People change for two main reasons

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Quinn Abernathy It had been a long night, to say the least. Between the gift, becoming a family, and her own mistakes... between the two of them, they had to mend each other. It left room for little sleep, but when sleep did come, it was restful. For the first time in a long time, their personal threats were far away. And, in the morning, they met at the church.

That is when Gideon threw a curve ball, and she had not been prepared to catch it. Things would change, most certainly. He'd told of John and the shadow, willing all to look out for him. He'd announced the improvements that could be made, and how they would achieve it. It took everything to keep from paling at the prospect of being so responsible, and Quinn cannot help but wonder why he would throw this at her without talking to her beforehand.

She had brought them back here to keep them safer than they would be elsewhere, and to give them a chance at living. Taking over this place had never been a question, but instead silently inevitable. But now?

She's not ready.

And there, in the church, he tells the group of the need to travel to gather materials. Gideon would stay, so as to protect the people from the shadows that dare to threaten them, and he asks the group for a volunteer to travel with Quinn.

There had been a shuffle of feet moving to stand, a cleared throat, and an oddly familiar voice that spoke up.

"I'll go with the Messenger."

Quinn need not look at Gideon to know how he felt about this, as she could pinpoint that voice as if the memory were her own. Jack. He's displeased, and she knows it. Quinn is nervous, and he knows it. But they hold it together, and Gideon accepts the offer graciously. What else could he do?

The ride to their humble abode is wordless, and Quinn only allows for the chatter of the radio. She feels deprived of the world, and it brings her comfort as she drives with her awkward company. She did not allow him inside the cabins once they arrived, quietly requesting he remain in the vehicle instead. It takes a mere 30 minutes to gather everything she would need.

Her camera.
Her gear.
Portfolios and albums.
Mementos.
Books.

Soon, the bed of the truck is laden with it's cargo and the drive back is just as awkward. More than once, Jack tries to speak, but Quinn barely gives an answer. There is no denying what she saw as she assaulted John Abernathy at the wedding. He'd had an affair, and this man could be Gideon's father.

Finally, as they make their last turn, she decides to make an attempt.

"...Would you like to come over for dinner tonight?" Her voice is small, but earnest. There is information that could be had from him, things that could prove useful to them both, and there is no denying that it would be beneficial. Jack, however, takes no time to tell her he would love to come.

With a small smile, she nods, giving him a time as she parks. Oddly, neither immediately move to exit the car. Instead, her gaze lands at the center of the wheel, something clearly weighing down on her. Movement catches her eye, and she sees Gideon several feet away having a seeming pleasant conversation.

That man.. he is so perfect. He doesn't deserve this. He never deserved any of this. Her voice grows quiet, saddened with the weight of his pain. "How could you stand by and watch? He was suffering..."
October 12, 2017 20:41
Gideon Abernathy The idea of being separated from Quinn so early on in their marriage, especially under such strenuous circumstances… well, it doesn’t sit well with Gideon, to say the least. He has no other options; she can’t go alone, and someone has to stay behind to watch over the now-leaderless cult.

He’s clearly not ready to claim it as his own just yet.

Addressing the assembled, however, is proving to make it all the more theirs, whether they are ready for it or not. These people are looking to them for guidance; his father’s outburst and then sudden disappearance has shocked them to the core. Now, more than ever, they need someone to lead them out of their own minds and into a brighter future.

Gideon is pretty sure he’s not cut out for this job. Nor does he want it. Growing up, watching the sheep flock to their shepherd with no thought of question or sense of drive, sickened him. There is a great amount of deep-seated hatred in him, for each and every one of the people in that cult, even the ones he felt a strange fondness toward. How could they be so naive, so dismissive of their own preservation? Did they truly follow blindly, or is it out of fear? How easy it would be to capitalize on such devotion… Perhaps he’s not as unlike his father as he’d hoped.

The voice that volunteers pulls him from his own mind and back into the present predicament. No is on the tip of his tongue, threatening to out his thoughts of distaste toward the man that supposedly loved his mother. Jack is one of the last people he wants accompanying his wife into their old home that’s potentially overflowing with vampires by now. Then again, maybe she can give him the slip, allow their unwanted house guests a little fun.

He’s digressing.

“How generous of you,” he says as he plasters the smile on his face. His eyes flash dangerously, and Jack almost seems to flinch. Good, he can’t help but think.

The hours pass with Gideon being slightly more fidgety than usual. He constantly checks his phone, seemingly waiting for the call that would send him on a rampage. Thoughts, scenarios, possibilities...they all flit through his mind in quick succession, only proving to heighten his anxiety. Try as he might, he can’t calm himself, and he knows there’s only one thing that would: having Quinn back by his side.

“Shepherd…?”

His gaze flicks to a woman that seemed relatively new to the Flock. At least, he wracks his brain and can’t seem to come up with her name. “Yes?” he finally answers, brow quirked inquisitorially.

“The M-Messenger… She gave me this book…” She holds up a copy of To Kill a Mockingbird as if he wouldn’t believe her. Something in Gideon’s mind threatens to snap; he’s not amused, though his expression would show otherwise, even though she refused to look at him. “It’s just.. I-I don’t… I d-don’t…”

“You don’t know how to read,” he finishes for her. So she isn’t new, he simply doesn’t recognize her. Not surprising, considering she barely seems able to speak. “Not to worry, Quinn will help you. What’s your name, sweetheart?”

“Lindsey…”

A warm smile splits his face, though it isn’t met in his gaze. As he continues to talk to her, coaxing her out of her timidness, Quinn finally pulls up, effectively eliminating any patience he had for the woman before him. They finish their conversation and she actually bows her way out of the situation. Dumbfounded, Gideon can only stare after her before shaking his head and moving towards the bed of the truck to gather the load.

“I...I’m sorry, Messenger...I had no way of knowing that John would react that way. I...I don’t know how…” When his eyes find Gideon, his mouth snaps shut, and he moves to exit the truck. “Maybe we should talk about this later. Thank you for the invitation, I’ll be there at seven.” With that, he ambles away, only offering a nod of his head in Gideon’s direction.

