HoM: It's the End of the World - I'm Fine

April 04, 2018:

HoM Owen is acting suspicious; Dani investigates and both agents find closure.


NPCs: None.



Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

The knowledge that this reality is false has sent waves through those that now know the truth; whether they wish to or not. It's now what drives the Prince and the Princess and even Danielle Moonstar herself.

The loyalty she feels for Pietro and Wanda runs deep even now, even with the surety that in the 'real world' the allegiance likely isn't there.

Along with faithfulness to the Twins is also commitment to another - Owen Mercer. Partner, general crime-fighting-buddy, and something so much more. And from that and with her knowledge of how he should be here, she realizes he's been avoiding things and avoiding her. It's what brought her to the point she's at today - using SHIELD technology to find out just where Owen is. A violation of their rules and regulations, but drastic times, drastic measures.

So, when Moonstar gets a bead on Owen's location off the one-eyed woman goes. Uncertain of what she'll find when she physically gets to him.

If the initial vision from the mad princess sent Owen for a loop, the latest revelation has been much, much more than just disorienting. The feeling that everything he has known in his life is false is utterly gutting to begin with, but when compounded by the knowledge of his other life, it has been disastrous.

Owen's record of timely execution of all his duties has slipped. His appearance has even started to take on a shabbier edge from it's normal crisp adherence to SHIELD requirements. In perhaps the most ironic twist of all, he's been drinking more. A lot more. To the point where someone even questioned if he was drunk on duty. Sadly for that person, they were not Owen's superior so the answer was a sound ass kicking.

And that brings him to this bar. An out of the way hole that Owen normally wouldn't be caught dead drinking in. His communicator is left in his room, a violation of SHIELD policy. His clothes and appearance are purposefully disheveled. And so Owen sits alone, drinking.

But he's not alone for long. The man he came here to meet sidles up, says a few words and offers a small devices for Owen to enter some information into. In a matter of seconds the transaction is complete and the man leaves. Then Owen can go back to drinking alone in silence, for a few moments at least.

Even without his communicator he's found. SHIELD technology goes beyond what most people understand or realize. It's almost omnipresent in some aspects. Much like a certain mutant detecting machine back in the real reality.

The transaction, suspicious as it may be, is missed by Danielle Moonstar. By seconds as she finally arrives at the shabby bar, a hole in the wall, and steps inside. Her good eye sweeps the room and soon enough it lands upon the familiar figure of Owen -

For a silent moment Dani just stands there, near the door, and looks at him. Taking in his appearance, taking in the booze and taking in the oddity of just where he's been found. While her own outfit is simple, compared to their SHIELD uniforms, it still carries an echo of this particular Dani. Pressed jeans, neat shirt, neat shoes, everything in its place.

She doesn't try to sneak up on him, instead her footfalls are purposely noisy, so that when she slips into a seat near him he's not surprised. "Owen."

Of course she's made the second she walks in the door. Owen is seated classically in a place where it's easy for him to see everyone coming in and out of the place. Only his eyes flick up to meet her as she makes her way towards him.

Taking a big sip of beer before she gets to him, almost as if trying to get it all down before she can stop him. But then Dani's in front of him. His Dani. The one he loves and who knows him better than anyone else in this world … or the other. He exhales and manages a small smile, and for a moment he's himself again, but it only lasts until he speaks.

"Dani. What brings you all the way down here?"

It's obvious why she's here and his asking only calls attention to it.

She'd be disappointed if he hadn't been aware of her since she stepped inside.

There'd be a muttered remark about remedial training, but as it is -

She just sits next to the man. That brief smile of his is met with Dani's own more reserved one, but one that shows the depth of her feelings for this man beside her. Often, in this life, she's wondered what really drew him to her. She so reserved, him so open, but for now that idle thought is pushed aside.

His question brings a rise to her eyebrows and then a slight head shake from her, but for now she plays along. "Oh, you know." She begins in that even keeled voice of hers, "I was in the neighborhood."

And while most would take that joke as a joke, for Dani it's different. It's a crack in her typical facade that allows her concern to show through for the man beside her.

Her attention shifts for a split second to waitress or bartender and with a slight twitch of her hand she orders a drink, then it's back to Owen. "Tell me what you need." She says quietly, seriously.

It's harder now to relate to the people closest to him. Now that there are two versions of life running around his head. Strangers and randoms who mean nothing in either life are more comfortable. Because when it comes to people he cares about, particularly when it comes to Dani it all feels so massively confusing.

"Oh yea. Lovely neighborhood for muggings and drugs deals. You fit right in." Of course she doesn't. She's all precise and neatly pressed and smelling … dammit. Smelling exactly like her, intoxicatingly like her. He doesn't know what she smells like in that other world. Why would he?

"What I need?" The question takes him off guard at first. He was more expecting a demand for an explanation. But of course she doesn't need one. Of course she knows the why. "What I need… is for you to tell me this is real. That whatever hell else is going on.. those visions. Fuckin' Nate Grey. And her… tell me she's crazy."

