You Belong Here


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Also Featuring:

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Scene Title You Belong Here
Synopsis People running from their past need somewhere to belong too. And both Doyle and Gillian are finding solace in the Lighthouse.
Date April 27, 2010

The Lighthouse

From the outside, the Lighthouse looks as if it has had better days. The massive tower rising out of the house has fallen from its former glory. It is no longer a shining beacon, guiding wayward ships in from the lost harbor — though some may argue its purpose now is even more admirable. In its current state, the lighthouse seems to be in disrepair. Though upon closer inspection it all seems to be in the details. The paint has chipped away, leaving a discolored patterns of grays, whites, off-whites, and more grays. The occasional graffitti tag is here or there along the large building. One would notice that the doors, the windows, and the integrity of the building are all quite sound and newly repaired. The lighthouse has just been left with the look of abandonement.

Inside is a completely different story. Upon entering the main door, one will find a completely furnished and cozy arrangement. A spacious living room lined with two large blue sofa's, facing each other, a coffee table between them and several large bean bag chairs have been planted in the room. Shelves have been hung on the wall to display various different pictures of the occupants. A large bookcase is against the wall, holding a large variety of books from Dr.Seuss to the Bible, and even a copy of the Qur'an. The living room is focused on the fireplace a small black fence encloses it, the wood stocked on the bricks in front of it.

Connected to the living room is a kitchen, complete with a large rectangular table capable of seating around four on each long side and two on each end. A sink, a stove, an oven, a microwave and two refrigerators complete the look. Several low and overhead cabinets line the kitchen. At the edge of the kitchen are a pair of doors, one leading to a bedroom and the other, which has a padlock on it, leads to the basement.

At the back of the living room a glass sliding door leads out into the backyard of the Lighthouse, but just before it a staircase leads to the upper levels of the structure.

The wood that keeps the Lighthouse a standable temperature also gives it a scent of, well, burning wood. All through the house, all day long. Except a small pocket of a room upstairs that happens to have a red haired girl sitting on the edge of a bed, watching a puppet show in action. Around her, the air smells fresh, like clean linen. Powdery, comforting. Not harsh like the fire, but of course would also mask the smell if the fire happened to get out of control…

But there is always someone watching it, making sure that nothing goes wrong. In this case, one of the Brians, because the door to the girl's dorm has a woman, still young, but older than the children, watching with a hint of a smile. The girls all sit around, sitting in various positions, on beds and on the floor.

The newest girl, a temporary stay over, claps her hands happily at the show. It's probably not the first time she's seen it, as a child of the Ferry, but it's still a treat.

"It's almost bed time," Gillian says from the door, once there's a lull in the show, looking at the clock on the wall, with hour hand getting closer to the top. "And none of you are even close to ready for bed."

A tangle of strings dance a chinese dragon's twisting body off the makeshift stage (in the form of a trunk) and to one side, the airplanes released as Eric Doyle curls it carefully to one side and reaches over for a different puppet with a broad grin, "So then, the brave princess…"

Uh oh. Caught! A look up, and a somewhat sheepish look crosses the bearded puppeteer's expression. "Oops. Is it that late already…? Alright, kids, time to brush your teeth and get your beds ready. Act two'll be tomorrow." The puppets are swiftly gathered up and tucked into the trunk, even as there's a chorus of 'awwwws' from the children.

"Does the princess defeat the dragon?" the tiny dark skinned little girl asks from her position on the floor right in front, making no move to get up, and looking at him with big eyes.

"Can't he just finish the story? It's not like we have anywhere to go tomorrow! We can stay up late!" another girl says, begging the one who often has to be the mean parent these days. Gillian used to hate her parents when they would do this, and she knows it. Now she knows they weren't her real parents, in much the same way she's not their real parent…

But that doesn't change how she feels about each and every one of them.

