The Final Kiss


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Scene Title The Final Kiss
Synopsis Griffin goes back to try and change the worst day of his life. People from the present try to stop him from crushing too many Butterflies, but he does get something from the day he never had before.
Date June 4, 2000

Indianapolis, Indiana

Some people grow up wishing for a white picket fence. A yard, a pretty wife, a small child bubbling with laughter. Instead this house carries darker memories, sky clouded and foggy with moisture and humidity, the moon glowing behind the haze, while the lights of a siren spin nearby. An ambulance, the police— a wailing baby being taken off. So many dark memories, all caused by something phantom and invisible.

But none of that has happened yet, as the sun still shines down on the small rented homestead. It won't happen for an hour or so—

And from the words of a older man, a Carnival Barker, it may never need to.

Through the window a woman can be seen, rubbing at the side of her head as if suffering from a headache, while she walks around, bouncing on her toes trying to silence a baby in her arms. It won't take ten minutes to get to the music store. Maybe a delay is all that will be needed to rewrite history.

Green eyes rest on the woman, a sad expression on Griffin Mihangle's face. It's strange, seeing this scene, ten years in the past. Griffin's been standing here for a few moments, his eyes sad as he watches the woman through the window. To touch her face, to kiss her, to just wrap her in his arms— even that would be worth this trip into the past. The baby, his baby. He'll grow up so handsome. Ten years from now, he looks so much like a combination of his parents, with Marjorie's eyes and nose, and Griffin's features.

But now isn't the time to reminisce, is it? No, now is the time for action. Griffin has a pair of dark sunglasses on— all the better to conceal those glowing eyes of his as he moves. All six vectors are used to expedite his journey, that familiar walk he took every day, toward twelve hours of work. His goal is the music store. How he will stop himself, he doesn't know. He would be best to not be seen by himself. Probably a paradox, or something. But he can certainly stop himself, somehow.

The sunglass wearing man isn't the only one brought ten years into the past, dropped into a time much different, a city far from the one that they come to know. Somehow the smell of scented candles hangs in the air far more than it should, while he takes his walk down the too familiar path. Like riding a bicycle, it all comes back.

But the smell shouldn't be there. It shouldn't tickle across his nose. These streets never smelled that good. That sweet. That much like someplace far away from here.

But a short Japanese man appeared before a candle maker with words of caution, of doom. And a compainion who would help do what needs to be done.

In the form of someone about the same age as the woman's adopted son. A short dark haired boy with blue eyes and a curious expression.

"He said you were the only one who could stop him, but I'm here as the back up plan. Just wave if you need me, lady," the kid says, eyes bright as he ducks out of sight as the man can be seen moving around a corner. How the kid disappeared so fast is anyone's guess, but one moment he was standing beside her, the next he can't be heard. If he's only good at one thing, it's staying out of sight.

Of course, it's almost easier for Marjorie that it was a kid that came to her. She can handle children - part of being a mother. Part of something she might never experience if this goes through.

No! A voice in her head shouts, almost shaking her. This is Griffin's son. Wouldn't this be better?

But the devil you know is safer than the devil you don't. Griffin is a warrior now for the cause. So is Marjorie. Owain grew up safe and happy, instead of in a broken home. Maybe she's just making excuses, but this isn't about Griffin. Or Owain. It's about everyone they're going to help by brining Nathan Petrelli to his knees to beg to accept the Evolved into society like they were regular people.

Or better than regular people.

Marjorie, in her tight jeans and turtle-neck 60s sweater, jumps behind a tree as she sees Griffin moving down the street. But he's moving away. Into town. That's strange….but town it is. Griffin's taking the street route he always took going in to work. Marjorie, on the other hand, cuts through yards. A little short-cut the younger girl remembers, much closer to her youth and sneaking around than Griffin is.

The music store comes into sight after his travels, and Griffin slows, then stops. Here he is. The old music store, where he spent so much of his time, wasting his education. He stares through the window, at the younger version of himself, tired and haggard from the fourth twelve hour work day in a row. The smell is noticed, but not paid much mind— yet.

He can, at the very least, buy himself some time, can't he? Slipping into a nearby alley, he reaches out with a vector, and does the most obvious thing he can think of— punching a hole in the window of the shop. Stepping on some butterflies, he is; this will, at the very least, buy some time while he figures out a better plan. How does he stop himself from having that fight with his wife? How does he stop this?

He would do anything

Ten years ago window alarms in small buisnesses were not common place, and usually not on during hours. No alarm sounds, leaving the man inside with the job of calling the police and handling everything else. Unheard, there's a mumble from the shadows. After all, the woman who was brought here was supposed to stop these butterflies from being stepped on. The ten year old hurries up out of his hiding place to stand beside the much taller man in the alley and give him a stern look, as if he's not sure how to deal with these silly grown ups.

"And people called me a trouble maker, Mister. Do you have any idea how much trouble you're causing?" Lance says, the same age as the man's son says in a rather grown up voice. "You keep this up you're going to get a lot of people hurt, cause changing the past has consequences."

