Can You Forgive


benji_icon.gif delia_icon.gif

Scene Title Can You Forgive
Synopsis For everything they've sacrificed to come back, can they forgive us for making it necessary. Can we forgive them if they go wrong again?
Date May 14, 2011

The Old Apothecary

The smell of freshly brewed coffee, sans chicory, fills the air of the Apothecary. They sell it by the cup so the carafe must always be full— ish. All too often the scent is stale and old, as it is for most of the merchandise that fills its shelves and walls. There have been the rare times that it's been left too long and old turns to burnt but not this morning, simply because it's too soon after the door has been unlocked and the sign turned to have forgotten about the pot.

At the counter, Delia is perched on her usual stool, one long leg dangling to the floor while the other balances the rest of her on one rung. In one hand she's holding a tiny little withered thing, in the other a black sharpie marker. Her eyebrows are furrowed low and there's a grim set to her lips, she's concentrating. Hard. After a long moment, a single dot is placed on the shrunken apple and she pulls back from her hunch with a pleasant grin on her features.

The zombie keychain now has one eye. A very well placed eye.

The weather is low and grey, and so is the wind, seeming to slither close down to the pavement and kicking at the hems of coats and skirts in erratic blusters. When Benji moves quickly into the shop, it's to escape it, a curl of invisible wind knifing into the room before the door is pressed closed again. Foot falls make clumsy thuds against the ground in military boots, the hems of dark jeans tucked into the tops stitched with yellow into worn black leather. The woolen coat worn over is more of a protective shell, a means to cover as opposed to providing warmth, with the weather as mild as it is today. She takes it off once inside, blue sweater beneath clingy, a round neckline, with the necklace and pendant a fussy addition.

Black wool draped over skinny arms, she paces deeper into the store, offering Delia a smile. It's a wan one, matching a drifty demeanor of sleepiness, but it is the morning. And too mcuh sleep can have the same affect as too little, during certain hours. It could go either way. "Morning."

The tinkle of the little bell above the door alerts Delia to Benji's presence before she even knows who it is. Lifting her head, a very false retail smile is pasted to her features, ready to greet whomever has walked in. It turns exponentially warmer and genuine when the dark haired woman passes into view. The blue sweater is noted and compared to her own, a V-neck, taupe in color, knit from silk wool, and a little too large which gives her a bit of a frumpy appearance.

Delia's own boots, vintage store Docs that have been painted by hand with dancing stick men under the cosmos and animal patterns, drop down with a clunk and she takes the long strides to meet her halfway. Once there, Benji is grabbed into a tight hug instead of a verbal greeting and given a peck on the cheek. Only then does her mother say, "Morning!"

Gifted unfortunately with an appreciation for hugs, Benji isn't very good at them all the same — awkward in her own skin, ropey muscle over long limbs, although the drape of a coat over one of them helps soften the embrace. But the hug is returned, warmly, slid back from when it's over, hands still resting light on Delia's arms, just above her wrists. "Have you seen Nick?" is her first question, light and conversational, but placed oddly in the exchange. Too early for it to not have purpose, eyes gone too wide and reflecting the simmering stress for— however long she's been worried.

Later— whether after the meeting or a few seconds from now— she'll feel guilty that the meeting comes across immediately as less than social. Right now, she listens for response, as expectant as a hound awaiting an order and drinking in nonverbal cues.

Delia's smile wanes a little and she nods, only because the man in question put the reasons for Benji's apparent dislike for him into perspective. "Twice since he talked to you. He told me that he met you," she pauses there for a moment and allows it to drop completely. "He said that you told him that he leaves."

She raises one shoulder in a shrug, a tick from her head makes it a little more pronounced if only due to the curls on her head writhing before settling back into place. "Knowing, I think it's eating him up. He feels even more guilty." Rightly so but in the wrong time. "I— I told him that it hasn't happened yet, I think things have changed so much that it might not. It's too early, isn't it? I mean for me and him…" She's been trying to piece together a timeline in her own mind.


Benji hesitates, falls silent, slightly painted eyelashes drooping as she goes over the conversation in the broken piece of castle, and a tension setting in her jaw. "I told him that— I didn't want to scare him away by telling him what happens," she says, after a moment, voice quiet but not necessarily subdued. "And he knows that it's the future. That it's all set to change." Coat placed down, she wanders into the store, rather than finding a place to sit down, arms coming to fold upon the edge of a deep shelf and observing the contents placed upon it with the neutral curiosity that such merchandise probably normally inspires.

