Ghosts Don't Exist


robyn_icon.gif tasha_icon.gif

Scene Title Ghosts Don't Exist
Synopsis A lunch date between old friends leads to discussions of ghosts and artistic endeavours.
Date June 28, 2018

An Elmhurst Sandwich Shop

There's few things that can be savoured as much as being on vacation. Away from the offices at Fort jay, away from the barracks at Rochester, Robyn Quinn finds herself with something she considers a precious and rare commodity: The time and ability to do, by and large, whatever the hell she wants.

In the past, whatever the hell she wants typically considered of being at home, sitting crosslegged amongst her paintings, eyes closed while music plays. Today, though, it brings her out to a small sandwich shop in Elmhurst - one that, despite the still looming shortages manages to spend at least a few hours a day tending to public demand.

This is a day dedicated to something so many others in the past few months have been: Reconnection. At least this time, it's not an entire unknown. She'd reached out to Tasha rather suddenly this morning, while she was in Elmhurst and actually had reception. A lunch date she'd offered, her treat. They hadn't spoken since the Gala, and it had been years before that. It was long overdue.

And, perhaps, Robyn has some information to share.

Either way, Robyn sits at a small table outside, waiting with a surprisingly large corned beef sandwich in front of her. Finding her won't be hard; dressed in a flared, calf length dress with lace leggings and sleeves, an eyepatch, and a wide brimmed sun hat - all black - she stands out more than she probably realises

The singsong ding-dong of a new arrival sounds in the shop, and Tasha enters, dressed very unlike the teenager that Robyn knew years ago — and unlike the gown-clad Tasha she'd seen last. She's wearing a fitted blazer atop cigarette pants, feet in strappy heels — all black as well, but for the jade green blouse she wears beneath the blazer. The tiny brunette is all smiles when she sees Robyn, but moves to the counter first, ordering her sandwich before heading to the table where Robyn sits with her sandwich.

"Robyn! You look wonderful," Tasha says, moving to the side of the table first to offer a tight, quick hug to her fellow former Ferrywoman. "How's work? It better not be everyone's vacation or Colette's got some 'splaining to do," she teases.

Tasha gets a warm, genuine smile when she hugs Robyn, who returns the genture just as tightly. Settling back into her seat, she quirks up her visible eye at Tasha. "Just mine," in terms of vacations, at least. She chuckles a bit after that, shaking her head. "For once," is a the beginning of a well meant jab, "Colette is behaving herself. No explaining to do."

She sits up a bit, hands in lap as she regards Tasha with the incline of her head. "You as well. The professional look suits you well." And probably makes the pair of them stick out that much more - professional businesswoman seated across from elegant goth probably wasn't a common sight at this particular shop.

"Can't believe it took me this long to get back to you," is sort of an apology, at least. "Things have been busy as of late though. I'm sure you know. Constantly going back and forth between here and Rochester is… tiresome." She offers a small shrug in response. "It means not being stuffed up in Fort Jay, though. It's nice to be back out in the field." A grin. "Yourself?"

"Hm. That you know of," is Tasha's playful response to the remark about Colette behaving. The rest earns a shake of her head. "It's not just on you. Takes two to tango and all that. I've been busy with the council and the job, which… suggests that I have done a lot more lawyering than I really have. But there's a lot of crap to do even if you don't have many clients, so I'm busy. It's good though. I'd go nuts if I wasn't, right?"

She sets her purse down on the chair beside her, then tucks a cell phone inside the purse, before looking back. "Yeah, that sounds very tiring. How often do you have to go back and forth between the two? I hope you're… I don't know. Having fun isn't the right phrase, but feeling it's all worth it, I guess?" She makes a face, annoyed at herself for not finding the right words to say. "I mean, of course it's worthwhile. But fulfilling, maybe?"

"Ah, right. The council." Robyn sometimes forget that the Safe Zone has a council. She interacts with the wider events of the safe zone so little, it's not hard, unfortunately. Her expression flattans a bit - not quite comically, but enough to show that she's not serious. "Don't do that," she says. "Don't make me worried Colette's behind me, doing… whatever it is she does."

