A Return to Home
Roleplaying Log: A Return to Home
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Dani is back at home and Domino finds her.

Other Characters Referenced:
IC Date: August 26, 2019
IC Location:
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 27 Aug 2019 23:49
Rating & Warnings:
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

The shadows are gone.

Dispersed by Alison, Warren and Dani.

A battle that was long and difficult, but one that left very few physical wounds. Psychic injuries on the other hand are a whole other story.

Either way, after a perfunctory physical in the med bay, Danielle Moonstar was released under her own recognizance.

With that freedom of hers in hand the Cheyenne woman leaves the med back post haste. She finds her way up the stairs and to her room. With a turn of the doorknob Dani pushes the door open and looks inside her room. Her eyes travel the length of the room and when she finds it clear Moonstar steps inside and closes the door behind herself. She clicks the lock to the upright position and then steps away from the door.

The dresser with its mirror is her first stop. She went into the shadows fully dressed and with some weaponry upon herself. She came out the same way and while she doesn't have her ICER, she still has her hunting knife.

Idly she pulls the sheathed blade from her belt and turns the weapon in hand, studying it as she goes. Then after that prolonged moment Moonstar sets the knife gently upon the dresser.

With that motion Moonstar can't help but catch the mirrored movement of her reflection within the mirror. It causes her eyes to lift and the Cheyenne stares at herself. She looks the same. She looks so normal, albeit perhaps a bit frazzled around the edges. Her waist length hair lays unbound and drapes like a shadow around herself, and upon seeing that darkness Moonstar can't quite stop the sharp inhale.

A harsh reminder of everything.

Her hands fists at her side and almost she punches the silvered glass. Almost. It's only in the last instant that her shaking hands come up to her face, covering it.

———

Some of the senses can be fooled. The sense of touch can easily be taken away by the right chemical mixtures. Hearing and eyesight are even easier to block with earphones and goggles, both of which are synched to deliver an audial and visual program meant for an audience of one.

While the body lays cold, numb and motionless, vacant eyes stare up at the ever shifting flickers of imagery. Images of combat. Of discipline. Of war. Of blood and death.

Of what it would mean to fail.

The senses of smell and taste are a bit harder to mask, however. There's a foul taste upon the tongue and a sharp, burning smell upon the air. It's the smell of bone being worked upon. Being drilled into. It leaves a thick, disgusting film upon the tongue. Whenever the smell increases there's a distant thrumming sensation in the back of the head.

It's all too familiar, though something is different this time.

Neena is not the child whom she once was. This isn't happening in her past… This is happening right now.

The screens go dark and the audio cuts out. Through the foam padding an unfamiliar masculine voice speaks out, sounding muffled and hollow.

"Subject Seven is prepped for neural mapping and realignment..test number thirty-five may proceed."

The goggles are pulled away from the pale woman's face without any particular care. The room's harsh artificial lighting is blinding at first but as the headphones are similarly removed the sense of hearing is quicker to adjust.

People. Machinery. Lab equipment. A peculiar echo. With the darkened blur stretching around the circular room she knows where they are. She's been in this room before.

Observation.

"You are clear to revive the subject."

The first sensation is an icy cold flow rushing into her left arm. Little by little the feeling returns but the cold numbness remains. Her body remains heavy and unresponsive but slowly things begin to clear.

"Subject is ready for you, Control."

"Affirmative," comes a different, more gruff male voice.

The sound of a sidearm being drawn and sharply chambered echoes within the back of Neena's head. A man dressed in forest camo steps forward into her field of view and sets the gun upon a sterile stainless table before walking out of view.

A reinforced medical wheelchair is positioned further away on the far side of the table. Another woman's form is slumped forward upon it, the light glinting off of the polished steel shackles securing her wrists, ankles, and neck to the seat. A white strip across the lower lines of her face suggest that she's also been gagged just in case the sedatives proved insufficient.

"Doctor," the gruff voice returns.

"Of course," a woman's voice responds. "Let's get started."

