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Complete we'll carry on

Discussion in 'Pandopolis City' started by Toby Daye, Nov 8, 2019.

  1. Toby Daye

    Toby Daye October Daye
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    Nov 7th, Year 109 || @Ozma
    She had woken up in a bit of a haze at the hospital. Things weren't as hazy as they had been with the Akuma but Toby couldn't have told anyone why. Maybe because she had been more mentally prepared for the damage this time around. Being in someone's clutches was completely different from a monster trying to kill everyone at the office. The brunette didn't give herself much time at the hospital. With the akuma things had been a little different and despite the fact that Toby assumed Salem was likely dead, she alreadyu knew that Pandora was unpredictable. The last attack hadn't been centered on Toby but this one... well, she would have felt safer in her home even if that was where Salem had found her. There were wards there, plenty of gear to help keep her safe, and Gilly was currently tucked away with Weiss.

    Toby's body was another matter. The brunette knew that she had only been with Salem for less than a day. Several hours... she couldn't quite remember all the details there. Parts of her mind were working to keep her trapped outside of those thoughts while she was healing. The changeling just wanted to get home. She had been unable to move that first day. Hooked up to a dozen different machines and with plenty of bandages, but Oz had taken her back to the same hospital she had been to before. If counting small miracles had been Toby's thing, she might have chalked another one on her count of endless near deaths and close calls. The hospital had pumped her full of blood and Toby had managed to heal at a fast rate this time around. By the second day she looked as if she had been healing for over a week and a little bit of magical healing had helped mend most of her bones. Not her ribs but everything she needed to move.

    Knowing that she was likely going to be trapped here against her will for Oberon knew how long, Toby had decided to break herself out of the damn place before anyone could stop her. So on the second night she had turned off the machines in her unit, had slipped under a bit of illusion magic, and then walked out of the hospital. It wasn't easy. Toby had had to stop several times to try and catch her breath. The feeling of her illusion magic on top of her wounds and bruises was absolutely painful. Casting that magic in the first place had been difficult because Toby didn't quite have enough energy to manage it, never mind her magic reserves. Toby had burned through that while fighting off the Grimm infection that Salem had tried to give her. Toby's magic wasn't exactly as strong or as plentiful as Oz or Salem's, but she made due in her own way.

    Slowly she managed to make her way a few blocks away from the hospital before finally catching a cab. While she was there Toby texted her agent and a few other people to take care of a few things for her. Mostly to make sure that the hospital staff wouldn't freak out and call the cops, because that was the last thing that Toby wanted done. She just wanted to go home. Be home, be alone, have her moments and then pull herself back together. That was what she always did after these... Toby hadn't felt safe enough at the hospital to let herself cry. Not this time around and without drugs in her system, she was much more acutely aware of how much pain she was in. But she was also in control of her words, her actions, and her emotions.

    Toby unlocked the front door without thinking twice about what the hospital might have done instead. Which was call the man who had dropped her off in the first place. Oz had told the hospital staff to let him know as soon as she left and no one had told Toby such a thing. Funny enough, that might have been enough to get her to stay in her hospital bed, but for the moment she was just relieved that she had finally made it home. A few steps into her home and Toby closed the door behind her. Locking it as well. One of her hands pressed against the wall to keep herself up right before she shuffled another few steps. Now that she was out of the public eye, Toby allowed herself to look as weak as she felt. Shoulders sagging, face pale and pinched, her illusion wiped off in a second. Instantly Toby felt better than she had because that pressure was gone but as soon as the wave of her magic split, another magic scent hit her. Mint chocolate chip and morning grass.

    Her silver eyes widened for a second and for the first time in her life, Toby wildly looked around a living room with an ounce of panic in her heart. Her mother had left long before her teenaged years and as a result, Toby had never come home to a disapproving face looming in her living room. The changeling didn't need any of the lights on to know that Oz was sitting in her living room but the lamp next to him was on. Why hadn't she noticed that before? Oh right, she was... hurt. Tired. Exhausted. For a second Toby didn't know what to say. Instead she licked her lips carefully and then bit down on her bottom lip as she tried to figure out what to say. Or how to react. Why was Oz here? Her lips parted to say something but Toby felt another wave of exhaustion hit her. She had used most of her energy in getting herself home. It was difficult for her to keep standing up when she needed to rest. "Let me sit down first." Her voice was nothing more than a croak at best but she couldn't do anything about that either. Instead Toby started to shuffle towards the couch with more than a little hesitation in each step. Not because of Oz, but because healed bones did not mean the rest of the damage was healed as well. She sat down with half open eyes, keeping herself calm despite how different parts of her body protested. Whatever Oz wanted to say, he was free to say it. Toby just didn't know what needed to be said.
     
