No Justice


sf_brynn_icon.gif sf_jac_icon.gif sf_justice_icon.gif sf_nova_icon.gif

Scene Title No Justice
Synopsis Who?
Date January 15, 2021

There’s a phrase someone said once, somewhere…

Once is happenstance.

Twice is coincidence.

Three times is enemy action.

Nova Leverett doesn’t remember where she’d heard it before. But as she walks down a winding park path in mid-January, it comes to mind. The air is bitterly crisp, reddening her cheeks and bringing tears to her eyes when the wind gusts. There’s no snow on the ground right now, recent rain and a few unseasonably warm weeks melted it all away, but when the cold came back it was an uninviting and bitter thing.

Bundled up for the cold, Nova sees the blocky shape of the Picnic House coming up on her right. The wedding venue’s windows are dark, and it’s doubtful there’s anyone inside. The space is only open when rented, and it doesn’t seem as though there’s a service being held on this bitterly cold and overcast day. But it isn’t the unoccupied building that has her attention.

It’s coincidence.

Prospect Park

January 15th
4:13 pm

Brynn and Jac Petrelli haven’t been back in Prospect Park since November, when they last ran into Nova here. The two sisters didn’t plan on meeting here either. Brynn was on her way home after visiting her doctor Emma at the hospital to run another series of tests on her cochlear implant and Jac was on her way back from talking to a gallery owner downtown about getting a few of her pieces in a show.

But there they are, and there Nova is. Jac and Brynn spot Nova when she rounds the corner from down the path, and only recognize her when she’s a little closer for all that she’s bundled against the cold. In a way this feels serendipitous. But that feeling shifts from serendipity to surreality when another familiar face from the day of the half-marathon comes down the path from the opposite side as Nova.

Justice Quinn was on her way from meeting with a client for a deposition in a building across from the nearby Brooklyn Museum when she decided to cut through the park on her way downtown for the afternoon. Seeing three familiar young faces converging on the same place two months after their meeting feels like something.

It’s coincidence.

With her hands shoved deep in her own pockets, Brynn is at least not required to try to remember not to sign — it's too freakin' cold! She's not even got her camera with her today. As she ambles along vaguely in the direction of their home, she's talking to Jac.

"—think they'll do an exhibit?" she asks as they come into earshot of Nova. Her gray eyes are excited for her sister. But as she also spots the cellist, her brows shoot up and she jerks her chin in the musician's direction. "Hey, Nova!" She doesn't see Ms. Quinn initially.

“I think so. They want to see some of my work first…” Which sends a thrill of embarrassed-anxious-excited energy through Jac all over again. A grin steals her face despite her efforts to keep herself under control. She's looking at the ground as a way to sort of mask her bubbling excitement and nearly misses her sister’s motion toward the musician. Only a side-eye to Brynn has the younger Petrelli girl catching on as the older calls out.

Jac brings her head up, a hand follows to wave at Nova. “Hi!” Like Brynn, she doesn't see Justice at first. She bumps her shoulder into Brynn’s then adjusts their path to more directly approach Nova. A glance over her shoulder as they near the intersection of footpaths is when Ms. Quinn is seen, and given a polite smile for a hello.

It had been a leisurely enough walk through the park. There were no meetings for the rest of the day, no other clients or matters to check in on. Her time back at the office would be a formality, and that affords her some time to meander a bit through the park. It makes Justice very glad she decided not to wear heels today, in all truth.

The sight of Nova piques her curiosity, though. It feels like déjà vu almost, unsettlingly so. Still, it's good to see the other woman again, paying little mind to the teens around her as she approaches.

"Ms. Nova," is said in a cool, professional manner, glancing over to the two girls for a moment. She's at least polite enough to return Jac's smile, even if she doesn't recognise them. "I don't know if you remember me, but I was here when your instrument was stolen." Not a great memory to dredge up, surely. "I was wondering if you were able to replace it."

