Identity Crisis


cardinal_icon.gif gillian_icon.gif juniper_icon.gif

Scene Title Identity Crisis
Synopsis After months of capture, Cardinal's there when Gillian finally breaks down. Juniper also brings some things by to make her feel more at home. And to joke.
Date August 14, 2010


In her little corner of the triage, Gillian has a visitor. A teenager with red hair and green eyes, wearing her clothes. The no longer injured woman recognizes the blouse, and the jeans too, but she didn't say anything, or if she did it was a while ago. The teen has been there for some time. It's the bag resting on her sheet covered legs that has her attention. A stack of journals and books, and on top some clothes, shoes sit down next to the bed. It's the t-shirt on top that has most of her attention. It's bright green, with something on the front of it.

"Are you serious?" Gillian has to ask, raspy voice a little amused. "I never took you for the type to buy one of these shirts."

"You shouldn't have asked Magnes to be one of our tutors, then," Juniper says with a laugh, reaching forward to lift it up, and press it against Gillian's upper body. A mushroom with little eyes stares out, and underneath, there's a little bit of text. 1up. "It should fit you, cause it fit me pretty well."

It's hard to find reasons to smile right now, and has been for the last few months. But it seems that the oldest kid from the Lighthouse managed to do it, because Gillian looks down and smiles. "Thanks."

"Just let me know if you need anything else from the house." Thr girl's already been told the bad news. Gillian won't be coming home.

"Knock knock." The words spoken with an easy if tired smile from Cardinal as he steps along over to the corner of the field hospital where the augmentor's supposedly resting - although she seems to be doing relatively well for someone who's been through what she's been through.

A brow lifts as he looks to Juniper, then back to Gillian, asking easily, "Am I interrupting? I can come back later…"

Relatively well, except for the distinctive palor, and the still slight shaking of her body. And if he'd come last night, he'd have seen a lot of throwing up— there probably will be more of that again soon, too. Gillian's been through this before, and the worst of it will happen in the next day or so, but for the moment… she's glad to have something of home. "No, you're not interupting— come on in," she says, her smile lessening, but not vanishing completely, as she hugs the shirt against her body.

Juniper moves aside, looking up at the taller man with a nod, "I'm going to go help out a bit, and see if I can catch Magnes. I have a get well present for him, too." And he's going to need it, most likely. "I'll stop back in a bit later, so think of anything you might want," she adds to Gillian on the way out of that corner of the triage. The teen's growing up, and while she definitely didn't participate in the action, she can help. And one thing she leaves behind, is a nice smelling wake, like fresh vanilla.

After a quiet moment, Gillian meets his eyes fully, and says something quite simple, "Hey."

"I already called Elaine, let her know he's… well, alive." There may have been some fudging as to his condition during the conversation. Cardinal's pretty sure that he'll be alright by the time she sees him again anyway. He gives the teenager an easy nod as she passes after providing her that snippet of information, moving to step in the opposite direction.

As he comes along beside the bed, a faint smile's offered down to Gillian, his voice quiet, "How're you doing, Gilli?"

"Alive, technically," Gillian says, turning away from him a bit to let the sheet drop. Oddly, she seems to be attempting to be conservative. Most the people in triage have seen naked people, and they had to remove her clothing to get a good look at her. The shirt they put her in is more of a tanktop, and she pulls it off, tossing it toward the end of the bed. Her back is bare, for the most part, no signs of the tattoos that once marred them. Though there's a black mark visible on the left side of her chest, a handprint, before she pulls the shirt on and turns back around.

"Though offically I'm not."

Cardinal's more than seen her naked himself, although given what she's been through… he can well understand that she might want some privacy. He looks away as she changes, then as he sees her turning back in his peripheral vision, he looks back to her with a slight furrowing of his brow. "Going underground?" A questioning note to his voice, although he doesn't sound confused at all.

God knows the woman's been hunted by every faction and group under the face of the sun for her ability.

