HoM: It Was All A Dream?

February 23, 2018:

Dani and Owen finally talk about what they each saw in that dream world presented by Wanda.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

It's been a few days since the encounter with the mad princess. Days that were thankfully full of official duties, training, paperwork and other filler that has allowed Owen to not have to dwell on his own thoughts. He has done his best to brush it off, to put up a stoic front and get on with life. But Dani has probably noticed the greater inclination towards physical contact. Standing closer to her than necessary in private moments. Holding her when falling asleep in a way that he rarely does. He doesn't mention it, but with how long they've been together that type of variance in routine wouldn't go unnoticed.

This evening is their first night off together since the event though. In Owen's quarters, a small studio apartment life affair in the base, he's preparing dinner. Chopping onions, boiling water, prepping chicken and doing his best to not think about those visions. A bottle of beer is open on the small kitchen counter, that he sips from time to time as he cooks.

There is music playing over the speakers, but nothing fancy setup for the dinner. This is one of their usual routines for a night off, the only thing that's changed is that Owen started drinking without Dani. That's new.


Even with only one eye the little things are noticed by Danielle Moonstar.

She's always been observant and for those that she cares about, she's even more so.

She realizes that Owen has been shaken - possibly to the core. As such, all those little extra touches, those longer than average hand-holds, and general holds have been permitted. Which is saying a lot, since Dani isn't the most tactile based person.

At least, in this reality, she's not.

For herself, she's retreated behind silence in those quiet moments. Trying to tease out the logic of what the Princess showed them. Trying to figure out the puzzle. Though no answer can currently be found.

The sound of the door opening can likely be heard and then the light steps of Moonstar herself, though barefoot - her boots left by the closed door. "Owen -" She automatically calls out, "I picked up some dessert." A small box of pastries is held in one hand, as she steps over to the busily vegetable chopping man.

Briefly her good eye drops upon that bottle of beer sitting open on the countertop.


If he notices her gaze, Owen doesn't react. He simply smiles and calls "Great! Thanks." at the news of dessert. The volume and enthusiasm are there, but he still sounds just a touch distracted. Maybe it's because he's cooking. Maybe.

Tossing some of the ingredients into the wok, he moves easily through the small kitchen. It's not his first time making this dish, and he's been living in these quarters for most of his adult life now.

"It'll be done in a few minutes. Grab a beer, take a seat, I got everything under control."

Yup, everything. He's got this. That's what he's telling himself. Not of course about the meal, but about the doubts and fears that are pulling at him. He normally is a positive person, quickly agreeing and sure of himself, so those affirmations are hardly new. They just have taken on new meaning in the last few days.


Her hand reaches out to lightly touch his shoulder and when that touch ends, Dani says, "A beer sounds good." Then she steps away, intent on getting that beer and getting the desserts set aside.

Within the box sits a couple of small custard pastries, a few fruit pastries, and even a croissant or two. Something about the croissants called to her this evening; bagels too! But those she resisted, too many carbs are never good for the agent lifestyle.

Along the way to the table (or wherever they typically take meals) Dani picks that beer up, the same brand as Owen's, and with a pop of the battle cap the woman takes a drink. It's only after she puts the box down and even the beer, that she finally asks, "I hear a new batch of cadets will be arriving soon. Supposedly the strife caused by the terrorist cells have increased the number of enrollees."

Leave it to Dani to use work as small-talk, but it's what she has at hand, as she waits for Owen to finish preparing the meal.


Taking a drink from his beer, he murmurs some in agreement with Dani when she brings up the new cadets. It is small talk and he normally would cheerfully mock the new cadets or talk about how he planned to make their lives miserable as a welcome present. But tonight he's more subdued and thoughtful.

A few more minutes of cooking and then he's plating the food and bringing it over. He sets it down with a smile and once he has his beer, he sits. He looks at her, and then the food and his fake smile finally falls.

"Alright enough. It's killing me. What did you see? What the hell was that? Why do I feel like I'm coming apart at the seems? And how are you so much better at keeping it together than I am?"

At least with the last one he's able to bring it back around to a joke of sorts. A genuine smile touches his lips as he asks the last question, knowing full well that Dani is far more in control of her emotions and thoughts than he ever is, especially now.


Out of the two of them Dani has always had the most patience. She could always play the long game the longest. Waiting quietly for the other person to crack.

Not that she wants Owen to crack, but she also knows to let him ask in his own way, in his own time. Without pushing or forcing it.

As such, when he sets the food in front of her, Dani can only murmur a quiet 'thank you', before she waits for him to get seated and settled.

