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Where Truth Lies

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126Where Truth Lies - Page 6 Empty Re: Where Truth Lies on Sun Nov 20, 2016 2:06 am

"A biscuit?!" I ask with feigned outrage as I feel around on the coffee table for my plate, my fingers dipping into the eggs when I do. "Is that a withdrawal decision, or just not hungry?"

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127Where Truth Lies - Page 6 Empty Re: Where Truth Lies on Sun Nov 20, 2016 2:10 am

"Biscuits don't really taste like much," I shrug, "And just smelling your foods got me a bit ill feeling, so maybe both?"

I pull my plate into my lap as I pinch into my biscuit, pulling it into small pieces and spreading it out on my plate as I arrange them absently. "My tea's filled me up, really, so I'll eat a real meal in the morning. Don't worry about me." I add with a smile, pointing to his plate as I pop a bit of biscuit into my mouth - the saltiness hitting me oddly as I force myself to chew and swallow it before cringing as I swallow it. "You eat."

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128Where Truth Lies - Page 6 Empty Re: Where Truth Lies on Sun Nov 20, 2016 3:21 am

"It seems I've traded one caretaker for another," I sigh quietly, though I don't try to argue with her instruction as I set to work tearing apart the biscuit and mashing the egg and ham into the crumbling bread to create a breakfast sandwich conglomeration of sorts.

"And, if I'm being honest?" I frown a bit before pausing to take a bite of the messy biscuit. "I'm not really sure how I feel about it. Particularly considering the state you were in when you got here... your breathing was all ragged, pulse a mess, ketones on your breath, and I'm almost certain you had some kind of neurological incident today."

I sigh a bit as I sit back to chew, staring vacantly at about the level of her knees. "Meanwhile, I'm holed up in my house popping speedies and hallucinogens like candy just because I feel like it," I frown as I take a sip of the juice she's brought up with the trays. "While you're in the grips of withdrawal because you ran out of the stuff you need to function. Ljuba," I shake my head sharply, the speed of my voice and its volume picking up as my face becomes pinched as I stare directly into her face with concern. "I feel like I should be the one taking care of you right now. And don't talk to me about debts - I don't care about debts; the projects are payment enough to me.

"I don't want you suffering and plowing through on my behalf because you feel as though you owe me," I say quietly. "You owe me nothing. Not when it comes to things outside of our crafts."

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129Where Truth Lies - Page 6 Empty Re: Where Truth Lies on Sun Nov 20, 2016 5:44 pm

I watch Marnin sadly, guilt building in the pit of my stomach as I set my plate back on the small table and rest my hands in my lap. I don't want to tell him the real reason I'm here, and given the state of things, a casual drop-in isn't exactly logical, either. Instead, I do the only thing I can think of. I lie. A lie so embarrassing hopefully my shame will cover my dishonesty. 

"I'm not here because I feel like I owe you," I say stiffly, wringing my hands together anxiously as I stare down at the floor. "I'm here... To ask you for money.

"It's a fluke I got the medicine I got today, and I don't have a single coin to get anymore, and I'll run out again soon... So, I thought... Maybe..." I cringe at the insinuation, reaching out to twist my plate as though it's crookedness is the most offensive thing in the room. "It'd just be to borrow! I'd buy enough for a month or so, and then start working again and I'd pay you back!"

"But when I got here, and you were so... not well, I just... I felt guilty."

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130Where Truth Lies - Page 6 Empty Re: Where Truth Lies on Sun Nov 20, 2016 11:36 pm

"Really?" I ask in shocked surprise, my eyes widening at the admission. Somehow, I feel relieved by that information, and I can't help but let out a delayed laugh once the shock has faded. "Yeah, no, of course! I'd be happy to be able to help."

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131Where Truth Lies - Page 6 Empty Re: Where Truth Lies on Sun Nov 20, 2016 11:58 pm

"Wait-" I stare at him in shock, "Really..?"

