I'm Actual


elaine3_icon.gif robyn6_icon.gif

Scene Title I'm Actual
Synopsis Now I shadow my former self...
Date February 1, 2021

Kaleidoscope Studios
Robyn's Apartment

February 1st, 2021
7:12 pm

The last few months have seen Robyn Roux settling into a very distinct ritual for her daily life. Wake up, get Matthew to school, make her way to Fort Jay or Raytech, play games on her phone on the ferry ride to the office if needed, suffer through paperwork and check ins, play games on her phone on the ferry ride from the office if needed, pick up Matthew, come home. It's nothing too unusual by most standards.

At least, not until she got home. Sure, there were matters of dinner, helping Matthew with his homework if he needed it, cleaning and dishes if necessary, playing video games with Matthew if he wanted the company (or by herself if she felt daring). But if none of those were more pressing? That's when it got really fun for her.

Robyn's exercise and practice hour was a common time filler after work, and like the rest of her routine, it consisted of normal exercises and activities - running up and down stairs, pull ups and push ups, using the exercise bike, or practicing her hand to hand capabilities. In the wake of her near death experience the previous year, though, she'd taken up a number of new hobbies, and they show in various ways in her exercise room.

A dart board pinned with throwing knives rather than darts. An archery target on a pedestal for practicing her aim with an airsoft pistol, particularly in the wake of regaining her proper vision. Or perhaps most strangely, the set of three swords hung on the wall - her old swordcane, a more european blade, and a curved Eastern sword.

Swordsmanship was not something she had ever expected to take up, much less something like the iaidō she now has several books about. After her encounter with Sadler and the fact that the concealed sword she had purchased saved her life, it seemed like a no brainer to learn how to properly wield such a weapon. And that's what she's doing today.

With that curved sword in both hands, she has spent the last few minutes centering herself as tonight's practice comes to an end. It's only then that she remembers that she never picked up anything for dinner.


With the sword still in hand, Robyn turns around and picks up her motorcycle helmet, pushing the door open and stepping out into the hallway. "Matthew?" she calls out, turning and slowly making her way towards the living room. "I'm going out to the store. Did you want to come?"

The voice that answers isn't Matthew. Nor is it coming from the direction of Matthew's room.

"Before you panic, I'm not in any mortal danger or anything." Elaine stands in the living room, set of keys in hand. She holds it up as an explanation. "Sorry, I let myself in. You never picked these up, so… I hope it's not overstepping or anything." While it's been a while since the two have seen each other, she remains mostly the same. The same, that is, save for the tinge of tiredness that seems to make her look a bit older.

Thankfully, her youthfulness still manages to make it look less like age and more like maturity. Dressed in a knee-length lavender A-line dress under a grey peacoat, the redhead tucks the set of keys away back into her pocket before offering a small smile. Perhaps a bit of a sad one. "Brought a game for Matthew, but I don't know if he's already got it. He can always return it and get a different one."

She shifts her weight, eyes glancing towards Robyn, but not quite at her. "You look good."

When Robyn first hears a voice that isn't Matthew, there's little more she can do other then panic, despite the insistence not to. The owner doesn't register to her, just the presence of someone who isn't her son. Sword raised in one hand, she grits her teeth and starts into the living room, ready to-



It takes the duration of Elaine's explanation for Robyn to approach not being on edge, standing there with a sword raised in one hand and a motorcycle helmet in the other; it never occurs to her how utterly idiotic or ridiculous she must look in that moment. Instead, all that occurs to her is that her ex-fiance is in her house.

"What the fuck, Elaine?" The tone brims on anger, but the ones that follow come off quieter, more frustrated than anything else. "I am so glad I didn't have my gun!" The weapon lowers and Robyn tosses the helmet on to the couch. "Though I guess that explains where that key went. I'd been wondering."

It's been since Robyn had stopped by to pick up Matthew after leaving the hospital following her coma since she last saw Elaine, and the result is a long, somewhat uncomfortable silence. "You do too," she finally mutters, unsure of how else to respond. Her free hand rises up, running down her face with a sigh.

"What're you doing here, 'Lainey? This is the last place I expected you to ever turn up."

"It's going to sound really strange but… you're grounding."

Elaine's hand rubs at the back of her neck, her gaze going towards the floor. "We've known each other for a long time. Even if things aren't always great and have been pretty rocky over the years, you're still something that feels a little centering. You're something familiar in the midst of things shaking up."

She lifts her gaze from the floor and levels it on Robyn, calm despite the other woman's anger and frustration. "Have you watched the news?" She pauses for a very brief moment immediately after. "I'm sorry, I honestly didn't mean to barge in or anything, if this is a bad time I could…"

She trails off, never bothering to finish the sentence.