Dipping his head into the window of the passenger side, he gives Quinn an appraising look, already prepared to be annoyed. “Invitation? To what, exactly?”
October 13, 2017 19:08
Quinn Abernathy "What? Jack, I was referring to-"

'Maybe we should talk about this later.'

Quinn is annoyed. As Jack climbs out of the vehicle, she is left staring at the wheel once more as she works to calm herself down. How John would react. She hadn't been discussing the here and now. What amps her up about all of this is that after Emely died, Jack stood by and watched as Gideon suffered. The signs must have been clear. Even in the memories she has been privileged to experience, it had been obvious he was not getting what he needed.

It was in his eyes.

And now, his eyes are on her as he leans his head into the passenger side window. Near upset, she blinks back the emotion and looks at Gideon, incapable of stopping the slight smile that graces her features as she climbs across the bench seat to place a kiss on him.

Putting her hand on the door handle, she glances up at him and waits for him to back up before letting herself out. Door shut behind her, she turns to look up at him. Quinn sighs as nervous hands fidget at her sides. "We should get these things inside. I'd hate for them to get ruined."

With that, she steps up to the side of the bed, looking down into it's depths to ensure that nothing is missing. And then, a hand is placed upon the back of his shoulder, tender and loving as always before she walks wordlessly to the house.

It is only once they are inside that she momentarily busies herself pulling the albums out of the box before looking up at Gideon. She is stalling. It is so obvious in how she stands before him. "I invited him for dinner. He'll be over a seven."

As if she already knows what the reaction will be, she holds a hand up as if to beg him to hear her out. Her heart is beating so fast she can barely think straight, but this is more than a sensitive thing she has committed them to.

"Before you say anything, I thought about it the whole trip before saying anything and really thought there might be something to learn from him. He... he's seen a lot, baby. And if there is something that might help us.... Plus, John decked him. Why wouldn't we extend a gesture, after something like that?"

Quinn is ready for the onslaught. Her husband is nothing short of unpredictable, but there are only two extremes: understanding, and extremely angry. Taking a seat at the table, she folds her hands upon it's surface and fixes her gaze upon them, waiting to see which it might be.
October 13, 2017 19:34
Gideon Abernathy A smile threatens his own features as she instantly moves to kiss him. He forces it back though, watching as she does everything she can to avoid the topic of discussion. So he should be annoyed, then. Eyes narrow in her direction as she glances everything over in the back of the truck, and it’s only his immense love for her that keeps him from drawing away from her touch.

Once everything is inside, he folds his arms over his chest and leans against the counter, noting that she’s still refusing to acknowledge his question. Impatient as ever, he lets out a low sigh, to which she finally offers the answer.

Black eyes snap up to her face, incredulous at her nerve. He opens his mouth to retort, but is stopped by a single hand. Had that hand belonged to anyone else, it surely would have been hacked off without a second thought. But Quinn would always get preferential treatment; the perks of being married to a serial killer.

Her explanation is less than satisfactory. In fact, it only proves to make him more angry, and by the time she falls silent and sinks into the chair, he’s practically vibrating with frustration.

“Did you really, Quinn? Did you really think that through, the entire fvcking way?” Turning away, he rubs at his face, the stubble of his beard adding friction to the gesture. His mind is racing, reeling with all the newfound threatening thoughts that have joined his already fragile state. There is a sense of losing control, something all too familiar, and this is the worst time for it.

In his mind, she has betrayed him. Once again, she has made waves without addressing him first. She’s invited the man who had supposedly loved his mother enough to watch her die in front of him into their home, for no other reason than to meddle. In his mind, she has had little thought to spare for how it might make him feel. And to use the excuse that his father had punched him, as if Gideon is supposed to give a damn...

“I swear, you don’t think at all.” It’s barely a hiss, tossed idly over his shoulder. “What will it take for you to understand that you can’t blindside me with this sh-t? Will it take a fvcking catastrophe? You know what…?”

Suddenly, he straightens, his demeanor changing drastically. A smile graces his features, and he turns to Quinn, his hands waving in the air in a defeated manner. “I’m not dealing with it. I won’t be coming to your fvcked up dinner party. Get whatever information you want from him, I want nothing to do with it.”

With that, he storms off into the bedroom and slams the door, attempting anything and everything in his power to quell the raging fury inside of him.
October 13, 2017 20:00
Quinn Abernathy Not once does she look up at him as he berates her. This is the side of Gideon that challenges her, the side that makes her feel inferior, and stupid. Quinn had truly thought it over, and had truly thought it to be not only a good direction, but smart. His reaction, however, leaves her feeling small.

Quinn would never see his smile, she would never his hands wave, and the change in him would never be noted outside the sound of his voice assaulting her. The moment he disappears up the stairs and slams the door, it is everything she can do to keep from losing it.

A red-rimmed gaze is lifted ever so slightly before she pushes herself up to stand and marches her way up the stairs. Quinn would stand outside the bedroom door, gaining her will, for mere seconds before opening it and making her way inside.

"No." It is resolute, and she is unwilling to let this go. They'd let their differences get between them once, and there is no way she would allow it again. Moreover, she cannot stand to feel this way.

Don't cry. Don't cry. Don't. Cry.

"Where I come from, we make things right. And that is what I intend to do. You don't think people will notice if we don't do something? I'd notice." She takes a shaky breath as a hand is lifted to press palm to abdomen. More and more, she is becoming unsure of her ability to handle any of this. The harder she tries, it seems the worse she does, and she can barely stomach it.

Do. Not. Cry.

Her hand closes into a fist, and Quinn works hard to maintain her sights upon the man. Most of all, this had been about Gideon. This is not and never was about John, or Jack, or even Emely Abernathy. They don't matter to her, and they may very well never come to. But Gideon. He matters. He is the air she breathes and, if she were to believe in God, He would be in his image.

"But most of all, I need to know how someone like him could watch you suffer at John's hands and do nothing. How he could watch the light in your eyes disappear, and just let it happen." Finally, her gaze lowers, clearly just a little haunted by the plaguing thoughts. Mind wandering, it is all she can do to keep from imagining the horrible things that have happened in this house, and outside it.

Don't.

