colette_icon.gif tamara_icon.gif

Scene Title Ghosts
Synopsis Colette finally asks Tamara about Nicole, but she gets an unexpected answer.
Date October 25, 2008

Cliffside Apartments, Rooftop

From the third story rooftop of Cliffside Apartments, the dirty and gray skyline of Long Island City comes into full view. Surrounded on all sides by industrial complexes, warehouses and factories, this converted mill building views little more than a sea of concrete and glass. To the northwest, the jagged skyline of Manhattan shows the bristling and broken husks of buildings ruined by the bomb, half visible in their gutted states.

The roof itself is spacious, and like man apartment complexes features a small community garden of vegetables in black plastic bins. Tomatos, carrots, cucumbers and an assortment of other easy to grow plants are shared by the tenants, originally planted by the building owner back before the bomb. Some old and worn patio furniture has been brought up onto the roof as well to allow modest relaxation, though much of it is usually occupied by the innumerable birds that seem to gravitate to the building. Ravens, mostly, perch upon the ledges and furniture during most hours of the day and night.

By now the sun is setting, painting hues of orange, purple and yellow across the skyline of Queens. It's a strange sight to behold, a colorful and fiery sky of orange clouds and purple horizons contrasting against a gray and lifeless land below, riddled with industrial parks and crumbling brick buildings, the decaying infrastructure of an urban wasteland. Seated on one of the folding lawn-chairs on the rooftop, Colette has dressed for the cool temperatures, her new suede jacket wrapped tightly around her narrow frame, scarf tucked into the collar. The fur-lined hood is down, hair blowing in the wind as she watches the orange clouds pass slowly overhead. For once, she's out here amidst silence, the old and paint-spattered boom-box nearby is silent, and she watches the colors and shapes of the clouds with a thoughtful expression on her face, mix-matched eyes trying to discern meaning from patterns in the sky. For a time, she wonders if this is how Tamara sees life; Like a child making out shapes in the clouds.

There's a large and folded tablet of rough-texture and heavy gague sketch paper laying near the chair. Most of it spattered with different kinds of paint, all the pages victims of Colette's expressive — though not terribly skilled — attempts at finger-painting that helps work out her aggressions and frustrations. This afternoon, though, she's forsaken her usual ritual. The skies, right now, have her full attention. After the conversation she heard Ygraine and Tamara having at the church, she feels introspective, and perhaps just a bit jealous.

Tamara's clothes haven't changed — a cornflower-blue long-sleeved shirt, black jeans, the crimson of her scarf a startling splash of vivid color against that backdrop. The soles of her sneakers brush softly against the rooftop, making her approach anything but stealthy. Hands tucked into her pockets, she comes up beside Colette, appropriating a second chair for her own. The aluminum frame of the folding chair clatters against the concrete as she repositions it prior to actually sitting down. The hands come out of the pockets and are folded in Tamara's lap, blue gaze turned towards the reddening sky. Silence is given in light of Colette's introspection, letting the younger girl have the time to work out her own thoughts. Tamara just provides the company.

Were it a couple o fmonths ago, Tamara's abrupt appearance might have startled Colette, but after all this time she's finally starting to get used to the girl's complexities and behaviors. It's not an entire acceptance of them, but at the very least it's a willingness to play along, and to — for lack of a better term — expect the unexpected. She does look, watching the girl once she's in eyeshot, watching her move the chair over, just keeping a thoughtful gaze focused on her for a long while.

"I…" She says quietly, "I was just about to go looking for you, see if you were still here…" She smiles, a little hesitantly, there's nerves jittering in the back of her mind. Her words are carefully chosen, "I guess it's…" She pauses, "It is good to know you show up when I'm looking for you sometimes." The lawn-chair creaks as Colette sits up straight, running fingers thorugh her hair to brush her bangs away from that blind eye, looking over to the girl across from her.

"I… I've been kind've, um, sitting on a lot of stuff lately." Her hands fumble together, cold and reddened fingertips fumbling awkwardly with the bottom hem of her jacket. "Stuff I haven't really asked, you know… that kind've thing?" Her brows tense together, and she begins to wonder how many times she almost asked something, that Tamara may have discerned the questions for herself. The thought makes that distant headache from earlier in the day momentarially return.

"W-what I meant to say is…" One hand comes to her brow, fingertips lightly brushing over her temple in a massaging motion. "Do you know what happened to Nicole?" Her teeth press down lightly on her lower lip, "I… I've… I didn't want to ask you, I mean, after I found out about your…" Ability? Trick? Curse? So many words almost get said there, "Gift." A smile crosses her lips faintly, "I was… I was afraid of the answer. But…" Colette's brows furrow together, "Do you know? I… I can't… I just…" Her words wavers, eyes closing for a moment as her jaw stills to try and rein in these complex feelings. "It's hard, not knowing."

