Day 022: What Love's Got To Do With It
Summary: Does love make you weaker or stronger? Max and Cameron discuss thoughts on the matter.
Date: 13 June 2016
Related: After Devil Dice
Max Cameron 

Wall Walk
On top of the wall that surrounds the camp.
May 20 2149 (22 Days After Landing)

The game had ended, people had gone off to go back to work, or do whatever it is that they do. Afternoon had waned into the evening, and darkness fell. It's quiet on the wall, and even though Max's shift on guard duty ended a while ago, he still remains up there, leaning against the small enclosure at the far end of the wall, looking out into the darkness. It's not like he'd see a Grounder unless they wanted to be seen at this point, but still he stands there, half watching the forest, mostly lost in his own thoughts. Whatever fit of politically concerned talkativeness had taken him over within the first week had faded away again in the second.

Cameron was happy at the end of the game; but at the moment, as he climbs up the wall in his pants, and still not bothering with a shirt, he has a blissfully contented expression on his face. That said, he does have his sword with him hanging from his side. For someone in a death zone who might get attacked and die at any point, he seems to be taking this situation well. He then blinks, seeing Max, and smiles lazily. Maybe he's gone a little crazy? Who knows. "Max. Hey. Good to see you. Well. Outside of crazy games I make up on the spot. Haven't had a chance to talk a lot." He wanders over and leans by Max. "How you doing?"

Max doesn't go anywhere without his pair of makeshift knives that he's had since shortly after their arrival. Though at the moment, one is in each boot rather than one at his waist. For being in a constant state of danger with death and fever and who knows what else all around them, Max has managed to take it well enough — pragmatic enough to be able to focus on what needs to be done immediately when it happens. "Hey," he says, noting Cam's good mood, a faint flicker of a smile touching his expression before he looks back out into the woods, "Think I used up my quota early on," he replies. "The game was… educational," he chuckles, just a little bit. "I'm alright. You?"

"It was, with a couple downer points, what we need." Cameron nods slightly, "Don't get me wrong. I'm totally aware we might all die tomorrow. Tonight. I'm totally aware our odds are so bad they aren't even really odds. But today we were alive. Right now, I'm alive. And I'm free. I've got a guy I adore who has moves like magic and no one to tell me what to do on threat of death. I will fight, oh believe me, to keep what I have I'm going to fight— those grounders think us children, I'll show them— but I'm going to treasure every moment alive."

"Yeah," Max agrees easily enough to that. "It was a nice break." He draws in a slow breath and then lets it out again with a shrug of his shoulders. "Our odds aren't much worse than dying up there with no air," he nods toward the sky. "At least here we have air and water and food if we can hunt it." It's something, and it seems to be what he's holding onto as far as that goes.

"Fair enough. Certain death to near certain death. I'm still planning on making the fuckers pay for every step they take. And remember it." Cameron is fierce for a moment, but then he shrugs, smiling anyways, "So, you and Quinn a thing? Or just a fling? Don't mean to pry, I'm curious. I never could quite get a good read on her. Not saying anything against her mind, just not sure what to make of her. "

Max doesn't seem particularly fierce. He seems a bit tired, more than anything else, a little worn. "Near certain death is still better odds than certain death." He then glances over and says, "Yeah. We're a thing. Though… not an entirely exclusive thing, so long as it doesn't mess us up, you know?" He then smiles a little and says, "She wants to do what she feels is right, like most of us. She's just also… willing to stand up and do something about it, take the lead if need be."

"Totally like better odds." agrees Cameron with a nod, "And the stuff the techs are doing with the fuel? The Grounders don't think us dangerous and they're making a mistake. I was one of the biggest advocates for peace, but that doesn't mean we lie down and show our necks." Then he nods a bit, "I get the non-exclusive thing. In the Skybox, Morgan and I were a thing. But I knew they would kill him on his review, so I never let us get close. Not really. Though he kept me from losing my mind— the skybox seriously almost fucked me over completely, really— but I still held him at arm’s length up there. But. I do understand, what she feels right. We're all doing that. We just don't… agree."

"We were best friends growing up," Max says, shifting away from where he was leaning and turning around to sit on the wall with his back to it. "And I had a thing for her… when I went in. She came to visit me, even when my own mum didn't. I didn't think we were ever going to get together. I mean, I knew I was going to die. Then… here we were, on the ground, and I knew that she and Grey…" He shrugs his shoulders, "I didn't want to get in the way, you know? I wanted her to have whatever made her happy. Even if that wasn't me." He tilts his head back then and looks up and over at Cam, "But she did want me, after all. And I love her, you know? And as long as we've got that… then whatever else there is… that's alright with me." He then chuckles a bit, resting his head back against the wall. "Well yeah, most of us don't agree at least half the time. I'm so lost at this point, and so much has changed, I don't even know what anybody really thinks about anything anymore. I'm just trying to hunt, keep bringing back food. Keep making sure folks can eat. Stitching up holes in folk so they can keep on breathing. Learning from the baby docs so that I can do more than just stitch up holes, but do more than that… Gives me a purpose."

That L word, it makes Cameron tense up a little, look away. "I didn't know Morgan before the Skybox, but we hung out. We were friends there. A little more. Not a lot. But it happened sometimes. But I had other people, too. My parents visited. They argued for my freedom when the review came. They never abandoned me. But being locked up…" He shakes his head slowly, expression momentarily dark, but as he's distracted for a moment, he comes back a little sharp, "Don't call them baby docs. They're med-techs at the very worst. We need to respect each other’s skills." And he relaxes, and shrugs a bit, “Perhaps that's because he's seeing a so-called baby doc. "I get that idea, that you just wanted her to be happy, no matter what, and that's probably love. But I don't really know what love means. I mean, I loved my Mom. But I mean the other kind. Between two people. I'm afraid the L-word makes me weak and uninteresting if it ever happens."

