know you'll try.

Xander let go of his control. He must've been tired. That'd been happening more and more lately. Not that he was complaining, but Alex had to make sure he wasn't hoarding energy for one last, violent grab for complete ownership. ... And now Alex was standing stupidly in the hallway with a box of pizza and a blank look on his face.

"Uh..." Smooth. "Shut up. I mean - yeah! Yeah, so - uh... Just... tell me what you're - uh... you know - your schedule? Just - uh... Well, you know where I am! I'll be there... tomorrow..."

Let's bounce! Feed me!

"Uh..." Alex's hand started digging at the box. "... Bye."
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Re: The Other Kind of Roommate

Post by Guest on Sun Jul 11, 2010 10:39 pm

When he spoke, Gwen tried to act normal and set herself at ease, even though she felt slightly guilty from eavesdropping on him all evening and anxious that he somehow knew about it. But as he continued to talk, she realized that wasn't the problem. There was something...different about the way he spoke to her now as opposed to when they'd talked earlier. He was full of confidence and every word came out smooth and quick, seemingly unhindered by a need for appearances or trying to impress her. He just was. The way he held himself now had a certain magnetism that both drew her in and repelled her. But she couldn't deny, he was acting completely different from the way he had before and it put her on edge.

So, her eyes watched him closely making note of every small flicker of emotion on his face and trying to ignore the feeling pacing in her gut. Even as closely as she was watching and listening to him, it still came as a surprise to her when he mentioned his roommate. Wha? was all she could think as she stared at him a bit wide eyed, blinking a few times to shake the surprised look from her face. As he went on, she tried to get her mind working again and blushed as several realizations hit her.

Of course! It all made sense now! There WAS someone else in there with him, someone temperamental and snobby it seemed. THAT was probably why he was acting differently now. He didn't have the other guy hanging over him ready to start another argument. Letting out a small sigh, she shook her head and focused back on the man standing in front of her, feeling for all the world like a complete idiot for all the stupid assumptions she'd made. But still, when she looked up into his brown eyes, she couldn't shake that feeling from before, even as she chided herself for being silly. It's over now. Let it go. There's no mystery and he's not hiding a split personality, so just cut it out. As she continued to listen to him however, she couldn't help searching his eyes looking for that "other thing" as her intuition whispered at her shoulder, it could be a cover-up. Afterall, you've been listening all day and haven't heard one peep of someone else.

When he mentioned the pizza, her eyes drifted back down to the box and returned to his face without moving her head and she couldn't help the smile tugging at the corner of her lips as he invited her to Starbucks with him. No, of course, of course it wasn't a date. That would definitely be too forward. Just a friendly, "I'm sorry my roommate and I argue too loud and violent" coffee. Of course.

She'd already decided to say yes, when the uneasy feeling that had been coursing through her suddenly vanished and she looked up at him to see the man who had answered the door just a few hours ago. Her smile slowly faded as his uncertain speech came tumbling out and the suspicious look was back on her face. Instantly, she covered it up and filled the silence between them with polite niceties.

"Sure," she said, her hand drifting out and opening the lid of the pizza box. "I'll be there. And if you don't show, I'll just come and beat your roommate's ass for you." Her oceanic gaze twinkled suggestively, even as her tone hinted at a playful jab at his masculinity, and she reached into the box and took out a slice of pineapple pizza. "Thanks," she said motioning with the pizza and taking a bite of it as she stepped back and closed the door, locking it behind herself.

Immediately, her eye went to the peep hole and she watched him from it, idly eating the "peace offering".

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Re: The Other Kind of Roommate

Post by Tartra on Sun Jul 11, 2010 11:24 pm

"I can't believe that worked."

I told you.

He couldn't believe she was still... alive.

I'm a nice guy.

Alex slowly walked back to his apartment, leaving the pizza box open long enough for Xander to grab what was left. The guy seemed much happier and much more complacent. Yes to coffee? Sharing pizza? If he didn't know any better, he'd think there'd been a connection.

Whoa there, cowboy.

"I was kidding. I don't think you're even capable of seeing other people as 'persons'."

Yeah...

Alex stopped walking before he walked through the door. He knew what was happening. Xander was still excited, but it was on a completely different level than before.

An Agent. It had to be.

Go. It's fine. I got this.

This was where Xander shined. There was a loose balance between them now, a sharing of control and a bond of trust that would never, ever exist between them at any other time. It was too much effort for his 'roommate' to take over completely, so a very light steering would be enough until he was forced to break off his chain. And Alex was more than happy to let him. He didn't have the reflexes to take on an Agent.

Shit. Shit. The second he'd left the door open -

I was inviting them.

What?

They've been on our ass all week. Figured I'd let 'em in so we could talk.

Oh God. Oh God. Oh-god-oh-god-oh-god.

Shut up.

Xander still had to time to shove the last bit of his food in his mouth, before brazenly striding inside and slamming the door shut. He tossed the box to one corner and brushed his hands on Alex's pants. Then he quickly scanned the room, looking for something Alex knew he'd never pick up on first.

Oh yeah. He's still here.

Where?

Rookie mistake.

Where?

Xander didn't answer. He attacked. It wasn't until he saw his fingers wrap around a throat that he admit there really was someone else in this apartment. They weren't invisible, they weren't cloaked, they'd simply been standing there and that had been enough to hide from plain sight. They were like ghosts. Horrible ghosts, ones with guns. The worst kind.

Oh boy. They're prepared.

Agents almost always wore masks of some kind. Simple ones, just enough to keep themselves mysterious. They had to blend in, after all. But this guy... His entire head was covered. It was like some steel wool ski mask with plastic, oval eye holes. Xander moved too fast for the Agent to react. That was the rookie mistake. Everyone new to Alex's 'case' always underestimated what he could do. They would watch him for months, studying his habits, making note of his work-outs and his otherwise unimpressive lifestyles. He got the feeling some of them didn't believe what Xander could do. That made Alex feel a little better. It was as if the playing field was leveled.

It took all of two seconds for Xander to hurl the Agent to the ground. When he was down there, Xander grabbed the stupid mask and ripped it off his face. Alex hated this part. The Agent immediately began sobbing. If he didn't believe the rumours surrounding Alex's powers, he sure as hell guessed what was coming now.

He wanted to close his eyes. The whole point was to keep them open.

The dryness began. It burned. He wanted to blink and clear them again, but Xander kept them focused. The Agent kept sobbing and flailing his head around, trying to keep from making contact. Xander punched him in the throat, then grabbed the Agent's chin and held it still. For one solitary fraction of a second, their eyes locked. They stared into the depths of each other's soul and a bridge was formed between them. A second was all it needed. The Agent was foaming and convulsing an instant later.

Xander smiled, then stood up.

"You're... you're not killing him?"

Not that he wanted the Agent to die, but if anyone needed to be permanently stamped out, it was one of them.

Just a seizure. That alright with you?

"But... why?"

Hope what's-her-face - damn, didn't get her name - doesn't mind the noise again. Do we have rope? Or a chain or something?

He knew they did. Xander started walking in that the direction, then passed the buck onto Alex because he, once more, was tired.

"Are you trying to keep him here? As bait?" That'd happened before. "Didn't you learn anything last time?"

That I'm incredibly awesome and can take down twelve guys in six minutes? Yeah, I got that. It wasn't a subtle lesson. He shrugged. I'll kill him eventually, Xander said, like he was talking about doing the recycling. But not yet. I've got some questions I wanna ask him.

"You're gonna interrogate him?" That was worse than killing him!

Yeah. Problem?

"Yes!"

I'll keep it quiet. Your little girlfriend won't hear a thing.

"As far as I'm concerned, she's your girlfriend, and we're not playing host to someone else -"

Thought you wanted another roommate.

"Not an Agent!"

Shhh! She's probably sleeping by now.

Alex steadied himself. He took in three deep breaths, grabbed the rope from under the sink, then turned back and walked towards the Agent. The man was barely breathing. His eyes had rolled back into his head and his tongue had fallen out, raking against his teeth.

Awww. They're so cute when they're frothing. Tie him to the chair, will ya?

"Which one?"

The one I didn't smash against your skull.

