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Scene Title Kavanah
Synopsis Hebrew, lit. 'intention; direction of the heart'.

Colette tries to patch over her earlier faux pas, and maybe impart a little enlightenment along the way. She finds that the oldest habits die hardest of all.
Date June 19, 2018

The Bunker: Training Hall

The last place Colette looks for Hana is not the major's office, nor her room, nor the rooftop. It's the training hall, all sharp angles and stark colors softened only minutely by the thin mats distributed across the polished-concrete floor. The bowl she'd taken away from the commons sits at the join of wall and floor and at even cursory glance appears to have gone completely untouched.

Hana herself stands in the midst of the room, oblique to the entry, her posture stiff and precise as she moves through a slow sequence of calisthenic exercises drawn from tai chi.

The door is closed, which might be interpreted as silent demand for solitude, were her pursuer minded to heed it at all.

Ultimately, it's a fifty-fifty heeding.

The three-rap knock followed by a brief pause before the door opens precedes Colette’s arrival. She's slow to enter, movements languid and relaxed, as if fitting for the off-hours exercise attire she's still wearing. The knock is the only audible cue Colette gives, instead settling on leaning by the door frame and watching for a moment, then slipping off her shoes and slowly padding across the floor toward the Major’s general vicinity.

The knock is ignored. The observer is ignored. And when observation transforms into approach — that, too, is ignored. Hana's silence is ostentatious, its texture and tenor forming a wall as surely as might any vocalized objection to Colette's intrusion. So, too, her stern refusal to either face or not face the younger woman: either is an acknowledgment she is unwilling to give.

Instead, Hana continues the slow movements of her exercise as if there were no eyes boring into her profile, no added pair of shoes providing contour against the seam joining floor and wall, no soft-footed steps approaching across concrete and synthetic cloth.

The look Colette levels at Hana is a raise of brows, shoulders skewed and arms crossed. It's only partly visible in the technopath’s periphery, a wordless expression of so it's going to be like this? With a minute sigh of resignation, Colette adjusts her posture and assessed Hana’s and moves to mirror her stance. She's familiar now, with these sorts of situations, with the cadence these kinds of situations take. If this is what it takes, this is what it takes.

Colette begins to follow the same movements Hana performs, affording her the same peripheral ignorance she's given, patiently waiting for a change in the tone of the silence. Neither of them are having dinner tonight, it seems.

It is so very much going to be 'like this'. Not the fire and fury of pricked ire, of defenses rattled and rallied; no, the silence that blankets the women is muted and dark, weighted with the glass-edged gravity of a profoundly personal injury.

In that, while this circumstance remains true to type, it is also different from those that have come before.

Heartbeats stretch into breaths, seconds into minutes; one sequence segues into another into another, and still silence reigns — the background noises of rustling cloth, of skin sliding across mat surface, fail to qualify as disruptions. Neither does the pivot by which solitary exercise is abruptly transformed into offensive action, into a single long stride and the strike that follows through upon it.

Still Hana says nothing at all.

Neither does Colette.

The noise Colette makes when she's struck in the chest is somewhere between a gasp and a squeak, thrown backward by the force of the blow and off of wobbly, improper footing. She hadn't been prepared for the transition, and therein lies the first lesson: always be prepared for an attack, no matter how safe you feel. It is a very Hana Gitelman lesson.

She hits the layers of cardboard covering the concrete with a hard slap, sweat from her shoulder streaking the brown surface. Dazed, she rests a hand at the center of her chest and stares up at Hana in first confusion and then — seeing the expectant look in Hana’s eyes — understanding. The lesson has changed.

Multi-directional vision allows Colette to see the pivot coming without turning toward it, without giving away that she was watching Hana the entire time. Her step back is quick, resettling on the balls of her feet and bouncing from left foot to right, arms up and close to her chest. The follow-through of Hana’s strike provides an opportunity, and Colette is quick to snatch the extended arm, duck in behind her mentor and start the basic movements of a standing arm bar, though her commitment to the maneuver is loose and hesitant. She isn't sure how far this is going.

As Colette deflects her arm and moves in oblique to Hana, the major responds by riding the momentum of that deflection, diving in to grapple Colette's legs. Her arms reach around the younger Hound's thighs, collapse her knees, cause her to overbalance backwards — and when she reflexively clings to Hana's shoulders for support, the older Hound twists and lets go, leaving the photokinetic to drop heavily to the floor.

After, Hana simply steps back, dark gaze fixed upon her opponent; she does not pursue, does not exploit the opportunity so opened, does not even show a sense of success in her momentary victory.

There is texture and timbre to these engagements, communication rendered in speed and aggression, in the cadence of action and lull, in attitude and expression and energy — energy that seems distinctly lacking this eve. Not in the sense of halfheartedness or irresolution — never that — but in the almost perfunctory quality to Hana's engagement, in the absence of animosity and anger alike.

This time, she finds no catharsis in activity, no defeat of the demons and ghosts that haunt her, not even by projecting them upon another.

Even though she has the wind knocked out of her by the smash down to the mat, Colette is quick to get back up on her feet, kipping up into a standing position. Breathing in deeply to catch her breath, shoulders heaving, she presses her tongue against the inside of her cheek, then brushes sweat from her brow with the back of her arm. “You're good,” she says with a furrow of her brows. It isn't about he fighting. “You do get that, right?”

Sprinting forward, Colette hops off of one foot and lunges forward with the other in a straight kick to the Major’s midsection, enough of an ambush to shake things up, but still not enough force to imply any real intent to harm, just to jostle like an old rusty gate so it can swing freely again. “And watch your ankle,” she adds, blind eyes down to the leg in a purely performative gesture.

