Ink Unfaded


sable_icon.gif tamara_icon.gif

Scene Title Ink Unfaded
Synopsis Sable and Tamara meet for the first time in the conscious present.
Date June 19, 2010

Gun Hill

Gun Hill is named after Gun Hill Road, the street that the five story tenement resides on. A bright red brick exterior separates it from the surrounding buildings, making it difficult to miss even though the complexes on either side of it are similarly coloured with fresh coats of paint in yellow and blue donated to their proprietors by an urban renewal project devoted to eliminating graffiti from the Bronx's residential zones in an attempt to raise property value and reestablish the borough as a desirable place to live.

Inside, the building shows more obvious signs of wear than the rusty fire escape affixed to its front, including old hardwood floors so scuffed that no amount of wax or polish can return them to their original luster, and faded wallpaper in neutral shades of cream with a strange mottled texture. Instead of an elevator, the tenement's upper floors can be reached by taking a stairwell with numbered flights and roof access via a heavy metal door that sticks more often than not.

Gun Hill's red walls are redder still in the afternoon sunlight, just as its neighbors are almost eye-searing in their fresh and cheerful colors. The girl who sits on the steps is drab in comparison, short blonde hair teased out by the wind, her shirt an unobtrusive sea-green and her shorts plain khaki. Blue eyes watch the people walk by on the street with no more than idle curiosity, a casual sort of observation that seems unlikely to take much away from the sights it perceives. She leans one shoulder against the railing, quite possibly for sake of support and not just comfortable posture; her hands, folded in her lap, curl over the fluffy-coated puppy that sits on her knees, stroking the dog's fur in a way that bespeaks nothing of confinement. The puppy seems perfectly content to sit there, also watching, despite the intrigued angle of her ears and her intent focus on each and every passer-by; only for the momentary stretch of canine jaws in a remarkably big yawn does stop looking.

Hat donned, guitar case slung over her back, black bandana tied right around her upper arm, Sable looks like someone on the move. A perception further supported by the purposeful way she forges down the stairwell, each step taking like she means it. When it comes to descent, this gal doesn't eff around. To top it off, her expression can only be called grimly determined, her gaze set dead ahead, seeing what needs to be seen and nothing more, allowing for no distraction.

As is so often the case, though, this little display is true more in wish and intention than in actual fact and exercise. The appearance of dead-ahead, no nonsense progression is easy as long as there is nothing besides the walls and rails of a stairwell to distract one. That is to say, no telling how determined a determined looking person is until their determination is tested. And when Sable pushes out the front door of the Gun Hill tenement, ready to take on the day (or at least its latter half), such a test appears in golden blonde and sea-green. Double-take time.

"Oh Jesus," the yellow-eyed girl says to Tamara, blinking, "I ain't seein' shit again, am I? That you, hon?" The dog is there too. The picture is complete. Though sadly, this does nothing to dispel her slightly unbalanced suspicion that she's actually just blacked out on the stairs again, possibly with a broken neck this time, rather than just a broken guitar.

Now, one of Tamara's hands stills, putting enough pressure on Misty's shoulders to keep her in place — she can go visit Sable, yes, but not right now. Right now, Tamara turns her head enough to look at the guitarist over her shoulder without taking any of her weight away from the railing pole. She smiles, shaking her head a little, and reaches out with the hand that isn't restraining the dog to pat the sun-warmed stairs beside her. "Sit," she instructs the musician. "No one else came."

Sable's reaction to Tamara's way of phrasing things is maybe not such a bad one. Lyrical interpretation is something she's had more practice with than moving in polite society. She squints, then nods, "Well, 'course," she says, "Otherwise they'd be here, eh?" The diminutive musician glances down the road, where she planned to head with such steady tread and vehement vision. But if mice and men have to give up their best laid plans, why should crazy women get to keep them? Sable unslings the case as she moves over to the other girl, though she takes her seat on the step just above Tamara's, to help even out the height difference. The guitar is set, very carefully, to lean against the railing. Sable leans forward, elbows on knees, and peers at Tamara. "You must be pretty fuckin' well rested, eh?"

