Il Faut Chanter

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ff_asi_icon.gif bf_cassandra_icon.gif

Scene Title Il Faut Chanter
Synopsis Cassandra discovers a drunken Asi roaming Lowe's and attempts to steady her.
Date November 28, 2018

Lowe’s HQ


In the month since their arrival here at the Pelago, rumors of this ‘Lowe’s’ place had been circulated with a few of the travellers going to visit - mainly as a checking out sort of thing, to make sure it was safe for everyone else before the all clear to head over was given. Cassandra just never had the time to actually do so until today. Sumi had to take care of some administrative work upstairs in the library somewhere, which left Cassandra with an afternoon free of anything to do. Her usual day consisted of keeping an eye on Aurora, Elisabeth’s daughter, but the blonde-haired woman had decided that the perfect thing to do that warm evening was to enjoy a little mommy time, telling stories in the corner of the apartment that they were given to stay in at the Library. This meant that the impossible - an afternoon off - was in the cards. Retrieving her small pack, stuffed full of things that might be interesting to other people, including the payment in barter that she’s gotten for helping Sumi with the books, Cassandra made her way down to the docks and on to a small sailboat that was heading to the marketplace.

She had finally gotten her sea legs after all this time, and the rolling of the ocean didn’t make her sick like it did the first time through, so instead of watching the horizon, Cassandra was watching the waters below, catching glimpses of decaying buses, collapsed buildings, and other things hiding just beneath the surface. The streets of New York were still there, but were beneath several meters of water. Like one of her visions, she could see it all but it was too far away to touch or hold.

The trip to Lowe’s took a little more than thirty minutes, Cassandra actually dozing for a little while in the warmth of the sun with her fingers dragging in the water, waking as the sails were unfurled and the boat drifted into the makeshift dock with the momentum left from the trip over. Taking a moment to compose herself, Cassandra gathered her things and stepped into the marketplace proper.

This late in the afternoon, several of the stalls had already shut down, but the ones she was interested in - the ones that traded in things scavenged from below and the one that sold tortillas - were still open. Her goal out of all of this was something with a good memory or two on it, a pair of shoes that fit, and some of those tortillas to take back to share with Aurora, Squeaks, and Elisabeth. A treat for all of them. The little seer made her way into the marketplace on the hunt for those things.

"Nous partirons vers un nouveau pays, ohé ohé ohé," a voice lilts, coming and going in its vigor. Like the singer means to sing, but then keeps forgetting that they're singing.

"Nous… ne craignons ni peine ni roulis, ohé ohé ohé!"

The voice come from the docks, from a ship fresh from the Sill. The bootfall that accompanies the voice is heavy. Its wielder's hand still holds a bottle in it, their cheeks warm and bright with vigor, or at least so they believe.

"Il faut chanter… puisque?… puisque…" Asi's voice breaks as she forgets the words. It was something obvious, she remembers that. So obvious, perhaps it wasn't worth remembering at the moment. "L'vie…" No. "La mer…" That's the one.

So satisfied is she that she stops singing entirely.

Asi swallows hard, attention on her feet for a moment since they seem to not want to navigate in a straight line. She swears under her breath at them, ordering them to stay in line until she gets back to her bunk, and continues trying to head in that direction. There was an entire market's space to cover first, though.

The slips located nearest to the docks generally have the newest and best stuff - the ships offload their bounties in warehouses to be sorted into particular groups, and then out it goes into the market, and that's generally where people go first. Cassandra’s explorations at the marketplace have borne fruit, her trading and shrewd negotiating getting her not entirely ripped off on a few things - a bit of cloth from a curtain that could have come from a Broadway theater and a stack of ten steaming hot tortillas wrapped in a bit of woven cloth made from what seemed to be seaweed. She's on her way to the front in a hunt for shoes when the singing - or lack thereof - echoes over the market.

The singer gets a lot of attention. Some is good, people giggling or moving out of the way, while others are a little negative, with one guy calling out, jeering at the passing vocalist. Cassandra glances over, too - she can't help it, really - and starts at the sight of a familiar-looking, extremely drunk Asi, just as her concert has come to an end.

Hesitantly, Cassandra approaches, waving off one of the Lowe's guards who is looking over toward Asi with interest. “Asi? Est-ce que vous allez bien?” She doesn't move to touch or lead the other woman away, offering a hand to take to steady the other. She lapses into French - better for passerby to not understand what they're talking about. “As-tu besoin d'aide?”

At hearing the sound of her name, Asi lifts her head up cheerfully and emits a note of interest, a wordless acknowledgement of whoever is asking after her. It requires pausing to be fully sure of herself. She finally pinpoints it after Cassandra's already come close. She scowls for just a moment, or so it seems, but then she is absolutely delighted to see an unexpected but familiar face. "Ah, voyageur de réalités 'ssandra," Asi beams. There's a singsong quality to her voice. "What are you doing here?"

She continues to smile broadly, a sway causing her to step and resume forward march, gait ambling. "Non," she informs brightly, accent overexaggerated, message belated at that.

Cassandra doesn't reach out to steady the other woman. She's still unsure of the whole etiquette thing of the lack. With space being at such a premium, maintaining personal space is a big deal. Cassandra simply moves to walk alongside Asi, giving her the option to grab on in the event that feet don't decide to work exactly as designed. The intoxicating effects Asi is experiencing is a feature to booze, the headache that's certain to come after a very well-documented bug.

“I just came to find a few things. I was hoping for some boots, but everything is either rotten, algae-covered and slimy, or out of my price range entirely.” She switches from French to English effortlessly. “J'ai trouvé du pain à partager.” She lifts her bag to underscore the success she had in that endeavor. “Je ne pensais pas chercher du vin.”

Cassandra walks with Asi through the market, not leading or following, but accompanying in whatever route she chooses.

Effortlessly is something Asi can't currently describe her command over language. She replies very seriously, and neither in English nor French. It might not even have been in Japanese. The word 'boots' are very clearly picked out of the advice though, and she snickers when she's done.

"That is the secret." she confides conspiratorially, then starts to lose her balance. She waves an arm out by her side, expression otherwise unphased as her feet stop listening to her again.

'Okay, Miss Asi, you've had a little too much to drink.' That's what Cassandra thinks she should say, but she doesn't, instead reaching out to take Asi’s arm as she wobbles. Assistance is offered without explicitly saying it, giving Asi the chance to get assistance if she needs it. Besides, Cassandra’s not used to drunks! The last time she dealt with anyone like this was in high school, and even then, that was at a party with a bunch of people and in a single language! This is a lot more complicated!

