Make It Through


chess_icon.gif eve2_icon.gif luther_icon.gif



Scene Title Make It Through
Synopsis A trio of friends follow a vision and try to come out the other side.
Date May 30, 2018

Manhattan Exclusion Zone

The smell of rotting flesh is thick in the hallway. It overtakes the smell of metal and paint and burning wood from the entrance, from the door now missing both lock and handle. It doesn't take them long to find the source. Light still filters in from the open door, but the hall is getting darker by the step and the doorway of the common room is shrouded in shadow.

Vines crawl out of the room as if trying to get away from the smell, too. They're thick in the room, just as they were outside the building. Inside, bodies sit on couches and in chairs, faces and forms contorted in horror and pain. One seems to be the source of the vines, his body a dried up husk— far more than the others around him. But none of them are fresh. From what's left of them… they all died suddenly. And they all died afraid.

“Oh no.. oh..”

Eve Mas is in shock to see bodies and their expressions. A cruel.. “What a cruel way to kick the bucket, up and over. Not messy. But messy.” The oracle’s tone a rasp as she rubs her head to indicate the victim’s emotional state. The dark haired woman leans heavily on the metal bo staff that she's taken to depending on to aid her movement. Gray eyes are searching as she nears the husk in the middle, the source.

click click

The taps of her staff on the floor, the dark purple cowl covering her hair and half her face lifts as she leans in to inspect it. “What did this to you?” She asks in a whisper. A secret between friends. Her pale hand goes to rub at a long, dark vine. Taking it in her hand before forming a fist and tugging on it to the strength of it.

A look over her shoulder to her friends she's with, people she trusts in a pinch. War buddies. Eve’s messenger bag hangs loosely at her side, not loaded with heavy artillery but her sketches of a dream of an old wounded wolf. The ruins. Her friend, the ruins. They had to be here. Luckily these two believed her when she spoke.

“Look Hot Hands!”

Just like old times, Luther readily joined up with old friends when called to a mission. Perhaps it was a comfort zone thing. In any case, the man’s already in with the three-man squad, taking a protective middle post as they head down the darkened hall toward the scent of the dead. At least they don’t have to worry about a lack of flashlights, if they really needed.

Once in the common room, Luther casts a visual sweep while Eve moves to the originating point of those vines. Lowering the barrel of his pistol to lightly poke one of the couch corpses, he narrows his gaze at the sight. The fear in the screaming corpse’s expression is deeply disturbing. “The hell happened here,” rumbles the man, stepping back, watching Eve tug at the vines. He doesn’t move to stop her, but tenses with reactive anticipation.

The youngest of the trio takes up the rear, one hand lightly inside the heavy courier bag she carries at her side, ready to pull out any of the arsenal within. Today Chess is loaded for bear, with a couple of chains and pipes along with smaller ammunition like apples and golf balls deep inside the depths of that olive-drab bag. Her other hand holds her usual favorite, a baseball; she rolls it between her fingers, keeping it ready to throw at the first sign of movement that’s not coming from either Luther or Eve.

At the smell, she grimaces, and when she sees the source of the rotting odor, she hangs back, not investigating like Eve does. She turns sideways so she can watch what’s behind as well as what’s in front of them. “You getting any whispers or echoes, Mad-Eye?” she asks, because she doesn’t expect the corpse to start talking any time soon….

At least not so she and Luther can hear it.

Eve asks the bodies a question. Her hand brushes the vines.

A door slams in the distance. A second, a little closer. A third, all the closer. She doesn't remember walking through so many doorways but a glance down the hall shows her a series of heavy doors shutting and— as they get closer— locking. When she turns back to the room, her friends are gone. The corpses are gone. All there is is a pair of eyes with irises rimmed in gold glowing in the dark.

"I. Can. See. You."

The voice is familiar. It doesn't seem to be coming from the same direction as the eyes, but from everywhere. From inside her own mind.

Luther pokes a body. He asks a question.

The corpse grabs him by the wrist. It's grip is strong, even as skin slides off its arms and fingers, leaving greasy meat between its bones and his skin. A second hand reaches for his face, turning him to face hollow eyes and grinning teeth.

"Why did you leave me there, Luther?" a woman's voice yells at him. "You could have saved me." The words are desperate and thick and as the words continue on, more voices join in. Echoes of the past, people long since gone, but gathered here in this room. Waiting for him to come. "You should have died with me!"

