Old Blood


adam_icon.gif squeaks_icon.gif

Scene Title Old Blood
Synopsis Adam Monroe tells his story and discovers a secret hidden in plain sight.
Date June 24, 2019

It's dark, and the dim glow of a night light does little to push back the darkness. Blankets encircle Squeaks upon a familiar bed pushed into the corner of a familiar room. The furnishings are different, her desk is missing and the neighbor’s house isn't visible out the bedroom window through the bough of a stickbare tree. It's her bedroom, and it feels so much larger, so much emptier.

God damnit, Stefan! We’re not doing this again!” They're arguing, her parents. Their raised voices report with a muffled quality through the floor from the kitchen downstairs. They think leaving the sink running and the dishwasher on drowns out the sounds of heir fights, but it doesn't.

Carolyn. For God’s sake listen to yourself you're in hysterics!” Ford. Squeaks remembers the rolling quality of his voice, the hint of something foreign in it — German or Russian or something eastern-European. It's the way he rolls his R’s. “No one knows for sure.

A dish is smashed. Carolyn has been drinking. “Fuck you Stefan! I didn't sign up for this! You took in that little piece of shit without even so much as asking me!” A dog outside starts barking. “I don't want her in this house! I don't want to be left alone with her for weeks on end!

Carolyn,” Ford tries to say something, but she isn't having any of it.

No, Stefan! I am not becoming a housewife because you don't trust a nanny to raise that little goblin! I had a life before you brought that thing into this house! A life!” Another dish smashes. The dog is barking louder. “It's been two years, Stefan. Two years! Maury Parkman isn't coming back for her, no more tests, nothing! He fucked you, Stefan! He prostituted you to hold on to god-knows-who’s baby and left you with the bag and no more money!

Carolyn, please. He might be alive, we don't know. Nobody knows— ”

She's going to turn into one of them!” Carolyn screams. “I will not have a monster in this house!

Eight Years Later

Praxis Ziggurat

Praxia, California Safe Zone

June 24, 2019

5:08pm Local Time

Adam sighs again, but patiently, once more raking his fingers through his hair. “Probably Chinese,” he says half-heartedly, belaboring a small and pointless question so as to give himself time to think about how to address the larger topic. Adam takes a step away from Squeaks, then stops himself and presses his lips together in a hard line. He struggles, looking back to her with brows creased together and head shaking slowly.

“I guess… I guess I know a lot of things you’ve probably been wondering about,” Adam admits with a bob of his head from side to side. “Basically, everything…” His expression turns to a faint smile, one that fades to something more nervous and uncertain in the moment after.

“Because I’m your father.”


The answer is far from anything she might have expected. Squeaks would have guessed more half-answers, just enough knowledge to realize that something is being kept secret. The shock and weight of it hits hard. Where having to leave her mom and friends and everything was like a hot knife ripping through her soul, this moment is like being hit by a long-haul truck. It produces the single word response in a soft voice, and a flash of uncertainty.

It takes her a full minute to process, to go from rigid shock to trying to fit understanding into manageable words. It's like trying to use a sieve to transport pudding. Her first steps are wobbly, taking her at a slight angle away from the window and further from Adam. Her arms wrap in a tight hug around her middle before she turns and looks at the man again.

“Okay.” A thread of tension is carried in her voice, a shrillness of unexplainable fear. “Okay. But… but how? I'm… I don't…” Squeaks stops herself to take a breath and squeeze her arms more firmly around herself. “I was made. They used… Cindy was a surrogate.”

Adam nods, watching her posture carefully. In that moment of silence he slips away from her and goes over to the desk, but stops halfway there. This doesn’t seem easy for him either. “Actually… let’s,” he holds his hands out at his side, “let’s not do this here. Come downstairs, this is… this is all wrong.” Backing up, Adam walks over to Squeaks and very carefully places a hand near her shoulder, then gestures toward the elevator. “I hate this office.”

A nod is the best Squeaks can muster while she's not quite leaning away from Adam’s hand. Like a cat who's not quite sure about being touched, her shoulder just sort of sinks to avoid contact. She nods again, more certain or simply for something to help kickstart further movement. Or both. She manages to not only let herself be guided toward the elevator, but also a more controlled, “Okay.”

In the elevator, Adam quietly says, “Executive lounge,” and then tucks his hands into the pockets of his slacks as the doors slide shut. As the elevator starts to lurch into movement, Adam looks down at the floor, then over to Squeaks. He doesn’t seem immediately forthcoming with any of her questions, but he has one of his own in its stead.

