berlin_icon.gif eileen_icon.gif rory_icon.gif

Scene Title Runaways
Synopsis Berlin comes to the one person who can understand her situation. She brings a very supportive boyfriend with her.
Date November 7, 2018

Providence: A Church

The drive to the pine barrens was a long one. Especially in an old, beat up jeep that Berlin bought off one of her smuggling contacts. On short notice, she took what she could get. It’s also been long because the conversation has covered many of the finer details of Berlin and Eileen’s situations, as Berlin understands them. She covered some in broader strokes when she asked Rory to run away with her.

But now, Berlin sits in silence in an old church, Rory next to her. It makes her uncomfortable, what the building represented. What it represents now. For her: leaving behind her people for the sake of protecting them, trusting someone she barely knows because of a shared experience that no one else alive can really comprehend.

Faith, in other words.

Someone promised to go tell Eileen that Nathalie LeRoux is sitting here waiting, but she’s starting to wonder if they forgot.

A shaft of light fills the aisle, followed by the resonant groan of wood doors plied open a small, unassuming shape that Berlin recognizes the moment Eileen Ruskin steps into view. She lingers on the church’s threshold, and to Rory it might look like she’s hesitating. To Berlin, it’s a different story; the energy contained in the Englishwoman’s diminutive form reaches out across the distance between them, seeking out its likeness with the same subdued sort of compulsion that sends a moth floating toward open flame.

It’s the other presence residing within Berlin that ultimately causes Eileen’s conduit to shrink back even as she herself begins to move forward, footfalls echoing in the church’s tall rafters. The tips of her fingers glide over and dance between the pews for lack of something more purposeful to do with her ungloved hands.

Belin senses uncertainty and mistrust when her gaze falls on Rory for the first time. His is a face Eileen doesn’t recognize. As far as transgressions go, it must not be serious because it doesn’t earn any sort of comment. Instead she says: “I’m glad you came.”

In some ways, perhaps the unfamiliarity could be a good thing. Rory doesn’t seem to recognize this woman, eyes holding a neutral, if nervous sense to them as he glances at the air around her as much as the woman herself. It’s almost as if he’s unsure. One hand fiddles with a bracelet around his other wrist, turning it, but Berlin would know he’s in control, cause he’s not actually reshaping it like putty unconsciously. There’s a twinned bracelet on his other wrist as well, but it’s steady.

As the woman approaches, he stops toying with it, starting to stand from where he’d been sitting, in the way some people do when someone they feel must deserve some kind of respect approaches. Or as if he’s unsure if it’s polite to be sitting. He glances back toward Berlin, almost as if asking her if he should introduce himself or if she should do it. The hint of hesitation may indicate he’s waiting for her to.

When she sees Eileen in the doorway— or rather, when she feels that sensation of her conduit reaching out— Berlin also stands and looks for a moment like she might go meet her. But instead, she watches her approach. The words, when they come, get a relieved exhale. "Thank you for taking us in." Her expression warms when Rory looks her way, just a touch, and she nods toward their hostess. "This is Eileen. Eileen, this is Rory."

She doesn't explain who he is, or that he's staying with her— both facts, she assumes, are fairly obvious.

"I need your help." A simple statement, but it comes with more worry than she had last time they met. She wasn't afraid of what she holds onto then, but it's creeping up on her now. "We can both help your community, while we're here. I don't mean for us to be a burden." Just what they can do, that she feels they can iron out later, depending on how much Rory wants to share about himself.

There’s something about a young woman in the company of a dark, stony-expressioned man that feels familiar to Eileen. Maybe she sees Gabriel in Rory, or maybe she sees herself in Berlin; either way, her defenses soften as she finishes her approach and comes to stand by the pew.

I need your help can mean so many different things. Eileen still remembers a time when safehouses were still the first line of defense and the threat of civil war hung over the country like a stormcloud. Berlin’s appeal is familiar, too.

“Are you being hunted?” she asks.

