Other Otters


eve_icon.gif lynette_icon.gif mateo_icon.gif

Scene Title Other Otters
Synopsis When Eve shows up at the Benchmark, she discovers that there's some signficant otterness happening.
Date January 30, 2017

The Benchmark Center: Mexico

It's not the first time that Eve has been to the Benchmark. Some people greet her as she appears, those she recognizes from her last visit, and those she does not. And then she hears a piano playing in the background, some laughter. The song sounds familiar, though she's never actually heard it before. Maybe it had been in a dream. When she rounds the corner to look into the common area where the music comes from, she sees the one playing. For a brief moment…

She could swear she sees an otter sitting there, in a t-shirt.

But no, it's not an otter. Cause of course otters can't play pianos. But while this is not a man she'd seen the last time she was in the Benchmark, it's someone she knows. From one, day, years ago, on a beach. Drinking margaritas and talking about dreams.

Dreams of an little brown river otter. Who wore shirts and drank margaritas.

Mateo Javier Ruiz is not an otter, but to someone who dreams in riddles and metaphor, does it matter?

Sitting on the piano bench next to the man who is certainly not an otter, Lynette has front row seats to the recital. She isn't trying to get in his way, but her arm is around his waist and she can't seem to help but be close. It is a small bench, after all. That doesn't account for her leaning in to plant a kiss to his cheek mid-laughter, but she'll claim she had no choice in the matter.

The smile on her face is an unusual one, particularly for people who knew her before. But it fits, somehow, like this is how she was meant to look all along.

There's a moment, a brief smile as Eve allows them this peace. All of the peace, they earned it. Her raven dark hair falling in ringlets down to her back, free and freshly washed. Eve would seem different too she would guess, her hair not as matted and disheveled (Gillian has instilled in her the need for a brush and comb, she brushes about fifty times on each side at night). Light gray eyes twinkle as she tip toes in behind them, the dress she wears of a simple black material ending at her knees, wine colored lips spread into a smile as she tightens her grip on her messenger bag and rocks backwards on her heels and then forward real fast.

"Is that Für Elise? I think you play it better."

She grins as she speaks near both of their ears. It's not that Eve couldn't have walked in clear view and waved like a normal person, it was just way more fun to sneak behind them. Eve looks.. clean, but that wild look is still in her eyes. A little sedated.. Maybe a bit more clear. But the widening and squinting of her eyes still happens, almost a tick. A mini old fashioned stopwatch dangles from her wrist. Tick tick tick tick.

The sudden voice behind them causes his fingers to slip, far more than they had with other distractions. Mateo had grown to expect the distractions at his side, he could compensate for them, but a tall bag of subdued, but somehow still-crazy? That's more difficult. The fingers slide one last time, hitting a few random keys as he turns around to look and—

His eyebrow raises. They'd only met the one time, on a beach— not this beach. Nowhere near this beach. They'd spent the day talking, a single drink between them, but he would not forget the cuckoo lady who saw the future and helped set him continue his path of control.

"When did you get here?" he asks, not even thinking that Lynette might know her beyond a patient or resident.

Eve's voice makes Lynette jump a bit, but it's a surprise that cuts off with a laugh as Mateo's fingers lose their way. But she turns to see just who is responsible for the interruption. Imagine her surprise.

"Jesus christ, Eve, you scared me," she says, which isn't a traditional greeting, but Eve isn't a tradition friend, either. She hops up from the bench to come to take the other woman's hand. "Yeah, when did you get… here. Hang on a second." Because it's just hit her. She looks back to Mateo, "You know Eve?" And then to Eve. Lynette tilts her head, questioning. It's less confusing, apparently, that Eve might know things, but that Mateo knows her?

Their faces are enough to inspire Eve to snicker, she takes Lynette's hand and spins underneath it before pulling Lynette to twirl underneath her hand. "Lady Zeus, you look bright! (You go girl)." white teeth show as she leans in to give the woman a tight hug whispering loudly the last bit. "I just got here." she says softly as she embraces the woman her gaze flicking to the man she's only met once before. That beach meeting did something for the both of them, she got to breathe he stepped closer to control. This meeting, well of course it was coming.

