Surprise, Gillian!


brynn_icon.gif cooper_icon.gif eve_icon.gif emily_icon.gif gillian_icon.gif hailey_icon.gif joe_icon.gif lance_icon.gif lene_icon.gif squeaks_icon.gif

Scene Title Surprise, Gillian!
Synopsis The LHK put together a surprise birthday party.
Date October 29, 2018

Gillian’s overcrowded brownstone that she once thought would be big enough but then things happened.

Last minute preparations had taken almost all evening. Sibling squabbles about what should go where, which movie was better to start with, whether or not Jim should be near the food filled the room for hours. Everybody came out a winner on at least one subject, and it’s all for a good cause.

Seven o’clock on the nose and Jim screeches and jumps toward the closed curtains, trying to garner the attention of anyone that might be around. Finally, he settles for just climbing up Hailey’s side and screaming into her ear. There’s an urgency to his screams, a need to protect his best friend, and a desire to find a tree. She knows exactly what it means. Cooper.

“They’re here, everybody hide!!”

Hailey stands in the corner, out of sight of the door, unable to contain the wide smile on her face.

Emily's in the middle of scraping a dab of icing off her finger with her teeth when the monkey starts screaming down the hall, followed by a much more understandable shout. "Well. I'm already hiding, in a sense." she tells the freshly-decorated cake on the kitchen counter. "So I think we're good there…"

Just in the nick of time! She's reaching for the candles next, fumbling patiently with the tiny box to pry it open and start pulling them out one by one.

Like Emily, Squeaks is already hiding. Kind of. When the discussions about which movies and types of food and all the decorating got super excited and a little overwhelming, she disappeared part way into the kitchen to watch the cake get all finished up. It’s probably better to let the older teens figure out all the ways to put everything together. But when Jim starts shrieking, she puts her hands over her ears until the noise stops.

As she drops her hands, she shoots a look over her shoulder and in the general direction of the little monkey. She shakes her head, then scoots into a better hiding place. One that isn’t in the doorway and can’t be seen right away. The younger girl looks over at Emily from where she’s ducked behind one of the counters, eyebrows up to ask if it’s right.

Brynn doesn't so much get into the excitable and overwhelming — it's not like she can shout! Though there was some rather rapid-fire signing in rejection of a movie or two. There is no way Joe's making her sit through that again! Nohow.

But all in all, she's just moving between decorations and cake, coloring things here and there. Hanging streamers are festively colored in brilliant purples and greens - no one will know they're just torn-up newspaper. And on Gillian's main wall of the living room is a colorfully written "Happy Birthday!" in looping script. (Brynn will clean it off later, promise, Aunt Gilly!)

When Bug nudges her, she moves around the corner of the kitchen doorway out of sight, grinning and bouncing on the balls of her feet.

Ninja, vanish! At the call that the subject of the surprise is appearing, Lance drops down where he stands and rolls to one side, crouching behind a piece of furniture and out of sight - sweeping out a silence field to fill the room and keep her from hearing any of them until she’s inside, a spinny noisemaker held in one hand ready to break into that raucous birthday greeting.

Emily pauses with the candles at noticing Squeaks seeking confirmation. She gives an approving nod and flashes a small smile. Good. she shows a thumbs up before going back to placing the candles, trying to be quick about getting them all placed.

Outside the residence, Cooper is opening the car door for Gillian like a gentleman should… always. Take note, boys. Of course, he didn’t dress the ‘agent’ look tonight, going for a nice dark blue button up — something Raquelle probably made him buy — and a nice pair of jeans. He is just bringing her back from a nice little ‘Birthday’ coffee with the woman. It was a lame excuse to get her out of the house, but he’d take it. It was just part of a ploy to get her out of the house.

And at this point Cooper had a lot of kids to impress and get in good with if he ever wanted to have a real shot with the woman.

