Why hadn’t he seen this coming? Maddy reacted as she should have in this situation but the more she did, the more his gaze fell. But it was her saying she WAS happy that made him realize.
He couldn’t do this.
He stood up and practically zoomed across the room to wrap his arms around her in a tight hug, his body shaking. He was trying to be there for her and he knew he needed to be her pillar right now, not the other way around. But… He hoped she wouldn’t mind helping him get through this even if she didn’t know why. He hated to admit it, but Brayden and whoever else had signed on for this had given him a task too difficult to achieve, ironically, without her.
“Maybe? I don’t know” He spoke softly. He knew for sure. But he didn’t know if he had the heart to tell her that straight anymore. Her saying she was happy had taken almost all the will out of him. What right did he have to take that away? These idiots, these selfish, heartless idiots had given her no context, nothing... Probably barely even tried. And left all this to him to do. He couldn't do this. Not the normal way. He couldn't continue to go head to head with her on this. He wouldn't be able to take it.
All Josh could do was tell her what his “memories” said. And warn her about the potential danger. She would have to do the rest to protect herself if it came to it. But even if he missed Scherezade… She was still here. Right there. No matter what form she took, she was right here. It didn’t matter if she didn’t remember all he’d done to try to help her… If she was happy, he realized, he could live with that.
And while Brayden may not like it… And Daisy might not like it… At the end of the day it was her body, and her mind. And only she had the right to choose. Josh would do rightful courtesy and no more unless it was by her order. Nobody else’s.
He let out a sigh. “I don’t know, and I might need to get my head examined, who knows? What my memories say is that shortly after what happened with Shmi, I met a girl named Scherezade who was hurting too. And she was really hurting. And for months and months and months… I kept trying, and trying, and trying, to help her. Because some stupid boy and someone she considered her sister betrayed her and she was just… Endlessly broken. She was frigid, kind of a jerk… But while I feel like no matter what I did, I barely got anywhere… I feel like she at least warmed up to me. She became my best friend. Sure she wasn’t the nicest person, far from it. She was impulsive and selfish and hurt people without caring. But she drank endlessly, alcohol, I mean, barely if ever had proper food and drink. And would scream bloody murder whenever she slept. Something about a realm of darkness or something trying to pull her in while she slept. I don’t have any experience with darkness realms or any chit like that, but I tried for her sake. All while trying to just… Be a friend, make her happy. I lost a lot of nights without sleeping staying up with her and trying to piece this all together but I don’t know if we ever got anywhere. She just wasn’t happy. Didn’t want to rely on any of her happy memories in case they all had to do with that girl and boy, which I don’t… Know if that’s true or if she had more besides that. Because my memories say she designed yours but… They had to come from somewhere, right? Your memories seem far too real and too in depth to come from nothing. Which means even if I’m not imagining all this, it might not be all your memories are manufactured after all.”
He let out a groan against her. “This whole thing’s a massive headache. All I remember right now is that at the end of the day, this Scherezade woman decided the only way she was going to be happy and not be what she perceived to be a terrible friend and not scare Jason as she’d been doing, was to use some kind of spell to rewrite her own memories. Ordered me to stash her ship because it held the key to all those horrible memories and that if you were to find happiness or love or something like that… I don’t know, it was horribly cryptic and vague… To destroy it, but otherwise keep it because she had some kind of plan if she, if you I guess, felt it would be needed. I tried to get her to change her mind, but she refused to listen to me and… All I could do was be a friend and… Support you in any way you could.
So that day you woke up with the massive hangover? According to my… Present memories, that was our first time meeting. That was the first time I met Madalena. I didn’t give you any details besides what you told me beforehand I could since you implied anything that could cause any recollection could be irreversibly painful. If you remember as well, I was in a sling. I’d dislocated my shoulder saving your life in a mission shortly before that.
But… The fact is, no matter what my memories say, they still say that Madalena became my best friend. No prior relationship did that… That was all you. The relationship you have with Jason… That is all you. Scherezade didn’t have much of one with Jason, but… It seemed like, by how she designed your memories of him, it seemed like she really wanted to. And ensured you had the means to make that happen… Which you did, again, I stress, on your own. All Jason remembered about Scherezade probably is a scary lady that screamed bloody murder and blew up a porg. So you had an uphill battle with him… But you pulled it off, on your own merits.”
