thepainted_lady: (Intrigued smile)
[ooc: Based on RP with [ profile] offering_hope, who's sleeping here w/o permission but lots of love. >.>]

They'd only gone to bed an hour or two before, after the rubes had drifted back to town, laughing and satisfied, and the lights had flickered out one by one. Lydia had fallen asleep almost immediately, a skill that had escaped her all her life but one she'd picked up recently as her body grasped for some sort of relief, however sporadic.

She wasn't sure how long after Samuel followed, but he was asleep when she jerked awake, an instinct pulling her from the depths of dreamless slumber that was stronger than her tired body. There wasn't any real sound in the small room, at least not yet. Just his easy breathing, and for a moment she was tempted to sink back against his warmth and grab at a few precious more seconds.

His hand was curled against her hip, another incentive to stay, and for a second she let her eyes drift shut. Then the little sound came again, the snuffling that wasn't a cry but a seeking, and Lydia sighed. She could stay. He'd get up when the noise grew to enough to wake him, bring her over, or move to the kitchen and try not to wake her. But there was little point to it when she was already awake. He had so much more that needed doing during the day, while she had the luxury of napping if need be, and it would be selfish to take advantage of his willingness to help.

The snuffling grew to a whimper, and Lydia wriggled out from under Samuel's arm, slipping out of the bed and across to the crib against the wall. For a moment she just smiled down at Rebecca, fingers brushing lightly over her hair before she picked her up and took her to the rocker by the window, settling down there and baring one breast to offer to her.

It was still new, even after nearly two months. She'd given Amanda up too early, too young, to really experience this, to feel this, and it tugged at something deep inside her as her second daughter contentedly suckled away. The wistfulness twisted up with the tenderness, the loss with the joy, and she caught herself crying silent tears that she wiped away before they could fall on the baby's head.

She'd made mistakes, given up something more precious than she'd understood, and it was only now that she was truly realizing how much that had been. But somehow, some way, she'd managed to get a second chance, and a gift she'd never expected. She glanced at the bed and the man still sleeping there, then looked back down at the beautiful daughter they'd made. The stillness of the room seemed almost holy in that moment, and she brushed light fingers over the baby's head. Her lips curved in a smile in spite of the quiet tears, and somehow she felt that 2AM might become one of her favorite times of the day.
thepainted_lady: (It's not always that simple)
1. We both had lives before. We all have them, I guess. But for me, it's just that. Before. There's a strict line of demarcation there--my life before, and my life after. Again--I guess we can all say that--before we left our old lives, before we found this home, this family. But that's not it for me, not really. Yes, there was a renewal the moment I stepped through the gates, there was a feeling of coming home, of finding what I'd been looking for. But all of that faded into the background the next morning, because the moment life truly began again for me was the first time you touched my hand.

2. You're the only thing in my life I've ever depended on, and the only person I think I'll ever fully trust. I just wish that was enough.

3. Thank you for coming back for me. I'll make sure you never regret it. However it started, whatever we had to go through, it's all made me certain of one indisputable fact: I love you.

4. I would have given you anything. I did give you everything. There's part of me that still wishes I'd never woken up, because there's a pain that I can't seem to shake that I live with every day. There are days I can't breathe for it. But I'm not that girl anymore. I see you now, with all the blinders off. I may be alive, but you killed something precious that day. Things still hurt, but I'm stronger now, and I don't care what I feel--it's over.

5. I never wanted to let you down or hurt you, but I know I keep doing it again and again. All my best efforts seem to do nothing but backfire, when all I ever wanted was for you to be safe and loved and have a chance at everything I never did. I love you. I would do anything for you. And I hope some day you can forgive me.

6. Sometimes I wonder if things could have been different, but I'm glad you're happy now.

7. You're the most confusing person I've ever met. Normally I know exactly what someone wants from me, but no matter how hard I try, even though I can read you just fine, I can't figure you out. ...It's kind of exciting.

8. I don't think there are enough words to say, "thank you." Everything you've done, you didn't have to. I can't imagine how much we've turned your life upside down and what we've put you through, but I want you to know I'm grateful--to you and for you.

