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 The Pain That Defines Us [Ritsuko Zayasu :: Morning]

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PostSubject: The Pain That Defines Us [Ritsuko Zayasu :: Morning]   Sat Nov 19, 2016 12:59 am

Nebula watched as her father stopped moving and slumped into the ground, blood splashing across both her and his own clothes. The limp, lifeless body that lay before her called out her name "Nebula. Nebula. Nebula." Over and over and over like a madman's interpretation of what a broken record sounds like. Then, something miraculous happened. Instead of the voices of all her former friends and family screaming inside her mind, she heard nothing. Complete silence. Then, she watched in astonishment as her father stood up...




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...and hugged her.


-----------------------------------------------------------------

Nebula woke up with a jolt, as she did all mornings since that day, but this time... she wasn't screaming. In fact, there was a definitive lack of drenching sweat tears this time around too. Her nightmare... had taken a turn for the better. What sort of mandess was this? She didn't deserve forgiveness from her father, not yet! She still had so much to do before she could truly consider herself a hero! Even if she'd joined the cadets, that only meant that she'd gained a chance at forgiveness, not forgiveness itself!

Nebula refused to believe this was forgiveness. Maybe her father was trying to tell her something else? Maybe he wanted to see her? That sounded like the most rational (though not very rational in its own right to her) explanation. Nebula took a quick shower, ate a quick breakfast, and put on her clothes quickly. The sudden change in her nightmare routine had made her determined: This was the day she would stop chickening out and actually visit her father's grave.

She walked a bit, holding her sketchbook close, until she reached the Mortimier Family Morgue And Cemetery, where her father laid in rest. She looked around for a bit, in search of his specific tombstone, untile she finaly found it. Nebula was able to muster the courage to come here, but... not the courage to speak to him. All she did was stand quietly above his grave, taking in once more the reality that her hands had brought into this world. All she could do was stare.


"..."
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PostSubject: Re: The Pain That Defines Us [Ritsuko Zayasu :: Morning]   Sun Nov 20, 2016 1:49 am

The sound of crunching gravel underfoot sang along with the morning larks and rustling of the leaves in the trees as Ritsuko made her lonely way up the dirt trail, her guitar jostling over her shoulder with a familiar weight with every hiking step she made. It was early. Much too early for her taste, but Ritz never forgot the promises she made to herself. Last night she had been filled to the brim with determination, her mission having lain her next objective in front of her on a silver platter. She felt guilty for having let herself down before, for not committing herself as closely to her goal as she would have liked, but that was the past. Today was today. Even if today was a pretty shitty one already.

She had been exhausted yet unable to sleep, leading her to awake before she had any rhyme or reason to. Four hours of fitful sleep full of unrest tugged at her stamina, and a dull thud pierced through her mind from drinking as much as she had. It wasn't as terrible as the other day though. Puking up all the toxins in her body and a steady diet of water and greasy goodness saw to that. Still, it sucked big time to be up so early in the day after her very eventful night and she wasn't feeling 100% but it was leagues better than her previous drinking binge. The scenery was striking with its pastel greens of placid fields, soft yellows of the dying orchard leaves, and the vibrant blue of the morning sky shining down a warm, welcoming light down upon her. Nature's concerto hummed peacefully with the upbeat melodies of bluebirds in perfect harmony with the gentle breeze along the tall grass and tall trees. But the air? Absolutely loathsome. The wind was a lot cooler than she'd liked and the air smelled of shit. Literally shit. One would expect the country atmosphere to smell reminiscent of fresh cut apples, of hay and rolling fields. But no. It stank of pig shit instead. At least in the city she was accustomed to the smog and pollution so much that she didn't notice it, but here the stench was vile. Fuckin' hicks.

She came prepared for the occasion regardless, both with clothing and her travel supplies. She'd brought along a few bottles of water she filled from the tap and her comfortable walking shoes, some beat-up sneakers that could use a visit to the trash bin and her worn-down white cargos that with the frayed cuffs and a patch in the knee. She'd had them since she'd been out on her own three years ago, and it was cheaper to sew up a black handkerchief to the dead space than buy a new pair. Gave it a cool pattern, too. Overtop a red and black flannel over a black long-sleeve did an adequate job of defending her against the chill, but it wasn't perfect. Her scratched aviator sunglasses at least did what they were designed to do and left her with some semblance of eyesight in the powerful sun.

The walk was long and uneventful, which was alright with her, but she'd already discarded three spent cigarettes on the side of the road. The bus only went so far. Most people out here had their own vehicle to bring them out to the sticks but that was a luxury Ritz couldn't afford. Getting to decompress wasn't anything to complain about but she found herself wanting to fill the gap and occupy herself. Smoking was easy enough to do. She had a lot of time to herself on the walk, more time to process what she'd seen last night. Demons, just like five years ago. Only she had more work to do. They wouldn't find her every time, she'd need to seek them out. And where there was smoke there was fire. They had to come from somewhere, Ritsuko didn't believe with the constant cadet patrols they would pop out from nowhere, and a weakling like that wouldn't have just slipped through the cracks. It meant something, she could feel it. Nothing happened at happenstance. It was worth looking into. But she had no leads aside from any she could root out for herself, and right now she set back to her original task: the researchers had to be dead. The majority died in the facility back during the Eternal Divide and she hadn't seen anyone in those blood-stained streets, but it was entirely possible that some survived. That was unacceptable. That was why she was way the hell out in the middle of nowhere. One could never be too sure.

