Different Stories


gillian_icon.gif hana_icon.gif

Scene Title Different Stories
Synopsis Hana and Gillian compare notes — such as they are — on the girl named Sibyl Black.
Date January 20, 2018

Gillian Childs' Townhouse, Elmhurst

It's a cold afternoon, gray, but in the way that is almost certain not to progress to actual rain. A fitting atmosphere to Hana's mind; it may be the third day since Epstein came clean with her, but that doesn't mean she's even begun to move on. Which is ultimately what brings her to the Safe Zone on this day — she had other errands, has tended to those errands, but truly only this one matters.

Thus it is that Hana walks down an Elmhurst street, down the length of a row of restored brownstones, at last turning off the sidewalk and climbing the steps to one particular door. She eschews the sturdy railing that flanks the six steps, comes to a halt in front of the door, knocks with firm confidence. And there Hana waits, as casual as she might ever be, gaze turned idly down the street. She's dressed just as casually, leather jacket and black pants and ivory shirt, hair falling unbound to her shoulders. If the weight applied to the cane as Hana stands there is perhaps a little less than casual, well, she's walked quite a ways today.

The townhouse has no connection to the internet, unless it’s owner happens to set up her phone as a personal hotspot. Which Gillian has been known to do when she feels like it. Her cellphone is on her person, and the tower so close means it pings text messages quickly. In fact, she’s sending a text out right this moment, but it’s nothing important, just a message to one of the librarians that she needs them to fill in for someone who’s sick. She hits send as she makes it to the door, putting the cellphone into her pocket as she checks through the glass.

The Wolfhounds keep knocking on her door, it would seem. And this one she knew just a little bit better than the last. Mostly cause she’d helped sweep an incident under the rug once upon a time. Gillian didn’t forget that. Or anything else this woman had done for those who needed it, either.

There’s clicks as the door unlocks, coming open. She casts a quick glance toward the wolf head cane, before nodding and gesturing inside, “Come on in— What brings you out here on such a gray afternoon?” Dressed in her business casual attire, she sounds casual, even if there’s a slight twinge to her hand, a hint of the past in the way her eyes move. She did not come out of the war as unscathed as she’d like people to think, and someone who knew what to look for would see it.

Hana looks to the door as it opens, to the woman so revealed. It's still a little jarring, sometimes, to meet former Ferrymen — the ones she doesn't see on a routine basis — who've become become neatly professional in their reconstructed lives. Including the one she sees in the mirror. It's been years, and they've all moved on, but those defining memories still linger. Outwardly, Hana returns the nod she's given, but pauses a moment before acceding to the invitation offered. Not hesitance per se, but a change of plans: she hadn't actually intended any sort of extended visit.

Inside, Hana takes a moment to survey what she can see of the townhouse, what it says of the woman who owns it and her current place in life, what entrances and egresses its layout offers. That's no more than reflex for the woman whose adult life has been defined around conflict; her manner doesn't suggest any intent for confrontation now. By rights, the guest should say something polite and social, your house is nice, you've done well for yourself; inevitably, she doesn't, but merely makes her way to a chair and sits down, momentarily relieving her ankle of its burden.

"I have a question for you," Hana says instead, moving the conversation directly to her point. There's nothing casual about the statement, but neither does any accusation lurk in her tone, and the neutral expression she presents to Gillian is made markedly less neutral by hints of weariness tinting its edges. "Can you confirm that Epstein was looking after a girl named Sibyl Black?"

Usually, the host would also offer a drink or something, and with anyone else, Gillian probably would. This, however, is not any other guest. Instead, she just closes the door behind her, locks it once again, and makes her way into the sitting room, where the ginger cat needs to be nudged aside on the opposite chair so she can sit down. Epstein. It had been one thing to act evasive with another member of Wolfhound, even one with some standing, but the leader of them? Someone who’d saved so many people in the past, including herself and her family on more than one occasion?

Still, she sighs slightly before responding, “She didn’t mention Epstein.” It sounds like the truth, or one she believes, at least. ”She had a different story. A cover, I’m sure. I had believed it, though.” Now— she wonders if any of that had been true. Except the bird. The bird who hadn’t been a bird.

“So, no, I can’t confirm.” But she did just confirm a few things. That she’d spoken with the girl. That the girl had been here.

The sigh doesn't pass unnoticed, but it elicits only a flicker of Hana's eyes. After Gillian's finished speaking, Hana sits back in her chair, her gaze directed out the window, unseeing; she remains silent a long moment. "I wish you could," is prefaced by a slight sigh of its own, and an admission that borders on uncharacteristic. The phrasing harbors other implications: namely, that it isn't the girl on which the major's interest is focused. That the story she was given isn't one she entirely trusts, either.

