A Really Long Day


aaron_icon.gif colette_icon.gif

Perceptional Fiction:


Scene Title A Really Long Day
Synopsis Minutes after Magnes tells Colette about Aaron seeing things, she encounters the nearly crazy musician in the laundry room. Awkwardness ensues.
Date May 18, 2010

Laundry Room — The Lighthouse

"O, man, I still can't believe you thought I was real." The voice comes from the door to the laundry room, which is closed. Peyton stands there, or a vision of her at any rate. Aaron knows better now, even as he trudges through the chore of laundry.

"O, here we go again," he mutters.

"I mean, come on."

"Your story was plausible."

"You wanted to believe it. You needed to, because you can't let me go."

"You make it sound like she's dead." At least he can recognize it's not Peyton.

"I'm not real."

"No, but Peyton is."

"She's not interested in you. Not in the way you want."

"Tell me something I don't know. Jesus Christ, you're impossible! You know, if I'm gonna hallucinate, the least you could do is come to me as Annie or someone sympathetic."

"God, listen to you. Always living in the past."

"The past is pretty much all I've got, in case you didn't notice. Pretty much all that keeps me sane."


"O, that's really mature. Thanks a lot. You know, since you're my subconscious, shouldn't you be on my side?"

"I can be on whatever side I want," she says. To demonstrate, she appears on the opposite side of the room. Aaron follows her, cornering here at the far end of the laundry room.

"But you're me, right? You should be helping me, not making me feel like shit."

"Dude, you do that well enough on your own. I don't even have to try."

"What the fuck's that supposed to mean?"

"Who said you were on your own side? I mean, seriously, look at what you're doing?"

Aaron looks. He takes a real look at things, and notices he's not doing laundry. His fingertips are bloodied, his arms scratched up. The last scabs of the perfectly symmetrical notches he carved into his arms on a particularly bad day bleed amidst the scars of the ones that actually had the chance to heal.

"Dude, you really need to start paying more attention."

"What did you do?" Aaron can feel his hands trembling as he tries to sit up. His legs feel asleep, as though he's been scrunched up in the corner of the laundry room for hours. "What did you do?" He feels dizzy and light-headed all at once as he finally makes it up onto his knees, just in time to vomit. It's little more than bile, and barely more than a dry heave, but it still hurts and burns his throat. After another retch, he tumbles onto his side, the room spinning too fast for him to even think about standing, let alone sitting up.


Not the sound Aaron wants to hear when coupled with:


Followed by the laundry room door opening and a distracted young woman with a piled high hamper obscuring her vision as she stumbles into the laundry room. Immediately she stops, not because she sees anything but because she smells something. The stink of bile, even in tiny amounts, might as well be a tear-gas grenade in confined warm quarters like the laundry room.

"Oh gross which one of the dogs— " When Colette throws down the hamper atop the washer with a noisy clang she finally notices Aaron kneeled down on the floor, doubled over and retching. There's a hitch of breath at the back of her throat and a surprised whine slips out. "Dude," Colette harshly whispers, leaning over to the door and yanking it shut with a rankle of her nose. After the conversation she just had with Magnes, this really isn't the best thing for her to have seen.

"What the— what the fuck are you— " it's only about then she notices the picked at scabs and bloodied scratches on his wrists. There's a strangled sound in the back of Colette's throat, she can't let the kids see that. "Are you on fucking drugs!?" is the hoarse whisper she sharply lets out on a drop ton eknee, winding fingers in the collar of Aaron's shirt.

Mismatched eyes warily direct their attention to the door, then back to Aaron. She's wanted to thank him for all the help he offered in fending off the dogs, but this seems to have taken a different precedence.

Not precisely the sounds he wanted to here, no, but then as far as he was concerned, he had just been doing laundry anyway. Just another hallucination. Until she touches him.

If Aaron had any colour left in his face, it would disappear the instant he's touched. "Don't move me just yet," only barely manages to escape his lips. The motion has made the room spin all that much faster. His hand — bloodied fingers and all — grips around Colette's wrist as she digs her fingers into the collar of his shirt. "Do I look like I'm on drugs?"

