Catching Up


gillian_icon.gif victor_icon.gif

Scene Title Catching Up
Synopsis After being out of contact for some time, brother and sister meet up with each other. And abilities are still slightly out of wack in the land of Gillian.
Date May 5, 2009


Queens is the largest in area and the second most populous of the five boroughs of New York City. Located on the western portion of Long Island, Queens managed to avoid much of the physical ruin attributed to the Bomb. However, Queens on whole suffered from something far more significant in the wake of the explosion that tore apart New York — Economic crisis. With much of Queens relying on industrial productivity for its commerce, it was the mass exodus of many businesses from the New York area following the bomb that crippled the borough.

With refugees pouring in from the western portions of New York following the destruction of Midtown, Queens was inundated with homeless of all walks of life. Food shortages, coupled with the collapse of Queens business centers and the strain put on local police only furthered what would become one of the most embarassing mishandling of a crisis situation the city had ever seen. Weeks after the bomb hit, riots swept through New York by the panicked populace, this was felt most hard in Queens, where food riots ravaged the businesses that dared remain open. Shea Statium was used as temporary shelter for bomb refugees, and the riots that swept through Queens enveloped the stadium as well, resulting in a remarkable loss of life in the chaos.

Ever since, Queens has settled down from the turbulent weeks following the nuclear explosion. But while its scars may not be as physical as Midtowns are, Queens suffers just as the rest of New York does, under the shadow of that broken skyline to the west and the collapse of its social and economic centers. Queens is now a ghost of its former self, slowly struggling to recover from the damage done.

All he's had today has been some kolaches. Vic has a million-mile metabolism anyway and makes no secret of it. It costs him a lot in food because when he needs to eat it's for real. All you can eat places are the best but sometimes you take what you can get. In jeans and a polo shirt with a small badge and "NYPD Police Academy" on the left breast, he's split off from a group of fellow cadets out for lunch and is looking for a place to feed. Like animal! Maybe a Chinese buffet. Those are often the best.

Street side cafes often get the most passing foot traffic. Which was how Gillian found this place. Willing to risk stopping for food in Queens, if only because of how starved she still is from the last few days (and sleeping a whole day didn't help matters either), she's sitting at one of the tables, with no less than two full length sub sandwiches with all the works, and three bags of potato chips. One sandwich is already finished, the wrapper the only indication that she had one at all. One bag of chips flat and empty, while the second is getting worked on. Sweetened tea in the biggest cup they had has been refilled once already. With her dark hair, she's easily recognized, though she must have skipped make up entirely before she left. And she has a fading tan. Something very unlike her.

Vic being who he is immediately notices his sister when he happens to glance past her. It causes a doubletake.

However, and this is important, Gillian is not food. Food must be had first.

So it is that Vic decides rather than all you can eat he'll just get a lot of food, and spends a few minutes procuring three foot-long sandwiches, each with a bag of chips, and two sugary sodas filled with carbs and caffeine. The fact that he has a plastic tray to help with it is a godsend. This mess is what Vic sets down at the table where Gillian is sitting, having approached from an angle he figured she wouldn't see him from before inviting himself to sit. He doesn't even say a word to her, just acts like it's the most natural thing in the world to sit down with his big sister.

Food plops down on the rather smallish table, making less room for everything else, but Gillian didn't see him at all until it happens. She jumps in a startled fashion, looking through black bangs that hang into her eyes before she reaches up to push them back, "Jesus, Victor— you startled me." The always present not in the back of her head isn't there to be a worry, but she glances at her hands once to make sure that the jolt didn't cause anything else to unravel. No metallizing fingers. Good. She doesn't think she could handle that again right now. "I haven't seen you in… months."

Vic unwraps one of his sandwiches, a meatball sub, and takes an enormous bite of it, sitting back to munch that while giving Gillian a big smug grin. Smug perhaps because he knew he startled her and intended it. But the mood on his end is rather content. Once he's able to politely speak, he says, "Yeah well. You hide. Glad I found you though, Gilly. I miss you. Why so jumpy?"

