It's Good To Be Back


geneva_icon.gif weasel2_icon.gif

Scene Title It's Good To Be Back
Synopsis Geneva pays a visit to Weasel now that she's no longer a bird.
Date January 22, 2019

Park Slope - Prospect Park Lake

The winter air bites at any skin that isn’t covered by warm clothing, and exhales bring with it frosty clouds as the warmth from internal heat mingles with the cold temperatures. That doesn’t stop the animals at the park; ducks and geese still litter the surface of Prospect Park Lake, fish swim below the water, and life goes on despite the cold.

The cold also does little to stop Clara Winters from visiting her friends. The musteloid telepath is seated on a bench on a man made concrete platform. At one point, this park was thriving; people would take their morning walks around the lake, stopping to feed the ducks while enjoying the tiny piece of nature hidden by the city around it. Now, though, it’s nice and quiet.

Her backpack is next to her, a bag in one hand, and a group of a dozen or so animals is gathered around, enjoying the bounty of their friendship — a variety of organ meat is being distributed among the minks and otters that chose to follow Weasel to this new home, and while food is quite abundant here, none of them are about to turn down rabbit and squirrel organs.

Nearby, Minerva, whose coat is a bit different from the coats of the other minks gathered, is splashing about in the cold water, enjoying a bit of a swim.

Though Geneva has never been a stranger to this bleak weather, she has dealt with it far more lengthily and intimately than anyone should in these last few weeks, and the consequences had nearly been fatal. Now that she once more possesses all the tools to deal with it appropriately— tools that had been unceremoniously stripped from her, including her powers, her human form, and the simple ability to wrap oneself in warm clothing— she has a sense of oddness more than anything else. There is a tingling bitterness residing within her chest, and her face is white and wan behind her woollen scarf. She is far more painfully aware of the wintry cold than she ever had been before, even with her hands glowing to offset it with a gentle, constant wash of heat, just as she had always done in old times.

Prospect Park Lake had been a refuge she had chosen for more than one reason. With all the emotions bottled up inside her, and more simply, the feeling of being empty and drained, she had been slow to wish to be around people again. There are several notable exceptions, however, and one is sitting right in front of her on a bench.

“Hey, weirdo,” she murmurs as she draws up behind Weasel, her voice low and vibrant. “…Guess who.”

Clara Winters has never been easy to sneak up on, and today is no different. As the warm girl is drawing closer, one of the otters peers over at her with wide brown eyes, making a squeaking sort of sound; that, coupled with the field of warmth that accompanies her, and her attempt at sneaking up on the girl has already been thwarted.

That doesn’t stop the reaction of joy as her sister and best friend makes herself known, the girl’s eyes widening as she rises to her feet, spinning around and promptly wrapping her arms around the girl. “Genie!” Weasel has never been much for hugs, but Geneva is certainly one of the few exceptions. She does, however, make sure not to get the bloody bag of organ meats, or her bloodied hand, on her sibling.

“Where the fuck have you been? I’ve been worried.” Weasel pulls back, before turning and tossing the rest of the organ meat to the expectant group of slinky animals — just to be sure everyone has one and is happily munching while she chats. The bag is set off to one side, and Weasel turns, making her way toward the water to rinse her hands and retrieve Minerva. “You missed Christmas — I got something for you, it’s in my bag.”

It is difficult not to crack a smile when Geneva spots one of otters squeaking at her, and she quickly succumbs to the temptation to do so. Otters are damned cute, after all.

This cracked sort of smile stays on her face as she warmly receives Weasel's hug, giving her sister a tight embrace in turn. It takes an extra second or two longer than usual for her to let go. "Oh my god, Weasel. I… where do I start? It's been complicated. So much has happened. But it's so fucking good to see you." As her hands return to her pockets, her gaze strays over to the menagerie animals populating the area nearby. At the reminder that she has missed Christmas, some the enthusiasm of the smile fades from her face, becoming more shadowed.

"Yeah, I have the feeling I've missed a lot of things."

The girl dips her hands into the water of the lake, hurriedly rinsing the blood from her hands; then, one hand is held out to Minerva, who promptly shimmies up Weasel’s arm and starts toweling herself off on the shoulder of her jacket and scarf.

Then, the girl stands, pausing briefly to pet one of the otters before returning to Geneva — and to her backpack. “I missed the shit out of you, sis.”

