A Place I Don't Know


gillian2_icon.gif robyn5_icon.gif

Scene Title A Place I Don't Know
Synopsis Two friends check in on each other over a great distance.
Date January 22, 2020

Gillian's Brownstone and the Praxis Ziggerut

It has been a quiet month for Robyn Quinn. It would be impossible for it to not be in the wake of her December. It has been a quiet and distant time, in the wake of the lack of discovery that happened in Antarctica. Every few days she's coming up with some new, insane and impossible plan for a next step in her journey towards answers, quickly scrapping it for one reason or another.

Most of them involve Matthew.

It was all of this and more that had driven her to do something she had promised she wouldn't do unless it was an emergency: reach out to her best friend, the currently absent Gillian Childs. She'd kept the fact that Gillian had provided her a means to reach her if necessary to herself, as much for Gillian's benefit as anyone else's. Now, though,it was time to make use of it.

When she had called, a message had been taken to be delivered to Gillian. Now it was more a matter of waiting than anything.

So of course it's while Robyn pads through Gillian's home, taking time out of her day to make sure the cats are taken care of that her temporary phone finally rings. She stares at it a moment before picking it up.


With the quiet day-to-day in the pyramid, Gillian has spent much of her time when not with either Squeaks or Lene, working on a sequel to her time travel book. She would have worked on the book about her trip out west, but she was concerned that they might be reading everything she wrote since she had no control over the technology that she used. She still kept her journal, but she made sure to keep her voice neutral while she did it. She knew they could be watching everything. They certainly controlled her phone calls.

These hours were one of her few reprises, getting to make a phone call in hopes that Robyn would answer, but well aware that anything she said could very well be monitored. She always kept certain details to a limit. She never once mentioned Adam over it. She would keep that promise, even if she wanted to tell on him. But she always talked about the kids, even if Lene could hardly be called a kid anymore. But either way, they were both her mom.

In some ways, she knew Robyn had been more so in the long lost future world.

“Robyn!” Gillian responded into the phone, putting her pen down and smiling as she leaned back, grateful to hear the familiar voice. They had spent a lot of time together in those intervening years after the war and not just because they shared concern for a particular young woman in their lives. “How are things back in New York? Are the cats still behaving?” She often opened with that. It was the simplest aside, but the cats were certainly a concern.

It was also the least sensitive topic, honestly. She avoided asking about Eve, knowing the woman’s background with the man in charge here.

"Oh thank god, it's you this time." There's a small chuckle from Robyn as she makes her way over to the nearby couch. "A certain prankster called me earlier. I'm not even sure how she got my current number." Robyn assumes Gillian knows by now that a calling prankster tends to imply one Eve Kendra Mas, but like Gillian she is smarter than to name her directly.

"They're fine, when they want to cooperate. They like to make me play hide and seek now that they're used to me. They still seem uncertain of Matthew when he comes with me, though." Though Gillian can't see it, Robyn shrugs rather helplessly. "I think they're enjoying having the house to themselves, honestly. No supervision means more time to slink around and sit in sunrays."

"Things are…" She trails off a moment, sighing. "Well, it's still New York. The strange shit here is practically endless. Agent Messer tells me someone is turning people into trees or some sort of real Twilight Zone shit." The sofa creaks as she settles down on it, the phone held to her face with her shoulder as she looks up at the ceiling. "And, you know. Ghosts of the past still haunting the present. The usual."

She falls silent for a moment, closing her eyes. "It hasn't been great," she finally admits, her voice wavering a little. "I've actually been considering trying to get away for a while."

“That’s the good thing about cats. They tends to handle being on their own better than even their owners.” Gillian hadn’t realized how much she would miss that big ginger ball of fur that often slept at the end of her bed until he was no longer there. She’d spent a lot of time away from him for years while he was growing up, but the last few he had been one of the only constants in her life. All the other house guests and mates she had over those years seemed to come and go as they pleased, but Chandra would always find his way up to her bed at night to lay against her ankles. Even the few times someone else happened to be in the bed with her.

The lack of a name seems to have told her just who the prankster might have been, and while Robyn can’t see her shake her head, she can probably hear it in her tone of voice. Honestly, she’s just grateful that the other woman hasn’t seemed to catch wind of exactly where they are, or why they are staying. Not that she’s shared too much about it even with the one person she tries to check in with.