For Chess, there is nothing particularly notable. Aside from the dead, the room is empty and the halls silent. At least until she catches something out of the corner of her eye. Just a quick movement, easy to dismiss in any other venue, but here… Well, there are some places where it's understandable to be a little paranoid. When her gaze follows, she sees a young man standing there in the doorway. He's about her age, but he looks haunted and ragged. His eyes have whited over and his hands shake, even as they lift to grasp at his own temples.

The tug doesn't yield the bodies crumpling to dust and she frowns, “No echoes, n-” her eyes widen as her head fully turns and she doesn't see her friends. Not even the bodies. Her body trembles and she takes a step back, her leg drags lamely and Eve cries out.

Those eyes. That voice. In her mind.

“No no no no.. no no no.. nooooo!”

The oracle screams as she sags against her staff, a cold sweat breaks out on her forehead. Kam told her to leave it alone. She told her it would get them killed. Those warnings echo through her mind as well. But she.. Eve’s eyes squeeze shut as she moans in fear. “Nooo. Not again.” Not to be blinded, not to be ripped from her mind.

He’s busy looking at Eve, until he’s grabbed by the wrist. Luther’s arm jerks in startled reflex more than conscious control, and the rotting hand that grasps his face manages to turn it towards the corpse’s. Narrowed grey eyes widen in recognition of the voice - her voice - and the question that chills his core with guilt and fear.

“No, I couldn’t…” The words leave him via a tightened throat. Luther is frozen where he stands, his pistol hand caught at the wrist, staring widely. “I couldn’t save you… I’m sorry…”

Chess stares back at that young man, about to speak and ask him a question when her friends start to cry out; her head whips back to look at them, her eyes widening.

“Stop touching things!” she shouts at them, moving to pull them each away from the bodies and vines. “It’s not real — listen. Whatever you’re seeing, it’s not real.

Her eyes dart back to the stranger, unsure if her own advice includes him or not. “Is it you doing this? Can you, I don’t know, not?” she barks at him; her expression belies her words, sympathy and concern making her frown as she studies him, putting herself between him and Luther and Eve.

When Chess starts shouting, when she turns his way, the stranger takes in a shaky, startled breath. "You. You can see me," he says, traces of a latin american accent on his words, but fading like he's been away from home too long. His observation comes with wonder at first, but his expression turns to fear a few beats later.

He runs from the room.

The visions fade, leaving Luther and Eve's minds free again. They can see each other, see Chess, see the bodies sitting just as they were before. No eyes hovering in dark spaces.

Footsteps echo down the hall as the stranger flees, doors open and close behind him as he goes. Outside the room, the hallway back out is clear again, but it lies opposite from the sound of the footfalls.

Twin gold rings fade and Eve is left gasping for breath, holding onto her staff with a bonewhite grip. It wasn't real. An illusion, a trick of the light. Her shoulders shake with a crazed laughter and the woman slams her staff into the ground with a resounding thud that echoes in the room, her look a crazed one.

“Playing with our reality, like mush. You really pulled the creepo curtains over our eyes!” Pale fingers mimic the motion of picking and prodding at clay. Shaking her head, midnight black tendrils of hair falling more and more out of the loose bun she wears it in.

The slamming of those doors echo in her mind, just like her own door. The one that was closed now. No whispers, no echoes. Shut tight and though the older woman feels no breeze in the room a chill runs up her spine and she shivers. Booted feet trail through the vines, the light revealing a cold sheen on the woman’s heart shaped face. “We fly!” As she makes her way towards the doors the young man fled through.

Not until Chess physically pushes at him and the terrible illusion gripping his mind fades does Luther realize he’s been caught up in a vision. And remembers to breathe again. His grey eyes get a swipe of a sleeved arm, wiping away the wetness as well as the residual haunted look. Eve’s slam of her metal staff straightens him. “Fuckin’ hell Ducky,” he growls in a shaken swear. But he nods to the two women, re-oriented to the present. “Thanks for the push,” he remarks to Chess, not questioning how the youngest of them escaped that nightmare. With the sounds of doors closing further in, Luther looks in that direction and steps after Eve too. And he’ll remember not to touch anything this time, unless he means to do worse than poke.

“I can-” begins Chess, but the man’s already turning and fleeing. She hesitates, but Eve’s already following the sound of the footfalls so she sighs.

