False Teeth


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Scene Title False Teeth
Synopsis Three people travel back in time to save friend and family — and in the process demonstrate that it isn't always the sharpest teeth which matter the most.
Date November 3, 2005

One thing's certain on a law school campus: the library is open all night.

Easy enough to disappear into it for a little while, taking a random book from the shelves and propping it open on the table; if the pages never turned, no one was concerned enough to notice. Not as the sun set, surrending the atmosphere to autumn's creeping chill; not as the sky shaded into darkness, electric lights glaring actinic against that backdrop. She would've stayed there, while the clock progressed through late hours into very early ones, and birds serenaded approaching dawn, except for a fundamental truth: not-quite-finished-growing teenagers need to eat.

It's only a little after 10pm when Tamara dislodges herself from her position at the table, abandoning the open book and making her way downstairs to exit the library. Dressed in a teal shirt with three-quarter-length sleeves and dark blue jeans, her blonde hair falls just past shoulder-length, and she wears a remarkably glittery bracelet on her right wrist. Outside the Leo T. Kissam Memorial Library, the sixteen-year-old girl hesitates, looking in either direction with an uncharacteristically indecisive air.

Ultimately, she sets off west, passing the skeletal forms of leafless weeping willow and ornamental plums on the way to 62nd Street.

62nd Street, New York City

November 3, 2005

It's a world without curfew.

Although traffic isn't as heavy this late at night as it is during rush hour, a combination of street lamps and headlights shroud the campus in a sickly glow. The three figures on the opposite side of 62nd street, bundled in heavy winter clothing, could easily be mistaken for a professor and two of his graduate students, even though one of the women in his company is young enough to have just started attending. Judah's dark brown leather jacket and the olive green sweater he wears beneath it, paired with worn denim jeans and scuffed loafers, provide adequate protection against the chill, though he probably could have stood to bring a scarf and a pair of gloves as well.

What he didn't forget are his badge and side arm. Detective Judah Demsky was alive and well and working on November 3rd, 2005. Should it become necessary, Tasha and Ygraine will have the law on their side. "Do you see anything?" he asks quietly.

The youngest and smallest of the three figures has her hands buried in the pockets of her yellow plaid coat, fingers of her left hand curled around the pistol she brought with her. Tasha's eyes are wary and worried, her brows knit together as they are wont to do when she is anxious about something — which is about 90 percent of the time, these days.

She peers down the street, then turns to look down the other side of the street, watching for any sign of Tamara or any sign of the people who are there to harm her friend. "Not yet. I wish we knew more," she says, not for the first time since starting this journey. At least Judah is there — it makes it awkward, since she's only met him in other dire times, but she feels safer than were it she and Ygraine alone.

Swallowing heavily, Ygraine pushes the whirl of thoughts and… the sensation of this being an unreal experience to the back of her mind. Feeling as if the world has taken several steps to the left stirs old, bad memories… but years of competition did teach her how to ignore worries about consequence and performance, and focus on the here and now. Whenever it might be.

"There's… a blonde over there," the Briton murmurs, tone somewhat dubious. "Slender, moves like she's young. Could that be her? And… what do we do? Tail her and try to ber heroes if anyone attacks her? Or do we have the detective flash a badge and ask her to come with him?"

They may be dubious about the identity of the girl, but as her eyes pass across the trio standing on the far side of the street, Tamara stops. The frown that settles upon her features can't be seen at that distance, yet it can almost be sensed, wary disbelief conveyed in stance and posture. She stares at them across five narrow lanes of traffic… and looks like she might either stay frozen there forever or bolt the other way.

In the end, the girl does neither.

Tamara walks out onto the sidewalk; hesitates. Plunges across the street with the reckless-seeming attitude of a city-native teenager; after dodging cars for a decade, she thinks she can do it with impunity. Especially when there's red lights involved. This time, at least, nothing untoward happens. Though, when the blonde makes it to the far side of the street, she pauses again; casts a glance towards them, not quite furtive; finally Tamara opts to just walk over and take a seat on the low concrete wall surrounding Damrosch Park's plantings, one hand pressed against the bridge of her nose, thumb tucked beneath the angle of her jaw.

