Where I Belong


ff_nadira_icon.gif ff_robyn_icon.gif

Scene Title Where I Belong
Synopsis I can't stand the thought of losing everything I ever thought I that I knew…
Date April 13, 2020

The Fringes of the Pelago

The House Above the Sea

Even in the worst of times, there are few things as nice as nights in the Pelgo.

If you can see past the wreckage and rubble, between the ruined skyscrapers, and over the rusted husks of ships from battles now past, a wonderfully serene beauty awaits those who are willing to look for it. Stars and moon reflect off the sea water, while lights from ships, the settlements, and even some evolved individuals dot and colour the ever shifting horizon. Water trickles, dances, and calls out in a feast for the senses, harmonizing with the chill and whistle of the wind that kicks up at water's edge. If it rained, that song became a symphony of ambiance that was wholly amazing to take in even still.

It's one of many reasons Robyn Roux tends to prefer being out at night versus the day. She had missed things like this during her time in the Ark. The fact that her ability makes it easier to hide her movements makes it even better. It's harder, being out in the open. Harder than it was in the Ark.

Everything is harder out of the Ark. Even in the turmoil that had befallen it, and knowing what kind of bad news Kenner was, that was why Roux had backed him - out of a desire for some sort of.. seemingly easy normalcy. But nothing had been normal about the Ark, and now she's come to realise there is no normal. Not anymore. And now, here she was, back in the Pelago.

Surviving, barely.

Even after a year back, she feels like she's treading water, a mental pun that makes her want to throw herself into the ocean around her. The urge is resisted through sheer will and the feeling of a panic at the mere thought, distracted from her grim reverie as she finally comes upon the ruined building that marks her destination.

It's looking a lot less ruined these days, a fact that brings a small smile to her face.

Now, with any luck, the one she seeks is already outside, sparing her having to knock on the door and risk waking anyone up.

Perhaps there's no normal and survival is a struggle, but if anyone's made the most of it, it's Nadira. The repairs to the ruined building are a patchwork, but the effort made is clearly visible. There's motivation there. Hope, even. If it's Nadira's or someone else's, it's unclear, but there's certainly something different there.

As for the hydrokinetic herself, she's visible upon closer inspection. A stack of scrap materials sits at her feet with the tools in which to work them in a faded and rusty box open nearby. Though she's not in water, it's close to her. It moves by her will, a wave of it splashing against the wall in front of her, which she leans in to check the results of intently.


While nothing in particular draws her gaze in Roux's direction, Nadira's chance glance in that direction provides her sight of the visitor. "You're a sight for sore eyes," she calls, cheerfully, the slightest hint of a smirk crossing her features. "Or maybe just a sight for any eyes."

"Hey, Nadi," comes in a low voice from Roux, the pace of her approach slowing once she's acknowledged. Her gaze moves from looking out at the beautiful but ever terrifying waters down to the wood and stone beneath her feet. Hands are buried in pockets, feet shuffling as she walks, and by the time she looks up again she's almost made it to Nadira herself.

It's been a few years since the last time Roux saw her, much like anyone else in the Pelago. Perhaps because of that she can't help but smile when she looks up at the other woman, before quickly back down at the ground. "How's it going?"

Just that, like she was never even gone, apparently.

The Egyptian woman doesn't seem phased by Roux's presence, even if time has passed. Nadira falls into the conversation as easily as if she were breathing. "It goes well enough. Doing some repairs to make sure any unexpected water stays where it should be. Weatherproofing, because I can't be everywhere at once. Certainly would be fun if I could be, but…"

She shifts away from the building to better perceive Roux's appearance. It's hard to distinguish if the look of appraisal is one to see if she's doing well, or more of a flirtatious glance, but she smiles and dusts her hands off on her pants a bit. "What do you think? Looks a bit more like some kind of home if you ask me. A little more comfortable and a little less 'shelter chic'."

She tips her head back in Roux's direction. "You doing okay?"

