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Miranda_ 10-12-2011 09:24 PM

Collab Chapter Two: Pripyat
Second part of collab with Queenie. Posted in separate posts due to character limit.


It was a few days later, and Damien was currently at Kiev airport with Rose. The flight had been fairly uneventful, despite some slight turbulance halfway through, and despite the early hour, Damien was feeling fine. Kiev airport was just as busy as the airport in Chicago, though it was a different kind of bustle. Damien led Rose to the luggage carosel; he hadn't brought much with him, just a rucksack which could have bottles of water and food put in it when they bought supplies in Kiev. After they'd left the airport, they'd then have to collect their permit for visiting Pripyat, and also arrange transportation. Because Damien had no intention of going along for the ride with other people who might want to know what they were up to, he planned to hire a motorbike with the temporary credentials he'd been given by Azhdeha. That way, he and Rose could travel alone; all they'd have to do would be to hand their permit to the guards at the checkpoint.

While they were waiting at the carosel for Damien's rucksack to come through, Damien was thinking. During the past few days, he'd come to really like Rose, though he had no idea whether or not she felt the same way. He decided to risk it all and kiss her. If things panned out and she did like him back, it would be good. Otherwise... there would be awkwardness, but Damien felt he could survive it. In any case, Rose wouldn't be able to go off in a huff seeing as she was in a foreign country and needed to stick with him. So with nothing to lose, Damien suddenly kissed Rose.


Rose had slept for the majority of the flight, and was currently pretty well rested, despite the early hour. At the moment, she was wearing a pair of black slacks and a plain pink t-shirt, just tight enough to look nice but loose enough so that she didn't look bad in it. For her hair, she'd simply let the curls go wild, and used only an elastic headband to keep it out of her face. Her curls were the sort that could almost make an afro, but not quite, and she hated them.

Her feelings toward Damien hadn't changed over the past few days, so when Damien suddenly kissed her, it came as quite the shock; she hadn't known he liked her. So she stood there for a moment, then decided to throw all caution to the wind and tried to kiss him back. Unfortunately, she had no idea what she was doing, and she was very awkward with her big lips at first, and she seemed to know it. But, as the saying goes, practice makes perfect, and she finally seemed to get the hang of kissing Damien, and found that she liked it. In fact, she liked it a lot.

Finally, she pulled back. She lifted a shaky hand to her tingling lips. And, boy, were they tingling; that weird feeling she got around Damien had made kissing him odd, like drinking soda when one had expected something flat, like orange juice, but it also made it quite exhilarating. "Whoa," Rose said. She then shook her head as if her clear it. "Damien, why didn't you just tell me you liked me?" She asked, looking up into the eyes hidden by those d@mned sunglasses; she wanted to rip them off so she could really look into his eyes, but knew that she probably shouldn't.


It had been a few minutes of wondering what would happen, and worrying that Rose was just going to push him away or worse laugh in his face... and then, Rose kissed Damien back. He could tell that she wasn't very experienced, but that didn't really matter. He didn't mind at all; in fact, he liked the fact that she was so into him. His previous girlfriends tended to have their minds half on whether their hair was getting messed up, which annoyed him; especially since he couldn't help but read their minds. When Rose spoke to Damien, he hesitated then said, "I didn't know whether you felt the same. I didn't know what to say, so I thought that this way was better." He automatically stuck out a hand as his backpack came round and picked it up. "We'd better go and collect the permit now; and I need to go hire that bike," he said. "We can talk better once we're alone in Pripyat."

Damien led Rose out of the airport, once all the security formalities were over and done with. He first went to the tourist centre to collect the permit to enter the dead zone; there wasn't any problems there. The next place he went was to a nearby hire centre to hire a medium sized motorbike that could carry a pillon passenger. And finally, he went to the outlet that supplied food and water bottles to anyone planning on visiting Pripyat, and also hired out geiger counters. The woman who was in charge told Damien and Rose that they could also have a shower once they were back, to get rid of any residual radioactive dust. Damien hadn't thought of this, but supposed it was a good idea; he might not be affected by the radioactivity, but he didn't want to bring back particles that might harm anyone else.

