←  Industrial District

Mistborn: The Inquisition


The Reunion

Nessa's Photo Nessa 19 Aug 2017

Nessa left her talk with Nate feeling a little better, if more confused than ever. While at first she'd been struck by the sheer awe of a female crewleader, and a Thug at that, the talk had also reminded Nessa that Datura was, in fact, a crewleader - not some sort of personal idol for Nessa to follow around. She had her own feelings and goals and motivations which had nothing to do with Nessa. Nessa herself was an exception to the rule, brought in because of her Allomancy and placed among the members of the inner circle, but still excluded from the important parts because of how new she was.

Well, being on the outside of things wasn't exactly something Nessa was used to. She'd never really stayed long enough with one crew to be anywhere else, and most of them would never trust a child or a woman anyway. She'd always just floated from crew to crew, wearing out her welcome or usefulness and then moving on to the next.

But that would be changing now, wouldn't it? The Rebellion certainly wouldn't let an Allomancer just walk out, after all, and would she even want to? She had food, and a real bed... and him.

Do you love him?

What is love like?

Nessa mulled over these questions as she munched on her midday baywrap - the afternoon's Smoker had brought some - and let the backs of her heels thump softly against the sides of the crate she was sitting on.

What was happening between them? They had known each other for all of a week, maybe a couple days more, and hadn't seen each other in almost half of that, but she still couldn't stop thinking about him. And not just to worry, though reminding herself of the danger he had been in - might still be in - churned her stomach, and she actually had to put the baywrap down for a moment.

No, it wasn't just that. It was the way he smiled at her. The look in his eyes when he brushed her hair away from her face, or traced her cheek with his finger. The gentle strength when he held her, and the soft warmth when they'd kissed. The firm resolve in his voice when he promised to keep her safe, and even the hint of affection that crept in when he called her Sweets. She didn't think she'd ever miss that, but she did. For all she cared now, he could call her that for the rest of their lives and never use her real name again, so long as it meant that he was alive.

But, most importantly, it was the way he saw her. Not an Allomancer or a stray to be used and discarded, or a piece of meat to be enjoyed, or even as a child, the way her other new friends often seemed to see her. To him, she was just Nessa, just Sweets, just some girl he'd been ordered to train - and who he'd befriended instead. He'd teased her and let her tease him in return, comforted her when she was upset, and reassured her when she was frightened. He saw her, and he listened to her, and she had never felt safer than when she was near him.

She sighed, flopping back onto the crate and splaying her arms out, letting them hang off the edges. One of her hands still clung tightly to the baywrap, of course. Her head hung down the far side of the crate, her dark hair streaming down and almost brushing the floor. Blood rushed to her head as she looked around at the now-upside-down warehouse, but that was sort of fitting, wasn't it? Her whole world was upside-down now, and Perrin did sort of make her feel all woozy when she thought about that kiss too much - if there was such a thing.

Still, she couldn't help but think that if there was anyone she could figure out this whole love thing with, it was him. Maybe. If he wanted it too, anyway.

That thought was even more dizzying than draping herself backwards over the crate, so she pulled herself up and hopped down off of it. The warehouse spun for a moment as her blood rushed back where it was supposed to be, and she staggered a couple steps before remembering to flare her pewter slightly and catch herself.

As she blinked around at the warehouse, though, watching it come back into focus, when it hit her. What if her life wasn't upside down right now? What if it had been this whole time? That she'd been stifled, just like how it had been getting hard to breathe when she was leaning back over the crate, and everything had suddenly turned rightside up? She was staggering, struggling to catch her balance, but maybe, just maybe, things would begin to clear up. Maybe she would begin to be okay.

For her to really be okay, though, she needed to figure out a way to see Perrin. And Maks, who was also probably worried, unless someone had told him something. She was relatively unguarded right now, with only that one Smoker to babysit her, but sneaking out of a warehouse in the middle of the day would be highly suspicious, as would one lone skaa woman wandering the industrial district. She would need to wait until nightfall.

In the meantime, she should probably train like she was supposed to be doing. Not only would that be less suspicious, but even if she didn't get an opening to sneak away tonight, good behavior might convince Datura - or Nate, who probably ran the show more than anyone realized - to let her have some time off. And if it didn't, she could use the things she'd learned to get herself some free time the hard way.

Besides, she found herself realizing that she wanted to train. She was tired of being weak and not knowing anything and bloody running away all the time. She needed to get stronger. Braver. Better at taking care of herself. It was time to woman up and grow up.

