2010-07-21: The Fearsome Truth



Date: July 21, 2010


"You can't handle the truth!" Col Jessop, A Few Good Men

"The Fearsome Truth"

The Safehouse

The screams spill into the muggy night air of the safehouse. Humidity forms along the windows well after midnight, but the still-dark early-morning is not remotely still; the screams prevent any peace that anyone might've felt.



Obviously terrified.

But they don't all belong to one person. The originating source, however, screams the loudest. Wrapped tightly in layers of sheets and madly trying to claw her way out, Sydney Falkland's tear-stained face is he only body part outside of them. Her eyelids flicker madly as she screams again.

Unfortunately, everyone is privy to the feelings of this nightmare. Not necessarily the same dream, but certainly the same emotion. Wafts of sheer terror emit from the room with no semblance of control and no signs of delay. She lies on her back as she tries to free her hands, her still-coccooned body squirming, trying to move, almost like she's trapped in something.

Sydney's screaming overlaps with another in the very same room. They're sharp, those nearby screams, and they degrade into pained sobbing every so often — the terrified, frustrated sounds of someone who wants desperately to stop being afraid, but can't; the fear, the world, is just too much.
She didn't get far— at least not far enough. Amy must have rushed in to wake her friend, but she's too overwhelmed to go on; she's trapped. Who knows how long she's been here, all crumpled up against the wall to the far left of the bed. The woman's long legs are folded up to her chest, eyes shut, hands clamped over her ears and her face a horrified mess.

She's clad in odds and ends — a pink tank top and a pair of flowered pyjama shorts she'd normally not be caught dead in but certainly doesn't care now — every inch of skin, once tanned from vacation, now pale from the a different vacation, one she didn't agree to take, is faintly glossy sweat.

Amy never quite stays still, shifting, rocking, trying to fight against something that isn't there.

Screams have been heard, as well, from another nearby room. Sweating, Fred tosses and turns in bed. A nightmare is ravaging his dreams, as it seems it is doing with his comrades in hiding, though he's unaware of it at present. He's trapped in his nightmare at present. He's scared and no one will save him. His pajamas are fairly well soaked through. This probably wouldn't have happened before their long encounter with Roberto, but now…now is a different story all together as his screams join the chorus of the other two.




The squirming finally does some good. Sydney hits the floor. Hard. The jolt is enough to wake her up, breathless and trembling. Ragged gasps for air only bring that hot mugginess into her lungs, nothing cool or comforting except it was a dream.

Desperately she squirms out of the now drenched sheets, her pink nightshirt sticking hopelessly to her body as she wriggles her way out. The tears still stream down her face as she attempts to catch them. Quickly she examines her arms, her hands, her pink nightshirt, none of which are that familiar brown-red of dried blood. She gasps for air, a small amount of relief reverberating from her. A very small amount. Trembling and still terrified, her knees are drawn into her chest as her gaze falls on Amy. Sydney opens her mouth to speak, but words fail. It was too real, too present, and too reflective of her worst fears.

She takes another deep breath before hiding her face in her hands, once again catching the tears that stream down it.

As she clutches her head, fingers all tangled in her hair, Amy's eyes fly open wide at the THUMP that cues Sydney's return to the world of the waking. Her eyes are more whites than blue when they roll desperately toward Sydney, paralleling her fear; it's not all borrowed terror, though — fear's been a familiar feeling for her these past months and it's all too quick to clutch her heart. Fear on top of fear. The woman is all shaky uncoordinated limbs as she tumbles forward away from the wall, on hands and knees in Sydney's direction. Why go to the source of all this terror… well. What are friends for? Mostly, however, Amy just seems desperate to be near anyone. "Why is there— so much screaming— "

Being in a totally separate room makes it kinda hard to hear what's going on in the girls' room. All Fred knows now, in his dream state, is that his terror has begun to lessen, at least a little bit. A bit less tossing and turning and a bit less screaming. But he, at least, is still asleep. If you can call it a proper sleep, anyway.

Amy's words cause Sydney to look up from her hands. She sniffles loudly, trying to hold in that emotion again. With a heavy breath she stares at Amy, her eyes red and bloodshot and dark circles underneath them. Her lips press together, as she fights them just a little harder. Using the shoulder of the nightshirt she quietly vows never to wear again, she wipes away the rest of the tears. "I…" her face flushes, she's not sure how to respond or what to say. "…I think…" Eyebrows furrowing, she tries to clear her head and focus on her friend in front of her than the nightmare she's just stepped out of.

