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the house that fire built
:...:.::. ::. :::..::.

March 2007
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Henry Sherman-Townshend [userpic]

Henry is sitting at his computer right now. Except it's not his computer, he doesn't have a computer. He could never figure out how to work the damn thing and never really had a reason to, anyway. He much prefers film cameras, anyway.

Of course, that's not the current issue. The issue now is that he's obviously not anywhere near Maine, and he has no idea how he got here. So he gets up and wanders slowly around the building he's in now. "...what....the hell? What's going on here....?"

It seems like he's in someone's house. He hopes they're not mad that he's there.

Current Mood: confusedconfused

Home and alone, Warren had spent most of the day trying to catch up on all the advanced reading he had for the classes that began on Monday. But it was dry as could be and it was so time for a smoke break.

Grabbing his pack and leather, Warren headed for the front door. Skidding to a stop as he almost collided with Henry, he grinned. "Hey, Dad. Come out and join me for a smoke?"

Henry backed up instinctively, trying to stay out of the younger man's way. And then he's talking to his father, almost like he didn't even see Henry- but he looks back around, and they're the only people in the room.

Warren's looking right at him, and Henry frowns. "I'm...sorry? What...?"

Warren blinked, waving his hand before Henry's face. "Whoa, Earth to Henry? Come on. Liz isn't here and I hate smoking by myself. Come on."

Henry backed up a step. This was not because he was scared, but he was confused and trying to regain his bearings. "How do you know....? ...what the hell? Liz?"

He looked rather helplessly at Warren, no recognition in the suddenly softer lines of his face. He wanted this to stop and for things to go back to normal again. This didn't make any sense.

Warren sighed. "No. Nonono. This isn't allowed to happen. Hermes said no more Silent Hill. That means no more weird shit."

He looked back up and snarled at the heavens. "Stop fucking with my family."

Henry blinked a few times, surprised by the outburst, then scratched his head. He wasn't even sure if he should be defensive or not. Nothing was computing.

"Wait, what does Silent Hill have to do with anything...? And...family? I'm sorry, I really am, but...I don't understand. I just woke up here and I don't..." He shook his head, his mouth hanging open. "Maybe we should go for that smoke..."

Warren slumped, sliding into his leather and trying not to look as sad as he felt. "Yeah, come on." He turned and went outside, expecting Henry to follow him. Lighting a cigarette, he held the pack out, assuming that Henry was there behind him.

Henry followed in silence, barely even making noise as he walked across the house and outside. He didn't sit, but instead took the pack hesitantly from Warren with a mumbled thanks. He lit it with the small plastic lighter in his own pocket- he'd been trying to quit, but somehow it just never happened- and puffed on it in silence for at least a minute.

He wanted to shrink away and hide, somewhere where he couldn't see the pain in this young man's eyes. He hated to think that he might be causing it.

Eventually, he couldn't take how awkward it was. "I am sorry. Can we start with...? Uh. I'm Henry Townshend. Who are you?" Oh, excellent. Now it was considerably more awkward.

Warren didn't say a word. He knew who he was and who Henry was. This wasn't his game.

"I'm Warren Peace Sherman-Townshend,' he admitted softly, his full name such a mouthful and yet he cherished it for everything that it meant. This was the family he'd always wanted.

"....oh." Henry sank heavily into the nearest chair. "So the...Dad thing....yeah." He gulped. His voice may have gotten even quieter. "But I- how can that happen? I...I had a life in Pleasant River..." Was that really true, though? Wasn't he just thinking of moving? All he'd been doing in that town was taking up space.

"How can I be..." He trailed off and inhaled smoke. "Okay...Warren. I'm missing a lot here, but...I'm sure I can figure it out. Who's Liz? And...uh, Hermes? And what were they saying about....is this....uh, our house?" He had about a million more, but that would have to do for now.

Warren took a long drag and held it in for a moment before speaking. "I... You'd moved from there before I met you but from what I can tell, things went bad. You came to a new place and met a wonderful lady named Liz Sherman."

Another drag as he shuffled nervously. "You guys are great together and very much in love. Well you guys met two kids, me and John Allerdyce and you took us in and then adopted us. So now we're one big happy family." If you added in Henry's alternate, Eileen, a naked greek god on the sofa from time to time, the gay hiv positive boyfriend, the mutant steely boyfriend, the girlfriend that was the daughter of Liz's alternate and the partridge in a pear tree.

It's a veritable sitcom situation right ther- wait, no it isn't. Henry's trying to absorb the information about the two kids, so leaving the god and the boyfriends and alternate universe girlfriend is probably a good plan.

Family...Henry gulped again. He can't imagine himself with a family. Hell, he can't imagine himself as anything but alone. Maybe, though, he wasn't messing this up too badly. "That's..." He nodded, apparently confirming something with himself. "Liz...she's the one in the pictures on the wall?" If there's anything Henry pays attention to, it's photos. "And this...this is the new place?" He may have been smiling, just a little. This wasn't bad. Not bad at all.

Warren nodded. "That's her. You have helped her through a lot with her pyromania and all. Actually I think you have helped all of us with that. Specially when I was having issues with mine and all." He chuckled.

"Wait, I always have issues with it."

"...really? I don't think I've ever...." He trailed off again, then shrugged. "I don't usually talk to people much. This is...really new. Never would have thought....anyway, I'm glad I helped. I- I wish I could remember." He frowned slightly, which was about as far as he'd be going in his facial expressions. "Do you know why I might not be? I remember being in Maine...it's 2007 now, right? January?"