And so Nessa shoved down the rest of her baywrap, forced herself to choke down as much of the pewter dust as she could, and got to work. She started slowly at first, working her way carefully through every movement Datura had shown her and only speeding up when she was able to stop thinking about it so much. It was surprising how much effort working slowly took; even with pewter, it wasn't long before sweat beaded on her face and dripped between her shoulders.

Things got really interesting after her midafternoon snack - apparently the crew now knew they could get her to do anything if they fed her enough, but food was food, and being a Thug was hungry work - when she really felt like she'd gotten her feet underneath her. Then she could speed up, chaining together the different techniques in new ways and taking up the entire space she'd been given as she jumped, slid, and dashed her way in and out of new sequences. She lost herself in the rhythm of it, stopping only to replenish her pewter. She'd never been able to practice undisturbed like this before, and it was intoxicating. She could finally focus on what she was practicing - the complexities of each movement, the subtle effect pewter had on every muscle and technique and reflex, the way her weight shifted when she threw a punch or how much it mattered that she kept her wrist straight.

Hours later, she finally let herself sink to the floor, downing the last of the water between heavy, exhausted breaths. Every fiber of every muscle screamed at her, but she felt alive. It was even different from the way she'd felt out in the mists that night. A sort of alive-ness that was only for her, because she'd captured it at some point during her training. What would it be like, she wondered, to fly through the mists with Perrin right now, invigorated as she was?


She looked up and out of the Warehouse's high windows, and sure enough, it was getting very dark very quickly. A few tendrils of mist began to curl and press against the glass, and Nessa knew it was time. The crew was probably working late tonight on some project or another, which would delay mess for a little longer, and she needed to be gone by then.

She couldn't leave through the front door, of course; one of her babysitters would still be there, probably bored to tears. But there had to be another way out, and Nessa would find it - and find it she did, after what felt like an eternity bumping into boxes in the rapidly darkening warehouse. She didn't dare take the lantern with her; its retreating light might warn her Smoker that she was running off. Better to leave it there as a decoy, propped safely on top of a crate in the middle of the room with nothing else remotely nearby, clearly visible to anyone who entered that space. She didn't want to burn down the warehouse, after all.

It was a small side door, probably used as another way to get workers in and out quickly. It squeaked when she pushed on it, and she cringed. Would that have alerted the Smoker? Would they have heard it from over here, or known what it was? She'd better move quickly, just in case.

If there was one good thing about going hungry constantly, it was that even with her height, Nessa had rarely found a nook or a crack she couldn't squeeze through. She barely needed to push the door open any further to slip through it, then quickly shoved it closed, wincing again at the noise. And then, just like that, she ran off into the darkening night, grinning widely as the mists curled around her streaming hair. She couldn't burn pewter out here by herself, so running was difficult to say the least, but she didn't care. She was free! And she was going to find Perrin!

Now, which way is the shop?

Perrin's Photo Perrin 29 Aug 2017

I don’t care what Maks thinks, I’m going to find her. Perrin scowled at the silhouette of the warehouse that he had met the bitch Datura at. He had come back her each night since meeting with Mouse, watching the movements of those that left the building, trailing them to all sorts of different places so that he could discover more of their buildings. Confident that he’d pinpointed at least one, Perrin decided that now he’d try infiltration, much to Maks’ chagrin. The dressmaker hadn’t been happy with the fact that he was doing surveillance, so actual breaking and entering was beyond inappropriate.

With a flourish of his mistcloak, Perrin turned away from the warehouse and made his way towards the least likely place they were keeping Nessa. Just about all of the places he had scoped out were in the Industrial District, which made things easy for him, though easy for Perrin was not nearly the same as it would be for anyone else. He leapt from rooftop to rooftop, cloak flapping in the wind behind him. With his tin flared, he thought he saw another mistcloak-clad figure off in the distance, but he couldn’t be sure if that was just the dancing mists playing with his eyes.

Perrin reached his destination with ease; this warehouse looked even more rundown on the outside than the one he had just left, if such a thing were possible. He arrived just in time to see a lanky, young skaa dart away from the building with a purpose. Perhaps a messenger? Perrin glanced at the warehouse, then back towards where the skaa had run, debating internally about whether or not he should catch them and steal whatever note it was they were carrying. It might have potential information about Nessa on it, and even if it didn’t, it could reveal to him more information about Datura. Maybe even give him an in at another of her cell’s locations. He nodded once, then stepped off the rooftop. Perrin dropped a boxing below him and slowed his fall with a steelpush, then after orienting himself to where the skaa had gone, took off at a pewter enhanced sprint.

