2019-06-23: You Had One Job!

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  • Log: 2019-06-23: You Had One Job!
  • Cast: Ivan, Lydia Seren
  • Where: Luca - Port District
  • Date: June 23, 2019
  • Summary: Lydia saves Ivan from drowning, then Lydia saves Ivan from Ivan.

==========================<* Luca - Port District *>==========================

Luca is the largest port and second-largest city in Spira, located the southern tip of the archipelago's largest island. Its location as the central port for Spira's surrounding islands has turned Luca into a thriving economic hub; Besaid, Kilika, and a dozen smaller islands all send their goods to Luca for sale, and even the Al Bhed are known to trade here from time to time.

The port district is an immense, bustling area. The largest port in Luca brings in ships from across Spira -- from small fishing ships from Besaid to Al Bhed salvage ships to large sailing vessels from Bevelle -- and a massive market to match. A large seawall keeps the waters at bay, with piers extending out past the seawall into the water.

BGM: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4CIlRCYnZcg
<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

Ivan was never a strong swimmer. There were close calls in his childhood that made him wary of the water -- and no matter how warm and inviting other people might find Spira's seas, to Ivan they always held a forebidding chill.

When he plummets from Luca's seawall and plunges under the surface, that chill finds him again, slowly but steadily sapping the strength he had left. It's all he can do to push back up to the surface for a breath of air -- his leaden limbs can barely tread water as he tries to find the docks.

There, maybe-- is that...?

But no sooner has he spied a sign of where he needs to go, than his swimming strokes falter. He bobs under the water for a dizzying moment, and drives back to the surface, but can't get enough breath before he's under again.

/Oh./

He's not going to make it, is he?

As he sinks down into the darkness, he thinks of all the different ways the future was supposed to go. If he had just been braver, stronger, more clever, /something/, maybe there would have been a place for him in the world. He could have carved one out. Instead, it finally succeeded in ridding itself of a piece that didn't fit.

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

Lydia has been in the area but not really at the battle itself. She was too conflicted to really involve herself in it. She liked the Guard, but Leo starting that war because of sass seemed strangely unlike the Leo she knew. Was it because of what happened with the Red Priestess? If she tried harder to soothe wounded egos maybe this would not have happened? Maybe... But it's not really her responsibility to be Leo's mom or whatever and tell him how to run a war campaign. With the golems around it seems like he has plenty of hands guiding him there.

Lydia might not have noticed Ivan in the water if she were not a village girl in tune with the elements and all that jazz. She senses a shifting in the water before she sees it, jogging up to it and squinting down in there.

Could it be...?

She swooshes her hand in the water a bit and examines the ripples.

Then her eyes widen and she jumps into the water without hesitation.

Lydia is not a great swimmer herself so when she sees Ivan descending she has to give it everything she's got, armor shifting away, feet spinning rapidly like propellers grotesquely but effective enough to give her the push she needs so that she lands near Ivan.

She grabs ahold of him and flat out JUMPS out of the river and onto the docks, smashing through the wood and getting stuck in there. She deftly sets Ivan down there, frantically looking over his form and wiggling around to try and push herself out of the hole she made.

After some wrecking the dock further she manages to pull herself out and flop onto the deck next to Ivan. Quickly she stumbles back into a crouch and listens for a breath.

Her eyes widen. This was not exactly the soort of training you usually expected to need in a desert but--

--but Granny Halle did give lessons on this sort of thing. What was it--

Compressions. Thirty compressions, tilt head back, breath into mouth. Okay.

Lydia gets to work. Push push push, tilt head back, breath into mouth. She follows this procedure in an increasingly panicked state of mind.

"No no no no no come on come on..." She hisses under her breath, tears falling from her eyes and she is far too busy to wipe them away or even complain about it.

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

Ivan is unresponsive through several rounds of the compressions, but finally stirs and coughs, turning to one side as he convulses and chokes the seawater out of his lungs.

As he manages a clear breath, his eyes find Lydia, and widen. He stares at her in doubt and confusion, still gasping.

"...Lydia...?"

How did she find him? She was here, during the battle? ...She saved him? Is this really something that's happening, or is he having some kind of hallucination while he continues to drown?

He reaches up to either side of her face, grasping with a kind of bleary urgency, to confirm her physical reality.

"How is it you...? How are you here...?"

Lydia has as much a right to be in Luca as anyone! But that she would somehow be here and find him and drag him out of that nightmare... oh, he feels very strange about that. Something kind of aches in his chest. Is that his emotions or the chest compressions?? Maybe something of both.

