Your Ex-Lover is Dead


quinn5_icon.gif rue_icon.gif

Scene Title Your Ex-Lover is Dead
Synopsis Live through this and you won't look back.
Date November 10, 2011

Bannerman's Castle

There's a groan that echoes down the somewhat empty halls of Bannerman's Castle, like the creaks and moans of empty houses or a ghost wandering in search of release. It's grown late and the sun has set, leaving the Irishwoman - unable to continue reading Else's music in the dark - to go off in search of a lantern, candles, or a flashlight. Something. Some of the bandages still run up and down her arm, feet moving in kind of a shuffle as she walks along the stone hallway, a hand on the wall as she trudges along in the candle light.

She's not used to this. She's honestly not even sure she's actually awake for part of it, moving slowly from sconce to sconce. A weary sigh escapes her lips. At least she had her guitar with her, and Else's music. It gave her something to do that could make her smile, trying to play Else's song.

But it also distracts her enough that's not really watching where she's going. But unlike times in the past, she manages not to collide and tumble into someone, managing to shift out of their way as they pass by. She pays no mind to who it is. She's just glad working with Raith has improved her reflexes.

Footsteps ghost across stone floors as a figure hurries to escape the sound of another's approach. Rue Lancaster has rounded the corner and pressed her back up against the wall so hard she feels almost as though she could melt through it the way that her friend Samara can. The figure passes, but then another approaches from the other direction. There's no time for her to dart to the opposite wall, and so when Quinn looks up now, a little more aware of her surroundings after the near miss, she can spot Rue standing there with wide eyes.

The redheaded girl exhales a deep breath she hadn't realized she was holding. "Quinnie!" She tries to look like this isn't totally awkward. Like she had previously been in a completely natural posture and not sneaking through the halls of the castle. She loops arms with the older woman quickly - gently, careful about those bandages - and carries on along her path. "Where are you headed?"

There's a bit of a wince still - Quinn, at least this time, manages to hide it, instead offering a smile to her… to Rue. "Heya," she says a bit quietly. In the passing lights, Rue can probably see that Quinn's cheeks are still tinged with a big of red from earlier. "I was just headed, um…" Quick Quinn, think. "To get food," she lies. She's still hungry, her lunch didn't do much for the void that was her stomach, but that wasn't even something she was thinking about.

"Maybe t' see if I can get cleared t' leave," Quinn adds after a moment. "Longshot, but I figure it doesn't hurt t' ask, yeah?" Her lips quirk side to side, then back into a smile as she looks over at Rue. "What about you? Where're you millin' about in the dark?"

Rue looks like a deer in the headlights of an oncoming truck when her own question is volleyed back to her. She's quick to paste on a smile. "Same as you." Never mind that she seemed to be headed in the opposite direction. But they're both liars tonight and complicit in one another's deceit.

"You really think they're going to clear you?" Her smile quavers a moment. "That was a rough mission…" Which is the understatement of the century, but it's deliberately dismissive of what her ex-lover went through, giving her permission to do the same.

"No," Quinn replies honestly, with a forlorn sigh. She just lets it hang there, unwilling to tell Rue that she misses Elaine. That she misses her cat. That she just needs to get the fuck out. "Doesn't hurt to ask," she repeats again. She mulls over responses; Rue's either lying or she got turned around, and either is equally possibly.

She lets that hang there too. "I don't honestly even remember all of it," she adds after a moment. "The mission." So, yes, it was rough. "How long was I asleep anyway? Last thing I remember was bein' in the truck, an' then waking up in my room a few hours ago."

"Let's… Let's maybe have that conversation outside." Because Rue has a very real fear that her friend might get upset (understandably), and voices carry in the halls. She pats the fabric kangaroo pouch over her stomach. "I've got a flask in my hoodie pocket." Just like old times, right?

She's afraid for Quinn. Rue's never seen her look so distraught before, and it's perfectly understandable why. She doesn't know what she would do if she were in the same situation. Probably would have done something stupid and gotten herself killed. Maybe Quinn would have too, if they hadn't shown up when they did. "It's been two days," Rue admits.

Rue can see Quinn's eyes widen for a moment, before she closes them half way. "Oh." That's really it. The far corner of her lip twitches. "I guess I shouldn't be surprised." Corner lift up into a forced smile. "Rough mission." She falls silent for a moment, before looking over at Rue, the moonlight reflecting in grey eyes. "I'm gonna take you up on that flask. Maybe only a bit though. I imagine two days explains why I've been so peckish all day."

