The Light Before We Land


richard4_icon.gif robyn7_icon.gif ff_robyn2_icon.gif

Scene Title The Light Before We Land
Synopsis Without a premonition, could you tell me where we stand?
Date June 22, 2021

Yeah, Buoy!

The Pelago

"Richard! Are you he~re?"


"But you promised I'd get to meet your fri~ends!"

One voice stern, the other sing-songy, yet somehow both are the same voice. They both come from the deck of the Yeah Buoy!, something that seems to be of increasing frequency over the last few days.

"I'm here to meet with my friends. You're here to meet with Nova, if she's in."


A heavy sigh filters across the air.

"I dunno if I'm ready for that."

"Y'sure seemed like y'were earlier. Come, I promise you it'll be fine."

"Je ne veux pas."

"Je ne t'ai pas fait venir jusqu'ici pour rien!"

Quickly their discussion devolves into an argument, constantly firing back and forth in French, exchanging exclamations and sounds of exasperation one after another.

“You know…” The words stir from the stairs leading belowdecks, as Richard mounts them with a lack of speed that can be chalked up to him being uncertain if he wants to engage with this argument at all. “…I know that they say that the best form of therapy is communicating with yourself honestly, but when you said you were going to find yourself, Robyn, I didn’t think you took that sort of thing this seriously.”

He stepped onto the deck, one hand lifting up to pull his shades down and regard the pair over them.

Except by the time his shades are down, there's only one of her, leaving the Robyn he knows blinking and furrowing her brow. "Oh, for god sake-" Letting out an exasperated sigh, she turns to look towards Richard with an apologetic smile. "I'm glad you're here, I had some things I wanted to talk with you about."

Taking a step aside, she turns and looks at the empty space behind her. "She's the one who wanted to tag along. And now you're shy? Where was tha-" Something pushes her forward, causing a bit of a stumble step. Taking a deep breath, Robyn takes a deep breath and tries desperately to find something to center herself on. "This is Richard. He's a gooden, you can stop hiding."

From behind her, another form begins to take shape as light and shadow fill in to reveal the other Robyn Roux, standing behind her Prime self and peaking out like a child paralysed with uncertainty. "Hi," she says quietly, offering a small wave.

“I don’t know if I’d call myself good, but I try,” Richard chuckles, sliding the shades back onto his face fully and looking between the pair, “And hey, stop yelling at yourself. It never works, trust me.”

He flashes Roux a smile, giving her a curious once over, “Hi. Richard Cardinal Ray.”

There's a bit of a whine from Roux when Richard addresses her, prompting Robyn to roll her eyes. "Hi," she repeats.

"This is going to go in circles, isn't it." Fixing her gaze on Richard, Robyn cants her head slightly, nostrils flaring. "Look, I know I have a unique sense of self, but…" She looks back at Roux, then back to Richard, an exasperated look on her face. "Let's say it's being challenged very readily today."

Pulling a bag around her side, she takes Roux by the arm and begins leading her toward Richard and the cabin. "Richard, meet Zee. Zee, meet Richard. Richard, is Nova in?"

"Hi," Roux once more remarks, answering the question about the whole thing going in circles in perhaps the worst way possible.

“I don’t think so, but to be fair, I just woke up a little bit ago,” admits Richard, then crooks an eyebrow upwards, “Zee?”

He moves out of the way to let them past, though, so he doesn’t get trampled by a Robyn On A Mission.

"Well, I guess you get to join us after all," Robyn offers in an exasperated manner, looking back at Richard. "I have something you're going to be interested in." Patting the bag at her side, she smirks. "Proof of universal constants, I guess. Or temporal inertia." Her smirk falters a bit. "I'm hoping for the former."

Zee still seems sheepish, waiting a moment before following behind Robyn. "Yeah, Zee," she offers in a low voice, stopping when she reaches Richard. "You know, to tell us apart." She rocks on her heels, raising a hand and tapping it at her cheek. "Besides that." The scar, she means.

“At least it’s not Zeke,” Richard’s dry quip coomes, and then he follows the pair in with a shake of his head, “One causes the other, if you want to be technical, although ‘temporal inertia’ isn’t a good name for it now that we know about the multiversal strands. I need to workshop a new name sooner or later.”

