Hear the Music


colette2_icon.gif tamara_icon.gif

Scene Title Hear the Music
Synopsis Colette and Tamara have a cryptic, but possibly enlightening, conversation.
Date December 20, 2008

Little Italy


It covers everything, a pure white blanket that crowns rooftops, lines street and sidewalk alike, and buries cars in their roadside parking spaces. There's few people out around noon on this weekend after the blizzard. Those that are struggle with the treacherously slippery and sometimes unshoveled walkways. Little Italy is far from different from the rest of New York City in this regard, dumped on with three feet of snow, making the snowbanks created by public works plows some five feet high in places, absolutely burying cars parked on either side of the road.

However, while the city was ground to a halt last night, public transportation is running like slightly broken clockwork only a day later. One city transit bus pulls up by a snow-covered bus stop, a hydraulic hiss of its brakes followed by a slight skid in the brown slush beneath the tires. The door folds open, and only one person steps from within, bundled up in a suede jacket with a fur-lined hood.

Her boots slip a little on the partly shoveled sidewalk once she's down on the street. And the girl is quick to make her way up into the areas cleared by snowblowers, within a four foot high rift of tall snowbanks on either side. Most of the storefronts here are darkened, closed for the day due to the blizzard. Larger businesses — all corporate owned — seem to still be open. But it's one particular place of business that the young girl has hurriedly traveled to that is disappointingly closed.

"Damnit…" Colette whispers under her breath, stepping forward to lean her head with a soft thunk against the front facade of a leased office space flanked by another pair of businesses. The lights are turned off, blinds drawn down over the windows, and the snow-topped sign above the door clearly reads Bright and Reinhold Private Eyes. "Guess m'getting what I paid for."

The day is cold, the street all but empty… but only almost deserted. The girl who stands back near the bus stop shelter — the three walls of plastic with a roof that serve only to keep precepitation off the heads of waiting would-be passengers — wasn't there when Colette disembarked, a line of footprints in the sidewalk's coating of snow denoting her path of approach. She wears a crimson-colored sweater, a middling violet scarf, and even has a black knit hat on her head, but the half-wild spill of blond hair is as familiarly distinctive as the cornflower-blue eyes which look upon the younger teen. Hands tucked into the pockets of her black jeans, Tamara's posture expresses an air of nonchalance, the casualness typical to her abrupt appearances — casual, at least, from her point of view. She seems content to stand there while Colette stares into the empty office, waiting patiently to herself be noticed.

Were she aware that Tamara was watching, Colette might not bang her head with three soft thumps against that locked door to the detective agency. She lets out a strained sigh, closing her eyes as her hands fall limply to her sides, gloved fingers curling into small fists as she just leans there with her head pressed up against the glass door, breath fogging lightly on the cold, reflective surface. When she opens her eyes and leans back, the reflection of the snow and the bus stop in the glass goes unnoticed, and it's not until she dejectedly turns around with her shoulders slacked that Tamara is framed in the dead-center of her vision. The girl lets out a startled gasp, eyes growing wide as she takes one puzzled moment to piece together that familiar form and exactly how she should feel about it. Her heart skips a beat, and she hesitantly takes a step forward, "T-Tamara?"

So much has happened in the last few weeks, so much that she hasn't been able to tell her about, or even figure out for herself. Grace, Ygraine, and even Judah have given their input on the situation, but none of it has truly clicked with her, and the one person she wants to ask the most, the one person she feels might know best, is dead.

Or so she is meant to think.

Patience is a virtue that sometimes doesn't tax Tamara at all. She watches as the younger girl remains lost in her thoughts, watches as Colette turns around and takes stock of her slightly changed surroundings at last. The seer tips her head to one side, a smile slowly spreading across her features. "Yes." Who else would it be? One hand is extracted from its containing pocket, held out in invitation. Join me, or perhaps Walk with me. "So many threads just tangle in knots," Tamara observes. "It breaks the combs."

The offering of that hand is echoed in Colette's mind — Judah, Grace, Ygraine — so many people have done the same thing, offered a hand. One more person, any other person, and Colette would have swatted it aside ruefully. But this is Tamara, and even if Colette were at her worst, she would never turn away an offer from the girl. There is a certain level of trust, need, and desire that find equilibrium in her presence, and when Colette's wool-gloved hand takes Tamara's, it's reassured that it still exists.