Rue is probably the worst for letting Quinn drink with her, but some things don't change. With their arms still entangled in a loose loop, Rue guides her friend outside and to the courtyard so she can sit on a bench.

The flask is entrusted to Quinn while Rue comes to stand a few feet away and begin her stretches; the way she would when she would prepare to practice one of her ballet routines. "You want to go back to the mainland, huh?"

"I-" Quinn stops. Her expression flattens a bit as she look down at the flask, before she takes a long swig from it. Longer, really, than she intended. Still plenty left for her ex-lover, though, shaking a bit as she offers it back out to Rue. "Are you going t' dance again?" she asks. Again, when the first time was months ago seems weird, but she wants to change the topic from her future plans.

"I can head back in if y' weren't lookin' for an audience," she remarks, before smirking a bit. It lasts a good moment or two, before she leans back in the bench. "Thanks for bein' there," she says a bit quieter, a bit more earnestly. "We needed that help. Thank you."

She hadn't planned on it before, honestly, but it seemed so natural to come out here and start to warm up. With her. While her lean body is doubled over so she can reach down the length of her long legs to touch the tops of her feet, Rue takes advantage of the moment to press her lips together, letting the hair fallen around her face mask the strain. It's emotional only, but no less painful for her.

"No," she says quietly, slowly coming back up to stand straight, then reaching her hands toward the star-dotted sky. "I just wanted to stretch." One foot lifts off the stones and she reaches another hand behind to grasp it, balancing easily on one foot as she reaches out with her free hand to take back her flask. She neatly unscrews the top with one hand, practiced, and takes a pull.

"You're welcome," she says softly after a few moments. "I was only doing what anyone would have done." She can practically hear Noa's voice in the back of her mind, disagreeing with her assessment; insisting that she was brave. She could have stayed inside the transport, ducked and covered, praying for it all to turn out all right, but she didn't. "You would have done the same," she argues instead.

Quinn is silent for what feels like an Eternity, simply staring out from the bench, up at the stars. They don't hurt her eyes now, so they're still her friends. "I didn't belong there," she finally says to break the long pause. "I had no idea what I was doing. I thought I did, but-" She shakes her head. "It was a bad idea," she remarks, arms wrapping around her midsection.

Again she falls silent, before looking up at the ceiling. "I think I left a part of myself there," she finally admits. She needs to talk about this, and she can never tell if she underestimates or overestimates the state of her "friendship" with Rue.

"We always do, don't we?" Rue can't say she's run many missions, but the ones that she has… She knows she loses herself a little bit more after each one. If not for her mentors, she might be in a very, very dark place right now. Jensen Raith is stubborn enough to pull her back from the edge by her hair if he has to.

Rue is wary of Quinn. After everything that's transpired between them, she'd be stupid not to be. While she knows the other woman would never physically hurt her (intentionally), that doesn't stop her from causing deep wounds. Rue's had a lot of time to come to terms with what they really mean - or don't - to one another.

"I'm sorry about Else," she says finally, because she is. "I know you really loved her."

What they mean to each other is complicated, to Quinn. It has been ever since they reentered each other's lives. She has regrets, but she's also moved on. And yet, sometimes she hasn't. It's- well. It's complicated. She keeps her gaze up on the stars for several moments before she just breaks back out into sobs, very abruptly. "It wasn't fair!" she practically shouts. "I saved her Rue. She was gone for a year. I left a memorial for her in light right on this fucking island. And I saved her!" She chokes back her emotions a bit, quieting back down. "And it meant nothing," she whispers out. "Nothing."

She takes a few deep breaths, her crying subsiding as her hands raise to cover her face again. "I-I'm sorry," she says quietly. "It's- It's been a hard day. I-" She falls silent again. "I lost a lot, and I don't know if I'll get it back."

Feet planted firmly on the ground the instant Quinn's (predicted) outburst begins, Rue is capping her flask and tossing it to the ground carelessly so she can cross the distance and wrap her arms around her— whatever Quinn is.

"I don't know what it's like," she tells her. She thought she did, once. She lost her best friend in the explosion that claimed Midtown, but Samara never left her. And she never died. She came back. The only way in which Rue lost the most important person in her life was because she found her own life and her own way in the world.

