The Olive Grove

A scene between Lilith Al'Khoury (as played by FMB) and Jan Torez (as played by ThePolice)

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Musical Tones ~ from ThePolice


Lilith leads Jan towards the dorm and heads inside, she makes her way up a floor and heads for her room. As she digs for her key in her bag she turns back to him, "I apologize for my room." She struggles to get the key in and unlock the door, "it was unfortunate."

She pushes open the door and walks it, picking off her flats just inside the door. The room is dim with the fading light of the day, she's taken the dull dorm room and done what she can. There's a colorful throw on the bed, she's hung a few pictures on the wall with tape. A trunk near the wall is spilled open with a collection of clothes and an odd amount of stuffed animals and toys that seem more age appropriate for someone half her age.

"Im sure its fine. My room is a warzone," He chuckles softly at this, not betraying how obvious the truth is. As he sees the room however, he smiles, with some sincerity. "See, this isn't so bad." Jan takes his backpack off, and lets it fall beside the door, taking off his shoes as well, and leaving them beside it. Walking over to the bed she sets her backpack down on the floor.

"Thank you," she says as she sets Andrea down on the bed, "you can close the door if you want." Doing so, Jan cautiously closes it so as to not disturb the other rooms, and begins looking for a spot to sit.

"You are quite minimalist on furniture I see. I feel this spartan motif is a staple of this place." He says looking around. "This place was designed like that I think. For sparseness, nothing to catch the eyes, like an echo chamber for our attentions like all schools really."

Lilith picks up a few pieces of clothes and tries to move them aside. The only two places to sit are the bed or the desk chair with a few stuffed animals on it. Andrea is taking his time walking around the room and slowly one by one grabbing stuffed animals that are limp on the floor and picking them up. "It's awful," she says, "I hate to say it, but it is just awful. There is no color and the furniture is awful."

Jan takes the open chair for himself, resting his still covered hands on his knees, as he watches Andrea run amok. "Its the state of american public institutions. Some disgusting product of funding scarcity and bureaucracy that became its own style of neglect." Jan stays silent, watching for Lilith to finish, his own charade of small talk exhausted on this topic.

Lilith gives up on her fight to do any amount of cleaning, and heads over to the bed. She sits down on the edge, smoothing her skirt as she does. "American schooling was mocked in Amman," she says, "but it is a well trended topic." She looks over at him from the bed and doesn't know what to say.

Jan senses a growing tenseness and pulls up his sleeves, revealing his hands. Still red, and raw across the knuckles, some place still shaped oddly and swollen where bones had broken. He begins to speak as he gives her his attention. "The echo, that develops in this blankness, is overwhelming," He says rubbing his hands, trying to revive their feeling through the numbness. "It makes us all suffer greatly. I would be beside myself to pretend I am unaffected."

Jan hates the tenseness, a slip of reality, trying to take control away, and for barriers between himself and others. His thoughts race as he formulates and reformulates his plan, before continuing. "I should be more honest, especially to you who is more alienated than many."

Lilith recoils a bit visibly when she sees his hands. She places a hand over her mouth and mutters something in arabic as she sees them. The stuffed animals that had been meandering in the room stop for a beat before moving again. She doesn't speak up at his comments, trying to cipher through them. A nervous tick appears as she reaches up to adjust a pin in her hijab. She echoes as he says it, "more alienated?" There a bit of disbelief in her voice, "I don't follow you Jan. You're speaking in riddles."

Jan, again forces his soft smile, though looking down for show. "I dont meant to step over myself, but even here with so many others from around the world, the American psyche still prevails." He stops and glances at the stuffed parade. "The people who trap us here are crude, and now as I realize, play us as their captive weapons of war." He rubs his hands again more softly, trying to let them set themselves straight, a small clattering of peices is heard, as the gel still works its magic, setting bone, and righting injury.

"I would very much not like to be as them, but I was overcome with rage earlier. Bud means a great deal to me, and I have not heard him speak to me since I was much younger." He stops and looks to Lillith, "I do not know what it is like for you, and your small friends, but I would like to learn, and be kinder.