With Sable in such very easy reach, Misty can't resist — mouthing a soundless bark, she squirms over to the nearest part of Tamara's lap, planting her chin on the other girl's knee and peering up into the guitarist's face. Other than that intently hopeful stare, she seems content to be remarkably sedate for a puppy. Tamara shakes her head again at Sable's query, not so much a firm no as a sort of general disagreement, blonde hair set dancing just above her shoulders with the motion. "Tired," she remarks, in exact counterpoint. "Old stiff paper with too many creases, the ink fades from the map. Not all of it, though," the girl adds, as if that makes everything, or at least enough things, okay. Given her calm demeanor as she ruffles Misty's ears, that might be true — for her.

"I'd ask y' what faded," Sable says, "But that seems like a pretty fuckin' stupid question, seein' as, like, it's already faded, which is precisely the problem." The yellow eyed girl reaches down to give Misty her customary scratch - as Tamara's got the ears, Sable takes the side of the pup's neck. Sable's attitude towards canines isn't mothering or adoring - she seems to treat them as just another kind of independent agent. The scratch is something like a handshake. The scrape of Sable's fingernails against the dog's soft flank, which soon follows, is her making friendly conversation. They're getting to know each other. "Knowin' what I know of you, which I admit ain't much, I'll not bother t' ask you what the hell happened t' make you take that long sleep 'f yers," Sable says, capable of holding a human and canine conversation at once, "But I figurin' mebbe you know me, down the line? I saw you in my, like, fuckin' vision or whatever," she thwaps Misty's side, "Saw this 'n' too. Grown up a bit, though."

Looking quite pleased by all the attention, Misty still can't help but yawn again; it's been a long day for the little dog, and she remains happily sprawled between the two laps, possibly soon to fall asleep. Tamara tilts her head and looks down at the puppy in an intrigued fashion that — raises the question of what exactly it is that the girl is seeing. "Not grown up enough?" she asks, hands coming to rest on her knees, just past the prone puppy. Blue eyes lift, looking out towards the street — into some distance that isn't the street. "No," Tamara muses. But it doesn't seem to have much significance for her, that answer. "I knew you," she continues, looking over to Sable again. "You're here, aren't you?"

"Yup. Of that y' can be sure as y' can of few things in life," Sable agrees, with a grin and a nod, "Though I dunno if th' same c'n be said of you, hon, with that far-off look in yer eye." Sable eases her scratching of Misty's side - if the dog wants to sleep, she won't stir her. She pets softly, still viewing Tamara all the while, with a somewhat wry curiosity. "And I dunno. Who ever's grown up enough for any goddamn thing? We're always a little late t' where we're supposed t' be goin'. I mean, not always, mebbe, but pretty often. Bein' right on time is a rare goddamn thing, in my experience."

Misty's a puppy; when she sleeps, she sleeps through everything. She's not quite asleep yet, but she doesn't complain that Sable eases up on the scratchiing, either; it's all welcome attention to the dog with drooping eyelids. Tamara, meanwhile, looks sidelong at Sable, lips quirking in a rueful smile. She shrugs her shoulders on the subject of far-off looks: who can say? Then she leans her head against the railing, and closes her own eyes, though not in the context of sleep. Just a moment's rest. "Not so rare. But not so common," she allows, "it's easier to be late. We were where we chose to be, and when we got there is when it was."

"It's easy t' become late, sure," Sable concurs, though not without an additional qualification to swiftly follow, "Bein' late is a real bitch, though." To her this is an important distinction. Sable's hand leaves Misty as the dog drifts off, and the dark haired girl's arms wrap around her legs as she rocks back and forth a little on the edge of the step. "Any fuckin' chance y' could lend me some insight on why it is y' gave me yer dog?" She could also ask about the whole stabbing thing Colette referenced, but Sable has a certain sense of, if not decorum, basic decency. Plus she still feels guilty for losing her temper in Tamara's presence, no matter her state of consciousness (or lack thereof).