“So what’s in the bag?”

"Zahava," Zee insists after a moment. "Who's Zeke?" With her feet settling flat again, she looks over to Richard, and then back to Robyn. "Is he another one of your friends?"

Robyn stares at her counterpart with wide eyes, then back to Richard. "…no." It's a curt answer, her shoulders stiffening as she turns to continue into the cabin. Reaching into her bag, Robyn pulls out a small book, and waves it at Richard.

"I have Else Kjelstrom's journal," she offers as she waves it up and down at him. "Again." Lowering the book, she slides it back into her bag. "You don't- have to change the name every time. You're going to confuse people if you do. I just started to understand this shit."

“If I’m ever going to publish a peer-reviewed paper on practical quantum physics, I need proper terminology,” says Richard with a dry chuckle, before reaching out - and then the book’s back in the bag, and he looks after it.

“Well, what’s in it?” He looks back up to Robyn, brows lifted. That was mean. It’s like waving a cigarette in front of someone going cold-turkey.

Smiling, Robyn pulls out the journal and hands it over to him. "The same thing as last time," she offers with a smug sort of tone and a look to match. "I think I did right by covering her music before." Moving into the cabin, she settles down on the couch.

"This time, at least, you'll probably get the chance to ask he-"

"Wait!" Zee's eyes widen, standing up on her toes as she leans forward. "You didn't say you'd seen Else! Where is she? I-" She looks down at the ground for a moment, frowning. "I haven't seen her in a while. Was she with Des? Or Edward?"

“She wasn’t on the Featherweight when I visited it, but she’s around here somewhere,” admits Richard, reaching out for the journal and taking it in hand - pacing a bit through the room as he opens it, leafing through it.

“Some of these are familiar,” he murmurs aloud, “Some of these– “

Then he stops, both verbally and physically, staring at the book, looking pale.

"Oh my god." Robyn takes a deep breath, eyes sliding to look over at Zee as she pinches her brow. "I thought I did. I'm sorry, I ran into her before I met with Destiny. It's… she's doing what she ever does. I'm sure you'll see her again soon."

Zee nods slowly, moving to sit down on the couch away from Robyn and Richard. Pulling her legs up, she sits cross legged and looks around the boat absently. "Sorry, I just, um. I miss her."

"You and me both, kid." Kid, despite the fact that Zee is a literal another version of herself. It speaks volume of what Robyn thinks of her other self. "Some of them are the same as ones I brought back from Ark… which, you know. That's it's own brand of worrying." Still, she watches Richard carefully, looking at the Journal. "You found it, I take it." There's a particular song she knew would catch his attention.

"Oh. Oh!" Zee perks up from her seat, leaning forward a bit as she smiles. "Mr. Cardinal! I wanted to ask you something." Mr. Cardinal. Maybe Robyn's assessment of Zee is what it is for a reason. "Are you, like… Are you related to Michelle?"

It takes a long moment for Richard to respond.

“Yeah,” he says distantly, thumb brushing along the edge of the page, “Yeah, I found it.”

He claps the journal closed sharply, drawing in a breath and straightening up, giving his head a shake as if to clear something from it. He lets it drop to his side, but maintains a grip on it even as he glances over towards Zee.

“She’s my mother, yes. I’m from this timeline, originally.”

Zee's head cants to the side curiously, brow furrowing. "Oh. That's weird." That blunt statement sinks in for a moment, before she lowers her head, looking down at her own feet. "Well. Um, if you get the chance, could you tell her I'm sorry?"

She fidgets, fingers tapping against her feet as she lowers her head. "I kinda let… Don get the best of me on the Ark. I was unkind, and I hecked up. I want her to know that I'm sorry." When she looks up, she seems like a scared cat, or maybe the child she's being treated as. "Please?"

Robyn stares at Zee for a long moment, before exhaling sharply. "I'll be talking to her soon, if you want me to say something. God, nothing good comes from the Arcology, does it?" There's a blank stare into the distance for a moment before Robyn turns back to Richard.

"I don't like what I'm reading in those lyrics," she states plainly, as if she needed to. "It's a good thing this is, like, our hobby." Motioning to the journal, she raises an eyebrow. "But I understand if you don't really want to go over it right now."