"Actually, you kinda do."

"O, shut the fuck up, I wasn't asking you." He grips his teeth, the taste of bile doing othing for the flopping his stomach is already doing. His grip tightens as he calls upon all the will he can muster to try and grab every last strand of negative emotions in Colette. He's tried small bits here and there, but nothing up close. Not in a long while. Maybe, just maybe he can get whatever might be lurking deep, deep down. His vision is too blurry from his tearing eyes to see if there's even anything to take in, but he prays there is. Just a little bit. Anything.

"Maybe one of you should close the door."

Aaron gives a grunt of annoyance and turns his head away from the door, where the visage of his old roommate stands. He hasn't yet had the time or the mental awareness to comprehend how awkward things might be between them after this.

"Yeah," Colette breathes out, "you're talking to thin air and you're all— pukey wrist-slashy heroin crazy? I don't know but you are so out of here if Gillian finds out about this." Despite the fact that it's nearly negative ninety degrees outside the threat doesn't seem entirely hollow. Lifting the hand from Aaron's shift to rub at her face, Colette shakes her head and rakes one hand through her hair. "Seriously, are you on fucking drugs? Using Refrain or something? Becaue— I swear if you brought drugs into this place I will throw you out into the tundra myself."

For all her usually chipper and gentle demeanor, Colette's edge rises on the defensive when she presumes Aaron might've done something to endangr the children here. "If you aren't on drugs," her voice gets lower, hushed, "you need to tell me what the hell's going on right now, because Magnes thinks you're going out of your mind and everyone is acting weird lately. So— so— "


"Explain." Colette's cheeks puff out as she takes a knee beside Aaron, mindful of the drizzled bile stain and attention averting briefly to his arms.

"It's a side effect."

"That's brilliant, dumb ass, now she's sure to think you're a junkie."

"I am a junkie. Kind of. Fuck." He uses his free hand to point a finger at the door. "This is your goddamn fault." At least he doesn't shout, but he does slump back, eyes closing a moment. He jerks to less than a second later. "It's never been this bad before, but it's not drugs."

"You do realize you just said you were a junkie, right?"

"You're not helping." Aaron turns back to Colette, his pupils dilated, and he certainly looks like an addict. "Gillian knows." It's not entirely a lie. She's seen him nearly this bad before, minus the scratched up arms. His head feels full of cotton and he makes the mistake of trying to get back into a sitting position and nearly blacking out in the processes. In the end, he rolls onto his side.

His eyes find Colette's wrist, the one he gripped. He doesn't even remember letting go. But he does see the blood, which returns his gaze to his bare lower arms, and then to her wrist. "I got blood on your arms. I'm sorry." He doesn't try to sit up again. "It's not drugs. It's a side effect of my ability. It's what happens when I don't use it often enough. So I'm technically a junkie, but I'm not addicted to drugs. Was to pain killers once, but that was until I found out they didn't really help with the pain I was experiencing and I stopped. And I have used Refrain, but not since …" he nearly killed himself with it. Then it sinks in. "Wait— you said everyone is acting weird? What do you mean?" Because it's not like he's been paying attention.

"You," Colette's brows furrow, "need to slow down." There's a touch of one finger across both of Aaron's lips, then a curl of her fingers before she knocks twice on his forehead, perhaps to check if anyone's home. In a way a lot of Colette's ire has been burned away by the cold comfort that she was right and that he was somehow having some sort of ability-related psychotic break. She's still upset, but not quite as lividly so, especially since Gillian already knows but didn't tell anyone. Not that this really needs to be a public affair, which is likely why Colette's kept so quiet about it.

"I dunno like… just— stress. Things've been kind've hard around here if you haven't noticed. I mean with the dogs and everything? Everyone's like, walking on eggshells right now, Aaron, and all this— " Colette exhales a sigh and looks up to the cupboards above the dryer. "Just— stay there."