With a buzzing sound the restraints pop free of Neena's own form, leaving her drugged body to collapse onto the cold floor. She can still feel the wires embedded within her skull, an unwanted and persistant accomplice to what lies ahead.

A nearby crackle of electricity causes her to jump. Another figure dressed all in white stands nearby with a long black stick in his hand. A cattle prod. It's a warning. The only one she'll receive. "On your feet, Seven."

The gripping hold of the drugs fades quicker now as she stumbles to her feet and takes those few shambling steps toward the table. To where the gun waits to fill her hands.

She knows this drill. She's been through this so many times before.

"Seven will now retrieve the weapon and neutralize the target."

Cold steel and polymer nest into ghostly pale hands with such perfect familiarity. Control starts to return to her limbs as she checks for a round in the chamber then brings the muzzle forward, zeroing in on the bound woman's head. Only once she's looking past the sights does the other figure, now beginning to stir with life, start to come into clarity…

The target is Danielle Moonstar.

The screaming is muffled. Muffled because Domino had ended up lying on her front with face buried into a pillow. It works just well enough to keep from waking everyone else with the sounds of her terror. It doesn't spare the wall, however. The scream barely has a chance to cease before a vicious snap of an arm sends a knife across the room to embed itself into the wall with a solid *THUNK*.

Just a nightmare. Just -another- nightmare… Cold sweat. Wild eyes. Shaking limbs. Constriction of throat. Fluttering of stomach and chest. Her hair's still there… It hasn't been shaved down and replaced with electrodes. There's no stainless steel tables, white lights, lab coats, or metal shackles.

Just a dark..quiet..bedroom.

"Dani," comes whispered upon the still air.

Neena throws the tangled mess of bedding aside and stands. Black cargo pants and a sleeveless shirt are hastily thrown on before she paces across the room on bare feet to grab the knife and twist it free of the wall. It remains in her hand as she steps out into the hall, neatly tucked upside down along her forearm to keep it ready but hidden from view.

It's not a long walk to Moonstar's quarters and when Domino tries the door she finds it unlocked. Or rather..intended to be locked but having not fully latched. The door parts easily beneath her delicate touch, silently drifting into the Cheyenne's room…

———

Lost.

She's lost in the blackness of guilt.

How could she let this happen again? How could she.

Her fingertips press hard into her eyes which causes the darkness to explode with a rainbow of colors; reds, blues, greens, whites and silvers. Almost the hot tears that burn behind her eyelids seep out, but something forestalls those tears.

A sense that she's no longer alone.

A sense of another person here even if their footfalls are softer than a cats.

Purely on reflex, Moonstar drops her hands and reaches for the knife that sits upon her dresser. The sheath is pushed off with a well-practiced move and that knife swings around, the Cheyenne's expression grim, taunt.

She almost slashes but at the very last moment awareness of who's in her room with her penetrates the fog of the last twenty-four hours.

"Domino." Croaks the black-haired woman, her expression surprised and while she speaks her friend's name that knife stays extended outward.

For the most observant upon the silvered blade faint lines begin to appear. It almost resembles and etching of sorts, if the etching was made of the finest ice and frost.

———

She can see the motions happening. Knows what's coming next. Knows exactly what to expect. A slit throat. A deep gash which no amount of pressure would stifle the flow of life from. Quick, vicious, lethal.

Yet Domino doesn't even flinch. Like she feels it's not worth the trouble to prevent. Like she knows Dani is going to stop short of landing the kill.

There they stand, the Cheyenne all of a healthy inch away from dissecting the albino. Eye contact is never lost but a faint, humorless smirk plays out instead upon smoke grey lips as she starts to hold up her own knife. Her words are spoken softly.

"Guess I dressed appropriately for this engagement."

Still, this is not how she had expected things to go down. It's a rare moment where she knows exactly what she's going to do. Exactly what HAS to be done. Dani's knife sets this back a little but Neena is willing and able to press forward through such a nuance.