“Admittedly, it’s kinda weird being partnered with someone about the age of Ellen,” he continues a conversation they were having in the car, “but, means I’ll be around a whole hell of a lot more.” The conversation trails off again and his attention shifts to the home, a touch of nervousness clawing at his stomach; and he could have sworn he heard Jim for a moment. Still he offers his arm out to Gillian with that goofy grin, “Mad’dam. May I walk you to your door this night?” The accent is a horrible attempt at British.. Maybe it’s French? A mix? Brows twitch up waiting for acceptance of the offer, expecting it really.

There's a commotion above the main room and the screech of a chicken followed by Eve going: “BAWK BAWK! DOOLITTLE YOUR CHICK-” before Eve arrives there on the stairs with wild hair and bedazzled sunglasses, while clutching desperately to a flailing chicken. Lowering her voice once she sees everyone is assembled already, “Sorry sorry, psst. Doolittle. There aren't any golden eggs, I might need to paint one.” Because Eve was convinced this particular chicken would bear golden eggs, which would be a wildly appropriate gift for her best friend.

It's a real lucky thing that Lance has his silence field up.

Her dark red sweater dress falls to her knees and feathers are plastered on the fabric, holding the flailing chicken above her head she hunkers down behind a chair, the young people in the room get a bright smile. “Oh I'm so ecstatic. Squeakie we must sing a song.” Before lapsing into silence.

The small warning she’d had about the whole birthday coffee thing had given Gillian enough time to do her hair much better than she would have for a normal day at the Library. She’s still dressed in the same business casual way, though the hair alone changes the overall look. She appears calm and happy, taking his offered arm. “I can imagine working with someone so young can be a little strange, but I am hoping Lance does decide to go into training like Agent Lin had been suggesting, so you might end up working with someone just as young again.”

Or so she hopes. She thinks it would be a good avenue for the boy. In fact she would probably recommend it to all the Lighthouse Kids if she thought they would go for it. It would focus their energy in a helpful manner, something dangerous— but potentially less so due to the outside support that they would have from the agency. More so than they would have on their own.

“You can come in for a bit too. I don’t know if you’ve met Jac,” and she’s pretty sure the girl would be home. And one of these days… Maybe Lene too. She had been promising to introduce him to her daughter at some point.

A daughter he doesn’t know is only a few years younger than her mother. Time travel.

The door slowly swings open to…


The full house that Gillian usually enjoys is completely silent and dark. From her corner, Hailey gives Lance a pointed look and motions toward the door. Lift the cone of silence, nerd. Jim is still screeching, because he smells that familiar scent of donut but thankfully, Gillian is oblivious to the noise.

Until she sets foot into the door and a chorus of “SURPRISE!!” combined with goat bleats, dog barks, cat meows, and monkey screeches reaches her ears.

Hailey is the first to leap around the corner and jump at Gillian for a hug. “Surprise! Surprise!!” The empath is nearly shaking with excitement, she’s more excited right now than she has been for any of her own birthdays.

"Surprise!" Emily shouts her part from the kitchen to play along, even though she knows her voice definitely isn't an expected one. A solid ring of rainbow candles now grace the lavender-iced cake, and she nods at it with satisfaction. She glances over to Squeaks then, and if she still hasn't left out of the kitchen yet, is shooed toward the main hall.

All the sounds coming back in force has Squeaks’ hands going right back over her ears. She expected all the voices to yell surprise, Emily had told her that would happen after all. Just like with the hiding. But she doesn’t add her voice to the mix, and she stays hidden until she’s prodded. Then she’s leading the older girl down to where all the surprising is happening, which isn’t really very far from where they were, to watch wide eyed as everyone else gets full into party mode.

Stepping out of the kitchen doorway to watch the hullabaloo with a soft grin, Brynn waves jazz hands over her head as a way of joining the shouting of birthday wishes. Squeaks and Emily coming from behind her through that doorway make her move sideways a bit more — everyone needs to be present!

