If I Was Invisible


brynn_icon.gif kendall_icon.gif

Scene Title If I Was Invisible
Synopsis Then I could just watch you in your room
Date June 30, 2021

Elmhurst Hospital

Elmhurst Hospital is one of two operational public hospitals servicing the entirety of the NYC Safe Zone. Elmhurst is the most newly reopened hospital and also the shortest staffed and least well supplied. This facility is based out of the run down and still partly condemned Elmhurst Hospital building which was scheduled for demolition prior to the civil war. The newer Elmhurst Hospital, which was supposed to be constructed adjacent to this old campus, was never finished and the infrastructure that was laid before the civil war rapidly deteriorated in the decade since. Elmhurst struggles to meet the needs of the rapidly growing Safe Zone population and is in a constant struggle to balance the needs of its patients and its often too-short supply of essential medication. In spite of this, the hospital was donated a brand new MRI by Yamagato Industries in 2018 and are partially supported by recurring charitable donations from the corporation and other sponsors.

It's the day after the Ohio River Fire encroached on the Safe Zone, and all the hospitals and hospital-adjacent buildings are filled to bursting with the injured and incapacitated. Having fallen unconscious minutes after reaching safety due to overuse of his own powers, Kendall ended up staying unconscious all night long, something that happens more often than he’d like to admit. Once it was determined he could breathe on his own, they slapped an oximeter on his finger to track his vitals and left him on a stretcher in a hallway along with so many others. He had finally woken up from it the next morning, only to end up dozing on and off from the mental fatigue.

Once he became lucid enough to remember events, however, he started fretting, namely over whether or not people he knew were safe. As his mind goes to a specific person, though, he slumps back into another, different sort of unconsciousness, which may alarm the nurse when she checks on him next.

This time no one's home, as Kendall finds himself transported to a different location.


The Lanthorn


She is almost hypnotized by the movement of her hand across a large piece of something that might be parchment paper or might be something else. Brynn works her art in all mediums, but especially since the crash and the stroke she has stuck to charcoal and pen and ink while she attempts to reteach her hand how to draw. She is rarely satisfied with her own work nowadays.

She is using her left hand instead of her right. And her gray eyes are unfocused even as she lays watercolors onto the page spread on the floor. This is not her more familiar realism kind of work, it's definitely an abstract piece.

Music plays through the living room at a quiet volume, some kind of orchestral piece with words. It has a slow tempo and notes that drift just a bit around the music, instruments passing the lead melody around as if dancing partners keep changing. Brynn's painting activity seems to have the same tempo as the music.

Kendall was there, and now he's here. Wherever here is. It's just like what happened yesterday! This time he's standing up, and there's no IMMINENT DANGER looking. It looks the same as before though, everything is blurry and grayed out, like a particularly dirty fishbowl.

What he is able to see, though, is…


Oh shit. And WHY is it that every time he sees her he's reminded all over again of that conversation they had? He squeezes his eyes shut, trying to figure out how to leave, because nope this can't be happening.

The small brunette freezes, shock on her face. She turns to look over her shoulder. She is learning people's voices. His is familiar enough and she knows it's him. But he's supposed to be in the hospital! Her hands start flying.

They let you out of the hospital?! You were unconscious! What stupid jerk let you just waltz out? And it's so strange how suddenly there is a voice translating her signs to vocals for him. It sounds almost like Joe. Or what she perceives Joe to sound like. Only Joe isn't here and she looks completely baffled.

What in the world is happening?

The vocal translation even comes with pitch changes that convey the bafflement. Although it's not quite right. It sounds off.

Kendall's eyes fly back open again when she 'talks', like some sort of weird text to voice thing that happens to sound like… Joe? You know what, let's go with that. "I… I have no idea. But, um, you know how Hailey sounds like, right? More like her, not Joe…" the tiny details like hearing her with that voice fluster him further even as they’re irrelevant, flabbergasted as he reaches his hand up to his face. Well, for one thing, his eye isn't bandaged up right now, and he does remember popping into Byrne's car, but things were a lot more frenetic at the time, so he could be misremembering. But he's definitely not in the hospital, but doesn't remember leaving, and isn't injured. "I… I think I might still be in the hospital. I think I'm a ghost right now."

He stares at Brynn for a moment, then decides to test the theory: he walks over to a wall, then closes his eyes and steps through it. Sorry, Brynn, that might have just made it worse.

Her brows come down as he tries to explain, and the word ghost makes her eyes widen again almost comically.

The sound she makes when he walks through the wall is maybe a little alarming, what with the fact that Brynn so rarely verbalizes. It's a hindbrain kind of whimper of sorrow and denial. She climbs to her feet carefully, her gray eyes watching the wall to see if he comes back.

