RP:Alcohol Is A Brand's Best Friend
Summary: After returning home from shopping with Pilar, things between Khitti and Brand start off fine as usual, but then get a little heated...and not in the good way.
Somehow by the grace of the gods Khitti managed to make her way into the tavern, up the stairs, and actually open the door to the room without tripping and falling over her own feet. It's a damned miracle. The stack of boxes in her arms is actually quite tall however, and she has to attempt to crouch to get through the doorway. "Gods damn it..." Her nice red heels were not helping anything. She liked being tall with them, but they were a hinderance at this point. Wait...was Brand here? Her mind was still a little off that she really only caught his scent in the room and nothing more. But of course that'd be there. Just like it came from downstairs too. That...did not help. Khitti clears her throat, trying to peek around the side of the boxes and failing miserably at it, "Uh...Brand...? Are you...maybe...possible...hopefully...?" She didn't finish the sentence. Wouldn't be any point if he wasn't there.
“What’s all this?” That familiar voice of a certain emerald-eyed jerkface came from behind her. Directly behind her. As in, literally inches from his mouth to her ear, close enough that a human would smell the alcohol on his breath... again. She’d been quite the spectacle trying to get up those stairs all on her own, and he’d been too busy paying down his tab at the bar to immediately assist her (and besides, it was amusing). Even now he still carried a rather large flask in hand.
Khitti was not at all paying attention. Trying to keep the boxes stacked nice and neat was a much more difficult task then she thought it would be. Definitely should've had Pilar help her. Well, that can't be helped now, and here she was with Brand literally right behind her. Khitti's panic mode switch flipped immediately into the 'on' position, a yelp stifled quickly and her entire form stiffening up. But then she noticed the alcohol as she turned her head to look at him, a frown lining her lips. This was going to become a nearly every day thing, wasn't it? "You vould do vell to remember zhat you're drinking for two," she scolded a little, but concern and not anger clung to her words. Her heels click across the wooden floorboards as she sidesteps away from him, "Can you help me? Please?" She actually sounded sincere. Could it be possible that she was in a decent mood? Or, at least, she was until she realized how drunk he was.
Khitti put her boxes down near where he had sat his, a sigh of relief following soon after. And then just when she thought she was safe from his questioning, he began it anew. Not only did he ask again about the boxes, but her outfit too...and suddenly, she started to feel incredibly out of place. "It's...uh...um." The redhead frowned, smoothing out the long-sleeved v-neck black dress and adjusted her posture a bit so the underbust corset wasn't strangling her. "I...vent shopping vith Pilar." She suddenly wonder why she bought any of this stuff. This outfit. The others. The stuff for him. "I needed clothing...I guess." She seemed to have lost whatever spring she had in her step from her night out with Pilar, silently wondering if he was judging her. After a bit of hesitation, she leaned over, grabbing a box that was adorned in shades of red, and brought it to him. "It's...an early Yule present." Khitti seemed somewhat timid now, as she waited for only a moment to see if he'd actually open it. In it, he'd find a dark burgundy wool coat with black buttons and a pair of black wool gloves with embroidery of the same dark red. She didn't look at him though, instead turning away soon after handing it over to go sit in the armchair.
Brand slow blinked, dully. “Oh,” was all he said, sitting up and staring blankly at the box for a time. He seemed utterly flummoxed by the thing now sitting in his lap. Bewildered, and… almost as if he thought the thing might explode the moment he touched it. But eventually he braved running his fingers along the edges of the box, and moved as if underwater until it was open and he’d pulled out its contents. “This is… for the kid? Or…” His stare lingered on her now, confusion that gave way to… guilt? Yes, guilt, as he seemed to realize it was in fact for him. Eventually it was broken up by a hiccup. “You, ah, you really didn’t hafta do that. It’s nice, though.” He was quiet. Unusually quiet, for Brand. “So’s your…” His sentence was completed with a vague gesture to indicate her outfit, a gesture that apparently threw him off balance because he nearly fell over and had to right himself again.