"Don't want to startle her," Judah says, about to step out onto the street with the intention of hanging back by the curb until an oncoming taxi has passed, but before he can head out to intercept the teen at a brisk pace (and yet not so brisk that Ygraine and Tasha wouldn't be able to keep up with their much shorter legs), Tamara makes the first move and he finds himself rooted to the spot, the muscles in his neck, shoulder and upper back gone tense beneath his jacket as she navigates traffic. Only when she arrives safely on the other side of the street does he seem to relax, albeit fractionally.

"Her parents are going to report her missing in a few hours," he continues, his voice low. "They'll sweep her school first. Check the local hospitals. We have some time. Right now, our best option is to take her someplace safe — warm, preferably. If she's fully manifested, she'll know we're coming. If she hasn't—" Well. The detective's brow furrows. "You should talk to her."

When Tamara gives them that look of wariness, Tasha's own gaze is fretful and apologetic, knowing their presence is something that is disquieting the younger Tamara. She watches Tamara sit on the wall, then turns to look up at Judah, her eyes wide. Talk to her. What do you say? She just nods, and then glances at Ygraine as if to say 'Coming?' though she doesn't wait.

Easing her hands, sans the pistol, out of her pockets so that Tamara can see her empty hands, she begins to walk toward where the blonde woman sits. When she's close enough to be heard without hollering and drawing attention to herself, she speaks, her voice gentle and reassuring, or trying to be, like one might use to calm a colt.

"Tam? Do you know who I am?" she asks. "We're here to help you. You have to trust me."

Though she's clearly also rather apprehensive, Ygraine nods to Judah. Looking to Tasha, she's about to ask how to handle this when the younger girl sets off. A wry smile lifts one side of her mouth, then - taking a deep breath - she strides after Tasha, bringing her own hands out of her pockets to similarly show a lack of threat.

Coming to a halt, she raises a hand and murmurs a quiet greeting, "Hi."

Up close, it's apparent that the left sleeve of Tamara's shirt has been scorched — albeit in a rather limited fashion, a line of char drawn partway down its length. She scrambles up to her feet as Tasha and Ygraine approach, quickly dropping her hand, not that the action does anything much to mask the fact that she isn't in top form.

Most people, in this situation, would accusingly ask how do you know my name. Tamara looks at the older girl, her face drawn and pale, expression skeptical… but not quite surprised. Her question is "…Do I know you?", spoken in a tone that suspects — almost dreads — the answer will be yes.

Or more complicated than yes.

"You know, don't you," the blonde continues, lips quirking in a smile that's almost familiar, "that's about the least reassuring introduction ever." Her gaze angles over to Ygraine. "Hi," Tamara returns in kind.

Judah hangs back, not just to give Ygraine and Tasha space with which work, but also to survey their surroundings. Music drifts out from an open window on their side of the street two stories up: a tenement building packed with college students two, three, four to a room, sardines that reek of cheap beer, patchouli and sweatpants that haven't been washed since they last visited their parents and hauled their laundry with them. Not a threat.

His dark eyes skip further down the street to the cars parked on the curb and gravitate instinctively toward their license plates, which of course tell him nothing. A breeze ripples through the branches of the weeping willow as a shadow passes over its trunk.

He gets the impression that they're not alone. Says nothing yet.

Tasha rakes her teeth over her lower lip nervously and she nods to Tamara. Yes, she's aware that her greeting was rather ominous. It's hard for her to see Tamara so very lucid when she knows what awaits her in the future — if she gets to see that future. If they can stop whatever is supposed to happen tonight.

"I'm sorry," she says quickly. "My name's Tasha. This is Ygraine. You really shouldn't be out alone right now — it isn't safe. Do you want to walk with us? It's not safe here."

Ygraine flips up the lapel and collar of her biker's jacket, as if against the chill - but the gesture reveals a little blue star-shaped sticker. It long ago had to be covered in tape to hold it in place, but has been there since a distant afternoon of music and jugglers three years away.

"To most people this would sound utterly insane… but I think that you have some idea that you do know us, don't you?", she says gently, expression apologetic.

