Pack It In


sf_asami2_icon.gif sf_jac2_icon.gif

Scene Title Pack It In
Synopsis Asami and Jac say their goodbyes as they get ready for the road to Vegas.
Date March 18, 2021

The Petrelli Mansion

Upper East Side, Manhattan

Even for the hunting equipment they'd broken into from when Nathan was still alive, there wasn't much in the way of survival gear. Guns, sure. But camping and so on… not so much.

The store of non-perishable goods in the panic room actually were a better pile to raid in that regard. Asami is stuffing every last bit of borrowed-now-claimed clothing she has into the knapsack she's found, eyes stinging. Her head races with two minds of thought, and she jams the bag more tightly stuffed with frustrated movements before she stands upright over the bed she's been sleeping in the last two months. She wipes the corner of her eye and turns around to begin sifting through the stockpile, nearly jumping when she sees she's no longer alone. She'd been so caught up in her own thoughts she hadn't heard others'.

Folly on her. She's not the same person she was an hour ago, and who knows who she'll be in the next hour.

"Jac," Asami acknowledges wearily. "What's up? Have you packed already?"

“Yeah, I’m…” Jac glances over her shoulder, to the cellar outside the panic room. The stairs leading back up to the main house are still faintly illuminated by the light from upstairs, showing the backpack she left with the few things she thought to pack. Beyond that, in the rooms above, she can track the thoughts of her mom and anyone else still inside. “I have everything.”

Turning to face Asami again, the teen remains a fixture in the doorway. Maybe reluctance to experience the skull-shattering feedback keeps her from getting too close, or she hasn't decided if her presence is even wanted. She hasn't missed those tears, or the troubled distraction her teacher has been harboring.

“I think… I think we might be almost ready to leave.” Jac flickers a glance at the stockpile of emergency foods. “Do… would you like some help?”

Asami forces a smile for Jac's sake, covering up her own uncertainty quickly. "Good," she answers about the teen's readiness. "I think… we're splitting up, going as small pods. Your mom— your mom said you and Brynn are probably going with Gillian." Kaylee and Valerie both were the same person, after all, neither one less their mother. "With Gillian, you two should be safe. Your mom and I will meet you there— at the Corinthian Hotel in Las Vegas, if there is one to be found out there."

To be honest, she's not sure there will be. Not with the way Tokyo had looked.

Looking back to her attempts to pack, she allows herself a moment to look as frazzled as she feels. "Uh, with this, though… yeah, any advice here is good," Asami says with a bland gesture at the neat shelves.

Why becomes an obvious question on Jac’s face. She and Brynn would go with Gillian? It doesn't make sense. Kaylee would go nuclear once that plan is shared with her for one. And two… why Gillian? Not that she doubts she and her sister would be safe and taken care of…

“I don't…” Understand. Thoughts tumble and jumble. She has to trust whoever made the plan. “Okay.” Besides, going in small groups is probably better anyway. Especially after what happened earlier. The teen’s voice fails slightly at sounding brave about it, though, but she stays committed, among the first to take sides with Asami. Her eyes hold on her teacher for a minute longer, and then focus on the shelves.

Creeping forward, Jac reaches toward some canned foods. “Things like… the stuff in the pop-top cans.” A cautious hand turns labels to face Asami and then offer some choices. Canned fruits with one or two servings, selections from the good Chef Boyardee.

Jac's confusion being plain, Asami sees no need to not be open with her. "Valerie thinks you'll be safe with Gillian. And it leaves her free to keep a closer eye on me, in case I turn out to be something none of us expected, something that needs stopped." Her expression solemns and she shakes her head. "I doubt that will happen. But if it does, I agree with her I shouldn't put anyone else in danger. And even like this, with all this power, Valerie is the One Thing I'm still afraid of."

She lets out a small laugh at her own expense, because if she can't chuckle, what else is she going to do? With a gentle shake of her head, she tries to brush it off, move on to the topic of food. Asami reaches for several cans, one after the other. "None of this makes good breakfast food," she mutters to herself. "I'll make some omelettes for the morning. Everyone can just take what they need before we go."

It's a poor apology and send-off in her estimation, but it's all she's got to offer at this stage.

"You'll be okay, you know," she inputs abruptly. "You'll have to look out for your sister, but between you and Gillian she'll be well-protected. You're tenacious, Jacelyn. Always have been."

There's a stutter in Jac’s movements, knuckles catching on a shelf in a way that causes a couple nearby cans to rattleas more details are offered. Her eyes cast over to sideeye Asami for the couple of seconds it takes to shift from the plan to tomorrow’s breakfast.