“I’m…” Richard draws in a slow breath, thumb sliding up and down against the binding of the book, “…going to need to sit down and read this slowly, and probably with a bottle of whiskey, yeah.”

He slants a look over at Robyn, then, starting to say something– then stopping– and he looks to Zee instead with a faint smile, “When I see her again, I will. I know it can be hard to stand up to a… charismatic leader sometimes, especially one with a lot of support. Especially one that believes what they’re doing is right.”

"I think it'll mean more if it comes from Richard," Zee offers, glancing over at Robyn, and then to Richard. "So thanks. I appreciate it, uh. Richard." She blinks, seeming to assess Richard for a moment, before she reaches into her bag at her side and pulls out a bottle of amber liquor, offering it to Richard.

"Hey wait, that's-" Robyn blinks, reaching over to her own bag and opening it, eyes narrowing. "You took my whiskey! How? When?"

"You had your fill last night," Zee states flatly, pulling the whiskey back as Robyn reaches for it. "It's mine now." Her eyes drift back over to Richard, and she offers him a preening smile. "Would you like it? I think you'd actually taste it at least."

Robyn looks aghast for a moment, eyes wide as she stares at the bottle. Quickly, she deflates, falling silent as her hands fold into her lap.

"Anyway, it was… it was a bad time." That big smile fades, Zee still holding the bottle out to Richard. "So anything I can do to make up for it, I will." Suddenly, she seems much less like a child.

“You only have yourself to blame for this one, Robyn,” Richard quips, managing a little more of a smile as he reaches out for the bottle with his free hand, “And– Zee?— I’d say not to blame yourself, but I’d be a hypocrite, given how much I blame myself for. Just make sure to use that guilt - don’t let it eat you alive.”

“Hecked up– ” He actually chuckles, then, as he remembers what she said, “You must know Destiny.”

Zee's head tilts slightly askew. "How do you use guilt?" It's hard to tell if that's a genuine question, but it doesn't get long enough to sit before her eyes widen and she gives a beaming smile at Richard.

"Yeah! She's a friend of mine." Her smile falters a bit, pulling her legs closer on the couch. "We met at the Ark. She's been a good friend of mine. I guess you met her already?"

Robyn falls silent as Richard takes the alcohol from Zee, looking down at the floor with sigh. She glances up at him, offers a small smile, and then back down at the floor.

“She was the one who picked up the phone when I called home,” Richard admits with a faint, wistful smile at a thought, turning the bottle around to read the label, “And I used to date her alternate, awhile back. Which is awkward but honestly, not the most awkward thing I’ve run into out here.”

He opens the bottle then, shaking his head, “You use guilt by learning from it. You remember what you did, you make damn sure it doesn’t happen again. But you don’t keep looking back and thinking if, if, if. The way back is closed.”

Up goes the bottle, down goes the whiskey.

He lowers it, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand, “Or so I’ve told myself before.”

"Huh." Zee looks thoughtful for a long moment, lips quirking side to side as she considers. "I guess that makes sense. I've never thought of guilt as a usable thing, but, in that case…" She nods her head, the tone of her voice more solemn, less playful than it had been before; there's a seriousness behind her that may feel more familiar to Richard.

She looks at Richard, and then over at Robyn. "Is that, a, um… ah, what's the word. A saying thing you guys have? 'The way back is closed'? She said that too," Zee notes with a motion over to Robyn, prompting the other woman to frown.

She pulls her legs back up and in, a slight rock back and forth as she looks down. "The whole parallel world thing is awkward, but it doesn't surprise me as much as I thought it would. Not since I met Magnes."

Robyn's nostrils flare at the mention of his name and she sighs, and Richard can almost feel her blood pressure rise as a tinge of light touches her eyes.

"I definitely won't tell Destiny I know that, and I definitely won't tease her about it. I need to show Kendall how not to be rude lately." She smiles a wide, toothy grin, that playful edge returning to her voice. "I didn't know she was into such older men though!"

Robyn furrows her brow, looking like she wants to say something, and then decides against it - she's not about to connect the dots on Destiny and Odessa Price for her. "I'm not sure you have much room to talk," Robyn notes with a bit of a grumble, before shirking back a bit. "Though I guess most of my girlfriends have been…" She blinks. "I'd like to move on now."