Warren nodded. "Yep, that's the date. And this isn't Maine. And..." He didn't say anything else, pulling out another cigarette. But this time he lit it with no lighter, just on the tiny flame in the center of his palm.

Henry didn't move, just left his mouth hanging there as he stared at the fire coming up from the palm. That's where it was coming from, right? It must be some sort of magic trick or something. "That's....how do you do that?" he asked, awed.

Warren shrugged. "Honestly, I don't have a clue." He sort of felt guilty but at the same time, it made him grin. "John calls it a mutation but, really? I like to think of it as a gift."

Henry nodded slowly, trying to look at it more closely. "And...Liz? You said it was pyro...uh, but it's not exactly that, right? How did I help-? How could I...? Hmmm." He seemed content with that, although with the way he was acting now it was difficult to tell how he felt about much of anything. He sat back in his chair.

"Liz isn't like mine. Neither is John's. So I guess I'm not a mutant cause it's nothing like his." He slowed it a bit, trying to explain. "Liz and John and I, well, we tend to be combustable - pun intended but very right. You're the one holding us all together. You're the one that keeps us sane and grounded."

He didn't mention that he was the one that held them together, literally, in Silent Hill when they were all trying to pass out.

Henry was slowly absorbing all of this. It was funny, but through everything they'd talked about so far, it was the fact that he had helped them that he just couldn't believe. His brow knotted. "Okay."

He finished off his cigarette, and it joined it's brethren in a soda can, the ashtray of champions addicts. "So...what should I do now? I guess I'd better try to remember. It has to be some sort of weird amnesia thing." By now, he was hoping it was that, and not some sort of crazy dream. The latter was seeming more and more likely, unfortunately.

"I would tell you to talk to Liz. I think if you did, then you'd remember right away." First John and now Henry. Was Warren next? Would he forget his parents? His time in the nexus? Jean-Paul? Terror slowly began to settle in.

"But she's in Tibet."

"...oh." Maybe that was for the better. He couldn't possibly live up to what Warren (having a long and odd name meant that Henry might actually remember it) had told him.

He was quiet for awhile then, just staring out at the backyard. The large building in the background gave him questions as well. Why were they out on their own like this? That was just the first.

"Wait...if I have amnesia, why do I remember working at that photolab for the last three years? I mean...this is nice, but...uh." It can't be mine. "Maybe you've got the wrong guy..."

Warren leaned back, looking out over the compound. He so wasn't even getting into how he worked for the government and all. Apparently he didn't remember Silent Hill. Had it not happened for him yet. Warren tensed a little, wondering if that might not even be best for him. How much better could Henry's life be if none of that had ever happened?

"Your photos rock. Specially when you take them of Liz. You capture that spark in her eyes." Almost literally. "It... it seems like you haven't forgotten everything. Just us." Warren looked away. That alone was painful enough. That was all it took to bring him down.

"Oh...hey. I'm sorry." See, this is why Henry doesn't talk much. He hadn't even thought about how this must feel for Warren.

He rubbed his hands together, only pretending that he was searching for warmth. "I didn't mean it that way. I'm just...I'm not that great of a guy, really. I couldn't take pictures like that." He seemed suddenly very interested in the floor.

"No, no sorries. It's how life is." Specially in the nexus. He heard his phone beep in his pocket and ignored it. This was more important for the time being.

"You are a wonderful man. The one that John and I choose for our father. But that's cool. Trust me. This is how life is."

"But...I don't understand that." Henry shifted to face Warren a little more. "How is this the way it is? I mean...this can't happen all the time...people don't just forget suddenly forget having families..."

Hey, that was where the panic and confusion went. Henry tended to accept first and think later- he always had.

"Because of where we live. And where all of us came from. This shit just happens. Boyfriends have hiv and then they don't. Other boyfriends have alternates. Silent Hill steals your mom. It's how it happens." Angry, bitter and tired of it as he lurched to his feet, pacing.


That seemed to be his response in total for everything Warren just said. He couldn't process any of it. And that was the second time the young man had mentioned Silent Hill as if it were something more than just a little tourist town.

"Nothing,' he fairly spat, shaking his head. "Just me damning the world and all in it for a moment."

He really wanted to ask more questions. He wanted to know what was going on, and why none of this made any sense. But Warren obviously didn't want to talk about it, and pushing things never helped. So Henry fell silent and stared at his hands.

All he knew was that he was going to be disappointing this person he'd never met till five minutes ago, and that bothered him badly.

What's worse, he had no idea what to do now. He felt like he should go home, but he wasn't even in the right state. And who knew if his apartment was still there, or if it was his.

Warren dropped down to sit, sighing. He wanted to be back at the first house. With the hill, and Liz, and everything was cool and made sense and it was them and a family and...

"Do you want something to eat? Or just to go in and rest? Maybe... Hell, maybe John'll come in and you'll both remember because of polars and opposites and shit. Even if you aren't magnets."

"I don't know...would that be okay? Maybe I should eat something..." He tried to shake the fuzziness out of his head, but it wasn't working. "Hey, someone else lost their memory, too...?" That was worrisome.

Warren nods even as he rises. "John, my brother, did. He doesn't even remember any of us or his girlfriend." Dusting the grass bits off the seat of his jeans, he headed for the door.

"Whatcha in the mood for?"

News of that brought another small frown. What if there was something in the air...or something? Henry had no idea how amnesia worked, but surely two people close to each other getting it was more than coincidence.

The food question distracted him reasonably, though. "Uh...I dunno. If there's leftovers, I'll eat those. If not, maybe....uh, there's not a pizza place in that big building above us, is there?"