05.02.3014: Smuggled to Obsidia
Summary: After leaving the scene of the crime at Honor's Keep, Nitrim is offered a place to shore in and recuperate at the Shard of Obsidia.
Date: 01 January 2014
Related: Black Skies over Honor's Keep
Johana Nitrim 

Private Guest Chamber - The Shard, Obsidia
Room description included in scene.
May 02, 3014

The hour is late when Nitrim crosses through the WayGate into Obsidia. No longer wreathed in the flame of his aura, the brooding, hooded figure is as silent as a tomb as he weaves through the streets towards the Shard. Fingertips flexing and rings scraping over one another, he is a barely controlled rage and the scowl on his face is evident beneath the low cowl of his coat.

Having already announced his arrival, the guards step aside at notice of the man's face, recognizing him as a member of the Paramount House they answer to. The instructions are murmured to the Khourni lordling, and having been in and out of the Shard since childhood he knows the way. He becomes a ghost in the halls, his black shrouded figure accented with the heavy drum-beat of his footsteps. Turning left twice and once more to the right, he slips through the open guest room door that awaits him.

He turns to the window, draws the curtains closed, and rolls his shoulders back. The coat falls to his elbows, revealing the high-necked black leather vest with many buckles in a rather militaristic fashion. His claw-ringed fingers snap, and with a flash of aura the coat whips towards the bed to collect in a pile of fabric.

Tattoos flexing with his heavy breathing, he leaves his back to the door and lowers his head. Eyes closed, he starts to breathe slowly - calming himself - with his hands pressed against his hips in a classic display of frustration.

Johana sleeps alone and has most of her marriage. Erik is gone out on his patrols more often than not and she's taking back to the 'single like' lifestyle much better than she had the married life. A nursery has been designed next to her own room, though it's still separate it has a doorway between the two, as well as a room on the other side for a nanny that will provide a great deal of the care of the young heir.

When she is informed of the newest arrival, she exits her bed, drawing her silk robe around her as she pads barefoot from the room, intent on greeting her guest personally. Silently, she approaches the door, and pushes it open on well oiled hinges. The way he stands gives her pause and she hesitates just outside the door, her breath hitching at his bowed head, taking it for defeat.

Speaking from the door, should he prefer the privacy, her voice is soft-spoken. "Nitrim.." That is all she says.. his name, but there is a wealth of emotion there, welcome, warmth and hurt for him. Her whole demeanor shows she is holding back. For him. Waiting, letting him make the call if he would prefer the company or to be alone, though she is ready to immediately spring forward and close the distance, should he need her.

Johana. The voice registers immediately as Nitrim's foul mood isn't distracting him from the room around him. The muscles in his forearms tighten and leave his sides, bringing his hands to his face to rub softly. As he turns around to face her, his expression laced with a metallic framework of passiveness save for his eyes; he is happy to see her and burying things rather quickly. His eyes are placid; no tears have been spent.

"Johana, I didn't think I'd see you until morning," Nitrim replies, brushing a hand through his hair. One of the claw-tipped rings leaves a lock of hair hanging at an awkward, stray angle. Frowning gently towards her, he takes a step forward. "I know you offered and I know this is rather sudden. I hope I'm not interrupting anything important."

Clearly the invitation for her to join him as been offered. The conversation had opened up, despite the lordling's well-documented habit of seeking silence and solitude to mend his woes.

Not many of his motions are missed as Johana stands quietly in the doorway, trying to interpret his need for solace and solitude and weigh it against her belief that he was just needing a friend. The passiveness in his features doesn't fool her once she sees the look in his eyes, and before he even speaks, she steps inside, closing the door behind her.

"I left word for staff to inform me upon your arrival, so that I could welcome you." She takes several steps towards him and the window, closing the distance between them as she ties the belt of her robe to leave her hands free.

"Nothing at this moment is more important than you. I'll be honest, you look like hell." His scars he spoke of are certainly not what she is referencing now, and the concern in her eyes goes deep. "Stay. Stay here as long as you like and make it your home as long as you need. Your privacy is guaranteed." Without invitation, she reaches to wrap her arms around his waist, intending a quick hug. A warm welcome.