He looks at the broken window, and the gathering of people to lay blame on someone. Invisible arms don't often take blame, and without blame, they might be answering questions to the police for quite some time. Delays, after all, is exactly what the man wanted.

"You," Marjorie pants, coming up behind the ten year old kid. She's been running! It's not her fault that she makes cookies, cakes and pies for a living. She ain' got no jump! "Get back in the bushes, with my luck you'll get hit by a car, darting…darting around like that." Green eyes flash up at her brother, and she takes a moment to pant a little more, her red lips parted as she takes in as much air as possible.

"Griffin, before you do this…please….stop and think about it for a moment….you could ruin the thing most…most important to you." She holds up a finger and continues panting, grasping her knees. She's really going to have to work on that.

The younger version of Griff, still only 25, jumps as the window suddenly breaks, turning to stare at the now broken window. Oh lord, now, on top of a 12 hour work day, he has to deal with a broken window. There's no rocks, nothing to show what did this. With a sigh and a glance to the clock, 2000 Griffin shakes his head, grabbing the cordless phone and dialing out the number for the cops as he surveys the damage. Another hour, probably. He'll get home late. Cindy is going to be pissed when he calls and tells her this. Grumbling to himself, he explains the incident to the 911 dispatch, while making requests to ensure that people stick around.

In the meanwhile, the older Griffin remains back in his alley, frowning as the reactions begin. Now that there's more time, he can go back home, tell Cindy to just leave with the baby and go to her parents. Or he can have the fight for himself. A note would be better to go home to than a fight leading up to the murder of the mother of his son.

He's about to make his retreat, when Lance first comes out. Green eyes turn toward the boy, brows arching. What? Then…it's Marjorie. His sister. Here in 2000, talking to him like she knows exactly he's doing here. The man turns an alarmed look on his sister. "What are you doing here?" That's all he says, in a low hiss, fury blazing to life on his face.

"Well if you would have stopped him before he got here I wouldn't have to jump around," The ten year old says, looking around a few times to see if he's going to be chased, and deciding to stay close to the old lady instead, since she yelled at him.

"Someone has to stop you from doing this— you don't even know the damage you're going to do with this. I know what you want to do, I do, but that doesn't mean there's not bad things going to happen anyway."

The young kid sounds rather sincere for someone of a young age of ten. After all, losing parents makes kids grow up fast. "You talk to him, lady."

Marjorie seems to take the advice in step. She steps close to Griffin, or at least closer, her eyes soft and understanding. "Griffin, I'm here to ask you to slow down. To stop and think about what you're doing. Do you know? Do you really understand?" She wrings her hands together, nervously. She doesn't like being here. These were not good times for her. They were normal, but they were a time without direction in life, a time of a family growing apart, a time without a future. For Marjorie, anyway. What happens today made her life. "If you stop and think, you don't want to do this!"

Griffin turns to stare at the boy, a frown on his face. The boy doesn't get a response, the man shaking his head slowly. Then, green eyes turn to Marjorie. Suddenly, he's puffing up a little, as his sister may remember from the times he showed his anger. He's mad now. Behind those sunglasses, his eyes are glowing.

"I do know what I'm doing, Kenzie. I'm stopping this. I'm stopping what happens today." He says this in a low hiss. "I'm letting you have your life back. I'm letting Cindy have her life back. I'm letting Owain have his real mother and father. And I'm taking my life back." He regards his sister with a strangely cold expression, one she likely hasn't seen on him before.
ORDER: It is now your pose.

Marjorie was expecting this, and in fact she plans to expect it for the rest of her life after this. But that's something she made a decision - a quick decision at that - to live with. "And what happens then? What happens when this stops? Because of what happens today we know what the future is…" Marjorie puts her hands to her temples, shaking her head.

"Griffin. What is the most important thing in the world to you? What is the thing you would die to protect? The one, single thing?"

Griffin regards the girl with that same cold expression. "Yes. The future is, I get taken away from you. From my son. I get put in a cell. I forget what happened through most of my ten years away. And now, I come to find out that I may have been Company. I may have been part of the government that we both hate so much." He sneers.

"My son. My son is the most importan thing in the world to me." Suddenly, his voice cracks. "I can't even be his father because of what happens today, Marjorie. I can't even tell him that I am his father. I don't know that I'll ever get to hear the word 'daddy' from my own son!" He takes a deep breath, covering his mouth with his hand.

Then, he shakes his head, raising his eyes up toward the open sky above the alleyway.

In the meanwhile, 2000 Griffin has wrapped up his conversation with 911 dispatch, and is now frowning to himself as he dials the number to call his wife. A butterfly has already been stepped on— this didn't happen last time. "Cind," he mumbles into the phone, frowning. "I know I've been working late a lot, but I have to stay a little later. Some dumb kid broke the glass or something." He frowns at the response. "I know, but— I know, Cindy. I know. I'm sorry, but—" He frowns, shaking his head as the call is apparently ended. "I love you." He mutters this ironically, shaking his head.
ORDER: It is now your pose.

