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Thread Contributor: Pete WisdomClosing Time Tag: Belle
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#21
Her answer didn’t surprise him. Of course, he’d thought that her brother might have made the list too, but there was an element of ‘he could take care of himself’ at work there, Pete suspected. “My da’s on some Earth or other now, safe and sound. He’s there because one of my staffers thought they’d better make sure he got out of there, or they’d have hell to pay from me. Me?” Pete shook his head. “I didn’t give the bugger a second thought. It was all logistics this, job that, with a side helping of swearing at the bloody fools that started the whole mess. Only people I called, start to finish, were minions I needed to herd and the military I needed to give them the muscle to get it done.”

Of course, had she been on his earth, he might have forced her mother’s evacuation anyway. It wasn’t a matter of space, after all, it was a matter of time, and pushing one more person through the portal would have been trivial.

“Once it was over, though…” He shook his head. “’S why I don’t do tomorrows. I ended too many of them, I watched too many tomorrows decide not to come. Hoping tomorrow is better might as well be another way of saying that you’ll be all right if it ends the way it is.” He picked up his tea, taking another drink. “Which leads to me making a prat of myself today, because every day I’ve had to admit that I’m not all right with things staying how they ended.”

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#22
Belle stood, grabbing tissues to wipe away the tracks of her emotional dam burst, sometimes she hated how quickly and easily she cried. Compared to the strong women she was friends with and the horrors people like Pete endured made her easy tears...it cheapened his strength.

“You focused on getting the job done.” Belle shook her head - “ah’m nobody, ah never have that kinda responsibility.“

Belle took a long shuddering breath, pulling herself together to focus on what really mattered here- Pete’s pain. She couldn’t live with herself if she just let him keep going day by day drinking and destroying himself, the only thing keeping him together being a bastard sense of duty.

“millions to died.” She stated “- Maybe there was a way to save them. You can’t know that. You made a call.” Her hand tightened painfully around his - “speakin’ as a nameless mass-“ she knew well her role in the grand scheme- “Havin a day warning? An hour?” She shook her head - “i don’t know if I could want it. Yes time to see my family again...but so much pain and agony. If ah had children-“ her resolve failed her, voice cracking with emotion - “ah don’t think I’d have wanted to know I couldn’t save them.”


Belle pulled herself together again looking at him squarely- “How do you want things to end?”
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#23
Pete looked up from his tea, fixing her with a tolerant gaze. "Luv, I've been all around at least eight worlds, and pushed my nose into more. If there were people who were really 'nobody,' I wouldn't have lost any sleep." What would that have been like, though? Not being nobody, he really didn't believe that was a thing, but having a job that never held up the weight of the bloody world? It sounded bloody marvelous, honestly, and unfortunately it sounded completely unfit for him. Self-awareness was hell, apparently.

A 'nameless mass.' Heh. Pete looked up at her with a darkly amused smirk. "So how unbelievable would it sound to you that I actually have the names?" Probably it wouldn't be that unbelievable. Oh, he didn't have it on him, of course, and he was pretty sure that the list he had was short by maybe a hundred thousand names, and maybe a few had managed to sneak through with the groups that escaped, but by and large it was right. Belle had a decent sense of people, though, and seemed to have a good sense of him, so she probably wouldn't even be surprised.

Her question gave a good excuse to get back to business and away from his emotional baggage for a few moments. "Well, I'm not nearly an expert on how these things go, but ending without you thinking you have to run off the second you let slip something like that. Jesus wept, that was nothing compared to the whingy shite I've been letting loose, you must think I'm a hopeless mess by now."

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#24
Belle cast her gaze downwards, releasing her grip- she touched easily and openly and sometimes she forgot that it wasn’t always ‘normal’. thoughtless Actions like that likely were what got her into trouble more often than not.

“Yah came here upset.” Belle looked down at her hands, slowly unraveling the tablecloth “Ah expected to hear some things that would be painful.” What they were well some of her guesses had been correct.

Lord help this man who literally has the name of every man woman and child listed next to his heart.

Her prayer was not metaphorical, but heartfelt, a quick whispered thought to a higher power that her experiences in Hub had only solidified her belief in.

‘Let him find peace in his heart and soul..’

“Our date was meant t’be fun, not-“ her hand waggled slightly “my emotional baggage spillin’ everywhere. No one needs that on a first date. And I was rightly horrified that I put that on you.”

