A Celebration Of History — Water Garden


caspian_icon.gif choi_icon.gif colette_icon.gif devon_icon.gif eizen_icon.gif graeme_icon.gif hana_icon.gif kenner_icon.gif logan_icon.gif marlowe_icon.gif remi_icon.gif tamara_icon.gif tania_icon.gif tasha_icon.gif tibby_icon.gif

with an appearance by…


Scene Title A Celebration of History — Water Garden
Synopsis Other attendees of the gala seek privacy and comfort in a chilly, outdoor environment.
Date April 7, 2018

Yamagato Fellowship Center

Situated across the reflecting pond from the main entrance of the Yamagato Fellowship Center, the Water Garden is a quiet place for reflection and escape from the noise of the gala. Here, abstract glass sculptures rise up and reflect both guests and the Fellowship Center in equal measure. Ambient music lingers in the air here, a gentle piano medley that carries artificially from the lobby, piped outside by unseen speakers. The gentle trickly of water comes from small fountains feeding the two foot deep reflecting pool, where lilypads float in out of season bloom.

Some sleek, black-dressed security loiter on the periphery of this place, making themselves sight unseen by merit of their unobtrusive fashion and ubiquitous nature. Other guests, though, have braved the chilly night air to find some respite. Beyond the lightly forested grassland of the Fellowship Center's footprint, the neon glow of Yamagato Park casts a colorful haze in the night air. SESA NY Director Donald Kenner is among those who already need a break from the Gala, cigarette pinched between two fingers and gaze focused out on the neon glow, his back to the flashing of cameras and arrival of guests visible from across the large reflecting pool.

He brings his cigarette to his lips, drawing in a slow and thoughtful breath, then exhales again slowly to let the cloud of smoke waft up and out of his mouth as though he were a burned building just recently extinguished. The hiss of the automatic doors opening draws his attention, and the arrival of his deputy director Madeline Choi elicits an informal nod before he returns to his cigarette. Choi approaches, black dress glittering with muted sequins in line with Kenner's own black tux.

"You're smoking already?" Choi asks, offering him a judging look with a crane of her neck as she comes to stand beside him. Kenner cracks a smile and rolls his shoulders in a shrug. Her stare becomes expectant, and she reaches out a hand, brow raised. Kenner smirks, handing down the cigarette to Choi, who takes a slow drag off of it.

"World's changing fast, isn't it?" Kenner notes, looking out to the neon horizon. "You go back, what, twenty years? It'd be unrecognizable from where we stand now. This city, the country, the whole world. It's a small miracle anybody's even here to appreciate it."

Choi offers a look over at Kenner, offering back his cigarette. "Every generation thinks that," she says with a certainty. "You and I are old enough to remember that. It's just…" she looks over to one of the reflective glass sculptures. "It's easy to forget when everything else is so frantic."

The glass doors into the foyer slide open again, and Kenner takes back his cigarette and lets his response to Madeline's words go unspoken.

There's no relief visible in Hana's posture or expression as she steps out of the foyer, but the sentiment exists nonetheless. The marked deficit of people in the garden is a blessing; so too are its open spaces and the brisk night air, unencumbered by photoreactive additives and the susurrus of social inanities and the stifling crowd. The lobby had begun to feel more than a little stuffy… though only in part due to actual atmosphere.

The heels of Hana's boots click softly on the walk as she makes her unhurried way down towards the reflecting pool, sipping briefly from the flute of champagne appropriated on her way out. She takes in the tableau as she goes, unobtrusive security not so very unobtrusive to her eyes, but not remarkable either. The two SESA representatives are rather more remarkable, and she offers each of them a polite nod as the path brings her near. "Director Kenner. Deputy Director Choi. I see I'm not the first to take cover from the bedlam."

She pauses to let them respond, but at a distance that remains non-intrusive; by implication, she'll move on if they prefer nothing more than an exchange of greetings.

There's a look between Choi and Kenner at Hana’s approach, measured and assessing, the way old colleagues can nonverbally communicate. But there's no tension, no outward displays of uncertainty. “Major Gitelman,” Kenner greets with a nod as he flicks ashes from his cigarette into a sculpted glass bowl that almost feels like an obscene gesture, even though that's what it's there for. “I got worried when I saw how many of your squad showed up, but when I saw them wearing Gucci and not Kevlar I unclenched.”

Madeline offers Kenner a look at that remark. “It's good to see your team unwinding, Major. We’re all in high-stress positions and sometimes we forget to rest. Duty is a most dangerous intoxicant.” Not making another move for Kenner’s cigarette, Choi folds her hands behind her back. “It's actually a relief to see you all here,” comes with a look to Kenner, then back to Hana. “With what happened in the market, you can understand that everyone is on edge. In spite of recent events, we’re resting easier knowing you're on-site. Even if,” she motions to the dress, “dressed to impress rather than kill.”

Kenner side-eyes Choi, then takes a drag from his cigarette. “We should talk, privately,” his head bobbles in an uncertain gesture, “sometime next week maybe. I'll reach out.”

i could have him killed

Familiar, a text pings off the back of Hana's mind like a stone thrown at a bedroom window. It's immediately followed by, your 3 oclock as if she wouldn't immediately be able to tell the direction of someone's phone within the same vicinity as her. Having also made a very early retreat, Logan is easily identifiable in autumnal floral print and rich blue and black. He doesn't look like he means to put his phone away immediately, either, despite the fact that Hana's put herself within the range of exceptionally well to do company.

Amusement carves a thin smile across his face, taking a casual lean, idly thumbing words across the glowing screen of his phone. the one in the sex offender cape outside i mean, not the director of sesa.