Fair enough. Alex lifted the man up and dragged him onto the chair, not bothering to be careful as he juggled him and the wobbly, slightly splintered thing in his arms. With an ease more practised than he was comfortable with, Alex tied the man up around the feet, the thighs, the chest, and then the wrists. He wasn't getting out of that.

We're gonna have to wait for him to wake up.

"Will he?"

Uh...

"I'm going to bed," Alex muttered. "Scream if you hear him moving."

Will do.

And with that, Alex crawled under his covers, closing the door on another fucked up day.

At least he was getting a latte tomorrow. He kind of liked those.
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Re: The Other Kind of Roommate

Post by Guest on Mon Jul 12, 2010 12:09 am

Her open eye blinked and the smile touching her lips spread as she finished chewing the bite of pizza, hearing his muffled words and seeing his lips move to form them. It filled her with a wave of triumph to see him talk to himself, but at the same time she couldn't help clicking her tongue in amusement at how cute he was. So amazed that he got the girl to say yes to a date with him. Too bad she had ulterior motives about the whole thing. He wasn't a bad guy, just too weird for her tastes. She'd humor him for as long as it benefited her and her new book.

As he turned away she did as well, walking into her kitchen and putting the pizza away for later, humming to herself pleasantly until she realized she was doing it and told herself to stop. With a sigh, she glanced into her living room at the empty loveseat near the wall and the pad of paper she'd been using and turned out the light before heading to her bedroom down the short hallway.

Relaxed and calm, she got herself ready for bed, brushing her teeth and washing her face, then slipping her jeans off and burrowing under the covers of her queen-sized bed. Rolling over once, she thought she heard a thump come from next door, but she stayed still and listened, silence filling the air before she let out a breath and laid back down. Later on as she was floating above sleep, she thought she heard a muffled yell from his apartment, but it wasn't loud enough to rouse her from the sleep that was pulling her under quickly.

As she drifted off to dreamland, her thoughts ran over the events of the day and she was placed within the fantasy world of her Nightshade books. Except it was more like a nightmare. All of her characters were there but the things they said and the way everything was playing out was like a campy, poorly made, family-themed, fantasy movie. Horrified, she tried to get the "actors" to play their parts right, but they insisted it was the way they had been written. At one point she came upon the faceless director sitting in his little fold-up chair and in a rage she began choking him to death while muttering every curse she could think of and several that didn't make conscious sense.

Morning light started to peek over the horizon, turning the sky a light purple and dimly illuminating her room, before she was finally roused from deep slumber, having been completely oblivious to any more noise from the apartment next door. Shaking her head clear of the dream she'd had, she stretched and moaned sleepily before her eyes popped open and she hopped from bed, running the length of her apartment to the wall between her and her neighbor. Breathing heavily, she tucked her hair behind her ears and put her head against it to see if he was up yet and if anything, what he had to say to himself this morning.

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Re: The Other Kind of Roommate

Post by Tartra on Mon Jul 12, 2010 12:59 am

He'd been asleep for the entire night. He'd been tired. Even if Xander had tried to get him up, his basic needs has won out in the end. But now he was awake. He sat up slowly, wondering if he'd slept his full eight hours or if something else had caught his attention. He decided on the second one, then turned to check on their guest.

The Agent was still there. That surprised him. He'd never seen one in the daylight so closely before. They were people after all. Huh.

Get up, get dressed. Let's get started.

Right. Alex kicked off his blankets and started getting ready. Bathroom break, brush teeth, floss teeth - Xander's thing - and then wash his face: the four major steps of any morning routine. When he was done that, he crossed to the other side of the room to fumble with his dresser. After a few minutes of fighting it, he wrenched one of the drawers open. Blue shirt today. Laundry tomorrow, he supposed. Breakfast was after he finished getting dressed.

Alex looked over at the agent as he absently pulled his shirt on. "Think we should make him something?"

What - like... food?

"Maybe," he said. "I don't think we should starve him."

Yeah. Don't want him bein' uncomfortable.

He made the Agent breakfast. He had to get rid of the eggs anyway. They were almost expired because he never used them. Xander just liked the look of them in the fridge.

He's breathing, right?

Like he cared. He wanted to get close enough to hit the guy some more. Alex could see perfectly well from where he was that, yes, the Agent was still alive. But he kept Xander happy and took the long way around the pile of broken furniture to get close enough to reach out and slap the intruder in the face.

"Wake up," Xander said.

The Agent muttered something.

"Think they've started looking for him?"

They sent him here to die.

"You think?"

Come on, man. They send their best forces after us on a daily basis. Why the hell would they start dripping shit on us now after I've kicked their ass so many times? He must've been scouting or something.

"So they found us," Alex said.

Don't worry about it.

"Well, since you asked so nicely..."

Two eggs for Alex, two eggs for the Agent, and half a pack of bacon for Xander because he didn't know what cholesterol was. After choking down his food and somehow managing not to burn himself with the stupid oil, he heard a voice from behind him, weakly calling out.

"I didn't think you existed," the Agent said. "I thought this was some... hazing."

"Yeah, well, you fucked it up anyway," Xander said. "You like bacon? I'm making bacon."

"I like bacon," the Agent said.

"Alex will make you some bacon. Hey - let's bring some over to that other chick. If there's any left, I mean."

Right. Her. The coffee thing. He was tempted to try to play sick somehow. If Xander started screaming, all the better. He'd wince until she left. But knowing that the Agents knew where he was... He wasn't surprised. More like he was annoyed. Getting out of this place for a while, making sure there was only one of them, was probably a good idea.

"Are you... gonna kill me?"

"Probably," Xander said, barely waiting for the meat to cook before he threw it on a plate with the Agent's eggs. He brought it to the man and sat down on a stable pile of debris, then lazily shoveled his half of the food into his mouth. "Probably later, though. I've got a date first."

"You said it wasn't a date," Alex muttered.

"You're so lost with the basics of the female mind," Xander said. Then, to their new friend, "We've got this neighbour we apparently pissed off last night."

"How?"

"You nosy bastard," Xander said. "That's none of your damn business. I'm gonna eat your bacon now. You deserve this." He hacked down the rest of it. "You can have the shitty eggs, though. They're runny. Again."

"You're..." The Agent looked woozy. He was blinking a lot and his eyes were half-lidded. He took his time testing the rope wrapped around him. Xander kept close watch over that, likely assuming Alex couldn't manage that, either. When the man was satisfied he was trapped, he went back to asking, "You're gonna leave me here? Unattended?"

"Hey, don't worry," Xander said. "I'll be back in a few hours. Then we can have a nice chat."

"I guess..." This was awkward. Alex didn't know what to say. "Are - uh... eggs going to be enough?"

"It's more than I could've asked for," the Agent said. He frowned at them. "There's two of you."

"Look at that," Xander said. "He's not a rookie after all." He got up again, carrying the plate back to the kitchen.

"You didn't give me the eggs," the Agent noted.

"Yeah. Changed my mind about that. You'll be fine. Want water?" Xander got him water. "Drink up!"

More than a little ran down his face. Before the Agent could even ask to have it wiped off, however, Xander looked at Alex's watch and headed off to the door.

"Wait -" Xander stopped. "There's no point in killing me. They're on their way here now. They have tracers."

Alex tensed.

"So you think you're useful?" Xander snorted. "Buddy, if I was afraid of your colleagues, I'd be living in a cave, not the center of a city. Sit tight. I'll be back for you soon."

She better be awake.

If she wasn't, his stomping down the hall and his pounding on her door would change that.
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Re: The Other Kind of Roommate

Post by Guest on Mon Jul 12, 2010 2:00 am

At first it was hard to get back into the mode she was in yesterday, her breathing coming out noisily before she calmed it and her restless body stopped moving, every little twitch of her limbs making a sound that inhibited her hearing anything from the next room. So, it took a little while for her to adjust to being able to catch anything. Immediately she could already tell he was stirring within, hearing that familiar voice muffled and seemingly conversing with empty air. Her little snort of victory was cut short when she heard the voice of another and she gasped, her blue eyes blinking wide as she listened to the conversation of the two men.

Again, the words drifted to her with whatever syllables were emphasized, leaving the rest sliding past like someone mumbling half their sentences. Her brows furrowed as she stepped away from the wall, frowning to herself and feeling a bit dismayed by this discovery. I guess...someone else really does live there with him. Ignoring the uneasy feeling and doubt that continued to pester her, she wandered away from the wall, rushing to get ready for the day.