Turning back to face Richard, she sighs. "So, the songs. Ah… do you think we'll have time to sit down and go over them before we head out? I'd really love your deeper thoughts on it." Her face scrunches in a look of disgust for a moment. "Maybe Eve's input too. See if any of it lines up with anything she's seen."

“Older– “ Richard lets out a bark of laughter, holding up a hand, “Oh. No. Her alternate’s older, for– fuck, I don’t know why. I don’t know everything. Only one guy did and it seemed to make him pretty fuckin’ miserable, as much as I envy that abilty some days…”

He tips the bottle towards Robyn, then, and nods more soberly, “Yeah. Either before we go or a bit after, I just– need to read through them, do some analysis, get drunk, cry, you know, the usual.”

Zee purses her lips at Richard's description of their forthcoming evening. "That doesn't sound like a very good night to me," she says quietly, rolling her thumbs over each other as she stares down at her lap. The revelation that his world's Destiny is older either doesn't register, or doesn't faze her, it's hard to tell which. She's quiet for a moment, before looking up at Richard.

"Else's been a friend of mine since before I went to the Arcology," she remarks in a low tone. "I never knew what she did, but I also never really cared." She fidgets, clearly uneasy both in voice and in body language. "But Quinn told me, and… I'm just wondering if there's anything we need to worry about for the trip to Alaska. Or after. Do you mind if I come? To look over her songs, that is."

"I do." Robyn is quick to raise a finger, turning her look over at Zee. "Not because I don't think you can handle it. I just…" Robyn's lips twist side to side, and she looks over at Richard platively. "There's really just some things as few people as possible should know." She takes a deep breath, before exhaling sharply. "But I guess that's up to you, Richard." She shrugs, leaning back in her seat.

"I know," Zee remarks, looking over at Robyn with a quirked eyebrow. "You've been keeping things from me since we first met." Her demeanour shifts again as she sits up straighter, once again sporting a beaming smile. "But that's okay! We all have our secrets! I'm really good at that too, you know!"

Looking back to Richard, Zee's head bobs side to side, teal hair swaying as she smiles. "If I'm going to be going with you all, I at least want to be helpful! Lotsa other people won't let me be helpful. They think I just… get in the way."

Richard starts to answer– but then Robyn’s answering first, and he looks at her for a moment, then over to Zee. One hand comes up, scratching under his chin before he suggests, “You might actually be helpful. You know things here better than we do– and some of them might be referring to things that are from here, not where we were from.”

"I'm not sure how much I know!" Zee admits readily. "I have memory problems and I spent, like, four years underwater." A hand reaches up, knuckles rapping at the side of her head - and then she pulls it back, wincing and shaking her hand like something about that motion really hurt her hand. "But I can try. I miss trying."

Robyn watches Zee for a long moment, frowning before she looks back over at Richard. "She doesn't want to say it, but she's not exactly at 100%," she shares in a very matter of fact voice. "Complications from drowning during the flood."

Zee's eyes widen and she reaches over and slaps Robyn in the arm one, two, three times before pulling her hand back and wincing again. "That's my secret to share!" And she seems genuinely upset that Robyn just… put it out there like that. "God, you're so rude!"

Robyn exhales sharply, sinking in her seat a bit. "It's an important thing to know," she grumbles, "before you get caught up in the kind of stuff we do, Zee."

Richard looks between the two of them, and then he shakes his head. “So she’s not firing all cylinders– neither are we, Robyn, and at least hers has a physical excuse,” he observes dryly, “So if she– “

He pauses as if something’s just occurred to him, and then gives Zee a long and thoughtful look, one hand shifting slightly, “Mnm. I wonder.”

"Yeah, yeah! You said that already!" Zee sticks her tongue out at Robyn, before turning to Richard. "Don't listen to her, she's mean. I can help, I promise," she reiterates, before narrowing her eyes and studying Richard.

Robyn, once more rebuked by both Zee and Richard, falls quiet again, looking down at the floor of the cabin.

Abruptly, Zee points a finger at Richard. "You have that look on your face your mom did when she was considering something important," she offers in a low voice. "Always before she'd tell us something important, back on the Arc. So what's up?"

