Not Perfect


caspian_icon.gif devi_icon.gif

Scene Title Not Perfect
Synopsis Nightmares and dreams. Denial and acceptance.
Date May 1, 2019

“Mama, I got to go.”

A tall, lanky figure stands dressed in a pristine white graduation gown. From behind, hair like a starless night falls in subtle waves, a stark contrast of black streams against the a cloud-like white cotton.

A short, older woman with ebon locks cropped short and close to her warmly tanned skin stands before the lanky graduate-to-be. “Oh, don’t fuss. You’ll get there on time…” the short woman coos with all the wisdom appropriate for one called Mama. Silver streaks have begun to show at her hair line, offset by eyes warm honey brown eyes under her dark brows. She pushes to her tiptoes, painted pink her in sandals, and brushes an errant hair away from her daughter’s eyes.

Darker eyes, nearly black, but Mama’s shape regardless, reflect the small mother’s image. Devi’s pierced nose wrinkles, though not unpleasantly, as her Mama reaches up to brush away that lock of hair. “ Youth gives Devi’s tall figure a gangly-thin quality and the pallor of her skin is not yet touched by the dark twists and turns of tattoos… or age… or pain.

“Let her go,” comes a deeper, husky tone to coincide with a large hand upon Mama’s little shoulder. A massive hulk of a man with a grey beard and Devi’s near-black irises smiles down at his ladies. Devi grins at her parents and turns to consider a scrawny little boy off to the side of the yard. “Come on, Fartface - you’re riding with me!”


Devi stands next to a girl with shoulder length pink hair underneath her graduation cap. “Can you friggin’ believe it? Freedom is two hours away, Trisha. Two hours, man! Then it’s us, the road, and a couple of rollies, baby. East Coast here we come!” The young Devi waggles her brows as music starts building on the other side of the gymnasium doors. Free Bird builds to a recognizable pitch and the doors open to lead the procession out.


Long fingers, yet unmarked by ink and needle, reach out to take the diploma in one hand and the principal’s handshake in the other. Devi turns to look out over the crowd with a crease between her brows and an unfamiliar, downward angle to her softly colored lips. Her dark gaze finds two empty seats beside a confused, shrugging Levi, then skims the crowd again. There, in the back, two officers talk with a blonde - Trisha’s mother.


The scene changes again.

Devi’s crying on Trisha’s shoulder. An officer reaches out to rest a hand on the raven-haired teen’s shoulder. She reacts, lashing out, shoving the officer with a raging cast to her lips, but there’s no sound in this image. It’s silent as the officer’s hand comes down towards Devi, not unkind in this moment, but seeking to restraint the flailing teen regardless. His bigger hand falls on the soft inside of her elbow…

A needle pierces vulnerable flesh there now.


A slit of light grows, framed by the silhouette of dark lashes. Through the hazey cage of lashes, an older Levi’s face is visible. He’s shouting, but it’s silent again. His tears are falling on Devi’s face. Her eyes close and it’s dark again.


“Levi!” Devi’s shout echoes throughout the apartment, but her eyes remain clenched closed as her tattooed body tosses amidst the blankets already tangled in disarray on the bed around her. In front of her face beaded with sweat, a syringe has been expended of all but the thinnest line of glowing blue trapped between the plunger and the needle.

Raytech Housing: Devi's Apartment

First floor, last door on the right near the fire exit - the location of this one bedroom apartment invites the sounds of the outside to vibrate like a chaotic heartbeat of life in the dwelling walls. So close to the street, this studio apartment may not be considered "prime real estate" even amidst most of the Raytech employees.

Upon entrance, a soft gray carpet stretches out to mark the boundaries of the living area. A glossy black, standing toolbox is positioned next to the entryway in place of a catchall-style table. The lid is left propped open, revealing a collection of keys, tools, bullets, and some truly unidentifiable little trinkets of hodgepodge gears and the like. Back across the room on the wall opposite the door a large picture window lets filter in whatever natural light has been able to squeeze down between rebuilt buildings and rubble to reach this level. It illuminates a worn, black leather sofa, a metal rivet-punctuated coffee table, and a motorcycle. Yes, there’s a half disassembled motorcycle in here at any given point in time. There’s no television, but there is a radio.

