2008-02-12: Homecomings

Starring:

McAlister_icon.gif Erin_icon.gif

Summary:

The prodigal DJ returns home, and much conversation ensues - what went before, what's going on now, happy returns and dragons. It's a full afternoon, if nothing else.

February 12, 2008

Homecomings


Parkview Estates: Apt 909

Lately, Erin's been filming a very Pryce-and-Morgan-centric storyline, so she hasn't actually been to the apartment much. It's still clean - she does that when she has a few minutes - but somewhat homier than usual, with little things out of place that normally wouldn't be.

Spread out on the kitchen table are various articles, blurbs, and printouts regarding the spread of a virus that's killing sugar maples. To the casual observer, it would just be something odd that Erin's been following for some random reason. She took everything out earlier in the afternoon, and it's been sitting there ever since.

At present, she's sound asleep on the couch. Both of Ali's cats are piled on top of her - Erin would NEVER consider the calico as being 'hers,' even if it kind of is. All three are sleeping soundly.

Scrabblescrabble *thump* scrapescrape - The sounds of someone at the door, a key in the lock, and luggage banging on the paneling? Yup, definitely. Keys jingle as the soap star's earstwhile roomate manages to let herself in, wrestling a bit with a hanging back and carry-on - and a large, wrapped /thing/ tucked under one arm.

Once the door's closed, the DJ piles everything in that short hallway, and groans a bit as she stretches. "mmmph." Daytime not being the natural active time of /homo deejayus/, the woman yawns, runs fingers through her hair, and drifts into the living room.

Where she pauses. And blinks. And stifles a laugh.

Erin doesn't actually wake up when Ali first enters. She's pretty sound asleep, and would easily stay that way for a long time if Dumb Cat (The Calico. If it ever had some other name, it's either been forgotten or discarded) and Pixel stand up and stretch when Ali enters the house. Dumb Cat walks all over Erin, which prompts her to grunt and open her eyes. "What," she demands of the cat, whom she pets tenderly on the head before she sees Ali standing there. "Uh."

She sits up, effectively dislodging the cats onto the floor. "They just lay on me sometimes," Erin mutters, rubbing the sleep out of her eyes. She still doesn't like them, dammit! They just… you know. Make good blankets when it's cold. "Hey. Welcome back. What'd you bring me?"

"Who says I brought you anything?" Ali raises a brow, "I didn't." She grins, and wanders a bit closer, settling in the floor and offering fingers to /her/ kitten, dangit. "c'mere, you. They still running you ragged? I caught the show a few times - it looks like they're writing you in more often. Bruce - " Her agent, working out of an office near Wall Street - "says hi, by the way, and wonders when you're gonna let him manage you. I told him to stuff it."

"Aw. That's the best part of going away for a long time. You're supposed to bring presents back for your roommate. It's in the contract you signed when you moved in." There was no contract, but it's fun to pretend anyway. And speaking of contracts… "They're obligated to put me on screen or pay me for a certain number of hours since they brought me on full-time. It's nice. Tiring, though." An agent named 'Bruce' seems right out of a Hollywood screenplay. Erin still can't believe that one. "I'm unavailable for managing," she says with a smirk, so she can stand and stretch. "So, how long are you staying this time?" There's a lot to talk about, actually.

"… a while." Ali offers, "And I'm not sayin' I didn't /actually/ get you anything, only that I didn't /say/ I got you anything." She grins, ruffles fur, then stands with a grunt. "Anyway. I told him I wanted a break, and he whined about his ten percent, and I threatened to dump him. It was all pretty civilized - I don't know if the whole 'run ragged and talk a lot' thing suits me. So I'm being selfish for a while." And with that, she's bouncing off for the entrance hall, calling back over her shoulder, "So. You like dragons, right?"

Erin's response is a smile. As much as she'd never admit it, she did miss Ali, and this is even despite the fact that after she was attacked, she decided she really shouldn't ever trust anyone again. Yeah, that's something she'll need to talk about eventually. It kind of drove her over the edge just a little. But it's okay now

Scooping Dumb Cat into her arms and plopping herself back down on the couch. "Selfish is fine," Erin says with an almost devious smirk. She knows selfish. At one point, she was the queen of selfish. She just had to learn that she had to give back sometimes, too.