Tamara shakes her head slightly at Tasha's minor flood of questions; that is familiar. "Just — a touch of deja vu, I guess," she supplies, although the dismissive sentiment of those words doesn't quite reach her eyes… and in the end it can't be played down, as Ygraine presses the matter. The teen glances away, orange streetlight glinting from the faceted glass in her bracelet as right hand lifts to cover the scorch mark on her left shoulder. "Not… exactly," she replies softly. She licks her lips — and then shakes her head. "I can't—

"I don't understand enough to describe it well. When I do…" Her expression, as the girl looks back, is an echo of Ygraine's: apologetic. Shrugging, she lets the thought finish itself in absence of spoken words, turning towards Tasha. "I… don't think it's quite safe anywhere, right now. The company's welcome." Blue eyes flick past to Judah. "You are coming?" Gently spoken, almost hopeful, even if she doesn't quite grasp why.

"Yes." Judah steers his attention back toward Tamara. "Of course." He closes the distance between himself and the girls, an old sheepdog loping up around his flock. "We should find shelter," he suggests with a pointed look to the teen's shoulder, "and get you some medical attention." Which is a less kind way of saying you're hurt. He briefly places a hand on Tasha's back, between her shoulder blades, but the touch doesn't last long: a few heart beats at most, unspoken reassurance that she's doing a good job.

"Do either of you know anything about first aid?" he asks her and Ygraine as he crosses to Tamara, and offers her his hand.

There is a visible relaxation around Tasha's shoulder as Tamara agrees to come with them, and her hands slip back into her pockets so she can curl her fingers around the gun, dropping back to let Judah lead Tamara away.

"Just very basic," Tasha says apologetically to Judah's question — her bigger concern is that the other time travellers might be lurking or arriving any time. "How did you get hurt?" she asks Tamara from behind, though her dark eyes dart here and there, catching on every shadow to make sure it is just a shadow.

The thought of nowhere being safe certainly isn't a reassuring one, but for the time being Ygraine is still far more concerned about the harm they might be doing with their very presence. "A certain amount," she says to Judah, though her gaze remains upon Tamara. "I've been in and seen plenty of crashes… and I brought a good kit with me in the bag. Though we should probably find out what happened as we walk. If we need unconventional shelter, I can give us some options. But not from a brightly-lit street, unless we want to risk serious attention."

Even as she accepts the offered hand, Tamara opens her mouth; pauses, looking up at Judah, and closes it again. Simple enough to realize that doesn't need to be said, especially when he asks his companions their knowledge of first aid. Beginning to walk down the street, without quite the furtive wariness Tasha displays, the blonde girl grimaces at her query. "This is — I'm really not… very sure." Quiet for a few steps; then she ducks her head, looking a bit uncertainly towards her companions. "I'm not even sure it all happened… what was real, and what…" A moment's hesitation. "…what was just in my head."

Judah encircles a protective arm around Tamara's waist as they begin to walk. He's largest, and therefore makes the best shield and can cover the teen with the broad barrel of his chest or back if need be. "Define unconventional," he tells Ygraine as the group passes under the open window. A beer bottle strikes the pavement up ahead and scatters into pieces, followed by a crow of laughter from somewhere up above, but his only reaction is to tighten his grip on Tamara, the tips of his fingers digging gently into her ribs.

Somehow, he doubts the drunk fraternity boys slurring apologies at Tasha and Ygraine in between cat calls are what Hiro sent them here to thwart.

The small teen jumps at the tinkling of broken glass, and she peers upwards, but like Judah, Tasha discards them as a threat. It doesn't do much for her nervousness, and her right hand comes to her mouth so she can chew at the thumbnail, a nervous trait that Tamara of the future would recognize.

"If you have any deja vu about … any other people joining us, let us know, 'kay, Tam?" she says quietly from behind Judah and Tamara, eyes darting to the street as a car drives by, glancing behind her to make sure it keeps driving.

