Forgiveness For Broken Promises


gillian2_icon.gif joseph_icon.gif

Scene Title Forgiveness For Broken Promises
Synopsis This is what Gillian seeks and finds.
Date August 14, 2009

Guiding Light Baptist Church

There is no mistaking this building as anything but a church, with its arching glass windows and concrete cross fixed to the edge of the pointed roof. Curving stone steps lead up from the pavement to a set of black double doors, often kept closed during the colder weather, but unlocked during the allocated hours written on a blue sign fix to the brick wall. In white, formal letting, it reads GUIDING LIGHT BAPTIST CHURCH and lists its hours of worship.

Through the doors, you first step into an open, nondescript foyer, with access to an unobtrusive staircase headed upwards, and a second hallway leading off somewhere less public also. Mainly, this room opens straight out to the much more spacious worship hall, with immovable rows and rows of pews. A small church, it only seats an absolute maximum of around one hundred and fifty people at a time. It has a high ceiling and is warmly lit, simple and reverent in design, colours light and earthy. The stage before the pews is wide open, with seats off to the side for other pastors and guest speakers, and there is a podium placed off center. On the other side, there is a small organ with music sheets kept nearby.

The doors to the church haven't been unlocked very long when someone pushes them open and limps quietly inside. From the look of things, the young woman's seen better days. Not even a half hour since it opened to the public. Gillian's certainly not a regular, who comes in for quiet prayer or to talk to one of the pastors. This would be only the third time she's stepped into the building. A quiet check of mental status before she moves down the main aisle, looking for a specific face.

Obvious limping aside, she looks more or less the same as the last time she'd been in the building. Dark hair falls into her face, catching on black sunglasses that cover her eyes. The attire is dark, blacks with some signs of purple, too covering in the muggy heat of a August morning. The build up of sweat along her forehead might show it's not as comfortable as it could be.

A large carrier bag is carried in hands, rather than hanging over her shoulder, almost big enough for a decent sized laptop, though not looking nearly heavy enough to have more than essential things.

The main room is empty of people with the exception of Gillian herself, especially at this hour, on a Friday devoid of worship. Either pastor of the church, including any pets belonging to them, aren't present, and the sound of Gillian's quiet, hitched footsteps and her own heart beat are all that's left to hear. Then, abruptly, there's a metallic whine - plumbing, that much is clear a moment later, and by the time it's ground to nothing, the sound of running water from an alcove of the church is heard.

It's not hard to find, the portal that leads out of the worship hall and towards where the only other sound of human life happens to be. Water runs from a tap, splashes into a kitchen sink and over cutlery, the clink of ceramic reaching Gillian's ears as she heads for someone that is hopefully familiar.

Joseph's shape comes into view when a corner is rounded, somewhat recognisable from the back. Hair combed from every angle, his dress shirt loose on his torso, sleeves rolled, hems tucked into beige slacks, brown shoes scuffing against kitchen tile as he moves, cleaning up the humble little kitchen area without regard to the fact someone else is here.

With no one present, Gillian follows the sounds, until she's close enough to make out someone who looks somewhat like the man she came to look for. The shuffled steps continue along, drawing her closer, as she releases the bag with one hand and pulls off the sunglasses, putting them down on the collar of her shirt and leaving them to hang. Once he's in sight, she continues a reasonable distance, hanging back some before raising that hand and knocking lightly against the wall.

It may not be heard over the washing of dishes, but she still tries to knock.

"Joseph?" she adds outloud, a new grimace that has nothing to do with physical pain, but the realization she can't even remember his last name. Stupid memory. If she'd have visited a month ago she would remember it easily! But she wouldn't have had the same reason to visit a month ago. "I hope it's okay that I came this far inside, but no one was out front…"

There's a slight clatter as a coffee cup slips from his grasp, tumbles onto the drying rack rather than placed, although little to do with Gillian's presence, the woman getting a distracted glance from the pastor as he busily sets the wet piece of cutlery right again. "Mornin'," he greets, before he can really remember who it is that's appeared in the door, or whether or not she's supposed to be here. The running faucet is briskly shut off, leaving alone the few dirty dishes still to see to in the sink as he grabs a teatowel; he turns to her as he dries off his hands.