"Exactly," Marjorie says, glancing out of the alley as though she's afraid someone might see. She steps forward, her voice becoming more hushed. "Exactly," she repeates. "Owain is the most important thing in the world to you and to me. And what happens here, today? Whatever bad happens, Griffin, we know that Owain spends the next 10 years safe and happy and blissfully unaware of any real badness in the world. He's smart, he does well in school, he has friends, and he has a support structure around him. He's never been seriously injured. But if you go in there?" She points to the music store. "Or if you go back to Cindy and you change this? We don't know what will happen to Owain. Your power will manifest one day. Then what? Maybe they don't just take you this time. Maybe they take Cindy too. And Owain. Maybe he spends the next 10 years as an experiment, or as a child-soldier. Maybe when you manifest, it's him you're cross at, and not Cindy. What then? And let me tell you, having raised Owain to the best of my ability, we've had some close calls. Hell, when I manifested it was to keep Owain from getting hit by a car." She takes a deep breath, her cheeks flushed now. But she's trying to be calm.

"If you change today, you change every single thing in the next 10 years. Griffin is the most important thing in your life, my life, and Cindy's life. The way things are, he grows up safe and sound. We'd all die to make sure that happened. Maybe…maybe that's what Cindy died for. Maybe her death allowed Owain to live a safe, happy life."

Griffin listens quietly as Marjorie speaks, his eyes narrowed. Once she's finished, he remains silent for a long moment. The cops aren't even here yet, they still have enough time. "And what if it's better? What if I made myself manifest on me, instead? What if I manifest at a good time, when Owain needs saving? What if it's me who stops the car from hitting him?" He sneers, swelling a bit, making himself even taller than he is.

The words that come are harsh, at best. "You don't even want me to tell my own son who I am, and now you want to stop me from giving him back the life he should have had?! Instead, you'd rather lie to him, tell him that he's your son, lead him to believe that he came from you. You'd rather I miss everything, that I lose everything?! That I live with this self loathing that I have, over the fact that I killed my own wife." He snarls, suddenly, looming closer to his sister. "You selfish little bitch."

Then, Griffin is suddenly shooting up into the air, his vectors lifting him away from his sister and the boy, toward the rooftops.

He doesn't get very far. As soon as he is moving upward, Griffin will smack himself rather soundly on an invisible wall above his head - only by a few feet, so it won't kill him, but it will give him a lump. Marjorie is looking up, her right hand facing her brother, and it is glowing.

"Stop it." She says, not harshly, but firmly. Like a mother. "You aren't doing this for him, you're doing it for you. You're doing it because it makes you happy. Owain is happy and safe now, and you want to put a very great risk on that for your own sake. You want to be a parent so bad? Sacrificing what you want for his sake - that is what a parent does. Be a parent to your son, Griffin, and keep him safe! We know he's safe!"

Griffin hisses as his head bounces against that wall, still hovering in the alley as furious eyes turn down toward his sister. Two vectors fly out to knock the woman off of her feet (and likely the breath from her lungs). He's trying to not hurt her, but she's in his way. "Selfish little bitch. You think you control everything! He's my son. You lie to him, you pretend that he's yours. You haven't even told him about Cindy. You're treacherous, a liar!"

"Wow, you guys have cool powers," the silent kid finally interjects as he watches the various displays and looks down the alley to make sure that they're not being followed. The three of them could end up in a cell 10 years in the past and that wouldn't be good, especially when Lance isn't sure how long he's been alive at this point.

The yelling and the anger though, sparks another question, "Why haven't you told him that this guy's his dad? It'd probably be better for him. He's my age, right? I'd love to have a dad." He likes Santa, though, but he'd still love to have a dad.

Marjorie is knocked back, the air sweeping from her lungs. Anyone in the alley can hear it exit her chest with a loud SWOOP sound. Instead of trying to break her fall, however, Marjorie concentrates on keeping her right hand up. And just for safety, she throws up one around herself. Griffin is in a bubble, and MArjorie a bubble within a bubble. Lance is outside of the bubbles. Where is the inception?

"I am…protecting him…." Marjorie wheezes. "And I will always….protect him…even….from you, Griffin. From you….from me….from anyone….that might risk….his safety." She looks over at Lance, now pale and kind of bluish tinted. "And tell him that….his father killed his mother…? That…he can't be in his life…because he's a fugitive? That he's risking his life daily….because he may get arrested again….? Owain is already…looking up to….to Griffin…" Marjorie continues to wheeze, coughing some as she manages to sit up. "If we tell him these things….what will happen? He'll try….to be..just like his dad." Green eyes go back to Griffin. "You wanted….to keep me out of this world. Well I'm a grown woman now…and I make my own choices. Owain's ten. When….when he's grown, he can make his own choices to. For now….I won't let any of this….touch him. He's….he's safe and happy. Why isn't that enough for you?"