The continued noise in the house only unsettles her more, but she fights it. Desperately fights it as her fingers rake through the messy waves of blonde hair. She inhales another breath, slowed, laboured, that serves to bring down her heart rate. She blinks blankly at Amy and utters a single word, genuine and heavy in its tone, "Sorry."

Fortunately, for the rest of the household, the breath does some good; her emotions begin to clear from the air, not purposely, as far as Sydney is concerned, she didn't do this, she can't, can she?

To say Amy has "calmed down" would be an overstatement — however, she's becoming more in control of the logical part of herself, enough to sit against the bed and slowly run her slightly trembling hands over her face and take a deep breath or … five. She doesn't question what happened, only says: "Nightmare?" The single word question is knowing. From experience. Who wouldn't have nightmares after what they've been through. "I couldn't sleep," she explains, "I heard you screaming and I— " she cuts herself off when her breath falls short.

Instead, Amy lets her hands fall away and looks at Sydney, really looks at her with her own dark-shadowed, red-rimmed eyes full of concern. Her tired vision seems to clarify for a split second, in a flash of brightness only she can see, something she passes off as some trick of the light (or dark) while her nerves are overwrought. She blinks. "It's over… now… whatever you were screaming at, Syd, it's not here," she reassures somewhat uncertainly — uncertain that their waking nightmare is really over. "Are… you gonna be all right?"

Finally now that the fear is lifting an agent comes barreling into the room, gun in hand only earning earning a small shriek from Sydney once again as she raises her arms in the air. But when there's no sign of trouble, he issues the pair an apologetic wave before moving on.

With another deep breath, Sydney gets a grasp on her emotions. She opens her mouth to say she's fine, she'll be fine, everything is peachy keen, instead, something wholly unexpected happens, "I am never going to be okay." A little surprised at what she's just said the blonde clamps a hand over her mouth for a second except… it's pretty much futile, she bringing down the hand again, "I had the single most terrifying nightmare I've had in ages, I'm responsible for Miles' death, and disaster follows me everywhere. Nothing about my life will ever be okay. Never. It's screwed up— it was screwed up from the moment I was born until this second and it'll never fix itself because I'm too damaged and too incapable of pulling everything together. I am my own worst enemy and I will be for years to come because that's what it means to be me. Incapable of actually dealing with anything, I just let it all settle. Wait until the dust calms and then BAM more disaster. And no matter what I do, I will always hurt the people around me. If you're smart, you'll leave while you're still alive…" Her eyes widen at her random stroke of honesty.

The agent makes his way down the hall to Fred's room where he knocks loudly on the door, "Dr. Stone? Is everything okay in there?"

Amy barely has time to reconvene her senses together after the agent bursts in to check on them before she's pulled into a whirlwind listening session. "W— whoa, slow down!" she holds her hands up and ever-so-slowly lowers them to accentuate her words. "Slooow down, girl. Who isn't screwed up!" A smile appears, and sure, it's a little manic when her eyes are so tired and glassy and trying hard to be reassuring, but it's sincere… "The only way I'm up and disappearing is if I'm made-over into some imaginary person in Oregon — God— I don't want to live in Oregon…"

The redhead takes a quick, steadying breath, flattens her mouth into a thin determined line (which wavers almost instantly) and looks at Sydney. She states purposefully: "Disaster does follow you everywhere." Amy's mouth hangs open— that's not what she meant to say. Blinking, she rolls with it. " … b—- uuut … I don't think most of it was your fault. I mean okay, you haven't had it easy, but it's at least one part bad luck and coincidence. It's not like you could have prevented any of this, Syd."

His eyes flying open, Fred gazes at the cieling wide-eyed. He sighs heavily. It was only a nightmare. What was his nightmare though? You probably don't want to know. Getting up, he slowly moves to the door, feet dragging behind him. Opening the door to the room, he stares at the agent. "I…" He pauses, rubbing his eyes. "Yeah…I think I'll be fine." He says groggily. "Is everything alright, Agent…?"