“You should write that down for posterity.” Cassandra sighs and smiles a little. “C’mon, lets get some food in you to soak up the booze. The tortilla place is open. We could get an egg on a tortilla with some salt. Really good stuff.” Out of the market and someplace off the street where people won't come up and bother them. Even with guards, Cassandra is still very wary of anyone in this place besides Asi.

It's possible Asi doesn't even realize she's been helped up, just knows she's righted, and that's great. The thought about food, though, is an interesting one she considers with a speculating squint. She grunts indecisively, but stops walking, turning to Cassandra for further instruction.

If they weren't leaving Lowe's HQ, what could the harm be?

Nope, not leaving Lowe’s at all. Cassandra is a helpful shepherd for the drunken soul in her charge, leading the Japanese woman through the thinning crowds to the stall that specializes in Dan Bing. It was one of the one things that Cassandra recognizes as food that wasn't fish or sea based. A thin batter was spread on a hot steel plate to cook, a cracked egg smeared over the top with some green scallions. The little Chinese lady running the stall, gestures to two pots - chili oil and sweet bean paste - giving Asi the choice before flipping it, smearing the slightly brown side with the condiment indicated, adds a crispy bit of fish, and folds it all up into a little envelope of tasty. Cassandra hands over a bit of plunder from her stocks, nodding her thanks before leading Asi away to somewhere more quiet. A veranda on the edge of the market, originally used as a smoking deck, has been repurposed into a sun-baked seating area with a few vegetable plants.

“Have a seat?” Cassandra indicates a bench looking out over the bay, sitting down herself. “Let's talk. Or not.” At least let her get the food inside to start becoming less intoxicated. Getting her back to the library will be an interesting trek, but Cassandra’s not the sort to leave a companion in her cups alone in the market!

Asi sits down roughly on the bench, taking a moment to right herself up afterward. The bottle she's brought with her is gently let down to the ground by her foot with more care than one would expect, given how ham-handedly she reviews the food that they've bought.

"Talk?" she queries, as curious as she is confused. What could they possibly have to talk about? "On?" she adds with some emphasis, picking up one of the slices of the rolled-up crisped egg and batter. For the moment, her eyes are intent on the task before her and not making a mess of it.

Conversation starting is not something Cassandra is good at. Generally people come to her, after all. Saves her the effort about likes to get conversation going and right now, it shows. She snags a bit of the crisped egg and batter - she had it sliced beforehand for easy eating - with two fingers and sits back, taking a bite. “I just wanted to see how you were doing. I wasn't expecting to find you here, and putting ‘drink’ in there adds another layer of unexpected.”

She sounds worried and maybe a little guilty, like showing Asi what happened in Bright drove her to drink.

"Oh." To see how she was?

Asi looks down at her next bite, contemplating it like it's a reflection of her state. She rolls her jaw before popping the piece into her mouth.

"No…" she says at something. "This is just… Every other day right now." Her mostly-pleased mood goes unvanquished, and she holds up the next piece with a lopsided grin. "This is delicious. Thank you." If seeing her own death, albeit in another universe, was weighing on her mind, it was deep under the alcohol.

So, it and other various topics of weight she was trying to escape, likely are.

It’s the hardest thing in the world for Cassandra to not pry. She equates it to the time she made friends with the raccoon who lived in the shed in her backyard when she was six. Running up and trying to hug the raccoon didn’t turn out to be the smartest thing in the world, since she still had the scar to prove it the first time she tried. After the first encounter, the chubby ringtail usually went running the second Cassandra came off of the back porch. So, in an attempt to offer an olive branch to the beast, she started feeding it. Within two months Cassandra was able to hesitantly touch the raccoon’s tail, and for several years, up until the raccoon vanished, it would actually sit next to her on the porch, eating the bit of fruit Cassandra brought while getting petted.

The raccoon, named Trouble, lived a long and healthy life, fat and happy thanks to Cassandra’s ministrations. Here’s hoping that this trouble, while she’s here, can have a little more of the same.

“You’re welcome.” Cassandra says softly, sitting back on the bench, the rusty metal creaking a little as she crosses one leg over the other, taking a bite of her chunk of Dan Bing, chewing and swallowing, not saying much at all. “Every other day, huh? Is it scavenged from below the surface or is there a distillery bouncing around here? Can I try some?” She gestures to the bottle and, if assent is given, lifts it to her nose to sniff and, if it doesn’t seem too terribly caustic, takes an experimental sip. This is also an invitation to Asi to talk without Cassandra actually asking her to talk. See how loquacious the technopath is.

Asi's very much focused on eating, one small bite after the other. The questions as they're asked elicit a bounce of interest from her eyebrows, though she doesn't look up. She's paying attention, she swears.

"November." Asi says quite knowingly, the explanation for all things she is trying so very hard to forget. It's easy to acknowledge them with a simple, "Fuck November."

She's in the process of scooping another slice of the food up when Cassandra asks about the alcohol. "Sssssure," she decides, expression deadpan though her tone is amiable. "Go for it."

It's some kind of home brew, the kind that slaps you in your sinuses just for wiffing it. "Came from some place in the Sill I'd never been to before. I'm running low on credits this week."

"Diving isn't a hobby of mine. I stay in the land of the living." she adds, not quite sounding offended, but no longer pleased, either. "And those …" Asi mumbles some unintelligible swear, "They with the jewels and luxury, the past is theirs to plunder." If that makes any sense at all. "Or maybe they just brought it with them."

She sticks her hand out for the previously-forgotten bottle. Her turn, she demands.

"There is a bar in the Community that makes a nice enough brew," she offers helpfully. "Better than this is, for sure."

Cassandra takes a sip. The liquor, as Cassandra is generously putting it, burns its way down her throat like battery acid, sitting in her stomach and roiling, simmering, ready to burst forth if she’s daring enough to try that again. She coughs, covering her mouth with the back of her hand and passes the bottle back to Asi, making sure the other woman has a good grip before letting go. She’s not much of a drinker, it seems. “God, if this is bad stuff, you need to tell me where the good stuff is so I can take you there right now to get some.” Lack of credits notwithstanding. Any port in a storm seems to be the motto for Asi’s drinking. Whatever need is pushing her to drink as much as she apparently does.

Cassandra grimaces, rubbing her lips with her fingertips. “Gah, my lips are numb from that stuff.” She sits back and looks out over the water. “Liz, the blond who was with me when Sumi and I were talking writing, she has the same views of November as you. Bad things seemed to happen in November for her, too. At least it’s almost over.” In more ways that one.

