Converging Paths



Scene Title Converging Paths
Synopsis Lynette searches through the maze in her dreams once again, only this time she finds something.
Date December 4, 2018

El Jardín de Senderos que se Bifurcan

The dream is much the same as many others the past few year, ever since the red lightning that stripped her own lightning from her and replaced it with a strange ability that seemed to lead down infinite paths. The garden itself lay under a dark sky, the sun unmoving, a permenant eclipse blocking most of the rays except those of the corona. That permenant eclipse was flanked by twisting storms, roiling air, lightning in twisted clouds. The roar filled her ears as she moved, drowning out any other sound most of the time in the gnashing of hungry elements.

The paths flanked by hedges, some vibrant and green and beautiful and well-kept, some withered and dead, skeletal branches reaching out untended, scraping against her as she walked by as if trying to touch her. Then there was the one path that had been burnt, leaves a threatening red. That path had slowly started to turn green again over the months that she wandered. Another path was dark, sickly, a fog hanging in the air that made it difficult to breathe. Down that path, she could not get far before waking. It hadn't been the right path, though. It was the well-kept, green path. That was the one she knew had to be it. It felt right.

Every night it led to a dead end, a fork that forked in on itself. Sometimes the hedge would seem to grow up behind her. Tonight the sky glowed, much like the auroras overhead in the waking world, the noise almost sounded like music, like a vibrating string of an instrument. A flicker in the corner of her eye led her down another path, and another.

Until it suddenly ended once again.

When Lynette reaches that dead end, her fingers reach out to brush the leaves. She was so sure, yet her she was, hunting for some small passage she can slip through. Just like so many nights before. It had been disheartening for months, but she keeps trying, keeps hoping.

First, she glances up toward the sky— toward the endless eclipse and the auroras that seemed to haunt her, awake or asleep. But eventually, she accepts that this is another dead end and turns, fingers running along the hedge, to try again.

The leaves on the hedge rustle behind her as she turns away, under the hand as she starts back on her journey. And then, suddenly, the thrumming in the air changes. The leaves under her hands seem to fall away, parting. The path opens. There's a whisper of a voice that rolls through her mind, like a the sound through a shell that some associate with hearing the ocean. Only she can feel what the whisper says. It's saying she doesn't belong here.

But as the hedge opens under her fingers, she sees someone standing in the path. A very familiar shape. Peppered dark hair better kept, the curls controlled into a subtle wave. Stubble runs along cheeks and chin and under the nose, leaving a dusting of color, though no beard, no sideburns. The clothing is different too, but familiar all the same. More modern. It reminds her of home, almost.

He doesn't see her immediately.


The whisper makes her shudder. She knows she doesn't belong here, but she also doesn't know how to stay out. And wouldn't, if she did. That feeling that crawls up her spine and freezes her for a moment always leaves her wondering… when is the Garden going to do something to keep her out. To make sure she never returns. It's enough of a worry that she misses the figure revealed beyond the leaves.

When she turns, it's because of the leaves moving under her hand, but it isn't long before that figure draws her attention. There's no reality where he wouldn't. "Mateo," is little more than breathed out as she gathers her feet under her and starts toward him. She knows not to get excited— most of the time when she's found him, it's been a slice of life or a memory, not him, not in the way she needs it to be— but seeing him kicks all sense out of her and she runs toward him. "Mateo," she calls louder, but she heads right for him, whether he notices her or not.

The memories usually faded, or failed to react to anything she'd said. Sometimes the Mateos seemed to overlap on top of each other, as if she had stumbled upon something that was shared between all of them. Some differences in appearance, but otherwise they were the same. This one seems more solid than ever before, and when she speaks, he turns, eyes widening in surprise. This wasn't the first time he'd heard her, but it had been the first time she had been there when he turned. "Lynette?" he asks, confused, as he moves a few steps to get closer. The maze around them shifts. Flickers. As if the light above suddenly changed in brightness, back and forth, changing the way the shadows were cast.

And that noise seemed to fade a little as well. The eclipse overhead remained, the aurora continued to swirl.

He doesn't seem to be rejecting her presence, though. This isn't the first time he's dreamed of his wife, after all. It is the first time here, though. Except when Kaylee had taken them both here. In an infinite and endless maze that seemed to be his mind.

While there’s no question of who she is, she looks different than the woman he sleeps next to. She’s more gaunt. More tired. Less scarred. There’s a sadness to her that seems to weight her down.

Lynette’s hands come up to cover her mouth when he turns, when he says her name. Tears well up in her eyes, but before she can go to him, the sky takes her attention. It looms over her, here and in her waking world. Sometimes she has visions of that aurora piercing through her and she’s never sure if it’s a nightmare or a memory. When she looks back to him, there’s fear in her eyes. But there’s only one place she knows she can go when she’s afraid.

So she runs to him, straight into him, to lean against him and run her fingers over his cheeks. Half for comfort, half to make sure he’s real. Part of her is bracing for disappointment, expecting him to disappear— but it’s an easy fear to ignore.

