So Long, and Good Night, Part III


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Scene Title So Long, and Good Night, Part III
Synopsis What's the worst you take from every heart you break?
Date May 30, 2021

The Bastion

The Bastion is not a place Robyn Roux has visited often. Or at all, really, outside of an occasion or two when dropping off something or other. While the building is much less imposing than Wolfhound's old headquarters, that hasn't tempered the feelings she has about visiting in the least. It had been almost two and a half years since she had been their liaison, and yet still she harbours a desire to keep a degree of separation between them despite the many friends she had working for the outfit.

But family, even extended and distant, close or time displaced, can change anything and everything. The regret that Robyn feels is that it took her so long to find out and realize it.

Pushing open the door to the Bastion, she lips quietly. Dressed in moderately professional attire with a bit of personal flair in the form of ruffled cuffs and collar, she holds a manilla envelope under arm as she scans the lobby. She had texted Avi that she would be coming by last night, and left him a message to the same effect - and that what she had to talk about wasn't business, but was still private.

Under her other arm, she carries a book - a rather thick and heavy looking one by all accounts, silver rimmed glasses framing her eyes as she settles down into a chair in the lobby and begins reading it while she waits.

“…yeah, but we'd still need a properly trained pilot to help with the evacuation.” Avi Epstein’s voice is clear accompanying a pair of footfalls down the stairs near the lobby.

“Yeah, yeah.” Is Scott Harkness, following Avi down. “With Tetsuyama benched from flight-time because of medical, we really don't have anyone else who knows how to fly her other than you. I think we should look at training up another one of the Hounds.”

“Yeah,” is Avi’s non-committal response. Scott knows it all too well. Avi isn't sure who is fit for fighter-pilot training. But the conversation dies when the two old men reach the lobby. Harkness motions to Robyn, directing Avi’s attention there.

Avi turns and walks up to Robyn with a casual greeting: “You forget a bottle of whiskey somewhere?” It comes with a smile. He might actually miss her.

"Come to think of it, yes," Robyn deadpans, before returning his smile and tilting her head. "I do believe it's in your office." Obviously a joke, even if it feels a bit hollow as she holds her folder close.

Rising up to her feet, she lets her shoulders set and regards Avi with a warmth that she definitely didn't have when she was liaisoning. "I'm not interrupting, am I?" She watches off where Scott has disappeared to for a moment, before looking back at him. "Then again I guess you lot are always knee deep in shit, so what does it matter."

Her shoulders roll, and her smile falters. "I'm sorry to show up on such short notice. At least it's not a check in or an inspection, far as I know somehow you all are still off the hook." Gentle ribbing gives away to a more sincere smile. "This is a personal visit, this time."

“Yeah I’m sure Dartwell would rat us out the second there was a hook we needed to be on,” Avi agrees with a pump of his brows at every enunciated word. As Avi addresses Robyn, Scott gives him a silent nod and breaks away to head to the lounge just past the lobby, and Avi’s returned nod of recognition completes a silent exchange with plenty of meaning between the two older men.

As Scott departs, Avi turns to focus his attention on Robyn. “Well, finder’s-keepers on the bottle.” He says with a crooked smile, resting his hands on his hips. “Is this an over at the bar personal visit, or a we need to talk upstairs kind of personal visit? I never fucking know with people these days.”

The laugh that Robyn gives to that is a bit strained, only by way of attempting to not laugh and failing. "As much as I would relish a drink, this feels more like a private affair." Despite her drap choice of words, there's a mirthfulness to her words that's rarely heard from her - much less in the presence of anyone from Wolfhound.

"Finders-keepers, though? That's fine. I think that whiskey is about as old as that joke." A grin that borders on a sneer is offered; it lingers for just a moment before fading. As Scott walks away, Robyn glances past Avi the direction he's walked off in. "Hello to you too, Scott!" she offers in a shout, almost as if intent to make sure that everyone hears her.

"'s fine anyway," she offers back to Avi with a small chuckle. "They've been telling me to drink less."

“And you’re… listening?” Avi asks as he gets into motion again, leading Robyn to the stairs he’d just come down. “Man, if Wireless could hear that she might just get all her memories back and slap twenty bucks down on my desk because I’m pretty sure we had a Robyn’s never going into rehab bet ongoing.”