“Drowning is physical damage,” Richard says slowly, carefully, looking between the pair, “That’s… repairable, theoretically. Abby once fixed Liz and half her brain was splattered all over the beach.”

Hesitant to commit himself to the idea, from his tone and manner, but if he was entirely reluctant he wouldn’t be mentioning it.

It takes a moment, but slowly Robyn sits up straight as what Richard is implying sinks in. She blinks, looking over at him, and then over at Zee.

"Repairable?" Zee's shoulders tense at that word, fixated on Richard as he hesitates on elaborating further. "I- like- are you a, um…" She bunches her nose in frustration, before suddenly sitting up and looking Richard in the eyes. "A healer, that's the word!"

Immediately, she shrinks back down, eyes half lidded. "I, um. That's something you could do? I don't know, I- um." Looking away, her lips quirk side to side and she sighs.

"It had never even occurred to me," Robyn notes quietly, looking thoughtful as fingers curl around her chin. "I keep forgetting that's something you can do…" Eyes scan around the room, a bit of a light to them before they settle back on Zee.

"I think…" she starts, but even as Zee turns to look back at her with narrowed eyes, Robyn Roux actually shirks back. "What I think doesn't matter," she corrects, looking down at the flood.

“I’m a lot of things,” Richard quips, if a bit dryly, one hand coming up to rub against the side of his neck as he glances over to Robyn and then back to Zee once more, “But… healer is one of them, although it’s not easy at all. Easier than it was, since I don’t need the algae anymore.”

Whatever that means to Zee, although it may be news to Robyn.

“So I could try, at least. No guarantees. I know it’s… within the scope of that ability, but I’m still learning how to use it.”

A slow eyebrow quirk is what Richard gets from Robyn at the mention of algae, head tilting slightly askew as she regards him. "Is that so? I'm impressed, Richard." Her voice is low, pensive, and very quickly she's looking back at Zee.

Zee's lips quirk side to side as she pulse her knees up to her chest, hiding her expression from the other two. "Algae?" she repeats, her voice just slightly muffled against her jeans. There's a moment's pause before she shakes her head. "You're one of those, um. Transactional healers, then? The ones who pull energy from one thing to another."

Another pause. "But you've moved past it?" She's either stalling or puzzling something out, it's hard to tell which. "Wow." There's an uncomfortable fidget, before she sits back up a bit and looks back over at Robyn. "You know a healer and you still have your scar and bad leg? That certainly doesn't seem like you." She knows pointing it out is a bit rude, but that doesn't stop her. Robyn, on the other hand, immediately looks uncomfortable.

“It’s a little more complicated, but that’s a close enough summary,” Richard admits with a cant of his head towards Zee, and then he looks back at Robyn– noting her expression with a slight furrowing of his brow before observing, “I could probably heal you too, Robyn– I mean, the scar you can keep or lose, but the leg might slow you down on the journey…”

Robyn looks surprised to be put on the spot, eyes widening as she looks over to Richard, and then down at the floor. “I’ll be fine,” she insists, shifting her posture and crossing her legs, as if to try and hide the one in question. “I have been so far, I have been for the last year. It’ll be better once we get out of the storms.”

Still, she frowns, a hand rising to touch at her cheek. “If I don’t have reminders of my failures, I’ll forget them,” she offers in a hushed tone after a quiet beat. “I can’t let myself forget. I don’t want to fall into the same traps again.”

“Mhmm, mhmm. Sounds to me…” Zee starts, before seeming to think better of it. Instead, she looks back to Richard, and then down at the floor in a way that mirrors her counterpart. “Let me think about it,” she requests with a nod. “Make sure I don’t have any lingering regrets about it.”

“So leave the scar,” Richard replies, looking at Robyn steadily, “You don’t need pain as a reminder. We’ve both got enough of that on the inside.”

Then he looks back to Zee, head bobbing briefly in understanding, “‘Course. I’m still recovering from fixing Edward’s spine anyway, honestly…”

"I-" Robyn looks, sounds like she wants to protest, but instead she tries to look away from Richard, which instead lands her gazing directly at the expectant eyes of Zee. Swallowing, she instead settles on staring up at the ceiling long enough for Zee to get distracted by Ricahrd.