He wasn’t going quite as fast as he could, but he didn’t want to mow down the unaware skaa when he caught up to them; they were on the same side, after all. And really, it didn’t take long to catch up to them, running at their sluggish pace compared to how fast Perrin was moving. He blew past them, then skidded to a halt, blocking the skaa’s path. His hood was up, and he turned around with his arms folded, doing his best to look intimidating. “What’s your rush, friend?” He asked loudly, his voice echoing in the close quarters of the buildings.

Edited by Perrin, 29 August 2017 - 03:36 AM.

Nessa's Photo Nessa 29 Aug 2017

Footsteps. Coming from behind her, and fast. Faster, perhaps, than most people - if anybody - could run without pewter. A sudden wave of fear tied itself into a knot in Nessa's stomach. Had they found her out already? Was Datura hot on her heels, ready to haul her back by the collar?

Instead, whoever it was ran past her, before she'd even had a chance to flee or turn and fight. Something soft brushed her arm - a bit of cloak maybe? - and then, as suddenly as they'd appeared, her mysterious companion was looming in front of her, blocking the way forward. He - and it was definitely a he - turned a hooded head towards her as she skidded to a stop.

Her blood ran cold. He was wearing a mistcloak.

There would be no running from this. No fighting her way out. All she could do was hope that this Mistborn didn't want anything from her, that he'd let her go -

“What’s your rush, friend?”

She knew that voice. She would know it anywhere, at any time, no matter what. Just hearing it made her heart speed up.

Apparently she didn't want this particular Mistborn to leave her alone after all.

Her face split in a wide grin, but as much as she wanted to, she didn't run forward to greet him. Either he was messing with her by pretending not to recognize her out here in the dark, in which case she needed to play along, or he really didn't recognize her yet, in which case charging straight at him would be the stupidest thing imaginable.

So instead she relaxed her posture, smiled all the more, and called back to him.

"I'm surprised you have to ask, but if you really want to know, I guess I can let you in on the secret. I'm on my way to visit someone."

Perrin's Photo Perrin 21 Sep 2017

Perrin found himself taking a step towards the figure, when she responded. That almost sounded like Nessa, but Mouse wouldn't be so foolish as to let her wander around by herself. Right? And surely she would have recognized him? His voice was rather perfect and hard to forget, if he did say so himself. (And he did.) That meant it must not have been her. Still... he stoked his tin some, trying to get a better look at her, but the mists were thick tonight, and obscured his vision just enough. He'd need to get closer, preferably without spooking her.

"I'm surprised you have to ask, but if you really want to know, I guess I can let you in on the secret. I'm on my way to visit someone."

"Ah, so you've been sent on a little errand then. With a note, perhaps? Datura would probably prefer that I handle delivering sensitive information."

Nessa's Photo Nessa 21 Sep 2017

The reply came, and Nessa found herself growing more than a little concerned. Did he still not recognize her, or was he playing along? Surely he hadn't forgotten the sound of her voice after a few days? Her heart was beating faster now, and she was trying not to panic. He was here, and he was safe, and that was what mattered. She could rest easy now.

Or could she, with the thought in her head that he might not have missed her as much as she missed him?

He was edging closer, slowly, as if to get a better look, so she decided to do the same. She wanted to leap forward to him even now, but she restrained herself with the reminder that if he still didn't recognize her, lunging at him in the dark was still a terrible idea.

"Actually," she said, "I wasn't sent. This is a personal errand that, to be honest, Datura would probably rather I wasn't on."

His silhouette began to solidify in the mists, and she hoped it wouldn't be long now before he saw who she was, even with her hope, relief, confusion, and hesitation playing out in a confused tangle in her expression. What would he do when he finally did recognize her?

"Good thing she has no idea I'm out here, or that I've finally found you." Despite her worries, and her mounting frustration at how long this was taking, a joyous smile crept across her face, until it outshone everything else.

"And the sooner you realize who I am," she finally said, "the sooner I can come greet you properly instead of skulking around or leaping out at you in the dark like some sort of assassin."

Perrin's Photo Perrin 05 Oct 2017

Lord Ruler…

“Nessa!” He said her name in a breath of relief, pushing himself towards her with a gentle steelpush. “How did you get out here? Did they let you go? I thought you were being held prisoner.”

Perrin wrapped her up in his arms, his cheek pressed onto the top of her head. This almost seemed too perfect, there is no way she would have been allowed to walk around in the city by herself, not after everything Datura had said before.

