If You Stay


berlin_icon.gif rory_icon.gif

Scene Title If You Stay
Synopsis After a close call, Berlin tries to warn Rory about what he’s gotten himself into.
Date September 29, 2018

Rory’s Trailer

After months of coming to Rory's door when she needs a place to recover, to relax, or just for the company, his door is the first place Berlin could think of to go. She's brought blackberries with her, gathered into a plastic container. But when she knocks on his door, it's obvious that she didn't come just to break bread with him. Her expression is distinctly haunted. Enough time has passed to turn the pain into a memory, but the pain is not what troubles her. Volken's daughter did more damage with her words than with her ability. At least in the long run.

She's been crying. On and off. Her eyes are red and puffy, but dry at the moment. Her past— the past— is swiftly becoming her present and she feels the urge to go to ground. At least until she figures out who she is anymore.
The day she has visited have always been met with smiles. Rory even made sure to stock up on the perishable versions of her favorite foods and cereals. Powdered eggs, powdered milk, things that lasted a long time. It added to the things they could do together in the small trailer. Cooking at the kitchen. Following instructions to cook wasn't that hard. And it was always more rewarding (or more laughable when one made a mistake) if there was someone to eat with, laugh with.

But Rory had not seen her ever show up looking like this. He reaches down to offer her his hand, much as he had the first day, looking past her as if to make sure that nothing in the trailer park itself was the trigger for this. He doesn't see anything, so instead he just asked, "You alright?" Any attempts he made in the past to try and sound more like the people around here have been long dropped around her, and even this comes out kinda 'y'right?' sounding, really.

Taking his hand, Berlin climbs up and into the trailer. Nothing seems amiss behind her, at least, maybe a stray cat running by but that’s hardly out of the ordinary. Once inside, she sets the blueberries on the table and drops into a chair.

“I’m really not,” she says, eventually, fingers pushing into her hair as she holds her head up. The pain that Yvette Volken put her through is long passed, but the memory of it lingers. It’s left her tense and uncomfortable, like it might come back any moment. “But there’s something I need to tell you.”

The stray cats aren't at all uncommon. But neither is anything else Rory sees through the door past her. Not even any people on day to day business right now. The side of the trailer park is quiet at this hour, really. After closing the door behind her, it autolocking as it clicks into place, he moves to join her, sitting on the opposite side of the table, with the blueberries between them.

They will have to wash those earlier, but he starts to wonder exactly what it is that has left her — her — this tense and uncomfortable. And his mind immediately goes to all the wrong places when she says she has something she needs to tell him.

At least he doesn't voice any of those thoughts, though. "You can tell me." Even if he's half expecting it to be that she has to break up with him, or is getting shipped off to the other side of the country or something.

Her hands fall heavily to the table and she lets out a long held breath. Berlin looks over at him, glancing him over like she might be trying to commit the details of his face to memory. Which might not do much for his worries.

“I should have probably told you this before it became a problem, but I thought… I was in the clear.” Not to mention, she has never explained her past to anyone. Ever. “I’m… not who you think I am. Berlin Beckett isn’t even my real name.” Her gaze drops to the table, where her fingers trace lines over the surface. “I took it to hide from something. But it’s… found me. There’s someone watching me. Someone dangerous. I’m not sure if they’ve followed me here, but I can’t promise that they didn’t. That they won’t.”

All the things he'd expected to hear, it hadn't been that. That someone was after her, that the name he knew wasn't really her name… All of it. Rory leans back as he listens, a curious expression on his face as his eyebrows as he listens. A dangerous person could have followed her here, could have connected it as a place she occasionally stays. He hasn't noticed anything out of the ordinary, but then again when she's around he doesn't often notice anything else.

After a moment, he does speak finally, "If Berlin is the name you think of yourself as, then it's your name." It's the one he thinks of her as, certainly. "If you think of yourself as the other name, then that is." Whatever that other name is. It could be she only used Berlin to hide from whatever it was that had found her.

If anything he seems more relieved than worried.

The fact that he’s not upset gets her to look up at him, her head tilting curiously. The impression of a smile peeks out for a moment, before she actually takes in what he said.

“That’s just it,” she says, letting out a slow exhale. “They’re both… me. And both not. Berlin was always the one I wanted to be,” she explains softly, “but the other one— Nathalie— she’s lonely and angry and sad. And for a long time, I tried to leave her behind. But I don’t think I ever did.” It’s an explanation that makes sense to her, but she’s aware that it might only work for her. “I know that sounds crazy.”

Pushing up from from the table, she paces down the length of the trailer. “What matters is that you need to know that being around me is putting you in danger. You should have the chance to be safe. You came here to be safe,” she notes, turning back his way.

"No where is really safe," Rory offers as an aside, because it's a truth. He did seek refuge in another country to get away from potential persecution due to his ability. He hadn't hidden that he was Evolved, that was impossible, but when his ability became more he had had to, because he feared what it would mean. He feared what he knew had happened to many others.

He had fled because he wanted to be treated like a person. And even here there were those who cast a sidelong look at him as he demonstrated his abilities at the market. Even here there were stray comments that made him wonder if he should stop making things in front of an audience the way he does. Like what he did somehow demeaned others who trained for years to sculpt but could not possibly use the tools he did.

It didn't matter that he actually had talent in sculpting even without his ability, using it seemed to offend some. Even here.

Danger comes one way or another, really. Someone could break into his trailer, bad things happened at the Market at times too. He could even have an accident at work. It's not as if he's not taking the potential danger seriously— "Well, I know now. And maybe I can help keep a look out for it." Now that he knows. But really he has another question that seems somehow more important to him, "Do you want me to still call you Berlin?"

“I don’t know. Yes.” Berlin isn’t entirely sure, but it’s who she was with him, not Nathalie with her burdens and her talents. She always felt too… heavy to have much of a normal life. Berlin got to have one.

She just hopes it lasts.

“Maybe one day I’ll try Nathalie out again. She still feels a little like a ghost to me.” When she makes it back over to the table, she lets out an exhale and sits next to him. “If it gets to be too much, just say so. I’ll understand.” Part of her is just wishing that Yvette will be the end of it, but most of her knows better than to assume she will be. “But if you want to stay, I’ll protect you the best I can.”

Someone else might have been insulted by those last words. Or at least give a rueful shake of the head, but Rory just laughed and nodded, understanding that in a fight she would certainly be the one of them that would have the slightest idea what they were doing.

That she could protect him better than he could protect himself. He'd never been involved in any fighting, for truth. He manages to look as if he admires that fact, rather than resent it.

But he thought he was strong enough he could manage something if it came down to it. Either with his ability, or otherwise. "Maybe you teach me a thing or two. So I can help better. Or at least not make anything worse," he adds, that grin remaining. And he grins because that's his answer. He's staying.

Berlin smiles gently at his reply and her fingers reach up to brush against his cheek. “I can give you a few pointers,” she says, a sudden warmth in her tone. Not because of the idea of future sparring sessions, but for the idea of a future.

Her fingers move to his hand before she starts to stand, a gentle squeeze encouraging him to do the same. “Let’s hit up Juniper’s,” she says— something she has said often enough, “she promised me buñuelos. My treat.” They might be something of a comfort food, a memory from her childhood when it was still good, but tonight she needs them. And him.

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