With or without her "donation".

The cellist lifts her hand to wave at the two Petrellis, a wide smile blooming at the sight of them, especially Brynn since the two of them struck up a blossoming friendship not long after the marathon event. What brings her to this park, a little far from her stomping grounds in Manhattan’s west side, is the theft of her instrument. She’s been hoping to run into one of the teen thieves that accosted her that day.

Before she calls back to Brynn and Jac, though, Justice speaks to her, and Nova turns her blue eyes on the attorney, nodding at the reminder of her name. “Ms. Quinn! It’s nice to see you again,” she says. Less frazzled and upset than the last time they spoke, Nova’s tone is bright and warm at once.

“It was insured, but my replacement’s a little less awesome than that one was, unfortunately,” she says, a bit sadly, but she follows it with a shrug. “I shouldn’t have taken the good one out, so it was my fault, kind of. I mean, not really, because someone still stole it. But it was irresponsible, and I learned that lesson the hard way. They never did find the kid that actually took it. I come here sometimes to see if he’ll show up.”

She turns to the Petrellis. “Do you know Jac and Brynn Petrelli?” she asks, gesturing for them to join the other two. “Kinda weird we’re all here today, huh?”

As they make their own arrival, just about the same time, Brynn offers an easy smile to Justice. That day was a good bit chaotic, so she offers simply, "Nice to meet you." Or at least meet properly.

As to the weird, Brynn shrugs easily. "New York has always seemed to me to be the smallest big city anywhere. There's a rumor that if you stand on any given street corner, you'll eventually meet everyone in the world or something like that." She grins. "Seems weird to me. I think it's just that we're all crammed on just a couple of miles of ground."Not so strange when you think of it that way, to her mind.

“I'm Jac and this is Brynn,” the younger of the Petrelli’s adds helpfully. She grins at her sister and Nova, but Justice is offered another, polite smile. She doesn't fully remember the woman, only maybe vaguely seen talking to Nova after that one race? Jac shrugs a shoulder.

“It's kind of weird,” she opines. “I mean… me and Brynn running into each other maybe not so much weird.” They're family, and both on the basic route home from their individually personal errands. “But…”

Jac fails after a couple of seconds trying to fill in the what of the but. There's no logic in her mind that would explain the circumstance. “Maybe it's fate.”

"I have not. A pleasure." Out of habit, Justice offers her hand out for the two girls to shake. She almost thinks better of it, but it's too late once it's out there. Petrellis aren't exactly common, and she regards them carefully for a moment before offering a shallow laugh.

"Coincidence," she offers in rebuttal."Not fate." Her smile seems a bit more fake for a moment, before turning her attention back to Nova. "It is a much smaller city than people believe, though. A nice moment like this was sort of inevitable." And it is a nice moment, despite how ready Justice already seems to get away from it.

"I'm glad to hear that the situation was rectified," is a more honest remark to Nova, dipping her head slightly. "You should never feel bad about putting your best forward, though. Even if it means using something so nice as that cello was."

Behind the bench the Petrelli sisters sit on, in view of the Picnic House, Nova sees something that draws her attention away from the conversation. It’s a dark shape at first glance, someone walking in front of the building. But the more Nova focuses on it the more the sounds around her start to bleed away and her visions tunnels in toward that dark shape. At first it doesn’t look like anything except a shadow until it’s


clearly not.

Nova sees herself, in a nearly threadbare rust red and earth brown long-sleeved shirt and patched up jeans, wandering the grounds outside the Picnic House. Her hair is long, dark, and windblown. She isn’t dressed for the cold, but it doesn’t even seem like she feels it.

Her brows draw together at the sight of what seems to be herself, but she forces her gaze back to the trio of women speaking near her.

For a moment, anyway.

“I’m not from New York, but I’ve had a few moments like that, I guess. This one seems kinda more unlikely than, say, us running into each other at Central Park,” she asides to Brynn, but she shrugs. “I like that legend, even if I’m sure not everyone in the world comes to New York City in their lives. It only feels like it’s true, especially on a 5 p.m. red line train, am I right?”

