Point A Finds Point B


lynette3_icon.gif mateo_icon.gif

Scene Title Point A Finds Point B
Synopsis During some lessons, Mateo and Lynette discover ways to bridge to points in space.
Date November 10, 2016

Benchmark Recovery Center: Mexico

Afternoon sun shines warm on a rocky beach. Water laps gently against the shore and a tall cliff face rises up from the rocks. In the space between, Lynette stands in a brown dress and barefeet, her hands on her hips. She looks over at her companion, someone who hasn't been at her center all that long, but she feels a bit like he's always been there. "What do you think? Enough space?" There is plenty of that, at least, even without counting the expanse of ocean nearby. But she mostly just wants him to feel comfortable. And confident that he won't take the campus out if something goes wrong.

She does not seem to have the same concern about herself. But maybe she is confident that he won't send her through a portal to nowhere.

"So walk me through it. You absorb electricity, but is that always happening? Do you have to work to keep it at bay? Or does it trigger in some way?" She perches herself on a particularly large rock, one leg crossing over the other as she passes him the floor. So to speak. Go figure her first questions would be about the electrical element of his power. But then, that is what she understand the most.

"I don't absorb the electricity, the… umbrales just seem to… need them to form. I don't really know how that part works. I can't sense electricity, or anything," Mateo explains, thinking back on the times when, much like this, he tried to learn to control his ability. It was one day, years ago, that he discovered he could open two of them at once. And that it stopped drawing everything in.

That it did something entirely different. He still hated his ability, but it finally had a use beyond destroying everything.

Dark eyes shift to the sea as he frowns, trying to think of the best way to explain. "I do feel… a emptiness. Most the time. Like something that's pulling on me. It started— " he stops, shaking his head. He didn't know how to explain that. "I guess sometimes the call is just too much. I don't know what causes that," he lies.

He might have an idea.

"Interesting. It doesn't channel through you, the electricity? I suppose that would be quite painful if you weren't…" Like her. She might have forgotten that other people aren't for a moment. "When you open them on purpose, what does that feel like to you?"

Lynette tilts her head when he cuts himself off. Does she understand a power that is barely held on a leash? Not really. Does she understand the undeniable pull of something unwelcome? Ever so much. She glances up toward the cliff, then back at him again. "Well, emptiness doesn't sound like much fun," she notes as her hands move to rest on bare knees. "You think you might be able dig into that? The cause? Sometimes that is a big first step in learning how to get a handle on these things." She knows it's a lie. She's told lies like that a lot. But she's coming at it a little more gently for his sake. "Mine was fear. I mean, when I was a kid. I used to have these awful nightmares." Has there been a time in her life without nightmares? She can't remember. "I'd wake up in a sweat, heart pounding, frozen in place. Eventually, that's how I manifested, too. Sparking up a storm in my sleep. Nearly burned the house down. I had to learn to get a handle on my fear before I could control my ability."

Nearly burned the house down. Ruiz doesn't look at her as he responds quietly to that. "I destroyed my childhood home when I manifested. Pulled every brick and everything inside it into a hole the size of my hand." And he knows exactly what caused it to manifest. Exactly what made the emptiness pull on him until he couldn't hold it back anymore. But perhaps he doesn't want to confess to that. Maybe he finds it too personal.

When he looks back at her, he hesitates, "Usually it activates when I get hurt, or when I'm dreaming. I guess you could call them nightmares." They're not always awful dreams. Sometimes it's waking up and realizing it was a dream that made them nightmares.

That broke his heart.

"But yeah, this is enough space. Should be safe enough to do it here."

Lynette listens, her expression sympathetic. She doesn't do more than look, though, because she picks up on that urge to skip over it. "Well. Let me just note that whatever it is that kicks it off, working on that? On how you react to that. That will help a lot. As fate would have it, you've landed in a place well equipped for that. Counselors, therapists, so forth. If you ever feel like it." These are the unpleasant things she might ask him to do. Well, this and chores.

But she doesn't give him a chance to answer, she just stands up and opens her arms out toward the ocean. "Okay, so lets start with opening a little set. You can't sense electricity, but can you tell when you can open them? The call stronger, something like that?"