"Grounding?" That feels a bit surreal to Robyn, even though she knows Elaine is right - they have known each other a long time, and they are both familiar to each other. But that was before Robyn had told her so long, and goodnight almost exactly a year ago.

She figured that would be the last time she saw her.

And yet.

Exhaling a breath she didn't realise she was holding, Robyn musters a small smile. "Take a seat. Let me, uh. Let me put this away." The sword, she means. "Matthew, change of plans! We're ordering take away tonight." Because there certainly won't be time for the grocery store anymore.

"Yeah, of course," Elaine replies, moving to make her way towards the nearest seat. "Sorry, I really should have found some way to give you a heads up before just showing up like this. I've made this incredibly awkward." She exhales a breath as well, but it sounds like it's one she's been holding since before she'd even arrived.

"You know, if you want me to leave you don't have to sit and listen to me ramble. It's just… a request. If you don't mind."

There's silence for a moment before Elaine hears a door shut and Robyn comes walking back into view. "Matthew will be thrilled you're here. He likes you, you know. Asks after you occasionally." It's a very matter of fact statement, but certainly not an untrue one.

"It's- fine, I guess. I just am always a little on edge since last year." Looking where Elaine's positioned herself on the couch, Robyn moves to another spot about at the bend in the L-shaped piece of furniture. "I try to catch the news every night. Why, what's up?"

"I'm glad he hasn't forgotten me," Elaine notes, though it's clear her thoughts are elsewhere. She takes a moment or two to try and find some sort of comfortable position on the couch, but she doesn't seem to be able to find something that does the trick. Instead, she perches on the edge of the cushion, her hands smoothing down the fabric of her dress. She shrugs out of her coat, doing her best to use the effort to distract her from her own thoughts.

"Did you hear about Kimiko? Ms. Nakamura?"

"The Yamagato CEO?" Robyn raises a curious eyebrow, leaning forward a bit where she sits, but hands clasped in front of her and resting against her legs. "Of course. It was a topic of discussion at SESA for days." There's a beat, and Robyn looks off to the side.

"She was your boss, wasn't she." Not a question, this is something she knows as fact and something she had never considered before now. "It must be a rough time over there right now, then. I heard the Mugai-Ryu are coming in, which is… crazy on it's own."

"It's a little chaotic, yes. No one really has an idea of how things are going to go. Everything's a bit up in the air." She doesn't seem to dwell on the subject of Yamagato, but on Kimiko herself.

"I didn't just lose a boss, I lost a friend," Elaine notes, looking at her feet for a moment. "You and I weren't really talking at the time so I didn't really get to tell you. She'd met my mother. It's not really my story to tell, it's hers but… she'd met her. Kimiko believed in me. I had my job because she did. She took a chance and gave me a job even though I'm certainly not the most experienced for the position. She seemed to think I was capable of greater things even when I didn't feel like it. I've worked so hard in the past year or so to prove she believed in me for a reason."

She shakes her head. "It feels like I lost my family all over again. I imagine she's the closest thing to an older sister I ever got the chance to experience and it's… too soon. She died too soon. I would have liked to know her better. Family is…" Elaine trails off, then clears her throat again. "Anyway, I just needed to feel grounded again. Everything's just so up in the air and I've been throwing myself into my work that it feels like everything just died with her."

As Elaine regales her with the reason for why she's here of all places, Robyn's eyes angle down at the floor. She's never thought about how Kimiko's death would impact those around her; to Robyn she was just another tech CEO and Hiro Nakamura's probably estranged sister. There's no one comparable in her life to that, and for a moment she finds it hard to truly empathise with Elaine. Except…

No, this is how she'd be if someone like Gillian died. Not a boss, but the rest of it tracks.

"I'm sorry, 'Lainey," she remarks quietly. Truthfully. "I had no idea you were so close to her." The cynical part of her wonders if this is what will finally bring Hiro back out of the woodwork, but the more present and sane part of her… "If I'd known, I might've reached out. And now I know to reach out to Kaydence too."

Someone else Robyn hadn't thought about how this might affect them.

"I'm glad someone believed in you, though. You deserve that."

There’s a small laugh from Elaine at the mention of reaching out.

“It’s not as if we’re particularly close these days, I wouldn’t expect you to go out of your way to talk to me for that.” She does, after a brief pause, offer a smile. “But thank you anyways. The thought is appreciated.”

Elaine continues to rub at the back of her neck, as if it were stiff… or simply something to do with nervous energy. “I’d explain more about why Kimiko meant a lot to me, but I’m pretty sure the NDA I signed would come back to bite me somehow. But suffice to say… she and I were connected in a way I had no idea about for a very long time. I wish I could have talked with her about it more. If I had known…"

She pauses. “Life is short, I guess. It could happen to any of us.”

