Going Nowhere


colette3_icon.gif quinn5_icon.gif

Scene Title Going Nowhere
Synopsis I'm going nowhere / Don't look so scared / I'm going nowhere / Could be / I'm already there
Date December 19, 2011

Time is a blur. Robyn Quinn has no idea how long it's been since they left the Oar Place Or Mine behind. The sky's still dark. The air is frigid, snow drifting down from the sky above. She's not even sure exactly where they are. She doesn't entirely care. She has been uncharacteristically silent ever since they boarded the boat, save to continue offering Nat - and herself - reassurances. Even know, she treads silently, an eye kept on Nat almost the entire time, always close to the young girl.

At least, until she comes to a slow stop, letting the others pass by her as she bites her lip. A look is offered off into the distance, vacant and shaking. She dares not look in the direction that they just came from, back towards Pollepel. She doesn't have to - she knows this city is burning without even having to look. She shivers, eyes closing halfway as she mutters something to herself. Teeth dig into her lips, and she looks up, into the distance.

Another glance up, wobbling a bit as her knees lock. Ahead, at the others.

Was this really where she should be going?

Time is a blur. She doesn't know how long she stands there, silent and freezing.

Nat hasn’t said much since leaving Pollepel, it’s obvious that she’s in shock. She follows Quinn, though only with some urging. Her pace is slow, staggered, and nervous. Tall pine trees overhead shadow the dark night sky and protect the weary travelers from the worst of the biting cold, though the fairy-dust snow fluttering in on that wind still frosts everything. Up ahead, an old wooden sign indicates the start of a path through the trees.

Kingsland Point County Park
Sleepy Hollow, NY

Hey,” comes sharp from behind Quinn, along with crunching footfalls in the snow. Colette’s approach is a hurried one, hair frozen and swept back from her forehead, though much more appropriately dressed for the cold thanks to the garments brought by Tamara. The heavy woolen coat, sweater, entire change of clothes has saved Colette and her extremities from certain frostbite. It isn’t the cold she’s worried about now.

“Slow the fuck down,” Colette whispers to Quinn, motioning back to the flashlights sweeping more than a hundred feet behind. Quinn hadn’t realized how fast she’d been walking, that she was in the lead of the small group. She had other things on her mind.

Yet of all the things on her mind, one stands in vibrant color in front of Quinn.


Colette's voice snaps Quinn back into reality, stopping and blinking. The world seemed to move so slow around her, and yet. "I- I'm sorry," she says quietly, turning to look back at the others and then- Colette. She's avoided looking at Colette, her eyes fixed on Rue or the floor of the boat for the duration of the boat ride.

So again, just like earlier, seeing the other photokinetic pulls the breath from her strained lung, out into vaporous clouds in front of her. The colour that shouldn't be has her attention like a knife that's been shoved through her heart. Which is funny, because that's also what it feels like.

A hand reaches out for Nat, absently, still not wanting to let the young girl stray too far from here as she stands there, silent and staring at Colette. As the others come up to pass her, she doesn't seem to be making any real motion to move.

"What was it like for you, Colette?" The question is quiet, Quinn's eyes lock on Colette's. "When you-" She swallows. "When you couldn't see." She still, technically, can. But not well, and not in colour. It almost feels taunting - a few times she wished she'd lost it all, so she wouldn't be left with this hazy world that felt like a pale echo of the one she knows.

"Because I-" She finally turns away, looking off into the distance. "I followed your footsteps a little too close."

The question gives Colette pause, and she turns her attention to Nat for only a moment, then looks back to Quinn. “Um— ” she stammers, looking back to the flashlights, then takes a few steps closer to Quinn. One gloved hand comes up to rest at her shoulder, and Colette leans in, inspectingly staring into the older woman’s eyes.

“I’ve…” As she trails off, Colette looks away and starts walking, as if to keep the distance between this conversation and the others. “It’s just darkness,” is a somewhat belated answer, one that Colette isn’t sure is what Quinn wants to hear. “First time it happened, I mean— when I pushed myself too far… was on the day of the bomb. Technically it was the day I manifested, but— I never knew. My memories were all, scrambled?”

Wrinkling her nose, Colette shakes her head. “Um, I went blind the first time after I condensed a bunch of light into a laser focus. It— was awful, at first. I wasn’t able to do much for about a week, then…” her head tilts to the side, “I discovered that my whole body was like, one big gross eyeball?” There’s a huff of a laugh at that. “I could feel the wavelengths of light without needing to see. It’s the same way I was doin’ stuff the whole time, just— I never realized it. It took a while, but eventually I figured out how to see. Kameron kinda’ helped with that a little.” Colette dithers. “She— was blind? But she could see sorta? It— anyway.”

