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Zack let out a sigh. One of the down sides of letting yourself drift off on a mental tangent in the middle of a conversation is that when you were talking to someone smarter than you, not especially hard in Zack's case, they'd often catch the drifting of your mind and call you on it.
"One of those cynical moments that everyone has now and again that I don't want to dwell on very often. I was saying that I don't know how a man could be that stupid but on the other hand, you and I both have gotten enough up close and personal time with the worst of the worst to know EXACTLY how stupid, ignorant and hateful people can be." He said, popping open a fresh drink and taking a sip, shaking off the thought again as he banished it from the forefront of his mind. "On the other side of the coin though we've also gotten to be face to face with people at their best. It all comes down to who people are when the heat is on, right?"
Post by ricochet-Stacy on Nov 28, 2021 4:54:07 GMT
Stacy grabbed at another drink as she contemplated what to say next. "Man I thought I was cynical in my old age." she said voicing the words old age in a bit of a sarcastic way before she continued "But yes humans, as well as digimon, can be all those things and sometimes more. I have been around many unpleasant characters in the last year and this year and I've only lost my cool one time. Though I don't know if things with Psyche would of went differently even if I didn't trip the alarm. I'm still kicking myself for being so reckless in my anger to this day."
Stacy set the drink down before rubbing her hands over her face feeling a rush of muddled emotions that were still rather raw and it was likely the whole Grandmaster incident wasn't even the trigger but more like collateral damage as it had happened shortly after Faustein's death. Resting her hands on her lap, she then said "One thing that makes me able to go on is there are lots of good people that I would protect with my life whether I know them or not. I sound like a superhero myself."
Zack got quiet again. he hadn't been talking about the Grandmaster incident specifically but in the end it fit perfectly with what they had been talking about. he nodded, stilling running his hands over Marigold's back. he opened his lips a few times to say something before it died in his throat and he had to start again from scratch. Eventually he did find something to say after a pause of soul searching.
"You and Psych were probably on better terms than he and I ever were. That's my biggest regret really, that he and I couldn't totally bury the hatchet before the end. We just...didn't have enough time to make it all right, to fix it, I mean. You always think...you always think that there's going to be enough time..." He said, leaning back in his seat and looking up at the ceiling. he looks down at Marigold who has thoroughly dozed off at this point which is the only reason that he felt comfortable saying what came next. "If...or when this life I've chosen for myself finally punches my ticket, I want you to look after her. Tell her all the things she needs to hear. It'll all be true, no matter how it ends."
Post by ricochet-Stacy on Nov 28, 2021 23:18:30 GMT
"I didn't know much about Psych since he and I rarely spoke but he seemed to be a good guy. The fact that he was willing to protect all of us meant at some level he may of been trying to at least come to some sort of understanding. You know full well that heroes can have very different views on what is best regarding protecting others." Stacy said picking up on Zack's discomfort feeling she may have unintentionally goofed up. She often dealt with being socially awkward despite being well meaning and it made things a frustrating challenge for her.
"Hopefully with, Marigold's help, you'll live long enough to make it to old age but if that doesn't happen and you die young like the Phantom line tends to do then I can do my best to look after your lil bee." Stacy said as she smiled down at Marigold who seemed unaware of the line of discussion.
Zack nodded along with her speech. Whenever he got someone to agree to look in after her after he was gone it always made him feel much more at ease than he might have. He didn't WANT to die young, he didn't think that anybody actually WANTED that but he was far too self aware to not realize that it was a likely outcome given the state of the way he spent his time.
"We disagreed. We disagreed HARD actually. I mean just being honest with myself Stacy I don't trust AEGIS or DATS or any other organized, centralized law enforcement apparatus in general really. I've seen the kind of corruption that can take root in that sort of thing and I know that you're honest enough with yourself to admit that you've seen it too. I mean, big shocker, the masked vigilante doesn't have the best appraisal of traditional law enforcement." He smirked sardonically.