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

Lydia is staring down at Ivan as he stirs from his unconciousness, staring down at him in numb shock for a few moments. She sniffs a few times, rubs at her eyes now at least and says, "You're alive..." almost as if she wasn't expecting him to be alive. She has never actually had to perform a CPR before even if she was shown the exercises after all.

Ivan grabs at her face and pulls on it. It is, of course, comically squoshy in this moment. Ivan can pull and tug on it for a few moments before she bursts out laughing.

"Ahahahahahah! You're alive! You're alive!"

She exhales out in relief sinking back for a moment, breathing gradually stilling as she calms herself down. She doesn't answer his quesitons all that immediately because she's kind of in this manic state here.

"Oh thank the Guardians... you're alive." Lydia repeats before placing her hands on Ivan's shoulders, head hanging low.

"....So I can kill you...!"

She starts shaking Ivan rapidly back and forth with her terrible killer cyborg grip.

"You said you weren't gonna die you liar liar liar liar!! Last one to die you said, last one! Well they're still fighting over there, Ivan!! War's not over!!"

Shake shake shake shake shake shake!!

And then she hugs him, devolving inncoherently into relieved sobs. She has a strange way of trying to kill Ivan here but honestly judging from past experiences it might be successful.

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

Ivan is shaken! And given time to dwell on his transgressions! Augh! She's right! He really did do a terrible job of living up to that promise!!

"I should've--had a disclaimer---said last to die--unless some asshole throws me in the sea!"

That is obviously a reasonable exception to the promise, so much so it should go without saying. Right??

And then she stops shaking him and hugs him and cries and that is even more confusing and terrifying, maybe, than the drowning was.

"Wait, don't...! I'm sorry...?"

Is this really happening? Is this really happening? This isn't supposed to happen, is it? Is something wrong? Is something confused? Did he trick her? Did he lie? Is it really about Talia? Is he just a stand-in? Is...

He realizes that there is a part of him that fiercely doesn't care, does not want to think about any of that. Everything was gone! There wasn't going to be anything ever again! He had fucked up and lost his life and now he has it back because... Lydia wanted him to?

In a mad moment of outrageous rule-breaking he returns the hug for just a few beats, squeezing tightly, before he releases her again and tries to pull away from her entirely with doubt and regret whirling through his head.

That was probably a really bad move that means all kinds of things he's going to regret having said because he can't be anyone to her at all!

BUT ALSO THAT'S JUST A RULE HE MADE UP AND HE WOULDN'T EVEN HAVE ANY RULES IF HE WAS DEAD.

Yeah but he's not dead, he's alive, instead, and it all still matters.

But Lydia seemed really... precious just then and...and... he doesn't know what he's doing, okay!?

"Thank you!" he says, with a horrified look on his face that doesn't seem to go with 'thank you' at all.

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

To be fair!! Ivan has expressed his fondness of not dying in the past. Maybe that wasn't to Lydia though. Honestly her player forgot. But accepting not dying is probably okay within the Ivan ruleset! Maybe rulesets in general can be suspended when you are suspended in water. Because you are drowning.

Normally Lydia would totally freak out at being hugged or maybe start teasing Ivan but right now she's just glad he's not dead. This is in spite of his threat to murder him for daring to die. Lydia hopes one day to learn the Lydia ruleset because so far it seems like those are changing daily considering how wild just living in this screwed up reality is sometimes.

It takes Ivan a couple tries to pull away because Lydia was NOT drowning a moment ago but eventually it happens.

WHY was Lydia here? That might be a slew of circumstances coming together to make Lydia think a) Ivan might not actually come back thanks to b) Ethius mentioning the Guard had a whole new secret weapon they hadn't even used against Sin those cheeky chooks and c) Krelian. She isn't sure what Krelian means in this circusmtance but she has a feeling more is going on than is immediately apparent and maybe someone even has it out for Ivan personally. And apparently she was right because someone threw Ivan into the ocean

(because he was trying to murder someone)

((but Lydia doesn't know that))

Lydia wipes at her eyes AGAIN and looks at Ivan's horrified expression. Her eyes widen and she covers her mouth and makes a, "Phbbbhhtt." noise before, eyes squinting tight before she screams into her hands (largely muffled). After letting her hands drop a second time she says, "Uh."

Long pause.

"Y..you're welcome?"