The rest is of the apartment is normally left in some form of organized chaos - a small kitchenette with no dining table in the home to speak of, a small bathroom done up in accents of aqua and stripes where any sort of decoration can be seen beneath the mad-scientist lab of makeup and gizmos therein. And finally, there's the bedroom where every shade of black meets every variant of violet. Heavy ebon curtains are drawn over the windows therein and the door is generally shut.

The evening wasn't supposed to end with Caspian at Devi’s apartment, but it did. Dinner out at the sushi place in the Yamagato district ended with full stomachs and too much sake for both parties. Caspian didn't feel safe driving the pair home in his van so, after making sure it was parked safely in a secure lot, one of the few taxis running that hour was summoned and, with a bit of prodding and a hefty tip, the pair were dropped in front of Devi's apartment. A bit of finagling later had Caspian successful in his mission to get the tattooed woman’s shoes and socks off and her in her own bed, which left him no choice but to close the bedroom door and fall asleep on the black leather couch with his boots off, left next to the door. Hopefully when she wakes up there won't be an inquisition about how they got home and whether or not they slept together.

Technically they did. Sort of. In the same location? Yes. Together? No.

So when there's a shout that echoes down the hall, Caspian, still on battle sleep, falls off the couch and on to all fours, awake enough as soon as he hears thrashing from the bedroom. A hundred horrible images go through his head as he heads down the hall and into her bedroom, all stemming from someone familiar breaking in. Someone called Levi. The bedroom door is knocked open and a fast scan of the room reveals the black and violet catacomb is undisturbed save for the woman thrashing on the bed. A bad dream times a thousand.

“Devi, Devi, Devi!” Caspian sits on the edge of her bed, reaching over to shake her shoulder so she can wake her from her nightmare, his hand halting when he sees the empty syringe, the phosphorescent glow still gleaming in the needle bed near the black plunger. It might not be a bad dream, but an overdose…he's never dealt with the second, but has definitely dealt with the first.

“Devi.” He says again, finally daring to shake her. “Wake up.”

In her drug-induced dream she can feel the darkness around her seems alive. The raven tattoo on her neck begins bleed away, melting across her skin. It starts to slither up her jaw, over her lips and down her throat. In the waking world her hands claw at her tattooed neck as Caspian sits beside her.

There’s a strained, gargled noise and then her dark eyes shoot open, lips parted around a sharp gasp. One of the hands at her throat shifts sharply and grabs at Caspian’s wrist as some anchor to this world - the one without the strangling darkness; the one that’s real; the one where Caspian is looking down at her with a mix of fear and concern. She winces slightly and relaxes the set of her fingers on his warm skin. “Just a dream,” her husky whisper tries to downplay the situation in which they find themselves.

“Maybe. Maybe not.” Caspian’s voice is soft, despite the start of a hangover from too much sake. The syringe is taken from its spot on the blankets, placed carefully on the nightstand with the sharp covered with its plastic cover pointing away from them both where it can't do any more harm to Devi tonight. “Lay here, okay? I'll be right back.” His tone implies there will be no argument to this point as he pats her lightly on the shoulder, moving to stand, and then vanishing into the bathroom for a few moments. When he returns, it's with a wet washcloth, some neosporin, and a small box of Band-Aids he found in the medicine cabinet.

The mattress sags when he sits, bare feet on the bed railing as he leans over to carefully wipe the beads of sweat from her face and bare arms, being careful around the injection site. He lets her grab back hold of his wrist if she wants as he works. If they were closer, he'd have her take her shirt off so he could get her chest and stomach before getting her into a loose nightshirt for bed - nothing seductive, just taking care of her - but he’s not and so he doesn't. And sitting this close, he should be able to see evidence of drug use and abuse if there's a lot of it going on. Track marks and blown out veins. He's not worried about that now, though: he's worried about making sure Devi makes it through the night okay.

The injection site is carefully cleaned with one of the alcohol swabs from the first aid kit, a little of the antibiotic ointment put on the bandaid pad, and the puncture is carefully covered to start healing. “You okay?” He finally asks after working for as long as he did in near silence. “Date wasn't that bad, was it?” A joke, at a time like this?

