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In a Mad World, Only the Mad are Sane


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Gideon Abernathy

Now. We’re going now.

And so they went.

Seated in the passenger side of the truck, Gideon stares out the window. He hasn’t said a word; her mind was made up after all, and he’d learned in their short marriage that arguing was mostly futile. Either he’s too soft or she’s too persistent, and he chooses to go with the latter.

There’s a serenity to his posture that’s hard to place. He’s relaxed, yet tense; defensive, yet utterly defeated. Much like arguing with Quinn, he’s given up on trying to understand what his mind is putting him through. Sometimes, it’s best just to ride the wave.

He has no idea how long they’ve been on the road when he finally drags his gaze over to her. Still, he won’t speak, opting instead to observe. He’d been so self-absorbed, he hadn’t noticed how tense she’d gotten. Her movements are no longer carefree and flowing; they are calculated and controlled, as if she is always second-guessing herself. Gideon knows what - or rather who - has caused that. The fingers on his left hand twitch, letting him know of the subconscious desire to reach out and touch her. But something stops him.

“Are we going back to Valar Morghulis?” The question breaks the heavy silence, his voice carefully level. Again, his fingers ache to reach out for her, but he turns his gaze forward, focusing on the empty expanse of road ahead.
January 21, 2018 07:52 pm

Quinn Abernathy

It's quiet.

Gideon hasn't said a word since she announced their departure, and Quinn has done nothing to break that silence. The girl is worn. She had prepared herself for a fight, and it would be a lie if she were to say she is not grateful there is none.

Still, she is very aware of his gaze upon her. What is he thinking? Quinn can take a guess, because the weight that has dropped down upon her under his watch is immense. Whatever it is, it isn't good. He doesn't look at her the way he used to, and it threatens to tear her apart. Just the same, she is sure she fails to see him as she used to. When they'd met again, and as their relationship progressed, he had warned her several times over what a life would be like with him.

She never listened.
She persisted.
But she doesn't regret it.

Gideon breaks the silence.

Blinking out of her thoughts, a pair of chocolate hues glances in his direction. He is staring forward again. There is no helping it as she swallows. "Yes. Just for a couple days. It... it'd be nice to get away. To just have some time alone to be ourselves."

She is acutely aware of how downtrodden they are, and takes the first steps toward lifting their spirits. Or, at the very least, trying. "I've been thinking a lot about that first night we camped in the back of the truck. Remember? I don't know how we slept after all that sugar and wine. Did you sleep? I never asked if you had slept..."
January 21, 2018 08:12 pm

Gideon Abernathy

She offers the affirmation he requested, but he can only bring himself to nod in response. He wants to find solace in the idea of going back to the home that they’d built together on the grounds of the home that had brought them together again. However, his thoughts are constantly drifting back to the Flock and the fact that his father is there, unattended.

A sigh rolls through him. If nothing else, he owes it to his wife to at least try and relax.

For the sake of attempting, he forces his mind back to one of the first nights they’d spent together. It’s a bittersweet recollection, a picture reel of a happier time for the pair. Sort of. Gideon had been just as brooding and pessimistic; he’d just been better at riding the wave.

A smile pulls at the corner of his lips. She’d been so excited to make him his first s’more, and he’s adored the tooth-achingly sweet treat simply because of the memory. They drank too much and shared too many secrets. It was the start of their tumultuous relationship, and it remained what kept them holding on. A memory of happier times.

He’d promised they’d build a home together, even with the thought of his leaving - for her safety - etched in the back of his mind. But he hadn’t left.

And here they are.

“Yeah, I’d slept.” He won’t tell her of the horrifying dreams he’d had that acted as a premonition of the sh-tshow to come. Why bring a sour patch to something she’d held dear for so long. “It was actually one of the most restful sleeps I’d had in awhile.” It isn’t technically a lie; he’d always been used to nightmares. “If I remember correctly, we regretted drinking that much the next morning, when we started tearing down those buildings.” A chuckle escapes him, and his dark gaze glances toward her adoringly.
January 21, 2018 08:44 pm

Quinn Abernathy

She grins. For the first time in a long time, things feel a little lighter. Focusing on something else gives her, and hopefully him, a better something to focus on. And as he points out the pain they were in the next morning, Quinn can't help that quiet laugh that leaves her. It has been so long since she has laughed. Later, she would try to recall the last time, and find herself incapable of remembering.