Then! Then he recognises her, and offers a smile. "Nope, this is fine," Joseph assures. "Gillian, right?" Even as he summons up the names from the dregs of his memory— unusual circumstances, and the truly were, helping to secure these things in place— his smile flickers a little into concern. She doesn't exactly look right as rain, but he's polite enough not to ask.

"Yeah, you remember me— figured you would, even if it's been a while," Gillian says, smiling despite the grimace as she steps a little further inside the kitchen once she's sure she's not imposing too far into the less public areas of the church. As it is, seems she's imposed a bit on his dishwashing. Her circumstances had been rather unique, or so she hopes. It would make her worried if he ran into another person who had the same kind of issues that she had. Both times.

"I— Do you mind if I put my bag down? It's a little heavy." Even before he has a chance to answer, she's still binding over to lean the bag against something. It doesn't look heavy, but the way she moves show she might be a little weaker than normal. He's not asking, she's not telling.

"I wanted to stop by and… talk. Is it okay to talk in here?" She doesn't think she heard anyone else.

Joseph extends a hand, palm up, fingers together, spade-like in gesture and pointing towards where a round table is pushed towards the corner in the little kitchen, with a couple of chairs tucked with it. There's a folded newspaper upon it, and an ashtray that doesn't look like it's seen use in a long time - most people who do smoke tend to choose not to, whether out of respect for the church or not. "I like talking in here," Joseph assures, folding up the damp teatowel and setting it on the kitchen counter. To be honest, if Joseph had a choice on things for people to interrupt, it's chores.

"You okay?" It's an open question, a pretty good one, really. Mental state, emotional state, physical state. Light enough to be brushed over if required, but earnest enough to dig deeper if need be. Joseph moves to draw a chair out for her, as is polite, before he's steering himself to the opposite seat.

A seat is even better. Gillian follows the motion, picking the bag up long enough to lean it against the chair she settles into. Visible grimaces aside, there's more comfort in the chair than out of it. Less weight on trouble areas. It's getting better, but she still hasn't cornered one of the healers into helping make it pass quickly. Maybe she never will. Not like any of the damage seems permenant— and she has a bottle of vicodin to deaden it when it's at it's worse.

"I'm sore," she answers truthfully, though leaving out quite a bit of detail. Mental state matches physical in many ways. But at least there's one thing she can say… "The thing that was going on when I was here last— it's over now. Your ability is yours alone again." A blessing, perhaps, but she glances away for a moment.

"I wanted to come by to apologize. I broke my promise about never using it on purpose."

Easing into the opposite seat, Joseph works the sleeves of his shirt back into their proper place, fidgeting with the buttons at his cuffs with blunt fingernails until he can push them through the sewn slits in the fabric. He keeps dark eyes mostly trained in Gillian, however, which is probably the reason why this task takes longer than it should, but finally he folds arms on the table when he's done and listens.

The apology gets— confusion, and first, quickly followed by a small amount of rue. The corner of his mouth upturns in a halved smile, eyes hood a little. "You know— you don't have to apologise," Joseph says. "It was probably— proud of me to make you promise somethin' like that, not when your ability was designed that way. If it's the kind of good I think it is, than— "

Than what? He doesn't finish that thought, just waves a vague hand. "Either way, it wasn't my place, not really. But thank you— that's considerate of you to tell me."

"The apology is as much for me as it is for you," Gillian says, managing a smile that creates small dimples in her cheeks. Not quite as wide as it could be, but perhaps enough. "I only used it when I absolutely had to, though, I can tell you that." Though she's not about to say she used it to force a man who died moments later to see his future. A short future that it was. It'd been a defensive measure, one timed specifically for a moment when it was necessary…

"I think you're ability is good. I had over a dozen before… before I lost it, and yours… Even if I only used it a handful of times, it was good…" It's her way of saying he possibly had reason for pride. "Now it wasn't quite as good as flying," Different kind of good! "There's very little that can beat that. I'm really starting to hate having to drive places again."