There's a small snort from Robyn, still looking down at the floor as she shakes her head. "You're worried about an NDA with me?" A small chuckle escapes her lips, no mind paid to the fact that her entire house could function as a Yamagato Listening Post with all the branded security devices she has installed.

"You don't have to tell me," Robyn clarifies, thumbs running over each other. "But don't worry about NDAs with me. I could share some shit too, to make it even." Which probably isn't the smartest offer, but there it is.

"You're right though, life is short." Teeth toy at her lower lip, and she sighs. "I mean, I really shouldn't even be alive myself. I'm sorry about Kimiko. I don't… really know what else to say," she admits, finally looking up at Elaine.

"Hey, it was a big deal at the time. I didn't want to cost myself my job or dig myself into a hole with the Deveaux Society," Elaine points out. "Not that I don't trust you or anything, it's just… quite a bit of a story to recount. If you're interested, I can give you the short version, but you'd probably want to keep it quiet since I don't entirely know the significance of it all. A bit above my realm of experience in life, regardless of what I've seen."

She presses her lips together in a single line. "I don't honestly don't know what to say about her either. She was the one who believed in me and took a chance with me giving me this job. She encouraged me to get a graduate degree to pursue my career further… without her, I'm not entirely sure what my professional future is going to be. Some bits of me look great on paper and others don't. I could be replaced and then what would I do?"

"The Deveaux Society?" Robyn shows recognition of the name, but seems otherwise perplexed. "Richard's mentioned them a few times, I'm- sure you'd be fine. God, I still need to track down Sabra and talk to her about…" Her mom, which is a whole can of worms Robyn isn't ready to broach.

"I'm good at keeping things quiet," she remarks after a moment, turning to look back down at the floor. "Screw NDAs. I've been doing it for years. Honestly, I do it every day, even with Matthew." There's so many things she wishes she could tell her son that she doesn't dare, much less the wider world.

She lingers on that for a moment before looking up at the TV. "You'll be fine," she says quietly, hands balling up against each other. "You're an amazingly personable and knowledgeable individual, and your ability is both a perk and something that allows you to fit in very well there. And… if they're dumb and let you go? I know someone who's trying to spin up a news station. It's a weird sidestep, but I bet you'd be valuable there too."

"The abbreviated version is that we found some of my mother's memories and it turns out that she'd known Kimiko as a child. That's the short version. The long version involves the Company, the whole crossing-between-worlds thing, and I guess, in a sense, also overlays." Elaine gives a sheepish smile, then rubs the back of her neck as she looks at her feet again.

"Fingers are crossed that they don't let me go for some reason or lock me up in some shitty job where I don't do anything impactful or useful. But I legitimately appreciate the help if I end up losing my whole career somehow." She winces. "I might be catastrophizing a bit, but everything got abruptly shaken up and I'm not really sure what in my life is even something to ground myself a bit." She pauses.

"But you're still around."

"'Lainey…" Robyn's hand runs down her face as she sits back against the couch, this time looking up towards the ceiling. There's a thousand responses bubbling in the back of her head, but none of them feel good. Few of them appropriate. Instead, she sweeps them aside to concentrate on something else.

"I've heard… a bit about the 80s cross over. Not really much, but… wait." Still looking upwards, her brow stitches together as some pieces slowly float into place in her head. "That means your mom was Company. I wonder if my mom knew her? Or…'" Her lips thin, hands tugging at her jeans for lack of something else to do. "Wait. Is your mom like Richard, then?" See, this is what she means by screw NDAs. "Either way is wild."

She falls silent again. "There's not really much I can offer you if Yamagato falls through other than some contacts." It's a note that comes with a hint of reticence, but over what exactly isn't clear.

"She came over. With Kimiko. So there was a link there. I would have liked to find out more, but I'd never tried to ask her again. It was… complicated. But I felt she treated me extra kindly because of it," Elaine shakes her head a little. "Would have been kind of strange if they'd met, yeah? I bet they never would have guessed we'd be sitting here now. Was nice to see my mom in some way again, though. I saw her look in a mirror in the memory and I'd forgotten how pretty she was."

She looks down slightly. "Yeah, I know. Not asking you to save the day, but you seem to know everyone. So if things fall through, pointing me in the right direction helps. I just… don't want to lose my job. It's pretty much my life. It is my life."