Focusing on this, on the past, is helpful to Colette. It’s the only way she can function right now, with Eileen’s death and Tasha’s uncertain fate crushing her. “Um… so— it never came back normally. My sight? Abby healed me, fixed me right up. I was… good for a while,” and she doesn’t explain what happened to her eyes after that, she refuses to discuss her time at the Institute. “So I’m operating on my ability again. If I ever got negated…” she shakes her head and runs one hand through her frozen hair.

Her eyes are grey and faded, though not vacant and visibly damaged. Colette has told her some of this before, but hearing it again cements something for her - that this, maybe, is what awaits her at the end of the road if her eyesight continues to degenerate. She trembles, and it's hard to say if it's because of the cold or because of this particular train of thought.

But as Colette starts to walk, Quinn doesn't quite move. Not yet. "I can't see colour, haven't been able t' since Cambridge," she remarks, eyes half lidded - given how things went when the two of them discovered her limitation, that probably doesn't come as a surprise to Colette. "Light hurts now." That one, though, might seem more unexpected. And to round out the trifecta, she holds up her flashlight. "And I can't- I have no way t' work the light anymore." Her voice is distant, sad, but matter of fact. Gaze inclined so that she stares at the ground. "Except for you. You're in colour, some sorta… impossible person. Like we're playin' trick on my eyes."

Eyes close, and she lets out a low exhale. "I can't- I can't do this anymore, Colette."

Colette looks away at that, over to Nat, then down to her feet as she walks. She pushes past Quinn’s assertion, knows how tired everyone is, has thought the same herself in the past. Colette assumes it will pass. “You…” facts are simpler things to focus on. “Your eyes are made up of, like, sensory things. Some sense color, you must’ve burned them out, physically damaged your eyes the same way I did mine.” Or similar, if nothing else.

As she looks back to Quinn, it’s with a worried expression. “My blindness was total, yours… is color focused, so— so that might be the difference between like, our two things? Like, we use different muscles to do the same motion. S’kind of how Conrad— ” Quinn has no idea who that is, really. “How— how my first mentor explained things t’me. So, if you can see me in color it’s probably because I’m using my ability. The way I see must be affecting the light spectrum somehow… s-so…”

So, Colette falls silent. She searches, struggles to focus on something other than the knot of dread in her chest. “You might need a healer. Someone— someone who can actually repair the damage done? Your ability isn’t gone, but it’s… it’s like its turned down or something?” Colette shakes her head, wraps her arms around herself. “I— I’m not sure Quinn.”

She's heard this before, at least most of it. Jolene, Megan, Ygraine, even Adel and Elaine. These are all things they've been told her before, about her physical damage, the ability to do what she used to be able to with light. It's nothing new, and thus it's not comforting. She isn't sure what answers she wanted from Colette. What she expected.

It takes it's toll, and it takes it whole.

But she also thinks she's been a bit misunderstood among all of this.

"You think?" The question is asked low, not wanting to be heard by the others. She should probably move to catch up, but she isn't. Instead she keeps her eyes off in the distance, back towards part of the city. "I"m-" She huffs out a breath, the cold making it hard for the normally verbose Irishwoman to find words. "It hurts," she replies vaguely. The light. The fact that Colette's ability is allowing her to see what she lost. Her stitches. Her heart. Everything.

She takes a trudging step in the snow, but it isn't to follow along with the others. She's made a decision - or rather, she's standing by one she made over a month ago.

"I can't do this," she repeats tiredly. "I can't-" Her feet catch on each other, and she stumbles a bit - though she manages not to fall. "I can't fight anymore, Colette. I don't think I have it in me." When she's upright again, she looks back to Colette, and then back to LeRoux. "Are you going t' take her with y'? Int' whatever happens next?"

Colette never look at Quinn as she talks, just stares ahead into the dark parkland. “I dunno, I’m not— in charge?” There’s a brief flick of a look over at LeRoux, and her traumatized stare. “I figure someone in charge’ll figure that out. Avi seems to know who she is? I’ve— never fucking seen her before.” But Quinn had, knows that she came out of the Ark with the other unclaimed children.

“Look, I… I know it feels like you can’t keep this up right now but,” Colette closes her eyes. “After what they just fucking did… once— as soon as we’re ready to hit back, we’re going to. That’s what Eileen taught us, that we don’t stay idle. If we sit still, we die. We sat still at the castle, we— we fucked up. We’ve gotta keep moving, stay on our feet, hit them before they can get back together.”

"Hit back?" There it is. That's where all that energy Quinn had thought she had lost. She lets out a disbelieving laugh. "Are you daft?" Her voice is pitched a bit higher, for LeRoux and probably some of the others to hear. "Or were you not there for the collective shit show that has been the last month an' a half?" She motions back towards the direction they came from, peering at Colette.

