Participants:

Anders_icon.gif Cenn_icon.gif

Scene Title Comfortable Delusions
Synopsis Cenn comes to ask a favor, things get out of hand.
Location Clinic
Date 13 Justinian 9:31 Dragon
Watch For Can't we all just get along?
Logger Cenn

Night comes early to Darktown, but Anders' patient roster never quite seems to stop with the sun. There's been some foolish brawl between two of the smaller rival mercenary gangs and his evening has been spent cleaning up that mess and patching up both sides. So it's a good three hours after sunset that he finally shuffles out and douses the lantern, leaning for a moment against the doorway and debating whether or not he has the energy to shuffle up to the Land of Horrid Quilts.

This… Was probaby the last place Cenn should be. On top of it being Darktown, his being a Templar, and the fact that he really ought not be planning anything he is right now, Anders very likely didn't want to see him at all. Once again, he's eschewed his armor, in simple linen clothes on this trip to the Clinic. Though he's not stupid enough to go unarmed. Approaching the door as Anders extinguishes the lantern, Cenn pauses, suddenly awkward.

There's a peculiar buzz of energy to Cenn that makes the hair on the back of Anders' neck stand on end before he's even turned around. Heaving a heavy sigh, he pushes himself off of the doorframe he'd been leaning on and turns, though his gaze darts first to Cenn's neck before lifting to his face. "Lieutenant," he greets evenly, a bitterness to his expression that does not at all suit his young face. "To what do I owe the honor?"

Around his neck is, as always, the tell tale leather cord that means that under his shirt is tucked a certain necklace. Cenn sighs a little at that look, though he can't much blame Anders for it. "I know I am likely the last person you want to see right now…" Cenn says, "But I… Well, no… One of the mages needs your help."

Damn it, Cenn, those are the magic words. Anders looks like he still might say no - for no good reason except that even looking at Cenn makes him think about things that make his insides turn to acid - and he holds onto that ground for a whole minute before his eyes drop to that leather cord again and his shoulders slump, deflating on a sigh. "Alright, come on in." He gestures to the door and steps back so that the Templar can precede him. This is not the kind of talk one should be having out of doors.

It is obvious as Cenn walks in that he's not here without a healthy measure of guilt. He sighs even, as he comes to stand inside and wait for Anders to close the door behind them. It's late, he's tired, Anders is probably tired. But this needs to be done. "Do you remember Katerina?"

"The elven girl?" Anders' voice is unsure for a moment, closing the door behind him and then turning to lean back against it. "I think so… maybe?" His brow furrows and then smooths out. "Right. Yes. Wicked gift for Stonefist, that one." He rubs his bicep with the opposite hand as though he'd felt the impact of that gift a time or two. With how much of a stubborn little shit he'd been at times, it's not entirely out of the question. "What about her?"

"That's the one." Cenn says with a small laugh and an instinctive flinch that says that back in Kinloch he may have earned a smack or two from the elf as well. You know, back in a Circle where she could get away with being that sassy. When they had been friends. There's a sadness he pushes away quickly. "She needs to leave the Circle for something that is… Very important. But that Meredith would likely not understand. I need… An excuse for her request of leave, so I can fill out the paperwork to escort her. Meredith has me…" He sighs, "Fuck me… Has me trying to figure out what's going on with the Wardens here, and if I bring in a request from a Warden, I can play it off like I'm making nice or something."

"Take me to dinner first." Old habits die hard. Even though it's muttered, the expression on Anders' face says it certainly isn't intentional. It is, however, a stop-gap to give himself some time to think. Because that's… a lot of information to be dumped in his lap. "First of all, what the fuck does the Knight Commander want with the Wardens?" No, he can't help the waspish sting to his tone. He's the first one to say he's not much of a Warden, but that's his best friend in charge of the ragtag brigade assembling now. He's not about to feed anyone anything that could bite her in the ass - and the stubborn, defensive set to his posture is a pretty big giveaway to that effect.

Cenn can't help but laugh, though it's reserved from his own awkwardness. Taking a deep breath, Cenn shakes his head. "It's not as awful as it sounds, I swear." He says, "She used to have open communication with the Warden Commander. Roarke, is it? That's stopped. Suddenly. She doesn't know why, and she's worried that because of the influx of Wardens, something bad is happening. She's not coming for you lot or anything. She just doesn't want to be caught unaware."

"That's…" Anders' entire expression puckers like he's just sucked on a lemon. "… disturbingly reasonable. Are you sure it was her and not, I don't know, that other blonde Captain?" Because the idea of 'mages must be caged and chained' Meredith being reasonable about anything feels too much like anathema.

