Nostalgic Ones


gillian_icon.gif lene_icon.gif

Scene Title Nostalgic Ones
Synopsis Gillian invites her future daughter to a location with a buried and covered over past, where they can discuss things they haven't yet.
Date July 7, 2011

Bronx: Municipal Lot 336

This large and free parking lot located in the heart of the Bronx was once the site of the Primatech Paper Company Research and Development building. Destroyed by an explosion in 2009, the buildings remains were bulldozed to the ground and the land paved over, creating a much-needed area of free parking for northern Manhattan. The spacious lot is surrounded by redbrick buildings, with a used car dealership across the street.

With the sun streaking through buildings and landing on the large blacktop that makes up the Municipal Lot 336, one of the large parking lots in the Bronx that's open to the public, few people would imagine it makes a very good meeting place, especially on foot.

The temperature stays steady at just below ninety, but an group of trees along one side offers some shade and a semblance of cooler air, which is where a woman of many names sits and waits. Gillian Childs, the name she still thinks of herself as, looks to a casual observer as someone waiting for a ride, with a warm breeze tugging on dark curly hair and blowing it across her face and a backpack sitting at her side.

From around the corner, another woman approaches. Dressed for the weather in a tank dress and flip flops, her burgundy hair pinned up in a messy hairdo that could only very loosely be called a chiffon, Lene is multitasking as she walks; head phones in her ears and a cell phone in her hand, she glances up every couple of seconds to make sure she isn't about to run into a person, or worse, a parking meter or lamppost.

When she is close enough to the parking lot, she glances around until her eyes fall on Gillian, and she finishes whatever she was texting before sliding the phone back into her pocket. The earbuds are pulled out and the ipod turned off before she trots in the direction of the woman who looks like her sister, but is amazingly and miraculously her mother.

"Hey," she says, with a smile.

"Hi," Gillian says in response, actually looking rather bemused for a moment, as if she immediately got flustered just at the sight of the barely younger girl. Most women with children would love to be mistaken for a sister, but that only happens when the woman's been used to being a mom for longer than a few months.

And even now she's not exactly used to it.

A gesture is made to the ground next to her, until her hazel eyes settle on the tank-dress the girl is wearing and she shifts to stand up instead. "I guess I should have found a place with a bench," she says quietly, lifting up the backpack. In comparison her clothes are a little more boyish in the form of torn dark jean shorts and a t-shirt. "I think there's a place to sit across the street," she adds after a moment.

Lene makes a scoffing sound. "This is fine. If not the most scenic spot for hanging out," she says, kicking off her (purple) flip flops before she lowers herself to the ground, bending long legs beneath her and then to the side to stay ladylike.

As if worried her comment might make Gillian feel bad, Lene hastens to add, "I mean, it's fine. Wherever you want to hang out, I'm happy to do it."

Worrying her lower lip with her front teeth, she beckons Gillian down. "The grass is nice and cool," she adds, green eyes peering upward.

It takes a few awkward moments, where Gillian looks like she's tempted to try and give mom advice until the bag is settled back down rather gently and she sits back down again, legs in front of her, knees slightly bent so that very little skin is actually touching the groomed grass or dirt.

"Well, I didn't pick it for the scenery— I picked it cause this is where I was born. Well, not here, but somewhere under here, or… in the building that used to be here." She tilts her head, as if trying to figure out the exact logistics. "It's also fairly close to where I met… Peter— where I really met him, at least. That's why I invited you out here… I don't know how much I… told you before, but…" she trails off, waving a hand a bit.

Pink shades Lene's face for a moment, when she realizes her faux pas. "Oh," she says, a little awkwardly, and she turns to follow Gillian's gaze, not that there's anything to really see besides cars and asphalt. Still, she is a nostalgic one, much like her mother; not all of her site seeing has been frivolous, after all. She'd already visited the spot where her father dies, though it hasn't happened yet.

"This was the Company, then?" she says. It seems so benign now. It feels like it should have some sort of marker, some sort of memorial for those who had died here, both at the hands of the Company and of the hands of the terrorists who destroyed it.

Her eyes go back to Gillian and she shakes her head. "About him? Not a lot." There's no chastising in Lene's tone.

"Don't imagine I did," Gillian says, reaching down to toy with the bag at her side as she looks over. The shade supplied by the tree allows her to look straight on without squinting too much. "Most of the time I've actually been around him he's… always had other things he needed to go off and do."

The naturally husky voice she has shows her hesitation, and the nervousness about the topic.

"I don't even know how much I should tell you. I don't want you to think badly of him…" Even if she often does herself? Yeah, that either… "But I met him because our abilities clashed— or at least I think that's what happened. Our abilities often clashed…" She shakes her head, before suddenly realizing something. "I don't think you ever told me what your ability is…"

Lene's hands fold in her lap on top of the red-sriped fabric, and her eyes drop to watch as one thumbnail scratches the chipping polish off of the other. "I don't. I mean, I kind of do, but I also know he did good things, too. I don't plan to try to meet him, or tell him who I am, now, even if I could find him," she says in a small voice.