A lighter topic makes the smile more genuine, but the hint of a shoulder shift reminds her of how sore she is.

Amusement is shared with her in the form of a mirroring smile, Joseph's hands linking together, and he shakes his head in some wonder. "Over a dozen? I couldn't even begin to imagine," he says, a knife's edge of laughter in his voice. "As far as I'm concerned— one is enough. One is plenty of trouble on its own, I'll tell you what. But I'm glad— I'm glad it could help you. A power's good for nothin' if it can't help people out."

He nods to her, then. "Why don't you tell me about it? 'bout what happened, when you used it." A hesitation, before he adds, "Or not, it's really none've my business. I just get the sense it's on your mind. I'll admit to bein' curious— I've never met someone who could do what I do."

Sometimes one is enough, sometimes she finds herself wishing she still had a handful of the abilities. The useful ones. Gillian avoids the selfish repetition of which ones she misses specifically, becuase… he asks what happened. Biting down on the side of her mouth, and her lower lip, she hesitates for a time, perhaps wanting to take his out. A puff of air can be heard, and she slumps a bit, "I'm risking you thinking poorly of me…"

A statement, and also a mild disclaimer. She knows it wasn't the best use of his ability. "There was a guy, a really dangerous guy, involved in some really bad things. Experiments on people, other things. He had an ability like the one I did, except he would steal your ability permenantly, with a touch. And he was using people's powers to… he was killing people. If I hadn't had some of the abilities I did, he would have killed me." A lot. He did kill her three times, but she won't throw that out there…

"We were trying to stop him, and he… tried to take my abilities, all of them, and… I used yours to stop him before he did. To disorient him."

And now Joseph listens with sharp interest, brow knotting into a furrow of concern as she speaks of this attack as if, perhaps, this sort of thing happens every day. Perhaps a little while ago, a handful of weeks, even, he might have stopped her and made her repeat it in detail, asked what she needed, who this man was, and everything else that would have happened… had he not some experience in this kind of thing. Of unusual circumstance. His own is barely a finger brush along the surface of the weirdness that is this day and age, unlike Gillian's far more immersive experience.

But it's enough that he doesn't. Ask, that is. Focuses on what she's trying to tell him, clearing his throat a little and watching the surface of the table rather than her. Then, perhaps inappropriately— a chuckle. Somewhat grave, edged with bitterness, but mirth all the same.

"I've done that once," Joseph says, looking back up at her. Admitting. "A man broke into my home, once, attacked me. I wasn't even thinkin' about it, but I gave him a vision. It works, if there's enough time to do anything during it. They go quicker, I think, when the person isn't expectin' it. So." His hands go up a little in a gesture, mouth drawing into a tight smile. "I couldn't rebuke you if I wanted to. Mind you— I'm glad you used it that way, if it saved your life and all. What happened to this man?"

"It didn't last very long, now that I think about it, but… it lasted long enough," Gillian says, surprised as she may be by the mirth, she's grateful for it too, even if what comes out of her mouth next makes her raspy voice grave again. "He died. Someone else with me used the chance to inject him with one of his own experimental drugs. Died the same way that people he'd been testing it on had." Drastic circumstances, hers, but…

Eyes shift down to hands in her lap, hands that had been glowing by the time he touched her. All the abilities, except the one that she'd had before, had disappeared moments later… "I guess he saw his own death right before it happened…"

His chin comes to rest in his hand, elbow against the table, as he listens, expression still in that same quizzical, morbid interest. To the new listener, it's all very dramatic, never mind experiences, and for a short amount of time after she finishes, Joseph is simply silent and blinking. Then—

"You know that sounds crazy, don't you?" A smile manages to break, but it's wan, uncertain. "I don't entirely know who you are or what you're involved in, but it doesn't sound like somethin' anyone without— you know— a certificate of some kind should be doing. I— "

Joseph cuts himself off, lets out a sigh. "I'm sorry. By all means, talk, if that's what you came here to do, but… I need to know if you came here only to apologise and if not, what you expect to hear? I don't take you to be a churchgoer, for one thing, and it don't sound like you need help— which also sounds crazy, but you probably wouldn't be up and walkin' around if you needed help."

