Not Good At Asking For Advice


gillian_icon.gif lance_icon.gif

Scene Title Not Good At Asking For Advice
Synopsis Unsure about his future, Lance goes to ask advice from the one person he knows always has it.
Date May 13, 2018

Gillian's Home

This time, Lance actually called ahead. Which meant going somewhere he actually got cell signal first, but he didn’t want to just surprise Gillian again. He’d done that enough recently, and while he knows she doesn’t mind… it’s just polite not to spring a sudden appearance on her.

For once it’s not an emergency or some sort of bizarre nigh-supernatural incident, either.

He’s dressed in his usual jeans and grey hoodie as he comes up to the door, hesitating a moment before he rings the bell. He rocks back on his heels, bouncing anxiously just a bit in that way he has when he’s nervous.

His arm’s back in healthy shape, at least, no more sling and he seems to be moving it just fine.

As he called ahead this time when the door opens he can immediately smell that Gillian must have started baking the moment he’d called. The house smells like vanilla and cinnamon. Without hesitating, she steps closer to him and pulls him into a hug, one that she’d not felt as able to do with all the kids around. It had not seemed fair to play favorites. And his arm had been a reasonable excuse. “You look like you’ve recovered well and managed to stay out of trouble.”

Cause no new injuries that she could see.

“Come on in,” she gestures, noticing the nervous energy that he’d had, but not wanting to ask about it until he was inside. Instead of the living room, this time she leads them into the kitchen, where the smell’s even stronger. It might have even reminded him of the way Juniper had once made the house smell when she would self-comfort. The smell of baking had always been one of her go-to scents.

The older woman motions to the breakfast island, with its little padded stools, but seems as if she’s going to remain standing. “Want something to drink?”

It’s with a broad smile that Lance returns the hug, arms wrapping back around her in a tight embrace before she pulls back. “Yeah, my elbow’s a lot better, and— “ He grins sheepishly, “No new trouble. Yet. Ask me next week, though…”

He steps along into the house, inhaling the scent as he wanders into the kitchen after her, relaxing at the familiar scent. “You heard from Juniper at all?” he asks as that memory’s tinged, sliding onto an offered stool, “I haven’t in awhile— and yeah, uh, just some water’s fine. Gotta stay hydrated.”

“I’ll ask next week,” Gillian responds with a laugh, before getting some bottled water from the fridge. The wells still cause some issues and the water isn’t as good here as it could be, so she always keeps boiled and bottled water in the fridge in little glass milk bottles. She pops off the lid and puts it down for him. “Yeah— she’s been in the Safe Zone longer than you. It had been her suggestion to name the Library I had been working on after Doyle.” Originally she had intended to give it a different name, but as soon as Juniper suggested it she knew that was the name it should have been.

“She runs a food truck at pop up markets around town. Though I think her supply has been greatly affected by the problems. It’s a pastry truck. Donuts and stuff. She called it Rings of Juniper.” Yes, that had been a joke of sorts. Juniper had left the Lighthouse much earlier than the youngest kids, but she’d been nearly an adult when they’d went up to Canada. She’d stayed until the war ended, but once it did, she had moved away.

“Oh, shit, I’ll have to look her up,” Lance reaches over for the bottle, grinning, “Rings of Juniper. Nice pun. Oh no, an excuse to go running around between food trucks, whatever will I do…” A swig of water, and he leans back a bit, “Good. Glad she’s settled in and all…”

A moment’s awkward pause, “And, uh. That’s kind of what I wanted to talk about, could I— I mean, could I ask some advice? About life. And stuff. I mean,” he pauses, clears his throat, “Sorry, I’m not good at asking for advice.”

“I’m sure she’ll give you free donuts, even.” Cause there’s one thing big sisters and moms like to do, it’s feed the young ones. Whatever Gillian’s baking will probably leave with him when he goes, from the way she has tupperware laid out to place whatever it is in. But right now he needs advice more than cakes and cookies and whatever might be cooking, so she checks the timer over her shoulder and sits down next to him when she deems it long enough to sit.

“I’ll help in any way I can, but I understand. I’m not good at asking for advice either.” Most the time people just offered it, whether she wanted it or not. Though she’s gotten better at that.

