Held Up Without A Gun


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Scene Title Held Up Without A Gun
Synopsis Elaine and Colette go back in time to save Sable. Things do not go according to plan… but then, there never was one.
Date June 12, 2004

The Bronx, Gun Hill's Rooftop
September 14, 2010

This time, the cranes were not for the sake of metaphor or mystery. The instruction was simple. Sundown, meet Hiro on the rooftop of Gun Hill, if they desire to rescue their friend. This time, the crane was for familiarity, guarantee as to who it is more effectively than any signature, plain white paper and smaller than the ones they were first given, for the message was smaller, and left in exactly the same spot from before. It would be good enough.

And if it's not good enough, then Hiro has other ways. He stands with a kind of patience that takes work to cultivate, the kind of patience it takes to construct a map of the last century and change, the kind of patience one needs to master an ability like his. He's dressed in different shades of black and grey, with the severe line of his sheathed sword making an angle against his back, his hands folded together in front of him as he regards the spilling landscape of Bronx from this point of view. He could probably do with some sleep.

There are shadows beneath his eyes, a waning quality to his demeanor, which is unfortunate — it's early yet. The sun paints its brightest colours as it sinks into the horizon.

The creak of the door to the stairs opening heralds the arrival of the first of the two chosen for this seemingly vague task. Unprepared for eventualities of something well outside of her understanding, Colette Nichols has done her best to come ready for the worries of time travel and what saving someone like Sable could entail.

Her boots step soundly on the rooftop, hard-soled slaps on the concrete as she steps beneath the flower-laden trellice that Wayland had worked so hard on in his time here. Black cargo pants have their pockets laden down with supplies gathered from Grand Central Station, though concealed within the pockets the obtuse angle of handgun magazines deform the shape of the pockets a little.

On her back, a matte gray backpack has zippers that jingle, the interior stuffed full of things she might have needed, from her black denim jacket folded on the top, a used kevlar vest and the one handgun she owns that's seen better days. A utility knife is slid into a mesh netting on the side, folded closed and set with all manner of exposable tools tucked away in the metal folding stock.

Colette's black tanktop rustles in the breeze as she emerges on the rooftop, much in the same way her nearly shoulder-length hair catches in the wind and blows across her face. She doesn't say a greeting, not to a man who seems to be so prepared for the future and past to come from both directions. "I'm… I'm ready," is the closest to conviction she can offer.

Being at Gun Hill is weird since Elaine moved out, but she'd been over plenty of times since she and Magnes moved. She finds it hard as she passes down the hall, purposefully going past Sable's apartment. She stares at the door as she goes, lingering only for a brief second before she ascends the stairs to head up to the rooftop.

She's been thinking far too much about this. Pushing the door open and stepping out onto the roof, the sunset catches her eyes before Hiro or Colette do. The redhead is dressed in a pair of jeans, a green tanktop, and a pair of boots. She offers a tiny wave as she heads over, not nearly as burdened down by objects or supplies as Colette. In her hand, though, is the only real thing she thought was drastically important to their mission: it's an iPod, and she's packed it with as much music as she'd remembered hearing Sable ever listen to and then some. She used up every gig of space on the thing.

Elaine smiles feebly, not attempting to hide her nervousness. "Let's do this."

Colette's appearance is acknowledged with only a nod, Hiro's gaze flicking towards the door past her shoulder expectantly until Elaine emerges just a moment after. There is a measure of relief shown in the way his hands relax at his sides, having been previously set into fists. He's not sure he's looking forward to the first time someone tells him that they're not going. Forcing someone through time is as effortless as simply paving the way, as he is about to do for these two young women, but it takes a different kind of toll.

He manages the early stages of a smile for them, taking a step forward and offering out his hands, palm up towards where the sky is beginning to spangle with stars. "We are going to 2004," he says. "Before the divergence that we must direct time down its correct path. It will be the same hour as now." To prevent timelag, as he described to Jaiden.

He'd been off by half an hour. Hopefully, he'll be closer this time.

2004 has a whole weight on it for Colette. Six years ago she was still living with her mother and father in Boston, six years ago she was wishing her life was better, wishing that her life would change and unable to sleep in the dark at night for fear of the floorboard's creaking near her door. Jaw tensing at the memories, Colette looks down and away from Hiro, then sweeps her stare up over her shoulder to Elaine. Dark brows knit together and a weary smile crosses her lips before her mis-matched eyes dip down to the rooftop again.

"Two-thousand and four," Colette echoes in a small voice, looking up and over to the sunset. "Hiro… what're we supposed to do there?" The question is punctuated by the return of Colette's half-blind stare to the swordsman, approaching slowly with a jingle of the zippers on her backpack as she walks. "What— how're we supposed to…" there's loss in her expression, uncertainty.