They didn’t. Hana wasn’t into gambling, especially not for a joke.

As the two ascend the stairs Francis is coming down at the same time. He looks surprised to see Robyn and offers her an excited wave, but directs his words to Avi. “Hey! Got you a deal on those actuators, found a grounded F35 in Indiana that a buddy was able to pull parts out of. Should work on the old bird.”

“Awesome, get the Old Man on it,” is Avi’s quick response without so much as breaking his stride.

"Yeah, well. Taking in a kid and dying will sober you up real fast," Robyn remarks with a blithe nonchalant that makes it sounds like that's a regular Sunday for her. "And actually, it was Rue you had that bet with."

That's a bluff, certainly - she has no idea if that's true. Sometimes, though, it's fun to try and catch people off guard like that. "Haven't been carted off to rehab yet. Just trying -very poorly - to set a better example." Not that it matters right now, but that's not a tale for this particular moment.

She offers a wave to Francis - she never got to know him terribly well in her time with Wolfound, but it's still nice to see him regardless. "Fishing for parts in scrap heaps now? Tsk, tsk, Avi," she offers teasingly, but the smile she has fades quickly.

"Actually, if you have any news on Hana, I'd appreciate hearing it once we're in private," she says quietly.

Avi shakes his head. “She’s gone in the wind, no idea where to. Sometimes I get news about a high-up in Mazdak showing up dead in a ditch somewhere in the desert, but…” He shrugs. “Maybe it’s her, maybe it’s not.”

As they reach the second floor landing, Avi walks with Robyn to his office and shuts the door behind them. There’s a little bar by the window, but it doesn’t look like it’s been touched in a while. Avi steps around his desk and takes a seat, tall window at his back, and motions for Robyn to sit across from him.

“So,” Avi says, bracing for it, “the fuck’s got you coming here out of the blue?”

"Oh, the usual." The way Robyn says those words belies any weight they may have, any sense of irony they may convery. "There's… a lot going on actually. I'm about to be going away for work, and… it might be a very long trip." After her talk with Jolene she's not feeling dramatic enough to call it a forever trip, but the tone in her voice may make the implication well enough.

Pulling out the chair, she sighs as she lowers herself down into it, her book and her purse set into her lap and a moment taken to straighten her collar as she stares at Avi across the desk. "Though I do wish I'd been smart enough to smoke before I came inside," she notes as she sinks a bit into the seat.

It takes her a moment to find the point again, exhaling softly. "To cut to the chase - before we get lost in the roundabout that comes after it - I was going to ask you if there was any chance you had Noa Gitleman's address on file," she admits, voice low as she leans forward. "I wouldn't normally ask, but it's important, and I was hoping to see her before I left. If it's a privacy issue, I can respect that."

Avi raises one brow, but it isn’t surprise. It’s something else, though exactly what is hard to tell. Robyn’s familiar with the Baskin Robins 31 Flavors of Disappointed that Avi’s expression can work through. This isn’t any of them. If nothing else it’s uncomfortably sympathetic.

“Yeah,” Avi answers after that long moment of silence, retrieving a physical Rolodex card from inside the top drawer of his desk. He slides it across the desk to Robyn without so much as a question of why. “You got someone t’look after the kid?” Is the first thing he asks instead.

It's a question that clearly catches Robyn off guard, blinking as reaches for the Rolodex. It takes her a moment to recover, before pulls it closer. "And here I thought Rolodexes and little black books had gone the way of the dinosaur," is a deflecting comment, a frown settling her face as her brow stitches tight and she contemplates an actual answer.

"Matthew is… will be taken care of, yes. Elaine Darrow's keeping an eye on him right now." She doesn't know if Avi knows that particularly fraught history, and she has no desire to elaborate either way. "I wouldn't have agreed to go otherwise. To be honest, I refused at first on that basis alone."

A small huff of a chuckle escaped her lips as they curl into a sad yet somewhat sardonic grin as she sets the manilla folder she'd been carrying under her arm down on the table and begins rooting through the rolodex, quickly making her way through with as much respect for privacy as she can manage.

"Have you… heard anything about Hana at all?" is a quiet question, one that comes with clear hesitation and full knowledge of how unfair it is to ask.

