Recurring [Piter/Private]

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Recurring [Piter/Private]

Post  nahn-SEK-wuh-tuhr on Thu Aug 04, 2011 2:07 am

It was funny, how much gray hair aged a person. He'd never really thought or cared about it until that morning.

Again, he dreamt of seeing a dying man in the mirror, and again he leapt up upon awaking to make sure it wasn't him. To make sure those sunken eyes, those shriveled lips, that matted hair, that starving face, wasn't his own.

And yet, his lips were thin, his eyes were wrinkled, his hair was streaked with gray, and he always was hungry for something, be it food, entertainment, or power. The last part he could understand. But the physical curiosities...why was he only now seeing them? Why couldn't he remember when they'd developed (for he certainly wasn't born this way)? Why did they have no explanation beyond what he saw when he slept?

And how long would it take before he was unable to distinguish between nightmares and reality? Today, he just saw someone who looked old. Tomorrow, would he see a corpse?

When he checked the clock, he saw to his disgust that he'd only been asleep for less than thirty minutes. It was funny, it felt like it'd been hours since he'd left the carnival. In reality, though, they probably hadn't even put out all of the fires yet. 

He wondered vaguely if he'd caused some massive destruction in his moment of impulsiveness, but found himself not particularly interested one way or the other. It would cause more grief for Bourbon, and that was all that mattered. But the thirst for revenge, too, had disappeared in him, now that he'd had it. It was time to move on to something else with his life. Something equally as forgettable, but necessary. Everyone needed a purpose. His came and went and were replaced.

Right now, his immediate purpose was to go pester Franze, despite that she very likely wasn't even awake at this hour. It was how he justified the sudden need for companionship.

Opening his trunk, he pulled out some of the clothes he'd packed. His usual suit now stank of smoke and charred flesh and antique medicines, so he couldn't very well go out in that. Instead, he opted for the 'dressed down' outfit he'd worn when he'd met the gray-haired man in the bar. Given his current situation, perhaps it was more fitting to wear this than his fancier clothes.

Donning the cap, he glanced in the mirror again and noticed that it covered the silver in his hair. Suddenly, he already looked younger--and would probably look his real age if not for the eyes. It struck him absently that if his features were suddenly 'fixed', he'd probably look ridiculously youthful to himself.

Turning back to the trunk, his hand reached for the chessboard, but stopped in midair and wavered. It went for the violin case instead. 

Locking the door of the room he'd stolen, he exited the inn to unlock the door of the car he'd stolen. It only occurred to him as an afterthought that taking the car was in his best interests, as it would prevent Ditya's whore from going back (if she intended to) and ratting out his location. If someone asked, though...he'd planned it this way.

It struck him as he drove that he didn't really know what he was doing, just that he was doing something. With no immediate plan for the future in mind to base his actions on, he was just following impulses without any emotional stimulation or feedback to indicate why. Even as he pulled up to the carnival, parked the car, got out, locked it, walked into the deserted main tent, and sat down at her sewing table, he didn't know why.

But Franze was an early riser, so maybe he wouldn't have to wait long to figure it out.

In the meantime, he stared absently at the tent's interior. It was massive, and more so in it's emptiness. It was also lonely. But if it were filled with people, it would probably be lonelier still, for the equally empty Russian.

Removing the violin from it's case, he tested it out in the emptiness--it occupied a small space with sound. More human than any human had ever seemed to him. He continued filling it with sounds until he wasn't quite so alone anymore--at least for the time being.


It crossed his mind at some point in the midst of Ave Maria that maybe there was no difference between nightmares and reality. And maybe he was a corpse, and also an old man, and a young one. Maybe he'd lived several hundred years and was still a child. Maybe that world was the real one, and this was the dream. But, like so many events of his dream-and-real life, the thought came and went and was replaced.
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Re: Recurring [Piter/Private]

Post  DIDNEY WORL on Thu Aug 04, 2011 9:56 am

She should have known Piter would always somehow find her-- whether he knew it or not. She had been kicked out of the woman's caravan for crowding her stuff everywhere (and making Sonya cry because she was being kicked out... But she didn't see how that was her fault) and had been sleeping on her coats once again that night in the main tent. No matter how beautiful the music, she wasn't the heaviest sleeper. She always had the sneaking suspicion she was going to be killed here (probably only saved by her friendship with Sonya--), so it was better to keep one eye open.

