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Scene Title Comfort
Synopsis After encountering Asami at the Rose and Trellis, Yi-Min struggles with what's happened to her but finds solace in her partner's presence.
Date March 1, 2021

It is nearing midday on a bright, warm, utterly unremarkable Monday, and the Rose & Trellis is shuttered and locked as securely as though it were already the dead of night. Yi-Min had left a message on Brynn's voicemail relaying a lack of need to come in later that day— with little in the way of explanation beyond 'building troubles.'

From outside, the florist takes one last look in through the darkened display windows, keys still jangling in one hand. For a minute, there is a blackness in her gaze that seems completely ill-matched in intensity for the modest perspective it rests on.

Then Yi-Min's keys are unceremoniously switched out for her phone, and she coldly turns her slim shoulders away from the sight of her shop entirely. This time it is Kara who is the recipient of a swiftly-input message, one that is texted rather than vocal.

I need you. Are you home?

Yi-Min does not wait for any form of reply from either woman she had just contacted. A mere second after the last message is sent, her phone is slipped back into her blouse, with her ghost-like footfalls already spiriting her away from the scene.

Whatever shadows she leaves behind are soon swallowed up into the stillness of a lovely, uncaring sun.

Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn

The brownstone unit Yi-Min calls home along with her partner is a tranquil sight even in the dullest of weather. Today, however, the florist is oblivious to the beauty of the lavishly flourishing gardens that lead up to the front door. Head down, she passes straight beneath a familiar and elaborately-ornamented doorway without looking; her intent lies solely on the solace she anticipates inside.

The latch tends to be rather ornery, and the telltale clack of the door fitting itself closed is an unsubtle pronouncement of Yi-Min's arrival.

As soon as she is in, Yi-Min takes the deepest of breaths she feels she has taken in a terribly long time.

"Hey," Kara calls from inside the house, in the kitchen. She's only just gotten in herself, her coat still on. "I figured you hadn't eaten, so I grabbed some lunch on the way home…" The soles of the heeled flats she's wearing click on the kitchen tile as she walks to be in view of the front door, head leaning out.

Her hair is in a disheveled bun, streaks of dark low-lights in her hair. Just one of the things she's tried recently and decided isn't for her, but isn't rid of just yet. She must've come from the gym, given the bag on the floor to go with the white plastic of takeout on the table, and the cling of athleisure to her body underneath the coat. Her brow lifts as she looks Yi-Min over.

"What's the matter?" she asks a little more slowly.

Before Yi-Min even moves away from the door, she lets her gaze drift across towards the kitchen to find Kara's. There are wheels turning inside her head, contemplating what words to say and how to say them, but they are slow, weary things— and subsequently unseated by the much rawer eddies of emotion that whorl up to the surface of her being instead.

The latter development is what causes her to fully return to herself. She gives her head a little half-shake first as she strides over the floor straight to her partner's reach, passing the takeout containers with only a slightly-longer-than-usual glance their way to convey her gratitude.

And when she gets to Kara, she wastes no time in popping a pointed kiss of greeting onto the lips of the taller woman on tiptoe— then just as immediately seeking out the shelter of a pained, muted embrace underneath her partner's arms.

Kara stands frozen when she sees Yi-Min in pain, a moment needed on her end to process just what she's seeing. There are so very few times she's ever seen her fiancée upset to this extent. "Come here," she breathes out in worry, and takes the last few steps directly into Yi-Min's arms, her embrace protective, warm.

Swaying. Comforting. The gentle rock from side-to-side goes unbroken as she wonders, "What happened? Is it Yi-Shan?" God, she hopes not, but there's a reason she took the offer when the Linderman Group bought her out for two years of her salary. More than one reason, actually. "Xīngān, it's okay." Even if it wasn't now, it would be.

But oh, the pain her partner is hugging her with. Her own brow tightens together before she shakes her head and pulls back to look down at Yi-Min, regarding her firmly enough to let her know she won't take avoidance for an answer any longer.

Yi-Min feels the firm look being sent down to her from above without seeing it, and her first response is just to close her eyes with her own brand of firmness as though out of sheer stubbornness.

