I Swear


brian_icon.gif samara2_icon.gif

Scene Title I Swear
Synopsis After borrowing a phone from his neighbour, Brian makes a phone call. It doesn't go as expected.
Date March 13, 2011

Eltingville Blocks — Brian's Residence And Bay House — Cellar

Brian's career of doing things with Samara has revolved around extreme times of day. The early early morning or late late night. But Samara's phone is ringing at an extremely ordinary time of day. It's just past dinner time. Brian had figured that if there was a time where the most phone calls went out at one time, it would be around this time. Less likely for a technopath or surveillance to listen in. Still possible, but a little less likely.

His first day of freedom was spent being productive. Despite the pangs that shot through his arm every time he touched anything. The sensitivity of the bruising around his well.. everywhere. He had to do something. Like meeting his neighbor Ernesto. A very friendly sort who was very helpful the entire day. Helping him find odds and ends around Eltingville, sharing his food, and stories, and even sharing his cellphone. It was the last that Brian was most thankful for.

And as the sun started to set he pushed his brown patched mattress against the 'master bedroom'. The whole place stunk, but that was his fault. Collapsing down on the mattress a light grunt of pain is let out.

A number was punched in. Things are harder than he would have thought without a middle finger.

It is then that Samara's phone starts to ring. From an unknown number. "Come on baby. Don't be scared. Just pick up.."

Dinner, as many things lately, had been an adventure. Such an adventure that the kitchen had been left in a state of complete disarray. Brinner. Pancakes had seemed like a good idea in concept until Sam had decided they could be banana pancakes and that adding five bananas would be enough. The batter had been undeniably sticky, and using an electric egg beater wasn't one of the smartest things. And once the pancakes had been left to the frying pan? Well, they weren't pancakes anymore, and resembled fried banana bread rather than pancakes. Most of the household had ate it anyways. But then, maybe they're getting used to the strange kitchen concoctions.

She'd scrubbed down the oven, scrubbed down the countertop, and is finally scrubbing the pan. With a quick sniff, she drains the sink. She suppresses a heavy sigh as she begins to untie her apron. An eyebrow is arched at the plate of fried banana bread (so many leftovers.. okay, so they ate it, but they didn't eat much of it) as her head shakes. "Next time use a recipe," which is clearly her problem. "Or… let Koshka cook. Maybe some people just aren't meant to— "

But her thought is interrupted. The self-talk is rendered silent amid the tune emitted from her pocket. "Just a small town girl, livin' in a lonely world~" A hand reaches to her pocket as her eyebrows furrow slightly. "Took the midnight train going anywhere~" The unknown number is a little unsettling. But then she's been leaving a lot of messages a lot of places lately.

With the faintest frown, she closes her eyes and phases through the floor only to become solid downstairs. With so many ears around in general, catching up on any of her left messages could mean revelation of what happened to Brian, something she’s kept a mystery from the kids. Once whole again in the cellar, tucked away from wandering ears, she clicks a button, and brings the phone to her ear, "Hello?"

The voice brings moisture to his eyes almost immediately. His next thoughts being self depreciating on how often he's been crying lately. But having your finger cut off and talking to the mother of your child after being arrested should entitle you to a few tears. There's a long moment of silence after her voice. Before his own voice tries to sound out. Sounding rather crackly as just a wordless sound of attempted verbiage is let out. But no such luck.

Another pause.

"Baby." He says, the word bringing tears springing down his cheeks. "You're okay." Or at least she's not dead enough that she can’t answer her phone and say hello. Either way it's good news. One hand goes to scrub at the tears leaking down his face as his legs swing off the mattress. Pushing himself up rapidly, Brian makes his way into the kitchen. The window looking out to the next house over the sink. Running to it, to view into the window in the next house Brian gives a big toothy smile and a thumbsup to the man in the other window, currently doing his dishes. Ernesto.

"Oh baby. I miss you so much."

The word 'baby' actually has Sam leaning against the wall and sinking slowly to the floor. Tears burn against her eyes as she blinks hard, fighting against them, but it's useless. There's a small crack in her own breath, a quiet gasp as she draws her knees to her chest. "Y-y-y— " the word can't be formed. Not as quickly as she'd have it. Not coherently. She sniffles quietly. And then, finally, quite exasperatedly she manages, "B-b-brian?" Her fingers press over her lips as she presses them tightly together.

