The footsteps seemed to be the only clue they had to getting out, and as much as he dreaded stepping in them again… Nico knew that there was danger here that Myrnin and Sam weren’t exactly being forthcoming about. They had all been through enough, though, that he didn’t blame them. They all probably just wanted to get out, Nico and Sam more than Myrnin. Yet Nico was afraid of what he would see this time. It hurt, last time, to see himself and Sam so happy, running through the corn maze like they had no cares in the world. Like they hadn’t completely ruined everything by saying the wrong things and being in the wrong place and just… Nico sighed quietly. He was getting in his own head and drawing this out too long. One foot into the footsteps and Nico was tossed back into that bright version of the corn maze, alone this time. He could hear shouts of laughter from up ahead, but given the wind and the fact that he didn’t know how real this was, the sounds really could have come from anywhere. “Sam?” He asked quietly, but he had a feeling that he wasn’t really a part of what he was seeing. He was still in the version of the maze that was trying very hard to kill him, which meant he had probably just accidentally distracted the real Sam. Great going. ”I think we just got more lost,” he heard someone giggle, and it took him a few moments to realize it was his own voice. It sounded… oddly happy. Shoving the thought away, Nico tried to make the best of having a light source. If he were feeling stronger he could shadow travel between, looking for ways to exit, but no such luck. Then he saw the corn ahead of him shift, bending just enough that he could see past it, into another maze channel that had a door at the end. Breaking from the odd stance required to keep his footprint lined up, Nico lurched forward, pointing to where he had seen the door. “The exit is somewhere that way!” Not that the information was much help right now, but if they at least knew where they were trying to get, maybe it wouldn’t be as hard as being completely disoriented like they were now.
Post by mintedstar/fur on Mar 9, 2020 21:53:07 GMT -5
Nico said Sam's name and Sam at once stiffened. "Yes?" he asked. But Nico didn't seem to hear him. As it was, there seemed to be a larger distraction. They were a bit busy after all. The pieces of cloth were coaling around their feet now. Sam jumped away, his heart - a dead and lifeless weight - in his throat. Myrnin looked less concerned, but still moved just as hurriedly away. The cloth seemed to be focused on the active and moving blinkers, so that at least was a relief. Sam didn't want Nico hurt when he was doing something else. It was just then that Nico seemed to snap out of it, pointing in a direction. Sam sighed with relief. Myrnin didn't bother. He just trotted passed Nico, waving his hand, and called, "How are you about running?" Sam paused, conflicted, and the piece of cloth managed to get a hold around his ankle. It had strength enough to make a vampire worry. Sam yelped, but pulled his foot away, hurrying toward Nico. "Come on!" he added. He hoped, hoped, that Nico would follow. Sam didn't think trying to lead or run with him in any fashion would go over very well. Still, Sam did run slower. He could have been Myrnin, who seemed almost determined to jump over the rows of corn. What had Nico seen that meant he'd said Sam's name? Sam had to wonder ... "Thiiiiiis way," called Myrnin's voice ahead as he hooked a left on the next turn. On the corn rows on either side more shapes were moving.
Nico followed, running for his life. If he were honest with himself, he was grateful to have both Sam and Myrnin besides him, even if they were both ahead of him. Even if whatever it was that was attacking them was more likely to get him than it was to get either of them, just by virtue of how slow he was. His body was exhausted, he was still dealing with blood loss, and there were thousands of things running through his head at once. He just wanted to curl up somewhere and pretend like he could get a normal night’s sleep for once. Being here, though, with Myrnin and Sam, people he trusted (although Myrnin more so than Sam at that point), was a close second. An experience that was much better than anything that was waiting for him in his world when he blinked back. Nico knew he was falling behind. He knew he wasn’t a vampire, he wasn’t as strong as either Sam or Myrnin, he didn’t have the same sort of endurance. Even so, he was slower than he should have been even as himself. Nonetheless he barreled around the corner, doing his best to not let his legs get trapped by the cloth reaching out for him, trying to trip him and grab him… if he shadow travelled, he wouldn’t be able to stay conscious for long afterwards. But if he didn’t shadow travel, then he might not get out of the room in one piece. It was a difficult bargain to make. One that Myrnin would likely be upset at him for. There was no time to consider his choice, just enough time to close his eyes and melt into the nearest shadows, reappearing where Myrnin’s voice had come from. If he had thought he could take Sam along with him without losing them both, he would have. The truth was, he wasn’t even sure he himself could make the jump, and as he solidified right behind Myrnin, he lurched forward, barely able to keep his balance. They had to be near the exit. They had to be.