Sydney stares at the floor; she's blank again. Wholly blank. Her eyes glimmer with that distinct hopelessness she so often fights; it's like there's no reason to fight anymore. She lowers her legs to the floor slowly. Silently, she combs her hair into a messy ponytail using an elastic on her wrist. Again she takes a slow breath— her skin glimmers with perspiration, even as her heart rate comes down. Her own honesty is unsettling, really. The nightmare had only pushed forward her buried fears, those that she doesn't let herself think about. Unfortunately that wary feeling inside spreads like infection, particularly as Syd makes no effort to keep quell it from moving to others.

She shifts on the floor, "Whose fault is it then?" Swallowing hard she turns to face Amy, her voice turns strangely even, "Don't you see? I did this. I chose to take that job at the Psych Centre. I tried to help him while he was there; he liked me. Empathized with me. I calmed him down, kept him neutral… I get what I deserve. I always get what I deserve. I deserved every hit. Every fracture. Every broken bone. I brought them all on myself. And this was no different. I got what I deserved." There's a pause before she quips, "And any good therapist worth their weight would encourage a client to think back on their life and see the one— the only— factor that stayed the same. It was me. I am the only thing that stays the same. So in some, sick, twisted way, I ask for this."

The agent at the door tilts his head at Fred. "Morris. Agent Morris. Things seem fine, but there was … a lot of screaming. A lot. The ladies calmed down before I got up here, but— it was loud. I'm gonna check the rest of the house— " he takes a step from the frame, and doesn't admit he was part of the problem, instead disappearing into the hall again.

An uneasy shift of Amy's shoulders marks her wariness. She has a frown for Sydney and it only situates itself more deeply as the seconds tick past, bare arms wrapping around herself, her knees drawing up tight again. She shakes her head hard. "You did not deserve any of the terrible things you've been through, Syd," she says with a fiery insistence. "You shouldn't blame yourself for what the messed up psyches of men like Roberto attach to, or what— losers like Bryce feel like preying on."

Amy drops her head backward, craning her neck over the mattress, and sighs, staring at the ceiling for a few moments. Suddenly: "Hey." She pushes herself up from the floor, forcing through her uneasiness. She holds a hand (albeit a sweaty one) down toward the younger therapist. "Come on, let's go raid this crappy safehouse fridge or something. Take your mind off this self-destruct mode."

Fred nods a little. "Agent Morris. Thank you. I'm gonna go double check on the women." He states simply. "You can find me there if you need me at all." As they part ways, Fred makes his way to the women's room, knocking on the door before opening it a little bit and peaking in. "Are you two doing alright?" He asks of them tentatively. "I hear there was screaming all around."

"Whatever," is Sydney quiet mutter at Amy's reassurance. She's skeptical to say the least. Even Detective Powers thinks she's responsible… well the Detective Powers in her mind. Instead of saying anything else, she just presses her lips together, neutralizing her face as best she can, even after her admission, she'd rather just keep going on.

She follows Amy's motions, rising slowly to her feet and tugging on her pink nightshirt, it's clinging less now thanks to her wakefulness and time sitting up. At the knock she stares at the door kind of blankly. Her mouth opens to quip about how fine she is and how everything is good or that it doesn't matter, but the words she speaks aren't the ones she intends, "I'm dead inside, I'm total fail, and now, once again, I'm living a life that isn't mine. Otherwise everything is fine." Again, Syd clamps a hand over her mouth, rather confused as to why she's uttering such things.

"Hey… Fred. We're— " Amy, once again, stares at Sydney and her rambling honesty. After her mouth is done hanging open, she clamps it shut and blinks a few times, looking rather sullen. "… what she said." She urges the Sydney ahead with a pat at the small of her back and moves along herself toward the door, looking to Fred there and offering their fellow ex-captive a weak smile— again she blinks, focusing on Fred with sudden, passing clarity. "Bad dreams," she says with a nod of her head back to Sydney in explanation. "We were just heading to the kitchen for a late night… distraction." Pause. "Only … not nearly as sexy as that sounds. Coming with?"