“Not in a year, no.” Avi says of Hana, letting the topic of Matthew and Elaine pass by without acknowledgement. “I know she was in the Mid-East fighting Mazdak and that she won’t return my calls. So…” He sighs and slouches back in his chair. “I’ll be honest I don’t even know if she’s alive, and there’s a part of me that thinks that’s how she wants it. After what Mazdak did to her she’s back to the cockroach lifestyle, hiding in the dark and surviving.”

It seems like that’s where Avi is going to let it lie, right up until something as frustrating as compassion has him opening his mouth again. “The Gitelmans,” he says, drawing a line between mother and time-lost daughter. “Is this a technopath thing, or something that isn’t my business?”

That question gets a moment of quiet consideration from Robyn, eyes angled down at the desk for a moment. It isn't Avi's business, but she does consider him friend enough to share, is what she settles on. "Would you believe me if I told you it's a family thing?" The folder is opened, inside a USB stick and a stack of papers, the top one blank. Pulling out the card for Noa, Robyn begins copying the address.

"I've been… investigating something the last few years," she starts with, not looking up at Avi as she scribbles. "Started extracurricular, but it's become semi-official, depending on the channel you're going through. It's been… eye opening to say the least." As she finishes, she sets the pen down and looks back up at Avi. "The most of which was finding out that my mother used to work for the Company… with Hana's uncle."

Both hands lay flat on the table and she shakes her head. "Who is also my father, making her my cousin." She motions with one hand to the rolodex. "Hence, why I'd like to talk to Noa before I leave. Plus, it gave me a good reason to come by. It's been too long as it is."

Avi reaches up and rubs a hand over his face, slowly dragging it down over his mouth as he sighs. “Okay,” he exhales the word with exhaustion. He lets an awkward silence hang in the air for a moment after that as he realigns his thoughts to this mountain of new information.

Once he’s finally caught up to the words that came tumbling out of Robyn’s mouth he adds, “so you’re effectively a Gitelman. That explains a lot.” He sighs again, this time more sharply. The kind of sigh someone does when they’re working up the nerve to do something that requires effort. “Noa’s on call. I can give you a number that’ll go to her. Try not to do anything that’ll fuck her up, though.” Is Avi’s indirect way of saying she’s going to be on call sooner rather than later.

There’s something behind Avi’s eyes, though. It’s the tension of an unasked question. The patience to see if Robyn gives it to him before he has to ask for it is all that keeps it from gracelessly tumbling out of his mouth.

"Sorry," Robyn abruptly apologies with a small tilt of her head and a sigh. "If it's a lot to take in. It has been for me too. I just… I don't know how my next few months are going to go, but I didn't… feel right not letting Noa know." Closing her eyes, Robyn's shoulders, her entire posture, wilts in the manner of someone who has become very tired with life. "I'm uncertain at this point I'll get to tell Hana herself."

The sigh that follows is more put on, theatrically laced with a bit more whimsicality. "She'd probably lecture me about how much more of a liability that makes me, I'd profess that I don't care, call her cousin to try and catch her off guard, and then I'd either get a smile out of her or die on the spot." Still, as much as she jokes, it's clear the unlikeliness of this scenario weighs on Robyn, an undercurrent of sadness running behind each word of her imagined conversation.

"I haven't really been talking about it. SESA knows, Richard Cardinal knows. A few other people I'd rather didn't. But the two people I thought of when I thought of folks who should know were Noa and, uh. You?" She offers Avi an apologetic smile and a shrug, before quickly looking off to the side in her own moment of uncertainty.
“Honestly if you can get any reaction out of her I say try it. It’d at least let me know she’s still alive.” Avi admits in a way that implies it matters to him that she is. “She hasn’t been returning my calls.”

Switching topics, Avi sits forward and rests his elbows on the desktop. “Look, I don’t need to know your personal business. You find out the world’s a lot smaller than we expected, cool. You don’t need to tell me that. But, all things considered, I appreciate it.” He glances at the sideboard of liquor neither of them have visited. “I probably made you feel pretty unwelcome while you were working here, and if I didn’t that’s fucking nuts because I was trying to. Which…” he vaguely waves a hand in the air, “was a shit thing to do. For what it’s worth, you’re a Hound, and you always will be. Blood relatives of a former boss or not.”