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  2. Ozma

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    Oz worried about Toby for one very simple reason:

    Toby did not worry about herself.

    Oh, she could be temporarily stayed from stupidity by flashing her daughter at her as a reminder of what she had to lose, but it didn't last long, and it didn't mean anything if Toby was pulled into a dangerous situation anyway. Oz didn't always know if she was simply determined to die a martyr to someone else's cause, or if Toby had, by virtue of surviving so much in her lifetime, developed a kind of sense of invulnerability that simply wasn't true. She had the callous attitude of someone who had seen and experienced so much pain and death that she saw herself as...

    He didn't know. Did she think she was immortal? Did she just not care? Did she shrug her shoulders and think I did it once, so I can do it again?

    In any case, Toby's ability to hurl herself at trouble, regardless of what it might do to her, was something that Ozma knew well, but he had only ever known in a second-hand way. He had mistakenly assumed that she had the misbegotten belief that she had to protect other people, but not him. Surely not him. Surely not from Salem.

    Yet, he knew how Salem worked, and he had been able to tell at a glance - when everything was over and he was able to think clearly - that her pattern of wounds came from a refusal to tell Salem whatever it was she wished to know. That wasn't to say that Salem would have been merciful if she had, but the damage would have been less significant, and with less malice behind it.

    He knew that Salem would not have cared about Toby's family, or her friends.

    Salem had only wanted information on him, and Toby had been stupid enough not to give it.

    Sitting in the dim light of a single lamp, Oz brooded on that knowledge. This wasn't a situation he was used to being in - not in either set of memories kicking around in his head. This was why he tried, despite being a social creature at heart, to work in as much isolation as he could. Independence was safe. Being alone kept people alive.

    Breaking that rule of his had almost gotten Toby killed, but Ozma refused to allow the guilt of it to rest squarely on his own shoulders for once, because she should have known better. She should have told Salem everything. Anything. Salem would have left her in favor of pursuing him. She wouldn't have killed her, because she would want him to see it, and then...

    He kneaded his temple, brows furrowed. And then what? Did he really think things would have played out as they had? Salem would have been prepared, and Oz would have been terrified and caught off guard. They both probably would have died.

    He opened his eyes as soon as the doorknob turned, but he waited for Toby to come in. Waited for her to lock the door and find her bearings, knowing damn well that she couldn't feel anywhere near well enough to be home - but here she was, because she was doing exactly what Oz would do. Finding somewhere quiet and familiar to hide in a dark corner and lick her wounds.

    Unacceptable.

    He watched her reaction with a leaden expression. Maybe later he would laugh at it, but for now he was feeling... too much. He was feeling a thousand emotions, and they were as hard to understand and control as they had been in the hours after killing Salem. He didn't know how to feel, but anger was rearing its head more than the rest at the moment. Staring at Toby in silence, Oz nodded once. He wasn't going to be cruel about the thing. She could sit down before he broached the subject.

    "You should still be under observation." He pointed out in a cool tone. "You're laughably far from okay, and if you even try to tell me you're just fine, I'm going to throw this lamp at your head." He gestured at the lamp, and it had a peculiar spike of electricity, blazing brighter for just a moment. Then Oz's frown deepened.

    He took a breath and reminded himself to stay calm. "Toby..." He began softly. "...Let's just start with why you didn't just tell her what she wanted to know." Oz's tone was brittle, but it was still calm. He was calm. "Did you really think, for even a moment, that you stood a better chance than me? That my life is even remotely equal to yours and Gilly's?" He was playing that card early, because she had been a damned fool not to think of it sooner.

    "What were you thinking? Tell me that."


     
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  3. Toby Daye

    Toby Daye October Daye
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    Toby had never been in this situation in her life. She had never come home to someone with good intentions and... well, that didn't matter. After everything that Toby had been through, she didn't feel like thinking about the darker moments of her past. Instead the brunette just wanted to curl up and sleep, because that was going to be one of the best things for her right then and there. Granted, she wasn't going to have any more blood infusions because she was at home but Toby knew she was past the bend in the road. She wouldn't die now and everything was going to heal straight. Those were the important factors, right?

    I'm going to throw this lamp at your head. There was a gurgle of a noise in response. Toby's eyebrows tried to knit together but there were a few stitches in her forehead that prevented the motion from completing. But that noise had been laughter or Toby's current attempt at laughter, even if Oz's next words sobered up that feeling. There was a low sigh to follow and the changeling allowed her eyes to close. She had a number of things to weigh before speaking up but there was a shrug of her shoulders as he asked what she had been thinking.

