Time Travel Etiquette Is Hard


lene_icon.gif ygraine_icon.gif

Scene Title Time Travel Etiquette Is Hard
Synopsis So are words. Lene struggles with both when she meets up for lunch with one of her many parents, Ygraine.
Date August 6, 2011

High Line Park

Though some might say that most parks are about the same, Ygraine would beg to differ. For a paranoid fugitive on the run, there are a number of considerations to be taken into account. And for one who can move in more directions than most, the three-dimensional environment is of a great deal of importance.

As a result, the choice of meeting place for her early lunchtime date with Lene was probably made with a good deal of care. The High Line Park was built as an elevated section of rail line, but now earns descriptions including ranging from "elevated greenway" to the rather over-stated "urban jungle". Running for well over a mile, it is rather trendily fashionable at present - but on a cloudy working day, it is less packed than is often the case, and Ygraine has had little difficulty in staking out a sculpted wooden seat on which to await the arrival of her… whatever it is that Lene counts as.

The Briton is clad in exercise gear - skin-tight black reaching just below the knee, training shoes, a sleeveless top, with wrap-around shades and a baseball cap. A colourful bandana is tied around one bicep, concealing the entry and exit scars, while her sleeveless top has been chosen to conceal Xiulan's artwork on her back. Though she has earbuds in place, and is tapping one drawn-up foot, the music is barely audible even to her, while the shades let her scan her surroundings for signs of trouble.

It's easy to spot Jolene when the younger woman comes into view on the straight pathway. Her red hair blows in the wind that comes with the height of the park, contrasting with the jade-green tank top. She's hardly in disguise, but then she doesn't need to be.

In one hand is a bag of take-out — Chinese from the looks of the generic white bag with 'Thank You' in red print — and a cup holder with two drinks in the other. Many may come here to work out, but Lene is hardly equipped for a jog — her feet sport a pair of purple flip flops that slap the cement pathway with each step. When she sees Ygraine, it's clear she's not certain it's Ygraine, the baseball cap and sunglasses doing their job to shield the woman's face, but she lifts a hand anyway in greeting once she's within about 20 feet of the Brit.

After a moment, Ygraine mirrors the lifted hand, corners of her mouth lifting into a slight smile. She pat-pats the wooden slats beside her hip, then leans over to reach under her seat, drawing out a camel-pack. That's hoisted up and unzipped, before being set aside once more. "Would it be inappropriate to hug you?", she asks softly, smiling up at the younger woman.

"Of course not!" says Lene as she gets to the bench. "Just let me put stuff down unless you want lo mein and Dr. Pepper all over you," she teases, reaching to set the food on the bench, then leaning to wrap her arms around Ygraine, ducking her head as she squeezes, then steps back once more.

"It's good to see you. How are things?" Lene sits on the bench, so that the food is between them. A hand waves over it. "Lo Mein and orange chicken and broccoli beef. Do you know how to use chopsticks? I got forks just in case."

Ygraine delivers a distinctly firm squeeze when given the chane to do so, her grip somewhat more even than it was in the last hug Lene received from her. "I'm pretty terrible with them, but I can cheat", she says with a wry smile. "Things tend not to fall if I don't want them to. And… it's wonderful to see you. Things with me are… tense. Odd. Frustrating, since I feel as if I ought to be out and about doing things to help."

Lene's eyebrows raise and her face broadens with a grin. "Never thought of using it that way. Not like I can do it any time you're not with me, but still, creative usage. High marks, Ender."

She glances down for a minute to digest the rest of Ygraine's words, pulling out a straw and focusing on the task of unwrapping and placing it into the lid of the soda cup. "I understand. Me, too, actually. I feel a bit … like I'm playing a hurry-up-and-wait game."

She looks up again, and shrugs. "I wish I could say it'll get better…" Lene chews her lower lip a moment. "I think it will… I think it has to. I mean, that's why we're here, anyway."

Ygraine giggled at Lene's compliment, before listening intently thereafter. "It'd be unfair to ask you for guarantees. All we can do is try to make things better, and count on the fact that we know that changes are possible… count on that meaning that we can make a difference where it matters. But… if there's anything your dear old not-exactly-a-mother can do, for all her lack of years of wisdom and practice compared to the version you knew, do let me know."

Straightening up, she pretend-buffs her nails against her top. "After all. I do have tricks up my nonexistent sleeves. The food trick's a development of something I can began doing with hot drinks. They don't necessarily stay in the mug if I get clumsy, but they won't end up on me if I do have a spill. The idea… developed from there."

