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 Mortal Combat (open)

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Victor Steele
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PostSubject: Re: Mortal Combat (open)   Thu Dec 31, 2015 12:39 pm

"You release that thing within you" Victor said dryly.

"Outside influences made that thing. It was forced on you, you were forced to become it. Right now with a few words I could make you stand up, take off your clothes and start masturbating furiously. Nothing you could control, you wouldn't be responsible for that. It is the same thing here. Joseph programmed certain ideas into your head knowing they would lead to other actions. Those were not your thoughts, your beliefs or your way. Now you know. You know that there is something else in you and now, now Angelo you have the power. You choose and shape your destiny. Not the lingering words of a monster."
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Griselda Johns
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PostSubject: Re: Mortal Combat (open)   Thu Dec 31, 2015 8:42 pm

She was looking at Victor, shaking her head. She knew Angelo and Victor's words were just going to make him dig his heels in harder. Stubborn-ass Italians.

"Angelo," she said quietly, walking over and perching on the arm of the chair the man was sitting in. "You're going through a very hard time right now. I understand that. I know it doesn't make it right, either. But don't let it eat at you. You lost control for a few minutes and let your emotions take over. Emotions that have been eating at you for years. Take a deep breath, regroup. I forgive you this time. Just don't do it again, all right?"

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Victor Steele
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PostSubject: Re: Mortal Combat (open)   Thu Dec 31, 2015 8:51 pm

Victor sipped his dinner with a straight face.

Technically he was right. And sometimes technically was the best kind of right. But he begrudgingly admitted to himself that Griselda had the better approach there.
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PostSubject: Re: Mortal Combat (open)   Fri Jan 01, 2016 11:58 am

This time, when she moved to touch him, he actively jerked away from her hand.

"Please don't touch me," he said through clenched teeth. No one had bothered to touch him since Joseph, and even Joseph's touches had been tinged with bitterness. He couldn't actually bear human touch anymore. When he had held Griselda by the throat, slapped her face, that had been different. He hadn't needed to think about the fact that he was touching someone. His anger and rage had clouded his mind enough so that it didn't register that there was actually touch involved. While he was still angry, while the bitter rage still sometimes rose in his throat, most especially when he looked at Griselda, the one thing he could not bear was her touch.

It reminded him of what he'd become. A monster. The Quasimodo of modern nights. He was no hunchback, but he may as well have been. Or a leper. Leprosy was not as rampant as it used to be, but he was always just outside of the world, outside of society. Never living within it. Never was there a kindness or a hand to help him. And he couldn't bear her touches now. He knew they were filled with sympathy, with pity and he didn't want her to touch him out of pity. He didn't want anyone to touch him out of pity. He couldn't bear that. It was bad enough that he was a monster; he didn't need reminding every time someone who thought they were being kind reminded him that no one really was.

"Griselda, I'm sorry. But I can't promise it won't happen again. I don't know what's real and what isn't. I can't trust my own mind anymore. I can't promise that I won't lose it and hurt you again."
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Griselda Johns
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PostSubject: Re: Mortal Combat (open)   Fri Jan 01, 2016 12:05 pm

She knew Angelo. She heard the sincerity in his voice. And even as he jerked away from her hand, she slipped her hand forward, to cup his cheek. The one not ruined by Joseph, the face that she remembered.

"Shh," she said quietly. "Don't jerk away from me. Once upon a time, you leaned into my every touch, Angelo. You wanted nothing more than to have me touching you. You would look at me and reach under the table, taking my hand and even bringing it up to your cheek - just like this. Do you remember that?" She wasn't ignoring Victor, she just needed to get Angelo's attention on her, focused on what she said - bringing back his true memories, rather than focusing on whatever Joseph had done to him.

"I trust you, Angelo. I have faith that you won't do it again. No, no, don't pull away. Come here and let me touch you. Let me help you remember the truth, let me help take away the poison you've been filled with."

Her arms were open to embrace him. He really only had to lean over to do so.

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Victor Steele
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PostSubject: Re: Mortal Combat (open)   Fri Jan 01, 2016 12:23 pm

Victor sipped his drink and wondered if it wrong that his first thought was Oh Erik is going to have a fit? followed by Come on Angelo, you can do this!
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PostSubject: Re: Mortal Combat (open)   Fri Jan 01, 2016 12:44 pm

He did remember. And that was what was making this so hard. Even as he growled, like some sort of cornered, feral animal, his hands balled into fists on his thighs. He couldn't get away from her hand. But at the same time, part of him really didn't want to. He shut his eyes, squeezing them tightly shut so that he didn't have to look at her. The sincerity in her amazing blue eyes, the look of trust on her face or the tenderness in her gaze. He couldn't stand to see that.

He'd spent so long hating her. He'd spent so long wanting nothing more than to see her suffer. And now he was seeing and finding out that most of that hatred, that rage, that bitterness was all a lie. Somehow, that knowledge made everything that much harder. He couldn't trust himself and part of him hated himself for ever letting it get to this point, where he couldn't bear to be touched by anyone and hating a woman who was innocent.