In the bathroom, she went about her morning routine, jumping in the shower and washing up quickly, her long hair that reached to the middle of her back taking about 3 minutes longer than the rest of her body did. Stepping from the bathroom, a fuzzy, sky blue towel wrapped around her body, she proceeded to the bedroom and got into her clothes. Looking through her closet she debated with herself for several minutes about what would be appropriate. In his own words, it wasn't a date, so nothing fancy; she moved half the hangers off to the side, eliminating them from consideration. But she felt it wasn't exactly casual either; again, the row of clothes was halved and shoved aside, leaving at least 30 shirts, pants and skirts to be weighed in this situation. She wanted to look nice enough to keep his interest but not overly provocative to accidentally scare him off.

Finally, she selected a clean white, button-up blouse and a black skirt that ended above her knees with a flowing hem. It was a nice outfit, classy, but not something she'd wear to dinner or anything. More like office chique. And she would wear the skirt without tights, emphasizing the informality of it. Removing her towel, she slipped into some thin black panties and bra before pulling on the skirt. Shirtless, she walked into the bathroom and tied up her still damp hair, finishing the rest of her hygiene ritual. With her makeup on--modest, and practically nude, with just a hint of eyeliner and blush--she went back to the bedroom and put on her shirt.

Just as she'd finished buttoning the last button, leaving the dip of her cleavage hinted at in the opening, she heard the knock on her door. Walking over to the main room, she opened it and smiled at him. "Hi, I'm almost ready," she said pleasantly, not overly friendly, her blue eyes looking him over quickly. "Come on in. I'll be just a minute." She opened the door wider to admit him, gesturing out loosely with her arm to indicate the main room. "Make yourself at home. Although--no 'renovating', please." The quirky smile came easily to her lips at their shared joke and it lit up her eyes to an almost frosted blue.

The door to the apartment opened up into an open space comprised of the living room and dining room/kitchen area. Off to the left against the far wall was a medium sized entertainment center, a burgundy colored wood with a 20" television sitting in the middle. Facing it, in the middle of the floor and seated on a darkly colored rug was a tan, velvet couch, still in pretty nice shape. Then in the middle of the room directly across from the door was a comfortable writing desk, facing the windows against that wall, the curtains a dark red color, matching well with the wood of the entertainment center. And off to the left, the room was split in two by an island counter top, behind it on the same wall as the door, a kitchen set with oven, stovetop, sink, and a modest metal refrigerator. On the other side of the counter was a small table, big enough for two and two chairs at either end of it. And against the right wall was still pressed her large, beige loveseat, the notepad having been picked up and tucked away earlier. In the living room area against the left wall was a door that led to the bathroom, and the wall cut off, leading down a short hallway with a door against the wall leading into her bedroom.

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Re: The Other Kind of Roommate

Post by Tartra on Mon Jul 12, 2010 2:38 am

"No renovating. I promise."

Xander was completely relaxed. Alex couldn't figure it out. There was an Agent tied up in his apartment with more Agents on the way, and some crazy mask he could only assume had been designed specifically to counter his abilities. Yet the guy was brushing all of it off, swapping jokes, like a jokey joke-maker. He walked in, completely carefree, giving the woman a friendly smile and nod of his head as he passed her.

"This is nice," Xander said, heading towards the loveseat. "Much better than my place, even before the construction."

He'd have to re-buy every stick of furniture he had.

Why's your jaw all... 'clicky'?

"It locks a little," Alex muttered. "That's your handiwork."

Oh, right. You should get that fixed.

"I tried. You said it'd give me more reason to shut my stupid face."

Hasn't worked. Might as well fix it.

Those eggs had been terrible. Maybe they'd expired after all. The bacon had been the only good part of what he'd eaten this morning. He hated when Xander was right.

"If you wanted, I thought maybe... well - if you haven't had breakfast yet, we could always pick something up," Alex said. "Just something small. You've probably already eaten - I mean, I have, but it was... bad. So if you've got room left..."

Should he offer to pay? Maybe he should pay.

Maybe you should ask her name, dipshit.

... Oh yeah.

"What's your name?" That came out blunt. He'd practically blurted it out. "Uh... I should've asked that before I said anything else. I'm Alex. Alexander, technically, but I'm stuck with the first half."

That's a nice TV. We should get that TV. And this couch.
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Re: The Other Kind of Roommate

Post by Guest on Mon Jul 12, 2010 3:17 am

After he passed the threshold, she closed the door and left him, walking down the hallway to her bedroom where she kept her jewelry and shoes. Despite her laid-back demeanor, she was a little nervous having him in her house, this strange man she barely knew. Slipping on her black sandal high-heels, she picked out some short, silver dangling earrings, small and modest, and left her hair up in a bun as she left the room. Walking back into the main room, she was still putting on one of her earrings as he asked the question about breakfast.

She made a mental note to herself that his voice had changed again to that more wobbly, uncertain tone and she began to wonder if the change was intentional or was it really a manifestation of this separate personality. Was he playing some sort of game to unsettle her? Only then did it occur to Gwen to wonder what he wanted. She knew what she was getting out of talking and being around him...but he'd been the one to start it. Was it just that she was another pair of pants to get into or was he after something more? Why go through all the trouble of adopting different tones and seemingly different personalities just to get her in bed? If that was his intent, he was sucking at it, because if it weren't for her own desire to study him, she would not have even considered talking to him again, let alone invite him into her house and go on a pseudo-date with him.

"Really?" she asked as she walked into the bathroom and left the door open so she could talk to him. "The bacon smelled good from over here." Looking in the mirror she pretended to put on some lip gloss and surreptitiously watched him from the reflection. "I may get something to eat at the coffee shop. Depends on what they offer. It's been a while since I've been out to eat anywhere." Finished with the facade of applying lip gloss, she looked at herself once more in the mirror and left the room, leaving the door slightly ajar.

Approaching the counter with a sauntering gait, she smiled to herself as he revealed his name. So "Steven" was really Alex. All at once, she found herself growing fond of it, moreso than the name she'd chosen for his character and internally snapped her fingers when she realized she couldn't use it for him. Well, maybe a character in the future sometime would bear his namesake. Picking her purse up off the counter, she opened it and made sure her wallet and keys were inside. "My name is Gwen," she said as she looped the strap over her shoulder, her eyes meeting his with a smile. "Alright, let's go." Opening the door, she offered him to go out first.

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Re: The Other Kind of Roommate

Post by Tartra on Mon Jul 12, 2010 3:56 am

Everybody loves bacon.

He sounded really proud of himself.

Alex gave her a smile when he passed her, too. It wasn't as... well - charming as Xander's, big surprise, but he thought it was friendly and that was all that mattered. He was happy to be out in the hall first. Even though he'd closed it and locked it, he was sure he'd turn and discover his door had been kicked open or something. That'd be an easy way to discover the mess, though. Not so easy explaining why, out of every room in this building, someone went after his. He'd have to go through a hundred hoops explaining why he had better stuff to steal than anyone else.

Oh, I disagree.

Unbelievable.

"Whatever you took, put it back," Alex mumbled.

No.

It was like living with a child, if that child was emotionally unbalanced, cartoonishly narcissistic, and leaning heavily on psychopathic tendencies.

"Put it back," Alex hissed. "What was it? When did you take anything?"

Should've been watching.

"Xander -"

Just some paper. Found a little notepad 'tucked away' and I stole a sheet or two.

"So you didn't just steal something," Alex snapped. "You're vandalizing, too."

Maybe I needed some paper. Y'know, to take notes on all the 'spooky Agent activities'.

What spooky activities?

Alex heard thumping coming from his room.

Damn. He's escaping.

His throat almost closed up. Either he was escaping or he was in the middle of being rescued. Neither of those options were good.

Oh well. At least we know they've got anti-seizure masks.

"So Gwen," Xander said, before Alex could get another word out. "I can't figure out why someone like you would be living in a place like this. We're - I'm only here because it's cheap. Your place's is loaded up like a palace. What's the story on that?"

More thumping. These damn walls were too thin. No wonder everyone was screaming at them all the time.

