What They Did


milena_icon.gif savannah_icon.gif warren_icon.gif

Scene Title What They Did
Synopsis Warren brings Savannah to meet Milena. Milena's a bit on edge.
Date October 8, 2010

Staten Island

Milena's garden is well within the borders of Staten Island's reclaimed area. Unlike the surrounding forest - which Milena had a hand in helping along, as well - this place is far more sculptured. It's like an extreme Bonsai garden, were that a sport, as trees literally grow into shapes - not just aesthetic shapes, but there are a few that look like animals, or famous buildings, or landmarks, or more. It's also got a natural dirt path winding through it, though it looks as if someone's been idly laying pavers in a few places. Milena hasn't been here long enough to really get that part of the work done.

As well as the trees, there are a whole manner of other plants. Ferns, more flowers than can be counted, despite the cooling weather, tropical succulents as well as a good number of cacti and dry-weather plants. These will all die when the first frost finally hits, which is unfortunate. But the good part about it all is that when spring finally dawns again, it'll only take the agrogenetic a few short hours to regrow them all - better and stronger than the previous year.

Despite the fact that she's expecting a guest, she can't help working on a new project. Maybe bolstered a bit by her recent recognition at that forum, she's gotten a little more creative. Out of the ground is growing a fat maple - literally almost round - topped with curly vine-like branches. Her fingers are currently dug into the sides of the tree as she sculpts a face into it. She's making a tree that resembles a Jack-o-lantern… After all, it's that time of year!

Warren invited Savannah along to meet Milena for a few reasons. Milena really needs a friend, other than what they're considering their relationship, and Savannah's heard enough stories to both be intrigued by Milena's, and be able to possibly offer helpful advice. He didn't tell Savannah about Milena's hardships, but did say she was an Evolved having a hard time due to registration. "Milena?" he asks once he enters the garden, wearing his usual suit as he observes the structures with silvery reflective eyes. It's all so fascinating, he can't help but appreciate it from his ability's point of view. "This is Savannah, she's an author. She's been around the block a few times when it comes to hearing the stories of Evolved, so I thought you two might hit it off a bit."

Savannah's taking time to take in the plants, the trees especially. It's pretty interesting, the way it's all carefully manicured. Fantastic, really. She peers about, looking towards Milena respectfully as Warren leads her towards the woman. She smiles warmly. "Milena, is it? It's a pleasure to meet you. I've talked to quite a few Evolved, I'd say. Mostly research for ideas in my books… and I guess I just like listening to people as well.

Most people would put on their best hospitable demeanor for guests, but Milena just glares when she looks up from her work and sees that Warren's brought company. She's not unused to people in her garden, since it's quite the sight, but some warning might have been nice. What if she'd had her sleeves rolled up? She doesn't want people to see that part of her unless she invites it, because she doesn't want pity.

The sculpting on the jack-o-lantern tree stops as she begins to pull away from it. It takes a minute before she can remove her fingers, this time slowly, so the scars in the tree's surface that are left behind are almost nonexistent. With another glare at Warren, she approaches Savannah, as if to greet her, but doesn't hold out her hand. Instead, her words of welcome are, "Don't step on or touch anything," before she grabs her jacket from the ground and throws it over her shoulders. "What the hell, Warren? I didn't know you were bringing anyone else."

So, yeah, probably not the best first impression. It's just that she's not sure she wants to tell her story to anyone. "If you're here to put me in a book," she says to Savannah, "Forget it. I've been under the microscope enough." Her words sound angry at first, but there's a definite undertone of pain and exasperation. She doesn't want to draw attention to herself again.

"Sorry, I didn't think you'd mind. And she doesn't do biographies, she writes on the subject of Evolved. She's not entirely in favor of registration either, and she's non-Evolved to my knowledge. I just thought…" Warren takes a breath, nodding to Savannah. "She'd be a good person for you to know. I'm an engineer, and probably not the most delicate hand. But you're right, I'll ask next time."

"Easy, I'm not going to ruin anything." Savannah shakes her head a bit. "That's… not exactly how I work. I don't put people in books. I listen to people's stories and use them to make my characters more well-rounded, to get ideas for characters to go through, that sort of thing." She rubs the back of her neck. "And it's all anonymous anyways."

