A Hand To Hold You


colette_icon.gif tamara_icon.gif tasha_icon.gif

Scene Title A Hand to Hold You
Synopsis After receiving orders from Wolfhound command, Colette rushes back to the Safe Zone.
Date July 8, 2018

Summer rain storms have been notably rare this year, but the rain that hammers down over the northeast today is a far heavier downpour than in the last month. The noise of the rain patters loudly off of the roof of every building in Williamsburg, reverberates off of the rooftops of parked cars on the street, and hammers down on the back porch behind the shared home of Tamara Brooks, Colette Demsky, and Tasha Lazzaro.

The noise of an approaching motorcycle over the sound of the rain is forewarning of Colette’s return home to the Safe Zone from Rochester, two days ahead of schedule. As the familiar sound files and then sputters silent outside, it's noise is soon replaced by the clatter of keys in a lock and the roar of rain more clearly heard inside as the front door opens.

Colette, leather jacket beading with water, only removes her helmet once she's inside, hair nevertheless damp and matted down to her head. She shuts the door with one foot, leaning by the doorway to put her helmet on the floor and untie her boots.

There's a subtle tension in her shoulders. She has bad news.

At the sound of the door opening, Tasha, who’s curled up on a chair in the living room, turns her head, peering through the open interior, through dining room to kitchen to foyer. One hand holds a glass of wine, the other a pile of paperwork. Both are swiftly set down on the coffee table, before the brunette unwinds herself and rises to hurry on bare feet toward Colette.

“You’re riding in this weather?” is a subtle, but well-meant rebuke, delivered halfway on her trek to the front door. But by the time she’s close enough to reach for Colette, the worries shifted to pleasure to see the other woman, mid-week, even.

“Hi,” she says, wrapping arms around Colette, despite the raindrops that transfer from the leather to Tasha’s soft and baggy white sweater. “You okay?” She leans back to consider Colette’s expression, worry darkening her own.

Third to arrive in the foyer is not the absent blonde, but the dog that is her companion, paws beating an energetic tread down the stairs. The decidedly dry bundle of canine fluff doesn't charge out to greet Colette, but only because to do so would be an insult to her own dignity; instead, Misty pads briskly over and whuffs at the back of the Hound's knees, promptly sneezing for having gotten water up her nose.

In Misty's wake, Tamara descends the stairs belatedly, a towel — patently cribbed from Tasha's bathroom — draped over one arm. Her own hair is damp and loose, residual water gleaming on the skin of her face though her clothes are incongruously dry; presumably she had been out on the terrace, and took the time to dry off and change after.

There is no worry in the smile the seer gives Colette as she steps out onto the floor, but there wouldn't be. "Hi, kitty," Tamara says, reaching out to drape the towel over those tensed shoulders. "Misty's the smart one," she adds with a playful grin.

Tasha, too — but that's well-established fact.

The earnest smile that spreads across Colette’s face is half relief and half a grimace. One arm is reserved for Tamara, another Tasha, though she's thoughtful enough to take off her jacket before either is embraced. Her greeting is a deep breath, breathing in the scent of scalp and skin, eyes closed and fingers winding in opposing garments as though the hug was something tenuous that could be lost.

As Colette relinquishes both from the embrace, she takes a knee and then just sits on the floor to finish unlacing her boots, giving Misty a gentle and dignified scratch under the chin and on the chest before mussing up her fur and ears. Blind eyes alight to Tamara first, watching her expression and demeanor as though she herself a diviner seeming answers in the augury of Tamara’s eyes. When she looks to Tasha, one boot off, the tension in her posture is lessening.

“Yes and no,” is Colette’s belated answer to Tasha’s question. “I just got short notice flight orders from Wolfhound, we have an operation — top fucking secret — coming in a week.” A week, when Colette had already been out on a harrowing sortie to Detroit just a few months ago. “I came home as soon as I heard, I'm going to need to be back in Rochester in the morning for orientation and prep.”

Untying her other boot, Colette looks up to both women and just from her tone it's certain that top secret doesn't really good too much weight between the three. But it is equally apparent that Colette is trying to compose her thoughts, rather than just speak off the cuff. It's only then that she starts to ruffle the towel over her shoulders through her wet hair.

Tasha angles a smile at both dog and dog owner, though her dark-eyed gaze returns to the woman on the floor. Once both the boots are tugged off, Tasha bends to pick them up and move them out of the way. She does a good job of not looking too worried at the news of yet another mission for Wolfhound.