"Knowledge is power, Gideon. But I guess I'm just to stupid to think about that."
October 13, 2017 20:34
Gideon Abernathy Where I come from…

“Yes, because this is anything like where you come from.” It’s a quick snap, and it’s the only retort he’ll make through the length of her words. Incredulity is still obvious on his face, and it’s clear he’s not backing down just yet. He doesn’t want to be reasonable, he doesn’t want to give a damn about the cult. He wants to be angry, and he is.

They all watched.” The words are loud and abrupt, his black orbs locked onto her face. “You want answers, you ask every single goddamn person out there why they watched and let it happen. Except I can tell you exactly why: they were terrified, and it was better me than them. You know why, Quinn? Because with me, he’d show leniency. The fvcking scar on my back was him going easy on me. With them, if they died, it was no skin off his back. But you don’t understand that because you didn’t live this life. You see, where I come from, there isn’t sunshine and rainbows, okay? There’s rarely happy endings, and sometimes, people do sh-tty things, and that’s just how it is.”

Seething, he paces the small space on his side of the bed. He tries to grasp at his own sense of humanity, but it eludes him in the face of Quinn’s quips. Remembering her last sentiment, he can’t help but laugh, a somewhat maniacal sound.

“You knew I’d be upset, and you did it anyway. Should I invite Tiber to dine with us, hmm? Would you like that? Or would you feel betrayed and disgusted with the very idea? The man watched my mother die, Quinn. He claimed to love her and watched her fvcking die and said nothing. You’ll have to excuse me if I don’t get excited by the prospect of feeding him, and I’m amazed that you’re asking me to give a damn about my father punching him in the face. Why should he get preferential treatment? Should we dine with a different member of the commune for every time my father ever wronged them? You’re setting an impossible standard for us, one that we are going to prove, very quickly, that we are incapable of keeping.

“So, tell me, where exactly did I go wrong in thinking that you don’t think things through?”
October 13, 2017 21:18
Quinn Abernathy 'They all watched'

"But this is different," her tone matches his, and it does not help at all. Quinn stands, listening as he carries on with his shaming. But still, she will herself not to physically respond. That would give him satisfaction, because her Gideon is gone. Swallowing, she lets him carry on.

"You want to invite Tiber. Here. Have my phone. Do it. Do it, Gideon. He'll answer. I'm sure he will happy to come for us both." It is without any thought that she tosses her phone upon the surface of the bed, daring him to move forward with his threat. She is tired, and moreover, tired of Tiber being thrown in her face. Admittedly, she hadn't considered Gideon's half of it. She hadn't considered his mother, and how she died.

"I am not setting an impossible standard. I am setting a new example. Because punching people isn't good." It is hard to keep her voice down, and Quinn has to check herself more than once to keep it from raising. "John is out there doing who knows what, and it would be wise to know more than him if possible upon his return."

More than once, she has to remind herself that he is unstable. Gideon has warned her several times over of his temperament, but right now it is difficult to hang onto her own sanity. He is unreasonable, but so is she. Quinn wants to bolt. She wants to run, go to the truck, and go home. But home means being hunted, and the safety they are given here now feels like a prison. Her breathing picks up, quick and short, and she moves her gaze to the window to remind herself that there is a world outside of this.

"No one asked you to care, Gideon. I am asking you, yet again, to trust me. But you don't, and I can't make you. Just..." Raising her hands in surrender, she takes a step back. Opening her mouth to speak once more, she quickly shuts it to take a moment.

"From now on, I will stand back and follow your lead. I'm tired of trying." Turning on her heel, she moves to leave the room. "I'll be in the kitchen."
October 13, 2017 21:55
Gideon Abernathy The phone hits the bed, and Gideon scoffs. “I don’t want to invite Tiber here, Quinn, that’s the difference. I wouldn’t put us in that sort of danger, but not only that, I wouldn’t do that to you.”

In the back of his head, there is a resounding voice, reminding him that she didn’t do this to intentionally hurt him. God knows that, should they compare who puts who into more uncomfortable, undesirable situations, he would come out on top by a large margin. By his own words, this wasn’t the life she’d led, so expecting her to understand the dark politics of the cult is unfair, to say the least.

She takes her leave, and Gideon won’t stop her. Instead, he continues his pacing, still reeling at the prospect of dining with his mother’s lover.

While he can rationalize Quinn’s motive - truly, he can - his mind is still at high intensity. Just because she wants information doesn’t mean she had to include him. They were in the car together for hours, so he’s lost as to why she couldn’t get her information then, if she deemed it so important. If they had just talked it out…

Without realizing that he’d even descended the stairs, Gideon finds himself standing in the kitchen. His eyes find her form, her back to him, and they narrow infinitesimally. There is no denying that he is still angry, and there’s no denying that he’s already made up his mind on one aspect of this evening. But he will cede to her, if only to give her the benefit of the doubt.

“I never said I didn’t trust you,” he begins, voice stiff and cool, “but I understand that it probably came off that way. And I never asked you to follow me. I asked that you bring decisions and plans of this magnitude to me first, not even for my approval, but so I can prepare myself mentally, if nothing else.” But she didn’t, and now they’d have to deal with the consequences. And there’s the underlying fact that they both know; had she brought this to him, he would’ve struck it down without question.

“If this is what you think is best, that’s fine, we’ll do it your way. I’ll be back by dinner. I need to clear my head.” With that, he’s out the door, headed to make his own preparations.

Jack Pierson would be eating his last meal with them, after all.
November 09, 2017 15:00
Quinn Abernathy The minute she got down the stairs, her palms met with the kitchen counters and she leaned forward, shoulders curved. Quinn hates when they argue. She hates feeling like she's done something wrong. Moreover, she hates how simple she feels. He had a point. They did not grow up the same way. Gideon knew a dark life, and Quinn's had been full of light and laughter. The way she had been raised has followed her through to adulthood.

When you wrong someone, you make it right. You put forth a grand gesture, something that will resolve everything and bring back the peace. Baked goods, homemade gifts, dinner. Now, Quinn cannot understand if it is Jack, or simply inviting someone to dinner, that has upset Gideon more.