"Otter Eyes.. look at you." The seer's eyes widen as she grins, breaking the embrace to bounce over towards Mateo she laughs aloud and claps her hands. "Ya see!" she leans a hip against the piano. "I knew you'd get it, you don't look nervous at all!" clearly excited she claps her hands again before placing her messenger bag on top of the piano. Looking between Lynette and Mateo as if to say 'oh you sillies!' Eve wiggles her fingers and makes an expression akin to a mocky scary 'oooooooh spooky'. "Of course I do Lady Zeus, of course you do too and of courseeeeee Otter Eyes does, he's a tough cookie, couldn't help but run into him." she shrugs with a light smile.

"Eve, yes— " Mateo responds, looking between the two with just as much surprise as Lynette. Everyone is surprised! Except the precog, who had time to get over any surprise she might have had that he was there playing the piano with a certain blonde Lady Zeus kissing him on the neck. "We— met once a few years ago, during your war. She— found me on a beach in Veracruz." And with Eve, that's really all the explaination one probably needs…

At the mention of otter eyes he laughs, genuinely amused by the old nickname.

"You were right— it just took what— five years?" He's not even sure how long it'd been exactly.

And meeting the right person, too.

The spinning gets a chuckle from Lynette, even when it's her turn. She returns the hug, too, a pair of actions that mark her own shift in demeanor in the years since she last saw Eve. "Well, I'm glad to see you," she says to the precog, before she turns to gesture to the couches in the room. "Want to sit? You're staying, right?" One never knows, with Eve.

She looks over at Mateo, her smile turing amused. "Otter Eyes?" It's a nickname that gets a chuckle. But she looks back to Eve, to nod at her explanation. "Of course." Because of course she does. And where else would she find Mateo but on a beach in Veracruz.

"Of course."

She says with a light chuckle as she moves towards the couches that Lynette has pointed out, with a light exhale she sinks into the couch with a close of her eyes and she lays that dark mane of hair on the cushion. "You've gotten comfy," she says to nobody in particular. Eyes closed she hums lightly, a melody that would match what Mateo was playing. Her fingers dance in the air on invisible notes before she stops and leans forward. "It's nice here, the whispers aren't always chasing me when I'm here, I think it's the beach." Or the tequila she muses idly.

"Otter Eyes here was gonna make a big ol mess, I came to get him drunk. It worked!" She stomps her foot lightly and looks over at Lynette, "It was yes, all that time ago. I needed a break from the screams.. All that blood." a sad smile quirks on the woman's wine colored lips and she stretches her arms out behind her. "You've found a center, you're centered, at the center," she whispers softly more to herself but the couple could hear her.

"I met the funniest people on the road here, gave me a ride into town, had a Snickers." She even smoked a little weed, how she happened to avoid running across the wrong kind of people who pick up hitchikers.. Kicking her booted feet out in front of her she grins again at the couple. It's nice to see friends. It's nice to see friends together.

His center. Mateo grins, but the way he's looking down for a moment, one might almost suspect that's his way of blushing. Or at least looking shy in response to being called out on things. "More like my point B," he explains after a second, knowing that at least Lynette would understand what he means by that. Eve might too, considering she seemed to have a vague idea about his ability.

In it's uncontrolled form.

"For the record, you didn't get me drunk. You just kept me distracted." From the gnawing in the back of his mind, demanding to be let loose. "I'm glad she did, though. It was a beach full of nice simple fishermen." And he could have had them weighting on his conscious. He already had enough pulling him down, she saved him from potentially more. "But she didn't know…" he trails off, looking at Lynette with a raised eyebrow— did ehs know the other him.

"The beach is pretty much the whole reason we're here," Lynette says with a crooked smile. It's not the whole reason, but it did not hurt. "We'll take you down there while you're here. Show you the best spots." Her smile only falters at the mention of the war. Or rather, of the screams and the blood. She remembers those. She did not take a break from them.

"We've been working on getting a handle on his ability. I'm glad to hear it's working out." Because if Eve says so, then it is, apparently. But Lynette has good reason to trust the precog's instincts. Her tone is still subdued, but when Mateo speaks up, she looks over at him, a smile tugging at the corner of her lips. It might be her turn to look a bit shy over something. Because she does understand what he means. She steps over to slide her hand into his, lacing fingers and giving him a little squeeze.

"Distractions are important, sometimes," she says, her gaze sliding over to Eve. There's a silent thanks in that expression, appreciation. She was looking out for him, and that counts for a lot. Her head tilts to look up at Mateo and she chuckles a little. "Oh, it's probably safer to assume she knows everything. But she and I didn't meet up in the Arcology until after."