"T'ch." She gives a rather un-humored smile. "You knew who I was when you came here," is her answer to Warren thinking she wouldn't mind. Dusting off her hands, she gives Savannah another once-over. "I'm sorry. It's… Nice to meet— It is. It's nice to meet you. But. I just— Wasn't ready for…" Waving the rest of the statement off, Milena realizes that she can't salvage the initial abrasiveness and turn it into something more welcoming.

She breathes, slowly and deeply. Her eyes gently slide from Savannah to Warren, and she quietly asks, "You tell her what happened to me?"

"I didn't, it's not my story to tell. I just told her you had hard times because of registration. I'm…" Warren slides his hands into his pockets, possibly wishing he was able to drink at the moment. "Just trying to help. I don't mean to upset you, or overstep a boundary."

"He's right. Honestly, I don't know a thing about you." Savannah raises an eyebrow. "And if you aren't comfortable with telling me, that's fine. I'm here to listen and help if you want me to." She shrugs a little. "And really, if you don't want either… that's fine with me. I can understand the discomfort and secrecy for some people."
On one hand, maybe it's time to tell a few people what radical groups do to Evolved they capture. On the other hand, she's so terrified that they're going to re-discover 'the one who got away' that the very thought of getting any part of her story out there, even as an idea for a fictional character seems like a very bad idea.

"I'm… no, I'm not." She pauses. "Not… In detail, no, but there's… I mean, there's other— " Another pause is taken, as she seems to be collecting her thoughts. "I used to be more eloquent. I used to teach. Now I can hardly string together a statement sometimes."

"Your students seem very inspired by you." Warren observes as he continues looking over her structures, raising a hand as if he wants to touch, but doesn't intend to. "I can tell you're an intelligent woman, that can't be taken away from you."

"Well, to be honest, I can understand. Sometimes things happen and we change. Not always for the better. And Warren's right. That can't be taken away from you, even if your confidence in things might have been." Savannah's still smiling kindly.

Milena's eyes dart between the two. She feels uncomfortable, like she's the subject of some strange experiment. Some bug in a jar. It's hard to stop herself from taking a step backward, but she manages, with some willpower. Really, the reminder of how her students look up to her makes her feel a little better. Closing her eyes, she nods. "All right. Okay."

She sits down on a tree stump that looks surprisingly like a chair. There are others around, too. Some gardens have benches… This one has little individual seats scattered around that don't detract from the natural sculpture. "It was dehumanizing. They… take… They take what you love about yourself, all that freedom, the ability to… function in a society, and they cut it. Like an elevator cable. You know— it should be unbreakable. You trust - when you enter an elevator that it's going to get you from floor A to floor B… And then it … Falls. And everything you think you know about… engineering, about building engineering, it's just gone. You can't trust it ever again. Because you trusted it once and it failed in the worst way possible, and you almost died for it."

Milena weaves her fingers through wind-tangled hair. "You don't ever want to believe that any one person can be that cruel, but… There you have it. That's… exactly what happened. Tech— Technically it was three, but a… representational group, I guess, of the whole. I guess."

"Fear breeds more fear. They're afraid of Evolved, so they make Evolved afraid of them, then others get angry at them for it and even more fear is created. It's disgusting what these monsters can do." Warren looks back from the bush he's currently admiring, his eyes shifting from silver to blue. "I fix, it's what I do, but I never considered that anyone could be horrible enough to truly try to break a person. I want to give Milena her life back, that's my motivation in all of this. I just… I want to give her back everything they stole."

"I'm not a big fan of discrimination of any sort. Part of the reason I write my books is so that people will understand each other better. If they can recognize how human we all are…" Savannah shrugs a little bit, looking towards Milena with a sigh. "I've seen a lot of people hurt because of this sort of discrimination."

It's a sweet gesture, and touching, but no one can actually give Milena back everything they stole from her. Mentally, with time, yes, she'll be able to function better in society again without being so closed off. She's already taken baby steps toward doing so, and the very idea of teaching again - using her talent… AND her ability - is appealing and tantalizing. But what thy physically did to her starts a whole new set of insecurities every time she thinks about it. Every time she looks in a mirror, she can see what people think of her.

She looks at Savannah again. "I'm a realist, that's… what I'd call it. And in our …" Milena trails off, biting her lip. "There's still racism… among people with different skin colors. And… Those people have no… Advantage over each other. No physical superiority. Nothing to… Cause fear but a color. White, black, red, yellow… How long do you think it's going to take… For everyone to accept people with an ability? Centuries? A millennium?"

