To See Us


castle2_icon.gif chess5_icon.gif eve2_icon.gif

Scene Title To See Us
Synopsis A child from another world tells their story.
Date January 13, 2021

Eleven Years Ago

Flood Timeline

Eastern Seaboard, New England

January, 2010

The first thing they remembered seeing when they opened their eyes was the old abandoned lighthouse on the cliffs.

Against a gray-white sky, foggy stratus clouds covering the horizon, giving a dreary, but somehow too bright backdrop for the shadowed monolith rising above the cliff. The light hadn’t been lit in years, and probably would never be again, but once it had guided people to safety and helped warn them of rocks to come. He had seen the lighthouse in paintings so many times.

She sat up, the pain in her chest like an echo, a memory, not her own. It had been crushing, horrifying, dark and— and it had been his pain. It was his pain.

It was still his pain.

It would always be his pain.

The smell of the salt burned at him and made her want to gag. He reached up and touched her face. Their face.

She blinked. Pale eyes shifted toward the water, the waves battering the rocks, toward the docks to the south. Toward the cove to the north.

“Oh no,” she whispered.

He started to cry. Tears rolled down her cheeks and they stared at the silent, dead lighthouse and listened to the soft roar of the sea.

Rikers Island Prison

Present Day

“It’s kind of a long story,” Basil starts finally, now that they’re all together in the same room, finally. It’s obvious that they are fidgeting a little more than at least Chess is used to seeing them do, and there’s a quiet tone to the accent, that muddled one that they used when they first started speaking, and that they would use when on the phone with anyone from the Department. “But thanks for waiting.”

“As you both already know— I’m from another world. And another— you— “ they nod at Eve. “Is my mother.” Nevermind she’s not that much older? But really, when did that stop strange children who appear out of nowhere.

Meeting a parent is not a milestone Chess would have allowed to happen this early in a relationship — not that she’s been in anything she’d call a relationship since Miles’ death — but it’s a little different when the parent’s already part of her inner circle, a best friend she’s known for years. That doesn’t make this any less awkward.

In fact, it makes it more so.

Still, when she sees the signs of Basil’s fraying nerves, Chess reaches out to take his hand, her thumb brushing the back of his as she nods quietly. The questions she has are all obvious ones and she trusts he’ll answer them in time. Glancing up at Eve, she wonders idly if Eve saw any of this coming or if she’s just as bewildered and thrown by it as Chess is. She offers a small, crooked smile of something like apology — they haven’t had time to talk about this, and friends dating family members can be an awkward situation for most people. Of course, Eve isn’t most people, and neither is Basil.

There are so many mysteries to unfold in all of this but Eve, as a mother has eyes on the holding of hands.

"A child of Adam and Eve, the audacity why I-" the older but not that much older woman leans back in her chair and drums her fingertips on the table. It's on brand for her to erupt into a cackle and slams her hands on the table. "Don't tell me you're pregnant with twins! I just became a mother, I'm not ready to be a grandmama. Oh no, my grandma's recipes. I still have to learn-"

Eve stops herself. Hm.

"Let's stay on task, shall we dearies?" As if she wasn't the one to that had started to derail. The next moment Eve smiles and nods while eyeing the two.

"I've stolen a new corpse love and in a box you placed your mother in, we have lots of time to hear your story." The younger mother winks and leans on the table.

"Unburden yourself."

“Christ, Mom,” Basil says, closing his eyes with a sigh, before his mother thankfully moves on from that topic. They won’t say she doesn’t need to teach them grandmother’s recipes cause they already know them, because, well— she’s not about to be a grandparent anyway. There are worlds to save and a lot more to worry about right now than— well.

Rubbing their forehead with two fingers, they open their eyes again and look at Chess in apology— “It’s a good thing you already knew mum before this, or I would probably rather be blown into tiny bits right about now.” Meeting the parent was always difficult— especially when your parent happened to be Eve Bloody Mas.

“I shouldn’t exist. The world I was born in is the one we consider the Root world. The original. It was destroyed in a Flood. A Flood that you predicted— one that was stopped in this world, due to changes made by interference from time travel and cross over of people from the Root world. But with me it was— different. I wasn’t born to stop the Flood or save the world or anything. But I was born in the past.”