Hope isn't easy to come by. It's expensive. Difficult to live with. Painful. Her sleeve is run over her face, "D-d-do you r-r-remem-ber me— " it's a struggle to ask the question. Logical thought would dictate that Brian does. He called. But logical thought isn't so easy to come by.

This isn't a good reaction. One of him should have been with her. Should be with her. If there wasn't then there's been a problem. All of him would have been looking for her straight away. Even fighting among himselves for which one gets to stay with her. But she's acting like he's been away. He should be the only one crying. But when it's quite obvious that she's having difficulty, concern overrides the grief and hope in hearing her voice. "Of course I remember you Sam. Sam, why are you acting this way? Has none of me found you?" He asks a little hurriedly, concern etched deeply into his tone.

"Baby. I can't stay on the phone forever. I know this must be hard, but you got to take a deep breath and tell me what's going on, okay?" Brian steps away from the window and waving to Ernesto to return to his room. To his mattress where he collapses and stares straight ahead.

The words have Sami nodding silently, still in shock, nearly expecting Brian to know her silent agreement. Her lips part as she takes a deep breath. "You put a gun to my head," she nearly croaks. "And then you were all judgmental," she takes a deep gasp for breath. "And then Xue was child-you watching Finding Nemo and Dong-Tian last remembered me getting visible… and I talked to Cat and I got really worried that you'd never remember me— "

She swallows hard. "Eric's here. I'm okay." There's a pause as she sniffles loudly again, attempting to suppress the whirlwind of emotions that she feels. "I. I miss you. I miss you so much. I.. are you okay? I.. I want to see you.. " her voice cracks again with that dry etched feeling. "Please. Brian. Please."

"What?" The word is almost breathless. The sheer volume of the situation a little overwhelming to grasp. He put a gun to her head? That seems to be the sticking point. The rest he may not even have heard. Finding Nemo. Just glazes over. "I what? Why would I ever..I'll kill him." It's no longer a me. Once something like that is done, you count yourself out of the Brian club. "Sam. I am so sorry. I would never ever do that. I have no idea why he would do that." A deep breath is taken.

"I'm okay." The bruised and bloodied man with one less finger answers. "I'm fine. I.. I want to see you too." The words practically have him choking. Hot tears flooding out once again. "Sam. If I could have come to see you.. I would have already." He lets out quietly. "Tyler Case got to me. He switched my abiilities and pl—" His voice cuts off with the realization.

"Do you know what refrain is?" The words are hard to form. Any words are hard to form.

"You.. he thought I was negating him and kept accusing me of being from the Company.. I was.." With another loud sniffle, Sam shakes her head slightly. "I am scared he'll come back," she whispers quietly; it's an admission she hasn't made out loud. Her body slides around so she can properly lean her side against the wall. Her eyes clamp shut tightly as her cheek rests against the cool of the cellar wall.

His comment about seeing her brings a fresh wave of unbidden tears. "I.. I thought you forgot me.." she hugs her body tightly as she squeaks around the words. "Dong-Tian thought it was Tyler Case.. but.. your memories.. their memories.. we couldn't figure out what happened.. Cat said it happened with the Company and you.." she takes another deep breath and shakes her head slightly as finally she opens their eyes. "Refrain? It's a drug, right?"

"Yeah it's a drug I used to do." Yes. He used to be an addict. "Before I met you." He adds in quickly. "Case pumped me full of refrain. An overdose. I don't know why. But.. Refrain brings back memories. If he did it with so much and shorted out my ability at the same time…" Fuck. "Baby. He won't come back. That was me when I was running from the Company. I'm so sorry baby." His own sniffle leaps back at her. "Sameye. I.." His throat dries up.

Silent sobs rack his body as he forces himself to lay back. "No. I could never forget about you." Even though he did. In several other bodies. "Sameye. I.. I love you so much. I would give anything to be with you." Brian admits weakly, closing his eyes tightly.

Sam swallows hard around the lump in her throat as she gasps again for air. "I love you too.. so so much. I. I don't make sense.. I'm scared," she reiterates. Although what fear this refers to is altogether unclear. But it's there just the same. "Where are you?" she asks again as she presses her cheek firmer against the cellar wall.

"I haven't told the kids.. anything. At all." Again her sleeve is run over her face, caught up. "Are you.. okay?" she takes another deep breath. "Cat.. she said you might not remember me.. I.. I'm so relieved.. Please. I want to see you. I love you. Brian I love you." She's starting to talk in circles, a small confused ball of emotion.

