Lighthouse By Proxy


elisabeth_icon4.gif wf_squeaks_icon4.gif

Also featuring Aurora Harrison

Scene Title Lighthouse by Proxy
Synopsis Squeaks tells the smallest traveler about her plans to remain in this world.
Date December 21, 2018

Apartment Squat

There have been a lot of changes since their group jumped through a portal into a different world. Most of those changes have probably come from need and circumstance. What can anyone do in a world that’s covered in ocean water but adapt? Especially if your plans were like Squeaks’ plans to stay and make it into home.

Since the meeting of the captains, the young teenager has spent even less time at the crash pad. It hasn’t exactly been a secret that she’s made plans already, even if she hasn’t come right out to say so yet. Her things have always remained behind as a reminder that she’s planning to return.

This afternoon is a little different. In the room that had been set aside as their sleeping space, Squeaks sits on the sleeping bag she’d first claimed as her own. A small rucksack sits open in front of her, though she’s fussing with a buckle and strap instead of actually packing.

The petite child who's been tagging along wherever Squeaks will allow peeks around the wall to see that the teen is sitting there and comes slowly over to crouch down at the edge of the sleeping bag. With both hands on her knees as she does that low squat that small children (and Squeaks) have perfected, she looks… sad. "Are you leavin' for awways this time?" Her tone is solemn but there's an acceptance to it. Many if not most of the same people have jumped worlds both times Aurora has, but not all. Last jump, Aunt Kaylee stayed behind. Squeaks doesn't talk about what she's doing but Aura sees her doing things that look like planning to stay.

Looking up when Aurora gets near, Squeaks gives her a small grin that’s a little sad and maybe a teeny bit sorry too. Especially when she looks down at her pack again. “Yes,” she answers quietly. She hadn’t thought about it too much, about staying in the flooded world and not going on with the travelers, didn’t even know she’d decided she wasn’t leaving until she’d made herself part of a crew.

“But it’s okay,” she goes on after a few seconds, trying to sound a little bit excited. “Because you’ll have primal adventures going to a whole other new world. And me too. We’re practically pirates here.”

Resting her chin on her hands, Aurora just nods a little. "Primal," she echoes softly. Not that she wants to be pirates. She'd rather not travel to yet another world while people are shooting at her mom and everyone either. But resignation has settled over the whole situation. Before she can think of anything else to say into the silence, her mother's voice comes from behind her.

"Did you decide one where you plan to go, then, Squeaks?" Elisabeth's query is gentle — she wishes the teens would continue on. But part of her also isn't sure what they'll find on the other side, so… she understands the desire not to jump again.

Taking her hands from the pack, Squeaks mirrors Aurora’s posture. Except for being squatted since she’s already sitting, her chin rests in her hands. She wishes there were anything she could say, but words aren’t always easy. She tries to think of something Eve would probably say — the lady seer is way better at talking sometimes — something that would make it seem less sad somehow. Less like goodbye.

She’s still thinking when Liz walks up, and the teen’s eyes lift to look at the audiokinetic. “I’m staying,” she answers, “with Captain Ben on the Cerberus. I want to go with, but… I think this is where I should maybe be instead.”

Pulling in a slow breath, Elisabeth nods slightly. She moves to sit down beside Aurora, crossing her legs too. She reaches out to touch the child's shoulder, but a subtle movement shrugs her off and she withdraws the motion for now.

"If you're going to stay, Ben Ryans is a good place to be. You stick with him, hard," she tells Squeaks softly. "If you give him your loyalty, he'll go to the end of the world for you." The woman pauses and smiles just a little. "I've known a few other people like him."

Aurora bites her lip and then she scoots right up next to her mom, curling into her side. "He'll make sure Squeaks is okay?" she asks in a small voice. "Like Unca Kain does?"

“Yes, he’s good.” Squeaks is fairly certain of that. If she had doubts, she probably wouldn’t be planning to stay and she definitely wouldn’t have joined the Cerberus. She nods at Liz’s opinion, adding, “I trust him,” and then she finds another small grin for Aurora. “He will, I bet. I’ll probably have to tell him that I can tie my own shoes.” Because grown-ups always think kids can’t do things for themselves, even kids her own age.

