How We Do


avi_icon.gif rue3_icon.gif

Scene Title How We Do
Synopsis After her drunken fit the night before, Avi explains to Rue what his style of leadership entails.
Date June 19, 2017

The Bunker

After a three cans of V8, enough codeine to chill out a bull, and about three litres of water, Rue is feeling a bit more human again. And certainly in better control of her emotions. It’s with this in mind that she sends Avi a message to let him know that she’ll be outside and would like to talk, if he’s willing. Rarely has she ever been able to tell Epstein to do anything. He’ll either join her, or he won’t.

She’d already been sitting on the picnic table, feet on the bench, staring out at the river for fifteen minutes before she got the courage to even send the text. The sun is high in the sky, and the afternoon is quiet. Light reflects off the water. It’s peaceful, even if it does very little to ease her nerves. There’s a knot coiled tightly in her stomach. If she’s fucked this up beyond repair, she isn’t sure what she’ll do. After what he said to her, she’s worried he’ll ask for her to be dismissed, but hopes Hana considers her too valuable to hear it.

A red thermos is clutched in Rue’s slender hands. It’s the kind that’s so well insulated that it keeps the decaffeinated coffee inside nice and hot, but does nothing to warm her fingers. Taking a sip, she wishes she’d poured a little courage in with the coffee, but with the painkillers in her system, she’s already dancing on a precarious edge. Keeping her temper in check has always been difficult when she’s under the influence of anything stronger than a can of Red Bull. And she needs to reign in that fire better than she has been. The summer will pass without a single drop of alcohol after the embarrassing scene she made at the celebration for LeMay’s capture. She thought this shit was behind her.

“Fuckin’ failure, February,” the woman mutters to herself, shutting her eyes tightly against a threat of tears behind her designer sunglasses. Swallowing down the lump in her throat, the remorse she can hold on to. Remorse is an appropriate emotion to display, given her behavior the night before.

Squinting against the sun, Avi is only tucking on his sunglasses as he's rounding the corner to the picnic table. Curiously, he’s wearing a hideous bowling shirt with a tropical sunset print on it and… his camo pants and… flip flops. “Hangover?” He asks as he ambles up on the sad display in front of him. Not a shred of anger lingers from the night before, from his stern lecture to the frog-marched escort of Rue to her room.

“I'm gonna head up to the beach in a bit,” Avi motions north, “go fucking metal detecting or something. I think that's the lake the Edmund Fitzgerald sank on.” It's not. “Maybe play frisbee with a dog that isn't mine. You know, midlife crisis stuff.” Still squinting because the summer sun is very bright, Avi awkwardly straddles one bench seat and folds his hands atop the table as he sits.

When Rue hears the approach of footsteps at her back, she turns to look over her shoulder. The sight of him takes her breath away because what even the fuck is he wearing? Her former fashion model sensibilities are offended by that ensemble. She shakes her head at that and to answer his question. No hangover. Or, at least it’s fading now.

“That’s Lake Superior off the UP.” Where the Edmund Fitzgerald sank. Midwestern kids know that particular ghost story by heart. Any other day she’d put on a sly smirk and ask if he was inviting her to take a walk along the beach with him. Or ask him if a young girlfriend factors into his midlife crisis plans. Today? She’s much too terrified to make that kind of joke.

“Well, that sounds like fun,” Rue says hesitantly, turning in her seat on the table to tuck one leg up in front of her so she can face him, even if she has to look down. Nails pick at the frayed edge of her cutoff shorts. “Make sure you wear sunblock. I’ve got SPF 100 back in my room.” Because she’s a ginger and a few minutes out in the sun turns her into a lobster.

Also, this is fucking weird and she has no idea what even the fuck is going on. Maybe he’s just going to drown her in the lake and be done with the whole thing.

“So,” Avi looks over the frames of his sunglasses. “I realize you aren't a soldier, never spent a lot of time in an actual military. The war doesn't count,” somehow? “because none of that was normal.” Grimacing, Avi scrubs a hand at his mouth. “I also realize I've never personally disciplined you in front of other squadmates…” Somehow.