"I'm in prison, Sam." Brian murmurs quietly. "Or a close approximation of it anyways. It's a prison in so much in that I cannot leave." And that they beat him and tear off appendages. But she doesn't need to know that much. "Listen baby. Just calm down, okay? I'm here. I'm alive. We're going to figure this out together, okay?" Lowering his face into his free hand the tears pour out. Hopefully Ernesto won't be wanting his phone back anytime soon. This is going to be a long talk. "It's like an Evolved close-in. We can't get out. There's guns and robots and fences…" He lets out a quiet breath looking down.

"But I'll find a way to get to you Sam, okay? I.. Are you okay? Baby.." A long moment of helpless silence passes by. His free hand going to clutch the mattress in front of him. "I'm holding your hand right now." He murmurs very quietly.

There's a small gasp at the truth. And again, Sam is nodding. Whether or not Brian can see it, the nod is a given. "Sorry," she squeaks quietly. "I know.. I'm supposed to be strong," she whispers. "I'm supposed to stay strong," she repeats for herself as much as him. She swallows hard yet again, choking back those tears that continue to threaten to fall. She hiccups quietly, pressing against those feelings again as moisture trails down her face.

Her sleeve is scrubbed against her face again. "How..? I'm.. going to see Richard.. and I saw Cat.. I'm going to save you.." she croaks. As far as how she is, "I.. I'm okay. I'm.. okay," she repeats again. It's not wholly convinced, but she's trying. "I'm worried about you," she whispers again. "I.. I'm squeezing your hand back.."

"Don't be sorry. Sam~ This is unbelievably hard. You shouldn't have to deal with all of this." And it's then all the guilt is cascading over him. Without him she wouldn't have had a gun to her head, nor would she be trying to take care of a bunch of kids and one in her belly. "I'm sorry." He sobs out, going to collapse back on the bed. His hand that was holding hers is held up aloft. Fingers splayed out. Blue white electricity jumps from one finger to the next making a bzzztCRACk that is audible over the phone. "Lynette has my power. She's with our group. Sam. This isn't my phone. I'm borrowing it from my neighbor. But if you need to talk to me you can call this number okay? But make sure you don't call from the house. And not from your phone anymore. His name is Ernesto. He's really nice."

The tears continue to roll down. He gives a weak nod. "That's a good idea. I.." Going to save you. "You already have." He whimpers, eyes scrunching close tightly. "Don't be worried about me. You have to take care of yourself. There's so much you have to do that you shouldn't have to do." He lets out a quiet sigh. "I love you Sami. When I get out of here, I'm going to marry you. On the fucking spot."

His apology has the tears welling in Sam's eyes more while her head shakes, "I can't accept that apology." She struggles with her words as her thoughts jumble within her speech, "Never apologize for bringing me back to life. Never apologize for making me love you. And never apologize for who you are. You're a hero. And I love you so much for who you are. For being.." the dryness of her mouth sneaks into her words along the scratchy syllables she utters, "the kindest.. bravest.. most genuine man I've ever met. This sucks. But I love you."

The revelation that somehow she could save anyone is met with sharp objection. "I never did. I couldn't. I'm not.. I'm not strong like you. I'm trying. I need to be strong. But I'm not. Not really. My wanting to help you? It's selfish. I need you, Brian. I can't.. " the words get lost in her sobs.

When she manages to retain some semblance of control, she sniffles through her words again, "I'll write down the number. Get disposable phones. I'll.. be careful.."

Breathe in breathe out. This is getting way too serious. Time for a joke. Brian pushes himself over his mattress. Pulling the moistness from his face with his four-fingered hand. "Should we have phone sex? I don't think I've done that before." It's said with a light forced chuckle, more to indicate it was a joke rather than actual mirth. A long moment is taken as Winters pushes himself along the side of the bed. Curling some on his side, the phone is sandwiched between his ear and his shoulder. "You are strong Sam. Please don't lie to yourself. If you weren't strong, I couldn't.. I couldn't survive without your strength, Sameye."

"Listen I don't know what this place is. But it's like a.. Like a ghetto. I have a house. But it's all fenced in guards with guns, and all kinds of crazy shit. I made friends with my neighbor. But.. Promise me if you find out what this place is, you won't come near it. Promise me Sam. Even though you can go through things, this place is designed to deal with Evolved. So I need you to swear to me you won't try to get me out. Swear."

