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Iris Lark Darkness has fallen in Acme, but it's a pretty safe settlement as settlements go. Several lights are on in the houses and shops, including the Acme General Store. Inside it's quiet, because the store is actually closed, but the door is open to allow a breeze to get in. Iris sits on the ground behind the counter, fishing things from her rucksack to store under the counter in the cubby holes. Each time she stores something, she taps something on her Pip-Boy, entering information.
Devlin     Approaching the storefront despite it being after hours, Devlin racks his knuckles against the doorframe but is wise enough not to enter without permission. "Rather than make you close the shop while you guide me through the stock in the back, I thought I'd visit while you were closed. I'm not too late, am I?" Tilting his head slightly, he looks inside of the general store a bit perplexed.. he could hear the faint chirps of key entries but he couldn't see Iris anywhere from his current position.
Iris Lark Iris peeks out from behind the counter and a smile appears on her face as she waves Devlin in. "Come on in, I'm back here getting dust all over myself." She says, pushing to her feet and powering off her Pip. "I sometimes forget where I am and how late it's gotten." She murmurs, gazing out the door into the darkness. "I hope it's not too late, I apologize, it's been a pretty long day." She quickly swipes her hands against the back of her jeans to get rid of the dust.
Devlin     Devlin walked inside though as he did, he gives Iris a questioning look when she apologizes and repeats his own worried musing. "Now I think you're just trying to tease me Iris," is said with a bit of a smile but before he goes too far from the door way, he turns around and closes the door before someone else wanders by. "While you might be a bit dusty, you seem just fine to me so no running off to try and clean off for my sake." Taking his time while making his way around the counter, Devlin looks down at the ground where she had been sitting to see if it really was all that dirty to begin with.
Iris Lark The store is pretty well kept and Iris offers Devlin a slightly wavering smile as she shrugs and leans in again, pulling her rucksack up to take with her to the back room. "Nowhere to run, really, no showers anywhere near here." She glances towards the storage room and clears her throat. "Well come on then, you can have a look at things and give me your opinion." She says, turning towards the door. "Be careful, the last mechanic who was back here wasn't too neat."
Devlin     A choked chuckle escaped Devlin as he looks at where Iris has just been sitting and being a bit worried about what dust was found. Shaking his head gently from side to side he turns to follow her, "Oh? Well, a few shelves and weapons lockers would make it so that is a lot easier for you to keep orderly.. making a few duffel bags if things are large in number but small in count.." Trailing off, he furls his brow realizing he was already starting to mentally organize a mess he's yet to see.. and quickly doubting it was that messy by his standards.
Iris Lark Iris walks through the back room, stepping over a half built robot and a several boxes. When she ducks into the smaller shop in the back, she shrugs off her rucksack near the door and folds her arms loosely over her chest. She gestures at several crates full of things. Armor, holodisks, guns and tool kits. She opens the small window here and shrugs off her duster, laying it over a stool in the corner. "I know some about a few of these guns, but..I'm no expert." She mumbles, her cheeks pink with embarassment.
Devlin     "You weren't kidding.." is said absentmindedly as Devlin starts to look at the array of various arms tossed about, several items next to each other that risked parts mixing, the robot wasn't expected either. "You.. you have a good small arsenal the only issue is that much of it is set for many different types of soldiers, not set for arming a deployment.." Carefully walking through the mass of supplies before him, he picks up two very different looking revolvers and look them over briefly. With the short inspection over, he turns them around and motions offeringly towards Iris. "Step one.. don't leave loaded guns just laying around. It's asking for trouble."
Iris Lark Iris sits on the floor, hands in her lap and a slight smile on her face. "Well, I load them to sell them, I don't know if I have enough containers for all the ammo that I could pull out of these guns." She admits, pushing her hair behind her ears as she pulls a crate closer. "This room is usually locked as well." She glances at Devlin and grins. "Guns don't go off without help anymore, do they?" She pulls out a holodisk, squints at it for a moment before replacing it in its box. " and these things...well with all that I do on a daily basis it's not easy to keep an eye on things here."
Devlin     Moves his hands low, placing them down onto the ground again before running his hands across his covered thighs, wiping them clean. "Ammunition can be sold separately and while the ammunition in the gun makes it nicer to sell, it also makes it easier to go wrong when someone drops one of these or picks them up wrong and not realize what they are doing while cleaning." Shaking his head gently before starting to move to several of the pistols, picking them up, moving them from one pile to the next, sorting them by caliber, then by magazine size. By the time Devlin finishes, he frowns slightly, "This.. you need a display room for this amassment, likely a few presentation cases.. That would work with the pistols and revolvers.. The rifles would need a leather transport case for the various types of course, easier to see the selection that way."
