It's Better That Way


quinn_icon.gif tamara_icon.gif ygraine_icon.gif

Scene Title It's Better That Way
Synopsis On Gun Hill's rooftop, three women run across each other, some not entirely expecting to see the others.
Date June 24, 2010

Gun Hill: Rooftop

Situated atop the Gun Hill apartment building, five stories above street level, the rooftop of the tenement building overlooks the Bronx's gritty urban landscape. A single stair access leads out onto the smooth concrete rooftop surrounded by a three foot high red brick wall with a masoned top. Ventillation pipes and a chimney that connects to the singular fireplace down in the basement rises up from the concrete rooftop, though the chimney's old brick is crumbling and weathered.

A pair of old sun-bleached folding lawn chairs are situated out on the roof along with a plastic cooler, while white sacks of loam and soil are set next to large lengths of scrap wood, a box of nails and a few carpentry tools; a project in the works.

"Yeah. That's why I'm calling. Delivery's been made to the Corral, so I'm free for another run if needed."

The voice is educated, British, and slightly tired, its source a woman in a professional cyclist's suit of second-skin spandex, perched cross-legged atop the parapet surrounding the roof. Her hands are busy retying the end of her long braid, while a fancy ear-piece lets her talk into her cell - though her eyes, hidden behind wrap-around shades, seem to be fixed somewhere far out in the city.

"Okay. Gimme a buzz when you know if you need me. I'll loiter here for a while to let you check over the schedules." Shaking her head, she sighs quietly, chin lifting as she gazes up at the part-clouded sky.

Busy busy, busy as ever. Quinn had a lot to do today, and was already running out of time to get it all done. She’d taken out her truck for another day, mostly in hopes of getting most of the rest of her big things from her flat in Brooklyn over to Gun Hill, except maybe her bed and piano – she still wasn’t sure if she was going to finish moving today or Saturday, she was going to see where things went. Another small load of her various crap had been unloaded, an she felt it was as good as time as any for a short break. She still needed to get her DJing equipment out of storage, now that she was going to have the space for it, and that would probably take some help and a good chunk of the day.

So what better thing to do than put it off, right?

Hot as it was out, the roof always seemed like a neat place to hang out, particularly since she couldn’t really do it back at her old place. That, and, well, she kinda wanted to case it, with the idea of lugging her DJing stuff one night and having a small little party. What she hadn’t excepted to find when she walked out on it, though, was a certain Brit. A eyebrow arches, hand in her pocket.

“Fancy meeting you here,” she remarks with a wide grin on her face.

Ygraine starts in surprise - but fortunately doesn't appear to be in imminent danger of toppling off her narrow perch. Instead, she half-swivels, peering over one shoulder at Quinn. Laughing, she reaches up to remove her ear-piece, cradling it in one hand.

"I was about to wander down and see if you were around", she says warmly, the tiredness gone from her voice. "D'you want to pull up a brick and join me on my luxury seating?"

Quinn’s eyes narrow a bit, a look of mock worry as she approaches Ygraine’s perch. “I- maybe. Give me a second to convince myself I won’t slip and fall. That certainly would be an unfortunate way to continue the day.”

Ygraine laughs, shaking her head. "Don't you dare. I don't want to have to try to catch you if you fall", she warns with a smile, the ear-piece being somewhat awkwardly tucked one-handed into a little pouch on her belt, while the other hand retains hold of the end of the braid to stop it unravelling. "It might be wise to use an actual chair for a change."

There's a sudden spike in the chance of disaster on the rooftop, as four fluffily oversized paws and a pair of dainty perked ears arrive. Misty needs only about two seconds to take in the rooftop view, and then she beelines straight for Quinn's feet. The tip of her tail dusts the air right up until the puppy wriggles between Quinn's shoes and cranes her head back to look hopefully up at the young woman.

"No falling allowed," is Tamara's contribution to the conversation, the blonde emerging onto the roof in a far less pell-mell fashion than her charge. Dressed in a pine-green tanktop and faded blue cutoff shorts, no shoes between her feet and the rooftop surface, the girl wiggles her fingers in their direction. "She wanted to say hello."

