|Parry (evilincarnate) wrote in valarlogs,|
@ 2012-05-29 21:57:00
|Entry tags:||!complete, orb kaftan, parry lecomte|
"That sucks, kind of like how you're crazy now."
Who: Parry LeComte, Orb Kaftan
What: It's time for Parry to tell the truth, if Orb will believe him.
When: Friday night, 5/25/12
Where: Parry's house (Anaheim Hills)
Rating: Innocent actions, discussion of traumatic past.
Parry's phone beeped at him, and he stared at it, and eventually realized that Orb had hung up on him.
He was tired – very tired – for all that he felt he'd been asleep for decades, somehow. How? There was nothing that made sense, in any of it – but it was still there, those dreams, those memories – did he remember a dream, or dream a memory? How could he even tell? Was there, in fact, any way to tell?
What there was, of course, was a bathroom, on the way downstairs, and therein a chance to wash his face, to drink until he no longer felt as if his throat was filled with smoke and sand, until he felt that – perhaps – he would be able to speak, when she showed up.
And then Parry tripped his way downstairs, phone clutched in hand and forgotten all at once, and fell heavily into the window seat overlooking the front drive, and waited.
Boots? Parry frowned, looking at her as she took the path – frowned, looking down at himself. He'd cleaned up somewhat, yes, and had cleared his throat of the sand of dreams, but it wasn't until he looked that he had any idea what he was wearing. And the answer, it seemed, was 'not much' – his anatomy was doubtless grateful enough that he'd slept in his usual soft pants, and not in the jeans he'd vaguely remembered wearing, a lifetime or two ago.
Was the door locked? He should probably, he thought, as Orb disappeared from the window's view, go find out, and unlock it if it was.
It wasn't; by the time Parry got to the doorway, Orb had just walked in it, and was shutting the door (and locking it). When she saw him, she didn't appear to judge -- and indeed she didn't judge, as she held out the pizza box and tried to smile.
While not a forced smile, it was kind of weak.
"Here. Food. Eat. I bet you haven't."
"Non," he answered, and did not bother trying to make it sound English. Even now, after all the water he'd consumed, his voice sounded far too much as if he'd been gargling with razor-wire and diamond grit. "You are right, in that."
"So eat. Take the box, consume the food inside it." Orb was trying, at least! And she wasn't exasperated, just holding out a pizza box.
There was a tiny huff of something that, perhaps, really was laughter, and then – well, he at least raised his hands, to reach for the box.
But they were shaking.
Shaking, in fact, too much to hold anything of any weight at all without dropping it, he realized, even before he touched the box – and so it was his hands that dropped, instead, because it was too much effort to continue to hold them pointlessly out, anyway. "Come join me," he tried, instead. Perhaps she'd even eat the part of the pizza he couldn't. He still didn't really think he had much of an appetite.
His hands, he thought, were still shaking, as he padded slowly, barefoot still, to the closest room suitable for eating. (It was not the dining room. It was, in fact, the breakfast nook, which was also conveniently close to the kitchen, where there was a lot more to drink.)
Orb was at least willing to entertain the idea of eating, as she followed him -- still wearing her shoes, just for contrast -- and flopped unceremoniously into a seat. She was tired, too, but in a completely different way. It was just the kind of tired that said I was helping Loki and the crew prep the stage all day and not exhausted to his extent.
She couldn't help but watch the shaky hands, too.
"Yep," she said, and then, more quietly, "Vous avez l'air comme de la merde."
It seemed as if interjecting in French sometimes was calming, to him, and so she was going with that.
Another bark of a laugh – this one, at least, had some oomph behind it – and he settled, gingerly, into his seat on the bench. The box was on the table. The box had the food in it. He did not, in fact, have any idea whatsoever when the last time had been that he'd eaten anything.
"Quelles sont les chances que vous m'apporter une boisson?"
"If you're nice to me," Orb teased, and shoved some hair out of her face, and then cleared her throat. Seriously, Orb. He needs help, not teasing. "I can get you a drink. What do you want?"