"Yeah. It's always nice to see mom again." This is about the point where Robyn needs something either very stiff or very smooth to drink, and she has neither. It's a problem. "Kimiko, though? I… never would have guessed." Not from what little she knew of the Nakamuras after all these years. "It's weird to be sitting with anyone that mom knew. God, if I could talk to Hana again…" The fact that her mother and Hana's mentor had been so close is still baffling to her, even if Hana would brush it off as inconsequential.

"It shouldn't be," is a slow, measured response. "I mean, work is important. Your work is important, most of all to you, but.. Don't let work eat you whole. It did that to me once, and we saw where that got me." With almost no friends, a surly 'no fun allowed' attitude, and with a massive chip on her shoulder she still carries. "I mean, despite what some people may think, we are young still. Hell, at least you are."

Oh right, there's almost ten years between them.

"Young, sure, but you grow up fast when you have to," Elaine says, then nods in the direction of Matthew's room. "I'm glad he's got at least something to keep him from just being forced into the complicated problems of the world out there. He's got you. He's lucky." There's a long pause before she looks back to Robyn.

"Too late about the work thing, though. It's already my life. Kimiko placed trust in me and so I've been doing my best to prove myself. To prove I can do a job that someone with way more experience and knowledge is suited for. Honestly, that's all I've got going for me if my job ends up being passed over to someone else. Hard work and a hell of a lot of passion. Hell, I've even been doing a graduate program for the last year to try and up the credentials of my position. Maybe it's not great to become a workaholic but it's basically the only place I feel really needed anymore. It's a sense of purpose. Something I'm good at."

Purpose. That word sticks in Robyn's mind like it's made of glue. Purpose. What was hers? The nebulous idea of helping people? Matthew? Her brain gets hung up, leaving her quiet for a long and quite possibly uncomfortable moment as she stares vacantly up at the ceiling. She'd barely felt like her life had a purpose since the war. That was why she'd thrown herself into her work so hard.

"It's never too late," she replies quietly, both to Elaine and to herself. "To find new purpose. Shared purpose. Something." Nostrils flare and she exhales harshly. "I just don't want you to work yourself into an early grave, 'Lainey."

This, knowing people have said the same about her.

"Matthew is- he's as good for me as I am for him. We're both lucky." That's how she sees it at least. "Kimiko placed trust in you because she believed in you." Probably. "I doubt she meant for it to become your everything." There's a beat and Robyn shakes her head. "I'm sorry. I'm- trying to speak for someone I don't even know. Just… ignore me."

"At least I'd work myself into an early grave doing something I cared about doing," Elaine says with a shrug, but she smiles wryly. "That's something, right? Better than having died during the war or something like that." She glances down at her dress and smooths out a wrinkle. "But no, you're right. She did believe in me. Honestly, more than I've ever believed in myself. She saw something in me I couldn't and it was… kind of freeing, honestly. Probably because I believed her. She gave me no reason not to."

There is, perhaps, a bit of a mist to Elaine's eyes. "Maybe you don't know her, but you're definitely right. She'd appreciate the hard work but I think she'd want me to diversify my interests. Have a bit of a life." She offers another smile, but it's still a bit of a sad one. "I'm really sorry about the surprise appearance. I just… needed to see you. Even if that sounds kind of lame, I really did. The more things change, the more they stay the same."

Robyn is quiet, still focused on her ceiling as Elaine talks. "We're never going to escape each other's orbits, are we." Again quiet and measured, as if judging each word for if it should be spoken. "Even our parents might have been in each other's orbits." Letting out a small huff, Robyn sits back up, hands still folded into her lap. "It's… fine, I guess. Stay for dinner. Matthew will be thrilled."

It's hard to tell if Robyn herself will be too, but at least she doesn't seem opposed to the idea.

"I almost died last year," seems like a rather dark non-sequitur. "That forced me to reevaluate some things. I've been… trying out new hobbies, new distractions since then." A glance is given to the motorcycle helmet. "That's one," she notes with a motion of her hand. "The sword I had- I've been studying swordsmanship. Both because the sword I had in my cane is probably what saved me and Matthew, and because it's… calming. Centering. There's ceremony around it. And it's nice to know another way to defend myself."

Not that she has designs to walk around the street open carrying a sword any time soon.

"It's never too late to diversify," seems to be her ultimate point here. "To find something new, even if it's just a distraction."

“Maybe orbits aren’t such a bad thing,” Elaine notes, actually managing a bit more of a genuine smile. “I’ll stay for dinner as long as it honestly doesn’t bother you. I may have needed grounding, but I’m not here to disrupt your life. You found something to center you and honestly, that’s all I really hoped for for you. You deserve that kind of stability.”

The redhead seems a lot less tense than the beginning of the conversation, but her continued smoothing of her dress betrays her. There’s still some kind of nervous energy below the surface. “You’re right,” she agrees after a long moment. “Amusing that it’s you being the positive one. You’ve changed. In a good way, I mean. It’s kind of what I’d hoped would happen. I’m proud of where you’re at.”

