Unknown And Unseen


gillian_icon.gif justin_icon.gif squeaks_icon.gif

Scene Title Unknown and Unseen
Synopsis Squeaks hangs around the library late to ask a question, and gets an answer she wasn't expecting as well as a new mystery to follow.
Date July 25, 2018

Eric Doyle Memorial Children's Library

A restored, 19th-century carriage house, this library rests between two much larger buildings. Opened in March of 2018, this Library serves the public. This 2,600 square foot building acts as a learning space for the youth of the New York Safe Zone. The services and books within catering primarily to children and young adults, with classes and clubs to enrich and entertain.

The building is named in honor of Eric Doyle, a Ferryman, who sacrificed his life in a daring raid on the Cambridge Institute facility, where dozens of children were being held.

In the past, there'd be hundreds streetlights glowing furiously once the sky got dark enough that people would need streetlights. But in the present, there aren't as many, because the electricity that powers the Safe Zone isn't what it used to be. But there's some artificial light coming into the library through the windows, and little bit of natural light still in the sky. It's orangey-colored, but it's still light.

With it being evening and almost closing time, there aren't a whole lot of people still around. And those that haven't left are pretty much finished with whatever they were doing — reading probably, but some few might have been at one of the classes — and preparing to leave for the night. Books are being returned or checked out, last notes written, that sort of thing.

Except for one.

Squeaks, a fairly regular face in the library, isn't making any effort to clean up and leave. She's been in the building most of the day, taking up a chair at one table or in a corner while engaged in a book. Or peeking with one eye into one or two of the classrooms, but always vanishing before attention can be brought to her. But now, with everything preparing to shut down, she's found a chair and another book to busy herself with.

There are a handful of people still in the cool safety of the library. After all it's one of the few places with actual climate control that maintains a cool 72 degrees at most times, keeping out the summer heat and humidity. It's necessary for the books, but also because, well, people like to be a comfortable tempature. There's even blankets available for those who run a little warmer than most.

But then there's also the workers. One in particular who, while she doesn't work here every day, she works most days. Gillian Childs. She even has a small private office in the library to do work away from home and the other branches. She had spent most of the day inside there, doing paper work and making writing letters on her computer.

The presense of internet is also a huge advantage. Internet and cellphone service. There's one teenage boy who's spending most of the day not attending classes or reading books, but playing around with a small tablet in the reading room.

Stepping out of her office, the adult spots a young girl in one of the chairs, with her nose in a book. Much as she had seen her every other time she'd come out of her office throughout the day. Though often in a different location. Moving toward her, she casts a small shadow across the page as a forwarning before she speaks, "What are you reading?"

Usually, at least lately, it's the non-fiction sections that Squeaks has been visiting. Even today there's been a scattering of books that, while still science fiction, are still closer to reference than the book she has now. The dust cover gives little away, except that it's probably found far from anything a typical teenage girl might find interesting. The pages tell even less, except it has a lot of words in small, neat print.

The girl goes very still when the shadow covers her page and doesn't leave, people pass by a lot and take their shadows with them, but this one is staying. Then, when Gillian speaks, Squeaks' eyes widen a little and lift from the page and look up at her. Carefully, like maybe she thinks she might be in trouble, she tilts the book so that the cover can be seen easily. Lord of the Flies. "This one looked good," she explains.

"Well, it is a classic," Gillian has to admit, even if it's not one of her favorites. Most schools would have made her read it by now, so reading it on her own would probably at least be more enjoyable than a book someone is forced to read. "But if you want any recommendations of what to read after I can probably give you some." To be fair she could probably spend all day recommending books to the young girl if she let her…

So she stops there, grabbing a nearby chair and sliding it a little closer so that she can sit down in it. She looks tired, but not in a hurry to send the girl away, especially since she knows a little of her current situation. She imagines the library is a far more confortable setting. "How have you been since we saw each other last?"