    "She found me, Oz." Salem had shown up at her door and dragged her away when Toby had just been on the way to pick Gilly up from school. A normal day, or so Toby had thought, until the smell of Salem's magic had hit her outside. "I didn't know where..." She took a breath and shifted on the couch, a glimmer of pain showing on her features. Toby felt pain, she just chose to ignore it as best she could when she still needed to move. Currently Toby just needed to talk and she didn't think it would be too difficult, but her ribs were protesting.

    "I didn't know where you were. I didn't know who you were with." There was a subtle difference between those two sets of words. Toby didn't actually know where Oz was but she could have taken a number of guesses. But more than that, Toby didn't know who Oz was with and in a way, that was just as important to Toby. What if Oz had been with... kids? The kids? Anyone really. Anyone at all. What sort of guarantee would Toby have that Oz was the only one who would suffer if Toby caved? She hadn't had any sort of guarantee at all.

    Her eyes opened slightly and Toby leaned her head back on the couch gently, trying to get as comfortable as she could in bits and pieces. "What happened?" Toby didn't know all the details but she wanted to know. A piece of her needed to know... if Salem was alive or dead.
     
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  4. Ozma

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    Oz ignored her laughter, because now wasn't the time to allow himself to be distracted into a frivolous conversation about whether he would or would not actually lob a lamp at her. Instead, he watched Toby with open vexation and leaned forward, elbows on his knees and hands folded in the middle between them. He was wearing another oversized pair of James' pajamas, and the sleeve on one side had been rolled up to the elbow to accommodate the tightly wrapped bandage he'd been forced to accept at the hospital. The burns and scratches beneath were itchy, but he supposed that was a good sign. He was probably supposed to change it at some point.

    He felt sorry for Toby's pain. He truly did. He saw it on her expression, and Oz felt for her, but it didn't detract from the conversation they needed to have. Salem was dead, but he didn't know for how long. Pandora worked in strange ways, and he knew better than to fall into complacency again - that meant having this discussion, and making matters impossibly clear to Toby. It didn't matter if she was hurting.

    "After what happened, do you really think I would risk anyone's safety? I knew Salem was going to find me, Toby! The only one at risk would have been James, and he knows the risk! He knows it better than you! You could have said anything!" He gestured at her furiously, and his voice was beginning to rise already. "You're using excuses because your-- this obsessive need of yours to be the sacrificial lamb leads you to one stupid decision right after another! I don't need your protection, Toby! Your child needs your protection, and you were willing to throw that away because you would rather be able to get in one last fuck you to--" He trailed off with an angry sound, dragging his hands over his face tiredly.

    After a long pause, he breathed out softly. "The only thing that matters is that she's dead, Toby. It's over... for now." He gave a humorless bark of laughter. "I'm sure she'll be back again next week, knowing this damnable world."


     
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  5. Toby Daye

    Toby Daye October Daye
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    One last fuck you? Well, Oz wasn't too wrong on that end. Toby had a bad habit of thinking that she was absolutely ready to rock and roll on any level. She was just used to being the one to step up to the plate to solve all the problems that her home had. The only person who gave a fuck enough to put her own life on the line because she was the expendable one. The durable one. Her thinking hadn't quite changed in the few years that she had been in Pandora.

    Oz had a point about Gilly but the wizard had always been willing to throw that one in her face. There was a difficult balance that Toby had to figure out. How much did she want to take a stand against the dark things in this world and what was she willing to give up for it? Not Gilly, but there would always be things in this world that Toby could not protect her daughter from. Gilly was going to learn how to defend herself and every day that passed was another day that Gilly kept going with her aura.

    A small sigh escaped Toby. A little bit of tension that eased from her expression because Salem was dead. Maybe she'd be able to sleep a little bit eas-- except Oz took that one away too when he mentioned how quickly Salem was likely to be back. She wanted to reach out and smack him, but she couldn't bring herself too do it. Not enough energy. She might have bitten back a little bit of a witty line about not knowing what her tormentor would have done if she had given in, but this was Salem and Oz. He would know better than anyone else.

    "Fuck you." Toby didn't quite have the energy to have a full conversation but her emotions were starting to fight past the pain that she was feeling. Something oddly sharp against everything else. Something mad right back at Oz, because he was more than willing to throw away his life for... a fate that a god had given him. In a place like Pandora... there had to be an answer for things and Oz had figured out what. Prometheus dust. Toby really needed to get her hands on some more of those bullets. A couple of Toby D gigs would put enough money in her pocket and then she could make a couple of calls...

    Her mind trailed off for a second before she returned to looking at Oz. At focusing on what he was saying. "I'm not willing to trade any of you in." Not her life for Oz's. Not her life for James'. Toby was not the kind of person who would ever trade her life for another's, even if she was the only one who got hurt because of it.