Receiving more than simple acknowledgment in return, Hana crosses the token distance that brings her into more comfortably conversational space. Kenner's remark gets him an arched brow and a look not so very unlike that cast by Choi. "Of course they showed; the chance to dress up and marvel at the wonders of Yamagato?" There's a faintly sardonic undercurrent to her tone that hints at Hana's personal opinion on both fronts, but doesn't invalidate the veracity of either.

So could I, is lobbed back towards Logan without any outward flicker evident in the technopath's expression. Unfortunately, he receives her response through the medium of simple device; that the response is cast like a dart, a stone, a darkly narrow-eyed glare, he'll have to infer. It doesn't exactly take much imagination.

He's not worth the effort.

Meanwhile, the major inclines her head to Choi, giving the woman a small smile. "If it comes to that, well, I'll make do." She gestures with the glass towards the building behind them. "But hopefully this won't turn into that kind of occasion. It would be— " A glance to Kenner. "— rather less than relaxing."

Another nod follows in reply to Kenner's final statement, unhesitating and definite. "We should," Hana agrees. "Let me know when, and I'll make the time."

Her attention shifts slightly, orienting in the direction of the building as if caught by a sound; then Hana gives the pair a polite smile. "For now, I'll leave you to enjoy the quiet," she remarks, before stepping back and turning to make her way away from the pool.

Once Hana’s departed, Choi turns to Kenner with one brow raised. “I told you, never try and build a conversation around what you think someone is going to do or be like. No matter how much you think you know them.”

Kenner huffs a breath and nods once, tiredly. “We’ll see how she handles the news next week, then you can get around to telling me how wrong I am.”

nothing says we couldnt make a night of it

At which point, Logan pockets his cellphone, freeing up his hands to fidget with but not yet light up a slender cigarette extracted from a silver case, turning it between his fingers as he watches Hana extract herself from conversation, and then sliiiding that way to intercept. "I keep forgetting," he says, by way of greeting, coming to a halt by one of the fountains, "that chivalry doesn't work on you." He holds out a hand for her take, to draw her closer, and there is most certainly a slight glimmer of challenge about it.

They don't tend to do these sorts of things, in this sort of company. "Love the dress." He'd agonised over his own wardrobe, all rough silk and tailored edges, metallic sheen to blue and floral print over matte black, slightly more exuberant than the familiar lines of pinstripe, if utterly characteristic.

Hana pauses as Logan draws near, gaze traveling down the length of his outstretched arm, then back up again. Dark brows lift, the corners of her mouth tilting in a thin smile that is a challenge of its own. She doesn't take the hand.

"Seems a strange thing to forget," she replies, "all things considered." She didn't take his hand, but Hana walks forward anyway, cutting across in front of him, reorienting once she's passed to his side. Unlit though it is, the cigarette is a target during the pass; there's no surprise in that, making it Logan's discretion whether she plucks it away or he holds it back.

Either way, he still has the lighter.

"Thank you," Hana responds to the compliment at last, as she pivots to face him again. There's a glint of a smile, thin and fleeting, something like the stars peeking through neon-hazed atmosphere overhead. "Your outfit certainly seems… memorable." Which, in the scheme of things, isn't not a compliment, at least of a sort. "Enjoying the sparkle and shine and camera flashes?" Hana continues, with the wry inflection of someone who expects she already knows the answer.

"So boring," Logan says, with the wry inflection of someone who knows the other person knows the straight answer, "so old hat. Really, you should come by New York City more often if you'd like more of this sort of thing."

Cigarette released to her, Logan doesn't follow up with relinquishing his lighter as well. It's flipped open, instead, his palm protecting it from the gentle wisp of the breeze fluttering through the water garden. The exposed flame is offered out to her, like a flower being presented. Judging by the crooked ease of his smile, memorable is clearly within the ballpark of what he was going for.

"Planning to have any fun, tonight, or is it going to be more of that?" The flick of his eyes indicates the two she abandoned to their own cigarettes.

Where the hand was refused, the light is accepted — but then, what use is an unlit cigarette? Lifting the slender stick, Hana casts Logan a sidelong look, but spends a moment regarding the glowing ember and the breeze-tossed curl of smoke rising from it as if the sight might spur on her thoughts. There's no actual consideration involved.

"'Tis the place for 'that'," she observes, drawing on the cigarette, releasing a hazed breath to the night air. There's a moment where the only sounds are burbling water and the rustle of the breeze, along with the muted, meaningless susurrus of noise carrying from the entryway. "Night's young yet, though," Hana allows, extending the cigarette in unspoken offer.

"That said, bit of a pity if you're already finding the party unbearably dull."

Logan takes back the cigarette silently, just keeping it for the moment. "It's all lovely," he says, with a wave of his hand that dismisses the finest in presentations of a multinational corporation with a trail of smoke. "Is it three hundred quid a ticket lovely? Well, like you say, the night's young yet."

His partaking of the cigarette is quick, a darting breath in that he keeps as he passes the cigarette back to her. "Besides, you're already in the escape zone, and we just started."

Hana reclaims the cigarette, eyeing Logan past the drift of smoke it sends up, gaze hooded and chin lifting minutely. If you're going to put it that way…

She takes a nicotine-laden breath, then grins, fleeting glimmer of teeth in the dark. "So we have." In more ways than one. "And I wouldn't want to seem discourteous to our hosts. Back into the fray, then." The burning stick is handed back over with an air of finality, inasmuch as applies to this one moment in time, and Hana turns to stride towards the building, tail ends of the sash about her waist swaying in time with each step.

An hour, hits Logan's phone in the moment before the doors slide open to admit her entrance. Or exit, as the case might be.

Guests step in and out of the garden in the interim, Kenner and Choi long since departed back into the gala to shake hands and make good of their public presences. By the time the gala is in full swing, few people are collected in the garden, save for the handful of security staff and a few isolated individuals taking a cigarette break.