“Jesus. No,” is all Chess has to say, eyes widening slightly at Eve’s talk of grandchildren. She shakes her head vehemently to emphasize that no even more.When Eve and Basil see that quick dart of her gaze toward the exit, they know from experience her instinct in awkward social or painful personal situations is toggled toward flight.

Still, she stays, brows drawing together as Castle speaks of the Flood and the Root timeline — it’s not as shocking as it might be with a different audience, since both Eve and Chess know people who have fought their way from that world to their own, but it’s still confusing. Chess looks from Basil to Eve, and one brow tics upward in the obvious question of how.

She doesn’t ask it, though. She’ll let Castle unfurl that story at his own pace. She does murmur softly to Eve. “He has a boathouse. It suddenly makes sense.” She looks up at Basil then, her eyes solemn, sad for the struggle that must have been in such a place.

"Excuse me? We may not worship the Lord in this house but we still do not take his name in vain, by the goddess above. Shame on you both!" Eve snickers though and claps her hands together. It's story time now though and after winking towards her friend she gives her child all of the attention.

"Hm. Yes, one of me is dead, the other is pregnant already! That leaves the shiny one and the old one. It had to be the old girl. Just what did you do, self?" Eve looks down at the table and tries to see herself on a surface that isn't necessarily that reflective.

In the past, it makes sense for Eve. She nods dutifully. "And how did we end up in the past Basil?" An eyebrow arches and her head tilts. Eyes scanning their face and then their hair, looking around the agent. "Mmmmm?"

“What do you mean one of you is— “ Basil starts, before he stops himself— no, it doesn’t matter. Other-Eve can be pregnant, even if it is definitely a surprise for him. It seems the DOE doesn’t know everything going on in the other worlds. Or perhaps they never thought to check up on her in whatever world that might be. Maybe they’ll ask about it later. “I never did follow your rules very well,” he admits, with a hint of a grin, but— yes, shame on them. Giving Chess a sheepish smile they nod, yes, the boathouse had a reason.

“Nakamura. He asked a favor of you and you obliged, with the stipulation that he leave you behind in the past. Something you wanted because that was the only place you knew you could have any kind of a future. You’d seen the world fall apart, you knew nothing could stop it— you wanted more time before it happened. You wanted to see the world. So you did. Spent almost my whole life living on boats, never staying in one place longer than a year or so.” Living on boats, made it hard to not live on a boat. That was why Castle had bought a boat when they got here?

“But you prepared us for it, the flood. Along with how you kept warning us the world was going to be destroyed and almost everyone we would ever meet was probably going to die.” Not the best way to raise kids, probably?

But there’s a small hesitation. It was said. Us.

“My sister. Saffron was born two years before me, somewhere around Australia. In 1988. Her father was a reef diver, a solid guy, treated all of us well whenever you steered the boats toward the down under for a visit. He taught us how to scuba dive and surf and snorkel and respect the reef and all that stuff— even taught us how to use an underwater spear gun. Not sure he could have handled you if you stayed longer than a month or two at a time, though.”

That’s said with a grin, a tease, and something more— amused, as they glance toward Chess. Everyone had interesting family stories. Most didn’t involve time travel and being raised to know the world was going to die and there was nothing that could be done to stop it.

“Since when is that a rule? You’re not the boss of me,” Chess exclaims with a laugh, shooting Eve a skeptical look as she suddenly lectures both Basil and herself as if they’re actually children. But she quiets again, trying to hide her amusement when Basil starts a question just to back pedal out of it, like she’s done a few times in conversations with Eve herself.

Her eyes stay on Basil as they speak. One brow lifts at the name Nakamura, and she glances to Eve for context, but she doesn’t interrupt. Her expression is, as it always is, easy to read, shifting from interest to sympathy to worry with the story’s progression. Basil can feel her fingers tighten on theirs, though she responds to that teasing of Eve with a soft huff that’s not quite a laugh. Her dark eyes remain solemn, focused on Basil. She doesn’t realize she’s grown tense herself, though part of her knows this story can’t be a happy one — not if she hasn’t heard the name Saffron before today.

"Ha!!" Cackling at Chess before rubbing her neck.

"A favor for a favor… hmm.. well we were friendly enough." Eve shrugs her shoulders before directing her gaze at Chess, "Time Fairy, a big one. Lots of stepping in doodoo and then unstepping in it. Can cause acute temporal precognitive disassociation from his cursed river hopping. He crosses wires and bounds through timelines like a bunny in heat." A sharp bark of laughter but as Basil's tale continues Eve's eyebrows lower and her mouth pitches downward into a frown. What a way to raise children indeed and while she began to hold herself accountable, "It must have been hard… growing up that way dearie." Something else was said that makes Eve stop cold and turn her head slowly to stare at her child.

