"We tried to be better, but we aren't. I don't think anyone could last more than a week here if they weren't willing to do bad things." - Alba Reyes

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Being a degenerate is okay these days
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Well, wasn't this just a warm and fuzzy reunion. It wasn't like Jae hadn't expected it; out of everyone he considered friends, Nadia gave him the most shit and he gave it right back. It was how they got along. The fact that she hadn't outright rebuked him was almost like welcoming him with open arms under normal circumstances.

Normal circumstances. Now, her face was deliberately expressionless and her voice guarded.

He moved forward, grimacing as the bridge creaked. Crossing it the last two times had been bad enough - if he had any cause to go back to the other side of the island again, he might just take the long way around. Keeping a grip on the staff for balance, his steps were slow enough that they hopefully made it clear he wasn't a threat.

"Scraping by, yeah. You could say that." His voice was still hoarse, but not as strained as yesterday. Nadia looked like she had been doing a bit better than scraping by. Funny to think there might be anyone in an enviable position when they were all in the same shithole, but there it was.

"What about you?"
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."
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How Easy it was to Lie to Strangers · The Connecting Bridge