The glass doors to the lobby slide open with a rush, followed by the white-clad figure of Colette Demsky out into the pricklingly cold air. She sweeps hair back from her face, exhaling a ragged sigh. One hand goes down to her side, as if to reach for a phone, but then she remembers the clutch she abandoned on the stool in her hasty retreat from the bar. “Fuck,” she hisses to herself, looking back inside, and then turning away and moving away from the view of the windows. Visibly distressed, she paces around for a few moments trying to figure out how to un do what she just did.

“Fuck, fuck,” Colette whispers to herself again, raking back her bangs with one hand. Her eyes search the concrete patio, as if that would offer any assistance to her current predicament. Everything was going so well until she couldn’t keep her shit together. Finding one of the narrow wooden benches by the smoking area, Colette settles down and rests her face in her hands, struggling not to break down and cry out of resentment for her own bullshit.

She didn’t notice anyone approach. “Miss?” It’s a deep voice, but smooth and offered with the gentlest of affectations, as if the man speaking recognizes how a strong voice could be perceived in a moment of vulnerability. Colette looks up, thumbs brushing away tears from her eyes, teeth drawing across her lips.

The tall silhouette looming over her wears a concerned face, a man with eyes as dark as his tuxedo smiles in the way someone does to ease the conscience of others. His hair is loose and long, down past his shoulders like curtains of ink. The tiny diamond-shaped pin on his lapel indicates he’s a member of Yamagato Industries.

“I don’t mean to intrude, but… is everything alright?” He keeps a conversational distance, hands folded behind his back and posture stooped just enough to indicate that he’s actively listening to her when she replies. Colette is quick to dismiss his concern, scrubbing a heel at her cheek and swallowing loudly. She exhales an exasperated laugh and lies to him.

“I’m fine.”

Brows raise, and the Yamagato employee seems incredulous. “If there’s something or someone who is causing a disturbance, well, it’s my responsibility to ensure our guests are well.” He takes a step closer, and Colette eyes him warily. “Eizen Erizawa,” he introduces, “chief of security. You… caught me at a free moment. I just wanted to know how I can help.”

Looking away, Colette swallows audibly and wipes at her eyes again, trying in vain not to completely ruin her eye makeup. She swallows, shaking her head. “It’s… no one did anything. I’m just— I had a panic attack.” Her voice is small and apologetic, like she had done something wrong. Eizen immediately takes another step forward and then lowers down onto a knee in front of her to level their eyelines.

“Is there someone I can contact for you?” He asks with a look through the glass wall toward the bar, then back to Colette. She shakes her head, tongue wetting her lips and eyes downcast to the floor. Eizen exhales a soft sigh, nods understandingly, and assesses his surroundings. Head angled to the side, he asks. “If you’d like I could call a car around for you, or if you’d prefer to stay I can make sure you have a safer place to enjoy the gala.”

Now it’s Colette’s turn to sigh, and she rakes her fingers through her hair and swallows dryly. “I’m…” dismissing him? She fills in the gaps of her own words and hesitates to move beyond them. “I think I’ll be alright, I just— need some fresh air.” Then, after a beat. “Thanks.”

The thank you elicits a smile from Eizen, and he tucks his hands into the pockets of his slacks. “If you’d like, there’s a quiet room just past the gallery.” Colette’s brows furrow at the notion, looking up to Eizen without understanding of exactly what it is he’s offering. Recognizing the confusion he adds, “a moderated room, no or minimal conversations. It’s for guests to get a breather for… situations like yours?”

Internalized guilt has Colette waving the offer away with one hand. “Thanks, I… I just need to get my stuff and go, I think. I fucked up enough peoples’ nights.” Eizen once again looks through the glass wall to the bar, then back to Colette.

“I think your friends are taking care of your things. But if you’d like to remain alone, I could retrieve them for you?” Eizen’s insistence elicits another look from Colette. For a moment she scrutinizes him, then just shakes her head in an ashamed no. “Thanks, but… I’ll be fine. Really.” Ultimately, Eizen relents and offers an understanding nod, even if the crease of his brows and the frown he wears indicates that he isn’t satisfied with her response, he’ll nevertheless accept and respect it.

Taking one step back, Eizen offers Colette both the space and the quiet she’s requested. “If you think of anything…” he leaves the rest open, finishing his withdrawal from her. Colette offers Eizen a wan smile, letting the security chief depart the garden and slip into the Fellowship Center again through the sliding glass doors. Once he’s gone, Colette exhales a sigh and rests her head in her hands, staring down at the ground.

She won’t see Tasha coming, her gaze down as it is, but Colette will hear the staccato of Tasha’s heels on the ground approaching her. The petite brunette doesn’t speak at first, but instead simply moves to sit beside Colette on the bench, reaching for her hand and interlacing her fingers through the other woman’s; the mirror images of the fish tattoos on their wrists curling toward one another. She brings Colette’s hands to her lips to kiss the back of it, leaving a subtle kiss mark of her rose-hued lipstick on the skin, a temporary tattoo of sorts to add to all of Colette’s other sentimental mementos.

“Hi,” Tasha murmurs softly, as if it wasn’t just a moment ago that they’d been laughing and drinking with friends both old and new. She doesn’t ask how Colette is or offer advice, but simply her presence.

Colette looks calmer, red-eyed and flushed from the cold, but calmer. “I’m so sorry,” is the first words out of her mouth, squeezing Tasha’s hand firmly. She leans against the brunette, her bare arms cold from the night air she hadn’t planned to be out in. “I’m sorry I… I don’t even know what happened,” her voice is small, filled with regret. “I just— I think I had a panic attack or…” Swallowing tensely, Colette disengages one arm enough to wrap it around Tasha’s shoulder. She leans in and kisses her, lingering there for a long moment. Her breath is warmer than her lips are, warmer than her cold hands.