If ever there's a way to become her bestest best friend, it's through books. For just an instant, Squeaks forgets to be cautious and begins nodding. She's always looking for things to read. "It's okay so far. My favorites are adventures. Like Alice in Wonderland. Or Treasure Island. But I read everything." Given the chance, she'd probably live in the library for a couple of days just to read all the books.

The book is slowly closed when Gillian takes a seat, but it's not given up. The girl's arms fold over the cover all protectively, but it's held like it might keep her safe instead. "Okay I guess," she answers, casting a side-eyed look in the woman's direction. "I eat three times a day and I have a place to sleep and sometimes I go to work."

"And work. Well, I supposed I was doing some work when I was your age too." Gillian has to grin, remembering how long ago it seemed, and how it also seemed like yesterday. A lifetime ago and not, all at the same time. So much had happened that the last ten years felt like three lifetimes— and there were even more before that to be this young girl's age. Things had been so different back then, too.

"I did clerk work. At a store." Her father's store, but it had been a big experience for her. "You spend enough time here I'm surprised you didn't ask to work here." That last is a joke, but it's a truthful one. They would have needed more paperwork, probably, special permissions, but if anyone could get it, she thinks she could.

"I'll recommend some books for you to check out." Or read here, even. "I always loved adventures too, and there's a bunch of old classics that are still good."

"Sometimes." It's said again, because there's all those things that go with kids working. "I didn't think about here." Squeaks' shoulders pop up in a shrug, she really didn't think to ask at the library for work. "It's not all the way real yet, because… they have to look into things. Because I'm a kid. But I'm doing stuff. Courier…ier-ing, mostly. Maybe more, when I'm older."

The toes of the girl's shoes tap together lightly, and she shoots a quick look at some stacks of books. "I'll read anything. Everything and anything. It's how I learn things."

The book she's been clutching is carefully set on her lap. Her feet keep right on tapping, but the sound is light and not really obnoxious. "Is it like really real school here," she asks, sounding all casual with her question. But she angles a look back to Gillian, without turning to face her. "I mean… can just anyone show up sometimes for things or is it all day all the time?"

Yes, Gillian imagines there's a lot of paperwork with a child who doesn't have an official guardian. Usually parent permission would be needed, but how does someone with no state assigned or parental guardian going to do that? She'll have to talk to the Council about that, because— it's going to be a problem at some point. "It's not a full school. Mostly just teaching reading and writing and languages— we have some Spanish classes and English, as well as ASL, which I sit in on sometimes myself."

For Brynn. Because while she had learned some during the time that Emily and Brynn were both living among the Lighthouse Kids, she hadn't learned nearly as much as the ones who stayed…

After all she'd left and fought in a war.

"But no, it's not a full school. We don't teach math or science. Mostly just how to read, because there's a lot of kids who didn't grow up with your appreciation for books and never properly learned."

However… "There are sometimes other classes, more private tutoring, I teach some too, though mostly I teach abilities and…" she pauses, tilting her head to the side, looking at something that seems to be at her, but her focus doesn't seem correct.

"Oh." Not really real school, and now no one can say that she didn't ask. The girl already knows how to read and write, and she's been learning sign language for a while now, from Lance and Brynn and Joe. "I just wondered," she starts to explain. Her head tilts and her eyes angle upward to look at Gillian, just becoming aware of the pause from her.

Twisting in her seat, Squeaks looks behind her first. Maybe there's someone back there trying to get attention? But that doesn't seem right, so after only a couple of seconds, she turns around again and looks at Gillian again. A little worried now, since seeing things that no one else can see is never good, she scrunches in her seat to catch the woman's gaze with her own. "Please don't start fake drowning or something," she says nervously.

"Oh, sorry." Gillian responds when she realizes what she was doing. She knows exactly what the girl's referring to, with the last time they had spent time together involving an evolved ability going haywire. The only reason she had known it had been Eve's ability and not just her crazy had been because of her own ability, which is also why…

"You know you're Evolved, right?" She asks, wondering if she had ever gotten tested, or anything. "I was going to add how I teach classes specifically on how to use abilities sometimes, usually so that people can get a COM designation so they can use their ability for work— that's only for people eighteen and older, though, but I have taught some kids." She was, after all, attempting to teach Hailey.