"But - uh... Let's walk and talk," Alex said. "Like... now. Ish. The - uh... My roommate's noisy in the morning. He -"

"Can someone hear me?"

I'm gonna break that guy's face, Xander said. I can't believe I gave him water, the ungrateful prick.

"Yeah, let's go now. He's always like that," Alex said. "He jokes. A lot. Inappropriately. Uh... so... ignore him."

Thump, thump, thump.
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Re: The Other Kind of Roommate

Post by Guest on Mon Jul 12, 2010 4:34 am

Closing her door and locking it, she felt a chill run through her as she heard him murmur to himself, carrying on a conversation right while she was standing less than a foot away from him! And she wasn't even saying anything. Clearing her throat, she tried to ignore him as she pulled and turned the handle testing whether it was really locked, giving him plenty of time to knock off the creepy shit before she stood up straight and turned to him. At the first thumps, her eyes widened and immediately zoomed past him to look at his door just a few feet down the hall.

Before she could say anything about it however, that smooth suave voice came slithering out quickly, sufficiently distracting her as she once again looked at him. "Well, I..." she started, casting another glance at his door before deciding to ignore it. Gwen's attention was so divided that she found herself talking to him as if she wanted him to know things about her, forgetting momentarily, in her curiosity, that she may want to hold things back lest this psycho project of hers backfire. "I grew up in this neighborhood, just a few blocks from here. Moved away for a bit in a beach house by the sea but I...missed it...here..." Her voice trailed off as she once again found herself staring at his door as more thumping emitted from the room beyond.

The nervous voice was back as he urged her to walk with him. Obviously he'd heard the sounds too and was attempting to distract her from it. Ignoring the feeling in her gut and a little voice inside that kept screaming to her words like "kidnapper", "rapist" and "body found in a ditch off the side of the road with unidentifiable features", she nodded and tried her best to ignore the sounds too as she started to walk beside him. However, she could not help the wild look she gave him when she heard the voice speak from within the room as they were passing by his door.

Instantly, she identified it as the voice she'd heard speak before, and slowly nodded after he spoke, giving him a sideways look as more thumps came from his apartment. In a way, it...kind of made sense; his roommate was the noisy one who had a bad temper and a messed up sense of humor and here he was, making noise and poorly delivered jokes. Walking ever further into this lion's den, she cast one more glance at the apartment door and sighed before proceeding further down the hallway towards the stairs. As they descended, she glanced at him furtively with a wry twist of her mouth and decided to test the waters.

"Last night you said something about your roommate not allowing you to meet me today," she said casually, a small smile on her lips. "What'd you do to get him to let you leave? Tie him up and gag him?" As they made it to the first landing, she stopped and looked at him directly. "I've taken several Women's defense classes. I know Taijitsu." She waited a few beats, staring at him with a her shoulder held back confidently, a small measure of threat in the way her blue eyes regarded him. "I could have handled him so he wouldn't wake up for hours," she said finally. "Now you just gotta hope there's an apartment left for you to come home to." Again, that suggestive smile flashed on her face before she turned and went down the rest of the stairs.

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Re: The Other Kind of Roommate

Post by Tartra on Mon Jul 12, 2010 10:54 am

"He and I have a..." Xander bobbed his head to one side, then the other, before coming up with, "strained relationship. I didn't ask to live with him. I was actually - for obvious reasons, like the ones you just heard - trying to get him to move out, but the bastard won't go 'cause the place's in mommy and daddy's name."

"Which makes sense," Alex added, "because if he owns it, it's a little dumb to think he'd be the one to move. That's why I've been trying to find somewhere else to live. Far, far away from my roommate."

"My roommate's a jerk," Xander said, very pleasantly speaking for both of them.

And a giant douche.

Xander was still speaking for both of them.

It didn't take long for them to reach the lobby. The apartment building was squat and there was no one else around. They made it down in record time, and by the time they had, Alex was feeling a lot better about his day. He loosened up and tried to be less stiff, which in his opinion was perfect timing, because she looked really freaked out by what'd been happening up there. Not just the Agent rattling around - gagging him would've been smart, but Xander 'didn't believe in those' - but the whole... inner/outer monologue thing. He'd either been getting too comfortable around her or he'd been by himself for too long to remember not to be so careless. In either case, he had to keep his voice down when he was talking to Xander.

Or don't talk to me. I like that one.

"As far as having a place to come back to tonight," Alex said, "I think I'll find a motel. I've got some people who like to check in on me every now and then and they... lately..."

It was another one.

Unbelievable. There were two.

Keep walking.

The Agents were standing formally beside the apartment door - on the inside, rather than out where they belonged. They might've turned to look at him the second he'd come down, but they were wearing sunglasses. He couldn't tell what they were looking at, but both their heads turned as he drew closer. He couldn't help puffing himself up a bit, taking in a deep breath and then making sure he was between them and Gwen. He went further than that, too, and kept her as out of sight as he could.

Hell - he talked to himself in the middle of the hallway. It wasn't like she didn't already know he was creepy.

"I may have to take you up on the 'long nap'," Xander chirped. "A whole several classes? That's impressive." He grinned. "I'll have to hire you as my bodyguard one of these days."

They're the same as the mask.

Huh?

The glasses. Their glasses. They're too shiny. It's the same as the eyes in that mask our buddy was wearing.

So...

Can't be a field test. These guys look professional. They must've already known the mask worked before they sent the rookie out.

"What are they doing here?" He was smart enough to keep the last few words of that quiet. "It's broad daylight. They can't attack."

Hasn't stopped 'em before.

"It hasn't stopped you before," Alex said, softly. "I'm walking with an innocent civilian. They won't try anything."

And if they do? 'Cause they will.

"Then I'll take care of it."

HA!

"Hey - they're my powers. Just because you're the one using them all the time doesn't mean I didn't spend a few years without you practising with them. Alone."

You let me know how it pays off.

"I -"

Coffee. And pay attention to the lady. You're fuckin' weird.

Alex turned and smiled at Gwen again, hoping she'd pick up on the apology buried in there. Then, finally reaching the building's entrance, he opened the door and waited carefully for her to go first. Xander took the opportunity to beam and wave at the Agents. One started to wave back. The other very slowly lowered the first's arm.

Ah, crap. It's that one again.

"The waving one?"

You think I'm psycho. You passed out the last three times I fought him.

"How'd that go?"

He's alive, isn't he? Xander sounded bitter. Whatever.

"Careful in the room, guys," he shouted at the Agents. "I'm renovating. Wouldn't want you two getting hurt.
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Re: The Other Kind of Roommate

Post by Guest on Mon Jul 12, 2010 1:21 pm

As he spoke, the voice changed again in the middle of conversation, almost imperceptibly, his other more nervous side seeming to grow more at ease and blending well with the first. A similar change came over Gwen as he continued to talk, not feeling so freaked out by the switch in tones, but growing more curious about it the longer they spent time together. At first of course, she'd thought that his "roommate" had been an excuse to cover up his embarrassing tendency, or in some esoteric way referring to his other personality like it was a real person. But that had changed when she'd heard the other man speak. And now, Alex's explanation seemed to cover all the things that had originally been making her nervous. It still felt kind of odd, but she decided to believe him for now. It was a conscious decision.

"Now you see why I don't have a roommate," she said, casting him a look over her shoulder. "With my tolerance for loud noises, I'd be the jerk-ish roommate."

Stepping down on the ground floor, Gwen looked at him when he said he was thinking about checking into a motel and she cocked an eyebrow at him at first. In her mind, flashed the part of her story where "Steven" was being hunted by the mad Dr. Fain. She remembered now that he was the one who had inspired that part and found herself wondering who might be after him. Had he done something bad? Was he hiding something important? Or was he just insane and needing to be institutionalized? Her train of thought was only broken as his voice trailed off and she looked around to find the cause of his alarm.

Immediately her eyes zeroed in on the two men with sunglasses, the hair on the back of her neck standing up as their heads slowly moved to follow them as they walked towards the doors. But she kept from looking at them directly, instead opting to watch Alex. At his suggestion of her being his body guard, she found herself smiling weakly, thinking that possibly he was asking for her aid somehow. And then things just kept getting weirder as he started to murmur lowly to himself. Openly, Gwen watched him as he conversed with himself, casting glances at the men with sunglasses and her skin tingling with every pause in dialogue. Still, it wasn't like he didn't realize it was odd on some level, his low tone again making it hard to hear everything he said. From what she could gather, he seemed to be worried about a present danger, focused on the men who watched him.