Post by mintedstar/fur on Mar 26, 2020 4:59:21 GMT -5
Myrnin had to come to a complete stop to grab a hold of Nico as he almost tumbled face first into the dirt. It seemed like there were a few more options now he was ahead of their antagonists. Sam was suddenly there, form blurring and eyes wide and panicked, seeing Nico and jumping to a conclusion he didn't have time to ask. "That way," Myrnin said, nodding in the final turn. There was a sign. "EXIT" Myrnin steadied Nico, then indicated the same direction. Just a couple more steps. Sam didn't want to go. But after looking at Nico with wide eyes - he'd been afraid the demigod was dead for a second - he bolted in the direction of the exit as well. Myrnin followed at a slightly slower pace, but just so long as they weren't caught, it would be fine. Sam disappeared under the exit, his form completely lost from sight as if he'd entered a dense fog which couldn't be penetrated. On the other side of it, still panicked, he almost ran into a bookcase. He skidded across the floor, looking around, and held in a name. Nico. He wanted to call out, to ask if he was okay, but he hadn't appeared just yet. Why should he answer even if he could hear?
Nico almost winced away from Myrnin’s touch, but they couldn’t afford that right now, and he would have toppled over entirely if it hadn’t been for Myrnin’s presence. They were almost out. They were so close, and Nico just wanted to reach forward and bridge the gap he saw Sam disappear into. “Thanks,” he mumbled to Myrnin, well aware that his reaction time was a little bit slowed by some combination of the blood loss and the exhaustion. And then Myrnin had left Nico’s side and gone through as well, and Nico was aware of the things after them, so he put what little strength he had left into a sprint, barreling directly in the direction Sam and Myrnin had gone. One step at a time and he did manage to make it through without one of… whatever it had been… grabbing his foot. He scarcely registered the living room before he skidded to a halt, breathing hard and kneeling down as though that would make his head stop spinning. “What a room,” he mumbled, glad to feel the familiar weight of his sword back at his side, and the comfort of having his jacket on once again. He couldn’t describe the difference it made. Perhaps it was just the familiarity, or perhaps it was the weight of the material that made Nico feel just a little bit calmer. He couldn’t really look at Sam and he couldn’t really look at Myrnin, but he was glad they had both made it out. He was glad they were back in the living room. And then, as though he had finally had the chance to process it, his hand moved almost subconsciously towards where Sam had bitten him. That was his blood running through Sam’s veins. Yet he was still alive. They were all still alive, and the panic had subsided. All Nico wanted now was a hundred year nap with the promise of no nightmares. With that out of the running… what he wanted most was to find the right words to say to Sam. He had already thanked Myrnin for the option he had given him, but he’d made his opinion clear.
Post by mintedstar/fur on Apr 7, 2020 6:08:57 GMT -5
Even though the room was gone and over with, Myrnin still braced himself against the back of one of the chairs in the living room. His eyes were narrowed slightly. The room had been far more drama filled than he would have expected. It hadn't even seemed like the dangers near the end had actually been aimed to truly harm them. It hadn't meant that the prospect of finding out hadn't been frightening, but Myrnin was having difficulty believing the House hadn't just wanted some free entertainment. The ending had just seemed like an excuse to usher them out. "Are you alright?" asked Sam, shaken. He knew that he probably wasm't. He was looking at Nico, but it was Myrnin who answered. "Fine. Nico, when you were in the maze, what did you see? When you stepped on the footprints?" The question probably wasn't the safest, but it still hung in the air. Sam swallowed down a protest. Nico had only just got out of the room. But he doubted Nico wanted him to be defended. "Apologizes," Myrnin murmured after a second, as if reading Sam's thoughts. "I'm sure that you still need to catch your breath." Now that they were outside of the dangers of a room, Myrnin looked at Sam with curiosity. Sam shifted uneasily, glancing at Nico instead. He could see the boy feeling along his neck and Sam flinched. He hadn't wanted this.
Nico turned to glance at Sam, opening his mouth to say something when Myrnin spoke first. Right. Sam had probably been speaking to Myrnin, not him. Nico didn’t know why that stung. He frowned, staring at the ground for a moment before he looked up to answer Myrnin’s question. How could he explain that the idea of being happy and running carefree through a maze had thrown him off so much? It shouldn’t have bothered him, but in the aftermath of their conversation… it had been a lot. “It was just a different version of the maze,” Nico murmured, still sort of catching his breath. “But in the daylight. I don’t know it…” he trailed off, staring at Sam. “You were there. We both were. I think it might have been… other versions of-” the demigod was spared trying to come up with some explanation by the House whisking him back to his world. - “-leaving a rip in the mortal world that can’t be closed.” After a few moments of the House being empty, Nico blinked in again, holding his scepter a little more like he was actually prepared to use it. Fortunately, it hadn’t been in hand when he had last blinked, but now it was just going to be an inconvenience. Great. He muttered something under his breath, moving to lean it against the wall. The last room had been a lot to handle, and Nico wasn’t sure he fancied seeing either Sam or Myrnin again. Or maybe he did, so he could actually talk things through. He needed to know why Myrnin had offered to take his memories. He needed to know if it had been as great a risk as it had sounded. Not that he would change his mind, just that he wanted to know. And then there was Sam. Sam, who Nico would rather never see again. He wanted to kill off this fledgling crush and just move on and go away, back to the way life had been before. Yet on the other hand he did desperately want to see him. He needed to know he was alright after everything. A hunger strike. Poor Sam. Poor, brave, stupid Sam. How had an attempt not to hurt anyone end up like this? The thought shook Nico down to the core – it was the first time he’d allowed himself to consider it.