Though she wasn't technically a kid. Even if Gillian would always picture the original Lighthouse Kids as children. "I've been teaching Justin, since he got back to the Safe Zone," she nods toward the young teen on his tablet not too far away, though not loud enough that he looks over.

Sighing with relief, Squeaks sits back. Good thing there's no fake drowning happening, because she's not sure how to help this time if there was. There'd probably be some digging in Gillian's pockets for a cell phone to call for help. So it's real good when Gillian talks again.

The question is almost a surprise. How do people know these things? Squeaks' toes tap tap tap again, but she nods and shoots a look toward the kid sitting off by himself. "A weird old guy in the ruins said I was. Actually, he said him and Joe and me were children of the eclipse, but Joe says that's the same thing. But I don't want to get stabbed with needles and I can't do anything different."

Children of the Eclipse. That's an interesting way to say it. "I haven't heard that one, but it's better than some names for it." Gillian responds. She still uses 'Evolved' out of habit, even if SLC-E is far more politically correct these days and she tries to use it when she's talking to someone on a more professional manner— but even then she slips sometimes.

"I think you've manifested— at least somewhat," she explains after a few moments, tilting her head. "I can— cause abilities to fluctuate in energy level and I see those who are like us as if they have this little… core of light deep down. Like a little glowing ball. But those who aren't manifested it— feels different?" She shakes her head.

How can she explain this. "I can't tell what you do, but I could possibly make it stronger for a moment, or weaker, and see if you notice any differences."

Whatever worse words there are to describe those with abilities, Squeaks couldn't say. Probably one of the few benefits she's had growing up the as she did. "We just call them slice," she explains with a little shrug. As for Children of the Eclipse, well she remembers Zhao talked a lot but didn't tell them much. And it sounded a lot like riddles anyway. And at least being told by someone else means it must be true.

As Gillian explains things, the tapping toes slow to a stop, and Squeaks even looks up. Manifested? Her head tilts a little, doubt and confusion all over her face. "I don't think so?" It's definitely a question, because that's how you answer statements from people who probably know more than you do. "I never did anything before. Or now?"

It doesn't seem to come a surprise that she seems in denial. "Some abilities are really subtle. They don't… show up like fire shooting out of your hands for everyone. I mean at first we just thought Hailey was good with animals, until we realized it was her ability." To sense how animals felt. The empathic bonds she could make with them. How quickly she had been able to teach bond with Chandra when he's been so aloof and in fact turn him around from his aloofness to one of the most people friendly animals.

"Then there's abilities like mine, who don't do anything for me, but can affect other people's. It took me a while to realize I was doing something, and I was always doing something." She hadn't been able to turn her ability off— she still can't. She just holds it in, so she doesn't bleed out energy anymore.

"Hailey can talk to animals," Squeaks says quietly. Before she hadn't really gotten what that meant, even though the older teens had explained it had something to do with being slice. She figured it was more like Pippi Longstocking and left it at that. But for herself… "But I did something," she says, decisive even though she's still trying to process what that means exactly.

She pulls in a deep breath and holds it. It doesn't really help with thinking, but it's something different to concentrate on for a few seconds. Like the toe tapping. "But then what do I do," she asks finally, after blowing out that breath.

"You have done something, at least— or you're still doing something. You could have enhanced reflexes or something. I have a feeling the easiest way to find out would be to go see Julie…" Gillian tilts her head a little. It would be the quickest and easiest way to figure it out, at least. But she wondered if… "Would you mind if I tried something?"

If not, then they could always just go meet Julie. It would be the safest and likely most direct way to know for sure what it was the girl could do.

Years ago she might not have even asked. But things had changed.

Still doing… The idea that she could still be doing something is almost as worrying as doing something without knowing she's doing something. Squeaks very carefully, slowly moves the book from her lap to the floor beneath her chair. It might be safer there. And even though she stays in her seat, she looks like she wants to be moving. Her toes have started tapping together again and she twists to look behind again. Because maybe there's answers back there, or something.