"He was Sir Self-fulfilling Prophecy from my time," she says, voice becoming laced with edged annoyance. Her back to Delia. "If he wants to do it again, then it's his own fault. It always was."

"You didn't, I don't think, he's— he's stopped running." At least for now.

"Thank you though, for telling him, even if it hurts now. I think he's trying." In the regards that he's doing anything she asks in an attempt to keep her happy. "He's stopped getting mad at me for where I'm living or he's just not saying anything about it anymore." The coat is picked up and Delia disappears behind the curtain for a moment, returning without it.

She rounds the counter and pauses, apparently caught between tagging behind Benji and reclaiming her perch. In the end, she doesn't chose either, sort of. Leaning against the front of the counter within sight of her daughter, she crosses her arms over her chest, hugging herself on either side. "When he told me, I thought it was my fault." The nervous tick of a smile appears for a brief time until she resumes the conversation. "Because I was sad and crying, maybe I asked too much from him."

Chin resting against folded arms, reassurances— even that of Nick trying harder— don't seem to catch Benji's attention, although it can be sure she's listening. There's a small chuckle, muffled into the crook of an elbow, before she steps back from shelving, slender shoulders going up to shrug. "I think that's what you thought from where I'm from, too," she says, a glance back at Delia. She offers a smile, small and tentative. "It's not what I thought. It's not what I think. I'm glad that he's trying." Her gladness is relatively uncertain — it's hard to wish a broken relationship on someone, even if it's given a second chance to work.

"When was the last time you saw him?" she asks, stepping closer. "And was he— well? Healthy?"

"He said the same thing, he blames himself." The offer is returned with a slight one of Delia's own, bittersweet in a way. Her eyes drift down toward the floor, catching on the toes of her boots. "I think, that even though he left.. I was probably happy that it happened at all. Because even if he was so horrible to disappear, he did one really good thing." Of course it's only guessing on her part but it's how she feels right now.

"Time is confusing," she adds, her eyes filling just a little at the lower lids. "It's hard to think of everything always happening all at once. New places being born every time someone makes a different decision. Did— do I— I know know how to say it.. I can't imagine that I was okay with letting you go, knowing that I might never see you again. Was I supportive?"

Nick is ignored for that little span of time, brought back by the question. "Mother's day, we went to the cemetery to give my mom roses." The redhead brightens a little and ducks her head down, hiding a slight blush. "We met my dad there."

Defensive chill ebbs a little, Benji's chin tucking in and attention drifting off to the side in shyness. And consideration, for the last few weeks— days— before their departure. "You didn't like it," she says, gently. "A few of them didn't like it. But— it's difficult, to give you an idea about what it was like. This place has so many people, and so many of them have never had to watch anyone die. Or kill someone. Or run away. There's traffic, and music. Well— " She shrugs at that last point. "There's always music. But very little dancing." She smiles a little broader, then — apologetic for her tangent.

"It was never going to get better. Not in our lifetimes. And by then, it wouldn't have gotten better the right way. So many of you had fought and survived for decades for it to get better, and when we were told this was one way we could change things, and save the world— "

At her elbows, fingers splay, relax, a shrug. "You didn't think I should go, but my gift… I knew it could help. It was my decision, in the end." It's difficult to imagine Benji as being particularly rebellious — individualistic, maybe. Independent. Her smile is weaker, but genuine. "I miss you every day I'm here. I miss home, all the time, even if it's terrible. Dreaming about it helps, sometimes."

"What can I do to help?" With what aspect is unclear. Whether it's with making things better for the world or just Benji herself is unclear. "I'm not really good at much but if there's something I can do— anything— I want to help just so that it's better." Not just because a failed effort might mean the end of the world but because it would mean all her sacrifices were for nothing.

"You've helped me so much, I just wan— Oh!" With a gasp, Delia pushes herself off the counter and races behind it to disappear behind the curtain again. The sound of plastic bottles overturning and the pills contained therein rattling to the floor can be heard. She'll clean it up later, later is always when cleaning should be done. Never now. When she reappears, the redhead is carrying a folder. "Here… we were arguing about who to give these to… because there's so many people who have a claim. I think you should have them. It's not everything, Caid wanted me to give the clipping to Brad, and some of the pictures and things are being held by other people."