Iris Lark "I had help restoring this store from a shell to what it is now." Iris replies, and she picks at the material of her jeans as she glances around the storage room. "I don't have that help anymore, and I don't know that I can build or find the things you think I need." She glances towards the door and frowns. "I also don't know if I want guns in the main room, I don't want someone picking something up and getting ideas with it." She lets her gaze settle on Devlin and sighs. "I...running a store wasn't exactly my idea. This became my concern after others didn't care to have it."
Devlin     "Iris," is said sternly as Devlin, still crouched in front of a assault rifle, lightly tapping the Ruger AC556F absentmindedly while looking towards the woman. "What is it that -you- desire?" With the question, he begins to soften his tone while continuing, "What do -you- want to sell? What do -you- wish not to be a merchant of? Do you wish to sell anything at all and if it's a duty of your's, what are the limits of that duty?" Looking away from Iris for the moment, he motions slightly at the armor pieces before then towards the Holodisk case that she had just been holding. "What do you feel comfortable around?"
Iris Lark Iris blinks at the stern tone and she sighs as she tries to think of the right words to form her answer. She opens her mouth several times to speak, but it's a few moments before words actually start to come out. "I ..what do I desire? I want to disappear from here and just be normal. I can't have that, so..I settle for helping people. Selling weapons, armor and even chems helps people. Healing their hurts, listening to their troubles. I do all of this because that's what I want to do." She pushes her hair away from her face and shrugs. "I just simply don't feel comfortable. I'm always watching my back, and I don't think that will change." She tilts her head and watches Devlin root through the crates. "Far too much stuff back here, don't you think?" She tries for levity, and before the words are out of her mouth she shifts and grimaces, not feeling as if she accomplished it.
Devlin     "You can, it's all a choice.. Don't fool yourself." Curring through the attempted levity, he doesn't appear to be angry nor was he growing agitated. "If you wish to disappear and be 'normal', why don't we start there?" Shifting lower, Devlin lowers himself down and onto his knees, parted almost to their limits only to then rest his palms onto his knees. Iris would soon discover that she now had the man's complete attention and from how he was now resting, it didn't appear as if he would be needing to rest or shift out of it for some time. "I am waiting, I won't tolerate lies though.. What does it mean to be normal and not trying to be what everyone else 'needs', but just.. normal?"
Iris Lark "Why lie to you, I hardly know you." Iris replies, shifting herself so that she's sat with her legs crossed indian style. She leans back on a heavy crate and stares off into the distance a bit, a slight smile on her face. "To be normal.." She says, her tone as distant as her expression. "To have your own name, a family and the ability to wake up each day making a decision on how to live based on what you want to do. Not based on who is injured, what settlement needs what." She blinks and glances at Devlin and one of her shoulders comes up as she shrugs diffidently. "Some of those things I can't get, and now my taking care of people is so ingrained that I do it without really realizing it." She picks at her jeans and adds. "It can be a bit of a chore."
Devlin     "To you, normal is living without a plan, without anything pressing or grander to do and focusing only on more primal needs?" While he repeated much of what she said, Devlin seems to discard everything else she began to focus onto. Lifting up his right hand, he fans out his fingers slightly, silently asking for her continued pause even though he didn't speak for several seconds. "I don't want to know what is.. what is, is meaningless. What is, is something that can be changed. What your desire is, is what can shape everything else.." Lowering his hand back to his thigh, he slowly slides it to his knee again while his eyes lowers towards her hand as it picks at her jeans steadily, "That's why I want to know exactly what your desire means, and I wonder.. have you ever really thought of your true goal?"
Iris Lark "My one true goal was freedom, and I got that, but it wasn't what I expected." Iris says, her head tilting forward until her hair obscures her face. "You know, for years, I didn't have any freedom at all. I had three feet of chain and a bundle of dirty rags." She pushes at the curtain of her hair as she peeks at Devlin. "I want to be normal, but I can't really have that desire. To me, being normal is having a family, a legacy or even..something as simple as siblings or cousins. I envy the Caine's. I wanted to be one of these girls who look for companionship and gaze towards the future knowing that it will be better than the past." She chuffs out a quiet sigh and laughs, but it's bitter. "So since I've been freed, no. I haven't had any other goals except survival."
Devlin     "Then that's the issue.. You are, from this moment forth, focused on a new set of goals. You are to first find someone you trust, keep them by your side, don't chain them but have them want to be with you.. The next, a legacy.. form a proper clinic of sorts." Looking around, Devlin motions with his arms slowly while looking away from Iris to say, "I don't see a 'single' thing here that's about feeling better, getting by day to day or surviving to the next one. That is to change no?" As he waits for her response, a gentle smile starts to spread across his lips, unfortunately the man's softness starts to fade after talking about his own family. "As for cousins, sibling.. After the bombs wiped out everything, you can choose your family in the wastes. And take this from a man who had a wide family before.. this choice feels better, and hurts more when you lose them. Not so much when it was forced.."