“We’ll help out however we can,” Rory adds, in an accent that shows he had certainly not grown up in this country. In fact, it’s a midlander British accent, north of London. He’s certainly agreeing with that. He’ll figure out something, and based on his hands alone, he’s used to working with them. While the question that the woman asks was not directed at him, he can’t help but nod, at first seeming to affirm, but then when he looks over at Berlin it changes to a kind of supporting gesture.

While he had thought at first they could possibly be turned away, when those blue eyes fell on him, he no longer believes that— but he still wanted to show that he would be with her no matter how this turned out.

Having a community was a much better option than the two of them hiding somewhere alone.

Berlin also nods, her expression carrying some apology in it. If they were to be turned away, this would be the reason. And she wouldn’t be able to blame anyone for doing so. “His daughter found me. She told me that Sharrow is rebuilding what was lost. Adam Monroe, too. He’s got corporate backing. And criminal backing.” Back at Wolfhound HQ, there is some worry that Eileen is wrapped up in all that, but Berlin obviously doesn’t think so. She looks back to Rory, a shaky exhale softened by a small, but grateful smile at his support.

“But that’s not why I came,” she says. And truthfully, she could have dug into the bunker and never come out again if she wanted to hide from all of them, but there is something no amount of hiding can save her from. “I lost my grip on them,” she says gripping her hands together as if that might somehow help, “it was just for a moment, but I couldn’t stop it. There’s no one else who can understand.” It’s new for her, not having her hands on the reins, something she hasn’t worried about since she was a child.


Eileen knows what Berlin means without any need for explanation. She surrenders to impulse and gently separates the younger woman’s hands so she can take one of them in her own. The Englishwoman’s skin is cool to the touch in a way that isn’t quite natural; up close, Berlin sees errant threads of silver in her otherwise dark hair, which she wears pinned back at the nape of her pale neck.

The energy her body contains has affected it in ways Berlin’s hasn’t, although that may be because Berlin possesses two halves of a whole.

Something in Eileen is left wanting.

It does not hunger for Berlin, at least — not in that way. Another person’s fingers might wither, shriveled all the way to the bone before crumbling to ash; all Berlin feels is the equivalent of a far-off echo reverberating beneath Eileen’s skin.

In other words: Nothing bad happens.

“Which of them is loudest?” she asks.

If anything that is being said surprises him, Rory may or may not be showing it. It depends on how one interprets his reactions. There’s a fidget, a slight shifting of his feet, as if unsure, as his eyes slide from the older woman to the younger and back again, until he settles on the one who brought him here. There’s a question in his pale eyes.

He knows this conversation to be something personal, and he’d only just learned any of this not too long ago. What curiosity he has for what’s happening isn’t quite enough to break through that feeling that he might be intruding. As his eyes slide down to where Eileen has taken her hands, he finally does say, looking at Berlin specifically, “Berlin, I can wait outside if you’d like.” But even then, he sounds hesitant to have mentioned it at all.

Eileen takes her hands and Berlin’s grip shifts easily to the other woman’s hands— desperate nearly to the point of pain. There’s been a lot to shoulder lately and Berlin has done her best to bear it with dignity. But here is where her delicate hold on it all starts to unravel. There is no doubt that this exchange is personal, but she only replies to Rory’s offer with a look. Please don’t.

It wasn’t long ago she would have made him go, to spare him and herself from him having to know all of this. But now she needs him to know. And just needs him.

“I don’t know,” she manages through shaky breaths as she looks back to Eileen, “I saw through both of them. And both of them are… hungry. And violent.” She squeezes her eyes closed as tears start to work their way out of the corners of her eyes. “Unless— “ There is a worry, something she’s buried since this started because how could anyone understand? If they were frightened of her already, which some undeniably were, how much more would they be if they knew— “what if that wasn’t them at all, Eileen? What if that’s the part that’s me?”

Eileen’s focus is on Berlin’s hands rather than her eyes, partly because the question makes it very difficult for her to meet them. “That may be,” she says. “But all people are creatures of duality, whether they live by light or by the darkness inside of them.” She curves the edge of her thumb along the inside of Berlin’s palm, following the crease in her skin that someone else might identify as her life line. “It’s embroidered on our DNA, regardless of any ability.

