The Forest Is Red


bf_lynette_icon3.gif vf_ruiz_icon3.gif

Scene Title The Forest Is Red
Synopsis Lynette tries to grapple with the things she sees in the garden of forking paths.
Date January 29, 2018

The dream is the same every night. Lynette runs through a maze made of hedges. She’s lost. Mateo is here somewhere, she knows, and every night she tries to solve the maze and find him. The problem is, no matter which path she chooses, he always seems to be in a different direction. And when she turns back to look the other way, he’s in another. The maze seems to be nothing but dead ends and circling paths that bring her to places she’s already been. Desperation drives her onward, chasing his voice until she wakes. It leaves her feeling drained no matter how long she was asleep.

Tonight started the same. She navigates the maze guided by the sound of his voice, by noisy city streets, by a gently lapping ocean. But tonight is different. Lynette turns a corner deep in the maze and is confronted by a low growl from the darkened path. She stops, holding stock still for the space of a breath. Slowly, she starts to step back to slip back behind the hedge. But the moment she moves, the growl deepens and a hot breath rushes through the maze. Ahead of her, it turns the leaves blood red and hey shrivel back to expose tangled, gnarled branches. It almost overtakes her before she remembers to run.

Resistance HQ

New York

The lights flicker near the Ruiz family room. Radios cut out and in and back out again as a portal forms inside their room. Lynette wakes in a jolt, sweat making her hair cling to her face as she looks up at the portal. She’s already breathless as she focuses on trying to open a second before the first gets out of control. It’s small, but papers lift toward it anyway, little toys and even the sheet covering them.

It was the pull that Ruiz felt, drawing on what energy that the room has, pulling on those batteries that he had helped refill. They weren't even hooked up to much, but people liked lights, especially since windows tended to stay covered and shut, if they existed at all. Too much of the HQ was almost completely underground, or covered in rubble, with special entrances and exits only known to those within.

But that immediately drew him out of the common area and toward the room, leaving young Evie behind with one of the baby sitters. He knew the girl that he had left her with, even if he only had met this version of her recently. Mala had been much the same in his world, only this one almost felt like a mix between the sadness of the girl growing up in his world, to the balanced young woman she had become. And with a young child around she seemed stronger than ever.

"Just concentrate on another point nearby," he tried to offer her advice, but really, she had taught him much about using his ability. Twice. "You can do it." His hand sparked up, much as he had been learning, though to give her more energy to draw on than to do anything with it.

Lynette breathes easier when she hears his voice and it’s only a few moments before he can feel her drawing away his electricity to push open another portal next to the first. Once they stabilize and she doesn’t have to worry about disappearing everything in the room, she leans over her own lap, hands holding her head up.

Sleep has been elusive for her since they arrived in this world. When she gets it at all, it’s fitful and she wakes just as tired as she was when she fell asleep. She’s been fatigued and sluggish, sometimes seeming to drift off even when she’s awake.

Her hand reaches out for him after a moment, not for his electricity but for him. Because everything is better when he’s nearby.

The last few months, since they swapped powers, Ruiz has often wondered how many differences their abilities have with each other's. He knows some things that the other Lynette describes to him don't quite work exactly the same way. "How does it feel when you open them?"

As he asks the question, he focuses on pushing the electricity that remains in him into the air, into a single spot in the air, mostly. It's almost like a floating sparkler, rather than coming off his hands, that swirls around and slowly dissipates into the air. He's learning, though it took some practice over the years. With that safely outside of him, he reaches out for her hand and joins her. There's still a slight buzz of static as they touch, but it's not bad.

First things first, Lynette grips onto his hand and curls up against him. The shock is taken in stride in favor of finding comfort against his shoulder. But it also gives her a moment or two to think about his question. About how to describe her relationship to it. And its to her.

“It’s a fight. Constantly. It’s a fight to open anything and it’s a fight to keep it from opening on its own.” He knows from each of the versions of her he’s met that this isn’t uncommon for her. Her own ability started that way. “It knows it doesn’t belong here,” she says in a quieter voice, a more haunted voice.

“I’ve been having dreams. About you. About trying to find you in el jardín de senderos que se bifurcan.” There’s no way for her to know that, and yet she does know it.