"I feel like hell," Nitrim replies with a lift of his head, displaying for a brief second the peppered scar tissue that lines the left of his neck. His head shifts and the scar disappears back beneath the collar of his vest as his arms lift, wrapping around Johana's shoulders for a tight, warm hug. "I think I gave better than I got, though, I made sure of that. I think."

Unsure as to who feels worse, or whether or not he is the victor or the victim, he breathes a heavy sigh over her shoulder and buries his face into her neck. It's the brief moment of the squeeze and the hang of his body that he admits that he's suffered a loss; that weakness is something he's refusing to submit to.

"I might be a while, I'm not sure," Nitrim whispers. "My messaging is on passive and it won't be long before my family seems me out. I'll keep you free of this, Johana."

His admission is noted with a quiet look of understanding but the flash of pain in her eyes refuses to be hidden as Johana notices the new scar. Something he hadn't had before when she had last seen him. Her own arms tighten, the muscles contracting as she tugs him closer. "Of that I have no doubt," she tells him with a shred of amusement, hoping to bring a smile. "Rarely have I seen anyone better you in any sort of argument. Other than.. that mine expedition." Even still, she cannot think of that without shuddering.

Closing her eyes, she lets the moment pass and determines to be here for him. Separating slightly, she lifts her chin and attempts to meet his eyes. "Should your family inquire then, you can tell them anything you would like about your visit here and I will back it."

Her eyes narrow just marginally, but the smile that dances across her lips is anything but angry. "Oh Nitrim, you need not keep me free from anything. Have you not realized? I would do anything you need, even stand in front of you to shield you, if you would allow. Let me be your voice to your family, if you like, to the press, or anyone who comes calling. I am respectable and they will come to see that you are too. Allow me to help you. You never have asked me for anything, allow me this. Allow me to be your buffer, if only for a time?"

"You know, the mine used to bother me; the things I saw in there, but it wasn't any worse than nightmares I've already had. The fighting, Soleil…" Nitrim trails off with a roll of his eyes that ends in a brief moment of eye contact. His eyes are wrapped in a grade of steel, meeting her gaze for a brief moment before his forehead leans in to rest against hers. "…none of that really matters anymore, does it?" It's not a actual question, but a thing you say.

"I don't deserve friends like you right now; I really don't. I don't know where my head is at but if this is something you want to do, I won't stop you." Nitrim's eyes close and he leans a little more into her shorter frame, letting her support his weight for a spell. "Nothing is working right. It's like everything I do falls apart in my bare hands and I'm not sure whether or not my father really wants me involved in Paramount manners anymore. It might be too much of a task, Johana. I just may be ruined."

His short, bitter laugh is a brush of warm air over his brow as he leans back enough to catch the center of her vision. Hands to her shoulders, he squeezes gently and glances behind him to find a place to sit.

"Could I…get a stiff drink and let's sit, Ana?" Nitrim asks quietly, a firm vein of bitterness lining his tone. "There's so much you've missed; you'll want a bigger picture before agreeing to this. I wouldn't want to drag anyone down with me."

"Anything that affects us so deeply will always matter," Johana tells him whether his statement required an answer or not. "Our experiences define us, and it's up to us to decide how we're going to react to things."

A half smile tugs at her lips as she meets his eyes, though when his close, she lifts a hand and gently rests it on his shoulder. Just a reminder she's not going anywhere. "Yeah.. you do Nitrim. You deserve something good to happen to you for once. You've always fought an uphill battle since you were sent away at your awakening. The least that could have been done would have been to bring someone in for you, rather than take you away from all you know and love at such a vulnerable time.." Though she may disagree with the decisions made, it is not her place to continue speaking against what was forced upon him by her liege house.

"Ruined.." she whispers, closing her own eyes and supporting him when he leans against her. "No, you're not ruined. There's so much fire inside of you, so much fight. You're stronger than you think you are, Nitrim. You've had to be." Only when he supports his own weight again does she grudgingly slip her hand from his shoulder and move to the sideboard to pour him a drink from the freshly stocked cabinet. She pours one for herself both a little more than three fingers. "Let's sit up so you can update me.."

