The Dying Swan (Reprise)


quinn5_icon.gif rue_icon.gif

Scene Title The Dying Swan (Reprise)
Synopsis After all this time, it's come to this moment.
Date December 16, 2011

Bannerman's Castle, Holding Cells

When Noa came to visit, she gifted Rue with a radio. It sits on a stool just on the other side of the bars where she can reach through and adjust the dial as necessary. Given who gave the radio to her, there hasn't been any need - it's a lot like having her iPod tuned to one of her playlists. Rue sits on a pillow on the floor of her cell with her back against the wall, staring out at nothing and listening to the final act of Swan Lake.

The swelling in her face has started to go down, thanks to the ice that Megan Young keeps having sent down to her. But the whole left side of her face is an ugly purple and red edged bruise. Her nose has a split taped to either side of the bridge. She didn't hurt this bad after Midtown.

Then again, if Samara had been there to somehow half-phase her out, this probably wouldn't hurt as bad either.

With her legs stretched out in front of her, Rue slowly begins to lean forward, reach, reach, reaching for her toes with one hand. The other arm is held in the air, arched behind her as though she'd like to touch her fingertips to the wall she's leaning away from. Quinn knows the posture well, though she's usually wearing her pointe shoes.

When Quinn had wandered down here, it had been as quiet as she possibly could. Part of that was deliberate, part of that was how slow she was to move ever since the other day. It was like the gouge on her face had drained even more of her energy, left her feeling even weaker. Or maybe that was the antibiotics and other medications she had been given, something she was reluctant to let be given to her when she felt there were others who needed it more than her.

But it's also in part because, as she made her way there, she had heard the sounds of Swan Lake reverberating on the stone walls. It filled her with apprehension - it was beautiful, of course, but it was also known to her as the dying swan for a reason. And that's before she gets into the mix of emotion that welled up in her the last time she heard this song.

So, she had tried to be as careful as possible, sliding iin quietly once she's convinced the guard to let her through. The cold air makes her face sting, and it's not much better down here. But she has some painkillers for that, and besides…

Nothing could really keep her from being down here, now, anyway.

Not even Eileen Ruskin.

She crosses her arms and leans against the stone wall opposite where Rue has begun to dance, wondering how long it'll be until she's noticed.

From her position on the floor, Rue's right leg slides out to her side, back, back… Her left foot plants and gives her the leverage and necessary leeway to rotate so her right knee and toes are now sliding across the floor. The pillow is nudged out of the way with her motions, and she braces her foot against the wall and slides herself forward.

All the while, her arms hold stay outstretched at their angles, like a clock striking the hour of nine. Slowly, she begins to curl her fingers slightly toward her palm, then stretch out again. Curl, and stretch. The movement travels to her wrist and down her arm in waves, the motions become bigger, but remain slow and languid.

Her blue eyes are shut in concentration.

Tears flow freely down her cheeks, but she makes no noise, save for the sound her jeans and socks make as she slides along the floor.

Slowly, she brings her left arm up to join the right. The swan's wings reaching skyward, trying desperately to generate enough lift to bring her up off the ground. But of course they cannot, because Rue hurts far too much to stand.

And the swan is dying, after all.

One hand rises up, over Quinn's mouth as she watches. She has always loved to watch Rue dance this routine, but this time… this time something is wrong. The tragedy is too ponigant. Too real. It wells up emotion in her that she didn't know the dance still could, after seeing it this many times. She tries not to cry, though - lord knows what that could do to her stitches, close to her eye as they are.

So instead, she has to choke back a strained gasp. And even then, she can't do as much as she would like to muffle it, fingers curling too close to stitches. She watches, until finally she can't take it anymore.

"Rue," she chokes out, fingers curled into a fist over her mouth. Why is the question she wants to follow it, but such a simple question has too many implications in this moment, the worst of all being an implication of distrust. And that, right now, was one of the last things Quinn felt for February Lancaster.

