A Life To Get Back To


jessica_icon.gif niki_icon.gif richard_icon.gif

Scene Title A Life To Get Back To
Synopsis Sometimes, shrinks are helpful.
Date January 21, 2009


At the moment, Jessica's dealing with a headache. She's had to mostly keep control, to keep Niki from doing anything stupid, like deciding she's going to storm out. Niki, for her part, has spent several days worth of ranting at Jessica for her role in messing up her life. Right now the blonde is lying on her bed, one leg propped up, as she pulls a pillow over her head. "My god, would you shut up already?!"

With a pillow over her head, Jessica won't see the door opening, but she'll be able to hear it, about the time the last word is out of her mouth. "Oh my," Richard says, out loud, head ducking a little so he can peer at the woman over his glasses, and he lets himself in a little farther. Dressed entirely in black, his choices of clothing is at least professional, if oddly somber - the cane he holds in one hand and relies on is also sleekly black polished wood, which taps metallically against the ground as he goes. "I can usually silence people," he says, and shuts the door behind him - it closes without sound, as if demonstrating, "but it seems this is a job fit only for you, in this— in this case." The stammer isn't one of nerves, really. Just a force of habit.

Jessica yanks the pillow aside, and then looks up at the new arrival. "Silencing tends to have some unpleasant connotations around this place. You might wanna rethink that as an introduction." She sits up, looking over. "So who are you?" Her tone is just a bit confrontational.

"My apologies, some people find it comforting. From what I can understand, silence in this case— " A quirk of a smile, a gesture to her as if to indicate her own sentiment. "— would be golden." Richard comes to stand, not taking a seat anywhere, as if acknowledging he is, indeed, a stranger. "I'm Dr. Richard Kenneth. I'm a psychologist. Sabra Dalton wanted us to have a chat."

Jessica nods. "Ahh, the shrink." She says, sounding just a little sarcastic. "Well, I'll chat. I'm not entirely certain how much good it's going to do, but I'll chat."

"Well let's see if we can't appease the benevolent goddess either way," Richard says, moving away from lingering in the center of the room, cane swinging and hitting the ground rhythmically as he goes. "Maybe you could tell me who you were telling to shut up, Ms. Sanders, and why."

Jessica looks back to him. "I'm assuming you read my file before you came in here. Which means you probably know exactly who I'm talking to. My sister Niki. And I'm telling her to shut up because she's spent the last week being a bitchy shrew…" She glares at the mirror a moment. "…when I was trying to help her in the first place."

"Well you and Niki bear a physical resemblance, Jessica," Richard says, coming to sit down, balancing his cane across his knees casually. "I did, did read your file. It's a relatively unique case. Multiple personality disorder is a hard one to pin, but it seems we have more than enough conclusive evidence. What were you trying to help her with?"

Jessica looks back at him. "Trying to get her settled. Her life's been a big mess ever since the Bomb. Eventually it was just best to blank her memory from a couple years back to current. Give her a fresh start. Then I found out about another mess, and the cops got involved, and all my good work of trying to get Niki reestablished got shot to shit."

Richard is quiet when he listens and entirely unjudgmental, taking in what she has to say without surprise or even much of any reaction. "Unfortunate," he comments, lightly, when there is an appropriate break in which to speak. "However, I can see why she would be a bitchy shrew, as you put it. Free will, it's the Holy Grail of human wants and needs, second only to survival. I'm gonna go ahead and guess you didn't ask Niki before you went ahead to fix her life for her."

Jessica looks scornful. "Sure. Yeah, I asked her if she minded me blanking two years of her memory. She was holding me irrationally accountable for things I had no control over. I was trying to help her."

"And she was unable to help herself?" Richard asks. It's an honest question, but the wording is inherently challenging, a small draw of a smile indicating that he knows very well he's debating.

Jessica answers "Niki has been unable to help herself since she was ten. That's what she has me for. To help her and keep her safe."

"I see," Richard says, eyes hooding a little behind his glasses. Then, he nods once. "I don't quite know what transpired between yourself and Ms. Dalton, but she's proposed to me, at least, to find a way to get you and Niki working alongside each other. Accepting that you're two different people, even if every single article I've read screams that this is the wrong thing to do, but hey, we're in a brave new world. If that's something you yourself would be interested in and I highly suggest it be, you need to slacken the reins a little. Blanking out someone's memory for two years… well at least we have a low bar to reach for. Can I talk to Niki?"

Jessica nods. "All right." She seems more willing than she usually is to actually work with people. There's just a moment of pause, and then a sudden movement, as if Niki had been inwardly flailing. She takes a moment to glare at the mirror now, before looking back to Richard.

Richard raises a hand a little as if to somehow steady her from several feet away, fingers curling against his palm once she settles, then offering her an uncertain smile. "Niki?" he says. "I guess I should— my name is Richard. I don't know if you were listening or not." He glances, now, to the mirror. "Maybe you can give me some insight about how that works. You, I mean. Not the mirror."

Niki looks back. "It's nice to meet you, Richard. Yes, I was listening. And…when she's out, either I'm completely unaware, or I'm trapped behind the mirror. It seems to be how we interact. Through mirrors."