"What Eileen taught any of us," and those words come with a distinct bitterness to them, "isn't going t' help make up for the fact that we just got fucked, an' that's after we were already fucked after Cambridge!" A hand moves to her temples, rubbing roughly. "I- I can't. I fuckin' can't, Colette. Y' called it, y' know. That I didn't have the stomach f'r all a' this."

Another sarcastic laugh as she runs a hand through her hair. "How long until we're ready? That traitor might still be out there, 'cause it sure as hell ain't February Lancaster." She shakes her head. "No. I'm not doin' it."

A look is given to LeRoux. "An' she… She should be with the Lighthouse Kids. Somewhere that's not here." Eyes slide back to Colette. "They pulled her out of Cambridge. Lord knows what she's been through already."

Nathalie LeRoux says nothing in her defense, merely continues to walk vacantly at Quinn’s side. Colette swallows, face red and flush with anger. “We took down the Institute,” is what Colette throws back at Quinn. “The fucking Institute. Once I’m back in shape, I know— I know people like Hana aren’t just going to sit on their hands. It’s — ” her voice tightens. “It’s fine if you need a break, I— we all do. But you know you’re going to come back to it. Who else is gonna’ protect our friends?”

Raising her hands in a helpless gesture, Colette steps ahead of Quinn and turns to face her. “Because running? That isn’t a solution!” Her arms fall down sharp at her sides. “We ran and hid in Pollepel and they found us. They’ve got— they’ve got fucking robots that can track us down. Do you think there’s anywhere they’ll let us stay? Do you think the Canadian government is going to protect us? What— what’s even their army? Moose?

Fuming, Colette clenches her hands into fists at her side. “If we run, we’re dead. If we hide, we’re dead. If we fight— at least we aren’t giving up! If you— if you’re so interested in laying down and letting the government kill you, you should’ve stayed at Pollepel!

If she was in a better mood, there would be so much to laugh about here. What's even the plural of moose, is it one of those words where the plural is the same as the singular? Does Colette even know how terrifying a moose actually is? And how hilarious is the image of them rushing into battle on the backs of a bunch of Moose(es?) anyway?

But that's not what she focuses on.

A part of Quinn thinks Colette is maybe right. She's thrown away any real shot she had at continuing her music career, the Ferry - as she saw it - was in shambles, Studio K had been dissolved or siezed she's sure, God knows what the state of Manhattan - where her home is - even is. What's even left? Maybe she should have just stayed on Pollepel, and not been blinded by a desire to help a friend. She's sure Rue would be furious at that thought - any of them. But maybe Colette was right.

And yet.

"And runnin' headlong int' a fight is just lookin' for a place t' die," Quinn counters back, her own free hand closing into a fist. "There's no good answer here. We're pretty much fucked if we stay, an' we're pretty much fucked if we leave. An' I just-" She can't, but she's said that enough times now. She reaches up, a hand running down her face. "I can barely see! I can't do anythin' anymore! What would you want me t' do, Colette? Sit in whatever bunker we end up in, hopin' I get better? Hopin' everything comes back while there's a war outside?" She waves a hand up in front of her dismissively., the other clutching to the still soaked bag at her side.

Her leaving is not a new decision. She's even had the support of others - Rue, Ygraine, Lynette, Eve, and more - in leaving, in getting away from all of this. The last week and a half has just shown everyone exactly why she wanted to leave as clearly as anything else, and tonight had cemented it. And that's what drives the words that come out of her mouth next.

"Look 'round. War's already over. Pretty sure we just lost."

Whatever hope and positivity Quinn once had, it died tonight.

Bullshit,” Colette jabs a finger into Quinn’s shoulder. “That’s bullshit and you know it. The Institute is gone, Quinn. The President is dead, and— things are proper fucked right now, but that’s— that’s when people need us to not be chicken-shits the most!” It’s the most assertive Quinn’s ever seen Colette, the more afire she’s ever been in the other’s presence.

“We have a responsibility to the people who can’t protect themselves!” Colette waves one hand in the direction of the others approaching, “Just because you can’t fight doesn’t mean it’s forever. Just because you can’t fight doesn’t mean you’re out’f the war! They rounded us up, Quinn. If we don’t put a stop to it, here and now, it’s never going to end!”

Jaw set, Colette does her level best to stay in front of Quinn, to intercept her forward momentum. “What’re you gonna do? Become a rock star in a foreign country?” Eyes narrowed, Colette tilts her head to the side. “Because right now, from where I’m standing, I don’t see anyone but someone who got hurt and is scared.”