Khitti sat down, another sigh coming from her direction. "No. Zhat one's yours. Zhere's a scarf too, but you'll both have to share it for now. I...ran out of gold." She'd look down at her dress, barely processing that he actually sort of complimented her. "Uh...yeah. I guess so. It's different. I guess I vanted to vear something nice for once. Sort of. I don't know." Did she? For who? Certainly not for herself. She would've been much more comfortable in that shirt and pants she bought. Maybe, just maybe, she had hoped he wouldn't have been so damned drunk when she got back. Maybe they could've talked, like Pilar suggested. But, that wasn't the case and things seemed to lean towards the awkward silence again.
Even drunk, Brand seemed to notice her discomfort. Maybe that was why his gaze drifted away again, back to his lap. Back to the coat and the gloves. Did he dare try them on? He seemed to still be processing the mere fact that they existed. “Never had anyone buy me a gift before,” he slurred, after a long period of silence. “Not… as me.” One lower eyelid twitched as he canted his head, still staring, as if maybe looking at the box sideways would make it make more sense to him. “Not ‘less you’re countin’ bribes.” And now his line of sight floated back to Khitti, some part of him clearly assuming she had some request to make of him.
Khitti felt his gaze on her and she'd soon meet it with her own, studying him carefully. The things he had said were so sad and it broke her heart a little to think that he'd never gotten something before. She unlaces her boots and pulls them off, now bare feet bringing her slowly back to Brand. She was always so restless around him, so much so it was starting to drive her crazy. But, she ignored it, grabbed the gloves and put them in his hands. "No. No bribes. Zhere's no catch. No nothing. It's yours for as long as you vant it. It's just a present for Yule and you don't even need to keep it if you really don't like it. I von't be mad. I promise." Khitti smiled at him, the expression a geniune one as she reached forward, lightly touching his cheek to comfort him before she sat down on the bed beside him. "I do need something from you, but it's nothing to do vith zhis. You already said you'd help before I even zhought of buying zhis for you."
Brand had seemed almost Dominic-like there, for a moment, still staring at the gloves with brows furrowed. And then she touched him, he flinched, and it was gone. The walls were back up, for now. He cleared his throat and moved the flask to the bedside table, using the movement to gain a few inches of distance from her but not so far that he’d rise up off the bed. Yet still… he -did- try the gloves on, drawing them over his fingers and then holding his hands out to inspect them. “...Yeah. Whatcha need, peach? This about that new fire of yours?” His eyes fell away from the gloves, drawn towards Khitti but never quite reaching her.
Khitti noticed that flinch, and frowned at it, but didn't point it out. Instead, she kept on with the conversation, scooting over just a bit to give him some space. "Yeah...I...Uh..." She hadn't really had an opportune moment to show him, what with him going downstairs all the time now and their friendship like a ship in a storm. The vampiress held out her hands towards him, turning somewhat to face him. "It...um..." Well, it was obvious what had happened. It'd been a few days since it actually happened, but it was clear that her hands had been burned badly. Scar tissue still remained, and it even seemed to still cause her a little pain as she outstretched her fingers to show him the extent of the damage and cringed because of it. "...I don't know vhat to do..."
Brand inspected her hands, his fingers pressed thoughtfully to his chin. “Mm. Yep, that’s fire for ya all right.” He didn’t actually seem all that surprised. He’d been there lurking in the back of Dominic’s mind when the incident had happened, after all. The only surprise was that her feeding hadn’t healed things up faster. A moment later, he was taking his new gloves back off and rummaging through the pack he and Dominic shared before presenting her with some sort of rounded glass jar. “Kid’s slackin’ in the boyfriend department. He should’ve remembered I had this ages ago. Won’t heal it any faster, but you spread that goop on your hands a few times a day and it’ll at least make it hurt less in the meantime.”
