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Scene Title Protected
Synopsis Veronica and Brian reunite after many days apart, with Brian learning about the major upheaval in Veronica's life.
Date May 24, 2010

The Lighthouse

There are certain things that can be comforting in times of extreme discomfort.

The large light flicks on for a fraction of a moment. Piercing through the surrounding darkness briefly before returning to the previous gloom. The Lighthouse is still covered in snow. But not in an overwhelming fashion. The kids, and Brian's many helpers have kept the place functional, keeping places to play free and clear of too much powder. A few snowmen surround the perimeter of the building, one real tall and sloppy, another adorned in both mens and womens clothes. Probably an undecided gender.

Certain aspects of people can provide a certain warmth, only for the reason that those traits can be counted on.

All the lights are off in the rest of the building. It's far past bed time. And no one inside the house is awake. The only one awake is the lone guardian atop the Lighthouse. A harsh wind slaps through the tower of the building, causing a bit of a whistle as it hisses through.

Like punctuality.

Brian sits uneasily in a chair clearly not meant for this weather. A faded lawn chair nestled in the roost of the tower serves as Brian's perch. Situated next to the light the heavily clad young man goes to reclaim the steaming cup of styrofoam which helps him keep vigilant. Beanie pulled low, Brian leans over with a creak to examine the side of the tower. Ladder is still leaning against it. Someone had asked if they needed to put it away for him. He politely declined, saying he would do it later. He didn't. A sip is taken from his cup. The signal lit up, it was about time.

That was a comforting thing. Veronica was always on time.

From his perch, he will see the snowmobile curving its way toward the Lighthouse. Its single rider could be anyone — black snow parka, gloves, goggles and ski mask hide identity and even gender, as bulky as the winter gear is. But once it parks, there is something about the posture and of course the height that suggests that it is a woman and not just any woman, but Veronica.

The unseen face tilts upward — a hand lifts when she sees him in the window, though there is no expression visible behind the goggles and mask. She begins the climb, moving a little slower than she might otherwise, due to wind, exhaustion, and invisible injuries.

Stooping down, Brian goes to pick up the second styrofoam cup lurking near the stairs. Going to stand up, the young man stacks his cups on the wall around the tower. Releasing the cups, Brian goes to pull a black glove off one hand. Steam puffs out of his mouth onto his now bare hand, balling up a fist in front. The second glove is taken off as Brian nears the wall.

Leaning over the wall, one hand goes down to the arriving snowmobile rider. Going to lead and help her off the ladder then up and over the rail.

"What's wrong baby?"

Once over the rail, Veronica pushes off her goggles and mask, letting them fall to the floor before throwing her arms around Brian, pressing close to him. Her cold face buries in his neck and she takes a long, slow breath. She doesn't speak, but stays like this a long, still moment, simply breathing in his scent and soaking in his nearness.

When she finally speaks, it's with the whisper she spoke with on the phone — already having explained that away as laryngitis, to the extreme. "It's so good to see you."

His arms immediately fold around her. Cheek going to press against the side of her head. A warm smile creeping up his lips as he pulls her in close. Allowing the moment to pass in silence, he keeps her close. Finally he pulls his head up to plant a kiss against her forehead. "I miss you too."

A light grin plays on his features for his moments, though he doesn't pull away. "You sound like an old black guy with that voice." The young man murmurs gently. Still clinging to her, he motions gently to the sytrofoam cups. "I made you hot chocolate."

She laughs, a husky huffing sound in her ravaged voice. "That old black guy with the voice," she echoes, brushing her lips across his cheek. "I don't want to get you sick…" she says, though she brings a gloved finger to brush his lips, where she wishes to kiss him.

She moves to take the cup, smiling as she brings it to her mouth, sipping it slowly more for the warmth than anything else. She sighs and sits on the rail, looking up at him. Her cheeks are pink from the cold, but she looks exhausted, weary, and ill. "Before you say I look like shit, I know I do. And I'm okay. I just have a cold, and then I had a vaccination, so I think I'm a little sick from that too. The last week's been … bad. Gabriel helped his father escape — we had him … Ichihara and Paulson turned on us… They're both dead… I saw… Paulson die." She hasn't told him that she'd forgiven Paulson yet. "And… there's something else." She reaches for his hand again, squeezing it, as she stares at her boots. Somehow she finds it more difficult to say to him, of all people. She merely scowls down at her feet.

