Jumping At Shadows


gillian_icon.gif victor_icon.gif

Scene Title Jumping At Shadows
Synopsis Two siblings meet up in the street. One's looking for the other, the other would like to stay lost.
Date December 11, 2008


The Bronx is the northernmost borough of Greater New York, and even before the explosion, this area was diverse. Though known infamously throughout the world to be a low-income area, it was not without its finer points, as well as home to the Yankee Stadium. It was dense with life, for better or for worse.

For now, it is the the south-west areas of the Bronx that are unrecognisable. Clean up has not gone steadily, and buildings still lie in ruination. It is now hard to tell what this place is even for. During the day, construction teams work to clear more and more roads of South Bronx, although people seem to take liberties by driving over the burnt out rubble if they have the means. There are make-shift trailer camps and soup kitchens for those that don't have a place to go. One feature of South Bronx is the Yankee Stadium, so far untouched. There is irreparable damage done to the building itself, and no game has played there since the tragedy. Graffiti tags the areas available, and people often congregate illegally upon the wrecked grounds. The field itself is overgrown with weeds between fallen debris.

Heading away from Manhattan, the Bronx takes on more function and hope. This borough, once a place of Jewish immigrants, then Latin-Americans and African Americans, is now a diverse mix of all races, any and all New Yorkers taking up residence on the other side of the wreckage. There is even a semblance of a transport system, the electricity back on and functioning, but crime rates are higher than ever.

The last pawn shop Gillian went to practically blew up right after she left it. This time, that doesn't happen, luckily. Carrying a small item in her closed fist, she leaves out the door, a messanger bag hanging off of her shoulder. Her coat is new, long with multiple buttons all done up, but the bag is old. A logo in the form of a tribal design of a sun stands out in red and white, large enough that it could be seen from a distance. The bag had been a birthday present the year before this one.

Victor knew where to find her, one might think. But she wasn't home. So he went out looking for Gillian on the street, just taking a long shot. Really he didn't expect to have any luck because how often do you just find who you're looking for when it's a specific person that could be anywhere? It's from way down the block he sees her though, thinking he recognizes that bag she's carrying. Breaking into a jog, he cuts past what little crowd there is out here at the moment to get to her. "Gilly!" he calls, once he's reasonably sure she can hear. No need to be the least bit secretive.

Red highlighted hair whips around when Gillian turns toward the voice, eyes widening. She did not expect to hear that nickname, or that voice. The make up she wears has changed to something lighter and more conventional than normal. Lighter lipstick and less eye-liner specifically, but it's still his sister. The beautymark on her cheek is just visible. "Vic," she says in a mild tone, before she quickly stalks over, hand still closed in a fist, hiding what she's holding on to. "What the hell are you doing here? You're supposed to be in California."

Without waiting for so much as another word, Vic throws his arms around his sister's neck and hugs her tightly. "I came home when I heard about…" trail off. No, he's not gonna finish the sentence. The hug doesn't last too long though and he lets go. "You're hard to find." he says, having to force another smile not because it's her but because of circumstances.

Gillian doesn't return the hug, but she startle in surprise at it. Once he's finished and lets go, she backs away a step. Luckily the small knot in the back of her head has been pinched tightly. Nothing else, she's learned. Not that he knows. "I'm missing. I'm supposed to be hard to find," she says, straightening her coat and looking around carefully. "You shouldn't be here. There's nothing you can do for Jenny." Her hand opens. There's a pocket watch in her hand, from the looks of things. She drops it into her carrier bag and looks up at her brother.

The watch gets a curious look before it disappears. "What's going on, Gilly? Why're you supposed to be missing? Mom and Dad don't know where you are, and I know you were always kinda…" a goth nerd? "…seclusive? Is that even a word? But ya know it may not be like the best time to go missing." Vic's tone of voice doesn't hold a lot of judgment though. More like concern.

"It's kind of a— can you just take my word for it?" Gillian shakes her head, obviously annoyed at this whole thing. She glances back to the pawnshop, as if thinking about something, before she looks back. "Don't tell mom and dad you saw me. I can't go back now, the police will ask me too many questions I can't answer, okay? Just… There were these guys— with guns. They attacked my library a few months ago. They were after people like you. And you're a big show off and you probably flash your power at everyone who lets you— and you're going to get yourself killed. "You should just go back to California. It's safer there."