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

Ivan is pulled out of his own feedback loop of freaking out at the situation when Lydia does that mysterious scream thing. The horror on his face fades into more of a concerned question mark, and he blinks. He knew he was not supposed to return hugs -- they are tricks and really weird things happen if you return them and you get in trouble.

(She may have just been releasing excess energy from the whole harrowing situation, however).

"I need to..." he wants to say something like 'pay you back,' but something holds him back from like immediately trying to bury what happened beneath his usual transactionalism. He feels like he needs to... honor it somehow.

But instead of saying something meaningful, he just trails off the initial statement and keeps sitting there looking kind of lost. Admittedly, he's exhausted and soaked and cold and his brain has a tendency not to fire on all cylinders even after much tamer underwater crises where he doesn't spend a minute or two possibly being dead. Not that he fully grasps that this happened.

He finally asks, hesitantly, and knowing it doesn't really fulfill his objectives in this moment, but it's better than sitting in confused silence, "...what was the scream about?"

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

"Scream?" Lydia asks.

It takes her a moment to understand what Ivan is referring to because while it may have SOUNDED like she was screaming into her hand she was uh... You see, Ivan saying 'thank you' while looking completely horrified it kind of, well, it kind of--

"OH!" Lydia says, realization dawning on her. "You were uh making a weird face so I kind of...uh... I didn't want to be rude about it but I guess since I was kind of relieved and my heart was racing--" She pauses a moment because she isn't entirely sure what she's actually using but it's probably heartesque. "Well I didn't want to laugh you know? So I covered my mouth."

She mimes it.

"Lkk ssh." She says before droping her hand again. "Anyway you're ok! That's good. Uh. Though we should probably... get you dry clothes. So you don't get sick and die after being saved from dying. That would be, like, super sad."

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

"Oh! You were laughing at me?" He sounds oddly relieved at that possibility instead of offended; he even makes kind of a weird, fleeting smile at her re-enactment. Maybe some of the usual rules really have been suspended.

As she talks about dry clothes, though, he looks out at the activity beyond the docks, with a grimace.

"Like you said, they're still fighting. Maybe I should rejoin them."

Her point about not risking dying so soon after being saved, apparently was not received at all.

"... I..." his eyes flick back up to the seawall.

"I left an ally behind. I think she died, but if she could have made it and I just leave..."

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

"Wh--I didn't mean it like that! I was just relieved..!" Lydia stammers because she is feeling judged for her instinctive reaction here! Even though Ivan does seem like he's actually more relieved at being 'laughed at'. "Well I wasn't trying to be mean. It's just... a lot at once. Right."

She exhales out what feels like the longest breath she's been holding. She looks towards the fighting. The fighting IS still going on and it's true if Ivan showed up in a fresh pair of clothes it might seem a little off.

But Lydia says, "Okay I hear what you're saying." Lydia says. "And if y'describe her maybe we can look for her. But like--uh..." She trails off. "Here's an idea. How about we take a minute to warm up so that if someone does try to murder you or both of us or whatever, you don't catch pneumonia and die before they kill you because you also nearly drowned and probably can barely fight in your condition anyway."

She blinks a few times.

"If you can still cast spells maybe we can do a small fire?"

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

"I think I can make a fire," Ivan says. "Unless my soul is wet." Which seems possible to him in this moment, even if it's a concept he just made up. He feels awful, aching from head to toe, and absolutely sapped. But if he forced himself, he could probably stand up, and walk, and sift through rubble, and fight in a war. Couldn't he?

For now, he meets her request, cupping his hands and letting a floating ball of flame take shape between them, and then rise and grow. It stays hovering in the air near them, about equidistant, since Lydia is just as soaked.

He sighs a little as the warmth reaches him.

"I can probably fight, still," he says, although he feels and looks guilty making the claim out loud because he just catastrophically broke a promise regarding his supposed toughness.

"I really messed this one up," he admits.

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

It's true! What does Lydia think she's going to do about it if you decide to go off and put yourself into a life or death situation just after escaping a near death experience?

She thinks she's going to knock Ivan out with her bat and then tie him up. That's what she thinks she's going to do if Ivan decides he still is going to go back in there.

"Probably." Lydia says. "If definitely nearly killed you I'm not sure I want to know about probably." She pauses as she sees the guilty look and her cheeks silver faintly and she looks away. "Sorry. I mean. What even happened? You usually like at least escape better than this."