But then he appears, and the minute she feels his eyes upon her, Quinn pushes herself into motion, pulling from a drawer a burlap sack of potatoes. He talks to her as she begins her work, and she only keeps her head down. Her mind is made up, anyway. Tonight is more than just dinner.

Not a word is given to Gideon before he leaves.

He would barely be home again for mere minutes before a punctual knock would come to the door. There had been no time to speak with him, or mend what they had broken earlier. Quinn takes a deep breath, glancing at her husband as she forces herself to visibly relax. Blinking back any emotion, she puts on her winning smile that has woo'd the community since her arrival and takes the few short steps to the door.

"Jack," her voice is bright and full of excitement, "Come in, please. Dinner is right on time. Make yourself comfortable." A warm hand would touch to the man's upper arm, encouraging him as he steps inside before she would shut the door behind him.

Upon entry, he would see the table has three settings. At the head, Gideon's. His own, as well as Quinn's, are at either side. Already, bread, butter, and two covered dishes sit upon the table. The center, however, is empty. "We're so glad you could join us tonight. I hope we can make things up to you, after what happened at the wedding," she chatters, grabbing towels and pulling a modestly sized chicken from the oven.

Quinn is wasting little time, and she knows Gideon would not miss that. But, with the final piece of the meal placed upon the table and the men seated, she takes to her wifely duties and begins to serve their guest. "It's probably been a while since you were last here."

Only once Jack is served would Quinn move on to serving Gideon, the only difference between the two being the adoring kiss she places upon his cheek before taking her own seat.
November 09, 2017 17:00
Gideon Abernathy The spade hits the dirt with an angry force, effectively turning up the soil so he can get under it. He grits his teeth from sheer exertion, but it’s proving helpful in burning up the fire in his veins, at least well enough to allow him a level head. The grave is dug, to be filled later that evening. It’s far enough out in the commune that no one would notice it before it’s occupied. Burial isn’t his normal preference of disposal, but it would be the easiest and quickest.

Once that’s finished, he allows himself a moment’s rest before heading back to the house to get cleaned up. His breathing is somewhat labored as he sits and hangs his legs over the side of the pit. Thoughts race through his mind, ranging from John punching Jack in the face, to finding out that his mother had an affair with the man, to the vision of watching his blood drain from his body. In Gideon’s mind, there is no forgiveness for the man who claimed to love Emely; only vengeance.

A sigh escapes him, carrying all the tension from his body. Exhaustion doesn’t begin to describe what he feels, but it’s the closest he can come. He pushes himself up and begins the trek back to the house.

He arrives a bit before their guest is due, but he doesn’t say anything to Quinn. While she busies herself with finishing their meal, he quietly slips into the bathroom to clean the sweat from his body and make himself presentable. The cool water splashes his face as he hunches over the sink, and as he looks up, he meets his own gaze in the reflection of the mirror. His eyes, dark as they are, lack emotion, yet he can see the desire to kill, plain as day.

Having finished his clean-up process, he sinks into his place at the table just as the knock permeates the silence. Elbows planted on the table, fingers intertwined, chin balanced on his clasped hands, he stares forward. He will not be a welcoming host to a man that doesn’t deserve this hospitality.

He can hear Jack and Quinn exchange greetings and pleasantries, and he has to suppress the urge to scoff. While he doesn’t want to be outwardly rude, he still can’t stomach the idea of playing nice. Even as the man takes his seat and Quinn begins serving, Gideon won’t look at him. Not even when he offers a greeting. It’s only when he thanks him for the invitation that the psychopath would speak.

“I didn’t invite you here.”

The tension this causes finally procures a smile from the man, and he offers his gaze over to their guest. “All the same, I do appreciate you coming. Our plans for the evening would’ve been rather dull otherwise.”
November 09, 2017 17:36
Quinn Abernathy It takes quite a bit of energy for Quinn to keep from shooting Gideon a look. Jack, while blatantly uncomfortable, is attempting to make a connection. Her husband, meanwhile, is making things all the more difficult. He refuses to acknowledge Jack, or her, really. And when he finally does speak, the words cut like a knife. Instantly, Quinn glances up from her place to Jack.

"You're welcome," she speaks quietly.

'All the same, I do appreciate you coming. Our plans for the evening would've been rather dull otherwise.'

At this, she finds herself glancing in Gideon's direction. A moment is taken to calm her own nerves, and Quinn decides to teeter right off the edge of safety. "He's always scared me..." her words are quiet, brow pulled together in concentration. "John, I mean. There is such an intensity about him. I imagine it must have been hard here, all these years. Especially now."

Eyes cast upon her plate, Jack would stutter something unintelligible before finding his voice and better thoughts while she carefully cuts her meat. "I don't know how he found out, Messenger. After all this time..."

"Quinn," she corrects him. Placing her flatware down, she lifts her gaze once more. "Even though he is frightening, I do owe him thanks. If not for John, I never would have met Gideon."

She isn't eating. Instead, a sad frown finds it's place upon her lips as she looks at Gideon fully. Despite it all, this man is her everything. There is no way around it. Without Gideon, there is no air. There is not life, or want for it. It does not matter what sort of life they lead, so long as they are together. She knows something is happening, and she is sure he knows she too is planning something. Or, at the very least, up to something.

"Did you love her? Really?"
November 09, 2017 18:03
Gideon Abernathy Gideon returns to his food, stabbing and cutting a little more aggressively than usual. It doesn’t go unnoticed by Jack, who keeps casting sideways glances toward him. This might bother some, but Gideon is more than used to it; he’s grown to expect it. Maybe it’s his eyes, maybe it’s his demeanor, maybe it’s just a feeling they get, but people can’t help but be wary of him.

Quinn brings up John, and already, he feels his muscles tensing. Any time the man is brought up is cause for discomfort, but this is especially difficult. It’s her gaze that pulls him from his own mind, and he meets it for the first time that evening. A warmth spreads through his blood stream, a feeling that only she can procure. Even with the argument from the afternoon still fresh in their thoughts, he can’t help but feel a quiet contentment whenever she’s near.

Did you love her? Really?

Gideon’s silverware clatters onto the plate, forgotten. Blackened hues snap to Jack’s face, which is suddenly whiter than he’s ever seen it. Searching that face, he waits for the unsatisfactory reply that he’s sure will come. Nothing Jack can say will convince him that he doesn’t deserve to die; in fact, it would only prove to further condemn him.

