(2018-07-29) Lives and Shadows of Lives
Lives and Shadows of Lives
Summary: Syd and Stephanie talk. Steph warms up a little to Syd. Bryce turns up at the end, but I split that into its own scene because Steph left shortly afterward. Takes place right before Flying Carpets.
Date: 2018.07.29
Related: Right before http://coralsprings.wikidot.com/log:2018-07-29-flying-carpets
NPCs: {$npc}
Scene Runner: {$runner}


Back Lawn
A large swatch of green that goes in all directions. To the east and northeast, the lawn goes from the green of grass to the yellowish-brown of sea grass and then sandy beach, the blue-green of the ocean spreading out as far as the eye can see. In the center is a tall overgrown hedgemaze, with dormant flowering bushes at the corners.


Sydney is sittin' on the dock of the… well no. She's carried the futon frame out of her room, down the stairs, and out onto the lawn, and she's luxuriating in the sun and not having to lie in the grass itself. The futon frame itself is made of 2x4s on 4 inch centers. You could park a car on it. At queen size, there's room for company. It's currently folded out into bed mode, and the steel girl is lying on it, a glass of iced tea in one hand, and a bottle of mineral oil close by.

With a sunny weekend day, lots of the students at the Estate are preferring to be outdoors rather than inside; and Stephanie is no exception. Except, while many of the teens are at the beach attached to the Estate grounds, Steph prefers to be somewhere less crowded. So, she sticks to the back lawn, rather than go all the way to the sand and surf. She's wearing a gray, sleeveless t-shirt with the band logo for Motley Crue dominating the front, untucked over a pair of denim cutoff shorts. Her legs and arms have a moderate tan to the skin, but not so much that she's an active sunbather.
When she comes across Sydney lounging on the futon, Stephanie pauses; she gave a prtty emotional display yesterday in front of the steel girl, and she's not sure how Sydney might be responding to that. But, Stephanie does approach and gives Sydney a soft, "Hey," and a wave in greeting. "Catching some rays?"

Sydney shifts position a little bit and tilts her head forward. "Hey Steph. Yeah… I figure as long as I'm immune to skin cancer, I might as well." She sighs happily. "It's warm. I get cold easily." She pats the futon. "You're welcome to join me. It's a little lumpy without the mattress though."

Stephanie smiles and takes a seat on the futon after the offer is made. "Eh. I'm used to worse. She settles in, preferring to sit rather than fully lay down, and looks over Sydney for a bit. "So, like…you just sunbathe to warm up? Like your skin doesn't change color or anything? Get kind of a coppery sheen to it?" She's smiling a bit, both genuinely curious and also trying to make a joke to keep the conversation light.

Sydney laughs. "Nah. It's not hot enough to make my skin do anything interesting. It'd hurt if it was." She changes hands with the iced tea and drips some of the condensate off her hand onto her chest. It goes splat, as you'd expect. She touches her shoulder a moment later. "Ok, I'm still safe." She smiles and looks over at Steph. "It's true, the sun just makes me hotter." She doesn't keep her straight face long, and breaks out laughing. After a few moments she looks over again. "I'm sorry about yesterday, by the way. I figured I might sneak a quick hug in, and then it got all group-hug. I've been in therapy since January to be huggable. I shouldn't have assumed you were.

The innuendos bring a smirk to Stephanie's lips and a quirked eyebrow, but she laughs and relaxes along with Sydney. She shakes her head at the apology. "It's my damage, not yours," she says, looking out towards the ocean and brushing her wind-splayed hair back. "You guys were just trying to be nice and…that's something I don't really know how to deal with. Not something I encounter a lot. For me, when someone's trying to be nice, it's because they want something from you, either now or later." She looks back to Sydney and smiles a bit. "The hugs were kinda nice, though," she admits.

Sydney nods. "Yeah, I get you. Being what we are, though…it's like we have the ultimate ability to say 'no' and make it stick. I'm slowly getting that through my head. It's very…freeing. Still figuring out the whole dating thing. Kinda always skipped that part before." She looks over to Steph. "Hugs are nice, though. it's like… for a few seconds you're not alone."

"I've been alone for a long time," Stephanie replies, drawing her knees up to her chest and hugging them. "Even when I thought it was just my mom and me, that we could depend on each other…" She sighs hard and closes her eyes. "I try hard not to blame myself, for thinking that I should have gone back home after I ran off. It's hard not to think 'well, I didn't go back for her, why should she look for me?'" She looks over at Sydney. "I guess it's kind of he same for you? I mean, you don't have to share if you don't want to. I just…hold things inside until it all just bursts out, you know?"

