Purple Pills and Ability Abstinence


gillian4_icon.gif joseph_icon.gif

Scene Title Purple Pills and Ability Abstinence
Synopsis …is not necessarily what this scene is about when Gillian gives Joseph a gift.
Date September 1, 2010

The Garden

It wouldn't take long after getting to the Garden to find the location of the young woman who called him. They know Joseph Sumter, respect him, and no one hesitates to point him the right direction. Toward one of the upstairs bedrooms. After the long winter, it almost would have been easy to forget that the house isn't air conditioned. No electric lights shine to lead the way. Sunlight pours down an open window, to illuminate the trip up the staircase. Down a hall, bedroom on the right. It's one of the only ones with visible movement and activity. Someone's home.

Fresh air comes in from one of the windows in the room, breeze ruffling drapes, missmatched from the comforter on the bed. A bookshelf and small desk make up the rest of the room, with storage meant to be in a trunk at the end of the small bed. It's closed, and someone sits on top of it, wearing a simple black tanktop, and shorts. A black skeletal handprint stands out on the left side of her chest, palm pressed near her heart, fingers snaking up toward her shoulder, and a tattoo is visible on her right arm, inside the wrist. A tribal design with a yin/yang. The red hair hanging to her shoulders looks nothing like it had all those months ago, when she'd been strapped down and forced to participate in an experiment that had city-wide reprecussions.

But no matter how different she looks, when she looks over at the shadow in the doorway, it's Gillian Childs.

"Oh, good, you were able to come out," she says as she stands, fanning herself a little. It's so hot.

There is a certain unchangability when it comes to Joseph, though he never really gained back the weight he'd lost over the course of two kidnappings, dragging himself through the following rigors of the Ferrymen network. Hair cut, though, in approximately the same angles and lengths that she saw last, chin and jaw shaved that morning, his clothing simple and removed from the formal lines of suits and ties that had come with being a church leader. He has a shorter sleeved button down open over a simple grey tee, jeans and light sneakers, though nothing can really combat the heat of the place, especially after his hike here.

Boat ride over was nice. Cool, when you hung yourself over the railing. There'd been a scrabble in the network, realising that there might only be so much time to get folk Staten Island side before the clock chimes twelve, or some such, and that Joseph had gone along for the ride speaks of his curiousity for Gillian's summons, and the card he has in his wallet, his shield. Playing the part of shepherd.

He raps his knuckles on the door frame despite the fact that she can see him appearing right there in the door, black eyes showing some surprise for the shock of red that is her hair, but a crooked grin ensues. "Today," he agrees, before he's moving closer to draw her into a hug, a little awkward, but well-meaning.

"Yeah, sorry. And I thought it was hard to get out to this island last year," Gillian says with a grin, that he can't quite see, cause she pulls herself into the hug a bit more than he might have expected. He can hear it, though, in the softness of her voice. Her eyes are closed a little while longer even when she pulls back from the awkward hug, putting some distance between them— not too much. The bedroom isn't that big. There's vans that are bigger.

"It's been a while. I— I know I should have gone to the memorial, but…" she shakes her head. It's hard to mourn people who died to save you. And others, but still, she would have died if they hadn't gone in there, and they wouldn't have died if they hadn't. A handful of lives for over a dozen. Was it worth it?

"How have you been? I heard they let you go before… I was little jealous, I admit, but— I'm glad they didn't keep both of us for months."

Mention of the memorial has Joseph's smile swiftly vanishing, backing up as she does as well, and sticking his hands in his pockets. His body language speaks a few volumes, and adds an epilogue or so at the question she chooses to ask. Jealous gets kind of a crooked smile, marginally bitter. "I made somethin' of a deal with the devil, t'get out," he explains. "Gave a vision to Bella Sheridan, and promised I'd interpret it for her on the outside if she made sure, somehow, I got out. An'— " He shuts up, then, a head shake to dismiss that as having nothing more to say.