“O-of course I did,” he stammers, and Gideon fights to suppress the urge to lash out. “I… She… You don’t understand what was at st--”

“Do you remember the day she died?” The question catches the man off guard, and he seems physically pained at the idea of trying to remember. Gideon continues anyway. “I do. I shouldn’t, since I was very young, but I guess it left an impression on me. Do you remember, Jack, the way the knife cut so easily? Do you remember how she looked up at my father with hate-filled eyes? Do you remember when her intestines spilled out of her abdomen and the sound they made when they hit the floor of that stage?” A tear rolls down Jack’s cheek, but he doesn’t respond. Instead, his eyes are pressed shut, as if he’s willing the memories away. ”Answer me.” It’s a low growl, but deep, and the man visibly jumps.

He opens his mouth to speak, but no words come out. After a few more tries, Jack finally croaks out a quiet response. “N-no... I don’t remember. I had my eyes closed…”

Gideon pushes forcibly from the table. On his feet, he deliberates between spilling his blood right then and there, and letting Quinn get her fill of whatever she is looking for. He knows what he wants, what he desires in the most carnal sense of the word, but he forces himself to walk away. He will only return when the meal is over, when he can exact those desires.

“P-please, Mess-- Q-Quinn, you have to understand.” He’s pleading with her, as if he subconsciously knows what’s in store for him. “She begged me not to interfere. The plan was for her to escape with our children. She would set out, and I would meet them the next day, so as not to raise too much alarm. But Gideon had been raised in a household with that monster, so he was already distrusting, at such a young age. I-I...I think she knew what would happen, because she begged me not to interfere if she was caught. You have to know… I wanted to kill that monster where he stood. But he was too well guarded, and even if I tried to contest her dying, it would have put Gideon and Ann in danger. John would’ve killed them if he knew they weren’t his. I was… I was just doing what I thought was best under the circumstances… Emely never would’ve forgiven me if I let anything happen to our children… You have to understand…”
November 09, 2017 18:49
Quinn Abernathy She knows better than to interfere while Gideon takes the lead. He speaks, and her gaze lowers once before her eyes slide closed. Warmth spreads through her body, pressure building behind her eyes and forcing forward fresh, hot tears as the tale of Emely's death assaults her. Quinn had never asked about this, and had never wanted to. She knew that Gideon took a great amount of responsibility for what happened, though she is sure that none would ever blame him. He was just a child...

'Answer me.'

The sharp, angry demand brings her out of herself, and her eyes snap open to look at Gideon just as Jack does. He had his eyes closed. For the first time, she feels ill, her stomach churning at the prospect of doing such a thing. If that were Gideon on that stage, she would have watched. She would have fought for him. She would do anything to see him live, or she would die by him.

As Gideon leaves, Quinn watches him.

'P-please, Mess--'

Her attention turns to Jack, hands lifting to swipe the constant tears that wet her cheeks. Content, she listens as the man before her begs. While Gideon is gone from the room, she knows he is not far; He never is. "You know, I've felt her love for Gideon. It was boundless. She was so full of the stuff. It was such an epic feeling. There are no words to really describe it. And they had to watch her die. He saw everything. He heard everything. Not a detail was missed. Ann, too. And I'm sure she begged you not to interfere..."

Jack is relaxing as she speaks, the melancholy in her voice bringing him some sort of peace. But Quinn is far from peace. She's sat back in her chair, uncomfortable as she watches him. There is a dangerous line she can feel herself treading, and her mind is slipping in the wrong direction. "If you cared, you would have done something. But you watched as Gideon suffered day after day, and Ann died, and he suffered more. You could have saved them, and you didn't. And that makes John more of a father than you ever were." The words shatter her heart to pieces, and Quinn stands, pacing her way around the table slowly.

"I love him, Jack. I would do anything for him, and be anything he needs me to be. It doesn't matter where we are, or what's happened. I will always support him, and cherish him, and worship the ground he walks on because he is my husband. And I really hope he can forgive me for this..."

There is little time to process what has been said as she reaches forward to grab the serrated blade from the table, fist wrapped around the handle as she plunges it into the man's chest. A quiet sob escapes her as she pulls her hand away, leaving the blade where it has landed on it's awkward angle. The gasp that escapes the man rattles her to her core, and she takes several steps backwards as the reality of what she has done sets in.

This is different. This is completely different.

And it scares her.

"Gid.. Gideon? Gideon?"
November 09, 2017 19:42
Gideon Abernathy She calls out to him, and in her voice, Gideon can hear the inner turmoil. Brow furrowing, his own problems pushed from his mind momentarily, he rushes out to the kitchen.

The sight before him is disconcerting, to say the least. Quinn has backed herself against the counter, her eyes trained on Jack, who is hunched over, in obvious pain. His breathing is labored, and it’s only when he looks up toward him that Gideon notices the knife protruding from his chest.

A breath escapes him at the sight. Quinn has attempted to commit a murder on his behalf, and he’s unsure how to react. “This wasn’t your score to settle,” he tosses toward her as he crosses the space between himself and Jack. The knife is wrenched easily from him, and he falls from the chair with a thud.

“Please--” But Gideon silences the pleas with a kick.

“If you’re aiming for the heart, especially with such a small kitchen knife, you have to go through the ribs. It takes too much strength and resolve to push it through the chest.” His voice gives nothing away of what he’s feeling, as he instructs her in this manner. Even he isn’t sure why he’s doing it, but if she wants to take these steps to commit murder, she’s going to learn how to do it properly. While he’s speaking, he demonstrates the movements and exactly where to plunge the knife in such a scenario. However, he won’t push it all the way through to the man’s frantically beating heart; he wants Jack to suffer.

“If you want someone to suffer, stay near the surface of the skin and twist.” Still putting on a show for her, he wonders at his own antics. Truth be told, he’s angry that she would take this away from him. It was his mother, his childhood, that the man stole, and for that mark to be wiped clean in his mind, it should have been him. He’s also angry that she would stoop to such levels. Even then, he can’t blame her; he pushed her to this simply by forcing her into his lifestyle. Honestly, she should’ve learned these skills long ago, if only in order to protect herself.

