Are You Sure?


colette_icon.gif judah_icon.gif kaydence_icon.gif tamara_icon.gif

Scene Title Are You Sure?
Synopsis Colette and Detectives Judah Demsky and Kaydence Lee Damaris come to an understanding with some help from Tamara.
Date September 15, 2008

Cathedral of St. John the Divine

The largest Gothic cathedral in the world, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine remains partially unfinished to this day, despite its construction having begun in 1892 - true to form for buildings of its type. Nonetheless, it is a grand and imposing sight; possessing the characteristic grand arches, pointed spires, and beautiful stained glass windows, including a large and striking Rose window. Where the walls aren't covered with old and meticulously preserved tapestries, they are often ornamented.

Guided tours are offered six days out of the week. Services are open to all. Since the bomb, the main nave is open at all but the latest hours, though the smaller subject-specific chapels close in the evening. The cathedral is also a site for major workshops, speakers, and musical events - most especially the free New Year's Eve concert, which has been held without fail each year since the bomb.

St. John's has long been a center for public outreach and civic service events, but since the bomb, those have become an even greater part of its daily affairs. Services include a men's shelter, a twice-weekly soup kitchen, walk-in counseling, and other programs besides. These are open to everyone - non-Evolved, unregistered Evolved, registered Evolved… the philosophy is that they're all children of God, and that's what matters.

Late afternoon sunlight evokes brilliant color from the cathedral's stained glass windows, the panes glittering like jewels even from the outside. Seated on a bench beside the Peace Fountain, Tamara gives the building's beauty not even a first glance, much less a second thought. Knees drawn up to her chest, encircled by slender arms, she seems rather to be listening to the fountain's burble — or perhaps the chattering of small birds in the nearby bushes. Or perhaps just thinking. The garden is a good place for that.

To the labrats back in the bullpen, it's known as Google-fu. To Judah, it's known as good old-fashioned research. Whatever you want to call it, it works; the detective's search for Colette ended when he stumbled upon the wayward teen's Livejournal account in the early morning hours between dawn and midnight, but it's only now that he and his partner have found the time to check out the Cathedral of St. John the Divine for any signs that she might still be there. Spying Tamara, he makes his way toward the fountain with Kaydence in tow.

Perhaps it's a force of habit, but Kaydence pauses to make the sign of the cross over herself as she enters the Cathedral. She splits off from her partner to walk the opposite side of the sanctuary from him.

Flanking Tamara doesn't work very well, but Kay can learn that later. She lets the detective do her walking for now, shaking blonde hair back from her face and glancing to Judah. Her eyes are neither dark nor blue, but somewhere in between, and her expression is thoughtful. Contemplative. "Walk softly. Don't bring the sticks unless you wanted to burn them."

Walking softly isn't a problem for Judah. Despite his tall stature and large feet, his gait has a stealthy sort of sense to it. Coming to a halt as he reaches the bench, he takes a seat on it beside Tamara and rests his hands on his knees. Rather than look directly at her, he stares straight ahead at the fountain and takes a few moments to digest her words before responding to them. "You've been keeping some curious company lately," he remarks, his voice as quiet as his footfalls were.

Kay keeps her distance from the bench. It's not so much that she feels the need to flank Tamara as she feels that she shouldn't intrude on whatever it is exactly that she and Judah have going on. The less she knows about why he's not bringing in a runaway, the easier it'll be to deny she knew anything about it at all, really. For now, she's content to stand on the sidelines and wait until she's spoken to.

The creak of the iron gate separating the garden from the street signals someone's approach, followed by the crunch of the gravel path underfoot. Looking for all her worth like she's done nothing but walk all day today, Colette is a familiar sight amidst the old and storied structure. Her fatigue, however, is only one of her burdens today. Beyond the full backpack she carries on both shoulders, and the messenger bag slung over her right. On top of this, both hands are currently occupied by a slender paperback book with a dark red color that her focus seems to rest on. Oddly, the book is open in her hands, with the blossom of a yellow rose centered between the pages.

A thoughtful smile creeps up on Colette's lips as she pauses in her approach, slowly bringing the book up to her nose, eyes closing. Then after a moment, she lowers the book and begins pressing it closed around the flower, flattening it out between the pages. Her smile remains, hands pressing firmly on the front and back covers. It's the sound of conversation that draws her focus, particularly Tamara's voice. Before she can make that reflexive step to approach, though, she spots Judah and hesitates, looking back over her shoulder towards the gate. Her hands press harder on the book, shoulders squaring, and she turns to face them again, making a slow approach to the fountain, unaware of Kaydence's presence.

