Stop Helping


lucille3_icon.gif nathalie_icon.gif

Scene Title Stop Helping
Synopsis Luce and Nat hash out some details.
Date April 14, 2019

The Bunker


The room was hot, a couple of hours of constant training and sparring lifting the temperature inside. In the middle of the padded room two women engaged in a dance of sorts, flailing limbs and loose hairs flying free from ponytails.

Lucille's eyes are intent on her opponent's movements not wanting to give her any to easy openings. The taller woman strikes out with her palm, aimed at Berlin's chest. Defend! She yells out in her mind. Willing her best friend, her sister to deflect her blow. This was the last round, Lu drenched in sweat. Tired and a little achy.

Berlin leans, twisting so Lucille's blow passes her by. She slams her own hand into the inside of Luce's elbow, taking the force out of the movement as well. Then, from her place inside Lucille's frame, she jabs her elbow into her friend's stomach.

Then she backs up, trying to get herself out of Lucille's reach.

Annoyingly, while she is sweating, Berlin doesn't seem drenched like Luce. And her hair looks almost purposefully messy, like she is in the middle of doing an ad for a gym. Lucille remembers those shoots well.

The older woman catches the elbow in the stomach and bends forward with an exhale of breath as Berlin backs away and Lucille catches her breath before straightening.

Slowly Lucille continues to back up until she almost bumps the wall and raises her hands to grab two wooden sticks from behind her. Twisting them in each hand before she tosses one to Berlin. Wiping a bead of sweat off of her forehead before it falls into her eyes Lucille stares across the room at her friend before she charges in, angling her stick down as if to try to take out Berlin's legs before at the last second she goes to strike at her shoulder.

Berlin catches the stick, but then gives Lucille an odd look. "This isn't exactly my weapon," she says, and she proves it when Luce comes at her and Berlin grips hers like a baseball bat and braces to try to block the hit to her legs. When it hits her shoulder instead, she hisses and turns to shake it off before she looks back to Luce.

She mirrors her friend's hold on the stick and shifts to go on the defensive.

"Good. You can't just conduit people to death, you'll lose yourself." Not that Berlin of all people need to be reminded. "I meant to start you on blades months ago," but things have been hectic. This is a chance for them to get back into some semblance of a routine. Lucille is convinced they both need this.

The strike being successful doesn't give Lucille pleasure, she wants Berlin to be as good, even better than her. Eyeing her form with a look, "You learn fast see," indicating how the younger woman is holding the stick now. "Follow my movements, just block." Lucille swings her stick in a wide arc before it goes up to Berlin's right shoulder and Lu directs Berlin to follow, "There," before dragging it diagonal to Berlin's lower left side, "Here," and she does the last two movements ending a 'X' formation.

"We go slow, you block my strikes. We go in an X. The goal is to establish a rhythm."

Berlin listens, her brow furrowed and a strange expression on her face. She watches Luce's demonstration, but it's hard to say how much of it she properly takes in, because she doesn't follow along.

"I don't," she says, words stilted once she finds them, "conduit people to death." Her expression drifts from offended to hurt and back again, like she can't settle on whether she's more likely to yell or cry. Either way, it's clear that Luce has found a sore spot and given it a prod.

Lucille stops her movement, blinking as she slowly draws back within herself to stand up straight. The wooden stick is placed in the ground grounding it slowly in the pad. "I'm sorry Burr, you know I didn't mean it like that." Her expression open though she doesn't reach for her sister, instead she tilts her head with a regretful expression on her face. "But you have. Before. Once." There's no accusation, Adam happened.

Blue eyes search Berlin's dark ones, "Learning other skills can help you not accidentally tap into that part of yourself. I don't know! I'm trying to be helpful."

Then she looks off to the side, "It's why I asked that scientist Rich, back at Sunstone. About what they did to you, if someone knew a way to help."

"Once ever. Because I pushed over my limits. I lost control once." Berlin drops her stick, tossing it off to the side as she turns to pace a few steps away. "So, obviously, you did mean it that way."

Her eyes turn sharply toward Luce at those last words.

"You asked them how to help me? The people who held me captive and experimented on me for years? That's who you asked about my conduits? Just how do you think they would help me, Luce?" She looks much closer to yelling now, as she stares across the mat to Lucille.


"…" Watching Berlin take a few steps back Lucille tosses her own stick to the ground raising her hands, "Berlin," Her friend looks tense but she's firm in her footing of her choices. She visibly bristles at the words her conduits.

"Of course I asked them. Who knows more about the process possibly? Who can- Who can answer the question of how to free you of their influence?" Lucille's voice rises and her eyes narrow, "I spoke to him so you wouldn't have too,"

"So you don't have to relive those times anymore than you fucking have too." Maybe Luce is tired, maybe she's frustrated because shes no closer to helping her friend then she was when she initially found this all out. "I thought under the threat of losing his life in that shit show he would say something useful, anything. All he went on about is a Project Hydra and Heisenberg."

"Free me?" Berlin lets out a disbelieving huff at that notion. She's had a lot of feelings about the conduits, but never wished them gone. They're a part of her and she's a part of them. She was a child the last time she lived without them.

She doesn't know who she would be without them.

"You know what, Luce? Stop helping." She starts to walk toward the door, like that might be her final word on the subject, but it's only a few strides before she turns back again. "I wouldn't talk to them about the conduits under any circumstance. I already know what they would do. And you don't even care what I want. You're trying to help you. Because you're scared. I'm the same person I've always been, but now that you know the truth, you want to make me different. Less volatile. Less dangerous."


Taken aback, Lucille physically rears back at Berlin's words as she storms over to the exit before the woman stops and Lucille is standing her ground.

