Family Picnic


brian_icon.gif gillian2_icon.gif veronica_icon.gif

Scene Title Family Picnic
Synopsis Brian calls for a get together with his girlfriend and sister. They finally get to meet. And things are revealed.
Date August 12, 2009


The tune from the guitar plays smoothly. Mostly smoothly. Brian isn't an expert yet, and at times his fingers get a bit clumsy. He sits in the back of his large truck. Singing quietly, yet passionately along with his song. His face taking on some strange distortions as he is obviously trying to bring out the real feeling of the song.

The truck is parked on the beach. The sun waning and beginning to retreat. Both Veronica and Gillian were given instructions on how to get to this specific spot. Wear something nice. Even though he did nothing of the sort. A gray sweater jacket is worn over a white t-shirt, tucked into his faded blue jeans.

Not too far from the truck is the barbecue that he brought, a few humburger patties sizzling on it. A watchful eye is on it though, in the form of Joe. Hey, when you're nigh-indestructible the safety rules with kids and grills go out the window! Besides, it's good for him to learn how to cook at a young age.

A large blanket is spread out over the sand, a few baskets full of different drinks and food for the impromptu picnic.

Veronica kicks off her shoes — wear something nice? It's the beach! — so as not to scuff the leather of the nice strappy heels, or worse, sprain an ankle trying to walk in sand in four-inch Jimmy Choo's. She's wearing a summery white sundress that shows off her Costa Rican tan besides that. She begins to cross the beach, then pauses, her head tilting as she sees a child watching over the barbecue. Sure, she knew that he was taking care of kids at the orphanage, but she didn't expect to see him with a kid here. She shakes her head a bit, and continues her trek across the beach. "Hi," she says a little cautiously, silhouetted by the sun.

Dressing up for Gillian may not be the same as dressing up for other people. Especially at the moment. A purple and black blouse, a pair of dark slacks, and a bunch of black netting cover her, giving off an even gothier look than he might be used to. There's also a lot more make up, too. The tattoos which she might have been willing to show off to just about anyone are still covered up, for the most part. They're still mangled, making her less inclined to show them in public. A few peek out under the high netting gloves. The abundance of clothes also hides the bruises that she refused to explain, and got angry at continued questions.

She's stubborn. Very stubborn. It's why she's limping when she gets out of the Rusty Dodge Spirit she's been borrowing as often as he's allowed her to. It's not one leg that's injured, but both. There's something about the way she walks that implies her back might be injured as well. Something about the way her arms move. Upper arms, shoulders, stomach, both legs, back… For once it isn't the fault of her boots when she walks funny along the beach.

"Who the— " Damnit, there's child. Her voice is deeper than normal too, though as always raspy, "Who's this?"

The song pauses. Brian grins over at Veronica and then practically balks at Gillian. Oh well. Sliding his guitar away on the truck bed, Brian hops down from the edge. "JoeJoe. Flip it." He commands as his barefeet collide with the sand. Digging his toes in momentarily, he turns to face Veronica. "Hi." He says, his lips pulling into a goofy grin. She just looks so pretty. "Hi." He answers with a smile. But his smile fades at Miss GrumpyPants.

"Gillian." Brian greets with a happy enough tone. "My darling sister, I want you to meet Veronica. My.." Rather than give a word for it, his hand goes out to take Veronica's. "Vee. This is my sister. You can trust her." He says, giving a nod over to Gillian as if she needed to confirm that. "And that little guy is my… little guy! Joejoe!" The boy gives a bright smile as he flips a burger, hot grease flinging up on his arm, but he doesn't seem to notice or care that much at all.

Veronica turns to look at Gillian when the woman's voice sounds behind her, but then Brian's there to make introductions. This is his sister? She can't help but looked surprised but offers a hand to Gillian, and smiles a little uncertainly. "Hi, nice to meet you," she says, before turning to look at the young boy flipping burgers. "I… is that safe?" she says to Brian, but she moves toward Joe, offering her hand to shake. "Nice to meet you, too, Joe. You're our chef tonight, are you?"

