A Little Out There


lancaster_icon.gif rue_icon.gif

Scene Title A Little Out There
Synopsis This title describes Rue's attempts at ass-cover, and Lancaster's abdomen, in this Happy Family Reunion Scene.
Date March 14, 2011

Ruins of Midtown

There's a slow trickle of water running along the edges of city streets, along curb and into gutter. Evidence of melting snow and impending spring. After the last seemingly neverending winter, and this one being so miserable if only because she's spent much of it without central heating, the smell that accompanies thaw and the newness of spring is more than just welcome to Rue Lancaster. She breathes it in deeply as she steps out of a shop with a canvas bag hanging from the crook of her arm, her face tilted up to the sunshine.

Rue smiles faintly and then reaches into the pocket of her red coat to retrieve her cell phone, checking for any messages as she starts to make her way down the sidewalk. The beginnings of a winding path that will eventually lead her to brave Midtown's ruins to deliver basic supplies to Grand Central Terminal. Someone will appreciate the bottles of water and canned food items in her proverbial basket of goodies. She hopes very much that the denizens of the Gee-See-Tee enjoy peaches, because there was a sale.

In the back of her mind, Rue knows she needs to change up her route. If she keeps taking the same path into the ruins, she's going to get caught. But today, just like two days ago, she promises that next time, she'll try something new. Because tried and true doesn't last forever. But she hasn't seen any patrols this way yet, at the times she travels. But she tells herself it's still safe, like it was safe before.

Her gut tells her she's being foolish, but it's a little late for that now that she's carefully stepping around what used to be a blue mailbox that's been twisted and discoloured over the last four years nearly beyond recognition. It serves as a landmark of sorts to her. The terminal isn't far.

Even on Adrianne Lancaster's long legs, there's a long ways to cover, in Midtown.

Not that Rue will know how it is right away — just hear the buzzy growl of a little engine that could coming up fast from the next street upwards. Those that describe the robots would probably cite a whirr rather than this, but who knows, out here? Either way, she doesn't have much time to react by the time something is speeding into view. A scooter, turns out, bright red gleaming in the sun — the temperature is low but the sky is clear. It won't last over the worst of the streets the deeper it gets — which might be why it chooses to cut Rue off here.

The person astride is thankfully familiar. Looking too tall and athletic for her choice in vehicle— and Rue could have sworn her aunt does actually own a motorcycle— Lancaster's posture is stiff and correct, her blonde hair free of a helmet, eyes hidden behind reflective sunglasses. A leather jacket pulled over t-shirt material that is loose and long about the hips, legs in jeans, feet in boots.

What the fuck she is doing here may come before or after the fact that Rue will notice something important.

Adrianne is pregnant.

The bump has to be going on eight months— or maybe she is having triplets— the way it bulges and stretches grey cotton. Looking nonplussed of this potential discovery, Lancaster is the first one to greet over the sound of the engine, a hearty: "Hey, Rooster."

"Oh no." Rue comes to a halt much the way a rabbit might after hearing a rustling nearby. A snapped twig. The noise created by the scooter's engine may as well be a predator's growl. And much like a rabbit, Rue nearly bolts for it. But she isn't as swift as a bunny. She's got long legs for longer strides, but they won't let her outrun any vehicle with a motor. Not when the roads are clear enough for tires to traverse.

It is, in that case, very fortunate that the rider is a familiar face. It's the face that calms Rue down and a hand to her breast pushes her heart back into place. It's the bump that causes her eyes to just about bug outta her head instead. "Oh, my gawd," each word enunciated bordering on exaggeration, "you're preggers." The canvas bag is caught just before it can fall to the ground and potentially smash her cargo. It's set down carefully instead so that Rue can slowly make her way toward her beloved auntie.

The fact that she works for the government, i.e. the people she's trying to avoid right now, is kind of shuffled away somewhere with things about as important to Rue as pi beyond three digits. "When did that happen? Does Dad know?" There's a rapid succession of blinks of those blue eyes while she regains her wits. "What are you doing here?"

The scooter halts, and Lancaster is careful in getting up out of it — though a hand doesn't fly to her enlarged belly, it does touch the small of her back as if to fade away some dull ache from the day there, and long legs frog out to awkwardly dismount the vehicle.

