bella_icon.gif deckard_icon.gif

Scene Title Considering
Synopsis Bella and Deckard dwelling in Ferry territory with a stick and a leave. To recreate what they're used to.
Date June 1, 2011

Bay House

There's something comfortable about exposed baseboards and plain (once) white walls. Homey.

Familiar. The smell or the worn down texture or the soak of late morning light white across plain sheets and yesterday's clothes strewn wrinkled in grey heaps along the floor.

At one point Flint had made as if to get up. He'd wandered to the bathroom and pissed and brushed his teeth and pulled on a pair of jeans.

Half an hour later, he is back in bed, stretched prone across his half and some of hers. Lazy. Bored.


Occasionally little feet pitter and patter at a gallop up or down the stairs down the hall beyond the room's closed door. There is giggling.

It's- ever so quaint, this house. And of course Flint would like it - a simple place for simple pleasures. For her own part, Bella has begun to colonize the space as best she can, lining the books she was able to bring with her up against the wall, bookended with whatever heavier objects are not in use.

There's no decor on the painted white walls, not yet; she's still uncertain as to just how long they will be staying here. With the children.

The giggling children.

Whose company Bella is just leaving, incidental of course - only a couple days in, and she hasn't had the least inclination to bother ingratiating herself with the little punks. Hearts and minds can wait at least until she gets used to the bay's nightsounds. Sleeping in a new place, under a new roof, is harder for her than she'd like to admit.

It takes a little doing to get the door open, as evidenced by her awkward sidewards squeeze, two large mugs clasped by the handles in one hand, a metal carafe in the other. How she managed the door handle - unclear. "I think that I did this right," Bella says, pushing the door closed with her heel, "I haven't used a french press since I made coffee at my Oma's. I was- ten? Maybe. So- no promises."

Flint hadn't slept the first night.

The second his snoring sawed regular and familiar across whatever din — water rushing through rusting pipes in the night, cat and rat claws on the tiled roof.

Whatever night this most recent one was, he slept fine. Some unremarkable stiffness in his lower back aside, he can't blame unrest for his current state of languishing disinterest in disengaging himself from tatty sheets and the privacy a closed door affords. The children probably have more to do with that.

Some of them know him by name.

With a pillow hooked half over his scruffy head by the crook of his left arm, he stirs enough to acknowledge Bella's re-arrival into their quarters with a bend at one knee and a slow breath. His voice is muffled.

"A what?"

"A french press," Bella says, enunciating with clarity and a certain meanness, "it makes especially strong, oily coffee. If you do it right which-" she takes a light perch at the foot of the bed, leaning over to set the cups on the ground, into which she can pour the coffee. It's dark, almost pitch black at an inch, contrasting with the rise of pale vapor that accompanies it.

Bella sniffs above the rim of a mug cradled between her fingers, brows lifting afterwards. "Strong. Check." She tilts the cup towards the window, catching the light across the liquid's surface, revealing a mottled sheen. "Oily. Check." She sounds quite pleased with herself. The mug is extended in Flint's general direction, suspended - steaming - over both he and his sheets.

"Come on. If you don't get up, who the fuck am I going to talk to?"

The important frenchness of this supposed press aside, 'especially strong' and 'oily' are generally not adjectives Flint tends to associate with — stuff he wants to put in his mouth. Meanness fails to catch hooks in his hide accordingly; he pushes slowly and slouchily up into a sit off the bed's far side, where he stays rooted for longer than he should with his elbows on his knees until he reaches with one hand to take the coffee being held out at his back, all off color wife beater and tattoos.

The especially strong and oily coffee.

Which was made with a press. A french one.

He sips it, though. Because she made it and she sounds pleased with herself and he feels he has resolve enough not to let it show on his face when bitterness cloys stale to his tongue and he has to force himself to swallow.

So far he is really making a case for being a person to talk to.

Oily and strong are how the French like to press their coffee, apparently, and the Gauls have been the arbiters of taste and quality since the Sun King so- So Bella is obliged to consider what she lifts to her lips as the standard, and any unpleasantness due to her failure to appreciate the- unique complexity of the- uh- flavor.

No, no, it's pretty much ghastly, but Flint disguises his distaste well enough that Bella feels it's necessary for her to conceal her own, not wanting to betray herself as too weak for a real cup of coffee. Which is crazy, since she'd take it with sugar and cream given the chance, but in for a penny in for a pound. Each sip is punishment for her pride.

She takes the next excuse she can to speak, and thus stop sipping. "I met a young woman yesterday. She'll be bringing us a fan, which I think will be a necessity by the time June gets into full swing. It was really very pleasant, though; she had no idea who I was."

