Terribly Familiar



Also Featuring:

wf_colette1_icon.gif wf_nate1-2_icon.gif wf_sable1_icon.gif

Scene Title Terribly Familiar
Synopsis Sight, sounds and words haunt Gwen Chevalier's future and her past.
Date March 21, 2011


Scraped knees and a child's tears have been a part of Gwen's life as long as she can remember.

Growing up, her brother was constantly getting himself injured. As the eldest sibling it was Gillian's responsibility to take care of her family members. As an adult, after having learned full well that the family that raised her was connected not by blood, Gwen's life was still filled with skinned knees and tears.

Children of the Lighthouse looked up to her as a mother, as went to her for help, considered her as much family as she'd considered her adoptive parents. It's not surprise that now, years later, children still look up to Gillian for help and parental guidance. Much like the one sitting on the kitchen table in front of her, crying his eyes out because he's skinned his knee. Some things never change.

He's a boy of maybe ten years, dark hair and eyes and so much a mother's-boy that it's embarrassing. One leg of his loosely-fitting jeans are rolled up over his knee, revealing the scraped and bloody skin only just washed clean by Gwen's tender care.

The water wrung out of the cloth turns pink in the ceramic basin, cold too since it would be a waste to burn firewood to heat up a kettle of water for this. It's nearly spring though and the weather has taken a turn for the better. Outside of the trailer, the sounds of children laughing and playing fills the air. This clumsy boy rarely plays with the other kids, rarely gets to see them with how much Gwen moves around these days. But he's here for a purpose today, and the skinned knee wasn't because of play.

Sniffling back a whimper, the boy's wide eyes stare up at Gwen as she lays the wrung out cloth beside the wash basin, catching a glimpse of herself in a small decorative mirror beside the trailer's broken sink. She's aged gracefully over these last few years. She's never worn her hair this long before, never had reason to. She's starting to look like a wildwoman, with unkempt locks of dark hair down to her waist and the militant-chic attire of urban camouflage BDUs and a black tanktop. That her bolt-action rifle isn't far away on one of the kitchenette's bench seats adds to this theme of appearance.

"Gwen?" The voice comes from the trailer's door, along with a light rapping of knuckles on the glass. Standing silhouette in the doorway is another woman who's aged gracefully over the years, though she's several Gwen's junior. No one could mistake Colette Nichols for anyone else, not with those eyes of hers at any rate. Emerald green and cataract white haven't changed in the long time that Gwen's known her, though they have a certain stern quality to them these days. It's no small wonder most of the children are scared of her. That and her reputation, anyway.

Gwen knows better, however. She knows that behind the mask of a taciturn teacher lies a young woman waiting to get out, waiting to let her hair down and be herself. It's been hard for anyone to be the people they used to be, though, not in this world.

At Colette's arrival into the trailer, the boy sitting on the table hunches his shoulders forward and clasps his hands together between his knees, trying to look as much the victim as he can. "Has he made up a story yet, about how I hurled him off a ten story building?" There's mirth in Colette's expression, in the crook of one side of her lips up and swaggering posture as she steps up into the trailer.

"It was only six," Colette corrects, unfolding her arms to thread one hand thorugh dark locks of shoulder-length hair. "And he did fine."

Nate's bad at flying, which is why he's here.

The jesting tone of voice brings hazel eyes casting sideways over at Colette, eyebrows raised for a moment. Six stories still seems a bit much, especially for curled up victim getting scrapes wiped off.

"I wish I'd been there to see it," Gwen admits, rubbing dry knuckles against the boy's cheek in an affectionate gesture.

Victor had always been the type to jump off of buildings, even without the ability to fly. He called it sport. And she too remembers what it was like to fly.

"Maybe I should come, next time. That way there's no exaggerated stories about how you dangled him off the edge for a few moments before letting go."

