Something Other Than Yes


gillian_icon.gif rue3_icon.gif

Scene Title Something Other Than Yes
Synopsis A visit to Gillian Childs provides Rue with the answer she didn't want to hear.
Date January 17, 2018

Elmhurst: Gillian Childs' Brownstone

Even in the peak hours of day, this row of townhouses has little in the way of traffic. There's a couple cars parked on the side of the road, since garage space remains limited in a majority of the area. Most are on the newer side, likely with alarms and such, but someone stealing a car would have a hard time getting it anywhere to strip it down and use. And don't even think about getting it through the Safe Zone gates. It's made car theft not as worrisome.

Break-ins, perhaps, but not outright theft.

A dark gray car sits outside the brownstone townhouse of Gillian Childs. And it would seem she never leaves anything in her car. But that wouldn't stop someone from trying to steal the battery or the radio— Just not the car.

The brownstone, like almost all the others on this street, is in good repair. And unlike most others on this street, she doesn't have to pack in with a lot of people. The curtains are pulled shut— at least until there's a ring of the soft toned doorbell.

First, the curtains on the door are pulled opened, and then after a moment the door unlocks, deadbolt first. When it opens, Gillian is dressed business casual— likely she'd had a meeting of some sort and hadn't bothered to change, after. "Can I help you?"

The girl looks familiar. It takes her a moment and then… "Oh. Rue Lancaster, right?" Her smile relaxes, and her hand comes away from the table next to the door. The girl's not changed too much. And everyone who had been on the Island remembered the one that people thought was the traitor. Until they found out otherwise.

Rue offers a cheery smile when the door opens and Gillian's familiar face appears. It isn't that she's feeling particularly cheery, but this needs to look like a social call. She's sure she hasn't been followed - she'd know - but paranoia means she treats every meeting as though it could be spied upon.

She hasn't forgotten some people didn't get the memo about her innocence. Some people never believed it even after they heard. It means she approaches former members of the Ferry with caution. "That's right. It's nice to see you again, Miss Childs." She sounds so much like her old self. Sunny, polite. "Would you mind if I come in?"

"It's been a while," the older woman admits, still showing that dimple as she opens the door wider and gestures her inside. As soon as the door closes behind her, Rue is greeted by a orange fluffy cat who starts to assault her legs with his fuzzy body, rubbing up against her in greeting. She might even remember him as one of the cats from the island. He'd left long before the evacuation— with the Lighthouse Kids. He's just as friendly as he'd always been.

"Would you like a drink or anything?" She asks, gesturing into the living room, which has a few comfortable looking chairs and a love seat. As well as a nice television. Being a published author and one of the Citizens Watch pays, apparently. Though a majority of her money had come from the books.

"Water would be great, if it's no trouble." Rue stoops down to pet the orange cat. Her expression grows a little distant, wondering for a moment whatever became of the kitten she and Benji named.

The thought is dismissed quickly, because she's on a mission. Stepping further into Gillian's home, Rue looks about for additional exits as a force of habit. With the curtains shut, she doesn't worry as much about the front window.

"Looks like things have been going well," Rue observes casually, without any hint of sarcasm or insult. "I've read your books." That is a genuine admission, and her smile is a little shy because of it.

By all appearances, there's no additional exits on this floor. Perhaps upstairs, but there's no back door, the windows all seem firmly shut. Gillian might know the worries, but she doesn't have then quite as much. And she knows the townhouse better than anyone. It's been her home for years. When she returns from the kitchen with a glass of water, not from the tap, she hands it over with a grin.

"It sounds like I might need to write a few more, with some of the accounts that have been floating around about things." Like what happened with the siege. Most no one seems to have gotten that to her liking.

And at least one author out there makes her want to find and slap her for certain allegations. But that's neither here or there.

"What brings you out here, today? I doubt it's about my books." She'd not really been in any of them to complain about a bad portrayal.

For which Rue is fairly grateful for, if she's honest. She thrives on her anonymity in her chosen profession. Accepting the glass with a grateful nod, she takes a sip. The liquid is cool as it travels to her empty stomach. It settles her nerves a little.

"Actually, I'm here on behalf of an old mutual friend of ours…"

Rue's gaze slants away from Gillian for a moment. "Are you taking care of Sibyl?" Blue stare snaps right back to the older woman's face again, something questioning and perhaps vaguely apprehensive there. Like she's inviting the honest answer over the right answer, whatever that may be.