"What do we push and what don't we?" Because if allowed to let push come to shove, Colette Nichols isn't above an impromptu trip up north to do what she was too young and too afraid to with regards to her father. That the emotions conflicting behind her eyes show in a few quick blinks to pull away a misting over her eyes is proof-positive that she needs something else to focus on, like the mission.

Elaine was normal in 2004. There was no Lighthouse, no foster system, no abusive boyfriend. Back then, she wanted to do something, to be someone, to be beyond normal and she felt safe. She purses her lips at the thought, a brief few seconds drawn to what her life was like. How it was better.

"So she's in trouble, but… how do we know what she's supposed to do? I was going to try talking to her and asking her about her life to try and know for sure how things were for her, but…" Elaine trails off, worry on her brow. "I want her to be the same. Please tell me there's something you know to help us."

"Elaine has correct ideas," Hiro states, flatly, his hands still offered out as he looks from her to Colette, something narrow and sharp in his gaze as if trying to see if they're going to make trouble for him. "You have been chosen because you know your friend in ways that I do not. You must speak to her and guide her, and protect her from the influence of the villains. I will try to protect both of you if they take more direct measures to ensure their changes to the timeline."

The fingers on both hands spread in unison. "You will trust your instincts, but if I am able, I will guide you. Take my hands. Contrary," and this common phrase sounds stilted on his accent and out of his mouth, "to popular belief, I do not have all the time in the world. And neither do you."

Forefingers and thumb rub together as Colette considers Hiro's hand, then looks aside to Elaine, brows knit in silent worry. When her mis-matched stare turns back to Hiro, there's a slow bob of Colette's head into a nod as a tight swallow works her throat up and down. Butterflies aren't just for stepping on and changing history, because there's some fluttering in her stomach right now, and when one hand lifts up to find Hiro's, it's shaking.

Colette Nichols is terrified.

There's nothing more terrifying than this. Not even flying back home from Europe knowing that your parents are dead. Because your parents existed, while the potential for change in this is great. Elaine hadn't realized exactly how much this meant until she had gotten to the rooftop, and she glances over at Colette with some anxiety. At least, it seemed, they wouldn't have to be alone in their task. She reaches up to grab Hiro's hand, and murmurs an apology in Japanese for her hand being cold.

The Japanese equivalent of no problem is all she gets in response, and Hiro shuts his eyes as if in prayer. There's something careful in his psychic seeking for the flow of time, and some amount of bracing himself, as if to jump from bridge to fast moving truck top, or white water rapids. His hand doesn't tighten around theirs, as it doesn't need to, no physical wrench involved apart from contact and creating a single unit of bodies for transport. The floor of time and space around them freezes, crystalises, and with a rush of air, all three disappear from the rooftop.

And they do not reappear, even when the sunk sinks completely beyond the horizon, and peeks back up on the other side.

Atlanta, Georgia
June 12, 2004

Something is immediately wrong.

For one thing, Elaine and Colette are alone, all of a sudden.

The air is hot with summer and bright with daylight despite Hiro's instruction that they would be appearing somewhere at the knife edge of twilight. No, it's a brilliant summer's day, sharding in light through high windows of what seems to be a class room, nothing special — in fact, reasonably below par, with pen and knife marks both in the surfaces of desks, aged text books in the shelves — Shakespeare denotes English class. It's emptied entirely, as if it had been fled from in emergency from fire drill or otherwise, with backpacks and messenger bags of students still scattered here and there, the door partially opened. The teachers things upon their desk remain untouched, abandoned.

There's a desk overturned and left on its side, chair skittered off a few feet away, and the disorder of a stampede defines the details of their immediate setting. In the distance, there's the metallic sound of a door getting slammed shut, sounding down corridors. The silence is more defined in the wake of its echo.

The graceless reaction to her first time ever teleporting is when Colette stumbles backwards and then doubles over behind one of the desks, making a gut-wrenching noise as she dry heaves with an arm wrapped around her stomach. Vertigo is a terrible thing, and for the first time ever moving in a non-traditional manner, she hasn't quite got her sea time-legs yet. Huffing out deep breaths, Colette's wide eyes snap around the room, bolting upright when she realizes that she's somewhere— somewhen else.

A fine detail is that her pupils do not adjust to the different light, they stay at a relaxed and somewhat dilated state at all times, by merit of her no longer seeing the world like most people do. She's too afraid to talk, breath feathering out from her mouth as she takes a step backwards and bumps into one of the desks making s scuffing sound against the floor, then whips around to face the noise, the zippers on her backback jingling as she turns sharply to face Elaine.