“We’re all seeing different things — that guy seemed surprised I could see him so not sure if he’s the one causing it. Illusionist, telepath maybe?” she says as she follows on their heels. If the doors are locked, she’ll blast the locks with a touch of her hand.

“He might need help. He doesn’t look … he looks scared,” she murmurs to the two in front of her, before calling ahead. “Let me help you, yeah? You got a name? Don’t run!”

Of course, they’re chasing him. She’d run too, probably.

As it turns out, the doors aren't locked. They follow the sounds as far as they can, but he slips them after rounding a corner ahead. When they reach the corner, it's quiet down the hall in front of them. Blue doors line the wall, staggered as far down as they can see.

They all feel something strange a few moments later. Their powers seem to flicker before they lose their grip on them entirely.

"Who are you?" a female voice asks from behind. She leans out of a different hall, looking toward them. Her hair is dark, long and unkempt. "How did you get in here?" She looks back the way they came, but it's hard to see the entrance from here. "How are you getting out?"


That question comes with no small amount of desperation.

“In trouble? Someone in his own mind maybe!” She doesn’t mean to sound hopeful to find someone like her. That’s not something you’d wish on anyone but Chess’ assessment gives Eve the courage to chase after the man. “I have a Snickers, maybe he’s hungr-” As they enter the field of nothing Eve stiffens as she feels something cut off. Eyes blinking the seer looks to Luther and Chess as if she was getting ready to share the news that there was still something there. She couldn’t touch..

When a woman peeks out at them and Eve rears back as her eyes widen. “You are like Trask..?” Head tilted and she shudders negators spooked her usually. Not that it was their fault anymore than it was Eve’s that her visions drove her mad. Still the oracle can sense the desperation in the woman’s touch and body language and digging deep she walks forward with the staff in her hand leading her. “Eve here! That’s Boomer and Hot Hands!” As cheery a greeting as ever.

“Do you.. Need help? Is he a bad man?” That look in her eye is one Luther and Chess would know, a woman who is ready to dish out some bullets. “We’re going out the way we came silly! What’s your name?” Though a nickname for the lady is already brewing in her mind.

Withholding as much cursing as he might be thinking, Luther follows after Eve too, pistol held ready given the number of doors and unknowns they come across. “Question is why is the guy fuckin’ here,” he rumbles, eyeing every door with suspicion. Still not touching a dang thing. “And did he kill those people?” The assumption, based off Luther’s tone, is yes.

He lurches in step when the odd feeling comes over him. He knows that feeling. Negation takes out the buzz of his power, a discomforting drain where there shouldn’t be. The voice from behind spins him around, sights looked down but his finger resting off the trigger. Eve asks the questions, so he doesn’t need to, but he doesn’t exactly take his attention off the rest of the hall either. “Honestly Ducky, you could just say my name,” he grumbles, though his tone is indulgent.

“I don’t know. He looked like he was in pain. Eyes white. Maybe stuck in his ability or something,” murmurs Chess from behind Luther, before she reels around to face the next voice she hears.

For her, the only clue her power’s gone is the loss of what feels like everpresent static in her head. She doesn’t let go of her baseball — it’ll do well enough as a makeshift weapon if she beans someone in the head with it — but her free hand curls around the blade that’s hidden within her bag.

“The way we came, I hope,” she says quietly. “Do you want help?”

There are a lot of questions from the group, and that is understandable. But the woman looks a bit overwhelmed until she hears Chess' addition. Letting out a shaky sigh, she nods first before swallowing against what is certainly a sob. "Yes. Please." They all can feel the negation field pulling away from them as she brings it in tighter around herself. Letting out a heavy sigh, she slides down the wall and sits on the cold floor.

"I'm Cora. This was… a bunker, of sorts." Which is why either of them are down here. She looks between the three of them, her head shaking a little. "A buddy of mine had been turning this into one since the bomb. We came down after the second bomb. That boy— he was my friend's nephew, his only family left. He murdered everyone who came down here with us, except me." His power, of course, wouldn't reach her through hers. Her expression is dark as she looks back at them.

Murder has Eve’s eyes alight as she listens to Cora’s plight. The prickling sensation that is.. nothing fades and she's not sure that she even feels different. A question in her facial expression that goes unasked.