A slow smile greets Judah's comment. "Then what's your company?" But her gaze leaves Judah, just drifting away to the gate. A small motion of Tamara's hand directs him (and by extension Kaydence) to stay put, as the girl herself slides off the bench. She walks out to meet Colette, steps equally slow. There's nothing in her expression to suggest apprehension or nerves — if anything, a bit of a smile pulls at the corners of her mouth. The precog walks, not up to Colette, but slightly past; murmurs something in passing, before moving around behind the younger teen to finish the approach at her side. Here, her gaze goes first to Judah, then settles on Kay — watching, waiting. The figurative ball is on your side of the line; what will you do with it?

Judah, at Tamara's bequest, remains seated on the bench. It's difficult for him to feel anything except relief now that both girls are in the same place at the same time; while he knows that they're probably capable of taking care of themselves, there's always a voice of doubt nagging away at the back of his mind. New York City is a much more dangerous and volatile place than it was two years ago. Anything could happen to anyone at any time, whether or not they're capable of predicting it in advance like Tamara can. "Long time no see, Ms. Nichols."

Kay keeps her back to the girls for now, simply listening to how her partner handles things. If Colette seems to notice or recognize her, then she'll turn back. But for now, she's surreptitiously making her way toward the gate with the intent to block the girl's easy way out, should she decide to bolt.

"You better not be harassing her." Colette says with her brow furrowed, then, watching Tamara for a moment her expression becomes a bit more gentle. "Sorry…" She mumbles, squeezing the book closed with both hands. "Um, is this about the briefcase?" Her mis-matched eyes flit over Judah's seated form, then takes a step closer to Tamara. "I…" She eyes the older girl, then hugs the book in her hands to her chest. "I ah…" She starts to come to her own conclusions, "Is this about the state-home?" Her teeth press down on her lower lip, an anxious expression on her face clearly affirming her desire to leave. The only thing anchoring her in place, it's quite clear, is Tamara. She is completely unaware of Kaydence, likely since the woman is on her blind-side.

Tamara looks over her shoulder, smiling. Perhaps a little too cheerily, given how serious everyone else is. "There was more than one out," she points out to the wandering detective. Not as surreptitious as she believes herself, is she? "Might as well not." A shrug. "Unless you were comfortable." Whatever makes Kay feel like she's being helpful. She could just come join the talk, though.

Blue eyes flick to the younger teen, and the precog laughs briefly, draping an arm over Colette's shoulders. She'd take a bag, except that book is in the way. And Tamara won't get between Colette and her book. "He didn't. Doesn't." The girl's gaze shifts to Judah, expression sobering into a smaller, crooked smile. You of all people know you couldn't harass me, even if you wanted to. And I know you don't. Understanding — or at least enough of one to suffice.

Standing still, however, isn't Tamara's style today; soon enough, she steps away from Colette, though not far. Just far enough she can dig in the pocket of her well-worn jeans, retrieving such things as coins, rubber bands, paper clips, a vastly crumpled bill, and an even more abused piece of paper. It must've been in her pocket for a while.

"It's hard to harass someone who can't be found unless she wants to," Judah points out. In this respect, he's pleased to see a little of his old self in Colette. There was a time when he used to get defensive over the little things, but he's spent enough time with Tamara to know that getting defensive is an exercise in frustration. He watches her as she begins to rummage through her pockets, then shifts his attention back to Colette when the paper clips roll around. He hasn't noticed the piece of paper yet, or if he has, hasn't deemed it worthy of questioning. Not yet, anyway. "There are a lot of people who are worried about you," he tells Colette, "and even more who want their things back."

Kay frowns when Tamara outs her. Can't she just do her job anymore? Kids these days. She'll just have to rely on the fact that if Colette wants to run, she'll be weighed down by her bags and so she might be able to catch her. Possibly. She's about to open her mouth to say something when Elvis Costello and Gwen Stefani begin singing in her pocket, 'Nobody's lookin' now, I'll throw my toys around…' A cellphone is fished out, flipped open, and pressed to the detective's ear. "Yes, this is Mrs. Damaris. … Oh my God. Is she all right? Yeah- Ye- … Okay. Tell her I'll be right there." Kaydence Lee snaps her cell shut and shoots a panicked look to Judah. "I- You'll have to get a cab. I need my car." She shakes her head and runs her fingers through her hair. "Cole fell at the pool and hit her head. She might need stitches. I have to go." She's running for the gate with her keys in hand before he can object. Nothing can stop a terrified mother.