“He didn’t kidnap you, did he?” Adam asks, trying to hide a wince as he does. “You can tell me if he did.”

“No.” It's as much a question as an answer. “He said… he said he knew someone who…” Squeaks takes a breath, works some of the tension from her arms so she can tilt a look up at Adam. “He knows things and… I didn't get kidnapped.” It's too complicated, to fresh to explain the finer details. She stares up at him for a minute longer, some of that hurt returning, mingling with confusion. She starts with another thought, getting as far as a breath, then sighs it away and looks at the bottom of the doors instead.

Making a noise in the back of his throat, Adam nods. “Zhao is… He’s Zhao, and I realize that’s an entirely unhelpful answer. Sometimes he’s a bit too zealous and that can cause problems. The last thing I want is people looking for you because you just up and vanished without a trace.” Which is exactly where they’re at.

Before Adam can pose an alternative to the situation, the elevator doors open again into a concrete-walled hallway with round, recessed lights in the wall and potted plants in raised sconces. Adam motions for Squeaks to go ahead, then follows behind her. The doors in the hallway are smooth and metal, though somehow they seem less sterile than a hospital and less industrial than a bunker’s. Adam motions to the door at the end of the hall and lets Squeaks open it, revealing a room that must fill one entire side of this building.

The walls here are sloped as well, with those large horizontal metal shutters along the outside allowing in thick shafts of afternoon light. The floor and walls in here that aren’t glass are concrete. Furniture of supple black leather is accented by Persian throw rugs, tall wooden book cases filled with hardback and softcover books. A claw-foot antique writing desk sits by the windows, flanked by low shelves lined with terrariums filled with greenery. At the center of an arrangement of sofas and chairs is a glass-topped coffee table, upon which sits a traditional sword rack where a katana in its black lacquered scabbard rests on display.

“Do you want something to drink?” Adam asks as he walks in behind Squeaks, moving over to a cabinet not far from the door with decanters and glasses. “I presume you don’t drink drink. But I’ve got…” He eyes the bottles. “Green tea? Or I suppose… water?” He’s a little awkward right now.

The possibility that her family would be looking for her makes her eyes sting. They will be looking, but Squeaks doubts they'll ever find her. She blinks several times as the door opens to dam up any tears that might threaten to fall. A small sniffle is made as her head turns a glance up to Adam.

She takes the cue and starts into the hall. A shy wondering works into her steps. It's still so clean, and yet… Her eyes cast about, flitting from plant to light, and a hesitant hand reaches for a wall so that fingers can brush against it.

Curiosity presents itself again when the girl pushes open the door, more pronounced. Squeaks looks from Adam to the furnishings, both out of place and fitting in her mind. She expected more of the same, like what was in the office. This… this could almost be comfortable. Forgetting herself for a minute, she wanders away from the door to investigate further with a strangely polite curiosity.

She looks, and tries to see all angles at once, but she doesn't touch.

“I could have some water?” She looks up from where she's crouched, trying to figure out the katana on the table. “Please. I'm not old enough to drink-drink, and I'd be in big trouble if I did.”

Adam snorts out a laugh at that. “You’re not exactly in America right now,” he says as he reaches for a decanter of water and plucks a couple of ice cubes from a bucket, dropping them in with a noisy clink of ice on glass, “but maybe one step at a time.” He grows quiet, though notices Squeaks interest in the sword. Once he’s finished preparing the drinks, Adam comes back to the living room, offering Squeaks the water in a low, wide glass, and settles himself down in a leather armchair with a tall bottle of sake and a very small cup.

“That sword is quite old,” Adam says quietly, making conversation in avenues he’s more comfortable with. “It was wielded by the swordsman Takezo Kensei over three hundred years ago, pulled from the heart of a frozen lake in Okama Crater atop Mt. Zao in Japan…” His eyes grow distant, and Adam slowly takes a sip of his cold sake. He doesn’t continue with the story, just looks lost for a few moments.

“Why’d you come here, Jac?” Adam asks. His tone isn’t so much inquiring as it is tense. He understands people make snap decisions, though his tone pleads with her, wishes she’d made any other choice but this one.

The glass is taken with a whispered thank you, and Squeaks settles for sitting on the floor. Her eyes go to the sword as a little bit of its history is explained. Like maybe she could pick up more than just what's said. It doesn't seem likely, that's not her ability and swords don't talk anyway, but she tries.