Gallows humor is still humor.

The biker’s nightmare heavy lids narrow further as Caspian’s words leave no room for debate. Devi’s dark irises follow his trek across the room with a mix of curiosity and suspicion veiled by a thin layer of drug-induced haze. The real Refrain ride is over, but the hangover and remnants of the too-vivid nightmare are a little more unrelenting, clawing at her consciousness with talons that find all the most sensitive nerves.

When Caspian returns with only first aid level materials, no rehab pamphlets or police, the woman rolls over towards him. She curls her long body so as to nearly wrap around him, perched as he is on the edge of the bed. Her thighs rest against his back and her head on the bed beside his lap. She lets his fingers push away damp, tangled locks and dab at her brow. When he takes her arm so carefully, though, she jerks back like a stray mutt and turns a wide-eyed, questioning look at him.

It’s his voice, concern and dark humor alike, that cuts through her rabid instinct, though. She lets him take her arm. The track marks aren’t as many as some - a ‘carefully controlled habit’ she’d be inclined to explain. Other, less hard drugs and more productive outlets keep her toeing a precarious line at the edge of addiction. “No,” she finally says. And for moment, it appears she would just leave it at that. But, he’s here and something inside pulls at her - she owes him more. “The opposite. It was good.” Too good. The guilt of a sinner - when things are too good to be true, they generally are - the calm before a storm and such.

She can feel him studying the neat row of injection marks, one every half inch, or so, in a neat line along the inside of one arm, exactly following the superficial veins up and down, easily missed at first and second glance in the swirling blackness of the tattoos that etch into her skin. This isn't something that just happened in a whim - this use was carefully planned, carefully doses, and carefully hidden. And right now, there are several ways that this can go. And the scariest part? Caspian has no idea what's going to happen next.

Caspian shifts a bit on the bed to get more comfortable, to balance less precariously on the edge when she curls around him, moving them both closer to the middle of the bed with blankets pushed aside, the fitted sheet the only thing between them and the mattress. Caspian covers their legs with the sheet, his right hand coming up to rest against the back of Devi’s head, patting lightly, brushing through her hair in aimless motions. “I'm glad that you had fun. I mean, I had fun.” He shrugs, patting her once behind the ear. “A little fun doesn't mean you have to pay penance to keep the balance of the cosmos for a little joy in your life. You're a good person, Devi.”

The film of drugs and alcohol that dulls the reflective pools is going in a blink. Caspian’s words have cut through the fog and found a well of darkness. The look upon Devi’s face, turned up at him from where she still rests on the bed, is as though the man had physically plunged his hand into her ribs and found a way wind his grips around her bleeding, pumping heart. He could stop it, with just a squeeze, but instead his touch is kinder.


It’s still beating, but she remains still and silent.


In a quick shift of dark fabric, darker locks, and alabaster skin she sits up. In the same motion her hand comes to rest on the side of Caspian’s throat, her tattooed thumb contoured to his jawline. Her lips seek his - deep in their lack of hesitance, passionate in their forwardness and certainty across the bridge he’s so sweetly built between them. She loses herself in the kiss, her dark hair falling briefly around their joined faces to block out the world around them.

After a moment her lips peel reluctantly away, her tongue and teeth moving in a way as if she can steal into herself some remnants of the kiss. She leans back to look at him and lets the thumb of the hand at his neck brush gently over his cheek. Dark eyes search his face for something - for the way he sees her. “You don’t know that,” she responds in a coarse, husky whisper. “But, I’ll try.”

The kiss was completely unexpected.

It was a situation that, if it were in a movie, it would suddenly stop with a record scratch and a voiceover that explained some integral part of the plot, or some oddity that was taking place with Caspian and Devi in bed at the time. The kiss was none of that. It was like a mental typo or hiccup, causing everything mentally to stop with Caspian until the kiss ended and he remembered to breathe.

His head declines slightly when the kiss is broken, his eyes closed. A soft breath escapes - a gentle sigh - as he looks up again, his head shaking in the negative. “No, I don’t know that. Not at all.” His hand brushes over her forearm and up the back of her arm to her shoulder then back down again. “This world changes people. Makes people into things that they’re not. I only know what I’ve seen in you, applied to the experiences I’ve had. You’re a woman with a strong work ethic. An artistic streak. A boldness she’s willing to declare to the world by wearing it on her skin.”

