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Scene Title Closure
Synopsis Kendall finally finds information about what happened to the person he cared about the most.
Date June 17, 2021

Fort Jay

It’s been a while since Kendall had joined SESA, and once he was in a position where he was able to search the (non-classified) files on his own, he suddenly got cold feet.

He had a very good idea of what he was going to find out, after all.

Maybe if he doesn’t find out, he can pretend everything is fine.

Maybe he’s wrong, and she is perfectly fine, living her best life in Hawaii or something.

Maybe she’s had to flee the country and is currently off the grid, fighting the good fight like she always has.


Late Afternoon

Kendall finds the files that were kept of all known SLC-E individuals, kept secure in a database. She was registered, after all, and being tracked by the government isn’t always a bad thing.

He still hesitates, hands on the keys that would pull up the database. Steeling his resolve, he quickly types in the query, pulling up all relevant information on a specific individual.

Most of it was information he knew about, triggering memories that were happy or painful. He lived through a good portion of it, after all.

Scrolling down the page, he gets to the parts he didn’t know, the events that happened in the first year of the war… and there it was.

…during an assassination attempt on President Mitchell in September 2012, Melissa Pierce was one of the many casualties from the encounter…

Staring at the too-short paragraph, the rest of it blurs into incomprehensibility. He knows he wasn’t going to like what he read, he was too much of a coward to do this before now. “Just like her…” he mutters under his breath, reading it over again, and once more halting at that sentence.

In silence, the end of the workday comes, and he packs up and leaves, the smoke causing his eyes to water. Right.

The Lanthorn

Early Evening

Subdued the entire trip home, Kendall ends up in his room, shutting the door. He looks around, his gaze going to the covered easel in the corner with the painting he was working on, but it still appears undisturbed, for a wonder. He turns away from it, however, and instead goes to sit on his bed. He stares down at his hands for a moment, paralyzed with indecision. He has the information he wanted to find, now what?

His teeth clench together, hands balling into fists, and he huffs out a breath. “A month after. If I hadn’t… maybe I could have…” hearing his own words, Kendall’s words die out. Talking to himself is pointless. Talking to other people is pointless. There’s only one person he wants to talk to right now, and he can’t… or can he?

Unbidden, the memory of a nightmare from years ago floats to the surface as a warning.

"Got yourself into quite a pickle, haven't you?" a soft familiar voice can be heard beside him. Valerie looks no older, blonde hair spilling around her shoulders and partially covered with a cute hat. She's clad in a dress of greens and whites, as she stands not too far off, unrestrained. "Too bad you can't reset to last save."

Kendall scowls down at his hands. That Valerie in the nightmare wasn’t real.

"Wait… what? Why? What did I do?" Kendall squints closely at her, then it suddenly dawns on him that maybe the man doesn't see her. Right. That kind of thing is going on. As a result, the man is frowned at as the next subject of his scrutiny. "Shouldn't the state be spending its money on other things, like getting the country out of the Recession?" he narrows his eyes as he looks at the paper, and blinks as he reads it. Huh… that's weird, he can do that stuff? "And I suppose if I refuse I'll be in here until I die, draining more tax dollars, yadda yadda yadda?" glower.

"We've been through this, Kendall," the man says, with a kind of grandfatherly patience that seems to be hanging by a thread. "You're not stable— perhaps in a few years, a psychologist will clear you to handle your ability again, but for now…"

The eyes covered by spectacles look upward, toward the blonde girl that's standing over Kendall's shoulder. "You're using your ability right now— remember what we talked about last time— when I asked who she was?"

It's possible the same thing could happen this time. What if he couldn't stop it?

Just the last four days you've been here, you've passed out eight times of nosebleeds from overuse of your ability, so much that it has affected your memory— your ability is causing you brain damage, Mister Cunningham."

“That never happened. It won’t happen.” Kendall shakes his head, dispelling the memory, and stares down at the floor.

And yet.

From then on, he made it a personal rule never to make an illusion of another person, to not make them real.

He has a hard enough time keeping a firm grasp on reality as it is, when can he know if he’s using his illusions on himself?