Khitti took the jar and pulled the top off to sniff at the weird salve she'd been given, a shake of her head directed towards. "Zhank you. And, don't say zhat. Don't say zhat he's 'slacking in zhe boyfriend department'." Her tone definitely hinted towards the offensive, a frown lining her lips. "He's doing zhe best he can vith vhat he's got to deal vith." 'Got to deal with'. She was more than likely referring to herself. "He's...he's..." [He's done and doing a lot more than you've ever done in regards to this sort of thing.] Of course, she'd not say that out loud and it was only to herself. Brand -wasn't- her boyfriend. He -could- at least try to not be such a jerk all the time. She knew he wasn't always like that, but damn it if it didn't frustrate the hell out of her. She shakes her head again, puts the jar between her legs, and scoops a bit of the stuff out of the jar, slathering it carefully onto her right hand.
She may not have finished her sentence, but Brand seemed to have more or less pieced the sentiment together, the way his lips pursed unhappily. And then he was reaching for the alcohol again, tipping over so that he could grab the flask and then knocking his head back to get a few shots’ worth.
More alcohol. It was always more with him ever since she got back. Any time she was around, he was always drinking. Putting enough of the salve on one hand for both, she closes the jar, sets it behind her on the bed, and rubs her hands together slowly. "Brand, if you vant me to go stay at zhe fort, away from here, I vill. But, you need to quit all zhis damned drinking. He didn't say anything, but I could tell Dominic had a damned hangover from hell zhe other day." She side-eyed him and that flask, frowning disdainfully. Once the stuff was worked pretty well into her palms and fingers, she'd lean across him, shooting a hand out to snatch the flask from his hand. She used a little of her vampiric speed, though mostly just to force her way across him to get to his drink in the first place, not really wanting to fight much with him, though she did want to take it away. "I'm so sick of zhis being zhis vay ever since I got back. Ever since ve vere in zhat damned jar. Say vhat you've got going on in zhat damned head of yours or don't bother being around me anymore. How zhe hell do you expect me to talk to -you- if you can't even talk to -me-?" For once, she wasn't even mad at him. Hurt and disappointment lingered on her words, her voice calm in the beginning, but soon breaking a little towards the end.
Probably, sober, Brand would have at least had the reflexes to put up a fight against that flask being taken from him, even if he’d ultimately lose against her vampiric speed anyway. As it was, he scrambled and flailed but didn’t stand a chance. Anger flared across his face as he stretched across her, trying to get the thing back from her grasp, and it was clear nothing she was saying was immediately registering for him. He was seething, desperate, shouting unintelligibly at her, and from the look of it about ready to exercise force or magic to get the flask back from her, even though he could just as easily head back to the bar. He was willing to fight her over the damned thing. It was only by some miracle that he ceased, abruptly electing to roll off the bed and storm around it until he stood frozen before the door, his back to Khitti, fists clenching and unclenching, ragged breaths the only thing permeating the silence. He hadn’t made up his mind to leave, but he wasn’t opening up, either. Not yet. Maybe not ever. With him, who knew?
Khitti held the flask tightly between her scarred hands, sitting there taking every ounce of anger and hate he had for her right now. She didn't shout, she didn't do anything, but she also didn't give it back. Once he got up and stormed off, she'd slide off the bed and toss the flask underneath the bed, then promptly remove her corset and leave it on the bed. She could finally breath again. Well, not really, but at least it wasn't so damned tight around her waist anymore. As quiet as a mouse, as he stood there seething, she'd slip between him and the door, reach behind her back and lock it, the tumblers inside clicking loudly. "You're not leaving. You can scream all you vant. You can be as angry as you vant. You can hit me, hell, you can even zhrow fire my vay, but..." She remained quite calm, which was incredibly out-of-character for Khitti, and kept total eye contact with him. "...you are not leaving zhis room. You're not leaving me alone. Again. You're not going to leave me here to vorry about you. About Dominic. So you go ahead and get it all out of your system in vhatever vay you need to." Khitti'd not move from that spot in front of the door; she wouldn't hit him or injure him at all, but she'd not let him through at all.