Well. Half of that was mainly to see if he could. He was not actively trying to scare her, so he pops back out of the wall again and blinks at her. “I don’t know what this is either, but we were about to die out on the river yesterday so I’m glad I was able to do something.” then he belatedly realizes that she’s freaking out and how this must look like to her. “Oh, um, don’t worry, I’m not dead! I went back just fine last time, it’s just um….” he trails off. “Er, this is the Lanthorn, I’m assuming?” he squints about after that blatant attempt to change the subject. “It’s hard to tell, I can basically see walls and large pieces of furniture and that’s it.” his gaze goes back to her. “And you I see fine. Um. For the record, I’m glad you weren’t in the shower.”

He’s rambling now, unsure if it’s making it better or worse, but hopefully the news that he’s not dead helps. “Er, from what I can tell, I’m just an illusion? All the way here? Except I’m actually here, and… it’s not like when I make an illusory copy of myself, I’m not suddenly me AND the copy, and…” he trails off again, trying to think it over.

“If I’m just an illusion, I could…” Suddenly he starts floating in the air. Sorry, Brynn, this is NOT helping the ‘not a ghost’ theory.

She jumps visibly when he comes back out, a squeaking sound of startlement also escaping her. And then Brynn focuses on what he's telling her.

Wait, she signs, the voiceover effect changing to something close to Hailey's lighter tones simply because he asked… maybe. So you're basically projecting your illusion long distance? That's interesting. It sounds kind of like what happened to Lance, too – an increase in the scope of his ability. In his case the wall got blasted out. At least Kendall's isn't destructive.

That's primal, Kendall! Trust Bryan to focus on the positives there. You don't have control of it, do you? When Lance's sound power grew, he didn't. He broke the wall. So you just came to visit by accident? Well… hey, may as well make lemonade, right?

You'll get there. It just means practicing! I hope you don't pop into a shower, but I guess if you did, we'd deal with it. Practical girl. And also one who basically grew up in a dorm – yeah, privacy is a thing, but accidental nudity maybe isn't as much of a thing as it could be. It's not mortifying, just a little embarrassing. Are you doing okay? Do you need me to bring you anything to the hospital? Sure, if he wanted that, he could have just texted, but this is so much cooler!

Well BRYNN wouldn’t be as bothered by it if it happened, but Kendall would just flat out die. Expire. Disappear into the aether. Yeet to nonexistence.

When she gets excited instead of terrified he relaxes, and his feet go back down to the floor. “Well last I remember I was lying in a cot or stretcher in the hallway.” he shakes his head, more serious now. “I didn’t really wake up enough to see all that much but if I was out there instead of in a room, it’s… pretty bad. I don’t think I need anything except rest, or maybe a change of clothes. I’m glad you’re safe here, the actual river caught on fire. Is everyone else ok?” he squints about again, but he’s not even sure if he can see another person even if they were in the room? Is he only able to see her?

“I need to figure this out. And I especially need to learn how to get back, since if I’m here, that means anything could be happening to my body and I wouldn’t even know it.” someone could be undressing him right now. The thought makes him blush, which probably looks sus. “Well since just thinking about it doesn’t make me go back I have to figure out the trick. But I guess since I’m here, I might as well try and figure out what I can do. How far away are we from Elmhurst? I can’t make illusions for something I can’t see, so this is definitely out of my range, but.. How far can I even go?” he thinks about it. “And am I here with you? Or can I go elsewhere? And if you go somewhere, do I get pulled along, or do I stay here?”

All good questions! Brynn considers. Well, I can go into the hall and see if you go with me. If you aren't there in a few moments, I'll just come back. But you said once that your illusions are mind based, kinda like telepathy, right? So I would bet you're just going to go wherever I am, since whatever you're doing is kinda mind to mind.

She's not the most scholarly or even educated of the LHK, but she's pretty smart sometimes. If you look asleep or even comatose when you're here, though, you definitely need to make sure you're someplace safe when you do it. We're… She pauses. Straightline distance, we're about 4 and a half miles or so, I think.

She moves carefully after telling him that, around the corner and into the hallway to see if he pops into her view. He was able to go through a wall, but he'd still been right there with her, really. So she goes halfway to the kitchen for a reasonable test distance.

When Brynn goes to a different room, Kendall pops into place within seconds of her going out of sight. “Hm. I didn’t do that myself. So I can move out of view on my own but without trying to go anywhere it just happens.” Kendall smirks at her. “Guess you’re stuck with me for a bit. Four and a half miles, though, that’s… that’s insane, I definitely can’t send my illusions that far. Up til now, it’s only me being able to make illusions to people within eyesight. Which, granted, is still pretty far, but I definitely can’t see anyone four and a half miles away.” he thinks hard about it. “Too bad you can’t drive. I guess once I’m not collapsed in a hospital and things are more or less settled down I can see if maybe Byrne or someone else wants to go for a drive.” Well, maybe not Byrne, he’s in worse shape than Kendall and probably isn’t really appreciating being dragged into that situation.

