Girl Scout Cookies


finn_icon.gif june_icon.gif

Scene Title Girl Scout Cookies
Synopsis It's Finn's lucky day.
Date January 27, 2020


Riding a bicycle through Providence, a young girl clutches the handle bars with one hand and a map in the other. Her bike is set up with boxes hanging off either side of the rear tire and a small cart towed behind. It's obvious to anyone paying attention that this rig has been broken and repaired in the past, but still seems to get the job done. And the job is following her maps until she reaches a specific door. She doesn't have an address, exactly, just coordinates and a drawing, but they work just as well. Better, in this post-war society.

June brings her bike to a stop, pulls out a chain to tie it to a post, and takes a few moments to fix her hair as best she can. Dirt and mud from the road cling to her boots and her jeans, but she dusts it off on her way to the door.

She brings a hand up to knock— but stops. Her lips purse into an unsure twist and she steps away from the door to pace the space in front of it and talk herself into actually knocking. Determination got her this far, right to his door, but it's also right here that the first nagging worry slips into her thoughts. She makes quite a sight, a stranger walking circles in front of someone's home. And she makes quite a noise, too, as boots aren't the best for going unnoticed.

Luck, kismet, fate, or just coincidence has it that Finn is in fact in Providence — not a given, since he’s been a little AWOL of late, spending good spans of time back in civilization. Often in Rochester, for particular reasons — not the least is a certain leggy Wolfhound operative.

But like the labrador dog he’s been likened to, Finn is loyal, sometimes to a fault, and returns to the people he’s been working for so many months to help protect. He isn’t in the house when this stranger paces in front of it, but comes along on one of the horses. Snowfall makes the little Kawasaki Mule a little unsafe for riding through the pine barrows, but the hardy drafthorse he rides today pays no mind to the hard white snow on the ground.

“Are you selling girl scout cookies?” might come off as a mean spirited thing to say, but Finn’s wide grin and jovial tone make it clear it’s not meant to be. He might even be a tiny bit hopeful that it’s the case, no matter how unlikely. He is, after all, prone to luck.

June spins around at the voice, staring for a moment before it occurs to her to actually answer. "Made with real girl scouts," she says, tucking her hair behind her ear, "You're Finn Shepherd." It isn't a smooth transition, and her tone hovers somewhere between a statement and a question. The picture she has is not exactly current, but it's hard to mistake the man in front of her for anyone else.

"I don't actually have any cookies," she says, only a little apologetic as she moves away from the door and toward him. Or rather, toward the horse, because her hand comes out to rub the animal's nose. "I'm June. And, uh, I guess I'm your daughter." She takes the picture of him and her mother and passes it over to him. Bian & Finn is written on it in faded marker, but their faces are clear as ever. "Surprise," she says with less than stellar jazz hands.

He laughs at the first joke, then lifts his brows at his name, swinging one leg up and over the saddle to dismount the large horse. “I’d say it depends who’s asking, but I don’t have the facial hair or cowboy hat to pull that one off,” he says lightly, putting the horse’s rein on a hitching post in the yard.

At the abrupt news, his brows draw together, and he looks a little skeptical. “Look, kid, I’m sure you’re a sweetheart but that’s pretty unlikely. How old are you? I didn’t really-” but then there’s a photo being handed to him.

He takes it, clearly dumbfounded as he sees a face he recognizes — as well as the one belonging to him. He stares at it for a moment, then at her. “How-” he begins, then tries again, “She didn’t…” Words are hard for once for a man who rarely shuts up. He hands her the photo back, and nods to the little cottage. “It’s cold out here. Let me get a fire going,” he finally manages to say. Not unkindly. But a little shellshocked yet.

June stands by and lets him work his way through it, her hands clasped behind her back until he hands the picture back to her. "A fire'd be nice," she says, patting the horse in farewell before she starts for the cabin door again. "Sorry to just drop this on you. I tried to rehearse the best way to introduce myself, but I'm not sure there's a good way at all. But anyway, I'm not here to make you be a dad. I'm practically sixteen, so, you know, I'm pretty good on my own. Probably." She's been okay on the road since she left her mom, anyway. So that counts for something. "I just thought it might be nice to… meet you." It's a long way to go to just say hi to someone, so she probably hopes for more than just a passing greeting, but at least she seems open to letting him decide his level of involvement.

Once he has a moment to process.

Inside, the cabin is a cozy affair, if a bit rough hewn. Nothing matches but everything goes in a very masculine version of shabby-chic. He heads to the wood-burning fireplace and fiddles there for a moment. Quickly enough, a fire crackles into life. Probably too quickly — the longer he fiddles with the kindling, the better.

