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Apartment-hunting
determined
easilyflustered wrote in pandoraheartsdr
Though he woke up a week ago, Liam has very rarely left his room for any reason. So despite the fact that he came to the conclusion this was necessary days ago, it has taken him this long to actually convince himself to do it.

He slipped out of the Mansion, alone, to search for an apartment in town.

Liam has saved the currency that has appeared in his room, and has, hopefully, enough for rent for several months.

Currently he is wandering about sections of town checking for rental signs. He's looking for something quiet, small, and safe. Though he's very aware that safety is relative at this point.

[Tags or prose is fine.]

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In the evening, as Liam makes his way back to the Mansion, he will encounter a cloaked figure standing at the gate, her eyes turned toward the Mansion's warmly glowing windows.

The sound of his tread draws her attention, the light striking her face, pale and drawn under the hood of the cloak. For a moment, she is so happy to see him alive that she doesn't think.

"Liam!"

This is the last thing he expected, though he should have known it was possible. Even likely. But he's completely unprepared. He hasn't taken the time to deal with what had happened, has only been alive for a week.

Liam doesn't know if she's still under the influence of the Mansion, one of the issues with not having told anyone who...

His breath catches in his throat, his entire body tensing almost painfully, at the sight of her, remnants of terror running through him. He has his gun on him, but even now he can't bring himself to draw it on her, can only stare at her wide-eyed and shaken.

"Shelly."

It's barely a whisper.

The look on his face makes her remember, and she instantly draws back, pulling the cloak more tightly around her and hiding her face in the shadows of her hood.

"I wont't... I won't hurt you." she murmurs, voice grieved.

She looks up at him, and despite her horror at what she'd done... despite her guilt and pain, her prevalent feeling is one of relief.

"I'm so sorry..." she whispers, "And so very... very glad to see you alive."

She's herself again, but that doesn't make seeing her less painful. He can't forget the euphoria on her face as she watched him struggle for breath, her sadistic smile as she'd twisted the knife.

His breathing is strained, uneven, but at her words he makes himself shake his head.

"You have nothing to be sorry for. That was not you."

His voice is grieved, too. Liam feels so very helpless and useless, in that despite knowing that, he can't do what he should. He should go to her, hug her, let her know it's alright. But he can't bring himself to move. What happened keeps him from being capable of doing that.

She reads the pain in him, knows only too well what he must be thinking, because she remembers just as clearly as he does, and feels just as helpless as he does.

She shakes her head, eyes closing as they sting. "And yet, here we are." she said. "You still died by my hand... You still fear me, now."

She has a to stop a moment, turn away and wipe at her eyes.

"Is there anything that I can do? To put you at ease?"

"No," he protests. "Not you. I know it wasn't you. I should be able to..."

Liam has to break off, because if he keeps talking he might do what he hasn't allowed himself: cry. He swallows hard several times.

"I just-- I need time to process what happened. I-- I only woke less than a week ago. I just haven't..."

He hasn't had time, and it strikes him... It's so incredibly unfair that this has happened, that the Mansion would do this. To her especially. He tries to force himself to go to her, force himself beyond this... but he can't. Liam wishes he didn't remember.

"Don't blame yourself. Please. You were not in control of that hand."

"Less than a week...?"

Her face, when she turns back to him, is horror-stricken and haunted. When she had taken her turn in the grave, she'd only been gone for three days...

"Oh, Liam..."

She almost takes another step toward him, but brings herself up short, sensing his turmoil and not wanting to make it worse.

"I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry... I'll... I'll leave. I shouldn't have come here..."

The look on her face... Liam regrets telling her, refuses to tell her about the long, terrifying void of time in his mind. He sees her desire to come to him, and nearly bolts, but manages to stay standing, weakly, his arms crossed over his body defensively.

"No," he manages. "You should be able to. It isn't fair. I-- I should be stronger than this. I know, b-but..."

The breath he lets out is almost a bitter laugh, but he manages barely to control it.

"I'm leaving the Mansion. Once... once I find somewhere to live, I'm leaving."

"No... No--I don't deserve..."

She shakes her head, even more convinced now than she had been, lingering beside the gate.

"I've driven you away, I've driven everyone away but..."

But Jack... but she stops short of saying it, not wanting to stir up the trauma any further, regardless of the fact that the other man had gone out of his way to comfort her, once he'd realized how badly the whole ordeal had damaged her.

"I should go."

She turns and starts away.

Liam wants so badly to reach out for her that it's almost physically painful that he can't.

"You didn't deserve what-- what the Mansion made you do. I couldn't stop it. I'm so sorry."

He makes himself look up, focus on her, looking her in the eye for the first time. The effort brings tears to his eyes as he sees exactly how very hopeless and grieved this has made her. That sort of sorrow looks so very out of place on Shelly.

But still he can't move.

"I won't let it. I just need time to... to come to terms with it. For the memory to fade. It wasn't you, Shelly. You would never... I knew-- I knew that while it was happening."

N-not you. Not your fault, his words echoed back to her from that horrible night, slowing her steps until she stopped. I d-don't blame you.

She shakes her head, wrapping herself more tightly in the cloak.

"I know..." she whispers. "I know... I just..." She cannot help but continue to blame herself, even if he doesn't.

"You have nothing to apologize for. I'll give you time."

And with that, she disappeared in the shadows of the street.

He can only watch her go, sickened and guilt-ridden at the feeling of relief that accompanies her departure.

Liam's fists clench and his eyes close, and anger fills him at his own helplessness. He wishes there was something, anything, he could destroy right now.

But even that would only be an attempt to regain power in a situation where he is truly powerless. Would he keep destroying things, like Vincent, in an effort to feel in control?

A cool wind blowing at his coat brings his attention back to the world, and he realizes that a period of time passed without him even noticing, his hands long unclenched, and the waning twilight passing everything into shadow.

It's time to go inside. To retreat to his room, away from people.

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