Post by mintedstar/fur on Apr 27, 2020 21:15:23 GMT -5
Stay on the TARDIS? Sam wasn't sure what to say. What The Doctor was offering was nice. It was the best option. But he didn't feel welcome. Not through any fault of their own. The Doctor's offer was nice, but Sam was sure that neither she or Missy really wanted him around. It was just a matter of being the only logical option - they were forced to take him. Blinking into the House, Sam was saved from the only answer that he could give. Yes. A very worried, nervous yes. Instead, he appeared in the middle of the living room, in the same clothes he'd blinked in before. Guilty, as soon as he saw Nico, he realized he hadn't even thought of the boy. There had been other things on his mind. Now that he was back in the house, he found himself looking ahead at Nico and not knowing what to say. He remembered last blink. It hadn't been that long ago. So ... now what? "Um. Hey?" he asked. "What are you doing?" He was slowly remembering what had happened - not because his memory had faded, but because he'd just had so much going on. It felt a bit like a punch in the gut to have to face it again. He didn't think that his familiarity would be very appreciated though. Nico was mad at him - Sam was sure of that. But he tried not to let his deep nervousness show on his face. And failed. He looked a little sick.
Nico glanced up as soon as he was aware of Sam’s presence. There were so many things he wanted to say, but so few things he actually could say. He didn’t even know what he felt anymore. Fortunately for both of them, though, his heart seemed to have gotten the message that an elevated heart rate right now was inappropriate at best. He’d said some things he hadn’t meant, last blink, and he couldn’t just take them back. Distantly, he wondered if it was still his blood circulating in Sam’s veins, but that was a petty thought. It ceased to be his blood as soon as it left his body, and he had more than enough to spare. It was Sam’s now, and that had to be good enough for the both of them. “Hey,” he replied quietly, staring down at the tear in his jeans that ran across his kneecap. It was easier than looking at Sam. “Just… trying to make sure my world doesn’t go down in flames,” he replied, but any humor in the statement fell short. “What about you?” It wasn’t adequate and they both knew it. There were things they needed to talk about, and there were things they couldn’t talk about, and the conversation they’d been having before suddenly felt so trivial. “Before you say anything…” Nico cut off, wincing away from the sound of his own voice. It was too loud, and he didn’t know how to do this. “I still don’t care that you’re a vampire. It doesn’t make you a monster, I stand by that. And I don’t care if you see yourself that way, or if other people think you are, you’re not.” It had to be said. That didn’t mean, though, that Nico wasn’t still angry about what had happened. The difference was, he was mostly angry at himself.
Post by mintedstar/fur on May 19, 2020 2:02:21 GMT -5
The words hit Sam harder than Nico probably expected them too. Sam sat down on the nearest chair, both of his hands clasped in front of him. Did he think he was a monster? He wasn't sure. He was just so scared that he didn't know what he thought of himself. Nothing was the same anymore and Nico just added onto the newness. He was the friend - or had been? - in a new life that Sam had only just entered. Hurting the one good thing that had solidly been in it seemed like the worst crime he'd ever committed. "I don't ... try to think of myself like that," Sam said after a very long moment. His voice was so soft. "I've only heard ... what's expected." He hadn't been in Morganville long enough to learn much, but there was still that division. And he'd crossed it. The Doctor offered an escape from that, but it was scary too. "I haven't been like this for long," he said, voice even quieter. "I don't know what I'm doing ... and I hurt you. It ... it all feels bad, no matter what I do." Existing was so hard. Sam shook his head, pushing away the part of him that just wanted to break down. That wasn't what he needed to focus on and Nico wouldn't appreciate it. There were other issues. "But if I'm not a monster, then I'm also not a very good vampire," Sam said, running his tongue over his teeth. Normal human teeth. "I don't think I want to be a good one." Saying the word hurt, but he forced it out. He pressed the rest of the thoughts away and said, "I'm sorry about your world." Like he had done in previous blinks, he said, even though it didn't seem likely that there was anything to be done, "Is there anything I can do to help?" It took a little for him to answer Nico's question. He rubbed the back of his head with one hand. "They're trying to figure out where I'm going. Well ... I am. Since I ... can't go back home." Saying it aloud hurt too, but also maybe loosened the tightness in his chest a bit. "So I'm trying to decide where I'm going to be. What will happen." His seemed so small in comparison to Nico. And it was. But it felt big too. "Why ..." he started to ask, then swallowed the end of the sentence. "Do you want me to ask about your world?"