What the reaction really is, though, is tiredness— and she lets out a muffled, very quietly agonized sigh a moment later. Hearing the term of endearment is at least enough to release a tiny laugh of reaction from her, despite the despair afflicting the sound, and she murmurs "Wǒ dà bǎo,1 in turn without even looking.

"I don't know what is happening anymore. What is happening to me." Hoarseness is suddenly apparent in Yi-Min's voice when it lifts up again. Her gaze also finally rises to meet Kara's. In it is a look that is just as intense as it is forlorn. "No, it is not Yi-Shan. It's me. I was— attacked. In my shop. I…"

Is her voice shaking? It might well be, at least in some terrible type of focused frustration.

"What?" The word leaves Kara in a breath quickly voiding itself of warmth. The look in her eyes sharpens in ways it's not needed to since she was actively working security, instinct kicking it. "Oh my god," she whispers, her hands lifting from Yi-Min's body to cup her face instead, like just by that different angle of look she could see every invisible wound her partner has suffered.

For all that Kara doesn't know who she is without the stability and certainty the Linderman Group had provided her, however dangerous, however illegal it had treaded close to being— she knows precisely who she is when it comes to Yi-Min. She knows her place here, and cements herself into it.

"Who?" she asks coldly, beginning to frown. "I swear if someone came to shake you down and encourage you to find better protection, they will find another thing coming…" The fangs she bares are done protectively for Yi-Min's sake, but no less fiercely done.

Kara slips a step back, gently pulling her partner with her. Still frowning, she murmurs, "Come on, sit down, and we can talk about this. I'll get you something to drink. Do you want wine or something else?"

Yi-Min's fingers dig into Kara's wrist, just enough to stress her protective forewarning. "No," she says at once. "If it was something like that, I could perhaps have dealt with it myself. Sent Yi-Shan to settle things. Something like that, I don't know. But, you do not want to deal with this."

No. This has to have been something so much more egregious as to have taken place on another level entirely. The only time in recent memory Kara has seen her partner this rattled is on the days where Yi-Min had returned home after suffering her visual hallucinations.

In fact, it rather feels a great deal like one of those times. Yi-Min is exhibiting the same fear. The same cold, fretful alarm at the boundaries of her reality suddenly seeming so much less solid.

At least she does allow herself to be shepherded over to a nearby seat, where she bows her head slightly once she has been seated. "I will drink later," she avers, hoarse again. This is not the time for it.

Water, then. Kara takes the answer as such and fills up a cup from the cleaned glassware left last night to dry in a strainer by the sink, bringing it to Yi-Min at the table before sliding into a seat herself.

The food is too much to hope to address right now, so she leaves it aside and pushes the glass forward instead.

"Min, I will always want to deal with this. Every single last one of your demons, if only you'd let me." Her brow knits together before easing, more focused on Yi-Min's comfort than how concerned she is by her state. She leans forward, elbows on knees to help her look up at her loved one even if her head is turned down. "Whatever this is, don't try to deal with it alone. Tell me what happened, and I'll try to swallow my pride, too, and not go get your brother over whoever and whatever did this."

Kara offers out one hand to take if needed, palm upturned, eyes never leaving Yi-Min's.

For a moment, Yi-Min sits and does nothing, neither reaching out for Kara's hand nor the glass of water placed encouragingly before her.

Then, she reaches for Kara's hand. Inside her still-shadowed expression, her brows slope upwards in a small denotement of anguished gratitude. "And, I love you for it. So much. You are my… how is it you would say? My rock. All that I need is for you to be here with me, in this moment, as my rock. I could ask for nothing else from you." She would insist on it, in fact.

Funny that Kara should mention demons, too. Yi-Min's little half-smile turns more bitter. "If I told you what happened, I am not sure you would believe it. I am still not sure I do myself. At first, I thought— it was merely another thing that I was seeing. But when Asami Tetsuzan walked into my store…" Throat growing drier, she pauses there.

"This is one demon you do not want to deal with. I am still not sure if I am simply going insane."

Kara holds onto Yi-Min's hand loosely, thumb brushing over her knuckles while she listens, intent on being the rock she needs to. To hold back reaction in favor of just… absorbing.

But the hair on the back of her neck raises, her posture lifting up almost of its own accord when she says who came into the store. "The woman who—?" taught her fencing, then went and committed high treason presumably is how that sentence would end. Instead, it ends with a tightening of Kara's grip on Yi-Min's.