Post by ricochet-Stacy on Nov 29, 2021 3:53:43 GMT
"I can definitely understand your concerns involving some centralized organizations." Stacy began as she noticed Zack was smirking before she continued "To be honest even I had some concerns when I joined AEGIS myself as even a well meaning group can have their bad eggs. I was just lucky that the folks in AEGIS have been so nice." Stacy then leaned forward with an amused smirk before she said "The agents of AEGIS seem to be an odd bunch which gives the place the feel of living in a comedy sitcom. Yet, despite all the craziness, they are a good bunch."
"I guess when it comes to vigilantism you and I are a lot alike in some regards. Sometimes one has to step in when the law can't. The challenging part for me trying to balance that with keeping the balance between the worlds as not all humans and digimon are well behaved. That and keeping my volatile temper in check." Stacy said not afraid to admit one of her biggest faults she had struggled with since childhood.
"See that's another mark of you being much more mature than me." Zack points out when Stacy talks about having to keep a balance, basically keep a lid on herself as far as these things go when she spends so much of her time fighting anyway. "I mostly don't bother. I step in where I need to, when I need to with very little consideration of anything outside of that. I've voiced my concern with this whole masquerade more than once, I think probably more than once TO YOU at least. The only reason I haven't totally blown everyone's cover is because I have no reason to care one way or the other but I don't go out of my way to maintain it or anything." he said, still running the backs of his finger's along the back of Marigold's head, rubbing the tip of her scarf between his thumb and forefinger. "As for temper? I have one, I mean everyone does. Even the buddha will become upset if slapped across the face three times and all that."
Post by ricochet-Stacy on Nov 30, 2021 1:34:09 GMT
"Mature?" Stacy said with a snort of barely restrained amusement before she said "I don't know about mature as sometimes I have the maturity of a college frat kid in some situations. Maybe it's because of one of my disabilities. Who knows? I think it may be more along the line of having more experience dealing with people because I'm older than the average tamer by more than ten years. Or maybe it's cause I can fake acting my age pretty well unless stressed."
"And yes everyone has a temper but let's just say the Buddha would be far more tolerant about getting hit three times than I would. Someone hitting me once can have the potential of setting me off. Though I've noticed as a digimon I tend to be more chill and harder to provoke. Not that I'm complaining as I have gotten into less trouble in that regard." she said as she thought maybe the spirit was just more mellow by nature. It was always possible as even in her dark line she could normally be rather forgiving of a digimon that flung her great distances.
"I worry less about my own temper and more about..." His hand paused on Marigold's head for a moment, making her grumble and shift deeper into his lap before he was able to fully continue the motion. "You should have seen her when she thought that Flymon had really hurt me." he said, pressing his hand to that area of his lower torso. A twinge of a wince passed over his face as if the pain flared up brand new all over again as he looked out one of the windows with a discreet turn of his head. Knowing that the crater that Marigold had beaten that Flymon despot into was still there. An unfilled reminder of what his child's rage was really capable of. "She...Stacy, she nearly killed her. My little girl nearly beat someone to death with her bare hands. I was so...I was so scared." Stacy could see how tightly he was gripping Marigold now in her peaceful slumber. "I don't know how I would have lived with myself if...if that monster had been able to kill her heart. How would I live...knowing I'd lost her to that kind of rage and fear?"
Post by ricochet-Stacy on Nov 30, 2021 3:34:17 GMT
Stacy looked at Zack in shock as he explained that Marigold had almost killed someone with her own hands out of rage induced grief. She then glanced down at Marigold briefly before looking back up at Zack before she said "She did that. Wow. I never would of thought of her doing such a thing since she seems so sweet and gentle so I can understand how that would frighten you, Zack."
Then after taking a deep breath Stacy rested her hands in her lap before she said "Seeing how grief can bring forth rather frightening emotions including rage it is good things turned out as well as they did. I went through some similar emotions when my mother died and understand the pain and confusion. To be honest I did also feel some degree of rage too and my mother wasn't killed by a digimon. Poor Marigold. She had to face such tough emotions at such a young age."
