noa_icon.gif rue_icon.gif

Scene Title Brave
Synopsis They're both going to need to be to face what's to come.
Date November 9, 2011

Bannerman's Castle

Sitting in the hallway outside of the room one Rue Lancaster is presumably sleeping in, Noa sits fiddling with an old cell phone. Headphones snake from an old iPod someone's given her up to her ears, presumably, but these are hidden by a green ski cap and her long hair. The voice of David Bowie keeps her entertained, if worried, and the phone gives her something useful to do — even if it's just testing and practicing her own ability. She doesn't look like she's slept well, and there's a slight puffiness around her eyes that suggests she's been crying recently — not an uncommon sight at all in the castle today.

Not uncommon at all. Rue's eyes are similarly puffy, rimmed red from emotion that can only be expressed through tears. They lost far too much - so much, so many more than what they had expected to. On way home, she had stuck to Avi Epstein like glue, letting him crush her hand until she thought her fingers might break without protest. She'd only seen a fraction of the horror in the canal. Her vision had tunneled out of some automatic sense of self-preservation. The men she helped haul to the surface, the kids all saw so much worse.

Maybe it's a survivor's guilt thing? Rue thinks she's read about it in a book somewhere, one time, but she doesn't remember much about it. All she knows and feels is that her pain is nothing compared to that of the people she cares for. When Rue emerges from her room, it's with the intent of going out into the chill of fall-edging-on-winter to clear her head, and to punish herself.

But there's her best friend. Suddenly, things are just a little less bleak. "Hey." Her voice is squeaky from the strain of crying and remnants of fitful sleep.

It's more the feel of the door opening than the sound, given she has David Bowie's voice in her ears, but Noa jumps up immediately and throws her arms around Rue. "They said you were okay but I didn't want to intrude and I wanted to let you have space if you needed and oh, my God, I was so worried," the teenager murmurs into the neck of her friend, before stepping back to survey Rue's face and form, looking for hints of injury.

"You were brave to go," she says, and Rue knows it was likely killing Noa not to have been in the canal to support Rue and the rest of Ferry, but she was needed elsewhere. "You seen Eileen yet?" is asked casually.

When Noa puts her arms around her, Rue embraces her in return, holding for a long moment like she might never let the younger girl go. She wants to cry again, but there's nothing left in her. She leaves her hands on the other girl's shoulders when the hug releases. Her scrapes and bruises earned from her tumble into the canal can't be seen beneath the layers of clothing she wears, but they're nothing anyway.

To hear that she was brave softens her, chips away at the guilt some. She wants to protest it, say something about how it was her duty to her friends and this family of Ferrymen, that she couldn't not do something, but her friend is right. She could have just as easily stayed behind. She could have taken the necessary, but safer job, of staying here and preparing to tend to the influx of new charges, and the wounded. Instead, she pulled children to safety and felt bullets hit the ground mere inches from her booted feet. If their roles were reversed, she'd be telling her friend that's what bravery looks like.

That ginger head shakes her thoughts away and signals the answer to Noa's question before she gives it verbally, "No. Why, is she looking for me?"

"Are you hungry? You need to eat," Noa says, slipping that old cell phone into her pocket, her hand coming out with a Nutrigrain bar she'd brought with her for her own sustenance, pressing it at Rue. "We're probably late for breakfast and early for lunch but I imagine they'll make an excuse for you."

The question about Eileen draws a shake of her head, mirroring Rue's own gesture as well. "No. But she's mad as hell. I'd steer clear of her. I ran into her last night and about got the sharp end of a sword in my chest for making that mistake." The first is definitely true. The rest, perhaps an exaggeration. But she doesn't share the fact that Rue is a suspect in Eileen's eyes.

She does need to eat, she realizes, and wastes no time in unwrapping the gifted cereal bar. She's midway through a bite when she registers what her friend has just said. Rue swallows the half-masticated bite rather than try to talk around it, and it goes down roughly. She has to cough twice to clear her throat. "Jesus, Noa." She resists the urge to pat her friend down for signs of injury. "You're all right, though?"

So Miss Ruskin is in a bad mood. That makes perfect sense to her. Some people cry, and others break things. Rue's been both in her life. It never occurs to her that the warning might be about more than just Eileen's foul mood.