She makes slow steps towards the cell bars, hair hanging down one side of her face in a manner that almost hides the long incision across her face. She stops when she reaches them, her other hand placed on of the bars. She doesn't say anything. She just watches the woman on the floor as her fingers curl tight around the metal.

The younger woman's ginger head snaps up, eyes wide and glistening and, for a moment, frightened. But the fear drains swiftly and all that's left there is the sorrow. Despite the assurances that her name is going to be cleared, Rue cannot see a way out of this.

The music carries on, even though the condemned dancer has halted her movements. Slowly, her arms start to come down, still as graceful as if she were performing a routine. It's all she can do to just breathe as she studies her friend's face through the tears. She can still see the damage there. Even if it had been covered in bandages, or her hair hid it perfectly, Rue can always see when the other woman is hurt.


"Hey," is said in a low voice, Quinn's other hand finally coming to rest on the bars. What Quinn sees has been heartbreaking since the moment she came in here, but it has never stop getting worse, and the way Rue looks at her through those tears just continues to drive that home. She has a million things that race through her mind.

How're you holding up?

Have you talked to anyone?

Lynette believes you, you know.

We're going to help you.

Man, Eileen's such a bitch, right?

I love you.

The last one, not meant in the way it might have once been, but possibly stirred up by memories associated by the dance is what gets Quinn to close her eyes and sigh - she's not weaing her sunglasses, she doesn't need to in here. Now's not the time to have issues letting go after she did it so well - she blames the dance, even with the heightened sadness she feels. She swallows, leaning forward until her head rests against the bars she has a grip on.

"You know I'm here for you."

That seems like the most appropriate thing she can offer. It implies trust, it implies aid, and it implies that she cares.

You know I'm here for you.

Maybe that's not what she expected to hear? Or maybe it's not what she wanted? Rue's head bobs up and down shakily. Now her hands come up to her face so she can carefully brush the tears away with the pads of her thumbs. Her tongue darts out between her lips briefly, they compress around the tip, curl inward before it retreats again and that mouth reforms to its teardrop shape.

"I know." Right foot braces against wall and left foot on floor. Slowly, the swan rises to her feet and approaches the bars. Rue reaches her hand through the bars to rest cup Quinn's uninjured cheek. That injury is being eyed with sorrow, and anger, and sickening guilt. "Why?"

"Why am I here for you?" Quinn blinks at that question, eyes flicking to Rue's hand as it rests on her cheek. She gives a half smile, lips on her uninjured side tip upwards just enough to be noticable. She leans into the hand a bit, closing her eyes as she takes a deep breath.

"How could I not be?" Her own hands reach through the bars, resting against the taller woman's shoulders. "I've known you for years. You're not this person. You're not the monster she wanted you t' be."She falls silent for a moment, honestly just happy that Rue is still here and willing-slash-able to talk. "I know we've both changed a lot in the last few years. Hell, even just a few months ago I was sayin' I'd never be this person." Who she is now, that is. The guns. The shooting. Raids. Any of it.

"But I know you, February Lancaster. You're good people. You're the best people. And you could never do somethin' like this."

"After those things I said to you?" It's overwhelming. That feels like so long ago, so much longer ago than just last month. The tears start to flow again. "Why did you attack her?" That question has already been answered, of course. Because Robyn Quinn believes that February Lancaster is the best of people. "I'm not worth that," she insists. A sob breaking her voice. "God, your face."

Quinn hasn't forgotten all the things she said, they still run through her head occasionally. It's hard for them not to. "What things?" Quinn remarks, opening her eyes. They both know exactly what she's talking about, even Quinn isn't sure why she's playing coy. "Oh, those things I needed t' hear anyway? Water under the bridge, hon."

It sounds dismissive, and it's not. The intent behind those words may not have been what Quinn took them to be, but they still helped her move forward. The attack, though. That pulls the levity right from Quinn face, a darker expression settling in her lips and eyes. "I wasn't attackin' her. I just- she had a knife t' you, Rue. She was makin' a spectacle outta it. She wanted people t' see."