The difference of course is that he wasn't fighting the Caravan Kinship he was fighting people willing to murder him back. She looks out over the water.

"Maybe I could catch a fish or something, but I've got some jerky on me if you want that."

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

"I went after Seymour Guado," Ivan says. "He might be dead, too, now." He says this slowly and carefully, in a neutral tone, in case it turns out Lydia was a fan. She seems to be a fan, or a friend, or a relative, of just about everyone he knows. That makes it especially dangerous to kill anyone, lately.

"But before he went down, one of my allies took a hit for me, and then a building collapsed on her. And after, one of his guards threw me over the edge."

If Seymour did die, does that mean the fighting will die out soon, or was that just a pointless hope? There are a lot of noisy and terrifying things going on with golems that are probably more important, in the long run.

He pauses at the offers of food. He can't take food from Lydia. It's a rule! Or can he?

"If... you want me to eat jerky or a fish, I will," he tells her solemnly. "Because I owe you my life."

...this may not be how she wishes to redeem that favor, but who knows.

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

"Oh." Lydia says. "I don't know who that--"

She pauses for a moment before realizing. "No I do ... I know of him." That doesn't seem to be friend, relative, or fan though the way she is frowning might be concerning. She wonders about this girl too who took a hit for Ivan. Are they like murder friends or something? A building seems to have fallen on her and that usually kills people but a building fell on Talia and that didn't kill her so, you know, maybe people aren't quite as easy to die a they usually appear sometimes.

"What I want is for you to rest until you're healed up but eating something is a minimum. I don't know if I can get a fish with my bare hands so I guess... yeah. Jerky it is." She reaches into her pocket, her hands shaking as she does so. Maybe she's still cold. Maybe it's something else. Nevertheless, she manages to hand over a mostly full pack of jerky towards Ivan. "Have as much as you want." She says.

She looks down for a few moments, thinking about this Seymour character who may or may not be dead.

"Was the guy who threw you over.... I...uh...."

Why can't she even tell Ivan of all people about him? Is she worried about how he'll feel knowing that someone she knows is working for SEymour and also he should probably stay away from him because he's super dangerous? And if she did tell him about this, would he still try to go and kill these people? Maybe he accidentally foiled Krelian's plan? Why doesn't she feel happy about that? She should right? Ugh. She just wants to have cute adventures with this cute guy and maybe not bother with the world for a while. She already helped save it once, right? She's done her time or whatever.

She tries another track. "Who was it that threw you over? What did he look like?" That's easier, she finds. If it's the same guy she can tell him to avoid that guy and he probably will because he nearly murdered him.

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

Ivan takes the jerky from her and obediently starts to eat some of it, still very serious about the task, as part of his life-debt and all. He also looks self conscious about it, for some reason.

He blinks as she reveals that she doesn't know Seymour Guado, but seems very much like she might've known one of his jerk guards.

He makes his best effort to describe Wedge, while subduing the impulse to also add insulting commentary, in case Lydia is asking because somehow despite not knowing Seymour Guado, she has a secret best friend who went to work for him or whatever.

"I don't think I killed him," he adds, helpfully. He looked very alive when he was hurling Ivan over the edge.

"...but since you know a lot of the Guard, too, my ally who might've been killed was named Pearl."

He hopes that isn't gutting news.

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

"Pearl?" Lydia says. "No, I mean... I'm sure I've met a Pearl before it's not exactly the rarest of names but I don't know of any Pearl." Pearl exploded shadow chi through Lydia's chest but she never saw it coming actually and also nobody ever told her her identity so...uh... she's a little sad about this person she doesn't know who seems to have died a horrible death that Ivan cares about for some reason.

Does he care care about her? Lydia isn't sure but isn't about to get jealous of a possible corpse like she's not that crazy.

"Nah...he isn't--that isn't him. Man fuck that guy. Honestly fuck both of 'em."

Who the other one in 'being fucked' is uncertain and Lydia doesn't seem willing or able to share any details on them. But her expression is not the expression of someone who considers that individual their best friend. If anything she seems to be looking at Ivan with EVEN MORE concern than before.

"Well, I'm uh. I'm glad he threw you over instead of, I don't know, stabbing you repeatedly in the heart or something but it kinda seems like you were having a pretty tough misson there."

She watches Ivan eat jerky seriously and self-conciously.

He's still alive. That thought just keeps running through her head until it drowns out a lot of the other nonsense going on there and, to be fair, there is a lot of nonsense.