All the time they were going through these places, Damien held on to Rose's hand. As well as liking the feeling of skin to skin contact, he also didn't want to lose her. Damien hoped that Rose didn't mind about going on the back of the bike. He asked her to choose what food she wanted to take, as she would be the one eating most of it, after all. Damien picked up a geiger counter too, simply to take a few readings of the radioactivity inside the dead zone.

Miranda_ 10-12-2011 09:25 PM


Rose decided that she'd liked the sound of the word 'alone' a bit too much; indeed, they would have to talk. For now that the status of their relationship had changed, she needed to go over her limits with him, for she knew she wouldn't be able to enforce them without his cooperation, not with things the way they were going.

Rose was a Christian, and had been one all of her life. This meant that she believed that the act of, er, "mating" was something special, something meant for life-partners only. She needed to discuss boundaries with Damien for sure, though she knew that he was not the kind of jerk who'd try to take advantage of her. Still, it was an important matter to her, and she planned on speaking with him about it first-thing when they arrived in Pripyat.

For food, she picked out a small bag of chips, some applesauce cups, a juice bottle, and a peanut butter and grape jelly sandwich. "Damien, did the bike come with helmets?" Rose asked. She wondered idly if her poof-ball hair would fit into a helmet, and did not look forward to the challenge in the slightest. She'd put the food, after it had been paid for, into her own small backpack, and then had resumed holding onto him.

But for her, it was for purely sentimental reasons; Rose didn't fear losing Damien, for her natural sort of repulsion to him would help her with that, so long as he was within a certain range. If he wasn't, she could always find some spider or other to guide her to a conspicuous spot where Damien would be sure to find her; spiders were surprisingly chatty creatures, and Rose loved them. She didn't know what she'd do without her powers of animal speech.


Damien replied to Rose straight away, answering her question, "Yeah, it comes with helmets. I asked them especially cuz I was going to be carrying a passenger. I can ride a motorbike alright; Dad's taught me how. I just can't get a licience in America for a good few years yet. We can set off now, if you like." Damien had bought a couple of large water bottles, too; the water in the dead zone would not be safe for Rose to drink and unpleasant for himself. He left the shop with Rose and went to the bike, handing Rose a helmet. "Put this on; also, you might want to hold on to me," Damien said. "The roads aren't that good round the dead zone; well, they wouldn't be seeing as not many people go there any more. There might be a few people around when we're there; perhaps a tourist group, and there are a few old people who still live in the dead zone cuz they didn't want to leave. But they won't bother us."

They set off. Damien rode the bike carefully, not taking unnecessary risks and eventually leaving the main road for the road leading to the checkpoint. The checkpoint was manned by two guards, who examined permits then allowed people into the dead zone. The only ones who could bypass this necessity were the animals. Damien could have gotten in the animal's way, in other words, through the forest, but that had only been a last resort in case he could not get a permit. Thankfully, it would not be necessary. They soon arrived at the checkpoint and Damien asked Rose to remain with the bike while he showed the permit to the guards. They looked it over then raised the barrier so that Damien and Rose could pass. Damien went back to the bike and once he'd checked that Rose was alright, sped off.

The journey did not take long. The road was, as Damien had said, in disrepair with a few cracks where plants had grown through. Damien managed to avoid these, though, staying on the parts of the road which were comparitively smooth. As they got nearer to where the farmland was, it became apparent that nature was fast taking the land back. Trees grew all around, pushing through the road. Animal tracks led through the grassland, and a small herd of wild horses could be glimpsed grazing in the distance, around a broken down farmhouse. The power station was visible in the other direction, a small distance away, near the main city of Pripyat, which had once housed many of the people who worked there.


Rose had managed to get her helmet on with surprisingly little difficulty. She was perfectly comfortable with wrapping her arms around Damien to hold on. At first, she felt odd with the experience of a motorbike, and a bit nervous; what if they fell, or crashed? It would just be the two of them and whatever hit them first, be it pavement or another car. But, after a while, she began to relax and enjoy the ride. She waited quietly at the checkpoint, and was glad when they got through.

