1963-11-27 - When Explanations Don't Seem Right
Summary: After returning home from Rogue and Marie-Ange's apartment, it's hard to put into words exactly what was said and how it was explained. How does one tell a person 'You were dead until some Valkyrie came and took over your body' and not make it sound like the boys in the nice white suits should be called?
Related: Not what I had in mind
Theme Song: None
brunnhilde barney 

The way home was slow. They are always paranoid, doing the various dance across trains, and Hilde's actually half asleep for most of it. It took it straight out of her to push a friggin' Valkyrie out of her head, but she did it. Somehow. So, the thin blonde is half dozing beneath Barney's arm almost the whole time, only moving when he rouses her, to walk sonambulist like onto the next train and then doze again. He might not be touchy, but he'll have to keep hands on Hilde just to keep her moving.

Finally home, she's tired and cranky, but cold too. So cold. It's like she drained every last bit of energy and calorie she had in her body. "…when'd it get so cold?…need…coffee, or somethin'…" She mutters drowsily, padding into the room and over to the couch so she can curl up in the corner. Her eyes are half open as she stares up to him, only now awake enough to semi-clue into just how unhappy he is. "… yer… pissed."

ROLL: Barney +rolls 1d100 for a result of: 37


Barney has to move, keep moving. The City is still filled with Federal presence, and there are some areas that are more densely occupied than others. Thankfully, he's worked out most of those areas by sheer understanding of events. He may not seem it, but he's up on current events; at least those that have something to do with his continued survival. Up, down, across town, down again and up finally, and then up the stairs; everything a push forward. He wants to get the hell home, to a place that he knows (so far) is secure.

It's really an easy time of it, and ushering her up the stairs, Barney is through the door and the locks are thrown soon after. First the coffee pot, then a cigarette as he tosses off his winter coat to have it hang on the back of the couch, pulling the pack and matches free first. Next, as Hilde is getting warm on the couch, or is at least curling up in the corner of the couch, he's crouching at the fireplace, opening the flue and setting the kindling first, papers and then logs for the fire. Once the crackling begins, thanks to a couple of lights of the edges of paper, Barney straightens slowly, the dangling cigarette finally pulled from his lips. He's heard the statement, and it's rolling around his head.

"Yeah," is murmured. "They didn't have to fucking do that." The statement is whispered darkly. "God damned fucking know it alls. I fucking hate them."


While Hilde isn't always that thoughtful, this place seems so much nicer than the last one, she doesn't actually want to mess things up. So, freezing or not, she drowsily leans over and starts unlacing her boots. It takes a few moments, but she gets them free and kicks them off by their heels before she curls her spindley legs up and under her body, taking up as small a space as possible — partially to keep in heat and partially because that's just how she functions. She watches him with the fire, a drowsy half smile on her thin mouth. She's trying to stay away.

"…what…happened? It's like I was… there… and I wasn't… it… it was that thing, wasn't it? In my head. I'm…I'm just fucking crazy, aren't I? You're fucking a crazy woman, you know that?" She sounds both scared and a bit disbelieving. No one actually thinks they are crazy, but she doesn't seem to understand any other explanation. "I…I thought maybe I was a mutant… but mutants don't black out like this. Don't…just… go away when they use their powers. I'm just… fucking crazy…"


Eyes of blue land upon the so very small-appearing woman in the corner of the couch, and he looks away, draws smoke from his cigarette and lets it out slowly before he returns his gaze. The point of the exercise was to allow this Hilde to learn, and it still pisses him off. It's in the way he moves, his manner, his mien. It's not directed… it's all pervading. Now, though.. it's up to him?

You're actually supposed to be dead, Hilde. You were dead. Brain dead. An empty husk. That thing is why you're alive.

Barney takes another drag on his cigarette and shakes his head, looking at her, but he doesn't cross to sit on the couch with her. "Nah, you ain't crazy, darlin'. They fucking are. You.. you're just.." The smoke finishes leaving his lungs before he takes another pull on a rapidly burning cigarette before he finishes, "… different. An' that's a good thing. You've got some sorta angel in there that's helpin' you. An' that's me sayin' it, so.."


A touch of relief leaves her shoulders as he says she's not crazy. That HE doesn't think she's crazy, even if he's biased, means a lot. Hilde shifts, so her knees are actually curled in against her chest and she can rest her chin atop them as she watches him smoke across the room. Her tired eyes are a touch too wide, worried, trying to stay awake, but as he's speaking, the words are important enough she's not going to nod off through them. He clearly knows what happened, even if she doesn't.

