Another Kind Of Pickle


gerard_icon.gif hailey_icon.gif lance_icon.gif

Scene Title Another Kind of Pickle
Synopsis The Gerkens get to sit down with their father after his arrest. Finally.
Date February 28, 2020

NYPD Holding Facility : Red Hook: Interrogation Room

The room is a small, empty room with a mirror on one side. An interrogation room. Gerard Gerken sits at the table, wrists cuffed and sitting down in his lap. He’s changed into a standard jumpsuit, clean, and simple. They’ve been told he has been chemically negated, but has been calm, quiet and compliant since he was taken into custody. He’s still calm and quiet, even when the door opens, an officer showing the two young adults inside. The officer says, “You have twenty minutes. Call your boss if you need more time. We’ll be on the other side of the glass if there’s any trouble.”

The officer gives the man inside the interrogation room a look before she steps back and allows them inside. The table even has two extra chairs. They’ve prepared for this.

As soon as he sees them, he shifts, the metal chair scratching against the concrete flooring with a sharp sound. His breath hitches, but then he does not actually attempt to get out of the chair. Perhaps because the officer lays a hand on her side arm for a moment until he stops moving. “Let us know if you need anything.”

The way she says it heavily hints that they needing something are more important than the prisoner needing something.

Ever since finding out that they have a living parent, Hailey's been a mix of anxiety and excitement. Her loner tendencies have amplified, even Lance has had a hard time getting her to open the door to her room. When she does come out, it's when everyone else is gone or asleep. She just hasn't had it in her to talk about all the feelings inside. The Gerken siblings aren't orphans anymore.


The man sitting in the chair is just as much a stranger now as when she first saw the picture in the file. As far as she knows, this is their first meeting. A small twitch of her eyebrows causes her somber expression into something of displeasure.

I wish Gillian was here… or Brian… or Eric…

Someone that could advise her what to do. Someone whose only stake in the game was Hailey's happiness. She wished she could count Lance in that small number but he's a little too involved.

The usual teasing and constant arguments between the siblings have died off, and Lance has just been worried for his sister more than anything; that she was willing to come today for their first, and maybe their only, chance to see their father is something that relieved him greatly.

“We’ll be fine,” he assures the officer, resisting the urge to roll his eyes at the overreaction.

But then, he saw himself what Gerard is capable of. Even negated.

His gaze lingers on the man with an uncertain expression, not sure what to say at first.

“So, um.” A glance to Hailey, then back to Gerard, “Hi. I’m Lance, this is Hailey, if you— hadn’t guessed.”

This is awkward.

As the door closes behind them, the two young adults are left alone with the older man they don’t even really remember. Gerard still doesn’t move from his seat, just looking between the two of them quietly for a few moments, before settling on the younger of the two— mostly because Lance was the one speaking.

“They told me you both died.” He says after a moment. He’d already said as much over the radio, but— that was the first thing that he could think to say. “After everything they did, I shouldn’t be surprised that they lied about it.” The Company had been guilty of so many crimes, the Albany Trials had brought some of them to light, but others…

There were always so many more lives that they had destroyed.

“You both look about how I imagined.” Imagine, he says, but he had seen something over a year ago that had made him rethink how his children might have grown up. What they might have looked like now if he hadn’t accidentally killed them. His eyes shift off Lance toward his daughter— unable to hide the quiet flash of guilt in his eyes as he looks at her. “You look so much like your mother.”

She glances out the window, rudely and dismissively, as the statement about her mother is let out. How many times had she lectured Emily about being grateful to have parents when so many of their friends didn’t. Now here Hailey is, a hypocrite. “I wouldn’t know,” she offers as a bridge.

Then she sits across from him and gives him a small and tight smile. “I’m Hailey… they never changed our names, but I don’t know who you are… or who she was.” The empath extends her hand far enough across the table that he can shake it, if he’s allowed. “Maybe you can tell me everything they erased. I mean, maybe I can come visit more, it’s not like yo—” she stops and lets out the rest of the breath that should have carried the insensitive comment to its close. He’s not going anywhere.

Instead, the blond changes the subject, “So Lance said he’s the paper to your rock… did mom do anything like me? Or am I just way off the family tree?”

“They told us the same thing. We were— going through some of the old Company records for a case when I came across your file.” Lance isn’t going to tell on his benefactor in that particular case! “I guess I manifested right then and there, and— like Hailey said, protected us both.”

He draws in a breath, “I talked to some of the other Level 5 internees, but we couldn’t track you down before. Well.”

The whole Shedda Dinu thing happened.

He nudges Hailey in the ribs with an elbow when she almost says ‘It’s not like you’ll have anything better to do’.