Before she sits down, Gillian picks up a coaster from a coaster rack and sets it down on the end table, in case the girl wants to put the glass down. Coasters have been a habit she'd picked up years ago, and never quite gotten rid of. She remembers how much Gabriel would stare at any drink stains on furniture, like it was a personal affront.

When the name is mentioned, she pauses for a moment, giving away a hint that, at least, she might know who the woman is talking about. "No, no one's staying with me right now. Except Lene, sometimes." And even then, it's only sometimes. Her daughter seems to desire independance, to find her own path. She always has a room on the first floor open for her, though, as well as the other guest room upstairs.

One that Sibyl had stayed in for a few days.

"Is that one of the new kids for the Lighthouse?" she asks, feigning ignorance on who this Sibyl happens to be. Rue could be asking on Brian's behalf, after all. He's a mutual friend. And one of the few who had been convinced Rue wasn't the traitor back on the island.

Rue sighs quietly, taking a seat and setting her water down on the provided coaster. "Look. All I've been told to ask you is if you're taking care of her, and is she safe. I don't need to see her, I don't need to talk to her. Your word is enough."

She could take the feigned ignorance as a confirmation, but her instructions were clear. She needs to hear a yes before she's satisfied that girl is safe. Rue turns her head so she can look further into the house, listening for any signs of life.

Tilting her head to the side, Gillian hesitates once again, just slightly. Almost as if she's trying to remember if she's heard what Rue has been doing these days. Had she heard something about working with Wolfhound? She's not entirely sure— she hadn't really been interested in what they were doing all the way over in Rochester. But she knew that Claire was with them, at least. And a few others. As well as Robyn just recently being sent up there.

Oh yes— that's where she heard Rue Lancaster was one of Wolfhound. And the girl she's asking about had introduced herself as the daughter of a former member of Vanguard, something she'd avoided mentioning around Colette. Cause she didn't know how far Wolfhound would go— and Vanguard, in many cases, were still war criminals. In a war that had ended long before the Second American Civil War had begun.

"Ask for who? An old mutual friend, you said?"

"Yeah," Rue replies almost absently, turning her attention back to Gillian. She doesn't narrow her gaze suspiciously, but she worries about the cagey responses. But if Avi gave her the same kind of sworn to secrecy spiel that he gave Rue, it's no wonder Gillian's playing dumb.

Very deliberately, Rue lifts one hand and rubs at her right eye. "Like the shades, by the way." They're curtains, which makes Rue's comment a little strange. Unless Gillian is picking up on what she's suggesting.

That is an odd aside. And at first, Gillian doesn't seem to understand. But the part of her that has been playing around with words to express things in different and unique ways, she does catch on. Shades. A known term for glasses. And there was someone who had almost only been known by his glasses.

Once, she had hated the man, holding a grudge for the first time they had met, when he was hunting Sylar. That had changed a little when the man joined them to get the Lighthouse Kids to safety in Canada, had worked hard to protect them when the convoy was attacked. But she still remembers that night. On an island. When he shot her full of darts that paralyzed pretty much everything except her mouth.

Would he question a kid the same way? She has no idea.

"I haven't seen anyone named Sibyl, sorry. Can't help you. Or him."

Shit. Rue is certain Gillian understood who she was indicating. And if that's the case, and Sibyl hasn't been here… "That's unfortunate. We're really worried about her. There's some bad people out there. We just want to know she's safe."

Rue reaches into her coat and pulls out a business card. She slides it across the coffee table toward Gillian. "If she turns up, give me a call? Tell me you found a copy of My Fair Lady." The glass is lifted back to her lips to take another long drink. Rue looks sad. This isn't the news she wanted to deliver to her partner.

That the covert agent isn't telling her what the girl looks like at all gives Gillian a clue that, yeah, she's potentially seen through her lie. Only sometimes is she good at lying. She sometimes talks about her daughter, but then has to backpedal and lie so as not to have to explain that her daughter happens to be from the future and not born from her exactly. It made dates awkward.

Most people wouldn't lie about their kid after bringing them up, after all.

So to help keep the 'guise up, as she takes the card she asks, "What should I be keeping an eye out for, besides the name Sibyl?" The girl really isn't staying with her, so that part isn't a lie— but, well… "And I'm fairly sure no one's bugging my place." Mostly sure. Because she has checked. She's just not as good at checking as, well, others probably are. But with her being so discrete with even her words, she's wondering if the woman fears the place is bugged.