“It’s— it’s post-traumatic stress. My— uh— psychologist says I should….” Colette dithers, eyes half-lidded and looking at the ground. She’s embarrassed, more than anything right now. “I’m so sorry.” When she finally looks back up to Tasha, her brows are raised and expression pleading. “I didn’t— want to ruin tonight for you, for all’f us.”

Tasha leans her forehead against Colette’s, and lifts her free hand up to touch her face lightly, fingers curling in the dark hair behind her ear.

“Shhhh,” she murmurs, squeezing the hand and pulling it onto her lap. “You didn’t ruin anything. You’re okay. You’re safe. I love you. Your friends love you.” Her dark eyes flicker left to right. “You pulled it together and everything’s fine. Yeah? What did your therapist say you should do? So I can help you, next time, if you need it.”

Her hand squeezes again, three times. “Like you help me. We help each other, Cole.”

The last of the triad filters out late, relatively speaking; she comes bearing gifts, having somewhere appropriated a tray and proceeded to weigh it down with three glasses and an assortment of things from the snack tables. To the seer, one thing is sure: they can expect to stay out here a while.

Disregarding the handful of others scattered around the water garden, Tamara makes her way over to the bench where Colette and Tasha sit, planting herself on the other side of the photokinetic. She leans her shoulder against Colette's, but doesn't say anything beyond what simple presence inherently communicates, be it mere or profound.

Emerging from the gallery is Caspian, pulling on a jacket to keep the cool from becoming too terribly uncomfortable. The Art Gallery was horribly crowded due to the whole ‘being indoors’ thing, so like a good little guest he went to where less people were. Still, getting the cool night air into his lungs was refreshing, and Caspian took a moment or two to wander through the water gardens, listening to the sound of splashing from the features and the silence of the city surrounding the place. Music, gentle stringed stuff, is piped in through hidden speakers, giving the entire place a very serene countenance, making it a place that he’d really be willing to stay for quite a long while.

She had been there a few minutes, finishing a heavily tobacco filled spliff and blowing the smoke upwards out of the corner of her mouth. She's still nervous and she's standing off to the side. There's a brief intake of breath as Tibby sees him. She wouldn't call Keira a liar not after that selfie.

Green eyes widen and she tilts her head as she ashes the spliff with a soft grunt and begins to make her way in his direction. She knew the differences of his face and stature. She had been studying (stalking) him with her feline friends. Their eyes were better than hers but she remembered every detail, every last fucking one. There's a choked sobbed at the back of her throat and she walks forward.

“Fuck..” She whispers as she comes up to him behind his back and taps Caspian’s shoulder.

“Aye cowboy.”

With the grand entrance out of the way, Soleil Davignon already needs a break. It’s not that she can’t handle crowds — she’s had this ability for far too long for that — but she likes taking frequent breaks to relax her mind just a bit. Which is exactly why the telepath immediately excused herself to the garden.

She still hasn’t entirely kicked her smoking habit, either — the tobacco tends to calm her nerves and makes it a little easier to handle the constant concentration needed to keep her ability from knocking her out. She never smokes around the girls, but social affairs such at this are an entirely different matter.

She comes to a stop near the reflecting pool, pulling a fancy cigarette case from her handbag. A slim cigarette is pulled out along with a lighter, and moments later, Remi is enjoying the sweet burn of nicotine at the back of her throat. She loosens her grip on her ability now, turning her blue eyes to the pool as smoke trails lazily from the corner of her mouth.

Space, quiet, drinks, and snacks are some of the more mundane solutions to Colette’s current predicament. Settled in between Tasha and Tamara, she supplants the two and a half gin and tonics running through her system with confections from the tray. Prickly with cold, Colette is warmed by the others’ proximity.

“Greg…” Colette furrows her brows, “gave me some calming exercises. Mindfulness stuff. It's just— normally I'm ok.” Blind eyes regard Tasha thoughtfully. “But I'm… I'm a little drunk, so…” There's a bit of honesty she wasn't looking forward to admitting. “I got wrapped up in the mood and I forgot I wasn't home,” either the Safe Zone or Rochester in equal measure. “I let my guard down.”

“Greg’s always told me I should get out of situations like that, find a quiet space where I can feel safe or someone who makes me feel Safe. Instead, I panicked and froze and…” as she looks at Tamara, Colette spares a hand on the seer’s arm. “You’n Robyn helped… I dunno what Robyn did it's like she turned my lights off like a switch.” Blind eyes look past Tamara to the curving glass wall that views the bar. When she looks back to Tamara it's with a measure of calmness. “You made me feel safe. So. Thank you.”

Still embarrassed at her outburst, Colette breathes in deeply and exhales a sigh through her nose. “I knew some of the Institute folks got pardons. I knew I just… I always assumed it'd be the janitors or something.” She masks her discomfort with a joke. “I never imagined…” she draws in a deep breath and presses out a sigh through her nose.

“Thanks, both of you for— for helping me? God,” Colette lets that hand come away from Tamara’s arm and partly covers her face. “Half of Wolfhound just saw me flip the fuck out.” Mortified is an appropriate word to sum up her position.

When Tamara sits on the other side of Colette, Tasha gives the blond a soft, sad smile. She listens as Colette speaks, squeezing the hand now and then in encouragement. As others move into the area, she glances their way, smiling if they near their proximity, but returns her focus back to Colette each time.

“Don’t worry about them,” Tasha murmurs softly, voice canted low so only Tamara and Colette can hear. “They care about you and all of them have gone through terrible things, too — they understand. And you did — you did what you were supposed to, it just took a moment. And that’s progress, yeah? So you’re doing better, and that’s good. Don’t be so hard on yourself.” She rubs the small of Colette’s back with her free hand, before leaning to plant a soft kiss against the shoulder that bears the watercolor fox tattoo.

“We’re all getting better. Stronger. It just takes time,” she says softly. “Do you want to go home?”