"…Saffron..?" The feminine energy she could sometimes feel from Basil, the way they dress. "Two souls… one body. I-" Eve slides off her seat and onto her knees, placing herself in front of Basil and staring intensely into their eyes. "Baby… I knew I felt something. I knew I felt you." Tears begin to fall from her eyes and she grips Basil's knee. "How?"

How were the twins sharing one body? What caused this? Eve could tell she would love none of these answers. She stares into hazel eyes hoping to see a difference, to see her daughter.

"I must have failed you, oh no."

“You— you didn’t fail her,” Basil responds quietly, looking away and toward Chess with a visible grimace. There was definitely something he hadn’t really been quite ready for yet, or maybe he’s afraid that she’ll hear this story and change her mind about— them? Well, he had warned that his story was complicated, but now it seemed—

The tension drains from their body almost instantly, like a wave washing over them. “Do you want me to tell it?” Castle’s voice suddenly says in a different accent, one that’s decidedly calmer and more relaxed, and also that both women recognize slightly. Their accent had been muddled at times, shifting, and sometimes would dip into this voice. It had happened with Eve when she was in captivity the first time. It had happened with Chess when she had been fighting with Basil at the breakfast for dinner when she found out Eve was arrested and being held at Rikers. She had caught him talking to himself a few times, too.

This voice wasn’t Basil.

“He’s both wrong and right, though. You didn’t fail me, but she did. The other you. She failed us both.”

“Saff, please, you said you’d wait until I— “

“You were about to clamp up and we both know it, just let me tell it.”

“I haven’t even got to my da yet.”

They’re arguing like siblings— only apparently, these two happen to be sharing a body— and while they trade arguments out loud with the exact same mouth and voice, their accents and tone changes and there’s even a shift in mannerisms and body language. “I’m sorry, I wasn’t supposed to say anything until he got further along,” the soft Australian voice responds with a sigh, eyes paler, bluer, but the expression still calmer while the greener eyed version of them is definitely stressed and a little panicked.

It seems Basil has some control over the body still because he presses the palms of his hands over his face and bends over, quietly cursing.

It’s a long moment before they click into place, all of those odd moments, leading up to this one, that Chess has spent with Castle. Strange moments she’d just chalked up to quirks and tics that make him him, when really it had been the quirks and tics that had made Castle them. At first her brow lifts as she watches, and finally realization alights in her dark eyes as she stares at his and hers, shifting green to blue and back again.

It isn’t a trick of the light, or some romantic idealization on Chess’ part equating Castle’s mercurial nature with the amount of green or blue she can see at any given moment.

Her breath catches in her throat as she catches on, and she whispers, “You’re both.” It isn’t a question, though she has so many still.

Unlike Saffron, Chess will let Basil tell it at his own pace.

For now, her hand, now empty of his, reaches to touch his shoulder lightly. To let him know she’s still there. Her gaze flits over to Eve, and she reaches with her other hand to clasp the other woman’s. “You’re not responsible for all the other yous,” she says softly.

"Fascinating," Eve says.

Because it was.

Seeing a child of hers talking to themselves was one thing but the situation the two have found themselves is nonetheless insane and Eve is all the more curious how this came to be. "Stop your bickering! Basil, Far di una mosca un elefante. Allow your sister the chance to be heard." Poking at the young man's knee with a finger.

Squeezing Chess' hand with a light grin and shrug, "It's like nonna always said, Non tutte le ciambelle riescono col buco," Lifting her dark brows, "Not all donuts come out with a hole," Some things couldn't be helped. Eve knew she should probably never have children, the risks with her mental state were too much. There had to be a reason the mad old woman took the risk and endangered these two souls. She could be critical of herself later though, right now there was a story.

"Spin your tale," Worry clouds her expression, "Where is your body girl?"

Eve's free hand comes up to caress Saffron's cheek.

