|Problems Everyone Has 2: Don't Talk About Feelings When Drunk|
|What: After Sharknado and Tamdhu at Rain's house, Pete and Amy walk back to... well, start walking... well... oh god awkward.|
So the movie was exactly as terrible and as awesome as promised; there were hugs goodnight; there was making sure Rain had Pete and Amy on speed dial if anything tried to eat her; there was natter about a cab or portalling someplace (no, he's not staying over) while Pete protectively cuddled his newly-acquired bottle of amazing--
--and eventually Pete just waves a hand around and, pleasantly buzzy, bumps lightly into Amy as he starts walking in the general direction of 'city lights'. "We can figure it out on the way. I'm pretty sorry they put the bit with the chainsaw in the shark in the trailer, but it /is/ a good selling point." He puts the bottle of Tamdhu in his inside jacket pocket, which is actually pretty deep, so he can light a cigarette and hold it in the hand away from Amy. "And. I'm not a /child/. That shit's just completely counterintuitive. I mean you clearly used magic on it. Right?"
Amy worked through three more cups of Coffee a la Pour Milk In It. That was in the past. In the present, she's not much better off than Pete. She waves her hand at the cigarette. "I used to smoke too, don't worry. Not gonna kill me if I smell it."
Her jacket engulfs her, shining like armor in the ample moonlight. One of those Gotham things. They probably call it the Mugging Moon. The second time Pete bumps into her, she giggles and grabs at his hand. "Stop it, dweeb. You're gonna knock me off the road." She's too tired to sound anything but that.
"Nah. No magic. I spent a lot of time hooking up my own stuff. Nothing that fancy, but it doesn't intimidate me. Mom pulling doubles all the time and me with no friends, you know?"
"Amy No-Mates? But making friends is like-- fuck-- your superpower or something," Pete says in a sort of senses-dulled disbelief. When she grabs at his hand, he doesn't make any move to let go or pull free, just naturally holds hers, too. Then he attains the arch look of the tipsily wise. "Maybe it's 'cause you call people dweebs. What the hell sort've word's 'at, anyway? I thought it were only a badly-written after-school program word." Then he pauses, holding his cigarette up like it's a 'one second' finger. "Oi. Oi. Wait. No. See, I've found a bright side. No mates, right, means you were probably in the nick a lot less, yeah? No one to throw you under the bus or get you caught stealing forties from the off-license..."
Amy keeps the pace steady, swinging her hand and therefore Pete's back and forth as they walk. She smiles when he is bemused. "Ha, you think so?"
She shakes her head vigorously, fighting her lack of sleep with enthusiastic overacting. "No. In the nick?--oh, you mean--okay. No, most of the stupid stuff I did was with other people, that's how I didn't have any friends. Got in a lot of trouble. We just ran to another town, another school. I almost finished out a year once, in elementary school. I was too young to get in trouble. I think my mom was moving back then because she was scared."
The princess tilts her head up, exhaling and watching it turn visible. "A lot of stuff like that makes sense now."
Hand, swung! This is for some reason amusing to Pete; despite the gravity of the topic at hand, he's grinning this little lopsided grin, now and then taking a drag of his cigarette. His hand's as overwarm as usual, dry and feverish. "Scared for her life, you mean. Attracting attention." He's silent for a moment, contemplative. "We never moved. I just got meself a record long's your arm. Embarrassing as all fucking hell when your da's in the Yard. Mum was a bit of a nutter; I understand she were saner before me, way my sister tells it. Never did figure out if she were a Traveller. Though I spose she weren't after marrying Da, anyroad." He just sounds philosophical. Another drag of cigarette smoke. "Bet you we made the same sort of trouble. Only it turned out you were a princess and I were a mutant." That, right there, is a snort-laugh that almost turns into a coughing fit from smoke going the wrong way.
"Let's go through here," Amy interjects, pulling Pete from the road to a path. It doesn't look official, but it does look trodden. She is the warrior princess. She probably knows a lot about hiking.
The trees have begun to act at dying, but there are still enough leaves to to make it more dark than light. The princess raises her right hand, whirling a purple ball of flame from the chill. It casts a tinted, sparkling light that is otherworldly and a little trashy.
"Secret agent mutant," Amy corrects, a grin barely visible in the deep shadows of her face. "I knew you were trouble when you pulled on that leather jacket. Either that, or a total poser."
"Poser!" Pete exclaims after a second, going from looking a bit dubious at the trashily ethereal sparkle-light to looking utterly indignant. "I'm not a fucking poser. Thank god no pictures still exist of how punk I was." The accusation's at least jarred him back into something resembling grammar. He looks huffy. "There's not even any badges or patches on it. And I'm all out of safety pins."