"Wait!" Her gaze swiveling from Robyn to Richard, Zee looks amazed as she perks up from behind her knees. "Mr. Ray can walk again!? Oh my gosh, that's great news!" Her expression gets a bit more stormy as she recedes back into pressing her face against her knees. "I was always upset about what happened to him at the Ark, but I never knew how to talk to Don about it. Particularly not after Destiny and Else left." A beat. "I never knew if I should talk to Don about it. I think he woulda just shot me. Like he did Lance."

The mention of Lance earns a furrowed brow and a deep frown from Robyn, the only thing she offers before she abruptly stands up. Picking up the journal of Else's songs, she locks her eyes ahead and briskly makes her way out of the cabin and towards the deck without a word to either Richard or Zee.

Zee watches her go, staring at the door to the deck for a long moment before she sighs and shrugs her shoulders, looking back at Richard. "I guess everything's a touchy subject with her!" she remarks with a strange amount of bubbly enthusiasm. "I'm kinda surprised you two are friends, you seem much nicer than she is." But with that said, she waves a hand back and forth. "Doesn't matter! I'll, uh." She falls quieter, back to that more pensive tone. "I'll get back to you soon, I'm sure."

“Yes, he– Robyn?” Richard’s answer to Zee is cut off as the other woman walks off with the journal, his brow lining in consternation. He looks after her a moment, then holds a hand up to Zee, “Yeah, uh– get back to me on that– Robyn?”

He pushes after her, following her towards the deck.

"Zee," Zee corrects, sighing and waving a hand back and forth. "You should just let her- do whatever this is." When it's clear Richard doesn't intend to, she presses her face back against her knees, falling quiet as she sits in the cabin and waits.

Robyn is quickly back in sight, walking her way to the far end of the boat's deck. The journal is already stowed away in her bag, something in hand as she tries to - light a Pelago cigarette? Perhaps cloves, perhaps weed. Either way, in the rain, it doesn't seem to be going well. At first she doesn't look back, still tinkering with whatever jank flint and steel lighter she has in hand, before letting out an exasperated sigh.

"You didn't have to come out, Richard. I'm sure she has questions for you," is offered back in a voice, just audible over the sound of the rain on the water. "I just- need a moment." Her voice is strained, hinting at emotion she's trying desperately not to display.

“Yeah, but you’re my friend,” Richard observes in wry tones as he crosses the deck, rain slicking back through his hair and against his back, “At least last I checked– if one that seems to have turned the ‘self destructive’ dial up to eleven lately.”

He walks up to lean against the rail, watching her face, “Well. Maybe nine. I’ve seen an eleven and you’re not that bad yet. So what’s going on?”

"W-what?" When Richard comments on her self-destructive habits Robyn seems genuinely caught off-guard, her eyes widening in surprise. It only lasts a moment before she looks down, eyes half lidded. With a sigh, she turns to face out at the water. The unlit cigarette is flicked aside, no longer dry enough to be worth holding on to. "In all the years we've known each other, have you ever known me to not be a bomb waiting to go off? At least it's not at you anymore."

Because there were more than a few times she did, back before the war.

She lets silence sit for a moment, before she sighs. Her shoulders slouch and she leans forward. "Of course we're friends," she mutters in a low voice. "I wouldn't be here otherwise. I don't know or trust the rest of who's with us." Shaking her head, rain water splashes outward as her posture tenses.

"It's complicated. How I feel right now." Exhaling sharply, she waits a moment before she continues. "I'm sorting out a lot of things right now, the least of all being being confronted with, uh, myself." She wrinkles her nose, and looks back over her shoulder. "You're right, by the way. I don't need pain as a reminder." She turns back to him, leaning against the wet railing. "But I'm not in the place to be making sweeping changes. Not until we get back. Not until Matthew's back."

“I think that of all people I’m uniquely qualified to understand how fucked up having another you around can be,” Richard points out in dry tones, head turning to look back out through the rain for a moment before returning his gaze to her, “But she’s not you. Remember that. No more than he was me.”

Maybe if he repeats that last line often enough, one day he’ll believe it.

“You shouldn’t take it out on her, though,” he points out, “It’s not her fault, either.”