The sight of the cemetery was shocking, although it shouldn't have been. Even from afar it was quite the expansive plot. It made sense. A lot had lost their lives to the Eternal Divide and many more were missing. But the sheer size of it was a little to take in. The owners certainly took advantage of the tragic situation, bunch of self-serving vultures. Ritz felt... hesitant. This was it. This might be the proof she was looking for. She'd never been to the Mortimier Family Morgue And Cemetery because it was always too inconvenient, always out of her way. That stopped today. She wouldn't make any more excuses. Today she would find the truth. They had to be dead... or Ritsuko had a lot more work to do to put them back here where they belonged.

The weight of the situation wasn't lost on her as Ritz ascended the gentle slope, dirt crunching under her light footfalls. It permeated the atmosphere, this decision. No matter what she found things would never be the same. Should she find everyone accounted for deep in the ground, she could break that heavy chain around her neck. Move on, live her own life free of fear for a change. But if she found nothing... it would amount to a whole different set of priorities. Ritsuko loved her freedom, to be herself without repercussion, but she had never been free as long as she lived. She'd been shackled to her past, even when she held more control over her immediate actions aside from obedience vs. malignance. Always running, never ceasing, lest they find her and put her to the sword. The musician could never rest, never relax until she was certain all of those detestable individuals and their associates were nothing more than a bitter memory.

At last she crested the hill, and time stood still for her. There were no more meadow larks, just the chilling breeze from the long forgotten and forlorn. Dead silence. Only the unsuppressed howl of the wind expressed their desires. To be heard... to be remembered... but something was amiss. On so early of a morning Ritsuko expected to be alone but... wasn't. She recognized the still shadow peeking above the headstones. It was the woman from earlier the other day. Her mind jumped back to her sketch: a macabre peace with hopeful implications. She could see the determination within that sketch and left her afraid, fearful enough to leave. But today was a new day. Today she was indebted, today there were favors she needed to deliver upon. She was in control of what she did, and no good deed went unpunished. Finding a place to relax upon, Ritsuko brought forth her muse to bear, the dilapidated fenceline at the edge of the property. She picked up on subtlety easily and right now was no different. It came to her easily her motivation, how she was able to sketch such sickeningly sweet drawings. This was her answer. And Ritz would not be outdone.

Oath to the Lost:
 

Her fingers glided over the strings, unleashing her own twisted emotions to the airwaves. It was a song of loss, one of mourning, a song to meet the shy artist's own feeling with her own. It echoed loudly through the boneyard in a solemn concert. She never felt what it was like to lose, but at least she felt the agony of having never having anything to lose in the first place.
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PostSubject: Re: The Pain That Defines Us [Ritsuko Zayasu :: Morning]   Mon Nov 21, 2016 12:17 am

There were so many things that Nebula wanted to say, but they were so many... so many that instead of coming out as they should, they all clogged up in her throat in a desperate race to be the first to be said. On top of that, while she could go on for hours and hours talking about this endless ocean of feelings to her father... what would really be the point? It's not like he would care, right? Why'd she even come here? It was foolish, selfish and egotistical of her to come here thinking her father would want to bare to see her face again. Feeling like she'd committed a heavy infringement, Nebula was about to turn around and leave, when a certain familiar sound filled the air... it was a guitar. An electric guitar full of sadness and melancholy. Beneath her bangs, Nebula redirected her eyes to the side to see the source of the music for herself, though the source would be unable to notice that Nebula's eyes had shifted, as the space between her bangs through which she was looking was way too small to be seen through from any distance other than directly behind it. It was the musician from the bus stop... playing yet another emotion-loaded piece.

The song itself... it made her think of many things, but it made her think of one thing above all other things: Her father. Before mom died and they were both kicked out of their lives and into hell, he was the most loving, most perfect father that had ever graced the earth. He worked hard every day to be better, and put every single ounce of himself on the line to make his wife and daughter as happy as they could possibly be. She taught Nebula invaluable life lessons, such as those that she would've never been able to learn from anybody else, and he was loving beyond all reason. It was only after the divide that he turned dark, cold and bitter. The death of his wife drove him off the edge, and he became clinically insane, though Nebula never had the heart to turn him in to an insane asylum because she feared what they would do to him... so she suffered. She suffered his insanity so that he may live a life that was at the very least awarded basic human decencies. As she knew way too well, however, those plans for continued life were rudely interrupted... by no other than her own monstrous self. She wasn't strong enough to endure his insanity. She should've been stronger, but... being the disgusting being she was, she gave into her pain.

Nebula began to see images of her father inside her own mind. She saw him smiling, laughing, sleeping, crying, and finally, sleeping... forever...

Tears began to stream down Nebula's cheecks, and her breath began to be broken apart by intermittent sobbing. Even somebody standing yards away would be able to tell that she was crying her eyes out. Despite this her posture remained unchanged, her hands remained at her sides, and her head remained looking down. The tears had forced their way, but Nebula would still do her very best to appear as strong as possible in front of her father. Being a veteran himself, Nebula's father took a liking to calling Nebula "His little soldier"... so that's what Nebula intended to be: A soldier. As tears rushed through her eyes like rivers, and sobbing invaded her breath like crusaders, Nebula folded her left hand behind herself, and brought her clenched right fist to her chest in a salute of her fallen warrior.
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PostSubject: Re: The Pain That Defines Us [Ritsuko Zayasu :: Morning]   Fri Nov 25, 2016 2:01 am

The soulful waves rolled over the cemetery in a morose sonnet, engulfing it in the regretful notes carried on the wind. The grass rustled in appreciation as if the dead were clawing their way toward the sound of her music, attempting to cling to one last goodbye. Hopelessness washed over Ritsuko as she sang that jaded tune through her calloused fingertips. She slowly unseated herself from the rotted wooden fence with a groan and began her slow march up and down the rows of spirits long lost, possessed by their regret, eager to personally deliver a final farewell to those gone from this world forever.

