Now, Then, Forever


lene_icon.gif ygraine_icon.gif

Scene Title Now, Then, Forever
Synopsis In time travel, time words are confusing, but Lene promises that Ygraine and she are friends at all points in the present and future.
Date April 15, 2011

Skinny Brickfront

As far as sites for reunions go, a derelict near-ruin occupied by wanted fugitives probably wouldn't be top of many people's lists. But as Ygraine leads Lene through the unlit halls towards another portion of the run-down building she seems to be markedly eager - repeatedly glancing back and around as if worried that the visitor might slip away or prove to be unreal if left unwatched for more than a moment.

"I wish that I could offer you rather more in the way of hospitality, but… you're well-aware of the fabulous array of supplies we have here."

Pausing at the entrance to a room, Ygraine abruptly looks uncertain, then apologetic. "Sorry. I… I'm babbling. And I'm hauling you off on your own. Would…? We could go down and join the others, if you like."

Ygraine's nervous apology makes Lene giggle, and she shakes her head. "No, it's fine, Ygraine, I promise. I mean, I trust you probably more than you should trust me, after all. I know you, and you've only just met me a couple times, now, right? And trust me, I've been in worst accommodations. This is like the Ritz in comparison, as they apparently say." She winks at that.

The redhead dips her head down the hall. "JJ'll be fine with his parents, and it's probably good to let them chat," she says with a shrug. "I saw… Robyn yesterday. On accident, actually. She told me I should come see you, but Jay and I were planning to come this way anyway."

Worriedly, Ygraine glances around at the building… then swallows when Lene mentions Robyn. "I, ahhh…. I hope that you didn't have to spend long in anywhere worse than this", she ventures, before stepping into the room. "If… I hope this isn't too… odd. I… I draw. As therapy. It… helps. And… well. A certain… vision has been in my thoughts rather a lot."

Stepping further into the room, Ygraine moves to crouch down amidst a scatter of paper. It's clear that one corner - in which rests one of her egg-shaped, crank-powered little lights - has been in use as something of a nest, with a sketchpad sitting beside a slendered box of polished wood, a pocket chess set, and individual sheets sitting round about on a blanket. One of those is picked up, eyed, then offered to Lene to take if she will. It's an Ygraine's-eye view of a nervously hopeful girl, with the detritus of drawing around her and a chess set to one side.

"Terrible memory for you. I… sorry. I shouldn't be showing you any of this, I fear, but it's… I've been trying to work out what I could. About what I saw. And felt."

The picture is taken and there's a twitch of her brow before Lene smiles and hands it back. She bites her lower lip and nods. "It's good. You were… you are… a good artist. Another skill I didn't pick up too well, I'm afraid," she says a little wryly. Not a good musician nor a good artist, nor a great chess player. "It's probably why I got the ability I did… wanting to be able to be as good as everyone else at all the things I kinda suck at, right?"

Lene looks around the room, a little curiously. "Is there anything you need? I can … I can try and get stuff for you. Though if I come bringing more and more stuff, Liz might sonic boom me."

Ygraine carefully accepts the returned picture, gently setting it down before rising and stepping over to try to put her hands on Lene's shoulders, gaze on a level with her never-and-future daughter. "Part of the reason", she says, tone low but intense, "that I drew so many was that while I had no idea who you were, I knew that in that vision I wanted you."

Gaze searching Lene's face, Ygraine attempts to convey the sincerity of her words with expression and grip as well as voice. "I wanted to care for you, to protect you, to make you happy. I didn't just accept you, or take you in out of pity or duty or because I thought it would please anyone else. You were wanted. I… I wondered if part of the point of me seeing that might be that I was meant to find and protect you in the future. Try to to make sure that you never had to ask me for help. Though… the vision did me a power of good in its own right, I admit."

Lene's jokes and offers to help are cut off by the serious nature of Ygraine's words and she drops her eyes and nods. "I know," she says, green eyes filling even as she smiles. "You never made me feel like a burden. You were my friends before my mom died. I mean, as much as you can be friends with a kid, but you always made me feel like I was someone important, someone you wanted to talk to, not just a kid who you didn't want around. And you were always there for me. I wouldn't be here to help you if you hadn't been, Ygraine."

