2010-01-03: Another One Dies Today



Date: January 3, 2010


Lego break up after the worst, most trying day of Tiago's life.

"Another One Dies Today"


Tiago had been forced to put aside the coping process, to stop thinking and merely act in order to insure his and Lena's relative safety. And so, all of his issues had been crammed into an impossibly small bottle and tucked away, to be dealt with later.

Well. He's dealing with them now, whether he wants to or not. The drive had achieved its desired calming effect. He dropped by his favorite barbershop to buzz off his hair, and then shave off the sides, leaving only a strip of hair running down the middle of his head. And then he met Stephanie, and she managed to get him worked up, yet again, and so he had to take a car ride from /there/ to make sure he could calm down and…

Well. Here he is, standing in front of the apartment door, a cloud of air appearing before him with every breath he takes. There is something heavily contemplative, something deeply bothered about his expression, but after a moment of stealing himself - of clenching his jaw for support, he knocks on his own door in the decided upon 'secret knock'.

It's been a quiet evening for Lena, a fact which the girl would be genuinely grateful for were she not still too exhausted to really feel much at all. Jade brought take-out eggs and waffles, which Lena picked at before stowing the leftovers in the motel room's mini-fridge. After the other girl left to make phonecalls and to try to cash the various checks, the one left behind retreated again to the bed. It isn't that she's trying to avoid the trauma of the past several weeks by sleeping, but…

Okay, that's exactly what she's doing.

But it isn't a deep sleep, or a particularly restful sleep, so when the knock sounds at the door, Lena rouses groggily to shamble over and undo the locks. Her eyes don't entirely focus when she steps back to allow the man to enter, but an attempt is made to tidy her appearance. Which means, basically, that she rakes her hand back through her hair before scrubbing at her face. Wake up, wake up…

"Nnn, hey…there's food in the fridge, if you're hungry…"

Tiago is not preoccupied with food or sleep. He doesn't mind her disheveled appearance, nor is he interested in talking about what transpired that morning, prompting the man to make his escape in the first place. There is only one thing on Tiago's mind right now, and what with everything he does lately, he has devoted himself entirely to furthering his desires. With a step forward, he enters the motel room. Another step forward closes the distance between him and Lena considerably. And without even bothering to close the door, the man sends his hand out towards her, looking to cup her head with his palm and firm her in place so that he can sweep down to place his lips on hers.

There is no hesitation, and the action is firm and decisive. And while she may pull away, chances are, some damage will have been done already, at least in terms of him absorbing her default drug.

That was probably the last thing that Lena had expected. With her defenses down, there's no preventing it from happening and the effect is instantaneous. The girl stiffens, her squeal of alarm muffled against Tiago's lips before a burst of panicky adrenaline gives her the strength needed to twist free. When she stumbles backwards from him, legs striking the edge of the bed and sending her tumbling to the same spot Jade had occupied earlier after her fall, there's a look in Lena's eyes that hasn't ever been there before when gazing at this man. She looks afraid. Finally, a strong emotion but perhaps not the one he'd hoped to invoke.

"What…?! What was that, Chi? Why did you do that?"

The question isn't angry, or accusatory. Lena's voice is shaky, startled, as are her movements when she slowly climbs back to her feet. Keeping a safe distance from him.

Though assertive and out of the blue, the action was not particularly aggressive. More like, desperate. Even the sudden dosage of hallucinogen is not enough to quell the despair and panic that has overcome him. But whatever remorse Tiago lacks comes barreling back the moment he catches the fear reflecting in her eyes. That's…that's not right. She should never look like that around him, never. Anguished that the act of desperation has been corrupted and, in fact, made things worse, he looks to the door, as if contemplating a quick escape from the pain and heartache.

"That…that was a kiss, Lena. An' I did it 'cause I love you, an' I need you…'cause you need me too an'…" Turning away from her to deal with the shame internally, Tiago clutches at his head, digging nails into his skull. "I…I…"

A quick escape is something they both might wish for. But he is blocking the route to the exit, and she's none too steady on her feet, even after so much sleep. Lena covers for the noodle-weak quivering in her knees by sinking onto the edge of the bed. She continues to stare at him, but the fear fades as heartrate and breathing gradually return to a shallow normal.