Quinn wrinkles her nose, her head tilting. “Ah, well, I’ll have to be careful then, won-“ Her eyes widen as the puppy suddenly appears at her feet, and just the happiest smile forms across the Irishwoman’s face. She immediately dips down into a crouch, reaching at the dog happily. When she hears the voice, however, any eyebrow quirks, and she pivots around.

She stares for a moment, until a flash of recognition comes to her face. “Wait a second…” eyes narrow, eyeing Tamara. “Do I know you?”

After breaking into laughter at the sudden arrival of the bundle of fuzzy cuteness, Ygraine looks first astonished and then delighted, her face lighting up. The shades are quickly removed, and she bounces off the parapet and to her feet - without any apparent concern about overbalancing - and strides across to stand beside Quinn.

"Tamara. It's great to see you", the Briton says earnestly, in the process perhaps providing an answer of sorts for Quinn's query, tucking her shades into another pouch and setting about hastily completing tying off her braid so that she'll finally have both hands free again. Though Misty and Quinn are spared a long glance and a warm smile, most of Ygraine's attention remains focused upon the blonde.

Misty's ears angle forward as Quinn reaches down — and then the little dog tips her head sideways when Quinn's attention is abruptly redirected. Squirming free of the woman's ankles, she plants her forepaws on one shoe, casting a quiet huff upwards. Ygraine's intrusion into her proximity means Misty has something else to occupy her, though, and she settles for investigating the Brit's footwear. She's been all kinds of interesting places.

Tamara, meanwhile, grins at Ygraine. "I know," she replies, gently teasing. Shaking her hair back behind her shoulders, the seeress walks forward to join them, sidestepping a stray bit of lumber that hasn't been incorporated into a planting box yet. "You knew me," she answers Quinn, "or maybe I just knew you. Does it change much?"

“Tamara?” The name didn’t particularly ring a bell with her, Quinn moving into a full sitting position, arms open to the dog as she tries to coax Misty back to her. After a moment, she snaps a finger and points. “Didn’t I see you in front of the book store? I swear, that or you’re an absolute match for her.” She scratches the side of her head, looking at Tamara. “I- and you know each other? Crazy.” Apparently, this whole knowing each other thing extends beyond Colette and Magnes.

“Well, it’s nice to see you again,” she remarks with a nod to Tamara. She does have a curious look on her face, remembering how things had gone the last time they spoke.

Ygraine can't help but smile down at Misty as the little creature investigates her cycling shoes, chuckling quietly at the furball. Securing her braid, she frees up her hands and sinks smoothly into a crouch to offer fingers to Misty to sniff instead of footwear - though it's to Tamara that she looks, even as she provides an aside for Quinn. "Colette used to live a couple of floors below my own apartment. Tamara is very dear to her indeed", she explains, before directing a gentle smile and soft-voiced question to the blonde. "How is the mirror?"

Misty will quite happily take hands, and laps; yes indeed. She sprawls comfortably across Quinn's lap, nudging Ygraine's outstretched hand with her nose. Tamara tips her head at Quinn, regarding her with a sort of patient bemusement. Bookstore? The blonde shrugs, before also dropping down to sit with the other two. "If you say it is!" she declares, willing to take Quinn's word for their prior meeting. Blue eyes flick to Ygraine, and Tamara waves a hand a bit vaguely. "Little fuzzy. The river's quiet enough but the red's a lot of static. It's distracting." She looks back over towards Quinn, the seeress grinning ruefully. "Crazy was one word," she allows.

As Misty takes to Quinn’s lap, she immediately sets to petting and lavishing the dog with the attention she so very much craves. Her gaze moves between Ygraine and Tamara, eyebrow still arched. “Mirror?” A hand reaches up from petting Misty, scratching the back of her head. “If I say? Ah, well, maybe I’m mistaken. It’s pretty incredible, though.” Drawing Misty up into her arms, pulling her up as best as I can. “Crazy’s one word for a lot of things, lately,” Quinn retorts, looking up at Tamara with a grin.

“Never from me. Not about you", Ygraine says softly, smiling at Tamara, before chuckling at Quinn. "Tamara's relationship to temporal experience isn't exactly the same as most people's", she says gently. "Certainty over the order of things is something generally left to others."