Nico looked away, not sure what to say. Sam had still bitten him, still violated his privacy, still sent him spiraling into things he didn’t want to remember, but was that really his fault? Nico knew it wasn’t. He couldn’t blame Sam for being hungry. He couldn’t blame him for acting when his body gave him little choice in the matter. It wasn’t Nico’s place to tell Sam what to be. He had no say in the matter whether Sam tried to stay as human as possible, or if he did what was expected of him. Nico knew what it was like to feel like nothing was right at all. To feel like every path led down the wrong road, but you had to go down one of them. You had to hope, in the end, that something turned out okay. Even if nothing ever did. Nico remembered when everything was new to him. When he thought the skeletons he summoned were Percy’s doing, when he was afraid for his life because he didn’t know what his own powers could do. He still couldn’t control them at times. He knew where Sam was coming from, but if Nico had messed up when he was first learning, nobody would have died. If Sam messed up… Nico was living proof that things could go wrong in so many ways. “If being a good vampire means you wouldn’t have stopped before I died, then… I don’t know why you’d listen to me, but I wouldn’t want you to be a good vampire either.” He stared at the ground, swallowing hard. He might have been out of it, he might have been spiraling, but he knew Sam had stopped before the real damage was done. He knew Sam should have killed him. “But I don’t think there’s one right away to be a vampire. I don’t think you have to lose your humanity to fit their stupid expectations.” Nico still wasn’t looking at Sam, his attention focused on the floor instead, as though he found something very interesting there. “You get to choose what you want to be, Sam. Nobody else gets to choose that for you. And if you have to take blood to survive… then… then you’ll figure out how to do that without hurting people.” Nico wasn’t usually an optimist, but it wasn’t like Sam’s entire world was at stake. He could afford to believe that Sam could choose his own path. Nico almost smiled as Sam, as he usually did, asked if he could help. The answer hadn’t changed, but it was a sweet sentiment. It was a sentiment Nico didn’t feel like he deserved. Not after what had happened last time. Not after some of the things he had said. “You’ll find somewhere,” Nico murmured, twisting his silver ring around his finger. “Do you… do you have a place to stay right now?” Nico knew what it was like to have nowhere. If Sam needed, Nico had tips for how to survive without somewhere to go. He hoped Sam wouldn’t need that. Finally, Nico looked up at Sam, considering him for a few moments. “I reserve the right not to answer if I don’t want to,” Nico replied, an almost-smile touching his lips. “But feel free to ask. Who knows, maybe it’ll all feel smaller if I say it out loud.”
Post by mintedstar/fur on May 25, 2020 22:05:40 GMT -5
Sam nodded along to what Nico had said. "I ... I hope not," he agreed. "I'll ... have to see." He wanted to do what Nico said, but for the time being things felt too raw and hard to fathom right now. Too new. But he would try and work it out. He'd try and see what would happen, without judging himself too harshly. The idea of blood though - it was an idea he wasn't ready to think too closely about. It was easier to move on to thinking about something else he'd already said to Nico. Somehow, it had been easier to think about his other problem. "For now," he said. "I'm staying with Myrnin. Not the one that's here. Apparently we come from the same world or something, but alternate realities. Believe it or not, but that almost makes sense after what I've seen here and my own world. I could either stay with him or this time traveler." There was a strained note on that last part, as if Sam recognized the ridiculousness of his own statement. "Or on the streets. I don't really know either of them." He tugged at his necklace again and glanced at Nico with a silent question there. Not necessarily looking for advice, but maybe just acknowledgment that someone had heard. "Why is your world going down in flames?" Sam asked softly. Everything seemed to be in tones of soft at this point. He was trying not to make this awkward, but, well, sometimes that just might be what it ended up being.
Nico frowned, weighing Sam’s options in his mind. There really were no good options there. Nothing that Nico would have preferred, were he in Sam’s shoes. Things still felt awkward between them. Stilted, uncomfortable… and as much as Nico knew Sam was blaming himself, he knew it was just as much his fault. Him and his traitorous heart. At least the whole biting him thing seemed to have gotten rid of the way his heart pounded erratically around Sam. Nico didn’t like dealing with feelings. He didn’t like confronting them, and he didn’t need a crush making everything more complicated. Like it or not, Sam wasn’t supposed to know. Sam wasn’t supposed to know, and he wasn’t supposed to get a say, because… well, because Nico hadn’t cared if his feelings were reciprocated. He was barely ready to deal with the fact he had feelings. Fortunately, they seemed to be… at least in hibernation for the moment. “Time travel sounds fun,” he commented lightly, glancing up at Sam for just a moment. It sounded fun as long as it was intentional. “Unless you think you’re in danger if you stay with one of them, don’t stay on the streets.” It was a warning, more or less, but one born out of concern rather than anything else. “Or if you do, find someplace where you can make a fire. I… I dunno if you have McDonald’s in your world but… they sometimes have food leftover and they’ll give it to you if you ask nicely.” Nico shrugged. He didn’t know if it was obvious that he was speaking from experience. He didn’t know if he wanted it to be. He shifted uncomfortably at Sam’s question, but it was a fair one. “The Earth herself is a goddess, of sorts, and she’s sort of waking up. And then she’ll try to rule things, and she’ll probably kill us all to do it. Her armies can’t die anymore. Nobody can die anymore, and we’re trying to fix that, but even if that gets fixed, even if we make death permanent again… well, everyone I know might die in a war anyway.” He sighed, letting his head drift down to rest on his knees. “I don’t even know what I’m doing. If I do it wrong it just… gets so much worse.”