She reaches up to grip one of the hands on her shoulder, squeezing it tightly. "What did the vision do?" she asks, finally, curiously.

"Quite apart from anything else, it gave me something to worry about and to focus on and to try to figure out, other than our lack of supplies or how to avoid Elisabeth detonating", Ygraine responds with a swift, wry smile.

Then her gaze drops, and she sighs heavily. "She… she left me. When I got trapped in the Dome, someone I'd… probably done more for than anyone else in my life, thus far in this life at least… she decided that my being out of the way made it a good time to pretend that I didn't exist, to get upset if Robyn so much as mentioned me or our relationship, and to make her move. And less than a week after I came out of having been shot, firebombed, part-starved, and everything else… she pushed me into a breakdown. The darkness came out and hurt both of us. Then Robyn dumped me. With her there as an audience."

Running her hands down the upper part of Lene's arms then back up again, Ygraine brings a rather bright gaze up to the woman's face. "I… was left wondering if anything I'd ever had was real. If anything I'd ever felt was genuine. If it was all just a product of the fractures and the hopes, and nothing to do with reality at all. Because… you've probably had me bend your ear about trust being near-identical to love, for me, I'd guess. At the least, it's true for me now. And the people I'd trusted most on this whole continent…."

A shake of the head. "Then… the vision. It… it gave me a sight of an outcome in which twenty years from now, what I had with Robyn had matured into something good enough that an intelligent young girl asked to be part of it. And I had no hesitation, no dark worries, about taking her in. There was no fear of hollowness or darkness to what we had. It… I could take that, and hold onto it, and… crazy though it probably sounds, use the dream to build a little more reality onto it, here and now. Because it was proof that what we had was the seed of something deeply worthwhile. The dream let me believe that it hadn't all just been a dream. And it let me persuade myself that I should trust my inclinations. And trust people." A slight pause, then a ruefully sheepish grin. "Some, anyway. But I'm probably making a dreadful impression, aren't I? 'It's great you're real, adoptive daughter - you make me feel a little less melodramatically crazy about a break-up'."

Green eyes flick back and forth across Ygraine's face and then back down as the older woman speaks, and Lene fidgets a little nervously, nodding when it comes to love and trust — that she's heard. A nervous titter of laughter punctuates the end of Ygraine's speech as Lene finally looks up again.

"I … don't know if any of that happened to you in my past. It's hard to know just what effects we've made, since we've been here," she says a little quietly. "For the record, I didn't give you the vision so there's no reason to thank me, but I do know that what you and Robyn had in my life was real, and that you were all friends with Sable and Elaine, too, for whatever that's worth. I … relationships, I'm no expert…" There's a flush and she glances up. "But I think if someone cares about you, truly, it's always there and it changes shape sometimes, and sometimes it isn't even recognizable, but … it's there. It … evolves."

She sighs heavily and glances away. "I'm real, though. I'm sorry if my being here or your dreams cause any conflict. That's not why we're here, but it's obviously a possibility. We just… we had to take the chance."

Ygraine laughs softly, shaking her head. "Your… friendship was real. In the… subjective past and present of that vision. That… I won't say that I didn't cry when I woke up. Or claim that Robyn's response to it didn't hurt. But… it gave me something positive to build on, at a very bad time."

Looking down again, she purses her lips. "But… burbling crazily though I am, I have noticed that you've left an opening. I've been sent into the past twice myself. To save key people from being assassinated." Lifting her gaze, she worriedly studies Lene's face. "It's probably not my place at all, but after that dream… I feel rather responsible for a certain young girl. Why have you come back?"

Lene's cheeks grow rosy and she nods. "You don't have to be responsible for me… This time, I'm a grown-up, too, and all four of my parents are alive and…" well isn't quite the right word, nor is accounted for. "And we're not trying to stop people from changing the past, like you did."

Her nose wrinkles a little. Does that make her a villain? Because she's the one tampering with what will be the past one day? "I can't tell you a lot. We haven't… we're sort of still figuring out what to show you, but I guess we're just trying to keep the things you've seen — the bad things — from happening. Ghettos become camps. People aren't allowed to have children without a license… I'm not even supposed to be born, in that future, just because my parents are Reds… er, Evolved." She shrugs. "If the present stays on track, that's where it leads, to that and worse. We've come back to stop it."