Another bit of the Dan Bing, her second, is taken up and popped into her mouth, chewed quickly, and swallowed to go absorb the alcohol that’s currently soaking into her stomach.

“Is that a thing? People going down and mining from the bones of the old world, selling their finds to the rich, who never weren’t rich to begin with?”

Regardless of it being rude or not, Asi laughs as Cassandra sputters from the drink. She leans forward to clap her on the shoulder repeatedly, still cackling before she takes the bottle and sips. She's past the long-drinks stage — she knows she's already having trouble self-navigating. "No." is her opinionated reply to the idea of getting more. What she had would tide her over.

"Liz." she coos with fond memory as the other world-traveler is brought up. "Yes, Liz and I went drinking, too. We talked," Asi's taking another sip without meaning to, out of habit. "and discussed November. Fall down twenty-seven times, get up again." She sounds very self-assured in her recollection of that event. She blinks at the bottle in her hand, wondering why it's still there, and replaces it back on the floor with less care than before. It wobbles before settling.

"Rare. Mostly no." Asi informs matter-of-factly, in regards to underwater salvage. "What's the point? You use what you have before you. What's below you isn't what's before you."

She turns back to Cassandra, all business suddenly. "How many of there are you, anyway?" she asks almost accusingly. It'd be more intimidating if she didn't blindly grab another bite of food as she said it.

Cassandra listens quietly, nodding from time to time. She even reaches down to stop the bottle from falling over when the wobble gets a little too much, glancing up as Asi becomes more direct. “Well, that’s a tricky one…” The answer to her question depends on exactly what is being asked. If it were the simple question of how many travellers arrived, that’s easy. “There were thirteen of us that arrived in the storm. So thirteen.” Unless she was asking about Cassandra specifically, and then she’s really unsure. At least four Cassandras are possible, but that’s probably a conversation that shouldn’t be held with a very drunk Asi.

Or it's an excellent one. After all, there are at least two Asis.

"十三人." Asi breathes out incredulously. "A whole boatload of you." she sniggers at her own sense of humor, feeling proud of her manipulation of language. "Oh — wait, wait. That's primal." She beams broadly, eyes drifting shut for a moment. She apparently sobers in that moment, because she's very serious when she looks down at the remaining food.

"So I am dead, where you and Liz come from." It's said with all the matter-of-factness and distance from emotion alcohol can provide her. She arches her brow, daring Cassandra to challenge her, apparently.

Telling a lie is not something that Cassandra ever would consider. Certainly not in this case. Not when she’s pinned down so directly. So she tells the truth. Closing her eyes, she nods slightly. “Where I came from, yes. Where Elisabeth came from? I…” she shrugs before shaking her head. “I don’t know. You might be. You might not be. Just like the world where we came from. There was another Liz there. Remarkably similar to the one you’ve met. There might be a Liz here somewhere, too. A little less likely. Same with another Cassandra.”

She goes quiet, looking down to the floor. “I shouldn’t have told you. I’m sorry.”

"Oh, there's … more than one." Asi mumbles wearily. "Of course there is. I shouldn't be surprised." She lifts her hand to rub it down her face, remembering more of what Liz had said. When done, she eats another bite, chewing on this one for a long time.

"I didn't warn you, either." she relates in an even voice, her head shaking as she looks down at the last bits of rolled dan bing. Before she can move on to saying something polite, a deflection, or even something unrelated, she furrows her brow thoughtfully. "… But why did you care, anyway? Why were you so attached?"

“Because she deserved more than that.” Cassandra answers this almost without thinking, looking over after a moment. “That woman you saw, Erika Kravid, was….singular in her pursuits of Looking Glass. That portal thing you saw me jump through. The one she sent ON-1 through. She didn't care. Not at all.” Cassandra’s fingers start to move. A nervous gesture that she mostly stops by holding her hands together. Mostly.

Cassandra's eyes close and the words just come. “ON-1 wasn't a tool. She was someone. Someone with hopes, dreams, and a family. Friends. And Erika forced her into that box somehow and then just threw her away like she was nothing. They could have sent a backup. A copy. A robot for chrissakes!” Cassandra’s voice raises before she tamps her temper back down. “And when the transfer failed, she was more concerned that Looking Glass was damaged, not that she killed…” Cassandra sniffles, wiping her eyes, taking a slow, shaky breath. “That she killed a soul. That magic, she just threw away. I was attached because she deserved someone to try. For her.”

Remaining aloof is a challenge that grows harder, hearing and seeing Cassandra. It feels bizarre to say the least, knowing that in some way it's herself that's being discussed, but the alcohol suspends her disbelief enough that her stomach doesn't do too many somersaults.

"I don't know that ON-1. I'm not her. But whether she died for hubris, because she was betrayed, or…" Asi waves a hand dismissively, broadly. She knew what she meant to say. "I know I'm glad someone tried." She looks at Cassandra pityingly, her voice light in an attempt to be kind.

"But listen. The world doesn't care. Bad happens. Evil creeps in. And it will destroy you." Having leaned in at some point, she sits back up and cocks her head. "You can't waste your time being attached to what's gone. You can't fight for the past — it won't change anything. What's gone is gone." She waves a hand flippantly again, numb to any emotional response to that, in her current state. "Just charge forward, and burn anyone who tries to fuck with you."

Her brow lifts up and she smiles. It could be mistaken for a gentle one, but her eyes are cold. "あくまで." she advises, each syllable deliciously separate from the last.

“Evil has tried to destroy me.” Cassandra says softly. “Many times. Each time I escaped to live again. One day, I may not be so lucky, but right now I treasure every quiet moment I have. Like with Sumi and the books. Like with you, here. Moments like these are rare in any world - even one as harsh as this. I don't fight for the past. I bring it back from the depths. Show it to the world. Tell the stories that are locked away. If I'm here for the rest of my life…it would be a fitting place for me, I think.”

She would be a storyteller. The greatest known.

Cassandra's reaction is … vexing. Asi's smile fades slowly as she listens, not sure why at first. It takes her a minute for her mind to catch up with what her gut's already learned. She blinks rapidly, flinching as the realization smacks her. "What?" Not leaving?

"馬鹿か? Of course you are leaving. With Liz, on her search for her world." Her voice is raised to help her emphasise just how bad of an idea she finds it to stay behind in this dead world if there was something better waiting on the other side of the veil.