Griffin sneers. "Protecting him? You're lying to him, and you know that when the truth comes out, he'll hate you just as much as he'll hate me, if not more for lying to him his entire life. You're protecting your own interests, Marjorie. You keep me from having the relationship with my son that I deserve, after ten years of imprisonment. You're keeping Owain from having a father." Vectors slam against the bubble that encloses the alley, making rather loud thumps as telekinetic energy meets kinetic barrier. "It's not enough because I want to have my son. I don't want to lie to him, to tell him that I'm just family. I want to be his dad, Marjorie, not the man who comes around every once in a while with toys." He sneers down at his sister.
ORDER: It is now your pose.

"You'd be surprised how much young men appreciate truth about these things," Lance says, sticking his head up high even as he keeps a distance from the fight, so as to avoid getting hit by anything. He doesn't want to explain to Doyle why he's got bruises on his body, much less where he's been for however long this takes. He's trying to do a good deed!

Get on the real Santa's good list, if a real one existed.

"Ten may seem young to you, but ten is a lot longer than you might think, especially in this world. I know what it's like to have people you care about in hiding." Better than they might realize. "And I'd rather know they actually care about me and who they are to me, than be lied to for my own protection."

"I know he's going to hate me! Lance, be quiet and step back," Her voice drops to an almost kind level just for the kid, so as not to scare him. Then she looks back to Griffin, her arm shifting a bit as he smacks at the roof. "I know that he's going to hate me, Griffin," Marjorie says, her voice level and calm. "I knew when I decided to hire a private investigator to find you. I knew it when I moved out here with him just to be near you. I love you, Griffin, but I didn't move out here so I could be near you. I moved out here to bring him closer to you. But what you're doing now is risking his life. Even if you have to miss ten years of his life, at least he has a life. Why are you risking that?"

She coughs again, bruises already forming under her shirt. "I was prepared to be his mother my whole life. But I took steps so that wouldn't happen because I wanted to make you happy. And now you're throwing a tantrum - and attacking me - because yes, I am being a little bit selfish. I want you integrated into his life before you both move on without me. I want it to be a smooth transition. And I want to have him love me a little bit longer. I was willing to all of this and lose all of this for you. But what I am not willing to lose for you is Owain's life. You will have to strangle the air from my cold corpse before I will let you make a choice that will possibly kill him."

Lance's words draw Griffin's gaze, the man's features softening from the harsh expression it was in. He watches the boy from behind the force field. Then, he turns his gaze toward Marjorie, his face twisted into a look of distaste. "I'm not willing to wait, MacKenzie." He sneers. "I can't wait any longer. I don't want to wait any longer to hear my son call me 'dad'. I need this. It's been ten years, with only a picture of him as a baby. With only a picture of Cindy…" His face goes to another place, his eyes travelling in the direction of his home.

Then his face scrunches up, and he slowly drifts down to the ground, onto his knees. He lets out a sob, ripping off his sunglasses and throwing them to the ground, rubbing at his eyes with balled up fists. "I still love her, so much. I thought— I thought that if I could just save her— that even if I had to live through a divorce, even if Owain would have to grow up split between us…it would be better than me ending a life. Better than you having my life thrust on you, Kenzie. Better than mom and dad getting a divorce."

He sobs, his form quaking with each raw cry that escapes his throat. "I miss her so much. I miss her smile…her laugh…I wish I could take it all back!"

If there's one thing Lance can do, it can be to be quiet when he's told to be. There's a sudden silence from him, which seems to even make his breathing less as he stays out of the way and watches, with a quietly serious expression in his blue eyes. Blue eyes that have seen a lot more than a ten year old should. But he had something some ten year olds don't, in the way of a lot of people who cared about him.

And who could say it.

The silence doesn't last. When he has something to say, he tends to say it. "Maybe you should go see her then. You still got some time before it happens. Borrow a few pictures before the cops take them away, kiss her one last time on the cheek. If I could see my parents one last time and couldn't actually stop them from dying, I'd want to at least be able to hug them."

But those force fields don't come down. No. "Lance. Can you take us home? Please, my chest is hurting…we need to go home before this gets any worse. I'm sorry, Griffin." But something, some warmth and welcoming in her eyes has faded, as though it were a flame that has been totally and carelessly snuffed out. The rest is hidden behind a smokey haze. "Every second we're here, something could happen to Owain. He is our only priority here. Please, if you can just take us home."

Griffin's face gets cold. "No. Lance is right— I want to go see her. I need to." He turns toward his sister. "If you won't allow me to save her, I want to at least see her. At least let me take a picture that isn't the one I kept in my wallet. At least let me hear her voice again." He narrows his eyes toward her. "I'm not going back until I get at least that, Marjorie…I've spent ten years hating myself." His eyes flare back to life, glinting in the dark alleyway. "I won't leave yet."

