Big City, Little World and Destiny


lydia_icon.gif samuel_icon.gif

Scene Title Big City, Little World And Destiny
Synopsis Lydia summons up a familiar face in the scheme of Samuel Sullivan's agenda.
Date August 31, 2010

Lydia's Apartment

Previously, on String Theory…

Some days he brings things. Today it's a box of candles, because maybe he remembers she liked these kind, shaped by hand with honeycomb textures. Might have been Lydia, anyway. Could have been one of the others. Either way, these, and a lantern of oil he says he brought from the twenties, the only antique in the world that's seen just a handful of years since its creation. This he lit to demonstrate it to her, to show off, of course, and it lights the corner of her modest room with golden light that flickers against a wind that doesn't exist. It brings out the bright colours in fire-light toned fabric stapled up on the walls.

The large window that stares out at Roosevelt Island has been veiled shut against the falling night, and he allows the light to be dim from lantern, and now, a set of three tall candles he whimsically lights with one of their identical siblings. The firelight plays against the embroidery of his waistcoat, over the silver ring around his thumb.

It still stings a little, where he'd jabbed wooden needle into a high point on her back, a soft sound of apology at the back of his throat. Now, he turns at the waist enough to see if the ink has resolved itself.

The red blanket is wrapped around Lydia's front, tucked under her arms to hold it in place while her long wavy hair has been pulled away from her back — half to the right and half to the left. As used to it as she is, she tenses under the prick of the needle, an odd reaction, but it occurs just the same. Despite the sting, there's something unusually calming about it all. The flicker of the lamp and the promise of home draw her eyelids closed creaselessly while the momentary tension fades as quickly as it'd come on.

Along her skin, in that earthy black ink, the image begins to form. The clearest of the image residing in the forefront is the face of man. His squared jaw-line, spiky hair, and soulful eyes stare beyond the canvas of Lydia's back, challengingly. His lips are neutral and his forehead creases into prominent wrinkles, so deep that they are visible within the lines of the image. Behind him is an almost indistinguishable profile — only a nose and lips. Behind that? The image of a hand, fingers spread as if to claw the painted lady, determined to leave a more permanent marking on her back.

With a slow inhalation of breath, Lydia's eyes open, her dark lashes flutter a few times as she contemplates the image displayed across her skin. When she speaks, her voice is rich, smooth, and confident, "Tyler Case." Quiet reflection floods the room for a moment before she explains, "You will find him in 2008 — in the Upper West Side." Her eyes close gently once again before her chin drops towards her chest, casting her gaze downward. "There are more, but it's hazy and I can't get a clear reading." There's a hint of discontent the fogginess of these supposed others, but its fleeting, lasting but a moment.

Easing himself to sit, Samuel Sullivan focuses on the disappearing images that vanish from Lydia's skin, an elbow against the arm of the couch with his hand cupping his jaw. "Some people are more important than others," he says of the ones that are too foggy. "But it depends on the time, depends on the place, as it so often does. Thank you, Lydia." His hand goes out to touch her bared back, a chaste setting down of four fingers in their splay, chipped black painting each nail, possibly applied for the express purpose of itching it away again.

His hand retracts again, the lingering notions of curiousity and reptilian interest only having that long to brush against her senses. "I've got another request of kinds. I'm looking for someone specific — one of my people, the one-eyed girl y'found, ran into some trouble in her errand from forty-five.

"An unexpected face, as it were. Do you think you could show me her?"

The fingers along her back earn a diminutive smile, small, be certainly present. There's no tension to be found underneath Samuel's touch; rather, her weariness melts away from under it. At this moment there's no concern about the outside cares of the world. This — the imprint of empathic tattoos upon her back — this is normal. "Not at all," she replies to the words of thanks while her own fingers lace together in front of her.

At the new request she straightens and her hands drop to her sides, pressing against the couch underneath her. "I can certainly try," is the quiet reply. Her chin lifts, stretching her spine one vertebrae at a time as her eyes close. With another hissed inhalation of breath she lets herself sink into the couch. And as she does so, the ink takes on new life upon its skin canvas.

The ink regathers, forming delicate contours when compared to Tyler Case. The jawline is far less square, while the cheeks are feminine and delicate in shape. Long tendrils of hair curl away from the angelic face, framing it in an array of long locks. The woman's lips curl into a small secretive smile. Her eyes are framed by a thick line of eyelashes.