As Colette searches for the words, Tasha leans down to kiss the damp hair and give it a ruffle of her fingers before she moves toward the kitchen, knowing the others will follow. And a refill of her wine glass and gathering the preferred beverages of the others will give Colette that time she needs to organize thoughts into sentences.

“How long?” is the only question she thinks to ask — that part shouldn’t be too classified.

The only augury to be found in the seer's gaze bespeaks patience, sympathy, and understanding; she knows, of course, where 'knowing' has more to do with shape and substance than the quantized, concrete minutia so often encompassed by that label. "It's big," Tamara states as Colette unlaces that second boot, a purely conversational observation whose primary purpose is simply to keep silence from stretching overlong.

After, she follows none too far behind Tasha, making herself useful in the kitchen and giving Colette space for thinking — space in which Misty is the only one left to hover, her genial presence asking for nothing at all save the blessing of company.

Boots removed and socks mercifully dry, Colette stands up and makes a motion to entice Misty to follow her at the same time. She leads the dog into the kitchen with her, occasionally glancing back to make sure she’s following. “Tamara’s right,” she offers with a nod toward the blonde as she makes a slow path toward the kitchen. “This isn’t just Wolfhound. The US military is involved. This is really, genuinely serious. We’re being brought on as contractors because of our specializations. It wasn’t even something we were investigating. But…”

Colette’s brows furrow together, and she kneels down and rakes fingers through Misty’s fur at the top of her head once she’s in the kitchen. “That… shit that happened, back in the summer? It all started there, I guess. After I busted Avi out, things just… snowballed.” Colette looks away, guilt briefly flitting across her features until she’s table to look Tasha in the eyes again. “Your dad never stopped digging, and he found… he found Humanis First.” Teeth toying at her bottom lip, Colette’s expression sinks into one of great concern. Not for her own well-being, but for Tasha.

“He’s going to be with me,” Colette tattles, managing something of a rueful smile at that, but unable to keep the secret no matter the security clearance required. As she talks, there’s a look to Tamara every few beats or so, using the seer’s demeanor as an anchor for her own sense of security. If Tamara isn’t concerned, Colette shouldn’t be, is her internal logic.

In the kitchen, Tasha moves first to the kettle to put it on for Tamara’s hot chocolate, then goes to a cupboard to pull out a glass for Colette, and a bottle of her preferred poison. Her own glass gets a generous refill of the wine bottle still sitting on the counter. Her hands are busy, but she’s listening, glancing back at Tamara and then Colette when each speaks.

“Shit. Like… enough to have a big governmental op?” she says, sliding Colette’s glass in front of her on the counter. “I mean, I figured they were all curled up in ditches counting their losses, but this sounds… “ Well, Tamara already said it.


That her father’s going too… Tasha’s brows draw together and she exhales, a conflicted little sigh blown into her glass as she lifts it for a sip. She stares down at the countertop for a moment; it’s obvious that questions are flooding her mind. But Colette’s already telling more than she should, so it’s to Tamara she looks for reassurance, brows lifted in the tacit question, a silent refrain every time Colette’s off on a mission. Will it be okay?

Her hand moves to cover Colette’s. “Take care of each other?”

Tamara gets her own mug out and readies it, lacking only the water that has yet to boil. Leaning against the counter, she regards her partners with wide-eyed, guileless expression: why are you looking at me?

Of course, the why is self-evident.

"Less snowball, more electric eel's nest," is her contribution, which mixes metaphors more than a little. If the second can even be called valid in that regard. It's not exactly reassuring, regardless; it's not meant to be.

Turning as the kettle just begins to whistle, Tamara fills her mug, then returns to her lean against the counter, mug cradled between her hands. She does not say it'll be okay. Neither does she say goodbye. The seer simply takes a sip of her drink, watching the other two women over it.

Misty, having followed Colette in, seats herself on the floor and looks between all three, ears pricked in disquiet — knowing her people are troubled, but incapable of perceiving the cause.