"I'm not the time traveller! That's the Japanese dude," Lance says, looking a little surprised at the mention. Perhaps the woman actually thought he's the one who jumped her back in time, and not the evasive old dude who actually came and got him first. Then again he did do most the talking. Perhaps Hiro had known she would respond better to a kid.

"But he did say he'd pick us up later…" Reaching into his pocket he pulls out a travel guide with a map and holds it out to her. "I know where it is, if you want to go wait there until you feel better, but I think I'll stay with him and make sure he gets to see his wife first, if that's okay." It shouldn't change too much, right?

"Make sure he sees her." She won't talk to Griffin now. She won't look at him now. "And remind him that if he tries to change anything, he's very possibly murdering his own son in the process." She removes the bubble around Griffin. But not the one around her. She's afraid of her own brother. And that is not something that will likely ever change.

"Go on now," she urges Lance. "Just…get him out of my sight." She sounds more tired, than angry. Tired and hurt. God, this was why she was so happy to get away from her old town. Drama.

Griffin equally happy to not look at his sister, though he doesn't pretend that she doesn't exist. "Don't worry, Mackenzie." This is said in an exhasperated tone. "I won't change anything. I just need to see her. I can't change this…but I can get closure." He moves over toward Lance, but pauses near Marjorie, still not looking at her. "Don't try to take my son away from me. I won't lose him again. We will talk when this affair is over." This is muttered in a low tone.

Then, his sunglasses float back over his face, and he is moving toward Lance, his vectors helping him to walk without his cane. "Let's do this." He offers a half-hearted smile to the boy. "Thank you."

"Bye lady," Lance says as she leaves to go where they were supposed to wait for the time traveller, and then he looks up at the older man and focuses on him, sharing his opinion on the topic, and speaking up, "I do think you should tell your kid. Maybe leave out the 'killed your mom' bit, but still tell him your his dad."

There's a pause, as he peeks over the close window to see if youngGriffin is still there, before he looks back and begins the motions towards the man's house. While they walk, he adds on, "I need to meet your son some time. I think we'd get along." Even if he might be considered a bad influence on the kid.

YoungGriffin is, by now, speaking to some of the bystanders to see if they have any clue what happened. The police, as is usual for this town (and any town, really), are taking their sweet time. He'll be at least an hour, maybe two late while he fills out all of the necessary paperwork and gets the busted window boarded up so people aren't stealing instruments when he goes home. This is just great. Cindy is going to be livid when he gets home late. And it's his night to take care of the baby, too. The poor guy looks exhausted, and this is certainly no help.

Griff nods slowly toward Lance. "Assuming MacKenzie doesn't try to keep me from seeing him…I'm fairly certain that if she won't tell him, then I will." He glances down toward Lance. "I think that would be a plan. If I still have any clout, I'll be sure to arrange a meeting. And if you'd like to join Owain and I at basketball, I'm sure Owain would love the extra help."

"I was always more baseball, but I can do basketball too," Lance says, with a grin, glad at the idea of making a new friend, even if what's coming up will be more sad than he will likely want to listen in on. Will the reunion change too much? It could. What if it makes her less angry at the real him when he comes home?

"And don't let her take your kid away— sounds like she moved all the way out there so he could be closer to you, so maybe she won't. This whole time travel thing's just too dangerous. The Japanese guy came to me cause you apparently saved me and my sister a few years ago. Must have been when you were with the government."

"Hey, I could use to learn a little bit of baseball. I think Owain might do that, too. I played basketball when I was a kid. I almost did college basketball— I really wanted to be in the NBA." He gestures toward his leg, which still gives him a limp, even with the assistance of those vectors. "But I hurt my knee, and got into music instead." If the conversation with the boy is doing anything to, it's certainly helping him calm down from the anger he holds toward his sister. The idle conversation is helping him clear his mind for what is to come.

The boy's revelation prompts Griffin to blink. Another reference to the government— to the Company, perhaps? "I rescued you? But— a few years ago, I was in prison." He turns his eyes to the sidewalk ahead as they make their way toward his old house, taking a few breaths.

It's hard to believe that he's going to see Cindy. That he's going to speak to her, hold her…hold his infant son. It's all going to be worth it, if only for the moment that is to come.

"I don't remember it at all, but that's what I was told," Lance says, keeping near him and looking around as they walk. The streets looked different when he was an infant! Cause that's pretty much how old he was, if he'd been born at all. "That I was one of the threads that would be affected if you changed this. I know it's a bad thing, but I kinda like my life!"

It's an important life to him!

As they get closer to the house, he peeks around again. "I should probably let you go talk to her alone. I don't want to interupt any mushy stuff."

Griffin peers quietly at Lance, his head tilted to one side. "The Japanese guy is pretty smart. I might have to talk with him, I suppose." Maybe he has answers. He regards the boy quietly. So if he saves his wife…this boy will die. And if he's saved this boy…maybe he saved others. He certainly can't sentence this boy, and perhaps others, to death. And what his sister has told him…he sighs. "I couldn't sentence you to that. I won't change it."