At Chess’ understanding, Basil’s shoulders relax visibly and there’s a slow exhale of relief, because, yes, part of him had been worried that it would be too much for someone to understand and it was coming out all wrong. “Yes— we’re both,” they finally continue, deciding to stick to the accentless voice that they often had when they dealt with the DoE. It was more American, but it had tinges of other dialects laced in some of the vowel sounds and pronunciations and word usages anyway. But it was closer to American, at least, and it was the one they used more easily. Their eyes take on a lighter green than usual, like a sea-green.

“We were your kids, so of course we’d turn out strange,” there’s a small laugh from Castle, as they take one hand from each of the women, Chess gets their left hand, Eve the right. “I don’t know,” they answer, together, because, well. “Let me explain. I guess it would be best to start with my ability— Well, Saffron’s.” With this, she starts to speak, that more blue appearance in the eyes glazing over once again. What could have easily been dismissed as a trick of the light was now known to not be.

“The ability you have seen, the Castle— that is not what either of us had in our world before. I was the only one who had manifested. I had manifested fairly young, and it was— not a good ability for a dying world.” There’s sadness on the face they both know, in the eyes, they knew less. “I could absorb the memories of the dead. Proximity seemed to be key, but it wasn’t necessarily physical closeness, but also emotional closeness…”

The left hand holding Chess squeezes tighter suddenly.

“I could do other things with memories, but this was the trick that is important for the story. Because… eleven years ago…” she doesn’t finish.

Because Basil finishes for her, “I died.”

Chess looks amused as Eve falls into that mothering role so easily — for all her eccentricity, she is a nurturer, so Chess is not that surprised to see it happen. “I have no idea what that means,” she whispers, mystified, regarding the donut proverb. The English translation only confuses her more. At least the Italian sounded more dignified.

But her focus is back to Castle — both Basil and Saffron somehow at once. Her hand tightens on the one that takes hers, and she listens, her eyes wide, watching his as they shift from green to blue to greenish-blue.

“Oh, God,” she murmurs when Saffron explains her ability. Her brows draw together, and she looks over at Eve, then back to Castle — to Saffron — her own eyes swimming with tears at the mere thought of what that must be like. “I can’t imagine.”

When Basil speaks that blunt truth, her breath catches in her throat and her fingers tighten their grip again, on each hand, Eve’s and Castle’s. She doesn’t ask what happened — not only because she knows they’ll explain, but she doesn’t trust her voice not to crack, or her chest not to sob if she opens her mouth.

"The Crossing… a memory witch, Saffron." Eve chuckles at her other self's cleverness, a frown follows for there was a darkness, an edge to that gift. "Hmm a reaper can be many things, daughter. The women in are family are cursed with knowledge but it always comes with a price." Her frown deepens.

"Died?" It explained the lack of Saffron being in her own body. Eve's heart begins to break a little in the confusion of what this means exactly for the children. Was she going to lose one or both of them so soon? "…but you lived. Through… each other?" Looking at Chess briefly before she settles down and her shoulders relax. It had seemed that the family curse of tragedy following a Mas at every turn had still not been broken and Eve barely keeps tears from rolling down her cheek.

"I'm so sorry my dears, I'm so sorry I couldn't stop it."

Castle opens their mouth, but stops, focusing on the sight of the tears rolling down Eve’s cheeks— down their mother’s cheek. There’s a slow inhale of surprise, and they blink back tears of their own, as they remember— long ago.

Eleven Years Ago

Flood Timeline

January, 2010

“You knew this was going to happen?” Saffron gasped out through tears that were not hers streaking their way down her cheeks. She could feel the hurt and the betrayal in her chest. The tears were pained, sad, horrified— and she wanted them to be angry. But they weren’t. No matter how much she wanted them to be. Basil’s emotions were enough for both of them, right now, he filled their entirety.

Their mother stood, in front of the small painting. Years old, painted after a dream. It showed a silhouette of a young man in the water, limp, dead, with a shaft of light cutting through from above. The wet curls were the biggest giveaway of who it could have been, the slender form— but the image could have been missed, could have been mistaken. “I dreamed it years ago baby. Never knew when the death beetle would chime, but I knew it would happen.” She sounded tired, old, resigned. This was a future she had seen, one she had accepted, and she did not nearly seem as upset as the lighter-haired woman in front of her. Who had her father’s eyes. “It was what was supposed to be.”

And now Basil’s as well. Flashes of green and blue mixed together, shifted in the light, as she gripped her hands into fists. “Why didn’t you stop it. Why don’t you ever stop it.”

