Playing With Fire


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Scene Title Playing With Fire
Synopsis Controlling fire by dumping more fuel on it probably wasn't Gillian and Meredith's best plans, but at least they don't destroy a old library, or burn up Gillian's recently resurrected sister in the process.
Date March 2, 2010

The Great Kills Library — Staten Island

From the way the building that she led them to looks, the Great Kills Library doesn't even resemble a library now. The hole in one of the walls is quite large, collapsing the roof above. The glass all shattered, the spiral staircase that used to stand pulled down. It looks as if two great creatures fought here, from the grooves in the floor. One even looks like a handprint, smashed into the concrete below the wooden flooring. The snow that recently fell outside has fallen inside, icicles hanging from places where holiday decorations probably once were.

"The Great Kills Library. I was right, no one's using it to squat." It's empty. The only real signs of this place's old function are hardback bindings laying around, broken wooden and metal shelves. Once they held books, now they don't even hold themselves.

"You okay, Jen?" she asks, a little nervous about having brought her sister out, but— wanting her there anyway, before she looks at the older red head, "My ability's been a little weird lately, but I've been able to get it working," she explains, leaving out the fact that she'd had it practically off the whole last week. Even now it takes effort to open the knot. "We can start whenever you're ready." The place is damp, thanks to the recent snow fall, the drifts even pushing much of it into the building, thanks to the big hole in the side. Rickham sized.

It's not exactly a nervous glance that Meredith shoots Jen, it's one of wary disapproval. The whole reason she and Gillian are here is to push her ability to it's limits and make sure she doesn't barbecue anyone. And, should she lose that control, the abandoned building and easy escape route was to keep anyone or anything from getting damaged. Having someone else along complicates the plan. And it's not something that the blonde pyro really looks forward to complicating.

"Weird? You sure you don't wanna just do this another day? I don't wanna get you to suddenly turn my power up so high I fricase us all." Maybe they should just call the whole thing off. Gillian might have her reasons for bringing the girl along, but she's not too sure they're the right ones for now. The rumors around the Lighthouse are hard to miss and that wary disapproval isn't just because the girl's sticking her nose into her business - it's because maybe she shouldn't be around at all. 'Course those are just rumors. Right? Either way, it's made Meredith a little edgy. Strangely a perfect state of mind for her to be in to test out her control.

Red hair bound back into a loose and messy braid that ropes down her back, Jenny huddles in her own winter coat, the steamy vapor from her breathing more visible than her affirmation back to Gillian is audible. Her eyes are wide and green as she takes in the library, hands in mittens and tucked under her chin. She looks fatigued, and her nose is still pink from her lingering cold, but there's a clarity in her gaze that speaks of healthiness, or an attempt thereof.

She shoots a glance towards Meredith. "You won't," she assures, quickly. "Gillian knows what she's doing. This place looks like it's ready to collapse in a puddle more than go up in flames anyway." Turning her back, to crunches a little way away, pacing in slow, halting movements.

There's a moment where Gillian looked bothered and worried, but then her younger sister speaks up and… suddenly that smile shows dimples. Who would have thought this would be how she would become. The rebellious one who cared little what her family thought of her, now proud of her sister's verbal approval.

It's nice— if very strange.

"Not that kind of weird. I only brought you all out here once I was sure it would work. It's more off than on right now. It shouldn't be a problem, as Jenny said." Cause… she knows what she's doing. As long as she doesn't get hurt, shot, or pumped full of adrenaline, at least. Calm and happy is good for the knot.

"We got a big exit to tumble out of if needed, too," she nods to the wall, then begins to delayer. Not all the way, just opening her coat to the cool air, and stuffing gloves in pockets. "It's better if I touch you. You don't need both your hands, do you?" she says, as she holds a bare hand forward, the knot beginning to loosen carefully. Far more carefully than it had the first time she trained. She doubts the condition will last, but for now… It's a good precaution.

They are playing with fire.