Until Adam goes quiet. She looks up at him over the sword and waits patiently for him to continue.

The change in topic seems to be a surprise. She expected to hear more about the sword, not her appearance questioned. Squeaks lifts her shoulders in a slow shrug. “I didn't know I was going to be brought here,” she explains. Obviously, she had no way of knowing where she'd end up. “I went to Zhao to ask him questions. Because no one else can answer anything, no one knows and… and… I don't know either. About where I'm really from or the Fords or the tests or anything.”

“Fords?” Adam asks, but then immediately realizes what she’s talking about. “Ah, yes. Stefan…” he concludes with a sigh, before taking another sip of his sake. “That’s… honestly a long story, but neither you nor I have much else pressing to do at the moment, and no one will bother us in here.” He considers the drink in his hand, then sets it down on the table beside the sake bottle.

“I’ve learned in my life… that truth is a premium commodity. People aren’t often willing to part with it because controlling the truth means power. Power over the unaware, power over the people who think they know the truth… power over history.” Slouching back in his chair, Adam rests his elbow on the armrest and splays his fingers against his temple. “I don’t need more power, and especially not over you.”

Adam looks down to the sword, then back to Squeaks. “Ask. Whatever it is you want to know. Today, information is free.”

“You knew? You know them?” Squeaks’ words carry a hint of accusation. Her whole life and practically a prisoner, with no one ever coming for her. She wrestles away from the memories of her childhood, those people are dead now and that life is gone forever. She takes a second for herself to swallow some water and huff a breath.

“Why…” The question stalls briefly. For a minute she's overwhelmed with the idea of asking and maybe even having actual answers. She looks down at the glass, pokes at the ice with a finger.

“Did you know? Did you know that… that they used Cindy?” Squeaks looks up, openly honest but also apprehensive. “That she… they made her a surrogate and. That's where I started?”

“Know and knew are two very different things. I’ve got one, but not the other,” Adam says with a slow motion of his hand in the air. “I didn’t know Stefan or his wife personally, not when you were their ward. I… did know Cindy. She and I worked together, a very long time ago. We weren’t friends, so to speak, but… well, maybe we were. She was a hard one to get to know.” Adam speaks of her like it was yesterday, as if the world hadn’t kept on moving.

“You’re right that she was a surrogate, and honestly I’m impressed you were able to find out that much. The Company destroyed most of the records containing her, Pinehearst did the same after that for different reasons. But, yes… I found out long after the fact that Cindy was your mother. I found out when I went digging into Pinehearst’s records after their collapse, around 2011. That’s when I found out they…” No, Adam stops himself and chooses to word this differently. “That’s when I found out you had been born.”

Sighing, Adam sits forward and folds his hands together, resting his forearms on his knees. “Do you know who I am?” He asks, squinting, as if he isn’t well sure of the answer.

“She's not my mom,” is a murmured grump of a response. Squeaks has been very clear on that line, not that many people would know. Probably not Adam. “She had me but… that's all. That's what surrogate is.” The last sounds more like she's repeating a thing she read instead of giving Adam a vocabulary lesson.

“You're Adam Monroe.” This time her response is more direct, maybe even a little confused. He'd introduced himself not that long ago, and she's seen his face before. “You're…”

Her head tilts to one side and she frowns a little. “Did you stop Project Icarus?” A seemingly out of the blue question, but Squeaks presses on as she remembers the message, scooting is that she's sitting on her knees. “Was there an earthquake in New Zealand in… in 2011 and aftershocks for a while? But not real long, just a few days.”

Adam’s eyes narrow when Squeaks speaks of earthquakes. Suddenly he leans back, raking one hand through his hair and looking to the bottle of sake. He snatches his cup up and pours himself another glass, then takes a swig from it. “I don’t know why I’m surprised about this…” he mumbles to himself, then looks back to Squeaks. “No, I didn’t stop Project Icarus. I mean…” he wavers, “I started it, a very long time ago, then I abandoned it… and then other people used what I started and just— ran with it. I suppose when I gutted Pinehearst I did put something of a stop to it…” Trailing off, Adam takes another sip from the glass, emptying it. “The true bearer of that particular crown goes to Richard Cardinal. Or whatever he’s going by these days.”

Setting the cup back down, Adam’s brows furrow. “I’ll warn you that whatever you think you know about me, it’s only half the truth — if that. But,” he inclines his head to the side, “I don’t think you came here to learn about me.”

“They weren't very good people,” Squeaks interjects her opinion. The idea and practice of human experimentation still bothers her.

