2010-07-19: At Home



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Date: July 19th, 2010


Jamie finds a familiar face and is introduced to the top man at the Carnival.

"At Home"

Sullivan Bros. Carnival

The Carnival is in full swing when a man saunters amidst the crowds toward the luminous beacon that is the Ferris Wheel. He's not of the crowd; he looks at home here, moving about the grounds with a familiarity and quiet authority. He belongs here. His clothes belong here, the worn suit jacket and nice vest, all classic but a little outdated, almost belonging to another time. Noise and lights swirl all around, but he focuses on one point by the popular ride, off to the side away from the line.

"And you," the man's voice lilts as he approaches, "must be Jamie."

Jamie has spent her time waiting by the Ferris Wheel regaling Charity with just about everything that's happened to her since they last saw each other in Germany. At the speed she talks, Charity will probably be lucky to catch even half of it. She stops as soon as the man approaches, standing up straighter as she nods quickly to the man, "Yep."

Standing at the railing surrounding the Ferris Wheel, Charity Davies leans on the metal fence as she listens to the stories of adventure from the short girl. A straw cowboy hat shades the mechanopath's eyes against the sun, while the rest of her is clothes in a black tanktop and jeans. A Sullivan Bros carnival shirt is left to drape open.

As the owner of the place approaches, she straightens, tipping her hat back just a little with a fingertip. "Hello boss, this young lady was just tellin' me of quite the adventure she's had." Charity looks down at the little girl with a small smile. "Jamie… I'd like you to meet my boss, this here is Mr Sullivan." She then glances at Joseph. "Sir, this here is Jamie." A hand pats the young girl on the shoulder.

"Hello," the Carnival's overseer greets with a kindness to his voice — a voice that could be rough, but is low and gentle here and now for the girl. A straight mouth inches toward a smile for both the current and would-be carnies. "I hope you haven't talked our good Charity's ear off; then, we like a good story around here." He begins to crouch, tugging the front creases of his pants upward before planting a knee on the dusty ground, getting a closer look at Jamie. "Joseph," he clarifies. "Joseph Sullivan. I hear that you have skill as an acrobat; I hear you're looking for a family."

Jamie gives a friendly smile to Joseph and says, to the introduction, "Nice to meet you." Totally sincere, too. She steps just a little closer to Joseph now, close enough she can shake his hand if he offers it. She nods quickly to his words about her, "I was an acrobat in the Clancy Carnival, until I was eight. I kept in practice, as best I could." And she nods again, "I don't have a family right now." This is said just a little softer.

Charity sends Joseph a soft smile, before moving to do her job, which is to run the Ferris Wheel. Without her even touching the controls, with a flick of fingers, the big wheel slows to a stop with a few clicks and a whine, which has the ride mechanic frowning a bit. Something for her to look into after hours.

Even as she unclips the bar to the bucket and lets people out, replacing them with the next pair in line, she watches the conversation going on not far from her.

"It's my pleasure to meet you, Jamie," Joseph says, offering a work-worn hand for shaking. "If you don't mind me asking … " As he speaks, he moves between watching Charity and watching Jamie — specifically, watching Jamie's reaction to Charity's sparking of the ride without a touch. "…what happened to your family, that you aren't with them now?"

What Charity did doesn't surprise Jamie in the least. That she did it in public seems to, though, as she looks mainly to see reactions from those getting on and off the ride, and not at the action itself. She smiles then, but looks back to Joseph to shake his hand. "My mom died when I was eight, and some bad guys threatened my dad unless I helped them break into places. I helped, but still haven't seen him since then. My foster dad's missing since our plane crashed in the jungle, and Sydney, I stayed with her a while last year, is missing, maybe kidnapped. Right now I'm just staying with 'sitters from the company my foster dad used to work for."

It may surprise Jamie to see that people don't seem to be reacting to the stopping and going of the ride without someone pushing a button. It's a modern world! Most may be waving it away as a remote control. It's the charm of the place. The mystery.