There's a visible grimace on her face as Gillian takes the offered hand and shakes it. The grip of her glove covered hand is weaker than it should be, perhaps due to the pain she's showing on her face. A tattoo would be easier to handle than this kind of pain, but she knows it will pass. Sometimes she wish she had Gabriel's uncanny ability to look as if nothing's wrong, even when sporting a gunshot wound. "I've heard a bit about you. You're prettier than I thought. Brian said you were, but men exaggerate." That's as much a compliment as she can manage, as she steps over onto the blanket and carefully sits down, trying to hide the grimace. At least he didn't shoot her in the ass.

Releasing Veronica's hand, Brian steps over to support Gillian in her mission to sit on the picnic blanket. Whether she likes it or not he tries to help her ease down softly. He gives a little smirk at Gillian's comment. "I told you she was amazing looking." He murmurs, standing up and watching Veronica approach his fake-son. A small smile seeps onto his features. "It's perfectly safe. Poke him with a knife, see what happens."

"Okay." Joe answers brightly to Veronica's question. Flipping the four large beef patties.

"JoeJoe, say hi to Veronica." Brian calls out as he nears the grill, picking up the four paper plates.

"Hi." Even though it's said cheerily, it's apparently all she'll get.

"You can just call me Vee," Veronica says with a conspiratorial wink to Joe. "And I don't think I'll stab him, even if he can handle it. I'm pretty sure my mother would say that was bad manners." She straightens and smiles at Gillian, her cheeks flushing a little at the talk of her looks. "Thank you. He does exaggerate, but I'm sure you probably had some haggard old hardened law enforcement type in mind, right?" she says to Gillian. "Are you okay, though?" She frowns at the obvious pain, and turns to frown at Brian. "You made her trek across the sand dunes and she can hardly move, Brian!"

"I can move just fine," Gillian protests, even pulling away from the assistance rather stubbornly for a moment, until she allows it to continue. "I just had an accident, something stupid. It'll heal. No harm done." The way she says the last part, it's bitter, sour. Her gloves have rolled down a bit, to the point that rather nice sized bruises are visible on either side, darker radiating outwards. In almost exactly the same place. In a circle. With a spot-like wound in the middle. To someone experienced in the effects of a dart gun, it might look very much like what she has… "Nice to meet you, Vee— and the kid's indestructable. He's the one kid we don't have to worry about playing on the roof."

Dishing out one pattie to each paper plate, Brian gives a sidelong glance at Gillian from the grill. He knows very well it wasn't an accident. But she won't be very candid about it. If it was an accident, she would talk about it, wouldn't she? Shutting the grill off Brian motions for Joe to take two of the plates to the picnic blanket.

Bringing the other two plates, he sets one down in front of Gillian and the other he hands to Veronica. "There's buns, and all the other crap you could want on a hamburger in the baskets." He says with a little smile, making a point to see that he and Veronica are seated next to each other.

"I'm usually hurt because I did something stupid or another. Most often my own fault. So I understand," Veronica says with a nod of understanding to Gillian. She smiles and reaches for the basket for bun and condiments. "Thanks, Brian," she says, then tilts her head to smile at Joe. "And Joe. Looks great. And I'm starving." She settles on the blanket, curling her feet beneath her.

"Yeah, my own fault," Gillian remarks softly in agreement, as she shifts to look down at the burger plate and mutter a soft thanks to the kid, as she leans across and grabs a bun and mustard to start out. The yellow kind, not those prissy mustards. There's a mild hesitation before she lets her plate sit and pulls off the gloves. That's when her mangled tattoos become easily visible. "So what exactly do you see in my brother?" She glances at the kid, as if there's a piece she'd add to the question if he hadn't been there.

Brian gives a mildly agitated look to Gillian as he prepares his own burger. No mustard involved. In fact he would have thrown mustard out of the baskets if it weren't for Joe's insistance that 'some people like mustard'. Begrudginly accepting this fact, Brian did in fact bring one container of mustard. Putting a whole lot of crap on his burger, Brian leans over to help Joe with his own before despite himself glancing over at Veronica for her answer.

"He's very persistent," Veronica says with a wink at Brian and lifts her burger to her mouth to take a bite. After chewing and swallowing, she gives Joe a smile. "Perfect, Chef Joe." She looks back at Gillian. "The real answer is that he is probably one of the best people I've ever met, and he treats me like I'm the best person he's met, and when most people I meet hate me on sight or by reputation, that goes a long way. I don't deserve him, though." It's a rare honest answer, and of course the mask has to come back up with a joke: "And who wouldn't like a man who can make clones of himself?"