“Surprise!” A whoop from Lance as he leaps up and into view as well, hands up in the air as he grins broadly, “Happy birthday!” The stealthy young man bounces eagerly on the balls of his feet, watching for her reaction.

“Just keep reminding me I’m old,” Cooper grouses good naturedly, with a big grin. He brushes fingers at hair that is showing the first hints of grey. “Before you know it I’ll Clint Eastwood, yelling at all those young agents to get off my lawn.”

The offer to come in gets a “Sure. My day is pretty free really. I had only planned to sit and flip through the 5 channels we can get in the Zone.” Okay, they probably have more…

Hanging back a bit while she works on opening the door, Cooper can’t help but have a crooked smile. When the door swings and she starts to step in, that smile gets a touch mischievous as he wait for the surprise. When the world explodes again into sound, that is when he steps in behind her. “Happy Birthday,” he adds in with the rest.

“I love you!!”

Eve’s enthusiastic as everyone else though the look on her face screams for her best friend to not kill her for taking part in this: I LOVE YOU! A shake of her hands in a jazz style and she's peering down at the chicken in her hands that seems to be flailing still, BAKBAKBAKBAK. “Quiet you, you’re making it sound like a zoo.” Not the crowd of people in the house, which on that note Eve tips toes backwards into the kitchen. “I've got dinner started! Just.. need..” the sound of a knife being picked up and the back door opening can be heard. “Have to get its head off.” More muttering to herself as the door bangs shut behind her.

Outside, there’s the sound of a car pulling up to the curb. Indirect glow from headlights spill through the tall windows, and there’s the click-creak of a single car door opening and the clap of it closing, distant voices, all right behind where Gillian and Cooper are standing amid the surprise ambush. There’s a truck parked on the curb, a familiar old tan 83 Ford with an even more familiar, long-faced old man driving. Martin Pines waves from the steering wheel at the house as Jolene comes around the front of the truck, briefly visible in the headlights, crutch under one arm and a plastic grocery bag in the other.

Seeing the door open, seeing Cooper and Gillian standing there, Jolene’s shoulders slouch. She was late. Turning back to Pines, she softly offers a, “Thank you,” to her boss and Martin just waves again and shifts the truck back into drive before pulling away from the curb. Awkwardly, Jolene stands behind the birthday woman and her escort, teeth worrying at her bottom lip.

To say Gillian was surprised would be an understatement, though one might not realize it at first. She doesn’t exactly scream, but there is a strangled sound at the first noise. And Cooper will certainly feel the brunt of it. Where she held his arm suddenly has a vice grip, as if she’s trying very hard not to do something she shouldn’t. The other reaction might be felt just a little bit by many people in the room. A hint of energy, a heightening of ability. The knot in the back of the ability augmentor’s head that kept her ability from spilling out has unravelled. Thankfully it’s not strong enough to cause abilities to go out of control, just…

Become more heightened. Longer range, more strength. For some of them it does nothing at all. It takes a few moments, and perhaps they won’t notice. She half hopes they won’t. But her eyes are wider, her breath a little quicker.

“I— uh— “ She starts, but doesn’t get much further. She’s trying to rein in her reaction. The knots that would hold back her ability at slipping away even as she tries. “I didn’t expect this,” she manages after a moment. “Did you bring the whole zoo?” Her voice is almost distant sounding, as if she’s saying things but thinking about something else.

"Not animal zoo," Hailey grins as she tugs Gillian into the house the rest of the way and toward the living room, "just Lance and Joe… but I think Joe is looking for peanut butter or something." Best gift? No, not as great as the other ones here tonight.

The empath stops for a moment, frozen on the spot by the sudden feeling of terror, heightened by Gillian’s amplification. Then, everything seems to happen in slow motion. Her voice, too deep, like someone slowed down the track. A pivot of the foot and the feeling that she's running through mud on her way to the back door. She shrieks, "NNnnnnooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!"

Knife in hand or not, Eve is on the receiving end of a full tackle to save the life of an innocent chicken.