"…they…are? The women we talked to? Why are they crazy…they…seemed to want to help…" Hilde doesn't understand, even if she's a little worried and more than a little scared. She shifts her body so she's fully facing him on the couch, hugging her arms around her legs. "…angel?" She stares at him now like HE might be crazy. "…angels don't exist. Don't tell me you believe in that shit… Maybe the grim reaper…" She flashes him a bit of a smile, teasing about that, even if it's probably closer to the truth, "but…ain't no angel gonna care about some little shit like me."


"They didn't fucking help," Barney nearly spits it out in his annoyance. "Point was to find out for you too. T'bitch said somethin' strange in some language, and you disappeared and she came out." And Hilde struggled, which just really bothered him to the point of violence, but how? All he can hope for is blissful amnesia of the event.

The pot on the stove starts its gentle *bloops* of a boil, the slightly brownish liquid pushed up against the glass knob on the lid. "They thought they were fucking know it alls, and they didn't care…" Barney shakes his head, finishes the one cigarette and lights his next one off the one to be stubbed out in one of the many ashtrays of the apartment. "Makes my job easier, s'all." As if Barney ever lost sleep after a kill? Nah. This only solidifies it.

He hates people. Men. Women.

From the kitchen now, Barney's tones still hold the anger, the annoyance, but it's not directed to her, but to the world at large now. "Yeah, well that goddamned angel saved your ass as a kid, apparently, and she's been there ever since." He shakes his head, puts the cigarette back into his mouth and deals with the coffee. He hasn't yet picked up the cream and honey.. how hard could it be to make that sort of concotion anyway? So fucking smug.

"Don't forget. I seen her. She's got a name an' all. I might be crazy as shit, but I know one damn thing. You ain't crazy."


As he gets up to move for the kitchen, Hilde's fingertips stretch out to trail along his side, just for a moment. No words, but a touch that she wants — needs — to express. A silent request in her body alone for him to come back to her, not be gone long. Something to try and ease him. Reassure him, maybe, that his Hilde is still here and still cares for him. But she lets him go, listening and not speaking.

The information about being there as a kid makes her blink. She reaches up, rubbing slightly at the back of her head. There's always been an indent there, where her head was smashed open. She never remembered anything but who remembers their childhood? "…My…my mum said… when I was little… there was a car accident. Real bad. They thought I was dead but they kept… praying, kept me hooked up to shit… and their miracle came… I don't remember any of it, but they really got all… gung ho for god, 'cause of that. Was kinda annoying…" Shit. Angel. She blinks, still looking skeptical but suddenly it sounds a little less Jesus crazy.

Then she shakes her head slowly, staring ahead instead of back to him, looking into the flames of that fire, "…doesn't feel like an angel. The dreams aren't all… Jesus and Amens and shit. It's… fighting. Dogs… so many dogs, and… armor. Swords. Old fighting… no guns. It's weird. And… I like it. They ain't bad dreams. It…feels… Good?" She offers, not too certain, almost feeling guilty for how good it feels.


Barney listens from the kitchen, blue eyes focussed elsewhere, elsetime.. to earlier. Empty husk. He shakes his head quickly, getting rid of the cobwebs on those thoughts and any threatening water that might find their way to his eyes. The burner is turned off and the pot is set aside to drain for a few minutes, giving himself some time to collect his thoughts on the matter.

"Yeah, well.. it ain't the 'heaven and hell' sort. It's more like.. Vikings, 'kill 'em all' sort. You happened to get something of an ass-kicker." The last few words are given with a chuff of breath that almost sounds like a chuckle. "Nothin' gentle 'bout her."

The coffee is poured once he gets the grounds out, and with the cigarette in his mouth, he carries two mugs out. One he hands over, and the other is kept. "Yeah. No guns. Don't know nothin' about dogs, though. But you mentioned.. you? Her? Someone mentioned them before, I think."

Settling down onto the couch, Barney gives her a long look and something of a teasing smirk. "Now that's the craziest thing I've heard you say yet. Killin' people feels good. Shit. Nothin' good and nothin' bad about it. It just is."


"…Vikings… 'kill'em all. Yeah…that feels… Right." Hilde admits, though she sounds confused to say it. It really did taste more like the dreams in her head, were they memories? The other things she'd seen. She just gently unfolds her arms from her legs to reach out for the coffee mug. Slowly, her legs shift down, sitting cross style on the couch, sideways, so she's still fully facing him. He might be trying to keep any threatening water away, but she can see the edge of glassiness in his gaze, the promise of redness there. She reaches one of her small, cool hands from her coffee cup to touch his cheek.

"…Hey… it'll be…Okay. We're here. Together. We've figured out other shit. We'll get this too…" She tries to reassure him, even if this is probably the weirdest shit yet. She returns that teasing smirk, shaking her head.

