Does That Sound Crazy? (When it Comes to Family)


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Scene Title Does That Sound Crazy? (When it Comes to Family)
Synopsis Nicole tracks down Tasha to ask her about her dreams, and her welfare.
Date April 13, 2011

Grand Central Terminal

With the topside of the iconic Grand Central Terminal in ruins, it's its basement level that sees most activity, as covert as such activity may be. Entrances are sealed (at least, to those who don't know any better) to the upper levels leading above ground, whether with rubble, or with manmade additions of gates and blockades, and so most will find their way to this place via the countless tunnels that run like arteries in what could appropriately be termed the heart of Manhattan's train system.

Electric lights shine pallid white in the arching ceilings of the basement concourses and foyers, running off their own generators and so power is only used conservatively. Here, the wide open spaces are used for storage that is destined to be moved either towards the arching doorways opening to platforms and subways for shipping out, or waiting to be dragged down to the subbasements for longer term storage. The floors, the walls, the ceilings are differing kinds of tile and vary in cleanliness.

Tables have also been set up so that supplies can be sorted, shifted, packed properly. Folded cardboard boxes awaiting use can be discovered in most corners. Signs on the walls in the form of crude spray paint indicate where things might go, from food, to clothing, to medical supplies, and some things even more exotic. This is a place of motion and organization.

Last but not least, a makeshift recreation room has been set up for the workers of the Grand Central Station, and this can be found within what used to be known as the Whispering Walls. Famously, this interstitial space was known for its strange acoustics, wherein one could whisper to a companion from one far side of the corner to the other by talking directing into the curving corner, where sound would travel along the curve of the arcing ceiling. This, of course, still works, but now the space is no longer simply a foyer - there's a semi-portable kitchen area offering simple food and beverages, a television (which gets no reception, but is hooked into a VCR and a DVD player, with a modest library for both), a card table, a few comforts such as couches and armchairs.

Upon one of the walls, is a rough but well-meaning mural, a mock up of an aquarium - an addition that came after the Ferrymen claimed this space as theirs. It seems to grow in size every several days, with new aquatic characters added each time.

Though she has spent less and less time here — it's simply too painful, and she can't bear to sleep in the little ticket booth claimed by Colette without her — Tasha returns every few days with supplies and for the grapevine, to check for any messages for her that can't get to her cell phone that's always on. The message she wants most, of course, does not come.

She's in the kitchen area today, unloading the duffel bag of food she'd snuck in. She has more freedom than most of the Ferrymen, but she's small and can only care so much without notice — after all, she doesn't have the ability to come and go under a cloak of invisibility.

That she's not sleeping well is evident in the dark circles under her eyes; she's getting thinner, easily noticeable in the child-sized Buzz Lightyear t-shirt she wears, that's now only a little too small and age-inappropriate rather than skin-tight. Headphones drown out the sound of any approaching footsteps, as well as put up a barrier to anyone simply wanting to chat.

She probably shouldn't be here. She doesn't really have the right to be here, does she? Nicole can move freely around New York, her paranoia aside. She's not like the people down here. But she is here. And maybe it's because of her sister, or because of her brief time here during and following the riots in November, but she isn't barred entry. She's even told where she can find the woman she's looking for.

And it's probably best that Nicole did ask for Tasha, and not her sister. The awkward answers from strangers, well… This is just better. Nicole knows her approach is likely unnoticed, and so she gently reaches out to touch a hand to the girl's shoulder.

If she looks no better rested than Tasha, it's because she isn't. Nicole hasn't slept a wink since Monday night, though she hasn't lacked for energy. The glow of her blue eyes — someone stopped at the third rail to juice up — proves she's got enough energy to last her the day. It's not the physical exhaustion that's going to get to Nicole. It's the mental. She hasn't started hallucinating yet, at least.

The elder Nichols girl perhaps looks a bit like the younger today, in a faded and beat up leather jacket (that's way too warm for her with that much electricity stored, and it shows in the way her cheeks flush) over a simple green tank that would match Colette's eyes, and jeans that are a little worn at the cuffs, but are at least clean. "Hey, you," she greets with a genuine smile, tone warm. For all that she's uncertain about being here, Nicole is very glad to see Tasha again. That much feels right.

At the touch, Tasha stiffens, defenses up for whoever it might be coming to express their worry and regret for Colette's absence, and there's a flash of irritation as she turns, looking ready to snap at whoever broke her from the reverie of putting away food while listening to the Misfits.