Tamara listens quietly, attentively, as Colette speaks, continuing to lean lightly against her shoulder, tactile reminder of presence and support. "You didn't need to thank us," she says softly, relieving a hand from the tray so she can reach up and snag the one covering Colette's face, twining her fingers with the photokinetic's. "That's what partners did." Subject to some caveats in the seer's case, understood through experience rather than explanation — but still. Of course.

Tasha's question, addressed to Colette, receives neither approval nor negation from the seer — she makes no attempt to influence the answer either way.

Closing her eyes, Colette pulls in a slow breath and exhales it again. When her eyes open she looks to Tamara, complex emotions behind blind eyes, but recognition of her assertion. Tasha’s question goes unanswered for a good long while, as Colette surveys the bar through the glass, spotting the dark silhouette of Vincent on the other side. Her eyes close again, another deep breath in.

Hold it.


“No,” Colette decides. “No I… I came here to have a good time, with the both of you. If I go home, that means I'm the one who’s not supposed to be here. I'm not— I can't let anxiety and PTS rule my life or… I'll never leave the house.” Wringing her hands together, Colette cups a hand at Tamara’s cheek and smiles fondly. She understands, now, better than she did before why some things happen the way they do. Why some things don't.

“I really don't want to stress your dad out, especially…” Colette waves a hand at the world in general. “I'm gonna go back inside,” is the least likely branch that may have been taken in all the choices Colette could have made. “Hit the bathroom, splash some cold water on my face, and… maybe after hit the gallery.” Blind eyes look between Tamara and Tasha, and Colette takes one of their hands in each of hers.

“You two. I'm— I'm lucky t’have you both.” Colette squeezes their hands. “If you want to meet up in the gallery, I'll be there eventually. But I know you were both having your own conversations before I blew up, and you both deserve this night.” Blind eyes dip down to the concrete underfoot, then back up to Tasha. “Say hi to your dad for me, at least. I… don't want him to think…” she shakes her head. “I don't know.”

“You’re right. You aren’t the one who shouldn’t be here,” Tasha says, before standing and letting her hand slide over Colette’s cheek.

She bends to kiss her softly. “Don’t worry about what my dad thinks… He loves you, too, and wants you to be happy. Even if he probably doesn’t say it.” She straightens, and reaches to catch one of Tamara’s hands, linking the three of them for a moment. “But I’ll go be sociable and say hi while you clean up and catch your breath.”

Both of their hands get a squeeze and then she releases them, turning to head back to the bar to reassure the rest of Wolfhound that Colette is fine.

Tamara sets the tray aside as Tasha rises, the better to have both her hands free — however temporarily. Besides, it seems they won't really need most of it after all. She smiles at the other two, then releases Tasha to return to the building and the goings-on within.

In the wake of Tasha's departure, Tamara turns her regard to Colette, two fingers touching gently to the underside of her chin. Blue eyes study blind ones, and then the seer smiles again, approving. "Better."

Caspian turns to look at the little blonde, ushering her off to an out-of-the-way corner of the garden to chat in relative privacy.

Tamara’s approval is a psychological reassurance that Colette needs, an anchor to something familiar and familial where there was once just the past she can't seem to escape. Being the last one left affords Tamara a passing affection, as Colette cups a hand at the seer’s cheek and kisses her briefly but tenderly. “Be good,” is perhaps more playful than she means it to be, but it's said with a smile deserving of the tone. “I love you.”

Colette can't imagine what Tamara might get up to when she's not around, and in a way that both intrigues and frightens her. Slipping away, Colette moves the hand from Tamara’s cheek and brushes fingertips through her hair, rising to her feet and headed to the sliding glass doors, nearly bumping into a woman who doesn't immediately recognize Colette for who she is.

Madeline Choi looks strained as she makes her way back out into the Water Garden, immediately fishing through her clutch to withdraw a borrowed cigarette. But then, patting it down the rest of the way she realizes she's forgotten an important component: a lighter. “Son of a bitch,” Choi hisses under her breath while no agents are around.

The telepath takes a few drags of her cigarette, eyes closed as she lets go for a moment, taking her thoughts off of the volume button for a moment, swimming in the thoughts. The garden is quiet and secluded enough that it doesn’t overwhelm her — though she does immediately clamp her mind shut to Tamara’s.

Remi opens her eyes, her azure gaze briefly flitting to Tamara’s face. She then turns to stare, rather awe-struck, at the retreating forms of Caspian and Tibby. Well, that’s someone she absolutely did not expect to run into at a Yamagato gala. She seems to be having a moment, so the former ballerina opts to give her cousin a bit of space — let the poor thing handle one reunion at a time.

Finally, her attention settles on Madeline Choi, a single perfectly shaped eyebrow lifting slightly; after a moment, Remi’s red Louboutins carry her over to the SESA Deputy-Director, pulling an ornate and obviously expensive lighter from her clutch and offering the woman a much-needed light. “Allow me,” she murmurs in that generically European accent that she has taught herself.

Coming from a different direction but winding up in the same spot as Deputy Director Madeline Choi, Marlowe is also fishing through her bag but for a completely alternate reason than to look for a lighter. Her search accompanies movement, and her path nearly bumps into both Colette and Choi at the open threshold. She glances up at the hiss, a sympathizing smile coming up to her lips. Like Remi, she sees the other woman’s plight and her hand extracts a long, shiny black, sleek pen-shaped item that for all the world should look like a capped mascara brush. It isn't one. "Here," she offers the deputy director initially without explanation at first, but then tacks on, "Take the cap off, point it away, click the button on the side." The pen lighter is easy enough to use. Though with both herself and Remi offering solutions, she utters a light laugh and bows her head once to Remi in greeting.

