Tattooed Memories


brynn_icon.gif hailey_icon.gif

Scene Title Tattooed Memories
Synopsis Foster sisters get a little time together.
Date October 3, 2018

Park Slope

It's been a minute since Brynn and Hailey have actually shared some time together. A minute where Hailey ran away from everyone to take up residence at a zoo, then get kidnapped and shot, then stay tucked away from everyone except for Gillian because of the hurt feels. Okay, it's been over a year. Regardless, since running into Brynn at the market, Hailey's felt a bit guilty for avoiding the younger woman.

All morning, they've been travelling by foot and all the while, Hailey has been chattering (uncharacteristically) to the younger woman. "— So you're not allowed to tell anyone. Especially not Lance." Her tone is super serious, just a little more serious and solemn than it usually is.

Finally, Hailey stops in front of a regal looking (if not overgrown) brownstone inside the forest known as Park Slope. It's a dangerous area and if she'd been with anyone else, Hailey probably wouldn't have been talking at all. With Brynn, she doesn't need to worry about noise or trying to get her to quiet down. Pointing at the structure, she gives the other young woman a large grin, "What do you think?"

The house itself is narrow, about four stories tall, with windows that stretch from near floor to ceiling. Covered in ivy and other climbing flora, it looks much like the other residences in the area with one exception. The door is clear of brush and debris, and it's got a lock on it.

She'd been surprised to see her foster sister today. Brynn hasn't done much to seek out the older girl — even as children, Hailey tended toward isolation and her animals more often than not. As they've walked, she's watched Hailey's signing and a faint smile makes her dimples peek out. Sometimes Joe rubs off on all of them. Though the tone doesn't convey, the expression of seriousness does and Brynn treats all that she's being told with the appropriate weight. If she's fascinated by the overgrown neighborhood and its desolate air of haunted splendor, now is likely not the time to indulge in that intrigue. The news has all been good news, but she signs, You know I won't tell him anything you don't want me to. Were she speaking, the tone might be gently chiding — she keeps her sister's secrets. All of them. Even when she might not agree, she keeps them. Always. I'm glad, though, Hailey — after what happened to you and then Mouse, I have to admit I've been scared to death about you being out here.

Standing now in front of the brownstone, her artist's eye picks out the solid bones beneath the faded elegance of the structure. In the spring, some of those climbing vines that have used the building as a ginormous trellis will have flowers on them. The coming autumn is beginning to lend yellow and orange shades to the leaves. The door set where it is makes it appear that they're about to enter a secret and magical enclave.

This is gorgeous. The whole block looks like a fairy forest, with homes hiding behind all the plants. Her gray eyes are curious as she eyes her sister. You're going to be staying here? Do you get to bring all the animals?

"I don't think get to is one of my options," Hailey says as she signs. "But I don't think any of these places are on the lottery, so… squatters rights?" She grins right after and moves toward the front door of the house, pulling a key from her pocket. When she speaks now, she doesn't sign, but she's facing Brynn as she enunciates, "I've been working on this place for a while now."

Unlocking the door is like turning the key to the secret garden. When it swings open, Brynn can see that it's just as overgrown inside as it is out. Vines cascade down into the foyer from the rails of the floor up above. Holes in the flooring play home to large ferns, grasses, and an assortment of wildflowers. Old leaves litter the floor and swirl around their feet with each step. Although the concept is fairly open, on the inside Brynn can see that the windows have been outfitted with security bars, the stairs have been refurbished and reinforced with sheets of metal, and further on to the kitchen… is clean.

Squatters' rights is a concept that they're all well acquainted with. Brynn flashes her dimples in a grin at Hailey. She peeks inside the door before entering, fascinated with the waterfall of vines and the dappling of light in the foyer as she steps further in. Her gray eyes are wide with the same kind of wonder a younger child might have — she's always been pretty imaginative about the spaces they've found. Especially when there are flowers and colors all through. She breathes out a soft almost-sound, and turns to look at Hailey. In the spring, this place is going to have so many colors!

She walks forward through the leaf-scatter, noting that some of the leaves falling have the yellow and fiery orange of the autumn without having the crunch of being completely dead yet, and she runs her fingertips along the banister at the bottom of the stairs. Wow. This is incredible, she signs to her foster sister. She tilts her head. How come you don't want the guys to know you're living inside the walls? Because … it seems a little sad to her that Hailey keeps such distance. She certainly misses the other girl, for all that they have tended to keep to their own interests.

Leading Brynn into the actual clean part of the house, the kitchen, she hops up to take a seat on the counter and swings a leg to the island opposite her as an invitation to Brynn to do the same. Because. It's a surprise for Gillian for her birthday. At that, Hailey reaches into her back pocket again, producing a wrinkled pamphlet that she smooths out on her thigh. Then she stretches out her arm, passing it to the mute woman. The first thing Brynn notices is the now all too familiar SESA logo.

I have enough money saved up to buy a generator and I'm going to get registered and move here. I just have to figure out a way to get my friends in. Park Slope is big enough and secluded enough that there's already rumors of escaped zoo animals and their descendants roaming around. So far, Hailey hasn't let on if that's true or not. Possibly to save Brynn's sanity.