“That is the plan, Asi. Going to wherever Liz’s world is, trying to find a place that's closer to where I came from originally than where I've been.” The story of their escape, how they came to actually be here, was never explicitly told but it was certainly a harrowing experience. “I just hope that when we leave this time, it's not with the fire and fury of the way we left the last time.”

To be clear, she sounds certain that she’s going with Liz and Aurora and the rest. “You could….come too, if you wanted?” Cassandra says quietly.

Asi's relief at the clarification helps, but she's still uneasy. The entire 'if' statement had thrown her. She recoils again at the suggestion that she join them, only able to dignify that well-meaning offer with a scoff. She actually shudders at the thought, taking the last bite of the din bang roll to buy her some 'bullshitting' time to think, as First Mate Monica would put it.

"That's ridiculous." she finally mutters, the moment expired with her having nothing better to say. She certainly wasn't happy here, but this was where she was meant to be.

“I thought the same thing until I was running from an assault team in the lab that I was helping work on the gate I had to leap through.” Cassandra says, giving another small shrug. The dan bing is finished, the last crumbs dusted out, the napkin folded and tucked into one of the many pockets in Cassandra’s jacket. “There’s not much here, but I can’t guarantee anything about where we’re going at all. It’s….” Now Cassandra needs some time to bullshit. “It’s like standing on the bottom of a diving board. That anticipation. Now add people trying to pull you off the diving board before you even get there, and then, if you do make it up, you get the whole sensation of leaping off into the unknown. It’s scary, and I’ve done it twice already.”

Asi gets a light push on the shoulder, Cassandra offering a smile. “Let’s hope third time’s the charm then, yeah? Come on.” She motions for the other woman to follow. “Take me to one of those good places to get a drink. I’m buying a round.”

She wobbles a bit at that push, eyes narrowing. Asi turns her head back toward Cassandra thoughtfully as she considers the request to head elsewhere, slowly ending up glancing back down to the bottle by her feet. "If I get back on another boat right now," she finally informs frankly. "I don't think it's going to end well."

Her head lifts to stare across the market, toward the stairwells leading further up, and finds that distance a bit daunting at the moment as well. Asi's eyes close wearily, wishing for more patience with herself. She wants to find her bunk. But ah, maybe she could distract herself with more conversation, first?

The kind she doesn't mean to, but she does. "It seems… to me … like each world has been worse than the last, since your own." she declares dubiously, but quietly. She'd seen the ruins from Cassandra's vision, after all. "Are you so certain the next will not be the same?"

That’s something that’s been weighing on Cassandra for quite a while. What if the next world is even worse than this one? After all, they leaped from what was a stable, comfortable world to a war zone and a nuclear strike. Barely escaping that, they landed in a flooded Manhattan.

Well, landed isn’t such a great term. Fell is better. They fell from height into the water with a splash and were luckily rescued by a passing ship.

“I’m not sure. I can’t be. I’m not the kind of person that can see the future. The past, I’ve got that on lock, but the future is still just as unclear to me as it is to anyone, Mad Eve included. I mean, I can guess, but there are so many possibilities…” Cassandra sighs and crosses one leg over the other, relaxing on the bench as best she can. “I just have to hope. I mean…hope is the one thing that keeps me going. Hope for the future. Hope that what I’m doing will end up making a difference, or that, somehow, this crazy trip will end with me sitting somewhere, safe, fed, warm, on dry land, where there isn’t a war.” She pinches her brow and laughs softly, shaking her head.

“Damn, I wish I could just go home and see my mom and dad and granny but I’m afraid of what I’ll find when I get there. After all, Louisiana was low lying to begin with. Chances are pretty good that it’s not there anymore.” Same as everyone here.

"What and who the flood did not kill, the Vanguard tried their best to in the war that followed. Even if they did survive, you would be hard-pressed to find them." Asi points out, in a way that she clearly thinks is helpful. At least Cassandra wouldn't waste her time this way.

Her heel bounces on the ground before she ends up shaking her head idly. "That's a nice goal, you know," she says in a gentler, more careful voice. The cynic in her wants to point out that the likelihood of them heading anywhere else that was better than here appeared to be low, but at the same time, Asi didn't want to encourage the traveler to stick around. If there was a chance there was a better elsewhere, why not chase it?

Everyone had something that drove them to wake up and take a step forward each day. It would be needlessly cruel to criticize Cassandra's hope.

“Yeah, I know.” Cassandra’s tone is quiet and dejected, her head lowering almost imperceptibly. “The last world, Louisiana was irradiated or something, thanks to a strike on New Orleans. The one before that - my world - just kind of started having massive social unrest due to the way the government dealt with evolved people. Here is underwater. The next? No idea.” She shrugs. “I just have to hope, you know? Wherever we're going next, I just have to hope and trust in the people I'm with know what they’re doing. So far we've gotten through okay. And that's enough to hope for the best. At least for me.”

Despite all the trials Cassandra had gone through, she still has that little ember of hope glowing in her belly. Cheating death once will do that for a girl, and the upcoming trek to the lighthouse, the radio tower, the stormfront, or whatever it is? Well, that's got her scared to death.

“Sometimes I wish I could retreat into my visions. That I could take people with me. Into the thread instead of just seeing it. Give the chance for closure, give the chance for hope. Stop the bad. Looking at all this?” She stretches out a hand to indicate the world. “Imagining it as it was….I mean, I used to eat in a cafe two blocks from here, before the trip. What I wouldn't give for a goddamn pizza.”

"Well, if pizza's all you want, that could be fixed. Longing for the past can kill a person, though."

Asi sounds surprisingly sober when she says as much, though she's still staring a little vacantly off the side of Cassandra's shoulder. "Hope is forward, at least." she gestures a hand ahead of her indicatively, judging how uncomfortable the broad motion makes her. Her eyes start to drift shut as she takes an unsteady breath, mumbling in Japanese, "先へ見るのは正しい道だろう."

A belated thought bowls over her train of thought and she interjects suddenly, with interest, "I had wanted to see Times Square. To make it dance with unplanned color, if I came to it happily. Or to use it as a stage for showcasing the secrets of straw men needing burned."

“I know. It's easy to look back and want to retreat into the safe spaces of time. I don't make it a habit to long. Except for pizza.” She looks over, then away. “Don't tease about pizza. Crust, tomato sauce, little mozzarella. Basil. Olive oil….” Her stomach growls, Cassandra looking down. “Stop it, you. We had dan bing.”

