Prodigal Daughters


gillian_icon.gif jenny2_icon.gif

Scene Title Prodigal Daughters
Synopsis Gillian takes Jenny to the Lighthouse, and they go over some history together, as well as family secrets.
Date February 25, 2010

En Route to The Lighthouse

To call this car a car is almost generous. A few bags shoved into the back seat, one might think that they were moving, and in fact they are. The hotel she'd found was cheap enough, but money is still money, and there's a reason she's been crashing at other people's places. She doesn't have much. And the fact that most of what she got out of globe trotting to save the world came in scholarships don't help keep them in warm beds. Or warm cars, either.

In protest to the cold, Gillian takes the next time the car slides to a stop to slam her palm against the dash board. The vents only spew out air a little warmer than what they have already in the car, but each degree over is an improvement.

Dim headlights and some lighting give them enough to see by, as their eyes adjusted. With the quickest route to Staten Island downed for a year now, the long route means, even if they left before sunset, it's dark by the time they actually got to the partailly desemated suburb, where she made sure they locked the doors— and didn't stop long. "Sorry this thing is a piece of shit. There's another blanket in the back seat, if you want one." Then again, the girl in the passanger seat had been dead, then homeless. Being out of the wind and the dampness may be good enough…

"The place we're going to… there's a couple people who've gone through Refrain withdrawal as well, so they'll understand what you're going through." One of the Brians, Juniper… "How you doing?" A few days ago, Gillian never thought she'd see her sister again, as more than a vivid memory, a dream, or an illusion and a trick.

The Jenny sitting in the passenger seat is about as real as a Jenny can get, if only because of the imperfections. Time, apparently, has changed her, her clothes comfortable instead of fashionable, split ends fraying dry even though her hair's been gone through with a few combs since their reunion, and right now, the slight shine of moisture over her brow, on her cheeks. It could be attributed to the leak of her power, but the slightly sweet smell of warm human has been steadily filling the car. Fever sweat, or something like it.

"I'm okay," she says, bringing up a hand to rub beneath her eye, before both hands link together in her denim clad lap. Her red hair has been left to spill freely about her shoulders, and there's also the scent of shampoo and soap on her person, even if her nose is still a little pink from the cold she's beating in tandem with— whatever this is. "Warm, too, it's cool. I mean— you know what I mean."

She smooths her fingertips against her brow. "I guess I'm not over all the hurdles yet, huh?"

Just like Jenny's changed, so has Gillian. Face lacking the heavy eye make up and lip stick that she favored before, she's only brushed her hair, and not bothered with the rest since they found each other again. The tone of her voice has lightened, and the curses that do appear seem fewer and farther between than the year and a half since their last real conversation.

"No, not yet— actually, I guess the lack of heat probably does feel good," Gillian says, getting the car moving again with a coughing jolt that comes with the accelerator. Hand goes to the dial, turning the heat off. It's better than the streets, and she's got a coat. If it gets too cold the rest of the trip, there's always a turn of the knob again… Though it may not come back on again, either…

"I spent a lot of time sitting on the bathroom floor when I went through it. But you're not going to be alone. I wasn't alone either." There'd been people to make sure she didn't run out the door and find another vial just to make the pains stop.

"What was the… last thing you remember, anyway? That you remember now. The whole before you woke up with no memory, thing?"

And for a change, she actually seems like the older sister, looking over with concern, trying to offer advice…

Snuggling back into her car seat, Jennifer offers a fleeting smile when the heater is turned off, taking a breath of still chilly air. "I, uh…" She looks ahead of them, although her eyes don't seem focused past the windshield. Some other time and place. Above them, there's a line between her brows, concentration. "It's kind of hard to know the order…" she starts, and trails off. Her chin tucks in as she studies her hands, mouth curling into a bitter sort of smile. No, she knows what her last memory was.

"It was dark. Light would come in in the edges. Foot steps on the metal, above me, voices outside. I was trapped, and I was hurt." She says this with a kind of steel, similar to the edge her older sister more readily adopts. "And so much water. I could feel it." A glance Gillian's way, eyes flashing — hopefully with something that isn't a feverish delirium, although the rest of her, barring sticky sweat, seems fine. "I couldn't reach it, but I knew it was there, in a deeper— kind of sense than just hearing the birds or the waves."

She breathes through her nose, a little snuffly, and dabs at it with the back of her sleeve. "And then the door opens. Loudly. And he's there. And that's… that's all I remember." It's a weak ending, and her voice mimics this. "Kind of lame, right? I don't even remember his face, just his shape against the light. Sometimes— I'd see that when I got on a bad trip, and I thought it was a nightmare, but it feels too— " Her hands splay a little, thin fingers hooking. "Textured."

Just out of reach. Like so much in the last year. "I'm sorry," Gillian quietly says, turning down a street. The roads of Staten Island aren't filled with moving vechiles, but an occasional one drives by, threatening to blind them with bright head-on lights. Squinting avoids that, but not always. The longer this conversation goes, the more she squints— tension in her forehead and jaw, making the dimple appear in her cheek.