Thinking of something else, Kendall walks over to Brynn, and hesitantly reaches a hand out to her arm, looking up to her for permission before he does so. Can he even do that?

Either that or it's distance related with the person you're attached to. I was a little farther away from where you went into the wall. But either way, you're not going to be far from the person you're connected to. I wonder if anyone else can see you when you're doing this, or if it's just the person you're talking to…

There's no one else home right now to test out that thought, and Doodlebug's perception is no help. He's watching Brynn and moving when she leaves the room and he doesn't appear to her to be reacting, but that could also be because he is already familiar with Kendall.

She looks at him when he moves forward to try to touch her, curious about whether an illusionary ghost will have physical contact. His other illusions do… and she's not as startled this time. There is, however, a look of wonder. Can you feel it? she asks. You feel real. And you look solid to me, no see-through business.

“Yeah.” Kendall pulls his hand away and looks at it, brow furrowed. “But I might have to rephrase what I said earlier. It’s not that you’re stuck with me, it’s more like… I’m stuck with you. Or whoever I end up with.” he’s distracted, or he probably would have said that in a nicer way, that certainly came off pretty rude. “I don’t know.” he adds, looking up. “The last time it happened the person was alone too. No one’s home, right? Well anyway. Wait, your dog is here right? Hey, Doodlebug!” he calls out, since he knows the dog is always nearby… except when Brynn goes clubbing. There’s no way the dog wouldn’t hear it, unless he was just a figment of Brynn’s imagination, as it were.

There's a brief pang of hurt at the unintentional implication of 'I'd rather be stuck with someone else' but Brynn, being who she is, simply assumes the best of him. No one is stuck with anyone, she soothes, You just have to practice to only go where you want instead of randomly popping up where you didn't intend to be. See? When he practices, he won't have to be stuck with her!

When he calls out to Doodle, her gray eyes turn toward the opening back to the living room where the dog was snoozing while she painted. When he doesn't come out, she looks at him and grins.

Great, so I'm standing here looking like I've lost my mind, signing to empty air. She looks like she's about to giggle. Good to know! You can earn other people it happens with to be careful about looking like they're talking to themselves in public.

Sorry about that, Brynn, he didn’t mean you specifically. “Well I was worried about you and whether you were safe, so I wouldn’t say it was unintentional.“ he thinks about it, then grimaces. “Oh, no I didn’t mean it like that. I mean, it wouldn’t be bad to be stuck here, but I mean… if I’m gone too long I don’t even know what would happen to my… I mean, I don’t know much of anything about this.” he looks in the direction she does and the dog doesn’t come, or at least, he assumes so, he doesn’t even know if he can see others or if it’s just Brynn.

She offers him that same amused, gentle smile that he often gets from her when he starts stammering. Okay. Try to be calm. You said you were worrying about whether I was safe from the fires – were you doing something similar when you popped in on the other person it happened with? Thinking about them or worried? Because maybe right now it's just an instinctive trigger, something that might happen when you're excited or scared or something – which might be really bad, she points out, If it's adrenaline linked or something like that and it happens when you're not in a safe place, people might loot your body or worse.

Whoa! Pragmatism, thy name might be Brynn if her first thought is looting your body.

“Well in that case I was trying to call for help. I was trying to do something else though. I was trying to make an illusion big enough for people to see from a distance, but I couldn’t know who I was sending it to, so I ended up going to someone I knew. I guess that’s a limit.” when she mentions looting his body though, he grimaces. “Well I don’t intend to just drop in place. But I like to think I just need to practice, and think about it, and then I can control it. You’re right though, I don’t want to be crossing the street and end up thinking about someone and collapse in front of a truck or something.”

She nods immediately. Yeah, that would be really bad. In a near-Hailey voiceover, those words have an almost-perfect tone of savagely sweet agreement. He can practically imagine the other girl's studiously innocent expression when it's said. Is Brynn conveying sarcasm in an unconscious imitation of her sister?

So … limitations to be careful of right now would be that under stress or in a state of worry, you apparently drop unconscious wherever you are and project to someone you know. It's… not the best survival mechanism, but the instinct to seek out help or check on the source of a worry makes sense. It seems like your brain is instinctively sending you to wherever you need to be. Which does imply you can learn to control where it sends you, because the caveman brain where fear lives isn't going to keep doing something that would be counter to survival, right?

It seems logical to her, anyway. Do you want me to go over to Elmhurst and we can check on your body? Maybe if you see it, you'll just pop back in.

