So Long And Goodnight, Part I


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Scene Title So Long, and Good Night, Part I
Synopsis What's the worst that I can say?
Date May 29, 2021

La Mer

It's been some time since Robyn Roux has been out to La Mer. While her frequenting a bar isn't the most unusual occurrence - particularly not as of late - personal grudges keep her from spending her evenings in her former favourite of Cat's Cradle. So, instead, she finds herself at La Mer more nights than she's comfortable admitting, drowning herself in more drinks than she's comfortable confessing.

It's a strange bar. Rather than the loud and oftentimes raucous atmosphere of Cat's Cradle, Dirty Pool, or Add-a-Ball, La Mer keeps a calmer, quieter atmosphere, at least for a club. The walls are painted ocean blue, two fish tanks flanking either side of the main seating and bar area while overhead a light shines a speckled blue light over the diners and drunks that populate the seats below. Overly relaxing music plays when there's not a band or a DJ performing, as if meant to lull the drinks into a tired stupor to keep them from drinking too much, or take them out of the action early if they have. Even the table in front of Robyn has the pattern of a wave carved into it, seemingly by hand.

It all makes this a poetic place to spend her last nights in this reality, and a somber place for what she feels she has to do tonight.

For now, she waits for Jolene Petrelli to arrive. It had been a short notice, asking her to come out tonight. But hey, that's how she's always done these sorts of things.

Jolene is, unsurprisingly, about twenty-five minutes late. She comes in off the street with a shine of water in her hair from the late-spring drizzle outside. Beaded water clings to her leather jacket, collecting on the floor as she pauses to scan the bar in her search for Robyn. On spotting her, Jolene rises onto her toes and waves excitedly, then begins negotiating between the patrons on her way over to Robyn’s table.

“Hey hey!” Jolene chirps as she arrives, tugging out a seat and throwing herself down into it with a tired huff of breath. “Got off at the wrong stop, had to walk like six blocks downtown.” She says with a good-natured laugh in spite of the inconvenience.

Yeah, that sounds about right. Robyn can't help but laugh and shake her head as she leans back in her seat in the booth, looking up at Jolene with faux dismay. "“Ah, la vache1, what are we going to do with you, Jolene?"

With a dramatic sigh, she laughs more genuinely. "Thanks for coming out, I know it was kinda last minute." That's entirely her fault, she could've done this at any time over the course of the last two months, but here they are. "I would've picked you up if I'd known it'd start raining." It comes and goes so quickly in the spring, and it hadn't been enough to be bothersome when she'd rode over on her Ventus. The trip home was going to be fun.

"Here's a menu, get a drink. Got a few things I wanna talk with you about." There's a serious turn to her tone - this isn't to be all fun tonight at least.

As she settles in, Jolene sheds her jacket over the back of the chair and grabs for the menu. “Yeah, you and me both.” She admits with a nervous flutter of laughter, glancing at the drink menu out of habit. She already knows what she wants.

“I got back from Washington with Mom and Dad a few months ago.” Lene says the dad part quietly, turning the menu over and setting it face down on the table. “There’s—some shit going on. A lot of shit. Familiar flavors of the rainbow, y’know? It’s—” Jolene clams up when the waitress arrives.

“Hi, I’m Jen! I’ll be your server tonight.” The waitress says with a tired smile. “Can I start you two off with a couple drinks?”

Lene nods and nudges the menu away with one finger. “Yes! Uh, vodka and tonic?” She then looks at Robyn and Jen follows her line of sight.

“Anything for you?” Jen asks.

Clearly Robyn hasn't been thinking that far in advance, looking up at Jen with a blank, surprised expression. "Oh, ah- just water for me, please." She has to drive home later, after all. Maybe coming to a club slash restaurant and not drinking wasn't her smartest plan, but she wants to be sober for this particular conversation. "Thank you."

With that, she turns her attention back to Jolene. "Familiar flavours. Sounds about right." Despite a clear attempt otherwise, a bit of bitterness slips into her voice at that. "That's about where I'm at all, to be honest. Same shit, different day and all that.'

A moment later, she quirks an eyebrow. "Wait. Washington State? Or-" It has to be the other one. "Why?" Her own topics are forgotten a moment as her head cants slightly to the side. "I haven't had much time to speak with your mom lately, so you gotta fill me in, Jolene!" That, at least, is said with a smile that is for once not strained.