"I wasn't…I wasn't expecting it. I'm sorry." The only good thing about the current situation is that her nerves, now raw and jangling again, prevent an escape back into that flat and impassive shell. Not so good as her getting up to rush to his side, to offer comfort, but…the apology is genuine. As is her confusion. "I…I love you too, Chi. I do. But…I don't understand. You left. You were…you were pissed. You…what happened to your hair?"

Ah, but the apology has come too late! The poor man has been pushed over the proverbial edge, tempted and tried into losing his cool and his composer repeatedly by the women in his life. And now, as he bangs his fist against the wall violently and succumbs to the shaking of his shoulders that accompany the silent sobs, Tiago has been broken. The door is slammed shut once again, before restless energy prompts him into pacing back and forth in the room, gasping for breath. It's to no avail, however, before long, he ducks into the corner in a decidedly boyish fashion, crouching down.

"It's all so f-fucked up," He cries out, bitterly hurt. "It's all so f-fucked up I can't even - even - even." Sniff. Using his sleeve, and with his back still to the individual on the bed, he wipes at his face. "Can't even fuckin' kiss ya without you freakin' out. What's wr-wrong with us, Lena? How's this e-ever goin' ta get b-better?"

Loud noises, particularly when caused by physical violence, only cause Lena to recoil that much further from the man. She yelps, retreats up the bed and presses against the headboard, tracking Tiago's pacing with eyes that can't go much wider. Even her breath is held as he paces, as if she were scared of pulling that manic energy towards herself by the act of drawing a lungful of air. Everything about her body language screams abused woman; one can only hope that those in the neighboring rooms don't hear the commotion and decide the ring the police.

When it seems that the Brazilian intends to remain in that corner, without moving, Lena finally gasps for breath and uncoils just enough to scootch to the edge of the bed again. "It's…I'm sorry, Chi," she says softly, face a rictus of pain. "I'm sorry. I just…I don't know. I don't know what…what's going to happen. Are you…did you hurt your hand? Chi?"

"I can't - I can't fuckin' do this, I'm a failure, an' I can't - Ima fail…I can't, I…" It's hysterics. There's no other way to put it. Tiago hyperventilates, taking a rapid succession of shallow breaths in an attempt to ingest the oxygen necessary for him to run - but it's not working. Finally, with a sob that can only be considered pathetic, he rests his forehead up against the cool material of the wall, seizing his body up to combat the shaking. His next exclamation is soft - perhaps inaudible to the woman. "I can't…not alone… Not strong enough…" She brings no comfort. In fact, he behaves almost as though he did not even hear her.

After a moment of silence, there is a light, hesitant touch on his shoulder. Lena, pressing just her fingertips to the material of his shirt. During his hyperventilation, the young woman has slipped from the bed and crept to the corner. She's standing behind him now, overwhalmed and uncertain of how to cope with this outburst, still reeling as she is from the side effects of her own trauma. "Chi…you're not." The words are awkward, and hardly reassuring. But Lena is trying. "You're not a failure. You're hurt. And tired."

She pauses to glance helplessly around the room. Looking for some help, maybe. Alas, there's nothing. Even the waffles are cold. So she tries again. "You need to rest, Chi. Stop pushing yourself so much right now. We're out. We got out, we…we need to get our strength back, right?"

Tiago doesn't react to the touch, not visibly. Lena will be graced with insight to just how stiff the man has forced himself to become - almost unnaturally so, as though he was made not of flesh, but of stone. Miserably, he proceeds to sit there upon his heels, unmoving until he forces his breathing to resemble something like normal in a conscious fashion. Breath in, breath out. That's all he needs to do…until the silence makes it so he needs to speak, to address his partner. "…How. How can I /possibly/ rest with those monsters out there looking for us? They're going to find us - all they need is time. We need to - we need to move an' act an'…we can't not, there's no fuckin' /time/ to rest or be weak."

More silence. With it, comes another withdrawal. Lena paces back a step, eyebrows knitting together and drawing down over her eyes. "Is that…what you think I am?" He's not given a chance to answer that but there's no need; it was rhetorical. "You're hurting, Chi. You can't just…just act when you're hurting, it makes you rush, it makes you make mistakes. You get into situations that…that you can't come back from. I know, 'cause I fuck up a lot."

