Starting Today


matthew2_icon.gif robyn6_icon.gif

Scene Title Starting Today
Synopsis Robyn and Matthew have an important heart-to-heart and Matthew reveals a secret.
Date March 19, 2020

Kaleidoscope Studios
Robyn's Apartment
Bay Ridge

March 19th
3:12 pm

Light filtering in through the windows of the living room above Kaleidoscope Studios is a welcome change of pace, Robyn staring wistfully out into the looming sun for the few minutes she can before it vanishes behind the clouds. It's been a foggy, cloudy day, and the little bit of warmth offered by the sun on a cool day like today is always nice.

But even more, Robyn is staring out into the sun because she can. She shouldn't, because duh, and yet she does. It's still a miracle to her, being able to see the overcast sky for what it is instead of the mass of shades of grey hanging overhead, to be able to see her poorly coordinated home and the image on the television screen as they were intended. To be able to see colour again, in all of it's magnificent glory. It meant she would allow herself to be a little dumb if it meant enjoying something she had been robbed of for over 8 years. She had forgotten was this was like until her encounter with Elaine at the Yamagato gallery, but to have it now, no longer fleeting? It felt good.

Which, in turn, was good, because little else felt what she would describe as good at the moment.

It'd only been two days since she had been released from Elmhurst, with prescriptions for painkillers, appointments for physical therapy, a new cane to help her walk, and a still lingering existential dread about the fragility of her life. Even now she worried she might just… fade away, her miraculous recovery undone in an instant like she'd once seen happen to Else Kjelstrom. She'd only brought Matthew home yesterday, wanting to make sure everything was in order at their home and the Studio before bringing her son back into her life.

Even now this didn't feel entirely real, staring at the TV in front of her. Unable to go back to work at SESA until she's cleared and willing - neither of which were the case, as much as she'd be loathe to admit the latter - she had taken to playing Matthew's video games when he wasn't around. Never having been one for video games, it was a strange and foreign experience to her, but at least he had some weird puzzle game about matching coloured blobs she could get into.

All of it is a distraction. From how she feels, from the world around her. Distractions she needs to stop indulging instead of doing what she feels needs to be done.

"Matthew?" Laying down the controller next to her, she shifts on the couch and looks around, first towards the kitchen and then towards the dining room. "Can you come here?"

By now Robyn had become accustomed to Matthew’s non-verbal responses to questions like that. She had to trust that he heard her and was on his way, because asking a second time had always sat ill-well with him. Since the home invasion, all of that changed. It’s like something snapped together in Matthew when every rational bone in Robyn’s body says it should’ve been the latter.


Now she has to get used to that.

Where once there was patient and deliberate strides, Robyn now hears eager footfalls thundering across the hard-surface floor, making quick the distance between dining room and living room. Matthew comes in, brows lifted in wordless query and a half-finished honey, raisin, and peanut-butter sandwich in one hand.

"Woof," slips from Robyn's lips as he comes running up. "Careful not to trip on anything, kidders." Not that there was much to trip on; How her house - save for the room where the incident happened, which she still hasn't set foot in - is so clean escapes her. Maybe Elaine or someone was nice enough to come clean it once everything was cleared out?

As she looks up at him, sandwich in hand, she offers him a small smile. "You got a bit of time? I… Wanted to talk." Patting the open spot on the couch, she pulls up her cane and sets it to the side she set the controller down on. There's a pensive air to those words, to the expression on her face. In this moment she trades the exuberance she has felt since mid February for a more familiar uncertainty, hanging over her like the fog in the air outside.

They had talked, of course, since she came home, but they hadn't had a talk. It was a bit of an inevitability and they both knew it.

“Sure,” Matthew says in that small voice Robyn knows too well. It means: I hope I’m not in trouble. He moves over to sit beside her, hands folded in his lap and brows knit together in an attempt to look serious and not guilty. It raises the question of whether or not there’s some undiscovered thing he did that he’s worried he got into trouble for, or if his face just perpetually looks like that now.