The music also filled her with suspicion. She only knew one person who played that song like that. And he was here this late? Reluctantly she got out from under the coats and checked to make sure it really was him. He was dressed differently, but it was him. Something must have happened, or he wouldn't be there waiting at this time of night.

As if she was a mother disappointed in their child for waking them up to comfort them, she leaned against a stage wall and looked tiredly on him. "Tell me what happened..."

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Re: Recurring [Piter/Private]

Post  nahn-SEK-wuh-tuhr on Thu Aug 04, 2011 10:58 am

He'd once again been so caught up in his playing that he didn't notice her emerging from her nest of coats until she spoke up. Perhaps he should have known she would always show up when he thought he was alone. Not that he could recognize the sentimentality in this.

Just as a child might have, he presented his justification for waking her up without the least bit of guilt, "I had the most terrible nightmare...the same one, actually." He'd had to pause in the middle of playing, so that she could hear him over the music, but for once he didn't bother to finish the song. He truly was troubled, this night.

"...I also set my belongings on fire--as well as possibly the rest of the carnival and some people--kidnapped a whore to convince Ditya to give me a room, and stole a car. I suppose those are all crimes, aren't they?" He set the violin gently back in it's case, but didn't close the lid. "Not that that's what makes me contemplative, this morning." (Technically, it was morning.) "I actually feel rather good about all of that. Although it would be rather troublesome if I were arrested for it--but I'm much too intelligent to be snared by the law." This he wholeheartedly believed.

And so, what was it that made him 'contemplative'? And did he really care to tell her? He supposed that must have been why he came here.

He reached into his pocket for his book--those manuscripts on being human (no matter their subject matter), that he could pull out in any given conversation and be reminded of how to best imitate, how to speak, how to be, so that he could keep up the façade of perfect self-control--and found that there was nothing there. Whatever he'd been reading (was it The Snows of Kilimanjaro?), he'd left it in his other jacket in a moment of thoughtlessness.

Visibly bewildered by this absence of his humanity, he stared for a second at his book-less hand, blinking. Then, eyebrows drawn--not in contempt, anger, or thought--he blurted out with something almost like fear, "Franze, am I 'evil'?"
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Re: Recurring [Piter/Private]

Post  DIDNEY WORL on Thu Aug 04, 2011 1:13 pm

At first she was agitated. After all, he came all this way just to tell her about a nightmare she'd already heard?

But then-- alarm. What did he expect her to say to that? She stood there, speechless for a minute. "I think... I think those are crimes..." She stepped off of the stage and closer to him, to make sure he wasn't some figment in one of her nightmares-- it seemed like it. But he was real. "Why did you do that...?" She knew him too well to be angry, but she wondered what triggered him to do such things.

He really had left the carnival without her, she supposed, in the worst way possible. There was no logic in anything he did-- as evidenced by the fact that he thought kidnapping a whore for his father's old friend would get him in his favor. Piter was a child-- everything he knew about people he learned from books. He categorized humans in archetypes he read from books.

Yet she didn't know what to tell him when he asked if he was evil. She stared at him, concerned, in thought. Had he ever done anything for the purpose of benefitting anyone else? She wasn't sure. They were friends, but if she was asked she didn't know if she could say much... She hardly knew him.

"I wouldn't say evil..." She began, still thinking. "When a child wants things to go his way, he'll do anything." The mentality of a child added to the power of an adult and the means to really do harm... It added up to crime. "I just don't think you were ever made to grow up. And I don't think you quite understand... how the world works outside of books..." Then, she gave him a reassuring smile. "But you aren't evil. Life isn't a book. I'm you're friend" no matter how much she tried to deny it. "and you're in love, or so you say." She remembered he said it. "Evil people don't have either."