“Hereeee turkey turkey, off with your hea—”

The sound and feel of Hailey hits Eve just seconds after her knife has done its work and blood sprays on the ground outside and all over Eve’s front and Hailey as they tumble to the ground, landing on her face the seer coughs as the bloody knife goes clattering to the ground, “Oh Doolittle get up!” swatting at the younger woman’s head as she struggles to get up from the weight (lightweight). “Sirclaphales lived a good life, now I have to wash the meat extra.

It takes a moment but the pale older woman twists from out under Hailey and climbs to her feet, “You really must behave my child, Gilly can't take much of this ratchet.”

After pressing herself well out of the way for first Eve and then Hailey’s sudden departure, Squeaks passes a really confused look to everyone else left. Is that how these surprise things usually go, or did Emily miss part that in her explanation? A shrug follows quickly behind the shrug, and her hands drop from her ears to her sides again.

After turning to the side to let everyone rush past, Emily steers Squeaks toward the living room by the shoulder, not even looking back. Whatever was going to happen between Eve and Hailey and the chicken would stay between them.

A glance is given in Gillian's direction, along with a forced smile. Emily deliberately takes up more space in the hall than before, fingertips of one hand against the wall while she nudges Squeaks forward with the other. Murmuring encouragement in the form of "Go on. Go say Happy Birthday." with a duck of her head toward the younger teen, she waits and then looks back to Brynn with a shrug.

The sudden declaration of a chicken beheading has Lance bringing a hand up to cover his eyes and upper face before the tackling even happens, as he knows what’s about to happen. “Hailey…” A sigh as he hears the aftermath, “…why are you like this.”

A rueful smile as he steps over towards the door, “You should’ve expected it, you know. We all love you, even my spaz of a sister. Even Aunt Eve. And now that we’re all in the Zone, well…” He looks around the room. ‘Nuff said.

A grin’s flashed over to Squeaks, then, and he tilts his head to encourage her forward.

What?? Wait… what??? Brynn is at a complete loss as to what the hell just happened. The flurry of motion happened too fast for her to really see what was going on, but she's pretty sure she really does not want to know. I don't think Aunt Gilly was as happy as we hoped, the silent teen flashes to her brother. The chaos is a good enough cover for it. I think we freaked her out a little, jumping out like that, Lance. Ever the worrier and people-watcher, Brynn kind of feels bad that we startled Gillian.

Joe is late. He didn't mean to be but he is late. Instead of coming through the front door and potentially spoiling the surprise if it's not kicked off yet he heads around the back, just in time to watch. "What in the heck?!" He asks in a cry of surprise as he watches Eve go down with Hailey atop her. "Hails? Why are you tackling Aunt Eve?" He doesn't tell her to get off her. Because he assumes that Hailey has a good reason for tackling Eve. Then he sees that there's blood and a dead bird and. "Oh." He remarks. "That was kind of thoughtless Aunty Eve. You know what her ability is." Joe chides their aunt but steps inside, moving towards the rest of the group and avoiding the kerfluffle on the floor. "Hi… I see that I’m late. Happy Birthday Aunt Gilly!" He calls over to her, eyes darting to the Hailey/Eve pile that is sorting itself out as Eve stands up. "I forgot my present back home and had to hurry and go get it. And I missed everything." Joe's foot scuffs on the floor, but he moves in their aunt's direction anyway to go and try to give her a hug.

This is a good time for Cooper not to be evolved, because all he has to worry about is the death grip around his arm. There is a grimace, but he doesn’t try to pry her off, instead enduring the python like hold. “So future note,” the man quips easily, though voice a little strained, “Don’t surprise you.” His hand moves to rest on her white knuckled hand, his head dipping a little as he asks with concern, “You okay?”