"Get me sick. I'll just absorb this body after you leave. Will be like it never happened." He smiles brightly as the finger brushes over him. He opens his mouth slightly to half-bite half-kiss it. Then it retreats to the cup. He leans in to kiss her cheek again. "Besides. I miss you. A little cold would still be worth it."

A ligth tsk is given in return to her shit-statement. "You don't look like shit. You're beautiful, so this unfortunate predicament just makes you look… above average." He pauses with a little grin. "You look like shit." He admits, pecking her cheek again. Then with the whole story rattling, Brian looks a little bewildered as she goes on. A murmured, "Okay." And then a, "Yeah." A light sigh at Paulson dying.

"I'm sorry baby." And then, something else. A brow arches lightly as he looks at her closely. "What?"

"You're pregnant?"

Veronica just stares at him, her caramel eyes blinking once in awe at the way his mind works. "What? No." She laughs and brings a hand up to rake through her hair, though the thick glove just tousles it messily. "I … when Paulson was fighting me… I manifested." She shakes her head, still confused at that night's memories.

"I'm Evolved. SLC-positive. Whatever you want to call it." She glances down and swallows. "It's nothing dangerous." No, not quite the truth. "Not inherently dangerous." A little closer.

"Power reflection. Not all powers. And there's downsides and upsides. It's… it's confusing. And it's apparently passive. Always on," she explains, standing again. "Can we go where it's warm?"

"Well you got all quiet and like you didn't want to say what's next that's like the tell tale sign a girl is going to admit she's pregnant, right?" Brian explains quickly, almost defensively. He frowns for a moment. "Well if you were, I wouldn't be mad." He says quickly just in case she's a big fat liar and is pregnant.

"You're—" The voice cuts off, as Brian's shoulders visibly drop, mouth shutting instantly. His eyes widen as she first speaks, he watches her closely as she continues to explain. "Are you serious?" Grey eyes wide, he peers at her closely. "You got to be kidding me? Are you serious?" Still staring at her, he is slowly pulled out of his shock by her last question. "We can go to my room.." He mutters, sounding rather quiet. Still in shock. "This way.." His arm raises up, guiding towards the stairway.

The quiet and shocked reaction from Brian has her brows twitch together, her eyes dropping to the floor. She just nods. Yes, she's serious. Shakes her head. No, not kidding. Nods: yes, serious. Kat's words come back to her from earlier today: You seem almost defeated. She feels it.

She lets him guide her, having never been to the Lighthouse before and not knowing her way. As she walks, the tears begin to well up in her eyes, sliding down her face that she ducks, letting her hair fall forward in hopes he won't notice. A surreptitious brush of her gloved hand across her eyes is an attempt to get rid of the evidence.

As he leaves her quietly down the staircase, silence encompasses the pair. Holding her gloved hand quietly, Brian walks with wide eyes down to the bottom floor. They pass the floor, all the kids rooms. A shuffle here or there can be heard. But then they are down to the first floor and quickly into Brian's room. The door is closed swiftly as Brian flicks on the light. It is much warmer.

Releasing her hand, Brian finally decides to break the silence. "Vee… You're like me." The happiness is clearly evident in his tone, the smile slowly working up his features. Obviously he is excited about this. He hasn't even registered what she said her power was, yet.

They are like the two masks of classical drama — Brian smiling, Veronica crying. She looks up at his face, her eyes full of tears, another streaming down and running along the side of her nose. She shakes her head. "Being Evolved, being non-Evolved — that doesn't matter. I loved you anyway. You loved me anyway. All it changes is that the people who hate you for being different hate me now, too," she whispers, as she glances down, tugging off one glove, then the other and unzipping her parka.

