gillian_icon.gif linderman_icon.gif

Guest Starring:


Scene Title Guardians
Synopsis The Lighthouse gets a visit from their benefactor, to help one of the guardians.
Date May 18, 2010

The Lighthouse

From the outside, the Lighthouse looks as if it has had better days. The massive tower rising out of the house has fallen from its former glory. It is no longer a shining beacon, guiding wayward ships in from the lost harbor — though some may argue its purpose now is even more admirable. In its current state, the lighthouse seems to be in disrepair. Though upon closer inspection it all seems to be in the details. The paint has chipped away, leaving a discolored patterns of grays, whites, off-whites, and more grays. The occasional graffitti tag is here or there along the large building. One would notice that the doors, the windows, and the integrity of the building are all quite sound and newly repaired. The lighthouse has just been left with the look of abandonment.

Inside is a completely different story. Upon entering the main door, one will find a completely furnished and cozy arrangement. A spacious living room lined with two large blue sofa's, facing each other, a coffee table between them and several large bean bag chairs have been planted in the room. Shelves have been hung on the wall to display various different pictures of the occupants. A large bookcase is against the wall, holding a large variety of books from Dr.Seuss to the Bible, and even a copy of the Qur'an. The living room is focused on the fireplace a small black fence encloses it, the wood stocked on the bricks in front of it.

Connected to the living room is a kitchen, complete with a large rectangular table capable of seating around four on each long side and two on each end. A sink, a stove, an oven, a microwave and two refrigerators complete the look. Several low and overhead cabinets line the kitchen. At the edge of the kitchen are a pair of doors, one leading to a bedroom and the other, which has a padlock on it, leads to the basement.

At the back of the living room a glass sliding door leads out into the backyard of the Lighthouse, but just before it a staircase leads to the upper levels of the structure.

Waking up with a stranger seated at your bedside is usually cause for alarm, but most strangers wouldn't have a husky curled up at the bottom of their feet or a child resting in their laps, tiny blonde head lolling sleepily against a strong shoulder. With one large hand encompassing the span of Lucy's back and the other brushing stray curls of wispy hair behind one fairy-sized ear, the man with the silver hair and beard lifts blue eyes frop the top of the girl's head and shifts his focus across the coverlet when he hears Gillian begin to stir.

Although Gillian and Daniel Linderman have never met, he ceases to be a stranger when his face comes into focus. The Lighthouse's absent benefactor is immediately recognizable even when he's dressed in worn clothes. Wool coat and camel slacks, the collar of a heavy navy sweater visible beneath the fringe of an unremarkable red, black and gray scarf in traditional plaid.

He looks like someone's grandfather rather than the head of a multi-million dollar organization that he is. And maybe that's the point.

The sight of the little girl isn't surprising at first, as some of them have come to visit her when the bandages are fresh and Gillian's not looking feverish— But the man. It's rare these days for someone of his age to be in the house, even older than Doyle, the oldest of the current residents. "I know you," she whispers raspily once her vision clears. "From pictures."

Newspaper photos, other such things— she did research on Linderman's holdings, which also included looking at photographs, and his face isn't one easily forgotten.

"What are you doing here?" she asks in a raspy hoarse voice, tired and unsure. The dog hasn't been noticed just yet, her view blocked by the edge of the bed and the coverlet that's pulled up close. The cover left her skin damp with sweat, due to the fever that she's been running for the last few days. If Brian hadn't pulled the cover down on top of her, she likely wouldn't have even had it as cover. "Hey Lucy…"

Linderman's lips form a smile and he lifts a finger to them before gently shifting Lucy in his arms as he rises from his chair, cradles her against his chest and then lays her down beside Gillian on the bed. She's asleep, and if Gillian were to look past the curtains of her window this might not come as a surprise. The lights are low, the sun is down and all that illuminates the view on the other side of the glass is the reflection of the Lighthouse's intermittent glow lit white by all the snow.