The joke warrants the slightest tick of a smile from Samara, weak, forced, but still there. Her lips press together again. "As much as I'd like to take your phone sex virginity…" she squeaks as she attempts to tease in turn— completely losing her train of thought midsentence— it really does fail. With another sniffle, she sighs lightly and clears her throat.

"A ghetto," she repeats quietly. "Do you have any idea where you are?" The request, however, is met with still silence. No sniffling. No murmurs. No squeaking. Just silence. In fact, the silence lasts long enough that it could be questioned whether the phone call has been dropped. Until Sami clears her throat, fighting through the mess her sobs made her. And then, perhaps more casually than she intends, almost like they'd been talking about something different all along, she hmmms quietly, "Eric and I found that kid again. Evolved. He or she did something to our emotions."

A weak grin forms up, "What are you wearing?" He asks in an overly creepy voice. Sounding more breathy and more sixty years old than his normal voice. The question is asked and Brian is silent. "I'm not going to answer that until you swear." He answers rather quickly. The silence has him reaching up to the phone to doublecheck that he did not in fact drop the call. Finally she starts speaking again. It does distract him a little. "An empath?" He asks, biting down on his lip. "Did you ask him to stay? You know this is the second time I've taken a house from a kid." A light smile grows up despite the dry tracks of tears.

"Sam." He finds his diligence and returns to it. "I need you to promise okay? Jesus Sam. You know I couldn't live if you and the baby got hurt because you were trying to save me. You need to stay away Sam. Promise. Something will turn out."

The topic of the kid is so easily latched on to, "He or she was something. I think.. from what he or she said, everyone abandoned him or her. And we all invited the kid to stay. No avail. I tried. Eric tried. For pete's sake, Koshka tried. The poor kid was just so scared and if they were abandoned, I think he or she is afraid to trust us." Sam's cheeks flush a little as she considers agreeing.

Sami swallows around the lump in her throat as Brian presses further for her word. "Would you? I mean.. would you swear if the roles were reversed? I.." she presses her lips together as her eyes close tightly again. "I.. I.. " her free hand trails to her midsection while her chin drops to stare at it. "I will try not to put our baby in danger," she concedes, although it's not quite what Brian is looking for.

"That's too bad. Maybe he'll pop up again. If anyone can convince him.. or her.. to stay. It's you." Poking his elbow up, he leans his bruised head against it. Wincing for a moment at the sensitivity of the beatings he has endured the last few days. His finger traces the mattress, another cracklePOP dancing from finger to finger. "All the kids are orphans. They've all had problems with that. It will come around eventually."

"If I was pregnant? And there were other yous not in prison? Yes I would swear. Maybe they don't remember you but.. If you think of it this way. This is a perfect test to see if you really want to spend the rest of your life with me. People change. You get to see how much I have, and see if you still like that. I'm sorry I was judgmental." He feels required to say. "Sam. I need you to promise me."

There's substantial silence again, but not quite the same as the last. It's broken up at least twice by gasps for air. "I'd rather disappear than be forgotten…" now that she's experienced both in different ways. "..and even if he was judgmental at least he's taking care of the babies." There's a pause as she attempts another joke, "…but you may have to burn down the apartment after. It might not be worth cleaning…" It's delivered so deadpan, that's it's difficult to tell if she's actually joking.

Brian's persistence is met with continued resistance. "What am I supposed to do? Sit and wait? Stare at my feet while I still can? Keep pretending everything is fine? It's not fair."

There silence again as she leans firmer against the wall. Her eyes open gently and her fingers drum impatiently against her phone. With another quiet sigh, she finally whispers, "I.." she virtually chokes on the next word, "..promise."

Brian remains mostly silent. A breath or a sharp exhalation here and there, but for the majority he says nothing until she promises. And then the breath floods out, a relieved sound being made almost immediately. "Thank you, baby." He breathes, hugging himself and pretending it was her. "You have to tell the kids. They're smart they probably know something is up. You have to tell them the truth. Okay?" Laying there on the ratty mattress, he turns to place his hand against the wall.

"Lynette. I was with her the night I got switched. She has my power. And I have hers." He realizes what this might sound like. "A supply run, baby. I was with her because of a supply run. She might be in Narnia with one of me." Narnia. Hopefully his weak attempt at code isn't lost on her. "Baby. I would give anything to touch you. I will kill the guy who put a gun to your head. I promise. But.. There's got to be one of me that remembers you better. One knows you a little yeah? Isn't it.. Isn't that okay?"