Moving over to the bed, Nitrim turns his back to her and slips an arm to his side. With a sudden jerk, he slips his personal dagger's sheath from his belt and sets it down on the nightstand. His neck twists and turns as his head see-saws from one side to the next, freeing up the tense muscles that seem all-too determined to shock him into a headache. Limbered and finally ready to sit, he turns and lowers himself to the corner of the bed, propping his boot on the corner of the nightstand.

Nitrim never can sit like a civilized individual.

"I get what fate thinks I deserve, really, or what I've drop-kicked myself into, Ana." Nitrim starts, rubbing at his eye-socket with the heel of his hand. "I was recently placed under suspicion by the Citadel for my conversations with the Cantosan prisoner, my father…I have little clue at this point, aside from butchering my body in the field, what will earn his esteem. I wrote you some of this. There was a girl, we tried to arrange a banns, and we're pretty sure that one of our fathers denied it; they've been silent as a tomb."

Hand falling, his eyes lift to the silken outline of her shoulders and the sweep of her red hair, observing her as she pours him a drink. Brows rising and lowering in a fluid motion, a deep sigh rattles over his tongue. "I went to Honor's Keep tonight. She says she still loves me, but…something's happened that makes me want to find someone and hurt them." Nitrim's voice slows. "Something worth apologizing for. I…" Nitrim snarls. "…I changed, Ana. No more drugs. No more women. I changed."

Johana takes only as long a time as necessary to pour the drinks and cork the bottle, stopping long enough to add a few sloshes more into his glass before turning around to face him. Her hair is possibly sleep tousled, not having taken the time to manage it when she had heard of his arrival, but now that she's here with him, she is fully awake and alert, her eyes landing on him seeing more than she probably should.

There are no protests to his choice of seating, and after offering him the glass, she sits near him on the bed, her own glass cradled comfortably within her grasp. "Fate," she waves off the word with quiet disapproval. "Like destiny, it hints that we have no control over our own futures or our own lives, that no matter the decisions we make we'll still end in the same place. I believe that to be false." Falling silent, she sips the hard liquor as he recants the newest of the information, expounding on what he had already mentioned to her in the mails. "You still seek your father's approval… it's something we never outgrow, especially when it's so grudgingly given. The more it's kept from us, the more we yearn for it. Try not to. Try and earn your own approval first."

Her features cloud as he continues, her lips press together. "Worth apologizing for.." she echoes softly. "You changed for her and she cut your heart out. Is that an apt guess? Is it something so terrible you cannot forgive? Something that would ever keep you apart? Search inside yourself to how important she is to you.."

Cut your heart out…

The words bring a twitch to Nitrim's eyebrows, and as the glass is lifted to his lips his only immediate reply is to gaze at her quietly from over the rim of his glass. His throat rises and falls as he drinks, and as the glass lowers his teeth curl back in a grimace when his throat fights against the bitter taste. His eyes widen as his lips part in a reply that fails to come, forcing his eyes down to the near-negative space between them; the edge of her knee.

"I don't have any answers tonight, Johana. I really don't. You know the territory, there's the crime that was committed and then the vague, gray-area crimes that I see and others don't. A fuck is a fuck. Losing faith in me, that sense that I would act so cowardly or act on the assumption that I would be such a fucking fool - the things I feel my father would expect of me - are a whole issue altogether."

With a turn at his hips, Nitrim shifts to face her and dare eye contact once again. Fighting hard to admit that he's been burned, he takes another quick sip and points towards the center of her chest. "I just want to be at peace, to be respected, and to be loved and there are times that I think I'm going to survive nothing and my body just seems to not die. Everything turns to ash. I feel like an absolute fool, and the last thing I can do is appear weak before anyone. I am a drake. It's not our way."

Ana doesn't flinch from his gaze over the rim of his glass, the blue of her own still hold warmth and welcome. Only after his eyes are cast down does she manage a slow blink herself. "I don't want you to answer tonight, it's much too soon. I only asked so you can begin asking yourself. It's not a short process and it's not an easy one." Now it is her turn for her lashes to sweep down, hooding her eyes. "There is no right or wrong answer, the only answer you will have is, in the end, the only one you find you can live with."