9. Sometimes I don't think it's fair to you, to be trying to build something with me, when I know I'm shattered into so many pieces I still feel them cutting at me all the time. There's so much you don't know, and that scares me. But you make me feel safe, and you make me smile, and you make me feel...hope for the first time in so long I can't remember. I'm terrified of falling for you, but I think it might be too late.

10. I didn't want to like you, but I couldn't help it. I didn't think I could forgive you, but it wasn't really that hard. I never thought I'd love you, but now I can't imagine how I ever couldn't.

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thepainted_lady: (If you wanna play...)
Happy birthday, baby.

[There's a note at the bar, and a couple of boxes. One contains a digital camera made to look like an old fashioned one. It suited her sense of whimsy--and she thought it might amuse him, too. The other contains a framed photo of her. What? She thought he might like something for those long nights at work? And in keeping with her retro theme with the camera, she's got something else for him to unwrap if he'd like to stop by her apartment later.]
thepainted_lady: ([Samuel] Fixing tie)
Happy birthday, sweetheart.

[There's a little box on the table with this in it. It's probably more suited for father's day, admittedly, but she saw it and she didn't want to wait until June, and she got a little busy delivering your firstborn to do more shopping. She also told Mrs. Comey to make all your favorites all day? And a daughter seemed like a pretty good 50th birthday present, too.]
thepainted_lady: ([Samuel] Conspirators)
Lydia was normally a very patient, serene sort of person. She didn't get frazzled easily, she dealt well with the foibles of her family and could soothe ruffled feathers and the more...volatile personalities that surrounded her with soft touches and gentle smiles. They depended on her for it, without knowing they did, she sometimes thought, and she played her role of steadier influence to the somewhat frenetic energy of the carnival as Joseph had before her without a murmur. It suited her, and let her bury any of her own turmoil away in soothing routines and find strength in familiarity to bolster an innate fragility she let very few see.

But for the moment, she was done, and for the last couple of weeks had been riding an edge she couldn't quite seem to balance upon. Everything hurt. She was as liable to burst into tears as smile. The first couple of months of her third trimester had been filled with a sense of well-being, for the most part, but while she could capture moments of that here and there, it seemed to have disappeared in a wave of impatience. Also, the frequent Braxton Hicks contractions and cramping had her sending for Sarah, the midwife, enough the past couple of weeks that the poor woman finally just had her trailer moved next to Lydia and Samuel's for the duration.

Of course, after that, Lydia managed to figure out what the fake ones felt like. What? She hadn't been pregnant in 16 years! Your mind made this part foggy, she was sure. Otherwise no one would go through it again and the human race would die out.

With a sigh, she sat back in the chair under the canopy and watched the family going about the day's work. )
thepainted_lady: (Lost without you)
"Your absence has gone through me like thread through a needle. Everything I do is stitched with its color." ~ W.S. Merwin

The pressing panic that had caught in her throat the day she had arrived here, ripped away from her family, away from her home, away from everything she'd known was back. She'd gone to work through the week only because at least it was at least something familiar, but as nice as Sarah was, she wasn't family, wasn't someone she could cling to, and Puck had a girlfriend now, and, anyway, she could hardly use him that way. As nice as their night had been, he was a seventeen year old boy, not someone she should find herself depending on. It wasn't fair to him.

The dance had been...lovely, but what she found on waking up the next morning...had not been. Since then, life had been a fog, and no matter how hard she tried to pierce it, she couldn't seem to get through. Just because he'd bid on her, wanted to see her, even just because he was from her world was no reason to rely on Noah Bennet. Back home he had...hunted them. He'd been the enemy for a long time. He was a...friend now, and she wasn't afraid of him anymore, but that didn't mean he wanted to be burdened with her problems. The rest of them were just acquaintances, really.

Samuel was gone.

Edgar hadn't spoken to her since...she'd made a fool of herself.