"We should go out sometime." Lydia says right as Ivan is about to swallow. "Like to a place that you can buy food at. And eat that food. Food that isn't jerky. And it'll be fun because nobody is drowning or having their head shot in."

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

Ivan is unaware of Lydia's concerns regarding Pearl, but it is really that he had just unwisely started going around the Guard getting everyone's tragic backstories, so he felt like he knew her, and the biggest thing he knew about her was she had a major life goal that did not involve being killed by Seymour Guado while picking up Ivan's slack. And then also because what happened to her seemed so tied up in his own mistakes in that battle as to be his fault...He's dwelling on it and feeling very responsible.

But as far as the actual conversation they're having, Lydia is being sort of cagey and mysterious about her questioning about Seymour's guard. So is there someone Lydia particularly hates who works for Seymour instead? Ivan didn't know Lydia had people like that.

"Is there somebody I should keep an eye out for...?" he asks.

But, oh. Oh no. That's when Lydia asks him out. For food. Ivan freezes into a statue just as surely as if Lydia had fixed him with some sort of Paralyzing Stare, only his eyes moving to meet hers, wide with Doubt and Terror.

"...to pay you back for saving my life?" he asks, his voice just a smidge higher than usual.

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

Lydia can't do much for Pearl one way or the other. If she saw someone who had building dropped on them and was somehow alive her instinct would be to save them, even Pearl! Unless she knew it was the Pearl who nearly murdered her in which case she might throw up a double deuce, ride off, feel bad, come back, and then rescue her. But it is unusual that Ivan is showing concern for this person isn't it?

Maybe it isn't. He has always seemed to be a guy who worries about others a lot even if he's also a guy who goes around murdering. It sounds like a uniquely torturous experience. It would probably be easier for him if he didn't care, but he does, and that's the problem isn't it?

In this case there is also even an actual explainable reason in her head to maybe not tell Ivan too much about this guy since sometimes ignorance is bliss. So she says, "Just you know. Be careful. This war feels weird. Even for a war."

Besides there is the more pertinent question. Normally Lydia would play along. This time, though, nope!

"Nah. No payback involved here. Just having fun for the sake of having fun like a couple of people who aren't completely fucked up."

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

Ivan blinks, unsure what Lydia means about weird wars versus normal wars, but nods anyway, as if he understands how to take this advice. He's never really been to a war before, so he wouldn't know. And today's experience kind of proved to him that he isn't sure how to put 'be careful' into practice without compromising in his weird new all-encompassing mission to avoid losing or giving up on things.

He seems simultaneously relieved and dissappointed by Lydia's response about the food outing. He recovers the ability to move again, and his shoulders slump.

"Then... no, I don't think so. I don't think I can do that."

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

Lydia just feels uneasy about it. Maybe because of that guy she seems hesitant to tell anybody about.

"Oh." She says to Ivan's response. Naturally she seems incredibly dissapointed and simultaneously not at all relieved.

She looks at the floor. And then she laughs a little and adds, "That's ok. Maybe later."

Maybe...later.

"I guess it wouldn't be much point if you weren't enjoying it." Yeah sadly it seems like she still intends to ask about it again another time. In some nebulous future point.

"Did you know about the golems?" Lydia asks. "They're pretty bad news."

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

Ivan winces at her disappointment. But hasn't he already allowed too much Lydia-related fun to sneak into his life under various guises? And that's obviously opened the door to Lydia wanting to just have regular fun, instead, because having fun meticulously rebranded as work and business probably feels really stupid.

But he isn't supposed to be having fun, he traded that in for not taking any responsibility for his life even if he gets told to kill people who don't deserve it. And he knows that trade wasn't the right decision but the point isn't that people are supposed to think it's a great decision, it's that everyone who knows about that choice is supposed to find him abhorrent and leave him to his crappy choices and not try to go out to dinner with him and things.

He's so confused. What is he trying to do, anyway? What would any of it have meant if he had died a few minutes ago?

"I don't know how to enjoy things," he tries to explain, knowing it sounds lame.

But the golems are a safer topic? Even if he has little to contribute.

"No, I'm not sure where they were keeping them, even. Maybe underwater or something..."

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

"Yeah I guess she kept that close to her chest. I guess Kaguya probably wants to..." She frowns faintly and doesn't finish that thought either but she knows that Kaguya had met with her people. And now her people seem cozying up with the Guard. Why? Why would they do that?

Lydia already knows why.

