Stand By Me


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Scene Title Stand By Me
Synopsis If the sky that we look upon / Should tumble and fall / Or the mountains should crumble to the sea / I won't cry
Date June 17, 2021

The rain and wind is lighter today, the gap between storms providing a fleeting moment of calm.

Much of the Pelago has sprung to life in this stillness to get out in the fresh sea air, assess damage done by the storm, and stretch one’s legs. For Robyn Roux, it provided an opportunity to explore a different “island” within the Pelago by conveyance of a rowed barge. The seabirds have snuck out from their roosts for this journey, following the barge and crying to the slate gray sky.

But birds aren’t the only voice on the wind.

When the night has come…

A familiar voice echoing from the second level of the barge.

…and the land is dark…

A woman leaning against the peeling paint of a rusting metal railing.

…and the moon is the only light we’ll see.


No I won’t be afraid…

Blonde hair blowing in the wind.

Oh, I won’t be afraid.


Just as long as you stand…


Stand by me.

The Silverfish
Pelago Ferry Barge

34th Street Ferry Lane
The Pelago

June 17
8:12 am

When Robyn first hears the lyrics dancing on the wind, a smile tugs at the corner of her lips. Her love of Stand by Me has never been a secret. It's also a song that carries an intense sadness with it, a sadness that pulls back that smile into something more forlorn, her eyes falling half lidded as she angles her head down at the floor.

Sucking in a deep breath, she closes her eyes and takes in the song as she tries to push away memories that rise up from the depths of her mind.

At least, until the owner of the voice suddenly comes through clear against the wind. Her eyes snap open. She trembles as she stares over the railing at the sea. Slowly, she turns around, following the voice around the corner until she sees her.


Her voice is barely a squeak, a hand quickly clamping over her own mouth. She hadn't meant to speak out loud, but it had just… happened. She freezes, waiting to see if the other woman heard her.

Why that song? Why here, now? This possibility, unlike so many others it had never occurred to her. The way her hands shake at her sides speak volumes.

She's not ready for this.

Else turns, windblown hair crossing her face as she does. Dark eyes stare out at Robyn from across the rift of time and space. She reaches up, brushing the hair from across her mouth and steps away from the railing with the surefooted gait of someone who spends a significant amount of her time at sea.

“The long and winding road that leads to your door,” Else says with a crooked smile, “will never disappear.” There’s something different about her here, something less punk rock and more I’m on psychedelics all the time. Her wavering stance, the languid half-lidded stare, the soft lilt of her voice. “I’ve seen that road before and it always leads me here.” She adds, not quite finishing the Beatles lyric.

That's not quite how it goes would normally be Robyn's first instinct, offered with a smile and maybe a quiet chuckle. Instead, there's only two impulses that are worming their way through her body, tensing every muscle as they fight it out in her mind.

Fight, of a sort. To charge forward to this variant of her friend, questions and smiles brandished as she; overwhelmed with happiness to see her long lost friend once more with her own eyes. To revel in this moment, temporary as it may be, to ease pain that has burrowed itself deep within her heart.

Or flight. To turn, hands shaking and tears spilling from her eyes, and escape from this moment. To not confront the trauma of her past, and let it possibly compromise her perspective on this world and this mission.

Swallowing down a lump in her throat, it's a mix that bubbles to the top. Ignoring the fact that this Else doesn't know her, that they're from different realities, she starts towards her. One step after another, slow at first, before turning up in pace, before the last few steps are almost a run to close the distance between her and Else, throwing arms around her as she reaches her.

"Hi Else" sounds like a squeak choked out between forming tears, because it is.

“Been a while, crocodile,” Else says with a sleepy wink, walking into the hug and returning it as tightly. “Sorry it took a while for us to meet back up, but the bus that comes around here takes the long way.”

Leaning back in the embrace, Else searches Robyn’s eyes with a purposeful look. There isn’t unknowing in them but something far more confusing. Clarity. Awareness.

Else knows her. And not this world’s her. Else knows Robyn.

As Else leans back so does Robyn, slightly luminescent tears sliding down her cheeks as she stares sadly into Else's - a rare moment where she's hugging someone that isn't taller than she is. It takes a moment for Else's words to register, brow reflexively furrowing as she lets her arms fall back to her side and takes a half step back.

