By the hands of the Gods, you have been plucked from your time and from your world, dropped into the box.
Only the box is a world of its own.
We are a mass crossover based on the concept of Pandora's Box. Characters from nearly any fandom can be played here. Because of the endless character possibilities, we are canon only here at Pandora. Take a peek at our rules and plot information before starting your new life in Pandora.
Jaesa was... regretting coming out today. Her ears were ringing, her head was pounding, she felt queasy, and it seemed like her skull was filled with some kind of fuzzy mush rather than her brain. The hangover from last night's drink hung heavily over her as she wandered the streets, hair much less tidy than it usually was, wincing at every loud noise and darting around people who got too close while trying not to lose her balance.
She should have realised that drinking wouldn't be like it had been in her memories. Last time she'd been able to throw back several shots of whisky without a problem; she should have realised that this body had never actually had alcohol in its system, not once in her life until she slipped and drank just a few shots. Only a few!
Now, she wasn't sure what was worse. The hangover, or the fact that Kylo had seen her so drunk last night. She wasn't entirely sure what had been said, but she remembered enough. Stuff about him and Rey. Stuff about Revan. Just thinking about it made her groan, dragging a hand down her face and almost walking into a lamppost before she managed to gather herself and swerve around it.
She'd come here to see Kaladin, not wanting to be alone in her apartment all day - and not wanting to really think about what if anything Kylo and Rey might be getting up to - but naturally, the man was working because that seemed to be all he ever did. Now she found herself milling around, eyes narrowed against the light, resisting the urge to snap at people who laughed too loudly or called other people's names right next to her, completely uncertain of where she could go to make this hangover go away, and not particularly wanting to go back to Elysium and her apartment on her own.
Maybe it was a little cowardly for Oz to come back to James's house when he knew the man wasn't going to be in. It felt wrong, but at the same time, Ozma didn't want to explain his situation to James. He was happy, and he was giddy, and he was blindly, deeply in love in a way he hadn't been in centuries. He didn't want anyone to ruin that high for him, and James...
Well, James had a storied history of popping happy balloons.
So Oz had crept in while James was almost guaranteed to be at work. He'd collected his few, meagre possessions, and now he was eagerly heading back the way he'd come. He would connect back to Cascade Bay, and then transport from there - Merlin had seemed displeased about Ozma breaking through the school's wards so easily, so he'd do this the long way. Even if he would rather just get back to Merlin as soon as possible.
Caught up in his own thoughts, Ozma nearly walked past a familiar face before he realized she was familiar. At the last second, he glanced over and froze, mid-step. "Jaesa?" He hadn't seen her since their first meeting. She had seemed good, though. Troubled and haunted, but...
Yes, still good.
He offered her a warm smile. "Hello. I'm Ozma. Maybe you don't remember - it was a little bit of a hectic time, I know... but I'm glad you're doing well. You look..." She looked like shit. He didn't want to say that. "Well, you're not dead!"
Jaesa didn't notice anyone familiar - wandering along in her own hangover bubble - until she heard her name. Blinking in surprise, she stopped, turning her head with her eyes narrowed against the sunshine, shadowed dark eyes falling on a young man who, for just a second, didn't tickle her memories at all.
And then it came back to her. She'd met him during a time she tried not to remember, when it had felt like everything that had been going well had suddenly started crashing around her ears. Kylo had broken up with her out of the blue - not very gently, at that - and Sauron had decided to give up their little dance and drag her away by force. She'd beaten him in one-on-one combat, but had been left badly wounded, panicked and terrified, knowing her victory was hollow against a being who could not be killed. And that was when she had met Oz. He'd taken her to safety and patched her up.
"I remember," she responded. Her voice was quiet; though Jaesa had always been a soft-spoken young woman, she was even more so when she was trying not to make her headache even worse with her own voice bouncing around in her skull. Someone roared with laughter as they walked past and Jaesa flinched, a wince passing across her features as her hand half-rose to her head with a soft groan. "I'm not entirely sure I'm not dead. It feels like it..."
Oz was glad to be remembered, though he wouldn't have held it against Jaesa if their meeting had slipped her memory. From what she had told him at the time, things for her had been chaotic to say the least - just as it had all been chaotic for him - and since they'd parted ways, Ozma had honestly not thought much of her. Not out of any malicious intent, but just... life had happened. Things right in front of him had demanded so much attention.
He was glad to reconnect, and his smile was earnest and glowing. "There's a park over there, you know. It might be quieter, and the benches are nice." Oz advised kindly, gesturing over his shoulder. He knew what a hangover looked like when he saw one. Goodness knew how many of those he had suffered around the time when he and Jaesa had initially met - not that Ozma had let himself sober up much.
He felt better now. So much better. His expression shifted with a trace of sympathy. "It's not my place to insert myself into your business, I know... but if you need any help, Jaesa, I am here." The offer was simple and not especially eloquent, but like everything Ozma did and said, there was an earnestness about it that was hard to overlook. He offered his aid with every intention of following through, should it be accepted. That was just who he was.
Wracking her memories - trying to move around the ones that directly involved the being she'd been falling in love with before her memories had come back - Jaesa thought that Ozma's attitude was... different. Oh, he'd been only too willing to help back then, too, but from what she could recall, he'd been more drawn and distracted, worried about his own big bad just as she had about hers. Now, however, there was a careless brightness to his expression that she didn't think had been there at all last time.