She pinches her sunglasses by the arms between fingers, and removes it from her face, slate-blue eyes as cool as they've ever been in regard to Rue. "It's currently my secret shame to bear. In April, I'm scheduled to fly to Luxembourg to undergo the cesarean in secrecy, so that he, she or it can be raised by French-speaking peasants and develop an accent. Don't worry, I intend to long-distance mother my child, named either Mozart or Prudence, perhaps by Skype.

"And does your Dad know you go wandering around Midtown like rape-bait?"

"I have mace in my pocket. And I'm maybe in the process of learning kung-fu." And Hana Gitelman would probably dropkick her where she stands if she heard Rue say that, too. "Prudence? Really? Do you want her to get the shit kicked out of her? Have Beatles songs sung at her constantly?" Then again, if this proposed daughter grows up in France— No. That isn't happening. What the hell. "And don't even get me started on Mozart." She's not nearly as adept at covering up everything else with humour as she would like to be.

Rue closes the gap and, heedless of perhaps how much personal space Lancaster usually prefers, she wraps her arms tightly around her. "I missed you so much." And she's quick to pull back again, looking a little stunned at herself for the display of affection. "Please don't tell Dad. Or Mom. Or… anybody?" Because her parents are really the least of Rue's worries in this situation.


Lancaster can process that right after she manipulates the hug into something she's willing to accommodate. She doubles her long body over the bulge in the middle, her shoulder into Rue's collarbone and arms at a stiff loop around the redhead's shoulders, deliberately keeping her away from the spawn sac. "So long as someone else gets to identify your body," she says, backing up once the embrace is done, hands resting on either side of the generous bump.

"Hell of a short cut. Unless you're going to go sniff glue under the Empire State Building, because you're otherwise on the right track. I'd give you a lift, but I don't want to expose Prudence or Mozart to radiation poisoning." And Rue isn't that direct a relation.

Rue's brain just kind of … locks up. She's not the fastest thinker on the planet, so she doesn't readily think up somewhere she could be headed instead of Grand Central. She stares blankly just a few seconds too long before she finds words again. "Where were you headed, cutting through here?" Turning the question back around isn't necessarily the best way to deflect. "I just like the solitude."

Oh yeah, Rue. Admit that you probably come through here with some regularity. The wince shows that she immediately regrets it.

That wince is mirrored back at her on Lancaster's more angular face. Yeah. Yeeeah. Especially seeing as— "I've been following you for about a klick and a half now. In the CIA, that's how we say 'hello'. And besides, I'm allowed, being a government agent and all. They don't care where you do your glue sniffing." There's a beat, an actual hesitation giving Lancaster some pause, before she scissors off whatever she was going to say with a shutting of her mouth.

Tight like a steel trap. She rests a hand on scooter handle bar as she surveys Rue with far too much scrutiny, enough that with some compulsiveness, Rue begins to feel a little warm beneath the afternoon sun. But nothing worse than that. "How's the career?" is a question that sounds like it was plucked arbitrarily off a question tree.

"Do… Do I wanna know why you were following me?" There's a measured breath that isn't so much meant to calm Rue's nerves as much as it is to keep her from opening her mouth and saying anything else for the space of the next few seconds.

The exhale is more like a sigh. "Career's not really going anywhere. Ugh, I wanted that registration job so bad. The only face good enough for that campaign was a Lancaster face, right?" She tries to smile, really. But it only shows as a twitch upward of the corners of her mouth. "Apparently leggy redheads aren't in demand right now. I'm not exotic enou— Okay, no. Really. Why the hell were you following me? I know you know how to text me like a normal person."

"You're not politically correct enough. I never took you to be the type to stand up and mouth off Evolved Affairs bullshit but I guess a cheque's a cheque, right?"

It doesn't come across judgmental, or even very mean — flat and pragmatic, maybe cynical. "And I followed you because— " Lancaster pauses and thinks this one over, before giving Rue a very sunny smile — for all that she can be terrifying, she has a nice smile, slightly big in the tooth but also white and honest. "Because I wanted you to feel Mozart or Prudence kick, and there's no app for that. You kids and your resistance to face to face communication. C'mere, Rooster."

