2007-09-28: The Face In The Mirror


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After visiting Benjamin in the hospital, Meryl and Megan have a face to face talk. Sort of. It's complicated when one of the parties involved is in your head.

September 28th, 2007:

The Face in the Mirror

Meryl's Apartment

Like her office, Meryl's apartment is clean. It has stuff everywhere, but it's almost obsessive how clean it is. Everything has a place; now that there's been a fire in the Company facility, Basil is here for the forseeable future, and he even has his own spot painstakingy cleared out on a shelf above the television. Below said TV are about a million movies, an X-Box, a PS2, a regular everyday Nintendo, as well as a few other contraptions that she's picked up over the years. Sitting on desks and tables are shiny glass things of many different colours, stuffed animals, posters, drawings that she's had other people do for her - including a winged kangaroo, which is stapled to her wall - and extremely colourful throw rugs.

It's hard to decide where, exactly, to look. Meryl bypasses all this entirely, though, heading toward the hall, where there's a full-length mirror with a whole bunch of colorforms stuck around the sides. It's easy enough to look herself in the eye, though. "All right, Megan, you want to explain yourself?" Calm enough. For now.

Is it the light? Or maybe Meryl is imaging it, but a form of Megan - totally unburned - appears in the mirror as if looking right back at Meryl. However, it's not with Megan's voice that she speaks back. It's with Meryl's own. She's still using Meryl's own vocal chords to make herself heard. "Sorry. I didn't mean to lose my temper. I won't speak through you any more." Mirror-Megan has her arms crossed in front of her and doesn't want to meet the other woman's eyes.

She's probably imagining it. Because Meryl's pretty damn sure she's not crazy - yet - but it takes her awhile to collect herself after seeing not her reflection, but Megan, in the mirror. It makes sense, in a weird sort of way. "Right, it was kind of creepy, I'll give you that. Give me a sign or something when you're about to take over. Blink, pull on my hair, whatever you need to do." Meryl leans on the mirror, trying to find Megan's (Her own?) eyes in it. Even Meryl has her limits, and being taken over by aliens is certainly high on the W-T-F list. It's probably Megan's temper that's grounding her, though, allowing some time for a serious conversation. "We need to talk about Benjamin."

"Sorry. I didn't mean to," Megan repeats. Even if it's Meryl's voice that sounds properly subdued. Strange coming from a woman who doesn't normally feel embarrassed. Or angry. Or subdued. "I just lost my temper. I don't even want to take over. It's your body. I just…don't want to go back to mine. Not yet." Not while it's so painful. She just knows that the very shift might just knock her unconscious anyway. Even if it's Meryl voice, still, there's a lot of Megan still involved. Probably why there's some form of her image in the mirror still trying to avoid Meryl's eyes. It's easier when there's no corporeal form to force the issue. "I don't want to talk about him."

Meryl can feel herself talking, but seeing Megan in the mirror saying the words makes it seem a little less odd. She expected to be face to face with herself, really, which would have also done something to alleviate the strange factor, but this is almost like having a natural conversation - save the fact that they both have the same voice. "Meg, I wouldn't ask you to. I was in a really… Really bad accident a little over a year ago. My partner was killed, and the person we were trying to bring in was, too. I was in the hospital for a good couple months, and believe me, if I could have gone somewhere else, I would have." She reaches for Megan's shoulder, but her hand, of course, only contacts cold glass.

"I'll never get over that. We were careless - but what good is it gonna do to keep being angry, huh? Benjamin isn't a bad guy. You had a bad experience, he just happened to be there. I'm sorry for what happened to you, but…" She's not sure how to really say what she wants to and pull the punch at the same time, and so Meryl just says exactly what's on her mind. "Why can't you get past it? What did he do?"

This whole…getting to know other people thing. It's weird. Especially in the situation she finds herself in right now. Actually feeling what Meryl's feeling. Mostly just because of the body's reactions to her emotions, but mostly emotions are hormones changing things in the brain - entirely physical. The gesture of touching the glass isn't missed, but Megan only feels the sensation of cold glass beneath her - Meryl's - fingers. "I'm sorry." And she really is. "It's not what happened to me. I'm not mad about that any more. Not really. I've learned a lot more now, know what I'm doing with something that scared me before." While she would have loved to have not been kidnapped, have her arm broken because of it, it's in the past. "But what Benjamin did…" Her voice gets colder. "I don't make friends very easily. I don't have…boyfriends…" She's a shy girl. She can't help it. "I thought he was interested in me."

Meryl doesn't have a lot of friends, either, though she knows why that is, and she's fine with it. People think she's insane! And somewhere in her late teens, she got tired of trying to prove otherwise. Easily distracted does not a good friend make, apparently. So why hold back? Why not just have fun?

