ff_doyle_icon.gif odessa2_icon.gif seren_icon.gif ff_silas_icon.gif

Scene Title Ahoy!
Synopsis Silas returns home with a refugee of a different kind in tow.
Date February 6, 2020

Nouvelle Vue, Bay Ridge

“… Gotcha!”

Seren Evans jumps around the side of a stack of boxes with their arms spread, half-crouched, a wide grin on their face. The silver chain of the necklace looped around their collar shimmers as it sways before them given the angle, old Converse scuffing on the wooden floorboard beneath them. Knees peek through deliberately-tattered holes in their dark jeans, and they practically swim in the oversized button-up left open over a bleach-stained black tee. Seren hovers, holding their position for just a moment longer …

before conceding that this is not, after all, the spot their figment of imagination is hiding.

Slowly, they rise to their full height and rub at the back of their head, fingers grazing through the growing fuzz of it. “Jason, have you seen Baird?” they call out. “I can’t find him anywhere.”

The sun shines down on the deck of the Nouvelle Vue, bearing unseasonably spring-like air along with it. Supplies for continued renovations are strewn about in a kind of organized chaos, easy enough to navigate, but also easy enough to hide in. Seren was supposed to be helping with maintenance about the boat, but they’ve gotten a touch off track. Or… more than a touch, depending on one’s point of view.

Depends on how one views playing impromptu hide and seek with an imaginary being.

“Alright, so we need to reinforce the supports there and… there,” ‘Jason Tyminski’ is talking to himself (or is he?) as he goes over a rough set of blueprints sketched together on papers spread over the top of a crate, “So we can raise the light rigging without worrying about structural damage, and— “

At the call from Seren, a blue-and-purple head swiftly ducks down behind the crate with a whispered little sniggering. Eric’s lips twitch a bit in an amused manner before he turns his head to look back over his shoulder, brows raising a little.

“No,” he calls back, “Did you, ah— did you check behind those boxes over there?”

With a touch of hapless exasperation, all Seren can do is breathe in at first, eyes roaming where they’ve already roamed at least once previously. Their hand flies off the back of their head, held up in a gesture of defeat, or surrender, or both. “I mean… I’m pretty sure I’ve checked everywhere by this point.” Their distress appears to be genuine, carefully boxed away by the time they make their way to ‘Jason’s’ impromptu war table.

“How goes the plan of attack?” Seren asks, still distracted by the apparent loss of their familiar.

Behind them, the vibrant, orange dodo beak of a fantastic creature slowly leans its way out from behind the creature’s crate of choice. For all his ostentatious looks, he’s silent as he leans his head entirely into plain view, blue and purple plumage lifted off the top of his head like a cockatoo. After all, Baird is very proud of himself. Usually he doesn’t win this game. In his hubris, his head continues to peek further and further out of his hiding spot, attached to a long, furry, serpentine neck.

"Ahoy the ship!" a voice calls from below, off the starboard side — a voice that those present aboard the Nouvelle Vue should recognize. Silas is standing at the foot of the gangplank leading aboard, trying his best not to be tense.

It's a hard thing to do, that — the last time he was here, he got shot. Worse than that — ambushed. But… it's his boat. His home, even if he's been away; he's going to have to come to terms with things sooner or later. He won't be here, Silas tells himself, letting out a deep breath, banishing some of his tension with it. Surely he won't.

"Requesting permission to board!" he calls, pausing to flash a quick smile to his companion before turning his attention back to the head of the gangplank.

The mixed feelings radiating from Silas make Odessa feel uneasy, but they also spur her to offer an encouraging smile. Whatever it is he fears, she’ll do her best to protect him from it. Even though she knows how impossible it can be when those troubles are intangible.

“Your ship is lovely,” the bottle redhead compliments in a quiet voice. She’s feeling unsure herself, even beneath the layers of feelings that aren’t her own. There’s something she can feel when she reaches out with her extra senses. Maybe it’s just the fact that there are other pings on her metaphorical radar. Maybe she’s just reading too much into an unfamiliar situation.