Jolene gives a not around the normies look to Robyn until Jen slips away, then scoots her chair forward. “K.C,” she clarifies about which Washington. “It’s—super complicated, and—you know what, you go first and if you don’t knock me over with a bombshell we can talk about the time travel soap opera that is my family life.” She says with an awkward laugh, threading a lock of hair around one ear.

“So, why’d you call me?” Lene asks, brows up. “You got a sweet new thing you want to get the Petrelli Seal of Approval?” She laughs, because she knows the answer is no. Nobody wants the Petrelli Seal of Approval.

Unable to keep from being amused, Robyn snickers at the look that's given to her. It's short lived, though it fades when time travel soap opera comes up. She tries her hardest to keep a barely mustered smile, but it's fairly transparent - she doesn't want to go first.

"I, uh." Both Robyn's hands rise up to the table, clasped together in front of her as she stares at them instead of at Jolene. "Nothing so frivolous, I'm afraid. Honestly, maybe I shouldn't've picked here to talk about it," she remarks, suddenly recalling a very angry Avi Epstein in the back of her mind and his criticisms of her choices of venues for serious discussions. "I do need the Petrelli Seal of Approval, though."

Chewing at her lower lip for a moment, she looks back at Jolene and cants her head to the side. "I wanted to ask you what it was like… when you decided to leave and come here, from your home, knowing you wouldn't be going back. How you coped with it."

Oh boy.

Lene’s brows furrow in silent thought. She leans back in her chair, fixing Robyn with a more scrutinizing look than before. There’s a moment where it looks like she might deflect away from a real answer, but also a more conflicted moment where it is clear that she can’t deflect—shouldn’t.

“We… asked a lot of people if it was a good idea, actually.” Lene admits with a downcast stare to the small table between them. “Ultimately, though, we… all just agreed anything was better than our future. You—you don’t know what it was like living there. The worst of the Civil War, here, but forever. Always on the run, watching your friends die off one at a time. Awful, avoidable deaths.” She’s never forgiven herself for so many of them.

“We thought we were going to undo all of that.” Lene admits with the wryness of ignorant youth. “We thought there wouldn’t be a here to come back to. We—didn’t know then what we know now. That time isn’t a line. So, to us, it didn’t matter. There was the horror of now, and the dream of then.

Looking back up to Robyn, Lene reaches a hand out across the table. “Robyn, why’re you asking me this?”

Robyn is silent for a long moment. It's clear she's listening intently, at least until Jolene deflects back to her with a perfectly reasonable question given what hers has been. She swallows, hoping that the waitress is about to return from getting their drinks and distract from this particular conversation so that she can have longer to collect her thoughts.

No such luck, and Robyn lets out a heavy sigh. "Because now it's my turn," she admits in a low voice, lowering her head and averting her eyes away from Jolene. "Sort of. Sideways, not back." Taking a deep breath, she lets out a long, drawn out exhalation. "I'm not supposed to talk much about it, but I trust you. That's why I came to you to see… what it was like for you." Pursing her lips, she looks back up with a sad look on her face.

"Because it's almost definitely a one way trip."

Color drains from Lene’s face. “Sideways?” She asks in shock before really thinking about the question. Her eyes track from side to side, recalling something her father had told her when they reunited in Praxia.

“Seeing Walter holding me was the last clear thing I remembered…” Peter says with his eyes averted to the ground, “…before I woke up in Manhattan.” He closes his eyes and shakes his head in doubt of his own recollection. “Thinking back further than that is hard, and I’m— there’s a jumble of memories that aren’t mine. Or shouldn’t be. Memories of things that happened here, in this timeline.”

“Why?” Jolene asks with just as much exasperation as before. Her voice is just a touch too loud and when she asks her followup it’s a whisper. “How?

"Why'd you do it?" is a quick reply from Robyn; it's not meant to be a deflection or a rebuttal and hopefully that's clear in her somber but matter-of-fact tone. Rather, she's trying to provide the answer without actually saying it, in a strange attempt to be mindful of normal people around them.

She also realises it presents two correct answers - to save the world… and to see her parents.

"Where we're going… my mom and my dad - my real dad," a story she hasn't yet shared with her friend, "are still alive, and have… something we need. As for how…" Robyn sits back and pretends to push up her glasses, raising a finger up and shaking it as she tries to impersonate one of the scientists she's met at Raytech, loudly proclaiming "SCIENCE!"

