Better If You Don't

Participants:

ff_nadira_icon.gif robyn7_icon.gif

Scene Title Better If You Don't
Synopsis Drinking to the things I can't take back, thinking of the friends and faith I lack…
Date June 19, 2021

Lowes

The Pelago


Fingers dance across strings and music mingles against the pitter patter of rain against the windows of the former 40 Wall Street building as a lone guitarist sits outside a locked door near what now passes as the building's sea level floor. The corridors are a bit less travelled than usual due to the way the storm has picked up a bit today, and the few people that do pass by the guitarist pay her no mind.

But even in just a week, these halls have become a sort of home to Robyn Quinn. Nails pluck at strings as she hums a tune alongside how she plays, trying to suss out a melody. It's almost a lost art for her, something she has barely indulged in years.

Sitting so close to where the dock lets into the building offers her a unique view of the people coming and going from the building, and even with the slow goings of the day there's still plenty of people to watch. But it serves a more practical purpose as well: Overwatch, like a sniper in a nest, waiting to lay eyes on prey.

There's only one person she's keeping an eagle eye out for, but that doesn't mean that's the only interesting person coming and going.

As Robyn keeps an eye out on the dock, watching with eagle eyes, the form of a dark eyed woman comes into view. While Nadira isn't a regular at Lowes, it's certainly on her route. Water deliveries are simple enough, mostly involving her arriving somewhere and purifying water that's already contained somewhere. The perk of not having to lug fresh water around is something she appreciates, if nothing else. With a messenger bag slung over her shoulder, she makes her way inside to seek out whomever might be working who can direct her towards the water barrels.

Case in point, Nadira stepping into view is interesting. Quinn's gaze settles on her with narrow eyes, and for a moment she considers shirking away and out of sight, fearing some sort of continued confrontation with the other woman - the kind of thing she is exactly not here for, knowing it would reflect badly on her and the rest of her "crew".

There's little time to make that decision as Nadira approaches, and instead she decides to look up from her guitar, the tune she hums tapering off. "Mrs. Karim," she offers in an oddly formal half shout - Mrs slipping out as she thinks of her world's Nadira. Slowly she rises up to her feet, guitar in one hand and notebook in the other.

"May I have a word, if you're not too busy?"

"Mrs. Karim?"

The address gets a small laugh from Nadira, which perhaps breaks up the tension of any sort of awkwardness of running into this Robyn, and the woman's path alters, carrying her towards the guitarist. Once she's nearer and not having to talk so loudly, she rests a hand on her hip.

"I do not know who Mrs. Karim is, but there is a Nadira who will talk to you, should you wish. I can take a moment or two with you."

"What?" For a moment Robyn seems confused, brow furrowing together as she thinks for a moment. "Oh," followed by a more cognizant "Oh!" Frowning, she looks sheepish as she half turns away from Nadira, scratching the back of her neck. "Ah, I'm- sorry. I didn't want to presume informality after our last conversation and I still fucked up." That at least comes with a rueful chuckle. "The Nadira I knew is… well, I guess that's irrelevant."

Shoulders rise and fall in a shallow shrug, attention turning back to Naidra. She bends down, picking up her bag and her guitar. "We can walk and talk, I'm sure there's places that need that water," she notes. "I just… I guess I wanted to apologise for the other day. I know I came off rather strong and bullheaded, to say the least. I was hoping we could just… talk, this time. I'm still learning about this place as I go."

“I am not much of a formal person, nor a married one,” Nadira laughs. “Do not let the strange collection of people make you think me a matron.” She nods in agreement to the suggestion of a walk-and-talk, waiting for Robyn to get her things before moving. “Your apology is accepted, though I hope you do not take it personally if you have not gained my trust yet. I tend to be protective of those around me.”

"As you should be," Robyn offers with a small nod, following along next to Nadira. "And I do, a little bit, but… I get it, I guess. Maybe I wasn't as prepared for this as I thought I was. Wasn't really expecting t'see many people I knew back home." Which has certainly been a bit of an emotional minefield.