Moving towards the counter, Benji helpfully moves things aside, before patpatting the empty space for her to set down the folder, curiosity defining her features. Then she goes still when the puzzle pieces click into place, and she looks at the folder in Delia's hands. "Oh," she breathes out, with a blink, before she shakes her head. "That's alright. That's probably what some of them were there for." But all the same, she reaches to take the folder, flipping it open to see what remains with the kind of sharp search of someone hunting for something in particular.

Pictures of the people Delia knows; there's one of her father and some other old guy she's seen about, another of Nicole, one of Elisabeth, another of Jaiden. "I have the rubbing, if that's what you're looking for. I didn't want Koshka to take it back over the fence to where they found it." There's a lace of guilt in word and expression as she lifts her eyes to regard Benji flipping through the few items there. And copies. Photocopies made to give out to those deemed less deserving of the original. Of the rubbing, that's all there is inside the folder itself.

Exactly where the rubbing is being held safe is fairly obvious when Delia glances behind her. Up on a shelf, being guarded by the skeletal simian, the framed rubbing rests against the wall. It's too high up to be readily noticed, unless one looks past the gruesome little curio.

Photocopies are flicked through, Benji glancing up at her as she talks, and shaking her head even before Delia's finished. "That was for you," she insists. "I made it— I made it specifically to bring back. Because one way or another, I didn't think there'd be another gravestone for her, by the time all is done. Because she lives, or because she…" Benji shrugs, head ducking again in her study of the items in the folder. There isn't a real requirement to put words in that sentence and finish it — it's a problem, she knows, that's spun in Delia's head enough already.

"I'm looking for the sheet music," she admits, a slight, rosy hue rising from her throat, coming up to make freckles stand up. "It was a gift, from someone who died. I have a feeling it might become useful to me, soon."

A glance has the framed gravestone rubbing catching her eye, following the track of Delia's attention. A comma of an indentation at the side of her mouth isn't quite a smile, hands looser where they grip sheets of paper.

"Because she just won't be born," Delia finishes, bypassing the kindness that Benji bestowed. "Thank you, by the way." There are too many reasons to count, at least for her, to be thankful for the gift. So she settles on the general, hoping it will blanket every one.

Her eyes brighten and widen a little at the revelation of what the raven haired woman is looking for. She smiles widely and reaches toward the register to scribble a name and number on the back of it. The front is splattered with the advertisement of a local pawn shop, the kind of card that's piled anywhere the owner thinks someone might pick it up.

"Sable has the music, she lives in Eltingville… She was with Koshka and Brian when they found the box," Delia explains as she slides the card across the counter toward the other woman. "I can go get it for you or here's her number if you think it might be quicker to see her yourself. She's really cool, and nice, and probably a ton of other things that I can't list off the top of my head."

Taking the card, it's turned over in thought before Benji slips it into a jean pocket, closing the folder and winding her arms around it to hold. "Thank you," she says, a small smile playing out, the kind that comes compulsively at a memory or thought. "I know who Sable is. I mean— " She tips her head to the side. "I didn't know her very well, and I've seen her a little on Pollepel Island, but we haven't been formally introduced. Maybe I should. She's the only person I know about who can talk some sense into Howard without twisting herself in circles to do it." Clear blue eyes roll at the thought, smile dimming.

She hugs the folder closer, tighter, sides bending but not to ruin. "There's one thing that you could help me with. It's if things go wrong, and we make everything worse than we meant to, can you forgive that I came back at all?" A hand goes up, splays. "I know you'll say yes. Now. But I think it's going to get harder. And when it does, just— remember that."

"You know me…" Delia murmurs, lowering her eyes briefly to Benji's pendant before she meets her gaze again. "If things go wrong, I'll find a way to blame myself. Probably for not doing more or for doing something I shouldn't have… or… something like that."

Chewing on her lip, she knits her eyebrows together in concentration before making yet another decision. "Nick's looking for Calvin, he asked if I'd seen him and wanted me to not look for him. He said he's dangerous." So far, Benji's mother has complied with her father's wishes. So far. "He helped Mister Logan a few nights ago when Amadeus Deckard attacked him, if you're looking for him too. I mean— looking for him out here instead of— " that's a thought that doesn't need finishing.