It looks as stupid as it sounds. Maybe it's her attempt at bringing some levity to an otherwise serious conversation.

It works. Lene can’t help but exhale a breathy laugh at the absurdity, but the amusement is short-lived. Concern quickly bleeds back in as she sits forward about to ask a question when the server, Jen, comes back over with their drinks.

Here you go!” Jen says, setting the drinks down on the table. “Can I get you two started with any food or—”

We’re good,” Lene snips with an impatient look up at Jen. The server’s brows shoot up to her hairline and she offers a feigned smile.

“Right. Sounds good, I’ll be back in a bit.” Jen says with obvious tension in her voice, backing away from the table.

Once Jen is out of earshot, Lene sits forward again. “Explain.

As Lene snaps at the waitress, Robyn's eyes widen a slight bit - this isn't what she expected at all. Not that she expected this news to go over well, but she also can't help but wonder if this is how she and Ygraine had reacted to Jolene wanting to leave her future.

"Explain which?" She's not being cheeky, hanging her head as she nearly whispers the response. "There's some things I can't. Or… shouldn't. I'm going on behalf of- SESA." A lie, OEI has her going, but that's not a bridge she wants to cross at the moment. "But I'll tell you everything I can."

She takes a deep breath. "When it comes to my parents… I found out a few years back that my mother used to be a Company scientist before I was born. She studied solar energy." Her shoulders slump a bit. "She was partnered with a man named Richard Drucker, and…" She waves a hand back and forth, sighing. "They were close." Jolene can figure out the rest from there.

"Something… happened. Something big, something wrong. The Company stopped it, but Drucker died in the madness. I don't know what happened after that, but I suspect my mother had her memory and ability taken, and she went to Ireland to live with my dad. You know the rest from there."

Slumping a bit on her side of the booth, Robyn looks down at her glass of water but doesn't touch it. "I want to see her again more than anything," she continues in a whisper of a voice. "Even if it's not her. But it's more than that. There's something coming, and it's believed that she and Drucker created something that could help stop it." She looks back up at Jolene, spreading her hands out in front of her. "Just not here."

“Just not here,” Lene whispers, her stare falling from Robyn to the table between them. She’s forgotten her drink now. Instead of cradling a glass she wrings her hands together and looks lost in thought. When she looks back up to Robyn, it’s clear a piece of this has fallen into alignment.

“That thing.” Lene hisses. “This is—the Company, your parents, it’s about that thing Monroe was talking about. I was there, Robyn. In Praxia, in Detroit. Adam Monroe wanted to burn down half the goddamn world with a virus to stop that thing and he couldn’t.”

Lene glances around, checking to see if her outbursts drew undue attention. “You’re going there to stop it? The thing that—” She blinks a few times, looking down at her lap. “Eve—” Her jaw clenches, eyes upturned to Robyn. “When are you coming back?”

The mention of Eve makes Robyn's teeth clench, as much as she tries not to show it. "No," she offers, before confusingly shaking her head. "But also, yes. There's a lot of things our Drucker and my mom worked on, including means to directly combat that… thing." Sucking in a breath, Robyn deflates a bit in her seat. "It's what killed Drucker, from what I've seen."

Her last question, though, that causes her to cast her eyes down at the table. "There's a reason I wanted to talk to you about how you… prepared yourself for it. How you accepted what you had to do." It's a roundabout way to a short answer. "Because I'm probably not."

Lene stares in vacant silence across the table, drink forgotten. Her lips part as if she’s going to answer, but then nothing comes. Her brows knit together, she looks down to the table, curls her fingers against her palms, and tries to speak again. Still, nothing.

Swallowing audibly, Lene shifts in her seat and looks back up to Robyn with glassy eyes. She blinks back tears, face flushed red with anger and anxiety. “What?” Is all she can ask in a little, dry croak.

"Oh, hon." There's a sad, plaintive tone to her words - Robyn had certainly expected this possibility, but as it turns out she is ill prepared to handle it. Double so upon the realization that with all the whispering and tears someone is more likely to think that the two of them just broke up or something equally inane, rather than the more serious matter at hand. This definitely was the wrong venue for this. Someday she'll learn.

"It depends on who you ask," she offers. "Richard is confident we'll make it back. Everyone else… recognises the reality of the situation, that we're making this trip without any means of getting us back. Just enough to send back what we need to."

