WHO: Adam and Zoe WHEN: August 17th WHERE: Zoe’s apartment WHAT: Reunion WARNINGS: none STATUS: Complete
She’d been working from home most of the week, since meeting with Ehren. Zoe had a lot of research, which was easier to do in the silence of her home. Besides, Juane could help. Kinda. He had uses. Even if it was mostly company. But, just in case someone did need her for something or to check on a project she left a note on her ‘lab’.
It was just some caller that came to her door while she was sitting with a book and cup of cocoa, reading away. Furrowing her brow she checked her island phone and saw an email about a new ‘patient’, customer? She had never figured out a good name for the people she helped. Not opening the email she set her book and mug down and moved to the door. She was wearing a T-shirt that was a little big on her and a pair of jeans. Her blonde hair was let loose, down around her shoulders as she opened the door in her bare feet.
Eyes landed upon a familiar face, a few years older, but she’d never forget it. They may have been a different gender, but she always felt as if she were looking into her own eyes when she looked into his. She felt a tremble bubble inside her as over her vision she saw a reply of the last time she’d seen her brother. She’d tried not to cry, kept insisting that they could help her and she could do some good many, and she’d call every day. That hadn’t actually happened. She’d been restricted from all contact since arriving on the island- though JD had helped her get a letter out at least. But she hadn’t expected him to come.
Zoe stumbled back a few steps as memories replayed of Adam, making it hard to decipher reality from memory for a moment. “Y-you’re… here.” She said, her voice coming out almost like a squeak.
On a scale of one to ‘holy fuck’ Adam was well into the latter when it came to just how much he had been freaking out since arriving on the Island. What was supposed to have been a simple visit to see his twin had somehow become a nightmare situation; where all in the span of a few hours he had discovered that he was apparently a mutant, was now a ‘guest’ of the government here, and that his old life back home was over. All that was sprinkled in with a less than delightful beating and questioning that still had AC skittish whenever he spotted one of those guards...which was seemingly all the time.
Then just to add a smidge more fun to his little vacation the elder twin found out that he really was a freak last night too. For his whole adult life Adam Parish just figured he was average in most things. Sure he had a gift when it came to the culinary arts, and wasn’t half bad on roller blades either during a pickup game of street hockey, yet he never once suspected that he actually possessed powers. Even after learning that Zoe was a mutant, it honestly never occurred to AC that he was one as well. However finally getting ‘home’ after his processing last night; body covered in ugly bruises, ribs messed up, and his face less than perfect thanks to being used as a punching bag, he finally noticed something truly strange.
Over the last few years Adam had always been in good health. Never getting sick, with the exception of that one time back when he was 16 when he had been laid up with ‘the flu’. Beyond that though the young chef had been the very model of perfect wellness. Never really fatigued, never sick or run down either. The few times he had accidentally cut himself in the kitchen it had always turned out far better than he first pictured. Those little knicks seemingly going away without him paying them any mind. Never once in all that time did Parish suspect that it was his own cooking that healed him and kept him healthy. But last night, the wounds had been felt. Had been very noticeable. So after fixing himself a little bit of food before finally crashing, well it was impossible to miss how that food made him physically feel. How the once agonizing pain suddenly gave way to no pain at all. Within a few minutes of eating all those ugly wounds and dark bruises were gone.
Here and now, standing at the doorstep of a stranger he had been instructed so see, Adam Cole Parish looked as fresh as a daisy. Oh there was still that look of fear and uncertainty in his eyes, yet all trace of the physical damage he had sustained just a few hours ago had completely vanished. All thanks to a late night snack.
Still beyond freaked out by the dawning realization that he was indeed more than human, the look of absolute shock suddenly appeared across his face when Zoe opened that door. Just seeing his twin after all these years; hearing her voice and seeing her stumble away in surprise as well, it was all so overwhelming. Yet old habits were deeply ingrained, and with a slight but genuine smile creeping across his lips Adam spoke up at last. Trying to hide the worry in his voice by sticking with trying to be his ‘normal’ self. Namely by trying to inject a bit of that playful snark into his tone.
“Hey there, bookworm. Nice Island you got here. Thanks for the invite.”
Her fist clenched up and she slugged him on the arm- well she didn’t have a ton of strength behind it, but the point was made. “What are you doing here?” She asked stepping into her home so he could get out of the doorway.
Zoe paced a little, her hand running through her hair as she tried to focus on the here and now. On the coffee table the small yellow robot looked at her and then started to mimic her movements. AC was there, in her home, on the island. “I told JD I didn’t want a reply to the letter, that didn’t mean I wanted you to come.” She muttered slightly.
