colette_icon.gif hana_icon.gif

Scene Title Insinuating
Synopsis Student and mentor have a long-overdue heart-to-heart.
Date July 15, 2018

Jackson Heights

To say that the year has been busy is an understatement. Wolfhound has been pressed into activity the likes of which it hasn't seen since the war, and with what is impending on the horizon that doesn't seem to be slowing down at all. That their work has brought members of Wolfhound to the Safe Zone for myriad reasons isn't unusual, the logistics and planning for what the government has laid out for them isn't inconsiderable, and not all of it can be done remotely.

But the work of the day, meetings at the airfield and conversations regarding refueling plans and hardware transportation, are long since over. The sun has cut its path through the sky for the day, and the last few errands took place amid the industrial parkland and demolished buildings of Jackson Heights. Outside of the Raytech Industries building, the Katsch rests quietly with one back door open and two plastic cases containing newly tuned Banshee units within. Normally this sort of task wouldn't require more than Colette Demsky, who swings the rear passenger door shut and begins to move to the front passenger’s side door, twirling the Katsch’s keys around in one hand as she does. But the other activities of the day required someone else’s presence as well.

“I'll ride shotgun this time,” Colette offers as she tosses the Katsch’s keys to Hana in an underhand lob. “You mind if we stop somewhere nearby before we head out, though?” Colette opens the passenger side door, her expression not quite as casual as her words. Hana can see the intent behind her eyes, the anxious tension of waiting to see which way the major falls on a decision.

Be water, was the advice, distilled. This is an attempt, at least.

Plucking the keys from the air in mid-arc, Hana looks over at Colette a moment, brows arching minutely. She inclines her head in mute acquiescence, a willingness to indulge whatever it is the younger woman has in mind — at least for now. If nothing else, they're on the down side of everything for today; and if it turns out Colette is navigating them towards more work, well, Hana might just keep on driving.

Moving around to the driver's side, Hana gets in, starts the vehicle, then gives Colette a dry sidelong look just before moving it out of park. "There any particular direction you want me driving in for this stop?"

Obviously, there must be.

“Reciprocity?” Colette tries as she gets into the truck on the passenger side, settling in and buckling up. “I know shit hasn't been ideal between us since…” she waves one hand in the air, gesturing to the past. “I wanted to show you something. Something personal. It's not far from here, and… it feels right, for all that I've insinuated myself into your life, I've never really done the same.”

Affording one last look to the Raytech building, Colette settles back against the seat and motions to the street that heads west. “It's on the corner of 23rd and 31st street, not too far from here.” The address, at least in the time before the war, has easily available public records indicating it is the site of one Cliffside Apartments.

Reciprocity is not a direction Hana can orient the vehicle in, really. Her opinion of that as navigational cue remains her own, though, conversational room yielded for the younger woman to expound into.

"Unlike you," she observes instead, after, as uninflected as any factual statement ever was "I've never felt the need to insinuate." To poke and pry and dissect and ferret, as Demsky has done since day one.

Turning the vehicle about, Hana starts it moving in the specified direction. The drive there is silent, deficit in either questions or time-filling commentary — or it would be deficit, if any had been expected.

There isn't anything to be seen when they arrive, just a heaping pile of bricks roughly one story tall, a few suggestions of an intact wall here and there, all of which is surrounded by chain-link fence with Yamagato Industries construction banners hanging from it. There's a noise of bulldozers in the distance, the long necks of backhoes visible over some of the rubble as they lean down to graze at the ruins like mechanical animals, is if this were a safari.

Colette exhales a soft sigh when she sees the condition the building — what little remains of it — is in. It isn't surprise, so much as resignation. With a momentary look to Hana, Colette opens the passenger side door and steps out onto the curb, gently closing it as she walks up to the fence and winds her fingers between some of the links. She looks over her shoulder, expectantly awaiting the major’s arrival.

Hana glances to her passenger before turning the vehicle off, noting her expression in profile. Emerging, she walks quietly up beside Colette, dark gaze making an unnecessary survey over the demolition site — unnecessary, because she took in its details while still driving up.

It's a simple matter for the technopath to find what used to be here, apartments that the woman beside her once called home. Standing half a pace back from the fence, hands idle at her sides, she remains a silent presence, observant, patient.

Colette initiated this foray; Hana waits to see what she'll make of it.