Rue leans back in her chair, resting a hand over her face. She trusts Gillian to be paranoid about this stuff too, even if she doesn't trust her to be as thorough as she would be. If she thought she could trust it, she'd be bugging this place herself.

"I don't fuckin' know, Childs." She winces, making a face at herself for being too free with her language there. "Sorry." Pinching the bridge of her nose between thumb and forefinger, she sighs. "I honestly don't know what she looks like. Our friend just told me to ask for her. If he wanted me to grab her, he would've told me what I was looking for."

Hm. Maybe there's more going on than she thought. After a moment, Gillian rubs her forehead, as if she might have a headache or something. "I don't know where anyone named Sibyl is right now." The right now is about as much as she is willing to give away to say that yes, she was here. But no longer. "I'll ask around and see if I can find out anything. From trusted people, only. I'll be discrete."

This sounds like something that needs discression. Especially considering things the girl told her. "And I'll let you know that I've found a copy of that movie. It's a hard to find movie, as it is." My Fair Lady, she means. Movies in general are often hard to find. This one, more so. Cause it's not actually a movie.

"That would be super cool of you," Rue says with a quick smile, looking more like the girl who was standing on Gillian's doorstep than the operative who's been sitting in her living room, watching for trouble.

"It's been really good to see you," is an honest admission. "Nice to see a friendly face from back in the day." Apart from the ones she already works with, anyway. "I won't take up any more of your time."

"You're welcome anytime you're in town. I even have a guest room that's usually available." Gillian gestures to the one upstairs. She has more room than a lot of people get, and she always keeps them open, especially for people from her past. And her daughter. Especially her daughter. "Anytime you need a place to crash." She wouldn't even ask her awkward questions, or charge rent. "I'll even make you dinner and breakfast, if you want it. I've gotten pretty good at both."

When she felt like everything in the world might fall apart, she found cooking to be a good escape. A set of specific instructions that, when followed, made something that someone would find useful. That, and her hour of writing, were the most peace she'd found.

It's the one time she doesn't worry about her hand shaking. It had once, earlier. When she realized who 'shades' must have been. But just then. And just for a moment.

Not the kind of reception Rue's used to. Spies aren't generally greated warmly. Her head dips, grateful for the offer. "Thanks, Miss Childs. I really appreciate it." And it's nice to know there's one more place she can hole up in a pinch. Theoretically.

She gets up and starts toward the door, but stops just before her hand reaches out for it, turning to look back at Gillian curiously. "Do you still see Miss Mas? Would you tell her Cherry says hello?"

"I do, actually. She's opened a place named the Cat's Cradle. It's over in Phoenix Heights— " After a moment, Gillian steps away. One, she's putting the card that she was given somewhere for safe keeping, and two, she's fetching a second card. Eve had given her a stack the first time she got them printed. "Here you go. If you're in town for longer than a few hours, you can always drop in. It's a bar and music venue. Open real late." She'll let 'Cherry' find out about the back room, if Eve decides to show her.

"But I'll tell her when I see her next. I'd send a text, but the cell service in Phoenix Heights is shit. Going there in person would be faster." For either of them.

Rue takes the card and turns it over in her fingers, examining both sides before tucking it away inside her coat. "I understand. I'm glad to hear she's got that going." Maybe next time she takes leave, she'll stop down to see the place.

The operative holds out her hand to shake. "Thank you again, Miss Childs. I look forward to your next book."

Gillian's handshake is gentle, really, solid, but not forceful. One day she'll write about the island. The seige. But for now, she's stuck mostly to the big events— and one little romance that never really was. "I hope I publish another one. There's a lot of stories that people need to hear— at least from a point of view of someone who'd been there." Cause they a lot who tried to tell the story hadn't been.

"Especially with that damn BBC show starting up…" She shakes her head at that. They definitely didn't call her to consult. That's for sure. "Good luck on your endeavors." From what she's heard, there's still a lot of people to bring to justice.

"You aren't kidding about that." That show's going to be a damn trainwreck. Rue will bring the marshmallows to toast over the flames. "Have a good evening. Stay safe."

Rue opens the front door to let herself out, stepping down to the sidewalk and to begin the half mile walk back to where she left her car.

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