As Hailey moves to pull Gillian in further, the agent is pulled along with. To be honest, Cooper can understand, it’s not even his birthday and he feels overwhelmed by them all. Faces seem vaguely familiar, maybe from his smuggling days, he isn’t sure. Though, Lance gets a look of recognition; the young man may or may not recognize the man that fished him out of the ocean. “Wow… you were not kidding when you said you have a big family.” He sounds pretty impressed. Sometimes you don’t really understand until you are standing in the middle of it.

Jolene, making a small noise in the back of her throat, watches Joe as he goes past into the house, then looks back down the street to see if there’s any more stragglers at this block party. Satisfied with the empty sidewalks, she steps back inside and ambles up on the other side of her mother opposite of Cooper.

“Sorry,” Lene whispers, one hand gently on Gillian’s arm, “I was late getting out of work. Or I would've…” She looks at the cluster of youths filling the apartment. Though there's a subtle distractedness in her eyes, but it's unclear what from. Jolene seems surprised by the feeling it herself.

“Happy birthday, ma,” Lene remembers to say, gently squeezing Gilliam's arm with one hand.

There are many things that Gillian does not like to bring attention to, things she’s worked very hard to hide. She’s avoided many things for this very reason. The council meetings were often almost too much, but those times were often not noticed or ignored due to the fact she did not draw attention to herself. If her hands shook, it happened under the table. And she had been able to prepare for it. Council meetings were planned. This was not. This was her home.

She doesn’t really react to Hailey’s second scream, or how she runs out of the main room, through the kitchen and onto the back garden. She’ll probably scold Eve later for very improper chicken slaughter. Wring the neck first, chop second, but right now she’s trying to pull herself back to the present. Jolene’s voice behind her helps. She lets out a breath she didn’t realise she was holding and releases her tight grip on Cooper’s arm. “It’s fine,” she lies. Because that’s how she wants it to be, really. “I…” That panicked look comes to her face for a moment, as she realizes that Jolene called her ma. This was not how she wanted things to happen. It’s definitely not helping her nerves at all.

“It’s okay,” she repeats her inner thoughts, almost a mantra really, before she’s suddenly smiling. It is tight, though. Her eyes follow where Hailey and Eve vanished and she shakes her head. One thing at a time. “Cooper, this is Jolene. My daughter.” Who just so happened to look no where near young enough to be her daughter. “And Lance and Joe and Brynn and Emily,” who admittedly she doesn’t know well, but maybe there’s a reason she’s here that she doesn’t know— does Lance or Joe have a girlfriend?? “… the girl who ran off after Eve was Hailey, and Jaq, who’s the one I’m working toward adopting.” And no, she did not lie that she had a big family. And a complex one.

The urging gets a nope, but not a verbal one. It doesn’t even get a look, but it does have Squeaks arching and twisting away from Emily’s hand as soon as she feels the pressure. No pushing! There’s already a lot of people and voices and she’s not going to add her own to it. Gillian does get a quick look, maybe even a short grin, before she’s ducking and dodging away from all the bodies at the entryway in order to lead the charge into the living room. There’s way more space in there.

"Just an acquaintance," Emily feels the need to call out and clarify once she's singled out in the crowd. "I had something to return." A smirk comes unbidden, and she nods at Gillian. "Those notes were really useful."

Since Squeaks has wriggled away, she gestures back toward the kitchen, voice light. "There's about as much food as there are people, so there's that to look forward to, too."

Her brow arches up as she sees Lene, a small wave given.

While Gillian is naming out everyone off, Cooper gently disengages his arm from her vice-like grip. Reaching out he turns her gently to look at him, a hand gently gripping each arm; a crooked smile on his lips. “Hey, breathe. In… out…” he offers with a light-hearted tone, though he looks a little concerned. “It’s okay. I might have met a few already and,” One hand lets go to scratch a bit guilty at his jaw, “Hailey might have contacted me and asked me to help.” Yeah, he was in on it, now he’s questioning his logic in that one.