Somehow this all feels like Walter Trafford’s fault.

That almost meek response gets a small little chuckle out of Robyn. "Don't worry. You're not in trouble… Unless there's something you need to tell me about." She peers at him for just a moment - long enough to get the joke across, but not long enough that it starts to feel accusatory. "Don't worry, you'll be judged fairly." Not that she's a judge, or a lawyer.

Letting out a soft sigh, she lets her eyes half lidded. "Do you still feel safe here?" There's a meekness to her voice this time, looking down at the floor in front of her like she may be the guilty one in this conversation. It's a very serious Ustinov, one that very suddenly colors the conversation ahead. "If you don't, I'd rather you be honest than not." Because to be honest, she doesn't. Not entirely.

"Starting today, I wanted to have an honest talk with you about my life, and how dangerous it is, and has been. I feel like I could've been more honest with you before what happened, but even then…" She sits back up and looks over at Matthew. "Trust me, nothing stays calm here. Besides, you'll learn some things about the world we live in." A smirk crosses her face. "Like your sisters."

Matthew’s open-mouthed squint at that last statement lingers for a long while. When he finally chooses to stop puzzling over the notion of siblings, he snaps immediately to an answer to Robyn’s actual answer. “I feel safe when you’re around,” is the most heartbreaking answer he could give. “Elaine too. I—” he looks down to his lap, then over to the door, “I don’t like being here by myself.”

Not that he’s had much opportunity to be since Sadler’s break-in.

“Do you have another family?” Matthew suddenly asks, circling back to the primary point of curiosity from before.

Now it's Robyn's turn to offer a lingering open mouthed look of surprise. That certainly was not a question she was expecting, ad it's met with an amused bit of laughter and a sigh. "No." It's a definitive answer, but the way Robyn hesitates afterwards makes it clear that there's more. "The closest I have to family outside of you is-" She stops, her smile becoming a bit more wistful, a bit more sad. "I don't think you've met Gillian. She's my best friend, and the closest to family I have left."

"And," there's the proverbial but, "your sisters. But we'll get there. You're not going to believe a word of the story anyway."

It doesn't escape her that she leaves out Elaine, when Matthew seems to have taken a shine to her. Unfortunately there's little to be done there, but it does mean she'll have to reach out to Elaine soon, as loathe as she is to do so.

"If it makes you feel better, I don't like leaving you here. And thank goodness for that, because I'm going to be around here a lot more for the foreseeable future."

With that, she sucks in a deep breath. "Would you believe I used to just sit around and write music all day?"

Matthew glances down to the table, then back up to Robyn. “I mean sometimes you just sit around and drink all day, so… I could believe it?” The simplest, most honest answer is also somehow a sick burn without him intending to.

“If, if I have sisters,” Matthew laser focuses on that, “how come I’ve never seen them?” Suddenly a worry hits him, and Robyn can see his shoulders hunch forward as his brows go up. “Are— are they— did something— ” Are they dead is the horrible faux-pas he hopes he didn’t walk right into.

Straight from the mouth of babes. Robyn blanches, shoulders slumping as she stares ahead in both awe and horror. It takes a moment before she clears her throat and straightens her posture, a deep breath taken before she continues. "Yes, well, that's one of the things that will be changing around here. I… threw out most of the alcohol last night." She turns back to him, offering him a weak, apologetic smile. "Because you're right. And that can't be the case anymore. I need to be better, and I'm sorry if it ever bothered you."

And she means that. It helps that making an effort to be more sober was something she'd been planning on doing before she was put in the hospital for nearly a month.

Matthew's laser focus doesn't seem to surprise her, despite her attempts to shake it. "You're not going to believe me," she repeats, this time her smile becoming a bit brighter, a bit more amused. "I knew I should have buried the lede, but that isn't fair, is it?" Hands fold into her lap, and she stares ahead for a moment as she thinks.

