News From Nowhere


avi_icon.gif emily_icon.gif lucille3_icon.gif

Scene Title News From Nowhere
Synopsis Lucille brings what she's found or the lack thereof forward.
Date January 16, 2020

Ryans Household

There had been a text, asking for the Epsteins to come to the Ryans home. Lucille hadn't said what it was about just:

Hey. Need you to come over to my dad's. ASAP.

That was an hour ago.

Now the tall woman paces in her living room nursing a glass of tequila that she slams back and then takes the bottle instead before upturning it and guzzling down the fiery liquid. Light blue eyes close and she rubs the bridge of her nose. Lucille had checked in with Peyton not too long ago but there is still nothing.

A fire crackles in the fireplace but she feels none of that heat. Rolling her tongue over her teeth as she stares into flames, jaw set. Eyes cast downward to take in the orange glow.

It felt familiar this feeling. She had it with her mother, her lost nephew Kincaid and now Nathalie. As if a rug had been pulled from under her and she was falling backwards but much too fast. So fast that everything else around her seemed to go in slow motion.

Maybe her best friend quasi sister, sometimes savior was in an induced coma. That was the only explanation for the darkness that Peyton only sees when scrying for Nathalie Leroux.

Avi had only been to Ben Ryans’ retirement chateau once since the end of the war, to offer his condolences when he’d heard about the cancer diagnosis. They shared a drink, talks about the old days, and Avi went home more tired than he expected. Avi never came back after finding out his cancer miraculously went into remission, he’d heard all he needed to from Lucille and Nathalie. Coming out here now, with everything else going on, feels like a massive hassle.

It’s probably why Avi doesn’t knock when he arrives, footsteps behind his belonging to his daughter, who he picked up on the way from the Bastion. The car ride was as silent and awkward as one might expect. “We have phones,” is Avi’s choice of greeting called out into the home, searching for wherever Lucille might be roosting, “or maybe you could actually come to the morning briefing?” He rolls his eyes, not bothering to take off his jacket. On noticing the fire going in the other room, he does at least unzip it as he makes his way over to where Lucille is.

"Hey," Emily greets shades more friendly than her father does, but that's where the softness in her demeanor ends. "The fuck is going on?"

Her eyes are ice as they take in the visual cues— Lucille's tension, the bottle in her hand. She'd go fishing for what it is that ails her only if she weren't afraid of the answer. Something was wrong, clearly. She stands apart from her father, making her way into the den to stand behind the couch, resting one gloved hand on its back.

"I went to Peyton Whitney, a couple days ago," Lucille says as they enter the room and properly ask just why the fuck she didn't call them and talk to them on the phone. "Sit down." The woman turns towards them and her eyes are red, bags underneath. Avi has seen her like this before, days of the war, days when a hunt was taking longer than usual. Lucille hasn't slept and she's been using her ability to keep herself afloat.

The tall woman doesn't sit herself she just slowly paces back and forth, "She's a clairvoyant, a damn good one," for Emily's benefit, "Her ability only works if she's met you and since Nat and I have asked her to help us a few times on work business… I went to her to find Nat," Going into detail about Peyton's ability is a way to draw out what she's trying to say. The internal struggle of just making this about something else is strong, the urge to run away, instead she states what she does in a ragged tone.

Her usual coping mechanism and the one she's been fighting so very hard to turn away from, leaning on old ways to deal or not deal with her problem. With trauma. "I don't know how to say this- fuck!" Lucille flings the bottle of tequila into the fire and it roars in answer. She stands there facing the fire with shoulders hunched over and hands on her knees. There are three other bottles on the table anyway, multiple more in the cabinets.

"She can't find her. Can't feel her." Lucille is silent, "It's been two days of constant checking. Nathalie's eyes… are never open when she looks. She never hears anything when she looks. She-" This woman who has had a budging frenemiship with Emily and has stood boldly in the face of countless terrors at this rate shakes standing rigid as if she could fall over at any moment.

There's no way in hell she's able to say the words: she's gone.

Jesus Christ,” Avi says in a way that does not hold the gravity Lucille would expect. Scrubbing a hand over his face he looks around the room, then over to where she flung the bottle of tequila. “Get your fucking self together Ryans.” Avi doesn’t seem inclined to sit, or take this seriously.