"Maker, Anders," Cenn says, shaking his head, "I…" He just sighs, he can't argue about this right now. He just can't. He won't. But every time Anders has opened his mouth lately, it's been like sandpaper over his heart and he can't handle it. "Yes, it was Meredith. She and Isolde look precisely nothing alike, save being blonde." What was it with all the Templars being blonde, anyway?

Anders catches something of that pained expression and there is a moment where he looks guilty - where he remembers that this is his friend - before a childish renewal of bitter anger surges forward and leaves him scowling at himself and at Cenn and at the whole damn world. "Fine. It was Meredith. She's warm and fuzzy and secretly loves kittens and only ever wants to help." The sarcasm is sharp and, frankly, beneath him, but there's an ache in his heart and a twisting nausea in his stomach that drive him forward anyway. "And what does Katerina need that you'd agree is important but your commander wouldn't?"

"She is absolutely none of those things. Though I don't know her take on kittens." Cenn says, trading bitterness for bitterness, "But the world is not so simple that she is nothing but an easy villain, Anders. And you can hate her all you like, but you don't get to have it be that black and white. She wouldn't be a fucking Knight Commander if-" He sighs, cutting himself short, taking a deep breath. "This was a stupid idea. Nevermind." He pushes away from where he had been leaning and turns for the door. "I'll just go speak with Adeline. I'm sure she can… Come up with something. Or I can."

Anders is still leaning back against that door, arms folded over his chest and glaring up at Cenn like a cornered, vicious animal. "You can't let me hold onto anything, can you?" Not his illusions about Karl, not his illusions about Meredith, none of the simple, stupid things that let him get through the fucking day. "There's a Deep Roads entrance north of the city that's been caved in. Tell Meredith our mages need help getting it open again. She can come help me and then do whatever it is she needs to." There is nothing at all about his raised hackles tone or posture that could possibly be interpreted to be 'friendly', but he's doing what Cenn asked and… doesn't look like he's ready to budge from that door quite yet.

Ah, that makes Hope twist, bad. Enough that it makes Cenn wince. "Lies aren't where you should seek hope, Anders." Cenn says simply, sadly. "Comfortable delusions are dangerous things, and I figured you would know that." He nods, then. "Very well. I will use that." He says, "Thank you." The newfound curtness is almost sharp. But between Hope's twisting and Cenn's own heartsick, and just… He can't take this. And between Anders being cross with him, Katerina being cross with him, and his own lack of feeling as though he fits whatsoever in the Order he has sworn his life to, there's just… This hole. This deep, dark, black hole full of so much deep seated disappointment in himself.

And it's not that there's anything inherently wrong with what Cenn says - because there's not - but there's just so, so much broken and twisted in Anders yet, no matter how much he tries to ignore it in his day to day. "Sometimes that's all you've fucking got," he snaps back, hands dropping to his sides and lip curled in an ugly snarl. "There were days where knowing I had been loved - that I had been worth that much to someone who didn't want to throw me away or keep me at a safe fucking distance - was the only thing that kept me alive, Cenn." His voice is ragged and harsh, but there is a brightness to his eyes that speaks of hurt, a tightness to them as he outright refuses to let anyone make him cry ever again. "And what good does it do me to know that the woman who says I am nothing more than a dangerous animal likes to feed stray cats? Does the one make up for the other? Should I hand myself over to waste away in captivity just because the bitch who would put me there has a few redeeming quirks? Why should I care? What does knowing do but make the inevitable hurt worse?" His hands curl into fists and his jaw clenches and he tries so desperately to control himself before the anger gives way to the threatening wash of pain beneath. "And you know what? Fuck you. Who are you to talk to me about delusions? Rylan is the best of us - he thought you hung the moon. You left him to come to this shithole and you cling to that necklace like that's somehow going to make it better? Like if you just hold tight enough you won't have chosen your duty over the love of a good man? Get off your fucking high horse."

Cenn bristles, despite Hope's whimpering in the back of his mind. Anders is completely missing his point, and he's just so very, truly done that the anger is much easier to hold on to. It seems they've both had a similar idea. If you were angry, it was easier not to hurt. "No, for fuck's sake, Anders, I don't think you should do anything of the sort. But your hatr-" Cenn stops in mid-sentence. Because the heated words from Anders had gotten a well and true rise from the Templar at this point, and he had been willing to start talking over him. Rylan's name, however, hit him like a slap across the face, and Cenn actively takes a step backward.