Post by mintedstar/fur on Jun 3, 2020 16:13:16 GMT -5
"You say it like it's normal," said Sam, almost managing a smile. But Nico's advice was appreciated. It was fairly obvious that he had been on the streets before. Sam didn't want to ask though. He really didn't want it to come to that. Sadly, he knew that both of Nico’s suggestions about food and fire would be useless to him. In fact, both might even be considered dangerous. It just made him think about the two options he was stuck with. It seemed likely that, if Nico knew at least a version of the Myrnin Sam knew, then he was trustworthy. At least Sam hoped he was. Then there was the fact that The Doctor was clearly Myrnin’s friend. The option was there, even if it was still something he wanted to be wary about. Nico’s problem seemed a lot worse than his did. He just felt like his world was ending. Nico’s actually was. It was a large thing to wrap his mind around. It also wasn’t something he could really help with anything, which was sad to him. He braced himself against his knees, searching Nico’s face. It was clear all of this worried him. Did Sam have the right to reassure him? He couldn’t promise it would be okay. It worried him that Nico was even in this situation. But … “You won’t,” he said. “I know you won’t.” His words wouldn’t mean anything, he knew that. But he tried to push every amount of belief that he could into it.
Nico, unfortunately, had forgotten about the vampire thing. Well, he hadn’t forgotten, he had just failed to take it into account when giving suggestions. The very things that had kept him alive when he’d been without a home were things that would cause Sam far more harm than good. Which obviously hadn’t been his intent, but still. It showed that he wasn’t thinking about it like he should have. Because Sam was different from other human beings, they had just proven that beyond a shadow of a doubt. Nico had the bite marks to prove it. “Things happen,” he murmured, looking up at Sam. He shifted uncomfortably, searching Sam’s expression for a moment. “I know… I know it’s not my place to ask, and I’ll shut up about it if you want me to, but… do you have a way to uh… get blood safely?” As cruel as Nico had been when Sam had backed away, as terrifying as the experience was, it didn’t mean he wanted Sam to swear off blood forever. That would kill him. Besides, Nico was more than used to blurring the line between monster and friend in his own world. Not that he thought of Sam as a monster, just that Sam seemed to more or less consider himself one. It wasn’t a fair word. The lines weren’t as clearly defined as they were in Nico’s world and it wasn’t fair. He just wanted things to be simple, for once. “I might,” he contradicted quietly, grateful to turn his attention back to his world. At least there he had a plan. At least there he could do something, even if it was risky. He twisted the ring on his finger, trying to find the right words. It was hard to look at Sam when he was considering his world, because it wasn’t a fair thing to place on someone else’s shoulders. Nico had always been better off dealing with things alone. Or… he at least pretended he was. The House had always made sure he wasn’t really dealing with it alone. “It’s a risk I have to take, I guess. One step at a time.” His throat felt dry as he spoke, and he knew he was trying to convince himself as much as Sam. “Sounds like we could both use a distraction,” Nico murmured under his breath.
Post by mintedstar/fur on Jun 24, 2020 4:20:31 GMT -5
The best Sam could really do right now was not to press Nico to hard about his world. Right now, he didn't have an answer. Mostly because there wasn't a question. He couldn't solve anything without knowing what to do. That just left Nico's question. Sam wasn't sure if he should answer it. At least not for a whole. Did he? It wasn't something which was easy to think about. But after a second, he nodded. He didn't want to die. But it didn't stop him feeling guilty. "I … I do." And he did. He had options and he knew that even ending up on the street had options. He just didn't want to think about them too hard. "Come on," he said. He headed for the hallway. It was a move that he wasn't too sure about, but he wanted to try and find something to bring both back to a slice of reality. It was, with no doubt to spare in his mind, not the best way to do that. It was the Paradox House after all. But anything was worth a shot. "What door should we try?" he asked after a second. There were a lot of doors and ways to do things.
“That’s good.” Nico’s voice was soft, and he was grateful, really. He knew from experience now that Sam didn’t have to completely drain anyone in order to feed properly, and though it was still not a comfortable thought, he didn’t want Sam to die. He especially didn’t want Sam to die because he was trying not to be a monster. There was nothing inherently bad about vampires, Nico had come to realize. Just as there was nothing inherently good about humanity. It was about the choices they made. An awkward silence settled, and Nico couldn’t help but wonder why Sam was so confident in Nico’s ability to put his world right. He couldn’t help but wonder why he wanted to make sure Sam was safe, wanted to protect him from whatever dangers there were in his world. Homelessness wasn’t a good option for anybody. Nico followed, his footsteps quiet as he moved towards the hallway. Not so quiet that Sam couldn’t hear, of course, but just… quiet, on instinct. “Do you have a good feeling about any door in particular?” Nico inquired, looking at them all. “The last one was almost nice, until it wasn’t.” Which was a remarkably eloquent thing to say, really. “This one, maybe?” Nico asked, swiftly changing the subject and pointing at one a few steps down. “Unless there’s one you prefer.”