Robyn is quiet for a moment, looking down at the card with Noa's information as she listens to Avi. From anyone else it would feel like being chastised, but she thinks knows better with Avi. She'll know when he's chastising her, he's done it before. She gives a small nod and a sad smirk. "Mine either, for what it's worth." There's no real trace of the mirth from moments before, despite her choice of words.

It doesn't take long for it to return. "Water under the bridge. I figure if people weren't trying to make me not want to be here, they weren't doing their jobs.I needed the reminder, given how often I got a little too friendly with the other Hounds at the time." She pauses, and gives a low chuckle.

"Careful, I'm about to get sentimental, and I know we're both allergic to that." She picks up the USB in the folder, looking at it for a moment before setting it back down on the table a bit closer to Avi. "I consider you one of the few people I have in this city that resembles a friend. I don't have to tell you shit, but given we've both worked with Hana, and I did so in a governmental capacity I figured it was the smarter play. I'd hate for someone to make something of it later and you get blindsided."

She points at him, leaning back in her chair as she follows his gaze over towards the liquor - it certainly is tempting. "That and I figured it'd make getting Noa's address easier if I was just honest for once in my life. It means a lot to know I'd be welcome here. Maybe if you need a new administrative assistant or some other boring shit after I'm done with this outing and with SESA, I'll come knocking."

“Friends.” Sounds weird when Avi says it. Sounds weird when Robyn says it, too. “Everybody used t’think I was a pretty bad guy, and somehow I got you all fooled.” In spite of the self-deprecation, there’s a ghost of a smile on his face.

But the USB stick has been making Avi nervous ever since he first saw it. Picking it up, he sweeps sentimentality aside for the comfort of those allergic.

“If this is one of your fucking albums…” Avi says with a crooked smile.

Unfortunately for Avi, once invoked, sentimentality resists being simply swept away.

"Fuck no, I haven't recorded a song in a decade, and I'm definitely not going to change that for you, Avi." Even if they both try really hard, Robyn unable to hide a sardonic chuckle as she leans back in her seat.

She lets the joking response linger for a moment, before raising one hand and pointing a finger at the USB and pointing at it. "That's for Hana. If she ever comes back and I'm not around." Knowing what she does means knowing Hana is almost certainly never going to hear what's on the device, but that's sentimentality in a nutshell. "It's a copy of a message Drucker left on a record. For her, and for me."

She shrugs shallowly, trying to deflect some of the heavy air around. "Sorry 'bout turning you into the middle man, but que sera, sera." Her smile is a bit forced, but it's there at least.

Avi looks down at the thumb drive. And I’m not around rattles in his head a little, lands crooked behind his eyes. He grumbles, sweeping the USB stick into his top drawer, and in the exchange retrieves a metal cigarette case.

“C’mon,” he says, slowly standing and nodding to the door to his office with his chin. “We’re gonna have a smoke on the roof like a couple of stupid fucking kids.”

"Aw, I haven't even gotten to donation I was going to make!" There's earnest teasing there - clearly this is a real thing Robyn planned to do, and she's going to milk it now if the exceptionally theatrical sigh she gives afterwards says anything about it.

But Avi's right, this has gotten more serious, more sentimental than Robyn wants, even if it was inevitable given the subject matter. She slips her chair back and rises up to her feet. "See, being a stupid fucking kid, there's something I'm good at. I can make a mess like nobody's business."

Avi snorts, but it’s not a derisive one. It’s an appreciative noise. He opens the cigarette case and offers one out to Robyn while opening his office door with the other hand.

“S’why I like you.” Avi admits with a smirk. “Game recognizes game.”

Robyn gingerly reaches up, taking the cigarette and rolling it between her fingers as she smirks.

"Avi, you wouldn't know game if it slapped you in the face."

So much for sentimentality.

Later That Day

Walking down the halls of old NYC apartments almost feels like a window into the past. Certainly, she's no stranger to them, but it's a stark change from Yamagato or the Studio. The last time she'd had an apartment like this, she'd been sharing it with Dirk. It's takes a moment to sink in that that was only two years ago.

Avi had given her perfectly up to date information, but at the moment she finds herself prone to distraction. Distraction enough that she barely even notices when she's come upon the door to the apartment she seeks. Her pace slows to a stop, and she stares at it ere long before closing her eyes and letting out a small sigh.

With a step forward, she knocks. "Noa? It's Robyn Roux. If you have a moment, I'd like to speak with you." It's never that simple, and the knowledge that she's overthinking the matter isn't enough to stop her from doing so.