There's a certain awkward laugh that slips from Colette at the arm draped around her shoulders, a smile spreading across her face as her cheeks flush a bit. Her eyes downcast, sheepishly affording a smile to Tamara as she moves her arm and steps away. what Tamara fishes out of her pockets only elicits a laugh from the young girl, shaking her head slowly as she steadily follows a few paces behind her. "You've got more junk than I do." She states with a wry grin, then at the sound of the phone she turns around, recognizing Kaydence with a squeak of, "Hey!" But at the woman's words, Colette's expression pales, and a thoughtful and concerned look flashes across her face as she watches her hasty retreat out of the park.

"Um…" She smiles nervously, hoping that distraction takes Judah with her, but when she sees that he isn't leaving, her shoulders sulk a bit. "I ah…" Her eyes divert to her messenger bag, "I don't want to stay there anymore, so I'm not." She squares her shoulders again, trying to stay firm about that. "The um… uh, things?" She poorly feigns ignorance.

Tamara turns abruptly, in the instant before the phone rings, distracted from her sifting through the magpie hoard of her pockets. If dropping change and rubber bands and paperclips haphazardly into the dust can be considered sorting. But she merely watches Kaydence depart, before turning back to the other two. Judah is given a reassuring smile, if a brief one. Then Tamara, unconcerned, returns to brushing off her flattened hand except that much-crinkled piece of paper. Whose unfolding she proceeds to occupy herself with, to the exclusion of whatever the other two are discussing.

Under normal circumstances, Judah might also excuse himself and take after Kaydence. But these aren't normal circumstances. These circumstances involve Tamara, and if there was truly any threat to Cole's safety, they'd know about it — wouldn't they? He watches his partner go, his eyes lingering on her retreating form for several long moments before he swivels in his seat and turns back to Colette. "The um… uh, things you stole?" he prompts.

"Thing." Colette clarifies, as if that makes all the world of difference. Then, awkwardly, "T-though I mean, that is if I stole anything." Her grip tightens on the closed book, teeth toying with her lower lip as she stares at Judah. Then, after meeting his stare for a time and realizing that she's painted herself into a corner, reluctantly starts walking over. "…Hold on." She mumbles in defeat, crouching down by the bench where she sets the book — House of Leaves — down on the seat, the pages popping open from the rose pressed inside. She unshoulders her messenger bag, shedding it down to the ground, then unfolds the front flap, revealing a gunmetal gray laptop. "Just take it…" She says bitterly, as if she were the one being stolen from. She slides the laptop out, and lays it on the ground, then picks up her book and holds it securely in both hands, staring up at Judah with a put-upon expression.

As background to the conversation, and disruption in the silences, is the crackle and rasp of paper being uncrinkled. Its lines smoothed out, restoring its form to something other than a misshapen, flattened lump and the text on it to something actually comprehensible. To anyone else, that is, despite how intent Tamara is upon the paper. Most people would at least look at the people talking practically right under their nose.

The laptop explains how Colette has been able to update her journal while away from the orphanage. Judah should have expected as much. As he leans down to pick up the laptop, what Tamara is doing finally catches his eye, causing him to pause and tilt his head. "What do you got there, kiddo?" Whatever it is, he hopes she didn't steal it as well. Harbouring runaways is bad enough. He's going to get even less sleep if he finds out they're both thieving runaways.

Straightening from the bench, with the book held close to her chest, Colette at first seems like she's just going to stare down at her feet the whole time. Though, when Judah speaks, she thinks it's to her. Looking up as she draws the book away, as if worried he'd take that from her too. Instead, however, he finds his focus on Tamara, and a sheet of paper flattened to her palm. Glancing anxiously to Judah, Colette quickly circles around and moves to stand beside the girl, as if in some misguided attempt to perhaps defend her from Judah's inspections, though also out of her own curiosity. She has no idea if Judah knows about what she is, and that worries Colette more than anything.

The paper promptly disappears behind her back, and Tamara eyes Judah. It's not a suspicious look — not in the least. No, her expression is more mischievous, smile and all; perhaps even sly. In a child's sort of slyness: I have something you wa-ant, and you can't have it. Quiet laughter greets Colette's movement, and she taps a finger against the younger girl's shoulder. Not allowing her to see the paper, either. "It was okay," is Tamara's cheerful statement. Blue eyes return to Judah, merriment passed, as it is wont to do; that small, knowing smile reappears. "He understood." Two years' familiarity helps. A lot.