She fidgets uneasily on the edge of the bed, her hand plays with the hem of her pleated skirt. The thought had entered her mind, her Father had warned her of the hatred her devotion might cause. There was still a fear of persecution even in this place. Lilith ponders over the words, she has reservations like anyone about the people running the institution. Though she has looked for the positive in it all she starts to wonder herself. She doesn't smile at the comment, she doesn't feel much at the kindness of his words, she only feels a sickness in her stomach.

As the knot turns over she says ,"that's very nice of you Jan. I would hope everyone would be so understanding." She follows his gaze to watch a large stuffed turtle with Andrea and another stuffed bear riding it slowly across the room.

Jan feels an opening, a sleight made clear. "We cant all be, well, good people, but we can try not be monsters to each other, or like that thing out there." Jan repulses visibly, thinking of the machine eyed girl, whose mind and dreams were barren and dead.

Thinking for a moment she keeps her gaze away from him. "I don't know," she says as he brings up the girl, "I haven't even talked to her yet. She might be nice or something, I don't know." There's a bit of trepidation in her voice at this drawing of lines in the proverbial sand.

"I saw who, and what she is." He says, diving for his opening. "She isn't alive, and she doesn't have a soul. If she is a part of gods plan she is a challenge for the able, and the wise to destroy. So, I should tell you, because my power," He catches himself, keen to play to her, "My god given nature, is different than yours. Less external." He adjusts himself, laying his hands out and rubbing them on his pants legs, making sure to not seem nervous playing with his loose fabric.

"I see and feel dreams." He says, speaking bluntly, allowing himself to stare into Lilliths eyes, his smile, in practiced movements, turning lower, and to seriousness. Lilith mutters a short, "oh." There's a few visible acknowledgements at the invocation of Allah's name. She still seems uneasy to talk about their 'powers' but still seems more hooked on his words. Andrea has made his way away from the rest of the stuffed animals and is standing next to Jan.

She flicks her eyes to his hand movements, more worried about their injuries than their motions. "That's," she looks for the right word, "complex, is it not?"

Jan smiles, a bait well taken, and begins again. "It is a spectrum, an art. I see much of who and what people really are, and more importantly in the case of it, what they aren't." He lets his hands rest, the numbness returning, upon each other in his lap. "I also inadvertently have grown to enjoy the hobby of reading the meaning of dreams." He lets his smile fall somewhat, another calculated motion in his plan. "I find it helps me take comfort in my own troubles sleeping. And what little I see when I do."

Lilith leans down and beckons Andrea back over to her. He turns and slowly meanders over towards her. "You haven't," she says, "someone would know if you tried to right?" She reaches over and turns on a small light she's attached to the bed's headboard, as the dying light of the day is almost gone.

Jan lets his smile turn to worry, "Well, no, no, if someone does not invite me to their mind, they would feel my presence." He clears his throat quietly, and prepares for what comes next. "It is impossible for a force to act without being acted upon, in this case, you would have felt my mind, if I had felt yours." He mocks some embarrassment, "I-it would be rude, to touch a friends mind, let alone a girls, without her permission."

Lilith has some of the worry wash off her face at the confirmation, she picks Andrea up off the floor and sets him in her lap. "That's good to know," she says as some red begins to flush her cheeks. Her thoughts wander to the fact that she's in her room with a boy and with the door closed. Her Father would never have let it happen. "You uhm," she says in a concerned voice, "when Bud and I." There's a pause, "did you feel that?"

Jan shakes his head. And tries to hide a fair amount of shame. He laughs softly. "Bud, he, well. He Isn't from me, or rather, not a part of me. I didn't feel a thing. He lets his left and most injured hand rest, moves his fallen hair from his eyes, and makes contact again, letting his soft smile show again.