After a moment, the door opens; dark eyes like Hana’s look out from the younger woman’s face, and Noa’s smile, less rare than Hana’s, blooms. “Robyn! How are you? Come in!” she says, opening the door wider to let her unexpected guest into the apartment.

The top-floor apartment is a sprawling and open-air design that probably takes up what use to be two smaller apartments; without Manhattan to serve as a mecca for New York’s wealthy, the waterfront of Red Hook has become fairly pricy. If only the smoky skies weren’t ruining the view from the windows.

At odds with the rich wood floors and tasteful furniture is one wall devoted to what’s likely Noa’s work these days – a white board with scrawled notes of locations and times is hung next to a bulletin board with more notes and a map with pin cushions in it – mostly in the middle east. She gestures Robyn away from that end of the apartment though and into the kitchen.

“Do you want some coffee? I was just about to have a cup. I’m not in trouble, am I?” Noa says with a grin that shows she doesn’t expect that to be the case. She reaches into the doorless cabinets to pick up two coffee mugs.

Robyn blinks, brought fully out of her absent distraction as the door opens. A weak smile forms on her face, wordlessly stepping in when invited. Eyes flit around the apartment in appraisal. "And here I thought I was the only one who brought their work home with her." Maybe it runs in the family almost rolls off her tongue, but… not yet.

Eyes linger on the whiteboard for a long moment, tracing the pins on the map visually before she disengaged from it. "Coffee sounds great. Black, please," carries a somewhat absent tone, as if her distraction wasn't already evident. "You busy today? I feel bad dropping in, but I had something I wanted to talk to you about, if you have the time to spare." A small chuckle filters out as she shakes her head. "Don't worry, you're not in trouble. Not with me, at least, no idea about anyone else."

Noa grins at the assurance she’s not in trouble. “Just teasing. It’s weird still to be on the ‘right’ side of the government, even after all this time, you know?” she says, as she gestures to the kitchen table.

She pours two cups of coffee, adding a splash of cream and some sugar to her own, before carrying them to the table and sitting down catty-corner from Robyn. “As for work, I work from home, keeping an ear out for patterns and the like, and taking notes. A one woman NSA basically,” she explains, propping her elbows on the table and then lifting the mug for a sip.

“If you’re looking for Hana or Benji or someone, the most I can do is promise to send them a message,” she says next, the sudden statement meant to curtail any requests for addresses or phone numbers for her scattered family.

"A one woman NSA?" Robyn sounds genuinely impressed about that, one eye quirked upwards. "Keep me posted if you find anything noteworthy, yeah? I assume you already have other contacts, but… I like being in the loop when possible." It's a bit of a random ask, but at least an honest one.

Picking up her coffee, she takes a small sip from it and sighs. It's a feeling of warm contentedness that comes with similarly hot coffee, and a pleasant distraction from the matter at hand. "To be honest," she starts in a quiet, uncertain voice, coffee, settling into her lap as it's cradled in her hands, "Hana is the reason I'm here." The admittance is followed by a moment of silence before she looks back up at Noa.

"I already know talking to her is… an impossibility right now, so…" She swallows audibly, trying and failing to relax. "So I thought I'd come see you." Sucking in a deep breath, she trains her eyes on Noa, and breaks a small smile. "Because I found out recently we're actually family."

“I should really come up with my own acronym – EOTG? Ears on the Ground?” Noa quips, but then she quiets once Robyn gets more serious and invokes the name of the elder Gitelman.

There’s a very subtle shift in her features as she mentally prepares herself to reaffirm the warning she already gave – that the most she can do is leave a message, and Hana will do with it as Hana pleases (which is probably to ignore it as she deals with the pressing matters that have taken her abroad). But as Robyn continues, that tension lifts again, before it gives way to a look of surprise.

“Family?” she says, brows drawing together in bemusement. “What do you mean?”

Robyn sucks in a deep breath, etes once more flitting away from Noa and back down to the ground. "Did Hana ever tell you about her uncle, Richard Drucker?" A small smile forms on Robyn's face as she shakes her head. "From what I gather, he was like a mentor to her. He had an ability much like hers and yours. Technopathy and all that." She chuckles, smile briefly widening. "I guess it runs in the family."