Having spent five years at university, Ygraine isn't overly frightened by drunken students… though she's clearly very much on watch herself, gaze roaming over her surroundings, her gait shifting to be a little more light-footed and balanced — just in case. "If it's solid, in reach and you can see it, I can walk you all up it," she quietly informs Judah. "Open window of an unoccupied apartment, roof of a building, upper tiers of a locked-up parking structure, heck — even the underside of a bridge or something."

Tamara of the future isn't here, but she gives Tasha a smile anyway. "I'll try," is the only assurance she can offer. "If you —" But no. They'll believe her. Strange certainty, yet they'll believe her; and the teen smiles again, more warmly. For all that it's short-lived, the arm around her waist a reminder of circumstances.

The beer bottle isn't worth much notice, nor the drunken students above; environmental hazard, the both of them. The girl isn't on watch the same way her companions are, but it would be dangerous to assume that's because no danger is impending — she herself already said it isn't safe.

Ygraine's assertion earns her a sidewise look from the teen. "How does that work?" It's not that she disbelieves, quite… but walk up walls? Tamara rubs a hand across her forehead and the bridge of her nose, then goes back to considering Ygraine.

Up ahead, a police car — bluebird blue with white lettering instead of the opposite — rounds the corner, slowing to a crawl. It's not uncommon for the NYPD to send patrols down 62nd after dark, but Tamara has ample reason to be wary, especially when it pulls up along the curb half a block ahead in front of an unoccupied parking meter. The lights go dead, and a moment later a tall woman with black hair tied back into a tight ponytail climbs out from the driver's side, door slammed shut behind her with so much force that it sounds like a gunshot.

As she moves around the front of the vehicle, her eyes settle on the advancing group and the corner of her mouth twitches up around a slight smile. "Apartment's best," Judah says. "An unoccupied building won't have any electricity, but we can probably do without."

Tasha nods toward the police car as it approaches and comes to a stop. "Judah?" she murmurs, since he is — and was, in 2005 — a member of law enforcement. "We have company. Can we take a turn into the park or would that be suspicious?" She certainly wouldn't go walking through the park at night without someone Judah's size with her.

She stands on tiptoes to peer over Tamara's shoulder, trying to get a better look at the cop. If it's a legitimate law enforcement officer, maybe having her there would help deter the other time travelers — but then, there is that nagging possibility, however small, that she might be one of them. "Do you recognize her?" she asks, though it's a long shot — the police department is a very large force of men and women.

Ygraine offers Tamara a gentle, warm smile. "I believe that it's a matter of redirecting gravitons - granting items, or people, a property that redirects any gravitons entering them. Suffice to say that I have the capacity to make object A the new 'down' for object B… for a short while. Or that I can have us all walk up a wall."

Her explanation is left there, however, as she eyes the woman ahead. "Whether or not she's legit, we want to avoid attention, if we can. Get us out of line of sight of her and I can try to work fast. It'll feel bad, but trust me. That's just your body adjusting to a new orientation."

Tamara doesn't pay any attention to Ygraine's explanation — doesn't really hear it, as the headache that never quite went away rebounds full force. The fractal scatter of images, sounds, impressions give very little in the way of information, power she can't yet harness beating urgently against the inside of her skull.

She doesn't remember what happened.

She doesn't need to see the woman to know the face is the same.

Tamara's heels press against the concrete, her weight dragging on Judah's arm. "Don't touch," she whispers, words quiet but clear. Blue eyes squint shut, to no avail — the woman doesn't go away, and neither does the understanding that remains despairingly just out of reach. "Don't let her touch you—!"

Whatever response Judah might have prepared for Tasha turns to ash in his mouth. He doesn't recognize the woman, incidentally, and his free hand is reaching for the side arm under his jacket around the same time she's lifting hers.

Her hand. Not her gun. Fingers form claws, and there's a deep, sononous sound that rumbles beneath the pavement under their feet and gives Ygraine and Tasha the warning that Tamara already has. The sidewalk in front of the group splits apart, and from the chunks of cement rise thick metal cables like a nest of thrashing snakes. Although they don't crackle or spark, there could still be electricity coursing through them, but that isn't the real danger.