Robyn's brow stitches together, her frown deepening before she turns to look back out at the water. "I'm not," she remarks in a somewhat flat tone, as if bothered by the apparent accusation. "It's- it's complicated. I'm not really very good at articulating how it makes me feel." She lets out a heavy, sardonic laugh as she shakes her head. "The irony isn't lost on me, that I have trouble articulating my feelings." She says this like she's in on a joke that Richard is also supposed to get.

She sighs and sinks down against the railing."She's not me," Robyn replies quietly, "but in a lot of ways she's who I wish I was. Every other me I've found out before now has been… awful. But her? She's too good."

“Robyn? We’re friends, so I’m telling you this bluntly,” Richard says, both eyebrows lifting slightly, “You are absolutely taking it out on her. Whatever your feelings are on the matter, wherever it’s coming from… you absolutely are.”

That said, he exhales a sigh, one hand lifting to rub between his eyes, “I understand that, though. I do. How do you think I feel knowing that Ezekiel was the only one of me to accomplish anything?”

Looking away from Richard, Robyn clicks her tongue, almost seeming dismissive of his concerns; instead she nods and grumbles, "Noted. I'll… try to be better." It's hard to grasp if she means it, if even she thinks she means it.

"I'm sorry. I didn't come out here to trouble you," she offers in a low voice. "I just- I don't know. Wanted something to feel normal, as much as talking about prophecies that I don't actually believe in can be normal. I wanted her to meet Nova. Best laid plans, or whatever." Her shoulders rise and fall in a lazy, half hearted shrug. "I've been too stuck in my feelings the last month. I guess I'm having trouble getting out and staying focused."

“I think prophecy talk is what passes for ‘normal’ for me most days,” Richard admits with a slight shake of his head, “But– seriously. We’re stuck here for a little bit, and it’s raining all the time, and you’ve got the weight of multiple worlds sitting on your shoulders.”

“If you don’t find something to keep your brain busy it’ll eat itself alive. Go– I don’t know. Find some new music people have made in this world, go meet someone you met in our world once in a cafe, go to the Freedom of the Seas and get laid. Something.”

“Don’t just be nicer to that you,” he motions to the cabin, then back to her, “Be nicer to this you.”

Again, she clicks her tongue, pointedly looking away from Richard. "If it makes you feel any better, I've been playing music at Lowes. On a stage and everything," she offers in an attempt to assuage his worry, though her tone still rings of uncertainty. "It feels… surreal," she offers thoughtfully, before a more genuine smile she tries and fails to hide creeps on her face. "But familiar. Almost comfortable, even."

Falling silently, she taps a finger on the railing. "I do take a strange bit of solace in the ways we're different, I'm not going to lie," she admits after a moment. "Did you know her and Kendall dated? Like, dated dated? Explains why he's being such a little pissant about all of this, if nothing else." Shaking her head, she stands up straight again and sighs.

"Can we talk about… something else? I don't really like this whole… talking about myself thing." She turns to face him, an eyebrow raised. "Has there been any progress on us getting moving inland? I'm sorry I missed the meeting the other day, but she- had kinda showed up in my room and it slipped past me."

“That does explain Kendall’s behavior,” Richard allows wryly, one hand coming up to rub against the side of his face, “Christ. I… yeah, something else. I don’t blame you there, I don’t like talking about *him* either, although at least he’s not here.”

“I’m glad you’re playing music again. Inland– I think so,” he admits, glancing out towards the water, “We have a few people to talk to, a few more plans to make, but then we’ll be heading out. The sooner the better. Here, there’re too many… ghosts.”

Robyn lets out a small chuckle, shaking her head. "I meant…" She trails off, before again clicking her tongue. "Never mind." She does still smirk, at least, soo it doesn't seem like her mood is turning again. "I couldn't agree with you more. Too many ghosts. I feel like I see a new one every day." She lets out a heavy sigh. "And I know a few of them are coming with us, whether we like it or not."

She taps a finger on the railing, stepping back and looking over at Richard. "Thanks, Richard," she offers somewhat obliquely, before looking back towards the cabin. "You should come by Lowes tonight, around… well, a bit after sundown. I can't tell time anymore. Have you ever- tried to tell time without clocks and watches? It's _so fucking hard_!"

