oldgillian_icon.gif lene_icon.gif

Scene Title Surfacing
Synopsis Lost in a time not her own, Jolene Petrelli seeks out help from the one person she can always count on.
Date July 5, 2005

Kingsborough Community college rests in one of the most scenic spots in Brooklyn, perched on the east-end peninsula of Brighton Beach in clear view of the Atlantic Ocean and the festivities of Coney Island. On the 5th of July the campus of sparsely populated, with most of the students and faculty away on summer break. A handful of students taking supplemental summer courses sit under trees on the campus’ manicured lawn, books open in their laps and their minds on anything other than school studies.

The sky today is clear, the sun warm. There is a hopeful optimism about summer-time, that anything can and should be possible given enough time. For one young woman on campus, time is all she has left.

Kingsborough Community College

Brighton Beach, Brooklyn

July 5th, 2005

1:12 pm

Switching majors from Computer Science to Library Science was a major move for Gillian Childs. It not only put her on a backward footing with her progress toward graduation, but meant that there was a wealth of catching up that would require the lion’s share of her time and effort. It's the only reason she's on campus today, when her parents, Jenny, and Victor are enjoying a beach vacation up the coast on Long Island.

Cloistered in the library, Gillian is the only student here in the hour after lunch. The lights have been turned down, just diffuse daylight coming in through cream colored blinds drawn down over the windows. Spending her time here, studying to become a librarian, was a story she will tell her daughter that never will be in a time that will never come to pass. Those stories are why Gillian is suddenly not alone in the library.

Stepping through the doorway from the hall is a young woman presently the exact same age as Gillian. Her jeans are slashed open in a way that looks intentional but is the result of a siege. The ratty black The Clash tanktop she wears belongs to a Gillian from five years beyond this point. Her auburn hair is wild and unkempt, like a shoulder-length mane of wavy strawberry-copper. Around her waist a hooded parka is tied by its sleeves. Black boots also belonging to a future Gillian climb across the floor.

This faux redhead rests her hands on her hips, surveying the library, until her attention settles green eyes squarely on Gillian. She looks surprised.

She also looks relieved.

Gillian Childs looks somewhat different than she did the last and first times that her daughter had seen her. Hair dyed black, for one, bright red lipstick and thick eyeliner. She looked so much younger, too. The years between nineteen and twenty-five had changed her quite a bit, aging her eyes even more than the rest of her. There are definitely signs of the same woman inside this teen’s body. The dimpled cheek stood out as she pursed her lips together over a particularly annoying sentence on library classification systems, most of which were no longer even used so she didn’t understand why she needed to learn them.

But she’d had trouble with programming too, she doesn’t even know what had made her decide it had been a good idea to switch. Even if, unlike most people, she actually did like the library.

When she raised her hand to push back a lock of dark hair, one of her many tattoos became visible. Tattoos she no longer had in the future. She still had a few tattoos, but they were in far more discrete areas in the time period that Jolene had known her. Where that one on her wrist happened to be, she would sport a black handprint later on. Not a tattoo, but something that looked very similar to one.

Leaning over, she wrote down a final few notes from the book in her notepad and closed it, standing to put it away when she saw that she was no longer alone in the library. The surprised and relieved look is misunderstood. “You lost?” she asks in a raspy voice. Apparently, even at nineteen, she still had that same voice.

Lene’s voice hitches in the back of her throat. “Really lost,” is a colossal understatement. She walks into the library without much assurance in her steps, hands tucked into her pockets because she doesn't know what to do with them. “I uh… figured this place might be empty,” she lies with an awkward laugh. “You know, library’s usually a good place to go and have a cry when you're stressed, right?”

A self-deprecating smile flashes across Jolene’s face as she meanders over to the table Gillian is seated at, looking up and down aisles and seeing just how alone they are. “If I'm bothering you I can…” she motions behind herself with a thumb, implying go have a stress-cry somewhere else. She's counting on the opposite at the moment.

A good place for a stress cry. Gillian’s lips stay pressed together and for a moment she might think that this younger version of her mom might be about to just do that, leave her alone to her tears. And for a moment, she is ready to do just that. But there’s something about the girl’s face that— she looks familiar. But she can figure out where she knows her from. Maybe one of her classes?

“Is it family or a relationship?” she immediately assumes one of the two is the source of the stress that might lead a pretty young girl to cry in a library by herself. “Could be classes, I guess.” Though she doubts that. Considering few people were taking classes right now, which was why the library was actually empty. “All three are fucking stressful, though.”

Oh, another change— the Gillian she knew growing up and even as an adult who wasn’t that much older than her, rarely cursed anymore. But this one? Yeah, she hasn’t had her mouth tempered by helping take care of a bunch of children who those words should not be said in front of.

Lene finds comfort in the profanity. It matches the stories of her mother from those who knew her when Lene was too young to really ever know who she was as a person. “Family… school too.” Jolene finally confirms as she moves over to the table, momentarily pausing with a hand on the back of a chair opposite of Gillian, brows briefly raised as if waiting to see if she's waved off. When that doesn't come, she pulls the chair out and sits down, slouching back in it.

