Day 029: Just Be
Summary: Max and Madelyn engage in some late-night existential angst.
Date: June 27, 2016
Related: None
Madelyn Max 

Mount Weather Dining Hall
Room description
June 27, 2149

Max was a late-ish release from quarantine. Eventually he came out of the room and made his way around, eventually stumbling down toward the Horticulture and Hydroponics area before eventually finding his way back up to the Infirmary, and eventually the Dining Hall. But late at night, or what passes for night in a place with no windows, while the others were sleeping, he found himself randomly wandering the halls, not particularly trying to go anywhere, just wandering aimlessly.

Soft, padding footsteps are audible before Madelyn rounds the corner, barefoot and in a purple cotton nightgown — short, capped sleeves, falling to mid-calf, complete with a little ruffle at the bottom. She looks surprised and embarrassed to be caught out, stopping in her tracks and crossing her arms. "I, um, couldn't sleep and… and I didn't want to wake other people up…" she explains weakly.

Max looks up when he hears footsteps, and when he sees that it's Madelyn, he relaxes just a little bit — not that he's particularly afraid of the Mountain Men. Thus far, they haven't done anything to earn it. He's dressed in the clothes that they gave him, the jeans, the plain grey knit shirt, and a pair of simple black thick soled shoes that make a faint squeak sometimes on the concrete when he walks. "Well, you didn't wake me up," Max notes, since unless he was sleep walking — that wasn't much of a possibility. "Why no sleep?"

"I took a long nap earlier," she explains. "Maybe that. Or maybe my brain just won't shut up. It's too quiet here." Madelyn shifts her weight, leaning sideways against the wall. "How about you?"

"At least there's the hum of the ventillation, and the lights," Max says, glancing up toward the ceiling and then back down toward her. "That's kind of like the Ark, though.. with no windows." Then he shrugs his shoulders, sliding his hands into his pockets. "I'm.." He has no idea how he is. "Still numb. I think. I don't really feel anything."

"That how I was, until earlier today," Madelyn admits, looking down at the floor. "There's apparently a president and he was in our dorm and suddenly everything came at me at once and I started crying like some kind of an idiot. I'm so fucking smooth." The small young woman shakes her head, sighing, embarrassed. "I don't even know. I'm just… Yeah."

"It's okay to cry," Max says to her with a slight shake of his head. "Crying doesn't mean you're weak or anything. It just means you've been carrying a bit too much for a bit too long." He leans against the wall not far from her and says, "We nearly all died. A bunch of us did."

"Do you remember Jason?" Madelyn asks, looking up at him. "I didn't even know his name until after he died, and he died with his head in my lap," she continues softly. "If I had died, no one would remember me. I'm not smart or important or strong or brave. I'm…" She blinks back tears. "I'm just… nothing. And I'm afraid."

Max nods his head. He remembers Jason. He remembers picking up Jason's water bottles and moving out after they'd left him back in the caves, dead. He's silent for a moment or two and then he says, "I would remember you, Madelyn. She who fixed the handles on my sad attempts at bags to gather herbs in. She who tried to comfort Jason while he was dying and tried to get him to hold on. She who talked to me in the Box when few others took the time to. You're something. And someone would miss you if you were gone."

Ah, there come the tears. They come rolling down her cheeks, unbidden. Embarrassed, she rubs her eyes with her palm and the neckline of her nightgown. "Sorry," she mumbles, sniffling. "I'm a mess." She takes a shuddering breath, looking away, sheepishly.

"You're not a mess. You're just a little damp," Max tells her and then nods toward the Dining Hall. It's empty at this hour, the food having been cleared away, some drinks and snacks left out, but nothing of any real significance, but also no people. "Come on. There are some napkins in here we can use for your nose." Since there's no rags on him at the moment.

Madelyn gives Max a small, lopsided smile. "That sounds like a good idea. I wouldn't mind sitting down for a bit." In the dining hall, she helps herself to a large glass of grapefruit juice, a new treat she had discovered earlier that day, and a few cheese danishes before picking a corner table. Even though things seemed safe enough in here, she still liked the feeling of knowing there was a solid wall behind her. After they're settled, she shows him her left hand. "Well, um, in good news, my finger seems to have healed okay?"

Max follows her in and wanders over to the table after picking up something to drink for himself. Hydration was something he still wasn't taking for granted, and at every opportunity made sure that he was staying so. It didn't matter that they weren't outside anymore. He settles into a chair next to her and looks over as she holds out her finger, giving a nods, "They've got good care here." He shifts his arm a bit, his own wounds healing up neatly.

Madelyn frowns a bit, reaching out to gently touch Max's arm. "How'd you get those?" She pauses for a moment. "I mean, I know it could have been any one of a million horrible things and it's probably a dumb question," she adds. She hands him a danish as a means of covering up what she felt was, in fact, a dumb question. "Try this."

Max looks down at the remains of the wounds on his left arm, his sleeve rolled up and the bandages still there. He pokes at them a bit and then begins to pull them off, looking at the skin beneath. There are marks on his arm, the newer ones still red, and then older ones beneath, lighter slivers across the skin. "They like shooting at my left arm for some reason, even though I'm not left-handed. Those are just from the water run." He touches a little bit over his chest, "They got me in the chest in the fight." But those bandages he leaves alone, feeling the skin tighten whenever he moves. When she hands him a danish he says, "Thanks." He lifts it and takes a bite before setting it down on the table. It's sweet. Really really sweet, and he looks a little surprised.