Sydney reaches up to pat Steph's arm lightly. "I ran away in 1980. When I was thirteen. Long story short, I went metal, was sparring partner/punching bag for Iron Fist until I was almost 15, and then got frozen for 35 years. Came out in January. My family is all gone." She takes a slow breath. "The person who reported me missing was the father of my best friend. The cops were pretty sure my own father murdered me, but they couldn't get enough evidence. If my mother ever looked for me, I never heard. Same with my sister and brother." She gives Steph's shoulder a squeeze. "If you need to spar…drain off some anger… hit me up. It was surprisingly cathartic when I was with Iron Fist. Once in a while, I'd even win.

At first, Stephanie flinches from the touch. But she forces herself to relax, and Sydney can feel the other girl's body start to lose it's tension. The squeeze helps Stephanie relax more, and she looks over to Sydney with a light smile. "Well, never heard of Iron Fist. But, I never payed much attention to supers, anyways. Had a lot of other things to focus on, you know?" Tentatively, Stephanie reaches up and puts a hand on Sydney's, feeling at ease with the simple comfort of human contact. She looks down at the metallic hand on her shoulder as her own hand makes contact. "Huh," she wonders aloud as she gently squeezes Sydney's hand. "Feels like a regular hand. Not hard, I mean."

Sydney nods. "Yeah I'm… okay I run on at the mouth sometimes. If you want the technical details, say so. I actually wrote the manual on this for the assholes who made me. Long and short of it is the harder you push and the faster you push, the harder I get. Slap my hand or something if you want to see what that's like.." She pets Steph's shoulder while Steph pets her hand. "I think…that we both left because we had to. Because we thought we'd die otherwise. I think about my brother and sister sometimes. Wonder if I'd come home…could I have saved them from all the shit they got involved with that they ultimately died of. Crack and Meth, mostly." She shakes her head. "I don't know. I wish I could have. But I doubt it."

Stephanie nods with the explanation, then brings her hand back down to her lap. She doesn't move away from Sydney's touch, however. "Something that one of the shrinks that interviewed me after I got picked up said. You can't save someone if you're drowning yourself. I mean, it makes sense. But it doesn't do anything for the guilt." She gives Sydney a sad, knowing, smile. "So. 1980, huh? Guess that explains the whole retro music scene for you. I sort of fell in because so many of the bands got their start in LA and they're legends; you hear the music in clubs and on the street all the time. And it sort of…speaks to someone like me, you know? And I guess you too?"

She smiles at the part about the music. "Yeah. It was all new then. Zep, AC/DC, Aerosmith, X, although I wasn't really into them, Joan Jett, Boston… It spoke to me. The louder and more obnoxious the better. I was way nerdier. Still am, really, but they spoke to who I was inside.
Sydney shivers notably at the 'drowning' comment, but nods. "Yeah, that's… a good way to put it. But no, it doesn't help with the guilt. Heroing… kinda does. At least for me. I can't save my family, they're gone. But I can damn well save these people. Like that. Done it once so far. It was… I'm not gonna say like being high, because high is nice, but it doesn't last. I mean I just rescued some people trapped in a roller coaster when the power went off. Nothing earth shaking. But it stuck with me. All of this… can maybe be worth something." She looks over at Stephanie, still petting her shoulder. "If you want more of a hug, just move closer so I know, ok?"

Stephanie looks back at Sydney, her eyes full of uncertainty and doubt at the offer. She does scoot a bit closer to the steel girl. Not a great deal, but noticeably closer. She's like a stray animal wondering if it's safe to approach someone with their hand out. "I've seen Joan Jett a couple times in club shows," she replies. "She's amazing, and so awesome. snuck into a Go-Go's show before they broke up. Bunch of different gigs by the members of Crue and G'n'R. LA's just amazing when it comes to hard music like that."

Sydney lets Steph come closer. The close observer might notice her bust changing shape, as though slowly softening into a more natural position for someone lying on her back. She draws her arm around Steph very gently, not pulling her tight. That'd be too much, too soon. "I never saw any of 'em live. Never had that kind of money. G&R were after my time, but I've got a few tracks from them now. And yeah, LA's the big time. No doubt about it." She takes a slow breath, thinking, then turns her head toward Stephanie again. "It's weird how similar we are. I mean, I was born in 1967 and you were born… what, like 2002?"

There's some initial tension in Stephanie's body as Sydney puts the arm around her. But slowly, gradually, it fades. "2003," she says with a glance back. And she shrugs at the idea of the age difference being strange. "What's weird? I mean, I can turn into blue crystal and you have a body made of steel. Liking the same music isn't exactly strange compared to that. Besides, I think it kind of shows how timeless those acts are, you know?"

Sydney laughs gently. "There's that, yeah. I dunno. I've felt like a complete alien sometimes being here, now. The one guy I used to know… best friend's big brother… he's 57 this year. I'm like the last Gen-Xer under the age of 18." She laughs again and looks over to Steph. "Some days it's like 'You kids, I don't understand you at all. Jesus Christ, I sound like my parents.' I wish I didn't understand you as well as I do, to be honest. But I saw the marks on your hands and face and it was like 'yeah… I have some like that, if you look close enough.' I'm so glad you're here.