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132Where Truth Lies - Page 6 Empty Re: Where Truth Lies on Mon Nov 21, 2016 12:20 am

"Of course!" I say, waving a hand at her as I sit forward to take another bite of my food. "I mean... at first I thought Richard had found you and made you come because he was sick of hanging around. He's done that before... and, I don't know, I just hate it? I'd rather you be here to ask for money than to fake an interest in me because Richard told you to."

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133Where Truth Lies - Page 6 Empty Re: Where Truth Lies on Mon Nov 21, 2016 1:06 am

My guilt multiplies as I laugh awkwardly, trying to sound relieved as I tuck my hands into my sweater.

"I-" I stumble over the word, the vox letting out a staticy rasp as I clear my throat. "I don't know how I'd ever repay you... I don't think I actually expected you to say yes."

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134Where Truth Lies - Page 6 Empty Re: Where Truth Lies on Mon Nov 21, 2016 1:12 am

"I've already gotten a pretty good down payment on that irrigation system you helped me with," I admit with a shrug, a smile faltering on my lips as I hear her heart and breathing skip. "One way or another, and unfortunate chunk of that money would be wasted on drugs and questionable beverages. It may as well go toward someone who actually needs that stuff."

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135Where Truth Lies - Page 6 Empty Re: Where Truth Lies on Mon Nov 21, 2016 1:41 am

I smile weakly as I shift in my seat, my stomach twisting uncomfortably. I don't know much longer I can sit here with Marnin across from me, having said what he said.

"I think I need to go to the bathroom," I sigh, pushing up from my spot as I reach out for my thermos. My hands tremble as I get close, and before I can correct it, the thermos tumbles over and what's left of my tea spills out across the table and onto the floor.

"Oh," I whine, scrambling onto my knees as I scrape my hands through the tea in an effort to stop it from further spilling.

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136Where Truth Lies - Page 6 Empty Re: Where Truth Lies on Mon Nov 21, 2016 9:04 pm

I hardly bat an eyelash at the spill as I quickly reach for the neatly folded hand towels tucked under a side table by my seat. Handing one to Ljuba, I use another to begin mopping up the spill, managing to stem the flow of liquid before it can reach my edge.

"Don't sweat it," I say, waving a hand dismissively. "I knock drinks over all the time. Actually built a little trench into the edges of all the tables to help catch the spill; it's even slanted to make it flow into a little catch tray instead of onto the floor. Makes cleanup so much easier."

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137Where Truth Lies - Page 6 Empty Re: Where Truth Lies on Tue Nov 22, 2016 12:20 am

"No," I shake my head in a bit of defeat, pressing the rag he's given me into the tea as I sink onto the floor. "That's my medicine." I whine, pushing the rag towards him as I feel the room shift a bit. 

"I'm still going to be sick." I say as I twist around to push off of the chair, taking gulping breaths as I look around, heading straight for the hall so I can hide in one of the guest bathrooms.

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138Where Truth Lies - Page 6 Empty Re: Where Truth Lies on Tue Nov 22, 2016 12:26 am

"Lju!" I call after her, a stark frown on my lips as she disappears. Sighing, I let her go, leaving her to take a moment to compose herself as I get to my feet.

I feel leery as I begin unearthing every stash of pills and drugs I have in the house, just the thought of revealing their locations giving me a tickle of anxiety. It takes me a few minutes to find everything, and longer still to find a basket to dump everything in. By the time I've found it all, Ljuba'so sniffling has died down and I feel a little less guilty approaching the door to the guest room and knocking lightly.

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139Where Truth Lies - Page 6 Empty Re: Where Truth Lies on Tue Nov 22, 2016 12:34 am

My own guilt, however, has done nothing but worsen as my body reacquaints itself with the drugs working their way through its system. The mask and collar have long been discarded and they lie forgotten on the floor just beyond the bed. Without the mask on, I can't say anything to make this night worse. At least, nothing he'll understand. 