“I didn't know you were who I was going to see.” She wasn't told very much, and yet here she is just the same. “But I don't know very much about you anyway, even less than I know about myself. Like… like I know that… I was a little kid when I was given to the Fords.” Imposed upon them is probably a better word.

Squeaks sits quiet for a bit, poking at the ice in her glass after taking another drink. So many questions, it's hard to even begin to ask most of them. She juggles a few, starts one then abandons it with a half formed syllable. Eventually another is picked up, asked slowly like she's giving each word a thorough examination.

“Do you… do you know why they wanted me made?”
“Hubris,” is Adam’s sarcastic answer, which might have been funnier if it wasn’t Squeaks’ life he was talking about. Exhaling a sigh through his nose, Adam shakes his head and sits forward again, hands clasped together and brows furrowed. “What I know is that they were trying to replicate something that was built on a lie. It’s… complicated to explain. Around the time you were conceived, Arthur Petrelli — a founder of the Company and the head of Pinehearst — was obsessed with building people like you and I, artificially.” He gestures from himself to Squeaks and back again.

“A scientist named Jonas Zimmerman was successful, once, using children of mine.” Adam looks down to his hands. “Because people born of my genetics are more… resilient to those things. I suppose they were trying to bottle lightning, and they… created you to do that. I assume they were successful, since you have that,” he makes a click with his tongue, “thing you do. I know that’s not a very noble origin, but it’s probably closer to the truth.”

Adam furrows his brows, looking from Squeaks to the sword on the table. “As far as I know, Claudia Zimmerman is your biological mother. The person whose genetics would have been used with mine. I only have partial records, unfortunately. But it… has a sensibility about it. Claudia and I were… “ Adam closes his eyes and shakes his head. “We were very compatible.”

Clearing his throat, Adam claps his hands together and sits up straight. “But that’s all written. You’re here now, your own person. You aren’t beholden to the purposes people wanted you to be for. You’re you.” Adam looks from Squeaks to one of the windows and the late afternoon sun. He hasn’t mentioned Umbra at all. “You came out here for all of that?” He asks, looking back to her.

Pride, hubris, had been mentioned before once. Something to do with the Company, but the specifics are a little fuzzy. Leaning forward slightly, the girl sets her glass on the table so she can scoot into a proper seat. It's easier for listening, and she is listening as she settles into place, absorbing the words like a sponge.

“It's echolocation.” Squeaks almost demonstrates, since Adam’s clicks aren’t right. There's also the squeak part too, he didn't include that. But she stops herself as he continues, a small frown forming.

Zimmerman is a familiar name, but it's not the scientist that sparks recognition. “She's the Deveaux person,” is a whispered realization. Her head shakes at the news and sinks backward so she's slouching in her seat, and Adam is treated to a deeply puzzled look.

“Other things too,” she admits in distraction. Squeaks rubs her faces, making an effort to file all her new understanding for deeper thoughts later. Usually she'd find one of her siblings or her mom to talk to. It occurs now that she doesn't have anyone to brainstorm with.

Her hands stay against her face for a long handful of seconds before she sighs and lowers them just a little. She can see Adam again, her blue eyes peering over and between her fingertips. Heartache forms tension around her eyes and along her forehead, but she tries to ignore it. “There's… there's projects. At least two. And Pinehearst did tests also…”

The face Adam is making is one someone would after smelling something particularly foul. Adam leans back and away from Squeaks, nose rankles, upper lip curled. “Deveaux woman,” is what he focuses on rather than everything else. It sounds bitter, resentful, and most importantly personal.

“Claudia is so much more than what she took from Charles Deveaux. But I suppose that was in the past now too,” he admits, turning his own words against himself. The bitterness turns into something more sunken and depressed, and Adam slouches down into his seat and looks at the bottle of sake again. He closes his eyes, breathes in slowly, then exhales a calming sigh.

“It sounds like you’re a regular Nancy Drew,” Adam says, blinking his eyes open with a look to Squeaks. “What, exactly, did you find out about the projects they had you in?”

Wariness flickers briefly as Adam’s demeanor changes. Squeaks watches, waiting for some sign, a signal that things are okay or she should become scarce. Fingers pinch the leather of her seat, then smush the dimple she'd created.

“I ask a lot of questions,” she points out once she's decided he's not going to get mad. “And I find things.” Which sort of is like Nancy Drew. “There's Project Gemini. That's kind of like Icarus, but instead of faking an ability it's taking from someone and giving it to someone else.” It probably doesn't occur to her that Adam already knows that. “And Project Umbra, but no one I talked to ever knows what that was. Or even heard of it.”