The redhead isn't so good right away either. She breathes deeply, abruptly notices the change in humidity, and coughs. She's just dizzy, at least, and takes a hand on a desk to keep herself from losing balance. Elaine focuses, eyes shifting about the room quickly. Okay. Shouldn't Hiro be here? Where was Sable? Why was everyone gone?

"Colette…" She moves closer to make sure the other girl's okay, the dizziness being pushed back. She can deal with it. Her feet are still firmly planted on the floor. The iPod shifts safely to a pocket. "I think we need to go outside."

Suddenly, there's the slapping sound of feet running down a corridor just outside the door — two sets, even, the wheezy breathing of someone running in a state of panic. The half opened door is rammed open, bouncing off the shoulder of a young woman skidding in side, her snooki hairdo in pieces of flyaway blonde locks and tears cutting tracks through foundation applied like a pancake as only teenage girls know how. She stops dead in her tracks when she sees Colette and Elaine, her hand gripping the edge of the door, frozen from where she was about to slam it shut behind her.

Her shock registers into nonrecognition, and by the time she's landing her blue eyes on Colette's mismatched eyed, black-clad form and militant garb, she lets out a small shriek of fear, backpedaling into the boy who'd been running with her. He appears just a second after, his dark skin in contrast with the billowing white of his shirt, loose like a sail, and all the better to display the smear of blood that flags at the hem of a low sleeve. "Shit," he curses, in assessment of the two strangers, and he grabs blonde-snooki's arm, wheeling back out, before both take off at a run down the corridor, pitching whimpers echoing after them.

It's started. Whatever it happens to be. There's a hunt going on.

As if to punctuate this idea, a blast of gunfire, indefinite, slices through the quiet that's left behind.

Horror paints itself on Colette's face as she's doubled over, staring at the open door where the running students are scrambling for their lives. The splash of red on the boy's shirt and the reaction of the blonde girl is enough to send chills down Colette's spine. Sucking in a sharp breath, Colette's spine straightens and she wipes her mouth with the bare back of her arm, hands trembling as she looks to Elaine, speechless after the sound of a gunshot ringing out.

Teeth clenching tightly together, Colette boosts up her backpack with a hunch of her shoulders and reaches behind herself, yanking a handgun out of the back of her pants. "Stay behind me," the teen instructs as if she knows what she were doing, evem if adrenaline, fear and a few lessons with Raith on the firing range were going to make this better. Sliding her thumb down over the safety towards the direction of the magazine, Colette readies the gun as she aims it down to the floor, held fast in a double-handed death grip, arm muscles too tense and her stomach flipping in knots.

Striding towards the classroom door as it swings shut in the absence of the fleeing students, Colette presses her shoulder up against it, then looks back to Elaine. "It's going to get dark," she whispers, "stay still and don't make a sound." With that said, it happens exactly like Colette said: suddenly someone turns out the lights.

It's not an instantaneous thing, but more like dying. The world suddenly goes dim in streaks and splotches, slivers of the world going dimmer and dimmer until Elaine is cast into lightless black. To everyone else's perspective, the light around both Colette Nichols and Darrow is bent, refracted around each of them entirely in a way that paints them into the background of the world, rendering them invisible to the naked eye.

Ghosts can open doors in stories told around campfires and Colette Nichols is no exception, pushing the classroom door open with her shoulder, able to see in this lightless fugue by merit of her ability alone. She leaves Elaine on the other side of the door as she braces it open and crouches down beside it, then pops out into the hall to try and see what the source of the noise was.

The only telltale sign of her position is the door being propped open, and the panting wheeze of her terrified breathing.

Elaine can't ignore the fact that the teens were scared, and there was blood somewhere. She silently tries to let her mind search to events, historical things, that might pop into her head as to what it was that could be happening, some hint of help. But she's got nothing. If she had time to prepare she would have researched. Her! Why on earth was it Elaine that ended up here. With gunfire. This was not the kind of thing she could be useful doing.

Filled with fear, she looks quickly back towards Colette, letting the fears and questions and doubts stay in her head and not aloud. She had no training, none at all, not like Colette who at least knew how to hold a gun. Then Colette's giving directions, so Elaine listens. She freezes. She hardly breathes, and she waits. While it might be safer, the redhead now finds herself in the dark, and slightly more alone.

Where the fuck was Hiro?!

Helpfully, the corridor is empty.

As empty as would be expected of a highschool hallway during class hour, except that the open doors of classrooms will contain no one else. Behind her, Colette may see, in the odd manner she does, the black boy helping girlfriend out through the hallway window, desperate enough to get out at that they don't bother seeking the nearest exit. He's through once she is, long legs flailing around until he can hook one up over the sill, and disappear from view entirely as he drops down over the other side. The window slams shut.