A smile creeps on her face afterwards. "I only spend five days a week in Rochester," she admits. "Most of the time at least." Which is to say, constant back and forth. "It's…" Robyn taps her fingers on the table in front of her. "It's a waste of time, between you and me." Which is probably the most honest assessment of her position she's given in months. "I try to enjoy it, but not too hard."

The younger woman laughs at the small joke, before looking away as the server brings her sandwich and a soda. Tasha thanks her quietly, before looking back to Robyn with a nod. "I mean, I can't imagine that Wolfhound's doing too much that's a problem. No offense, but I trust Hana more than I trust 'the government.' At large, I mean. I trust my dad." There's a beat, before she adds, "obviously."

It wasn't always the case, of course.

"But I guess checks and balances and all that are important and what we lacked last time around, right?" Tasha puts the straw in her soda and takes a sip, before tearing off a bit of her sandwich. "Is it still weird? With the whole… needing to be impartial sort of thing?"

With Tasha served, Robyn takes a moment to finally take a bite out of her sanwich. She casts an eye over to her drink, before reaching into her purse and producing a flask - that may or may not be answer enough for Tasha, depending on what she's thought of Robyn's drinking habits in the past. A bit - enough to give her drink a bit of a kick - is dispensed, and then offered in Tasha's direction.

"I've never known your father well," is offered with a small chuckle as she takes a swig of her spiked drink. "But he's worth trusting. Don't blame anyone for being nervous," she notes with a half smirk. "We did fight a war." She doesn't concede her thoughts on the government and trust, beyond the implicit fact that her position means she does have more trust than she used to.

"It's impossible." This comes in a flater tone, Robyn looking away from Tasha as she speaks. "I tried. I-" She frowns for a moment, before offering Tasha an apologetic smile. "Shouldn't be talking about this in public. Suffice to say, I have concerns."

With that, she returns to her sandwich for a moment, before looking back up at Tasha. "Council. Does everything seem- stable in the Safe Zone? The food shortages are one thing, but…" There may be a tinge of worry in her voice out of place with the rest of the conversation.

When the flask is offered to her, Tasha smiles and shakes her head, one hand coming up to shield her cup, like one does when a waitress comes to top off a cup of coffee that doesn't need it. She tilts her head at the word concerns, brows drawing together. "Okay. Let me know if you want to talk somewhere else, where you can, okay?" She looks worried, and then the next question makes that scowl deepen.

"There's the few strange things. The food shortage. The typical odd things that happen when people don't know how to use their powers correctly, but we try to sort them out as soon as we can. There's people still down in the sewers, I guess, which isn't… ideal, but I'm not going to force people to move out of whatever home they feel comfortable in — not unless we have a better place ready, and a lot of people would rather live there than the tents in temporary housing." She lifts a shoulder. "Is there something I should know about?"

Robyn certainly respects Tasha's declining gesture, the flask slipped back into her purse. "I have to admit, with being in Rochester… I'm woefully out of date with what's happening here." She doesn't seem thrilled about it, either. "But the sewers? I thought that only happened in comic books." Her head tilts slightly to the side, to more properly express her confusion.

Teeth rake across lips for a moment, and Robyn leans forward a bit. "Maybe something that you should keep an eye out for," she admits in a low voice. "Someone." She closes her eye, running her hand over her chin. "I've heard that a spectre of the past is back." She frowns the slightest bit, looking past Tasha.

"Eileen Ruskin," she whispers. Her gaze moves back to Tasha, eye to eye with her. "Comes from a credible source." THere's much more to it, but she leaves it at that for now. "I think it's a matter of time before it gets out, but… I'm hoping it doesn't." She points a finger at Tasha. "But I want you to know before Colette. In case anything is… off."

"We need to come up with a plan, but it's hard. Resources are limited," Tasha says with a sigh, regarding the people living underground.