It's the cables themselves. A flick of the woman's wrist has two whipping across toward Tamara. One coils around the girl's ankle, the other clamps down on her wrist, wrenching her free of Judah's hold and down onto the mangled sidewalk.

As Tamara voices the nagging fear that this woman is their rival time traveler, Tasha's hand is also pulling out the small gun she carries in her pocket, though she's hoping secretly that Judah will be the one to shoot first. It's something she still needs to get over, that hesitation.

"Tamara!" she shouts, reaching for the blonde when those cables come breaking through the concrete, grabbing at the person they've come to save but coming up with nothing but a handful of air. If anything happens to Tamara —

Tasha lifts her hand and fires the weapon at the black-haired woman down the block. She's gotten better in her aim since practicing with Raith and unfortunately having real-life application of the skill on Staten, though that was with a semi-automatic rifle, not a small-calibre pistol.

After jerking back from the rupturing pavement, Ygraine stares in horror and astonishment for a few moments. The finely-tuned reflexes of an elite competitor are no use at all when neither muscle memory nor conscious thought provide any clear advice.

That indecision passes, turning into half-panicked resignation. Nothing with which to cut the cables — bandage scissors from the first aid kit likely to be even less effective than her pocket knife — but with all hope of avoiding overt Evolved display has gone out of the window… it would seem to be time to try to distract the woman and give the shooters a chance to both keep the aggressor busy and extricate Tamara.

In hope of forcing the stranger to split her attention and over-extend herself, Ygraine darts behind Judah and Tasha to spring for the wall of the nearest building… landing on it and combat-rolling upwards as her momentum carries her on. Bent low, one hand trailing down near her feet, she scuttles in a rapid, curving arc — hoping that giving the stranger a (probably) never-before-seen power and an oddly-behaving opponent to worry about will put her off her stride.

The only thing Tamara is able to do, as the cables shove her to the concrete, is wrap her free hand across her face, protecting it from the fractured sidewalk below. That and shriek, the sound cutting across the background noises of city life and partying college boys. Skin scraped and oozing red where it impacted the rough cement, bruises nascent where clothing provided just enough protection, she twists to look at the cables as best she can. Struggles against them, to no avail. "Judah—!"

He never was introduced; apparently, he doesn't need to be.

A bullet pings against the side of the police car, leaving a small hole the size of a dime, and the woman ducks her head instinctively. Maybe she shouldn't have shut that door — she could be using it for cover. When she draws her fist into her chest, the cables begin to withdraw, snaking backwards along the sidewalk with Tamara still thrashing in their hold. Judah grabs the teen by her upper arms and pulls back, engaging in a game of tug-of-war that he's destined to lose.

"Ygraine—!" he barks through gritted teeth. Tasha has their offensive covered. With both his hands occupied with trying to gather Tamara to him, he can't reach his pistol in its holster to provide her with cover fire. "Fuck."

The gravity manipulator's gamble pays off. As the policewoman moves back around the front of the car, taking shelter behind the hood, she's craning her neck to track Ygraine, eyes narrowed to slits. "We're gonna need to confiscate that car!" Judah shouts. "Any ideas, Tasha?"

Tasha's eyes and gun track the aura absorber, and she breaks her gaze for a moment to look at the cables, shaking her head. "Ygraine, can you screw with the gravity of an object, like Magnes can?" she shouts. "Make it so she can't pull her? Or make them … let her go, I don't know…"

Not for the first time does she wish she had a power — if this were the movies or a comic book, this would be the moment that she'd manifest, some amazing power that would save them all coming to full bloom. But it's not, and all she has is a small gun.

"I bet she left the keys in it — cops always do, right? If I can try to jump in it — maybe I can hit her…" she murmurs quietly so that her voice doesn't carry. "If I just run and shoot at her and jump in the car?" It sounds crazy. It is crazy. But she can't let that woman get Tamara.

Sinking into a crouch, kneeling perpendicular to the rest of the world, Ygraine is somewhat too distracted to provide a direct answer to Tasha - but instead takes advantage of her elevated position to provide the false officer of the law with something else to think about. Quickly delving into one of the side pockets of her pack, she palms a squat metallic cylinder… then hurls it in a high, spinning arc towards the car, her height above the ground giving the darkly-glittering object an impressive path up and away before it disappears against the gloom above.