She found the ride on the bumpier roads less enjoyable; once, she accidentally chomped down on her own tongue. And, to think, Damien's doing a good job avoiding the BIGGER bumps… she thought sourly to herself. But then, when she saw the horses, she cheered up immensely; she loved horses. She was eager to go and greet them, to learn about how they lived. She was almost enchanted by the trees, which looked fairly young but healthy and strong, and was glad to see that nature really and truly conquered all.

When Damien stopped the bike, Rose hopped off and took her helmet off. "Damien? Before you go to, uh, do your job, can we talk?" Rose asked. She swallowed nervously and, not waiting for an answer, went on, "I - I mean- uh- well… since things have… changed… between us, we need to talk about - about boundaries." She swallowed again. "Damien, I'm a Christian; always have been, always will be. It is my firm belief that - that 'going all the way' is reserved for people who intend to spend the rest of their lives together. I - I want you to tell me your policies on - on that. I think it's necessary for any couple to come to a full agreement on how far they think it's acceptable to go." She sucked in a deep, steadying breath and hoped that he wouldn't hate her for saying this, that he wouldn't sneer with disgust and call her a prude, or something.

Miranda_ 10-12-2011 09:27 PM


One journey was over, at least. Damien planned to leave the bike at this point, and for Rose to stay with it; he doubted that she'd mind, seeing that there were animals nearby for her to talk to. As well as the horses, there was a cat sunning itself on the roof of the abandoned farmhouse while four kittens played around it. She would be fine here while he walked on to the power station. He couldn't take the bike as the roads were almost completely broken up at this point; trees had cracked the paving and destroyed the roads, and other vegetation had filled in the gaps. In any case, Damien was certainly well able to deal with a short walk to the power station. He didn't want to risk taking his dragon shape til he was right up close to the power station and knew for certain that there would be no-one at all nearby. Then he could fly right up and land right by the sarcophagus and be able to inspect it at his leasure.

Damien took his sunglasses off briefly so he could remove his crash helmet. Rose's question took him by surprise, and he had to think about it for a while. Finally, he said, "I don't know about that; I mean, my parents are together but they're not married. I don't want you to think that marriage is the be all and end all of everything; two people can be married and then split up, and another two people can not be married but stay together always. I'd rather stay in the second group. I understand you'd want to wait and everything and I respect that. My parents never got married cuz it would just be too difficult, what with Dad never having been born and therefore not having any of the documents and everything."

He wondered just how Rose would react. Damien wasn't saying that he didn't want to stay with Rose; far from it. He just hoped that she wasn't going to be choosing a dress and wedding venue when they'd only been together for a few hours. "Look; I don't want you to get the wrong idea and think that I'm saying I don't want to be with you, cuz that's not true," Damien said. "I'll project my thoughts into your mind, so you can see for yourself what I really think." He did so; Rose would instantly get the image that he did like her a lot, and wanted to be with her for a long time. "The thing is, I inherited Dad's immortality, so what 'the rest of our lives' means doesn't really mesh with that," he added. "But it would be for a long time."


Rose smiled at him, "I know, Damien, I know; my parents split up, remember?" She leaned onto him for a moment. "Since I know you can, will you look into my mind? Please? It'll work better than words." She wanted him to know that her reason for asking had nothing to do with her possible visions of them walking down the aisle. In fact, if Damien scanned her mind as she'd requested him to, he'd find that Rose wanted him, and wanted him badly; what she'd meant by her query is whether or not he'd help her from letting herself get carried away with him. Sure, she wanted him, but she wanted to put limits on that, not only for the sake of her beliefs but also because she didn't want him to think she was… easy, or anything of that sort. Also, she knew that neither of them were ready for the sort of commitment parenting required, and that was something that weighed heavily on her mind.

She liked Damien, and knew he liked her; she just thought that it was best to have all the tricky things agreed on before they plunged fully into their budding relationship. Her father had always taught her that it was better to think things through ahead of time and make a sure decision, and then things usually were a lot easier from there because you had that earlier solid decision to fall back on. Since she had no idea how to go about expressing this with words in a language that she hadn't spent a lot of time practicing, she let herself think and feel this wordlessly, knowing that he'd understand if he scanned her mind.