Sam's eyes clamp shut as she tries to visualize her husband to be wherever he is. Her cheeks flush a pale pink. "How can I tell them the truth? They've lost everything. Repeatedly. And with the sick ones…" And, perhaps, worse than that for her, somehow explaining it to them makes it feel permanent.

Her eyebrows knit together tightly while her tongue rolls over her lips. Carefully, with a single palm, she pushes off the wall to bring herself to a rather disoriented stand. "Should I try to find Lynette? If she has your ability she'll be in more than one place, right?" Irritably she begins pacing the cellar floor. "What can you do now?" A deep frown plays across her lips. "Like.. what was her ability?"

She releases a heavy sigh and trails back to the wall she'd been leaning against only to stop midtrail. "Dong-Tian knows who I am.. the last thing he remembers is Gabriel pulling me back to the land of the living," her voice flattens. "Everything that's happened? Everything I care about? The only living I've done in four years… " the waterworks are fought fiercer this time, drawing to the idea she needs to be strong, and then as a sidebar, "And Dong-Tian can't leave the apartment. Xue has the mind of a child. Everything would fall apart," her voice cracks on the last, the irony not lost on her. "It hurts. Remembered but not. Forgotten entirely. Lost." Again she sighs. "And I.. I don't.. I don't want someone to feel things for me because they think they should."

"Sick ones don't need to know. But they need me there. Do you think you can convince one of me to visit the sick ones? Stay with them?" His hand stretches out again, another crackle POP of electricity jumping over his hand. "Electrokinesis." He explains quietly, watching the electricity fan over his hand. "Kind of neat." A little chuckle leaves his lips. "I sizzled these two guards that kept kicking me. It felt good." Oh shit. He mentioned beatings. His mouth closes. "We probably shouldn't talk much longer. Remember, don't call me from our house. Okay?"

"I.. I wish I could do something for you Sameye." The thing about Dong-tian has him frowning. "That sucks for them." He closes his mouth tightly, leaning up to glance out through the window at Ernesto's house. Collapsing back on the bed. "I didn't choose to forget Sami. And. I love you so much. You're what keeps me going. And there's no way any of me could be around you very long without being attracted to you. Get it? So… Yeah. We'll figure this out Sam. I love you."

"I think I can get Fulk to do almost anything. He still thinks this is some kind of miracle." There's a short pause before Sam's voice turns apologetic, "I may have made him feel guilty for thinking that.." And then back on track, "We'll have to move the babies. I'd leave them with Dong-Tian if I thought I could bring a baby there without being spotted. I just.. " her tone turns to resolve, "I can take them. It's good practice, I guess."

Her face pales considerably and her breath catches in her throat, "They were kicking you? Brian…" her tone becomes anxious anew. "What aren't you telling me? What else is going on? I need.. I need to know. Please." She bites her thumbnail, one of her many nervous habits.

Her throat clears. "I'm pregnant with a baby none of them remember fathering. At the very least that's got to be unsettling… " Her eyebrows arch as her eyes widen. "I love you too. Be.. be safe, Brian."

"That's it, Sam. It was just a little beating because I zapped them, I deserved more." He lies, staring at the space where his middle finger should be. "They let me off easy. Really." The reassuring smile is lost over the phone yet it is pressed anyways. He's a good liar when he needs to be. A light chuckle returns the last. "They'll get used to it." Turning his face some, he makes the sound of his puckered lips near the receiver. "Call me soon, Sami. I love you." And with that the END button is pressed.

Bringing the phone down, he leans against the wall. Ernesto will be expecting his phone. But he can wait out the few minutes that Brian will spend sobbing against his wall before he makes the tiny trek over to his new best friend.

Sam holds the phone to her ear still, even after Brian hangs up. Finally she lets the phone slide down to her lap. She cups her hand over her mouth tightly to suppress her sobs, there's no reason to draw attention from the other ears in the house. The heaviness of her chest cuts at her breath, her very life, producing an ache inside her. Her hazel eyes drift over to the ladder— her means upstairs— only to trail to the labyrinth leading away from Bay House, to that underground escape route. She pushes away from the wall and allows herself to shuffle down it, leaving her lonely sobs to echo within the empty space.

And in this the empty desolation finds belonging, leaving the strange juxtaposition of home and loneliness broken apart in nothing more than painful isolation. At least it's easier than being lonely in a crowd.

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