Fred sighs and nods quietly. "Yeah…I'm not exactly feeling the greatest myself." He gazes at Amy. "Yeah? I had a nightmare too. I just…it was not fun. I was…well, we've all had our nightmares, it seems. Understandable in our current situation, eh?" He smiles softly, if not a tad bit weakly. "I'd umm…like to join you. Yeah. Too bad. Sexy times would really distract us right now, I think." His eyes go wide as he opens the door. "I didn't mean to say that…"

An eyebrow is arched at Amy's comment about late night distraction, but Sydney only shakes her head and walks past the other therapists, putting a few feet between her and her red-headed counterpart. "Everything is fine," she manages more dead-panned and ingenuine than she'd like. With a heavy sigh she traipses down the stairs—


The noise alone causes her to grope for the railing. She holds on tightly before stumbling down the stairs. Goosebumps form involuntarily along her limbs and her neck as the dream flashes through her memory again.

Unfortunately for everyone else this spike in Syd's terror spreads. Very unbeknownst to her.

Amy arches an eyebrow at Fred as well. "Uhhhh…" so anyway "Let's just go get something to— " She steps out into the hall, but with the creak of the stairs and Sydney's return to terror, she's struck with the cold hand of fear. She stiffens, shuffling unintentionally close to Fred as breath catches in her throat.

Fred clears his throat slightly. "Yeah…um…something to eat or something. Yeah." He starts to walk down the stairs quietly…or as quietly as as he can on squeaky stairs. As the terror washes over him as well, and Amy moves close, he places a gentle hand on her shoulder. "Ummm…ah…Sydney? I know you'd lost your ability…but is it possible you got it back?" He asks with fear full in his voice.

Wide eyed, Sydney hadn't really considered that option. Of course. She catches her own breath, slow and sure she lets herself calm down, the goosebumps disappear and she manages to clear her mind of everything haunting her. Her cheeks flush as she turns to face the pair. "D-d-does that happen?" she stammers. All confidence is gone, but momentarily, so is the terror. She pushes herself to grasp at getting a handle on her ability, just like she'd been learning, everyone else no longer privy to her own emotions.

"Well it must happen!" Amy lends her uneducated two cents in; she doesn't know the first thing about how crazy mind powers work, but she's feeling pretty confident that Sydney's is taking hold of the house tonight. All clustered on the staircase, she decides her own personal terror is enough for her and decides to bolt downstairs. Bare feet take her down in a hurry, not unlike a kid running through the scary dark to hit the light-switch. Afer taking a deep breath on the ground floor, and folding her hands over her chest in a calming gesture to herself, she makes a beeline for the kitchenette and its fridge.

Fred shakes his head. "In the few years I've been dealing with abilities, even beyond the Alpha Protocol, I've not ever seen anyone loose their abilities…so I wouldn't know if it would come back or not. But I suppose there's a good chance." He says quietly. "I'm not a scientist though. I'm a therapist!" He shrugs, glad that the feelings of terror are over.

Sydney looks at Fred kind of wearily before sighing. Her eyes clamp shut as she manages to move herself forward, down the stairs, not nearly as quickly as Amy, but certainly moving. "If… if I have my ability back… " her lips purse "…does that mean… does that mean he has his back too?" She gapes a little as she moves forward again. "He will find us. It's just a matter of time," her tone is dark, leery, and certainly full of caution. Finally she reaches the bottom of the stairs, not nearly as anxious to run to the fridge.

Amy stands with her back to the rest of the house, facing the interior of the fridge. Late (or conversely, early) as it is, and with no one having turned a light on, the surreal white glow from the fridge is all the light the kitchen gets, and Amy blocks most of that. In the quiet house, there's little doubt that she heard Sydney's ominous words on the staircase, but she ignores the statements. Her stare into the fridge is longer than it needs to be, and by its end, her search hasn't proved very fortuitous — she turns around with a pitcher of water and an orange. "Well, they don't want us to get scurvy…"

Fred doesn't head to the fridge as fast as Amy either. He sighs softly. There's not need to ask who 'he' is. They all know who it is. "I don't know, Syd. For all I know, he might not have his back. There…" He takes a deep breath in. "If I'm allowed to, there's someone I can call. She may be able to help us, both in finding out if he's got his power and in neutralizing him. She's done it before with people more dangerous than him." He lets out a little humourless chuckle at Amy's words. "That's nice of 'em."