"I hide for a reason," Gillian grumbles as she leans back and shoves a handful of chips into her mouth. Stay normal, mouth, please. She wants to be able to finish food like a normal person. As she's munching, she catches sight of exactly what her baby brother is wearing, and sits back up again. "You're going to— I bet mom and dad are so proud," she says grouchily, rolling her eyes a little. "Do you have any idea what happens to some people like… us?" Her voice is toned low, since it is a public place, also why she's leaning forward. No one's at the closest tables, but she's going to whisper anyway.

"Actually they piss and moan about it. 'Oh Vic, it's so dangerous. Can't you just go back to school…'" He does a decent job of mimicking Mom's nag-voice, which both of them know. He clears his throat though and nods a little, "Sure I know. Did you know I got interrogated by some wicked bitch for totally no reason, asking me to give her any information I had about you?" Another sandwich bite. He hasn't been whispering, but his voice isn't exactly loud either.

Yeah, she knows that voice. And for a moment she actually starts to smile, dimples appearing in her cheeks. It's a lot closer to the far past than their recent past. It fades when he continues in a soft voice. "You— got interrogated?" Gillian whispers in question, continuing to lean forward. "When did this happened? What did you tell her? Who did she work for? The government?" Practically an interrogation of her own.

"Mmhmm." Vic nods to the question. He was interrogated. "She was some Fed. I dunno who with, but I think Homeland Security." He shakes his head though and says simply, "I gave her nothing about you. I never would. Never will. They'd have to take my brain out of my skull for that." Okay, maybe that was an unkind analogy, but the comfort level with which he uses those words is probably the eerie bit. Like he's made peace with having Gabriel Skullsplitter boinking his sister.

Skullsplitter. For a moment Gillian fingers at her forehead, right at the scar she has when someone attempted to cut her head open to feed a kind of hunger, but it stops after an inch. Obviously they didn't need her skull that much after all. "Thanks, Vic," she says softly, still looking surprised before she takes a pause to eat a big mouthful of sandwich. She's eating portions far more like his own than anything she'd have ate before. Not that she was one of those salad and a cracker girls, but… Once she's swallowed, washed it down with some tea, she adds, "I'm not going to tell you anything about what I'm up to, so you don't have anything to really say anyway, but… It means a lot that you wouldn't tell them anything."

Setting her cup down, with all the additional stuff on the table, it's side is well over the edge… and it begins to fall.

Vic rather casually notices the cup beginning to tumble. All at once his perceptions shift into the slow-motion version of the world where his 'normal' becomes everyone else's 'superfast', and he calmly reaches out to catch the cup and try to keep it from spilling all over the place. "Yeah. Well. I've already kind of come to terms with that, Gilly. Like I said, I miss you. Wish you could still be my sister, but for what it's worth I'll always be your brother." he says once he comes back to real-time, where the normal people exist. "It'll never matter what I do, I'll always protect you the best I can."

Normal people? For a split second, something else entered his perception. A hand also reaching out as if to catch the cup. It missed, allowing him to tilt it upwards and set it upright, but the fingers are a lot closer than they should be. It wasn't just that, she could see her brother catch it. Gillian blinks, pulling her hand back as everything slides back into place, a confused twist to her forehead as she catches the meaningful conversation. It takes a few seconds to process. "I— I know, and I'll always be your sister and that's… I'm glad you'll protect me, I really am, but I don't— could you do that again? The…"

That was interesting. "What was that about?" Vic asks, still half-leaning over from high speed cup retrieval. "What, use my speed?" It seems so trivial to him, but he's used to it. What does it matter? "Knock the cup off the table again and I'll catch it."

There's a mild glance at her hand again, confused twist to her eyebrows, lips slightly parted in surprise, before Gillian nods and reaches over to once again knock the cup off. Only she doesn't do so quite right. Instead of just tapping it in slow motion, the world goes haywire, perceptions change, and her hand moves really fast toward the cup in a way that might make it hard to catch. Catching her wrist would be easier.

Vic was bracing for it this time, so he sees it coming. His problem is that 'it' is not what he expected. His sister is matching his speed but in a wild way, so he does two things. One, he is too late to catch her from sending the cup away in a spray of chaos as it explodes so he ends up catching the cup itself and using it to scoop the liquid it contained out of the air. Two, he is standing up after doing this so puts a hand on Gillian's wrist. "You moved like me." he says with audible surprise. "That's not your power…what happened?"