"Fire in the hole!", she shouts with all the urgency she can muster, scuttling rapidly back towards Tamara as if afraid of the blast radius… as the unfortunate tin of boot polish — brought along in case this trip into the past required a smartening-up of appearances at some point — curves out to land and bounce and skitter metallically towards their assailant's cover. Keep your concentration with that for a distraction, bitch.

In the mean time, Ygraine hopes to have long enough to switch Tamara's 'down' to herself, and help Judah pull her away from the cable tentacles.

A broad sweep of the woman's arm has one of the cables not attached to Tamara lashing out at Ygraine. It cracks against the wall, showering the sidewalk with chunks of shattered brick, broken glass and flakes of plaster and drywall with the consistency of snow. A miss. If she'd been planning on taking another swat at her — and judging by the fury written across her pinched face, she probably was — the next strike never comes.

Ygraine's shouted warning, coupled with the sound of tinkling metal as the tin of shoe polish goes bouncing across the pavement, has her dropping to the ground, and although she doesn't relinquish her mental hold on the cables, the distraction is enough that the cables relinquish their hold on Tamara and Judah can untangle her from their coils.

"Go!" he thunders at Tasha as he hauls Tamara up into his arms. "Go go go!"

The smashing of bricks and the skittering of grenades (or shoe polish tins) has Tasha cowering and covering her head for just a moment — luckily Judah is there to shake her out of that defensive stance with his booming yell, and the teenager launches herself into a run at the car. Rather than go around the squad car and have to pass the woman on the ground, she yanks the passenger door open, her low Converse sneakers scrambling over the center console, and drops into the driver's seat.

The keys are in fact in the ignition, so she throws the car into drive, tires screeching as she lurches forward, the passenger side still open so that Judah, Tamara and Ygraine can slide in without having to fumble with the doors.

"Use your gun!", Ygraine hisses at Judah as Tasha hares off to acquire their new ride. "Keep her busy — I can take Tamara." Not as easily as the big man, to be sure, but in her competitive days Ygraine used to hoist more than the blonde's weight over her shoulders. How hard can this be?

People, of course, tend to be less cooperative than weights… but desperation and fear for one's life are often effective spurs to action, and in this case the not-yet broken-minded young woman is definitely to be protected. If need be, she'll be going into the car head-first, assisted by some judicious manipulation of gravity's orientation for her — but one way or another she is getting (largely) safely into the get-away vehicle, accompanied by Ygraine. Judah, she hopes, can take care of himself.

Curled up in Judah's arms, up until he passes her off to Ygraine, cooperative is one thing Tamara can be — provided cooperative is interpreted as neither fighting the Brit's efforts to get her into the car nor playing the part of so much limp dead weight. It may even be a boon that she doesn't try and scramble into the vehicle on her own, which would get in everyone's way, but rather keeps her arms wrapped tight about herself, lips pressed into a thin, pained line. "Hurry," the girl breathes, to no one in particular… or to everyone. "Go…"

On the ground, the woman's head snaps back up when the sound of squealing tires pierces the air, which is suddenly filled with the stench of burning rubber. No explosion, though, and that has her lips pursing into a bewildered expression— until she sees the tin. As the car peels away, she reaches out and picks it up, turning it over between her fingers before pushing herself onto an elbow.

"Son of a bitch," she mutters under her breath.

The look Judah gives Ygraine is smouldering with the same anger their attacker is undoubtedly feeling now that she's realizing she's been tricked, but he doesn't argue. His side arm pops out of his holster. "Belvedere Castle," are his last words, punctuated by the sound of him slamming the car door shut behind Ygraine and Tamara. "Daybreak.

"Keep her safe."

"What!" Tasha says, reaching to roll down the window with a push of her fingering and staring at the man, her dark eyes pleading with him. "Get in the car, Judah, don't go…"

Those worried eyes dart to the rearview mirror, where she can see the woman rising up from her prone state. She snaps her attention to the window again, jerking her head to the backseat and pushing the unlock buttons to make sure he can get in. There's no handles on the interior, as he'll know, but he can enter it from the outside. "Get in the car, Judah, I don't know where to bring her or what to do," she pleads, though her foot itches to move from brake to accelerator and get far away from this street.