There's an uneasy whine from Roux at the mention of water not staying where it should be, at the very concept of unexpected water. When her opinion is inquired upon, she frowns and looks up and around. "I guess." Eyes scan the building, looking for anything that catches her eyes.

Nothing does.

Her lips thin as she looks back at the ground, squirming a bit uncomfortably as she carefully makes her way towards Nadira. She doesn't say anything, she just reaches the other woman and wraps her arms around her in a hug.

Nadira's expression is one of concern, but when she's hugged she wraps her arms around the other woman and offers a smile. "Your answer was not very convincing, you know." She doesn't, however, pressure her for a follow up or elaboration. Instead, she hugs her tightly and continues talking, perhaps as a distraction from whatever is troubling Roux.

"You know, I have started to notice how many little things make a big difference. Decorations seem like such a luxury, something frivolous and unnecessary, but then look at the joy on faces when you hang up something beautiful on a wall," Nadira's voice is even, almost soothing. "Makes things more at home, gives one a sense of truly having a place. I have been trying to decorate more. We all should."

"It's better than everything looking like the same metal walls and doors," Roux mutters, muffled slightly by how she buries her face against Nadira. "It's nice to have some colour again." Living in the Ark had been drab, and as much as it had been safe - or so she thought - Roux's appreciated being able to live somewhere more vibrant again.

A heavy sigh follows, and Roux makes no real effort to disentangle herself from Nadira. "You ever feel like… maybe it's time to just give up, Nadi?" It's a loaded question with a bevy of implications. "I'm tired."

There's a slight smile at the question before Nadira squeezes her tightly. "Everyone feels like it is time to give up at some point, the key is that you do not," she replies, seeming comfortable with the hug, her tone still soft. "Everyone also gets tired. This is an ordinary thing. It means life is still going. It reminds us we are alive." She pulls back just enough so she can give Roux a stern look.

"But you will not give up. Because you are better than that. That and I enjoy your visits and it would be a shame to disappoint me." Her grin broadens and she gives the other woman a slight nudge. "You can, if you wish, stay for a spell. Rest up, feel at home, rebuild your sense of belonging before you continue your voyages."

As Nadira leans back Roux looks up at her and lets out a plaintive whine, squirming uncomfortably as she lets her arms fall to her side. "I don't think I'm setting out again," she admits in a low voice, moving to find a place to sit so that she can look out at the stars reflecting on the water. "I was kinda wondering if I could make this home. I've just been kinda drifting since…"

Since she got back.

Another thick sigh escapes her lips as she turns her gaze down towards her own feet, simply deciding to sit in place. "Never found mom," she confides quietly, and Nadira of all people knows what she's referring to - when Nadira had pulled Roux out of the water as she drowned, and how she was subsequently separated from her mother. "Found a lotta… I dunno. Insanity, instead."

Nadira moves to take a seat next to Roux, offering her a small smile. "If you want to stay, you are more than welcome. You have always been welcome." But the reasoning behind the desire to stay has her smile turning into something more serious, a look of concern. "I know that finding her was important to you," she gives Roux a little bump with her shoulder. "You do not have to give up, though. You can make a home but…"

She glances out into the distance, perhaps seeing something on the horizon. "I do not like the idea of anyone ever giving up on something that important to them. You may need a respite, but your mother is important to you. Here would be a good home base for you, but I have never thought you one to give up."

Drawing her legs up to her chest, Roux scoots back so that her back is against the wall behind her. "She wasn't there. She always told me- go there, if we got separated." At least as well as she could remember, but memory is a tricky thing for her sometimes. Pressing her face deeper into the fabric of her ratty jeans, she frowns.

"I don't think she's out there," she offers to Nadira quietly. "Anymore." After a moment's more thought, she raises her chin and places it on her knees, once more looking out at the water. Here, sitting next to someone who could control the water, she feels more at peace with it than pervasively anxious or scared like she often does.