“Uh. That might actually be a good idea, if it’s possible. Are you just going to walk? Well I guess 4 miles or so isn’t too bad, but do you have someone who could give you a ride? I intend to work on this, I can’t just fall over every time I think about it. And being delivered to my body every time is extremely inconvenient as well, not just for me but for you as well. There’s too many things I don’t know about this.”

With an easy shrug, Brynn replies with a soft smile, No time like the present to learn, right? I don't mind the walk, it just takes a lot longer than it used to. But I can get a ride. There's an app that works in the Zone. Sketchy sometimes, but… I don't try the bus anymore. It's too hard juggling Doodle and a bag and a cane. Mostly she just doesn't go too many places since the stroke. Let me put away my mess. By the time I clean up, maybe the ride will be here. She doesn't seem to mind attempting to take him back to his body; he's a friend. There's not a lot most of the LHK wouldn't do for friends.

Kendall can’t help her carry anything, sorry. “Yeah, traveling is kinda iffy nowadays, especially since cars are in limited supply, along with other resources.” Kendall doesn’t really make any attempts to move himself since he’s going to be blipped out with her anyway, or so he assumes. “Wish I could help, but the most I could do is just make it look clean. But, uh, not that it looks bad or anything, it looks fine.”

Brynn nods easily. Don't worry about it, I've got it. I'm grateful that there are a few options at all. Back in Canada there wasn't even this. The compound there is pretty rural. She pulls her phone out and taps an application to send the request for a ride. The she walks back into the living

I'm… trying out a whole new angle for my art. Trying to see if I can paint what I hear. I still have no sensation on my right side and trying to do art in the ways I remember doing art is frustrating. Wright took me to a concert recently and I felt so many things because of it. I thought maybe I'd try abstracts. She kneels down by the paper she was working on to start gathering up her brushes and the water and stuff, so she can't keep talking to him just now.

“Oh, I met Wright. She was at SESA.” and Kendall will leave it at that, since he doesn’t know how much he’s supposed to talk about things. “That’s pretty cool that she took you to a concert though, how was it?” Kendall meanwhile natters away since there’s nothing else he can be doing right now. “There’s a word that’s kind of like that called synesthesia or something, it’s where you cross senses and can like… smell purple or hear green or something like that. I guess you’re trying to synthesize that?”

She doesn't take very long to pick up her art things. Getting back to her feet is a bit more laborious but she can do it. "Yes, kind of like that, I guess. When I paint–" The voice falls silent and Bryan stares at Kendall. "I'm not signing." It's still the pseudo-Hailey's voice. But apparently she wanted to talk about art. So now she can.

“Well technically I’m a figment of your imagination right now so you apparently wanted me to understand you and used my illusions for your own purposes. Mind over matter.” Kendall remarks lightly. “Not sure I could have handled you sounding like Joe for this entire conversation, I would’ve felt like I was getting punked.” Nevertheless, Kendall does look around with mock suspicion. Actually, that does seem like a thing Joe would do. “Not that I could see him even if he was here.” he mutters after a moment.

Well… it's not the strangest thing to happen to her, so Brynn just keeps rolling with it. "Well, that's convenient at least," she replies. "And I can talk to you without the driver thinking I'm crazy!" That's a plus, right?!

As she walks carefully through the house to put her brushes into a glass of water and her paints and things into a neat stack on the table, she tries to finish her thought from before. "The concert was really primal. Lance has been introducing me to all kinds of music, but I can't decide if I like most of it. There have been some though. But it was different in person. So I thought if I played some–" hence why it was on in the front room, "— maybe I can do that kind of painting instead of fighting with my fine motor control."

Kendall snickers. “Oh no, getting music recommendations from Lance? That’s a… bold choice.” Kendall has been standing this entire time, but apparently not having a body means you don’t get uncomfortable or need to fidget. “Well he might still think you’re crazy, we do live in New York after all. I think it’s assumed.” Kendall pauses for a moment. “Or she, there’s no telling who’ll come pick you up. At least with a second pair of eyes in the car there’s less risk. Just think, even ten years ago the idea of climbing into a stranger’s personal car was an extremely dangerous risk. Although to hear the old people tell it, 50 years ago people thought nothing of it either.”

Bryan glances at him and grins. "To be fair, he was trying to let me hear some of everything that he could get his hands on from the radio station." She'll defend Lance's choices, even the jazz ones that make her dizzy!

With her paper laid on the table to dry and the rest being set to the side so they can be fully cleaned later, Brynn makes her way toward the front door. Patting her leg to alert Doodle that they're leaving and turning off the music are the last things she does before she picks up the cane by the front door. "Just make sure you find Joe or Lance if the driver turns out to be a creeper," she tells him, grinning as the words pop from her mind.