It was a unique thing and she had to consciously stop her mouth from hanging open as she continued to stare while they walked along. The doubt that had assailed her before, in her apartment, left her now as she actually watched him, realizing that it was something he couldn't control. Or rather, speaking aloud was necessary in some way. She wasn't a psychologist so she didn't know about this split personality type thing, or whatever else this was, but it was fascinating to watch. Finally he seemed to realize that he was doing it and gave her a deprecatory grin, opening the front doors for her like a gentleman.

Without casting another glance behind her, she smirked a little and walked past him, barely hearing him call back after the guards once she was outside in the open morning air. God, they'd make a great pair; she must be insane to stay around him just for the study of his disorder. She stood on the sidewalk waiting for him, adjusting her purse strap briefly as he stepped from the building himself. "You'll have to tell me where you'll be staying," she said casually, placing a coy smile on her lips. "Just in case I need a coffee buddy in the future." It wasn't the most subtle invitation, but she didn't want to lose track of him. Not yet anyway.

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Re: The Other Kind of Roommate

Post by Tartra on Mon Jul 12, 2010 7:16 pm

"Believe me, you don't have to know where I am to get me to come for coffee. I guarantee I'll find you like I'm possessed," Alex said.

You idiot. Learn the damn game.

What game?

"But if I do decide to hide in the mountains, you'll be the first to know which cave."

Oh. They were flirting.

Yeah, stupid.

Alex took a moment to appreciate the outside. He never minded being cooped up while he was actually in there, but the minute he felt a breeze across his face, an enormous weight lifted off of him. He was back in the real world with real and normal people. It wasn't so early that the sidewalks were bare, but he felt like a lot of people were sleeping in today. They were missing out. The weather was fantastic.

"I can't remember the last time I walked around like this," he said.

You haven't walked anywhere. If you had, you'd be at Starbucks by now.

About that.

"I don't know how much time you have on you," Alex said, "but if you're not in a rush, we can go to some other place for coffee -"

What.

"It's a little farther than Starbucks -"

You son of a bitch.

"- but I like the feel of it more. It's... ambient, I guess. And it smells better. And it's got better food, which is always a plus," he finished.

Don't go to sleep tonight. In fact, don't ever go to sleep again.

"And we can always swing by Starbucks on the way back."

Too. Fucking. Late.

Alex was just trying to be nice. ... No, he wasn't explaining himself. Starbucks sucked. It was too noisy. He wanted to go somewhere he could hear himself think. Himself think, not the addict pounding at his ears.

"It's up to you. It's not much more expensive, but it's a little more of a sit-down place. We can talk. But Starbucks is fine -"

YOU'RE DAMN -

La, la, la, he wasn't listening. He was waiting for Gwen's answer.
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Re: The Other Kind of Roommate

Post by Guest on Mon Jul 12, 2010 11:18 pm

His response was not what she expected but she took it in stride, realizing that with his disorder, and his obvious awareness of it, plus whatever was after him, he probably didn't associate with people that much. Well, except for neighbors coming and screaming at him or his roommate kicking him around the apartment. Gwen's ears picked up the slight difference in his voice when he quickly added the next part and she smiled easily at him, wondering if this was the split personality she was seeing. One seemed to be much more of a smooth talker than the other, who let his insecurities get in the way.

However it seemed to be the insecure one who did most of the talking now and a small smile formed on her lips as he offered to take her somewhere else. She found herself paying close attention to the subtleties of his tone of voice and his little idiosyncrasies. There were small things, like his addition of going to Starbucks afterward that made her feel like she was only hearing half of the conversation again. That, and the tingling on her skin that seemed to occur whenever he paused or took a breath.

She laughed a little and cocked an eyebrow at him. "You must really like coffee, huh?" she asked, humor and daylight shining in her sky blue eyes. "Getting into arguments with your roommate over a latte; acting like a man possessed when you need your fix; and now, after we stop at this other place to get coffee, we'll stop to get more on our way back." She shook her head a little and looked at the street around her, but the grin did not leave her face.

For a moment longer she considered his offer, wondering how best to pursue him. Finally, she turned back to him, the coquette look back on her face as she spoke. "I don't have too much going on," she said lazily. "I suppose we could go to this other place, if you think I'm dressed appropriate for it." If it was a fancy place, she didn't think her outfit fit, but she'd let him decide. Also, she wanted to draw his attention to her body and see how he reacted. It was a dangerous game she played, hoping that if he did become attracted to her, that when it came time to cut ties, he didn't react badly. Afterall, she'd encountered the stalker type before, and not only was it annoying, it was terrifying as well. Needless to say, she did not want a repeat of the experience but found herself walking the razor's edge with this guy.

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Re: The Other Kind of Roommate

Post by Tartra on Tue Jul 13, 2010 12:06 am

Tell her -

"Coffee is practically the only thing that gives me peace of mind," Alex admitted. "I don't really like the taste. I don't like the jitters I get afterwards. But if it means I get to shut off a whole half of my brain - even for an hour - then I'll live with it."

Awwww. You're breakin' my heart. Now tell her -

"I mean - it's fine. And you're fine - uh... You should be okay for the place. It's nothing too special, just nicer," Alex said. "Look at me: jeans and a t-shirt. You've got nothing to worry about."

I feel like I should be crying about how horrible you are. This is pathetic on an entirely new level.

To be completely sure she didn't overhear - he was trying to be quiet, but it seemed as though she had sharper ears than what he was used to, and the last thing he needed to do was scare her off by snapping at Xander - he rubbed a hand over his mouth and muttered into his palm, "I'm doing it on purpose."

Great! That makes me feel better.

"We don't know who she is. So far, this is just coffee. I don't want her getting too close when there's Agents around. They could be watching us and -"

"Gwen, would you excuse me for a moment?" Xander smiled again, but it was tighter than before. "I have to kick my ass for being retarded and neglecting your lovely company. Don't worry - it'll only take a second. I've had a lot of practise."

"What -"

But Xander marched off before Alex could fight back, leaving the poor girl standing there as he walked ahead and turned quickly into an alley they would've passed.

Okay. I'm gonna spell this out for you.

"If I say 'no', the answer's 'no', you idiot. You're not as strong as you think you are," Alex said. "I'm not letting you put someone else in danger just because you're feeling frisky."

'Frisky'? Did you actually just say 'frisky'? Oh God. I was kidding about you being retarded - mostly - but I think I figured out why it sucks being stuck with you.

"Listen," Alex told him. "I'll negotiate. Find out who she is, make sure she's not someone we should be concerned about, promise me she's not going end up dead, then... maybe... whatever you want to do -"

That's it? After all the bitching, that's what you want out'f me? Holy fuck, man. Try to keep up.

"You were trying to make sure she was safe? That's funny," Alex said. "The whole time I was talking to her, I kept feeling my eyes getting pulled to her ass."

I was multi-tasking!

"Bullshit," Alex snapped. "Gwen's nice - whatever - but that's only piling on the reasons for why -"

Spare me.

That meant they had a deal.

"Okay," Alex said. "Good. I'm glad we had this talk. Can we go back to Gwen now and try to think up some way to keep her from running off in terror?"

Sure thing, friend. Just a sec. And then Alex's fist flew into his face. There we go.

"Did you break my nose?"

No.

"Am I bleeding?"

... No?

"I hate you so much," Alex muttered, giving his soon-to-be-prominent-bruise a gentle pat, making sure everything was intact, and then casually, calmly, returning to the woman he'd left in the dust. "I'm really, really sorry about that. I know I've been acting beyond weird..."

He had nothing to finish that. Xander stayed perfectly quiet, enjoying himself for an agonizing length of time, before swooping in to rescue him with, "I'm an actor. I'm nothing special yet, but I'm hoping to get this great part I'm gonna audition for. I'm trying out the method acting thing. You like it?"

I might actually lose the will to have sex with her if she believes that, Xander said.

"Then why didn't you tell her something she would believe?"

