Scars too
Jonothon Starsmore furnaceface
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From Loon Drive to Hannibal's Place (Where Jono Also Lives), Sunday Evening
Jono's head was itching. Not in that 'there is something unpleasant in my hair' sort of itch, no. More like the 'telepathic senses picking up on somebody close to him who was very upset' sort of itchy. The kind of itchy that wouldn't quite resolve itself if he paid more attention to it, but would at least make more sense if he did. And what he found when he took a moment to focus on that... was a very familiar mind, in a very unfamiliar state of distress.

He would have chewed on his lip as he set out to find Alluka, if he was able. Something had to be very the matter for her to be that worked up, and maybe he wasn't allowed in the dorms, but he'd cross that bridge when he got there. The girl called him Papa, the least he could do would be to look out for her when she was upset, after all.

[OOC: For that girl!]

that_oldsaying

2016-05-01 08:39 pm (UTC) (Link)

Alluka had never been out at night by herself before. That alone, even though it wasn't fully dark yet, would usually be enough to stop her at the doors of the dorms.

But she was too worked up and still crying from talking to Ringo and when she hit the main floor of the dorms, she hit it running and was outside, into the night, without even considering all the things that usually stopped her.

She didn't even have a destination in mind. She just ran, not paying any attention to anything around her or where she was going or anything at all except the tangled up ball of feelings that had landed in her chest and mind and made her cry.

Mr. Bubbles was clutched against her, the only comfort she had, and he wasn't enough.

Usually, her toys were enough. Not tonight as she took a turn that nearly sent her spilling down in a heap, and kept running.

furnaceface

2016-05-01 08:45 pm (UTC) (Link)

Jono had made the trip to the dorms so many times before that he could have gone there blindfolded if need be. But tonight, it wasn't his sense of the dorms that he was following, it was his sense of Alluka, and he found himself correcting his course slightly to...

'Cut her off at the pass' wasn't exactly the right phrase for it, but she was on the move now, and the fact that she was out and moving so quickly after dark was enough to make him pick up his speed and redouble his efforts to hone in on her in particular.

//Alluka,// he called out, thinking he saw her running away from the dorms full-tilt, //Sunshine? Are you alright?//

that_oldsaying

2016-05-01 08:50 pm (UTC) (Link)

The state her mind was in likely gave away the fact that she was not even remotely alright.

Which was a good thing, since Alluka didn't bother to answer him, she just kept running, his words barely heard in the tumult of emotions she was trying to deal with and failing.

At least her run was taking her somewhat in his direction anyway?

furnaceface

2016-05-01 08:53 pm (UTC) (Link)

In retrospect, it was sort of a stupid question, yes. Jono winced a little, and then started to jog as well, determined to... if not to stop her, at least to make certain she didn't hurt herself while she was out running alone in the dark. Not that she wasn't familiar with Fandom's streets, but Alluka and 'outside and night' had never been a combination, so far as he was aware.

Between her trajectory and the fact that he went running every day for fun, catching up to her wasn't exactly difficult, at least.

//Alluka? Alluka, what's wrong?//

that_oldsaying

2016-05-01 08:56 pm (UTC) (Link)

They had never been a combination and it was really, really lucky that she hadn't hit a set of stairs and then tripped while flinging herself at a run down those. It would have been bad.

This time, she heard Jono, and again, rather than answer him, she flung herself at him and just burst into (more) tears.

furnaceface

2016-05-01 08:58 pm (UTC) (Link)

Aaand... incoming. Which wasn't exactly a surprise, though Jono found that, not for the first time, he was woefully unprepared for a sobbing girl launching herself at him.

He did manage to catch her without getting flung down a set of stairs himself, though, and rather than trying a third time to get her to talk, he was wrapping his arms around her and holding her close. If she needed to cry, to get it out of her system, he wasn't going to interrupt. Not just yet.

that_oldsaying

2016-05-01 09:03 pm (UTC) (Link)

And she did need to cry, rather badly. Alluka buried her face against him and clung and cried for what felt like forever.

It probably wasn't forever, but it felt like that.

When the storm of her weeping tapered off it was more because she was tired and wrung out rather than because she felt any less sad and scared and confused.

"Papa?" she said, in a tiny voice that was still choked up with tears. "You're here?"

furnaceface

2016-05-01 09:09 pm (UTC) (Link)

Tired and wrung out was fine. She'd earned that tired, after all, and the sad and the scared and the confused... they could work on those, now that she wasn't flinging herself down stone stairways in the dark.