"I wouldn't get your hopes up on that." The laugh that Robyn pairs with that is rueful - rouxful? - as she still stares up at nothing. "I spent November being suspended for assault, you know." Of an apprehended target, nonetheless. Despite that, Robyn knows she has changed, just as Elaine indicates.

"Have been lots of changes, though. I spend most of my days at Raytech now. I'm no longer a Quinn/. I'm seeing a therapist. Among other things, I guess." Her shoulders rise in a small shrug. She's not really worried about what she deserves, or how she's changed. "But yeah. Dinner. I mean, you're already here. If you didn't want to disrupt things, it's too late for that."

At least Elaine can still tell when she's joking.

Elaine cracks a smile, giving a bit of a shrug. "I guess this is just me trying not to sound like an asshole for dropping in." She glances in the direction of Matthew's room for a moment before looking back at Robyn. "You sound a bit more well-adjusted, ignoring the whole assault thing," she laughs, genuinely sounding amused. "That's a lot of changes. Good for you. I wish I had something more exciting to report."

She looks down at herself. "It's pretty much just me doing my work. But I consider myself a pretty good cook now. Way more than before. Not just baking. I've made the most of my Cresting Wave apartment and I feel like I'll be permanently spoiled for kitchen facilities." She scratches at the back of her neck. "Other than the mess with the NDA and stuff, not to mention Kimiko's death, things are incredibly quiet. So I work."

"I bet Raytech would love to have you too, if something happens at Yamagato." It's a thoughtful remark that has just occurred to Robyn, a little strand of hair that's fallen over her face rising and falling as she exhales sharply. "But let's maybe not focus on that anymore."

It's hard to tell if she's talking to herself or Elaine.

"They say there's an illicit party warehouse out there," as if Robyn didn't know this was a fact, "you could look into that if you want a break. I hear they have good drugs." Is she joking? It sounds like it, but who actually knows. "I don't know what else to tell you, though."

"Richard's been kind to me, I suppose I could reach out to him if all goes sour." Elaine's clearly not liking the train of thought she's headed down, so when Robyn suggests changing the focus, she seems a touch relieved. "A party warehouse, huh?" She lets out a breath in an amused sound. "You know, doing any sort of dancing or partying isn't something I've thought about for… years. Certainly before the war."

She shakes her head. "Even if I felt like I could act young again, I don't have anyone to go with. I'm not even 30 yet and I might as well just pop a TV dinner in the oven, watch some sitcoms curled up with a blanket, and go to bed at 9pm." Elaine looks up so she can take a good look at Robyn for a moment. "I'll figure something out. Take up yoga or something."

"If there was any lesson I'd hope you'd learn from me, 'Lainey…" Finally, Robyn rises up from the couch and to her feet, though she doesn't quite look at Elaine as she turns and loops around the back of the couch. "It was that I hoped you'd learn to live life." Robyn isn't the best that either, but at least she tries occasionally.

"Would you like some tea?" she asks as she makes her way over to the kitchen. "I know you work a lot, and that you're dedicated, but- you said it yourself. You're not even 30 yet. I'm 36, work a federal job, and have a son, and I still have more of a social life than that." It seems like shade being thrown in Elaine's direction, but behind it there is earnest concern.

Stopping at the open entrance to the kitchen, Robyn looks down at the floor and furrows her brow. "How much does it cost to arrange a tour through the fellowship, by the way?"

“Tea would be lovely, thank you,” Elaine replied, her gaze settling on Robyn as she heads to the kitchen. “Kinda funny that you’re the one with all your ducks in a row now and I’m just…” She shrugs her shoulders. “Whatever I am.” She shifts her focus away for a brief moment but her attention is drawn back at the mention of the fellowship.

“You get the low low price of the friends and family discount.” She sounds amused at least. “Why? Thinking of coming by? It’d be nice to have a visitor at work. Been a while since anyone I knew has been through.

"I said I would," is an oblique statement, Robyn waiting to see if Elaine remembers what she's talking about before she continues on that line of thought. "So yes. I'm sure I'll be in sometime soon, if time allows for it."

Stepping fully into the kitchen and out of sight, Elaine can hear the clinking of ceramic and the scratching of wood after a moment. "I wouldn't say I have anything in a row, much less ducks," Robyn replies as Elaine continues to hear sounds of preparation. "Don't mistake tedium for being at ease, routine for completeness."

Something clinks against the ceramic, and Elaine can hear the pouring of water. "I'm just saying, don't waste the time you have. We could be dead tomorrow, for all we know. Carpe diem or whatever bullshit you want to subscribe to."

