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Re: Welcome to the Suburbs. Population: Odd.

Posted: Thu Aug 12, 2021 2:35 am
by Quaxo9
Cait McIvor

The woman's audacious exit raised an eyebrow. It gave the impression that Cait should feel some gratitude that the woman had taken the time out of her obviously busy schedule to come by and inform on her patient. What a piece of work. She closed the door behind her, staring at the business card as if it could answer the questions left swirling in her head. Or really, one question - should she go over there?

Rhiannon poked her head out of the kitchen doorway. "Who was it?"

"Oh, some chick. Welcome to the neighbourhood watch kinda stuff." She wasn't sure exactly why she'd just lied to her sister, but nevertheless, she continued. "Oh, and I found Marshal's phone. I'll just run it over to him before he misses it."

Before Rhys could interject, she popped back out the front door. There was no need to hide her next move if the psychiatrist was so clearly gone. Besides, what she did with herself wasn't anyone's business. Hopefully they wouldn't harass Marshal about her in return. She could well imagine what her self-declared psychologist would tell him about her given half the chance.

It wasn't hard to find his house - Cait just followed her nose. It was her nature to use her abilities all the time. It was practice. It was who she was. It was also who she was to simply skip up the front steps to a mostly-stranger's house and just open the door after giving it a cursory pounding to announce her presence.

"Hey Marshal? Everyth..."

The words died on her lips as her eye caught her name on the note next to the door. That feeling she had before about needing to come over here intensified into a thickness in the pit of her stomach. She flung the door wide for light, the smell of old booze and sweat filling her nostrils - fortunately she didn't need her sense of smell to find him. The light seemed to evaporate on his form, his body a dark smudge against the astringent white of the walls. Without a pause, she pulled the dining room table toward him, hefting his body up so that his legs at least rest on the surface. She didn't know if he was still alive, but she'd be damned if she was going to just let him swing.

Cait deftly leapt onto the beam and swiped at the belt with her claws until the leather shredded enough that it couldn't hold Marshal's weight. He hit the table with a thud and slid off of it before she could get down to him. No time to feel bad about that bit, though. She doubted someone of Marshal's height would have been able to break his neck with the initial fall. There was a chance that if he wasn't too far gone, he'd be breathing again. Rolling him onto his back, she pulled the rest of the belt away from his neck and drew close to his mouth to listen for evidence of life.

Re: Welcome to the Suburbs. Population: Odd.

Posted: Sun Aug 15, 2021 4:01 pm
by Monkey Kitty
Marshal Knox

The panic had subsided and he was floating in inky darkness, ready for the end, glad that it was finally going to be over - and then he fell, crashing to the table and then the floor. Marshal gasped as air was forced back into his lungs when the sudden impact triggered his body's survival reflexes.

An instant of relief, pure animal instinct - and then despair as his brain caught up, as he processed the fact that he had survived his attempt. As he realized he was going to have to go through all of this again to end it. That he was going to be too weak to even try until he had recovered. Having to continue living seemed like more than he would be able to bear.

A foolish, weak part of him craved comfort. He just wanted to be held as his mother had surely held him once... she must have, but he didn't remember it. All his memories of her were attempts to toughen him up, to make him strong and not reliant on anyone, so he could finally make her proud. He wasn't sure if he ever had. But that didn't matter any more.

What mattered was making sure there were no mistakes next time.

Belatedly, he blearily became aware that he had not survived by chance. Cait had saved him. That weak part of him was glad she was there, that he wasn't alone. Still, he hated that it meant he was now going to have to explain himself to her... well, he would once he could talk again. He owed her that explanation, now. He hoped she wouldn't regret her decision to save him, once she knew. He would reassure her that she couldn't have known, that her decision was a compassionate one. Once she had heard the truth, though, Marshal had no doubt that she would understand why the world was better off without him in it.

Re: Welcome to the Suburbs. Population: Odd.

Posted: Fri Aug 27, 2021 2:00 am
by Quaxo9
Cait McIvor

She lay there with her head on his chest for a long while. His muscles clenched and relaxed. Chest rose and fell. Heart resumed its regular rhythm.

But nothing about this was normal. Nothing but everything, all at once.

At length, she rose, went to the kitchen and rinsed out two glasses. She filled them both with water and set them on the coffee table. She then raised the blind and repositioned the couch so that it would face it directly. Returning to Marshal's side, she put an arm under his back and tried to coax him in to sitting, then standing, then walking. She'd help him take the glass in his hand, encourage him to drink it by taking up her own. Nestling in beside him, Cait was far to small to put her arm around him so she pulled his arm around her and held his hand, smoothing the base of his thumb with her own in a slow, rhythmic motion.

She was more than willing to sit and watch the sun come up with a friend who'd very nearly seen his last.

Re: Welcome to the Suburbs. Population: Odd.

Posted: Mon Aug 30, 2021 1:27 am
by Monkey Kitty
Marshal Knox

Marshal's body stiffened when Cait touched him.

He knew there was always a price for help. But did she really expect him to pay it now? When he was spent, physically and emotionally?

Sure, she was attractive. Under other circumstances, his answer wouldn't have been no. But at this moment, he was so vulnerable and raw. It was...

...It was just like Doctor Thornton.

Cait surprised him, though. She didn't press the physical contact. She just... stayed with him. And slowly, he realized it felt good. He realized how much less it hurt when he didn't have to be alone.

When she got up to leave, he tried to whisper, "Thank you." He wasn't sure if she would hear him, with his damaged throat, but he wished he could tell her how much it meant to him that she had taken the time to be there for him.

He had thought she was going away. He didn't want her to, but she had been more than generous - he couldn't demand any more of her time. To his surprise, though, she came back with water and helped him to the couch. Then she sat with him, comforting him.