In that action, her gaze dips to the other woman’s shoes, immediate recognition of the designer causing Marlowe’s eyes to widen with obvious impression. “Are those… they’re Louboutin, aren’t they? Holy…” Her eyes cut back to Choi, and Marlowe checks herself with naught but a smile around the unfinished swear.

Graeme slips out into the garden, finding a bench near the fountain, although he sits down on the ground leaning back against it, and ends up with Thor halfway in his lap. Getting dog fur all over his nice suit, but Graeme doesn't mind.

It's enough to be able to take a bit of a breather. Too many people at the bar, even if he did know most of them.

His gaze takes in his surroundings (having carefully sat down at a place where it is more difficult to sneak up on him), but the only acknowledgement of anyone else that he gives is silent. Although he has no doubt she will hear it, he's close enough nearby. Mon cher, the silent term of affection for the mother of his child, you look lovely.

Tamara looks on as Colette departs, remaining at her seat on the bench. After, she closes her eyes and breathes out a weary sigh. As a knot of people collects outside the doors, the blonde lifts her feet and drops back to lay on the bench, leaving them and all the rest of the gala to themselves for a moment.

Leaning in to Remi’s offered light, Choi takes a drag off of the cigarette enough to get the end glowing brightly, then leans away and exhales a slow mouthful of smoke. “Thanks,” she says softly. Though a look is afforded to Marlowe, briefly apologetic for the awkward collisions of good intentions, but also appreciative for the offer. “You Yamagatos sure do hospitality right,” Choi admits with a smile as she pinches her cigarette between two fingers and watches Graeme as he walks out of the bar and into the Garden.

“Madeline Choi,” she introduces to Remi and Marlowe each with an offer of her free hand. “Deputy-Director of SESA New York.” It's a practiced line, and one Choi has had to give several times over the last hour alone. No one in SESA’s upper administration has much face recognition with the general public.

Apart from that conversation by the doorway, someone else has come stalking out from the bar. Briskly moving behind Graeme with a swift intensity of a man with both purpose and mission. The air pressure change from inside to outside blows Eizen Erizawa’s long hair back over his shoulder as he walks, long-legged strides swiftly clearing the distance between himself and Graeme in a visible and brisk approach.

“Mister Cormac,” Eizen says with a raise of one brow, dark eyes angling down to the dog with a momentary shift in his expression. “I take it this is Thor?” There’s an assessing moment from the security chief, one hand up to brush forefingers and thumb over his closely trimmed beard, then attention shifts up to Graeme again. “That is a very good dog,” he affirms with a delighted smile.

“Eizen Erizawa,” he introduces, a hand offered out to Graeme with a warm smile. “I know we spoke over the phone, but it’s a pleasure to meet in person. Has everything been satisfactory thus far?” Eizen asks, a genuine air of concern in his words.

It isn't everyday that you have to send security teams after a woman in a wheelchair, but that is what the nice as come to for Tania. So after doing her good deed for the night, as baffling as it was, she ends up out in the garden. There's a drink in her hand, caramel colored and in a heavy tumbler. That's all she knows, because she told the bartender to surprise her before heading this way.

She might have had a bit of peace and quiet in mind, but seeing Marlowe there, her aims shift a bit. And she comes over to her. "I see the bar got a little crowded for all of us," she says with a chuckle. Some excitement was had all around, really. She misses the introduction from Choi, but the woman gets a friendly smile and a nod in greeting from Tania all the same.

"The pleasure is mine," Graeme says, and he returns the handshake, from sitting down. After all, he's pinned by the puppy. "This is Thor." The puppy stirs a little at mention of his name, and looks up at Graeme. Wag, wag.

"Greet," Graeme encourages, pointing to Eizen. "Go say hi." An easy smile follows that, and Graeme nods.

"It's amazing. I'm going to go through the gallery," he glances over, "when things quiet down a bit. And in general, I haven't had much time to visit Yamagato and the grounds are very impressive." Permission given, Thor is more than happy to get dog fur on someone else other than Graeme. "I'm lucky to have such a good dog," Graeme agrees, partially addressed to Thor, as praise. "After the war… he helps me stay grounded."—

A bright smile parts Remi’s lips as Marlowe comments on her shoes, and the woman offers a graceful nod. “Oui,” is her response, slipping back into her native tongue for the simple answer. “They are. And the dress is Davignon,” she gestures to the expensive-looking number.

With the introductions, her smile brightens a bit, taking Madeline’s hand in a brief handshake. “A pleasure, madame. I am Soleil Davignon — my titles are a bit less impressive. Most people just refer to me as the heiress these days, but I prefer going by Remi.” She chuckles quietly, offering a hand to Marlowe as well; her other hand places the slim designer cigarette to her lips, taking a long draw.

She does spare an azure glance in Graeme’s direction, a smile on her face. You don’t look too bad yourself, mon cher. I hope the party is treating you well.

“The war, yes…” Eizen’s expression darkens just a little as he crouches down and runs fingertips along Thor’s jawline and beside his ear. “I was overseas for the entirety of it, the world was… is still holding its breath.” Thor’s presence brings Eizen’s smile back, and the tall man folded up so small to kneel beside an equally long-limbed dog looks almost comical. But this was part and parcel to the approval for Graeme’s service dog being here, even if mostly delivered in jest. Eizen couldn’t pass up an opportunity to visit with a puppy.

“I’m glad our hospitality is treating you well.” Eizen amends to his comment, hoping to turn the conversation around from more serious topics. “New York isn’t what it used to be, but block by block we’re trying to make it into what it could be.