"I — I've missed you." It's not that they hadn't seen one another, but the conditions of those meetings have been so fleeting. One coming, the other going, one asleep, the other awake — like two ships bound for different ports, passing in the night, as the saying goes. She wants to ask, and in some unrealized realities she does ask, "Why did you find me?" But in the here, in the now, in the realized world it doesn't come out. Instead, something less doubtful and more sincere is shown, a side of Colette that Tamara is more prescient of than the other muddied futures. "Where are we going?"

The thing about questions that aren't asked is that they don't have to be addressed — though it's true that Tamara lets many questions that are asked slide by also. This one, like many applications of why, is o disregarded, the reasoning too subtle and difficult to convey to be worth the attempt at explanation. She interlaces her fingers with Colette's, turning away from the small, dark, quiet office building, retracing her footprints through the snow. At least for now. It amuses the girl to place each step in the imprints left previously by her own shoes, one path superimposed upon another. Opposites crossed. "Do we need to go?" Tamara asks of Colette, looking forward down the sidewalk with a curious, puzzled air. "There's a lot of gray under the snow. Snow makes it prettier, but cold. Even the shadows went white."

Colette lets her eyes wander to the joining of their hands, then up to look at the way the girl's face is partly obscured by her scarf, puffs of steaming breath filtering through the cloth with each exhalation and word. "We… don't have to go, I guess. But, it is cold." There's a faint smile, as if for a moment she could just up and forget everything that's happened to her, and what she's become. But her mis-matched eyes come to settle on the snow-covered sidewalk, brows tensing in concentrated effort to figure out just what underlying meaning of the cryptic sentence could be. After a moment, though, she stops trying to dig, and dig, and dig, and puzzle over everything like Ygraine does. She's been so jealous of the Brit's ability to maneuver through the spiderweb of Tamara's words that she hasn't quite been herself.

So she accepts the words for exactly their face value. And so she is herself.

"M'always kind've mixed up about the snow. I… It reminds me of stuff I'd rather forget, like, places and things that…" She shakes her head, "It also reminds me of Christmas, n'timees when my family wasn't as… bad." Her mis-matched eyes slowly wander to look at Tamara again, fingers gently squeezing her hand. "I'm rambling."

Tamara continues to walk, her steps light, clasped hand swinging slightly back and forth in rhythm with the paces. Not going somewhere; just… walking. "Is that a bad thing? Most just were. It doesn't need to rhyme." The older teen, at least in the counting of years, lifts her free hand up to her left ear. "Just listen to the poetry, the music. Can't you hear it?" The blue gaze that lingers upon Colette is expectant.

As they walk, Colette's lips purse to the side, eyes focused on Tamara only for a moment before going to watch the slippery sidewalk ahead of her again. She smirks, despite herself, letting out a snorted laugh that issues forth steam from her nostrils due to the cold. "Most people get sick of me when I ramble." She admits with a bit of an embarassed manner, but then again Tamara is most definately not most people. "M-Music?" She's a bit clueless, at least with certain subtleties, and Colette pauses for just a moment to listen over the sound of the approaching plow truck, but then she only grimaces at her own naivete and laughs a bit more honestly. "Go with the flow, you mean?" One dark brow rises, and it's quite likely she misses her own suggestive reference to 'the river.'

The sidelong glance Colette receives, the little quirk to Tamara's smile, suggests the younger teen hasn't quite hit the nail on the head. "The glasses get in your way," she says. She skips ahead, turning back to face Colette, the precog walking backwards with just as much ease as when she had been facing the direction of their movement. Never giving the half-blind teen a chance to collide with and trip over her feet. That free hand comes up to tap on Colette's collarbone. "You're always here. It didn't need to be." She waves a hand at the snow-frosted cityscape around them, then turns around, moving more briskly forward. "Come on." Now they're going somewhere, it seems.

"G-Glasses?" Colette blinks her eyes for a moment and then lets out a small squeak as Tamara starts walking backwards, "Be careful you — " Might trip? Might slip? Might bump into someone? All those words get tossed to the wayside, because Colette quickly remembers that Tamara's perception of danger not only encompasses speeding cars, but also minor inconveniences like even snow and ice. She just laughs, awkwardly, and smiles a bit more broadly. "Kinda' like a seein' eye dog! Least I know I probably won't stumble and fall over with you leading." She cracks a crooked grin, and the thought that she would fall if it was what Tamara saw as important or necessary never crosses her mind. She hasn't quite seen that side of her close friend yet.