Moved like… Gillian still looks confused, looking from the hand on her wrist to her brother. The whole stunt, which she normally wouldn't have been able to see in much detail, could be seen clearly, including the catching of the liquid. "I— something happened last week and— I don't have my power anymore but I got something else and… I don't understand. I wasn't able to do that before." Not until he sat down to have lunch with her. The confusion in her husky voice is clear as she moves to stand up. "Is that how you see?" she never really understood before, but now she's starting to… how he could run at such speeds and not splatter on the wall, or trip, or knock someone over. At least her voice is still softer in volume, for the most part.

Nodding with eyes wide, Vic is very much watching Gilly as if to make sure she's okay. "Yeah." he says quietly, violated cup in hand. Just because it's had enough, he sets it on the ground before sitting back down himself. "Something happened? What happened? You don't augment anymore?" And here he was subconciously prepared to deal with REAL superspeed, which sometimes happens in her presence. Or used to.

No, no real super speed today. But maybe he could have a running partner. "There was this guy— named John, probably not even his real name," Gillian says, voice trailing off in confusion as she's still trying to get a grip on things. "He hit me with this lightning— red lightning." Her and others, but she leaves that out. "My power's gone and now… now I have yours…" And there's a quiet fumbling as she pulls her wrist back so she can grab her sandwich and finish the last bites. No wonder he eats so much. All she did was move her hand around a little.

Part of Vic finds this incredibly fun. Not only are there not many people he knows that have speed, but his own sister being one is just a cool thing to him. And yet, something about it isn't right. Still, he isn't trying to hold onto her. "That's really jacked up, Gilly. But you feel okay besides?" Brief chuckle, "You hungry?"

"This is better than what happened before," Gillian admits quietly, even as she rolls up the sandwich wrapper into a ball so she can toss it into the trash can. One bag of chips remains, but she'll worry about that later. Still on her feet, she pushes hair back out of her eyes and looks at her brother. "Yeah, I'm a little hungry. Think I'm understanding why you eat so much now…" There's suddenly a laugh, those dimples appearing. "I'm kinda tempted to go for a run."

A big grin spreads across Vic's face too. "Well…let's do that. But in a sec. What do you mean what happened before?" Because he's perceptive, Vic is. And he listens very attentively.

"Well, when I first lost my power— I turned into metal," Gillian tries to explain, glancing down at her fingers again and touching them together. Just being able to touch is something very important to her right now, after spending days completely oblivious to tiny things that make people human. "I probably weighted half a ton— I kept breaking things. And I didn't breathe or sleep— or even see really." She couldn't begin to explain how perceptions in metal form worked. "Your power's a lot better than that one, but I wish I had mine back."

All right this is all sounding more insane to Vic, but he knows better than to disbelieve. "That's nothing like me. Maybe it's just…I dunno. That's weird. But I tell you one good thing about my power is you'll never get fat. In fact you'll probably lose weight and get all trim like me." He pats his stomach, which of course is nothing but lean muscle. That's always been him, but he's come to credit his ability with maintaining it. "Listen…Gilly, you want me to stay with you for a while? If you're going through some weird shit like this and I can help…"

It does sound insane. Gillian could also explain how there was a woman who could completely control her on Staten Island, but that would be pushing things a little bit. Wait, did he just call her fat? She can't help but puff up her cheeks a bit. Just because she has meat on her bones… It doesn't last long, because… "Vic… I know you want to protect me, but I'm… I can't take you with me right now. Not if you're…" she looks at the shirt he's wearing. Police Academy. "I wanted you to stay out of these things cause it's dangerous and I'm your big sister. I already…" she cuts off, takes in a slow breath. "Help me get the hang of this at least? You can help me with that."

Vic smirks and says, "Gilly, there are two cadets in my class who have family that are drug pushers. And one's family are all illegal immigrants. The thing I'm already learning is law enforcement is selective. We pick and choose who to enforce it on, and nobody's gonna expect me to do anything about my own sister just because she's dodging an unfair federal law. So if THAT is what you're worried about, don't. Plus, I do dangerous stuff without you." He holds up his hands then. "But I'm not going to twist your arm. And I'll be glad to help you with it. At least I can help you not break a leg or something, because it takes getting used to."