There are many meanings that could be read into that phrase: concrete, abstract, philosophical. Hana can't find she cares about any of them; none fit for her in this moment. "It's not about being good," she states — however Colette intends that assurance to be taken.

The comment about her ankle is disregarded; Hana is more aware of its state than the photokinetic could ever be. She knows she will pay for this — for this on top of time spent standing in the kitchen — tomorrow, if not tonight, if not any minute here. She continues nonetheless. Sidestepping the kick, Hana lets Colette's foot pass in front of her; her right hand hooks briefly under the heel while her left reaches for Colette's torso, small alignments of velocity that combine with her own motion to end with her square behind the the other Hound, in what would be a blind spot for anyone else.

Normally, this would set up for a strike to the back or head. No such act follows.

"It's about what is mine." Not in any mundane sense, but in a most visceral, primal, defining use of the word.

“What's yours?” Colette retorts, sweeping her right leg back and then feinting a grab at Hana’s arm as if to move into a shoulder throw, but instead swinging her hip back into the woman and using the momentum of the hip check to try and sweep her leg out from under her.

“When you've got a family like this, a big family, every part of you is a part of someone else. The shit we like, the shit we don't, it's shared in some way,” and Colette pivots, arms up, knees bent, ready. “Every single person in that room would die for you, they're yours. I'm yours, and what we do? It's done out of love. Tonight wasn't about you and what's yours, they — I wanted it to be about celebrating what's ours.” Her fingers curl into fists, shoulders squared. “You.”

Hana sees through the feint, but there's only so much she can do when the natural consequence of the hip check is to concentrate her weight on her left ankle. The sweep takes her to the floor; she doesn't stay there long, but rolls back upright as Colette continues speaking, opening the distance rather than closing anew.

There are so many things she could say. So many she could pick apart. That like has nothing to do with it. That everything is not in fact shared — far from it. The weight of the personal and pivotal and private; that dying is easy, and living infinitely harder. That they had been celebrating, until someone went past merely pushing boundaries to wantonly transgressing them.

Hana doesn't.

"Why do you think I walked out of that room, Demsky?" has nearly the texture of sandpaper, harsh and abrasive and pebbled with shadow.

“I don't know,” Colette is quick to respond with. “Why don't you tell me?” The aggressor now, Colette jumps forward and jabs a few times toward Hana’s midsection, inching progress forward each time and pressing the advance. “Because it's very hard to genuinely apologize without understanding.”

Sweat runs down Colette’s brow, dark hair sticking to her forehead. She'd only just finished a workout when she smelled the food cooking and she can feel every ache — the physical and otherwise — in her extremities and her chest.

As Colette jabs forward, Hana yields slightly to the advance; then it is her turn to snatch Colette's wrist and deflect it down in a modified arm bar, at the same time taking another step back to prevent a turnaround of the grapple she used earlier. She uses Colette's momentum to bend her forward, other arm coming down across the join of her shoulder to hold the younger Hound there, albeit briefly.

Hana leans down, too; unwise, but this is not just sparring. Not even really sparring.

"Because I shared with you a very personal trust," she says in a low, hard voice, the words close to Colette's ear. "And you— " Did not respect that. Threw it away. With half the unit as audience. And did so by putting Robyn in the hot seat, besides. Hana doesn't state any of these things, but the hanging silence very nearly speaks with a voice all its own.

She releases Colette then, steps back, disengages. Not simply from that encounter, but from sparring overall — at least in the physical sense. There is a slight hitch to her stride as she opens distance between them, her back to the photokinetic, her front not exactly towards the door.

"You may share everything with everyone," Hana says to the empty space before her. "I. Do. Not." She pivots to face Colette. "If you had left it at celebration, fine. But what I share with you and Noa, Demsky — that is personal and private."

In other words: mine.

Colette exhales a sharp breath, wiping sweat from her brow and maintains a steady eye contact with Hana. There's a visible frown that spreads across her face, stony in the way her demeanor can get when confronted with her own recognized mistakes

“I’m sorry.” Colette says, but she doesn't leave the distance between them to stay as such. Instead, she moves up beside Hana and gives her a steady, determined look. “What happened isn't something I'll ever talk about. The deeper meaning, the truth of it. I'd hoped you'd share the surface of it with them, share the superficial part. Open up… just a little.”

Blind eyes flick aside, then slowly track back to Hana. “Because as much as you might not care that others see it, what you have in there,” she says with a motion to Hana’s chest, “is beautiful.” But she doesn't go as far as to say what Hana should do with that beauty. She tried, in her way back in the kitchen, and failed. She concedes that ground.

“And… who knows? You might like living like me from time to time, in whatever shape that could take,” Colette offers with a tip of her head to the side. “Because I've liked living like you when I do.”

Stone can also be applied to the set of Hana's expression, the flat rigidity of her posture as Colette steps up beside her. She does not look over while the Hound who is at once employee and student and something of a second daughter makes her assurance and explanation and plea.

Only at the end does Hana overtly regard her, fixing Colette with a hooded, sidelong glare that mingles incredulity with stubborn resistance.

"I will share what I choose," Hana insists sharply, "precisely when and how I choose." More a resolution than a vow, a statement of intent, a declaration of unwillingness to relinquish that agency.

Silence hangs a moment afterwards, stillness, the sense that something more should be said… but words for that more prove elusive, and finally the woman shakes her head slightly, signaling an end to the conversation. More emphatic an end is written by her silent departure, which this time at least bears the quality of resignation rather than offense.

She never did eat what she'd made, the bowl left cold and neglected at the side of the room.

Later, back in her quarters, Colette will find a text message waiting on her phone. Sent from an unfamiliar number, it might be nothing more than a mistext — but one timestamped curiously near to the end of her conversation with Hana. Its four words are also remarkably on-point, too much so for mere error:

Try emulating water instead.

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