The talk of her being married or matron is quickly brushed aside, for the sake of hopefully staying on Nadira's good side. "Honestly, I think getting to talk without Kendall or Mogan will be good." She shakes her head and lets a small smile. "Not that I wish to exclude them but they're both very good at pushing my buttons, as it turns out."

Her free hand slips into her pocket, and she looks up at Nadira, and then back ahead. "If you wanted to ask me anything, feel free. In kind, I was hoping you could tell me more about the Pelago. A week isn't really enough time to properly acclimate, I'm still learning a lot."

"They both mean well, but they often let their emotions drive them," Nadira offers a fond smile at the mention of Kendall and Morgan. "You understand how this is an emotional situation given our fondness for Roux, I am certain." She lets out a slow breath before she levels her gaze on Robyn again.

"You have made it fairly clear as to what you say your intentions are, although I feel as if much may have been omitted. I have no direct questions regarding that currently, but I am certain there will be some cropping up in the future. As far as telling you about the Pelago, I am happy to share knowledge but it is hard to really narrow down what you may find useful. It is home. The people here are hardy and strong, rough around the edges in the best ways. We have all been through a lot to be where we are."

"Morgan…" Robyn trails off for a moment frowning. "I need to talk to her. Or you can, if you want. I just… I understand why she wants to come with us, but I need her to understand it won't go the way she thinks." Her eyes close half way as she walks, shifting how she carries her guitar.

"When people came to our world from here, two years ago… they weren't allowed to step into the lives of their versions of themselves in my world, even if they were dead." Robyn speaks in a low voice. "I had people who were this world's version of friends of mine who had recently died come through. The whole- having a variant of person come through, it's a tough nut to handle."

Swallowing, Robyn looks back up at Nadira. "She wouldn't be allowed to settle in with her dads, particularly not if she already exists where I come from. And what if the circumstances are different, and they never got together? I don't want her to get her heart set on something that I don't think is likely to happen."

And yet, it's what she wants for her family, and she horridly aware of the hypocrisy.

"She will not believe me," Nadira notes. "I believe that she would be happy to just see them again, but she was a child when she lost them. She was young and Kendall and I became all she really had. Perhaps it will not go perfectly or smoothly but for her, they are the world. A world she lost when the waters came. It may not be smooth sailing, but it is a journey that would take some serious convincing to dissuade her from."

She pauses. "She will only think I am worrying too much, that I do not want her to be hurt. It is true, I do not wish to see her injured or experiencing something unpleasant, but my motives will always be questioned by her. You, on the other hand, are living and breathing evidence that her beloved family may not be dead somewhere."

"Damnit." It's a quiet curse, Robyn huffing out a breath. "I should've thought that… through. I'm still- adjusting, and I don't really like talking about back home to people unless I need to. I should've held to that when I came to see you all." A finger taps at her cheek. "But then I would've had to lie and I wouldn't have wanted to do that either…"

This whole situation is hard.

"I'll talk to her. I'm sure I'll be back around there at some point or another." Falling silent for a moment, Robyn casts her eyes down at the ground, using the movements of Nadira's footfalls to keep her on track. "I know what it's like to lose your entire world. I'm a very different person, a worse person, than who I used to be. There's little I want more than to have my family, friends, my life back."

Looking up again, she spreads her hands out in front of her. "Here, I could do that. It'd be a different life, but I could make it close. I would have my mom, my dad again. A friend I cherish and miss to this day. Hell, two new sisters. Others, too." She pulls her hands back into herself, placing one over heart. "That's why I want so bad to find Roux. To give her that. Because for me, it's ephemeral. I can't have it, I have to leave if we find a way home. And Morgan needs to understand that that's a likelihood for her too. Minus the having to leave part."

"I believe you did not know what you were walking into with Morgan," Nadira offers the smallest of smiles. "She lost her world but found a new one. She is surviving as we all are in a different world, a world after something catastrophic. It will never feel normal and you should understand that Roux has experienced that as well. Your intentions might be to give her a family again, but you are not certain what she wants. You are basing your knowledge on yourself."

