Reybama ([personal profile] circumitus) wrote in [community profile] hadriel_logs2016-05-08 02:52 pm
Entry tags:

house call: part two [CLOSED]

Who: Rey and Nick Valentine.
What: Rey rearranges furniture. :)
Where: Rey's apartment (Spire Two, 301).
When: Shortly after the fireflies are gone.
Warnings: Destruction of innocent housing appliances, language, serious talk, the good stuff. Will update as needed.

Going in, Rey knew the risks. She has only herself to blame, even if she could very well pin it on the so-called gods for this. One could also argue that her decision was just -- by shutting a part of herself down, she was helping others. No longer did she have to contribute to the energy that their hosts feed off of. In a way, she should be free.

But she isn't. Not really. She is no more liberated than she was when she had been a soulless husk, unfeeling and unthinking, acting solely out of its nature. And that nature was to kill. Rey doesn't want to kill for anyone anymore, though. There is already enough blood on her hands over the last near century for her to reach this point.

So when that old monster had been reawakened, forcefully returned by the whims of the 'gods', what other choice did she have? By casting that which made her feel everything behind her heart's door, she gave up a large piece of what made Rey. But, even then--

"It was the right thing to do," she had told herself on more than one occasion. A reminder she gives herself now when she returns home from one of her patrols. The fireflies that had infested the city now appear to be gone, no longer forcing their influence on the people of Hadriel. Her hands ball into fists when the tiny residue of emotion that Bianca had inflicted upon her returns. It was but a tiny fraction of happiness, but even then it was too much. All of this is just too much. She had cracked the mask, inviting not only the good but also the bad along with it.

Comedy always did go hand in hand with tragedy, didn't it? Life is just one big joke, and she has always been the unassuming punchline in the middle of it all, and so stupid to think that she could maintain this visage for long. It didn't work in her favor before. Why should now be any different?

Her teeth grind as she enters the room. Nothing about this is right. Her thoughts, her feelings, even this room. It isn't hers. She's a broken toy living in a dollhouse, just playing her part in someone else's game.

Was this another one of their tricks? Rey can't tell when she begins moving things around her two-bedroom apartment. At first it's just little things. A portrait straightened here, the table and some chairs set there. She even decides to drag the couch to the opposite side of the living room. Because if this place is her own personal prison, then she may as well make it hers. It's small, simple, silly, foolish... but at least she can take some control over her environment and make something of it that belongs to her. Hers, and no one else.

Then something changes and it's just not enough. Even the smallest, most irrelevant details start to boil past the brim. None of these things are hers. These furnishings, the walls, the food... Once more she feels as though she is living someone else's life.

What more, she feels.

And in that moment, she hates it. Hates this playroom, these things, even though they're just things -- it all represents yet another borrowed life she's living here.

The boil begins to bubble over. Is she being compelled again? Is she possessed? She can't tell anymore. The forced happiness is gone; something else screams.

...It's her.

Taking one of the chairs, she hurls it into the wall, tearing down a portrait and renting cracks in the paint. She kicks, thrashes, throwing chairs, flipping a table, upturning a couch and sending the loveseat across the living area. Papers and books and various knickknacks and things scatter across the floor. Her blood rushes, her pulse races, her vision flashes red when she finds herself taking up a broken piece of a chair and sending objects from the kitchenette flying.

Before long, the entire apartment appears as though it had been ransacked by burglars. In the wake of destruction, Rey's adrenaline pumping through her veins breaks down. And she is tired. More so than she's ever been.

"Get out of my head," she mutters to herself, throwing down the chair piece and grabbing the sides of her skull, fingers digging into her hair. "GET OUT."

She flings her shoulder to the wall, and slides down to the floor, curling up within herself. Her emotions, her thoughts, all the wretched things that she's kept locked away.