"Why didn't they use those against Sin?" She asks. "They seem like they would've been really useful against Sin." She pauses. "Oh uh. I'm not expecting you to know that." It's just a rhetorical question of sorts. So Ivan does wonder about it a little. Just one more attempt to keep him safe, lord knows how much she's managed of that as of late.

'I don't know how to enjoy things,' Ivan says.

Lydia tilts her head. "You need a tutorial?"

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

Ivan shakes his head and shrugs at the question about the golems, even as she gives him permission not to answer.

"Maybe they weren't finished yet..."

But even if so, if they were partway finished with giant, powerful golems, why didn't they wait to finish them to launch the attack?

"I don't think I'm supposed to know how to enjoy things," Ivan says. Even though he doesn't know if he can even remember all his rules right now, much less defend or explain them. It's probably an unsafe time to be broaching the subject. But he's also too tired to stop himself from whatever he's already doing.

"Unless I were going to try to be like a real person, which I'm not..." his voice sounds a bit dull, reciting these things.

"It's honestly kind of confusing why you like to be around me."

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

Lydia is watching a guy who nearly died forever talk about how he's not supposed to enjoy things, probably. It's the saddest thing ever.

"Okay I guess I haven't been clear about that huh?" She says, scootching closer to Ivan's fire and warming her hands off of it. She doesn't immediately continue, organizing her thoughts no doubt.

"I don't know anybody who gives themselves as much of a hard time about having hurt people as much as you do," She knows it's more than 'hurt' but she doesn't really want to phrase Ivan so directly as a killer right now even if they both know what they're talking about here. Killings. "Even mom is okay with enjoying things even though she does cry a lot and really seems depressed a lot of the time."

Lydia looks into the fire. "I thought for a while I could do it a bunch, kill people. It seemed like that's just how the Badlands were. Janus, the guy who shot me, was kind of like the person I figured was just how you had to be. Take what you want, shoot em or whatever. It's fine. But then I thought about it and thought it would be kind of gross to do. When I actually did kill someone it was an accident and it was really gross and he was just everywhere and I just really didn't like doing it."

"You probably wouldn't make it very far on Filgaia with that attitude. If you tried to kill someone and failed on Filgaia, most of 'em aren't like Jay or Riese. They'd shoot you right back. They'd throw you into a river like the guy you were up against today. I'm not saying you're bad at it or anything, at the murders but life is a lot cheaper where I'm from even if you're just a trying to mind your own business in a town. At least in the Badlands, Adlehyde was nicer until the Demons attacked."

"Anyway." She continues. "That doesn't really have much to do with why I like you, it's just like--I'm not going to get mad because someone did some murders at the behest of someone else, especially if I can tell they don't really want to be doing it. I think it makes you sick to do it the way it makes me sick even if your situation kinda means you gotta. It's just I can like someone like that. And I can get why they don't want to be responsible for doing it. It's gross to do even if you have to do it. It's like some kind of...disruption of what should be there." She doesn't seem to have, strangely, the belief that killing people is wrong because then they are dead and can't do living person things, she speaks of it more like someone taking a piece of art and drawing over it in crayon. She has difficulty expressing it as if she doesn't have the right words for it in her head but something makes her ill inclined to kill people herself. Like it's just plain making a mess.

"Point is I figure I can like someone like that or I dono't have to dislike them? But that's just like opening the door to liking them it's not like the reason why. The reason why is a lot simpler honestly."

"I like to be around you," Lydia says. "Because you don't say you care about me. You act like you do."

Pause. "Sorry that you had to find out this way."

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

Lydia launches into her explanation of why she hangs out with Ivan. Her opener, I don't know anybody who gives themselves as much of a hard time about having hurt people as much as you do, gets an immediate look of incredulous denial from him, but he doesn't cut her off, listening on to the rest.

She goes on to describe her experience with, and relationship with death. How it was commonplace on Filgaia and everyone was tough and hardened to killing, and how she accidentally killed someone herself, in a gruesome way that made her decide didn't want killing to be a big part of her life.

She makes it sound like he has a very shallow and naive view of the world that he's imposing over everybody instead of listening to what their actual values are... and even though she's talking about a different world, she isn't really wrong.

He has something to say about that, and he's opening up his mouth to say it, when she hits him with:

You don't say you care about me. You act like you do.

Ivan practically jumps out of his skin. That can't be true, can it?! He set her on fire at least twice!! That is an automatic disqualifier from 'acting like you care,' even and perhaps ESPECIALLY if you go bugging the person afterward to see how they're doing.