...no man may escape the claws of time and mortal strife. It is each and everyone's destiny to return to the earth what bore them. Some much sooner than others.

...

As you too will realize, one day. Your spirit... you long to hear that carrion call? To feel Death's icy embrace?

...I don't care anymore. I never did. It doesn't matter if it's now or later, no one's gonna remember me and I've got nothing to look forward to.

Hmm hmm... Perhaps it is for the best. Your fragile life is short. So delicate, like a tulip exposed to the frost. Yet... beautiful in its poetic despair. It will never survive and has no hope to, yet it sparkles with radiance in the gay sunlight...

...

You have a lot of passion left for this world, my child. When the flame of your soul is snuffed out, the bitter smoke will choke those who hath been inspired from the depth of your spirit. The world will grow darker without you.

...It doesn't matter. No one can understand. It's just noise to them, not songs, not music. I just... I wish someone could feel the way I feel. To... have everything taken away from you. I thought that the Eternal Divide would have left more people like me, but... everyone else is strong and I'm not. But I'm not weak, either. I'm... I'm in the middle. Everyone weaker than me is dead, and everyone stronger than me has left me behind. And now there's no one left...

You may yet be taken aback, my child. One does not need to understand noise to know what it means. You may discern a shriek of agony from a child at play, can you not?

Yeah, but-

Your words will be lost on them. Know this. It will never change as long as you still draw breath. But that does not mean you are alone in this world. Though it may be meaningless to many, to the treasured few you may strike chords that resonate deep within the heart.

...

These are those that matter, my child, no one more is worthy of your effort. Take heed, you have already done so yourself no sooner had you stepped foot on this sacred earth.

I-I... N... No, that's not what I-

What you meant to convey? You may mask your feelings from others but you cannot hide them from me.

Tch...!

I do not seek quarrel from you, but search deep inside thyself. Your own heart, cracked and rent asunder as it is, it aches for the warmth of another. You have allowed the piercing arrow of loneliness to fester into an grotesque infection so that none may see you in your true light. But this light... it will bring to you comfort.

...I know...

You will do what comes naturally to you, my child. I will not sway your decision. Your heart will decide, and I will allow that to transpire, for good or for ill.


The air hung thick with the fog of sorrow and regret as Ritsuko made her solemn rounds, forlorn eyes on the headstones. Most of them were strangers to her, numerous anonymous casualties to the tragedy five years ago. She sometimes found entire family lines under the same tombstone. It was an eye-opener, and it made fresh old scars. Some people had lost everything, and she'd been acting like her pain was so much worse. In ways it was. Many people hadn't been forced to fight and let the people around her down. Most hid or ran or were just plain lucky. Actually, most died. The few that were lucky were the ones that were still around to feel that hurt. Ritz was no different. She had been brought up to kill those things, after all. That training had saved her life at the cost of its meaning. She was a weapon at the end of the day. Nothing but a loaded gun to be pointed and fired. It made her wish that she had died instead.

Through her sanguine stroll she would find herself within earshot of the young woman sobbing her heart out with her own personal failures. It hung strong like a weight on her mind, threatening to crack her frozen heart into pieces. Her torment was... foreign to her. She had never known loss in a personal way. It had always hung above her like a sword, and ground her foundation like a weight, but never had she lost someone close to her. But it hadn't meant that she couldn't understand. The grass beneath her feet slid underneath her from the morning dew, rustling as she approached with melancholy notes. She allowed her electric chords to trail off as was lured toward her heartbreak, the air filling with the sobs of loss. It had made Ritz want to cry for her. The wind howled with her tortured cries as Ritsuko stood silently beside her, guitar over shoulder. This man... Renata. She didn't care about him. How could she? She'd never known him, his fate had been no different than the fate of everyone else's after the Divide. Many dead, many more lost. Only the fortunate few were exempt from this pain. No, it was her own pain for which she felt so strongly.

The blonde artist had drawn from that torturous well water tinged and blackened with grief... and she used it to create. She chose to give back to a world that had only taken from her. That is what had rung with Ritsuko. The agony of creation, to use one's soul as a medium of expression, was all too familiar to her. This woman's agony was her own. They were one and the same. Her small, tentative hand reached toward the her shoulder yet never found purchase. This was her own moment. It wouldn't help, she knew this. She herself wouldn't want to be affected in a moment like this. She spoke nothing as dull eyes wavered over this strange man's grave. What would she say? There there? Things will be better? I know how you feel? She wouldn't want to hear these things. Ritz knew that. She felt that. What was important right now was knowing that she wasn't alone. No touch or word in the English language could communicate that as clearly as her mere stoic presence did.

The breeze yowled in protest over the two young women, licking at their faces like the ghosts of long past. One in formal salute, sorrow bubbling to the surface in choked weeping. The other in utter silence, a dark cloud casting her in shadow.


Last edited by Daichi on Wed Nov 30, 2016 3:06 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: The Pain That Defines Us [Ritsuko Zayasu :: Morning]   Mon Nov 28, 2016 11:55 am

The cold morning wind blew over Nebula, sweeping her golden unkempt bangs to the side, revealing the fountains of sorrow that were her eyes to anyone around, like a hurricane that had blown down a thin fence meant to protect the most precious things. She stood in silence over her father's grave for quite a while, thinking of what she'd done, the man to whom she'd done it, and her consecuent eternal retribution. Even if Ritsuko had tried to comfort her, there were no words in the English language - or any other language - that could possibly uplift her from her severe and well-deserved depression.

