Log:A Snowflake in Arizona

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A Snowflake in Arizona
Characters  •   Sean Winters  •  Lenore 'Nora' Winters - Painkiller  •
Location  •  Winters Apartment
Date  •  2019-08-07
Summary  •  Nora comes to visit her brother who thinks it's all a dream.

Late on a Saturday night in early March, everyone in the Winters' residence is asleep. Everyone, of course, being Sean and his mother, and their residence being the small, second-story, two bedroom apartment they live in. Lenore used to have one room and Sean the other, their mother sleeping on a fold-away in the living room, and she stayed out there for some time after Nora left, refusing to claim the abandoned room as if doing so would mean her daughter would never return. Eventually Sean wore her down and she took the room, but she's not redecorated or moved a thing.

A tapping on the window rouses Sean from sleep, hazy and a bit disoriented. The window on the second floor. That there's no balcony or anything else to stand on.

The sound of the tapping at the window is first passed off as perhaps a tree branch tapping against the glass, or particularly hard rain, or.. but then Sean remembers that there isn't a tree outside that window, or a balcony, or anything else, really, for that matter, and he sits up, rubbing at his eyes with the heels of his palms before looking around in the dark. The room is completely dark, save for the faint light from the connector to his laptop's power supply on the desk. He looks over toward the window, and pulls himself out of bed, wandering over in his pajama pants to stare out into the darkness curiously.

As he gets closer to the window, he sees Nora on the other side.

Floating in the air.

Clearly this is a dream and he's still asleep. She smiles as she sees him, waving a little and pointing at the latch.

Sean stares for a moment as he sees her outside the window and then asks, "Nora?" He has to still be sleeping. But he reaches for the latch, and opens it, opening the window up to repeat again. "Nora? Why are you .. floating? How are you floating?" He glances down beneath her, out the window, and then up, to try and figure out how it is that she's there, outside his window.

Her black skirt swirls around her legs in the breeze, boot-covered feet dangling in the air. Her smile brightens when he opens the window.

"Hey, little brother," she greets. "You're getting big!" Her smile fades a little, sadness touching her features. "Sorry it's been a while. Wanna invite me in?"

"Um, yeah, sure, come on in," Sean says, getting out of the way of the window so that she can come inside. He's still a little too distracted by her floating around to pay much attention to what she says for a moment. Finally he says, "Yeah, it's been a while. Where did you go? Why didn't you write? Or call, or something? What've you been doing?" The questions start to come out in a flood once he begins asking them.

Nora floats in through the window and straightens, feet lowering to the floor. There. She's standing properly now. No more strange floating.

His questions make more of her smile fade, and she looks away from him, taking in the room. Or pretending to. It's more an attempt to not meet his gaze as he lays on the questions.

"I had to go," she says quietly. "I just couldn't take it anymore. The fighting, the drama. You and Mom were better off without me, anyway - I wasn't helping matters." Finally she looks back over at him. "It wasn't you. You have to know that, okay? It was never your fault."

Sean, however, doesn't take his eyes off of her. He studies her as though trying to figure out everything that's changed since he last saw her, or if he's trying to remember if he's just remembering her in his dream differently, or if this is how she looked when he saw her last, you know, minus the floating parts. But it's her words that bring him out of his own head and sharply back into focus, suddenly.

"That's not true," he says quickly. "You were hurting, and upset, and they were being awful to each other, and you just needed somebody to tell you it wasn't /your/ fault that they didn't get along." He steps closer to her then, reaching out to take her hand and clasp it in both of his, unless she pulls away, "I didn't want you to go. I looked for you, you know. A lot. For a long time." Though when she says it wasn't his fault he frowns, and glances down at the floor.

Nora's changed some, yes. She's a bit more gaunt and sharp in the features, either from being a few years older and losing the last bits of padding from youth or from having lost a bit of weight. Not that she was ever heavy. She's dressed somewhat like she always has, with Doc Martins, striped leggings and a skirt. A Cure t-shirt, too. All things she'd have worn before. But there's a leather biker jacket on her frame with a skull and crossed pills on the back, a first-aid '+' on the skull's forehead.

The Painkillers.