"They've already lost so much," he says, not just of Lucy but the other children settling down in their dorms for the night. "Their homes, families— and now a guardian. They can be spared one of those things, I think. What about you?"

"Here to get me to a hospital, then?" Gillian asks, not questioning the fact that losing a guardian is a possibility. The last day or so has been worse, the fever rising, and the pain, the bleeding starting up again, the bandages needed changing, the wounds cleanings— There's not a lot of medical professionals in the house, but what little she knows…

Her hand touches Lucy's head, and there's a hint of a dark glow behind her eyes for a second, when she pulls her hand back. "I don't want them to lose me…" she mutters softly, voice kind of distant as she stares off past the blonde head, almost as if seeing something else in the room as well. The snow out the window, the mild glow of lights reflecting off of it in the darkness…

Linderman's eyes are bright with mirth as he sits down on the edge of Gillian's bed and places the hand that had been on Lucy's back on Gillian's. His is much larger than hers, leaving only slivers of long, pale fingers exposed between the heavier knit of his. Neither particularly warm nor particularly cold, his skin is soft in the same way that old leather and his aged clothes probably are, and that's not something you see in pictures or read about in the news. Gillian knows about his participation in the Vietnam War thanks to her dogged research and now she feels some of the physical effects it's had on his body that photography isn't capable of capturing.

He wasn't always a millionaire. Once, he was a corporal. "Not a hospital," he prompts, gently.

"You used to be some kind of medic…" Gillian says from her memory, mind flickering through the past and the present, getting lost in thoughts as she looks at the hand touching hers. There's suddenly a heavy breath, as the dog sitting on the floor sits up, mouth open with tongue lolling. The mouth seems to resemble a smile in a way, lips peeled away from flashing white teeth, long and sharp and strong.

The dog is happy to see her, after so long of the room being off limits, and her being out of it the few times he's been able to see her. Pale blue-gray eyes flash as he starts to sit up.

Gillian is not happy to see him. Instead, the tentative hold on her ability unravels, and flows. Lucy's asleep, unmanifested, the energy doesn't know what to do with her, so it slides towards the other person in close proximity instead, a glow of bright purple surrounding her hand, and his, inside her frightened eyes.

To an outside observer, there's no difference between Linderman's ability and Linderman's ability amplified, but from Gillian's perspective the distinction between one and the other is a matter of heat. What would normally feel like warmth trickling through her veins burns white hot and sears through injuries both new and old. Scar tissue melts away, and the ink embedded in the dermis layer of her skin begins to fade, reducing the snarling dragon wound around her right breast to a former shadow of itself while the tiger's eyes set into her stomach slowly lose their vibrancy until all the brightness has been drained from the golden irises and they forever close.

Linderman's breathing remains steady — if strained — throughout. When he finally removes his hand from hers, her skin is glowing pink, her cheeks rosy and flushed, their complexion comparable to that of the girl dozing blissfully at her side.

He speaks a word to the dog and a word is all that it takes. Jax's claws click against the floor underfoot as he takes his leave of the room with a hop and a bushy swish of his tail.

As the pain fades, and the dog turns and pads out of the room, all the things keeping the knot wide open are gone, leaving Gillian gasping in surprise, until she can pull herself together. The glow fades away, leaving just the natural tinge of warmth on her skin, a healthy flush instead of the feverish paleness she'd had the last few days. The pain on her hands and arms, on her shoulder, on her stomach…

Even the delerious nature of her thoughts seems to have fled.

"Sorry," she apologizes at first, not seeming to realize exactly what happened, looking down at the young girl curled up on her bed. Either the young girl just manifested something to take away all the pain, or…

The other hand reaches over to tug on the bandage on her arm, the one would she'd had the chance to look at fully. It'd been so angry and red and torn up that she could barely see the rose tattoo she'd gotten inked there. And now even that… "Was that— ?" She doesn't finish. Her voice sounds softer and lighter, without the hoarseness of before.