Her hand reaches for her knife and fork at about the same time that he finally drops his questions. Those questions bring her brown eye upward to meet his gaze, and it's only now that a frisson of uncertainty scitters across her expression.

For anyone else that slight twitch to her expression would be nothing, but for Dani it's actually a large display of the unease at what happened earlier in the week.

Her hand now drops to the tabletop and while she returns his smile with a twitch of her own, there's still an uneasy quality to be had. "It's easier when your powers are psionic based -" She begins, addressing that last concern of his first, "You see some crazy things in people's minds, so this -" There's a tight roll of her shoulders, "- I can chalk it up to psychic oddities. That makes it easier to compartmentalize it for me."

As to what she saw, that brings a cant of her head, "I - it's going to sound crazy." She continues with, her voice actually holding a note of an emotion very rarely heard from her - doubt, worry. "A bear. There was a bear after me and there was a pegasus - he was a friend."

And while she could leave it at that, she doesn't, she refocuses back upon Owen. "You?"


Of course he's watching her intently. He understands what even the smallest concern that crosses her face means in reality. He's frankly relieved to see it. It makes him feel less alone in having to deal with whatever the hell happened. And more importantly, why he can't just shake it off.

"A bear. … You were being chased by a bear. And there was a flying horse." Owen looks at her just shaking his head and repeating what she said in a bemused state of disbelief. This is what she gets? No wonder. No wonder she's not traumatized. She's not that much stronger than him (well..) she just didn't have a total hellscape of a life painted for her. She had a nightmare. Waaah, a bear is after you but there's also a pretty flying horse.

"Mine wasn't quite like that. It was.." Owen breaks eye contact for a second. How does he even explain? He has been avoiding dwelling on it, just wanting it to pass. "It was like there was another me. But like the worst version of me. I didn't know my family or… have anything. It was crazy."

He wants to stress how crazy it was. How impossible it was. But why the hell did it feel so real?


"A bear." She confirms, though she doesn't remark upon the flying horse. Almost she can sense that being's name. It's upon the tip of her tongue, just past her reach -

It's just one of the puzzles she's been going over in her head.

Those thoughts are left to the wayside, however, when Owen breaks eye contact with her. That sharpens her attention on the man so near and when he haltingly explains, the woman listens intently. When he finishes his explanation, Dani is quiet for a heartbeat, trying to marshal her thoughts as best she can.

Eventually she reaches a hand out to him, offering the comfort of touch if he wishes for it.

"Psychic visions are tough to handle." She says, her words quite gentle for her, "Especially for those not used to them. Often times they take on the form the person most fears. Or they take on a reflection that's opposite of what you are. It's why psychic attacks can be so debilitating - it makes you question, worry, doubt."

And even now that soft edge of her own worry still lingers within the tone of her words, the slant of her mouth.

"Time will make it better."


Owen smiles as Dani takes his hand, but it's joyless. He looks up as she speaks, searching her face. Trying to see if she believes what she's saying or if she's just saying it because it's expected.

"Dani. You've used yer powers on me before. I've been through psych training. Hell I can even see through some illusion casting.." She knows this. "But why does this feel different? Was it just because it was magic? Or whatever the hell she uses."

Maybe? Maybe he just isn't use to magic. Maybe that's why it felt so real?

He quietly picks at his curried chicken and couscous. He's not feeling terribly hungry but it's expected and he doesn't want to be making such a big deal about this in the first place.

"Yer right. I know it'll pass. I think I'm just pissed I got so shook up by it."


Owen can still pick up the small telltales of worry within her expression. Within her one good eye, even as she says the words expected of her.

His mention of her illusion casting, and psychic training they've all had earns a nod from the Cheyenne woman.

And while she should follow it up with something else, some other answer or word of wisdom, the woman falls silent again. Her own food sits in front of her forgotten for the moment.

Is it because Wanda's powers are more magic based than psionic based? Dani has had much the same thought as Owen it seems. Again logic tries to tease apart the conundrum that surrounds them, with the glimpse of that reality they were given.

After the silence (for her part) has stretched on longer than it should have, Dani says, "I don't know." In regards to why this situation feels so different, "But it does, and you aren't the only one who feels that way." She finally admits, her gaze returning to Owen's again and with that admission of hers it allows her to continue to acknowledge more of her uncertainty, "It's like a horrible sense of deja vu that won't go away."


"I know."

He let's her try to explain it. It feels good to have his own thoughts echoed in her voice. It's therapeutic, even if there are no answers, just to hear that she has the same questions.