When Robyn leans forward, Tasha mirrors her, her head tilting and brows drawing together with curiosity. "Eileen?" she repeats, quiet, but not quite the whisper that Robyn uses. She makes a face and leans closer. "When you say spectre… what exactly are you saying? I don't understand. How? And… is there something off? If she survived somehow — that's a good thing, right?"

She wasn't in the courtyard when Eileen fell, or to see the aftermath. She was surviving her own nightmare that night.

"It's not our Eileen." Robyn leans back, spreading her hands. "Spectre." Robyn also hadn't seen it - she'd been too busy escaping with a cavalcade of people she'd never expected. "I don't know the details. I'm told she's dangerous, but…" Well, that's just Eileen.

Subconsciously, she reaches up and scratches at her scarred cheek.

"I am torn," she admits. "As former Ferry… I don't want this getting around. I want to see what we can find out, before anything gets out of hand." She folds her hands back down on the table in front of her. "But I have an obligation to tell people on a higher pay grade than myself."

Tasha's eyes widen. "Ghosts don't exist," she says, fairly certainly, but there's a tremor in her voice that makes it clear she's not as confident as she'd like to be. "Someone either brought her back to life or she didn't die that night, I don't know. And she was always dangerous." They are of a mind on that, though Tasha never had any problems with her like Robyn had.

At the dilemma, she nods slowly. "Has she done anything wrong — that would require you to investigate? Other than just… you know. Being around."

A small sigh, and a hang of a head shows weariness on Robyn's part - not with Tasha, but with life in general. "It sounds like there's been at least one altercation," she say. She's been intentional in leaving out Lynette's name so far, for a variety of reasons. "One that didn't end well."

Looking to her sandwich, she decides this a good moment to pause and take another bite. "Ghosts," she finally adds after a moment, "don't come from other times." She looks back up, again eye to eye with Tasha. "Don't buy it. Don't want to. But it's just as likely as the Institute doing their work. Or someone else. She's kept to herself, though. As far as I know at least."

Other times? Tasha's brows lift, and she shakes her head to indicate she doesn't understand. "Other times? What do you mean?" she asks, pushing aside her sandwich and leaning her elbows, each hand clasping the opposite forearm.

"Do we know where she is? She must be terrified… is she all alone? I mean — if it's something like the Institute cloning people or something again, yeah, your people should know. I can tell my dad?" She glances to her purse, to where she's slipped her phone. "If you know where she is, I mean… we were never super close, but I don't think she has a problem with me. I could go see what she needs, what's happened, maybe."

The look on Robyn's face is one of utter shock. She's grown so used to the eccentricities of her life, of the things she's had to go through that sometimes she forgets that there's been people blessed with comparatively normal lives in this world. "I…" She taps a finger on her chin, brow stitching together. Time. Time travel. That whole business. I guess?" A hand reaches up and runs back down her face. "I don't have as many details as I'd like."

"If," and that's a very sternly sounded if, "I can find evidence the Institute is involved, absolutely tell your father. Wolfhound…" She takes a deep breath. "I don't even know. For now, I have no idea where she is. If that changes- maybe we can go together. If something is wrong, you shouldn't go alone."

A soft chuckle follows. "I didn't invite you out here to have your stick you neck out. But I do think you should be aware, just in case anything odd starts cropping up."

"And Colette doesn't know," Tasha murmurs, quietly. "Are you going to tell her or… did you want me to, or do you not want me to, because you know I won't lie to her right? I mean I can maybe not mention it for a time, but not if it becomes an issue." She smiles. "I don't think you'd tell me if you expected me to need to lie, of course."

She doesn't seem to have a problem with keeping it from her father — for the time being — as much as she does with Colette. "Tamara already knows, you know. And knows I know. Somehow." Because it's what Tamara does. "So if she thinks it's necessary for Dad or Cole to know, she will tell them." In some ways, it eases the burden off her shoulders a little.