“You know who else Peyton couldn’t find? Rupert Carmichael,” Avi raises his thumb, “Gabriel Gray,” finger two, “Norton Trask,” finger three, “and a fucking whole stack of other people!” To which he waves his hand around wildly. “All this tells me is that someone either has a telepathic blocker on her, or a fucking area negator like Trask. Fuck, it could be Trask for all the fuck I know. And— what point was I on?” He turns and looks at Emily, then just shakes his head and looks back at Lucille, “Peyton’s never tried to find someone with Volken’s ability before. We don’t know what kind of black magic witchcraft voodoo bullshit that thing does to people. Nat says she could talk to ghosts, how the fuck does any of that figure into this?”

Then, snidely, Avi adds, “Also Peyton isn’t exactly the most reliable fucking person in the world, or do I have to remind you she was fucking Evil Richard From the Future?

Avi kicks up his brows and sweeps both hands back over the top of his head. “God, fucking damnit, Lucille. Sober the fuck up.”

For a moment, all Emily can do is stand like a deer in the headlights of Lucille's discovery, waiting for emotion to catch up and run her over. The twelve-wheeler of Avi's rebuttal beats it, a surprise slam from the side. It's an effective one, though, her eyelids flickering as she quickly withdraws from thinking the worst has happened. Despite that, her grip on the back of the couch tightens, needed to steady herself.

Because there's still so much to process in there, too many possible truths to adopt as her own.

"What if…" she starts, still searching. Her head turns back toward her father more because he's the only one who might understand, even if she can't get the words out just right. "What if it came for her, too? That thing?" The one that stole Eileen's conduit.

"What if it has her? If it's all fucked up and it didn't just take it and go, because she has them both?"

Emily is grappling for something that doesn't lead to that worst case assumption, as hard as she can. Not finding Nathalie among the kidnap victims on the barge had decimated that hope before, but she fights to keep it from being extinguished. Please not that. Anything but that.

"Because if it doesn't have her, who else would?" It's a question, but also a plea to give her some other dead end to chase down. "Who else might, with— with negators or telepaths or— or any of that shit that could cause her to not be seen?" Silently, she knows any answer to that likely would not result in a short or complete list, and she shakes her head in frustration. "I mean the cabin was fucking empty. She'd not been there. Whatever happened got her by surprise, and…"

Emily runs out of words, out of possible alternative events. Anything else that could come in that sentence treads too close to the unspoken possibility that Lucille laid out.

Lucille grabs for the other bottle on the table and rips the cap off. Chugs a bit defiantly, "She's fucking my brother now so she has no reason to lie and get on my bad side." Lucille was protective of her family, that's what made even thinking about this even worse because she truly failed at keeping Nathalie safe. Knowing that some weird shit was going on.

"It left Eileen though right?" Another chug of the now liquor, "Since she's around and no longer with any conduit. But the fact that Nat has both," Lucille stops and swallows hard at the noting of had, "Yea it could make things different than with Eileen," Trying to work on a solution was better than trying to convince her best friend's family that she might be dead.

"We don't necessarily not have enemies as a whole in Wolfhound." That was always a possibility. What Lucille doesn't wanna do is argue with these two about if Nathalie was truly gone. "I'll keep having her check… it's just…" Lucille shakes her head, "She saved my life, my father's." She didn't want to fail her, in bringing her home.

Who else could have taken her? Someone extremely powerful and connected. "I just… all Peyton sees is black. I want it to be a negator or telepath." It would have to be. She couldn't stand it otherwise.

“It is,” is the simple, blunt, and unflinching response Avi gives. “I don't care who is putting a dick in Peyton Whitney, the fact that she got a free ride with that Stockholm syndrome son story straight out of a noose is…” Avi shakes his head. “She was there at Natazhat, she could've told someone, she could've given us intelligence. She chose her side and somehow she's a fucking trust fund baby living rich with her Hogwarts bullshit. I wonder if they teach the word Collaborator at her X-Men academy.”

All of Avi’s stress and anger is directed at the one person he has even the slightest grudge with, and right now it's poor Peyton. Running his hands through his hair he offers a look to Emily. “Sorry I dragged you here,” he mumbles quietly to her, before turning around and looking back at Lucille.