“I know you’ll try. The thing is…” Caspian’s voice falters as he looks down again, shaking his head, the words starting to tumble out. “I don’t know if I’m going to be any good for you. I…I wasn’t coming into this date expecting anything. Dinner, maybe bad movies on TV or something. It’s…” One hand goes up to run fingers through his hair. “I just need to say this…just so you’re not seeing me as this bastion of stability and perfection.” In Caspian’s view, It’s not right for someone to not know what they might be getting themselves into.

He’s quiet for a few seconds, his hand going down to squeeze hers hesitantly. “I don’t know if you’re wanting a friendship thing or a one night stand or whatever else with me. And that scares the hell out of me not knowing. All my life I’ve tried to be what I can be for people, but now…” He shakes his head again, looking into the middle distance, his gaze soft. “I don’t know if I can be what you need. I don’t know if I can anymore. The two people I was with before you…didn’t end well. One I thought was dead, came back to New York and, when she found out I was alive, decided heading to Africa was the better choice. The other…” He trails off. “The other’s not around anymore.” A succinct explanation that obusificaties tragedy.

He seems to be afraid to even try. A learned helplessness.

Perhaps they can help each other.

And there it is - how he sees her, spelled out in such an eloquence that she very nearly can’t stand to look at him. Nearly. Devi lowers and gently tips her head, trying to keep his visage in her gaze to absorb every delicate adjustment in his expression. It’s an inquisitive posture, her dark eyes searching.
When he is done her thumb makes a last gently pass over his jawline before her hand is allowed to drift downward, over neck and collar, to rest with a warm, flat palm and splayed tattooed fingers over his sternum. It’s a gesture that in one way keeps him at bay and in the very same moment seeks out the beat of his heart beneath her touch. Her jaw tightens and it appears as those is quite literally chewing on the thoughts his exposing words have prompted.

“Knowing - that scares the hell out of me.” She offers an inverted echo of his statement. “If we know it - then people can get hurt. Then there’s a… “ Her fingers twitch uncertainty on his chest. “Responsibility.” The word sounds like gravel jarred around on her lips and husky voice. This sharing circle shit has her fidgeting uneasily, until he reaches down and gives her free hand an anchoring squeeze. It’s enough to keep her from slipping away, to remind her that she wants to stay, but not enough yet to prompt her to share her own romantic history.

Instead, she focuses on him. “I don’t need, anything.” Devi squints her darkly-lined eyes at him, drilling home the point. “You don’t need to be anything for me.” She raises her brows and continues on as her expression softens. “But, I’ve always liked to think that it’s a hella lot nicer to be wanted than needed. And damn it if I don’t fucking want you around…” The raven-haired woman pauses and smiles. “Like all the time, for the foreseeable fucking future.”

It’s comfortable here, in Devi’s bed. It’s brings back familiar feelings that Caspian hasn’t experienced since the death of the last woman he spent any amount of time with. He, of course, had nothing to do with it, and the whole thing was tragic for everyone involved, but it wasn’t something he enjoyed doing. Burying someone you were fond of. Who you worked with. Who you could see spending a lot of time with. Maybe even growing old. Something that not a lot of people get in this world. And it’s a feeling that he’s really missed - craved, even - but he’s just been unable to get out and find someone who he felt comfortable enough with to actually take the leap again.

“Responsibility…I never was able to put it into words. I feel responsible for a lot of things. If I choose to have someone be with me, a part of me wants to…I don’t know? Be the good in their life. The thing that makes them push through the bad part of the day. The warm hearth to come home to, The good meal on a rainy sunday. The reason to get up to go somewhere because the sooner you’re there, the sooner you’re back home.” Caspian’s hand lifts to press against hers against his chest, sandwiching her palm against the thin undershirt that lives beneath his button down shirt that was discarded at some point for more comfortable sleeping. “It’s something I’ve worked on to try and bring to a lot of people. The…the solar, for instance that I do. I remember growing up and just having light. Having the ability on tap whenever I needed it, for whatever reason. It’s why I came out here. Yeah, to make money, but…” He pats her hand. “It turned into making stability for people who had precious little of it.”