He was hurting so badly.. the pain almost a palpable presence in the room. Deep in her heart of hearts, she wanted to weep for him, but he needed anything but her tears. Her strength is all she could offer. Strength and an oasis from the outside world. "I cannot pretend to know what was going through her mind or to guess what you and she had been through before, but I can say she was wrong. I know you, Nitrim. I know you and I would never doubt you. There's an innate goodness in you, trying to shine through, that keeps getting brutally slapped down at every turn." Her breath catches once more with the sudden overwhelming urge to cocoon him in her arms and protect him as fiercely as she protects her family and those she loves. Meeting his gaze once more, she murmurs the same word he had fleetingly mentioned. "Peace. That is it exactly." She leans forward and places her untouched glass on the table where his boot had so recently rested. "You are loved.. probably moreso than you imagine. You are respected. It means little coming from me, I am sure, but it is there all the same. It is not a weakness to feel Nitrim. It's just.. not. The weakness is in not admitting when you need someone to lean on along the way. You aren't the weak one, I don't know who she is, but it's her. Anyone who couldn't say no to another when you were there waiting… is weak. She's the fool."

The boot slips off of the end table, lifting slightly to avoid ripping the sole of the boot down the corner of the wood. The table shifts, sending the alcohol in Johana's glass swaying side-to-side like a sea of hands in a concert hall. He reaches out quickly to place a palm over the top of the glass, steadying it, and once the waves have settled he tilts his head back to down the rest of his drink. The Khourni lordling has effectively lapped the Ibrahm, rather quickly.

"I disappeared after telling her that I was disappearing for a few. She said that she did it because she tought I was trying to distance myself from her," Nitrim replies, turning back to face Johana with a grim lowering of his brow. His brows tighten and he breathes in slowly, dropping a hand to rest palm-up on her knee in an unsaid request for contact. "Everyone says this to me, Johana, that I too-often act without letting people know what I'm doing, and that it is my undoing. I don't coordinate well." Eyes roll as he lets a weak laugh free from the center of his chest. "Fuck how could I? I don't understand anything about people other than how to lie to them, or ruin them, or fuck them. I'm not good at people, Ana, not where it counts."

Leaning his head forward, his eyes fall back to her knee and his shoulders slump, releasing the tension long enough for his body to sag. Finally allowing himself to bend over his anger to say some things that truly count, things he truly means, the strain is insurmountable for him. "I know I'm loved, Ana. Somewhere I know it. I don't care anymore why she did it or if she was foolish or if I was foolish. I just wish people knew that I loved them, and I…" Nitrim's head slowly shakes. "I'm so fucking tired, Ana. I don't know if I can do this anymore."

Ana doesn't pay much attention to the drink as it threatens to tip over and spill the contents onto the nightstand and the rug beneath. It is the least of her worries right now. That he catches it is in his favor, for she gestures to it so he knows it is fair game for him to finish, should he wish.

As he continues his explanation of how he had spent his evening, learning his world had come crashing around him again, she remains seated near, bowing her head only once, to look at his hand resting on her. She reaches for it, lacing her fingers with his, her skin soft now that she had been off the battlefield so long, lacking the callous from her sword she usually holds. Her other hand reaches for it as well, closing around and training her thumb along his palm. When she finally speaks, she doesn't lift her head, but watches their hands together as she does. "I do the same as you. I distance myself from everyone. I live in my tower in Obsidia and come out only when I have to face the world around me. We are so alike…" She exhales, keeping her gaze down. "You will never be like those who are social butterflies, flitting in and out of 'feel good' situations, being all up in your face about it. We rule our lives afar from others, and watch the pieces shatter around us of those we keep at arms length. She should never try and change who you are. She could accept you, love you, for who you are… not say she loves you then punish you for being who you are."

Shaking her head, she finally looks up. "I assume too much, I know… I am being unfair to you and to her." She watches him bow his head and she moves at the same time as the confessions come. She moves to one knee on the bed, holding his hand with one of hers and tipping his chin up with a knuckle. "Don't you dare, Nitrim Khournas. Don't you even think that. You're a fighter, give me that strength you wear like a cloak except only block out what you don't need. I'm here.. just hold on to me and let me be your strength until you can remember where you stored yours last." Her arms go around him and she cradles his head against her.

