aaron_icon.gif samara_icon.gif

Scene Title Se
Synopsis If …
Date November 7, 2010

Peyton and Aaron's Apartment — Upper West Side

It's amazing just how much crap one man can carry. In his left hand, a gym bag. A bag of Chinese takeout is precariously bundled in the crook of his left arm while he handles another gym bag, his guitar, and a box of cheap wine in his right. It's terribly ungraceful, but he feels some semblance of celebration is in order. And then Aaron opens the door to the place he once (and hopes to again) called home.


He finishes toeing open the door and brings his things inside, sets them down, and closes and locks the door behind him. The lights come on with a flip of a switch. Empty. "Surprise?" he says aloud.

No answer.

"Oh, come on!"

He carries the take-out and boxed wine to the coffee table and sets it down before proceeding into the kitchen. He opens the fridge and scopes out the take-out in there. It doesn't smell particularly fresh. After making a face, he puts it away. He takes the new take-out to his room and takes a seat in front of his mirror. "Well, so much for celebration."

Beyond Peyton, there's something missing he can't quite put his finger on.

Some people worry about cats following them home. Others worry about puppies following them home. For Aaron? Well… for Aaron, a little auburn-haired ghost followed him home. She'd floated after him, essentially invisible save for the occasional glimpse at the girl in the glass. And now, in this place, she feels nearly forgotten. Her hazel eyes glance around the apartment.

And then the fridge closes. There she is reflected in that stainless steel. Her lips curl into an easy smile as she shoots him the smallest wave and mouths the word, 'Hi!'

She may have been forgotten, but she's still present. The smile grows as the semi-awkward wave continues.

Aaron has a visitor.

Not so much forgotten as pushed away by so many other thoughts. Even as she greets him in the fridge and then in his mirror as he seats himself for dinner in his bedroom — since it has a proper mirror — he's distracted. "There's something missing," he says to his silent companion, as though her presence is totally and utterly normal. He taps his chin with the base of his chopsticks. "I just can't figure out what it is." He finally takes a bite of his chow mein. "It'll come to me." He looks up into the mirror at Samara, "So, what do you think?"

Sami wrinkles her nose at the notion of something missing. She glances around the room as he nibbles on the chow mein. She has no idea what's missing or what could be missing. With a small frown she tilts her head one way and then another. What does she think? Her eyebrows knit together before she lifts two thumbs in the air. The apartment is great. And it's good he's out of the funny farm, right?

She tilts her head and points her finger at him, it's a counter-question. What does he think?

"Von." That's what's missing. The dog. "Huh …" Is she out walking the dog? Certainly she's not eating what's in that fridge, though … Aaron shrugs and eats more of his chow mein before turning his attention to Samara. It's so strange for him to talk to someone who technically has her back to him, since how else would she face him in the mirror? And then there's the fog … He shrugs again, to her question, mostly because he's not entirely sure what she's asking him.

"I thought I'd feel differently being back here again. Awkward, joyous … something. It's just … different." He gives a cursory examination of his old digs, then shakes his head. "Weird."

Her eyes narrow a little while her eyebrows knit tighter together. Samara presses her lips tightly together, making them whiten under the pressure. She wrinkles her nose at him before finally mouthing a single word, 'How?' it's easy enough to read and freakishly over annunciated.

She taps her fingers against her leg as she finally lets herself sit down in the room. With a half smile she looks around before pressing herself to stand again, in a way she's unsettled, it's odd seeing someone in a place they adamantly didn't belong followed by the place they just do. Or used to, anyways.

She looks at the walls, taking care to watch and examine each in turn.

The walls are mostly bare, save an old Lightbringers poster that Aaron happened upon one day. Most of his old band paraphernalia went up in smoke in the Bomb. And the mirror. His room is actually rather bare in general. His clothes were all neatly tucked away in closet and dresser once upon a time. Then there's the window. Large enough to climb out of, as he discovered once while under the power of the Nightmare Man.

"How's it weird?" he asks. "Half-expected more tears, to be honest. Half-expected my roommate to be here, but on second thought, it's not that surprising she's not. She always was rather busy …"

Samara nods a little at the response. Her fingers linger on the poster and she points at it as if asking about the band. Her reflection grins broadly, complete with a deep dimple in her cheek. She pads back to the mirror before pulling out her pointer finger to trace some letters on that surface; this is her modus operandi now.

'Wat will u do now?' she writes in distinct text-speak designed to lower the number of letters she needs to scribble on the mirror. Her lips flicker into another smile before she twirls in a tight circle for no reason other than she can; there's something extraordinary about being somewhere new and invited into someone's house.