The floodgates are opened, and she is to blame.
synthedick: (♣ the disappearing act)

[personal profile] synthedick 2016-05-09 04:24 am (UTC)(link)
With the fireflies gone and the streets potentially safe for a few days, Nick has some downtime. He's well aware there'll be new arrivals soon, if the gods' usual pattern hasn't changed -- with the opening of the Door comes monsters, and with monsters come trouble. There's no telling just how much of said trouble they'll cause, so it never hurts to be prepared. With that in mind, he's using his free time to make some repairs, namely to run diagnostics while fixing his trademark trench coat. One of the patches has come loose somewhere along the way; he usually gets Ellie to do this sort of thing, but seeing as she's not around, it's up to him to do the upkeep on his clothing. It might not hide what he is, but the coat does a good job of helping him look the part of a detective.

He's sitting on his couch, forcing a needle through one side and out the other to reinforce the fabric when he hears the commotion below his apartment. It's just a thud or two at first, nothing alarming enough to investigate; that's followed by a series of crashes, ones powerful enough to rattle the floor beneath him. That gets him on his feet.

He doesn't even take the time to put on his coat as he bolts out the door -- he just grabs his hat and goes, speeding down the spiral staircase to the apartment directly below his. He can't help but be concerned when it comes to Rey, especially given how she's been acting as of late. She shut out her humanity, sure... but he knows she can't keep that up forever, not unless she gives it up permanently, deciding that it's just better to be an unfeeling machine. And he does hope, for the sake of everything that makes her her, that that isn't an option.

He stops at her door, debating the urge to barge right in. She won't want to be disturbed -- she never does -- but he can't just ignore this. It could be the gods, it could be a monster, it could be her turning on herself or losing her damn mind; it could be anything, but it's definitely trouble.

Steeling himself, he calls to her first. "Rey? It's Nick." Open the door is implied in his stern tone.
Edited (So many edits. I'm sorry!) 2016-05-09 07:46 (UTC)
synthedick: (♦ a loose end)

[personal profile] synthedick 2016-05-09 08:21 pm (UTC)(link)
It only takes those two words for Nick to have an inkling of what's wrong.

Well, part of it, at least. "Open the door, Rey," he insists, wondering why his internal thermometer is climbing -- it's picking up a significant increase in temperature nearby. He just ran diagnostics on all his systems and calibrated a few of them, so he knows it's not him. It takes it a moment, but it pinpoints the source: it's on the other side of the door.

And that's a cause for immediate concern. "You've got ten seconds."

He gives her three before he tries the knob: locked. It didn't sound like she's by the door when she answered him, which is good because he's about to kick it open. It might take a few blows, but it's amazing what strength worry will instill in even a machine.
synthedick: (♣ restoring order)

[personal profile] synthedick 2016-05-10 02:09 am (UTC)(link)
She calls to Nick through the door, and he hesitates on his second kick for only a moment as he debates whether or not he should continue. Given Rey's obvious tendency to push people away and the rising temperature behind the door, he decides that this is the best course of action for her.

Maybe not for the door, though. Though the apartments probably aren't fireproof, they are study -- it takes several kicks in the end, but the lock finally breaks and the door swings open. He holds his bare arm before his face protectively, just in case there's something nasty waiting on the other side. He isn't sure what he'd expected -- a fire, maybe, given the fact his thermometer jumped a few notches up the scale only seconds before, or maybe some new kind of terror unleashed by the gods, something that had broken through her emotional barricade and caused her walls to crumble in the worst way. He doesn't realize his guess is partially right as he spots her, curled along the wall. No fire, no monster: just Rey.

Somehow, that doesn't assuage his concerns at all. He stays on the alert as he makes his way over to her, dropping to one knee as he tries to make eye contact, to figure out just what's wrong and what -- if anything -- he can do. "Rey."
synthedick: (♣ tough times)

[personal profile] synthedick 2016-05-10 03:11 am (UTC)(link)
While waiting for an answer from her, Nick's sensors take in the rest of the room, trying to sort out what happened, and more importantly, whether or not they're alone. Though the entire room is hot, the temperature definitely spikes right around her. He has no idea if that's normal -- hell, he hardly knows what's considered 'normal' for a synth anyway, much less one from another world. All he knows is that he recognizes trouble when he sees it.