"They're alive. They both live here in New York too." Pausing, she considers for a moment before looking back at him. "You haven't met them because they're both almost my age." Quickly, she raises a finger to try and curb an immediate reply. "I know that doesn't make sense. Time travel never does. Oh Matthew, I hate it so much, time travel."

Just straight into the deep end.

“So does Walter!” Matthew says excitedly, as if Robyn was discussing the rain. “That night you let me stay over Aunt Dee’s house, Walter and I watched this really old movie called Terminator. It had a time traveling robot in it and Walter got so scared. He has nightmares about that kind of stuff, but I didn’t know.”

Folding his legs under himself, Matthew shimmies from side to side and sits cross-legged on the couch. “So did they come back in time to do something cool? Doctor Addie talked about time travel sometimes when I was…” he starts to dither, “before we were together. She said that Taylor’s mom was obsessed with it, wanted to figure out how to do it herself.”

Robyn can't help but laugh. She has to, in the face of the pure and absolute irony of Matthew's revelation about Walter. She knows better, but ultimately decides it's wiser to not inform Matthew that she both has met Walter's future incarnation and that his ability is his much loathed time travel. Instead, she reaches over and ruffles his hair adoringly.

"You always surprise me, kidders. Keep it up, I like it. And yeah, Terminator's a scary movie! I didn't like it much when I was your age either. I liked Ghostbusters and The Addams Family, personally. Have you seen either of those?" Those seem like movies that are much more appropriate in Robyn’s eyes. The fact that Walter has nightmares is glossed over but not ignored, filed away as something for Robyn to mention to Delilah the next time she sees her.

Studying him for a moment, Robyn reaches over and places a hand on Matthew's shoulder. "If you can talk about it, but only if you want to. The time before you came here. You don't have to though, not to me." But certainly with someone, but that's a bridge for later. "Doctor Addie… was that Adrienne Allen?" She can't think of anyone else who could be Addie from whom they pulled out of Sunstone. The note about Taylor's mom is filed away too, silently acknowledged before moving on to the real topic at hand.

"I can tell you from experience, it's not easy unless you've got a very, very rare expressive on your side." She turns, looking at him sternly. "Some power isn't fit for some hands, and those are often the people who want it the most." This is her idea of imparting a life lesson. "Never forget that."

With that little mood killer dropped, she relaxes her shoulders. "So, yes. They came back to do something cool." Robyn mulls over the simplest way to explain this - not because he can't handle it, he's shown clearly otherwise. But rather, because she doesn't want to spend hours explaining all of this. "Where they came from, the Civil War became World War III… and we lost." Eyes close as memories of memories of two different versions of herself caught in that timeline and its derivatives flash in her mind's eyes. She can't help but shiver. "So they wanted to make sure that didn't happen, because the world was a worse place for it."

Terminator style,” Matthew whispers with wide eyes, ignoring the topic of Adrienne entirely. But it doesn’t see, like it’s out of discomfort. At least not in the way Robyn suspects. There’s something… else going on there. Like Matthew is hiding something.

“Oh!” Matthew suddenly exclaims. “Or maybe it’s like Jikan Sensei in Katana Blossom 3!” In spite of his furtive nature, none of this seems surprising to Matthew. This is his world, he is a child who has grown up only knowing a world in which there are people with superhuman abilities. It is as mundane to him as aviation is to the rest of the world.

“That’s so cool. So— so if they’re here, can I meet them sometime? Can I ask them about the future?” Matthew sits up straight, eyes wide. “That would be Primal! I wonder if they knew me, or Walter!” Then, suddenly, Matthew looks a little confused.

“Wait but, wait. Wait.” Matthew holds up his hands. “You said they’re my sisters. So— so they’re your daughters?” He quirks his head to the side, lips pursed. “Are they…” he’s trying to be delicate about this. “Adopted?

Because you’re really gay is something he doesn’t say, but it’s painted on his face.