Propping her elbows on her knees and her chin in cupped hands, Tamara looks between Ygraine and Quinn in turn. Her gaze finally settles on Ygraine, expression pensive. "Not — order," she disagrees, brow furrowing — a little at first, then more deeply. "Last and next don't shuffle like channels do." Although her voice, as she says this, sounds a little doubtful.

Again, Quinn’s gaze alternates between Tamara and Ygraine, a curious and somewhat nonplussed look on her face. “That’s… curious,” she remarks after a moment, eyeing Tamara. Releasing the puppy from her grasp, she shrugs and scoots over a bit, reaching out with a free hand to Tamara. “I- Well, it’s a pleasure to meet you again, either way.”

"I'm sorry." Ygraine ducks her head to Tamara, sounding sincerely apologetic. "Even as I said it, I knew it wasn't quite what I was wanting. For all that I talk so much, the right words still manage to evade me all too often."

Reaching over to run the tips of her fingers through Misty's fur, she lifts one corner of her mouth into a wry smile, watching Quinn formally introduce herself to Tamara. "I never saw things as you do", she directs to the latter. "The shadows and the fractures were different for me, even when they were all that I could see."

Shaking the proffered hand, Tamara smiles ruefully at Quinn. "Hello, Quinn," she says carefully, as if it were a formal introduction of the other woman. She picks up Misty before the puppy can quite sit down on the roof, holding the dog against her chest and climbing back up to her feet. "Always different," she replies to Ygraine. "It's better that way." The seeress pauses, touching her nose to Misty's fur; then she nods to the other two, standing up and starting back towards the door inside.

There’s a visible frown on Quinn’s face as Misty is pulled away from her; she quite enjoyed the dog’s presence. It only takes a moment before she smiles again, nodding. “Hope to see you again, soon!” she says to Tamara, giving a wave as she begins to walk off. If it was anything like anyone else she’d met, it would certainly be the case.

After a moment, she reaches back and scratches her cheek, still looking a bit confused. “She’s… okay, right?” Quinn turns to Ygraine, a suitably worried expression on her face. “She seems really nice, but both times I’ve run into her…”

"Hah. I suppose that it is, yes", Ygraine concedes to Tamara, ducking her head once more as she smiles. "As usual, you are right."

She somewhat worriedly eyes the departing blonde, but calls out a warm, "Take care of yourself", to her before she disappears from view.

Looking to Quinn, Ygraine sighs and shrugs slowly, accompanying the end of the gesture with a rueful chuckle. "Yes and no", she says quietly. "In an earlier meeting, she spoke of seeing the world through a broken mirror. She's… used to it. But her relationship to the world is a strange one, to say the least."

A slight shake of her head, and the Briton musters a smile for Quinn. "She's… actually, I'm not sure if you want me to say more. But I can provide a bit of an explanation for something if you want."

At that, Quinn’s lips quirks side to, the woman drawing her legs in and encircling her arms around them. A shrug is given and she looks over to Ygraine with a smile. “I… don’t really care. If you don’t want to say more, that’s fine. I won’t lie, though. I’m mildly curious.”

Ygraine nods, biting her lower lip for a moment. "Tamara's the person I thought you meant when you told me that Colette had moved in with her girlfriend", she explains in a somewhat hushed tone.

"A year or two ago, she was by some margin the most important person in the world for Colette. She even plucked up the courage to ask me for advice on how to broach the subject of her feelings." A slight pause, and her lip gets bitten again. "Knowing… how little anchoring Tamara can have, I was… concerned that… well. Colette might have left her behind."

Quietly, the Briton lets out a sigh. "She's not cruel, Colette. Not consciously. But she's hurt people in the past. Done what she thinks is right, and… left others to cope. I was very worried that she'd decided that Tamara would be better without her, and…" Another shrug, and she focuses firmly upon Quinn's face. "It's a huge relief to see her here. And seeming happy."

Quinn listens intently, focused on Ygraine as she talks - that was why Tamara’s name had sounded familiar! She had forgotten that Ygraine had said that, oops. Hand rubs her cheek, and when Ygraine finishes, she gives a slow nod in response.

“I- you said something kinda like that the other day, I think?” She wrinkles her nose, fingers tapping the side of her head. “I still don’t really know Colette that well, so- I don’t really favour gossip, but I do like knowing about people.” She sits up straight, quirking a smile. “Not that I’m gonna let anything temper what I think’a her or anyone else without seeing myself. But sometimes it’s good to know, just in case.”