“It's… I've got this big project that's due soon,” is the way Lene turns a lie into the truth. “Really life or death, uh, as far as my whole education is concerned. But the problem is, it's one of those team projects, right? Everyone else is doing everything they can, but… but the really big decisions are all on me. They're counting on me to pull something together but I just…”

Jolene exhales a bubble of anxious laughter and takes her hands through her hair. “Fuck, I just ran away first chance I got once the pressure was turned on. The only person who I can think of to turn to for help is…” her lips twitch, “is my dad. But we don't— really talk much these days. We weren't ever really close.” Swallowing audibly, Jolene leans forward and runs her fingers through her shaggy and disheveled hair again.

“I just don't know what the fuck I should do,” Lene mumbles at the table, “and everyone’s counting on me.”

“Sounds like they should be carrying some of their own fucking weight if they’re putting so much on you that you want to cry about it in a library,” Gillian mutters with a hint of cynicism in her voice that she just doesn’t have anymore in the future. A lot happened to change her, after all, and a lot of it isn’t there in her life right now. She doesn’t have the necklace around her neck that she always wears plucked out of the past, she hadn’t lost her sister, she hadn’t fallen in love, she didn’t have dreams of a son or meeting her own daughter— a lot changed for her in a handful of years.

“There are books on pretty much every subject in the library if you think one of those might help,” she gestured, though again, she doubts this would be something a book can teach— and how right she might be. “If you need to see your dad, though, then go see him. My dad’s not terrible, fucking annoying, and definitely likes Jenny and Victor better than me, but he did give me some money so I didn’t have to work so many hours I didn’t have time to fucking study.”

Though she’s convinced it’s guilt money, for liking his other kids more than her. She could just feel it, in every family dinner. Of course, she hadn’t talked too much about the Childs— At all. In the future Jolene came from, she didn’t even keep their name. She had talked about her adopted siblings, though. Especially Jenny.

Leaning back in her chair, Lene runs her hands through her hair again, exhaling a slow breath in a long and broken sigh. “They did all they could, it’s just… There’s stuff some folks just aren’t equipped to handle. So… that’s me, picking up the pieces.” It’s not how it really is, and it isn’t fair to the people she left behind, but explaining the true complexity of the situation isn’t possible here.

“I’d… I’d really like to see my dad, but I just…” Jolene finally looks back at Gillian, fresh emotion in her voice, raw and unaddressed. “I don’t even know how I’d find him. New York is so big and… and I just…” She’s missing the obvious, though, or perhaps the obvious missed her. But right now she’s just a scared young girl who desperately needs her parents. Right now, Gillian is the best she can get, even if so far apart from the her she needs.

Feeling guilty about busting in on Gillian’s studying, Jolene wrings her hands together. “Sorry for throwing all this shit at you, I… I know it must sound kinda’ dumb. It— it means a lot, though. You know, uh, being able to talk t’you. I don’t…. Have a lot of friends I can talk to.” Less by the day, it seems.

Not having a lot of friends. “I understand that one,” Gillian sighs a little stretching her arms out in front of her. Her tattoos are not as numerous as they had been in a few years before the girl had met her, but much more numerous than the woman she knew, too. And a lot less faded. She got them touched up often. “I usually tell my troubles to my tattoo artist, since I tend to be stuck there for-fucking-ever. I wouldn’t necessarily call him a friend, though.”

Any of them. She considered them acquaintances. She had a hard time making friends, a lot of the time. Mostly because she still felt like most people sucked.

And since she doesn’t even know how to find her dad, that told her a lot right there, too. Estranged. “Well if you know his name, you can try looking him up. The internet might be able to help you.” She gestures toward the computers set up in a small row not too far away. They’re old. At least ten years, but they work, and have an internet connection. Which was more than what most computers did in the times Lene knew best. “I used to be Computer Science, so I could help you out. But it’s pretty self explanatory.”

Google, after all, did exist in 2005.

A luxury the children of 2041 hadn't taken as a second-nature. The moment Jolene realizes what Gillian is suggesting she claps a hand over her mouth. “Ohmygod,” comes out all as one breathless word, “I didn't even— Oh— oh god I'm so dumb!” Practically bolting to her feet, Lene pushes back her chair with her legs and sweeps around the corner of the table, ambushing Gillian with a hug around her shoulders.

“Thank you so much!” Lene chirps with obvious emotion in her voice, face pressed unusually comfortably into the best of black dyed hair atop Gillian’s head. A beat later she recognizes what she's doing and relents, laughing awkwardly before backpedaling toward the computers. “S-sorry! Sorry! I'm— I’m a hugger!”

Lene was probably a hugger because, growing up, her mother and brother had both been huggers. Ygraine and Quinn also had passed on hugging and physical affection. In 2005, however, Gillian was not a hugger. Her parents hadn’t been cold, exactly, but it had not been something that they did that much. Not with her. Her brother and sister hugged sometimes, but things had happened to make Gillian as she knew her a hugger. And they had not happened yet.

The hug is not returned, even awkwardly, and she kind of freezes under it for a moment as if unsure how to react. When she pulled back, though, she took the excuse and started to breath again. When had she held her breath? “It’s fine. Just be careful. Parents can be a completely fucking disappointing.”

“Some,” Jolene says with hushed emotion in her voice and tears in her eyes. “Some, but not all of them.” Some parents are always amazing.

Whether they realize it or not.

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