She nods in the direction of the Picnic House, though, to the other her. “Am I crazy or does that girl look like me?” she wonders aloud.

Brynn nods her agreement with the 5pm red line. Good lord, the place is a madhouse. Tipping her head, she glances curiously to where Nova nods and asks, "What girl?"

“Exactly,” Jac says of Nova’s theory. It isn't like Prospect Park is a frequently visited place, definitely not like Central Park. If it is a coincidence, it's one of the stranger ones.

Turning slightly, the teen looks to the picnic house. Brows raise a touch and she looks past the structure then returns to the group. “I don't see anyone?”

"I'm from France," which may not be immediately evident were it not for Justice's accent, "And I certainly never had this kind of luck finding people in Paris." A small laugh rises up, but quickly tapers off when Nova asks about a girl, Justice's brow furrowing as she looks up towards the Picnic House.

Lips thin when she assesses that there's no one there, eyes shifting back to Nova.

"I think it may be time to get out of the cold, dear," is only mildly condescending by way of word choice, Justice turning back to face her with a smile. "Standing around in the New York winter is not the smartest thing any of us could be doing right now."

The dark-haired woman by the Picnic House turns slowly, as if having heard Nova’s voice and looks at her dead-on. Even windblown as she is, her eyes are unmistakable things. She threads a lock of hair behind one ear, takes a step forward, and catches on fire. The flames blow in the direction of the wind, portions of her clothes blacken to ash and blow off of her body. She takes a half step further forward and collapses to her knees, and begins to crumble apart like a burned log.

Like someone killed in an atomic blast.

Brows knitting together when not one nor two but all three of her fellow parkgoers say they don’t see the girl. She shakes her head distractedly at Justice’s suggestion she needs to be somewhere warm, and turns back to look at the girl she’d just seen.


Turning away from the small group, Nova takes a step in the direction of the Picnic House. As the wind picks up, she shoves back a lock of her own hair in an unconscious mirroring of the other woman’s gesture. She bites her lower lip as she realizes it, like she’s in some strange twin routine like the Patty Duke Show she’d watched on NIck-at-Nite.

Nova stops short when she sees the girl burst into flame, gasping aloud and covering her mouth to stare for a moment before stumbling forward. She knows there’s no help for whoever this is, though the logical voice in her head reminds her that the others don’t see this woman, that she’s a figment of Nova’s imagination.

That doesn’t make her feel better — she’s either going crazy or a woman who looks exactly like her is dying before her eyes.

Brynn's just thinking someone was over there and she missed them. Not a new thing for her. "There's a coffee place on the far side of the park," she offers. "Let's go get warm."

And then Nova gasps that way, and it brings her back around to look that direction again. That kind of gasp of horror is hard to mistake for anything else. "What?" But nothing looks out of place to her and she glances at Nova and then Jac and Justice in confusion. "Am I missing something again?" she asks her sister.

Jac nods slowly, first agreeing with Justice and then with Brynn’s suggestions. It's cold. But her eyes stay on Nova, watching with growing confusion when the cellist begins walking past them and toward the picnic house. “Where— ” Her question begins, softly spoken for the two still remaining nearby, but is interrupted by Nova’s gasp.

A look darts to Justice, but Jac leans toward her sister. “I don't know.” She feels like she's missing something too. “Maybe… maybe call for help?” Worry mixes with her lack of understanding, and she takes a couple steps toward Nova. “Nova?”

Now Justice is clearly concerned, a mix of uncertainty and frustration on her face. "I swear to God, if this is…" She trails off rather than questioning if there's drugs involved here. As Nova stops but remains unresponsive, the lawyer shakes her head. "Merde," she murmurs, shoulders tensing.