“You,” and she acknowledges Rory with a tip of her pointed chin, “him, everyone either of you have ever known. The only difference, Nathalie, is that these dual natures can speak to you — and you speak back.”

She gives Berlin’s hand an affirming squeeze. “You aren’t evil,” she tells her. “You aren’t good, either.”

With the way he lets out a breath, Rory isn’t even trying to hide his relief that she wanted him to stay. His hands go back to his side, shifting only a step so that he’s just a little closer to her, but still giving her enough personal space that he wouldn’t be crowding. Those eyes move back to the woman’s, watching. Again he seems to agree with what she says, both in the slight subconscious nod and the way he looks back at Berlin. He can’t imagine what it would be like to have an ability like that— but he does understand anger and fear.

And what many people do when confronted with things that pull forth such emotions.

Her gaze follows Eileen's trace along her palm, and at first, Berlin can only nod to her words. This idea that they all exist somewhere in between, that good and bad aren't clear cut, that no one is all one or the other— it's not an easy one for her. How many years she has been trying to stay good with whispers urging her one way or the other. But here, now, with what she's done and what she's learned, Eileen's words are more comforting than she would have expected them to be. Her reply: she pulls her hands back and steps in to hug her. Brief, but heartfelt.

She wipes at her face when she steps back again, glancing to Rory to give him a grateful smile. This isn't normal, by any stretch, but there he is.

"Will you help me? Get them back under control. Learn to speak back instead of just trying to ignore them? I don't want to put your community in any danger, but I— no one else understands."

As Berlin’s arms encircle her, Eileen buries her fingers in the thick tresses of hair at the nape of the younger woman’s neck. Her chin hooks over Berlin’s shoulder. She doesn’t hear her at first, not really; it’s been years since she’s held physical contact with another human being for this long, or felt another heart pounding away behind the bars of a ribcage.

She presses out a slow unsteady breath. The next one she draws in is more focused.

Even as Berlin pulls away, she lets a hand linger on her forearm for a moment longer.

“Yes,” she says as soon as she’s able to properly parse the question. “There’s a cabin down by the bog. Cranberry season is over, so I imagine they’ll have room to put the both of you up.”

Eileen reaches up and tucks an errand, flyaway strand of her own hair behind her left ear. “My people are guests here, too.”

The young man looks immediately grateful that the woman will help his companion, even though he still doesn’t quite understand what’s happening to her exactly. Rory’s not going to ask more than she’s willing to tell, though, and this was not the time. “Thank you, ma’am,” he adds with a nod of his head, for himself as much as for the one that she’s going to be helping. The way he said ‘ma’am’ just showed his accent even more, too.

“I know some of the residents here,” he adds after a moment. “They come to the Market to trade and we’ve traded sometimes.” He would get fresh produce, they would get new stoneware, or sometimes repairs. They tended to buy the more practical things, not the statuettes that he would make. He didn’t know if that would do more than let some of them know ahead of time what he could offer, but he did know some of them, even if he couldn’t say they were close friends.

Berlin has to wipe at her face when she leans back. It never occurred to her what it must be like for Eileen, but it only takes a moment in that hug for her to understand. Her hand stays on Eileen’s arm as she nods to her words. “That sounds perfect. I’ll be sure to thank them for making room for us.” When she pulls her hand back, she does it with an apologetic look to Eileen.

Looking over to Rory, she gives him a gentle smile. “So they’ll have a list of work you in no time.”

Eileen turns her face up, toward the light filtering in through the church’s ornate glass windows. Or what used to be ornate glass windows. Not all the panes remain, and those that do possess a grimy film, giving the building’s interior a muted sort of quality. Motes of dust float unseen through the air.

It occurs to her that she needs to speak with Iago — and Emile.

She pinches one of those dust motes out of the air and rubs it between the tips of her fingers until not even a smudge is left. Still, she inspects her skin for any sign of it for longer than is probably necessary.

Her mind is somewhere else.

“I’ve a cottage,” she says absently. “Run down little thing, just like the Garden— though I don’t expect either of you remember that. Some days I can’t either.”

Her hand drifts back to her side. “Come and see me when you’ve settled in. I’ll show you what I mean.”

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