Post by mintedstar/fur on Jul 16, 2020 2:10:26 GMT -5
Shaking his head, Sam stepped forward and pushed the door open. "No, it's your choice. I think it's a good one." He bit his lip and then looked back at Nico, as if he suddenly was wondering if this room would end up like the last. Hopefully not. Who really knew though? There just wasn't anything saying that staying out of the rooms would be any better. He took a step and entered the new room. Almost at once, his feet hit wood and he had to steady himself so he wouldn't fall off the dock that he'd stepped onto. The view was a bit jarring after looking at a line of doors hardly a couple seconds ago. The fading like was dancing over the water and Sam rubbed at his arms as his skin prickled just a little. Not enough sun to hurt him, so he assumed, but enough to make it a tiny bit uncomfortable. It wasn't something he wanted to think about. The lake was blue. Really blue. And around him there were the sort of mountains he had only seen in movies - often covered in snow. These weren't. but considering the sorts of trees which peppered their sides, they were snowy for at least part of the year. The dock was steady enough as Sam shuffled forward a couple steps. It was ... pretty. "Looks open enough," he murmured to himself, or maybe Nico.
Nico followed Sam and almost tensed up before realizing that he wasn’t, in fact, looking out over an ocean. It was much too small for that. It was a lake, and the worn wooden boards of the dock felt familiar underneath his feet. He may not have spent much time lately on docks, considering Poseidon would just as likely drown him as he would thank him, but that didn’t erase a childhood spent on docks just like this. He didn’t remember much, but what he did remember stuck out firmly in his head. He was comfortable, even when the water lapped at the wooden beams holding the dock up. He glanced up at the sky, then back at Sam. He hadn’t really considered that every room with Sam would need to be dimly lit if it was outside. He may not have known much about vampires, but he could tell that the dim sunlight was bothering him as it was. It wasn’t even close to midday. Unfortunately, that meant Nico was going to have to be at a disadvantage no matter which room they went in, if it were outside. Then again, he’d rather be somewhat blind than have Sam end up dead. The lake was close enough to what Nico had experienced in the past that it wasn’t particularly remarkable (other than its color). The mountains, on the other hand, were enough to almost take Nico’s breath away. He looked at the view, soaking it in for as long as possible. There were two kayaks further down the dock, and Nico dared to step a bit closer. “It’s like… a one person gondola,” he commented, though that was a terrible description for it. “Except I think if you tried to stand in one of these you’d probably fall right in.”
Post by mintedstar/fur on Jul 30, 2020 3:12:31 GMT -5
"They're kayaks," Sam admitted, edging forward. "I've seen them on TV." And that was the only place he'd seen them. He had no experience with what he was seeing and he didn't think that Nico had any experience either. At least they were on even footing. Reaching back to his hoodie, Sam lifted the hood so it now protected his face a little. That helped a lot. He glanced at Nico again, debating whether he should approach the kayak yet or wait for there to be more signs that this was what he should do. "I take it that we're going to use this to go out on the lake?" he questioned. Nico had been here longer. He knew how this worked. Sam just wasn't sure whether or not he wanted to get near the water. He'd never seen a body of water this big in person. There was a bit of a thrill of excitement over that. It was impressive. It was something that seemed just a bit special. "Have you ever used a boat?" he asked. He never had.
Nico tilted his head, edging closer to the kayaks. He had never heard the word, but that wasn’t terribly surprising. “I wonder if Camp Half Blood has them,” he mused. He had seen the canoes, but he had also spent most of his time there avoiding the lake because people said there were things in it. Besides, the weapons had been so much cooler than the lake – why would he want to do something he could do literally anywhere else? Especially when Camp Half Blood meant he could learn to fight. He wished now he had made different decisions as a kid. But the older kids had tried to keep him appeased when Bianca was gone, and keeping him appeased meant showing him all the weapons. “We might as well go out there… I don’t really see anything else to do here.” He shrugged, sitting down on the dock so he could take his shoes and socks off. If he was going to fall in, which was definitely a possibility, he didn’t want to get those wet. “Hm?” he asked, brow creasing. He lifted his dark gaze up to meet Sam’s. “I lived in Venice for six years. You can’t get anywhere if you don’t use a boat.” He straightened up, carefully edging towards the kayaks. Shooting Sam a look that said ‘here goes nothing,’ he lowered the craft down into the water and very carefully lowered himself into it.