"Jac, Brynn, was it? Be ready to call for help if necessary," she remarks, before stepping past Jac and towards Nova. "Ms. Leverett," finally drudging her last name up from the memory of their previous encounter. "Is everything okay?" Pulling out her foldable phone, she flips it open, thumbing through the menu until she finds the flashlight option. "Someone isn't following you, are they?"

Across the way, another Nova’s remains are crumbling to ash, even the bones are brittle and fragile. The wind blows her apart like a pile of leaves, glowing orange embers inside the burned husk of her body brightening in the onrush of air to consume and dimming when the gust fades. A jogger coming up the path looks at Justice, then seems to notice Nova’s visible distress but looks away and keeps her eyes focused on the ground.

When Justice notices the jogger and makes eye contact with her, something burns in the corner of her eyes. A tiny little movement, like a leaf on the wind. When Justice looks to see it clearly, she instead sees a smoldering heap of ashes and bones on the ground between the bench and the Picnic House, one skeletal hand reaching out across the ground in Nova’s direction.

Stumbling forward, Nova only takes another few steps before it’s clear that even if she’s not hallucinating, this is a lost cause. She falls to her knees, tears on her face for the other her, for the strange sense of loss she feels somewhere within.

It’s not merely horror, but grief.

Closing her eyes to the burning remnants, she tips her head to the side, not quite looking over her shoulder at the others she knows are worried about her. “I’m sorry. I saw something, but I guess… do you believe in premonitions?” Her wet cheeks flush with embarrassment, knowing she looks crazy, sounds crazy. The jogger’s look confirms it, and she pushes herself up to her feet, brushing dirt off her knees and hands, before turning to look back at the others, tearful eyes full of fear and embarrassment.

Brynn watches, her hand on Jac's arm, the other hand on her phone in her pocket. She watches Justice and her reaction and frowns slightly. "Premonitions? You mean, like ESP?" She looks skeptical. "Not… not really." Nova seemed like such a nice girl, no psycho stuff going on.

As Nova stumbles, Jac starts forward again. This time she tugs at her sister’s hand to follow, but with a look that implies a deepening concern. Maybe they should go ahead and call someone. But who do you call for someone who's seeing… things?

“I don't know,” she answers slowly, going to stand beside Nova. It might sound crazy to everyone else — the jogger gets a look warning then to mind their business, and then Brynn more than Justice is implored to be a little supportive. Strange things happen sometimes, okay? Jac knows this first hand, even though she never shared it with the elder Patrelli girl.

“What…” Jac’s attention returns to Nova, and she hesitates before finishing the question. “What did you see?”

Justice is just about to raise her phone so she can look into Nova's eyes and see if she's blissed out, about to have a seizure, something conclusive when she spots the macabre looking sight in the corner of her vision. Slowly her head turns, eyes wide as she settles on the smoking, haunting remains resting by the Picnic House.

"What the…" A hand is placed on Nova's shoulder in a comforting manner that surprises even Justice, and she turns the light on her phone forward, stalking towards the horrific sight so she can confirm if this is real, or if she too is somehow losing it.

"Nova…" she remarks as she starts past her. "What did you see?"

“Maybe I’m just stressed out,” Nova whispers but she doesn’t look like she believes that. She glances in the direction of the burning remains, shudders, and then looks back to Brynn and Jac even as Justice begins to move in that direction.

“Fire,” she manages to say. “A girl who looked just like me — dark hair though,” she touches her own caramel-blond locks. “Like mine would be if I didn’t get it done. She was right there,” her head turns slightly in that direction, to indicate the Picnic House, but she can’t bear to look again at the smoke and embers she can still see. “And suddenly just burst into flames. It was…’

She brings both hands up to wipe away the tears that have begun to stream again. “Apocalyptic.”

Her eyes seek first Jac’s, then Brynn’s. “I’m sorry. I’m not normally… I don’t get visions or anything. And I’m not on drugs, I swear.”

