<Antichthon> Athene spent an hour with Lisa, before excusing herself on the excuse she needed some alone time to let her nerves cool down. Or so she thought; it wasn't working. Athene barged into her shared suite, hyperventilating, and curled up in a pile in the living room, writhing like a living plate of spaghetti.

<BobaFettuccine> Mary was floating by one wall, leaning her back against it, guitar in her hands. She smiles as Athene enters, but soon realizes that Athene is a lot more agitated than usual. "Hey, Athene. Are you alright?" She asks, concern evident on her face and in her voice.

<Endorb> Momo is there. "Oh no! What's wrong?"

<Antichthon> Athene made an ambiguous noise and continued to hyperventilate. She visably tried to calm herself, but that broke down when she made eye contact with Mary. She was overwhelmed, close to tears, and after a glare at Momo, buried her human half deep in her coils to hide.

<BobaFettuccine> Mary nods to herself and disappears into her temporary room. A moment later she comes back through the door with a stick of rock candy infused with a calming energy that had been left by her door during her first week at Sunnybrook with instructions to break it when someone needed to be calm. She takes the stick in her hands and snaps it in two, a sudden gentle calming energy floods through the room.

<Antichthon> Actually, Athene had her own of those, and in retrospect would probably feel rather silly for not using it. Then again, there was something about masking emotions that felt…unhealthy. Regardless, the rock candy stick took its effect, and Athene breathing slowed. She soon emerged from her coilcoon, head in hands. "Thank you."

<BobaFettuccine> "Of course." Mary says smiling warmly and floating over to sit in the air over Athene's coils, next to her human portion. "You wanna talk about it?" She offers, concern still lining her face, despite the smile.

<Endorb> "Should Momo leave?"

<Antichthon> Athene put her hands down and gave an apologetic smile to Momo. "No, you're fine. Sorry for being rude, Momo." Athene turned her apologetic smile on Mary and patted her knee. "It's okay. Everything's okay. I was overreacting, and I knew it, and that just made everything worse. I asked Lisa out today." Not a hint of anxiety, because those rock candy sticks really, really worked.

<BobaFettuccine> Mary's blue glow died down by about half, but the smile never left her face and her voice only showed compassion and care for her friend. "What did she say?"

<Antichthon> Athene's smile grew. "She said yes. And I felt amazing." …And fell. "But now all my doubts and fears and everything are growing and I don't know why. What if I'm not good enough for her? What if I hurt her? What if this anxiousness means it was a mistake? What if its just lust blinding me? I was overwhelmed. And I don't know what to do." Athene flopped back to stare at the ceiling.
"I never realized dating would terrify me so much. Maybe something's wrong with me."

<Endorb> "Momo thinks you shouldn't worry. After all, worrying doesn't help!" Wise words from the kitty.

<Antichthon> Good thing the candy stick was still mollifying Athene, or she might have bitten Momo's head off. "I'm not worrying on purpose."

<BobaFettuccine> Mary sighs and lies back as well. In the air above Athene's coils. "Momo's right in her own way. I'm pretty sure that's what dating is all about. Insecurity, anxiety, and happiness all at once, and we deal with it because we care." Mary looks over at Athene with a small little smile. "If you didn't care you wouldn't be so scared."

<Endorb> "Sowwy. Momo doesn't know how to give good advice. But Momo can give good snuggles, if you want?"

<Antichthon> Athene shook her head. "It's okay, Momo. And sorry, I don't feel up to that." She sat up again, still unwilling to stay still despite the candy magic. To Mary, "And I'm scared because I feel like I've betrayed you, somehow. I didn't even talk it over with you."

<BobaFettuccine> Mary's small smile stays fixed on her face, and after only the slightest, barely noticeable moment of hesitation she says. "Athene, you don't owe me anything. I'm your friend, and you're certainly the best friend I've ever had. It's true, I have feelings for you. I'm pretty sure that's never been a secret, but but none of that means you need to consult me before doing what makes you happy." As she talks Mary's glow fades, down to a faint glimmer, it's still there, but only just.

<Endorb> Momo notices this, and glomps the floating girl

<Antichthon> Athene looked Mary up and down, assessing her glow. "I'm going to feel even worse when the candy wears off, now." She gave a half smile and pulled Mary into a half-hug. "I'm such an idiot." A glance at Momo, and while they were both sharing Mary, Athene didn't draw Momo into her own hug. For Athene, that was rare.