Only then noticing what Tasha’s pouring, Colette makes a small gesture with one hand. “I shouldn’t. I… don’t do moderation well.” Making her way from Misty’s side to Tamara’s, Colette winds an arm around the seer’s waist and presses a kiss to her temple, then glances at the kettle and back to Tasha. “I won’t let anything happen to him. He’s working with Hana and I on the same team. This…”

Colette looks to Tamara for a moment, then toys at her bottom lip in thought, before gently slipping away and walking over to put a hand on Tasha’s shoulder. “It’s Georgia Mayes,” is said as though the walls could betray her. “All these years, all that suffering, we found out where she’s hiding. But this? This would be the end. The real end of the war, of Humanis First. Once and for all.” To say nothing that it is just one weed with diverse roots, but sometimes the act of weeding is cathartic.

“After we’re done, I… might take some time off. I know there’s a lot going on but…” Once more Colette look to Tamara, then back to Tasha, sliding an arm around Tasha’s waist and angling herself so that she can talk to both of them at once. “I’ve been considering retiring. From Wolfhound.” It isn’t the first time she’s said as much, though. Some packs are harder to break away from. Some bonds too important to break.

Tamara’s words don’t do much to ease the worry off Tasha’s face, but at least it doesn’t deepen. She knows what isn’t said is as important as what is. She stops mid pour at Colette’s gesture, but leaves the glass half-full where it sits, in case there’s a change of mind.

Her dark eyes widen at the mention of Mayes. “God, I hope so,” she murmurs, when Colette says that it might be the real end of the war. “It’s terrifying that she’s still out there.” And obviously not just holed up in a shack but a viable threat.

Her arm mirrors Colette’s, wrapping around the taller woman’s waist. She rests her head on Colette’s shoulder, looking across to Tamara for her response to the retirement refrain. “Time off would be good. I can take some too. Maybe we could all go somewhere. An actual vacation or something,” Tasha says, voice soft. She leaves the topic of retirement untouched.

Tamara leans momentarily into Colette, then looks on as she moves over to Tasha, silent as the Hound makes her confessions — professional and personal. With a quirk of her lips, the seer steps away from the counter, sliding the mug of chocolate into Colette's free hand.

For her part, Tamara continues past and goes to one knee beside Misty, scrubbing her hands through the dog's thick fur. "Vacations were easy. Retiring is hard," she observes, looking up and over a shoulder in Colette's direction. "You have to decide what you want before you can reach for it."

Her lips quirk sideways, a smile more expressed with eyes than the rest of her features. "And to trust what you've built, either way."

With a deep breath, Colette cradles the chocolate on both of her hands, eyes fixed down at it in the way she does when she isn't certain of herself or her own thoughts. She's silent for a while, letting the rain pattering on windows and roof speak for her, a steady rhythm of something more sedate and relaxed, that could easily turn to a storm should the clouds conspire so.

After taking a tentative sip from the mug in her hands, she looks to Misty, as if the dog might have answers beyond the obvious attention desire. She considers in the moment that they, perhaps, have that in common. “Been thinking a lot,” Colette admits with no real direction to the statement. “About us, about what I've been doing these last few years…”

Looking up to Tasha, Colette smiles with subtly regretful undertones, leaning her head to rest against Tasha’s. “Being a Hound isn't just about me. It's about the two of you, and… for a while I thought it was about making the world safer, but I'm not so sure that's why I got onboard now. Seeing Doctor Farkas has…” her brows furrow, “it's made me question a lot of decisions I've made.”

Blind eyes alight to Tamara, and Colette manages a weary smile. “If nothing else, I might take some vacation time. There's a lot of stuff I've wanted to do that so I haven't had time to, because of my job. I wanted to plant a garden out there,” is an easy one for her to say off the cuff, “I… was thinking about… about maybe looking to see if Judah’s parents made it through the war and…” Colette closes her eyes. “I don't know, tell them… things. Connect?”

There's the self-doubt again.

“I know,” Tasha says softly, in regards to what Wolfhound was, is, for Colette. For them. They’re all fighting to make the world better, each in their own way.

Her dark eyes move to Tamara and she smiles, a nod for what the woman’s said. “You know I’ll support you in whatever you decide. I won’t lie; I worry every time you’re on an assignment, but I’d probably worry every time you went anywhere.”

A fond look takes in both of her partners, and her lips curve upward. “We do okay when we’re all together. It’s when we get separated that things get wonky. Not,” she lifts her hand, “that I’m telling you to quit. It’s important work and I’ll deal with my worrying if it’s what you want to do. As long as it’s still what you want, okay?”

She leans to press a kiss into Colette’s temple, and reaches to touch Tamara’s hand as well. “And I’ll help you find Judah’s parents, if you guys need. Whatever you need. I just want us all to be happy.”