The librarian wasn’t sure how Robyn would feel about them being under Adam’s roof.

“I don’t recommend driving across the country. But I’m not sure what the best vacation spots right now might be. Detroit or Kansas City, probably.” So many places around the world had gone to shit, but those two cities might be the safest bet right now for anything. “Maybe even just go upstate again. At least you probably still know some folks up there.”

There’s a pause, as she considers how much detail to ask, before she goes for it with a, “What ghosts you dealing with this time?” Cause she knows ghosts.

Heaving out a breath, Robyn turns and lays down across the couch, one hand hung down over the side in case one of the cats comes by. Though Gillian can't see how sure purses her lips, the hesitation is clear over the phone line.

"Company ghosts. Family ghosts. One actual time traveling ghost, I think." Another moment passes. "The ghosts of failed relationships," she adds. "Like I said… it's been a lot of the usual here in New York. The City that Never Sleeps has all the secrets that go with that." Closing her eyes, she angles her gaze up towards the ceiling. "I don't remember if I told you. About my mom. I found out she worked for the Company. That she died at one point too."

That she was alive afterwards, well, Gillian should no from stories, and Robyn is rightfully disinclined to elaborate on that particular note. "So I've been looking into it. Apparently obsessively, to hear some people tell it." There's a tinge of bitterness to those words, Robyn grunting as she sits back up afterwards.

"You know me too well," she offers with a slightly restrained chuckle. "I'd been considering heading out West, but…" Well, there's a few reasons that hasn't happened yet. "Kansas City seems like my best bet. Reassignment back to the capitol. I'd just feel bad about uprooting Matthew just as he's maybe starting to settle in here. He's even made a friend in Walter Trafford." Another huffed out breath. "Though I'd rather not be closer to Raytech, so Detroit's out. But Rochester… that's not a bad idea earlier."

Clearly Robyn hasn't put much actual thought into this.

At the mention of an obsessive search for a parent, Gillian can’t help but chuckle. That is a situation she knows all too well.. Squeaks never would have run away if she hadn’t wanted to know about her parents. Though it had ended up leading her to Adam fucking Monroe instead of the woman who gave birth to her. It was a long, complicated situation. “I understand. I would be reluctant to uproot Squeaks myself.” Which is one of the main reasons she hasn’t packed the girl up and made a run for it, or called in the troops for a full rescue mission. She knows they would do it.

But the girl believes in the man who claims he’s her father. She knows this.

She hopes her faith isn’t misplaced in him. But she’ll be here for the girl if it turns out it was. That’s the most she can do.

“My parents, my birth parents, were also part of the Company. I know they weren’t all bad. If you think you can find your mom, do it. Juniper can take over the cat sitting if we’re not back before then.” She knows a lot of the kids would do the same, but some she thinks are less likely to get distracted by various world troubles. “Do you think you’ll be able to find out more in KC? Or are you planning to stop looking into her?”

"I don't think I have any more avenues, at this point," Robyn replies quietly, with a heavy tone. "Digging up anything that isn't public about the Company has always been tricky, but apparently my mother was part of some… redaction in the 80s." There's a moment's pause where she regrets sharing that much over the phone line, but she charges on anyway. "So there's even less left of that. I can think of one person I could talk to but… well, that's a non-starter unfortunately."

Maybe there's a small part of her that doesn't care. Maybe there's a small part of her that hopes someone hears this conversation, small as that chance is.

"I went to Antarctica last month. She was stationed there. All we found were some records, everything had been dismantled and destroyed. It wasn't an entirely pointless trip, but it certainly wasn't what I had hoped it would be." There's another momentary pause, before Robyn huffs out a breath.

"I didn't call just to talk about myself," is a quick change of subject. "Are you and Jolene doing okay? I'd be lying if I said I wasn't worried. Do you have any idea when you're heading back this way?

