Author Topic: Family Ties  (Read 490 times)


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Family Ties
« on: November 27, 2016, 08:32:44 PM »
(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...
Good enough,
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.

Addie MacKenzie

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Re: Family Ties
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2016, 08:35:31 PM »
?No, it?s probably not her place. Were you going to tell me though? I?ll be a little frank though, I don?t know whose place it is to do what when you know that your time is limited. Or at least one of them, the one involving you.? He wasn?t eating either, turning pieces over, mixing things up but the fork had yet to rise to his mouth. Instead he reached out for her elbow, trying to get her hand onto the table again so he could cover it with his own.

?You have more to lose, there?s the boy you?re seeing, your friends in the band. Do I need to make a list? Maybe none of that counts now. I?m not willing to lose you though. You?re a part of this odd stupid little family that I?ve put together. The one that keeps getting smaller because I open my mouth and say stuff. It might be stupid, but it breaks my heart to see you hurting.Too much, we?ve lost too much. I am not going to sit back and let you be lost too.? He was rambling, trying to say or do anything that would get through to her. He?d tried that before with others, now they weren?t speaking to him. Still, they?d asked him to watch over her, he?d admitted in some convoluted way that he would, that she was more than just a friend of the family to him. When and how that happened mattered little. It was there even if he wasn?t good at telling people in the right way.

?You?ll never have nothing as long as I?m still here. You don?t need to do things to impress me, for me to be proud of what you do. You?re one of my kids, whether you want that or not. Sometimes I wonder why you would, but you keep coming back so maybe you?re trying to figure it out too?? That was probably the best he could do without sounding like he was being insulting to anyone. She did keep coming back, even if it was just to spend a little quiet time with him. He could see it was more than she was giving to others, that had to mean something.

?No.? She mumbled sheepishly. It was the truth, she would have hidden the low points of her summer from everyone if she could have. It was only by the grace of a good press agent that she was able to keep the whole world from knowing. Sidelong Addie watched him, knowing the tactic well in how he avoided eating. It was the same thing she had been doing. Something about it almost pulled a smile to her lips but it fell only a moment later. He caught her hand and stilled her fidgeting but beneath the pressure of his hand, her fingers twitched.

?I have them but much like everything in this? place, none of it lasts. Kane proved that.? She quieted, her eyes widening further the more he spoke until they were two blue moons that glittered with an impending storm. Her lips parted as though she were of a mind to speak but the words didn?t come. Her mouth shut, her jaw muscle rippling with a tightening of her teeth. It was all she could do to keep her lip from quivering. Family isn?t blood, family isn?t blood, family isn?t blood. The words echoed in her ears until they were din of noise that threatened to drown out the smith. ?I? do you mean that? All that??

?I mean it, even if I don?t know how to say it right. There?s few people that I can say it about, and my list seems to be getting smaller. That might be a good thing in the end. If people can?t take me like this, then why should I keep putting myself out there.? He shook his head at her, face screwing up sympathetically. ?The only thing that Kane proves is sometimes we?re not as strong as we want everyone to believe. That and? things I probably shouldn?t say.? He was doing his best to keep the more insulting of his thoughts from becoming verbalized.

?You almost seem surprised though, maybe I?m just not good at showing things either. Too busy playing th,e look at me because it?s simpler to make you not believe there?s anything more if I?m being shallow and obnoxious, game I guess.? He took up the fork with his left hand, and found the first bite of food, unwilling for now to let hers free from his grasp. ?Some people, most really see what?s presented and choose to let it be. A few will look deeper. Those are the important ones.? Kruger kept his eyes on her as he said the last, perhaps an indication that she was one of the few, one of the important ones to him.

The weight of his gaze paired with that of his words proved too much and soon her wide eyed stare of surprise was redirected to the plate in front of her. Her shoulders shook, an almost imperceptible tremble at first that grew until the quiet sob racked her frame as if she had been physically shaken. Aware that it made it quite awkward when she didn't speak, she still couldn't quite find the words to express her thoughts for at least a handful of minutes during which she tried to stymie the flow of tears down her cheeks. Finally, finally she turned toward him slightly, teeth to lip easing when she spoke.

"I, um... I know that it's not quite the same... and that I'll never be Nick, not the older one at least... I can't ever take his place but... but he was like a brother to me. I looked up to you growing up and I still do even if it's different now. My own," she sniffed hard to hold back another sob, "dad wants nothing to do with me. You're more than he could ever be. I just... if I could, if you'd have me, I'd gladly be yours before his. You?re important enough.?

There were things that were hard for him to see. Addie tears were near the top of that list. Kruger?s fork hit the plate loudly as he stood up and stepped over to the suddenly emotional girl. He pulled her head to his chest and smoothed her hair. ?Shhh? baby girl, I?ve never needed you to replace Nick. I?ve just needed you to be Addie.? He swallowed against the things she was saying, doing his best to keep from joining her in the waterworks. He?d said as much to someone else regarding Addie?s father, but that too hadn?t gone quite as he thought it might have.