"My mom never came. Not once," Max says with a slight shake of his head. "But as long as Reno didn't turn up in the box, I figured everything was alright." He then says to Cameron, "Reno's my brother. We managed to keep him hidden… and then Shi helped, some friends of my folks. They kept him hidden until about a week or so before we got dropped and then he… he just walked right out into the open, to get caught. So he could end up down here with me." He glances over to Cameron and says, "That's love, too. Even though we hadn't seen each other in five years." And that's why he'd always said that everyone that mattered to him was already on the ground. He smirks a little bit and says, "I have nothing but respect for Morgan, Cam. And the rest of the med techs. You know my mom was a med-tech… and that's what I was going to be… before I got boxed." Then he raises an eyebrow and says, "I don't think I'm weak for loving my brother, or for loving Quinn. Sometimes… sure, sometimes it makes me a little a little crazy, when I think about losing her after finally being able to be together, you know? But … it also gives me hope, something to keep getting up for when things look shitty. Knowing that no matter what else there is, there's somebody who means something, and who you mean something to. I don't have a lot of friends. Knowing there's someone there… it helps."

Cameron listens to the story of Reno, blinking a moment and shaking his head, "I can't even imagine someone just walking out to probably die with me." He pauses, "Except Mom died to save the three twenty, because she loved our people. See, that's my problem. Love is a fuzzy word. It runs around, it’s got hair and a tail and you can never catch it meaning one thing or the other." He shrugs a bit, "I like things to mean things. Things to make sense." Cameron lifts a hand and rubs at his face a bit, "I like to think I like people. I like to think people like me. I don't know how much either is true, really, so I don't know if I have a lot of friends. But. I know Morgan likes me. I know his voice makes me happy every time he says my name. But. I get it. Having someone to care about you gives you meaning, but how do you protect yourself, too?"

"You don't," Max says, looking over at Cam. "You don't. You just do it, and you feel it, and you let them know, and you open yourself up and… see what happens. And it's scary, and sometimes it hurts. Hell, I didn't say anything forever, because… I figured… I was going to die anyway; you know? I watched her out there, having a life, knowing that someday I'd be gone and … well, what good would it do to tell her, you know? And then… I thought she wanted someone else, and I wasn't going to get in the way of that… so I almost didn't tell her again." His lips twist a bit wryly then, "But she is pretty relentless, and she knows me well enough to know I was holding something back. And then I told her and she called me an idiot." He smirks a little. "And that hurt too… and it was a few days before that sorted out. And it scared the shit out of me when they took her. When I thought she was going to die. And yeah, I took an axe and more than one arrow getting her back. And when we got attacked on the way back … and I knew she was here and I wasn’t… yeah, that scared me too. But being scared, that doesn't make me weak. It means that I'm willing to do things that scare me, because someone matters enough to me to be scared about, and gives me the strength to do them. But it makes you vulnerable. It means you can be hurt. By them, by other people through them. But it's worth the risk."

Cameron flinches at several points when Max makes his declarations, though he isn't so much shaking his head as settling into place and considering, "But what if they like you because you're strong?" he wonders, "That's the contradiction I don't understand. I don’t. do weak. I fight. I have opinions. Ideals. I fight. That will always be. But if I love someone, doesn't that make me smaller to him? How can he be satisfied with me then realizing I'm small? Before, we argued. If you need someone, doesn't their opinion overrule your own?"

"Love doesn't make you smaller, Cam. It makes you bigger. It means you're more than just yourself. You're something to someone other than yourself, too. It means that sure, you think about them, consider their feelings, you still fight. But you fight not only for you, but for them. It doesn't mean you stop having opinions or ideals, or goals. It means that you have someone that will fight with you for your ideals and goals, or who will fight with you about your ideals and goals, and keep you honest. They'll make you think, challenge you about what you feel and think about things. They'll make you stronger. And they'll still love you even when they don't agree with you," Max says as he looks up toward the stars above them. "If you love somebody, they will argue with you, not just agree with everything you say. And you won't agree with everything they say. But you'll try to understand, for their sake, and they'll try to understand for yours." He then grins sidelong, "And then you let all that tension build up and have a good fuck."

Cameron consider Max's words, there leaning against the wall to the dark wilds beyond. He nods his head here and there, but his expression is neither accepting nor rejecting. ITs simply considering. At the last, he has to laugh, "The one thing I'm sure we have going for us is good fucking. There's no problem there. It’s the other things I'm not sure about." He pushes off then, and rolls his shoulders, "But we'll see. Good talk, Max. Talk to you later." And he makes his way down below.

"Hey, it's not a bad place to start," Max says with a slight shrug of his shoulders. "Plus… I could be entirely full of shit." But it's clear that he's given this particular topic quite a bit of thought for some time. Who knows what else he thinks about when he's all lost in his own head. He watches as Cameron rolls his shoulders and pushes away from the wall. "Sure." He peels himself up to his feet then, stretching a bit. "Catch you later," he says, watching as Cam descends and heads back down to the camp until he's out of sight, lost once more in his own thoughts. Then he slips his hands into his pockets and strolls off down the wall.

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