For a moment, Gerard casts a glance toward the mirror, before he moves his hands onto the top of the table. They are connected to each other with handcuffs, but he puts the hands out to meet her half way, anyway. Even if part of him can figure out where the rest of that sentence had been going. It was right, in a way.

He didn’t have a lot of things better to do.

The lights overhead flicker, but that’s probably just the cheap fluorescent bulbs. No, no she wouldn’t know. They had taken their memories, it seemed— he had figured that could be the case. It sounded like what the Company did— he should just be glad they didn’t do something like keep them for an experiment—

Or maybe they had, cause they obviously had known where to find them.

“Ash— your mother, she wasn’t like… us?” He hadn’t known they were until this exact moment. “As far as I know. They didn’t have the tests yet when…” When she had died? He stops talking and Hailey, at least, can feel his hand tensing and pulling back. His eyes shift to Lance. They had only survived because he had manifested. He would have killed them otherwise. His head nods, just a fraction of a motion, before he tries to speak again.

“What do you want to know?”

The blonde withdraws her hands to a comfortable distance after the initial shake, her fingers still reaching a little toward her father but not so much that she’s straining to make contact. That small shake doesn’t seem like it was enough. A touch of bitterness taints her expression, only because first contact with her father shouldn’t be a small handshake from the comfort of steel bracelets. But these were the consequences of his own choices.

“Everything,” Hailey begins with a bit of a smile. She doesn’t share Gerard’s gloom, she hasn’t had to live with the last memories of her family for a decade. Using her foot, she shoves the other chair in Lance’s direction as an invitation to sit together. “Her name was Ash? Like Ashley or just Ash like Ash Ketchum? Maybe she was like me and you just didn’t know. Nobody knew that I could do anything for the longest time either.”

“Yeah. Everything, we don’t… we don’t really know anything about you, or our mother, I mean aside from all the lies we were told and what little I dug up in the files,” Lance admits, shifting over to ease down and sit in the chair shoved his way, leaning forward, hands on the table’s edge.

“I do silence,” he reveals with a quick, rueful smile, “Basically. I can stop sound, which is a little different, but— Hailey talks to animals. Or feels at animals, anyway.”

He clears his throat, “Uh. Aunt Huruma says hello, by the way.”

“Ashleigh, but I always called her Ash,” Gerard responds quietly, his voice softer for the moment, because, well— his wife was dead because of him? His kids may have survived, but the same thing didn’t save the rest of those in the close vicinity to what had happened. There’s definitely a darkness in his eyes, a guilt that wasn’t going to go away just because two less than he had thought had died.

But it was something, even then. Lifting his head up a bit as he listens, he understands, having to laugh a little. “I guess you manifested what you needed to, when you needed to.” It almost sounded like he found it amusing— or ironic, really. “If Monroe had heard that, he would have said it was an argument showing how right he was.” That they were superior. It didn’t sound as if their father had really been in it for that, though, because of a hint of distaste in how he said the name.

After all, he’d seen the news out of Detroit.

The police in the station had made a point to show him what he had been fighting with.

“Huruma— “ he hesitates for a moment. “She’s pretty hard to forget. I suppose she was with the group that came to capture us.” He knew she had been in Wolfhound, it had been one of the reasons he’d avoided sticking his head above ground often, because she might recognize him, but… He looks back at Hailey, fingers shifting to better grasp hers. “What is it you can do?”

"I —uhhhh," Hailey says with a bit of a frown, she's always found it a bit difficult to explain exactly what it is she can do. "I know what animals are feeling? And I can make them feel what I feel. Like if I'm angry or scared… or hurt.." Her shoulders lift in a shrug as her lips stretch into a flat, close lipped smile that threatens to cut her face in half.

"There was this one time when we were running from the soldiers with the rest of the Lighthouse, I was so scared a giant moose came and killed some people."

Claim. To. Fame.

"That was just before the war started," she lets loose a long sigh that’s almost wistful sounding. "Huruma taught me a bunch of stuff on how to control what I do, I guess she does the exact same thing but with people."

“I’m glad you weren’t drinking that Kool-Aid,” Lance mutters under his breath at the mention of Adam Monroe being ‘right’.

When his sister hesitates briefly, he gives her a reassuring nudge, flashing a smile.

“It was pretty primal. The moose, I mean. She keeps bringing skunks home, though.”

A glance back to her, “I still think you’d make a great vet or professional trainer or something, sis.”

