(So much <3 for the player behind Addie for writing this with me.)[size=18]Good Enough[/size]Now I can't let go of this dream.
I can't breathe but I feel...
I feel good enough for you.
~ Amy Lee
Closed, it was something that the sign out front rarely read but Kruger hadn?t expected any customers to be coming today. Those who did would have to live with the disappointment. The door was unlocked though, allowing access to the one person he was expecting. Inside it was still warm, though the fires had been banked and the forge screened off. Light filtered from the open door leading upstairs to the apartment over the shop. It was surprisingly tidy, considering the tornado that had run its course through the center of it not long ago. There were a number of changes, most of the furniture had been replaced, a new couch in blue that was perhaps a shade or two lighter than Addie?s eyes rested where the old one had been. The cushions were overstuffed, and the crush velvet looked like it had never been sat on. It hadn?t knowing him.
The walls were a separate issue, they still held the scars of the night Addie had last been there. There was only so much time to hire in contractors to fix that sort of thing, and most of his had been spent burning bridges with people he?d once counted as friends. She?d find him, doing his best to make the table serviceable once more. He?d needed to remove some of the supports on it and replace them, the pieces were long gone and the new ones stood out with their unfinished color pale against the dark stain of the thing.
Woefully sober and quite over encumbered by the bounty she bore upon the shop, Addie?s footsteps were too heavy on the stairs to miss, announcing her arrival to all who may have occupied the upstairs apartment. The rustle of plastic bags masked the annoyed muttering that came to a quick stop once she made it up the steps. There she lingered for a beat, two, and three as she took the moment to survey the changes with a less than inconspicuous frown. The frown quickly went away though when her grasp slipped, a surprised yip issuing from her lips as she tried to recover.
?Eee! Help!? She called to the smith, the thoughts of the apartment?s changes gone at least for the time being. Though it was a holiday, she had dressed down in jeans an a nondescript jacket, leaving the collar of a charcoal grey shirt underneath to peek out where the jacket wasn?t fully zipped. Addie had made the trip across town alone, a troubling thought all things considered, but no issues had popped up and so the barely there bulge at the small of her back had remained untouched. When she was certain the risk had been contained and she wasn?t going to drop anything, then and only then did she make her inevitable commentary. ?Looks different.?
A pair of wingnuts clattered to the table top at her cry for help. He crossed the apartment quickly to relieve her of the burdens she was carrying. The temperature of them was telling enough. ?Did you walk all the way here? I?d have gotten you a cab, or something.? Kruger was out of the doorway giving Addie free space to come fully inside. ?Close the door, I only left it open because you were coming.? It wasn?t much of a kitchen, but he?d never needed too much. The oven was small, the counter space nearly nonexistent, and the cabinets sparse. It was home though, or as home as any place could be considered for him.
?I made a few changes since you were here last.? All hail the king of understating things, but it was easier to downplay things for him. This was supposed to be a happy day, right? He started to peek into the things Addie had brought, looking for anything to pilfer before finishing putting the last leg on the table. He may have been looking for just the right sweets to ruin his dinner. A mildly guilty look toward the girl had him pouting his way back to the table and the last two nuts. ?Sorry if the place is? in flux right now. I?ve been doing a lot of stuff I guess.? He gave the table a shake, to make sure it was sturdy before finding his way back to Addie and crushing her into a hug. ?But tell me how you?re doing.?
?I like walking. It was fine. If I were still training with Hope she would?ve chained a cannon ball to my ankles and made me walk like that.? It was meant to be funny but the tone lacked the right bite for it to be. With her hands free, she bumped the door shut in her wake and followed after him to help with everything in the bags. November had her hands clammy so she tucked them into her sleeves for a few moments as he less than innocently perused her wares. There were sweets, no doubt, after all it was Addie who had made it all. But they were tucked safely away from grabby hands for the time being.
?Oh, well that?s good, because if you hadn?t been the one to make the changes then I was going to be a little concerned.? Sarcasm? From a teenager? Never. She had just peeled away the plastic of one bag when she was gathered into a hug. A surprised little squeak was squeezed free before she had the presence of mind to hug him back. ?Oof, thanks. Needed my back popped. But um, I?m fine, I guess. Been busy with all this and taking things here and there and everywhere. It might be a little overkill? but hey, it?s something right??
?Yeah, you looked a little crooked. I think I gave you a whole inch back.? Forced humor was still funny right? He planted his back against the counter and looked at her seriously. ?I could make a joke about you not needing to have a ball and chain, but I?m really just glad you?re here. You missed Niko by about an hour.? Maybe that was the real reason for her walk instead of a ride. The thought lingered for a few minutes before he moved on. ?And not just because you brought the food.? He was jumping between subjects like a three legged grasshopper and just expecting Addie to be able to keep up.
?Anything out of St. Luke?s?? Going from subject jumping to speaking in code, he was going to put Addie through her paces today. It was how he?d been thinking lately though, not able to keep to just one thing for too long. ?I stopped by earlier this week. She said she was doing well.? He might not have been able to hold eye contact for the end of that, but Kruger sucked in a breath and continued.
?Are you sure you?re doing okay?? He shook off the white lie and locked onto Addie with his eyes, prepared to try and read every shudder shimmy or shake that she gave.