He smiles tightly now, it's tense but at least it feels more genuine. "It felt like in a dream, where you suddenly remember all of the facts needed for the situation to make sense. Like a whole life you just suddenly remembered you had, except the details weren't like a dream. Nothing was vague. It was all perfectly exact. In sequential order. None of the fuzzy warping and twisting of dream logic. Or even your visions."

The words tumble out quickly, almost before Owen can stop himself. He doesn't want to get into details. He doesn't want to remember those details of his other life. His nightmare life.

"Do you think that's why she's nuts? Do you think that's what her powers do? Kind of like yours but twisting her own mind where she can't see what's real anymore and what's her powers?"

Again, Owen is very clearly stating that this is real. That is fake. How could anyone even begin to comprehend otherwise? Isn't that the very definition of madness?


The two trade off with explaining how those visions felt and once more Dani listens.

Her expression turns pensive even as she nods to his description of remembering those facts. Remembering those memories. It forces her to say, to murmur really, "Like a window into your soul." And while more could be said her words pause, as Owen's own tumble of words rolls out.

It's only when he asks that question about the Princess and her mental stability, that Dani's expression tightens. Automatically her gaze flicks around the room, as if looking for anyone eavesdropping, spying on this conversation and while she knows there isn't, she can't quite stop that paranoid gesture of hers. "Owen." She says, a warning tone in her voice, but instead of cautioning him (like she has so many other times before) the woman just shakes her head silently for a minute.

"Maybe?" She allows, "There are those power sets that take a toll upon the mind." She agrees, "So possibly."

A sigh is stifled as Dani continues to mull over the oddity of what they've seen. "But whatever we saw - whatever that was - I don't think I need to tell you not to discuss with our bosses, yeah?" She asks, obviously meaning SHIELD. "Only the Prince." She says quietly, "No one else. Not even the rest of his retinue of guards."


Owen half rolls his eyes as she warns him and looks around. He regularly sweeps for bugs, even in his secure quarters. They both are psy-trained enough to catch most psychics who might be eavesdropping. They are fine. Probably. Maybe.

"I don't know, she was a mess. I mean it might have been powers… or maybe she was just always a bit touched and they didn't help."

"Yea. I won't be chatting with anyone but you on this. Especially not Lord 'Touch What is Mine', unless of course he asks directly. Then he gets the sanitized version."

Yes, that phrase stuck with Owen and he knows it stuck with Dani too, she just wouldn't make a joke about it. He obviously would. "I am not about to let on to anyone that I have ever seen the princess, let alone that I might have caught a touch of crazy."

It's like when you have a joke that comes out wrong and in the process reveals something you didn't mean to. "I mean. You know what I mean."


"Owen." She says again, this time a touch sharper. Her tone holding more of a typical edge to it when she says his name again.

"She's definitely …" And here Dani struggles for a word and it shows as her expression twists slightly in thought. "Not well. Whether she was always that way or not -." She shrugs, after all the royal family has kept the poor woman locked up quite tight.

It's only as he says that particular phrase, 'touch what is mine', that Dani groans quietly. "Owen." She says again, though she's not quite disagreeing with him. She really isn't. It's more like commiserating alongside, even if it's only done with the use of his name.

And while she might have said his name a third time good sense stops her, "Yeah, I know what you mean." Comes the agreement from Moonstar and while silence falls for a breath, possibly two, the Cheyenne woman finally asks, "Are you feeling better?"


Owen muses that she could probably have an entire conversation with him just saying some variation of his name with different stresses and tones. She's very versatile like that.

"I know. I know. I never talk like this with other people Dani, you know that." And it's true. Owen is on his best behavior amongst the ranks. He still cracks jokes, but never about the royal family. Those are only for behind closed doors with Dani.

"I think so. I just need to keep my mind off it and let it fade into the background. I've got this weird fear that if I think about it too much I'll somehow make it come true?" He laughs at himself a little. "I know, it's dumb. I just want to move past it is all."


It could be done. It really could.

"I know you don't." She says, and she does know it, but sometimes worry eats away at Danielle Moonstar, even though she often presents the most placid of faces to the world. There's always a calmness and distance within her expression and only Owen and a handful of others ever gets a true glimpse beyond that professionalism of hers.

"It's not dumb." She adds, "Logic doesn't often work on fear, especially the kind that brings out the fight or flight instinct buried within all of us. Instead our brains just circle endlessly, ruminating on the problem and trying to drive us mad."

Was that a joke from Dani? Somewhat. It's a very small one, though a kernel of truth can be found within her words as well. "Let's finish dinner and then we can bring the box of pastries to the couch. I hear the latest season of Agents of Shield is out - you mock it and I'll nitpick, then we'll see who falls asleep on who first."

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