The door is eased closed behind her, given that extra little push to make sure that the bolt sets and the lock is properly engaged. Then, if necessary, Dani's knife will be gently brushed aside with Domino's own.

Then the pale woman steps forward and wraps Moonstar into a great big hug.

Sniffing once as the tears begin to flow.

Before anything can be said about the action Dom mutters "Just..shut the fuck up…" against Dani's shoulder.

———

It's a little bit of both with that knife; Domino reaches out to give it a gentle push aside and Moonstar finally realizes she's holding her friend at knifepoint.

That realization causes Moonstar to quickly drop her hand and the knife clatters quietly upon the polished surface of the dresser.

When Domino envelopes her in that hug the first thing that might be noticed, or felt, is the coldness that radiates from the Cheyenne. An echo of the Bear that's still there and which bleeds through in times of high emotion, with this definitely being one of them.

As for that hug, Dani resists at first, but even she has her limits and with everything that has happened in the last week that stoic strength which she often portrays so flawlessly flees. That mask of leadership is gone and all the guilt that Moonstar feels lays exposed for the world to see.

She shakes with her own internal self-reproach and in that moment a few tears slip free.

And while Domino speaks those words of hers aren't responded in kind from Dani. There's the possibly she didn't hear them so lost is she in her own pain.

But, with everything, that emotional honesty doesn't last long.

Control reasserts itself and slowly Moonstar pulls the tattered cloak of her personal responsibility about herself.

It's what has her disengaging an inch or two so she can grasp Domino by the shoulders, so she can look at the other woman's face and possibly look her in the eye.

It's what prompts her next words, "Neena, I'm sorry."

———

A really strange evolution has been taking place ever since Neena returned to America and connected with this peculiar group of mutants. It's taken a trip back to her own Hell to realize that it was happening. Few times has she ever felt like she truly had somewhere to go, that there would be people who cared about her waiting behind that door. To feel like she actually had friends. Family. It took being dragged right back to the ragged edge for her to realize what she had and what was now at stake.

It's also one of the only times where she doesn't immediately try to crush down her emotions. When Dani draws away she'll see a whole new layer to the contract killer.

Dani barely has a chance to apologize before Neena sharply cuts in with "-Don't.-" Watery eyes remain locked with the Cheyenne's as she slowly moves her head from side to side, swallowing hard to clear the knot out of her throat. When her voice returns it's lost most of its edge and regained much of its composure. "Don't ever. That wasn't you."

With a seemingly infinite level of patience and care she sets her own knife aside then rubs at her eyes.

"We aren't thinking about the past. We're looking to the future, and how we can shut this shit down."

———

Family.

Sometimes a curse, but mostly a blessing.

At least when it comes to them knowing who you really are. Or knowing more than the average friend or person.

It's what allows her to see some of the freedom Domino seems to have acquired with her own emotions and inwardly Moonstar is happy for the merc.

Domino's initial sharp -don't- causes whatever else Moonstar might have said to fall back into the silence. And while Domino offers that salve of 'it wasn't you' to Moonstar, it almost pulls those silenced words back out. Almost, but not quite. Not when Domino sets her own knife aside and moves onto safer ground.

It helps Dani find the stability she needs and with a look away, the Cheyenne moves a few steps away from Neena.

"The Bear's shadow is gone." Remarks Moonstar in a surprisingly (to her!) tone of voice, "Warren and Ali helped with that." Her gaze automatically flicks to the window as if searching for any more shadows. "But we still have to find the Bear itself. I'd like to kill it, but most Demons have a way of avoiding their own death or staying dead for long. So, we just need to find it and send it back to its own realm."

———

When Moonstar steps away Neena doesn't try to stop her. Instead she moves elsewhere within the room as well to take a seat and try to get herself back under control. She hasn't allowed her emotions to surface like this in quite some time.

Not since she had lost Milo.

Still, they're only allowed to surface for so long before she determines that it's not helping the 'mission' and they should quietly go back into their dark little box without further protest.