"Oh thank god you said it," Gillian says, finally smiling after the end of the joke. Cause that's exactly what she was wanting to ask about and it just didn't happen the way she wanted. "It really sucks I didn't have a boyfriend when I had his power. I could've fulfilled every man-fantasy ever." Sorry, Joe, once she gets started… the laughter she makes after that cuts her off, cause … ow. Her voice is strained when she adds on, "I like you."

She could have. But thank god she didn't. Ew. He grins a little sheepishly before taking a defensive look. "That's—" He snaps his mouth shut with a little snarl. "We've never done that… Yet." He adds it on the end with a little grin. He assumes this is all flying over Joe's head. What with the boy so focused on the burger and all. But all the nice things Veronica has to say about him, makes his cheeks color. "D'awww." He says, leaning over to kiss her cheek briefly.

"Don't let it go to your head, mister," Veronica says, eyes narrowing a little as she mock-scowls at Brian, but she smiles at Gillian. "Thanks, Gillian. That means a lot — I mean, I think… you're the only one who really knows I exist, right?" She glances up at Brian for confirmation. "Well, and Joe now. I'm not just an imaginary friend." She smirks at that.

"Yet. I like the yet," Gillian says with another laugh, that doesn't last nearly as long as she might want it to. The grimace gives her pause, before she decides to eat to stop such things for a time. She knows her wounds could be worse. One of them could have been a bullet. They weren't. But that doesn't make it any less painful. After a bite or two, she nods, "I guess so. I'm the only one who knows— about certain things. I think."

A firm nod. "You. And JoeJoe." Reaching Brian ruffles the boys hair. "The sole owners of all my secrets. Take care of them." A big bite is taken of his huge burger, sauce and avocado ooze out onto his face. Flinging a hand up to catch the debris he quickly puts the burger down before looking in the basket.

"Oh damnit." He mutters. "I forgot napkins." Glancing over to Veronica, he points at his face. "Get it."

"Such love," Veronica says with a shake of her head, and heads to the basket on hands and knees to grab a handful of napkins for Brian. She hands them back to him. She glances up at Gillian. "You taking anything for pain? I might have some drugs left from my shoulder injury."

"If I didn't like you, I'd say this is gross," Gillian admits, watching the displays of affection. There's something there briefly in her eyes, but it doesn't last long before she grimaces again, at the painkiller question, "I didn't have anything other than a couple asprin. I just think of each of them as new tattoos," she says raspily. "But you got something stronger, I'll take it." That's one help she won't reject, it seems. There's a pause, some hesitation, then she looks between Brian and his girlfriend and puts down her half eaten burger, "What happened to your shoulder?"
Ethan has partially disconnected.

Taking the offered napkins, he wipes away the sauce-acado. "I beat her." He confesses, seeming very non-chalant about it. "She wouldn't get me a beer." His hand goes to plop on Joe's head and give it a little ruffle before he flashes a 'just kidding!' smile. Picking up his burger he takes another bite. He'll allow Veronica to give the real answer herself, "We should get you a guy Gilli. Then we can have family picnics all the time." He says happily.

Picking up her purse, Veronica rummages through it and comes up with a nearly full bottle of prescription vicodin. "Here," she says, handing it to Gillian. "I dislocated my shoulder mountain climbing in Costa Rica," she says. Well, that's true. It was the original injury, before Brian added insult to it. "But I got healed, so I don't need those. You want the rest of my antibiotics, too?" She picks up another bottle and offers them.

Gillian shakes her head. The idea of getting together with a guy and going out on double dates and family picnics… "My taste in guys sucks, Bri. Doubt anyone I'd be interested would want to come along to family picnics. I'll just have to survive your disgusting displays." Disgusting displays that come with Vicodin. She reaches out, takes the bottle, unscrews the cap, and pops a couple out (which requires some shuffling so she only as one in hand) and she takes it immediately. Once it's down, she nods, "Yeah, antibotics wouldn't hurt either." Considering where she spent the night. "I'll probably run off and try to get healed soon too, but…"

"Great. My great family picnic has been reduced to my girlfriend pushing drugs on my sister." Brian gives a little pout, taking another bite of his hamburger. "I can take you to go see that guy." Whos name will go unannounced for this picnic. "The healer." He tilts his head at Gillian then looks at the Spirit parked behind her. "Or I guess you could go on your own. Well anyway. You could get better taste in guys. If you realize it sucks." He arches a brow at her.