A hand goes out and snatches Rue's wrist, jerking arm up so as to plant hand upon her belly. "Can you feel that? He or she's a regular little chorus line." Except that there is no kicking.

Or even the baking warmth of body heat. Oddly pillowy, in fact.

Rue finally smiles genuinely and unguarded in return to the one given to her. And it even holds up when she's surprised by her wrist being ensnared and her hand pressing against— That is not the hard bump of a pregnant woman's belly. So she experimentally presses more firmly against it and then squints in a sort of are you fucking kidding me? look. "Auntie Adrianne, are you… feeling okay?" Her mouth hangs open even after she's finished speaking. Agape, is a good word.

"Way better than if I was actually pregnant," Lancaster asserts, releasing Rue's hand and moving off enough to— cartwheel. Well. It's sort of a cartwheel, anyway, in that she plants her hands down on the asphalt and throws the rest of her long body over the top of herself in a haphazard flinging of legs, boot heels to the sky, and landing at a stagger. Her sunglasses fallen to the ground, and these she snags up before she straightens entirely, and with all that movement, the strange sit of fake belly all the more apparent.

She fusses fingers through her hair, turning back to Rue. Tada.

Oh no. This is proof positive of a family history of mental illness playing out right before her very eyes, isn't it? Rue is utterly flabbergasted by the cartwheel and opts to just stare in confusion for several long moments. "Oh yeah? Well, I can do that too," she asserts before she mimics Lancaster's display.

She's a bit more practised. Her legs don't quite fling so much as they go up and over in a fluid motion, but finding crumbling concrete does cause her to stumble forward a step when she plants her Chucks back on the ground. Still, she brings her arms up in her own little gesture of tada, like she's awaiting the judges' scoring.

Then, Rue shakes out her own bushy red hair and plants her hands on her hips. "So, why are you pretending to be pregnant? Because that's a little out there." Even or especially for you could be equally implied in this situation.

Lancaster holds up nine fingers. Then she holds up ten fingers. Nine out of ten. Then five, but that's because it is in gesture of gimme five, hand splayed wide and posture all ready, long legs in their giraffeish stiltedness. Once the gesture is delivered, or ignored, Lancaster readjusts the sit of Mozart or Prudence, and slips her sunglasses back onto her face. "Why are you in Midtown?" is delivered sharply, and in a tone that doesn't actually expect an answer.

"Because that's a little out there."

She paces back to her scooter, and slings a leg over the side of her cherry red motorised steed. "Just do me a favour, carrot-top, and don't come out here at night."

For all the tension before, Rue still can't resist the urge to high five Lancaster. Because they are badass. (One of them is, and the other's got her blood running through her veins and that's enough for badass-by-proxy.) "What? And face down the—" Blood drains from Rue's face and makes freckles stand out more than usual. "Right. Not at night. Wouldn't dream of it."

Because what lurks in Midtown is the stuff of nightmares.

"Did you still… want to give me a lift?" Rue retreats to retrieve her bag of goods. "I was just going to go indulge in some shame eating. A little binge and purge. You know, model stuff, but you've set me on the straight and narrow," is delivered in true Lancaster fashion. All dry tones and sarcasm.

More seriously, "Why don't you ditch the baby bump and let's go have some beers." Then a smirk from Rue's lopsided mouth. "On second thought, keep the baby bump. It'll be hilarious." She flickers a glance to the back of the seat and then back up to the blonde's face. Whaddya say?

What Lancaster says is kicking back up the engine of her scooter, wrinkling her nose as she observes the weather.

"I don't negotiate with terrorists."

It's a flippant remark, and usually anything with meaning has an audible barb in it. Rue has nothing to fear. Unless the words themselves are an audible barb. But it's impossible to say, with Lancaster's eyes covered by reflective mirror lenses, and the steely locked off-ness of her expression save for the wicked curve of a smirk as swooping as wind-swept blonde.

And she's off, going in a circle to pick up speed and sharply veering around Rue to come back the way the redhead had trekked, leaving her with her shame eating, and the stuff of nightmares beaten back by broad daylight.

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