"We'll take care of it" is promised in a dead level voice. "But I'm not here to discuss that situation."

Domino, Miss 'always on the move' and 'get shit done' isn't here to talk about business. Mark that down as another first.

"Dani…" she tries then immediately stops herself, already at a loss for words. When she tries again she manages to offer full eye contact, and hold it.

"My powers nearly got you killed once. If it wasn't for Warren you probably wouldn't have made it. Alison was the one who told me not to beat myself up over it. These things happen. Par for the course. We have some pretty gnarly occupational hazards with all of these X-Genes running around. And I know better than most of us what it's like to blame yourself when shit goes sideways and when bad things happen to good people. How -easy- it is to hate yourself."

"Back there you made me promise to aim for the heart if I saw you not being yourself. Now I'm gonna promise something else. If you start throwing yourself down a self-destructive path over this, you're gonna have to answer to me."

———

No, she wouldn't be here to really discuss the situation of the Demon Bear. That would have been too easy and for a split-second Dani's shoulders hunch protectively against whatever else Domino has to say.

She waits for the verbal blows to come and when they're there, Moonstar moves to turn away.

Only that movement is forestalled when Domino catches her eye. It causes the Cheyenne to stay where she is, to not turn her back upon Domino again and the temperature within the room begins to slowly plummet.

It doesn't get quite so bad as within the shadows but it's close. Domino's words clearly strike some kind of nerve to cause such a reaction from Moonstar and when the other woman finishes with that promise, Dani finally tears her gaze away.

"I've dealt with this before." Begins the black-haired woman, "I'll deal with it again."

"I'll be okay."

Words spoken by rote, for right now her guilt gnaws too strongly at her and the wound is too fresh for her to say any other platitudes.

But while she can't voice those platitudes she can at least voice other things aloud.

"I know you don't want to hear my apologies -" Begins the woman, her gaze lifting to the mirror upon her dresser, so she can look upon Domino's reflection but not actually meet the other woman's eyes, "- But I have to -" Needs to, "Say sorry for the nightmares the shadows threw at you. The shadows are - were - a reflection of my powers and the Bears combined, and pulling people's deepest fears is a speciality of mine, whereas torture is the Bear's. For that I'm sorry."

———

..Okay, this is unexpected. Unexpected, creepy, and more than a little unnerving. This is the cold felt from the snow-covered city. The same cold shock from the shadows. The same frigid grip from her nightmare only a few moments old.

They have Dani back now… Why is this still happening? It's making Domino wonder if there's still something embedded within Dani that's refusing to let go, some 'hook' that the bear might still have left sunken into her psyche.

It's enough to make her wish that she had brought an ICER instead of a knife. Even the acronym is more appropriate.

At least the mood changes slightly, though Neena's already moved to sit more upright and wrap both arms around herself against the unexpected chill. When Dani insists on apologizing Dom breathes a gentle sigh and ducks her head then bobs once, looking back up to the other woman's reflection. If it'll help her to put everything behind her then fine, she can say her piece.

"Those two forces make for an interesting relationship" is gently spoken. "But you're right. You'll be okay. Because you won't be dealing with it alone." She hooks a thumb back at herself. "If -I- don't get to deal with this shit by myself," the thumb gets replaced with a finger pointing at Dani, "then neither do you. Fight me all you want but if our situations were reversed you know what you'd be telling me."

Not to mention that having gone through these nightmares together has the unintentional side effect of bringing everyone involved closer together with the added bonus of having been psychically linked for a time. If only she knew that Dani had witnessed each of those nightmares, herself.

———

The room continues to stay in those frigid temperatures. It might even dip low enough to cause a person's breath to be seen momentarily as the water vapor within it freezes.

And while Moonstar would like to fight back against Domino's words, she can't. Not when they're true and not when that very last line causes the woman to turn back around. Her expression in those first few seconds is unreadable up until it shifts into something of a smile. A grateful smile lined heavily with pain.

"I would be telling you the same thing - though I think I'd have brought a beer or two along with me."

