Fucked It Up


kincaid_icon.gif nicole2_icon.gif

Scene Title Fucked It Up
Synopsis Some things just cannot be fixed.
Date September 19, 2011

Solstice Condominiums: Nicole's Home

It's been thirty minutes since Kincaid knocked on the door and showed up at Nicole's condo. They shared a few words of greeting, then sat down together at the table and have been sipping on mugs filled with coffee ever since.

In silence.

Just like old times.

After many, many minutes of long silence except to ask if he could get her a refill when he went to refill his— he suddenly starts laughing under his breath as if he found something humorous. He doesn't leave her guessing too long as his power-darkened eyes meet hers. "You know, we used to always do this, after I came to live with the Ferry finally. Though I didn't drink coffee as much— it was tea then." He hadn't needed the stronger caffeine until his hand was crushed by a robot, causing damage that never fully healed. With proper medicine and surgery it might have, but luckily he happened to be his own painkiller.

He's a good companion, Nicole's discovered. He doesn't dance around the ghost of a straight answer when she has a question, and he does his best to assure her that she's doing enough. Coffee is a strong bond for the two of them, even if she doesn't need it nearly as much as she used to. He's his own painkiller, and she's her own battery.

A wide smile breaks across Nicole's face. "Is that right? I guess some things are just nature, huh?" He's a good kid ("kid"), even if the whole situation is somewhat awkward to her still. She wonders if her silences were more the miserable sort then. It causes her smile to fade, brings on a pang of guilt she hasn't earned yet and creases her brow for the briefest of moments. She tops off his cup rather than indulge her self-pity with a question about what she was like. "Life is strange," she settles on. It seems a safe enough observation.

"Yeah," Kincaid said with the same small laugh. "Neither of us were used to having a big family that cared for us." Not that his parents hadn't cared. They just had their own problems that made it feel like being alone most the time. Not until Ryans tracked him down and pulled him out of the hole the government put him in did he really have a family— even if the person who tracked him down and brought him into it didn't live long after.

He had found himself understanding his grandmother a little better than most of the others. She felt as alone as he did, even more so, truly.

"Maybe this time around things will be better for you." Not so much for him, since he knows he won't be born. Though that's not the reason he's drinking so much coffee.

He gets her. She doesn't understand how - experience, obviously - but she's grateful for it. He's a stark contrast to Ingrid. There's nothing she can do to fix the damage she caused that girl. Not then, not now. The smile Kincaid earns for his speculation is thin, bittersweet. "It'd be pretty sad if I fucked it up now, right?" Would that make it destiny? Or history repeating?

"There really are a lot of you in the Ryans clan, aren't there?" Us could have been the pronoun she chose, but… She feels like an outsider among them, still. An interloper.

"Yeah, it would be a shame if you fucked it up."

Like he did. Kincaid has long accepted he would never be born not long after they arrived. And not just because the woman in front of him and his dad had announced their engagement. It had been more than that. Far more. "It is a big family. Though it probably won't be as big this time around. Or maybe it will be even bigger— who knows." The time traveler doesn't.

He lets out a long sigh, as if his thoughts are making him even sadder all of a sudden. His hand touches something in his shirt pocket, as if that would make it better— but no, it seems to make it worse. For a moment his eyes seem to lighten.

Physical pain helps relieve the pain he can't do anything about.

She worries then that she's said precisely the wrong thing. Nicole reaches across the table to take his good hand in hers. "Hey. You're here and you matter," she tells him, compassion in her too bright blue eyes, evidence that she's running a full charge. "No matter what happens, we're family. Then, now, always." Maybe that helps, or maybe she'll just make it worse. Maybe he understands why Ingrid keeps her distance.

He's here and he matters.

It makes him scoff slightly in a way that almost sounds like a laugh. Kincaid doesn't pull away though. "I know. I just don't know if I want to live in a world where she doesn't exist." Maybe he did understand his grandmother a little better now than he did back then. She'd just lost Ryans. He had to hear that the only woman he ever loved died as a baby— never to grow up in this world.

Though this woman before him has no idea who she even was.