Straightening back up, he unzips his parka to toss on the back of a chair in a rustle of hunter-green nylon, then turns to face her again — squinting a little, perhaps to try to see himself in her features. “It’s nice to meet you,” he manages to say, and it seems sincere, if a little stunned yet.

He leans back against the arm of the chair. “I hope it’s not for sixteen years of child support because I sure don’t have that,” he says with a wry smile. “I wouldn’t have been a deadbeat dad if I’d known,” he adds quickly. “I just don’t have much in the way of savings.” His tips his head. “Is she… your mom… she’s not gone, is she?”

While he works on lighting the fire, June circles the room, taking in the decor before she picks a chair and settles into it, legs crossed with her bag against the chair legs. "She's not gone. She's with my grandfather." She clears that up first, perhaps hoping to ease his mind some. She shakes her head at the mention of money, both because that's not what she's here for and because she knows it was her mother's choice to go it alone. June has had a lot of time to accept her situation. "I might ask you for a place to sleep," she says, but with a playful smile, although it shifts into something more hopeful when she adds, "maybe for a little while? And maybe to see New York." She knows it isn't the tourist destination it used to be, of course, but it's still more than where she grew up.

Finn stares at her as she talks, still like she might be something that he’s hallucinating, and he realizes it’s been a few seconds since she stopped talking and he hasn’t picked up the conversational baton.

His green eyes widen and he nods. “Sure, sure. This place is small — two bedrooms, but there’s nothing much in the other. You can sleep in the bed and I’ll take the couch,” he says, glancing at it and scowling a little. He looks back to her with an apologetic sort of smile. “Sorry I’m not, you know, some big shot over in the city or something. I fell in with the folks around here a few years back — literally, even — and just haven’t really done much else since. They’re good people. But I go to the city pretty often.”

His head tips. “She still back in Ohio? I hope… I really didn’t know. I wouldn’t have left her to deal with things on her own, but maybe that’s why she didn’t say.” His small smile accompanies the self-deprecating comment. “You look a lot like her. But maybe with my round head.” His eyes widen again. “It looks better on you,” he adds in a hurry, before scrubbing a hand over his face. “Shit, I’m awful at this.”

"Don't be silly, I'm tiny, I'll have the couch," June says, holding her hands up with barely a space between them to illustrate. His apology has her tilting her head, confused but she keeps a gentle smile on her face. "I don't think I'd know what to do with a big shot anyway," she says. A moment later she looks toward the door, then back at him. "It seems like a nice place. Kinda like where I grew up. Just people kinda making it on their own."

She shakes her head at his question, though. "Oh, no. She went to Vietnam. That's where my grandparent's place is. He needed her— Did she… tell you what she could do?" Her brow furrows there, like she's not entirely sure this is a safe subject to bring up. Her mother was always careful about who she did and didn't mention their evolved status to. But her smile comes back soon enough, as her hands move to rest on her cheeks like she may have never considered how round her head actually is. But it makes her laugh, in the end. Maybe because he is as nervous as she has been for weeks making her way here.

That laugh draws a real one from Finn, and he puts his hands up to his own, feeling it. It might look like he’s trying to vogue. He then shakes his head. “Still round. I used to try to stretch it. Like this,” he says, opening his mouth wide in a fake-yawn then turning it slowly side to side. “But I was still that little round-headed kid.”

Her questions draw a more somber shake of his head. “No. I didn’t know. What can she do? Are you SLE-C?” He says it backwards, frowns, look up and to the left, then points at the air, to try to see the letters. “SLC-E, too? And as far as the bed, goes, no. You’re a kid, kids get beds. Seriously. I can’t be that asshole,” he says, green eyes widening at the thought. “I owe you like your weight in child support already.”

He rises from where he’s been leaning, moves to the kitchen. “Coffee’s still hot, if you like. Or I can make some hot chocolate?” he asks, pulling down two mugs from a cabinet.

The demonstration gets a chuckle, a wry enough one to imply that June tried her own versions now and then.

"I love coffee," she says, straightening up as she speaks the lie— she's never had it, really, but she doesn't want to sound too much like a kid, asking for hot chocolate. "And I won't make you be that asshole," she concedes, her smile tilted.

"Mom knows how to find things, that's how she puts it." She holds out her map, with marks here in Providence that are accurate enough to bring her to his door and when she flips it over, another in NYC, that looks like it might take her to Lucille's. "And I turn things into obsidian," she says, although it's hard to say if she's happy about that. She seems to feel safe enough to be honest here, but there's no sparkle in her eye when she talks about it. "It's made me some cash now and then." But her smile slowly brightens her face as she turns the matter back to him. "What about you?"