Unable to keep from laughing, Robyn lets Matthew's non-answer regarding Adrienne slip on by. "Yes, Terminator style," she echoes, shaking her head. The truth is, she appreciates how lucky she is to have a child that has never known anything other than the at times surreal world that they live in. She may still stumble, expecting to have to explain everything like it was to her, but it's always such a pleasant surprise when there's no real awkward moments or misunderstood explain actions.

"My family, when they came from… It was large." And now she's hoping that ease of understanding extends to the complicated polyamorous family dynamic she feels she needs to explain. "Adel, your first sister… She was actually Elaine's birth daughter, by our friend Magnes. She was married to another friend of ours, Raven - though she insists on going by Sable instead of being my bird sister." She motions to herself, smiling. "I was their third. So no, I wouldn't say she's adopted. She just is."

"Adel… She was working with Wolfhound for a while. I think she was…" At Sunstone. "You met her already, to be honest. Briefly." Her gaze turns down to her hands for a moment, rolling her shoulders. "But I know she'll come by any time either of us want her to." Even if Robyn isn't talking to her mom anymore. Hopefully.

"Your other sister, Jolene, she came back with Adel and a few others." Still mentally jumping around on mentioning Walter, Robyn is quick to move on. "Her mom was Gillian, but." There's a moment where Robyn chews on her lip as the memory of her and Ygraine agreeing to take in Jolene bubbles up in the back of her head. "There was a fire, and Jolene was the only one who survived." Sitting up, she looks back over at Matty and smiles. "So my partner and I adopted her, and she became Adel's sister." A point to Matthew. "And now yours."

"Jolene lives with Gillian, so you'll get to meet her soon enough. Gillian is my best friend…" A fond smile forms on Robyn's face as she looks past Matthew for a moment. "But her and Jolene have been out west most of the last year."

She pauses for a moment before laughing "Primal is actually their slang. It's funny how much it's spread."

“Wait…” Matthew says, lips parted and nose wrinkles. He looks really perplexed by something, trying to puzzle it out. “Walter said he came up with Primal.” And it’s about slang, not cross-temporal family trees. Of course it is. “So you’re saying he actually got it from people from the future!” He looks surprised, but also elated.

“I can’t wait to tell everyone at school about this when I start going!” Matthew exclaims. “My teachers are gonna’ be like, time travel is hypothetical blah, blah, blah, and I’m gonna be like well my sister is from the Terminator Future!” He cracks up laughing, beaming an entertained smile without any realization of how much he absolutely cannot do that.

Matthew's laughter is infectious, and it only takes a moment for Robyn to join him in laughing. "Can you imagine that parent/teacher conference where I have to drag in one of them just to prove it?" Her amusement, however, is much more short lived. Petering out into a sigh, Robyn shakes her head. "Matthew… I have some bad news." As she stares ahead silently for a moment, she chews on her lip. "What I'm telling you? It needs to stay between us."

Turning back to him, she reaches over and puts a hand on his shoulder. "I'm deadly serious when I say this. Time travel, the fact that travellers live among us? It's not just that it isn't common knowledge. It's classified top secret by the government. Which… I don't entirely agree with, but I don't fancy running afoul of my employers. I'm telling you because I care about you, and I think you deserve to know."

Reaching up, she mimes flicking at his nose. "Besides, kidders, no one will believe you. I've been down that road." Even with everything, Robyn still has some problems grasping what may or may not be believable to other generations. "I'll have to think up something equally awesome that you can talk about." She's seen a lot, there's bound to be something. "But if it's ever something you're interested in learning about, I can always take you to meet…"

Well. Not Hiro. Not Walter. Definitely not Richard. Odessa Price couldn't time travel could she? Maybe Rhys?


Yeah, someone that doesn't exist.

"Because it only gets more complicated from there, you know."