    She also knew that her daughter would be fine without her. Sort of. Toby wanted to be with Gilly more than anything else in this world but all of this just felt like borrowed time. One hand lifted and it shook, carefully trying to push hair out of her face. Everything hurt and parts of her skin felt too warm, while other bits felt like they were on fire. She was still breathing hard but a little bit more of that focus had come back to those silver eyes. This was a subject she would never budge on. No one could make her. Had Gilly been in Salem's grasp... perhaps there would have been a different offer but Toby would have offered her life first. Always her life first. She had a feral need to protect hers and it didn't take a lot to get into that circle.
     
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  6. Ozma

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    "No, fuck you!" He exclaimed back furiously, pushing off the chair and onto his feet, taking to moving around the living room because he couldn't just sit down and bicker. Roiling emotions were coming up again, and though anger was front and center, there were other feelings circling around it, too close for comfort. Sadness, confusion... and the most implacable sense of loss, which he hated more than anything else he felt. After everything Salem had already torn from him, that he had to feel any kind of remorse for doing to her what she had made him beg for a dozen times... a hundred times...

    He turned on Toby, maybe because of the topic at hand, and maybe because he didn't have Salem to focus his ire upon. "That's not your choice!" He yelled, abandoning all pretense of calmness. "You don't get to tell me what my life is worth in relation to yours! You don't get to tell your child that she'll be just fine without you, because you would rather stick your middle finger up at something stronger than you are on the off chance you might win!" He threw out a hand, and the lamp, by some small miracle, simply turned off with a quiet pop as he blew the fuse.

    Giving an angry growl, Ozma flicked his hand upward, casting a dozen glowing orbs of silver light into the air around them, illuminating the room so he could continue to make things perfectly clear for Toby. "You matter, Toby, you fool! You're the most important thing in this world to more people than you know, and every time you do this, you're..." He looked conflicted for a moment, then pained. "You're making a mockery of what you are to those people. They love you alive. They don't want to love a memory!"

    He hesitated, then squeezed his eyes shut as the orbs danced around against the ceiling. "Do as you wish regarding other people. I know I can't stop you, as much as I want to... but do not presume that I need your protection. Never. I don't care if it's Salem, or a god, or anything else. If they want information about me, tell them and let me deal with the fallout."


     
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  7. Toby Daye

    Toby Daye October Daye
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    Her teeth ground together and the motion made something ache in her jaw. One of the times she had been hit it had felt like something had been unhinged, but now it was merely sore. There was a deep breath taken the second that Oz lost ever bit of his cool. Those eyes came a little bit more into focus and she just stared straight at Oz. There was a lift in her emotions that was pulling her from the pain. If Toby could get pissed off enough then she'd be able to move a little bit more than she should have.

    Getting the energy to yell back for some damn reason. Because Oz was pushing buttons that Toby didn't think anyone should have pushed. The changeling was in control of her life. Of her... she didn't fucking believe in destiny but that felt like the right word here. Toby was in charge. Fuck everything else. Oz included "Give 'em what they want? Then they don't need me." It wasn't a fair blow with Salem. Toby didn't know if Salem was like that or if she would have kept her word about a few things, but Toby knew that her words could apply to plenty of other people in this damned world.

    There was also a part of her that needed to ignore some of what Oz had said. Some part of her that was damn scared of mattering to others, even if she wanted that more than she was willing to admit. A part of her that knew what kind of hole she might leave behind if Toby got ripped away. With warning, without warning. So Toby refused to be the most important thing in anyone's life. There had been plenty to keep that confirmed in her mind and that was just... her thoughts slipped for a moment as some of that energy flagged. Toby had to keep paying attention.

    "You look like a kid swamped in his dad's clothes." Instead of talking about that, Toby turned the tables on Oz in a different manner. It was hard to take him seriously when he was walking around in PJs about five times too big. The difference in height and mass between the two men was unmistakable. "Didn't make my top five, Oz. Just..." There was a small, stiff wave of one hand in an attempt to get him to calm down. Another wave of pain flickered over her face and Toby's cheeks puffed out. She could do this. She was fine. No matter what Oz thought on what was going on. He could go fuck himself with this stupid attitude. He mattered too. She wasn't going to listen to him and his bullshit.

    Toby still had plenty of mental fight in her. She had spent two days in the hospital. Oz might not have been the best target around but he had certainly started this conversation. If he hadn't, perhaps this conversation could have gone differently. Or maybe Toby was just being a bitch because she felt helpless. Because she was trying to keep herself from breaking down in more ways than one. Things were always safer that way. She still wasn't alone.
     
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  8. Ozma

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    This was stupid. Oz knew that. He was aware that now wasn't the optimal time to hash this out with Toby, but it was probably the only time when he might be able to make himself heard. In normal circumstances, she would be able to yell right back at him, or twist the conversation, or even just walk away. Perhaps it was wrong of him to think that she would do any of those things, but Oz didn't put any of it past her, because they were touching upon aspects of Toby that he didn't expect her to want touched.

