Dad Did It


brynn_icon.gif owain_icon.gif

Scene Title Dad Did It
Synopsis Owain tells Brynn the truth…and ends up with a date after the fact?
Date June 14, 2018

Caspian's Light House Kids Safehouse

It’s just another day at the house that Caspian has rented out to the Lighthouse kids. Since Nadira moved herself and Jori off to a quieter (and less dangerous) location and left Owain to tend to himself at Brooklyn College, the metallokinetic has spent more time at one place or the other — being alone isn’t really a good prospect these days, as it leaves his mind free to wander about and go to places that he doesn’t want to go to.

He should probably explain his recent change from cheerful doofus to angsty teenager to those he hangs around with the most. They’ve surely noticed the difference — especially poor Brynn, who saw him at his absolute worst.

Right now, however, he’s simply in the common room, seated on the floor with his back leaned against the wall. He has an old acoustic guitar today, worn and well-loved, though the strings are fresh and well-tuned. He’s quietly playing, using one of the few good things he got from his father to strum out a soft song with no words, though he quietly hums along with whatever tune he’s playing.

Brynn hasn't been quite as regular a visitor lately, although her presence is still obvious in the doodlings on the walls of the common room. She's taken to thinking big, apparently, when it comes to art. Given that she can't hear the guitar, it's not surprising that she might stop in the doorway and pause to check who's around. Owain's the only one here, and she hesitates a little longer still. Then her chin comes up and she moves into the common area, dropping her go-bag against the wall by the door.

Hey, Owain. How's the classwork going? she queries once he looks up.

The teen lifts his head as he hears Brynn enter, brown eyes raising to her face; he smiles sheepishly, stopping his song and lifting the guitar, leaning it carefully against the wall. His dad gave it to him, and he doesn’t have any idea why he treats it so reverently — it’s not like his dad offered him the same treatment. All the same, it’s one of his more prized possessions, and anger doesn’t get rid of sentiment quite so easily.

Pretty good. I’m going to have to start studying pretty hard soon, finals are looming on the horizon, he replies, before raising to his feet, dusting his hands off after the fact. Speaking of, his hands look much better — the stitches are still in his right knuckles, but everything else seems to have healed rather well. Brynn did a good job of cleaning him up.

He hesitates for a moment, a look not unlike a deer in the headlights briefly passing over his face — he nearly freezes. However, a resolute expression replaces the terrified one, and he sheepishly signs to Brynn, Hey, can I talk to you about something? It’s…part of why you had to clean up my hands.

A faint frown pulls her brows together and she gestures for him to sit back down. Sure. What's going on? Brynn moves to seat herself near him but perhaps not too close. The kissing thing has made her a little self-conscious and awkward, not knowing what to say or do in his presence. So… she's basically ignoring the elephant in the room in favor of this thing he's offering to talk about!

He stands for a moment longer, watching Brynn, before he presses his back against the wall, sliding down to his original seated position. He takes a moment, simply breathing in and out to steady himself — and maybe to enjoy the fact that she doesn’t know yet.

So, the day before I came here and you fixed me up, I was walking home from class. He mouths along with the words as he signs them, never quite able to get past that part. It was almost dark, and this flock of crows suddenly landed all around me. Like in that Birds movie.

He pauses for dramatic effect, before continuing. And then one of them talked in my head. A woman’s voice, I think it was a bird telepath or something like that. She told me things…showed me things about the night that Pollepel fell. He frowns, watching Brynn’s face for her reaction. That was their home.

Brynn has no idea about a Birds movie — she did not watch that kind of thing, but she kind of has an idea what he means. She remembers Eileen's birds. When he says a bird telepath talked in his head, she jerks as if hit. Eileen died there. Brynn never quite sorted out the whole story around people claiming she was a traitor… Eileen had always been very kind to Brynn. And of course, Brynn was just a child — and one of the sick ones, at that. Why… why would someone do that? she signs uncertainly.

I think it might have been…Eileen? I don’t know. I didn’t remember much about her, I was so shaken up when I was there. The frown remains as Owain pauses, a sad expression making its debut on his features. She showed me…what happened that night. How…how it all happened. How she died. His eyes are glistening again — even with three weeks to wrap his mind around it, it’s still difficult to fully grasp.

“My dad did it,” he says and signs at the same time, swallowing. “He took down the forcefield,” Owain is shaking his head as he tells her the truth, “He killed Eileen in cold blood.” And then, Owain himself is shaking, dipping his head down.