She gives another nod, her other hand drumming on her knee. “But that girl seems like she needs someone around , she seems a bit…" Quinn furrows her brow..” It’s spoken in manner that’s meant to not seem insulting, and she hopes that comes across. “It’s good Colette’s still around for her.”

Ygraine lifts a brow. "I don't gossip. At least, I very much hope that I don't. I loathe it. Hence feeling more than a little guilty about enthusing at you about Tamara and Colette moving in together. It really wasn't my place. But… gah."

She bites her lip, glancing away to squint into the sunshine for a moment. "She has some need of people, yes. Tamara. She comes and goes. Or did. Doesn't spend too long in one place. She can function on her own, if not… in a way that'd seem normal to many. But… she seems a gentle soul. And I've got this probably-crazy desire to protect broken people. So I was having to try not to be furious with Colette or terribly worried about what could have happened to Tamara when a friend of Miss Nichols could enthuse about how Colette's love life - and not even have a clue who Tamara might be."

Quinn raises a hand, waving it back and forth dismissively. “Oh, I didn’t think you were. Don’t worry about it, you were excited, I guess.” She offers a warm smile back to Ygraine, and then props her chin down on her knees. “She seems like an interesting girl. Tamara, that is. I guess she just hadn’t come up t’ me at all the few times I’d spoken with Colette before we met.” Her eyes move back to the door, and she gives as small shrug. “I- there’s somethin’ that worries me about her, though. I’ll… have to get to know her a bit better I guess.”

Her legs extend back out, head rising up as she leans back on her palms. “So, what brings you around here, anyway? More deliveries?”

Ygraine nods quickly. "Yes. Though I had hoped to run into you as well. And maybe even Tamara or Colette. Or Elaine, for that matter. Interesting girl, that one…"

"As for Tamara…." The Briton fixes Quinn with a rather intently thoughtful look. "In crude terms, she's insane. She simply doesn't work in the sort of way that can be deemed 'normal'. The world for her is a different place. It has different rules to the ones that most people take for granted. But… the more you can understand of what she perceives, the more you can understand her. Just like anyone else. All I've seen that's different is that it's impossible to deal with her on auto-pilot. But I don't know what she's said or done with you in the past, I freely admit."

At the mention of teh word “insane”, Quinn quirks an eyebrow. She doesn’t have any comment, but the choice of word, while… not wrong in her experience, was a surprising one. “I’ve only run into her once before, a… week or so ago, I think. She had her puppy, and I was leaving work.” She tilts her head back a bit, a thoughtful look on her face as she tries to remember. “She brought me my phone, I’d dropped it somewhere. She’d seemed largely on the… up and up, so to speak then.” And then she cracks a grin. “Well, then she said something about… I forget, but it was something that just made me really confused. ”Quinn shrugs, shaking her head. “I thought she was just an odd person, then. Funny, how she ended up bein’ a friend of Colette’s and all.”

Toes tap on the concert beneath them, and Quinn looks over at Ygraine once more. “Elaine’s awesome. She’s Magnes’ girlfriend, and she’s quite fun to hang out with. Really good about takin’ everything in stride and going with the flow. She certainly puts up with me an’ Sable well enough, teasing her and all.”

Ygraine laughs softly, raising a hand as if in self-defence. "I'm not hitting on her. I was wholly serious about her being interesting. I definitely want to talk to her about her… choice of linguistic studies…."

"And… I'm not insulting her. Tamara, I mean", she adds quietly, expression turning nervous. "I wasn't joking about… a fractured mirror and shadows on my own part."

“I didn’t think y’ were- though I won’t lie, I have. Mostly in jest, of course. Like I said, she’s good about going with the flow.” Quinn laughs, and shifts forward a bit. “She said she knows a bunch of languages, apparently. She’s the girl I said knew Gaelic, not that I should be that surprised, I think she’s from Scotland.”

Quinn furrows her brow, tilting her head. “I kinda noticed that. I wasn’t sure what you meant, so I wasn’t gonna ask.” She wrinkles her nose, and nods. “I’m all ears, if you want to talk about it. I mean, like… you know.”

Ygraine's hands wave vaguely, accompanied by a sheepish little laugh. "Gyah. Ummm. Well, I'm not sure exactly what the equivalent over here would be, but…."