The cold voice reflected back at her is easy to hear as Megan's, because Meryl never sounds like that. However, the Australian can easily see why her reaction to Alice holding Benjamin's hand - and the kiss - would have made Megan angry. "…Oh," she says, thinking back to when she was first brought in, stuck in her cell. A woman scorned! "Maybe he was, Megan. Maybe I'm in my own world ninety percent of the time, maybe I'm crazy, maybe I've been dropped on my head a few too many times, maybe I had some jerk messing with my brain, maybe— " What was she talking about? Right. "…You didn't give him a chance. He tried. I know he did. You didn't expect him to move on? Even a little?"

Meryl may have insanity as her case, Megan had a super-overprotective older brother. The very idea of anyone being interested in Megan made him fly into 'punch people in the face' mode. It didn't make getting a boyfriend growing up very easy. "I was just another job." It's a good thing they're having this conversation in the privacy of Meryl's home because otherwise she would look very funny, talking to herself in the mirror. It's not even a pep up talk. "He had his girl, his job, his whole life. He came and saw me once and then forgot about me. He only came to try and patch things up to make working with me easier." Shaking her mirror-image head, she's doesn't want to hear about what he might have. "He didn't move on, he wasn't ever there." Disgusted, the mirror image puts a hand against the glass - Meryl's own hand doesn't even move. "I don't think you're crazy. Maybe a little fractured. But not crazy."

"Megan, have you even ever talked to him? He's about the nicest person I've ever met. He doesn't even swear. Really, I don't think he could look at people as a job. If you're gonna think that way of anyone, well, you're looking at her right now." It's all a game for Meryl half the time. It's fun, she enjoys what she does. She sees people as they are, but she also detatches herself from them. They're jobs. Benjamin never sees people that way.

She doesn't have the authority to tell Megan all about Benjamin. Meryl is a blabbermouth, sure, but she doesn't know everything.

As Megan's hand reaches for the glass, Meryl puts her own hand against it. Cold. She can't say more about Benjamin, except, "At least try to give him a chance?" It's not a lot to ask. They're going to be on a mission together, if everything pans out how she wants it to. "Fractured, that's a new one. Well, you read the file. I'm assuming you know why now."

"Yeah, that's what I thought, too." About Benjamin being the nicest persons he ever met. However, now it's hard for her not to believe that it's just the case of something that's too good to be true. It's unfortunate for Benjamin that this whole thing happened right when she was getting to know him. She hadn't yet been able to forge that blind trust for him that would make her believe he honestly had no idea about her. "You're not like that." Meryl, however, has managed to reach that point. "You were the only one who was nice to me, other than Mohinder." It's a strange, improbable conversation they're having. Not because it's Meryl talking to Megan through a mirror, but because she's been so serious for so long. Who would have thought it was even possible? To giving Benjamin a chance, she gives a shrug of her shoulders. That's all. She's not even sure she'll be able to go on that mission with them any more, unless it's in Meryl's head. The serious subject also then gets a nod. "Yeah," she says quietly. "I'm sorry." She's not sure what else to say.

This is probably the closest Meryl's been to anyone since Joanna died, and she's a little hesitant to tell Megan that she's got blood on her hands. It's true, sure, but she's not quite distanced enough to alienate everyone. The smile she offers Megan has some guilt to it, though. Loyal as she is, Meryl's only given Megan half the picture. It's almost unfair… But the Company is always her first priority. It's why she ran off yesterday after the escaped Level Five inmates.

"Well, all I can ask is that you keep an open mind n' all that." As for the mission… Well. Meryl's still completely one-hundred percent certain that she'll bring a Healer back for Megan and the other burned victims. She does care about her jobs. She sees them as more than just marks, unlike some agents, but she'll do what she has to. Removing her hand from the mirror, she takes a step backward. "So, d'you want to go see a movie or something? Lots of chocolate-covered popcorn and soda and I think the village theatre is playing Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Seriously, I think I could get you in for free. They'll never know."

Megan will be kept blissfully innocent of the blood on Meryl's hands or even where she ranks in her loyalty scales. That's fine. She'll work her way through it. "I'll try." It's the best that she can do in the situation. And, well, it's hard not to care about and feel close to someone you've actually shared a body with. There's an attachment there. How could there not be? "Distraction would be good. Chocolate is a bonus." As it is always. There's not really a smile for Meryl at that last comment. Nothing about what has happened to her lately has made her feel like smiling. But there's less tension on her side of the conversation. "I think you're right. They wouldn't."

Awesome, excellent. Movie night, then Meryl promises she'll start that search for the healer. After she gets some sleep, and maybe takes a leisurely jog in the morning, and goes to visit Ben in the hospital again - or not, that was kind of a bad idea - and then gets another night's sleep, she'll get right on task. Meryl still smiles as she turns from the mirror, heading back the way she came in, but she stops, frowns, and heads back, reaching for Megan in the mirror again.

"Hey. It'll okay. Trust me, all right? You'll be okay." It doesn't look good, considering the state Megan's actually in, but Meryl has this all planned out. It can't fail!

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