He worked with the man who killed my mom when I was hiding in the next room to betray all of us. He signs the last part, still having trouble with putting this last part into actual words.

Almost as soon as he signs her name, Brynn is rejecting the idea that it could be Eileen with an instinctive negative shake of her head. That can't be. And then he lays that on her. She is stunned beyond the capacity to respond for a long time, it seems like. How do you even… her gray eyes are blank on him as she struggles to comprehend. She can't even sign at him, limiting her ability to demand any kind of answers… and perhaps at the moment, she can't even think enough to figure out how to ask any questions. Her thoughts are simply awhirl with memories of the fear as the children were evacuated ahead of the Siege, a terror for her that had been exacerbated by memories of Beach Street being attacked.

There is a low, agonized sound, a gutteral almost-keening sound as she wraps her arms around herself, tears flooding down her face. She is visibly trembling in shock and she buries her face in her arms as she sort of turtles there on the floor.

Owain hangs his head as Brynn responds, actually using her voice to cry, and in the moment, he hates himself for being the son of such a horrible human. He struggles with what to do for a moment, staring over at the girl of his dreams as she sobs on the floor.

Then, reluctantly, he reaches out a hand, aiming to gently place a reassuring hand on her shoulder — as reassuring as the person who just gave you some terrible news about your childhood can be, at least. And if she’ll allow it, the young man will gently, carefully, gather her up into a comforting hug, just as she held him when he was coming to terms with the same information.

She doesn't shrug him off, but she also doesn't curl into him. As she sucks in a breath, she finally starts signing, but… it's not signing that he knows. She's lapsed into Cant, but the heartbroken expression as she signs probably tells him at least enough. She doesn't understand why his father would do such a thing — why anyone in the Ferry would be a traitor. There've been rumors for years, of course. They blamed Rue and they blamed Eileen. And it wasn't the first time the Ferry's been betrayed, either, though she's not really old enough to remember any of that kind of thing.

So many people… and that's the perhaps the thing that does come through. She's not mad at Owain. Maybe mad will hit later. Right now she's just sad … so many people lost.

Feeling rather useless, Owain gently releases Brynn as she starts signing, reaching up with his left hand to tug at his hair — a telltale sign, it seems, that Owain resorts to when he’s stressed out enough. He let me…let me believe that he was a war hero. That he fought off the bad men like Leon Heller, and saved my family and I. He came back from that day with a collapsed lung…I thought he got it from fighting off the bad guys. It came from her. She—

Brynn does a horrible thing — or at least she thinks it's the most horrible thing to do to someone — she cuts him off. A single slice of her hand across the body. Stop! She reaches up with both hands and drags them through her hair. He's… he's dead, Owain. Your father's dead. And … I get why you need to talk about this. But… I … I need a little time before I can hear any more, okay? It's too much. I am so, so sorry you have to deal with this. She finally moves to simply wrap her arms around him tightly — for as much shock as she is in, this is his father that he has to live with the knowledge of. She cannot even imagine how much he's hurting.

When she cuts him off, Owain frowns, nodding slowly. It’s understandable — it all is, really. It was a lot for him to take in, and it was much more personal for him. As she wraps her arms around him, he immediately returns the sentiment, quietly burying his face into the crook of her neck and shoulder. Tears moisten her shirt and hair as he just takes a moment, just…being in the moment.

He pulls back after a moment, peering down quietly at the deaf girl with a curiously mixed expression on his face, one hand raising to touch her cheek, to trace the line of her cheekbone. “Thank you, Brynn…”

The petite teen steps back from him and offers him a watery smile. You didn't do this. It had nothing to do with you, Owain. Her gray eyes are sad and a bit stormy. You need to… let some people know, though. Eileen and Rue deserve to have their names cleared — I remember everyone arguing about who could have done it. They need to know for sure what you know. She pauses. And I think we need to tell Aunt Gillian about the birds. If…. if Eileen is trapped in bird brains and she's been stuck there all this time… I can't even… She just looks rather uneasy about that idea.

That’s the goal. I’ve already told my boss, Richard Ray — he knew some of the Ferry back before the war, and keeps in touch with them. Owain nods quietly in agreement, a frown on his face. It’s pretty clear that while he knows he’s not at fault for it, he still has some rather lovely inherited guilt. That was her request when she told me — that I tell people. I’m trying to honor that…

That sounds…horrifying. I think…I think it was her. We should definitely talk to Miss Gillian about it. He doesn’t know her as an aunt, but he remembers her, too.