Post by mintedstar/fur on Aug 3, 2020 0:40:11 GMT -5
Sam hesitated, looking over the kayak nearest him. Nico's response to him had been nice. It was honestly a good thing in Sam's opinion that there was more than one. He wanted to be sure he didn't drown Nico. He hesitated and then he headed straight for the nearest kayak, carefully stepping into the vessel and slowly sitting down. The little kayak decided to rock and Sam hurriedly gripped the edges. "Eep," he hissed under his breath. He looked over at Nico, raising both of his eyebrows. "So, uh ... do you know how these work then?" It was worth a shot. He didn't. There was a paddle hooked to the side of the boat. Sam was sure as soon as he unhooked it he'd drop it. Even still ... the kayak was drifting, so it was give it a shot or be unable to get back. He managed to unhook it and kept a tight grip on it. Worst came to worse, he'd get to go for a swim. He hadn't noticed any life-vests. The Paradox House didn't practice safety.
Nico’s gaze immediately went towards Sam as he heard the other boy hiss, wanting to make sure he was okay. It seemed like he was… he wasn’t dying, at least. Well… he wasn’t dying any more than he was already dead. Vampires were complicated. Could they even drown? Nico found he didn’t want to find that out. “I’ve never been in one of these before, but… my guess is…” he frowned as he pulled the paddle from the side of his boat, glancing at the way the paddle end seemed to be… both ends. That was unusual. Or maybe it was just gondolas that were unusual. He didn’t know. “Alright,” he continued, lowering one end into the water, “You just…” he demonstrated, propelling himself forward a decent ways. He was tempted to stand up, but he knew the paddle wouldn’t be long enough if he did so. He dipped the other end in the water and pulled it back, smiling a bit as he got into a rhythm. It didn’t take him long to figure out how, exactly, the kayak seemed to work. He circled back around and pulled his craft next to Sam’s, leaving enough room for Sam to paddle away if he needed to. “Got it?” he asked, tilting his head. “You just have to make sure you use equal force on both sides so you don’t end up going in circles.” It would probably be easier for Sam. If Myrnin was any indication, vampires were naturally strong, right?
Post by mintedstar/fur on Aug 3, 2020 2:49:17 GMT -5
Sam turned his head this way and that to watch Nico get the hang of the kayak. It was a bit tricky since he was floating backwards a bit in a swell of water and Nico was almost directly behind him, but Sam didn't mind. The kayak was slowly drifting anyway, so it all worked itself out. He tipped one end of the paddle into the water and mimicked Nico until he'd gotten the kayak to turn completely away from the pier. He was facing Nico for the most part now and he smiled, forgetting the context that had happened before this room. "What if I want to paddle around in circles, hum?" He was getting the hang of moving the kayak quicker than Nico. Whether that was because Nico had showed him or because of him being a vampire, Sam was able to move away from the pier and start directing his kayak around Nico. As he'd said it would, it was in a wide circle. He waved at Nico as he went past. He was getting faster too.
Nico gave a soft hum of amusement as Sam replied, his gaze drifting back up to his friend. Yes, his friend, he decided. Even after everything that had happened. Hear that? Friend. he lectured his rebellious heart, in case it wanted to make decisions Nico wasn’t ready for. Decisions that could compromise this friendship that rested on the edge of a knife. Or the tip of a fang. “Then you’re doing a great job,” he quipped back, shooting Sam a soft smile. Smiles came easier around Sam. He didn’t know why, especially given the events of the last room. When Nico had made a fool of himself and then he’d almost died. He tried to banish the thought. He wasn’t as successful as he’d hoped. He was actually impressed by how quickly Sam was getting the hang of it. He waved back before dipping the paddle back in the water and tailing Sam, using the wake Sam left to speed his own journey – same speed for half the work. He remembered doing that when he was little and too weak to go on long journeys. Although “long” was relative and he’d only rarely been allowed to paddle. “You sure you’ve never done this before?” he asked jokingly, using a bit of strength to speed up and pull besides Sam.
Post by mintedstar/fur on Aug 7, 2020 23:31:32 GMT -5
"Uhhh nope," said Sam. He shook his head, trying to keep control of his smile. "Grew up in a desert. It was lucky if I ever saw a large body of water. On the TV. Never mind actually. I used to have a wading pool, but I hardly think that counts. That's probably the most water I've ever seen." He wasn't able to keep the soft grin under control. Instead he just shook his head lightly. "Maybe I'm just good at it because it's like Wii Game?" He was joking, but he suspected there was a reason. He should be more scared, for example. But his heart wasn't even beating, so he didn't have that to gauge if he was actually having any issues or not. Instead, he thought it might just be his ignorance. He wasn't sure what might happen if he did end up underwater, but he assumed ... not much. He didn't need to breath. "I'm also very strong," he said, only this was said with less pride than the mention of a Wii game had caused. In this case, it was more along the lines of being embarrassed and slightly abashed, as if explaining an aspect of a distasteful disease. He tried not to make it sound like that, for Nico's sake, but it was near impossible. It made him feel a bit bad, honestly. Maybe a lot bad. So he raised the paddle into air and slapped it down onto the water, angled so the splashback would hit Nico.
