Not The First Rodeo


abby_icon.gif brynn_icon.gif

Scene Title Not the First Rodeo
Synopsis Abby's done the whole losing her powers thing and the kidnapping thing before.
Date July 8, 2020

Somewhere in Canada, Hospital

This is not Abigail’s first rodeo at the power-less circus. Which perhaps has been why she’s not seeking others out. She didn’t seek them out the first time, so it’s been mostly walking halls, sitting in the chapel of the church, escaping up to the highest point of the hospital to watch sunsets over a country that she lived in for more than a few years before retreating back to her room.

The moment they were permitted to speak with family after being rescued, she had made sure that Kasha was safe and secure. That Tabaqui was with someone or a sitter found to come in and tend to the monkey and a promise to be back as soon as possible to the ten year old. Abigail rarely hid anything from her given their state of existence in past years and right now, there was little difference. A promise to explain when she got home but for now, to help Liz with her daughter and she’d be sure to bring back some maple candies from Canada. There had even been an old friend from Canada who drove in from B.C. to bring said candies for her a small but private re-uniting.

She had escaped from the crash with blessed little in the way of injuries. Scratches and little else. Though she had haunted about the ICU to hear how Shaw was doing. But otherwise the blonde had retreated. Fresh off a call with Kasha in New York, with knees up and twisting at a fresh new cross around her neck, she looks out the window across the Winnipeg landscape, waiting for the next arrival of nurses or the like to haul her off for more batteries of tests.

They've got permission to call home… but Brynn hasn't done it yet. In part because, well, it involves texting from a number none of them know and having no way to prove it's her. Tapping lightly on Abby's door, the small young woman peeps in and checks to see if Abby is awake and accepting company. When the eyes turn her way, she signs, Got a couple minutes, Aunt Abby?

She steps all the way in the door even as Abby replies, not seeming like she's hiding but just trying to respect the other woman's privacy as she shuts the door behind her. Like everyone else, she's wandering around with no answers. But she, at least, has the advantage of having some almost-family present.

Door opens and Abby looks over, an anemic smile for the other girl. Takes her a moment to read the fingers before nodding, pointing to an adjacent chair. She makes sure however, to keep her face turned toward the lighthouse kid. “Need a place to hide?” She asks. “Kasha says hello. She’s glad I’m not alone and have a familiar face.”

Kasha's okay, right? The sudden alarm flits across Brynn's features as she realizes — Kasha had to have been alone if Abby's not there!

“Kasha’s fine. I’ve talked to her a few times already. Much like you guys, we have a plan and she followed it precisely when she woke up and didn’t find me there. She’s with Liz and they’re holding tight till I get home. Though I owe her some maple candies.” She reassures Brynn.

Brynn relaxes, her smile rueful. Okay. Okay, that's good. So she answers the question previously asked. Not so much hide as… need familiar company? People walk in and out and I don't know they're there. For someone raised the way she was in Brian's guardianship, that would already be more than a little alarming even if you didn't count the fact that they all woke up from a plane crash none of them remember even being on. The young woman, barely out of her teen years, is a little bit jumpy about all the strangers. Aunt Gilly is staying with Squeaks, so I was hoping you might … make the phone call home for me? I don't think Lance and Joe are going to be exactly calm about this, so I don't want to tell them anything except that I'm okay and will be home soon. But if I do it by text, you know they're going to lose their minds and be all demanding I prove who I am. Sheepishly after the high-speed signing, she asks, Can you?

“It’ll be easier if I do it, yeah.” Abby agrees. “They won’t be calm, but they’ll be calmer knowing you are with someone they trust. “How are you doing??” Less the physical she means and more the… mental. “You need me to ask them to move a bed into here and you bunk down with me? I’m not that exciting, but if it makes you feel better, I’m sure they’ll let you.”

In truth, it's not something that Brynn thought to ask. But almost as soon as the words are out of Abby's mouth she can see the flash of relief across the younger woman's face. She has literally never lived alone — there are always siblings around, and Hailey trained Doodlebug to give her additional independence. But the deaf teen is not used to being completely on her own. Sure, she can do it and be self-sufficient just fine. She just isn't comfortable with it. I would like that very much, Aunt Abby. Her shoulders let down a little, tension that she didn't even realize was there easing as she moves carefully, still babying her knee, to perch on a chair.