He did, but it's meant to be a secret, that he ran into Sheridan on the outside after all. "Well, I didn't expect it to work. But I think I know why they didn't keep me around. I wasn't any good to them after we was done." A shrug says: so there you go. "Glad we got you out in the end, though — I woulda taken you with me if I had any say in the matter.

"Don't worry nothing 'bout the memorial service neither. It was a train wreck."

"Deals with the devil— I actually broke down and tried that, offering to do things for them if they would let me go," Gillian says with a shrug, though she's turning away as she says that, moving around the small bed to open up the trunk that she was sitting on a few moments ago. "The most I could get out of them was a book to read while I was there. They wouldn't even give me a better room, so I'd feel less like a prisoner."

Some people make better deals with others…

"But they had a lot of uses for me. Nearly unlimited ones. Even if I kept turning their doctors into monsters." That doesn't quite sound right, but…

"I like private memorials better anyway. Less baggage." And drama and train wrecks, which that one seems to have had a lot of. But she's glad she didn't go. The baggage and the guilt would have been worse if she had.

"I went to a bookstore to pick up something. I was going for an art book, to give to someone in thanks for being there and talking to me afterwards, you know… but— well. This may seem all stereotypical of me, but the girl at the store found something that reminded me of, well, you." The book she pulls out is quite large and heavy, with a detailed cover in black, with visible lettering. It's almost like the cover was carved, more than printed. And from the cross etched into it, and the large visible lettering, it's clear it's a quite old, and quite large, Holy Bible.

A book to read. Joseph's eyes, black as buttons, slant off in cutting bitterness of memory that is safe to express when Gillian has her upper body in the trunk at the foot of the bed. He remembers books to read, the generousity, the feeling of Stockholm's sincere gratitude for this concession, and his hand drifts up to the feeling of the crucifix pendants on their chain beneath the fabric of his t-shirt. His fingers are going up to pick it out via silver thread to better fidget with, before he's doing him one better.

"Oh my," is his initial reaction, banishing off lesser thoughts and feelings like shooing bats from a cave. His hands go out to accept the gift — or at least hold it and look for himself, palm brushing over the graven cover. He's silent for a few moments, before he notes, "I can't accept this. I'm the one that— I'm the one that told you t'give in to them. That and it's too beautiful, this thing."

The book feels as heavy as it looks. No one will want to drop that on their foot anytime soon. It's an old family bible, with places for family trees and birth records, deaths. None of that is filled in. There's not even a name written in the cover. The value of it diminished by it's lack of use. It may have been in a store it's whole life, sitting on shelves, waiting to be bought, and filled in. But it never was.

Every few pages there's an illustration, both black and white, and the rare color pages. King James himself would have been proud. The only issue at all is age. Some pages feel more fragile than others.

"It didn't matter. They injected me with that black shit, so I didn't have a choice in the matter. They made sure I didn't. More than once." Injections of pure adrenaline, injections of Amp, pain experiments… "If it makes you feel any better I didn't even pay for it. I think I make people feel bad for me anytime I speak these days, cause strangers keep helping me and giving me things."

It's the truth, but as she looks up at his too dark eyes, the same color as the drug they kept injecting her with, she adds on, "I forgive you, though." Forgiving herself, or her ability, is harder.

He glances up at that, holds her gaze long enough to deem it something he can accept, like the good book in his hands, before Joseph nods to her and continues to explore the thinning contents, the yellowed pages and loving printmanship. "I'll keep it forever," he tells her, his voice ringing with admiring honesty, before he's closing heavy cover to heavy cover and hugging it protectively to his chest. He doesn't argue to her, about why it does matter, how every little thing can count towards how long your will holds out 'til it snaps, and from what he hears tell—

It snapped. But Joseph's gotten used to not trying to pick up every cross to bear, ever. "I can't use my power anymore," he decides to tell her. "I think whatever it is we did together sort of snapped something. Or maybe I'm not meant t'give anyone more visions 'til theirs gets fulfilled, and everyone got a vision, just about. It's weird."