At the assumption of how his power might know when it's ready to be activated, Mateo nods, "It does seem strongest in towns and cities." It had been one of the reasons he avoided them. As he picks a spot in the close distance, he opens himself up to that call, that void. That piece of him that almost wants to be devoured into nothing. Within a moment it pulls what electricity is available in the air, the static, making it smell different. The little bolts of lightning feel different and look dark as the gash in space forms in the center. For a moment, it feels as if the world decided to inhale.

The air shifts, pulled. The sand below it shudders, particles beginning to float upward.

And then a second one forms, much closer to them. The surface takes on the slick, black appearance, the crackling on the edges. The particles fall back, like dust. The wind stops shifting in that direction.

Making them, willing them into being, pulled far less electricity than when it just happened.

As he starts, Lynette observes. Her eyes, her ability, she takes in all the information she can. She doesn't seem worried even when the wind shifts and the sand lifts. Stepping over to him, she puts a hand on his shoulder. "Keep them open as long as you feel you safely can," she says, in much the manner that a personal trainer might.

But her hand stays on his shoulder. Human connection, it's meant to be grounding. To keep him from giving into the emptiness too deeply. "They aren't going to fill it. They create it and then make you feel like they're the only answer." This is a feeling she knows. "You have to accept the emptiness. That feeling is hard, but it isn't unbearable. It's a piece of you. But it isn't all of you. And over time, you'll find other things to fill it. This power might want to control you, but it can't unless you let it." She voice is soothing and soft, but there's a sorrow in it, too. "They are giving you an easy answer, but there are better ones. You're a musician. An artist. You know how a song can patch up holes you never knew were there. That's the kind of magic we're looking for."

With a twist of his head, Mateo's cheek touches her hand, ever so briefly. The scratch of day old stubble against skin. He'd been alone so long that, as she seems to suspect, human connection might be one of the keys to… well… filling the emptiness. Hold them open as long as possible. "I can do that." It doesn't seem to require more energy, at least not this small. Maybe if he made the hole bigger it would need to keep drawing on it. But small ones—

It didn't even require much to open, and once stabilized, it's, as he might say, 'stable.'

"You're reminding of someone I met in the Commune. Seeing what she had to go through, and how she had learned to control it, helped. I got some good advice from her." It felt like a lifetime ago.

"Am I? She must have been very wise," Lynette says with a crooked smile. She looks over to him, the touch of his cheek more than enough to draw her attention over. But it's just a moment before she looks back to the umbrales, her chin lifting. "And, of course, gorgeous, witty, charming…" she says with a chuckle.

"Tell me about her," she says, genuinely curious. But also, perhaps, distracting him a little as she lifts a hand to bring a little electricity to life in her fingers. Testing to see how it reacts.

"I meant things she told me, trying to teach me control, not that she wasn't pretty, but you're more my type," Mateo responds to her words with a wink and a grin, but doesn't really want to downplay that person, either. They looked absolutely nothing alike, though. "Her name was Joy. She had more than one ability, made fire and then ice in her hands. She'd learned some manner of control, but like me she tended to avoid people." For different reasons.

And she'd seen his ability as something marvelous, which was something he had not seen many replicate.

Until now.

The holes remain open, floating there in space, two dimensional points connecting each other. The only thing that passes through them is the wind. Perhaps when something goes through them, the stability or power level is compromised, like when he'd thrown the sock through it before.

"You still haven't told me about the person I reminded you of."

"Well, I should hope so," Lynette says wryly to his first words. "Sounds like she had a lot to master, in her time. Did you listen to her?" When his power doesn't jump for the newly created electricity, she makes a mental note, then moves her hand to offer her power out toward him. "Here, make them a little bigger." They are here to practice, after all.

When he brings up the other Ruiz, Lynette's expression turns more sad. Bittersweet, even. "He saved my life," she says simply, although there's clearly more to it. She starts to pull away from him, but instead of letting him go completely, she takes his hand as she steps forward to pick up a rock. "Pushed me out of the way of a bullet. It would have blown my head clean off," she says, perhaps worryingly blase. She had, somewhere deep down in her, run into the Ark intending not to come back out. But it didn't turn out that way. "And then he took the next few in my place. Shot the guy." She stands back up, her grip on him tightening. "He told me… he said it was better that I got out than him. That people were counting on me. Which was ridiculous." She tosses the rock up and catches it, like she's testing its weight. "And I left him there. Bleeding. Protecting me. Until he died, I suppose." Looking at the closer portal, Lynette looks up into it, then steps back to toss the rock through it. Poking and prodding his ability, as it were.