Someone without a certificate. That's certainly what she is. Gillian looks up, even gets a hint of a smile under the grimace, as she begins to shift as if readying to stand. "I did just come to apologize. Yours is one of the few abilities that seemed… the most like what I was supposed to have. And I did say I wouldn't use it on purpose, and I did. Sure, it might have been prideful of you to ask that of me, but I think everyone's guilty of a little pride."

Reaching up, she toys with the sunglasses hanging from her collar as she sits up a bit more, then leans down to pick up the bag against the chair. With it in hand again, she stands up. "Pretty much already covered what I came for." The apology and the acceptance of it, in a way. That'd been all. "And a bit more. I wasn't planning to tell you what I did with your ability, cause it does sound crazy. My whole life seems crazy these days." Some days more than others.

"I did ask," Joseph concedes, with a breath of a chuckle. He stands as well, intent to lead her out of the church, although by no means is he rushing her, simply tucking his chair back beneath the table. "I hear you, anyway. It seems like— whatever these gifts are, they're busy makin' us all a little nuts. I can't exactly fathom what that must be like— to be responsible for what you're responsible for…"

There's sympathy reserved for her, there, coming from a place that doesn't quite understand murderous power-stealers and science experiments, but there's something very final about the news that at least this man was defeated. He's made friends with cop killers and organ harvesters too, don't you know. "Thanks for the apology. If it helps anyway— " He smiles, now, more with his eyes than his mouth. "I forgive you."

"Even if it seems like it might be a small thing, it does help," Gillian says, a bit of a weight lifted off of her shoulders, metaphorical or otherwise. It doesn't make her actually walk easier, but it shows in her eyes. A lot's been bothering her lately, and that's one thing she could do something about. One thing she can apologize for and get forgiveness. Even if she can't apologize for so much else.

"If it makes you feel like we were any less crazy, we were consulting a cop in this, even came along and helped us out." Little does she know a couple of his friends were along for the ride, too! "I'm hoping to get out of the big things for a while. It's not what I want to be doing with my life." She'd pretty much wanted that after the bridge, after Moab, and now after this… if the big things will just stay away from her, she'll be able to manage! Even if all of those things had had personal value in the big picture.

"I'll let you get back to washing dishes."

"Good luck with findin' what you do want. If it helps, I'm thirty-six and run a church and haven't quite come to grips with it," Joseph says, with a quirk of a smile, before he moves to nudge the door open a little wider. "And if I was wrong— and you do need some kinda help, when the world's gettin' spirally out of control— then you know where t'find me." Little does he know exactly how much deeper she's involved in the kind of help he's talking about, but— not everything starts and ends with the Ferrymen. "Maybe I'll see you on a Sunday morning sometime, if you're looking to get yourself on the narrow path." The suggestion is laden with a tone that suggests he'd really think this is a good idea, eyebrows raising.

"I do know where to find you— and I'll remember that," Gillian says, even smiling again behind the grimace. Unlike some people she could seek out for help, she can find him. Only reason she hadn't before is she hadn't tired to. "I might come by on a Sunday," she adds on, almost as an after thought. It could be a 'might not' but it could be the other way. Non-commital. "I will see you sometime again, though." Old. Slightly frumpy. But he didn't wave his arms around and call for the cops as soon as she said she helped kill someone. As long as there's not a police car waiting for her outside, he's in her good books. Pulling the sunglasses off of her collar, she flips them open to set them over her eyes, and makes her way outside.

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