Elisabeth grins at Aurora, letting her choose how much affection she wants right now — the little girl is pretty mad at her some days. "Just like Uncle Kain," she agrees.

Aurora considers that and then nods. "Okay," she replies, apparently mollified by the information. Though she looks at Squeaks and admits in a small voice,"I wish you were comin'. Mummy says her old home is a nice place… my daddy and my grampa still live there…" She still doesn't sound quite convinced that Mummy knows what she's talking about. "You an' Lance an' Lene an' Lucy could all come live wif us," she offers hopefully. "Addie will be waitin' for us, an' Manuel too. Addie's my cousin." She wrinkles her nose a bit. "She went wifout her mommy. But An'Elaine said she not gonna be in trouble." The aggrieved tone makes it clear that Aurora thinks that might not be very fair — she's pretty sure she'd be getting what-for if she wandered off and went on a trip without Mummy.

But she already knows Squeaks is a girl of her own decisions, cuz Squeaks said she didn't have a mommy to make her do things.

Elisabeth strokes the little girl's hair and this time Aurora doesn't pull away. "She knows she can come with us, sweetie… I told her back when we first came." She looks at the teen who has seen so much more than Liz wishes she had. "But just like Aunt Kaylee had something she felt like she needed to do in the last place… Squeaks has got something she feels like she needs to do here."

“That would be extra primal,” Squeaks agrees. “Getting to stay together forever. That's Lighthouse, that's what we do. But sometimes… sometimes that means we separate. Some of us go on to other places and start a new Lighthouse and others stay and keep Lighthouse going. So it's always there. Even when we're way far apart.”

She chews on her lip, looking up at Liz and then back down to Aurora. “Maybe there's even Lighthouse where you're going.” There's been a lot of similarities between this flooded world and the Wasteland, so maybe the next isn't so different either.

“But even if there isn't, that's okay.” Squeaks leans forward and holds her hand up, pinky offered to the smaller girl. “We're going to stay friends forever and always.”

Aurora considers the idea of what Lighthouse is. And then she solemnly nods at Squeaks and wraps her little pinky around the older girl's. "Forever an' awways," she repeats in soft voice. Then she launches herself out of her crouch and into Squeaks' arms to hug her tightly. "I don' wanna leave anybody else behind," she sobs with her arms locked around Squeaks' neck. "You might get hurted!" People got hurted both times they jumped. There was blood and loud noises and screaming and running.

Elisabeth flinches visibly and she goes to reach for the little girl… but she's got Squeaks in a really tight hold and it might be rather like prying off a cephalopod. She hesitates, giving the young teen a somewhat helpless look.

The pinky promise is given an affirming nod, which turns into a kind of startled squawk when it's changed suddenly. Squeaks topples backward with Aurora clinging to her neck, arms flailed out to the sides. Those twitch and spasm, and she gargles comically at the younger girl like she's being strangled.

“Too strong. Oh no… I …can't…” She spasms again, whole body this time so Aurora jiggles around. “Send help.” She rolls her head to the side and fakes a desperate look at Liz. “She's got… me…”

And then Squeaks “dies”.

All of which…. is probably the best answer there is to such emotions as Aurora is struggling with. Because it suddenly turns into wrestling and giggles. And when Squeaks finally "dies," Aura sits up on the teen's stomach and pronounces, "I win!" Despite the tears that are drying on her little face, there's a grin.

Elisabeth covers her mouth, her smile crinkling the corners of her eyes. "Indeed," she replies drily. "Now where, I ask you, are we going to find enough stuffing to stuff ourselves a Squeaks trophy to hang on a wall?"

"You can't have Bossum," Aura orders with great authority.

The teenager remains dead for a while, probably three whole minutes of just laying on the floor and not moving at all. Her eyes are almost closed and her tongue hangs out from a slack jaw. She's most definitely dead and probably not coming back to life this time.