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Re: Recurring [Piter/Private]

Post  nahn-SEK-wuh-tuhr on Sat Aug 06, 2011 1:10 am

Why did he do it? Wasn't the answer so very obvious? It was to his mind; he'd just told her the other day that he had no plan, after all, hadn't he? What did she expect him to do, with no plan? Obviously, the only option left was to take some sort of extreme action.

...It made sense, to him.

But he was in no right state to be giving sensible answers, if there was honestly any sense to be had over the issue. Again, his head was starting to feel like a radio that wasn't picking up it's normal signal--static, whining, snippets of voices, music, and static again--a horrible buzzing. It almost made him dizzy. He didn't know what was wrong with him, but it felt like, after his sudden lapse in stoicism, he was losing touch with rationality.

"'Why?' I can't very well imagine what else you'd expect me to do!" He snapped at her uncharacteristically, heart pounding wildly with anger--not at her, no. Not really at anyone.

That he wasn't ever meant to grow up could very well be true. Oh, he'd undergone a transformation at some point in his childhood that took him to adulthood, just like everyone else, but it wasn't a process of maturation. It was learning that he could manipulate people, and himself--and use self-manipulation to control his actions, his words, and his outer shell. He assumed everyone had gone through this transformation, and that some just had a better handle on it than others.

But hadn't Auguste begun to cry, that evening? That was unexpected. And Diederik had reached out to that whore, almost like he cared... Piter was under the impression that these men were like him; that they didn't have such emotions in them. But they did. And he was confused.

"I don't know what you're talking about." His tone was strained and just slightly higher-pitched than normal. For once, he wasn't sure if he was lying. Or if he'd meant 'understand' where he'd said 'know'. Scrambling for to hold onto something he familiar with, his hand darted to his pocket again, "Read something to me--" Ah, but there was nothing there. Delicate musician's hands trembling, he shoved the violin case towards her, "Play something, I'm--"

The words caught in his throat. He wasn't bored, right now, by any means. His head was spinning too much to even think about boredom, for once.

"I...I don't know what I am." His voice broke, and became quiet again, "Play something."
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Re: Recurring [Piter/Private]

Post  DIDNEY WORL on Sat Aug 06, 2011 9:16 am

This wasn't the usual Piter. He was shouting and shaking and looking helpless. Normally she would have shouted back immediately... But not to him. Not to her friend. And at the moment her friend looked like the world was moving too fast for him.

She looped her arm into his and tried to move him away from his own panic. "Shh..." She sat him down on an old chair and took a good look at him. "What do you mean, you don't know what you are," She took off his hat, and tried not to look so surprised at all of the gray. "You're a human being. Just like everyone else." But yet, he was different. Unbearably, intolerably different. "But you're a spoiled child. Things just haven't gone your way... And you didn't plan for them not to." Nothing ever went her way-- it was best to be prepared; but he wasn't. She ran a hand through his hair, untangling it from it's time under his hat like a concerned mother. "Stop and think. It doesn't matter what you do as long as you know what the consequences are." If he was staying near Diederik, chances were he wouldn't be for long. Then what?

Not raising her concern about it, he picked up the violin (it was about two sizes too large than her usual), she sat on the stage next to him and tuned it (the weather did a number on instruments like this) and started to play his Ave Maria. She never really learned it but... She'd heard it too many times to get it wrong.

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Re: Recurring [Piter/Private]

Post  nahn-SEK-wuh-tuhr on Sun Aug 07, 2011 3:27 pm

Pulled over to a chair, he followed along, barely feeling his legs moving. She sat him down, and he didn't know how to position himself--he was used to sitting straight, confident in the knowledge that he could hold himself with perfect indifference. But that didn't seem like the appropriate posture to assume right now. It would have been far more comforting to have been able to hug his knees to himself, as he did as a child when overcome by growing up privileged and alone. He'd never really paid much attention to his physical self in this way, but...for the first time, he felt that his immature mind truly did not belong in his adult body. Descartes would have wept.

His face was blank in a different way than usual; not with the hint of pretentiousness and inner fortitude. It was just blank. If someone saw him and didn't know any better, they might have wondered if he'd had a botched lobotomy. And yet, he clearly heard and processed what she was saying, even though it triggered no emotional response in him--in this way, he was functioning normally to some extent, at least. But then...