The dark haired woman nods her head excitedly, she would like the beach yes please. She would love tequila to but after a dream of Lady Zeus zapping her for bringing it she decided to leave it buried not too far away for a rainy day. Eve smiles at the two and her eyes squint as her shoulders bunch up, this is love, it is heartwarming. It's not always sunshine and rainbows for the woman but again, these two are infectious. You feel good around them.

As Mateo gets that confused look and Lynette chuckles, Eve's brow furrows. "Well I.." speech trailing off as the whispers in her head start to build on one another, calling her attention away from the present moment.

Her gaze fading as her eyes go that milk white color and her mouth drops open, something in their words triggers a memory of a dream, of something she had once seen..

The source of the sounds of water found in a river. The river is calm, multiple ripples spay the water's surface, it being a iridescent blue with shadowy depths. Just how deep does it go?

As if drawn like a magnet Eve walks slowly up to river kneeling before it's edge. Whispers trail through the air circling her as she leans closer to inspect her reflection in the river. Except there is none, just a shadow barely resembling her silhouette.

Take the plunge
Follow the Riddle

The whispers seem to grow in number, growing in power and as Eve plunges her face into the river the water erupts beneath the surface.

The water hits her face, cold, warm, acid, rejuvinating. All things, all at once. For a moment, she nearly pulls away— but something whispers, tells her it's all right.

She opens her eyes, looking down into the blackness. At first it's black, then it swirls and slips and little lights start to flicker by, both vivid and blurry all at once. Each of those little spots of light seem to hold something, but she can't focus on it at first…

Until she sees an otter. Twisting, spinning, under the surface. Eyes closed, body limp, pulled along by the river. She doesn't need to see more to know that that otter is gone. Dead. And not her otter.

The river seems to split, forking off into one direction— a second otter, not otter— slicked fur paler, little claws grasping at something as if trying to find a hold— it slips away and he's pulled further and further, until he disappeared into an underwater forest, a jungle, that seemed to grow up out of nowhere. They wrapped around him, catching him, holding him.

And a feather floats by.

And then she woke up.

That milky cloudy eye takes Mateo by surprise, a sudden glance toward Lynette in alarm, as he stands up to help her sit down if she needs it— his hands offering her the support she needs to stay upright.

Lynette is not taken by surprise by the change in Eve's eyes, but she also moves toward Eve, putting a hand on her shoulder. "She's okay," she says to Mateo, at his worry. "She sees things." That isn't dismissive, there's a layer of admiration in Lynette's tone, even.

As the memory of that first vision she had fades away, of that red and undying forest and it's untouched river.. Eve's eyes return to their normal light gray color a light gasp escapes her, tears well at the corner of her eyes as she takes in Mateo's face a pale hand rising to cup his cheek. "That other one, he's gone. Washed away down the current, no life left in him to save." Her shoulders bunch as she shakes her her and looks to Lynette, "If I had known that day.. If I could have seen." Her words trail off, she could have saved Liz.. she could have saved her other otters..

"The other one is lost.." her voice is small as she lays her forehead on Mateo's closing her eyes. "He went down the stream, the water is strong he wasn't strong enough." Her brow furrows as she whispers,

"A lost, lonely otter. Displaced, cold away from home." her tone grows grave, "The other one, he is lost but alive.. The other.."

A lost, lonely otter.

If he didn't already fully accept that this woman sees him somehow as an otter, a river one at that, Mateo would think she talked crazy. Even when he hears there might be a second him. One besides the dead one. Lost and cold. "Well, I'm not lost and cold…" But there had been one of him, apparently. One who'd known Lynette, who'd been willing to step in front of bullets for her—

And perhaps another. "Do you think that— that … me might be here too?" Cause that could get complicated.

When Eve speaks, Lynette does her best not to let her expression dim again. But it does. She still feels a ping of guilt over the other Ruiz, over leaving him behind to save herself. But she takes in a breath and meets Eve's gaze. "I know. I would have changed it if I could have. But he got to choose his death. We're not all that brand of lucky." If you can call it lucky. She does seem to think so, though.

When there's a mention of another, another other Ruiz, her eyebrow lifts. "Mateo, promise me you won't go looking for another path through the garden," she says. She means it to be a joke, but she's already seen one lost Ruiz. She doesn't want hers to end up that way, too.

