Scene Title Discoveries
Synopsis After a while in the Outer District, Owain has a surprise discovery.
Date March 02, 2018

Outer District: Residental Area

It had taken months for Owain to get processed. Eventually, he found himself in the dome again, in the inner villages, in squalor. The buildings are so closely packed together that it’s a wonder when there’s room between them. Those who live inside, many of those who he got packed in with showing the scars on their arm where they have the same implant he does, were lucky to have a bed to their name when they slept. Some slept on the floor just to stay close to their friends, their family.

And there were so few children. Almost no babies crying. Almost no toddlers tugging on shirt sleeves.

Breeding among the Evolved stock was not allowed without express permission. And some even called them that. Stock.

Like they were animals.

Propaganda outside made it sound like the Outer District was safe, everyone would eat, no one would starve. And it was true, everyone had rationed meals supplied based on their work. But no one lived in luxury. It wasn’t much a change from how he’d lived outside. Only there were far more people.

Much less fear of scavengers, at least.

There were many faces, so many names, so many people.

And a few that he recognized. Justin was there, living among the hopeless, negated just like everyone else, doing his best to help out so that he could eat well. He’d actually lost weight. Because he gave most his meals to others.

There were young teens. Those were the closest he would find to children, kids no older than Squeaks. He could hear a husky voice, reading. A gangle of older kids were seated around her. “"This is bad," said the Tin Woodman, "for if we cannot get to the land we shall be carried into the country of the Wicked Witch of the West, and she will enchant us and make us her slaves."

"And then I should get no brains," said the Scarecrow. "And I should get no courage," said the Cowardly Lion. "And I should get no heart," said the Tin Woodman. "And I should never get back to Kansas," said Dorothy.

This was a voice that Owain recognized, even if he’d not heard it in well over a year.



It has been in silence that Owain has taken his imprisonment. It’s never been difficult for the teenager to avoid speaking — he’s done it for years, and this is no different. But it is different. He only speaks in sign these days. There are no children, everyone is packed in tightly…

…And that familiar feeling that once brought him comfort, the ability to reach out and feel the various metallic elements within the world. It made the world around him feel real, and without it, he feels…disconnected. Cut off.

The teenager has worked as hard as he can, and in similar fashion to Justin, he’s lost weight, only eating enough to sate the gnaw of hunger in his belly before passing the rest of his earned rations to those who couldn’t eat as well. There’s little in the way of fat on the tall, lanky young man, with only well-worked muscles and sinew beneath his skin.

Trudging toward his well-earned rest, the voice reading the Wizard of Oz prompts Owain Mihangle to stop in his tracks, listening. He doesn’t look for a long moment — surely it’s his mind playing tricks on him. Surely he just wants this voice to sound like hers, and the minute he goes to investigate, she’ll disappear, slipping into the wind like dust.

He simply listens to the story for a long while, tears leaving streaks down his dirty cheeks. Really, he’s never heard anything so beautiful. Finally, however, the teenager works up enough courage to draw closer, to peek over shoulders to see just how cruel his brain is.

Some guards would spat at him, mutter about this mute kid, and then move on. At least they didn’t bother him as much, though. Not even Justin had really attempted to talk to him. He always seemed as if he was a little lost. But that might have had something to do with losing his ability, much as Owain had felt the same.

As Owain got closer, the voice didn’t stop, continuing to read from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, while she even added some voice changes for each of the four characters. Dorothy sounded lighter, the Tin Man more gravelly, the Lion a hint of a growl to her voice, the Scarecrow more absent minded. But all the voices were still her voice. They still sounded like her.

The hair had a shorter cut than he remembered, but her eyes were the same, the beauty mark on her cheek, the dimple when she smiled as she looked down at the young ones. It was as if she hoped her reading would make them forget their hunger, their troubles, the fact that they lived in too tight packed of a situation. That many of them, due to their Evolved Status, had even been seperated from parents.