And now Amanda was gone, too. )
thepainted_lady: (Softly pretty)
[ooc: This isn’t really verse specific, exactly, but loosely based on some RP-ideas she’s done here and there. Mostly, it’s a fic that needed to be written and not intended to dismantle those RPs, even for the sections aimed at each character. They aren’t aimed at a specific muse, if that makes sense? More at an idea of a relationship with the character in a post-canon world. Not me--or her--breaking off specific RPs. The fic has been in my head for a while, but I don’t want other muns coming and going, “OMG is Lydia leaving my muse!” because, no, she’s not. Even if maybe it might be healthiest for her to do so for a while. K? K. *<3’s you all*]

The smell of your skin lingers on me now
You're probably on your flight back to your home town
I need some shelter of my own protection, baby
To be with myself and center, clarity
Peace, Serenity

The first time he’d shown up at the carnival after everything had settled back into what she had started to think of as 'life after Samuel,' Lydia hadn’t really known what to make of him. )

The path that I'm walking
I must go alone
I must take the baby steps 'til I'm full grown, full grown
Fairytales don't always have a happy ending, do they?
And I foresee the dark ahead if I stay

He’d come back, like some prince on a dark horse. )

Like the little school mate in the school yard
We'll play jacks and Uno cards
I'll be your best friend and you'll be my Valentine
Yes you can hold my hand if you want to
'Cause I want to hold yours too
We'll be playmates and lovers and share our secret worlds
But it's time for me to go home
It's getting late, dark outside
I need to be with myself and center, clarity
Peace, Serenity

Sixteen years of denial and evasion melted in tears and relief at surviving the most terrifying day of their lives, as words bottled up too long came tumbling out, caught up in clothes discarded by frantic hands and all tangled between fevered limbs. )

I hope you know, I hope you know
That this has nothing to do with you
It's personal, myself and I
We've got some straightening out to do

And I'm gonna miss you like a child misses their blanket
But I've got to get a move on with my life
It's time to be a big girl now
And big girls don't cry

She wanted him, wanted to lean on him, wanted to let him become her new Northern star, to lead her and her family through this murky new world, and make everything right in the world again. )
thepainted_lady: ([Samuel] What comes next?)
[ooc: Samuel is [ profile] offering_hope and used with permission and the very kind indulgence of his mun for my need for some fluff in the midst of an angsty week. <3]

Maybe I know somewhere deep in
my soul that love never lasts.
And we've got to find other ways
to make it alone or keep a straight face.
And I've always lived like this
keeping a comfortable, distance.
And up until now I swore to myself
that I'm content with loneliness,
'cause none of it was ever worth the risk.

Well, you are the only exception

And I'm on my way to believing
Oh, And I'm on my way to believing

There really was only so much you could do to make a trailer homey. Lydia sat in the middle of the sofa, with the cupboards and closet emptied all around her in neat little stacks on counters and tabletops and every furniture surface--because no way she could manage to get anything off the floor at this point--frowning and nibbling on her lower lip as she looked at it all critically.

It wasn't right. She huffed, sending a wisp of hair flying, and pushed it back impatiently out of her eyes. Even now, after she'd scrubbed out every single corner of the cabinets and gotten the dust bunnies out of the back of the closet, it just...didn't feel right to put things back in. Something wasn't right.

Samuel came in, looking down at a sheaf of papers in his hand and almost tripped over a stack of books, making Lydia look up with a wince.

"Sorry! I didn't expect you back for a bit..."

Staring around the room, Samuel took it in, then looked back at her, an expression she couldn't quite interpret between amusement and annoyance on his face. "Again?"

Lydia shrugged a bit, looking down, then back up at him. "The shelves need new paper."

'I see.' )
thepainted_lady: (Girl in blue)
[ooc: Based on RP at [ profile] heroesreduxrpg. Peter is [ profile] tarnishedhero.]

A sign hangs crookedly off a building in the wasteland stretched out below. She shouldn't be here, perched on the balcony's edge like this. It's possible patrols still come through the ruined city, looking for people just like them. She's tucked up close to the crumbling brick, though, pressed in a nook between wall and parapet, and there isn't any wind blowing at her skirts to wave them like a flag to signal any searchers.

It's hard to believe there might be any. Looking's hard to believe there might be anyone else alive, at all. It's a lie, of course. Just behind her, behind the door she pressed shut against the heat of too many people in a room and too many hiccuping sobs, huddles a portion--too small--of her family. Out there, somewhere, goddess willing, more are with Edgar.

There are bars, restaurants, homes, families, schools, stores, goes on in the world. She knows. Just last week she was in a sleepy little town in Arkansas buying provisions for breakfast the next day.