“Been a while since you said you would,” Elaine admits, her gaze going to the wrinkles in her dress as she tries in vain to smooth them all out. “You might think you don’t have anything in a row, but I remember a time when you had nothing in a row at all. I was afraid you were going to lose yourself. But you’ve grown a lot. Not saying I expect you to be perfect, but you’ve definitely got a few things right.”

Her gaze moves briefly to the kitchen again as she listens to the tea being prepared. “Life is short, you’re right about that. I guess I’ve just sort of lost myself in the process. I thought you were the one on that road, but I guess you’ve at least figured out a road to be on. Good for you, I mean it. It’s nice to see a glimpse of your life now.”

"I think you overestimate me," Robyn half shouts from the kitchen as Elaine hears what sounds like intense stirring. "But I know I won't convince you of that, so I'm not going to bother. Keep repeating it, and it might be true eventually." Which is possibly as condescending as it sounds, even if that's not Robyn's intention. The comment is followed by an electric sounding crackle pop, a rather out of place sound all things considered.

After a few more moments, Robyn steps back into the living room with two small ceramic cups filled with what Elaine can immediately recognise as matcha green tea. The froth on it is perhaps not as pronounced as she may be used to, working with people at Yamagato who may be more experienced in it's preparation, but it's not too bad.

But perhaps more notably is what Robyn has in her other hand - a knife. A rather sharp looking chef's knife that certain wasn't used to prepare the tea. "You don't remember why I want to go to the Fellowship, do you? I mean, I probably wouldn't in your shoes, so."

The tea is a familiar sight. It’s something, at least, she knows well. Elaine glances over at the knife, raising an eyebrow but makes no real comment on it. “No,” she admits. “I don’t. But not for the reason you might think. There’s been a lot that’s been going on in my head for a while and… let’s just say sometimes I forget if a thing actually happened at times.”

She lets out a deeply held breath. “Tell me again?”

Her lips thinning, Robyn looks down into her tea in silence. It's only after she slowly raises it to her lips and takes a sip that she sighs and finally looks directly at Elaine. "Do you remember- the gala at the Fellowship a few years ago? The one…" She huffs out a breath, taking another sip of her tea. "Where I got my eyesight back for the night?"

"Well, you can always come visit me at work. There are a few times I'm working on the exhibit floor, usually for special foreign tours and the like, so you can come take a real close look at the exhibits and see them for all they are."

Robyn studies Elaine for a moment, her expression slowly dropping. "No," is a quiet response, punctuated with shake of her head. "No, I don't think so. I don't think, after I leave tonight, I'll be back in the Fellowship. This was a pleasant surprise. But… it hurts, too. I thought I was over it. Moved on, accepted who and what I was now. Normal. I only registered Evolved because I had to."

Huffing out a sigh, Robyn grumbles. "Colette's ability messes with me too, but I just… I always figured that was her." She turns, sweeping her arm out theatrically. "But this? This is something else entirely." Still outstretched, her fingers curl back into a fist. "It's still in there, somewhere. But when I leave here… it's going to be life it never happened." She turns, looking back at Elaine with determination. "So I won't come back until I don't have to worry about it fading when I leave."

As Robyn looks back at Elaine, she can see the green glint in her eyes, replacing the gray she had grown accustomed too. Somewhat more alarmingly, that's when she raises up the knife, pressing it to her forearm. "It's been a crazy year."

Elaine glances back into her tea for a moment. "I do remember that. You seemed happy to at least enjoy that one night. But if you want to come visit, why—"

She cuts herself off, mostly with a bit of surprise, leaning in to try and get a better view of her eyes. It's to both try and see the color—and also try and get some sort of sense of what the hell Robyn is doing. "Uh, I know things have changed and stuff but last I knew you weren't invulnerable and I don't think this is a great experiment to do…"

Robyn offers a small laugh at Elaine's uncertainty - understated, and certainly not as unhinged as she might otherwise seem right now. "It's fine," she says quietly. "This has to be seen to be believed."
And just like that, she runs the knife lightly against the back of her arm, teeth clenching as she does so. It's no so much that it hurts, but it's certainly not comfortable. As she pulls the knife away, something trickles from the small wound - but it certainly doesn't look like blood. Rather, it looks like light drains from her arm, running down to the back of her palm in a manner at least similar to blood.

"I've been shot, blown up, stabbed, and almost murdered. And that's just the last year. This isn't going to bother me." But it certainly does make a case for her not being as together as she seems. "I've… changed in more than a few ways over the past decade, I'm discovering."