"I'm not sure how I feel about this form of communicating, you know. Cuz all kinds of things pop in my head while people are talking and I don't want you to hear some of what I think of them," she quips.

Joe and Lance would probably make up all kinds of sass to tell Kendall she was thinking and she can deny it all! But if it happens here…

Kendall chuckles, following behind her. "I think you're safe from that since we're making it a joint effort to have it work. It's not like I can read your mind or anything, just changing the medium once you decide to…" he trails off, rolling his eyes in advance. "'Xpress Yourself.'" complete with air quotes. "As for axe murderers and the like I'll do my best, but I think Joe might piss his pants."

A thought is triggered, though, and Kendall stops in his tracks. "Wait… if I could pop into someone's mind, what if it's someone who's been kidnapped? Like… you? Er. Her. Except no, I think one of the rules is I had to have met someone before." He grimaces. "Nevermind."

Brynn looks confusedly at him, but her ride to the hospital is waiting. She moves down the stairs carefully, her cane steadying her steps. Doodlebug walks at her side calmly. She uses her thumb to spell out in her phone's notebook app that she needs to go to the Elmhurst Hospital and shows it to the driver. He nods, and she carefully climbs into the back of the car before returning to the conversation that is only taking place in her head.

"Joe wouldn't pee his pants over an axe murderer," she replies calmly. "He'd just come after us and shoot him." Brynn has no doubt at all that this is what will happen. Joe, of all the pseudo-siblings raised and trained by Brian, is the one she has always seen as the apple that fell closest to that tree. She pauses.

Oh wow. Wait. He could pop into Other Brynn's bra– Nibbling her lip, she somberly tells Kendall, "If it has to be someone you know specifically, you can't help the other Brynn. Unless you met her before the day we met." She looks down at her lap, fidgeting. "It's a nice thought, though."

"I meant me popping up out of nowhere, but yeah you're right, he's more likely to shoot me. Which, fortunately for me, I'm more invulnerable to bullets than he is right now." He smirks, though falters when he sees he upset her yet again. "I'm sorry, I know you don't like bringing that up, I'll try not to do it again. It's so complicated. Although honestly since you are the one I know, I consider you the 'real' one. No offense to her but…" yep, rambling, and probably digging that hole even deeper once more.

Brynn shakes her head, and just smiles a little when she sees the driver notice it in the rearview. In the illusion, it's interesting that she can talk the way she is. Even if she has no idea what her own voice would sound like. "You don't have to avoid the topic, Kendall. The reality of it is that there may be two copies of all of us for a while. At least until the next software push."

She runs a hand through her dark hair, gray eyes troubled. "If things go the way we're hoping… maybe the originals of us will be home soon. And this was her life first. I'm not going to make things hard. I can't do that to her. None of this was her fault." Well, it's not this Brynn's fault either, but that's beside the point. "Hailey's been trying to think up a name I can use when she's back. I suggested Bree – like short for Brianna of Brenna. Then she reminded me brie is a cheese – I'll never live down if I use that. Joe will call me Cheesehead forever." A faint grin quirks her lips.

Kendall seated himself in the front seat at first, totally cheating the ride share. With a mischievous look to Brynn in the back seat, he leans over and energetically waves his hand in front of the driver's face. Not even a blink. With a smirk, Kendall blips back to the back seat next to Brynn. "Hm. How about Rynn instead? It's practically the same sound, but different enough to tell the difference." Then Kendall mentally rewinds the conversation and blinks. "Wait wait. You said 'us'? It wasn't just you? Who else is secretly a robot?"

She can't help the grin that pops into being when Kendall 'harasses' the driver, but clearing her throat she manages to not actually laugh. "Rynn's an interesting idea," she agrees. And then he asks that, and her expression shifts. "There… were a bunch of us who woke up in that crash," she tells him. "I… don't think it's exactly a secret – well, it kinda is I guess." She frowns at that. She doesn't remember anyone saying they couldn't talk about it, but it seems like it would be a Bad Idea for it to be too common knowledge. "— but I'm not sure I should just give out names. You know?" She knows that he knows some of them – maybe even quite well, given they are Ferryman. But Aunt Abby is having a really hard time with it and well… Maybe she doesn't want anyone to know. "Anyone who is, if they want you to know, they'll say."

Pulling a slow breath, she eventually just shrugs a bit. "You didn't say how badly you were hurt to be at the hospital. Are you gonna be burned or anything when I get there?" The mental almost-Hailey's voice actually has a tone that is identifiable as worry or concern. Not all of what is said seems to have appropriate tonality to it, but that one does. Maybe because even if she doesn't understand the words themselves, she knows what Hailey sounds like when she worries.