"Wait, no you've got it backwards! I've been acting like that because you were already hanging around me and I didn't just want to keep punishing you for it!"

He sighs and sags forward, holding his head in his hands.

"Listen... ... maybe you know this already from knowing Talia, but... I haven't really been out in the world like this very much...or really, ever. I left home for missions but it was never long enough to feel like I really needed to talk to anyone or do anything that wasn't about making money. And anyway that would be like -- it feels weird, it's creepy. The only thing I do with the outside world is kill people from it. It would be like running a slaughterhouse and going around trying to make friends with the chickens. I've never been anywhere this long before Spira. So when I say I'm not a person, I don't mean I think I'm the worst person who ever lived and the only one who's too terrible to like, I just mean there's nothing going on with me. There's nobody in here. I'm just a bunch of stuff I know how to do, and most of them are about killing people.

I was kind of like a person sometimes so Talia wouldn't be alone, and lately I guess I've been doing that with you, too, but it's not real or anything."

He hesitates at his own words, looking up at her again with worry.

"I mean, please don't tell her that, I don't think she'd want to know that."

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

Lydia says all sorts of nonsensical things! Can any of it have a kernel of truth to it? Is she completely baffled? Warped??

It is true Ivan set her on fire twice. And yet she still says she likes him.

"Well maybe that used to be the case." Lydia admits. "I guess I can't really say. I don't know you from before then, I only know the person I've seen since and he does other stuff besides murder people." Sometimes he murders fish for instance.

It's honestly pretty philisophical to put one's own identity to the test. Is Ivan a real person or just a collection of skills, most of which seem to involve murdering and some personality frameworks overlaying all that that don't mean anything and aren't real. Who is real anyway?

Lydia raises her hand and looks at it. Is it really a hand? Or is it a bunch of tiny machines interconnecting so tightly that it forms the shape of a hand?

She slowly lowers her hand back down and says, "That's ok I can keep it in the existential angst portion of whatever I have for a brain."

"I could say the same thing about me, though. Maybe I'm not a real person either." Lydia says. "I mean, yeah, I have a person's memories with me but I don't know if they're really my memories. Maybe beneath all that I'm just a machine that looks at what I'm supposed to look at, reports what I'm supposed to report, and stabs what I'm supposed to stab."

She shrugs both shoulders. "But so what? Is it okay to just give up because I can lose my autonomy at any moment? Because being a person is hard? I ... I know from experience that sometimes what you look like, or what you think you are, is not what you actually are."

"I mean, I was stuck in a village for most of my life, was I not a person then? I don't know if I'm comfortable saying personhood is equated based on how much you've traveled either."

"Besides," She looks away here, a pouty expression on her face. "I can't help who I like."

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

Lydia if you mention murdering fish he's going to jump back into the water!!

Ivan shrugs at her response, looking guilty.

"I didn't mean my home town..."

Having only experienced one village isn't the same as having mostly been confined to one building and to a large extent one interpersonal relationship. But by the same token, feeling insecure about your worth as the person isn't really on the same scale as being made of tiny robots that may not answer only to you.

"This is why it's simpler just to say I don't have any problems," he says. "It doesn't really compare to the stuff you've got to worry about."

He pauses. "I'm glad you liked me enough to fish me out of the ocean, though."

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

"I. Oh. Yeah. I guess that's true. Being stuck in a house is pretty different." Lydia admits, rubbing at her neck. "But, like, I'm not saying that stuff to play at who has the bigger problems, though? Like, I'm sorry if that's how I'm coming across but that's not what I mean. Like, I'm trying to say 'Look our problems aren't exactly the same, but they aren't totally different', you know? Does that make any sense?"

She laughs a bit, cheering up. He's still alive. And still just as frustrating as ever. Being frustrating honestly isn't that big of a deal right now though. He can frustrate away right now.

"I'd do it again too," She tells Ivan. "But oceans are pretty big, so try to avoid it? I know some swimming teachers and I think they're pretty good."

She looks out to the battle. "Do you really have to go back now?"

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

"But I wasn't stuck, either, I just..." He sighs. What is he doing! He can't push her to aknowledge a thing and then downplay it! They're just going in a circle now. And he made her feel awkward about opening up about more of her feelings about being experimented on. What a mess!

He doesn't feel like the two kinds of worrying-you're-not-a-person have much overlap, but he doesn't want her to feel alone with hers, either. Not for the first time, he wishes someone else would just kind of step in and have a conversation with her on his behalf so they could say the right things and mean them in the right way..