Matthew is quiet for a time, little brows furrowed together and big eyes focus down at a distant point on the floor. He stays seated cross-legged, back straight and hands folded in his lap. He looks like a little, contemplative monk in that posture. But when he blinks a look back up to Robyn and actually opens his mouth that illusion completely falls apart.

“I can totally keep a secret!” Matthew says with a big smile. “I never told nobody about when Doctor Addie came to see me!” He doesn’t even realize that he’s made a slip there, just smiles toothily at Robyn.

And unfortunately for Matthew, Robyn knows an opportunity when she sees it. "Oh yeah?" A thin grin forms on her face as she breezes into the question, a finger tapping against her cheek. "What did Doctor Addie come to see you about?" The rise is simple enough, but she really hopes he falls for it. Even if this doesn't work, at this rate she'll know what she wants to before they're done talking.

"But good. I'm glad. I want you to trust me, and I trust you in equal measure. Secrets stay in the family." Though with these secrets at least, the family gets pretty big - and Matthew is definitely part of it. "It's not just your sisters that have time travelled, you know. I've done it too. 0 out of 10 stars, do not recommend."

Matthew stares wide-eyed at Robyn. If he was going to focus enough to give her an answer about Adrienne, that opportunity withered the moment she mentioned that she’s traveled in time. “What!? No!” Matthew shrieks. “No way! You’re messing with me!

But then, as fast as he’d dismissed her assertion he continues. “What kind of time machine did you use?! Did you have to go back… you know,” he makes a face implying naked, “like in the Terminator? Or, or, or— did you have a flying car! Or was it the weird blue box thing?!”

A barely masked sigh slips out of Robyn's lips as Matthew slips right past addressing "Doctor Addie". She had figured that might happen the moment she brought the conversation back to time travel, but the ease at which he does so is a little frustrating. Still, she smiles as she gives a shake of the head - she noticed that.

"Yes," she confirms calmly, "and lord no. We… didn't take a machine. We took a person." A moment passes as she looks down at the floor. What ever happened to Hiro, anyway? He would've popped up by now if she remembered him well enough. Maybe things are going well, and he doesn't feel the need. But with everything that happened last month…

Eyes close as she forces that thought back to the back of her head. "So no Deloreans or- did you just- you've seen Doctor Who?" Her amusement is brief, but marked with a laugh and a nudge of Matthew's shoulder. "Before you get too excited, it wasn't for fun. Both times were to help friends, both times were dangerous, and both times I came back pretty badly hurt." Though one of those times was more pride than anything.

“I used to watch a lot of TV at— ” Matthew’s mouth twitches and he looks down to his lap, “before— before.”

Robyn can see Matthew’s small hands ball into fists in his lap, and as he works through something she can see it in his eyes too. One of the lights in the room flickers for a moment, a steady rhythm, until Matthew blinks a look up to Robyn and manages a forced smile and the flickering stops.

“Are you in danger like that a lot?” Matthew asks, visibly worried at the prospect.

And there's the question that forms the crux of this whole conversation. Robyn's lips press thin, shifting a bit uncomfortably so that she can stare ahead at the TV instead of at Matthew. LIttle multi coloured blobs still drop on screen, running through the game she forgot to turn off's attract mode. The silence between them feels much longer than it actually is, only broken by a wistful sigh from Robyn.

"The short answer is kind of, yes," she admits quietly. "I don't think I haven't been in danger in almost a decade. It comes with the life I used to lead, with war, with my current line of work. I'm sure I've made my share of enemies, and anything can happen on a case." Swallowing, she looks over at him. "But what happened was… I've never experienced anything like it before. I've never been in that kind of danger at home before, and I've been through some hell, kidders."

A weak smile forms as she reaches over and again ruffles his hair, her most common way of showing affection. "I don't want that life for you. I didn't consider that before, but I sure am now. That's why I wanted to have this talk with you. I wanted to better understand how things are in my life. But I want you to also understand that I have no intention of letting life roll me over, or you. We're both stronger than that."