Quiet as Colette's words are, they are the loudest thing on the rooftop. Tamara's silence continues as the younger girl talks her way up to the query, finally asking the question that has most hung between them for so long. Though the precog doesn't exactly regard it in that light. A small, encouraging smile remains on her face throughout, until Colette's conclusion; then it becomes a little stronger, but at the same time darker. Melancholy.

"It gets very hard," Tamara says softly, even as she rises from the chair she had only just sat down in. Two steps to close the distance, and the older teen holds out both hands to the younger, gaze just that bit darker than it should be. A direct and simple answer, it seems, is not to be forthcoming — but very little Tamara does can be described thus, which means this development shouldn't be entirely unexpected. "Knowing there was more you couldn't reach."

It's not what she expected, not in the slightest. So many thoughts race thorugh Colette's mind in the fraction of time it takes for Tamara to rise from her seated position and clear that small distance between the two. Any presumptions she had about how this would go, though, are swept away by the unknown possibilities of how it will go. The hands held down to her aren't left empty for more than a heartbeat, and Colette brings both of her small, chilly hands to take Tamara's. She uses this gentle grip to assist her in straightening up from a seated position to stand up straight, having to look up just a little to make eye-contact with the older girl, their very slight differential in height just noticable enough to have to tip her eyes up. Colette smiles, wordlessly, giving a gentle squeeze to those hands. The look in her half-blinded stare, though, is entirely willing and pliable. Wherever this particular dark road leads, she seems ready to walk down it. As long as she's not alone.

Holding Colette's hands, Tamara shifts just slightly to one side, her left shoulder lining up with the center of Colette's form so that they each can look over the shoulder of the other. There is only a single arm's length between them, a small stretch of shared perspective.

"What happens," Tamara echoes, voice little more than a whisper. A heartbeat later, she corrects herself, "What happened," the words very carefully and precisely enunciated. Not for sake of Colette's comprehension, but because they are hard to say; the difficulty, compared to the way Tamara's usual cryptic and symbolic remarks flow, is readily audible. "Is a ghost." It's a word Tamara uses occasionally, a recurring symbol in her lexicon. "You have ghosts. He has ghosts." Still with that clipped manner of speaking that makes every syllable distinct. One of her hands relinquishes its grip to gesture in a sweeping wave, indicating the city behind her. What Colette can see. "They have ghosts."

Tamara pauses, looking up at Colette, gaze shadowed and almost beseeching. Understand this. Please. "The mirror is broken. Ghosts are slippery." She closes her eyes, tip of her tongue running reflexively over her lips. Not quite finished yet. One more. "Slippery like… shadows… to you."

It's very hard to know there's so many things everyone else knows… and have them be out of your own reach.

Tamara can't answer that question. Hopefully, this answer, truthful though it is, will distract Colette from asking the one she can.

The words come with a visible struggle in Colette's features, and that stance Tamara has taken, the very unfamiliar manner of speech, and yet Tamara's own verbal struggle earns a nervous and worried look from the girl who keeps such close proximity to her. Not worried out of the growing fear that Tamara simply doesn't know, but worried more so over the exertion that ideas such as this seem to bring to her. The significance of the term ghost to Colette seems lost, at least in the direct and truthful meaning of it, but the significance isn't, and she can fill in around the edges and get a general enough idea of what the term suggests. She nods, already having that emotional look in her eyes, that bordering on teary expression she's shown only once before to Tamara, when she revealed who and what she really is.

"I…" There's a breath drawn in slowly, a deep exhalation, all calming. In that breath, the tears break way and dribble from her eyelids down across her cheeks, catching that orange and fiery hue of the sunset in them for their brief existance. "I understand. You… you have as hard of a time understanding what's happened, the past…" She swallows, anxiously, "As.. A-as I do understanding the future." There's a faint, nervous smile, did she get it right? Is she starting to puzzle this out? It's hard to say in her eyes. But for a moment there was a question she almost asked. Is Nicole Alive? But a very specific something keeps her from asking that, from going down that road and seeing that future.

She's afraid of the answer.

Close only counts in hoseshoes and hand grenades — of which this conversation isn't quite either. The question might as well be shouted to the sky — but it isn't. It doesn't pass Colette's lips, and so Tamara lets it lie.

It isn't time yet.

