arnold_icon.gif lydia_icon.gif samuel_icon.gif

Scene Title Resistance
Synopsis Arnold brings tidings to Lydia — but it might be too late, to show signs of resistance.
Date October 31, 2010

Ichihara Bookstore: Lydia's Apartment

It won't be unexpected, when Arnold appears. Samuel had bid Lydia to allow her late Sunday evening to be free, and to not be surprised when the time traveler and terrakinetic arrive within her home, with a task of the upmost importance. However, what might be unexpected, is that Arnold is alone.

Air is pushed aside when his fragile frame appears within a modest spot in her space, bringing with him a vaguely, smoky scent that doesn't speak so much for the effects of his power, burning through the time-space continuum, but a habit that stains his fingertips yellow like parchment and has the same effect on his teeth. He's dressed for warmth, in a lined, tweed coat, his feet in demure but well-worn leather shoes, and a cheesecutter cap he's taking off now that he's inside.


The small apartment overtop Ichihara Bookstore is dimly lit by the lamplight and candlelight of flickering flame. It's a soft lighting in a near silent room— save for the sound of a kettle whistling, a sound that stops as Lydia unplugs the kettle. She turns at the sound of her name, causing her willowy white dress to swish around the motion, following which she takes time to pause with a slight tilt of her head. There's a curious pause of her eyebrows and lips as her eyes scan her visitor.

"Arnold?" She shuffles towards him, each step weightier than the last. "Where's Samuel?" Her eyebrows knit tighter together with concern while her hands reach out towards him. "Is everything okay?" A glance is given towards a teapot that sits beside the kettle, "Tea?"

Shuffling forward, he smiles beneath his bristle of silver moustache, a hand out to take her's in a paternal grip of greeting. "Samuel'll be here in a few minutes," Arnold assures, with a slight twinkle in his eye, having edited time and space just enough to make himself arrive some time earlier than their fearless leader, or whatever it is he might be calling himself. "I could go for tea, but let's wait 'til we're all here." Releasing her palm, he fidgets with the edge of his cap as he moves further into the room.

He hadn't answered her, yet, about is everything okay. He steals a glance around, having been up here far less than Samuel, some approving nod at the home one of his family has made for herself, before taking a thin breath. "He's probably gonna kill Gillian Childs. One've the girls we turned to our side."

With that announcement made, Arnold turns back to Lydia, mouth twisting. "I just thought you should know. I told him that I weren't the one that brought her back to the present, after she was s'posed to change things. Kaylee, too. The telepath lady? He tried to off her too, but I rescued her my own self before he could. I don't think he knows yet." Concern etches more age lines than were already there into his face, and he shakes his head.

Confusion continues as Lydia gapes at Arnold. She struggles to find words, syllables get stuck within her throat, and it isn't until she gasps for air that she realizes she's been holding her breath. "W-why? Why would he kill Gillian or Kaylee?" Her dark eyes narrow at Arnold. "I thought— " again she's struggling with the words, except this time, the struggle isn't verbal, it's mental. All of her former doubt returns. Her lips purse together as her body tenses underneath quick duress. "He can't kill them. Neither of them." Her lips press together as her arms tighten across her body almost defensively, defiantly as she collects her thoughts— all of the evidence taken together.

"He's going to ask me where to find them, isn't he?" Her arms are lowered to her side as she takes a deep breath. "I'm going to have to lie."

The way Arnold's shoulders slump, a little, communicates some relief. That Lydia isn't just dealing out death sentences with her ability. "I can't keep protecting them on my own," he admits, ruefully. "There was an ambush— he set something arwy, back in Vietnam. He figured— he figured that Hiro Nakamura would send his best, in a place like that, and sent Kira after them all. It wasn't about changing history anymore. It wasn't about anything I agreed to help with."

Another shake of his head. "I've seen change. History is powerful, when you wield it right. We've done things, but not since Nakamura stepped in. And maybe that's just the way things're supposed to be."

A sympathetic frown plays on Lydia's lips as she she shakes her head, "I didn't know he was killing anyone until just over a month ago. And he managed to justify it." Irritably, she raises a hand to her forehead while her eyes clamp shut at her own naivety. With a heavy sigh she shakes her head again, "Who are we to judge who should live or die? Why is he doing this?"

Absently, she bites her bottom lip, "Joseph knew. Joseph knew this was in Samuel and I ignored it." And back then she'd noticed a dark cloud over the younger Sullivan. "We can stop Samuel— we have to; he won't be allowed to hurt anyone else."