That last part for her own part is the gentlest of jokes, but it's enough to pull the winter back inside her. To allow the room to begin to warm up again.

"Thanks." Comes her heartfelt reply.

"The same goes for you. If you need to talk, or have questions, I'm here. Or any of us." In case Domino would want to speak to someone less involved in the situation.

———

That thin but honest smile is soon mirrored with the albino as she motions toward the door with a dip of her head. "I just woke up." Just in case the bare feet and messed up hair didn't already suggest such.

Okay, the air is -definitely- getting warmer now. What the hell did that experience do to Dani..?

"Oh, I have plenty of questions," Neena swiftly replies. "What the hell happened, what and why is this bear creature, how much of what went on down there did you see, how you've turned yourself into a portable A/C unit, and why that knife you held to my throat looked like it was trying to tell me something beyond 'die, bitch.' But we're gonna eeease into all of this…" she makes a 'smoothing out' motion with her hands. "One step at a time. You need time to heal." As does she. "So I'm gonna try to help with that via my preferred methods."

But first comes another quick exhale and another lingering stare at the Cheyenne. For most people it would seem wholly callous to act like 'hey glad you didn't die, pull yourself together and come help me with something.' Some people happen to be wired differently. Neena is one of those people. From what she's been reading of Dani, she is too. Distractions are what keep them from tearing themselves apart from the inside.

Besides, Moonstar would be just -perfect- for this thing…

"I have another play on the Bronx hit. Should be fairly lightweight. If you want some fresh air then you're on the team. Should be a good opportunity to vent a little. But whether you stay or go? Don't dwell on this."

———

With each word of Domino's the brittleness that surrounds Dani eases in the smallest of shifts.

A lessening of tension in her shoulders, in her hands, upon her features and most importantly around her heart. There's still the soul hurt that the Bear has caused, but it's not so engulfing - those cold waves of darkness are not so swamping, as they spend their fury upon the bulwark of their friendship.

Those questions asked brings a slight pause from Moonstar, a consideration on how best to answer it and while she knows she can't explain it fully, she at least gives some answers.

"The Demon Bear was once a man." Moonstar says quietly, "Before he sealed his fate calling on dark magics. My parents tried to stop him, but in the end they became his first victims. It came to me to put the Demon Bear down, which I did. Only now something or someone has called it back, or brought it back."

Which causes her brows to pinch together at that troubling thought, "It's a soul-stealer, the Demon Bear, and when I first fought it I lost my soul to it. It took friends, like you, to bring me back."

"Only when I came back I found the Bear left a part of it inside me. When I feel something extremely strong it causes the cold to appear. That's what caused the ice to appear on the knife, you'er lucky it didn't turn into a sword. I have a sword that occasionally makes itself known too. I sometimes think it sees a kindred in me, with how it preys on fears and my own powers can pull them out."

Her eyes flick to the window now for a moment, then, "What happened here was a power play - it wanted me back, so that it could use my powers and free itself. Only it didn't quite have all of its strength, otherwise we'd still be trapped in those shadows."

"Or find ourselves without souls." Which brings another morose expression to Moonstar's features.

Thankfully before she can dwell too hard on that, Neena's last words, that offer, is heard, "You know I'll help with the Bronx."

———

It might seem cliche but simply giving Dani the opportunity to talk is its own form of therapy, regardless of who manages to provide such an opportunity. Acting as a therapist is not Neena's area of expertise but she's all too familiar with what becomes of pain swallowed into the darkest reaches of the mind. Perhaps coincidentally it's quite a lot like how she describes the demon bear and the shadows claiming the souls of others.

The only difference is that with pain it always finds a way back out.

While Dani speaks the albino rests her heels on the edge of the chair and loops arms around knees, one hand idly prodding at the bandages still covering a shoulder and bicep from her last encounter with the Talons down in Gotham. The X-Men are good with trauma but she's been persistantly stubborn about receiving proper treatment. Maybe after this psychic nightmare Dani will understand better as to why that is.