"It's like my brain couldn't stay in the right place. She was going to hurt somebody and it felt like...it felt like the person who was most in danger of going away forever was her." he said, reaching up with the hand that wasn't fully cupping Marigold's weight. The last thing he wanted in that moment was to wake her up during this specific conversation, god knows she already had more than enough topics for eventual therapy. "Digimon...digimon come back. I know that. She knows that. So the only thing I could think was at stake in that moment was...was what would happen if she let that monster "kill" HER too. If that Flymon had gotten the satisfaction of knowing that her rage and cruelty had killed all of Marigold's kindness and generosity in one fell swoop. That Marigold would live on and...start walking a path where my words, everything I taught her, everything I AM teaching her could never follow her...I'm not even making sense." he slumped back, trying to keep the tears tamped down.
Stacy pushed herself up and went over to Zack before sitting beside the young man that was struggling to keep from letting tears fall. Her typically kindhearted nature kicking in full force before, without thinking about it as if it was instinct, reached over pulling Zack into a gentle hug while trying to not disturb Marigold. "Shh, it's okay Zack. You are making perfect sense. I understand that you are afraid of Marigold becoming no better than that monster that birthed her. Your worries are only natural as you want to keep her safe. She proved to be better than Flymon as she didn't become the monster you feared she would become and if both of you are still suffering from such a traumatic event. I know how difficult trauma can be to face after all." Stacy then grew silent as she still was hugging Zack while now patting his back trying to calm him. Sure she was not always the touchy feely type normally not liking being touched without someone asking but, with Zack, this was a different matter.
One of Zack's hand drifted upward, grasping first gently to the lower end of Stacy's forearm until he moved it down and found one of her hands. He gripped it tight enough that she could see the joints of his knuckles turn slightly pale, hard enough that it made the muscles of his wrist visibly shake. There was nothing inappropriate about the gesture, at least nothing intended, just a young man reaching out for one of the most base lifelines that human psychology allowed, to grab onto the first extended human hand and hold on for dear life.
Zack didn't speak but he wasn't trying to hold back the torrent either. With the safe muffle of her shoulder offered he was able to openly sob without waking his resting charge. He seemed so small, he was shaking so much. It brought a stark reminder to Stacy.
Zack was 21. He hadn't even graduated college and he had made himself a responsibility that put the lives of strangers on his shoulders. He had watched someone DIE in his place while still on bad terms, he had nearly watched his child beat someone to death in his name and he could barely be called more than a child himself.
How long had he kept this breakdown at bay with mental fortitude, faith and a big heaping helping of borderline denial?
Stacy barely reacted when Zack grabbed hold of one of her hands even tightening the grip to the point his knuckles were turning white. It really didn't hurt and it seemed Zack needed it clinging to her as a lifeline as he began sobbing into her shoulder as well. He had been through a lot in such a short time and Stacy felt for him. As he sobbed he seemed so small and vulnerable compared to how confident and strong he usually carried himself. Sure it was likely a mask but she wasn't one to judge as she often acted strong even on her bad days to not seem so vulnerable. This was reminding her of herself not long ago when she lost probably a rather strange friend in the form of Faustein. The memory of their last meeting was bubbling up as she shook. She had not been strong enough to save him and not long after she was unable to keep the same from happening to Psych but she was more worried for Zack right now than she was for herself though her struggle to remain in control was getting to be noticeable.
"I'm glad...I'm glad you're here." he said, finally managing to pull himself away from her shoulder. Sniffing hard and wiping his face with the hand that had been clutching up against her back, rolling his arm along his face and eyes. "I think...I think getting together like this was good for us because we're...we work well, we understand each other." He said, letting his arm relax so both of their hands fall into his lap. he clutched her single hand in both of his as he looked up at her through his puffy eyes that were still streaming with tears that had gotten more gentle, more accepted as he took enough of a breath to really settle himself.
"We both live really hard lives. And we've both been trying so hard for so long to pretend we're unbreakable, if we didn't have people to talk to I think we both would've died from the pressure of it all already." he said, taking a deep breath as he looked down at Marigold, taking comfort in her as he clutched his perfect angel to his chest. Not in the same protective terror as before, uplifted by her presence and the presence of a friend he knew he could count on.