Datura… she had lookouts all throughout this area, no doubt. “Come on, we need to get off the street.” He pulled away from her, though he kept hold of one of her hands. “In here.” He broke open a door to a building in the alley and stepped inside, glancing around to ensure they were alone.

Nessa's Photo Nessa 06 Oct 2017

The mists parted, and he was there, calling out and wrapping his arms around her and holding her close and she never wanted to let him go again. She squeezed him tightly as she listened to his stream of questions, and just as suddenly, he was pulling her along, breaking into some random building to make a hiding place. She was perfectly glad to follow him inside - not only would not following him have required her to let go of his hand, which she simply wouldn't do, but he was right: they needed to get inside, and under cover. And only once they were safely tucked inside did she begin to answer.

"I'm not so much a normal prisoner as I am a, uh, chaperoned crewmember, I guess?" she began, unsure of how to quickly summarize her situation. "I was supposed to be training, and I have been, until dark, but they only left me with one guard, and the warehouse has a back door, so of course as soon as it got dark, I slipped out. It's the first chance I've had; I'm watched all the time."

Nathan's Photo Nathan 07 Oct 2017

Sometimes Nate hated being right. He'd told Datura explicitly that taunting Perrin that night had been a bad idea and that there was no way they were going to feasibly be able to keep a Mistborn away from Nessa if he was determined to find her. Lo and behold, he was right.

Still, he'd expected they'd last longer than two days.

At least, he assumed it was Perrin who'd come swooping out of the dark to speak with Nessa after she'd started to sneak away. Seemed odd for any other Allomancer to have done that, and with the way the two immediately tried to duck into a building, he was all but certain.

He'd been following at a distance, having decided to swing by Nessa's training warehouse after having a feeling she might try to sneak away. His instincts had been good, but that wasn't too surprising. He'd always been good with people and Nessa was a remarkably open, easy to read. He liked that about her.

As the two disappeared into the door, he quickened his pace, trying to step softly as Perrin would surely have tin burning. He considered trying to throw a blanket Soothing in that direction to keep emotions from running too high, but Perrin probably had both copper and bronze, which made that idea more ill-advised than helpful.

Mistborn made everything complicated.

He put his ear to the door and was barely able to make out the end of what Nessa had been saying. He took a deep breath to settle his nerves and then prayed he wasn't going to get sprayed with coins as soon as he opened the door.

He tried to be casual about it, not wanting to move suddenly and startle them, but he had a feeling they were going to be startled anyway. He put on his "disapproving and disappointed" expression, the one that Dat usually got when she was doing things he explicitly told her not to. Seemed like it'd be useful here.

"You were. Being watched, that is." He finally got a good look at the Mistborn. Yep, definitely Perrin. "You two realize this is a very bad idea, yes?"

Perrin's Photo Perrin 07 Oct 2017

Perrin snapped his eyes up, finding the source of the voice standing in the doorway. Adrenaline flooded his system and he flared pewter. He hadn’t heard the man before now, cursing how distracted he’d been upon finding Nessa; he shouldn’t have allowed himself to be caught with his guard down. One of his daggers found it’s way into his hand as he leapt across the room. Perrin grabbed the man by the neck and slammed him into the wall.

“You realize sneaking up on a Mistborn is a very bad idea, yes?” He snarled at the man and shifted so that his forearm held the man against the wall and allowed him to press the dagger in his other hand to the man’s neck. “Any last words? Mouse should have known I wouldn’t be afraid of her little underlings.”

Nessa's Photo Nessa 08 Oct 2017

Before Nessa could continue her explanation, or Perrin could respond to what she'd managed so far, she heard Nate's voice confirming that she was indeed watched. So he'd followed her, then, and now he was going to tell Datura, and Nessa was going to be moved again at best, or punished somehow at worst.

Her first instinct was to hold on to Perrin; no one would be able to take her away if he had a hold on her, and then Nate would have to hear them out, and maybe he could be convinced to see reason, or maybe at least to intercede with Datura and keep the punishment from being too harsh. But instead, before Nessa could so much as flinch, Perrin was across the room in an instant, pinning Nate to the wall with one arm and holding a knife to his throat.

"Wait!" she shouted, flinging herself after Perrin in a blind panic. "Stop, please!" She skidded to a halt next to the two of them, noticing now that she was closer that Nate didn't look scared, just resigned. It cut her deep, perhaps deeper than she'd expected, to see Nate of all people, who'd been so kind to her, looking like that with a knife at his throat. She turned to Perrin, reaching up to rest a gentle hand on his arm - the arm pinning Nate to the wall, of course; she wasn't stupid or crazy enough to interfere with his knife hand - and looked up at him, trying her best to be soothing and reassuring.

