Day 023: Approach-Avoidance, Stone Style
Summary: Stone finds himself torn between friendship and wanting after finding himself trying to explain his infamous List to the last one named on it.
Date: 13 June 2016
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None' — please, don't leave blank!
Stone Shi Ariadne 

Camp Grounds

With the removal of underbrush and a half-dozen small trees, there is now a tiny clearing around the dropship. It has begun to fill with detritus from the ship, including all of the seating, padding, and removable plates or bulkheads.

Several tents have been set up within the clearing, set close together within the confines of the surrounding trees. A small collection of weapons sits under a parachute-cloth shelter by the door of dropship, open for community use. A three-holer latrine is set up downwind of camp in the prevailing breezes, and a rough wall stretches between trees at the edge of the clearing, dropship plates and felled tree-trunks stacked up and lashed together as best as the Delinquents can manage. There is a gate at the north end, a single panel that can be rolled aside at need.

The forest immediately surrounding the camp has been cowed into near-silence, but is still vibrant and green to a people used to stark metal bulkheads all around them.

Early morning of Day 23

It's earliest morning of Day 23, not even really light out, though the sky is starting to take on multihued variance of dawn. Another night without an attack on the Camp, though he heard there might have been one further out with one of the work parties. Stone has been on the wall walk most of the night and just now was relieved, weary and hungry in equal measure as he climbs down the ladder to the ground, minimally nodding to a few people, throat still thicking bandaged, even if his chest is now freely exposed, the puckered wound there ugly, but healing nicely to scar. As he goes through camp, there comes a choice moment, back to the lander to crash in the sick cot the doc has had him in since injury, or angle to Cook's Tent for food. Sleep or nourishment. Eh, sleep can come when you're dead. Food won't necessarily be around. Food wins.

It's early, and Ariadne is unable to sleep. This is normal for her, of course, but what isn't normal is the fact that she's sitting at the entrance of her tent with her knees drawn up and her chin resting on them. Up until recently she hid in her tent most of the time. She was asleep earlier, but she woke with a start covered in sweat. The nightmares keep her from sleeping these days. As she sees Stone walk by she mutters a quiet, "Hey." in greeting. This is, perhaps, the first time she's greeted someone in the camp for no reason other than to say hi.

Shi might not have been on duty last night, but that doesn't mean she really slept, in fact she is not in the tent nor anywhere to be seen, for all of about two mins. But then she is stepping out of the Cook tent with three covered plates in her hands, those violet eyes peering up at the wall, only to blink when she sees Stone near Ari. There is a moment that has her squaring her shoulders and then the tiny thing is moving towards the pair.

Yes, Stone was so tired that he apparently was walking right by the girl outside of her tent without registering who it was. He probably didn't even know it was hers, and so when that voice comes, he's pausing in his stupidly long-limbed stride, but not yet turning. Instead, expressive lips curve to that lopsided grin he's prone to, and he's asking back over his shoulder without looking to her, a hand going up as if to cover eyes. The voice is still ragged horror movie worthy, but it doesn't sound _quite_ so strained and painful this morning. Hours without use are actually good in his case right now.

"Mornin', Ari. Do I need to worry what I'm gonna see turning to look that way?" Yes, because he totally could have walked right by someone standing around indecent or something. Of course, it's not meant literal, it's just making fun of himself for her getting him yesterday with that evil timing with Kai's dressing. This, of course, means the big ex-C is facing right towards the Cook tent still when out of it is walking the diminuitive white-haired Shi…and she's totally coming right towards him! There's totally more than a little awkwardness in his demeanor suddenly, dark chocolate eyes falling away from her, a near biting of his lower lip that he consciously cuts short, and then a murmured rasp of. "Oh, heya Shi. Don't…you know, wanna interrupt you girl's breakfast, so I'll just…" He clearly missed that she had three plates, not two, and is already starting to step as if to beat a hasty retreat.

