It's Not Harm


sable_icon.gif tamara_icon.gif

Scene Title It's Not Harm
Synopsis In advance of disastrous events, Tamara pays a visit to a friend and places two things in her keeping, along with reassurances that are their own ill news.
Date November 8, 2010

Gun Hill

Times likes these make a girl wistful for simpler days. 'Packing' consisted of tossing whatever cash she'd earned, won or stolen into the hollow body of her acoustic and then zzzzip — done. All this shit, it's not even hers.

Wait… something about this is familiar.

Sable has blocked out the bustle of the safe house with her headphones. The sound of 'Crosstown Traffic' is loud and clear, keeping Sable's spirits high enough above the rush of necessity to avoid panic. Panic's for when the Man shows up — gotta save that shit. For the right now, things are going to plan. Rather precisely so, save for the strange feeling of Sable watching herself act out a script. Performing each action through a mediating veil of deja vu. Into knapsack after knapsack she slides item after item: flashlight, city map, two (2) bottles of water, handful of fruit leather, handful of power bars. This is really the least she can do for the Ferry, after all this time.

Time. Not simple anymore. Tied, instead, into self-conscious knots.

Her hand reaches, feels for a bottle, finds nothing. Out of water. Okay. Sable reaches into her pocket, pulls out a knife with a folding blade. Her thumb slides it free, snapping the edge into position. She glances down at her reflection, yellow eyes peering back out of stainless steel. She tilts this serrated mirror, angling it towards a doorway that should, if things go to plan, shortly contain a woman and her hound.

Reflected in the metallic surface are a bright grin and the wiggling fingers of a waving hand. But of course she would know.

Teal shirt, black jeans, blue leash held in one hand and half-grown dog contentedly padding alongside: the girl who so casually walks into the room could have stepped directly out of Sable's premonition into this moment. She closes the distance between them, fingers trailing idly over the edge of one unopened crate, looking down at it with passing, absent-minded interest. When she looks back over to Sable, the smile is still there, but the geniality of Tamara's demeanor doesn't quite chase away something else lurking behind her eyes.

"Do I need to say it?" the seeress asks Sable, the sincere query pitched to carry through her music.

"Did it fuck things up, royal-like, if y' don't?" Sable counters, tugging her headphones off and letting them hang around her neck. She folds the knifeblade back into the handle and rises to a stand, all five feet and one defiant inch made ready for duty. She looks down at the dog, checking to see if she's as on board as her owner and her so-to-be temporary warden.

"Colette said somethin', past yer remembrance, 'bout what'll happen t'day," Sable says, her hand forming a grip around the knife handle, keeping this point in place, keeping it in line so as to refuse it any part in mischief she does not condone, "I dunno how it's gonna—" wait, wrong tense for this conversation, "how it did work out, but me takin' this here critter," she nods at the pup, "did it make me any sort 'f part 'f any harm that came t' any I love?"

The good cheer, incomplete as it was, slowly fades away from Tamara's expression as Sable speaks, to be replaced by canted head and somber consideration. One can almost perceive the wheels spinning as the blonde tries to parse those words, the concepts behind them, the weight of the question Sable asks.

Misty, having no such quandries to puzzle over, looks between the two girls, tan ears pricked forward. She whuffs in Sable's direction, the slight tick-tock of her tail which accompanies the exhaled greeting made hesitant by the tension in the musician's posture.

After a long, long silence, the seeress can be seen to refocus on Sable, her eyes gone solemnly dark. When she speaks, the words are carefully clear, coherent in a rare way that is its own symbol. "Someone has to take care of her today. It's not harm, to keep her safe. To deliver her to — to Colette." Tamara pauses there, briefly, tongue flicking over her lips. "I would like it to be you."

And then she waits.

Sable has her own period of weighing, though briefer, in which she weighs out the relevance of Tamara's own weighing procedure. A lot of tares and balances and counterbalances in play here. The kind of complexity that Sable doesn't too much care for when things are already so goddamn confusing.

"I ain't gonna see no ill come to no innocent," Sable says, rolling her shoulder and then extending a hand, ready for the leash, "however fluffy 'n' peabrained that innocent might be, eh?" she gives Misty a small grin, a bit forced — daddy pretending to the kids that everything is all right. "What y' say don't exactly put me much at ease, but what'll be'll be, eh?" She gives a small huff.

Her next words are delivered with a sardonicism and blackness that exceeds the usual. "Hell, girl 'f mine brought some bitch int' the home we were sharin', I'd get m'self in a stabbin' type mood," Sable avers, grimly. At length, though, she adds, "…wouldn't do it, though."

If Sable's cheer is forced, Tamara at least seems to relax as the younger girl takes the leash, for her part relinquishing it without hesitation. Cheer would be an overstatement, however. Misty looks up at Sable as she's addressed, tail-wag stronger with the assurance of her own right to be here; the young canid huffs again, pressing her nose against Sable's knee.

As the musician continues speaking, Tamara tips her head the other way, dark gaze narrowing at the words — and something, in this ephemeral and elusive moment of clarity, seems to click into place for her. She shakes her head, blonde hair cascading down around her face, then steps forward to fold leash-unburdened arms around Sable's shoulders in an embrace. "Is that why she's afraid…?" the seeress murmurs against Sable's hair. "They were fine, as much as any could be. If I can help it."

Tamara takes a half-step back, and smiles, bittersweet with the mixed solace of cold comfort even unto herself. "It was never her."

She knows the hug is coming. She can't not, because she's looking at Tamara, and every motion states, by way of precedent, its next step or its successor. Only this allows her to receive it without losing a couple seconds to surprise. She doesn't usually get hugs for admitting to her jealous streak, especially not with implied violence. Not that she usually admits to it, or in that way. But still, a hug is unexpected.