Fingers trapped within hers, Nitrim's digits flex to try to loosen her grip against the pinching edges of his claw-tipped rings. A faint smirk forms as he eyes the rings as they are, damning them for being so difficult to work with in precious, vital moments. His thoughts begin to cloud around him as he listens, suddenly broken free of his far-off star as his chin is lifted. Don't he dare. His lip tightens to one side in a blithe, exhausted smile, his eyes playing tough around his moment of hopelessness.

"Dying is too easy to be worth wanting, Johana…don't worry about that." Nitrim's eyes lid closed as he's drawn against her, his only free arm wrapping around her hips as their connected fingers trap against their chests. The tattooed arm tightens around her sides like a constricting snake, and the lordling's body contracts in a low, slow breath that releases; a physical presence across her collarbone as it is released. "I couldn't truly give up, and I never will. Even when I'm that horse that simply won't die no matter how much it is beaten or ridden hard, I just close my eyes for a bit until I can get up again. I do this. I'm just…not doing it with red eye anymore."

Shifting, Nitrim lifts his head to find her eyes once more. Freeing his arm from her back, he brushes his hand through his hair then quickly slips the rings to his teeth. Biting down on one, he tugs and lets the ring clatter to the floor. The next two fall to the floor in the same manner. It frees up his hand to reach out to her cheek, tucking a lock of her hair behind her ear and brush his thumb over the side of her jaw.

"I'll never know who I am, not with words, yet I know who I am all in the same. I'm an amorphous, alien thing, Johana, but you're right. We are alike, and we've gotten each other through some of these." A faint-yet-genuine smile forms at the corner of one of his lips. It nearly kills him. "I guess this Nitrim time is the early birthday present you wanted, right? Fate that shit."

His rings, right. Johana hadn't really considered them making him uncomfortable. Nor do they make her uncomfortable when their hands are pressed together between them. When he releases his hand of them, she gives him a rueful smile, tinged with apology. "A few words won't make me stop worrying about you, gorgeous." Teasing him very gently, the arm around her welcome, her own slipping around the back of his neck, tangling into the short locks of hair, the pads of her fingers pressed to his head loosely.

Her chest rises and falls with each breath and when he separates, touching her cheek, she tips her head against his palm as he moves it along her jaw. Not a chance could she drag her gaze away from him now, it would take more willpower than she possesses. She presses her lips together only to separate them as she releases a soft breath. His faint smile almost drags her gaze down to his lips, but she's rewarded by seeing it there in his eyes.. "No," Ana whispers softly, dragging her eyes from his, her shoulders drooping by several degrees. "I want you again, closer to time. This is different all together.." Leaning forward, she brushes her lips over his forehead, if he doesn't protest it.

"Your woman, this woman who hurt you. Who is she?" It's the first time she has asked and likely the slight tightening of her hand in his hair indicates her fury. She deliberately forces her hand to relax, one knuckle at a time, until she can safely remove her hand from his hair to rest on his shoulder, absently drawing her finger over his collar, to lift the material away so she can see his scar.

"If you can manage to hide me a month, I'll be here throughout. Us hermits, it's easy to miss birthdays and hard to not have them." Nitrim smirks, his fingertips trailing down the line of her jaw to brush over the silk at her collarbone on their way to his other hand. With a few effortless tugs, the rings collect in his hand like metallic caterpillars. His arm crosses between them to the nightstand where he leaves them in the pile, taking up the remnants of her glass in a simple motion. With the brush of her hair over his cheek, he feels her lean in, and lean in he does in return to the kiss to his forehead, absently pressing his lips to the only thing he can manage at the same time: her hair. It's the thought that counts.

Pressing his neck back into her fingers, his head rolls to follow her hand's movement as it turns to his collar. When the high, black neck of the vest is peeled aside, it reveals a pocked network of scars; some form of massive trauma he sustained in battle. No doubt it was painful. "Obsidia." Nitrim explains as he brings the glass to his lips, then sets it down once more. "The factory explosion."

Breathing deeply, he turns his eyes forward again, scanning her face as she gleams over his scars. When another lock of hair falls out of place, he reaches to her ear to tuck it back into place once more. Hesitation weighs on his face as his lips part, the words held in his breath. His hand turns to brush his fingertips over her cheek on their back to the back of her neck, resting in the strands of her long, red hair at the base. "I don't know who he is, yet, and I can't let that go unanswered if he knew I was in the picture," Nitrim whispers, resignation in his voice. This must be done. "And I don't want this incident being made public, my shit is damaged enough in public eye as it is. Cyrielle Hollolas and I had been seeing each other in secret for over half of a year now until this."