It's not news, that Nick would be looking for Calvin. Everyone is looking for Calvin. The piece that tags on the end of it is listened to greedily, Benji's demeanor transforming to something sharper, colder, tenser. That Delia brings up Calvin in the wake of regrets isn't missed, either, and Benji takes a shaky breath in, nodding once, twice. "I confronted him," she says, after a moment. "In dreams. Sometimes, I'm not the most subtle person when…" Well, Delia probably knows that. There is something slightly larger than life about Jasmine and her reactions to things, in contrast to the physical counterpart, standing demure in the center of the room.

"It didn't go very well. If he feels bad about anything he's doing, he's patched it over with— self-righteousness. If I could make him realize he's being stupid, that might work, but he's— not. Stupid. Just the things that he's done."

She shakes her head. "Nick's right. You should stay away from him. If you can. He's powerful, and he knows how to get to me."

Delia smiles widely when Benji attempts to explain her nature in dreams and shrugs one shoulder. "Mister Gataullin might say that you got that from me." She rolls her eyes toward the ceiling, dismissing the notion that subtlety might be required where they play or do their best work. The redhead plays. "I think you're perfect. With the perfect amount of subtlety… then again, I might be a little bit biased."

Lifting one hand to brush a few long curls behind her ear, Delia pauses before giving Benji a serious look. "I thought he was clairvoyant, he saved my life on my birthday. Is it true, what he said? That if I had gone back to the island that I would die? Was it just me or is everyone there is danger?" Or was it even true at all— that one doesn't get spoken aloud.

There's a small sound of disbelief from Benji, exasperation loosening her jaw and having her shift her weight from one foot to the other. "He didn't— "

But she doesn't know. Maybe Calvin did save Delia's life, but cynicism still shines bright in pale eyes, chin up and demeanor almost sullen. She probably knows enough about Delia not to try and reel off why she needs to feel a certain way, but it's obviously taking some restraint. "He isn't a clairvoyent," she settles on. The solid truths. "He moves metal with his thoughts, like a telekinetic. And I don't think anyone at the island was in danger — it's a stronghold that the Ferry keeps for a long time. You keep for a long time.

"If anything, maybe he didn't want you to be safe. Or anywhere I could safely watch you."

"Oh… well." Lifting her chin in a rather stubborn little resolve, Delia jerks her shoulder upward and dismisses it with a wave of her hand. "Maybe he helped and things will be better because I'm not there— maybe— maybe I'm exactly where I need to be." Because looking for silver lining is better than thinking it's a deliberate plan to hurt Benji. Or being robbed of the chance to know her better.

"I'm sorry, for being stupid and gullible." Too trusting is what Nick would call it. "But I talked to people before making the decision not to go back. I didn't— don't— want to die, especially now." A helpless expression is what greets the other woman next, a downturn of her lips and too quick blinking to keep tears at bay.

"Well. Where I'm from, you've kept yourself safe for longer than you've currently been alive," Benji says, but it comes after some silence of helplessness reflected back at Delia, wandering a step forward and halting there sharply. "I trust you, and your— whatever it is you think you need to do. But I don't think you should imagine Calvin has your best interests at heart. Did— "

She pauses again, reluctance stalling her, as she comes to step closer and lean by Delia, offering comfort in proximity, the brush of arms, a glance up at her. "Did Nick tell you why we're all looking for him? What he did?"

"No, just that he— well the Ferry— was looking for him. I don't know if he was going to tell me, before I cut him off… I'm not really supposed to know anything about them anymore. I didn't want to get him into trouble." Trouble with who is the question. The Ferry for leaking their business or some imagined threat that Nick's dreamed up, as is the case with anything strange that happens to the redhead. "If it's one of their secrets maybe I shouldn't know. I don't want to get into trouble with Dad or anything… that's all I need right now."

Chewing on her lower lip, Delia attempts to give the brave face to someone that can quite possibly see through it better than anyone currently alive. Shaky breath and the thin white line of pressed together lips denote the nervousness and fear behind the notion that everything she's done is for naught. "I'll stay away from him and listen for any news about him. I won't look— I promise."

There is the temptation, to tell her — but Benji doesn't know the details of this arrangement, and possibly, making the Ferrymen mad and betraying their trust is something low on her agenda. It's the last sentiment decides it, a sentiment she doesn't want to over-complicate from what it currently is, putting out a hand to take Delia's to squeeze. "Thank you," she says, retracting her hand, shifting the folder she holds to gesture to it. "For this, too. I'll hold onto it, and— talk to Sable." Stepping back, she moves for where her coat had disappeared to, steps quiet and a little awkward, mind elsewhere about the things left unsaid.

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