Though Meredith doesn't need both her hands in order to create her fire, they both sort of mimic the other. If she takes Gillian's hand, it's likely to get burnt. They are, after all, playing with fire.

Meredith shoots Jen another one of her patented wary looks. Just because she's there as an added precaution doesn't mean that the blonde quite trusts her yet. She hasn't seen her in action and she has a pretty high opinion of how hot and how fast her flames can spread. The last thing she wants is to get someone hurt because she was testing her ability and this happened. "Just…stand close to that hole in the wall." The easier to make an exit if things go terribly wrong.

Taking off her gloves, Meredith also unbuttons her coat. While it's frigid and the snow in the air has made her cheeks red with cold, it's about to get a lot warmer. "Don't grab me by the hand. You'll hurt yourself." The scarf is tugged off and stuffed in a pocket. Just because she can't get burned herself doesn't mean her clothes can't. And the last thing she needs is a flaming ball of yarn wrapped around her neck. Shoving her sleeves up as high as they will go - not very high - she sticks out one arm for Gillian to grab a hold of. Her own ability is linked strongly with adrenaline and emotions, so it will be interesting to see a more mental trial.

"Lemme know what to expect, I guess."

Thump-thump, go Jenny's boots, in a deliberate kind of stomp to signify she's standing where she ought. She flashes a smile, but struggles to dim it quickly, her back to the blasted exit way, wind blowing on through to make loose tendrils of fly away rusty red halo around her skull, and the cold makes her skin pale and freckles stand out. Meredith's suspicion has been met with mostly silence and staring in a different direction, but now, Jenny is watching the woman with intent, as if a challenge.

Or she wants to see what happens next, if the quick glance to Gillian will indicate motivation. Rubbing her mitteny hands together, she has a feeling she won't be so cold for much longer.

"Well, whatever you normally feel when you use your power will become clearer, stronger. I actually don't really know how it feels for others," Gillian hesitates a moment, before reaching out to put her hand on the woman's arm just above the elbow, moving a few steps toward her sister. Her sister experienced it once, a long time ago. She's not sure how much this she remembers of it, nor had she been aware at the time.

"You might feel the power coming from me. I feel it going someplace, so you might feel that much, too. You'll have to tell me how it feels. I'll keep it small at first." As she loosens the knot a little more, her hand starts to glow. It's a violet color, purple washed out with white, her eyes fill with it in a blink. The connection opens up, like a sudden wash of strength and energy, that heightens abilities.

Even if it's directed mostly at Meredith, a tickle of energy will stretch towards the youngest of the group as well.

That makes sense. It'd be hard for Meredith to tell someone else what burning felt like, as she's never really dealt with the sensation herself. Fire on her skin just sort of tickles. It's like she can feel the heat, but it simply doesn't affect her. "We'll do a show'n'tell after all this, I guess."

Pointedly waiting till Jen has her position set up by the exit before sticking her elbow and arm at Gillian, the blonde hesitates and almost jerks in surprise when Gillian makes skin to skin contact with her and a sudden burst of energy doesn't happen. That was truly what she was expecting, but this is something different. Though Meredith's never been much of a patient or meditating woman, she takes a deep breath in preparation.

Just as promised, there's a wash of energy that laps at Meredith. She was expecting it, but her heart beat starts to pump faster. Much like Gillian's hands, her own start to glow. Hers, however, are hot to the touch and will certainly burn anyone who touches them. The air around the pair starts to warm up as well, not enough that coats aren't necessary, but it's still a noticeable shift in temperature. So far, so good.

Though both women have plenty to concentrate on, there's the soft sound of a drawn in breath from Jenny, nasal and abrupt. Her mouth has gone into a small line and her forehead crinkles when she feels that touch of power. Her body goes tense, locks its self-hugging frame even when the air goes dry. Hotter. There's no change, certainly no glowing, from the younger Childs woman, her ability leashed into place with a certain steely-jawed vengeance.

Purple and hellfire orange glow together, and she watches it, the strange light managing to reflect intermittently off her pale moon face.