An audible chuckle can be heard from low in Ariadne's throat and she says, "Nah, Shi's not here at the moment. It's just me, and I'm fully dressed." She waits a few seconds until he starts to turn his head and she says, "mostly." Of course she's kidding. She's fully dressed. As she sees the awkward exchange with Shi she chirps up, "There's three plates there, ya'know. Stay and have breakfast. Sit." Her voice is certainly not a question, it's more of an insistence, and as Shi approaches she lifts a hand to wave at her. "Hey look. We have company." She chucks a thumb toward Stone. "Wasn't it nice of him to stop by?"

As the sun really is not up yet, that unusual white hair is loose down the girls back, slightly wet as if she just had a bath, but that scent both of them happen to know is still around her as she comes slowly towards the pair. A long drawn out breath and she looks up slowly to Stone as he starts to turn away, but she is not that easy to get away from! Ask Ari! So the tiny girl stands right in front of him and holds out a plate, "You saved me for having to come and find you, sit, eat. Make friends.." Her voice is sweet and soft and maybe a tad hurt but she is putting on her big girl pants as it were. She doesn't move till the plate is in his hands, and it's full, clearly would not have been for her. And then she moves to lean down and gives Ari her own plate, those violet eyes looking at the other girl for a moment before she smiles and then moves to drop down, leaving room on her other side for Stone to park it. "So I see, of course, it was nice of him.." She answers as those eyes finally look up at Stone and she seems to challenge him to sit down next to her. Poor guy.

He actually started a bit at Ari's 'maybe' and started glancing as if to verify he wasn't insane, but then caught himself. You can actually see him going over his memories before turning, verifying he's not about to get a sight. He wasn't tired enouh to walk past a half naked girl was he? The fact he can't be sure actually weighs on him a moment, but then he decides to take the risk when she's insisting he stay for food, awkward eyes sliding to the plates in Shi's hands, lower lip being actually bit gently this time as he forgets to catch himself. He seems like he's about to decline as politely as he can after a moment's glance between the two women, mouth opening, words about to be spoke, but then Shi's in front of him, passing a plate, and this whole 'nice of him to stop by' thing is catching him. He looks at the plate and then at the two of them with a painful sort of awkwardness evident, but then relents with a gusty sigh and a rueful sort of smirk. Yeah, he knows he's caught. Moving forward, he unhooks himself of firearm and club, leaving blades on his back as he finds himself a seat, murmuring soft rasp of. "Thanks. I…was headed to food anyways, so…good timing."

"Yeah, Shi's good like that. She's got a real knack for it, even." Ariadne reaches for a plate and slides to one side to make plenty of room for Shi next to Stone. "Know what else she's got a knack for?" She shoves a piece of bacon in her mouth and starts to chew it while she awaits his response. Lanky legs cross in front of her and she settles the plate into the crook created there before leaning backwards into the tent to retrieve a cup that's been refashioned from a piece of the wreckage and has been filled with water. She takes a sip and then places it on the ground in front of her and Shi. Apparently she's willing to share.

The tiny girl between the larger darker pair, makes them look like an oreo, and that thought seems to come to Shi's mind and she can't help but gives a tiny chuckle and a little shake of her head. The plate is placed on the ground in front of her as she looks towards Ari for a moment before picking up whatever there was for breakfast and nibbling on the edge. Silence …. but then the girl sighs softly and offers sideways to Stone. "It was time for you be off duty. You should be hungry.." Wait she is still watching out for him? Awww, even put last, that still seems to be something she does.

Then Ari throws out those words and Shi eyes widen as she looks to the other girl, the look says; what are you doing!?! but she falls silent and let's the taller people talk over her head as she takes up the cup just put down.

"Public speaking, botany, earth skills, ki…" Stone's rattling stuff off without thinkin about it in response to Ari's talk of what she's good at. Too much of a literalist to figure out it was lead up to something else. And just _what_ was that last one going to be that made his eyes go wide and his jaw snap shut on the word? Who knows, but it threw him the hell off, and he's very abruptly looking down to his plate, totally ignoring the fact Ari moved to put the two next to each other. Before shoving some meat into his mouth, he's murmur-rasping. "Sorry, interrupted. What's she good at?" Shi, for her mention of the food gets a brief thankful nod that somehow looks a little guilty, but he kind of raises his plate to her like a salute of a cup or something.