I sit in the narrow spot between the toilet and the wall, an arm propped unceremoniously against the porcelain as I hold my hair out of my face and stare down at the water. Specks of vomit still linger despite my having flushed several times, and I feel like being faced with their unpleasantness is a pittance in comparison to what I truly deserve for being so dishonest with Marnin. 

I can vaguely hear the sound of knocking, but as I raise my head to speak the room threatens to spin out of control again. Instead I let my head sink back against the wall, my eyes wide as I force myself to focus on the line where wall meets ceiling so I can get some bearing on my surroundings. It consumes so much of my awareness, I don't even realize Marnin's opened the door to step in.

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140Where Truth Lies - Page 6 Empty Re: Where Truth Lies on Tue Nov 22, 2016 12:40 am

"Ljuba?" I say her name again, stepping forward slowly to snap my fingers in front of where I'm guessing her gaze is focused.

"I need you to show me what you need," I say as I reach blindly for a solid surface to place the basket on. "I'm sure I have something in here that can help."

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141Where Truth Lies - Page 6 Empty Re: Where Truth Lies on Tue Nov 22, 2016 12:49 am

I mumble something in twisted Pahgish before looking towards the basket tiredly. I can hardly focus on keeping myself upright, and the basket is overwhelmingly full of vials and bottles and labels with tiny writing. I start to regret removing my vox, wanting to tell him that I'll be fine until the morning, but that urge is quickly followed with No, I deserve this, I'm wretched. And Richard. No real motive behind that, just... Richard. Richard and his stupid suit and deep purring voice. Richard and his medicine and cars and my pictures

I don't even realize I've started crying as I reach up to push the basket away from myself, Marnin's hand catching mine before I can knock it off of the small table he's placed it on.

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142Where Truth Lies - Page 6 Empty Re: Where Truth Lies on Tue Nov 22, 2016 12:55 am

I frown as I keep a hold of Ljuba's hand as I sink onto the tiles beside her. I don't give her much choice as I put an arm around her shoulders, pulling her against my side as I press my lips to the curve above her temple.

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143Where Truth Lies - Page 6 Empty Re: Where Truth Lies on Tue Nov 22, 2016 1:12 am

My stomach sinks at his touching gesture, but I don't pull away as I try to relax against him. He's warm compared to the cool tile against my legs or the porcelain at my side. I focus on my breathing as I try to make sense of the rooms uneven walls and the changing pattern on the floor, a sweetly familiar smell drifting over me as I jerk my hand from Marnin anxiously. 

"No, no," I whine, the tensely uncomfortable sensation washing through me as I feel my already distorted grip on reality slip and my body lapse into another seizure.

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144Where Truth Lies - Page 6 Empty Re: Where Truth Lies on Wed Nov 23, 2016 1:26 am

I can sense the seizure starting to creep in before even Ljuba seems aware that it's coming, my grip on her shoulder tightening as I feel her body go limp in a rigid kind of way. Her body continues to twitch periodically as her head tilts hard to the right, a nervous gnashing of her teeth and awkward fidgeting of her fingers punctuating each vacant spasm.

"Shh, shh," I hush her gently as I reach over to grab a hand towel so I can stop the drool from finding its way onto either of our clothes. Once I have it situated against her jaw, I press my lips to the top of her head, the hand on her shoulder coming up to cover her eyes and block out any visual stimulus as I hold her head against my shoulder. We sit like that for what feels like an eternity but is probably closer to a minute or two, a quiet humming vibrating in my chest as we wait out the main part of the seizure.

As soon as I hear her vitals shift into the post-ictal phase, I move to get my knee under me before scooping her up into my arms. Her body is genuinely limp now, her breathing ragged and her skin feeling hot - all except that which was cooled by its contact with the tiles. I listen carefully to her heart rate and the heavy huffs of her breathing as I lie her out on the guest bed gently. I don't like leaving her unattended, but I'm quick to retrieve the basket of medications - some legal and some not - from the bathroom.

