jennifer_icon.gif ygraine_icon.gif

Scene Title Breaking
Synopsis Ygraine and post-traumatic stress renew their acquaintance. Jennifer discovers how much she's idolised and depended on by her fiancee.
Date February 22 2009

Le Rivage, Ygraine's apartment

A comparatively large and well-maintained apartment occupying one corner of its floor. Windows dominate two sides of the living room, illuminating it brightly throughout most days. A kitchenette occupies one corner of the lounge, while several doors offer exits.

Luxurious but slightly worn brown leather furniture is arranged around the television in the main room, with a small dining table and high-backed chairs diagonally opposite the kitchenette. Wall-mounted shelves and stand-alone cases take up a lot of space along the walls, almost wholly filled with books. A collection of full-size geographic, political, and historical atlases have been given pride of place - though academic texts on history, international relations, conflict theory and linguistics are also prominent, alongside a fair collection of DVDs. The one sizable decoration is a blown-up photograph of mist-shrouded Edinburgh castle at sunset, a black silhouette rising out of white and luminous gold.

Of the exits, one (with an extra lock, deadbolt, and a sturdy chain) leads out of the apartment; another to the bathroom; and the next to a small room that has been converted into a rather cramped home gym. A computer desk, filing cabinet, and a single bed take up most of the space in the next room, while the last is the master bedroom - dominated by a double bed (upon which sits a two foot tall cuddly penguin) and more bookshelves (these holding a jumble of magazines, art books, Neil Gaiman graphic novels, and a collection of science fiction and historical novels), with a clearly well-traveled laptop resting on the bed-side cabinet. Here, high-quality art-prints of dragons decorate the walls, while a small cabinet holds a collection of cycling trophies.

It's another chilly day outside, which might have served as the prompt for Ygraine to break with her customary attire, adding an off-the shoulder huge, cuddly sweater to the ensemble. Her hair is unbound and unbraided, flowing loosely down her back and over her face; and she's sitting in a sprawl on the sofa, a sketchpad open before her - but her head bowed and her breathing irregular, the hand holding the soft pencil unmoving on the page.

Jennifer makes her way into the apartment. Shivers. Cold. She moves over, quietly, to see what it was that the other woman was drawing.

Most of the sofa that isn't occupied by the curled-up Briton (or her trailing hair) is taken up with sketches. Landscapes. A cyclist blurring past at speed. And half a dozen of Jennifer. Few are finished, and none are really of professional quality - but she's clearly had both practice and training and has something of an eye for crafting an image.

Those images nearer to her, however, have little dark splots here and there on the pages, and it sounds rather as if she's attempting to get her breathing under control before she lifts her head. "I… hi", is croaked rather hoarsely from behind the concealing veil of hair. "I'm taking up the sofa…"

Jennifer laughs. "Clearly. The muse took you, all the way into sleep?"

Ygraine peeps up a little, then offers a weak laugh. "Therapy. I… I drew a lot. At the… the asylum. Though I didn't have such an amazing model to bring to mind, then." The hand not holding the pencil is brought up, reaching out to try to take Jennifer's fingers. "I… I don't want to dump on you."

Jennifer laughs. "Well, having said that, I'll be more bothered now if you don't."

Ygraine draws Jennifer's hand through the veil of her hair, to receive a rather wet kiss upon the knuckles, followed by a rub against a damp cheek. "I think I need to either dump a lot on you… or find out if the Ferrymen have a shrink on-staff", she confesses, sounding as if she is having to force the words out through a wall of guilt.

Jennifer frowns a bit. "Well, dump away." she says. This sounds more serious. She reaches over to move drawings so she can sit.

Ygraine leans over to set the pencil on the coffee table, following it with the sketch pad, then the drawings. Each is handled with care, as if precious… but then Jennifer is grabbed tightly by the hips and pulled bodily into the Briton's broad lap. "I… I think I might be breaking a bit again", she admits in a mumble into her lover's shoulder. "I think that… things have become too much. And I think I need help. But I don't want to turn you into a crutch for my sanity, even if you're willing to be one. I love you, adore you, and trust you - but I'm terrified that if I just… break on you, I'll break you. Or break what we have."