When a man hears that his wife is having dreams about him, it would usually make him grin knowingly. Even if Ruiz stops grinning in that teasing manner pretty quickly as she continues. Dreams of the garden. The forking paths that continue to fork forever. Infinite and unending. Sometimes he had felt lost in his dreams, something that seemed to be gone now, but he couldn't really explain it either. And he never felt like he had been searching for someone. Just searching. "Is it a hedge garden?" he asks after a moment, leaning back and watching her.

The mention of it makes him rub his tattoo a little. In a way he had chosen that tattoo because of his dreams, because of his mother's books, because of the desire to be a better person, to be the kind of man that Jose had tried to tell him to be.

Not a weapon. Not a monster. He hadn't even thought he had succeeded until he met her.


Lynette doesn’t mind that momentary grin. Seeing it even makes her smile a little. She would be much happier if her dreams of him included nudity, but no luck so far. Her smile dims back down, too, and she gives him a nod. “A hedge maze. Circling around itself. Sometimes I turn a corner and I see pieces of you. Memories. I’m not even sure which of you they belong to. There’s so many in there— the noise.” Her hand comes up to her head, fingers rubbing her temple as her eyes close. As if mentioning it made it louder somehow.

“I didn’t realize how it was for you, my darling,” she says when she looks over at him again. “I’m glad to carry for you, even if it isn’t forever.” Her hand moves to his cheek, thumb rubbing gently against his skin. “But I would carry it forever if it means giving you some peace.” What she’s seen in the garden— she knows he needs it.

Even if it's not forever. Might it be, though? Ruiz didn't know. The man who had done this to them, swapped their abilities, no longer breathed and likely couldn't manage to change them back. Would they change back on their own? He honestly didn't know. It had been a burden, enough so that he'd spent the better part of many years negated. At first to avoid infection and death, then because… he'd gotten used to the quiet.

Now he almost hated it. Almost. Even negated he could still sometimes hear it. And now…

"I wish you didn't have to carry it." And that she was catching pieces of memories might have scared him a few years ago, but he'd shared a lot with her now. Even if she saw the parts of him he hated, he knew she would still love him. Far more than he deserved. "But I'm glad it's with you."

Of anyone else who had been with them on that rooftop, it was a relief that it had been her.

What she's seen of him, his memories and those of the others, it's possible they've only made her love him more. The man he is now, she understands how difficult it is to change yourself. She did it, and she can appreciate how much harder it was for him to do the same. Leaning over, she puts her forehead to his. "I love you," she says, because she can't help but feel like she's been forgetting to tell him lately. At least, in words. And his words, they wrap around her, making her feel stronger than she is, helping her stay steady.

So, when she leans back, she's able to think about what was different tonight. Her hand drops to his shoulder and she furrows her brow as she tries to wrap her mind around it. "There's something else there. In the Garden. I don't know, it… it turned the hedges red and it sounded… like a beast. I don't think it likes me." Whatever it is.

A monster that turns the hedges red. No, that's definitely not something he'd ever come into contact with. But then again Ruiz had never had dreams quite like what she experienced. Maybe the transfer had fractured something, thinned something.

"I love you, too," is his simple response to her words, "Which is why, if whatever it is that is happening to you is a part of me, I don't think it could do anything but love you." No matter what the Lynette that was here seemed to think, cause he'd seen the way she looked at him all too often. "All of me loves all of you."

Unless of course it wasn't him at all. But it didn't change that he knew that words were helping, and he wanted to offer her as much as she always offered him.

The words do help, enough that a smile curls at the corner of her lips. Lynette has a moment— a choice between following the trail of worry and fear that her dreams have left her with, or to focus on those words. On the man who speaks them.

It isn't a hard decision to make.

She leans in, pressing her lips to his. It's gentle, at first, but it seems to stir something else that she needs from him. Her fingers slide around the back of his neck and up into his hair, flexing against his skin. When she breaks the kiss, she only moves far enough to be able to speak. "Javi," she says, her voice raw and low, "I need you."

And honestly, he needs her just as much, really, even if he seems more together right now.

So the only thing that she gets in response to that is Ruiz just starting that kiss all over again. There's a small buzzing on the skin where they contact each other, as he's still not completely in control of his ability, but it's not going to stop either of them from being there for each other.


Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License