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Circle closing fast - JLA Watchtower RPG
Circle closing fast
One of the niceties of Amelia's placement is the hospital's library. The incident with the plastic-ware has cut her library time short, but it's all the better to keep people away from her. She can divide her time wisely to avoid the other patients, for the most part.

Everyone these days keeps a distance of ten feet or so. Some days, in general population, she can feel them sweep through the edge of her mystical sight, back and forth through the stacks. She knows who's reading from what section by the distinctive colors and where they tend to be. More reading should really be done here, but Amelia often finds she's wasted her two hours or so simply staring at the soul signatures bobbing around, unawares of her spectator sport.

She isn't supposed to be eating in here. She sneaks an M&M from her pocket. The sugar's been keeping her going, but her fingers are dabbed with colors now from the melting candy shell.

She giggles, holding her fingers alongside Justine Millhane's damp blue and green soul in Biography & Auto-biography. "How much we see..." she explains to the open book in her lap, "Is irrelevant depending on how much we know."

She's up to 1983 in her Rzhev reading. Licking her fingers, she turns the page with her other hand. The Rocket Reds have become a separate research endeavor completely.

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caleb_z From: caleb_z Date: November 29th, 2007 07:55 am (UTC) (Link)
“I might have guessed you’d be interested in those,” Caleb deadpans over her shoulder, nodding towards the Rocket Reds, “but Russian Ghettos is a new one, I think.”

Having now given himself away, Caleb greets Birdie with a smile. “Well, so long as you aren’t reading practical voodoo, we’re golden, I suppose.”
amelia_z From: amelia_z Date: November 29th, 2007 08:06 am (UTC) (Link)
"Voodoo's impractical by its simple application. Too much ceremony," she responds back monotonously.

This book is just a recount of what she read in an earlier tome, and that one had more up to date statistics. She finally looks up from her reading, dropping the book onto a stack on the floor. "Father was born there."
caleb_z From: caleb_z Date: November 29th, 2007 08:16 am (UTC) (Link)
“I wouldn’t exactly boast of it, in their shoes,” he replies. Their father and he aren’t exactly on the best of terms.

Though it occurs to him that said mutual hostility hadn’t afforded the opportunity for many father-son chats during his youth, either. And curiosity is something Caleb had always had in abundance.

“What, uh …What’s the town?” He asks, pulling up a chair.
amelia_z From: amelia_z Date: November 29th, 2007 08:28 am (UTC) (Link)
"Rzhev. All fine and well until '42. Over one-sixth of the population were sent to labor. They set up a camp in the middle of town, some 9,000 going down screaming..."

She stares off in the distance, then leans and picks up another book and holds it out to him. It was one of the more useful readings. "You can't drink the water and the companies are corrupt like old miners building mini-malls for Moscow and paying the people in hepatitis A. There is a point. It's in the text."
caleb_z From: caleb_z Date: November 29th, 2007 06:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
“Resuming your interest in our heritage, I take it?” It’s good to see her doing something other than wasting about.
amelia_z From: amelia_z Date: November 29th, 2007 08:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
Must the overwhelming stupid that's rubbed off on him always show so prominently? She jerks the book in her hand, insisting it out to him.

"Why are we like this, Caleb? Why are we different? From each other? Why us and nobody else in the family? It suggests separate catalysts. Something out of the ordinary, something that was irregularly present, or unusually absent, but just us, and different in both." She shakes her head. "Dad left Rzhev before you. They fear you, but not me until I came back. Why? What makes me good in his mind and not you? What changed in three years?"

An eyebrow arches up. "What was changed? Or rather, who, to what degree?"
caleb_z From: caleb_z Date: November 30th, 2007 12:54 am (UTC) (Link)
“Wait, wait. Are-Are you suggesting that our parents …” His voice trails off as things connect in his mind. Father not only knew that they were demons, but never told him – only her. And while he took care to teach Amelia how to exorcise her powers, he took no such step with young Caleb.

“The thought occurred to me shortly after I discovered I was half-demon, but I always just assumed that he just hated me. After all, why teach your emotionally unstable, self-absorbed demon child how to telekinetically throw a car at you? It would have just complicated the next beating.” All the pieces add up, though unbeknownst to Caleb, he doesn’t know all the variables.