She could hope maybe he wasn't using, that he was just shaky because he wasn't eating ...
"Seulement de l'eau," his rusty answer. Water. He only wanted water. He scrubbed at his face, his hair, with both hands, staring blankly at the pizza box. Somehow, sitting innocuously on the farmhouse-style table, it seemed unutterably alien to him – there should be fruit, vegetables, eggs, perhaps a trencher of homemade bread, yes, but cardboard?
He rubbed at his eyes again.
You need to eat, Parry, he told himself. Just eat the food.
Robotically, he reached for the box, opened it, pulled forth a slice and took a bite. Robotically, he chewed, swallowed, tasted nothing. "Thank you," he murmured, although he could not have said what language issued forth, or even if Orb could hear him.
Pizza was what Orb could get at that hour. Fast and easy and she wasn't the world's greatest cook of things that weren't so incredibly hippy-crunchy-New Age that even Loki looked on them with disdain sometimes; Parry didn't really need kale chips and brown rice. Something easier and shorter, available at any hour -- pizza. Counted as a vegetable!
She returned from the kitchen a moment later, having maybe heard him but not acknowledging it (she wasn't even sure if she had), placing a glass of water in front of him silently.
"Merci beaucoup," his murmur reached her quickly enough, and from somewhere, while she was in the kitchen, he must have produced a napkin, because he was wiping his fingertips on it fastidiously. (At least this time, he could be reasonably certain she could hear him.) Now that his hands weren't greasy, he reached for the glass, drank, watched her –
Could she tell what he was thinking, when he looked at her?
Fortunately or not, the answer was no. Not that she wasn't trying; Orb just couldn't read him.
"You're welcome," she said, softly, and tried to figure out what exactly she was supposed to do. The only thing she could really think of was just -- to sit. Watch him. Maybe nibble on the corner of a piece of pizza for herself -- slowly.
He spoke in French, and it was an ancient French, and he didn't notice the difference. «Orb, do you ever wonder on the nature of reality?»
But he also kept picking his way through his slice of pizza.
"I," Orb said in a philosophical tone to match Parry's, which therefore matched oddly with what she was actually going to say, "have absolutely no idea what you just said."
She took a long drag from the water bottle she pulled out of her purse -- it smelled vaguely lemony -- and then took another bite of pizza.
He stared at her, for a moment, and thought of what he'd asked, and thought of what she said, and then repeated himself, very carefully, and almost managed to keep it all in English, except for realité, which was at least close enough.
Well, that made an interesting question, Orb thought, as she slowly masticated the cheese that had fallen off her pizza. Her hands were covered in tomato sauce and she looked kind of stupid, she was sure, but Parry didn't seem to be in the kind of position where he'd be able to judge her for looking like anything.
"Little more philosophical an action than I tend to," she admitted. "I tend to be busy pondering the nature of houseplants, or harp strings."
"When you wake from a dream, do you ever wonder if you are not merely beginning to dream, and have instead been awake?"
"Honestly, I don't remember my dreams very often." Orb was trying to continue to look at him and not just down at her food; it was getting difficult, considering he still looked wrecked and it really was frightening her a little. "But when I do they're usually a little too cracked out for that."
"Then you do not think," and sometimes, still, he was slipping back and forth, into French, into an ancient French, or to English – "that the world is a strange and marvelous place?"
"Well, of course --" Orb looked lost. Because she felt lost, and had no idea where he was going with it; sometimes she couldn't even catch some of the words he was saying, but she thought she had it down.
She bit back a what the hell is going on with you?
"I have remembered a whole life that is mine, and is not mine, and I feel that both are true."
As if there was nothing wrong with that at all, Parry picked up a second slice of pizza, and ate it as mechanically as the other.
"Remembered how?" Orb pressed, even as she felt maybe she should be backing off -- something was funny about him.
"I dreamed it," he told the pizza. "But I remember it all, now that I have dreamed it."
He glanced up at her; his bloodshot eyes looked, indeed, as if an entire lifetime had been compressed into the last week.