She's not the trouble herself, despite what she thinks... but she is in it. Though he scans her for injuries, he already knows the greatest wounds are within, that the monster she's fighting is one he can't even see.

He casts a glance toward the door as she finally speaks; his eyes are there and back again in the span of a second, returning to her. "It wasn't gonna open itself."
synthedick: (♣ benign intervention)

[personal profile] synthedick 2016-05-10 03:29 am (UTC)(link)
Her avoidance on all fronts speaks volumes; he leans his elbow on his knee, those glowing eyes of his boring into her as he presses for the truth. Sorry, Rey -- it's in his nature, both his and the man he's a copy of.

"All right. I broke it down because you weren't going to let me in." There's a pause, then, under his breath: "You still aren't letting me in."
synthedick: (♠ familiar faces)

[personal profile] synthedick 2016-05-10 05:38 am (UTC)(link)
Given her resistance to even address that she had a problem last time they spoke, Nick is surprised to hear an apology, relieved to hear emotion in her voice, and troubled by the defeat that is now blanketing her. As much as he'd wanted Rey to reconcile her humanity, he had hoped any breakthrough wouldn't destroy her in the process.

Though he's not expecting a full answer, he gives her a nudge anyway. He might not be able to help her, but he's found some folks find what they're looking for themselves just by talking it out.

"What happened?"
synthedick: (♣ lost soul)

[personal profile] synthedick 2016-05-10 02:41 pm (UTC)(link)
He's taken aback as she meets his eyes, any fire he'd expected behind them as extinguished as that in her voice. The apology was odd enough, coming from her: most he'd gotten regarding Rey had seemed sincere, but were ultimately aloof. This, though, and the confession that came with it -- they aren't warm by any means, but he can tell the wall she put up around herself is crumbling, little by little. These things just take time, something an unaging synth has in abundance.

"I probably don't deserve to be stuck in this city either, but here I am." He offers her a reassuring smile with his attempt at levity before continuing. "But... I appreciate what you're saying. It'd have been easer to write you off, be as unkind as the world can be when you dug me up and gave me that look at said you were regretting it."

His smile fades as he looks down at his bare, metal hand, flexing his skeletal fingers before bringing his eyes back to hers. She may look more authentic than he ever will with his torn skin and exposed wiring, yet here he is, lecturing her on basic human compassion. The world is funny sometimes.

"It's not about what's easy, though. It's about doing what's right-- what's needed. And what you don't need is to be treated as anything less than human. No one deserves that."
Edited 2016-05-10 14:52 (UTC)
synthedick: (♠ emergent behavior)

[personal profile] synthedick 2016-05-10 08:07 pm (UTC)(link)
He has to admit that it's satisfying to know that she's changing -- it's a gradual change, but one he's grateful for nonetheless. It means he's getting through to her, getting through to another synth, making some kind of connection to someone who is fundamentally similar to him in many ways, yet worlds apart in others. They may not look it from the outside, but she's more like him than anyone else he's met: both artificial, both living with ghosts and guilt that aren't their own. If that doesn't warrant him looking out for her, then nothing will.

"Guess you'd better keep practicing, then," he notes. "You'll get the hang of it, so long as you don't try shutting everything out again."
synthedick: (♣ institutionalized)

[personal profile] synthedick 2016-05-10 11:52 pm (UTC)(link)
While he's not sure exactly why the Institute bothered making him in the first place, Nick can't deny that he's struggled with his own identity for years, so he can understand why she's reluctant -- she's been used as a weapon, given life as a tool with no business in questioning her existence. Some people believe machines shouldn't have free will, yet here they are with it. To take that from anyone is cruel beyond compare, but especially from someone who is still working out her own freedom, trying to find where she fits in the world.

It's just one more reason to never trust the gods in Hadriel, no matter how benevolent they seem. They can control how a person feels, so even when their intentions are supposedly good, it boils down to the fact that those powerful beings are still using the people they've collected in the city. They're not better than the mere mortals; in many ways, they're far worse.

Given his line of work -- the original Nick's line of work -- he knows a lot about genuine monsters. As much of a danger as Rey might be, Nick can't bring himself to see her as a monster, not when they're so similar, and not when the real ones are still painfully fresh on his mind. As a machine, his memories don't fade the same way those of a flesh-and-blood human might.