Except after that really long time, Squeaks finally does move. She squirms and wiggles and then pops up so she's sitting. But instead of letting Aurora fall, her hands are out to catch and pass the smaller girl back to Liz.

“Of course we wouldn't use Blossom. Maybe just Cassie’s socks.” Somehow that sounds more reasonable. “And Lucy’s. But not Lance’s, because they smell.”

Three whole minutes is an eternity in little-kid time. Aurora climbs off Squeaks and pokes her a couple times, tipping her head and looking at her mother. Her brow furrows slightly and Liz's tone is gentle as she whispers, "she's okay." Aurora grins wickedly and then bounces on Squeaks to try and make her go 'oof!' But she's not very heavy, so…

Then Squeaks comes back to "life" and Aurora squeals in laughter. "Eeeew. Stinky socks are gross."

Elisabeth takes the smaller child and plunks her in the nest of her crossed legs, where Aurora wiggles with suppressed energy. "Are you weally gonna be a Pirate?" she asks earnestly of Squeaks. "Gonna go 'Aaaar' an' evvything?" She looks up at her mother. "Unca Kain won't say 'Arrrr.' He towd me on'y paaaaaansies say 'Aaar.'" She draws it out exactly like Kain does when he's trying to come up with a word other than a bad word to say to Aurora, and it makes Elisabeth have to cover her mouth to hold in a laugh.

“I don’t know.” Squeaks’ tone is plainly honest. “Maybe not pirates like ‘aaarrrr’ and parrots and treasures. Captain Ben talks about fishing and rescuing people. But the Cerberus is a battleship.” So that maybe means it could be like pirates, just not pirating?

“It’s going to be primal though. Whatever happens.” In that, Squeaks sounds certain. “Remember how amazing a hider you are, and who taught you?” She grins and looks up at Liz. “She’s really good at hiding. I showed her some of the best spots and how to find others. And that’s what I’ll do if there’s trouble. I’ll find the best spots to hide and fight back so they can’t catch me.”

Elisabeth looks a bit surprised… and then perhaps realizes she shouldn't be. It's what Squeaks has been doing since they arrived in her world — keeping an eye on the littlest traveler. "I have a feeling that Aura's going to be pretty hard to match on the hiding front, no matter where we land next," she admits with a smile. Although her thank you is a silent one, her gratitude for all that Squeaks has taught Aurora is plain. "I'll miss having you with us, Squeaks. But I think that if you're going to stay, you've definitely chosen the very best place to be." The captain of the Cerberus is someone of whom Liz apparently thinks incredibly highly.

Aurora sighs and settles back into the curve of Elisabeth's body and makes a discontented face. "Awways an' forever, Squeaks… don't forget me." There is an underlying desperation to the request — the little girl fears that all the people she loves are going to do just that as soon as she leaves.

“I’ll miss you both. But I won’t ever forget.” Squeaks stretches a foot forward so she can nudge Aurora’s foot with it. “Never ever. I swear it.” Pulling her foot back, she sits criss-cross again and drags her bag close again.

“I found something.” The teen opens one of the side pockets. “I went below, to where the ocean is. And I tried something. I can find things in and under the water. I don’t know if the water… made it louder or sharper, but it was way different.” As she explains she tugs free something round-ish and flat and wrapped tight in some old cloth and string.

“You can’t open this yet,” Squeaks says as she hands it over to Aurora. “It’s not Christmas yet, and you’re not done traveling. But when you are…” She leaves the rest unsaid, because it doesn’t need explained.

Aurora gets excited, and the Squeaks says she can't open it yet. AW! It's nice for Elisabeth, to see she still has a child's joy in such small things even with all she's been exposed to. The little girl stretches out and takes the package, but she doesn't shake it. Instead, she inspects the wrapping and tries to guess what's in it just by the shape.