It falls away instantly, and Tasha's face contorts into one of hurt despite the small smile in return for Nicole's. She drops the bread she's holding to wrap her arms tightly around the other woman. "Hey," she whispers, holding tight for a moment before stepping back, pulling out the earbuds. "Are you okay?"

Nicole actually chuckles softly, her own embrace for Tasha tight and warm. "Yes, I'm fine," she assures. "All things considered," a far more realistic caveat. "It's really, really good to see you. I actually wondered if you could spare a few minutes? I have a couple things I'd like to talk to you about."

There's no worry in the lines of Nicole's face. None of the sadness she might be expected to carry when she looks at her sister's girlfriend. She's experienced enough loss since November to have gotten very good at hiding it from her face, if nothing else. And to know where blame should be assigned. The blame for this, whatever it is that's happened to Colette, does not belong with Tasha. More than likely, it belongs squarely with Colette.

"I've been talking to Quinn. About the dreams people have been having." A much easier subject, in comparison. "I…" Nicole takes a breath to give time to gather her thoughts, "I had one a couple nights ago, and you were in it. I was wondering if you had the same dream."

Tasha wipes her eyes and nods uncertainly. "I've had… a couple now," she murmurs. The future in them is so bleak and dire looking, but that they had a bright spot, a silver lining among the stormcloud on the horizon, in that Colette was present, by her side in one, alive if injured in the other.

The dream where Nicole becomes a widow.

"I … I think maybe it's like the visions of June 10th. We changed a lot of those things. We can change this," she says, a little shakily.

Because they didn't change enough. Her vision still came true.

"I know that people are trying to figure them out," she adds.

"I was thinking the same thing." Nicole slides her hands from Tasha's shoulders, down her arms, and takes her hands. A reassuring smile turns up the corners of her mouth. "I almost feel like I owe all those people an apology, for yelling at them like that. I mean… even considering the circumstances." It's absurd, wanting to apologise about a dream. For an event that hasn't happened, or may never happen. "I actually… I wanted to know if you know…"

She stalls, a huff of air passing her lips and ruffling her dark hair. "This feels really stupid, but… I don't know who all of those people were, and Quinn, Elaine, and Lynette have all seemed to. The man who told me about how… my husband died, I've seen him before. In a different dream. The blonde was there, too, but she had red hair in the first one. I know her as Jessica Sanders, but I think someone told me her name is Barbara? The Egyptian woman was in another dream." And that one has her hold on Tasha's hands tightening just a fraction. "I don't know who the older man was, either. But… These people were my friends. They're all from the Ferry?"

Tasha's hand squeeze Nicole's and she nods. "I … I don't want to say names, if you forgot them, just for their own protection," she says a little nervously. "We have to be careful. But I know most of them, or have seen them, even if I don't know them personally. The older man — the Frenchman, I don't know him, but I've heard about him, and I think I recognize all the others. It's not Jessica Sanders, though," she says with a shake of her head.

She presses her lips together and glances down. "You don't need to apologize to anyone. Not then, and certainly not now, if it hasn't even happened yet." There's a slight smile as she looks up to Nicole's face. "We all say things we don't mean when we're hurt. When we've lost someone."

"I don't even know who he is," Nicole admits, shaking her head slowly. "Ben. I don't… I don't even know anyone named Ben." Which frustrating. Hurting so much for someone she doesn't even know. Sharing a bond like that, and a daughter that she's agonised over in her waking hours.

A girl whose blue eyes she thinks she's seen before now.

"I've seen that little girl before, my daughter. I never knew her name before the other night, though. Ingrid… Tasha, I think I know her." And Nicole winces as soon as the words leave her lips. "I know, that sounds really crazy. But there's this girl who works for the Department, and her name is Ingrid. I swear to God, that little girl could grow up to look like that. Does that sound crazy?" Another wince. "Of course it does. Don't answer that."

Dark brows knit, and Tasha shakes her head, then nods. Nothing like mixed messages. "It does. Sound crazy."

She lets go of Nicole's hands and nods toward a small table. "But that doesn't mean it's not possible. I mean… June 10th, everyone having a vision at the same time of the same day? That sounds crazy, doesn't it? But it happened. Or going back to the past to change things or keep them from getting changed like I did for Tamara with your… with Judah… that's happened. I don't know what the dreams mean, but I don't think you're insane, because I had the same dream. It has to mean something."