"…No…it ain't about killing people that feels good. It's… making sure they die right. They go…on right. They got some peace and shit. It's… hard to explain. But I've always been that way…'swhy I do what I do. With the ambulance, you know? It's good when people ain't alone. When they know… know they did right… they went out good."


Why she's always cold. Makes sense now, too. While Hilde's not dead, she breathes, pulse, grew up, did the things kids do, teenagers do.. it is just something that a disembodied spirit can't fix, apparently. Barney looks down at the touch; he's not moving away, just.. making sure he's mostly composed.

Looking up again, Barney does manage a tight smile and pulls the cigarette from his lips, finishing it off with one last good pull. It's stubbed; he's listening, really. "Yeah.. but this shit really is fucked up."

A deep breath is taken and finally he leans back on the couch, both hands now cradling the coffee mug that is settled just on his lap. "Yeah, no wonder you wouldn't let me go. My guess is, it ain't gonna be pretty." He's making fun of himself, certainly. Barney knows that anyone with an ounce of religion would fully believe he was bound for hell. Who knows? Maybe he is, maybe not. "People don't deserve it though, darlin'. Not at all. People are shit. No fucking good."


"…really fucked up. You… you still wanna sign up for this?" Hilde dares to ask. She doesn't entirely understand yet. The translation from Valkyrie to Barney to Hilde, well…it clearly had some holes. But she knows it's big and can sense things have changed. So, she has to ask that. Even as she stares over her coffee cup at him and her heart beats a little too hard with the fearful thought of him asking her to go. She still puts it out there. "I…ain't gonna trap you in here with whatever this shit is. You signed up for me. Not…whatever is in my head…"

Then she adds, quieter, because it's not just her, but something she believes beyond her little life, "…ain't about being good or bad. It's just about… livin'.. and dyin', and gettin' some chance at peace."


The question asked isn't the first time he's heard it, either from her or himself. Is it all worth it? Barney's silent for what might seem forever as he sorts out his own feelings on the matter. Knowing what he knows now, and what could be.. and the fact that should that Angel of Death ever depart, she'd take that spark of life that is Hilde with her. The pair are entwined.

"I kinda liked havin' somethin' of my own," Barney begins, his voice soft. He's not looking at her, not at all. Instead, whatever little patterns that are forming in his coffee hold his attention. "I have you, I have both of you. She leaves, an' it'd mean you die." And he fully believes it. He'd listened to the recounting of that car accident, and it tugged at him. Something they shared, only her experience was a little different. "She likes me though," and he chuckles, the sound low as he lifts blue eyes to her, "Calls me 'Killer'. Cute little pet name." The smile remains, though it's fleeting before he looks away again. "I'm wonderin' if she chose me and took you along for the ride. Either way, looks like this is what we got."


For a few moments, Hilde's terrified. Utterly terrified. He's too quiet, too long. The fact that he's actually considering telling her to go, and she can tell he is, is maddening. She clutches her coffee cup even harder, knuckles going more white than her ice pale skin, as she holds back from touching him. From trying to sway his decision. Hilde just swallows her heart back down her throat and waits, ignoring the blood rushing in her ears.

Then he's talking and she lets out the breath she was half holding. A weird sort of smile flickers across her mouth, but it's a smile, "…Yeah, you got me. Long as you want me. We… we got this. Each other." And then he's going on about maybe that other thing having chosen him and Hilde blinks, thinking quietly. Her smile falls away as she actually remembers back to that weird day. "…I… fuck. I dunno why…I looked down that alley. You weren't makin' any noise or nothing.. you probably shoulda died there. But… I just felt like… I could taste it. You dyin' there. I had to go… Shit." Maybe Valkyrie DID pick him.


It was bad, that day. He's only had a couple of times like that since; well, the one major one, and the outcome was the same. The Valkyrie refused him that soul's release. A fight for life would ensue; a strange thing for one that welcomes and accepts death, the dead. Barney leans forward to put his coffee on the small table in front of him before he leans back, setting his arms across the back of the couch.

Rolling his head back, a hand comes up to dig fingers in his eyes, and dropping them again, he looks over to just.. look at her. "I have no fucking clue what the hell we got. 'This' don't seem to cut it, but it's somethin'." Barney has no idea what it is, but..? "Maybe I seemed like some sort of hopeless case? I dunno." He laughs quietly again and shakes his head. "All's I know is that I actually got somethin' of my own."


"…you wanna call it somethin' else? I mean…do we need to? We know… *we* know. That's all that matters, right? I mean, I might let this death angel come out and murder any other woman that touches you, 'cause… Yeah. But… we don't need names. Do we?" Hilde seems almost as nervous about names as he does. But then, she is the one who has twice betrayed the sacred duty that this thing in the back of her head is supposed to do for him. That's probably a bigger deal than either of them realize right now.