He definitely told her way too much stuff--and where did it get either of them? What's she supposed to do with it?

Do you really have to go back?

He follows her gaze back to the fight.

"I guess I probably do," he says, realizing that he'd only meant to stay a little while. How long have they been sitting here, talking...?

"My magic still works, if nothing else."

He summons his warhammer from his ring, and it plonks down heavily on the deck. He leans it on his shoulder and starts kind of slowly climbing it to get to his feet like it's a walking staff, breathing carefully and trying not to make a face when he puts weight down on the messed-up ankle.

"Oh... wow, I guess there was fighting here too... the dock's all broken."

He just now noticed that.

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

What is she supposed to do with it?

Wait was this her plan all along? To keep Ivan blabbing until he forgot about the fight? And then she screwed it up by mentioning the fighting again? Maybe she has a newer, better plan if that's the case.

She stands herself up shortly after Ivan.

"Oh that part was me." Lydia says. "When I jumped back out of the water with you I uh, fell too hard, I guess. I mean it's just wood and I had gravity on my side so..."

She rubs the side of her neck more awkwardly as he plunks his warhammer down from that ring of his. She blinks a few times.

She sees him wince.

Yeah, she thinks, if I let him go and fight he is going to be totally killed.

"Well," Lydia says. "I am pretty sure if you go like this you will totally die." She swings her bat over her shoulder. "You want me to help you walk over there? That seems pretty dumb to be honest, but maybe it'll be cute too so it can work out."

She gives the bat a few experimental swings like she was about to play a ball game, studying Ivan's head as if she were trying to get a feel for the thickness of his skull.

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

He looks down at the dock. "Oh. Yeah, I guess that makes sense, too." She doesn't really swim so much as walk around in there, so if it was really deep, she'd have to jump? ...his eyes glaze over in faint horror at the thought that all of that nonsense had to actually happen while she was probably carting him around because he was a stupid idiot who got himself almost drowned.

I am pretty sure if you go like this you will totally die.

"I will not," says Ivan, with strained dignity. "I will make a lot of fire and I won't die."

Plonk, plonk, as he walks with the warhammer-turned-walking-stick.

"I'd rather you didn't come, though, I'd feel weird about making you fight with me."

Also, what if she died?! Double standards.

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

Lydia looks at Ivan for a few moments. She looks at the giant robots and fire and death and destruction and horrible situation all around. She COULD just insist she come along but honestly, she isn't sure she could protect him that way. There is a certain risk she supposes but--well--what is she going to do? Just let him go on a suicide mission because of his pride?

Ehhnn. No. Fuck that noise.

"Fair enough." She says. "You won't die."

And then she swings the bat to make sure he doesn't make it to the battle. It's the kindest thing she can do for him. He probably won't thank her for it either but that's okay.

She already knows her own feelings and if she has to protect Ivan from Ivan then so be it.

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

Though, all told, Ivan's skull is probably thicker than most, the bat wins. It connects from behind with a soft crack, and Ivan goes down, flomping facefirst onto the docks.

... ... ... honestly that was probably for the best, though.

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

Well it's a thick skull alright. Which is good. Lydia nervously wonders if she just murdered Ivan right there and reaches down to feel at his pulse. Luckily this is a JRPG mush so the fact she didn't mean to kill him counts for a lot here. Blame it on precise mechanical implementation of force if you'd like.

She breathes a sigh of relief upon feeling one. "Okay," She says, hefting Ivan upon her shoulders.

She is reminded of Ethius frankly for a moment where a guy she cares about (if in very different ways) is somehow still managing to be incredibly frustrating. Maybe she likes frustration or something. "Honestly this is why I usually go for girls. So much less bullshit." She mutters. But Ivan.EXE a selection of personality overlays that isn't really a person somehow functions in a way that makes Lydia feel special and important and she isn't about to allow that personality overlay get themselves killed.

Even if it means clobbering Talia's sister upside the head. Is this saving his life twice? Maybe she should deduct .5 due to the head injury. Saved his life 1.5 times in one day. He'll probably find it mortifying.

"Let's get you to the evac point." She says, apparently ignorant of the fact that they probably aren't fond of the Guard there.

But on the other hand they don't have to know he's from the Guard right? What are the odds of Ivan just telling them?

Maybe she better hold onto the bat, she thinks, as she marches off.