Forgotten Tea


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Scene Title Forgotten Tea
Synopsis Gillian sticks around to talk to Aaron before she returns to the Lighthouse despite all the cold and snow. Aaron puts water on for tea, but it is soon forgotten.
Date March 9, 2010

Aaron and Peyton's Apartment — Upper West Side

It's sometime late in the afternoon when Aaron arrives home. He was out long enough for Peyton to leave again. He'll be in for a bit of a shock to find out there's someone at home waiting for him, given recent exchanges of words. Nevertheless, it's with nothing particularly special that Aaron arrives. He enters the apartment and hangs up his coat and black scarf before unlacing his boots and setting them on the mat. His guitar case is rested against the wall as he does this, and he eventually picks it up to take it along with him to his room.

By the time he opens the door, Gillian's packed most everything she kept at the small apartment, with a few exceptions. Her toothbrush is still in the bathroom, and she left one pair of clothes in case she needs to crash, but the backpack sitting on the couch next to her looks too full to be normal. She stands up and… there's an awkward moment. What is she supposed to say! "Hi," is what she finally manages, with a wave. "I stuck around and waited for you. Did you find somewhere to play guitar?" They haven't spoken a lot in a little while, since she vanished to take care of her sister— who isn't her sister.

Aaron hasn't spoken to a lot of people in a little while. At least, not to the people who mean the most to him. "Had to bribe a hotel manager with half my tips. Weather sucks. Most people stick to their homes if they can help it." He sets his guitar case down near the hall leading to the bedrooms. "Turns out I didn't owe him that much. At least he was impressed." He rolls his eyes as he sets his guitar down and comes and has a seat on what is normally Peyton's chair. "I'd hug you, but I'm still a little cold. Maybe I should make a pot of tea…." He doesn't remark on the backpack.

"How would you like to work for me?" Gillian asks, tone completely serious, and skipping much of what might be considered the usual things that should go before it— if there is such a thing. She could at least mention her bag, first. "I can't promise I'll be able to pay you much, but you can come out to the Lighthouse, give the kids music lessons. I teach them to read and write, but they could use some artistic stuff, too. I can do drawing, but not music. I never did learn how to play. It would be good for the kids— and good for you. And then we could see each other often, still."

"Is the Lighthouse suddenly moving closer?" Aaron asks after he gets up and wanders towards the kitchen to put on the kettle. Apparently he decided to make that tea. "You know I adore you and your company, but the Lighthouse isn't exactly easy to get to…. Especially not right now." Which doesn't mean he's not interested. He just has certain reservations. Of course, he's too thick to make that clear. He returns once the kettle's filled and put on to boil and the teapot is out. "I'm actually surprised to see you here…." Which is of course when his gaze is fixed on the backup.

"Then when the snow clears," Gillian says, stubbornly fighting this idea. "Cause it will clear eventually, and you can come through Jersey. No, it's not moving, but you'll be able to get there sometime, if you just…" she trails off. "If you want to." Which, from the immediate protest despite him adoring her… "You don't have to, I just wanted to make the offer, since I don't know how often I can make it out here, even when the snow clears." She reaches to pick up her bag, pushing it up onto a shoulder. "I guess I'll just try to come visit as often as I can. I also have a new phone. Hopefully I won't lose this one in a snow drift."

"You lost your phone in a snow drift?" Of course, it's that loss of property he focuses on. Aaron rubs his eyes. "Now is not the time to be living out in No Man's Land, away from proper emergency services. What happens if there's a medical emergency? I mean sure, it's kinda late to move now, but still. It's never been a smart place to be." Plus he wants Gillian to stay for purely selfish reasons.

"Then those kids need me out there even more," Gillian stubbornly says, not liking the comparison to No Man's Land. "There is actually a hospital up and running, and a lot of other things. The snow may slow things down, but… I'm doing this, Aaron. Fuck the weather. There's also Evolved Plague and most the kids in there are Evolved. There's a lot less fucking people on Staten right now, so they have less a chance to get it…"

There's a pause, before she focuses on him again, biting her lower lip. "Those kids need me, and I need them. But I wanted to tell you I was moving in person, since I vanished on your the last time." And all he got was a phone call.

Kettle forgotten, Aaron sits down heavily in the chair Peyton frequently uses. "There's nothing I can do to convince you to stay, is there?" It's the sound of defeat when he asks it, despite his options — at least once the snow clears. "I don't know what to do anymore, Gillian. Ever since…." Ever since he spent God knows how long it was, or how long it felt, anyway. He didn't exactly have anything with him to help him keep track of the fake time he spent in that nightmare. "I don't know who I am anymore. I don't know what people want from me, or why it's so hard to connect with anyone."

"Who does know that. Cause I certainly don't. I don't know why everything keeps going wrong in my life," Gillian says, biting back misplaced anger. She's not really mad at him, but mad at people who… didn't want to connect with her so much they banished her from their life. Entirely. "I wanted you around, but I can't stay here. This isn't my home, Aaron. This was a place to stay when I needed it. Right now I need a place where… where I can do something. I can't pay rent. I can't do anything important around this place. The most I can do is help you sleep, and that— that's not enough for me. I've been lost for over a year… and I actually think I might have found where I need to be. And I want you to be there too. Even if just part time."