There is a rough shake of her head to Mateo's question as she leans back into the couch looking at both of them, "There was a fork."Her fingers splay out in front of her to display what she's speaking of, long delicate pale fingers tremble, "He is in the other one, the other river." A sad look is all she can give the couple as her lip quivers. "I'm sorry, it can still be too much for me. Decades later." Eve snorts as she dabs at her eyes.

"I think we have to find him, or.. Well he'll find his way." a light wave of her hand as she tilts her head up towards the ceiling, "The odds might be in his favor. Or.. he has a fifty-fifty shot." If you count that one Mateo has died and another is right here in front of her seemingly okay. As Lynette speaks a wide grin is thrown her way, "He might not look but it might find him. Like my whispers find me, we run and they find." her expression grows hard.

"If we try to work with them though, sometimes they can be nice." Eve believes giving in and listening to the whispers on the edges of her psyche makes things easier for her, perhaps it does.

There's conflict on his face for a moment. Not because he wants to go anywhere— cause Mateo happens to like where he is right now and couldn't think of a reason he'd want to go looking for another path— but there's a him lost out there somewhere… He looks towards Lynette, the way she asks him— it makes him nod. "He'll have to find his way on his own. I belong here." Something he might not have been able to say a few months ago…

He thumbs his nose, before offering Eve a seat on the piano bench, taking the fact that it's hard on her to also mean physically.

"I'm not going anywhere, I promise," he assures his lightning. Not if he has anything to say about it. For once, he sounds sure about that. Not that kind of uncertainy that sometimes followed him. Maybe because she's actually asking for his word in this.

"Eve," Lynette looks over at her, her friend, as odd as it is for Lynette to have one of those, her expression serious, "We can't save everyone." She pauses there, very nearly stopping altogether. But a moment later, she speaks again. "You know I'll try to help if the opportunity comes up — I failed one of your otters already — but I'm not…" a hero doesn't get stated. Just thought. "…running off on anymore suicide missions." Yep, that was how she meant to end that sentence all along.

She turns to look at Mateo when he promises, and she leans over to put her forehead against his shoulder while her fingers cling onto him. But a moment later, she lifts her head up, and her chin as well. "Good. Because I'd only have to come after you and I would be upset about it."

Eve's face screws up in a face as she takes Mateo's hand and allows herself to be led to the piano. She strokes a white key with a unpolished nail, "I mean don't run into the wall if there's not an opening." She's all for running into the room guns blazing but it feels like that's not the best option for them to take, and it's not like they have a door open to the other river. She sighs as her fingers start to pluck out notes at random, testing the waters of creativity.

There's a moment before she's playing with one hand a very delicate progression, the minor and major fifth notes ringing together in an eerie clash. "If I'm a peephole, and you're a door, Lady Zeus is a battery." A simple logic from the complicated woman's mind. "She knows best, she has reason. She's a Lady." A fact that Eve will never let Lynette go without knowing, she's a lady of electricity and death but that's for the homegirls to know. And homegirls they are.

"A promise is promise," her other hand going to play the other side of the piano, her eyes close as she runs through a scale before vamping on a two chord progression, the pacing light but shifting to tense and then light again. "I think he can keep his end of bargains."

"We won't need to chase each other down a river," Mateo responds, simply, as he makes sure Eve gets seated and nods at her. "I will keep it." A bargain with both of them. A promise is a promise. There's only so many paths that he could find himself down, surely. What would ever make him give up this one?

"Ah— so you play as well," he jokes, having heard her sing— even if she'd been drunk at the time. "Maybe we should do a duet sometime. Entertain the patients while you're here." He doesn't expect her to stay forever. There's more interesting people for her to meet along the road.

"So," Lynette says with a crooked smile for Eve's description of each of them, "even if there's not an opening, we can make one. And you can show us where the right spot is." She laughs, though, when she's given a Title, not that it's the first time she's heard her nickname. But the first time she put it like that, exactly. She doesn't comment otherwise, though, just gives Eve a conspiratorial look. Homegirls, indeed.

At some point, it will occur to Lynette that she isn't one for promises. That she knows promises are just words spoken in a fraught moment. That she's a realist. But just now, listening to Eve's song and Mateo's voice, she's never felt less like a realist. "I know you will," she ends up saying. And meaning it. But she turns back to Eve, nodding with his suggestion. "You can have a room here as long as you like, Eve." And she means that, too.

She may not be able to save everyone all the time, but maybe she can here, for now.

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