And that's about the time another Robyn walks out from kitchen. She looks for all intents and purposes just like the one standing in front of Elaine leaking light from her arm, almost unnervingly so. "There's also this," the other Robyn notes, clouds of light pluming from her mouth as she speaks. "It's been a weird year."

"The hell," Elaine breathes out, her eyes wide as she looks between the light that leaks from Robyn's arm and the weirdly similar other Robyn. "Okay, I thought having another Elaine in my head was weird, but this takes the cake." She's certainly shocked, maybe even a little bewildered as she tries to make sense of everything. So she instead looks down into her teacup and takes a long sip.

"Another Elaine?"

"Another Elaine?" The comment comes from both Robyns, the one holding the knife lifting it away from her arm and setting back on the nearby counter. Reaching over, she pulls out a roll of paper towels and rolls some of them around her arm. Despite that, light still shines dimly through them, Robyn wincing a bit at the contact.

"She's made of light," Robyn remarks, tilting her head to the other Robyn. "Real, but ephemeral."

"It kind of sucks," the other Robyn remarks, shrugging her shoulders.

"I can dismiss her any time I want."

"But why would you?" The second Robyn suddenly blinks away from next to the primary Robyn, and on the couch next to Elaine. "Hey there, 'Lainey," the light replication remarks with a raise of her eyebrows and a devilish smirk.

Elaine's certainly looking surprised, glancing between the two Robyns. Hesitantly, she reaches a hand towards the light replication simply to see the reaction. "Uh, so you remember when I mentioned I saw memories of my mother's? I found out about that because I heard someone talking. Me. Turns out that there was basically a ghost of me from one of the other worlds and whatever was left of her…"

She points at her head, then shrugs. "So… the overlay thing? I sort of get it now. Memories come, sometimes. But as far as I can tell, whatever's left of her is with me." She frowns. "And never, ever say a word of this to Magnes. Not that you would but…" She pauses. "Did you know he has a kid?"



The tone between both versions of Robyn comes in stark contrast to each other, with the primary Robyn's carrying a sense of frustrated annoyance, while the replicant's sounds more amused and forward. Robyn angles a glance at her light self, rolling her eyes.

"She's just mad because Magnes is, y'know, an idiot," the replicant stage whispers to Elaine, leaning over with a hand raised over her mouth as if it would keep her primary self from knowing what she said. With each word, light shines and plumes from her mouth, and only with the enunciation of those words that Elaine realises that this Robyn speaks in her old Irish accent.

"We don't talk anymore, Magnes and I." The actual Robyn's accent seems almost thicker than usual when put up against, well, herself. "Honestly? After we parted ways, I haven't talked to anyone from our old circle. Unless you count Colette. I have no idea what Sable's up to, and Magnes…"

The other Robyn looks at her fingernails, as if examining them. "Magnes fucked off t'whatever the hell an' I just don't really care anymore." The duplicate turns back to Elaine, pointing at her. "Did y'know he called one a' me a croissant? Like, what th' hell even is that?"

"She's not wrong," Robyn confirms, centering her gaze on Elaine. "So, what. You finally had an overlay? I thought those were over."

“Well, a little bit of a difference with the overlay thing. Remember how I mentioned I’d seen some of my mother’s memories? I found out where those were because I saw a bit of something. A cloud, like Eve. Except it was me. Heard her voice, or rather she sort of just… replayed her memories audibly? Anyway,” Elaine pauses for a moment, looking between the two Robyns. It’s clear that’s still a little weird for her. She takes a breath before continuing.

“To make a long story short, whatever was left of this dead Elaine-ghost sort of just… jumped inside me. I felt her experiences like they were my own. I saw things that never happened to me. The memories drift in sometimes still. Memories of things like being a mother.” The last word is said with a bit of an emphasis, a small hint of a frown surfacing.

She looks from the light-based Robyn back to the original. “So I understand what it was like now. And I’m sorry for giving you shit about it when I did. I was concerned about you, but I didn’t experience that bleed between worlds like you did, the sensation of being yourself and someone else. So I’m sorry if I was a bit of a dick about it back then. I get it now.”

"Do you?" This comes from the light replicant sitting next to Elaine, a look of scepticism on her face as the light plumes from her mouth, leaning back against the couch. "I mean, little late on that front don't y'th-"

"Hey!" The primary Robyn practically shouts at her light duplicate. "Uncalled for." The photokinetic raises a hand, ready to dismiss her other self, who reacts with a roll of their eyes and a hand held up defensively. "I'm sorry, Elaine. I don't have complete control over them at all times."

Despite that, there's no real apologetic tone in her voice. Perhaps she believes what her other self had to say? There's no exact way to tell.