“Start at the beginning?” Weasel suggests, rummaging in her backpack and coming up with a small package wrapped rather messily in red wrapping paper. From the looks of it, it’s been in her pack for a while, the paper rubbed thin and white in some places.

Geneva reaches out for the wrapped package with uncharacteristic hesitation, turning it over once wordlessly within her hands. There is an inscrutable look on her face as does so— gratefulness, perhaps, though she does not move to open it right away.

The beginning. It is difficult to know where to start even with this suggestion. The girl's eyes are drawn once more to the animals, and she stares at Minerva's movements for awhile as a kind of stalling tactic as she casts about for what to say. There is a short and unwilling little sigh.

"Have you read Wolves of Valhalla? Or… are you familiar with anyone who was in the Vanguard?"

A smile appears on Weasel’s face as Geneva takes the package — that turns to concern as the other girl seems to go into her thoughts a bit, and she takes a seat on the bench, patting the wooden planks next to her as an invitation.

“I haven’t read that, no — but I’ve heard a little bit about the Vanguard from the Brians when he was bringing me up to speed, back when I first came to the Lighthouse.” As she speaks, Minerva is busy using her as a towel, rubbing her fur against the fabric of Weasel’s jacket to rid her fur of excess water.

Ron pops his head out of the pocket of the jacket, rather suddenly, wiggling his whiskers at Geneva — he abandons his post in Clara’s pocket for a favored spot in Geneva’s scarf.

"There's a woman who was with the Vanguard. Eileen. She died on Pollepel Island, only she didn't." Crinkling the paper between her fingers, Geneva tapers off momentarily, mentally calculating where best to go from here. "She was a bird manipulator, kinda like how you do your thing with weasels. When her body died, her mind was taken by birds and she ended up trapped in the body of this little girl."

There is another pause, this one letting the blonde rub at one of her eyes, though she allows Ron to clamber up into her scarf with the tiniest look of pleasure in her eyes. "I don't know how much you've been following all this alternate dimension crap, or if you've been caught up in at all. But, long story short, a version of Eileen from somewhere else wanted her dead. I… didn't want that to happen. I thought, this was just a kid, you know?"

"Emily arranged for the little girl to be taken elsewhere. Other-Eileen decided she didn't like that, and she trapped me inside a hummingbird. As punishment, or something. My actual body’s been in the hospital." A sourness enters her tone at this last part, and her newest grin is colored by it. "And that's the story of how I spent my last month."

Ron curls up against Geneva’s neck, his white winter fur soft against her skin. He might’ve been prompted a little bit by Clara, but he certainly doesn’t mind the warmth in the slightest. It seems like Geneva needs him.

Lifting a hand to scratch gently at the wet mink’s head, Clara listens to Geneva with wide eyes, attention drawn in by the story of Geneva’s past month. “Jesus, Genie. That’s fucking crazy.” She shakes her head. “You were a hummingbird? That sounds…” She pauses for a moment, thinking on it. “Awful. They have superfast heartbeats and don’t they not do winter?”

She wrinkles her nose, reaching out to her sister and taking her hand, giving it a squeeze. “I’m glad you’re okay.” It’s probably a good thing that she didn’t come around Weasel at all — one of her companions, probably Ron, might have tried to murder her.

The weasel's actions prompt a slightly wider grin from Geneva, and she gives the creature a light, affectionate cuddling with one hand. Even as she is distracted doing this, Clara's question successfully evokes a very small snort. "You are 100% correctamundo. I'm not gonna go into full detail of how crappy it was, but I'll just leave it at: I've had better Christmases."

Clara's squeezing of her hand is a gesture that is returned, in kind, with thankfulness. "Yeah, I'm glad too. I would've tried to come see you, buuuuut besides other things, your friends might've tried to eat me." Much as she is otherwise fond of Weasel’s animal companions, that would not have been a desirable outcome.

“Yeah, that’s probably for the best,” Clara replies, smiling over to her sister. “Minerva might have been okay, but Ron probably would have tried to murder you.” Ron lets out a little squeak in apparent agreement, happily snuggled up to Geneva — she’s way warmer than his mom. If Pepe were present at the moment, he’d probably be wrapped around her feet too.