A beat pases, and the smile fades. "Mostly, I guess." It certainly skipped her, she ended up more like her mother it seems. "Once upon a time, Drucker and my mom worked together for the Company. Richard Ray and I have been hunting down records the pair of them left information encoded on." Reaching into her coat pocket, she pulls out a thumbdrive, and holds it up.

"Thing is, anything that was on them about what we were looking for wasn't the real revelation." Setting down the thumbdrive, she huffs out a breath and crosses her arms as she leans back. "Turns out he's my father," she says in a low voice, eyes cast off to the side. "Which means Hana's my cousin."

While she doesn’t look shocked, it’s clear it’s new information to Noa. She nods, brows drawing together in thought. “I know about him,” she says quietly. “Even before I met Hana – before I came here, the stories of my family were passed to me. Hana made sure of that. Even the hard parts. And we have remembered him over the years, in our way.”

As Noa looks down into her coffee, a wave of pain crosses her features. Family is a painful subject, a complicated one for most, but even more so for some – like Hana, Noa, and, it seems, Robyn.

“I don’t think that Hana knew that you were his daughter. She never told me if so. Did he know that he had a child? I wish I could tell you more about him, but I only have second-hand stories, some even three times removed. I know she loved him, though, and I think she wished she could be more like him. Peaceful. Less…” she gestures to fill the space, and finally smiles a little wryly. “Well, less like her.”

"He did know," Robyn is quick to offer, similarly lost in the ripples of her coffee, "or at least that Charlotte was with his child. Hana… I doubt she knew. I feel like if she did, our relationship would've been different. She certainly never would've let be the liaison to Wolfhound if she did." There's a rueful chuckle at that, remembering that conversation the two of them had the day she arrived in Rochester.

"Based on the timeline I've put together, Drucker died less than a month after I was born, but I think he and my mother had already split up," she admits after a moment. "At least physically. I don't know why, but my mom chose to forget, or was forced to, to have the whole thing wiped from her memory. I think Arthur Petrelli took her ability to boot." Lips thin, and she takes a long sip of her coffee, making sure it was still warm. "I think the whole thing would've been lost to history if Drucker hadn't left notes to himself. To me, and to Hana."

"It's- there's a lot more detail I could go into, but it's a lot." With a shake of her head, she looks back up at Noa and smiles. "But Drucker and Hana, they may be important pieces of this puzzle, they aren't the reason I'm here. I know full well that Hana is busy with her own work. I hope, eventually, I'll get to talk to her myself. For now… I wanted to reach out to you, specifically. We both seem to be at a bit of a shortage for family."

Noa smiles a little wryly at the comments about Hana, then grows more somber again. Her eyes turn wistful as she looks out the window for a moment, then down at her coffee, finally lifting it for a sip.

“Family is everything to her. I am sure she will want to know,” she says quietly. “Actually, it was her losing contact with Drucker, with Rebel, that made her choose to continue her family line, so I sort of owe him my existence. She’ll be happy to know that there’s another branch. I’ll tell you the stories I know. She’d want me to.”

Her fingers trace the rim of her cup thoughtfully for a moment, before she tips her head, eyes narrowing a little in thought. “Do you want me to tell her, or just that you’d like to reach her if you can?”

"Knowing how focused she can get, I don't think she'd pay me just wanting to talk to her much mind on it's own," Robyn offers with a growing grin. The warmth of the coffee mug is fading, but she holds it close regardless. "That's part of why I brought this," she remarks with a motion to the thumbdrive. "It has the last message from Drucker that we managed to uncover. He had something to say both to her and to me in it, even if it's not me by name."

Taking a deep breath, she finally looks up and at Noa again. "I wish I had better proof, to be honest. Something more concrete. Maybe I'll have that in time, depending on how the near future plays out," she notes. "The other reason I'm okay with you telling her is… I'm leaving soon, on a job for the government. I… am not really expecting to come back, if I'm going to be honest. But if I do, I will have learned so much."

An eyebrow rises, quickly moving past that as she remembers her night with Jolene. "I left a copy with Avi, too. Just in case. If she should hear it from anyone that isn't me, though, it's you."