Aaron's eyes narrow at the poster. Sometimes he wonders why he leaves around such a glaring reminder of his loss. "Long dead," is his only response to it. He eats more while Samara explores the room. When she flags him down in the mirror, he becomes more attentive and squints to read the barely-visible message. "Yeah … that's sort of the question, isn't it?" Getting drunk would certainly be on the table if he weren't on anti-depressants. Now he even thinks one glass of wine would be a bad idea, even the boxed stuff he brought with him. He packs the chow mein box back up, doesn't bother with the rice, and just tosses his chopsticks aside. He'll shove it all in the fridge later. "Oh yeah, it's just so great to be out."

Reclining on his bed, Aaron stretches out. It's certainly nice to have his larger bed back. A twin bed is hardly suitable for someone who tosses and turns. "You know," he says, turning towards the mirror, "I'm starting to wonder about your ghost story." He taps at his left temple with the pad of his index finger, "I have this gift … I see people's pain and I see this fog where you should be. It's very, very strange. Either I'm picking up on it because I can see you in the mirror," or because he's seeing things in general , "or … I dunno. You can't possibly be the only ghost out there."

Of course, he's still of the mind that he's hallucinating. Well, mostly. Sometimes he wonders.

Samara actually frowns at her story being questioned again. This is the second time someone hasn't believed her story in a week. Her lips press together again as her questions surface in an expression somewhere between a scowl and ironic smile. Again, those hazel eyes narrow at Aaron's words; confusion seeps through her being like steeping tea — slowly at first, pulling on each of her features in turn.

She all-out frowns now as she sinks back down towards the foot of the bed to sit. How is it she's become so unbelievable lately. Absently she chews on her bottom lip. Finally, as if opening herself up to the possibility, she shrugs. Everyone has a theory these days. Maybe there's just something strange about the living that makes them need to explain the dead.

She pushes off the bed again and over to the mirror, 'Do I have a lot of pain?' It's a fair question, she thinks.

Aaron holds his hands out to his side, "Hey, I'm not saying anything." But she's off on her little pouting tangent, and he has to sit up to see her properly in the mirror until she comes to on her own. And then comes the question.

A fair question.

"Honestly? I can't really say, I mean, the way I see it is usually pretty clear cut, but with you it's kind of … off. I couldn't compare it to anything." The only real way to tell is to use his ability, and he'd have to touch her to do that in the way he prefers. Touch a ghost, yeah, that's gonna happen. "You'd have to figure it out for yourself, if I take it away. If you want me to take it away."

Take it away.

That sounds like an odd bit of magic.

Samara has now taken to pacing the room; oddly curious about this process, how it would happen, and whether it would be the key to her crossing over — the one thing she's longed for since the day she died. Why? Because heaven is supposed to be good. And the world is scarier than she ever knew it to be.

Her cheeks flush a soft pink with faint embarrassment over the pain she's aware. With a single, almost indeterminant nod she manages a forced smile. She doesn't want to carry the burden of her death and what it did to her family any longer. Especially those last days with them; she'd been beastly to her mother.

That almost always happens with unexpected farewells. People say things they don't mean, or don't really mean, and they have to live with it. Aaron's not unfamiliar with things like that.

"I'll be back in a sec," Aaron says, springing off his bed and out into the living room to retrieve his guitar. Once he has it out of its case back on his bed, he starts to fiddle with it. "God damn, this thing is out of tune." He didn't play much while he was in the loony bin. Strings are dangerous …

After a minute or two of tuning — by ear, proof that he hasn't lost his l33t skills — he begins to finger a melody by Ennio Morricone. "It's funny, I've never actually seen the film this music comes from, but it's one of my favourites."

Se tu fossi nei miei occhi per un giorno
Vedresti la bellezza che
Piena d'allegria
Io trovo dentro gli occhi tuoi ignaro se
Magia o realtà

Se tu fossi nel mio cuore per un giorno
Potreste avere un' idea
Di cià che sento io
Quando mi abbracci forte a te
E petto a petto noi respiriamo insieme

Protagonista del tuo amor
Non so se sia magia o realtà

Se tu fossi nella mia anima un giorno
Sapresti cosa sento in me
Che m'innamorai
Da quell'istante insieme a te
E cià che provo e solamente amore

Da quell'istante insieme a te
E cià che provo e solamente amore

The disembodied spirit wrinkles her nose when Aaron returns with the guitar. That's a curious thing considering what they'd just discussed. But when he begins to play, there's something calming about the music that has her letting herself relax again, just like she had in the psych ward.