Except he doesn’t seem to have much of his own.

Caspian is quiet for a few moments, just listening to the sound of her breathing, feeling her pulse in the back of her tattooed hand, the veins thrumming beneath his touch. He doesn’t argue her lack of needs - everyone needs something to get through the day - but her terminology does cause him to smile, despite it all. “I’m not…I wasn’t expecting to go into this right after our first date. A little heavy, don’t you think?” His chest draws up, his voice lowering an octave. “Why don’t you tell me all about your deepest fears and hangups, Devi? It’d be a perfect bonding experience.” He lets out a breath and chuckles,

“I don’t know what I need, Devi. That’s the truth. You may not need anything from anyone, but me?” He taps his chest. “There’s something I need but I’m not clear on what it is at all. Sure, there are a hell of a lot of things I’d like. Someone to laugh with. Someone to get in arguments with over stupid things, only to make it up over ice cream. Someone to be excited to see me when they can see me, but strong enough to not need me every day.” A cynical view would say that Caspian’s describing a cat, and while that could be the case, it could also apply to the dark-haired woman curled around him. His head rocks back to *bonk* against the headboard, a slight wince from the slightly too hard blow before he speaks again. “You really want me around for a while?” His gaze goes distant again as he thinks, glancing back to her after a second. “You sure?”

Devi watches silently, dark eyes still as observant as ever. When Caspian makes light of the situation, using words to point out the dangerous and murky waters they tread, she shifts her weight upon the soft bed and rolling hills of too many dark blankets. His hand over hers keeps her anchored to this moment, though. She settles quickly enough, turning her visage down to observe where his fingers rest over the back of her own tattooed flesh.

The raven-haired femme watches still as he leans back and lets the weight of it all sink deeper still, until it’s all left to stir and brew and produce that simple question: ‘You sure?’ She licks her lips, a soft peach hue in the absence of any vibrant paints and makeup. She on the mattress and moves forward, blankets shifting under her weight as she sets first one knee and then the other at either side of his hips. She moves her free hand to comb her fingers through his hair, coming to rest at the sensitive spot just behind his ear. “Hold me responsible. Keep looking at me like that…” Her dark gaze flickers trying to take in both his warm, brown eyes in this moment before she finishes, “And I’ll be sure.”

((NOTE: This is a joke. HAHAHAH! <3

His head turns to regard her as she asks that simple question - a question that, in its simplicity, entirely hides the complexity of what’s being asked. However, once she sits astride his hips, Caspian’s hands hesitantly move to rest on her waist, his right hand patting on a expanse of skin bisected by too-tight denim, moving up her side, shifting her shirt slightly as it curls around her shoulder, beneath her arm, to hold her. The way he’s holding her, though, is like he’s afraid she’ll break, crack, blow away, or simply vanish in his arms. Relationships have not ended well for him and he’s almost quit hoping that they’ll even happen.

“Hold you responsible, huh?” His hand brushes down her tattoo-spangled arm, skipping over the bandage he placed earlier, over the other healed injection sites, to finally clasp her wrist, leaning his head into her touch, his eyes closing for a second. “Holding you responsible means we’re going to let you go back to sleep and then you wake up with the Refrain euphoria worn off. Before…” Caspian sighs. “Before we do anything else.”

He pushes himself up slightly, a hand moving up to brush through her ebon tresses, his voice serious. “Do you know what I’m saying here? That means going back to sleep. You here, me wherever you want me. That means breakfast. My treat. That means a hard conversation in the light of day. That means not avoiding the uncomfortable things by using sex. Things like that…” Caspian shakes his head. “They’re fun to start with, but if it’s what things are built on, better chance is we’ll end up regretting it in the morning.”

How he’s managing to work this out shows an amazing willpower, and Caspian with Devi, like, RIGHT THERE, she is definitely having an effect on him. He’s seen it before, though - sex becoming the end all, be all of a couple getting together, and he’s the sort to want to know Devi knows what she’s getting into. The last thing he wants is a night of passion that ends with Devi resenting him or him resenting himself for taking advantage of someone that’s coming down from a high. It’s easy to push things away by retreating into the easiness of passion.