One of the kids in the group looks familiar. He’s among the youngest, only five, but the big eyes and hair and cheeks felt familiar. Nate. Her only biological son. Both of them had been thought dead when the attack had settled. The building they had been in had been burnt to the ground. No one had come out of it. There had been no underground escape route. Nothing. Even Eve had written her off for dead, saying she had seen this, but hadn’t known what it was until it happened.

While she continues to read, “So, when they were rested, Dorothy picked up her basket and they started along the grassy bank, to the road from which the river had carried them. It was a lovely country, with plenty of flowers and fruit trees and sunshine to— “

Owain can tell when her eyes catch his, looking up as she speaks to take in the children. It takes a moment before anyone says anything, and it’s one older kids, probably twelve, “Miss Gillian?” she asks, soft voice confused. Some of the kids look to follow her eyes and then they understand. They don’t even need to be told. They just understand.

They have seen how some people look when they see someone they had known before.

Closing the book, Gillian offers them a sad smile, “We’ll continue this tomorrow, okay?” she says to all the kids, before grabbing Nate’s hand and moving toward the crying teen.

It’s her. The woman who had been like his mother for a good third of his life, and she is here, and she is okay, and she isn’t dead. Owain lost it pretty hard after the fire, slipping into his default mute phase and wandering off on his own far more often than he should have. It’s how he found himself in this mess in the first place. It’s why he got caught — he got careless when they lost her and Nate.

The tears leave several rivers of clean, pink skin, liberated from the dirt of the workday, as he lays eyes on the woman he has mourned for such a long time. As the younger teens begin to clear, Owain remains in his place, still, and his expression slowly turns from the strong, silent tears into an absolute mess, as the various emotions that come from finding that someone you love isn’t dead wash over him.

As she approaches, he lets out a strangled sob; the tall teen clears the distance between them in a single step, and his arms wrap around her, all but crushing her to himself in a tight hug. “I thought,” he sobs, “we all thought that…that you were gone.”

He stops talking, then, simply sobbing into the woman’s shoulder .

It hasn’t been much longer than a year, really. A lot had happened in the interim, but Gillian doesn’t look much different. Nate does, but that’s because a year when someone is his age seems to do a lot more. The boy stood at his mother's side, looking up with big hazel eyes, not needing to be told what is happening anymore than the rest of the kids. What she does do, is return the hug, closing her eyes and wrapping her arms around him for a substantial time, putting her hand on his hair and letting him say it. “It’s okay. I lived. We both did. I’m not entirely sure how, I don’t remember anything after the fire started, but after…” she trails off.

Of any of them, Owain knows what happens to someone after being captured. Since her and her son both live here, in this district, one might think she had not been cooperative. But not so uncooperative that they killed her, either. “I’m so sorry,” because she knows what it means that he is here. “Did they catch anyone else?” Something that she often asks, when she sees someone she recognizes. Though there are fewer and fewer of them. She’s always grateful at not seeing Eve, or Veronica. Or any of the others.

Seeing what they did to Brian had been bad enough.

“Oh, you’ve grown,” she comments when she pulls back, hands touching his face. It hasn’t been long, but she can still see it.

For a long while, all that Owain can really do is just empty his tears into the cloth of Gillian’s shirt, clinging close to her. Somewhere in there, he pulls Nate into the group hug, because they all thought that he was dead, too.

Finally, though, he pulls away, lifting a hand and wiping at his cheeks, sniffing a bit. “I — I’m so glad you’re alive,” he murmurs, as if that much isn’t completely obvious by that tear-laced reunion. “They didn’t get anyone else,” he answers, shaking his head. “Just me. I…they tried to turn me into a spy. I agreed to it, but…I couldn’t do it.” He frowns. “I tried to get Eve to let me help, but…I’m not good at this stuff, and I was just going to get everyone caught so…I turned myself in.”

And here he is, leaning his cheek into Gillian’s hand as she touches his face. Something tells her that he’s probably not going to leave her side at any point in the near future.