"Forgettin stupid games and worrying about the important stuff." That's all Ariadne has to say before she picks up another bite of whatever meat is on her plate. It might have looked like bacon, but it certainly lacked the flavor. She sighs and shakes her head, "Every once in a while I forget where we are for a few minutes. Then BAM something reminds me." The meat, or her sliver in particular, is chewy and tough, but she gnaws at it. She stretches a little and looks up at the two of them, raising a brow. "You two wanna be alone?"

Shi tilts her head to the side as she listens to Stone, her eyes widen and she blushes, one that can really be seen as she is not covered up. But then she glances towards Ari and can only gives the other girl a beautiful smile at her words, the blush still there. She reaches for whatever is next on her plate as she ponders the question asked. A long breath and then she looks back to Ari, "Would you mind getting water this time? I doubt what I need to say will take long, and you will probably know it anyway, but he might not run if it's just me?" She offers softly, so not looking at Stone but watching Ari's eyes.

Ari stands and plucks up the cup. She carries her plate with her. "See you two. I'll be gone a while if you wanna.. ya'know. Go in the tent." And with that she's gone.

"Some crap's harder to forget than others." Stone's murmuring barely above a whisper to Ari's words, spoken to his plate rather than them, without looking aside to Shi or over to her tall friend. To the offer of being left alone, there's a brief sort of painful/scared sort of expression and lips are parting as if to deny. But Shi gets to it first and is sending her for water. He relents with a small sigh, and a nod, giving a glance up to Ari that's like a man going to the gallows, murmuring. "Thanks…aack!" Well the words started to come out of him. But then she threw that tent thing out there and his eyes got all big and deer-in-the-headlights!

Shi shakes her head at Ari and gives a soft chuckle. "Ari!" She calls, a little smirk coming to her lips as she shakes her head and then sighs, she still isn't looking at Stone as she puts her plate down and then squares those tiny shoulders. "So, she is right, I have got to forget that game and well games. I want us to be honest with eachother and if the answer is what I think, well I'll not bother you anymore Stone. But I could die tomorrow, or.. do something stupid, so I'd rather us have an understanding, so you don't have to wince when you see me.." Her words are soft, kind even, but emotional as she starts to place with the length of her sleeve, that pale head bowed as if true attention had to be given to where her fingers are.

He doesn't look over either at first. He's staring fixedly at his food, picking at it, body stiff with tension of what's coming. And it doesn't relax any with her talking. There's a furtive sideways glance at her talk of death, a protective flash of stubborn warrior spirit at the thought. No, not while he has anything to say about it. But he's quickly lookin back down to his plate again after at the wincing part, trying not to do exactly what she says right then. After a moment, he's giving a silent nod back, like a man assenting he's ready for execution. Preparing himself for the inevitable. He's not even sure _what_ that inevitable is. Just that it's going to be awkward as hell, and probably hurt, especially if he lost her as a friend over this.

Shi takes a long deep breath and then once more squares those shoulders and lifts her head slowly to turns those violet eyes on him, and gives an honest view of her delicate features. She bites her lips once, then wets them before she starts to speak. "Yesterday, you talked of people that you have some type of crush on. And while I approve of your taste. I need to know why you added me.. last.." She wrinkles her brow and then shakes her head again, "No, I need to know why you added me? Was it because I sat in your lap and you didn't want people to think I was just some slut that sat in anyone's lap? Or because you didn't want me to feel bad? Or.. another reason?" Her features are honest as she looks at him, the hurt is there, but if that is what she is thinking, or being last is worrying her, then that might explain the tiny hurt/worry that she let's seep out.

Wincingly, Stone forces himself to look over towards her when she looks to him, his shoulders slumped to her squared, his expression fearful to her determination. But dark chocolate eyes meet violet, the caramel gold threads and flakes in them bright somehow in the dim growing morning light when they're so close like this, staring so intently. And then her words, hitting him as expected at first, the awkward question, the threat to what they had before it…And then that final word in the first question. The 'last' part emphasized, the familiar look of her hurt there in her eyes. And omre questions, more confusion about things that he thought would have been obvious, but apparently were clear as mud. He's still left looking horrified to be in this position, to have her asking these questions, but at the same time, Stone looks astonished at them, his mouth actually hanging agape, staring at her.