?Damn, you couldn?t take an inch away instead, could you?? She bent her knees, shrinking down minutely compared to her nearly statuesque height typically. He let go and she went back to pulling things free from this bag and that, containers and boxes, some warm and some not. Swallowing back her conflicted touch of disappointment, she nodded a single time. ?Sorry to hear it. There?s a few things in that bottom box over there for him if they last until he comes home.?
He got a pointed look for that. It very clearly said he better not eat them. Or else. With how off kilter she had been, she found that she followed his erratic train of thought with ease, switching gears smoothly from one subject to the next. ?No clue, I didn?t stay long enough to find out. I took food up there anyways, figured they all could use it after dealing with her all week. You know how she is.? Addie shrugged, her thumb pressing against the underside of a plastic lid to pop it free. ?I?m okay. I?m not bad, I?m not good, I?m just? here. I guess. Been staying out of trouble?? She had no qualms about putting him on the spot either, her question coming with a sidelong arch of her brow that said she likely knew far more than her question let on.
?When I?m in the right company I stay out of trouble. I don?t get into it when I?m with Niko, or you? well younger you. So, most of the time I guess.? A noncommittal shrug came from him. ?Maybe I went too far the other night?? It was something he?d thought about, losing control, not that he was ever much in control of his emotions. That was his fault of course, the foolish things he?d done when he was younger had made it all but impossible, though if any understood what it took to remain as he had been for so long they might wonder how he?d managed as long as he had.
?Before things get too heavy, meaning that I?m sure they will. I wanted to say something to you in the spirit of the day. I?m glad that you?re here, not just here today but here in this place in this time. Thankful I guess you could say that I get to spend time with you.? He did want her to know that, it went deeper but could she handle deeper right now? Could he? ?Should I wait though for a while before we talk about other less pleasant things? Just to give you an idea, I spent a lot of time at the house in New Haven recently.? Small cues for her to pick up on, he?d talked with her mother and a lot had been said.
?Ah but most of the time seems like nothing when the rare times are enough to invoke all kinds of wagging tongues.? Addie wagged her finger at him for emphasis as she moved things from counter to table, pausing only to reheat whatever had not held its temperature during the crosstown walk. ?It was a bit much though.? She admitted with something between a frown and a sympathetic smile. More than she wanted to admit she understood the need to lash out through the shroud of pain worn in the wake of such a loss. It was a battle waged daily on her part these days it seemed. Silverware in hand, she paused to let him offer thanks in the spirit of just such a day, a smile taking its rightful place across her mouth.
?I didn?t want you to be alone. So thank you for having me over.? She shrugged one shoulder in the nonchalant way teenagers were wont to do when they didn?t want to admit something uncool. With most of the non-dessert selection spread out and ready to go, she gave him a vague gesture of her hand to encourage him to get started though her wrist went limp at the revelation that he had been to her mother?s. Addie?s nose crinkled. ?What?d she tell you??
Kruger remained quiet, in part because he was helping himself to the food. The rest had everything to do with figuring out just what to say, or how it should be said. ?She told me what she could, things about events that happened to you. She didn?t give a lot of details.? Not the blood and gore part of it at least, but he?d managed to imagine the worst. ?She told me what brought you back, what it was that is supposed to take you away in the future. Told me about your absence this summer, and if I?d known that I wouldn?t have offered you quite so many drinks. She told me that was what brought Nick back, though it was Claire that gave me the who had asked.?
There was a burning sensation that rose in his nose, a precursor to falling into another of those unscheduled bits of crying. He took a deep breath and stifled it as much as he could. ?I?m pretty much batting a thousand when it comes to lashing out I guess.? Kruger fixed Addie with a wan smile and gave a small shake of his head. ?She told me that Niko didn?t come back alone, or not exactly alone. That worries me most. Doesn?t it worry you?? Maybe he?d just given her the real reason he?d have called a cab for her. ?I don?t know what I?d do if something happens?? He trailed off, presumably to take a seat and eat a bit. He nodded at the chair adjacent to his for her to sit in.
?Not her place? she hasn?t lived most of it.? Addie muttered under her breath and took a seat at his urging. Slow to fill her plate, she picked and poked here and there, trying to hold off the threat of a growing frown. It turned into a bite at the bottom of her lip, tugging it between her teeth to hold it there for a long moment of silence. When she finally let it go, it was to offer a quiet protestation. ?You know, she wonders why it took me so long to see her, to talk to her, you know? But why should I when she?s going to spread my business around. Ugh.?
Her fork stabbed at a piece of turkey, impaling it all the way through where she left the fork to stand. Letting it go, she set her palms to her thighs, dragging the heels of her hands down and then back up her legs. The subject matter made her itchy, as if all over again her body prepared itself it run. Addie had been running for so long, when did it stop? Reflexively she checked the piece at the small of her back even though she knew it was still there but once that was done, she lifted a look to meet his gaze, a flicker of defiance in the set of her expression. ?I dare them to try. It?s because of them I lost everything... home, my family, Kane, Nick. I dare them because I?ve got nothing left and I am not afraid to burn their entire little plan to the ground. So, no, it doesn?t worry me.? It should have worried him though, that much was certain.