And that's why he hesitates as she poses her question. He's had his fair share of cases gone wrong, times where the outcome shed more blood than he'd have liked. Some people do the unexpected; others will go no way but the hard way. He's had to fire on people he trusted, wound more than a handful of folks with words he knew would be disappointing, at the very best.

Even then, the worst he's done was doing nothing at all. He'd followed orders, done what he'd felt was right, and in the end, he was watching them bury his -- no, the original Nick's -- fiancé. Those memories aren't his, but... he can't help that they feel so real to him, real enough that he lives every day with the weight of a dead man's sins.

It's his turn to be avoidant, his brow knitting as he pushes down guilt; he's at a long time to wrestle with it, and he expects he'll have even more time yet. "Haven't we all?"
synthedick: (♣ war never changes)

[personal profile] synthedick 2016-05-11 02:28 am (UTC)(link)
Though Nick keeps his eyes on hers, he knows well enough that she can see through him -- as a man constantly searching for the truth, he's not exactly a trained liar. While he's never made a habit of hiding what he is, where he's been, or even what he's done, he's never brought it up himself if he didn't have to, either. Most of what made him him was the ghost of a dead man, anyway. He had very little he could call his own.

That doesn't mean he can ignore those old memories, though. They might not be his, but they certainly feel like they are.

"I've done plenty I'm not proud of," he admits. "Me, and Nick Valentine. It's the sort of life he led, and the sort of world I was brought into."
synthedick: (♣ human error)

[personal profile] synthedick 2016-05-11 08:38 am (UTC)(link)
He would have argued about his status as a person, but given her tone, he knows that's a losing battle for him. Sure, he might be closer to a person than a Protectron, but he's still more machine than man, with what heart he has as mechanical as the rest of him. There's nothing he, nor anyone else, can do about that.

There's also nothing that could have prepared him for what she says, or how she says it; his surprise shows as he leans back on his foot, his mouth pulling into a thin frown as he studies her. He'd wanted her to open up, to help him see eye-to-eye with her; he'd wanted the truth, and here it is: the true Rey, the one who's been hiding beneath the robotic personality and cold demeanor. He watches it happen before his eyes -- she shifts, changes, her voice becoming more... human than he's ever heard it. From the moment he met her, he'd noticed she had an odd way of speaking in that she didn't really refer to herself, as though leaving all those self pronouns like I and me out of her speech would keep who she is and who she'd been separate, keep them safe. He realizes now it was just another wall to hide behind.

And down that wall comes with the rest. He gives her a sympathetic look and slides off his knee to the floor, taking a seat beside her and leaning against the wall.

"You telling me this because you think I'm a good person?" he asks finally, casting a look at her from the side. "Or are you still hoping to chase me off?"

Or maybe she thinks he ought to know. No matter her answer, he's grateful in that moment to see the real her -- to know she was indeed in there somewhere, and that she isn't all metal and no soul.
synthedick: (♦ blind betrayal)

[personal profile] synthedick 2016-05-11 09:51 pm (UTC)(link)
"At least I didn't have to kick this door down," he remarks with another sideways glance. Not that he wasn't trying.

What she's saying makes sense, though. It's a two-way street: he can't expect her to be honest with him if he's not going to be honest with her. Maybe all he'd wanted was for her to embrace what humanity she has been offered -- more than him in some ways, and less in others -- but now that the door is open, he can't just close it at his convenience. That's not how it works.

She'd opened the door, and now he has to step through it. To him, it feels a little like accepting a partnership, albeit a partnership in crime given the subject matter.

His eyes trail to his metal hand again, the bare skeleton reminding him that he cannot change what he is -- both for better and for worse. "Whether or not I'm a person is debatable... and for as much as I preach about it, I'm not always kind."

His nose wrinkles as he processes old memories, ones who make him who he is, but that he wishes, sometimes, he could be rid of. "There's a man I want dead. What he did, he did two hundred years ago, and he didn't even do to me, but I just can't let it go."