For a moment, Gillian hums softly on the other side of the phone. There’s so much she would like to be able to tell, but she wasn’t about to trust the line to be safe for very frank and top-secret conversations. But the whole… redaction thing… “It seems like a lot of the past has been about covering shit up.” Too much of the past. Whether for good reasons or not. “Maybe when I get back we can figure a few things out.” If she’s even allowed to talk about it. She wasn’t supposed to talk about what happened last year in the West, she somehow doubted she should talk about this year, either…

But there’s another thing she said that bared repeating in astonishment. “You went to Antarctica. On purpose?” Yeah, cause she can’t really imagine why anyone would choose to go to Antarctica on purpose, even if this was technically the summertime there. She went there twice, herself, neither time she wanted to go or would have chosen to go if she’d had a choice.

“Wow. I’m sorry it wasn’t more fruitful, but damn, Antarctica…” With a shake of her head, she trails off on the thought. “Oh— we’re… doing okay. I’ve been working on my book sequel. My manager will be so proud if I can give him a disk drive with the whole novel ready to print. It’s actually easy to imagine a far off future in a place with so much… that feels like it should be in a scifi novel.” Cause her one hit original novel had been a scifi-time travel romance.

For reasons.

“Jac and Lene are both doing good, though. Jac’s learning a lot that she couldn’t learn back home, but I do think she’s getting homesick. I hope to get them both back to our home before Spring.” That’s her goal. One she’s only really told herself.

"Well, we had a human furnace there with us, so that helped," is delivered in about as deadpan a matter as Robyn can manage. "Didn't uncover much of the past there, but I have a feeling it's only a matter of time. Seems the past is pretty resistant to staying buried this time." And is it ever? As per what seems to be the normal for this call, Robyn doesn't offer any specific elaboration, letting implication and innuendo fill in the blanks. "So I imagine I'll find out more soon. Jury's out on if I'll like it or not."

The current streak of events says "probably not".

"I did get some of mum's records. And Tyler says hi." Or he would if he were there to say it at least, Robyn's pretty confident about that. But her voice takes a turn for something a bit more excited when Gillian relates what she and the others have been up to.

"Oh, Jac's learning new tricks? I can't wait to see!" The fact that there's little mention of Jolene doesn't escape her notice, but she chooses not to press. "Give her and Jolene my regards, yeah? I know folks are worried. Lance is basically running the radio station himself lately. How he balances it and being an intern at SESA, I don't know."

"And… congrats on finishing the book. I can't wait to read it." There's a small dip in her tone at the end of that, a pause following before she speaks up again. "Is it a romance again?"

“Oh yeah, Jac’s definitely learning some interesting things,” Gillian responds, a hint of something in the way she says that, because— well— this was a world where people could sometimes learn some very interesting things. “I have a feeling she’s going to be taking up fencing when we get home, if any of the local schools or community groups offer it. Maybe even something like Kendo in Yamagato.” She would not put it past her to want to learn one of the martial arts when they got home. That implied at least that Squeaks might be learning how to fight a little.

“It is a romance— through slightly more scifi-fantasy, but it does have romance.” Because she’d used the previous book to cope with— things— her lack of love life with the man that, at least in two futures, she had been supposed to be with. Time travel changed a lot of things.

And she’d needed to cope. She still needed to. After the news last year from a SESA Agent.

“Oh my God, Tyler?” That was a name she hadn’t expected. It had been one of the only times she had been really, really proud of everything. That they’d been able to save one person, that she had managed to think of something that would work under those extreme circumstances. It had kept her going for longer than she would admit, that small victory. “Tell him hi back.” Was it too much to say she was glad he was still around? But that was obvious.

“I bet Jolene will be relieved the radio station’s still active. What happened to… was it Martin?” She’d never actually met Jolene’s boss. She’d just known he was old and her daughter had admired him.

Robyn, on the other hand, had met Martin Pines. To say she admired him was a bit of an understatement, the few times she'd been able to speak with him left her with a wistful longing for when she used to work in radio. "I don't know," she says in a quiet voice. "I thought he'd returned to the station, but that doesn't seem to be the case. I haven't had much time to look into it, unfortunately. Last I heard he was safe thanks to a joint SESA/Wolfhound/NYPD effort." So there's that, at least. She'll have to ask Lance about it. "I'd intended to volunteer some, but… Antarctica happened, and life has been kind of a blur since."