"Whatever," the light duplicate remarks. "I mean, it's good y'understand what we went through better, at least. Just wish it could've come a bit sooner, 'Lainey."

"We?" That comes with a chuckle from the original Robyn, shaking her head. "That she's right about. But better late than never. It's haunting, isn't it? Could it have been Addie's mom that you came into contact with?"

"I still don't get how," the duplicate notes, looking up at the ceiling with a grin. "No auroras this time. So what, mirror mirror on th' wall or some bullshit?"

Elaine’s gaze snaps sharply to the duplicate, a rare surge of anger coming to her eyes. “I most definitely prefer the actual you,” she replies, her voice directed towards Robyn even as she glares at the light-based one. Once she’s had her fill of glaring, she turns her attention fully back on the Robyn she prefers. “I know it’s Addie’s mom. This isn’t quite an overlay in the same sense. As far as I know, overlays are like… bleed over? The other versions of you exist still.”

She frowns. “Magnes came back here with Addie’s mom. She died, he was convinced she hadn’t. Ironically, it was a mirror with my mother’s memories that ended up connecting me and her. She’s dead, but whatever memories or essence of her exists… well, now I’ve got memories of world traveling that aren’t mine.” She rubs the back of her neck for a moment.

“So I understand a bit. You don’t have to be an ass about it. It’s not as if that was the only issue between us or something.” Elaine lets out a tired breath of air. “That’s why I said Magnes can’t know. He’d be convinced she’s still in me and recoverable somehow and probably do something really dumb and I’d end up dead.”

"Oh honey." The light duplicate seems unfazed by Elaine's stare, matching it as she continues to grin. "I'm actual." That grin turns a bit more wicked, only breaking eye contact when Elaine does. "See? Mirror mirror on th' wall, who's the fairest of 'em all?" The light duplicate pauses, as if ready to make an amendment, but seems to think better of it this time. "But I get ya on Magnes. Our lips're sealed."

"Mine are, at least," the "actual" Robyn grumbles. "I'll make sure he doesn't find out, I promise. That said… I had vision of myself dying. Or… long past dead. The me in the Virus world, I worked for the Vanguard. I can't imagine I lived past Magnes and his friend's shenanigans, but I still saw her, years later. So… who knows."

All Robyn can offer to that is a small shrug. "Anyway. What do you want for dinner?"

“That’s where she was from,” Elaine notes. “I remember bits and pieces of her experiences. Can’t say I remember running into any version of you, though.” While she’s no longer glaring at the duplicate, her shoulders are hunched a bit more. Dinner is, clearly, a good distraction.

“Indian? Yamagato Park is severely lacking for certain cuisines, as much as I love it there.”

"Indian?" It's not Robyn's favourite, but she doesn't share that - and this time, her light duplicate keeps quiet. "Sure. I'll find some menus. Why don't you go ask Matthew if that works for him, otherwise I'll order him a pizza."

Letting out a small chuckle, Robyn shakes her head and steps back towards the kitchen, though her eyes don't let her duplicate out of her sight. "He's in his room, hopefully doing homework. I'm sure he'd love to see you."

“Let’s just get pizza then. I can easily get Indian another time. No need to order from two different places. But I’ll say hi to him and see what kind of pizza he’s interested in.” Elaine gets to her feet, glancing between Robyn and the duplicate before she turns away, retreating in the direction of Matthew’s room.

As Elaine steps into the hallway and out of sight, Robyn lets out a breath she didn't realise she'd be holding, moving to lean with her back pressed against the divider into the kitchen. A hand rises up and runs down her face, lingering over her eyes.

The resulting crackle snap of light next to her tells her that, in taking her eyes off her duplicate, it has snapped back next to her. The voice that follows confirms it. "What's y'r deal?" the duplicate asks, an annoyed inflection rising the edge of her voice.

"What's your deal?" the original Robyn fires back. "Jesus."

The duplicate shrugs. "I'm just me. You. Whatever."

Robyn lets out an exasperated sigh, turning back into the kitchen and leaning against the counter. "I just… I wasn't prepared for something like this. For Elaine walking back into my life."

"Yeah." This time the duplicate's voice is low and quiet. "Me either. Not like we're still in love with 'er though. That's…"

"Yeah," Robyn replies, staring ahead as she keeps the duplicate in her peripheral vision. "I just- It seems like there's another thing like this every week lately. I wish I could take a vacation from it all, somehow."

"I know how y'can take a vacation," the duplicate remarks, grinning wickedly as she turns to face her progenitor.

"Huh?" Robyn sounds distracted and a little confused, brow stitching together as she watches the hallway for Elaine.

She doesn't notice as the duplicate leans close, lips stopping just short of her ear.

"Let me out."

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