"Brush teeth and get into pajamas, warm ones! I don't want any of you coming to my room at four am complaining that your cold cause you put on a night gown… And then maybe he can do another hour. But the faster you're all ready, the better," Gillian says, and that's when many of the kids surge off their respective perches to go get clothes and to crowd the bathroom. They have to share one, so it will take them some time. Even Mala gets to her feet, but doesn't leave, instead looking up at "Santa", "I think more princesses should save the day."

The trunk's cover thumps closed, and Eric's thumbs close the latches with a sharp snap of metal on lacquered wood. The big man's hands rest to the side of the chest, and he pushes himself up to his feet, offering a gentle smile down to Mala. "…sometimes they do, cute stuff," he says quietly, "Sometimes they do."

He takes a step around the trunk, and he reaches a hand down to rustle the dark-skinned little girl's hair, "Get to sleep. You'll find out if the princess saves the knight tomorrow."

"But," Mala says with a whine, shoulders slumping. But luckily there must be enough happiness in the room to keep her from crumpling where she stands, as the girls excitedly talk about the story and how much better it is even then television to have a puppeteer around. Still, she ends up hugging onto the older man's leg for a moment, eyes closing. "You better tell us tomorrow," she says, before the tiny hands untangle and she's hurrying toward her drawer in the big dresser.

Though it will take some time.

Gillian motions the puppeteer toward the hall, to give the girl's their privacy, and close the door so they can change more quickly. "You do a good thing for the kids. Mala especially. She— she wasn't doing too well after Denisa." And really, who was? Not Gillian. But that compounded the problem. "But I think you being here helped more than any Linderman shrinks did."

"I will," Doyle's fingers smooth Mala's hair down, brushing to her shoulder reassuringly as he smiles with quiet affection down to the little girl, "I promise. Now get to bed. Shoo, shoo."

Once she hurris over to the dresser, he moves to step after Gillian, moving out into the hall with a tired shake of his head, smile fading, "I wish I could do more. I wish I was here when those— those fucking goons stormed in."

"I'm glad you weren't," Gillian says, looking at the door that's been closed, and then across at the boy's dorm, where someone seems to be in the middle of telling a scary story, if the flashlight shining up on his face in the dark is any indication. Like these kids actually need scary stories… But boys are boys. "Unfortunately sometimes you just have to… let it happen. They could have arrested us, taken the kids away…" She shakes her head. None of these thoughts are thoughts she wants to have…

Even if she lost her sister, again, over this. Still hasn't seen her since. She'll just have to hope it means she got away… He. She. It doesn't matter in the end.

"They hurt one of the kids," Eric replies, stubborn as a bulldog, "That's not acceptable under any circumstances."

He looks over to the boys' dorm, and then he looks to Gillian with a bit of a torn expression, "What good can we do if we can't even protect them? If we just have to — sit here and let them stomp all over us?"

"That's the hard part about being publicly known and legal," Gillian says quietly, looking at one of the boys who won't be with them long at all, for that very same reason. "But because we're publicly known and legal, we can rebuild, we still have power and water, when most of the city doesn't. And all the kids got vaccinated as soon as it was available." Because they were registered. "I don't want to roll over and take it, either. But I do want what's best for the kids, and… I guess I just don't want to lose them."

With a shake of her head, she moves to lean against the wall, closing her eyes for a moment. "You're right, though, Lance should have never been hurt. But since he was— I think they'll avoid any future raids. Bad for publicity if they do."

"You're probably right, then, probably best that I wasn't here…" Eric, of course, is neither publically known nor registered. Technically he's probably a federal fugitive, although he has a pretty decent fake identity set up. A heavy sigh spills from his lips, his head dropping a bit with a shake, "I just— I hate feeling helpless." A wan smile over, "I've spent too much time helpless, Gillian. I love these kids."

"Believe me, I know how you feel," Gillian says quietly from where she leans against the wall, watching them through the door, hearing them giggle and laugh and scurry around behind her. It's loud enough that she can make out individual giggles, and knows which ones are still whining, which one can't find her pajamas…

"I wish I could do more to protect them. This world isn't really the place to raise children, but they didn't ask to be orphans. And we get to choose to protect them or not." And really… What choice is there? "If we lose power, though, we can last a few days on supply and fireplace heat, but… if we have to call for someone, do you want to risk being here?"