Minerva, on the other hand, is much more reserved — she hasn’t really had the chance to get to know Geneva yet, so once she’s done toweling herself off on Clara’s shoulder, she moves a bit closer, staring at the warm woman with a twitching nose. She’s probably one of the largest minks that Geneva has seen, of all of the creatures that Clara’s brought home.

“Open your present!” She gestures at the worn package, a grin on her face. “Make it a better Christmas in retrospect.”

This is in fact one of the only minks Gene has ever seen, given that she does not have an affinity for mustelids the way that her sister does. She is certainly a magnificently fluffy animal, compared to most of the others they had rescued together. For a good moment, the girl gives Minerva a genial stare right back, heat radiating off her in alluringly gentle waves as if to say hey, it's okay.

"Oh, yeah, right," she murmurs, glancing back down at the wrapped package that she is holding; she had momentarily forgotten about it in the intensity of the conversation. Without further ado, she does as requested and begins peeling the paper wrapping back, genuine curiosity on her face.

Once the present is fully revealed, a few shreds of paper still clinging to it, the expression on Gene's face morphs into one of soft delight. "New lockpicks," she confirms aloud, fingertips brushing over the velvety leather pouch housing the implements in a gesture of pure appreciation. It has been so long since she has gotten the chance to use anything like this, thanks to the constant disruptions in her life. "Weasel, this is amazing, thanks."
The girl smiles brightly as Geneva finally gets to open her gift, reaching up to scritch under Minerva’s little white chin. The creature makes a warbling noise, rubbing her still-damp side against Weasel’s cheek, before she suddenly slinks her way over to the other girl, opting for a spot on Geneva’s lap, where she begins toweling herself off further on the warm girl’s clothing. It’s like a hot towel fresh out of a cold shower.

“I’ve been making bank lately — between Minerva and Ron, I’ve been selling lots of game meat that I’ve been able to get them to hunt. Minerva’s really good at killing ducks and geese, and I can charge a premium for the meat.” She grins widely. “So I wanted to share the love for Christmas. You should see Joe’s gift — I gave him a 32 pound bucket of peanut butter.” She pauses, pointing to the lockpicking kit. “I didn’t even steal this, it actually came honestly.

She turns, peering at the gathered minks and otters that are finishing off their meal with a small smile. “They’ve been doing good since we rescued them. The lake is so big, the otters and minks can spread out without interfering with each other too much.”

A little surprise registers on Geneva's face when the mink changes direction and heads for her, but she allows it to rub up against her sweater once she realises what it is after, reaching out to stroke at the top of its headfur after a second or two— slowly, so as not to arouse alarm. "You know, I think I remember you talking about the peanut butter thing. Where the hell did you even find a place that carries something like that? There are still food and fuel shortages, and then there's some rando shop selling 32-pound tubs of peanut butter. Fuckin' christ, it figures."

Still openly amused, she turns her head downwards towards the lockpicking kit when Weasel points at it, patting it with a now-slightly renewed sense of appreciation. "You bought these things legit? Damnit, Weasel, you're spoiling me here." It is probably more than she would have done. "These guys and me, we're lucky to have you 'round." As she says this, she surveys the array of critters spread out before them, noting that most of them already appear to be in noticeably better health than when they had been found.

“There’s a black market food place up in the Bronx. I was just gonna get a jar, but then I saw the bucket…and I knew I just had to, you know?” She laughs, shaking her head slowly. “They gave it to me at a discount because they couldn’t find a home for it. Still cost a week’s allowance. Joe doesn’t know how good he has it.” Weasel offers her sibling a wide grin. “It was also kind of a partial gift to Lance, so maybe he can have peanut butter at his place without Joe eating all of it.”

Dark eyes turn down to watch Minerva, who appears to be in heaven with her new heated towel. She accepts the head pets rather graciously, pushing her forehead up against Geneva’s hand. “You made a new friend,” Weasel points out.

Then, she turns her gaze back to Geneva’s face. “I’m going legit — kind of. I got a work visa, and a nice shiny registration card.” She reaches into her pack, pulling the card out — it comes complete with a COM endorsement. “Starting up a new business. According to SESA, I have a business of cruelty-free pest control — I get raccoons out of people’s attics without hurting them, and clear out any other musties like skunks and weasels, and I relocate them.” She grins. “On the side, I’m gonna rescue any Musties that need rescuing, like always, and maybe use the minks to clear out rats.”