"Will it hurt," she asks, turning back to face Gillian. "I mean…" What does she mean? She doesn't really want to meet a new grown-up if there's things happening she doesn't even know about. And she trusts Gillian. Mostly. "I guess you can?"

"It— probably won't, but if it starts hurting or doing anything weird we can immediately stop," Gillian offers, reaching out her hand toward the young girl, as if physical contact were necessary. It isn't, but she still reaches out, in case the teen wants to hold on to something while it happens.

Taking in a slow breath, she focuses on that little hum of energy that she can see within her. Underneath everything. Then she starts to carefully unravel the knot that she always has in the back of her head, like an invisible cloth tied around her own little spark of energy. It starts to leak out almost as soon as she does, though she directs it only in one direction, a trinkle at first.

And for the moment Squeaks doesn't feel anything.

Even though she's beginning to understand that sometimes physical contact is necessary, Squeaks is still reluctant to participate most of the time. So when the hand is offered, she looks at it to start. Hands, she'd learned a long time ago, can be dangerous. But she's also learned, more recently, that she can probably trust Gillian. So she first touches the hand with a finger, then sets her whole hand in the other.

And then she waits, feet pressing against each other and into the floor with anticipation. But when nothing happens…

"Maybe I didn't," Squeaks says quietly, and worried.

Nothing happened.

Until she spoke, quietly as it was. That soft sound, which was intended to be a whisper, didn't actually sound that way to her. It sounded louder than she'd intended. Squeaks knows the library pretty well, having been in it all day, but as she listens to her own worried voice she notices something she hadn't before. Little things suddenly stood out to her. The way the bookshelves bent. The texture of the ceiling— had she even noticed it had a texture to it.

Gillian's eyes have a soft glow behind them, a light violet tinge, a tinge that also surrounds their hands where they're touching. That glow starts to fade as she looks disappointed, as she does not sense any of these changes herself.

If she weren't already on edge and expecting the worst, she probably would have brushed off the strangeness as a trick from someone else. Squeaks, after a pause, was about to say something more, repeat her thoughts that she probably didn't do anything. But the differences of all the things interrupted that thought.

The girl's head swivels and with wide, wide eyes she tries to take in the whole library, as much of it as she can see, all at once. "Wait." It's louder, maybe triggered by the fading glow, something she's only kind of noticed. It's at least in part done in curiosity, because it's followed closely with a nervously half-yelled, "Something happened!"

Something did happen. As she looks around there's more details that she hadn't noticed before. There's a shelf in one of the tables that had been painted over and nearly sealed, but there were holes where the seams had once been. The hollowed out area wasn't empty.

She couldn't see it, per say, but somehow she could feel it— if she closed her eyes maybe she could see it better. It felt as if there was something inside that shelf, from the way the sound was bouncing around back to her.

In the meantime, Gillian took the cue that something was happening and loosened that knot again, allowing more energy to flow from her into the teen. It helped sharpen the sensation.

“I’m not on drugs.” It’s a perfectly valid statement, since she would know if there were drugs involved. This is too really real to be drugs, she’s pretty sure. The statement is fast followed by her twisting around and kneeling in her chair. With one hand, Squeaks grasps the back of it for balance, the other still just lightly touching Gillian’s, and she just stares.

It’s a lot to take in, and even more to try to process all at once. So many details in everything it’s overwhelming, and strangely exciting.

Her attention passes over the table with its hollowed out middle a couple of times, lost in all the little details of everything else. But the strangeness of it not being actually solid does finally catch when her gaze sweeps over it again. “Wait…”

Hopping off from the chair, she takes a couple of steps toward it then stops with just fingertips touching Gillian’s hand. Her head tilts, like maybe turning an ear to it will help better. “There’s a thing…?” Squeaks’ tone actually questions what she’s registering, just as much as it does investigating. Permission is asked with a nervously eager look; it would be pretty rude to just break open tables that used to be hollow.