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#25
He couldn't help it. Yes, he'd just been recalling a lot of fairly painful emotional baggage, but he was a spy. He was good at turning off the bad things and moving along to something else. So when she gave her excuse? Pete laughed. Leaning forward, he captured her hand in his again, fixing her with a look that was definitely amused now.

"Luv, my emotional baggage had already spilled all over the date. Or are you saying that there's no room for things to be two-way, and I just have to be mothered without getting to offer anything back?" He shot her a little challenging look that couldn't overpower his smile. "Remember who you're talking about, luv. The world could end tomorrow, you might never get a chance for a second date. Can't go holding back on the first date like that, now, can we? I mean... if you weren't enjoying yourself, that's fine, you can just say so and I'll let the whole matter drop, but I certainly enjoyed my self."

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#26
“No ah can’t say I wasn’t.” Well there was part of the problem she’d been raised with certain expectations and while she considered herself a liberal enlightened woman...somethings lingered.

So yes. It was ok for Pete to ‘spread his emotional baggage’ on the first date and it wasn’t for her.

Belle also had caregivers nature and despised being a burden, especially to people she cared about.

Most of her self worth was tied directly into how much support and yes ‘mothering’ she could give her friends, it was, in a world filled with superheroes and magic the one thing that made her unique. And to have the tables turned...Belle honestly didn’t have good healthy responses.




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#27
Pete gave her a little half smirk, then reached across the table, running his thumb over her cheek. “Well, there ya have it, luv,” he said. “Come on, now. Look at me, luv. What, exactly, about me says that being with someone perfect would even pretend to work? I’m a bloody train wreck, and you’re definitely out of my league in any case, but at the very least you can let me meet you instead of the socially acceptable bits, aye?” And, of course, then his smile took a bit of a naughty tone. “Besides, some of the best parts of people aren’t socially acceptable,” he teased.

He pulled back, reaching for his tea, watching the steam curl off of the cup for a moment before he went on. “I’m a spy, luv. Most of the people I know are either pretending to be something they’re not or else hiding the best parts of what make them tick. I’d rather not have another person showing me just how good they are at pretending everything’s great when everything most certainly isn’t. We’re none of us perfect, but we only let the people we like see the proof of it.”

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#28
She’d tried to explain that it was just that they hardly knew each other and it went against every polite bone in her body to have broken down so violently. His own exposure was..well it was different darn it!

“Do you really want to hear that all ah want is ta find a man to love me and just me?” She replied softly glancing down at her clasped hands -“that I don’t know what my next five years look like anymore but ah crave a house full of babies? Doesn’t have to be rich, just full of love an’ the rest will work out?” Belle looked up, meeting his eyes “- I didn’t expect you to be the settling down type, an’ maybe that’s dishonest of me. You are very handsome-“ her cheeks pinked at the admission “- an’ even if it went nowhere ah just wanted to have a date or three with someone out of my league.” Because he was a spy, even with her little touches into the world of super hero’s and capes Belle would never believe herself to be a match for that sort of man.

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#29
Pete met her eyes unflinchingly, and just shot out the answer to her probably-rhetorical question. “Yes, luv, I do.” Maybe he was being a touch defiant, but bloody hell, if a girl had been hurt or abandoned, she deserved to be able to at least mention it without panicking, aye? Let a bloke know what the baggage was at the onset at least, then he knows if he needs to stay away and risk making it worse or charge in headlong. “Although I’m fairly sure that having a house full of babies would be quite the uteran feat,” he teased. Yes, it was just a figure of speech, he was fairly sure she didn’t admire those prats that went and set themselves up with octuplets and whatnot… bloody hell, at least he hoped it was a figure of speech.

“I don’t rightly know what sort I am,” Pete admitted. “Can’t say I’ve ever had the opportunity to really figure it out. I’m not going to go be all morose and declare myself unfit to be a father or any emo rubbish like that, but it’s not something I’ve ever had a chance to think about. Aye, maybe I’m not for you, and I’m not going to go blaming you if that’s what you decide, but… I guess figuring that out’s supposed to be the point of all this, aye?”
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#30
He-

Belle blinked, he wasn’t-

Alright she hadn’t expected him to actually run screaming but do demure that he wasn’t that sort of man? That he wouldn’t make a good husband and father? That she’d been willing to lay money on; so the non dismissive answer - well it rather threw her for a loop!