Glancing away, she rakes her lip with teeth again before looking back. "I'm sort of like him. I mean… in my ability. I can borrow people's abilities… but I can't keep them. I have to be close to them for it to work, so… in some ways I'm a little redundant, really," she says with a self-deprecating smirk. "Depends on the ability. With yours…" There's a slight shiver at just the thought of that.

For a moment, there's a sad look on Gillian's face. Perhaps because of the topic of Peter, and the fact that she's not sure either of them could find them if they tried. But then her expression changes, eyebrows raising and a smile appearing on her lips that dimples her cheeks.

"You have his ability," she says, before suddenly laughing and reaching an arm over and putting it around the girl instead of fidgetting anymore. This is a topic she can grasp. And she knows to keep her ability reined in now, for sure.

"I had his ability for a while. There was this guy who swapped people's abilities— I got Peter's. Peter didn't get mine, though— Gabriel did… At first it was like that— I could only use the abilities around the people I was getting them from, but even when it changed it was… amazing. It helped me understand what they all went through with their abilities. In some ways I kind of miss it, but… I like my ability too."

Some worry fades from Lene's face when Gillian laughs and hugs her, an ability that Gillian herself once had, even if temporarily. Her face blooms into a smile, and she squeezes her mother back before nodding her agreement.

"I go back and forth," the younger woman says — which is probably not surprising to anyone. "I love it at times; it's amazing and I have done so many amazing things most people can't, but sometimes I sort of feel like I don't have one of my own, one for keeps. I mean, I know my ability in itself is an ability, but… if I'm not around anyone who has anything useful, it's pretty much like being a blue. Er, non-evolved… but with none of the perks like freedom and justice."

She glances down again. "It's a dangerous one, too. I mean… I can tell what people have if they're close enough. So it's kinda something I don't advertise much. It's not what's on my papers, here." Here, meaning now.

"I get that— I mean my ability only affects other people's abilities, by myself it's pretty much the same thing," Gillian admits with a small shake of her head. "So I guess you're like… me and him in a way. His ability, but more like mine in how it depends so much on other people's to even do anything." Whereas he gets to keep his.

"I wasn't around when your ability manifested, was I?" she asks in a softer voice, still hugging her arm against the taller girl. Her daughter should be shorter than her in a fair world! Especially when her father wasn't exactly tall. But that doesn't seem to be the way things go.

"Cause we could have bonded over that, I think— your ability and mine, and… his." And when his was hers, for that matter. "But I guess we're getting to now…" Thanks time travel.

Lene shakes her head, and a strand falls loose of the up-do into her green eyes. "I think you would have been a good teacher, though," she says softly, voice growing a little thick.

"So you said it clashed? Yours and his?" The subject change might be a bit of a swerve rather than a graceful segue. "If it's dangerous, it'd be good to know," she adds.

"I would have tried," Gillian admits in a quiet whisper of a voice, speaking for a her she will never get to be, most likely. The vague grimace on her face is there for an instant, before she lets it slip away so she can explain.

"Well, that time our abilities clashed cause I activated a power I don't think he even knew he had— Brian's, my brother's. He… basically cloned himself. It happened during this— I'm not even sure what was going on— someone with an ability going crazy. I might have caused that too for all I know— this was before I learned how to control my ability…"

There's a pause, before she adds, "But usually when our abilities clashed it was because of what I started calling an augmentation loop— when I'd augment him while he augmented me— though I first discovered it with Gabriel. It'd probably do the same thing with you. The only reason we'd ever want to do that is if we needed more energy to do something. We did it on purpose a few times, but otherwise, definitely something to avoid, unless we both want to pass out for a few days— and risk leveling a city block— or sending pieces of a prison through space and time."

The faux rehead listens, then chuckles and nods. "Good to know. Also good to know if we do need that kind of power, sometime. Ever try a triple-loop?" There's a light in her eyes that suggests she wants to try it just for the sake of trying it, but she shakes her head and grins. "Don't worry, I don't wanna be in a coma anytime soon."

Her eyes sweep the parking lot, and her brows dip together before she looks back to Gillian. "Are you glad it's gone? The building? Or is it sad?" Lene asks curiously.

The triple loop makes her laugh, Gillian squeezes the younger girl, before letting her arm drop away. Not because she wants to end the hug, really, but end it has to. Though her shoulder settles against the girl's as she looks out across the parking lot. "I imagine a triple loop would be even more unstable, but it could have interesting results." Though she doesn't know if anyone would want to participate in it…

Calling on Gabriel for favors is a little on the difficult side these days. And she's not sure how she could possibly explain her future daughter by Peter to him, even if they've not been together for two years. It still seems like it'd be a touchy subject.