As evidenced, to her, by the fact that she's even here right now.

“Yeah,” Matthew says in a small voice, looking down to his lap. There’s something else going unsaid, but he doesn’t remark on it. He’s young enough, though, that Robyn can see through the discomfort he has when he’s hiding the truth about something.

“I know you’ll take care of me,” Matthew says with confidence. “Nobody’s ever— done the stuff you have for me. It’s always been— I’ve always felt— ” he closes his eyes and makes himself small for a moment, then sighs and opens his eyes again, looking up to Robyn. “Do you have to be in danger all the time?” He asks in a small, childish voice. It’s like he’s asking her if the sky has to be blue.

Though, Robyn supposes, in this world anything is possible.

There's no immediate response to Matthew's question. Teeth rake across her upper lip as she considers her words carefully. She stares ahead at the colourful TV as a sad expression settles across her face, eyes closing slightly as she inclines her head down slightly to look at the floor. "No," she admits quietly. "I don't." It's as much as a response to the question as it is a personal epiphany of sorts.

It had always been, ever since she realised she was Evolved and how the wider world seemed to feel about her kind, that she always believed she would be in some form of danger. The desire to change that had been such a defining part of her adult life. It had led to years of activism, it had led her to join the Ferrymen, and it had led her into a war. They had won, though. At least in the US, the overt threat of danger was past. The only danger she was in now was the danger she continues to put herself into getting mixed up with people like Eve Mas and Richard Ray, and the danger inherent in working with SESA.

But did it have to be that way?


It's a begrudging admittance, one that makes her wince inwardly. She has grown so accustomed to danger, to the thrill of it that she had become blind to the fact that things no longer had to be this way - this was a choice she was making.


"But," she vocalises, still looking down at the floor. "It would require us to change our lives dramatically. I would have to quit SESA. We'd probably need to leave New York. I'd have to uproot the studio. I'd have to uproot you." After he's already made strides here making a friend or two in Walter and Pippa, with him on the verge of starting school in the fall at Peyton's school. "We'd have to leave everything behind." Which she has almost done twice in her life now - once on the onset of the war, and as recently as the beginning of this year.

Steeling herself, her eyes rise back up to the TV, and she turns to face Matthew fully, legs pulled up onto the couch. "But if that's what you want to do, kidders? In a heartbeat, we'll do it. As soon as I'm able. It might take some time, but… we'll do it."

Matthew looks conflicted. The notion that safety requires isolation resonates with darker times, memories of his mother and her paranoia that led them to Sunstone and, ultimately, her death. Fidgeting, Matthew curls his hands up and stares down into his lap. “I don’t want to go,” sounds guilty rather than confident. He doesn’t want to lose his friends, and he also doesn’t want to lose his mother, and Robyn suddenly realizes she’s put that choice on his small shoulders.

He doesn’t have a satisfactory answer for it either way. The weight is too great for him.

“Just…” Matthew finally looks up at Robyn. “Maybe, don’t— don’t look for trouble?” That much is confident. It’s like he knows her. Though after all that time, is it so surprising? Robyn’s never been subtle about anything in her life.

“I want you t’be safe, and I want t’see my friends.” It’s the closest Matthew gets to having a resolve on this point. He’s young, he wants it both ways and he doesn’t understand why that can’t be. Matthew is old enough that Robyn sometimes forgets she’s talking to a child, it’s an easy mistake. He’s had to grow up fast. But it’s moments like these where she’s reminded just how fragile he really is. Just how much he needs her.

"I don't-" Robyn's protest dies on the vine, shoulders slumping. She does look for trouble, and she knows it. Huffing out a breath, she reaches up and scratches the back of her neck. "I know you don't want to go. But this city seems to breed danger, and I just… I don't think the people I know would truly let me rest as long as I'm here." Shifting her posture, she slides closer to Matthew, smiling at him.