The way Else regards her is met with a mix of curiosity and uncertainty. "You- you know who I am, don't you. That I'm not- Roux." She blinks and sniffles, the palm of her hand rubbing at her eyes in an effort that only succeeds at reddening them further. "I d-don't understand," she breathes out. "H-How? I just got here."

What's a few days exaggeration in the face of what's happening right now. Her voice is still small, more akin to the uncertain but determined young woman she used to be, that her Else might remember. More like her variant in this world.

“I’ve got kaleidoscope eyes,” Else says with a fond smile. “Watched a lot of bad television, listened to some noisy radio, and sometimes I skip chapters of the book or listen to different genres of music.”

Else’s explanation feels like the mental equivalent of a Chinese finger trap, the more you try and pull at it the more stuck you become. She offers a mirthful smirk and circles Robyn, giving her an up and down stare, then puts her hands on her hips.

“Shit’s gone crooked,” Else says with a shake of her head and a click of her tongue. “How can you be the Pirate Quinn without a sword?” She motions toward Robyn’s hip, then makes a tsk-tsk sound. “Shit’s gone so crooked.”

Kaleidoscope eyes. It's nonsense, and yet, Robyn feels a bit like she understands it. Maybe. Kind of. Still, she doesn't vocalise her theory, just in case. "Else in the sky with diamonds," is a whispered response, eyes angling down to her side when Else motions to her lack of a sword. Shit's gone crooked. "I know it all too well," she offers back. Yeah, shit's fucked but

Not right now, for however long this conversation lasts.

"Not sure Pirate Quinn suits me anyway." It feels strange still to be going by that name again, but it also brings up an unexpected well of nostalgia. Her lip twitches into a reluctant smile as she looks back up at the woman across from her. Her thoughts are still stormy, a hand shaking as she reaches up and places a hand on Else's shoulder, like despite the hug she still needs to test that she's there. "God. It's been… so long. I- I'm sorry if I don't know what to say."

Because she doesn't. That much is clear from the fact that she hasn't really stopped crying. She's just trying to ignore it. Even being told that this world's Else lived in the Pelago, there's a surreal quality to this moment she wasn't prepared for.

There's a small laugh and a sniffle as she rubs at her cheek again. "Kinda weird, don't you think?"

“Extra crispy weird,” Else notes with a rise of her brows. “At least you aren’t going to prison in this episode,” she says with a throaty laugh that is maybe a bit too light-hearted for what she’s implying. Else steps in, brushing her thumb across Robyn’s cheek under one eye, then cups that cheek in her palm.

“You look good for having fallen out of the sky.” Else adds, patting Robyn’s cheek before letting it go. “Nothing much makes a lick of sense anymore, not here’n definitely not there.” Though she doesn’t specify where there is. “Feels like a crossover episode, y’know?” She glances back at Robyn, then wrinkles her nose as she’s hit with a little sea spray.

Brows furrow as Robyn regards Else's renewed approach. "Going to priso-" Eyes widen in understanding, before falling to look down at the ground. "Oh. Her." She isn't able to dwell on the fact that this Else knows the worst of her, though, instead leaning into the hand that's placed against her cheek.

As Else's hand falls away, Robyn catches it into her own, giving a light squeeze. "Can't say things have made sense for a while, y'know?" The tears are finally starting to subside, but that still leaves Robyn a sniffling, bright cheeked mess of a person.

"It is," is said with a genuinely building laugh. "It is a crossover episode." A smile forms, but quickly it falters. "A once in a lifetime event. Amazing when it's happening, but not meant to last." Well, that's a sad note. "But hey, who knows. Might be here for quite a while."

“Eh,” Else says with a casual flexibility, rolling one shoulder. “If all’f the other shows get cancelled, maybe this one’ll get syndicated yeah?” She cracks a smile and curls her fingers around Robyn’s hand to squeeze it back before letting it go.

“I’ve been around the dial quite a few times, though. Things ain’t exactly as they appear, an’ not the least of which with what you’re doin’. But I’ve read the scripts and the revisions that get sent up, y’know how producers are.” Else notes with a roll of her eyes and a laugh. “This lil’ radio drama of ours ain’t got all that many productions left in it, though. Big finale eventually, lots of special effects. Ending to-be-determined.” She wags her brows with playful interest.