"Stop and think. It doesn't matter what you do as long as you know what the consequences are."

He usually did. He usually planned for it. He usually devoted a ridiculous amount of time to considering the consequences. Was it because he knew that if he didn't control himself, he'd do something impulsive, like tonight? For certainly, he hadn't considered a single consequence of the actions he'd performed not too many hours ago. And he still wasn't sure if he was ready to consider them.

The music washed over him, dragging away the buzzing and confusion in his head, allowing him to pull himself back together. There was still a weary, bewildered look in his eyes, but his mouth was set with some resolve. When the music ended, he spoke, quietly, "I'm something similar to 'afraid'--I've read descriptions of fear. I've never felt that. But this is close... 'Concerned', perhaps. But more than that." He wavered slightly, but finally admitted, "I don't know what to do. If I end up...alone, I--"

He didn't want to say that he might lose his mind--his most valuable asset of all--but he thought he might. And that was what really made him something close to 'afraid' and not just 'concerned'. It took a loss of control, a breakdown of his defense structures, to admit (and not just openly) just how dependent he was on being around other people.
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Re: Recurring [Piter/Private]

Post  DIDNEY WORL on Sun Aug 07, 2011 4:46 pm

Seeing him in such a way was too disconcerting. Throughout all of her hardship, he was the one thing she could count on that would never change. And suddenly he was 180 degrees off. It was shaking beyond belief.

Was this the same person? A man once devoid of emotion (or supposed to be) and cold to absolutely everyone was telling her that he thought he might be afraid and that he didn't want to be alone. And she had nothing to say. Because she wasn't used to this person-- this actual person.

"I...I don't know what you want me to say," She murmured, putting the violin at her side. "I think..." What did she think? "You're not alone. You try to be alone." For him to want pity because he felt alone... What was she supposed to say? She couldn't pity someone who avoided the world and now wanted to be a part of it.

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Re: Recurring [Piter/Private]

Post  nahn-SEK-wuh-tuhr on Sun Aug 07, 2011 6:06 pm

He jumped up from his seat, voice raised again, "Try? Try?? Do you think it's very easy, to watch you people all the time, and attempt to figure out how your brains work? Do you think I'd bother with it if I didn't feel that I would literally die of boredom if I didn't?"

How could she not see it? How terrible a malady boredom was? How physically and mentally necessary it was to have people, to avoid being alone and bored? That being entertained by people was the only sort of relationship he knew to have with them, the only one he understood, and which satiated whatever instinctual need he had for companionship, while allowing for him to not care--

The truth of the matter was, no one, not even a person with no emotion, enjoyed being constantly rejected, no matter how much they might hide it. If it seemed like he'd stopped trying...it was because the outcome was never any different. And he was unwilling and unable to change.

He went on, unable to stop himself from spilling forth the truth, now that the dam had cracked and begun to leak, "I'm a lot of things, Franze, but I'm certainly not an idiot! I think I should know, more than anyone, how much people dislike me! I can tell there's something, some warmth in your eyes--I can see it. I can see it when I watch people, and they act as though it's my fault for not having it, too. Well, is it? IS IT?" He was full-out shouting, now, "Is it my fault that I don't know how to replicate that warmth, or whatever the hell it is? If I'm 'cold', if I'm 'mean' to people, it's their own fault! It's their fault for having always kept this big secret from me!"

If he were standing closer to her, he might have grabbed her and shook her violently by the shoulders. All of the frustration that had built up--not just from recent times, but as far back as childhood--exploded to the only person he was willing to expose his true self to. And yet, the only person he was afraid to drive away. His father was dead, and the only man who'd been his friend hated the son. And the woman he thought he 'loved' was across continents, likely never to be seen again. He truly didn't have anyone else.

"I've never wanted to be alone, I JUST AM!" Breaths coming quickly and shortly after his biggest outburst, he quivered as his pulse pounded painfully in his chest.