<BobaFettuccine> Mary's glow doesn't get any brighter it just hangs on there right on the edge. She doesn't really hug either of them back, she just kind of floats there passively as she is hugged. "No! No! Don't feel bad about it, my feelings aren't your fault Athene. You're not an idiot, I'm sorry." She looks at her glow. "I'm being selfish I should be so much happier for you…"

<Endorb> "momo wishes she knew about love… Oh well. She'll offer both of you all the support she can!"

<Antichthon> "Mary, you're one of my best friends, and I love you. I just…" Another look at Momo, and Athene lowered her voice. "I just don't feel that way about you. I tried, but I don't." To Momo, a smile. "Don't worry, you'll find someone when you're older."

<BobaFettuccine> Those words hit Mary like a hammer and she physically jerks as though she's been struck as Athene says that. Her glow fades completely and tears start rolling down her face as she sinks to land on Athene's coils. She doesn't make a sound as the tears fall, only nodding. If it weren't for that magic candy she broke Mary would probably be on fire right now. She stands and takes a few steps over to the nearest wall to lean against it.

<Endorb> "Mary?" Momo keeps hugging her, if she allows it

<BobaFettuccine> Mary shrugs off Momo's attempts to stay in contact with her as she moves towards the wall.

<Antichthon> On some level Mary must have known that. But saying it out loud…Athene wished she could have predicted just how much it would hurt. She just had so much on her mind, she must not have thought it through. Athene bit her lip and approached Mary, slow, careful. She tried to put a gentle hand on Mary's shoulder.

<Endorb> Momo just smiles hopefully at Mary. "How can I help?" she asks, her kittyvoice not fully there anymore.

<BobaFettuccine> Mary leans against the wall with one arm, facing away from Athene and Momo, not wanting them to see her tears. As she feels Athene's hand on her shoulder she shakes her head softly. "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry." She says haltingly without turning towards the other two who were there.

<Antichthon> Athene's eyes watered. She'd tried so hard to protect Mary's soul, but in the end, she was the one to scar her? "I n-never meant to break your heart."

<Endorb> Momo moves to try and look Mary in the eyes. "Mary, nobody here needs to be sorry. Things just aren't the way we want them. Please don't cry. Nobody wants that."

<BobaFettuccine> Mary shakes her head, avoiding Momo's eyes, and starts to hyperventilate, tears still flowing. Too many people around her. Too close, her chest hurt. How could she be so /stupid/ of course Athene wouldn't love her like that. She could never be good enough for someone like her. Mary shakes her head again and runs to the door, "I… I need- I need to be alone." She says haltingly. "I have to be outside when the candy wears off. I'm sorry."

<Antichthon> Well, if no other good came out of this, at least Momo earned a tiny spark of respect from Athene. She backed away from Mary to give her some space, and nodded mechanically. "Yeah. You should probably go back to your room, Momo." And Athene headed towards her own room before she destroyed anyone else. Athene never felt so ashamed of how long it took for her to leave a room. It was like
her tail was taunting Mary by its presence. Athene expected to wake the next day to find Mary gone, transferred to another room. At least Athene wouldn't be able to hurt her anymore.

<Endorb> Momo looks between the two. "Oh no… I need help… Mimi might know what to do!" Momo runs off to her sister's room for advice.

<BobaFettuccine> Mary runs out the door as soon as Athene starts to leave.

<@Nemi> And hurrying down the corridor, on the way to Athene, Mary, Akemi and Suzy's? None other than a pajama-and-hoodie-clad Andrey Majala, clearly having JUST woken but propelled on by urgency and worry. Perhaps he'll run into Mary on the way.

<BobaFettuccine> Andrey would hear faint crying, definitely Mary, coming from around the corner. It's getting a bit further away towards the common room and the doors to the courtyard.

<@Nemi> Crap. That's not good. Andrey doesn't want to leave her alone, and Athene's text sounded urgent- he hurries on to try to catch her before she leaves the building!