Betraying disorder, a trophy cabinet's glass door is smashed enough to spill shards out onto the hallway ground, although nothing is taken from within, random chaos throwing glinting light off broken pieces. But for all of this, the way is clear.

Light returns to Elaine in rippling streaks, like someone was covering a black canvas with acrylic that painted the world into her view. In that same moment, Colette is reaching out to snatch the redhead's wrist in one of her small hands and yanks her ahead into movement as she springs away from the door. Booted feet tread loudly across the tiled floor and past the tropy case, through the broken glass with crunching report. Leading Elaine by the hand, Colette keeps her other hand occupied with the gun pointed down to the floor.

"I don't know what's going on," Colette whispers, crouching down by the wall as they get past the tropy case, squeezing Elaine's wrist gently and looking back up to her, "but they're" mis-matched eyes look to where the kids fled to, "running away from the danger." Looking back to Elaine, Colette's brows furrow worriedly as she takes in a deep breath, keeping her brows lifted as she turns to look further down the hall. The implication she is making is an unspoken one.

We have to go towards the danger.

"Shit," Elaine mutters, letting Colette lead the way. She's at least clearer on what's going on, but the redhead does have her doubts. "If we're looking for Sable, shouldn't she be running away too? I mean, she's hardheaded, but… going up against someone with guns? Do you think this is like Columbine?" She murmurs, though she moves after Colette, in spite of her fears.

A wide-eyed look is fired back to Elaine from Colette, brows going up in worry. Huffing out a steady exhalation of breath, Colette turns to look back down the hall. "I— I don't know…" her hand around Elaine's wrist is trembling. "If Sable ran, than she's safe enough for now. I just— if she isn't safe, then we need to get her out of danger. That— that means— " Colette pushes herself up from her crouch to stand straight again, not needing to finish the sentence that she's too afraid to.

"C'mon," is whispered not only for fear of being overheard, but simply out of fear. For all that Colette is trying to be brave here, the facade is just that, and the tremor in the hand holding Elaine's wrist shows just how fragile she is beneath the surface at the moment. Up and moving, Colette is hustling down the hall past door after door of classrooms, there's no one shooting here, if Sable is tucked away under a desk or in a closet (shut up) than she's safer than where the sounds of danger are coming from and they can find her later.

The only problem is, there's no sign of Hiro.

"We'll be okay," Elaine murmurs, perhaps for her own benefit. "We make it back and save the day. Otherwise things would have changed already…" Well, she's not sure if the logic is accurate, but it's a saving grace. Perhaps a bit of a placebo. She moves with Colette, her voice staying low. "Lets figure out what's going on, at least. Then we need to find Sable."

Another gunshot goes off, so loud in its echo that it may as well have gone off right next to their ears, is how close it is. But there's no sound of running, this time, and no cry of pain follows it — a sandy sound of plaster coming down, maybe a misfire. Maybe not. As they come up to the corner, a quick peek confirms yet another empty hallway, but an administrative area as well, glass windows, an empty desk, and the murmuring sound of weeping, as constant as a babbling brook.

And then, like a signal, Sable's voice follows the crack of the gun. Too echoey to catch phrases, but coming past the receptionist desk, not all the way to teachers officers but echoing out from the sickbay. Shadows suggest themselves against the door frame of the nurse's office, someone moving inside.

Recoiling like a dog once swatted with a newspaper that knows the sting when they see it raised again, Colette drops into a crouch in the middle of the hallway and then scrambles across the floor in that crouch, practically dragging Elaine along behind her until she comes up to bump against the reception desk, staying crouched behind it. Colette's chest rises and falls sharply as she breathes in and out at rapid pace. Clenching her jaws, Colette releases Elaine's wrist and pops up from behind the desk, swinging her gun around to aim over the top. Her hands shake, the zippers on her backpack rattle as her shoulders shake and she takes one creeping step after another to the side.

"Elaine," Colette looks over to the redhead, "I'm— going to— " she cuts herself off, sucking in a sharp breath, "you grab Sable the second you see her. Drag her out of there if you have to. I'm— I'm going to handle everything else. Just— just make sure she's safe." There's a pleading tone there, handing Elaine the responsibility of making sure Sable is safe and alive.

But there's also no one to back Elaine up, because as Colette moves to lead the way into the nurse's office and sickbay of the school, the teenager is fading from view. Color streaks and bleeds from her body as she paints herself into the background, fading into invisibility as she moves to the doorway, breathes in deeply, and then kicks the door open with a slam of her boot, plowing inwards with the motion as she swings her gun up to the left, then the right, praying that being invisible will give her that moment's edge to not die.