Standing up straight, Colette rises up onto her toes and stretches out, reaching up to the high cupboards above the dryer, rummaging around through packages of lightbulbs and a few small fabric softener bottles, looking for something.

"Am I talking too fast?" If he was, he didn't notice. He spares a glance to the perceptional fiction standing in the doorway. Well, he spares a glare. "Bugger off." Of course, he realizes how it sounds. "Sorry, not you." His eyes drift closed a moment before snapping open again and he notices the blood on his hands again. It sends a chill down his spine. At least it's not as bad as when he was hospitalized for inflicting the original wounds. But then, at least he can remember actually making those ones.

"You must think I'm pretty stupid," he says, "Or a coward, or suicidal, or something. Maybe just crazy…. Stress. Stress I can get." He tries not to think of Gillian dying upstairs. It may well have been what sent him over the edge. "I'm not even sure… this has never happened quite this bad or… it's completely out of order. Hallucinations are like, the last symptom, and it's never quite been this bad."

"You were rambling a little, and trust me I know rambling." There's a lighter tone there, followed by a soft noise as Colette finds what she's looking for. The first aid box could be better maintained, but this older one has probably sat up in that cabinet for a while. Settled down on the dryer, Colette opens the lid and takes out individually packaged adhesive bandages, large and square, designed to cover obnoxiously large injuries, along with a clear plastic bottle full of orange-brown liquid and a cotton swab.

"If there's one other thing I know, it's gettin' hurt." Pinching a cotton swab, Colette opens the cap of that plastic bottle, covers the top with the swab and briefly dips it upside down, leaving an orange-yellow stain on the cotton that's nearly black where it's wettest. Breathing in deeply and then immediately regretting it when she smells the bile, Colette chokes out a sigh.

"I think you've got a problem yeah but…" Colette makes a motion with her arms after she sets the bottle down, turning her wrists up and baring them, indicative of what she'd like Aaron to do. "What's your…" Colette's mismatched eyes flick up to meet Aaron's. "What um, what do you do?" Which is the polite way to ask what flavor of freak he is. She doesn't use the f-word anymore.

He bares his wrists and lower arms. The even-length notches extend in three columns up his arms, starting about an inch and a half up from his wrist. Despite how distraught he was when he made them, it's clear from the scarring that some precision — though maybe ritual would be a more fitting word — went into their making. Only a small handful weren't allowed to heal, and they're all oozing. He licks his lips and then covers his mouth. Ugh, if his mouth tastes that foul, how must his breath be? He streaks what little blood on his fingers is still damp onto his cheek. Of course, that makes it kinda hard to clean the wounds.

"Sorry," Aaron says, offering his arm back. "You already know. Notice how you aren't miserable? Yeah, that's me. Only, no, I am completely miserable, but you get the point. You'd be just as miserable as I last saw you if it…. O. Shit."

"Stay still and stop— saying that." There's a furrow of Colette's brows as she squints and watches Aaron before applying the iodine down on the wounds, just swabbing away the blood she can see and leaving a yellowy stain on his skin wherever she dabs it. It doesn't really sting, iodine itself isn't an irritant antiseptic, but the abrasion of the cotton swab itself does a little. The scratches aren't — thankfully — deep at all which makes this hasty procedure a little more reasonable.

With one wrist done, Colette looks back up to Aaron, squinting again. "I don't get it…" she murmurs, looking down to his wrist before carefully daubing at the other cuts, bracing his arm with her free hand. "What you're like, human prozac or something?" There's a furrow of Colette's brows, tongue rolling across the inside of her cheek while she scrutinizes the injuries she's cleaning. "Jesus you… really did a number on yourself. You should try prozacing yourself sometime."

She doesn't get how unfortunate his ability actually is.

"Prozac, Xanax. Whatever ails you. Or something. Depends on what your pain is, how deep it goes. Some people, they find joy. Some people find peace." Aaron doesn't seem to notice that she's doing anything with his arms, being not entirely there. He does, however, seem perfectly aware of what she's saying, because he looks away when she mentions he should prozac himself. "Doesn't work that way," he says. "You have no idea how hard I've tried."