Nicole's face falls. She understands now. There is absolutely nothing she or anyone else can do to heal him from this. There's only time and himself. She doesn't know the details, but she doesn't need to. "I'm so sorry." She shakes her head slowly. "It doesn't get easier." He doesn't need her to sugarcoat anything. He wouldn't believe her if she did. "But it becomes less." Ryans wasn't - wouldn't be - her first loss. So many people she's cared for are gone. "It leaves a hole, and you're always going to know it's there, but…"

Please, don't be like me, she silently pleads. "It gets smaller. You learn to fill it with other things." Not always good things. Rarely good things, in her case. Maybe he can do better.

Hopefully not too late in that. Kincaid had come to this place for a reason. It'd been months, but the longer he waited, the more that hole hurt. He tried to fill it with anything, but nothing had seemed to work yet. "I told her I'd come back. I don't even know why I thought we would be able to go back— I guess cause Walter had." If Walter could come back after god knows where he'd been, he'd always figured they would fix some things, change a few others in small amounts and just come back…

Time Travel is something he doesn't think he'll understand. "After I realized I probably wasn't going to be born, I had comfort knowing that she already had been, but…"

He'd lost that comfort.

"She had a daughter— not mine, but I'd helped raise her— She'll never exist now. And June'll never grow up."

He didn't mean to ramble, he's not sure she wants to hear it. He takes in a shaky breath and pulls away so he can down what's left of his cup of coffee with the hand that doesn't hurt. Because he's letting it.

Nicole withdraws her hand when he starts to pull away. "I'm sorry," she repeats, because she is and it's all she can think of to say. "Do you want to tell me about her? When 'Letty was missing," and she thought her little sister was dead, "I felt a little better when I told people about her." She pulls her mug of coffee closer and fixes him with a steady gaze, her empathy on display. "Or we can talk about anything else. No pressure."

Some things about the future were always supposed to be off limits, but Kincaid didn't see why Junko would be one of them. "I met her after Ryans saved me from government lock up. I was a kid still and she was more or less grown up. But I fell for her immediately, not that I said anything, or did anything about it."

He'd loved her from afar cause, well. "She loved someone else."

"He was the time traveler that brought us back in time. He'd disappeared before his daughter was born. I ended up staying with her to help with her kid, Lu, and finally had the chance to tell her how I felt— I think she already knew." He wasn't sure he'd been that good at keeping his feelings secret. Even Walter hadn't exactly be surprised when he finally reappeared and found them together raising his daughter.

"But she's gone." He reached into the pocket and pulled out a folded up newspaper snippet he always carried around with him. "I wish I'd never left them now."

Nicole listens silently, nodding along as he goes. She wants to crush him to her in a hug. She wants to make it all right for him, but she can't. "You did what you thought you had to, to save them both." That's something she has ample experience with. There's so much she's done that she thought would make things better for her sister. So often she'd only managed to do the opposite.

"No one could have known…" None of them could have, at any rate. She doesn't tell him there could still be a chance. What good does it do to fill his head with false hopes? "There's a lot of things I wish I'd never done. There's a whole lot of things I can never take back that I'd love to erase." Nicole shakes her head quickly, to banish the melancholy and to recenter herself. This isn't about her. "You did a brave thing. I wish you could have been rewarded for it."

"In a way I was rewarded— I got to know my grandfather, got to know my father not on drugs… Finally got to go ice skating with my mom like she'd always promised me we would someday," Kincaid responded quietly, as he pushed the article away again. Close to his heart— along with the only thing he'd brought from the past. A picture of them. He'd kept it hidden away, until that night. Then he kept it close to his heart in one way or another. "I even get to know you before…"

Before she became as broken as she was. Even if now he has an idea why.

"I wasn't brave, though, I was selfish. I shouldn't have forced myself in my dad's life as much as I did— I didn't stick with the mission."

That draws the barest hint of a smile. He's better at finding the good in things than she is, and she's thankful for it. Glad for him. She wouldn't wish her outlook on life on anyone. "You can call it what you want. If anyone tries to blame you for deciding to get to know your own family better, you send them to me. I'll knock some sense into them." She doubts seriously she ever played the protective grandmother before, but she's bound and determined to do better than she's destined to be.

In some ways protective could be nice. But he knew it could be bad, too. For many reasons.

"Oh, there are some who already did— just with side glances more than not." And at least one punch, though that had been for other reasons. Kincaid stands up, grabbing his coffee mug in his bad hand, his eyes darkening the rest of the way toward black. "You want a refill?" he asks, before he would move to pour himself one. It had felt better to talk about her. And Lu.

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