I dunno. Too much work? I mean - come on, you randomly walked off to punch yourself in the face. What the hell kind of story am I supposed to have for that?

Hated him. Loathed him. So very, very much.
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Re: The Other Kind of Roommate

Post by Guest on Tue Jul 13, 2010 12:56 am

His answers kept on surprising her, especially that bit about the coffee. Mentally, she made a note to herself to add that to her character--God, what must it be like to have someone else always talking in your head and talking for you? She could imagine if there was anything she could do to get a moment's peace in that situation, she'd do it too, even if it was something she hated. Coffee seemed really simple though and she started to think of other things her character Steven could use to keep Mordeth from rising from the depths. Inside her chest her heart did a little jump of joy as she felt the story and the character flesh themselves out more and more before her eyes. This next novel would knock ALL of their socks off!

His response to her however was not what she expected. His eyes traveled down her form in a quick, casual way, and although his eyes did flicker down to her backside a few times, his overall manner was one of moderate interest. Inwardly, she snapped her fingers in regret. This guy'll be harder to crack than I thought. Hopefully he's not gay. Still, outwardly, she tried not to show too much of her dismay but rather set her shoulders in such a way to seem like she was satisfied with his response and that was all she'd been looking for. He wasn't going to make her look like a foolish, flirty schoolgirl.

Just as she was growing more use to his quiet conversations with himself and the alterations of tone and personality, things got weird again. First he switched to talking behind his hand to his other personality, and she looked away awkwardly and scratched at the hair on the nape of her neck idly, trying to ignore the things he was saying. God, unbelievable! She was standing right here, hell-O! In a way she understood his need to talk to this thing aloud, but seriously, come on! Common decency and having enough of a backbone to just tell the damned thing to shut up until they could confer privately. Didn't that facilitate survival better when he was more discreet about it? Then again, looking around, she was the only one who could really hear him, and in normal everyday circumstances and temporary encounters, nobody probably noticed. Anybody who stayed with him past 5 minutes would, however.

It was both extremely awkward for her to hear the half-mumbled sentences about her but not addressed to her when he was standing less than two feet away. But at the same time, it was an interesting study of the dynamic between them. All the while, she found herself making short lists in her mind about things to add to her character to better help flesh him out and--

The smooth talker was back suddenly and drawing her attention to him, and she gave him a modest and polite look before her brow furrowed and she found herself blinking at his back. Leaning a little to the side, she watched him walk a small distance away and disappear into an alley. Glancing around as a woman passed her walking her small dog, Gwen smiled uncertainly at her and tried not to feel offended that she'd been abandoned.

Alright, so little Mr. Crazy wanted to play hard to get? Fine, she could do that too. Afterall, she was a woman. Gently, she unbuttoned one of the buttons on her shirt, allowing the dip to move even further down just above where her bra met in the middle. With both hands, she pushed her breasts up a little, the soft cushioned mounds of her B cups looking more full in the bra she was wearing and given ample air from how open her shirt was. Then, reaching up behind her head, she pulled out the barrette that held her bun in place. Her hair having dried almost completely now, unfurled over her shoulders as she tossed her head lightly from side to side, shaking the long locks out. The ends curled with the spiral of the bun still and nestled beautifully on her shoulders, the light brown shining with dark streaks in the morning light. Just to give him a few things to look at but which he wouldn't be allowed to touch. It was the hint and the promise of being easy, but he would find her more difficult than that and definitely come back for more.

As he emerged from the alley, she looked around boredly, her hips set in such a way to articulate her irritation, but she kept the false emotion from her face, looking him over coolly. Her eyes stopped for a moment at the new redness on his face, but she quickly looked away as if uninterested. At his new excuse, she started to dig into her purse again, ignoring him, but inwardly rolling her eyes at the lame-ass story. An actor? Please. What next?

"I'm really happy for you," she said in a tone that said exactly the opposite, cold as ice as she closed her purse and adjusted the strap on her shoulder. "If you're done messing around, can we please go? I'm kind of hungry now." Reaching her hand up, she tucked some of her hair behind her ear and the movement caused the opening in her shirt to open a little wider for a brief moment as she sighed wearily.

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Re: The Other Kind of Roommate

Post by Tartra on Tue Jul 13, 2010 1:28 am

You're cockblocking me again.

He wasn't going to stare. He was not going to stare.

He stared. The second she wasn't looking, of course, which mostly involved him kind of walking around to her other side - eyes up, Xander - and half-pointing the way to the coffee shop.

Okay. So she wasn't playing around anymore. She obviously knew something was happening -

It's called 'common sense'. Look into it.

He just had to figure out how to play this.

"Yeah," he said, quietly. Then, louder, more confidently, more like me, he tacked on, "Let's go. I need coffee."

Get some caramel on there, get some chocolate sauce -

Please, he didn't need diabetes on top of everything else.

'Everything else' and what? You've got nothing going on. The chick damn near ripped her shirt off and you haven't said shit about it yet. I should be -

"I noticed you had a pencil on you table," Alex said, beginning to walk down the street. "What's that about? Are you an artist or something?"

Here's a better question, one that's actually to the point.

"A single artist? Someone independent and on her own? I get the feeling you're not swimming through a pile of men, which is great, because I don't like competition."

There. That should be clear enough.

Xander had clearly made up his mind about Gwen. Alex still wasn't so sure. He knew he hadn't given her a lot of time to talk about herself, but he couldn't be blamed for being distracted. Maybe the guy was right. Maybe he was neglecting her company. As horribly blunt as his roommate was - Alex had always felt the best way to a woman's heart was through etiquette and gratitude, not that he was trying to get into her heart, but he recognized the possibility... well, he hoped he recognized the possibility, otherwise he was as crazy as everyone said he was - she was responding. And she was answering questions like she was interested in him.

Or in Xander. Right. The showboat.

I sense... jealousy. I feel it's been well-placed.

He had his hands pushed into his pockets and idly fumbled with the two sheets of paper - or maybe one sheet folded up - that Xander had picked out of her room. It was a completely invasion of her privacy, but somehow or another, Alex knew she'd wind up laughing and joking about it with his other half, and even though this was his body, he'd be left out. It'd happened before, it'd happen again. Every single person he talked to, he wound up as the third wheel half a minute later.

The fuck're you talking about? You're gone the second I get the chance. No back-seating for you.

But he could be interesting. She could respond to him, too. Seriously - he doubted she could tell them apart anyway, and anything he said that came out wrong, Xander would wind up fixing for him. He might as well take the chance. Who was she going to tell? Who'd believe her?

"You know, you can ask me things," he said.

So much for being paranoid.

"I like art," he went on. "If you're an artist, you could always show me... stuff."

Wow. I think you made me swoon with that one.

Shut up. He was trying his best.
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Re: The Other Kind of Roommate

Post by Guest on Tue Jul 13, 2010 2:29 am

Immediately, he seemed to change, his voice coming out in a more certain tone but it was not the other one, she could tell that right away. Even though she'd come to identify Alex, the insecure one, as the main personality, she did find herself much more attracted to the other side of him, the one that spoke quick and was more self-assured. Now that Alex was taking on the attributes of the other, she found she liked him a lot better and responded to the assertive tone in his voice. Shaking her head inwardly, she had to take a deep breath, chiding herself. This is just a project. He means nothing. Don't get attached.

Walking along beside him, she smiled wryly at his observation about the pencil. His courtship skills were really clumsy and he was kind of dorky, but she couldn't help being flattered by his interest, even though it probably had more to do with her cleavage than anything else. Her eyes looked at him sharply as the other added his own questions in that silky smooth voice, her blue gaze flashing with amusement. Well, now, he did seem more open now at least and she decided to reward him with her own show of empathy as well, keeping it a bit in reserve as compared to before.

The last comment he made however made the smile fade from her lips a little bit and she looked down at the ground. All this time, she'd been aloof and nervous, hoping to get into his good graces with a bit of flirtatious banter while waiting for him to respond and act accordingly. If she continued that way, it would lead them down a certain path or at least leave him expecting such an end. She had to keep it reserved and act modest, not seduce him. However, she really didn't want to tell him too much about herself, just in case he did end up growing more attached and also...because she didn't trust herself from not considering this a real date. There was also the chance that if she kept herself too distant that he would 1. possibly lose interest or 2. get wise to her game.

