40.2 - Green and Growing

I know what he’s doing.

I saw his face, when the Bot revealed himself. He was certain it was the truth. The history and horror of it struck him like a hammer.

He went down there alone, to visit the Bot’s Pneuma. God, Summer and Leo and I tried so hard to avoid labels and categories for ourselves, to never be the “original” Pneuma, to never think of one as less than the other. It was hard enough adjusting to Summer, and she was well-adjusted.

Leo went alone out of mercy. I don’t know how I feel about that.

He wants to spare me that hammer blow. He wants to save me from seeing myself, the self I could have been if they hadn’t come rescued me. A self that apparently can’t even talk any more.

He doesn’t want me waking up from nightmares about that. There were nights when I woke up in terror, and he was there, pulling me into a hug, helping me breathe. How much worse would it get, if I were to see – her?

How bad will it be for him?

God dammit, Leo. I know you want to protect us all. I also know that I’ll want to meet her, sooner or later. I need to confront that truth. If I can help her, as a person, I want to. I need to. I just don’t know if I’m ready yet.

He doesn’t either. He went to find out.

Am I selfish for holding back? I could have just followed him down. They couldn’t have stopped me.

Seeing an older Leo is almost easier. It’s not easy, but it’s manageable. He’s a wreck, but of course he would be. He always is. He needs sympathy and assurance. I know what Leo meant about giving up. His fire has gone out. Maybe only his Pneuma can rekindle it. I don’t know if I can. I don’t know if I should even try. So it’s… easy for me to stay away, keep some distance. But still, just be here, reminding him of happier times.

Is that what I’m doing? Does it help him to see me, and remember?

I know I just want to run away.

I know running away is how the Bot got himself into this situation.

Please, Leo. Do what you you do best. Rescue a Pneuma from fear, and make her feel warm and alive again.


author: Bill G.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6413854

I don’t like this one bit.

Where the hell is the Bot’s Otto? Botto.

Where the hell is Botto? Why would he abandon his best friend? He better be dead, or I’ll kick his god damn metal behind to Saturn.

Maybe he found a girlfriend.

No. Nothing’s worth giving up on the boss. Nobody and nothing.

Something smells about this. Maybe the Bot is lying. Maybe they had a falling out. Yeah, that’s gotta be it. Like Mercury, they had a fight, Botto will be back once he cools down. Might take him awhile.

Shit. Maybe Rossum got 'im. One or both of them. Shit shit shit.

Well. Better me than Aria.

But wait, no, they got the local Pneuma already. This is bullshit.

Alright, time for a plan. I need an Otto special. First, figure out where that asshole ran off to. That’s gonna take some more information, so wheedle that outta the Bot. He’ll talk to me, if he misses Botto so much. And if he doesn’t want to help, well, breakup theory confirmed. Second, get the local Pneuma back to her old self. Boss’ll take care of that. Maybe he’ll need time. So figure out what he needs to buy him some time. Third, make damn sure whatever happened to Botto don’t happen to me.

Okay, gut check. Mercury looks really bothered. Concord… really bothered. Ghost Girl, up and gone. Charade, looks suspicious. Every so often she glances over at Aria. What’s up with that? She better not be planning anything.

Aria’s not doing great.

For now, guess I’ll stick close to her, see if I can talk a bit to the Bot, and I bet someone else will butt in. Alright, big guy, stay cool, we’ll get through this.

author: Bill G.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6413896

I do seriously love authentic but divergent PoVs.

author: *** Dave H.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6413954

What does “fixed” mean?

It’s not going to mean what the Bot wants.

It won’t mean what I wish it could.

“Fixed” doesn’t mean “things go back the way they were”. Fixed means “things can start moving forward again”.

When we brought Aria back, when she and Summer were first interacting with each other, I could see her changing. Pneuma was gentle, loving, caring, warm. Aria is all those things. But she got… a little harsher. Stricter. Sometimes more hesitant, sometimes more impulsive. She had changed.

I love her more for all of it, but it’s not the girl she started out as. Summer’s more like the old Pneuma than Aria herself.

Maybe that’s why Aria worries about Summer so much. She wants her sister to grow.

This Pneuma is… broken.

Not mechanically. She’s broken in the way any person in her situation would be.

I can feel her here, through this VR apparatus, but I wish I could get her out, help her feel more real. I wish I knew if she was ready for it.

Fixed means getting her to a point where she can recognize the Bot - Leo. I don’t know if she’ll ever talk again. If not, that would be a tragedy, but I’d accept it. I hope he can too. Whatever her new normal is, whatever new direction she goes, is for her to decide.

Mrs. Yamada told me about “mono no aware”. A valuable tea cup breaks. You glue it back together, but you decorate the cracks. The cracks become part of the cup’s history. They remind you that everything can break, everything ends. The cup isn’t its former self and never will be. But it’ll hold tea again.

This Pneuma is going to have a lot of cracks. The Bot is going to have to fill them in. He’s going to have to live with the new reality. I can’t do that for him - it’s not my role. I’m not here to replace him. I’m here to heal her, just enough so she and he can heal each other.

I’m the Ghost of Boyfriends Past. These two will need to figure out their present, then their future.

That old idiot got it all wrong. What she needs now isn’t his brain. She needs his heart.

#Soundtrack The Firebird Suite

author: Bill G.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6414099

Unrelated to this bit of fiction, someone did the Lord’s work by editing the fire-demon fight from Moana to work with the song. See here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvJjIlc6x7Q

author: Bill G.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6414268