Her hand is cold, but it is chilly outside, and she lets him take it. She doesn't pull away. "They were," she agrees of their parents being awful to each other. "That wasn't your fault, either."

Sean shrugs his shoulders and says, "I know. But I could have stuck around more. I could have stayed around the house more, with you. I could have been there, and I wasn't. I kept going over to somebody's house, anybody's, and staying late at school, and volunteering.. anything not to come home and listen to them, and that wasn't fair to you. I should have been here with you, so you didn't have to deal with them alone. I'm really sorry, Nora." Maybe it's not real. Maybe it's only a dream. But if she were there, then all the things that he's wanted to say to her since she disappeared just come tumbling out of him. He doesn't look directly at her. Instead he just squeezes her hand. "I miss you."

"I'm your big sister," Nora says, squeezing his hand in return. "I'm supposed to protect you. Instead, I was too busy having meltdowns and episodes. You did what you had to, okay? I'm sorry I wasn't there for you when you needed me, but I'm glad you had an escape. I found my own, eventually."

She lifts her other hand to gently turn his head, making him face her. "Hey. I can't change any of it, no matter how much I wish I could. But things are different, now. I'm different. I'm going to make sure you and Mom live in peace and quiet, okay? I'm taking care of it. Of him."

Sean looks as though he might argue with her for a moment, but then lets his shoulders slump slightly, "We both ran away. Everything was shit. Everything's still shit, but .. at least they're not fighting anymore." Because dad's long gone, and there's no one left to fight.

When she turns his head, he studies her again, looking troubled. Here, in this dream, there's no facade that everything is okay, that he's got it all together. There's no act, no mask, and it's just raw emotion -- because it's not real, right? It doesn't matter if he breaks down here. "You are different," he agrees, "But you look okay. Are you okay? Wherever you are? Is it better? Do you have friends? Are you happy?" He looks at the jacket, and then back toward her face. "Are you safe?" Then he pauses and asks, "Wait.. of him? Who? Dad?" He looks a little bit puzzled.

Nora smiles again, warm and sincere. "I'm great, yeah. It's hard to explain, but I'm okay. More than okay. And I found someone. Someone who gets me and loves me, who can keep me stable when I start going sideways, who makes me better. Who makes me want to be better. It's like I was missing half of myself, and then they came along."

His last question gets a grim nod. "He always comes back," she says, and that has been true, though this time he's been gone longer than before. "He won't anymore. He'll never hurt Mom again, Sean. You'll never have to see her like that again. Promise."

Sean looks a mixture of relieved and concerned at the same time as he listens to Nora. That's what he wishes for her, isn't it? That wherever she is, she's happy, and has someone who is looking out for her? But at the same time, something keeps nagging at him, something that says this all is just not right. "Nora? What happened to dad?" he asks, a little uncertainly.

Nora shakes her head, expression a little flat. Cold. "Nothing, Sean. He left. He's gone for good this time. You and Mom can be happy again."

That hand lifts to his face again and her smile returns, but it seems a bit hollow now. "I miss you, too, but I'll be keeping an eye out. Making sure you guys are okay." She pulls him in for a hug.

"But you said.." Sean starts, and then stops, confused by both her reaction, and the flat coldness of her expression. There's something a little sad in his own when she says that he and mom can be happy again. Again, he starts to say something, and then doesn't. Instead, he just hugs her. He hugs her tightly, as tightly as he can, because he knows she'll fade away when he wakes up. "I'm glad you came. Even if this is only a dream. I'm glad I got to see you again."

ROLL: BeastSR rolls 3d6 for: [2]: x1 [4]: x1 [6]: x1 -- Match Value: 0 (Raw: 6 2 4 -- d6)

"Me too," Nora says, holding onto the hug like she wants it to last forever. It can't. She's different now, and it isn't safe to be around her. Finally, she lets go.

"Now sleep," she says, brushing a hand down over his face in one smooth sweep, and he quickly fades out. She catches him and carries him to bed like he weighs nothing at all, settling him in. She turns to leave but stops, fishing something out of her pocket and setting it on his nightstand. It's an origami snowflake, like the ones she used to make him before she ran away.

Then Nora crosses to the window and climbs out, but instead of falling, she flies.