"He wanted the same things we want," the elderly man says. Assures. "Or that's how he said it. I guess I thought that it would be better late than never, to make a difference with the ability God gave me. I know we have to do something, but we have to be careful— "

And then, that familiar sound of rushing air, as Samuel appears just on time as Arnold predicted, the latter managing a thin smile for the younger man as the terrakinetic rolls his shoulders as if to loosen them of some unknown tension. He's in a mood, that much is immediately clear, engraved into the lines at his eyes and the angle of his jaw as he flares a pointed stare Arnold's way once he assesses his own placement in the room, the way the time traveler has his hat in his hands.

"So nice to see the pair've you catchin' up," he says, opening his jacket to pull notepad out from where it's been placed, the same one he draws the faces he sees, copying them from bare back to bare pages. "If y'don't mind, I could stand t'get on with business."

A reply was imminent, quite literally on the tip of Lydia's tongue in a single syllable, "Per— " but quickly silenced by Samuel's appearance, sent back into retreat to the spaces of her consciousness. A tight-lipped smile replaces the doubt and concern— a well-rehearsed pokerface wins her expression complete with that peaceful serenity. "Samuel," she greets as warmly as she can manage before shuffling back towards her teapot, "Tea?" A glance is given between the men as she shuffles back to the pot and pours two cups; one for each of them. "I trust you are well," she states evenly.

Both cups are, however, abandoned for the couch as per Samuel's request to get down to business. Her red blanket is pulled across her lap. Her long fingers comb through her substantially longer tresses, drawing her hair to the front of her body. Carefully, she unbuttons the front of the dress, allowing her hair to conceal all else, even as she shrugs the dress from her shoulders. The blanket is then pulled over her front, its warmth much needed in the cool air.

"'bout as well as I can be, in these circumstances." Samuel cracks open the notepad without much regard for Lydia's disrobing, thumbing through ink-smudged pages until he finds the one he's looking for. His fingers clamp over the top of the book, pressing it open as he angles around to show the portrait to Lydia. A familiar face in at least two different respects, from when she'd come up on Lydia's skin, through to when she arrived at the bookstore door down below.

Gillian Childs' hair shaded to suggest its redness, a beauty mark on the correct cheek, minor dimples in a sly smile. "This one," he says, bending at the waist to toss his slightly roughed over book on the table parked before the sofa. "Few things I need to clarify with her, like why her changes didn't seem t'take."

Arnold is pensively silent, working his cap around in his hands as he blinks slowly across at Lydia.

"Perhaps the changes couldn't root." It's moments like these that have Lydia particularly thankful for her long hair. It does its job to shelter the slightest frown that plays across her lips. It's within that moment that her demeanour changes. The base of her palm is pressed firmly to her forehead as if a searing pain finds its way through the empath's brain. Her entire body tenses at the same time as she apparently attempts to concentrate on Gillian and her locale. "I can't— " she begins, the words broken as she forces her eyebrows tightly together, presumably fighting to make her ability operate. "I can't see her."

There's no denying she's been emotionally 'off' lately, and as an empath, presumably that would matter to her process, correct. "It's foggy, all I can see are birds," even if her skin says otherwise, the claim asserts that she can't navigate these waters.

Samuel doesn't offer protest at her suggestion of what might have gone wrong, moving at a pace and entirely ignoring Arnold's presence in the room. He stops when her body tenses up, when she says those words, his eyes deadly in their sharpness and analysis. "Birds," he repeats, moving to crouch across from her, a hand set against the low table. "Hiro can't've hidden her anywhere, you're too good." Except when she is foggy, and it's not so outlandish as to be inconsistent with what he knows of her power.

"You best not be playing me like one've the dullards we used to bring through our gates every night." However, there's enough doubt lacing through his voice to make his protest mostly token, for all that it pokes and pries at her response. "I'll not be swindled by a carnie in this life time."

Lydia turns to face him now, emboldened by the words. Her gaze is unyielding on him as she tilts her head curiously. Her warm dark eyes narrow at Samuel while her lips pull downwards into the smallest of frowns. Reflectively she watches him, contemplating her next words carefully, "Are you questioning my loyalty, Samuel?" While her facial expression may be perplexed, her tone and cadence are as smooth as ever.

"I had thought we had moved beyond that." She slowly exhales her breath, "And we both know, I'm no grifter. There are some talents I will never possess. I leave manipulation to its masters and aim to bring truth in all things," or, at the very least, varying degrees of it.

"Aye, well. Perhaps if things were workin' the way they were supposed to be, as they used to, I'd have no questions at'all." Samuel pushes himself up to stand, hand twitching like he'd been tempted to upend the table in the same motion, but visible restraint curls his hand into a fist rather than a grab, and he flows back a step. "Neither of you can understand, how much I know there is still to do," he says, his voice on just brooking on a snarl as he throws a glance at Arnold, "how much work Nakamura's created for me, and how limiting it is to rely on every movin' part."