Jennifer frowns. "Tell me what's going on." She lets herself be pulled, but Ygraine is talking around things, and it's bothering her.

Ygraine peeps up, sniffles, then leans in to plant a slightly sloppy kiss on Jennifer's nose. "On the mission, we ran into a tank. Then I shot someone to save Brian. I'd never held a gun before that night. And then I threw myself full-length along the wall to grab him when he leapt over the parapet to avoid getting shot. On the way out, I listened to Conrad die… then got hit on the head by a hunk of masonry.

Her speech is starting to pick up speed, the words tumbling out. "That concussed me for days, and I was in hiding in a safehouse and I'd broken the prepaid anonymous cell I'd bought specially to call you so you wouldn't worry, and I couldn't think or talk straight, and I finally found you and I thought you were leaving me, and I've failed to patch things up with you and Cat or persuade most of Phoenix except her that they could do better or that people dying should motivate change not just some eulogising of the honoured sacrifices, and you hate Cat who's maybe my only other friend in the city who knows about what's going on, and I've avoided putting MacKenzie in touch with anyone because I'm scared if I do she'll get killed, and a couple of days ago one of the Feds who was at the big meeting found me and asked how the others were doing, and I'm scared I'm being watched, and that anyone I talk to'll be suspect and might disappear, and I think I'm going to fall apart and lose you and drawing isn't enough to get it all out of my mind and I'm scared I'm going to lose everything and I so badly love you and want to stay with you forever…"

Jennifer blinks. That's a huge chunk of ramble. She strokes Ygraine's hair. "Shh. Calm down. My problems with Cat are my problems with Cat. They don't involve you, hon." She says. "As for the Feds, that's just another reason we need to cut ties with those people."

Ygraine whimpers. "She didn't find me through them. She found me. Asked about them. Cutting ties'll protect them. But that means I'm scared to ask you for help through the Sailing Club. But I can't talk to any other shrink about shooting people while saving the world. And… I like Cat." She sniffles. "Not being allowed to see her's bad, but I don't think she could help with this so don't, please don't think I'm blaming you for this. Without you I'd be gibbering. Instead I'm just babbling. I think. Does any of this make sense? I know people suffer PTSD after being in a gunfight. Or hurting someone. Or being hurt. And I think I might've killed someone. And I didn't like Conrad, but… his last word was "groovy". I think he knew in advance what he was going to do, which makes his not telling us his plan heroic, not stupid, and I think he knew he'd have to sacrifice himself, and I feel guilty for being so angry at him, and… Jen. I don't want to break again. I'm terrified of losing my mind. But I'm so scared I can't hold onto it."

Jennifer strokes Ygraine's hair, gently. "Shhh. I'm right here. You're not going to lose your mind. You've got me. They should never have put you in that situation, sweetie."

Ygraine offers a louder whimper. "I… I want to help. I'm a superheroine, you know? A real, genuine, super-powered do-gooder with a moral streak a mile wide and training in coping well under pressure and responding to fear with clear decision-making. I've got to try to help. Or I'm nothing. Everything I rebuilt myself to aim to do while I was in the asylum, that was about making a difference. Not being selfish. Standing for something. I have to take risks - but good risks, I know. That's what angered me. Not that we stepped up to stop most of the world from dying. But that we could've done it better. But… I'm so scared, Jen. Scared I'll lose the ability to do that. Lose my mind. And lose you. I've got so much to live up to, with you. You're so full of fire. I think it burns too hot, sometimes, but you're a light in the darkness when I'm just a pale glimmer, a reflection."

Jennifer keeps gently hair-stroking. "Shh…it's all right. I won't let that happen to you. Everything will be fine, hon. You're just all wound up about this fed. Deep breaths."

Ygraine pulls Jennifer into a brief but crushingly tight hug. "I also feel guilty about you. Things I've done, and that I haven't done." She sniffles. "I feel proud to have you, I admit, but…. I shouldn't. It's not as if I made you. I should remember how astonished I was that you said yes to that first date, and how amazing you've always been for me. Having someone trust me, believe in me…."