After a draw from her soda, Lene busies herself with unbagging the food, setting out the three containers of chicken, beef and lo-mein. "For now, just do what you're doing, I guess. Stay low. If they don't put you guys somewhere worse, you'll end up in Eltingville and that's bad enough," she says, picking up a pair of plastic chopsticks to unwrap.

Her eyes drift to the path as if to watch a couple of joggers pass, but her gaze seems more distant before it returns to Ygraine. The chopsticks are held out to the Brit, and Lene smiles. "Thanks, though. Your support means a lot."

Accepting the sticks with a solemn inclination of her head, Ygraine nods thoughtfully, spending a few moments investigating her lunch before venturing to speak again. "If I can be useful, use me. Please. I'm pretty sure that applies to the rest of us. I for one can hide out near-indefinitely. There's virtually nowhere in this city that's inaccessible to me. Add in the abilities of one of our friends, and our range of movement becomes truly ludicrous. Short of another Dome, there's not a great deal that can trap us - on the larger scale. I certainly don't claim to be invulnerable, but… hiding some of us can do extremely well. We wouldn't object to having something else to do, however. Do you have any idea how much of the underground realms I've mapped this year?"

Lene smiles and picks up one of the boxes, reaching for the fork for herself. "Which is why you live to a ripe old age and probably then some," she says, pointing the fork at Ygraine with a smile. "And Jaiden, too. But things have changed enough that I'm not sure of where you'd end up from this point."

A bit of chicken is brought to her mouth and Lene chews for a moment, before speaking again. "Change can come in a lot of ways. Some of it's drastic, but a lot of it's gradual. I'm not the one making decisions, but it's good to know you're willing to help me."

After a second, she amends the last word with, "… us."

"Mostly, it's you", Ygraine admits with a somewhat bashful smile. "Though discovering that JJ's involved was a pleasant surprise. I was already praising him to just about anyone who'd listen. He was a great help in the Dome. One of the few to keep his head and his heart. Far too many…."

An abrupt shake of the head, and the Briton forces another smile. "He's a very good man. If he believes in what you're doing, it counts for a lot with me. And I think I've seen at least some bits and pieces of it already. That, or there's another set of time-meddlers out there to whom I might owe my thanks."

"The dreams are us, yes. Well, one of us. A dreamwalker or whatever," Lene admits, taking another bite of chicken and then swapping the container for the one holding the beef. She picks out a piece of meat, bypassing the broccoli.

"I don't think there's another group of meddlers, but I guess it's possible. I doubt they're showing you memories though, if they are, though," Lene says with a smile before bringing the beef to her mouth to chew. "I'm not the leader in our little expedition, but when we need you, it's good to know you're there. Not like I wouldn't expect it. You were always a … what's the term, rebel rouser?"

Ygraine laughs, blushing at that. "Rabble rouser, conventionally. Which seems a rather unfair description of you and your friends. And… I've always felt more of an overly-academic outsider, babbling about complexities that no one either listens to or cares about. But no: I concluded that there was another set of time-meddling going on - 'another' in relation to the stuff I'd already been involved in myself - back when I had my first-ever meeting with Sylar, and, in the middle of a snow-storm, at night on a remote road, some madman came running out of the woods to help to fight him. And demonstrated half-knowledge of my abilities, without hearing my name, seeing my face, or having me use them in front of him."

Lene's brows knit together and she tilts her head curiously. "You mean another time meddling group — meaning us, right? Not another another…" Words are hard. She stabs her fork into another piece of meat and then sets that container down. She looks a little worried as she pieces together the story.

"Do you know who the 'madman' was? If he was trying to help you, it's probably one of us. When'd this happen? This past winter?" The lo-mein container is grabbed next, the noodles wrapped around the bit of beef before the fork comes to her mouth.

"'Another' in relation to myself and a number of others who did our own time-travelling late last year", Ygraine says with a wry smile. "And it was January. We… a number of us stepped in to stop someone who could generate nuclear power from falling into the wrong hands. Sylar apparently had the same idea. While we were trying to avoid bloodshed, he… literally tore people apart."

The older woman closes her eyes, sighing softly. "Then, into the gore and mayhem, some guy ran out of the woods to help. I was separate to most of the others. I'd been an outrider. I didn't hear much of what went on, but he seemed to help to see off Sylar. Tried to volunteer me to walk on water, to go out to rescue some people who'd gone through the ice on a lake. Like he knew I could control movement in an unconventional manner, but didn't really grasp how. And that was while I was all in black, in a sealed helmet, at night in a snowstorm. With no one having given my name. He seemed to have had a… briefing, or something, on what he'd find there. And just happened to be out on foot at that point at that time. In a night-time snowstorm. To me, it seemed a lot like our own time-travelling efforts. When we'd show up somewhere with half a clue of what we were doing, and desperately hope we got it right."