She left him there. Bleeding.

It caused a memory to rise to the surface, of when he met Joy… Mateo shakes his head. "I did the same," he admits quietly. Not even noticing as she tosses a rock through the close portal and it comes out the second one. There's a shift of the energy contained in it, as if it brushes the matter passing through, gets pulled along. It doesn't close. Maybe more needs to pass through before that happens.

"The commune was attacked. By someone, people in white vans. I didn't stay to find out, and I didn't fight them. Silvia is the only other person I know who got away." The girl had ran, just like him. "But Joy was shot, and she told me to run. And I left her there."

Because he hadn't been willing to risk destroying the commune and everyone in it if he did try to fight back.

This time, Lynette isn't watching the portals. Mateo's words bring her around to look at him. She doesn't even see what happens to the rock. Ferry safehouses were always in danger. The very nature of slipping people in and out is bound to draw attention eventually. But it isn't the safehouse's fate that pulls her lips into a frown. It's his.

"Did you ever find a way to forgive yourself?" she asks, quiet. Maybe looking for her own bit of advice in his answer. In the hope that he's got it figured out. "Because I haven't," she admits with a mirthless laugh huffed out on a breath. "When I saw you… I guess for a moment I hope he'd made it out somehow. Foolish though it may have been."

"No, I hadn't," Mateo responds after a moment. And neither had she. They both lost people, lost people they considered friends, even if they barely knew them. The guilt followed them both. "I barely knew her, but I wished I would have helped her." He knew the others in the commune much better. He, after all, had played for most of them. Had helped them. Had worked along side them. He didn't even know what happened to them.

And he doesn't feel pleased about how he got away.

"I think he was right, though. You getting out was important." Maybe nor more important, but certainly important. "You're helping a lot of people." His hand touches her face, thumb gently brushing against her jawline.

Helping a lot of people. Including him, apparently.

The two tiny holes in space continue to hold strong.

"I feel the same way. I wish I hadn't listened to him." It wouldn't have done him any good, really. Or her any. But she wishes it all the same. Lynette's eyes glisten, tears not quite forming, but edging nearer.

She shakes her head, though, because she doesn't agree. "You've got it the wrong way around. All this," she says with a gesture toward the center above them, "that's because of him. To make it… mean something. Because if someone that brave took my bullet — the one with my name on it — I have to make sure it's worth it." It's something she's never told anyone, really, about her motivations. To continue what the Ferry started, that's the official reason. It isn't a lie, but it isn't the whole truth, either. "I was trying to rescue him and he rescued me instead." Not just her physical self, if her tone is anything to judge by.

Her words stop when he touches her face. Her gaze lifts to meet his and she takes a moment to feel her heart beat quicken like it hasn't since she was young. Too young to be jaded.

It was a long time ago.

Only a few moments pass before she steps into him, her intent more that clear, even before her fingers slide to the back of his neck and into his hair. But if he misses it then, he'll catch up. She leans in, to press her lips to his.

At her words, Mateo nods, not arguing. He understands, in fact. He had spent months, a year, more, trying to find a way to control his ability, trying to make it what she had called it. Strong, but wonderous. If someone who had so many could find what he did beautiful, maybe he could as well. He'd not quite gotten that far, though. But at least he didn't fear destroying everything around him. Not as much.

Point A had found Point B.

As she moves closer, he pauses, his thumb stopping, even as his arm draws closer with her. He can see her intent, and— his eyes close, he leans in, hand sliding down to her neck as he pulls her close.

Those two points in space shudder. And then they both close, at the same time, the electricity spreading into the air around them, causing a slight tingle on her skin.

For the moment, that emptiness always calling in the back of his mind, is silent.

It is very possible that Lynette attributes that feeling in her skin to something else, because she deepens the kiss there. It's also possible that she has forgotten that this was supposed to be practice. She lingers there a little longer before she pulls back, just far enough to catch a breath and to press her lips together. Her eyes open slowly, but when she looks at him, there seems to be some worry in her gaze, like she's not sure that wasn't overstepping some boundary she ought to have kept.