A slight shake of her head shows Marlowe's not offended with Choi's choice of utilizing the more readily available lighter of the two. Her pen lighter is slipped back into her bag, freeing her hand to shake the deputy director's. "Marlowe Terrell, department of engineering here at Yamagato," she gives back in the social contract of these things, "A true pleasure to meet you, Deputy-Director." To Remi, she looks a little brighter eyed. "Miss Davignon, also a pleasure. You do look like the picture of luxuriousness, so 'heiress' is pretty fitting there. Welcome." And to both, she asks, "Hope your evenings have been well so far?" Minus the little mishap of a missing lighter, of course. "The company really went all out with their gala, for sure. It does feel like all of New York City is here to celebrate." Well, those who could afford the entrance or were specifically invited.

When Tania makes an appearance out in the garden, Marlowe brightens further and welcomes her friend over, adding for her information the Deputy Director's name and title, and Remi's (adding that she prefers "Remi"). "This is Tania Kozlow, an artist in the city," she notes to both women, "And our meeting was little haphazard, but the better for it." Marlowe aims a smile to her latest painter friend.

And by that same direction, she spots Graeme with Thor, followed by Eizen's appearance. And oh god, he's petting the dog. Marlowe flushes a little in her cheeks at the appearance of the Yamagato security head, turning to grip Tania lightly on the elbow. For support. "Please don't let me play a fool," she half whispers to her friend, her gaze caught on the sight.

By way of the gallery is where Devon arrives from, entering the gardens at a slow wandering pace. His hands fall from behind his back and find their way into his pockets again. At least he’s not bothering with his bow tie. At least, he’s not right now. The damnable thing is still tied ‘round his neck and pinching his collar closed.

Though he remains on the path, he does step out of the way when his wandering comes to a pause. He takes in a breath of fresher air and lets it out slowly before letting his gaze wander over those who’ve taken refuge in the quiet utopia. Dev opts to watch, falling back on old habits though not formed out of distrust or anxiety. No, he’s simply watching to watch. Though, when he spies Graeme, he angles to join his old friend, albeit in that same meandering pace, to allow for his presence to be acknowledged before he joins in conversation.

Tania is ready with an easy smile when Marlowe pulls her into the introductions. Her drink is swapped from hand to hand so she can offer a handshake. "A pleasure." She looks over at Marlowe when she explains the nature of their meeting and chuckles lightly. "I don't mind a little strangeness, when there are such friends to find in it."

The flush to Marlowe's cheeks isn't missed and Tania follows her gaze to find Eizen. Oh. She pats her friend's hand reassuringly at her request, "Of course." And then, to that end, she prompts, "Why don't you introduce me?" Instead of staring, perhaps.

Graeme grins when he spies Devon, waves at the younger man.

Thor is, when it comes down to it, still a puppy. Big paws, a lankiness that he hasn't grown into yet, and he loves every second of the attention. Although there are a few times that he glances back to Graeme, who brings out a treat one of those times. "That's a goal I think we all share," Graeme says. "Part of why Ygraine was able to convince me to work for Liberty. I grew up in Manhattan, as a teenager."

"My memories of New York are… fuzzy sometimes. I was a kid, I didn't see all of the bad parts, and I left for New Mexico when I went off to college. But I remember the good very clearly. I remember the good when I moved back here, as well. What you felt like you're a part of in New York." New Mexico certainly explains the slight drawl to his words, an accent that doesn't come from most professed New York natives.

"And being able to carry that forward is important." He smiles. "We look forward to that. What it could be, and what it will be for everyone that loves it." He gestures to the pond behind him. "Getting some parks and spaces… of retreat, like this, I think would do a lot of good for some of the neighbourhoods, get people connected to the reconstruction that they might otherwise…" He shrugs, the thought trailing off.

"Hey Devon," he says, when the other gets close enough.

"The council might like that," comes another voice from orthogonal direction. "Designing a park." Lightly spoken, it's a helpful suggestion, a personal contribution to the change in topic rather than intended as directive. For it's Tamara who speaks, having picked herself back up and ventured into the social fray once again.

The blonde offers each of those nearby — Eizen, Devon, Graeme, and Thor — an amiable smile as she tucks loose hair into place behind her ears. Beneath the good cheer, there's a weariness that lingers in her expression, something that speaks more of focus than fatigue.

Her gaze surveys the setting around them, water and grass and glass and trees in turn, and Tamara's expression turns thoughtful. "Maybe with less water, though. It's very pretty," she makes certain to assure Eizen a moment later, the seer's attention refocusing on the others. "But there doesn't need to be two."

Remi is all smiles as she takes Tania’s hand, squeezing once, before releasing it. The cigarette is pressed to her lips again, and she takes another drag with a soft sigh. She’s passively listening to everyone out here right now, but the nicotine makes it wash over her rather than slamming into her.

The impeccably dressed woman’s eyes catch Devon, and her expression brightens. Another smile is leveled on Marlowe, Madeline, and Tania. “If you’ll excuse me, I have a few old friends to greet.”

Then, the impeccably dressed heiress turns, moving toward the group containing Graeme and Devon. Her first order of greeting is to gently slide an arm around the shoulders of Devon in a warm, friendly hug. “Devon, it has been too long.” She pulls away then, reaching out to place a hand on Graeme’s shoulder in greeting, and in turn scritching Thor on the nose. “Good evening,” is offered to those gathered.

Placidity brightens a little when Graeme greets him, and Devon’s mouth tugs up on one side to grin. It’s a greeting that’s shared with the others nearby, though he may not be as familiar with them. He’s friendly enough, mood lightening marginally. Good company begets better moods, and this is supposed to be a fun occasion.

The hug from Remi comes as a mild surprise. He’s just about to ask Graeme about sharing the bench when she accosts him. He boyishly rolls his eyes and awkwardly hugs the telepath, motioning his delayed request to the former teacher. “Yeah, easier to get here than home from Rochester,” he admits. “But I’m trying. How’re the girls, did they get my thank you letter?” For the cookies.