The news of Jac learning interesting things is met with a bit of sceptical silence, before Robyn chuckles a bit. "Well… as long as she's being responsible, I certainly don't think it's a bad idea that she learn how to do something like kendo.. We all have to learn at some point." Like she did, thanks Raith and Avi. "That's- honestly? It's weird but I'm a little jealous. That's a neat thing to be interested in learning."

Once more she falls quiet, and though Gillian can't see it, her eyes slide off to the side as she chews on her lip, shifting on the couch. "I'd love to read it when it's done." A small sigh as she leans her head back and closes her eyes. "I could use a good romance now," she admits. "In place of -" She stops, humming to herself as she tries to find a way to continue. "Elaine… and I are done. Irreconcilably. That's really the only other thing I have going on right now. But it's time to let go of the past all around, I guess."

“She’s definitely learning some new things,” Gillian muses quietly, hinting that there’s more to this story than she can say, considering the situation. She wished she could tell the other woman everything, but it was difficult to know what they were listening on and what they would do if she said too much. The worst they could do, probably, was kick her out, which would leave Squeaks by herself in this fight. Something that she couldn’t allow, considering. She had vowed to stay by the girl’s side on this as long as she could.

“We will hopefully be home soon.” She feels like she missed so much in the last few months, but she couldn’t stay put not knowing where Jac was or what was happening to her. Tracking the girl down physically had been the last resort when no other sources panned out. She had even considered going to Peyton— but she didn’t like it when people only showed up to ask her to use her ability, she couldn’t do that to an old friend.

Even if she knew the woman would have done it in an instant.

If they had returned from the road trip empty handed, perhaps she would have then.

“I’m sorry about you and Elaine. I know how difficult it can be to lose someone you loved— maybe it will be good for you, though. Give you a chance to move on. Maybe meet someone new who doesn’t have as much… history.” Because history can be hard to get around. “I feel like this is advice you’ve given me before,” she adds with a laugh. Even if with her it was more… letting go of a future that she never even really experienced.

"Well, you know me. I can never leave the past behind." There's no sense of mirth to those words, instead spoken with a quiet resignation. Robyn lets out a long sigh, looking off into the empty space ahead of her. "I suppose that's what's got me into the messes I'm in now, isn't it?" A rare moment of self awareness, for once not immediately brushed away by a joking deflection or roll of her eyes.

"Good," is spoken in the same quiet voice. "About you being home soon. I miss you. And the girls. Maybe Jac can teach me some kendo." As if that wasn't clear already or hadn't already been stated, but it seems to bare repeating. Robyn knows there's a lot being left unspoken here, on both ends, out of necessity more than anything else. "And I know i'm not the only one who wants to know you're okay," she adds after a moment's pause. Even beyond Eve, there are people that are worried, and she's sure Gillian knows that.

Silence lingers just a moment long enough for Robyn to become slightly uncomfortable, running a hand through her hair as she looks down at her feet. "We should get dinner, when you get back. Catch up on everything that happened in earnest. It'll be a nice, quiet evening talking about the end of the world instead of living it. Jolene and Jac can meet Matthew, and we'll head out somewhere nice. My treat before I head off to a place I don't know."

Gillian can't see the small smile that forms on Robyn's face, but she can sure hear it in her voice. "Is there anything you want me to pass on to anyone? Even just as a matter of reassurance?"

“Let everyone know we’re okay. All three of us. I know the Lighthouse Kids are probably still worried, and Squeaks had been working with both Raytech and SESA for a time— I hope either or both of them still allow it when we get back,” Gillian imagined Raytech would be good with that sort of thing, at least, she didn’t know how the government would feel, especially when they do eventually find out where they have been. And possibly even why.

As for Eve… “I’m still surprised she hasn’t followed after me, but please try and keep her from doing that. It may almost be a year since she nearly died, but I’d rather not have a repeat with her risking herself.” Even for her. She didn’t know what Eve would do if she found out the truth about Praxis and the place she was staying.

But she imagined it would involve a cross country flight, really.