Quinn gaze raises to meet Rue's, her hands sliding from her shoulders to her cheeks, careful of her various spots of damage and injury, and she starts to wipe away tears. "I couldn't take it," she says quietly. "My face'll be fine," which is kind of an out and out lie, but- "It'll get me rock star cred. I'm more worried about you."

She's going to have a scar. Rue's heart just breaks. They both aspired to great heights in industries that value physical beauty almost above talent. To have a scar means possibilities may be closed off to her friend.

Well, she's likely to have a crooked nose.

"You should have just let her." There's no anger there, but it's clear that Rue does not believe she was worth sustaining any injury. And, she had faith that Mister Ryans and Miss Zimmerman wouldn't sentence her to die by having her throat cut right there in the courtyard. Besides, she was on the patrol that found Hannah.

Rue knows first hand that hanging is the better spectacle.

"I do stupid things," is a dismissive way of looking at it, Quinn trying to convince herself that everything is alright. "I've stepped in front a' people with guns to keep loved ones from bein' shot. I guess it's what I do." She offers a small laugh. "I'm no better than Magnes Varlane really, just way more low key." Those are words she literally never thought she would ever catch herself saying.

"No one else was doin' anythin' about it," Quinn says quietly. "Ryans was tryin' I guess, but-" Quinn closes her eyes, letting hands reach up into Rue's hair. "I mean, it worked. It kept things from goin' further. I count that as a win." Sure, it had cost her her face, but for Quinn at this point that's just another tally in the fucked up shit that's happened to her since October column.

"Besides." That half smile comes back. "Lynette's lookin' int' things. Who knows. Maybe someday, Eileen an' I'll match." Quinn has no real hope of ever matching Eileen in any way, and she knows it. But it's still a comforting thought.

It shouldn't be.

"Just- don't worry about me, right now, Rue. Let's get you all better an' outta here first."

Rue's nails rake against Quinn's scalp, reassurance and a warning in one. "Don't," she says simply, the look on her face so sad, and so troubled by what she sees in her ex-lover. "Don't go down that road. Don't let this snuff out your light."

Her light.

In spite of herself, Rue starts laughing. She disengages herself from Quinn's fingers and staggers back, burying her face in her hands as she just laughs hysterically. Emotions are strange things, and people do strange things under stress. This looks like a break.

At least until the sobbing starts to come again. All that terror has frayed Rue Lancaster at the edges. Slowly, she crumples in on herself. One shoulder droops, and then the other. Her waist bends, and her knees flex, giving way beneath her alternately. Halting quaking movements all the way down to the floor. And there's something beautiful, sad, and somehow still graceful in her final descent. She could have been choreographed. Finally comes to rest in a wailing heap, her arms stretched out in front of her, reaching for something ephemeral and beyond her.

The Dying Swan.

My light's already been snuffed is the first, immediate thought Quinn has, and it almost makes it out. It sits on the tip of her tongue, waiting for it's chance to come out. It's true, in some ways. This… altercation, mixing with all the tragedy she's seen inthe last month, it's taking a toll on her. And then there's the fact that she - temporarily, people keep telling her - lost her ability to use light how she wanted.

Don't, but what if she wants to? She'd said as much to Lynette just yesterday. It''s irrelevent. She's all talk, she knows she can't. But that doesn't mean she doesn't want to.

Maybe these things go hand in hand.

She never has to chance to consider it, the words choked back as Rue starts to laugh. It's not the kind of laugh Quinn wants to hear, and as she steps away, Quinn reaches after her. "Rue?" she questions, quirking an eyebrow as she watches the laughs grow more uncontrolled, more unnerving.

And then the sobs start. When Rue collapses to the floor, Quinn's eyes widen. "R-Rue?" she repeats worriedly. She falls to her own knees, watching the other woman as her own breathing picks up pace. "Rue, don't- I- I don't know what but- don't." The advice given to her, offered right back.

She hopes Rue takes it, because her heart can't.