“Ten years ago I used to live here.” Colette says, an unnecessary detail beyond a springboard to start the conversation. At that initiation, her attention turns to Hana, brows furrowed and expression intent. She looks back to the rubble pile, wistfully. “When Volken first showed up in New York, when folks thought he was just a serial killer… Judah got scared, sent me to stay with a friend of his.”

The one the apartment was registered to in Hana’s database. “Felix,” she says for the sake of it being said, because names mean something. “He took me in when it was probably the most dangerous time in his life to. When I didn't even realize I was different,” her hand slips away from the fence. “This was where I first met Eileen Ruskin. She lived here too, was doing Volken’s work right under my nose. But she sat with me on the roof on more than one occasion, listened to me in the way nobody else really had. She wanted to hear what I had to say, believed I had value.”

Colette turns, looking to Hana. “Eileen,” she motions to the ruins, “was the first person to trust me as an adult. I wouldn't have become Ferry without her, wouldn't have met you. Wouldn't have lived the life I have now.” The attachment that Colette has to Eileen is visible on one of her bare arms, the tattoo of trees and scattering birds, the final day of Pollepel island.

Shaking her head, Colette takes her hair back from her face with one hand. “I um,” she looks to the ground, then back up. “You're the only other person who has ever given me the time of day the way you have. Not since Eileen, not since the Ferry. I don't… ever want you to think that doesn't matter the world t’me. Because,” she inclines her head to the ruins, “the world might've moved on, but the memory of what this place used to be defines me. Just like you're doing now.”

Colette’s hand comes to rest at the back of her neck, scrubbing slowly. “Family’s the most important thing t’me, because it hasn't ever been easy to hold on to when it's good. An’ just like Eileen was, you are, my family.” But it's clear Colette is trying to find the way to just say something.

“I'm sorry,” finally comes out as Colette slacks her shoulders, “for pushing you. I don't want you t’ever regret letting me in, and…” she motions to the ruins, “I don't want to wake up one day and have a pile of rubble be all that's left of who we were.” Which isn't to say she thinks that's on Hana. “Because I know me, and I know I can… break things, sometimes.”

Blind eyes level back up on Hana. It doesn't feel like this is all Colette’s reason for coming out here was, but it certainly feels like part of the weight. Apology, and an attempt at reciprocity.

Hana remains silent, still as Colette expounds upon her tale and her concerns. That quiescence, the intensity of her attention within it, are all characteristic of the woman; and to the unfamiliar, they can all seem forbidding. Colette, though, has familiarity enough to parse the quality of that stillness, to read the absence of impatience, and more importantly of anything resembling offense.

Silence persists in the wake of Colette's declared fears, and now its quality changes: evaluating, contemplating, accompanied by distinct narrowing of eyes and a sense of gathering energy. It isn't really a surprise when Hana shifts from stillness into motion, the gap between them disappearing in two long strides. Nor when she reaches out, one hand on either of the Hound's shoulders.

"Don't lie to me," Hana states, crisp and emphatic and declarative, dark gaze boring into frosted green for all that eyes don't dictate the photokinetic's vision. "Don't go behind my back." One hand drops; the other shifts to rest against the bone of Colette's chin, mirror of so many other distinctly personal moments between them. "Don't become the kind of person I hunt."

And that's all she lays out in the way of ground rules. Just those three.

“You forgot don’t ambush,” Colette adds with a hint of tender wryness, the smile afterward being sympathetic more than taunting. There’s a knit of Colette’s brows as she makes eye contact — such as it is — with Hana, and her hand comes up to rest against the older woman’s ever so gently. Not to move it away, not to do anything other than affirm that gesture. When the pale eyes drop away for a moment, then flick back, she’s found the second half of her thoughts.

“I won’t become that person.” That much is the most certain affirmation Colette can give Hana, a promise that even through the emotional choices she may sometimes make, she’s learning from the mistakes made along the way. “No matter what comes.”

But that has more weight to it too, and it’s a weight Hana can feel in Colette’s hand. There’s more yet to this choice of location.

Hana gives the Hound a dry look at her contributed codicil. "Just step out of the hole. Don't fucking dig it deeper."

Anything else can be mended, with a little care. A little patience, and endurance — maybe a lot of that.

There's a minute nod as Colette makes her promise, as Hana accepts it. After, the older woman lets her hand fall away, settling back into waiting for whatever else it is her companion intends to raise.