Once the rid is going again, Charity moves to lean against the metal railing again. "It's like I told ya, Joseph. Last time I saw her she was in an orphanage in Germany." A glance goes to the little girl, giving her a big smile. "It's a real good place here, kiddo. I haven't felt this much at home since…" She trails off glancing at Joseph, the smile sliding away. Her gaze drops to the girl again, as she adds honestly. "Since I lost my own family in a car accident. My oldest wasn't much older then you are."

Joseph begins to straighten, after Jamie's explanation and Charity's both. He studies the young acrobat with a consideration that goes beyond merely what she said, though he seems to accept her words as they are. "Everyone deserves a family," he states, somber but with a contrasting undertone of optimism, for no other reason than: "And here," he goes on, "they find one." He looks from Jamie to the nearby ride operator and back. "What do you see when you look around," he asks, a small twitch of his fingers gesturing toward the Carnival around them.

The fire act family Jamie met stand on a raised platform; they spit fire from their mouths in impossible plumes. Jennie waves.

At a game booth, a cocky man tries his best to throw a ball at a milk bottle, but it veers at the last second and he misses, stomping while a little girl giggles and the game's operator just smiles.

A woman emerges from a tent, clutching her heart and gushing about things the psychic couldn't have known.

Jamie looks up to Charity at her admission, biting her lip, and unsure what to say. But then Joseph's talking, and she looks back quickly. Slowly, she turns to look around the carnival, taking in the sights. She waves quickly in return to Jennie, and then watches the ball veer off course. After a moment she looks back and says, "Everybody's using their powers and not hiding." She says this like it's the most fantastic thing ever.

"And you're special too, aren't you, Jamie," Joseph states with a kind crinkle forming around his eyes. "Here, no one has to hide, who they truly are." The eldest Sullivan brother starts to stroll away — past Charity, who he gives a curt nod of thanks — and gestures for Jamie to follow. "Why don't I show you around, and we can chat," he says slowly. For the most part, Jamie is addressed like an adult, though his voice remains a little gentler than it might be otherwise. "I know you'd very much like to stay with us— I think we'd like that too. But we have to be sure you can leave your past outside the Carnival."

Jamie quickly moves to follow after Joseph, nodding quickly. "I can turn into water," she answers honestly, and without hesitation. "And hate hiding it." She glances around a little as they walk, but keeps close to Joseph. "What do you mean?"

As they pass by she station, Charity lifts her hand in farewell, giving Joseph a soft smile and a slow nod of her head in return. The smile turns into something brighter as she calls after Jamie, "Hopefully, I'll be seeing you around kiddo. Not hard ta find me around here."

Turning back to the line waiting, Charity says brightly. "Alright, who's next."

As people eagerly bounce toward Charity for their turn on the Ferris Wheel, Joseph's route takes Jamie through the Carnival, gradually moving away from the rides and exhibits that scatter the grounds. There's still much to see on the way — like the colorful circus tent — but his target seems to be a cluster of trailers off the beaten path (as much as there's a visible path anywhere). "Well," he begins with a bit of a grin, "I believe your story, Jamie," he reassures calmly. "But we have to protect our own. Plenty've kiddos would like to run away, join the Carnival— we have to be sure you're where you belong. You can hide from your past, and the people in it, but will it be looking for you. That's the question." More specifically, will anyone come looking, with pitchforks, for a missing girl. But he leaves out those specifics.

Jamie is quiet a moment, as she thinks. "Saul might come looking for me, someday, if he ever makes it out of the jungle. But think his company, the ones I'm staying with now, would be fine with it. They just haven't wanted to put me with a normal family 'cause I might change in front of them. My friend Trent might look for me too, but he's even younger than me, and he doesn't have a family either until Sydney comes back, and dunno if that'll even happen."

Joseph nods; there's a small sound in his throat that acknowledges his acceptance. Pensively, he continues leading the way.

Most of those living and working here are off doing their thing, pitching in to make the night a success, but a few carnies sit at a table outside in front of some old trailers, perhaps taking a break. Bits and pieces of a family — a couple of kids, a few adults.

Joseph plants a hand on Jamie's shoulder and walks her up to the group. "Meet Jamie," he announces.

They all look instantly wary when they see the girl, and a few get up suddenly, but they're quick to smile; she's just a kid.

"She's going to be joining the family."

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