“Umbra?” Adam says breathlessly, not expecting that name to come from Squeaks. He narrows his eyes, sitting straighter, looking at her with new eyes. “How did you— where did you hear about that?” Once Adam had been a passive participant in this conversation, idly laying out blocks of the past in front of Squeaks, but now in that utterance he’s become directly involved. He is no longer the one delivering answers, but the one asking questions. The answer of which, based on his posture, is extremely important.

In a dark, dusty room somewhere underground. “In some papers,” Squeaks says quietly. Her mind follows the path through the air duct, into the strange laboratory space that looked like everyone just left and didn't take anything with. She was small enough to get into the closed off space, and her ability made navigating and finding easy.

“There was a science lab, it was closed away.” Her hands mark out an approximation if space in a smaller scale. “The stairs came into here, and then there was a wall, and a tube in the ceiling that led into the room on the other side of the wall.”

Pausing there, Squeaks looks up at Adam. “It was Fort Hero. The papers were in there, where it was closed off. Some about me, and Cindy. It said about me being part of Gemini and Umbra.” Her eyes squint a little, worried. “What is Umbra?”

Fort Hero. The mere mention of the name sends a look of genuine fear through Adam. He swallows, audibly, bringing a hand up to his mouth before he stands up from his chair and actually walks away. Once Adam gets a few paces from the furniture, he exhales a breath he’d been holding the entire time and looks back at Squeaks like she’d told him his mother died. There is revulsion and horror in his expression, grief and guilt, and a palpable fear so strong his eyes are glassy.

Why,” Adam practically whispers, “why in the name of God were you in that place? The Institute burned it to the ground. You’re telling me— you’re telling me they missed something.” He starts to walk back, brows twitching, lips curling into a frown. “Jac,” Adam says shakily, “Fort Hero is…” His eyes suddenly wander the room, distant and unfocused. Squeaks has seen this look in the eyes of other people before, people in the Safe Zone who fought in the war. When a car backfires, when dogs bark, when the distant sound of a gun echoes across the city. She’s seen the hurt so deep inside of a person that there’s nowhere left to go but out.

Try as Adam might to form an explanation for Squeaks, it’s clear that he needs a moment. Maybe two.

Seeing Adam get all worked up puts a queasy feeling in Squeaks’ stomach. She pulls her feet up onto the chair with her when he starts asking more questions and sort of sinks lower, making herself smaller. Or trying anyway. She may not know the whole history of Fort Hero, but she has answers for why she was there, reasons that sound pretty good. But they're not offered yet. Not while it's Adam who's looking terrified.

That moment is given, requested or not.

The whole time her eyes stay on Adam, following his movements carefully. It's almost like she's searching for something, some hint of danger or things being okay.

As the moment passes and begins to turn into another, she cautiously unfolds herself and slinks toward the man. “Adam?” Squeaks speaks up when she's closer, a small voice seeking understanding. It's trailed by a hand, hesitantly reaching to place a finger against his arm.

Squeaks’ voice and the gentle touch at his arm shakes Adam out of his fugue. He looks down at Squeaks, blue eyes wide, staring down into ones that look so much like his own. He swallows, anxiously, and then inhales a sharp breath and exhales it slowly. “I’m sorry,” he says with a quaver in his voice. “I…” Again, he falls silent.

It takes Adam a moment to find a way to respond. “Umbra is a secret erased from history, Jac. It is… it is something so important that the mere knowledge of its existence was expunged from history, so that if a time ever comes that it is necessary again, no one will be prepared to stop it.” Adam’s gaze wavers, and he looks down to the ground. “I can’t tell you more than that. I want to,” he admits frustratedly, “but… words have power, Jac, and in this instance, the more people know about this… the more likelihood that what it is designed to destroy will find out about it, and then there will be nothing any of us can do.”

Adam’s expression is difficult to read, but she can see his jaw unsteady just a little. “I know you don’t know me, and I know I’ve done little to make you trust me, but that’s what I’m going to ask you to do… and I know it’s unfair. But you have to trust me, if I’m going to save the world.”

Squeaks keeps her finger lightly pressed against Adam’s arm. It's almost like a hug, offered for comfort and understanding, although she doesn't really understand.

