lydia_icon.gif samuel_icon.gif

Scene Title Toll
Synopsis With Arnold becoming weaker before the great work can really begin, Samuel asks Lydia to find him the solution.
Date September 15, 2010

Ichihara Bookstore

This time, there are books, as gifts, souvenirs. First edition copies, in supremely good conditions; a Plath story, a text book on astronomy and another on the Greek gods and yet another on the Japanese Edo period, bits and pieces that Samuel might have thought would make fitting editions to the shelves of Ichihara. They sit aside, for now, in the currently empty bookstore.

"I found one of the young men you showed me," Samuel is saying, from where he leans against the desk of the bookstore, his sleeves rolled back from his wrists and making a distinct figure in ordinary, faded denim and the more intricate stitches of a waistcoat making patterns of some sort of generically Eastern influence, with a flatly burgundy satin backing, as if they were back in showbusiness already. If he doesn't have to dress like every body else, he typically does not. "Pericles. Kid's got a brain in his head, but I think he could stand to think a little more with his heart."

He's mixing ink, the long, wooden needle already in hand. "I invited him to come by here. I thought perhaps you might be able to assist him in that endeavor. You don't mind, do you?"

Golden locks have already been moved from her back, leaving it bare, prepped for the ink and whatever it might have to say. "Pericles," Lydia repeats evenly as a palm runs over her hair, smoothing it down, and lowering any static-y strays. "It would be my pleasure to help any way I can. Everyone has desires, even if they suppress them, they're there." There's a brief pause before she tacks on, "You know I'd do anything for our family. And emotions are my specialty." There's another distinct pause, filled only with a loud MEOW uttered by the white cat who considers this residence his first and foremost. "Would he make a good cousin?" the question is punctuated with a raise of her eyebrow.

The blanket tucked underneath her arms remains securely in place and hugged a little closer to her body. Thoughtfully, her chin drops, a glance given to the red blanket around the front of her body, quiet contemplation winning. She turns to face Samuel even as he mixes, "Kaylee spoke to me. She's disappearing again."

There's the sound of rustling paper, and then the hiss of cardboard sliding against the wooden counter top. Out Lydia's periphery, she'll see Samuel's hand slide over the plain artist's notepad that Samuel has taken to document the faces she shows up, and perhaps familiar, Perry's face is etched in his ink on the white surface. "He's one've us," he confirms, the tip of his index finger curving down the length of drawn jaw. "Time will tell, I think, if he'll welcome the family as much as we'd welcome him. But he knows his task."

Yielding the book, Lydia will sense more than hear Samuel come to step behind her, and feel when he brushes away a few errant, spiderweb-fine strands of blonde from the clearing of her tattooed back. "Did she tell you the nature of her errand?" he asks, in the tone of a man who doesn't have his hopes up.

Her fingers lace together as she pulls her shoulders back, straightening her spin and closing her eyes gently. She inhales a slow soothing breath while she allows a smile to edge her lips. "Everyone wants to belong," she states simply although there's a confidence in her tone. "I've seen a lot of people's desires; it's nearly universal. Giving him a place for that, a sense of fitting it, that will work its magic."

Her eyes flutter open at the notion of Kaylee. "No. She said nothing aside from the fact her gentleman may or may not be going with her." Her eyebrows knit together, "She was simultaneously elated and mildly discontent; not one thing or another, somewhere caught between the two. I didn't need my ability to know that."

There's a gravel sound of agreement at the back of Samuel's throat, whether to that first thing or the second, the creak of floorboards beneath boots so aged that they don't make a sound anymore, too much give in their creasing seams, soles worn to grey. "Keep watching her," is his only instruction. Hold, in other words, and see what she does next. "See how well she confides in you." His fingertips make four points of contact on Lydia's back, and she can probably at least sense the hovering tip of the needle.

"Today, 'm lookin' for someone for Arnold. His ability— it takes its toll, as it always has, and we need somethin' to shake its grip. If there's anything in the world, past or present, I have hopes you might be able to see what's needed."

"Of course," Lydia soothes gently with a faint curl of her lips. A slow cleansing breath relaxes her body, even with the anticipation of the needle. Her head turns to glance at Samuel in her periphery, the profile of her face posed more like an artist's model rather than a highly advanced compass.