After a moment, he signs, closing his eyes. I’m sorry for surprising you with all of this, I know it’s a lot. His teeth knit at his lower lip for a moment as he ponders what next. Let me make this up to you, please. Can I take you on a date?

She blinks at him, horrified by the fact that her crazy theory might hold some weight — Eileen stuck like that for years?? Couldn’t he have said she was nuts?? And then he tosses that out there. And she looks downright gobsmacked, a deep pink flush climbing her face. Se does the equivalent of a stammer, bringing up her hands and aborting the move several times as she sort of steps backward and tries not to make it look like she’s backpedaling.

Finally, she manages something sort of coherent. I don’t know. It’s a flustered reply, and she tries to explain. What are we going to do? I don’t want to… you know! Or anything! That’s not… you weren’t asking that, were you? Because of course you weren’t, why would I even say that? She waves in a ‘no, nevermind’-like wave-off. That doesn’t make any sense, right? Do you really want to … She trails off. She looks incredibly mortified.

It’s probably not possible for anyone anywhere ever to go as bright red as Owain is right now. Oh, she thinks — but he wasn’t…he was only…

He has his own sets of starts and stops with his hands, raising them up, then dropping them to his side, his mouth opening and closing a few times as he tries to figure out exactly how to respond to something like that. Is it good for someone to blush that much? Can someone blush too much? His cheeks are burning.

I…um…I… He stops, reaching up and putting his hands over his cheeks for a moment. Finally, he manages to collect himself enough to respond. N-no, that…that wasn’t what…no. I just wanted to… He reaches up, rubbing at his cheeks again, still bright red. I was just gonna take you to Add-A-Ball or on a picnic or something, have a fun time and get our minds off of all of this.

He’s still red. I mean, I was probably going to try and kiss you again at some point, but…I’m not like that. I would never presume… He doesn’t continue, instead trailing off and looking down sheepishly.

Well, now she’s gone and done it. Things are even worse, if that’s even possible!! Now they’re both standing here red as tomatoes and Brynn has no idea how to fix this blunder. I’m so sorry! she signs, sorrowful in her abject embarrassment. I didn’t mean to imply… that you’d… it wasn’t that I thought… you know. She blows out a breath and digs her palms into her eyes. Oh God… will the floor please open up and swallow her now?

No such luck.

She brings her hands down, slows them down — because everything she signed before was rapid and rapidly aborted movements. I’m sorry. I grew up really isolated. All us kids hung out together, but… I never really… there was no one there to really date. They’re all my family. It just… wasn’t. And I don’t … really do people too well. Talk about an understatement, in her own opinion. I didn’t mean to offend you or anything, I promise. I just… I didn’t know what to say? I … won’t really know what to say on a date, either. Sometimes I can talk a lot — not as much as Joe — but a lot of times I don’t really … this is a lot of words and signing. I’m sorry. I’m pulling a Joe. She grimaces a little.

While he remains red-cheeked, Owain’s expression softens a bit at her nervous rambling. After a moment, he reaches out, attempting to take both of her hands in his. If she’ll allow it, he’ll raise them, brushing a small kiss over her knuckles, before releasing her hands. I think…that you’re overthinking things a lot right now.

He manages a sheepish smile, though his cheeks are still burning brightly. I just want to be around you. Learn more about you. Give you the chance to learn more about me. And maybe if things go well, I was thinking of trying to kiss you again. His cheeks burn just a little brighter for a moment.

I was always taught that relationships are just really good friendships that have the added bonus of kissing and…all that other stuff. He goes red at the last part.

Holding her hands like that renders her pretty much unable to 'babble' further. Biting her lip at the assurance he just wants to hang out, Brynn nods a little hesitantly. Okay, she replies. I don't … exactly know how that will go, but… okay. She grins in an abashed way and then she seems not to know what to say next.

It takes a moment for her answer to sink in, but there it is. She’s going to go on a date with him. She knows that he has no big expectations, aside from the fact that he likes the idea of kissing her some more. And she said yes.

She said yes.

When the full realization finally dawns on him, the teenager can’t help it; a wide, somewhat dopey grin slaps itself over his features, and for a moment, he looks like he could start doing a song and dance number, or something to that effect. In the back of his mind, he probably is.

He only just barely gets ahold of himself enough to reply. It’ll go great. I’ll make sure it’s the best first date ever, I promise! He seems confident enough…

…For someone who has no idea how he’s going to fulfill that promise.

Brynn is perhaps a little concerned about his excitement. She's not that exciting! But she can't help grinning a little at his elated expression. She'll process the information that he's given her when he leaves… he clearly has his own processing to do.

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