Snorting in amusement, Colette blows an errant lock of hair from her face, arms crossing again as she walks up in the cramped space of the trailer to stand beside where Nate sits on the table. "It was Joe's idea," doesn't really make it any better, though it does make it amusing to imagine Colette taking advice from the young man. "Nate's a quick learner, and I'm sure he'll get the hang of this sooner rather than later. I'm just glad you took the time to come out here and let me have a few weeks with him…"

Resting her hip against the corner of the table, Colette looks down to Nate's knee, then back over to Gillian with a subtly more guilty expression. Even she isn't immune to his tears, crocodillian as some of them may be.

"It… must be strange to be back here in New York after having been gone for so long. The last couple of months have been quiet though, so it's a better time than any I guess. We… really could use you back, permanently." Averting her eyes from Gwen's, Colette curls her fingers against the fabric of her sleeves, letting the laughter of other children outside fill the void of awkward silence.

"You don't… have to go back to west right away, do you?" Mismatched eyes defy age, and there's a familiar youthfulness in Colette's expression, no older than the day that Gillian first ran into her — quite literally — in Cliffside all those years ago. "He misses you, not— like he'd admit it. But…"

Laughter of children and shrieks of amusement fill another void more awkward than the last.

"If he misses me so much he can come visit me himself," Gwen says faintly, a darkened expression across her face, feeling far older than she had all those years ago. There's an effort to soften her expression as she looks at the tears in those big child's eyes. "You're going to be fine, kiddo, I promise," she assures, leaning in to kiss his forehead and rubbing at the tears with her thumbs.

No matter how bad the scrapes might feel, someone saying they'll be okay always seems to help kids. And kisses help too.

"I prefer staying mobile right now," she admits quietly, biting down on her lower lip and glancing towards the miss-matched eyes. "But I'll stay close for a while. For Nate."

Silence hangs in the air for a little while as Colette watches Nate more so than Gwen. The boy's already begun rolling down his own pant leg, toughing it out for all the scrapes and bruises he's likely to accrue with his new teacher, one that isn't likely to coddle. Clearing her throat, Colette leans away from the table and steps a few paces past it, giving Gwen and the boy some space.

There's a smile that crosses his lips, a steady nod and a swing of his legs before both feet come planted down on the floor. "I'm gonna' go find Lance," Nate explains to his mother, turning around to look up at her with brows raised and a hopeful expression. Colette offers the boy an askance look, one that implies some feigned disappointment that he isn't checking with his teacher too.

"Stay close if you don't find him soon," Gwen says to the kid's back, looking worried as she follows him with her eyes, showing a strong temptation to follow after and watch him. There's so much that can go wrong when a kid leaves sight, even for a moment. Denisa dying when they were all building snow forts taught her that.

The sound of people nearby, children laughing and playing, helps calm some of her nerves. Surely he'll stay close— Even then, she follows all the way to the door, planning to keep an eye out, even if she knows there's others around.

After a few moments, she spares a quick glance in the younger woman's direction, "How is he?" The tone says she's not meaning the boy.

"Hard to say," Colette admits with a hushed tone of voice, watching the door as Nate shows himself out. The cool breeze that blows in from outside disturbs her hair, elicits the raking of fingers through it to preen bangs back into place, allows her to thread a braided length of hair behind one ear. "I hardly see him anymore, he's been spending most of his time watching Walter like a hawk."

Those mismatched eyes return to Gwen, and there's a wistful smile from Colette to the older woman. "I don't think he knows you've come back yet, Maybe he does, I— don't really know him that well, truth be told. As much as he's devoted himself to the Ferrymen these last few years, this war's been hard on everyone."

Breathing a tired sigh, Colette shifts her weight to one foot and tracks a slow pace back across the traikler to Gwen.

"How're you doing, is what I'm more worried about. I…" Mismatched eyes close partway, and Colette shifts her attention to the floor, then back up to Gillian. "Raising him alone can't be easy."

You should stay is unspoken. Colette knows what bounds not to push.

"Easier than some things," Gwen says quietly, still watching out the door, even if all she can make out is shapes and shadows. Shadows are as dangerous as anything, and there's always something out there. Once she thought she was paranoid— but she's always most paranoid when she has reasons to be.