Veronica returns to her spot sitting next to Brian, leaning against him. The beach, the picnic — it's a strange, surreal slice of normalcy that will be too fleeting. "The one who got Abby's power?" she asks curiously. "How is the nun, anyway?" she asks with a smile. She likes Abby, even if Abby doesn't like her. The girl has moxy.

"I can go on my own. I need to talk to some people anyway," Gillian says slowly, a frown showing on her face, as she no doubt thinks of her terrible taste in men. "Maybe I just can't help who I fall in love with, okay? Fuck knows I didn't plan to fall in love with the guys I did…" There's a glance in Joe's direction, a hint of an apology, before she adds, "It's a good thing I've got weird tastes, I could've fallen for you. And that would've been gross. A Luke and Leia thing before we find out we're twins." Cue wrinkled nose, as she takes a long drink. "Abby was down south last I heard, but she might be back now." And dating her other brother, but she'll leave that part out. "She seemed okay."

Brian gives a harsh scowl when Gillian drops the F word in front of Joe. "Gilli!" He whispers harshly over to her. "Freak knows, God knows, Crap knows, Donkey knows." Rattling off other things she could have said rather than 'Fuck knows'. "You probably did, you just won't admit it because you're really embarrassed." A decidedly weird thing to joke about.

Glancing over to Veronica he gives a nod. "Yeah, she's out of town. But before that she started helping me get all of my old relationships sorted out. She knew.. him.. pretty well, I guess." A little shrug before he finishes off his hamburger. His arm slides around Veronica and pulls her into him close.

Veronica chuckles a little at the F bomb and how it bothers Brian, due to Joe being there. "Yeah, remember, she recognized you back when? In Old Lucy's? And that other guy, the night of … Case." Little does she know he's the healer that she knows about but doesn't know the name of — Deckard, who screwed up that scene in Chinatown. "Does… does she know you and I are together?" she looks at Brian curiously. She reaches over and pats Gillian. "It's okay. I have bad taste in men too." She winks, the joke at Brian's expense. Despite her serious and sincere words about him earlier.

"He probably hears worse walking around the city," Gillian mutters, taking a few bites of her burger, indeed finishing it off, in protest to the very idea that Brian might have been attractive to her. When she only has a few pieces of bun left, she puts the plate down and tries to lean back. How long does vicodin take to kick in?

"JoeJoe, you can go play in the water buddy." He takes the finished paper plate from the boy who is soon kicking off his shoes and runnign to play tag with the receding water line.

Brian however stares flatly at Gillian. "Yeah, but we can't make him feel like it's alright. We don't want a bunch of children doing fuck-all, for fuck's sake." He mutters, glancing over his shoulder making sure Joe is out of earshot. Veronica gets a bit of a glare at the comment about her taste in men.

"Whatever. Uhh.. I don't think she knows." Brian says, peering at Veronica. "Does she need to?"

"You're like… a father…" Veronica says with a little astonishment, her eyes following Joe down to the where water meets sand. She looks up with surprise in her eyes. He really didn't mention specific children, just children in general. "Does he know you're … not Fulk?" her voice is quiet as well. "And no. I don't think so. As long as they're not preparing to come kill me in my sleep or something." Oh, shit, they could be. She was on camera for the Minea extraction, after all. And she shot Cook. She frowns. "Who's the cannibal guy in that group?"

From the snort, Gillian agrees with Vee's observation. Her brother is taking on the fatherly role well, a lot better than she will take on the motherly role. She doubts she'll even be a good aunt. Maybe the cool big sister. That's good enough for her. It's the mention of the cannibal that makes her speak up again, "Oh god. Him. I swear if I had to choose between saving anyone, anyone at fucking all, and him— I'd choose anyone. That guy just grosses me out to no end."

Frowning at Veronica, he quickly denies the accusation. "I am not." He waves his free-hand dismissively, as if being called a 'father' was a very bad thing. "He knows enough. I'm not sure if he totally understands, but he was slow to accept me. We had a few talks and now.. Everything's normal, as far as I can tell. Everyone tells me he's never talked much. Except to me." A shrug. He shakes his head at Veronica. "No one's going to kill you in your sleep." Mainly because more often than not he'll be right next to her.