She takes a deep breath, closing her eyes. "I was sectioned. Detained under section three of the Mental Health Act, for compulsory treatment. Since I was considered an active danger to myself and potentially others."

Re-opening her eyes, she offers Quinn an apologetic look. "I spent seven months in a… specialist hospital. I have a certificate, signed by a board of professionals, to confirm that I'm sane. They wouldn't let me out without it. But… I… sympathise with Tamara. Some of what she experiences, I think that I can understand, rather directly. And being… detached from how the world seems to work for other people… that I definitely remember."

Quinn again falls quiet as Ygraine talks, rocking back and forth on her palms as she listens. Her brow creases as she assesses what Ygraine tells her, eyes on the other woman the entire time. When she finishes, a bit of a frown forms, a worried expression of sorts.

“I had no idea.” Well, obviously, but still. “I won’t pry as to why, but… I am sorry to hear that. I’m glad everything seems to have worked out, though.” Her frown upturns a bit, into a pensive smile. “It must have been hard, having to go through something like that.” She scratches the back of her head, hair running the length of her hair afterwards. “I can’t even begin to imagine, m’self. But, I mean… you’re here now, and you’re fine. So that’s good.” A nod, and a confident smile, like she’s telling Ygraine she’s fine. “If Tamara’s that bad off, though, I guess I can understand why you’d sympathise.”

Her toes curl for a moment, visible at the edge of her sandals, and then she scoots herself over a bit closer to Ygraine. “You know, I’m a bit surprised you volunteered that. Most people would take something like that to their graves.” Ah, always tacking on that one potentially awkward comment.

Another of her low, nervous laughs, and Ygraine ducks her head - though she does peek up to shoot Quinn a grateful look. "I know", she murmurs. "But… I wasn't going to lie around Tamara. Deal with her honestly. Treat her as being honest, even if you don't follow what she says at first. She's only ever completely lost me once, though I sometimes have to think a bit…."

A quick shake of the head. "But… having said that much, I… felt I owed you. An explanation, I mean. Confirmation that I wasn't just… saying stuff to try to make Tamara think I understood. And… I'd like to be able to trust you, too."

Venturing a hopeful little smile, Ygraine twitches her shoulders in a hint of a shrug. "You're right, though. I don't exactly share that with many people. Virtually no one, in fact. So I apologise if it's… dumping more implied responsibility or expectation on you than you wanted."

Quinn gives a slow nod of her head. “I- just figured you knew her better and knew what to say, really. It didn’t seem that unusual.” She quirks her lips, shrugging. “Well, I’m glad t’ hear that. Hopefully, I don’t do anything t’ mess it up, I hate to think that people don’t trust me. It’s just so…” She mocks pulling out her hair, and then gives a quick laugh, tilting her head to the side. “I don’t understand why you’d think I’d think it’s more anything.” She somewhat vacant blink she gives emphasises that pretty well.

A shrug, and a shake of her head. “For what it’s worth, I don’t usually think anyone owes me much. I may get a nosey sometimes, but I try not to force people into anything. That’s really not fair.”

Ygraine smiles gratefully, inclining her head to her companion. "That sounds like a good policy to pursue, to me. And… thank you. Very much. For not prying. For listening. For letting me waffle. For not seeming to be terrified of the strangeness. Any hint of mental difficulties or oddness, and many people just… fall apart. Have no idea of how to respond at all."

With a bit of initial hesitation, Quinn reaches up and places a hand on Ygraine’s shoulder. “Pssh. No need for all that,” she replies causally, a bit of a shrug accompanying it. “I…” She just shrugs again. “I like helping people feel better. I don’t always know how to respond, but I try not t’ let anything like that bother me. No reason to unless it’s, like, a problem.”

Though she's squirming self-consciously, Ygraine makes no attempt to shrug off that hand. "Thank you. I… hope to help people, too. Quite a lot of people around here do, thankfully. Including Colette, for all that I might've been seeming to warn you off her, or something. Just… watch yourself. Be sure that you don't get caught up in anyone's crusade without knowing what you're getting into, all right?"