"But I will do my best. I won't be going back to work for a few months, but maybe I can get them to put me at a desk. I think I'm ready for that." That's one way to get out of danger. "I want all of those things too." A contented sound slips out her lips as she sinks in the couch a bit. "I want you to be happy." A beat, and she looks towards the TV.

"You know you've done as much for me as I have for you, right?"

“I know.” Matthew says with a hesitant smile. He doesn’t quantify that faith.

Unfolding his legs from beneath himself, Matthew scoots closer over to Robyn and looks away guilty, then finally looks up at her. “If… if somebody asked me to keep a secret, and it wasn’t hurting anybody, but— but I felt bad keeping it from you, should I tell you?” Matthew asks her. There’s a small, thoughtful expression on his young face.

Robyn has a feeling the answer she gives him here will have long-lasting repercussions.

Ah, there it is. Or at least, so Robyn assumes - likely, this is whatever Matthew has been letting slip about Adrienne Allen, she figures. But his question, the way he presents it… it gives her pause as she considers. It makes the answer to this question much more than a simple "of course you should tell me". Does she let him have his own agency in the manner? And what if the knowledge he could impart, as it turns out, could hurt someone? Or does she indulge his anxiety?

Nostrils flare as she sucks in a breath, lowering her gaze so that she looks more directly at Matthew. "If you feel bad keeping something from me, I encourage you to let me know. It'll be our secret." It's a precedent that hopefully will keep him honest - not that she expects much else from him. "If it really can't hurt anyone, then there's no harm done. Besides, honesty will help keep us both safer, I think."

Matthew looks down to his lap, teeth worrying at his lower lip. His brows come together and he looks up and over to Robyn thoughtfully. “When you were at work and Aunt Delilah was taking care of me, we had t’go over to Gillian’s house to feed her cat.” He looks away, lips pursed thoughtfully. “Nobody was home, and we hadn’t picked up Walter from school yet, so…”

One Month Earlier

Childs’ Residence

February 4th
1:37 pm

“…I explored.”

It is curiosity that leads Matthew Parkman Jr up a flight of stairs from the ground level of the Childs’ residence to the upstairs bedrooms. He stops along the way to look at a framed Pause Magazine cover showing Gillian holding her bestselling novel and smiling for the camera. Matthew walks past it, to other photographs of people he’s only tangentially familiar with.

One of the bedroom doors is slightly ajar, but it has a paper sign taped to it that reads, EVE’S SECRET HIDEOUT. NO TRESPASSING! in black marker. Brows raised, Matthew creeps over to the door and nudges it open, then steps into the bedroom lit only by the overcast afternoon sun spilling in through the partly-blinded windows.

The fact that there is a woman standing in the room looking at once tense and anxious makes Matthew’s heart jump up in his chest. That he recognizes her makes him freeze in place.


Before Matthew can react to the doctor’s presence, someone slips out from behind the bedroom door and snatches him up, one arm around his waist and a hand clapped hard around his mouth. Matthew twists and tries to scream, though he is both outmuscled and outmaneuvered.

Adrienne makes a hissing sound, looking wide-eyed to the door and swiftly moves to shut it as quietly as possible. The other figure, the one holding Matthew in her arms, looks like she doesn’t even know what to do with the struggling child.


Donna’s pleading look to Adrienne all but screams, don’t make me throw this child out a window. Seeing the reaction in Donna’s expression, Adrienne kneels down in front of where she’s holding Matthew and takes his face in both her hands.

Bijou,” she says to Matthew, “you remember me? Yes?”

Matthew’s struggle and fear subsides as Adrienne talks to him. Slowly, she lifts her hands from his face and the young boy stops fighting. He looks up wide-eyed at Donna who exhales a slow sigh.

“If you scream I’m gonna have to knock you the fuck out,” Donna says in a whisper. “Nod if you understand.” Matthew slowly nods, and Donna reluctantly unwinds her hand from his mouth and sets him back down on the floor.