Chin pressed into her palm, she runs her fingers over her chin and across her mouth. "I… would like to think we could get back. But I can't begin to imagine how that would be. None of the ways I would know or people I would think to talk to are really available. That's not to say someone won't figure something out between now and when we're done, but."

Uncertain of what to say next, she huffs out an unsteady breath. "I'm sorry. I just… wanted advice. I didn't think this through. I haven't spoken to Adel yet either, and Matthew… I prepared Matthew for this a few months ago."

“But—but why’re you—” Lene starts to ask, but then stops herself. She remembers the other side of this conversation from what feels like a lifetime ago. Robyn and Ygraine sitting where she is now. She closes her eyes, curls her hands into fists, and breathes in deeply through her nose.

When Lene pushes that held breath out, she opens her eyes and looks directly at Robyn. “Who else are you going with? Tell me you’re not going alone.” She’s trying to be strong, to be logical, to be everything both halves of her parentage wouldn’t be in this situation. It’s her surrogate parents that gave her the chance to have this clarity, and in a twist of dramatic irony she is forced to be that for the mother who never was.

"Why am I going?" As she asks the question, Robyn reaches across the table to place a hand on Jolene in hopes of offering some sort of comfort. "I didn't want to, at first. I actually walked out of our briefing on it. Truth be told, I still don't want to." Squeezing her hand, she releases it but doesn't really lean back. "But what's going on is bigger than me. I get the impression they think I'm the insurance they need to make sure Drucker and Charlotte will give us what we need. The me that lives there… well, lived, and I think that speaks for itself."

It'll never not be weird calling her mother by her first name.

"Richard Ray is going," she offers with a slow nod of her head. "Regrettably, so is Eve Mas and some friends of hers. We also have someone from Wolfhound." She lets out a scoff that belies her somber tone. "I may be good, but I'm not good enough to make it to Alaska on my own." Her shoulders sink and she lowers her head, finally slipping back down into her seat.

"I've never done anything like this. I'm scared, to be honest. Of a lot of things." Whispered words barely audible in the din of the club's restaurant, Robyn shaking her head without looking up. "But I need to go."

There’s a part of Lene that absolutely understands the logic behind Robyn going. It’s the same logic they used on going back, that they could be the ones who guide their own parents, to change the course of history through their family. Swallowing audibly, Lene nods and squeezes Robyn’s hand back.

“It sounds like you’re in good company,” Lene says, Richard and Eve included. Her feelings on both of them may be complicated, but over the years they’ve come out on the better side of things. “If anybody knows how to survive time bullshit, it’s Richard. I mean—he’s practically a cockroach with that kinda’ stuff.” She admits with a laugh to mask her own anxieties.

“But—but why don’t you think you’re coming back? If—I mean you’re going sideways? That—that sounds safer than back or forward, right?” Lene asks, searching Robyn’s eyes.

"Eh," is Robyn's thoughts on good company, but that's not a discussion for right now. "You'd think it would be," she remarks, turning her apathetic response into a way of continuing the conversation. "The thing is, we're not having someone ferry us to and from, Jolene. I wasn't joking when I said science earlier."

Her gaze dips down, eyes searching for something to focus on that isn't Jolene. To her, none of this is a lie, but it is a burden, and one that Robyn feels bad making Jolene shoulder.

"We have a way there, sure… but it's a one way trip. No easy way back after that." The fingers of her free hand tap against the table for a moment arrhythmically. "Maybe we find a way back once we're there? But there's no guarantee and no timetable."

Lene’s expression scrunches up and she glances around the bar, finally sitting forward to wind her hands around her drink. “How’s it possible that you can’t just… just go back the way you came? I don’t—if this is some sort of technology why—what about Matthew?” Her eyes track from side to side, things slotting together. “No, wait, you said you—you prepared him. For what? For you not coming home? Is that what this is?” There’s a hint of accusation in her voice.

Guilt pangs at Robyn, averting her eyes at the near accusation. That's exactly what this is, and not something she'd thought would be easy - but maybe this wasn't quite what we expected. "There isn't a means of conveyance on that side," she remarks in a low voice, "and even if there was, we're traveling across the country in a world where there isn't any real infrastructure for power or industry. Not anymore."