But where the story Gillian heard was trusted and now is in doubt, the reverse might be said for Hana: indirect corroboration is still worth something. She nods to her hostess, offers a reply both polite and sincere. "Thank you, all the same."

Perhaps Epstein had been harboring her and the story had been true, but the more Gillian had thought about it, the more doubt she had. She even reread the book a few times to figure out where she might have ran into the man she’d claimed was her father— it hadn’t added up. A lot of her life had been disrupted by Vanguard, but she had not seen any mention of him involving events she had been in.

“She stayed here a few nights,” she offers after a moment. A lot of what had happened she intends to keep close to the vest, but she gives that. She’d heard some news involving Wolfhound, the news. She had a television that could get decent reception at times, even if the power shut down at what would normally be considered prime television hours. And she listened to what news she could, stayed up to date. “He’s no longer harboring her, though, I take it?” Or she would not have needed a confirmation.

One she could not get here.

Hana looks to Gillian as the younger woman resumes speaking. After, she nods briefly — acknowledgment, rather than affirmation. Her gaze drifts to the window, and she draws in a long breath, closing her eyes. There's a clear consideration of how much to say, not unlike that Gillian entertained a moment before.

"I am told Epstein has looked after her for two years," Hana begins at last, her eyes still closed. "He seems to consider her a daughter." That's simple, straightforward information. "She was caught up in an incident half a year ago," Hana continues, looking again to her host. It's clear she does not intend to detail that incident, not even for this audience. "After, he was detained and she was — left out in the cold."

That Hana is distinctly unhappy with this event, with related decisions, is manifest in the set of her jaw, the glint in her eyes. She falls silent for a breath, then shakes her head slowly, giving Gillian a weary, sidelong look. "He didn't tell me when I could have made a difference. Now…"

Now, all Hana can do is fume, hope, and try to pin down which story was the lie. Of which options only one is a useful action.

“She seemed quite self-sufficient, but I wish I would have made more effort to keep her close.” Gillian responded quietly, biting down on her lip as she considers the potential consequences for what she knows. “I saw her around… July? Late summer of last year. We spent some time together— I offered her a place to stay, but before I knew it she was gone.”

She’d wanted to try to keep track of the girl, sure that there had been something going on, but that hadn’t happened.

After a moment, she finally makes a decision— “I didn’t know she was connected to Wolfhound, not directly, though I suspected she might have been hiding from you. She told me that her father had been Vanguard, that I had known him, but I couldn’t recall the name she mentioned. Hans? Something.” She doesn’t need to explain why she might have thought someone with former Vanguard connections might want to hide, even if they were a child.

Hana nods slowly as Gillian replies, sitting back in her chair, letting her eyes slip closed. She doesn't even twitch when the Vanguard is named; while that's new, at this point it's hardly even surprising. Or something the major is particularly willing to put stock in, given the murkiness already gathered around this issue. "Kazakova," she supplies almost automatically. "If it was 'Hans'. If there wasn't another."

The major sounds more wearied by the idea than anything; the dubious possibility of an orphan girl having tenuous connections to Vanguard elicits no apparent interest. If the supposition that Sybil was hiding from Wolfhound in particular were true…

…well. That would certainly not help bring Epstein back into her good graces.

Ultimately, Hana remains silent for a time, then exhales softly and shakes her head. "I think we've said all there is to say," she observes, rising from her seat. Neither of the women truly know anything outside of hearsay — and non-complementary hearsay at that. "If you do happen to see her… let me know."

“I had been evasive with Rue because I suspected that…” Gillian explains, trying to explain why she hadn’t given the girl this same information when she had come for it in the first place. Though what she’d really wanted was to know the girl had been okay. Something she could not confirm then, or now. “But I will ask around more, see if any of my friends have seen or heard from her lately.”

If all else failed, she would ask one of her best friends for help on the matter. Not that she has any reason to know that Eve might already know the very same girl. She hasn’t really had time to see her much with the library opening and all the problems with Hailey.

“If you do find her before me, perhaps you can drop me a message as well.” Cause now she is worried again. Especially considering the human slave trade that had been brought to her attention lately.

Hana flicks a hand to the side at Gillian's explanation, mildly dismissive: what's done is done. Also, internal politics, but her host doesn't need to know that part — only that the major considers her evasions not of concern.

"I will," Hana assures as she moves towards the door. "Provided I'm aware of it."

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