"Oh, ok, makes sense." Kendall's brow furrows as he thinks out over. "Is this a thing SESA is aware of?" he asks her. Personally he thinks that yes, it should be, and if it is, he now has something to ask. "Though uh, I hope I don't get in trouble for knowing about it myself, it might be a classified thing. I certainly didn't know before I talked with you, but if it isn't a SESA thing, I shouldn't bring it up. Ugh. Guess I'll keep quiet and if I hear about it I'll say something." Grr. It's frustrating being a secret agent.

When Brynn brings up the new subject, however, he blinks. "Oh. This is going to be weird, isn't it." You're only NOW realizing that, Kendall? "I, uh… no, not burned, but… um, my eye got messed up, I got hit by shrapnel and was bleeding from cuts on my scalp, arm, and shoulder." So basically not great.

Brynn snorts out a quiet sound that appears to startle her, and then clears her throat for the benefit of the driver because he looks back in surprise. That was a distinctly scoffing noise.

To Kendall, she says, "SESA knows." Her expression is resigned. "They're working on it but pretty much getting nowhere on it, last I heard." Given how she was raised, she doesn't have a lot of faith in governmental agencies anyway, but … a lot of people she knows work for them, including Lance and Emily, so she tries not to be too critical. "There are not a lot of things they can do, I guess, though."

She tips her head slightly at his description of how bad his injuries are and then nods a little. "So you're cut up and banged up bad but no gross stuff?" Not that gross will bother her all that much – she's really good with the whole patching up of people thing.

"Oh ok. Lance is a great person to talk to about it. I'll make sure to do that once I'm out of the hospital. And no, no entrails sticking out." He winces at the memory. "That was the other guy. But he had some sort of Wolverine super healing and, uh, slurped them back in." Isn't that a lovely mental image.

"But if I can do this like I think I can, and if it does involve people I know, I might be able to help!" He's very excited about it, and finally his power can be useful. "I need to learn how to work this thing, and fast. Four and a half miles at least, how far can I go?" He stares forward at the road, willing the guy faster. "Starting with figuring out how to get myself back on my own."

The other guy? Brynn blinks at what 'the other guy' had – a healing factor? "Primal," she murmurs thoughtfully about the guy healing and getting better. That's a good ability to have, in her opinion.

She turns her attention back to the primary conversation and adds, "Figuring out how to get back in is important," she agrees. "More important would be not just popping out at random. I mean… it's just never a good idea to leave your body unexpectedly and floating off to wherever and leaving it behind. It's like littering but worse – it leaves you vulnerable to whatever people will do to you." The world in which her perspective was formed was not a pretty place. You actually had to consider those possibilities.

"Yeah, um, good point. Someone could be doing something to my body right now and I wouldn't ev-"

And right at that moment, Kendall blips out of sight. Well, at least Brynn is almost there, right? And yet…

Within a minute he blips back, blinking. "Oh. I'm back." He sighs. "Well, good news is, I'm perfectly fine, bad news is, I feel like shit. And probably look like it too. And I guess I thought you might worry if I disappeared like that, um… yeah, still don't know what I'm doing. But I guess worrying about myself might be the key."

Torn between relief and alarm, Brynn waits tensely to see if he'll come back before she arrives at the hospital. It's only a couple more minutes away, so she's not too worried. When he does reappear, though, she breathes a little easier. "Well, considering what you've been through, I kind of expect you to look like botswarf, so that's not a big thing. But hey, at least you're learning some of the keys to the ability!"

Looking for the silver lining. Always looking for the silver lining. "We're just around the corner so we'll see if being there makes it easier or not."

“Well a good thing is I can do it. I got lucky the first time it happened and people were around to drag me to safety. We weren’t exactly in a great spot at the time.” plus, Kendall was standing, which meant he had immediately stopped standing when it happened. “At least I’m lying down this time. And yeah, though it’ll be kinda weird if I go with you to see.. Me. Um.” Kendall rubs the back of his neck, wrinkling his nose. “I mean. I’ve made an illusion of myself before, but it wasn’t real. Technically, my body is real and I’m what isn’t this time? I guess?”

"Just because you're in my head doesn't mean you're not real," Brynn informs him mildly. "It seems kind of like dream walking, really." That's a thought… she remembers vaguely that there'd been an older girl who could do that. But she can't remember who it was. Maybe Lance will remember. Or maybe Kendall will, because she thinks it was someone in the Ferry. Otherwise how would she have had any contact? ##5ABDEE|"If you know someone who does that, maybe you could ask them for some help practicing or some tips on how to control it."#

"Dream walking… maybe. But actually I know the best person to ask, this power is extremely similar, it's like astral projection. Oh, but, uh, I don't know if I can just… go talk to her. I…" Kendall suddenly looks guilty, staring down at his hands. "Ex girlfriend, and I just kind of disappeared off the face of the Earth for ten years. I'm assuming she moved on, but it would still be incredibly awkward if I showed up like nothing happened just so I could ask her how it works rather than to see her. Especially since I don't think it would work out between us anymore."