As he talks, Ana cannot help but be fascinated with what he has to say. It was true they were so alike, yet there were contradictions as well. Her breath inhales softly as his fingers trail down her jaw and her head falls back marginally until she collects herself and realizes what she was doing. "A month? This is your home as long as you want it. Would you prefer to live here and come and go as you please?' Tipping her head forward once more, she surveys the damage, stiffening at the scars and his explanation of them. "You were there." It isn't a question but a statement dripping with surprise. "I questioned the citizen who.. was ordered to attempt to disarm the bomb instead of a bomb squad being called so it could be done properly, and in time to save the building."

As she talks, her fingers lightly stroke over the pock marks there, resisting the urge to press her lips along the worst of it. The pain is no longer there, surely and it would ease nothing. The hesitation is in her eyes though as she lifts them to his, the thought she had. Once again, she presses her lips together, a visible sign of her dilemma. This was Nitrim. She always kissed Nitrim. Six, help her, but the touches from him were not helping! Her lashes drift down and her breathing becomes more labored. She is fighting the urge.

As if handed to her, the will to resist is found in his words. She draws a breath and then another, and it becomes easier. "And if she convinced him it was over with you?" She swallows hard, gaining control once again. "I agree, it must remain out of the public eyes, but.. Hollolas? I.. I don't know her. Should I assist in discovering who it was or do you think she will tell you?"

"Yeah, I was there, with Bethe and Reena." Nitrim replies, hardly thinking about his words, but the moment he realizes he has said Reena a frown crosses over his face; lips parting to one side in a light cringe. "This hit, it was to the armor at my neck, where the plates buckled and shattered. Bethe, she kept trying to get me back behind the line, but Ree…she just kept trying to get back in." Nitrim laughs gently, shaking his head from side to side, jaw brushing her hand on his neck. "There are others. One to my chest that day nearly killed me. The neck, it was bad, but there were worse."

Swallowing at Johana's final questions, Nitrim turns his head to glance back at the half-empty tumbler of bourbon on the nightstand, considering it in silence. It provides the man with enough time to think, even as his fingers shift to reaffirm their grip at the back of Johana's neck. His eyes lid, drawn into a simple lay now that the adrenaline has died and the alcohol has found his bloodstream. He turns his attention back to her face, chin lifting ever-so-slightly.

"She wouldn't tell me who he is, I think she knows I'll maim him and…I was too busy breaking things to ask she told him it was over or not. Fuck, I was so livid." Nitrim manages a new, bitter half-chuckle as his dark, green eyes search her face. "She may tell me, she may not. I want to give it a week or two to see if anything comes up. After that…" Nitrim nods gently, agreeing to her request. "…I may want some help with that. After Keanen and what he did…I can't let this one go unanswered. I'm enough of a drake that I won't abide people thinking I am victim."

A moment of misstep, Nitrim's eyes dip to the fold at the front of her silk nightgown, his lip tugging in faintly at the center as his teeth find it. The edge of his fingernail scrapes against her earlobe. "That's…not fucking crazy of me to say, is it?"

Reena. The ache was still there, physical, in the pit of her stomach and Ana's hand instinctively moves there to ease the burn. "I can see that.. I can see her trying to get back across the line, trying to save everyone she could. She was a damn Saint. The good die young, it's not a lie. She did so much with her charity and never asked for anything in return." It is a tender subject with Ana.. Reena was one of her best friends.

Telling herself to move, to draw away from him, she doesn't, she can't yet. He was already having trouble with women, he didn't need his friend pawing all over him! The inner conflict plays over her features from a soft yearning to sudden realization. His hands were on her and she was lost.. lost. Allowing his collar to slip back into place, she drops her hand to her side, harmlessly out of the way.