Only with that last question, that possibility of how to answer it, brings him up short again, lips closing, pink tongue sliding over the fullness of the lighter shade of dark, wetting them as eyes slid away from her to the plate, seeking answers in the pile of chewy venison. Finally, he's giving a shake of head, forgetting his neck, wincing in pain for it with a chest-deep grunt of irritation rumbling out, a hand going up to it. But slowly, ever so slowly, they come back up to her, his own thick brows furrowed broodingly, his grimace pained by more than physical.

Words, whisper soft, closer to his natural pitch that soft, still ragged, but not quite so horror-sinister, especially with that much vulnerability to them. "It…wasn't protecting you no. I had to answer honestly and fully because…because that was the question, and I don't lie…" Another grimace, a sigh, and he's whispering on. "Some of the names were easy to admit. I got them out at first. I grew up with Lark, we met when we were like seven or something and our dads knew each other in the Guard. Of course I've had a thing for her before and still. It's not a big thing, it's just what it is. Fi…well, it's not something that'd ever be anything, and I admire the hell out of her, so it's not…that hard to say, even in front of her, embarrassing as heck as that mighta been."

He reaches up to rub at his face, looking down again, hiding growing embarrassment. "Morgan…he's just…been the one keepin' me alive, first face I see after gettin' bad injured, all stern and pretty and…it's stupid, but I can admit that one easy enough even. Whatsitcalled syndrome or whatever. Grey…Grey was harder. Even not bein' there, thank Eden. I know he doesn't like guys, and I used to think he was a twit. But…we've been close, fought together. It's…not that unusual. Kinda the same thing with Cam, though harder still with him right there smiling at me. Sympathizin' about the stupid fudging 'dirty word' dare. I told him about my mother. I don't…don't think anyone down here other than you knows about that, and he got why I was so angry, but I don't think he had a clue…"

Scrubbing his face more, hiding it, he's shaking head, forcing the words out, even though she probably doesn't want to hear this. But it's like he can't stop now. He has to make her understand. "Tink…she's…the freshest other than him. Just…we click a bit. She's sweet and energetic, but it was horrible to have to admit in front of everyone. If she'd been there…" A shudder runs through him. Gritting his teeth. "Kai…if I'd known she was comin' up behind me…Fudge me, but…guh. I…have known Kai since above in trainin'. I…kind of fell for her hard, even knowin' she was all about Elias even then. It's another that'd never be anything, even if she wasn't with him, we'd probably both be too stiff about duty to…any of that. But admitting it was hard. Admitting it in front of her about killed me."

Finally he's scrubbing calloused hands away from his face, looking up to Shi, pain in eyes, almost tears, but fighting between anxiety and pain and horror at admitting this to her face to face. "Do you get me, Shi? I…I almost couldn't even say you at the last because it's the hardest one to admit, especially fudging well in front of you! You mean too much to me. You've meant too much for too long now, to fluff it all up by…all that. But…I had to do the right thing. I had to tell the truth and the whole truth. So…I did."

The tiny girl listens, she doesn't seem in a hurry, or worried that he will run off, but she does tilt her head when he speaks of each person he has a crush on. There is a tenseness that settles into her shoulders and that confusion still coats her pale features but she will not interrupt, not when he's pouring his heart out, not when she can understand. In part. But words from the girl who can speak to anyone about anything, come. No, she simply watches his dark eyes, watches his face and a hand gently, slowly slides over and touches his throat, delicate fingers laying there, and a soft little shhh coming from her lips when he finishes.

With that touch to him, she pulls herself up to kneel in front of him and simply let's those eyes speak for her, speak of their pass, the laughter, the fun.. the good and the bad. Echoes of memories, of shared desires, of fears, of what might have been, and then finally what could be. The last few days her mind has been on the future, or lack there of, of her cunning plan, and he might see this flicker in her eyes before she blinks once.

The blink comes with movement and she leans forward, allowing him ever moment to get out of the way, to stop her, to put an end to everything. But if he does not.. she leans forward slowly, the sweep of white hair across her cheeks, placing those eyes into shadows, the telling scent that is all her own comes to him first. And then her lips, soft, sweet gentle brush along his, once… twice.. three times. She pulls back just an inch to look into his eyes and seems to wait to see if that is going to be taken.. badly or returned.