I'm … doing okay, I guess. They said I didn't break anything. Ribs are still sore, but that's all just stuff. Brynn knows what Abby's asking, and she nibbles her lip. I don't really know how I'm doing, comes the admission. Not like my ability's all that useful to anyone but me, but… it was still mine. And the girl has few enough things in this life that she's ever been able to claim outright.

“Broken hearts are still a break” Abby points out. She shifts in the seat, focusing on the girl. ‘Whatever has happened, you’ll get through this. I promise. It’s going to be hard and you’re going to doubt yourself, and you’re going to feel…” Abby pauses, searching for words, for once not running on verbally. “Less than. But you’re not. I promise. I have no doubt that they will find a way to fix this, or what’s going on. And if they don’t, and that’s always a chance” She won’t sugar coat it. “You still have some very good friends who won’t leave you just because you suddenly can’t do what you did.” She gestures to herself.

“Mine never left me when I stopped being able to heal their hurts ten years ago. I don’t know if you knew about that. I wasn’t always the flaming baptist.”

Tipping her head, Brynn studies Abby. I… don't know if I knew that, she admits, her brows pulling together. But she has some vague memory she can't quite place. Maybe. Or maybe someone simply told her about it. I think someone said you used to be able to do something else, a long time ago. But … It never really registered for her. She was pretty young.

I don't know where I will fit anymore. But I'll figure it out. Sort of. Maybe. She changes the topic just a little from herself. I'm a little more worried right now that Lance and Joe are really going to have fits. Her brothers are pretty protective of all the siblings, and they've already had Bad Things <™> happen to some of the Lighthouse Kids.

Aunt Abby, … none of us remember how we got here. What if they come to take us again? The terror at the core of it all has the flavor of childhood traumas to it. Not being able to fight back, being at the mercy of whatever comes.

“Healing. It’s a long story, but I used to be able to heal till it was torn from me and I had to learn to live without anything.” She reaches over, moving some of Brynn’s hair back from her face. “You’ll find a place. It may come back, I cant promise, they still got plenty of tests to do. Or it may not. But there’s a path forward, somehow. Having a gift, didn’t define you Brynn. Not will it make the others leave you. If anything, they’ll gather around you even more.” She shifts, doing something she tends to not do with people other than the lighthouse punks. She draws the young woman in and holds her in a hug if permitted. Maybe she herself needs to do this more than she knows.

But when she pulls back, she places both hands on either side of Brynns face. “If they come, they come. We wait. We endure.” Each word a finality. “Because one day, we will open our eyes and in front of us, coming out of a shadow, slamming through a wall, opening a gate, our friends will be there. We are never alone, even when we think we are. Do you understand? Do you think Lance or Joe would stand to let us stay in captivity longer than necessary, to save you or me? Or anyone in that plane, if they had known about it?” Abby shakes her head.

“Sometimes, we have to sit quietly, so quietly, and wait. And it’s hard to do that. But you have that strength. You’re so Primal Brynn. Remember that yeah?”

The hug is more than permitted — Brynn holds on tightly. She buries her face in Abby's shoulder, the young woman takes at least as much comfort from the hug as Abby does. When she does draw back, her eyes are damp but there are no tears. Until Abby starts speaking again. The dam breaks at the intense instruction to endure, and tears then do overflow even as Brynn nods her understanding. Her 'aunt' is certainly right about that much — her brothers aren't going to be casual about all this. Not even a little.

I think that's what bothers me most, Brynn admits with trembling hands. We got there somehow that didn't alert Lance and Joe, who are always, even now, on the ready for trouble — thanks, Brian, for training them all — but they also got past Doodlebug! That shouldn't have happened, Doodle was trained by Hailey. Which means the dog is truly trained as well as any animal ever. The uncertainty of what's happened to all of them is visible in the girl's expression, but so is the firm conviction that she can do what Abby says. She can endure whatever needs to be endured. It won't be the first time.

As to how they got taken, Abby shrugs. “Probably using people with abilities. Gifts that worked with what they needed. Why us though, I don’t know.” She continues to stroke fingers along Brynn’s hair and other comforting gestures meant to keep the teen calm. “Probably stopped time.” She muses. “I knew someone who did that. Robert was… well what Robert was doing is irrelevant, but she stopped time and then unstopped it and in the span of what he knew, I was no longer in his arms but across the room. So I suspect, probably someone with manipulation of time.”

The time-manipulation explanation makes sense, although the furrowing of her brows shows Brynn's dislike of the thought. Pulling in a slow breath, she nods a little and notably doesn't pull away from the gentle gestures that Abby is offering. She's usually more reserved, but she needs the assurances. I just want to go home, she admits. Nothing feels right. Nothing looks right. Whatever they wanted, I hope they all died. Coming from the gentle artist's hands, that's a hefty condemnation.