I sink onto the bed beside Ljuba as my hand dips into the basket, feeling each vial as I murmur off the names of each one, hoping at least one will have some property that might help her. My heart sinks a bit as I find only one bottle that matches that criteria - a benzodiazepine... but it's injectable. Something just doesn't sit right about injecting an unconscious woman with a medication she can't consent to taking. Especially after the seizure has already passed.

Sighing, I grab one of the syringes tucked into the edge of the basket and carefully draw up a syringe full of the medication. Rather than using it, though, I put the cap back on the needle and set it (and the bottle) on the nightstand. If she has another, then I'll give it to her. For now, though, I'll just sit with her and try to help her through the confusion to come.

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145Where Truth Lies - Page 6 Empty Re: Where Truth Lies on Wed Nov 23, 2016 2:26 am

When awareness slowly comes back to me, I'm not sure if I've fallen asleep or spaced out or... what has happened. It takes a long moment for my vision to actually return to normal, and not the unintelligible sea of dim colors it's been. I'm not entirely sure where I am, but there's a distinctive warmth at my side, and dip in the bed under their weight. 

I twist awkwardly onto my side to get a better look at the face looking down beside me, a twisted sort of loss sinking in when I don't recognize it as Nikolai's right off. Reaching out, my fingers brush across the man's cheek as I try not to cry, my tongue fumbling against my lips as I try vaguely to ask where he might be.

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146Where Truth Lies - Page 6 Empty Re: Where Truth Lies on Wed Nov 23, 2016 2:31 am

I'm so preoccupied listening to her breathing that I nearly flinch at the unexpected touch, my cheek turning into it at the last second as I force my composure. My brow pinches a little as I listen to her, unable to make any sense of it aside from the vague sense of loss.

"Shh," I hush soothingly as I take her hand and kiss it lightly. "I've got you."

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147Where Truth Lies - Page 6 Empty Re: Where Truth Lies on Wed Nov 23, 2016 2:45 am

I squeeze his fingers as they curl around mine, my head rolling back against the bed as I take increasingly heaving breaths. I get bits and pieces back as I stare at the ceiling, and I mumble incoherently. Asking where I am, where Bea is, or Nik. I lose track of all the questions I ask as the moments pass, my fingers pulling from his as I reach up to rub at my eyes aggressively.

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148Where Truth Lies - Page 6 Empty Re: Where Truth Lies on Wed Nov 23, 2016 2:50 am

Part of me is grateful for her continued confusion because I can't understand a word she's saying, and at this point, I can't tell if it's because she's speaking another language, if it's the lack of her vox unit, or if I'm just too high to comprehend what she's saying. Any one of these scenarios are a possibility, so instead, I simply sit quietly, listening to her rambling as I caress her fingers and trace the lines in her hand.

I'm not even sure she's aware of my touch, to be honest.

I frown a bit when she pulls her hand away to rub at her eyes, my hands following hers to tug lightly at her wrists just in case she tries to rub them too hard. To keep the gesture as neutral as possible though, I use it as a way to grab her attention rather than a blatant attempt to stop her from rubbing at her face.

"Do you want something to drink?" I ask, my hands signing the question silently as though it might somehow help her understand it.

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149Where Truth Lies - Page 6 Empty Re: Where Truth Lies on Wed Nov 23, 2016 3:07 am

His question jars me as I pull my hands from my face to look at him, the peculiar movement of his hands only confusing me as I reach up to grab his hands in an attempt to stop the motions. 

Humming a soft yes once his question finally registers, I move to sit up awkwardly as I look around the room and at him. 

"Marnin..?" I say the name weakly as the room starts to feel familiar.

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150Where Truth Lies - Page 6 Empty Re: Where Truth Lies on Wed Nov 23, 2016 3:15 am

"Yeah, I'm here," I respond, a flicker of relief passing across my face as she seems to recognize more of her surroundings. Now that she's becoming more coherent, I linger on the edge of the bed, unwilling to move to get her drink yet - just in case.

"How do you feel?" I ask the question before stopping and frowning as I think of the vox unit still sitting on the floor in the bathroom. "No, wait. You don't have to answer that, let me rephrase. Are you okay?"

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