A hint of a tear wells up in the corner of Roux's eyes. "I can't keep doing this," she remarks quietly, closing her eyes and pressing her forehead against her knees. "But I don't know what else to do, Nadi."

Nadira rests a hand on Roux's shoulder, squeezing gently. "You can keep doing this," she offers. "That is what we do. Look at the world around you… we live in a society that none of us could have ever expected. We learn as we go and we keep going forward because that is all there is to do. There is no shame in stopping for a while, though. Everyone needs to rest. Catch a breath, shut your eyes, keep still for a moment."

There's a slow smile. "You are welcome to do so here. That is what a lot of my people do." She offers another shoulder squeeze. "I know this sounds much more zen than it is, but I am trying to be positive and hopeful. Someone has to be!"

"We live in a society," Roux mimics in an almost mocking tone. "That… that got someone I liked shot where I was," she remarks as she hides her face against her knees. She knows that's not exactly what Nadira said, but she doesn't make an effort to correct or adjust accordingly. Instead, she sits there silently, staring down at the old wood beneath her.

"Thanks," she remarks to the other woman, though she doesn't look up. "Yeah. S-someone needs to be." She certainly isn't, that sad undercurrent still running through her voice. "It's just dumb! What am I supposed to do? I can't do much to help out and Mom's gone, and…"

A sound of exasperation escapes Roux's lips as she suddenly leans back, her head thunking against the wall behind her. Clearly an unwise iudea from the way her face scrunches in pain and she reaches up to rub at the back of her head. "Ooooow…."

There's a sympathetic grimace from Nadira at the connection between skull and wall. "Careful," she offers, even if she knows that's a moot point at this juncture. She pauses for a moment, studying the other woman. "You know what?" She glances over, then moves her gaze to the distance.

"Fuck society. Look at what we have built here. You think society told me to do this? Do you think society was fair to anyone here? We have built our own society. We protect our own, we make a place for those who do not have a place to belong. There is no 'supposed to do' anymore, because there is no clear path for anyone."

The Egyptian woman's attention turns back to Roux. "You do what you feel you must. What you decide to do. Perhaps you have lost some direction but no one is telling you that you must go in a direction at all. If you feel you cannot do anything to help, you are very clearly not looking around you right now. Everyone has something to give, and you will always have a place here."

The curse earns a raised eyebrow from Roux, turning to look back up at Nadira. Her face contorts like she wants to say something, but can't quite form the words. The ultimate result is a frustrated growl that fades into a small sigh as her gaze lowers back into her knees.

"I guess," is clearly her acquiescing on the point, letting her legs stretch back out so that her ratty old shoes hang over the edge. That look lingers for a moment before she turns her head to look up at Nadira with a wide smile and closed eyes. "You're good at this, Nadi! No wonder people like being here with you!"

It's not the first time Roux has shared that sentiment, but it always comes with that strained but earnest smile.

Nadira offers a wide smile in response, leaning back against the wall much more gracefully than Roux's headbonk. "People like being here because they are not judged. They have a sense of belonging. Everyone deserves that. Besides, we all know they are clearly here because of my good looks and charm. Why else would anyone be here?"

Her smile turns more of one of amusement as she looks back over. "You take life one day at a time and see what life throws back at you."

Roux's expression shifts to one of confusion, brow knitting together and head tilting as she looks up at Nadira. "What? That doesn't make sense, that's dumb." There's a childish sense of sincerity to that, followed by a nonchalant shrug. "I figured it was 'cause people like you."

Yes, that's what Nadira said.

"I know I do!" Again, Roux smiles wide, before looking back out at the water. "Is anyone else here today?"

"I also think it is because I am willing to listen and most people are busy caught up with themselves," Nadira notes, offering Roux a grin before glancing over her shoulder at the surprisingly well-fortified ruined building behind her. "There are a few of the others here, though a few of them took the boat on a supply run. Really, I think they were itching at the chance to do something. I have found that I do not often have to ask anyone to pull their weight, they are more than eager to… which is a relief."