It's long past time for Rue to do the same. At least she's trying. "I think it's a void that will never go away. But I also think it's… It's what you'll do with it that will count." And there's no pressure to do anything with it now other than realize it, acknowledge it, and process it. Grief is important to explore. That's what her therapists told her after the bomb. When she was in a psychiatric ward because she swore she could still speak to her friend.

Quinn is a bit taken aback by the hug, eyes widening. She stiffens noticeably, mostly because she wasn't prepared for it. She relaxes even more quickly wrapping her arms around Rue. She listens to her, biting at her lip as she does. "I honestly only barely knew her," she admits. "But she was a friend. A comrade. An idol," to her at least. "But at least- At least now it's over." She swallows, leaning a bit more into the hug. She takes a deep breath, closing her eyes as she reaches up, running hands up into Rue's bright grey hair. "I'm going to miss your red hair," she says after a moment, and she knows Rue won't immediately understand, but she - probably mistakenly, like usual - thinks it the best way to broach the subject.

What the actual fuck does that mean? Rue doesn't voice her question, and doesn't actually savor the fingers in her hair the way she used to do. She interprets it, perhaps incorrectly, as Quinn's admission that she's going to leave the island. For a moment, she tightens her embrace. "I know." She doesn't, but what the hell else can she say? She'd like to dig into that, but whenever she does, it's with claws and teeth, and Quinn is fragile right now. Rue doesn't want to hurt her.

"You don't," Quinn replies. Not rudely or dismissively, but it's true. "I don't see it anymore. That red hair." This close, Rue can her swallow as she struggles to find words. "I-I can't see much now," she continues. "I was- I wasn't going t' get food," she finally admits, though she does need it. "I-" She sniffs. "I needed a flashlight," she says quietly again. "To read Else's music." With those words, she tightens her grip on Rue, balling up the other's shirt in her hands. "It hurts, to be out in the sun. In the light."

She relinquishes her hold on the other woman, sinking back into the bench as much as Rue will let her. "I have to leave," she says quietly. "I can't do this." Her teeth grind, her jaw clenches. "Come with me. We'll go- we'll go t' France!" There's a sudden rush of excitement in her voice, arms wrapping back around her companion. "It'll be magical! You an' me, a pair a' sunglasses, an' all the wine and fine dining P-Paris has t-to… to…"

She can't finish it before she breaks into quiet sobs again.

It hurts? Rue has the barest working knowledge of Quinn's ability, but doesn't comprehend its limits. Still, she can put two and two together as the Irishwoman begins to babble.

Rue's stomach drops. She remembers holding Quinn's face in her hands and begging her to stay. Begging her to leave her new fiancée and to come back to her. And now… Now this.

Long limbs are disentangled from Quinn's grip, drawing herself back and away forcefully. She stands again, pacing back out of arm's reach. "No." She hadn't wanted to hurt her, but she won't be the arms Quinnie falls into when she's in pain. It's taken her years to understand, but now Rue knows how this will turn out. Every time. Just like the last time, she'll pick her up and give her everything she needs to be confident again, to be whole again.

And then she'll leave.

"No. We're way past that, Robyn."

The funny thing is that Quinn remembers that conversation too, that Elaine would be fine, that she could get any guy or girl she wanted. Quinn doesn't want that, necessarily. And yet… "Oh." Quinn draws her legs up on to the bench. "I… I guess I'll send you a postcard," she says quietly. "You're right," she admits. "I just-" She shakes her head. "No, you're right. I'm sorry, Rue." Like usual. A small laugh. "Will I ever stop makin' an idiot outta myself?" It's maybe a rhetorical question, maybe not? "I'm sorry," she repeats, feet lowering back to the grass. With a pained groan, she rises back up, hand gripping the bench as she looks around for a moment before she can zero in on the path back inside. "I'm… I'm gonna go get that flashlight. And-" A small laugh. "This time I'll leave you alone forever. I promise." It's dramatic, but so it Quinn.

"You almost never make an idiot out of yourself," Rue says, gaze distant, yet somehow still fixed on Quinn. She feels numb. This is one of the hardest things she's ever had to do, and she just had to shriek a former CIA agent out of shell shock and dodge bullets. Never in her life did February Lancaster expect herself to be in a position to have to say no to Robyn Quinn.