"Okay, but a dream is not a memory," said Orb, very, very gently; her voice wasn't wavering, but only because she had perfect control over it. He looked like he was going crazy, is what he looked like, and that was exactly what she didn't need -- another mentor-figure going crazy on her. "It's a dream."
Parry rolled his eyes, wiping his fingers again, and then drank more of his water. "I am very clear on the difference between a dream-from-nowhere and a dream-from-memory," he told her, very, very precisely. "And now, I remember."
Orb did not sigh.
She did not sigh.
She was forcing herself really hard not to sigh. Or call 911. Or bash her head on the table.
"I -- right." Play along. "Did you want to tell me about it?"
Hadn't she promised she'd believe him, or something like that?
He cracked a laugh, and it did, in fact, sound like cracking. "I told you it would be easier to believe me if I lied."
"Drink more," Orb suggested. And then: "It's okay."
Another sip of water, of course, because he knew she was right. (He still hadn't even tried to go to the bathroom.) "Strange things have happened to me, Orb," he murmured, her name stretched out oddly, as if he was tasting it.
It was still her name; presumably, it still felt right on his tongue. She hadn't secretly become someone else. Orb tilted her head to the side a little and said, softly, "I can see that."
More water, and then Parry set the glass down with precision and care, catching her gaze. He held it, steadily, calmly, and said: "I was eighteen when the crusaders came and destroyed my village, killing my family."
Orb just as forcibly didn't raise an eyebrow. While inside she was going oh my fuck Parry what is wrong with your brain that was in like twelve hundred something, out loud she said, "That sounds unfortunate."
That sucks, kind of like how you're crazy now.
"I couldn't save Jolie, because my magic was not strong enough." He shrugged, looked out the window, looked back at her a moment later. "You do not believe me, of course. I do not blame you."
"You're not lying to me, though." It was a statement, not a question -- Orb could tell, really. "Tell me what happened, really. Let it out."
Why not her?
"Every time I fall asleep, the same dreams," he answered, shrugging. It hurt, to be thought mad. It hurt, to be disbelieved.
So that was a draw, on the hurting; Orb didn't really feel fantastic, either. Mostly just disappointed; bad comedowns or bad trips, she could handle. Her vocal coach actually being insane she wasn't really prepared for.
"I hope your solution hasn't just been to stay awake." Maybe that was really his problem. "That's never a good plan."
"I have noticed this, yes." Orb got a faint smile, there, and then Parry went back to staring, unenthused, at the second slice. "No. I have slept, and woken, and slept again, and lost track of all time."
"I noticed." There was no real nice way to say that, but at least Orb accompanied it with a laugh that was trying to be affectionate. Light, at least. "You've tried sleeping medication to get rid of the dreams? Do you think talking about them would actually help?"
Was he going to tell her the story?
When the shit were the Crusades, again?
Parry shook his head. "Non – no medication. I cannot help but think I am meant to have these dreams, alien as they are – they feel almost more real than my memories."
Orb wanted to say that is soooo creepy, but was trying very hard to not seem put out or off-put at all. Or to come off teasing like she often did. "Why would you be meant to torture yourself?" she asked, instead, academically.
"I think – I think, perhaps, there is too much at once, and that is what hurts," he mused. "Man is not meant to remember an entire life in one night, or in one week – you, at least, only remembered one small thing at a time, no?"
(He was back to mixing his languages.)
"Wait, what? Remembered what -- oh. The band dream. I said it felt like a memory, I never said it actually was one --"
"I remember my childhood," he told his mostly-empty glass, pensively. "I remember two very, very different childhoods. And the more I think of them, the more it seems I have lived them both –"
Parry lifted his gaze back up to her, still troubled. "I do not know if this is meant to be a past life, or a true life, Orb, but it does not feel false."
Were past lives supposed to not be true? That wasn't what Orb's mother had ever said; not that her mother was someone she trusted easily, but there were some things she just knew about, and past lives had always been one of them. But Orb wasn't going to push the issue any.
"Okay," she said, because that was all she had.