“I can keep it secret.” The only others who know, that she knows, are only aware of a name. And it's not one any of them ever heard of before. Plus there's no one here that she could tell, even if she wanted to. “Just… just if you can't say what it is?” She finally takes her hand back, so her arms can hug around her middle again. “Is it dangerous to me? What… whatever was done?”

Adam looks down at that finger, brows furrowed together, then back up to Squeaks and shakes his head. “It’s not d— ”

Dangerous to me.

His voice is stolen by the notion.

“What— ” Adam hoarsely splutters, “did to you?” His eyes wander from side to side, searching, thinking. It all comes back to Fort Hero. “Son of a bitch,” he whispers, looking like he’s both figured something out and not at the same time.

“I— I don’t know,” isn’t a comforting answer for Squeaks. “No one should have known anything about Umbra, no one should have…” his eyes drift from side to side, uncertain. “No one should have remembered Umbra.” When Adam looks back to Squeaks, there is suspicion in his eyes. “I’m sorry, Jac, but I… may not have the answers you’re looking for. But,” he reaches up and puts one hand on that solitary finger offered to him. “I will get them for you.”

Adam shuts his eyes, brows furrowed and looking as though he is concentrating on something. A moment later a woman emerges from a rippling heat-mirage haze, young and dark-haired, dark eyes. Her crisp black dress looks like something a woman would wear on a night out on the town, not here in an office building. “What’s wrong?” She immediately says, looking from Adam and then confusedly to Squeaks.

Adam raises a hand, shaking his head. “Nothing, yet.”


Nothing about the reaction to her question is comforting, and Squeaks' posture hints toward thoughts of running away. Or trying to.

“It was old papers,” she offers hopefully, as though suddenly she's at fault, caught and trying to explain herself. “Just some words, not even saying what it was.” Their best guess had been that it was some form of trial vaccination.

She looks near to saying more, eyes searching Adam as if the right thing to make it all better would jump out from him. It doesn't. Instead there's someone new.

Squeaks folds her lips over her teeth to clamp off anything more when the woman appears. Under the questioning look, she eases closer to Adam without giving up an explanation for anything.

Jac,” Adam says with a quick look down to her, “this is Joy. She’s an old friend, and you can trust her… probably more than anyone else.” That line from Adam elicits a look from Joy, who looks between the two confusedly. “Joy, this is Jac Childs. She’s the one I mentioned in— ”

Joy’s eyes widen and she looks at Jac with new eyes. “I know,” is her breathy response. But it still doesn’t answer one thing. “Why did you tell me to come here?” She asks with a slow shake of her head. Adam exhales a tired sigh, then looks over to Jac and back.

“She’s heard of Umbra, and I have a feeling that either that bastard Maury or Arthur did something behind my back,” Adam says with a twist of his expression into a grimace. “I need to go down to the lab and talk to— the team there,” he says with a quick look to Squeaks and then back to Joy, “to find an answer for her. I was hoping you might…”

Joy’s expression starts to turn a little sour, but as she sees Squeaks’ posture it softens and she shakes her head in a resigned sigh. “I’m not a baby-sitter, Adam.”

“Well you’re in luck, she’s not a baby,” Adam adds, before turning his attention to Squeaks. “Would you mind staying here with Joy while I go… find some answers for you? I might not be back tonight, so she can help…” he gently waves a hand around in the air, “…make you comfortable?”

“Maury was a piece of shit.” That's not what Squeaks had heard him called before, but she knew that's what was meant. And she says it now in an undertone, but as if stating fact. She hasn't even told about his involvement, or asked anything about the old telepath yet. It's also the only thing she says while the grown-ups are talking.

Her eyes go from Adam to Joy as the reason for the woman’s sudden appearance is made clear. She doesn't need looking after, but she doesn't say so.

“Yes,” the teen settles on after a minute of watching Joy and Adam in turns. The hesitation and changing of words wasn't missed. Maybe she can ask later, if she has to stay here. It's only fair that she knows what's what. Squeaks follows her answer with a nod and steps slightly forward, away from Adam’s side, with a vaguely suspicious look of her own for Joy.

Adam watches Squeaks for a moment, looking briefly to Joy with one raised brow, then back to the girl again. “I’ll be back as soon as I have an answer for you, and Joy won’t mind keeping you company.” Adam starts to step back toward the elevator, but reconsiders and looks back to Squeaks with furrowed brows.

“Oh, and… Maury?” Adam says with a motion of his chin toward Squeaks. “You don’t have to worry about him, ever.” He looks to Joy for a moment, then back to Squeaks.

“I killed him.”

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