He knows why, that memory was of a nightmare that was linked to others’ nightmares, forming a story of a future that could happen. And it was even said they were of a future that was averted. So even if it never happened to him, it could’ve happened to… a different him.

Another, more recent memory surfaces. Robyn, telling him about alternate timelines. Probably breaking an NDA telling him that, but whatever. He hasn’t told anyone, because he does know how to keep secrets. But… the fact of the matter is, she said they were real; everything does points to it not just being a nightmare. Factually, there should be only one outcome; he shouldn’t do this. And he’s perfectly aware of how much his mind is darting from one subject to another without any rhyme or reason.

And yet.

Resolve weakening, Kendall sighs and closes his eyes, still sitting on his bed. He’s breaking his rule, just like he told Byrne he never would.

When he opens his eyes again and looks up, he’s no longer alone in the room.

Just like he remembered her, Melissa Pierce stands in the center of his room, dressed exactly the same way she always did, hair striped, and a disdainful look given to the mess of art supplies he had scattered here and there. She never did like his messes, after all. She always kept her house sparkling despite his best attempts at being a teenager.

He stares at her, acknowledging the inconsistencies. For one thing, she’s just as old as he remembers, and with a shock he realizes… they’re the same age. This causes the illusion to waver as his disbelief wars with his fervent desire to see her again.

Standing up, he shoves his hands in his pockets, looking down as he approaches her. It’s silent, neither speaking. Even ten years ago he was taller than her, so that, at least, was the same.

Casting his gaze to the side rather than look at the illusion of his adopted… sister? Legal guardian? He often annoyed her by calling her Mom, but that wasn’t really too far from the truth. No one else wanted to take him in when he was kicked out by his parents into the middle of a snowstorm, sick with Evo flu as he was.

The silence stretched on, and finally Kendall sighs again.

“I’m sorry. I disappeared on you. I know you must have been worried that I had gone off and gotten killed. For all you knew, I might’ve, but this time… this time you wouldn’t have been able to do anything about it. And I…”

He grimaces, looking up at the ceiling. “I could’ve… I don’t know. It was only a month later, maybe I could’ve… kept you from going.”

He blinks a few times, still not looking at her, though he can feel her eyes on him.

“I guess… in the end, it probably wouldn’t have mattered. If it wasn’t that, it would’ve been something else. There was always something else you were… were willing to risk your life for. That’s just who you were. Even if it was dangerous, even if you knew you might not… might not come back the next day. You wrote letters and set stuff up so that everything would be… would be fine. But it’s not fine.”

Kendall takes a deep breath, trying to regain his composure.

“I’m… I knew it was going to be like that. Go big or go home. You were trying to end the war as quickly as you could, by cutting the head of the snake. If it wasn’t from that, it would’ve been the next big crisis you’d try to avert.”

He looks up now, meeting her gaze. She’s got a sober expression, still listening in silence. Kendall stares back for a few short moments, then drops his gaze again. “I’m sorry, I wasn’t there. But I’m here now. And I realize it’s stupid, because you’re not real, I know you’re not real, but…”

His breath hitches.

“I never told you how much you meant to me, how important you were to making me who I am. And no matter where we lived, whether it was the green house or any of the others, it felt like home because you were there. I know you probably knew anyway, because I knew I was also important to you. But… some things need to be said anyway. So…” he shakes his head and takes another deep breath. “Thank you for being there for me and for giving me a chance, and again, I’m sorry for worrying you and leaving you alone when you probably needed me.”

At this point, when he looks up again, Melissa finally moves. She goes over to him and gives him a tight hug, or at least the facsimile of one. Then she steps back and gives him one of her smiles. “I know all of that already, and you meant everything to me. But it’s time to move on, and if you do this again-” and she waves a hand at herself, “-I’ll kick your ass.”

Even as she turns and vanishes from view, Kendall breaks into slightly hysterical laughter, staggering over to slump on his bed again as the laughter turns into sobs. “Shit….” he falls back on his bed, hands coming up to cover his eyes. He knows it was wrong to do that, but at least now… he can have closure, and move on.

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