"Dragons?" she asks. They are fairly cool, though she'd never really considered them before. "Yeah, they're okay. Hey. I have something to tell you before you find out from someone else, too." She'll start with the easy life detail - namely, the dying trees.

"Yeah?" Comes the voice floating in from the hall - and the rustling of paper. "Find out what? Don't tell me you're marrying the doctor or something." She laughs, light and warm - "I'll do the music, but no bridesmaiding, right?"

When the DJ reappears, she's carrying.. a stick. Well, that's not wholly right - a five-foot-long (nearly as tall as she is!) ream of sticks joined with red silk at the top - a Chinese fan. Folded.

"If I was marrying the 'doctor,' I'd be sure to put you in the most unflattering dress I could come up with," she returns. "No, I'm not marrying Taine. Actually…" Leaning forward on the couch, she glances into the kitchen. She did leave her scrapbook out there. Excellent. Good way to break the bad news to someone - kind of like an 'I'm sorry I ran over your cat' Hallmark card. Setting Dumb Cat aside again, she stands, starting to head for the kitchen, when Ali reappears with the STICK.

In true Erin fashion, it seems like she's just outright ignoring it. She doesn't mean to, it's just that her mind has strayed to more selfish things. "C'mon, I'll show you." And she heads into the kitchen, to the articles spread out across the table.

Ali tags along, curious - said 'stick' gets leaned on the wall that separates the kitchen from the rest of the apartment, and the DJ doesn't seem to mind that it's ignored. It's just a thing, after all.

But the woman's smile is still there, and remains curious - even as she stuffs hands in jean pockets and steps up to the table. "You read the paper? Seriously?"

They will return to the stick later. For now… Erin separates a couple articles from the others. 'Disease Kills Trees in the Midwest' and 'Cost of Maple Syrup Expected to Rise' as well as 'Mutant Virus Destroys Sugar Maples' among others. It's the easiest way to tell someone what you did, isn't it? Erin looks up at Ali for her reaction, before explaining.

"While you were gone, I was attacked. I was kinda pissed." She taps the article nearest to her. "I didn't mean for it to get this far. It was an accident." Mostly. And she can't stop it, judging by the progression of dates on the pages she's saved. Hopefully she can come up with something, but it's out of her control right now. "Thought you might like to know about this one so you're not wondering."

Ali blinks - and - alright. For a moment, she is absolutely serious. The situation /does/ have a certain gravity, after all. She moves around the table, reaching up to, unless Erin moves, drape an arm around her roomate's shoulders. She reads, a moment. Then. She nods. With big, wide eyes, she looks up -

"Erin?" She sighs, approaching theatric. "If you mess up my pancakes? I will never. Ever. Ever. Forgive you." She tilts her head. "I'm just saying."

She can't help a half-smirk when Ali worries about her pancakes. Unfortunately, it's a little too late for rescuing those, and it'll be years and years before it'll be safe to plant maple trees again. After a moment, she becomes more serious, though, looking away. "Well, I'm glad you're not too upset," she says. "Just didn't want you coming to the wrong conclusion, yeah?" Picking up the articles, she starts to pile them up so she can put them back into the envelope.

Well, that's out of the way. The rest will… be revealed with time. Erin's definitely more reserved, at least in some ways. She went through quite a bit these past few months. "So, now that you know my dark secret, how've you been?" The maples are forgotten!

"I'm serious, Erin - you're my friend, right? So you're safe, you're alive - something went crazy, but okay, we'll fix it. I got faith." Ali doesn't /quite/ let her pile all of the articles up - she's still reading one. "I'm.. sorry I wasn't there for you, you know, when it happened."