The dog has as many answers as the person seeking them: which is to say, none. The woman who leans against her, hands still, chin resting on the crown of the dog's head — she has answers, but few of those are handed out, even now.

Blue eyes crinkle in a smile at the close of Colette's eyes, the resurfaced uncertainty. "You did," the seer affirms, one answer she's willing to provide. Her fingers close around Tasha's reaching hand, glance that way coming only after tactile contact; it's short-lived, the seer's regard returning to Colette, considering, contemplating.

Quiet resumes its reign for a time, backgrounded by the susurrus of summer rain, the whisper of tail-fur brushing hardwood.

"You were always a Hound," Tamara states at last, words that slip into the silence like fish through water. Words spun not with seer's certainty, but with a partner's compassion and reassurance, kin to that Tasha offered moments before. Cast thus, the phrase takes on subtly different implications.

Tamara’s reassurance hits soundly with Colette, resonates with her own doubts, as to whether familial ties would sever or strain with distance. It puts her more at ease than she’s been in a while, and makes the notion of a choice easier. With an arm looped around Tasha’s waist, Colette slouches her weight against the shorter woman and nods affirmatively, at no particular thought, just an affirmation of yes, all of this.

“It’d probably help,” Colette says with a look to Tasha, “if… I mean, if it’s not a huge hassle, looking up his folks. I don’t even know their names, if they’re alive, or… really anything about them. I know he had a sister, once. I… I know somebody killed her and it wasn’t ever solved.” Dark brows crease together, and the threads of that mystery have Colette momentarily distracted. “Anything, really. I figure if you can get an address, Tamara can clue us in on whether it’s accurate or…”

Colette’s blind eyes land on the seer, “If they’d even want to see us.” There’s some hard truths that would come with that meeting, and not everyone is prepared for them. Or eager.

Dark eyes settle on the seer’s face as Tasha listens, smiling softly at Tamara’s gentle manner and the way it settles Colette. Her expression shifts to one more pensive as Colette speaks of Judah’s family, nodding to her words.

“I’ll work on it. Anything I can do to help,” she says, squeezing both Colette’s shoulder and Tamara’s hands in her own.

“If they don’t, they would be missing out on so, so much,” she adds, softly. She doesn’t say it’d be their loss — she knows that the rejection would hurt, and it’d be flippant to say so. “Everyone who knows you two — their lives are the better for it. Even my dad loves you.” The last is punctuated by a toothy smile.

Tamara looks squarely back into those blind eyes and smiles. She says nothing in response to the statements that don't cross the line into being questions, or to the assurances and reassurances Tasha offers. Her partners are as familiar with the seer's silences as with her statements, though, and can read something into the particular confidence infusing this one.

At the very least, Colette's quest — and the meeting at the end of it — isn't contraindicated.

Releasing Tasha's hand, Tamara rises to her feet, motioning Misty out into the dining room. The dog whuffs in pleased excitement and pads over to where her food bowl waits without so much as another glance at any of the humans standing around; there are certain priorities to be honored. Tamara smiles again, watching her go, then steps around the other two, touching fingertips to each of their nearest shoulders in turn.

It'll all work out, that silent contact seems to pledge — though that pledge sometimes needs to be tempered in interpretation.

“She's extra mirthful today,” Colette says with a wry smile and a side-eye to Tamara, one corner of her mouth twisting into a smile. That easy attitude of Tamara’s has a cooling effect on the fire of Colette’s anxiety, both about the further future and the more immediate one. She slouches against Tasha, draping an arm over her shoulder, then lean in and presses a kiss to her forehead.

“If you could do some digging into the Demsky family, I'd appreciate it. If they're former Petrelli-voters or something…” she wrinkles her nose and then relaxes the expression and awkwardly laughs. “It'd mean a lot to me,” then, looking to Tamara, “both of us,” in spirit if not in memory. But then she slips away, that at around Tasha’s shoulder sliding behind her back, hand trailing down one arm.

Pictures,” Colette affirms, one finger raised. “We don't have enough yet, let's take a picture to… remember tonight. It'll make me feel better.” Because even though Tamara indicated everything will work out, Colette will at least rest happily in the thought that if it doesn’t, they'll both always have memories of the time before.

Breathing in deeply, Colette finally lets that hand come away from Tasha’s arm, as she turns to follow Tamara. Everything will work out, Colette reaffirms to herself.

Everything will work out.

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