"Nate has been good to me," she said. "Of everyone in the whole crew, he's been the nicest, and he's the one who actually talks to me, and helps me. I'm a little annoyed at being followed," she added with a bit of a petulant look back at Nate before turning back to Perrin, "but I'm not surprised since I did run away after all, but he's the best person who could have found us. We could have been followed by a bunch of guards, or by Datura herself," she realized with a shudder.

"Instead, we got the person who's been the kindest to me. And the fact that he's here alone means he probably hasn't told anyone, and he also probably wants to talk. And I really don't want him to get hurt, so can we talk instead? Please? You can just take me away anyway if we don't like how it goes," she added temptingly, "and no one could stop you, so why don't we hear him out first?"

Nathan's Photo Nathan 08 Oct 2017

Nate stayed perfectly still as Perrin held him pinned and then as Nessa interceded for him. The thing about not being much of a fighter meant that he really didn't have much reason to get worked up in a situation like this. There wasn't anything he was going to be able to do to get out of it other than talk, so better to stay calm and collected. That was his best chance of surviving.

Also, after Datura had treated Perrin the other night, he really couldn't say he was surprised by the reaction.

"I don't want this to come to violence," he said evenly, resisting the urge to inwardly reach for his brass. "I highly doubt there's anything I could do to either of you with your pewter if you wanted to kill me. I just want to talk."

He locked eyes with Perrin, trying to ignore the knife at his throat. "Nessa doesn't know the full situation, but I know you do, Perrin, and you know what Ignas might do if he learns that you found her. Now, I like the idea of that as little as you do. I just want to make sure no one gets hurt."

Perrin's Photo Perrin 08 Oct 2017

At Nessa’s touch on his arm, Perrin stopped flaring pewter, allowing the storm within him to settle to a gentle purr. He kept the dagger at the man’s throat -- Nate, was it? He was one of Mouse’s underlings, that made him a threat as far as Perrin was concerned. The woman had threatened to hurt Nessa if he made any attempts to find her, and he’d done just that every night since he’d met Mouse. Retaliation was certain once this Nate reported back to his boss. They could talk all they wanted to tonight, but as far as Perrin was concerned, the only option was for Nessa to come away with him so that Mouse couldn’t follow through on her threat. And really, this all came back to Ignas. Someone that Perrin was finding harder and harder to put his support behind as the days passed.

His eyes hadn’t left Nate’s as the pleas for Perrin to stay his hand had been made, but when Nate fell silent again, he glanced at Nessa. There was a moment where he seriously contemplated just cutting the man’s artery, but Nessa had asked for mercy, and he didn’t want her to resent him for something like this. So he withdrew the dagger and removed his arm from Nate’s chest.

“She can’t go back with you.” He looked from Nate to Nessa, “You can’t go back. Mouse threatened to kill you if I found you. Ignas’ orders, of course.” Perrin turned his gaze back to Nate, “Isn’t that right? He thinks threatening the person I… someone I care about is a good way to motivate me? He’s a damn fool, and he’s done nothing but make me question my allegiances.”

Perrin sheathed his dagger. “You wanted to talk.” He gestured towards the man, “Talk.”

Nessa's Photo Nessa 08 Oct 2017

She didn't know the whole situation, Nate had said. Perrin did, but she didn't. Had she just told Perrin that Nate told her things, only for him to turn around and admit that he'd been hiding something? After their heart to heart earlier, no less? And who was Mouse? Perrin had called Nate her underling; did that mean it was Datura? Had Datura threatened to kill her? And did Nate know about it?

Then Perrin faltered when calling her a person he cared for, and her heart skipped a beat. The fact that he'd said that aloud was incredible enough, but what had he been about to say there? It made her dizzy just thinking about it, so maybe she'd better think about that part later.

Perrin finally released Nate and put his knife away, and Nessa stepped closer to him - both to reassure herself that he was really there, and to keep Perrin reassured by remaining well within his reach.

"This whole time," she said quietly to Nate, the hurt and betrayal still sinking in. "You knew, and you didn't tell me? You know how it's made me feel, being kept in the dark, and you were doing it too? What else do I need to be let in on?"
Edited by KChan, 08 October 2017 - 05:41 AM.

Nathan's Photo Nathan 08 Oct 2017

Nate had the decency to look ashamed of it at least. He decided to answer Nessa first, since that was the admission that hurt more. The look on her face almost made him wish Perrin had gutted him. That would have been easier.