Arnold steps forward, one that carries him more towards Lydia than Samuel, but it's the man he addresses. "You know Lydia tries her best at everythin' you throw at her."

Dark eyes fix on Samuel and each movement he makes the twitch is noted, and she flinches at the motion towards the table the smallest flinch, but it's there. "I can only give what I see; my vision has always been limited." Her eyebrows knit together as she tugs the dress over her shoulders again, hiding the picture imprinted on her skin as her gaze turns away from Samuel onto Arnold, a momentary glance, telling in its resolve, but the secret of Gillian's true location will remain unspoken.

After taking a careful breath, she slides off the couch, following Samuel, a hand extending to rest on his shoulder. "Tell us what's left to do. This isn't a burden you should bear on your own. We're family. You can share your counsel with us."

Samuel stays standing and still as Lydia touches that shoulder, says her piece. He glances her way but doesn't twitch aside from the touch, for all that he's warm and tense beneath her palm as restless energy hums beneath his skin. Finally, he nods a fraction, and raises a hand to cover her knuckles with his rough palm, before gently moving it so as best to turn and face the elderly time traveler, who's eyeing both of them with a kind of protective attention.

"The only burden I bear is my own limitations." Which isn't an answer, nor sharing counsel, suddenly the one with secrets even as he squares his focus on Arnold. "Tyler Case. If there's no better time than now to take me to him, there's no better time at all."

"Tyler Case?" Arnold repeats, doubtfully, and on the second mention, it may nag at Lydia's memory as one of the many names she's summoned over the last two months. And found the location for.

The name jogs Lydia's memory, quirking a single eyebrow pensively. "Tyler Case? Did you never actually find him, Samuel?" The willowy woman can't fight the frown tugging on the ends of her lips, "Why do you need to find him now?" Her lips press together tightly as her eyes shift to Arnold, skepticism entering her gaze. Moments later her eyes flit back to Samuel. "What is this about? First you need Gillian now you need Tyler? What is the plan, Samuel?" At this the butterflies reenter her stomach. If she's honest, she's got a bad feeling about this.

"If Gillian turned her back on what was offered her, then there's all the time in the world to deal with her," Samuel says, his voice taking on that steelier edge it had before. It's less directed at Lydia, this time, something more generally vengeful and angry, at the stagnant quality the present has taken, at blood spilled on his side and ground lost. "And Nakamura and the rest of them will pay as well. But you're right — the time is for sheddin' my burdens."

That doesn't sound like much of a plan. Ignoring where he left his notepad upon the table, Samuel directs himself around Lydia to come up closer to Arnold, laying a hand on the old man's shoulder. "You sent Kira back to that precognitive, and asked of Tyler Case. He's the one I need, the one you showed me," and that last part is for Lydia, tossed to her in a glance. "You'll never have to send me anywhere ever again, Arnold. We both know what that power is doing to you.

"But just this one more time. We rescue Tyler Case. Change the rules of the game." For now, his sudden keenness has him missing the tension in Lydia's expression and probing questions, more intent on getting the elderly man to agree with him than soothe her ruffled feathers.

Samuel's determination only ignites a brighter fire within the painted lady. "Why will Tyler Case make any difference?" Her eyebrows lift again as her eyes silently plead with Arnold not to give into this. "If you needed him so badly, you would've found him already and you know it," the firmness in her voice is a maternal chide, confident in its reprimand like a mother would scold a child, but she retreats towards the teapot and grasps one of the cups for herself, strolling back towards the pair nonchalantly, bringing the cracked teacup to her lips.

In her return, she peeks at the abandoned notepad, taking care to glance it over as casually as she can manage, especially when Samuel's attention is focused elsewhere. Semi-convinced she's being somewhat ignored, she grasps the notepad, flipping through for Tyler's location; if she can help it, Samuel Sullivan will never find Tyler Case.

There's a strange light that goes off in Arnold's eyes, at the prospect of no longer having his power, of being without the pain it brings him— and additionally, passing that pain on to Samuel. He's still and reproachful as he flicks a glance towards Lydia and her pleading gaze, frozen for a moment as to what to say. He's no great liar. For all that Lydia's managed to protect Gillian, he's not sure how he gets to carry that torch himself. He's powered through migraines before.

And so he says nothing, when he should probably say something, and the soft rustle of pages manages to catch Samuel's attention. He breaks from Arnold, then.

Expresses himself a little more, by quite abruptly hooking an arm around Lydia's neck from behind, and something sharp nudges against the underside of her jaw. Familiar, it's the wooden needle he usually uses to make her power go. "Why are you so insistent that he'll do me no good, Lydia?" is muttered next to her ear. "You showed him to me, after all. Y'can't say your power's wrong now. Not after all we've done. The lives we've saved, together. Ended, together."