Her face is twisted by this point, as she draws near that threshold of frustration that just gives way to tears. As she allows more of the bottled up anger to break free, her words come easier. "It's not just discrimination. It's an agenda of superiority. It's far beyond what can be solved with a peace pipe and a few hours. People without abilities think they have to fight to prove their worth, and they're… just… Making things worse."

She shrugs out of her jacket again. "You want to see what they did to me?"

"It won't take us that long, we were given these abilities for a reason. Together we can make it better, for all of us." Warren turns around to face her, sitting on one of those logs while straightening his jacket. "It seems hopeless now, but I have a plan, as unlikely as that seems."

Savannah rubs her arms, looking down a little bit. "Now you're going the opposite direction. I can understand you're hurting, and I don't know what was done to you, but not everyone is like that. Not everyone thinks like that." She nods at Milena a little. "I'd like to see, if you don't mind."

It doesn't feel like she's going the opposite direction, even if Milena's aware that not everyone in the world is out to hurt people like her. Her employers have been pretty good to her. Warren has, even though she still thinks he's a murderer of some sort.

The other day, Milena showed him one of her arms. Today… It takes some build-up of courage to do so. In fact, in her mind, she actually has to count to three a few times before she pulls her shirt over her head completely, leaving her dressed in a pair of jeans and a black half-shirt that covers her chest.

Her body is covered with words, carved deeply into her skin. None of them are pleasant, and all of them describe what the people who did it to her really think of Evolved. "It was…" She shakes her head. "Incredibly painful. I cried. I asked them to let me go. But they just kept at it, on and on. Eventually I stopped feeling it."

Savannah frowns. To say she's displeased is an understatement. "I'm sorry… that is not the kind of thing that anyone should ever have to face. Do you know who it was that did this to you? We could make sure that they're brought to justice. That's a step in the right direction."

"There are people who can make those go away." Warren states seriously, as if there was some weight behind the words as he stares, fighting back the urge to hide behind his analytically silvery eyes, and giving her the full focus of his blues. "I dated a woman, a cop, she had scars and didn't feel comfortable with herself because of them. She got them on duty I think, but she felt so much better when they were finally taken away."

"It's taken care of." That part she's not willing to share, because she's not exactly sure what happened herself. No, that's not accurate - Milena does remember, she just isn't ready to accept the fact that one member of Humanis First might have just had enough of a soul to let her go. He's probably still out there, somewhere. Or she. It was hard to tell when Milena herself was delirious from pain.

Warren's offer is tempting, but she shakes her head, pulling her shirt back on. Not until she finds the people who did this and shows them what pain they caused. "I already went through physical therapy. They don't hurt as much anymore." It's a gruff excuse, but she does add. "Don't you think I've… considered finding a healer anyway? There's more to it than just… physical healing. Trust me."

Standing from her seat again, she tosses her jacket over one shoulder. "So … if you don't mind, I'll need some… time. If you're coming back…" she says to Savannah, "Then call ahead. Warren's got the number."

"Sure, sure…" Savannah murmurs, rubbing the back of her neck. "That's alright. No need to rush or anything. Forget about the whole talking, telling me your story thing. You don't even need to talk about that. I think, honestly, you just need people who aren't out to hurt you."

"Oh, and I wanted to give you this number." Warren slips a hand into his pocket, then pulls out Isabella Sheridan's card, standing up to hand it to Milena. "This is a therapist friend of mine, not just a quack off the street. I've known her for a while, and I spoke to her. She's more than willing to see you, if you choose. I'll pay for it, so you don't have to worry about that. Just give it a chance, is all I'm asking, if you don't like it after the first time, that's fine too."

After finding the courage - was it that? Maybe it was just anger - to show someone else what Humanis First did to her, Milena just feels tired. So she nods. "Yeah, I think I do," Milena says, taking the card from Warren. Looking it over, she recognizes the name of the woman who was denouncing Luis at that forum, and the corner of her mouth lifts upward in a smirk for a brief few seconds. She might give it a try… After all, she's already gone through the physical therapy. She might as well try curing her mind, as well. "Yeah, I'll see if I can contact her," she promises.

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