Oh! Well, that explains everything! Brynn grins. I thought maybe you were mad at them or something, she admits. And then she hops up onto the counter, taking the pamphlet curiously. Her gray eyes blink and she looks up at her sister thoughtfully. She sets the paper down to reply.

Well… there've got to be plenty of places that aren't walled where all your friends can be brought into this area, she points out easily. It doesn't even seem to faze her that we're talking about potentially great big cats and whatnot — those that are attached to Hailey certainly won't be a danger to people and she'll keep them safe FROM people, so it's all good! Right? Right!

Gesturing to the SESA pamphlet, she asks, Is that just for registration purposes? Or… are you considering working for them or something? Because honestly, that seems a little out of Hailey's usual interests… but then again, Brynn never would have considered some of the other things going on as being 'normal' for all of us either.

"Just registering," Hailey says out loud as she signs, "I don't think I could ever work for the man… even if the man is our kind now." It's been drilled into her head over the past few months and it's taken about that long for the empath to accept that registration wouldn't mean the end of everything. Gillian's been doing a good job.

Pointing at the cracked, but cleanish, window pane to the back yard. What is visible through the foliage is thick with grass and the fence between overgrown houses has been torn down. "I can keep Dayton back there, there's a shed a few houses away that can be rebuilt as a shelter for the deer. The wolves and the birds though…" she's not sure if they'll even follow her here. Birds are such flighty creatures.

Brynn goes very still as she looks out into the yard. She's 'listening' as Hailey talks, but there's a shadow that passes across her features when the wolves and birds are mentioned. I don't know that I'd want to either, but that's got a lot more to do with the idea that … well, I wouldn't be much use. She pushes a smile for the other girl and nibbles a bit on her lip. You've definitely got plenty of room for the deer, even if they wander. The wolves, though — well, they're kinda territorial. Might want to be careful of that, if you talk them into it. You're pack and they'll protect you — that makes me happy — but … it also makes me worry about the idea that somewhere along the way it'll bite you in the butt.

Pulling in a slow breath, the deaf teen considers and then asks, Hailey… are you talking to a lot of birds these days?

The question earns Brynn a really weird look. "I don't talk to them," Hailey says, as though it's super obvious. "I just know what they feel. Only telepaths can actually talk to them." Of which, she is not. "In nerd terms," she adds, giving a pointed look at Brynn because she hangs with Lance and Joe, "I'm like a Deanna Troi of animals, not a Professor Xavier."

She suddenly feels warm, so she pushes up the long sleeves of her t-shirt revealing a large tattoo on in the inside of her forearm. Usually she keeps it covered… but this is Brynn. The half heart is just as crisp and vibrant as the day it was put on her arm, the moose antler sticking out the side and into a border of different animals.

The only reason Brynn even has half a clue about who those people are is because the boys had comic books and she was fascinated with the art of them. She sticks her tongue out at Hailey. I'm not a nerd! And Star Trek was kinda cool. The X-Men weren't. But, well… whatever. She grins.

Reaching out, she touches a finger to the markings on Hailey's arm. That was her first-ever attempt at real body art — fixing Hailey's ink so it didn't look QUITE so much like jailhouse tats. Now it's beautiful and brilliant without the raggedy edges. I've been studying tattoos, she admits shyly to her sister. I even got paid to do one with my ability a couple weeks back. It was kinda crazy lucrative. If you wanted, you know, I could expand that set of animals up your arm into a full sleeve. Back home, she wasn't confident enough to offer more than the border she'd done around the heart that was Hailey's ex-boyfriend. The Jerk.

"No," that single word is firm and more of a command than an answer. "It stays exactly the way it was when he left." A very raw reminder about how people outside of their circle are … well … Brynn was there through the tears, the heartache, then the silence, and eventually when Hailey left. Suddenly self conscious about the tattoo, she pulls her sleeve down and holds the end in her palm.


"Have you seen him?" Rumor has it, he lived in the safe zone somewhere. As large as the population of the city is, Hailey's counted herself fortunate to not know whether the rumor was true or false.

Blinking, Brynn looks genuinely startled. Good God, no. Is he here? A frown pulls her brows together… she'd really like to beat on that jackass a little bit. He hurt her sister. No, I've not seen hide or hair of him. She doesn't keep that part going. I wouldn't touch that part, of course. She knows why Hailey keeps it. I meant if you wanted more of the animals up your arm.

She pulls in a long breath and lets it out slowly. Owain Mihangle kissed me. She's clearly rather uncomfortable with that confession, but … this is the one person to whom she could turn even with stupid stuff. It was weird. And made things a little awkward. Is it supposed to do that? Brynn glances at her and grimaces. Probably pointless to really ask … pretty sure I blew it with him even if it was something anyway. I kinda freaked out.

"Ew-ain?" Hailey grimaces, not that Brynn can actually hear the play on his name but the face she makes while she says it might hold a clue. Her fingers start flying through different words as she starts and stops different sentences, trying to explain things like this is hard. There's books for that, damnit. "Okay, so before you were born… no… forget that. When a mom and dad love each … no that's not right either… Sometimes after you have too much to drink…" No, that's not right either. Finally she stops.