“It really depends on what sort of budget we’re working with; I have some ideas, but…”

The call from shore brings Doyle’s head up, eyebrows leaping up towards the bald pate atop his head. Pushing himself up to his feet, he steps along out onto the deck, brushing some sawdust and lunch crumbs off his overalls. “Ahoy, cap’n,” he calls cheerfully, pausing just before the gangplank’s end where it meets the ship, his gaze pausing upon Odessa’s face with more than a flicker of recognition. Wigs and hair color don’t fool the puppeteer, but he can’t tell which Odessa it is. “And of course, permission granted. Oh! There’s, ah, been— “

He leans forward, his eyebrows lifting expressively as he regards Silas’s face, “Word from home.”

The sound of the voice off the side of the ship sends Seren popping up, eyes widening. Could it be? It has them quickly whipping around to head for the side of the ship to see just who it is.

They're not the only ones who take an interest, though. From his hiding spot, Baird lets out a crow of delight, plumage on his face and fur on his chest ruffling out in surprise and joy both. He darts out midair and sails across the deck, his streamer of a dragon's body trailing his bird head. Squaaa heralds his arrival, his head sailing right over the railing to begin a dive toward the two on the dock below.

—awk is the strangled sound of him being stopped in his tracks, Seren's attention snapping to him. Their hand closes around his furry neck, cinching down on it in a way that pinches his neck down to cartoonishly thin levels.

"You little rascal," Seren growls at him without a trace of malice in their bones. The half-grin that appears on their face despite themself help give it away to those who don't know any better. "You won't listen to me, but you'll come out and say hello to Silas, I see how it is!" The 'strangled' figment gets a rough shake for all the trouble he's caused before Seren lets go. Quickly, Baird rises and curls around in the air to better peer down at his summoner, headlong tackle of Silas momentarily sidelined by the need to heckle Seren first. He dives and away human and figment both go out of view of the bottom of the gangplank, a tangle of arms and bodies careening around the deck with laughter as Baird nips at the side of their head, then their shoulder then their side…

Interest they might otherwise have in Doyle Jason's comment is put on hold in light of that.

Silas grins at Doyle's question — that Doyle remembered to ask goes a long way towards assuaging his unease — but his reply is delayed a bit when he sees that Seren is here, too, along with Baird. His eyes widen with surprise, grin broadening still more; he tosses off a jaunty wave as the two retreat from the railing, leaving his attention to shift back to Doyle.

"Word from home, huh. Anything from Ryans?" he asks, starting up the gangplank. They'll have to work out a new sign/countersign now, but it's worth it to keep Redd from scooping him.

To keep Redd from scooping Doyle, too. Or Seren. He's surprised to see that they're still hanging around, after the Halloween fiasco… but damn if he's not glad of it. He gestures for Des to join him; he's got some introductions to do, and that puts him in a good mood.

Odessa hesitates a long moment, conflicted in so many ways. Conflicted about the unknown quotient that Seren represents. Conflicted about competing memories of Eric Doyle. Unsure of whether she has the fortitude to approach this situation.

Of course she does. She’s Odessa fucking Price, and she won’t let some ghost of her collective past and a fae realm escapee intimidate her. A small smile forms on her lips, even if it doesn’t quite reach her eyes. At least, not until she reaches the deck of the ship and she’s faced with the puppeteer.

Her face is like the woman from his boat, the one who carried a sword and defended his people - defended him - with blood and fury. But her eyes are the young girl’s who would sit across from him and play Monopoly with a thimble she pilfered from an old sewing kit.

“Hello, Santa,” Odessa greets quietly, that smile finally reaching her blue eyes.

At the proper counter-sign, Doyle’s shoulders relax a bit of the tension in them and he leans back to straighten up. “None from the Captain,” he allows, sweeping one thick arm to invite them aboard as he moves fully out of the way.