He sighs. "When it comes right to it, I'm a machine looking for revenge on a guy who might not be alive anymore, and if he is, maybe he won't remember what he did, or what he took from me -- from Nick. It doesn't matter, because when I find him, I'm putting him down like the dog he is."
synthedick: (♣ memory interrupted)

[personal profile] synthedick 2016-05-12 02:41 am (UTC)(link)
"The guy was a crime lord," Nick explains with a wry smile; it twists away in seconds, replaced with disgust. "I'm betting even when I do get to him, he won't give a damn what I think. He's been sitting pretty in his little vault, away from his crimes, the Commonwealth, and the justice he never got served. It's been two hundred years for him... and a lot less for me. And I'm not even the man who ought to be shooting him."

Rey's right: Nick is undeniably connected to the original Nick Valentine... and there's nothing he can do about it, aside from getting his memory wiped. That's not an option in his mind, as his memories -- Nick's memories, his personality, his morals -- make the synth who he is, allow him a modicum of humanity that other machines in his world are lacking. It's because of the original Nick that the synth version hasn't been destroyed just for being what he is, that he can work as a detective and be treated as though he were a real person. It's due to Nick that he has anything at all.

And ultimately, that's as much of a bane as it is a boon. Because of Nick, the synthetic Valentine has both everything and nothing. He's ust a copy of a man long dead; he has no personality of his own, no background, no thoughts or rationale or even behavior that wasn't lifted from someone else.

"I sometimes think about finding him," he continues, his eyes narrowing as he flexes those skeletal fingers again, "and about what I'll say. What I'll do. And I wonder if any of those things will even be for me. If this thirst for vengeance is mine, or if it's just something else that isn't. All that kindness I give folks comes from Nick's personality. Everything that drives me is his. Hell, even my name comes from him."

He's not a worthwhile prototype for the Institute, seeing how he was dumped in the trash and left on his own. He's not a human with his metal parts and bare hand. He's not entirely a machine, given he has a real mind downloaded to the hardware in his skull. He's not Nick Valentine. So just what is he?
synthedick: (♠ leading by example)

[personal profile] synthedick 2016-05-12 09:13 am (UTC)(link)
Those glowing eyes of his make their way back to Rey as she speaks; his expression takes a somber turn as he gets lost in his own head, the synth clearly mulling over her words. He's tried considering that before: the real Nick is long dead, and those memories and everything that came after the synthetic copy's awakening in the wasteland that is the Commonwealth might as well be his, and his alone. Ultimately, Nick always returns to the source -- that without the original Valentine's personality programmed into him, he'd have been as unfeeling and mechanical as the other synths produced by the Institute. Maybe he'd have never earned the respect of the folks in Diamond City; maybe he'd have been shot the second he made it there. Or maybe he'd have turned on the first people who ever spoke to him -- those settlers who, so long ago, treated him like a person for the first time in his life.

While he can't help feeling like he owes the real Nick his entire existence, it does help to have someone else reassure him of his place in the world. It's even better that she's someone knows what it's like to be something not quite human, who has dealt with her own ghosts and struggled with her own identity in a way closer to him than anyone else he's ever met. They're not exactly the same, no... but they are definitely kindred in a way he can't possibly hope to be with other people.

"You know, for someone I've been trying to help, you're pretty good at this yourself," he says finally. "Looks like I'm the one who needed a talking to this time around."

A single laugh escapes him as he notes how the tables have turned on him. He even recalls what he told her only couple of weeks prior. "Guess I'm not alone in this, am I?"
Edited 2016-05-12 09:16 (UTC)
synthedick: (♣ war never changes)

[personal profile] synthedick 2016-05-13 02:53 am (UTC)(link)
"I'm glad to hear it," he replies, trying to look more positive about what she's saying. For as much as he talks about changing people's perceptions of what a synth can be, he truly struggles to change how he views himself. He's gotten so used to viewing himself as a machine, every reflection he sees reminding him that he's not nearly as human as he feels. And what he does feel? It comes from something that wasn't his to begin with -- a personality stolen, replicated on a processor the way a data file would be on a terminal.