“Yeah, actually,” Richard replies ruefully, “Try prison sometime. Or don’t. Probably don’t. Why don’t you have a wat– nevermind, right, everyone uses their phones now…”

He smiles back at her, “I’ll stop by. But, uh– “ He rubs a hand against the back of his neck, glancing down at her, “I do actually need to study that songbook, you know, Robyn.”

"Then we'll do it together," Robyn offers back simply, running a hand through wet and matted hair. "Like we always do." A small shiver, and then she looks back over at him. "To be clear, it's not that I don't trust you with it, but…" Her gaze shifts, looking off to the side and then down. "It may be the last thing Else ever gives me, again. It's not leaving my side until we're home, be that back in the Safe Zone, or a new home here. Maybe not even then."

Eyes close for just a moment, and she takes a long breath. "You know, I lucked out. All the things I learned about myself in Arthur's timeline, and not once did I have the misfortune of seeing her in prison. I can only imagine what that's like, and hopefully it'll stay that way."

She pauses for a moment, before looking back up at him curiously. "Do you think a watch would've actually made it over? I stopped wearing one when I started being on stage, but- day and night have to be the same between here and there. Right?"

“Alright,” Richard says with a heavy sigh, glancing to the journal’s location and then back to her, “Alright. We’ll sit down and I’ll copy it, then– two copies mean we’re less likely to lose it, and copying something’s a great way to memorize and analyze it.”

Then he pulls up his sleeve, lifting his arm to show off his watch. “Analog,” he points out with a twitch of his lips, “Survives the passage without any issue. Just had to wind the spring up. Sometimes old school’s best.”

"That sounds like a plan." Giving a slow nod, Robyn again looks back towards the cabin. "I didn't even think about making a copy." She reaches into her bag, and pulls out a small spiral notebook. "These aren't super easy to come by, apparently, so I can at least spare a few pages from it. I'm sure someone can make more, but…"

She shrugs, looking down at the watch. "Every time I think I understand how this whole… travelling across strings thing works, I'm proven wrong. I really need- another crash course. A better one." Nostrils flare as she huffs out a breath. "Not that I ever want to do this again, but I guess that's the reality I have to prepare for."

Again, she looks back to the cabin, and then over to Richard. "The fact that she hasn't tried to sneak out here is starting to worry me. I guess I should see if she wants to head off… assuming she wants to even go back to my place. I'm sorry I got in such a huff. It's just…" She scratches the back of her neck. "Like I said, I'm having… trouble with all of this."

“Ha. Nobody understands how any of this works… nobody,” Richard admits with a slight shake of his head, “Least of all myself. I’m just making it up as I go along, and trying my best to understand little– bits here and there. Threads of the tapestry… never seeing the whole.”

He glances over to the cabin door, then back to her, “I understand. Better than anyone else could, probably. Come on, collect her and go home, and… be nicer to yourself.”

“I’ll see you tonight, and tomorrow we can sit down with paper and the notebook, eh?”

Robyn is quiet for a moment, before letting her shoulders detense a bit. "Maybe I'll ask your mom. See what I can understand out of it. I feel like I need to learn… or at least try to learn more of this stuff." A small shrug, and she slides her notebook back into her bag, holding it close. "Not just because of this. There's a lot of things going on right now. Maybe soon I'll be able to talk about it."

With that bit of ominousness offered, she hesitates for a moment, before abruptly turning to Richard and enveloping him in a hug. A tight one, one she doesn't offer any comment through. It's just a thing that is apparently happening.

“Good luck. If there’s anything my mom doesn’t want to talk about, it’s this…” Richard’s smile fades at the mention, and he’s about to say something– and then he’s been hugged, and he tenses up a little in surprise. A moment later, he relaxes, wrapping his arms back around her and returning the tight embrace.

After a few moments, he says softly, “Take your time. It’s the one thing we have, after all.”

Richard can hear her swallow audibly at that insistence, clearly wanting to offer some sort of rebuttal. She doesn't however, instead slipping out of the hug with a frown on her face - one that quickly turns into a somewhat obviously forced smile. "Now you're definitely as soaked as I am," she offers with a mischievous expression, before turning and walking back towards the cabin without another word.

"Zee!" she calls out, leaning forward on the tips of her toes as she does. "I'm gonna head on. Are you coming?"

While whatever bit of mirth she's found is clearly strained, it's still a better end to the trip than where it started at.

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