Nico’s eyes widened a little bit. “I’ve been lots of places, but most of them had lots of water,” he returned, shaking his head. “I can’t imagine not having any at all. Well… except for when I lived at the Lotus, but that doesn’t count.” His face darkened a little with the memory, and he knew it wasn’t something he was keen on discussing with Sam at the moment. Maybe eventually. Maybe when he trusted Sam not to pity him over the things he’d gone through, maybe when he wasn’t as frightened of freaking the other boy out. Maybe. Or that could be a secret Sam would never have to know about. Like Tartarus. Like Cupid. Like everything else in Nico’s life that he felt too awkward about telling anyone else unless it was forced out of him by the House when he didn’t have a say. “Wii?” he repeated, somewhat bewildered. He’d never heard of a Wii, or if he had, he had forgotten it. “What’s a Wii?” He looked genuinely interested, leaning forward as he waited for an answer. Sam sounded proud of it, and he also sounded like Nico should know what it was. Probably a modern non-demigod friendly thing. He let the comment about strength slide. Sam hadn’t come to terms with being a vampire yet, and Nico wasn’t going to force him to think about it if he didn’t want to. He was about to say something else about Wii, something to distract from the sour note in Sam’s tone, when he was hit in the face by a paddleful of water. Made even worse by the fact he was leaning into it. “Hey!” He managed, spluttering a little bit. A competitive spark had lit itself in his eyes as he pushed some of his wet hair out of his face. Grinning a little manically (and wider than he had in a long time), he raked his paddle across the water, aiming the whole of the spray at Sam.
Post by mintedstar/fur on Aug 10, 2020 3:42:03 GMT -5
It must have been lucky that Sam either could tell not to press or just didn't realize that it was something that he could press. Instead, he left Nico's statement alone and didn't bother finding out more. Anyway, there were other things to do! Keeping out of his own head, for starters. That would always be a likely option to keep control of. He just needed to make sure that he kept his thoughts on right now. So it was good fortune that Nico's reaction to Sam's splash was to splash back. As the water hit, it was like it was washing away that last bit of what he didn't want to think about. It was just something that was so much easier to forget when it was banging around inside his head. It was easier when he could just use his paddle to flip even more water at Nico, his expression morphing into a grin. "Hey yourself! You looked hot! I was just helping out!" More water splashed in Nico's direction and at once Sam started paddling away. He tried to make a conscious effort to regulate the speed he made his retreat, which seemed to help the small craft move at a more logical speed.
It was difficult, at times, to tell where the mask stopped and Nico di Angelo began. In his world, the world filled with trials and tribulations and seemed to lack happy endings, there was no difference. The world that had stripped him of everything he loved, everything he clung to when the world was too much, the world that had forced him into hell and then made him survive to save everyone else. Yes, that was the world that had forced Nico to create the mask. He became the mask there. It was best to keep friends away by acting scary. By acting how people expected him to act. There was nothing to laugh about, in his world. In the House, though, there was a difference between Nico di Angelo, son of Hades, and Nico. Perhaps not around everyone, but at the very least around Sam. For whatever reason, the mask came off around him. “Mm-hmm,” Nico replied jokingly, as though he didn’t believe Sam. His eyes flashed playfully as he sent one last splash of water at Sam before he dipped the paddle firmly in the water and began to follow. It was difficult to keep up – he was only human, after all – but he did what he could, aiming a few splashes in Sam’s direction whenever he got close.
Post by mintedstar/fur on Aug 16, 2020 23:56:11 GMT -5
It wasn't hard to make Sam laugh when he was in a situation like this. And he was even capable of seeing something like his current condition as more than just something he had to exist with. It was something to fade into the background and to understand without needing to really understand. He was Sam. And he was having fun. He turned the kayak around to face Nico and waved the paddle back and forth a bit, teasing. "Come on! Those are tiny splashes! You can do better than that!" Even in the low, evening light, light that likely should have hurt Sam more than it was, Sam was lit up. His dirty blond hair and his wide smile. This wasn't the Sam of the corn maze, who was scared and awkward and trying to just hang on. This was a Sam who liked things that Nico hadn't ever been able to grasp, because there had been a Sam 'before' and that Sam was gone now. But right now, in the moment, there was a way to see that Sam. A Sam who smiled more than he frowned and one who had a truly happy expression on his face. Sometimes, the House did good things.
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Cloudy Sky: Seeing the name gave me flashbacks to certain events that happened about two weeks ago.
Jun 22, 2021 4:51:35 GMT -5
Violetsky: Her name is Tika. She's a Cymric, or long-haired Manx.
Jun 22, 2021 6:27:08 GMT -5
Violetsky: I left the gel pack in the freezer overnight and now it's a solid thick sheet of ice.
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Violetsky: Cymric is the technical term for a Manx cat that has long hair.
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