Once the woman is making her way up, he’s watching her with guarded but thoughtful eyes, head cocked a little to one side like a puppet making an exaggerated motion so it could be more easily read. His body language has always been subtle but distinct, unique in its own way.

At that greeting, then, a smile curves to his own lips. “Hello, Dorothy.”

Finally untangling themself from their imaginary friend after signs have been exchanged, Seren is breathless but grinning as they sigh and turn back to the two that have come aboard. Baird finally takes off, swirling a streaming loop around Silas's shoulders before he takes interest in Odessa in particular, orange beak snapping with interest as he speaks questions of her in a language only he knows, tilting his purple-and-blue head with interest at her in anticipation of a response.

"Silas, it's so good to see you! Jason made it sound like all was well, but after so long, I wasn't sure if you were ever coming back again." Seren's brow knits as they fail to try and hide their worry that might be the case, for all that they smile. Then they're on to Odessa. "And you brought a friend!" This much happier said. "It's great to meet you."

Stepping close enough to strike a hand out as Baird zips away to linger looking over Doyle's shoulder, Seren's smile brightens. "Seren Evans. My pronouns are they/them. My friend here is Baird— don't let him get to you. He's just a bit energetic now, but he'll calm down soon enough."

Silas observes the interaction between Doyle and Des with the hesitant air of someone trying to gauge to what extent two of their friends know each other.

Luckily, Seren escapes Baird's clutches — and/or vice/versa — at that point, jumping back into things. Silas grins as Baird circles his shoulders before going to make much of Des, and he can't help but feel happy to be home again.

He marvels at that for a moment — that he thinks of this place as home — but when you invest enough of yourself in a place, that's really not surprising, is it?

"Nah. Just… laying low for a bit," he chuckles. "After…" Halloween, he thinks but does not say; there's a lot of regret packed in that small thought. All that work, and it ended up like that… A tragedy. "Until I can get some unfinished business sorted out," he says gently, glancing to Des. She knows the unfinished business he's talking about; she's met the guy firsthand.

Luckily, Seren seems no more eager to jump into such troubled waters than Silas is. He grins again, staying silent as Seren introduces themself, then glances to Des. There are troubles aplenty to touch upon, but for now he's not in any particular hurry.

It takes a great effort not to throw herself forward into “Jason’s” arms. He’s not her Eric and she isn’t his Destiny, but the connection is still strong. Her memories, jumbled as they are, give her some sense of possibly undeserved kinship with him. Odessa swallows a lump in her throat and turns her attention to the unfamiliar face and their… Ah, Baird.

A smile is offered in return, tinged with a hint of confusion, or perhaps curiosity. “It’s nice to meet you.” Her expression falters a moment, having been about to form her mouth around the sound of her own name. That would be so incredibly foolish. Instead, she lets her attention shift to Baird, hoping that her fascination with the creature will cover for her lack of introduction.

It’s hard to sort out who she is, which Odessa she is, and so for the moment Eric Doyle simply… let it go. Something to be discussed in private, perhaps.

Clearing his throat, the big man sweeps a hand, “Ah— this is Seren, as they said. Don’t mind Baird, it’s part of their power. I don’t think Raytech has started producing genetically engineered pets or anything.” A broad grin at his joke, which then fades a little as he looks to them sharply, “Wait, they haven’t, have they?”

Seren winks, peering over Doyle's shoulder to spy Baird. After a suitable dramatic pause, they assure him "Not yet," only for their tone to drop as they add almost in a sing-song, "Robot pets, though…"

They chuckle and look back to Odessa. "It's good to meet you, Dorothy," they tell her, even though it's a bit repetitive at this point. Baird swoops down over the front of Doyle's shoulder to begin approaching the stranger over her displayed interest. His break pulls back and becomes a long snout with a nose as his head dips in a sniff, the tufts of fur along his back lengthening and becoming miniature wings in a sliding spanse of a long blink.

"Hopefully it all gets taken care of soon, Silas," Seren tells him sympathetically. "If it's anything I might be able to help with, just let me know."