Jennifer hugs tightly. "Ygraine, if I didn't trust you, I wouldn't have us in the situation we're in. It's okay!"

Ygraine closes her mouth over Jennifer's, for some little time. "'m sure someone must've hypnotised you to be happy with it", she mumbles. "But… Jen, I'm so scared I'll break you. Break "us". If I break. And I'm not sure I can hold it off. But I don't want to… I don't want "us" to become about hiding from the Feds and trying to prop up my sanity. I want your fire to be that light. Tempered by the erection of a few lenses and shutters, so you don't burn down the building around you, but I want to keep it burning. Not swamp it in the sewage of a broken fool's mind."

Jennifer frowns. "Then don't break." she says it, matter of factly. "Being a hero is about pressing on when it isn't easy. And I don't think you're broken."

Ygraine whimpers, then peeps up. "I've got fractures", she says quietly. "I always will. They can be useful. They… help me see things in people I might not've done otherwise. Make me think about things I wouldn't. But I don't want to let them open up into breaks again. And… I'm not sure my willpower's up to holding me together. I… I just want to hide here with you and not come out for a month."

Jennifer hugs. "That's what I'm here for. You don't have to come out. Just…get better."

Ygraine giggles, whimpers, then half-playfully attempts to nuzzle her way out of sight within Jennifer's hair and clothing. "There're reasons I think you're wonderful", she rather muffledly informs her lover's chest.

Jennifer cuddles Ygraine close. "Yes, I think you've found two of them right there", she says dryly, but keeps stroking the other woman's hair. "So just relax, hon."

Ygraine snorts, then manages another weak giggle, lifting her head to gaze wetly and adoringly up at her fiancee. "Do you have any idea how amazing you are, in almost every way? And how I don't feel I deserve you at all?"

Jennifer laughs. "Well, you've got me, for better or for worse. So, you're stuck with me."

Ygraine leans up to gently bump noses. "Even if I'm a mad fuck-up and need psychiatric help?", she asks nervously. "And even if I don't always agree with you? And even if I screw up horribly some time and damage your career?"

Jennifer chuckles. "Generally, yes." She says. "I don't stand firm on very many things, you know that."

Ygraine tries to steal a kiss, biting back another sniffle. "Your passion scares me", she murmurs. "I'm… I'm worried I'll put my foot in it in some spectacularly imaginative and stupid way, and you'll burn me to ash in your fury. But I'm so proud of you, darling. And not just the way that heads turn to watch when you walk down the street, or when I take you into a club. I mean the you inside. The one that inspires me. The one that I think about when I draw you from memory. Well, mostly. There're a couple of pictures of you that had rather different ideas in mind, but…" She musters a bleary smile. "Whatever stupid things I do in life, I adore you. Remember that. I'm just too much of a klutz to show it properly."

Jennifer kisses and cuddles close. "Just stay clear of Phoenix, and we don't have to worry about feet and fury." Because honestly, that's her hot button issue right now. "I know you do. And I adore you too."

Ygraine sighs, sniffles, and leans into the cuddling, briefly tightening it to near-crushing intensity once more. "I still like Cat. And I think Brian's got a good heart", she says sadly. "But even if I was sure I wanted to be active in Phoenix, I couldn't safely go near any of them with the Feds paying attention to me. I… I'm scared my superheroine days are over. And I never even got to parade around New York in a spandex thong and thigh boots."

Jennifer chuckles. "You can be a superheroine without Phoenix. As for the others, Brian's a pig, and Cat is a bitch." Yes: opinionated, angry - Jen is still both.

Ygraine runs a hand over Jennifer's rump, chuckling weakly. "No comment on the thong and thigh boots, mmm?" Even this weak, she figures that attempting a change of subject might be wise.

Jennifer grins. "Not as long as I get to take pictures."

Ygraine peeps up once more. "Darling, if you want me to dress like that, I will. Though I'd beg indulgence while the temperature's still sub-zero, at least." Another kiss, then her hands move up to tenderly cup Jennifer's cheeks. "I… I apologise in advance, for however hard it is to put me back together. Or hold me together, if we can manage that."

Jennifer holds tightly. "We're here for each other. That's more than most people get in this world."

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License