“I look forward to meeting Matthew. Him and Jac are almost the same age, right? That too’ll be interesting.” She laughed. She actually hadn’t thought about what would happen when Jac inevitably had her first crush, but the more people of the right age she meets, the more likely it would happen. There’s a pause, then she muses quietly, “I wonder if Lene already knows him. Future him, I mean.” From her future, obviously. It was a question. Maybe she would remember to ask. “I’ll see if Lene can give you a call too. I’m sure she’d like to talk to you.”

Eve. "She's a strange one." A loaded statement. Like much of the conversation, there's more Robyn wishes she could say there - that Eve has considered it, that Eve does know much about all of this. But that would be idiotic over this telephone line, and she knows that. "Always finding new ways to catch me off guard."

"Everyone at Fort Jay is concerned, but I don't think anyone knows the details. I know I'd love to still have her for my cases though. Assuming Kenji and I ever make anymore progress on the one she was shadowing us on." And in that lays another layer of the worry that plagues Robyn. But she can't help but follow that up with a laugh.

"Jac's older, but only by a few years I think. Matthew already gets along famously with Delilah's boy. I imagine he'll manage the same with her. Maybe. I'm- not exactly sure how isolated he was kids his own age. But the way he and Walter get on seems fine." This is a concern that's never really struck her before now, letting out a thoughtful 'hmm'. "All the more reason, I suppose."

"That said, I'd love a call from Lene. I still owe her time I need to make up for." All that time she spent not talking to her future adopted daughter, despite being best friends with her mother. It's one of many things about the last several years she regrets. "If it can be arranged. I feel like it was a bit of luck this one was."

A pause. "Thanks for taking the call," as if it needed to be said. "It's a peace of mind I really needed right now."

“I’ll try to get Lene to give you a call, but she is doing well. I think the road trip was good for us,” Gillian comments quietly, voice still it’s usual raspy register, but it also sounded as if she was smiling. Because she was. The last time they had travelled together there had been a war going on. Now they had gotten to see some of the results of said war, and no one would call their trip restful, but it had given them time to talk, listen to music together and just concentrate on a common goal.

And she also thought that the training with Jac had been good for both of them too. They hadn’t really had a chance to bond as her daughter and adopted daughter.

“I’m going to have to teach Jac how to drive when we get back,” she adds in a bit of a believe it or not kind of way, cause she’s not sure she believes it either. The girl’s gone a long way from that Council meeting when she horrified all the Council that a child had been living in the sewers the whole time with no family or education or anyone taking care of her.

It had been a wake up call, and a reminder why people like the Lighthouse had been necessary in the first place.

“I’m glad you called. I really am. I’m still going to have a lot to talk about when we get home, though.”

Cause there’s so much she doesn’t dare say where a certain someone might hear.

Once more, there are a few beats of silence on the other end, before Robyn lets out a small laugh. "I didn't learn to drive until I was in my twenties. Not a car anyway. Remember that little scooter I used to get around on? I can't imagine that being safe or cost-efficient now." Not that having a car is either, which is why Robyn still doesn't have her own. "She's got plenty of time for that. But I imagine she'll be thrilled to get to be a regular girl for a bit."

Robyn has no idea how loaded a statement that is.

"I can't wait. For you to get home, that is. I can't wait to hear from all three of you." She laughs quietly. "I guess that's pretty obvious by now, I've said it like six times. But like I said, dinner. Hopefully with no world saving interruptions.'

Another moment of silence. "Should I let you go? Before anyone becomes concerned we're talking too long?"

“I guess I could look into one of those fancy Raytech contraptions for her,” Gillian says as an aside, wondering if Squeaks would like to learn how to drive on something like that. She had driven a motorcycle herself for a few years, but hadn’t since everything about the world changed. In fact, she hadn’t had one since hers got broken in a fight between Peter and Peter, and Sylar, and Claire and the Company. “I’ve finished a new book to show my publisher when we get back, so at least I’ll have some extra income for it.”

And may not need it at all if the girl continues to teleport everywhere.

That was something she doesn’t say out loud, though. She’s not sure most people should know exactly what Jac has been tasked with right now.

“Probably a good idea. You take care of yourself and that young man of yours too. If you need any help with him, the kids from the Lighthouse know a lot about a village raising a child.”

They had practically been that way themselves. “Talk to you next time. Or hopefully in person, soon."

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