No matter how tempting it is to make a grab for the paper when Tamara puts it behind her back, Judah resists. He leans forward, the laptop resting on his knees, and looks up at both of the girls from his seat on the bench. There's no way he's going to take a closer look at that paper unless Tamara lets him, and he knows it. "I'm not going to hurt her," he assures Colette, "or arrest her. You on the other hand… you're underage." The threat is there, but at least Tamara will realize that it's an empty one. He'd sooner start throwing stones at the St. John's windows than bring her back to the station for questioning. "What makes you think you can just wander the streets? You're a kid, not a stray cat." He tucks the laptop under his arm as he rises from the bench, now looming over both the girls. Not that he does it to look ominous, of course. It's just another side-effect of being six foot three in his bare feet.

"He — He knows?" Colette's brows raise in surprise, and she shoots a suspicious glance over to Judah, then back to Tamara. She can't stay pensive and downtrodden for long though, because seeing Tamara in this upbeat and cheerful mood, outside of her normal clouded and somewhat frightening haze is uplifting to Colette. She eyes Judah, looking at him intently for a moment, "Name one difference between me and a stray cat aside from, well, not being a cat." She gives him a somewhat over-confident stare. "Nobody wants me, my own father disowned me — Not that I'd go back there alive." She scowls, momentarily, brought out of it by sight of Tamara in her periphery. "The people here at least let me come and go when I want, trust me to take care of myself." She eyes Tamara, then looks back to Judah. "State home just treated me like a naive little kid. Nobody's naive in this city — Not anymore." A moment of salient wisdom from Colette, an rare moment.

The smile broadens into a grin as Judah resists temptation, and doesn't go away despite Judah's looming. She doesn't hesitate to step forward into the detective's shadow, tucking the restored pamphlet into his free hand. 'Then' and 'now' are two totally different circumstances; now is appropriate. "In-between," she says softly, blinking up at him, expression gone serious. Tamara steps back, not as far as she had been, but nearly equidistant between the two — if a bit to one side of the direct line.

Judah's hand closes around the pamphlet as Tamara presses it into his palm, giving her fingers a brief but affectionate squeeze. "When I was your age, my little sister used to feed this cat that would come around and nose through our garbage. My mother didn't like it, never stopped talking about rabies, but my father— my father let her put leftovers out every night so it had something to eat. She loved that cat, God help her, she loved that cat so much she told all her friends at school about it. Then her friends told their friends, and their friends told their friends, and so on, until word eventually got back to Patty Stevens that there was a stray tabby hanging around the neighborhood. For the next week, Patty came by the house every night after dinner to watch my sister with the cat. I didn't think anything of it at the time and neither did our folks, but then Friday rolls around and hey, what do you know, the cat doesn't show up. Neither does Patty Stevens."

Colette rolls her tongue on the inside of her cheek as Judah talks, her eyes downcasting to the gravel beneath her feet. She wrings her hands around that book, flexing the paperback covers in and out. "So, what, I just go back there?" She doesn't look up, it's taking everything she has not to break into a more sour and ultimately more angry mood. Every time her expression threatens that, though, she glances up to see Tamara there between her and Judah, and she relaxes. "I don't want to go back to the shelter," She says quietly, "I just…" There's a defeated, resigned sigh. "Fine." Her head lowers, fingers curling anxiously against the smooth surface of House of Leaves.

Tamara smiles up at Judah, but doesn't linger. She turns to look at Colette instead, letting Judah's tale-spinning wash over her ears. And while the younger teen occupies herself with sulking, that smile turns into something more exasperated, if in an affectionate way. "She's a pretty cat," Judah is informed. Pretty, at least, in Tamara's view of the grand scheme. "But so much work." A step forward; two fingers under Colette's chin, gently pressing up. "So you give up? Just to drift, and let the river go its own way? Lost, and all the shadows pass by. It's very empty."

Judah waits until Tamara has made her point before he attempts to drive it home. "You want me to compare you to an animal, Colette? I will. I don't know what happened to my sister's cat, but I have a pretty good idea. As safe as this place is, there are people, people who prey on girls like you, who are going to notice you coming and going." He gives her a stern look that doesn't quite match the softness of his voice. "I don't want you to turn up floating in the harbor, but I don't want to see you go back to the group home either. You're right. Nobody really cares where you are, or whether or not you're still alive. You're just one kid, and they already have thousands more waiting to take your place. You and I can come up with a long term solution for later, but right now, until we have this sorted out, I want you to stay with me."