    "Better to bend than to break, Toby." That was something he didn't expect her to ever understand - it was something that Oz himself had only learned through a thousand years of trial. That there was a time and a place to remain resolute and unyielding in the face of torture, he understood, but there were also occasions when it was wiser to let go of one's pride and just do whatever was asked.

    Nevertheless, Oz dropped that thread of the debate, knowing there would be no reasoning with her on that front.

    "Oh shut up!" He exploded violently. "I don't care about your top five torture experiences, Toby, I care about this one!" The orbs of light shone brighter than ever, illuminating not just the living room, but the rest of the house and sending piercing beams through the windows as Oz yelled. He took a step closer to her, hesitating while he was still a few feet away. "I don't care! What I care about is the fact that you were perfectly happy to roll over and let yourself be killed for my sake, and you don't see anything wrong with that! I care that you don't care!"

    He took another step closer, then dropped onto his knees, somehow hoping that perhaps being on her level would make a difference. He doubted it would. "You are important, Toby. More than you realize. Your life isn't yours to throw away, because it belongs to more people than just you." Oz wondered if she realized that, and he suspected that perhaps she didn't. In fact, he was almost certain that she didn't... Not, at least, in the way that she should have.

    "I understand better than most... that maybe it's not easy to realize that, or to accept it. But your greatest strength isn't in your ability to endure torture, or to get yourself killed in the goriest way possible." He refused to give her a friendship speech. She would just use it as fuel to turn the whole thing into a joke. "You have an unbelievable gift for rallying people behind you, and you are determined to destroy that before you've even realized its full potential."

    He pursed his lips then. The orbs dimmed down to their original gentle glow. "You aren't a one-woman army, you know. You are a general. So stop trying to be something that you aren't anymore."


     
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  9. Toby Daye

    Toby Daye October Daye
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    Oh shut up! That hadn't been the reaction that Toby had been expecting. In fact, it was about as opposite as possible. Toby had hoped for a bit of a laugh and an ease into old conversations that they had had at the start of their friendship. Those humorously dark themes in their words because that was who they were. Things were safe in that manner. Much, much safer. The brunette actually shut her mouth for a second and she had trouble keeping her expression clear of any emotion.

    "I..." She didn't know what he was talking about, not in the manner he worded it. Rallying people behind her? Full potential? What the hell was the wizard talking about now? When she broke her level gaze, it was because she didn't understand what he was talking about. As always, Toby was immune to understanding how others felt about her. She refused to understand and always carefully kept herself-- well, not always. It was a tangled web in Toby's mind. A tangled web of emotions and thoughts.

    You are a general. That didn't make any sense to Toby. She wasn't a leader in that sense of the word. Instead Toby felt like she had mostly been alone in her life. How was she supposed to lead people? She didn't know what any of this was like. "I can't... don't..." Her words sputtered out and then she shifted again on the couch. Trying to get that uncomfortable feeling off of her chest. There were tears in her eyes and she felt a need to somehow shift away from all of this.

    Toby looked away and didn't say anything else at all. She had no words to offer in return. Just having a breath was difficult then and Toby felt on the edge of tears. Oz wasn't going to tell her what to do on this. No matter their conversation, her life was her own. She would spend it how she wished and she would only ever be the person she could live with. No matter what damages she paid in the process. "I can't do that." She couldn't. Toby didn't know how to be anything but this woman who was entirely alone and only had her own life to spend to keep others safe. How else was she supposed to live her life?
     
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  10. Ozma

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    Ozma knew that responsibility could be a terrifying prospect. He had had many centuries to learn how to delicately manage the understanding that there were people who were very much within the sway of his power - that his words could essentially make or break lives around him. At least... one half of his present memories were familiar and comfortable with that notion. The part of him that was strongly and irreversibly bound to his life as Ozma balked against it, finding the prospect of being in such a position just as horrifying as Toby seemed to find it.

    So, he tried to push that side of him away for now. This wasn't about his own misgivings and doubts.

    There was something about her reaction to his words that soothed the worst of Oz's anger, and his expression softened. Coming closer to the couch, he reached out and caught one of Toby's hands, squeezing it in his grasp. "You already do, Toby." He pointed out warmly. "You do it without even thinking about it. You have become a pillar in almost every life you've touched. You're the one those people turn to for aid - and not just in conflict." Oz had never seen the like of it. Not often, at least. Toby had a way of blending into the lives of dozens of people, all from radically different paths. Young and old, she somehow found a way to balance herself with each of them.

    "You are one of the most loved people I have ever had the fortune to know. You have a gift for touching the heart of everyone you meet. I don't... I won't let you throw that away in a bid to become just another martyr no one will remember. I love you far too much for that, I'm afraid."