The Japanese has Cassandra rolling her head to the side, the alcohol, whatever it is, starting to soak in. “Mwen pa konnen sa ou te di, men mwen dakò.” She says as a response, grinning a little. She can do foreign languages too. And then the thought strikes her. “I wonder if anyone else can speak Haitian Creole around here.”

Reaching over, she gives Asi a light push on the shoulder, a little physical contact. She's a toucher. “Give me a thumb drive, if you have one. If there's a Times Square, I'll plug it in somewhere and get your message blazing in light. Hell, if there’s a you I'll try and find her. I'll be your bottle. I'll send your SOS to the world.” It's not like she hadn't already done it once.

Asi's expression is blank when Cassandra says whatever she says. There's a moment where it looks like she wonders is that what that's like? but it passes swiftly. The thought of letting her digital self swim in a non-submerged Times Square is too alluring.

A wicked grin starts to form, even after the physical contact. "Heh," she mirthfully starts, trying to mind which language she's speaking more than before. "A thumb drive? I will have to remember. I wonder what that other world would think of my message? 'Fuck the Vanguard. Death to the Sentinel. Love, ON-1.'"

An SOS? She wasn't the type for that kind of broadcast. She shrugs at that part of the suggestion. "Unless you were to go to Japan, you would not find me. Even if you did, you would not find me. But if you asked the 'net for ON-1 and promised a mystery … If I exist, I would reply." Her smirk gains a wry twist. "I would tell her about Kaori's gift, beautiful as it was. Hers is a gift which should have been shared. Had the world not ended, she never would have let us know of it."

“I didn't think it would be that easy. The ON-1 on my world was trapped and betrayed somehow - so I'm fairly sure you'd be just as hard to find there as you would be anywhere.” Cassandra chuckles. “It’d be an interesting message. There's probably a vanguard and sentinel on every world we go through - there seem to be some basic similarities. Major events and the like are where the timeline fragments.”

Asi not being a police fan, the band or the organization, isn't entirely unexpected. “It was a song lyric.” Cassandra clarifies. “But it might give you something to think on. A message to yourself from another world. Hell of a mystery for ‘you’ to solve.” The air quotes are almost visible when Cassandra says that, too.

“Tell me about Kaori?” She sounds genuinely interested. “Before all of this.”

Asi's mouth drags to one side at the thought of a Vanguard and a Sentinel elsewhere, a little more determined to remember to actually go digging for something to store and play such a message from. Perhaps it should be a little more. Perhaps something a little flashier, to warn that other reality against the horrors that could be, maybe stop them in time. And she's tempted, for herself, to actually sign her old moniker. Though it could be hectic for that other her, if one existed.

She squints thoughtfully, trying to decide if that's her problem.

Cassandra's question brings her mood back down. "Well…" Asi sits up straighter, rubbing the flat of her palm down the side of her face as she thinks back that far. "She was the 'good' child. She listened, she followed all of our parents' recommendations for schooling and clubs, their prescriptions for life. Then, once they had shared their disappointment sufficiently, she would slip away and sit with me instead." Her shoulders lift slowly into a shrug, an odd smile on her face as she remembers back on that fondly. "She thought no less of me. Wanted to always have her sister, no matter how different our paths."

Words fail to come suddenly, much as she'd like to continue. Her hands fumble before her, like they're trying to reach for a drink that's not immediately in front of her. A well-honed reflex, unable to be properly executed on. Her eyes somber. "She was patient about it, but she'd always speak her mind. Firmly. Fiercely. She tried to knock all of our heads together, for us to make peace. It only took the flood for it to succeed. It only took her revealing herself for me to have the opportunity to stand up for her just as…"

With a blink, Asi's trying to come to her feet. "I am done now, I think," she announces uneasily, hands on the bench as she stands all too quickly, and then loses her balance again. She almost falls on Cassandra as she involuntarily sits back down, hand out by her side. It seems she's less done than she'd like to be.

The subject of family was one Cassandra sometimes used to break the ice. Get someone talking about fond memories and she was often surprised at how well they opened up. In this case, in this world, dredging up the past like this only opened up old wounds. She noticed the change in demeanor when family was brought up, so she tries to deftly change the subject away from that and back to the whole “fuck vanguard and the sentinel” thing.

Oddly enough, safer subjects.

“So, ever thought of a puzzle that you'd enjoy solving? Something like those old games where you had to know Sanskrit, then look up an old enigma code book, then listen to a numbers station to get a code? Throw a bone to yourself with a first clue to the mystery, which eventually leads to the encryption key and…voila. Talking to yourself across worlds.” She rises a little to help try and catch Asi, just being there in the event that she topples over, sitting back down next to the other woman. Looks like they'll be there for a while as the alcohol works its way out of her system.

“I kind of hope you decide to send me with something.” Cassandra admits. “I like the responsibility.”

Asi's not exactly in a state for complex thinking. Devising a code for herself to solve is a bit beyond her right now. She does seem to appreciate the thought… before shaking her head. "Any message I have would be blunt. Direct. Fucking around with trying to head this off in the dark got us into this mess." She turns her head to look squarely the woman she sits shoulder to shoulder with. "Had these people been dragged into the light like they dragged us, but first, maybe we would have had a fighting chance."

She grunts thoughtfully about it. Yes, that seemed like the best course. "Blow them out of the water." Asi voices her thoughts in that too-serious voice again. She nods firmly at their conversation in general. "I'll happily come up with ammunition for that. Anything I can find."

It may be too complex for the drunken Asi. Get the sober, hung over Asi working on it, you'll probably have something that requires NSA level cracking, or a giant farm of Ukrainian hackers working 24 hours a day for months to get an inkling of what it might be. “Good.” Cassandra smiles, giving Asi another touch on the shoulder, letting it rest there a second before leaning back. “Make sure you put in that I have no idea about the code, the contents, or even the format. I'm just a delivery girl.”

A cross-dimension delivery girl, but still.

“That's a good sentiment, though. Imagine if we could cut off the head before the snake can grow.” She ducks down and pulls out an old plastic soda bottle, now filled with water. It's offered to Asi wordlessly, since hydration helps with hangovers. There goes that what if moment again.

"Why? Worried about being chased down?" Asi grins at Cassandra's request to be specifically called out as only a messenger. She chuckles, eyes closing as she sits there. When she opens them, she notes the bottle, staring for a moment before accepting the makeshift canteen.

"It would be littered with lots of personal clues. Things only I know. You'd likely be safe." The bottle is screwed closed again after a long drink, though she holds onto it with a thoughtful expression. "Is anyone waiting on you?"