Neither of them do.
amelia_z From: amelia_z Date: November 30th, 2007 09:08 am (UTC) (Link)
"I'm suggesting dad knows something. Everything. One simple, tiny little question: how'd he know?"
caleb_z From: caleb_z Date: November 30th, 2007 09:19 am (UTC) (Link)
His mind is instantly so invested in the question that Caleb seems to stare into nothingness, his eyes akin to an eagle scanning for food.

Dr. Zukov soon re-focuses on Amelia. “You knew.” His words and tone could easily imply accusation, but his Birdie knows him better than to fall for that. “And whatever reason he gave you, you felt it sufficient to also keep the knowledge from me.” Then, calmly, with a hint of controlled (but raw) curiosity: “I imagine it was quite compelling."
amelia_z From: amelia_z Date: November 30th, 2007 09:43 am (UTC) (Link)
"His reason doesn't have to be my reason."

She picks at a loose thread on the leg of her pants. Everyone else has this gap they talk about, thirteen years between that she only has an intellectual knowledge of. She has to remind herself it exists sometimes; there is no gap for her. She was going down the stairs to meet Britt and Lillah at the mall, and woke up in a hospital bed. The memory of talking with her father feels like only a couple years ago. "He didn't trust you. Thought you were-- it doesn't matter what he thought."

She shrugs. "What the hell would you have done with that? Gone to confession? C'mon, Caleb. Something like that would've just..." She shrugs again. "None of it matters now anyway."
caleb_z From: caleb_z Date: November 30th, 2007 11:17 am (UTC) (Link)
Her response puzzles him for a moment. “I’m not cross,” he softly reassures. “Just curious. It might help me see the big picture, so to speak.” Then, a hair more quietly: “Also, knowledge of what has made us what we are might expedite the search for your cure.”

“I-I harbor no grudges against you, Bird. For this, or anything else.” There is a controlled nervousness to his otherwise sincere words. After all, the last thing he wants is for Amelia to wind up feeling like he’s interrogating her.

“We used to talk," he goads. "Couldn't shut us up if you wanted to."
amelia_z From: amelia_z Date: November 30th, 2007 11:47 am (UTC) (Link)
Sure, he doesn't resent his little sister abruptly appearing back in his life and stomping all over his parade. Why would he?

Amelia couldn't tell him the truth if she wanted to. They used to do a lot of things they don't anymore, because different people did those things. For her, only now has it become a matter of fact, but an even deeper truth is that Caleb changed on her, not the other way around. She simply woke up to a different world one day. She fell asleep and the pod people got to her brother.

They weren't always eighteen years apart.

She never told him because it'd ruin him. He'd have marched straight to father for confirmation, demanding it, and gotten all that and more. Dad would've filled his head with all sorts of nasty things, things that Caleb wasn't, things that were untrue but Caleb would still believe. The old man was wrong, but Amelia hadn't been stupid, either. The mage on the Outsiders isn't the sixteen year old kid who would've been getting the news that his father literally considered him a demon of particularly evil variety, and was just waiting for "the boy" to prove it.

Her parents never had their eye on the right kid. Idiots.

Protecting him has never gotten her very far, but it's all she knows how to do, especially since the git isn't very good at doing it himself. She shrugs at him again and looks down in her lap.
caleb_z From: caleb_z Date: December 2nd, 2007 07:41 am (UTC) (Link)
It saddens Caleb to think of what his sister has endured. Like Wells' time traveler visiting the Eloi, and then discovering the time machine missing. Suddenly the strange, quaint little curiosity is a nightmare that you can never wake up from. And what about that part of your mind that has to always wonder if this is a coma dream? What if it ends someday? Why grow distant from what was, only to have trouble adjusting to it when you get back to it?

In her shoes, that thought might be the only thing that sustains Caleb. Hope, after all, is a precious commodity. He knows they’ll never be close again. At least not like they were.