"I can't imagine Eileen would hurt me," she adds. "And maybe I could help her. I don't know. Legally or something."

"I know you won't." Robyn offers a small smile, a look of understanding. She gets it. But… "I know her and Lynette Rowan got into a scuffle of some sort," because at this point keeping her source a secret is a fools game if she wants to make a point. "I don't know under what circumstances. She told me just not to piss her off."

"We can make sure Colette knows once someone knows more." For a moment, she can't help but wonder if she's made a mistake or not. She shakes off quickly, that smile returning to her face. "If Tamara feels fit to tell anyone, I trust it's because she can see the puzzle from above." The puzzle of Eileen. Of time. Of all of it. "For now, I'd rather not poke the bear." She huffs out a breath, looking down at her plate. "If she is just… keeping to herself, I don't want to mess that up for her. She deserves her freedom as much as anyone else. She earned hers too, you know. Even if it's not her."

She wrinkles her nose, looking uncertain as she picks up her sandwich, leaning back in her chair a bit. "I trust your discretion, Tasha. Always have." A bite, and then… "But like I said. Didn't ask you out here to put you through the moral dilemma wringer. I believe at the gala, I asked about a commission?"

When the name Lynette is dropped, Tasha's brows draw together again, head tipping almost comically. Of all the people with whom she might have expected Eileen to 'scuffle,' that wasn't one of them — even given the tension of the last days on the island. "Shit," she says, sounding much like the teenager she was in those days.

The rest eases the frown into something more pleasant. "No, I appreciate you telling me. Hopefully it won't be an issue — for either of them." Her father. Colette. She makes a face, though, because it probably will be. "Just, you know. Don't tell either of them you told me before them."

At the change of subject, though, she laughs, glancing down at her hands — there's no ink nor paint on them, aside from the very professionally-applied polish. "I haven't painted in a while, but for you, anything," she says.

There's a small smile at Tasha's curse. There's a rhyme and reason to why Robyn is telling her this, and it seems like Tasha understands a bit better. "It's best that someone with a better eye on the Safe Zone knows. I don't plan to tell anyone else until I absolutely have to." She takes a long sip of her drink and winces - apparently having already forgotten she spiked it.

"And the last thing I would do is intentionally get you in trouble with the people you love," she says in a quiet voice. She tilts her head slightly at Tasha, and then chuckles. "That's right. You said that at the Gala. Well… I'd still like something for my art room."

She crosses her arms, glancing down at the sandwich. "I'm sorry to drag you into things," she offers by way of apology. But really, there's many reasons she told Tasha. The biggest one has been left implied but unsaid - to keep Vincent and Colette from finding out.

Tasha breaks off another bit of sandwich, bringing it to her mouth and chewing it. "I know you wouldn't," she says with a smile, regarding getting her in trouble. "And I rarely need any help doing that," she adds lightly — it's a bit of an untruth these days, but once upon a time, it was more often true than not.

"Like I said, I won't lie, not directly and not by equivocation. But if I see anything, I'll let you know so we can try to keep it from becoming common knowledge. I can't really imagine she'd come causing trouble. Where'd Lynette run into her?" she asks, reaching for the cup to take a pull from the straw.

Robyn blinks, falling silent and looking a little lost for a moment. "I-" She closes her eye and sucks in a deep breath. "Fucking can't believe I- I don't know. I didn't ask." She lets out sardonic laugh, looking off to the side. "God. I am the worst," she remarks ruefully. Lynette hadn't volunteered the information, to be sure. How could she have not throught to ask? Oh right, because of the bombshell that had followed it.

For now, she keeps that part of her recent discoveries to herself.

She shakes her head again. "I don't know," she repeats. "But Lynette did say she didn't know if she was hiding around the Safe Zone. Can't imagine she'll go far, though." Another look of apology, and then finally Robyn turns her attention back to her sandwich.