Deckard, being Deckard, does not need too much of an excuse to lean over enough to set the cup down kind of sort of under the bed at his feet so that he can lie back instead.

The ceiling is mottled with uneven rings of dirty brown. Showing its age. It's a nice morning, though. The shadows of birds fleet by occasionally and the sky outside is clear and blue over leaden water and junk decaying on the beach.

The scars under his jaw show more when he stops shaving completely, clean lines cut in light against the murky grain. Francois' fingers. "A fan sounds nice," sounds like a conversational accommodation. Allowance. It also serves to call attention to the fact that they are having a conversation about a nice girl and a fan.

His accommodation earns Deckard a dirty look, and while Bella is grateful for the excuse to set her own cup o' mud down, she keeps her gaze fixed to him even as she leans over to place the mug on the ground, sliding it a little to the right so that it doesn't rest uneven on the seam between boards.

"She was suffering from some confusion, poor girl," she says, tone laden with pointed continuance, "regarding children from the future. Hers, and those of her friends, which is cute, don't you think? But terribly confusing, as you can maybe imagine. Still, she took hope, you know. Trusted they were acting in the interests of some… greater good, I think? Wonderful, she called them. 'On the ball' she called them."

Hands folded in her lap, in no hurry to retrieve her mug, Bella exits facetiousness and enters something a little closer to earnestness. "How do you feel about all this?" probably doesn't refer to this nameless 'nice girl', but rather the common problem.

"Avoidant," is such a coarsely honest answer delivered after a beat for thought that Flint may be hoping the answer itself saves him the intestinal discomfort of futher discussion.

But he has known her too long now to have real expectations along those lines. Unless he is trying to make her mad. Which wouldn't be of much benefit for the long term.

Or the short term.

Pillow hooked up against his side again with an orangutan twist of his right arm, he lazes his eyes closed and flexes his feet in filtered sunlight.

This combination of brevity and honesty prompts a thin smile, an 'in spite of' smile that squeezes past restraint and intended presentation. Bella leans over and gives Flint's calf a squeeze before scooting back across the bed, shoulders coming to rest on the wall behind her. Stationed closer to him, she clasps her hands in her lap and looms as much as she may.

"I can understand that," though what doesn't she claim to understand, "but it's not a tenable solution. Even if it's- brass tacks was discuss, we need to suss things out. They're going to come to us about it sooner or later, you indicated as much yourself. And I'd rather we give them as little reason to kick us to the curb as possible.”

"So we'll tell them what we know."

Flint's voice grates even and his posture is lax, but there's a wrought-iron tang to the clench working through his calf when her hand rests there and lines furrowed in slight between his brows. He can't see them. Because his eyes are closed. And because he is not having an out of body experience.

"You can say I knocked up your twin sister."

He's considering dragging the pillow over his face again, but shifts enough to roll slowly away onto his side instead. "Or your mom."

The slight lift to Bella's chin, with a concurrent upturn to her nose, communicates a not uncommon snobbery. She has to reply, of course, because she wouldn't give him the last word that easily, but she doesn't wish to deign his remark with an undistanced reply. And who do you think she gets that expression from?

"Considering the ages of those involved, the latter is probably more credible," Bella says with the dryness and precision of return fire. Her hands have come unclasped, in favor of a more combative crossing of her arms.

Halfway up on his elbow, shoulder knotted and pillow abandoned, Flint has to pause. He has to pause because what she's just said takes a beat to sink in, and once it's permeated the thick of his skull, further delay is necessary to twist a lingering Look back around at her. Lingering.

It lingers.

Then he rolls the rest of the way up, ribs puffed after a held breath and thumb hooked around to drag his pants up in the nick of time.

He isn't headed anywhere special. To the window. Maybe. He winds restlessly that way, chilly eyes turned outward and around while he bites back on a laggard retort and rankles his nose instead. Evidently, issues and medicine cabinet aside, he is still fully capable of cost benefit analysis.

And for each second of that lingering, Flint's gaze is returned in kind. It doesn't take much mental commitment to stare back - it's the formal gesture of not backing down, rather than the actual commitment to dominance, a stupid thing to want anyways, that she's invested in - and this frees her mind, unfortunately, to do the math.

She doesn't want to for the sake of knowing - Lord knows, she even tries to stop herself - but she goes at the problem with the compulsion of a rat wearing down its incisors. Assuming relative accuracy in Flint's file, estimating Calvin's age, remembering which birthday was Georgia Sheridan's last.

Dreadfully, it almost adds up.

She shakes the thought from her mind with an actual physical gesture, pony tail flipping flopping behind her head. When she's done, Bella's tumbled free of the whole train of thought, picking up a previous one with easy favor.