"Oh," she says sounding reassured. "I would never, like," she tries to dance around the words as much as she can, playing with Andrea's paw as she does. "I would never without permission," she says with as much conviction as she can muster. Lilith meets his gaze and returns the smile as she looks at the disheveled boy in front of her. The knot in her stomach as turned another way and she isn't sure what she should do besides use Andrea as a shield.

Jan, senses his opening has been blown open, and shut other paths, a trifle. He leans forward. "Bud," He says starting carefully, "Was from a friend of mine. A long time ago, he was pretty lively. Not too far off from Andrea, aside from being able to talk to me." He stares off past her, getting caught in his own snare of wistfulness. "I'm curious, and you can go ahead and not answer if you like, but what did he tell you? I want terribly to know what is wrong with him, but I cant communicate with him anymore, he has shut himself off from me."

Lilith leans forward as he does, as if they're sharing whispered words far away from any prying ears. She sticks to his words as he talks about Bud, squeezing Andrea with the story. Andrea protests by waving his arms and legs under her grip. He straightens again, looking at her, his smile fading to a look of worry.

Looking down at Andrea she thinks for a moment, she keeps leaned towards his words. "I don't remember," she says quickly. It's a little too quickly and too practiced, quicker than her other comments. "I think there was something like," she thinks, "he wanted me to stop. It was hurting him." She glances across the room at the circus of stuffed animals performing by a pile of clothes. "I don't like it when they're hurt," she says, "I don't like it when anyone gets hurt." At the last comment her eyes finish on his hands and their wounds.

Jans mind races, his eyes turning rapidly across her body language as she glances away, and returning to her face as she looks back. He looks down at his own hands, and back up again at the struggling bear. "Please." He says, quietly, just above a whisper. "I wont be upset, I'm not mad anymore." He says, his face mournful. "Did he say anything else?" Jans eyes, look deep, and dead, unlike the rest of his features, set so far back with the pain of sleep deprivation. Though the rest of him is not withered, it is unnerving, the surealness of it.

Lilith looks into his eyes for an extended beat. There's a bit of sincerity in her eyes as she looks into his. It's hard for her to look at him and she squeezes Andrea even tight. "Bud said," she says with a bit of reverberation in her breath. "He said you, you don't treat him nicely anymore. He said you," she pauses as she takes a jolted breath.

"You don't talk to him or play with him," there a bit of pain in her eyes but she doesn't look away. The twinkle of tears forming in the bottom of her eyes reflect the soft pain in her voice.

Jan goes blank. Some desperate part of him disapearing and screaming into the depths of his mind. Running havok with a desperate thought turned to a daunting reality. "He…" Jan trails. His face sinking into his rising hands, holding himself steady. His act depletes itself as he runs the gambit of grief. "Oh god, no please." He whispers. "Hes gone deaf now too." A single tear escapes his control, running off his nose to his pants. He turns up, and to Lillith, "This is all so underhanded, but, I…" He turns away, "Have had my theories."

He gets that same distant wistful look. "I always remembered Bud being so alive, I, I just didnt notice when he got older. He used to just get tired, he never used to get tired, and then." He stops. "Shes going to die." He says hopelessly. Tears on his cheeks.

Lilith looks a little taken back, she isn't completely comprehending the thought. She says in a softer tone, "what?" As she shifts farther to the edge of the bed she begins to pet Andrea in her lap. "Are you sure that's it?"

"I had to start carrying him, and he never stayed up with me late at night anymore. When…" He stops to wipe his face. "He got so quiet, I couldn't believe it when he told me he couldn't see me one morning."

Lilith says in a panicked voice, "no!" She almost falls off the edge of the bed as she does. "Wait, Bud is a girl?" She almost curses herself for not picking up on it when she played with Bud. "They don't," she tries to rationalize as a few errant tears fall onto her cheek, "they can't die!"

There's a few sniffed back panic tears as the stuffed animals in the room begin to congregate around the two of them. The light on her best barely frames their conversation and the light outside is almost gone.