“Yeah. I mean… in some ways that’s the problem,” Lance admits, leaning back a bit to look up at the ceiling, “Most’ve our lives we’ve just kind of — had everything decided for us, you know? Stay at the Lighthouse, go to this or that safehouse, go to Canada, go to the Safe Zone. We should do this, shouldn’t do that. So we’re all still trying to… figure out where to go now that we’re on our own.”

He re-settles back straight, a hand resting on his knee as he offers her a rueful smile, “It’s why we haven’t really asked for help or anything, except for the big stuff, even though we know we can get it. I mean, we want to make lives of our own, on our own terms. Only…”

Chewing the inside of his cheek for a moment, he admits, “We don’t know how. I mean, I was talking to Brynn on the beach last week, and she pointed out that everyone’s trying to make their lives like they were before. Only it’s not before, it’s after. And we never had a before. Not really. So I’ve been trying to get into college, only that’s not working ‘cause I didn’t exactly have a traditional education…” They tried, especially her, but there’s only so much one can learn in between the racist attacks, disasters, governmental oppression, and warfare going on. He’s good at infiltration though!

“So—. Robyn had an idea, and I guess I wanted to know your thoughts on it?”

In some ways, the fact that he lacks a proper education felt in part her fault. Gillian should have made sure they got more studying, made sure they had a proper homeschooling. If she would have stayed, she probably could have made sure that happened, but she had not. There’s a sad glint to her eyes as she nods slowly.

“Well, what’s Robyn’s plan?” If there was one person she trusted to do something good for the kids, it would be Robyn. They’d stayed in touch over the years. They shared a daughter, even.

“So, we… kind of stumbled into a few SESA investigations,” Lance admits sheepishly, “I guess we’re on some kind of board, I guess they have it on their wall? Probably all strings and pins and photos, totally chalk— anyway, I guess she saw us on there.”

“So…” He glances down at the water, frowning, “I know you kinda work with the government and all, and I guess I wanted your opinion on her suggestion of maybe training to be a SESA agent.”

Oh, she knew about the investigation. For some reason, she’s grinning as he confesses to that. Because it had been brought up. “I think you must have impressed the Agent if they put you on a ‘chalk board’.” Yes, she just joked about their slang. Maybe that had been where that term had come from in the future? Now she’s picturing a bunch of people using chalkboards for theories and strategies and— yeah. It amuses her.

But if he had expected her to discourage this, well—

“I think it’s a wonderful idea. For you at least. If the NYPD had been started up, I would even recommend that as a possibility. Rookie cops are often trained immediately out of high school if they ever graduate.” But they hadn’t started up the NYPD again yet, even if it had been discussed at the last meeting. It would take time. SESA existed now. “I know a few people in SESA, not even including Robyn and Veronica. I think you would find it challenging, and you would get to investigate things that you’re already kind of doing on your own. But you’d have resources and jurisdiction in many cases.”

“I mean, I don’t know about being a cop…” It’s not that different, and yet different enough that it seems to be a different thing to Lance. He brings one hand up to rub at his neck, offering her a rueful smile, “I mean, it— seems like a good idea, but I’m worried about the others. Especially Joe? He’s— still super suspicious of the government. And Hailey, you know how she is. She won’t even register. I think she might disown me outright.”

“I kind of like the idea, but I don’t want to break up our whole… family,” he admits, “You know?”

“I’ve talked to Hailey about registering. She seems to be more receptive after what happened in the Bronx.” When it had been her lack of registration, the lack of living in the Safe Zone, that had made it more difficult to protect her. Especially since she did not actually attempt to hide her ability. “But I won’t know if it worked till she shows up with a card.” Gillian’s not holding her breath, but the young woman and her had reached some kind of agreement—

They would have to wait and see. “But I think you’re right about Joe. I mean Brian’s wife is a SESA Agent… one of them, anyway,” she has an opinion on that, but she liked her brother’s wives, at least. She just wasn’t sure how it was handled as a legal precedence. “If Brian was completely against it, you’d think he wouldn’t let Vee be one, right? Maybe remind Joe of that. And if he’s still difficult, you can always say you will infiltrate to see what they’re like from the inside.”

Because that is quite literally something Brian would have done. She figures Joe would have to appreciate that idea.

“I don’t think he’s had contact with that Brian for awhile, or Veronica…” Things get complicated with that particular Brian, where it comes to the romantic life of a bunch of hive-minded clones and their one errant brother.