After quite a bit of choked sobbing and weeping, the golden-haired artist wiped her eyes with her sleeve and turned around to face the other woman present. Unlike her, she didn't seem to be in any state of mourning - at least, none that she could recognize. She swiped her bangs to the side once more, so as to be able to look her in the eyes without visual interruption. She stared at her for a while, hoping she'd announce her reason for being here first. If she did speak up first, Nebula would stay silent and listen. If not, she would scratch the back of her head and speak up herself. "...'ello..." She greeted in a meek, gentle tone.

The situation seemed a little awkward to Nebula. The tension in the air was clear, yet it wasn't necessarily an aggresive kind of tension, rather... it was a hesitative tention formed by either party's reluctancy and lack of further planning on how to approach the other. "W-What are you d-doing here?"
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PostSubject: Re: The Pain That Defines Us [Ritsuko Zayasu :: Morning]   Mon Nov 28, 2016 9:22 pm

The thick atmosphere hung with an oppressive weight, filled with an emotional static electricity that pricked at the spirit with numb little shocks. Her eyes didn't leave the grave for a moment even as the sorrowful creator turned to face her, rubbing away any sign of her grief. Not that it meant anything. It was clear she had been crying and that was okay. This was a graveyard. People weren't supposed to be strong here. The reflective lenses of her sunglasses hid her eyes once more from the artist's as her rebellious hair waved in the chilling breeze. Her tortured eyes of slate were the same as she'd seen them before: pained, afraid, filled with loss. Ritsuko's were similarly filled with a sense of pity and understanding, but one tucked carefully away from others. Her grief was her own, it was her battle to fight, and no one could help her anyway. But... she wasn't selfish enough to act as if she was the only one with that struggle.

Whispers of the dead on an icy gale filled the silence between them for a good while, grass swaying with empty and unfulfilled wishes long abandoned. Until the tormented blonde spoke.
"...hey," answered Ritz in a soft voice. She stood there for a moment more before turning from her to continue her sorrowful journey up and down the grave paths. The moment was gone, that soulful exchange with nary a word, never to return again. The musician had said everything she wanted to say, not in language but in deed. What would she say? She already understood that there wasn't anything she could do to make her feel better, there was nothing to do. The best she hoped to manage was to share with her, to also bear the heartache so that the weight hadn't crushed her. Misery loves company, because misery isn't as miserable with someone else there.

As her ratty sneakers swept through the grass in slow, steady paces a question grazed her ears that caused her to stop. What was she doing there? Again, Ritsuko knew what she meant. What she was doing alongside her as she wept.

Letting you know that you weren't alone.

...but that wasn't for her to say. It shouldn't have to be said, her presence was enough. In any case it wasn't a question she wanted to answer. Ritz never liked having to repeat herself. She chose to answer the artist's question a different way.
"...I put some people here," her regretful words carried over the wind, back still toward her counterpart, "...I'm making sure they haven't left." The musician gave a lazy, sweeping gesture over the cemetery as her cryptic reply sunk in. Her message was intentionally ambiguous, it was up to the blonde how she would interpret it, had she meant she was responsible for some of these souls shedding their mortal coil or if she had bore their coffins herself. The Eternal Divide had left many in that position... but Ritsuko had meant so quite literally. Blood stained her hands. Over half a dozen lay in their unending rest thanks to her, none of which she held any remorse for.

The loner was content enough to leave things how they were. She felt no obligation to stay. She made her presence felt just as she meant to do, experiencing this melancholic exchange with the artist. It was in the past, whole minutes of it, but it was still never coming back. It would remain a memory, both full of hurt from the situation and hopefully fond with how she had approached it. Maybe she'd understand... but perhaps not. The only important part was that she meant well and she knew that. Maybe she'd feel a little more understood from their bonding through song and tears.

...her footsteps stopped cold along her melancholic journey to find those she'd killed. Aoide slipped from her shoulder, clanging to the ground with a sudden twang of strings as Ritz's fists clenched into tight little balls at her sides. The atmosphere around her darkened as she trembled with a violent ocean of emotions churning inside of her, raven hair shielding her face in the whipping wind. She stood before a gravestone, a large one, coming to about chest high.


Zayasu
Ritsuko
1995-1999
"Our beautiful little angel,
gone too soon"

Zayasu
Akechi
1963-2012
"Devoted husband,
pastor, and Christian.
May he sit eternally
in the lap of Our Lord"

Zayasu
Kiko
1967-2012
"Loving wife and mother,
her bright smile will make Heaven
a little brighter."


Teeth bared and grit, tears streaming down her pale face, Ritsuko finally understood the loss that had gripped the blonde woman. She believed herself to be unwanted, given up for the sake of such cruel experiments. But that wasn't true. She had a future, someone had been looking for her! The loner hadn't been born into this world destined to become a tool, a puppet, her life had been ripped away from her! Old scars began to tear open as she lost her life all over again,  jaded heart shattering into pieces audible through her sobs.
"*sniff* ...you weren't supposed to be here..." she choked, "I... I hated you... and y-you can't even give me that anymore... you weren't supposed to be dead...! *sniff*"

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PostSubject: Re: The Pain That Defines Us [Ritsuko Zayasu :: Morning]   Wed Nov 30, 2016 3:24 am

Hold on a second, she put people in here? Did she mean that she buried them herself, or did she mean that she was... like her? Nebula already felt that there was something about her and the strange, mysterious musician that seemed similar in some ways, particularly when it came to a lack of happiness, but... could it be that both of their pains are, in fact, the same kind of pain? "Y-you... p-put people here?" Nebula asked in a slightly frightened, yet slightly curious tone of voice. She wouldn't pry any further if told to back off of the subject, but as long as she wasn't disturbing anybody she intended on getting as much information about this strange woman as possible. If by "putting people here" meant what she thought could be the worst-case scenario... then it would be her duty as a cadet to take action, whether this woman was the only human being she could possibly relate anymore or not.