     
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  11. Toby Daye

    Toby Daye October Daye
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    Maybe it was the drugs or the pain, but Toby wasn't entirely certain of her emotions in that moment. There was a whirlwind of information and she didn't know how to process everything that Oz was saying. Nor what was happening right then. Toby had stubbornly kept her mind in the dark when it came to certain aspects of her life and this was a confrontation of the likes that she had never wanted to have. At least, not when she was the one receiving this kind of treatment. Toby had been on Oz's side plenty enough.

    You already do, Toby. Her lips thinned into a single line as he held her hand. Squeezed it gently and really Toby was glad that her fingers had been mostly healed before he had done so. Her fingers curled around Oz's but she couldn't quite look at him in the eye either. All her life she had been hurt by those sorts of people. Pillars in her life. People who should have-- ah well, that didn't matter. The entire point of Toby wanting to be there for others was because she didn't want anyone to feel like she had. Instead, she wanted to do everything she could to help others... doubly when they needed to help.

    Toby still didn't know what to say. Instead her fingers kept their grip around Oz's and she felt tears well up in her eyes. Part of her wanted this, wanted to be someone important to others, but she just... she was scared that all those people would leave her once again. That they would... whether by choice or not, Toby would wind up alone again. That was the way of things, right? That was her life.

    So she had no idea how to handle any of that. "I..." Instead she sputtered and then those tears started to roll down her face. Frustration, emotionally overwhelmed, a dozen other things just spilled over. Her other hand lifted to hide her face, fingers covering her eyes as best she could with all her injuries, trying to cover her weakness as she lost it. She wouldn't have been able to say why or exactly what was going on in her head, but she was crying in a broken sort of way.

    She didn't want to matter. She didn't want her life to change back to something that could and would give her hope. If she did that... then she was opening herself up to a world of hurt that was difficult for her to live through. It was a crossroads she had not run into before and it was more than enough to throw her world into a new orbit.
     
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  12. Ozma

    Ozma RWBY

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    Tears meant very little to Oz. He was not of the opinion that, as soon as one entered adulthood, all crying had to stop immediately. As an emotional person himself, he had cried many times even within the last six months - usually under more stressful circumstances than this, but the fact remained that he had, in fact, cried his heart out on the same couch as Toby not too long ago.

    Different circumstances and different reasons, but tears were tears. She had comforted him, and Oz had no hesitation in shifting forward and perching gingerly on the couch beside Toby as soon as he saw the first inkling of tears. Carefully, conscious that she was a far cry from healed, he wrapped an arm around her as gently as he could.

    "I'm sorry. I know you don't want to be what you've become." Oz soothed, having sussed out already that that might be a part of her intense reaction to his words. It wasn't something Toby had ever said in so many words, but her actions had always spoken loud enough anyway. She was used to being alone. She was used to being left behind or discarded. She was the ace in the hole that no one particularly cared about at the end of the day, and that was...

    Well, when one got used to living like that, becoming an integral part in so many lives was jarring and unsettling.

    He rubbed his hand along her upper arm, then sighed gently. "Listen. You need to rest, my dear, more than you need to listen to any more of my prattling. So, how about we set this conversation aside for the time being, yes? I'll help you up the stairs, you'll cuss at me for helping you, and things will look so much better by the light of day. You have my guarantee, Toby. It will all look better then." He pressed a fond kiss against the top of her head and breathed in softly. "You'll come to see how lucky you are soon enough. But for now, just let me help you for once in your life, and you get one free shot at my head tomorrow with a lamp of your choice."


     
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  13. Toby Daye

    Toby Daye October Daye
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    Toby knew how to cry. She had done plenty of it in her life. She knew the difference between a heart breaking sob and a soft need to let those tears out. Toby knew what it was like to cry in anger and in fear. She had never shied away from crying but she preferred to cry by herself. Alone. Things were far safer that way. Toby... Toby trusted people enough to cry in front of them but she had trusted... time to move on. Time to move her thoughts along and let go of the past. Her hang ups... at least in some categories.

    Oz eased down on the couch next to her and Toby still kept a hand over her face. It was difficult to over come the decades of learning she had grown up with. Don't show weakness. Crying in front of certain people was like a death sentence back home but here? In her home with her friend. Even if things were oddly strained between them and Toby didn't quite know where they stood in many aspects of that friendship, they were still friends, right?

    He understood what was going on in her head but of course he would. Oz looked young and different. His voice was different and everything about him screamed that he was a stranger, yet he spoke in a similar manner as he had before. Toby was quiet while she sat on the couch, trying to come to terms with everything going on, but tears were still streaming below her hand. She couldn't cover up every tear.