"Yes," says Linderman. Gillian doesn't have to finish the question. The lingering note of hesitation wedged under her voice tells him everything he needs to know about the nature of her inquiry, and as he rises from the edge of the bed, careful not to disturb Lucy, the corners of his mouth crinkle around an odd, fanciful sort of expression that's both somber and kindly at the same time.

He looks down at his hand, flexes arthritic fingers with an audible crackling of his joints that sounds like what happens to bubble wrap when Joe and Lance get their grubby little mitts on it. "This weather has left hundreds more children without parents. I have several staying at the Corinthian that I'd like you to look after, if you would. Not all of them are registered or manifested, and considering some of their abilities— I think we'd both prefer they remain that way."

If it wasn't for Lucy, Gillian might be throwing back the covers and visually confirming every inch of her body to see if the wounds are gone. That would disturb said child, though, and instead… she focuses her eyes on Linderman's words. A few moments ago, her brain had a tendancy to wander off into other places, now she's looking into his blue eyes— remembering another set of blue eyes, but able to avoid drifting too deep into that thought.

"Let me get this straight… you're Linderman— and you're actually preferring that some children bypass the act named after you?" Of all the things she'd expected to hear… "I've heard of irony, but I think that's one of the ones that actually fits. In the dramatic sense." And one that… "You're right, I do agree." She wouldn't be registered if she hadn't got arrested. She would have lied about her ability if people hadn't already flagged her profile and known what she was capable of.

"Thank you," she says quietly, meaningfully, to the man she knows many people want to bring tumbling down…

"If I had known then what I had known now," Linderman says, "I would not have endorsed it. The concept of registration is sound, but the way this administration has executed it—" He makes a defeated gesture with his hand. "Moab Federal Penitentiary never should have happened. All the money that Mitchell's siphoned into the development of the Institute." And the fact that he knows what the Institute is accounts for the gravelly edge his voice adopts at the mention of its name and puts into perspective the nature of his visit.

"I came here to tell you that if you don't have a safe place to move the children now, then you need to find one soon. Operating here on the island won't protect you forever, and neither will your organization's association with mine."

"Sometimes even when we know the future, we end up fucking things up," Gillian says quietly, speaking as if she has experience with such a thing, as she looks down at the young girl asleep against her on the bed. Her hand stays in the girl's hair, thumb gently moving. This house won't protect them forever. This island. This man's money. "I guess that means we'll just have to wing it. Cause I'm not going to let anything take these kids from me again. Any of them."

It's why she ran out into the snow, why she didn't wait. Even if it hadn't been her that found the girl, even if all she did was distract two of the dogs, so there were two less to attack when the pack found her—

"You made it so I can keep trying to protect them." And for that, she's actually grateful.

"There's no one else who will," Linderman reminds her, as if she needed reminding at all. His hands find the buttons of his coat and then the pockets, a short look directed out the window and the black truck waiting for him out front. Jax has since joined Dex in the drive, and together the two huskies circle the vehicle like sharks, tails wagging in anticipation and heads held high, oblivious to the fact that under different circumstances it could pose imminent danger to the children inside if the man behind the wheel wasn't as well-meaning as the one about to depart.

"I've left the number of a woman named Kelly Reynolds with Mr. Fulk. If you need anything, whether it's a private audience or additional funding, please— do give her a call."

The bark of the dogs make her flinch a little, old phantom pains still there, even if the real pain is now gone. She twists to look out the window, as much as she can without disturbing the girl, to make sure the dogs aren't doing anything they shouldn't. Playing in the snow, frollicing around the truck. They are actually built for exposure to this weather, at least for short times. But even then, she knows they'll sleep inside—

"All right," she says in response, putting the name to memory, but knowing Brian will be able to remind her too. "Thank you. I'm sure once this is all over, we'll have repairs that need to be made."

And Gillian still has to consider where to go if an alternative is needed. How best to protect the children…

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License