"Yes, I knew Perrin was searching for you. I'd been ordered not to tell you. I was afraid you'd do something to get yourself hurt if you knew. You two were to be kept apart, Ignas' orders. Perrin came to visit the hideout the first night with a friend and from what I've heard Datura was her... usual charming self."

He eyed Perrin. "I assume she's 'Mouse'? That's an interesting choice of nickname if it is."

This was such a tangled mess, and a part of him knew he probably wasn't supposed to be telling them any of this, but he was sick of the lies and something told him if these two didn't get it into their heads that there would be major consequences if they were caught, they were going to regret it. Dat liked to spin tales and falsehoods to get people to do what she wanted, but Nate had always preferred simple honesty.

He winced as he addressed Nessa again. "I'm sure that's why she was asking you about Perrin that day, to see how you'd react. I'm sure it's why she taunted Perrin when he came to ask after you. She's playing games because she thinks it's amusing to play keep away."

Nate rubbed his forehead, feeling a headache coming on. "Suffice it to say I'm having a lot less fun with it."

He squared his shoulders, needing to convince them to listen. Perrin already didn't like him—thank you, again, for that, Dat—but Perrin was the one who really needed to be won over. Nessa was mostly untrained in her powers and through pewter gave her options, Perrin was the one who could make them disappear into the night if he wanted. Or wreak havoc on Dat's operation if he was feeling vengeful.

"Nessa can't go with you," he said, not harshly, but with a firm, calm authority, meeting Perrin's eyes. "Not only would Ignas try to punish the two of you for it, but he'd punish Dat, and I don't want either of those two things to happen. I can't let either of those things happen. Datura can be... difficult to work with, I know, but she's not as bad as she seems.

"She's not going to hurt Nessa, she's not the kind of person who would, though I'm sure she tried her hardest to convince you otherwise, Perrin. She likes the drama and putting on the big act, especially for newcomers, but I guarantee she wouldn't follow through on that threat. It was a bluff meant to keep you from searching.

"Besides, even if she ever wanted to do something like that, she'd have to go through me first, and I wouldn't allow it."

Perrin's Photo Perrin 08 Oct 2017

Perrin listened while quietly seething. The bitch thought it was fun to keep them apart? This wasn’t a game! It was their lives, potentially their future, that she was playing with. He shook at what most of Nate said.

“You assume I care if Ignas punishes Mouse at this point? No, Nessa can’t go back.” He turned and took Nessa’s hands in his own, “I can protect us both. To hell with Ignas and his manipulative ways, I don’t know if I even want to go back at this point. I can’t trust him!”

He looked back at Nate, “And even if I believed you that Nessa wouldn’t be hurt, we’d still be kept apart. No contact, both left wondering if the other was alive or dead; no, your plan isn’t acceptable.”

Perrin clenched and unclenched his jaw, still shaking his head. He’d just gotten Nessa back and now he was being told they’d have to be apart again? This wasn’t what he had signed up for! The Rebellion was supposed to help make a better way of life for skaa, but Ignas… Ignas just wanted the nobility to burn, he didn’t care about the skaa at all. And it had taken Perrin finding an amazing person to make him see it. He wasn’t allowed to be happy, he was a tool, and rather than make accommodations to ensure everyone was safe and happy, Ignas had resorted to threats. Any trust Perrin had had in him was all but gone. And the belief he’d placed in the purpose of the Rebellion was fading fast as well.

His gaze shifted to Nessa once again, “You agree with me, don’t you? We can’t stay.”

Nessa's Photo Nessa 08 Oct 2017

Nessa felt numb as Nate finally told her everything. How Perrin had come looking for her that first night, him and someone else, with her sound asleep and unable to answer if they called out. How Datura had been purposely toying with both of them, even more than Nessa had originally expected, for no other reason than that it was fun. And Nate had kept it all back. It cast their conversation earlier in a different light; he'd seen and heard her tears and her worries and her anxiety, letting nothing show. Sure, he'd attempted to comfort her, and she tried to console herself that he probably felt torn between his orders and what he felt was right, but it couldn't stop the hurt completely. Still, the assertion that Datura would have to go through him to get to her struck deep, and she was left staring at him openmouthed at the very suggestion.

And then Perrin took her hands, and she held onto his tightly as she stared up at him. Her heart leapt as he asked her to go away with him, and for at least one beautiful moment, it was just that easy. She would jump up into his arms, and he would fly them somewhere far away, and they would be together, and free, and happy.

And then, with a harsh jolt, her heart crashed back to the ground as other images jumped unbidden to the forefront of her mind.

Nate's kind expression as he struggled, caught between obeying his orders and doing what he could to help her.