She'd ask if she's all right after such an encounter, but the answer resoundingly is no. Clearly. She'd not have closed up shop, they'd not both be here were that the case.

"There's not bullet holes needing patched in the shop now, is there?" Kara asks, more worry than humor in that, though she makes a failing attempt at it.

"There is nothing left to patch up. I made sure to clean up anything and everything that was left behind. Not bullet holes." That last addendum from Yi-Min comes rather quickly; she probably should've lead with it.

But the broken earthenware pots. A collapsed shelf. All the blood.

Maybe bullet holes would have been better.

"Yes, that woman. She did something to me." Yi-Min's tone grows thin with some hidden, more tightly-wound emotion. The weight of Kara’s hand resting atop hers is a source of comfort, but she is distracted. "She called it unlocking my potential. I think she was sick, Kara. In fact, I am fairly certain she was sick."

In her concern, Kara slips from the chair she's in in order to crouch on the floor before Yi-Min instead, looking up at her. Her other hand joins her first, sandwiching her partner's between them. By the time Yi-Min finishes speaking, Kara's head is already shaking back and forth rapidly.

"What does that mean?" she asks, more possessed of the matter than she'd like to show of it. "Min, what does that mean?" Kara's worry presents as determination rather than panic, but there's a very thin line between the two. "Unlocking your potential, what the fff…" Her brow knits together, head shaking. "even…?"

Behind Kara's back, several feet in front of Yi-Min's motionless figure, the glass of water shudders with mounting violence over the course of the next five seconds and then smashes straight down onto the tiles— as though something invisible had thrust it unceremoniously right off the tabletop.

The immediate area is left a mess of ruptured shards of glass and wildly runneling water, but Yi-Min barely even blinks at any of it. From where she sits, her gaze only burrows ever further into Kara's in some kind of haze of sorrowful agony.

In light of all of this, whatever this was, it becomes perhaps all too obvious now why she had so desperately desired the force of Kara's stabilizing presence.

"I do not know— please don't hate me. I do not know what I am anymore."

The gathering of noise from the glass behind her is something that happens in Kara's periphery, her focus entirely on Yi-Min. But she knows they're alone— perfectly so.

So when the glass is thrown to the ground with such force it shatters, she knows something is off immediately. Her head turns to see what she's already heard, eyes widening. She looks for only a moment, a breathless moment at that, before returning her attention back to Yi-Min.

Kara draws herself up to her feet and lets go of her hands— but only so she can draw both arms around her partner's shoulders, embracing her anew to her abdomen with all the same comfort as before.

"I'm here," she murmurs reassurance. "I'm here." She doesn't know what the hell just happened, but: "I'm not going anywhere. I don't hate you." Kara draws back only enough so she can shift one hand to gently tilt Yi-Min's face up toward her. "I could never hate you over something someone else did to you, Yi-Min. I could never hate you at all, but especially…" Her voice drops to a mournful whisper of her own. "Especially never for that."

Joining the noise of slopping water is the odd, hollow sound of white takeout plastic wibbling against the table of its own accord for several intensely stress-filled seconds before subsiding once again.

Coincidentally, that's right around the time when Yi-Min curls her hand weakly on top of Kara's shoulderblade, caught up in the newest embrace.

"Really, though, I do not know what is happening," Yi-Min reiterates in a much stonier voice, also muffled by being spoken straight into Kara's forearm. It’s only reluctantly that she allows herself to be drawn back once again: just above Kara’s cupped hand, her face is more sorrowfully shadowed than ever. "I feel almost as though the walls of my world are crumbling down around me. I have felt as much ever since… I started seeing those visions in my head, but it is so much worse now than before. I cannot even explain it. And that woman, Asami— she knew about what I was seeing, somehow. Before she…"

Yi-Min inhales in lieu of continuing that fragment, the look in her eyes intensely baleful for a flash of a second.

Would that Kara could wash Yi-Min's pain away. That desire is reflected so clearly in her own eyes, innocent and pure and ephemeral before something harder takes its place— the desire to protect her from further anguish, in some of the only ways she knows how.