"I know you won't do anything to hurt me… but I don't know if I can say the same for the people I'm with," Gillian says softly, looking at him with a … surprisingly guilty expression. The last few months have softened her, it would seem. Not as harsh or confrontational as she might have been before. Even her accusing words come off as guilty. It's been a long few months. And has she really swore since he sat down? "I should let you finish your food first, then… maybe you can take me for a run around the… island." She had been about to say block, but they could do a lot better than that.

He hasn't killed his other two sandwiches yet, or the chips that went with them, but Vic says, "Take these. You'll want em. I metabolise better than you're gonna." Maybe it's a practice thing. More like in his case, Vic has acclimated to it. He gets up and says, "C'mon. This oughta be fun. Good thing I wore comfy shoes."

There's a glance down at her own shoes, which luckily enough are flat. Gillian had no idea she wouldn't turn into metal any moment, and she already experienced what the effects of turning into an iron maiden while wearing heels were… It involved her butt falling through a bookshelf when she fell backwards. "Thanks… I'll pay you back, I actually have some money now." For breaking into a prison and rescuing convicts… partially by accident. Sitting back down, she works on downing the sandwich. Not quite at super speeds. But close.

"Naw don't worry about it. I can spare it." insists Vic, because to him his sister needs a favor. Even if the favor wasn't exactly food. Here's where it might get a little funny. "Try not to worry too much about chewing. Just kinda stuff and swallow. I found out? But your body will totally break that stuff down once it's in you, if you're using it for speed-fuel. Also? Don't even start asking me to explain, but it Never Comes Out." He looks away and kinda winces. Because yeah.

After a few swallows, Gillian just looks up at her brother like he's talking crazy, but then… "You know I didn't have to— after I got out of metal form. I had to eat and sleep, but otherwise… I don't even know what happened to everything I'd ate before then… And I was metal for days." Until she figured out how to turn back with the help of the guy she's sleeping with. "I think I'll still chew. I mean— what if I choke?" And she does chew, if not nearly as much as she probably should. Eat, eat, eat. Swallow. Drink tea that almost got spilled…

"I-it's kind of an acquired skill?" Vic says, a little out of his depth here because he's never had to explain this end of things to anybody before, ever. When he got registered they never asked him about it. When's explained what he can do to other people, it's never included necessary maintenance. But knowing Gilly has powers identical to his, that becomes more or less a good idea to share them. Still, he waits to let her get gassed up before rising. "Okay, go as fast as you can, anywhere. I'll hang with you. Try to keep like, ten yards between you and pedestrians because any closer and you might blow them over and they get totally pissed off at that."

They haven't really been able to bond like this before, which might be why, when she's finished eating, Gillian seems to be smiling more than she might have a few months ago. All the bad things that have happened, and apparently a relationship she thought she destroyed could actually be mended. It's a shame it took so long for her to figure that out. Tossing the trash into a nearby trashcan, she nods. "Okay. Ten yards…" she glances around at the street, catching the pedestrians in her vision. "Stay close to me, okay?" she adds, before she takes off at a run. It's not near his full speed, maybe she's still learning or taking it easy, but it's definitely faster than he's used to seeing people run. She minds the pedestrians, and suddenly very aware of debris and other things she might have tripped over before, keeping her from doing that again.

"Oh I'm with ya." Vic echoes before they take off.

The funny thing is they can't really speak when going like this. Sound dopplers off slowly. Perceptions are such that sounds literally sound like they're coming in at a few octaves below normal. Car horns sound like foghorns. Everything's in slow motion. It's less like going really really fast than it is like the world just slowed down and you're the only one normal. Yet there IS a sense of speed necessarily communicated by the body seriously pumping out energy.

Vic keeps pace with Gillian easily, sure, but he communicates with hand gestures and lip-reading, suggesting a turn to make here or there. As they come to a turn that will bring them closer to a waterfront area, Vic points, suggesting they take that turn toward the water and making a Time-Out motion with his hands to signal Gilly to stop.