Caspian doesn’t want easy.

Tattooed fingers bend, just the tips draws down the sides of his neck before the digits are made to spider over the backs of his shoulders and brace flat palms to the headboard behind him. One shoulder rocks up, the wounded and scarred one still stiff and unmoving for now, as she cranes down to level her dark gaze with his. There’s something predatory in the posture, even if it doesn’t reach her eyes.

Devi squints. “I’m a big girl.” So, she’s not pleased. “I’m also not the most patient one,” she tasks on, her husky tones only coarsened by Refrain’s lingering tendrils and her scream’s rough passage still fresh and raw in her throat. Her jaw tightens and she huffs out an exasperated sigh and hang her head, dark locks falling over Caspian’s skin. “But, it’s hard to say no breakfast…” She inclines her chin slightly, dark locks casting a darker shadow over inked stars and chiseled features.

The biker bitch doesn’t remark on the ‘hard conversations’ being saved for the morning. She’s not looking forward to it, but she’s not tucking tail and riding off into the sunrise, either. “I don’t promise you’ll like the answers in the morning, Dreamer, but I’ll still be here.” With that she rolls over with a graceless flop, dark hair and alabaster limbs sprawled out. With a fresh huff she takes to adjusting the surplus of dark and heavy blankets around them, a cozy nest that borders on overheating. A quick tug on Caspian’s shirt silently insists he get comfortable as well before the wild-haired femme gets too cozy, already starting to nestle in at his side.
“If anyone asks, we fucked like rabbits.” She looks up with a bright smile, the brightest of the evening yet, and indulges a quick wink before laying her head back down.

When she pushes away, Caspian remains where he is beneath the sheets, hazel eyes following her painted form, listening as she lays out the law, as it were. He fully expected her to be unhappy with his requirement for him to stay, since by doing so, it kept open many lines of conversation that might have otherwise been more easily closed with a marked lack of clothing. So when Devi tugs on his shirt and accepts his offer of breakfast, giving him a wordless invitation to get more comfortable, he marks that as something that fits adequately in the draw column. It’s not exactly a win, but it’s definitely not a loss. “I know you’re a big girl, and I know you’re not very patient. Just…” Caspian shakes his head, a playful grin appearing for a second. “It’ll be okay if it does happen. Trust me. You won’t be disappointed.”

Caspian goes quiet for a second, then looks over. “Neither of us are perfect, Devi.” Caspian says as he shrugs out of his buttoned shirt, hanging it on the bedpost. “God knows I’m not. Besides, if I wanted perfect, I’d have killed myself /years/ ago when I couldn’t find it.” He grabs the hem of his undershirt, pulling it off with a bit of wiggling, putting it on the bedpost next to his other shirt, giving hers a tug too. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, apparently. He shuffles down into the blankets with a pillow beneath his head and the scent of sheets that aren’t his filling his nostrils, pillowing his head on his hands, looking up at the dark ceiling. “We all have skeletons in our closets. I just let it go with a bit of humor if it gets found out and keep the ones that others don’t want out from going too far.” His left hand comes across to rest lightly on her uninjured shoulder, giving it a gentle pat before just resting there. “Your secrets are safe with me.”

“And yes, if it comes up in conversation, we fucked like rabbits.” He doubts it will, but he’ll go with Devi wanting to maintain her rough and tumble image.

As Capsian strips of one shirt and then another, leaving only naked skin to the naked eye, Devi watches. Droopy eyes, snuggled in pillows mounds of blankets and the like - she looks like a languid cat. Until one realize she’s still staring. She smacks her lips once or twice as if her mouth might be watering before the tug on her shirt rouses her slightly. She manages to blink herself back to the here and now and look up to Caspian’s face. “Hm? Oh.” A belated, flirty smile. She holds up a palm: Wait, I got this. A few limber movements and one bra strap afer another peeks out from under the shoulders of her shirt. A few more wiggles and she pulls out a black bra with electric violet polka-dots. “Perfect would be boring,” she comments, dangling the bra off the tip of her middle finger.

“I promise, I’m anything but boring.”

With a last, cheshire grin the flamboyant bra is sent sailing across the little bedroom.

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