The glowing has stopped, but that doesn’t mean Squeaks stops sensing things she hadn’t a moment before. It isn’t that Gillian’s ability had made hers manifest, really, it just made it so strong she could no longer dismiss it. “Justin, could you come over here a minute,” the older woman calls out toward the teen, who immediately puts down his tablet and walks over. “I was planning to introduce the two of you eventually— he’s one of the old Lighthouse Kids, like Lance, Hailey, Joe and Brynn.” The teen looked clean cut, with very dark skin and very different, physically from Lance and Hailey, for sure.

“Is this the one who kept checking out city maps?” he teases with a shy smile. He’s about the same age as Lance and Joe, but has a shyness about him that neither Joe or Lance had.

“Yes, this is Squeaks. She’s been hanging around with the Lighthouse Kids.” And five or six years ago, she would have been one of them by now, if she wasn’t considered one already. “Is there something weird about the table?” With a strong teen on hand they could probably get into it without much trouble.

Attention swivels back to the table when that glowing goes away. Half crouching, like that's going to help her see better with her head all tipped to one side, Squeaks stares hard at the table with its invisible hollow spot. "It's there," she says again, quietly but way more sure of it now. She could probably find a way to pry into the table… but then that boy is being called over and Gillian is talking to her again.

She straightens almost immediately, eyes darting from Gillian to Justin and back again. Her shoulders bounce up with a quick shrug at the tease, not mad about it just not sure. "I stay with them," she explains, leaning a little closer to Gillian as she says it even though she's looking at Justin again. The question about the table has her nodding next. "Yes, it's there."

"Well, let's not destroy it— let me go get the tool box." Gillian responds, smiling gently toward the young teen as she gets to her feet and goes toward the door to the basement, which would of course be the most likely place a toolbox would be kept in a library. As it's close to closing time, the other librarian on duty is showing the few people who remain out to lock up, but she nods to Gillian when she says something and doesn't come to bother the teen kneeling in front of the table or the young man next to her.

"Are they doing good? I haven't had a chance to stop in and visit them yet, but I haven't been in town long. The only one I've seen so far is Juniper." He kneels down as well, looking toward the table with a tilt of his head. "Gillian wanted me to meet you cause of your interest in maps. She said you proposed mapping out the sewers— showed me some pictures of the map you made even. It looked really good."

With the grown-ups not nearby, Squeaks picks and pokes at the side of the table where she remembers that opening being. There's no good place to get her fingers into it, not that she tries very hard because something to pry with would be better, but patience only works so long for some things. Maybe she can get it loose for when the tools show up.

The boy isn't forgotten, but with her attention on the table she only spares the occasional side-eye for him. Until he speaks, that draws a cautiously curious look. "Lance is on the radio and Joe does different jobs all the time," she answers, "and Brynn works at the tattoo place." Which she believes means they're doing good. Squeaks sits back from the table, leaving the sealed opening alone. "The important city people didn't like it. But I did it anyway. I have a big map made — Brynn helped because she can draw really good, she's an artist — but the big map shows a lot of the Underneath."

"Yeah, grown ups can be like that," Justin responds with a laugh as he tilts his head and looks at the table. He can't see the painted over slit, but the more Squeaks looks for it the more she can feel it. Whatever it was she'd seen remained, it just wasn't quite strong enough to get inside the small holes in the table anymore. But it was definitely enough she could find them, even if she can't get her fingers into the seams.

"They think kids need protecting, adult guidance, all that. But Gillian knew you were probably going to just make the map anyway," his smile is amused. "It's one of the reasons she wanted us to meet. She told me to stick around and get her if it looked like you were getting ready to leave." He had been hanging somewhat close to her most of the day, even if he seemed preoccupied with whatever was on his tablet.

"They had no plans about the food or any ideas what's hiding," Squeaks adds. "Just talking, talking, worrying about what to do but no ideas." She shakes her head, her annoyance at the night of the council meeting revisited but not kept. It's over, and she does what she does even if the grown-ups she knows don't like it. She's pretty self reliant like that.