Nicole rolls her eyes playfully, a self-depreciating smile. "I asked you not to tell me that." She moves to sit at the table and nods her head thoughtfully to what Tasha has to say. "I didn't have a vision in June like you," plural, "did. I… didn't really know about this time travel stuff until recently." Because Colette never tells her anything. "But… that's a thing that really happens? Do you think… Do you think she could be…?"

A heavy exhale, and Nicole presses the heels of her palms against her lidded eyes. A soft groan to punctuate frustration with herself. "Wishful thinking. Like somehow time travel would make everything make more sense?" She frowns at the faint rings of eyeliner left behind on her hands, but just wipes them off on the inside of her jacket sleeves.

"How are you, Tasha? I mean, really, how are you?" Concern etches onto her features, and serves to make Nicole look less like her little sister.

The younger woman reaches for a coffee cup left there earlier and curls her hands around it. Its heat has mostly faded, and here's only a little warmth in the ceramic to take comfort in, though it's not a cold day. "Well, we know time travel's possible. You might be making a leap from a six year old kid to a grown up woman with the same name, I don't know. But there's other people who've had the dreams… I haven't talked to them, since…"

Since she's being antisocial.

"Trying to keep up with school and take care of my mother and this stuff." This stuff is illustrated with a wave to their surroundings. This stuff probably includes looking for Colette, as well, but she doesn't say as much.

How she is — that doesn't get answered. She just shrugs once. "She's in the dreams," she offers, instead. It's enough to give hope.

"I was glad for that," Nicole admits softly. "And… And that you stayed with her. 'Letty's not the easiest person to get along with." She looks down at the table, pink painted nails tapping at the surface when she'd really rather be picking at it. But that's hardly polite, now is it?

"Would you—" A false start has Nicole's brows furrowing, anger directed inward. She used to be so good with her words. Knowing the right things to say and when to say them. But it's partially a testament to how comfortable she is with the other woman that she lets her see these moments of indecision. They're honest. Unguarded.

"I would like it if you would come stay with me. If you want to, that is."

"If it'll help," Tasha says quietly. The offer to be there for comfort in the wake of bad dreams. "I … even before, I wasn't always in one spot, because I stay with my Mom sometimes, and then here sometimes."

Her eyes drop, and one hand comes to her mouth, her thumbnail chewed on. "I don't sleep here now, though," she feels compelled to add. "Just help out when I can, make sure nothing's changed. My mom, she's still got her condo and I stay with her most nights. I can stay with you, though, if you … if it'll help."

"It's not… You make it sound…" A sloooow breath. In, and out again. Eyes closed during the process. "I'm not trying to be selfish. It's not just about me, but… You're family, Tasha. To me, you're family. And I want you to be safe. And I do want to know that you're okay. And that you have somewhere to go when… When you might otherwise feel like there's nowhere else."

Nicole presses her lips together, then smiles sadly with a roll of her eyes. "Okay, maybe it is selfish. You're under no obligation. We're both big girls, and don't need anyone looking after us. I know you probably… I can imagine your opinion of me isn't all that favourable. You've kind of seen me at my absolute worst." November 8th. "And I'm sure Colette's told stories." Which may be why Tasha thinks she has to take care of her. "And your mom comes first, of course."

Her shoulders sag. "I'm talking too much. It's your call. Really."

Her words bring a rueful smirk and chagrined drop of eyes from Tasha and she shakes her head. "Okay. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to sound like you were all needy or anything. I just meant — I have a place to stay when I need to so I don't need a place that's not here, necessarily. Or full of … you know." Colette memories.

"But, I think it's also good sometimes for me to not be at my Mom's. That way she has some privacy and doesn't feel like… like I'm only there because I feel I have to be, but that I want to be."

Tasha looks up and smiles. "So we can do a movie night or something, and I'll crash there, lather rinse repeat, once in a while?" she offers.

Nicole smiles at that. She could stand to look a little happier, but there is some truth to the notion that she is needy, and she knows it. As much as she will forever argue the opposite. If she argues that she likes to be alone enough, maybe it will finally be true.

"I'd like that." Nicole reaches out to rest one hand over Tasha's, a gentle squeeze. "Door's always open. Day or night."

The younger girl smiles, a little more broadly this time. "Thanks. That means a lot. It's … always good to have more people who care to be able to go to. I'm not about to turn that down."

She stands again, picking up the mug. "Let me get you some coffee. I'm sure you haven't had a lot of sleep." Not that she needs caffeine when she has electricity, but hospitality is about offering more than what's needed — it's about offering what's comforting. Especially when it comes to family.

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