"Yeah, it's totally pointless to ask, mostly because you blew it with him." There's NO way she's going to start explaining human relationships. "But when you're ready for the real talk about things like that, you should really go to Gillian. Seriously Brynn, you're old enough now, you should know these things."

Brynn blushes deeply and just shoves Hailey's shoulder, laughing that silent giggle of hers. I know the SEX TALK, Hailey. Good God! She is beyond mortified about THAT idea. You've had a stupid boyfriend, I just wanted to know if it was supposed to be stupid and awkward. Geeeeeez.

Shaking her head, she rolls her eyes. And why in the world would I ask Aunt Gilly?? It's not like she has dates!

“No, it’s not stupid and awkward,” Hailey says quietly, signing as she avoids looking at Brynn entirely. She chews on her lip and knits her eyebrows together before heaving a deep sigh and going on, “At least it wasn’t for me. With Moose, something just clicked and it felt like I’d known him my whole life. And Gillian does have dates, she just doesn’t advertise her private life.”

She stops and looks down at her tattoo, tracing her finger slowly around the antler. The silence is deafening, at least for Hailey. Despite Brynn being in the room, the birdsong outside, and the whistling of the wind through the broken windows of the house, it’s the times when she thinks about what that tattoo had meant to her that she feels so alone.

But.. Brynn is there now.

The deaf teen doesn't push for words, nor does she require explanations. She simply leans sideways to lay her head on Hailey's shoulder in the quiet. She can feel the silence even if she can't hear it — and she can feel the sense of peacefulness that this forgotten residence offers, too.

She watches the patterns of light on the wall, perhaps thinking about what Hailey said about that long-ago guy. Hmph. Brynn still thinks he needs a swift kick.

When she sits more upright, she offers a different subject to make things easier for Hailey. All right… so, do you want me to help you figure out places to bring in the critters? Because she will help! With slavers on the loose, I don't want to leave you alone — you've already had run-ins, and they actually grabbed Mouse. Joe's off the deep end into Brian-brain. That's not going to bode well.

They had grabbed Hailey too and the thought sends a shiver up her spine. Her sudden discomfort causes all of the birds to quiet outside, all of them alert to the danger she feels below. “Yeah… about that,” she says slowly, fumbling through the words with her fingers. Again, adding words here and there that just don’t make sense as to what she’s actually saying.

The twinge in her shoulder on cold nights and the panic she feels when no one is around is a painful reminder of what she owes Pure Earth. Pain, humiliation, and fear are a triple debt that she will pay in full, she just doesn’t know how yet. Clenching her jaw, she steels herself against any argument that Brynn might have for her. The bristle at the back of her neck, much like a dog’s raised hackles, further cements her words to the younger of the Lighthouse sisters.

“Joe’s not wrong, something needs to be done.”

He's not, Brynn signs with a sigh. I'm just…. not convinced we're the ones who should be doing something. The admission shouldn't come as too much a surprise — despite their upbringing, Brynn was definitely not one of their more militant. She has an incredibly hard time with the idea of putting their training to actual use.

Her gray eyes are troubled. I don't want to let it just go. But I don't think five of us are going to be able to even make a dent in the situation, either, she admits. Do you… really think just going out there and shooting people in cold blood is the answer? Although her tone obviously can't convey it, her expression perhaps gives enough insight — she's not judging, she's looking for honest assessment.

In a word?


Hailey's answer is simple, too quick, and filled with venom. Though Brynn can't hear the tone, she can see the expression of rage that Hailey takes when answering. Even in the early days of their breakup, she never had this face with Moose. This one is reserved for enemies and Brynn had only ever seen it during the war. "They shot me in cold blood, they would have sold me if I hadn't gotten away. I know there've been others, this isn't a new thing for them."

The expression in Hailey's eyes hits Brynn hard. The two of them were always the ones less likely to do that level of violence… they've lived so much already. She pulls in a breath and nods slightly, looking down. Whether she's agreeing with the assessment or merely acknowledging the statement … well, that's not as clear. She is well aware this is not a new thing.

Sliding off the counter in which they're both sitting and swinging their feet, Brynn instead moves around the room looking at it with careful scrutiny. Have you got thoughts on how to secure your place? It's a classic Brynn maneuver, truth be told. When she's uncomfortable, she looks for something useful to do. If its power wires are intact, my friend Caspian might be able to help set up electrical countermeasures. If that's not stable, we can go old-school — some fishing line and hooks in the crannies you don't use, things like that.

"Oh, there isn't any." Power. Water. None of it. Park Slopes is one of the few places in the Safe Zone that has no amenities, possibly because of the rumored escaped zoo creatures or perhaps the dense foliage that no one has figured a way to tame. Either way, this spot is closest to the Bronx Zoo as Hailey is going to get, within the borders of the Safe Zone.

It might be why this place was chosen.

It might be why she feels like this could be home.

Brynn slants a grin at her sister, the wicked smile harkening back to days of pranks. Let's 'Home Alone' this place!

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