"Oh, I'm fine. She just waved it at me. She did murder a poor, defenseless chair, though," Noa says brightly with a smile. It's a little feigned, but they can both use some levity in their lives. She glances down at her iPod, turning it off to save the battery, and winds her earbuds around it before slipping it into her pocket.

"So are you ready to live a life in exile with the rest of us slummers or can your aunt get you somewhere better?" she asks, glancing at Rue with a brow lift. "I mean. I don't want you to leave but if things get bad, and you have an out, Rue, no one would blame you for taking it."

"RIP Chairemy," Rue says somberly, proving there's still a sense of humor under all that hurting. It's a good sign.

The question was bound to come up. It always does. The serious look on Rue's face goes from feigned to sincere as she mulls it over. "I know I could walk away from this any time. When I got sick…" When the reality of her identity and her place in the world was shifted from what she thought she had known. She had to come to terms with the fact that truly was nothing special, not like her friends. At least, not in her mind. She could have left then, walked away. The battle was no longer for her own rights. She could leave now. Go back to Chicago where her parents would be terrified that their child might be dead if not for the weekly phone calls she places from payphones when she goes back to the city.

"No," she says plainly. "If I don't stay and protect people, and fight, then what good am I?" She's also died in her dreams doing this very thing. So, maybe she does deserve to be called brave. Or maybe she's just stupid.

Noa studies her friend, the answer making her smile though it's a sort of sympathetic, empathetic smile rather than one borne of happiness or humor. "You'd be plenty good. There are good people out there who don't help, because they're not as brave or they haven't seen the things you — and I — have seen. No one would think you were a bad person if you went somewhere safer," she says, reaching to squeeze Rue's hand.

"And what good is it having family in high places if you can't use it to your advantage?" she says lightly. "How is Auntie Adrienne? She's… it's gotta be tough. I'm sure she's trying to use her place to do good things. We have a couple of us trying to do that. I don't know what I thought I would be able to do, but, well. I wasn't going to be left behind."

Rue knows in her heart that Adrianne Lancaster must be doing all that she can - safely - to aid their cause. (But it bears noting that Rue's heart has steered her wrong more than once.) The thought of it makes her smile as she squeezes her friend's hand in return.

"I'm glad you came here," is incredibly selfish, honestly. "I don't know what I'd do without you. You… You give me the strength to want to keep going." And Noa keeps her from going too far. Sometimes Rue stands on the edge of that abyss and feels the urge to dive in.

"I am, too." Noa came for a lot of reasons, and not all of them were entirely selfless, after all. "It's nice to have a best friend." Her former best friend sort of went insane and became a murderous bastard, after all. "Bestie," she adds, to put it in Rue speak, a smirk curving her mouth, a little less sad now.

"Come on, let's get you some real food," she says, tucking her arm in Rue's and pulling her in the direction of the kitchen. "Heroes need to eat. You know that broadcast is all over already, right? You looked badass."

Arms are linked readily and Rue positively beams as she's led down the hall for brunch, maybe. "Did I really?" She thinks it's probably an exaggeration, but Rue likes the thought of having looked good on camera. "Can you tell it's me? Or is it just…" She makes a motion of her free hand along the side of her head and outward, indicating the red bush that is her curly hair. Since Noa's saying she's going to be slumming with the others for good now, it's likely her days of anonymity are truly over.

Worth it.

"Well, I could tell it was you, but I don't think you're in danger of being on America's Most Wanted. It was pretty dark and far off, for the most part. You looked awesome. Total action movie star. Maybe one day you can be a Bond girl." Noa must have picked up some pop culture references that she hadn't known when she first arrived. "You want a tai chi lesson later, or just some sparring, or are you too sore to think about moving? We can do whatever you want." That's a rare offer, especially because it often involves makeovers and manicures, not Noa's cup of tea.

Noa's arm is squeezed as they walk toward the kitchen. She's the best friend a wannabe freedom fighter could ever ask for. "Tai chi sounds great." She's less concerned these days with make-up and nail polish. They'll come in handy when she fulfils her destiny to become a Bond girl, but for today they're useless. And if there's one thing she needs to be in the coming days, it's useful.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License