The entrance to the nurses office is guarded by a desk, but the rest of the room opens up beyond, to the left of it. The room beyond is partially hidden by the wall's intercession, but the truncated bands of light that peek around the corner indicate that there is a fair bit of space that's out of view. What Colette can see, though, is a very frightened boy of maybe fourteen, who is standing with his hands lifted, shoulder-height, in a half hearted 'hands up'. His eyes, wide and blue, stare at the door that his just mysteriously swung open with such speed and sound.

"The fuck was that?" is not something he says. He says nothing at all, pale and silent, but his eyes cut over to what must be the source of the voice. A voice both clearly heard and, despite its lack of strange folksiness or exaggerated accent, familiar. Sable's.

And it's Sable's yellow eyes, framed by a bob's length of shaggy hair, that pokes around the corner, scowling at the open door. Just a lean and a suspicious, wild eyed look, once that traces the seemingly empty air before being turned on the boy. "You see something, Pete? What the fuck was that?" There's a jagged edge to her voice, a tension that sound less like anger and more like sustained fury. She steps towards the boy, Pete, who is shaking his head, and also just shaking. The reason why becomes visible as soon as Sable steps into view. Clad in a denim jacket, too big for her tiny frame, hem hanging down over camo-pattered fatigues. Patches are sewn onto the jacket's sleeves, which hang low around her wrists, small hands looking a bit dwarfed by the pistol she's carrying.

She's a kid. Just thirteen. She looks it.

Sable lifts the gun and waves it with vague intention but all-too-real menace. "You keep the fucking lookout, arright? Don't shit your pants, Jesus! Your gonna be fine if you don't do something fucking stupid." She glances again at the open door, eyes narrowing, and then she slides out of view again.

The moment she does, though, she becomes audible again. Voice rising into dictatorial volume.

"Three fucking years. I've been here three years. I been in here, after I get fucking pounded. You gotta put me down in your book or whatever, right? And you…" her voice cracks into mirthless laughter for a moment, a unpleasant, crazy, desperate sound, "you don't know my name? BULLSHIT." There's the sound of a woman, older maybe, crying out, sobbing. Maybe starting to speak, but cut off. "What is my name you sack of shit?"

The snatches of a familiar voice cause Elaine's eyes to widen. Sable's here. Well, not here here, but close. She follows Colette, letting out a held breath. The redhead nods, looking quickly back towards the direction the voice had emanated from. "I'll guard her with my life." She murmurs, glancing about as the other teenager moves forward. With Colette dealing with opening the door, her eyes are peeled, waiting for sight of Sable as she appeared in six years ago… which would be now.

Her eyes grow wide as she notices the shaggy hair and yellow eyes of her friend. She stares. And while she was supposed to drag Sable out, while she was supposed to protect her… the kid's got a pistol. Fuck. Fuck. How is she supposed to deal with this? She's got a gun, for Christsake! Were they already too late? They were too late. They had to be. Her heart falls to the pit of her stomach and she shrinks back a little. She'll wait. She can't do anything else but wait.

The invisible monster in the doorway suddenly has the wind knocked out of her sails. There's silence in that span of doorway where nothing seems to stand, only the sound of strangled breathing and one choking attempt to swallow. Suddenly, nothing in the whole world makes any sense. There's a hiccuped sound and something choked back in the doorway, confusion and emotion breaking the girl who does not exist.

Only the sound of booted feet moving indicates that Colette didn't disappear from history entirely in that indecision, emotion and fear. When she steps into the nurse's office she's a ghost again, eyeing the lookout appointed to watch the door, just a tiny kid. She shifts in place, just a touch, dust on the floor disturbed, one red smudge appearing where blood on the bottom of her boot tracks on the tile.

What happened, happened. It's the only way she can get through with what she does next.

The force of the butt of her handgun coming down on top of that boy's head is fierce enough to split skin, draw blood and drop him down to his knees. But the boy doesn't fall, all Elaine can see is his head split open an inch long, he slouches forward and then hangs in the air limply, depression of fingers over his mouth dipling his skin. Unconscious or not, Colette sharply whispers like some terrible phantom into his ear, "Say nothing."

Then everything for that boy is darkness, conscious or not.

After swallowing the young teen into photokinetic invisibility, bloodied bootprints track across the tile and around to where Sable is, droplets of blood appearing on the tile as they fall from where Colette's gun had impacted the kid's head.

What happened, happened.

It's like a mantra for her, she came back, this all happened before, Sable is still Sable. Moving hastily towards the sound of the familiar voice, Colette tries not to think about what she's doing, and instead just does. "Sable Diego!" is sharply called out from where Colette stands, unseen, praying to lure the gun-toting teen away from the people she's threatening the lives of.

What happened, happened.

It's getting harder to believe by the minute.