"So it's not just for decoration," Richard says, mostly to himself, and he affords Niki a weary smile. "Tell me something. You heard what went on - what do you think? You, unfortunately, don't have many options, if reintegration isn't what you want. Do you think you can reconcile with what Jessica's done?"

Niki scowls. "She had no right to do what she did. I just…I just want to go back to living my life. Without police, or being arrested, or any of this insanity."

"No, she didn't have a right," Richard agrees, leaning forward a little to rest his elbows against his knees. "But she did it. And now you want to get on with your life. That's going to be impossible if you're at war with someone in your head - you understand that, don't you?"

The blonde sighs. "Yes. I understand it." She really hates it, and she doesn't want to admit it. But, she understands it. "We can't be screaming at each other all the time."

"Correct," Richard says, with a rueful smile. "I'll be honest, I'm not a good partnership counselor. Divorced once in my life to the only woman I thought I had a shot with and that involved a lot of screaming at each other too, so at the very least I can talk from experience. I get the feeling you and Jessica are going to have to work something out - some kind of compromise. Divorce, here, isn't really an option."

The blonde sighs. "Tell me about it. It's a roommate I can't get rid of. But right now we both want the same thing, which is to get out of here and back to our lives. And right now, you're the one who's in control of that. So what do I need to do?"

"I sign papers," Richard says, with a dismissive shake of his head. "I tick boxes. I say, yes Sabra Dalton, Niki and Jessica are gonna be as right as rain, don't you worry. The only ones in control of this would be you and Jessica. If you want the same thing then, well, it's a start. But what's to say Jessica isn't going to decide you need another two years of memory gone from your mind? What say you."

Niki scowls at that. "From what I hear, she had to get help, FROM HERE, to do that. I think I'll be fine on that front. Besides, wiping my memory falls apart too easily. Which this proves." she says pointedly, talking to more than just Richard. "So whether I like it or not, or SHE likes it or not, we have to work together."

"Maybe not the literal act of wiping memory," Richard allows, waving a hand. "But taking charge of things without your consent, whatever they may be in all shapes and forms. However, you get the point." Click! The end of his cane lands smartly on the ground, and he uses both that and his chair to lever himself up to stand. "Who's stronger?" No, not leaving yet. He paces, despite the stiffness of one leg. "You or her. Did she let you come out to talk to me or did you do that yourself."

Niki's not thrilled about that. "She is." She admits. "She backed off and I was able to come out." But Jessica is very much decidely the one in charge of that mental duo.

"So you have to answer to her if you want to take back control," Richard says. "You can see how that's a problem. Do you know how it works, Niki? Because she, she sure does. What it sounds like is she can do what she wants, when she wants to do it, and I don't think you want to live your life with her permission."

Jessica's about a half-second from stepping in. Niki frowns, though. "But doesn't that just put us into a constant war for control? Who's stronger? And the first time someone slips or relaxes, poof."

Richard gives her a nod. "So we find ourselves at the crux of the problem, of what makes co-existence difficult. An inbalance that's only dictated by who's the strongest. We can settle that via… negotiation, or someway to tip the scale without conflict. Sounds like Jessica steps in when she feels you need her. How does that make you feel?"

Niki looks a little awkward at that question. "I…I don't need her making choices for me. I'm not a child." On the other hand, she's not as capable as Jessica, either.

It's a typical psych question, almost movie-esque, and at Niki's visible awkwardness, Richard just smiles apologetically, but amends nothing - just listens. "Then she needs to figure out that you're never gonna get your life back on track with her making sure you don't need to make mistakes." His gaze on her becomes searching, as if trying to see Jessica through Niki. "Or don't need to get hurt."

This time, she does reply. "I am more than willing to let Niki try putting things back together. She was doing that before, until I made the mistake of trying to help people. I won't make that mistake again."

Richard's back straightens a little at the seamless transition from Niki to Jessica, his pacing pausing to study her for a moment, then nodding once. "Good," he says, and offers this half a small smile. The hardest thing about this job is the question of trust, and he makes no guarantees. Instead, he nods his head to her. "You both know the answer to stop being in rooms like this. I like to keep people out of these situations than put them in them." His hand disappears into his jacket pocket, and takes out a card. Primatech Research, with his phonenumber scrawled in pen on the back. He offers it to the woman on the bed.

Jessica takes the card. "Good. Then we all agree that no one wants us to be in here, and we can go?" she says, standing. "We have a life to get back to."

Richard studies her for a moment. Then rather simply asks for the opinion of… "Niki?"

Another seamless transition. When the two are cooperating, it's quite easy. Honestly, a relief for Jessica, who usually has to do things forcibly, or else secretly. "I just want to go home, Richard." she says, her voice quiet. "I want to try and get back to living my life."

A pause, thoughtful, a glance back towards the mirror. Without a gesture, hands resting on his cane, Richard says, "Door's open. Try not to get me fired."

She smiles at that, brightly. "Thank you." She stands and takes a step closer, offering her hand out to the psychologist. "Thank you so much." He's honestly been the most productive person she's talked to.

It could be a mistake. But then, both people (or rather, all three of them) would know well the price of such a mistake, and it has little to do with his career. Richard can really only count on the idea that it's mutually acknowledge. He takes Niki's hand in a brisk shake. "Good luck."

January 21st: Heartache
January 21st: To Break Fenrir's Chain
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