Somehow, he manages to refrain from mentioning that Gillian amplified him and he lost control of his ability as a result. Not that it was the first time, and he's finally realizing how all of this madness with his ability started. Because he was at her side. He closes his eyes, trying to banish the thoughts that try to force their way in.

"There's nothing you can do, you know. You can't even be there for her. She's going to die alone."

"Shut up!" The movement from Aaron is quite sudden. He launches himself at the hallucination — they don't bleed or bruise, by the way — and nearly slams right into the door frame. He catches himself just a moment before he does, since he passed through the phantom Peyton. His entire body trembles with something. Rage, maybe. He just stands there, contemplating striking out at the wall, the door. Anything. It dawns upon him that this is probably the precise reason he was in here to begin with. To keep himself away from things that break easily. Or from things that bleed or bruise.

"You should go."

"You should go," is Colette's sharply worded retort from where she stands with her back pressed up against the wall and cotton ball pinched between yellow fingers, "like— take a time out or something." Swallowing tightly, Colette furrows her brows and takes a step forward, watching Aaron nervously. "Why are you all like…" there's a tightness in her throat, mismatched eyes wide as she watches him.

"You said you get all fucking Fight Club when you don't use your ability, right?" One black brow lifts, and Colette looks away only long enough to line up a shot of used cotton swab to trash barrel. Remarkably, she makes it. When her half-blinded stare angles back up to the blonde, Colette's eyes are narrowed again.

"Explain," she reiterates for his betterment.

"It usually starts with headaches," he says, turning back to face her. His hands jitter and tap against things. Like a junkie. "Insomnia, photosensitivity. The doctor said that my neurotransmitter levels were all out of whack. Using my ability keeps it in line, usually." And now for the part he doesn't want to acknowledge out loud. "But that doesn't account for amplification." The last word is almost a whisper, and he remains rather quiet, despite getting more physically animated with his agitation. "Which … wasn't supposed to happen."

His fist clenches quite a bit, and it looks as though he might hit one of the appliances. But he doesn't. He tries taking deep breaths but they come out jagged and tired. "I've tried taking little bits here and there. Pass by someone, brush-pass. When I grabbed you by the wrist." He holds out a bloodied finger to point to Colette's wrist, as though she wouldn't know what he's talking about. "It doesn't help that everyone I encountered seemed happy. There was nothing to take from half of them. And I can't take anything from Mala, that'd be completely insane."

"Which you are."

"Shut. Up." He backs himself into a corner and slowly sinks to the ground, his eyes brimming with tears. "I'm sorry. She keeps … talking. I can't shut her up. I want her gone. I want her to leave me alone, but she won't leave."

"Take… like— " Colette's brows furrow, lips downturn into a frown. "Like— bad emotions?" There's a tightness in the brunette's throat, an anxious swallow and a look over at where he was staring. She squints, as if hoping to actually be able to see something, but when she doesn't it really does mean that Aaron's losing it.

"Look I— life isn't all peaches an' sunshine right now for any of us. I— " Colette offers a weary sort've smile. "I've got some major bad mojo if you want it. I mean, what— the fuck would be the point holding on to something like that? Look I— I've got baggage if that helps too, I dunno exactly what you need but… look, if you making me feel happy makes you not— "

There's a hitch in the back of Colette's throat. "If one of the kids found you… Jesus, Aaron. Do whatever you need to do, really. If not being able to throw a pity party for my comparatively small personal problems saves one of the kids here from walkin' in on you going all like— Trainspotting, that's awesome."

"In case you haven't noticed, most of your baggage isn't exactly there right now. O sure, you can remember it and think of it and the logic, but do you feel it? You'd have to dwell on it pretty fucking hard to give me anywhere near what I need. Even Gillian has nothing left for me to suck up, and she's practically dead." He uses the top of his sleeve to discharge the tears from his eyes before efforting to stand once again, trying to ignore the mocking of the unPeyton.