“He's lost his way. Poor thing..” Poor people he killed But Eve can sympathize. “He's afraid then. Like a little mouse, he's not sure that the sun is outside but it is. Shining as bright as it ever did, ever will.” That last bit seeming to be an inside joke with, herself.

Moving to lean against the wall for a brief moment she stifles a cough and looks at Chess and Luther. “Trust nothing said the fairy in my brainpan.” Brown eyes take in Cora’s form again. “Does he have a name? The lost soul.”

Though he lowers the pistol do a less immediate aim, Luther doesn’t holster the gun yet, not even when the sensation of his power slipping back in like a resumed heartbeat returns. “Everyone except you,” he considers, then glances over his shoulder further down the hall the opposite direction of Cora.

“The locks must’ve gotten stuck, and then we blew ‘em. Even so… who knows how long they’ve been stuck here?” His head jerks to note the rest of the hall to the pair of ladies he came in with, noting, “We could split up and try and find the boy or roll together. Other options? Preferences?”

“You’ve been stuck here for four years?” Chess says, wonderingly, eyes widening a little, a small shudder running through her body — clearly that is more of a frightening thought than the horrible imagery she encountered upstairs. The two other veterans with her know her restless nature, that staying in one place for so long would be torture to her.

She glances down the hall to where the young man’s disappeared. “Why could I see him? He seemed surprised,” she says, glancing at Luther and then Eve. “I can go forward, but not negated,” she says, then looks back to Cora. “Do you want to wait outside? We can bring you-” Where? Chess shrugs. Somewhere. To SESA. To the hospital. To wherever her home was, before the war.

"He's not a little mouse. He's a killer." Cora doesn't seem to be able to sympathize. But then, she has been living with dead bodies for months, so perhaps her perspective is skewed. "Jibram. That's his name."

She looks away from Eve there, over to Luther and Chess. "You'd have to ask him why he was surprised. Are you a negator, too? I could see it coming as a shock if his power doesn't work on you. He certainly seems determined to stay away from me." A lot of Evos do, though, in her experience. She glances down the hall past them, then back the other direction. "I'd love to wait outside. But— " she pauses a moment before she looks back to the group. "Not alone."

She tilts her head before she notes, to Chess, "Not four years. Seven. We were supposed to leave, but something went wrong with the locks." Having seen the building from the outside, with the vines all but taking over, they might be able to guess a cause.


Not caring to step on the traumatized woman’s toes. He was her monster, that might not ever change. “Being around you.. would probably be the best thing for his brain. And people’s lives.” Eve hates to say it but negation is necessary at times unfortunate as it is. “Dulling a young mind but still. Protecting yourself and your family.”

The dark haired woman walks up to a doorway to peer through. “That's a lot of private time.” Seven years Jesus.

With a wave of her hand, “Together is better maybe.”

Luther sends a skeptical look back at Cora for her painted picture of the other man. The lingering memory of the vision back in the common room taints his expression with a frown. “Hate to break it to you,” he notes at Cora, “but we’re all killers in one way or another here.” Be it of actual people or maybe merely of hopes and dreams. He cuts a glance to Chess, gaze uncertain for where she’s going with her offer of helping to bring the negator somewhere. Then with a look over Cora, he turns to the others. “We’ll bring her with. At least if this Jibram tries anything, we’ve got a wild card.” And, if she tries anything, well, they’ll take that on if they get to it.

He waves the newest addition to the party closer, then steps after Eve to make sure the seer’s not also getting into trouble poking her head into doors. Granted that’s exactly what they’ve been doing.

“Anybody else in here we should know about?” he asks Cora, once more holding his pistol at ready as they move.

Chess’ brows draw together when both Luther and Eve opt to keep Cora with the group. She shakes her head at Cora’s query about being a negator. “Hardly,” she says, reaching up and scrubbing the back of her hand over her eyes and then raking her hand through her hair.

Turning to Luther, she lifts a brow. “You got a spare gun?” She doesn’t use them, not usually — even in the war, she used her hunter’s bow, the arrows’ flight — and impact — supercharged by her ability. Her hand still rolls the baseball in her palm, but it seems less purposeful. More fidgety.

Cora shakes her head at something that Eve says, maybe everything Eve says. Not because she's wrong, exactly, but because the truth is difficult. So she opts not to comment. Besides, Luther gets her attention instead. She pivots back a step from the group.

