Sholeh: Playfully Creeping
Sholeh Zeela a Zahar 3girls_1core
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Arms Hotel, Weds Evening
"Hello?" Sholeh called, knocking on the door to Evan's hotel room. Well, she was pretty sure it was his room. She'd double-checked the room number against the number he'd given her three times (was it still only double-checking at that point?), but she was going to remain just the tiniest bit anxious until he opened the door. It felt very weird to be looking for her boyfriend's hotel room and she wasn't sure she could face a stranger who would assume that she was here for...

Yeah. That would be bad. Or, at least, humiliating.

She wasn't there for that. She was just...it had been very nice to cuddle with Evan all through break. And now, coming back to the island where people didn't stay the same from one day to the next (Dr. Lecter? Cecil? Sparkle had parents?), a little bit of comfort cuddling went a long way.

=Though, just saying, since you're here already...=

::Triple stars, Zeela!:: Sholeh wailed. ::Why would you even say that?::

=Because we're seventeen and I know what you think when Evan's shirt is off.=

When Evan opened his door, he would find a very bright red Sholeh, shoving a heavily-decorated cake at him and looking like she was about to bolt.

[For one, please!]

genesishero

2014-03-19 09:14 pm (UTC) (Link)

"Um, hello, cake."

Look, it was the first thing Evan saw, seeing as she'd nearly shoved it into his face when he'd opened the door. After a moment taken to regain his composure (because ATTACK OF THE CAKE), he blinked up and offered Sholeh a smile.

"And hello, the Sholeh who came bearing it. What's the occasion?"

3girls_1core

2014-03-19 09:25 pm (UTC) (Link)

"I'M NOT HERE TO SLEEP WITH YOU!"

Sholeh was glad Evan had the cake. It gave her a chance to facepalm. With both hands.

"Can I come in?" she mumbled.

genesishero

2014-03-19 09:32 pm (UTC) (Link)

"Um..." Let Evan think about that for a moment, crazy girl. "Yeeees?"

He still hesitated for a moment before stepping out of the way so that she could enter the room.

"Let me guess. Zeela?"

3girls_1core

2014-03-19 10:02 pm (UTC) (Link)

"Who else?" Sholeh said with a sigh, brushing a soft kiss on his cheek as she entered the room. "Though, to be fair, it was on my mind, too. It's weird, coming to visit your boyfriend in a hotel room."

She reflexively blushed again at that. Would calling Evan her boyfriend ever not make her blush with happiness?

genesishero

2014-03-19 10:07 pm (UTC) (Link)

Evan smiled faintly at the blush.

"Well, I'm not even on the dormitory's room listing forms any more, so it was either visit me here, or out in the preserve somewhere," he reasoned. "It's not so much 'my hotel room' right now as it's the place I'm living."

... Did that make it less weird? She'd visit his dorm room all the time, after all.

3girls_1core

2014-03-19 10:09 pm (UTC) (Link)

"It's just..." She gave him a veiled look from under her lashes, accompanied by a faint smile of her own. "Remember the last time we woke up in the Arms?"

genesishero

2014-03-19 10:12 pm (UTC) (Link)

"After the weird weekend?" Evan bit his lip and ducked his own head a little. "Well, presumably we'll be our own ages and clothed if you stay around for the night, right?"

There was a long pause, and then Evan added, even a bit shyly, "But I do remember."

3girls_1core

2014-03-19 10:15 pm (UTC) (Link)

"I hope so!" Sholeh answered. "Both, umm, staying over and staying our proper ages."

She would sound more confident in that, but then, her own roommate was now suddenly an adult. And...and maybe she wasn't as immune to the island's changes as she'd thought. At least, not if Yeul was right.

"Umm, Evan?" she asked, looking up at him. "I need you to answer a question for me, as honestly as you can. You will, won't you? Be honest, no matter what?"

genesishero

2014-03-19 10:24 pm (UTC) (Link)

"I usually am, aren't I?" Evan blinked at the sudden seriousness of that question, stepping into the room and setting the cake down on the little table by the TV stand. "What sort of question?"

3girls_1core

2014-03-19 10:35 pm (UTC) (Link)

Sorry, Evan. But her conversation with Yeul was pretty much why she was here and it lurked at the edges of her thoughts, even while she was smiling or flustered. She just...needed to know.