He realizes his mistake only as Lilith speaks. The genie is loose. "He… Was from a friend of mine." He says. Looking distant. "Hes all I have of her now. And he is dying."

It's soft, but Lilith lets out a pained cry. There's nothing holding back the tears now. The pent up frustration of everything that's happened, the international relocation. The new school, all these people, having to face everything. She found comfort in her fuzzy little friends, there was no way they could ever leave her. Death was always a distant thing for her and facing it like this is hard for a hormonal young girl to handle. She's crying, Andrea held up to her face as she sputters out a few questions in Arabic to Jan.

He throws himself to grief, seeing that Lilith is similarly vulnerable. He fights to quell his weakness, but it drowns him, his desperation to control her dying to his sadness. His face sinks to his gnarled and abused hands again. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, this was a mistake. I should have never let them take me, or come here." he says his tears, his face only turning to Lilith as she speaks. He barely chokes out the words. "W-" *A gulp and a cough* "What?"

Tears are soaked up by Andrea's fuzz, something he has become used to over the years. As he folds to the pressure she starts anew with her crying. "This isn't right Jan," she says in a pained voice, her accent is heavy. "None of this is right, I don't want to be here anymore. I want to go home."

Jan, shakes with chill, his ruined hands like ice on his skin, he wishes beyond wishing that Bud was here, that he could spend everyone of his last moments with him. He looks up again to Lilith, Andrea clutched so desperately close. He should feel jealousy, he knows jealousy, but all he can feel is despair and longing.

Carefully leaving the chair, he makes his way around the parade of panicked animals to the bed and sits at her side, gently pulling her to his chest and looking to the sky "Why did any of this have to happen?" He wonders aloud. He eyes see nothing as he stares to a place only he can ever go.

Lilith tries in vain to wipe away some of the tears with the sleeve of her sweater. Andrea is holding her as much as a stuffed animal can. She folds easily and leans into him, it would usually be a school mate back home, so it is right that it is a school mate now. She buries her face against him as she curls up with Andrea.

It's a loud and pained cry that she has lets out, there's a torrid past under her photogenic life. "Allah will never love me," she says in a cracking voice, "my parents will never accept me." The tears she shed when her Father yelled, the mourning her Mother had for their only daughter, it all reverberates in that stoic grey dormitory.

Jan spends a long time, or at least a long time to him, buried in that distant place, he doesn't feel Lilith against him, he doesn't feel how warm she is. He feels ice. As he thinks in his kingdom, alone in a hall only he walks, he begins to understand. He looks across the wounded marble, deathly with the creeping grey that marches up the arches, from the snow beyond this windows.

There is no light, as he realizes what has happened. And retreats the halls, long leering faces of those he has left behind framed for his musing. There goes father, and mothers disapproving scowl. There goes Kate, In her distant misery, there goes his gang from school, as dead as the landscape, and creeping. At last he sees the faded shape of Bud, who once dominated his canvas. Shrunken like a worm in the sun. His fur matted and whispy thin, he screams and pulls himself back.

He hears Lilliths pain as she lets herself crumble in his arms, and even as the realization of Buds nature manifests, he feels the waves of agony that slough from her wracked mind. He moves a hand to stroke her hair and hums a song he no longer remembers, some childish rhyme that once meant the world to him, but he cant recapture.

Lilith cries into his sweater and lets them run their course. The many stuffed animals in the room have gone limp around the two of them and even Andrea doesn't move at her soft sobbing anymore. She doesn't recoil from his touch, she lets him pull her hijab from her hair and pull it from it's shroud. Her thick hair moving with his hand.

One arm holds Andrea to her chest, and the other searches across him and tentatively lays on his battered and bloody hand. It's hard for her, and it takes a while for it to rest there on the broken hand. "Why have we been forsaken?" She asks in a soft tone between sporadic soft weeping. "Why us Jan, why?"

"You are beautiful," he says wishfully, still distant in his gaze as he turns his attention from her hair to her careful hands. "You should not weep for scorn." he says watching her hold him, as he cradles her. "We are the lost, as there will always be." He sniffles, clearing his nose, and craning his neck to wipe his still warm tears on his own shoulder.