"She's going to kill me!" There is such conviction in the her voice, which rasps wetly in her throat from the force of her sobbing. "You saw her!" With each hour she's left in her cell, Rue is losing hope. Because she's known that Eileen will do whatever it takes for her people.

And if Rue's life is what needs to be taken to reassure the panicked masses, then she knows Eileen has the conviction to do it. And Miss Rowan and Nurse Young aren't going to be enough to stop her.

It's unfair, of course, that she should lack faith in her supporters. It isn't so much that she doesn't believe in their intent, but that she trusts Miss Ruskin to steamroll everything.

"Every time I hear steps, I'm afraid it's going to be her, and she'll finish what she started in the courtyard."

Quinn presses herself against the metal bars, cold against the undamaged side of her face. "She will have to kill me t' get t' you before there is some sorta conversation," Quinn practically growls out, in almost the exact same tone she ahd said EIleen's name in when the Councilwoman had finally cornered Rue in the courtyard.

"I will bring a mattress an' a chair down here m'self if I have t'." Quinn's eyes narrow, watching her panicking friend. "Nothing happens t' my friends if I'm here t' stop it." This is true. She just told that to Rue. But it's also hard to tell if Quinn is all bluster and trying to convince herself of this, or if she's actually trying to do something.

"If this is how things are going t' be, the Ferry's done. You know it. I know it. Other people know it." Quinn lets out a long sigh. "Please, Rue. Please." Her voice takes a warbly turn, losing much of that fire. "Hope just a little longer. Just a little bit longer."

Without lifting herself up off the floor, Rue slides one slender arm out to reach, reach, until her fingertips can brush Quinn's. The uninjured side of Rue's face rests against the cold stone beneath her. Her expression has gone passive. She has nothing left to pour out anymore.

"Let her," Rue whispers. "Please. Don't try to stop her. Don't die for me. I couldn't bear it." She tries to laugh, but it only comes out as a rasping breath and a twitch of damaged lips. "Someone has to write a song about me. So that I'm not forgotten."

"Get outta the dirt," Quinn says quietly, fingers dancing against Rue's. "Don't- make your cuts worse." That, and Quinn just can't handle Rue looking for defeated. "I'm not going t' sit here an' watch you die like this." For real, or metaphorically. She reaches just a bit further, resting her fingers against Rue's. "We'll get outta this," she says quietly. "You'll get outta this. Fuck Eileen."

It's somewhat reflexively that she looks over her shoulder. Just in case. But there's nothing there, so Quinn turns her attention to Rue. She watches her, before closing her eyes and lowering her head, pulling her hand back to the bars. She wants to say I promise. She knows she can't.

Something sort of dangerous flashes in Rue's eyes. Quinn's only seen it a few times, always before they were about to have a fight. Always when she was about to protest against something worthy of her protests.

"No. You promise me. You promise me that no matter what, you are gonna live through all of this insanity." Her voice is a harsh whisper now. She doesn't just mean her trial. She means this stalemate on the island. This war they've found themselves thrown into. Diving into. Too fucking young to know better.

"Live and write me a fucking song."

Quinn is silent for a moment. She lets out a long sigh, hands tightening around the metal. "I promise," she says quietly, though with notable reluctance. "We both know I couldn't hurt Eileen if I tried, anyway." All of Quinn's fury and bluster has faded, as it often does. "Get out a' here and you can sing back up on it," she offers back. She doesn't laugh. It's not a joke. Her lips quirk side to side, and slowly she rises up to her feet. "Just… get outta here. Please."

She knows that's something Rue doesn't have control over. But it has to happen. It just has to. She can't lose another friend. Not like this, not any way.

Perfect white teeth flash when Quinn offers her a role as backup singer. She's damn lucky she doesn't have a mouth like broken picket fences after what happened. "You want it to sound good, don't you? Besides, can't sing back-up on my own song. It's weird."

Slowly, Rue starts to pull herself across the floor so she can properly grab Quinn's hand without them both having to reach quite so far. For a moment, it looks as though she might say something, then reconsiders.

Sing to me, Quinnie.

"I love you."

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