Lance offers a rueful smile, “I hope Hailey does, I worry about her out there, y’know? I mean, just the shit that I’ve been running into lately, and her out there on her own… anyway. Yeah, maybe. I could try the whole ‘watching them from the inside’ angle with him, I guess…”

He picks up the water to take a sip, admitting, “It’s a weird idea for me, too. Spent most of our lives hiding out from the authorities. But… Robyn made some good points. Hm. I guess I could talk to Veronica too…”

“That one doesn’t even go by Brian anymore,” Gillian responds with a shrug, though she too has not had as much contact with her brother as she should have. Maybe one day she’ll forgive him, or forgive herself. Whichever one she blames more for what happened with the kids. It’s probably not going to happen anytime soon, however.

Though she has stayed in contact with Veronica. In half, because she wanted to know her kid.

“It’s actually not a weird idea for you. Or Joe, even. The government might have corruption and issues, but fighting against it in the darkness just gets people hurt. We fought a whole war to change the system, and it did change. Now we just have to make sure it stays changed for the better, and we can’t do that from the outside.” It had been the reason she joined the Co-Op, and she knew other people had joined for much the same reason. “I honestly think you’d be good at it. Investigating bad people, but in a way where they can’t lock you up for sneaking into active crime scenes.”

Cause they could. If it hadn’t been a nicer agent who had found them.

“I know, I know…” A grin, then, as Lance looks over with both eyebrows raised, “…but you wouldn’t let them keep me locked up, would you? Orrrr… I could call Colette as my one phone call.”

She has a history of rescuing people from lock-up now! Ahem.

“Yeah, though,” he rubs a hand over the nape of his neck, “I’m… giving it serious consideration. Robyn had some good points, like I said. If we’re going to make this world our generation’s, we have to make sure we’re some of the ones helping build it, right?”

“Of course I wouldn’t let them keep you locked up. Anymore than I was letting them hold Hailey,” Gillian responds with a grin, reaching up to push on his shoulder in a way that she might have done with her brother. If her and Brian hadn’t had a falling out at least. Lance was now tall enough that she started to forget he was a kid, had grown into a young man. “I agree. We spent so much time reacting to things that the people in charge did before the war.”

They hadn’t been in power to stop it other than to react to it, to force change. “We fought a whole war to give us the ability to take action ourselves, and we’d done it for you guys as much as for ourselves.”

She’d done it for them much more than for herself. Her kids. So that they could have a world where they didn’t have to watch the world destroying itself. Where they could make a difference and live their lives without having to work outside the law, without having to fight and hurt people. Without having to be stuck just reacting to things that people with more power did.

“I’ll be proud of you no matter what you decide to do, though,” she added after a moment.

At the push, Lance rocks back in exaggerated impact, a grin curving his lips at her words. “Thanks, Gillian,” he says genuinely, shaking his head, “That’s— I want to make you proud. And I want to help make a better world for… us, you know? All of us. And I guess I can’t do that selling— I mean, odd jobs and such.”

Quick, push the illicit arms dealing under the carpet.

A duck of his head, then he looks back, “It really does mean a lot.”

While she raises an eyebrow at the slip of selling, she also doesn’t push it. Because it sounded like he had changed his mind on whatever it was he had been doing as an ‘odd job’ and would be pursuing something still dangerous, but at least legal. “Just don’t hesitate to call me— or more likely stop by— even if you just need to use the excuse that you’re consulting a member of the Citizen’s Watch.” It wouldn’t be the first time a SESA agent had come to her for help with something.

She hoped it wouldn’t be the last time, either.

Even if both Coffee and Donuts seemed to have found something to do with their time that unfortunately meant no more coffee and donuts for her.

Maybe the kid wouldn’t disappear into some unknown mission in the near future like they did.

“And I’m glad that you’re thinking of doing this. It will give you and your friends a chance to do something without risking getting arrested at the same time.” Even if she would have gotten them out of it as well as she could. Even if it meant calling in Colette to break them out.

“I will,” Lance says, adding almost shyly, “…thanks, mom.”

Clearing his throat, he straightens, “So, uh. Did I smell something baking when I came in?” He grins guilelessly at his subject change and attempt to get food.

Some things never change.

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