The directions are pretty easy to follow after a confused look and then a 'oh' mouthed. It just took a moment for the librarian to get the picture, before she followed all the instructions to the letter. For the second time in a handful of days, Gillian's seeing the world through new eyes, hearing it through new ears. It's making her hungry already, but she can't help but pay attention to little details in everything. Only when she's gestured to stop, does she, sliding out of the world of hyper perception and ending up with her hands against her knees, breathing heavily as the world settles. It almost rocks as much as settling, but she looks up with a smile on her face. "Fuck, Vic, that was… amazing." So much better than being an iron maiden.

"Notice how you're not tired? We just ran a couple of miles. Total energy, right? Not even a sweat." Vic still finds reason to be amazed at that. He squats in place briefly, giving his legs a stretch and a rest at the same time, grinning widely. "So…you were going about like, three quarters my max there. I'm guessing. Wanna do something even cooler?"

"I'm not tired, it's just…" Gillian needs a second before she can straighten fully. "It's like everything around me just… changed. And changed back, and it's a little disorienting." And the heavy breathing would be a side effect of that, but she's smiling, and looking down at her hands, touching her brow. He's right. There's no sweat at all. She'd never really been the athletic type, but this… That smile doesn't fade even a bit, in fact growing wider. Something even cooler? "Sure." It's almost addictive, whatever it is that's coarsing through her.

Vic points out over the water, "You brave enough to try open water? Hit it full speed, step high over the waves so you don't trip on them. It's like running on loose sand. Really hard to turn, but you just keep stepping and stepping and you'll get there. Also kinda teaches you how to handle slick surfaces because nothing's slicker than open water."

"You can run on water!?" Gillian can't help but exclaim a little louder than she intended to. That was unexpected, but it would make going to Staten Island so much easier if this ability sticks as long as the iron maiden thing did. "Damn, Vic— that… shit." Glancing out at the water, she hesitates for a long moment, looking as if her brain may be thinking other options would be better, but then she can't help but smile. This is adrenaline. This is Gillian on adrenaline. And her brother's power. "Let's try it. I can swim— and at least the water isn't nearly as cold as the last time I fell into a river." When a bridge collapsed. While she was on it.

"Yes I can run on water!?" Vic says, intentionally echoing Gillian's tone of voice in an amused way. Because to him it's funny. "C'mon. The thing to remember is you can't stop on the water. You have to run to something solid to stop unless you feel like swimming. And once you're IN the water, you can run back out of it. At least I haven't figured out a way to yet. So like, let's run to Staten or whatever. I'll let you lead."

"If you're sure you want to go to Staten," Gillian says, looking in the direction of the water again, trying to judge the distance. It beats buying a ferrypassage, that's for sure. A deep breath, and she decides to not hold back on the running this time. Worse that'll happen is she'll be hungry at the end of it, right? So she thinks. Deep breath again. One, two, three. "Okay, let's go," she says, before she takes off. Much closer to his maximum speed this time. She's not taking any chances. She just wants to get from water to solid ground. As quickly as possible.

"Been there before." Vic replies easily, then bursts into speed to follow his sister.

As soon as their feet hit water it's like running on rubber slipperyness. The sensation is of treading on something bouncy, because of the surface tension, but also it gives almost no traction. And kind of sideways step slipslips perilously, forcing a bunch of steps to accomplish just a little bit of a turn. A glimpse behind reveals a seaspray of twin roostertails coming out of the water behind the two running at speed.

Vic's having fun. His arms are over his head and he's acting like he's about to cross some kind of finish line that ends at the irregular shores of Staten Island.

And while she started first, her brother gets all the way to the other side before her. Gillian barely manages not to trip and faceplant in an epic fashion in the water, only able to correct her steps by sheer luck and assistance of perception. Only when her feet hit the ground on the other side does she start to slow, looking at her brother who reached the finish line first. "That— that was so much better than waiting for a ferry," she says, all smiles and laughs, even if she's starting to feel the hunger pains again. She can ignore them, for now.

"Ya. I Know." says Vic significantly, because he's spoiled now to public transit. Ferries? Buses? Why? His answer is a backpack. "How you feel?" he asks, still grinning but watching Gillian for her answer.