"That you got involved in that. I left my apartment without taking any of my stuff, without paying the rent for another month… I know you got taken at my apartment…" The night before, she'd avoided this line of conversation, allowing her sister to rest, but… She even knew a way to contact who'd taken her, and she'd chosen not to. And she ate dinner and slept near the man who probably possessed that body-shape she saw in the doorway…

"It was partially my fault that all this happened to you."

A pearly set of teeth nip down on her bottom lip, Jenny's gaze dropping from where she'd lifted it briefly. For a moment, there's silence, and the wheels dragging on the road and the rattle of the engine, air guttering around the car's rusty body, before she turns a smile in Gillian. Her hand goes out, touches her sister's wrist — her palm is damp and cool to touch, a little uncomfortable, but the gesture is there and clear. "It's easier for me to just blame the man in the door," she says, voice quiet, a dry kind of chuckle contained in the words but not released. "That's all I need."

Her hand retracts, and hides in the folds of her sweat as Jenny crosses her arms around her torso, a slight headshake designed to shift strands of red from her face. "So, what's up with you these days?"

A laugh, almost in the form of a tense exhale, follows on the heels of the question. With everything that's happened in the last year, this… "Right now I'm trying to take care of the sister I thought was dead for over a year now," Gillian says, eyes shifting to the cold slightly damp part of her wrist that had been touched, before focusing back on the road. "I signed up for a few more online classes. Might eventually go for a second degree, maybe even a Bachelors eventually." Associates may have been enough to do a job at the library, but a higher degree would work wonders.

"I— help out at the place I'm taking you now. It's an orphanage, a place for wayward youngsters. There's a lot of orphans from three years ago. And of course the following years too." Always something…

Turning the wheel again, she keeps the driving slow an cautious, using the time to think. There's a hint of a hand shrug, before she adds, "I also Registered recently. I— I don't know if you knew. Victor seemed to have. I didn't think he did, but… Maybe you knew too."

"I found your name," Jenny confirms, subtle creases at her eyes in a smile. "Let me know that you were still here, in New York." Fingers up to toy with the ends of her hair, as if the length were bothering her or perhaps just the texture, Gillian can catch a slight smirk in the reflected glass that shows Jenny's face depending on where the lights turn, and she huffs out a small chuckle. "From— everything I remember," she starts, with a rueful glance, "and everything I feel, I wouldn't have pegged you for the charitable type."

Her mirth dims a little, as if the context of being a charity case herself just slid in, and she clears her throat. The change has fatigue showing through a little more obviously, blinking slowly as if to clear her vision as she sets her head back against the carseat. "Glad you are. But you know what I mean."

"Yeah, I know— If you could travel back in time two years and go 'hey, you're helping out at an orphanage and wanting to major in Human Services', I'd probably tell you to stop smoking whatever the hell you're smoking. And that's after mocking you for fucking time travel," Gillian makes more of the breathy exhale laughs, deep, but with emphasis. Time travel is something she wouldn't mock now. Just like coming back from the dead, after the initial 'this is a lie' passed…

"There's so much that happened since you… since we last saw each other. I'm not even sure where to…" A figure at a door. Other men in her life. The terrorist activities she'd been involved in. The government sanctioned activities… There are a few important things, family things…

"I found out I'm adopted. You and Victor weren't, but I was. That's half why I'm involved here. The guy who runs it is my twin— my birth twin. It doesn't change that we're still sisters. No one ever annoyed me as much as you did. I go and eat dinner with mom and dad every so often. Once you're ready, I'm sure they'll love to see you, know that you're… okay."

Jenny tries not to respond too quickly when she says, "Later. Like— late later. Coming home to you was hard enough and," she breathes in a shaky inhale, lets it out again in a thin stream through pursed lips before she licks them, and continues, "and I just need to get my bearings first. Get used to being Jenny Childs again, I guess." Her fair skin is flushed when she glances at Gillian, the moon of her face gone pink like pollution's gone and distorted the reflection. Damp. From her power, from some sickness, it's impossible to tell.

But she's smiling. "That's weird to think about. That you're not— not my sister by blood. Genetics. But it's not so bad, I mean… it's hard to explain." She seems like she's about to dismiss the notion, before she says, "Not so bad that we don't have to be sisters to be sisters."

"And as for where to start…" She shrugs. "We have a lot of time to figure that out, don't we?"

"I hope so," Gillian says quietly, watching the road and not even noticing the tears coming into her eyes while she squints against an uncoming car lights. They're almost there, but it's not the harsh light that bothers her, so much as the idea that… she's has a chance to figure that out with her sister, in every way even if not blood. Only when the tears fall does she notice and reach up to wipe them away with the hand that isn't on the wheel.

The hand that wiped tears away reaches over, to touch her cheek, get a feel of her temperature, and the dampness on her skin. It could be ability, but it could be something else. "Once we get there, we can get you into a bed and find some meds to help deal with the flu-like stuff. A cool shower might help too."

At the touch, Jenny starts like she might move away, but doesn't — just lets her eyes go crescent in a smile, before she nods, wanly. "Yeah," she agrees, before again settling deep into the carseat, letting her eyes fall shut. "I can't wait to crash. But maybe you can tell me about home, while I fall asleep." Her eyes open briefly, focuses green discs and dilated pupils on her sister, before she shuts them again. "The parts that I don't remember."