But that worry isn't enough to get her to pull away from him. In fact, her arms slide around him more deliberately and she lets out a sigh like she'd been holding onto it for years.

As their lips separate, Mateo leans his nose into her hair, eyes remaining closed. There's a moment, when it seems he kisses her where his lips rest, perhaps showing that, no— she did not overstep anything. Or if she did, he's glad she did. The practice is forgotten, the emptiness has— something else in its place. He couldn't even explain it if he tried.

They both still needed to forgive themselves, but at least, for now, they had something.

"'nette," he whispers against her. "You were worth it."

When he leans into her hair, Lynette leans her cheek against him and a smile comes to her face. There's even a moment where she relaxes, a rare occurence for her, setting her worry off to the side for another day.

But then he speaks.

It surprises her, that much is clear when she leans back to look at him, questioningly. Her forehead furrows and evens out as she cycles through all those possible explanations her mind can think up. "Are you messing with me right now?" is the question she seems to be settling on. It straddles a border of suspicious and playful, because she doesn't seem to believe he has any malice in him. Not toward her anyway. "Is this a time for you to be messing with me, Matecito?" This version of the question teeters more toward the latter, a crooked smile coming to her lips as she gives him a sidelong glance.

"No I'm no— " that's as far as Mateo gets in his reassurances that, he wasn't just messing with her. But then he processes what she called him and he leans back to look at her with a raised eyebrow. Maybe he's never had an affectionate name used for him before. He won't say the last time someone called him anything remotely similar, that it was his mother. In another situation thinking of his mother usually caused that emptiness to seem unfillable, but for some reason in this case…

And he had just given her a nickname himself, so fair is fair. There's a small laugh as he adds on, "If you don't like it I can call you Lyn, but I figured 'nette felt more like you."

He won't add to the whole. Her being worth it, thing. But even if he's barely known her a week, he definitely thinks so. He's seen how the people here react to her, how she's helped them.

"God no," Lynette says, "'nette is much better than that. But don't spread it around, yeah?" She's got a reputation to worry about, after all. But the request comes with a gentle nudge of her shoulder to his. So maybe she doesn't worry about her reputation as much as she used to.

The part he doesn't address, though, she leaves it, too. Although it was certainly the part she was initially addressing. The cover story works just as well. The part of her that cautions against getting attached is sent to a corner for the moment. So she can enjoy having her arms around him for a bit longer.

She turns a little, to glance back at where his portals were a minute ago. Where they aren't now. She looks back to him, nodding her head in that direction. "Well, we see what a little distraction does," she says, a chuckle on her words.

The cover story works for both of them.

Mateo grins at her, right up until he glances at the two points of space that had once been connected and sees they are gone. "That's a kind of distraction you can do whenever you want," he teases, looking back at her. To punctuate, he even bumps his nose against hers, just for a moment.

"Do you want to try again? I can actually make ones we could walk through, if you help." Usually that is what caused blackouts, but he leaves that out. With her, he could probably do it without even needing to be in a town that has power. He'd already advised they leave all electronics behind, otherwise he might have just drained her phone battery.

"Oh, I definitely want to try again," Lynette says with a slyness that implies she misunderstood what he was referring to, "and more." She didn't, of course, but she couldn't help herself. When his nose bumps against hers, she smiles more genuinely. And so she pivots back from him. But her arm stays around him as she turns toward the ocean. "I'll definitely help. Think you could try opening them at the same time?" Her eyebrows lift, now that she's back on task (mostly). "I think that might be a good direction to aim for. In your training."

And it is training now, she's decided. She probably has a schedule in mind and everything. Maybe a curriculum.

"Promises, promises," Mateo teases, since he knows there seems to be a double meaning to their words. There might have been a double meaning to his original question, too. After all, it is a distraction he liked, and one he hasn't felt safe enough to want in… longer than he would care to admit.

"At the same time?" he clicks his tongue, looking off down the beach. "We can try, it's not something I've ever been able to do before." It's possibly a start to better control. "Give me something to work with." Electricity-wise, obviously. Though with their double talk, who knows.

