Still Our Little Sister


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Scene Title Still Our Little Sister
Synopsis Getting to stay together forever. That's Lighthouse, that's what we do. But sometimes… sometimes that means we separate. Some of us go on to other places and start a new Lighthouse and others stay and keep Lighthouse going. So it's always there. Even when we're way far apart.
Date March 11, 2020

Gillian's House

She's been waiting for the news that Squeaks is back from being held. After what happened all over the news, it's not exactly unexpected that there would be trouble. But she's been checking in with Aunt Gilly and keeping track, so today after giving Squeaks a full day to recover without descending on her, Brynn isn't waiting anymore.

The deaf teen and Doodlebug are at Gillian's door knocking bright and late in the morning. She's certainly not going to intrude early in the morning! But she is determined to see the littlest Lighthouse Kid! And she's not leaving until she does.

The door is opened, but not very soon after the knocking. It takes a few minutes before there's movement that probably only Doodle was aware of. It doesn't come with its usual energy either, but the face that appears is familiar despite changes that usually come with time.

Jac spends less than a second staring at Brynn before the door is pushed the rest of the way open. The teen throws her arms around Brynn in a tight hug, face buried against the older girl’s shoulder.

Relief is the first thing Brynn feels. And then as she catches the younger teenager and hugs her tightly, there is also sorrow. She can't express it all while her arms are full of a redhead, though, so instead of trying, she simply holds Squeaks in a tight hug for as long as the girl needs it. She will not be the first to let go.

For someone who isn't a big hugger, who rarely seeks physical contact at all, Jac clings to Brynn. For a long time. Minutes pass before there's any indication that she's ready to let go, and that comes as a slow release of tension before the teen finally steps back. Her hands fail at making any explanation, they tremble then fall along with her expression.

Brynn keeps hold of her, resting her head against the red curls. Only when Squeaks herself breaks the hold to step back does she release the girl. And when the teen looks up, Brynn's gray eyes are serious. I am so sorry that it didn't work out like you hoped, Jac. The family name that used to stand for Squeaks, little mouse ears made of fists, no longer seems to suit the young fighter who went to war. 'Jac' has grown up, and it was the hard way — her name sign is the ASL for 'sword,' tipped vertical so the loops trace a cursive J. I wish he'd been the person you wanted him to be.

Because what does any abandoned child want? To know their parents want them and love them. It's broken her heart that Jac reaches for the stars and got handed this. We've missed you, she signs simply.

“I never should have gone.” Jac’s hands manage maybe half the signs as she speaks. They shake and swipe at tears that refuse to stay put. “I should've listened… I should've stopped him.” How she could have is a mystery, maybe impossible to do. But it doesn't change her certainty that she could have changed something.

Words stall with that idea, enough that the teen shakes her head. Her face crumples when she continues, voice weak but hands more than making up for the lack of emphasis. “I failed. I failed everything. I messed everything up and I'll never get any of it back.”

Her heart breaks for the younger teen and Brynn reaches out to stroke Jac's hair. There's a negative shake to her head, sorrow for the hurt that her 'little sister' is dealing with.

You had to go, Brynn signs, tipping Jac's chin so the girl can see her and she's sure she has her attention. We all mess up and you couldn't be sure that what we told you was correct. He was your biological father. You deserved the chance to learn who and what he was for yourself and form your own opinions, Mouse. This time, she uses the original name-sign. It looks like Squeaks will have both.

She'd like to tell Jac she hasn't lost everything, but that's requiring too much faith on the younger teen's part for right now, she thinks. Instead, Brynn signs simply, It will work out. And you still have family. Then she gestures inside. C'mon, she coaxes, ##let's have some hot chocolate. You can tell me or we can talk about totally different stuff, okay?##

For all that Jac longs to believe and cling to the older girl’s hope and belief, she can't. Brynn wasn't there when she'd been left by everyone who'd mattered most, or seen every dream and wish be shattered in just a few small words. That spark of optimism and passion that is her has been smothered.

Woodenly, the teen nods at the idea of hot chocolate. In truth, she doesn't much feel like anything, let alone hot chocolate, but Brynn took the time to come all the way over.

After letting the older girl into the house, Jac closes the front door and leads the way to the kitchen. She doesn't say much along the way, once pointing out Smudge, who's grown from the kitten she’d gotten from Raquelle into a full-fledged adolescent cat. Her hands are occupied otherwise to wiping at tears that continue to spill.

God, it makes Brynn want to do nothing more than wrap Squeaks up in a blanket and go hide behind the couch to cuddle her and make her believe again. She follows into the kitchen, shooting a quick smile at the cat. Doodle, her constant companion, is well-behaved and doesn't chase the feline. When Brynn signals for him to lay down, he takes over a space at the side of the kitchen where he can watch.

Tipping her head, Brynn asks, I know it's hard to believe me. When you're hurting is the hardest time to see what you have around you. But we're not going anywhere, Mouse. You are our sister, and that doesn't change just because you go your own way and do stuff. It doesn't change when you make mistakes. It doesn't change when we're all annoyed or angry at one another. We're a family. She can't take away Jac's pain, but maybe she can help just a little. What do you need, Mouse? Right this very minute, what's one small thing I can do to help you?

Right this very minute, all of the things Jac could want for are too large for anyone or anything. She manages to shake her head at the offer, at the words meant to comfort and support. She means to make hot cocoa, but even that seems insurmountable. So after a moment she sinks, cradling her head in her arms on the counter.

Brynn follows Jac into the kitchen and when the younger girl curls up like that, the brunette sets about making the cocoa herself. Comfort drink. She doesn't know what to say or not say right now and can only take her cues from Jac. Doodlebug accompanies them and he whines softly at Jac's palpable despair, putting a cold nose to the girl's ankle.

Once the drinks are made, Brynn brings them to the counter and slides onto the stool next to Squeaks. She leans into the younger girl, offering a shoulder and even hugs, for as long as Jac will let her.

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