Another swift, wry grin. "I guess that means that we weren't doing a very good job in our own efforts", Ygraine observes, without any rancour. "I've been trying to derail the future I saw coming for… years now. And you're probably the first tangible proof of something positive I managed to do. So much of the time, we're just desperately scrambling to avert total disaster. And losing people, and pieces of both society and ourselves, along the way."

Pulling back a little, Ygraine offers Lene an apologetic smile. "So… no, I don't think that you're still the girl I feel responsible for. I'd love to meet her, some day. And I had noticed that I'm more in need of your care than you of mine, from what little I've seen thus far. But I… I just want to help. And to be your friend again. If that's not too… odd."

A sigh, and the Briton rubs at her face with her good hand. "Gah. Of course, you have your real parents to get to know now, don't you? I… hadn't even really thought of that. Selfishly. Have… have you found either of them yet?"

Brows knit and Lene reaches to hug Ygraine, laughing into her hair. "It's not weird. And just… being open minded and believing us is helping. And you are my friend, now, then, forever, okay?"

She disengages from the hug to step back, looking into Ygraine's eyes, her own a little wet despite the broad smile. "It's not selfish. You took care of me for a long time. You're an important part of my life, too, you and Robyn. I've… I've talked to my mother, but she didn't know it was me. It was before we agreed to tell you who we were."

Her hands tug at the locket around her neck, pulling it out from beneath her shirt. The silver heart-shaped locket is scorched and blackened. "I don't know if you've seen this on … Gillian? It'd be in better condition, of course."

Having warmly returned the hug - though it was noticeably lop-sided in intensity, one arm's grip far weaker than the other - Ygraine now tentatively reaches for the locket, letting Lene decide whether or not to rest it in her hand. "I'm not sure that I've ever met Gillian", she admits quietly. "But I know the name. And in a favourable light. She…. Heh."

A quick, rather playful grin, though the expression around her eyes is still rather complex. "She's partly responsible for helping to push Jen to exhaustion, I believe. Back on the Day of Miracles, in oh-eight. There was… a lot of demand for the matter replicator's ability, for that project."

There's a press of lips together to hold back emotion, and Lene finally nods. "Yeah. She's … she's my mom. She went by Gwen, though." She lets Ygraine hold the locket, but keeps her fingers on it as well, to keep it closed.

"I know where she's at, so I'll tell her soon," Lene whispers, and it's clear that revelation will be harder for her than this — despite the fact it will be the third she does. "I don't think I'll be able to find my father." There's a shrug of thin shoulders. "It's okay, though. It's what I expected."

There was no mention of her father in the dream, after all.

Down the hall, JJ's low voice calls out, "Soup's on!" and Lene flashes a smile, a hand reaching up to wipe away any smeared eyeliner from beneath her eyes. "Shall we?"

Very gently, Ygraine cups that treasured item, though her gaze soon returns to Lene's face. "If you ever want anything. Anything at all…" A soft smile, then she very carefully presses the locket wholly back into the younger woman's grip.

"Thank you. I have some tissues around here somewhere if you want to dry your eyes. I could probably do with the same, myself. But soup sounds good. And I've not yet given JJ a hug…."

The younger woman grins again as she tucks the necklace back into her shirt. "JJ's a good cook. Monica taught him. It's just another thing I don't do very well. I think I don't pay enough attention to details for almost anything that takes that sort of thing. Tasha told me once that I needed something called Ad… Adderall once? I didn't know what she meant and she wouldn't tell me. I looked it up once we got here, and I guess it's like Ritalin… that stuff they give people with ADD?"

There's a nervous giggle as Lene loops an arm through Ygraine's good one. "Let's go eat. We can look like puffy eyed raccoons, who cares."

She smiles as she enters the hallway. "For family and friends, it doesn't matter, right?"

Gladly accepting that interlocking of arms, Ygraine delivers a firm squeeze to the limb thus offered. "You seem just fine to me", she assures the half-stranger. "Though…" She cocks her head, peering at Lene as they walk, before flashing a playful grin. "Now that you mention it, I admit that I think you could make a fine raccoon."

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