Rose looked up into his eyes, which were utterly black. But, unlike his father's, Damien's eyes did show his emotions, and Rose was glad to see his eyes for once, instead of the glasses. Some people would be freaked out by Damien's eyes, but Rose, who made a habit of talking to many animals with similar eyes, accepted them, and accepted him. Damien wasn't anything near normal, but neither was she; normal was overrated, anyways. Rose was so intent on what she was doing that she hardly noticed the animals anymore.


Damien willingly scanned Rose's mind when she asked him to. He was relieved beyond belief when he did so, and found that what she wanted mirrored his choices. He said, "I get it now; you want to wait, right? That's fine with me. We haven't seen each other in a decade so we need to get to know each other properly first, before we do anything else. Now, I need to go and get this job over with so I'm going to leave the bike here with you, OK? You can keep an eye on it and the crash helmets, too; I can't drive up to the power station cuz the road is wrecked. I won't take long; I'm just going to check all over the sarcophagus then I'll come back here. I'll put a psychic shield around me so that I don't pick up anything from the core that would hurt you. We can look around the place after, if you want; the radioactivity isn't as much in the city."

Damien had a camera on him to take photos of the core and sarcophagus; he was going to keep it within the psychic shield so that it wouldn't be affected by the intense radiation without when he was doing his inspection. He briefly checked the geiger counter; the level was higher than normal, but Rose wouldn't suffer any ill effects by staying in this vincinity for the moment. Damien could tell that there wasn't anyone around in the immediate area; there was a small group of people within Pripyat, along with a few scientists who were working on the other side of the city. So he wouldn't be interrupted as there wasn't anyone nearby at all.

The horses grazed, occasionally flicking their tails at intruding flies. The cat lazily stretched out her paws, the claws extending as she did so. A kitten pounced on a butterfly. The area looked just like any other area of natural beauty; the trees were tall and healthy and the plant life covered nearly everything. Just the reading from the geiger counter showed that not all was well in the area; that although nature populated the dead zone, humans could not settle down here again and perhaps, due to the memory of what had happened, never would.

Miranda_ 10-12-2011 09:28 PM


Rose smiled and said, "Sure thing; this time, our alone time won't be spoiled by serious talk," She then let him go to do his job. She wandered over to the horses, being careful to make sure they saw her coming. Other than that, she let herself relax; despite the radiation levels, the air was crisp and clean smelling, though she could also faintly smell that one of the horses had saw fit to relieve him or herself in the area. The kittens mewed pleasantly as they played, and Rose could hear birds twittering away in the trees. She enjoyed the way the sun pooled here and there in clearing between the relatively young trees, and the sky above was achingly blue with only wispy clouds high up breaking it up.

While Damien was away, Rose had helped one horse, who'd gotten a stone stuck in its hoof, and healed it. She'd spent a good amount of time talking to the horses, and had been amused when one of the horses had asked to try a potato chip and had found that he hated them. The mother cat had been protective at first, but then let Rose play with the kittens, dragging some string around and letting the kittens chase it, muttering to themselves and pretending it was real prey. Rose suffered no ill effects at all form staying around and playing with the local animals, and in fact had a wonderful time of it.

Word soon spread through the local animal community that there was a strange human present who could talk to them. A few more curious animals had joined her, including several types of bird and a pack of dogs. When Damien did return, he'd find that Rose had become popular with the animals, and said animals usually avoided people at all costs; after all, the humans had destroyed the land to begin with. But they saw Rose as almost… different, for she understood them and agreed with them about a lot of things.


The power station wasn't very far away by Damien's standards; quite a long walk for a regular human, but Damien was well able to manage it. He walked through the city, noting the huge amount of plant growth, the trees that were not very old, but strong and vigorous which pushed through the concrete. He heard voices and correctly assumed them to be from a tourist group. Damien avoided the group as he did not want to be asked awkward questions and set off towards the power station. The geiger counter went crazy as he approached the power station; it had leapt to a level that would indicate a dangerous dose of radiation for a normal person. Damien put up the psychic shield around himself and everything he carried so as not to collect radioactive dust, and walked purposely towards the power station. It was still in a level of disrepair; the radiation coming from it would kill any unprotected person, so the people who came to work on it had to wear protective gear and could not remain in the vincinity for longer than two hours. But Damien had no such trouble.