And then, the completely unexpected became the evident. The mystery guitar woman approached a trio of gravestones, knelt in force in front of it, and began to cry. This woman that seemed to be the very embodiment of mystery, intrigue and personal strenght was now weeping as if the world were scheduled to end the very next day and everybody she cared about was at the other hand of the planet. In fact, for all Nebula knew, that could possibly have been exactly how the musician felt that very instant. While Nebula was painfully familiar with the pain of loss, her loss had been self-imposed. She couldn't begin to fathom what it felt like to lose somebody to the cruel twists of fate.

Feeling a strange need to comfort this woman (Perhaps born out of simple empathy, or perhaps born out of a sense of projection), Nebula slowly approached the musician, knelt and slowly went for a hug. If at any point she showed signs of refusing, Nebula would back off and stand beside her instead.
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PostSubject: Re: The Pain That Defines Us [Ritsuko Zayasu :: Morning]   Wed Nov 30, 2016 10:35 pm

Her all-encompassing agony wrapped Ritsuko up in its smothering embrace as she wept. All the world was a stage for her own personal tragedy. Nothing existed but her, the grass beneath her feet, the mocking of the gentle wind and this terrible omen before her. The whirlpool of sorrow in her own mind spun ever more violent, erupting from her in wretched sobs of despair with increasing intensity. The more she thought about it the worse it had felt. Her heart shredded into bloody fragments as she twisted the knife herself, diving headfirst into the black pain.

She had never known loss like this. It had always been her destiny to cause pain and strife wherever she went. Their tool, she was. Born and bred to do nothing but kill for them. That wasn't true anymore. She did have things once upon a time. She had two parents and a bright future, she had the warmth and love of a family, she had safety, innocence, a soul. They stripped that away from her. Every unalienable right and thing in this world was stolen away, replaced by a bitter hate and bad memories. For everything they took out of her they put back something worse. She wished she could be hollow inside, but she wasn't, there was a radiating anger within Ritsuko that made her want to die. It never ceased or disappeared, even after they were all long gone from her life the ache persisted. It was exhausting to hate everything all the time, to know that you wouldn't be happy and that no one could understand you. Sometimes the despair would get the better of her and she would try to make it stop, but it always came back. Spite. Her stubborn pride. She refused to let them kill her before she could do the same. It was something they had taught her to do, and that realization alone caused her grief beyond imagining.

The weight of her pain was unbearable, sinking Ritz to her knees before her family.
"*sniff*...you weren't suh-supposed to let this happen...! I-It wuh, *sniff* wasn't supposed to be like this...!" she yowled as she trembled with raw emotion. Her scraped aviators fell from her face to clatter into the grass, revealing terribly pained and wet eyes. Raven hair licked at the grass as her shoulders rose and fell with her shallow sobs. She wasn't prepared for this. She would have never been. It would have been better to have never found them at all, but never like this. They weren't supposed to care. No one was supposed to care.

Time stood still for a moment as soft arms wrapped around her from behind. Her instincts told her to run away, to hide her hurt from anyone with ears and eyes, to take this trespasser within her sorrow and beat her face in until it was no longer recognizable... and those thoughts upset and scared her. She was a monster, all she did was destroy and hate. Nothing good ever came from her presence. She didn't want to hurt anyone anymore but she always knew she would anyway if she wanted to live. Ritsuko collapsed into the the blonde woman's arms, the last dregs of strength leaving her as she began to wail even louder. It reminded her too much of what she'd never had but always needed: someone to hold her and tell her things were going to be alright, even if she knew they wouldn't. The last time someone had tried to hug her was in foster care, back when physical contact traumatized her enough to kick and scream and bite at someone who was only trying to help her. Ritz would've stopped herself if she knew it would be another five years before anyone else would ever hold her again. She clutched at the artist's sleeve, digging her fingers in as if she would disappear if the loner didn't hold on tightly enough.

"*hup* Yuh-you...! *hup hup* Wuh-wer-weren't suh... supposed to cuh-care about me-e-e...!" shrieked the woman in pain, clawing her nails into the dirt and grass below.  Why did people have to care? ...why? Everything was so much easier when she could hate everyone, when she never had to open herself up to this kind of hurt. All she had left was her spite and anger, and people were even trying to take that away from her...
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PostSubject: Re: The Pain That Defines Us [Ritsuko Zayasu :: Morning]   Mon Dec 05, 2016 12:32 am

It came as a surprise to Nebula that the musician sunk into her embrace without so much as protest of any kind. She was expecting her to fight back, and had she done so Nebula would've backed off, but she at least wanted to try in the off chance that she actually wanted to be hugged. The weight of her body collapsing into her arms threw her off of her balance for about a second before she managed to recalibrate herself and stabilize the hug. She would wait until she stopped wailing (though not crying altogether) before speaking up, not wanting to interrupt her much needed outburst of emotions. By this point, just seeing the mess the woman was brought new tears to Nebula's eyes, though they were silent tears lacking sobs and sniffs, only in posession of slightly sharper breathing. "It'll b-be fine." She said as she attempted to gently strokes the musician's hair to comfort her. "At the v-very least, n-nothing can h-hurt them a-anymore. T-They're at p-peace." Really this was the only pep talk Nebula could think of at the moment. "I-I still don't t-think I can t-truly know y-your pain, but... maybe I can grasp i-it enough t-to comfort y-you." She began to unfold her own pain, as the woman in her arms had hers "Y-you said y-you put some p-people here, right? I d-did too. I... I put o-one person here, a-and I'm here t-to ask h-him to f-forgive me..."