His other hand quests after his notebook.

There's a loud shriek as Samuel grasps her, the teacup crashing to the floor and shattering on contact, spilling tea across the floor and the table on its spiral downwards. The pressure at her jaw has Lydia balking against the force around her neck. She doesn't strain so much that she can wriggle away, but enough to demonstrate her distaste. "Your desperation is precisely why you shouldn't find Tyler Case. It makes you weak and purposeless, with little to recommend yourself to your assumed followers. You can't even lie to us about it. So why do you need him now?"

She takes a step backwards, towards him in hopes of loosening his grip. "Joseph was right; you're a monster," Lydia hisses in response. "But maybe that's just what it means to live in the shadow of a truly great man." Even if the words are angry, they're not really said angrily. More matter-of-fact. "And you know I would never knowingly end anyone else's life. Who am I to decide who lives or dies? But you, you, Samuel, you knew all along. I will not help you anymore and" her voice cracks "I will live with those consequences."

"Been sittin' on those words a while, haven't you?"

The needle presses harder, until she can feel it finally knife into her skin. Shallow, still, and a pressure release of ink swarms around her throat — a tattoo of a snake, its tongue flickering beneath her ear as it winds itself around that pale column that protects such important things like arteries, wind pipe. It seems to cinch off the flow of both blood and air with each inch it "squeezes". "I thought you understood, once. I imagined that maybe, I wasn't winnin' you over, that you were smart enough to know better than anythin' I could spin. But now we both know the truth. And when I get my hands on Case—

"I'll have my hands on you. For as long as you still care about anything. Yourself. Your girl."

All of this is whispered into her ear, even as Arnold makes a slow approach like one would on a wild animal. Ignored, but not forgotten. "Samuel," wavers out, but it's at least enough to have the terrakinetic looking up. "I'll take you to this Case. Just let her go, leave her alone."

The notepad is yanked from Lydia's grip, as Samuel considers Arnold coldly, even as that pressure keeps clamped around her throat.

"I…" the words are laboured, croaking more underneath the building pressure around her throat "…wanted… to… believe…" but she never really did. In no time, there's no room to gasp for air underneath the squeezing of the snake. The tension in her body grows and she stumbles forward groping for any amount of oxygen it can. Her hand rises to her throat, a subconscious action to remove the pressure, but it's futile, she can't remove the snake from it; the ink is as much a part of her as any of her more permanent tattoos. Her cheeks redden and then begin to turn purple under the duress.

"Samuel," is harsher than either of them have heard Arnold. It has Samuel letting her go completely, at least, calmly replacing wooden tool up his sleeve and taking a neat, clipped step towards the time traveler. The ringmaster only gestures with both palms emptied, notepad replaced beneath his elbows, as if asking what Arnold thinks he's waiting for. The fury behind the older man's expression simmers visibly in his eyes and the narrowing of his jaw.

Moving faster than arthiritis would appreciate, Arnold snatches Samuel's wrist in the same way a father might steer a wayward son for scolding. But it probably won't ever be worse than that. Joseph couldn't kill the younger Sullivan either.

We're all family, here.

By the time both men are gone, in the next second, the ink at Lydia's throat finally disperses, relieving that pressure with great, gasping gulps of air and flowing blood. Silence rings in her ears, and she's alone in her apartment. Alone, save for a snow-white paper crane edited into the world, sitting demurely on her coffee table. It's not much of a reward, for her resistance.

But it's something.

Lydia's own gasps for air have her on hands and knees as the spots fade from her vision. She trembles as her eyes shut slowly, her own fear too real; not so much for herself— she's never thought herself the angel Edgar has made her to be— for her girl, the one she's convinced herself will always be better off without her. Within moments, her eyes burn with surmounting tears threatening to fall. A loud sniffle offsets them for now, building her fortitude within the resistance she'd just exercised.

When she regains some semblance of composure, she peels herself from the ground, and the crane catches her sight. "Where did you come from?" she whispers quietly as she holds her hand around her throat. Oddities are not uncommon to the painted lady or to the bookstore, but this one piques her interest. Carefully, she plucks the crane from the coffee table. Her long fingers carefully unfold it, taking great care not to tear or accidentally add creases to the bird.

The wriggling of map lines on the white page is probably confusing at first, unclear of location — and it may take some time to make sense of it, where it's meant to be, but it has to be something. There's a place amongst it marked out in two neat lines of pen, where X marks some spot, with a date and a time, bidding for a meeting in a week's time. Where it's meant to be, what it's meant to mean— the caption made shed some light. Or none at all.

The truth.

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