Shoulders sagging as a feeling of defeat rolls over her, her head hangs in earnest. "So yes. That's exactly what that is. One last night, in case my worst fears and my deepest expectations come true." Sucking in a deep breath, her eyes stay on the drink in front of her. "But it's more than that. I wanted to show you the respect you showed me, once upon an age. To talk to you, to tell you, to be honest with you. Seek guidance and advice, because I know you've had to do this before. I mean, in a fashion." Her lips quirk up in a small, subtle smile, before curling back down. "I haven't told anyone else yet, besides Matthew. Not even your mom, not even Adel."

Jolene slinks back into her chair, bringing one hand up to her mouth. Robyn can see her grappling with the development, with truly understanding. She swallows, both the lump in her throat and the words that were about to come. Robyn’s own words haunt her across the ocean of time:

"And you're sure this is what you want to do?"

“You’re sure this is what you want to do?” Lene parrots the question back. One Robyn never asked in this timeline, but dreamt of once upon a time.

The question is one that perhaps Robyn was prepared for, but the way she stares vacantly ahead means she never bothered to think on her answer, and now will never have enough time to properly do so. So, her answers ends up being much different from the one Jolene gave her all those years in the future.

"No," she whispers quietly, barely audible over the sound of glasses clinking and footsteps echoing. "No, I'm not. I've refused twice, actually. But I realize now that I need to. With the stakes at hand, for both me and for the world, I need to. Even if I don't want to."

With a shaky, only somewhat feigned smile she looks back up at Jolene. "If it makes you feel better, there's a good chance I'm retiring if I come back."

When.” Jolene insists, letting go of her drink and reaching out across the table. “When you come back. Otherwise—” she hesitates, voice hitching in the back of her throat. “Otherwise I’m coming to find you.”

Taking a deep breath, Robyn stares at Jolene's outstretched hand, and hesitates. She's grown to not be fond of lying to people about things like this - at least when it's on this small a scale. Her opinions on the incoming solar flare aside, on a much more personal level… someone deserves to know when they likely won't see someone they care about again. Lying isn't a mercy.

It's a condemnation.

And yet, maybe this one time she can make an exception.

"Okay," she says in a low, uncertain voice. "When." Jolene of all people might realize she's saying it for her benefit, but at the very least she wants to believe it. "Please don't do something as reckless as crossing str-"

Letting out a put upon sigh, she shakes her head. "Oh, what's the point, I know who I'm talking to." This said with a genuine, if small smile. "But I mean it. There's enough people caught up in this. Don't add yourself, you don't deserve that."

“Don’t tell me what I deserve,” Lene asserts, hand still outstretched and eyes unwavering from Robyn’s. “I went back in time and fought a war to save the people closest to me. You’re—doing some crazy shit to do the exact same thing. You look at the kinds of people who raised me and ask yourself a question.”

Lene makes a little grabby gesture with her outstretched hand. “Do you think I’m more or less reckless because of who raised me?” There’s a smile creeping up on her lips. “Because we both know the answer to that.”

Jolene's rebuttal causes Robyn to recoil, eyes widening as she listens to the younger woman. Huffing out a breath, she lowers her head so that she's not looking at Lene for the moment. "Here I'd hoped I'd calmed down as I got older," she notes with a sad smile. "Though I guess with people like Gillian and Ygraine around there's little hope of that."

Closing her eyes, she sighs and reaches across the table, taking Jolene's hand. "I feel like the answer is obvious," she notes, so yes. We do. "Just… if you do decide to come and get me? Make sure things are situated here first. I suspect we're going to need someone as strong as you are." And from her tone, Robyn won't hear otherwise.

“The split second everything is square here, I’m coming for your ass.” Jolene says with a ghost of a smile threatening her otherwise serious tone. “Don’t think I’m going to let something as small as a parallel universe let you get out of my next birthday party that easy.” The stiff tone breaks, and Jolene picks up her drink and taps it gently against Robyn’s glass.

“That said,” Lene pointedly eyes Robyn’s glass, “are we drinking or what?”

Robyn looks down at the drink and then picks it up. "I really should be cutting back. But I don't think anyone could blame me right now." Huffing out a breath, she turns the glass in her hand. "I'm sorry, Jolene. I don't mean to worry or upset you. I just…I'm being frank with myself about this. Honest with everyone else."

She looks up from her glass and sets it aside. "But I'm glad I have someone looking out for me on this side."

Jolene smiles, crookedly, and takes a swig of her drink.

“What’re daughters for?”

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