“I do think that they did wrong by people like us— keeping what we did a secret. Ash wouldn’t have… all those people might not have…” Gerard trailed off a little, looking down at his hands for a moment and where they touched his daughters. She too, via her ability, had killed— in a way. But she had been threatened. She had been under attack. She had been scared. “I wish I could say it had been that way when it happened with me…” he whispers quietly, before shaking his head. His mood is definitely darker than the joking mood between siblings…

But their joking mood helps.

A lot. It lets him not pull back, and allows him to look back up and meet Lance’s eyes for a moment, before he nods. “That sounds like a good idea. You could help a lot of animals— and people too, even. Some people rely on animals. You used to have a dog growing up, you know. His name was…” he looks off for a moment as if trying to remember it. “Oh yeah— you named him Pickle.” He chuckles a little at the memory.

“I do not bring skunks home,” Hailey emits an angry hiss at Lance. “That was your little girlfriend Weasel. How dare you.” Rats? Sure, she’s had plenty of mishaps with them. Mostly because they’re all over the freakin’ place, but never a skunk. Turning to their father she reiterates, “I don’t bring skunks home.”

She shrugs and scrunches up her face a little at the notion of becoming a vet. “I’m a welder, I can weld anything… you should see my beads. They call me Sweet Beads as a nickname, because my beads are tiiiiiiiight.” Nobody really does that. “I did train a hearing ear dog for our sister, Brynn, though. I wouldn’t mind training animals but I don’t think I could fix them… if they’re feeling sick or in pain, I’d feel all that too. It’d probably be way too distracting, I think. Maybe if I was just a vet’s helper, I could tell the vet what was wrong.”

She stops talking, because she’s been monopolizing it. Then in true sister fashion.

“Lance is a narc, he joined the man.”

“She was not my girlfriend,” Lance’s eyes roll out of his head and down the hall - proverbially, that is, he isn’t randomly exhibiting some sort of anatomical separation ability. “And how can I tell the difference between all the animals all over the place? Do you know how often we need to vacuum?.”

Then he adds, dryly, “I think he figured that part out, sis.”

Back to Gerard, he admits, “We grew up in an Evolved orphanage, the Lighthouse. You might’ve heard of it? I think they’re turning it into a museum or something.” He doesn’t sound thrilled. “After the war we mostly stuck together.”

From the way Gerard is grinning, he had gathered that. And he appears to be pleased with Lance’s life choices, at least. He never hated the man. Just what some certain men had done to him. And himself most of all. After a moment, he looks back at Hailey, meeting her eyes with his own once again, “You know, when you two were young and you would play cops and robbers, you would always play the cop, and he would always play the robber.” It was a fond story, and it actually sounded like them when they had been growing up in the Lighthouse, too. Lance and Paul and Joe had always been the troublemakers of sorts, sneaking around playing pranks. Usually well meaning.

With their big sisters to tell the grown ups on them.

“I’m glad you both found a family.”

As he finishes that sentence, Lance’s phone rings.

It’s Corbin Ayers. His boss.

"So… Dad?"

That word sounds so foreign and Hailey isn't even sure she's even supposed to say it, to which she quickly adds. "Do you even want me to call you dad? Or.. Gerard? Or Jerry?" She doesn't go so formal as 'Mister Gerken,' not that she would ever. She shifts a look over to Lance as his phone starts ringing, then focuses back on their father.

"Do you know how long you'll be in here for?" Her eyebrows quirk up a little on the inside, causing her forehead to wrinkle some. "Like, can you cut a deal to get out sooner? I heard that loads of people did it during the war trials. I even heard that some people are just walking around free as birds in the Safe Zone."

“I can neither confirm nor deny any criminal activities I may or may not have been involved in prior to my current career,” Lance says after clearing his throat, though there’s a glint in his eye, “But hypothetically I would’ve made an amazing robber.”

Hailey maybe wouldn’t have made a very good cop, though.

As his phone rings, he pulls it out with a frown to turn it off— then pauses. “Uh, I have to take this, sorry,” he says, pushing up to his feet and stepping back in the room a bit, turning his back as he answers, “Gerken.”

“Dad is fine. If you don’t mind calling me that,” Gerard responds after a second, looking down at where their hands have intertwined again. He wishes he could tell them everything, and maybe now he’ll have the chance, even if it’s at meetings like these. Times to sit down and just talk. It was better than the alternative. “I wish I would have found out about the two of you earlier. I really do…”

Maybe things would have been different.

But they’ll never know.

As Lance answers his phone, Corbin’s voice comes on the other end. “Gerken, we got a problem. It’s Emily. She’s missing. I’ve had people looking for her since yesterday and…” he hesitates.

“We have reason to believe that the accomplice we suspected that was involved in the tree case might have gotten ahold of her. Unfortunately, we now may be looking for a tree.”

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