Tension forms along Lydia's back with the figure an eerie unsettled feeling creeps over her as goosebumps form along her arms. Her eyebrows knit together with odd concern as her head tilts to the right. This is a woman she knows: it's Kaylee Thatcher.

Flipping over a notepad, the sheets rustling at the edge of Lydia's hearing, Samuel picks up the wooden stick and sets its tip down against the paper. Ink spills upon the paper like a ripple of water, and he's not allowing it to soak into its fibres before it configures itself into the rough approximation of the woman on Lydia's back. It seems to match what Kira told him, if recognition in his eyes is to be of any indication.

"What's her name?" he queries, oblivious to the little mark of punctuated worry that forms in Lydia's expression, letting the book fan closed with the faces of people that have seen Lydia's back, some that have not, inked onto the paper. A hesitation, before moving back to a blank pages, thumb edging against it with uncertainty as he sets its teeth against the blunter end of the drawing tool in thought.

Lydia shifts on the couch, fighting the tension that so easily crept across her entire body. With the movement one hand is used to gather her hair to one shoulder, enabling her to glance at Samuel from the corner of her eye. Her lips tighten into a smile, coyly reserved in form and function. But her silence may be telling. Even at the question, the quiet smile remains.

"What kind of trouble did she give you?" Or Samuel's people, as it were. It's an odd collection, considering not long ago his people were their family. Her family. Her lips press together again, but she wills the glimmer of her formal smile into her eyes.

Finally, he jabs the end of the pen down against the paper, and allows for Case's visage to spill across it, remember the shape of his expression, the slope of his heavy jaw and the deepset forehead wrinkles of a heavy brow. At first, it almost seems like Samuel's distracted in his task enough not to give too much thought to her question— or what it replaces— but the flicking glance upwards as a snaky quality to it. "She got hurt in the crossfire," Samuel explains, setting the pen aside and casting his palm across the page as the ink dries. "If I'd have known there would be innocents involved, I might not have sent our new friend. She's very excitable.

"I'll be needing someone with a lighter touch. But first I'll be needin' that name." His half-smile hooks up as he glances back at Lydia. "She's someone of our time, by the way she was dressed. Not anyone we sent. I'm hoping to look into what that foretells for us, for our operation. If she's a threat for what I'm trying t'do."

The tension that had formed along Lydia's back eases, any strain she'd felt fades from her face as her lips curl up into a small smile. The hopeful glimmer in her eyes increases. There's a smooth ease to her voice when she speaks, "Her name is Kaylee Thatcher. And I know exactly where you can find her." A single hand reaches for her red robe on the floor, grasping the satin fabric before tugging it over her shoulders and tying it loosely around her waste, in the process allowing the blanket to fall.

Clothed to her satisfaction, her entire body turns to face him, that easiness extending, "She works here. At the bookstore. And last I saw her, she was in fine form… although she did disappear for awhile…" Her eyebrows curve upwards as her gaze shifts to the lamp, "I like it. And the candles. Thank you."

"The world is so little sometimes."

Samuel casts a brief smile at her as she turns back to him, before reaching to place the wooden pen into a leather-bound case, in which fits a half-emptied vat of rich ink, a smaller pen fashioned of the same material, and one of metal tip as well, a fountain pen. "Then perhaps it can be you," he continues, as he flicks the silvery locks into place, "that watches over Kaylee, though I wouldn't address her just yet. In time, I may have a wee chat with her if I think it's necessary."

He stands, reaching to adjust the sit of one of the candles in a gesture of your welcome to her thanks. "Perhaps tell me of any oddness you observe of her. In time, maybe she'll count towards our numbers some day. And they are growing, thanks to you."

"It is small. But maybe it's just destiny," Lydia's smile trickles through her words — while they remain smooth, there's a merry bend to them. Her hands press on her thighs as she rises from the couch towards him. "Well I found her disappearance odd, but she apologized. I'm pretty sure nearly any other employer would fire an employee for that…" she shrugs, she's not business-minded which is completely self evident.

"What kind of oddness should I be looking for? More random disappearances?" Her tongue runs over her lips as she stipulates, "She's one of us and I like her. I hope she can join the family some day."