Rue is pushing Quinn back down on the bench before she can get too far. Training has made her stronger. The war has made her colder. She will sit, and she will listen. "You just make an idiot of everyone around you." The layers of her sweatshirt - under her jacket, over a long sleeved tee - hide the the slight tremor in her arms. "You can go and fuck off to Paris, and I wouldn't even blame you, but think about it. If you leave your— If you leave 'Lainey, you will never get that back. So you had best be really fucking sure about what you're walking away from." Her mouth draws a thin line across her face, the blood chasing away from her lips and leaving them white. "Think about what you've got left to lose."

There's a small eep from Quinn she's pushed back to the bench. She certainly wasn't expecting that. Not from Rue, at least. She sits there, silent as she listens to Rue. She gives a shallow nod at a few points through out what Rue has to say, her hands in her lap tugging at her sleeves. "I know," she says quietly. "But if I take her, if I take anything," which, in theory includes Rue, it's questionable if Quinn's buying this herself or not, "I'll never be able to let go," she admits honestly. Hands reach up, rubbing at her face.

"I- I'm just-" She lets out a long sigh. "I don't even know what I'm saying anymore. My head is a jumble, throbbin' like it's going t' explode. My heart's beatin' like a hammer." She swallows. "This city ate me alive and only now am I realising it. Ever since I came here back in 05, it's one thing after another. My heart can't take it anymore, an' I don't want t' drag her down with me. Away from everythin' else she knows and loves because I'm selfish."

Rue nods slowly, taking it all in. She has empathy for her ex-lover; she does. For the first time, she's imparting a hard lesson without the intent of hurting for the sake of hurting. She isn't trying to sabotage one of Quinn's relationships to try and worm her way back into the songstress' heart. She's telling her what she needs to hear for her own sake.

"You should go," Rue agrees. "This city's killing us. I'm going to stay, because someone has to fight it back. But you? You've given so much… Nobody would blame you for walking away."

She echoes the words that have been said to her on more than one occasion. They tell her she can walk away because it isn't her fight. She will never be one of the ones relocated or subjected to suppression of who she is. That's why she has to fight.

"I love you, Quinnie, and I want you to go somewhere and be safe. I will just never love you again like that."

Quinn's lips thin as she tries to think of something to say, to combat that. Not even combat it. Just- anything really. She settles for something. "You're wrong," she says quietly. "It's not just Elaine. Sable, Colette, Eileen, Ygraine- I can't imagine everyone wouldn't judge me for leaving." That's how she sees it, at least. She lets out a long sigh, closing her eyes.

"I guess judgement isn't the same as blame," she assets, trying to convince herself. She frowns, and holds up a hand in front of her. Fingers flex, a motion Rue is familiar with. Nothing happens, though, still. A quiet whimper and Quinn looks off to the side. "I guess right now I'm just like everyone else, except I'm a worst shot an' a klutz."

I love you, but never again like that. That's definitely something Quinn needs to hear to. Something to keep her from backpedalling like she always does - with out the promise of something waiting for her, she loses the impulse. It's good for both of them. "Yeah," she offers back. "I think I'm okay with that." Maybe? It hurts, but it's what they both need.

It hurts that she's okay with that, but they both need her to be. Rue holds on to her spine of iron and spits out her next words: "Fuck what they think. They aren't you. No one else is you, and only you get to decide when you've had enough." Which is to say that Rue recognizes she can't tell Quinn to go, only suggest it. But she knows the other woman well enough to know that she's nearing the end of her rope.

Rue just doesn't want to see her dangling from it.

Quinn looks up at Rue with more than a bit of surprise, dull grey eyes widening as she regards the younger woman with shock. It passes, and she lets her eyes fall had shut as her lips tug up in a reluctant smile. "Thank you, Rue," she says, bunching her jeans in her hands, before she slowly rises to her feet. This time it sounds less pained, and looks less rushed. "If you ever decide t' get out, though, I meant what I said earlier. Friends, though." This doesn't have the desperation she had earlier. "At least… maybe get out of the city at some point. Before this city consumes us all." She offers a roll of her shoulder, wincing a bit about halfway through.

She looks into Rue's eyes for a moment longer - she can't remember what colour they're supposed be, and her smile grows. "If you find any sunglasses, drop them off in my room, please?" she asks, before turning away and starting off. When she hits the others of the bench, she raises a hand, waving with her back turned to Rue.

"Au revoir, mon chérie."

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