"Now you're projecting onto me. Less dangerous? You need to be dangerous to survive this world. You also need options. What if you do want to get rid of them one day! What if the Black Conduit takes you over, I'm not gonna lose you to that! If there's a way you should know about it, you never had a choice before this." Shaking her head Lucille glares down at the floor, "I'm sorry I'm fucking scared for you."

In a shallow breath Lucille lifts her head to look across at her friend, shoulders shaking, "I feel like everyone's leaving, I'm losing them. I can't lose you too." Colette was off… the halls felt more empty. Lucille didn't realize how hard she was holding onto the Hounds that were left, not even Berlin.

"You die, that's how you get rid of them. Historically." Berlin crosses her arms, looking toward the door, an internal debate over leaving or staying raging on. "Why does everyone think I'm going to lose myself to it? Why do you think it'll be that one. There's nothing good or bad about either of them, it's how you use them. If I am a monster, then they will be monstrous. Both of them." Her arms spread out, a helpless gesture. "That's what no one seems to understand. I'm scared, but not of what they will do to me, but what I will do to them. I'm the violent one, not them. I'm scared of me."

She looks away, lifting her chin because she didn't quite mean to say that.

And then Lucille is getting upset, too. So she lets out a heavy sigh and crosses back over to pull her friend into a hug. "I'm not leaving. I'm right here," she says into Luce's hair. "The others aren't gone, they're just doing what they need to do right now. We can go bug Colette any time you want."

Lucille doesn't stop Berlin as she speaks, if anything she's shocked to hear her say it. She's the reason, Berlin feels at least. It's a bit… heartbreaking and the younger woman coming over to hug her has Lucille crying softly while bowed over onto the other woman, "Fuck… I'm sorry." She shakes and shakes her head.

"It's been a weird few months." She comments, that explains a bit of it all in all honesty. "I guess we can crash her place at anytime. Avoid asking Tamara about our futures." Lucille wasn't sure she wanted to know more of hers, the Flashforward and the Wasteland Children. It was enough for her.

"I don't think you're too violent to manage this and I've been looking at it wrong." She admits, this isn't an unwilling host to some parasite. There were gifts and blessings in what appeared to be curses. "What you hold? What you shoulder in order to have the choice to do like you did for my dad? For me…?" Lucille chokes and swallows back as tears trail down pale cheeks.

"I can't thank you enough. I can't ever place into words. I only want to see you the happiest you can be, always." Luce lets out a long sigh, "It's… beyond." That's the only way to describe all of that too, beyond.

Berlin tightens her hug when Luce starts crying. She sniffles, because she is definitely not crying at all. "I don't know, Luce," she says, about her own violent urges. "I try, I really do." Her head shakes, for a lot of reasons, but it's the thank you that brings a tear down her face. "You don't have to thank me. Please don't thank me." Obviously, happiness is a fleeting and ephemeral thing and Berlin hasn't done much to chase it. But she does have it some days. Even some days when she fights with and cries on her sister. The sister she's chosen.

"Avi's my father," she says, the words tumbling out of her at the end of a stream of thoughts that started with the family she's built for herself and ended with the one she only just found out that she has. "My real, actual father."

Lucille leans back and looks Berlin in the eyes, "Holy… shit." Blinking, of course like… signs..? Um.. the confirmation was head turning but relief floods through Lucille. "What are the fucking odds that you end up here with him?" Sniffing the taller woman pulls Berlin in close and hugs her close.

"That's… amazing. So weird. But so amazing." Luce had her father, though she had given him grief for always being away at least she always knew who he was, what he stood for, what his voice sounded like. "How do you feel?"

"I don't know," Berlin says as she returns the hug, clinging onto Lucille more than a little. "I always thought I would hate him, whoever my father turned out to be. My mother, too. But now that I know who they are, I can't."

She leans back some, wiping at her face before she looks back to Luce again. "I know he isn't perfect. And I know he hasn't been the best dad to Emily. But I'm grateful. I found my dad and he's someone I already looked at like family." Wolfhound has always been the closest she ever had to a family of her own. "On some level, I feel like I should be more guarded, but I just can't. Do you ever feel that way with your dad?" She knows the Ryans clan has had its ups and downs, after all, and no father is perfect.

"I know how that is." The two had talked plenty on Lucille's on issues with her father. There's a large sense of joy for Berlin, she has family. Besides those in Wolfhound, "Haha… your sister.. is" Lucille tries to find the words as she holds onto the younger woman. "Strong."

Mildly put as she does, "Well, yea all the time. My dad was always gone, I had this wall up preparing me for when he would go off again. Business, saving the world. It was all the same thing to me." Lucille regrets those days as does her father she knows, "But even without knowing he was manipulated into that mindset. I couldn't stay away from him, thinking about him. Loving him."

Lucille frowns softly and looks away, "Parents are with you even when you don't think they are. It's their gift but they are just like us, human. Prone to mistakes," Gripping Berlin's shoulder and giving it a squeeze, "As long as you understand that they can and will fail sometimes. You'll be fine."

… "You already have the yelling and swearing at each other down." A bit of levity to add to the situation. Lucille aims to make Berlin feel better. "But don't be scared of it, lean into that connection. Family, you guys but especially my sisters… my dad… my brother… they keep you grounded. Blood always finds a way."

"He's been dealing with my mistakes, it's only fair that he gets to mess up now and then, too." Maybe that outlook will change when she's gotten used to having a father, but right now she's too taken in by the idea that she has one at all. Nathalie wipes at her eyes, chuckling lightly. "Avi does have a way of keeping people from getting too far up into the clouds. I can't imagine getting too big a head when he's here to remind me that I'm just like everyone else."

She slings an arm around Luce's waist, turning her toward the door. "I don't know about you, but I need either a drink or a nap. I'm voting for the former." And she's not expecting no for an answer.

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