Instead, she only replies to what has been spoken, her hands closing around the younger girl's, squeezing briefly. She nods slowly, shaking the tangled hair that motion disturbs back out of her eyes, since both of her hands are otherwise occupied. Those fey blue eyes close again, her expression slightly fatigued. "Ghosts hide in the water."

She manages to laugh, it's one strangled by emotions that don't quite match the smile on her face. For all the disappointment about what she wanted to discover here, there's a certain pride that gives her that strength to keep from cracking entirely. The strength from just maybe having hope in understanding Tamara as some others do. The breakthrough, as small as it is, to Colette is an enormous stride. It's a corner-piece to the puzzle in her eyes, one she can use to start putting the whole picture back together again.

The squeeze to her hands elicits movement, a step to the side, and then forward, enough to put the two on a leveled center again, lined up face to face. She nods, to the statement of ghosts hiding in the water, and it makes sense, in a somewhat obfuscated way. The understanding brings the other question she's always wanted to ask, the second of three. Colette leans her head in, resting her forehead lightly against Tamara's, it's as though she never raised her head from the nod. "Can…" Her voice cracks, and she clears her throat softly, trying to get the words out right, "Can I — " She changes the wording, she tries it from a different perspective, one of certainty and not chance. To Colette, if the option exists, it won't be a matter of do or don't. "Do I ever fix the mirror?" The words are a whisper.

Leaning against Colette in return, eyes still closed, Tamara lets out a quiet sigh. She holds the younger girl's hands close. "The river runs forward. Ever forward," is her quiet, quiet response. "Sometimes, when the shadow's gone, there was no way to reach it again." The precog opens her eyes, regarding Colette with regretful sorrow. "Maybe a little different, but tape doesn't hold glass well. Not against the water; never the waterfall."

There's a nod, it isn't immediate, rather something that comes after a prolonged silence. It takes Colette a while to come to terms with the eventuality that Tamara will always be this way, and that even any solution — like tape — would be temporary. She smiles, though, perhaps despute herself at whatever unspoken affirmation she resolved in that time of contemplation. When her mis-matched eyes open again, they're focused on Tamara's fey blue rings, almost able to see the reflection of white and green in them.

"Then," She says in a small voice, "I…" She whispers, it's the only way she can force out what she wants to say. Her small hands are shaking with anxiety in Tamara's, warmth exchanged from her cheeks to the other girl's. "Then I'll just have to remind the mirror, just how…" She breathes out through her nose, trying to level the fluttering in her chest that one tenent in the apartment can likely hear all the way downstairs, "I'll have to remind you, just how much this… just how much I care about you, if that thought ever becomes a ghost."

The sound of her heartbeat is so strong it would be no small wonder if even Tamara could hear it now, not needing supernatural hearing to feel her anxiety, feel the fear and nervousness and at the same time relief from things left unsaid getting spoken. She's still hurting, still crying, but at least rght now, the tears have more than one meaning.

One hand shifts, transferring the hand of Colette that it holds over to the other, the other girl's two hands to her one. The freed hand then rises to brush one of those falling tears from Colette's cheekbone, a gentle smile accompanying the gesture. "It was still in your shadows," Tamara informs her gently, voice far calmer than her companion. But the possibilities that had made her anxious have no more place at this meeting. "Those were harder to lose."

The touch of the hand very gently brushing away that tear causes Colette's jaw to give a little quiver, ever so slightly, but she steadies it and manages to get her eyes up from the ground and back to Tamara's. Those words, true or not, bring her a modicum of security, a comfort that — like ghosts — she isn't going to just be forgotten, lost to the passage of the river's unrelenting flow. Her lips upturn into a gentle smile, and she nods slowly to the reassurance. "Then I don't have anything to worry about…" The hand that she has free moves up to mirror Tamara's, as if they were strange reflections of one another. But where one hand wiped away a tear, the other merely comes up to rest on the girl's cheek, fingertips ghosting skin, and then moving down and away.

Tamara remains still as Colette's touch traces the surface of her skin, then shifts once the younger girl's hand has fallen away, tucking her head against Colette's shoulder. Rather as a weary child might with a trusted adult, for all that Tamara is the elder of this pair. "No. You don't," she affirms. Not here and not now. Tamara is content to stand there in companionable silence until dusk's vibrant hues begin to bleed from the sky, star-spattered shadows spreading from the east to fill their place. Then the two girls retreat from the nighttime chill, rejoining Felix in the apartment below.

Inevitably, sunrise finds Tamara gone away again. But she'll be back.

She seems to always come back.

October 25th: Latin Lesson
October 25th: Trolls and Bridges
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License