Spooked would be the word. Sable spins around the moment Colette speaks what name she's got for her, the motion of the gun and the motion of her eyes suggesting, both at once, that she's trying to line up a shot and that she isn't very good at doing that. Of course, it might be easier if she had anything to aim at. But there's no one there. Not even ol' Petey. Who went… where?

"PETE!" Sable shouts, voice kept from booming only by the strain in it, the clear streak of fear that mixed badly with the anger already present. "Where the fuck are you, you son of a bitch? I told you not to go and do something stupid!" The fear begins to transmute into further rage as a catalyst, a sense of betrayal, makes its way into the foul alchemy stirring in the girl's mind. But panic is the side product. Sable gives another laugh, nervous, unhinged. She turns back to the woman, the nurse herself, it looks like, who is kneeling on the ground while a small group of other frightened people stand up against the wall, under the high windows. Two young men, maybe from the high school section, a girl whose makeup is runny from tears, and an older man wearing a button up shirt, its armpits dark with perspiration.

"Was I fucking hearing things?" Sable inquires, the tinge of panic expressing itself in her voice as well. Both her arms are extended, pointing the gun at the kneeling woman's chest. "N- no," the nurse says, between heaving sobs she tries to gulp down, "I- I said- I said-." "Said what? You said that? That didn't sound like you?" Sable's interrogation sounds less interested in finding information than simply making this woman scared. It works. She starts weeping openly. And that's when Sable begins again. "What," she says, evidently trying to sound cooly menacing but more sounding like she's having a tough time breathing, words thin and breathy, "The Fuck. Is my name. Bitch?"

The nurse uses the only clue she has available. "S- Sable Diego…" is her submission. Sable narrows her eyes, the muzzle of her weapon drifting from side to side, panning across the width of the woman's shoulders. "Hey, Mr. Shithead," she inquires, glancing briefly at the older man, "think I should give her half credit?" She follows this witticism with a smile that's thin like a twisted wire. Her eyes return to the nurse, and the smile is bent down at the corners.

The gun takes a shaky course downwards, halts, steadies slightly. And then gives a sharp report that is deafening as it echoes off the tile. The nurse screams as a lead slug buries itself in her thigh. Red wells up and she falls forward, forehead striking the floor, as she cries out piteously, clutching her leg.

Sable's expression is one of blank disbelief. A tint of green enters her cheeks as blood starts to pool.

This didn't happen. It didn't. But it did. It wasn't supposed to, and that much Elaine was sure of. Hiro got it wrong. He did it wrong. That's why he wasn't there. It was fucked up. This is exactly what Elaine was terrified of happening. It was wrong. She watches, quietly, as she notices Colette's quiet actions on the kid. That was her, she's sure of it. And then there was Sable's voice, and gunfire.

Her hands are trembling now. If she wasn't scared before, she's scared now. They were there to fix this. But it already happened. So, Elaine figures, there are two things they need to do, at least, right now. The first was to get Sable out, safe, alive. The second was to figure out how the fuck to fix this. How to let Sable be Sable without messing up the rest of time. She sucks in a deep breath, gathering her senses about her. What to do in times of trouble?


The deep breath is released, and Elaine's fingers feel for the iPod. Alright. If she had to get through to Sable, how could she do it? She already knows two things that are floating in the back of her mind, two distinct things she knows are there in Sable no matter what. She lets out a tiny breath, testing her voice, just a little to make sure it doesn't crack or tremble with fear. She doesn't need the music, it's a song she knows. And she's pretty sure Sable knows it. She raises her voice, clear and loud. Perhaps it's stupid, or perhaps it's brilliant, she has no fucking clue at this point. In the best, strongest, clearest singing voice she can muster, she begins.

"When I find myself in times of trouble, mother Mary comes to me,
speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
And in my hour of darkness she is standing right in front of me,
speaking words of wisdom, let it be."

Elaine's voice isn't the only music sounding out.

Far distanced though it is, the wail of a police siren and ambulance both create wolfhowl calls through the urban-burbs of summery Atlanta. There's still some distance between them and it, but when it comes to the cry of the authorities coming down on your heads, it's only a matter of time. Somewhere, blue and red lights are flashing, and they've already cleared some space outside.

A shuddering breath comes as Colette only now relaxes from staring down the barrel of a gun trained directly at her. When there's a gunshot that isn't for her, Colette flinches, the movement noticed in the smudge of tacky blood beneath where her boots are on the tile floor, the tell-tale sign of her presence.

Everything about this is wrong, terribly wrong, but if what Hiro had said is true and that they would be cleaning up the mess of the past with mind wipes and all sorts of psychic chicanery, who's to say that this isn't what happened? Once more, and this time as a whisper, Colette mutters her mantra.

"Whatever happened, happened."