"Feeling's kinda mutual there," Aaron mutters. "Sometimes I don't feel like I can stay here, and it's certainly not feeling as much like home as it used to, and I don't have the money to move." Or the heart, though he doesn't say it. "It's just…. the two people I care most about are risking their lives — or, it sure seems like you are to me — and it makes me feel like, did I miss a memo or something? Why am I not involved in all this? I'm sure you've done more than your fair share of good, Gillian. And if you want to keep doing that, I don't have the heart to stop you. God knows, that's the only reason I haven't shackled Peyton to her apartment. She seems to need to do something too, although I think her reason's some kind of atonement."

Something about that word makes Gillian flinch. Perhaps that's her reason as well. "The most dangerous thing I'm involved in right now is making sure the dozen or so kids I want to help don't get themselves hurt playing in the snow. I'm staying the fuck away from danger for a while." Well, except for the disguised ex-serial killer that's likely sleeping not too far away from her in the Lighthouse? The one who tried to cut her skull open once? Who's killing style is being mimicked by someone who killed Peyton's friend? "I just want to help these kids. If you want to be involved in that, I fucking invited you to be."

Aaron leans back in his chair with his eyes closed, rubbing at his temples and idly pondering the emotional state of the children at the lighthouse. Certainly some must have emotional issues. Might be the perfect place to practice using his ability in a more controlled environment, and if nothing else a more steady supply of … subjects? Victims? What the hell is he supposed to call the people he uses his ability on, anyway? He opens his eyes and leans forward with a sigh, "How do I get there?"

The emotional side of the argument is over, and he's had time to warm up a little. Gillian moves closer to where he's sitting, up behind him, actually, and wraps her arms around him, pressing her face into his cold hair. "I'll draw you a map, but you've been there once. You don't have to until the snow clears. I'll try to visit every time I come to Manhattan until then. If you are going to be staying anywhere else… give me a call. So I can visit you anywhere."

There's a pause, before she slaps her hand against his chest. "And whatever you and Peyton are fighting about, try to fix it. The last thing either of you wants is to not be involved in each other's lives. And for fuck's sake whatever you do don't tell her to leave you alone." That's a personal thing, on her part. She wishes she could have told this to Peyton.

"It better clear. It got old real fast," Aaron says. "I don't know." He shakes his head, "I don't even know what we're fighting about. I don't know what she wants from me, and I'm pretty sure she can't give me what I want from her. I try to be who she expects me to be, but … I don't even know who that is."

"Well that may be your big mistake, buddy," Gillian says, giving him a firm squeeze before ruffling his hair. "Don't try to be what you think she wants you to be, cause when you do that you're lying about who you really are. Just be you, and be you as loudly as you can. Being you is better than trying to be someone else. Sure, you can change, but make sure it's you that's actually changing, and not just a mask you put on for someone else's sake."

From the way she sounds, she has experience with this. On both sides. "It never turns out well when the masks come down."

Aaron gives a bit of a smile at the ruffling of his hair, and he playfully pushes Gillian's hand away. "Yeah, well… I think I'll have to find myself before I can try to be me. Everything I was doesn't exist anymore. I don't know who I am to be real. Spent so long hiding from everything, I don't know where I left myself. I don't even have any mementos, so and old photograph, my guitar… and the engagement ring I bought for Annie…."

"Then find yourself. But be honest and don't try to be what you think she wants you to be. It'll bite you and her both in the ass later," Gillian says, still speaking from experience. "Maybe you have to leave everything behind before you can find out who you are now." It's a piece of advice that stops her tongue after she says it. She hesitates a moment, and then lets go of him, pulling back. "I do need to get going, before the temperature drops. I don't think it got warm enough for anything to melt, but I'd like to get back to Staten either way."

"I'm pretty sure it already bit us both in the ass," Aaron mutters, but he climbs up from his chair to attend to Gillian's departure. As much as he does not want her to leave, even if it means enduring awkward conversation as conversation with him often is. "Thank you, Gillian. Be safe, and visit soon. I'll maybe try to come out there to at least meet the kids this time. Hopefully this snow won't last too long, but if it doesn't look like it's getting better, I'll come by. If it gets worse, I don't know if I'll get the chance again for a while."

"I understand. I wouldn't want to have to travel back and forth in this weather every day," Gillian admits, glancing toward the window. Yeah, weather, it's your fault. "So if it's not til after, then it's not til after. The kids can think of you as a summer tutor." Which she'll hope they have a summer. It would suck if this became the year without summer…

"I'll stop in as often as possible, like I said. So make sure to call me and let me know what you're up to," she adds, pulling the bag further on her shoulder as she makes her way toward the door. "Try to be careful, Aaron," she adds in a worried tone, before heading out.

To face the snow again.

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