Quinn responds with a confused look, and after a moment, a slow nod. “Alright. I keep my eyes open. So to speak.” She grins, and withdraw her hand, retuning to leaning back on her palms. She’d try, at least, but the wrinkle of her nose shows just a hint of uncertainty. “So, you got more deliveries to do?” She looks back at Ygraine with a warm smile.

Ygraine glances down towards her belt, then back up at Quinn. "Not yet", she says with a lopsided little smile, then tentatively reaches over to try to give one of the Irishwoman's hands a quick squeeze. "And sorry for being so weird at you."

Laughing, Quinn shakes her head and points back to the roof door. “I’ve gotten used to it lately, if yesterday was any indication. They get weird at me all the time.” A shrug follows, and a smile. “Actually, I feel kinda bad now because you’ve told me a bunch about yourself now, and I think you know I’m from Ireland, I like t’ help, I do cool things for light shows, and that’s about it.” She chuckles, shaking her head.

"Musician. Disc Jockey. Love for performance. Versatile musical talents, covering at least a few instruments. Spread of musical styles. Lack of evident interest in ostentation or material success."

Ygraine ticks off points on her fingers as she rattles them off, a slight smile lifting one side of her mouth again.

"Largely self-reliant, but happy to accept help when it would be useful. Capable of asking for help, which is a knack in itself. Not a scientist. Possessed of two left feet or an habitual state of distraction - either way, not got the best of relationships with the three-dimensional world. Should I continue?"

Quinn laughs again, this time sheepishly, a bit of a blush on her face. Okay, maybe she’d underestimated both of them. “All right, all right, fair enough. Add lacking in memory, and I think we’ll call it good there.” She’s tempted to have the Brit keep going, but that seems like it’s just silly at this point. “I guess maybe I talk about myself more than I thought.”

Ygraine chuckles, shaking her head. "Give me some credit. A certain amount of that was observation, you know. And if you want to tell me more, then feel free", she says with a wink. "But I should probably be asking how you're doing with moving in, and other such practical things."

Quinn snickers at Ygraine’s request for credit, and then shrugs. “Well, moving’s going fine. My piano, bed, drawers, and some clothes are still in Brooklyn, my DJing equipment is still in storage – hopefully, Magnes can drag it out before long, it’s a lot’a heavy stuff. That’s about it, though. I hope poor Sable has enough room to move in her apartment right now.”

She takes a moment to look around the rooftop, grinning. “I actually came up here to case the roof a bit more thoroughly. I was thinkin’ once I get settled in I’d drag my stuff up here and have a little party.” A snicker, and a hand runs through her hair. “You know, see how quickly I can make people hate me like I did at my old place.”

Ygraine giggles. "So long as you don't make it too loud, I doubt that people'll object over-much. Up here, though, loud music could blanket the whole neighbourhood. But… it sounds like a good idea. Wonder if you could get a barbecue up here?"

“Ooh! I didn’t even think of that!” Quinn beams at the suggestion of a barbecue, nodding emphatically. “Yeah, the noise going t’ other buildings is what worries me, it’d have to be in the afternoon when traffic helps black some of it out. But I think it’d be fun, I’ll have to ask Jason and Colette about it.”

Ygraine laughs. "You're welcome. Glad to be of service again. I suspect they'll say yes - but definitely check out what the options are. They might be able to offer some other things you could take up here. Even if it's just a few more chairs, or some help tidying the place up a bit."

Pausing, Ygraine cocks her head, then cracks a grin. "If you're feeling mildly mischievous, you could even make that the first phase of the party. Show up to help finish the garden, get food and music afterwards…"

“Sneaky. That’d definitely get Colette’s approval, and I’m sure the kids would enjoy it.” Quinn gives an agreeing nod, looking thoughtful. “Yeah, this is definitely something to consider. It’ll have to wait a bit though. Between the auction and general madness this weekend, I bet a lot of people’ll just be too tired for anything like that.”

"There's general madness taking place this weekend?", Ygraine asks curiously, brows arching. "Or should I not pry into the secret matters of Gun Hill and its residents?"

“Well, I’m finishing moving. That’ll be madness, and I’m sure a few people’ll be handling their dates from the auction and such.” Quinn shrugs. “Just kinda expecting a lot of crap goin’ on.”

Ygraine laughs, shaking her head. "I hope that your auction-date isn't crap. And… are you ready for Chicago this evening?"

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