The blood from the wounds Gideon is inflicting all over the man’s body is starting to pool, and it’s time to end the demonstration. “But, if you want to kill someone quickly, your best bet is the jugular. Start from the opposite side of the hand you’re using,” he explains, the knife easily breaking the skin of Jack’s neck, “make sure you go pretty deep, like so, and drag it across, holding it steady, so you don’t miss.” Blood pour from the slit, causing the dying man to choke and sputter helplessly.

Black orbs don’t leave Jack’s face until all life has drained from him. It’s only then that he tosses the knife into the sink and sets about preparing the man to be carried to his resting place. Once he’s wrapped in a blanket and hoisted up to be dragged along, he nods to Quinn. “Come on, we’ve gotta bury him now.” Normally, he would do this himself, take care of all the blood and death and aftercare. But this was her doing, and she has to know what it takes to kill someone.
November 09, 2017 20:24
Quinn Abernathy There is no breath filling her lungs.

Quinn has exhaled, and forgotten to breathe in again. Gideon comes, he speaks, and all she can do in this precise moment is watch. Reality is setting in, and she is fast realizing that she has crossed a line she never thought possible. Quinn has attempted murder. She has taken the knife in her hand, and out of upset and a deep love for a man, attempted to kill another. This is not defensive, and it is shades different from attempting to poison a man who threatens them.

Hot tears reappear, blurring her vision as she struggles quietly to find the breath she has realized that she is without. There is nothing to prepare a person for what she has just experienced. While things are easy for Gideon, that had been frighteningly easy for her. There hadn't been a second thought until after she'd already made her attempt, and that worries her.

The internal crisis has already begun, and she is almost sure that this place is turning her into a monster.

When she had called for his help, knowing she'd done things wrong from the get, she had wanted this to be over quickly. Instead, Gideon drags it out and performs, sharing dark wisdoms like an expert instructing their protégé. These sights, this knowledge, would never leave her. Ingrained in her mind forever, she would dream of it night after night.

As Jack's corpse is jostled and wrapped up, Quinn finally finds her voice only to be silenced before a word can be uttered.

'Come on, we've gotta bury him now.'

A nod is given, small and upset. Swallowing, she does not dare meet his gaze. Instead, she takes a single step forward before stuttering in her movements. For the first time, her gaze has lifted from Jack's form to Gideon's face, and everything truly hits her. Brow pulling together, she shakes her head before turning away and doubling over, placing her hands just above her knees. Stomach churning angrily, it is all she can do to keep from retching.

It is not lost on her that Gideon has not comforted her in this. Truth be told, she isn't sure if she could accept that comfort yet. She feels dirty, but there is a large amount of clarity that comes with what she has just done. A self-soothing hand raises to press against her stomach as she stands upright once more. In this state, Gideon would never allow her more than mere seconds to collect herself.

She understands that she is being punished, and she would accept it.

Turning once more, she fails to meet his eyes, "Let's go..." the words are mumbled.

Quinn follows him out of the home, and away from the community. For a brief moment, she wonders where he will take them. It due time, she finds out as they come to an unmarked grave of freshly turned earth. Her mouth opens and closes, what she is seeing before her registering in her mind before the wrong realization crosses her mind.

"You... knew...?" The question is quiet and choked, telling tale of Quinn's true nature despite her most recent actions. She can never seem to assume the worst of those she loves. It does not strike her that her sweet husband had planned to murder the dead man, and gone so far as to dig his grave. Instead, she assumes the very best.
November 10, 2017 07:01
Gideon Abernathy His face is expressionless as he watches her attempt to cope with the sight in front of her. The part of him that is notably more human wants to reach out to her, to soothe her and tell her he’d take care of everything. But, for the first time in their entire relationship, he forces that side of him down. This is a lesson she must learn.

Once she’s finally ready, he offers a nod and they set off. There’s no talking on their way to the makeshift grave, and they only stop so Gideon can readjust the weight of the corpse he’s dragging. A sense of foreboding looms over the pair, indicative of the struggle that is surely to come. Not only is Quinn going to have to heal from this - if she can - but Gideon will have to come to terms with the undeniably unsatisfactory way in which Jack was erased from the world. He wanted that, more than anything. He owed it, not only to himself, but his mother. In his eyes, that man should have suffered the same fate that Emely was met with, if not much, much worse.

He’s pulled from his thoughts by Quinn’s shaky voice: You...knew…? A somewhat withering look is cast her way, telling of his true nature as well. Before he responds, he rolls the body unceremoniously into the grave, where it thuds face down.

“I told you, this wasn’t your score to settle.”

It takes him mere seconds to find the spade in the darkness, but rather than begin shovelling the dirt in himself, he holds it out to Quinn. “Go until you can’t lift your arms anymore. If you’re not done when that time comes, I’ll finish.” Perhaps it’s harsh, the lack of inflection in his voice.

He settles himself on the ground a few feet from the grave, allowing her space to work. It’s a while before he finally speaks, as the day was replaying in his head, but when he does, his tone is level and calculated. “So what information did you glean from this evening, if I may ask?” It’s a loaded question, and the tension in the air could be cut with a knife.
November 11, 2017 08:37
Quinn Abernathy The look on his face says it all, and Quinn knows in an instant that what she has done, was his intention from the start. She had taken this from him, and this lesson is as much for her as it is for his satisfaction. If she were a saner person, she might resent Gideon for doing this, for there is no way he would be reacting this way if it were someone he cared not for.

Then again, it would never happen with any other person. This had been deeply personal for Quinn, and there is little else that could drive her to these great lengths. This man had wronged her husband in a way that is unfathomable. While anything done differently would have very well cost her a life him, she would do anything to erase the pains of his past.

Jack had been that chance, and Jack had failed.

She takes the shovel without thinking, disappearing within herself as she begins to move the dirt into the crude grave. It's a place she had gone when they were up on that stage, something of her own to keep herself safe when the real world has become too much. It isn't until he speaks that she is broken from her personal bindings within her mind, causing the ache in her arms to resonate painfully.

She still doesn't stop.