Finn pours two mugs of coffee. “Milk and sugar?” he asks, and if she thinks she’s being too much of a kid, his concoction ends up to be blond with a few heaping spoonfuls of sugar in it. “I’ll let you make your own. Most people think I put too much in,” he says a little wryly, finding a spot against the counter to lean on now. He peers over at the map, brows lifting with clear surprise.

“Wow. That’s pretty amazing. I guess if she really wanted that child support, she could’ve found me by, huh?” he asks, grinning. “Obsidian’s the shiny black stuff, right? That’s cool. Or scary. Can you turn people into stone? Like Medusa?” His eyes widen as he considers this, and the fact he’s let her into his house.

“I’m… lucky.” He lifts a shoulder. “Probability manipulation?” he says, squinting as if he’s not sure that’s the right word for it. “Mostly it’s nothing I do. The world just tries to protect me. But I can kinda make it work the way I want, too, with some effort. Nothing super useful. Keeps me alive, mostly…when I say I literally fell in with these people, I mean it — I crashed my bird and probably should’ve been dead, but they nursed me back to health. So. I stayed.”

When June comes over to fix her coffee, she mostly just copies what he does, although she goes a little lighter on the sugar. But it probably helps her not make a face when she finally takes a drink. Or, at least, not as much of a face as she would have made. "Tastes great," she says, voice straining a little as she pushes through that first taste.

"Yeah, she wouldn't let you get away with anything if she set her mind to it," June says, also leaning against the counter, taking smaller sips of her coffee this time. "A little like medusa, yeah. But people turn back after a while, so no adventurers need to come lop my head off. Thank goodness." But when he explains his power, her eyes widen, because that sounds pretty cool to her. "Wow. That must be pretty nice. Even if it didn't help you much today," she says, with a gesture to herself.

His eyes twinkle a bit at that strained voice, but he manages to hide his smile behind his cup, taking a very adult sip of his sugary coffee.

“Still, that’s a pretty badass power. I always wanted something… you know. Showier. People tend to not believe I *have* one. But it’s saved my ass more than a few times. It has its limits though.”

Finn studies her a second. “I don’t think you’re unlucky. Do you feel unlucky?” he asks, tipping his head to the table for them to sit. “Were you born in June?” he asks, before she can ask the other. “I should, I don’t know. Write down things. Date of birth, social security number. Do you have one? Do you need one?” He looks a little flustered. “Where were you living before coming to find me?”

"I don't know about badass," June says, "but it is pretty flashy. Although, I assume crashing a helicopter and walking away from it is pretty flashy, too." Her smile falters a little at his question and there's a bit of relief in her expression when he jumps to something easier. "April," she answers with a sheepish smile, "She just likes June. The name, not the month. Or, well, the month, too, I guess." She shakes her head, brushing away that little trip up. "I have a social security number. Before the war, we were totally on grid. After, not so much. We were in Virginia. Middle of nowhere. Little colony."

Which is to say, nothing like formal learning or paying taxes or legitimate work to be seen. But that's not so odd in this new world. June doesn't seem to mind, except that maybe it was a little boring compared to the years leading up to and during the war. An odd time to be a child.

He rests his elbows on the table, watching her as she talks. He looks a little wonderstruck, still, like he thinks she might just disappear in the blink of an eye.

“Virginia’s nice,” Finn says, with a nod. “Pretty.” He looks to the window, makes a face. “This is probably a bit of a downgrade for you, I hate to say. The Pine Barrens can be pretty in parts, but they’re not like the real woods you get in Virginia. The city… Did you ever go before everything? She ain’t much these days, but still it’s nice to be in civilization sometimes. We can go as soon as you want to, if you like.”

He nods to her. “Is there anything you want to ask me? I’m just,” and he smiles, sincere and toothy, “really happy to know you.” He offers her his hand, large and calloused but clean.

"It is pretty there. Wild now." June softens there, because whatever she might say about day to day life, it was beautiful. And it was home. "I never went to the city. Seen pictures, you know? Movies. You hear things about how they're trying to rebuild it, so I know not to expect Times Square with all the billboards and stuff. But still, I'd love to go. A little bonding trip."

June looks down when his hand is offered out, but it doesn't take more than a beat for her to take it. Her hands are soft, either, giving away her own hands-on lifestyle up to this point. She gives him a warm squeeze, her smile a little more shy for the compliment. "I'm happy to know you, too," she says, before lapsing into a silence to think about what she might want to ask him. She spent a lot of time preparing to meet him, but very little on what to do after that. So there's an awkward stretch before she speaks again.

"What's your go-to karaoke song?"

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