Eizen gives one last scratch to Thor’s ear before slowly rising up to stand tall again. He straightens the cuffs of his tuxedo and offers a warm smile to Graeme. “After a thorough interview, I have assessed that he is, in fact, a very good boy.” Smiling in a way that's more boyish than not, Eizen offers a look over to Tamara and a dip of his head in a nod.

“Miss Brooks, I'm told we have a meeting scheduled.” There's a playfulness at Eizen’s assertion, as if the entire affair as if the scheduling was entirely out of his hands. But then,

«Monday, April 23rd, at 8:45am in your office.»

The voice emanates from somewhere along the side of the building above the door, and Eizen raises one hand to his brow and smiles awkwardly. “Thank you, Jiba. Please return to your responsibilities.” There's an electronic chirp after, followed by a beep in Eizen’s ear piece and a raise of one brow. All of the charm in Eizen’s expression seems to drain away.

Choi notices the change in demeanor of the security chief, ambling over with cigarette in hand. She shoots an askance look at Remi briefly, then one to Tamara before squaring on Eizen again.

“My apologies,” Eizen is already trying to disengage from the crowd, “there's a matter that requires my attention on the floor. Work, it seems, is never done. It was a pleasure to meet you all, and— please— enjoy yourselves.” Eizen makes momentarily longer eye contact with Tamara and Graeme, then hastily cuts an exit into the bar with long, purposeful strides.

Madeline Choi raises one brow and draws in a breath from her cigarette. “Maybe he's going to deliver the idea about the parks to the top brass?” There's a cheeky smirk on her face, she knows it's not the matter at hand. Whatever calls away a head of security never is a pleasant matter.

"Oh, there he goes. Marlowe, we hesitated," Tania says, teasing her friend before she takes a quick drink. Her smile gives it away. It occurs to her a moment later that he was called away to work and she puts a hand on her hip. "I hope it's not the biter again. What a menace." Of course, she left out of her report that the biter was doing drugs in the ladies room. No reason to shut that party down.

Tamara smiles back at Eizen, not at all awkward even with the digital voice out of nowhere. But then, it wasn't from nowhere for her. She doesn't bother with a verbal response, but simply waits the necessary moment, and nods understandingly to the security chief as he takes his leave.

As he strides away, the woman discreetly wiggles her fingers in the direction of the building — more precisely, the space above the door.

Her attention turns to Choi shortly after, wry smile both a belated acknowledgment of her askance look and Tamara's own response to the quip. "Maybe!" she concurs, tone cheerful enough to sell belief in the word… or simply indicate that whatever the seer might know, she's not inclined to volunteer.

Remi's arrival is also acknowledged belatedly, the telepath given a contemplative look followed by a quick flicker of welcoming smile.

"I don't know, he's always," Marlowe hesitates, rubbing a hand on her bare shoulder in nervousness, "busy." Which is why she only watches from afar, and sighs a little with the sight of Eizen interacting with the puppy. "Kawaiiii…" It's a soft sigh, not actually meant for others to hear but within earshot nonetheless. She's watching him go when Tania teases her, and Marlowe huffs lightly but gives an embarrassed smile to try and ease the regret of not taking that initiative. It'll just have to wait. She gives a very puzzled look to Tania when the other woman mentions a biter. "A literal biter? You're going to have to tell me more. Here, let's go sit over there." She gestures towards one of the further benches in the water garden, excusing herself and Tania from the presence of the SESA deputy director to give the woman another moment's peace with her cigarette.

Once they've sat, though, Marlowe's bag eventually chimes with the arrival of a text message. "Oh, hold your story though. That's work." Or someone usually associated with work, as it were. Marlowe finds her mobile phone in the bag, checking the message sent:

Mar— Send me your drones. Need eyes. —Mon

"Sorry Tania, give me a minute," she explains, fingers typing away a response.

what's 📤? u want a 📷 w ur date? 😉
LOL. np AH/UN ⏩ 2 u ☆☆

Then, message sent, her hand dips into her purse again and pulls out the pocket drones she'd brought along with her. She sets them both down on the bench beside her, then brings up the gold bracer on her wrist to tap several points that act like buttons on the disguised controls. The drones activate once more, lifting into the air and zipping away over the heads of the crowd, keying to center on Monica's location somewhere in the gallery.

Graeme gets a worried furrow of his brow as Eizen goes off, and looks for a moment like he might get up as well, but instead he shoots to one side so that the bench behind him has room for others to sit.

"An actual, literal biter," Tania says as they relocate to the benches. "In the ladies' room." It may not be the weirdest thing Tania has ever seen, but by her expression, it's up there. "She had a broken leg, but it didn't seem to slow her down much at all." If she knew Eve Mas at all, she would know not to be surprised.

She doesn't get into details, since Marlowe's phone chimes, but she also doesn't seem to mind. Perhaps because there's a drink in her hand. And the water garden is quite beautiful. Only the appearance of the drones brings her attention around again. Curious. But whatever Marlowe's work needs from her, Tania isn't interrupting.

Watching the drones take off, Madeline Choi takes another drag off of her cigarette, even as her phone begins to vibrate in her clutch. She fusses, cigarette pinched between lips as she snaps it open and pulls the phone out, recognizing the caller on the other end of the line. As soon as she starts speaking, she’s moving away from the crowd. “What’s up?” is a casual way to respond, it must be someone she knows well.

As Choi cuts away from the crowd, as Marlowe’s drones buzz off and into the building, black tie Yamagato Security move from the Water Garden into the bar and through it toward the lobby. The crisp night air picks up with just a little gust of wind, buffeting against those who have taken refuge from the noise and social energy to find their own pockets of peace.

From the Garden, the guests can see another limo arrive and the press begin snapping photos before the door even opens. There is no end to the night’s activity, no end to the celebration of art, history, and the future of the Safe Zone. For as much as the city beyond Yamagato Park’s walls is a work in progress, so are the people who live within it.

And all the lives they touch.

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