He ditches the cigarette in the gutter as the step off onto the path through the woods, shoving his free hand in his pocket. But gamely: there's very little that could be on this path that could actually pose a serious threat to either of them, nevermind both. "The secret agent part came later. Told you my school burnt down-- when they found out I weren't dead," man, it's back, "and Conjob'd legged it, they took me into custody. Bit of a fight about it in the higher-ups, I gathered; one lot just wanted me disappeared, one lot wanted to fuck with my head, and the lot that won out were a harmless bunch, really. They got taken over and then it was a mess, 's how I wound up in Her Majesty's Secret Intelligence Service. Whole thing's a mess, really. SHIELD's not a bad lot. Either way, ain't something you're /born/ to. How'd you get on with the fact you were a princess from another dimension? Can't imagine that was easy to swallow."
Amy feints and evades Pete's rancor with another coy giggle, hand over her mouth. She's far too sprightly to be caught by indignation at this hour.
There is no trail anymore. The trees are well kept and pleasantly distant from each other. Walking isn't difficult. She keeps looking away from Pete every minute or so to glance about, making minor course adjustments each time.
"Conjob. I like that one--and, I don't think it's really a mess. You seem happy now. Would you rather be managing a record store selling vinyl for people to hang on their walls?"
She lets silence swallow her up then, another kind of armor like her jacket. Her voice is tentative when it creeps out again, testing each step before committing: "There was this girl I kind of knew. She got involved with--well, this guy tried to rape her and I busted his face. I told mom we had to move again and we did. I had just turned seventeen. That was old enough, I guess."
"Probably," is Pete's philosophical answer to the question of what he'd rather be doing. He seems about to say something else, but then Amy's-- gone quiet, and he squeezes her hand slightly instead, keeping walking beside her; he doesn't let go her hand, still, when she starts talking again.
Finally, he says quietly, "And enough the right thing to do. I reckon she figured you could handle it, then. And too right, she was, if that's what were in her head." He's still quiet, and again almost says something-- 'this girl I kind of knew'. But he doesn't. Eventually he says, "And we're both as all right as we can be, aren't we? Happy is relative."
Another silence stretches, and Pete says even more quietly, "I'm usually pretty miserable. Not since you've been here, though. For what it's worth."
"I am handling it," Amy agrees, emphasizing the present tense. Her eyes unfocus. She does not check their direction.
There's more. She wants to say there's more. She wants to say that there's a lot more stupid stuff that she doesn't know the first thing about. It doesn't affect her. It's not a part of her life. Strange calls her a goddess and says she has responsibilities that she can either run from or embrace. A thousand year kingdom. A destiny in the stars. Maybe a tower like Fate's, where she can live alone, consumed by the minutiae of cosmic balance.
That's not something she has to explain, to justify. That's not her now. She's just been told this. It's out of her control.
It would really ruin the moment.
Amy squeezes Pete's hand back. She stops, stubbornly digging her heels in, tethering him to this place and moment. Her voice has all the softness her body is missing. "Me too. Is that just coincidence, or do you think there's something to it?"
Tethered. He's already that, isn't he? But this is firmer, suddenly, and it's a whole world punching him in the solar plexus right at once, and in that one second Peter Wisdom forgets the entirety of the English language. There's only the soft-focus ST:TOS Kirk-talking-to-pretty-girl quality to the night, silent in the woods off the path, lit by the unreal glow from Amy's purple fairy-light.
His motion, if any, is really only a suggestion of such; his blue eyes hold the crystal clarity of a drinker who's been thinking in terms of good Scotch for the better part of the night, and he meets Amy's impossible amethyst gaze, wordless.
She can see him wake up.
Then, a strange little laugh, and Wisdom grins at her, crooked and swan-diving into a cracked and empty January swimming pool. "It's probably some kind of hallucination." He suddenly grabs her other hand, taking on a deliberately 50s pulp-serial dramatic pose. "They've got in our heads, Winston! It's all a macabre game to soften us up before they throw Parademons at us from a nether dimension! We've got to stay focused!"
She says it with a tiny pleasant smile and there's nothing accusing in her voice, but she still says it. Statement of fact. Her hands go limp in his; she does not help him frame a picture of melodrama. Not the one he wants.
Amy slips free of his grasp, skipping and twirling away in the falling leaves, turning back to smile and laugh with rosy cheeks and frosty breath. "We'd better get out of the woods, then! I'd hate to get Parademons and a random encounter all at once! And us--we left our healer asleep in her bed!"
The princess darts nymphlike through the trees, purple light bobbing lazily behind her, both of them just slow enough that a man and his whiskey could keep up.
It's like-- it's like he can see the edge of the cliff receding, because he's looking backwards instead of forwards. But it's so-- the cliff wasn't supposed to be so close. It wasn't. 'If only I was sure that my head on the door was a dream.'
There's nothing else Pete can do: he crashes through the brush after Amy, calling, "Oh god what if there are R.O.U.S.es?!"
"R-O-U-Ses?" the princess calls, pausing to watch Pete's progress from between two trees. "Dude, I can't keep up with all your weird British slang!"
She's not perfect, after all.