“Forget I asked,” he says dismissively. “It’s obviously too uncomfortable for you, and that wasn’t my intention at all.” But I am going to follow up on this. She’s told you who to talk to, and what to look for. The rest is just too hard for her.
amelia_z From: amelia_z Date: December 4th, 2007 10:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
A few months ago, Amelia would've screamed back in protest that anything was too uncomfortable for her, that this issue was more about his comfort. Which of them got bent out of shape whenever Amelia voiced her opinion?

There's no energy anymore. Fighting used to be the only response she thought she had left, but there was a step beyond that, and that was waiting. This time was an interim. Caleb would do everything he could to repair their relationship, she would pass on, and he would mourn her a second time. She's dying, so in a way she's right and wrong; what does any of it matter, short of her brother getting to hear what he wants to hear?

"[I'm sorry]," she finally says in Russian. "[I don't know what to tell you. Everything as I perceive it is wrong. Fact doesn't make sense through my brain, so even if I had some answer I'd just be lying to tell you because it doesn't go anywhere. I'm always wrong.]"
caleb_z From: caleb_z Date: December 4th, 2007 11:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
Caleb can't blame her for feeling like she's going to be wrong no matter what. It's been a recurring theme since her return to life. But then again, she hasn't exactly been basing her decisions on a clear view of the big picture, now has she?

If only I could get *her* to see that.

"[Bird...]" He pauses there, trying for a moment to put his feelings to words, and then sighing in frustration when he can't find the words. He lowers his eyes, feeling almost as if he's failed her again.

"[Don't loose yourself in yesterday, Bird. Tomorrow looks to be much more palatable.]"
amelia_z From: amelia_z Date: December 5th, 2007 03:21 am (UTC) (Link)
"[For who?]"

No, he doesn't get it. He hasn't gotten it. He probably never will. Amelia gives him a passing hand of dismissal and goes about collecting the books, organizing them into proper stacks to go back where they should. She doesn't ever put the books on the cart, then they know what she's reading. "[Please, don't take this against you, Caleb. You don't understand. You can't.]"
caleb_z From: caleb_z Date: December 5th, 2007 03:51 am (UTC) (Link)
His face broadcasts his confusion. Why is she doing this? Why would she question his motives now? Better for who? Better for you, you silly git! Out of prison, not dying, getting your life back…

…not dying. Right. The brain … thing. Not working right. In an institution, probably not thinking clearly. Calm yourself, Caleb.

“[I’ll do my damndest to try, if you’ll let me.]” A beat silently passes.
amelia_z From: amelia_z Date: December 5th, 2007 05:35 am (UTC) (Link)
She opens her mouth and shakes her head. She has no idea what's supposed to come out next.

There's no point to putting herself through this. Again. Amelia's tired of it, no matter what reality is real, what fact is solid and not convoluted fallacy. Where would she even begin?

"[It's all wrong. I can't go that far back. I'm trying! I'm so tired of trying to answer it, every time, and each time I'm farther from it. Don't you think I've been trying? If I could make any sense of it, if I could explain it, do you think I'd be in here?]"
caleb_z From: caleb_z Date: December 5th, 2007 06:15 am (UTC) (Link)
"[No, I don't.]" He knows this comes up a lot, but what else is he supposed to do? She needs help. Is he supposed to just let her die? Of course not!

She wouldn't want that, right?



"[I just ... I want to help. How else ... I mean what else could ... should...]" He lowers his eyes as he musters the courage to ask a most horrifying question.

A question rendered horrifying by virtue of it's probable answer.

"If I could snap my fingers and make your world right again, I would. But since I'll, uh ... Since I'll inevitable fall short of ... that particular goal ... do you want me to..." He can't bring himself to finish asking the question. The thought is just too terrible.
amelia_z From: amelia_z Date: December 5th, 2007 07:16 am (UTC) (Link)
Somewhere in him, he honestly believes she'll be cured someday soon, and she'll be all better, and then life will go back as it should be.

Damn him.

"[I'm not trying to be difficult]," she says, voice cracking. She's starting to cry. Why does everyone keep pressuring her? All she's got is these pieces and none of them make sense apart or together! How do you explain the color blue if you've been blind all your life? How do you understand it if it's explained to you? How do you cope when the world gives you '3' as the sum of two plus two, no matter what you were taught?
caleb_z From: caleb_z Date: December 5th, 2007 07:41 am (UTC) (Link)
He's believed that there was hope for her ever since he first 'killed' her. He always knew it was naive, but he can't just give up on Bird. He can't let her down. It's not even that he won't let himself - the possibility never even enters his mind.