Stone started a little to the motion of her shifting, thinking at first she was standing to leave. That he'd driven her off with that outpouring. Stupid, stupid Stone! Talking about all of these other people in his dreams to her! What was he thinking! How could he hurt her like that. How could he…The torment his mind is laying on him freezes along with his body when her "shhh" forms the background accompaniment to electric touch of her finger on his lips. A shocking sensation, at once full of potential and tenderness, heart-stopping meaning that only grows sharper in his stunned mind as he looks to her beautiful violet eyes he's known so many times in memory and dream both. His own torrent of emotional turmoil is caught just behind the memory of those eyes. Roiling like a trapped storm waiting to break as breath shudders out of him, hot against her touch.

And then she's leaning in, the inevitability of it freezing him, indecision, fear, hunger all warring furiously in him, thick muscles quivering between need to flee and need to very much the opposite of fleeing. So much pent up tension and history and hormones all crashing within that he can't help the hands that move up to her arms, gigantic, but so gentle, shuddering as the rest of him with the war between pulling and pushing away. Until it's too late. She's there, her lips hovering before his, pale perfection of her pristine skin stark against the dark umber of his own, a breath escaping, teasing those lips darker pale than the cream of skin, brushing them with a soft, needful word. "Shi…"

And then lips connect, oh so lightly. Butterfly wings softness of carress, but with the jagged searing strike of a lightning bolt, rendering him frozen once more. Twice more. And thrice. A pause, a breath inhaled, an eternity spread in moments of speeding heartbeats. Not badly no. But still in a way sundering him with divided emotion.

The huge gentle hands on her shoulders flex minutely, pulling her inches closer, before locking up, breath escapes again, hot caressing on her lips in the closeness of that word again. "Shi…I…" But arms give way again, drawing her closer, this time with his own leaning. Pillowy pressure and lightningstrike of his lips to hers this time, deeper than her own gentleness, hungrier, parting faintly, then pausing. "…I don't…" Resistance gives way again, pressure returns, lightning turns to sunfire, lips parting lips, the tip of tongue caressing hesitant for the taste of her. Just one little taste some part seeking to win the war with lies tells himself. That's all he needs. Just that one taste. Of course, one taste only leaves hunger for more.

But the other side of the war surges, pressing her back, breathlessly driving out the words neither wants to hear. "No, wait." Firmer hands, holding her back, or holding him back from her, his heartbeat pounding through them, his tongue running over his lips for that taste again, but eyes closing so as not to look at her own. "No…I…I don't want to…I don't want to lose you, Shi! That's…that's why we didn't…before! Up there! This…it's…I…we…" Degenerating into speechlessness, he's left opening eyes to stare desperately at her, hopeful she can find meaning in his babble speak. Hoping she can understand the why he's so scared of that path. Hoping maybe she can ignore all that and win the war for the other side. Or maybe that she'll ease the terror and let the war be halted for a moment.

The war rages in them both, the scent of him coming to her senses, the feel of his large hands, there has always been something between them, that she allowed to lay softly in the background, watching and waiting for a time that might never come.

She might not be a warrior in the sight of many but she is strong in her idea of what is right and wrong, what is best for the moment of time they have, so those lips take what he offers, leaning forward for more till the violet eyes flicker open wide as she listens to his words.

Maybe there is a moment in his terror were it seems she will really pull away, but that melts as she slips past any resistance that he is giving and delicate arms slide along his chest, and then behind his head, fingers cupping the back of his neck, keeping him from straining his throat, and hopefully fighting the touch of her form so close.

Finally she speaks, "Stone…" The sound of his name echoes with emotions, of promises hinting out things they both want and things they can worry about. "If hearing about those you desire did not drive me away, then don't you think if this is something we both want? Something we /need/, we can make anything work? You are not going to push me away, not this time. If you truly do not want me, truly do not want my touch, my nearness, then tell me and I will back away, I will forget this happened and life will be go. But if any part of you wants me, then accept what is before you.." Soft, husky words, words placed only inches from his lips.