The seeress looks at the musician for a long moment, her gaze seeming — somewhat darker. In actual color, not in emotion. Glances away, leaning her forehead against the cool metal of the rail. "Because I knew you?" she hazards, a long moment later, in the manner of a best guess that is only hopefully correct. Straightening enough to glimpse Sable from the corner of her vision, Tamara draws in a breath, and expels it rather heavily. "I don't — roads don't remember whys, really, just the feet that walk. And… I think…" Her tongue flicks over her lips: a hint of unease. "If it was, it wasn't near. Rather stay together," she admits to Sable.

Sable shrugs, "Sure," she says, "So long as the feet I wore in the moment I saw are th' feet I'm still wearin' when I get there, it'll come t' that? I mean, presumin' yer there when yer there, and this one," the girl pats Misty lightly, "Is also. Easier for the hound dog, though. Don't figure they meet as many forks in th' road, so t' speak." A pause, "This'll sound foolish, but in truth that's what all that was? Things to come? Things down the line?"

"What everyone saw, that is," Sable clarifies, then squints, "Did it happen t' you? Would that even seem, like, peculiar 'r anythin'?"

Looking directly at Sable, Tamara's gaze is somber. "I don't know," she finally says, curling her fingers in Misty's thick coat. "I didn't know what you see. If it was a shadow on the road, then maybe. Maybe not. Shadows were what you made." She turns to look out the street, gaze passing over the sun-washed buildings of the Bronx. Remains quiet for a long stretch, before the seeress simply shrugs and regards Sable once more. "Maybe I could answer when it was nearer. Or when the mirror was less fragile."

"Heh," Sable says, a fleck of demonstrative and ironic mirth, "So it's gotta be upon us fer you t' know better? Fair 'nuff. I can't remember jack shit 'bout what went on more th'n a month ago most of th' time. It's worse if I'm around bad fuckin' influences." There follows a long pause, a mirror to Tamara's own, though what Sable sees in it is likely very different. She looks back, as she will look, before speaking up. "I'm sorta… like… sorry 'bout Colette 'n' all. I ain't precisely th' most, like, decent of fuckin' people."

Tamara smiles at Sable, pleased by her reply. The smile dims as silence stretches, the seeress tipping her head and giving the amber-eyed musician a perplexed glance. She runs her hands through Misty's fur, the little dog well and soundly asleep by now, with utter disregard for the state of sunny afternoon; her only clock is her own whim, and of course Tamara's. The girl looks down at the puppy; back up to Sable; and the sense that she's more bewildered by the apology than anything else doesn't go away. "I don't—" Her head tilts again; in the moment before she blinks, the girl's eyes darken further still.

In the moment after, Tamara leans over to briefly rest her fingers against Sable's lips in a gently quelling gesture. "You are yourself, that's all." She smiles, and shakes her head a bit, bringing her hand back to her lap. "Your choices are your own. So are hers."

Sable blinks in utter surprise as Tamara touches her mouth. Totally nonplussed, Sable just stares at Tamara for a while, trying to figure out what happened, and what didn't and what it means. Ultimately, she ends up going a little pink, the nervous scratching at the nape of her neck accompanied by a slight glower at nothing in particular. "Thass the exact sort 'f excuse I was usin' at th' time," she says, "I guess if it's good enough f'r you… still… I do feel ill about it. Much too late 'f course. F'r both of us," she gives a sniff, "Damn… but why doesn't anyone in this fuckin' place feel th' need t' clobber someone over a girl, huh? Jesus. Am I just too short f'r people t' feel right about it? 'cause I take offense at that. I'm a vicious fuckin' scrapper, given the chance. I find it insultin' t' be let off on account 'f an underestimation 'f my abilities."

Of all things, Tamara grins good-natured amusement at Sable. Cradling the sleeping Misty in her arms, she rises to her feet. "Why," she asks the yellow-eyed girl as she begins to walk up the steps; of necessity, the remaining words are spoken over one shoulder, "do you think I underestimate you?" The blonde pauses at the top of the stairs, glancing back in an invitation for the guitarist to reply.

"Naw," Sable admits, smiling crookedly, looking over her own shoulder to answer, "I figure y' know I'd just fuckin' dodge."

Laughter carries down from the top of the stairs, not that that is exactly far; but as Tamara opens the door and steps inside Gun Hill, she neither confirms nor denies.

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