"Yeah, underground, above ground— doesn't matter so long as they think I'm dead," Gillian says quietly, though doesn't know for sure if that would even work. "Even after what I did— what we did— they still just locked me up when…" When they wanted to use her, when they decided her ability was necessary for their experiments. Just cuz. It's a betrayal. One she should have known would happen eventually. "There always was a reason I didn't want to fucking register. That's what the Institute's doing, you know— they said it while they were using me for something, they said 'look in the registery for what we need'. It's a fucking shopping list for them. And now I can't go home, I can't be Gillian."

"Kershner helped us," Cardinal says softly, quietly, leaning his hip against the bed she was given, one hand raking back through his hair, "So what we did wasn't completely forgotten… she's just not powerful enough to challenge them directly." A tight nod, a grimace, "I figured. I… we would've gone in sooner if we could, Gilli." He looks at her, expression pained, almost apologetic, "Peyton could— see you, hear what was going on occasionally, but we couldn't get in yet."

"You were almost too late," Gillian says quietly, pulling the covers back up, though it does nothing for the cold chills that she has. Withdrawal is like the worst parts of the flu, without the actual disease. Sometimes the disease would be better. "If she helped, could you see if— if she can make sure that my money makes it into the trust fund for the kids— I don't even know if that money will be safe, but— it's supposed to be there. I asked to have it transfered. Most of it." Cause she wasn't going back to school. There was no reason to, really.

"I won't need to go through her. I'll have our technopath see to the transfer," reassures Cardinal, before he looks out and away from her, lips pursing in a grimace, "I… know we were. I'm sorry, Gillian. Sometimes my best isn't good enough." A look back to her, and he asks quietly, "What're your plans, then?"

"Does everyone have a technopath?" Gillian asks with a laugh, though she'd known about Alia, really. It just seems that everyone has a technopath these days, yet when she had the ability to absorb powers, that was one ability she never got. She also never managed to turn into shadows, but she must have had it from Arthur somewhere in her multitude of abilities.

"I don't know exactly. I'm going come up with a new name, I might— try to change my hair color or something. I don't want to change my face entirely. I like my face. And once I'm— whoever I'm gonna be, I'll figure out where to go from there."

At the laughing question, Cardinal quirks a bit of a smile. "It's fashionable these days," he replies with aplomb, and he nods once, "Anything you need, just ask. I'm sure we can set you up with a new identity and all without too much difficulty - the Ferry's good at that, and I bet Wireless can produce a digital background to follow without too much trouble. Hair's easy to do. First thing a lot've people look for, too. Might want to consider colored contacts."

"Everyone seems to be willing to help with that," Gillian says with that partial smile, though it's hard to be happy about… creating someone entirely new. She'd considered it during Apollo, but that wouldn't have helped her either. Not and remain in public, at least. "I'll let you know, but right now I just— I don't even know. I don't want to be alone, but I don't want to be around people. Has that ever happened to you?" There's some moisture in her eyes, and she reaches to to rub it away.

"That tattoo lady of yours, I know she can change hair color, Abby attested to that, but can she change eye color?" Subject change. Or subject change back, really.

"Yeah. Yeah, it has…" Cardinal's hand brushes over the sheets of the bed, skimming along the side in a half-reach out to her - hesitating - then drawing back, as he nods once, "…Xiulan, yeah. She's a chromakinetic or whatever. Can change the color of anything. It's how she does tattoos, and shit."

"I can just go with dye, too. I've always been more a dye-er," Gillian says, even catching the pun, but not really caring. She's died enough times for that to be considered as accurate as changing her hair. "Claire owes me a assist on the dye-job, too," she admits. "I'm gonna try to leave soon. I know there's a couple places I can stay. Safehouses and what not." There's always something. "How'd you guys manage to work together on this? It sounds like it was a major joint operation. I always figured if that ever happened, it would come to blows."