The look Cassandra gives Asi can only mean one thing - that she fully expects that to happen unless something is stated, and even if it’s explicitly stated that she’s not a part of it, she’s certain that she’ll be dug into by Asi any way the woman can dig into her. Why? Because that’s what Cassandra would do if she were in the same situation.

Cassandra shakes her head in the negative. “Mommy-daughter day with Elisabeth. Maybe around dinnertime, if that. Definitely bedtime, though. So I’ve got…” She looks at the sun. “At least three or four hours I’d guess. Why? What’s up?"

Asi wags the two-liter back at Cassandra, starting to frown. "I might sober." she explains very seriously. "So if you have the time, I could work on your request. The chances of running into each other again may be low — who knows when you will take the next leap in your journey."

She leans slightly to her side, shoulder bumping into Cassandra's as she uses her other hand to point up. "I have quarters here. If I could just get upstairs." Asi seems oddly amused at her own misfortune there.

At least Asi drank some of the water. Once she gets some sleep, her kidneys and liver will be thanking her. If they could find some Advil that still worked, that’d help, too, but in this place, beggars can’t be choosers, can they? Cassandra takes back the bottle, re-capping it and pushing it into her backpack, closing the flap and sitting back.

“Yeah, the whole journey thing is supposed to be happening sometime soon. We’re supposed to be ready to go in a while - exactly when I’m not sure. The captains are still doing their thing to decide who’s going and stuff like that.” Cassandra leans to look up the pointing finger towards Asi’s Quarters, which honestly could be anywhere up there, then looks back to the Japanese woman. “I’ll help you get there if you can give directions. I get to see a little more of the place, and might get to see what you can do.”

Humming at nothing in particular, Asi rocks on her heels and pushes herself to her feet, wobbling and placing a hand on Cassandra's shoulder to steady herself. She grins mischievously before dragging the other woman up after her.

Asi's room she's claimed was once probably a large storage closet. But it has the advantage of having a keypadded door that unlocks for her at a single touch before she pushes it in. Dim lighting is flicked on, showcasing metal shelves filled with technological finds she's hoarded over the years. A power strip is plugged into the single outlet in the room, close to where a mattress has been laid on the concrete floor. The apparently-working desktop she has set up is within arms reach of the bed as a result.

Stumbling to a spot between two of the shelves, Asi yanks out a single metal folding chair from between them and opens it, letting it hit the floor with a clatter before she moves to settle in on the floor near the bed. Sitting surrounded by all of the dead tech didn't provide her a sense of comfort … but the hum coming from the plugged in computer soothed her in a world where she so rarely sensed things like that anymore. She reaches over to a shelf with clothing and other sundries, snagging a half-empty canteen to drink from it.

"Make yourself comfortable." Asi suggests, setting aside the water so she can start untying her boots.

Instead of Cassandra being helpful like she thought, it’s more Asi leading through the marketplace, with Cassandra performing the supporting role. The trek through the marketplace, up stairs, through corridors and the like, finally ends up with Cassandra and Asi in the storeroom that the Japanese woman claims as her own room. She must have some pull to get her own private room with a door and the like. She takes a moment to look around the room before stepping inside and letting the door close behind her, staying on the mat just inside

Cassandra takes a seat on the folding chair and unties her single shoe, pulling her boot off of the other, wiggling her toes inside their patched socks. “I don’t get to take my shoes off nearly enough.” she says with a sigh, sitting back on the chair with a smile. “Nice place, by the way.” And she’s not being patronizing, either. It is a nice place.

Asi watches the mismatched shoes tumble off with some confusion, like she'd never paid that much attention to notice it before. "Ah," she intones, the note stretching for a long time. "Yes, you do need boots." is said wearily while she leans back to flip the power on the switch. Lights flicker on inside the desktop's case as it starts to warm up.

She leans back on her hands and grins as she looks around the room. Not quite a studio apartment, but it was hers. "Thank you. It has been good to me." Asi's observation of the room grows pensive, eyes narrowing as one arm swings out to gesture to a shelf on the opposite wall near Cassandra. "I think… There may be a thumb, second or third row. See if you can find it?"

Oooh, she gets to rummage. Cassandra pushes her boots back by the door and stands, moving to the indicated shelf and looking through it. The amount of stuff Asi managed to cram on her shelves is amazing, with very little air between things and, honestly, it takes Cassandra to find a spot to even start digging, but she finally finds a spot to start. Withdrawing a coffee can opens a little space for her to explore, and moving something into the spot that the coffee can was living in lets her get deeper. She’s certainly careful as she works - after all, this isn’t her place, and this all must mean something for Asi to keep it. Finally deep in the back of the second shelf she tried, the one on the third row, a bin is discovered positively brimming with thumb drives. At least four or five are pulled out, each in various states of repair. Hopefully one of these will work.

Cassandra backs out of her spot on the shelf, replacing the displaced bits before pivoting to sitaawagain, this time on the floor next to the computer and the bed, offering both hands with the drives. “Should I be here for this? After all, it is a message for you.”

Asi looks pleased at what Cassandra's brought back, accepting the lot of them and holding each one individually to look it over. She eventually opts to try a scuffed navy blue one, hooking it into the USB port and then turning the screen on to see what the computer makes of it.

"It's nothing you've not already heard." Asi says softly, running her hand back over the top of her head to smooth her hair down. The rest of the tiny drives are set aside loose as they are — something a sober her would scold herself over later — and she pulls the keyboard onto her lap. "You know… far more about me than most, at this point. More than I'm comfortable with." she tilts her head at the screen, the light reflecting off her eyes. There's a flicker in her expression for just a moment. "… Not that that's wholly a bad thing. You're leaving, after all." Asi frowns thoughtfully, maybe not just at the computer.

There's no mouse. Hand on the keyboard, unmoving, various windows start to fly across the screen as she checks the size of the drive, makes sure it saves new data correctly, and starts searching through file after file on the desktop for something in particular. The flashes of text that appear as each one opens and closes looks to be in a journal format, with entries in both English and Japanese.

So that’s what Asi can do, exactly. The first time that Cassandra met the woman, she was holding an old hard drive and seemed to do something with the technology involved. Add in the whole hacker mythos and the name of ON-1 with the whole ‘technopath’ thing tacked on, and you get a very talented person who can do all sorts of things with a keyboard and mouse while not exactly requiring a keyboard and mouse.