Iris Lark "I had a clinic, I ran a clinic for ..quite some time." Iris says, leaning back on her hands as she shifts and stretches her legs out, folding them at the ankles. "I gave it up to Camilla because I felt a new set of chains there. I didn't want to be in Shantytown, I didn't want to be in El Dorado, so I ..gave it up." She glances at the guns and the weapons and frowns. "I have found that you can't survive out here unless you defend yourself, so on that we'll have to agree to disagree." She eyes Devlin as he speaks of family and she presses her lips together as she glances away. "To let someone close in both of the situations you mentioned means a lot of trust. After the last year or so.. I don't have a lot of trust left to give." Her jaw works as she seems to be biting on the inside of her mouth, a nervous habit she picked up some time ago.
Devlin     "You had a place, a purpose yet.." Devlin hums a low a steady note while starting to look around the shop. Leaning off to one side, he picks up a piece of thigh protection and turns it over in his hands steadily. "This now your new chains, and chains are something you fear having on you once again, and so you want to run once again.. Is that assessment far off?" Waiting to see if his assessment was correct or not, he hums gently for himself before standing up before beginning to approach Iris, offering the piece of armor to her. "You also said you don't have a lot, not that you don't have someone you invest your little trust into. Scout them out. See if they are worth chaining yourself to.. This life isn't about escaping chains, but wrapping yourself in ones that uplift you not pull you down." 'Even if..' shaking his head, he silences himself from the fleeting thought being said.
Iris Lark "That place, and that purpose was chosen for me when I was younger, it wasn't something I wanted." Iris says, and she watches Devlin's approach with what might seem to be calm. She takes the armor in her hands, and instead of fidgeting with the fray in her jeans, she now turns the armor this way and that. "Chains are a scary thing, because ..well .. after a while you convince yourself that staying in a chain is safer than trying to escape it." She pushes herself to her feet, not wanting to be looked down on. "I have found that I am not very good at knowing who I should trust. I've made a lot of mistakes." She deftly slips around Devlin and puts the thigh protection back into the armor crate. "I'll probably keep making them."
Devlin     "I don't find my chains as 'safe', I have to see you or see Akane every so often to get these wounds of mine treated, make sure that I can keep closed any minor wounds until limping back." A chuckle bubbles up even as Iris starts to shift around, storing the protection away and into a spot where it would stay safe. "Now, why don't you tell me again what chains bring you comfort? It's important as we will always make mistakes, but if you were ever to stop making mistakes you'd never grow from what you are now. No reason to change." Looking back over the weapons, Devlin picks up one of the many pistols and ejects the magazine, setting it aside. "I think you having a stop that caters to the needs of the many might do you well but.. not being a merchant of everything. Ammunition? Maybe, the weapons of death? I would like to say no as a start."
Iris Lark Iris steps towards the table in the room, turning to push herself on it to sit. "Imagine not knowing any better, your world is a small tent where you're kept in a corner. You know ever facet of that corner. Nothing will surprise you or scare you. Nothing will change." She gazes down at her knees as she kicks idly. "The familiar is an old comfort, and every morning when I woke up I knew what to expect." She gestures idly towards the front of the store. "I have no clue what I'll wake up to tomorrow. It could be a day where I laugh, and things are easy. I could hurt someone, or someone might hurt me." She takes a deep breath and smiles at Devlin. "Uncertainty. No chains, no routine. Tomorrow is going to be something I can't forecast. My comfort was knowing what was coming, even if I didn't particularly care for it." She glances at all of the items and shrugs. "This was to be a store ran by a group, others would have knowledge of this stuff. They're not here, or not interested so it falls on me and those I might hire."
Devlin     "Iris.. You have no idea, not even the slightest about how much I found comfort, purpose in my old tent. I had to set it fire, or die in it." Closing his eyes, there was no smile on Devlin's lips even as he starts to situate himself once again on the ground. "I could never find comfort within chaos.. if you can, you might have a stronger will, a stronger soul that I have. I chose my chains, but until I find the perfect ones, I try on many sets, you'll never find the perfect ones without feeling the worse.. I tell myself that at least." Shrugging a shoulder faintly, but then he taps a hand over the center of his chest. "I'll put on another chain, one that feels light.. I'll help you, the best I can with this store. Teaching you what is good and what is mediocre for these weapons, these tools."