<BobaFettuccine> He catches up to her just as she's getting to the doors outside. She's crying hysterically and she slams herself against them to push them open, stumbling and falling onto the snow covered ground a few feet from the doorway where she curls into a little person ball. Seconds after she does so she starts glowing red, almost blindingly bright and bursts into flames about 10 feet tall the snow around her vaporizing for about 3 feet in any direction.

<@Nemi> Crap. Crap- Andrey actually quickly disrobes, and skin going brassy and metallic, hurries over to Mary's side- through the vast blaze and boiling steam, unharmed. "Mary! Mary- Come on, I'm here, what's happened?" Andrey crouches beside her, a hand tentatively toward her shoulder, barely able to get the words out as the oxygen's sucked from his bronze lungs to fuel the eldritch flames.

<BobaFettuccine> Mary recognizes Andrey's voice and reaches out to wrap her superheated, firey arms around him, burrowing her face into the metal of his chest and squeezing tightly against him, she tries to get a few words out, but she just can't. She's crying too hard. So she just clings to him, a friendly face, someone she knew, someone that she could hold onto while she was upset. The only one she knew who could actually be there for her right now.

<@Nemi> And that's what Andrey is, here and now. With the fire robbing him of voice, all he can do is be that gilded shape, a golden statue to hug Mary close, to remind her that she's not alone- no matter what curse might afflict her, might sear the air and ground around her, that he'd be there for her. Gold hair, melted togethre into a single fluid mass, flows and flutters like a curtain. And
Andrey strokes her shoulder, a reminder that not only is he there- but he's /making/ the effort. Because she's worth it.

<BobaFettuccine> After what feels like an eternity to the both of them, the crackling roar of the flames subsides, and all that is left is silence, and darkness… and the sudden sizzling of flesh as Mary's cheek, and arms are suddenly exposed to superheated metal with no more protection from the spirits bound to her soul. She yelps and leaps backwards away from Andrey, who had suddenly become a danger to her, falling once more to the ground amid the snow as she does so.

<@Nemi> Andrey also yelps in alarm! "Voi luoja- shit, shit, Mary, I'm sorry!" He turns and, still a gleaming gold animated statue, leaps into what sludgey snow remained nearby amidst another terrible cloud of steam. "/Mary/!"

<BobaFettuccine> Mary just lies in the snow, staring at the sky and shivering. From the shock and pain of her new third degree burns, from the sudden cold that she can now feel, and from the emotional numbness and exhaustion of crying for nearly thirty minutes straight. She makes a few soft sounds intended to assure Andrey that she's alright. That he should just leave her here to melt with the rest of the snow, but all that came out was a few soft, sad, little gasps.

<@Nemi> At the least, the heated metal remained coherent, not liquid, and so it didn't sear the burns any worse than they could be. And emerging from the cloud of steam nearby? A horrified Andrey, blasted clean and naked by fire but newly spattered with turf and wet with melted snow, quickly refreezing in the cold. He hurries to her side, to take her hand, eyes huge at the state of her burns.

<@Nemi> ".. oh God, oh God- HELP! WE NEED HELP HERE!" The voice, booming with the aid of sonic manipulation, echoes out throughout Sanctum- through Haven itself, and further on beyond, to carry through the mountains and hills of British Columbia.

<@Nemi> Burns that were his fault for trying to help.

<BobaFettuccine> "No. No. No. 'sfine" She mumbles, after he shouts, her ears ringing from the booming noise of his words. She smiles up at him, her eyes half glazed over. Then she tries to sit up, and moving tears open a small section of the burn on her left arm. Suddenly, the shock of her injuries wears off and her eyes go wide and sharply into focus as she screams, curling up into a ball as a reaction to the intense pain of the burns. She quickly runs out of breath and starts to rock back and forth muttering "Ow ow ow ow ow" over and over again.

<@Nemi> Andrey settles in and tries to hug her close, to remind her, even as the cold starts to eat away at his bare flesh. And already, emergency services is on the way, school resource officers and nurses running from all directions to get a handle on what did so much to two hapless young students. Andrey'd protest, of course, but hypothermia and shock's not far away when entirely exposed,
and Mary in her state.. it's best they cart her to the hospital with him, soon as possible.

<BobaFettuccine> Mary just rocks back and forth, pain blinding her to her surroundings as she's placed in an ambulance and she, mercifully, loses consciousness.

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