But Colette doesn’t let that stay a slap. “It’s— fucking okay t’be scared, Quinn. I’m downright fuckin’ terrified right now. I’ve got a pregnant sister, I— don’t know where the fuck Tasha is, I— just— watched Eileen die.” Figuratively, more so than literally. “We can be scared together.”

Brows furrowing together, Colette reaches up and grabs a handful of Quinn’s jacket at her shoulder. “But we can’t be cowards together.” Blinking back tears, Colette puts her other hand on Quinn’s arm. “We can do this. You can do this.”

The hand on her shoulder, on her arm, they get Quinn to stop. Unlike the younger woman, she doesn't have tears down her face - just a cold vacantness in dull eyes. "I talked t' Eve Mas the other day," is a quiet reply, almost too quiet. "Woman is batshit insane, an' really scares the shit out a' me." She trembles again, reaching up to the hand on her shoulder, fingers wrapping around Colette's. "Told me she used t' be PARIAH, Phoenix, all that… insanity."

Eyes close and, and she lets out a weak, shakey breath. "It all just comes back 'round, Colette. It doesn't end. Th' Ferry was just another stop in th' road." She bites at her lip, teeth running across slightly numbbed skin, chapped and broken. "Institute's gone. Ferry's gone. Now what? Y' fight against the army an' FRONTLINE?" Because that's basically what tonight was. "It's suicide. An' yeah, I'm scared." She motions her other hand up to her cheek. "Hurt."

She huffs. "My career's gone. I'm not gonna be a rock star anywhere. M' friends, Magnes, Else, Doyle, a-an' others…" And there's finally tears, biting her skin and her stitches in the cold. "Dead." Eyes open, cast down at the cold ground again. "F'r all I know, Elaine's an' Inger are dead in Manhattan from all the shit that happened there." Fingers wipe at tears on the unscarred side of her face.

"Y-Y-Y' told me once, that it only gets harder." A rueful laugh escapes from Quinn's lips, and she shakes her head. "Well, it only got harder. This was never the person I wanted t' be." Her shoulders slump, and she tries to pry Colette's grip from her shoulder. "An' I can't handle it. I can't… I can't stay here an' die."

Wrapping her arms around Quinn, Colette draws the older woman into an embrace, even as the flashlights from beyond draw closer. “None of us wanted this,” she offers quietly. “But we don’t get to choose what we get out of life, not all the time.” The hug is brief, if only because the emotional distance between the two women makes it more awkward for Colette.

Leaning back, her hands come back to rest on Quinn’s arms. “Sable’s still out there, an’ you know she’s too stubborn to die. She’ll watch out for Elaine, an’ anyone else. We got sloppy,” Colette affirms, “but— you’re right. It never ends. We’ve just gotta make the most of the time we’ve got… and make the move of it for others, too.”

Then, silent all this time, Nat finally looks up to Quinn. Her expression is vacant, eyes reddened and puffy from so much crying. She reaches up and takes the older woman’s hand in her smaller one and says, “People don’t change…” Then, squeezing Quinn’s hand she adds, “only the times around them.”

Colette looks down to Nat, then flicks a quick look up to Robyn. The fuck?

Quinn exhales sharply when Colette wraps her arms around her, eyes wide with shock. She certainly hadn't been expecting that - it never felt like they were really friends, and this certainly doesn't change that. But that makes it all the more unexpected, and finally Quinn just lets out a loud sob, burying her face into Colette's shoulder for as long as the younger woman will let her.

Le Roux speaking up, something Quinn has heard very little of in the time she's known her, also catches her off guard. The squeeze of her hand draws her out. Eyes still wide, she turns to the younger girl, glancing off to the ground, and then back at her. Slowly, Quinn lowers down to one knee. A hand reaches up to Le Roux's shoulder, Quinn offering the girl a shaky smile. "If I stay, will you stick close t' me, kiddo? We can keep each other safe."

She doesn't wait for an answer - it was mostly a rhetorical question. From where she kneels, she looks back up at Colette, and then down at her hand - the green stones on her ring catch her eye. "What could I even do, if I stayed? What would even be the point, if it all just comes back around."

Taking a deep breath, she rises back up to her feel. "You're full a' shit too, y' know. You always have a choice. " Her voice is unsteady, but quiet. "Always." She doesn't know about Sable and Elaine- Elaine should be as far away from this as possible, and if Quinn isn't going, if she isn't running away, she should be with her.

But she isn't going to drag her down with her, either.

"You should just leave me," she says in a hushed voice. "But I get the feelin' y'r not."

They can hear footsteps now, the sounds of the others approaching. Nat hasn't said anything back, just averted her eyes when asked that question by Quinn. Colette fills the silence, giving Quinn’s shoulder a squeeze as Tamara’s flashlight lands on them both.

“Nah,” Colette agrees with an emotional smile.

“I'm stubborn like that.”

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