His silence hangs in the air for a long moment, as Cenn just stares at Anders with a look like he's just grown a second head. "Have you completely lost your mind?" Cenn finally says, breathless, a stinging at the corners of his eyes that he can't make cease no matter how much they make him angry. "You think I would ever…" He breaks, laughing in a hollow, hysteric manner. "You don't know the first fucking thing, Anders. Not the first Maker forsaken thing. Use his name against me again, and see how well that goes for you." He's growling now, and it takes a lot to make Cenn near the verge of violence, but he's approaching that edge quickly.

Anders is, normally, a very perceptive individual - certainly more perceptive than this - but he is also, normally not struggling between anger and hurt and the mental breakdown he's been teetering on the edge of for almost three weeks now. Cenn's initial silence is almost - almost - enough to break through to his better sense, but the words that follow it blind him entirely. "Lost my mind? You asked for this assignment, you told me so yourself!" And frankly, Anders can't imagine a good enough reason for him to do that without Rylan. Even then, it's almost desperate, like he's begging Cenn to put the pieces together for him in a better way - one that doesn't spell heartbreak for someone who had been kind to him… for someone who had tried to be his friend. But that threat… Maker that threat. Hearing it from Cenn is somehow simultaneously vindicating and devastating, jerking the rug out from under his last hope that not all Templars are the same. "What will you do, Cenn?" he spits. "Drag me back for the Rite? Save yourself the trouble and execute me right now?" And the little boy who grew up in the Kinloch Circle knows it's a bad idea to bait the people with the power to hurt you, but Anders is so hurt and so disappointed and so damned angry that he wouldn't recognize sense if it hit him. Which it is very likely at this point to do. "Rylan must be so proud."

All of that fiery anger cools just as quickly as it came. It doesn't leave however, just turns to ice. The glare that he shoots Anders is not expression he wears very often at all. All of the helpful retriever that Cenn normally is has packed up and moved out. He's so angry that he's shaking. "You think I left him?" He says, tone even, cool, angry. Despite this, he makes no move toward Anders at all. "You think I would? Anders, your hatred has made you even more blind than I thought." He winces, examining that question. "You know what, Anders? If it helps you to think I'm some kind of monster, fine. Think what you want. But the farthest my mind had gone was punching you in the nose." That name, again. Cenn swallows hard, trying desperately to muster more anger than pain. The effort is obvious. As is his failure. "I am sure there are a number of things he isn't proud of me for, Anders." He says, some of the anger dying as his words jump lips. "So many things. But I didn't leave him. I would never have left him. I…" Maker only knew where Anders would go with that information. Requesting Rylan's transfer to Kirkwall, maybe? Who knew. But Cenn can't muster more words, and the anger is dying faster and faster in the wake of his overwhelming sadness and guilt and just, sharp, harsh misery.

"Then why - " The tragic thing, the truly tragic thing, is that Anders almost breaks. There's this moment - just the one - where he sees the sadness overwhelming someone he actually likes when he remembers to think about it. He sees it and one hand even lifts, reaching out like he wants to help; like even in this state there's a part of him that wants to heal, to make it better. It sputters valiantly but is guttered by his churning, confused emotions. That hand clenches into a fist and drops back down to his side. "I'll be ready to take Katerina out at the end of the week," he grinds out, but that's all he can say before his voice fails him and he pushes off the door only to wrench it open and flee out into the night. Yeah, so he's not exactly thinking straight, but being young and scared and stupid tends to have that effect.

There's not much Cenn can do but answer that directly, though he desperately doesn't want to say the words. It's been a year, and he still doesn't say them easily. Ever, really, unless he has to. He can't bare it, staring at that loss so directly. But the finality of Anders's parting words has Cenn looking like he's going to leave. He might just have walked out. Then, however, Anders takes off into the night, and Cenn curses. Crafty though he was, Cenn did not trust an incredibly emotional Anders off, alone, in the middle of the night, in Darktown, to not get himself stabbed to death. So he, perhaps incredibly foolishly, follows after the mage. "Anders, please, this is a very bad idea…" He calls after him, though he has little faith it will have any affect whatsoever.

Whether it's from a greater trust in the locals than Cenn has or from a simple lack of any fucks left to give whatsoever, Anders does not, in fact, listen. Instead he vanishes back into the shadows around the corner - disappearing into Darktown's bowels with the ease of a true local. For all that he's only been here about a month, the boy adapts fast. And whatever he gets into, he gets into. He cannot be anyone else's responsibility tonight.

Turning the corner Anders disappears around just a little too late, the Templar curses again. He slows, stops, sighs. Even gives a silent prayer that Anders doesn't get himself into too terribly much trouble that night. Returning to the clinic, he does at least have the decency to make sure the door is closed. Then, defeated despite getting exactly what he came down here for in the first place, he slowly makes his way back toward home. And the argument that rages in his own mind is one for the ages.


Any additional notes fall to the bottom.