The purple light stays on Gillian's hand, rather than sliding up further, or spreading around the other woman. There's the fire. It warms her up, like a space heater. Not unpleasant, and not painful. It's nice at this point.

The slightly flowing eyes dart away from the growing light of fire and augmentation, toward her younger sibling. No change in her, the steely jaw is seen. The smile that comes is faint, not as dimply as a moment ago. "I'm going to open it up a little more. Just try to keep control, and… everything should be okay."

As she says that, the knot loosens again, pouring strength and power, and also seeming to pulsate. Now the one who creates fire is stronger than normal, not just more energized, and that thread… it feels like there's so much more where that came from. Like it could be grasped, pulled, like a thread soaked in gasoline, to fuel the fire.

Keep control. That's the key here. Meredith can feel her heart start to race as the connection between Gillian and herself open up further. It feels like being shown every scary or anger inducing image in front of her without the benefit of a screen. For a quick second, the red glow of her hands bursts quickly into a crackling flame, licking at one of the damp boards on the ground. Luckily, covered in snow as it is, it doesn't catch. However, the snow melts into a puddle in short order.

The pyrokinetic gasps just softly at the surge in power, but she reins it back. Closing her eyes, she concentrates on her beating heart, quick as it is, in order to count and slow herself down. After a few minutes, there's fire crackling at the tips of her fingers and traveling lazily about her hands, but it's not out of control. The air has become hot enough now that it's started to melt the snow and ice in a circle around the pair. The lopsided circumference of the melted area grows slowly as more power is fed through the brunette and into the blonde.

The longer it lasts, the more that there's sweat beading on Gillian's forehead. The purple glow brightens, thickening, and growing lighter, as if the white light behind it keeps getting brighter and brighter. She blinks, fights back, feels the pull, but lets it happen. "You're doing good— even stronger than before, and you're not losing control."

The whole thing was about finding a way to test strength versus control. Once the pyro learns to handle both, then they'll have completed it. It's an odd way to help someone. Like controlling a flame with a valve on the gasline. Test the amount it can handle, to teach her how to control it when just mad.

"I'm going to open it up more…" It's getting quite warm, but… that's why she opened her coat. The valve in her head turns again, letting out more gas onto the fire. It pulses, it calls. It may not be intoxicating, exactly, but some would say power always is…

The encouragement from Gillian is acknowledged mostly just through a succinct nod. Meredith has gathered control from it and it feels good. The adrenaline pumping through her system isn't controlling her, she is controlling it. It's a strange and dizzying feeling of joy to know that she can handle this. Not only that, she can use it and make her power that much more useful, hotter, controlled.

As Gillian tosses more of her power into Meredith, the melted area around them suddenly doubles, triples, the air throughout the entire building all but snaps with heat. Coats still on start to be uncomfortably warm and the wet ground even starts to dry up. It's almost like Meredith has put an industrial strength, enormous hair dryer on the damp and abandoned library.

The more power that she gets, the more that Meredith wants, she can feel the flame within her - it's no longer a struggle, it's a symbiotic relationship. Her hands crackle, the fire dances faster and hotter in her hands, jumping off of her fingertips. It starts to dance dangerously close to the now dryer driftwood strewn on the ground.

The change in dynamic isn't easily visible from the outside at first, but within moments it's obvious. The purple and violet light surges where they touch, growing and expanding, brightening against the harsh light of the growing fire. Then the fire does the same thing. Flames dance upwards, flow up the woman's arms even further, causing the old dead wood to pop and burst, exploding small oxygen holes inside. Ice crack and drip, unleashing more water, as steam begins to form.

What started out controlled, seems to have been lost.

Gillian's not even sure how it happened. A pull against the flow, and it's as if the knot itself caught on fire, unleashing even more energy into the target. The fire licks dangerously close to her hands, and she pulls against the uncontrolled flow. This is what happened in Antarctica. She lost control of it, it all went pouring into the area, and Noriko couldn't control the outcome. The ice cracked. People died.