"Fate wounds us all horribly." He says, and continues to hum, rocking slowly, with measured grace. His strength rallies to his weakness, and he wrests some control, his desperate plans winning out. He smiles a small wicked smile to himself, now assured his work has not been in vain.

Lilith is comforted slightly by the words, she's weak from the crying and her head is pounding. Her stocking clad feet dance just on the edge of the floor as they hang over the edge. "We're never going to leave here, are we," she says in a defeated tone. Her soft hands have never seen much work in their life, but for all the privilege she has had she is still here behind these walls.

Jan, braces himself, for the words he knew he would have to one day utter. "We will die in the service of these monsters." He says coldly.

There's a muted cry from her trembling lips, "why do the other students walk around without care?" She lifts her head from his chest and lays it on his shoulder, "I just want to sleep and wake up at home." Jan leaves his idle hands in Lilliths, and reaching for a better angle, cradles her more gently to himself. Still humming.

He things silently, even as a few arrogant tears still flee from him, wetting his face. "Men dream even when waking. I can see it, I see it everywhere. They see themselves earning praise, and gaining renown, like we aren't a shadow, hidden beneath these always present hands. They all hope in someway they still have a fate to choose. Some still think of college, of home, of seeing family for visits that wont come." He lets his smile fade to his own pessimistic scowl.

"Its disgusting the way we have been deluded." He remembers a bar he had forgotten, somehow returned to him by grace and timeliness, and continues to hum and he thinks. "I don't think the home any of us left exists anymore." He finishes, as he allows himself cling somewhat harder to Lilith, despite himself, he enjoys her feeling against himself immensely. She reminds him of better days.

Lilith listens to him like a dutiful student would listen to a lecturer. "I'm scared," she says as she closes her eyes and loses herself in the comforting embrace. The room is quiet beyond his humming and her sporadic tears. The soft light next to the bed shines onto her tight covered thighs and illuminates their gently held hands. Her strained eyes look down on the dichotomy in his land between the ruined hands and her soft undamaged ones. They're a world apart even now.

Jan stops humming a moment, his thoughts catching up to him. The way is clear and barren like a distant ocean, all defenses cleared along the ruined beachhead, even as the waves crash down upon it. Mustering himself, he slips that distant, estranged limb, from its coil, and a chill air runs up his spine, and down Lilith's, as he prods, and pokes, and eases

Its way into her, and nestles itself in some phantom realm. Thoughts flow slowly, like an estranged riverbed, welcoming back a stream it no longer remembers. They fill empty spaces slowly, as they acclimate to the alien substance.

There's a whimper as Lilith feels a string of cold down her spine. Instinctively she pulls closer to Jan to try and warm up from the unnatural breeze. Her eye lids press closed and her breathing slows to a gentle sway with the erratic interrupts of her crying aftershocks. There's an unsettling touch at the back of her mind, but the black oil of discontent with her life and the spill of it from her insecurities make an easy way for the frigid intruder to settle itself in the valley of her mind.

Jan, sniffs down eddies, and down corners, finding the iridescent orb he hunts for, easing towards the vibrant soul, this time, forcefully inserting himself, feeling Lilith's true mind, that dark Id, which hides its uncontested reign on true emotion. The gentle river basin settles to his invasion, accommodating it, as if no show of force had been made. As Jan reaches his mark, he begins to hum again from the beginning, as he lets Lilith's inner mind flow into his grasp, and flows his own to a bubbling melting in their meeting.

There's a jolt as Lilith shakes and shivers against him. A few whimpers of contest escape her lips but she only leans farther into him. The humming echoes through the barren room as she is pulled into the deep recesses of her mind.

Soft wind rustles through the olive orchard. They're young trees that have seen years of tender care and a fostering that is almost a little too loving. It rolls over the soft verdant hill and invites Jan into it. It's serene here and only the uptick in the wind besets the recent rainfall.