For a moment, he lets himself feel that emptiness again— That void that always feels like it wants to devour him. He raises both hands, as if pointing at the points in space he wants to choose will make it easier to do both at once.

"Don't worry, I'm very dedicated to following through," Lynette says, her chin lifted. To what? Who knows. Maybe all of it. She's feeling a little lightheaded at the moment, so maybe she doesn't even know.

"Well, that is the point of training," she notes with a smirk toward him, "to get you able to do things you couldn't do before." Her free hand lifts, summoning some of her power to spark around her fingers. She seems able to keep it localized, because her arm stays around him and he doesn't feel more than a static shock might give him.

Staying there with him, she even tightens her hold on him when he reaches for his power again.

At her words, Mateo chuckles, amused, but also pleased. Because, well. When she pulls forth her electricity, he can't help but watch her fingers and the way the sparks come off of her for a moment. Abilities had always fascinated him, even if he had always hated his own. His mother, after all, had been one, even before the whole world knew about it.

"We're gonna do this." Or at least, going to try. But he's optimistic. The electricity in her hands starts to melt away, pulled from her and toward a point in space. He tries to push it toward the second one, but that doesn't quite work out as well. It wants to open the first one first. It hovers in place, the gash in space not opening just yet, until, finally, it does.

Just one. A moment later he opens the second one.

"That didn't go as planned." But he opened them much closer together than before, so much so that it didn't even have time to pull the air like a vacuum.

"Hell yes we are," Lynette says. She is also optimisitic. And seems pretty confident about it, too. But then, this is someone who trained people while hidden on an island, while on the battlefield… a calm beach is a nice change.

She watches again, feeling her own electricity seeping away from her, but she also seems fascinated, rather than unsettled. And by the time the second one forms, a wide smile appears on her face.

"Don't be silly, that was great," she says, her free and coming to squeeze his shoulder. "The sand didn't even lift off the ground." She steps away from him side, just for a moment, to reach her hand up to reach through one of the holes. "You'll get there. It takes time. Repetition."

There's a tingling along her skin as she does. She can feel the electricity fueling the hole in space. It's enough that it would probably fry any electronics that passed through it, too, but not enough to hurt a person. Her, though… she feels it. While the outer edges are the places with the most concentration, the hole itself has energy in it, lacing through it. Her hand comes out the other one. She can feel that the presense of something disrupts the flow slightly. Maybe it can only allow a limited amount through.

"Careful," Mateo says, suddenly sounding worried as she just sticks her hand in. She's the last person he'd ever want to hurt, and he doesn't want to think what would happen if it decided to close. "You're probably safe just pulling back. I stuck it with a stick to make sure." He's tested his ability some too, throwing things through it, sticking branches. "But you can step through, too." If she wanted.

Lynette's eyes widen when she feels the effects of his portals. They practically light up. She lingers there probably longer than is necessary, just getting the measure of it. He might be worried, but she clearly isn't. Her fingers reach for the edge, the way someone might test bath water. Or how sharp a knife is.

There's a glance over his way at his warning and a warm smile for his worry. Her hand pulls back out, maybe just to see what happens. "This ability of yours is really something else. I've never seen anything like it." And that's a compliment, given her tone. When he offers it up as an option, Lynette looks back to the portal and steps through it without hesitation.

Mateo leaves out that he thinks her never seeing anything like his ability before is a good thing. After all, she hasn't seen it at its most destructive. He wonders if she'll change her mind if that happens… He'd spent five years destroying everything his power touched, trying desperately not to use it, because he knew what damage it could do. But now…

After she steps through, she'll feel as if the electricity clings to her, as if she pulled some of it away when she disrupted its space. It almost felt like walking through mist— if mist were made of static and lightning. It pulls with her, follows her, and the electricity holding it in place becomes unstable— and then pulls together behind her, closing.

Mateo has to take the long way to get to her just a little down the beach, using his legs. "You all right?" he wants to make sure, because— well— he's the only one who's ever passed through it before.

As she passes through, Lynette can't help but smile. Static and lightning are a comfort to her, after all. She wonders idly if that's how it feels for him, but as it's a difficult feeling to explain, she keeps the thought to herself. Once she's out the other side, she laughs, her hands coming to her face as she spins around — to look for him, although it also lets her see the portal close behind her.