Still, it seems decided. She shifts her feet, moving them forward to tuck under HIS leg instead of her own, her toes and ankles still so icy. She's always so damn cold! But she's smiling as she does that, like she knows it drives him nuts and that is part of the fun, "'cause yeah, you got me. I ain't going anywhere… my icy feet ain't either. Who else is keepin'em warm?"


Barney chuffs a laugh that actually reaches his eyes, and he shakes his head. "Ain't no other woman, darlin'. I'm not like that." He doesn't look and he sure as hell doesn't touch. He doesn't like cuddling, doesn't like displays of affection. Even she knows that. After that, however, the humor melts from his eyes, and he just looks at her, and there is an expression that almost pleads for the same. It'd hurt him deeply, send him further away from people… and he'd kill any who would take her from him. "Don't need names."

The feet, though! Ice. Cold. Feet! "Shit.. c'mon.. and I even lit the goddamned fireplace. Barney makes to rise in order to get a blanket from the bedroom. "Keep that up and you're sleepin' out here." He knows she's playing, and his own tones are filled with that theatrical lack of humor. It is fun, though. It's his Hilde. "Shit."


While he yelps and complains, Hilde cannot help but smile. No, grin. She's fucking grinning, like she LIKES his pain at her cold fee. Because yes, it is fun. It's comfortable habit, and he complains the same way, and she just does it worse, and it's the one thing that seems sane and normal in the world right now. "Wait! No! Come back! My feeeeeeettt!" She calls teasingly after him as he goes for the blanket, laughter behind her voice. At least things felt better now. Even if everything is a bit insane.

Once he's back, with the blanket, she grabs it and wraps it closer around both of him, across her side and then his lap. But her feet are going right back where they please because his thigh was a hell of a lot warmer than a blanket. "And I ain't sleeping out here. 'smy bed too now. You made that deal. You're stuck with me. No takin' it back."


Barney's headed to the bedroom, and he comes out with the woolen blanket. "There is no way I am gonna sleep with those damned feet." He's being good natured, taking it all with a fair bit of humor. That is them. Brunnhilde is nowhere to be seen. Or felt.

It's grabbed from his hands, and once he sits back down again, there they are.. in all their ice-cubed glory. "I said we're stuck with each other. Who said anything 'bout my bed?" Not that he's going to throw her out- hell no. Barney's words turn more into a grumble than anything else, "Just stay on your side of the bed. You'll get us both cold."


The woman is still smiling as she tucks her ice cube toes back under his leg and finally settles back, comfortable, but half drowsy now with the relaxation of it all, the heat of his body, and the fact they seem to have found some answers. She sinks to the side, curling into the back of the couch as she remains facing him. She cradles her coffee in her lap, but she might fall asleep holding it at this rate. So much for keeping her awake.

"Sure, sure.. no cuddling. Whatever you say…" She rolls her eyes drowsily, but her words are lined with flat teasing. She wiggles her toes a bit against his thigh. However, before she does fall asleep, she allows her expression to fall a bit more serious, "…you think I'll…ever remember? What's in my head? I…don't like checkin' out. I just wanna… know. Somehow. Wanna understand…"


"Geez.. cold, Hilde." It's another grumble, but it's not ready to send Barney up and away from her. Instead, he leans over to take the coffee from her and set it on the table in front of them with his. The blanket is fussed with, tucked in here and there, albeit awkwardly, and he sits back to dig out a cigarette and his book of matches. It's lit, the first pull is savored, and the smoke is released in a long breath as the book of matches is tossed back onto the table.

Barney watches her for a long moment before, "She's talked about merging.. but she doesn't think you could handle it. She doesn't want you to disappear is all, I guess." The cigarette is drawn upon again, and he offers a tight smile. "S'between you and her. I don't like being the middleman." Patting her (still) cold feet, or rather, legs, he continues, "Take your nap.. Not goin' anywhere."


That is news to her too. Hilde's brow furrows, staring hard for a few moments, even with her eyes so tired. "…How the hell do I talk to a thing in my head which won't talk to me? Fuck it…I'll figure it out…" She mutters with a half sigh, shaking her head, but she's still a little perplexed. She wiggles her toes against him again, one last time, and then she nods. "…Okay. Just…gonna sleep a bit. Don't go to bed without me, please?…Just toss me over your shoulder or somethin'. I won't complain…" But she does want to sleep. So, she curls a bit deeper into the couch cushion and herself, though her forehead and nose sink forward so she's slightly leaning against the edge of his arm. It's like she's tucking her nose between him and couch back the way her feet are between his leg and the cushions.

Curled up like a little ball, tucked away, half hiding from the world, Hilde Norris drops off to sleep within minutes. At least the Valkyrie has kept her promise that way — Hilde's slept better in the last week than she has in years.

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