But here it's stopped. Here there is nothing but the sound of the wind through buildings she'd like to call abandoned, but in which she knows people died. How many? More than was right, more than ever should have been allowed. Over there, across the bridge, the rest of the city tries to rebuild itself, but here...New York has fallen, devastated, lost.

Not forgotten, though, because no one will ever forget, never again...the man--Sylar--who blew up the City and exposed them all. The Linderman Act. A president determined to hunt them down. She looks down, twisting her fingers in her shawl. His brother was one of the ones who saved them. Saved her...took the bullet meant for her...and she can't quite work that out. How can the president hate them so much, when his own brother is one of them? Why would he, just because of one man? None of them have done anything to deserve the things they've done. The detention centers...

She closes her eyes, blocking out the devastation below, trying to block out the grief welling up inside, suppressing the images that attempt to flood her mind of what they must do there...what it must be like...what Samuel might be going through...It won't do any good to agonize over it, to cry about it. That won't get him out any faster. She can't help it, though. Inside, back behind that door, she has to be strong. Danielle is a great help with the physical needs of the children, but she's terrified for her husband and useless for anything else. Arnold's getting sicker. The children are all scared and asking for Samuel, wanting to go home. She's the one who has to be strong, to lead them until he gets back. She can't cry in there.

So she's out here instead, staring at a stupid sign that's barely hanging on to a building that once was a place where people came to learn, to be entertained, to spend a few hours. It twists there, swinging back and forth, and she imagines she can hear it, the creak of its chains, their stubborn refusal to give out, even after a blistering devastation. Slipping off the edge of the balcony, she sinks down to the flagstone floor, leaning back against the wall, and just listens to the silence below.

If that damn sign can still be there after five years, she can hang on, too. She can do this. She will do this. She'll hold them together, and she'll do what has to be done to bring him home. Everything's changed, but they can make it okay again.

She sits for a few minutes more, calming her breathing, drying her tears, and then she pushes to her feet, moving back to the door. Another breath, two, her forehead resting against it, and then she makes herself put a reassuring smile on her face as she moves back into the crowded room, brushing fingers through hair here, touching a shoulder there, reassuring the flock that their shepherd will be back soon, and she's here to take care of them until then.
thepainted_lady: (Carnival beauty)
Something has changed within me
Something is not the same
I'm through with playing by the rules
Of someone else's game

The music was loud and the crowd was already drunk at noon, as Lydia made her way through the press of their too-hot bodies. She’d killed a girl heading this way and taken her clothes--her own far too ripped and bloody from her run through the woods--and boots (since she’d run off without any shoes) and felt like she fit in fairly well, though she was still occasioning quite a bit of comment.

Then again, women in leather miniskirts, corset tops and boots tended to do that anywhere. She felt a hand on her ass and let it pass. It was a grope, sure, but a quick sense from the touch...he wouldn’t take it farther if she complained. Not what she was looking for, then. She wanted her usual prey, but she needed a lot of them, or their kin. People the world wouldn’t miss, people she could use and still face herself in the morning.

Edgar had mentioned this place as somewhere to avoid, last time they passed through the area. She saw why when her attention was caught by the group in the corner.

Unfortunately for Edgar’s peace of mind, she had no intention of avoiding them today.

* * *

A half hour later, she was on the back of the bike of their leader, his blood singing in her veins--not enough to incapacitate him, but enough to give her compulsion an iron-clad hold. )
thepainted_lady: ([Samuel] Threatening)
[ooc: Based on RP with [ profile] heroslayer, [ profile] offering_hope and [ profile] hadtobeahero in AU/Vampire Diaries xover verse]

The cave floor was cold and hard, but she barely felt it. She’d shifted last night, mostly to stop the wracking sobs when she couldn’t take any more of them shaking her body. Exhaustion still weighed her limbs down from how far she’d run, and for the moment she had no idea where she was. Austria, perhaps. Maybe Switzerland, if she’d shifted directions. As fast as she was going, she could have made it to Italy. It wasn’t like anyone paid attention to the borders anymore, especially not for creatures like her.

She was shivering, but not from the cold. The cold she barely felt, whether from her own nature, or the fur she hid behind, letting it dull the sensation of having her heart ripped out of her.