“When I was in the Army,” Avi begins what is undoubtedly a long and boring story. “I had this CO named Renner, big muscled asshole. Like,” Avi makes a circle with his forefinger and thumb, “literally just a sphincter with biceps.” He slides his other finger through the hole.

Anyway,” Avi waves his hands about. “So Renner was always chewing out his subordinates for fucking up. I never paid much attention to it though. So, of course eventually I fucked up. I was Renner’s driver while we were on base and I was still drunk from the night before.” Lifting one hand, Avi pantomimes driving. “So I roll Renner’s jeep on the way back from the auto pool. Just fucking demolish it.”

Breathing in deep, Avi levels a look at Rue. “Renner comes and chews me out in the clinic in front of literally everyone. Like, the worst emotional asshole bleaching of my life.” What even is that analogy? “So, right, I'm like well this is it Renner hates me forever. I'm scared shitless to fuck up because I know he’ll take me to task.”

“But the next time I had to talk to Renner he was cool as a cucumber. Didn't shit on me once, because I hadn't fucked up.” Avi spreads his hands. “He didn't rub it in my face, didn't remind me of my past failures every time I asked for something. He made damn clear I never forgot the first time. And that's what always stuck with me.”

Folding his hands on the table, Avi lets his shoulders slack. “You won't ever forget last night, and I'm never going to dangle it over your head. That's not how I run things. You get burned, you learn, you move on. You're basically family t’me, Lancaster. You're one of the last people left I can say that about. So I'm gonna hold you to a high ass standard, yeah.” He balls up a hand, makes a fist, and gives a fake slow motion jab at Rue. “You screw up, I call you on it. But that's where it ends.”

“Long story short,” was it? “You and me are good.” Avi affirms with a drum of both hands on the table.

Okay, so it starts out weird. And then it kind of gets a little horrifying, but then it just gets weirder, and by the end of it, Rue is in tears. What the fuck?

Rue sets her coffee aside and takes off her sunglasses so she wipe at her face with the heel of her hand. “I know I fucked up real bad last night. I don’t have any excuses for it.” She needs to get this off her chest with him, even though he’s already said they’re good. She looks at the black streaks of eyeliner and mascara on her palm and makes a frustrated sound in the back of her throat. Whatever. He’s seen her look half-drowned with her face split open, swollen, and purple before. Raccoon eyes are nothing.

At least she’s not sobbing. Just crying these traitorous fat tears of relief as she stares out at the water. “I’m glad you stepped in. I’m glad you called me out. I absolutely deserved that.” Even if it was completely humiliating. He’s right. It’s a lesson she won’t forget. “I can handle it if François is still cross with me. I can handle Curtis being mad at me until the end of time. I can handle all the asshole remarks he’s going to make to me.” Which is a tacit promise to ignore them. “But if you stayed mad at me…”

Taking a moment to breathe deeply and wipe at her eyes again, she turns to look him in the eye again. “That would kill me, Av’. You’re the only fucking person who gets me.” Which someone might find concerning if there was anyone actually around to listen. “I am so sorry.” Rue lifts up off the table surface to scoot over so she’s sitting just about in front of him now, then leans in to kiss him on the forehead. “I gave my private stash to LaFayette. I’m going to stay sober the rest of the summer.” Just to prove to herself that she can.

The tears have stopped for now, the emotional pressure having dropped to acceptable levels again. She cracks a grin. “And it’s patio margarita season, so I hope you realize that I’m punishing myself.”

Avi faintly smiles at the kiss to his forehead. “Alright, alright, fraternizing,” he feigns a chiding tone. “Look, I'm gonna get mad at you sometimes. That's the nature of the job. Fucking god knows you're gonna get mad at me because one, I'm your CO and that's how this works. Two, I'm a selfish asshole and make bad decisions that hurt people sometimes.”

With a deep breath and deep sigh, Avi slouches his posture and leans against the table. “At the end of the day I respect you, and that's what matters. Because I know you respect me. That's why I don't care why you did what you did or how sorry you are. I assume all those things are true, because we’re a team.