"And- outside of the practical?" Bella ventures, giving partial chase, moving across the mattress to perch on the corner nearest the window, "how does all this make you feel? Do you have any thoughts- in spite of yourself?"

Irritation lingers in the sheer cut of Flint's profile, another restless shift in weight reminescent of a horsey swoosh of tail far after pinned ears. There is nothing exciting going on outside the window for him to watch. The kids are inside, the weather is fine and the beach is miserably brown and grey. And he is old.

The serpent looped thick around a cross at his right shoulder is spending more time looking at her than he is at this rate, but he does acknowledge her with a glance when she finally presses in again, already, unconsciously gathering himself to shake his head. No feelings.

After an uneven pause, the best deflection he can come up with is: "Do you?"

"Do you care?" is addressed to the snake in absentia of Flint if necessary. It's not irritation that draws her voice taut around her words. Irritation is a rash, a diffuse sunburn prickle - this is chillier, more brittle, and more pointed. Bella has her arms crossed again, her ankles too; her spine has a cobra's straightness, answering in kind the tattoo she'd been facing.

There's a subtle loss of contrast about Flint's face. Specifically about his eyes, where clear blue drains quick to bloodless grey in dusty sunlight. Not quite rolling the windows up, but close enough. Equally predictable.

Harder to catch.

The increasingly blocky contour of his jaw is as telling, anyway. Especially when he has to force words


She'd like to gather each detail of his reaction. She'd like to analyze his reaction and synthesize a response she judged optimal. She'd like to be able to have whatever she wanted, whenever she wanted it. But things get in the way.

"Show me," is a demand, however softly spoken. Bella's finger points down in every spectrum she radiates or reflects, emphatic on the immanence of her ultimatum.

Flint shifts back from the window to face her something more like (but not exactly) head on, reticent, recalcitrant degrees of indirectness retained in the angle of his shoulders and the turn of his long face. About as interested in arguing as he is in complying with imperatives. Which is to say: not very.
He looks at her the way dogs do when they feel like they don't deserve to be in trouble. Resentful. "How?"

She gets her retreat into observation now, attention turned to an assessment - what, precisely, is the weight of that 'How?', Bella wonders. Is he asking for an appeasement ritual? And further, would she be satisfied with that? If she sets the terms to her expectations, and his ability, would that be sufficient?
Her extended hand turns, fingers repurposed to beckoning. "Come here."

It occurs to Deckard that he could say 'no' and shoulder on out the door to see if there is breakfast or a box of cereal or leftovers from the night prior. Or he could leave without saying no. There's a slow-burning coal branding gradually through his gut that says he should.

But the longer he holds his ground and wears at his bit the less there is of his resolve and he 'comes here,' at a walk that is slow and as awkward as the prompt necessitates.

When he gets there, she stands up, setting her hands on his shoulders, wide at first, then adjusting their placement with an accompanying eye, until her thumbs rest past the hollows of his septum. Bella looks up, because he's tall and his eyes are near the top of him. "Do you ever think about what I'm thinking? Do you have at least a guess as to what I might be feeling?"

These questions are not rhetorical, as the expectant silence that follows them indicates, if nothing else. They are also untinted by upset. She sounds, for the moment, simply curious, though not uninvested in the answer.

Having sensitivity wrung out of him one close question at a time is not that much less stressful than leaking it all on his own. She can feel it in him before she gets around to asking and for a while after, bristly, coiling unease unyielding to touch that alleges to be without bias. A tickle of adrenaline even shortens his breath and whips at his pulse.

Showered clean the night before and sober now, he doesn't smell. Except maybe kind of like the bad coffee that she has made.

He finally says, "Yeah," and immediately has to clear the cinch of his throat with a terse swallow. Can they not talk about this? He is sorry for whyever they are talking about this.

Her lips purse ever so slightly in the quiet that draws out after his answer. Whatever prompted this surprise crucible may well have been lost in the change of scale and resolution. In the end, however, this seems to meet whatever criteria have been erected by the uneasy coalition government of her desires and her better reason. Bella's official decision: "Okay," and her full statement: "that's all I ask."

She has, does, and likely will ask for much more, but it sounds nice to say it, and in a singular way it does feel true. Her hands progress, one halting shy of the nape of his neck, the other venturing so far as his jaw. A thumb judges the time since his cheek last felt an edge.

Kissing him also seems nice, and so she does, but the bitter tang of her own dubious craftsmanship makes it a brief foray. It's shame more than distaste, but it's reason enough. Her eyes cut off to the side momentarily, this very lapse in composure itself a reason for further embarrassment.

"I think there's some OJ downstairs," she offers, conciliatory, "come with me, and I'll keep Jack and the Hunters at bay."