"It was enough," she says, the physical strain echoing through her voice. Quickly, she comes to the realization that she must stop, and she finds herself leaning into the shovel for support as she makes her confession.

"He was going to meet you and your mother the next day, after your escape. He said she made him promise not to interfere if she was caught, and that after she was, he couldn't kill your father and he couldn't do anything for Emely because it would have endangered you and Ann. Said he was doing what he thought was best, and laid such a claim on you..." She takes a breath, deep and trembling, as the man's voice echoes through her mind. "He said John would have killed you both if he found out."

She grits her teeth, grinding them momentarily before finally allowing that chocolate gaze to meet his. "He did nothing." Jack had had all the strength to do the right thing, and he didn't. He sat back and watched as the child he truly believed to be his son was beaten and twisted, and took no responsibility for his inaction. It is crystal clear in her mind that he cared more for his own life than the children he fathered.

Standing up once more, she lifts the shovel despite the protest of her muscles, and moves on smaller load of dirt into the partially filled grave. "I'm sorry this wasn't yours, Giddy. But I'm not sorry I did it."
November 11, 2017 09:11
Gideon Abernathy One would expect the telling of her tale to cause some kind of emotion to spring forth, but for Gideon, it doesn’t. It didn’t matter if Jack was he and Ann’s real father; it didn’t matter that he did nothing to stop John from his abuse; it didn’t even matter that he clearly had no love for the children that he fathered. What mattered to Gideon, and what plagued him from the moment he’d learned of the atrocity, was that he’d sat back and done nothing when someone he did claim to love was ruthlessly murdered.

And there’s more than one reason for that.

The first being that he couldn’t imagine anyone hurting Quinn while he was made to sit back and (not) watch. He would’ve done anything - anything - to get to her, to make it stop. Death is not a fear for Gideon, though, nor the prospect of the Hell that surely awaited him.

The second is his own guilt. Only he’d done one better. Not only had he claimed to love someone, he then proceeded to kill her in that same manner. Luckily, he was young and lacked the skill, so it was as quick as it could be. Even though he recognizes that he was all but brainwashed, he still wrestles with that guilt from time to time, and it’s why he struggles so overtly to take the cult over completely.

“Well, I’m glad you feel better.” The jab is punctuated by taking the spade from her grasp. Jerking his head back toward the house, he still won’t look at her. “Go clean up. I’ll finish this.” Gideon knows that Quinn is hurting over doing something that was so foreign to her nature, but he just wants to be alone. Her betrayal in taking something that was so important to his own healing process - if it could be called that - is grating on him with her close proximity. He needs time with his thoughts to work through it.

Without checking to see if she has ceded to his desire, he begins shoveling the dirt into the pit, the manual labor at least keeping him focused so he can’t sink too far into his darkness.
November 11, 2017 09:54
Quinn Abernathy She stays, watching him for several moments, before turning to start the walk back to the house. There is a coldness growing between them over this that Quinn cannot begin to understand, but she knows that it will take time to heal from it. Time, or a serious argument that she does not want to have.

This place is toxic, and she knows it. They had been happy when they were back in their little home at the plantation. Just them, doing whatever they pleased, at any given time. Ever since they came here, there has been a stress upon them and their relationship that is barely made less by their small, short moments of bliss. Neither of them are happy here.

By the time she has reached the house, her muscles feel as though they have turned to stone. Part of her wants to leave the mess behind, just to make a point. She misses her Giddy, and yet, what Giddy is that? She'd told him that he would always be just that... but that was before she knew what this all meant.

It was before she knew the cult personally, before she met his father, before she came to love him so deeply that she would kill for him. But none of this makes it any less true.

He will always be her Giddy.

Because of this alone, she scrubs the floor until her hands are raw from the constant friction of the towel upon her palms and skin irritated from constant contact with water and soap. She does not stop until the remnants are gone, and even then she goes further. She clears the table, disposes of the food, and washes the dishes. Quinn effectively erases the evening as best she can, until she finds herself sinking into the couch.

Quinn isn't punishing herself. Not anymore.
November 11, 2017 11:32
Gideon Abernathy The sound of the shovel scooping up dirt is becoming mechanical, and he hardly notices the ache in his arms. It’s dull, the muscles having gotten used to the strain long ago, but it still wouldn’t stop them from protesting. The task dwells on well into the night until the last shovelful is dropped.

Sinking to the ground for some well-deserved rest, he fishes in his pocket for the pack of cigarettes he is almost sure he never told Quinn about. Mentally praying to some sort of god, he goes to the other pocket in hopes that his lighter is there. With a breath of relief, he finds it and is able to further calm himself from the evening’s trials.

A sense of calm has taken over his mind for the first time that day, and he breathes a soft sigh as he exhales the smoke. Setting Quinn to a separate task had been beneficial, as it gave him the time to clear the fog from his mind. Thinking clearly once more, he is able to recognize that her love for him drove her to do something that was completely against her nature. And really, how could he be angry with her for killing someone he’d laid an imaginary claim to?

But the anger is replaced now with worry. They’ve been married such a short time, and already she’s gone against everything she believes in. Quinn used to be able to see the good in everyone, including himself. Had he really driven her to be unable to see it anymore? Or is it simply this place?

Another sigh escapes him, low and deep, and he flicks the end of the cigarette away. Rising from the ground, he grabs the spade and slings it over his shoulder as he walks back to the house.

He’s unsure how long it took him to finish the task, but when he returns, he finds the kitchen spotless and Quinn collapsed into the couch. Though her head is leaned back and her eyes shut, Gideon sees that she isn’t sleeping, if only by the fidgeting of her fingers as he sinks into the couch beside her. With no small amount of hesitation, he finally encases her hand in his own and brings it up to his lips, pressing a gentle kiss to the back of it.

“Do you remember when this was easy? Do you remember when you kissed me for the first time, and I handled it...less than well.” He smiles at the memory, an admittedly sad expression. But as quick as the smile comes, it just as quickly melts into a frown. “I hate it here, Quinn. It brings out...the absolute worst in me. And I know it’s taking its toll on you.”