"It hurt so much," she finally admits. "But it was worth it."

It doesn't take long for her to reach for him, her hand finding it's way into his. Right now, she refuses to consider what they are leaving behind. They need to focus on each other, and getting back on track. They need to reconnect, and really trust again. For that reason exactly, Quinn finds herself chattering away for the remainder of the ride at random. Little memories that creep up into her mind, dating as far back as their time together in New York when they barely knew each other ("Poor Eiji. You told me he loved cats."), to now.

Happy things. Only happy things.

It is dusk by the time they reach Valar, and Quinn doesn't pay any mind as she drives the truck to sit beneath their tree. A deep, contented breath is released and she looks at Gideon.

God, she adores this man.

"I think we should raid the kitchen first." Clearly, Quinn has an idea of how the night would go. "Eat. Shower. Watch some bad TV on the computer, or something."
January 21, 2018 09:03 pm

Gideon Abernathy

The melodic tone of her voice eases him unknowingly into a sense of peace, no matter how short-lived. Before he knows it, they are pulling up to their old home, the familiarity of it causing both a jolt of contentment and pang of regret. Briefly, he wonders how different - potentially better - Quinn’s life would be, had he not accepted Ella’s invitation in the first place.

He eyes squeeze shut as he pushes the negative thoughts from his mind. He could give her a couple days, right? Just two days that he could be better.

As he slips out of the truck, his gaze travels toward the large main house. Always looming, it not only houses Valar Morghulis, but a coven of parasites as well. As such, he almost hesitates in just wandering unannounced up to the building. Then again, he’s not sure they haven’t faced worse recently. “Lead the way,” he agrees, plastering that charming smile on his lips. For a moment, even he’s convinced it’s real.

They do just as she bids - the kitchen is raided, they are showered, and they’re finally snacked up and posted on the bed (only after the sheets are changed, per Gideon’s insistence) with Netflix open on the laptop. Tossing a piece of popcorn in the air, he catches it easily in his mouth before offering a shrug to her question of what to watch. “I don’t know, aren’t you the one that’s up and up on what’s new in the world of our viewing pleasure? Let’s watch something scary. I’ll tell you when it’s safe to look.”
January 21, 2018 09:45 pm

Quinn Abernathy

"Scary? Scary..."

Quinn is scrolling her way through Netflix, set upon the hunt to find them the very best of the best. He wants a scary movie. Quinn doesn't know anything about that sort of thing.. so, when he isn't looking, she chooses the most terrifying thing she has seen yet.

The Human Centipede.

As it turns out, Quinn wouldn't see very much of the movie at all. Instead, she would spend the majority of the time with her face tucked against his shoulder. Every so often, she would peek, but always at the very worst time. There are some things you just cannot unsee, and this girl is going to need to distract her mind when this is over.

With The Jungle Book.
Just a little.
Not the whole thing.

The two would remain in bed for the rest of the night, letting Netflix play what it will. Quinn forgets about it, eventually giving up on it completely and closing the laptop, setting it aside so that she can simply focus on what matters: Gideon.

Come morning, time would repeat itself. She would get up, she would run off and gather the junk food, bringing it back to bed so that they might have the breakfast of champions. They would shower, and find their way to the couch. And, tucked into his side with her head rested upon his shoulder, Quinn would shift in that way she always does when something is on her mind.

"Giddy... I've been thinking." Scary, she knows.
January 21, 2018 10:00 pm

Gideon Abernathy

The Human Centipede. As ridiculous and farfetched as it is, Gideon can’t help being fascinated, if only to speculate as to who would come up with such a thing. Come to find out, there were at least two more that came after the first. What a time to be alive.

All too soon, and somehow not soon enough, he’s preoccupied with his wife and the series falls to the wayside, to be reconvened with at a later date. For a small frame of time, they are alone, utterly and completely. It’s rejuvenating, to say the least, a much needed reprieve from the routine of what had become their daily life. In these moments, he remembers why he can’t let her go; he remembers exactly why he’s so selfish when it comes to Quinn.