“You need to straighten the fuck up. You still have a job,” Avi says with a thrusted finger pointing at her. “Devon’s been pulling double on-call shifts while you've been drinking, so shape the fuck up or fucking quit. I've got enough shit to worry about with Francois hospitalized to have you blowing up my phone with this bullshit. Nat’ll come back. We just— ”

Avi exhales a shaky sigh. “I'll call SESA in the morning. You— should've fucking done that after you talked to Whitney!” Avi suddenly winds back up in an angry tempest. “Jesus Christ, Ryans!”

There’s only so much denial Emily can take. All the name-dragging of Peyton Whitney, who Emily respected and had wanted to go work for previously, also was taking its toll on her ability to sit there in silence.

That’s enough,” comes from her sharply, accompanied with a slant of a look in her father’s direction a moment later. Her steadying hand grips the back of the couch tight enough her knuckles change shades. It takes her a moment to figure out where she wants to go next, but ultimately, she turns in Avi’s direction. “Her get it together?” she asks sarcastically. “How much longer are you going to sit there and refuse to acknowledge something’s wrong? She fucking disappeared, she didn’t go where you said she would— she wouldn’t just leave.”

“Nat isn’t coming home unless we go the fuck out there and find her, and it sounds like our options for looking are pretty fucking slim.” If Emily had a point, she’s forgotten it in that admission, a vulnerable fear flickering in her gaze for a moment. It’s bottled, turned into a shield which she chooses to use more like a battering ram. “That’s terrifying, but what are we going to do about it? Are you going to sit here and pretend nothing’s wrong, because it’s easier? Or are we going to do something, and fight for her?” Her hand flies up from the couch to gesture with it in frustration. “Like she would for us?”

"What the fuck is with you?" Lucille rounds on the older man, her commanding officer, her boss and someone she's looked to for guidance. He's seen her through a lot of shit. "Call SESA? Our fucking job entails we find people, that's what we fucking do!" Slamming the bottle on the table.

"You think I want to believe something is wrong with Nathalie? You think I want my best friend to be hurt or worse?!" Lucille strikes out to the air with her hand, "When are you going to wake the fuck up! Your daughter is imbued with two ancient conduits and some fucking thing that the Company dealt with wants them! And now she's missing?! Can you not connect the god.damn. dots!"

Throwing her hands in the air, chest heaving and eyes wild, yea she's drunk but her words aren't any less true. "I don't understand the connection firmly, Nathalie does, I just know the answer is in those pennies we got from Caspar. Maybe! If you weren't so focused on allowing the US government to neuter and leash us you'd have the balls to do what is necessary! Send the rest of the god damn Hounds after her!"

“Send them where?” is Avi’s flat answer to Lucille. “Somewhere from the nineteen fucking eighties, because that’s what on those fucking pennies. Yeah, let’s hope for some prophetic answer from something recorded decades before she was born!” Avi steps past Emily, completely ignoring her. “We can’t find shit. We lost Hana and she basically gave us the middle fucking finger when we did finally find her. You know why? Because we’re fucking mercanaries, Lucille. We never tracked down half of the people we went after, the government said sic em and we followed their intel.” While there were a couple of outliers, by and large he’s right.

“We don’t know where she is, Peyton fucking Whitney doesn’t know where she is. So what do you wanna do? Go and blow through the very little amount of fucking money the company has left and still come up empty handed? I have a fucking business to run by myself!” Avi screams, kicking a chair over in a flash of violence. “But here you are, with no fucking answers, with no fucking solutions, calling me out? Fuck you, Lucille, fuck you and fuck your sleeper agent father and fuck this whole stupid fucking conversation!

Avi sucks in a sharp breath. “Pack up your fucking bunk and get the fuck out if you want to go run around like a chicken with your head cut off instead of doing your goddamned job! You’re fired.

Even without the yelling being directed at her, Emily can hear the answers to her own questions. The more the reality of it is laid out, the more the fire in her starts to extinguish. Chances are if the shouts were directed at her, she'd hold her hot air in, but it escapes her. By the time the chair is kicked, she flinches violently, taking a step back away from where it clatters.

Then comes the stinger. The young woman's eyes widen, her head snapping back and forth between the other two just once. Her jaw slacks, words trying to find their way out.