Brynn would be chalking it up to an overactive imagination if Justice didn't seem to be going the same direction with an air of having seen something. She glances at Jac with a frown, then back to Nova as she allows her younger sister to tug her to Nova's side. What in the world….?

She puts a hand on the young woman's arm, though, and offers hesitantly, "That sounds terrible. Maybe you shouldn't watch horror movies." That seems a reasonable explanation. Biting her lip, she asks louder, "What did you find?" to Justice's back.

Jac watches Nova with a willingness to listen and believe the strangeness happened. At least until an explanation can be found. “That sounds really terrible,” she says with a quiet honesty. Worse, she might think, than even disappearing for an hour. “Maybe it was a…” As she tries to decide on an explanation, her eyes wander to Justice. Nothing seems reasonable— she's never found an answer to her weird day either.

“Nova, do you want us to look?” Jac shares a look with Brynn, then looks at the cellist with raised, concerned brows.

Feeling there's no time to wait for a response, Justice motions for Jac and Brynn to stay back as she advances forward, brandishing up her phone so the light shines out ahead of her. It's less useful in the middle of the afternoon, but it certainly can't hurt. She should know better than this, in case there is something sinister waiting for her at the Picnic House.

Gillian and her other friends at the precinct would be disappointed in her, but here we are.

As Justice approaches the Picnic House, the nearby jogger pauses her route and checks her watch, two fingers up on the side of her neck to monitor her pulse. Justice nears the smoking remains of what may have been Nova, but as she does there’s a distortion in the air. A rippling like a heat mirage…

…and then screams.

Justice’s body stretches like taffy. The upper half of her body bends as if viewed through a funhouse mirror, stretching some fifteen feet straight up into the air, blurry in the midsection and judging by the distorted scream in unfathomable agony. Justice bends, twists, contorts into shapes no person was meant to and then simply


There is no charred body Nova can see, and no Justice.

The jogger, having been looking in the direction all of that happened in, shows absolutely no reaction and waves a friendly, finger-twiddling wave at Jac, Nova, and Brynn and starts to jog again as if nothing had happened.

The flash of anger in Nova’s eyes at Brynn’s comment about horror movies is short lived, any retort about her movie preferences caught in her throat. Everything is replaced by fear, horror, at watching Justice form warp and disappear.

Nova’s mouth gapes silently for a moment as her mouth works, struggles, to find words. More efficiently, her feet begin to backpedal on instinct, until she bumps into Jac and whirls around.

Brows rising high on her forehead, Nova looks into each of their faces to see if they saw what she saw — there’ll be no mistaking their horror if they did, nor the odd looks they’ll be giving her if they didn’t.

“We need to go now,” she whispers, regardless of what she sees in their faces, and reaches for each of their wrists, tugging them away from the Picnic House and whatever strange horrors the area around it holds.

Shock renders Brynn absolutely speechless for a split second as she gapes and the twisting, stretching woman. And then she's doing a brilliant rendition of a Scream Queen, her nails digging into Jac's hand and slapping at Nova's hand in flailing hysterics. Somewhere in there is a backpedal or two. But mostly it's the screaming and panicked pushing and shoving the other two so they can all run like hell.

Perfectly content to ignore Justice’s staying gestures, Jac looks every bit like she's about to take off after the woman and approach the Picnic House. All she needs is Nova’s word that it's a good idea.

It all changes in an instant. The younger Petrelli goes from nervously bold to incredulous and almost panicked. Her mouth drops as Justice’s body is twisted and turned, eyes wide and unable to look away. The color drains from her face, and her heart hammers against her chest when it ends just as suddenly.

“She…” Shrill notes hit Jac’s voice. “She… She…” The teen stammers, without comprehending the screaming beside her, or the prodding and tugging. The absolute severity of the situation escapes her in the horror of what she just saw until she meets Nova’s eyes. Her head bobs, unsteady, but nodding understanding and she turns with them to put… whatever that was literally behind.