    It will look better then. She nodded in response, though there was something in her neck that protested the movement. Everything would look better after some sleep but more than that, Toby knew that she would... bury these emotions deep as she always did. Deep enough that she wouldn't think about it again and that she would continue on with her life as if it hadn't happened. The likelihood of this happening again was slim to none and Toby refused to think of it in any other manner. "No lamp." That was all she could manage as that hand finally moved to wipe away tears that she was firmly ignoring. Toby wasn't going to hurt Oz. She would never... except in moments of training or when he needed some sense slapped into him, though those were rare moments as well.

    Instead of waiting for Oz to initiate movement, Toby's hand then reached out to his shoulder. Gripping it slightly before deciding she didn't want to get up at all. Instead her cheek found his shoulder and Toby leaned against him, closing her eyes and allowing herself to feel... just for a moment, that everything was okay. Everything was not okay and Toby knew that her nightmares were going to start up again. They had already started in the hospital but she would live. Toby Daye would always live. For the moment, she just needed everything to be okay.
     
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  14. Ozma

    Ozma RWBY

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    Though Oz would probably never draw attention to it, there was no question that something between himself and Toby felt frayed. It had since he'd come back in a new body, with a new mind clashing with the old. His perception of Toby had altered in some small way that Ozma couldn't really put his finger on, but it was significant enough to make his interactions with her stilted at times.

    This was probably as close to normal they had come in months, and Oz was happy to hold onto it with both hands, absently propping his chin on her head when she leaned against him, in no great rush to move. His eyes gleamed brightly in the half-dark of the room, shining with the force of magic behind them, even as he allowed most of the silver orbs of light above them to gutter out.

    "You say no lamp, but I'm sure I'll manage to say something tomorrow that will convince you otherwise." Oz chuckled, and he began to move before Toby could fall asleep on the couch. That was guaranteed to be uncomfortable, and she would regret it by the morning, so, before she could start protesting or whining about it, Ozma wiggled his arms underneath her form and lifted her off the couch, turning to make for the stairs.

    He tried to avoid pressing against any obvious injuries, but there was only so much he could do in that regard. Offering her a thin smile, he began to climb the stairs with the three silver lights bobbing along behind them. "You're heavier than I remember. Or maybe I'm just weaker... I suppose that makes sense, being half a foot shorter than I was three months ago. I can't reach anything anymore, you know." He babbled as he climbed, pausing at the top of the stairs, trying to remember where Toby's room was.

    Trying to determine if he even had permission to go in. Was it more polite to drop her in the hallway?

    He inched closer to the door, giving her every opportunity to tell him off for being presumptuous.


     
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  15. Toby Daye

    Toby Daye October Daye
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    There was a snort in response, though the gesture hurt her ribs something fierce. Bruised ribs were preferred over broken ribs, but it still hurt all the same. "Maybe." One or two word answers were all that Oz was going to get. Not too different from when Oz had been on this couch with a crushed throat. From the same woman. How ironic was that?

    If there was one thing that remained the same though, it was the smell of Oz's magic. That chocolate chip mint and fresh grass smell, something that Toby could easily pick up on while her cheek was pressed to his shoulder. That was comforting even if everything else felt more than a little off. Her silver eyes closed and Toby tried to relax as much as she could... right up until Oz moved and picked her up from the couch.

    Instantly the movement caused her pain and one of her hands latched onto Oz's arm in response. There was a slight hiss between her teeth, though Toby worked to make sure it wasn't too loud or terrible. She had a feeling that Oz would feel guilty for something he shouldn't, because it wasn't his fault she was hurt. No matter what the wizard might have thought on the subject Toby was going to lay blame at his feet. He didn't control Salem and Salem had been downright monstrous in her own way. For her own reasons.

    Still her breath was short as Oz climbed the stairs and her eyes squeezed shut as she tried to control how she reacted to that pain. Thankfully Oz started in about how Toby was heavier than she had been and that was more than enough to derail her thoughts. Heavier? Toby was in better shape than she had ever been in her life, minus the torture injuries. She was healthier and stronger than she had ever been. Oz was responsible for that in a way and perhaps she had put on a little needed weight for her body. "Short and baby faced." That was supposed to be a tease, a joke, something of that nature. Oz looked like... well, he almost looked like a kid to Toby, even though she knew the truth about his age. Not much older looking than the kids, as she liked to call them.

    Toby didn't say anything and didn't make any movements as Oz crept closer to her bedroom door. In her mind there wasn't anything wrong with Oz walking into her bedroom. Doubly so when he was carrying her to bed. "Left side." Instead Toby just told him which side of the bed to put her on. The side closest to the door. Closest to Gilly, even if her little girl wasn't home right then. Toby always wanted to be as close to Gilly as she could... just in case Gilly ever needed her.
     