"I know you would rather go, and pretend I am fine," Parry noted, and there was at least a glimmer of his regular, Eurotrash-asshole behavior in that.
Orb sat up straighter, crossed one leg over the other and countered, "Well, then -- you'd be wrong."
"Do you think me mad, now?"
"I think," he answered, looking somehow crafty, "you are lying to me, now."
"Okay, so maybe I think you're just a liiiiiittle sleep-deprived or something. You're not talking total sanity."
"I know." Finally, Parry's glass was drained; with an effort, he made himself look, for at least a moment, as if he was just fine, Orb, really. "Perhaps it is time for me to spend a few days in the mountains, again, where it is peaceful, and sunny."
Orb absolutely did not buy it. "For now, maybe go lie down -- I can come with you, if you need me to."
She wasn't sure why he would, but suddenly the idea of leaving him alone didn't seem the wisest move ever, either. Even if she kind of wanted to kick him, or cry, or kick herself.
It was hard enough to keep to an affect of being Just Fine that Parry relented, instead of continuing to torture himself, his expression sagging back to haggard. "Tous les droits, que ce soit, si tu insistes."
The pizza was left on the table, but Parry took the glass to the kitchen to refill it, on his barefoot-shuffle way back to his bedroom, and his hands were steady enough that water didn't slop over the side of the glass as he walked.
"Okay, well, I was expecting upstairs --" Orb wasn't going to argue with him, though. Not about anything; she didn't know what he might do at any given moment. She just didn't feel like challenging Parry was the best idea in the world. She wasn't afraid, so much as unsettled -- he might explode, or something, with how sleep-deprived he seemed.
Hanging just a few steps behind him, Orb kept an arm out ever-so-slightly in case he buckled over and fell after all.
He managed, well enough, to walk down the hall, and if the bedroom he ended up in was the closest to the kitchen, and not the bedroom he ordinarily would choose, well – it was still his, as the entire house was his, and what was the harm?
The glass landed on the table beside the bed readily enough, and without spilling or breaking; Parry managed to drag the covers back before falling in, as well, and didn't quite hit his head, and cast an eyebrow up as he looked at Orb, as if to say: See? I'm fine. Perfectly capable of handling myself.
Right. Orb totally believed that face -- except not.
"Did you want me to leave?"
"I want you to believe," he answered quietly, after a long moment, "that I am not mad, and that I am not lying, and if you will do that, then yes."
"I can't promise," Orb confessed, shoving her thumbs in her beltloops; nervous habit. He knew that. "But I'm willing to try. I don't think you're lying, that I do promise --"
"But you expect that you will think I have gone insane," he concluded, sounding tired – emotionally, more than physically.
Despite that, he patted the bed, next to himself.
"I'm not ruling it out."
After all, she kind of already did; that didn't stop Orb from sitting down, cross-legged, trying not to lie down lest she fall asleep, too.
Parry was silent, then, silent for long enough that perhaps Orb thought that he had fallen asleep, despite all of that – and then he spoke, voice low in the darkness of the unused bedroom.
"In the Year of Our Lord 1208, when I was eighteen years of age, I was an adult, a married man – and a sorcerer, one of two in our village. The other was the man who had raised me, the man who was, in all ways but blood, my father. And Jolie, my wife, had begun to learn the ways of magic, and of music, and was my assistant. And then the crusaders came, angered by their blood-lust, angered by their desires for untold treasures, yet not wanting to travel all the way to far-off Jerusalem – there were baubles enough, in a French village, and the women were beautiful."
Orb had actually been distracted, as much as she could be in the dark, by how nicely furnished one of the unused six bedrooms was. Why was there even a downstairs bedroom, and why was he going to furnish it as a bedroom, anyway? Who slept downstairs? Wouldn't it have made a better office or something? Didn't he work out of his home when it came to running his business? How expensive was that tiffany lamp --
And then he talked, and her blood ran just slightly cold.
"Thought you hadn't married her," is all she said.
Was he rolling his eyes, or just ignoring her? Hard to tell – and however expensive the tiffany lamp was, it wasn't on.