At least she can be reasonably confident in what it isn't.

“I haven’t made up my mind yet,” Colette says with a tilt of her chin down once that hand is removed, “but… I’ve been thinking about maybe retiring, in a year or… so?” Blind eyes lift up to Hana, showing now the worry behind personal and professional and where they bleed together into the life they’ve lived together for the past six years.

“I don’t know if I’m honestly cut out for it but, Felix and Judah they… they were both in law enforcement. They are— were— both such good people, and they were able to, y’know, change things from the inside.” Brows furrowed, Colette looks at the rubble. “I’ve been debating making an attempt at joining the NYPD next year — going to the academy — once that starts moving forward. But I… I don’t really know for sure.”

Looking back to Hana, it’s clear that this is a two-fold meeting. Both professional and personal, both Major and… whatever else it is Hana is to Colette. “I love Wolfhound, my squad, everything we stand for. But I love this city, too, and the people in it who can’t always protect themselves. I feel like…” she pulls her hands apart as though tugging at sticky taffy, “like I’m two people sometimes.”

Hana's brows lift as Colette speaks, not so much judgmental as simply prompting: go on. Once again, she waits while the Hound says her piece… and at the end, responds with a brief huff. "Only sometimes?" is characteristically acerbic, but not dwelt upon.

The flick of her hand is illustrative of very little as the major transitions into motion, energy finding outlet; she paces a short line that takes her along the sidewalk, away from Colette and back again. "What do you stand for?" she prompts at last, coming to a halt and staring intently into blind eyes. "What is your purpose?"

Hana takes a breath, lets it rush back out as she momentarily sets thoughts in order. "I've always known my purpose," she states. Where always actually only means two-thirds of her life, the part that counts, the part that led directly to this moment. "And yet, it took almost ten years to get my feet on the right path, and ten more to make my own place."

She glances over to the destruction in progress, watching the ungainly movements of a backhoe without actually seeing them. "At every step, I knew for sure I was pursuing the right goal, the right position. I wasn't wrong," Hana asserts, returning her regard to Colette, "not in goals. But in terms of place…"

It can't be said that Hana regrets any of her life choices. But hindsight is 20/20, as the saying goes, and experience brings some manner of wisdom.

"Wolfhound is a knife," she continues after a brief pause. "It may be put to several ends, but in the end, it's a blade. Are you?" she challenges, leaning forward slightly, attention sharp and intent. "Is that what you're made for?"

Hana lets her weight settle back, raising a hand, palm up, fingers loose. "Is that what you want to be?"

She doesn't actually expect an answer, not here and now.

It's clear that Colette doesn't have one, either. Looking back to the rubble that once marked the point where her life turned on its current trajectory, she searches it for answers. The ruins, likewise, have none.

“All I've ever wanted to do was be in control of my life. Since I was little.” Colette’s voice has a distant quality, as do her eyes, seeming to act more blind now than their usual preternatural sight. “It took a war, but I got that. But it's like,” she blinks her eyes closed, then turns to look at Hana, “now that I have both hands on the steering wheel, I don't know where to go.”

Managing a weary smile at her own metaphor, Colette tucks her hands into her pockets and hunches her shoulders. “You’ve only ever been a beacon for me. A signpost that's shown me where to go. Even if I, you know, sometimes don't read the sign.” Her smile turns a bit more wry.

“I guess, I mean all I want to do is help people. I just… I have doubts. About a lot of things.” Tilting her head to the side, Colette looks to the ground. “I don't know if the NYPD would even take me after the fucking mess I caused last year.” A legitimate concern. “If I don't wind up behind bars.”

"Most people don't," Hana says, in response to the steering wheel metaphor. "It's just one step at a time. Just look at how many in the Institute — or anywhere — dug themselves holes without ever meaning to… but one thing led to another."

She leans hip and hand against the inactive vehicle. "Even with a purpose, it's still one step at a time," she admits. "And it never takes you where you expect. But at least you're thinking about the course, not just the next horizon."

Something that feeds into Colette's next metaphor, and into the dry look Hana casts her way after.

Silence hangs stiff after the naming of last year's mess, ungainly and angular in a way that acknowledges the degree of that debacle. "I expect… if nothing has come of it by now, nothing will." The major could explain her reasoning; she doesn't. She could mention that some would likely prefer if Colette removed herself to a less-militant context; she doesn't.