"I kinda wish I had that problem. Maybe no one would want to lock me up if I couldn't be their pet power-cell," Gillian says quietly, not looking away despite her words of, once again, partial envy. "What they made us do was pretty huge, and maybe it's better than you don't have it, for a while. Gives you a chance to have some peace, to reflect— and to no longer be used for your ability." Having a giving ability has such easy abuses. And people who want to abuse it. She knows. So would Abby, back in the day.

"And if you wanted to try to use your ability again, I— I might be able to give you a jump-start." Even when she wants to lose her ability, she still feels the need to make the offer. "Not sure it would help, but if the last time you used it you were on that Amp stuff, you might need an extra… something or other to do what you need to do. Little blue pill for powers, that sorta thing." Only she's purple.

"No thank you," is quickly delivered, words like skipping rocks over a lake in terms of how much acknowledgment that Joseph is giving that analogy, though a crease of a small smile breaking through does write itself in his expression, a mix of amusement and discomfort. "Call me superstitious but I think we should refrain from combinin' powers for a short while. That and you're not a wrong, a break of kinds wouldn't be a bad thing."

He doesn't add on about how he's been sorta doing that anyway, or go into god-speak, that's so much less a habit these days. "Say, I was— thinking about bringing this up on my way over," hey, diversion, "I'm s'posed to be in charge of seeing through education for the kids in the network. Was wondering if you'd like to help out. You seemed real good with the Lighthouse clan, and librarians know a thing or two about learning, I like to think."

Very little good has ever come from a combination of their abilities, Gillian can't help but nod, even a little relieved that he's taking the 'no powers' approach for a while. Maybe she could get away with saying her ability is gone? Rather than it being a constant looming threat just waiting to bust out and leak into the room if she looses control of her emotions…

But she's not that lucky.

"I'd love that," she says quickly enough on his offer. "I just can't do it on paper or anything. I don't want the people behind that place to know I made it out of there. For as long as possible." Her reprieve. If she can manage it. "But I still want to be in their lives, as much as I can. For as long as I can, so I'll definitely help you out with teaching them. And maybe at the same time you can teach me a thing or two."

Stepping closer, a hand reaches up to tap the book she'd just given him. "I never was good at religious stuff, but the Bible's one of the oldest books around, so it can't be all bad." That's toned as a joke. "Probably has a bunch of parts for what we've been through the last few months."

"Won't be on paper," Joseph adds with a nod, reassurance in his smile, before following the track of her hand to the heavy book he carries. "Oh, it does. It— " His hand rests on the cover, fingertips tracking along the shape of the cross. "I won't say it helps, because it won't always, not unless you want it to, or need it to. I've spent a lot of time not really being in tune with the Lord's words, myself, but you can learn that too, whether through the book or otherwise. Be happy to show you some, though."

He shrugs, a brief, jerky motion. "Been thinking about takin' up pastoral work for the Ferry, even. We'll see. Maybe this is somethin' of a sign — the Bible, and takin' away my power. Be like it used to be."

Shaking his head, Joseph takes a step back. "Anyhow, I can keep you in the loop 'bout the education project. Maybe you can help me find a place for when we need somewhere to go, on the chance we can't find enough tutors to spread out."

"If anyone needs more prayers these days, it's us," Gillian admits with a nod, certainly finding the idea of a chaplan for their little makeshift army to be a good idea. Pastor, chaplan, whichever. It all leads to the same thing. "You don't have to give people visions to give them hope." And hope and prayers are something that, quite definitely everyone needs.

"You know, since you came all this way, you should let me treat you to lunch. Course, the idea of lunch out here is basically planting your butt down at a table with a bunch of other people and eating whatever they cooked today. And it's not my turn to cook, it's usually pretty good." Always the self-disser in her cooking, though the Lighthouse kids would know she's not as bad as she makes herself sound.

Dodging by him, to get through the door, she makes a wavy motion for him to follow, "You can lead the group in grace, too."

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