She hugs, one-armed - and then smiles. Firmly, if that's possible - "And what's the wrong conclusion? You did it on purpose? That's not like you. So we figure it out." And she finally answers that question herself, "Better. You know me - workworkwork and then blow something useless up." She drifts away, then, returning that article. "It's good to be home, for a while."

"Thanks." Erin returns the hug, smiling as if she's completely okay with this and will never have a problem again! No one was there, though, and Ali might have even gotten a call that night that her roommate was dead. It was lucky that Petrelli stopped when he did. Erin also can't say that she did start the virus on purpose, just to see if she could, just to see how much control she had over things of that nature. However, she'll take what she can get - some things are meant to be kept secret. Like the fact that you could be going insane.

"How're you doing with the— Thing? You know. Have you told anyone to jump off a balcony lately?" It's sort of a lame attempt at a joke, that might still harbour just a little bitterness.

"I'm better. Practice, practice, practice, right?" A bit of her own bitterness, there - but Ali wanders over to drop into a chair. "I'm getting to where I'm not doing it unless I /want/ to - the problem is not wanting to, ya know?" She watches her roomate, then, resting her head on her hand, her other drawing absent circles on the tabletop with a fingertip. "I lost my temper and managed to have a producer resign. Red letter day, that one. By the time I figured out I'd told him the business would be better off without him he was already making plans to drive a truck or something."

It falls out there. Thud. Right on the table. "I wish I felt guilty, but he had a couch, you know?" A shrug. "I'm more worried about you than me- what do ya mean 'attacked'? You /are/ okay, right?"

Luckily, Ali's talking to one person who isn't going to judge her for making a mistake. Erin's made several. Besides, when you're as morally in debt as the soap star is at the moment, you can't really throw stones.

Erin sits down next to Ali, propping her head up with one arm. "Y'don't have to feel guilty about everything. Way I figure, this kinda stuff we have - these abilities - we're responsible enough that we don't abuse them, right? I mean, I coulda gone out and vented on a whole bunch of people, but I'd never do that. You? You coulda made that guy your own personal slave rather than tellin' him to take a hike, yeah? So, the way I figure, he got off easy." She pauses. "Besides, if he gave you any more trouble, I'd give him bird flu or something. Then I'd feel guilty."

She's quiet for a long time, before shrugging. "Yeah, I'm okay. This guy - Peter Petrelli. Met him once… He came to the soundstage after hours and… Made me sick. He sucked up my ability, I guess. Used it against me. Almost killed me - said he needed to understand."

"… what?" Ali blinks. "I heard that name before - Cass mentioned him a while back. So did.. Jane Forrest, I think." She watches her roomate, abruptly worried. "I didn't kinda get the impression he was… you know. Like that. I.. after hours? No security or anything?"

Erin gives Ali a half-smile. Man, this girl's really been out of the loop, hasn't she? It's not really funny, per se, but it seems like so much has happened lately - too much to explain. "Awhile ago, I went to see Cass at the bookstore. She gave me the address to her lab, and when I got there… Apparently there was a virus … You might have heard something about it. I don't remember what it was called, but it had, like, no cure at all, I guess. I killed it, Ali. It was like breaking through solid rock, but I did it. Damn bugs wore me out, too, and that was just in a little vial.

So next time I go, Peter's there. He's got the virus - millions of them. And he seems like a nice guy, just really sick. I cured it." She'll leave out the part about passing out, and curing it again in Elena, and other such things. Not important at the moment. The point is, Erin met Peter before that, and he was nice.

"Anyway, I was working late on set. Just in the back, putting a wall together for filming later in the week, and he shows up and asks me how my ability works. I dunno, of course, so… I guess he took it from me. He made me so sick, I couldn't even cure myself. I got this impression that something … I dunno, you know when people just snap and go all postal? Like that. Like someone ran over his cat or somethin'. He said he just wanted to understand, but I think he's just fucking insane."

Ali just looks.. worried. ".. I." And then.. she laughs. An uncomfortable sound. "I don't know what to do - or even if there is anything I /can/ do. just… " She shakes her head, looking down at that free hand of hers, tapping the table then.