Geneva's fingers stop mid-stroke, just for a moment, and she arches her eyebrows at her sister before continuing again. "You actually got registered? Hell, I don't think I would've figured you for it. Then again, I never figured me for it." She does a little side-smile, directed both at Minerva's excitable antics and at the news of Weasel's venture. "But fuck, that's awesome. Now that the whole world's gone to shit, people forget all about the animals, you know? It's nice to know there's someone out there looking out for 'em. You and Hailey both."

Her gaze turns a degree more speculative. "It's kind of interesting. We're all going some kind of 'legit' now, I guess. Me and Squeaks in Raytech, Lance in SESA, you with your new thing." The side-smile quirks, grows slightly wider across her face. "I think we're finally all growing up. Or some shit."

“Never thought I’d do it, either,” she replies, “but I kind of like it here and didn’t feel like being arrested or removed for not being registered.” Clara shrugs, reaching out and gently running her fingers along Minerva’s tail. “That’s what I figure,” she adds. “Nobody thinks about these guys. I mean, there was a totally illegal fur farm right across the river. The kinda shit you’d expect in, like, Russia or something.”

She tilts her head toward one shoulder, running two fingers along Minerva’s back as the mink settles in for a nice cuddle with Geneva, making a soft chirping sound that can only be truly described as a mink purr. She likes this person — she’s nice and warm. “Seems like it.” Dark eyes turn up to Geneva’s face, a small smile playing over her features.

"I think I'm less surprised than you are." Geneva sounds more droll with this reply, eyes still locked onto Minerva as the critter audibly expresses her contentment. This is a new experience for her, and it is certainly not unwelcome. "The country's been full of shit for years. I mean, maybe not this specifically, but it wasn't so long ago that some jarhead thought it was a good idea to try to start a war wipe all the Evos, remember? Then you have all the smuggling, kidnapping, violent racism, god knows what else." She rattles these off as though reciting them from a list, ticking each one off on her fingers as she says it. There is a very small shake of her head afterwards, and then she drops her warmly-glowing hand back towards Minerva's to resume petting. "It's messed up, but I’d say fur farms fit right in."

“True,” Clara replies, leaning back on the bench to watch the gathered critters as they finish off their food and start wandering off to their respective corners of the lake. “I guess I just thought that…well, I think I got used to Canada.” She did only really know Canada before she came down here seeking out her siblings, after all. “Wasn’t perfect there, either, but they weren’t nearly as awful as some of the stuff out here.” She shakes her head slowly.

“Sometimes I wonder why I didn’t run off with Logan,” she murmurs, in reference to the wolverine she once kept the company of. “I know he’s not human, but sometimes…these guys, ferocious little carnivores that they are, are way less violent than humans.” She’s always struggled with the fact that she finds her animals better company than people — when she was younger, it was the Brians’ biggest struggle to just get her to come in sometimes, let alone getting her to participate in group activities.

"It’s kind of amazing that you had a wolverine called Logan. But yeah, dude. You only just now realized that?" There is a laugh from Geneva, though it is clearly a good-natured one. "Animals are way better than people. Always have been. Why do you think I hang around animal empaths and telepaths like you and Hailey so much?" Not to mention the array of feral cats that she still likes to take care of, as best she can. And dear, sweet Idiot. She leans her arms onto the back of the bench Weasel is seated on, staring speculatively out at the quietness of the frozen lake. "People suck. With exceptions of course, but that's, like, a rule."

“Why wouldn’t I call him Logan?” Weasel grins widely, shaking her head. “It’s too bad he didn’t want to come with me. He had a good territory, so I can’t blame him.” She smiles fondly — she misses that particular creature. “I didn’t just now realize that. Really, I’ve always struggled with it, especially since I first manifested.” She turns her eyes up to the sky, her breath coming out in a fog. “You’re right though. People suck — present company excluded.”

"…Back atcha, weirdo." Saying this fondly, Geneva continues her steady gaze out over the shoreline of Prospect Park Lake. Though the atmosphere is chilly, constantly encroaching from all directions upon the low aura of heat that she continually emits, there is a strange and peaceful kind of beauty in the stillness. Minus the activity of the various animal residents, of course. "I will say one thing, though. Animals might be better people than people, but I can't fucking say that I miss being one. It’s time to get up to some proper human shit again."

It is good to be back.

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