Recognition seeps into Lene's features, and she nods, a little relieved. "Right," she says, around he mouthful of Chinese food. "You had me worried there was some other merry band of time travelers for a moment. Yeah, he was one of my friends. Not really a madman, but a bit of an ass." The smirk at her lips suggests she's mostly joking. Mostly.

"Good intentions. I'm glad he was there," she adds.

Ygraine laughs softly. "Once I found out about you lot, I figured it was very likely that he was one of yours. But at the time…. And then when I had an encounter with two Sylars. I was starting to wonder very seriously about whether there wasn't a "time-travelling Sylar" and a faction trying to stop him."

Lene gives Ygraine a strange look; she opens, then closes her mouth, before opening it again to suck on her straw to think. Her brows furrow and she studies the clouds. It would be comical, if they weren't talking about serial killers.

Finally, she looks back to Ygraine. "Okay, do me a favor, and don't just try to murder anyone you see that looks like Sylar, okay? Not without reasonable cause," she suddenly manages in a burst. Astor looks like a lot like Gabriel, after all, and she's not quite sure of Gabriel's status in the Ferry at this particular moment in time.

Time travel etiquette is hard.

Ygraine cocks her head, munching pensively as she gives Lene a very quizzical look. "Will you ever be able to be open with me?", she asks quietly, expression turning rather rueful. "But… frankly, I'm a lot more concerned about how any Sylars might respond to me. I'm not sure I was really noticed in January, but… after the Dome, I certainly got spotted. I threw one, while he was invisible, and revealed him to the whole room. And helped get away the target that one or both were after."

She pulls a sour face. "That farce was what led to us being on the run. By stopping a Sylar or two, we wound up drawing Federal attention. Our reward was… well. A set-up meant to slaughter a batch of our associates."

Lene looks down at the first question Ygraine asks, brows drawing together over her eyes and cheeks flushing with what wasn't intended but clearly was taken as a slight rebuke. "Probably not," she says, matter-of-factly as she looks out to the skyline; it's not hard to imagine the teenager she would have been (not very long ago) in Ygraine's care.

"I don't think it's a secret… it's just not well known apparently. There's a good version of the guy you call Sylar; he's on our side. If you saw him, he was probably trying to help," she explains before standing. "I should go. I have an appointment in an hour."

Abruptly looking rather stricken, Ygraine tentatively reaches out a hand, attempting to (lightly) rest it on Lene's shoulder. "I'm sorry. I… I did want to give you something. Maybe doing so right before you leave is wise. Though… I admit I'd hoped we could spend some time together. But maybe another time. If you want. And… I can give it to you now, if you like. You don't need to open it. Just… let me know if you'd like another version. Or something different. I tried to get it right, but… I'm not really used to doing anything like it."

Setting aside her lunch, Ygraine hastiyl sets about rummaging in her pack, drawing out a large, card-stiffened envelope. On the front, in carefully elaborate calligraphy, are the words For Lene.

Green eyes close and Lene takes the proffered gift, glancing down at it with a smile before she turns to hug Ygraine. "No… don't be sorry. I just… it's hard. Some of these things aren't my stories to tell, and I don't want to screw anything up before the right people are shown the right things. My mouth has gotten me in trouble before, you know? It's not you, and it's not that I want to hide things from you." The words tumble out in a rush as Lene steps away, eyes glinting a little in the sunshine.

"I do have an appointment — with a Labradoodle."

Lene points to the containers. "Leftovers are for you. Should get another meal out of them easy enough." She reaches for the soda, then dips her head to kiss Ygraine's cheek. "I'm sure I'll love this. Even if it's stick figures, I'd love it."

"A…? Good grief." Ygraine leans into the offered hug, gladly accepting both it and the kiss. "Upstaged by a labradoodle", she mutters upon pulling back, rolling her eyes in (probably) false disgust. "Whatever next?"

Gently shaking her head, she offers Lene a smile. "I understand not wanting to screw things up for other people. Believe me. It's frustrating to be in the dark. But… I've had to keep secrets, myself. I hope it's not too hard on you. Just… remember that I'll try to help if I can. I trust you. And I'd rather be around to worry in person than to fret in ignorance. But… take care of yourself. Yourselves. I have the impression we need you, quite apart from my personal feelings."

"Labradoodle is followed by a min pin," Lene offers for 'whatever's next,' then smiles at the the rest of the goodbye. "I know, Ig," she says softly, though there's a brief flicker of something at the phrase 'fret in ignorance.'

"Thanks for lunch," she adds, before tipping her head the direction she came. "Walk with me before I have to disappear into the subway station, and I will tell you funny stories to hold against Rob."

At least there are some secrets she's willing to share.

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