By the time they make it to the couch the next day, he’s fully expecting her initiation of a conversation. She’s been softening his edges, chipping away at the weathered defenses of his psyche. He’s not angry; he just knows his wife, and he knows himself.

A smirk plays at his features, but his head remains leaned back, eyes closed, relaxed.

“Do tell. You’re on a roll with the good ideas.”
January 21, 2018 10:14 pm

Quinn Abernathy

Just as much as Gideon knows her, she knows him. It is obvious that he is allowing himself to relax, though she is sure he feels he shouldn’t. And Quinn, so willful to please him and bring them to a space where they can talk without hindrance, is shameless in that. To communicate is definitely a goal, but most of all, she just wants him. Before she can even begin to explain what it is she is considering, she realizes he needs to know why.

“Yesterday, after you went out, he came upstairs and checked on me. And he suggested we go, because we need a break. And I hated it, because he was right, and I just wanted you to myself.” Quinn isn’t at all worried about her rambling over what happened. Right now, this is their time. She trusts and knows it will be okay. So she continues, tracing over the lines in his palm with her fingertips as she does. “He didn’t see me in a good way, Giddy. There was no way I could deny it, for either of us.”

The strange thing is, no matter the subject, Quinn’s tone is far from nervous. Instead, it is almost as if she knows that the wrong thing is the right thing, because if it were the truly right thing - it wouldn’t feel wrong. “He is smart...”

Now, and only now, is when Quinn finds herself getting even remotely nervous. She sits up just enough to be able to look at his face, though she refuses to leave his immediate space. The hand that had been tracing lines has been brought up to do the same with his jaw. And, taking a moment, she grants a soft kiss. “And that’s why I’m not worried about him trying anything so soon.”

That said, she watches him, waiting for a reaction. “I want to beat him at his own game, Giddy.”

Quinn isn’t an idiot. She knows too well that Gideon will understand immediately. She has dropped all pretenses with John, and the only game there is to play is that of the mind. He would drive her to the brink and push a wedge between them, without a doubt in her mind, before they could ever hope to succeed. Quinn is the weakest link, and the easiest target. She could bring them both down, if only John played his cards right. “And I want you to help me.”
January 21, 2018 10:44 pm

Gideon Abernathy

Deep breaths.

Not only is she telling him the last thing he’d ever wanted to hear, she’s doing so in a much calmer manner than it warrants. John Abernathy is not a man to be trifled with. He’s manipulative, and a master of his craft. Gideon would love to beat him at his own game, but it’s a stretch to think they have what it takes to even play. They’ve made it this far solely on determination alone. Before long, it won’t be enough.

“I don’t think you’re taking this seriously enough.” When it comes to the Flock, they are constantly toeing the line between life and death. This seems to be a giant leap over. His calm demeanor is all but deteriorated, replaced by a racing mind and a sharp rise in his blood pressure. “No, Quinn, I’m sorry. I’m not coaching you through how to get into my father’s head. There is absolutely no way that goes well in any circumstance.”

The possibilities are endless, running haphazardly through his head and threatening to send him back into the darkness he’d only just recently escaped. Forcing himself up, he disentangles from Quinn and pushes off the couch, pacing in that way he does when he can’t think straight. There’s no getting around it; he’d been trying lately to see her side more, to trust her plans, even if he didn’t understand them. Not this time. The stakes are too high.

“I can’t let you do that. I--” Suddenly, he stops, his black gaze narrowing. “This trip...was his idea?”
January 22, 2018 05:22 pm

Quinn Abernathy

She supposes, in a way, that this has gone better than it would have had they remained at the compound. With a quiet groan, Quinn listens. She tries to be patient, but it is so hard lately. There is no telling if this is due to the pressures of their living arrangements, or if it is due to having to constantly walk on eggshells around Gideon.

There is nothing she can say, really, to make him calm down. Not until he picks exactly what it is he wishes to pay attention to and cling to it.

The trip.