Then once more she is leaning in, her lips taking his with slightly more force, allowing the passion that he started when he responded before, to come out once more. A sweep of her pink tongue along the seem of his lips, a flutter of pale hair against the darkness of his skin, the feel of those hidden curves touching his chest, and then her tongue slips between his lips, taking his taste, savoring it as her tiny body shivers against his. But if he allows, or wishes, she pulls back only that inch again, her breathing sweetly jagged as she waits.

Muscles literally vibrate with the strain against themselves, useless in actually holding her to him or away from him in their indecision. Useless to stop her arms from going up around his neck, the damage to the rear where the arrow went fully through as tender as the front, if not quite so dangerous to his health if strained. But still a thing that brings him tension to her nearness of it. Or maybe that tension is just entirely about the nearness to her. Seeing her so close, so tiny, so fragile, yet so fierce. The one pushing through his defenses, using the words she's so capable with like weapons, cutting away the foundations of his arguments.

"I…you…this…" Babbling protest silenced once more with sunfire burning down on them, the heat of her lips on his, the scent of her hair enshrouding him, twining with his own, the feel of her body pressed, soft to hard, pliant to unyielding. It's a thing to drive him freely from all conscious thought for a moment. Enough to let him groan against her, a basso animal sound from his chest up throat and from his mouth to hers, parted and sealed, tongue hesitantly dancing against her own, chasing the slick, sweet taste of her addicting him already. Pulling him down the current of her wants, undamming the pent up ocean of his own to increase the flow, threatenin to drown them both as one of his hands gives way to it, releasing her arm to slide around behind her hovering low on small of back and tucked in waist, drawing her harder against him, upward into the pressure of the mounting heat of that sun hot kiss, powerful, needy, hungry.

And that's when the utterly shrill, penetrating whistle screams outward in the dim morning pre-dawn. A male voice, delighted and mocking and proud all together, crying out. "WOOO! GO BOY SCOUT!!!"

The crashing realization. They are in front of Ariadne's tent, in full view of the rest of the camp. A camp filled with people watching. Pointing. Laughing. Or at least some part of Stone's mind convinces him of such. That social anxiety that's always left him so isolated. Mocked for his size, for his morals, for his gentleness even. That lent him to hiding in the most out of the way sections of the Ark just to get away from it.

It's too much for him. The embarrassment, the fear, the confusion, they all crash home, driving forward like a charging calvary cutting through the lines of his want and need, crushing the other side of the war under hoof, and driving straight for his heart.

"I…I can't do this, Shi!" Up suddenly, torn away from her, towering, his gun dragged up with him, club left behind, breakfast plates overturned in haste, his long legs back-tracking. "I…can't lie and say I don't, but I can't do this. I can't risk…_this_!" A hand between them. So much fear. So much discomfort with his own heart and mind in this, but the battle's lost. "I…can't risk losing you if this doesn't…I just can't!"

And even if a part of him is screaming that he might lose her doing _this_, leaving her in this state, he can't stop his feat. Driving him out and away from her, across the camp, towards the gate where people are gathered, and thereby a way outside possibly opened for his escape. People who are likely going to get run over if they don't get out of the way in time.

"Hey man, what the fuck? I didn't mean to interrupt!!!" The mocking voice of before, belonging to one of the less-commonly recognizable ex-C's, now looking embarrassed for what he'd seemed to have done, and quickly ducking into a tent with one awkward look to Shi, whatever her part in this whole drama play was to be.

The very nerves that her offering him, well her, must have taken all her willpower for as she is pushed back, or more drops there on the ground, her whole body shudders and she seems to curl into herself. It's clear she thought for one moment that she might have a chance of joy before death, but well the fates are fickle monsters.

That ex-C might be more than scared when he sees who he interrupted, the rumor is that Shi can kill with a few simple drops of something in a cup. But for now the tiny girl just stays where she is before she glances around and to see how many people saw Stone's rejection, those violet eyes scan the grounds and then she stands up slowly, a shiver running over her body as she tracks where the Big Guy has gotten off to and moves to follow, or atleast walk that way.

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