Then he was talking again. Another welcome distraction and her eyes narrow at the imagery his words incite. "Anything you need of me, I'll do." There's a dangerous look in her eyes when Keanen is brought up. "I heard much about the foolish Arboren child and none of it is good. Though.. no one thinks of you as a victim and if you realize if it's kept quiet as you wanted, then it won't get out or brought to you. Honestly, you're better off letting it go. Letting it all go.. and know anyone who could hurt you so easily, who could doubt you, is not worthy of you."

She'd been doing so well, she had! When his eyes dip, her gaze lands on his face, his eyes, and the answering tug within her is getting harder to ignore. "Yes.." she whispers. "It's crazy. Insane."

The scar tissue that lines Nitrim's neck pulses as the blackened, beaten heart inside of his chest skips at a faster pace. The old, familiar sting of Reena's loss and the burn of the night Keanen attacked him plays over his features. Wetting his lips, he blinks his downward-cast eyes to the thin, black silk, chest rising and falling with a deep breath. His eyes rise back to hers in phases, jutting up slowly to her collarbone, her chin, her lips, and then her eyes as if a stone skipping over water.

"Keanen talked me into taking eye drops. It had been six months. I tried to talk him out of it, but…" Nitrim's head cants slightly, eyes sharpening to form a new angle. "…in the end I was weak. When the drops turned out to be rubbing alcohol, he attacked. I felt like a dog. Reduced." The corner of his lip twitches, almost impressed. "He did good. I'll do better."

A silence falling between them, Nitrim's brows tilt into a sad, thoughtful angle, his thumb brushing her cheek affectionately. His fingers twitch gently against the long hair at the back of her neck and he leans in to press an all-too-familiar kiss to the corner of her mouth. A delicate, quick, but wholly gentle press of his lips, he slowly pulls back to turn his attention towards the glass of bourbon, reaching for it.

"You're probably right, though. Letting it go would be the smart thing. I never let things go. I chase things. I run myself to the point of exhaustion and the end result is never what I intended." He lifts the glass to his lips, the tightening of his jaw bringing the scar tissue to peek above his collar as he downs the last of the drink. The empty glass taps gently against the wood as it lowers and is left to its own devices. "It's like quicksand."

It's all she can do to resist the tug she feels so near him, it's a battle of familiarity and need versus the forbidden. She couldn't, so she wouldn't. Swallowing down the words she wants to say, to ask, she keeps her silence as she listens to the lengths Keanen Arboren had gone to, to humiliate the Khourni so near her. She feels physically ill at the way it had been done. Dismay fills her eyes and she cannot hide it so easily as her hands ball into fists. "Such a petty, petty child." No way would she even attempt to talk him out of it.. Keanen deserved Nitrim's worst. And more.

The silences are the hardest part to refrain from.. more than she ever should. The kiss is greeted with almost resignation, though surprise flickers in her eyes when it's aimed more at the corner of her lips than a full on frontal assault. Her breath hitches all the same and she's relieved when he reaches for the glass, emptying it. "I usually let things go, unless I am fighting for it." Blue eyes rest on the empty glass and with haste, she rises, snatching it up off the table, a slight scrape on the wood from the force. She moves to the sideboard again, putting distance between them, not pouring anything further. "I.. apologize. You came here for a refuge from… everything. I don't.. know what I was thinking."

The shadows in the room twist as Johana slips away from the bed, leaving Nitrim Khournas to sit alone. Eyes turning to her hips and the sway of the silk that collects around mid-thigh as she walks, he reaches into his pocket and pulls out a small case of cigarettes. Thumbing one free, his eyes peel over into a field of white, the tip instantly sparking to life for the first, sweet drag to sear his lungs.

Jaw tightening, Nitrim looks down to his hands, turning them over to read the deep lines that have aged into his palms. The cigarette bobs in his lip, pulled flat against the corner of his mouth as he takes another drag. Plucking it free, a curl of smoke forms before his teeth before twin-jets of cloud exhale the smoke towards his knees, the fumes escaping his body.

Her back turned to him, he gives a veiled shake of his head, lips curling back to bare his teeth to the world as he lets out a sigh. His eyes lift to her shoulders to watch her set the glass away. An expression of closely monitored pain and self-loathing falls over his features, a look she would never know ever existed. His cheeks slide back into place as his head lifts, hand brushing through his hair.

"…I don't know what I'm thinking anymore, either, Ana."

(Scene Fade)

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