Brynn grins at the vague angst in all of that. "Well… I mean, I guess it would be awkward if you just up and vanished on her and didn't at least break up." She doesn't seem to think it the least bit strange that he has an ex-girlfriend. "I'm sorry that was an awkward suggestion" is all she says about it.

Her gray eyes glance forward out of the car and she notes, "There's the hospital." She gathers her things together so that she can pay the driver and get out of the car. It's not a fast maneuver, but she's getting adept at it. "Let's see if you wake up when you get close." She pauses and thinks to ask, "Are you in a lot of pain in your body right now?" He said he's pretty messed up – maybe that's what triggered the initial escape.

Kendall wrinkles his nose and waves his hand in a so-so gesture. "Could have been worse, definitely could have been better. I'm not sure if I needed stitches or anything, I've actually been awake longer with this than with my body. And, for the record, it's still freaking weird to say it like this."

Elmhurst Hospital

Elmhurst Hospital is one of two operational public hospitals servicing the entirety of the NYC Safe Zone. Elmhurst is the most newly reopened hospital and also the shortest staffed and least well supplied. This facility is based out of the run down and still partly condemned Elmhurst Hospital building which was scheduled for demolition prior to the civil war. The newer Elmhurst Hospital, which was supposed to be constructed adjacent to this old campus, was never finished and the infrastructure that was laid before the civil war rapidly deteriorated in the decade since. Elmhurst struggles to meet the needs of the rapidly growing Safe Zone population and is in a constant struggle to balance the needs of its patients and its often too-short supply of essential medication. In spite of this, the hospital was donated a brand new MRI by Yamagato Industries in 2018 and are partially supported by recurring charitable donations from the corporation and other sponsors.

They make it into the hospital, which is a scene of controlled chaos. Stretchers of people are lying everywhere, nurses and doctors are running around like the proverbial chickens, and there's lots of noise as everyone tries to cope with the massive influx of people needing medical attention. "I don't know where I am in here, probably need to ask." Kendall grimaces.

Oh loooooord have mercy, as Aunt Abby would say. Brynn flinches as she gets through the doors and is assaulted by sound. There's a moment where the hectic pace of both physical movement and pure noise coupled with the familiar and unwelcome scent of hospital overwhelms her and she can't force herself to move. Pulling in a breath, she picks her way cautiously through the fast-moving environment toward a reception desk to wait her turn in the line of people who are also searching for someone.

Not the best situation, but clearly a lot of people were way worse off than she had thought. Despite her siblings being in and out of the Lanthorn, she up to now had been pretty insulated from information about the fire and its aftermath. She knew it was bad, that evacuations might be ordered, and knew objectively people got hurt. But she can't listen to the news on the radio, so she didn't really get a full picture until now. And she's appalled.

"Kendall, how bad was it out there?" Horror makes the almost-Hailey voiceover sound subdued, almost a whisper. The harried receptionist at the desk has a tone of stress as she says something to the person at the front of the line and then points away. The person yells at the receptionist and Brynn winces, because the crowd shuffles uneasily. "They're not going to know where half the people are, are they?" She murmurs. She has seen triage on this level before – it's chaos in terms of keeping track of who is where.

"This might take a while."

Kendall notices her reaction and winces. "Oh, I didn't think about that. Sorry for making you come. Um. I don't know anything beyond ‘in a hallway’. Wait, I can go look myself. That would probably be easiest." Without waiting for Brynn to respond, he goes off down a hallway, even going through people. No one notices, further emphasizing the 'ghost' state. It's a big hospital, so even doing it this way might take a bit. And he didn’t ignore her question, he just wasn’t sure it was a good idea to share how bad it was out there.

Patiently waiting her turn in the line, Brynn anxiously watches for Kendall's illusionary form to return. If he gets close to his body, will he get sucked in, or will he come back like he did in the car? She supposes that if he doesn't come back after a while, she'll just have to go wander the halls to locate him.

After a few minutes of her waiting, Kendall pops back into view. "We lucked out, I'm on this hallway, but uh, I think I might've upset some people. I practiced going back a few times so I think I got it now, but, um…" he gestures a bit frantically towards her and goes down the hallway, just slow enough that hopefully she can manage just fine with her walking issues.

Both her eyebrows shoot upward and Brynn pivots to leave the line and follow the invisible guide. Her steps are slower than usual but she still moves pretty well on the level, smooth floors. She and Doodlebug hustle toward where his body is. "What did you do?" she asks in alarm, grateful that at least when he's like this it's easier to get answers!