When she begins crying, those same instincts come into play. Abandoning his chair, Caleb kneels beside her, pulling her into a hug. He doesn't mean to pressure her, he just doesn't know what to do. And on the spur of the moment, this seemed the thing to do. (Mainly for lack of a more effective alternative.)
amelia_z From: amelia_z Date: December 5th, 2007 07:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
"[Not here!]"

Amelia doesn't mean to yell. People are starting to look, though, and she doesn't like so many eyes on her. She won't be someone's prey in here. Enough have tried, and with that her mind goes back to Louis, disgusting Louis and-- and--

Another piece tumbles out from nowhere. She fights back the crying, with effort, and busies herself with rushing to get out. The books go back where they belong, she tidies up her area and then signs herself out. She says nothing on the way back to her room, just content that Caleb will follow her. When she's finally there she makes a pace around the room, stops, and retrieves a tin from her table. "They, uh, let me make tea. Do you--"

She doesn't get much farther. The tin gets sat down and she leans against the table, tired. "So many things. They occur to me later, after the fact, all tied up to strange nonsense. I don't know where they fit. If they do."
caleb_z From: caleb_z Date: December 5th, 2007 08:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
He's about to accept a pot of tea when she changes gears, and Caleb just doesn't feel right backpedaling.

"What sort of things?" He inquires.
amelia_z From: amelia_z Date: December 5th, 2007 10:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
She sits down, looking out the window for a distraction. Pushing for words is one of the hardest struggles she's been through recently. If she doesn't focus on this, none of it will connect and they'll be wasted words. Start off from the beginning, the catalyst thought, even if it's--

"Louis touched me. I broke a bottle over his head. He talked about us being comrades, some sneaky slimey thought or another probably, I didn't pay any mind I was too angry, too, too--" She holds her head. She will get this out. "He talked about a place in New Zealand, 'among friends' he said. I told Crystal there was a place, an island near to, there's no extradition treaty. But I didn't know, I really didn't know until now, didn't think of what he said and what I said and maybe that she listened, that she could be there."

She pulls her hair back from her face and clears the wet away. "But she could be. Right? And you could find Crystal, bring her home? It'd keep Tara, if you brought her back, because then she'd never go, she'd never go to Rzhev. It isn't right for her! She was good! So you'll go? Tell me you'll go, you'll look?"
caleb_z From: caleb_z Date: December 5th, 2007 11:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
The rest of the world falls away when he hears ‘Louis touched me.’ In an instant, body language ceases altogether, and he hangs on her every word. Her every syllable.

Yebenat, he mutters to himself. Louis touched his sister. Louis the pervert. The slimey FUCK. Touched. His sister. And how vague a thing is that, anyway? Touched. So distant and carefully chosen a wording. I doubt it was very god damned FUCKING vague thing to endure. His knuckles are white, but still his fists tighten. The surrealism of it all shatters as Amelia cries. This is for real.

Louis is a dead man.

“Uh … O-O-Of-Of course,” he finally manages. “I’m already searching for Crystal, and I’d already hoped to persuade Tara to at least come see you. This … This was a useful clue.”

I’m going to kill him slowly. He is going to scream and beg for his life, and I’m going to laugh.

“You … You were reading about Rzhev because of Tara. What’s the connection?”

I’ll pursue him to Hell. Buy his soul… The red in his iris begins to creep in as Caleb tries to remain calm an composed. Right now isn’t a time for anger, it’s a time to be here for Amelia. The wrath can wait a few hours.

“Are you alright,” he asks, for once not struggling for his own words. “I mean, Jesus Christ, I’m sorry.” D.E.A.D. Dead.
amelia_z From: amelia_z Date: December 5th, 2007 11:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
"[Don't]," she's quick to say. "[Don't make her. Let her be.]"