Several cans are pushed aside in a thoughtful way. Jac wonders about the next morning, about staying another night when those flying drone things, whatever they were, could come back. Omelets would be tasty. Egg and cheese and bacon married together in savory richness. The very thought makes the hunger goblin inside her stomach lift its head a little. Who knows when they'd eat a real meal again. Maybe they could make waffles, too, and…

Food thoughts move aside just after getting comfortable when Asami speaks again, and Jac’s eyes find her teacher. Usually she's remarked as stubborn, but being called tenacious is a praise. One she's not sure she's earned. A weird knot forms inside, and she looks at the can clutched in her hand.

“I just know what I know.” The teen offers the can of ready-to-eat stew to Asami. “Mrs. Miller… she has thoughts… memories, that match what you told us. I can't not believe you even if I tried.”

Asami's eyes soften as she takes the offered can directly, or at least— they do until she receives a stutter of feedback from being too close. Then her brow creases in sympathy. "Sorry," she whispers, and shoves the last can in before flipping the knapsack shut. If there's more they want, it'll require another bag.

"I can't promise you the outside world is kinder than this one, Jac," she feels obligated to say. "People with abilities aren't secret, but not everyone accepts us. Wars have been fought. Wars yet rage, dark and mostly-silent, like the one we find ourselves in now. Where the people holding us captive want our abilities for their own. Not us— just our powers."

She shakes her head as she hefts the bag and moves it to the cot again. "On the bus, I woke up for just a second. I saw the machines we're connected to. The people monitoring us are terrified of us coming to… so we'll have to be fast and careful when we finally do." I'll have to become that person I still don't feel like I am. Asami frowns at herself over her thoughts. "Nicole, Gillian, Kaylee— they all fought in the civil war, so they should be fine. I have military training. Abby is a cop in the real world, too, one who wields fire. Isa is another pyrokinetic… I don't know her history, but I've seen her power. She's a force to be feared, if left unchecked."

Blinking, she supposes, "I guess what I mean to say is, we're powerful enough to make the escape, should we coordinate quickly enough to prevent them from putting us under again."

Jac flinches from the surprise feedback. Her reaction isn't much different from when one sips at a too-hot drink or finding oneself on the receiving end of a static shock. Her hands retreat to fold behind her back, as if that were the cause.

Her eyes stray to the shelves and she wonders over Asami’s explanations. A world… a world where their powers aren't secret. But they're still not accepted. It's hard to grasp. Especially the part where her mom and her mom’s friends all fought in a war. The very image of them being like soldiers is almost ludicrous, impossible to imagine.

But then so was being able to read minds, not that long ago.

“Do you… do you think it's going to work?” Going to Las Vegas, reclaiming themselves. Jac isn't sure how that will happen, or if it can. “Can… I mean our other selves, shouldn't we… can we… somehow let them know? So they… we… have a chance?”

"We're our only selves," Asami clarifies for Jac, offering her a reassuring smile. "So long as we know and believe the outside reality to be true, then… we're doing the best we can. Everything we can do to remember our lives that came before will be helpful in that regard. And hopefully, the time we have on the trip will assist with that."

She sets aside the bag to take a step closer to Jac, sure to quiet and guard her mind– trying to refrain from causing feedback when both of their abilities are in close contact. The way she inches forward reflects she's not entirely sure it'll work, but she manages to find a configuration where instead of a screech there's just a hum in the back of both their minds that's grown strong from their nearing.

Asami places a hand on Jac's shoulder briefly to squeeze and offer support that way before she steps back again. "You should get some rest for now. I'm about to do the same. And then… well, we'll see each other again soon, all right?"

It isn't really comforting, even though Jac tries to smile like it is. She doesn't remember any life except for this one, and the only thing she has for proof is Asami’s words and the desperate thoughts she skimmed from Nicole. Neither are really much to hold onto, but she tries. She is trying.

Her head dips when Asami grips her shoulder, eyes finding the floor to hide her lack of confidence. The humming probably helps some, too, slightly uncomfortable as it is. The lowering becomes a nod, which turns into her own sort of retreat the way she'd come: to the stairs and up.

“Promise.” Jac pauses, half way between steps and barely more than two stairs from the cellar. The riser creaks as she shifts her weight, but she doesn't look back or return to face Asami. “Promise it's like you say and that I'll remember too.”

The question and its desperate sincerity coming from Jac of all people is what makes Asami take pause. Her throat tightens in lieu of immediately being able to answer, and she closes her eyes, knowing Jac isn't looking.

"I promise," she says emphatically.

She's grateful the girl can't read her mind to know that all that she actually has is hope.

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