There's a sigh of surrender after a moment, and she backs away from the door. "It's always going to be me, isn't it? The one who has to bend." With a humorless laugh, she shakes her head, a stubborn line set into her mouth for a moment.

Another knock on the trailer door has Colette arching one brow. Her pupils look to distort from Gwen's perspective, bend the way a funhouse mirror distorts things. By the time a coarse voice growls out the words, "I ain't interruptin nothin', am I?" Colette is already aware of who it is on the other side of the door. Maybe that's why she's smiling.

Inviting herself in regardless of the fact, the rough-shod appearance of a short and wiry woman with hair equally as dark as Colette's is a welcome appearance. It's been too many years since Gwen had seen the yellow-eyed musician, even longer since they'd shared a decent word edgewise to one another. Sable's appearance has changed little in the years Gwen's been gone, still the inveterate rockstar, though her slashed jeans are more from the hazards of daily living rather than fashion sense.

"Thought I'd come on by, see what trouble trouble's been gettin' into." A tip of Sable's chin goes in Colette's direction, which is retorted by a raise of thin brows and a crooked smile on the photokinetic's lips. "But if you were about t'go consolin' her 'r' somethin', I ain't one t'stop." Sable's smile is more teasing and wry than welcoming, at least for now.

"As you can see, Sable's only rolled slightly further into the gutter while you've been gone." Laughing with her words, Colette looks back to the tiny brunette, but her attention shifts down to a large hole torn in the sleeve of her olive-drab military style jacket. "Jesus, if I have to patch that up one more time… Do you go looking for nails to catch that thing on?"

"Hey there, Sable," Gwen says, taking a few steps back from the door, as far as she can in the trailer before she smacks into a seat cushion that she drops down onto. The place isn't as clean as it would be under different ownership. No coasters, for one, and she has to sit up and pull a lumpy pile of pillows to the side to give her butt a more even seat.

"You're not interupting," she says simply, motioning her in, even if she's already shown herself the way. "I'll have to get a copy of some of your music before I roll back out. Mad Muse isn't easy to come by outside of this state— though you'll be happy to know that Nate appreciates Yellow Submarine more than I did— he told me you played for him." The first time she'd met the girl she'd inadvertedly insulted her taste in music.

The Beatles just weren't her thing.

There's a snort in Colette's direction, feigned in any level of perceived indignation. Yellow eyes consider Gwen more than anything, though. "Yeah," she admits with one shoulder rising and falling, "kid ain't never even heard of the Beatles 'fore I got to him. Colette might be good at teaching him how to fly before he can run, but I'll be busy corrupting the youth wth Rock n' Roll." An impish smile crosses Sable's lips, cocksure amused.

"She's also been reading to him," Colette admits with a sly, askance look to Sable, as if reading would somehow dash her persona on conversational rocks. "Poetry too, if I recognized that slip cover." Leaning away froms watting reach, Colette's smile becomes more coy and amused as she stifles a laugh and steps back around towards Sable, hooking her fingers through the hole in her sleeve, tugging at loose threads.

There's a tacit invitation that she'll fix it later, before Colette's attention is returned to Gwen. "If I didn't know any better, I'd say you were — " A sound cuts off Colette, drowns her out, a terrible noise that is undeniably mechanical, but in emulation of something like a human scream or a child's wail.

The noise pierces the air, draws color out of Sable and Colette's faces, and accompanies the terrified scream of children that fades into audible quality when the wailing begins to die down, only to rise up again like some synthesized mockery air-raid siren.

It's come for the children.

Pollepel Island


Gillian's hoarse screaming is the sound she wakes up to, on the cold, stone floor beside her bed, wound up in linens. Sweat slicks her body, dark hair plastered to her face and eyes wide and fearful. Her heart pounds in her chest, blood pulses in her ears like a drum beat and she cannot stop shaking.

As strange as that dream was, it was the familiar parts of it that were most terrifying, and that sound that woke her from the nightmarish ending was the most familiar of all. She'd heard it once before.

In Argentina.

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