gillian2_icon.gif squeaks_icon.gif

Scene Title Imperfections
Synopsis Are what people, families, and the world are made of.
Date August 15, 2019

Praxis Ziggurat

A couple days ago was a rollercoaster of emotions. You wouldn't know it to see it. On the outside things seemed to be kept pretty well in check. Underneath it was a tyrannosaur driving a cargo van through a landslide during a tornado. That's how Squeaks felt, anyway, and no amount of trying could describe it more accurately. It was easier to appear like nothing at all was different or strange, like she hadn't just vanished without a trace and spent weeks without trying to call home.

That's mostly why it took her two days to return to the living quarters assigned to her mom and sister. She needed time to sort out her fears and worries. There were a lot of them, some baseless and others more tangible.

But the girl knew she couldn't hide forever. She didn't want to either. Reunification had been stunted by overwhelming and confusing emotions and she wanted to fix that.

Praxis Ziggurat, Executive Residential Level

Praxia, California Safe Zone

August 15th

10:26 am

Light tapping against the door interrupts whatever the sunny, early autumn morning has Gillian and Lene doing. It isn't particularly loud, the first time, but the following series of rapping of knuckles against the door comes a little more insistent and sooner than most people would expect.

Squeaks has never been great at waiting for doors to be answered.

The last few weeks have been long and difficult, but Gillian is grateful for the shower and the bed to sleep in and the fresh foods. She had gotten tired of dry packaged foods and lots and lots of water. Finally, she can get a coffee if she wishes it and something warm to eat. Even lots of rice and chinese food was welcome after the last couple of weeks. A short phone call to Robyn to let her know that they would be staying out west for a while, and she apologized, but that Lene and Squeaks both were safe and would be home when they could. She hoped that Jolene would call her other parents, but she would ensure her friend that they were okay at the very least.

Even if she had to leave out most of the facts. They would be staying in the California Safe Zone, and the two girls were safe. As safe as they could be, at least.

She really would try to find a way to kill Adam if anything unnecessary happened to either of them, and she wished that Jac did not have to go through what she was going to have to. But at least she wouldn’t have to go through it alone.

It doesn’t take long for the door to open, the smell of warm coffee in the air, and a soft hint of vanilla under the bitter surface. While she looks tired, she also looks as if she’s at least been sleeping better, not running herself ragged like she had looked when they first saw each other again. “Squeaks,” she responds happily, her dimple showing as she gestures her inside with the coffee mug. “Come in. So you need a drink or anything?”

The hand raised and ready to knock again drops when the door opens. Squeaks’ blue eyes opened wide meet Gillian’s dimpled smile. “I had breakfast already,” she answers, not that it's ever stopped her from having second breakfast before. She follows it with a hesitant smile, and a cat-like confidence as she enters the apartment. She belongs here, in this living space, as easily as she does in her own, and in every other apartment she enters.

She takes a second to look around, to explore visually the way a young creature might. When her wandering gaze finds its way back to Gillian, though, the girl steps forward and throws her arms around her mom.

“I tried. I tried to find a way to tell you.” The words of her explanation are mumbled and thick, stunted in volume against Gillian's shoulder. “There wasn't time.” Squeaks clings to her mom, hugging tightly, as though she would lose her family all over again if she let go even a little. “I had to choose fast and I didn't know I would be here. But I tried. I tried to explain and let you know.”

“I understand,” Gillian admits with a sad smile, looking over the girl’s head to the wall as if blaming the immortal man for putting the girl in this situation. It wasn’t his fault though, not entirely, as she understood it. It had been the same people who had her birth parents experiment on her and her twin brother who had been behind it. So much came back to The Company in the end.

But most of them had been punished, so she couldn’t really do much about it now.

“You wanted to find out the truth, and I can’t really blame you for that. But I had to come looking for you, anyway. It was your journal that helped us get here. She pointed the way.” It was funny how they had managed to set out just as the girl had sent her message so that she never got it from Emily. “And I had a voice mail from Emily, too. But we were on the road at the time she called, so it would have gotten to me if we hadn’t chosen to set out when we did.” She knew that the girl had tried, though.

“They wouldn't let me call from here either. My phone won't work.” Squeaks tips her head back and looks up at Gillian. “The ink-lady. I…” She can't actually say that Adam or others are unaware of the sentient tattoo on her arm. She never brought attention to it and, honestly, she wasn't sure if the ink-morph could have communicated back home.

Arms dropping, the girl steps back. “I'm really very happy to see you. It's… you came a long way.” She looks over her shoulder, like she might see the Safe Zone through the window if she tried hard enough. “Is Smudge and Chandra okay? And Lance, Brynn, and Joe?” Her head turns again so she can look up at her mom.

“Are you mad?” That's a little more serious. “If… if I knew where we were going I… I would have found a different way. And… Adam isn't a monster like Eve said.” Squeaks' eyebrows knit tightly together. It's a point she's probably not budging on.