"That'll be real helpful next summer," Neena remarks with a touch of humor regarding the Cheyenne's ability to summon a cold snap. 'It's warm in here, could someone turn Dani down?' "I'll try not to lean too heavily on the puns."

Nevermind trying to figure out how a knife turns into a sword in the first place. That's..kinda physics-defying, isn't it?

"So it is possible to retrieve a soul and put it back where it belongs." Despite her flat tone it isn't meant as sarcasm. Merely making an observation toward a detail which she didn't have any idea was possible before this conversation began. "That's good."

That Dani is down for helping out is met with a slight nod. That's all Dom needed to hear. At the moment her mind is processing more pressing matters.

"This bear wants to free itself. What happens if it does? Would it be any easier to put down for good once it's out of the cage?"

———

"Isn't all magic physics defying?" Muses the woman in her own wry tone as she considers the woman, her gaze finally taking note of the bandages upon shoulder and arm.

"Magic never makes sense and those who say it does they lie."

But soon enough the conversation shifts again to something a touch more heavy; souls. "If the body lives the potential to return the soul to it is there. Even when the Demon Bear had my soul there was the barest thread linking me back to my body. As long as that's not snapped there's a chance."

Though she doesn't say exactly how they put her soul back, which is probably a good thing.

The question of what will the Bear do brings another frown to Moonstar's expression. "It goes hunting." She murmurs quietly, "It snaps up as many souls as it can to gain as much power as it needs to stay here on Earth and not be sent back to the dimension it originally came from. Earth to it is a feast and it just wants to glut on us all."

In other words it'd be bad, real bad.

"And then when it has all of our souls in its shadows all we'd exist in is our own nightmares. Our own personal hell."

———

"That blade looked pretty damn real to me." Because apparently magic blades don't look normal?

Neena is once again silent while Dani lays out the description of the bear and its plans. It's ..a bit of a backfire. If Dom was tasked with dealing with the situation that's exactly the sort of chaotic course of action she would have run with. So, it's probably a -really good thing- that she's not being tasked with it.

"Okay, so that would be bad." As the understatement of the month.

Fingers idly drum across a knee in silent thought, the albino's expression hardening slightly while all of the pieces are assembled.

One piece is notably absent. A piece which she decides is worth pursuing.

"You missed one of my questions before. Having this connection to the bear, having been down there longer than any of us. How much did you see?"

Her gaze had been cast wild across the room before as if zoned out in contemplation. Now with the question being asked more directly her attention has snapped right back to Dani, going for that laser-focused straight on approach again.

Her voice goes a little more soft when she clarifies "I'm not going to be mad. I just need to know."

———

How much did she see? A good question. A question that needs to be asked and Moonstar understands why.

Does it make it any easier? Not really.

Tendrils of cold air start to infiltrate the warmth that had returned only moments before.

That laser focus stare is met by Dani and the Cheyenne doesn't bat an eye, nor look away when she answers.

"I saw what you saw." Dani admits quietly, her expression holding notes of strain again, "I was fighting the Bear even when you and the others were in the shadows. I can't say I saw everything that everyone went through or experienced, but it was enough."

She holds Domino's gaze now, waiting for any censure that may come from the albino, even with Domino's previous assurances.

Being a witness to a person's own personal hell is not something that can always be swept under the rug. Dani knows this from experience.

———

The beginnings of Domino's response may leave a lot to be desired when all she has to offer is "I see."

What's done is done. Neither of them had any control over it. Dani certainly hadn't been -trying- to see into Dom's deepest fears. None of this changes the matter that she HAD witnessed such a nightmare.

"Back when Warren had you and the others doing a deep dive into my history I was absolutely furious. Now that you've had an opportunity to experience some of it for yourself, all I can think to say is that I'm sorry. No one else ever had to be a part of that. Not anyone outside of the Project."

Like it or not this changes the playing field between them. Almost like how Dani and the bear have an uncomfortable link. But it goes much further than the two of them. Dani had seen the nightmares from the -others- to have gone in, as well.