Is she alright? She seems it, aside from a touch of giddiness she's not sure what to do with. "Oh my god," she ends up saying, "that was wild." And when he gets closer she reaches out for his arm, a broad grin on her face. "I bet we could get to a point where you could hold it open for more than one traveler. Rescues would be a snap. I wonder if I fed it, if that would help. Do you think? Can you make them where one is sideways and the other isn't? Like it you opened one flat near the ceiling and the other one against a wall and shoved someone through it?" The questions are pretty rapid fire, but she doesn't seem to notice.

There's not even an attempt to hide the relief that Mateo feels, seeing her both okay and actually elated at having travelled through. "I don't know, I've never had anyone else go through it. But we could test it." See if they can both go through, maybe even more than once. He looks uneasy, but— well— he has far more reason to worry about what terrible things his power might do if he's not careful. Joy had even told him that he would need to be careful. And he always has been. When he can manage to be.

"But yes. I can make them any direction I want. As long as I can see them." He once put one on the ceiling and then the wall before. As long as he could see the space they were supposed to go.

"Well, we have some milestones to work toward, then," Lynette says. At least she isn't suggesting they go full throttle right this moment. She still knows powers need to be respected, after all, even if she is elated. Or maybe she just notices that he's uneasy. Either way.

"Line of sight, that's good to know. Does that count, say, if you were looking through binoculars?" So full of questions. She seems to realize this a little late and she gets a more sheepish expression. "I'm sorry. Little much for a first day?" Her hands go to her hips and she looks down at her feet.

There's a small nod from him when she mentions the line of sight limitation. Mateo doesn't admit he half thinks the limitation might be self inflicted, as he's outright afraid to try and create one in a place he can't see. The only time he tried… Well, the second one didn't form and by the time he got the first one closed, it had taken… "I can probably do it through binoculars. I just won't be able to create them both at the same time that way." He'd need to look where one is going to be, create it, then look to where the other is. It won't be as fast.

"There'd be a delay. But if you can find some use for my ability other than blacking out cities and destroying things…" He'd like to do something good with it. Maybe then he would stop hating it.

And hating him for everything he's been responsible for.

His notes get a nod as Lynette adjusts her understanding of what he can do, can't do. At least for now. It's a puzzle to her, she'll get all the pieces in the right order eventually. It's his latter words that get her to refocus, bringing her attention back up to his face.

"Mateo," she says and her hands reach for his. "There's far more to it than that. I promise. I'll show you what it can do. You can be cautious, but you don't have to be afraid of it. Of yourself." Her eyes flick up to his hair and her fingers move to slide a stray piece of it back into place. Her hand trails down to brush against his cheek before settling against his neck. "It would be a shame if anybody was." Afraid of him, that is.

"You haven't seen what my ability can really do. You'll probably change your mind if you did." Mateo has to say quietly, even as she touches him, eyes closing a bit as her fingers dance across skin that those rarely got close enough to touch. Often because he didn't let them. It were people who had tried to get close, taking his joking attitude and smile as an invitation. But he'd never let them get close enough to find out what had been hidden under it.

But she's already seen past that.


"I think even Silvia would be afraid if she'd seen it." He'd almost used it the day that the commune had been attacked. He'd considered it— until he remembered el umbral had no way to distinguish between people he wanted to save and those he did not.

"I don't know about that," Lynette says, a crooked smiling following, "I'm very stubborn." She watches his eyes close and leans into him to press a soft kiss to his cheek and then to the other. "I know how hard you work to keep it in check. I'm going to do what I can to ease some of that for you."

She leans back a little again at then mention of their young friend. "Maybe. But she's young. Part of me hope she never has to learn that anything can be dangerous. Not just things with a lot of flash." And, of course, anyone who heard battlefield news knows she was something of a terror in the war, not only killing, but killing as spectacularly as she could manage. She knows there's a dark side to any power. To any person.

"I see that," Mateo comments at her words, noticing that not only is she smiling at him, but she's kissing him as she says things like that. Part of him still wants to tell her that, no, she will think differently if she ever sees it, ever sees a person get broken down, bones, skin and all to fit through a hole that's too small for even their head.

He's seen it. He knows what happens.