The bed squeaks, signalling that Lena has retreated to settle herself yet again on its surface. Her arms fold across her belly and her shoulders hunch forward, as if her stomach were paining her. "You gotta slow down, Chi. You gotta. Take a day. Sleep. Get strong again."

"Is - is what?" Tiago inquires, his shock prompting him to escape his self-induced cocoon to throw a childish glance in her direction. And as he watches her retreat, his lips are split with sorrow before he schools them into a tight frown. "I /can't/ Lena. I can't! I close my eyes, an' I'm there - I /tried/. Taday was s'posed ta be good. Was s'posed ta be 'bout seein' Jade, an' you, an' bein' free - and you saw what happened! I cut my hair so no one can tell it was me - an' Steph still knew, an she - I just /can't/ get it out of my fuckin' head. I think - I think I'm goin' nuts, Lena. I can't - I jus'…"

He has reached it. That specific point, where desperation overrides pride. Slowly, he gets to his feet, rubbing at his cheeks as he tries to stumble in Lena's direction. "Lena - Lena, I need you, /please/. Please, princessa, por favor…"

"You haven't tried. You've been going non-stop since we got here," Lena counters in as reasonable a tone as can be mustered under the circumstances. "You're trying to run away from it and…and…wait." Her head lifts, cocked at an odd angle while she watches him approach. The confusion is back, darkening her eyes. "What? Steph? You got…you saw Steph?" No attempt is made to retreat from the man (kind of difficult, seated as she is) but the brunette does straighten up and fix him with a gaze that is too mild to be considered stern. Concerned, perhaps. Or worried. Her hands slip beneath her armpits, to prevent any grabbing of them.

"What happened, Tiago?"

The shifting of her hands beneath her is as clear a rejection as the man needs. It prompts one single, solitary sob to escape before he is able to clamp down on it.

The sad part is, the man is so desperate for anything, anything even remotely comforting that he still moves forward to sit beside her, despite the clear sting of rejection. "Why d-don't you ever touch me n'emore. What're you waitin' for, Lena? Death?" It's hurt, and a little accusatory, but he can't help it, Slowly, he holds his hand over his eyes, pressing his fingers into the sockets. When he next speaks, his voice is disinterest, absolutely defeated and flat. "Nothin'. Nothin' happened. She's one of us, you know. Or - no. One of you. She can make illusions, an' wants ta fight them too, an' she knows 'bout what's happenining." Beat. "She made me see you, back when you still loved me."

Sitting beside her is safe. Her arm is clothed, as is his, leaving Lena free to lean against him much as she had with Jade earlier. But what she says isn't likely to offer much comfort. "You know why." That tone might translate as patient, quiet, but it is more simply exhaustion stealing much of the force behind it. This was not a conversation she was anticipating having on today of all days. "I do love you. I just…can't love you the way you want me to…and…"

But she trails off upon hearing the revelation about Stephanie, forehead rumpling as she looks to the floor. "Why would she do that? Why would she do that?"

"No. You don't." And it's as simple as that. Tiago is defeated, but he lacks the energy to pull away. He is dying inside, and he can't do anything about it. "'Cause if you did, then nothing would keep us apart. Nothing." As his sniffling dies down, he stares ahead, the fire within him having finally burnt out. His green eyes adopt a dull, listless sheen. "She wanted ta prove she could help me. She likes me. She made a copy of herself too." Why is he admitting this? It's hardly in an effort to make her jealous, for it seems he's just given up hope on her completely.

And for the third time this evening, Tiago reduces Lena to silence. A month ago she might have exploded at him for that. Now, a moment passes and then she stands up. There's very little expression on the teen's face. "I'm going to take a shower," she tells him, as if the man hadn't just said what he did. "I think…I think I'm going to take a shower and then I'm going to sleep again. I'm tired." Crossing before him, Lena makes good on that statement. She enters the bathroom, quietly shuts the door. There's a click as she depresses the button of the lock.

"I can't be here. I can't see you anymore, Lena. I can't." Tiago murmurs as she makes her escape to the bathroom. And for a third time, for yet a third time in this day from hell, he stands up, reaching over to grab his keys and make his escape.

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