Her eyes cast up to nothing, but she could see AC standing there telling off some kids who had called her a ‘bookworm’ and a ‘freak’. Funny, that was back when she was ‘normal’. The scene quickly turned into one of their sibling spats. Followed by one of their shared birthdays, one where he’d had a bunch of friends over for an actual birthday party. Her eyes started to water as the feelings of that day flooded back to her. Compounding with the actual anxiety she felt over seeing her twin. She did feel a little light headed. “Can you please turn your musi-” She started, shaking her head slightly as she realized she wasn’t talking to a real person.
Zoe turned to face AC, trying to focus on the AC that was there, not the one she saw in her memory. “AC.” She managed to squeak out before she quickly closed the distance between them and threw her hands around his neck in an embrace.
The unexpected punch to his arm certainly caught Adam off guard yet even as he frowned, and rubbed the spot she had hit, he spoke up to answer her question. “What do you mean, what am I doing here? We got your letter, Zoe. I wrote you for two years straight but never got a single reply. Then all of the sudden your letter shows up. The folks and I were freaked, and I knew something was off, so I told em I’d take off from work and come out here to check in on you.” That had been the plan at least. AC figured a week and a half off from work would be enough time to fly out to Washington and check in his baby sister. Now though, well now he was trapped and going home was no longer an option.
When she stepped away from the door he followed her inside, though when Zoe began to pace and talk to herself Adam went still. He hadn’t seen his little twin in five long years, and while he still recognized her it was also clear that she wasn’t the same as she had been when they last saw each other too. Though to be fair he was a far cry from the 16-17 year old kid he had been as well. A look of real concern glittered in his eyes when she seemingly spoke to no one at all, and even that odd toy on the table was ignored for the present.
It was only when she squeaked out his name and suddenly moved to hug him that Adam’s focus shifted back to the present. And with a choked up voice he softly spoke her name as well. While wrapping his arms around his baby sister to return the hug with one all his own.
“I’m sorry.” She said, voice muffled against his shoulder. “I didn’t mean to make you come.” Her eyes closed and she focused on what was real, what she could feel, smell, the here and now. Slowly the other memories ‘closed’ out and she was back in the present, only then did she let him go. “I’m okay now. I didn’t know you wrote-” Zoe took a step back and wiped the water from her face. “I wanted to send you a letter, let you know I’m still here. Let you know I’m okay. But I didn’t want you to come.” But was she okay? Had her subconscious somehow affected her letter- of course Adam would pick up on it.
She felt a surge of tingly energy and did something of a small ‘dance’, more a reaction to her freaking out for a moment that expressed itself in and arm shimmy and a small ass shake as she chirped. “Oh my god, you’re actually here!” Tears leaked out of her eyes and she wiped at them again. “I don’t know why I’m crying.”
-- The last day or so had already been quite the emotional roller coaster to begin with, yet the reunion with his twin certainly escalated things to a whole new level. After nearly half a decade Adam finally got to see Zoe again; and to hear that she hadn’t actually gotten any of his letters just left him even more conflicted. Oh there was no denying how badly he had missed her. Siblings were typically close, but twins even more so. Yet a part of him had long ago accepted that she wanted nothing to do with him; based on the belief that she had seen his letters and merely ignored them.
So to learn otherwise was heartbreaking. Both because he blamed himself now for not having realized that something was wrong sooner. But also because a small part of him partly blamed her as well for his current predicament. After all, had he not seen her letter and read between the lines, AC wouldn’t have come looking for her. When she apologized to him it was Adam who started to cry this time; all that emotional mess finally bursting free at last.
Just seeing her little dance though pulled him back from a full blown melt down, and with a soft chuckle Adam shrugged a little. “I’m actually here. So happy tears are all good, Zoe. I think I’ve leaking more than a few of my own.”
The robot on the table did a similar excites dance to her- she was working on his visual input so he was programmed to mimic a lot of what she did.
“I missed you.” She said with a sad smile, quickly followed by a small gasp and a shake of her head. “Oh god, I’m so sorry. Mom taught me to be a better host.” Mom… she could find out how everyone was. “Did you want a drink?” She asked, moving toward the kitchen. “The water in the kettle is probably still warm if you want some cocoa. Otherwise I have water and apple juice.” Zoe frowned slightly. “Sorry options are a bit slim.”