The tap ot her collarbone causes Colette to wrinkle her nose, smiling slightly, "Here? Well, sort've. I space-out sometimes, but, maybe that's not what'cha mean?" She purses her lips in thought, drifting back to a symbolic sentence that sticks in her thoughts. "But seriously, what'd you mean by glasses?" Her lips purse together, fingers squeezing around Tamara's hand as she picks up her own pace a little, given some measure of confidence in her stride by way of Tamara's precognitive lead she takes. But it's that tug, that urging to go somewhere that really spurrs Colette on. Every time Tamara takes Colette somewhere, even if it seems insignificant, it's a catalyst for change.

If there's one thing Tamara isn't, it's static.

"Dogs see," Tamara agrees. "Cats learn." Whatever she meant, by any of the remarks, the girl doesn't now elaborate; perhaps she's forgotten. Perhaps each statement stands alone as a breadcrumb, pieces of a puzzle for Colette to fit together on her own. Instead, she leads the way through the streets, into the narrower alleys that crisscross the heart of a city block.

In absolute terms, it isn't far that Tamara brings Colette; relatively, it could be a very different environment. A final short, stubby alleyway spits them out into the back portion of a pocket-park nestled between a cluster of old brick buildings. Someone bothered to scrape the snow from the path snaking down its center, dusting off the benches and table huddled together in one corner, but the lack of footprints on narrow swathes of snow-coated grass imply it's been scarcely visited in recent days. In the corner across from the table, on Colette's right, is a simplistic sculpture of black stone, presumably marble; frosted by a lacy pattern of ice frozen from the water cascading down the curved wall, it conveys a sort of stark beauty. So, too, do the skeletal branches of the tree overhead, its leaves long since fallen and swept away; an assemblage of snow-flocked conifers towards the main street and the major entrance to the park provide contrasting color in shades of green. Flowerbeds along the building walls hold both empty spaces and small green plants, some of them bearing even smaller flowers in soft blues and whites.

Tamara stops at the edge of the park, standing beside Colette — even a half-step behind, so as not to impede her view.

"What do you see?"

Both conversationally and spatially, Colette gets lost in Tamara's meanderings rather quickly. Her mind stumbles and fumbles with references to dogs, cats and glasses, and her certainty of her surroundings becomes hazy once she's in narrow alleys and side-streets that she's never traversed before. She's never been entirely familiar with Little Italy to begin with, and these oft-forgotten passages and corridors thorugh the city are like a maze to her, sending her awareness of which way is back to the wind.

The destination, however, is even more perplexing than the journey. Colette's mis-matched eyes drift around the different points of interest, and it's the flowers that first catch her attention. Her dark brows knit together, and she lets her hand come unlaced from Tamara's, taking a few steps forward, cupping her gloved hands over her mouth to exhale a hot breath into them to warm her nose and fingers some. For a time, she's silent and still, too things she rarely excels at.

"I…" At first she was going to strive for something beyond the surface, but again she decides to be herself more. Her eyes narrow and she looks around again, "I see…" She isn't truly sure what Tamara's expecting for an answer, so she starts with a broad stroke, "A park?" Said more as a question than a statement, and she turns to look back over her shoulder at the older girl. "A cool park." She adds a bit of emphasis, brows raising with a faint smile, and she turns to take a few steps in, lifting her eyes up to peer at the heavy branches of the trees leaden with fresh snow. "I dunno, I… " She starts to overthink things again, "There's a lot to see, I…" Her lips purse together and she looks to the flowers again. "Flowers in the winter, I guess those caught my eye first." It's like a game of eye-spy, with no clues.

"Good." Because she said it's 'cool'? Because she saw the flowers? Because she didn't try to arrive at whatever she thought Tamara wanted the right answer to be? Who can tell? Tamara walks up behind Colette once she's finished speaking, shoes scuffing just slightly against the damp concrete; her hands come up to rest lightly on the younger girl's shoulders. "Why the flowers?" she asks, voice expressing the curiosity Colette can't see in her face without turning around.