Jan continues to hum, before trailing off into a low, quiet, elegy, the words are almost inaudible, but you can feel their sincerity as he painfully sings at just above a whisper, and delves to join you in the valley. "The cypress… Then the Shore"

Jan, creeps forth from under tree and grass, like some figment shade released from a distant pocket. He forms not as is he, but as we was, a dim, and pale thought of his childhood face, before he regresses into his age. As he looks through the shaded trees, and the still wet air, he works his magic. His body meanwhile continues its gentle rocking, and singing "I sought comfort, In the Foam."

Lilith is unsure of herself, and fidgets on the bed at the prospect of self. There she is, standing below the budding olive tree. Her hair flowing with the soft tenacity of the wind. The sun frames her face as she looks towards him. She holds the same bucket she always had, carrying a weight she's collected for years. She watches him walk through her orchard.

Jan calls up a distant wind, some fallen thought left to grow, the wind of turmoil, spilling from the same hidden place he himself stepped, it cradles at his side as he strides, confident in a realm he can understand again. The wind whips the grass playfully, before settling down in Jans long cast shadow. Jan waves as he sees Lilith, the real Lilith, as she always was and will be, among the olive blooms.

Watching him as he walks, she has to brush a few strands of hair from his face to clear her mind. Her soft white dress flutters in the breeze and frames her mature frame. Lifting a hand tentatively from her bucket, she waves back to him.

His rocking slows considerably, from its already slow pace, as he again strokes her hair, and sings, even as he marches to see her in that distant place. "The wind heals the pain, A pale November rises" He breaths softly, to tickle her barely, and ease her, "You know how the days gone by"

Her frame is still against him, her whole self focusing on that picture of self. It's not unsettling to her, it's not painful, it's not exciting, and it's not fun. Perhaps it's comforting, maybe she can stay a while.

As Jan finishes his slow stride, he marvels at her honest beauty, so soft in its humbleness. He himself, looks worlds apart his waking self, wearing an old word red cloak, and a tilted silver band upon his brow. His eyes bright, and flush with dreaming power awoken.

As he reaches her, only an arms reach away, he bows to the soft grass, and upon a knee extends a wisped hand. Figment smoke blowing, from his phantom attire, he looks like a man of ages gone, dressed in what once must have passed as a kings garb. "I see, and am seen," He says calmly, in a voice you don't recognize, strong with true confidence.

The self Jan dreams of, speaks to her, "As surely as fire shall burn us, and water does wet us," He says easing his hand farther and leaning into his kneel, "Together peace can be found, forever." He speaks, rhyming like a haunting poet. Living Jan continues as he strokes her downy hair, and finishes at last "Even night sought shelter, Under the plain masks of daylight"

Lilith looks down at him with the pause of someone so unsure of their place in the world they don't think they have the courage to go on. She reaches out a hand towards his and lets it hold away from his for a full measure, before she softly whispers in a voice as soft as a whisper. "I'm glad you've come to visit," she looks down at him with her piercing green eyes. "Thank you."

"It has been an age since I have known such a gorgeous mind." He says, casting his gaze from her hand, to her face, beaming. He stands, hands still shared. Jans eyes open slowly, as he again admires the gentle woman in his arms.

Lilith breaks into a soft smile, it says all that needs to be said. Her eyes open and she's pulled from the olive orchard. She sits there for sometime holding his hand and pondering what this is, what all of it means to her.

Jan is content to not break the silence, letting his hand fall gently from her hair, and moving the hand that cradles his, going around her side, her now wholly in his grasp.

Thank you for showing me," Lilith says in a tone soft enough to not break the mood of the small room. Jan smiles, the most honest smile he has worn in his life, a smile which his soft mimic does great diservice do, though she cannot see it. A smile he has not had since he was a child.

"Dreams are beautiful, they should belong to the waking too, I feel" he says calmly. Turning to the dead night outside, he falters. and turns again to the graveyard of plush beasts at their feet.