"Maybe I'll wait outside after all," she says, moving a bit behind the wall like she's not entirely certain they aren't going to partake of some killing right now. "There's no one else here," she adds, "unless you count the dead." It's a bit dark, that statement, but she's not entirely sure of her group of rescuers. "Good luck," she says, dryly, before she disappears back down the hall she came from.

“Ah wait! I'm so- whoops. Do you think I came on too strong?” That's usually an understatement but the seer watches Cora depart and she calls after, “Just sit tight! We’ll grab your.. err.. sit tight!” Eve shuffles over closer to her two comrades leaning on the staff as she does.

“One of you should go in front, I can take the middle.” seeing as she's the most useless in a struggle if it's out of the three of them. Eve looks at Chess curiously and then Luther. “Boomer you don't seem affected!” From what they’re all saying. Eve's thoughts quickly go towards the poor boy she considers. A monster, no no. Just afraid. Trapped in his own mind or something. She can relate.

The need to help him takes her over.

The expression that crosses Luther’s features when Cora retreats is a somewhat inscrutable mixture. It’s a toss-up on if he’s annoyed that the negator isn’t coming along, or if he’s contrite about how intimidating he might come across. Either way, he’s not moving to stop the woman’s retreating path. “Okay,” he accepts of her choice and turns to Eve and Chess. The latter gets his pistol held out, offered handle first. “No,” he says as he’s reaching behind him inside his coat with the other hand, “but I got a knife.” A decently lengthy blade is pulled out from a sheath on his belt. And if he were in need of range, his power or Chess’ works nicely.

At Eve’s suggestion, he shrugs a shoulder and moves forward down the hall towards the original path of closed doors. As he walks, the darkened spots are illuminated by the ambient light that seems to emit from the air where Luther looks up, a warm and steady light to see by forming. “But you probably do the talking,” he suggests of Chess, “you’re more charming.”

“I guess,” says Chess with a shake of her head at Eve, her brows drawing together in a little puzzlement.

Once the negator begins to move away and Luther offers his gun, she shakes her head. “I do too,” she adds, pulling out one of her throwing knives from the bag she carries. “I just like some firepower. Even if I have to take the artificial kind.” She usually doesn’t like guns, but not having her ability at her fingertips makes her nervous.

His comment that she’s more charming earns him a snort. “Have you met me?” she asks wryly, brow lifting in his direction. She begins to move cautiously in the direction the young man had fled, before glancing at her companions. “Why are we here and not SESA again?” she asks. It might be rhetorical.

Rhetorical, but good.

The trio moves forward, through quiet halls, around corners. Doors are unlocked, but lead into bedrooms or stockpiles— food, for the most part— none to a strange young man. His headstart obviously helped him find somewhere to tuck himself away. And he knows all the places here where he can do so and not be seen.

Chess would have dismissed the room, had she been by herself. All that's in it is couches and an entertainment center. And a generator. Nothing in this room has power anymore. Movies and games and electronics all sitting around, gathering dust.

Luther and Eve barely get a chance to look the room over properly. Luther sees a familiar blonde laying on the couch, her body failing her, her face gaunt. She looks over at him and tries to lift her hand.

"Please, Luther. Please," the words are only whispers, desperate and pleading. Words that echo through his mind daily. Words he dreams about. Words that will never, ever stop haunting him. As Trish's face is now, contorted like she would be crying, if only she was able to.

For Eve, the figure on the couch is seated, turned away from her. She hears the words in her mind. I can see you. When the woman turns, her face doesn't seem to hold onto any particular feature for long, not long enough for her to recognize her— but her eyes open and those she knows all too well.

Even while knowing there is an attack on your mind by a telepath the experience is no less jarring. Eve’s brown eyes widen again and she clings to the staff shaking her head from side to side. It was uncanny, the feeling she felt in the pit of her stomach. The high pitched whine in her ears mixed with a roar. Her body starts to shake, the seer crumbles to the ground with a yelp.

Eye to Eye.

“Get..” The woman’s expression changes to one of anger. “GET OUT.” tightening her fist around the staff she drags herself up to full height. She wouldn't be made a coward. She didn't run. She had.. enough. Of those foul gold rings. Haunting her every step, even in here.