Almost immediately after it was all out, he sat back down, assuming his usual position and expression--instinctually trying to return to a composed state. Never before had it been so obvious that he truly did not know how to act like a normal person. The faintness in his voice and the tremor in his hands were the only signs that he knew how badly he'd just lost it. He wouldn't look at her--his gaze was turned completely away as he spoke, "Well--well, I've heard far worse performances. But I suppose your rendition of Ave Maria makes a passing score. Perhaps if the instrument itself weren't bigger than you, it would have been a bit..." But his normal snark wasn't coming to him. His lips pressed into a thin line as his train of thought struggled to stay on-track, as the sentence derailed.
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Re: Recurring [Piter/Private]

Post  DIDNEY WORL on Sun Aug 07, 2011 7:23 pm

How did he expect pity when he could automatically cite 'boredom' as the reason for his troubles. It was sickening, that he would watch as their-- even her own-- lives took turns for the worst and be entertained.

"Lower your voice," She hissed, stepping off the stage and back onto the ground. But she would never be as intimidating as she wanted to be. "I don't know, Romanov, is it your fault that you only regard people as stupid little playthings-- pawns-- another game of chess to be won just to satiate your own need for distraction?" She was small, but he had picked a fight with the wrong person. If any word would describe her, it was reactionary. "And from what, ha? Why do you so desperately need to escape-- you have your stupid books-- have you just run out, or is it the same one," She imitated him holding a book mockingly. "The same goddamn book-- where the only words are 'Don't forget to blink' or 'Don't forget to act like a goddamn human being'?! Did you lose it, is that what happened, did you forget how to be human?"

She calmed down considerably when he did, but no doubt she had been holding that speech in for quite some time.

"No one just is alone." She stated quietly. "One just is unlikeable. So-- So i suggest you learn to love the people who don't mind." After a minute's silence, she said even quieter, without the previous harshness, "...I just don't know what to tell you. Stay here for the night, I don't want Van Der Linde suffocating you in your sleep." It didn't seem as joking as it should have been-- possibly it wasn't really a joke.

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Re: Recurring [Piter/Private]

Post  nahn-SEK-wuh-tuhr on Mon Aug 08, 2011 12:24 am

Franze had said a lot of things to him over the years, and vice-versa. None of it had ever wounded or really even bothered him that much, because he knew it wasn't said with much sincerity--or at least, when it was, it was too petty to really merit getting upset over. It didn't seem insincere this time, though. If he were a normal person, he'd recognize that his feelings were hurt...but as it was, he just knew that he suddenly felt sick in a way he never had before.

After all, no one enjoyed being rejected.

Had he ever felt remorse for any of the things he'd done, or for the way he treated people? No. He'd never even considered it. Now he did, but not because he felt bad for those people, but for the fact that the way he acted made it impossible for even the closest person to him to truly understand him. Or maybe she understood him too well--yet, he really didn't feel like it was his fault, for acting the way he did. It was bad, and a part of him knew that, but... You couldn't get angry at a person for not having a nice nose. Or for being too short. Or for having a certain eye or hair color. Some things were just determined by birth.

But he supposed that if he were to attempt to explain this, it would just seem like another lie. A ruse to gain pity--well technically, that was exactly what he wanted, at the moment. But it hadn't been a ruse, for once. He genuinely felt alone and in need of some kind of acceptance. It hadn't occurred to him that she wouldn't think he deserved it. But maybe that was the consequence of playing his game a little too much, and a little too perfectly, and for breaking down in a less-than-charming fashion.

Blinking away the stinging that, for the briefest of moments, plagued his eyes, he retreated completely back into his normal, icy self. Repositioning his cap on his head, he got his voice to be flat again, "I've memorized that book, actually. It's not quite the same as having been born knowing the story."