If she'd noticed him hanging around the library all day like she was, it was probably just a thing she took as normal. But what makes Squeaks squint a little is Justin saying Gillian wanted them to meet. "How come? Do you like maps? Or need maps?"

"I'm sure they had plans, adults rarely share everything they are doing with the public," Justin responds with a shrug, though he hadn't been at the meeting so doesn't know too much. He just knows what Gillian had been writing to him about when he contacted her about help with transferring colleges.

"I started college two years ago at KU, but I'm transferring here. My major is in Environmental Geography. Which is basically a fancy way of saying I want to actually make maps and stuff. My ability makes me a walking GPS, so it helps a lot. I'm going to do some mapping projects for the Safe Zone once Gillian helps me get a COM ranking. She thought you could help me out with that, as a unofficial consultant." Stress on the unofficial part. But at least he's not an adult.

"They don't have plans." Squeaks is pretty sure of that. All the promises that they were doing something about the food problem, but not saying what that something was. She might be a kid, but she understands what isn't being said. She stares at the covered up hole while Justin explains things a little better. Her mouth twists toward one side as she considers the table. If she had a knife… maybe she can find one or something, not that it would help now.

But that thought is abandoned and she looks up at Justin. "What kind of help," Squeaks asks. She could lend him some of her map copies… "What's a COM ranking? Gillian talked about that before too. She teaches people so they can have that for working."

"It basically allows you to use your SLC-E ability for jobs and get paid for it." Justin responds with a grin, "So it would allow me to go around with my human GPS and fix the old maps. For zoning purposes. I'm going to see if I can get an internship at Yamagato, but right now she wants me to help plan out the location of the horse ranch and urban farm they're wanting to build." Cause they do have plans, they're just long term ones in this case.

A few moments later, there's Gillian. "And I thought you could help him get the sewer maps updated too," they have urban planners and Yamagato doing that, too, but since she knew the girl would be doing it anyway, she wanted someone with her that was older, but not old? And as a fellow Lighthouse Kid he might have had a better chance of keeping an eye on her. She kneels down next to Squeaks, letting the toolbox drop to the floor as she pulls it open. "Maybe on these can help."

"Like extra pay?" That would be a reason to figure out how to get this rank. Squeaks could use extra pay, and Raytech could probably use… whatever it is she's doing. Once they figure out that whole paperwork thing. And if she wants to use it. "Horse ranch?" She remembers that being talked about too, at that meeting.

Blue eyes angle up when Gillian returns, and Squeaks' hands are carefully not near the table. She wasn't picking at it — very much. "The Underneath? Well…" She looks between Gillian and Justin, really thinking about the request. It must be important, somehow. "Well. If we're going into the Underneath, you need to listen. Because some places are really dangerous." She would know, first hand.

After looking at Justin long enough to make sure he understands her, Squeaks finally looks at the toolbox. A vaguely nervous energy gives a shadow to the look that darts toward Gillian, but she pokes at the tools until she finds a flat-headed screwdriver. That should work! But even as she touches it to the side of the table and begins trying to work it into the painted over seam, that nervousness grows.

"You have to be eighteen to get one, but yeah, getting paid to use my ability will at least be useful." Eighteen technically means adult, but considering most the 'kids' she spends time with are also eighteen, it may not seem quite as adult. "It's dumb, but I'm sure they have their reasons. Not wanting kids with abilities being exploited, that sort of thing." Justin shrugs, watching as she fiddles with the seam that he can now see.

"I'd rather he just compare the old sewer maps to your maps, Squeaks, cause you're right, it's dangerous down there." Especially considering what she's heard about the rats. Even if they're not making it public, yet, she still heard enough.

Enough to be concerned.

"But the two of you could also work on maps for the undeveloped areas of the Safe Zone. Like Park Place. A lot of it needs work." It’s overgrown, few buildings were kept up.

It doesn't take too much for Squeaks to get the flat head into the seam, but it scratches up the paint a bit as she pries it open. The drawer slides out, and at the bottom of it is exactly what she sensed. A book, of some kind, taped to the bottom of the old drawer.