Eve reached up, fingers brushing the young woman’s cheek, drying the tears that weren’t hers, “Because my princess…”


“Sometimes tragedies have to happen for what follows next,” she says quietly, fingers brushing that tear from Eve’s cheek gently as it is said under her breath as if that was an explanation as if that explained something.

The hand drops and Castle looks back at Chess again, trying to offer her a hint of a reassuring smile. “I don’t really remember it very well. Though I think Saffron blocked most of that for me, the memory of dying. I remember how it felt— but based on that alone it’s not really something I want to remember. Pretty sure I drown, though.” The hand that brushed away tears rubs at his neck as if wanting to scratch an itch. Or just fidget. “For almost ten years we lived in Saffron’s body. In Flood. Until the Crossing.”

With her brow furrowed in confusion and a strange feeling of grief, even though Castle — Basil — is right there, Chess doesn’t lift her hands to wipe away the tears that stream out of the corners of her eyes.

She never could play poker, the way she wears her heart on her sleeve and the way her expressions play out on her face like a movie on a drive-thru theater screen. It’s easy to see her anger at this other Eve for not preventing whatever happened to Basil, but that is quickly overshadowed by worry — hurt — for the younger version of the man beside her now.

Her lips twitch into a small, mirroring smile at his attempt to reassure her — he knows she does remember dying, but the fact she’s lived to remember it is a gift he gave her before he even knew her.

The anger towards herself is evident but Eve leans back and considers, watching the tear stricken face of Castle, "Sounds like me." Sucking her teeth and shaking her head before she envelopes them in an embrace, "To force that on my own?! I hate that for you many dears. I'm so, so sorry. Placing that sort of burden on you." To sacrifice her own blood for…

"At least I know you were raised to share." A small smile but Eve's mind is on what could have provoked this. "The energy gathered for such a feat as the Crossing is massive, who knows how that interacted with your unique position."

There's a crack of cynical laughter, "Would you believe me if I told you that surviving death actually runs in our family?" Tears threaten to spill down the older woman's face but she keeps it together. She was a mother now, mothers were strong for their children. Yes that was what she knew of motherhood, she could do this and succeed where her older self failed.

"What did I say? Anything about what comes that your sacrifice was needed?" Eve undoubtedly knows the answer to that question already but she still tries. "A riddle, a rhyme, a word. Did I tap anything?" Her head tilts, trying to think of what must have happened.

“Considering the last time you died, we literally killed you?” Castle says with a raised eyebrow, because, well, they had done the injection and held her while she died, and waited for her to leave her body and enter the new one. They had stood there and watched her be reborn. They had taken responsibility for that, even if he won’t admit that she had done most of it. She often did anything that required them to get their hands dirty. Or that required them to lock down their emotions. She was just better at it than he was.

Most of the time.

But there were times when Basil had his moments. This was not exactly one of them, though, as they wiped away tears that still fell, because the memories made him sad. “But yeah, I think defying death runs in the family a little. And you did give us some clues. You sent us to live on the Ark. Though we didn’t really know that at the time. You were subtle about it. But you also told us that when the time came we had to follow the light.”

The light.

A vague reference, but one that, from all appearances, they had figured out, or thought they had.

“Living in the Ark was hard, especially near the end. So many people were dying. Neither of us remembers much of the trip down to the lower levels, because of the blur of other people’s last moments flooding our head. But we do remember the light, and we remember following it finally into the portal. When we came out the other side, finally…”

Nine Days After The Crossing

Eastern Seaboard, New England

January 22, 2019

The first thing they remember seeing when they opened their eyes was the old abandoned lighthouse on the cliffs.

It sat stark against a green sky that covered the entire horizon. The light hadn’t been lit in years, and probably would never be again, but once it had guided people to safety and helped warn them of rocks to come. He had seen the lighthouse in paintings so many times. They had seen it in nightmares many more times after.

He sat up, the pain wracking her head, an echo, a memory, not her own. They weren’t her memories or her pain, and they were fading as if they were never there.

They had been someone else’s. Many someone else’s.

And they were fading, like dreams after waking.

He blinked. Green eyes shifted toward the water, water that was too still, that held against the beach as if stopped. Then down to the docks in the south, that looked hazy and green, to the cove in the north, barely visible through the fog.

They looked down.

This time, she was the one who cried, for all the memories that slipped away into nothingness.

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