"Wouldn't say crash while I'm driving, you might jinx the rest of the trip, and we're nearly there," Gillian says, displaying some flippancy that is like what may have been remembered about her. Minus the curses.

"Let's see… I don't know which parts you don't remember… What do you remember best? Before the dark place, with water too far away. Like… what did you remember about our life, specifically? Do you remember… when you flooded the apartment cause we were having an argument over something stupid…"

There's a testing glance, one that also seems hopeful.

There's a guttering laugh from Jenny, throaty. "I've never done that again, you know," she says, eyes still shut, voice drowsy, damp sounding and small in her throat. "Never moved that much water again. It can hurt people, you know? Water can hurt people."

There is some vague discomfort in her voice, before she moves on with the conversation. She shifts in her seat, peeks at Gillian with a fluttery smile. "You were so mad, I could almost feel it. Poor peace-loving Victor, living with us two." Lifting her head, hair a little bed-head like, she squints fuzzily at Gillian. "What was that even about, anyway?"

A pause, before she glances out the windshield to see how far along they are. "We didn't talk much after that, did we?"

There's some disappointment for an instant, but Gillian keeps eyes on the road, giving a hand shrug gesture with the hand on the wheel. "I barely remember. It was something stupid, I think about a guy I was dating. I always did have terrible taste in men. Or at least terribly self destructive tastes." She laughs softly to puncutate. Yeah, that hasn't changed too much. But what has changed is that she admits to it.

"You're right, though, we didn't really talk that much after that. You moved to Boston and started going to school there. Only really saw you on holidays, birthdays… Victor kept trying to get us to play nice, then he ended up running off to California too…" The baby brother, torn between two sisters who just couldn't seem to get along…

"Did— something happen with your ability? That made you realize it's dangerous?"

"Drowned a guy." Pretty straight forward. She looks at Gillian again, now, cat-like green not quite begging forgiveness, but something close to it. Analytical. Streetlamps send floods of white across her pinkened features, and she draws her lips in, mouth become a line before speaking again. "It was before I knew I was an Evo. Before the Refrain. I drowned him in a puddle and I didn't even have to knock him down.

"I was a theatre major."

There. Jenny puts this in, almost proud of this tidbit she can contribute, and seeming pretty content with such an abrupt change of conversation. A blush blooms beneath the flu-flush, and she shrugs. "One of the happier memories I got— " Another jolty shrug. She's already said how she gets her memories. "— was when I qualified for an advanced course in my second year. I don't remember how well I did," she giggles, a little despairingly, "but I was pretty thrilled to get in, at least. I just— "

She rakes a hand through her damp hair, blowing out a sigh. "I don't know how easy I can go back to it all. After everything. Dying, officially. Never mind a drug addiction, living on the streets, manslaughter. Paperwork to make someone alive again is gonna be a drag."

Drowned a guy. There's a flicker of a glance off the road and over to her sister, but Gillian didn't say anything at first, and didn't hold the eye contact long. A light shines in the distance. Even if the light in the top of the tower isn't lit and rotating, there's activity and live within the house. The second floor has lights on, the bottom floor. It's a place where people are… Which is a lot more than many houses they drove by.

The more her sister talks, the more that hopefully look comes back. It overpowers any visible negative emotion about her sister having drowned someone. "We'll figure something out. I have some friends who deal with that sort of thing. Not quite to this extreme— my 'I'm not dead!' paper work happened pretty fast… But my lawyer friend might be able to do the same for you." It'd just take longer…

"And I'm sorry you hurt someone. We'll have to practice sometime… My ability basically makes your ability stronger. That's why you could flood the apartment. Alone it's not dangerous, but… depending on whose ability I make stronger, it is."

And people have died because of her, too.

"Oh," Jenny says, head lifting again and looking at Gillian like that explains it. There's some relief visible, at the hinge of her jaw and the way her eyes go a little soft. "Okay. Yeah, sure. Sometime, we can do that." Some silence follows, some more snuffling from the delicate leaky tap of her nose, taking out a tissue from her pocket to dab at it properly, before she bundles thin paper into a fist, and seems to nod once, decisively. "And thanks for not freaking out. About what I did. I figured— "

Another damp sound chuckle, chin tucking inwards. "I figured that for all we didn't exactly get along, you'd be reliable. You were always the bad girl, you know? Now I am. Prodigal daughter."

"Please, I've done much worse than drowned some guy," Gillian says, that flippance coming back, but at the same time, she's not really smiling, and she glances over, and grows more serious. "If you'd not known about your ability, then I expect he did something to hurt you, or scare you." Wishful thinking? Possibly, but even with amnesia, she doesn't think her sister would intentionally drown someone.

"But I still think I'm the bad girl. I'm not ready to give that up yet, even if I do have to make an example to a bunch of kids now…"

Not how she expected to live her life. Even if she found a strange satisfaction in helping people. The car slows down, the road rocky and broken, mostly gravel, as she parks next to a run down van. "Here we are. Let's get you a shower and a bowl of soup, Prodigal daughter."

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License