"I… like my teeth," Sydney agrees regarding scurvy as she shuffles closer to the kitchenette. Fred's words, however, are met with a wrinkled nose. "What. Are. You? Like first you're some super secret something that works for the government who was trying to hurt Jamie? Then you're a therapist? Now you're like… neutralizing people?" Her eyes narrow into small slits rather suspiciously, "I've been a therapist and around therapists for awhile now. I'v enever met one who like… neutralizes people."

Giving the orange a disappointed look, Amy nevertheless nudges the fridge shut with an elbow and sets it, and the water, on the table side-by-side. Determinedly — for the distraction — she gets to rummaging through the fridge freezer next. Meanwhile, a wary, decidedly uncomfortable look is sent over her shoulder at Fred. "You mean to say…" she starts as she goes back to rummaging. "There's someone more dangerous out there than— than him?" She pauses all movement and shivers in the cold air that steams out of the freezer. "Never mind. I don't think I want to know."

Fred shakes his head. "It's a group that's even more secret than the Alpha Protocol." He says simply. "Aaaannnd…well, I was a therapist before they recruited me! And I continued as one once recruited. I just did a little more specialization in people with abilities!" He says quietly. "And I was a spy within the group that was trying to harm Jamie! I didn't want anything to happen to her! I'd hated what they were doing to people with abilities." He murmurs silently. He nods to Amy. "Yeah…there is. And more logical and calculating too."

"Ha! Somebody's smart." This announcement is made to the freezer. Amy spins around with a box of ice cream sandwiches. Her triumphant expression starts to fade by the time she takes one step to the table — the freezer hasn't even swung fully shut before it's gone entirely, serious and morose. She sets the box down, her eyes downcast. "This is all just— " A hand cuts through the air in sharp gesture and stops abruptly. She doesn't look up. "It's too— weird. Spies and— abilities— I don't want to be a part of whatever this plan is."

"Hmmm," is Sydney's only response as she steps towards Amy, the orange, and the water. "He was scary when he was in lock-up…" instinctively a hand clutches at her throat, but she drops it moments later, quite purposely drops it. "…we're not all dangerous…" she whispers quietly before stepping gingerly towards a chair, trying to minimize the creaking of the floor. She frowns at the coffee table in front of her, and instinctively kicks it as far from her as possible, certain she will sell hers if she ever gets home.

Fred takes one of the ice cream sandwiches and opens it slowly. Taking a bite, he shrugs. "It's…" he sighs. "It's all complicated." He says simply. "And I know not everyone with abilities is scary. It's just…more complicated with this secret societies." He takes another bite of the ice cream sandwich. "I'm…I'm gonna go back to bed. I've got thinking to do. If either of you need anything, even to just ask me a simple question, feel free. Don't worry about bothering me or waking me up." Turning, he starts to head upstairs.

Sydney glances at the ice cream sandwiches, but opts to remain on the chair, sitting in the dark. She bites her bottom lip as she glances from Amy to Fred and back again. Her eyebrows furrow as her nose wrinkles and she frowns just a little. "When did life become cloak and daggers?" she's really one to talk considering she's clamped down and said nothing of her experiences while in captivity. Nothing to anyone. She turns to Amy, "I'm one of those people with abilities… I…" clamping her mouth shut, she shifts from the chair, and rises slowly. "I… am going … for… a walk…" like they'll let her. Not that she moves. In fact, she's pretty much frozen. Standing there. Wordlessly. In her pink nightshirt.

Despite the briefly happy find — the ice cream sandwiches — Amy only collapses into a chair by the table, dropping her head in her hands, elbows sharply planted on her knees, listening to the sound of Fred's departure. "I don't know." She looks up only to spend a moment watching Sydney stand there before her gaze just drops back down. "It's late o'clock. They're not gonna let you out," she quietly states the obvious. "Maybe one of those agents can go with you." An escort… "…while we're here, sometimes it feels like… we're still in captivity."

"We are in captivity…" Witness Protection had virtually dragged Sydney here after their asset died. She glances at the ceiling her voice finding its monotone neutrality, "…this is why I didn't want to come…" Finally, like a mannequin coming to life, Sydney turns on her heel towards the entrance where all she'll find is agents unwilling an unresponsive to her request for a small semblance of normalcy in the night air.

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