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 Sky's Gonna Open, [Ben/Evan]
Ben Morrow
 Posted: Jan 22 2013, 6:01 PM
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While Collin worked things out with Shiloh, Ben was trying to spend more time at the pard house than he had in the past few months. Both because he was still very much recovering from the whole 'getting shot in the back of the head' thing and because he'd been serious about being a part of healing up the pard. He was also supposed to be doing it because of Lib, but in practice Ben found himself finding excuses to miss his girlfriend, one way or another. Right now she was doing her first short shift at the hospital after taking time off to get her feet under her again after the attack. And, mysteriously, this was also the time that Ben was able to be at the pard house. Funny how that worked.

He'd been in with Jarvis and Suki, helping them decide what they wanted to pack down out of their rooms, but when the kids got that moony-eyed look Ben had excused himself. He was out on the back patio, under the overhang because it was drizzling a little bit, though he hadn't bothered with a jacket or anything. He had one of his resonator guitars with him, a Paul Beard that he was only so-so about. He'd bought it because it had a lot of volume, was good for outdoor work even in this climate.

Nobody would believe it if he tried to convince them, but when he was playing and singing was literally the only time Ben didn't have a headache lately. Every moment of his life, even when he was asleep, he was fighting the icepick-throb of the headaches. But it faded back to nothing, or close to it, when he was making music. Not so surprising that he was carrying a guitar case with him everywhere right now.

At the moment he was playing an old song, not one of his. It had come into his head as he tuned the guitar, he didn't recognize that it was a song he'd once sung for Lib, back before things went strange on him. It was one of those songs that doesn't fit comfortably into any category. Pop, blues, country, whatever. It was a good damned song, that's all he cared about.

Pretty girl on every corner, sunshine turns the sky to gold. Warm warm, it's always warm here, I can't take the cold. Streets littered with diamonds, every one's glistening. This whole world shines so brightly I can't see a thing. Pretty as a picture; seems like a golden rain settles me with love and laughter...I can't feel a thing.

His eyes weren't closed, not quite, but drooped down to slits and he sent the pain and longing into the music. He bound it up in notes and chords so that he could deal with it, the only way he really knew to process his own emotion.

The sky's gonna open, people gonna pray and crawl. It's gonna rain down fire, it's gonna burn us all. The sky's gonna open, people gonna pray and sing. Oh, I can't feel a thing. Pretty as a picture, she is like a golden dream. Encircles me with love and laughter and I can't feel a thing. The sky is gonna open, people gonna pray and crawl. It's gonna rain down fire, it's gonna burn us all. The sky's gonna open, people gonna pray and sing. And I can't feel a thing. Oh, I can't feel...

Why did it feel like the end of everything? Why was he filled with this hot dread that said that they'd left it too late, that nothing was ever going to be right again? It had to be the head wound, didn't it? Christ he hoped so.

Ben lifted his head finally, his hair still hanging across his eyes. He hadn't expected to see Evan standing there, but he wasn't shocked or dismayed, either. He'd been in the game far too long to be bothered by an audience, even in his most raw performances. He gave the Ra a sleepy-looking smile. "Hey, you. How's it going in there?"


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Evan Huff
 Posted: Jan 22 2013, 6:21 PM
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"It's a hot mess." She answered honestly. Materially, the wolf attack had left half of the Pard house completely destroyed, a fire having been set as the surviving lot scampered back to their Ulfric. Pard mentality and morale was down, too, emotions were running high, people were still wounded and recovering from the deaths of friends and family. And personally, for Evan, when the Fae had broken her Bond to Ruth, everything had changed.

Deep down, it was what she'd wanted. She wanted to be loved for love's sake, not because some metaphysical fate played cupid. But now, Rutherford wasn't the same. She'd hurt him with her unspoken wishes, there was a massive strain on their relationship and if it weren't for the rest of the Pard and her place in it, she would have sat him down weeks ago to figure out where to go from here, and if that direction ended up being separate ways - she'd deal.

Instead, she'd thrown herself deeper into the leopards. Forming friendships, helping in any way she could, working on her psychic ability with the help of Aria's new school, and, she worked out like crazy. In fact, she'd just returned from a run through the mist, grabbed an apple from the fridge, and headed towards the sound of music.

She watched nearly his entire song, head tilted slightly toward him. "Can't wait to just shed this place, shake off all the horrible memories."