He wouldn't believe her. He doesn't believe himself when he says it. No matter how loud or how often he repeats it to himself. But still he asks.

Demands. Dani is typically good at demanding explanations. In both worlds, but in the other there's also empathy for another's plight, whereas here perhaps not so much. Or at least, that empathy is hidden behind layers of seriousness.

Either way, whatever has brought this empathy outward, it's offered to Owen. Along with silence. Silence as she considers how best to answer him, what to say and even to some extent, how she feels with the answers that pop into her head.

Her eye drops for a singular moment as the Cheyenne woman takes a breath. When that brown eye of hers rises upward Dani's expression shifts.

Always so guarded. That's how she typically is, but in this moment, for Owen, the aspects of herself that are so closed-off are gone. The walls are carefully pushed aside and what Dani feels rings both in her voice and her features. "I can't." She says finally, a core of anguish found, "I can't say she's crazy, but -" And here she reaches out to Owen, to perhaps touch his arm, or his hand, should he allow, "Whether this world is true, or not, that doesn't deny what we feel, or have found. Or what lives we've created."

And are about to destroy.

And while her words aren't much in the name of succor, it's all she has to offer the man.

Owen watches her carefully as he asks her to help him, to lie to him and of course she can't. But he smiles at her, as he sees her struggling to come up with an answer. He isn't surprised by the answer, but he is a little bit taken aback by the tone of her voice. He knows she's rattled but he's the one who shows it, rarely if ever her.

"But what does it matter? I'm happy Dani. At least I fuckin' was. And there.." He stops short and places his hand over hers on his arm and smiles, sadly. He just looks into her eyes.. eye, and shakes his head. He has avoided talking about the other world, especially with Danielle. And while he won't get into details still, he offers the headlines.

"My life there's a shit show. And.. there's no us. How are you okay with that?" The last comes out as a bit more of an accusation than he means it to. But once it's out he doesn't try to recant or soften it.

She watches and listens. Hears that pause for what it is, but before she can ask him to continue he puts her hand atop hers. When he shakes his head, after meeting her one eye, Danielle's gaze drops to his arm and their hands now. It's only as he speaks again that her attention shifts back to his face.%rThat accusation of his is spoken out loud and while some might wince, or even flinch, Dani is stoic. There's only the slightest tightening around her mouth to show that barb hit its intended target.

"I'm not okay with it." She says, "But Pandora's Box is opened. We can't go back, we can only go forward, and in the end we signed up with SHIELD to do the right thing. This is the right thing to do."

Calmly, because it takes much to bring out the angry wraith that is Moonstar in this world, she says, "What would you have us do otherwise, Owen?"

"You seem pretty fuckin' okay with it to be honest."

It's one of their recurring issues that Dani is more stoic. Normally it's something that Owen might make light of, but not now. Now things are falling apart and as such, some of the humor is out the window.

"Shit.. sorry. But I'm a little jealous that you can handle this. Fine! Everything better than me."

Not bad as recoveries go. He just laughs and then slowly it fades when he considers her follow up. She will not like any of the ideas on his list of things to do otherwise.

"Otherwise? I don't know. I've thought about.. a lot of crazy shit. But, fuck it. I don't care about the rest of this. Dani… I'm going to lose you. And I hate it."

His words of 'okay with it to be honest' brings a flash to Dani's one eye, her nostrils to flare with her sharply indrawn breath. The emotion seen is a combination of anger, frustration, and hurt too. It's enough to bring an almost knee-jerk reaction from the typically logic-based woman. "What do you want me to do? Throw things? Hit things? Scream the unfairness of it all?" Her words are low, but there's an edge to those words, "What would that solve? Nothing!" She continues in that low murmur of hers, "It'd accomplish nothing."

And then when he offers that save, that olive branch if you will, Dani accepts it. Accepts it and returns it, as she adds in a tone that bespeaks of sorrow, regret and exhaustion. "That's not who this me is."

And that's the crux of it. For both Dani and Owen, and those who know what this place is and who they really are. And when he speaks those last words of his Moonstar's gaze drops again. She's seen her other self and knows that what she and Owen have here is by no means the same thing there. Or so her memories portray to her.

"Our time is limited." She states, "That's no different than before, only now we know the when of it." And while she could go on and say something more, offer further platitudes, the woman pauses. She considers and then she speaks again.

"My life there isn't so terrible." She admits, her eye focused upon his, "I have two eyes, I have friends, family. I have a good life, but we're going to lose each other. I know it doesn't seem like it, doesn't seem like any of this is phasing me, but knowing what we have to do tears me in two. Knowing that I'll lose you. Our home. Our life. Our love."

"I can only hope, Spirits willing, that in that next life of ours that we can perhaps find one another again, whether it be friend, or lover, or both and that we connect again."

"So I ask this of you, Owen Mercer, please don't do any of the crazy shit you're contemplating. I know you, I know it tempts you, but this problem we're faced with is unsolvable."

"Yes. For once, it would be nice if you got pissed off. Broke something. Because maybe then I'd feel like less of a child for wanting to do that. I know it'd accomplish nothing, but maybe it'd make me feel a little better?"