"We just bought a building," offers Cardinal, "We're starting up a front business; upper floors are all apartments, if you want or need one, even just as a backup, it's yours." Then his expression turns wry, head shaking slowly from side to side, "It wasn't easy. We argued it in front of the Ferry's council - some of them were pretty vehemently against it. And just about nobody trusts Peter anymore. Still, it - worked out. I'm as surprised as anyone, there, I figured somebody would try something."

The mention of him makes Gillian look down and away a bit, shifting her legs and letting the bag move off to the side as she raises hers up closer to her body. The gesture seems instinctive, as if she's shielding herself with her legs. "I heard about the 'Flash'. What they made me and Joseph do. I didn't know it was so wide spread, I knew it went wrong, that it wasn't what they were trying to do, but — I guess the only thing that came out of it is I learned to control my ability when I'm in pain." Most the time. "They had to inject me with stuff to force me to use it." And she only cooperated a few times. "So— I'm a little messed up right now." And the rambling might be part of that.

"I'd be surprised if you weren't, babe." She's watched as she draws her body in a little bit, Richard's teeth closing on his lower lip for a moment before he reaches out a hand, offering it to her. Just a hand, nothing else. Dark eyes fall on her face, and he says quietly, "There's a lot've people who care about you. We'll all be here to help you through this. You held on, and you survived - that's what matters."

"Would anyone care for me if I didn't have this ability?" Gillian quietly asks, getting her legs up close to where her knees cover the 1up on her chest, and she can wrap her arms around them. Her hair is long, no sign of bangs at all right now, just unbrushed tangles that don't look too attractive. "You probably would, but I wouldn't be really useful… If I didn't have this ability, they wouldn't want me, and you wouldn't have had to rescue me— they care about me, or my wellbeing. I had to— bargain— agree to do what they wanted me to do one time, just to get a book to read. I…" Her voice cracks, and she realizes there's the tears she was avoiding, so she lowers her head against her knees.

And then she unwraps a hand to take his, and squeeze it tightly. "I'm sorry. Can— can you stay a bit?"

"Hey." As her fingers reach out, his curl to hers, returning that clasp fiercely. Cardinal pushes up a bit from where he's settled down the bed from her, scooting up to settle in closer again, almost-but-not-quite seated on it next to her hip, never breaking the contact of hand to hand.

There's sympathetic pain in his eyes as he looks down to her, lips pursing a moment before he says in quiet tones, "You're more than just your power, Gilli. You think that girl that just ducked out of here cares about you because you're an augment? You think that Brian does? We're your friends, damn it. And if you think you've never done anything worthwhile without your power, you're wrong."

"It's all I was to them," Gillian says with her voice muffled, tight, hard to understand. She tries to keep her voice down, too, which probably doesn't help. It's not her voice she's trying to silence though, it's the sobs she doesn't want people to hear. Especially people like Juniper, still doing her rounds. Who came all the way here to tell her about the kids, bring her some things to make her feel at home.

"That's the only reason I was in Argentina, and Antarctica, why Phoenix wanted me, why Gabriel was with me, why— I wish I'd never gotten it back. I wish I'd never had it at all. And for all the good it might do— there's just as much bad…"

Even as she says it, she knows it's flawed, but it feels right at this moment. "Can you just— stay and hold me for a little while…?" It's something she couldn't ask of Peter, maybe because she knew he wouldn't want to. And Cardinal's rejection she could handle.

There's no further argument with her, no more attempts to convince her that she has worth as a person - not yet, anyway. She's not ready to hear it, doesn't want to listen, at least as far as Richard can tell. He just squeezes her hand all the more tightly, bringing it up to brush a kiss against her knuckles.

"Does it look like I'm going anywhere?"

"If you weren't already taken, I'd wish I could have fallen in love with you," Gillian murmurs softly between the soft cries, as she squeezes his hand tighter. It's honest, really, cause right this moment she needed someone who wouldn't just leave. And the people she falls in love with never seem to be those kinds of guys. And it hadn't matter if they were taken, either.

But for the moment, she has someone who isn't leaving. At least not until she wears herself out and falls back asleep.

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