*hup* Yuh-you...! *hup hup* Wuh-wer-weren't suh... supposed to cuh-care about me-e-e...!"

Nebula's tears began to stream down harder, as a few sobs began to reappear here and there. "I... I care b-*sob*-because your p-pain must s-surely be... *sniff* be greater than mine... and no-*sob*-nobody sh-should have to suffer t-that a-alone..." Nebula's arms wrapped tighter around the musician. Now she needed some comforting of her own.
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PostSubject: Re: The Pain That Defines Us [Ritsuko Zayasu :: Morning]   Sat Dec 10, 2016 2:42 am

She didn't care about them. Not at all. How could she? She never knew them. They were foreign, imaginary concepts to her. Like dreams. But Ritsuko wasn't mourning them, it was her loss of dreams that had upset her so. A life long gone before it began. It was hers... and she was dead. It was plainly written before her. Zayasu Ritsuko ceased to exist eighteen years ago. Something else stepped foot out of that facility when the calamity hit, something that felt pain but didn't have a soul. There was nothing to go back to, no wholesome memories to keep her warm at night, no fondness or affection or love. Hatred drove her forward, the anger in her shattered bones dragging her torn feet ever onward. Just as they had taught her to do. Like a good little killing machine. She would loathe and slaughter and destroy until she was stopped or murdered her creators, whichever came first. They left her alone and frightened in a world she wasn't equipped to exist in, where no one could fathom the hell she dragged herself through everyday... reliving nightmares... the smallest upset triggering an avalanche of traumatic experiences to overwhelm her...

The jaded musician's wailing began to taper off to sniffles as the blonde artist tenderly ran her fingers through her hair. All she'd ever needed was to be held and told it was alright, to be reassured that it was okay to be weak after what she'd been through, to be told that it hurts from a voice outside her own. Even if she couldn't understand how much it was the thought that counted. It made her feel less lonely, no matter how forcefully she shoved people away to that effect. It may have been her only positive memory of an embrace, the others were filled with violence and fear. She shuddered in her arms, trembling more from her inner turmoil stirring inside her and tearing her apart inside than the cold. She was angry and hurt and terrified and it might never go away... but in the blonde's warm arms she could understand that she didn't need to be alone if she didn't want to be. No one could ever understand what it was like to live her pain, but there were those that would try because they hurt as well. The notes were lost on all but her... but the harmony resonated with her.

Ritsuko grew silent as her companion began to weep. It pulled and tore at her already fragile state, threatening to spiral her into yet more tears at her sobs. Ritz didn't want anyone to care because she herself didn't want to care either. She was a lost cause and not worth the effort, and it tormented her to feel the artist's heart rip open for her sake. This is why she pushed everyone away, so she didn't have to care if she didn't want to. Her own heartache was enough. It hurt to care. Her breathing began to sharpen as tears began to flow fresh. The artist's sadness vibrated within herself with a depressive chord, touching every part of her being. Her tight squeeze, her cracking voice... she could feel the weakness in her, could experience the cracks growing in her composure. It was almost too much for her to bare.
"...I hate you..." came a soft explanation past trembling lips, "*sniff*...I hate you a-and I hate everything else bu-but I don't want to..." Her mind began to cycle in on itself, waves of sadness rolling off her as her voice became louder and filled with self-pity.
"I-I-*hup* I-I'm tired of hating everyone a-all the time, I *hup* I-I just want it to stop...!" Ritz was all too familiar with how it felt to take a life. She'd taken several. It consumed you with rage. Once you solved your problems that way it was always an option and that was scary and horrifying, as if you didn't have control over it. You knew what you were capable of and you know you can do it. Most people didn't think about it... but to anyone that has it was always there. Stalking. Haunting. You never forget what you did, it was burned into you like a brand and somehow everyone could tell without even asking or knowing. Forever and always you would hate. Yourself, someone else... but it would never go away. And she didn't think anyone else deserved that sort of torment. She began to tremble even more turbulently as she thought about it and the weight of her words.
"...y-you have to swear to let thi... let this go... Or it'll ki-*hup*ki-kill you... It'll never go... go away and i-it'll *sniff*... it'll kill you..."
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PostSubject: Re: The Pain That Defines Us [Ritsuko Zayasu :: Morning]   Tue Jan 10, 2017 2:24 pm

Nebula simply nodded, granting empty comfirmation to the musician's bawl-given advice as they both lay in a metaphoric puddle of their own tears. She would never really be able to let go of this, and maybe it would indeed kill her as the musician said, but she was ready for that. She didn't wan the girl to worry though, which is why she replied with her head. The wind was merciful enough to grant them both the pleasure of a soothing breeze that would hopefully cool the skin of their faces, now undoubtedly hot from the tears that had been shed. Nebula would stay with her for a while, simply enjoying the naturally cheering effects of holding/being held by someone. She needed them.