Amelia has enough trouble saying what she needs to say to Caleb, the doctors, the lawyers, the fucking shrinks who she hasn't dare told this yet. Caleb is giving her exactly what she didn't want from them, and that's pity. She's not a victim. She was a stupid girl who made a stupid deal and she got felt up while Crystal got--

He's going to kill Louis.

"He-- nothing-- your life is worth more than his. It-- it was inappropriate, not like what he did to Crystal. I--" She actually laughs a little to herself. "His contact was inappropriate. He got a broken bottle and .50 caliber of back the hell off. It's all I get for not keeping her away from that monster. Not making sure he didn't touch her, or blow the whistle, or do something. I can't explain now because everyone asks 'how could you?' and I don't know! I just kept seeing it, what they kept telling me, and I felt like Corrine was waiting for something and I couldn't wait for it to be a matter of time! She killed people! Or someone! Or-- I don't know anymore! I don't know what I was afraid of and I still went in there and smiled and shook hands with those people that-- that--"

"Blyadskii pizdobol!!" Her scream echoes with her fists slamming against metal bed frame. Apparently somewhere in there, she is still angry. Huh. Who knew?
caleb_z From: caleb_z Date: December 6th, 2007 12:11 am (UTC) (Link)
He tried to rape her, and got more than he was bargaining for. The red in his eyes begins to fade as, somewhere inside, he begins to feel pride in his sister's response. That's my birdie.

"As you wish," he answers evenly. "I'll confine his beatings to the search for Crystal. And Phillip. I'll, uh ... I'll also leave Tara be in regards to you."

"Bird ... listen to me. You made some stupid decisions, yes. And yes, you did bring a great deal of this down on yourself, but do try to remember to cut yourself some slack. Bird, who could have possibly been in your shoes and not been all turned around and confused. You were taken advantage of by a manipulative, self-righteous cretins in a time of weakness."

"I've known you a lot better than those twits back on the island," he assures her. "I know you're a decent person. I know your not a traitor or a fool. I know if you knew then what you do now, you wouldn't have done it. and I know that, whatever you did, you intended the best. And as far as I'm concerned, that's what matters most. That's why I don't feel betrayed, that's why I can't be angry, and that's why I haven't stopped trusting you, or looking out for you."

A moment quietly passes by. "I still need to know about the connection between Rzhev and Tara. And, uh ... and it would still help me to cure you if you could tell me why father didn't want me to know I was a demon. He's just going to lie to me if I ask him myself."
amelia_z From: amelia_z Date: December 6th, 2007 03:31 am (UTC) (Link)
"It was a dream." No. It might as well have been. And if it wasn't? Caleb's going anyway. He's going to bring Crystal back... and... she'll still be different.

You can never get something back the way you had it.

"I don't know. This thing-- I saw things-- and we both and I couldn't-- I can't, I don't know, Caleb! We just can't let her go and dad never told me why, he... he said..." And now it comes to it. Go ahead, Amelia. Spit it out. "He didn't trust you. He didn't know how to explain what we were! He was afraid if you knew you'd use it, you'd, you'd do something stupid, some girl, or get arrested. That you'd hurt and that's all he would've fed to you, told you that you were something you weren't. He wanted me to stay away from you. It was time to grow up, Amelia, and let your brother do what he'll do. Don't you be a part of it, you're better than that, you're not like him."

She sniffles, looking up at him. "But he was wrong, 'cause I am. It isn't me, it's never been me. You were the good one and they beat you."
caleb_z From: caleb_z Date: December 6th, 2007 04:13 am (UTC) (Link)
He absorbs everything she says, and returns to his chair as he thinks it all over. .

Wait ... Mother and Father were ... are powerless, and yet Father not only knew enough magic to give Bird lessons, but also knew both that we had demonic powers, and that they weren't identical. I'd say it's a safe bet that he thought I had more demon in me than her.

He runs his hand through his hair as he continues to pick the revelations out of Amelia's words. Which is true. Without her soul, Amelia went into a coma. Without mine, I became a demon. All of which leads him to believe that his father knows what that mystery 'environmental variable' is.

"I think it's time I paid father a visit."

Edited at 2007-12-06 06:43 pm (UTC)
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