That anger definitely still lingered. But it seemed all he could do was glower at her, chewing on his lip with such force that he was surely going to make it bleed any second now. Those fingers still flexed and straightened, flexed and straightened again… but ultimately, nothing came of it. “Doesn't matter,” he finally breathed, after that near interminable silence. “It's none of your concern.” Really? All that time, and he couldn't come up with anything better than that? Anything more convincing? He really was losing his touch.
Khitti folded her arms across her chest, cooly running her tongue over her teeth as he calmed a little. "M'kay. If you're done having your tantrum like a child zhen over a tiny bit of drink and vhatever you've got bottled up inside you zhat you never vant to talk about because it doesn't matter, zhen go sit down. Otherwise, I'm pretty sure you and I are gonna end up having to fight for real zhis time. It von't be some fancy dancing like in zhe voods zhat day. I'm quite certain Dominic vill forgive me for it eventually. And if not, zhen I guess zhat's zhat. Nothing I can do about it." She paused for a minute or two, letting it sink in. "You're not zhe only one zhat's got a past, Brand. It's not any better or any lesser zhan anyone else's. Nothing can compare to your past because it's -yours-. But, you do need to learn to get over it and move on and you need to stop taking it out on me. I didn't do anything to you. Nothing besides zhat--" Besides that kiss. She didn't finish the sentence, instead shaking her head. "You don't have to tell me. You never have to tell me. But you need to quit acting like everyone, including me, is out to get you."
Brand had been stone-faced throughout her little monolog, but as it completed he smirked, a terrifying joyless smile that seemed more appropriate for the villain of one of Khitti’s fairy tales than for Brand himself. “Not even close, kiwi. Not even gorram close.” He twisted around and dragged himself back to the side of the bed furthest from the door, where he slid down to the floor and slouched against its side, popping one of his trademark fireballs into and out of existence with a dizzying speed. “You think you wanna fight then? Do you even know what for?”
Khitti's own icy, yet calm exterior started cracking as she saw that smile, that awful, terrible smile of his. Perhaps she wasn't as tranquil feeling as she let on. She watched that fire of his click on and snuff out repeatedly, all within seconds of each other and it only furthered her irritation. "I always know." If he'd been paying attention even the slightest amount the other day when her and Dominic were outside, he'd likely have seen the shadows as they had drawn in towards Khitti. "I know vhy I fight." They did just that now, the fire in the hearth going out. "I fight for zhose I love and I fight for myself." But, there was a light. A purple, eerie light shimmered from the other side of the bed, drawing the darkness towards it, leaving rest of the room as black as the void. "Even if I have to fight against one of zhe ones I do love." It hurt, in the beginning, as her own fire erupted from her hands, but now she was numb to it. "Do you know vhat -you're- fighting for? Vhy you continue to hurt me? Hurt Dominic? I von't stand for it, Brand. I don't care vhat it is. Your problems aren't better zhan anyone else's." And then, much in the way she'd seen him do it before, she hurts a fireball at the wall in front of him, shadows curling off of the now blackened spot like smoke.
Brand… well, Brand started… laughing. His fireball vanished again as he chuckled faintly, a chuckle that soon became a roar of hiccuping, deranged laughter. He just… sat there, in the shadows, looking at that dim light of the flames before him… laughing. Laughing so hard he cried. And then, suddenly, as though he had vampiric speed of his own -- although of course that couldn’t be the case -- he was standing before Khitti again, laughing and crying and screaming in her face. “Do it! If that’s really what you want, then frakkin’ do it!” His arms were outstretched as if ready to martyr himself, and all through his shouts he was still laughing. “Don’t waste your time on a gorram pitiful warning shot. You wanna hurt me? I’m right here. I’m right here. No tricks, no games.” He took her by the shoulders and shook her. “I’m not gonna go through this a second time. So go on, do it!”