"And, hey. I love listening to you play. And sing, too. But, you've really got a groove with the guitar." Evan knew the basics, but she couldn't play, at least, not well enough to perform.
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Ben Morrow
 Posted: Jan 22 2013, 6:33 PM
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He nodded, never surprised to hear that shit was going wrong these days. "Prevailing attitude of despair. Shock." A crooked smile, the bitter was there but he wasn't flopping it around like a weapon.

And it was easy, comfortable to let the topic drift on (they'd come back to the pard, he was sure of it) and pat the belly of the guitar. "I did the math once, and I've literally spent more hours of my life holding a guitar than not holding one. I ought to be good at it by now. Otherwise everyone who's ever met me was right and I have wasted my life."


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Evan Huff
 Posted: Jan 26 2013, 10:19 AM
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She returned the grin, the leopards were - for lack of a better term - big, fat crybabies. Every little hiccup in the system sent the entire establihment into a tailspin. Evan just couldn't wrap her head around it.

She shook the thoughts away, still in her 'not thinking about the Pard' mode. She'd remain in that frame of mind until her endorphin high from the run wore off.

"Screw 'em." She shrugged. As far as she was concerned, the world needed music. "You didn't waste your life on the guitar. The blondes and the booze, maybe, but not the guitar."
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Ben Morrow
 Posted: Jan 26 2013, 11:57 AM
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"Now, see?" An unrepentant grin, "I never thought of the blondes and booze as the waste. Hell of a good time, all of them. And really, if a man's going to do exactly as he wishes in life, money, music, girls, and alcohol isn't a bad way to go about it. Very few people get to the end of their lives and wish they'd done more yoga and housecleaning. But more drinking and sex? Sure."


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Evan Huff
 Posted: Jan 26 2013, 9:00 PM
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"I never really cared for blondes, myself. But the rest of it makes for an interesting ride, that's for sure." She walked around to sit cross legged on the floor of the deck, in front of him. "Can leave you lonely at the end though." Evan knew a thing or two about loneliness. She'd always had Ollie around for company, he was reliable and strong, and somehow the street living they'd grown accustomed to hadn't hardened him in his daily interactions. He could hang tough with the best of them, but he didn't protect his heart the way Evan protected hers.

"Think two point five kidlets and a white picket fence are in the cards for you, Ben?" He and Elizabeth could always adopt, or find a surrogate, or Hell, even a powerful mage to suppress her shifts for ten months or so. Or if life didn't lead them to lifelong monogamy, which was a touch overrated anyways, maybe he'd find himself a human girl to knock up.
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Ben Morrow
 Posted: Jan 27 2013, 12:14 PM
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"I personally consider myself an omnivore. Don't really care the hair color, though I've got a liking for women who keep it long. Longer the better." There was just something about tangling up your hands in all that softness, it did things to him. That and a good ass. God did he love a nicely-curved ass.

He laughed at the notion of the picket fence. "No. No suburban domesticity for me. I'm not sure I can even keep up with Lib these days, she's so clingy right now and I'm just--not up to it." His hand came up and ran across the back of his neck, like it would ease the headache that never went away.


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Evan Huff
 Posted: Jan 28 2013, 7:57 AM
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"You? A preference for long hair? I'm shocked." She pressed a hand to her chest, letting her jaw go slacked in exaggerated, mocked surprise. A big grin and she fingered her ponytail absentmindedly. It'd taken her years to grow her hair back out after the disastrous Chop Job of 08.

"Somehow, I figured as much. I don't know if I could do the mommy-gig. It's one of those things you've just got or you don't. It can probably be acquired too, once you've got this little crying, pooping bundle of joy in your arms, but - yikes." The only baby she'd ever been allowed around was Ollie, and he'd grown up so, so fast.

"Leftover cling, from the shootings? Or just a general cling?" Elizabeth was your typical damsel. Sweet and caring, but a damsel none the less.
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Ben Morrow
 Posted: Jan 28 2013, 1:00 PM
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Ben rubbed his hand across his eyes. "I don't know. Both? She needs a lot of reassurance right now, and I'm just not capable of giving it to her. And the more times I don't manage it, the more she needs it, which makes her that much more shrill and desperate, which makes me that much more likely to shy away. I'm fucking it up, but I just don't have it in me right now. With these fucking headaches, and I'm still getting mood swings that Coll says are normal for a head injury but every time I snap at her she curls up into a dense, protective ball of 'no no I'm fine'."