For a silent moment Adam Cole Parish just gazed at his sister; taking in the subtle changes to her face since he had seen her last five long years ago. She was the same, but not. Still his baby sister and his twin, yet in some ways a stranger too. Not that he was the same as when they had last seen each other. Time always marched on and with it came change. So much of his life had changed over the last half decade, yet Zoe had always been there with him. In spirit at the very least. “I missed you too, Zoe.”
The sudden apology, and unexpected offer of a drink, was met with a soft chuckle. That had head of his shaking a tad before Adam chimed in once more. “It’s fine, Z. I’m good. Thanks though for the offer, and I promise to not tell mom that your host skills are rusty.” Sure he had no clue when he’d actually see their mother next, yet AC put that aside and tried not to dwell on that sad truth. “So this is uh, well this is home, eh?” For the first time since showing up on her doorstep Adam actually seemed to take stock of her place. Even spotting that odd little robot toy but making no effort to touch her stuff.
Zoe looked around her place. It was… organized chaos. There were boxes and bins of spare parts piled in the living room. Items that needed repairing stacked in the corner. The coffee table had a few books and magazines on it, all brain and anxiety related. Her kitchen seemed barely used, if he looked in her trash there was a lot of take out containers. Her dining table had a laptop on it and was littered with half finished projects and bits. To an outsider, the place looked a mess. But, Zoe knew where everything was.
“Yea, this is… I take a lot of work home with me…” she moved to the couch and started to stack the books neatly on the table. “And sometimes I help my neighbors-“ she gestured to the small pile of broken appliances. “In exchange for prepared meals.” Juane mimicked her movements. “Did you want to sit?” She asked, moving the blanket she’d been using to the back of the couch.
Here and now Adam felt so very awkward and conflicted. Just seeing his little sister after all these years was great. And honestly he had missed her a lot too. Still five years was a long time for people to grow apart; and back home the two had been close growing up yet they had already been drifting apart by the time he had started high school. So to see here now, to actually find himself standing there in her apartment after half a decade of being apart...it left AC feeling unsure of how to respond to everything. It wasn’t hard to see that Zoe’s flat was filled with projects and clutter all over the place. Not that Adam could say a thing about it since his place was always so empty, with the exception of the kitchen being decked out and full.
Back home over the last few years Adam had rarely spent any time away from the restaurant. Most nights, even when he was off the clock, he’d hang out there with his friends. Chilling at the bar, or playing around with new ideas for recipes too. Whenever he did head to his apartment it was mostly to just crash or to have a guest stay the night. So where Zoe’s clearly worked at her place, he barely lingered long in his own. When she mentioned helping folks in exchange for meals a soft chuckle fell from his lips as AC nodded a tad. “Yeah I’m familiar with that sort of barter system. My friends would always ask me to cook for them, in exchange they’d offer up favors or stuff. You’d be surprised how easy it is to get a decent pair of tickets to the hockey game, if you have a homemade peanut butter cup cheesecake to offer.” The offer to sit was met with a quick glance to the chair, and with a nod AC moved some of the stuff off of it before taking a seat. “So...looks like I’m a mutant too. Surprise.” He tried to keep that smile fixed to his face as Parish dropped the bit of news, yet it was clear from the look in his eyes that he still was struggling to process it all.
Zoe frowned slightly. While she was happy to see AC again, she knew that there was no freedom on the horizon. “I’m sorry.” She rubbed her neck, if she’d been stronger and not let herself get overwhelmed. If she’d not blacked out that day or if she had any way to put into words what had been happening to her, maybe her parents wouldn’t have taken her to the hospital. But she barely fully understood it now, how could she have understood it then. For as smart as she was, her own abilities were hard to quantify. She leaned on the arm of the couch to be closer to him despite being in different seats. Zoe looked to the floor, she never should have written home. Part of her knew it was a bad idea. “I wish-” She could get him off the island. “I’m sorry being different has stuck you here.”
Her eyes turned up to him, she could focus on the positive right? “So, you’re cooking now? Like not just helping mom?” God she missed her mother. It hurt in her chest. She could hear her mother’s voice and as she turned her head, she could see her mother standing there, talking to AC about making cookies for father’s day when they were 16, before she was taken. Zoe was allowed to help so she didn’t feel left out. But AC just seemed to be in his element.
Zoe started to cry at the memory, and for a moment, was taken over completely. Adam next to her had ceased to exist, all that existed was the memory. It was when he said her name did she snap back. “Oh, gosh. I’m sorry.” She said, wiping at her eyes.