"Hungry," Gillian says with the laugh not fading as much as she might have otherwise expected it too. "No wonder you're always so chipper. This is better than drugs." Almost as good as sex. But she won't say that part. Instead she grins and reaches into her pocket to pull out a hair tie and begin to pull her hair back out of the way. It's whipping around in the wind a lot as she runs. "You know, last time we saw each other… I figured it was good bye. Really good bye. I'm glad to see I'm not right about everything."

"I hope I don't annoy the hell out of you." Vic's grinning too, but he has actually worried about that in the past. How he comes off to other people. He knows he's upbeat, but to him life is good. It's a high. He's breathing a little hard from the running, and it gives him an excuse to hesitate to speak next. "I helped catch him. You know. I know he got loose again, but I don't care."

That sombers her a bit. Even if her brother doesn't care, she did. Gillian takes in a slow breath, before saying, "You helped catch someone who didn't remember anything about what he'd done, Vic." Whether he knows that or not, she doesn't know. "He'd lost his memories." Whether he has them back now or not isn't the point. "I'm just glad that… I guess that you're still my brother." And not just going to be a stranger. "I did want to protect you too. That's why I didn't want you involved."

"Yeah. Well I guess we suck at protecting each other." supposes Vic with a sigh, looking down at Gilly's feet. "You know, it really wasn't fair. What was I supposed to do? Just take your word for everything? I mean, looking back, I think it might've worked out if you'd introduced us. Maybe. He wasn't what I expected when I finally found him. So all the hiding and protecting we were doing? It was screwing us up." He tries looking her in the eye but seems uncertain, "Maybe if we trusted each other a little more we'd screw up less."

There's a long pause, before Gillian nods slowly. "I guess you're right." A lot of lying and hiding to protect someone seems to be causing worse things to happen as an outcome. "But I need to talk to people first, and you probably shouldn't be wearing that shirt when you meet some of my new friends, okay," she glances down at it, eyeing it for a moment. "If you get one of those… pay by the minute phones, you can call or text me. We arrange a time and place to meet up sometime, when he's… feeling okay about it." As in probably not right now, since… powerless. "As long as you promise me it's not some kind of trap. Cause if it is, I'll kick your ass. And now I can actually catch you to do it."

Vic looks dead serious when he says, "Gilly…this?" he picks at his shirt, "It's just a job. I have to do something. And it's the right thing to do. But you can absolutely trust me. I would never. Ever. Set a trap for you. Or use you in a trap. Or trick you in some harmful way. Or hurt you mal…whatever. Meanly. And," Check watch. "I'm late getting back to class. But you're more important than class too. Also?" He takes a step toward Gillian and pokes her on the sternum right between the boobs with a stern finger. "Call. Mom. And Dad. Or come with me to see them. They don't deserve to worry about you like they've been. And I've been lying to them about not having spoken to you. Stop making me a liar."

"All right, all right. I'll give them a call in a couple of days," Gillian says, sounding a little grumbly as she mentions it, but she reaches into her pocket to pull out a small notebook and pencil. Librarians always have something to write with and write on. She scribbles a quick phone number on it and rips off the page and shoves it against his chest. "Get to class. I want to go check on something while I'm over here."

A smirk tugs at Vic's face and he says, "Okay." Snags the phone number out of Gillian's hand, and then reaches for her to hug her tightly for a long moment. "Love you, sis." he says against her ear. "Be careful, okay? Oh, and by the way?" He adds after pulling back, "You can kick anybody's ass now."

"Good to know," Gillian says, unable to resist the smile that comes up. Being able to beat up anyone who threatens her? That'd be really, really nice. Considering she's been a victim enough times in the last half year that she's ready to not be that again. If she can help it. Can't always count on people to be there to protect her all the time… "I love you too, Vic," she adds… "And even if I hate the whole cop thing— I'm proud of you." Meaningful words, there. The notepad is put away and she glances around to figure out where on the island she is. "I'll see you later."

Whipping off a goodbye wave, Vic tears off at speed, crossing back to Manhattan to get to class. He's already late, but he'll be there very soon.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License