Rico died.

She couldn't hold on. What she always pictured as a knot, suddenly turns into something different, clamp of sorts, grabbing onto that energy, and pulling back, until she feels more going with it. More and more energy. Not just what was given, but what had been there already.

Without the strength to handle the fires, they die out, weakening, forcing the older blonde suddenly to her knees, weakened by the loss of power. An overload, but one unlike any overload the augmentor has caused before.

Some of the fires still burn, treatening to spread without any control, already reaching toward the other broken piles, as the person who created then, but can no longer contain them, sags.

The drawn energy needs somewhere to go, and with a quick glance toward her sister, safely near the big hole in the wall, she says, "Jenny." That's all the real warning before much of the residual energy that she got from the pyro, gets sent toward the one in possession of the opposing element.

The sudden flood of energy, for Jenny, seems to have the same effect as being punched. Her green eyes go wide with white circling them, and her mouth parts, circling into a 'no!' of protest, but she never puts it to voice. Concentration abruptly crinkles her brow, her hands extending out, fingers splaying like starfish as if she's at least trying to redirect the flow of power with her own. Either sweat or water, or a mix of both, plasters her hair on her cheeks and forehead, and steam seems to abruptly raise off her body, as if the heat of the air were lifting it off into a fine mist that—

Hurts. She shrieks in surprise, reeling back even as it seems to come off her body like smoke, more and more as opposed to the fine control needed, surrounding her like an angry swarm of bees.

She turns. She's starts to run. The red rope of her braided hair flicks like a whip as she goes.

"Jenny wait!" Gillian calls out, looking toward the fire. It's small, enough, surrounded by concrete and other rubble. The room is damp. It likely won't spread, but the red head gets a head start. Even more of one as she adds a second glance, toward the woman whose arm she's holding. She lets go. The woman's eyes are still open— she looks weak. But not unconscious. That's enough. She can come back once she catches up.

Released, she pulls the knot back together in her head, clamping up the energy before more of it spills out, so she can chase after her sister, stumbling through the rubble in the hole, trying to avoid the swarm of liquid as much as possible. This would be the first time she's augmented someone that long and she didn't feel exhausted afterwards… it means she's able to try.

"Jenny, I'm sorry! I didn't— come back, please. I won't do that again," she says in a loud and rasped voice, stumbling down the alley that the hole spills out into.

The steam seems to disperse from both Jenny's departure out into the alley, as well as Gillian's clamping down on her power. The shock of cold outside converts it back into water, which streaks on the younger Childs' body without any particular control, simply clinging to hair, clothing, skin as water does. Leaning to a wall, she catches her breath, rubs her palms over her face. "I'm okay, I'm— I'm sorry, that was— that was woah, was what it was," she murmurs. "I thought maybe this time I'd be okay, but— man. I couldn't put it out. There's water everywhere but it just— "

Breathe, talk. She lifts her eyes ruefully to Gillian, despite being the taller of the two. "I haven't— not since that guy I attacked," she says, keeping her voice down. "I feel like— anything more than just grabbing it out of the air is putting this weapon in my hands, one that's— that's too dangerous. Is Meredith okay?"

There's relief still on her face. Not having to run very far helps, even if the sudden difference in temperature is uncomfortable. "We should have… tried something first. Rather than— I won't do it again, unless you want to try," she says, feeling the clamp fully in place again. It doesn't feel as tight and unrelenting as the last week, but it's firm. "I didn't expect that to fucking happen, either." The glowing has died down, only a little bit of ambient light from inside the Library. The flickering, but failing fire.

"I think she's okay, though," she adds after a second, glancing back inside to make sure the poor woman isn't on fire, or anything. "We'll probably have to help her back to the car. After I put out the rest of the fire." The old fashioned way, hitting it with a coat, or kicking sludge on top of it, most likely.

They managed not to get burned, at least. Or burn down the whole building.

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