But the topic of the parking lot draws her attention more. "I don't know, honestly— I wasn't a huge fan of the Company, even if I kind of understand it now… I didn't really know the building at all. I guess it's kinda both… cause this is where I was born— me and Brian— and this is where they died. Our parents."

The trip through time didn't save them, and she doesn't even seem to realize she's rubbing the silver locket around her neck.

There's a quiet somberness from Lene; she has been to the places her parents died; or in Gillian's case, where they found the locket, the burnt one she wears at her own neck. "I get that," she finally says. "There are certain places that call to us more than others. Some of my friends rather literally. It's kind of amazing that a place so important, so monumental in your life, in mine, can be just a parking lot eventually."

This space is not even that but an overgrown lot in the future that Lene knows.

Her hand moves to Gillian's, long fingers curling around the other woman's, and then she squeezes. "Thanks for showing me."

"That's not all I wanted to share," Gillian says, pulling back so that she can to open the backpack that she brought, unzipping it to reveal what looks like a small pile of notebooks. She picks out a folder instead of them, and opens it. "I don't know if I still drew in— the future, but I thought you might want these… They're photo copies, so you don't have to worry taking my only ones, though the notebooks are the originals and I want those back when you're done reading."

There's a pause, a slow breath as she opens the folder to show photocoped sketches. All of Peter. Some better than others, all from memory. "Over a year ago I was given the option to forget about anything I wanted, to… wipe my past clean. I considered forgetting him, because… I didn't think he'd ever love me. For a while it seemed like that would be the better option… And I drew these while I was trying to decide…" Some sketches show the scar across his face, some without— some seem to even have pale eyes, rather than shaded ones.

"They're not photographs, but I guess in some ways they're even better— they're him how I saw him." All too serious. And somehow very, very lonely.

"I have some photographs," Lene says, quick and whispered as if she's holding her breath. A shaking hand reaches for the folder, and fingers trace over the likenesses of the father she doesn't know. "Only a couple from back then, but here, there's a few of him on Google and all."

She scowls a little looking at the pictures, and when her lip wobbles a little, she bites down on it, then presses it into a thin, line. "Thank you," she whispers.

"I obviously didn't forget him, and for a while I regretted that," Gillian says quietly, as she pushes the pages forward to try and find something else. Not like she can say she regretted it because he hooked up with a blonde almost as soon as they got back from Antarctica. "But I don't anymore." Because somehow, somewhen— they were together. However briefly.

The only hints of that time came to her in dreams. None of which he was actually in, but the product of their time together was.

Which is what shows up on those later zeroxed pages. Drawings of a cherub boy. Nate. The five year old version from a time even longer gone than the one this girl came from— the eight year old tearful boy she dreamt of more recently— the handsome teenager that had his father in him…

And the young woman sitting next to her. As a child, and as the woman she is now. Most with a hopeful expression. Sometimes a sad, yet somehow bright, smile.

"The notebooks are my journals. I picked out the ones where I talked about him." And the ones where she was more postive about him, she doesn't add.

The images of the Nate she knows and herself bring a smile to the real Lene, but a tear slides down her cheek before she can brush it away. "Claire said one day that I reminded her of someone," she whispers. "Without knowing who I am, and when I asked who, she said him." The confession of sorts comes out in a rush of words, and Lene's cheeks grow pink with self consciousness.

She looks up, green eyes sparkling in them. "I don't… I don't know if it's a good thing or a bad thing. I don't want to be alone like he was — I mean, he didn't die alone, but he was alone in a lot of ways. And if I'm so much like him that people who don't even know I'm related to him…"

She cuts off the words, closing the folder and standing suddenly so that she can turn away, her face up to the sky to dry her tears.

"You won't be— unless you try as hard as he does to be alone," Gillian says, reaching across to pull the younger woman closer again, other hand going up to rub a thumb under her eyes to try and assist the sky in the drying bit. "What part of you that's like him is what I loved in him— the sheer desire to run away and be alone— that I didn't love quite as much. But the hopeful, caring, heroic… even awkward side— that's what I loved most. And I see a lot of that side in you."

Somehow the other girl crying helps keep her from following the same path. No tears fall from Gillian's eyes today. Even if they might have if someone else wasn't crying for her.

"Just don't try so damn hard to be alone, and you won't be. I always thought he did it to punish himself, but he'd say it was to protect you."

A slightly tremulous smile is given to Gillian before Lene bends to pick up the backpack of journals, putting the folder inside and zipping it up before putting the burden on her own shoulders.

"I don't want to be alone," Lene adds. "I'll try to be more like you, in that way. But I know he did love you, and Nate, and even me, in his way."

The sad smile is replaced by a more playful smirk, and she scoffs again. "Petrellis."

Loved her, loved them all… But Gillian can't shake the wish that he'd loved them enough to stay for longer than he did… Nor can she say that she's glad he's not around to find out— cause that would have sent him running further and faster than before, she's sure.

"Petrellis," she echoes. One word, which somehow seems to carry all of the things she can't say about him.

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