But not unwelcome. There is something ephemeral and elusive about Tamara, and that makes contact with her seem like contact with a wild thing. An encounter with some graceful, exotic animal in a silent, dreamlike moment in a secluded place. Not that things are silent. Hendrix plays beautifully but tinnily, speaking to Sable and Tamara from both sides, telling them that he's a Voodoo Chile. And not that this is secluded. There are souls moving about.

But for the moment, Sable appreciates the feeling. It's a welcome respite from the crushing reality of the moment, and its coming future moments, a legion of foretold conclusions armed with inevitability in one hand and doubt in the other. She even gives the blonde wanderer a small squeeze.

When they part, Sable squints just a little. Carefully re-decoding what Tamara has just said. She usually thinks she translates pretty well, but she needs to be sure she knows what it is Tamara really means. She thinks she knows. She nods. "Jesus, it's always forever 'til it's never. That's the hell of it, eh?"

The rocker winds the leash around her wrist once, and then crouches to scratch Misty between the ears. "I took care 'f this 'n' real good f'r y', didn't I?" she says, glancing up at Tamara, "I brought 'er back safe 'n' sound. Like y' already know." Trying to make some destined things comforting.

Let it be said there is no jealousy in Tamara — rather, the expansive capability to accept anything. Just as she accepts Sable's attempt at solace, or self-solace, when the blonde crouches down beside her and the dog. Misty is quite pleased, in a quietly dignified fashion, at finally getting solid attention from the musician; Tamara smiles softly at them both. "Yes," the sybil assures Sable, confident warmth: you did.

Her fingers brush through the plume of Misty's curled tail, and she looks down at the dog, but that smile stays put. It might even become, glimpsed in oblique view, just a little mischievous. Tamara palms something from a pocket, trapping it on edge between two fingers and holding it out for Sable to take — nothing more astonishing than a penny. A poor example of the breed, to boot: darkened matte with oil, relief worn down by handling, its surface gouged and pitted from who knows what unfortunate circumstances. All this, despite its — barely discernible — mint date, a relatively recent 1990.

Not one word of explanation is provided with the little token.

Acceptance has never seemed a tenable option for Sable. Only a ferocious application of will to her circumstances ever seemed to net more than an inevitable consignment to the bleak marginalia of modern life. Learning to be willful was crucial for her. Learning to accept, to permit, to let pass — this is still a process for her, ongoing. Her thumb pushes puppy fur into ruffled ridges before smoothing it out again. Disturb, restore. Disturb, restore.

Sable does not expect mischief from Tamara, and she doubts the actuality of what she sees for the moment she sees it, the moment before she's looking down at the stained and battered copper of the penny. The musician's fingers, rough from hard use but still nimble, pluck the coin out of Tamara's clasp and press it back against her palm. She lifts the coin to eye level, examining it from several angles including right along its edge, as if appraising it with some educated eye. The date remains the only detail that means much to her, other than the observation: "rough trip f'r this fella, eh?" A thumbnail taps just under the four little numbers. "This sucker may be older th'n me."

Her gaze lifts from the coin back up to Tamara. "This f'r somethin' in particular, sweetie?"

The sybil straightens, standing patiently as Sable inspects the coin. Hands free, she tucks them into the pockets of her pants, thumbs hooked through belt loops. Waits there, until the younger girl looks back up, at which point one of Tamara's hands comes back up beside her own face, thumb and forefinger held half an inch apart. "Little bit," she affirms for the musician, playful lilt returned to her tone. Mischief indeed. "Think about it!" the girl adds, taking a step back; not gone yet, but an unspoken cue that the time of moving on approaches.

It must be a compulsion, more than a character trait, that even in saying goodbye Tamara must leave a puzzle to be solved.

There are a couple ways Sable can take the command to 'think about it'. Idiomatically speaking, it is simply a dinner bell, stating that food for thought is being served. But with Tamara, idiom can't be taken at face value, nor even necessarily as idiom. Sable hangs between two interpretations and, at the risk of seeming colossally silly, she closers eyes and goes with option two:

Sable thinks about the penny. She thinks about it rather hard, visualizing its battered shape even as she holds it tightly in her leashless hand. She does this for a while before cracking open one eyelid and peering up at Tamara, self-conscious.

"Nothin's happenin' yet."

Tamara giggles at the sidewise peer Sable casts her way, right hand lifting to cover her mouth. "Maybe it takes time," she offers helpfully. "Sometimes pieces have to do their own falling." And after a moment more of consideration, the blonde can only twitch her shoulders in a shrug — guiding Sable's thought processes is not within her skillset. Only giving them a starting point.

Reaching down to ruffle Misty's fur one more time, she pats the dog's shoulders, then straightens and sketches a wave to Sable. Goodbye, were it put in words: for the next thing she does is turn about and make her way back to the bend in the hall.

Left in other, however familiar, hands, Misty peers after Tamara for a little bit, then exhales a disappointed-seeming whuff and settles herself down to sit at Sable's feet.

Time is precisely the goddamn issue though, isn't it? But fine, Sable can wait to see where these pieces find themselves after their descent. The yellow eyed girl dips her head in acknowledgment of Tamara's departure, an event prepared for already in posture. No further words are offered, just the nod. She'll go where she must, along the path that is hers, and Sable will move in parallel to paw prints until the time comes to diverge from Misty's own course.

She is not to be held culpable for harm, this Sable assures herself of. She is taking care of this little doggy, and a vector towards success and safety has been all but promised. The musician runs her hand down Misty's back before patting her flank, twice.

"Y'all stick close, dawg. This is gonna be one hell 'f an evenin'."

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