"Like Jay-Z says, it's a Hard-Knock Life," Stephanie replies with a smile. She looks at Sydney, trying to find traces of those scars and marks in the smooth, metallic skin, and ends up shrugging. "I guess…I'm still dealing with not being the only one with a shitty life before coming here. There's you. Lazarus. Kaylee's ex…I'm not some unique freak to be pitied. And I've never had that before. People who know what it's like to live through Hell. Where the people you depend on and expect to love you are the ones hurting you the most. And you're powerless to do anything to stop it. Until, one day…you're not powerless anymore."

Sydney nods. "I get you. I got Laz's story… at least a little of it… and it's like "Ok, I will no longer complain that the guys who made me were like the Dread Pirate Roberts in Princess Bride… 'we'll probably test you to destruction tomorrow.' He really did get tested to destruction. Unsuccessfully. All I had to do was spar with Iron Fist, write a fucking book, and not be too stressed out to sleep. Always somethin'. But yeah. You're in a different crowd now. I've literally not met anyone here who wasn't decent and reasonably kind. Some of them a whole lot more than that.

Bryce arrives…

Bryce isn't in his school uniform. This is a highly unusual event. Perhaps it has happened once or twice since his arrival here. He is wearing an actual pair of light blue jeans and a green button up, full sleeve shirt both of which Sydney helped him pick up when they went shopping. He walks out here clearly looking for something or somewhere but pauses when he sees the two girls relaxing together. Seeing what Sydney is wearing and how she is glistening, he is reminded of another time he 'ran into her' out here. She was wearing something similar and was just as shiny. He blushes a bit and turns to walk up to the girls though he doesn't look directly at them. "Oh, uh, h-hi. Excuse me." He looks to the new girl and says, "Uh, your, your name is, well, Stephanie? Right?" He doesn't seem too sure of himself.

"And that's the issue," Stephanie says with a sigh. She deflates a little and manages to scoot back closer to Sydney. "For the past couple years, my life has been 'you get more with a kind word and a gun than with just a kind word'. You know, from that movie? Kind and nice are just fronts on the street. All these other kids…I know they don't deserve it, but I don't trust them becasue they're so nice and helpful. Being angry, accepting that the world can be shit…that's honesty for me."

Bryce's appearance sets Stephanie on alert, and she tenses up and sits straighter. When she sees who it is that came up on them, she starts relaxing again. "Yeah," she replies. "Stephanie. And you're…Bryce."

Sydney seems a little surprised that Steph gets closer, but does not seem to object. She draws her arm a little more snugly around Steph, letting her hand rest on Steph's side, a bit up onto her belly. She looks over at Bryce. "Heya." She smiles. "Talking about good people…" She stretches her jaw a little, as though these are strange words to get out, and gestures toward Bryce. "We're kind of… informally dating."

Bryce stumbles back a step when he sees Stephanie go on alert. "Oh, uh, yes, I am. I'm sorry did, did I come at, uh, a bad time?" He looks to Sydney for a bit of guidance because he clearly doesn't want to be more of an annoyance than he automatically is. When Sydney says that they are dating, Bryce nods his head and says, "Um, yes." He has a hard time admitting it out in public not because he is ashamed of her but worries it will be the other way around. "If I am, uh, interrupting I can, well, go. I was just looking for, for a place to practice."

Stephanie continues to relax, but moves away from Sydney some. "No, it's cool," she says to Bryce. "I'm just…people coming up on me sort of makes me edgy, you know?" She looks between Sydney and Bryce as the metal girl explains the social connection. "That's cool. Just gotta take things easy and figure out what's what, yeah?"

Sydney nods. "Yeah. Pretty much. Like I said, I never really dated. Just kinda skipped ahead. But Bryce is a good guy." She smiles up at him. "And cute… my god, look at him." She can't resist. She's teasing him a little, even if she does mean it.

Bryce nods his head to Stephanie when she says that people coming up suddenly makes her edgy. "I, I understand. I'm, uh, kinda the same way except, well, maybe I actually jump." He goes to say something else when Sydney talks about him like that. His cheeks flush a red color as he looks at her with a bit of surprise on his face. "Uh, S-Sydney, why, why - no, I'm not." He pauses for a minute then his habit of correcting himself comes up. "I, I mean the cute part." He looks to Stephanie trying to explain. "I, I do try to be good though, well, I'm not sure that I, uh, always succeed."

Stephanie smirks and looks back at Sydney. "Yeah, he is kinda cute…." She smiles at Bryce, then gets up off the futon. "I should probably make room for you," she explains. "And I'm thinking of getting a snack, anyways." Turning back to Sydney, Steph takes a long pause, trying to figure out what to say. She decides on "Thanks"; simple and direct. "I'll catch you both around later, yeah?"

Sydney sits up. Stomach muscles bulge just exactly how you'd expect. She's slow and careful, so the sudden motion doesn't shred her top. "Take care, hon."

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