-- Adam would have been lying if he said that he didn’t blame her a little for his present condition. After all had he not received her letter, and come out to the Island, well he would likely be back home right now. Probably working in the kitchen of the restaurant, or hanging out with a friend or two. Instead here he was; trapped in this cruel place, having been beaten/questioned/and told that he wasn’t normal. It wasn’t logical. Just purely a fleeting thought lingering in the back of his head as the two sat there. When Zoe apologized though AC quickly shook his head and chimed in anew. Doing his best to dispel her concerns, despite them both being caught in this terrible place. “It’s fine...well, it’s not your fault, Z. Family looks out for each other, so I would’ve come regardless. Even if I knew that it meant I’d get stuck here.”
Sure he had given it a lot of thought last night, since sleep had been hard to come by on his first night in the new place. AC had debated and silently considered everything about his lot here, and while he hated that he had lost so much...at least he knew that she was okay. Five years had been a long time to be apart. A long time for normal siblings, but even worse for twins. So while Adam would’ve loved to get free of the Island, coming here hadn’t been a mistake. Not since he was allowed to finally be reunited with Zoe. “Though just between us, I’d have packed more things. Maybe even my good cookware.” He offered a soft smile, and even nodded again when she inquired about his cooking. “Yeah I cook. Or, well I did. I’m not really sure what I will do around here.”
The sudden sight of her crying caught AC off guard, to the point that he practically froze in place for fear of making things worse. However when she seemed to come out of it, and apologize once more, Adam again chimed in. “No it’s all good, no need to apologize. I can’t even… I can’t imagine how rough this has been on you, sis.”
“Lonely more than anything.” She said softly, though that wasn’t too different from home. No, no, that was wrong. At home she had family. She may have been short on friends, but her family had been there for her. “I sort of… I haven’t really ‘blacked out’ in a while, but I sometimes sort of… get lost?” Zoe wasn’t sure how to explain it. “It’s like watching a movie or something that just takes over your attention. Sometimes I can ignore it.” She tucked a blonde lock of hair behind her ear and shook her head a little. “Really hard to explain something you don’t really understand.”
An arm wrapped around herself, hand holding her other arm across her body. She felt so small in that moment, so lost. AC had come to find her, he’d changed so much. But she felt like that awkward girl who’d been taken away. “I might be able to talk to someone about getting you some nice cookware.” She offered with a small shrug. “And there’s a diner here. Or you can just cook for me? If you need anything over your per diem, I can give you some money. I try to trade for stuff and make money working at the facility.”
-- Adam Parish wasn’t a genius like his little sister. He was actually fairly average in almost all aspects of life, with the only exception really being his talent for the culinary arts. Still while Zoe had always been the far more clever one of the twins, AC had been far more at ease when it came to interacting with others. Being lonely wasn’t really something the guy ever dealt with before. Not since he had an easy enough time making friends, or simply conversing with new people too. Heck even here on the Island, he had already made a friend on his first day. Not counting the guards who seemed to enjoy spending time using him as a personal punching bag. Even when he was on his own all alone Parish felt comfortable with the silence too. Just taking advantage of the peace and quiet to do whatever he wanted.
So when his little sister spoke of feeling alone, and of her experience with her ability too, a hint of a frown tugged at the man’s lip. “That sucks, Z. All of it; the being alone bit and the black out things. I met a friend of yours yesterday, real nice woman named Kyrie. So hopefully you haven’t been all on your own this whole time.” The offer of cookware, cash, or a gig, left AC at a loss for words for a second. Mostly because it was strange to hear his baby sis offer him anything since they hadn’t actually hung out in ages. Plus after working hard to establish himself as a proper chef...the prospect of having to start from scratch here was a tad depressing. “Thanks for the offers. I might take you up on the cookware one, but when they weren’t pummeling me one of the guards mentioned the possibility of me working in the base kitchen. Apparently my resume caught their eye.”
Zoe’s eyes brightened a bit. “You met Kyrie?” She chirped. “She’s really nice. We became friends a few months ago when she let me have her blender.” There was no blender in her kitchen. “I needed the motor.” That explained it. “For Juane. She’s actually the one who named him.” She said, gesturing to the robot. “Juane, this is AC, say hi.” The robot turned to Adam and waved. “I’ve not been alone- alone.” Though she had built a best friend. “I see people at work. Finn helps me with books and I used to work with Logan sometimes- until he got arrested. I hope he’s okay. I just know he’s innocent.” She had already gotten word she might be called to testify as a character witness. Her normal blushing and shyness about him was trumped by what had happened to her friend- who she just happened to have a crush on. Not that it was hard for Zoe to have crushes. Any cute guy made her blush. Of course, that’s all they ever were- crushes.