"I lied, perhaps, just a little," she confesses quietly. "I won't be able to keep my peace about her. If I ever see that woman, I can't guarantee I won't find the nearest gun and shoot her with it." Kara sighs in frustration before continuing more softly, "It'd solve everybody's problems, wouldn't it? Seems like an easier path than…"

Whatever else they'd do when they captured her, presumably.

"The most important thing," she cuts herself off by saying. "Is that we find you your peace again. These things you've seen— the visions, and whatever worse thing has happened now— I don't want them to be the last word. To have that kind of power over you." Her look solemns, drawing her fingertips through Yi-Min's hair around the side of her head. "It's your voice you should hear most clearly."

Kara belatedly supposes with a small smile, "… Or mine, if you need to borrow it for support."

"You might think so, mightn't you?" Yi-Min replies with somewhat bitter mirth, recalling all too well the sight of Asami healing her own wounds like some otherworldly spirit garbed in the mantle of human flesh. All the while that she is being held by Kara, she clasps Kara to her small form no less fiercely, her apparent anguish soon quietened by a host of different emotions.

This time, she is also the first to disengage.

There is a fresh light shining from Yi-Min's eyes, ardent and keen, when she refocuses on Kara’s face as though it is something newly far away. None of her previous emotional intensity seems to have disappeared so much as it has been honed into a razor-fine point.

"I will always wish for your voice at my side. Always. And if you truly believe that mine should be heard: then, hear it now. Stay away from that woman, Kara Prince. She is dangerous far beyond my ability to explain, but you must take this seriously. I shall not lose you to a foolish mistake.”

Kara isn't sure what to make of that, but she keeps a cavalier expression nonetheless. Her brows both lift, head tilting down at her. "First and last name," she marvels in a gentle prod of an attempt to lighten the mood. "It must be very serious then."

And it must be, shouldn't it? For this woman to have done something to Yi-Min that caused her to be able to… effect things how she was.

Causing things to shake.

She'll need time to better process that, as strange and… unbelievable, frankly, as it was. But it had also been undeniable.

"I'm here. I'll be here," Kara promises, letting go of Yi-Min enough to sit back in her own seat again. "But for now, how about we have a bit to eat. All right?" She reaches to pull containers out of the plastic bags. The glass on the ground is a second consideration, paid mind only once she's pushed utensils in front of her partner.

"I'll get all this, don't even worry," she says, deftly stepping around shattered shards and streamlets of water with her running shoes. A small smile forms as she looks back before pulling a broom from inside the pantry opening.

This time when Yi-Min's gaze trails along after Kara, it slips into a slightly more buoyant feel, as though she had become somehow entranced by that attempt at evoking levity. Without relinquishing any of the gravity from her earlier, extremely dire-sounding warning, she even quirks a smile: a faint flicker of dimples. Similarly, the bitterness mellows from beneath her eyelids without really disappearing, softening just so into a focused, shaded gleam of brightness.

"What would I do here, without you?" the smaller woman laughs then, rising adroitly to her feet rather than choosing to stay where Kara had seated her. Sweep all of this water and broken glass up herself, no doubt— but that likely isn't the only thing she's talking about. "No, do not worry about that. I made the mess. I shall be the one to clean it up. Let us go outside to the garden to eat. Shall we?" Her hand strays onto Kara's on top of the broom— an insistent touch in her own light fashion, and filled with a whole world's worth of fondness.


Caught from what she was doing, Kara turns her head back to Yi-Min again. For just a moment she furrows her brow, having wanted to clean away evidence of overflow from Yi-Min's stressful morning before it had the chance to cause her any additional nerves, but… she decides this will do. She chooses to hope that the solace she's provided now has been enough.

She dips her head, rests her forehead against her partner's with her eyes closed in a gesture of meaningful affection.

Her fingers let go of the broom. She can always be there at a moment's notice to help sweep up the broken pieces should they become too much for Yi-Min to bear on her own. In the meantime, Kara can't protect her from everything, and to deny her ownership of the events that took place wasn't really protecting her, either.

"All right," she acquiesces in a murmur, pressing a kiss to Yi-Min's jaw. She's proud of Yi-Min's strength. It's one of the qualities she loves most about her.

Still… Kara vows silently to herself to do everything she can to keep Yi-Min from having to hurt enough to wield this kind of strength ever again.

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