That statement causes Eric to flinch, his brow furrowing a little and lips pursing in a frown. "I don't want to leave these kids even more alone, Gillian," he says, hopeful, almost desperate as he gestures a hand to the door, stepping closer, "I don't— I don't want to put them at risk by being here, though."

"We'll make the decision if the time comes," Gillian says with a small nod, not wanting to push it beyond the warning. It's a warning she's been giving people lately. They survived Denisa's death, they've avoided many of the dangers the rest of the city hasn't, but—

There's suddenly a crack in the door and Mala's head peaks out. "You guys are being serious!" she says with a frowny face. "Is something wrong?"

The hand raised towards the door drops down as it opens, and whatever retort Doyle was about to use fades on his lips as he turns with a start — forcing a smile to his face, trying to clear his brow as he replies, "No, no, nothing's wrong, Mala. Go to bed, honey, okay? You want to be up and awake for the rest of the show tomorrow, don't you?"

"We're concerned about the weather, but it's nothing you need to be worried about. Maybe Magnes will come to make another Snowman for you in a few days," Gillian says with a smile, reaching to rub the girl's pajama clad shoulder, before pushing at her a bit.

"Okay… the Princess better save the day!" Mala adds, before she turns and moves back into the dorm room, with the many bunk beds, to claim her own.

"We'll be fine. We have to be," the young woman adds, closing the door again. They have to be fine, cause the alternative is something she doesn't want to think about. Considering all the children in the house, and how much she needs them— and how much they need all of them. "You want to get the boys ready for bed, Eric?"

"You'll see…" Once the door's closed, Eric's smile fades as he looks back to Gillian, and he nods slightly, "Alright." Turning, the big man steps over to the boys' dorm, pausing briefly before he looks back and says quietly, seriously, both brows raising, "If you think I'm… putting them in any danger, Gillian, just tell me."

"You're not right now," Gillian says, offering him a dimpled smile. If he'd been there when FRONTLINE raided, it might have been an issue, but it may not have been. They'd been after Jenny. Or Sylar. Or Gabriel Gray. Or whichever someone wants to call the clone that's none of those and all of those at the same time. Plus some. "I will let you know if it seems like you will be, but right now— you're one of the best things for them."

A faint, wistful smile touches Doyle's lips. "Thank you," he says quietly, "For… letting me help them. I don't… I haven't had somewhere I felt like I belonged in a long time. I spent a lot of time running, and I don't want to— want to go back to prison, but…" A turn of his head looks to the boys' dorm as a scary story reaches its climax and there's a startled shout and then some howls of laughter, "…I would, for them."

"Better you not go back to jail, though," Gillian says, looking over at the older, bearded, round man. "I kept thinking I needed something worth dying for again, after everything I've been through." Things she did die for that she lost anyway, things that she died more than once for— things that she died for, at the price of something she'll never have… "But now I've found something to live for. And you'll do more good for them out of jail then in it."

"Yeah, well…" Eric turns his gaze back to the dorm, that wan smile lingering, "…I probably can't escape my past forever, Gillian. Maybe I can… can make up for it a little, though. Odessa told me that we'd always be monsters. I hope she was wrong."

"The past is just a foundation of the present, and the future is fleeting at best. What matters is what you do now," Gillian says, before turning the doorknob of the girl's room. "I don't know what you were before, but the person you are now is someone that I think very much belongs here. If you didn't, I'd have kicked you out a long time ago." There's a sudden appearance of a dimple on her cheek, her free hand reaching out to shove on his shoulder, before she pushes the door to the girl's dorm back open, and steps inside.

"Pff." A humorous release of breath, as Eric rolls his eyes, "Now you're just trying to keep on my good side…" As she heads into the girls' dorm, he moves to walk into the boys' own, his voice lifting, "Alright, kids, time to get to bed…"

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