He didn't lean into her touch, but he stopped trying to cower in the chair, to pull away from her fingertips or the touch of her hand. He sat stock-still and tried to fight the bile that rose in his throat. He didn't even know anymore if it was her that was making him feel sick or himself, his own actions and the lies that built who he was today. Don't ask him for too much, his entire world had exploded in the time space of about two months.
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Griselda Johns
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PostSubject: Re: Mortal Combat (open)   Fri Jan 01, 2016 12:48 pm

She had no idea if Erik would have a fit. Probably not - he'd have to log out of work to have a fit. In her defense, in her mind, she wasn't doing anything wrong. She was offering the man a hug, not an orgy with her as the middle in a Ventrue-ghoul sandwich.

He stopped trying to pull away from her. She didn't necessarily expect him to put his arms around her, not really. But there was a step taken there, a step not pulling away. That was good enough for her. She cupped his cheek, gently rubbing his jaw with her palm. Her fingertips were gentle as they touched his face, tracing the line of his cheekbone and her hand sliding over so that she was touching more the side of his head, just under his ear. She wasn't pulling him toward her yet, but she would be in moments.

"It's okay," she said softly. "You're safe here. You don't need to fight anymore, Angelo. I'm not going to hurt you. Victor isn't going to hurt you. We both know you're having a hard time. We understand. We can give you all the time you need."


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Wears a ring on her left hand ring finger and a butterfly necklace around her neck.
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Victor Steele
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PostSubject: Re: Mortal Combat (open)   Fri Jan 01, 2016 12:53 pm

Victor actually didn't say anything He didn't think a quip about billable hours would work well at this moment.
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PostSubject: Re: Mortal Combat (open)   Fri Jan 01, 2016 1:42 pm

"It's not about time," he growled, his jaw setting while she continued to touch him. "I can't get it straight in my head anymore. I don't know what to believe."

That was the worst of it. She could go in and change every memory in his head and he wouldn't know what to believe anymore. So much of the past several decades were a blur in his mind now. So much that was real, not real, plausible and improbable. He couldn't get it straight and it meant that he didn't know what to believe. He wanted to believe Griselda, but his bond to Joseph wouldn't let him. Even though the bond had shattered on Joseph's death, he'd had blood reserves from Joseph that meant he was bound again. He wanted to believe that the last decades hadn't been a lie. He didn't want to believe that Joseph would use him in such a way. Joseph had his faults, but he wasn't a monster. He was just wise to Griselda and her ways and had done his very best to make sure that Angelo not only knew, but understood at his core.

And yet, things were hazy. She used to touch his face all the time. He knew she loved his face. That was another thing that made this hard. He had become someone else. Something else. And part of that meant his physical transformation as well. He wasn't the man she remembered. But then, how could he even be sure that she was the woman he remembered? Her face in his, screaming at him, tears of frustration in her eyes as she called him a coward. Beating her little fists against his chest in her anger, not hurting him physically but breaking his heart. He'd caught her hands, thrown her on the bed -- and once again, she'd denied him due to his cowardice.

But no -- that's not how it went. The tears in her eyes weren't frustration. They weren't anger. They were fear. Rolling down her cheeks and her arms around his shoulders, hugging him tightly to her, whispering how sorry she was and that she had to go. He had thrown her on the bed and she didn't deny him -- she went home late after making sure that he was pleased, that he knew she loved him. And now he could see the ramifications of her actions, in the form of torn flesh, purple bruises and broken bones. He had been wanting so badly to see her suffer, these past many years. And now he realized that he'd caused her to suffer. Because he had wanted her and she had given herself to him, she had suffered much worse than he could have imagined.

He ducked his head, his nose starting to burn a little as she continued to touch him. "Please stop," he whispered.

He didn't deserve her kindness.
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Griselda Johns
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PostSubject: Re: Mortal Combat (open)   Fri Jan 01, 2016 1:45 pm

"No."

It was a simple, firm answer from her lips. She held him there, watching the changes in his face. Knowing that the truth was starting to break through his mind, knowing that everything he knew and understood was breaking. She wouldn't leave him to deal with that alone. She'd cause it, after all.

Her hand shifted a little, her fingers curling just a touch. Into his hair. She was pulling him closer to her, closer to where she sat, perched on the arm of the chair that he was sitting in.

"I'm not letting you push me away. You're not going to do this alone, Angelo."

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PostSubject: Re: Mortal Combat (open)   Fri Jan 01, 2016 5:18 pm

"I can't," he whispered. He wasn't telling her that he couldn't do this alone. He was telling her that he couldn't let her help him. He was telling her that he couldn't do this with her by his side. But he certainly couldn't do it without her.

He felt her pulling him toward her and he couldn't fight her. Not only would it have been pointless, part of him didn't want to pull away anymore. No one, he'd been with no one since her. And Joseph had made damn sure that she was the only woman who ever mattered to Angelo. He didn't want to pull away with her. He not only remembered her touch, she was the last one to have touched him with any sort of tenderness or kindness. He didn't know how to react to it. So he did nothing.