Bijou,” Adrienne gets his attention again, crouched in front of him. “Are you here with Gillian?” She brushes his hair from his face, looking at once concerned for him and relieved to see him.

Matthew shakes his head. “Gillian’s missing,” he says quietly, which elicits a wordless look between Donna and Adrienne.

“I told you it wasn’t safe here.” Donna insists through clenched teeth. “We need to go. Now.

Adrienne looks back to Matthew. “Who is here?”

“Auntie Delilah, she’s real nice. She used to be with the Ferrymen.” Matthew says, even though they’re basically fictional characters for him that exist solely in the pages of history books. Donna shakes her head in Adrienne’s periphery and moves to the window, looking out to the street.

“You can’t tell anyone you saw us, okay?” Adrienne asks, emphatically placing her hands on Matthew’s small shoulders. “There’s bad people looking for us, and if they find us… we won’t be able to be together anymore.”

Matthew looks between Adrienne and Donna, chewing on his lower lip. “But Robyn— ”

“No one.” Adrienne insists.

Matthew’s brows scrunch together and he looks conflicted, but whatever past he and Adrienne have together wins the day. “Ok, Doctor Allen.” He says with a sheepish duck of his head. “I won’t tell.”

“Promise?” Adrienne presses.

“Promise.” Matthew echoes.

“Someone’s coming,” Donna hisses, opening the window and looking out to the shingled awning over the ground floor bay window, one Eve used to spend time sitting and smoking on when she lived here. “We’ve gotta go. Now.

Adrienne looks back at Donna, then back at Matthew and makes a soft noise in the back of her throat. She makes a cross your heart gesture with one hand, then slips away as Donna climbs out the window onto the awning, then climbs down to the street. Adrienne climbs into the window, looks back to Matthew, and just as she’s slipping out the window the call of Delilah’s voice rings up the stairs.


Present Day

“An’ I never saw either of them again.” Matthew says apologetically. “M’sorry. I— I should’ve said something sooner.”

Even after Matthew's done relaying his misadventure in Gillian's home, she remains quiet. Thoughtful, considerate. "Have you ever been so… stuck on something you feel like you need to do, and you don't know why?" Robyn looks down at the couch, lips pressed thin. "Assuming the other woman was who I think she was, I told her almost two years ago I'd help her find Dr. Allen. I don't know why. It was clear they'd been through a lot together, and they just- wanted that. To be together."

Shoulders sink, posture slouches, and Robyn lets out another heavy sigh. "When we found you, we found Adrienne too… but she got picked up by someone else before I could arrange any kind of reunion or anything." Turning to look at him, she inclines her head slightly and offers a soft smile to Matthew.

"So thank you for telling me this. It puts my heart a little more at ease knowing they found each other."

Which means, by implication, that Robyn Quinn has every intention of pretending she never heard this, filing away this information into a mental bin she hopes she has never has to open again. After all, if Matthew seems to trust her, with what she knew through speaking to Donna and Adrienne… in a strange twist, Robyn felt she could too.



Either way…

“It'll stay between you and me,” she offers him reassuringly. It raises other questions - why Gillian's? Why Eve's room? What exactly had been going on? But maybe some mysteries are better left unsolved. Even if this means Adrienne's quest to reunite with her father - which Robyn had planned to facilitate - has to wait that much longer.

"I suppose this is as good a time as ever for an awkward transition into talking about how we're both going to be seeing mental health professionals in the near future." Awkward indeed. "I think… after what happened it's the best for both of us.

For all that Matthew felt relieved, there’s a little part of him that was dreading this was coming. He’d seen a counselor for a few months after his retrieval from Sunstone, but the practice had fallen off after the first year he was with Robyn. He never liked it, but on the same token, most people don’t like things they need.

For all that Matthew is his own person, for all that he feels mature at times, there’s moments like right now where he feels precisely his age.


But starting today, things around here were going to change.

One day at a time.

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