Silas doesn't quite blanch at the notion of Seren helping with the particular business he's been having trouble with, but he does regard them with a blank stare for a long moment while he corrals his stampeding thoughts. An image of Seren and Redd in the same room bubbles up from the depths of his mind, and is immediately quashed with great prejudice. Nope. Absolutely not.

Then he grins. "You're already helping me out!" he laughs. "And glad I am of it, too. The fact that I've got you and Jason working to get this boat ship-shape— " the slight broadening of his grin is enough to assure all present that he knows exactly what he just did there "—means the world to me." His grin fades a bit, slipping from roguish into full sincerity. "Means I'll have something to come back to, once all is said and done," he says, nodding to Seren and Jason.

He takes a deep breath; sincerity is great and all, but it always feels like a mask that doesn't fit his face quite right. "Anyway!" he says, slipping back into jovial mode. "I'm glad you're both here; saves me some time on introducing both of you to Dorothy here," he says, and again there's that gleam of impish amusement in his eyes, and at the corners of his smile.

So, she’s Dorothy now. Well, there’s worse names she’s been called. At least if Eve shows up looking for her, they’ll know who she’s after. Odessa smiles with a polite interest to Seren, even though her attention shifts from them to their pet. She reaches out tentatively with one hand. “You… work for Raytech?” she asks uncertainly. That would figure, but also could be a problem she may have to deal with later.

Her gaze flickers off Baird and lands on Doyle again. And it stays there, fixes, while her heart tries to work out the conflicting feelings there. They will definitely have to speak later. She owes him more explanation than what he has to work with already.

It’s easier at the moment to focus on business at hand, rather than sort out feelings, identities, and other things of that nature. So that’s what Doyle does, gesturing with one hand, “So yeah, once I have a good idea of the budget we’re working with, I should be able to get this place up and running in no time. Less than that, if I can get a few more pairs of hands working that won’t hit themselves in the thumb with a hammer.”

His hands spread a bit, and he smiles, “I’d love to have shows playing here by the time my girls get to New York.”

Seren lets out a laugh at Silas' boat joke, shaking their head. "Yes, I work over at Raytech. I'm an architect, though I think they're making quick work out of turning me into an innovator…" Baird continues to nose forward ever so gently toward 'Dorothy', never quite brushing her as he curiously tries to make sense of her.

"I've been working on a project to revolutionize the way prefabricated homes are approached, incorporating elements of ability-propelled bioelectricity to make the home more self-sufficient. Based on other designs, I also had a great idea for cooling using architecture, but…" Awkwardly, they shrug it off. "That's not really an issue New York has, so… backburner, unless the California Safe Zone wants to talk to us instead."

They sound full of hope about that, for all they try to downplay it. Their heart flutters excitedly from it, embarrassment following shortly after. "But a-anyway…" Seren trails off sheepishly.

Seren's talk about their projects is… pretty damn impressive. He'd known they were sharp, but it's another thing to hear them dive into specifics. "You never know," he says thoughtfully, at their talk about California. "This place takes off and we get enough of a cash surplus, we might be able to see about expanding a bit, and California seems like prime territory. If things come together and you're not swamped with other work, I'd be happy to see what kinda plans you draw up…" he muses.

Doyle's talk about wanting to have shows playing by the time his girls get to New York. draws Silas's attention back to the present. Right. Probably better not get the cart ahead of the horse; still have to live long enough to see that happen. "I'd like that, too," he says… then he claps his hands together. "So. About that. Dorothy here is looking for somewhere safe and quiet to rest up and lay low for a bit, and I figured since we've got no shortage of room… might as well put some of it to use, right?" he asks brightly to Doyle. He glances to Des to make sure she's still okay with this.

Although Odessa’s attention is captured by Baird, she’s quick to tear it away and offer an encouraging smile to Seren when she realizes they’re feeling like they’ve been overenthusiastic. “If you manage to land a subcontract from Praxis, you’ll be very fortunate.” Which isn’t said in a way to suggest that it’s impossible or even improbable. Just that it would require a certain acknowledgement of the feat undertaken. “I think that sounds amazing, Mx. Evans. I hope I’m reading about it in Scientific American soon.”