But none come.

There might have been more of a visceral reaction to the uttered words: you're fired. Sadly the words: sleeper agent father, proceed those and while Lucille sees red her eyes flash gold. "You would know about sleeper agents wouldn't you? I mean that is what's most important in this world to men like you and my father. The job. Fuck your daughters, they don't need you. They don't want you. You're only good at the job. Right? Do fucking better. Your children deserve fucking better."

She and her siblings deserved better over the years. Even if it ultimately wasn't her own father's fault it still fucked her up to think about. Lucille's tone is venemous, "Why the fuck would you care about Nathalie enough to actually go looking, rip the world apart. You'd rather wait for your next fucking assignment." With all her anger comes the listing of tears and that makes the former Wolfhound Operative even more angry.

She spits into the fire in disgust, gripping now another bottle of liquor. "All you fucking do is neglect. Got people killed before the war. Getting people killed now. Get the fuck out! Don't you have some paperwork to file to the NYP- Get out!" Luce's arm flies and the bottle leaves her hand, shattering into the wall next to Avi's form. Shoulders rapidly rising and falling like her chest, eyes still shining. There are no words about picking her things up from the Bunker, being fired from her second large unruly family. The urge to vomit comes and begins to rise up her throat but that's always how she feels.

Right before she runs.

Sliding his tongue across the inside of his cheek, Avi neither says nor does anything, even in the face of a hurled bottle. He’d done that to Lynette once, threw a bottle at a wall beside her when he was drunk and at rock bottom. It isn’t clear if he remembers that. Emily’s seen this look in Avi, though. It’s the stone-cold look he’d get when he’d argue with Rachel, when he’d finally given up. It’s an expression Lucille’s never been privy to. He’d never given up on her. Not until now.

“Francis will bring your shit by,” is all Avi says as he angles a look down to Emily, equally as cold and twice as dead as the look he’d given Lucille. She knows well enough it isn’t directed at her, but inwardly. Something Lucille had said resonated with Avi in all the wrong ways.

Your children deserve fucking better.

“I’ll be in the truck,” is all Avi says to Emily on his way to the door, monotone and mechanical, as though he’d stepped away and allowed some poorly-constructed cell phone app to pilot his body out of the depressingly empty former home of Benjamin Ryans.

In all of it, Emily takes no sides. She grows quieter still, if such a thing is possible, her gaze vacant and meeting neither of theirs. Retreating into herself is the only option with how fast it escalates, and with how fast it’s over. Inside her she holds fragments of intent, of things she meant to say before objects were thrown and hateful comments slung.

Truthfully, she’s still grappling with the revelation that Nathalie can’t be found in an entirely different way than before. It’s not something her small, slender hands can hold on their own.

Avi slants an empty look at her as he leaves, and her ability to cope with any of this feels smaller still.

Only after he’s gone does she even seem to breathe, coming back to life with a sharp inhale while moisture stings her eyes. “I’ll— go too.” seems to be all she can manage, gaze slowly roving to take in the shattered bottle, the toppled furniture, then over to Lucille. She can’t look at her directly, and not for long. Her capacity for remaining ends, and she lifts a clasped hand, curling it to her chest. “Call me, if you find something else.” Emily ekes out faintly as she quickly makes her way out as well.

The front door doesn’t intentionally slam, but it shuts with a certain, heavy finality as she pulls it closed behind her.

The slam echos through the home and Lucille stands there shaking visibly all over. Slowly she draws a ragged breath. She'll wait.

Standing upright, trying to hold herself together before she cracks. As if she hadn't already. Ten long minutes she stands, waiting until she knows for certain they are gone and then she lets loose. The scream that sounds bounces off the walls, her eyes glow hot molten and she picks up another bottle and throws that one into the wall. Screaming still as she sinks to her knees in front of the fire and Lucille wraps her arms around herself.

Tiny fragments of glass embedded in her hand now but she doesn't feel it.


The range of her ability doesn't take sensation and numb her to the pain within only on the surface, the physical is smoothed over. Lucille buries her head in her knees as she sobs, helpless to her negative thoughts surrounding Nathalie's disappearance and Ben's desertion.

But at least she couldn't feel, on the surface.

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