He took a deep breath as he finally looked her in the eyes.
“No matter what my memories say… The relationship between you and I is very much real. It doesn’t matter to me if Scherezade, you I guess, gave yourself the memories to help make that happen… We basically started over and you know I don’t trust easy after what Shmi did. You did this, you made this happen yourself. Nothing can take that away.
As for why I’m saying this now… Well, my memories say recently I met your brother for the first time. Scherezade’s brother, as he’d prefer to call himself. The truth is…”
He bit his lip. He didn’t know how to say this.
“He wants his sister back. He says he’s found some way to split you into separate bodies, probably because he knows none of your friends he’s seemingly gotten on board with this would agree otherwise, since none of them I’m sure want you gone besides Brayden, who doesn’t seem to care.”
He hated saying that and it was written all over his face. How was she feeling, hearing that? That was her brother!
“I originally agreed to help since apparently they need that ship you gave me to make it work… But when he met with me, it turned out they hadn’t entirely filled you in… Made you understand… Or even obtained your consent. Just some half assed attempt and then they wanted to do it without even thinking about how you'd feel. Understandably I was furious, got into a fight with Brayden and… That was the end of it. Honestly, if you’re happy… I can live with whatever you choose to do. Even if these memories are real… I mean, Scherezade… Madalena…”
He shrugged his shoulders. “You’re my best friend either way. Who cares what form you take or what name you decide to use? As far as I’m concerned, if you’d gone along with his plan and it worked… I’d just have two best friends. Didn’t matter to me so long as you were happy. But he wanted to catch you unawares. Wanted me and others, don’t know who, Daisy is the only friend of both Scher and Maddy that I know from your friend group… To trick you into walking onto that ship, seeing whatever would trigger your memories and he could do whatever he wanted.
I wouldn’t stand for it. So… That’s off the table. I barely trusted him to begin with, anyway. He was…”
He thought over how to word it. But all he could really do was be blunt.
“He wasn’t like you at all. He was nothing like how you described him, and even if these memories are right… I don’t know why Scherezade would make you believe him to be like that either. He was very much just… Just… Another Sith, I guess. He wasn’t like you. He wasn’t like Scherezade. Nothing like either of you. It’s very possible he intended to just get rid of you and was playing me and whatever one of your friends he made promises to that he would ensure you survived.
It’s very much the Sith thing to do.”
He scratched his head in turn.
“I’m telling you this because… While I don’t know for sure if these memories are right or not, the fact is that I have memories telling me that he very much looked and seemed like the sort of man that was going to try and do this with or without your consent… Or my cooperation.
And that scares me. I feel like… It’s very possible he might come for you. He clearly didn't care about what happens to you after, or what sort of mindset either you or Scherezade would be in... He just wanted to get what he wanted, no matter the cost, and he may try to do so without that ship. He may very well come for you, as I said... And if he does, I want you to be ready. I refuse to let anyone hurt you.
And if you do decide for whatever reason you want that split? I want you to do it. Not him."
He pointed toward her torso.
"You I trust, more than anybody, that if you try something like that, you will do it right. And I think that's what Scherezade would want too. She'd want for her, or for you, to be in control of the situation. To make the decision yourself and if so, do it yourself in a way you know will ensure the best outcome for you. I made the decision that day that while Daisy might not be happy with me for this... This is about you. You as a person. Your body. Your mind. You. Nobody gets to make that decision or decide the way you get to live, except you. You, as Scherezade, made the decision to put yourself in the position you are in right now. And only you, as Madalena or otherwise, should have the right to choose whether something changes. I'm sure your brother will hate me all the more for that decision, and maybe some of your friends will hate me too.
But... I'm okay with that. I don't care what they think... Only what you think and what you want to do, when it comes to this. Only you should have any sort of authority on this matter."
He took a deep breath, and then shrugged his shoulders again, ever so shakily. The truth was he was very much willing to kill Brayden for Madalena's sake, if he came for her. But he didn't know if he had the heart left to tell her that. He was tired. Oh so very tired. He didn't even want to talk much anymore, he just... Wanted to go lie down.
“... But it’s very much possible this is all a fallacy. And if you think so, we can go see if Celeste’s around and get me examined for evidence of tampering. I don’t mind checking. That’s no big deal.”
Edited by Josh DragonsFlame, 18 March 2019 - 08:24 AM.