The mouse-brown-haired woman sits quietly as Asi works, picking up a few words, here and there when they fly by in English, the hiragana and katakana completely going over her head since she never had to really learn these languages. “I have to go. You said it yourself.” Cassandra talks quietly as Asi works. “It’s like the old story of Midas’s hairdresser, from Greece. The story went that Midas judged a music contest between Pan and Apollo, and found that Pan won. Apollo cursed him with donkey’s ears, and Midas, to hide the shame, wore lots of turbans, headdresses…that sort of thing.” She watches a few moments more. “The hairdresser couldn’t hold the secret of Midas’s ears forever, so he ran and dug a hole in the ground near a lake and told the secret there, covering it up when he was done. A few weeks later, a thick bed of reeds sprung up and began whispering the story to anyone when the wind blew.” She chuckles. “Loses a little in translation, but…don’t worry. I’ll keep your secrets safe. Even from you.”

A breath of laughter escapes Asi as she pauses in skimming the files, an entry entirely in Japanese left up on the screen. Hand lifting, the outside of it curls lightly as she rests it on Cassandra's cheek with a knowing grin. "Slightly different. I am giving you the seeds to grow the weeds." she remarks, hand turning to brush her cheek with her thumb before Asi looks back at the screen with that same thoughtful look as before, hand falling back to the keyboard. "And I know you will try, at least. You try hard to be helpful. Just need to work a little on steeling your heart."

Cassandra grins and reaches up to pat Asi’s hand, the one against her cheek. “So you're giving me a dandelion, ready to burst forth and spread all over an unsuspecting universe.” Or days on Vanguard and Sentinel that might send Asi of the next world on a hunt for wabbits. “Perhaps just a little steeling. Not much. I have to keep Aurora innocent as long as I can.”

"More important to keep her safe. Teach her to keep herself safe." Asi disagrees in the process of swapping some chosen journal entries over to a new folder. Figuring out how she wants to encrypt them is still proving to be a quandary without a solution. She's tempted to cheat and use details impossible for anyone but her to know in creating the key — but what if this 'other world' her was different?

Instead, she ends up bringing up a simple painting application. "Innocence is overrated." she says wearily, then her eyes close. On the application, simple as it may be, an image of the flooded New York is rapidly brought to life, clump by clump of color that doesn't appear as a coherent piece until it's zoomed out so the whole can be viewed. When her eyes open to review what she's done, she lets out a quiet hm, leaning in to make some final edits. "… And yes, maybe a dandelion is a good allegory for this. And it all rides on a ridiculous hope that this next world is somehow better than this one. That Times Square is still a thing."

“We are, trust me. Aurora, at six, can pretty much take care of herself, survive for a few days alone, and hide better than most people twice her age. This whole waterwork thing this world has means we get to teach swimming and fishing more. And besides…” Cassandra trails off, studying the MS Paint version of the flooded New York. “The whole innocence thing isn't that overrated. It's just hard to find and fragile, and something Liz wants to nurture. So we do.”

Sitting cross-legged on the floor as Asi works, Cassandra shifts a little to lean, stretching her back before straightening again. “Ridiculous, yes. That it's there? Sure. Has been in three worlds. Whether it works?” Cassandra shrugs. “My guess is a coin flip. Equally probable that it's a ruin or busy with people. Went from yes busy and then to no, ruin. Twice. Hopefully third time’s the charm.”

Asi huffs quietly in amusement. "Perhaps third time will be the charm," she echoes back. It's not exactly agreement, but it's better than open skepticism. She sets aside the keyboard, one leg turning up so her foot is flat on the ground, and her elbow can rest on her knee. For a moment, she glances back at the scene she's painted, and then back to Cassandra with a shrug of one shoulder. She can't think of anything positive to say in regards to the matter of innocence, so for once, she opts for silence.

Silence is an uncommon thing. So often people tend to fill moments of silence with noise, unable to deal with the quiet in their own way. Cassandra finds it introspective, able to sit back and just listen to the world around her, and even now, she’s able to do this. The soft hum of the computer’s hard drives and fans spinning, the sound of the waves in the distance, crashing against the base of the tower that they currently sit in, the call of gulls in the distance, barely audible through the closed door. Cassandra can only sit and listen and watch. “I better be careful…” she finally says after a good three or four minutes of just watching. “I might end up falling asleep here.”

Asi looks aside, a short smirk coming to her. She's been lost in her thoughts. "You've got time," she suggests, brow raising as she watches Cassandra. There's a flickering expression behind her eyes, one she manages by shifting her weight.

Cassandra sits in silence for a second and then, as an answer, flops over on her side and rolls over until she's looking up at the ceiling, firmly on Asi’s mattress. She turns her head to look at Asi, resting a hand on the other woman’s knee lightly. “You're not going to, like, brush my hair while I sleep, or do anything creepy, are you?” Probably not the best place to ask after you’ve already accepted, but she's certainly teasing about that. Cassandra stretches. “Man, a mattress. I've not slept on one of these in a long time.” Her hair spreads out on the mattress - she's thankful that one of the trades she made recently was for some old shampoo. Clean hair is a blessing.

"Mmm, not without your permission," Asi replies good-naturedly, the comment accompanied by a brief smile. She sits back for only a moment before she adjusts her seating again. This time, sitting on her knees, halfway on the bed. It could be purely for comfort, but she's also sitting much closer than before. "And not that your hair isn't lovely, but that would be odd anyway."

That same smile flashes for only a moment again, Asi's gaze lingering on Cassandra as she leans across her… and pulls the discarded blanket tucked against the wall over her body.

She turns to look back at the screen, light reflecting off her eyes. Though deep in thought, she leaves her arm draped across the other woman after tucking her in.

“I appreciate that.” Cassandra is quiet as she snuggles down under the blanket, shifting a little beneath the other woman's touch. “And I must be doing something right, since you've invited me to your home and you're being all touchy feely. Which is unexpected, but nice.” Cassandra shifts a little on the mattress, too, comfortable with being close to the woman whose secrets she helped uncover.

A short breath of laughter escapes Asi as she looks back, a rueful smirk lingering after. Her hand pats Cassandra's side through the blanket. "You've taken my secrets and neither judged me for them, or used them against me." She hesitates for a moment before the smile breaks. Her chin lifts in a gentle nudge. "Get some rest. I'll watch over you."

Growing up, the warning told over and over again from various adults was to be wary of strangers. To always maintain your bearings, to always let someone know where you were, and to always be sure to never fall asleep in an unfamiliar place. With Asi’s keyboard clicking in the background and the white noise hum of the desktop in the corner, it doesn’t take more than a minute for Cassandra’s eyes to close, a soft sigh escaping as she slips into the first restful sleep she’s had in a long, long time.