Under her hands there's a slight give, but it's more because she took him aback with everything. Mateo couldn't help but step back at first, looking down at her in surprise. That surprise stays, but it isn't long before his arms go around her. No, he's not disappearing. He's not fading. He's tangible. As tangible as anything in the dream can be, at least.

Hands soothingly run up and down her back, a gesture that's familiar and very much him. He may not know what's happening, but he knows that she's upset and scared. That's something he can see. Lightning streaks through the sky above, the air crackling. He wants to look away, but he doesn't all at the same time.

Instead he leans closer, pressing his forehead against hers, eyes closing. "How are you here," he whispers, his breath mingling with her own.

With him soothing her, Lynette breathes easier. She melts into his arms, indulging in him being there and solid. Her hands slide onto his shoulders and around his neck before she answers his question. He’s not her Mateo and she’s not his Lynette, she knows that. But at the same time, she is his. Because wherever he came from, he’s still him and she is still her.

“I came from the Garden,” she says, opening her eyes to look at him. “Another path. I’ve been looking for— you. I’m not sure you’re the one I’ve been trying to find, but I am so glad to see you.” Her words come out on a relieved sigh and her fingers curl into his shirt like she might never let him go again. “I have your ability. We got switched in my time. We’ve been trying to find our way through these different worlds.” After a moment, it hits her that she probably sounds crazy and she leans back just a little. “Tell me if this is making any sense.”

"It makes sense." Mateo responds in deep tones, only pulling back enough to look at her. She was Lynette. A Lynette. His wife twice over, at least. Maybe three times over if he read the poetry written in the margins of a book correctly. He did not know exactly what the world she had come from would be like, but he knew that. A path in the garden, forked off at some point, but like the branches of a tree, she was still made from the same wood, still grown out of the same roots.

After a moment, he asks, voice quiet and very aware of the depth of the question, "Are you Manuel's mother?"

His answer gives Lynette some relief. He understands and that makes this a lot simpler. When he looks at her, she seems to be taking in his face. There are differences, of course, but that’s not what she’s committing to memory. It’s all the pieces of him that are familiar. All the things that make him him. She’ll get to the things that make him unique, too, since those are the things that will help her find him here.

His question pulls her out of it.

Her eyes well up at the mention of her son’s name, her lip quivers and she has to swallow before she can speak. “I am,” she says, grip tightening. “We’re trying to reach him. I need your help.”

"We found out about him. We think he might be here." Mateo responds quietly, still wanting to touch her but suddenly remembering that, yeah, this isn't exactly his wife. But she is, too. "We'll help in any way we can." By we, he means him and his Lynette. He doesn't even need to ask her.

"We've been trying to find him. When we do, we'll keep him safe until you get here, I promise." It's a promise he made to himself the moment that he found out he existed. Even if it meant going against a woman who nearly killed him and had the ability of probably one of the few people he really feared.

"What do you need us to do? How can I help? Tell me everything."

Lynette closes her eyes at his words. She’s been searching for so long, for her son and for the right Mateo, and been failing for so long. But he’s here and he’s already helping her family. Of course he is. When she opens her eyes again, tears slide down her cheeks and she wipes at her face even though her tears are still falling. “Thank you,” she says quietly, “if you find him… tell him we love him. We’re trying so hard to get there.

“And be careful. Eileen Ruskin took him and Elaine’s daughter. But she’s not herself.” Her hand moves to touch his arm where the maze is tattooed on his skin. She doesn’t know how to say what happened to Eileen, but she knows he’ll understand. If this version of him has the same tattoo. “She’s dangerous. But it isn’t her fault.” Eileen, if she’s still in there, isn’t the one responsible, she knows that. She’s had a year to accept that truth.

At his last words, she looks up from his arm, looking a little overwhelmed for a moment— there’s a lot to tell about this journey and the people on it, but there is only one way to get everyone home.

“We’ve been jumping through these timelines trying to get Elisabeth and Magnes home. And now to find Manuel and Addie. We’re in a flooded world now, but there’s someone here that we think can help. But we won’t reach the right one unless— I need a Point B.”

While Mateo nods to most of what she says, both in agreement and acent, he hesitated before he nodded about Eileen. He knew that in some ways it might not be her fault, but she had attempted to kill him. Even if he didn't blame her. His feelings toward the woman were complicated.

That last request led to a smile. "You were always that for me. And I'll always be that for you." Any him and any her. Always Point A to Point B. Always finding each other across countless distances of time and space. "I'll let people know, when I can. And then we'll get ready. We'll find each other again so you can tell me what we need to do."

Something that would open the right path to bring them home.

Lynette and Mateo's Room: The Benchmark

When Mateo finally riled out of sleep, he spent a few minutes staring at the ceiling before he glanced at the time. Hours until morning, cause of course it was. He still pushed himself up and reached for Lynette, giving her a firm shake with his hand to wake her. Once she opened her eyes, he started simply, "I had a dream. And we need to go see Richard."

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