Flint is not as responsive as he could be. At least, not in the right direction: stringy muscle pulls across taut from cheekbone to jaw beneath her thumb and he flexes in harder against his own bones, kiss met with a reserved kind of distraction. Uncomfortable.

Impatient, actually — with himself — another swallow bit back in against a slow breath. He hasn't made any move for the kitchen, anchored heavy to smooth-worn baseboards and the bare heads of old nails. Trying to force words out or trying to find them. Both.

"This won't be enough," is what he finally manages to mash out, eye contact at a level made unintentionally alien by the pin of his pupils and colorless irises swollen around them. Orange juice and French Presses and roving packs of rascally orphans and a bookshelf. And Deckard. "And I'm sorry." That he made her pregnant in an alternate timeline and the unholy result has clawed from one universe to the next to find them.

Unfortunately, in non-omniscient dialogue terms, his reticence in the company of sudden onset tension serves to make him slightly incoherent.

It's like she's mimicking the way he disappears behind his eyes, when they drain out and sees something different, enters his wraith's plane. There is a recession into herself that is evidenced not by any change, but rather by change's absence. Presence is a protean thing, a state of action and flux - stasis is absence, evidenced in the catatonic. And corpses.

Not to suggest Bella seems corpselike, but her mental retreat - an event that would appear, to an onlooker, as if it were happening in her eyes - is visible because she leaves her face untended, and untended it holds formation. Within the space of her mind, his spare words are given careful treatment, receiving her full attention, because she cannot quite make out what they mean.

And in the end, she's still forced to ask him. Her voice is not breathless as much as bloodless. "What are you saying?"

Suddenly, there's blurry, rustling movement in his peripheral awareness that fails to resolve into causation or detail. It's harder to say the wrong thing when you don't use as many words. Flint has done it less often in practice than his habits and disposition might suggest; his memory compresses sponge-like and insubstantial when he breathes out and presses his brows down after it.

It feels like Which part is confusing? may be the wrong thing to say. Not only because it may make her mad, but because he will have to elaborate. With words.

So he hangs on himself instead, gears locked like the rest of him in a wiry stand against her, slatted ribs lifted slow in and out. Eventually, looking at the empty spaces where her eyes should go is enough to fell his stare off to the side somewhere, painfully, tendon twistingly uncomfortable.

"I don't— " comes at a stilted mutter, and a sorry one at that, syllables dragged out've him on hooks and chains, "want you to be unhappy."

Oh is that all? Bella returns to her frontier post, takes over the duty of tipping her brows in an upward slant. "And I don't want you to be unhappy either," maybe sounds more like a quid pro quo platitude than it should, but the most heartfelt echo is still an echo, "we temper our expectations, and do our best. If that isn't enough, that only leaves hemlock."

Though maybe she'd rather not end on that note.

Bella'd rather not sound coaxing, much less imploring or even plaintive, but there's tinge of all three as she begins speaking, "There are parts that are good," before she titrates for the appropriately concealing pragmatism, "and there are parts that are unavoidable." However avoidant one might feel. "I can bear the latter for the former.

"Can't you?"

Can't he? Deckard's eventual (and quiet), "Okay," could stand to be sturdier. As things are, it's agreement more than acknowledgement, lingering ambivalence slanted in the downturn of his chin and a slack at his shoulders. Indifference serves him better than optimism. He is gradually sinking comfortably back into his own skin.

His eyes stay away, though. Over there, where flickers of tenuous blue occasionally mark bird bone on the farthest fringes of his perception. She was saying. About juice.

She does her best to shepherd his gaze back with a guiding hand at his cheek. The gentle pressure makes clear her desire, even if she can't really force compliance. Bella secures her voice in the register of editorial note - a 'just so we're clear' notation that takes place askance the usual muddled back and forth of discourse.

"My love is unqualified." And by necessity, that's all she can say on the matter. Such a claim begs testing, but she doesn't give space for doubt. Yes, she mentioned juice. She steps back, foot bumping against carafe, and she must dip down quickly to prevent its toppling. Shuffle and stoop gather the two cups and the bitter stuff within, and while she seemed to have some trick for getting in in the first place, she decides to keep her secret. Her look is to Flint, and it has a not-uncommon expectation.
Door, please?

Almost before pressure is replied, Flint flicks his eyes up into fleeting contact, compliant in an absent and automatic way that doesn't quite mesh with the reluctance of his skull to pivot on his spine. His cheek turns after his eyes do, with conscious thought, and by then she's stepping back and he is free to do the same with a glance down after her near spill.

Then he has to get the door because she is asking him to, yesterday's buttondown hooked up off the floor along the way.

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