He looks past her to the door to where Hailey and Eve are, but then his attention falls squarely on Lene. Huh. Maybe she had a kid young. Not unheard of. That is what the rational part f his brain is saying at least. “Your daughter?” He asks aside to Gillian, before offering a hand and a bright smile to Lene. “Nice to finally meet you, Thomas Cooper. I think-” Eyes narrow a bit thoughtfully at the young woman. “I think I saw you with Gill- your mom on some of my supply runs. She ever tell you about the time I arrested her?”

Wait… that might not be a good start of a conversation starter for the daughter of the woman you like, Thomas. He’ll kick himself about that later.

As Gillian’s shock wears off, so does Hailey’s terror and as Eve picks herself up from under the younger woman, she receives a bit of a kick. “You’re the worst Aunt Eve,” she grumbles in agreement with Joe. At least someone has her back. “You don’t kill a chicken after terrifying it, you wreck the meat.”

Then she pushes herself up of the ground and dusts herself off. She’s not so much worried about her party outfit, just jeans and a t-shirt, and Jolene has a big enough closet to rob. “Food is food, but you’re going to end up with a rubbery mess after all the panic you put it through.” Only Lance likes rubber chicken, and not to eat. She waves her arms out to her sides, exasperated but trying to reason with the seer. “Besides, Squeaks and I spent all day cooking while you were sleeping! There’s GOBS of food!”

Moving back toward the door, she points to the bloody mess in the snow, “You should pluck out here, the kitchen is clean and I don’t want to scare Gillian again.” Once is enough.

Brynn is ridiculously confused by now, and she withdraws visibly from the melee. When you can't hear what the hell is going on, her siblings are rather chaotic at the best of times. Throw in Aunt Eve and it's a madhouse. Sidling over to the wall, where the deaf teen perches herself in a corner until things slow down, she signs — whether Gillian's in a place to see it physically or mentally is, of course, up in the air — I'm sorry, Aunt Gilly… this wasn't… exactly what we meant to happen. She looks more than a little uncomfortable herself.

“Wait what? Jolene is your daughter?” Joe asks, looking at Gillian, then Jolene, then back to Gillian, and finally settling on Jolene with a soft huh. “Primal. I buy it. Future? Or alternate future? Clone?” He asks, looking from Jolene to Gillian one more time before his attention swings around, spotting Squeaks. “Squeakers!” Joe calls out as she retreats towards the living room. “Hi! And hi everyone else!” He signs his hello to Brynn, and she’ll get a hug if he can manage it in the crowded space. “Emily! Hi emily.” Lance gets a bump of Joe’s shoulder in greeting, a bro bump not a brush aside. “Broninja.” His gaze tracks around a little bit. “UHh you okay Aunt Gilly?”He asks, only now realizing that she’s distressed and not just surprised by everyone being in her house.

Joe throws a thumbs up in Hailey’s direction. He’s got her back. He has a wrapped up gift that’s rectangular and smallish, and fairly thin. He looks around for a place to put it down, but in the swirling chaos that is Gilly’s house right now he ends up just holding onto it, holding it in his left hand as he looks around the room. “There’s food? I heard food. Someone said food. Hi person I don’t know.” Joe waves at Cooper. “Hi person I don’t know who’s looking at our Aunt like he likes her likes her. Just remember she has very protective super powered nieces and nephews.” A wide grin at the man, but he walks over to him and holds out a hand. “Joe Winters.” He can be polite while semi threatening someone. Someone’s gotta give the guys interested in Gillian ‘The Talk’. And who better than Joe, or Lance, or better yet both. Lance get over there.

Seeing that the reaction to the surprise and the other dramas is causing more heartache than elation, Emily starts to look between the others, trying to find something— anything to help relieve the tension. Hand still on the wall to support her, she turns back and … the kitchen!

"There's cake!" Emily announces a little more loudly than she'd usually be comfortable with in a group like this, but it's for a good cause. "In the kitchen." she clarifies, because that's important. For the sake of not clogging up the hall with her person, she gets herself turned around to head that way and lead by example.

Besides, who doesn't love a good cake?

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