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  16. Ozma

    Ozma RWBY

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    He was prepared for the reality that he was going to hurt Toby to help Toby in this case. There was no nice way to move someone with cracked or bruised ribs, but it was probably going to be easier in the long run than allowing her to walk herself up the stairs. That would be slower, and more painful, and he would feel even worse for it.

    He glanced down at Toby and scoffed. "Don't remind me." He chuckled. Suddenly finding himself in a body much, much younger than his mind was something Oz had become accustomed to. He didn't really dwell on it anymore - not as much as he used to, at least - but it presented some odd struggles nevertheless. "Everyone treats me like a child now. Even James. It's... I don't know if I'm annoyed or amused most of the time." On the one hand, Oz understood. He looked like a young man in his early twenties - younger, even, depending on the circumstances - and he was treated accordingly. But it was vexing when he had the memory of being regarded with respect and reverence for his wisdom... especially knowing that nothing had changed about his thoughts and experiences.

    Well... maybe his thoughts had changed a bit. But still.

    Sighing to himself, Oz entered the room, caught somewhat by surprise at the familiar, pleasant Toby aroma that lingered there. With a toss of his head, the sheets of her bed pulled back, and he gently set her down, pulling the blankets up as far as her chin. He fussed over them for a few seconds, then smiled thinly.

    "I won't be far if you need me. Just downstairs." He promised, though Oz already mused about napping on the staircase. That way, at least, no one would be able to get past without him being aware. Maybe he could leave the door open just enough to be able to watch her window... just in case.

    It was probably foolish and paranoid of him, but he couldn't help it.


     
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  17. Toby Daye

    Toby Daye October Daye
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    Everyone would treat him like a child because... well, it was difficult not to when he looked like a kid who needed help more than anything else. But their interactions since Oz had been brought back had been very one sided with everything that had happened. Oz had been... well, it didn't matter now. He had avoided her and now here they were.

    Oz settled her into bed and Toby sighed slightly as he fussed over all the sheets and blankets in a way that was so very Oz. Her smile grew slightly and the tension in Toby's face eased as he said he would be just downstairs. Despite the fact that Oz's magic had been highly unstable the last few times they had seen each other, Toby did feel a little bit safer knowing the wizard would be close by. He was the one who had taken care of Salem and taken her to the hospital. She knew she could depend on him for that safety net, even if it was temporary and just until she was awake later.

    "Still got cocoa downstairs." Toby managed to croak out a reply to Oz, to let him know that he could still find his favorite drink downstairs. She then frowned slightly and looked away, wondering if she should warn him about the nightmares. It really wasn't anything to worry about. Toby knew that only time would really make a difference in that department and she didn't want to burden Oz with anything else to feel guilty over. He likely had more than enough on his plate with everything that had happened.

    Gilly wouldn't be home just yet. She was still with the kids in Ark City and until Toby was better, that was probably for the best. Toby didn't want to worry her daughter too much. So Toby closed her eyes and tried to let herself drift off to sleep, no matter what Oz did. Stay or go, she wouldn't be bothered with what Oz did anyway. He knew he was more than welcome to treat her house as his own when he was here. He didn't have to sleep on the couch either, not with the guest room free of it's former squatter Sans, but that was entirely Oz's choice. He knew where the mugs were, the extra blankets, everything of that nature.
     
  18. Ozma

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    Oz waited for Toby to fall asleep rather without meaning to. He merely intended to keep a wary eye on her until she was settled, but somehow his vigil didn't break until he was sure, beyond any doubt, that she was asleep.

    He stayed for a little longer in the bedroom, leaning against the door jamb and continuing to watch, reminding himself that her chest was still rising and falling with every breath. She was alive, he was alive...

    Salem was dead.

    He shook his head and pushed off the wall, heading downstairs. He didn't want to think about Salem yet. He didn't know if he ever wanted to think about Salem. He didn't want to remember what she looked like dead, or those blinding moments of fury before she died, when he had been so tempted to prolong her suffering for as long as he could.

    It made him feel ill, and by the time he got to the base of the stairs, Ozma didn't want much to eat or drink. Instead, he tiredly collected a blanket and a pillow and dragged both to the staircase. Assembling an odd little nest against the bottom step, he sat down and wrapped himself snugly in the blanket. After a pause, he sent a brisk, matter of fact text to James, warning him not to wait up.

    Then, Oz laid down, curled half around himself at the foot of the stairs, because this way, he would know if anyone tried to get up or down.

    It was that or sleeping outside Toby's bedroom door.

    This would probably raise less questions. If he kept an ear out, Oz could probably even move over to the couch before she was any the wiser.

    With that last thought in his mind, he drifted to sleep, though not without casting one last glance up the staircase. Just in case. Just to be sure everything was all right.


     
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