Now the jogger turns around. She pulls her earbuds out, looks over to where Justice was a moment ago, then over to the girls screaming in terror. She closes the distance quickly, calling out to them. “Hey— hey! Are you kids okay!?” They aren’t all kids, but from the perspective of someone roughly in their forties it’s appropriate enough.

Reaching for her cell phone, the jogger looks around again.

They’re not okay. Nova shakes her head no, but continues to move, putting more distance between herself and where Justice once stood, where the other her once stood, before she slows again.

“Something… “ how do you describe what just happened to Justice? Nova doesn’t have the words. One shaking hand covers her mouth and she points with the other. “The lady who was with us — she just — she disappeared, but like… like something…”

Like something stretched her until there was nothing left?

“What do we do?” she asks, wide, tearful eyes looking first to Brynn, then Jac. “What the fuck do we say to the police? This is some X Files kind of fucked up shit.”

Woah, woah, hey.” The jogger holds up her hands and tries to affect a calming tone. “What lady?” She looks around between the girls. “It was just you three when I jogged by. Who’re you talking about?”

As they retreat in a mass huddle of girls, Brynn finally manages to get control of the screaming, but she's still gripping her sister in a vice grip. Her whole body is shaking with horror and trauma. She points too. "There! Didn't you see that?!" she demands in a voice pitched high. "She— she, like, stretched! From, like, there to there and— it— you saw her! The lady!"

To her mind, they are not nearly far enough away and Brynn tries to flee a few more steps, pulling on Jac and Nova as well because of the girl's grip on her other wrist. Her heart is racing in her chest and adrenaline floods her body at such high levels that she's jittering in place with the need to run. Nova's question drags "I don't know!!" out of her regarding what the hell to say to police.

"We need Mom. We need Mom right. now." Brynn's barely holding on, tears filling her eyes too.

“Just us?” Jac, still wide eyed and unbelieving of what she just saw, stares like the jogger just lost her mind while she’s pulled several more steps on. “Just us? You only saw… you didn’t see…” She looks at Nova and Brynn when they’re the ones who start asking the questions, finally prying her arm free of her sister’s grasp. What should they do? How should she know? They’re both older than she is, they should know what to do already! She stammers on an answer, half trying to agree with Brynn, half trying to find a suitable explanation for Ms. Jogger.

After a heart racing moment that lasts an eternity, she does the one thing that still makes sense — probably the one thing Brynn and Nova both want to do and maybe her answer will help them reach the same conclusion. Jac Petrelli turns and runs.

“You saw her! You looked right at her!” Nova yells, pointing to where Justice had just stood, where the woman had just seen her. But Brynn pulls her a few more feet away, and then Jac turns to run.

“Do we call 9-1-1 — we’ll sound insane,” Nova gasps to Brynn. “I don’t even know how to explain that, and if it’s our word versus hers…” A teenager and two college-aged women aren’t likely to be listened to, she knows too well. Usually.

“But people know you. You’re Petrellis,” Nova whispers, almost more to herself than Brynn. “Maybe they’ll listen.” She’s pulled the phone from her pocket, fingers too shaky to input the passcode correctly. After three tries, they hover over the emergency button instead.

Pressing it, she then dials 9-1-1 and tries to explain what just happened, all while moving away from the PIcnic House and the disbelieving eyes of the jogger. “Prospect Park…a woman disappeared…No, like, into thin air…” This isn’t going to go well.

The jogger stares at the girls and backs away a few steps, making a face at Nova. “Okay fine, whatever,” she says with no concern what-so-ever. Just before she turns fully away, there’s a moment where she just pauses and stares at the three for a moment too long to feel natural, as if looking through the frightened girls, then turns without another word and resets her watch and jogs off.

Jac is retreating in the opposite direction, Brynn is frozen in terror, and Nova’s phone call is met with disbelief. Frustration. And a hangup. She was right about one thing though…

…this isn’t going to go well.

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