She lets out a slow breath. "It is exhausting, sometimes, but the forward momentum always keeps me going."

All Roux offers in response is a small nod, before turning her attention back at the wood flooring below her. Her fingers drum at her side, shoulders slouching as her smile once dips just the slightest bit. "I think some people just don't like bein' in one place for too long," she offers. Particularly out here, in the unpredictability of the real world.

"Like, I dunno! Maybe they get bored! Or, or…" She stops, nose bunching up as the words she's looking for escape her. "I dunno. Maybe you're right. Maybe people just keep moving." She's so close to understanding the lesson, it seems.

Nadira's smile is joined by a small laugh, not at Roux but prompted by her. "People enjoy having freedom. Everyone had their life shaken up and entirely changed by all of this. People do not like staying in one place because there is less to root them to one location. Home is now people, not location, and so finding place and meaning in that is more important than finding a physical root."

She shakes her head. "I did mean proverbial moving," she points out. "You put one foot in front of the other to continue to let your life move forward. Look at you, you are not wanting to stand still, you want to keep finding some way to move forward even if you want the chance to rest."

"I dunno," Roux repeats, looking out at the waves on the horizon, silver and green against the fading light. It's just like a dream, or a nightmare at worse times. "'Bout me, at least. I miss havin' friends and family. I miss having home. I miss… home." It's an awkward statement, but one she believes is clear as can be.

After a moment more she abruptly leaps back up to her feet, looking over at Nadira with her widest smile. "What can I do to help! I mean like, I can't…" She trails off, her enthusiasm fading as one hand curls into a fist at a side, and she winces in what appears to be pain. "I can't help with the tools, but, you know. The other stuff."

"You have always had friends and family," Nadira points out with a grin. "But I understand the sentiment. Things are different and it is something we cannot ever regain." It takes her a moment to get back up to her feet in comparison to Roux's excited motion, but she levels her gaze on the other woman once she's on her feet once more. Her gaze moves from face to hand, a hint of concern there, though she doesn't pry.

"I am certain we can find things for you to do. I am trying to make this place feel much more like a home. Scavenging things that might look nice as decorations, things that feel cozy. If anything, I want this to be a home for people. A lot of those here have been rejected, they deserve a place to feel like they belong. So… what is it that makes a home feel like a home to you?"

Something about what Nadira says causes Roux to freeze, hand held out like she was expecting to be handed something to take care of. The corner of her mouth twitches, wavering before dipping into a frown. Things are different and it is something we cannot ever regain.

"Mom. Family." And so the conversation goes full circle, though this time she sounds noticeably sadder. Withdrawing her hand, she hangs her head as the shadows around the two of them begin to waver and move, seeming to crawl towards where the two of them stand. "Ça ne fait rien,' she remarks dejectedly, turning and starting away as shadows almost swirl at her feet.

As Roux moves her hand away, Nadira moves to catch it. “Things are different, but that does not mean that things are hopeless. That everything we hold dear is gone forever. It is a change—we are forced to learn how to do things all over again. As human beings, as a society.”

Her smile, though a touch sad, also seems hopeful. “You are welcome in this family. While I am not your mother, you are safe and protected and loved. That is something that will never change.”

As Nadira takes hold of Roux's hand, she stops dead. Yet, she doesn't turn around, she just lets her arm hang behind her as she stares ahead and away from Nadira. She sniffles, hand slipping so that it's almost out of Nadira's grasp - but instead, she wraps her fingers around Nadira's and squeezes tightly.

"Merci, Nadi." Her voice is strained, and another sniffle hints at the fact that tears are beginning to run down her cheeks. Her hand slowly slides away from Nadira and falls back to her side, resuming her shadowed march away from Nadira as she begins to blend into dark of night.

The hand squeeze is returned and the dark haired woman offers a smile. It comes off as sad, concerned, but still at least hopeful. "You never need to thank me for being your friend," Nadira notes, her eyes following Roux until she can no longer see her. "And I always will be."

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License