After a while, once she felt the pressure of the unsupported weigh of the musician's body on her own (as well as her incessant sobbing) die down, Nebula would let go and stand up. They couldn't keep crying forever, and the sooner they were done lamenting the better, because it meant more time for her to make her late father proud, or at the very least, forgiving. "C-come on... D-don't cry.. I-I don't care if y-you hate me, b-but I don't hate you. I-I don't want to s-see you so sad..."
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PostSubject: Re: The Pain That Defines Us [Ritsuko Zayasu :: Morning]   Sat Jan 28, 2017 1:15 pm

Her head was light and reassuring against her shoulder, keeping her anchored rather than weighing her down. It kept her from drifting away to bad places. Her embrace left her still in the moment, exactly where she wanted to be. No matter how pointless, no matter how fleeting, for a short period of time she could feel... wanted. She was so used being cast aside or used, it was nice to be desired after such a long time. Her arms around her felt so safe and warm... she didn't need to kick or bite or fight back. She could relax her guard for once, no one was here to kill her or steal from her. Fighting was all she knew, it was how she approached the world. Some unnamed entity trying to beat her into the ground, grind her into dust never again to rise to her feet would find her with teeth bared and weapon at the ready. It left her taxed, drained, strung out like high tension wire... but within the gentle winds of acceptance she could rest her weary muscles. The fight wasn't here, she needn't give herself to such pointless things. Forever she would rest in welcoming arms, feeling her soul slink away and into the ground. She could die here. That would be alright. It was peaceful and comfortable, odd but enjoyable. Ritsuko closed her eyes as her sobs quieted.

...but it didn't last forever. Nothing did. Happiness was merely the cheese at the end of the maze to keep you playing the rat race. The artist let go, and the musician had to catch herself on her own grave to avoid eating grass. ...Something was wrong. She could feel a hollow sort of ring in the air as it twisted and swirled her pitch black lockes. It was... a resignation. Her tone, her mannerisms... she knew what they were. The blonde was hiding something, Ritz was  distraught to think of what. The guitarist's system fell to shock as she contemplated the implications of what she meant.
"You... y-you're not...?" she stammered quietly as she regained her supported herself on her own epitaph. The delinquent clenched a shaky fist at her side. It was another case of her being stronger, and she knew how all those went. It left her in the middle. Alone. Isolated. She had never come to grips with the past and neither did this stranger that empathized with her, but she was ready to give up. Ritsuko's face began to feel hot for an entirely different reason than the wetness from her cheeks and the quaking of her breath.

"...swear it..."

Relevant Strengths:
 

Her fingers swept through the grass to clutch her guitar by the neck, Aoide squealing weakly as she brushed across her strings as she rose slowl, using the tombstone to support her.. The atmosphere had always been tense and thick, even with the balmy breeze to whisper lightly in the background and wick away sad words on chilling wind... but it grew a different sort of rhythm. It hummed with a sort of ill-fitting resonance, causing time around them to slow to a crawl. It blocked out the world around them and filled their little bubble with a building sense of agitation. The musician wiped her nose and face a bit as she began to tremble with an entirely new emotion, somewhere between contempt and frustration. Ritsuko's hair blustered around her face as she turned toward the artist begging her not to cry, the wetness fresh on her face and her eyes alight with anger.

"Swear i-it," she commanded, her voice beginning to break. How dare she! How dare she make the same stupid, selfish mistakes she herself lived by! It was pointless, there wasn't any sense in it! She may have resolved herself to that path once, but there was a difference between the two of them. Ritz wasn't in this for the same reasons. It wasn't guilt that ate at her and she wouldn't lay down and die, she wasn't the one to blame. She would never let this go either, and it might too lead to her death, but there was something to gain in it, something to accomplish. There was an ideal to fight for, a reason she couldn't let it go. If she turned her back on everything and moved on everything that happened to her would be meaningless. The death she was responsible for didn't drag her down, it carried her forward. Submitting wasn't something she could do. She wouldn't allow anyone else in her position to take the easy way out either.

Taking a slow step forward, she suddenly and without warning lunged toward the blond, wrapping her hand around the fabric of her collar.
"Promise me...! I wanna hear you say it...!" shouted the sullen smaller woman, desperation lining her plea, "D-don't... Just promise me, okay...?! I... I-I'm not gonna forgive you if you do something stupid...!" Her face, one of impotent ranger, twisted into a grimace of pain. She wouldn't be allowed to let it consume her, Ritz wouldn't let it happen! The artist was the only one she'd met on the same level of suffering as herself. She was lonely because no one else could ever get it, they couldn't understand... and she wasn't about to lose someone a second time. Not this soon.


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PostSubject: Re: The Pain That Defines Us [Ritsuko Zayasu :: Morning]   Tue Feb 14, 2017 2:31 am

Nebula would let out an involuntary gasp of surprise upon being grabbed by the collar of her shirt by the musician. The last time she was threatened in such a way was, ironically, years ago by her father of all people. She would squirm around a bit before realizing that the other woman was much stronger than she was, and thusly she had practically zero chance of breaking free from her hold. Why was she doing this? She thought she was doing a pretty good job of befriending her up until now! Well… whatever it was that she did to cause this, it was clear that the musician was upset. If she’d upset her at a time as critical as this… well, that was unforgivable. Deciding to abide to her punishment, Nebula closed her eyes, expecting a punch to the face or the gut.

Surprisingly, however, said punch never came. Instead, Nebula slowly opened her eyes to find a still-crying musician who demanded that she swear something to her. Did… did she mean that she wanted her to swear that she wouldn’t allow guilt to take control of her life? That… was a hard promise to make. Of course Nebula dreamed of living a happy life where she deserved to enjoy being alive, but… that life was sadly nothing but a fleeting daydream. Of course, she’d been trying to achieve this reality all along, but every day it was harder to live with the consequences of her actions. It was only a matter of time before one day; she suddenly wouldn’t get down from the chair… Yet, this woman wanted her to live. Why? What did she see in a filthy murderer like Nebula?