"How many sisters do I have?"

genesishero

2014-03-19 10:43 pm (UTC) (Link)

Oh. That was a worrisome question. Evan blinked at her, and then bit the inside of his cheek and inhaled deeply before answering.

"Two," he said, carefully. "Zeela and Zhahar. Zhari's been a bit quiet lately, but..."

Right? Quiet? Right?

3girls_1core

2014-03-19 10:46 pm (UTC) (Link)

Sholeh just sat down on his bed. Normally, she would have asked first but this was just too, too much. Too big.

Too...everything.

"It's really true," she whispered. "I really do have two sisters. I just...forgot. We both did."

In honesty, she'd believed after Yeul had told her so in the library, but she needed to make sure.

And now she knew.

Two. Not a Dyad but a...Triad?

genesishero

2014-03-19 10:53 pm (UTC) (Link)

Evan was left standing there, looking utterly lost for a moment before tentatively moving to take a seat beside Sholeh, putting an arm around her shoulder.

"Maybe it isn't that you forgot," he offered, softly. "Maybe we're all thinking about somebody else... You've heard what's been going on around the island, right? Maybe it's not that you lost a sister and forgot about her... maybe it's that you never had her as a sister in the first place, and Zhari is somewhere else, safe and sound?"

It seemed like a sound theory.

It didn't do a thing for the way his guts were tying themselves in knots, though.

3girls_1core

2014-03-20 05:50 am (UTC) (Link)

"But that means that I'm not the me you think I am," Sholeh said, trying not to sniffle. "Because the you you know--the me you love--she's the one with two sisters, right?"

Her freckles stood out against her face, bright red against skin that had gone quite pale.

"So either I had a sister and don't remember anymore--which makes no sense because all our people come in twos, not threes--or I'm not the Sholeh you think I am. And you're not my Evan, either."

Which one was it?

genesishero

2014-03-20 05:18 pm (UTC) (Link)

"The Sholeh I know is a Tryad," Evan murmured, chewing his lip. "Your people come in threes, not twos."

Oh, this was heartbreaking.

"Zhari was a friend of mine, too. Zee's okay." So, you know, Evan hadn't changed yet. "But we still don't entirely know what's going on, either. Maybe it's not your memories that are wrong, maybe it's everyone else's." Which he didn't want to think too hard about, no. "Either way... you having one less sister than I remember doesn't make you any less the Sholeh I know."

3girls_1core

2014-03-21 04:00 am (UTC) (Link)

Zeela snorted. Technically, since she didn't have the body, she shouldn't have been able to make noises like that, but Zee never let things like that stop her. =I'm more than okay. I'm awesome.=

3girls_1core

2014-03-21 04:01 am (UTC) (Link)

::I'm sure Evan would agree more if you stopped teasing him all the time,:: Sholeh sniffed. ::You frustrate him.::

3girls_1core

2014-03-21 04:01 am (UTC) (Link)

=Then he should get a thicker skin.=

3girls_1core

2014-03-21 04:03 am (UTC) (Link)

::That's what bullies say,:: Sholeh reprimanded. She held up a finger in Evan's direction, asking him to wait a moment. It was their usual shorthand for her to indicate she and her sisters were having a conversation.

::You're not a bully, Zeela. So stop pretending to be one.::

3girls_1core

2014-03-21 04:03 am (UTC) (Link)

=I'll be nicer once he agrees to lay off the 'I love you's.'= Zeela sounded openly hostile now.

3girls_1core

2014-03-21 04:09 am (UTC) (Link)

::We agreed that just because he says he loves me, it doesn't follow that I'm going to fall in love with him!:: Sholeh protested, growing visibly upset. ::He hasn't said it in forever.::

3girls_1core

2014-03-21 04:11 am (UTC) (Link)

=Except for all the times he's nearly said it,= Zee snapped. =Because he still does. And you do, too. We both know it.=

3girls_1core

2014-03-21 04:18 am (UTC) (Link)

::It doesn't matter whether I do or not!:: Sholeh wailed. ::It's never going to matter! Because you're my sister and I'm never going to choose him! You know that!::

3girls_1core

2014-03-21 04:27 am (UTC) (Link)

=I don't know if you're going to really have that choice,= Zeela said quietly.

