a slip

Reality isn't as firm as some people think, particularly not when reality warps itself on the regular. She knows this herself, able to pull the strings in her own time, able to traverse past the bounds of San Francisco as she wills it. More than once she's done something to that effect whether it was just small enough where she caused a glass cup to become a glass ornament for her son to take to work or had reversed damage to her daughter's toy with a wave of her fingers to something as large as burning away her past life with a man she'd rather forget and a woman who seemed to only want to harm her.

And of the two, the woman was the worst issue. Even if the man had left her with a child to raise on her own, the woman had been her own mother, who had raised her in such a way that even in a new reality, there were still reminders of her even if she had technically never really been her mother.

(Creeping things — when she's wanted to rebuke Jenny and Laura and realizing that the words on her tongue seem almost too much like her mother's words to her; when she's been in a dark moment, the mirror tells her that her mother's facial expressions had still found their way onto her face and even cracking a mirror in anger couldn't erase that fact; that sometimes in her dreams, she still remembers how her mother had lied to her face about Gabriel.) Things slip in. Things slip out.

She hadn't thought about it noticed it and no reason to even care.

At least not until she'd decided to pay her father a visit. Laura and Jenny both were at a friend's house, Gabe out on a date, and Lily hadn't seen her grandfather in awhile. (Partially brought on by the fact that sometimes, said grandfather was also a dream-being consisting of a thing that had teeth for eyes. Who could begrudge some caution on her part?)

When she pulled into the drive through, the first wave of unease hit her at the sight of the car parked there: it was a new car, white. Mercedes-Benz, when she could take a closer look, using her telekinesis to unbuckle Lily's car seat and help guide her out of the car. Lily was quiet, too which was even stranger. Just getting to Ari's place usually set her off in a bundle of excited sounds, and here she was, deathly quiet as she took Molly's hand.

"You okay, kiddo?" Molly looks down at her, and Lily looks back at her and nods mutely. There's an urge to press, mentally, but she's still so young. Molly smiles at her, wiggling her arm a little. "C'mon, let's go see gramps."

Lily's chubby legs keep up well enough as Molly makes her way to the front steps. Her mind stretches outward, lazily, just to see who's in the house. The usual familiarity of Ari's mind — buzzing with thoughts and ideas and organized pretty well — is surprisingly subdued. Not exactly an issue; that could mean he was concentrating. His husband isn't there, but there is a third human mind there.

A human mind that is resistant to her. That when she presses against it, it feels like her fingers are going through a wave of television static and snow. Something beneath it, too, was foreboding, wrapped around itself.

The same way it had in 2017, years before in a hospital room with a brother she no longer had.

Her blood runs cold.

This can't be her mother. She'd made sure in this reality, Karen Patton had given her up the moment she was born. She'd made sure that the woman didn't want anything to do with her, she had made sure that she wasn't anywhere near her.

"Ma," Lily tugs at her hand, and Molly looks down at her eyes. "Okay, Ma?"

As innocent as her voice is, as sweet as it is, Molly knows better. She quietly says, "Stay here." She lets go, and in an instant Willowbee is there, clutching Lily's hand.

Molly has to go in alone.