"I can't tell if they're disgusting or amazing, but they are letting us eat however much we want, so I'm going to say amazing," Madelyn remarks. Her hand stays on his arm, her fingers drumming slightly as she thinks. "If we can stay here, then you probably won't have to worry about getting hurt in a fight ever again. That's good, right?" More light finger drumming. "I just… Everything keeps changing and happening so fast and I'm having a hard time catching up. Maybe being numb is better."

"They're really sweet," Max says, but he lifts it up and takes another bite. "I had some other things earlier. I have no idea what they were. But they weren't bad." He then looks down at her fingers on his arm and considers the scars that he's gotten since being on the ground, "I could do without being a human pincushion. I'm just not sure what is going on here, why they're keeping us here, and I don't believe everyone else is dead. But.. they're taking care of us for now, and we may as well use the opportunity to learn what we can." He then looks over at her, turning his arm slowly under her drumming fingers, palm up. "I don't know if it's better."

"They eat so many different things. It's… it's really weird," Madelyn admits, shaking her head a little. "This whole situation is really… there's something not right. The president said there were only about three hundred people here. Why would they take so many extra people in all of a sudden? Wouldn't that throw off their whole rationing system? Why do they like us so much more than the Grounders? It just… it's weird. But they've been so kind, and they answer all of our questions. Maybe I'm just thinking too much, you know?" Her hand slowly slides down to rest in his, just lightly enough that she can pull it away and pretend it was totally an accident if need be.

Max watches as her hand slides down into his and he lets it rest there, and after a moment, his fingers curl around her hand. "I don't want to think about it," he admits. "I'm tired. Ever since we hit the ground I've done nothing but think — think about how we're going to eat, drink, survive, the Grounders, getting water, how we're going to deal with disease, the politics, who should lead, who shouldn't lead, who should have guns, who shouldn't have guns, what this mountain is all about.. I just.. I can't think anymore. I just want to.. not think.. for a little while."

"That's why I think it's so quiet here. Maybe it's not the noise, but it's my head, spinning because I don't /have/ to think about anything." Madelyn tilts her head slightly, looking up at him. "Maybe everything really is okay and we're wearing ourselves out thinking because we got used to never being able to really rest. That could be nice."

"That's why I think it's so quiet here. Maybe it's not the noise, but it's my head, spinning because I don't /have/ to think about anything." Madelyn tilts her head slightly, looking up at him. "Maybe everything really is okay and we're wearing ourselves out thinking because we got used to never being able to really rest. That could be nice."

Max is quiet for several long moments, just looking at her hand in his, and for a time it might seem like he isn't going to answer. "Wouldn't it be nice if that were possible." It doesn't sound like he believes that it is. He finally looks up and over at her and says, "I don't know what's going on here, but all I know right now is that I just want to eat and sleep and breathe for just a little while before doing anything else."

"Can you let yourself do that? Just… be for a bit? If trouble happens, we'll know. We won't be totally, like, unprepared, right? Because we've seen stuff and we're not stupid." Madelyn meets his gaze, eyes weary and concerned, squeezing his hand gently. "Maybe we can just… exist. Not worry about getting shot or floated or diseased or dehydrated. Just… eat ridiculously sweet food and rest. Then figure things out."

"I don't know," Max admits with a slight shake off his head. "I don't know if any of us can, really. I mean, they could be fattening us up to eat us for all we know, and then it will be just one more horror show of trying to get out in one piece." He too is weary, desperately so. He squeezes her hand back in return though. "Do you think you could do that? Just be for a while? None of the others seem to be able to. They are already going in all different directions again."

"I want to try," Madelyn sighs, slumping her narrow shoulders, "But you see how well I was doing, from the fact that I'm here right now and not sleeping in my bed." Her free hand fiddles with her plate, tracing the gold rim and picking at it with her fingernails. "I want to believe. I want to try." She takes a few slow breaths. "Maybe a way to think about it is that yeah, maybe tomorrow will be another horror show and everyone's gonna get blown to pieces or carved up into steaks or whatever, but today? Today things are quiet and people have the luxury of being bored and there's more food than I've ever seen in my friggin' life. That's… that's pretty close to okay. Maybe?"

"As close to okay as I think either of us is going to see in the near future," Max agrees as he watches her picking at the edge of the plate. He is quiet for a while, leaving his hand in hers as he uses the other to finish off his pastry and his drink. "I couldn't sleep either. But mostly because I can't turn it all off, even when is quiet."

Gently and hesitantly, Madelyn strokes the side of his thumb with her own. "Is there anything I can do to help? I mean, at the very least, I can listen if you need to talk. But, I mean, you're you, so you probably don't need to talk, but I can offer. That's… me running my mouth, I guess, but the intention is good. I… you deserve a chance to rest. I wish you could."

It's strange. Max isn't used to anyone touching him, and yet in this post-quarantine fog, he hasn't shied away and had even offered hugs once or twice. Either he is still somewhat in shock our he just subconsciously needs that contact himself. He squeezes her hand a little then turns his palm to slip his fingers through hers. There is the faintest twist of his lips when she says he probably doesn't need to talk. "I appreciate the offer. Being here. That helps."

"Then I'll be here," Madelyn says, simply and firmly. She's friendly enough when she's not being skittish and awkward, but she's rarely physically demonstrative, but right now, this feels comfortable and safe. Being hit with knockout gas and being dragged into a weird underground bunker clearly does a number on people. She doesn't feel the need to fill the air with chatter right now, instead opting to just sit there in companionable silence.

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