"You know, when this stuff started happening to me, there was this chick I met - Jane's roommate. She was really nice to me - even with. You know. everything. She's even the one that pointed out it was me causing the problems I was causing, you know? But she said.. she said there was a sort of group that … 'took care' of people like you and me that went.. too far. That were dangerous, you know?"

She shrugs, slightly. "I don't know how they know, or whatever - but if we have sort of cops, maybe talking to them's a good idea?" No, she's not at all certain.

"I'm just laying low. After this…" Erin taps the folder, then shoves it away, across the table, "I'll be lucky if they don't come knocking on my door. No."

Shaking her head when Ali speaks of the group who 'takes care' of people, Erin flat-out refuses that route. Cass warned me about certain people like that. She says she's into this other company, though, that seems to want to do a little research, and really help people. I trust them a little more, since Cass seems to think they're all right. I dunno, though, Ali. All this kind of has me upset, myself. How long have these people — Us. How long have people like us been out there in the world?"

A more important question might be 'what kind of people do they need to 'help'? And why? Erin's nervous enough about giving her ability away. She doesn't want it in the hands of total strangers… She's already teetering between good guy and bad guy on any given day. "I told Cass I'd check it out, as long as I didn't have to tell anyone what I can do."

"I think we've been around.. a really long time." Ali pauses, then points. "Don't go anywhere." And with that, she heads for her bedroom, purposeful, calling back - "I started thinking about that a few months ago, you know? When I was a kid, I really liked reading the old greek stuff. Perseus, Thesius, Hercules, even Zeus. So - pretend for a minute you're some sort of bronze-age at best peasant and some guy shows up that can throw lightning bolts, right? What would /you/ call him?"

Rummaging ensues, "Merlin, maybe. Robin Hood sure knew the forest really well. What about Rasputin, right? They killed him a /lot/ - shot, stabbed, drugged, poisoned, drawn and quartered, drowned - how come?"

As Ali runs off, Erin doesn't go anywhere.

She didn't really think of history before… Didn't consider the fact that there might have been people in the past that were labeled as myths, who could really do extraordinary things. "Werewolves," she says with a chuckle. Or vampires, et al. She knows all about those thanks to her role on Afterlife. The thought makes her smile a bit - actual werewolves might have just been people with the ability to shapeshift. "You don't think shapeshifting is an ability, do you? Like… Dracula could become a bat."

So they killed someone a lot. It would make sense that he could come back from the dead if he had an ability like theirs. Seems like a stupidly late time for a realisation like that, but she'd always assumed that this was a new thing, because she'd never heard of it before.

Ali calls - "Sure, why not? We're human, right? We have this whole thing where we take stuff we don't know and make it into something grand." By now, she's on her way back - carrying a somewhat thick, dusty, aging book. "You know the story of St. Edmond, right? If somebody was ever a ringer for what you could do.." She shrugs.

On closer inspection, that book is heavily post-ited. Marks every few pages, and notes scrolled on. Looks like somebody's been doing reading, indeed - but it's not recent stuff. "So pretend for a minute we're not really freaks - that maybe people like us have been around from the beginning. Sometimes more open than others - maybe that's where we get /all/ of our stories. Witches is a good word, for us, isn't it?"

"I don't know if we are human," she returns. Sometimes, she has no clue, because people don't do the things that Erin can do. They don't have the ability to kill with a thought, or cure disease with a touch. "Sorry, I'm not up on my fiction," she says with some irritability, eying the large book with which Ali is returning. She reads enough large volumes of text on a daily basis, and really isn't keen on more. Even so…

"I dunno. When I think of bad witches, I think of the Wicked Witch of the West. And then there's good witches like Glinda, who wear pink frilly dresses and tiaras. There's no middle ground, is there? Unless you're Harry Potter." Standing up, Erin hops up on the table to sit, instead, as Ali pages through the book. "I guess 'Witch' is better than 'freak,' though."