He pauses, unsure of where he’d planned on going with this conversation. His free hand moves to run through his unkempt hair. “It was a mistake, coming back here.”
November 11, 2017 13:17
Quinn Abernathy "I know you do..." she murmurs in response to him, squeezing his hand in response.

Quinn allows her eyes to slip open, her gaze settling onto the ceiling. She had been thinking these things earlier in the evening. How terrible this is for them, how unhealthy their relationship has become. Her definition of unhealthy is skewed, as well. It isn't about what she could be driven to do, but instead the strain upon them.

He hates it here, and she does to. She hates pieces of it. She hates what it does to them, and the way people are treated. She hates his father, and the scary control he has over everything that happens here. She hates that people willingly die for an idea. But she loves the people, and how they can pull together. She loves how simple they are, and how they have all these unrealized opportunities before them.

Despite the groan of protest that escapes her, she forces herself to shift, tucking herself into his side. There is, and always has been, a great comfort that she has found in Gideon. "It's my fault. I thought it'd be safer."

Sucking in a breath, she holds it before finally letting it go. There is no great wisdom for her to pass on, and she no longer sees the light at the end of the tunnel. Her only light, now, is Gideon. "It's my fault John's gone, too... there isn't anyone to take care of these people..."

How do you rise above something like this? Above a cult?

"I don't know what to do, baby... but I miss us. I miss then, too."
November 11, 2017 14:38
Gideon Abernathy “It’s not your fault.” The words sound like a broken record, but it makes them no less true. It still amazes him that she can blame herself for any of this. The cult is a manifestation of the past that he can’t get away from, try as he might. As much as he hates to admit it to himself, he’s beginning to wonder if there ever was a point in his leaving all those years ago. He’d fooled himself into believing that he didn’t belong there, but everything kept bringing him back.

...there isn’t anyone to take care of these people…

At this, he can’t help but snort. The irony isn’t lost on him; a serial killer, put in charge of helping people adapt to the real world. Even then, it’s a task they took on themselves, no one asked for their help.

“We can still leave.” The sentence hangs in the air, a heavy weight to it. If they were to abandon ship, now would be the best time. John is nowhere to be found, and it would give them the head start they needed. They could get far enough away that it would merely take moving every few months to stay a few steps ahead. And that’s if they’re still being chased by the cult; John may have learned his lesson, and decide to leave well-enough alone.

Then their only problem would be Tiber. If he isn’t dead, he can’t help but think. It’d been awhile since the werewolf had even made himself known. For all they know, he met a grisly fate and is no longer a threat. But even if that’s not the case, Gideon almost welcomes the fight. He’s holding enough anger inside toward the damnable people that would take their peace away that there’s no room for fear. He’d meet a werewolf head-on if it meant they could live the rest of their lives quietly.

But Quinn is too good, and he knows that. While it’s frustrating in a case like this, it’s why he loves her. That goodness will prevent her from leaving this people behind. Even if he could convince her to do it, it would plague her. No matter how much sh-t the cult has put them through, she won’t give up on them.

So, they’ll surely stay, even if it kills them. But he’ll still plant that seed of possibility, just in case.

“Otherwise,” he continues, as if there wasn’t a long pause in between his words, “we just have to wait it out. John will come back eventually, no doubt. And who knows, maybe he’ll want me dead now that I’m not his son anymore.” Again, wishful thinking.
November 13, 2017 14:34
Quinn Abernathy They would never agree. This might be Gideon's origin, but they would not be here if not for her insistence that this would be safer than being out there, alone. Tiber could, and would, hunt them. No. Not them. Her. He knows where she is, and she is sure that the only thing saving her from Tiberius is being surrounded by people, and whatever precautions were put in place before the last of his sanity went.

If they really got down to it, her greed in asking him to remain before they were taken was what set all of these events into motion.

There is, however, no sense in arguing over it.

He offers to leave, and the silence between them grows heavy. Quinn would love to disappear, and live her life with him, but everything brings her back to the people that now are in their lives. They are so fragile... and so in need. What would they do under John's continued rule? Life in fear, and distrust, and give themselves blindly to death if only to sacrifice themselves to a false God, or as the safest means of escape.

How could they ever? How could she?
She would never be able to live with herself.

'And who knows, maybe he'll want me dead now that I'm not his son anymore.'

Turning her head, she looks at him, brows pulling together in distress. He's taken her to a dark place that she has never wanted to visit, a world without him, and it is too much. Several long moments are taken to process his words.

They stay, they die.
They leave, they die.
They wait, they die.

Her eyes begin to feel that familiar sting, and she bows her head to stare down into her lap. There is no helping it. Quinn cannot think of a single way to go on with their lives in which life is, actually, the answer and solution. But this scares her, and Jack's words echo through her mind.

"So you agree with Jack..."

The thought of a dead man holding all the answers is possibly worse than anything else. Heart picking up it's pace, Quinn swallows and leans forward, gripping firmly to his hand. "Death isn't an option, Gideon. I want to grow old with you. Understand? That's my goal. So... what do we do that gets us there?"
November 13, 2017 17:34
Gideon Abernathy A hand reaches up to rub at his face in an attempt to stem the flow of thoughts from clouding his judgment. Exhaustion is evident on every feature, and it’s mirrored in Quinn’s teary gaze. Though she tries to hide it from him, he knows her too well. She would always try to hide what she considers her weakness.

A small smile dons his lips at her statement. “He showed me leniency for my defiance because I was his son. If--” He stops; it’s not a matter of if. His mother knew they weren’t John’s. “When he finds out, as I’m sure he will, I don’t have that protection anymore. That privilege turns into my death sentence.”

And yours, too.

But he can’t bring himself to say it out loud. Instead, the silence screams that truth for both of them.

How do they get there? How do they get out of these sh-tty situations alive? He doesn’t have answers, and he doesn’t know that he ever will. In any possible direction, they are two steps away from chaos, and it seems that whatever decision they make puts them into another mess entirely. He wants to offer the solution she seeks, but he has no way of seeing the future.

“I don’t know,” he finally concedes, a flash of anger crossing his features. She deserves a house far away from all this, where they could be happy and free, and he can’t give it to her.

Not yet.

“We’ll get out of this. All of it. I promise.” In one way or another.
November 15, 2017 18:58