"Cook. God." Brian's tone mimics Gillian, he sounds just as annoyred and irritated. "I don't know why he's in that group." He pauses for a moment, "Maybe it's a portrait of the leadership, I don't know, but he is.. horrible. Loud and annoying and he acts like a fucking cartoon character." His lips go to find purchase once again on Veronica's cheek. "Wait, how did you know about him?"

"He's a cute kid," Veronica says, nodding toward Joe. Regarding Cook, she frowns. "When we went in to to get Dahl," she says, her voice neutral, business like. "This Cook guy was with her. He tried to attack me. Another agent got in the way, and he near took off the agent's arm. Eating him. It was sort of horrific really. I tranqued him and shot him in the calf." She frowns. "We didn't intend for anyone to get hurt, but I was as non lethal as I could be. Don't hate me." She glances at Gillian. Brian understands what it is she does, but does Gillian? She probably shouldn't be talking about this, but… well, if they're going to trust one another, she has to try. "Sorry. It wasn't supposed to end in bloodshed, you know? The other agent was foolish, should have tazed or tranqued Cook instead of hand to hand. It was stupid, and he got hurt, but no one had to."

Already having stated her piece for disliking Cook, Gillian stays silent, especially as Brian poses an interesting question. Dahl. The Company… Tranquilizer darts… There's no hatred in her eyes, but instead something quieter, calmer, and… "Tranquilizer darts… how do they work? Do they numb part of the body or do they just knock someone out?" There's a moment's hesitation, the desire to rub at one of over a half dozen of her dart-wounds, before she adds on, "Do you know anyone who wears aviator sunglasses? The mirrored kind? And… about— middle age? Old enough to be me or Brian's dad, with— leather jacket?"

"Dahl? Minea Dahl? Get her out? Wait." His arm around her shoulders slacks and slides off. "What are you talking about?" The young man asks, watching her, until his attention is snagged over to Gillian. "Now, what are you talking about?" He watches her carefully now, his two women seeming suspicious now that he doesn't know what'es going on.

Shit. Veronica thought that was probably all over Phoenix. She frowns at Brian, but Gillian's questions pull her attention first. "I… no one comes to mind, but a lot of people wear the mirrored glasses. I can' think of anyone like that. The tranq darts knock you unconscious, but if there was just a small amount of tranquilizer in them, they might just numb part of the body. The kind we use, they knock you out. Put you to sleep for a bit." She frowns at Brian and stands up, walking a bit out onto the beach. It was a mistake talking about work, about Phoenix, about the Company. There's no way for it to work. She closes her eyes and fights back the tears that seem to spring up so very easily these days.

And here Gillian had been about ready to actually tell her brother exactly what had happened to her, but there's something about the way the woman gets up and starts to walk away that rings a little to true, "Now hold on, Vee. Just cause Brian doesn't read the memos that Phoenix isn't great at sending out doesn't mean you did anything wrong here. Shit, it's… I think I got tranqed last night. Must have been the low dose things, cause I didn't fall asleep. I got shot like eight times, while that— that guy I described questioned me about my ex. Could be one of you guys, could be CIA, could be FBI, could be a private eye who's an exeptional asshole. I don't know, but hey, there it is. You got me to talk about it. Shit, I should probably go warn him…"

"Why didn't you tell me?" Brian asks, brows raised high as he gives a shocked look at Gillian. "Gillian, god damnit!" His gaze swivles around as if looking for someone. "The last thing you're going to do is warn him. It's a classic move, rough up someone looking for their target. First thing the victim does is rush off to the target. It's a great wy to find someone." He explains hastily, pushing himself to his knees. "We could have this asshole crawling in the bushes right now." And that means he could be getting pictures, pictures of him with Veronica. Pictures that shouldn't be taken.

"We should leave."