The touch of the hands on her shoulders makes Colette tense for a moment, then relax more than she was when they were initially laid down. "Oh I…" Her brows crease and she turns to look over her shoulder, trying to get a better look at Tamara, but not wanting to maneuver completely out of her grasp. She instead leans back, so she lightly bumps into the older girl, and then leans to the side and looks over her shoulder again, a slightly better angle with her good eye. "Well, blue's my favorite color." It's as simple as that, it seems, "But I guess… well," She looks back with her nose wrinkled, "Flowers don't bloom in the winter? Unless they're snow-drops, I… uh, those bloom in the winter right?" No, Colette, they don't.

To that line of conversation, Tamara can only shrug, her expression most unhelpfully lacking an answer. "Do they? Don't they?" She shrugs again. Stepping around Colette, she pads over to a flowerbed, snow crunching beneath her feet. The girl leans down, fingering the small petals. Whatever it is, it clearly blooms in December. "It said it does," Tamara observes, the statement perfectly matter-of-fact. Straightening, she turns back to face her companion, smiling. Therefore it does, and that is that. "But what about the white ones?" she queries, smile yielding to a more considering, contemplative expression, with Colette as the subject of her focus. "Or didn't you see them? They're sneaky and shy." Might have something to do with the coating of white snow.

Colette blinks for a moment, tilting her head to the side as she takes a few steps in further, only once Tamara does. The girl follows, playfully so, directly in Tamara's footprints, their feet roughly the same size, makingit easy for her to follow the girl's strides. She circles around her, however, once it becomes impossible to follow into her footsteps any further, and crouches down close to Tamara's side. Her mis-matched eyes settle on the white flowers, and she wrinkles her nose slightly, "I — I actually — I missed those." There's a bit of an awkward grimace, "My vision kind've, you know…" She winks her blind eye, "Didn't even see them." Might have been because of the snow, might have been her eyes, likely it was both.

"I… I don't know a lot about flowers, really. I used to have a planter on the balcony of Sis' apartment, but…" She shakes her head, "I wasn't really good at gardening." There's a pause, and Colette looks over to the statue for a moment, then back to the flowers. "I guess the bright and colorful ones stood out more, and, you know — they're blue." She smiles faintly, leaning a bit against Tamara. "I wonder if there are…" Her hesitation is out of fear of what Judah said, and out of what she isn't sure Tamara even knows. But all things considered, she has no reason to hesitate. "I wonder if there are weird gardeners like us." Her nose wrinkles at the thought, "I guess having the power to make plants grow in the winter's not so scary." Not like her power seems to be, at least.

"You knew enough." Tamara looks over at her friend for a long moment; it's not that she hesitates, but there's a peculiar sadness to her expression as she regards Colette. A wistful regret, a shade of melancholy in the teen's blue eyes. "Why are we weird?" she asks, voice as soft as the snow that once fell here and will fall again. "Why must we be scary?" The tone might sound like a child's, spoken by someone at the age to ask why, why, why; but the expression that accompanies those words is anything but.

Silence again, but brief; a pause counted in mere heartbeats, before Tamara closes the distance between them, leaning in to speak directly at Colette's ear. "Kitty… learn to hear the music. See the flowers in the snow. There is always light in the shadows." She straightens then, giving Colette a bittersweet but ever-hopeful smile, before her feet again find the path and the precog starts for the main entrance of the pocket-sized park.

Once more, she's said the wrong thing to the wrong person, and somehow that always ends up being Tamara. She opens her mouth, as if to protest what she said, but the words just aren't found. Ruefully, though, she downcasts her eyes until Tamara leans in, and Colette looks to the girl with widened eyes and a curious stare as she whispers those words, both comforting and confusing in like turn.

It's all about perception, seeing the things that are hiding in plain sight, and knowing what to look for. Colette watches as Tamara moves, and a month ago, she would have risen too, following the girl down the street like a lost puppy. But now, she knows when Tamara leaves, she's leaving for good reason, for a purpose. The young girl swallows quietly, watching Tamara leave, but then speaks up after a moment.

"Tamara…" Colette looks to the flowers, then back again, "Thank you. I — " She closes her eyes, and no apology she can say for her words would make herself feel better. "Thank you." Just when she needed her most, she was there, to show her what she needed to see and plant those seeds so that when the right time comes, they'll bloom.

Now she just needs to know what to look for.

Or more correctly, who.

December 20th: Consultation
December 20th: The Barflies and the Healer
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