If Nico had slept fitfully, at least she'd actually slept, which was more than she had counted on when she'd settled in for the night. With everything that had happened, rest was the thing she needed most and least thought she'd get. Whoever'd said you could sleep when you died hadn't been expecting the end around every corner.
Rest could wait until after they'd made their way home, though. Everything could wait on that. And to get back, they'd need to actually get out into the world and find what they needed, which meant being dressed like people who hadn't just stepped off the set of a John Wayne movie. Leaving Alex alone was out of the question, as was leaving him alone with Chase, but Karolina had volunteered to stay behind with the boys and OL. Nico could guess why but she wasn't about to push it right then. With everything else going on, at least she'd be getting outside.
Besides, it'd be nice to get out of the same clothes she'd been wearing since the last century. Heading down the street with Gert was almost awkward enough to make up for it, though.
As exhausting as the past day had been, once she was in a seperate motel room, sprawled out across one of the two twin beds, Karolina was certain she'd do little sleeping that night, if any at all. It was one thing for the machine to take them here and break; that, they could deal with. Waiting overnight, though, seemed to decrease their chances of rescuing the others. Logically, she knew, it probably wouldn't make a difference, they could just go back to when they left -- if they even got back, the alternative to which she didn't even want to consider -- but still, leaving Xavin and Molly and Victor to fend for themselves all this time felt wrong.
Clothes had seemed to matter less once they'd reached the motel, and so without even bothering to pull back the sheets, Karolina had laid down as she was, in she shift she'd stripped down to in the alley and her shoes. She may not have been up for sleeping, but she was damn tired.
"God," she sighed, lacing her fingers behind her bed as she watched the ceiling fan far too intently. "It's like, just when we think all this couldn't possibly get more complicated, something like this happens."
They made their way up to Gert's room, taking back ways to keep Old Lace as much out of view as possible. Somehow it was almost stranger to see them all gathered together again within the confines of four walls than it had been in a deserted square with a time machine. After months separated, there was a jarring sense of normalcy to the situation. How many times had they sat around a room, the five of them, trying to make their plans together? All that was missing was Molly. Well, that and the certainty they weren't about to stab each other in the back.
Leaning back against a wall, one foot propped up, Nico stood with folded arms. She didn't like the idea of admitting that they'd wound up here, wherever here was, by sheer accident anymore than she liked the idea of hearing about the death of some other Nico, but it was just about time to start sharing. "All right," she said, looking around the room at each person present, "I'm clear on the whole alternate universe thing. What I'm not getting is the how. We just tripped a switch and crossed timelines?"
Gert and Alex had both been looking for something to do with the time machine or a time machine. The distinction didn't really matter to Nico right then. What did was the clear fact that both of them knew more about this traveling business than she, Chase or Karolina did. There had been a time when she wouldn't have really believed this was happening to her, but the time for being stunned by the unexpected was long since past. Ever since that night at the Wilder home, it had been a pretty clear case of adapt or die. That she wouldn't last that long in a life like theirs was no surprise to Nico, but she had no intention of hastening the inevitable.
"And, as far as I know, Alex and I are the only ones that should be alive right now."
Nico's eyes turned from Chase to Gert, locking on the friend she'd missed, her arms dropping limp to her sides as her shoulders tensed. She'd only just relaxed and already her hackles were up again, as if Alex might pop in out of nowhere and she'd have to be ready to fight for her life. Now more than before, everything felt off; even her skin felt wrong somehow, tight.
"Who's alive?" she asked, jaw clenching, hand flexing at her side. She'd tried to raise him once herself and she still felt the punishment hadn't fit the crime, but it wasn't something she ever dared bring up, not when she knew the others disagreed so completely. She hadn't forgotten, hadn't ever forgotten, but she'd grown used to the absence of him from every aspect of their lives.
Right then, she could've done with a little more absence.
Molly had long since passed out on the small couch in the corner but Nico and Karolina were still wide-awake, giggling about something or another as they sat cross-legged on the bed, the half-eaten bowl of popcorn between them.
"What did I miss?" asked Gert as she hopped back onto the bed.
There was, however, a familiar flash of color, and it occurred to him that he was seeing Karolina just as it was occurring to him that the landscape looked exactly like stupid 1900s NYC. He felt a flash of anger and a stronger overall feeling of frustration. His parents had been geniuses, could make machines do anything- hell, could make machines. And he, after all his experience with the Leapfrog, couldn’t make a stupid time machine with a couple of buttons and a lever work.
“Karolina!” he shouted. “Sit rep!”