Noa nods, brows drawing together with worry – if she knows what the forthcoming trip is about, she doesn’t say. “I’ll make sure she gets it, if she doesn’t respond to you before then,” she says quietly. “As for proof…”

Her lips tip upward into a small smile. “I have no proof, no paperwork, that says Hana is my mother, but, knowing us both, would you doubt it? I mean, I have a better sense of humor, but otherwise…”

She grins, and reaches out to touch Robyn’s arm lightly. “I’m glad you told me. I’d like to meet your son, too. I can teach him some of the things my mother made sure I learned from our family, to make sure they got passed down.”

Narrowing her eyes, Noa tips her head slightly. “You say the last message. Is he…?” She trails off. “I know she was trying, still, to find a way to rebuild him, to communicate with him. I have not heard if she was successful.”

"Matthew is… on his own little adventure right now." Robyn's voice practically drips with anxiety when she speaks, a palpable air hanging over her at those words. "He won't be back before I leave, but I'm going to leave guidance to make sure you both meet. If that's okay with you." A slight smile, and sips down the last of her coffee before continuing.

"Drucker is gone," is said with a solemn and uneven tone. "I don't know- I'm not good with the specifics of this sort of thing, or with technology and technical information at all, but when Hana tried to fix him, she made, like.." Robyn's fingers dance in front of her as she tries to puzzle out the words she wants. "An amalgamation of him, Micah Sanders, and someone else. He has fractured and broken memories of Drucker, but he is an entirely new entity, as much his own new self more than he is anyone else. He calls himself S.Attva."

Her smile twitches, setting down the mug and letting her arms fold into her lap. "It's because of him I'm here, actually. He doesn't… really hold memories of when Drucker and my mother were together. He knew she was special to him. He knew that she told him to watch over me. But the specifics seem long lost. But imagine my embarrassment when I was so caught up in my own crumbling life that I had to be reminded that you were here and it just never had occurred to me. I'm sorry about that."

She knows she doesn't need to apologise, and yet she does.

Noa’s brows knit at the mention of Matthew’s adventure, but she doesn’t press for details. There’s a nod of recognition at the name of S.Attva, but she doesn’t interrupt. The worried look turns to something else, something sad and wistful for a moment, but she doesn’t speak to it, instead shaking her head at the apology Robyn makes.

“You don’t have to apologize. We’re family – and I do mean that – but not so immediate I would expect you to immediately think about me when learning about your father. And I know,” her smile turns a little impish, “it can be difficult to tell someone you are related to them. I will have to tell you about mine and Hana’s sometime.”

Noa shakes her head a little ruefully. “Though I’ll be honest, it wasn’t the kindest way to share it, the memories. I’m sorry about that. They thought it was the best way for you all to believe us. It worked, but…” she trails off, she shrugs. “And yes, I’d love to meet with Matthew while you’re away. Do you know Drucker was Buddhist? Hana made sure that Shaolin Kung Fu and Tai Chi were a part of my training. I can teach him what are called the childish skills – forms that focus on balance and flexibility rather than combat. If you like.”

"It did what it needed to," Robyn offers with a small chuckle. "I feel like I should look into the others too, given I'm three deep in future relatives now." She offers this with a rueful but amused tone, shaking her head before she continues. "I didn't know Drucker was Buddhist, no. That's fascinating!" Her smile fades, and she looks back downwards. "I'm not much for religion myself anymore. I was raised Irish Catholic, but I lapsed years ago."

That brings some questions of it's own to her mind, but ones she chooses not to give voice to.

"I want Matthew to live a life of peace. At least, as much as possible," Robyn offers, looking back up at Noa. "And with his complex ability, I'm cautious about what I teach him. But I do think those might be good to help him. Particularly if you can teach him that may help with focus."

Noa nods, with a smile. “The forms are good for that. They helped me a lot, especially when I was younger. And now, too, to be honest. It helps to offset that Gitelman rage,” she quips.

She holds up a finger, then suddenly Hana’s voice comes through the speakers across the room – it’s as if the woman is in the room with them, though the conversation happened a decade before.

"You're already more like me than you know," Hana’s voice says, tone so dry it borders on humor of a rueful and biting sort. "Drucker would say my sin is pride. I think he's only half right; the other half is wrath. He himself was — or became — a proponent of Zen philosophy. Peace, harmony, all of that. He may well have been the best of all of us."

Noa stares not at the speakers but out the window, her dark eyes shimmering as she invokes Hana’s voice with her ability. They’d come so far since that day in the past decade, And now…

She swallows, and looks back to Robyn. “I only hope she can find that sort of peace herself someday. But maybe we can at least pass it to your son.”