There's an oddness as her lips twitch, pulling her features upwards. Concern. Even as she fights to keep her face neutral the prospect of failure in all of this is both unsettling and saddening, adding to the weight that's worn rather naturally on the painted lady in bittersweet melancholy. She shifts on the stool, facing forward again as her eyes drift closed. "I will help any way I can." She settles in her seat, clearing her thoughts and letting her mind drift where her ability would have it reflect.

Samuel's eyes slide shut, in some effort to push all his own niggling concerns aside, recalling the hand-shaking fatigue he'd witnessed after they'd sent Wiley to Georgia, the long, deep sleep that came soon after out of which Samuel could barely rouse him. It's not a difficult thing to allow to overtake every other ambition and desire, some genuine despair for one of his oldest friends, and the anxiety of what will happen when he goes and takes his power with him. All this, Lydia can feel and sense.

And then the nudge of needle.

Ink spills out across smooth flesh, rippling like water and watched by Samuel as he retracts the implement and steps back. For a moment, the empty space that denotes pale locks, blondeness, the shape of a woman's face, tugs at a completely different heart string of empathy, but the details resolve themselves into a woman younger than the ones he knows, and he averts his attention while it completes. Though the woman is a stranger to him, she is not to the empath currently bringing up her face. Details extend, a bar top, a rag in her hand, blonde hair caught back in a ponytail and an apron hugging her slender body.

Samuel's emotions press upon Lydia's consciousness, the serenity in her expression creeping into tension rather than its general sadness. She presses her lips together, the strain tightening her eyelids as her hands drop to her sides. Despair is an old friend of hers, but on Samuel it adds to her own discontent. Distraction wins momentarily, leaving tension in her muscles at the influence of the needle along with surprise at its nudge, like she'd forgotten why she's sitting here in the first place.

After the face takes its form, she hmmms quietly. "I've met her; she came here once with a friend — she was friendly, open. He didn't like tarot and reprimanded her for getting a reading from the last owner…" Finally she actually shares what Samuel needs to know, "Abby Beauchamp. You'll find her in April 2009 at Old Lucy's in New York City. She's… warm. At least she seemed to be when she was here. There's an odd genuineness about her. I found it refreshing. Unusual. But refreshing."

His journal is taken back, leaning, now, against the counter once more, and allowing ink to dance across a new page, replicate the image seen in Lydia's flesh before it can go away, a near perfect likeness. "A bar," Samuel comments, edging his fingernail along the drawn countertop. "A suppose a stiff drink, if nothing else, wouldn't be so out've order." He nudges the papers closed, though not before thumbing against them to fan in a whisper of shifting paper, watching the collected faces go by. "I don't think I'll be bringin' much back from 2009 that you cannae get from today.

"'cept a better cellphone, I suppose. But hopefully a healthier friend will do fine." He doesn't thank her, this time, but gratitude curls his words, warms them.

Lydia combs her fingers through her hair before allowing it to cascade down her back again, concealing the the vineyard image across it. She tilts her head slowly as she turns on the stool to face him, a single hand reaches out towards his to squeeze it, "Arnold will be okay. This is what you need."

She shoots him a flicker of a smile, slightly forced, but confident in what they need and what her ability has deemed necessary. Her dark eyes unyielding in her support and anchoring the smile — grounding it. "And I need nothing. Just both of you back. Take care, Samuel. And be careful."

His hand comes up to touch her chin, index finger curled beneath it to lift her face up a little more, and the avid study she suddenly receives is a little more direct than the smiles and glances and amicable touches that has been she and Samuel's renewed friendship since he was brought back from the dead. The lines in his face seem carved there, stare flinty as it shifts from one of her eyes to the other, the planes and lines of her own expression, before a smaller smile breaks at the corner of his mouth.

The pad of his thumb swoops down the elegant line of her jaw, meant to be reassuring. He'll be careful. "I'll see you soon," is all he says, after a hesitation where he might have said something else, but he's backing up now, picking up a suede jacket of earthy brown as he goes, sleeve flicking with the motion of it.

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