“Doesn’t have ta be babies of my own, ah wanted to adopt a brood along with any I had with my husband-“ she was startled enough to share openly her deepest goals. “My brother and I are adopted-“ she wasn’t sure if she ever mentioned that- “there’s so many children that just need a home, love -“ Belle flushed realizing she was getting overly passionate again, and she needed to listen to him.

‘If you decide-‘

Belle glanced down at her hands “but you’d, you’d want to keep-“ she had to let out a little breathless chuckle at how juvenile it all sounded - “keep dating, knowing all that?”

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#31
He’d still want to keep dating her? Pete smirked, reaching across the table again and letting his fingers trace over her knuckles. “Luv, if we keep dating? We’re not going to be adopting kids next week or any bloody thing. I just told you, I don’t know what sort of bloke I am in that regard, but it’s not like the idea scares me or any such rubbish.”

“Besides… goals are good. Goals are great. In the end, though? Your goals or my goals today might not be the same ones in a year, who the hell knows? This? This is about finding out what life is, isn’t it? Finding out what life is with me in your life and vice versa, and what sort of beautiful chaos that includes. I’d rather find out what two weeks from now with you is like before I figure out what five years from now is like.” He considered it a moment, running one too-warm finger down the back of her hand.
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#32
Belle giggled, than bit off the sound hating how she giggled, but the genuine smile remained; she enjoyed the long moment of silence, she was exhausted, physically, but mentally the conversation had refreshed her spirit.

“Can I ask?” She opened with, resting a finger over the back of his warm hand “what sorta meta you are? Or is that rude?”

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#33
Pete cocked an eyebrow at that question, then shrugged. "Don't know that it'd be rude, I just figured everyone already knew." He held up his opposite hand, manifesting fingertips of hotknives with a flourish. "What you see is what you get, luv. No silly hidden powers or extras for me. Well, unless you count being harder to burn, it sort of comes with the territory." With a shake of his hand, the hotknives fizzled out, and his fingertips began rapidly cooling. "Made me a natural for all sorts of unsavory assignments, but when you're good at something, you're good at something."

He fixed his eyes on hers with a cockeyed smile, reaching out and brushing a knuckle over her cheek. "You want the truth, luv? You have a good five-year plan, or however long it's supposed to take to get there. For me to want it? You need to want it because of me. As long as I'm important to the process for me? Well, then, I can't see any problem with things shaping out the way you see it."

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#34
The wonder she found in others special abilities never faded; the redhead held up her fingers as close as she dared to his, watching the flicker of the vibrant light; it was as though she was next to a furnace. Yes she’d seen it before but...now it was new and fascinating again.

Belle nodded, he was very right; the man in her dreams might be indistinct but the kind of man, who he was, was very important to her, not just anyone would fill that gap. And of she didn’t love him for him...how could she ask him to love her for her?

“Did you...do you enjoy the ‘unsavory’ things?” She needed to get to know him better, ask those questions that she’d have avoided to have pleasant, fun dates.

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#35
The lady seemed like she was finally sliding into the right program. It wasn’t about trying to find a husband or a means to having a load of children. That was something that could end up happening, aye, but this? This was about knowing each other. It was about an age-old question: Will this person love me? Can I love them?

“Sometimes I did,” he admitted. “There were some things that needed doing, and I made sure to do them. Sometimes, it was a challenge, sometimes it was someone that I could particularly enjoy taking my specialized skills against, yes. Most of the time, though…” He trailed off, then just shook his head, not meeting her eyes for a moment.

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#36
Belle licked her lips as he spoke; she heard the pain in the things unsaid, he’d done things he wasn’t proud of, he’d made that clear before, but now she was seeing that it had been a major part of his work. Just - “what are your ‘special skills’?” She wasn’t sure she wanted to know, but if she was going to see him as more than a few fun dates..it was a question she needed to have answered.

“Are you still...Are you still using them?” She was a touch confused at his actual status, he seemed to be more of a manger? Now?

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#37
Did she really need him to spell it out? Pete offered her a pained smile. “I shoot fire from my fingers that can cut through steel. There’s exactly one skillset that government work wants that sort of thing for. I was the one that was sent in when they wanted an entire situation reduced to ash.” It sounded better than ‘I was a government-sponsored murderer,’ didn’t it? “Then, after I had enough clout, my skill set was repurposed to managing the intelligence networks and superhuman happenings in Britain.” He couldn’t help smirking a bit there. MI-13 had been his pride and joy, after all. “I ever tell you about the time I conned an army of vampires into immolating itself? No? Maybe later, this isn’t really the time, now, is it.”