He even saw it slowly destroy and devour his childhood home.

"Maybe I needed stubborn— you're starting to make me wish I'd gone up to the States a long time ago." He'd had opportunities, but he never did— not for long enough to come anywhere close to meeting her.

"Everybody needs stubborn," Lynette says. That's her firm opinion. She puts her hand on her hip again, lifting an eyebrow. "Are you trying to say all Americans are stubborn, Ruiz?" As if she didn't just advocate it as a good thing.

"I can't say it would have been a good idea. Or even now. The Ferry was in a bit of a sticky situation up there long before it exploded." It's an understatement. By a lot. "Safer here. Relatively." None of them were safe.

It seems she missed the implication that such a journey would have meant them meeting sooner.

And since she had missed the intention, Mateo grins, lets out a small laugh, shaking his head a little, "I meant that I might have met you earlier if I had." While he's laughing a little, and grinning even more, he means it. In just a few days she's somehow managed to begin to fill even a fraction a hole he didn't think would ever get anything in it. He's noticed, already, that his smile isn't quite as forced in place around her, it's not a mask.

Being around her is almost like playing and singing— which had for so long been the only thing that had made that emptiness tolerable.

And most the time he'd not even had an audience.

"Though you're probably right. I probably would have been even more trouble than you already had to deal with. I had an old friend who said I smelled like trouble."

Lynette blinks when he clears that up. And then she laughs, too. Embarrassed, perhaps, if only a little. "I knew that," she says, in a poor attempt at a cover. "But then I can say you definitely didn't want to meet me then. I was… a mess. This," she says, waving up toward the campus, "is for me, too. I wasn't any good to anyone back then." That's how she remembers it, anyway.

And if her smile goes a little dim, perhaps he'll forgive her.

"Maybe you would have fit right in, then," she says to the notion of his being trouble. "One thing's for sure, though. I've always liked trouble." And that's the truth from anyone's perpective. "It keeps you on your toes. Keeps you sharp. Right?"

Trouble keeps one on their toes— he would agree with that. Cause he's been on his toes for years.

"Maybe we met exactly when we were supposed to," Mateo responds to that, taking this as his turn to move in with the intention of kissing her. Even if she just implied that she needed rehab, he doesn't seem to think down on her about it— a lot had been happening in those years since abilities and everything that came with them became common knowledge, and far more common than he ever imagined they had been when he was growing up.

Even if he had known about the possibility of them before most of the world did.

"Maybe we did," Lynette says, her smile softening as she looks over at him. And this time, it's her that feels some surprise when he leans in to kiss her. Her own bits of trouble have usually been enough to keep that from happening, once people realize. Perhaps he hasn't yet. But, like him, she doesn't point out to him that he should have.

Instead, she leans into the kiss, her hands reaching to pull him closer. Looking for something to push out the worry. It must work well enough, because when she leans back, she looks at him with a sly twinkle. "Think we've practiced enough for today?" she asks with her fingers curling gently into his shirt.

In many ways, they both have the same worry. That eventually the other will realize what a disaster they happen to be. That they will take a second look and realize that they're both damaged beyond repair. Neither worthy of what the other seems to be wanting to give. But for now, they're both trying to forget what they feel is an eventuality.

With fingers curling on his shirt, Mateo grins, his own hand toying with a lock of her hair for a moment. "Depends on which practice you're talking about," he teases, with his own slyness to his eyes. That slyness says there's one of the double meanings they've had he could definitely do for more of.

And it's not bridging two points of space together.

One thing Lynette has never had a problem with is accepting the entropy of human relationships. Not for a long time. In times like these, she believes very much in making the most of a good moment and not expecting anything more. It's worked for her, keeping her heart from being broken by wanting more than she could have.

The flip side of that is to enjoying what she can have. And that comes across in a growing smile as he plays with her hair. "Well, let's say the one I have in mind is more fun. But if you're worried, I can promise you'll still get a workout." She starts walking backward, tugging him along with her. Because she has a less rocky location in mind.

Based on the way he's grinning, Mateo very much knows what she means, and is approving of it. At the moment, he doesn't expect anything other than enjoying a decent moment, one of the few he's had in a very long time. He won't mention that, though— He's sure he remembers enough that he won't disappoint either of them.

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