"I'm not bothered, really, about being Evolved, except I… I feel like a hypocrite for how I used to think. And because for the first time I'm scared at what's coming around the bend in a personal way." She lifts tired eyes to him again, stepping closer now that she can actually feel him without gortex parka separating them. "There's some bad things — I can't… I can't be healed… but I can't be mindwiped either. Unless I'm negated first…" she shakes her head, trying to figure out all the ramifications of her power.

Watching her, his smile slowly fades away. His features go into a quiet depression as he watches her sadness. He frowns lightly, looking a little alarmed. "You're…. I.. I don't want you to be scared, Vee." Frowning deeply, he goes to put his hand on her now more accessible shoulder. "You don't need to be scared, baby. It's not that bad."

His own bulky jacket is quickly discarded. Tossed back, Brian takes a step closer. Now wearing just a long sleeved shirt, the young man curls his arms around her waist. "So.. Wait. What is your power? What does it do?"

She leans her chin on his chest and peers up. "I'm scared for everyone. This Institute — they're not good, Brian. If you thought the Company was bad, this is worse. Part of me wants to quit but part of me wants to stay and figure out all this stuff that Ichihara and Paulson were talking about. It might … it might be important. And maybe we can use it to negotiate change somehow. I don't know." She shakes her head and turns to sit down on the bed, pulling him down beside her.

"Power reflection, or that's what they called it. I don't know if we have anything on file quite like it. Ryans said he hasn't seen it before. When Paulson went to throw me, it threw him instead. They tested me — it's nothing I have under control. If … if a telepath tries to read my mind, they read their own, I guess. If a healer tries to heal me, they'll heal themselves. Doesn't work with objects — anything created, I can't create. Your power wouldn't do anything. Gillian's… I'd augment her, I guess, instead of the other way around. I don't know everything yet. Probably need more tests."

"Quit?" It's like a magic word that Brian instantly links onto. The excitement behind the word is clearly evident. A flicker of a smile pops up, his hand raising up to rest at the top of her chest. Slowly slinking down to rest on top of the ring under her shirt. Pressing his thumb against it, he smiles gently at her. Slowly going to sit next down with her, his fingers go to entwine with hers.

"What if.. Like someone tries to flame you? They flame themselves? That's real handy Vee. Extra protection. This is good." He smiles brightly, peering over at her. Tilting his head for a moment, he brings up his free hand to guide her head to rest on his shoulder. "Do you want to stay here tonight, baby?" He murmurs, glancing to the bed below them.

Frowning, Veronica looks away as he lights up at the word quit. He didn't hear the rest of it, clearly. She squeezes her fingers when his entangle with hers, bringing the back of his hand up to kiss. "No. Flame's created… so no. Nothing that manifests something like an actual object. Fire, ice, no. But … telekinetic power, yes. Mental blasts, hypnosis, puppetry. Things like that, they can't do."

She lets go of his hand so that she can tug off her snow boots. "Please. I just… I don't want to be alone." Everything she's said has been a whisper, but this is quieter yet. Boots off, she pulls her feet up and lies down, tugging him with her. "I didn't tell you the worst of it yet," she whispers, dark eyes closing as she rests her forehead against his. "I'd forgiven Paulson. I was trying to let him go when they shot him."

"Oh. Well.. Still. That's helpful, babe. You're protected. Kinda." Brian gives a little smile, trying to force his smile onto her features by sheer force of will. As she lays down he lowers himself next to her. Laying on his side, he goes to rest one hand on her stomach. "Then you forgave him." Winters says softly. "If you were trying than.. You did. Just do it." He says softly, going to kiss her forehead gently.

"I love you Vee."

She shakes her head, the tears coming again. "No, I mean… I wanted him to escape. He killed people in the Company, because he was trying to set right all the wrongs that have been done — to him, by him, to me, to you… they… they said something about the bomb. I don't know. That they might have known about it. I need to stay and find that out. I need to find out the truth, Brian."

Another tear slides down her cheek, and she brings her hand to his face, cupping it as she looks into his eyes. "I need to stay a little while longer."

Scene Paused, Brian wlll add final pose when awake :D

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