"You're not wrong, I know," he adds. "It's just that I'm the only one I've met like me, back in the Commonwealth. I suspect I'm a prototype of some sort. Hopefully one-of-a-kind so that there aren't more synths running around as confused as I was when I woke up. Still, it makes for a lonely life at times. It's... it's nice to have someone to talk to about this sort of thing."

For all he knows, there might be another synth out there with the original Nick's personality. He might not be the only copy. But that's the nature of machines. They're far easier to make than people, more expendable. Nothing he has is his own, and there's not much he can do about it except try to accept that fact and make something for himself. He just hasn't figured out what yet.
synthedick: (♣ tough times)

[personal profile] synthedick 2016-05-13 08:06 am (UTC)(link)
He smirks. "Well, I'm glad to have you here. And glad to have you back." Everyone may be stuck in Hadriel, but knowing just who he can turn to when things get grim is important -- important enough that he'd fight to make sure she's safe, even from herself.

Which, given the state of her apartment, it's a good thing he'd been concerned enough to keep an eye on her. He pauses as he takes a look around, letting the silence between them hang as his eyes trail across her apartment, the scene a complete and utter wreck. "I know I didn't mention it earlier, since it didn't seem pertinent at the time, but it looks like you've been redecorating."
synthedick: (♠ underground undercover)

[personal profile] synthedick 2016-05-13 03:21 pm (UTC)(link)
"I didn't exactly have time to think about it, considering I thought you were in trouble in here." Not that she hadn't been.

That does bring something else to mind, however. "My thermometer picked up some unusual readings while I was out there waiting for you to decide whether or not you wanted to let me in. I thought the gods might've sent something after us again, or that the apartment was on fire."

He pauses there, letting his questions go unsaid for now.
synthedick: (♠ getting technical)

[personal profile] synthedick 2016-05-14 12:33 am (UTC)(link)
"Mishap, hm?" he questions flatly, his tone saying that he's leaving it at that and not expecting any kind of explanation. She's had enough walls broken down for one day, and there's still a major problem he needs to bring up, namely that she needs to move. It's not just that he broke the lock on her door, or that her furnishings are all over the place -- literally in some cases, as there's a piece of a chair both beside him and another from the same chair all the way across the room. It's that he wants to keep an eye on her, that overprotective streak of his hard to ignore.

And more, he doesn't want her to be alone. She doesn't need to be alone, not when she's still working things out. She might find another place with a roommate, but having her in the same spire as him has been convenient, to say the least.

"Well, if you need a place to stay for a while, I know a guy with an extra room. Lives right above you, I hear."
synthedick: (♦ here there be monsters)

[personal profile] synthedick 2016-05-14 10:31 pm (UTC)(link)
"I don't think he'll mind. That extra room of his is just gathering dust. Gets kind of lonely up there. Too quiet."

Smartass synthetics need to stick together. Birds of a feather, indeed.
synthedick: (♥ quality assurance)

[personal profile] synthedick 2016-05-14 11:29 pm (UTC)(link)
"I'm sure he'll be glad to hear you're feeling anything these days."

He says that with a smile as he gets to his feet, offering her a hand up -- not that she needs it, but the gesture is in his nature.
synthedick: (♥ returning the favor)

[personal profile] synthedick 2016-05-15 05:43 am (UTC)(link)
Knowing good and well she doesn't need his help, Nick is a little surprised Rey does take his hand -- not that he isn't glad for it. It's one more sign of her welcoming humanity, of their mutual respect, of the two of them learning to work together, as no one else may quite understand their very nature the way they do. There's no telling if there will ever be other synths or machines like them in Hadriel, so the two there are ought to look out for one another.

And Nick fully intends to do that. As dark a place as the city can be, he's excited by the prospect of helping out someone a little like him, and being helped by her in return. Maybe he'll believe what she said one day: that he's more of a person than he realizes or cares to admit. She is, too -- he will argue that until his skeleton rusts.

He leads the way up to his apartment, leaving the door to hers broken, ajar, hopefully to never close on him again.