Even though she stays pulled back to look at him, GIllian’s eyes don’t change when she hears what happened, what he did. She just nods. “They can be… persuasive,” she says in a tired voice, looking down at her son, who’s got an arm wrapped around each of them still. He’s not crying, or talking much, but Owain at least understands when a kid doesn’t want to say much. Nate hadn’t been shy the last time he’d seen him, willing to talk to everyone, trying to tell them things in that way that children do, where they start a thought, spend like half the sentences repeating what they already said and then almost never completely finish the thought before they move on to another. No, Nate’s much quieter now.

“I’m glad you didn’t spy on them, though,” she says with a sigh. “But Eve is still running things? And none of the other kids were caught? Good. We don’t hear much of anything in here.” Anything that goes on out there, specifically. With a motion, she starts to pull away, gathering both the boys up and herding them in specific direction, “Our place is this way. Let’s get inside.” Not that being inside is much protection.

But at least it feels more intimate than standing in the street.

It doesn’t take much coaxing for Owain to follow Gillian — he’d probably follow her around like a lost puppy even if she didn’t want him to, at this point. He’s been lost in here, playing the part of a mute, only speaking in sign when he did want to say anything.

Which is probably why his voice is a bit hoarse from not being exercised in so long. “Eve is running things, yeah,” he replies, nodding. “And last I checked, everyone but me and Justin was out. I told them to go someplace else — someplace new, where I hadn’t been, just in case…” Just in case they tried inhumane means to try and get him to divulge information.

He watches Nate quietly, finally calming down from the hysterics of suddenly finding out that Gillian is alive. “I’m glad you’re okay.” He’ll be repeating that line for a while. “I kinda lost it after I thought you…y’know. Got careless.” He hangs his head a bit.

Everyone but him and Justin. And those that they had lost before Gillian, because there had been others. The Lighthouse had lost members over the years, same as everyone else. From Bray, one of the oldest, to little Kasha, the youngest.

And there was one they had lost so many years ago. Before the fighting had started. “Hailey’s here,” Gillian adds as they get inside, the apartment small, barely the size of what had once been a hotel room, but at least private. She had her own bed, a bathroom, even a television, even if the only thing that they could watch were the occasional old movies and Outer District Broadcasts. And no one really wanted to watch those too often, except when they needed to.

“She had a rough time after we lost track of her. She doesn’t… She likes it here. And shows it. You’ll probably hear her voice on a radio broadcast at some point, talking about how great it is here compared to outside.” And in some ways it was better… but in others… Gillian rubs her arm, looking as if she had more she wanted to say, more she wanted to ask, but instead, she motioned to the young man to sit at one of the chairs in the room. Either at the table, or the big comfortable one. And now that they were inside Nate looked up at him, looked as if he wanted to speak, but then went and hugged onto his mom’s leg again instead. She put a hand on top of his head, fingers in his hair, almost as if trying to comfort him. He had never been this shy before.

But things had been different, outside.

The teen settles into a seat at the table, watching Gillian thoughtfully as she speaks. The news of Hailey being here prompts his eyebrows to raise, and he nods slowly. “I’ve met a few people who share that sentiment,,” he murmurs of the fact that she actually likes it here.

He finally leans back in his seat, tension melting from his frame. He hasn’t really had human contact since coming here, so this is nice — just sitting and having a conversation with a woman he was sure was dead up until just moments ago.

“I don’t agree with her,” he adds, clasping his fingers in front of him as he leans against the table. “I hate the negation.” Owain shakes his head slowly. “I used to feel…almost everything that was remotely metallic. I keep waking up in the morning and reaching out, only to find a brick wall in the place of my ability.” He frowns. “I usually give my food to a few of the other teens who can’t work as hard as me,” he adds, explaining the fact that he’s so thin.

Brown eyes find Nate, and for the first time in what must be months, the teen cracks a small smile. “Last time I saw you,” he murmurs, holding up a hand to a height a bit shorter than the child, “you were only this tall. You’re getting so big.”