She wished she could say she looked different. But other than shorter hair and a younger face, she was still quiet and withdrawn. At least she wasn't afraid now. Not of Sauron, at any rate. He was gone, thank the Force. That wasn't to say other things didn't frighten her. Like Semirhage. Like her bloodied, violent past here in Pandora and what that said about her.
"Thank you," she murmured, giving a slight smile of her own. "You don't need to tend to any wounds this time at least." Not that there hadn't been wounds lately. The bruises and cuts on her face had healed, but the patches where she had been cruelly flayed had not and still caused her to move more gingerly than she would have normally. Those wounds were getting better, but not quick enough for her liking. Not at all.
Still, she gave what she hoped was a humorous expression but may have fallen short of the mark. Grimacing as a group of children ran past, squalling and shrieking at the top of their voices, Jaesa sighed. "I think I will take advantage of that park... Where exactly is it?"
"Not all wounds are visible. It doesn't mean they don't need tending to." Ozma blurted immediately, then had the decency to look abashed at himself. He cast his eyes aside. "I'm sorry, Jaesa. That's... it's not my place to say things like that." He apologized stiffly, though his posture loosened when the subject switched to the nearby park. His expression brightened, and Oz turned on his heel with a glowing smile.
He waved a hand. "It's not far at all. Just over here." Ozma announced cheerfully, though his gaze did linger on Jaesa for a bit longer than his merry tone might imply. He was, by nature, an empathetic person, and it was hard not to see that she was struggling. Oz just wasn't sure how to help besides leading her away from the chaos of the crowded street.
Her gaze flicked to Ozma's as he blurted out that little nugget, and though he quickly apologised, she merely snorted, because of course, he'd managed to hit one of her nails squarely on the head. Not that it was hard, she supposed. She was clearly hungover, and she doubted she ever gave off the air of someone who partied for... fun.
Though it had been fun. Before. In the same way that knocking out the teeth of some thick-headed thug had been fun.
Jaesa gave a tired smile as Ozma gestured towards the park, and then started off towards it, her steps slow and lingering just enough that he could fall into step if he planned on joining her. "You don't need to apologise, you know," she said then. "I feel like my life has been terribly bereft of wisdom lately." There had been Sauron's particular brand of wisdom, but that was more dangerous than anything. And not least because secretly, she missed it.
She looked sideways at Ozma for a moment with a faintly amused expression, and when she spoke, it was with a tone that bordered on fondness. "You actually sounded rather like one of my old Masters." The one who hadn't controlled and abused her in the name of keeping her secret and "safe", who had seemed to genuinely care for her more than how valuable she was. The one whose missing bond still hurt in her chest sometimes. "He used to like coming up with things like that, too."
"That's funny, because I haven't felt very wise lately." Ozma laughed softly, but he didn't continue down his self-deprecating chain of thought. He simply offered Jaesa a smile as he led the way towards the quiet of the park. He might not have been hungover, but he still didn't like being trapped in the street with people on every side. Without Merlin to ground him, Oz felt nervous and insecure in his own power. He felt like he was only one wrong move away from disaster.
He tried to push those thoughts away, keeping his head turned to watch Jaesa. It was easier to feel like he wasn't a bomb waiting to go off if there was someone with him. Obviously, Merlin was ideal, but Ozma knew he couldn't expect the warlock to forever drop everything in his life to cater to Oz and his ridiculous insecurities. For now, Jaesa would do, and Oz forced himself to keep on smiling.
He tucked his hands into his pockets, where he could fidget his fingers freely. "He sounds like someone I would find frustrating." Ozma laughed merrily. "I like my own brand of wisdom, but I hate receiving it from anyone." It was just one of his foolish tendencies. Oz could give advice to anyone, but he had a stubbornness to him that turned his head from anybody who wanted to return the favor. He needed no help. He was fine.
"I hope you're not talking about... who you were with last time." Oz shot her a wary look, then grinned again. "Then again, they didn't seem like the wisdom sort."
Jaesa was glad when Ozma chose to accompany her rather than point her in the right direction and go on his way. She wasn't... particularly very good with other people, not after over a decade of isolation, but she also didn't actually like being on her own. Being on her own didn't really agree with her, because that was when she did things like drink whisky when this version of her body wasn't at all used to alcohol.
"Aren't most people who like to dish out wisdom the type to not want it in return?" she asked, cocking her head a little. She couldn't have imagined Yonlach receiving wisdom from anyone, and if anyone tried to advise Karr or Sauron they would have just become varying degrees of indignant in response. What - admittedly little - experience she had told her that wise people usually refused to think they could do with some of their own medicine. But maybe she was wrong. In most things, she was, after all, not very experienced at all.
She blinked at his next comment and gave a half-hearted little laugh. "No, no, I'm not," she assured him. Comparing someone to Sauron would have been in most ways insulting. "That's not to say he wasn't wise. He was, but... not in a good way." His wisdom was the kind of wisdom that took her away from what she'd been raised to be, that appealed to a darkness within her soul that she wished she could forget she possessed. "No, I was referring to one of my mentors from back home. The nice one."