She takes a moment to study Robyn. "People change to adapt and survive, you are most definitely not the same as she is and you might find that jarring."

"No. I am not." The response Robyn gives carries a certain sort of curtness to it, clearly choosing to focus on the wrong takeaway. "And I believe you underestimate me in your quickness to distrust me." Nostrils flare as she takes a deep breath. "Telling you much of why I am not basing my knowledge just on myself means telling you things that will certainly raise your suspicion of me," she admits in a flat turn, "but there is much to be learned from the versions of myself I have seen before. Which, I will note, includes Roux."

Looking over to Nadira, Robyn fixes a gaze on her. "I also won't pretend any information I have may not have changed in the last year or so. But people who came to my world from here, from where Roux was when she left the Pelago, they knew her. And if there is any one thread of commonality I have heard between them, it's that she wanted nothing more than to have her mother back. That that was the whole reason she left the Pelago in the first place."

Spreading her hands in front of her, Robyn returns her gaze ahead. "It's the single thread of commonality between me and all my other selves that I have knowledge of." A beat. "I guess there's two, but that's the big one." Her hands fall back to her side. "I know things could have changed, but please don't treat me like I haven't done research, that I don't have reason. I may be reckless, but I try not to do anything without reason and evidence anymore."

A hand reaches up, scratching at the back of her head. "Three threads," she notes. "I think we all end up in the same boat, losing everyone we love around us." Just that sometimes it's their own fault, rather than an outside force.

"Roux is a person, not research," Nadira notes, her tone a little harder. "I distrust you because she is someone I care about. I would distrust anyone who brought something serious and emotional to her, regardless of if she is ready for it or if it is important to her. Perhaps your world is different, but here we stick together with those we love. I would not be a person who would abandon her."

"What?" Robyn seems genuinely perplexed, coming to a sloe stop as she lets Naidra pass her. "C'est comme si on ne parlait pas la même langue," she mutters to herself as she runs a hand down her face. "This is just… going to go in circles, and I just… I don't know." A heavy sigh escapes her lips as she tightens her grip on her guitar.

"I'm sorry to bother you, Nadira. I doubt it'll be the last time, but…" But what goes unanswered, a defeated tone to Robyn words as she turns away from the hydrokinetic.

There's the slightest hint of a frown at the corner of Nadira's mouth as Robyn turns away. "You spoke to me, I have given you nothing but honest answers. Roux is family to me. So is Morgan. So is Kendall. They are all I have, so as long as they are okay I will be okay as well. You are no bother, but I do not know that I have more for you than this."

Robyn takes another step before stopping again, closing her eyes. "Yeah. I know." Rolling her shoulders, she sighs heavily. "Maybe I'm more detached from the concept than I thought." Her lips thin and her feet shuffle, Robyn turning half way to look back towards Nadira. "No matter what, I'll make sure nothing happens to Roux. She means a lot to me, too. Just… in a different way."

"I do believe this is important to you, and I will take your word in good faith that she is meaningful to you. If I can give you one piece of advice for this… please remember her feelings. Think of what you have been through, and imagine her own struggles. You have said you have done your research. You should know what those troubles might be. Feel them, if you can. Perhaps you may be more detached but she will not be," Nadira shrugs a shoulder, tipping her head slightly towards Robyn.

"You would be giving her something she has been yearning for for as long as I have known her. You of all people should know what an emotional weight that is."
Robyn is still, her gaze lingering back over her shoulder for a long moment before she finally musters a small smile. "You and my Nadira have more in common than I thought," she offers with a chuckle. "You're both good at putting me in my place, and giving good advice at the same time."

With a small shrug, she turns and continues walking. "Not that I'm comparing. I'm learning that lesson a little bit more every day." One hand rises, giving a small wave back to Nadira. "Thanks. If you see her, give her a hug for me."

The wave is returned, a half-smile creeping up at the corner of Nadira's mouth. "I will be sure to do it. She will know she is cared for."

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