Maks, a warm beacon of patience and stability for everyone in the shop no matter how their antics disturbed the peace.

Lan, quiet for the most part, but always opening his kitchen to her, no matter the hour.

Trev, reaching out to her with gentleness no matter how she tried to push everyone away.

Elle, just as frightened and lost as Nessa herself, doing the best she could with what she had.

Delphine's gentle voice, soothing Nessa to sleep as the medicine took hold.

Even the other members of Datura's crew, for all she still mixed up their names, offering her seconds or even thirds at mess, rather than hoarding the seemingly unlimited feast for themselves.

Ignas's wicked, heartless grin as he drove stakes through their hearts and let flames engulf what was left, as soon as he found out they'd gone rogue.

Her own hands, soaked and stained with blood, except this time it wasn't that Terrisman's, but her friends', their deaths as much her doing as his, even if she hadn't held the hammer in her hands.

She shuddered, then flung herself forward, burying her face in Perrin's shoulder as she tried to block it all out, but just like with her nightmares, when she closed her eyes, the flames just burned brighter.

"We can't stay," she managed weakly, still talking into his shoulder. "At least, not like this. Not kept apart, not staying in the dark. We're not doing that anymore, even if I have to fight my way out through the whole crew every day to see you. But what happens to our friends when we go? When Ignas finds out we've gone rogue? Can we really leave them to die? I want to go with you, more than anything, and never come back, but-- but not when Ignas will kill them all as soon as our backs are turned. We need to protect them too, before we do anything else."

Nathan's Photo Nathan 10 Oct 2017

Nate had to keep himself from breathing a sigh of relief at the words. At least they weren't about to disappear into the night immediately. Still, the situation was anything but solved. He was starting to come up with an inkling of an idea, but he knew how much trouble he'd be in if Dat or Ignas ever found out. Keeping secrets from Datura felt like a bad idea, but in this case, it was more that what she didn't know couldn't hurt her. Right?


"We might be able to... work out an arrangement," Nate said slowly, eyeing Perrin. "Ignas and Datura don't have to know... but perhaps you two don't have to be apart completely. If the choice is between that and you disappearing, I know which is the safer bet."

Perrin's Photo Perrin 10 Oct 2017

Perrin blinked in surprise when Nessa flung herself at him, burying her face in his shoulder. He wrapped his arms gently around her, being careful not to squeeze too hard, though he wasn’t likely to hurt her even if he did. And then she spoke, and he found himself dumbfounded. She couldn’t possibly be serious, she wanted to stay?? Granted she had said she would go away with him, but that’s not what she wanted to do in this situation. And he understood why, but he still found himself angry; not at Nessa, but at Ignas. Everything came back to him. He would hurt people if they stayed, and he would hurt people if they left. Perrin was backed into a corner, and he did not like that feeling.

He balled his hands into fists as he held Nessa, his eyes glaring daggers at Nate as he chimed in again. None of the arrangements either Nessa or Nate could come up with tonight would be good enough in Perrin’s mind. Everything short of Perrin and Nessa leaving for one of the Outer Dominances and not looking back was unacceptable. At one time he would have found this an outrageous line of thought, but that was before he’d realized just what Nessa meant to him and what they could have. The Rebellion was something he had planned to give his life for, the idea that his life could have an impact and ease the burden of his people even a little was what motivated him every day. But then Sweets had shown up and everything he thought he had known was turned upside down. His world revolved around her now. And the sudden upheaval of his beliefs and world were still hard for him to grasp and fit in with what he had been working towards for years.

But she was most important. Her happiness, her safety.

If she wanted to stay, then despite his better judgement, he would stay as well. “I don’t like this. We should go and never look back, but… if you can’t leave, then I will stay.” He looked to Nate, gaze still angry, “I’ll go along with whatever arrangement you two think is best. But I have a condition.” Perrin finally relaxed his hands, pulling back from the hug he’d wrapped Nessa up into. He placed his hands on her arms, looking from Nessa to Nate, “If things start to go south with me and Ignas, and you sense he might actually act on his threats, you have to swear you’ll get her out, that you’ll hide her.” He looked down to Nessa, “And you have to swear that you’ll go along with it.”

He shook his head, expression hard, “Because if something happens to you, I can’t promise that the Rebellion as we currently know it will be intact when I’m done with Ignas.”
Edited by Perrin, 10 October 2017 - 03:38 AM.