Marshal couldn't remember ever being comforted by another human being. He didn't understand why she was doing all this for him. Why she was bothering. But he was deeply grateful.

He could heal quickly - in body, at least. By morning, his condition was much improved. Embarrassed that he had been so helpless last night, he got up to make her breakfast. His pantry was pretty pathetic, but he managed to dig out a carton of unexpired eggs, some frozen English muffins, and instant coffee.

"Thanks," he told her. His voice was hoarse, but at least she would be able to hear him now. "For everything last night. I appreciate it. I really... it meant a lot."

He stared at the stove, at the eggs he was scrambling. Easier than meeting her eyes.

"But you need to know something. I'm a monster, Cait. Some of it's my fault, and some of it isn't, but I can't be saved. I've done terrible things. Terrible people own me. Forever. It would be better for you to just forget about me. Because you're a good person, and I can't be."

Re: Welcome to the Suburbs. Population: Odd.

Posted: Sun Sep 05, 2021 8:20 pm
by Quaxo9
Cait McIvor

She stood opposite him with her elbows on the island counter, holding the steaming cup of coffee in both hands. Through the rising steam, she too stared at the eggs. It wasn't that she herself felt particularly awkward, but Cait could see how uncomfortable Marshal was. He didn't seem to want to leave, though, so she did the next best thing by not staring at him while he made breakfast. If he had been looking at her, he would have seen the wry smile twisting her lips when he explained his reasons for his decision last night. Perhaps that was for the best as Marshal certainly would have had difficulty discerning what part of it she had found amusing.

How did she tell him that it didn't matter? None of it did. Well, the part about being owned certainly did, but that sounded like a topic for another day. Right now, what Marshal needed was to value himself enough to get through the next day. And then the next one. And the one after that. All the other garbage could be dealt with in time.

"Well, for starters, I'm not the forgetful type. I'd miss you terribly. But I feel like I should tell you something too, Marshal - whether or not you're a monster or whether or not I'm a good person - you deserve to be free. You deserve to see your life through. Terrible things or no."

She refrained from pointing out that an actual monster was standing in front of him right now. After all, this was about him, not her - and pointing out that someone else was worse wouldn't end up helping him very much. Because she definitely was not the good person he thought she was.

Re: Welcome to the Suburbs. Population: Odd.

Posted: Wed Sep 08, 2021 1:30 am
by Monkey Kitty
Marshal Knox

Marshal reflexively clutched at the edge of the sink and held onto it for support as he drew in a deep breath. How was he supposed to do this? How to make her understand?

He realized his distraction was endangering the eggs, and he went back to poking at them with the spatula so they wouldn't burn.

"Have you heard of HYDRA?" he asked, avoiding eye contact. "Not sure they have them where you come from. They're bad people. Want to take over everything and enslave everybody. 'Basically Nazis,' is how they get described sometimes. They used to work with the actual Nazis, you know, back in the day. But HYDRA is still around. You know the whole schtick - cut off one head, more grow back? No matter how many times the heroes smack them down, they keep rearing their ugly heads all over the globe."

Marshal plopped the steaming pan of eggs on the table, belatedly realizing he should put them on something and slipping a towel between the hot surface and the wood. He tried not to think about what had happened in this particular spot the night before.

"I'm certainly no hero. But I wouldn't have joined HYDRA, you know. Not willingly. I didn't have a choice. I guess I should have told you this before. I didn't just... happen to be a super soldier. HYDRA did it to me. They made me a killing machine that they could control. All they had to do was say the words, and... whatever they wanted. I did awful things. Awful. I can't even..."

He rubbed his forehead, hard, as if he could scrub away the memories.

"I thought I was getting better. I really did, you know? SHIELD was trying to help me. I swear, if I thought I was a danger, I would never have been around your family. But I was talking in my sleep again the night before last. Dr. Thornton played it for me. I said, 'Hail HYDRA.' After all SHIELD has tried to do, I'm not fixed at all. HYDRA is still in there, and it's just a matter of time before..."

Marshal shrugged helplessly, too ashamed to look at her.

"I can't be saved, Cait. They tried and failed. I can't stick around and hurt somebody else. There's only one way out for me, and I've gotta be strong enough to take it. You understand, now?"

Re: Welcome to the Suburbs. Population: Odd.

Posted: Thu Sep 16, 2021 8:50 pm
by Quaxo9
Cait McIvor

It was a lot to take in. Sure, she hadn't thought the super soldier thing had come about naturally, but that the people who did it to him had pretty much installed a program into his brain was a bit of a surprise. It shouldn't have been. People did horrible things like this to other people all the time - it just didn't make it onto CNN. It explained why he seemed so careful in everything he did. He was a man afraid of himself. No, she corrected, afraid of something that was inside him that was entirely not his self. What could she say? She couldn't "fix" him either - she didn't have the power to reach into his brain and pull out the rotten bits. The memories he wanted to forget. The lies he'd been told about himself.

"Maybe it's not up to someone else to save you." Cait had a lot she could say about the 'help' that SHIELD had provided in the form of Dr. Thornton, even in only being in contact with the woman for one minute, but again - this was about Marshal's battle. She didn't know exactly what the agency had done in the name of 'fixing' this man, but she had to wonder about their choices. If he was really dangerous, why have him in a populated suburb? If he was supposed to be healing, why was his therapist so adamant that he not interact with others? And why the hell did they have a recording device in his bedroom? She took a deep breath to steady herself and made the effort to capture eye contact.

"Marshal, if you really think that dying is your only way out, then I'll respect that decision. I just want to say that I think you're worthy of living. That one government agency doesn't have all the answers. And that maybe, just maybe it is worth the risk to keep trying for the freedom you deserve."