Veronica hastily wipes her eyes before turning around. Only Joe should have seen that secret movement, as he's the only one she's facing. She turns back. "It could be. I don't know anyone specifically that looks like that, but doesn't mean there isn't. Could be any of the older guys, though none of them are in the office wearing aviators and leather jackets," she says. "It's nasty and not the way we're supposed to do things. But Brian's right. Don't run back to your boyfriend… warn him another way. Phone if you trust it. If they were asking you about him — doesn't sound like they have a tap on him or anything, so it's probably safe. You should use a pay phone though, in case they have one on your phone. Doubtful, but you never know." She moves back to the blankets, picking up her shoes and her purse. Her eyes don't meet Brian's.

The words said by her brother only seem to make Gillian smolder. Then she stands up. The sudden humiliation on her face gets replaced by anger. That would probably be exactly why she didn't want to tell him. It was bad enough that she got paralyzed and left laying on an island in ashen remains of dead animals all by herself, she also had a fucking Christmas Bow plopped on her forehead, which she didn't bother to bring with her. "I wasn't going to warn him in person. Fuck all, Brian. I'm not an idiot," she gets to her feet, even if she's limping. "The asshole didn't even have current info. He thought we were still dating, even said I was hard to find. And with intel that old… I don't even know where he's staying exactly— not anymore. So just… What the fuck do you want me to do? Lock myself in a hotel and avoid people cause I might be being followed?"

Standing up, Brian just shakes his head at Gillian. "No Gillian. It just would have been nice if you would have told me rather than being tough and saying you had an accident." Bringing his hands to his forehead for a moment he sighs softly. "Listen. Let's not fight. I'm sorry I yelled at you just now." His hands drop, his eyes settling on her, checking to see if she will accept his apology. "I know you're not an idiot, I'm sorry I implied that."

He gives another sigh as Veronica starts to gather up her things. "I'm sorry, about this." Winters holds out his hand to Gillian in a peace offering. "I'm sorry, Gilli." He repeats, offering her an apologetic look.

The company agent looks at Gillian, knowing how she feels - the shame and fear and embarrassment at being caught unawares, at being hurt by someone who wants information, the displaced anger at yourself. "That must have been frightening. I'm sorry they did that to you, whoever it was. I don't think it's Company, but we never know who the hell's working on what. It's happened to me too. To make it worse, I got tased by my own taser. And the asshole stole my badge and my tranq gun." Not quite looking in Brian's eyes still, she nods in his direction. "The asshole who killed Kat," more to him than Gillian, who didn't know Kat.

"Worst part is I probably could have avoided the whole fucking thing if I hadn't been trying to find someone…" Gillian says, fighting back any sign of tears with a clenched jaw. The offered hand of peace is only taken after she double checks the knot in the back of her head. Now wouldn't be the time for rain of naked brothers. "It's okay, Brian. You're right…" Embarassing as it is. Vee also gets a grateful look, for showing that someone with a lot of competence had been taken by surprise too. "I'm pretty sure he wasn't Evolved. I lost control when the first ones hit me, anyone in thirty feet would have been getting energy, and there wasn't even a pull. Guess he could've had something I couldn't really do anything for, too… All I know is he was interested in Gabriel." And specifically who he used to be.

Gripping her hand gently, he pulls Gillian close and wraps his other arm around her. Holding there for a moment, he sighs. "I'm sorry you got attacked Gilli. We'll find the guy alright? We can lure him out. We'll turn this around on him, alright?" Hugging her tightly, he lets his arms drop to his side as he takes a step back.

Half turning he eyes Veronica. "I'll meet you at the apartment, baby." Blissfully ignorant of oncoming tears, shame, and pain, he leans in to kiss her gently. "I love you." He murmurs before looking back to Gillian. "You gonna be okay?"

Vee nods at Gillian. "I'll keep my eye out for anyone who fits that description," she says quietly. She wraps her arms around Brian, hugging him for a short moment. "Follow her home," she says softly, since they took two cars. "Or… you know. Send a 'you' with her in her car." She's trying not to call them clones, trying to show she understands him better. She waves to Joe down by the water. "Thanks for the burgers, chef," she calls down, then reaches to hug Gillian lightly, careful of dart wounds. "It was really good to meet you, Gillian."

"I just want to punch him in the face," Gillian says, making her way toward the car, as she waves back to Joe. "I'll be going home with him anyway, so unless you guys are going off to have crazy naked sex, he'll be following me." There's a pause, "Though I suppose he can do both. Damn, you really did get a perfect guy," she says with a smile, waving back at the Company Agent before she continues her limping to the car. Time to go home.

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