3girls_1core

2014-03-21 04:28 am (UTC) (Link)

Sholeh burst into tears, instinctively turning to Evan. "Everything's so messed up," she cried. "I don't understand and it isn't fair!"

genesishero

2014-03-21 04:35 am (UTC) (Link)

Oh... Oh great. Evan frowned, and then wrapped his arms around her a few times, for good measure. Whether she was his Sholeh or not didn't matter. She was Sholeh, and Zee had upset her.

"It's not fair," he agreed, softly. "This place is doing terrible things again, and it's not fair that it's wrapped you up in it all again."

And this time, he couldn't possibly have done anything to stop it.

3girls_1core

2014-03-21 04:55 am (UTC) (Link)

"I'm s-sorry," she gasped. "This is stupid and you're not even my Evan or I'm not your Sholeh and I shouldn't be crying on you--you don't love me, you love her, but everything's so broken and stupid and even when Fandom's not to blame, everything else is still wrong, even though we pretend like it isn't--"

genesishero

2014-03-21 05:30 am (UTC) (Link)

"When things are wrong like this and everything is broken, that's when having someone there for you means the most," Evan murmured, not about to stop hugging her any time soon. "My Sholeh taught me the importance of that, you know. I bet you taught your Evan the same thing, if he came back from the same sort of mess that I did."

3girls_1core

2014-03-21 05:38 am (UTC) (Link)

Sniffling, Sholeh looked up at Evan with red-rimmed eyes that were still brimming with tears. "I wish I was your Sholeh. You feel like mine. I wish--wish I could say--wish things weren't so--"

genesishero

2014-03-21 05:49 am (UTC) (Link)

"Me too," Evan offered quietly, while his heart slowly bled in his chest. "I... wish I could fix everything. What's happening here, and what's happening to your home, and..."

Everything was a very broad spectrum, really.

"I'm here, no matter what. If you need a hero, I'll be there for you. Just like if you need a hug, or somebody to talk to, or read with, or... anything. You're a Sholeh. You get Sholeh safety cuddle benefits."

3girls_1core

2014-03-22 12:46 am (UTC) (Link)

Sholeh gave him a tremulous, watery smile. "I'm glad this didn't change," she said. "Us. You being a hero. I guess some things stay constant across realities. That's good, right? Makes things seem a little less dark?"

She felt like she was grasping at straws. If there was one person-shaped hole in her life that she hadn't even noticed, perhaps there were others? How did one even tell?

"Am I different in other ways? Have you noticed anything?"

genesishero

2014-03-22 12:51 am (UTC) (Link)

Evan shook his head a little, just holding her closer still.

"Only Zhari," he murmured. "You're still you, like I said... All that's changed is that someone else is missing."

Which was still a big deal, but it didn't change Sholeh.

He... wasn't going to point out that he wasn't a hero across all realities. He wasn't even a hero across most realities.

3girls_1core

2014-03-22 01:01 am (UTC) (Link)

Well, those realities were stupid and wrong and didn't count. Those were possible futures. Sholeh was concerned with the here and now.

"I don't like this," she murmured. "It makes me question everything. It's just so unfair."

There was a long moment of silence before Sholeh asked, "Tell me about her?"

genesishero

2014-03-22 01:18 am (UTC) (Link)

"It is unfair," Evan agreed gently. He took a deep breath. "She's... gentle, and pretty, and of the three of you, she's the best at baking and first-aid, and Ozzy adores her..."

He shrugged and wrapped his arms around her another time for good measure.

3girls_1core

2014-03-22 01:37 am (UTC) (Link)

She listened to him describe this other sister for awhile, waiting for something to trigger a flash of recognition. A spark of memory. Anything.

But nothing did. It was, well, like the girl he spoke of had never existed.

"I'm scared now," she admitted when he was done. "What if I stop existing? What if there's a universe with no Sholeh in it at all? Do I just...vanish? Without a trace? Will you forget me? Or will you be the only one who remembers?"

genesishero

2014-03-22 02:05 am (UTC) (Link)

"You'll be remembered," Evan offered, because he didn't know how to answer any of the rest of it. "Maybe... maybe you'll go somewhere else. Maybe you won't stop existing, maybe someone else will take your place here, and you'll go back to where you belong, back home. But whatever happens, everyone here who knew you will remember you."