As they gradually move through the building, caution is the play with Luther in the lead. Blade held steady, grip firm in his hand, he starts to think maybe the man that Chess had seen might not be around. “Think he could have slipped through a different way?” His words are quiet even as they step into the entertainment room. He’s prepared for a fight. But not prepared for what he sees.

Being first into the room and not having the negator to block the vision projected into his mind, Luther hitches in his breath as his eyes catch the sight of golden blonde strands spilling over the couch cushion. Words that chase him, always far and near at once. Grey eyes turn, focused on the figure there, as he can’t help the footsteps he takes towards the couch. Whatever the rest of them see or hear, his vision is consumed with the sight of her. His ears hear only her voice. Her soft, fading plea.

The grip on his knife loosens. Booted feet thud in heavy laden steps. The blade eventually slips, falling point first into the flooring and sticking there. Luther crumples to his knees at the couch side. At her side. “Trish…”

Chess is already turning away from the room, vacant as it seems to her, when the other two react to something she can’t see or hear. “What is it?” she says, frowning as she looks first to Eve and then to Luther as he moves forward. “Shit!”

She turns to look back at Eve. “Stay in the hall,” is snapped like a drill sergeant’s command, before Chess follows Luther in, pausing to pick up the knife and pocket it, before going to his side and tugging at his arm. She’s stronger than she looks.

“Trish isn’t here, pal. It’s an illusion. Back it on up, yeah? Get outside in the hall and don’t trust what you see,” she says, before squinting her eyes and looking around the room for the source of Eve and Luther’s hallucinations.

“Ollie ollie oxen free,” she calls. “Your tricks aren’t working on me, so unless you want this place bombed with you in it, come out and maybe we can get you some help, yeah? I can help you. Maybe. If you want to be helped. The war’s over. The good guys won. It’s like the opposite of the Leonard Cohen song. Give peace a chance, yeah?”

Backing away from the room helps the illusion fade, by the time they reach the opposite wall, Luther and Eve's minds are their own. Through the halls they can hear footsteps heading away. Could be Cora, could be their telepathic friend, could be something else.

With frazzled nerves and haunted minds, it's hard to say which is most likely.

Inside the room, the door to a cabinet in the entertainment center slides open slowly. Jibram looks out through the opening, just enough to be able to see Chess. He looks as haunted as her friends do.


"Aren't you here to kill me?" he asks, voice rough. He stays behind the door like that might somehow help him.

As she backs away the seer is breathing heavy and she clutches her staff with a tight grip to support herself. “He.. is.. so strong.” Eve likes him. But the illusions are hammering at her mind, she twitches with a roll of her eyes. Flickers of the dream that ruined her sight before her mind. “Maybe it's here. Speaking through him.” She hopes that isn't true but as usual Eve isn't sure what's real and what's not. This time though, she feels as if she could get hurt.

“Boomer! What's happening? Are you okay??”

The vision is a nightmare Luther's lived for years. Time hasn't dulled the pain of it, not when the image is dug up from the depths and presented so vividly. He's reaching for her when Chess snags his arm and pulls him away, pulls him back. Her strength tips him off balance even on his knees - he has to stretch out an arm to keep from toppling over.

Coupled with her words and the reflex to keep himself upright, Luther blinks several times as the illusion is shaken up a bit. "Fuck," he utters as tears slide down to his tensed jaw from narrowed grey eyes. With that bit of help from Chess, he rises and retreats out of the room. But not without a spared glance over his shoulder to the blonde head of hair still lying there. He can still see her.

And when he gets to the hallway, Luther leans heavily against the wall, a fist pressed tightly against the drywall and slowly radiating a heat that dries and cracks the weakened paint. "Tell him to stop," he says to Chess. It’s more a plea than a command.

The tears in Luther’s eyes get a wide-eyed look from Chess, before she focuses on the young man emerging from the entertainment center.

“That wouldn’t solve anything,” she says, very quietly, like she’s afraid he might bolt like a frightened animal if she speaks too loud. “Can you stop with the illusions? My friends are very scared.”

Whether he does or doesn’t, Chess won’t know, unless one of the others try to enter the room again and react to the horrors only they can see.

“I think maybe you just need help learning to use it, yeah? Did you manifest in here? Without any help?” she asks, eyes hooking on his, as if she could hold him in her gaze like a tractor beam. “It’s scary, yeah? I accidentally threw a bomb at the opposing water polo team when I came into my power. I scored, by the way.” There’s a small flash of a smile. “They didn’t count it though.”