Instead, Hana simply lets that statement stand on its own, too cautious to be reassurance, yet still a straightforward reading of what information she has.

Silence is Colette’s response, though she makes the effort of eye contact with it. Her brows belie so much more going on behind those milky white windows, show the turmoil and uncertainty in the future. But Hana showed something valuable here, told her something she'd never considered. “I always figured you had your whole life planned out,” is the way Colette voices he reaction to that discovery. “You're… unflappable. I see you and I see someone who always has a plan, is always six steps ahead…”

Dithering, Colette smiles to herself and awkwardly laughs just as much, one hand scuffing at the back of her neck as she ambles back toward the Katsch with meandering bootfalls. “What were you even like at my age?” Is mostly a rhetorical question, but her curiosity is genuine.

Hana gives Colette a flat, sidelong look, more exasperation than glare. "Planning isn't the same as getting," is her dry rejoinder.

She leans more heavily against the vehicle even as Colette drifts nearer, gaze going to the deconstruction equipment at its work. When she was Colette's age… that would be thirteen years ago. The year Hana Gitelman abandoned Mossad; the year she met Noah Bennet.

It doesn't take more than a scratch of figurative surface to rouse the resentment that defined nigh a quarter of Hana's life, bottled up anger and grief and resentment channeled and honed into a drive given no outlet by the system she had entered herself into. Her life's goal, or what she'd made of it then, hung forever in sight yet beyond any possible reach.

She fails to notice the breath drawn in deep and slow through her nose, released in just as measured a way between barely parted lips. Fails to notice the way her fingers curl into her palms, hands not quite going white-knuckled, but not far from it either.

"When I was your age," Hana says in utterly inflectionless tone, "I had a plan, and exactly nowhere to go with it. Not until Bennet sold me a lie."

The statements are crisp and curt; their delivery bodes poorly for any further elaboration.

It's a name Colette hasn't heard in a long time, another ghost of the Ferrymen past. Blind eyes dip to the street, then rise as she comes to join Hana’s side, leaning up against the Katsch. She searches the older woman’s eyes, chin tucked down and brows lowered, silently considering the position of vulnerability that Hana proposed. That she was tricked, that the life she'd led was built on a lie.

“It got you here, I guess,” is the way Colette chooses to look at it. “Probably not the only way that would've, but… who knows? Y’know?” There's a faint smile that ghosts across her lips as she props her elbows up on the vehicle’s heavy frame. “Maybe somewhere out there is a Hana Gitelman that never met Noah Bennet. Maybe she's happier,” blind eyes slant to the technopath, “maybe she's not.”

As Colette turns her attention to the ruins of her former home, she mirrors that deep breath Hana took, and its slow exhale. “At least you learned not to do what he did,” she says with a faintly wry tone, brows raised as she settles her attention back on Hana. “You didn't sell me a lie. You didn't sell me anything. You didn't have to.”

One dark brow arches as Colette begins to speak; by the time she's finished, Hana gives the younger woman a dark and scathing look. The kind of look that no words immediately follow upon, because there are no words fit to rebut the idiocy that's been voiced.

"Get in the fucking car, Demsky," Hana growls, shoving herself away from said vehicle and striding over to the driver's door. Which takes all of about three strides, and that only because she has to go around Colette. But she pauses there, hand poised on the lever, neither opening the door nor looking in the direction of her sometime student. "I didn't have to learn that," she snaps, each word short and staccato. "Not then. Not ever."

The door opens, and closes again with a resounding clang, firmly sealing Hana on the inside.

In contrast, Colette remains leaning against the Katsch for a few extra moments, back to Hana and one hand scrubbing at her forehead. She drags the fingers of one hand through her hair, breathing in deeply and holding the breath. Eyes alight to the sky, as if to ask an unvoiced question. Then as she lets her hand drag down her face as the breath is exhaled, and she turns toward the car and slowly pulls open the door.

Leather squeaks awkwardly against leather in the otherwise soundless vehicle, door slowly shut behind herself. Slanting a look over at Hana, Colette is silent, save for the intrusive noises of movement that she wishes beyond wishes she could stifle. Her attention goes to the dashboard, then back to Hana with furrowed brows.

Silence lingers in the car for another moment, and then another creak as Colette leans back against the passenger seat and folds her hands behind her head. There's a look at Hana, assessing, uncertain, then ahead to the road.

This should be a fun four hours.

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