"This must be twelve kinds of difficult for you. That's a lot of personal information on the people you know. And I think..that you've got enough to work through without also having to worry about me being pissy over what happened."

———

That first response of Domino's brings an increase of cold pressure.

Any colder and soon their breath will surely fog out in small puffs of clouds.

Thankfully though, the albino's next words help some.

"You have every right to be angry." The Cheyenne says, "As do I. It doesn't negate what either of us is feeling, or any of the others for that matter. If we're angry we're angry."

"But I won't lie -" Continues Dani, her voice cracking ever so slightly, "I'm glad you aren't going to shoot me." Because she sure did anticipate getting shot here, "That might have been difficult to explain to the others." The smallest thread of amusement is proffered to the woman, a life line if you will, with those last words of hers.

"When all of this -" This meaning the Bear and everything else, "- is finished and you feel like talking, I'll listen. Whatever you tell me stays only between us."

It's the least she can do for Domino.

——

There's the chill again. So VERY unnerving. Is it triggered by fear, anger, maybe any strong emotions? It's going to take some getting used to. Fortunately for Domino, she's already huddled pretty damn tightly upon the chair.

At the admission that the Cheyenne was concerned that she was going to get shot Neena smirks faintly. "I almost did. In my last dream. Right before I came here."

It seems that she's ready to start talking right away…

"Though the knife," she dips her head meaningfully toward where both of the blades now rest out of harm's way, "if you'd believe it, that was a safety measure. Not a potential catalyst for wrath."

With her eye contact having remained for some time she finally breaks it away to look down toward the floor, chin now hovering closer to her knees.

"This experience has uncovered something in me, Dani. I don't know what it is but I can feel it. More than bad memories or a fear of losing what I've found with this crew. Maybe it's a parting gift from the bear but I feel like something bad might be coming. Something that no one's going to notice until it's happened."

Neena breathes out a sigh and rubs at her face. "Or I could just be losing my marbles and falling into another fit of paranoia. It's hard to tell anymore. Look, I'm just ..glad that you're back."

———

The mention of the knives causes Moonstar's gaze to swing to the side as well, to check on those implements of death. When all is well Moonstar returns her gaze back to Domino.

When Domino drops her gaze Dani can't help but drop her own, though not for long. Not when Domino brings up what the experience did specifically to her. That causes the Cheyenne's attention to rise up again as she considers the other woman.

"Don't dismiss what you're feeling." Dani says after Domino's admission of possibly losing her marbles again. "The Demon Bear is both magic and psychic, which can bring on some weird visions, but that doesn't mean they're not true. If you feel like you received some kind of warning then I'd heed it. Now we just have to figure out what that 'bad' might be that you've sensed. If we can figure that out then we have a chance at stopping it."

And when Neena sighs, Moonstar can't stop herself as she steps over and extends a hand to Domino. "I'm glad to be back too. It's good to be … home." She ends with, "Now I'd like to think we deserve a beer, no matter how early or late it really is."

Those last words of Moonstar's bring a rise of temperature back to the room. A warmth that's possibly welcomed against the chill. "And you can tell me how you got those bandages."

———

Neena preemptively holds up a hand. "One crisis at a time, Dani."

Soon enough that upheld hand is finding its way to the one which the Cheyenne offers to her. It's uncertain at first, right up until beer is mentioned. If there had been any doubt as to why Dani was offering her hand before it's not a curiosity any longer.

Back upon bare feet she's momentarily caught off guard by the question of her injuries, prompting a glance to her wounded shoulder. "Just a side gig. Gotta keep myself out of trouble somehow."

———

Does Dani notice that uncertainty? She sure does, but does she say anything to it? Not one thing.

Once more she has to accept the fact that people are going to shy away from her. It happened the first time and it's going to happen again.

As such, it's only at those last words of Domino's that Dani speaks again.

"Hmm." Dani says before she continues with just a hint of amusement to her tone, "Pretty sure that's a losing battle."

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