The laugh draws one from Tasha, and it's sudden and merry, ringing out a little loudly in the small shop, before she covers her mouth and ducks her head. "Shit. Sorry. I don't mean to laugh at you. I just… you know, I'm so impressed at all of you, off being agents and Wolfhound operatives and so … I don't know. Important," the lawyer says, completely devoid of any ironic undertones. "So it's good to see someone else do something a little dumb because I make mistakes on the daily that make me feel like an idiot."

She reaches across the table to squeeze Robyn's hand. "Not that you're an idiot. You know what I mean."

Robyn's brow stitches together in annoyance at herself. She purses her lips, the squeeze of her hand bringing her back out of her thoughts. Her offers a small, plantive smile to Tasha. "You're important," she remarks to Tasha. "Don't let anyone else convince you otherwise." She lays her hand on Tasha's, squeezing it back. "Do dumb things all the time." Her expression wavers a bit, a few specific things coming to mind. "Just ask anyone," she concludes in a small voice. Eye closes again, and she falls silent for a moment longer before shaking her hand. "Trust me. You're just as up there as us. Always have been." There was something about a painting, but Robyn's already forgotten about it.

Tasha lifts her shoulders and lets them fall. "I know. I just… sometimes wish I was capable of being out there with you all. I don't miss it, not the fighting or the guns," she says, one hand reaching up to her temple, before she catches herself and drops it again. "But I miss the camaraderie of it all. And being with Colette, of course, more than a few nights a month." Her dark eyes shimmer a little, but she blinks and looks out the window, and when her gaze returns to Robyn's, that threat is gone.

"Did you want anything in particular, for the room?" she says — remembering solely because the need for a change of subject has presented itself.

Robyn spends the moments Tasha spends speaking studying the woman across from her. She looks relieved when the threat of emotion passes, again squeezing her friend's hand. "Me too," she admits. "It's hard to find, these days." She doesn't mis the fighting or the guns, she just glad it's for what she considers better reasons these days. "Could always file a report. Advise she gets some more… forced time off."

Oh right, a painting. "Painter's choice," she offers. "I can't see colour, so… just paint something that makes you happy."

"That'd go over well, I'm sure," Tasha says with a laugh, but it's not a sad one, at least.

She smiles, sympathetically but not pityingly, when Robyn mentions not seeing color. "Right. Well, I'll make sure there's good contrast then. I haven't done anything in a while, so I'm not even sure what that would be, but it'll be nice to paint for someone other than myself — or something besides covering up some tagging or something as part of a council beautification project," she says with a smirk. "Any size you need to fill a space or anything? I take requests."

"Well. Would give her more time to make me hate myself." Not that she has any plans to actually do any of this. "Traditional canvas size. It'll go on the wall, with the rest of my favourites. Eve, Pippa, others." Robyn gives a small shrug in response, finally leaning back a bit in her seat. "People keep telling me to pick music back up. You should pick art back up."

Tasha smiles, taking another bite of the sandwich. "Well, that is stiff competition, for sure," she says, fondness for both names but especially her niece's.

"Yeah, it's not like I set it down so to speak — you just don't have a lot of time at the end of the day, you know? Colette did give me a great camera for Tamara's birthday-" she lifts a hand, and smirks. "It's a whole thing. Don't ask. We have a darkroom. So there are artistic things happening, just not a lot of painting. But I'm happy to do some, so thanks for pushing me. And you absolutely should play and write again, I agree. Maybe we can make it a project of sorts."

From Colette, for Tamara's birthday. Confusion is evident on Robyn's face, but she understands quick enough. A smirk creeps across Robyn's face at the mention of a darkroom, but whatever thought she has in mind she keeps to herself. She closes her eye, shakes her head. "Lynette's husband and I are going to do a thing. Other than that…" She rolls her shoulders letting out a sigh. "Maybe someday." Maybe another project at some point. Which reminds her, she needs to book studio time. But for now, she picks up her drink and angles it towards Tasha. "To artistic things, then."

"Artistic things," repeats Tasha, knocking her cup against Robyn's, which makes for a dull tap rather than a satisfying clink.

"And old friends."

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