Khitti stared at him as he shook her, brows furrowed together and a look of concern written on her face. She'd never seen him in such a state. It was almost like looking in a mirror most days, especially in recent months. She lifted her left hand, almost looking like she might fireball him in the face. But, she didn't. Instead, she directed the purple flames towards the fireplace, relighting what logs were left within and then allowed her fire to die out, and with it whatever anger she had left. Her palms and fingertips stung, but were somehow not as bad off as they were before. After a bit of silence floats between the two, she unlocks the door and steps around him, leaving the option to leave open for him. "Brand..." was said, in an attempt to get him to turn around, her tone regretful because of her actions. "Dance vith me...?" She held her hand out, offering it to him, but made it obvious that he still had the option to leave if he wished. She was done trying to force him to do anything at all. It was like being an unstoppable force against an immovable object and yet...she didn't have the heart to fight against him anymore. He really thought she meant to hurt him, when all she really wanted to do was scare him out of his fit of anger, but on some level it seemed like she was injuring him anyway.
Brand was running a hand through his hair, staring at the threshold but not making an exit. He'd gone deathly quiet from the moment Khitti raised her hand and then instead lit the fireplace, his mouth hanging open in a sort of anguished caricature of shock. She'd passed by him and still he'd stood there, swaying slightly, until finally he swayed too far and had to grab onto the dresser for support. But even his arms shook now that the moment of adrenaline was gone, and he didn't last long until he was instead bracing his back against it, legs at an angle ahead of him, head lolling drunkenly towards Khitti. “I don’t understand,” he mumbled to her feet. “You had me right there, you could've just… I don't understand…”
Well, with that display she knew there'd be no dancing. Not now. Probably not ever at this rate. "No, you don't, Brand, and I'm not sure you ever vill." She'd almost gone to help him, but kept him at a distance, at least for now, until she thought he might actually need some sort of help. The vampiress sat in front of him, legs crossed like a child awaiting storytime; her attention was only on him, waiting, keeping an eye on him. "It's quite the opposite of vhat you zhink actually. I don't vant to hurt you at all." She pauses, mouth agape for a moment as she sat mid-thought, "No. Vait. I lied. Several occasions I've vanted to sock you in zhe mouth. Maybe even bite you a little." Words took on a lighter tone, "But you've already said you'd like zhe latter so..." She grinned, then shook her head and shrugged away her joke, "It vas never anything more zhan zhat. I could never hurt you, Brand, zhough I guess I already have."
“Eheh,” was the only reception her joke got. Brand slid the rest of the way to the floor, sprawled out, head bowed. He’d closed his eyes and, for a time, looked almost as if he’d fallen asleep. It wouldn’t have been -that- surprising, as much as he’d had to drink. But no, he did stir again, those green eyes just slightly out of focus as he raised them to meet Khitti’s. “I overreacted before,” he finally confessed, “in the jar.” There was no immediate connection to what he’d truly been stewing on, sure, but this was something. “Wasn’t sure how else to get you to back off, but…”
The redhead moved so that her back was up against the bed, her line of sight only meeting his momentarily before she focused on the door. "Yeah, vell... It pretty much vorked." Her attention soon fell to her hands, frowning at the state they were in. "I never should've told you, I see zhat now." She sounded a little sad when she said this, her left arm reaching back behind her on the bed to grab the jar he'd given her earlier. "But...I zhought ve vere going to die in zhere, you know? And vith me being vhat I am, I vould've had to vatch you go first...and...I couldn't do zhat. Not vithout telling you." Letting out a frustrated sigh, she opens the container and gets a bit more of the salve, spreading it on her hands. "Still shouldn't have said it, regardless. I deserved vhatever you said to me. How you said it." When she was finished, the jar was thrown back onto the bed and a hand waved dismissively at Brand. "It's vhatever. I don't even remember vhat vas said from either of us. I've got too many zhings in my head now zhat aren't even mine. Likely just me acting like a child again."
Brand’s words came measured and slow. “You said… a lot of things. I did too. Some of ‘em were wrong.” Well, that was vague. He tried again. “Or at least, I’m startin’ to think so.” No, this wasn’t working. He shook his head. “I dunno. Nevermind.” He’d been right before. Thinking was dumb. “I shouldn’t be. Thinkin’s what got me into this mess.” Well, that and the dreams. Thanks, Lydia.