All that hate. [Cut for long stream-of-consciousness and possible triggering material] )
thepainted_lady: (The center cannot hold)
[ooc: Sylar is [ profile] heroslayer and Peter is [ profile] hadtobeahero and both are used with love and permission. Based on RP with them and [ profile] offering_hope. John is [ profile] of_highdegree.]

Words wouldn't come. In truth, Lydia was afraid if she opened her mouth she'd start screaming again. The host of the Gasthaus had come running, pounding on the door, sure they were all being murdered in their sleep, and Sylar's assurances that she'd only had a nightmare had barely reassured the man when he'd seen how distraught she was. Only having seen them always happy together probably gave his conscience any ease to leave. If she started screaming again...?

A nightmare.

The word seemed too vague, too ephemeral for such a visceral experience. She was used to nightmares. Life had been a constant one for three years, a time when, honestly, sleep had been a semi-escape, but one from which she could be awakened at any time by searching hands wanting things that made her heat with shame for giving, sure she was damning them both to Hell, and God was going to punish her for the Devil living in her like he must. After waking life improved, sleep was less of a haven, and she got as little of it as necessary, as the monsters from her childhood returned in her dreams to torment her still. She learned some tricks, found some teas that helped, figured out if she were utterly exhausted physically, sometimes he didn't come...she lived her life to avoid the dreams as best she could.

Joseph told her she wasn't damned, and she tried to believe him. She stopped believing in God. Mostly.

Dreams of a bullet, of a kiss, of a cold place (that might have been Hell), a gasping return...they'd intermingled in the last year, and no wonder. She slept lightly, woke frequently, and mustered on as best she could. Sylar returned and she let him provide any comfort he could, even if it was to push her into oblivion, when she was too tired to dream, and that was a sweetness and no burden at all.

Last night...

No, to call it a nightmare was to call those other dreams some sort of unpleasant reveries. )
thepainted_lady: ([Samuel] Things you should know)
To the song here in my heart
A melody I start
But can't complete

Listen, to the sound from deep within
It's only beginning
To find release

the time has come
for my dreams to be heard
They will not be pushed aside and turned
Into your own
all cause you won't

I am alone at a crossroads
I'm not at home, in my own home
And I tried and tried
To say what's on my mind
You should have known

Now I'm done believing you
You don't know what I'm feeling
I'm more than what you made of me
I followed the voice
you gave to me
But now I gotta find, my own..
thepainted_lady: ([Samuel] Mutual comfort)
[Co-written with [ profile] offering_hope. Set up RP/fic for our AU verse "Four Quartets.". Edgar is not meant to refer to any particular Edgar.]

They'd had a good night, Lydia thought, making her way across the carnival grounds. Her sandals dangled from her fingers and she let her toes dig into the dirt, feeling the lingering warmth of the long set sun still seeping up into her skin from it. A tune from the ride that was closest to her booth was caught in her head, some pop number that kept their teen visitors happy, and she hummed it. Across the way she caught sight of Joseph, and waved. He returned it with a warm smile, and her eyes scanned on, searching for Samuel and Edgar. She was isolated from them, off with customers, every night, but a glass of wine curled up somewhere and talking seemed a nice way to finish up the evening.

A couple of people called out greetings which she returned, but she didn't pause, still on her search. When looking didn't seem to find either of them, she paused, closing her eyes and reached out with her other sense, feeling for them along the connections forged through years of family. She could find nearly anyone in the family, almost any time, and she smiled a bit as she brushed over their presences, on opposite ends of the carnival. Hesitating, deciding which way to go first, she left her senses out there, and the peace she'd been feeling dissipated in a ripple of darkness that seemed to hit her.

Hatred. Malevolence. Anger. They were all out there, wrapping around the carnival in some sort of emotional miasma and while she couldn't pinpoint it to an exact source, there was a clear desire to harm them. Frantic, she spun around, eyes snapping open, and looked to where Joseph had been, but he was gone. She stood there for a moment, caught, unsure, then ran to where he had been, hoping he hadn't wandered far.