//I'm here,// he said, his voice as soothing as he could make it without outright shoving a false sense of calm her way. She seemed to be past the initial burst of blind emotion, at least. He'd play the rest by ear. //I'm here as long as you need me, luv. Do you want to find someplace to sit?//

Someplace where they were less likely to be bowled over by a rickshaw? They were stubborn enough to navigate streets full of stairs, a pair of pedestrians in the dark were probably worth points or something.

that_oldsaying

2016-05-01 09:12 pm (UTC) (Link)

Yes. No.

Alluka didn't know.

The more she thought about the things Ringo had said, the worse she felt, but she couldn't stop thinking about them and now she had to make a decision?

She sniffled and hugged Mr. Bubbles and... that was probably about as much input he was getting on if she wanted to sit or not. She didn't care about that.

furnaceface

2016-05-01 09:17 pm (UTC) (Link)

That... that would do. Jono would work with it, Alluka. He didn't have much in the way of experience with traumatized children, there were usually people who were far more competent than him to deal with them back in Westchester, but he had plenty of experience with being traumatized himself.

Gently, tenderly, he reached to take her hand, to lead her back to his (Hannibal's, mostly, but also his) place. He couldn't go into the dorms, and the front lobby didn't seem like the best spot to talk about whatever was eating at her, but somewhere familiar and quiet all the same was still just a minute or two away.

//Come on,// he said, softly, //we'll get you a glass of water and we can talk, if you want to, or sit in quiet, or whatever else you need, okay? But I'll be here, right beside you, if you need me.//

He'd promised.

that_oldsaying

2016-05-01 09:20 pm (UTC) (Link)

She let him take her hand--he could always have that, if he wanted to--and was perfectly fine with him leading her anywhere too.

It was easier than having to figure out anything herself. All she had to do was pay attention to the stairs, hold Mr. Bubbles, and try not to think or feel.

... Easy, right?

Her hold on his hand tightened, so that he couldn't leave her, but other than that, she just let herself be led.

furnaceface

2016-05-01 09:27 pm (UTC) (Link)

Jono would have to be willfully ignoring Alluka to miss her hand tightening around his. He gave her hand a little, reassuring squeeze back. She could hold on as tightly as she needed to in order to feel better.

He'd been to the graduation ceremony yesterday.

He could begin to imagine, at least somewhat, what that clinging little hand might be about.

It was a short walk back to the house, at least, and after a moment's pause, he led her around the side of the house, toward the backyard. No steps to navigate, that way. No chance of being tackled by a kitten on the way in, as much as Joni was helpful, and he figured it would probably be for the best to at least make certain he knew what was going on before parading her past Hannibal or something.

It was quiet out here, and there were spring peepers making their music into the night, and the weather was fine. There was even enough light from inside to keep them from sitting in the dark back here. It would do, unless she wanted to go elsewhere.

He led her to the back step, and then, as if demonstrating that steps could serve a dual purpose, he took a seat and nodded, inviting her to do the same.

that_oldsaying

2016-05-01 09:32 pm (UTC) (Link)

She looked... lost there, for a moment, as she tried to decide what to do. Sitting or not shouldn't be a hard thing to make up her mind about but right now it was.

Alluka wished she hadn't ever gone to see if Kathy was back yet. If she hadn't done that, then she wouldn't have all of this to deal with.

She sat, and leaned against her papa, and watched the grass.

She still hurt, but it was calmer now. Deeper, maybe, the longer it had to sink in, but it was less of a storm.

furnaceface

2016-05-01 09:36 pm (UTC) (Link)

The deep, calm hurt was something that Jono was slightly more equipped to handle, at least. He nodded a little, for no reason in particular (he knew it hurt, maybe? He'd been there himself, after all) and reached to put a comforting arm around her shoulder.

//You don't have to talk yet,// he said, soothingly, //or ever, if you never feel like it. But I'm here, and if you decide you do want to talk, I'll listen. I know it hurts. I'm sorry you're hurting, luv.//

that_oldsaying

2016-05-01 09:39 pm (UTC) (Link)

Alluka nodded and leaned into that arm. She needed it. Mr. Bubbles was rather damp and looked pretty wrung out himself. (He'd been having a bad day too.)

Her lips trembled. She didn't know how to ask the questions she wanted to ask. She didn't even know where to start.

"Papa," she said, minutes later, when it likely seemed like she wasn't going to speak at all, "what's Stanford?"

She didn't even know that. Ringo had thought it was important, but Ringo had thought a lot of wrong things.

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