He pauses a bit away, taking a deep breath and closing his eyes, taking a few breaths, centering himself. This is something he never thought he'd be able to do again. His suit jacket is slipped off, so he looks like another man in office attire. Then, loosening his tie, he casts a nervous smile down to the boy.

His vectors are recalled, the sunglasses left on the ground with his jacket. Then, with a limping gait, he makes his way up to the house, taking in the sight of the house he had rented with his wife. A sight he never thought he would see again. This reason, being here before Cindy died, is the only reason he would even consider coming back to this place.

He limps up the stairs to the porch, and knocks upon the door.

The house definitely has seen better days, and the day will only get worse. With Lance slipping into the background to stay out of the way of 'mushy emotional stuff' the door opens to another sight entirely. It's not even the sight he'd come home to ten years ago. Cindy's face is streaked with tears, as if she'd just gotten done crying, and her forehead is creased with stress. The last few days have been long, and a baby can be heard crying in the background.

The older him looks different enough that she doesn't seem to immediately recognize him.

"I thought…" Ten years, ten long years, and what he's been through changes him enough that… he doesn't look like the husband she might have been wanting to see. "Sorry, you look so much like… someone I know," she rubs at her eyes, trying to get rid of those tear streaks, and clean herself up. "Can I help you?"

She doesn't recognize him. That…that hurts, but what is he to expect? Ten years have passed. He looks older. He has new scars, a few grays in his hair. He's built heavier than his younger self, who doesn't have the time to work out that he has had for the past ten years. For a long moment, he only stares, awestruck, at the woman with large eyes. She's just as beautiful as he remembers.

There's concern there, especially as he comes out of his reverie. What on earth is he supposed to say? It's not like he can pretend to be someone else. He'll just…let her come to her own conclusions. "Are you okay?" This is all he offers, clearing his throat in that familiar way he always has. Some little compulsions don't die.

There are so many things that tell her, very loudly, that there is no way the man in front of her can be her husband. However, there's something else that counters all of that. "Griffin?" Cindy says, voice softening in confusion, eyes beginning to widen. "There's— you said you were going to be late…" All the reasons why he can't be her Griffin. All and many, many more. But there's a few things there.

His eyes. The voice. The way he clears his throat in the exact same way. "What happened to you?" Another wail can be heard further in, and she glances away and then drops her hand away from the door, almost an invite to come inside as she moves away.

Griffin watches the woman, nodding slowly as she asks to confirm his identity. He doesn't really offer an answer to her pointing out that he said he would be late. He doesn't reach out for her— not yet, at least. After a long moment of silence, he offers a smile. A genuine one.

"A lot has happened, Cindy." Assuming she doesn't stop him, he steps in. "Far too much for me to even begin explaining." Green eyes trail briefly around the living room, his face crinkling a bit as he recalls his last memory of this living room.

Then, he turns to Cindy, pushing those memories from his mind. Now is not the time. Finally, he reaches up, to touch the woman's cheek. "I just— I wanted to come home to help get Owain down for sleep. Are you okay? Why are you crying?"

This is so painful, knowing that in a few hours, she'll be dead.

"Owain's really fussy today," Cindy says, as if that is both a response and an answer to his question, as she moves further in, expecting him to close the door behind him while she goes to stand in the doorway. "I really need a break from this— even if just for a few hours a day. I know you're working extra so that we can afford to live here, but… I've been having these terrible headaches the last few days, and him crying doesn't make them any better."

There were reasons she was so angry that day, reasons why the straw broke the camels back. Reasons she'd wanted a divorce. But she didn't get the chance to give them. "You need to take fewer hours— we can cut back on spending to make up for it. From the looks of it you need it too." So much in the last half day she can barely recognize him.

Griffin does as expected, closing the door behind himself. It's difficult to look at this place as it was, before it was covered in her blood. Green eyes sweep back to Cindy as she speaks, his brow furrowing. Those reasons— they just make this harder. How is he supposed to respond to that? How is he supposed to just let her be killed like this? She didn't do anything wrong. She didn't deserve her fate.

Arms reach out, in a sudden attempt to wrap around the woman, pull her into a tight, loving hug. He didn't give many of these in the final days— he wishes he did. "Cindy," he whispers into her hair, inhaling its scent, "I only do it because I love you, so much. You're my world, Cindy— I work these hours because I want you to have the things that you want, and so Owain can have the things he wants, when he's older." With her face against his chest, she can't see the pain in his eyes as he says this. She can only feel his kisses atop her head.

"Here— you go make some tea, and I'll get Owain down for the night, okay?" He always was phenomenally good at getting the colicky baby to stop crying, and he's certain that the cops are taking their time at the store. He can at least provide her one last comfort— that won't hurt, right?