"Really dangerous." Squeaks' reply is a little distracted. She bites down on her bottom lip while wiggling and making small adjustments with the screwdriver. "There's rats…" But what about those rats isn't said. "I can show you my maps. I used the new ones to help with the old ones." Her side of the conversation remains sort of distant, with her focus on the table. But she'll share her information.

Once the drawer gives way enough, she sets the screw driver aside and uses her fingers to pull it open. "I knew it." Squeaks sits up on her knees and works the drawer out all the way. "There's a thing! This!" This becomes the book that's pulled out, tape and all.

Bound in dark reddish brown leather with straps wrapped around it where the tape isn’t holding it in place, the book is obviously not a normal book to be found in a library. The leather is etched with an intricate floral pattern, and the pages within seem thick enough to have well over a hundred pages. It’s small enough to fit in a pocket, a little longer than her hand.

“Well, that’s interesting. Now I’m wondering where we got this piece of furniture… A lot of what we had here was donated.” Or found and restored from during the war, but this book is obviously not one published and printed. Gillian fights the urge to take it, looking at the young teen and then making the decision. “You found it, it’s yours. If you want it.”

For a solid minute, the others might not exist in her world once Squeaks has the book in her hands. She eases the strips of tape from the cover and returns those to the drawer, but the book she examines with fingers as much as eyes. "Primal," she whispers, with fingers tracing the design on the cover. When Gillian speaks, she looks up like she's suddenly remembering that there's others with her, and she turns the book over so both Gillian and Justin can see the cover.

"Where…" the girl begins as an echo, still staring at the cover. There could be answers inside. She starts to offer the book to Gillian, a bit reluctant to give up such a treasure, but the decisiveness of the woman's words have her looking up with wide eyes and shy surprise. "For reals? This… really? I… thank you."

Primal. Gillian still remembers when the kids started to say that, and she knew exactly where they'd gotten it. After all Lene said it quite often too. It had come from that future. "Yeah, you can keep it. No one would have known it was there without you." She's not sure how the girl knew, but she figured it was something she could tell her about later.

"It's getting late. You can come back later and we can look over it together, or you can look over it on your own." Though she hopes it's not some racy journal left behind by a porn star or something— but this kid has lived on the streets so she imagines she's seen and heard many things not suitable for her ears. “And you too, Justin. You need your sleep as well.”

The older teen gives his former guardian an exasperated glance, but then nods. “We can always meet up here later if you wanted to help me, Squeaks,” he adds, before going to reclaim his tablet and other belongings so that he could go home too.

"If it looks like anything dangerous I'll trust you to seek help with it." Gillian adds. But how bad could it be? It looked like the journal a teenager might keep. Though she had no idea how old it might be.

If it weren’t late, if the library weren’t closed, Squeaks would probably stay to start pouring over the book. Even alone, and even if there were the smallest, teeniest of chances that she’d be allowed to stay even after everyone else had left and gone home. But she nods a quick acceptance that it’s time to leave. The book is tucked into a pocket in her overalls for safe keepings, and she even returns the drawer to its right place. “I’ll fix this,” she says, fingers poking lightly at the scratched paint.

As she stands to leave, the book she’d left under under the chair is collected and tucked under an arm. She turns to Gillian and Justin, looking so much like there’s a hundred things she might be considering saying. Her brain hasn’t caught up enough to find words for everything though. So instead the latter gets a small, kind of shy grin, and the former is given a light touch on the arm with a finger.

“Thank you. For… For. What you did.” Squeaks darts a look to the drawer and back again. Without Gillian’s help, she might never have found that hollow spot with its hidden book. And then she’d never have that book. She makes a quick little wave with her hand, and then turns to go, so the library can be closed up the rest of the way. That book she’d been reading is left on the counter near the others to be shelved before she pushes through the doors.

Outside, the girl touches a hand to the found book in her pocket, then starts running. She has people to tell that she found things!

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