It's tough, keeping track and parsing Else's metaphors. Robyn's never been particularly good at it, and that the flow of it all carries hints of how her conversations with Tamara Brooks used to go isn't helping. Still, it's just plain enough that she seems to get it, able to bring that smile back to bare as she gives a small nod of her head.

"Sounds like they need a better budget," is her attempt at levity, and to her credit she doesn't fake laugh at her own joke. She falls silent after that, lips twitching as she tries - and fails - to maintain some positive energy. "You know, the funny thing is… I wasn't sure I was going to try and track you down," she admits in a low voice. "So of course, you found me. I suppose this is what the whole have faith thing Richard is always talking about looks like."

The comment about what she's doing draws a look from her, and it dawns on her for the first time that if anyone knows the truth of what's coming and why they're there, it's Else. "But now that you're here, I guess we make the best of the episodes we have left, yeah? 'Sides, I gotta keep an eye on you."

Else smiles, if faint and distant in the way someone who has troubled thoughts on the mind may. Where half their focus is on something unpleasant down the road. Else closes her eyes, breathes in through her nose and takes one of Robyn’s hands in hers. She glances over at the approaching column of a bird-nested skyscraper rising above the waves, then locks her focus on Robyn again.

“Just remember,” Else says with an intense furrow of her dark brows, “if you don’t remember anything else.” She squeezes Robyn’s hand. “We write our own ending.” Her dark eyes search Robyn’s. “We do.”

"Ending to be determined," Robyn echoes, offering her friend a shallow nod and a soft smile. "I believe in possibility," she elaborates in a quiet voice, fingers curling around Else's tight. "Not fate." Which is a very odd but precise way of agreeing with Else, gaze locking to meet Else's. "We write our own stories."

It's strange, the way it almost feels like a weight is off Robyn's shoulder. Temporary as it may be, as she knows it to be, it still brings a relief she hasn't felt in years.

"So tell me, then, Princess." Princess? "What story are you writing these days?" There's a growing smirk on Robyn's face, even as she takes a half step closer to Else.

“Not a writer these days,” Else says as she slips away from Robyn and moves to the ferry’s railing. “I don’t compose the melody or the lyrics anymore, I think I’m out of rhythm with the beat. Listened to a little too much radio back when I was workin’ the nine to five down at the Ark, and I think it burned out my ear.”

The wind plays with Else’s hair, blowing it across her face. She smiles, reaching up to brush strands of dirty blonde hair from her mouth, from across her eyes. “These days I’m just waitin’ t’see how it all shakes out. See if the record keeps spinnin’, or if we flip it over to the B-Side, or…” her dark brows rise, “just smash the bloody thing on the floor and call it a day.”

Else turns to look out at the ocean, watching the approaching skyscraper draw nearer and nearer. “What about you?” Else asks. “When was the last time you wrote?”

"A story is a story," Robyn offers somewhat obliquely, choosing to keep her eyes on Else rather than look out to the sea in kind. "Doesn't have to feel the rhythm of the universe." She understands what Else is saying, but it doesn't pose a satisfactory answer in her estimation. "Though I guess that's a story in and of itself."

The wind and the gentle rain mixes with a splash of the sea spray, turning her attention out ahead, at the water she so loathes. As long as she's on the boat, it can't hurt her. Which is a lie, but one she chooses to believe right now. "No matter which you choose," she offers in a hushed tone as she leans against the railing, "the song ends eventually. I'd like to make it last as long as possible though. Like Hey Jude, or Call Me."

She silent for a moment, before hanging her head and sighing. "I haven't written anything of note in a decade. Just plagiarized myself. An' you, if you want to be technical about it." It's a statement that holds weight in both literal and metaphorical ways, one that brings a stillness to her voice. "Not much worth writin' about until recently, t'tell you th' truth."

Else smiles, a sad and distant smile. It isn’t clear to Robyn, yet, what it’s for. Reaching down to her side, Else pulls a small and weather-worn book from the large pocket of her hooded sweater. She offers it out to Robyn with a smile, pressing it into her hands. The pages are wavy, thin, and brittle. The leather cover is cracked and old. It’s a journal.

“Then…” Else says as the ferry comes to a stop at the next isola of the Pelago, “there’s no shame in stickin’ to covers.” She takes a step back, insuring that the book stays pressed in Robyn’s hands.

“They have coffee here,” Else adds, wrinkling her nose a little. “Let’s go have some, yeah?”

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