One of her evolved abilities, Cassandra likes to joke, is the ability to fall asleep anywhere and sleep for as long as she needs, and on Asi’s mattress she makes an example of that ability. It’s usually military people that develop this skill, but thanks to her childhood’s early morning school busses, long trips across parishes and study halls when you didn’t need to study gave her ample opportunity to hone her talent.

Cassandra sleeps softly, her consciousness flickering back into reality at the absence of noise when the computer is turned off. One eye opens, drifting around the room, finally settling on the computer, the monitor still glowing slightly from the residual current in the tube. She holds that scene for a second, pushing herself up slightly, her hair falling over her face. “Mmm..” she rumbles. “Mus’ have been tired…”

When Cassandra wakes, Asi's regained a lot of the self-sense she was lacking earlier. Enough to still be working through being inebriated, but sobered enough to realize how close a call it had been to not letting the traveler get her rest. She's already finished waterproofing the drive in layers when Cassandra starts to push herself up.

"Ah. I'd meant to let you rest a bit longer." she apologizes, turning back. She seems more tired than before, herself. "Sleep well?" Asi asks, the small package toyed back and forth between her hands.

“Mmm-hmm.” Cassandra answers, reaching over to rest a hand on Asi’s leg, giving it a light squeeze, letting it rest there against the other woman “Only way it could have been better was if I ended up the little spoon.”

Lips press into a thin smile as Asi lays her hand on top of Cassandra's. "Well, I had to keep my word. Keep watch." she replies quietly. Her thumb brushes before she gives a slight shake of her head, the smile turning apologetic. "Wouldn't have been fair to invite you up here and let you leave empty-handed." She lifts the wrapped drive up indicatively.

Pushing herself up, Cassandra wipes her eyes with the heel of one hand, giving a quite pronounced yawn before flopping back down in the bed. She stretches, her toes easing out from a beneath the covers before she relaxes, boneless beneath the blanket. “Have you been working on that since I fell asleep? It couldn't have been too long, what with the speed you work on computers.” Her hand beneath Asi’s turns slightly, palm meeting palm. “All wrapped up. A present for yourself from across the universe.” Just saying it sounds cool.

"Not too long," Asi admits mildly, setting the package aside. Her hand remains flat against Cassandra's for the moment. "Spent more time trying to get my thoughts together than… anything." Looking her over, Asi pulls herself back on the mattress, sitting beside the sprawled woman. Her fingers trail down the inside of that other palm delicately.

"Less a present, more an important message. Don't forget that." she clarifies absently, eyes on their hands. "The personal bit is encrypted, and extra. The 'fuck the Vanguard' memo takes priority, voyageur." Finally, her palm sinks into Cassandra's, fingers lacing as she glances back up to her. Her head tilts slightly in a silent inquiry.

“I wouldn't have made the offer if I wasn't serious. If I didn't think it would be an important message.” Cassandra’s hand squeezes Asi’s as she links their fingers, the reclining woman shifting slightly closer so she's not having to stretch so much to reach out. “And I suppose I should apologize for springing the whole idea on you out of the blue. It's not like we see each other very much. I mean….” She lifts their linked hands. “This gets out, your reputation as a hard-nosed go getter is positively ruined.”

Not that she would tell anyone, of course. She's taken Asi’s secrets and not judged the other woman in the slightest, other than building curiosity.

Now Asi chuckles, a wicked grin growing. She slides their joined hands up, swinging a leg over Cassandra's side before leaning over her, weight pinning her down. "That's presumptuous of you," she warns. "You don't know how many others have lain here before you." Fingers unfurl from the handheld before she presses both their hands to the bed, eyes still searching.

"There's something odd about you, though. Something human, in a world that so often forgets to be." Asi muses. "You really are from an entirely different reality."

“I never claimed to be otherwise. I mean, falling out of a hole in the middle of the sky during an aurora and a thunderstorm does do a lot for my credibility, and adding all the things I don't know….” Cassandra shifts beneath the other woman’s weight, lifting her hips to wiggle them closer to the middle of the mattress. “Things kind of fell together.”

She goes silent as Asi warns of her presumptions. She can only agree. “I guess it is presumptuous of me to think that. You might be the Don Juan of the pelago, getting all the naive girls who come in to trade to spend some time with you but…” she smiles. “I don't think that's the case, though. I think that me, being here, is a rare thing. Unexpected for both of us.”

"Oh?" With an amused tilt of her head, Asi's grin renews. "Far more scandalous than the truth, though I applaud your imagination." she tuts, shaking her head for a moment. Leaning back upright, she settles on her knees. "No, just my fair share of one-night stands. Drunken, mostly, like this." she shares casually enough. "And usually men." There's a twinge of mirth in her expression at that while she looks down over her, admiring something about the situation.

The grin fades as her thoughts wander again, the grip around Cassandra's hand soon loosening. Her boldness trickles away. "This? Yes. …Unexpected. I don't feel nearly drunk enough for this anymore, to tell you the truth." Her head starts to shake slightly before she leans over her again, rolling off her to the side and letting go entirely.

Pushing herself up from her reclined position, the blanket falls around Cassandra's waist. “Well, that's good.” She doesn't sound annoyed. “You know, I don't mind being a one night stand when we're both getting something out of it, but I like the other person to be coherent when it does happen.” She looks down to where Asi lays on the mattress, off to the side, before she leans down to cuddle against the other woman, her arms going around Asi’s waist, snuggling up against her without a word.

“This doesn't need to be a one night stand. It can be whatever we want it to be.” She says quietly. “I mean, it can just be two people just being together. If it ends up with us being intimate, that's okay. If it doesn't? At least we were close for a short time.” Cassandra gives Asi a light squeeze, acting as the big spoon.

Still flat on her back, Asi turns her head slightly toward her bedmate before looking back up at the ceiling with a weary exhale. She stares up at it for an extended period. "You're complicating this, somehow." she points out blithely, letting her eyes drift shut after it's said. "I'm perfectly coherent." is added afterward. It's true now, after all. "And anyway…"

Other retorts, other excuses both for and against pile up behind her closed eyes over a period of silence until Asi finally lets out a long sigh, belatedly looping her arm back around Cassandra's shoulder. "Just rest," she tells her firmly, almost annoyedly. The backs of her fingers brush the side of the traveler's face, unfurling to cradle her head.

Then in a softer voice, "Just… be quiet and rest." Asi's eyes open, staring at the ceiling again.


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