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A Delicate Machine
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Isabel seemed... happy. Genuinely. Happier than Asha could remember ever seeing her, really. Her easy laughter, her casual smirks, all of it seemed so effortless, so thoughtless.

Why did that make Asha feel so uneasy?

It's not like she wanted Isabel to be miserable, far from it. Nancy had almost certainly killed someone, after all; but Asha had tried her hardest to even coax a small smile from her, put her mind to ease a little. The whole point was to make everyone feel happier, to hack at the overwhelming aura of human misery bit by bit until it was finally manageable, right? So then why wasn't Asha just glad that Isabel was functioning, could still grin and crack jokes despite the blood that was staining her? If Isabel had been a sobbing wreck now; things still wouldn't be any better, the dead wouldn't be any less dead.

A disconcerting thought crossed Asha's mind. Maybe the disconnect was because Nancy had behaved like she was "supposed" to behave, like she at least knew what she had done was wrong. Because she was so obviously suffering, it had been easy for Asha to focus on just trying to help however she could. She didn't know what Isabel had gone through, didn't know how she had coped with her actions, how she may have tried to atone. Maybe she was still hurting on the inside, but she was a far better actor than Asha gave her credit for.

So she pushed down the instinctual fear that was making her skin crawl, ignored the implication in Isabel's voice as she narrowed her eyes at Dot. Asha just had to keep doing what she'd been doing all along.

"Things are pretty a-oak. Still got my health," Asha said with a shrug. "Congrats on not losing your head, either, I just hope that pretty scarf isn't the only thing keeping it from falling off." The joke would've worked better if the scarf had been pure red, but there wasn't quite enough blood on it for that. She'd never seen Isabel wear it before, oddly enough.

"What about Dot, huh?" Asha asked, tilting her head and mimicking Isabel's expression with a smile. "She's a good friend. We spent most of yesterday hanging out. It was pretty nice!"

Speaking of which, Dot picked a pretty inopportune moment to wake up. Asha was proud of her for reacting much better to Isabel's presence than she had; though that might just be grogginess talking. "Mornin', sleepyhead. She's Iz, yeah. We do ballet together. Wayne, uh..." Asha trailed off, not wanting to lie but also not wanting to distress Dot in the company of someone she didn't know. "He ditched in the middle of the night. Pretty shitty of him, I know," she said, leaving out the part about him stealing their stuff. That could come once Dot'd had some time to get herself woken up.
a tribute for the dead and dying

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