Her eyes close gently at the lovely cadence of the words; she can't understand them, but the tune isn't unfamiliar. When the song ends her eyes gently reopen with a soft flutter of eyelashes. She shifts on the bed to face him, the invisible girl, staring towards him, not his reflection with that built in curiosity and a quiet longing for eye contact from someone other than her forever BFF Rue Lancaster.

Finally she looks away, it's a futile project anyways, pacing back to the mirror. She scribbles across it, 'What was that called?'

Only Aaron can't see her, which is sad. :'(

"Se," Aaron answers. "Rather a short name. Means if. Fitting, actually, given the lyrics — and I only know what those mean because I like the song and had to find a translation. It's more commonly known as Cinema Paradiso, the film from which the music served as the love theme. Never seen it. Maybe the lyrics come from it, too, I wouldn't know." Yes, he just sang her a love song. So sue him, he's a sap.

'Beautiful,' she writes across the glass — a real word produced by the oils still existing in her fingers. Samara shrugs a little as she issues him a smaller smile before pointing at the poster and then back at him, something is starting to make a little bit of sense now. She may be mute, but she isn't slow.

She points to the guitar as her fingers attempt to rest over the strings just in front of him, but this is useless, she can't touch them, her fingertips only move through them. With a heavy sigh she shakes her head, learning to play an instrument in this state is nothing more than a pipe dream.

"You know what? We really need to teach you sign language," Aaron says. It may be blunt, but he has a point. It would make communication a whole lot easier. "Of course, that means I have to learn sign language too, but …" He snorts. "Gotta make money to pay for that … So much easier to make money when I had a band. And wasn't crazy."

Proudly she straightens, Samara has started learning sign language a la Sesame Street. As of yesterday… she's not very good. She holds up a single finger to indicate that she's thinking of how to sign something. Unfortunately her sign language includes nothing more than the alphabet. Yeah, real versatile, especially because she can't spell well, especially on the fly. But then it's a start, right. And so she spells, H-I. Yup, it's sophisticated. She shrugs. She doesn't know it, but she's learning. Very slowly.

Aaron chuckles, "Oh, so you can sign? Well, better than I … I couldn't even sign my name if I tried. Maybe I should have taken one of those ASL cards …" Darn solicitors actually had something of some value for once and he didn't take it. Go figure.

Samara nods emphatically at the observation; she can sign. Kind of. Sometimes. Or she can sign as well as anyone from a ten minute lesson from the television. But then babies can sign, why can't ghosts? She shoots him a broader grin followed by a slight shake of her head. She approaches the mirror and scribbles one word, 'Tomorrow.' She points at the word and then back towards him. With the impending doom and gloom she's heard of all she can think to ask is, what he plans to do in its wake.

Aaron looks at his watch. Tomorrow. Sure, he pays a bit of attention to the news and occasionally listened to a few conversations back at the funny farm, but he most certainly forgot that tomorrow is November 8th. Not that he forgot the vision he had. It's hard to forget when you have blood on your hands. "Tomorrow's just another day," he says. "Probably a good day for drinking, definitely a day to stay indoors." He twirls a finger around his temple, "People are crazy."

There's a flicker of a smile at the response, an unusual action from someone whose life was cut too short for her to ever have drank, even if she had that fun good natured and somewhat daredevil bent. Samara tilts her head curiously before she mimics the twirly motion at her temple and points at herself. Is she crazy? He can't catch it, because she turns to look directly at him, but within the gaze is a challenge, dripping with silent mischief.

If anyone's crazy, it's Aaron. God knows, he would seem to be talking to himself if anyone were watching him. There's still the possibility that Samara's just a very eccentric hallucination. Certainly wouldn't be the first time he's been fooled by one. Thanks to how structured his life has become, he's managed to knock back his need to feed and has experienced nary a headache in over a month. Life is good, so why would he be hallucinating?

"You should hang out here, unless my roommate shows up. Then things could get awkward." Because talking to a ghost/hallucination/other isn't awkward, apparently.

Samara nods, she can hang out; she already knows it likely won't last, such is the life of a ghost. She literally blows wherever the wind takes her. Her eyes sparkle with unspoken mischief at the notion of things getting awkward. She shrugs a little and has sat through her share of awkward; if only in her people watching these days — a guilty past-time that is kind of like watching daytime television except they're real stories (instead of hearing her nana insist upon their realness… oh nana). With that, Samara sits again and crosses her arms over her chest, trying not to think about the world beyond and what may or may not go down in the next twenty four hours.

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