“We’ll be home soon enough Brynn. I promise. SESA is here, and they’re finishing up tests. We just have to be patient. But we’ll get home soon enough and then Joe and Lance and the others can fuss over you. As suffocating as it will be. Just hold our breath and count to ten, and have patience.”

Abby leans back then, leaning against the back of her chair. “Makes me wonder what work is going to be like. SCOUT is not for those who can’t turn into living flame.” There’s a bit of sarcasm in her tone that probably doesn’t come through the lipreading.

You could lose your job, Aunt Abby? That seems terribly unfair to her. Brynn shakes her head slightly and wrinkles her nose. Maybe I'll come stay with you so they can't smother. She totally won't — she feels safer with her siblings, despite the fact that she was snatched right out of her bed. Although she does wonder, I don't know how I'm going to feel about the firehouse now, though. It's a thought that requires a few moments to ponder. Probably fine, since they stole all of you from other places too… And Aunt Abby is a cop, so if they snatched her like that, they can just snatch from anywhere. Which means nowhere is actually safe. That's a horrible thought.

Shaking her head, the teen sighs. I guess I would feel better if I knew what they wanted with us and what they did to us. Not having my ability feels strange. But I'm not disabled from it.

“I don’t know if I’ll lose it or not. I’ll cross that bridge when the time comes, and I can always likely return to working at the hospital. Not the first time I’ve had to pivot my career.” She points out. “But you need to stay with the others. As much for yourself, as it will be for them and no doubt that are already doubling down on the security measures.” Not that a time stopper couldn’t overcome just about anything, if they had the right tools in the form of others with abilities.

“It’s like trying to poke a lost tooth, and all you get is the socket. There’s nothing there.” She agrees. “We can only be patient and hope that there’s answers. Hopefully they’ll have answers. May take some time, but..” There’s a lift of her shoulders. “How are the others from the plane, have you talked with any of them? Kaylee?”

Brynn grimaces at the question. Aunt Gilly seems mostly okay. Squeaks is… not great. That's maybe an understatement. The younger teen has been through a lot this year. But it's the specific one Abby asked about that worries her most. Aunt Kaylee is definitely not okay. She's still all confused and she's… they gave her something to make her sleep a lot, so she'd calm down. Concern is obvious as she signs. She got hit on the head, so maybe if her concussion heals some she'll be okay.

“It’s going to be awfully lonely in her head and quiet. That’s going to take some adjusting. None of the noise she’s used to.” Abby muses, looking to the doorway. “I’ll see about visiting her after we make the call to the boys. I have a friend coming back, she’s going to smuggle me in real food. You want anything special?” She offers to Brynn.

The irony of talking to anyone about how quiet Kaylee's world is going to be is not lost on Brynn. She herself can't imagine having noise in her head — the one time that ever happened to her, it was horrible. I bet she'd like to see you. I can't exactly talk to her when she's out of it. She reaches up and drags her hand through her dark hair, finally sighing. Honestly? I would really love some brownies. Comfort food would be nice, but comfort food at home in the compound in Canada is venison meat pies, and that's unlikely to be found around the hospital.

“We’ll find some brownies then kiddo.” Not that Brynn’s a kid per se. “How about you go find a nurse, to see about setting you up in here and I’ll call your brothers, and we’ll get things sorted before they worry further. Yeah?” Abby offers.

Brynn's nod is immediate, betraying relief that at least for now she's got Abby at her back. She may not exactly be a kid anymore, but she's not really all that far from it either — and that curious blend of innocent and jaded that comes with most of the LHK. Okay, she signs immediately. Do you think we should sleep in shifts, Aunt Abby? The question is totally in earnest. She's uneasy and jumpy as hell.

“If it would make you feel better, sure. But I think, truth be told Brynn, we’ll be fine sleeping like normal. We can start the paranoid behavior when back in our own homes” She wryly quips. “you sleep first though. You need more of it than I do.”

Pursing her lips and considering the situation, Brynn reluctantly shakes her head. I guess we won't hear or see them coming even if we did, she admits, disturbed still by the fact that they were snatched the way they were. I'll go tell the nurse and stuff. Thanks for calling them, Aunt Abby.

She's still not going to sleep so well tonight but at least she'll be in with someone she knows and trusts.

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