Fixing her dead-on with a blank, black stare, he continued coldly, "Let's not attempt to make jokes, now, Franze; it's a little late in life for you to try to develop a sense of humor. I'm sure Ditya choking me would be all sorts of entertaining for you--but then, perhaps you're not inhuman enough for that." Removing his gaze only to inspect the back of his hand absently (it had sustained minor burns from when he'd touched the burning door--not nearly enough to merit medical attention, though), he went on to decline her invitation, "In any case, I went to a fair amount of trouble to obtain a proper bed, and I shouldn't like the effort to go to waste. I'll only stay until I think it's safe to return--I don't want Ditya or his whore using the car, you see."
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Post  DIDNEY WORL on Mon Aug 08, 2011 10:13 am

As soon as she'd said it, she felt horrible-- like over-chastising a child out of frustration. She wasn't sure how to comfort him. Touching him seemed incongruous to every interaction she'd had with him. But she didn't think she'd ever seen tears sting at his eyes before, either.

She didn't want him to leave that way. Knowing more than anyone what it felt like to leave someone who one thought cared for them, having been justified in the fact that they deserve to be alone... Rightly or not. Not being born with empathy? That was what this was about? Suddenly she felt unbearably insensitive. "No, Piter, wait--" She grabbed his hand, not even knowing what she would say. "I-- I'm sorry... I haven't tried to understand you as much as you have... All of us." She stared down at the burns on his hand, a reminder to her that he was affected by other people-- however small the affect may be, he still carried it with him. "I guess it was the yelling... I wasn't listening." Was there anything else she could say? "If you're leaving now... I just want you to know-- you're like a brother..." He hadn't ever judged her, despite the petty insults. "And I... I love you-- maybe not love..." It wasn't exactly something bs could relate to. "Or... Whatever the closest thing is to it... Love for family... And I only want you to be happy," She smiled sadly. "Or, you know... Whatever the closest thing to it is..."

She let go of his hand reluctantly and packed his violin for him, with a quiet, "Be careful..." He was in for a shock in the real world. It was one thing to observe, but it was another to live it.

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Re: Recurring [Piter/Private]

Post  nahn-SEK-wuh-tuhr on Sat Aug 13, 2011 11:02 pm

His expression didn't shift as she spoke, though when his hand was released, he looked at it as though curious to see if it had somehow changed. It spoke of how long it had been since someone had touched or held him with any degree of tenderness. ...Not that he believed he particularly wanted any of that.

When she handed him the violin case, he stared at her for a moment with that blank expression that revealed nothing--not even if he was thinking of anything to say or not. After a moment's pause, he finally said, starkly, "I lied, earlier. You play quite beautifully. Exceptionally, really--it's a shame that only one of us here has made music their career." Before turning to leave, he added, "I just realized that I've never given you a compliment before, even when you perhaps deserved one. Well, I imagine you don't--and shouldn't--expect anything different from me. ...But I am sorry, for that."

It was hard to tell, by his monotone, if there was anything else to his words, any hidden gratitude or acknowledgement of her affections. But 'hard' did not mean 'impossible', and perhaps he merely trusted her to know, knowing that no one else would.

Just before departing from the tent, he turned back to inform her, "Provided I survive, I'll visit again shortly. Please make a point to provide tea and cookies, next time, or at least ice cream. The lack of hospitality in here...it's deeply upsetting, you should know."
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Post  DIDNEY WORL on Sat Aug 13, 2011 11:25 pm

It wasn't the compliment that brought a small smile to her lips-- it could have been an insult for all she cared about what he was saying. It was the timbre she was listening for. It was almost as usual. Almost stable. Almost at that monotone that signified her strange friend was happy. Well... Not happy. Something close to it. Piter wouldbe always something close to human. It didn't mean he was bad, or he was going mad. He was just about the sandstone person she knew, if she really thought about it.

He would never judge her-- because he couldn't know what was normal, and he would be a hypocrite to point it out. He would never lie to her-- she knew that well. He would never disappoint her, she expected nothing in the first place. In many ways be could be considered the perfect human being. If he wasn't so adverse to acting like one.

She had caught the comment, near the end. She smiled wider, and patted the violin case. "Well I've got what makes me happy now, so don't let yours go."

She shouted after him with a laugh in her voice. "I don't know about that, you'll have to call ahead. I'll have a frozen steak waiting to take care of that black eye, though...!"

And he was gone. In many ways she was worried, just sending him off into the world without advice. He was a robot, he could survive. She only hoped he was a learning robot.

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