She nearly crashed into Samuel instead. )
thepainted_lady: ([Samuel] Not your whore)
Samuel -

I’ve started this a million times, then crossed it out and thrown it away. Trying to put into words what you’ve done, what you doesn’t come, not easily, maybe not at all. Not truly. The words to grasp it, to wrap around it, don’t seem to do it justice. Then, I think, nothing could. It’s something that has to be felt, and I’m not sure you ever could feel it. I know you know what betrayal feels like, and I know you know loss, and disappointment, and what it feels like to love someone who doesn’t love you back, but...

Can you combine them all? Do you have it in you? Did you even realize, ever, what you held in your hands all that time?

I would have given you the world, at a word. My life, my heart, my body, my soul--they were yours for the taking, because I believed in you, believed you were special, believed you could rise above the limitations Joseph put on you, could be the savior you wanted to see yourself as. You wanted to be our Messiah, and I believed you had it in you. I wanted to help you make your dreams come true.

I was foolish enough to believe that maybe, just maybe, those dreams included me. Joseph would never have allowed it, but I thought in taking charge you’d finally claim what had been yours for the taking all along. didn’t want me. )

[Complete List Here.]
thepainted_lady: ([Samuel] Dead in your arms)
Dear Dreams,

I believed. Despite every instinct that told me not to, I believed up until the end that he could be saved, that we could still find a place in the world. I bought into the fairytale, even after everything I'd seen, that if you were just good enough, just believed hard enough, just worked hard'd be rewarded, your dreams would come true.

He'd see me there. He'd realize his potential, turn from the path he was on, be the man I believed he could be. We'd be together. He'd stop saying, doing, hurtful things.

I believed.

Hell, I even still believed after the fucking bullet hit me. He'd bring Claire. He'd make sure I was saved. He'd see what had happened. He'd save me.

And then he kissed me.

Let's just say, it wasn't anything like the old song, and everything I'd held on to, everything I'd believed was destroyed, including you.

So don't you dare try and raise your head again now because he's full of pretty speeches about remorse and puppy dog eyes. I'm not the same girl I was before, and I won't be fooled again.


[Complete list of letters.]
thepainted_lady: ([Samuel] Now hear my confession)
[ooc: Complete list is here.]

Dear Samuel,

This is one of those letters I don't think I'll ever send, which, ironically, would change my answer on the purity test from yesterday. The thing is, though, I don't know that I could stand it if you ever realized how I felt and were...appalled or disgusted or, worse, amused by it. I've never been good at anything real, at knowing how to make things last.

It would all be so much easier if I could just play a part. Be the Painted Lady, the Exotic Temptress for you, lure you in like I do them. But you're not them. You're not anything like them. They touch my skin, think they're possessing me, but I don't remember their names--they just pass right through like wisps of smoke.

You stay, you linger, etched into and under my skin along with your ink. You don't realize it, but I feel every casual touch down to my core. I don't think I could ever be rid of you, no matter how much time or distance came between us.

I'd be yours, if you let me. Am yours, even if you never see how deeply, how much I want you, have always wanted you. All you need to is speak the word I don't think you'll ever say. You look at me, and I feel stripped bare, and, don't see so much.

Maybe that's for the best. Maybe you never should. Maybe it's better a fantasy, no matter how barren a life of fantasy can become when it never reaches reality. It's dangerous, the things I feel, and I don't think I'd survive the loss of the dream, as well as the hope of one day.

I don't know. Some days, you look at me, and the words tremble on my lips. I wait, and I think, now's the time, this is the moment. Tell him. Move to him. Then the moment passes, and I've stayed frozen in the shell of a life I created for myself.

I don't know what's right anymore. But I love you.

Maybe one day I'll find the courage to let you know.

thepainted_lady: ([Samuel] Not your whore)
If I were a boy
I think I could understand
How it feels to love a girl
I swear I’d be a better man.
I’d listen to her
Cause I know how it hurts
When you lose the one you wanted
Cause he’s taken you for granted
And everything you had got destroyed

It’s a little too late for you to come back
Say its just a mistake
Think I’d forgive you like that
If you thought I would wait for you
You thought wrong

But you’re just a boy
You don’t understand
Yeah you don’t understand
How it feels to love a girl someday
You wish you were a better man
You don’t listen to her
You don’t care how it hurts
Until you lose the one you wanted
Cause you’ve taken her for granted
And everything you have got destroyed
But you’re just a boy


thepainted_lady: (Default)

October 2011

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