“Oh, at least it should be a nice bit of extra money from working at the base.” She said with a nervous smile. “Just… be careful, okay? If you do. Not all the guards are nice. But there are some who are.”
“I did. She was there when they dumped me off in front of my new pad. Helped clean me up, and we shared a late night meal together too. Honestly I’m just glad that I didn’t freak her out too much. I can’t say that I was all smooth like...not with the pain I was in, or when it came to the shock of finding out that I had a power.” It was the latter that still freaked AC out more than a little. “I still don’t get why I’ve never noticed that I had an ability before now. I mean, you’d think something like that would be easy to spot right?” When Zoe pointed out the little robot, and introduced them as well, Adam looked a tad confused since he had never met a robot before. Well not one that wasn’t found in the toy section of any store.
“She mentioned your little friend, and the blender too. Also said it was better to avoid mentioning the robot around the guards since they’d probably take it or smash it. So consider my lips sealed when it comes to your weird robo buddy, Z.” When Juane waved up at him AC chuckled at last; offering up a nod and a tiny wave back before turning his focus back to his sister. “Aren’t we already arrested?” It was a sincere question, since Adam figured the whole detained indefinitely thing seemed to make a strong case for them already being in a prison of sorts. So when she mentioned her friend had been arrested AC looked a tad confused. “Honestly I was half tempted to avoid that place as much as possible, but getting to cook in a proper kitchen is...well I’m hoping that will be easier than trying my hand at learning a new trade.”
“Yea, I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t authorize me making him. They give me some leeway because I make stuff to help people with their powers.” Which is how she’d secured a laptop- so she could work from home. “But I’m sure making a fully functional robot… well…” She laughed a little. “Of course, his program is only in beta, but he’s learning every day. And I know it sounds silly, but he’s kept me company- even when he was just a theory in my head.”
His comment about being arrested had her shifting in her seat slightly. “There’s detention on the island. Like a real prison. Sometimes people get put there when they do something bad. Other times… they just… lock you up.” Like they had Kyrie.
Nothing about this place really made any sense to Adam. Sure he was still far from wrapping his head around how vastly different his life would be now. Partly out of denial, but because there was nothing in his past that could prepare him for getting locked up on a remote island, all because he apparently was a mutant now. On the monumental scale of crappy vacations, this was certainly at the top of his list. Robots and computer programming stuff was well beyond AC’s area of expertise. Sure he had watched tv and movies, and knew about robots from there. To this day his favorite action hero was a terminator. Still when she talked of beat programs most of it flew right over the guy’s head. “Well it’s cool that the robot blender has kept you company. Having friends of all different kinds here can only help, right?”
Up until now Adam Parish had never been at odds with the authorities. He hadn’t been a trouble maker, nor a criminal by any means. If anything the man had been a model citizen; paying his taxes, keep his nose clean, and focusing on food instead of other disruptive things. So to find himself here, in a place where they locked people up for no reason, it seemed so unreal. Earnestly had AC not gotten the ‘tour’ when he arrived, he wouldn’t have believed that the government could do something like this. Now though, now he was doing his best just to keep from freaking out all the time. “Well I uh….hopefully I will stay under the radar, and doing something bad really isn’t something I’d normally do either.”
“And I will make so much of a fuss if anyone tries to do anything to you!” She insisted. Zoe leaned forward, resting her elbows on her knees. “Okay, so tell me everything. How’s mom? Dad? Sis? I missed so much. Did you graduate? And college? You’re cooking now… you said they saw your resume, so you’ve been doing it professionally?” She sort of just exploded with questions. Then she got soft, a little timid. “Do they miss me?” It was selfish to wonder. She knew she should be better. But she wondered, did they think of her? Talk about her? Not having to deal with a genius child anymore must have been a relief, though she hoped they didn’t feel that way. Zoe frowned slightly. “No- don’t answer that. Just tell me how everyone is.”
-- The sudden rush of question had Adam torn between laughter of crying. Five years. They had lost half a decade of time to this place; no word, no trace of Zoe at all before that letter arrived. So when she asked the questions he did his best to keep up, and chuckled warmly for a moment before finally collecting himself and speaking up again. Catching her up on everything he could think of; the family, all that had happened over the last few years, his time at the culinary school, and working at the restaurant too. It should have felt strange to converse with his baby sister after so long, but the more he chatted and got sidetracked with other tales of the family, the more Adam smiled and felt at ease. It was good; even with all the crap that came from being a ‘guest’ of the government...it was nice to finally be reunited with his twin again.