"Okay." was all that was said. She wasn't gonna fight with him anymore, wasn't gonna argue. Khitti side-eyed the floor beside her, contemplating laying down, but instead pushed herself up off the ground and went to make some tea. Looking amongst the bit that was there, she'd choose two tea bags of the same type (because she's quite awful at dealing with loose leaf), sniff it curiously, then drop it into a cup. Minutes would pass with nothing but silence from her end, waiting for the water in the kettle to heat up. Once the whole process was done, she'd present Brand with the cup and saucer, the distinct smell of peppermint and lavender wafting from within. "It'll help your head." Khitti didn't look at him for fear she'd only make him uncomfortable again, her line of sight focused on the front of the dresser to his right. If he didn't take it, she'd leave it on top of the dresser, and sit on the edge of the bed.
"Tea's the kid's thing," he protested, but ultimately Brand ended up accepting the cup. He'd spend more time staring into its depths than drinking from it, but it didn't go entirely neglected. "Problem with thinkin'," he sighed at length, "is that once you start it's hard to stop again." Brand wiggled the toes of one foot and briefly contemplated dragging it closer to Khitti. It only got a few inches before he seemed to reconsider bringing it any closer. "Y’know what I mean?"
Khitti sighed, shaking her head as she almost told him not to drink it if he didn't want it, but...then he actually did and she kept her thoughts to herself. "You're speaking to a person zhat overthinks everything. One zhat really only needs a couple hours of a sleep on a good day and vhile everyone else is still dreaming, I'm left to zhink about everything. Zhe only zhing I had to do in zhat jar vhen I vas alone vas zhink. Even vhen I vasn't alone, and you and I or Dominic and I veren't speaking, all I did vas zhink." She pauses, fixating on him again, her brows furrowed with concern in hopes that her words weren't taken harshly, "Yes. I know vhat you mean."
“Mm. Well, I’m better at doin’ than thinkin’. Too many damned holes to fall down. Can’t seem to do nothin’ else lately, though.” Laboriously, he picked himself up off the floor and shuffled over to the bed. After draining more of the tea, it was set onto the bedside table and he flopped onto the bed once more, this time onto his stomach, one arm stretched across the bed and the other resting under his ear. His gaze wandered until finally settling on the pillows of Khitti’s side of the bed. “How do you make it stop?”
"I don't know how to." She didn't move from her spot, dark green eyes fixed where he had sat, her expression a lot sadder now that she couldn't see him. "I've been falling down zhe rabbit hole for a very long time now. Tumbling about, hitting zhe sides or spinning out of control. Sometimes zhere's a light down below, but mostly it's just darkness." Khitti leans over a bit, putting her face in her hands as she draws in a deep breath and exhales slowly. Now she was starting to wish she could get drunk, a slight flare of jealousy towards Brand igniting. She didn't expect any of this to happen. She was just going to give him his present and that be it. But no, nothing was ever that simple.
“Mmmm,” was the only response she got. If Brand had truly heard her, he never gave any further indication. It seemed the alcohol had done more to tire him out than anticipated, for soon enough there was light snoring floating up from the bed. If Khitti were to draw near, she’d discover that he’d fallen asleep clutching one of the gloves she’d gifted him -- though surely he’d deny that meaning anything when he was awake again.
Khitti blinked as she heard the snoring and turned to peer at him first between her fingers cautiously, and then finally lowered her hands to really get a good look at him. She rose off the bed, bare feet quietly bringing her around to his side so that she might inspect him for a moment, to make sure he was asleep. She saw that glove, but it didn't bring a smile to her face like it would with some people. The redhead knew better when it came to Brand, knew it meant nothing. Regardless, she leaves him to sleep in the bed, even pulling the covers up over him, and then grabs what's left of his tea and goes to sit in the chair in front of the fireplace to finish his drink and dwell as usual on the things that had passed between them.