?I never said it before, maybe I should have. Knowing that I wasn?t your dad though, it made it hard to offer. It might not have been what you wanted, or needed I guess. I?ve just kind of let it happen as it would. I?d never seek to replace him, even though I hated seeing how it hurt you. You?re important enough? more than important enough to me.? He?d tried to hold them off, but some things are futile to resist. ?Maybe, you don?t realize it? but you?ve been mine for a while. There was never a need to ask.? That he?d never liked the way she had been abandoned was never voiced from him, he had simply made himself more available for whatever she?d needed. That had come before Nick had returned, but somehow he felt that had it been expressed earlier she?d have run away from the idea.

?You were just? so? mad and I thought you were going to hate me and? and?? Whatever she had meant to say was lost to another wave overwhelming her. Addie cried against his chest for what surely felt like an eternity to the girl though somehow above it all, Kruger?s quiet reassurances reached her ears to slowly but surely soothe her sobbing. Eventually it died down to a trembling of her frame interspersed with intermittent sniffles. ?Nothing is sure in this place, it?s better not to assume. I?ve just been? lost.?

?I?m still mad baby, but I?m mostly mad at myself for not letting myself see. For ignoring what I felt, for? too much. I?m mad that I didn?t get the kick in the ass to make me move, that  I didn?t realize you were flailing, that I let someone else deal with it and that it cost so much in the end. It should have been me, Addie. It?.? He did his best to not think of repercussions of trading places with Nick, her Nick.

?Lost is what Allen means baby? I?ve been lost for longer than you?ve been alive. It only looks like I?m found. There?s just so much that can never be healed, I think I need you in my life? both of you. I need a girl that can wrap me round her little finger. Strange as that sounds, I get it. Pinky swear I get it.? Wasn?t that the gist of it? The little finger that so many children swore by? Maybe not, but it felt right. ?There wasn?t another from me, was there? Just the boys.? He?d resigned himself to that. Maybe that made Addie even more important to him now.

?You can?t save the world, Kruger?? She shrugged gently. It was a resignation to her own situation as it was as much for his. It was also all she could do to not think about everything, Nick, Kruger, all of it. Her fingers curled against her palms, her nails pressing until it hurt. In some strange way it cleared her head, recentered her. After a moment she looked up at him, puzzled.

?Actually? it means little rock or? depending on the diminutive, harmony or handsome.? For a moment there Adelaide channeled a girl in a far off time and a not so far off place, chewing at her lip as she rolled through the information given. ?But that?s English or Gaelic? so? whatev. Um? that poses a, um, kind of funny point though. You and your boys. Your Lost Boys. There are no Lost Girls, you know? in Peter Pan. Girls are too clever to fall out of their prams and end up in Neverland?? Suddenly she caught herself, a flush of red flooding her cheeks. ?Sorry. That?s dumb. Um. Anyways.?

?People see what they need to.? Kruger didn?t normally try to define his name for others. Few would want to know. It was simpler to let them make their own interpretations. ?Maybe someday I?ll tell you the story.? He managed to laugh though, with the reference to Peter Pan. ?Maybe you?re the first lost girl, but not so much anymore. Not lost alone at least. We can be lost together.? There was affection in his face as she looked up at him. It was difficult not to have that for her.

?I don?t need to save the world, just my world and any other world can simply move aside.? He wiped her face with his thumb, trying to remove the smeared mascara that had run with her crying. ?It?s not a big world, but it?s more important to me than anything else.? He might have been making things worse in his attempts. That wouldn?t stop him from trying, even pulling free the hem of his shirt and staining it. ?You?re part of that, even if you didn?t come to me the same way Nick did. Maybe it means more since you?re here because I chose for you to be?? He wished he could be those other things, harmony or little rock, even handsome but nothing had changed for him in that regard. When she seemed ready, he gave her one last squeeze before sitting back down. ?So, tell me what you need? I?ll do whatever?s in my power.?

?The first Lost Girl because I wasn?t clever enough to not end up in Neverland?? She asked him, the tease in her tone evident and refreshing compared to the morose weight of her words prior. Scrunching her face as he tried to help the stain of black around her eyes, she succeeded only in making it more difficult and ultimately a raccoon-esque ring had smeared itself around her reddened eyes. Carefully, in a way that girls who wore makeup knew how, she swiped the pads of her middle fingers beneath her eyes, pressing just enough to catch the smudge with a pair of passes.

?The world, no matter how small or narrow, still isn?t always salvageable.? Addie persisted. He was sitting before she knew it, leaving her to consider his question in the void of his lacking presence. What did she need? She wasn?t even sure she knew. It ultimately led to a shallow shrug. ?I think right now I just need some of the pie that I?ve been stuck smelling all day while I made deliveries. Everything else can wait.?