At least now his tone has shifted back into the more teasing light-hearted one. It's the more comfortable rhythm that they've established where he can make jokes about her stoicism.

"I'm glad." He responds quickly when she opens up about her other life. And he is. The last thing he wants is for them both to be miserable, and he would gladly trade his own happiness for hers. Because this Owen is a stand up guy, and it eats at him, tears at him that the other him isn't.

"Dani.. don't." His face falls as she asks him not to. She knows him well enough that he's going to try something, and he's already said as much. "Why not try? What we have is worth saving. Right? I know you think so too."

Worth saving at what cost though? That's the real question.

It's not surprising that he wishes her to show more emotion to this all. She can understand this. Completely. It allows her to nod at what he initially says, "You're not a child." She says swiftly, "We each handle our pain differently, and showing it doesn't mean you're a child."

Even if she herself struggles with showing all of what she feels.

His confirmation that he's glad her life isn't so bad brings a shadow across her features. That he offers those well-wishes - it's heartbreaking.

When his expression falls, Dani can't help but squeeze his arm, where it lays. As much comfort as she can offer him. "Of course what we have is worth saving." She states lowly, fiercely, "But what would you do? Pietro and Wanda have set Fate in motion. We have an obligation to set the world back to rights - how would you stop that? What would we sacrifice in doing that?"

Owen gives her a look that borders on a glare as she reassures him that he's not being childish. Only because she almost always comes off as sounding like the adult in their relationship, or at the very least the more responsible of the two.

When she asks what he would do. How would he do it. He looks up at her with a pained expression in his eyes. But she knows him, and he doesn't lie to her. Not here. Not this Owen.

"I would kill them. I would murder every last fuckin' telepath if it meant not losing you. I would blow up the damn palace if it meant staying here."

And then more quietly, "But it wouldn't matter. I'd still lose you. Because you would do what's right. Even if I don't know that I can… I don't think I'm that man anymore Dani."

He would kill them.

That's enough to cause Moonstar to close her eye, to allow herself to feel a complex reel of emotions, until she opened that eye of hers. "Owen." She says quietly, hoarsely.

She could berate him to watch what he says, that eyes, ears and spies are always around in this world, but does it really matter? Does that paranoia really need to exist at this point. No. Not in Dani's mind, so she says nothing to those frightfully aggressive words against the ruling class.

Instead she focuses upon those last words of his. "You are still him." Comes her rejoinder, "Even with such a wound to heart and soul, I know you are still that man."

"The man that I love." She professes.

What does it even matter? That's how you get to this point. Does it matter if you kill the royal family of a dream world? Does your duty continue when nothing is real? It didn't take long for that thought process to take him there.

"Maybe." He allows that he isn't all that different. And especially when she looks at him like that. When she tells him that she loves him. That she believes in him. He can almost believe in it to.

"So then. Let's try this again." Here Owen gets his serious Dani face on and says in a voice much too high and girly, yet still meant to mimic her, "Owen?! What are you doing in this shitty bar?"

And then, back as himself, he lays it out. "Dani. You were right. We only have so much time left. So let's go. I just bought the tech we need to dissappear off the grid. Fuck SHIELD. Fuck responsibility. We have the means to drop off the grid and enjoy whatever time left that we have. So let's do that. Just you and me. Until this whole stupid world blows up… or whatever."

Taking her hand in his, he stops any hint of joking or humor and gets dead serious to say, "Dani. We never cared about dumb ideas like marriage, but I want to spend the rest of this life with you. What do you say?"

His maybe earns a look from Moonstar, a familiar thing for him likely.

But at his mockery of their voices and personalities, Dani can't quite stop the smallest of smiles from quirking a corner of her mouth upward. It's enough that she murmurs with TRUE affection, "You're such an ass." And while his explanation of just what he's really doing at this bar brings an eyebrow raise from the Cheyenne woman it pales compared to his last words.

That brings a sober expression to her face, a stillness to her body, as she stares at the man across from her. Normally, decisions, especially weighted ones, would cause Dani to go through a methodical decision making process. There would be lists and pros and cons, and rumination, but for this particular night, this moment, Moonstar allows herself a moment of recklessness. "Yes."

His hand that holds her own is pulled up and close enough for her to lay a kiss upon it. "Let's go."

And damn the consequences. She knows that her sense of responsibility will reassert itself soon enough, but for today, for this moment, the woman throws caution to the wind.

There were other plans. Crazy ones. Murderous ones. Insane ones. But none of them gave him any more time with her. Even if he were able to pull off any one of his astoundingly terrible plans, it wouldn't have mattered. But even though this one didn't include regicide or genocide in some ways it was the most difficult. How do you convince Commander Dani Moonstar to walk away from her life?

When she says yes, he exhales, realizing he hadn't been breathing properly.

The chaste peck on his hand brings a smile to his face, but then he draws her in for a proper kiss. Yes, she hates public shows of affection, but who cares? The world is about to end. And soon they will have all the documents and tech they need to go find their happy ending.

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