He took a quick look around to make sure that there was no-one around; there were sometimes workers or scientists, but there was no-one. Damien changed to his winged reptile form, the one he called his dragon form though it resembled a dinosaur more than a dragon, and flew straight up. He landed by the new sarcophagus and changed back to his normal form. Damien then took some time inspecting it, and photographing the concrete shield from every angle. It was perfectly intact, and definitely an improvement on the old one, which had been cracked in places. Damien put his camera away, feeling that now the American President could rest easy with no cause for concern, and changed shape so he could fly back to the ground. He took his normal shape and walked briskly away from the power station. Despite his shield, the level of radiation still made him feel very uneasy and he was glad to be out of there.

It was also uneasy for Damien to walk through the abandoned city, but at least the geiger counter had gone back to a lower level of radiation. He'd dropped the psychic shield as soon as he'd left the area of lethal radiation. The city had been looted on more than one occasion, so that only non valuables had been left behind. The saddest part of the city by far was the amusement park, with its empty ferris wheel and rides; it had been scheduled to open three days after the disaster, so no child had ever rode the dodgems or the whirlers, or been taken aloft in the ferris wheel. A teddy bear, with its stuffing coming out of a tear in its stomach, lay on the ground by the ticket box. Here too the plant life triumphed; growing out of cracks in the ground and throwing vines over the man made buildings. Damien hurried as quickly as he could to get back to where he'd left Rose with the motorbike.


Upon further conversation with the animals, Rose found that all of them believed this place to be a sort of blessing; it was free of humans and their meddling. The horses didn't have to be restrained, put away, and forced to carry humans on their backs, the rodents weren't being poisoned or trapped, same thing for the bugs, and none of them felt the effects of radiation.

Specifically, the mother cat talked to Rose about being born in the abandoned farm. Her mother had told her the story of the evacuation and abandonment of Chernobyl. But it was the mother cat's great great grandmother that had been alive during all of this. The story had simply been passed from momma cat to kitten all this time.

The story was one of much confusion, of humans expressing much grief. The cat's ancestor had been left presumably to die, for her humans hadn't been able to afford to take her with them; she'd been bitter at first, but eventually let her anger go, for she couldn't expect a creature as fickle and clumsy as a human to remember any but their own kind when trouble arises. Rose sat and listened to the story and, despite that fact that she was human herself, had to agree; humans really did care only for themselves. At least, the majority of them did. The mother cat was in the middle of saying something when she stared off into the trees as if she heard something.

"What is it?" Rose asked in the special language she instinctively used to communicate with animals.

"Something headed right this way, but a ways off yet, you wouldn't hear it. It sounds like that - that boy you arrived here with." The cat said.

Rose shook her head. "I can, er, send out my hearing, but I think I'll take you at your word."

Miranda_ 10-12-2011 09:29 PM


Damien had taken a roundabout route back to Rose by taking a detour and going through the amusement park. He took a few more photographs, before looking at his watch and seeing that he and Rose probably should be off if they were going to get to the motel on time. Damien had not been able to face the idea of catching a plane there and back on the same day, so he'd booked a hotel room for himself and Rose. It was a twin bed room, so he didn't think that Rose would have a problem with that. In any case, he was tired and he figured that Rose would be as well. Eventually, after some time of walking, he left the city and entered what had once been the farmland. Here too there was evidence of animal life; prints of the little sharp hooves of wild boar, with small marks indicating babies. Damien wasn't worried about them, and he didn't worry for Rose, who would no doubt be able to speak to the boar.

The old farmland was full of noises, but only of animal life. It was a lot easier on the nerves than the deserted city, with its near silence and complete lack of any human life save that of visitors. Damien wondered how it would be for the scientists and workers who came here all the time. Surely all the silence would tell on most people? Perhaps, since the workers were being paid a day's wage for working an hour or so, they didn't mind. Or they tried not to think about how it felt to live in a city deserted by people. Damien soon made it back to where he'd left Rose and the bike.