Taking in a deep breath, she smiled again and said, "No, I'm not an artist. I'm a writer. Romance novels mostly, but nothing too trashy or fluffy." She shrugged casually as they walked along, the curve of her breasts bouncing a little with the movement. "I haven't had too much fame yet, but hope to gain some notoriety with this new idea I'm working on. And no, no men at the moment. Not that there isn't the occasional interest expressed." Her eyes regarded him from under long lashes, but the look was brief and she turned to face ahead of them with an amused grin.

Now for phase two. "What about you?" she asked, expressing actual curiosity she felt. "Any women currently in your life? I'm sure your roommate probably makes it difficult to get close to anyone, right?" There was the slightest emphasis on the way she said the word 'roommate' that made it stand out and hinted at her usage of it as a codeword for their friend, the smooth talker. "What's his name, by the way?"

Just then, a ringing of a bicycle bell could be heard right behind them, followed immediately by the wasp-ish buzzing of tires growing louder and bearing down upon them. They'd been given enough warning easily, but instead of smoothly stepping out of the way of the bicyclist, she jerked back and into her companion, uttering a tiny gasp as the cyclist whizzed by, swerving around trashcans and over raised sidewalk. Gently, her arm had slithered it's way around the crook of his elbow and she left it there even after the cyclist had passed by and she was no longer startled. As they walked, she pressed close but not smotheringly so, her arm linked loosely in his and her breast occasionally rubbing against him as they walked. Her face was open and her manner was casual as if it were the most normal thing in the world.

She hoped to fluster him a bit with the gesture and get him to lower his guard as she launched into her next question, "Is he talking to you right now? What does he say?" It was oh, so risky, but she knew he wasn't stupid. He had to have realized she knew there was something going on and even at the risk of freaking him out by revealing her knowledge of it, she hoped he was smart enough to handle it without being a complete spaz. Also, she wondered if he would be truthful with her about his "Mordeth" personality. They'd just met and she wouldn't blame him if he did try and cover it up with that actor story again, but if he thought her that much a threat, she had to know so she could try and convince him otherwise. Her story depended on this interaction.

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Re: The Other Kind of Roommate

Post by Tartra on Tue Jul 13, 2010 8:04 am

HA! I love it, Xander said. Even when you try to spark a little interest, it still comes back to me. Why? Because I'm fantastic.

Alex wasn't backing down from this. He'd been filled with a new kind of courage when she got close to him, the heat of her arm through his and the feel of her body against him shocking him into a response. He couldn't help himself. He liked the attention. Compelled by something entirely different, he blurted out, "Xander. His name's - well, I - uh... I call him that."

... What did you just say?

"He - yes, he... talks to me. A lot," Alex rambled. "It's not really his fault I don't get women - not that I'm trying to 'get' women or anything - but for everyone else, yeah. I mean - yeah, he's the reason I don't talk to anyone -"

... Are you... Are you actually telling her?

"She asked me!" Shit. He hadn't kept that quiet.

So you fucking come up with something else! What happened to 'oh, Xander, make sure she's not an Agent'? You fucking told her the one thing every Agent's looking for!

"So she is an Agent?" Dammit. Dammit! He was panicking now. He tried getting out of this, tried shaking her off for a moment, but then felt his arm steady itself as Xander took over, bringing them two of them closer together as they walked as off-handedly as humanly possible.

"That's what you were looking for, right?" Xander's words through his mouth. He'd never been so grateful. How the hell could he've been so stupid? "Crazy Alex? Look - I get that I'm kind of weird and everything, but I'm not insane."

His voice was getting gravelly. It sounded like he was angry. But if he really was pissed at her for asking, Xander would've taken off by now. Or - more likely - given her a seizure and then laughed. He was sticking around. He kept her arm curled around his, but Alex's body wasn't relaxed anymore. The closest he could imagine it being for her was walking with a brick wall. Then, suddenly, he untensed. He smiled and chuckled and gave Gwen yet another of his apparently heart-warming expressions -

If I ever find a way to kill you, I'll take it. Right now? It's self-defence.

He'd never heard Xander so serious.

"I'm sorry," he mumbled, trying to get the emotion across.

Whatever, Xander said. Just... pull yourself together. Calm down, fucking think about what you say, and don't let this happen again.

He was being patient, understanding and accepting of his apology.

... Holy shit. Had Xander been scared?

"So. Romance books." Alex felt his smile growing brighter. "Novels, I mean. Anything I'd've read?"

There was zero mention of his love life. He wasn't letting her know anything else. Inwardly, Alex panicked again. He let the guy take over, which nearly eliminated Xander's struggle to sustain control. The weight of what he'd just done was dawning on him. If she'd come here for... for intel or something... But it wasn't his fault. Not completely. How was he supposed to know she was still suspicious? Xander had been playing around, practically screaming who he was -

It's one thing to act like a psycho who's got a voice in his head telling him what to do, he spat. It's something else to fucking cop to it.

For once, Alex wouldn't blame him if Xander punched him in the face. Hell, he might give himself a good crack.
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Re: The Other Kind of Roommate

Post by Guest on Tue Jul 13, 2010 12:47 pm

Oh, my God! It worked! While she'd waited for him to respond, her heart had been locked in her throat and she'd wondered worriedly if he'd get mad at her for bringing it up. Not only was he not mad and not spazzing out, he was TELLING her! A warmth began to fill her immediately then, a certain conspiratory feeling as if she were special. Here was this man who had a secret, something he struggled with daily to hide from other people as an unnamed foe hunted him and he was sharing it with her! He'd let some of his walls down and allowed her to peek inside, and no one else.

The feeling was short-lived however as he stopped short, and the silence left her with that prickling on her skin like an electric current was firing along every nerve and he spoke again...but not to her. His defensive tone told her that possibly the other, this Xander, was upset with him and it was confirmed a moment later with his question about her. He was suspicious now that she'd gotten Alex to reveal their secret to her and she couldn't help but feel irritated by him getting in the way. God! Paranoid much? How ironic...

Then he was speaking to her again, that smoother, confident voice coming out from those same lips, the change rippling through his whole body and turning him into stone. Rubbing against him was a bit awkward like this and she felt herself start to tense a bit in response, especially at the anger that leaked into his voice, making her swallow hard. All of a sudden, despite knowing Alex was the real one, the main personality, she realized Xander was the controlling one. HE was the insane, temperamental roommate who beat him up over an addiction to coffee and she felt overcome with the desire to appease him while also wanting to get Alex back out here and speaking with her like normal. There was a sense of danger that emanated from his body, even as he relaxed and flashed that charm-filled smile at her.

Then it was Alex again and he hurried past a murmured apology to change the subject. A feeling of loneliness descended upon her then realizing that the moment was gone, that his trust in her was only felt by one of them and probably non-existent now because of the dominance of the other. By his quick change in subject she knew he didn't want to discuss it anymore, and that pushing him further right now would only make him more suspicious. But she couldn't help feeling offended by his delusion.

With a heavy sigh, she stopped in the middle of the sidewalk, still holding his arm and bringing him to a stop as well and she looked up into his eyes seriously. "Do you think I'm retarded?" she asked, a little bit of anger entering her voice, but she kept it low and restrained. "You do realize that you talk to yourself all the time and that you change frequently, right? I mean, I appreciate you trying to hide it, but really, I'm right here. I'm not blind and I'm not fucking stupid." A fat man passed them by and looked at her, his attention drawn by her tone and her curse, and she took a deep breath and sighed as she looked back at Alex or Xander or whoever the fuck he was right now. "Look, it's kind of insulting to hear you voice your suspicions while I can hear you, but not being able to say anything because you're not even talking to me when you say it. Don't I get a chance to defend myself or is this whole...coffee thing a way to see if I'm a spy or something? Once you're satisfied either way, that's it? It's over?"

After they'd stopped, she'd let go of his arm and they stood facing each other. She paused and stepped forward, looking down at his hands as she reached out and held them in her own. Her brow furrowed a bit as she saw the cuts on his hand but she did not say anything about that. Looking up into his eyes then, she spoke with confidence, her tone moving smoothly. "I'm just a girl," she said calmly, her eyes looking at him levelly and filled with that frosted, icy blue again. "Who wants to like you. But I have to be frank with you; you're freaking my shit out." She continued to watch him then, wondering how he would react.