With Elaine singing, Colette creeps in closer to the room where Sable is carrying a loaded gun, to the room where she's behaving anything like the young woman she knows, like the person she could ever actually care about. She's going to save Sable, even if she has to do something unthinkable in order to do it.

Stepping to the side, Colette moves just out of the way enough to allow Sable space to pass by her and investigate the source of the singing.

Elaine has become bait.

The ear-ringing report of the gunshot can only add to the growing sense of unreality that falls over the young woman with the pistol. First a phantom voice saying a name that she does not know is hers. Then the impossible fact that bright, red blood is gathering in such darkness, such gleaming, on the hexagonal tiles the cover the flood, creating a spreading honeycomb of red around the edges of the pool. And now… singing? It is perhaps much too late for the yellow eyed girl to ask herself if she's going crazy. But that is what she asks. She glances at the remaining hostages, eyes going from face to face, frantic, uncertain. Not the way you want someone with a gun to look at you.

"Y'all stay here," she says, "you try anything, I'll fuck you up, I swear." But the rising sounds of sirens disrupt the tiny bubble of authority she has established her, and when one of the young men glances towards the window, from which the sound is filtering, the yellow eyed girl lifts her pistol and fires into the ceiling again. "Fucking look at me!" She cries out, desperation giving her voice a harsh edged waver. "I won't be ignored!" Her eyes, pricked with a moisture that does not soften the madness of her expression one bit, fall to the nurse, who, despite her medical training, is doing no more than rocking back and forth, weeping openly.

"My name," the yellow eyed girl hisses, "is Raven fucking Diego."

Raven brandishes her pistol at the nurse, though the wounded woman is not looking. She eyes her captive audience one more time before finally turning, starting to stalk out to investigate the source of the singing… assuming it's not just in her head. She pauses as her foot, clad in ragged sneakers, skids against the bloody footprint on the ground. Luckily, she is too far gone to imagine this as more than just another flourish added to this rapidly shifting nightmare. Haggard, pistol gripped in white knuckles that, at glance, appear to have letters inked onto them, the girl called Raven walks right past the invisible intruder, following the sound of the music.

"Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be.
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be."

Elaine's voice continues, loud and strong. She's aware that Sable, or rather Raven, is coming closer by the sound of her voice and the way it echoes. So she continues, the siren song to bring the thirteen-year-old to her side. It's all she can do. Besides, if The Beatles can't help Sable, who can?

"And when the broken hearted people living in the world agree,
there will be an answer, let it be.
For though they may be parted there is still a chance that they will see,
there will be an answer. Let it be."

Elaine Darrow keeps singing. She's going to keep singing until Sable heads right over to her. Then she's going to see if she can, peacefully, get Sable to let go of the gun. Unfortunately, she has no idea what Colette's planning on doing. Planning is hard to do in times like these.

Unfortunately, there really isn't a plan.

With gun gripped firmly in one hand, Colette ghots back in following Sable's movements towards the door, staying as backed up to the wall as she can with her backpack of jingling zippers still on. With Sable distracted by the sounds of Elaine's singing, Colette circles behind the younger brunette. She's young, she's smaller than Colette right now, she may not have manifested her ability — whatever it is — this might actually work.

Already Colette can feel a phantom pain in her side where the soreness of stitches long since gone spur on a memory of a time and place that isn't here, a memory of the future in a way.

Rubbing at her side with one hand, Colette spreads her socked feet apart on the thin mat, widening her stance to feet a shoulder's width apart. Shaking back her bangs from her face, she stares across at the taller, older, and more severe-looking woman standing in front of her. "Okay," Colette murmurs with a nod, "I'm ready."

"Disarming an armed opponent is about not giving them the advantage to do harm to you or anyone else around you," Hana explains with her brows furrowed and shoulders squared. "You close the distance between your opponent while at the same time moving whatever they're armed with away from your body. The key is to keep momentum going. You don't need to be bigger than an opponent to take them down." Then, nodding to Colette, Hana adds, "Now, come at me."

When Sable lifts out her gun and trains it down on Elaine, Colette makes her move, utilizing the cover of her unseen frame to ambush the younger girl. Booted feet squeak wetly in the blood on the floor, and just as Sable's gun seems to hone in on the redhead does it jerk to the side. Dimpling flesh shows the grip of a hand that isn't there. The invisible monster makes its move.

Stepping forward with knife in hand, Colette advances on Hana with trepidation. That she's afraid doesn't seem to matter to the Lioness of the Ferrymen, for when her knife is raised, Hana is clearing the distance with graceful effortlessness and seemingly no force withheld. One hand wrenches around Colette's wrist, levering it away from herself, even as Hana's body twists to wrap Colette's arm around her shoulder, turning her back to the teen and driving her elbow into Colette's midsection with a sudden expulsion of the teen's breath.