"Just … make the laundry room off limits to all but adults or something, I don't care. I have to deal with this some what, and believe me, if I could get out of this place, I would, but it's not looking to happen anytime soon, need I remind you what happened last time we wandered outside." Aaron shakes his hands. His bones ache and he keeps wanting to move, so he starts pacing. "It's not like I'd hurt one of them if they did wander in."

"I'm sure the sight of you would be more than enough to traumatize them. That is, provided you could even tell it was a kid coming in."

Aaron continues his pacing. He doesn't verbalize that fear of his. That's precisely why it's bringing it up. "I should be OK, I just need you and everyone else to get back to normal so I can start feeding properly again and then I should be fine."

Frustratedly looking away from Aaron and moving over to the first aid kit, Colette sets the iodine back down inside and takes the bandages she'd set aside, looking back over her shoulder at him. "We'll figure it out," she admits in a quiet tone of voice, "but you're not getting to do this bullshit alone, okay? That's exactly what puts people in worse moods." Stubborn, Colette takes a step back over to Aaron, carefully taking one of his arms and lifting it up, waiting until he holds it straight and then letting go to peel away the large adhesive bandage. Careful about placement, she wraps it over the wound and smooths it down over his arm.

"Trust me, eventually, I'm going to have something go wrong you'll be able to chew on. Just… if you— whatever you do— if you feel somebody upset just tug. I'm sure if my mood drops it could use a pick me up for whatever reason anyway, right?" She repeats the process with the same arm, bandaging it carefully, smoothing the adhesive sides down to his skin. "You'll need to change these in a couple days, and— I'm not making the laundry room off-limits tard-head."

Colette feigns an exasperated breath and looks towards the door, then back to Aaron. "You want somewhere to be Count Sulkula, do it in the bathroom like most sane people." There's a self-chastising grimace there, and Colette looks down to Aaron's arms, then back up to him. "Also," Colette looks down to the floor, then back up to Aaron. "You're mopping that up, Count."

"You could always make something happen."

Aaron shoots a sharp look to the doorway and narrowly refrains from saying a word. He bites back any possible comment and simply nods to Colette. "I fully intend to, of course." Is it bad he barely remembers throwing up? "I figured this place gets less use. In case you didn't notice, there are a lot of people here, and you're kind of in my room, and my other room has an amplifier who can't control herself on account of dying. So yeah, this place seemed like the smarter choice."

His eyes widen slightly at his bandaged arms, something else that slipped past his awareness. "God I need sleep. And food. Can't remember my last meal…." A thought comes to him, and he points a finger at Colette, "And no goofy pet names. I don't want to be hearing any of the Count Sulkula stuff, 'kay?" For how messed up he is, he sounds surprisingly light-hearted.

"You mop," Colette notes with a point to the floor, one brow raised and a bit guilty at the fact that she is using his room. There's a bit of a grimace there too, lips curling into a lopsided smile. "I'll go make you something to eat, and," she points to the laundry, "if you're going to be in here you can do the kids' laundry." It's kind've like a punishment but more like forcibly making Aaron pitch in. If only she knew what he thought he was doing when he clawed at his arms.

"No promises on the cute nicknames," Colette adds with a smirk, opening up the laundry room door. "Just… try not to earn any more, okay?" There's the clipped edge of a wry smile as Colette shakes her head and steps out of the laundry room into the hall. She should be angrier, should be more upset, all thanks in part to the dampening capabilities of Aaron Michaels. It'll be days until she finds out just how varied the reactions to his ability can be.

Aaron nods slowly to Colette and once she's gone into the hall, he groans. Laundry. Didn't he already do all the laundry? He presses his hand against the washer, very tempted to punch the thing save for fear of hitting it hard enough to break his hand. A few deep breaths to little to calm his nerves, so before he goes about mopping the floor, he separates the laundry and starts a load.

"Are you sure you're really doing the laundry this time?"

"O God, this is going to be a really long day…."

"Aren't you glad I'm here to keep you company?"

"Not really."

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