Elisabeth, though, looks intrigued by the statement. "I … haven't talked much about this to people, but… my mother is here. I never knew she had an ability at all. It turns out, hers is a lot like yours. If she stays here… maybe you guys could learn from each other." She shrugs a little and says softly, "I kinda asked Captain Ben to keep an eye on her too, but… I'd be much obliged if maybe you'd check in on her sometimes, if she does stay."

Aurora looks up curiously, tipping her head. "Your mummy can do sounds too?" She pauses, her little brow furrowed, and then she looks excited. "Does that mean when I'm big I can be like Squeaks??"

Apparently Unca Kain isn't Aurora's only hero.

As the gift is taken, Squeaks sits back again to watch Aurora try to figure it out. It’s definitely solid underneath, but there’s not much else to give it away with it being wrapped up. When Liz talks about her mom having a similar ability though, she looks up, curious. “Same like how yours and mine is?” Which she knows doesn’t mean the same, but they’re near enough in some ways. “That’s primal. If she stays, I’ll ask Captain Ben and definitely meet her.”

The smaller girl’s questions get a curious look and then a small grin. Squeaks offers a shrug before trying to explain. “I’m not sure how it works, like Lance makes the sounds go silent and Lucy makes portals. But how they got those is a mystery. It just happens.”

Elisabeth admits, "I'm not sure how it works either, sweetie…" Inheritance of powers, so far as she knows, never got that far in the research studies in terms of who inherits what kind or if it's random. She ruffles her daughter's hair. "You could get something like me or Squeaks, or you could get something related to your daddy's power, or you could get something totally different. Daddy's power is nothing like his mummy's power." But one things she does already know is that Aura tested as Evo.

That seems to make Aurora think hard, and she goes back to studying the gift intently, as if she'll get X-ray vision to see what's in it if she stares hard enough.

Liz's eyes flicker to Squeaks and she adds, "But my mom is more like you. She literally pings things and can tell you things like… there was a wine bottle down underwater sitting on a ledge and she knew exactly where it was." She shrugs and grins. "It's kinda cool."

“Whatever you get will be primal,” Squeaks adds while Aurora goes back to staring at the gift. And she, herself, goes back to wondering about someone with an ability like hers. There’s been some she’s seen that are kind of like hers, but mostly because they had to do with sound. Not anything really close though.

“It’s echolocation.” The teenager looks up at Liz, surprised. “Like I do with mapping and finding things, even things under water. Way primal.”

"Primal then," Elisabeth agrees with a laugh. Kids and their slang. It cracks her up as she remembers JJ using that word and she realizes Aurora does too now. That'll be fun when they get home. Assuming they get home. "My mother's name is Carina. If… you know. If you wanted to compare notes, she got her power as an adult, after an accident. She learned it on her own, so… I bet she'd think it was pretty primal that you both have a similar ability. I only know I can't do what you two can. I can use it to … like map a room and determine there are obstacles, but nothing more than that. Useful in the dark, though."

Aurora finally can't stand it anymore. "Pease can I open it, Squeaks? What if you're not here at Christmas? Then you won't see me open it, and you should see it," the little girl wheedles.

“Carina.” Squeaks echoes the name quietly so she remembers it. “You think — ” The question is interrupted when Aurora interjects herself again. With a grin, she eyeballs the little girl with none of the serious suspicion she’s ever given a grown-up. She even makes a hmm noise, obviously thinking about it, but not ready to answer right away.

“You think she can do like I do,” the teen goes on, finishing that thought. “With details like I can?” The six-year-old is squinted at. Then, she leans in to share a super sneaky secret — even though she’s definitely whispering loud enough for even Liz to hear. “I think so too, but I want you to wait until later. Until you’re wherever you’re going.”

With the shared secret, Aurora leans forward to rest her forehead against Squeaks' and whispers, "Okay. I pwomise." Her free arm, the one not holding the gift, wraps itself around the older girl's neck in a tight hug.

Elisabeth sits back to give them what small space she can with Aura still perched in her crossed legs. She leans back on her hands and simply smiles faintly. "I do think that," she tells the older teen easily.

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