Avi raises his dark brows, driving home the T-word. “Teams fight. Teams laugh. But at the end of the day, we’ve all got each other's backs. Because that's why any of us are still alive.”

“Whatever. You need the hot redhead to complete your midlife crisis bingo card,” Rue teases, pretending to wipe off a smear of lip gloss with her thumb. “Yeah, I know. I promise I won’t be a weepy mess every time. I just… First times are tough, right?” That wasn’t a thinly veiled innuendo, honest. No, really.

“You’re fucking right I respect you. You have got to be the best man I’ve ever met in my whole life.” Considering word is that she doesn’t like men at all, that might not be saying too much.

“Do you think Adie’s proud of me?” Speaking of people she respects the hell out of.

“You need to meet more men,” Avi states flatly, easing up from the picnic table. “Seriously.” Straightening his hideous bowling shirt, Avi looks down at Rue with a hesitant smile. It's an expression of endearment, even if he thinks she's perhaps a little out of her mind.

“And Lancaster Very Senior doesn't respect anybody,” Avi admits with a brusque tone. “But,” his head tips to the side, “she'd probably make an exception for you. Trade secret, she reads Jane Austen and gets emotional about it.” Is it true? No one is here to correct his potentially slanderous lies.

Sunglasses are slid back onto her face, hiding the smeared make-up. “Sure. Introduce me to some, then.” That’s not serious. Probably. “I didn’t see any other man come to haul me out of that cell.” Plenty of women, sure, and their roles aren’t diminished either. They’re held in the same high respect that Rue holds Avi in. Except maybe Robyn Quinn, but that’s… another story. Complicated.

Rue chokes at the assertion made about Adrianne Lancaster’s choice of reading material. “And how hard do you think she’d punch me if I accused her of having an emotion other than sardonic?” There is absolutely no way that’s true.

“God. Where the hell did you get that thing?” she pulls a face as she looks at the shirt. “Did you get your laundry mixed up with Jens’?”

“I bought it,” Avi notes proudly as he pulls at the bottom as if to show off its tasteless design. “Because when I wear it, with these,” he motions down to the pants and flip-flops, “nobody wants to talk to me. Nobody bothers me. I'm a giant, garish, invisible tourist on the beach.” Avi’s brows raise, smile lopsided.

“I've been dodging reporters and weirdos ever since the story of the Ferry went public. I can't flay someone alive with a look like Hana can, so they think they can just come talk to me.” Avi shrugs. “I guess they assume I'm just somebody’s drunk, crazy uncle.” His toothy, ridiculous smile is intended to assure that he isn't.

It doesn't work.

Rue is actually impressed by that logic. “Okay. All right. Then that is an amazing shirt.” She covers her mouth with one hand as she laughs. “I thought you just wore it to disarm me.” A shrug. “It worked, by the way.” So, job well done.

“You want some arm candy, or are you going solo? I can go get changed, grab my bag. It’ll only take me a minute.” Her smile is bright, like you know you wanna~ “Maybe three.” Models know how to change fast, but she can be realistic. Ish.

“No spotter needed today,” Avi admits with a lopsided smile. “But your concern for my well-being is appreciated. I just came down here to clear the air. I wanted you to know that I wasn't mad forever, just mad then.” Distinction made, Avi straightens his posture and offers Rue a formal salute.

“Afterward,” Avi says firmly, “we can grab a sandwich or something. There's a great place across the river. You'd like it.” Whatever it is with him and Jensen and a good sandwich is probably another story she’ll be forced to hear. Time and again. Because he'll forget he told her already. He presumes, however, she'll be happy to listen.

And he’d be right. “All right. But just know you missed out on being the first to see my new swimsuit.” Her grin fades, continuing more seriously. “Thanks. For real.” She could say more, about how she’s going to try harder, do better, but he already knows all that.

“Afterward,” she repeats, like it’s a deal. “You know where to find me.”

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