All of that makes Vic look suspicious. And he asks, "Were you going somewhere? I can walk with you." He pauses in case that's an affirmative and continues, "People like me, huh?" The implication being by tone of voice that Gillian ought not to act like she's not Evolved herself. "Were they the ones that took Jenny?"

"I'm going… that way," Gillian says, looking down the street. There's one of those noticable pauses to indicate that she might have been about to say something else. She starts walking. No way she can outrun him. "Yeah, like you. The people who registered." That's one thing she's tried to keep from her family, that she's like them— but maybe her baby brother actually noticed. "I don't know. Maybe connected, maybe not. But either way there's dangerous people attacking people like you… and me too. That's why I'm hiding. The police can't do anything about this. And if I try to explain what happened…" she trails off, angry.

"I'm worried about you, Gilly." says Vic, falling into step beside her, hands in pockets. He looks at the ground as they walk. "Look…" he sighs, "…I'm not going back to Cali. I haven't told Mom and Dad yet. Dunno how to tell them. So whatever's going on here I'm not just leaving in a week, okay?" He stops talking then.

"You dropped out of school, didn't you?" Gillian looks over with a darkened glance, though she can't help but sigh a moment later. "I'm taking care of myself. I'd be in a lot more danger if I had to answer questions to the cops, I assure you. You'd probably never even see me again." That darkened glance turns warning, knowing. "Listen, just keep this a secret from mom and dad and I'll tell you where you can find me a couple days a week, okay? You just have to do me a favor and not call me by my name. Remember that fake ID I used to use? Back when I was your age? Leanne Lennox? I go by that where I'm staying."

"Okay." he agrees, "But they keep asking me if you're all right and if I've seen you. Dad even asked me to find you, though that's not why I did. What do you want me to say?" At least it seems like Vic's willing to work with his sister on this. He's not trying to strong-arm her into somebody else's agenda. "…I guess I kinda did. Drop out."

"Lie, tell them I've probably skipped town, I don't know, Vic," Gillian says, still sounding a little grouchy. "You know how much I actually liked my job at the library, how many times I applied to get into the Brooklyn district, and how many times I tried to get transfered to the central one. You know I wouldn't just run off and leave it if I didn't think I had to." She keeps walking, but there's stress lines along her cheekbones and she looks very somber. "And a few days after I did leave my job and my landlord freaked out and Jenny came down to clean out my apartment? She gets kidnapped. It's not a coincidence. You shouldn't be around me too much. Lying's about the best thing you can do for me right now."

"If you know something about who killed Jenny, you need to tell somebody. I'm serious." This is the part where Vic gives his sister that look like he simply expects the right thing to be done. "You look like you haven't slept."

"I've slept," Gillian responds in a thick voice, still shaking her head. "Listen. Vic. You run fast. They're not going to lock you up yet. But they probably will one day. This registration thing? It's one step down from letting them cart you off to a consentration camp. And trust me when I say this is a likely outcome. Even if I just gave them the info on the people who attacked me, who I think might be responsible for what happened to Jenny… they'll want to know too much. And I'll probably be locked away. I'm not risking it. These guys are already avoiding capture. I doubt anything I'd give would give them a way to find… them." Or him. Or him and them.

That response makes Vic silent for a long moment. He walks in silence next to Gillian, radiating something like frustration. "Wow." he says at last, shaking his head. "So you're in something over your head, and it got Jenny killed. I just can't figure out yet if it's because you feel like shit because of that, or if you're still just worried about watching your own ass more than seeing some kind of justice done." Oh yeah. He's frustrated all right.

Something he says really must make his big sister angry. Gillian reaches over and grabs his arm and starts to haul him toward an alley, off the street, though it's not exceptionally busy. "You don't understand what happened. I thought the government killed her at first, okay? How was I supposed to go to the cops with that?" Her voice is soft, a harsh whisper, and she's pulling him down closer to his level. "I thought the government was after me. A whole secret group of them, rounding up people who didn't want to get a card and a fancy online webpage telling where they live and what they do, or people they wanted to use. When I found out differently I shot the son of a bitch in the back, and helped him get sent away to fucking Antarctica, where he's probably frozen to death in a patch of ice somewhere." There's a different kind of pain in her voice when she says this, but she shakes it off. Her sleeve falls down from where she's holding on to her brother, revealing her watch. Which happens to be broken. But still worn. "I'm still not convinced the government isn't looking for me already. I can give an anonymous tip on one of the sons of a bitch who's involved, but these guys aren't stupid. My description won't get them caught."