“I…” She began. “I-I can’t p-p-pr-r-rom-m-m-m-m…” Her stuttering was getting out of hand again. It always did when she was under pressure. She bit her tongue, took another breath, and started over. “…p-p-promise that I’ll-l make it, b-but… I-I-I swear I w-won’t stop t-t-t-trying…” The tug was starting to hurt. Nebula gently placed her hand on the musician’s collar-holding hand, as if asking her to let go.
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PostSubject: Re: The Pain That Defines Us [Ritsuko Zayasu :: Morning]   Mon Feb 20, 2017 5:13 am

Her hands quivered along with the rest of her body with Ritz's hand wrapped around the artist's lapel, vibrating with the intensity of her misguided fury as her grip grew tighter. She could feel the blood pulse into her hands as her knuckles turned white and her breath began to shorten and become irregular. Scarlet flooded the guitarist's face as her nervous system whipped itself into a frenzy of adrenaline and conflicted anger. She wanted to hit something. Ritsuko wanted to take her guitar and smash every tombstone in that graveyard, to beat something until her knuckles were bruised and bloody and broken. To take the painful rage she was feeling and destroy with it until nothing else was standing and she felt satisfied and in control again. Her twisted rage directed itself on the world around her and the woman in her grasp. The troubled musician ground her teeth as heat overwhelmed her head even in the cold morning. She wanted to smack her until she stopped speaking nonsense, until she found a reason to continue be it hate or defiance or a sense of vindication... but it wouldn't help. The taller woman was looking for forgiveness. She didn't have a reason like Ritz did to fight and it was apparent she didn't have the same sense of stubbornness... which further aggravated her.

Ritsuko wasn't one to let her problems idle and she was a sore loser. Even if it was running away or washing her hands of them or resigning herself away from the little issues that bothered her, she didn't like to have much on her plate. Those were extra things to worry about the alcoholic could do without, with too much to focus on being overwhelmed was debilitating to her. It's why she hadn't made any progress since she arrived at this god-forsaken city, other priorities got in the way. Her mission sat there, eating at her, taunting her while she slipped farther and farther down the hole. But not anymore. It frustrated her to care and have something right in front of her that she could do nothing about. The blond would never find what she was looking for, the dead could never forgive, it was the living that could find themselves forgiven. And by still looking for it, she knew that this wasn't something she would do, not on her own. It was her life, her conscience, her journey to take whichever road she thought best. And she was walking down a path to oblivion. The more Ritz thought about it the more worked up she became at her own impotence. But that wasn't a reason not to try. She should've been dead multiple times over, but through trying she was somehow still here. This was another one of those times.

With the artist's hands on hers that was made clear. She was in the wrong. Seething hatred was useful, it kept her alive, but it was pointless if it didn't help even if she couldn't help how she felt. Her stuttering and hesitance conveyed to her a stunning thought: just how afraid of her she was. Just like they had wanted her to be, a violent monster. She never wanted to be one of those if that was a choice she could make. Ritsuko recoiled her hand as if holding an iron, horrified at her own default reaction of attempting to hurt someone to make her problems disappear. It was the easiest route, one she defaulted to often, and it was sickening. The look of terror was apparent on her face before she thrust her eyes to the ground, allowing her long hair to shield her expression within the wind. Her own nails dug sharply into her palm as she kept her fist clenched at her side, unable to let her turbulent fury go. The dull digging pain was somewhat grounding even if she couldn't break something to ease her mood.

"Don't give me bullshit promises you can't keep," she quietly fumed. Ritz held up a twitchy, shaking fist, trembling as if it was searching for something to grab hold to. It was both an accusation and a command. She knew better. The grieving woman had already told her she wouldn't want her to be sad, that she shouldn't suffer alone. But she could tell that she would end it if things went sour. Ritsuko could see the signs, she had given others those same signs when she herself was in dire straits and went ignored. It's how she knew she couldn't rely on others. In your darkest hour when things looked looked most bleak, no one was coming. It was you versus your demons, and if you couldn't hack it then you wouldn't be around any longer. That's just how things went. She had promised different and she'd damn well meet it. Ritsuko began to spin her guitar by the neck in her hand, if nothing more than to give her eager muscles some sort of outlet for her frustration.
"I should be going... I have things I need to do," she spoke ominously. If anything this "cordial" little visit had further cemented her goal in mind. People needed to die. That wasn't going to happen on its own.
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PostSubject: Re: The Pain That Defines Us [Ritsuko Zayasu :: Morning]   Tue Feb 28, 2017 12:06 pm

Upon being released by the aggressive musician, Nebula fell to the ground with a thud. The fall was so short that it wouldn’t leave any sort of permanent or even temporary harm, but hurt it definitely did, even if only a little bit. Nebula slowly got up as the musician recoiled closer to the tombstone which they were both grieving on and brushed her hands against the back of her pants a few times to clean it of dirt and grass, which it had been sure to latch on to due to the fall. She couldn’t help but give the musician a look of sadness (and this is sadness by Nebula standards), but not one born out of pity: one born out of relatability. For a period of time while she was in jail, Nebula was exactly like the woman in front of her: Aggressive, self-absorbed and obsessed with finding even the smallest and shortest of escapes from her pain, be it attacking someone, drinking, drawing… anything at all worked. It was also clear to Nebula that the musician had a similar background; nobody grieved this much without a reason to grieve. So, by the natural progression of the human mind… Nebula concluded that if the woman continued to live the way she did… she would eventually end up like Nebula: A powerless, dignity-ridden doormat without pride or a reason to live other than atoning for what she’d done before she could properly go to the afterlife. Nebula pictured another human being, one that still had people who cared about them, ending up in her own position…

And the very thought made her want to scream.

”W-Wait!” She needed to stop the musician before she lost her. Endymion City was huge; the chances of them meeting again would be next to none. ”…Y-you still haven’t t-told me your n-name. I-I need t-to know it…” And then, something miraculous happened. Something that would certainly only happen every once in a blue moon.

Nebula stood her ground.

”I-I-I won’t t-take n-no for an a-a-answer!”
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