"My father, the sorcerer, he found news of their approach, but moments before they arrived. We made our plans quickly – where we would meet, how we would warn our villagers, for it was our village, and we were their sorcerers, and Jolie was their kindred. My father was slain before me, but he bought me my freedom with his life – and I went to meet Jolie, and she was not there. One of the crusaders had found her, and when she was not willing for his pleasure and his anger, he dealt her death-blow and would have raped her anyway if I had not found her then."
His voice, then, became truly implacable, to a degree Orb had never before heard. "I killed him, before he could rape her, but still I was too late – she had been stabbed, and though I bore her away to a safe location upon my horse-back I could not save her."
"She hurt so very much, and her grief was so very great, and I did not have healing spells powerful enough to save her, and she – died."
And Parry's voice broke.
Instinctively, Orb reached out -- she knew where he was, from before it had been dark enough, and she stretched out next to him and put her hand on his shoulder.
There was nothing to say except that gesture; a touch of I'm here, of No one is blaming you except you.
It took him a moment, before he could speak again – a moment in which he fumbled to cover her hand with his own, and then drew in several shaking breaths.
"I had lost my family, all at once, in the course of mere hours – and I knew the village was burning, as well. There was nothing for me, to remain, and so I did not – I fled, as far from the crusaders and their poison as I could, until I found myself in a town far away, half-starved, and saw a small group of monks, singing, collecting alms. I hesitated – I did not want to touch anything related to the crusaders – but I was hungry, and worn, and I realized that there was so little in common they held with those who had caused such horror and destruction. I joined them, and I was Brother Grief."
Of course he became a monk. That didn't surprise Orb, but muttering of course you did was stopped by the name he had chosen. She shook her head a little bit, glad he couldn't really see her.
"It suited me," he answered simply.
And it had: he had lost his entire life, had it torn asunder from him, without warning. He grieved not just for his father, not just for Jolie, but for himself, as well.
"I found peace, with the Dominicans, and for many years that was my life. I did not practice much in the way of sorcery, for it was frowned upon in the Church, saving it for the times in which it was a blessing and not a curse. And as time passed, I learned that Jolie had not truly left me – I had saved a drop of her blood, preserving it against the skin of my wrist, when I fled, for I did not have the time to have another memento. But that drop of blood gave her leave to haunt me, and not simply the place of her burial. She was my company, my companion, and would warn me of danger approaching when she sensed it."
Now he sounded really crazy -- it was almost less crazy that that had been a dream, and not that he actually thought his dead girlfriend -- wife? shit, Orb was confused now -- was haunting him and giving him information. Then again, thoughts like that were usually delusional. Grief talking. And so before she could stop herself, she said:
"How very Twilight of you."
There was, perhaps, just enough light in the room that Orb could see, when Parry twisted around, raising his eyebrow at her, clearly implying that she was the crazy one for that.
"That was my life, I think," he continued anyway. "Until there was news of a great search, trying to discover heresy, to prevent the evils spouting the name of the Church. No more would there be such monstrosities as the crusaders who had so destroyed my life. I felt called, compelled to be a part of this, to purify the Church, to clarify the goodness of mankind. And so I was."
"What, you started the Spanish Inquisition?" There was a tiny little bit of tease in her voice, still.
She wasn't expecting the answer she was going to get.
"It was still France, not Spain."
"Well, okay, Grand High Inquisitor."
She could feel the look he settled on her, even if she couldn't see it.
"That is not my title anymore," he pointed out, sounding tired.
Orb's eyebrows skyrocketed, again, just for a second.
"... I was kidding." Wait, that actually was his title? What the --
No. He was talking about a dream. A dream, Orb.
"I'm not," he answered, but had to pause in the middle to yawn.
What else was there to say but another rendition of "Okay"?
"And there were wolves," Parry mumbled, trailing off into silence.
"Sounds unfortunate," Orb prompted. Or maybe she should just let him rest?
She was, it appeared soon after, going to have to let him rest; he said nothing else, and his breathing had already evened out into sleep.