The book is "Lives of the Saints" - and not as old as it seems; the text is dense, triple-columned and glued - nineteen-fifties edition, perhaps. But Ali just grins at her, and reads, "Saint Padre Pio, Patron saint of the Sick. Born in eighteen ninty-seven, ordained in ninteen-ten - first priest to receive the sign of the stigmata - there it is. 'He would hear confessions by the hour, reportedly able to read the consciences of those who held back. He was also reportedly able to bi-locate, levitate, and heal by touch.' " She quirks a brow, and flips pages, going backward - "St. Francis of Assisi - 'During one of Francis's impromptu sermons, a donkey began braying to high heaven, certainly spoiling the meditative mood. Our Francesco, never one to hesitate at addressing any one of God's creatures, meekly requested that Brother Ass cease the racket. Naturally, the donkey promptly obliged."

Ali pushes the book over. "St. Patrick drove the snakes from Ireland. St. Rebecca convinced kings to vie for peace with nothing but an impassioned speech that left both men proclaiming the glory of God." She grins, then.

After looking over the stories that Ali points out, Erin continues paging through the book, paying special attention to the post-it marked pages. It makes sense. But it's hard to tell if these are made-up stories, or stories of real people with extraordinary talents. "You don't think all of them really had these powers, do you?" she asks. Though now that she's considering it, there are modern 'miracles,' too. People are just quieter about them. Probably because no one wants to be locked up and studied like a lab rat.

Reaching out her hand, she places it on Ali's shoulder. It seems like a friendly enough gesture, but it will possibly become Erin's latest attempt to show off. She can't really hide the fact that she's using her ability, since her eyes take on a very bright, metallic blue colour, but at least they're not the brightest points in the room anymore.

If it works, Ali will start to feel a cold coming on, which will rapidly worsen. "I learned a little control while you were off running around."

Ali either doesn't catch the color of Erin's eyes - or doesn't /immediately/ associate it with anything. In fact, her hand comes up to cover the one on her shoulder - can't call her lacking in /trust/, really.

But the cough catches her off guard, and her other hand comes up to rub at a throat gone abruptly scratchy. She sniffles - and her eyes widen. Cough. "… Erin?" Oh, she's not stupid, this one - and her expression betrays a sudden fear, as comprehension hits. But, oddly enough, she doesn't /quite/ let go of that hand.

Turning her hand over, Erin takes Ali's. It's the same way she showed Cass, essentially, because it's about the only thing she can do. "Common cold. That's all," she says, almost proud of herself. Her eyes are still bright blue, though the cold will now head off in the other direction - like a monster dose of chicken noodle soup straight to the source. As the viruses die, Ali will start to feel better.

Simple.

"You think they'll make me a saint of something?" Erin asks, now attempting to retrieve her hand from her roommate's shoulder. "At least I have that. I can stop it now, I think, if it goes to far. It still doesn't make me feel much better about knowing what else I can do. I'm starting to understand this now, and if I'm right, well… I can do a lot more than a cold."

Ali wipes her nose on her forearm, and does let go - wrapping her arms around herself, and watching Erin, still startled. "… you could save the world, you know. You could - I mean.. AIDS, ebola, SARS, staph - TB, maybe? You could save lives - " She swallows, and looks down. "Every down-side has an up, right? So maybe it's hard to get the hang of, but imagine when you do."

Erin nods. Yeah, she did that, too. One walk through a hospital, and she was exhausted, but felt good about herself. On the other hand, it felt liberating to kill all those trees. Which way does she go? "Yeah, I could be a hero," she says, patting Ali on the shoulder again, this time leaving behind no trace of the virus. "By the way, you woulda gotten sick anyway. You already had a few thousand of those little bastards in you." Hopping down from the table, she eyes the 'stick,' thinks on asking about it, then decides that maybe it would be better if she saw it when she was in a better mood. "You owe me a thank you. I accept pizza." Smiling, she starts heading down the hall toward her room. "Ah. And welcome back. Good to have someone to rant at once in awhile."

Ali answers that with an abrupt laugh - and a mature, reasoned adult response. She sticks her tongue out at her roommate.

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