Sable jerks forward as there's a slapping sound at her stomach, her feet lifting up off of the ground as her wrist bends at a sharp and paunful angle, the too-large handgun wrested from her to fall freely to the floor. In that same motion, Sable continues to lift off of her feet, seeming to hoist herself into the air, flip head over heels, and then careen through the air.

Leveraged by the momentum of her own forward movement, Colette is yanked up off of her feet by the elbow planted in her stomach and flung over Hana's shoulders, flipping through the air before slamming down flat on her back on the mat, the hand her knife had been in twisted at a painful angle, the knife itself discarded on the floor at her side. Staring up at the ceiling through the spots in her vision, Colette tries to catch her breath, even as Hana's darkly dressed figure steps into view, looking down at her and offering a hand to help her up.

"Get up."

Striking the floor with her back, Sable is laid out by the sweeping motion of what looked like some sort of impossible acrobatics. Flickering splotches of color gutter and fade into view looming over the fallen teen and without clear focus on her ability, Colette suddenly fades into view as swaths of color are painted back into the world; stark blacks and pale peach, the colors of cloth and flesh and eyeliner smudged by watery eyes. Not far away, Pete fades into view as well, a silent form curled into a ball on the floor with a bloody split at his hairline.

"I'm sorry," Colette offers, maybe more to Elaine than Sable, her visage flickering for a moment before she fades away in a watery swirl of colors again, once more unseen. In that motion, Sable's arm is twisted, more to the proper direction it belongs in as she's hoisted up from the ground,t he front of her shirt tugging forward, curled into by unseen fingers. Her sleight weight is wrenched around, she rises up onto her toes and chin is lifted up. Only then does Colette gutter back into existance again, revealing that her chin is raised because Colette has Sable's neck trapped between forearm and bicep, standing behind the dark-haired young woman to keep her in that firm chokehold.

The Sable she knows would make a joke about foreplay. This really isn't a joking matter though, evidenced by the handgun barrel pressed under Sable's chin. "Stay quiet, don't fight, and come with us." Colette isn't thinking straight, she isn't even really thinking at all now. All she has to go on is the assignment from Hiro, the mission to try and change this girl's life for the better, but she can't even imagine how to do that now as she holds a gun to her, one that she knows she could never — ever — pull the trigger on.

"Elaine," is hissed out over Sable's shoulder as Colette stares wide-eyed at the redhead, "we— we have— we have to go."

Go help Sable escape the police, after her gun-toting rampage through wherever this is.

Joseph was right.

Manifestation or no, the girl who will hopefully yet become Sable can only dodge what she can see coming. The attack goes off flawlessly as Raven's sheer shock prevents anything like resistance as she is, in a series of quick, efficient motions, disarmed and driven to the ground. The most sound she's able to make is a startled yelp, before the wind is driven out of her. She looks up at the looming Colette it total astonishment as she bleeds into view, and mouths something that she doesn't have breath to voice. By the time she's got her air back, there's a gun to her chin, and there is no possible way Raven could know that Colette wasn't totally capable of plugging her.

There's mostly just fear left, now. It's like the anger was pushed out of her, bad humors drawn out by Elaine's singing, and exorcised by Colette's precise blows. Though it may have just sunk out of view. Optimism is not easily bought when the clearest sounds are a woman's suffering moans and the wail of sirens.

"I know."

Elaine moves, taking the gun off of the floor. She's never used one before, but she knows well enough to find the safety and turn that on, carefully slipping the gun into a pocket where it can, hopefully, not go off and she can get to it if she needs it. She's praying she doesn't need to.

She turns to Sable first. "I know this is weird and stuff, but we're here to make sure you make it out of this okay, understand? Trust me. Think of us as guardian angels or something." Her gaze flickers to Colette. "If I hold her, can you do that thing again and guide us both out? I don't think we'll be able to sneak past otherwise. The sirens sound too close." Her gaze goes back to Sable. "I'm serious, you listen to me and you listen good. We are going to help you, got it? No 'but's." She's speaking in an almost motherly tone.

The stumbling patter of footfalls again echoes through the hallway, leaving beind blood smears and the softer cries coming from the nurse's station, and one pale face peeks around the edge of the door in wide-eyed worry and stupid confusion at the sight of the two young women mandhandling the much younger girl between them and for the nearest exit. When two boys in blue move with the whud-thud of polished shoes cracking through broken glass, the chirp and beep of their radios and guns drawn, their attention skims by where the girls huddled in refracted light up against the lockers.

One of them merely glances over a shoulder as weight lets off metal, and upon seeing nothing, continues on his way. By the time investigations for the day are coming to a close, it will be well into dusk.

And it will be well into dusk when Elaine and Colette realise that they're still alone.

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