Then Silas is cutting to the chase and ‘Dorothy’ is all awkward smiles. “I’m having a… disagreement with an old flame,” she supplies as the reason why she’d like to lay low somewhere. “It’ll blow over though. When I’m out of sight, I’m out of mind. He never makes an effort to come find me.”

Okay, so she may be spinning a yarn, but deep down, Odessa is a little offended that Adam Monroe never appeared to make any attempt to make good on his threats to find her.

“If it’s not alright, though, I can find somewhere else to hole up.”

“Hey, it’s John’s boat,” says ‘Jason’ with a jerk of his thumb in Silas’s direction, “If it’s okay with him, it’s okay with me. I’m just lending a hand getting this place up and running, and if Dorothy there wants to lay low here in Munchkin Land I’m not going to give her away to any witches or flying monkeys.”

It’s hard to tell how much of that was a solid metaphor and how much was him just running away with the metaphor.

“There’s plenty of room if she wants to bunk down somewhere, absolutely.”

Some of Seren's sudden shy melts away the moment Odessa reaches for a non-binary title, grey eyes flitting back in her direction. Still, their shoulders shrink back, humbled at the implied praise thrown their direction. "Well…" they balk, rubbing a hand over the tattoo and isotope marks on the side of their neck. They smile and look off.

It's all very endearing, whatever this is. Dorothy needed help! They would help. There were monsters after her. All this imagery is very easy to parse.

And project, for that matter. Suddenly, 'Dorothy' is like her namesake, adorned in ruby-red slippers that glimmer under the gloamy sunlight. The edges of Seren's irises gleam silver, the presence of the shoes not noted, not yet noticed by them directly. Instead, they just beam brightly at Odessa. "If you need anything brought out, I'd be happy to run to the grocery whenever you need! There's no place like home, so anything we can do to make it feel more like one…"

Then they blink, noting something that's missing. "Baird?" they voice suddenly, realizing he's not circling Odessa at all anymore. He's nowhere to be seen. Seren turns, looking over their shoulder and then across the deck— finding a tiny wyvern perched on top of the plans 'Jason' had been pouring over a few minutes earlier. On relocating the missing figment, Seren narrows their eyes at him, putting a hand on their hip. "That's an entirely different kind of dragon there, bud," they point out to him, brows arched dubiously in his direction.

Nonplussed entirely, Baird sets about walking all over the papers, the purple and blue plumage on his head arched again as he struts. With a roll of their eyes, Seren returns to the present and the real, smiling again between Odess and Silas. "Anyway, Jason's right— Silas' word goes. Welcome aboard!"

Silas nods, grinning broadly. "Well then. Welcome aboard," he echoes… then, noticing the glimmer of red from Odessa's suddenly beslippered feet, his grin widens a hair more. Seems Seren's getting into the spirit of things. He wonders how long it'll take Dorothy to notice her wardrobe upgrade.

"Since I'm here anyway, I can give you the full tour…" he starts… then frowns ruefully. "Although it's been so long since I've been here, maybe Jason and Seren oughta be giving us both a tour," he says. The regret is gone nearly as quickly as it'd come, though, replaced by a sunny grin. "After that… we can talk budgets and planning," he says, nodding to Doyle. He looks around to the others. "Sound good?"

Odessa is touched by the outpouring of support and it shows in the light in her eyes. As Silas offers the guided tour, whether guided by him or the others, she steps forward to signal her assent. It’s then that the flash of light at her feet catches her eye and she looks down to spot the ruby slippers on her feet.

Blue eyes grow wide and her mouth opens into a soft ‘o’. By now, she’s surmised a little of what Seren Evans might be capable of, given the nature of their companion and their aura and is quick to attribute this change to their ability. When she looks up again, it’s with a big smile. “Yes. Sounds great.

There’s no place like home, and home is where you make it.

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