Stubborn is something that defines Colette, either stubborn in her own acceptance and resignation once she finally gives up, or stubborn in her own headstrong manner about what she believes is right. But as of late, that stubbornness is revealed to have a remarkably simple weakness — Tamara. First it's what she says, immediately drawing Colette's attention as if to discern if she heard it correctly, even if she keeps her head downturned. The two fingers under her chin, however, cause a pinkness to spread across both of her cheeks, and then threaten to span the bridge of her nose. She smiles, nervously, wringing that book in her hands again. "W-well, he's… a cop." She furrows her brows, glancing over Tamara's shoulder to Judah, then back. "I mean, he can like, arrest me n'stuff." Even her usual profanity seems to cool down and fade away in Tamara's presence.

What Judah says, however, elicits an unexpected reaction from Colette. Her eyes widen, visibly, and she takes a step back, even out of Tamara's gentle touch, "I — I…" There's a nervous, shaky swallow, as if Judah had asked her to cut off her own arm. She stares up at him, her eyes looking fearful. Despite what he had said, Colette reacts as if Judah was one of the very people he was warning her about. Her eyes dart to Tamara, watching her closely and in her expression, pleadingly. She searches for some additional sign of trust, not knowing at all the offer she's backing away from out of instinctual uneasiness.

Dark eyes rest on Judah. "You're sure?" It's not a warning, even a Tamara-style subtle one — and by now, the detective should be all but adept at picking up on those. It's exactly what the words say. You're really sure that's the decision you want to make? Because — as she's said before, and will say again, in some fashion or another — there's never a rewind button. And for her part, Tamara doesn't seem to object to the offer either. No wariness, apprehension, even caution. Just a hand resting on Colette's arm, despite the precog never looking back to place it. Don't worry.

"It's not permanent," is all Judah has to say to Tamara. "One week. All I need is one week." What he hopes to accomplish in that week is something of a mystery, even to him, but if there's one thing Tamara can be sure of, it's that he's confident he can figure something out. "I'll talk to Commissioner Lau, tell her I found the girl and request temporary guardianship so she doesn't have to go back to the home." Because, as much as he wants to ensure Colette's safety, he doesn't want to lose his job doing it. He's taken that risk once before, and while he'd take it again in a heartbeat for Tamara, he knows better than to push his luck with Colette, someone who is still virtually a stranger to him.

The reassuring hand doesn't immediately alleviate the concerns, and the way Tamara questions Judah's actions seems to make her a little suspicious, but it all fades. She looks up at the church, watching the way the afternoon sunlight reflects off of the windows, then back to Tamara. Colette bites down on her lower lip, then nods slowly, shifting her weight around with a crunch of the gravel fromher feet shifting. She offers Judah a smile, though it's a hesitant one. The one thing she's learned to ask, since coming to know Tamara, is when to ask why and when to not bother to ask, and for now she's fine with letting it remain unsaid.

"Alright, s-so…" She tenses, briefly, then breathes out a sigh to ease herself. "I kind've…" She looks back at the church, a faint expression of regret on her face, as if a small part of her might miss it. Then, looking back to Judah, she just nods quietly. "I don't know why you're doing this for me, when you don't have to… but…" She offers Tamara a smile, her focus now on the older girl, "If she trusts you," Her mis-matched eyes drift back to Judah, "Then that's good enough for me." Easing even further, and remembering her earlier conversations with Judah she purses her lips in thought, "Is your wife going to like, be upset?" Did she just call Kaydence…

Dark eyes blink once. "Tell her she wouldn't stay. There." It's true enough. A hint of a smile. "And they couldn't, wouldn't keep." Tamara trusts Judah can sort out who's which in those statements. She looks to Colette again, gaze blue, and her demeanor shifts once more — a poorly stifled smile, lopsided but playful. The older teen just tucks her hands in her pockets, letting the other two carry the burden of conversation here.

It takes Judah a few moments to realize what Colette is getting at, and when he does, an expression of absolute horror etches itself onto his face. Married to Kaydence Lee Damaris? In what universe? "She's not my wife," he says on the verge of choking, "she's my partner." And just in case she misconstrues that… "Someone I work with. I don't— We don't— We haven't—" Just stop now. "Okay. I'm… going over there." He points in the direction Kaydence disappeared. "And I'm going to call a cab. Tamara will know when it's safe to bring you by my place, all right?"

Colette grins and tilts her head to the side playfully, "We're going to make wonderful roommates." She says with a decidedly teasing tone of voice now that she's less fretful of her own safety. Looking to Tamara as Judah lays out the instructions, she nods in a quick and understanding fashion before laying a hand on Tamara's shoulder, peering beyond the girl to Judah again. "See you later, roomie." There's a certain mischevious tone there, and judging from how much she seems to have enjoyed the reaction Judah gave to her first attempt at a joke, this is going to be a wonderfully entertaining experience.

September 15th: Special Assignment
September 15th: Just Another Day on the Job
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