Iris Lark "I might have some small idea, because when I was taken from the camp and woke up in Shantytown? I wanted to go back, but was always afraid to say so." Iris gazes up from her knees to make eye contact with Devlin. "I loathe the Legion, they scare me so much, but I wanted to go back. Not something I've ever really told anyone else." She folds her hands together, and sets them in her lap, her knuckles a bit white as she seems to hold on to herself. "I haven't been schooled, I don't know or understand much about people in general. You think I might have a strong will, well..I'm stubborn." She shakes her head slowly back and forth, her hair falling over her shoulders. "I didn't find comfort in my chaos when I was kept, I just knew that to keep my sanity I had to adapt to it. That's all." She considers for a few moments and then she glances around the place, frowning. "I can pay you if you put on that chain, I wouldn't expect anyone to do something for me for free, even though people expect such from me."
Devlin     "Going back would be simple, it's what was, what all it needed to be. A pattern, didn't matter what it was, because it was 'normal'." The word she has used what seemed a long time ago was once again stressed but as he stressed it, Devlin looked towards her eyes, questioningly. "Schooling, that can be done. You can be taught about people, though I think you know more than you understand. As for your adaptation.. that means you are alive." Shifting back, he rolls onto the balls of his feet before standing up fully only to faintly smirk at the idea of being paid.
    Looking down at the ground, Devlin hovers his hand over several ideas, some worth more than others, some of prominent technology or stopping power but he picks up M92FS Pistol. After ejecting the magazine, he draws back the slide, expelling the chambered round only to catch it. Walking over to Iris, he holds the magazine and the pistol out for her to take. "This is my payment, another link to a chain I already have, is this suitable? Though as for those waiting for you to do things without gain.. tell me what they desire without fee, and I'll make sure you are compensated." With a growing grin, Devlin leans forward and more softly says, "I am a 'Mercenary', my profession is to wear temporary chains to gain a purpose, and I offer you to put the chains on.. within reason. It is just the path I chose to walk after burning my 'tent' personally."
Iris Lark Iris watches Devlin, her eyes wary as he speaks, and moreso when he moves closer with a pistol in hand. She gazes from the gun to the man, once and twice and then a third time before she shrugs. "You're welcome to take that if it has value to you." When he leans forward a bit, she automatically leans back, her head tilting as she listens to his words. Her chin comes up slightly and the wheels in her head are obviously turning before she speaks again. "Far be it from me to tell you not to do something that you seem to enjoy." She says faintly, trying for a smile that looks more like a grimace. She slips to her feet, pacing back and forth a bit arms folding over her chest. "I'm sure your path will take you to the place you're meant to be, and eventually I'll find mine as well. As for my chains? I'll figure those out." She opens her mouth to add more to that, but after a moment of thought, shuts it again.
Devlin     "It's 'all I know'," is offered in response to her assumption that he enjoyed the role. Looking at his hands, Devlin didn't take long to rearm the pistol but he didn't chamber a round, leaving the pistol unready to be fired or used. "As will your's. The only question is the length, and how much of a helping hand you require." Slipping the pistol away, he lifts his tone to make she heard him over her own thoughts. "I don't want your caps, nor your forced discomfort. My payment will be those things that bring 'you' discomfort but that I can use. For now it's weapons that cause others to come to you, begging for you to mend the wounds they inflict." Rather than approaching Iris, Devlin begins to make his way towards the doorway leading to the store's front but lingers, "I'll be back in the morning. I'll be bringing a cleaning kit.. it'll take a couple hours but all the handguns will be cleaned and presentable for you tomorrow. Then the rifles. I don't have experience with shotguns, or trap shotguns like that powerfist.." Lifting a hand, he motions for her to pause, not wanting to be interrupted before giving the news, "I'll look for homes for them as well, people that will defend those you wish to see smile, not make those people well with tears.
Iris Lark Iris pauses, not pacing anymore, but her body still moves with restless energy. She watches him create distance and it's clear that she relaxes with each step that he takes. "Uhm, you're welcome to use any of the..buildings here." She takes a breath and rubs her fingers across her eyes for a moment. "There is a smithy in the back, and ..more tools in the carport." She vaguely gestures towards the back of the store. "The shed is mine, but .. a cot if you need it." Her eyes are a little glassy as she moves past Devlin, towards the door, scooping up her rucksack. "I don't know how much help I need, honestly, and I feel bad that you're...nevermind. Uhm. Morning, yes. I've got to get home." She helpfully points in the direction of Avalon, realizes that she might be staring and gazes down at her feet. "Thank you." She murmurs before she turns and hurries through the door. A few moments later, the slam of the front doors sound, making the glass in them rattle for a moment.