Lifting her gaze to his, she gives him a small nod. There is nothing charmed about the thought of it. Quinn doesn't enjoy the knowledge that the one person that hates them the most is the person that sent them here. "He saw us both. What was I supposed to do? He was right. And he knew it. I knew it."

Lowering her head, she takes in a deep breath. Quinn is tired of begging, and skirting issues. She shifts, moving to sit on the edge of the couch and place her head in her hands. Her fingers become lost in a tangle of blond strands, and for just a moment, she simply is. "I take this very seriously, Giddy. But we're there, and so is he, and fretting over it all the time isn't going to make it any less dangerous. We're supposed to be a team. If you aren't going to let me play the game, then I'd rather we just run."

Her speaking had become faster up until this point, but now she holds her breath as if she has just betrayed herself. Here, Gideon knows her. He trusts her. He talks to her. But there? It is as if his confidence in her is vanished, and each task she tries to complete on her own only makes it that much worse.

"We have to work together Giddy, or we'll never survive it. Please. I am begging you... I know I can do it. I know I can make you proud."
January 22, 2018 05:40 pm

Gideon Abernathy

This had been John’s idea. It was John’s idea that both Gideon and Quinn leave the cult the day after he returns. His expression is incredulous and he turns away from her to compose himself.

There’s no telling, in Gideon’s mind, what his father is doing at the commune in their absence. He may have covered all his bases with Quinn, he may have even convinced her that he was reformed, but Gideon won’t believe it for a second. He’s up to something, and his wife may be too naive to see it, but he’s lived under that man’s thumb for damn near his entire life. He never admitted to his mistakes, he never showed empathy to another human being, and he never thought himself in need of changing anything about himself. It’s so transparent that it leaves room for doubt. John isn’t that careless.

So what’s he up to?

A headache tinges above his right eye, and he pinches the bridge of his nose hard. Sighing as he halts his pacing, he glances over at her with a defeated look. “You know we can’t leave, Quinn. Your psycho ex-husband is still after us.” It’d been so long since Tiber’s ominous deliverance of those blonde heads that he wonders - perhaps too hopefully - if he’d done them a favor and keeled over. Fat fvcking chance.

A slow breath this time, deep and careful, releases some of the tension and he finally turns back to her. “Okay.” Even he’s surprised. “I trust you. If you think this is what we should do...let’s do it. For the record, though... I think it’s a terrible idea.”
January 22, 2018 05:56 pm

Quinn Abernathy

Please don't call him that.

Quinn has to stop herself from saying the words. She had been scared of him, this much is true. But after that note on her pillow, after that text in which he made it all too clear that it wasn't Tiber that was the issue... she knows it is something else entirely. And she could never ask for Gideon to see the two separate entities.

Tiber, the man, and Tiberius, the wolf.

But if this is why they can't leave...
Another day.

Lifting her head, her palms are pressed together, fingers folding in to create something akin to an act of prayer. Chocolate hues land upon him, and there is a surprising amount of defeat in her posture. "He thinks I'm weak, and he's right. I'm not strong like you, and I don't know him like you." A quiet sigh escapes her, and she releases the grip her hands have on each other.

"So he wants to turn me against you by making me trust him... or to turn you against me." There is nothing more that she wants than for Gideon to understand that John does not have her under his spell. She is not so disillusioned that fails to see the deceit in his efforts - but she does see them working, because until now, there had been no chance to talk.

"My uncle did this thing were he always thought he was sick, and the doctor in town knew he wasn't. So they gave him placebos, to make him feel in control of himself." She would leave out the part that, as it turned out, he actually had been sick. That is not at all important.

Quinn stands, stepping up to Gideon. She keeps her hands off him, unsure of what boundaries he needs at this precise moment. "Teach me."
January 22, 2018 06:19 pm

Gideon Abernathy

At her comment about her own weakness, he can’t help but scoff, in spite of himself. In reference to Quinn, weak is not ever the term that comes to mind. Every obstacle she’s been put through, she’s overcome in one way or another. Had she turned away from her nature? Perhaps. But they do what they need to do to survive.

He has to stop himself from taking a step back as she approaches. There is a sick feeling in the pit of his stomach, and he doesn’t want her to notice the clammy feel of his skin, should she reach out and touch him. But she doesn’t.