Robyn practically jumps out of her own skin when she hears Hana's voice, eyes widening as she wheels around to look in the direction of the source. She blinks, enraptured by the memory given new voice as Hana's voice fills the room, brief as it may be.

It plunges her deep into thought, about what Richard Drucker - as the man he once was - would have to say about her if he had met her. When he meets her. What he may make of the stories of her life and exploits, good and ill. Her brow furrows, and it's only when Noa speaks again that she's drawn back into reality. "Yes. I would like that. I would like that life for him."

What about herself? Like so many other things, Robyn wasn't sure about that. Peace isn't something she knows anymore, and Noa can likely see that conflict brewing on her face. "I hope she finds what she seeks, and comes back here eventually. Even before all of this, it felt a bit more hollow without her."
Noa’s dark brows draw together and she looks to the speaker, now, as if she could see Hana there, where her voice had just sounded. She nods slowly.

“I hope that for her, too,” she says simply, before looking over at the maps, whiteboard, and bulletin board across the room. “I’m working on it for myself, but it’s hard to retire from war when it’s all you know. And if it’s hard for me, it’s harder for her. But maybe someday.”

Her gaze returns to Robyn. “When do you leave?”

"I know how that feels," Robyn replies in a low voice. "I didn't used to, but it's hard to go back to that life now. I tried, but I feel like this is all I know now. Much as I talk like I hate it, I'm not sure what else I'll do when I retire." Given how much she talks about that she should probably start figuring it out.

The question Noa poses earns her a weary sigh and a shake of her head. "In two days," she admits pensively. "I waited until the absolute last moment to do what I didn't want to do, and I kind of regret it now." Her shoulders rise in a small shrug - not much to be done about it now. "And then a week after that I'll be gone on this… job I'm doing. No time table on if I'll be back."

The younger woman’s expression turns to one of commiseration, and she reaches to squeeze Robyn’s hand again. “I do know what that’s like,” Noa says softly. “When we left, we knew we wouldn’t be going back. I’m not sure if that’s better or not to your if. I suppose closure is valuable, in its way, but…”

She lifts a shoulder. “There are people in that world who I don’t know here, or here, our relationships are different, not as close as they were there. And even those who came here with me, well.” She smiles a little sadly, and doesn’t finish that thought, knowing she doesn’t have to.

“I hope your if is a when. I’ve never had a cousin before, and it would be nice to get to know you as family.” Noa lets go of Robyn’s hand. “Let me know if there’s anything I can do to help take care of things in your absence. I think that’s what family’s for, yeah?”

"You and Jolene, huh?" Robyn can't help but laugh at that. "She insisted on a when. I… don't have that kind of faith, but I suppose I can hope." Which she knows is a kind of faith in and of itself, but not the kind people seem to constantly be trying to thrust upon her. "I still need to tell Adel, too."

SIlence falls for a moment, shoulders rising and falling in a shrug. "Check in on the studio is all I can really ask, I think. I tasked Kendall with that already, but sometimes I'm not sure that boy's head is on straight enough to make it to work in the morning." She teases of course, but having a fallback option is never a bad thing.

"Everything else… I've been trying to set up as much as possible to be automated while I'm gone. Bills, payments, anything that requires money is already taken care of and… well, I have more money than people think, so that should be good for a while. Matthew is… complicated, but as handled as it can be right now. To be honest, there's not much left that I can think of." A sardonic laugh filters out. "It feels weird to have my affairs in such relative order. Never thought I'd see the day."

“Poor Lene,” Noa murmurs, fingers wrapping around her cup again. “That must have been hard. Sort of a reverse of what she had to do when we left home. And Adel.”

Her brows draw together with concern for the other woman. “I’ll check in on her, too,” she adds, to the very few things Robyn’s asking her to do.

“Well, if you think of anything you forgot, you have my number. Or you can look for me the hard way,” she says, with a smirk, and a nod to the stereo system. “Can’t guarantee I’ll pick it up when you need me to, that way, though, so I suggest actually texting, emailing, or calling directly. If it’s within my ability to do whatever it is, I’ll do it, all right? After all…”

She reaches over again, to put a hand on Robyn’s. “We’re family.”

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