She glances over her shoulder, to take account of where Eve and Luther are. “We can help you. Find people to help you. The good guys won, like I said.”

"I don't know how," he says, making his way slowly out. No quick movements, nothing surprising. But at least he seems to believe that she isn't going to kill him outright. He ends up sitting on the floor, rubbing a hand over his face. It's hard to say if he's listening, at first, but when she tells her story about manifesting, Jibram chuckles. A strained sound, out of practice, but the amusement is there. His hands run through his hair before he looks at her again. "I wasn't supposed to be evolved," he notes. "It happened too fast, they couldn't— "

He glances toward the door, clearing his throat. "Your friend. What happened to Trish wasn't his fault." He speaks as if he knows. He knows that Luther thinks it is his fault and he knows that it really wasn't.

But he turns back to Chess, letting himself let out a heavy breath, like he'd been holding it in.

"You're different. TV static. Rain on a window. Whale sounds." A beat passes. "No, not whale sounds. Dolphin."

Somewhere in his memory of life before, he knew it was bad to call a woman a whale.

Chess’ brows draw together and she moves to crouch, rear resting on heels — so she can stand quickly if something goes awry. She glances over her shoulder at the two in the hallway, nodding at them that she’s okay, holding a hand out to indicate they should stay put, before her dark eyes sweep back toward Jibram.

“I’ll tell him later,” she says, about Luther. About Trish. “It’s not your fault, either. Not if you didn’t have a chance to learn how to use it. I know it can’t make them come back and I know it’s — it’s hard to take a life. Everyone here,” she gestures to herself and Luther and Eve, “we have. We’re not going to judge you for a mistake. I could’ve killed someone with my ability the first time — it was just luck I didn’t. And we were in water. And the goalie missed.”

She smiles, a little wryly. “Okay, that part wasn’t luck.” Her head tilts. “You’ll come with us?”

Jibram nods when she mentions telling Luther later. That's probably a good idea. Maybe after the effects are worn off and way in the past. The notion that what happened here isn't his fault, though, that doesn't seem to have clicked in his mind. He shakes his head— just a little— and clears his throat.

But no argument follows.

Instead, he stands to his feet when Chess makes her offer. "I don't want to be here," he says, and who would, "but I don't have anywhere to go."

Neither does Cora, really. If she had a home before, it's government property now. If it's standing at all.

“That pretty much sums up everywhere I’ve lived for the the past few years,” Chess says, rising to her feet in a fluid motion and reaching out to offer her hand — perhaps to make sure he doesn’t slip away.
She turns to face the hallway. “We’re coming out,” she says, a little louder, though still hushed. “Maybe move ahead and keep this distance so you’re clear of us. If Cora can’t handle being with us, you can take her, maybe to Benchmark?”

That leaves the question of who can help Jibram. “I still have the bus out in Red Hook. I can take Jibram there. Either of you know someone who can train him? He doesn’t know how to control the ability. It’s not his fault. He manifested in here.” She glances at Jibram again. “It’s not your fault,” she repeats.

Oddly enough, the idea that Chess is also homeless and drifting seems to be an encouraging one. Jibram reaches over to take her hand when it's offered. He doesn't go rushing out, although he wants to, instead, he gives Eve and Luther time to move ahead. They have a decent idea of how much space they need. Not so far as to be out of sight, for sure.

He looks down at his feet when Chess starts to explain. But then back up at her again a moment later.

"Cora might want to go her own way. If I'm coming along." That, he adds to Chess, skipping over the notion of whose fault is what. "It's not— They were her friends, too."

The tall woman watches the pair with a curious expression on her face. “She's so strong.” Is commented absently to Luther as she leans against the man for support. Grabbing his arm and looking up at his face. “You are too.” Eyes on the heat spot on the wall. Eve’s mind races with the images that have been imprinted on her brain from her seizure incident to right this evening.

“We all are.” Is her final assessment before she's digging into her coat to pull out a joint and a lighter. Swiftly lighting the thing and puffing on it only to exhale after a few long seconds of holding the smoke in her chest.

She whistles in time with the clicking of her staff. They did it. Chess did it. Eve even got to face a fear, not in its entirety but still. Tonight was a win. Two lost souls brought back home and while it was a much more poetic way of thinking than, say, Cora would imagine it, she feels positive that they can get through it.

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