Jan flicks his wrist,a single olive bud appearing in his palm. He adjusts himself, turning his hand over, and with both places it carefully in Lilith's open hand. He then moves awkwardly, to free himself, slowly working out of the embrace.

Lilith echoes the sentiment, "I have never had such a beautiful dream." She lifts her head from his shoulder but still doesn't look at him for fear of seeing a look of derision, hoping that it all isn't some ruse or false memory.

Lilith lets the olive sit in her hand, her eyes falling to it. She sits up from him and sits on the edge of the bed alone, she turns her gaze to look at him. "Is this," she starts and trails off as she looks to him.

Jan's smile, is true, and beaming. "As fire shall surely burn us, and water shall surely wet s, It is real." He meets her eyes, again, some distant, phantom light flashing behind his eyes.

There's a childish glee hidden in her emerald eyes as she looks at him. Some genuine delight and a fresh breath in her lungs. "Are we, uhm," she says as she holds the olive in her lap, "like you and me." Her cheeks turn cherry red as she talks and her deep brown hair bounces a little with the movements of her head to frame her face.

Jan, carefully, with measured grace, moves the hair from her eyes. His smile not fading a moment, his own cheeks brightening. A flush confuses, and entices Jan's mind, that old demon that crept when man first saw woman. "We are more intimate now than any man and woman that has ever lived," He says, wrapped in a fog of dreaminess, "I Imagine we must be."

At this he leans to chastely peck her cheek. His eyes, and their drowning blackness having almost entirely ebbed, he looks more human than he ever has, wrapped in their brightness.

With his words and soft touch, her face turns to look down at her lap. She feels a burn through her face as he gives the gentle kiss on her cheek. It's different than the ones her friends exchange, or the ones her parents give her. "Thank you for talking to me," she says as she tries to hide the awkward shifting of her fluctuating hormonal self.

"It's late, we should be getting to bed," Lilith says. She takes a moment before she stands up from the bed and is acutely aware of how she looks without her hijab, hair flowing down, in the intimate space of her room.

Jan catches himself from his deepening clouds, that grimness in his distant kingdom returning as the time, and his situation catching his again. He gently stands, Moving aside that Lilith would move freely. "Indeed," He says, for only a moment catching one last glance at his home. "Will I see you tomorrow?" He says as he silently removes his backpack from the floor, and slips on a shoe.

Lilith follows him as he picks up his stuff and watches him as he does. "Of course," she says with a playful giggle to break herself out of the somber tone, "we go to the same school."

Jan's soft smile returns, some distant glow of his true face still beaming through. He casually laughs, at his own well made mistake. "I suppose thats true. Sleep well, and make beautiful dreams Lilith," Jan says as he dons his last shoe, his voice lingering with his last words, as he silently opens the door and eases it closed behind him.

Lilith makes sure he closes the door and gives it a second before locking it. As she walks into into the room she plops down on the floor next to the many stuffed animals. Andrea slowly pulls himself up off the floor and straightens up, walking over to her. She smiles at him and whispers a few quick prayers in Arabic as she thinks about the interaction.

In the hall, Jan removes his pencil case, and pops it open, a list only he knows shows itself, and beside Lilith's name, he marks with a carefully sharpened pencil, etches a heart, and the room number. One down, so much still to do, he muses as he walks the empty halls, in both worlds.

Lifting her hand she inspects the olive in her hand. There's a beat of trepidation but she wants to buy into the warmth in her heart. Lifting it up she pops it into her mouth and slowly eats it. Andrea looks up at her expectantly, as she begins to giggle from the butterflies in her stomach. She looks down at the teddy bear and says in joy.

"It was just like home."


A new painting sits upon the wall, its graceful frame of gentle silver olive branches. It shows an elegant orchard, and a heartswept girl in a summer dress. The disgusting eggshell walls around him are as black as pitch in the glow of its radiance, as he makes his way to the ground floor, and out the front doors.

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