Until they changed, too.

"I'll remember you."

3girls_1core

2014-03-22 02:47 am (UTC) (Link)

"My mothers don't remember this Zhari girl," Sholeh said dully. "I just got a letter from them. It asks after me and Zee, but not a word that suggests there was ever a third. So...if this isn't some thing where I've been replaced by a different me with only one sister, then...then she's really gone. Because no one remembers her except for a few people right here."

genesishero

2014-03-22 03:10 am (UTC) (Link)

"Then... let's hope that's what it is," Evan murmured. "That you and the world you're anchoring here have traded off together, and that the Tryad I know are all safe and sound somewhere else, maybe just as worried as you are, with another Evan, kind of confused about who the heck 'Zhari' is, to tell them that we'll find a way to put this right."

He really, really hoped that was the case.

A lot.

3girls_1core

2014-03-22 03:21 am (UTC) (Link)

"I hope so," Sholeh agreed softly. "Does, umm, being a different Sholeh mean I can't kiss you anymore until this is fixed?"

Because she was sad and scared and Evan kisses sounded like a really nice thing right now.

genesishero

2014-03-22 03:27 am (UTC) (Link)

Evan considered that for a moment, and then decided to pose the question to Sholeh herself.

"If I were your Evan, sitting here with my Sholeh... would you hold it against me if she asked that question and I kissed her?"

3girls_1core

2014-03-22 03:31 am (UTC) (Link)

She was tempted to pout--she'd wanted easy answers, darnit!--but she gave the question the consideration it was due.

"I don't know," she said eventually. "I'm not sure--but I don't think I would. Not if she needed a kiss as badly as I think I do, right now. I mean, you feel like my Evan. The only difference is that you think I have a sister. That's it."

genesishero

2014-03-22 03:39 am (UTC) (Link)

Evan nodded a tiny bit.

"That's what I thought," he admitted. "I don't think it would bother me, either. If my Sholeh were as hurt and scared and confused as you were right now, I'd want him to do everything he could to make her feel like things are okay again. You're both Sholeh. That's it."

He offered her a tiny smile, and then leaned forward to kiss her.

3girls_1core

2014-03-22 03:50 am (UTC) (Link)

When had kisses gone from being something she blushed over to something she could ask for (at least sometimes)?

Probably when she'd fallen-- No. Don't think it. Don't even think it at all, because if you think it, it might become real. And you can't do that. You can't. Not ever.

Closing her eyes, Sholeh kissed Evan back harder, trying to lose herself in that kiss and chase away her thoughts.

genesishero

2014-03-23 01:05 am (UTC) (Link)

Now really was a terrible time for thinking, wasn't it? Kissing was far more productive at the moment. It helped the both of them not panic, not worry about what was happening across the island to such an overwhelming degree. Maybe this was his Sholeh. Maybe he was her Evan. Maybe there was something else at play that neither of them could imagine.

Maybe, for the moment, it didn't matter.

He kissed her more deeply as well, running fingers through her hair and just trying to be as soothing as possible. Just trying to comfort Sholeh, no matter which Sholeh she was.

And then, when they both had to come up for air, he rested his cheek against hers, and murmured, "Oh, Sholeh. I..." Love you. "... promise I'll do everything I can to keep you safe, no matter what's happening. I promise."

genesishero

2014-03-23 02:03 am (UTC) (Link)

It was the nosebleed that woke Evan up the next morning. He was, as he always was, wrapped around Sholeh several times over. It made her feel safe, and it made him feel secure in the fact that she was safe, especially on an island like this one.

He'd promised himself, once, that he would never take any chances with Sholeh's safety. The island had taken her away from him too many times, he'd almost come close to losing the only person in the world who could get through to him when his control slipped, and he'd spent far too many times just seeing red and razing everything to the ground until he got her back.

Considering the places he'd been and the things that had been done to him, the fact that his nose was bleeding barely registered, except that he was dimly aware in the early morning that the last thing he wanted was to bleed in Sholeh's hair. He spared a moment to smile at her, there in his arms, and then he stretched out one of his arms even more, reaching for a tissue on the nightstand and hoping not to wake her up. It was morning, yes, but if she was still asleep, he didn't want to accidentally rouse her.