“I believe that her ability had harmed her in some way, while she was lost to us,” Gillian admitted in soft tones, but she doesn’t sound as if she’s sure on that. Either way she wants to defend the girl whom she feels she failed at some point. Failed to the point she’d ended up here, failed to the point that she liked it. She had felt responsible for that. Almost as much as when they’d lost Denisa, so long ago.

As he mentions his rations, she nods, as if that is no more than she expected. She knew that Justin did much the same, had since he got here. There were not many who were willing to give up what they could, for the sake of others. Gillian did, but only for Nate. She gave her time to the rest, reading to them, offering a shoulder to cry on, giving them kind words. Nate looked quite well fed, and Gillian as well, though no more so than she had been outside.

But she has kept herself healthy, for others as much as herself.

Nate’s eyes widen as he listens to Owain, looking where the hand rests, then up at his mother for encouragement and gets a nod and a soft “It’s okay.”

When he looks back he murmurs a soft, “Don’t remember.”

A sad look forms on Owain’s face as Gillian explains Hailey’s predicament. “I wish we could’ve protected her. It wasn’t so bad when I left. We were doing as well as we could.” He sighs softly. “I miss them a lot. Should’ve just let them take me here in the first place.”

He turns, watching Gillian with a rather fond expression. Nate is offered the same — the teen smiles at him. “It’s okay. You were a lot smaller then. You’re growing a lot, maybe you’ll be as tall as me one day.” He’ll certainly do his best to help out with that, now that he knows they’re alive.

“Can — can I stay? And help you?” He turns his brown-eyed gaze to Gillian, subconsciously clasping his hands together as he peers at the woman. “I…don’t really want to leave you, after everything.”

“I think you’re stuck staying, no matter what you might choose,” Gillian responds sadly, placing her hand on the young boy’s crop of hair again. It’s not as nicely cut as it had been in those days among the resistance. They had had someone who could cut hair— at least back when Gillian had been with then. Raquelle and his kids had moved on, since then, trying to find someplace safe, further from the danger. As she probably should have, if it hadn’t been for those who’d felt their duty was to stay and fight— and she had thought so too, even.

Stay here, though? She shakes her head. Not in this room. It’s the one place private that she has, and she’s not willing to give that piece of privacy up. “You can help me, during your free-time, though, if you want. I’m sure Nate will get to know you all over again— he’s just a little shy, ever since…” What happened.

And losing everyone. And being thrust into the situations he’s been trust into at such a young age. “I’d tell you to not skip meals, that growing weak won’t do anyone good, but I don’t expect you to listen.” She’s tried to tell the same thing to Justin, but she expected Owain to have the same feelings about such things.

Owain accepts the answer gracefully, nodding — he’ll find a place nearby, where she can come to him easily if she needs him. It’s the least he can do. “I’ll help whenever I can,” he replies, bobbing his head up and down in a slow nod.

He turns to smile warmly at Nate — as warmly as he can, at least. “And I definitely look forward to getting to know you again.” Used to be, Owain would use his abilities to fashion toys for Nate out of scrap metal. At one point the child had a small ride-in car that he could roll around in. He certainly can’t do that now, but he’ll probably figure something out.

Brown eyes turn to Gillian, and the teen smiles. “I don’t entirely skip them,” he replies, though his appearance doesn’t really support that. “I keep a little for myself — no use giving my meals away to people who can’t work as hard as me if I can’t keep working hard.” He’s still hungry more often than not, but he at least eats a few bites of his food before passing it on to others.

After a moment, Gillian nods, knowing that she can’t change the boys that she helped raise along with everyone else. They would do what they had to do as well as what they wanted to do. She only wished they hadn’t lost Hailey as early as they had after the changes, when the world took such a drastic turn for the worst. But here they were, now. “You hear that, little one? Someone new to play with.” Someone to get to know, someone who can tell him stories— hopefully good ones.

The boy nods slowly, then says, in a suggesting tone, “Lene might like him, too.”

At that, Gillian shakes her head. “I’m sure you have work to do, so I won’t keep you.” But she also seems to be bustling Owain out on that as well, closing the door behind him before he can get a word out. Or a question.

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