He looked over at Evan, almost pleading. "The other day we sat down and talked it all out really rationally and calmly. Talked about how furious I was that she'd been hurt, and how badly I want to be able to protect her. About the nightmares she's having and the temptation to run away from Seattle. About my broken head, her anxiety issues. Really got it out on the table, worked it out the best we could. And then the very next fucking morning she was giving me that cheerful no-no-fine face, waiting for me to dig the truth out of her. And I got furious at her, which only made it worse, and now I'm avoiding her."


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Evan Huff
 Posted: Jan 31 2013, 10:49 AM
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"She's a girl's girl, Ben. I get that it's exhausting, but sometimes you just need to hold her, tell her she's beautiful, and guess at what's bothering her - out loud, even if it takes an hour and at the end of it, you're wrong anyways. Because she's not going to just come out and tell you."

Some women, some people, were just wired that way. Maybe he'd been too distracted by the curves and the warm heart to see the kind of person Elizabeth was underneath all of that. "She's got Big Scary Brother and Big Scary Brother 2.0 running around, both of them have ground into her head that girls need to be dainty and protected and quiet, and neither very good at dealing with estrogen ridden emotions. You might have to accept that it's always going to be a part of who she is, and throw up the white flag when you don't have it in you to pull shit out of her."

"But, what do I know." She smiled, "I'm apparently 'emotionally stunted and impulsive to the point of recklessness.' So, far from a girl's girl." She'd seen more shrinks than she could could on both hands.

"Let your head rest, Ben. Elizabeth will be there when you come out the other side of it. She loves you." Or, she'd run off from the lack of attention to the problems that were half real, but mostly exaggerated and fabricated in her own head.

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Ben Morrow
 Posted: Jan 31 2013, 3:49 PM
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"No, she won't be. Or maybe she will, but if she is she'll be so far gone into her neuroses that there'll be no getting her back out, because she'll have seen the whole thing as a rejection based on her inadequately assuring me that everything is fine, just fine, and she doesn't need any attention paid to her."

And then, quietly, saying something he'd known for a while but hadn't admitted even to Collin, "I want out. Even before this I wanted out. I'm nuts about her, maybe even in love with her, but I don't want to do this any more. It's been months since being with her made me more happy than it did stressed nd miserable, and it's been as bad or worse for her I think."


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Evan Huff
 Posted: Feb 10 2013, 8:26 AM
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"Oh, Ben." She moved to sit next to him and drape an arm across his shoulders. It was awkward, because Evan was awkward with touchy-feeliness, and because she had small arms and he had broad shoulders, but it was the thought that counted in these kinds of things, anyways.

"Are you sure?" She dipped her head down to look him in the eyes, search his expression. "Are you sure it's not just a rough patch, or something you can work through together? You've both been handed shit cards lately."

The look on his face said it all, like finally voicing his conclusion out loud had lifted an incredible weight. Still, she went on. "Will you be okay? Being without her while still being around her in the Pard and everything?"

A longer pause, "will she be okay?"

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Ben Morrow
 Posted: Feb 10 2013, 11:39 AM
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Ben slid his arm around Evan's waist, giving and taking comfort. "I'm sure. It's just not working. Much as I wanted it to, much as she did, it's not. And I've got to be the one who admits that, she'd just too young."

"So I'll be the bad guy for a while." An exhale that didn't quite become a sigh. "And Sam will take care of her and let me know when I need to be invisible and when I need to be normal, and it'll be awkward as hell. But still better than staying together like we are now."


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Evan Huff
 Posted: Feb 10 2013, 12:56 PM
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She ran fingers through the hair at the base of his neck, getting better at the physical comfort the leopards all needed on a daily basis. "Then get out. Now's a good time, because shit, everyone's rebuilding. Everyone's awkward and lost and just trying to keep things together."

Herself included. She was chalk full of conflicting feelings. Sorrow and loss over Rutherford's death, happiness for the leopards as a whole - with Rin and Collin guiding the ship, with Marisol and the rest of their family there to help if needed, things would get better. Lonely, now that she didn't have a devoted man hovering over her, but strangely relieved. The pressures of being Bonded - marked and destined for one person, had been a lot for a girl like her to handle.

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Ben Morrow
 Posted: Feb 10 2013, 2:43 PM
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"Yeah." He leaned his head over, rested it against hers for a minute. "I need to. It's just a hard thing to decide to do." Soon, he promised himself. This week, he'd find a night they could sit down and talk it out.

But he was sorta relieved to find an opening to ask, "How about you, how are you holding up? No more talk of leaving the pard, right?" He didn't want her to go. She was a part of them, bond or not, leopard or not.


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