When Damien appeared, Rose grinned. The cat eyed him, then turned to Rose and meowed, "He's certainly good-looking for a two-legged." She winked at Rose, then called for her kittens. The kittens tumbled after her as she left. Generally, the other animals took this as their cue to leave, and a good many of them eyed Damien nervously, for they sensed the predator in him. Rose sat there blushing, glad that it wouldn't show on her rich, dark skin; she knew Damien had no idea what the cat had said, and she didn't want him to.

She stood and brushed her clothes off, then said, "Well, how'd your little project go? And where do we go to next?"


Once Damien returned to where he'd left Rose, he relaxed. She was safe and surrounded by animals; but then, Damien knew that she'd be in no danger there. In reply to Rose's question, Damien replied, "I booked us a motel room; we can go there. Of course, we can't go there straight away. We'll need to go to the place where we got the food so that we can head round the back and shower, and decontaminate our clothes. That won't take long. Then we can head to the hotel. I've already had a look around the city; if you want to go, you can but there isn't that much animal life there, that's all in the villages and farmland. Just mainly rats and mice living in the city."

Damien walked to the bike and started up the motor, warming it up because it had stood there for a while idle. The hotel that Damien had booked a room at also had internet access; not in the bedroom of course, but in a computer room inside the main hotel. He was going to scan in the photos he'd taken and send them as an attachment in an email to his private email address, just in case he lost the camera or something else untoward happen. This is how Damien always operated, and it worked well. He would of course print out the photos once they got back and send it along with his report to the President by courier.


"Well, let's go, then," Rose said. She walked with Damien over to the bike, waiting for it to warm up. They'd arrived in the late afternoon, and now the sky was ablaze with the reds and golds of sunset. Where the sky wasn't flaming, it was a soft blue-purple. Rose stared up at the sky and inhaled deeply; it was back to city air after this, and she didn't much look forward to it. She smiled as a bird flew by overhead, only the black silhouette visible against the rapidly darkening sky.

After a minute or two in silence, Rose looked back down and at Damien. She found it remarkable how, only a day or so ago, she'd been unaffected by his more subtle good looks, that she'd only seen the boy from her past. But he wasn't just a boy any more, he was rapidly becoming a man, and she knew that now. Funny that she'd only noticed reality when he'd planted her with a kiss; for an aspiring scientist, she could be remarkably unobservant. She waited for him to indicate for her to get on the bike so that they could leave.


After a while, the bike was thoroughly warmed up. Damien took a last look around, before indicating to Rose to get on the bike behind him when he did. Damien got on, waited til Rose was secure enough on the seat behind him, then he took off down the road. As before, Damien made sure of avoiding the larger cracks in the unkempt road so as to make the ride smoother for Rose. The city was now behind them, and they just had to ride down to the checkpoint so that they could be let out of the dead zone. Though, for a so called dead zone, the place was crawling with life. Perhaps not human life, but certainly all kinds of nature and plant life, and it would be empty of people for some time. Even after the deadly radiation had lessened, perhaps people would not want to inhabit the scene of such a devastating tragedy and loss of life; perhaps it would simply remain as a monument for ever more.

Damien and Rose arrived at the checkpoint as the sun went down. The guards nodded at them and raised the barrier to let them go through. Damien raised a hand, then gunned the engine of the bike. He was now going to make for the halfway place in Kiev where they could decontaminate themselves and after that, to the hotel. He had the hire of the bike til the next morning; there would be plenty of time to return the bike to the shop before they caught their flight. Damien himself hoped to return to the dead city one day; he had always been interested in the place, and there was just something about it that appealed to him. Maybe Rose would come too. He certainly hoped so. He found that he cared a lot about Rose, and wanted her by his side. But next time, Damien thought, he'd let Rose choose where they went.

Silent_Wolf 10-13-2011 12:06 PM

They're cute together; seeing how they acted as kids in the RP and seeing them in this is a huge contrast and a ton of development. And yay, Okeam raised Damien right! XD

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