He nods a little at her definition of oddness, both hands clasping the case behind him in a casual kind of stance. "Random disappearances, strange folk she's seen with that y'happen to notice, the sort of changes a person takes on when they get in over their heads, changes that're quick like water. Oddness like that." Samuel dips a couple of fingers into the satin-lined pocket of his waistcoat, extracting the pocket watch that certainly seems part and parcel with his wardrobe, roughly flicking the scratched, faux-gold lid of it open to observe the hour.

"Do you know the nature of what she can do?"

"She's a telepath. She told me when I interviewed her," if the conversation can even qualify as an interview. As someone who had never been interviewed, Lydia was completely ill-equipped. Her arms cross her chest comfortably as she slides closer. "She seemed to think it was a relevant fact. I didn't. I know nothing beyond that," there's a distinct pause as her gaze flits to the ceiling, an attempt to remember any other details that may be pertinent. "Except… I know she read my thoughts at least once. And I don't think it was on purpose. She's a strong young woman, even the cards said that much."

Click. The watch is closed as tight as a clam, and Samuel hesitates before his expression gentles into a smile again. "What a gift that would be," he notes, "although I think I would prefer your brand of subtlety." His hand goes out to take her's, clasping along her knuckles in a gentle hold. "I have to go, and speak with Arnold. Remember to keep looking forward, always. The world is changing around you, always in motion."

The squeeze to her hand is friendly, less formal, casting her a wink before he's moving for the door. "You'll let me know if you need anything, wont you? Apart from a means of atmosphere."

Samuel's hand receives a squeeze in turn. "Eyes forward, never back," Lydia concurs although there's something more guarded about the words than those spoken only moments ago and certainly something more secretive reflected in her eyes. "I keep moving into the future. Always." But the past is hardly put away, left lingering in the corners of her eyes and the spaces of her heart.

"I don't really need anything, Samuel. All of this fell into my lap." There's a pregnant pause though, heavy and expectant as her gaze flits away for a moment. "But…" and there it is, the turn of phrase pulling for a request, "…I've been looking for Edgar." The why is left entirely to Samuel's imagination, even in the painted lady's expression which has become quite stoic.

That does stop him, something of a rarity in that Samuel is a little bit of a force of nature, arriving and departing when he chooses. The name, though, brings him to a halt a foot or so from the door, enough to then turn back to her as he braces a palm against the door frame, eyes narrowed with keen interest. The prospect of putting the family back together exactly as it was is more of a dream, superimposed over the reality, and of course being able to draw in enough familiar names for things to feel like home again—

"Edgar," he repeats, word flagging on an exhale, lines at his eyes deepening in the distant suggestion of a smile. "Are you having good fortune in that endeavor?"

"Nothing concrete," Lydia acquiesces while her pokerface mostly abides aside from the faint downward pull of lips. Her arms tighten across her chest, as the stoicism fades, yet as it does, it's replaced by an unusual optimism and a twitch of a smile. "In general, my fortune has only just turned." Between the shop and Samuel, there's little doubt in her mind, something in her life has turned. "Maybe fate will soon bring me more." Her arms slide to her sides again, the defensive posture fading with her own defenses disappearing. "Any help you could give would be appreciated. The family needs to regroup."

"If anything, between you, Arnold, and myself," Samuel's hand raises, curls fingers in a gesture towards the centre of his chest, "we can carve out our own fate. I'll see if I can't cross paths with Edgar when my heart isn't searching for the faces you've already given me tonight." His eyes cast towards the book itself, which he's left sitting on the arm of the couch. Long strides take him back towards it with a certain demeanor of possessiveness, but it's balanced in the crookedness of his smile.

He allows the pages to fan in demonstration, the inked faces of Kira, Linda, Kaylee, and others fluttering like wings as he wanders back towards the door. "I get the feelin' that he'll not only be welcomed back by his family, but he'll be a very important part of putting it back to rights again."

"When fate doesn't cooperate, we make our own," Lydia nods once, affirming Samuel's words. "And thank you. For everything. For what we're doing here." For the first time in years she's regaining that sense of belonging she'd long abandoned when they'd been forcibly dismantled. "He's got very useful skills, and I know the family meant as much to him as it did me. I imagine he feels just as lost as I did before you found me."

With those words, she shuffles closer to the door, leaning against the adjacent wall. "Samuel? Be safe."

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