Gideon knows their relationship has been put through the wringer by many different outside sources. He, in particular, hasn’t handled it well. Never having claimed to be stable in the first place, it’s hard for him to suppress the bitter thoughts of I told you so. He wants to be better; that doesn’t mean he can be.

She’s asking him to help her get into his father’s head. It’s enough to send him into another downward spiral. John would know what they were up to instantly, Gideon has no doubt about that. But why can’t Quinn see it? There’s a small voice in the back of his head telling him that she’s already succumbed to John’s will, simply by bringing them here. Who knows what the b-stard is up to in their absence; at no point did they ever reconcile from the last time he’d been at the commune, despite what Quinn might believe. Should Gideon really trust that her mind was strong enough to fend off a cult leader’s manipulation?

What choice did he have? They obvious can’t run, and she’s right, they need to be a team. They’d just have to be careful…

After another low, drawn out breath, he sidesteps her and sinks back into the couch. Mimicking her pose from moments before, he rests his face in his hands, elbows planted firmly on his knees as he wracks his brain for a semblance of advice to give to her. There’s nothing to really teach; it’s not as if Gideon has even been skilled at getting the best of his father. And something about teaching Quinn how to suck up to John churns his stomach.

“You have all the information you need, I don’t know what I’m supposed to tell you that you don’t already know. He’s a narcissist; so stroke his ego. Stop standing up to him all the time. Let him win arguments.” He swallows, the words leaving a nasty taste in his mouth. “Pay him compliments, I guess. He’ll eat that sh-t up, I’m sure.” It’s clear he’s very uncomfortable, his face draining of all color at the very thought of his wife stooping as low as to preening John’s over-inflated self-worth.
January 22, 2018 07:03 pm

Quinn Abernathy

He proceeds to tell her she has everything she needs, and Quinn is about ready to be the one to step out. But he continues, and she is grateful. Between the two of them, she is handling this shades better than he is. It is obscenely obvious, and Quinn knows that either they will suffer further, or she will have to carry them both.

Gideon is so bothered that he desires space, and Quinn is soon stepping back and away until her back meets the wall. She leans into it, taking from it a cold sort of comfort that she couldn't hope to get elsewhere. Not now. It would be easy enough for someone like her to be pleasant to others. At the very heart of it all, that is who Quinn is.

Always looking for the best in others.

But that was before she was introduced to the Flock. That was before she saw Gideon battered, and nearly die. Prior to seeing the cross upon his back opened up once more as a fresh wound.

Her brow stitches together, creating a crease that is present more now than ever. Quinn crosses her arms, and leans her head back against the wall, eyes closed. A slow breath is exhaled, and she comes to terms with an inevitable future.

"...What will it take to make him trust me?" The broken, bitter question leaves her, and it feels alien. Trust. Quinn knows the answer, but she doesn't want to believe it. She wants to be wrong. She wants Gideon to tell her something different than what is already in her head.
January 22, 2018 07:32 pm

Gideon Abernathy

His black gaze finds her, and he considers the woman before him. She’s resolute, her stubbornness rivaling his own. Even so, he can’t imagine that she’s ready for what John will inevitably put her through. There will be tests that nothing will prepare her for, and he has to tear his eyes away from her to keep from blanching noticeably. Gideon himself had never been put through such rigorous obstacles to gain his father’s trust; the man just trusted in his own gut that his son was his prodigy.

The fact that John was wrong about that will only prove to make Quinn’s time that much harder.

But there’s no sense in casting doubt; she’s set in this plan. As much as he wants to protest, Quinn being able to focus on something that could put them ahead - as futile as Gideon thinks it is - would surely give her the hope she needs to get her through.

Shaking his head, he leans back into the couch and rubs vigorously at his face. There’s nothing he can say that will make this easier on her. Not to mention the nagging voice in the back of his head that screams of their demise, should they choose this path. But Gideon has been plagued by thoughts and feelings of the inevitable creeping up on them, and he’s not foolish enough to believe that he can stop it.

Come what may.

“Do whatever he says.” His voice is defeated, void of all real emotion, and he can’t bring himself to look at her.
February 06, 2018 07:10 pm
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