He turned his head as she pulled him closer. His hands were clenching into fists again, so hard that his knuckles had turned white from the strain. He turned his head and buried his face in her lap. There was nothing sensual about it. Nothing even sweet about it. He didn't want her to look at the ruin of his face anymore, didn't want to see the disgust in her eyes as she inspected the ravages of acid and time. He was still so tense, so very tense that it was a wonder that he didn't explode or something else. He lay his head in her lap, drew a deep breath to catch the scent of her.

She smelled different.

He hadn't really expected her to smell the same. Not really. But so much had changed and yet so much had remained the same that it still caught him a little off-guard. She didn't wear jasmine anymore. But her scent still reminded him of summer. She still felt the same, though. Her thighs under his cheeks still felt the same as the last time he had put his head in her lap, promising her the moon. He didn't have the moon to give anymore.
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Griselda Johns
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PostSubject: Re: Mortal Combat (open)   Fri Jan 01, 2016 5:21 pm

Okay, his head in her lap wasn't what she was going for. She was going to try to give him a hug. But okay, he put his head in her lap. She could roll with it. She's adaptable.

"Victor," she said softly, her fingers still moving, gently stroking Angelo's hair while he drew his deep breath and shook with the tension that held him so tightly. "Victor, would you do me a favor?" She asked him quietly, keeping her voice low and soft. Much like one would talk around a scared animal or a child.


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"So many pretty parts and no pretty wholes."
- "May"

Wears a ring on her left hand ring finger and a butterfly necklace around her neck.
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Victor Steele
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PostSubject: Re: Mortal Combat (open)   Fri Jan 01, 2016 5:25 pm

Victor smiled again, the words he was going to say left unspoken for the moment.

"Sure. What is it?"
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Griselda Johns
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PostSubject: Re: Mortal Combat (open)   Fri Jan 01, 2016 5:29 pm

Victor could say anything he wanted to. She just wouldn't raise her voice, keeping her tone soft and light. She kept her hands in Angelo's hair, running through the sandy-colored locks that really, really needed a haircut much like she used to do.

"Could you please let Sean know sometime before you leave to please send Erik a message that I'm going to be home later than expected?" she said. She wasn't in a rush at all, she wasn't kicking him out of the room. She just needed to make sure that this was done before she forgot about it. "I think I need to stay with Angelo for a while tonight."

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- "May"

Wears a ring on her left hand ring finger and a butterfly necklace around her neck.
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Victor Steele
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PostSubject: Re: Mortal Combat (open)   Fri Jan 01, 2016 5:32 pm

"I will. I was going to tell Angelo too, he's not going at this alone, I'll be helping him too, and tomorrow, I can introduce him to Miyu, who can introduce him to God's grace and love. You explain that one to him, I always brag too much when I do."
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PostSubject: Re: Mortal Combat (open)   Fri Jan 01, 2016 11:18 pm

She shook her head, still running her fingers through the man's hair. Comforting him, letting him take as much time as he needed, hiding away in her lap.

"That might be a bit much for now," she said softly.

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- "May"

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Victor Steele
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PostSubject: Re: Mortal Combat (open)   Fri Jan 01, 2016 11:25 pm

"I think I'll leave you two now. Seems like a good exit point. If Angelo wants to come by my yacht tomorrow night, I'll be onboard trying to figure out where to squeeze out extra profit for that last shopping trip to the mall. I still haven't been given my credit card back and that thing is becoming legendary around town..."
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PostSubject: Re: Mortal Combat (open)   Fri Jan 01, 2016 11:28 pm

He pretty much didn't hear a word that the two Kindred were saying. He was lost in his own thoughts. She smelled different, but it was still a summer scent. His eyes were closed and he started to shake as the force of another memory hit him.

It was one of the times Joseph was away. In London, she had said, he'd be gone for several weeks. This worked out well for them both -- he would be gone and they could spend every evening together, between her studies and his work. And they had. For once, he could actually see her, not covered in bruises or with bandages or tape around her midsection, to help her deal with broken ribs. She was fully healthy, her skin so pale against the dark sheets of his bed. Up until now, he'd remembered them fighting. At the moment, though, his memory was warping and changing again, into the reality of what had been.

It was one of the few times that she hadn't seemed ashamed with him. She lay in his bed, naked, with one leg bent at the knee as she read a book, her head propped up on her arm. It was so natural, so lovely, he couldn't help himself. He'd walked over and ran a hand over her thigh, up her back, to her shoulders. Gently, he'd interrupted her reading to lean over for a kiss -- and she'd returned it, shoving the book aside so she could wrap her arms around him. She'd smiled, nuzzling against him, her little hands sliding into his hair and gently stroking his hair. Much like she was doing right now, though she had a smile then. He wondered, if he looked up, would she be smiling at him?
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Griselda Johns
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PostSubject: Re: Mortal Combat (open)   Fri Jan 01, 2016 11:30 pm

She smiled at Victor and nodded.

"I'll make sure he knows where your yacht is."

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PostSubject: Re: Mortal Combat (open)   Fri Jan 01, 2016 11:32 pm

Victor drained his dinner and made a quiet exit. There had been... progress after all.
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