Ygraine went in the back with Tamara in part to leave the front for the cop, having only hoped for a second or two of cover fire — and she only works out why he might be angry with her when he doesn't join them. Bewilderment, then realisation… then a powerful wave of guilt.

Leaving someone behind was not how this was meant to go. Especially not on her say-so. This… this feels even worse than shooting someone did, because right now she's not sure that Judah stands a snowball's chance. Scrambling around to try to open a window, the door, anything, she has wild ideas of attaching Judah to the car so that he can just hold on, or pull him in, or… "We need to go!", she shouts at the world — but mostly Judah, so that he knows to hurry up and get in, and ignore her misunderstood words.

Judah raises his weapon, levels it with the woman's lean shape as she pushes herself to her feet, one hand reaching for him— only to have the pistol yanked from his fingers by an invisible force. It goes flipping through the air, and you know what?

He's not going to stick around to see whether or not their attacker catches it. Wasting no time, the detective throws open the back door as Ygraine is doing the same, and roughly shoulders into the back seat.

"Okay, okay!"

The driver still has her own gun on the seat in front of her, so even as she presses her foot on the accelerator again, she picks it up and hands it to Judah, so he can shoot out the window in their wake if he so feels like it. Otherwise, Tasha's attention is on the road ahead of her, hands gripping the wheel tightly as she peels away again, then begins to weave a dizzying labyrinthine path of turns through the streets to make it difficult for anyone to follow them.

"Where to — we need to get rid of the car — a parking garage, but one close to a place we can get to to take care of Tamara…?" she says, tears starting to blur her vision just a touch now that the adrenaline is fading and she's left with the fear and horror of what almost happened. "Is she okay?"

"Just drive for the moment. Once you're around a couple of corners, slow down", Ygraine suggests, as she sorts out a more sensible position so that she can turn her worried attention to Tamara. "How are you?", she asks, as gently as she can manage — though she's splitting her attention between the girl's face and what she can see of her bare skin elsewhere, studying her breathing in case there's a rasp or bubble to it.

Between Ygraine and Judah in a disarrayed sprawl that can't quite be termed seated, Tamara doesn't answer the question Tasha asks, which she could do even though it wasn't directed at her. She leans her head against the detective's shoulder, but lets Ygraine examine exposed skin otherwise; left wrist rubbed raw, right elbow skinned with small bits of grit still clinging to it, everything else falling into the category of minor contusion. She doesn't exactly answer the Briton's question either, blue eyes focused on a distance beyond the car's metal frame.

"I understand," Tamara murmurs, perhaps in reply; or perhaps not, as a thin trickle of tears dampens the weave of Judah's coat. "I need to."

The last Tasha sees of the woman through tears is her reflection in the rearview mirror, cables twisting and writhing at her back, but ultimately too short to speed after the car as it races away, rounds the corner and goes roaring down the next street. Nonetheless, Judah leans his shoulder into the headrest behind him, steadying himself against Tamara, and turns his head just enough to look out the back window and confirm that — no — they aren't being followed.

Tasha might notice, on the unoccupied passenger's seat beside her, an open wallet with a badge gleaming against the black leather and an ID card contained in a plastic slip. The photograph is of a middle-aged Latino woman whose face does not match that of Tamara's attacker but identifies the wallet's owner as Officer Liza Ortiz, and an ominous thump of dead weight in the trunk when Tasha takes the next turn a little too sharply implies what might have become of her.

The fingers of Judah's free hand comb through Tamara's hair. His eyes meet Ygraine's.

"She's fine."

"Oh, you poor thing", Ygraine murmurs, focusing worriedly upon Tamara, a deep frown creasing her brow.

Judah's words do catch her attention, however, and she nods pensively to him, before looking back to the blonde, her expression gentling. "Welcome to your new life, Tamara", she says, lips twisting into a rueful smile. "I hope that it's no worse than it should be."

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