All she wanted was for him to be honest with her and give her some sort of explanation that would set her mind at ease. Also, it was a bit of an exercise for her to see if the promise of some kind of relationship and being given an ultimatum would help sway him to open up again. There was a lightness to her body, even as she stood steady and waited for an answer; a readiness to just walk away if he refused. Now that it was all out in the open, there was no way to deny it had happened and she wasn't going to pretend he hadn't admitted he shared a head with someone just so that she could continue to share his company. She'd observed him enough to get a handle on the secretive dynamic between the two and although she desired more interaction, it wasn't worth it if they were going to play games and repeat everything he'd already done so far. She wanted more and she wanted it to be real.

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Re: The Other Kind of Roommate

Post by Tartra on Tue Jul 13, 2010 8:00 pm

His arm felt cold now that she'd let go. It spread throughout his body until he felt like he was freezing. He opened his mouth, tried to explain, realized he couldn't tell her anything, then closed it again.

Well, this sucked. He felt horrible and he didn't know why. Alex shouldn't have told her in the first place and he sure as hell shouldn't feel guilty for trying to backpedal on his mistake - one of the few times Xander had a legitimate reason to fight him - but he wanted to make amends somehow. It was hard enough having one person who hated him constantly in his ear. The last thing he needed was his neighbour hating him, too.

"I never said you were stupid," he settled on at last. "I know you realized there was something going on. You're just..." How the hell did he sort this out? "It's not something you're supposed to be involved in. And yes, I know how stupid that sounds. This wasn't my idea - any of it. He wanted to see you, he dragged me over last night. He thought you were interesting or... maybe he was bored, I don't know. I never know. But when you think about it, this is his fault for starting it in the first place. I was only trying to sleep, which I barely managed yesterday because a damn Agent broke -"

OH. MY. GOD. Just stop. Just stop talking.

"Okay - he's flipping out again -"

Flipping out and unhooking from his chain. Alex was suddenly choked down as Xander made a wild, furious snatch for control. Suddenly, he was stepping away from her, narrowing his eyes, curling the corner of his lip and flexing the tips of his fingers.

"I cannot believe I'm stuck in here with you," Xander snarled. He immediately started pacing, probably trying to figure out the best way to break his leg. "It's like you're actively trying to get a drill jammed in my head, you ungrateful son of a bitch. And after all I've gone through trying to keep your stupid ass from getting killed."

After he what?

"Oh, I'm sorry, I must've missed that. I was busy getting -" He looked completely insane right now. Alex took a breath, stopped his body from pacing, then turned back to Gwen and told her, "I am really, really sorry you're seeing this. At all. He shouldn't be talking like this -"

"She 'wants' the other half," Xander snapped. "She 'wants' the 'whole conversation'." He started pacing again. "Your shit freaked out yet, honey? 'Cause - believe me, it only gets worse from here." Very roughly, he shoved a hand through his hair. "You know, I'm thinking I should walk into traffic. Nothing fancy, nothing lethal. Not a truck or anything. Maybe a minivan. Just something to get a nice crunch goin'."

"Could you stop acting like a psycho in the middle of the street?" Alex looked around carefully. There were a few faces in the distance. Mostly they were alone, but when Xander yelled, the ground shook. This was why he spent so much money throwing lattes down his throat. "Gwen, I'm just gonna go. Okay? You're messing with something a little worse than you're assuming -"

"I'm a fuckin' superhero. She's got nothing to be afraid of," Xander fumed. "And the only place you're taking me is Starbucks, so let's go before I break your other toe."

So it was actually broken?

It's obviously broken, you retard! God, it's like I'm being punished!

With that, Xander rippled with the full force of his frustration - only frustration, which was a minor miracle, because someone would be dead by now if he was angry and there weren't a whole lot people around to take it out on - and then sank into his corner of Alex's mind, sulking and swearing before shutting himself away entirely. He wasn't gone. He was probably watching them like a hawk, but for once, he didn't want to say anything.

For now.

"... So... He's really upset," Alex mumbled. "Uh... I'm gonna go to Starbucks."
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Re: The Other Kind of Roommate

Post by Guest on Tue Jul 13, 2010 10:05 pm

Finally, getting some straight answers, she thought to herself as he began to speak, her body no longer tense and ready to high-tail it out of there. Granted it wasn't what she expected--was it ever?--but she found herself growing more satisfied as he went on. It brought up more questions of course and she blushed a bit to find that she'd attracted the attention of his other personality but overall, he was being truthful with her and she could feel it. Something else she could feel was that familiar tingling on her skin like a thousand ants marching all over her body and it made her shudder a little as the urge to itch came over her. And he just kept on surprising her.

Being notified that the other was upset was a little unnerving, but she expected it to be like something she'd seen in movies; Alex would wait for the other to talk silently in his head and he would verbally translate for him. That was not the case and she found herself growing tense again as Xander himself came out to address her angrily. Of course, he'd spoken to her before, but the rage and emotion that rippled through him seemed to fill the air and wrap around her like a large, thickly muscled and coiling snake. Gwen was submerged in the electric sparking energy of his words, his hackles almost visibly raised as he paced in front of her. Tremulously, she gripped the strap of her purse tightly and stood rigidly unable to give in to the fight or flight response that fought a war inside her. She was completely rooted in place.

Some of it wasn't addressed to her but still with the added sensation of this...thing's emotion assaulting her, it felt like she was right in the passenger seat, taking the brunt of it. And her eyes opened wide as Alex's voice came through just as emotionally charged to respond to him. No more murmuring behind his hand or slipping off to an alley to punch himself privately. This was real and it was happening right here in front of God and everybody. And it was exactly what she'd asked for. The thought was not a comfort.

As Xander actually talked to her, threatening to hurt himself-or rather, Alex-, she felt like she wanted to cry, her cool and confident demeanor cracked and overwhelmed. She didn't know how to react to this and with the added psychic stress of it, she felt especially vulnerable. Like every word directed at her was a club and he was beating her down with it. Alex pleaded with him to consider the public aspect of their little fit, and that was the first time since he started that she remembered where she was. Drawing her eyes away from him was like turning her head in a tightened noose, the push and pull of his magnetism making it physically difficult to look at anything else. So, her eyes flickered around but there was nobody near them at the moment and she quickly returned her attention to him, riveted once again by the spell he cast.

When Alex spoke to her again, telling her he was going to leave, she tried to nod her head but merely trembled, the exertion of having taken a look around seemingly drained her. Xander once again spat out a few last words and she flinched, her skin roiling like tumultuous waves as they came from between his sneering lips.

And then it was gone. Suddenly, the distant sounds of the city buzzing and moving around them seemed loud, and she found herself breathing a little heavier as she looked in their vicinity and swayed on her feet. What the fuck had just happened? Was that something normal for people to experience when Xander was out and angry? With the return of her freedom of mobility and the dark cast of violent emotion dissipating like mist on the wind, she found herself returned to normal as well, the timidity leaving her and she calmed quickly.

Clearing her throat, she adjusted her purse strap and looked around awkwardly before returning her gaze once more to Alex. But she still remembered what she'd felt, everything she'd heard them both say and sympathy filled her eyes in response to what he said to her now, his voice uncertain and seemingly afraid. She didn't know what it was like for him, but she imagined he must be extremely embarrassed by his-their-outburst. And it had been her fault because she'd asked for answers from him.

Realizing that he really was going to leave, she cast one more quick look around and bit her lip before bridging the physical gap between them, reaching forward to grasp his hand. "Wait...please," she said her voice quivering a little more than she liked. "I'm...so so sorry... I didn't mean to... I'm too nosy." She looked away from him then and tucked her hair behind her ear, wetting her lips with her tongue before continuing. "I still want to come with you." All thoughts of her book had left her mind; now she only wanted to correct her error. "It's on me. Anything you-he-want. And I promise, not to pry again. Just...let me get this for you. You'll never see me again after, I swear." Her blue eyes had turned a deeper shade than before and they searched his face worriedly. "Please?" she asked, a small awkward smile flashing on her face briefly.

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