From the way Gillian’s lips press together, she’s going to choose not to answer some of those questions, or statements, really. It’s the part about Adam not being a monster, mostly. Her opinion on that is still undecided, like a book that she hasn’t gotten a chance to read to really have an opinion on. She has heard many other’s thoughts on the matter, but she will see how she feels in the upcoming days, weeks, hopefully not months, but if it came to that…

“Chandra and Smudge are fine. Smudge is going to be so big when you finally get back, but I have multiple people checking on them and the house. Robyn and Juniper will both make sure they’re fed, and I’m sure Eve when she gets back from Japan.” Eve might have insisted to come along if she hadn’t already been overseas at the time that they left, but she probably would have tried to get her to stay anyway. Eve had been through quite a lot this year already. “Emily tested out the theory that… she might be able to point to you. It proved true, so Lene and I followed it.” Until it became clear that the big pyramid was the place to look.

“I understand. I’m mad that he did not find a way to contact me, but… I kind of understand that too.” What they were dealing with was powerful and dangerous. “I’m just glad we’re here now, so you don’t have to go through all this alone.”

There's some comfort in knowing things are fairly normal still, back home. Squeaks nods at those who were chosen to take care of the cats. If she notices some pieces were unanswered, she doesn't press again.

“He was mad how it happened too,” she confides quietly. “He's been taking good care of me though. And I can go anywhere on the island. Joy’s taken me to some historic places off the island too.”

Brows knit together as Squeaks offers more evidence that she's neither been kept as a prisoner nor is her biological father as horrid as everyone thinks. She looks at the floor, at the space in front of her shoes. “I'm sorry for leaving, and that you came all the way out here. I just… I needed to know. And… and I believe him. About the monster. We have to stop it or it'll destroy everything.”

“There’s a lot of monsters, and you’re right, they need to be fought,” Gillian states quietly, as if she has had experience with monsters in the past. Which she has, by many accounts. She doesn’t like the situation, she wishes this girl did not have to fight it like it seems she’s going to have to. But… sometimes the weight of the world needed to go somewhere. And it was better it was on the shoulders of someone good.

“You’ll do what you need to do. And it sounds like he has the… resources to prepare you.” Which sadly, she did not have herself. But what she can give is smaller and more contained. “I had multiple abilities once. When we find out what you’ll have, we can start coming up with strategies on how to use them. And Lene too. She’ll be good for helping you learn ways to handle new abilities quickly.” Probably even more quickly than her. Gillian had only really mastered a small handful of the abilities that she had gathered in the time she had Peter’s original ability, but Lene had spent years using abilities of those she was close to.

The most she could offer, really, was support. Both with her ability and knowledge and confidence that this girl could do all that was being pushed on her.

Because that’s what she’d wanted when she was told she could possibly do so much to help others.

“Okay.” Squeaks' head rocks with a small nod, agreeing that there are resources, confirming the offer of help. She looks over her shoulder, without focusing on anything specific. For just a moment, she recognizes the weight of the task, and the cost of failure. Her breath is held for several seconds, accepting the slight burn in her chest to burn her anxieties, then slowly let out. It does little to cauterize her fear.

But her eyes are eager and curious when she looks up at Gillian again. If only for a second. She steps forward again and hugs her mom, not with her earlier desperation and relief that her family is actually here. It's a deeper need, seeking and offering comfort.

“It's going to be okay.” The words are quiet but firmly stated, voices as much for her own benefit as for her mom’s. “Right? And… then after we can go home?”

“Our home will be waiting for us when we finish,” Gillian states simply, with a small smile tugging on the corner of her lips, but not quite touching her eyes. She has faith they will make it home together, that’s not why she’s not smiling as widely as she might normally. It’s how they will finish, what they will go through, that has her concerned. There’s always factors that make saving the world difficult and emotionally jarring. While Gillian might think she’s capable of handling it now she knew she hadn’t been just ten years ago. She’d shut down multiple times, pushed people away, ran and hid.

She hoped that Squeaks was better equipped to go through it than she had been back then, and she wasn’t about to let her do any of the things she had done to cope. Maybe if she had had a mom around during those times things would have been easier on her, but she didn’t know.

“Until then, we can try to make this crazy pyramid our temporary home,” she joked, looking around with a raised eyebrow as she took in the tech that, well, looked like something out of a scifi movie.

“It's not so bad here,” Squeaks points out as she looks around also. It isn't home, but it isn't uncomfortable either. It's just a place to stay, that they have to stay until they can leave. “It's a lot better than the quarantine place.” She looks up, head tilting so she can look at her mom, studying her face. “It's going to be okay.” So much confidence in those words, even though she doesn't know for sure. Her hand reaches up to hold onto Gillian’s. “We can do this.”

Saving the world was nothing new to Gillian, really. She had participated in multiple incidences in the past that could be considered world-changing. None of them had ended up wonderful for everyone involved, she knew this. In this case she hoped Adam and his ilk took the burden of the bad, instead of those she cared about. Either way, though…

“You’re right. We can do this. As a family.”

Because that is what they were, now and always.

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