“So no, I can’t say I do much in the way of assassinations anymore. Been in a few fights here and there, but I think that you’re legally obligated to do that if you have a super power, aye?”
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#38
Yes she needed to ask because as Belle had learned; there were so many shades of grey in even the ‘heroic’ world that his ‘special skills’ could have involved things that would shake her to her soul to hear spelled out. “Ah don’t approve of murder.” but she was realistic enough to know it happened, and perhaps even sometimes very rarely was the only option.

“You could work construction, engineering.” she pointed out, feeling the need to touch those hands which by his own admission where bloody long before he left behind the billions of his world. “Ah-” Belle’s features twisted, “Tell me if i’m asking too much too far but- “ she needed to hear the details, she was learning that ignoring a person's past and focusing on who they were now...it got her into trouble. “There's some folk i know, that i count as friends that...well I know they could do things, an’ maybe even enjoy it-” Belle couldn't bring herself to say the words ‘torture’ “But I don’t think I could...be with someone that was still like that.” the past was one thing but...the idea of the man she loved brutalizing someone regardless of how well ‘deserved’ the punishment was...it tore at her heart.

“I know you said you don’t plan for the tomorrow that might never come but-” Belle’s thumb stroked over his finger tips, seemingly headless of the potential danger, “What does your perfect world look like?”
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#39
“I’m not a big fan of it myself, luv,” he said. “And I can’t say that the buggers I was working for at the time were the most honest black ops group ever. I helped make sure that they went completely out of business, after all, but that’s getting ahead of myself.” He picked up his tea again, taking a drink, collecting his thoughts. “It makes you sick when it first gets assigned. They give you the dossier, and it’s always something that’s hard to argue with. Here’s an arms dealer that’s going to be selling chemical weapons to ‘freedom fighters.’ Here’s a terrorist cell that’s going to bomb a civilian area. Here’s the inner circle of a human trafficking ring. Now, here’s some money, a plane ticket, and the information. Go do something about it.”

“I thought about quitting every time, but then you walk through the city and really look at it. You see all the people, all the families, especially all the little ankle-biters playing in the parks. You look at all that, and you remember that there are scores of people just like them whose lives are most assuredly being actively destroyed by these people, and… well, it stops being so much of a choice to make. I’ve hated myself for the things I’ve done, but I can’t say I wish I hadn’t done them. That’d be a bit like someone going back and killing Hitler in 1933 and then wishing he’d never pulled the trigger. But no, I can’t say I’ve ever enjoyed doing anything I’ve done.”

He pondered her question, giving it some actual consideration, and just let himself ramble a bit on the subject. “Well, not having the world bloody ending would be a start, but let’s be serious now, I suppose. My perfect world would… well, it’d have a lot of people in it that can’t be there anymore, I know that much. I don’t need a lot, though. Someone that can actually bloody listen to me- not obey, mind you, I’ve had my fill of that, but can actually listen to what I’m saying and get it. Get me. I mean… I’m not a prize, really, when you get down to it, but I’m not a demon or anything. It’d be nice to have a world where someone’s actually excited to see me and not… oh, I don’t know, scared, scheming.” He smirked a little. “Sounds dull for a dream, I know.”
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#40
Something deep inside her uncoiled at his words, here was a good man who struggled daily to make the right choices, who lived with those choices and would not easily make them again if the need arose. Unconsciously she nodded along, this...this was the type of man she could take into her heart, her home..her bed.

His dream...it was not so far from hers was it? To come home and see her husbands face light up- to see her in his eyes every morning when they woke up and be the last thing he thought of before bed….yes it was a simple kind of dream.

“Nothing wrong with simple dreams.” she smiled, ducking her head. Belle hadn’t been prepared for this sort of compatibility, she...she was at a loss, a blush creeping up her cheeks, because suddenly there was potential here. A potential that lit electricity down her nerves, more than the purely sexual attraction that drew her to his sardonic good looks like she was sure so many other women, but...something more.

He was a man she could love.

“Noone is a ‘prize’ everyone has their oddness, things they dont want anyone to see.”

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