"Oh, um, people were standing over me checking me over and I think I freaked them out by waking up. And. Um. Freaked them out when I went out again. Apparently that's not something I should be doing." When they approach where he's lying on a cot, there's a nurse, a doctor, and a member of SESA standing over him, seemingly in an argument.

"And what I'm saying, if it wasn't for having full autonomous function, he shows all the signs of being in a coma, and you're trying to say this is some sort of Expressive ability? That this repeated slipping in and out of this state is normal?"

Kendall's body is blocked from Brynn's view, and he shrugs at her. "All right, well, I guess I'll see you on the flip side. I do look pretty terrible, so…" With a small wave to her, he disappears again, and the nurse mutters something, causing the doctor to lean forward over him.

As Brynn approaches, she can't hear what the argument is about but she can certainly see the body language and she huffs out an exasperated sigh at Kendall. Crap. Boys!

She approaches the group of people arguing over Kendall's body and waves to get someone's attention. Putting her cane over the crook of her elbow, she signs, Anyone speak ASL? She doesn't have a lot of expectation of it though.

Even as she watches them for recognition, she also pulls out her phone to type on it. Hi! My friend is sorry for freaking you out. He'll be awake in a minute, I think.

The nurse catches sight of Brynn and moves away from the stretcher towards her, allowing her to finally see the ‘real’ Kendall. He does look to be in pretty bad shape; his head is bandaged, there’s another bandage over his right eye, and his right shoulder and forearm are also bandaged up, what’s visible under the ubiquitous hospital gown.

At that point, one blue eye opens, and he lifts his head up. “I got it Brynn, thanks.” comes Kendall’s voice again, though without the added benefit of her being able to hear and understand him perfectly like before. Thank you for the help. he slowly signs to her with as little movement with his right shoulder as he could manage, then struggles to sit up, wincing.

“Stay down for now.” the doctor tells him tersely, and Kendall rolls his eye and lays back down. “Well. It seems like he’s fine enough.” the doctor concedes to the SESA agent, and beckoning to the nurse, they both go off to tend to other patients. The SESA agent nods to Kendall and they exchange a few words, then he goes off as well.

Kendall looks back over at Brynn and smiles crookedly at her, gesturing to his face with his left hand. Very pretty. he jokes to her in sign, which has improved much over the last couple months or so. He’s not the best conversationalist with it yet but there’s progress, at least.

A brief smile is given to the nurse but Brynn's gray eyes are on Kendall, what she can see of him. She sucks in a low breath, hating to see him so injured. When he opens his eyes and there's yet another minor scramble around him, the small brunette stays out of the way. She watches the SESA agent with a wary expression, though it appears that he's the one who kept them from doing too much with an unconscious Kendall.

As they all leave, she moves up to stand next to the bed. The cane is leaned against the side of it so her hands are free, and she gently smooths the hair back off Kendall's forehead. You look like you were brawling with someone twice your size, she informs him. One might imagine a hint of tartness to that tone, though her fingers are gentle as she touches him and she fights to hide her dismay. You're a mess. And you're welcome. I'll sit with you until they figure out where to put you, okay? She doesn't want to leave him alone in the hospital. No one should be left alone like this. She wonders if Marthe is around – the nurse who is Ames's mom will make sure he's taken care of for sure.

Kendall sighs, closing his good eye, though not in a 'suddenly going awol' way this time. "Big difference huh. Shoulda seen the other guy." Oh wait. Doesn't work this way. He opens his eye again because it helps to watch his own hands for signing. Big difference. I look like how I see me, not how I am. he's not sure what the signs are for 'ghost' or 'astral projection' or 'illusion', but hopefully Brynn can infer what he meant. I think I'm fine. I just look bad. to prove it, he carefully flexes his right arm with a wince. Just here because he frowns, thinking about it. Sleep? unconscious is what he meant. Fine now. Can probably leave. the normal way.

She gives him the same look she'd give Joe or Lance when they're being idiots about being hurt. I'll sit with you until the doctor says you can go, not you say you can go, she retorts with a mild expression. Don't make me go find Marthe! Brynn also remembers Nurse Megan from Pollepel and has seen her and Aunt Stork around here before, but that seems like overkill.

Marthe? Kendall has no idea who Brynn is threatening him with. At least, he thinks that’s the name Brynn spelled out. I’m F-I-N-E. he even spelled out the word for emphasis because he can’t exactly use a tone of voice with signing? He gestures to his shoulder and face. Just scratches. Then again, he isn’t sure how bad these ‘scratches’ were, he can’t see with the bandages. Speaking of which, he brings his hand up to his right eye and feels the bandage on it gingerly.

Maybe that was the deciding factor, because he suddenly deflates. All right. Fine. But as soon as someone says I can go, I'm out of here. he gestures about. I want to move and let someone else come who needs it.

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