Nessa's Photo Nessa 10 Oct 2017

Perrin's arms closed around her, and just like that, the flames went out. She held onto him all the tighter, feeling safer than she had since their night on the rooftops, even as she felt him tense up with anger and frustration. She couldn't blame him for that, of course; the only reason she didn't feel the exact same way was pure abject terror.

Perrin still didn't trust Nate, though of course, he had no reason to yet. But Nate was smart, and for all Nessa was still hurt by his betrayal, she did believe that he cared, and that if anyone could come up with a plan to sneak around behind Datura's back, it was him. She squeezed him all the tighter, relief washing over her, as he agreed to stay - on the condition that she be hidden away from Ignas, which was honestly perfectly reasonable and she had no complaints against. She was just glad they could still be together, and safe, and hopefully keep their friends safe too. One thing he said, though, seemed particularly relevant to everything that was happening right now.

“Because if something happens to you, I can’t promise that the Rebellion as we currently know it will be intact when I’m done with Ignas.”

"To be honest," she suggested, feeling a strange sort of thrill that he would go to such lengths for her sake - an odd mix of awe and affection and just a little fear, not of him of course but rather for the sake of anyone stupid enough to cross him - "that might not be such a bad idea. Ignas doesn't care about anyone or anything; he just likes using people as toys and lighting things on fire. I haven't even told you what he--" she shuddered again and shook her head; she couldn't go into that here and now. They would need to be somewhere safe, somewhere private, before she'd be telling him about that night.

"Anyway, I promise. And in the meantime, I'll keep learning to fight too, properly. But I have a condition for staying too," she added, resting a hand over one of Perrin's as she turned her gaze towards Nate.

"We will actually get to see each other. Regularly. Not once a week, not when it's convenient, but regularly. We'll be allowed to know how the other one is doing when we're apart. Because let's be honest here: having the whole crew keep an eye on me might have kept me in so far, but nobody can really stop Perrin if we realize it's not working out and he decides to snatch me out of a window or something. I like you, Nate, and you've been very kind to me, kinder than almost anybody, and I'm more grateful for that than I can say, and I don't want you to be hurt, but I'm not playing Ignas's games either. It'd be one thing if he were still hiding from the Inquisitor and I needed to leave off to keep us both safe, but when even you can't give us any other reason to stay apart than 'Ignas thinks it's fun,' that's not good enough for any of us. We have something special, and I finally just something - some, someone - worth living for, and I'll be damned if I give it up now."

And then it hit her. The weight and significance and truth of what she had said out loud, but also what she had said without truly saying. And, she realized with a groan, she'd said it to Nate instead of to Perrin directly! Great job, Nessa. You really are wonderful at this.

But, well, she could make that up to him, couldn't she? He deserved to hear it from her properly, no matter how terrifying it was to say. No matter how awkward it was that Nate was right there, watching them. He had been every bit as strung along as she had been, and even now he was laying it all on the line. For her. It was only fair for her to do the same. And so she reached up, resting a trembling hand on his cheek.

"I may still be figuring out what love is, but I've realized enough to know that I love you. And I'm not letting anyone, especially not bloody Ignas, put a stop to it."

Perrin's Photo Perrin 12 Oct 2017

Perrin raised an eyebrow, wishing that Nessa would have continued telling him what Ignas had done or said. He didn’t press the matter, but he felt himself growing angry again as he imagined things that could have transpired. As she laid out conditions for their ability to visit each other in the future, he nodded along, agreeing with what she said. Though, Perrin had no clue how Nate would be able to actually arrange things so that they could have what Nessa was requesting.

"I may still be figuring out what love is, but I've realized enough to know that I love you. And I'm not letting anyone, especially not bloody Ignas, put a stop to it."

Did she just use the word love? Out loud? Lord Ruler… Perrin found himself suddenly smiling, probably in a rather goofy fashion, but at the moment, he didn’t care. They had had a whirlwind of a week, with emotions running high, did she actually mean it? Maybe things were moving too fast? She was still so young, had he taken advantage of that? Certainly he cared about her too, why now was he questioning everything when she’d vocalized just how strong her feelings were? Had he taken too long to answer?

Perrin covered Nessa’s hand on his cheek with his own, still smiling like a fool. “I know.” He said softly. Wait… did that actually come out of his mouth?! Oh gods, really Perrin? It was too late now, the words had already left his mouth. A pathetic response, to be sure, but he wasn’t quite sure that he was ready to say the word ‘love’ out loud, even if it was likely that that was what he was feeling. This was still to new, he needed to know for sure before he said it to her as well.

After a few quiet moments of simply looking into Nessa’s eyes, Perrin shifted his gaze to Nate. “Can you arrange what she’s requested?”