"I know you love me," Cindy says, closing her eyes as some of the tension lessens from her face as she leans against him, closing her eyes for a few moments. Whatever this migraine she's complaining about is caused by, it seems less around him for the moment. "I love you too… I'm just tired and cranky— I'm sorry I've been kind of a bitch lately." And she doesn't even know how much of one she was supposed to be in a few hours— maybe still will be.

"I probably should go to a doctor soon, but— tea will help." Maybe. But time away from the wailing baby will likely help more. Many first time mothers have issues with such things, and she has them worse than most. On top of this migraine she'd never mentioned nefore.

"Try to get him to quiet down," she adds, as she moves off toward the kitchen, to boil some water with teabags.

The young child continues to cry out in his crib, fussing with his small hand wrapped around a blanket that he's hugging against his face. The corner is damp from his drool, showing when he's not crying, he's been chewing on it.

Griffin squeezes her once more, before lifting her chin to plant a kiss on her lips. Then, reluctantly, he pulls away, after giving her hand a squeeze. "It's okay. We— we'll work through this." He barely manages to keep his voice from cracking at that. He watches as she moves off to the kitchen, before turning back to the bedroom that Owain is in.

Once there, he gently reaches into the crib, pulling his son out and holding the boy close. He instinctively falls into the soothing routine, gently bouncing the baby boy against him and rubbing the little child's back. "Shhh, my little prince. Daddy's here…" He whispers this to the baby as he sets to work soothing the child, letting his wife enjoy her relaxation time. "Daddy will always be here, even when you don't know it. Daddy will always love you…" He kisses the little boy on the head, tears finally springing to his eyes as he soothes the baby, wetting the child's blanket even more.

His son will grow up without him, after tonight. His son will lose his mother, after tonight. That's almost as painful as knowing that the beautiful redhead in the kitchen will lose her life.
ORDER: It is now your pose.

The sootheing takes time, but these are minutes that the man never got to spend with his infant son. Minutes he won't ever remember. The tears soften, the wailing lessens, and the tiny hand that clenched the blanket goes around the man's much bigger fingers, gripping lightly in a way only a small child can manage.

While he sits there, he can hear a soft knock on the window, and a young set of eyes are peeking inside. Bright blue, but still curious and young, even mischevious.

He makes gestures with his hands, motioning toward himself. Get over here and open the window seems to be what he's relaying.

Griffin carefully rocks the baby, enjoying this time with his son. Time he'll never have again with his Owain as an infant. Kisses are planted over the baby boy's thick head of dark hair. His eyes are moist as he turns toward the window, blinking a few times as he peers at the little boy. He rather adores the boy.

After a moment, Griffin stands, still gently rocking his infant son as he makes his way over to the window. One vector reaches out, raising the window for Lance. In a soft whisper, his tone still soothing as if he's speaking to the baby, he speaks to Lance. "I'm not taking too long, am I?" He gently rubs his hand over the infant's back, cherishing this. He thought he would never get to see his son like this again.

"I'm just worried about what'll happen if you stay too long— but this part's for you, I guess." Lance says, looking through the window at the tiny baby boy. Was he ever that small? "He's as small as Kasha and just as noisy," he adds, as if that means something in particular. To him it does! That's the baby of the Lighthouse, after all. The youngest of the kids.

"Just don't take too long. We want to be gone before you get here." He especially wants to be. What he's heard tells him that it isn't something he wants to see, and likely, the man inside wouldn't want to see it again.

Griffin nods slowly toward Lance. "Definitely." He smiles faintly down to the boy. "Thank you, again, Lance. I'll wrap up." He smiles sadly.

Then, bouncing Owain softly, he moves back over to the crib. Once he's certain Owain is calmed down and sleeping, he gently rests the infant in his crib, lovingly pulling the little blanket over his son, just like he always did. One hand gently touches the child. "Daddy loves you, Owain. Daddy will be with you again— promise."

His vector closes the window before he leaves the room, then withdraws back into him. Then, wiping his tears away, he moves into the kitchen quietly, so as not to wake the baby. He wants to see Cindy, to hold her and kiss her one last time, and to tell her how much he loves her. He wants to do the things he never got to do.

Time goes slowly while the man waits for his young son to fall asleep. It doesn't happen immediately, though, to him, it may seem to take no time at all. Time always seems to move more quickly when someone wishes it would slow down. "Thank you for that," a voice comes from the door, soft and whispered, as Cindy holds out a cup of tea. The last few moments of happiness, that she'd never have gotten. But—

This isn't for her. She's not the one who has to live with everything.

"I made you a cup too. It's not fancy, but— it's warm. And it should help make the day a little better." The day couldn't get much worse.

Griffin can't hide the tears glistening in his eyes, as Cindy greets him with a thank you and a cup of tea. He moves up to the woman, taking the mug of tea with a sad, sad smile. The door to Owain's room is closed behind him. "Thank you," he whispers. It really couldn't get much worse. Here he is, sharing a cup of tea with his wife, hours before she's destined to die. And knowing just makes it all that much worse.