With a defiant look Vic pulls out of Gillian's grasp and stabs a finger in her chest. "You know what? These bullshit conspiracy theories probably sound really good to you and your friends you chat with online? But they're bullshit, Gilly. I haven't had any problems at all since I registered. I'm legal and I follow the law and I don't get any grief for it except from certain people in the Closet like You who are afraid. And that's fine, you do what you like. I won't tell on you. I'd never do that to you. But I guarantee if it was you that got murdered I'd do my best to find out who did it and make them pay." His voice lowers and at that point he just looks disappointed. "You just sound like you've given up."

"You weren't the one getting shoved into cars by people in suits with guns," Gillian says, letting go of him and not trying to argue with it anymore. There's an angry look on her face for being called what she's been, but she's seen too much to dismiss them as conspiracy theories. "And you tell the guy I saw get shot through the head by Home Sec without warning not two minutes after I left the scene that it's all just conspiracy theories." She shakes her head, closing her eyes a little as her hand goes to the wrist with the broken watch. "And I told you, I shot the lying fucker who killed Jenny."

"I hope you did." mutters Vic, looking down. "Remember when I'd wake up in the middle of the night? When I was real little. And come make you check my room for ghosts?" Like this has anything to do with anything.

That softens her a bit. Gillian's no longer walking in any direction, and just standing near the alley looking at her brother. "Yeah, I remember. You were a big baby— jumping at shadows on the wall and everything. But now the shadows and ghosts are real. Especially here. If things get even worse here… I hope you run away as fast as you can."

"I don't see you running away." Vic says simply, seeming if anything disappointed. "I…I dunno what to say to you. Here." He pulls out his cell phone, shaking his head. "I'll give you my number. You let me know…whatever it is you can let me know."

There's a pause before Gillian pulls out a very cheap phone, one that looks like it's paid for by the minute and easily tossed away into the ocean at any time. She gets ready to program in a number, and exchange her own as she says. "I work at Kingpin's Bowling Alley. Right here in the Bronx. Almost always on Friday and Saturday night, some weekdays too."

Vic makes sure she's got his number. He takes hers but enters it as Leanne in his phone. "Okay." he says to her information, suddenly quite tight lipped. Then he shrugs and goes to push past her and get out of this alley.

"Vic," she says as he pushes past her and out of the alley way. "Be careful. I know you think I'm exaggerating this, but… you haven't seen what I have. Just be extra careful while you're here. And call me if you see a guy with a scar across his face, like this." She does a little slash across her nose and cheek, just like one of those guys from a Final Fantasy game. "He's not involved in what happened to Jenny, he's just someone I'm worried about." And he's the easiest one to describe.

"Whatever." mutters Vic, sighing as he pauses, half turning to speak to her a little more. "Look, I don't want you to end up the next news story. If you're involved in this, whatever it is, and it might end up with you…I love you, Gilly. And you've got something dangerous going on, and you won't let anyone help. Which just means it's not gonna get any better. And it's just a matter of time before you're gone too." Though the look he gives her is steady, his jaw's clenched and he sniffs and wipes his nose, just staring at her.

"The last people who helped me… one of them got shot in the head. The other…" Gillian trails off and shakes her head. The sniffing brings her closer again, but she actually reaches up and puts a hand on the side of his head. Almost a light smack that ends in a extended touch. "I need to figure some things out. But I mean it. I'll be fine." Not dead yet.

"What's there to figure out? Whatever it is, get out of it. And if you can't, I'll get you out." says Vic, pulling away from the touch with a touch of petulance. "Just…YOU be careful. I'm fine. Nobody's after me. Guess I'll see you later 'Leanne'." Then he turns to go for real, tossing a wave over his shoulder.

"I can get out of it myself," Gillian says, before she waves back, trying to smile for his sake. It doesn't look realistic, though. She's faking it. "See you later, Vic." As he moves away, she can't help but look around, hoping not to see some shadowed figure watching her interact with the young man. She almost wants to send extra energy toward him, to make him move faster away. "Not looking for you…" she whispers outloud, to no one really. "Not yet."

December 10th: Now You See Me
December 11th: Vendetta
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License