The tea is sipped at, the man savoring the flavor as he wraps his other arm around Cindy's waist, tugging her close. He wants to be as close as he can in these final moments. He speaks in soft, whispered tones. Probably better that way, he may lose control of his voice otherwise. "I'm— I'm so sorry that things aren't perfect, Cindy. That things aren't the way we thought they would be when we were eighteen." Kisses are planted over Cindy's forehead. "I wish I could have made life perfect for us."

He sniffs softly, turning his eyes down toward her. "Is your head feeling any better?"

It can't get much worse, because this was already the worst day he ever had to live through.

"Things don't need to be perfect," Cindy says quietly, keeping her voice as soft as she can, because the last thing she wants is to have a screaming baby make her headache work again. The lights are dim, and that could be explained by the headache she mentioned, but now— things seem much quieter. Nicer than they should be on a day like today.

"I wish you were home more, though… It feels like we never get to see each other, and when we do we're…" Fighting. She doesn't have to say it, so she just shakes her head. "I took some pain killers, but they haven't started working yet. If he stays down we can get some sleep tonight."

He wishes he could have had this conversation with her, instead of the fight. He wishes he could have done so many things differently…but he can't. Not with poor little Lance out there. How many other would die if he saved her? So instead…he'll cherish this, enjoy every little bit of this last moment with her. The mug of tea is set down on a flat surface nearby— he really doesn't care which.

Then, he's wrapping Cindy up in another tight embrace. "I wish I was home more, too, Cindy. I— I miss you so much, these days." He closes his eyes, inhaling the scent of her hair again, and gently massaging the back of her neck to release any tension she may have there, while his other hand holds her close to him.

Little things like this, he wishes he would have done more often with her. Just holding her, smelling her hair, talking to her like this. It makes this moment so sweet, yet so horribly unbearable, he can hardly stand it. He sighs softly into her hair. "I— I have to run back to the store in a few minutes. To talk to the cops. But Owain should be sleeping for a while. You should get the foot bath out." He hopes, for her sake, that he's right.

At his words, Cindy's expression shifts a bit, from a calmer one, to one of tension. It's been a long time since they could talk, and it seems to upset her that he's planning to go back out again. But then if she was completely happy with him, the past wouldn't remain the same— "I'll go take a bath. Maybe this headache will go away in a soak," she says, keeping her voice down as she looks in toward the crib. Owain may not allow her to have that last hour of peace and quiet, but at least her husband is trying to give that much to her.

"Try not to take too long," she adds, as she starts to move away, bringing her tea with you. She doesn't know this is the last time he'll ever see her. And technically the last time she'll ever see him.

Griffin stops her as she moves to leave, frowning sadly and pulling her close once more. Not yet…don't go yet. He plants kisses over her face and hair, hugging her as if, when he lets go, he'll lose her forever. That's not too far from the truth. "I love you, Cindy. God…I love you so fucking much." He gently hooks a finger under her chin, to look down into her eyes, his own eyes glistening with tear that threaten at his eyes even harder.

"Don't you ever forget that, Cindy. I'll always love you, okay? Until the day I die. You will always be my everything." He dips down, planting one final kiss on her lips…before he finally lets her pull away, if she so chooses.

The hug takes her by surprise, a soft sound in her throat. Another one can be heard when he kisses her. But Cindy doesn't pull away, eyes sliding shut as she leans into it, drawing out the kiss— the final kiss, until she settles back on her heels and presses her forehead against his slightly scruffy chin. Ten years or ten minutes, it seems what he said is true. In ways she'll never really know.

"I love you too," she whispers against his neck, as her arms wrap around him. A final hug. A final kiss. A final 'I love you'.

It may not be what he came back for, but it's more than he had when he started.

"I wish you could stay— but maybe I'll feel better when yoy get home," she adds, as she pulls away, a smile on her face. Strained, but genuine, touching her eyes.

The final smile, too.

He savors these things, more than Cindy will ever know. The final kiss, the final hug. The final 'I love you'. The final smile. It's all etched into his memory; he'll never forget this. He'll never forget the way her hair smells, the way it feels to hold her. He'll never forget her. His first love. His angel. The woman who gave him the miracle that is his son. He'll never forget her, not until the day that he dies.

As Cindy pulls away, Griffin snags her hand, planting one final kiss upon her knuckles. "I hope you do feel better. I love you, Cindy. I— I'll see you soon." His voice catches slightly, but he manages to smile for his red-haired angel one last time."

Once she is in the bathroom, he takes the tea mug, with its cooling tea; then, his favorite picture, the one he had put in a heart-shaped friend in their entryway, is taken down from the wall. It has him and Cindy, holding their newborn son. The photo album they put together of Owain's first four months, from his son's birth to the day Cindy died, is taken and tucked under his arm.

Then, with tears in his eyes, he steps out of the door, sipping at the last cup of tea his wife will ever make for him. He manages to make it to the sidewalk with a stony face; once he reaches the line of the property, however, the sobs come, tears streaming down Griffin's cheeks.

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